Happy weekend, NFL fans. As I was gathering news stories to regurgitate for this column, it struck me that while the NFL season can be a fast-moving freight train in real time, the news media covering the game is getting punchy in Week 10. The stories I'm reading are really out there--some because the NFL has given them reason to be out there; others because writers are grasping at straws because there is really so much parity in the NFL these days. Or because, to some degree, Roger Goodell has opened himself up to criticism and lots of attorneys. But hey, if all that wasn't going on, I wouldn't be here writing this column right now, would I? So let's take advantage of that fact and see what's going on this week....
The NFL has opted to not opt out of the Steelers/Ravens game on November 18. In other news, Faith Hill is still doing that awful Sunday Night Football theme song. Here is something I want to know. Does Joan Jett get royalties for that piece of crap, being that they blatantly lifted the melody to one of her songs? I'm being serious, and I intend to find out.
I was wondering if the Bears have played anyone good yet, and then I remembered that their only loss was to Green Bay. This weekend they play the Texans and then play the 49ers. If they win both of those games I will eat a Bears' jersey. I just can't see a ball-hawking defense keeping that pace up, can you? Speaking of which, that sure is gonna be a great game on Sunday night.
Tom Benson is no dummy. He knows he's going to have to open up his wallet and then some to keep Sean Payton in New Orleans. I think it's comical to hear all this talk about Payton going somewhere else, and to be honest, I don't believe for a second he's going to seriously entertain other offers. He loves that city and what he and Drew Brees have done there, and they love him. On the other hand, it's feasible that Payton may want a new challenge.
You can joke about Rex Ryan all day long, but I love what he said about being rated the most overrated coach. The guy is nothing if not funny.
This is truly a great, insightful article by Brian Billick about social media and the NFL. For instance, I find it hard to watch a game now without hanging on the open thread at BBV to see what all of you guys are saying during the game. That's something I love about where we are technologically. But Billick is right that the noise during the week can be deafening.
Here is another interesting piece about the "dumbed down NFL." I don't agree with the whole thing, but it's still a good read. On that note of being dumbed down, here are two more hilarious stories--about the Chargers' sticky substance being grippy golf towels but the dumbass Chargers still being fined (I'm sorry, but Norv still being employed by that team is the epitome of "dumbed down"); and about the Broncos reacting to weed being legalized in Colorado. Will there be more frequent drug testing in Denver and Seattle now? And will sales of crunchy, salty, and cheesy snacks go through the roof in those states?
For as much as there is parity, this article correctly points out that the NFL has had many games come down to the final seconds this year. That period of about 45 minutes while the early games are winding down on Red Zone is one of my favorite parts of the week. Side note--does anyone else find it difficult to watch the late games and/or highlights if the Giants lose?
Interesting thoughts about mid-season awards, but my favorite is that Bruce Arians can get legitimate coach of the year consideration. That, to me, is mind blowing and totally awesome. And here is something more mind-blowing to consider--the Broncos and Colts do not play each other this year, but could very possibly meet in the postseason.
Talk about throwing a fledgling franchise a bone. Or maybe no other team would allow that kind of camera access, you know, because it might interfere with a team's chances of winning games. Sorry Cleveland, I do still love you.
Joe Torre is using the NFL as a pawn in trying to get instant replay challenges instituted in Major League Baseball. Frankly, I think it's okay to do that now since Johan's no-hitter is in the books. I also think it would have changed the course of the playoffs this year--as maybe that ridiculous infield fly call in the Braves-Cards game would have been reversed.
Some really wild stories come across Google alerts when you put in "National Football League." Here is one that is sure to get your NFL fires stoked this weekend. Here is what I took away from that utterly uninteresting article--there is a team somewhere called the Sable Antelopes. I must have some team merchandise! Okay, so I couldn't find anything, but I did find this, and that is one badass animal. Oh crap, I'm getting punchy!
Enjoy the games, fellas!