by Terri Bey
Week 13 of the 2019-20 NFL season has come and gone. That means the 32 NFL teams are at the three quarter pole in the season, to use a racing term. We are at the point of the season where fans and experts have to keep up with which of the playoff contenders can clink playoff spots and seeds, etc. I jokingly call this point of the season, “NFL headache” season, because trying to keep up with all the scenarios gives me a “headache.”
Much has gone on during the NFL season, up to this point. There have been the usual and the unusual happenings during the season. In this blog, I will be discussing all that has been going on up to this point, by giving you the ups and the downs of the season, emphasizing the more recent events. I hope you will enjoy this blog. Feedback is welcomed and encouraged.
Lamar Jackson’s leading the MVP race.
Baltimore’s dynamic QB Lamar Jackson, who played for the University of Louisville, has been amazing. I can not find anymore words to describe this wonderful player. Jackson makes great throws with his arms and is dangerous when he runs out of the pocket. Even though he was held to 105 passing yards against the San Francisco 49ers, Jackson made great plays with his legs and lead his team down the field for the game winning field goal, kicked by Justin Tucker.
I do agree with the experts that Lamar Jackson is an outstanding player. I am not trying to take that away from him. What concerns me with Jackson is how the experts say, “Jackson has changed the game.” Well, they said that about the following quarterbacks: Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs), Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers), Michael Vick *(Atlanta Falcons), Robert Griffin III* (Washington Redskins) and Randall Cunningham*(Philadelphia Eagles), as well. Well, Jackson has a very similar style to the QBs I mentioned. Some of these quarterbacks suffered serious injuries because of the way they played. I also would like to know if Jackson can last 15 years, like Saints QB Drew Brees, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, Patriots QB Tom Brady, etc., playing the style of quarterback the way he does. He is fun to watch. I just hope he can last.
*= As these quarterbacks played on multiple teams, I just mentioned the teams that drafted them.
Richard Sherman pays off school lunch debt.
This is a bit of an off the field newsbit, but San Francisco 49ers DB Richard Sherman paid $27,000 in student lunch debt to two schools, one in California and the other in Washington State, per ABC News’ website. Per the article, Sherman “gave the principal at Cabrillo Middle School in Santa Clara, California, a “personal check” for $7,491.27 to clear the cafeteria’s outstanding bill” on November 23rd. The day prior, Sherman received the NFLPA’s award as Week 11 Community MVP. Sherman won the award for his work with his organizations, the Richard Sherman Family Foundation and Blanket Coverage Foundation. Last month, Sherman gave over $20,000 to the Tacoma Public Schools to wipe out the students’ lunch debt.
First of all, I think this is a great gesture by Sherman. We fans, bloggers and all need to hear and report more positive news about the players and what they do for the community. I think it is wonderful to see Richard Sherman paying off the debts, so kids can get their school lunches. Great job, Mr. Sherman.
Carolina Panthers fire head coach Ron Rivera.
First, Washington fired Jay Gruden in-season, now the Carolina Panthers shockingly fired head coach Ron Rivera on December 3rd, with four games left. I had a sick feeling that Rivera would be fired, but I thought it would be after the season. I knew that he was in trouble, when the Panthers lost to the aforementioned Washington team, but I didn’t think he’d be fired. What also hurt him was missing the playoffs in the last few years, and I don’t think QB Cam Newton’s health, or rather, the lack of it, helped Rivera’s case at all. I am pretty sure when other job openings come up at the end of the season, Rivera’s name will pop up. I wish him the best.
The Cleveland Browns are nothing but clowns.
Remember all the pre-season hype about the Cleveland Browns? You had all the ESPN and FS1 experts and hot takers putting them in the playoffs and in the Super Bowl. Some called them the best team in the AFC, before a regular season game was even played, based on all the talent the team had. Well, there is a book by Geoffrey Colvin named, ” Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else.” The main point of the book is that people who are great at their craft, such as New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, the late Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady and Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers become great not because of their natural talent, but because they are diligent at practicing their craft. It is their discipline to perfecting their craft that that makes them great at what they do. The same goes for geniuses like composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig Van Beethoven, etc.
The Cleveland Browns DO have talent, if you look at the team. They have QB Baker Mayfield, two talented WRs in Odell Beckham Jr., and Jarvis Landry, and a very talented defense. However, this team can not seem to put it all together. The main reason is that they create too many penalties and judging from that melee with the Pittsburgh Steelers on national television, which saw their star defender, Myles Garrett, suspended for the rest of the 2019 season at the very least, the Browns are a very undisciplined team in general. Unless you have been living under a rock, Garrett has been suspended, because he hit Steelers QB Mason Rudolph in the head with Rudolph’s own helmet, which Garrett ripped off in said melee.
This all comes back to coaching. Freddie Kitchens, who is the head coach of the Cleveland Browns needed to be fired, yesterday. This man has no business being a head coach. The man’s decision making is horrendous. Against the New England Patriots, Kitchens had the offense take a 5 yard penalty, making it 4th and 16, claiming it would make it easier on the offense to convert, as he “didn’t want to take a timeout.” On the play, Mayfield got sacked, and the hapless Browns lost all chance to make a comeback. I still, to this day, could not believe he did that. More recently, Kitchens and his family went to see the new film, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” about Mr. Rodgers, who was based in Pittsburgh. At the behest of one of his daughters, Kitchens wore a sweatshirt stating, “Pittsburgh started it,” referring to the melee. As everyone knows, the Steelers “ended it,” by defeating the Browns in their Week 13 rematch. Kitchens should have known better than to wear such a shirt. It looked unprofessional on his part. He needs to go.
Please, NFL. Ditch the Pass Interference (PI) rule.
I am just joking now, but boy, do I want to strangle Saints head coach Sean Payton, the New Orleans Saints front office and anyone with Saints gear on. This Pass Interference rule has to go. I don’t get it. If teams are going to be able to challenge PI, I would like to know how “clear and obvious” does the PI have to be for Al Riveron, the Senior Vice President of Officiating of the NFL, to overturn it? One example was during the Week 11 meeting between the Baltimore Ravens and the Houston Texans, Baltimore CB Marlon Humphrey appeared to have committed a textbook example of defensive pass interference against Houston WR D’Andre Hopkins, which wasn’t called. The Texans challenged and lost. I watched the replay over and over, and it surely looked like pass interference to me. I wondered if Riveron and the refs were the Three Blind Mice.
I really don’t understand why this rule exists at all. As we NFL fans know, pass interference is a judgement call. Referees are already under pressure to get these call right, and they are ruining the game as it is with many of these ticky tack calls. Let’s face it. That call that went against the Saints in that NFC Championship game was horrible. No one is disputing this. However, earlier in the game, the Saints got away with a facemask penalty, when one of their defenders grabbed Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff by his facemask.
Besides, good teams overcome bad calls. If you remember, the bad no-call happened at the end of the FOURTH QUARTER of said NFC Championship game. The game also went into OVERTIME, if people remember. The Saints STILL had a chance to overcome the bad call by marching down the field in overtime and scoring the TD, and the game would have been over, and the Saints would have gone to SB53. What happened? Saints QB Drew Brees threw an INT, and we all know the rest.
My point is that I just didn’t see the need for a rule change, just because the NFL decided to overreact to an obviously bad call.
Tom Brady bashing is a cottage industry.
Well, when the New England Patriots lost to the Houston Texans in their Week 13 matchup, it was as predictable as KISS ending their shows with “Rock and Roll All Night.” The Tom Brady bashing cottage industry was up and running. You had Shannon Sharpe on FS1 saying, “Brady’s mediocre.” You had Max Kellerman spewing his usual nonsense. FS1’s Nick Wright spews such stupidity about Tom Brady that it’s not even WORTH writing about. The Boston media, and even some fans are even slamming the man who has led this team to 9 Super Bowl appearances and has won 6 titles.
Tom Brady has to be the most hated and envied athlete in sports, or at least ONE of them. Much of the stuff being said about him this season is intellectually dishonest. I mean, he is being blamed for the offensive woes in New England. Let’s discuss this. The receiving core all season has been outright horrendous. WR Josh Gordon didn’t work out, and is now in Seattle. The team could not replace the now-retired TE Rob Gronkowski, who is sorely missed. Unless you are living under a rock, WR Antonio Brown lasted 9 days with the team, because he and his representatives did not tell the Patriots that a lawsuit could possibly be coming and the guy could not stay off social media for five minutes, figuratively speaking. Brown’s taking shots at Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s legal issues did not help him, either.
Let’s see. Brady is throwing to WR Jakobi Meyers, a rookie, WR Phillip Dorsett, Mohamed Sanu, rookie and 2019 first round draft pick Harry and a 34 year old Julian Edelman. TE Matt LaCosse is the main TE. I am not bashing any of these guys, but Edelman is the only one that Brady seems to trust the most. The rest of the guys need to pick it up. These guys also need to do better at getting open. Brady is also playing behind an offensive line that has not been as stable as years past. Center David Andrews is out for the year with blood clots. Backup center Ted Karras has been doing a pretty decent job, but went down with an MCL injury against the Texans, and it looks like Jim Ferentz will be taking over as center for a few games. Left Tackle Isaiah Wynn has missed over half the season with a toe/foot injury and has just come back, so the offensive line has not been protecting Brady as well as usual. Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels’ play-calling at times leaves something to be desired as well.
Brady’s mood has become a “thing.” I have never seen a player’s mood be discussed and scrutinized. Well, if your arm strength is still good, which Brady’s is, and if your football and general intellect is still great, which Brady’s is, despite what the prognosticators of doom say, and all the front office gives you to “go to battle on the football field” is the equivalent of a knife to a gun fight, I would think that Brady would be in a sour mood at times. I am not in Brady’s head, and I don’t work for the Patriots, but I am guessing that if I, as a blogger can see that the offense is having a hard time putting up points with those weapons he has, Brady can figure it out as well.
Do I hold Brady responsible for some of the issues on offense? Sure, but I would say about 10% at most. My point is that I am just tired of seeing Brady put under so much scrutiny, when others are given passes. On Sunday Night Football, in their Week 12 game against the San Francisco 49ers, the Packers got smoked by a score of 37-8. Well, pundits like Stephen A. Smith and others said that Packers QB Aaron Rodgers deserved “no blame” for the loss. When Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw his first INT, Max Kellerman tried to make excuses for it and said on TV that it didn’t really count. However, when Brady threw an INT and even with this latest loss to the Texans, these pundits start this “Brady is washed up.” nonsense. I hear this double standard, and it drives me up the wall.
Brady is the greatest NFL QB ever, in my opinion and in the opinion of many others who know the sport better than I. Brady deserves a ton better than what he is getting from disrespectful hot takers like Shannon Sharpe, Max Kellerman, Nick Wright, Bart Scott, Stephen A Smith, Rob Parker, Mike Greenberg, and others, especially those on ESPN. These people never treated Peyton Manning this way, especially when Manning was about to end his career. Tom Brady’s set records and has accomplished so much in his NFL career and in his life. Brady deserves better treatment and more respect. Brady is nearing the end of his career. People should be giving Brady the respect he deserves on his way out. When Tom Brady finally retires, the Brady bashing cottage industry will shut down, and the aforementioned haters won’t have Brady “to kick around anymore.”