Tag Archives: NFL

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.


Monday Weisblog: A not-so-super halftime show

Apparently it’s old news by now, but I just found out today that “The Who” will be the halftime entertainment at the February 7 Super Bowl in Miami. I must say that I am stunned by this news.

When I first heard who would be performing, I had to make sure I heard it right. “Who?”

“That’s correct,” was the reply as if it was something out of an Abbott and Costello routine.

Yes, The Who. The very same Who featuring Pete Townshend, the guitar player who in 2003 was arrested for possessing child pornography. (The charges were later dropped despite Townshend admitting he had used his credit card to obtain this material. He said it was “research” because he thought he might have been abused by his uncle when he was a child. Apparently, the feds bought what he was selling, but he was listed as a Registered Sex Offender according to the background information I read.)

In the best-case scenario, this makes him a reeeealllly strange guy. At worst, well, I prefer not to think about that. It isn’t that I don’t feel sorry for him if he was an abused child … but a transaction was made in which he willingly, knowingly purchased images that make a normal person’s stomach turn. No justification for that.

With that in mind, why on earth would you pick this group as halftime entertainment on the most-watched television event of the year? What, Courtney Love had another gig? Amy Winehouse didn’t return calls? Bobby Brown was busy? Someone has to explain this one to me, because I just don’t get it.

The Who hasn’t even been relevant for 30 years or more. Now don’t get me wrong … I am not advocating trotting out Lady Gaga or Katy Perry for this event, either. But there must be someone who bridges the generation gap of Super Bowl viewers better than The Who – and certainly someone who paints a better image.

I, for one, will be changing the channel during the halftime “festivities” of the NFL’s greatest game.

Monday Weisblog: Who’s the real Vick-tim here?

After a previous blog about Michael Vick, you knew I couldn’t keep silent forever after the news came out that he’s signed on with the Philadelphia Eagles.

There are three schools of thought. I hear many people saying that he’s paid his debt to society and he should be allowed to play. A second school of thought says that while he should be a free man, he should lose his privilege to play in the NFL. A third says he should still be in prison for the heinous things he did to the dogs.

While I am still undecided about which school of thought I fall under, I do think that he was let off the hook too much in his press conference last week. At one point he said, “I know, as we all know, in the past I have made some mistakes, I have done some terrible things, I made a horrible mistake.”

Making a bad, one-time decision that results in an awful end is a horrible mistake. But what Vick did was cold, calculated and planned out. Vick had a whole business enterprise that specialized in dogfighting, and either knew about or contributed in dogs being electrocuted, hanged and drowned.

If you are heartless enough to do something like that – to torture an animal and give it slow, painful death, I don’t think you can change overnight and suddenly become Mister Nice Guy.

Vick is fortunate to have someone like Tony Dungy (the former Super Bowl-winning coach who is mentoring Vick) in his corner, speaking out on his behalf. For Vick’s sake, I truly hope he has changed. Dungy is a fine man; the world would be a better place if we had more people like him.

Vick has exhausted every chance he’s been given and is down to his last one. Is he a changed man? I hope so. Will he contribute on the football field for the Eagles or another team? Who knows.

Until such time has passed that he either proves the Eagles correct or incorrect in their judgment, we all have every right to be skeptical.

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.

Monday Weisblog: Who was the real Steve McNair?

Steve McNair

Steve McNair

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am an unabashed fantasy football geek. In 2003, I rode the coattails of quarterback Steve McNair to the finals of my 14-team league, where I promptly got destroyed by my opponent – but that’s not the point of this blog.

The point is that, from then on, I was always a huge McNair fan. I respected him before that, because he seemingly “got it.” You know, smart guy on and off the field, humble, great in the community, fearless … everything you’d want in an athlete. But that season turned me into a big, big fan of his.

McNair retired after the 2006-2007 season and you really didn’t hear much about him again, that is, until this 4th of July. That’s when McNair, 36, was found dead in the Nashville, TN dwelling of a 20-year-old woman.

The woman, identified as Sahel Kazemi, was also dead … her body lying near McNair’s. Both had been shot, McNair four times; Kazemi with one fatal shot to the head. A gun was found underneath Kazemi’s body.

During the autopsy, it was confirmed that McNair’s death was a homicide, but they have declared it to be too early to rule the exact cause of her demise.

Despite being married and having four sons, it appears that McNair and Kazemi had been having a romantic relationship. In fact, Kazemi was pulled over for a DUI last week in a Cadillac Escalade that was registered to both she and McNair. Meanwhile, Nashville Police Spokesman Don Aaron confirms that the pair had a “dating relationship.”

Was it a “lover’s quarrel” that led to a murder-suicide? “That’s a very important part of the investigation as we work to ultimately classify Miss Kazemi’s death,” Aaron said. He added that interviews need to be conducted to those close to both McNair and Kazemi to help determine the actual cause.

Assuming she had nothing to do with it, the person I feel for the most in this whole debacle is McNair’s wife, Mechelle. Not only does Mechelle have the grief of a husband who was just murdered to deal with – and she has to explain to the boys why daddy isn’t going to be around anymore, she also has the knowledge that the entire country is now aware that her husband was presumably cheating on her and buying this young “other woman” extravagant gifts (namely, a Cadillac SUV).

Often, it’s kind of cool that we get to know the personalities and habits of famous celebrities off the field. But this is one time I wish we didn’t know what we do know.

I used to have so much respect for Steve McNair, not only for being a great football player, but also for being a great man.

Now he’s gone, and so is all that admiration I used to have for him.

My prayers are with the loved ones of both families, especially Mechelle McNair and the four young boys.

I’ll never forget Steve McNair’s great run in 2003 when he was the NFL’s Co-Most Valuable Player, helping me reach my fantasy league’s final game. But now, I’ll remember it for all the wrong reasons – and that’s just plain sad.

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!