Tag Archives: NFL

NFL Draft Recap: Winners & Losers

Last Thursday the NFL Draft kicked off, and throughout the weekend plenty of NFL junkies were itching to get to their teams next pick. The draft certainly wasn’t a boring one this year; Germany’s first NFL player was drafted, a player who had never been in the United States was drafted, and the highly-considered best overall player in the draft slipped down to pick 13 because he smoked some weed in high school. As far as drafts go, I don’t know if it can get much better than that level of excitement. Now that the draft has ended, it’s time to sit back and see who walked away a winner and who walked away a loser. Of course, there’s no telling who walks away a winner of the draft until these rookies step foot on the football field, and there’s no real way to determine who won until we’re 5 years down the line and have seen these players flourish. With the being said, let’s see which teams are instant-winners and losers of this draft, all based off hype. Let’s begin.

The Winner’s Circle

Embed from Getty Images

Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jags got lucky based off the stupidity of other teams on multiple occasions over this draft. First and foremost, they continue the trend of bulking up their defense at a fast level that Major League Baseball would likely investigate for PEDs. After signing multiple studs in free agency, the Jags drafted what is highly considered the top two defensive players available. I’m not kidding either. With the 5th pick they took FSU’s star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who I considered to be the best commodity in the draft. With the pick prior to Jacksonville, I figured the Cowboys would ignore the silly running back hype and do the smart thing in drafting a stud cornerback to finally elevate their defense, but instead they followed their usual spin of stupidity. With that being said, Jacksonville walked away a winner in the first round, and then was able to draft linebacker Myles Jack in the 2nd round, a true value top 10 player in the draft who sadly tore his ACL his senior year of college. This pick is an absolute steal and a half, expect Jack to come back strong and be the one of the many final missing pieces this defense acquired this off season in order to become elite. Yeah, I dropped the “e” word.

Embed from Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens – There’s no shocker on this one. It’s no surprise the Ravens know how to draft well, and given the fact their team was riddled with injuries and had at least 3 different starting QB’s this past year, it’s no surprise they earned a good draft grade with a top 10 draft pick. The Ravens beefed up the whole roster in the draft, and added a Day 1 impact starter in tackle Ronnie Stanley. Now, Tunsil was still on the board due to his infamous Instagram video, but Ronnie Stanley was considered a top 10 pick, so it’s not like they were reaching to avoid controversy. If the Ravens can stay healthy, they’re likely division winners. This draft only adds depth to their powerful roster.

The Losers Corner

Dallas Cowboys – The biggest hypocrites in the NFL right now, the Cowboys let star running back Demarco Murray leave a year ago because ‘an elite back isn’t needed to be a contender’. Okay Dallas, I agree. The Belichick era Patriots haven’t ever had a year-to-year consistently dominant running back, A.K.A. a franchise back, and look how well they’ve been? That’s smart thinking right there. You know what is dumb thinking? Waisting your top-5 pick on media hype around a running back when just the year prior you said a franchise back wasn’t needed. Hell, Darren McFadden had a 1000-yard year and he only started half the season. Why waist a pick on a franchise back when you have a rotation of McFadden, a dominant pass-catching back in Lance Dunbar, and a proven bull rushing back in Alfred Morris? That rotation would’ve been fun to watch behind such a strong offensive line, but now it seems like they just wasted money and roster spots on these running backs. ‘Zeke Elliot will probably be a good back, but come on Dallas, the two best players in the draft were still on the board in Laremy Tunsil and Jalen Ramsey, and drafting Ramsey would’ve filled a hole the Cowboys have desperately needed since Deion Sanders. To me, this was the epitome of the Cowboys: a head-scratcher.

Cleveland Browns – Going into the draft, I thought Cleveland was finally making smart moves. They knew they didn’t want to participate in the over-hyped QB lottery, so they traded away their number 2 pick for a king’s ransom. It worked at first, owning a total of 14 picks over 7 rounds. Of course, it was working until they actually started drafting. With their first pick they took wideout Corey Coleman, a first round talent but a heavy reach at their drafting spot. Seriously, I almost did a spit-take, I couldn’t believe it. From there, nothing blew me away with their remaining 13 picks. But really, who knows? Cleveland seems very invested in truly rebuilding their squad, new head coach Hue Jackson is a guy who seems adamant on progression and hard work, and they added the person that Jonah Hill plays in “Moneyball” to run their football operations. Maybe there’s a method to their madness this time. But until I see results, I have to believe it’s same-old Cleveland Browns finding a way to burn down anything nice they might have had.

 

Advertisements

The Disturbing Reality of “Deflategate”

We’re Onto Supreme Court.
I’ll be completely honest, I’d much rather have no story to write about this week than have to report on this horsesh**t. A year removed, and we continue to listen to the depressing story of how Tom Brady is a cheater, trained by the Dark Arts master, Bill Belichick to cheat his way into Canton.

Even if you’re not a Brady fan, it’s getting a little old. But really, I’m not going to tell you anything you haven’t already heard. Everyone has an opinion on this story, and nobody’s opinion is going to change based on this article.

But the funny thing is, this isn’t even about Brady anymore. The worst problem here is that Brady is the poster-boy for a battle he has no control over.

Deflategate, as we know, started when NFL workers found that the air pressure in game-day footballs was under the standard PSI after the Patriots dismantled the Colts in a 45-7 game during grueling weather (I was there, I can tell you it was a monsoon). We’ve heard it all before, Brady didn’t touch the balls but he may have known about suspicious activity, equaling a 4-game suspension by the “Fuhrer” himself: Mr. Goodell.

Regardless of whether or not he did it, picture this: You’re accused of foul play at work, and are now in trouble. Maybe it’s leave without pay, maybe you’ll be fired, that doesn’t matter here. People have been talking about how your boss doesn’t do enough with punishments, so he’s licking his chops to showcase some Grade-A authority. Now, imagine that this gets released to the world, and that people actually care about your job and this ‘foul play’, all of the sudden you’re a villain. That’s defamation of character. Further, imagine your boss – the accuser, has complete control of the situation (judge, jury, executioner) without any concrete evidence to give you a punishment other than the evidence your boss payed an outside reporter to “discover”. All of the sudden, normal routine things for you become a problem that everyone has two-cents to weigh in on (furthering that defamation of character). And with all of that weighted on you, the union you are a part of has literally nothing they can do, because of a previous agreement. This is Tom’s position, and it’s a shi**y one.

But throw out my attempt at making you understand Tom’s position, throw out your opinion on the case. Throw out the hilarious Barstool protests, the shameless ESPN articles, the revenge Super Bowl win and the many press conferences. Throw science out the window, and throw football altogether out the window. The sad truth is, it has nothing to do with any of that anymore.

In reality, since the punishment was originally handed out, the chapter surrounding the life of Brady has ended. This case is actually something far more unsettling.

For Goodell and NFL executives, this is the greatest thing that could happen to the NFL. Brady is a household name, but he’s not “America’s sweetheart” like Peyton Manning was considered to be. Many people are mixed on the opinion of Brady, and everyone is passionate on their opinion of him. So when the offseason comes around, a scandal around a big name like Brady’s, with an action that truly doesn’t effect anyone negatively (unlike a child or spouse abuse controversy, NFL’s typical problem), and that can extend the tabloids during the NFL’s off-season is absolutely perfect. After all, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Instead, this was the perfect publicity for the NFL off-season, creating drama only the WWE could imitate. This time last year, every co-worker had something to say about a pointless scandal, professors had corny jokes on-tap about air pressure, and yet nobody knew a damn thing about PSI’s. Not only does the NFL continue to dominate headlines of the sports world during the NHL and NBA playoffs; Roger Goodell also gets to exercise his love for discipline, power, and “integrity of the game.”

To wrap all of these things into a perfect cocoon of madness, here’s my thesis: Deflategate is a maddening battle for freedom between the player’s association and Goodell, while Tom Brady is the handsome scapegoat that has no choice but to captivate our attention.

Truthfully, the real problem has nothing to do with Tom Brady anymore.

Just how much control does Roger Goodell have over his players: his employees?

How much control does he have over his employees’ unions?

Simply put, ownership and Goodell can do whatever the hell they want to whomever the hell they want. They have complete control over the outcome of their employees – their players.

To make matters worse is the manner in which Goodell and the ownership committee abuses this power and views their players. Isn’t the phrase “innocent until proven guilty”? Anyone who has payed an ounce of attention to this case knows it has been the opposite for Mr. Brady – guilty until proven innocent. What does that say about the fairness of this business? This case sets a precedent for NFL players in the future, and each and every one of them should be fired up about this. Essentially, if you do something the commissioner doesn’t like, you’re screwed. You can fight it, but you’re still screwed. At this point, the case is more revolved around the liberties and rights an employee, a player in the NFL, has in their everyday life.

I’m sure Jets or Bills fan are sitting back cracking a cold one and laughing their way to the bank right now, but they shouldn’t be. Because it can happen to you and your team whenever the hell Roger feels like it. You don’t think every NFL team does whatever they can to gain an advantage? That’s the nature of any business, and if people went dirt digging, you could find anything about anybody. The argument is no longer about the quality of the human being that is Tom Brady, or the ethics of the New England Patriots. What this is now is whether or not Roger Goodell has a dictatorship over the NFL. And since many of you readers out there are NFL fans, this should terrify you. Since many of you are employees in the work field, this entire case should disturb you.

Let’s just pray Tom fights this to Supreme Court.

Go Pats.

Josh Talk: Can the Panthers Prosper?

Just when I thought I’d have nothing exciting to write about, the Panthers organization gave me me a gift-wrapped parcel from heaven.

For those unaware, the Panthers released top-cornerback Josh Norman on Wednesday evening out of nowhere.

Last year, Norman immersed himself as the best cornerback in the league, playing in a zone scheme where he consistently shut down his matchup while also bringing tons of intensity and trash-talk that kept things interesting down to the final snap. This only added to the value of the Panthers last year, as they shocked the world going 15-1 by dominating opponents, and Norman was a huge reason for that.

Norman was given the franchise tag this offseason, which gives him a contract next year of the average of the top 5 best-paid players at his position. The idea behind the franchise tag is so the team can have an extra year to agree with the player on a long-term deal, or they get to keep the player for a yearlong rental. Franchise tags can only be used on players that would be returning to the roster from the previous year. With the tag, Norman gets paid this year, and the Panthers keep their stud cornerback, giving them an obvious run at the Super Bowl again this year. This seems like a win-win, right?

Wrong. Things get interesting right about now.

Norman refused to sign his franchise tag. The big guy wanted a long-term deal at 16 million dollars per year, around 2 million per year more than Richard Sherman. Here’s what’s wrong with Norman, he’s 28 and he’s never had an elite year like this before. For the Panthers, there’s plenty of reasons not to sign him. GMs around the league could view this past year as a fluke, or that it’s improbable he continues an elite level of play throughout his potential long-term contract. Also, this potential contract is likely to end in his mid to late 30s, and in the NFL you do not want to pay a 34 year-old cornerback 16 million dollars per year, that’s just bad business. Unless it’s Champ Bailey, they’re not going to be playing at an elite level at that age, AKA they won’t be worth the pay.

So, after months of Norman ‘holding out’ on a franchise tag agreement, the Panthers decided, “reaching a long-term deal was non-attainable” with Norman, so they released him.

You have to respect the nuts the Panthers just plopped on the table, and the precedent it sets for players in the future who want to wage a contract war with the organization. Players hold out all of the time now, missing summer practices in order to show ‘how serious they are’ (Remember Kam Chancellor’s skipping-of-games earlier this year?) In a power move only Bill Belichick could compare to, the Panthers put their priorities towards having a roster of people who want to play and want to win, and then money comes afterwards. Bravo, guys.

In my evaluation, the Panthers will be fine without Norman. As a matter of fact, Norman needs the Panthers more than the Panthers need Norman. Much of his elite play was due to the insanely talented defense around him, with a studded front 7 that helped relieve pressure from the secondary. That isn’t to say Norman didn’t play great, or that he won’t play well elsewhere, but it does explain the breakout year of elite play at age 28. So, the Panthers will be fine, but what about Mr. Norman?

Where will Josh go from here?

My educated guess says the San Francisco 49ers. They have the 2nd most cap space (at around 52 million), are highly interested and have a need at that position, and it’s been rumored that Norman would like to play in California. Other teams that are interested, as reported by Adam Schefter, are the Redskins, Steelers, Dolphins, Titans, Buccaneers, Bears, and Jets. Any of these teams could benefit, but I don’t think the Steelers or Jets have enough money to agree to a long-term deal that Norman would want. Other front-runners in my opinion would be the Bears, with 22 million to spend, and the Titans, with 29 million to spend.

One thing is for sure, Norman will get payed by somebody this offseason to play cornerback, and I’ll be licking my chops to find out who it is.

 

 

 

The Ballad of Josh Gordon

There’s this thing I like to do where I take a popular sports story and turn it into an ESPN 30 For 30 in my head. Twenty years down the line, do you readers think they will make a 30 for 30: The Ballad of Josh Gordon?

Either way, I already made the tagline for ESPN to use.

What if I told you, a fantasy football hero blew away his NFL career while he blew out some AK-47?

 Quote me on that one, ESPN. I want to see a severance package when you make that movie.

A tale of destiny and defeat, Josh Gordon has likely played his last game in the NFL during the 2014 season, where he posted 300 yards over 5 games.

His 2013 season, Cleveland’s glimmer of hope posted 1,646 yards on 87 targets and 9 touchdowns, all behind a quarterback carousel while he was suspended for the first two games of the season for breaking the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Still, he was a fantasy football god, mainly because he went under the radar at the beginning of the season. At the time, Gordon looked like a top 5 receiver in the league, so what went wrong?

2014 is what went wrong, as it started with a driving while impaired arrest in North Carolina. The 2014 season was a short one for Gordon, as he only played the final 5 games due to breaking the NFL’s substance abuse policy on a 2nd offense, missing the first 10 games of the season and getting a team suspension for the final game of the season. This was, of course, when the NFL re-evaluated it’s original ruling on a second offense, changing the penalty from a whole season to just 10 games, so Gordon was pretty fortunate to play in 2014.

During his suspension, Gordon worked a side job doing promotional work for a Cleveland car dealership. Thrilling, isn’t it?

Last year, Gordon yet again failed the substance abuse policy when he tested positive for alcohol use, leading to a season long suspension. Personally, I think it’s stupid that alcohol counts in the substance protocol on a second or third offense for marijuana, when his original problem was marijuana, but if you have his kind of opportunity you’re an idiot for not crossing both out from your life. Let’s move on before I drown you in opinions.

Now we’re at present day. Gordon applies for re-instatement, and fantasy fan-boys everywhere start to sweaty with anticipation. Next, we hear party boy Johnny Football is crashing on Gordon’s couch. Yikes, ready for some more bad news? Cause we all know it’s coming.

Breaking news! Josh Gordon fails yet ANOTHER drug test. Mary-J and dilute in his pee, come on buddy. Gordon’s going to pile up one-year suspensions until he reaches his retirement.

I’ll say it right now, if you have the chance to make millions of dollars per year, and you might loose that chance only because you smoke weed too often, just quit. Smoke as much as Snoop when you retire at the young age of 35 (that’s 81 blunts a day for you non- Doggy Dogg fans out there), but quit while you can make millions upon millions of dollars.

Seriously, this isn’t rocket science. It’s not like talking to women. This is easy. It’s a no-brainer.

And I agree the NFL needs to re-evaluate its marijuana policy (as it’s legal in two active team’s states), but that’s not the topic at hand. Just don’t be an idiot, dude. At the least, stop smoking a month before you re-instate for your job, when you know they’re going to drug test you. Better yet, stop living with Johnny Manziel! Hire a personal PR rep or assistant or someone who can help you sort out your problems. Eat your vegetables! It’s almost like its common sense.

I know what you’re thinking, my precious readers… now what?

Let me tell you.

Fantasy football junkies everywhere will continue to get starry-eyed at the mention of Josh Gordon, just like a long lost lover.

Roger Goodell will get turned on at his ability to show off his power, yet again.

Cleveland citizens will keep looking under rocks for any signs of hope in their god-awful city.

Hopefully, Johnny Manziel finds a new couch to crash on.

And as my knowledge of mathematical probability tells me, Josh Gordon’s about to roll up a J.

History repeats itself.

First Reactions – Peyton Manning Retires

So long, Sheriff.

When the hell did he get that nickname? Did ESPN just call him that enough that it stuck? Does it matter anyways?

Today, March 7th 2016, the great Peyton Manning announced his retirement. I sit in my dorm room and watch the live stream of Peyton at the podium with considerably the least exciting “breaking” news of all time. I say this because we’ve known all season that this moment was going to occur; yet I sit and watch a “so-long” party of people lining up to kiss Manning’s butt cheeks, and ironically the line began with Jaime Naughright (or is that too soon?) Jokes aside, the NFL poster-child retired today, right when the scandals begin to build up around him he chooses to ride off into the sunset.

I promised myself I wouldn’t make this article about the Brady vs. Manning saga.

But it makes me sick that people are beginning to compare the two evenly due to his retirement. Seriously, there’s no comparison… Brady is the greatest. You want to argue that? Contact me directly, I’ll save that sh*t for another day.
But it is upsetting, and it’s annoying. For us New England fans, it almost feels wrong to be so angry after a decade of success and a very recent (and still sweet-tasting) Super Bowl.

But I know why this retirement party is so frustrating to myself and so many Patriots fans out there that are like me.

I’m a football fan, so I respect Peyton Manning. He has had a successful career, he is an all-time great, and he has changed the game for the better. Overall, he is a likeable guy. Not all of his commercials are annoying. Although he could care less about how I feel, I do respect him. That being said, I hate the guy.

Manning comes off as the hard-working American. The Budweiser drinkin’ cowboy that worked his way up to becoming a hero. I don’t understand why. Manning was bred to excellence, in a family of quarterbacks. He was the top draft pick in his draft, and had an excellent cast of players to help him become a top QB.

With that being said, he has reinvented the pace of football, become a well-known NFL product and helped make the NFL a worldwide phenomenon of a sport, while also gunning for the title of “America’s Past Time”.

Maybe I hate him because of his success, as I proudly loath the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Lebron James.

Yet that doesn’t make sense either, because the Patriots have typically had his number throughout his successful career.

So I’ll chalk it up to this. Peyton, buddy ol’ pal, you’re an all right guy. I don’t care about HGH, and it’s old news that you rubbed yourself on your trainer (seriously guys I’ve known that for years, keep up), and it’s outstanding that you came back from four neck surgeries and was able to become a starting quarterback again. So I respect you, I respect you as the enemy. You had Bill’s number plenty of times, and always matched up to Brady with weeklong anticipation.

But I hate your fans, and I hate the media around you. I hate how ESPN praised you as the golden boy, and I hate how Goodell treated you as his own child. Wipe away those tears big man, because no matter what I think of you, you’ll go down as one of the greatest. In New England, you’ll be disliked forever. Let’s embrace that, because it only shows how much you challenged this team and it’s fan base over the years.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who people view as the “greatest”. Let’s appreciate we’ve been watching two of the best athletes of all time duke it out for a decade. We won’t see people as impressive as Brady and Manning for years to come, and regardless of how much I’ve hated you growing up, I have to respect you.

And f**k the Jets.