It’s My Arrowplane
The only Thursday Night football game I was excited about occurred this past Thursday. Chiefs and Raiders at Arrowhead. And believe me, I was excited for this one!
First of all, watching this game made me realize that if Lambeau Field is the Wrigley Field of the NFL, Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City is the Fenway Park. It is the sixth largest stadium in all of football, an almost unheard-of feat considering it was erected in the 1960’s. It’s outdoor, old school, sits adjacent to the KC Royals Kauffman Stadium (always a nice touch) and, like all the best arenas in sports, is the home field for one team and one team only.
That isn’t saying much these days. Back in the day, there was one stadium in each city for the outdoor sports and one for the indoor sports. Believe it or not non-Chicago people, the Chicago Bears played at Wrigley Field once upon a time.
Now, everyone is spoiled and needs their own stadium. It’s like brothers in the ’60s that shared a room until they were 18, and then one of them went off to college or war. The remaining brother got that room until he went off to college or war, at which point the parents got the room back and turned it in to a study until they eventually died. Nowadays – no sharing. I mean, if one kid is into Star Wars and the other kid is into Star Trek, what are we supposed to do? Have a Star Trek and Star Wars poster on the same wall?
I remember watching a lot of legit Kansas City Chiefs football games about ten years ago. They’ve had sprinkles of them over the last few years, but very few of them have had that “big-game-feel” mid-season that this one had.
I liked what Kansas City showed offensively in the first half. An explosive Alex Smith was the key to a running game, which soon followed suit. Travis Kelce FINALLY had a breakout year with four straight 100+ yards games. I also love Travis Kelce because he talks like he’s Bubba Sparks. Tyreek Hill (or as Ramsay Bolton calls him, Reek) took one to the house on special teams.
KC is just a team playing with a lot of swagger that now has a first-round bye going in to the last three games, which will be huge for them in that stadium.
Meanwhile, the Raiders fall from grace to the five spot and are now a Wild Card team, and Derek Carr seems to have been weeded out from MVP talks with one bad game.
Teammate Newton Non-Tie Turtleneck
The final proverbial nail went in to Cam Newton’s season this past Sunday night in the form of a wardrobe violation, of all things.
Apparently the Carolina Panthers (like basically every other team in pro sports) have a dress code. That dress code demands you wear a tie. It’s no different than when I went to a Catholic boys’ high school and they made us wear ties on mass days or else we got a detention. Basically, all you have to do is keep a wrinkled shirt and tie in your locker, and throw it on every time there’s a mass day.
That said, Newton showed up wearing a turtleneck probably worth more than anything we’ve purchased in our lives. However, you can’t wear a tie with a turtleneck. Coach Ron Rivera didn’t fine Newton. Frankly, what would a fine mean to Newton? He’s one of the highest paid players in the league.
He punished him in a much worse way: he benched him for the first series on Sunday night against Seattle. Of course, since the WHOLE WORLD is against Ron Rivera, backup QB Derek Anderson promptly threw an interception on the first play of the game. Rarely do you see games end on the first play, but this was one of those.
I think now I can safely say (even though I did address it last year in response to his post-Superbowl press conference): Cam Newton is a baby. He thinks the rules don’t apply to him, at least to some degree. EVEN THOUGH he has the respect of his teammates (the most important thing), he is stockpiling in droves a lack of respect from the rest of the league, the media and NFL fans.
But more importantly, with every passing game, I’m beginning to think that Cam Newton’s 2015-2016 MVP season was an anomaly, which is a WAY more accusatory statement than me calling him a baby.
Newton has an 80.6 passer rating this year, which is obviously a significant drop-off from his PR from last year, which consistently hovered around 100. Not to mention his rushing, or lack thereof – Newton will have had a career-low season in rushing yards this year by at least 100 yards.
You can fake a good season, yes. But can you fake an MVP season? How much credit deserves to go to the Carolina’s Defense last year?
Riding a First Class Coach
By my math, roughly six NFL teams will be entertaining the idea of getting a new head coach this offseason.
So, I got to thinking about the new crop that’ll be available. Really the best two candidates that I feel will be new head coaches of teams next year are both out of New England. This is especially going to be the case if the Pats win the Superbowl this year.
The first, and more obvious of the two, is Josh McDaniels. He’s gotten heat as being a league heal ever since he came in to Denver and traded their franchise QB Jay Cutler away. He also once snapped on this field, which doesn’t help.
The best way I can describe this dude is a mini-Jim Harbaugh. He has a great offensive mind. He has groomed the best QB ever to have an explosive offense without the proper tools and, at the age of 40, he is prime for a 20+ year run at any legit franchise. And make no mistake, whoever hires McDaniels (barring another flip out) will put the team in his hands for at least a six-year span. I hope my Bears do it obviously – one final stroke of irony with Jay Cutler leaving.
Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball, we could be expecting Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia to leave the Pats as well. On paper, I like Patricia less. All dumb dumb fans will like him more because Patricia is fat and has a beard, and people can dress up as him for Halloween…which at the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about?
It’s hilarious that the Cleveland Browns interviewed Patricia last year and DID NOT snap him up. Instead, they hired Hugh Jackson to be pummeled week in and week out.
The Pats have not really excelled at defense since Patricia came in to the position, but there are a couple things to note here. The first is that Patricia’s defense is currently ranked 9th in the NFL. This means that the Pats have a top 10 defense. Sort of a big deal. It’s noteworthy that teams start slinging the ball when Tom Brady is on the opposite team, leading to them to opportunistic turnovers, but nevertheless, they show up every week.
One thing to note about Patricia that makes him a very sexy candidate: he started out as an offensive coach, worked his way up through the Pats as an offensive coach assistant, became the Pat’s O-line coach, before leapfrogging to becoming the team’s DC.
If your team is in need of a complete rebuild, and I mean a COMPLETE rebuild, you have to go off and get one of these two guys this offseason. They need their own QB’s, more than likely through the draft, and the ability to mold the team to their liking, which in theory would be a New England Jr.
McDaniels comes with a stigma and is the less versatile of the two, but is ultimately the better pick. He resume as an OC cannot be denied.
Just found out that Belichick’s wife is hot. Pisses me off.
No News Radio Is Bad News
Shoutout to the NFL Network show “A Football Life,” which is basically Behind the Music meets the NFL.
No one talks about this show, which is currently in its 6th season. It’s like the news radio of sports shows: we’ll just keep in on the air for six seasons, have it slip under the radar, and eventually, when one of our cast members dies, we’ll proceed on without him for another three seasons until they literally the change the locks on the set.
Charles Woodson’s episode premiered last night. Something interesting to note: Tom Brady and Charles Woodson have never discussed what happened in the famous “Tuck Rule” game, even though they are both good friends and former teammates at Michigan.
A lot of people reference this “Tuck Rule” game as the birth of the proper analysis of the forward pass. Ironically, and I think the majority of people would agree on this, they probably made the wrong call in this game. In the current NFL, nine times out of ten they would call this play a fumble. More importantly though, I always use this game as the birth of something else which is common place in the NFL: the non-game winning opening overtime drive field goal.
A lot of people don’t remember that Adam Vinatieri did not win the game with a snowy kick that day after Brady’s pass was ruled a forward pass. He sent the game into overtime, and when Tom Brady lead his team down the field against a depleted Raiders defense, AV hit another FG, winning the game.
This is ultimately what makes it an extremely important game: it’s helped to change an overtime rule which, especially for the playoffs, heavily favored the team who won a coin flip. Not a good way to decide a game.
A Football Life: dope show, but let’s give it a couple years and see if it gains a following.
When Blue Sees Red
And finally: have you ever heard of the Colts mascot (aptly name “Blue”)?
I saw a clip of him beating up little kids during a scrimmage game this past week. Then I did some research and found this is a reoccurring trend with him and everyone allows it.
He recently laid out a streaker for his transgressions.
I guess he too took the Magic Mountain montage in Encino Man too seriously.