We like to blow shi# up, because we can ….
In the aftermath of the Superbowl with the New England Patriots celebrating their historic victory with an unprecedented fourth Superbowl win in the franchise’s history. The dust has now began to settle on the ground and granted, the NFL hierarchy has yet to formally annnounce their findings into the ” De-Flate Gate ” affair , but it is being viewed in many circles, the historic nature of the Patriots’ victory will negate any of the adverse publicity that has come about in light of the allegations leveled against the organization. Clearly, at a time when the league (NFL) has failed to act with any real veracity in terms of the leadership of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and with the Superbowl having shattered recent viewership ratings’ record , it has to be said , the popularity of the league remains in demand and as popular as ever. Yet , the brand having been hit with a great deal of adverse publicity is still seeking to find some semblance of leadership and consistency among its ranks .
Within the players’ ranks , NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has come under fire , with a great deal of criticism being leveled at the union’s highest ranking executive for his lack of understanding and unwillingness to hold his members accountable for their actions , when having broken the law. This hasn’t gone unnoticed and there are now several candidates now seeking to challenge the incumbent for his position at the next scheduled election due at the time of the union’s elections for various positions within their hierarchy. The fallout could prove to be very impact-ful not just for the NFLPA but also the league , itself . Should Smith be dethroned as the union’s Executive Director , it is believed there will be a seismic shift away from the antagonistic stance currently being taken by the union and their relationship with the league hierarchy under Goodell’s leadership.
Recently a fellow blogger and someone I consider to a knowledgeable individual when dealing with the subject of sports , wrote an insightful article on the changing face of the NFL and the careers of seasoned veterans in the league. Chris Humpherys , otherwise known by his pseudonym and writing moniker Sportschump , might be one of the most popular bloggers within this medium of sports’ blogging . I consider him to be a great writer , friend , albeit , that we do not always see eye to eye on certain areas , within the world of sports . Yet , I believe without their being creative dialog and debate, the world would be all too generic and simply, lacking creativity and intelligence !
The NFL to my mind , remains first and foremost a business , with the success simply being a bye-product of it all. The league may has yet to surpass the global popularity of the NBA or soccer (FIFA) , but yet in terms of revenues specifically derived in North America , it has outshone professional basketball , baseball and the hockey , leaving all three brands in its wake.
New England in the aftermath of their triumph over the Seattle Seahawks entered into the off-season with the front office led by GM Nick Caserio , head coach Bill Belichick and the coaching staff having to mull over several decisions concerning the long-term future and makeup of the team’s roster . With the recent announcement that the organization would be cutting ties with seasoned veteran defensive lineman Vince Wilfork . It brought to an end the eleven-year career one of the franchise’s great players in Patriots’ history. Wilfork is unlikely to be the only player being shown the door during this off-season, with fellow defensive player Darrelle Revis due $20 million (not including bonuses) , it seems highly unlikely the Patriots will take up his contract for the upcoming season .
Among the free agents on the Patriots’ roster the front office are likely to either jettison or retain are Shane Vereen , Steven Ridley , Jonathan Casillas , Dan Connolly , James Morris and Revis, himself. All at some point during the regular and postseason played a part in the team’s success and ultimate triumph. The hard part for the Patriots will be for the organization to not only retain the players they believe best fits their needs for their short and long-term future but also maintain the unprecedented success achieved over the past decade and a half .
For Tom Brady the motivation now become about whether or not he can surpass such icons as Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw by becoming the only quarterback in NFL history with five Superbowl victories , all with the same franchise. It is clearly something not lost on the three-time Superbowl MVP as he considers his career achievements and where he stands in the bastion of NFL history as a quarterback . It has been Brady’s singular drive for perfection and willingness to lead , which has brought about his ascent to the pinnacle of the game and where he is considered among the best to have ever played the game and perhaps the best quarterback of his generation. As the Patriots’ franchise leading passer there are not many more records for him to pass as a New England player and it is simply about his rewriting the history books for the franchise.
The relationship between a quarterback and his wide receivers, is said be one of the compatible and favorable among NFL players . Montana to Forty Niners’ legend Jerry Rice and Rice’s own legacy with Steve Young , literally has epitomized the success of the San Francisco 49ers and that of the history of the NFL , among the great quarterbacks and some of the greatest wide receivers in the league’s history. It would be fair to suggest Reggie Wayne of the Indianapolis Colts might just be considered the greatest receiver in the franchise’s long and storied history. Wayne’s success alongside former teammate Peyton Manning , can be seen as one of the nascent moments for the Colts and Manning’s successor Andrew Luck in his short career with the franchise has been beneficial for the veteran Colts’ wide receiver .
With the Indianapolis Colts coming to the decision and then announcing, they would not be re-signing Reggie Wayne for one more season , it leaves Wayne , in search of a new destination and a chance to prolong his career . Wayne and another Colts’ great at the wide receivers’ position , Marvin Harrison were systematically shown the door at a stage in their respective careers when both players it was believed still had something to offer. GM Ryan Grigson may well feel , with the development of T Y Hilton the franchise is now in safe hands , but I would hazard a guess, if the third year starter fails to meet expectations this upcoming season , Grigson is likely to regret the decision to curtail Reggie Wayne’s career with the Indianapolis Colts , especially if Wayne goes on and proves to be extremely productive elsewhere.
It does seem somewhat ironic, with the departure of Reggie Wayne from the Indianapolis Colts , another former Miami Hurricanes’ player met the same fate , with the resulting decision of the AFC South based Houston Texans to let their prolific wide receiver Andre Johnson , “walk “. Call me naive , but since when was it ” open season” on wide receivers in the NFL and are seasoned veterans at the position , now an ‘ endangered species’ ? Inquiring minds need to know and these are, one of many questions, that now need to be answered !
Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien may well have felt Andre Johnson was no longer productive , but when the passing game of the Texans can be best summed up as being mediocre , there doesn’t seem a great deal more that needs to be said concerning their 2014 sojourn in the NFL . I have no doubt Andre Johnson will likely find a home with a franchise before the start of the regular season !
Three-and-a-half to four years is the average career of NFL running back back and one who lasts more than six seasons , can be considered to have been extremely lucky in today’s modern game. Maurice Jones-Drew who began his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars after solid stint of nine years in the NFL , with his final season being spent with the Oakland Raiders .
The fact Jones-Drew has seen fit to call it quits , at this stage of his career, speaks to the intensity of the NFL, the physicality of the game, constant battering taken by the players , and the intensity level at which the game is played. Concussions, ligament injuries and broken bones , all play a part in what has been constantly described as a barbaric sport . It is quite possible the former UCLA Bruins’ running back could be lured out of retirement for the right price , but it would appear Jones-Drew’s decision is final .
Great running backs in today’s league are hard to come by , so it is imperative teams have a cluster of players capable of being productive at the position. With the Dallas Cowboys not quite ready yet to commit themselves to their single season leading running back DeMarco Murray and the apparent reluctance of either Jerry Jones or his son, Stephen Jones to approach Tony Romo and discern his willingness to restructure his contract and untying some monies to be made available in resigning Murray. It has me wondering, whether or not there is any common sense to be found within the Cowboys’ front office !
If DeMarco Murray is allowed to become a free agent on the open market , there would be a rush to sign the player to a significant contract and securing his long-term future. The Cowboys made their first postseason appearance in the NFL since 2009 and the fact they made it, came by way of their play within the conference , also on the road and the languid play of the Philadelphia Eagles who faltered down the stretch , allowing Dallas to win the NFC East. I have always maintained far too much credit has been given to Chip Kelly as a head coach , specifically when it is noted, he has always been averse to playing defense. The Eagles have become a franchise that epitomizes those credentials, since Kelly assumed control as the successor to Andy Reid .
Recent moves made by the Eagles’ front office have been seen as bewildering. Nonetheless, given the mediocrity of the NFC East , in all likelihood the continued incompetence shown within the division will be on display again this upcoming season .
Chip Kelly will enter this upcoming NFL Draft seeking to replenish his roster , having seen the team falter inexplicably last season, missing the postseason , when the division was firmly within their grasp. Needless to say, Chip Kelly tries to put a brave face on things, by veiling his own incompetency and apportioning blame elsewhere , placing it all firmly on the shoulders of the players. “Mirror , on the wall , who is the ugliest coach of them all ” ? You are Chip , you really are !
If pressure is being brought to bear upon Lovie Smith , Jason Licht and the front office of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , then they are simply not showing anything to analysts and fans alike , as they continue to speculate on what decision will be made by the franchise with the number one overall pick in this upcoming NFL Draft. With the event being five weeks away, both Licht and Smith, are keeping their cards firmly to their chests , unwilling to provide an insight as to what their choice is likely to be.
Consensus states , the choices for the Buccaneers , a quarterback is needed to steer this team back on a path of success and considering how starved this franchise has been of success , since 2003 . It is easy to understand why the Buccaneers’ fans continue to live in past and laud the accomplishments of their Superbowl victory over the Oakland Raiders. Since that historic win for the Buccaneers, any semblance of success, can be gauged by the number of postseason appearances made since 2003 .
Jon Gruden as the head coach , was seen as being able to do no wrong after the victory over Oakland, but the head coach failed miserably in building team , for its long-term future . Gruden’s draft choices and free agent acquisitions have to be considered a monumental “bust ” , yet his supporters continue to point to that lone success and his detractors , can point to his lack of developing players and those years of sheer ineptitude in the aftermath of the victory. Raheem Morris as Gruden’s successor, proved to be equally mediocre during his tenure , where the best and worst were on display by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers .
Lovie Smith as the successor to Greg Schiano , has shown in his first season with the Buccaneers was no better than his worst or best with the Chicago Bears , where Jay Cutler has proven to be a quarterback whose abilities can be best summed up by the continued comparisons to another overrated and under-achieving passer, Jeff George . Need one say anymore on the matter ? Smith was a disciple of Tony Dungy , but his alleged prowess as a defense minded guru, was nowhere to be seen or his instilling discipline into the Buccaneers’ secondary of last season , one of the worst performing units in the entire NFL , bar none .
The choice facing the Buccaneers’ front office appears to be very clear, do they take either Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston or quite possibly Brett Hundley and make that particular player their number one pick overall ? Another alternative for the franchise , would be be trade down offering the pick to another team and in return obtain a multitude of picks in the lower rounds of the Draft and obtain a free agent quarterback. As of now , there is still no clue as to the type of decision the organization will make , but while their fans continue to contemplate , the rest of us , can continue to speculate.
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Do you believe this NFL Draft will differ a great deal from last year’s event and many of the surprises we witnessed, and will there be a story coming out of this Draft, that will have us drawn to its unfolding even more ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe relevant to the NFL news as you believe it to be right now.
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