Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Peyton will stand tall in Super Bowl 50

Just at the house.  from @Broncos

Despite some in the media doubting that Peyton Manning, 39, has much left in the tank for the upcoming Super Bowl, he still has his wonderful height and continues to boast a neat haircut. Should he walk away from the fiftieth iteration of this grand football occasion with only a stiff-brimmed runners-up hat, rest assured he'll wear it proudly - and highly.

Slow and steady

Let's not count the Sheriff out altogether, okay. He may look more like Doc Holliday than Wyatt Earp at this stage of his career, but there's one last stand in him. I know it. Manning completed 17 of his 32 passes for 176 yards in the AFC Championship Game, in a steady if not impressive performance, and that's all Broncos fans need. Certainly the ball didn't always spin along a tight line, but it reached its intended target when most needed, right? That's really all that counts in games of such magnitude. While, some commentators are hellbent on telling us that wounded duck throws are catastrophic, we now know this isn't always true. We also know that some commentators are hellbent on hyperbole.

Steadiness is all the Broncos require on the offensive side. And Manning can be an oak for just one more game. Let Cam Newton chase the wind. That's his game. In truth, he'll need multiple plays to square the Broncos defence away.

One good throw

One play. Two plays. OMAHA! OMAHA! The talking heads also like to say that a game can be decided by one play, and if this is indeed the case, then Manning is also still capable of making that single pass - maybe even twice. Two good passes are not out of the realm of possibility here, especially when you're lifting less than the guy at the snack bar all afternoon.

Starring role

In the very first Super Bowl, played in California as well, Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr tossed 16 of 23 passes for 250 yards, and two touchdowns. He had one interception but the Packers thumped the Chiefs 35-10. Of course, it was a different era, and the Carolina Panthers might be slightly more menacing on defence than the 1967 Chiefs. But I can see Peyton posting similar numbers, and out-thinking the Panthers the way Starr did Kansas City.

Yes, his preference for shorter passes will likely mean fewer yards, first downs, and ultimately a lower scoring output for Denver. However, those numbers might also be just enough to win him the game's MVP prize, and ensure that he leaves just enough in the arm to lift the Lombardi Trophy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Starting QB Needed In New York: Apply Now!

 Quarterback Needed ASAP - Pro Football - Great Pay/Union Benefits! (New York, NY / Jersey) img [x]
Popular New York football team based in Jersey seeks urgent services of a professional quarterback - at least in name. Fill in for injured starter; win instant notoriety. Must have an eye for detail, be a team player, and get the best out of others under duress. Absolutely any clock management skills would be looked upon favorably. 

Good throwing mechanics are not essential, as long as candidate can move ball from A to B. Heck, we invite anyone able to toss a Nerf ball into a bucket to apply. 

Communication skills are a must. However, we don’t expect the successful candidate to be a Harvard Graduate. Having said that, we'll certainly consider those with an Ivy League education; but only if your thumb ligaments are in tact. 

Please send resume with video samples of your most recent work. Talking head show-reels from ESPN won’t be considered. 

Accepting applications from just about anyone, really. Although if your name happens to be Sanchez, we’ll require photo identification. 

Work with a great team that knows when to roll with the punches, and pull its thumb out.


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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Ten Things I Thought While I Read Peter King

The NFL season has kicked off with more surprises than a Bachelor episode.

The Colts were done in by the Bills' monster defense, and the glare from their awesome helmets. I’m afraid of the Bills. I thought Miami would have a potent defense this year with Suh, and they looked fairly stout in week one, but Buffalo brought on cold sweats. Get Machine Gun on the line: time to dust off the vintage Bills jacket big fella.

The Chargers looked good too. I think it’ll be a fun year for them. That division is tough, but I think they make the leap into first place. As much as I love Peyton, and trust the Broncos defense, I think their short reign atop the AFC West might be over. They looked vulnerable. Peyton's passes were floaters. And Mile High should be far more intimidating to a Ravens squad that's hardly as intimidating as it once was.

Peter King's columns are really long aren't they? I mean, does he get paid by the word or hour?

The Giants just gave it away. Sounds like there was confusion about timeouts and Eli wasn’t thinking clearly on the last play. There’s no way they should have lost in that situation. Not against Dallas, the perennial end of game fizzers. People seem to really pile it on with Eli when the chips are down. I don’t get it. Nobody's perfect and no one can have a perfect season. He’s already won two Super Bowls for crying out loud. But it's New York, and you're only as good as your last hot minute.

Other teams I like and caught glimpses of were Chicago and Cincy. Though the Bears lost, they seem to have a smart game plan. Running it. With Forte. Who else do they need? Sure, Jay Cutler, the guy you love to hate. Fine, hate him. He has an Elway-like arm and I reckon he’s tougher than people give him credit for. He’s sulky, sure. But look at his hair.

Hey, they've squeezed King's column into a single scrolling page. Nice.

While we'e on the midwestern teams, I'm really fond of Cleveland – the club – not the current team so much. So I root for them when I can. How can you not? They seem to be cursed. To that end, Josh McCown was slammed early and then Johnny Gumball came in. I think if McCown can play the Brownies will be decent. He’s a guy I’ve always appreciated: just tough and can lead. Maybe he can teach Manziel a few things, like what the 'pocket' is. Side note: there are no words for those new Cleveland uniforms.

The AFC East is anyone’s really, but surely the Fish can scoop a wild card this year. They're overdue. Tannehill has started throwing some deep balls and I’m imagining the offense is set to score some exciting touchdowns with the receivers they have. Finally. Happy Birthday Dan. Laces out.

Always enjoy the Saints. With Brees they’re a chance. But there’s little confidence with them on the defensive side. They gave up so many yards in week one against the Cards, and that’s a problem. Then again, that NFC South division is quite ordinary. The Panthers and Bucs aren't scaring the pants off a Penzance Pirate.

I actually like the Falcons more than in previous seasons. Matt Ryan is one of my favorite QBs. Take another look at his throw to the corner to Julio Jones this past weekend. Money. They're onto something in Georgia. Again.

The Eagles are entertaining. Bradford is a sound player. But I do worry he’s going to get hurt. He has a funny physique – skinny and tall. So I cringe whenever he's hit. Honestly, I think Mark Sanchez will be sent in at some point, and when that happens, cash out all of your Eagles bets.

Does PK ever drink instant coffee? Nespresso? Or guzzle the beans from the bag? Surely he must.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Which quarterback would you want if your starter went down?

To play our new game, which should have Hasbro knocking at the door any minute now ... you have to imagine a rather zany world order in which pro football contracts are superfluous and players can come and go as they please. (Didn't Brett Favre set this precedent?)

In this scenario, you’re a cowboy general manager – not specifically of the Dallas variety – and have the ability to cut ties with your signal-caller at the drop of a hat---quite possibly a Tom Landry style hat---which then, sure, would be of the Dallas variety.

The basic premise is that there must be a QB out there you covet more than a Kardashian home movie. So let's tap into your sub-conscious and talk about it. That's why we're here. If you’re a New York Giants fan, for example, and inextricably tied to Eli, you can, for just a moment, imagine having a quarterback that's less opportunistic, and more reliant on Montana-like accuracy and Elway like-arm strength. Or if you’re a Cardinals fan, maybe you envisage a QB with the ability to play all 16 games and reach the playoffs without a hobble. Imagine that!

Meanwhile, Dolphins fans could conjure a situation in which the Marino Era is a simply a sepcial chapter in Miami’s history book and not persistent nostalgia, impossible to supplant until another QB leads the team back to the AFC Championship Game, or dare we say it, the Super Bowl.

To this end, the below is a shortlist of NFL players we think would be the most coveted of all 32 current starters behind center, should your ace, your big cheese, go down. These players haven't been selected because they're necessarily better than Shane Falco, nor do they boast superior stats (no emails FiveThirtyEight), but because they possess the sorts of intangibles that make having a cool and impossibly professional quarterback the envy of every fan outside of New England, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Indy and Baltimore.

Sure, you could make arguments for other QBs and other towns being mentioned in that last sentence, but we don’t have the time nor the inclination to complicate this soon-to-be party favorite, which we call Spin the Pigskin. A good game's a quick game, kids.

So who would you choose?*

Matt Ryan – They call him ‘Ice’, which is catchy and perhaps even more applicable when he freezes mid-play. Calm down Falcon fans, we see Matty’s improved movement. What we like here is his level head and ability to lead.

Johnny Manziel – "Let Johnny loose!" the mob cries, while Brian Hoyer devotees sob into their Blackout Stouts. What’s ailed the Browns is a distinct lack of well, quarterbacking, and while Manziel offers no guarantee of addressing this issue, he has bravado. That's right - bravado. You can’t buy it. Oh sure, you can make misguided money gestures, but you won’t be able to finalize a purchase. Not in this town, bub.

Derek Carr – He’s the young buck, the potential savior of Raider Nation, and yet nobody knows if it's all black smoke and silver mirrors at this point. Listen, he’s got guts and seems to be learning fast, so there’s plenty to like.

Cam Newton – Cool Hand Cam, the man with visor and superhero grin. He’s got a cannon that can be loose at times, and all that means is victory is one Hail Mary away.

Russell Wilson – Straight-laced and straightforward, he minimizes errors and runs away from trouble. He’s Tarkenton in the modern era. Smart, confident and frank.

Jay Cutler – Do customers come much cooler than Cutler? Maybe if they’re in a Sears browsing for a new fridge. Otherwise no. The hair, the despondency, the wife. He should be fronting Grizzly Bear not the Chicago Bears.

Phillip Rivers – He’s mad as hell and that’s why you love him. Come on. It’s sunny outside and he’s tossing a football around the park. And yet, instead of dancing around like the always effervescent Buggs, he's more agitated than Yosemite Sam. IT'S PHILLIP! NOT PHIL DAMMIT!

*If your starting QB is on this list then you obviously have fewer choices. That's the game folks - you already have a cool QB so really shouldn't be afforded any advantage.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Why the Rams' LA brand digs in

By J.P. Pelosi

It wasn’t until 1948 that the Los Angeles Rams football team took on the brand personality it embodies today, albeit in St. Louis, at the time of writing.

We may take dazzling color combinations in sports for granted today, but the Rams' new brand was certainly different for the times: a bright and bold style that exuded a sense of optimism, perhaps in an era short on it.

The original ram horn design was so good, in fact, it endures to this day as one of the more iconic logos in the National Football League. The trademark yellow horns, which seem to sprout from the front of the helmet before curling to the ear, were created by L.A. Rams’ halfback Fred Gherke who studied art at college, according to the Rams official website.

Gherke’s logo design was pioneering because it was the first of its kind in football, which to that point had mostly been played with plain coloured helmets. Pro football's helmet went from leather to plastic in 1951 and the Rams design came into its own--the smooth finish to the synthetic material meaning the yellow and blue coloring could truly pop, as they say.

Gherke was eventually inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, not for his footballing prowess but his helmet design, as The Los Angeles Times wrote in 2002 at the time of his death:

Fred Gehrke, a former Ram halfback who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame--not for how he carried the ball but for painting horns on his team's leather helmets, touching off a colorful and enduring quest for logos in pro sports--has died. He was 83.

Well played Fred.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Jets know what they're doing, okay?

The New York Jets have ensured that their long held strategy of fielding an inadequate starting quarterback remains in place, by neglecting to sign anyone of talent at the position for the 2015 season.

Jets brass confirmed this past month that the wildly inaccurate and remarkably illogical, Geno Smith, will continue to hold the club's starting QB job and that it is - amazingly - his to lose. New Yorkers, perhaps indifferent to the situation after watching Jets quarterbacks perform the role with all the ineptitude of Peanuts' Charlie Brown, must thank their lucky stars that their city has two football teams.

This, of course, is little consolation for those who bleed Jets green and not Giants blue. Instead, these fans must do all they can to sedate themselves amid the lunacy exhibited by their team's management, who clearly hold the sport's premiere position in such low regard. How else can one explain the club's signing of journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, a notably more intelligent signal-caller than Smith, and equally evasive in the open field, only to relegate him to the back-up role?

Fitzpatrick isn't a Manning, it should go without saying, but he's also no Mark Sanchez. The problem, it seems, is that he's somewhere in between and for the Jets, this poses a confounding situation: Should they play Smith and guarantee themselves perhaps four wins, or run with Fitzpatrick and aim for eight, maybe nine?

The former is a more familiar goal, and as suggested, within the club's existing mode of operation. The latter, meanwhile, bears potential, and that's never been the Jets' strong suit. They prefer tallying up picks and turnovers, you see. We all work better with what we know, right?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Super Bowl: For The Love Of Everything But The Game

If you’ve just arrived from Neptune for Super Bowl 49, you could be forgiven for thinking it seems more like a Hollywood spectacle than a sporting event. Presuming you get all of Ryan Seacrest’s red carpet telecasts, that is.

Over the past week, we’ve heard an inordinate amount about how footballs are inflated and how buoyant they actually should be, which is oddly akin to the sort of updates we receive from Kim Kardashian. She’s an expert on buoyancy, of course, and even traded on it for her new Super Bowl commercial for T-Mobile.

Super Bowl ads, too, are more pervasive than Richard Sherman. Trust me, this is a spectacular feat. It feels like I somehow know more about Sherman’s opinions on life and love than I do my own. Maybe we should all just assume Sherman’s point of view, you know, to mitigate any future misunderstandings.

None of this is helped by Super Bowl media day either, which could be the worst event on the pro football calendar. By now you’ve probably seen the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski sing Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ with a woman amid the throng, who we must assume is a journalist of some kind. Perhaps for Karaoke Monthly?

It was an alarming sight on so many levels, mostly because it feels like we’re edging closer to the day when football won’t even be played. Instead, we’ll just have reporters peppering giant men with inane questions before they rush off to an X-Box, as Gronk eventually did.

As dire as this sounds, look on the bright side: At least then we’d do away with all the controversy that now tends to engulf football, which is truly a sport unto itself for some media people. Listen, nobody wants to neglect the serious issues this great pastime is facing, but by the same token, can we line up the people that prolong senseless discussions about things like deflated footballs, and just have Tedy Bruschi pummel them?

Somebody call up Letterman, he’d go for this.

Well, we still have the game's two star quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson. And have there ever been two more charismatic or better looking headliners for a Super Bowl? Oh right, Timberlake and Jackson were pretty sexy too, but they have big asterisks by their names.

Speaking of which, 49ers legend Jerry Rice recently said that if the Pats win this Super Bowl, they should also get an asterisk. Rice, like so many others wanting to take New England down a peg, clearly isn’t looking at the so-called Deflategate in a forgiving manner. In all honesty, it’s hard to take a contrary view of it all when writers like Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio start detailing toilet trips made by a Gillette Stadium employee. 

Not to dump on this type of speculation, but the Pats could have beaten the Colts with a dog-chewed tennis ball, to follow Coach Ditka's line of thought on Monday Night Countdown. Ditka is right, and not just because everyone’s terrified to talk back to him. He’s right because the Pats were the best team in football this year, and that matters. 

Listen, there will always be those trying to distract us from the game by asking players if they like puppies, or eat rum and raisin ice cream. While others go to even greater lengths, like tweeting photos of Bill Belichick wearing flip flops.

At the end of the day, after all the car ads, celebrity sightings, Goodell criticisms, close ups of adequately inflated footballs, confirmation of Sherman’s IQ, and the PH level of Brady’s hair, there’ll be a game. 

I hope you folks who’ve made the long trip get to see it.