NFL: “It’s pay to play now, motherfuckers”

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Disclosure: I spent a quarter of a decade trying to become a rock singer signed to the standard “rich-n-famous” contract. So it’s perfectly OK for me to puke about this.

The NFL had a glorious opportunity last February when the Super Bowl was played in New Jersey. They could have hired a true Jersey Boy to play the halftime show: Bruce Springsteen. It would have been epic. The NFL decided to go fuck themselves instead.

Hell, they could have hired a different Jersey Boy and (possible) future NFL team owner Jon Bon Jovi. If they wanted wet panties, they could have paid just enough money to get Jersey’s My Chemical Romance to re-group for one show.

No, they didn’t do any of that. Don’t get me wrong, Bruno Mars puts on an awesome show and is an amazing song writer. Red Hot Chili Penises have always kinda sucked IMO, but their performance didn’t suck this halftime show…because they didn’t actually play.

Getting Michael Jackson to perform back in ’93 was the genius idea that got non-football fans to tune into the Super Bowl and send it into ratings heaven. But they stumbled around for a few years afterward, thinking even MORE star acts for a bathroom-break show would be even BETTER. They came to their senses in 2002 performing just U2, then slammed multiple artists at us again for a couple of years, then a straight string of single performers again: from 2005 to 2010, we got Sir McCartney, Stones, Prince, Petty, Springsteen and The Who. But they’ve been brain-farting halftime ever since.

If it costs the NFL a lot of money to bring in a single act with cast, equipment, crew, friends, etc, then it probably costs a LOT more money to bring in multiple acts.

The NFL’s solution: the artists now have to pay to play halftime.

While a select few do, most artists don’t make money outside of concert tours. They can’t afford a weekend with their family at Six Flags, much less the NFL. As a result, we’ll likely be stuck with some boring lip-syncing shit like Jay-Z and Beyoncé (I only use them as an example…we all know they’re getting divorced once their current tour is over).

Perhaps someone could set up a kickstarter campaign to bring back Grambling State Marching Band and Arcadia High School Drill Team and Flag Girls. I love flag girls. Hire some dogs and ponies, and you’ve got a show!

Looks like Kaepernick is creating drama where it doesn’t exist…but for what reason?

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Some players and coaches have a certain amount of distain for media people…even a certain amount of disgust (yes, we’re looking at you, Belichick). On more than a few occasions, players have complained that their statements made during an interview were taken out of context, and then they launch a PR effort to try to make themselves look better than what was described in print.

But subjects of an interview will sometimes turn the tables, by setting up how the interview will go and what questions will be asked. In other words, they’re manipulating the media to glorify themselves, eliminate potential damage, and maybe even push their own agenda.

Case in point: Chris Simms, a former NFL quarterback himself, interviewed Colin Kaepernick the other day. And it appeared that the script and questions posed were written by someone other than Chris Simms. That, or there is a very good reason Chris Simms wasn’t very successful in the NFL.

The obviousness of Kaep’s manipulation begins with the lead-in sentence of the video: Simms states that Kaepernick is one of the five best quarterbacks in the NFL.

Wait…WHAT? When the hell did THIS happen? Let’s break this down a bit: the basic fact that almost everyone agrees with is that the top four is currently Manning, Brady, Brees and Rodgers, and nobody can agree which of these four are #1. Kaepernick is #5…really, Chris? You sure about this?

A lot of people thought that it was a stretch…while some thought it was crazy…for Russell Wilson to land in the #5 slot in the recent NFL Top 100. Compared to Kaep, Wilson threw for more yards last season with a higher completion percentage, 20% more TD passes, and a vastly superior passer rating (especially for the postseason, where Kaepernick plunged his rating all the way down to 74). One could argue that there are several other QBs to take that coveted 5th spot. But not Kaep.

In fact, in that Top 100 list Kaep doesn’t even finish in the Top 10 for QBs: he ranks 13th. Jaws ranks him 13th. ProFootBallFocus ranks him 17th, but they like to rank based on real statistics, so it doesn’t count in armchair quarterback rankings. In ESPN’s fantasy rankings, Kaep comes in 9th, the only place I found him breaking into any Top 10 list…but even in the wildest of fantasies, Kaep isn’t in the Top 5 (except his own fantasy, apparently).

So Kaep had gotten Simms to make this absurd unsubstantiated statement, and it’s a setup for what comes at the 1 minute mark: Simms states Kaep has had a lot of unfair criticism, at which point Kaep immediately smiles in such a way as to say, “Oh yeah, you got THAT right!”

In short: Kaep is being unfairly criticized even though he is a Top 5 quarterback.

But what criticism? ProFootballTalk even stepped through the issue, trying to figure out what this unfair criticism could be, and there isn’t any. If anything, Kaep has ESCAPED widespread criticism for his performance, which he duly deserves.

And why does Kaep think he’s being unfairly criticized? He says it’s due to prejudice, borne from his tats, his attire, and his speech.

Seriously, when you lead an answer with words like “prejudice” and “stereotypes”, the initial thought most people have is that you’re about to play the race card, right? Tattoos: he’s covered in them. Attire: he once wore a Dolphins cap. Speech: has always come across like a nice young man to me. Is any of this unfair? Besides the Dolphins cap episode, is any of this even making headlines? Has anyone even been talking about any of this over the last 12 months?

To wrap up his answer, he makes it clear that he doesn’t want to be judged on his appearance.

But no one is judging him on his appearance.

Kaep is making shit up. That, or he dared not give his true answer, for which he would be publicly shamed and vilified.

The interview was obviously scripted and skewed to make him appear as one of the best while simultaneously making him appear as a victim. He doesn’t meet either criteria.

However, he’s obviously trying to convince people otherwise. What his agenda is, we just can’t be sure, but he’s setting something in motion.

The 1 percentile is trying to influence the ommitance of an NFL team name at a specific game

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In an apparent effort to further bring to light that a certain football team in a certain city that is nearby the leased residence of a certain US President is using what they consider a certain slur as their team name, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has certainly thrown some weight behind a certain request by a certain college that the team name not be used in any way when visiting a certain other team.

The Vikings need to play “home games” at that college while their new stadium is under construction, and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community put up some of the cash needed to build that college football stadium. So they have vocally stood up to support the college when the college asked that the team name “Redskins” not be used in any way whatsoever when they travel to Minnesota to play the Vikings.

Not to be used on the scoreboards, not on any merchandise being sold, not mentioned over the PA system or any programs or other game-day materials. They don’t even want the team to wear their current uniforms, requesting a throwback from two generations ago.

The thing that got my spidey sense tingling was that the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is the richest in North America. Every member of the tribe receives a million dollars.

Every year.

Yes, they are generous with other Indian Nations. Yes, they are generous with the white-folk communities. Yes, they SHOULD have a voice for a stadium they helped finance.

But it has always rubbed me the wrong way when rich people try to dictate how things are going to be done.

And did the college begin this effort on their own, or were they influenced? Ok, were they pressured?

Yes, Dan Snyder is also rich…the irony has not gone unnoticed.

I just LOVE preseason football. Because the best man just might win.

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Word on the street is that new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer doesn’t need to see anything from Adrian Peterson in the preseason, and that AP may not play at all until Week 1.

On the surface, this sounds reasonable. AP is not just a proven commodity, he is the ONLY commodity for the Vikings. Protect your most valuable player from injury in meaningless games…right?

But there are several negative aspects to this approach. For example, fans who are forced to purchase preseason game tickets at full price in order to purchase season tickets don’t get to see their favorite player for which they paid so handsomely a price.

But the so-called “negative aspect” also sometimes opens the door for something very positive to happen.

Flash back two years ago: the Seahawks drafted a ridiculously short QB in the third round after signing Matt Flynn to nine meeelyun dollahs guaranteed. That rookie was actually THIRD on the depth chart, and during the preseason Russell Wilson beat out both Flynn and T-Jack to be the starter in Week 1. It was absolutely ELECTRIFYING watching this happen during preseason games.

The preseason is the ultimate job interview, and we get to watch players fly around the field trying to get that job…sometimes making spectacular plays, other times making spectacular mistakes. It can be such fun watching these fringe guys play balls-out football. Every once in awhile, we see a future superstar get his start.

And the very positive thing that could happen this preseason is exactly what Vikings fans should worry about.

No, I’m not suggesting some rookie, or anybody else, would have even so much as a prayer of beating out All Day. I’m suggesting that Adrian has already been beaten. Seriously, a NEW coach doesn’t need to see if his star player is up to full speed with the NEW system?

This is what we call “trade bait”, folks. AP will hit the running back’s magical 30 milestone a month after Super Bowl XLIX (for those who don’t speaketh Greek, I mean the next championship game). The Vikings’ GM is very well aware of this upcoming birthday party. Lots of people HOPE that a star running back will continue to be productive for a few more years beyond 30, but the reality is that these race horses are already on their way out to pasture. Who knows when Adrian’s ACL will be blown out again, anyway?

Plus, AP knows that the bettor’s odds of getting a Super Bowl ring with the Vikings over the next couple of years…even the loser’s ring…is almost zero.

The Vikings want real value from Peterson. Trading him during the preseason could provide them with value for the future. So they must keep the man from getting injured.

Peterson wants to be on a contending team. He wants a ring before his career is over.

And there are quite a few teams who would love to have a running back that is (at least for now…) still such an explosive runner. Maybe even a team that has a real shot at the Super Bowl, like the one that has to deal with a hold-out of their own. A team that is willing to trade handsomely to assume AP’s contract…a contract that is apparently team-friendly.

The best man just might win this preseason.

After all this time, people are still butthurt over “Fail Mary”

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I went to a wedding this weekend, and met a Broncos fan (sorry, bruh). We talked about the Super Bowl and football in general, and without prompting he soon brought up the infamous “Fail Mary” play.

He insisted it was an interception, and blamed the replacement refs. I informed him that the replacement refs (as well as the locked-out officials) don’t have the final say on a scoring play. His face had a look of bewilderment: “They don’t?” After a few more exchanges I turned and started making my way back to the bar saying, “Tape don’t lie, man. Tape don’t lie.” His reply: “In this case, it does.”

Wow. Ignorance has no bounds. My next beer tasted great while I struck up a convo with someone else.

Even two years later, football fans seem to bring up the Fail Mary play on every football-related website at least once a day. There’s still much butthurt on teh innerwebs. And nothing…NOTHING…will convince them that it was not an interception. Not replay officials. Not the NFL league office itself.

Not even tape.

Coldhardfootballfacts.com did an excellent, in-depth article showing how the play was correctly called by officials, and correctly upheld by the replay booth, and correctly upheld by the league office, as a touchdown. They used both actual NFL rules, and actual NFL images from the play, to make this fact crystal clear. It’s worth the time to read, but I’m going to attack the issue in a slightly different way.

MYTH: “The replacement refs cost the Packers the game by ruling touchdown!”
TRUTH: NFL referees (replacements and regular officials) do NOT have final say on a scoring play. More than a year previous, the NFL made a rule that all scoring plays are subject to review…with the possible result being that the ruling on the field is to be overturned. Translation: if it WERE actually an interception, the replay review would have overturned the call made by the replacement refs.

MYTH: “The replacement refs cost the Packers the game on replay review!”
TRUTH: The replay booth is staffed by full-time employees of the NFL. Team owners cannot lock these people out, like they did with the regular field refs.

In addition, the replay booth has 28 or more cameras available to review, many more than what you see on broadcasted replays, and they have state-of-the-art equipment that allows them to step frame-by frame, zoom and pan. They are also staffed by full-time employees who MUST know the rules of the game, and apply those rules to what they see on the replay.

MYTH: “The call would stand if it were called as an interception!”
TRUTH: NFL owners had just approved during the 2012 off-season a rule change for automatic instant replay review of all turnovers. Upon review, the replay booth would have likely overturned the ruling if it were called as an interception…and judge it as a touchdown.

Here’s why: catching the ball is not enough. For example, a receiver can catch a ball on the run, but if only one foot is in-bounds while the big toe of his other foot lands out of bounds…that’s an incomplete pass, because you did not establish possession of the ball (both feet in-bounds). The exact same criteria applies to defenders: if you’re going to intercept a ball, you must get two feet on the field turf in order to establish possession.

Jennings didn’t do that. Yes, he had two hands on the ball, but he also had two feet off the ground…it’s not an interception until not one, but both feet are on the ground. And Tate had his hands on the ball while Jennings was still in the air.

MYTH: Jennings had two hands on the ball, therefore he had more control of the ball than Tate!”
TRUTH: One-handed receptions are made every week in the NFL. These plays often make highlight reels, with great celebration. And tape shows a one-handed reception. But it was ruled a “simultaneous catch” instead.

In addition, before Jennings got his second foot on the ground to potentially establish possession, Tate already had his ass on the ground. And having your ass on the ground, after a simultaneous catch with your hands are on the ball, means that THE PLAY IS DEAD. It’s over. No possibility for Jennings to establish possession. Again…it’s not enough that you catch the ball, even with both hands: you must establish possession (both feet). If the play is already dead, it doesn’t matter if you got your hands on the ball: your feet fucked you.

Then there’s that whole “simultaneous catch” rule that would have negated an interception, and awarded a touchdown, even if Jennings got both feet down before Tate’s ass hit the turf. See where this is going?

A very wise man once said, “Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them.” Many men have said, “Tape don’t lie.” Both are true. Both apply here.

So here’s the ACTUAL butthurt. Jennings could have easily won that game for Green Bay. EASILY, I say. All he had to do was DO HIS JOB: that is, prevent the receiver from catching the ball. Pound it down to the ground, or swat it out of bounds. He is a highly-trained professional, he knows how to do that.

But he decided he wanted even more glory. He got greedy. He tried to catch the ball instead.

Jennings didn’t do his job. He fucked up. On national TV.

THAT is the definition of butthurt.

Redskins: racist slur, or serious respect? Or maybe it’s something else…

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OK, maybe this subject has been beaten to death, but…WAKE UP, HORSE!

Even if you know squat about football, you’ve likely heard about efforts by…well, it seems like just about everybody…to get the Washington Redskins to change their name. On the surface, this sounds just too politically correct NOT to agree with, right? Because after all, if you’re not politically correct, then you might as well have “RACIST” tattooed on your forehead.

I was a little kid when The Brady Bunch was still on Prime Time television (FTR: Jan ended up being the smoking-hot one). During the final season was an episode called “Kelly’s Kids“, dealing with a white couple adopting three boys of different races and their next-door bigot who expressed her non-approval (yes, back then we called most racists “bigots”, because back then “racist” was a slur reserved for actual racists). Perhaps the following prop was only meant to be subtle commentary to enhance the show’s positive message: Todd Lookinland’s character wore a Redskins jacket during the episode. But basically, the entire premise of the episode was about love and acceptance, regardless of color.

And as the years went on and I got past my screen crush over Eve Plumb (um…ok, still have the screen crush), I never once considered the team name “Redskins” to be racist. Referring to Native Americans as “redskins” in a negative tone of voice…absolute racism bigotry. Team name…never a thought. But now I’m being told that the team name is racist, so I need to get with the program.

But it didn’t stop there. Now the Kansas City Chiefs offends, even though the team name was borne after a white man. And the person who is offended by the Chiefs, and also got the trademark canceled for the Redskins, has an interesting conundrum to deal with: her own tribe named and root for the Red Mesa High School Redskins. And the tribe is not inclined to change the name. Irony much?

The most eloquent and eye-opening article about this whole situation that I have read so far comes from Kerry J. Byrne of coldhardfootballfacts.com, who happens to be part Irish, part Native American. And he believes the Redskins name must be saved. Not “should”, but “must”.

Then I noticed that the Washington Redskins were the third most valuable NFL franchise, valued at approximately $1.6 billion as of 2013. Changing the name would have serious financial consequences for one Dan Snyder, which explains why he doesn’t want to change the name.

So where am I going with this? Pretty simple: we have one person who apparently doesn’t want to lose on his investment in an NFL team, we have a few select people who apparently want their 15 minutes of fame, and we have a large chorus of people who apparently feel the need to weigh in on the controversy in order to give the impression that they’re not racists…some of whom want your vote in the next election.

In other words, this is just a pissing match. And while Dan Snyder may look like he’s soaked right now, he may come out of this whole ordeal smelling just fine.

Who are the BEST cornerbacks today? My opinion sucks as much as yours…

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Darrell Revis suffered a season-ending injury early in the 2012 season. Shortly after that season’s Super Bowl, Richard Sherman declared himself to be the best cornerback, and Revis shot back “Sit down young pup & wait your turn”. Just as the 2013 season was about to start, Revis further said, “You’ve got to earn it.”

Well…Sherman didn’t sit and wait his turn as advised. And he earned it.

Good times.

Of course, some people have a problem with Sherman being regarded as the best cornerback. For example, they like to say that Sherman doesn’t play man-to-man, and doesn’t cover the #1 wide-receiver…like he did during Week 2, limiting Anquan Boldin to just one reception for 7 yards (right after a Week 1 performance of 13 receptions for 208 yards and a touchdown). Sherman plays in a system, and it’s a system designed to completely shut down…ok, humiliate…a historic NFL offense.

As the quiet period of the NFL drags on, writers gotta write about something. So Bucky Brooks at NFL.com listed his best cornerbacks, placing Sherman in the (rightful) spot of #1. But then his list quickly falls apart…in my suckable opinion, of course.

He listed Patrick Peterson as #2. A guy who had his worst season last year, allowing a Passer Rating of 91.3. A guy who got burned for seven touchdowns, and only had two interceptions. A guy whose best year isn’t as good as Sherman’s worst year.

Of course, some people have a problem with Peterson being ranked below Sherman. For example, they like to say that Peterson is an athletic freak, he’s “asked” to follow the #1 wide-receiver in every game, and he’s got a lot of future potential to be one of the best ever. He should be ranked #1.

But c’mon…”future potential”? This is the “show me now” league, the “what have you done for me lately” league. And so far, there are at least three unmentioned cornerbacks besides Sherman *cough* Joe Haden *cough* who had superior numbers to Peterson over the last three years.

So sit down Bucky, and ice up, son. Peterson hasn’t earned it.

Hmmm…not sure if Crabtree is reciting “I’m a Little Teapot” or insisting that Sherman put a ring on it…

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