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Posts Tagged ‘Peyton Manning’

Instead Of Giving Away All Those Pizzas With Peyton Manning, How About Papa John’s Just Pay Their Employees?

In Media, NFL on September 21, 2013 at 10:22 am

By Jonathan Danielson

Before we even start, I want to apologize to you. I know I haven’t been around that much. We all haven’t. Chris got a new gig writing about the Steelers, the Jeffs are busy, Mimmo’s Mimmo, Kevin’s writing about copy machines, and we’ve all had big events pop up in our lives that took us away from this. From you.

And we’re sorry.

For me, I got a new job teaching college, so between an 800 mile move, lesson planning, grading, grading,  grading, and grading, I’ve been a bit busy. Who knew it took eight hours to prepare for a one hour lecture on Marduk and the Enuma elish?

Only by hour eight did I realize this "Marduk" was not the Marduk I was supposed to be lecturing on.

Only by hour eight did I realize this “Marduk” was not the Marduk I was supposed to be lecturing on.

Regardless, sometimes something will happen that makes me so angry, I have to try to make you angry about it as well.

And while the obvious topic would appear to be the Dodgers taking a classless swim at Chase Field, we all have to understand that the Dodgers are from Los Angeles, a place where it’s socially acceptable to OD on crack in someone’s bathroom at a dinner party. I saw Pulp Fiction, I know how these people think.

Besides,  John McCain pretty much summed up everything I would have written anyway.

"Dicks!"

“Dicks!”

So instead of the Dodgers buying the NL West, the thing that got me so upset is Papa John’s Pizza. Specifically, eight Papa John’s locations in Sacramento that decided to close their doors on payday, and leave their employees high and dry.

Per The Blaze, Papa John’s pizza shut their doors in Sacramento, and instead of paying  their employees for services already worked, they taped a note to the window that more or less said, “Sorry Charley, go ask the Government for help.”

Then, via their Facebook page, the Papa John’s corporate office more or less told these workers, “Man that sucks. Work with the people who just screwed you over to figure this out. Oh, and we’ll start up a relief fund.”

Let’s be clear, this is not Hurricane Katrina. This is not a terrorist event or a national disaster. This is fifty employees who, while working under the Papa John’s name, were stolen from by an individual franchise. These employees worked the hours they were supposed to work and they were not compensated for it. These are people making minimum wage during tough economic times, and instead of the corporate office stepping up and making it right by just cutting them a check for what is owed them and then dealing with their franchise later, they said, hey, we’ll set up some red tape. 

And, good luck paying your bills for the time being.

"Boy Papa, we sure look like robber barons at this point, don't we?" "We sure do Peyton."

“Boy Papa, we sure look like robber barons at this point, don’t we?” “We sure do Peyton.”

If Papa John’s can afford to offer half-off pizzas every time a local baseball team wins, or millions of free pizzas during football season, they can afford fifty checks that the franchise’s workers already earned. Lets do the math here : If minimum wage in California is $8 an hour, and the average Paper John’s worker works 30 hours a week, one check would be $240. Times that by be the fifty and that’s $12,000.

$12,000 may sound like a lot, but how much are a million free pizzas? While it might have been the individual franchise that failed here, they failed under the Papa John’s name. And somewhere, the buck’s got to stop.

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Wes Welker And The New Pope: A Plot Uncovered

In NFL on March 17, 2013 at 7:14 am

By Jeff Weyant

Is there a connection? *cue lightning strike and thunder clap*

“Wes Welker,” for many New Englanders, is no longer a proper noun denoting a specific human being. It’s a curse word that may or may not refer to the person who may or may not have left the Patriots organization and then may or may not have joined the team that may or may not be quarterbacked by Peyton Manning who may or may not be known as The Person Who’s Delaying Tom Brady’s Universal Acknowledgement As Man’s Greatest Achievement. To put it another way, most Patriots fans are wondering just how in the hell this happened.

Luckily, I have a perfectly reasonable and obviously incontrovertible explanation that will withstand whatever perspicacious force one might bring against it.

To begin, did anyone notice that the announcement of Welker’s organizational shift (naturally by Adam Schefter) came just minutes before white smoke appeared atop the Vatican, signalling that the conclave of Cardinals had elected a new pontiff? I did. And that’s when the wheels started turning.

Remembering everything I’d learned from Dan Brown’s masterpiece The Da Vinci Code, I rushed around Paris and London with an attractive French woman, scouring the catacombs of churches and the mansions of elderly weirdos in an effort to uncover the origin of such an amazing confluence of events.

The first clue was the one already mentioned above, that the two events were reported on Twitter, humanity’s bastion of truth and wonder, at nearly the same time. And it’s relevant that Welker’s deal was reported before the election of a new pontiff, because if Jose Mario Bergoglio was declared pope and then Welker left New England for Denver, people would have caught on too quickly. The Vatican is run by highly intelligent individuals who understand the complex rules of cat-and-mouse, cloak-and-dagger politics and so they ordered the information in such a way as to throw off the scent of amateur gumshoes. Fortunately I’m a professional, having schooled myself early on in life with the legends and myths of Philip Marlowe and Harry Potter, two of the greatest sleuths of the last one hundred years.

One used wands and magic, the other cigarettes and women. They’re basically the same person.

My mind racing, it occurred to me that Tom Brady, Welker’s former best friend quarterback, was raised as a Roman Catholic and that he and his current wife, Gisele Bündchen, were married in a ceremony that was, according to the tireless journalists at E! and People, “intimate” and “private” and “Catholic.” It then occurred to me that Tom Brady, eighteen months earlier, had a child out of wedlock with Bridget Moynahan, a practice frowned upon by the Catholic Church. Furthermore, the new pope is the first ever Jesuit. Tom Brady is not a Jesuit. The Church, it seemed to me, was moving in a new direction, and perhaps Brady was going to be left behind?

Now came a flood of revelations, bombarding my faculties like a squadron of eagles hell-bent on tearing apart my brain: (1) Brady leans Republican in his political affiliations but refuses to admit this publicly, much to the chagrin of the conservative hierarchy, of which the Catholic hierarchy are life-long council members. And as everyone knows, if you can’t affirm something publicly, private affirmation is useless (I believe credit for this belief is owed to Plato or maybe Bart Simpson). (2) Brady dances like this, which is quite obviously an affront to Catholic honor and nobility. It’s an action which aims to single-handedly overturn everything St. Peter worked for when the founded the Church some two thousand years ago. A grievous slight indeed. And (3) Denver has a larger population of Hispanic Catholics than Boston, and since the election of an Argentine bishop is clearly an affirmation that Hispanic Catholicism is the future of global Catholicism, it only makes sense to empower Denver and weaken Boston, right?

With all this clear in my mind, still something was missing, some variable in the equation that was unknown. I tried and re-tried the calculus over and over again and still something was wrong. Sure, Brady angered the Vatican on multiple occasions. Sure, Denver seems like a fitting place to assign allegiance if you’re the Pope. But that wasn’t enough to satisfy my analytical faculties. I felt like I was overlooking some important aspect of the situation. What could it be?

PEYTON MANNING PLAYS FOR THE DENVER BRONCOS.

And suddenly all was revealed.

If you’re the Vatican and you want to stick it to one of your high-profile members, what better foil to Tom Brady than Peyton Manning? Aside from on-the-field associations, Manning has every trump card over Brady: Manning has a stable family, a wife and two kids, no out-of-wedlock children, and the sort of comedic, southern drawl that puts people at ease and gives everybody the impression of a devout and faithful father. To that end, he prays a lot (you might even say religiously), before games, after games, during games, and he’s the kind of Christian who tries hard to not display his devotion, avoiding the public eye when he affirms his faith. In addition, Manning has donated thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns over the years, including those of John McCain and George W. Bush, and is not shy about admitting his political affiliations. And, finally, Manning is rumored by many to be God Himself.

And so it all makes sense. The Catholic Church wants to move in a new direction, tired of European Popes and their Eurocentric outlook. So they look to South America and grant the papacy to a famous Argentine, a Jesuit no less. And from there a chain reaction occurs: Tom Brady’s transgressions are no longer overlooked because of his athletic prowess and the New England Patriots and their quarterback lose favor with the Vatican as a deal is worked out behind closed doors – by the same Cardinals who elected Pope Francis – to send Wes Welker from the Patriots to the Broncos where Peyton Manning, The Chosen One, commands a Christian army baptized originally by Tim Tebow, a clear signal as to the future of Catholicism on planet Earth.

My mystery solved, my work done, I lay down in the nearest bed with a cold sweat. A fever raged as the last 22.5 minutes of effort took its toll on the physical cage we call a body. Thankfully, after five minutes of deserved relaxation, the worst was over and I arose from my humble pallet to dictate the revelations contained herein. Because the truth couldn’t wait – I had to tell the world what I knew!

But what the world does with that truth? It’s out of my hands.

We’re Back!

In College, MLB, MMA, NBA, NFL, NHL on January 7, 2013 at 10:34 am

By Jonathan Danielson

I know we’re a week late on this, but Happy New Year everyone, to one and all.

Right click here, and play the video in the background while you read this article.

Right-click here, and play the video in the background while you read the article.

And while I know it’s been a few weeks since we’ve posted anything (except Carosi valiantly coming through with an NFL Playoff article last week), I’m excited to announce that Hittoleftfield is back from our well-deserved holiday hiatus, and will start 2013 with new articles, new insights, and maybe a new writer (or two) in the very foreseeable future.

So what did we miss while we were away?

Nothing really. Angels owner Arte Moreno woke up one day and decided to randomly give Josh Hamilton $125 million dollars. “Black Monday” saw seven coaches and a bunch of GM’s get canned. Because I was on vacation, I couldn’t do my final NFL Power Rankings (1. Denver, 2. Seattle, 3. Who Cares?) update my current playoff picks (I chose every team that won yesterday), or my give a new and shiny Super Bowl prediction.

(Side Note: I started the season with a Baltimore/San Francisco, but am now totally on board with a Seattle/Denver. Think about it; in order for that old AFC West showdown to happen, Seattle would have to beat #1-seed Atlanta, which is totally doable since #1-seeds rarely make it to the Super Bowl, and, in their last three playoff appearance, the Falcons have lost to Arizona (2008), Green Bay (2010), and New York (2011). What do those three teams have in common? They all went on to become the eventual NFC Champion. Seattle would then go against either their current divisional rival, the San Francisco 49ers, or in the more desirable matchup, Green Bay, the victim of the Monday Night Fiasco,and we all know how that went down. 

On the flip side, Denver would have to beat the current team from Baltimore with the old quarterback of the old team from Baltimore, then, since Houston won’t beat the Patriots, will have to go against the Golden Boy himself, Tom Brady, in a classic Brady-Manning Bowl for the ages. If Houston does beat the Pats, which they won’t, Manning would then have to against the team he kept in the gutter for more than a decade. You couldn’t write a better story, and what helps this Seattle/Denver Super Bowl dream become even more realistic is that both teams are the hottest tickets in the NFL right now. Fingers crossed!)

We missed some other stuff too. Los Angeles became a Clippers town, the NHL labor dispute finally and mercifully ended, baseball writers everyone have publicly freaked out over how they’re filling-out their Hall of Fame ballots, Justin Upton is still on the trading block, Junior do Santos took a beating like the Terminator, and kept coming back for more, Chip Kelly is not leaving Oregon, Django Unchained was flipping awesome, and while that has nothing to do with anything about sports, I’m sure I would have found one way to include it in at least one article or another, and Rex Ryan revealed his horrible tattoo.

Which is worse? Rex got his wife tattooed, or that weird looking lady? That was a "Mark Sanchez is Rex Ryan's wife" joke. Oh, never mind.

Which is worse? Rex got his wife tattooed, or that weird looking lady? That was a “Mark Sanchez is really Rex Ryan’s wife” joke. Get it? Get it? Oh, never mind.

But let’s not dwell in the past, and what we’ve missed, and look forward, onward, into the future. Hittoleftfield is expanding, we are trying to bring you more and more content everyday, and for those of you who have read us from the start, or those of you who are reading your first article ever right, we thank you for your support, and your continued support into 2013.

Thanks for reading, and it’s nice to see you again. No matter how long a vacation, sometimes it’s good to finally come home.

Oh, and lastly, tonight Notre Dame plays Alabama in the BCS Championship game tonight. Like everyone else living in a state that wasn’t once part of the Confederacy, I’m rooting for Notre Dame, but I know Alabama will most likely win, because I know no one pays better than the SEC.

So Roll Tide, I guess.

Either way, thanks again, and stay tuned.

Wild Card Round Team Preview: Birds, Big Cats, Meat Packers, & Twinkies

In NFL on January 3, 2013 at 10:57 am

by Chris Carosi

There were some surprises at the conclusion of this NFL year, and the match-ups for this weekend’s games are quite interesting. Some are familiar (Houston/Cincy, Green Bay/Minnesota), and others are brand new (Washington/Seattle, Baltimore/Indy).

The AFC is very top heavy right now. The best two teams (Denver and New England) are unquestionably set up to meet in the championship game. It’s almost too good to be true. By that I mean it totally sucks.

In the NFC, your guess is as good as mine. The 49ers stealing home-field at the last minute is HUGE for them, and might work out to be the difference between another NFC title game in San Francisco or another disappointment for them. I know I know, every game is difficult and all bets are off and blah blah. I’m pretty sure the Niners can beat anybody on their home field.

The most important thing to think about during this time of year is that it will be fun and beer still exists. Let’s break down all 8 teams, shall we?

The Wonder Dog: Houston Texans (AFC 3rd Seed, vs. CIN)

Houston is in a very strange position right now. Fresh off two loses to lesser teams and yet solidly poised to face the white-hot Cincinnati Bengals. If they win that game, they head right into New England to face the team that completely destroyed them in Week 14. Not easy. Houston screwed up their home field chances, that’s true. Overlooking Minnesota at Reliant Stadium was really bad for morale; but, they are my only hope to make sure Denver or New England do not make it all the way.

Super Bowl hopes: War of Attrition

The Cancer Is Not Funny Card: Indianapolis Colts (AFC 5th Seed, @ BAL)

Indy is an amazing story because they are fueled by pure love. At this point, their offense is carrying the load and that is not good for their playoff hopes. They are playing an absolutely miserable Baltimore team that has limped half-dead, bleeding, and asleep into their division title. The Colts offense is very good (almost too good) and their Defense is meh. Baltimore’s play is akin to what it sounds like when you squish a warm Twinkie in your fist. I’m not saying it, but I’m just saying…

Super Bowl hopes: Shot Down Somewhere Over Denver

Rejected tagline: “A horseshoe is just a heart that fits a horse’s foot.”

The Ginger: Cincinnati Bengals (AFC 6th Seed, @ HOU)

Another kind of amazing story. I have slept on Cincinnati all year and they have made me pay dearly. I will continue to sleep on them. Their success had a lot to do with their solid defense, which ranks in the top ten in nearly every defensive category and smart play by Dalton and company. No one is afraid of Cincinnati, and that’s precisely why they are dangerous. As soon as someone takes them seriously, they are beaten.

Super Bowl hopes: Freckled at best

The Walking Dead: Baltimore Ravens (AFC 4th Seed, vs. IND)

Baltimore has the opportunity to fail up. Given their miserable second half–squandering home field and getting snake bit by their inferior division rival–their fourth division title feels like a medal for participation. They did however earn a completely winnable game against the Colts in the First Round. They have the tools to beat New England in the second round, but would be smoked off the turf by Jesus Christ–whoops, I meant Peyton Manning–whoops, I meant the Denver Broncos. Baltimore has the leadership they need in the form of Ray Lewis coming back and announcing his retirement as well as others who are rested. But maybe that’s unnecessary pressure? Wait a minute, I’ve already picked the Colts to win.

Super Bowl hopes: Nevermore

This is a picture of Joe Flacco taking the field.

The Sexy Girl: Seattle Seahawks (NFC 5th Seed, @ WSH)

Seattle is the team that everybody at your work is like, “Hey, watch out for Seattle, man.” I don’t blame them. They dominate on home field, have stunning defense and a fun, spastic offense lead by “2 Short” Russell Wilson. They murdered a vulnerable 49ers team two weeks ago in the midst of a 5-0 run that saw their offense averaging 39 points a game. Their only weakness is playing away from Qwest Field, where they had all 5 of their loses. Seeing as they MUST win three away games to get in (unless they meet the Vikings in the NFC title game), it’s going to be tough. Maybe next year.

Super Bowl hopes: Skinny Dipping in the Pugent Sound in Winter

The 4 x 4: Minnesota Vikings (NFC 6th Seed, @ GB)

Minnesota’s formula is very simple and obvious but very effective: “We will run the ball. Try to stop it.” I don’t think they are this way by choice, but that’s the way the year turned out. Once Adrian Peterson was seriously predicting he’d break the single-season rushing record, it was all hands on deck. They won four games in a row to close out the regular season with hard-fought victories against Houston and Green Bay. They get Green Bay back again at Lambeau, which is not good. The last time they met in the playoffs at Lambeau, Randy Moss was fake-rubbing his naked rear end on the goal post and the Vikings earned an upset. Can’t imagine Christian Ponder completing more than 10 passes.

Super Bowl hopes: Of course not

This was like punching a baby on live TV to the NFL. Loved it.

The Wonder Dog II: Green Bay Packers (NFC 3rd Seed, vs. MIN)

What the Packers lost at the beginning of the year they usurped by sheer will by its conclusion: leap-frogging Chicago and fending off Minnesota for their second consecutive NFC North title. They are certainly poised for another run, even given the extensive and exhausting list of injured for Saturday’s game. Their defense is not getting a rest against the Minnesota run game, but they have the tools to win anyway. A win means they play the 49ers, which would be awesome for me as far as entertainment. If they get past SF, they go all the way.

Super Bowl hopes: Realistic

The Last Man Standing: Washington Redskins (NFC 4th Seed, vs. SEA)

After surviving the Mexican stand-off that is the NFC East, Washington comes out of the dust with a home playoff game and a good chance of advancing. Their offense has proven to be elastic as well as scrappy, rotating TWO rookie quarterbacks and winning huge games. They are not exceptionally balanced on offense with a fantastic running game (this is a Mike Shanahan-coached team we’re talking about here) and a so-so passing attack with chances for random brilliance. Their defense will be tested by Seattle as they are imbalanced as well (30th against the pass, 5th against the run). A win will likely get them a date with Atlanta, which will be hugely entertaining but not a likely win.

Super Bowl hopes: Wounded Knee

“I have two glass eyes. Go Redskins.”

Parting of the Ways

In Media, NFL on December 13, 2012 at 7:59 am

by Chris Carosi

With three weeks left in this typically ridiculous NFL season, all the pieces seem to be moving towards a finish. Let’s take a look at what appears to be true and if it will be pan out by season’s end:

1. Manning Brady Manning Brady Manning Brady etc. etc. etc.

To the glee and delight of network executives across these United Estates, the Peyton Manning led Denver Broncos and the Tom Brady coerced New England Patriots will probably be meeting in the AFC playoffs barring any crazy upsets (please god) in the second round. If the NFL’s wet dream truly comes to fruition, the two will meet on the snowy grounds of Foxboro (or Denver actually, if the Broncos get lucky) with the entire universe watching and many pointless cuts to Brady or Manning standing around doing nothing on the sideline while the other is on the field. When that happens, I will be extraordinarily drunk and rooting for both defenses to crush the bones of these two gentlemen. Oh wait, that’s part of why the media is so excited. You win this round, NFL. God help us all if the Patriots make it to another Super Bowl.

Is it true? Yeah I guess. Damn it.

“Pssh, talk to me after you’ve impregnated TWO supermodels.”

2. The AFC North is a collection of beta bullies.

All three AFC North teams lost last week in games they probably should have won. While the Steelers flounder the energy of enormous upsets with soul-crushing losses to terrible teams, the Ravens are just crappy right now, and the Bengals are… the Bengals. Without a doubt, two of these three teams will make the playoffs. But which? Who will stand up for what they believe in?! Let’s review:

Baltimore

  • Fired their offensive coordinator
  • Have a quarterback that plays like he’s asleep
  • Lost to Charlie Batch (!) on their home field
  • Refuse to give Ray Rice more than 15 carries

Pittsburgh

  • Lost to Tennessee, Oakland, Cleveland, and San Diego (I just got disappointment chills thinking about it)
  • Have an offensive line that can’t stay healthy or consistent
  • Lost to Tennessee, Oakland, Cleveland, and San Diego (Oh god, I’m having PTSD flashbacks)

Cincinnati

  • I’ll get back to you

Is it true? Oh yes. But if a dethroning of Manning/Brady can happen, it will be one of these teams. Mark my words. For my money, the safe bet is Baltimore and Pittsburgh to make the cut; however, if Cincinnati beats Pittsburgh next week, they deserve the sixth slot. There is of course an outside possibility that all three will make the playoffs like last year. That would be something.

Every time Charlie Batch smiles, a sick child believes in miracles.

3. The Bears have imploded so far they have no concept of their basic atomic structure.

Chicago had absolute ownership of the NFC North five weeks ago. They had the territory marked and boundaries set, with chewed up honeycombs on the border or whatever the hell actual bears do in the wild. However, after they lost to Houston in a rugged, rainy game on their home field, things began to fall apart. Injuries. Lapses in their formally world-beating defense. More injuries. This week, they play a Green Bay team that has risen with Aaron Rodgers looking so cold he has to practice in a steam room just to keep his muscles alive. It’s over for Chicago unless they get lucky on the back end (Green Bay has to lose).

Is it true? Possibly. Their last two games are against Arizona and Detroit so that shouldn’t be a challenge to finish at least 10-6. They will make the playoffs, but at what cost to their sanity?

4. The 49ers will be fine.

What should have been locker room cancer has turned into locker room common cold, or maybe locker room eye boogers. I live in San Francisco, and the weird faith the “fan base” seems to have in Alex Smith is a bit strange… like, why? Dude was definitely not good until Jim Harbaugh came along. System wins, not quarterback (in this case that is). Kaepernick can play, they have an excellent receiving corps, and as long as the defense plays to their potential, they can beat anyone in the league (except St. Louis). Being a West Coast team, they are immune to media distraction (it’s all about inclusiveness in SF) so they are very much in control of their own destiny. They absolutely  need to beat Seattle convincingly at the end of the year to assert their dominance though. That will be important.

Is it true? Yes. If they can wrap up a first-round bye, they will be the favorite to go all the way.

Champions eat their Wheaties and stand sternly on the sideline.

5. Indianapolis will enter the playoffs and win at least one game.

Now this is interesting.  The Internet collectively did not give the Colts a chance (including me) and here they are staring down a very real (and improbable) possibility of a playoff berth with nothing to lose. The Colts play Houston twice in the last two weeks. Yowzah. Two good things about that for the Colts:

  1. If the Colts want to prove they can hang, they can prove it by winning one of those games. Boom. Done.
  2. Houston might rest some starters in the Week 17 match-up. This will give Indy an opportunity for an easier win to leap frog a team like Pittsburgh or Cincinnati for the last playoff spot.

If you think about it like that, the Colts might have a better chance of making the playoffs than Cinci and/or Pittsburgh. Interesting, right? Earning a playoff berth for their coach will be enough for them to build on for next year, when the fun ends due to the dreadful weight of something called expectations.

Is it true? Yes. But they won’t win a game. Good story though.

“I vow to never wear an officially licensed ball cap to cover my Cro-Magnan brow until we make the playoffs!”

6. Houston and Atlanta scare no one.

This one is interesting because these teams get little respect for their overall record but seem to garner it because wins matter after all. I’m of the opinion that everyone starts back at 0-0 come playoff time, but one has to respect the momentum built from the regular season… that’s why they play the games (it’s not for money, dude). Houston still has a legitimate shot at the first overall seed, so they’ll likely draw a beta bully from the AFC North in the second round. That will be a rough game for them, but only in terms of physicality. The truth is that they can beat anybody on their home field because I still believe they are that good. While the New England game was scary and disappointing, it doesn’t matter in the long run. They can use that loss to fuel them.

Atlanta right now seems like the guy who only works out the glamour muscles to get laid… so he has skinny little legs and a small, un-clever brain. They haven’t won a “statement game” at all, and really they never had the opportunity. The Denver win at the beginning of the year really feels like a long time ago. The only thing they could have done to build momentum with an easy schedule is murder bad teams to assert dominance (ahem, New England), but they haven’t done that either. The impossibly scrappy New York Giants come to town this weekend, so this is their chance to get the momentum going for their run. Teams like Green Bay or San Francisco will DESTROY Atlanta in the playoffs.

Is it true? Yes, but anything can happen. Houston is in a better position to have a deep run.

“Hey, J.J. good g–ouch, ouch, my hand!”

NFL Power Rankings: Part III

In NFL on November 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm

19777-nfl-nfl-logo

Okay, so technically I was supposed to do the third installment of Power Rankings on Wednesday, but then Marvin Miller died and I got distracted.

While Atlanta and New Orleans played yesterday, that really doesn’t do much to change the overall order, so while I’m a little late, here are the Power Rankings, heading into week thirteen.

(Oh, and I totally disregarded the game last night, and just pretended it didn’t happen)

32. New York Jets (4-7) Previously Ranked (P): #25

There are teams with worse records than the Jets, but none of them had the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow quarterback controversy, the Ice Bath-gate, Rex Ryan as their coach, or the lofty and unhealthy expectations of being a New York team.

31. Kansas City Chiefs (1-10) P: #32

After Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe, this is the least talented team in the NFL. Brady Quinn is literally a black hole for offense.

300px-BH_LMC

Scouting report for Brady Quinn.

 You know that saying, “there’s nowhere to go but up?” Even the Chiefs can’t say that.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) P: #31

It sure is tough being the Jaguars. You’re in a city that can’t support you, Blaine Gabbert is your quarterback, and when he’s out, Chad Henne is your supposed savior. If I was Maurice Jones Drew, I would still be holding out.

29. Philadelphia Eagles (3-8) P: #19

They haven’t won in two months, and are pretty much wasting time until everyone in Philadelphia is so distracted by the Phillies, they can cut Michael Vick and fire Andy Reid. You have to really have to wonder if Nnamdi Asomugha regrets leaving Oakland for this mess…

28. Oakland Raiders (3-8) P: #23

…probably not. The Raiders are actually worse than the Eagles, but that last joke wouldn’t have worked if I would have flipped their order. When you’re this low on the chart though, does it really matter?

A soon-to-be member of the fired Raiders Coach Club.

A soon-to-be member of the Raiders’ Fired Coach Club.

At this point it’s time to focus on rebuilding for the future, and start looking at who the Raiders are going to draft in the offseason. Good thing they have all those picks they gave up for Carson Palmer, right? Or Terrell Pryor.

27. Cleveland Browns (3-8) P: #30

In the first rankings, the Browns hadn’t won a game yet. During the next four weeks, they won two, and they’ve only won one since.

Insert another Brandon Weeden Is Old Joke here.

26. Carolina Panthers (3-8) P: #22

My prediction that Cam Newton would be even better than his rookie year was flat-out wrong.

On the upside though, he’s young, he’s only in his universally predictable (so I’ve been told) Sophomore Slump, and he’s extremely talented. This season will just have to be considered part of the learning curve for a future elite NFL quarterback.

25. San Diego Chargers (4-7) P: #24

Last rankings I recommended the Chargers trade Phillip Rivers to obtain as many high draft picks as possible. This time, I’m still suggesting adding Ryan Matthews, Melvin Ingram and Malcom Floyd as well.

Why? Because whomever the new coach is next year will need as many reconstruction pieces as possible.

24. Buffalo Bills (4-7) P: #28

It must be tough being a Bills fan. Your fondest memories include OJ Simpson, and losing Super Bowls. Just when you think your team is finally on the rise (like early last year), they go back to playing like the Bills you know. You go to home games and watch them play reasonably well, only to have them go out on the road and get slaughtered time and time again.

Question: What's the only thing to do in upstate New York? Answer: Be depressed.

Question: What’s there to do in upstate New York? Answer: Be depressed.

Hey, at least there’s not rumors the team will relocate to Los Angeles, right? Oh wait.

23. Tennessee Titans (4-7) P: #29

Keep on not expecting much. I’m sure there is a country music concert or something going on instead.

22. Arizona Cardinals (4-7) P: #16

After starting 4-and-0, the Cardinals haven’t won a game since. While there has been times when they have played like the worst team in the league (maybe not as bad as the Chiefs or Jags, but close), it’s their stellar defense that keeps them out of the bottom of the cellar.

21. Dallas Cowboys (5-6) P: #17

Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin sure were a long time ago, weren’t they?

20. Detroit Lions (4-7) P: #20

The NFL really needs to do something about the tradition of the Cowboys and Lions always hosting the Thanksgiving games. Just because something is a tradition, doesn’t make it a good thing. Like, if I were to kick my friend Alex in the nuts every February 3rd, it doesn’t mean I should always be allowed to do  so. Things sometimes need to change, like the Early Thrown Challenge Flag Rule (or whatever it’s called).

"...but it's Thanksgiving..."

“…but it’s Thanksgiving…”

While the Lions/Texans game was the most entertaining of the day, it’s time for the people of Detroit to not start off their holiday season each year with more depression than the simple fact of living in Detroit already offers them.

19. St. Louis Rams (4-6-1) P: #21

Sam Bradford hasn’t lived up to the “Next Peyton Manning” billing that followed him into the draft, but he’s looking pretty capable lately, and with the return of Danny Amendola following a shoulder injury, he’ll become even more of an offensive threat.

Oh, and having Chris Long and Cortland Finnegan on defense doesn’t hurt either.

18. Miami Dolphins (5-6) P: #12

So maybe word of the Dolphins arrival might have been premature, but the current roster is better than almost any other in the post-Marino era. This team is a work-in-process, and in the future, will be much, much better.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) P: #13

Losing Ben Rothlisberger to a shoulder injury is tough, especially because we can’t make more jokes about how appropriate he looks in those’ prison stripe throwback uniforms.

"Where da women at?"

“Where da women at?”

It also doesn’t help that 37-year-old Charlie Batch is going to be the quarterback until Rothlisberger returns.

16. Minnesota Vikings (6-5) P: #9

Like the Dolphins, maybe news of the Vikings arrival was also premature. And without Percy Harvin, the team’s not going to do any better, no matter how freakishly good Adrian Peterson plays, even after returning from his knee injury. Like other teams, the Vikings are just chalking up 2012 as a learning process.

15. New Orleans Saints (5-6) P: #27

While their play has greatly improved since the last rankings, they are still a center-of-the-pack team, and are still just counting down the days until Sean Payton can come back.

14. Washington Redskins (5-6) P: #15

They don’t have a winning record, and when they do win it’s not always pretty, but this team is one game out of the playoff hunt, and their quarterback is Robert Griffin III. I wouldn’t bet against that.

13. Seattle Seahawks (6-5) P: #14

If it wasn’t for the refs and that whole Monday Night Football affair, this team would be a deserved 5-and-5. Leave it to Pete Carroll to add wins through sketchy practices.

"Just like at USC!"

“Just like at USC!”

Watching the Seahawks is like kissing your sister, or something like that.

12. Cincinnati Bengals (6-5) P: #22

The Bengals were ranked seventh in the first rankings, then twenty-second in the last rankings, now find themselves twelfth. How do I explain all of this this drastic shifting from one ranking to the next? By Andy Dalton and AJ Green only being in their second year. Like the Dolphins, Vikings, and maybe even the Seahawks, this team will continue to improve, and continue to become more consistent.

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) P: #18

I keep saying it, and I still stand by it. The Bucs are the future of the NFC South.

10. Indianapolis Colts (7-4) P: #11

Andrew Luck is doing something even Peyton Manning couldn’t do; potentially taking the Colts to the playoffs in his first year. If this keeps up, the next highly recruited quarterback might be referred to as “The Next Andrew Luck.”

"I know, right?"

“I know, right?”

Also, don expect their new franchise quarterback to wait around a decade to bring Indy another Super Bowl championship either.

9. Green Bay Packers (7-4) P: #8

Not to beat a dead horse, but the Packers are in a fight for their playoff life, which, if that Monday Night fiasco would have been called right, they wouldn’t be. The Pack have no one but the replacement refs to blame for their circumstance. No one but the replacement refs and the Packers consistently inconsistent play.

8. Chicago Bears (8-3) P: #5

Da Bears got stomped by the 49ers in the Backup Bowl, but with Jay Cutler back in the lineup, you wonder how that game might have went. Da Bears are a good team, but it’s uncertain just how good they are. Is their record because of talent, or circumstance?

7. New York Giants (7-4) P: #4

Chicago and Green Bay may be better on paper, but the Giants are the defending Super Bowl champs, and have proven they can slide through the season somewhat, and then win big games when it matters most.

"Hey Peyton, how many of these do you have again?"

“Hey Peyton, how many of these do you have?”

They are a good team, but consider their slightly inflated ranking due to a little Super Bowl bump.

6. New England Patriots (8-3) P: #10

Even with losing my highest fantasy scorer Gronk, the Pats are on a five game winning streak and blowing out the competition. Without Gronk though, I don’t see this team going far into the postseason, but I do expect them to play lights out until they get eliminated in the first round.

By the way, get better soon Gronk. Preferably before my league’s playoffs.

5. San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1) P: #3

I really have no idea about the 49ers. Before the season started, I thought they would play at a lower caliber than they did last year, but with some of the losses they’ve had, and the laughable tie with the Rams, they are performing even lower than I expected.

Now add in an unnecessary quarterback controversy (I did call for Colin Kaepernick to start, only because it was an issue. Jim Harbaugh should have never let it become so), and I really have no idea about this team. They may very well ground-and-pound their way to another Super Bowl, or they could get shut out in the first round. Who knows?

4. Houston Texans (10-1) P: #2

This was a tough call, because nothing has changed with Texans. They still have a great defense, and they still have one of the best run/pass combos with Andre Johnson and Arian Foster. The only thing that has changed is the competition, and it did so by getting better.

If I were breaking up with the Texans, this would be a classic case of “it’s not you, it’s me.”

3. Denver Broncos (8-3) P: #6

There is no doubt that the Texans are better than the Broncos.

"I am so going to make you forget about John Elway."

“I am so going to make you forget about John Elway.”

But as of right now, Peyton’s finally finding his groove, the team is on a convincible winning streak, and if I was an opposing NFL team, I would pick facing the Texans over the Broncos for the rest of the year.

2. Atlanta Falcons (10-1) P: #1

How can I justify ranking the Falcons second best in the league? With Matt Ryan and that amazing offense? Because the Falcons have won games against bad teams by close margins. While they do have that X-Factor of  finding ways to win when they shouldn’t, those types of victories are unsustainable in the long run. The Falcons are only a bad play or two against a good team from finding themselves in a loss.

The poster boy for amazing skill, and insanely stupid dumb luck.

The poster boy for composure under pressure. And insanely stupid dumb luck.

And if they keep playing like this in the regular season, when the playoffs come around, that’s when they’re going to mess up. Just ask Green Bay from last year.

1. Baltimore Ravens (9-2) P: #7

How do you shoot up to the top of the list, after your two best defensive players went down for the season with injuries? Well, a 4th-and-29 first down in overtime can help. A good quarterback, receiving core and running back helps. Oh, and having Ray Lewis coming back December 16th helps, too.

The scariest man in the NFL, since January 31, 2000.

The scariest man in the NFL, since January 31, 2000.

Sometimes it isn’t always about the record, but the best personnel who gives the team the best chance to win. Right now, this team is quickly living up to my preseason expectations.

Ranking the NFL’s Best Mediocre Teams

In NFL on October 27, 2012 at 10:12 pm

By Chris Carosi

We’re nearly halfway through the 2012 NFL Regular Season, and the parity of this league that keeps the NFL so exciting week-to-week has power ranking modules all over the Internet tossing teams hither and yon.

But the only things we really know so far is this:

The Texans and Falcons are very good.

There’s like seven teams that are probably good but who knows for sure.

The Jaguars, Browns, Panthers, and Chiefs are very bad.

The Raiders and Lions are probably bad.

For the swath of teams straddling that muddy middle of the NFL, the weeks are up and down. A teams “identity” is based at the end of the day by wins and losses (not felony charges or their fan base), so this week we will rank them in neat little blog-friendly capsules of text. This isn’t your daddy’s power rankings. You are going to disagree. It’s a good thing you can’t actually meet me.

1. Denver

Wins: PIT, OAK, @SD

Losses: @ATL, HOU, @NE

Denver is the best mediocre team because they’ve only lost to quality teams (jury’s out on New England, but they get more than enough credit on paper) and it’s obvious that this team has all the pieces they need to succeed (solid on both sides of the ball). So why are they the king of the mediocre teams right now? Well they’ve only BEATEN teams at their level or somewhat below. They’re going to win at least five out of their next seven, but they still haven’t beaten a team better than themselves. They’ll have to do that to win the division. Jury’s still out on Manning until he can deliver an upset. The Broncos need that security to do anything in the playoffs.

2. Washington

Wins: NO, @TB, MIN

Losses: @STL, CIN, ATL, @NYG

Washington is rated higher because of the level of their competition and their obvious potential. Yes, they lost to Cincinnati and blah blah but they play everybody close (and they really should have beaten the Giants last week). The thing about the NFC East is that all the division games are wars—it battle-tests a plucky team like this. If they can stay above .500 going into an insane stretch after their bye week (PHI, @DAL, NYG, BAL), they can really run the table with two or three wins. The good thing they have going for them is that every big win seems like an upset. That’s like a shot of energy for a young, exciting team like this.

3. Pittsburgh

Wins: NYJ, PHI, @CIN

Losses: @DEN, @OAK, @TEN

The Steelers are going to be consistently overrated every week this year because they are completely unbalanced and they have a good quarterback. It’s pretty clear at this point that Todd Haley’s offense can play well with second and third string talent in key areas and Big Ben can carry the whole load (insert your goddamn rape joke, sissy). What’s also clear is that their defense just lets people down (people like me and my dad). What’s really weird is that it’s still a top ten defense, statistically. That’s the most frustrating thing I can think of right now; it’s also essential mediocrity.

5. St. Louis

Wins: WAS, SEA, ARI

Losses: @DET, @CHI, @MIA, GB

The Rams get a bump because they’ve proven they can win in their competitive division (at least on their home field). What they can’t do, like, at all, is win on the road. But it’s gonna happen at least once. That’s likely not enough to make the playoffs (even if they end up 9-7), but they can play defense and the only team that really gave them a spanking was Chicago at Soldier Field. If they can upset two or three teams by the end of the year, it will have been a good season for them. If the offense ever catches up to the defense, they can be dangerous next year.

6. Miami

Wins: OAK, @CIN, STL

Losses: @HOU, NYJ, @ARI

This team reminds me of Cincinnati from last year: easy schedule, rookie QB with chip on shoulder, an uncaring fanbase). And like the young Redskins, they reside in a competitive division which creates a certain attitude that could extend into the playoffs if they get lucky towards the end. They really can’t afford to lose to the Jets this week, or any division game for that matter. If they split the series with New England, they sneak in as the wild-card. The weakness of the AFC improves their chances. The only team they are competing with for the wild card will be Pittsburgh.

7. Philadelphia

Wins: @CLE, BAL, NYG

Losses: @ARI, @PIT, DET

Philadelphia straight pisses me off. Their season makes absolutely no sense so far. If I was an Eagles fan, I’d be clutching my Reggie White jersey for repentance with the Lord. Firing their defensive coordinator during the bye week right before they play a measuring stick game against Atlanta is so stupid it hurts my face. The whole tough love thing for a team might work. Might. I don’t buy it, not for Philadelphia. Too much hate in that city directed at sports franchises. It’s like poison in the air. Recovery for the Eagles depends on pushing people around in their own division, which they haven’t had an opportunity to do. Their fate won’t be clear until about week 13 or 14, when they’ve played some more division games. For now, they’re in purgatory.

8. San Diego

Wins: @OAK, TEN, KC

Losses: ATL, @NO, DEN

The Chargers have been secretly terrible for about a decade now, but no one ever seems to remember. Maybe it’s the fancy uniforms or the strange fantasy the media seems to have with a team from a beautiful city winning important games. Well, it hasn’t happened. Not even once. And the thing is. It won’t happen. Not ever. Not once. I’ve been consistently selling San Diego short since the Tomlinson days and they’ve never done anything about it. Not that they know me, but I’m just saying. That much bad karma directed at one franchise should yield at least ONE big win or at least some display of basic testicular fortitude. Nope. Their unraveling against Denver surprised no one.

9. Cincinnati

Wins: CLE, @WAS, @JAC

Losses: @BAL, MIA, @CLE, PIT

The Bengals are who we thought they were. I’m not saying they’re underrated or overrated or anything. They are the Bengals. They’ve always been this way. The Bengals are the ultimate mediocre team (they would be #1 in the all-time mediocrity rankings). They have potential every year, that’s what we always hear. And every year they win a few big games and upset the Ravens or Steelers here and there, but I don’t think they ever truly believe they belong. I don’t know what happened in the 90’s, but all the memories of Boomer Esiason and Anthony Munoz and the winning tradition they had (two AFC championships in the 80’s) was just washed away. They’re looking down the barrel at a 6-10 season right now. Schedule is way too hard.

10. Dallas

Wins: @NYG, TB, @CAR

Losses: @SEA, CHI, @BAL

Dallas too seems to always be the same story. They can’t keep momentum from big wins and they can’t rally around any kind of leadership after bad losses. The media in Dallas must be so incredibly soul-sucking that no one has even realized that Tony Romo is not the answer at quarterback. The one redeeming quality for the Cowboys is their ability to seem important at all times, no matter how good or bad they really are. It’s a weird kind of superpower that Jerry Jones has. It also makes them destined to forever be held under some kind of curse like they have nothing to prove but they haven’t actually proved anything since the 90’s. Similar thing went on with Oakland and Al Davis. The curse of mediocrity.

11. Indianapolis

Wins: MIN, GB, CLE

Losses: @CHI, JAC, @NYJ

Beating Green Bay was a great win for this team, and yes even though the Colts aren’t that good, people are very happy in Indiana with what they’ve seen from Andrew Luck. It’s clear they have some fight. It will be fun to watch what they can do all year, not unlike Washington, because nothing crazy is expected out of them. But the Colts don’t have that killer attitude that Washington has right now, so there’s no way they can challenge Houston. The sheer fact they might finish second is kind of amazing, even if you consider how horrible the AFC South is. Their schedule is really easy, so that gives them the opportunity to test their limits before next year when things will be more serious. Despite all this, I’m calling it right now: they’re beating the Texans in week 17 at Indianapolis.

#FreeTebow

In NFL on September 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Fans of traditional football aren’t fans of Tim Tebow.

“He’s just a halfback who throws,” his critics argue. He “doesn’t have the right mechanics for the position.” He “isn’t a traditional NFL quarterback.”

Insert something overly positive here.

The average fan though, loves the guy. He’s wholesome, he tries hard, and when he starts, all he does is win.

That is why the New York Jets need to #FreeTebow

This isn’t about how Mark Sanchez looked phenomenal in his week one start against the Buffalo Bills, or how the Jets sputtered this Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. This isn’t about how coordinator Tony Sparano needs to incorporate the Wildcat into the Jets’ offense next Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. This has nothing to do with Sanchez, Sparano or even the Jets.

This just has to do with Tim Tebow. This just has to do with how he needs to play.

And as long as Tebow is a Jet, he won’t. Despite Sanchez’s flaws and struggles, the team isn’t going to get rid of the other quarterback anytime soon. There is no place for Tebow calling plays in New York.

And while Tebow doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would ever come out and demand a trade, the Jets need do just that. The Jets need to trade their backup QB to a team that can give him a legitimate chance to play the position. Keeping him for an occasional gimmick play here, or a block on special teams there, is a disservice to the player and his fans. Considering how he performed last year on a Broncos franchise still pining for John Elway to come out of retirement, when he lead them to a playoff victory over the heavily favored Steelers, it’s just a disservice to football, whether you’re a traditional fan or not.

Whether you love or hate the guy, he deserves a shot to start on Sundays.

Now the Jets need to find a way to make that happen.

NFL Predictions For The 2012 Season

In NFL on September 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Are you ready for some football?

The NFL season is fast upon us, as on Wednesday the Dallas Cowboys will visit the reigning Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. Will the Giants continue their superb play on a quest for a repeat? Or will Tony Romo finally start living up to any of the hype that’s seemingly plagued his entire career?

Until the game’s played, no one truly knows for sure.

Last year, few thought Cam Newton would be for real. No one saw the 49ers being as dominant as they were. The Philly Dream Team didn’t pan out, but Tebow made believers out of everyone not named John Elway.

So what’s in store for 2012? While we don’t know for certain, here are some ideas.

Cam Newton Will Only Get Better

Proving doubters wrong since 2011.

There were a lot of Cam Newton haters when he was drafted first overall by Carolina last year. People questioned his character and ability. They said his “type of football” wasn’t going to succeed in the pros. That he wasn’t “traditional enough” to be a true NFL quarterback.

Even after week one, when Newtown threw for 422 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, the haters didn’t pipe down. Newton’s statistics were bloated because he only played the Arizona Cardinals, people said. Let’s see what happens when he goes against a real defense.

While he didn’t win too many games in 2011, Newton did go on to break Peyton Manning’s rookie record for most yards thrown in a single season (3,739 yards). He set the NFL single-season record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (14). He made Steve Smith relevant again.

How do you like him now?

Apparently, still not much. Some are suggesting Newton’s numbers will fall back to Earth in 2012, and he will experience a sophomore slump. That defenses will finally figure him out, and his statistics will become more accurate to the type of quarterback he truly is.

I say, Newton already proved everyone wrong once. Fool me once, and all that.

The Best Wide-Receiver In 2012 Plays For The Bengals

It ain’t a front flip, but it’s still pretty darn impressive.

The 2011 NFL Draft may go down as one of the best ever. Guys like Newton, Denver’s Von Miller, Arizona’s Patrick Peterson, San Francisco’s Aldon Smith and Atlanta’s Julio Jones (just to name a few), all heard their names called that year.

While Jones was impressive for the Falcon’s in 2011, the award for Best Receiver From The 2011 Class undoubtedly has to go to Cincinnati’s AJ Green. In fact, the award for Best Receiver In the NFL might have to go to him as well.

Last year, Green caught for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns, and did so by catching balls thrown by a rookie quarterback. To compare against the other best receivers in the league, Andre Johnson’s quarterback can’t stay healthy and Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t have a quarterback. If Andy Dalton can keep healthy, there is no reason why Green can’t become the most dangerous threat in the entire league.

Randy Who?

Last year, the preseason predictions had the 49ers being the worst team in the worst division in football.

Instead, they were a fumble away from going to their sixth Super Bowl. In order to try and recapture the magic of 2011, the 49ers went on a bit of a shopping spree in the 2012 offseason. After failing to land Peyton Manning, the team acquired Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham, formerly of the defending champs. They added depth to their offense by drafting A.J. Jenkins out of Illinois, and LaMichael James out of Oregon. Oh, and they also signed another guy, what was his name again?

“Man, I miss Tom Brady.”

And that’s my point exactly. The team added Randy Moss on top of Manningham (to be fair, Moss was signed first), Jenkins, and all the other receivers already on the roster, regardless of the fact Alex Smith is only going to throw to Vernon Davis anyway.

While the receiving corps of the 49ers looks nice on paper, the inclusion of Moss is either A) going to be more detrimental than his potential contributions, or B) be completely irrelevant.

Regarding the first point: Randy Moss used to be a premier receiver. Now, he’s an over-the-hill and former premier receiver. Typically, this type of receiver tends to think his glory days aren’t all behind him, and he still is, or should be, the team’s number one option. Unfortunately, when the ball isn’t consistently thrown to him, over-the-hill and former premier receivers tend to get cranky in the locker room. Crankiness in the locker room leads toward bad chemistry for the team, and bad chemistry for the team usually leads toward losing.

In case of option two: Moss will just fall to the wayside, and he and Manningham and Crabtree and whomever else will watch Davis catch all the touchdowns. Except for when we play Madden, we’re all going to forget that Moss is even still playing.

Ochocinco Will Have A New Home By Week 6

What you do in retirement.

Speaking of over-the-hill wide receivers and Madden, Chad Ochocinco will find himself in the same position as Moss sometime during the season. And by same position, I mean third or fourth fiddle on a team that would probably be better without him.

Ochocinco actually already had a season like this. It was called his 2011 stint with the New England Patriots. That’s the thing about over-the-hill and former premier receivers. They’re like bad pennies that just won’t go away.

Author’s Note: I am fully aware Ochocinco changed his name back to Chad Johnson, but once a person names themselves Ochocinco, it doesn’t really matter what they want to be called later on; they have forever cast themselves as Ochocinco.  

T.O. Will Still Be At Home Week 6

Speaking of another over-the-hill and former premier receiver, Terrell Owens fumbled away his final chance in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks late last month. T.O. is as good as done as a professional football player, and given his behavior when he played for and partly owned the Allen Wranglers, he is done as semi-professional football player as well.

“I’ll do twenty more for a dollar. Anyone got a dollar? Anyone? Anyone?”

Expect to see T.O. doing anything for a quick dollar, including but not limited to; coaching high school football, becoming a Wonderful Pistachio’s spokesman, selling autographs Pete Rose and Barry Bonds style ($100 a pop), and staring in another reality TV show. Quick, anyone got a dollar?

Norv Turner Will Finally Be Fired

If you’re a Charger fan, every season is finally supposed to be your season. The team’s running game is better, or the defense has improved, or Phillip Rivers blah blah blah, or yadda yadda yadda. It’s the same line every year, and  every year it still wasn’t the Chargers year.

This year though, head coach Norv Turner will finally get fired for it. He’s as good as gone from San Diego.

“Can I get fired too?”

Don’t worry though, there’s always next year, right? Well, maybe not.

Ryan Lindley Will Become The Cardinals Full-Time Starter (Until 2013)

As I’ve written before, and as everyone well knows, the quarterback situation in Arizona is a complete disaster.

Quiz: Which one of these guys is a NFL quarterback? Answer: That was a trick question.

As of last week, John Skelton was (finally) named the starting QB for the team, beating out former Donovan McNabb heir, Kevin Kolb for the job. While everyone was impressed with how Skelton was a poor man’s Tim Tebow last year (as he was inept for three-and-a-half quarters, only sneak a victory at the last second), does anyone really think that luck will last?

Bring in Ryan Lindley, the Cardinals 2012 sixth round draft pick out of San Diego State. Lindley wasn’t great this preseason, but he was decent, and decent is good enough to be a starter in Arizona. At least until the 2013 draft, when the Cardinals will be bad, but not bad enough, for Matt Barkley.

Who is the third or fourth ranked college quarterback this year? Expect to see them starting in red in 2013.

Matt Hasselbeck Is Traded During The Year

Matt Hasselbeck left a team that didn’t want him for a team that ended up not wanting him either.

“Still better than hanging out with my sister-in-law!

Although, I guess this prediction is more about Jake Locker, than it is about Hasselbeck.

See, Hasselbeck lost his starting gig to Locker, and from all early indications, he’s not going to get it back. While Locker will experience some growing pains during this season, it seems he will become legitimate NFL quarterback afterall, while Hasselbeck will become trade-bait for a desperate team without one.

Hey, if Ryan Lindley ends up becoming the starting QB for the Cardinals, I have an idea who might get desperate enough to call.

Peyton Manning Will Be Good Enough For A First Round Exit

Remember when Peyton Manning used to drag his team kicking and screaming to victory? We all saw just how horrible the Colts were without him, so we know what he can do with less than stellar talent on the roster.

“I know, it used to be easier when I could turn my head!”

The thing is, the Bronco’s talent (as demonstrated by last year) is better than the Colts, but Manning is no longer the player he was when he played in Indianapolis. With Manning’s decrease in strength, despite the Bronco’s’ talent, the team is not geared to make the type of consistent playoff runs the Colts used to make.

Here’s an equation for this line of thinking.

(Broncos Talent-Manning>Colts Talent-Manning)<Broncos+Manning<Colts+Manning

And if none of that makes any sense, that’s because I’m not a mathematician. The point is, the Broncos current roster isn’t going to be good enough to compensate for Manning’s decrease in ability. It will get the job done in what is the worst division in football (worse even than the NFC West), but it won’t be good enough to win any playoffs games.

Still, enjoy every game you get to see Manning play in. In a year or two, you won’t get to see him play ever again, in a Bronco’s jersey or not.

And The Super Bowl Winner Is…

Baltimore over San Francisco.

Part of me really believes the 49ers will have a down year after their big turnaround last season, and it will be the Seahawks will, in fact, who will win the NFC West. History supports this theory. Teams who win as many games as the 49ers did, usually don’t even come close the following year.

Yet, knowing this, the other part of me wonders if this team has enough talent on it to buck history, and repeat their success from 2011.

Either way, in the Harbaugh-Bowl, the older, more experienced brother coaching the older, more experienced team will get the final say. While it might hurt for San Franciscans to see their team lose their first Super Bowl, they should take solace knowing the Ravens will peak for this win, but their success will wane afterward, while the Niners will only get better the year after.

War of the Dunces: The “QB Battle” in Arizona

In NFL on August 17, 2012 at 11:47 am

“Chuckle chuckle chuckle!”

While all eyes have been on Peyton Manning’s return to football, or on the Jets, as Tim Tebow continues to play on special teams (while running through the rain without a shirt), there has been another QB Battle (of sorts), taking place down in Arizona.

Kevin Kolb v. John Skelton.

To be fair, people have probably paid little (if any) attention to this “QB Controversy,” because the only real controversy is wondering how either of these guys got NFL contracts. Just in the preseason, their play has been bad. Really bad. Third string, junior varsity bad.

As of right now, Kolb and Skelton are to NFL quarterbacks what Bizzaro Superman is to Superman.

“I like footbaaaaaaall!

Kevin Kolb came to the Cardinals last year via a trade that sent Dominique Rogers-Cromartie and a second round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles. He arrived in Arizona with high hopes and even higher expectations of how he would pair with arguably the best receiver in the NFL, Larry Fitzgerald.

While Kolb was impressive during his first start against Cam Newton–err–the Carolina Panthers (18 of 27 for 309 yards, two touchdowns, and no picks), he then went on a downward spiral and showed he was more fragile than “Insert Most Breakable Item You Can Think Of Here.

Kevin Kolb team photo, circa 2011

Because of injuries, Kolb lost his job to Skelton, the Cardinals 2010 fifth round pick out of Fordham, a school you’ve never heard of. Skelton was a poor man’s Tebow; he was inept for three-and-a-half-quarters, only to snatch a miracle out of the air at the last second.

Flash forward to the start of the 2012 season, and because Kolb is making so much money, he is reinstated as the starter, but a starter on thin ice. As the backup, Skelton was very close on the depth chart, and it was the worst kept secret that whomever decided to play better would be handed the reigns of the team.

So far, neither guy wants the job.

In the beginning moments of the Hall of Fame Game against New Orleans, Kolb threw an interception, then got hurt from a perfectly legal hit by Sedrick Ellis.

“This is gonna huuuuuuurt…”

Yeah, Ellis is a big man, and yeah, getting hit sucks, but if you’re supposed to be the quarterback of an NFL team and can’t even take that hit in a preseason game, when are you ever going to take that hit? When are you ever going to show you’re a leader who can play when life’s a little uncomfortable?

While Skelton came in and played decently during his brief appearance against the Saints, he did so against the second-string defense. When he started the next game against Kansas City, he was (as expected, considering his modus operandi during every three-and-a-half quarters last season) simply awful.

“He looks open.”

With all this said, let’s take brief pause to summarize the Cardinals quarterback situation:

1) Kevin Kolb can make a pass, when-and-if he’s not freaking out and scrambling, or on his back and withering in pain.

2) John Skelton can’t make a pass, unless it’s at the end of the game when opposing teams have gotten so comfortable with the sizable lead they’ve earned, they start slacking off.

For the Arizona Cardinals, their fans, and just football in general, this is completely unacceptable, especially considering the team’s receiving core. As mentioned before, they have arguably the best receiver in the game, a group of capable tight ends, Early Doucet and Andre Roberts, and they just drafted Malcom Floyd, the best receiver in the 2012 draft not to have a DUI this year.

“Good luck getting any catchable passes, son.”

With that group of scorers, they should be lighting opponents up.

Instead, a year after the Kolb trade, there are rumors the Cardinals are already searching for another quarterback to come in and take over. During the offseason they made an unsuccessful attempt at Peyton Manning. Fans are already chanting for Ryan Lindley (their 2012 sixth round pick, out of San Diego State). There has been speculation the team is trying to deal for Cleveland’s Colt McCoy or Seattle’s Tarvaris Jackson.

So what’s the team to do?

For all intents and purposes, the Kolb-experiment for the team (and probably the NFL) is dead. People can argue it was “only a preseason game,” but if you’re a player who has a history of not being “tough enough,” and the first highlight of the season is of you crying from a run-of-the-mill tackle, you’re done as an NFL quarterback.

Regardless of the Kolb trade outcome, acquiring him was the best thing the Cardinals could have done, because it did sucker Larry Fitzgerald into signing an extension which will keep him in Arizona throughout the prime of his career.

“Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan…”

Every Cardinal fan should say a very heartfelt thank you to Kolb as he leaves, but he should leave nonetheless.

Afterward, the Cardinals should completely hand over the team to John Skelton. This doesn’t mean Skelton is the answer either, but by giving him the starter role now, the team can have adequate time to see what they truly have with him. This will also allow the QB battle in Tennessee to play out, and when Jack Locker beats out Matt Hasselbeck, the team should see how much it would cost to get the former Seahawk.

“Coming here was a mistake!”

Considering they already spent too much on one failed quarterback, the Cardinals should proceed with caution on their next QB search, and only go after Hasselbeck if he is at the right price. If he is, owner Bill Bidwell (and son Michael, who technically runs the team) should not hesitate one second to write that check, considering Hasselbeck knows the division, and after leading Seattle to four straight division titles, he knows how to win it as well.

Either way, no matter who wins the quarterback battle in Arizona, the team will have to look beyond its own locker rom if they want a viable answer. As long as the winner of the position is named Kolb or Skelton, the team and its fans still lose.

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