Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

friday night lights2

Earlier this morning to (dis)honor Draft Day I went through the absolute worst in pigskin film creations. Now we follow up with the best of the bestest.

Ultimately any sports movie list is influenced by age, and in no way did I show that below with the exclusion of old classics like North Dallas Forty and Brian’s SongNope.

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draft day2

Tonight if you really want to treat someone special in your life to a romantic evening, remember that Draft Day is now in theaters and available for your viewing pleasure.

Every time I see the trailer for this film, I have two frightening realizations:

  • Someone actually thought it was a good idea to make a movie about the NFL draft.
  • Many people are going to pay a lot of money to watch a movie about the NFL draft.

Making a sports movie that’s focused on an aspect of the sport far removed from actual on-field action is not an easy thing. Whatever the specific subject matter is, it has to be compelling enough that the public is curious about what it will look like in film form.

That’s why I think Draft Day will rake, because for three days each spring an important offseason activity in the NFL that’s still, well, an offseason activity trumps the television ratings for pretty much anything else (7.7 million viewers tuned into the first round last year). In fairness it’s received positive reviews, and Kevin Costner in a sports movie is usually the best Kevin Costner.

But the problem with a movie about the NFL draft is that for such a hyper focussed sports movie to be successful, like Moneyball it needs to document an idea or concept which changed the sport. The draft is just…an event.

It might be great. But it’s far more likely Draft Day will be added to the list of awful football movies below.

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Desean shhh2

When DeSean Jackson was released by the Philadelphia Eagles and then later signed by the Washington Redskins, he became the latest of a special breed: players who are tolerated only for a short time by their current head coach, or just not tolerated at all.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, today there were more reports that Jackson was petulant in the Eagles locker room and not liked by his teammates. The dislike became so strong that despite still contributing at a high level, his disruptive attitude was too much to bear.

It’s an act we’ve seen before, and we’ll see it again. Stud player does stud stuff, then says or does stupid things, and bye. Here are four more examples of players best served in small doses. Note the position of choice for all but one.

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Djax2

The Philadelphia Eagles could have released DeSean Jackson for any number of reasons. But since 27-year-old receivers in their prime who fit perfectly in an offense aren’t exactly growing on branches, he must have been the worst locker room jerk in sports history, and his alleged gang affiliations certainly didn’t help matters. That’s all we can assume right now, because otherwise cutting someone with Jackson’s youth and talent is…confusing.

But reasons be damned, the Jackson era in Philadelphia is over now, and what an era it was. Filled with taunts and DJax repeatedly telling you that he is, in fact, the very best, it was a rather entertaining time in our lives.

One more time then, let’s get a little nostalgic and count down the top five Jackson moments in Philadelphia.

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gates2

Every March THE madness consumes us all. You know the drill: loved ones are alone in rooms with only a flickering light, brackets are filled and busted shortly thereafter (curse you, Dayton), and many adult liquids are consumed.

Great fun is had by all. But there’s a chance — a remote, reaching chance, but a chance — that somewhere amid the madness you could be watching the NFL’s next great tight end, or defensive end. Or hell, even a quarterback.

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raiders fans2

Oakland has long been a place in the NFL that winning forgot.

Other NFL outposts are filled with the sorrow, and worse, indifference that comes with losing. But for various reasons they don’t feel quite the same as Oakland’s prolonged stretch of stink. The Raiders have gone 11 years without qualifying for the playoffs. That’s tied with the Browns and behind only the Bills, a 90s juggernaut that did everything short of actually winning a Super Bowl, and now Buffalo has gone 14 years without a playoff berth.

But the NFL is a place where the future must always be the focus. I suppose that’s a generic statement about all sports, but the feeling is emphasized with 16-game seasons that fly by at warp speed. When we look at that future, there’s at least sprinklings of hope in Cleveland and Buffalo. Though they just lost Jairus Byrd and questions still surround E.J. Manuel, the Bills have youth and promise throughout their offense and an overbearing pass rush. Meanwhile, the Browns just signed Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner, Josh Gordon is the most explosive young receiver in the game, and in May they have 10 draft picks to plug various other holes including the fourth overall pick and five selections in the first three rounds.

The Raiders? They started free agency with over $60 million in cap space, and then watched as their best players departed.

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decker2

Quick, close your eyes. Actually don’t do that because then you can’t keep reading, but just somehow simulate the eyes closed sensation (get creative). When I say “draft bust” to you, what’s the first image in your mind? For me it’s always JaMarcus Russell, for he will always and forever be the image of what it is to not try.

Now let’s do the same with “free agent bust”. For me the immediate image there is that of Albert Haynesworth, the rotund Redskins money pit who was signed to a $100 million contract in 2009, $41 million of which was guaranteed. He then commenced his ballooning, and this remains his lasting legacy in Washington…

Haynesworth has now become an American hero of sorts, and in hindsight he may have actually been the smart one here. In a league where only about half of every contract is guaranteed (at best), teams can discard players at will, and bodies are ruined by age 30, he took his money and ran. Or at least waddled quickly, as former teammate Chris Cooley said Haynesworth’s goal was to get released as soon as possible after receiving his guaranteed money, and live a quiet life in retirement on a speed boat with scantily-clad women.

To be a bust the player in question doesn’t necessarily have to reach Haynesworth’s level of stink. For me and for most (I think?), the definition of a free agency bust is as follows: a player whose production doesn’t come close to meeting the level of play expected from the paycheck he receives. Each year there are potential land mines who can meet that description, and through the first year of his contract Mike Wallace certainly leads the 2013 free agent class for the bust label.

So let’s get sad, and thoroughly examine the top three players in this year’s group who could bring doom.

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