Calvin Johnson has the right to speak his mind

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Published on : July 16, 2017

 

 

The Detroit Lions world is once again in an uproar over comments made by Calvin Johnson. The best receiver to ever don a Lions uniform is getting a ton of flak from fans and pundits after a recent trip to Italy. When prodded by the Italian media about his early retirement, he stated that in addition to the well-noted breakdown of his body and its declining ability to recover from the rigors of playing in the NFL, he didn’t see a shot at a Super Bowl with the Lions. This has fans all over the internet hating on Megatron and complaining that he is dragging the organization, the same one that made him a very rich man, through the mud.

 


Everyone needs dial back the talk of Calvin Johnson bashing the organization and remember that he is entitled to his opinion and he is no longer an employee of the team. Not only can he say whatever he wants but he was the only bright spot in a horribly mis-managed operation for years. He suffered through so much as a Lion and always did it with class. He showed up to work, did his job and did it well. And through all the losing, and the coaching blunders, and awful rosters, he never once complained. Or demanded a trade. He was a Lion for his entire career, and when his body couldn’t take the abuse anymore he walked away from the game. That he didn’t see a Super Bowl in the immediate future for the team factored into the decision, big deal.

 

Megatron also added that he was “stuck” in his contract and had approached the team about possibly being released, which the Lions were never going to do. The only thing I really take issue with is him saying he was stuck when he chose to sign the contract in the first place. He could have entered free agency and went to any number of teams but he signed a 7 year/ $132 million extension in 2012 to be sure he would retire a Lion. If he was stuck it was his own doing.

 

Other than that I don’t really see a reason to be mad at Calvin. Can a man who is retired and not on the team not answer a question candidly? He no longer owes anything to the team and should be able to say what’s on his mind. Everyone already knew this was the case. Fans need to stop getting their feelings hurt by what was plain to see.

 

With all that said, the ongoing Calvin Johnson post-career drama is getting old. Sadly, we as fans are going to have to get used to it. Unless Calvin Johnson becomes a hermit and is never seen in public again, the conversation will eventually always come back to a career that was far too short. And most people will place the blame for that on the Lions and try to bait him into admitting that the team is the reason the world was robbed of Megatron too soon.

 

 


The same old champs

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Published on : June 15, 2017

 

The Golden State Warriors have just won the 2017 NBA Championship. Congrats to them. They pulled it off in just five games against a very good Cavs team led by superstar LeBron James. This is the Warriors second trophy in just three seasons (three straight finals trips) and from the looks of the roster, they should be highly competitive for years to come.

 

Just days before that, the Pittsburgh Penguins became back-to-back Stanley Cup champs after beating the Nashville Predators in six games. It was a hard fought series but the experience and leadership of Sidney Crosby was too much for a young Preds crew to overcome. That now makes five Stanley Cups for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Three since 2009. That’s dominance.

 

 

The 2016 sports season is finally over. All the hardware has been handed out and now we can finally look back and spot the trends. The data tells a simple story. The same jerks who always win, won again. In the four major professional sports (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB), only the Chicago Cubs were not a recent champion of the 2016 winners (Patriots, Warriors, Penguins). What’s the deal? Why do we only ever see the same few organizations on the podium? It’s a drag to always see the same guys celebrating.

 

In football, the 2016 season ended with yet another New England Patriots Super Bowl victory. Yawn. Don’t get me wrong, the actual game was great and historic. Seeing the Pats climb back was a sports memory no one will soon forget but the overall outcome was boring. Brady wins his fifth ring in fifteen years. Give someone else a turn.

 

 

Thank God for the Chicago Cubs. If it wasn’t for them then we would be stuck watching sports re-runs of the same victory parades over and over again. The Cubbies made history and ended one hell of a drought. That’s a good story. That’s what we need. Redemption, the under dog, the cinderella story. Something new!

 

But baseball isn’t always the outlier. The San Francisco Giants have three World Series wins since 2010. Overall, the MLB seems more wide open than the other sports but maybe that’s just the perception. So what now? It’s clear that across sports there is an upper class of franchises and these teams are the ones that win the big games. What’s the lesson? Steal the model. Copy what’s working. Steal away their coaches and personnel. Change your culture. Whatever it takes.

 

As we enter the summer months where we only have MLB action to hold us over or as many call it, the dark days, we can only hope that this year will see some new faces on the Wheaties box.

 

Champs.

 

 


The Lions get it wrong again

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Published on : June 11, 2017

 

 

There’s probably nothing to it.

 

I hope there’s nothing to it.

 

Dear God, this can’t be happening again.

 

In a situation that is sadly familiar to fans of the NFL’s Detroit Lions, it seems that their most recent mega-star has walked into early retirement holding onto some hard feelings against the team. With shades of Barry Sanders, who retired in his prime via a fax on the eve of training camp, the Lions have bid farewell to Megatron, who was still one of the league’s top receivers when he walked away. Calvin Johnson didn’t screw the team over like Sanders; the team knew he had been contemplating retirement because his body was breaking down from the beating it took over the years. Sanders actions had made it clear that he was displeased with the team, but as far as regular Lions fans were concerned, the team and Calvin Johnson were all good when he retired. But we all may have been wrong.

 

A couple weeks ago, Calvin was asked about the possibility of having his jersey number retired in Detroit, to which he responded “I don’t even like to talk Lions too much just because of the way our relationship ended.” For Lions fans, it was hard to hear that the team may have soured another relationship with a player that means so much to the city. Calvin insists that there’s no hard feelings but it sure doesn’t seem like things are cool between him and the team. So what could it be that has caused this possible rift between the two sides?

 

Calvin-Johnson1

 

Well, it turns out that the team asked him to repay a portion of the $3.2 million signing bonus from his $100 million contract. The team’s logic would seem to be that since the contract was not yet completed, and in cap terms, the signing bonus split evenly over the years of a contract, that the team was still owed a portion of the bonus. Player’s on the other hand, see a signing bonus as money already earned because it’s a bonus given at time the contract is signed.

 

Now technically speaking, I would have to agree that the team is entitled to ask for a portion of that money back, but it also seems like kind of a dick move. At first it was reported that Johnson had repaid $320,ooo but a more recent report claims that the amount may have been as high as one million. Either is a paltry amount to Johnson to be sure, but also a truly insignificant amount to any NFL franchise. Especially when you consider that neither the Seahawks or Cowboys, two successful franchises with Lombardi hardware, asked for any amount of money back from Marshawn Lynch or Tony Romo when they retired before fulfilling their contracts.

 

The Lions would have been much better off letting Calvin Johnson, a guy who destroyed his own body in the name of the team, keep that money. The Seahawks and the Cowboys did it with their superstars because it was the right thing to do. When you think about the kind of money that a player of Calvin Johnson’s caliber can bring to an organization in the way of ticket and jersey sales, it just seems petty and cheap. We fans can only hope that they haven’t permanently destroyed the relationship.

 

052317-johnson-cp

 

After Barry Sanders retired, the team filed a grievance in order to recoup part of his signing bonus and it led to the team and Sanders being disassociated from each other for years. Now, as the second season since Calvin walked away rolls around, he is attending Oakland Raiders OTAs as a guest. When coupled with the fact that he seems to be lukewarm at best to the idea of the Lions as an entity in general, fans should be sad and maybe even outraged.

 

With Barry Sanders it was maybe just a case of him screwing the team and the team screwing him back. But when it happens with another football icon, maybe the team needs to look in the mirror and reevaluate. The Lions might be incapable to having anything but a toxic relationship. Maybe they should talk to someone, and quick. Because Calvin Johnson must have his jersey hanging in the rafters at Ford Field and he must be part of the Detroit Lions family. He needs to be attending Lions OTAs and be seen as a prominent figure in Detroit football and Detroit the city. If he isn’t, then I can’t see any reason that the team’s next phenom would want to be part of the family for the long haul.

 

 


Waiting on Aaron Rodgers

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Published on : May 31, 2017

 

I wait tables at a diner in Los Angeles. It’s not a glamorous job but it keeps bread in my basket. It’s a tip based gig so good customer service is the name of the game. And I’d like to think that I’m pretty good at my job but it definitely wears on me from time to time. Recently, I had a night to remember. This is my story of waiting on Aaron Rodgers, star quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.

 

First, let’s set the scene. I started my shift at 9pm. It normally goes until around 2am (we close at 4am) but a funny thing happened, the other server showed up wasted and was instantly sent home. That means I’m now closing. Great. Also one of the bussers didn’t show so we were even more short staffed. Plus the kitchen didn’t prep the daily special that everyone keeps ordering. Needless to say, I was cranky pants for most of the night.

 

Around 2:30 am it happened, a group of five takes my big booth. I go get drink orders and that’s when I realize. Seat 3 is Aaron Fucking Rodgers. The cherry on top of a shit sundae of a shift. Now, I have to play nice to the one pro athlete I hate the most. What a joke. I’ve watched Aaron Rodgers single-handedly destroy my Detroit Lions for the last decade. I legit despise this guy. Don’t get me wrong, he’s real good at football, that’s why I dislike him. Because he always guts me and my team. I’d list all the terrible moments but it would just get me all worked up. So, I smile and nod, while Rodger’s buddies order oreo milkshakes. I tried to find someone on the staff who could understand my predicament but with no other football fans around, I went into the back and sent a text to Alex.

 

Aaron Rodger text message

 

Alex brought up a good point. What am I going to do with this opportunity? Spit in his food? Turn my back on my city and ask for a photo? Do nothing and stew quietly (my traditional go-to)? Or maybe something bold? I had a little time to game plan. I went back and got orders. Aaron Rodgers orderd the breakfast burrito and as quick as he can read a cover-2 defense, I up-sell him on adding bacon (extra $2.50!). He bites hard on my offer. Point Bruno. Rodger’s little sidekick dittos the order, “I’ll have the same.” I can tell this happens a lot with this guy. The others get cheese fries, a breakfast sandwich and a club sandwich (no tomatoes).

 

Aaron Rodgers & Co eat their food, I check in, all gravy. No dessert, no coffee, they are ready for the check. Shit. Game time. I follow Alex’s lead and write “Go Lions” on the bottom of the receipt. I fold it lengthwise, as per usual, and go to drop it to everyone’s favorite NFL star. But before I can get there, the short blonde pulls out her Amex and insists I take it. Fuck, he may not see my message now. I run the card and return to the table, the check is unfolded, face up. Maybe he saw it? We’ll never know.

 

Rodgers check

 

The table stands and slowly makes their way to the door. I’m at the computer, closest to the the front. Aaron Rodgers is 5 feet from me. I get the idea, I should tackle him. I push that idea out of my head and then another thought creeps in. I look at Rodgers and say “Hey man”, he looks at me. We lock eyes, I say “we’ll see you at Ford Field this year” he rolls his eyes and gives a sarcastic “yeah” and then walks out.

 

I was on cloud nine. I felt so cool and tough. In my head, I told off a millionaire. The reality is, I’m not even going to the Packers at Lions game, I was just saying that as the royal ‘we’, like the Lions and I will see you later this year. Even funnier is to think of this story from Aaron Rodger’s perspective. He came in, got some okay food, decent service, then a stranger made a vague reference to seeing him later. End of story.

 

Short blonde friend did tip $20 on $75.69 which is like 26%, which I’ll take all day. There was also a moment where I considered, “what if Aaron Rodgers gets mad about the ‘Go Lions’ thing and doesn’t tip me?” but I already hate him, if he didn’t tip me, then this would be a very different story. Either way, worth it.

 

Nobody eats for free.

 

 


Putting the fun back in the NFL, one rule change at a time

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Published on : May 25, 2017

 

In an about-face from the way the league has been operating in recent years, the NFL has voted to give its players a chance to express themselves. The league has spent years stifling their players’ creative instincts by penalizing them for end zone celebrations. Instead of embracing something that fans and players both enjoy, the No Fun League has been throwing flags and even fining players for putting a little soul in the game, but it appears that Roger Goodell and the powers that be have seen the error of their ways.

 

At the spring league meeting, the owners voted to ease restrictions on touchdown celebrations and proponents of common sense everywhere rejoiced. What was it about dancing in the end zone or celebrating a touchdown that irked all these owners so bad in the first place? Maybe they were jealous of the dance moves, or maybe they are so far removed from our meager plebeian society that they forgot how normal, non-billionaires have fun and express joy. Either way, they are starting to get their heads out of their asses and come around on this one. I, for one, can’t wait to see some of the pent up celebrations that people have been sitting on during these dark days of prohibition.

 

The obvious winners in this decision are the fans. If football fans wanted to see a bunch of soulless robots they would watch baseball. Pigskin aficionados like the unpredictable nature of the game and want their favorite players to surprise them in new and exciting ways, and with the game being damn near a century old, it’s time to get creative. That’s where celebrations on big plays come in. The players still aren’t allowed to do anything that might be seen as taunting (throat slash), or anything sexually suggestive, but they are allowed to do group celebrations and to use the ball as a prop.

 

 

The players who will no longer have to risk being fined for getting excited are winners in this too. By extension the teams also win because they won’t have to endure ridiculous penalties when players inevitably celebrate regardless of the rules. Guys like Antonio Brown are excited to get the whole team in on the fun and we should be too. I imagine Odell Beckham Jr has a few things up his sleeve and I’m sure Cam Newton will hop on whatever dance trend is happening and then beat it to death.  

 

While the rule change is definitely a step in the right direction, I’m not sure that the NFL went far enough. There’s still a few annoying things, like that you reportedly still can’t dunk the ball through the uprights like Calvin Johnson used to (despite what the below video says). Also, the 40 second play clock starts immediately after a touchdown, meaning that teams could risk a delay of game if the TD scoring player isn’t quick about his celebration. Think of the wonderfully choreographed masterpieces that we will miss out on. For a little more explanation on what is, and what isn’t allowed, check out this informative video featuring former Detroit Lions TE and TD celebrations pro, Joe Fauria.  

 


I say let these guys go to town. Maybe they could even work on dance numbers with predetermined music. The crowd would love it and so would the players. These guys got soul and they need to share it with the world.

 

Let them dance.

 

 


Who will be the next NFL player to head to the broadcast booth?

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Published on : May 16, 2017

 

 

As you’ve all heard by now, Tony Romo and Jay Cutler have decided that since no team wants them as their signal caller, they will head to the broadcast booth. The decision by these two long time NFL QBs has caused a bit of a stir in the pro football world. Many people, myself included, think that it’s a great fit for Romo since he is a pretty likable guy who seems to get along with everyone. Cutler, on the other hand, is a bit more controversial considering most people, myself included, can’t stand the guy. Where Romo seems like the kind of guy your parents would love, Cutler seems like the guy who would come into your parents house reeking like cigarette smoke and refuse to look your father in the eye or say hi to your mother.

 

While Jay Cutler as a color commentator is outright ridiculous for a guy who seemingly has one of the worst personalities in all of football, the pick of Tony Romo seems as safe as white bread. I think the broadcast community can do a lot better than both of those guys. Here are a few current NFL players who I think would be much better choices to head up to the booth once their careers are over.

 

Marshawn Lynch

When you think of Marshawn Lynch you might think about ridiculous broken tackles, long TD runs or even his hatred of the media, but hear me out for a second. Despite his late-career antics with the press, he has always been pretty funny in front of the cameras. He may have shunned the spotlight in recent years but for enough money I think that the right crew could get the most out of him as a commentator. Beast Mode has never lacked in the personality department and if you don’t believe me just watch this video of him visiting Scotland. It’s clear that in the right setting he thrives and is pretty damn entertaining. With the right team around him (more on that later), it could be ratings gold.

 

 

Michael Bennett

This one makes the most sense. Michael Bennett is everything that you could ever want in a television personality. He is intelligent, witty, funny, charismatic and a total weirdo. He always has something to say and when he opens his mouth, it’s usually something that people talk about. Michael Bennett is like the Hunter S. Thompson of pro athletes; he’s socially conscious with a flair for the unorthodox. Bennett would be a better color guy than Jay Cutler could ever hope to be and he wouldn’t be afraid to take the NFL or society at-large to task if he saw something he perceived as wrong. Bennett has opinions for days and the broadcast media would be wise to try to get him on camera once his playing days are done.

 

 

Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski represents the big, dumb, wide-eyed kid in all of us. For that reason, one has to believe that he has a future in television once he can no longer weather the constant storm of injuries that has plagued him for most of his career. I can’t speak to his analytical abilities but much like the rest of these guys, he has got personality in buckets. Gronk is the type of person that seems like he can have a good time no matter where he is and I’m sure that would translate to the broadcast booth. I envision him as a Charles Barkley type; he might not always know what he’s talking about but he will definitely make it entertaining. Maybe we can hook Gronk up with Marshawn who can be the Shaq to his Charles. Take a look at the two on camera together and tell me it’s not a match made in heaven.

 

 

The NFL media juggernaut would do well to try to bring any of these guys into the fold once their playing days are over. If they’re lucky they will lock down all three. Who would you like to see in the booth after they walk off the field for the final time? Leave your ideas in the comments below and see if you can think of anyone better than these guys.

 

 


Greg Hardy, you seem like a ‘f*cking psychopath’

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Published on : May 5, 2017

 

 

“I’m not a f*cking psychopath”

 

 

That’s a recent quote from former standout NFL defensive linemen, Greg Hardy. If you know anything about his story then you know that in 2014, he allegedly (and almost certainly) assaulted his then girlfriend, Nicole Holder. The details of the assault are pretty gruesome and it is said that he choked her, threw her onto a pile of assault guns (because why wouldn’t he have a literal pile of weapons?) and threatened to kill her. Hardy was convicted in a bench trial but the charges were later dropped on appeal for a jury trial after Holder failed to appear in court. The prosecutor’s office cited their inability to locate the victim and “reliable information” that the two parties had reached a civil settlement, and the charges were later expunged from Hardy’s record. The next day Deadspin released pictures that had surfaced of Nicole Holder’s injuries, which Hardy later refuted, claiming that they could have been doctored after the fact.

 

I call bullshit.

 

Hardy’s arrest happened only months after the now-infamous Ray Rice domestic violence incident so the NFL was in the midst of a major PR struggle in which they were trying desperately to appear like they were guided by some kind of moral compass and not just the almighty dollar. Hardy was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list while the court case played out and he appeared in only 1 game in 2014. In the end, he missed about a year of football and the next offseason the Panthers decided not to re-sign him, a move which was likely motivated by the team’s desire to rid their team of a violent person of questionable morals and mental stability.

 

Cue America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys.

 

Despite the fact that Greg Hardy was shunned by almost all NFL teams, Jerry Jones and ‘Dem Boyz’ signed Greg Hardy to a 1-year, $11.3 million contract during the 2015 offseason in hopes that he could be a difference maker. While most people wouldn’t touch a guy who had just beat his girlfriend and threatened to kill her, the Cowboys proved once again that winning comes before everything. The league suspended Hardy for the first 10 games of the season but an arbitrator reduced it to 4 games, and after that he was back on the field making millions. Luckily for believers in some form of karma (though not nearly fitting to the crime), Greg Hardy’s tenure with the Cowboys was a complete disaster. He had one of his worst statistical seasons (6 sacks, 35 tackles in 12 starts) and he proved to be as shitty of a teammate as he is a person. After doing things like getting into arguments with his teammates on the sidelines and missing team meetings even the Cowboys decided they had enough and decided against bring him back the following season. He went into the 2016 season without a team and was arrested for cocaine possession shortly thereafter. Hardy hasn’t been back to the NFL since.

 

 

Now he is trying to make some sort of comeback and it’s for that reason that I saw the headline where he proclaimed that he’s “not a f*cking psychopath.” Naturally, I assumed that he was referring to the domestic violence incident and that the context would dictate that he was remorseful for what had come to pass with his ex-girlfriend. When I read further I was appalled to learn that Hardy has no remorse for what happened with Nicole Holder. His “psychopath” comment was in reference to his ill-fated stint with the Cowboys.

 

Being a shitty teammate and a locker room distraction doesn’t mean he is psychopath but the fact that he doesn’t show any type of regret for the domestic violent incident that marked the beginning of the end of his career might mean that. At this point it seems unlikely that any team will take a chance on someone like him. There’s too much talent out there and he’s been out of the game for too long. Oh yea, there’s also the fact that he CHOKED AND THREATENED TO KILL HIS GIRLFRIEND. The NFL doesn’t always do a great job of presenting itself as an organization with a conscience but by keeping this psycho out of the league it could do it this time. Greg Hardy is loose cannon and is not the type of guy I would want on my team.

 

Anytime someone has to tell you that they aren’t something there’s probably a good chance they are whatever it is they’re denying. It’s not a good look. Suuuuuuure, he’s not a psychopath. And neither was Roy Munson at the beginning of Kingpin. 

 

 

 


2017 NFL Draft reactions

Written by :
Published on : April 29, 2017

 

2017 NFL Draft started on Thursday, live from Philadelphia. Part of this new format where the NFL Draft will move from city to city each year. Round 1 opened and from the gate there were huge trades, surprises and plenty of drama. Let’s look back at the first few rounds and cover all the big storylines.

 

Head scratchers

The Chicago Bears move up from #3 to #2 overall to select North Carolina quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky. Now, the pick isn’t necessarily bad but the Chicago organization gave up so much to make the move. They lost their 3rd and 4th round picks this year, plus a 3rd rounder next year. To make matters worse, Trubisky only ever started 13 games in college. Oh yeah, the Bears already gave QB Mike Glennon 3 years/$45 million and said he is the starter. So all those assets for someone fans wont even get to see play. They sure are putting a lot of pressure on this kid.

 

 

Titans add weapons

Tennessee can run the ball and they have a decent defense but they didn’t have much talent for QB Marcus Mariota to throw to. Until now. The team spent 3 of their first 4 picks on pass-catching standouts Corey Davis WR from Western Michigan, Taywan Taylor WR from Western Kentucky and Jonnu Smith TE from Florida International. This young core should have the Titans in playoff form sooner than most think.

 

Red flags

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon in round 2. Mixon is no doubt a talented runner but he also famously punched a woman and broke several bones in her face. This issue is being resolved in the legal sense but his character is clearly in question. In a similar instance, we have the Oakland Raiders first round choice Gareon Conley. This CB out of Ohio State is in the middle of rape allegations and could still be charged which would ruin his NFL career. I can’t understand how either franchise could pick these guys. It’s not only risky but it communicates that this type of behavior is acceptable. WHICH IT IS NOT.

 

 

College buddies

Five different teams drafted multiple athletes from the same school. The Dallas Cowboys picked DE Taco Charlton and CB Jordan Lewis from Michigan. The Detroit Lions took LB Jarrad Davis and CB Teez Tabor out of Florida. The Baltimore Ravens went all defense with their first 4 picks and two players from Alabama; CB Marlon Humphrey and LB Tim Williams. Washington got in on the Bama train by taking both DT Jonathan Allen and LB Ryan Anderson. And lastly, the Seattle Seahawks took two Michigan players, S Delano Hill and WR Amara Darboh. Rookie year will be way easier with your college buddy around.

 

Browns do great! Mostly.

Cleveland had 3 first round picks including #1 overall. That’s crazy. They also passed on all 3 QB’s that went in the round (Trubisky to Chicago, Mahomes to Kansas City, Watson to Houston). They did land some serious ballers in DE Myles Garrett from Texas A&M, S Jabrill Peppers from Michigan and TE David Njoku from Miami. In round 2, the Browns found their QB in DeShone Kizer out of Notre Dame. This is strange because Kizer is raw and needs time and feels like a real project. Maybe this was an overreaction from day 1 to day 2. After everyone asked why the team hadn’t solved their long standing issue. In round 3, Cleveland added DT Larry Ogunjobi out of Charlotte. They still have 5 picks left and the defense is looking more and more fierce. The only question is, who is going to lead this unit on offense?

 

Only time will tell how any of these moves will pan out. So let’s all agree to meet back here in 4 years and we can have a really cool and retro 2017 NFL Draft conversation.

 

Pick me!

 

 


Tom Brady’s Stolen Jersey Found

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Published on : April 11, 2017

 

The smoke has finally cleared on one of the most bizarre cases in NFL history. First, Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jersey went missing. There was tons of speculation of where the uni could be. No one wanted to say it was stolen. But that was in fact the case. After weeks of drama pulled straight out of some forgotten Hollywood screenplay, the missing jersey was suddenly found. But that’s where this story gets really interesting.

 

The jersey was lost. Zero chance of recovery. You would need divine help to find it. Well, ask for a miracle, I give you the F-B-I. The Bureau tracked the missing memorabilia down to Mexico. That’s right, this caper has just gone international. But the real twist is that the stolen jersey was discovered along with his “missing” jersey from Super Bowl 49 and Von Miller’s helmet from Super Bowl 50. What a stash of insane football gear. That’s legit super villain status.

 

How did that happen? To explain, first let’s back up right to the end of Super Bowl 51. The Pats win, Tom takes off the jersey and it gets put it in his bag in his locker. Team celebrates on the field. Later, the locker room is opened to the media. And as mentioned before, no security cameras in that area. Tom comes back to his locker and checks his bag to find nothing.

 

 

So, who done it? The man in question is Mauricio Ortega. An editor for a Mexican newspaper. This wasn’t some fresh face either. This was a vet journalist from a big publication who had years of experience. Ortega had press credentials so he was allowed access to the player areas. Footage of the hallway outside the locker room shows him entering then exiting with something new tucked under his arm. Nice detective work whoever figured that out.

 

Speaking of figuring it out, it seems like Jay Glazer and the FOX team covering the big game had a critical role in cracking the case. They worked with the FBI and used their footage to help identify Ortega. Finally, all those annoying reporters and cameras do something useful. In all seriousness, Glazer broke many keys facts about this story and we would know much less without his team’s efforts. Here is the breakdown plus the camera footage showing Ortega going in and out of the locker room.

 

 

To make things even more juicy, Ortega quit his job just weeks before the jersey was found. All the recovered merch is being authenticated before any legal action is taken. The stolen goods have tremendous value but only to a buyer who wishes to keep them secret. That makes me think Ortega was not the collector, but the thief working for the collector.

 

In the Glazer video, he mentions that Von Miller had his helmet and cleats go missing after SB 50. Only the helmet was recovered. So maybe the cleats made their way to the collector? Or they are still hidden, waiting for Ortega or an associate. Either way, this whole tale is wild. I hope more wrinkles keep appearing and we uncover some evil sports merchandise syndicate. At some point, Ortega may be put on trial and then we may learn the truth of his motivations. Until then, you only have my terrible movie-inspired speculations.

 

Heist.

 

 


Tony Romo Retires

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Published on : April 6, 2017

 

 

It’s official, Tony Romo is hanging up the cleats. The long time Cowboy great is retiring from the NFL. This news comes as a bit of shock. We knew he wasn’t going to stay in Dallas and many had him as the top quarterback available. No doubt, at least a few teams had solid interest in Romo’s services. The most recent rumors saw him staying in the state and joining the Houston Texans. Not a bad fit as it was becoming more clear that Tony wanted to join a winner. Not help some franchise rebuild. After taking some time to weigh his options, the (soon to be) 37-year-old decided it was time to call it quits and will be joining Jim Nantz in the booth at CBS.

 

 

If you’re looking for a reason as to what helped make up Tony Romo’s mind, maybe it had something to do with the offer from his new job. CBS reached out to Tony at the end of last season so the QB has had tons of time to think about what his life would be like in broadcasting. It seems like a natural fit for quarterbacks to transition to analyst positions. So much of what signal callers do is watch film, study players and make it their job to know more than everyone else. Plus, Romo gets to stay in the world of football and bring home a decent pay check. A much smaller check but still giant in terms of us regular folks.

 

Other things to consider. Tony Romo has a serious history of injuries. Most notably, issues with his back. The guy seems healthy now but the grind of starting 16 games is grueling. One good shot and he could be facing more surgery. Romo has already made a pretty penny tossing the pigskin and it looks like he wants to preserve his health so he can enjoy it. What good is all that money if you aren’t psychically able to play with your kids?

 

 

Tony Romo gave the Dallas Cowboys over ten years of blood, sweat and tears. 34,183 passing yards and 248 touchdowns. He leads the organization in many passing categories which is impressive when you think of the other names in the team history. He never got them to the Super Bowl and that may be part of his legacy but he will be remembered in Texas for a long time. And on a personal note, I respect that he played for one team he loved and decided to retire before starting a new chapter somewhere else. It’s more and more rare in today’s game.

 

So to Tony Romo, I say good luck in the future and please don’t come out of retirement in a year. You made the right call. Now stick to it.

 

New chapter.

 

 


Lions must focus on defense in the draft

Written by :
Published on : April 2, 2017

 

 

The Detroit Lions have spent the better part of the last 50 years as the laughing stock of football. From pee wee to the pros, the Lions like the Browns and other oft-maligned franchises, were synonymous with ineptitude. The team that squandered the careers of Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson, two legends of the gridiron. Lions and losing went together like peanut butter and jelly, but in the last few years something crazy has happened. The team has been pretty damn good at times, and mediocre at worst. For the last three seasons the team has been a legitimate contender for the division and they have made the playoffs twice in that period.

 

Gone are the days of planning for the next year’s draft in October and November. Fans in the Motor City expect to be in the running late in the season. The new goal isn’t just having a winning record or even making the playoffs, it’s winning a playoff game; something that hasn’t happened since 1991. If that goal is going to be achieved this season then there is still quite a bit of offseason work to be done. Especially on the defense.

 

 

There is an almost complete consensus that the Detroit Lions are one of the early winners of this year’s free agency. After losing Riley Reiff and Larry Warford, two long time starters on the offensive line, there was concern that an already somewhat porous unit was going to take a big step backward in 2017. Then general manager Bob Quinn surprised many people by spending big money to acquire two of the best offensive linemen available. On the opening day of free agency, right tackle, Rick Wagner, was signed away from the Baltimore Ravens. Days later local boy and longtime Packers guard, TJ Lang, was signed after it seemed like a certainty that he was headed for Seattle. These two are immediate and significant upgrades over their predecessors on the line, especially when it comes to pass blocking, where they rank as two of the best at their positions in the league. Quinn had a goal to upgrade protection for Matt Stafford and he executed his plan swiftly.

 

Those upgrades on the offensive line did not come cheap, however, and depending on who you ask, the Lions now only have about $8 million in cap space. That cap space doesn’t preclude them from making more moves in free agency but it does most likely take them out of the running for the big names like Zach Brown that are still on the market. That could be of concern because the Lions have yet to improve their defense whatsoever this offseason, and if anything the talent pool on that side of the ball has gotten more shallow.

 

Linebacker Paul Worrilow was signed from the Falcons and cornerback DJ Hayden was signed from the Raiders. Worrilow has value as a special teamer but if the Lions are forced to start him then that’s a bad sign. Hayden has the potential to start at the nickel position if he can stay healthy and replicate his performance from last season. Both of the guys are nice depth pieces but they aren’t difference makers. That is troubling on a Lions defense that is in dire need of guys who can make big plays, especially after the team chose to part ways with the once electric but now injury plagued DeAndre Levy.

 

 None of the defensive signing so far are game changers, including Paul Worrilow.

 

A few more depth pieces with some potential have been signed along the defensive line. Akeem Spence, Cornelius Washington and Jordan Hill will all contribute but the team must generate a better pass rush this year. Ever since Ndamukong Suh took his talents to South Beach there has been no pressure up the middle. Last year, that weakness really came back to bite them as opposing quarterbacks were allowed record setting completion percentages against the defense. If there’s no pass rush then the defense will surely flounder again.

 

The cap constraints and a free agency class that is short on defensive playmakers at this point means that the Detroit Lions are going to need a defensive haul of epic proportions in this year’s NFL Draft. There are huge holes on the defensive line and at linebacker and the way that the team sits right now, the offense will need to score 40 points a game for them to be successful. In the NFL, you can’t expect to have sustained success if you’re forced to rely solely on the offense. This team must dedicate the lion’s share of their draft picks to the defense because the guys they have right now simply can’t get the job done.

 

 


The Sports Oscars

Written by :
Published on : March 30, 2017

 

 

Award season has come and gone. And in honor of the recent 89th Academy Awards, ScoreBoredSports would like to present the 1st annual Sports Oscars. Just what America needs, another award show! Press your tux and fill your flask because it’s time to walk the red carpet and hand out some gold statues to the year’s best sports performances. And to all the winners, don’t forget to thank your agent and your mom. Now, let’s get this show on the road. The first category is:

 

Best Supporting Actor

Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors. After Kevin Durant came to town, Dray’s role on the team shifted. He no longer was needed to score the ball but instead had to become the defensive leader and do all the small things that help win games. No better example than back in February, when Green had the most unconventional of Triple Doubles. With only 4 points, he also tallied 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals (along with 5 blocks).

 

Makeup

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals. This was a tough one but Bryce’s under-eye black takes the cake. It’s kind of looks like Harper is the 5th member of Kiss mixed with a little Hawk and Animal from the Legion of Doom (WWF/WWE). I think more pros should follow the face paint lead. It’s a great way to show off some personality and it just washes off when you’re done.

 

Washington Nationals v St Louis Cardinals - Game Two

 

Best Editing

The New England Patriots. These guys always seem to make the perfect roster moves They add players you think are only okay and then they preform insanely well and they cut talent you think is irreplaceable only to see them underperform with their new team. Perfect example: Lions cut ties with LB Kyle Van Noy after him not working out in Detroit. They trade him to New England. Cut to Van Noy flying around being one of the difference makers for the Pats, in the Super Bowl.

 

Best Original Screenplay

Jaromir Jagr of the Florida Panthers. The dude is 45-years-old and writing his own story where only he knows the ending. The man has 763 career goals, that’s good for third all-time behind Howe and Gretzky. Jagr has more points over the age of 40 than even Howe. So he is the best older hockey player we have ever seen. He loves to play and has no plans of stopping. I hope this story has a few more chapters.

 

Costume Design

The University of Michigan Men’s Basketball team. On their way to D.C. for the Big Ten tournament, their plane was forced to abort takeoff and then roughly skid off the runway. The Wolverines barely made it to the game but their luggage with their uniforms were still stuck on the plane. U of M channeled their inner Tim Gunn and had to ‘make it work’ because they rocked their practice jerseys, looked dope and won the game.

 

 

Documentary Feature

This is the only award that both SBS and the real Oscars agree on. We both have O.J.: Made in America as the winner for best doc. It’s superbly well-made and very captivating. You should check it out. And it’s not just for sports or murder fans. It fun for the whole family.

 

Best Score

Lionel Messi of Barcelona. Messi is a wizard with the ball in space but he is just as lethal when it comes to free kicks. This zinger comes from a stretch of 3 games where Messi had a free kick goal in each. That’s just insane. Click HERE to watch the clip and be amazed.

 

Best Actress

Serena Williams. Her huge win at the Australian Open gives her 39 total titles (singles, doubles, mixed doubles) in tennis. If this category is about incredible individual effort, than I can think of no one more accomplished than Serena. She is a joy to watch and has elevated the entire sport of tennis. Not just the women’s game. Serena Williams is a champion.

 

 

Best Director

Joe Maddon, skipper of the Chicago Cubs has to win this one. His arrival seemed liked the real turning point for this franchise. From his first weeks in Wrigley, it seemed liked things were different. Maddon directed the Cubs to their first World Series win in a jabillion years and for that he wins the award.

 

Best Picture

Maybe my Michigan bias is showing but the image is truly stunning and it was a huge moment/game for two teams hunting the NFL playoffs. I really wanted to be cool and just say “presented without comment” but that’s totally a comment. And I’m way better than that.

 

 

That’s going to do it for the first ever sports Oscars. List your favorite player or performance in the comments below. Not bad for our first award show. At least we never called the wrong winner.

 

Glitz.

 

 


How the Texans Helped Change the Perception of Mental Health Issues

Written by :
Published on : March 28, 2017

 

Football and masculinity dominate life in Texas. Feelings and emotions in men are tied to a rigid ideology – you don’t show or talk about them because men don’t do that. Likewise, men across the country may have lived under the same social norms that restrict them from showing emotions other than anger. Former Vice Chairman of the Houston Texans, Philip Burguieres said, “I felt that I couldn’t talk about depression, because it seemed like admitting to weakness, or failing.” He further elaborated on this stifling mentality by saying that it is “really hard for…America to accept depression for what it is: a disease.” This fundamental flaw in consciousness reinforces the stigma that men face – if and when they experience a mental health crisis.

 

This is why it was a breakthrough that George W. Bush signed the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. This bill requires insurance companies to provide mental health services at the same capacity as it does with physical well-being services to group health plans offered by employers. Two years later, the Houston Texans became the first team in the NFL to offer mental health parity to their players and personnel. This happened largely in part because of Burguieres’ bout with depression. It was the first time pro-athletes were offered mental health services under their contracts.

 

 Philip Burguieres used his own experiences to raise awareness about mental health.

 

Former running back for the Texans, Arian Foster, candidly contrasted the difference of using mental health services at his disposal to destructive self-soothing mechanisms. Foster was crumbling under the duality of growing up with domestic abuse coupled with periodically not having enough food to eat. As an adult, he stumbled into the depth of “mo’ money, mo’ problems”, the pressure that players signed to pro-sports teams face, plus career threatening injuries. To cope with the complexity of his internal pain he damaged himself inwardly by heavily relying on drinking because he could not express himself outwardly. He found this “was extremely powerful.”

 

Contrarily, he added “the emotions that you numb you can’t be selective with… you also numb everything good. So I was blocking out a lot of love.” Blocking out love cost him greatly because it ended his first marriage. This downward spiral alongside falling prey to the stigma of asking for help, “it just got to a point where I just threw my hands in the air and I was like: ‘This is going to kill me.” The weight of his emotional and mental issues took a toll on him; however, he adds, “I went and got help and it was the best decision I ever made.”

 

Mental and emotional disorders can manifest as a culmination of unresolved childhood issues that cross over into adulthood, others have a genetic predisposition to them, or others have both environmental and genetic vulnerabilities to mental disorders. The point is that the range of depressive, personality, anxiety, dissociative, eating, obsessive, substance use, sleep, sexual dysfunction, etc., mental disorders of any kind carry the capacity to self-destruct a CEO of a football team, pro athlete or regular person. Mental disorders are part of a collective human experience. In that sense, we can mirror the Texans and work through our feelings by owning up to them rather than let them diminish the sense of self and will to live.

 

 Arian Foster is the Texans all-time leading rusher and has battled with mental health issues.

 

Surprisingly, it did not cost the Texans more money to cover mental health. Burguieres said, “We have found no increase in our costs for mental health parity… It’s pretty simple. People who have access to mental health programs are healthier employees.” This revelation was highlighted by the reality that serious mental health conditions totaled more than $193 billion in lost earnings per year before the 2008 bill. Sick leave and absenteeism impacted team expenses more than covering mental health costs.

 

Football players are revered for their physicality, intellect on the field, and their remarkable performances that defy average human force. It takes a lot to make men of this caliber admit that they are overwhelmed by feelings and emotions, but in doing so they are paving the way toward a greater social consciousness. Real men in Texas or anywhere are strong enough to confront issues that cause them emotional distress. In the words of Mr. Rogers, “if we… can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable we will have done a great service for mental health.”  The example the Texans have set will help usher in a new era where mental health and mental health services are no longer taboo. People who need help can get the type of care that they deserve to preserve their sense of dignity and self-worth.

 

In loving memory of Philip Burguieres and Mr. Rogers.

 

 


Best Wide Receiver combos in the NFL

Written by :
Published on : March 21, 2017

 

 

There have been some big roster shake ups since the start of NFL free agency. Many new faces in new places. Every team is trying to get faster, younger and better but who really did improve? So, the question is: which team now has the premier wide receiver duo? Let’s take a second and look around the league to determine which franchise has the best WR’s going into the 2017 season. These are your top 8 wideout tandems.

 

#8 – Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns – Jacksonville Jaguars

Team Allen had a breakout campaign in 2015 but 2016 proved to be a bit rougher. It’s clear that both these guys have the talent to post monster numbers. The biggest factor here isn’t the WR’s but everyone else. The defense that never takes the ball away, the inconsistent QB and the often dreadful play-calling.

 

#7 – Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker – Miami Dolphins

Another set of young guns that have the speed and hands to wreck opposing secondaries. Like the duo from Jacksonville, the Miami unit also suffers from up and down production from their signal caller. One could only imagine the numbers they would post with a Aaron Rodgers/Tom Brady type.

 

 

#6 – Golden Tate and Marvin Jones – Detroit Lions

It’s better to have two great receivers than one amazing one and average one. Just ask the Lions. The team always struggled to find a sidekick for Calvin Johnson, allowing defenses to zone in on him and limit his effectivness. The current Lions are much harder to defend because both Tate and Jones have the ability to be a force.

 

#5 – Bradin Cooks and Julian Edelman – New England Patriots

Cooks has yet to catch a pass from Brady but one can imagine how dangerous he will be playing for the champs. This also allows Edelman to move back to the number two spot where he is a better natural fit. Now, Cooks can handle the down field routes while Edelman takes the underneath.

 

#4 – Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb – Green Bay Packers

This team may have been the best receiving combo over the last few years. Injuries are the only thing capping their success. I despise throwing praise to any Packer players but these guys are legit. It will interesting to see how the passing game will work in 2017 with Davante Adams in the mix.

 

 

#3 – Alshon Jeffery and Jordan Matthews – Philadelphia Eagles

One of the only number 1 receivers to change squads this offseason. Jeffery will join Matthews in Philly. Both are big bodied guys who can do it all. Their youth and strength give them a huge upside. The real question is how it is all going to work. Seeing they are playing with a sophomore QB in Carson Wentz.

 

#2 – Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jackson just signed with the Bucs and he brings agility and ball skills to wide out unit already featuring rising star, Mike Evans. This pairing is great because Jackson is small (5’10”) and Evans is big (6’5″). They are the new David and Goliath of football. Both will benefit playing along side each other, which makes me believe both are bound for huge seasons.

 

Djax bucs

 

#1 –  Odell Beckham Jr and Brandon Marshall – New York Giants

The top spot on the list. We all know how good OBJ is but the addition of Marshall is just nuts. Brandon Marshall has played the role of top option most of his career. Adding him will force defenses to pick their poison. Blanket both guys and the run game will kill you. The Giants just got a little bigger.

 

Over half the teams listed will feature a new wide receiver combo this year. So it’s hard to guess who will stay healthy and who will gel in a different offense but the on paper talent is clear as day. The pass-happy NFL is gearing up for another high-flying season and I can not wait. Did I leave out your favorite WR combo? Or do you think my order is crazy? Leave a comment.

 

Just give me the damn ball.

 

 


The NFL free agency mambo

Written by :
Published on : March 15, 2017

 

NFL free agency has only been a few days but already the complete landscape of football has changed. Huge names have moved and found new homes while others have decided to hang up the cleats and retire. Millions are being tossed around and it’s a lot to process. Let ScoreBoredSports ease your weary brain with this helpful review of all the big transactions so far. Strap on your dancing shoes and let’s all do the free agency mambo.

 

WR Brandon Marshall to Giants

2 year/$12 million dollar deal saves Marshall from moving homes or facilities as he switches to the Giants. The former New York Jet will join Odell Beckham Junior in the receiving corps. Should make for a pretty solid unit.

 

WR Pierre Garçon to 49ers

This organization is totally rebuilding. They need offensive weapons. Garçon is nice possession receiver but it’s unsure who will be throwing him the ball. Got to start somewhere, though it looks like San Francisco overpaid.

 

 

OT Ricky Wagner and OL TJ Lang to Lions

Oh boy, the Lions add some beef upfront to help keep Stafford alive. As a fan, I love any effort to improve the o-line and help our lackluster running game.

 

TE Dwayne Allen to Pats

This was a trade with the Colts where Allen and a 6th round pick went to New England for only a 4th round pick. Seems like a small price tag for a guy that will blossom under Brady. But that’s what the Pats do.

 

RB Mike Tolbert to Bills

Mike packs his bags and leaves the Panthers to join Shady McCoy and the other backs in Buffalo. This team loves to the run the ball so look for Tolbert to get the short yardage/goal line duties.

 

 

QB Brian Hoyer to 49ers

I expect the new heads of the organization to draft a QB but this will be their starter for the time being. Hoyer has flashed moments where it looks like he has all the tools for the job. This will be a tough test. Hopefully, they can add a few more pieces around him.

 

S Barry Church to Jags

Jacksonville focused on defense in last year’s draft and maybe those picks will pay off but they couldn’t stop anyone last season. Church is a vet who Jacksonville hopes can bring some leadership to the secondary.

 

WR DeSean Jackson to Bucs

DJax headed to Tampa where his skills should pair well with star WR Mike Evans. This could be a nasty duo. This team has playoff sleeper written all over it.

 

 

K Steve Hauschka to Bills

Hey, kickers matter and Steve is one of the best. The long time Seahawk is bringing his talents to north beach. This is a good pick up for any team.

 

WR Kenny Britt to Browns

Get that money Kenny, but it sucks to be on Cleveland. This team needs tons of help and they don’t seem close to an answer. Would love to be wrong.

 

CB AJ Bouye to Jags

Jacksonville continues to invest on the defensive side of the ball with the splashy signing one of the top cornerbacks available, but they paid for it. 5 year/$67 million.

 

 

WR Alshon Jeffery to Eagles

Philly adds a big time target for a 1 year/$14 million deal. This is all about fit. That’s why the contract was only for a season. If Jeffery soars, expect a huge offer next year.

 

CB Logan Ryan to Titans

The other top defensive back on the market lands in Tennessee. This is another team that is quietly building a real competitor.

 

DE Julius Peppers to Panthers

Homecoming. I love when a player gets a chance to head back to his old team for another tour. Fans bust out their old jerseys and we all have fun.

 

 

WR Terrelle Pryor to Washington

1 year/$8 million and suddenly you are QB Kirk Cousin’s new favorite target. He will replace Jackson and keep the passing attack rolling in the Capitol.

 

TE Martellus Bennett to Packers

Just what Aaron Rodgers needs, a Super Bowl winning-mega talent. Ugh. The only worse headlines are from the real news.

 

WR Brandin Cooks to Pats

God damn it. How do they keep reloading so fast? It’s almost like every player in the league wants to play there and win one of those fancy trophies. New England sent their 1st and 3rd round draft picks to New Orleans for Cooks and a 4th rounder.

 

 

TE Lance Kendricks to Packers

Looks like Green Bay is following the Pats model of the two TE sets as they add another big body pass catcher.

 

WR Kendall Wright to Bears

Chicago needed to do something after losing top wide out Jeffery. Wright becomes the go-t0 guy in the Windy City. The real question is, with Jay Cutler gone, who is throwing the ball?

 

QB Nick Foles to Eagles

Another reunion. Foles will presumedly be the number two quarterback behind Wentz, who just finished his rookie year. Foles should be considered a top tier backup. Someone who is ready to start and win in the event of an injury.

 

 

RB Eddie Lacy to Seahawks

The big back joins Seattle on a 1 year/$5 million deal with $3 mil fully guaranteed. His weight is an issue. Some reports have him at 267 lbs. That’s heavy for a running back. The hope is he becomes the new Marshawn Lynch but that may be unrealistic.

 

QB Mike Glennon to Bears

Chicago has finally cut ties with Jay Cutler and they need a new signal caller. Glennon may not set Chicago on fire but he is young, 6’6″ and has experience. Not a sexy signing but the free agency market for QB’s is slim.

 

Some big names are still available. Guys like Dont’a Hightower, Adrian Peterson and Colin Kaepernick are still looking for a team. The NFL draft is a month away so we can expect to see some more action in the coming days. But most of the high profile talent is already off the board. This is such an exciting time for football. I can’t wait for the season opener.

 

Show me the money.

 

 


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