Category Archives: NFL
First we had the poor handling of the Ray Rice investigation.
NFL Commissioner/Warden/Playa Hater/All-Time Procrastinator Roger Goodell meted out the weakest punishment to Rice for knocking the hell out of his then-fiancee at a casino. Goodell originally claimed that he didn’t see the second and most damning video which showed the actual punch. Even though an investigation would back Goodell’s claims, I still find it hard to believe that TMZ got its hands on it and the NFL didn’t.
Next was the poor officiating that we fans had to suffer during much of the season.
While I could bitch and moan about the inconsistent officiating as it pertained to roughing the passer, hitting a “defenseless” offensive player (is any NFL player REALLY defenseless?) and such, let’s just point to the last two playoff games involving the Dallas Cowboys. In their first playoff game vs. the Detroit Lions, there was that infamous pass interference penalty turned no-call that arguably killed the Lions season. And just to show how much karma could be a bee-atch, the Cowboys were screwed the next week vs. the Green Bay Packers when a great catch by Dez Bryant was later ruled incomplete after a replay review, citing that silly “Calvin Johnson rule”.
And last, but not least, the NFL’s perceived bumbling of the New England Patriots and its role in illegally deflating balls before the game vs. the Indianapolis Colts.
Do we REALLY believe that Pats coach Bill Bellicheat did NOT know that the balls were under-inflated? I will say he did a better job of passing the buck to his franchise QB Tom Brady. Speaking of which, do we REALLY that Brady did not notice that the ball did not feel under-inflated?
Look, I’m not saying that the Patriots needed to cheat. And I’m not saying that those under-inflated balls were key in helping the Patriots beat the Colts. New England beat those Colts down so bad, it could have beaten Indy with a damn bowling ball.
It’s about if the Patriots DID cheat and WHY they felt the need to do so. And WHY do they keep pushing the envelope?
There are several questions that Goodell and the NFL have to answer going forward – and quickly. Where is Goodevil and the NFL in this investigation? Why have they not gotten around to talking to Brady? Are Goodell (I’ll stop being childish and stop the silly name-calling) and company waiting for this to blow over not take any measures on New England until after the Super Bowl?
Let’s not forget how hard Goodell came down on the New Orleans Saints. Loss of draft picks. Suspension of coaches, including head coach Sean Payton. Suspension of players like Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, and Scott Fajita. He would not let Payton and others get away with his plausible deniability excuse.
Goodell cannot afford to let Bellicheat and Brady get away with that. If he does let the Patriots get away with little to no punishment, the league would lose any shred of integrity it has left.
No one would take Goodell and the NFL seriously going forward if he doesn’t make a move. Why would fans invest in something in a sport that is no longer authentic?
Simply put, the NFL would be no better than professional wrestling where everything is scripted and favored – where the favored are always Brady, Bellicheat and the New England Patriots.
The Packers for the most part thoroughly – and I mean THOROUGHLY – outplayed the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday’s NFC Championship game. They picked off Russell Wilson FOUR times. They jumped out to an early 16-0 lead. They led 19-7 with five minutes left to go in the game.
And yet they found a way to be outscored 15-3 the rest of regulation before losing in overtime.
So the question is this: who in the hell is to blame for the Packers’ collapse?
Well, the easy scapegoat is Brandon Bostick. He was the boob who not only mishandled the game-changing onside kick, he didn’t do what he was supposed to – block for Jordy Nelson, the designated “hands” on the “hands team”. After all, Packers fans could always say “you only had one job!”
However, I’ll argue that Bostick shouldn’t have been the main object of the fans’ ire. In fact, I’d also argue that things shouldn’t have gotten to that point in the first place.
Let’s engage in a quick review of the game.
The Packers had two 4th and goals from the 1-yard line early in the game. Memo to coaches everywhere: if you are a decided road underdog with a berth in the Super Bowl on the line, you go for it on 4th and goal from the 1-yard line. Period. The Packers should have been up by more than 16-0.
Whenever a team kicks a field goal in those situations, those are not “plus-3s”, they are “minus-4s” (A touchdown, 7 points, minus a field goal, 3 points, is a four-point differential). Green Bay essentially left eight points on the field. Add those eight points, and it would have been a seemingly insurmountable 24-0 lead.
And remember that late interception that Morgan Burnett plucked out of the air with a little over five minutes left in the game? Remember what the subsequent plays the Packers ran? Three straight runs, which the first two losing four and two yards, respectively.
And we won’t go into Julius Peppers making Burnett fall to the ground after the latter made that interception. You see how much room Burnett had in front of him if Peppers (not surprisingly an UNC grad) not gone brain-dead and let him return it? Dude would still be running right now.
(Note: thanks to Twitter for the image)
This is all on the coaching, bad conservative coaching at that. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was NEVER that conservative in any game I watched. It’s as if he forgot that he has arguably the best QB in football right now in Aaron Rodgers.
I mean not going for it on BOTH 4th and goals from the 1-yard line? Not running at least one pass play after that late Morgan interception? REALLY coach???
Oh, and let’s not forget the two special teams gaffes the Packers committed in regulation. First, any pundit would tell you that the Packers had no business being fooled on that fake field goal attempt. Someone should have been at least in the vicinity of the offensive lineman who was inexplicably wide-ass open in the end zone.
And as for that onside kick debacle, Bostick should have been adequately taught to BLOCK instead of go up for the ball in that situation. Sure the player should have known better, but a player should not have frozen at that moment and commit a boneheaded mistake if his job was thoroughly coached.
That’s on the special teams coach.
I’m guessing that the special teams coach will take the fall of the collapse and be canned by week’s end. If McCarthy is truly about accountability, he would also fire himself.
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots. I must say this was not the matchup that I, and millions of fans, expected. I expected (and kind of hoped) to see Peyton Manning and Tom Brady square off for a spot in the Super Bowl for potentially the last time this weekend. Instead we get a whimper-snapper (Andrew Luck) against Brady.
I will say that the Colts have improved dramatically on the defensive side of the ball. It turned in stellar efforts vs. Cincinnati and Denver, and the unit appears to be peaking at the right time. If the defense could somehow neutralize Rob Gronkowski and get some pressure on Brady, the Colts have an excellent shot at pulling an upset.
However, that will be much easier said than done. New England has been virtually unstoppable at home, and Brady appears to be on a mission. Gronk is a hard cover in general, and I don’t see Indy shutting that dude down. Darrell Revis and the Patriots’ D will certainly make life a living hell for Luck, especially since Indy has no running game to speak of. Combine those with head coach Bill Bellicheat’s recent good fortunes vs. Luck, the Patriots will not lose to the Colts.
The Colts’ time will come soon – it just won’t be this year… Patriots 27, Colts 19.
Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks. This will be the game of the day, and thankfully it will be the first game scheduled so we won’t have to wait to watch.
This is a classic matchup between an unstoppable offense vs. an impenetrable defense. Aaron Rodgers – or as Stephen A. Smith calls him, “the BAAAAAAAD man” – is dangerous both in and outside the pocket, and has weapons on the outside. Having Eddie Lacy toting the rock out of the backfield helps take some pressure off Rodgers, making the Packers that more dangerous on offense.
Meanwhile the Seahawks’ D is beyond nasty, it’s downright frightening. That front seven led by Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Bruce Irvin will terrify the hell out of opposing offenses.
And if the front seven is not terrifying enough, the secondary or “The Legion of Boom” give QBs and pass catchers nightmares. Richard Sherman is hands-down the best shutdown cornerback in the league, and strong safety Kam Chancellor is a mountain of a man who is not only a ball-hawk but punishes the hell out of unfortunate pass catchers in his vicinity.
To me, this game will come down to how the Packers’ D will do against Seattle’s offense. Russell Wilson is a stud who has proven that he can get the job done. It’s just that he does not have many weapons outside of Mr. “Beast Mode” himself, Marshawn Lynch. If the Packers could somehow neutralize Lynch and prevent Wilson from creating big plays from his legs, I’d like their chances.
However, it is a tall task for the Packers to win in one of the more hostile environments in the NFL. They do not call the fans at CenturyLink Field “the 12th Man” for nothing… Seahawks 24, Packers 20.
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots. This is one of the better matchups this weekend. I said on Facebook that the winner of last week’s Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers wild card game will make some serious noise in the AFC playoffs, and I’m sticking to that emotion this week.
The Ravens owned the Patriots in the playoffs, going 2-1 in the last three games between these teams – all in Foxborough. And there is a reason for that: Baltimore matches up well with New England. The Ravens have the front seven that will give Tom Brady fits. And even thought their secondary is suspect, the Ravens do a good job of stopping the run and do a great job of rushing the passer. And more importantly, they are not afraid of the Patriots.
I think this will be a close, tightly competitive game. While it’s hard to go against Brady and coach Bill Bellicheat at home, I think the Ravens will pull this one out. And I hope so, because as much as I despise the Ravens, I hate the Patriots THAT much more. Ravens 21, Patriots 19.
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos. It’s Andrew Luck vs. Peyton Manning. New school vs. old school. There are two things that are going against the Colts. First of all, the Colts defense is suspect. Manning is going to pick the Colts’ asses apart and should have much success moving the ball against them. Second, the Colts’ offensive line and running game are just that – offensive. I think the Broncos’ D is going to disrupt Luck and will give him fits the entire game.
And one more thing: something tells me Manning is motivated to get back to the Super Bowl to avenge last years’ curb-stomping to the Seahawks. Broncos 30, Colts 17.
Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks. As excited as I am for Cam Newton winning his first playoff game last week vs. the Cardinals, there is not much to say about his Panthers’ chances in this game. In fact, I think this is going to be an epic curb-stomping in the Seahawks favor.
Let’s examine this for a minute. The Seahawks have the 12th man, a ferocious pass rush, the Legion of Boom, Marshawn Lynch aka Beast Mode, Russell Wilson, and coach Pete Carroll. What do the Panthers have? They have Newton, an okay defense, a pop-gun offense and coach Riverboat Ron. ‘Nuff said.
Prayers go up for Newton and the Panthers’ safety… Seahawks 37, Panthers 14.
Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers. This is the game of the weekend. This is a game feature two of the marquee franchises in all sports. It also features a matchup of two extremes. The Cowboys are undefeated on the road and the Packers are undefeated at home.
One thing that both teams have in common is that they both have suspect defenses. As a result, this will be a high-scoring game. In a game that features two high-powered offenses (another thing both teams have in common), you have to go with the home team. Plus, it is pretty tough to win at Lambeau Field, especially in the playoffs. Packers 35, Cowboys 30.
Playoff record last week: 3-1 (I knew I shouldn’t have jinxed my Steelers. C’est la vie…)
The 2014 NFL playoffs are upon us. And while that means that the regular season is over (unfortunately), the playoffs typically provides football fans with the most exciting football of the season (except if you are a Florida State fan – ouch).
Juicy storylines are abound during this wildcard weekend. There is a divisional rematch that happens the feature the best rivalry in the NFL right now (Steelers-Ravens). Folks are still waiting for the Bengals to win a playoff game for the first time in 1,000 years. There is a matchup of one of the NFL the top offenses hosting the league’s top defense. And finally there is this sub-.500 team that is somehow in the playoffs.
Let the games begin…
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers. There is not a better playoff game than one that features one of the nastiest, vicious rivalries in the NFL. Three times these teams met in the playoffs, and my Steelers have won all three. Like this contest, all three have been in Pittsburgh.
So the question now is, is this the year where the Ravens will FINALLY break through against the arch-rival Steelers? I don’t think so, and it’s because it’s in the Ravens’ heads. WR Torrey Smith complained about how bad the Heinz Field turf is. The rest of the Ravens are chirping about how much they dislike – and respect – the Steelers.
Doesn’t matter that the both teams’ secondaries suck. Doesn’t matter that both QBs are big-time in the postseason. The fact of the matter is that Pittsburgh has the edge on Baltimore in one important area – in between the ears. And that will be all the difference. Steelers 30, Ravens 27.
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts. Will the Bengals win their first playoff game in what seems like an eternity? On paper, they should. They have a better running game led by Jeremy Hill, better wide receivers led by A.J. Green, and a FAR better defense. Unfortunately Cincinnati is deficient in the most important areas: QB and head coach. Andy Dalton could not shine Andrew Luck’s shoes, and Chuck Pagano will coach circles around Marvin Lewis.
That, and the home-field, will be the difference for Indianapolis. Hopefully for Bengals fans Cincinnati will be looking for a new head coach and starting QB in the offseason. Colts 24, Bengals 13.
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers. This is by far the worst of the four wildcard games. This game features a team, while well coached by Bruce Arians, that is devoid of a QB and team that is below .500. I mean sure there is a bit of star power with Cam Newton, but let’s be honest about something: this is not a sexy matchup at all.
However, for those who love defense (like yours’ truly) this is the game to watch. I don’t see either team scoring 20 points. And in a QB-driven league, I have to go with the team with the best QB. Kinda feel bad for the announcers calling this game… Panthers 17, Cardinals 13.
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys. This is the easily the best matchup of the weekend. A top-flight offense hosting one of the best defenses, led by ankle stomper Ndamukong Suh. I would go into more detail of this matchup – including how the Cowboys new “Triplets” Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray will have their way against the Lions’ defense and how Matt Stafford will continue his spotty QB play in Dallas – but it’s getting late and I am tired. Add my disdain of the Cowboys and you have yourselves a black dude who is now in a bad mood.
One more thing before I throw up in my mouth, this will be an epic curb-stomping. Cowboys 34, Lions 16 (now I feel dirty)…
Due to the 49ers’ front office coming down with the most severe case of brain cramping, Jim Harbaugh left the Niners and became the new head coach of the Wolverines.
It’s almost as if the Niners forgot what life was like before Harbaugh arrived. The Niners had losing records between the 20o3 and 2010 seasons. In fact, they sported a 46-82 record. Ouch!
After Mike Singletary when 6-10 in 2010, Harbaugh led San Francisco to a 13-3 record in his first year WITH THE SAME PERSONNEL.
Here’s more. Since Harbaugh’s arrival, San Francisco made three straight trips to the NFC championship game and a runner-up Super Bowl finish after the 2012 season. To sum it up, the Niners were 49–22–1 under Harbaugh, which includes a 5-3 record in the postseason.
Good luck duplicating that success with the next head coach.
I know what y’all are thinking, why in the hell did San Francisco part ways with Harbaugh? It’s simple: ego.
Owner/CEO Jed York and general manager Brent Baalke did not get along at all with Harbaugh. It became a power struggle among the three men to the point where it was hard for all to coexist. It was so bad that it trickled down to the locker room and affect the Niners play all season, injuries notwithstanding.
And y’all know what they say about power struggles: no matter how good you are at your job, if you cannot get along with your boss (or in Harbaugh’s case, BOSSES), your ass will not have that job for long. It’s an unfortunate fact of life, but it is what it is.
Getting back to Michigan, you think the Maize and Blue Nation is happy over Harbaugh coming back to coach his alma mater? Given his track record at Univ. of San Diego and Stanford, I think Michigan will contend almost immediately.
I know one thing, those future Michigan-Ohio State clashes with Harbaugh and Urban Meyer will be epic. And the Big Ten Conference will be forever grateful.
In the meantime, feast your eyes y’all:
1. New England Patriots
2. Seattle Seahawks
3. Green Bay Packers
4. Dallas Cowboys
5. Denver Broncos
6. Pittsburgh Steelers
7. Indianapolis Colts
8. Detroit Lions
9. Arizona Cardinals
10. Cincinnati Bengals
I love my list, so bring on the hate dammit!!! That said, it’s been on helluva year – and I enjoyed it immensely…