Archive for the ‘nfl’ tag
The University of Tennessee does not yet have a plan for how it will finance a multimillion-dollar buyout of former football coach Derek Dooley, who was fired Sunday, Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said Monday.
The university is “keeping every possibility on the table,” Cheek said, but declined to say whether university funds could be used to bolster a struggling athletics department budget.
… Firing Dooley, who coached three seasons to finish with a 15-21 record, will be expensive. Dooley’s contract stipulates UT will have to pay out roughly $5 million for the remainder of his contract, in monthly installments of about $102,000.
In the real world, failure means being shown the door, and if you’re lucky, getting one last paycheck from accrued vacation. Universities and professional sports teams could save a lot of money if they did away with guaranteed contracts and scaled pay based on performance, not just forking over egregious sums of money based on little more than on potential.
Makes perfect since to me. NFL fans, by and large, don’t care about this game. I know I don’t. The players care even less, and that is clear from the body language and the effort on the field. Here’s a story about potentially canceling the Pro Bowl and a portion of the article:
The league and union agreed that the quality of last year’s game, which saw the NFC claim a 55-41 win over the AFC, was unacceptable at a meeting between the sides earlier this month.
The sides, though, were understood to have discussed ways to improve the fixture rather than wipe it from the schedule.
The game still is listed on the NFL’s calendar the week before New Orleans hosts Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3, though the location remains unknown.
Of course, if NFL officials wanted to go ahead and destroy any lingering interest in the Pro Bowl, they all ready did so by scheduling the game before the Super Bowl. Some of the best players in the league aren’t even going to play because of the injury risk. That was the most boneheaded move officials could have made. I realize that interest in the NFL season wanes after the Super Bowl, but at least you will have the best players involved in the game, including those who actually played in the Super Bowl.
If officials are going to leave it hopelessly wedged between the final playoff game and the big dance, I say do us all a favor and just shoot the lame duck before it becomes more of a joke than it already is.
Time will tell if the notorious “Madden curse” will befall Johnson.
NFL.com writer Adam Rank makes the case that WWE’s John Cena and now-New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow are one in the same. I can’t think of a way to prove him wrong.
By the way, I never thought I would have Cena and Tebow showing up on the same website, much less in the same post!
I am apparently not alone in the weariness over Tim Tebow’s Jesus talk in every single interview following a win on the football field. News flash: if Jesus existed, he probably doesn’t care about football or any person’s success in their careers.
Jake Plummer had this to say on XTRA Sports 910 on Monday in Phoenix:
Tebow, regardless of whether I wish he’d just shut up after a game and go hug his teammates, I think he’s a winner, and I respect that about him. …
I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ then I think I’ll like him a little better. …
I don’t hate him because of that. I just would rather not have to hear that every single time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff.
Here is Tebow’s response:
If you’re married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife ‘I love her’ the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and every opportunity?
And that’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ is that it is the most important thing in my life. So any time I get an opportunity to tell him that I love him or given an opportunity to shout him out on national TV, I’m gonna take that opportunity. And so I look at it as a relationship that I have with him that I want to give him the honor and glory anytime I have the opportunity. And then right after I give him the honor and glory, I always try to give my teammates the honor and glory.
And that’s how it works because Christ comes first in my life, and then my family, and then my teammates. I respect Jake’s opinion, and I really appreciate his compliment of calling me a winner. But I feel like anytime I get the opportunity to give the Lord some praise, he is due for it.
Yes, he’s married to Christ. We get it. But other athletes don’t tend to thank their wives and kids during postgame interviews. In fact, I have rarely, if ever, heard a player thank their wives for helping them win games. The other players on the team help a person win a game, not Christ or anyone else real or imagery who is not on the field. If it weren’t for the wins the Broncos have had recently (and as a Denver fan, I’m certainly pleased), I would be a little resentful as one of his teammates to hear him thanking Christ first and foremost, when the score would have been 75-0 (or worse) without his teammates. I dare say if the rest of his teammates sucked the whole game, Christ would have still been a no-show.
I happened upon an editorial piece this week by ESPN.com writer Rick Reilly, formerly a columnist with Sports Illustrated, in which Reilly criticizes Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler for his mostly aloof and flippant demeanor in press conferences and in other public appearances off the football field.
In the column, Reilly had this to say about the former Denver Broncos QB (Being a Broncos and, to a lesser degree, a Bears fan, piqued my interest in the piece):
Cutler could own Chicago if he wanted. In a city that has had as many good quarterbacks as Omaha has had good surfers, Cutler could have his name on half the billboards and all the jerseys. My God, the kid grew up a Bears fan! But he doesn’t even try. He has zero endorsements and doesn’t want any. If there is such a thing as a Jay Cutler Fan Club, Cutler is having a membership drive — to drive them out.
Example from Wednesday’s 15-minute news conference, the only time he speaks publicly the entire workweek:
Reporter #1: So, did you enjoy the week off?
Cutler: Yeah, it’s nice to kick back and watch the games.
Reporter #2: Wait. Last week, you said you never watch the games.
Cutler (disgusted): I said you could watch the games. I didn’t say I watched the games. You’ve got to listen.
Cutler also doesn’t make public announcements of his trips to hospitals visiting fellow Type I diabetes patients, nor does he publicize Christmas present donations he makes to sick kids.
According to ESPN.com’s Rick Reilly, quarterback Jay Cutler is some kind of creep because he didn’t idolize any NFL quarterbacks as a kid.
Maybe he had other, more worthy role models like his parents or a teacher.
Reilly rips Cutler because he doesn’t have any endorsements and doesn’t want any. Brilliant. Better he should be a money-grubbing shill, willing to endorse anything for a buck. What kind of a jerk focuses on doing his job at the expense of making easy money? How dare he?
Actually, I kind of admire a guy like Cutler. Rather than clamber for attention like some other NFL stars (Chad Ochocinco comes to mind) or put up a veneer of pretended cheerfulness, Cutler seems like more a real guy to me, and he seems to treat press conference like most people treat their jobs: they would rather be somewhere else, but they come to work anyway and aren’t always outwardly happy about it. Nor do I think it’s fair to judge Cutler on his performance before the press. As the field leader of an NFL football team, he’s obligated, contractually I’m sure, to face the media and answer questions, but that’s not his main job description. His main job description is to throw touchdowns and win football games. That he’s not forthcoming at press conferences or seems to openly hold reporters in contempt shouldn’t lead to character assassination.
Cutler strikes me as the type of fellow who gets the big picture. While most coaches and players have a treasure chest of media-isms to crack open the minute they are pulled aside by reporters, Cutler doesn’t. He plays the game on the field, but doesn’t play the hype game. And while that might drive certain media folks nuts (As it probably would me if I were a reporter for a Chicago newspaper), it’s laudable on some levels.
Reilly once more:
Cutler’s teammates will defend him, when asked. “It’s funny to me how people form an opinion of a guy who’ve never even met him,” says Bears tight end Greg Olsen, a close friend.
So what’s the truth?
“He is what he is,” Olsen says.
LeGere also got it right when speaking about Cutler’s refusing to make a big deal out of his various charitable endeavors.
As a side note, I once announced in a newspaper column that I wanted anyone who was planning to buy Christmas presents for me that year, to please just donate whatever money they might have spent to the Make-A-Wish foundation. I made that statement near the end of a column about American consumerism and poverty, indicating that we should strive to get less and give more. To drive my point home, then, I felt duty bound to put action behind my words. I wrote it purely out of obligation and with no thought of myself. I truly hope it came across that way, and I only regret having written it when I think that some might have taken it a different way, that I was publicly patting myself on the back for requesting a donation be made.
Still, I think the best kind of giver is an anonymous one. The worst kind of giver is the one who donates time or money or resources and then wants to be acknowledged for it (Thus, I chafe to think that the aforementioned column might have been misunderstood). Regardless, why should Cutler announce when he’s planning to make an appearance at a hospital or donate presents to kids. Why should he seek out endorsements? He doesn’t care what people think about him, and I don’t know why that fact bothers Reilly and this guy so much. At least Cutler’s a real guy and not some self-promoting, cliché-machine Manning clone.
Don’t get me wrong. I would be happy as a penguin in a freezer full of cod if the Dallas Cowboys never win another game … ever. At least not until the next century. But what is up with Bob Costas tonight calling the Cowboys unprofessional in their lifeless and uninspired effort last week and for most of this season?
Have any commentators thought this? Maybe Phillips just wasn’t a very good head coach. Let’s review his record as the head guy.
- Came in as the Saints’ head coach in 1985. Record: 1-3.
- Spent seven years as the defensive coordinator for the Eagles and Broncos.
- Named head coach of the Broncos, replacing Dan Reeves. Went 9-7 in first year and 7-9 in second year. Fired because of claims from Broncos officials that he didn’t have control of the team. Sounds familiar.
- Enjoyed some success with the Bills with seasons of 10-6 and 11-5 in ’98 and 99, but followed with an 8-8 season in 2000.
- Again replaced Reeves in 2003 for the last three games and went 2-1 to round out that season.
- Signed with the Cowboys in 2007 and loss to the Giants in a divisional playoff game to cap his best season at 13-3. Had a mediocre 2008 season, and then went 11-5 to again fall in the divisional playoff game.
- Fired after leading (or not) the Cowboys to a 1-7 record midway through this season.
In this article, Phillips said recently that:
… he watched nearly two years’ worth of games on tape and discovered fundamentals were lacking. Phillips said it was time for the team to return to the basics, but those basics were severely lacking in Sunday night’s loss to the Packers, as the Cowboys were plagued by missed tackles, a muffed punt and poor blocking techniques which resulted in four sacks and a fumble on a kick return.
“I thought we played poorly,” Phillips said after the Packers game. “I thought we played poorly as a team and we looked like a bad football team. That’s the way we played. Bad coaching.”
OK sure, the play on the field hasn’t been good. But, in the 45-7 blow out at Green Bay, the play was uninspired and, as I said, lifeless. And whose job is it to inspire and motivate the team? As Jason Garrett well knows, it’s the head coach. And he proved that this week with the Cowboys (surprising?) win at Giants Stadium. The play-by-play and color guys prior to the game even said Garrett gave an inspiring speech prior to the game that served to rejuvenate the team’s spirit. That’s something that Phillips has never seemed to have a) grasped, or b) been able to cultivate. In short, a “really special guy,” as Garrett recently lauded Phillips, doesn’t equal “good head coach.” I was also amused to find a Fire Wade Phillips blog as well. I, of course, am not a Wade Phillips hater. That would be ridiculous. I don’t enjoy it when people fail. But I’m simply making the case that, while he may been a decent defensive coordinator, head coaching was probably not his bag, as it were.
Article first published as What Was Behind Kenny McKinley’s Apparent Suicide? on Blogcritics.
One finds it hard to fathom that something dark may have been lurking behind what players and coaches have described as the lively and happy demeanor of Kenny McKinley, the former wide receiver and kick returner for the Denver Broncos believed to have shot himself at his Centennial, Colo., home this week.
He was always a guy that used to love to joke with me, and I would joke back and forth with him. But he had a big smile on his face. He just walked out of the building. And that’s the last thing we remember, that huge smile. Like coach said, he always showed every tooth in his mouth, just smiling and being happy.
As it turns out, investigator reports indicate that McKinley, who was on injured reserve in his second year with the Broncos, had dropped hints that he may have been suffering from depression about his knee injury:
The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s report quoted one investigator as saying McKinley had been depressed over a knee surgery he had a month ago.
“He had made statements while playing dominoes shortly after the surgery that he should just kill himself,” the officer reported. “No one believed he was serious.”
The report didn’t provide an explanation for the source of the investigator’s information.
The report also said McKinley had made statements about not knowing what he would do without football.
Thus, perhaps commentators on WCCP’s “The Score” radio show, a station based out of Clemson, S.C., were, at least in part, on target today when they seemed to suggest today that McKinley may have been overly stressed by the various pressures faced by professional athletes. Of course, it’s hard to sympathize with someone who had a four-year, $1.9 million contract with a professional football team in one of the most lucrative leagues in the world. But the radio commentators brought a great point to bear: professional athletes, some of whom have no other options outside of sports, depend mightily on their bodies to support their families and pay the bills, however colossal those expenses may seem to regular folk.
Woodyard made the point in the above article:
Well, you know, football’s a stressful job. … It’s the same thing with people in everyday life, you’ve got to talk to somebody in your life, so just to help you work out those problems.
In short, for McKinley, who holds the all-time receiving record at his alma mater, the University of South Carolina, one can only imagine that football was his life. And I suppose he felt that that life may be, or may have already been, taken away from him because of the injury, however short-sided that view may seem to us.
As if to make the posthumous point himself, McKinley left a clue at the scene: when police officers arrived to find his head under a pillow with a gun on top, they also noticed a telling detail: the NFL Network was droning in the background.
Ever wonder what a World Cup soccer team might look like if the roster was filled entirely with NFL players? Probably not, but this blog does some speculating for us. We know that, by and large, here in America, the nation’s best athletes are probably playing American football, hockey or basketball, and are not funneled toward soccer careers.
Soccer players are highly athletic, for sure, but given soccer’s still-lagging stance in comparison to other sports, it’s safe to say that our top athletes aren’t soccer players. Of this country’s nine World Cup appearances since 1930, third place is the team’s best finish so far. But that result, which actually took place in 1930, long escapes nearly everyone alive today. Nonetheless, here is the blog writer’s NFL-infused World Cup roster.
Goalkeeper: Larry Fitzgerald
Defenders: Ed Reed, Patrick Willis, Adrian Peterson and Maurice-Jones Drew
Midfielders: Tom Brady, D. Heyward-Bay, Nnambi Asomugha and Chad Ochocinco
Strikers: Vince Young, Andre Johnson and Michael Vick.
Not a bad list, and I think Fitzgerald would make a beast of a keep. I think these players should get some sort of nod as well: Randy Moss, Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, Beanie Wells and Drew Brees.
By the way, four NFL players, Peterson, Tommie Harris, Roy Williams and Mark Clayton have, indeed, kicked the soccer ball around on a recent trip to South Africa:
The visit included a friendly soccer game against school children from Mzamomhle Primary School in the township of Philippi on the outskirts of Cape Town.
No doubt, the NFL players got toasted by the young futbol hopefuls.
[Photo credit: Schalk van Zuydam/Associated Press]
This just in: A majority of Democrats and Independents are rooting for the New Orleans Saints to win the Super Bowl, while a small majority of Republicans will be pulling for the Indianapolis Colts, according to this study.
Overall 32% of voters we polled on our last national survey said they’d be rooting for the New Orleans Saints this Sunday, with 22% going for the Indianapolis Colts and 46% expressing no preference.
There’s a significant partisan divide within those numbers, as Democrats prefer the Saints by a 36-21 margin while Republicans say they want the Colts to be victorious by a closer 26-25 spread. Independents lean toward the Saints as well, 33-20.
Here is the press release from Public Policy Polling.
I think these numbers can be attributed to a few factors. First, the majority of Americans are pulling for the Saints because it’s the team’s first trip to the Big Dance. Everyone likes rooting for the underdog or whichever Cinderella team is wowing fans. The second reason has to do with New Orleans itself. Obviously, America in general wants to see the team win because it would be good for the people of New Orleans. Not that well-wishes and winning a sports title is going to make up for the thousands lost in Katrina, but at least it’s something. Finally, Democrats and Independents are probably pulling for the Saints for the latter reason, given Commander Genius and FEMA’s ineptness in helping a city consisting of 67 percent black folk.
Interesting. Rarely do I check the “Politics” and “Sports” categories when finishing these posts. I’ll have to look for more opportunities to do so.