On the heels of Antwaan Randel El, yet another former pro coming forward disclosing health issues and regretting his playing days for the shield, it is becoming more and more evident that the NFL has to change. The way it is currently constructed, with Roger Goddell at its head, simply cannot stand the onslaught of public relations hits that they are taking. Granted, the NFL has proven seemingly invincible to the slew of revelations, realizations, testimonies, and events all of which have pointed to football being not only dangerous but calling into question the NFL’s handling of player health and care.
It goes much deeper than that though. Somewhere along the way the NFL went from a budding, beloved, and celebrated league representing, perhaps, the finest sport humanity has created and has become a shadow organization. A place where facts are hidden or distorted to control the message. Where responsibility is shirked with a check and an avalanche of non-disclosure agreements. Where families are told what to say and when to say it even when they are memorializing their own husband and father. Somewhere along the way, the NFL became evil.
14 years ago today, on a snowy, cold night in Foxboro, Massachusetts the New England Patriots defeated the Oakland Raiders 16-13 in the AFC Divisional Round. The game would go down in infamy as “The Tuck Rule Game” where referee Walt Coleman reversed the ruling of a fumble on the field due to a little known technicality at the time. Charles Woodson’s sack on Tom Brady was not really a sack, the supposed fumble recovered by Greg Bierkert not a fumble, and a game that looked to be won by the Oakland Raiders was once again up for grabs. With the drive alive the Patriots were able to get within FG range allowing for the heroics of Adam Vinatieri to put the game into overtime and then win the game for the Patriots.
This was more than a simple playoff victory for New England, though it didn’t seem like it at the time. Sure, it may go down in Patriot lore like the Snow Plow game vs Shula’s Dolphins, but it became so much more than that. It heralded an age of unparalleled success for the Patriots franchise as it was the first postseason game started by then 2nd year QB Brady. It was the final game played at Foxboro Stadium, nee Sullivan Stadium, the only home the Patriots had called their own as an NFL franchise. A building that had housed a frustrated fan base and largely irrelevant franchise ended up, on the final scene of its swan song, playing host to one of the most significant plays in, one could argue, NFL history before its demise. In the process, it gave birth to what has become the most successful NFL franchise in the 21st century.
More than all that though, January 19, 2002 was the birth of a fan.
In a matchup between 1 and 2 seeds the Patriots will be traveling to Denver this weekend to take on the Broncos in what could very well be the finishing touches on one, if not two, legacies. Brady vs Manning (17th edition) is a bit diminished this time around though despite the stakes above and beyond simply the AFC Championship title.
This is a game about reputations. About legacies. Really all of the Brady v. Manning matchups in the past have culminated in this final contest. Will this be a continuation of the overall trend we have seen since Brady’s ascendancy in 2001? Of the unheralded 6th round pick reaping the rewards of what seemed like Manning’s 1st overall pick birthright? Or will this be a final grand stand of an aging great? A man who can thwart the advancement of age to win in a big game where he has so often failed? A crowning achievement to cap off a tremendous career? None know now but by 7 PM on the east coast all will.
After a nearly 24 year hiatus the Rams are back in LA. Beating out the Chargers and Raiders who also applied to relocate to the City of Angels the Rams are leaving the Cardinal red confines of St. Louis and returning to the California sun where the franchise originated in 1946. With an aging stadium and lackluster fan base I’m not shocked that the Rams were the team the NFL chose to move back to their original home. There is a history there that eager fans can tap into and LA has been a market black hole in the NFL’s empire since the twin departures of the Raiders and Rams after the ’94 season.
Even more exciting than football returning to that sprawling, dirty epicenter of the shallow and superficial though is which celebrity will become the head honk of the new LA Rams? Its a tremendous opportunity and in a town where being seen is paramount I don’t think there will be any shortage of candidates who run out (read: dispatch a personal servant/minion/assistant) to grab some blue and gold merch and pretend to know what college Todd Gurley attended to get those coveted invites to the sideline and have those ESPN producers come a knockin if Jeff Fisher manages to win more than 8 games and get into the playoffs. So, without further ado, lets handicap the top 5 candidates to be the new LA Rams pep rally leader.
The first slate of games in the NFL’s 2015 postseason could not have been more opposite if they tried. On the one hand you had the massacre of the Houston Texans (and Brian Hoyer’s career as a starting QB) at the hands of the Chiefs and, on the other, the gutter war that was the Cincinnati and Pittsburgh contest. If you watched any of the game last night or watch any sports coverage this morning you know what a circus that was.
Now, despite the fact that I called both outcomes, the results of both games and the way they went down have me questioning my outlook. I’ll stick to my guns though and hope that the injuries the Steelers suffered in their game are not as serious as they appear and that they can still challenge, and beat, Denver with Noodle-Arm McGee back starting. Before we get to the Steelers and yesterday’s game that everyone will be talking about let’s go over JJ Watt’s season ending first.
I don’t know about you all but I for one was shocked and appalled at the lack of coverage on the renewal of the Sagebrush Rebellion (the defining conflict of our age no less!) that has been going in in southwest Oregon this past week. Well, I was, until I saw who was the spokesman for the movement. Ammon Bundy.
Just say that name out loud again. Ridiculous right? Who’s going to listen to someone named Ammon Bundy about anything? The name is played out. As soon as you hear something came out of Ammon Bundy’s mouth your mind is already writing it off as nonsense. Why? Simple. ‘Bundy’ has been taken. Not only has it been taken, its been taken twice and you know exactly by whom;
The wonderful thing about the male sex or male gender identification or however you say being a man who puts his penis in things in 2015, is that we all seem to be built on a familiar template. Red meat, sports, not talking about feelings. These are all things that men universally seem to enjoy and I think that some of those things that all men love demand an explanation so that women can understand just how shallow, immature, and stupid we generally all are while explaining those shortcomings eloquently and succinctly. Well, at least why I am the way I am.
So, without further ado, let’s delve in to every man’s favorite wardrobe member in a woman’s closet; the sundress.
That’s about the old man look I’m shooting for
It dawned on me the other day that you don’t just become old overnight. I know, quite the thunderbolt eh? Well, it wasn’t just that. I realized that you can, if you examine yourself enough, find things you do right now that will be a hallmark in your twilight years. Things that are going to mark you out as an old man or woman, those idiosyncrasies that dot your personality like a map to the old soul.
Now I’m sure everyone has a few of these but I’m going to start right at the top of the list. It’s a subject that already has friends and family alike shaking their heads with a giggle of disbelief when I tell them but I’m set in my way sand there isn’t a damn thing you whippersnappers can do about it. Of course I’m talking about;
Paying Cash At the Tolls
Hope everyone has their anti-government mind control sugar pills handy because we are about to take a trip to conspiracy town on a subject that has impacted the United States from sea to shining sea. More specifically, from football fields in Foxboro to Seattle. Ladies and gentlemen of course you know of what I speak of; the viral end zone dance.
Now, I know what you are thinking. There are so many big issues in the world today, do we really need to talk about a conspiracy dealing with end zone dance celebrations? YES. Because Football is awesome and consumes nearly 6 months worth of Mondays, MACtion Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays while generating billions of dollars in ticket sales, merchandise, and cable packages. Hell, its shaping actual laws a la daily fantasy sports which, let’s face it, is pretty much driven by football because scoring is awesome and no one wants to count on an assist from a 4th line center to win money (oooo shots fired NHL! SHOTS FIRED). So sit back, strap on that tinfoil helmet and get ready to take a trip down the dabbing nae nae running off the plug rabbit hole.
There once was a man who was worried. He didn’t worry so much about his next meal, or if he had clothes or a roof over his head. No. This worry was a deeper worry. A soulful worry. The man worried he didn’t have enough time. Enough time to spend with those he cared about. That someday all the people he knew and loved would be gone. Consigned to the fate that all things are fated to. He worried that someday would be the last day that he would walk out of his grandparent’s house able to count them amongst the living. And knew someday they would not be counted so. He worried he would never hear his mother’s warm, infections laughter one day. And knew someday it would only be an echo in his memory. He worried about not being able to hug his broad shouldered father. And knew someday there would be no unconditional embrace of love awaiting him. He worried about not being able to see the happy, smiling faces of his two younger, beautiful sisters. And knew someday he would be blinded eternally.
The man was haunted by time’s slow march and, with each tick of the clock, with each fallen grain of sand, with each passing of day into night back into day, the man grew more worried.