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Everything We Learned About the NFL This Season.

| February 3rd, 2015

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Top NFL Teams Separated By Merely a Play

Look at the fates of the NFC’s best teams in the month of January.

  • Detroit loses to Dallas after a pass interference flag is announced and walked off by the game official and then ludicrously picked up. (Has anybody yet given an explanation of this?)
  • DallasĀ  loses to Green Bay after a Dez Bryant catch – a spectacular catch – is deemed a non-catch by one of the more ludicrous rules in the NFL rulebook. (And in my opinion a gross misinterpretation of that rule.)
  • Green Bay loses to Seattle with a ludicrous late-game collapse featuring a tight end dropping an onside kick that hit both of his hands and his face.
  • Seattle loses to New England with the worst play-call in the history of professional football, asking a non-pocket passer to pocket pass a tight-window slant route on the goal line, at the death. (And do so with the league’s most physical runner just, you know, standing around.)

In all four of these games a serious argument can be made for the losing team deserving victory. That’s how close the league has become at the top.

Roger Goodell is a Dipshit

Forget about The Commish’s fumbling the Ray Rice situation worse than Marion Barber in overtime and burying an illegal deflation of footballs story deeper than Jimmy Hoffa in a desperate attempt to keep the asterisk-lovers away from his blessed Super Bowl. It was Roger the Dodger’s response to Rachel Nichols’ pointed and perfect questions at his Super Bowl State of the League address that cemented his role as certifiable dipshit.

Goodell did not address a single male reporter in a similar manner. From a piece in the LA Times:

“Goodell has proven he’s really grown as a person through this difficult season by belittling & patronizing Rachel Nichols. #ClownCommish,” tweeted CBS Sports Radio reporter Damon Amendolara.

“Given that Rachel Nichols is trending, I’d say Roger Goodell undermined that message of humility and change. #NFL,” tweeted ESPN reporter Jane McManus.

“Goodell getting salty with Rachel Nichols for her question about conflict of interest in the NFL. Excellent question that he failed to answer,” tweeted Molly McGrath of Fox Sports 1.

The Park Avenue Pontiff was a bully commissioner for many years but 2014 was the wimpy kid who punched him in the face and made him cry in the schoolyard. Now when the bully asks for lunch money, he gets laughed at.

Draft Analysis is Overrated (I Already Knew This)

Who were the four stars of the Patriots Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks? Tom Brady (6th round pick), Julian Edelman (7th round pick), Rob Gronkowski (2nd round pick) and Malcolm Butler (undrafted).

How many players caught passes for the Seahawks in the Super Bowl? Five. How many were drafted? One. Marshawn Lynch. By the Buffalo Bills.

Months will be spent on mock drafts by every human being with access to WordPress. Mike Mayock will fawn over the athletes at The Combine – the creepiest event in all of sports for anyone who thinks historically. (A large number of white guys measuring the vitals of black guys they are looking to put to work? No, there’s nothing historically relevant there.) After the picks happen weeks are spent analyzing and grading those selections before the players have even played.

Draft weekend – selections and signings – is an NFL organization’s spinal cord. Teams must stock up with talent over those several days or be doomed to overpay talented footballers on the downsides of their careers. But there is simply too much over-hyping and over-analyzing in the lead-up considering an overwhelming majority of that analysis is nowhere near correct. Not only are most player evaluations off by a substantial margin but the importance placed on the early rounds has been nullified by the number of productive NFL players emerging from the later rounds. Teams don’t live and die in the first round anymore because the financial ramifications have been diluted. It’s become less important to grab the star player in round one (with the quarterback exception) than to grab 5 contributors over the course of the weekend.

TOM BRADY IS THE GREATEST SUPER BOWL ERA QB

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The reasons:

  • Joe Montana won four Super Bowls in four tries with one group of Hall of Famers and one of the greatest offensive systems ever conceived. His achievement is monumental but Brady’s six Super Bowl appearances and four wins over a decade plus in the free agency era is more impressive.
  • Free Agency began in the NFL in March of 1993. Since that date, four QBs have won two Super Bowls: Aikman, Elway, Roethlisberger, Eli. Brady has four.
  • Brady has done the most with the least. Rob Gronkowski is the first great offensive weapon with whom he’s won a Super Bowl. (His weaponry for the almost-undefeated season was spectacular and he set records.)
  • People always state Brady has been in one system his entire career. Has he? Go back and watch the six Super Bowls Brady has competed in. Coaches may remain but the offense changes every two years depending on talent.
  • He is part of a cheating regime. But I don’t think the cheating was drastic enough to move him out of the top spot.

FIVE SHORTER THOUGHTS…

(1) Did anybody not love the London early morning game? (Maybe those on the west coast.) People might think I’m crazy but I prefer the early Sunday morning game to the Sunday night game – especially when the Bears play midday Sunday. I watched every snap of Lions v. Falcons.

(2) Marc Trestman is an awful head coach.

(3) Odell Beckham Jr. is the most electrifying wide receiver to enter the NFL since Randy Moss.

(4) Are we entering an era of the devalued head coach? San Francisco eagerly moved on from a head coach who was 20 games over .50o the last four seasons. Denver mutually parted ways with a head coach who was 46-18 in four years, winning four division titles and going to a Super Bowl. In days gone by those types of runs would earn the coaches lengthy, money-laden extensions. Today? Everyone thinks they can do better.

(5) Ten teams turned the ball over 21 times or less in 2014. Eight of those ten teams made the playoffs. The three teams that turned the ball over the fewest times? New England, Seattle and Green Bay – the league’s three best teams. The sport ain’t that complicated.

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