Tag: nfl

The Excuses They Used Not To Sign Kaepernick

San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick (7) and Eric Reid (35) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, on Sunday, Sept. 18.(AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

When Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the singing of the National Anthem across the 2016 season, the NFL turned a cold shoulder and let him flap in the wind. The league has never admitted as much, yet it is so clear that is what happened as the fine folks at The Ringer have clearly articulated, down to the detail about his playing performance (which admittedly did tail off but was still better compared to other QBs signed in the past few years).

And so it took a course of inaction. The NFL never suspended Kaepernick; the quarterback simply never found his way onto a roster in 2017, 2018, or 2019. This inaction pissed just about everybody off. Kap’s supporters were convinced that he had been blackballed from the league, while President Donald Trump urged his base to stop watching NFL games and in 2017 called protesting players “sons of bitches.” Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke publicly about the importance of having “different viewpoints” while reportedly “looking for a way for the protests to end.” Last December, Goodell told media that the league had “moved on” from Kaepernick.

Fast forward four years to 2020, where a string of police brutality cases capped by the death of George Floyd led the NFL and their ‘silver spooned’ commissioner Roger Goodell to release an awkwardly crafted video that basically admitted that Kaepernick was right. Yet they didn’t have the guts to call him out by name.

There was just one error with the NFL’s approach: Kaepernick was right. The league seemed to think that it could ignore police brutality simply because it had “moved on” from Kaepernick, but police officers kept killing Black people. Hundreds of American cities have held Black Lives Matter demonstrations following the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and kneeling has become one of the international symbols of the movement. Public opinion has shifted. In 2016, Kaepernick was villainized for protesting during the anthem; in 2020, Drew Brees was villainized for saying he would “never agree with anybody” who protested in that way.

Trouble In Paradise

From ESPN’s Seth Wickersham’s hit piece on the whole dynamic between Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft:

Those who know Belichick and Brady well are amazed that they’ve co-existed this long, two ruthless and proud self-made men, both secure though still unfinished in their legacies, both loved and hated, both having received stiff penalties for cheating, both motivated by ego, humility and — as much as anything — doubt. Belichick is famously secretive, creating an entire system in which knowledge flows directly to him and only he decides how to deploy and exploit it. And Brady is famously unhelpful toward his backups — or, at least, a threat like Garoppolo. The two quarterbacks were friendly, but Brady — like Joe Montana to Steve Young and Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers — didn’t see it as his role to advise Garoppolo, even on matters as trivial as footwork, as nobody had helped him during his climb. Garoppolo played well in 2016, starting in place of the suspended Brady, and Belichick began to see Garoppolo as the final piece of his legacy, to walk away in a few years with the Patriots secure at quarterback. But after Garoppolo was knocked out of his second start because of a shoulder injury, he set up a visit at TB12. As he later told Patriots staffers, when he arrived, the door was locked. He knocked; nobody was there. He called TB12 trainers but nobody answered. He couldn’t believe it, Garoppolo told the staffers, and that night ended up visiting team trainers instead. Guerrero vehemently denies ever refusing to see any player, and Garoppolo was eventually treated at TB12 — but it was two weeks after he showed up for his original appointment, and only after a high-ranking Patriots staffer called TB12 to inquire why Garoppolo hadn’t been admitted.

Several times this past October, Brady met with Kraft to discuss playing longer. That same month, he also met with Belichick, who was skeptical of a long-term contract extension but was content to start Brady as long as he was the best quarterback. Belichick understood how much Brady had meant to the franchise, and had always insisted privately that he wouldn’t move on from Brady unless he could convince the coaching staff of it. But the reality was that no quarterback has ever played at a championship level into his 40s. The meeting ended in a “little blowup,” according to a source. Complicating matters was that Garoppolo would be a free agent at the end of this season. Complicating matters more was that Brady and Garoppolo share Yee as an agent.

And complicating matters even more was that Belichick didn’t want to trade Garoppolo. He had passed on dealing him last spring, when Garoppolo was in high demand. In early September, Belichick did trade third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett to the Colts for wide receiver Phillip Dorsett. “If we trade Jimmy, we’re the Cleveland Browns, with no succession plan,” one person inside the organization said earlier in the year. The Patriots repeatedly offered Garoppolo four-year contract extensions, in the $17 million to $18 million range annually that would go higher if and when he succeeded Brady. Garoppolo and Yee rejected the offers out of hand, for reasons that remain unclear, and the Patriots knew they couldn’t make any promises to Garoppolo about the timing of a transition at quarterback without it getting back to Brady.

Two weeks before the Nov. 1 trading deadline, Belichick met with Kraft to discuss the quarterback situation. According to staffers, the meeting ran long, lasting half the day and pushing back Belichick’s other meetings. The office was buzzing. The meeting ended with a clear mandate to Belichick: trade Garoppolo because he would not be in the team’s long-term plans, and then, once again, find the best quarterback in the draft and develop him. Belichick was furious and demoralized, according to friends. But in the end, he did what he asks of his players and coaches: He did his job. One morning in late October, Belichick texted San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and asked him to call. Belichick had long admired Kyle’s father, Mike, who not only had been one of the NFL’s smartest tacticians but had also personally defended Belichick to commissioner Roger Goodell during the Spygate scandal. At the combine this past February, Kyle, weeks into the 49ers job after being the offensive coordinator for the Falcons, met with Belichick for hours to learn from his team’s humiliating Super Bowl loss. Belichick believed that Garoppolo would excel under Shanahan, and when he and Shanahan connected on the phone, Belichick offered the quarterback for a second-rounder.

I’ll make no secret that I have been a life long New England Patriots fan. I have been with them through thick and thin. They humored us and made the 1986 Super Bowl, only to get embarrassed by one of the great teams in NFL history – the 1986 Chicago Bears. They also made it to the 1996 Super Bowl and were in the game until the Desmond Howard kickoff return broke their spirit.

To me, the Patriots are playing with house money at this point.  Heading into the 2001 season, the prospect of the New England Patriots ever winning one Super Bowl, much less 5 (and counting) was a pipe dream.  The prospect of winning 5 (and counting) Super Bowls with a coach that was run out of Cleveland and a 6th round draft pick who played all of one season at Michigan?  Off the charts. 

I’m not saying I fully buy into the whole tone and narrative of Wickersham’s piece – I would really have liked a LOT more on-the-record quotes – but I do think that he is hitting on a festering dynamic within the walls of Foxborough.  Eighteen years on from that first Super Bowl victory, the Patriots are now a model franchise and they have the opportunity to set things up for future success once Belichick and Brady walk away.  Belichick was moving his chess pieces to ensure that the team will be set up with both the infrastructure and the talent – centered around the backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo –  to continue its string of success for many years to come.  But Brady seems to be putting his own priorities ahead of all else.  Where I think Wickersham exposes an interesting element is around the notion that Kraft meddling in football decisions does not sit well with Belichick.

I honestly wonder if Belichick did in fact get the directive to trade Garoppolo from Kraft, that he basically said “F it, if you want me to trade Jimmy G, and leave us exposed at the most important position on the field, fine.” and then went to the 49ers and put a “Don Corleone” offer (aka – one they could not refuse) on the table. 

The next few weeks will be very interesting in terms of how history will look on at this incredible run of the Patriots.

Rethinking NFL Logos

Here is a really interesting take on re-thinking the logos of NFL teams by Matt McInerney. This is just a side project however some of the designs are really well done. For example, I love the KC Chiefs logo with the “C” depicted in negative space. His version of the Rams, Seahawks, and Houston Texans are pretty awesome too and the thinking behind his re-do of the Bills logo is very insightful

Via FastCoDesign

Cheap Greedy Owners

In case you have not heard, there have been some issues with the NFL referees through the first few weeks of the season because the NFL owners and the Refs can not come to an agreement over a contract.

The uproar over the debacle that was the Seahawks – Packers game on Monday night brought this to a national stage, where even the ladies from The View discussed it.

The NFL is big, big business to the tune of billions of dollars. So what is the sticking point over this negotiation between the NFL owners and the Refs?

The officials work about 36 hours a week — nearly full time — and pension benefits have become an important issue to them. It would probably cost each team about $100,000 to settle the pension issue.

The NFL rakes in billions and the cost to each team to come to agreement with the Refs and end this football nightmare is $100K per team (or a grand total of $3.2 Million)?!? In the context of the NFL, this is a rounding error. The $100K per team impact equates to 1/10 of 1% of Larry Fitzgerald’s 8 year contract with Arizona or Peyton Manning’s contract with Denver. $100K a year per team is probably what each spends on washing the player’s jock straps and towels.

And these jokers can’t figure out a solution? Yes, maybe Roger Goodell should be fired.

NFL Overtime

Garrett Hartley of the NO Saints kicking winning FG in 2010 NFC Championship

I don’t understand why the NFL can’t get their act together when it comes to Overtime rules during the regular season. I mean, the way the have it now just doesn’t pass the VP of Common Sense or “grandmother” rule (i.e. If you explained this to your grandmother, would she get it?).

Today, the NFL leaders voted to adopt the current Playoff OT rules for all regular season games which are:

An overtime in the regular season now will end on a team’s first possession only if it scores a touchdown or the defense forces a safety. If the team kicks a field goal on its first possession, the opposing team also will get a possession. If it also kicks a field goal, the extra period continues.

As it stands, the Playoff OT rules are just insanely silly – its kinda sorta sudden death – if you score a TD you win right then and there, but it is not sudden death if you score a field goal. These rule changes were made 2 years ago after the New Orleans Saints did what several other teams have done and won the coin toss, marched down the field, and kicked a field goal. Only difference was that their drive won them the NFC Championship instead of giving a random 5-6 team a .500 record.

To me, the way the NBA handles Overtime is the way to go, and in many ways the NFL is a similar ebb-and-flow type of sport with multiple ways to score points. The way the NBA does it is it has a 5 minute extra period – whoever has more points at the end wins. If it is still tied, they play another 5 minutes and so on until a team wins.

I’ve never played football, so I fully admit I don’t know the subtle nuances of these elements of the game. However, from watching the sport for years, it seems to me that teams would still demonstrate a sense of urgency and high levels of game strategy in approaching a full 5 minute extra session compared to the “if/than” option that they just voted to go with. The amount of elapsed “real” time that a full 5 minute session would take wouldn’t be that much different than what we see in today’s format. Having a full 5 minute extra period would give much more of an even balance of responsibilitiy to the offenses and defenses of both teams. And probably most importantly, it won’t force fans to go to the rule book when an overtime game happens to understand the nuances of the “your team didn’t win because the other team scored a TD in ‘Sudden Death Overtime’ after you scored first” scenario. At least by playing out a short, 5 minute extra period, the scenario is crystal clear. Keep on playing until whoever has the most points when the clock hits 0:00 wins.

Things are complex enough today. Do we really need this complexity in the already complex game of football?

Two Sport Star

It appears that Chad Johnson/Ochocinco is taking his skills to Kansas City for a tryout with Sporting KC of the MLS. This got me to thinking about an article from Bill Simmons at ESPN from a few years ago when he mused about a US sports bizarro world where our best athletes would be funneled towards soccer the way they are in European and South American countries. He imagined a scenario where Allen Iverson was playing soccer and claimed (not too far fetched, in my opinion) that Iverson could have been one of the greatest soccer players in the world:

By the way, I’ve been watching the World Cup for four weeks trying to decide which NBA players could have been dominant soccer players, eventually coming to three conclusions. First, Allen Iverson would have been the greatest soccer player ever — better than Pele, better than Ronaldo, better than everyone. I think this is indisputable, actually. Second, it’s a shame that someone like Chris Andersen couldn’t have been pushed toward soccer, because he would have been absolutely unstoppable soaring above the middle of the pack on corner kicks. And third, can you imagine anyone being a better goalie than Shawn Marion? It would be like having a 6-foot-9 human octopus in the net. How could anyone score on him? He’d have every inch of the goal covered. Just as a sports experiment, couldn’t we have someone teach Marion the rudimentary aspects of playing goal, then throw him in a couple of MLS games? Like you would turn the channel if this happened?

Maybe Chad Johnson’s foray into the MLS may prompt other athletes to take a second look at the “perfect game”.

iPad Playbooks in the NFL

CNET reported over the weekend that NFL teams like the Dallas Cowboys are considering replacing the “traditional” paper playbooks and the massive index cards coaches use to call plays with iPads or similar digital tablets.

In a lot of ways, this is exactly what tablets are meant for: easy access to data via wireless networks, high-quality photos, and portability. And from a coach’s or player’s perspective, imagine being able to quickly sort through a large set of plays, look at them in a stylish graphical presentation, see animations of them in action, and more–or to download a photo of the last play seconds later.

From a geek perspective, I think this is a super cool idea and could really be beneficial to teams – consider when they need to look up plays quickly, or check out a photo of a formation the opposition just ran. I think the hang up is that athletes and coaches are supremely superstitious animals. They like their routines, they find comfort in knowing their system so they don’t have to worry about anything else other than the game and its elements. I think there is a place for tablets on the NFL sideline, and other pro sports sidelines for that matter, but I think its going to be a bigger U/X transition than is anticipated. And thats saying nothing about the security issues that need to be factored in and managed.

via CNET News

Toe The Line

With all the trash talking coming out of the NY Jets camp this week in advance of the big Jets – Patriots NFL Playoff game, Wes Welker (New England WR) may have had the most fun with the situation.

As you may have heard, videos leaked online that supposedly depict Rex Ryan sharing a fetish for his wife’s feet. He all but implicated himself by saying that the videos were “a personal issue”.

So this week, in a hilariously subtle set of tweaks, Welker made no less than 11 references to feet during his press briefing.

Q} How do you approach the young guys about what to expect in the postseason?
A.) You just talk to them. It’s a playoff atmosphere and you can’t just stick your toe in the water, you’ve got to jump right in and make sure you’re ready to go and make things happen. In a playoff atmosphere that’s what you have to do

Q) How valuable is it to have a guy like Tom Brady standing in the huddle, especially in the intense situations of the playoff atmosphere?
A.)Having Tom in there, it goes without saying, the guy is who he is and he does a great job of making sure everyone is on the same page and putting their best foot forward going out there and playing well and doing what they can out there.

Q) What makes Revis as good as he is?
A.) I think he is very patient. He has good feet. He moves around really well. He understands the game. He gets his hands on you pretty well. [He] understands what you’re trying to do to him, so he definitely is a tough guy to really set up and get open against. You’ve got to be on top of your game and make sure that you’re doing everything possible to get open.

And so on. Ah, Rex Ryan…the loudmouth that keeps on giving.

NFL Uniform Concepts

New England Patriots 7

For the 2012 NFL season, the league will be switching over from Reebok to Nike as the official uniform supplier/designers for the 32 NFL teams. I don’t know how legit these concepts are, but here are all sorts of uniform concepts/suggestions for each of the NFL teams from a user named Lil Phil on Flickr.

AFC East
National Football Conference (NFC)
Full Set of Photo Concepts

What I like about all of the uniforms is that there is a similar style or motif to each of the uniform designs, while still keeping the distinct and unique attributes of each of the team brands.

Enough Already

I have a headache too, Brett

I used to like Brett Favre. But I am getting pretty tired of his annual “I’m going to ride out of retirement again on my white horse to save a franchise” charade. Once again, he’s talking to an NFL team about coming back for another season. Last year, he led the Jets to an implosion of mammoth proportions at the end of the season. And now, the Minnesota Vikings are talking to him about coming back….again.

Granted, the Vikings QB situation is a pretty sad state of affairs but did they not see what took place last year in the swamps of New Jersey? Not to mention that the Vikings are to the Packers what the Hatfields are to the McCoys. What in the name of Vince Lombardi is happening here? I guess Favre’s 15 seasons in Green Bay doesn’t add up to a hill of beans.

Is he considering coming back to a team that has a legitimate shot at a Super Bowl? No. Will his addition to this team make them a legitimate Super Bowl contender? No. Did his arrival with the Jets make them a Super Bowl contender? No (although don’t tell that Jets fans and the NY press circa November 2008). He can’t be doing this to improve his legacy because that’s already been demolished beyond repair. His legacy in Green Bay? Forget it. Its a distant memory that moves farther away with every twist in this sordid retirement legacy. What’s happening here is driven purely by greed and the opportunity to take advantage of another desperate franchise.

For the fans of the Minnesota Vikings (of which I am not one) and for the fans of the NFL, just retire. Move on.

Super Bowl

Some random thoughts while watching the Super Bowl:

  • Weren’t you just waiting for Joe Namath to “stop by” to pay Suzy Kolber a visit on the sideline and just plant one smack on her lips?
  • The kicker from Seattle should be fired. He cost me winning the halftime score.
  • Could the Rolling Stones have looked any older?
  • I don’t understand why the Motown artists were not the Halftime feature. Poor decision by the NFL and the organizers.
  • What’s the deal with people boo-ing Tom Brady? Just a bunch of bitter Pittsburgh fans.
  • Congrats to the Steelers. You’re just lucky the Patriots lost in Denver and you didn’t have to go through Foxborough. :)

Patriots At It Again

New England Patriots
New England Patriots

I’ve been trying not to post too much about sports this year, just to try to diversify the content on the site a bit. However, with it being NFL Playoff time, I’m can’t help myself. Yes, its that time of year again. My New England Patriots just polished off a first round playoff game victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. This has been an interesting and challenging year for the Patriots because they have had to manage through a great deal of injuries and adversity, including losing two of the best coaches around in Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel. But over the past month or so, they have had some key players return and have started to play effectively.

Will the Patriots win an unprecedented 3rd Super Bowl in a row and 4th in the past 5 years? My instinct says it’s going to be very, very hard. But time will tell. Bring on Denver or Indy (I think I’d prefer Denver).

Patriots World Champs!!

New England Patriots

New England Patriots – Super Bowl XXXVIII Champions What an amazing and thrilling game! I was impressed at the amount of points that each team produced, especially after the slow start that the game had in the scoring column and the quality of both Defenses. You have to give Carolina some credit as they really played a great game, although I also think that the Patrots’ Defense was not nearly as sharp as when they played the Colts for the AFC Championship. But in typical style, Tom Brady led the Patriots down the field and did what needed to be done to win the game. It was just an great game, and that’s even without the additional exposure that Janet Jackson got at halftime along with that streaker.

Update – You can purchase Patriots Super Bowl Champions t-shirts online. The Patriots pro shop has all sorts of nice stuff.

Go Patriots!

On the eve of the Patriot’s second trip to the Super Bowl in three years, I am amazingly calm. I guess its the fact that they have won it already. But if they win tomorrow, they can really put themselves in some elite company in the history of the NFL. I am confident that they will win but I fear it is going to be a closer game than people anticipate.

SuperBowl XXXVIII

It looks as though my Patriots are headed back to the SuperBowl for the second time in three years. They put up a convincing win this evening against the Indianapolis Colts for their fourteenth win in a row (second longest winning streak in NFL history next to the 1972 Miami Dolphins who ran the table that year). While today’s win was good, I thought there were a few areas of concern, with the most glaring to me being the Patriots’ ineffectiveness in the red zone. They had numerous opportunities for touchdowns with the ball at the 20 yard line, or closer, and they could not capitalize and put the game away. They definitely need to improve that for the Super Bowl.

Of the two NFC teams, I guess I am alright playing the Carolina Panthers. I think I prefer them to the Eagles, although the Patriots beat the Eagles earlier this year. I think the obvious advantage is the fact that the Patriots have been there before and know the drill and hype that comes with the SuperBowl. Here’s to a great two weeks leading up to what I hope will be another Patriots World Championship!!!

Patriots Win…Again, and Again

Don’t look now, but my New England Patriots have “quietly” reeled off seven wins in a row. Next weekend’s game vs. the Indianapolis Colts is going to be a huge game. Both have 9-2 records and any chance of home field throughout the playoffs, should the Chiefs stumble, means the Pats have to win this game.