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NFL Lockout

8/12/12

Victor Cruz says he overheard replacement ref saying he’d only worked high school games

 

Add the NFL’s replacement refs to the list of many things McKayla Maroney is not impressed with.

Over the last week I’ve heard a few professional writers who shalt remain nameless complain that people are being too hard on the replacement refs and that they will get better. I’m surprised to hear this line of thinking because we have NO REASON to believe that that’s true. They didn’t get better the last time there were replacement refs and there’s a big difference from acclimating a new ref into a crew of experience and putting a whole crew of inexperienced people on the field at once. 

I said before that Bruce Smith was quoted as saying that the last time the NFL had replacement refs he could look at their faces and tell they were “praying” for the game to just be over. Now Victor Cruz is expressing a similar sentiment. He was interviewed by the NY Times and said he could tell the officials were flustered. 

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7/25/11

Filed Under “Who Are They?” Chris Kluwe And Nate Jackson Eviscerate Each Other

Darren Sharper has nothing to do with this post. But I see no reason to put up a picture of Nate Jackson or Chris Kluwe. Do you?

As the lockout negotiations appear to be ending today (*makes it rain on the Eagles and Falcons*), it’s only appropriate that we wrap up with another post about what happens when real feelings come out. This edition features former Denver Broncos Tight End Nate Jackson and current Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.

In a nutshell, Kluwe took to his twitter page two weeks ago to insult a few of the plaintiffs and player reps for the NFLPA. He said they (Peyton Manning, Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins) were douchebags, presumably because they were rumored to be delaying agreement because they wanted their own side deals.

Nate Jackson duly noted Kluwe’s comments and posted a response to Gawker’s sports site Deadspin. In a post titled “Dear Chris Kluwe, When We Want A Punter’s Opinion We’ll Ask for It (We Won’t),  Jackson essentially mocked the role of punters in the NFL and chastised Kluwe for breaking pecking order and daring to speak on behalf of players who really matter.

Earlier this week, Kluwe, the Minnesota Vikings punter, called Peyton Manning and Drew Brees greedy douchebags on his Twitter feed — validating, from a source who wears an NFL uniform, the media’s assertion that the lockout is all about greedy players. But by relying on gossipy football media outlets for facts about CBA negotiations, then taking to Twitter to blast some of the league’s most respected names, Chris Kluwe made a mistake that ensures he’ll be respected even less than he already is, if that’s possible.

Punters are at the absolute bottom of the totem pole on an NFL roster, the very last man. If the team plane crashed on a deserted island, he’d be dinner as soon as the food ran out. Most of them know this and understand that it’s in their best interest to keep quiet

From there, Jackson spends about 6 or 7 HILARIOUS paragraphs explaining exactly why punters named Chris Kluwe should shut the fuck up. He ends with this:

But perhaps the moment most indicative of the separation between punter and football player is when one of his punts is returned for a touchdown. The punter, the nominal last line of defense, appears to be an invertebrate on a sheet of ice as he squirms into a position to make the tackle. His eyes widen and he splays his arms out to the side as if to embrace a giant teddy bear. The returner, with a quick head nod, sends the punter blindly lurching to the wrong side, into a Jell-O-like pile of his own shortcomings. That taken care of, he scoots off down the sideline for a touchdown.

When the team watches the film together the next day, it will not surprise them at all to see how feeble the punter looks. This will only sink him deeper into his locker and into his crime novels, searching harder for a way to convince himself that he is one of the guys, that when he speaks up, he is speaking for his peers. But he isn’t. And he shouldn’t.

Echoing the media’s trite narrative — those selfish players! — is a fool’s errand, and couldn’t be any stupider for someone who must keep the company of real NFL players, who know what it means to sacrifice. Kluwe’s satirical white board drawings and CBA negotiation parodies were harmless enough, I suppose, but even those echoed the sentiment of conventional media wisdom. Player wisdom is beyond him. It is true that greed is the operative byword, but it is not the greed of Manning or Brees or Mankins. It’s Kluwe’s greedy use of his roster spot as a platform from which to shit into cyberspace, knowing that people will pay attention. Well, now they are.

Chris Kluwe, quite the writer himself, responded to Jackson’s post, also via Deadspin. He takes issue with Jackson’s contention (I’m paraphrasing) that punters should be seen and not heard.

It was with some dismay that I read your piece in Deadspin and immediately tried to wrap my head around why a player with a reasonable grasp of the English language who made no measurable impact upon the game (i.e. you) would stoop so low as to berate a National Football League player who has actually completed a full 16-game season (multiple times!), has broken every team record at his position, and above all has contributed to his team winning games (and occasionally losing them [i.e. myself (I love parenthetical asides)]).

Raise your hand if you got lost at the end of that last sentence.

Let’s be honest here. Yes, I am a punter. Yes, I don’t run routes, or zone block, or cover receivers. Apparently, though, neither did you, which is the only explanation for your total lack of statistics. You, more than anyone else, should know what goes on during special teams, and yet your description of a special teams practice, while venomously hilarious, is quite inaccurate (or maybe you guys had a really crappy punter and you’re spot on, in which case, my condolences).

You talk about me like I’m some kind of disease, like punters are some kind of infection that should be excised for the good of the game and how dare we raise our voices when our betters are talking. According to you, punters should be happy to sit in the corner and be treated like shit because we do something different, something that the other 54 members of the team can’t do.

Kluwe goes on to explain that he passionately values his freedom of speech:

I don’t really care what you or anyone else thinks about what I say or when I say it. If I see something greedy, hypocritical, or just plain stupid, I’m going to call out whoever the offending party happens to be. I’ve done it to the owners; I’ve done it to the NFL front office; and I’ll certainly do it if I see it happen with the players. And make no mistake: trying to hold up the settlement of a CBA affecting almost 1,900 players just so four can get special treatment is pretty much the definition of greed. Whether it was instigated by their attorneys, agents, or whoever, it’s still a douchebag move to make.

And he ends his post with some polite parting words.

So, Nate Jackson, while I respect your right to free speech (as apparently you don’t respect mine), I also respect my right to tell you to go jam a tackling dummy up your ass sideways for being a snake-tongued, shit-talking Internet tough guy asshole who is so far out of touch with reality that you have no idea just how privileged we are to play this game for ridiculous amounts of money.

if you have time, I’d say read both posts. My thoughts? They’re both right–except I think I respect kickers a little bit more than Jackson does. Though I admit that I didn’t even bother to add “Chris Kluwe” to my blog categories cause I’m almost certain I will never mention him again on this blog. Even though he has some sort of groundswell of support since breaking ranks. SB Nation has dubbed him the coolest punter ever. Cause, you know, that title is so elusive. Almost like the Superbowl of superlatives, if you will.

Everyone knows where I stand on the players vs. owners. I won’t rehash. But from an objective standpoint, I thought Jackson wrote a slightly better piece though both were hilarious and surprisingly well-written. Hey, who says football players can’t read. Not me!

 

 

 

7/15/11

Report: Lockout Insurance Would Pay NFL Players About $200,000 Each if No Football

NFLPA's DeMaurice Smith

First of all I’d like to say…

AHAHAHHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Listen, I make no secret of the fact that I”m firmly on the players side. No, I’m not on the fan’s side. Our tax payer dollars go to games and stadiums we can’t afford. The fans have already lost, the players still have a chance to win. I’m a big labor hawk and I’d like to see the little guy come out on top.

Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter just reported that the NFLPA’s decision to inform owners and players about the lockout insurance purchased by the NFLPA might be why the NFL labor negotiations have sped up.

The common perception has been that the players’ solidarity would crumble once they started missing paychecks. However the foundation beneath that line of thinking would be as solid as Jell-O if the players could couple the insurance with a large financial award from U.S. District Judge David Doty, who previously ruled the owners had illegally created a $4.3 billion lockout fund for themselves by renegotiating their TV deals at the expense of the players.

“Players Association leadership looked into this as a last possible resort to keep players together in case games would be missed,” one players-side source said of the insurance war chest. “It was never intended to be used as a bargaining chip or negotiating point until things became critical.”

Thursday was a critical point. If the sides could not advance negotiations then the possibility of hundreds of millions of dollars being lost to canceled preseason games was real. And if the owners allowed the impasse to get that far, what was to stop them testing the players’ pain threshold by extending the lockout into the regular season?

Now that Forbes has released its list of the 50 most valuable sports franchises, and ALL 32 NFL teams appear on the list, my annoyance with NFL ownership has grown even more. Something I didn’t even think was possible.

I’m not crazy, I know the players are still the underdog, but this was a nice treat for me since I’ve been ignoring all the endless and mindless updates and predictions for when a deal will be done.

 

7/4/11

Several Players Question NFL’s Claim that Players Chose Top 100 List

It took the NBA less than 24 hours to pull down all footage of current NBA players from NBA.com once their lockout began. Apparently, the NBA cannot profit from players during their lockout. The NFL obviously has no such rule because every other day there’s a top 10 list of this or that not to mention this top 100 list that has had everyone, except me, talking for the past couple weeks. And more than that, NFL players are still appearing all across NFL network and NFL.com

First of all, I think the list is stupid. YES I SAID STUPID. Just like every other asine head-to-head conversation. It kills me that people never get tired of “comparing” and discussing who’s best. Yeah I get that sports is all about competition but having the same debates over and over isn’t for me. And that’s generally what it all boils down to.

Personally, I’d rather jab myself in the eye than hear people compare Ed Reed to Troy Polamalu or Adrian Peterson to Chris Johnson again. And God forbid there’s another Jerry Rice vs. Randy Moss debate. I even saw a Revis vs. Sanders debate. Count.me.out.  I guess I’m just no fun too sensitive to the variables.

Now you know why I haven’t and will not be blogging about the list. Well, except for this post.

Anywayyyyyy, in the midst of ignoring this top 100 player list, I noticed that several players questioned whether players had actually voted in the list, or at least made a point of saying they didn’t know anyone who did. Those players include Troy Polamalu (Safety, Pittsburgh Steelers), Kerry Rhodes (Safety, Arizona Cardinals), Jerraud Powers (Cornerback, Indianapolis Colts), Jay Feely (Kicker, Arizona Cardinals), Brent Grimes, (Cornerback, Atlanta Falcons), Jimmy Kennedy (Defensive Tackle, Minnesota Vikings), Chester Pitts (Offensive Lineman, Seattle Seahawks), Tom Crabtree (Tight End, Green Bay Packers), and Ryan Clark (Safety, Pittsburgh Steelers)–who went so far as to call the list a “sham.”

Apparently, some players have been asking around and can’t find any friends who were chosen to vote on the list. Now, of course that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, it just called into question, for me, what the NFL means by “current players.” It could have been 10 out of 1700. If so, they are being indirectly misleading, but would that surprise anyone?

Even though no one cares, I was curious and I contacted the NFL to find out how many players voted and how the voting was carried out, and I will let you know if they respond and if so what they say. In the meantime, if you have the answer to this question (maybe they mentioned it on NFL network and I missed it?) and can take time away from debating the list to let me know I’d appreciate it.

Overall, this top 100 list was a genius idea by the NFL. Kudos to them for knowing how to draw people in and keep them talking about football as the owners seem to continue to conspire to destroy the game.

6/24/11

Brian Urlacher Says Soldier Field is a Disaster and Other Quotes From This Week

Brian Urlacher Says Soldier Field is a Disaster

It’s no secret that the Chicago Bears’ Soldier Field isin’t in good shape. You can even see how bad it is when watching on television as players dive into play action pieces of the field fly everywhere. Every now and then broadcast cameras will linger on a hole. But it’s still not often that you hear players talk about the field candidly.

“A disaster,” Urlacher said. “We complain about it all the time. I don’t know what’s wrong with our field. Every week they’ve resodded it. They had a soccer game there, or they had nine high school games in two days. It’s always something.

Ed Reed Says He will NOT have surgery on his neck.

“I don’t want to be like these guys having neck surgery, then you got to go have another surgery just to continue to play this game,” Reed told ESPN. “I love this game but I love myself more.”

Always tough to see such a great and consistent player suffer through injury. Ed Reed missed 8 games and still led the league in interceptions upon return.

Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith continue to take the battle rhetoric all the way down. They even appeared together in some show of symbolism however belated. I mean at this point we’re all burnt out on the lockout, and since it’s almost July, it’s kind of hard to get excited about rumors of a deal being done soon. But anyway, here’s your obligatory lockout update.

“Someone asked me whether I was optimist,” Smith said. “I think we’re both optimistic when we have the right people in the room. We know we’re talking about the right issues. And we’re working hard to get it done. It’s extremely complicated, it requires a lot of hard work by all the people, but we’re going to keep working at it.”

Falcons Wide Receiver Roddy White expressed a lot of confidence in the Falcons offense.

“He’s real coachable and he’s learning everyday,” White said of Jones during an interview with NFL Network. “[Our offense is] going to be special. It’s going to remind you of the Greatest Show on Turf. We’ve got a lot of explosive players and I see a lot more explosive plays coming out of our offense.”

I wasn’t a huge fan of the Falcons picking up Julio Jones when their defense is so sorely lacking. However, there is an argument to be made that Matt Ryan and Julio Jones could be one of the great QB/WR tandems of the future if he pans out the way the Falcons hope.

Still, they gave up a lot. And passed on Prince Amukamara the CB that went to the Giants already-stacked defense.

 

 

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