“Image is everything.” – Andre Agassi, for Canon.
I’ve been alive for 39 years and 49 weeks. I’ve been watching football for 39 years and 48 weeks. Never have I witnessed a seven day nightmare like last week in the NFL. In the league’s 95 year history, it has never been worse, from a PR perspective. The Ray Rice debacle got more convoluted every day and is far from conclusion. Adrian Peterson was arrested for child abuse of his FOUR YEAR OLD son and, arguably, the biggest criminal of the three, Greg Hardy, was still active for Carolina at 8am on Sunday.
Then the games began. The brutality of the NFL seems to be increasing, despite the non-stop effort by the front office to soften the play. I was told 55 players left the game injured in week one. Yesterday, some of the game’s brightest stars went down including A.J. Green, Tavon Austin, Vernon Davis, Knowshon Moreno, Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, Desean Jackson and RG Knee. The new CBA could be to blame. Lack of off-season physicality limits a team’s preparation.
I have another problem with the current NFL. There is on Evil Empire. In the 70s, the Steelers were unbeatable. In the 80s it was San Francisco, the 90s saw Dallas. In the 2000s, New England was the mountain to climb. Now, maybe Seattle? Not after Sunday. That’s a terrible loss for them, yet a huge win for San Diego. Denver could fill that role but with an aging roster, for how long? The NFL is a better product when there is a tallest mountain to climb, a bar set. I’m not sure that exists at the moment.
All these signs point to ‘sound the alarm.’ Maybe I’m overreacting but the writing on the wall exists as each of these issues seem to be spiraling and, let’s face it, with the current lack of organizational leadership at 345 Park Ave, we could be witnessing the early stages of a dip in NFL popularity. I’ve got kids, man, and better things to do with my Sundays than watch overpaid athletes who don’t want to put in the time and effort in the off-season get penalized for everything but breathing. I’ve barely mentioned that the flags are out of control. Make no mistake about it, the penalties and lack of player control are league issues. The players made their own beds with the ridiculous terms in the current CBA. You want inflated contracts? Work for them. You can avoid injuries by knowing how to embrace contact and you embrace contact by allowing physicality in practice through repetition.
It’s not all bad, though. I’m thrilled for Bills fans. Buffalo’s early season success is well deserved and I’m long on record with my approval of EJ Manuel. Nice win this week for Cleveland, especially on the heels of that God-awful “Draft Day” film. Parity does have it’s advantages. The little guys slay the dragons more often. Unfortunately, the NFL doesn’t have enough dragons.
Here are YOUR Week Two NFL Notes & Musings…
How in the world do the San Diego SuperChargers on a short week beat Seattle on 10 days rest? The Seahawks may be smelling themselves a bit lately.
Baltimore punter Sam Koch set a franchise record by playing in his 130th consecutive game.
Kelvin Benjamin may be just what the doctor ordered for Carolina. Cousin Nick wanted to see him in an Eagles uniform. I wanted Jordan Matthews, who the team selected. I hope I don’t have to listen to him crow every Sunday.
The Dolphins have now lost three straight to the Bills.
Cincinnati won their 10th straight home game and are 2-0 for the first time in 8 years.
Floyd Mayweather makes me sick. I know that’s not football related but so what? I may note that Floyd Mayweather makes me sick each week in this column.
The Bengals’ Mohamed Sanu has thrown 3 passes in his NFL career. He has completed each of them including a 73 yard TD as a rookie.
Lesean McCoy’s now infamous .20 tip receipt is on sale on ebay and is currently at 732 American dollars. If the person that wins it will kindly email me, I’d like to throw a bucket of ice water in your face. Now, that’s an ice bucket challenge.
Cleveland improved to 2-14 in home openers since 1999.
Is there a better wager in sports than playing New England after a loss?
Drew Stanton beat the NY Giants on Sunday. Drew. Stanton. New York outgained Arizona 341 to 266 in the loss. Going to be a long season for Big Blue.
For the first time in foreveeerrrrr…sorry, my kids watch “Frozen” every day. For the first time in quite a bit, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett called the right gameplan. He ran DeMarco Murray left and ran DeMarco Murray right. 29 times in all for 167 yards. That’s Dallas’ best way to win and you know what? They did.
Kirk Cousins is twice the quarterback of RG Knee. The Redskins are in a better position today with Cousins than Saturday with Griffin. Shanny was right, Mr. Snyder.
The suddenly physical Washington defense had 10 sacks on Sunday against Jacksonville, tying a franchise record. Ryan Kerrigan recorded 4 of them.
San Diego dominated Seattle in time of possession, 42:15 to 17:45. The Bolts racked up 26 first downs to the Seahawks’ 14.
Legatron. Greg the Leg. Whatever you call him, Greg Zeurlein hit four field goals including a 38 yarder with :38 seconds left in the Rams’ comeback win in Tampa.
Andy Reid was so Andy Reid on Sunday. Kansas City held the ball for ten minutes and got down to the Denver 2 yard line. He called three roll out pass plays, all incomplete. The Chiefs then missed the field goal attempt. Andy, Dear Lord, you are a broken record.
Aaron Rodgers throws the prettiest pass in the world. Reminds me of Warren Moon, another incredible passer. Jordy Nelson caught 9 pretty passes on Sunday for 209 yards and a score. Nice comeback for Green Bay, a much needed win.
Geno Smith is improving. Made some big time throws on Sunday but still makes poor decisions. The kid is making strides, however, I never thought he would.
The Oakland Raiders shouldn’t charge a nickel for tickets for the rest of this season. They are a complete mess of a franchise, even with solid additions in Mack and Carr. That was a five alarm dumpster fire on Sunday at home against the Texans. They are the least prepared team in the league. Don’t be surprised if Dennis Allen is the first casualty on the NFL firing line in 2014.
Someone out there in fantasy has to have Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice on their roster, right?
I talk a lot about Colin Kaepernick’s bad decision making and it cost the 49ers a win in their home opener Sunday night. That wasn’t exactly the Seahawks’ secondary lining up for Chicago, either. The Bears were down 2 cornerbacks and a starting safety. Kap added a lost fumble and, albeit weak, very costly unsportsmanlike penalty.
And finally, kudos to my buddy Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports who, while interviewing a female fan wearing a Ray Rice jersey on her way in to the Ravens game said, “interesting choice of jersey,” then added after she smiled, “that wasn’t a compliment.” Well done, Mike.
Tune in to Sportsradio 94 WIP in Philadelphia every Friday morning from 2am to 5:30am (if you’re awake) to hear me in studio with Big Daddy Graham getting you geared up for your Football Friday!
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