Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

We’re just a few hours away from the kickoff for the final game in the first week of fake football, with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones quite anxious to begin a season that brings his franchise back to the days of glory holes. Oakland sure seems like a fine place to start that journey.

So as you mentally prepare for your first Jon Gruden exposure of the 2012 season by wedging Double-A batteries deep into your ear drums, let’s take a look back at the most prominent developments and observations that inspire rants from the weekend of preseason play. When we left off on our meandering through meaningless but important football on Thursday, we were reminded that Julio Jones is pretty good, and Bob Griffin was also alright. As is often the case during preseason games, much of the focus is on the quarterbacks, and the young arms who are either playing their first game, or are continuing to develop after an inconsistent Year 1.

Andrew Luck is one of those arms, and it seems he may have a future. Maybe.

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The NFL news cycle is frenzied, but to an extent it’s still predictable. Give me a week — any week, any week at all in the entire year — and I can pretty much tell you exactly what I’ll be writing about, because although the subjects change, the basic subject matter often doesn’t. Second week of April? Some potential first-round pick smoked a doobie in college, and this could make him an asshole. First week in December? At least 19 teams are still in playoff contention. Discuss.

It’s circular, but never, ever boring, because the different pieces that fit into the churning machine during any given year remain unpredictable. That machine is halted sometimes, but it takes a unique and compelling story. Like, say, bountygate allegations, or Jesus changing teams, or Peyton Manning signing somewhere that isn’t Indy. And that’s just this past offseason.

But in January for at least one day during the height of the playoff lunacy, there was an off-field item that directed our gaze elsewhere. The Rams volunteered to become London’s first “home team,” with owner Stan Kroenke — who’s also a majority owner of Arsenal, a team that’s sort of a big deal among those who follow the other kind of football — signing his team up to play three home games on the other side of a very large pond.

It was more than just a friendly international gesture. As we wrote at the time, with the lease on the Edward Jones Dome expiring in three years, it was a flirtation with a move to a different city that maybe wouldn’t leave over 11,000 seats empty during home games. It seemed very real too, with Kroenke making no attempts to bat away the suggestion of a move by offering even a public relations response that was steaming with the stench of fecal matter.

Now, abruptly, that’s over, or at least on hold, with the Rams backing out of a commitment to play games in London in 2013 and 2014. We blame the Spice Girls after they reminded the world yesterday that they exist.

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Chad Johnson has always been an idiot, but not the kind of idiot the NFL has became far too familiar with during the great offseason of the idiot that recently concluded. He’s not the type to consider eating weed to be a wise, logical decision (Mikel Leshoure), and he’s also not the brand of moron who repeatedly drives under the influence of alcohol (Justin Blackmon).

He was — and arguably, still is — a far more innocent breed of idiot. In a few weeks, kids will file into classrooms to start a new school year, and nearly every class will have at least one clownish character. He’ll be the kind of kid who plants “kick me!” signs sporadically, knows the perfect time to start a slow clap, and repeatedly attempts to beat his personal record for the amount of pencils stuck in the ceiling. He’s an idiot and he knows it, and he’s amusing to some but annoying to many others.

Chad Johnson is that clown.

His idiocy is equally fun, stupid, and irritating, and because it’s was all of those things, it’s also another adjective: brilliant. Johnson knows that idiocy is his best asset, because even if he flounders on the football field, his entertainment value still provides a market for Chad Johnson/Ochocinco/OchoJohnson. Especially on Twitter, where he was one of the first athletes to master the social part of social media, mostly because the Internet always wants to know his thoughts on condoms and the proper boiling procedure.

Most of all, though, his idiocy was harmless. Whether you love or hate him, that much was undeniable. Until last night.

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Less David Garrard means more Ryan Tannehill and more Lauren Tannehill. Pageviews, something something.

Mystery knee surgery is infinitely worse than both mystery ice cream, and picking out a mystery chocolate from a box of chocolates without looking at the chart.

But alas, that’s the fate dealt to Dolphins quarterback David Garrard. One man’s loss could lead to a gain by many men, as with Garrard down Ryan Tannehill now has a chance to grab the starting QB job in Miami with his performance throughout the rest of the preseason, and if he’s successful we’ll get more shameless in-game shots of his wife Lauren.

Everybody wins, except probably the Dolphins.

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Rules of any kind have a clearly defined purpose, and if there was a justifiable reason to regularly turn your eyes in a different direction when a rule is violated, then it simply wouldn’t exist anymore. It would vanish, and become obsolete.

That’s a general rule about rules. But the truth is that common sense can often trump a lot of rules. And that’s why a replacement referee’s participation in a very organized and very well-known poker event five years ago shouldn’t matter. At all.

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Stay safe out there, Cleveland. Don’t go near any motorized vehicles, bridges, or Popsicles. Don’t ask why you can’t have Popsicles when you’re depressed, just don’t do it. Also, avoid sunlight and microwaves.

This was to be the season of hope in Cleveland with the infusion of youth powered by Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden, and Josh Gordon. And hell, it probably still is, and this alarm could be little more than the kind of panic that’s become a reflex among Browns fans, which happens when your team has had only one winning season since 1999. An addiction to hope develops, and the slightest dose of your chosen┬ápotent drug leads to a euphoric high better than anything Walter White’s lab can offer.

Or at least I can only assume that’s the drug’s affect, because as I’ve written previously, I spent a few days in Cleveland last summer, and that town sort of seems to enjoy its Browns football. That’s why it may be difficult to get an elevator to the top of the city’s two buildings right now.

Richardson, the third overall pick in last April’s draft, is visiting Dr. Death James Andrews to have his knee injury evaluated, according to Jason La Canfora, and cornerback Joe Haden could be suspended four games if it’s determined that he violated the league’s policy on steroids and related substances.

Ahhh Browns, it’s good to have you back.

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Welp, it depends on what your definition of “meaningful” is, trolling headline. If you’ve drown yourself in enough hopeful delusion to somehow believe that the man who championed the driveway sit-up as a legitimate fitness routine will surface in Seattle, you deserve to do exactly what Terrell Owens does when you insult his friends. Cry.

They may represent the thriving population of the lowest common denominator, but people who expect greatness from Owens still exist. They live in this world despite the fact that Owens hasn’t been a dominating presence in, oh, four years, and despite the fact that he’s been out of football for a full season. They also breathe the same oxygen that you and I inhale despite Owens’ age (38), and the reason why he missed last season (a torn ACL).

Do you need proof of this elusive creative that has a body which exists today, and a mind stuck in about 2006? Here’s a screen grab of a comment below a wire story about the Seahawks signing Owens last night, a story featured on a certain rival Canadian website

This dude did that on Madden, and his team was super awesome.

For those of us living in a land that isn’t filled with sugar fairies and dancing ice cream cones on a sunny beach, Owens isn’t that player anymore. You know, the guy who was freakishly fast for a receiver of his size, and was therefore a deep threat who doubled as an imposing physical presence.

Now he’s something far less superior. But for Seattle, that might still be OK.

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