Blog Archives

The hypocrisy of the NFL’s crackdown on bounties

A couple of terms that you may hear frequently associated with the National Football League are “Winning is everything” and, “The NFL is a business.”

It has recently come out that current New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been incentivizing big hits, forced fumbles, interceptions and sacks with cash to his players. According to former Washington Redskins strong safety Matt Bowen in a Chicago Tribune column, this system was in place when he played in DC as well.

No – it’s probably not right to try to knock a player out of a game for money, but try to tell me that defensive players don’t try to knock out key players anyhow. Not only that, they get rewarded by media and fans on highlight reels and Top 10 plays. A middle linebacker leveling a receiver could be the main talk around the water cooler the next day.

Even in a known case of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma offering $10K to knock Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC Championship, Favre didn’t seem upset at all.

“I’m not pissed. It’s football,” Favre told Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King. “I don’t think anything less of those guys. Said or unsaid, guys do it anyway. If they can drill you and get you out, they will.”

Enough said – players get it. Players have incentives in their contracts for reaching milestones at the end of the season, why not have a microcosm system rewarding clean, hard play during it? Bowen didn’t seem to have any problems with it and even continues to praise Williams.

“I don’t regret any part of it. I can’t,” Bowen said. “Williams is the best coach I ever played for in my years in the NFL, a true teacher who developed me as a player. I believed in him. I still do. That will never change.”

I’d be interested to get your thoughts in the comments:


My Pro Bowl solution

I’m not sure if you watched the Pro Bowl yesterday. I know I didn’t.

Just like the rest of the country, I saw it, not watched because what was on the screen could be more aptly described as pirouetting than football. I mean seriously, we go from two of the best Conference Championship games to that? They’re not allowed to blitz, they barely hit and intentional grounding is allowed among other things. As they say on Monday Night Football Countdown: C’mon Man!

So, instead of just complaining, I actually have a few different solutions to amend the Pro Bowl problem:

Cheerleader Powderpuff Bowl:
This wouldn’t have the same ratings as the Super Bowl, they would be better. Put the cheerleaders of the AFC teams against the cheerleaders from the NFC teams in their cheerleading uniforms for a full contact game. Or, instead of a stupid TV show to decide the next Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, let them audition by seeing how well they play football. Jerry Jones might even find someone more suitable to play quarterback than Tony Romo that way.

Superfan Bowl:
Who has the most pride in their team? Only one way to find out. Who wouldn’t want to see Fireman Ed from the Jets wreck those dudes from the Raiders? Pretty sure this would involve the most physical contact, except for the…

Legends Bowl:
Just imagine, Joe Namath playing for one team and getting interviewed by Suzy Kolber on the sidelines after a great play. Instead of asking for a kiss he might ask for some warm milk. The other team would have Joe Kapp as their QB and captain. Both Namath and Kapp would be able to draft their Legend teams. Think Kapp would draft Angelo Mosca? Not likely. However – THAT would be some serious entertainment and I’m pretty sure there would be more harding hitting than yesterday.

Like these suggestions or have others? Let me know in the comments:

State of NFL defense and other quick hits

NFL defense is dead.

Quarterbacks Drew Brees and Tom Brady both broke Dan Marino’s 27-year record in the past two weeks and neither one of them made it look very hard; Matthew Stafford was only off the 1984 mark by 46 yards (Think he’s in the same breath as Marino?). Beside those three QBs, three others surpassed the 4,600 passing mark this season. Aaron Rodgers back-up Matt Flynn almost did that in one game against the Detroit Lions with 480 yards and 6 TDs, another playoff team.

Another way to get the zeitgeist is to look at the playoff teams. The top seeds in the AFC and NFC in the Patriots and Packers. Either known for stingy defense? Not exactly.

Chicks dig the long ball (both home runs and a 60-yard bomb downfield). The NFL has created an era of spread offense because that’s what the fans want to see. Gone are the days of the Monsters of the Midway, Steel Curtain, Orange Crush or Purple People Eaters. Yes, some teams still have “good” defenses, but none are dominant. They have been watered down by penalties. No hitting the quarterback high or low, no “illegal” contact after five yards, a much higher incidence of pass interference and the list goes on.

Does the saying “Defense wins championships” still hold true? I guess we’ll see.

The Guarantee

Before the 2011 season, Jets head coach Rex Ryan publicly guaranteed the Jets would be in the Super Bowl. They were in the AFC Championship the past two years so that wasn’t too much of a stretch. However, tell the entire world you’re going to be there, you better make it or you look like an ass at the end of the season. I know he won’t change I’m not suggesting he does because I love Ryan’s soudbites, but next year just tell your team that you have confidence in them privately. That is, if he does actually have confidence in them next year. Man, the Jets suck.

Colts get Luck-y, or not?
It what seemed inevitable the entire season, until the past couple weeks when the Colts actually won, Indianapolis lost the the Jags to get the first overall pick in the 2012 Draft. It will be interesting to see what they plan to do: Stick with Manning and trade the pick, Trade Manning and have Luck be the QB of the future, Let Luck mature behind Manning on the bench or draft someone other than Luck (RGIII anyone?). I have no doubt this topic will come up again later in the offseason.

Let me know your thoughts about any of these topics in the comments:

The REAL reason Tim Tebow keeps winning

I’ve finally figured it out.

Want to know the real reason Tim Tebow wins? It’s not skill, luck, tiger blood or even divine intervention. The people Timmy thanks for his improbable winning this year when he’s “Tebowing” is the proud employees of Buffalo Wild Wings. Witness below:

Just think about the latest win against the Chicago Bears. How else could you explain Marion Barber “tripping” out of bounds or the ball slipping out of his hands when the Bears were in easy field goal range for Robbie Gould?

This week the Broncos will face NFL royalty when they play Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. In order to win, Tebow will have to exploit the Patriots deplorable pass defense. However, if the Redskins could keep with the Patriots, so could Tebow and the Broncos.

If it’s close in the 4th quarter, watch out for those sprinklers or some other Buffalo Wild Wing phenomenon to work in the Broncos’ favor.

It could happen, just sayin’.

Bears offense needs to replace Hanie…fast

I never thought I’d see the Chicago Bears offense get worse than when Rex Grossman was leading it – Boy, was I wrong.

With all apologies to Colorado State alums, Caleb Hanie can’t throw his way through a paper bag, leading the Bears to a 10-3 defeat at the hands of the lowly Kansas City Chiefs.

The defense did their job. The only touchdown came off a bogus “hail mary” that didn’t get knocked down quite enough. I can’t say the same thing about the offense. Without Matt Forte to make it look respectable, the offense looked like a geriatric pirate with two peglegs moving down the field – totalling just 181 total yards and going 0-for-11 on third down conversions.

When Jay Cutler was in, the team was on a roll with a 7-3 record – The playoffs looked inevitable. Now at 7-5, and the rest of the NFC crawling up their backs, it looks like it’s inevitable that they WON’T get a wildcard spot.

Dear Bears management: At this point, if you want any chance of making the playoffs, it’s time to bring someone else in. I don’t care if it’s Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre or Vinny Testaverde. Just find someone, anyone.

Think the Bears should stick with Hanie or bring someone else in? Let me know what you think in the comments:

Week 11 report on rags-to-riches NFL teams

Everyone likes to see the underdog do well – unless they’re smoking your favorite team. Because of the NFL’s structure, teams can go from worst to first in a relatively short amount of time. After 11 weeks of NFL action, lets discuss how some of the teams that stunk last year, but started fast this year, are doing right now:

San Francisco 49ers: 2010 record: (6-10); Current record (9-1)

Season summary: With a team that was waiting to be led in 2010, head coach Jim Harbaugh has taken that role this season and has been beating teams with a nasty run defense and an attitude to match. This team has melded under Harbaugh, Frank Gore is running like a madman and quarterback Alex Smith finally has some confidence.

My take: This team doesn’t have any competition in the hapless NFC West – it’s just a matter of how far they’ll go in the playoffs after winning the division.

Detroit Lions: 2010 record: (6-10); Current record (7-3)

Season summary: Well, you can only go up from 0-16 record in 2008, right? The Lions had a great 5-0 start this season, but struggled recently with the surging Chicago Bears and barely handled the Cam Newton-led Carolina Panthers today, 49-35. I know that seems like a decent margin, but one of the Lions best attributes is their defense; It’s starting to fail to show up.

My take: The Lions are yet to face the Packers this year and will likely get lit-up in the Thanksgiving Day game. The game on the last week of the season will likely be different if the Packers choose to rest players. Based on the rest of their schedule including winnable games against the Vikings, Chargers and resting Packers in Week 17, I think that the Lions will barely reach the playoffs. What they’ll do? I’ll predict that later.

Cincinnati Bengals: 2010 record: (4-12); Current record (6-4)

Season summary: Wait, Cincy is decent? Before the season started, everyone thought the Bungals (yeah, I meant that) were in deep trouble with a franchise quarterback that didn’t want to play with them in Carson Palmer and an unproven rookie going to start from them in Andy Dalton. Turns out the red-headed kid from TCU isn’t so bad after all and the Bengals made a steal by getting rid of Palmer for high draft picks.

My take: Yeah, Cincinnati lost back-to-back weeks to Pittsburgh and Baltimore but they were able to stay close in both, losing 24-17 and 31-24, respectively. They won’t make the playoffs in a tough AFC, but look out for them next season. 

Buffalo Bills: 2010 record: (4-12); Current record (5-5)

Season summary: Somehow this looks familiar. In 2008, the Bills started 4-0 and by Week 11 they were 5-5. At the end of the season, that team was 7-9. As always, when they get a quick start, the Bills fans bought in and were ready for a playoff run. I’ll admit I was a bit excited for them too. I think Chris Berman was about to have a heart attack when they beat the Patriots to get to 3-0.

My take: They’re fading fast and haven’t been to the playoffs since 1999 when they lost on the Music City Miracle play. I don’t think the postseason is in the Bills’ near future. Never you fear all you “Billievers” out there – the team is improving and needs just a couple real playmakers to take the next step.

Indianapolis Colts: 2010 record: (10-6); Current record (0-10):

Season summary: Sorry, this should actually be saved for a post next year.

My take: Colts, over to the side here for a minute. Stop trying so hard to win the “Suck for (Andrew) Luck” sweepstakes just so you can groom someone to replace Peyton Manning. You’re not fooling anyone here.

Think my predictions are off about these teams or want to make some of your own? Leave a comment below:

Tim Tebow is not a long-term solution for the Denver Broncos

Tim Tebow is not the long-term solution.

Yes – Tim Tebow is 3-1 as a starter this year.

Yes – the Denver Broncos are just one game out of first in the anemic AFC West and Tebow played well against the division-leading Oakland Raiders.

Yes – Tebow made a beautiful pass to Eric Decker for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Guess what? That TD pass was only one of two passes that he completed on eight attempts in that game.

The Broncos rushed the ball 55 times  in order to beat the Chiefs – a very inconsistent team. The Broncos have done a great job adapting to Tebow’s strengths, including integrating the triple option. However, there’s a reason the triple option isn’t used by anyone else – it doesn’t work because NFL defenses have too much lateral speed. It’s kind of like the Wildcat formation – a “cute” gimmick that may be a popular fad for a bit but will eventually go away. Hell, Michael Vick has more speed than Tebow and HE doesn’t even do that.

When the Broncos face the Jets next week, it’s going to be ugly. I can already see Rex Ryan and the rest of the Jets defense licking their chops to put nine guys in the box and making Tebow throw all game long, especially to the solid secondary. A few weeks later against the Chicago Bears will be the same thing.

There’s no doubt that Tebow is a winner, he simply doesn’t have the skills to sustain long-term success. All this ” he needs time to develop” stuff is crap. Guys like Cam Newton and Andy Dalton have come into the NFL and shown that they could do well right away. They both have the possibility of being franchise QBs.

John Fox and John Elway already know they don’t have the right quarterback on the roster right now. Look for Matt Barkley to be in a Broncos jersey next season.