Tag Archives: National Football League

Friday Weisblog: With Drew and Peyton ‘Manning’ the QB spots, the Super Bowl will be a ‘Brees’

In my last correspondence, I told you all about what was wrong with this year’s Super Bowl. What’s right with the game deserves equal time, so here goes …

Drew Brees led the NFL in touchdown passes this season. Peyton Manning was the league’s Most Valuable player. It could be rightly argued that each means more to his respective team than any two other players in the entire league – including the elderly #4 in purple.

But the goodness goes beyond that. These are two guys who are genuinely fine, upstanding people. They seem to always do and say the right things – and manage to stay off the rap sheet. What a concept!

Brees signed with the Saints four years ago when he could have gone to teams that were then far more glamorous than the Saints, who had recently suffered the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. He felt it was his calling to play there, and he and the Saints fans have developed a unique love affair for each other. He’s thrown for more than 4,000 yards four years in a row, including a mind-boggling 5,069 in 2008.

Meanwhile, Manning came into the NFL as the the top selection in the 1998 draft – and he has more than lived up to the hype. He’s thrown for more than 4,000 yards 10 of his 12 years, and has NEVER thrown fewer than 26 touchdown passes in any season, including his rookie campaign. The son of Archie Manning, ironically the Saints’ best-ever signal caller until Brees came to town, Peyton may very well go down as the best to ever play the game if he continues on his current pace.

This is a rare year. I will be happy with either team that wins the big game, largely because of their quarterback.

NOTE: Speaking of quarterbacks, kudos to Kurt Warner, who announced his retirement from the Arizona Cardinals today. Another of the league’s true gentleman, his was a true rags-to-riches story. Warner went from bagging groceries to the Arena League to NFL stardom, and he certainly belongs in the Hall of Fame. I think he gets there eventually.

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Tuesday Weisblog: A Vick-tory for Mike

Michael Vick is now free to sign with any NFL team.

Michael Vick is now free to sign with any NFL team.

I am mildly surprised by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ruling today in which he reinstated quarterback Michael Vick from his suspension for owning and operating a dogfighting operation.

Vick recently ended his 18-month prison sentence for his part in the ring, and now he’s free to sign with any team he wants.

The reinstatement does have a few strings. First, he may play only in the last two pre-season games for his new team. Then, once the regular season begins, he will be able to practice but not play in games with the team until Week Six, which is mid-October – at the latest.

Here is Goodell’s statement to Vick: “I accept that you are sincere when you say that you want to, and will, turn your life around, and that you intend to be a positive role model for others,” Goodell said in his letter to Vick. “I am prepared to offer you that opportunity. Whether you succeed is entirely in your hands. Needless to say, your margin for error is extremely limited,. I urge you to take full advantage of the resources available to support you and to dedicate yourself to rebuilding your life and your career. If you do this, the NFL will support you.”

This pretty much wipes out any hope of Vick coming to play in my hometown of Orlando for the new United Football League. The Orlando team (rumored to be nicknamed the Tuskers) owns his rights. Oh well. I can live with that. (What is a Tusker, you ask? It’s a wild boar.)

So let’s hear it from you: Has he paid his debt to society? Should he be reinstated?

I say no, but for a completely different reason that almost no one else has talked about: Everyone focuses on his dogfighting, which is by itself heinous. But what is at the root of an operation like this? Gambling! And no one involved in pro sports should be gambling.

But it’s not up to me. I do hope Vick has turned a corner and is sincere about his statement to the press today, in which he says he now realizes playing in the NFL is a “privilege, not a right.”

We’ll see.

Wednesday Weisblog: It’s almost that time again!

3027433983_1db3ca6b86_mWhile I would in no way be classified as a “geek,” there is one specific category of geekdom in which I am among the most guilty: I am a fantasy football junkie. I have made no secret of this fact.

The most beautiful thing about it is that I have a support group. They are a group of 13 others who feel the same way I do. They are the other “general managers” in my league.

We do not have support groups or sponsors; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. We go out of our way looking for excuses to celebrate our habit by meeting once or twice prior to our draft day.

How severe is this illness? Several members of our group actually fly down specifically for our draft. It’s truly unbelievable, really, to people who do not suffer from the same affliction. But those who do understand completely.

We are down to less than 72 hours until our first meeting begins. Even though the NFL regular season – and our fantasy football season – doesn’t actually begin until September, we get together ahead of the draft day to find out our drafting position and discuss any rule changes that need to be made.

In short, a chance to be each other’s “enablers.”

For the next four-and-a-half months, there will be a large number of fantasy football “widows” all over the country – heck, all over the world!

The clock is ticking. Friday night is when things begin to get interesting. I cannot wait. But I bet you my wife can.

Wednesday Weisblog: Roger that!

VickToday’s blog comes with a disclaimer: IF YOU ARE AN ANIMAL LOVER, READ TODAY’S BLOG AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Still here? OK, here goes …

Roger Goodell is the commissioner of the National Football League. Michael Vick is the deposed former quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons who is soon coming to the end of serving a sentence for taking part in a dogfighting organization.

This dogfighting was so grisly that if the loser didn’t die during the fight, they were often electrocuted, drowned, shot or even hanged. The NFL suspended Vick indefinitely, and he was sentenced to 23 months in prison. Sometime soon he’ll be getting out a little ahead of time for good behavior, time served and all that good stuff.

There’s never been anyone who has denied that Vick is a gifted player. He’s not the most prolific pure passer around, but he made up for it with his quick feet and elusiveness. As you might imagine, Vick is getting ready to start training for a comeback.

As for Goodell, the man who has the power to reinstate Vick (or keep him out of the league for another season), he says he not only needs to hear an apology, he needs to see actions that prove he is remorseful.

Vick will soon be working with the nationwide branch of the Humane Society on an anti-dogfighting campaign. He has met with animal-rights activists. He arranged a meeting with Tony Dungy, the former Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach, who is perhaps one of the most respected leaders of men that the league has ever seen. He is doing all the right things. He’s gone on public record saying his actions were “heinous.”
(Oh yeah, and he got busted with some marijuana just prior to going to prison.)

But is he truly serious and contrite? If he was given a healthy dose of truth serum and had to answer what was in his heart, you might very well hear that he’s only sorry he got caught.

Do I think he should be reinstated? Believe it or not, I say he should. Whether or not his sentence was harsh enough or not is not relevant to this discussion. The bottom line is, he’s served the time the judicial system said he should serve, and thus I believe he should be allowed to work again.

But am I buying what he’s selling in regard to his new attitude toward dogfighting? Not just yet. I don’t know for sure what the man is thinking, but I do have a hard time believing that he suddenly “saw the light” while languishing behind bars.

Convince me, Mike. Convince me. In fact, convince us all!

Monday Weisblog: Don’t go away mad …

brett-favre-jetsFor at least the last three of four years during the NFL’s off-season (and it seems like even more than that), we have heard that quarterback Brett Favre is contemplating retirement.

Instead of telling his team in enough time for them to prepare one way or another, Mr. Prima Donna Favre has waited until the very last second to inform everyone of his decision. This forces those of us who enjoy listening to sports talk radio to be subjected to weeks of, “Is Brett Favre going to come back?” banter ad nauseum by the local and national talking heads.

In 2008, he took his sweet time once again, finally telling the Packers he was “mentally tired” and was going to retire. Finally!

But then, suddenly, he changed his mind and told the Packers he wanted to come back. There’s just one problem … the Packers had already moved forward with Aaron Rodgers, who had been drafted to take Favre’s place once he did, in fact, retire.

Favre was then dispatched to the New York Jets, where he and the Jets started out like a house afire, then played very pedestrian football down the stretch and failed to make the playoffs. He threw for 3,472 yards with 22 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. Meanwhile, his “replacement,” Rodgers, threw for 4,038 with 28 touchdowns versus 13 interceptions. Seems that the Packers made the correct decision.

At the end of the year, a disillusioned Favre finally retired for good. Or did he?

The Jets released Favre last week very quietly, making him eligible to sign with any team because, interestingly, he has not sent the league his retirement papers.

Now I am hearing reports that he is still upset with the Packers for not welcoming him back and would love to play for their arch-rival, the Minnesota Vikings, who just happen to need a front-line quarterback.

Could it be that he will un-retire again? I certainly hope not.

Please do us all a favor, Brett, and go get a broadcasting job somewhere. Work on your farm in Mississippi. Do anything else. Just go away. The world is tired of listening to “Is Brett Favre coming back?” over and over again. It’s an old and tired story, especially when you are just a shell of your former self.

Friday Weisblog: Be a pain in the butt, and you’ll get your way

The newest Chicago Bear leaves the Mile High City behind.

The newest Chicago Bear leaves the Mile High City behind.

When the Denver Broncos made Jay Cutler their first-round draft pick in 2006, they thought they had their quarterback problems solved for the next decade.

The first three years of his career only furthered that thought, as he improved every year. Last year’s campaign he really came into his own, throwing for over 4,500 yards and 25 touchdowns – despite having diabetes. Despite the team’s late-season collapse, all experts agreed Cutler was among the most up-and-coming signal callers in the league.

Then came this off-season, and Coach Mike Shanahan and his staff were fired. Taking his place is former New England Patriots assistant Josh McDaniels. One of McDaniels’ first acts as head coach was to inquire about the availability of Matt Cassel, the quarterback McDaniels coached who filled in so admirably last season when Tom Brady was injured.

Nothing wrong with a coach wanting his own guy, right? Well, not exactly.

Once Cassel was traded to Kansas City, one would think McDaniels and Cutler would move forward together, right? Well, not exactly.

Seems Cutler’s feelings were hurt. He felt insulted that McDaniels might actually want someone else to do his job. He then demanded that the Broncos trade him.

That began a month-long “he said, she said” back-and-forth between Cutler, the Broncos and Cutler’s agent “Bus” Cook that caused more of a stir than the plot of an afternoon soap.

Finally, on April Fool’s Day (how appropriate), Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said he’d had enough, and if Cutler didn’t want to be a part of the team he would agree to trade him – and that it would happen quickly.

He wasn’t lying! Today, Cutler was dealt to the Chicago Bears (along with a fifth-round draft pick) in exchange for two first-round draft picks, a third-round draft pick, and quarterback Kyle Orton. Cutler’s reaction? “I didn’t want to get traded. This isn’t me,” he told Jay Glazer of FOX Sports. “I really didn’t want this. I love Denver.”

Really, Jay? You sure had a funny way of showing it. Instead of being a stand-up guy, you and your coach were too stubborn to mend fences and move forward. Now you are both worse off as a result. Going to a bad team, the Bears, who now have no draft picks to re-stock their roster, means Cutler will have limited success, at best. For the Broncos, now they can fortify their putrid defense, but Orton probably is not the long-term answer at quarterback – and if you draft a rookie it’ll take them two years to be where Cutler is now.

I am wondering if, in a private and confidential moment, that Jay Cutler would tell you he REALLY DIDN’T want to go anywhere else, but his pride got in the way. Now he’ll be lobbing passes in the Windy City to the likes of Devin Hester and Rashied Davis (instead of Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall and second-year sensation Eddie Royal). In fact, I’ll even go out on a limb and say this: If Marshall is not suspended for a good deal of next season, don’t be surprised if Orton and Cutler end up with similar numbers at season’s end.

As Jay Cutler learned the hard way: Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

Friday Weisblog: An episode of COPS all too real for this NFL player

Ryan Moats is a backup running back for the NFL’s Houston Texas. Never confused as a star, he’s still carved out a decent enough career with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Texans.

Ryan Moats

Ryan Moats

Moats and his wife, Tamishia, were racing to the hospital with their hazard lights on in a frantic attempt to see Tamishia’s dying mother, Johnetta Collinsworth, before she drew her final breath. As they pulled into the hospital parking lot, they were stopped by Dallas Police Officer Robert Powell for running a red light just prior to reaching the hospital.

See what happens next: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77Q49VztpLI    (This is “part one;” the second one can be found right after it … but most of the exciting stuff is here on the first part).

Hospital staff members twice came down to try and impress upon Powell how vital it was that he come right away, because of the extreme distress his mother-in-law was in.

Eventually, it was too late. “I went up after she passed and held her hand, but she was already gone,” Moats told a Texas radio station.

Because of Officer Powell’s questionable behavior, the ticket has been dropped and the police department has apologized. So did he learn something from this?

“My understanding is that Officer Powell — even after he saw the videotape — believed he had not acted inappropriately,” Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle said.

Assistant Chief Floyd Simpson echoed Kunkle’s thoughts. “His belief was simply that he was doing his job,” Chief Simpson said. “It did concern me that it just seemed that the compassion was not there.”

Moats says he’s appreciative of Kunkle’s kind words, but he also feels sadness that he missed a moment in time that he’ll never be able to get back.

Sounds like somebody’s been watching to many “tough cop” movies on television to me.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone.