Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

brady-down2

Confession: two days ago, I was one of you, albeit briefly. If you’re among those praising Tom Brady for accepting a contract that was at the time thought to be well below market standards, I joined your kind in the immediate aftermath of the deal before the details were known, calling Brady the “Mother Teresa of football“. Please excuse me while I eat soap.

Since then we’ve learned that what looked like a $27 million extension for three years actually gives Brady more guaranteed money, and thus, well, more money because the guaranteed portion of NFL contracts is all that ever matters. Prior to the deal he was under contract for two years, and set to receive $30 million in guarantees. Now that number has nearly doubled to $57 million, which includes a $30 million signing bonus.

He’s no saint. He’s just a regular rich football player, and now he’s guaranteed to become significantly more rich over the next five years. The gains for the Patriots are in the base salary and salary cap hit, which are achieved by siphoning the money through that bonus. That’s how $15 million in cap space has been found.

So it may be that soap I’m still eating, but I threw up a little bit while reading Brady’s comments earlier this morning during an interview with WEEI in Boston.

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I just finished an NFL year-end panel discussion for CBC Radio’s Day 6 along with Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky, and Sean Conboy, the sports editor for Pittsburgh Magazine. It’ll air this Saturday (Shame? ha, I have none of it), and we meandered through a handful of topics that became significant talking points for the public at large during the 2012 season, and not just football fans. Remember Bob Costas’ halftime gun control editorial during a football game that had a nation wanting to see him fired because he had the balls to have an opinion? Yeah, that sort of thing.

Of course, a cultural discussion of that nature this year (or sadly, any recent NFL year) can’t happen without concussions and head trauma included as well. We learned only recently that Junior Seau did in fact have a degenerative brain condition, and Barack Obama has wondered aloud about the safety of the game, saying he’d be hesitant to let his child play if he had a son. The NFL is also a league where players are still hiding concussions, and therefore intricate steps have been put in place to protect them from themselves.

That’s why every item even remotely tied to concussions and head injuries will continue to receive immense public scrutiny, and it’s why this is so discouraging…

As it always has, Super Bowl week functions as more than just a relentless buildup to three hours of football. It’s also an NFL convention, with nearly every major league figure and media member mingling in the host city. The survey results above were shared by NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith during his yearly press conference earlier this afternoon. The percentages are both scary, and sadly, understandable.

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Maybe the Pro Bowl isn't so bad...

Doing anything with your life is infinitely more productive than watching the Pro Bowl. Yet for reasons that define all logic, millions of you will watch a game of flag football tonight.

Specifically, a conservative guess is that at least 10 million people will be unable to resist the otherworldly magnetic pull of the NFL, and you’ll tune in this evening. Last year NBC’s broadcast averaged 12.5 million viewers, which is a number we heard repeatedly the next morning, right next to other fun facts like, say, the 2012 Pro Bowl getting more viewers than the World Series a few months earlier.

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Have you heard? It’s the week before the Super Bowl. Which means next week is the week of the Super Bowl. Collectively the media (yes, us too) is building the pre-game chatter until it reaches a crescendo Monday, and that screaming note will be sustained for nearly seven days. Mostly, the ever-churning SB hype machine creates discussion that’s either intelligent (how will the Ravens stop the read-option?), or annoying (HARBOWL). But there’s also an unfortunate side effect.

The spotlight is wide, and it gives figures of all kinds a chance to creep out from wherever they were hiding. Tim Brown was a great receiver, and he could soon be a Hall of Fame receiver. But he’s faded from the public’s view since his retirement in 2004, as most former players do. He may want to be different, though, and he may want to be different and known now.

That’s admittedly wild speculation, but it’s the only explanation I can reach for to explain his accusation that former Raiders head coach Bill Callahan intentionally lost the 2003 Super Bowl to Tampa, a game that ended in a 48-21 thrashing. Jerry Rice, on the other hand, is much more difficult to explain.

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People are the worst sometimes

I know. I’m fully aware that by posting this, the vocal lunatic fringe minority has won. I should ignore them, and let them fade away along with their thoughts that no rational, decent human would ever have in their brain at any moment. But I’m just…mad.

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Well, maybe more like six questions, and three for each game. Yeah, we don’t mess around.

In this last hour before a glorious championship Sunday officially kicks off, consider this partly a quick recap of the many talking points we’ve meandered through this week with our primers for both games, a retrospective on last year’s Ravens-Patriots game, a look at whether or not the Falcons can contain Colin Kaepernick, Rob Pizzola’s degenerate betting bible, and Alen Dumonjic’s analysis of Michael Crabtree’s YAC ability, and the Patriots’ offense without Rob Gronkowski. Whew, that was a mouthful.

I’ll also introduce a few other questions to ponder. The questions are aplenty, and the answers will come soon.

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We continue our public service to those still slugging away and getting set to end a long season of fantasy football today with a friendly reminder: trust no one.

That especially applies to Mike Smith, who earlier this week had this to say regarding the playing status of his starters during an absolutely meaningless game for the Falcons this afternoon against Tampa:

“We’re gonna play the game to win. That’s how we’re gonna approach it. It’s an important game because it’s a division game. All games I think are important. Does it have no bearing? It really does because we want to win every time we go out and play.”

What the hell does that mean? Nothing. Nothing at all.

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