SBS Remembers: The Snow Bowl

Written by :
Published on : August 29, 2016

 

 

“You gota eat ’em to beat ’em.”

 

 

That was the mantra of my fellow Detroit Lions loving compatriots and I here in LA during the 2013 NFL season. We would get together and recreate the regional specialty of whichever team the Lions were playing. This worked out in our favor, especially when early December rolled around and we were playing the Philadelphia Eagles. I set up a flat top griddle right in the living room and proceeded to make some mean ass Philly Cheesesteaks. Deliciousness was on the menu that Sunday. What we didn’t know was that snow was also on the menu. Lots and lots of snow. So much in fact, that the game would be forever remembered as, The Snow Bowl.

 

 A light dusting.

 

As the grill was warming up before kickoff and I was beginning to cook up some perfectly sliced rib-eye with onions, we could already tell we were in store for a sloppy game. We had no idea just how wild the ride would be, and by the time a full 8 inches of snow had fallen upon the field in Philadelphia, there were multiple big plays and some lead changes.

 

This was back when Nick Foles was the hottest quarterback in the league. He had thrown 19 touchdowns and zero interceptions before Chris Houston got to a hold of an errant pass. Also it was before the Eagles had gotten rid of LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. They were riding the Chip Kelly train full steam ahead and were loving it.

 

The Lions got out to 14-0 lead with the help of a Joique Bell rushing touchdown and a Jeremy Ross punt return touchdown. The field was such a mess that no team could attempt an extra-point. That’s right, all two-point conversions, a Chip Kelly wet dream.

 

 As if Eagles fans needed another reason to be miserable.

 

The early parts of the game were so thick with falling snow that many Eagles players claimed that they couldn’t even see the Lions in their white uniforms out on the field. They were pretty much just guessing where they would be. That could be why the Lions got out to that quick lead, a lead that I was sure they would hang on to with conditions as they were.

 

But by the time the blizzard had calmed enough to be able to see the game out there, LeSean McCoy had started to heat up. Thanks to another long return by Jeremy Ross, the Lions led 20-14 in the 4th quarter. Then Shady started making moves.

 

 Shady was unstoppable in the 4th quarter.

 

In that 4th quarter of week 14 of the 2013 NFL season, LeSean McCoy was damn near unstoppable. Maybe it was the half foot of snow on the ground, maybe it was unbelievable quickness and athleticism, but either way, he stole the show. The Eagles scored 20 unanswered points in that 4th quarter to win by a final score 34-20. Mostly on the back of McCoy’s franchise best 217 rushing yards, which featured 2 touchdowns.

 

As was the case for most of that season, the Lions totally fell apart at the end of the game. Then head coach, Jim Schwartz, could not get his team to close out games and it’s because of that fact that he lost his job the following offseason.

 

Still, it was a game I’ll never forget. It was an absolute shit show, but it was one that I couldn’t take my eyes off of for a single second. It was also the day I realized that I make a mean Philly Cheesesteak. So even though we lost, everyone viewing the game at my house that day was a winner.

 

 


What are the Eagles doing?

Written by :
Published on : April 21, 2016

 

Normally this is a relatively quiet time of year for the NFL. We are a week away from the 2016 NFL Draft, and usually the biggest news around the league is about teams beginning their offseason training programs. But not this year. GMs around the league have determined to make 2016 an exciting one for the NFL, even when there aren’t any games being played.

 

The Rams got the party started last week when they traded up to get the number-one pick in the 2016 NFL Draft from the Tennessee Titans. In addition to the top pick, the Rams got a fourth-round pick and a sixth-round pick but it didn’t come cheap. In return, the Titans got the Rams’ 15th overall pick, two second-round picks and a third round pick this year. The Rams also gave up a first-round and third-round pick in next year’s draft. That’s a lot of stuff to give up in order to move up and get a quarterback who isn’t a consensus stud, whoever it might be. But I get it. It’s their first year in Los Angeles and they’re looking to make a splash. Add in the fact that Jeff Fischer is just about the most uninspiring coach in the league and is on his way out if they don’t win more than seven games this year, and it’s easy to see why the Rams are so desperate for a QB not named Case Keenum or Nick Foles.

 

But what excuse do the Eagles have for making such a ridiculous trade yesterday? If you ask me they don’t have one. This seems like a really bad trade all around. The Eagles moved up to 2nd overall pick in the draft by giving the Browns their 8th overall pick in the first-round, a third-round pick and a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, a first-round pick next year and a second-round pick in 2018. The Browns also sent the Eagles a fourth-round pick for next year. That is an enormous amount to give up for one of two quarterbacks who they are so indifferent about that they don’t really care which of the two falls to them. Oh yea, they also just gave Sam Bradford a two-year, $35 million dollar contract this offseason, and a three-year, $21 million dollar contract to Chase Daniel! How does that make any sense?

 

 The face of a genius.

 

The Eagles roster has been ravaged by three years under the mad scientist, Chip Kelly. His great experiment involved shipping off all of the Philadelphia Eagles’ most talented players and leaving the team with holes all over the field. Sounds like a fun game right? Not if you’re an Eagles fan. I suspect that Chip Kelly has always been a secret Giants’ fan and his entire strategy was to ruin the team. If that’s true then his mission was very successfully accomplished. It was on his watch that the Eagles lost, in one way or another, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy. Most coaches would kill to have those kind of players scoring touchdowns for them, but not Kelly. And that’s why he is gone, off to San Francisco where the talent pool can’t possibly get any worse under him.

 

So with holes all over the field, the Eagles decided to give up a stable of picks to move up six spots and draft someone who might, one day, maybe be a decent quarterback in the NFL. Smooth move. What the team should be doing is using all of those draft picks to build their franchise the right way and fill as many holes as they can this year. Add to that the fact that Sam Bradford is now reportedly super pissed about being lied to by management and this whole thing looks like it’s going to get a little messy over the next season or so. Good thing my Lions get to play them this year!

 

 


How to Fix the NFL Pro Bowl

Written by :
Published on : January 31, 2016

 

 

Sunday, the stars of the NFL head to Hawaii for a showcase of the league’s best. This break in playoff action is the Pro Bowl. The game has become some strange appetizer we are supposed to enjoy before the Super Bowl. Trouble is, no one likes it. The NFL wants a cool and entertaining All Star game but it doesn’t work like it does in baseball or basketball. Football is full-contact. You can’t play it for funsies. You have to play for blood. Over the last few years, the Pro Bowl has undergone a bit of a facelift to help make the event more interesting but only few ideas have really stuck. Here is a little advice on how to fix the Pro Bowl.

 

The first issue is this is not the league’s best. The really good players are gearing up for Super Bowl 50 and the other remaining top Pros are getting ready for surgery or are too pissed off to play some meaningless pick-up game. This year’s meeting can now boast the most rejected Pro Bowl invitations ever. Stars like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, LeSean McCoy, JJ Watt, Antonio Brown and many others all said “no thanks.” The players that really take advantage of this spotlight are the younger stars. For them, it’s still fun. They get a trip to Hawaii, they get paid, and they get to show off. Maybe we name the All Pro list then let the under 25 year olds take center stage. This sounds fun but that isn’t the point. How can we make a game that guys like Watt and Brady want to play, even after they get booted from the playoffs?

 

pro-bowl 2016
Most of these guys will not play

 

 

Pay Them a Crazy Amount

scroogecash

 

What if each player got 10 million dollars for playing in the Pro Bowl? You think they’d say “no” then? I don’t think so. I understand that 86 players are named to the combined roster so this plan requires 860 million dollars for one game. But believe me, everyone would watch that game. And those guys would play full speed. This is the best idea so far. Dear Owners, start saving your pennies cause we got a big party we want to throw at the end of the season and we need you to pay for it (only 27 mill per owner/year).

 

 

Add a Real Incentive

 

In baseball, the MLB All Star game means something. The American League stars play the National League equivalents and the winning squad gets home field advantage in the World Series for their conference. Players are encouraged to go for it because they might be playing in the big game and hosting a series is a serious bonus. The NFL could learn this lesson, maybe not for home field but for another perk. Currently, we have a Pro Bowl player draft but what if we went back to AFC versus NFC? And what if the winning team gets to decide possession and kickoff? Get rid of the coin toss and let the winning team choose. Or maybe something about draft picks? This adds a level of importance the contest currently lacks.

 

 

Change the Rules

double dare

 

They already don’t let the defenses blitz the QB. It’s a neutered game. So let’s go all the way and ruin it. What if the Pro Bowl was just a skills contest? Like an All Pro combine. Who can throw the farthest, who runs fastest, who can bench press the most? Maybe we go full Double Dare and see which athlete can find an orange flag inside a giant nose.

 

So looks like the heart of the issue is that the game happens too late and then we don’t get to see our favs play. On top of that, the matchup is never as good as advertised. We need to shake this system up. Start the game earlier, tweak the scoring to make it more like MTV’s Rock ‘N Jock, or add some intense stakes like cutting off fingers or losers get awful tattoos. At the end of the day, I think it’s unfair to ask the NFL elites to try harder. That’s why football is awesome: there are limited number of games and every meeting matters.

 

 


Fantasy Football Saints, Sinner and Sleepers: WR Edition

Written by :
Published on : September 3, 2015

“Here we lay bare the souls of those who play the game for our entertainment. We praise the saints, condemn the sinners, and root out the sleepers who can help your fantasy football team stay on the righteous path.”

 

The third installment of Saints, Sinners and Sleepers will explore the wide receiver position heading into the 2015 NFL season. These are the best of the best, the worst of the worst and some of the most underestimated in their field. The following players can help you gain entry into the pearly gates of a fantasy football championship, or send you to the seventh circle of a losing season. Heed the words you are about to read, and know that it is truth.

 

Saints

There’s going to be a lot of this going on with Antonio Brown.

 

Antonio Brown-  For the last two seasons, Antonio Brown has ranked in the top two in league for receiving yards (1,698 and 1,499) and was third in touchdown receptions last season (13). Coming into his 6th season in the league, he looks to build on his already strong relationship with quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger and improve on his stellar numbers from last season. He completes the Holy Trinity of Saints in Pittsburgh and like the other two, is going to have a huge season in 2015. Despite his rather small frame (5′ 10″, 186 lbs), he is able to win battles against larger defenders and is a threat all over the field, whether it be in space on a short bubble screen or catching the deep ball after blazing past opposing defenses. Saint Antonio is going to continue to prove this season that he is one of the best pass catchers in the league.

 

Dez Bryant- On a personal level, I find it very hard to call Dez Bryant a saint; his attitude and tendency to cause drama on the field and in the locker room are big turnoffs for me. That said, this guys is a unique talent, and after ranking in the top three in receiving touchdown for the last three seasons, including leading the league last year (16), his status as one of the best is secure. He caught 51 more passes than the next closest receiver on his team last season, and considering they didn’t add any special talents at the position this offseason, it’s hard to see that changing. Saint Dez’ physical ability are on a level that hasn’t been seen since Calvin Johnson was healthy, and he brings the hammer of God down upon any DB who is unfortunate enough to try to break down and tackle him in space. Add that to his ability to win contested catches in the air, and it’s easy to see why he is one of the best young talents in football.

 

Calvin Johnson- Saint Megatron has been getting slept-on hard this year in fantasy football and I just don’t understand it. This is a guy who missed three games last season, and was used exclusively as decoy in another two, yet he still managed to 1,077 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns. Now he has to have a chip on his shoulder after hearing all the talk of him being washed up at the ripe old age of thirty. This is the first time in a few seasons that the future hall of fame receiver will come into the season healthy, and from reports out of Lions’ training camp, it sounds like this saint still has plenty of miracles up his sleeve. Look for Saint Megatron to get back to his dominating ways and make jaw-dropping plays all year long. If there are doubters now, there will be plenty of true believers by the time January rolls around.

 

Sinners

Thinking about all those drops he had in college.

 

Devin Funchess-  I still can’t believe how much the Carolina Panthers paid to move up and draft Devin Funchess. I had high hopes for the tight end turned wide out when he was at Michigan, and although he did provide the occasional big play, he routinely dropped balls and hurt his team. Sure, he has some size (6′ 4″, 236 lbs), but he is not very fast and has hands of stone. He and the team would probably benefit from a move back to tight end, but that may not be feasible due to his lackluster run blocking. This sinner is bound to enrage the fanbase in Carolina more often than not, just as he did in Ann Arbor. While the loss of Kelvin Benjamin for the entire 2015 season makes it tempting to consider allowing this heathen to join the ranks of your team, but he is beyond salvation and should be cast out.

 

Sammy Watkins- I expected Sammy Watkins to be very good last year… if he got drafted into the right situation. It turned out that he wound up in Buffalo. True, the Bills are in a much better place than last season but Rex Ryan is now running the team and he is known for a few things; good defense, strong running game and poor quarterback play. I’m still not sold on the Bills’ newly named starting QB, Tyrod Taylor, who will likely be benched at some point before November. The addition of other offensive weapons in Charles Clay, Percy Harvin and LeSean McCoy, make sure there’s no chance Watkins sees anything near the 128 targets he saw last year (no receiver has ever gotten that many targets in a Rex Ryan offense). Lastly, he has become somewhat injury prone and has been in and out of practice this summer while recovering from hip surgery. Sammy Watkins is a sinner of circumstance, but a sinner nonetheless, and you should beware.

 

Dwayne Bowe- I don’t understand how this sinner keeps getting starting wide receiver jobs in the NFL. He hasn’t gained 1,000 receiving yards since 2011, and hasn’t had more than 5 receiving touchdowns since 2010. Last year he had ZERO receiving touchdowns (no wide receiver on the Chiefs had one) and as a reward he got $9 million in guaranteed money from the Browns. I know it seems like I’ve used this recurring segment to rag on the Browns players (except for Duke Johnson), but I feel a responsibility to warn fantasy football owners about just how bad this team is. Regardless of which sinner is throwing the ball to Bowe, you can expect him to continue his sinning ways and drag down your entire team.

 

Sleepers

Look for Kamar in an end zone near you in 2015.

 

Kamar Aiken- Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of the former UDFA out of UCF; a couple weeks ago I hadn’t either. Breshad Perriman’s injury could be the best thing that ever happened to the speedy 4th year receiver, who is currently listed as a starter for the Ravens. With guru, Marc Trestman, running the offense in Baltimore, look for Aiken to get a good amount of balls thrown his way. He is a sleeper in the truest sense, and is barely being drafted in most leagues. If you can get him in the last few rounds or even better, as a free agent, you could be getting the biggest steal in your entire league.

 

Jeff Janis- The second year receiver out of Saginaw Valley didn’t see the field much in 2014, but with Jordy Nelson out for the season with a torn ACL, that’s going to change. You can believe that fans in Green Bay and around the league will be hearing this guy’s name much more often now. There’s nothing that an under-the-radar wide receiver should wish for more than the chance to have a future hall of fame QB throwing them the ball (just ask every no name who’s ever been lucky enough to land in New England). Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best in the game and he has the ability to make everyone around him better. Janis has already impressed in the preseason, and with Randall Cobb’s week 1 status in doubt, he could be a very busy man when the Packers head to play the lowly Bears in the Windy City. Look for big things out of Mr. Janis this year.

 

Markus Wheaton- The 3rd year receiver out of Oregon State was a bit of a disappointment last season after he only accumulated 644 yards and 2 touchdowns, but don’t give up on him just yet. The Steelers and their quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, still believe in him, and you should too. The offense in the Steel City is going to be very good and with Martavis Bryant missing the first 4 games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, this could be the perfect time for Wheaton to fill the void and have his breakout. He will be going pretty late in most drafts, if at all, and with the way that the Steelers are going to be scoring points this season, there’s a very good chance the Wheaton puts up the numbers that I thought he would last year. Take him late and reap the rewards.

 

 

 


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