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Tom Brady Will Be Punished for Reasons Other Than Deflategate

new-england-patriots-logoLet’s be honest about something.

If this past NFL season were not filled with so much off the field garbage (Ray Rice incident, other players beating the hell out of their women), this whole “Deflategate” nonsense would have been swept under the rug.  I mean, what QB doesn’t want his balls at certain weights and textures (snicker)?

As far as I am concerned, QBs toying with the amount of air in footballs are as common as offensive lineman holding on every play.  It’s part of the game, no big deal.

However, when you are Tom Brady and the QB of one of the most polarizing organizations in all of sports, you are treated differently.  Of course with that comes the good and the bad.

The “good” should be obvious.

Brady gets the benefit of the doubt when it comes to overall treatment from the NFL.  You could pass gas in his direction and draw a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  Hell the NFL made a rule in how defenders should hit the QB thanks to an early season-ending injury he suffered vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.

We have never really seen the “bad” in all this, until now.

Brady has been getting all sorts of attention over his role in Deflategate since Super Bowl week.  He didn’t help himself in being evasive in answering any Deflategate questions.  And now there is talk over how this will affect his legacy as a future potential first-ballot Hall of Famer.

And this is all without any smoking guns from the Wells Report.  It’s almost as if folks were like “now we’ve got this sonofabtich on SOMETHING!  Let’s get him!”

Let me disclose something for y’all: I hate the New England Patriots.

To me, they are the Dallas Cowboys of this generation.  Their organization thrives off of living in the grey area, fudging with the rules JUST ENOUGH to give them at edge that keeps them near the top.

So this Pittsburgh Steelers fan would LOVE it if Brady’s ass is suspended at least for our opening Thursday night game.

The impending punishment Brady (and perhaps other Patriots personnel) will receive is almost like a cumulative dubious lifetime achievement award in cheating.  The illegal taping of opponents the Patriots performed seasons ago is much more egregious than deflating footballs.

Simply put, the Patriots have given us the perception that they are nothing but bonafide cheaters who have gotten away with it and have the Super Bowl titles to show for it.

Again, I think Deflategate is much ado about nothing.  But the combination of the Patriots past history of getting over and Brady not cooperating and being forthcoming with the investigators will be Brady’s undoing.

And this Patriots hater will enjoy every minute of it.

What in Tarnation Is Going on in Philly?

Philadelphia-EaglesIt’s official: Chip Kelly has lost his damn mind.

It wasn’t enough for the Philadelphia Eagles head coach to release big-play WR DeSean Jackson last season.  It wasn’t enough for Kelly to trade away his best player in RB LeSean McCoy.  And trading for the oft-injured QB Sam Bradford was one thing, but re-signing another stiff QB in Mark Sanchez – while trading away a competent QB in Nick Foles – was a head-scratcher.

And oh yes, and the racist himself Riley Cooper is still employed by the team (while letting Jeremy Maclin go).

So one would think that Kelly would just slow his roll a little bit and focus on the upcoming draft, right?  WRONG!

For some reason, Kelly gave Tim Tebow a one-year, $3 million contract yesterday.  You read that right folks.

This was the same Tim Tebow whose QBR is the worst ever among starting QBs.  The same Tebow who was (and still is) such a polarizing figure in all of sports.  The same Tebow whose presence alone will generate a media circus that I thought had gone away for good.

And worst of all, I get to see a certain ESPN personality do THIS again…

Hey Eagles fans, I wish I could tell y’all that it’s gonna be alright and things should work itself out in the end, but I’d be lying to y’all.

I really do not know what Kelly is up to.  I don’t know if he is going to flip Bradford or another player for an extra 1st round pick (good luck with that).  I’m just scratching my bald head right now while wondering “huh?”

Look, it may be a bit admirable for Kelly do things his way in the sense that if he does fail, at least it would be with him doing things HIS way.  I’m just saying what’s the point?  Why the need for showing players on the team who’s boss at the expense of ridding yourself of your best players?

I just don’t get it.  And from the looks of things, neither do Eagles fans.

Michael Sam Is Doing More Harm to His NFL Future

NFL-LogoLet me start by saying I am fan of Michael Sam.  Not only do I think Sam could play in the NFL, I want the young brother to succeed in doing so.

The problem is that he is making it harder for himself to realize that dream.

Sam recently gave a speech and Q&A session in Dallas recently when he said he was not the only gay person in the NFL. Here’s more:

“I’m just saying there is a lot of us. I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL.

“The players who have reached out to me and told me about their sexual orientation, it just means a lot. But I will never say anything about who they are, what teams they are [on]. I’m just saying there’s some famous people, and I’m not the only one.”

As far as I know, Sam probably was just answering an audience member’s question.  I’d imagine that after giving such a speech, Sam (or anyone else) would have no choice but to be candid during a Q&A session.

And to be sure, there are gay players in the NFL.  If the NFL mirrors society’s demographics, there would be quite a few such players in the NFL.  And hold on to your hats (or toupees for the balding readers), but I’m pretty sure there are coaches AND teammates who know who those gay players are – and likely do not give a damn.

I just think that there are coaches – and probably some players – who are getting a little tired Michael Sam’s act.  It’s not just because the brother is gay, it’s because teams hate, and I mean HATE, distractions.

No one wants to put up with the media circus that Sam would bring in the locker room, especially for a guy who can’t run (he clocked a 4.99 40-yard dash at the NFL veteran combine).  Far too many people in the NFL are still smarting from the Tim Tebow experience, even though most of it was through no fault of his own.

Even though Sam hoped that his sexuality was not the reason why he couldn’t stick to an NFL roster last year, I’ll take it a step further and say that his OPENNESS about his sexuality before even being drafted had a huge part in him not playing last season.   In fact, if he kept his sexuality to himself I think he would have been drafted much higher, maybe in the third or fourth round.

Do I think it’s wrong that the former SEC co-defensive player of the year has not caught onto an NFL roster?  Absolutely.

It’s not like Sam had a bad 2014 preseason with the St. Louis Rams.  He acquitted himself in the Rams’ last two preseason games, including a two-sack performance vs. the Cleveland Browns.  Word was that Sam was barely beaten out by an undrafted free agent during that preseason.

I just think that Sam should have focused his efforts on working harder on his measurables and concentrated on having a good Combine showing for teams interested in his services instead of looking to be a celebrity/activist.

As I have learned as a black man in America, sometimes one has to play the game in order to get to where he/she needs to be.  It’s not right, but it is what it is – especially in a society where he/she is in the minority.

Sam would be more effective if he were speaking out for gay rights while being firmly entrenched on an NFL roster.  The more Sam keeps speaking out on gay rights while remaining unemployed, the more radioactive he becomes.

Thoughts on 2015 NFL Free Agency

NFLWell, the NFL’s free agency period is here – and the magnitude of player movement does not disappoint.  Here are a few observations I made this early into the signing/trading period.

The Indianapolis Colts are going “all-in” in 2015.

The Colts signed RB Frank Gore and WR Andre Johnson earlier in the week.  Great moves by the Colts if I do not say so myself.

You have to believe that Andrew Luck is somewhere doing the “Neutron Dance“.  He finally has dependable weapons to get the ball to and doesn’t have to do it all himself.  I think the Colts brass learned that they cannot win in the postseason with Luck shouldering such a heavy load.

Ya think last year’s playoff loss to the New England Patriots didn’t inspire Indy to get better on the offensive side of the ball?  I didn’t think so.

The Miami Dolphins WAY overpaid for Ndamukong Suh.

It’s not everyday when you see a defensive tackle gets paid more than the top quarterbacks in the NFL.  $114 million contract with an NFL-record $60 million guaranteed.   That’s a lot of money for a dude who since 2010, he amassed 36 sacks and 239 tackles.

I’m sure Suh will help the Dolphins’ run defense, which ranked 24th last season (while Detroit had the top-ranked run defense with Suh anchoring the line).  I’m just saying that it’s a lot of money to be tied up into one dude while Miami needs more offensive weapons to help QB Ryan Tannenhill.

Besides, what if Suh reverts to his “Mr. Stomp A Lot” and miss some time?  Would it be worth it then?

The New York Jets look a lot better right now.

Those cheers we are hearing are from Darrelle Revis coming back to the Jets.  Was the five-year, $70 million contract (with $39 million guaranteed) Revis signed a bit much?  Sure it was, but if your team has a chance to bring in the best cover corner in the NFL (sorry Richard Sherman) you’d better believe your ass would be clamoring to bring him in.

The Jets also made another good move in acquiring Brandon Marshall from the Chicago Bears.  That gives QB Geno Smith (or whomever will be the starting QB) a big-time weapon in the passing game.

Patriot Nation may not be happy about Revis leaving, but at least its Patriots have a Super Bowl win to show for his services.  Right?

What in the hell is Chip Kelly doing?

Where in the hell do I begin with this guy?

First of all, Kelly got rid of deep threat DeSean Jackson last season.  Kelly then traded away his best offensive player in LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for an injured linebacker (who was a stud his rookie season).  He had Frank Gore renege on a promise to sign with the Eagles.

And now he traded QB Nick Foles for Sam “My Ass Is Always Injured” Bradford?  Really?

I understand a coach wanting to mold a team into his own image, and that there is nothing wrong with coaches trusting their systems.  But this shit is ridiculous.

Kelly is trying to turn the Eagles into the Oregon Ducks right before our eyes.

I wrote a rant saying that systems do not win in the NFL, good players do.  I think Kelly is going to learn that the hard way after making all of those silly-ass moves.

Memo to Chip Kelly: Players, not Systems, Win in the NFL

Philadelphia-EaglesWhen I first learned of the LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso trade, two thoughts entered my mind:

  • Did Chip Kelly fall and bump his head?
  • He must REALLY want to change Philadelphia’s mascot to the Ducks.

All kidding aside, one thing was apparent when that trade went down: Kelly was hell bent on the Eagles being HIS team.

Don’t believe me?  Let’s take a gander of the personnel moves Kelly made since leaving the University of Oregon to coach Philly.

The first major move he made was getting DeSean Jackson out of town.  Despite Jackson being one of the premier deep threats in the NFL, Kelly soured on Jackson’s “me-first” attitude.  In Kelly’s eyes, Jackson was not about the team and wasn’t too fond of his system.  Kelly, along with Eagles management, went out of his way in sullying Jackson’s reputation.

Remember all those “leaks” about Jackson’s possible gang affiliations?  Yeah, I do too.

The next dominoes to fall were defensive end/outside linebacker Trent Cole and cornerback Cary Williams, with the latter being used like toilet tissue by even the lesser star receivers last season.

And in the biggest bombshell to date, Kelly jettisoned McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for Alonso.  Sure McCoy didn’t have a stellar seasons by his own standards (scoring only five touchdowns), but he did still rush for over 1,300 yards (1,319 to be exact) and averaged over four yards a carry.  He was the engine that made the Eagles offense go the last few seasons.

Yet Kelly believed in Alonso, who while having a stellar rookie season (amassing 159 tackles) missed all of last season due to injury.  Oh, and he also played under Kelly at Oregon.

In moving McCoy, Kelly believes more in his system more so than the personnel.  His offenses at Oregon set college football on fire, and he is more than sure that same offensive system will tear NFL defenses apart.

And while having and adhering to a system is all fine and dandy, Kelly must be careful of not learning the same lesson that other like-minded coaches made before him: players, not systems, make NFL coaches successful.

There are plenty of those cautionary tales in the NFL.

Mike Shanahan is regarded as one of the best offensive minds in football.  Yet after QB John Elway retired, Shanahan’s record has been mediocre at best.  The dumpster fire in Washington only sullied Shanahan’s rep as an offensive guru even more.

John Gruden is another offensive guru of sorts.  Gruden never had the offensive firepower in Tampa Bay as he did in Oakland with QB Rich Gannon leading the way.

And we all know what happened to the likes of Marc Trestman and *gasp* George Seiffert.

Look, I’m not saying that Kelly is guaranteed to fall on his face for believing that an offensive system that was successful in college could work in the NFL.  I think he has the moxie to do his best in realizing that goal.

I’m just saying that no matter how successful one’s offensive (or defensive) system may be, it won’t translate to wins if any coach does not have the talented players to execute said system.

Hell if Boo-Boo the Fool was coaching an NFL team full of talented players, he’d be guaranteed at least division titles.  Just look at Barry Switzer…

Salary Caps Suck, Just Ask the Cowboys

Dallas_CowboysFor those of you who are familiar with my blog, y’all know that I am a Dallas Cowboys hater.  Check that, I am an AVID Dallas Cowboys hater.

That said, the NFL’s salary cap will screw Dallas in its attempt to re-sign both Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray.

The Cowboys will place the franchise tag on the All-Pro wide receiver by Monday’s deadline, which will guarantee Bryant $13 million in 2015.  As a result if a team were to be interested in acquiring Bryant’s services, it would have to give up two first-round picks if Dallas chooses not to match an offer sheet.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys will let Murray test the market – and may not re-sign him.

Let’s be real about something: Bryant and Murray were the driving forces in the Cowboys’ resurgence last season.  Murray proved to be an unstoppable force toting the rock on his way to a rushing title.  As for Bryant, his physicality and competitiveness gave the Cowboys an edge that few could attempt to match.

And the almighty salary cap will prevent the Cowboys from being able to re-sign either player – or maybe both.

I understand that the salary cap is meant to be an equalizer that ensures competitive balance in the NFL.  I also like the fact that the NFL is nothing like Major League Baseball in that the same few teams are not good every season.  Fans of every NFL team have hope at the beginning of every season.

However, I think that teams who are smart in their personnel moves should be rewarded in being able to keep their own players.  If anything, the NFL should adapt a “soft-cap” rule similar to that of the NBA.  At least it would give Dallas a chance at keeping both Bryant and Murray.  And in turn it would give QB Tony Romo his top two offensive playmakers back.

Instead, the “hard” salary cap forces every NFL team to choose which of its stars to keep.  It’s a shame that those teams can’t capitalize off of their success from previous seasons.

Long live the NFL…

 

The Cleveland Browns Are a Friggin’ Mess

cleveland_brownsLet me make something clear.

I am a BIG Pittsburgh Steelers fan, which means I despise the Baltimore Ravens, and hate the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, and lately the New England Patriots. So I am admittedly not coming from an objective point of view in terms of talking Browns football.

However I DO believe in getting the facts and the facts are this: the Browns franchise is one of the most dysfunctional in all of sports.

How does one explain having the general manager Ray Farmer (who I grew up with in Kernersville, NC) allegedly sending texts to the coaching staff on the sidelines not only criticizing the plays being called, but suggesting some plays that should be called! Who the hell did he think he was, the head coach?

How else does one explain an offensive coordinator wanting out of town after ONLY ONE YEAR on the job? Kyle Shanahan got on that first train out of Cleveland when he could, didn’t he?

Their so-called QB of the future Johnny Manziel is now in rehab. While it’s too bad that he is in rehab, it wasn’t like Johnny Football was tearing it up in his two starts last season. I guess that’s what happens when the general manager, ownership and the coaching staff is not on the same page on personnel matters – specifically as it pertains to drafting a franchise QB in the first round.

The messed up part is the Browns actually played well last season. Keep in mind that they were 7-4 at one point last season.

But alas, for every step the Browns take forward, something slaps their asses four or five steps back. That alone should drive Browns fans to drink.

I guess I should lift the Browns Nation’s spirits a bit and throw them a bone.

There is some cause for excitement next season.

There is some cause for excitement.

Manziel’s entry into rehab may signal that the QB will take a “more mature, measured approach to the game of football next season,” a rather optimistic take by Football Betting Center. Whatever the case, even if Manziel only reaches Hoyer-esque levels of prodcution, that still leaves the Browns with a competitive squad.

The case of making chicken salad out of chicken poop perhaps?

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