LOS ANGELES — Sportscaster Tim Brando went on what could classified as a Twitter RT rant Monday night. Sprinkled throughout it were bizarre tweets about a sex tape and what the definition of a “hero” is. He apparently took some issue with NBA player Jason Collins being referred to as such by members of the mass public following Collins’ revealing in a Sports Illustrated article that runs this week he is gay.
This is major news – Collins’ remarks, not Brando’s – not regulated to only the sports pages. Collins is not the first professional athlete to come out and he won’t be the last. He’s not even the first active professional athlete to do so – women’s basketball player Brittany Griner did the same just recently in the coolest and most nonchalant way possible – but he is the first among the four major sports; NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and that is why it’s major news. Someday we’ll live in a world where it isn’t and I hope I’m around for it.
For now though, when an athlete who looks like Collins makes this announcement this grand it’s an A1 story in every newspaper and on every television talk show in the country. But no matter how progressive a direction our country moves the Chris Broussard’s and Mike Wallace’s of the world hide behind the Bible and machismo when speaking about homosexuality, and their opposition makes the rest of us look bad.
But does it really matter what they think? Yes, because they have a public platform in which their reaction is deemed newsworthy; and no, because they are shortsighted. People are entitled to their opinion, as wack is it may seem to others. And while I might have in the past, I won’t tell people what they should think. I’ll disagree with them, but that is my right, as it is theirs to think and believe what they choose. But this is an issue that shouldn’t be up for debate. You shouldn’t have to live your life in fear. Sadly, many do.
Folks will say Collins’ declaration will open doors and make it easier for others – pro athlete or not – to follow suit. He’ll be their lead blocker on this issue which has a stranglehold on our society despite the building outcry of support from those well-thinking individuals. However, there are still too many who won’t be OK with this. But like I said, it doesn’t matter. All that matters his Collins’ happiness and peace of mind, and it appears he finally has both. Collins said he’s been boo’d before, and surely he’s heard slurs of all sorts and couldn’t react. I don’t know how well I would’ve done had I been in his shoes. What restraint that must have taken.
To paraphrase my high school football coach and history teacher: you can’t deny an idea whose time has come. And the time has come for open gay athletes and it’s not too soon. Though I wonder just how much impact this will have. Collins is not superstar. He’s not even an all-star. He’s a respectable, tough and dependable team player in his sport whom no one probably expected to be gay. But is he this social movement’s Martin Luther King Jr.? I don’t know.
Around two years ago, I started posing a hypothetical scenario to friends in regards to this issue. It went something like this: suppose you knew that Player X, a super duper star athlete with a perfect image, was gay, but he wasn’t out until well after his Hall of Fame career was over. How disappointed would you be in him that he never came out during his playing days and became the face of the gay athlete and leader of the social movement? Everyone is usually puzzled by this and doesn’t offer a thought one way or the other. I, however, would be fairly disappointed. Surely the hypothetical burden he’s already under is great, but being the best of the best in his profession, there are already great burdens, so you’d think he could handle that as well. Plus, you’d have to think a majority of the sports community would be beyond supportive.
Just a thought.
On TNT’s postgame show Monday night Charles Barkely called Collins’ revelation “a huge deal.” And added, “I’m happy he can be himself. We all played with gay players.” And he’s right. We’ve all worked with gay people, know someone who is gay – out or not – and probably have a gay family member. It doesn’t matter. Who they are as people is what matters.
By all accounts, Collins is a man’s man. A stand up guy and someone anyone would be lucky enough to spend their life with. Does that make him a hero? His decision to come out now, while an active player is courageous. But Brando’s point was that it doesn’t make him heroic, just brave. My hero is my dad. The toughest guy I know and someone whom I always know I can turn to in time of need. Collins hopes to someday have a family and no doubt when his kids read about the week he’s had, they’ll think he’s a hero. And I’m guessing that’ll be enough for Jason Collins the man.
LOS ANGELES — The annual abnormally giant human fashion and accessory show we call the NFL Draft gets underway tonight at Radio. City. Music. Hall. Where the flyest 21 and 22-year olds have their names called and then they awkwardly hug the commissioner for an uncomfortably long period of time. Seems like we were just here, doesn’t it? Yes, it’s that time of year again where NFL teams load up on potential and What-Could-Be and kids become instant millionaires before a single ball is snapped on Sunday. Who will be the Next Big Thing? Who will be the Next Big Bust? All speculative, all conjecture, all fun. That’s what the NFL Draft is and will be from here until the end of time. Let’s get started.
As always, I’m tuning into NFL Network for my coverage; not because I’m a company man but because it’s the best. Enjoy.
4:01pmPST - The draft is now an hour away and already a couple Radio. City. Music. Hall. calls from my man Rich Eisen (he’s joined by Marshall Faulk, Steve Mariucci, Michael Irvin and, of course, draft guru Mike Mayock). Gonna try and drop a few thoughts here before the real coverage begins at 8pmET… And look at this, show starts with old footage of the guys on the set in college. Marshall’s is of him getting drafted. So tiny and nice flat top with Paul Tagliabue
4:02 - WOW. Look at that mustache on Mooch. “National Champion Northern Michigan!” Mooch is a proud Yuper, indeed.
4:03 - Man, Irvin is so hood. That soundbite from his draft day was incredible. Referred to himself as “The Playmaker” even way back then. Guaranteed he could still catch 50 balls for 700 yards and a couple scores even today.
4:04 - MAYOCK JUST INTERCEPTED DAN MARINO. Didn’t see that in the “30 for 30.” “Did you hold that up?!” Marshall yells at him. Incredible. And love that Mayock finally ditched the Philly gangster pinstripe suit. Still 3-piece though. Always OG.
4:06 - Hot damn, now THAT’s a gangster suit from Alabama running back Eddie Lacy. Early frontrunner for best dressed.
4:08 - Geno Smith tells Melissa Stark and Deion on the Red Carpet that today his his mom’s birthday. That’s pretty awesome. Can’t beat getting drafted as a birthday gift.
4:18 - Feature on Pat Summerall and John Madden gave me instant goosebumps. Incredible piece. Sumerall was so smooth and told you so much by being so brief. Best of all time.
4:30 - A Django reference from Eisen talking about John Idzik, the Jets GM. Wonder if it’ll be the last? probably… what the hell is a “War Daddy?” We need a Mayock dictionary.
4:44 - Assignements that don’t suck: Hawaii. Alex Flanagan is the big winner of the Draft reporters tonight.
4:47 - Manti Te’o says he’s not angry. I’d be pretty pissed if I was him, though what ya gonna do. Everyone will forget about this soon enough. All that matters in the NFL is how he performs on the field. That’s it. If he can play, all this crapola about Catfishing and whatnot will go away.
4:59 - Shot of Geno Smith sitting at his Green Room Table and he’s rocking some Nike Flight lines in the side of his head. Very sick.
5:03 - HERE WE GO!! Mayock says Eric Fisher, followed by Luke Joeckel are the first two picks and then the intrigue begins with the Raiders at #3. Mayock loving Lane Johnson. Thinks someone will move up.
5:04 - Roger goodell hits the stage to welcome the crowd to a chorus of boos. New York Fans are seriously the best… classy move remembering the people of West Texas and Boston as crowd chants U-S-A! Love America. Land of the free, home of the brave.
5:06 - Someone resembling Joe Namath just did some awkward chanting to put the New York Superbowl on the clock. I can’t tell if he’s your kooky drunk uncle or just plain kooky. His hair is so bizarre, too. It’s a terrible rug, that’s for sure. And just under 283 days and counting until Super Bowl LXVII… and Goodell puts the Chiefs on the clock.. and look at that hawaiian shirt on Andy Reid. Thanks for dressing up, Andy.
5:09 - Whoa, Eric Fisher’s mom. What’s up.
5:11 - I know these two oafs are going 1-2, but I really wish Al DAvis was still alive so the Raiders could screw everybody’s board and take West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin at #3. Now that would really be something.
5:16 - Here comes the Commish to more boos … “with the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select Eric Fisher, tackle, Central Michigan” … Alex Smith sleeps a little easier tonight.
5:17 - Jacksonville is on the clock. What are they waiting for? Immediately take Luke Joeckel. Come on! Blaine Gabbert is your franchise QB!!
5:20 - “I’m so proud of myself” … big ups to you Eric Fisher for giving yourself props. Somewhere Freddie Mitchell is nodding in agreement.
5:24 - Goodell out with the Jags pick … Joeckel is it, on his iPhone5 as he shakes hands and hugs his peeps in the Green Room. How do we feel about their new uniforms? Helmets are kinda cool with the half matte, half gold… classy 3 piece gray suit for Luke .. and good to see we’re still hugging the Commish like crazy. This is by far the weirdest facet of Draft day to me.
5:24 - Hip snap! Mayock needs that pop-up video treatment explaining all his lingo.
5:28 - Rich explains this is the first Raiders First Round pick since 2010 when they took Rolando McClain and his flock of pistols. They have to trade down, right?
5:29 - Darren Mcfadden is the only Radiers First Round pick still on the team since 2003. Being a raiders fan must literally be the worst.
5:31 - “We need a word better than rebuilding,” Irvin says about the Raiders… OK, clock has stopped, which means we have a TRADE!!! Yes!!!! It’s about to get hairy up in herrrre.
5:33 - Dolphins move up. WOW. Miami going for broke this offseason to compete in the AFC East … and here comes Roger with the call …
5:34 - DION JORDAN!!! and we have a round of “whooooaaaaaasss!!!” from the guys on set. Unbelieveable. Turning to my resident Ducks fan Chelsea for some reaction: “HOLY SHIT!!!! and it’ll be really easy to get tix to see him play.”
5:35 - “This is all about going to get some pressure on Tom Brady” – says Marshall. He’s absoltuely 100% right. Miami has to compete and to do that they have to stop the Patriots. Well here’s one way to do it. What a move. Love it. Love when crazy takes over the Draft.
5:36 - Amazing bowtie on Jordan and not for onthing, he’s a freakin giant…. “He’s breathtaking off the edge.” Mayock is swooning.
5:39 - If you’re scoring at home, and I know you are, that’s 4 Radio. City. Music. Halls. out 0f Eisen.
5:42 - First pick of the Chip Kelly era is Lane Johnson, the big tackle from Oklahoma. Mayock’s adoptive son. “Most athletic offensive tackle in the Draft” … ROCKY theme playing in the background. Hilarious.
5:45 - Lane Johnson just said something about buffets. I have no idea. Great southern accent. Good ole boy for sure. Said he was excited to protect Michael Vick. Wonder what Chip has to say about that?
5:49 - Joey Harrington jokes never get old. Love Mooch pretending not to listen to Eisen rib him.
5:50 - Barry Sanders, your new Madden cover boy, out to announce the Lions pick.. and it’s Ziggy Ansah. Never played football until a couple years ago after getting cut from BYU hoops team and track team. Amazing. What a story. Mayock explaining how Ziggy wasn’t on scouts radars in September until he started dominating and then blew up the Senior Bowl…
5:53 - Browns fan draft party and guy wearing a “Punters Are People Too” shirt in the front row jumping up and down. Very cool.
5:55 - Browns select Barkevous Mingo. the winner of the All-Name team today. Don’t even think about it. He’s the winner.
6:00 - The Cardinals pick is in and we’re waiting … great shot of Bruce Arians rocking the Kangol. Are they officially licensed team gear? The Arians Era is basically going to be like if Samuel L. Jackson coached an NFL team. Someone get HR on the phone …
6:01 - Jonathan Cooper picked by the Cards….zzzzzzzzz…. come on, Cardinals fans, you’re not happy about that?! You don’t even know who he is?! Mayock says the team got better by drafting him. Well then, what the hell do I know??
6:04 - Rams have traded up with Buffalo to the #8 slot and talk from former scout and guru Daniel Jeramiah is they’ll be taking Tavon Austin, whose stock has risen like Apple computers in 2001 in the last couple days… Also, love Jeramiah. He’s going to be a huge star very soon and a big media winner when this Draft is over.
6:08 - Mega trade with the Rams and Bills with St. Louis getting 2 picks (1st and 3rd) and Buffalo getting 4 in this year’s draft. Bills loading up and here’s the Commish with the pick … Tavon Austin … Sam Bradford sleeps a litlte easier tonight… and snap, look at that burgandy jacket. Looking sharp, son. West Virginia swag.
6:12 - Deion asks Austin if he always has this much confidence. Um, come on Deion, look at that suit, of course he does. Pretty sure he wakes up and pisses excellence …
6:16 - Jets on the clock here with the 9th pick… fans on the edge of their seats in Radio City. Oughta be realllly interesting here … and the Commish says : Dee Milliner from Alabama … Revis out and another corner in. No pressure, kid.
6:18 - Mayock had him nubmer 2 on his defensive board … and states “essentially the Jets traded revis for Milliner and 3rd next year” … as we see Milliner at the combine dropping passes like he’s Terrell Owens.. that’s just brutal video. Welcome to the NFL, son.
6:21 - Nice watch, Dee. Hope that’s a rental.
6:23 - “At least his first game isn’t against Revis’s new team … oh wait, yes it is. … at least his first nationally-televised game isn’t on a short week against Tom Brady … oh wait, yes it is.” Love it when Rich does this.
6:24 - Army troops in Afghanistan says the Titans should take guard Chance Warmack so Chris Johnson can get back to doing this thing .. and the pick is in and the Titans warrroom is very happy …
6:25 - Pick #10 and the Titans take Chance Warmack from Alabama … Major Taylor picked it right! “I told you 6 fatties would go in the top 12.” Mike Mayock, everybody!!
6:30 - Rapoport reproing the Bills could still take Ryan Nassib at 16 … Chargers pick is in and it’s offensive lineman DJ Fluker … 3rd straight Alabama player taken … Nick Saban, if you need him… Roll Tide.
6:32 - First time since 2000 that a quarterback wasn’t selected in the first 10 picks (Chad Pennington) … some guy named Brady was taken with the 199th pick that year. Whatever happend to him?
6:33 - “I love his length.” Mayock doesn’t give an eff.
6:38 - From Chelsea: “I’d love for the Jets to draft Barkley. Not in the first round, but eventually. That ‘d make me so happy.” Um, that would make us all happy.
6:46 - And the Jets pick is in … wow, fans are gonna go nuts here … Geno? … nope, it’s Sheldon Richardson, some defensive tackle from Missouri … wow. Very Anticlimatic … “explosive, freakish athlete at 310 pounds .. and Jets fans aren’t that excited” … uum, ya think?
6:50 - Panthers take Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, a very good player who really shouldn’t have dropped that far. In that division you have to be able to stop offenses and this is one way to accomplish that. Also on the All-Name team for this Draft. He’s at home watching with his family. That’s the way to do it. Why come to New York when you can party with your family?
6:58 - Saints are on the clock and to say they need defensive back help would be an understatement. I threw for 378 yards and 4 scores last year against them… and here comes the Commish with a special guest from St. Jude’s hospital, whose favorite team is the Saints … Kenny Vaccaro is the pick … loving his suit, two-toned three piece .. very fly… can’t wait to hit up @fragglesrocks for the All-Swag team tomorrow.
7:00 - Mayock: “you never want to be limimted in the box” … Addison chimes in: “you always want to be strong in the box.”
7:04 - Bills on the clock here at 16 and it’s QB time … will they do it? … EJ MANUEL from Florida St.!! WOW!!! The first quarterback taken!! unbelievable … Deion Sanders is going to have A LOT to talk about with him shortly … dang. Former Syracuse coach and new Bills HC Doug Maronne passes on our guy Ryan Nassib .. Kurt Warner loves that pick … I’m stunned.
7:06 - Just texted Owl, my resident bills fan … we’ll see how angry of response he comes back with … “Love it. and I LOVE that they traded down.” Didn’t see that coming. Thought for sure he’d want Nassib.
7:08 - EJ emotional with Deion .. “I’m just so happy” .. good moment for him. his mom had breast cancer and beat it… you’ll be seeing this interview a lot in the next couple days.
7:12 - It’s getting fun now in here. The 49ers have traded up and have made a pick … swapped picks with the Cowboys … and we appear to be in a back log … Steelers up right now and take Jarvis Jones … WOW… Jantzen, our Georgia alum friend, is PUMPED RIGHT NOW!! unreal. still think he should’ve named his kid Jarvis.
7:14 - 49ers up and take Eric Reid, the defensive back from LSU, who’s in the green room holding his adorably cute daughter… “big physical safety” says Mayock … love former 9ers great Merton Hanks giving Reid his cap: “maybe he’ll make him do the chicken walk,” says Eisen … Reid walking out to meet the Commish with his daughter in his arms … very cool moment … maybe my favorite so far.
7:20 - G-Men on the clock with the 19th pick and the Commish is out… always curious to the crowd reaction … Justin Pugh … Sryacuse Tackle … “I told you it wasn’t sexy, but I love the pick” … as some broad is dancing like crazy on screen … “she likes the pick” says Rich.
7:25 - Oregon guard Kyle Long goes to Chicago amid rampant Manti Te’o speculation. Long is the brother of Chris Long from the Rams and son of Raiders great, Howie. Talk about NFL bloodlines. He’s going to no doubt be a success. And let’s be honest, Jay Cutler needs needs protection.
7:33 - Bengals up at #21 amid report that Falcons have traded up to 22 … Bengals take Tyler Eifert from Notre Dame, arguably the best tight end in the Draft, which perhaps foils the Falcons plans … Eisen points out Falcons knew bengals were taking Eifert when they made the trade … still curious who they’re grabbing now despite.
7:40 - Falcons take Desmond Trufant, defensive back from Washington who fits in and will start right away with a depleted secondary down in ATL. He’ll be tested too with all the weapons in that division. NFC South shaping up to be a really competitive.
7:42 - Lots of good players still available including Sharrif floyd, Mayock’s top-rated defensive player and his most explosve player on tape all year … Geno Smith .. Ryan Nassib … Vikings are about to make their pick as members of the military coming out on stage … awesome.
7:45 - Floyd goes to the Vikings … he dropped but he’s going to play right away and learn from Kevin Williams.. what a force they could be in the middle there … “this kid will be a heckuva player,” Mayock says.
7:48 - Mayock getting out of his seat talking about Floyd’s explosiveness … “right now there’s a chip on my shoulder … and I’m ready to get going” he says with Deion … nice simple Mad Men pink shirt black tie combo … “I’m here and I can stand here today and say I’m a better man than I was a year ago.” Redemption is always a nice element to any sport.
7:50 - Painful shot of Geno Smith in the Green Room … getting that Aaron Rodgers and Brady Quinn treatment right now.
7:51 - Bjoern Werner going to the Colts at 24 … “a taste of Germany going to Indianapolis” says Eisen … “guy that does everything really well but doesn’t have a spectacular trait,” adds Mayock … compares him to Paul Kruger … Werner wipes off his girlfriend’s kiss on his way up. Don’t let her see this tape, young fella.
7:53 - Aaron Rodgers tweets to Geno Smith to hang in there and said good things come to those who wait … awesome.
7:54 - Vikings back up with their second pick of the round … Xavier Rhodes from FSU … “whoa” from Mayock. Hey, someone has to cover Brandon Marshall and Randall Cobb, right? … Te’o still on the board.
7:59 - Packers on the clock and they need a Running Back … is it Eddie Lacy time? Also, and can’t believe I’m just noticing this; Irvin’s suit is very conseravate for the second year in a row…wonder if he’s feeling OK these days.
8:01 - Datone Jones from UCLA to the Packers … hey, you can never have enough pass rushers, right?
8:03 - Rich starts talking about Geno and Manti and how the audience is probably sick of hearing about them by now … “some players on the desk might think that,” Mayock not happy with the repeated Te’o talk.
8:09 - Deandre Hopkins from Clemson, a wide receiver drafted by the Texans at 27 to go with Andre Johnson and those weapons … Irvin says he reminds him of Roddy White … high praise (Nic Cage voice).
8:14 - Broncos pick is in at 28 and the Patriots are on the clock … Mayock giving us three names – Damaontre Moore, Sylvester Williams or Manti Te’o for Denver … we’ll see … guessing it’ll be Moore with the loss of Elvis Dumervil and that fax fiasco earlier this offseason.
8:15 - Goodell out and it’s Sylvester williams … Mayock was right , shocker… “he can immediately come in and start at defensive tackle.” Oh, you don’t say?
8:17 - Apparently Williams worked at a radiator plant … “Do you know how many radiators you have to make to make the kind of money he’s gonna make” … Irvin references “Game Changers” (fantastic show) again to which Rich responds, “I haven’t even once said the P word!” Referring to the podcast … “I HAVE A PODCAST!!” he coudn’t make it anymore.. I knew it.
8:19 - Wow, the Vikings are back in the First Round trading with the Patriots and could take Te’o … unreal … Classic Bill Belichick move. Cant’ wait to see the particulars … damn! 4 picks to the Patriots: a 2, 3, 5 and 7. What must Tom Brady be thinking…
8:26 - Former Patriots lineman and Boston Marathon first responder Joe Andruzzi out to talk about marathon … unreal moment. That guy is a real man and Patriot.
8:30 - Vikings take Cordarrelle Patterson, the explosive receiver from Tennessee. This is what frustrates Patriots fans. Remember a few years ago when Dez Bryant fell into their lap and they traded down to the Cowboys? Yeah, think Brady would like to have Dez right now? We’ll see how Patterson pans out.
8:37 - Rams up with another First Round pick and take Alec Ogletree from Georgia. “Les Snead played some poker tonight and won.” Guess Mayock likes the Rams draft.
8:38 - Two picks to go. Cowboys and Ravens. We’ll see what Jerry Jones has up his sleeve here. We know he always likes to make a splash.
8:42 - Travis Frederick, center from Wisconsin. HAHA. Wow. So that’s what we were waiting for, Jerry. Isn’t this guy not even the best lineman on his own college team and a 2nd day projected pick? Cowboys fans must be steaming right now. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of folk.
8:43 - OK, so one last pick for Manti Te’o. There were only a handful of teams who thought to be in his market – Bears, Vikings, Ravens – and let’s see what they do.
8:47 - WOW. So Te’o will have to wait until Day 2 to get drafted as the Ravens go with safety Matt Elam from Florida to replace Ed Reed. What a First Round.
8:48 - Thanks for tuning in, everyone. Had a lot of fun with this for the 4th year in a row now. It was low on celebrity but thank goodness the trades were plentiful to keep it interesting. No players from Southern Cal or Miami, 12 players from the SEC and only 1 from the Big Ten selected. Only one quarterback chosen, and not the one we expected, and no running backs for the first time ever. What will come on Days 2 and 3? No one knows, so be sure to check out all the action. I’ll have sporadic commentary on my Twitter feed: @ChrisBrockman.
LOS ANGELES — A lot of weird things happen at the gym. Everyone except you is strange. I get it. I’m the only normal person at my gym, too. Today something really bizarre happened. I was in between sets on a back machine when I noticed this hummingbird fluttering INSIDE next to a large window. Clearly, it did not intend to be on the other side of the glass and was trying to get back outside to its natural habitat. I thought it was different. A door is commonly open so it’s not out of the ordinary that it flew in and got lost. It happens. What happened next was not common. And it was awesome.
This guy just came out of nowhere behind me and started yelling at the bird. “What are you doing?! … Come on, get down here!” He was holding a mini-trash can and it dawned on me he wanted to save it. He was trying to catch the bird. Noble. I dug it. That he also had long, bleached-blonde hair and a black T-shirt that said “I Need More Cowbell” on it only made him more insane. I joked on Twitter that he looked like Phil Spector‘s brother.
So I did what any normal person in 2013 would do: set my iPhone to video mode and started recording! Here’s what I managed to snag. Pretty impressive performance by Brother Spector, I might add.
I loved his wife (?) in the background making sure he didn’t hurt it. And how did he just snag that bird Miyagi style?! Somebody get this guy a reality TV deal STAT!
LOS ANGELES — The final “You’re The Man” rankings of the 2012 National Football League season comes off one of the best Super Bowls of the last few years. The Ravens and 49ers displayed what we love about the big game; the story lines were thick, there were lots of big and memorable plays, there was a freakin’ blackout, a comeback and a goal line stand to decide the Vince Lombardi Trophy’s owner. In the end, the Ravens proved once again you don’t have to dominate the regular season to be crowned champs in the end; you just have to get hot at the right time. And have a quarterback who thinks he’s elite, God and some steroids on your side (allegedly).
As we head into nearly 7 months without real football games being played – though only 10 days until the Combine and 73 until the Draft – let’s take a look at some question marks teams have heading into the offseason, and stay tuned for hopefully other articles about the NFL and who knows what else (probably the Red Sox, Celtics, movies, life in LA and whatever else I can throw together) here at the site. As always, thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate it.
32.) Jacksonville Jaguars — To pay MJD or not to pay MJD, that is the question. And will they bring in Tim Tebow? Seems like the answer right now to both is “no.”
31.) Kansas City Chiefs — Being a Chiefs fan must be rough these days. How do you think they’re doing talking themselves into Andy Reid right now? At least he trimmed his mustache.
30.) Oakland Raiders — Will they go all-win with Terrell Pryor or bring back Carson Palmer for another go around at nearly 5x as much money?
29.) Philadelphia Eagles — Is Chip Kelly going to stick with Michael Vick to run his hurry-up, college-style offense? Or will he trade up and draft Geno Smith?
28.) Arizona Cardinals — Who’s going to play quarterback? That’s the only discussion Bruce Arians should be having with anyone.
27.) New York Jets — Mark Sanchez started tweeting again, actually he was on a retweeting positive comments binge; just reminding himself people still like him. Will they bring in any offensive weapons for him this offseason, because if they don’t, he might get irrevocably broken next season. (But I tell ya what, JaMarcus Russell rumors don’t appear out of thin air.)
26.) Cleveland Browns — Another team with a new coach. How long will Brandon Weeden be calling the offensive shots? He and Trent Richardson need help.
25.) Tennessee Titans — Is it time for the Titans to cut ties with Chris Johnson?
24.) Detroit Lions — Will this once playoff team find discipline in the offseason? Losing a few knuckleheads is a good start.
23.) Buffalo Bills— CJ Spiller is an emerging NFL star but for the Bills to compete in the AFC East they need to be able to stop the Patriots and the emerging Dolphins.
22.) San Diego Chargers — Now that a new head coach and GM have been hired, will the Chargers make The Leap? Not if they can’t beat the Broncos, which they won’t do with zero running game and a shaky secondary.
21.) St. Louis Rams — The Rams need to make a splash, and they need to reap the rewards of that blockbuster trade with Washington last year. They need a big, household name. Clearly, they can play; undefeated against the NFC champs.
20.) Miami Dolphins — It appears Reggie Bush won’t be back, but the biggest question remains who is going to catch the ball from Ryan Tannehill, since it appears he’ll be a halfway decent NFL quarterback.
19.) New Orleans Saints — Now that Sean Payton is back for the entire offseason, the offense should be back to form, but the Saints need all kinds of defensive help. Will they get it?
18.) Dallas Cowboys — Somehow Jason Garrett still has a job, but others do not. Recently, some questioned if the Cowboys are still Americas team based on their decade-plus of mediocrity. How will this offseason go in restoring that once-great moniker?
17.) Carolina Panthers — Face it, Steve Smith might not like Cam Newton but it’s not Cam’s fault Smith is old and can’t play anymore. The Panthers need a young, big-play receiver or 2013 is going to be a 2012 repeat, which means Ron Rivera will be out of work.
16.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers — The Bucs gave away their best defensive back and then missed the playoffs. I’d say they’d want to get better at stopping people, what with them being in arguably the most talented QB division in football.
15.) Pittsburgh Steelers — Injuries derailed the Steelers this season but finding a running game and some youth on defense are paramount for the black and gold.
14.) New York Giants — It appears the Giants want to be cheaper and younger across the board, let’s see how long that lasts this offseason. Can you buy discounted consistency, too?
13.) Chicago Bears — The defense isn’t getting any younger, it’ll be curious to see how they go about replacing Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and the rest.
12.) Minnesota Vikings — Is Christian Ponder the answer at QB? I’m still not sure. But someone has to be able to catch the ball other than Kyle Rudolph. You gotta give defenses another look besides Adrian Peterson running the ball 30 times a game. Not that you can stop him, but still.
11.) Cincinnati Bengals — Think the Bengals want to go back and change their game plan against the Texans in the Divisional Round to include getting the ball to AJ Green? I’d say so. Still, they need to get better on defense. Especially with the supernova Ravens now kinds of the NFL and AFC North.
10.) Washington Redskins — Clearly, the most important thing facing the Redskins this offseason is the healthy of My Good Friend Robert. All other questions will be deferred until RG runs in a zig-zag line without teetering over like a drunken sorority girl.
9.) Indianapolis Colts — The Colts need some big-time playmakers on defense, because I’m guessing Andrew Luck doesn’t want to come from behind and pull a win out of his ass in 2013 as often as he did this season.
8.) Houston Texans — Matt Schaub finally won a playoff game but having some secondary help might have got him a second.
7.) Green Bay Packers — The Packers were badly exposed by the 49ers in the Divisional Round, which means getting younger and faster on defense should be at the top of Ted Thompson’s offseason priority list.
6.) Denver Broncos — I completely whiffed on the Peyton Manning thing, but the more I think about it, I get the feeling Peyton’s gonna pull a Vikings-era Brett Favre. Remember how great Favre was in 2009? Then remember how terrible he was in 2010? Feel me?
5.) Seattle Seahawks — Top-to-bottom, the Seahawks might be the most complete team in the NFL. Russell Wilson proved he can be a big-time quarterback and their defense is as stingy as summer horse flies. Can’t hurt bolstering the offensive/defensive lines.
4.) New England Patriots — For the second year in a row Tom Brady was outplayed by Joe Flacco in the AFC Championship game. The Patriots made strange clock management blunders to end the first half and again Wes Welker had a key drop in a situation that could’ve helped put the game out of reach. Is this the end of their decade-long reign or can they fill in the missing pieces – big play receiver, shut down corner, rush edge – to stay at the top?
3.) Atlanta Falcons — The Falcons were 5 yards away from reaching the Super Bowl but their issue isn’t on offense. In the second half against San Francisco they gave up 14 unanswered and couldn’t stop Colin Kaepernick if they were the ones controlling his joystick. How will Atlanta improve on defense this offseason? Being so close to the big game you’d expect them to make a move.
2.) San Francisco 49ers — This is a team than can win the Super Bowl as it is: top-flight defense, an explosive offense and a fiery head coach. While Jim Harbaugh was out-coached Super Sunday by his brother, what the 49ers were missing against Baltimore was a deep threat. It’s clear they missed Mario Manningham, as Randy Moss didn’t give them that stretch of the defense they were expecting. Colin Kaepernick also show signs of what he could be become with a full season under his belt, but why not let him run it down by the goal line? Regardless, he vowed to start preparing for next season immediately, so it appears as if he’s on a mission. San Fran is the class of the NFC, along with Seattle and Atlanta.
1.) Baltimore Ravens — Finally, we’ve found out who’s The Man of this 2012 NFL season. It look 22 weeks but the Ravens emerged from beneath the rubble. Heading into this offseason their biggest question marks are on the defensive side of the ball. Clearly, Baltimore’s offense behind Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, Dennis Pitta and company are an absolute force. But defensively, it will be a different-looking Ravens squad in 2013 with the retirement of Ray Lewis (perhaps you’ve heard) and the likelihood of Ed Reed playing elsewhere, not to mention Terrell Suggs is older and banged up. We’ll see if they make moves to sure up that side of the ball in the coming months and in the Draft.
LOS ANGELES — It’s been a very busy week putting together the Rich Eisen Podcast Thanksgiving Special, so forgive the lateness and quickie feel to this week’s rankings. We’re back in full force for Week 13.
Let’s find out who’s the man.
32.) Kansas City Chiefs (32) – Eric Stonestreet, you know him better as Cameron on “Modern Family,” is a huge Chiefs fan. He spills his guts on how he feels about them on our Thanksgiving Special on NFL Network. You can check out the audio here.
31.) Jacksonville Jaguars (31) — Chad Henne, everybody!
30.) Cleveland Browns (29) – You’re not going to believe this, but I saw Greg Little make a catch in this game. Like a really good one. No, I’m serious!
29.) Carolina Panthers (30) – Remember how even he got wrecked over the middle or the Steelers were losing, Hines Ward would be smiling? Well, Cam Newton is the opposite of that. Dude NEVER looks happy anymore.
28.) Philadelphia Eagles (25) – Sooooo, maybe it’s not all Michael Vick’s fault?
27.) New York Jets (28) – Can we all just admit the Jets traded for Tim Tebow to a) steal back page headlines from the Giants, and b) so the Patriots wouldn’t acquire him and turn him into the next Danny Woodhead? K, thanks.
26.) Arizona Cardinals (27) – When you’re turnover margin in one game is plus-5 but you’re point differential is -4, that’s a problem. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
25.) Miami Dolphins (17) – Is there a bigger fraudulent team in the NFL right now than the Dolphins? I need to look at Lauren Tannehill to make myself feel better.
24.) Buffalo Bills (26) – A few peeps from home sent me pics of them hanging out with the Amish Rifle last weekend at the Harvard-Yale game. Love that guy.
23.) Oakland Raiders (24) – How do the Raiders lose and yet rise in the rankings, you ask? Because everyone else is that crappy, that’s how! And Carson Palmer is 3rd in the league in passing yards! Third!
22.) St. Louis Rams (21) – This team. They could’ve buried the Jets and entered the playoff picture and got smoked. At home!
21.) Washington Redskins (23) – Imagine if the Redskins beat the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and sneak into the NFC playoff picture? How insane would that be?
20.) Tennessee Titans (22) – It’s about time to put the 2012 Titans to bed.
19.) San Diego Chargers (20) – If you ever need entertained on Sundays, just follow the Twitter stream of David Letterman writer Eric Stangel. It’s worth it. Trust me.
18.) Detroit Lions (18) – I don’t hate Matthew Stafford, I swear. But bro needs to stop throwing the ball like Vlad Guerrero swings it: from his ankles. Not a good look for a wannabe Super Bowl contender.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (19) – Up. Down. Down. Up. Can’t figure out these Bengals.
16.) Dallas Cowboys (16) – It’s just like the Cowboys to be on the brink of disaster and then sneak in a win to keep their very slim playoff hopes alive. Still say Sean Payton is the coach next year. Oh, and if you missed it, my photoshop genius thanks to Jim Brockmire on what he thinks about the Jerry Jones/Jason Garrett relationship.
15.) Minnesota Vikings (15) – With the Vikings on a bye week, my buddy from home, Jimmy, had no reason to chime in with playoffs talk. But make sure you check out Adrian Peterson on the Rich Eisen Podcast Thanksgiving Special on Friday night at 10pmET and again on Saturday morning at 10amET. You can also listen to the full audio version here. Thanks again.
14.) New York Giants (13) – Big game in Week 12, playing host to the surging Packers.
13.) Indianapolis Colts (12) – Andrew Luck is going to be a superstar in this league for a long, long time, but he got a first-hand look at how the creme-de-la-creme do it in Tom Brady in Week 11.
12.) New Orleans Saints (14) – Is there a team in the NFC right now you don’t want to play more than the Saints? This team is straight up ballin’. Five wins in its last six games. Look. Out.
11.) Seattle Seahawks (10) – I was pretty sad this past weekend. Why? I’ll tell you. The best part of Gameday Highlites on Sunday afternoons is when Deion Sanders sings during Seahawks games, “his first name’s Russell… his last name’s Wilson!” And with Seattle on a bye last week, we were robbed of that diddy.
10.) Pittsburgh Steelers (8) – Can you throw a forward pass? Can you stay upright for 60 minutes? Can you hand the ball off to gigantic running backs? Then you, too, could play quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers! Charlie Batch!
9.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11) – I’m sticking with my prediction that these Bucs make the playoffs. We’ll see. Tough schedule down the stretch.
8.) Chicago Bears (4) – If we learned anything Monday night in San Francisco, it’s that Jason Campbell is getting paid $3.5M this season to get sacked by Aldon Smith.
7.) Baltimore Ravens (9) – For Ray Rice’s sake, I hope him trading his game gloves for a Terrible Towel and then waving it triumphantly as he walked off Heinz Field doesn’t come back to bite him. Didn’t workout too well for those teams in the past that tried it.
6.) Denver Broncos (7) – Don’t look now, but Denver has won 5 straight and Peyton Manning is making room in his trophy case for another MVP.
5. San Francisco 49ers (6) – Colin Kaepernick just torched the Bears. Jim Harbaugh says postgame he’s going to go with the hot hand as his quarterback. Harbaugh names Kaepernick the starter late Wednesday. I dominated the SATs.
4.) Atlanta Falcons (2) – Well, here’s one way to look at it: the Falcons are now 1-0 in games which Matt Ryan throws 5 interceptions.
3.) New England Patriots (5) – Aqib Talib had quite the day, Sunday. He got beat for a TD, picked one off and returned it for a TD, he got burned a couple times, he made some tackles. Hey, anything’s better than what the Patriots had back there.*
2.) Green Bay Packers (3) – My NFC Super Bowl pick is getting better each week, and the amazing thing is they’ve been doing it all year without a running game. Seriously, is Ahman Green up next for the Packers in the backfield?
1.) Houston Texans (1) – A top-end defense and an offense that can score in a hurry on the ground or in the air. And I see you 2nd-most single-game passing yards Matt Schaub. Bald is beautiful.
* not gonna talk about Rob Gronkowski. Not. Gonna. Do. It.
LOS ANGELES — It was Halloween this week; such an interesting “holiday.” Kids obviously still love it and department stores still set up months ahead of time with candy and decorations. Since I’ve lived in Los Angeles, I’ve warmed to the idea of dressing up and going out to enjoy it with other adults. I still don’t feel right about it, but clearly I’ve participated and enjoyed myself. Past costumes have included Bill Belichick, Al Capone, Tim Tebow and Mr. Blonde. While I’m sure the Halloween celebration across the country has its own unique flavor, here it really is like another big holiday. City streets close off, neighborhoods go all out and parties are sponsored by liquor companies. Halloween takes people watching to the next level. It’s really interesting to me to see, with all the creative people in such a small area, what these artistic minds come up with in terms of intricate and unique costumes. It’s hard to explain but one of those things you need to experience to appreciate.
Let’s see who’s dressed up as The Man.
32.) Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) (32) -- For the second week in a row, there will be no change in the bottom of these rankings and the three teams you’re about to read about have 3 combined wins. Now stop me if this sounds a little wacked: Jamaal Charles, who rushed for 233 yards in a game earlier this year, had just 5 carries for 4 yards this weekend against the Raiders, when you started Brady Quinn at quarterback. Romeo Crennel’s days are numbered in K.C.
31.) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6) (31) – Saw some tweets floating the Twitterverse last night about how the Jaguars offense is better without Maurice Jones-Drew and how Blaine Gabbert looks better without MJD in the backfield. I hate to go all 2010 on everyone, but CHILD, PLEASE! If Blaine Gabbert can’t succeed with a Top 5 running back in the backfield that’s on HIM, not the Top 5 running back.
30.) Carolina Panthers (1-6) (30) – This week in “Let’s Blame Cam Newton For Everything”: 5th straight loss, 20-for-39, 314 yards, Zero TDs, 2 INTs and a 57.0 Passer Rating. Cam did conduct himself better at the postgame press conference
29.) Cleveland Browns (2-6) (29) – SOMEONE BREAK UP THE BROWNS!! Not sure if you saw this game on Sunday, but there was a monsoon in Cleveland and the only thing worse than Norv Turner calling plays dry is Norv Turner calling plays soaking wet. 7-6 is kinda setting today’s pass-happy game back a few decades, but that was a game made for Trent Richardson (122 yards, TD) and he delivered.
28.) Buffalo Bills (3-4) (27) – Let’s be honest, a bye week was just what the doctor ordered in Buffalo.
27.) Arizona Cardinals (4-4) (18) – You know how much I love stats. Here’s one for ya: three teams have started the year 4-0 and then lost the next four games. The 1993 Philadelphia Eagles, the 2002 Oakland Raiders … and the 2012 Arizona Cardinals. The ship, be a sinkin’. #FreeFitz
26.) Oakland Raiders (3-4) (28) – Don’t look now but the Raiders are only a game back of the Broncos for the AFC West division lead. OK, no one really thinks they have a shot, not with how Peyton Manning is playing, but still. This team was a mess a few weeks ago, and now Carson Palmer has strung together a couple solid performances in a row the #FreeDMC campaign has sunk faster a lead balloon. Which is a good thing. The league is better when the Raiders are competitive. Let’s hope this continues.
25.) Tennessee Titans (3-5) (24) – Heartbreaking loss by my brother Matthew’s team on Sunday after a third-straight win was lost when Vick Ballard leaped towards the pylon in overtime. Ballard’s amazing play aside, the Titans have looked much better in recent weeks. Hasselbeck has averaged a respectable 233 yards per and a TD in 4 starts, and has only turned it over twice in that span. Chris Johnson has averaged 102 yards in his last 4 games. So it’s coming back.
24.) St. Louis Rams (3-5) (23) – I have yet to travel abroad in my 32-year existence (I plan to get to it at some point, please don’t deride) but it appeared to me that the Rams left their game back in St. Louis. And did anyone find it odd that Wembley fans cheered for the Patriots? Ya know, U.S. Revolution and all that stuff?
23.) Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) (21) – So getting boat raced in the pouring down rain by the Atlanta Falcons is Juan Castillo’s fault, too, I’m guessing? Right, Andy Reid? And now we’re talking about Michael Vick being benched for Nick Foles? Seriously? Someone panicked in my fantasy league and actually picked up Foles. If Nick Foles starts a game this year I’ll be more shocked than that time I was shocked about something shocking.
22.) New York Jets (3-5) (19) – I’m not gonna say I predicted this, but I did pick up the Dolphins defense with Houston on a bye because I felt a Mark Sanchez game coming. And lo and behold: 4 sacks, a couple of turnovers, 2 blocked kicks, a TD and 29 points later and I had myself an upset fantasy win. And what’s with this news Tim Tebow is taking some actress? Yup, this’ll end well.
21.) Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) (22) – I really hope during this bye week the Bengals figured out what’s going wrong with their defense that’s given up 58 points in their last two games.
20.) Dalllas Cowboys (3-4) (17) – No one gets blown out, comes back, only to blow the game in stupid fashion quite like the Cowboys. I know this has been asked all week, but the the hell, Tony Romo? It’s funny to me people are trying to figure out if he can ever lead the team to the Super Bowl. These guys like Romo and Rivers give us so much evidence that they are who they are. Romo blew a playoff game back in 2006. We had hard evidence 6 years ago! He’s never gonna get it and Dallas is never going to win with him. Period.
19.) San Diego Chargers (3-4) (14) – Groundhog Day in the NFL is every year around this time the talk around the league is how the San Diego is in the tank, Norv Turner and A.J. Smith should be fired and Philip Rivers isn’t as good as everyone thinks he is. Then the Chargers rattle off 5 wins in 6 weeks, save their season, finish 9-7 and sneak into the playoffs.
18.) Detroit Lions (3-4) (25) – Fact: I had no idea who Ryan Broyles was until the third quarter of Week 7. Fact: I picked him up and started him this week. Fact: He scored a touchdown for the second straight week. Fact: I won this week. I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but Calvin Johnson has to be hurt or something. That’s the only explanation I’m accepting.
17.) Indianapolis Colts (4-3) (20) – Is that the play of the year from Vick Ballard? Take a look. Watch it again and again. Have you ever seen someone hit the pylon with his head?! A leap is one thing, but a leap, eskimo roll into the head off the pylon. Ridiculous. And don’t look now, but if the playoffs started today, the Colts are in.
16.) New Orleans Saints (2-5) (16) – Really surprised the Saints didn’t play better in Denver last week. Brees has looked a little off all season and that defense, I mean, I didn’t think there was a worse secondary than the Patriots, but good golly. New Orleans is porous. They couldn’t stop my high school, which has it’s Western Maine Class A semifinal playoff matchup this Saturday. Go Trojans.
15.) Minnesota Vikings (5-3) (13) – Pretty bad loss by the Vikings, at home, on Thursday night against the Bucs. This season, home teams have dominated the Thursday games and I was expecting more of the same. The Purple Pistol hasn’t looked great in the last 4 games, throwing 7 interceptions. I still think this team can make the playoffs, but a brutal schedule awaits. “Seriously? WTF” was all Jimmy had for me this week.
14.) Washington Redskins (3-5) (12) – This team is close, but still shows signs of not being that close. Alfred Morris has been out of this world good but you get the feeling against good teams they don’t know how to win yet. It’ll happen. My Good Friend Robert is too special.
13.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) (26) – Yes, I have the Bucs jumping up 13 spots this week. Yes, that is a record in the 9 weeks of this poll (I think). Yes, this may be an overreaction. Yes, Doug Martin is fast, and yes, Josh Freeman has a snake named Eisen.
12.) Miami Dolphins (4-3) (15) – As much as I feel for Lauren Tannehill’s husband for getting injured, I’m really glad for Matt Moore, whom I always thought got a raw deal down in Miami. Good to see him come in and play well. And like I said earlier, big ups to that defense for getting me a win in fantasy this week.
11.) Seattle Seahawks (4-4) (8) – The SeaChickens better hope they win the NFC West and get homefield, because that’s the only way they have a chance of winning a playoff game. Never seen a team struggle so much on the road. They’re the Bizarro Giants.
10.) Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) (11) – I don’t know who Jonathan Dwyer is or how much he weighs, but he sure looks like Jerome Bettis, doesn’t he? Runs like him, too. Could be dangerous for opponents going forward if they start playing like the Steelers of old.
9.) Baltimore Ravens (5-2) (6) – When you’re coming off a bye week, I generally don’t have much to say about you. But by no fault of their own, the Ravens have gotten skipped over by a few teams who just have that mojo working right now.
8.) Denver Broncos (4-3) (10) – We may be witnessing the greatest Peyton Manning season in his 15-year career. Call me crazy, but what he’s doing is incredible. I was on record, here and everywhere, that I thought Manning should have retired. Four neck surgeries. A season off. I didn’t think there was any way he could come back and be the Peyton we’ve known. All he’s done lately is 4 straight 300+ yard, 3+ TD games and has the Broncos in the driver’s seat in the AFC West.
7.) New England Patriots (5-3) (9) – The Patriots brought their full artillery to the motherland and put down a full musket whooping of the Rams. Tom Brady leads the league in passing yards (2,408) and Stevan Ridley is 5th in rushing (716 yards). Sure, we all say the former coming but no one saw the latter. If that maintains, and this Thursday trade for Aqib Talib pans out. Look out.
6.) San Francisco 49ers (6-2) (7) – I know the Cardinals have gone in the tank since starting the season 4-0, but dang did the 49ers put the bang thing (@richeisen voice) on them this Monday. And nice of Randy Moss to dust off the cleats and show us some of that 2007 speed.
5.) Houston Texans (6-1) (5) – Arian Foster was out in California last week to have his jersey retired by his high school. That’s pretty awesome, but shouldn’t every player in the NFL have their jersey retired by their high school? It goes to figure if they made it to the NFL, they’re at least in the 99.9% of players who’ve EVER played at their high school? What in the hell took so long for Foster? What is taking so long Thornton Academy? Oh, right, I wasn’t any good.
4.) Green Bay Packers (5-3) (3) – Aaron Rodgers is still ballin’ out of control right now, and as long as that’s happening, who cares if the Packers only beat the hapless Jaguars 24-15?
3.) New York Giants (6-2) (4) – Only the Giants are good enough to go on the road and rack up a 23-0 lead against a division opponent who beat them earlier in the year. And only the Giants are bad enough to blow that lead and then hold on to win the game because the opponent’s star receiver’s fingers are an inch too long. They’ll probably win the Super Bowl again.
2.) Chicago Bears (6-1) (2) – Before the season we made preseason prediction on the Rich Eisen Podcast and for Coach of the Year, I said Lovie Smith and was laughed at. I said, if the Bears have a good season, which they could with a healthy Jay Cutler (they were on their way last year before he got hurt), then Lovie was going to get serious consideration. I think I’m sitting pretty at the season’s midway point.
1.) Atlanta Falcons (7-0) (1) – The Falcons showed no rust coming out of the bye week; going on the road and putting it down on the Eagles. Matty Ice (or the Mattural) strengthened his MVP campaign with 3 more TD passes as Atlanta remained unbeaten. It hosts the Cowboys this week in what will either end their season or keep their chatter on our tongues for some time to come. Please let it be the reaper (Frasier Crane voice).
LOS ANGELES — Cool story this week out of league headquarters, where an 11-year old sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and suggested that the referees use pink penalty flags during games in honor of breast cancer awareness month. And you know what, Roger replied and instituted the idea for this week’s Jets/Dolphins game. How about that for taking action?
Player safety? Nope. BountyGate? Fuggeduaboutit. Pink referee flags. Booyah.
My best friend’s mom is a breast cancer survivor. I’m down with the NFL celebrating this month how they do. I know a lot of people who have a problem with it, think it’s tacky, makes the games tough and distracting to watch. To hell with them. The NFL is the biggest sports league in the country and is more popular than all the rest combined and it’s honorable that they do this in support of women across America.
In honor of that, let’s find out who’s the woman this week.
32.) Kansas City Chiefs (1-5) (32) – OK, Chiefs fans, looks like you’re stuck with Brady Quinn. Romeo Crennel announced Monday Quinn would be replacing Matt Cassel for the remainder of the season. I’m gonna let that sink in for a second so you can full wrap your mind around Dr. Biceps being your starter the next 9 weeks (let’s be real, you’re not making the playoffs and if you do, I’ll fly to KC and run around town naked. In December).
31.) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) (31) – So here’s what my dumbass did this week. Had a trade offer to a buddy involving MJD and Darren McFadden, and a couple of receivers. Said buddy did not get back to me for several days. Another came in with a trade offer of Vincent Jackson for MJD straight up. I turned that down after Jackson left practice with a calf injury, plus, I wanted to get a running back in return since I’d be giving up my No. 2. Guess what happened on Sunday? MJD – 2 carries, 6 yards. VJax – 7 catches, 216 yards, TD. I’m a moron.
30.) Carolina Panthers (1-5) (30) –I don’t have to say anything this week about the Panthers, Cam Newton said it all after Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys: “The past couple of games has been the same script by the same kind of director. It’s kind of getting boring… I don’t know what it is but something is going to have to change… We just find a way to keep games close and see what happens at the end. It’s not a formula for success. And I’m getting tired of it. That’s not a formula to win. Domination is a formula to win… I’m going to leave this room and I’m going to bring a suggestion box. And I want your suggestions to be in that suggestion box because I sure don’t know. I really don’t.”
29.) Cleveland Browns (1-6) (28) – Brandon Weeden has the 2nd most passing yards by a rookie through 7 team games in NFL history (1,783). Do you know who has the most? Cam Newton, last year. Not a good sign, Brandon. He’s also is tied for the league lead in interceptions with 10. Needless to say, the Browns like to wing it around the yard, which I like, don’t get me wrong.
28.) Oakland Raiders (2-4) (27) – The Raiders might be the first team in the history of this column, which dates back all the way to September, to win a game and drop. HOWEVER, and I took some serious heat for this, big ups to Carson Palmer, who I explained last week the type of player he is, for getting me nearly 23 points in fantasy. Palmer out-performed his projection by more than 7 points. So, thank you, sir. Keep delivering the rock to Brandon Myers and we’ll remain good.
27.) Buffalo Bills (3-4) (25) – It’s pretty bad when the coolest part of your game is when your receiver does an end zone dance of a song that’s already been beaten in the ground. And seriously, HAS ANYONE SEEN MARIO WILLIAMS?? Oh, bye week wrist surgery? Gotcha. Makes sense.
26.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) (23) – The Bucs get points for wearing the cremecicle jerseys. Forget the Chargers powder blues, these babies are my favorite. They lose points for pretty much everything else that goes on on the field. Oh, and eff Vincent Jackson.
25.) Detroit Lions Lions (2-4) (24) – Is it time to start talking about the Madden Curse for Calvin Johnson? We all thought if anyone was going to be immune to the curse, it would be Megatron. But he only has 1 TD this season and everyone is wondering what’s up. Forget the fact that he’s still 5th in receiving yards (592) and 10th in receptions (38). Maybe Matthew Stafford is the problem.
24.) Tennessee Titans (3-4) (29) – My brother, Matthew, is just ballin’ out there. And Chris Johnson turned back the clock a couple years and broke out the fast shoes. That’s three good games in four weeks for CJ. Can he make it 4-for-5 against the Colts? I’d love it. #BaldIsBeautiful
23.) St. Louis Rams (3-4) (18) – London is a long way from St. Louis. The Rams are playing a “home” game against the Patriots at Wembley Stadium this weekend. We had British presenter and celebrity Vernon Kay on the Rich Eisen Podcast this week and he said the city is pumped up for some American football, and I believe him. You’d think with the Patriots coming to town, it would be a Rams crowd, right? They’re still holding a Revolutionary War grudge, I’m guessing.
22.) Cincinnati Bengals (2-4) (17) — Another disappointing team in 2012, the Bengals choked away a 14-3 lead over the Steelers in a key division home game on Sunday. Can’t give away those babies and expect to make a repeat trip to the postseason. Guessing the Steelers end up running the table, riding the emotions of that win. Oh, and Andy Dalton has 10 picks. Can’t keep that up and expect to win.
21.) Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) (26) – Andy Reid is something like 12-0 in games after a bye week. The No. 1 Falcons are coming to the City of Brotherly Love this weekend. Something has to give.
20.) Indianapolis Colts (3-3) (22) — I’m glad the Colts keep winning and I get to keep seeing locker room video of a red-faced Jim Irsay handing out game balls. Go online and find this stuff, peeps, it’s priceless. And someone please tell Andrew Luck to shave the neck beard! I’ll keep saying it til it happens, not a good look, bro.
19.) New York Jets (3-4) (21) – Not gonna lie, I was fairly impressed with Mark Sanchez in the second half against the Patriots, and to be honest, the Jets should’ve won the game. They had it in their hands, and then Stephen Hill dropped it. And don’t feel bad that Sanchez and Eva Longoria have reportedly broken up, he’ll be just fine.
18.) Arizona Cardinals (4-3) (13) – Three losses in a row is not a good look.
17.) Dallas Cowboys (3-3) (19) – Barely beating the script-following, suggestion-box using Panthers does not a drastic rise in the polls make, dearest Cowboys.
16.) New Orleans Saints (2-4) (20) – No doubt, the Saints are moving up, but they still give up too many points for my blood to be a serious threat to anyone as of yet. However, a win on the road this week in Denver would get them into playoff discussion. Plus, Joe Vitt is back as the true interim head coach. Again, not sure what that means, but we’re about to find out. And did Joe Morgan make the catch of the year this week? Or maybe just the play? Either way, it was pretty freakin’ cool.
15.) Miami Dolphins (3-3) (15) – I made a bold move this week, and one I never thought I’d even consider back in August when we all watched these clowns on “Hard Knocks:” picked up the Dolphins as my defense this week in fantasy against the Jets. Hoping for one of those classic Mark Sanchez games. You know the ones.
14.) San Diego Chargers (3-3) (14) – After last Monday night’s debacle against the Broncos, this team needed a bye week. And what comes out of it, reports of stick-um use?? What year is this? Did Orlando Jones suddenly line up at receiver and we all missed it? Make 7. Up Yours.
13.) Minnesota Vikings (5-2) (12) -- Whaddya got for me this week, Jimmy: “Back in the win column. Another week closer to New Orleans in February… Tampa, then Seattle. If we bring it we’ll be 7-2 at the bye week. Scary huh?”
12.) Washington Redskins (3-4) (11) – Was there a more badass play than the 4th and 10 from his own 23 wtih 2:07 to play than My Good Friend Robert has had all season? And as you were watching, did you have any doubts in your mind that he’d pull it off? Me neither. Now, I’m not like others who think he’s the MVP of the league, but we’re watching something pretty special right now in Landover.
11.) Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3) (16) – While I was typing this Mike Wallace dropped 4 more passes. Seriously, bro. Call Norv Turner and get some of that Chargers stick-um ’cause you’re KILLING the Colt .45 Hollywood Bandits. Yeah, Mike Tomlin is probably pissed, too.
10.) Denver Broncos (3-3) (10) – Did you know Peyton Manning threw for 4 more TDs and 323 yards during the bye week? No, seriously, he was playing against the Chargers on Madden and they still couldn’t stop him. Maybe I was wrong about #18. Remember, I said I hoped I was wrong. Big game with the Saints this weekend. Big game.
9.) New England Patriots (4-3) (9) – I have no idea about this Patriots team anymore, but I do know one thing: its not any good. Bill Simmons had a tweet on Sunday about getting that Larry Bird in 1990 feel, which I assumed he meant about Tom Brady being near the end of the line. And I’m not ready to go there, but shoot, man, let’s put a freakin’ game away or something.
8.) Seattle Seahawks (4-3) (8) – Their Week 7 game happened so long ago, I don’t even remember what happened. But I do know I can’t stop talking or thinking about Russell Wilson. It’s really hard not to like this kid, but he has to make more plays out there against good teams (I do not think the Patriots are a good team).
7.) San Francisco 49ers (5-2) (7) – It’s just a given that the Thursday night games kinda stink for three quarters and then heat up in the fourth. So I’m going to give the 49ers a pass for not being as convincing as maybe they should have against Seattle. But they are quite good. Alex Smith had to do more for this team to be a legit Super Bowl contender for me.
6.) Baltimore Ravens (5-2) (2) – Well, that wasn’t a pretty afternoon in Houston, now was it? I happen to think this is a momentary blip in the road for the Ravens. They still have a top flight offense, Terrell Suggs is back, which will help, and they still have a great coach. However, this is all on Joe Flacco now. If he doesn’t rise up then you can forget being mentioned among the game’s best.
5.) Houston Texans (6-1) (6) – Nice to see the Texans bounce back after getting embarrassed at home against the Packers. I know the Ravens are banged up, but that was a boat race. Arian Foster proving he might be the league’s MVP through 7 weeks; he leads the NFL in rushing attempts (168), yards (659) and touchdowns (9). Bow on, brotha. And that defense, sweet sassy mollassy. J.J. Watt already has 10 batted passes this season. That has to be some kind of record, right?
4.) New York Giants (5-2) (5) – I saw an interesting stat with Tom Coughlin has head coach, the Giants haven’t started worse than 5-2 since he took over in 2004. Sure, that ’04 team then lost 8 in a row after that, and the Giants have a tendency to play to the level of their opponent and start slowly at home. But ya know, other than that, they’re great.
3.) Green Bay Packers (4-3) (4) – You like numbers? Here’s some numbers: 54-of-74, 680 yards, 9 TDs. Aaron. Rodgers (in the last 2 weeks). If ya need him.
2.) Chicago Bears (5-1) (3) – Admit it, you thought Jay Cutler died when Ndamukong Suh tossed him around like a sack of potatoes and then dropped a Rock Bottom on him middle ring? I know I did. How was Cutler’s right arm not severed at the shoulder after that hit? I did like Suh coming over after celebrating to make sure Jay was OK. Classy. But why is Brandon Marshall still running his mouth? Looked like a clean hit to me. Oh, and that Bears D is naaaaasty.
1.) Atlanta Falcons (6-0) (1) – I have only one rule: when you’re undefeated AND have a bye week, you’re not allowed to drop from the top spot of my poll.
LOS ANGELES — I wasn’t paying attention this weekend, did anything controversial happen?? What in Hank Stram’s jet black toupee went on in Week 3!!?! Was there something in the sideline Gatorade? Did these replacement refs have a bad shift at the toll booth before their games? Seriously. Between Pole Gate and Golden Gate the only thing I really have to say is:
Before this post gets flagged for pass interference, let’s find out who’s the man.
32.) Cleveland Browns (record: 0-3) (last week: 28) – I actually don’t think the Browns are all that bad, but Brandon Weeden is killing them after three games. He’s tied for the lead league in interceptions (6) and is 30th in Passer Rating (60.7). The defense has been formidable but you get the feeling it’s going to take something flukey or a big special teams play to turn the tide and get in the W column.
31.) Miami Dolphins (1-2) (29) – Yes, the Dolphins should’ve beat the Jets last weekend. No, they did not. Yes, I’m jealous of Dan Carpenter’s luscious flowing locks. No, I’m not jealous of his kicking abilities in pressure situations. Crazy to think if Miami had pulled that out, it’d be in first place in the AFC East. It’s going to be one of those years.
30.) St. Louis Rams (1-2) (23) – I don’t know what to make of this Rams team, gotta be honest. Kinda goes with how the NFC West is shaking out this year, don’t ya think?
29.) Oakland Raiders (1-2) (32) – Our buddy Jantzen, a life-long, rabid Steelers fan, went up to the Black Hole last weekend for the Pittsburgh/Oakland game and texted these nuggets about the ambiance: “I’ve gotten a lot of ‘Fuck the steelers’ chants in our direction. It seriously is scary.” And then there was this one: “the Raiders fans just booed the Steve sabol tribute cause it ends with the immaculate reception.” Stay classy, Oakland.
28.) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) (31) – Has anyone seen Justin Blackmon? Is he all right? Did he get another DUI and no one bailed him out of jail yet? I know it’s extremely early to throw around bust talk, but when you draft a receiver 5th overall you expect him to have more than 4 catches for 31 yards. I know Blaine Gabbert is throwing him the ball, but how many weeks can that be an excuse?
27.) Tennessee Titans (1-2) (30) – That was some wild game but Jake Locker suddenly doesn’t look terrible (this week). But seriously, Chris Johnson, what gives? It wasn’t cool when you blamed the offensive line for not creating holes and this 1.4 yards per carry thing isn’t gonna fly since it’s doubtful you’ll get 1,200 carries this season. But ah, nice hair?
26.) New Orleans Saints (0-3) (17) – Panic Button, meet the Saints. Or at least their fans. Yeah, I’d say it’s nearly time to think about 2013 and with the Packers up next 0-4 is a real strong possibility. I love these research nuggets: since 1990 exactly ONE TEAM has made the playoffs after starting 0-4, that highly memorable 1992 San Diego Chargers, led by the late great Junior Seau and the Stan Humphries/Marion Butts offensive combo.
25.) Colts (1-2) (25) – Andrew Luck threw for 313 yards but the Colts rushing attack is only 23rd in the league (90.3 ypg). He’s gotta get some help and the defense needs to not have brain farts that lead to 80-yard touchdown passes to the Jaguars if Jim Irsay’s playtoy wants to have a successful season. Oh, and how about the Reggie Wayne resurgence. He leads the league in targets (40) and is 4th in receptions (23).
24.) Carolina Panthers (1-2) (16) – So it appears the Cam Newton backlash has started and is quite real, as evidenced by this Hello Kitty mock cartoon. Look, I didn’t like the Superman TD celebration down 23-0 either and Cam does seem to have a sulking problem, but he’ll be fine. I was more concerned with the whole getting straight up punked on national TV at home.
23.) Kansas City Chiefs (1-2) (27) – Because #KickersArePeopleToo, has there been a better Mr. Irrelevant than Ryan Succop? He’s made all six of his field goals this season, including the game-winner in overtime to beat the Saints last week. Oh, and Jamaal Charles appears to be back. Man, did he ever look fast on that 91-yard touchdown run.
22.) Detroit Lions (1-2) (18) – Defense struggled. Offense kept them in the game. Calvin Johnson leads the league in 20+ yard plays. That all sounds about right for the Lions. But I’m rolling with the Vikings in the NFC North for now.
21.) Buffalo Bills (2-1) (24) – If the Bills really want to prove they belong in the playoff discussion they best show up and play like they mean it this week at home against the semi-reeling Patriots. Poor C.J. Spiller had one week as the best player in the NFL before injuring his shoulder, though Fred Jackson somehow thinks he’s going to play this weekend (poorer guy). That leaves Tashard Choice has the Amish Rifle’s offensive cohort. Yikes.
20.) Minnesota Vikings (2-1) (26) – Just before the game my buddy Jimmy the Vikings fan texted me: “how bad are the Vikings gonna get a– raped today,” so confidence was high going in. After Minny got ahead by two scores he chimed in: “quick stop the game. Isn’t there a tornado or something in the area.” It’s gonna be one of those seasons in the Homerdome. In other news, I picked up Christian Ponder to be my backup in fantasy. So he’s now on two first place teams.
19.) New York Jets (2-1) (22) – I have no idea what’s going on with the Jets and don’t really want to try and figure it out. Darrelle Revis is out for the year with an ACL tear, which obviously hurts their heavily-relied upon defense. And what are they doing with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow? I know what they’re NOT doing: completing passes.
18.) Tampa Bay Bucs (1-2) (13) – I get the feeling this Bucs team is going to do well at home and struggle on the road. Though, I did confidently prognosticate they’d make the playoffs a week ago, so START PLAYING WELL ON THE ROAD!!
17.) San Diego Chargers (2-1) (12) – Perhaps this speaks more to how good the Falcons are than how bad the Chargers really are, but seriously. You had Atlanta coming cross country on a short week and you STILL got blown out. That’s just embarrassing.
16.) Washington Redskins (1-2) (11) – Did I see that the Redskins signed running back Ryan Grant this week? Really, Mike Shanahan? ANOTHER running back? Patriots:Tight Ends = Redskins:Running Backs. Yeah, I just went SAT on your ass.
15.) Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) (10) – When you stop and realize the Eagles are a dropped INT in the end zone and a bogus replacement ref P.I. call away from being 0-3, you come to the wonder just a.) how bad are they, really? and b.) should Andy Reid be on the hot seat? Hell, here’s a c.) is Michael Vick gonna get benched or carted off the field first?
14.) Seattle Seahawks (2-1) (21) – The good thing about this Seahawks roller coaster is you don’t have to wait in line for 90 minutes to ride it. And it lasts 3 hours instead of 5 minutes. OK, look, we all know (except Golden Tate, Pete Carroll and the NFL apparently) that it was an interception on Monday, so really, Seattle should be lower. But like Mr. Parcells says, you are what your record is and Carroll’s crew is 2-1. Don’t forget to fasten your seatbelt.
13.) Dallas Cowboys (2-1) (15) – Funny how with all that’s going with the replacement refs, Belichick, Rodgers, the crappy Saints, Cardinals shocking everyone, Eagles, that the Cowboys are seemingly flying under the radar. Who thought we’d ever say that?
12.) Chicago Bears (2-1) (14) – The defense won this game for Chicago last week, we can all agree on that. I’m not saying its carrying Jay Cutler’s dopey ass so far this season but Mr. Cavallari is tied for the lead league in INTs (6), 4th in times sacked (11) and 2nd to last in passer rating (58.6). But he currently is in 1st in Picking On Guys On Your Team Twice Your Size. So good job!
11.) Arizona Cardinals (3-0) (20) – Overreaction jump in the rankings! Kevin Kolb! Defense! Loud Noises!
10.) Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) (8) – More from diehard Steelers fan Jantzen: “There was a woman behind me that said ‘I’m gonna beat the shit out of a steeler fan tonight’ after DHB got knocked the fuck out. When Antonio Brown fumbled, that same woman jumped on the back of my seat, put her arms around me and started shaking me. The closest steeler fans were 10 rows away from us. I thought I was gonna get shanked. Lucikly she left me alone. Part of me is glad we lost.” Raiders fans, everybody!
9.) Denver Broncos (1-2) (9) – Some of the tweets during the Texans/Broncos game this week were interesting. A lot of “Peyton Manning can’t throw anymore” floating around out there. Look, Peyton’s never thrown the prettiest ball but it always got there and in a HURRY. Through 3 weeks it’s clear we’re not seeing that just yet. Now, will it come back? Or is this the Peyton 2.0. But it was kinda cool seeing him get back the Broncos back in the game they had no business being in.
8.) New England Patriots (1-2) (6) – You’ve all seen the stat by now: the Patriots haven’t been under .500 since Week 1, 2003 when they got routed by the Bills. Now, New England went on to win the Super Bowl that year so maybe that’s a good sign for this year, but so far the offense is out of sync (except when they go no-huddle) and the defense can’t make a big stop. What do you think of the 50 large Bill dropped for “getting the referee’s attention?” Worth it? I saw an interesting tweet that said it was basically like us regular folk being fined $400. I don’t know if anything is worth 4 bones. Wait, I’ve lost more than that in one night at the craps table. Nevermind.
7.) Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) (19) – This Bengals team is that girl who works at the coffee shop you see on Tuesday mornings for 5 minutes and you can’t decide if she’s cute or not. Some days she is and you talk yourself into her, and other days you hide your face behind the paper so she doesn’t make small talk at the counter. So, yeah, Cincy gave up a big lead to the Redskins, but still, did you see it build a huge lead on the road against a team most thought was pretty good? It was impressive. The Ginger Rifle was throwing darts and there’s big play guys all over the field. Then again, Marvin Lewis is the coach, so we’ll see how long this lasts. But two games in a row is pretty good.
6.) Green Bay Packers (1-2) (5) – The Mike Silver Revolution is nearly complete with this latest WTFJH craze. So besides that, here’s the Top 5 Things to Result From Golden Gate: 5- “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”; 4- Aaron Rodgers apologizing on behalf of the entire NFL; 3- Pete Carroll doing anything; 2- Free Ed Hochuli movements; 1- T.J. Lang’s Twitter account.
5.) San Francisco 49ers (2-1) (1) – Is it possible the 49ers just had a bad week in Minnesota? Sure. If it happens again this week in New Jersey, then maybe it’s time to re-think the Harbaugh genius.
4.) New York Giants (2-1) (7) – My favorite items from the Tom Coughlin “A Football Life” in no particular order: he went to Syracuse and all the shots of the Hill, Coughlin created chaos during the family moves, Coughlin telling the guy to put on longer pants and stop wearing “bermuda shorts,” Fred Taylor saying he got injured “once,” the “N-O” button on his desk, his wife saying “I don’t want him around full time,” John Madden’s phone message after Week 17 in 2007 and the emotion in his voice, taking 3 shots to make can in trash: “ugh, basketball,” Floyd Little, “is the Gatorade bath really sticky?” question from the kid and Frierson coming in and saying “it looks like Philip Rivers!” at his college photo.
3.) Baltimore Ravens (2-1) (4) — Joe Flacco. I know the Ravens have Ray Rice and he’s a top 4 back in the league, but seriously, this team will come and go as far as #5. And Justin Tucker, you get one free pass in this league; Sunday night was your pass. Next time, don’t make it that close. It was a 27-yard field goal. Seriously, bro. High School girls can make that kick with ease.
2.) Houston Texans (3-0) (3) – One of the final three unbeatens, the Texans looked like a true contender last week until the final 5 minutes when they let Peyton back in the game. But let’s get to the real issue: did you see Matt Schaub get decapitated?! He ended up losing a piece of his ear on the hit! Watching live, I thought he was dead. Or at least KTFO. But yeah, the Texans are good.
1.) Atlanta Falcons (3-0) (2) – A couple weeks ago I said that Ed Reed is an ageless wonder, well double that for Tony Gonzalez. He’s got 3 TDs in the first three games and is 7th in the league in receptions (21). He said before the season he was 99% decided this was his last year, well if he keeps playing like this, he may reconsider. And hands down, Matty Ice is the MVP of the first three weeks of the NFL. I’m riding him to the ROFFL Title this year. Bank it.
LOS ANGELES — There are hundreds of way to describe golf. John Feinstein called it “A Good Walk, Spoiled.” Roy McAvoy said it’s, “the greatest game ever invented.” Others call it a testament of will, determination and focus, with a little bit of skill and luck mixed in. I say, if you can play golf, you do anything. I’ve played countless sports at all different levels and golf is the only one that brings such frustration and joy from one athletic move to the next. Concentration is key, perfection is unattainable. One shot can be perfect and the next a disaster. It’s glorious.
On Tuesday, Esco, The Zach Daddy, Buy Or Sellz and myself hit the links for some off-day golfing at Rancho Park. Divots were made. Snacks were consumed. Curse words were yelled from the hilltops and no records were broken; only our egos. Laugh at our terrible swings, be inspired (to do what, I don’t know) and enjoy. But mostly laugh.
Here is our story.
LOS ANGELES — True reality television – and let’s be honest, what claims to be real isn’t by any stretch these days – is raw, emotional and has you on the edge of your seat. The second episode of “Hard Knocks” was reality television at its finest. Osi Umenyiora agreed. Chad Johnson, not so much.
When news broke last Saturday evening that Johnson had been arrested following a domestic dispute with his wife of a month, “reality star” Evelyn Lozada, I was shocked. Like most, I didn’t think of Johnson rolled that way. His off-field shenanigans were just that: usually playful, over-the-top, yes, but never brought true harm to anyone. He had never been arrested during his playing career so it wasn’t anything you expected.
The dispute, which depending on who you believe involved a receipt for condoms, and according to the police report, a headbutt, clearly, went too far this time and ultimately it cost him his job and probably his NFL career. At 34, Johnson is years removed from the peak of his playing days and endzone dance routines. He had a nice run with Carson Palmer in Cincinnati but completely lost it in New England last year, and early reports in Miami was he was too slow and didn’t have the hands to compete, despite its lack of wide receiver depth. One scene in Episode Two was telling for me, where the QBs were talking in their meeting about how even they didn’t know what Chad was doing half the time. David Garrard even wondered if he was getting the plays.
The NFL is a production-based league – like all sports – and if you can still perform at a high level people will continue to make excuses for your poor behavior. Johnson couldn’t and so he was let go. It’s sad, yes, because of the circumstances surrounding the release.
When the news broke, I immediately wondered how the producers would handle it. Turns out they went with some buildup talking about the other receivers and how Johnson was struggling, even dropping a sure catch in the Dolphins preseason game that Friday. Then, it happened and Joe Philbin took almost immediate action. In the room, I thought the coach handled it with class. It was obvious Chad was nervous, pensive, bewildered and knew it was coming. In fact, the director of security who talked with Chad said he was freaking out and “he may have an inkling of what’s coming.” But as someone pointed out on Twitter, he never once denied the incident, just that he’d never gotten in trouble before. “I let you down,” he told Philbin, who was not amused from the get-go with Johnson’s behavior. On the phone before the meeting, Philbin told someone, “(Johnson’s) temperament isn’t right for us.”
There was an amazing shot from the locker room of the Dolphins equipment guy cleaning out Johnson’s locker while Les Brown, the former basketball-playing finance man who’s trying to become an NFL tight end, looked on. It was telling because it appeared, almost with certainty, that Brown would be among the first Philbin cut. Alas, it was Johnson, who not only lost his job but his VH1 reality show he was filming with Lozada which was set to premiere in September. It was canceled in wake of the news.
The NFL, the ultimate reality show.
Other things I liked/noticed from this week’s episode: It’s really too bad the Chad Johnson situation overshadowed what started the episode, the tragedy involving Eagles coach Andy Reid and the passing of his son, Garrett. Philbin lost his son within the last year as tragically and knew exactly what Reid was going through. I thought that segment was well done … my man, Les Brown, got a lot of air time this week. He was the first to show up for the meeting and one coach wondered if it was because the HBO was there; “I was in here before the coaches, coach.” Too bad he didn’t see any passes come gametime … Mike Sherman = Dan Campbell = badass … poor David Garrard, who earlier said he was happy and healthy, apparently hurts his knee playing with his kids in the pool. Also, loving the Louis V man purse … It took 32 minutes before we saw Mrs. Tannehill and 39 before the Dolphins cheerleaders made an appearance. Come on, guys … The rookies’ haircuts was easily the funniest part of the first two episodes. Shaving eyebrows makes the bleach blonde hair from earlier look good. And how awesome was Philbin’s reaction to JC’s head penis? “Glad we’re such a first class organization.” Dying for the McKayla Maroney meme with the Philbin NOT IMPRESSED face … Loved the storm time lapse and the helmet in-bump before the preseason game … Offensive line coach Jim Turner’s becoming a quiet star along with Sherman, with the line of the show in reference to showing the cheerleaders’ “Call Me Maybe” video: “I saw the happy faces and the desks were up 6 inches.”