Site Meter

Search Results

A search for “tom brady” found 23 posts


How the NFL manages to stay on your mind all year long

The NFL season is over and now you can focus on whatever other sport you love. Hell, you might even actually spend some time with your family. Or so you thought…

Over the past 5 or 6 years the concept of an NFL off season has largely become a myth. Yes there is a part of the year where there are no meaning NFL games but that doesn’t mean that the NFL has lost our complete interest. In fact, they’ve structured the “off season” so that you never really can forget about the grandest game in the land.

Right after Super Bowl, which this year was Feb 5th, we have about two weeks of de-briefing. Guys who recently became stars (see: Giants Victor Cruz) are still in the news. In Cruz’s case, he was invited to present at the Grammys and even signed a book deal. Those like Tom Brady remain in the national consciousness as we wonder if they absorb their losses by dancing Rob Gronkowski style into the night or if they sit in their house much like Lee Evans sat on a bench staring into space after Sterling Moore swiped the ball out of his hand sending Baltimore back to Baltimore.

Around that same time there are lots of hirings as coaching changes made around Black Monday (after the last regular season game)  start to take shape. Soon Franchise Tags can be used. This year that began Feb 20th. And even though we know teams won’t even bother with them until the deadline (this year it’s March 5th)  that won’t stop Eagles fans from worrying about Desean Jackson’s fate or Houston fans from wondering if Mario Williams will be unaffordable.

Before the franchise tag deadline comes we get combine-which started Feb 22nd and is still going on until tomorrow. With combine you get live coverage of some of the best athletes in the world and more updates than you would ever need via and NFL Network. Thus begins the speculation of whether combine speed and performance in drills will change the expected draft order. This ramps up speculation for both the free agency period and the draft.

This is also the time where fans get so draft-obsessed they forget that some needs on some teams are better filled by veterans. And this is the type of conversation that will continue on until after draft is done and veterans and undrafted guys are still finding spots well into training camp.

This year free agency starts on March 13 and there should be a flurry of activity. It won’t match last year’s lockout frenzy but there lots of awesome free agents out there (especially at the Wide Receiver position) so there’s a chance we could see a lot of movement early.

After that from March 25-28 there will be NFL owners meetings. Owners meetings are important because each year owners get together and vote on rules and talk about the status of the NFL. With all of these high profile lawsuits going on, in particular one by Tony Dorsett and another filed by the Duerson family, the owners have lots to talk about. And we will some confirmation (and plenty of speculation) on what changes will made for the coming season  -last year the doozy was probably movement of the kickoff line -which will give us fans lots to talk about as well.

Once April hits you might as well say the NFL is right back at it. Teams will start having organized team activities and other meetings. The draft starts on the 26th and runs through the 28th. So then you get coverage of who was drafted but also lots of stories on how the deals work out though less controversy this year now that we’re into the 2nd year of the glorious rookie wage scale.

The trick for fans will be getting through the last couple weeks of May…the most boring month of NFL “off season.”  Then July and August will bring you tales from training camp. Next thing you know we will all be complaining about pre-season and ready for the September 6 season opener which will make the pain of offseason a mere memory once again.


Why I hate plaits but still hope Robert Griffin III keeps long hair

The part of me that cares about fashion wants Robert Griffin III's plaits to disappear, the part that craves a case study wants him to keep his hair long.

As a serious football blogger (hahahah), I should be writing about how the speed Griffin displayed over the weekend at combine is pretty much unheard of for a quarterback. I should be talking about whether or not the Redskins are really going to try to move hell and Browns to get to the Griffin. I should even be talking about whether the Rams would be or should be remotely interested. And maybe I will…later. But right now I want to focus on those flowing locs sprouting from Griff’s head.

I have always hated plaits which are basically individualized “loose” braids rather than tightly woven corn rows that were trendy in the early 2000s a la former Philadelphia 76er Allen Iverson. Plaits have always made me think West coast, Snoop Dogg-meets-4-year-old girl. And I dislike them on little girls so it’s only natural that I dislike them on grown men who clock in at 6’3 and run unofficial 4.38 40s. When it comes to long hair (on black men) I like dreadlocks and some afros. But plaits will never make it in my book.

Still, I hope Griffin keeps his long hair even if I have to suffer through looking at plaits-hey, that’s what bobby pins are for right? Even wild rapper Waka Flocka stops shaking his dreads sometimes and french braids them or pins them back for a cleaner look.

It’s hard to explain to people who aren’t black what a huge deal hair is in the black community. Whether you are a woman who has been told your natural hair is unprofessional or felt pressure to relax it with chemicals or whether you’re a man who is perceived as “threatening” when you diverge from anything other than a low cut caesar or something playful like a mohawk that tells people you’re not serious about anything much less hurting them.

In a league where it’s still a big deal for a QB to be black (maybe not to YOU, but to many of us, including me) if Griffin’s braids can be accepted without a hitch I think it says something about progress. I don’t want Griffin to keep long hair to prove a point or to be defiant. And if he doesn’t keep his braids it doesn’t mean he’s conforming. I don’t want or need Griffin to make any personal statements about blackness with his hair.

But if he keeps the long hair it will give me a chance to see what the reactions are. Will they (mainstream press, advertisers etc) see Griffin’s hair as “other” or will they see it like Tom Brady’s long hair (which I also hate)- as a personal style choice that isn’t particularly attractive but works cause he likes it. When Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers, told Cam Newton not to get any tattoos he really meant don’t do anything that’s not mainstream and that includes afros (as McNabb once rocked even though I couldn’t tell what was going on there), dreadlocks or Griffinesque plaits. And Newton has made it clear he doesn’t intend to let anything stand in the way of becoming a golden boy so while some balked at Richardson’s request in reality he was preaching to the choir.

I do remember when athletes having locks was a big deal, now it seems like every NFL team has at least 2 or 3 guys with beautiful strands peeking out under their helmets. Same thing with Iverson’s braids…nowadays corn rows only raise eyebrows cause they’re out of style. Even the poster boy for grand gestures of defiance Randy Moss says he won’t wear them anymore.




The Super Bowl Where Jerry Reese Looked Like a Genius and Everyone Else Looked Like An Idiot

Hakeem Nicks, one of the Giants dynamic receivers.

When the season first began I was (and many other bloggers and members of the media)  put off by the Giants off season moves-if you can’t call them moves. I think Reese’s conservatism had everyone off kilter but as it happens sometimes his choices proved successful. Now neither he or Tom Coughlin  have to worry about being in the proverbial “hot seat” for at least the next few years.

Still, winning in the NFL always involves a bit of luck. Last night on twitter Mark Cuban said something to the effect of good teams get to the playoffs but the hot teams win. And I think there’s a lot of truth to that. The Giants ended this season with a brutal schedule, but they got hot (and healthy) at the right time.

The Patriots, on the other hand, had a fairly light schedule all season and were never really exposed for their inability (refusal?) to run or cover the pass. Or, even, to rush the passer consistently. I definitely didn’t go into the Super Bowl (or leave it!)  thinking the best or most dynamic teams competed for the trophy. In fact, everything about the Super Bowl was a let down for me except the very brief and controversial (I guess?) appearance of M.I.A. during halftime and Belichick’s decision to let Ahmad Bradshaw score a TD to keep time on the clock.

But here’s the kicker: If the NFL comes down to what team is better on a particular day, you have to say the Giants met that mark time and time again this season. And that’s the kind of thing you have to reward. The cliches: rising to the challenge and capitalizing on mistakes.

I guess I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about all the debate about who’s the greatest team/QB/QB/coach and whatnot. I’ve complained over and over again about the lack of nuanced thinking in sports. I’m also perpetually annoyed by the rush to compare or assign labels. Before Super Bowl, people were talking about whether winning would mean that Brady and Belichick are the best QB/Coach combo ever. REALLY? Then, of course, we have to compare Eli and Peyton. Then, of course,  you have to compare Eli and Brady.

For those who really wanted to ratchet up the “stakes” they made this Super Bowl an arbitrary litmus test for Brady’s legacy as though he doesn’t already have 3. As though starting in 5 Super Bowls is something to scoff at win or lose. As though he’s retiring this year. And by the way, the same people who set that litmus test will next tell us that Super Bowls aren’t the only measure of a great player cause Dan Marino doesn’t have one.

Oh by the way…that “Patriots Dynasty” was over a long time ago. Talk about catching a late bus.

Anyway, I’ve written this before, but I’ll say it again: it doesn’t hurt to appreciate what different players are bringing to the table without seeking comparisons. I don’t know what it is about entertainment that causes people to immediately seek a frame of reference. I guess I understand the impulse but not when it interferes with judging people on their own merits.

Speaking of judging folks on their own merits, Manningham and  Nicks were very impressive last night. The web will be buzzing about Manningham’s sideline reception for a while. What’s funny is that early in the game Manningham’s tendency to fade out cost the Giants some yards, but on Manning’s backside throw to Manningham I think it paid off to know the man’s tendencies especially with Cruz and Nicks covered on corner routes.

Now for the stuff you must read:

Richard Deitsch at Sports Illustrated grades NBC’s Super Bowl telecast. Overall, he thought they did a good job. I didn’t see any of the pregame so I can’t comment on that. But I do think that the broadcast of the game itself was very well done. Some hiccups with Al Michaels but still Michaels and Collinsworth are one of my favorite duos. I know many people don’t agree. Before the game we chatted on twitter a little bit about whether there is a need for such a long pregame anyway. Well, I’m of two minds on this. No, there isn’t a need. However, had two teams I was interested in been playing I probably would have watched it for the video profiles. One thing is for sure: I’m over the two week build up to the game. But we ain’t talking about that right now. [Super Bowl Media Grades. Sports Illustrated.]

If you’re over the story lines you can get to the nitty gritty of the game by reading Chris Brown’s breakdown of the two biggest plays of the game. The first play was the Welker drop that still has everyone (including Brady’s wife and Welker himself) having fits. I’m still seeing lots of debate about whether or not the drop belonged to Brady or Welker, this post might help with that conversation.  [Draw it up: Super Bowl Edition. Grantland.]







Trying and failing to get excited about SuperBowl 2 - stories from the second media week

I promised I’d update you guys with more good stories from the dreaded SECOND week of media leading up to the SuperBowl. Seriously, NFL, let’s get rid of the two week build up. PLEASE.

Now, for the stories…

Tight Ends have been the talk of this season. Well, I’ve been talking about them since 2009 and predicting that their roles would be expanded due to the size, speed, and versatility of modern players at the position. Now that there are soooo many TEs getting 60, 70…100 + touches in a season everyone is writing about tight ends. This week it was Jeff Darlington at If Ron Gronkowski’s ankle holds up and Aaron Hernandez gets going early Super Bowl may put the cap on a perfect year for many Tight Ends across the league. [Tight Ends Are Truly Changing The Game.]

Wes Welker is a damn fool. I learned this after following him on twitter. Of course, I remember him playfully mocking Jets coach Rex Ryan during the whole foot fetish thing but I didn’t know how funny he could be until twitter. Funniest thing that happened: he made his girlfriend breakfast in bed…it looked totally gross and he gave it to her on a paper plate in a room that looked completely empty besides their bed (which she was lying in!). Welker’s followers roasted him for an hour but he took it like a sport. Apparently he and the girl are now engaged. I swear, the things you have to do to get a ring these days! Anyway, Aaron Hernandez said Welker has an “asshole” sense of humor. More on that here. [Welker humors Patriots who usually frown on funny stuff.]

The newly designed put up a piece about Giants WR Victor Cruz in which they argued that lots of the coverage around Cruz boiled him down to racial stereotypes. I’m not sure if that’s the way I’d describe it, but I’ve noted in MOST coverage of black athletes there is a clear obsession with the “pull yourself up from a rough upbringing by your bootstraps” storyline and as the writer mentions the media rarely fleshes those stories out to be fuller than that. On the other hand, those ashy to classy stories are sooooooo frequently the case among black athletes that it’s hard not to tell it-especially when the athletes themselves revel in how far they’ve come from a surface standpoint. [The Story of Victor Cruz is too often framed by racial stereotypes.]

While you and Gisele were praying for Tommy, Chris Brown at Smartfootball was writing for Slate about the Patriots brilliant No Huddle. Unlike my Atlanta Falcons the No Huddle is not the most unpredictable thing about the Pats offense, but it is a key part of the dazzle. In the post, Brown wonders why more teams don’t embrace the No Huddle since huddles in real life aren’t quite as #dramatical as they are on television. Well, I think part of that has to do with the fact that not every offense is quite as streamlined as Patriots. Maybe it’s a comfort factor. Take a look at Aaron Rodgers’ perspectiveabout playcalling when he took on some of those duties while sitting due to injury. [Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the genius of the Patriots' no-huddle offense.]





Government crackdown makes it harder for people like you and Tom Brady to stream live sports

Even the fabulously wealthy Tom Brady gets his illegal stream on.

I’m not saying I would ever, ever, ever stream sports online. But I totally understand why people like Tom Brady do it. Whether you’re watching the Super bowl in Costa Rica like Brady did or  you’re a helpless victim of the NFL’s notorious blackout rules, or you just want to see the damn Sixers play the Heat and you don’t have Philadelphia CSN, live streaming sports can be key to the plugged-in sports lovers experience.

For bloggers like myself live streams can be key to being able to speak to the sport with authority. We don’t get free game film from the NFL or NBA etc. I personally rely on NFL game rewind to make sure I saw what I thought I saw, or to get caught up on a team before I write about them. In a perfect world I’d have satellite TV and could DVR games using NFL ticket. But guess what? I can’t get a satellite where I live, I have to have cable. And the NFL has an exclusive deal with DirectTV. My cable provider is Comcast.

Obviously SOPA and PIPA and ACTA and other legislation have really put “piracy” on the map again. So now the government has seized about 16 sites that stream live sports. More have popped up already but I can imagine the government is going to go all Whack-A-Mole here (at least for a little while). I can only hope for the sake of sports fans everywhere that this is like every other government crack down—they send a message for a while and then realize there’s no way they can possibly keep up with the internet’s steady-moving targets.

I wish that sports leagues (and record companies for that matter) would just get with the times. Nobody wants to pay $10 for a shitty cd with two good songs on it. And, nobody wants to pay 2389042038 to buy NFL ticket or 2389042038 to go to games + concessions + parking (not to mention traffic headaches in many areas of the country). Sometimes you just want to catch a good game without all the hassle and expense, and as long as ticket prices and cable prices are sky fucking high that’s not going to change.



Trying and Failing to Get Excited About Super Bowl — Roundup of Stories From Media Week 1

Mathias Kiwanuka is one of my favorite players. He's also one of the quietest players in the league it seems.

I wrote about my desire to see the Ravens and 49ers in the Super Bowl previously. When both teams lost in their Chip games, I fully expected to still be excited for Super Bowl in some manner. Unfortunately, I’m not. The thrill is gone. I definitely think the game will be good…from a footall perspective there should be fireworks. But when it comes to the build up…even the media is having difficultly making the lead-up to Super Bowl interesting.

They’ve explored every storyline from 2008 from how many players on each current team were also on the 2008 teams to interviewing some of those players to get their feelings on the rematch. Many of the headlines have to do with the Patriots “avenging” their loss, but there really is no such thing. If the Patriots win this year, they still got beat before. Avenging losses is more an elimination game  sentiment to me, not a playing-for-the-whole shebang sort of deal. They’re also playing up the “Myra Kraft” angle to varying success and ratcheting up the “pressure” storyline for Tom Brady and the will-he-or-won’t-he-be-effective narrative for Super Tight End Rob Gronkowski.

The ZZZZZs keep coming.

Seeing how dry the lead up has been so far makes me even more annoyed that we’re missing out on all the great stories from the Ravens. Stories on Ray Rice, Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs. More on Vernon Davis  and David Akers as well as the re-emergence of Carlos Rogers, Justin Smith and, well, hell, an entire franchise. There was gold in them there football hills and we are missing it all by being in the midst of a well-worn rehash.

I did some perusing around the web of Media Week 1 and here are the best stories I could find. They’re not all that mind-blowing but I read them all and found them at least mildly interesting.



4 Reasons I’m Rooting for a Superbaugh…Harbowl…the Ravens and 49ers in the Super Bowl

If ever I wanted to see two QBs squash my doubts it is the Ravens Joe Flacco and the 49ers Alex Smith pictured above. Smith will face a solid Giants defense.

Neither the Eagles or the Falcons made it to the playoffs (No that’s not a typo. The Falcons showed up to the stadium but that’s about it). So what is a fan with no team in the playoffs left to do? You can sit back and enjoy the games without any pressure or you can ratchet up the experience by rooting for somebody…ANYBODY!

If you’re into the latter (and, I am!) I say the Ravens and 49ers are great teams to root for to make it into the Super bowl. I have 4 specific reasons I am rooting for each of the Harbaugh brothers to take their teams all the way.

The Ravens Are So Relatable 

We all have goals we want to accomplish in a certain time period. We have things we want to do before we’re dead and even before we turn 30 (which if you’re me feels like the same thing). To see Ed Reed accomplish his goal of winning of Super Bowl before retiring would be a treat. There are just some players who are so good you begin to feel like you traveled this journey with them. Ray Lewis is one of those players as well and although he has won a Super Bowl before, it was toward the beginning of his career and with a different crop of players. When you see this current group of Ravens together you buy into Lewis’ sales pitch that they’re brothers. You root for Ray Rice, you root for Terrell Suggs and you root for camaraderie, humility, and hard work. Seeing the Ravens in the Super Bowl would be a triumph of those principles.

The 49ers Have Had a Rough Road

Poor Alex Smith. Poor Vernon Davis. When you see two guys do well when many had previously described them as busts it just makes you a little warm and fuzzy. I’m still not completely confident in Smith-and neither is that offense which accounts for their kicker David Akers’ record-breaking season. But I do realize that he’s been through several coaches and several OCs and there’s still a lot of time left for Smith to grow into a more complete QB if this team remains stable. A Super Bowl visit or win by the 49ers would feed into every great storyline I love: players redeeming themselves, the difference coaching makes, and the importance of great defense. On coaching: Jim Harbaugh might not be able to shake a hand right but that man damn sure knows how to coach a team. On redemption: As a resident of DC, I appreciate that Carlos Rogers is playing like he never heard of the capital. Like he never lived here, never played on the disastrous Skins, never voted or anything otherwise related Washington. Speaking of DC, I’m also glad that now I can say Davis is good for something beyond keeping our club scene hopping with his brother Vontae.



Ravens-Texans: All Eyes on Flacco Today

If Flacco gets out-Quarterbacked by TJ Yates, me and Terrell Suggs will never forgive him. Neither will his wallet.

This week Joe Flacco got a little ornery with the media. He joked about essentially feeling picked on because in his view, the media only respects guys like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady who rarely ever run the ball. So I guess you could say that Flacco is playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He’s also playing for a new contract which was a point of contention between he and the Ravens after last season.

From my perspective, although Flacco is one of the most successful “new” QBs in terms of team wins and playoff appearances, it’s clear that Flacco is up and down not just game to game but also during games. There’s one Flacco that is patient and makes good, quick decisions, and there’s another Flacco that slowly moves through progressions and is sometimes forced to throw (with a slow release) before surveying the entire field.

I’m certainly no fan of the Raven’s offensive coordinator Cam Cameron although from what I’ve seen this year his play calling isn’t quite as disastrous as last year. They’ve made good use of Ray Rice who is about as versatile a back you could ever dream about. And Torrey Smith has great chemistry with Flacco (including anticipating ill-placed balls) pretty much erasing any doubts about the team’s decision to release TJ Hous, Derrick Mason and Donte Stallworth. And Flacco, to his credit, has been less jittery and has been recovering well from bad series.

That makes me feel pretty good about the Ravens getting a win over the Texans who, for all they try to mix it up in the passing game, are fairly one-note. They’re also heavily dependent on one really really good running back who has an upright running style and should absorb some serious blows today with the way Suggs and company have been playing up front. On defense, the Texans are solid but Flacco’s Ravens are 9-1 this season against top 10 defenses. I will be curious to see if the Texans can get to Flacco early and often. If so…well… so yeah, again, all eyes will be on Flacco. Well, all MY eyes anyway.

Speaking of Suggs and the Ravens defense, their camaraderie is always impressive but this year it’s been particularly touching. Maybe because Lewis and Reed are right at the end of their careers. Or maybe it’s because Pollard seems to have finally found a home and Webb is coming into his own. Not to mention that Suggs play has rivaled the 49ers Justin Smith. But listening to the guys talk all this week about how meaningful it would be for all of them to win together with this group, a loss today would leave a big gaping hole in this unit. It would be a HUGE missed opportunity.

It would also ruin my much-anticipated Harbaugh Super Bowl!






Rex Ryan Reduces Mark Sanchez’s First Team Reps to Motivate Him But Will It Work

NY Jets QB Mark Sanchez Is Getting the 2008 Eli Manning treatment

Rough times for Mark Sanchez this season. He is part of a number of QBs that folks are using the dreaded “R” word on. REGRESSED. Well the one of the Kings of Snidedom Bart Hubbuch, Giants/Jets beat writer for the NY Post, thinks that Sanchez is being piled on:

It comes with the territory when you play quarterback in the world’s biggest media market, of course, but the criticism of Mark Sanchez is over the top and not entirely justified. Sanchez can’t do it by himself, obviously, and not nearly enough scorn is being heaped on his supporting cast – and that includes GM Mike Tannenbaum. The running game that would take pressure off Sanchez and allow him to throw off play-action (one of his strengths) is 29th in the NFL and getting worse by the week, and the latter also could be said about the Jets’ awful offensive line. Consider this: Sanchez already has been sacked 25 times in just 10 games, compared to 27 times in 16 games last year and 26 times in 16 games as a rookie in 2009. Sanchez’s receivers aren’t helping him, either – the Jets rank near the bottom of the league with just 906 combined yards after the catch (YAC), compared to nearly twice that amount by the NFL-leading Saints. Sanchez has been admittedly pedestrian, but there is plenty of blame to go around for that.

I watched the Jets lose to the Broncos and there is no question that the offensive line played terribly. In terms of the running game, there was none and I’ve complained about this for all teams with a QB whose name isn’t Aaron Rodgers. A Jets fan asked me what I thought their biggest need was before the season and I said a running back. I’ve great respect for Tomlinson but I think the last couple years have been a bit of an anomaly given his age.

I also think it’s fair to say that Sanchez probably misses the reliability of Edwards route running and physical style of play. I think letting Edwards go has cost them. Comfort and timing are important to QBs regardless of playcalling (ask Tom Brady why he throws to Wes Welker in coverage even when Ochocinco is wide open).  Hubbuch noted that the Jets YAC is way down which means that even when Sanchez is getting receivers the ball they’re not doing much with it. Sanchez’s attempts are at a paltry 6.90 yards which ranks just below Seattle’s Tavaris Jackson.

As for Sanchez’s Coach Rex Ryan, he has given backup QB Mark Brunell some of the first team snaps in practice presumably to motivate Mark Sanchez whom he admits he has not spoken to this week. Is he doing that with the offensive line too? I don’t know if this is the best time to play mental games with Sanchez or have some Father-son tough love moment. Just seems like a pain in the ass given the way the whole team is playing. I mean…the whole team got beat by the Broncos.  And how do you get motivated when your reps are taken by a QB WITH NO CHANCE OF EVER STARTING IN THE NFL AGAIN. It’s hard to even be insulted by such a baseless gesture. The last time Brunell was a threat to anyone he could write a check without it bouncing. boo ya.

Find a player or team



Switch to our mobile site