1. Super Bowl Thoughts
Tom: WHAT A GAME! I loved it. DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS. I could have been better with some more offense but it was great seeing defensive play after play. Von, Wolfe, Ware everyone was going above and beyond for Denver. Carolina had a heck of a defensive performance as well, mostly overshadowed by the turnovers on offense and Cam being Cam. Congrats to Peyton for riding that defense. Congrats to Ware for finally getting his ring. Congrats for that front office for going and getting all those guys. One thing I think is unfair is everyone’s reaction to Cam. Who cares what he was thinking on that fumble. Either idea is a good shot in the dark, play the bounce or not get hurt oh well. Yes he was a little more flamboyant with his reactions and everything but still he played at a high level this year. He made it to the Super Bowl. He probably could have handled it better but oh well. His press conference was bullshit. What else is he suppose to say? Obviously he feels terrible they lost. Let him get along with his day and go interview the coach.
Josh: This game was every bit of what I expected. Defense, defense, and defense. Boy, wasn’t Denver’s playing on a different level? They could make a serious case as one of the best ever. They held Cam to just 10 points after he lit up the scoreboard with 49 in the NFC Championship. Both Denver touchdowns were basically scored by the defense (They actually scored on one and the set the offense up inside the 5 on the other). I just can’t say enough of how well they played. D-Ware and Von Miller played their best games and were disrupting the pass game all day. Cam couldn’t get into any rhythm because he was constantly getting hit on each play. Also, I think it is time we say goodbye to one of the best men to ever throw a ball, Peyton Manning. No doubt in my mind he retires out on top this offseason. It will be tough for me as he was one of my favorite players growing up as a kid. Looking ahead, I think both Denver and Carolina will be favorites in the playoffs next season. Denver will re-sign Von Miller and hope to retain most of their defense. Carolina will take a step down from 15-1, but should still be in the 11+ win category if they bring back Josh Norman. Overall, it was a good season of football and I cannot wait for next fall.
2. Johnny Manziel Controversy
Tom: This kid needs so much help. I just read the report from his (I hope ex girlfriend). He needs to get help now. Ryan Leaf as everyone knows as a huge screw up said he needs help. Better listen buddy. He is not only going to kiss the NFL goodbye but it very well could be his life either locked up or worse.
Josh: Manziel honestly makes me sick. From one of the most exciting CFB players of all-time, to a bum in the NFL. Yes, he hates Cleveland and always has. Does that give him a reason for his off the field issues? People are willing to help, but he’s too stupid to get it. He is one of the biggest headcases in the NFL. What a waste of talent. I hope he never sees the field again. Honestly, who hits their girlfriend? I can’t believe I was a fan of you at some point.
3. Terrell Owens Misses HOF
Tom: It is definitely a shock. It seemed that this year might have been a make-up year with Harrison and Calvin Pace. Owens should have been a first ballot. There is not doubt in anyone that he won’t get inducted very soon. His tweet seemed pretty up-beat about the whole situation. Obviously it sucks however, he knows he is getting in. We will just have to wait another year, I guess.
Josh: I cannot believe this. T.O. is not a HOF???? All-time, he is 2nd in receiving yards, 6th in catches, and 3rd in receiving touchdowns, yet was not selected into the Hall Of Fame in his first year of eligibility. He is arguably one of the most athletic receivers of all-time. Now, everyone is asking why Marvin Harrison got in. I think they should both be in, so people shouldn’t take anything away from Harrison. I am just shocked at this. T.O. should be in next year, for sure.
Comment other topics you would like discussed next week!
1. Biggest Risers/Fallers from the Senior Bowl
Tom: I think Braxton Miller really improved his stock. After only playing one year at receiver he has pushed himself into the first round with a great display of speed, quickness, and athleticism. I think Shawn Oakman also made a few bucks with his play. Many believe him to be a project, which he still may be. However, he can make an impact right away.
Josh: Outside of Carson Wentz who is the most obvious player here, I was really impressed with Noah Spence. After playing at Ohio State and moving to Eastern Kentucky, this player dominated at both schools. At the Senior Bowl, there was no doubt he was the best player on the field. I see Spence playing either defensive end or an edge rushing outside linebacker in the NFL. Spence proved to be a top 15 pick come the draft. One player that hurt his stock was Shawn Oakman. His size doesn’t show much of a translation to the NFL. With his lean lower half of his body, it makes me question his ability to stop the run in the NFL.
2. Pro Bowl Thoughts
Tom: Did not watch it…. Looked at some stats…. I kind of loses the meaning when half the actual pro bowlers call in sick and you have half the league getting a call asking if they are “healthy”. Sure it would be fun for a rookie or a retiring vet. At the end of the day the NFL needs to keep the accolades and get rid of the game.
Josh: I don’t know if I want to talk about the actual game played or the game in general. Either way, both are unimportant. The Pro Bowl has been a joke for years now (I mean, Teddy Bridgewater was there….). It is literally the biggest waste of time. Defensively, you can’t do anything. What is the point of even keeping score? I think I saw a video of OBJ playing safety? I can’t. Just replace it with a skills challenge or something in Hawaii. Or nothing. I don’t care, because I probably won’t watch it.
3. Rams Relocation/Chargers Staying/Raiders Options
Tom: I just do not believe that L.A. is a football city. Sure they pack the stands for basketball but that has been a huge part of the city for some time and also for almost every celebrity. We will see if it works. I like the Chargers decision not to play second fiddle to the Rams in L.A. I would love to see them move to San Antonio or Oklahoma City where a fan base will actually show up to games. I think the Raiders are stuck for now. They badly need to improve their showcase on the field (which i felt they did this year) and then worry about where they play. Although it would be nice for them not to split with a baseball team.
Josh: At one point, I think ESPN tweeted that the Chargers were moving to LA, then they replied to themselves saying they weren’t, so I was confused. I like the idea of LA getting a team, but do they really need two? If the Chargers don’t like San Diego, there are several other cities that would be willing to host an NFL team. I know money is a big issue, so this might lead the Chargers to LA because they could share a stadium. Either way, I hope to see the Chargers stay put in San Diego. If they do make a move, I hope they choose the powder blue as their color.
1. Conference Championship Weekend
Tom: What a couple of games! I did not anticipate the blow out in the NFC or Brady’s inability to deal with the pressure. I was 50% calling this weekend which brings my total to 6-4 which puts me behind Josh at 8-2. My AFC game ball goes to Wade Phillips. His tweet summed it up “going unemployed to Superbowl”. He kept the Patriots guessing all day and it made the difference. My NFC game ball goes to Carson Palmer and his six turnovers. Even though the Panthers offense was tearing it up it seemed like the Cards weren’t really too far out of it but then here came Palmer saying HERES THE W.
Josh: The NFL playoffs have been exciting, and last weekend wasn’t any different. The Denver vs New England game was one to remember for sure. Brady was pressured nearly every play and still made plays. Also, he made several mistakes. When was the last time he threw for more interceptions than touchdowns in a game? Going into the game, I knew Denver’s defense was good, but not THAT good. Von Miller played on a different level than everyone else, making plays in both the run and pass game. In the NFC Championship, the Panthers continued to dominate. Cam Newton was spectacular (again) and he locked up the NFL MVP Award in the process. The Carolina defense, led by the best linebacker in the NFL in Luke Kuechly, completely shut down the NFL’s #1 offense. Overall, it was an exciting weekend and it is sad to see the season closing to an end.
2. Kathryn Smith hired by Buffalo Bills as NFL’s first full-time female assistant.
Tom: The Bills have been at the forefront of gender equality for some time now by hiring the first female scout and now the first female coach. I do not know much about Kathryn or her background but I am assuming she knows a thing or two otherwise she wouldn’t be given this job. Good for her and good for the Bills and good for the NFL moving forward.
Josh: The Buffalo Bills made history by signing Kathryn Smith as the team’s special teams coordinator. Buffalo Bill’s lineman Richie Incognito tweeted at Smith congratulating her, too. This shows me that the Bills have respected her for quite some time and are excited for her future with the team. I think this is a huge step for the NFL. Also, I think it is the start of something new. I feel more women coaching will become more popular in not just the NFL, but in all sports. It may take some time for everyone to get used to it, but we won’t even notice a difference. I wish Smith the best of luck and hope she proves everyone who is doubting her wrong!
3. Super Bowl Thoughts
Tom: I am looking forward to the Super Bowl, hopefully Ware gets his ring and Peyton can go out on his terms. I am a “defense wins championships” mentality and after the last performance I saw from Denver I would give them the trophy now. Carolina has a good defense, but the Broncos just beat the crap out of the best QB ever. I think Wade’s schemes will be too much for Cam and I think Peyton does just enough to get the win before his arm falls off. Also safe travels Don Crisman as he makes his way to his 50th Super Bowl!
Josh: Sadly, the 50th Anniversary of the Super Bowl is 2 weeks away. I am super excited for this matchup of the Carolina Panthers against the Denver Broncos. This is a weird matchup, too. Cam Newton, the future of the NFL, against Peyton Manning, one of all-time best quarterbacks to play the game. While Carolina is the early favorite, I have more confidence in Denver. Either way, both team’s have great defenses and are the best team in their respective conference. I will give my final breakdown of the game next week with my predictions as well. Best of luck to both of the teams!
1. Divisional Round. What a round of football! All the games were way close and had plenty of drama. We had the Patriots over the Chiefs, Broncos over the Steelers, Panthers over the Seahawks, and the Cardinals over the Packers. Here are our thoughts on the outcomes:
Tom: When was the last time we had both 1-2 seeds in both championship games? 2004? So far this playoff I am 5-3. Not too bad considering I never guessed only 1 and 2’s would remain. I am excited for the championship matchups. All of the teams have some injury questions along with can their QB get it done question. Peyton and Tom and old and have their whole rivalry. Cam is young and hasn’t been here before. Carson is old and hasn’t been here before. It should be a good weekend of football coming to us. Look for my picks later in the week.
Josh: Just like the Wild Card weekend, the Divisional round only got better. We kicked off with Brady handling the Chiefs at home and cruising to yet another AFC Championship game appearance. Saturday night, the Cardinals and Packers played in one of the greatest games I have ever witnessed. Aaron Rodgers led his team, with a receiving corp that even I could start on, down the field against one of the NFL’s best defenses in their house. Rodgers proved he is easily one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL right now and one of the most skilled of all time. It was unfortunate that he didn’t get a chance to win the game in OT, but the Cardinals moved on. On Sunday, the Panthers played amazing in the first half, but horrendous in the second half. For Seattle, vise versa. Either way, the Panthers advanced. The Broncos took on the beat-up Steelers and finally scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter and won the game. Looking ahead, the Patriots look like the early favorites in the AFC, while the Cardinals and Panthers are even. Either way, I picked all four games correctly and I cannot wait for the Conference Championships!
Tom: There is no place for people like this in the NFL. He deserves every second of this suspension and more. If you are deliberately trying to hurt people then get out, just leave and do not ever come back. My thoughts are the same of OBJ. Yes there are big hits that is part of the game, but when you target players and attempt to injure them you aren’t only hurting them for this game but the next you could put their lively hood at stake. The Bengals should release him and every NFL team should watch him go by their team on the waiver.
Josh: Unlikely for Burfict, he will be out the first three games of next season. While watching the game, I really didn’t think it would be a penalty. After watching the replay, it CLEARLY wasn’t a penalty. Burfict didn’t even touch him with his head! The league is very strict on helmet to helmet hits, and Burfict didn’t use his head. I understand the need for player safety, so maybe the rule should be changed to not hits to the head with any part of the body. The rule should be changed and Burfict shouldn’t be punished.
3. Carson Wentz Rising Up Draft Boards
Tom: I have seen multiple placed that Carson is a top 3 qb even the top qb prospect. With this league being a qb-starved as it is, I will not be surprised if Wentz, Lynch, and Goff are gone by ten. I could even see another name squeaking in. Carson was under-recruited because of where he played and he was under-the-radar for NDSU because of where he played again. He is a big athletic quarterback. He can make the throws and has great awareness. I am leaning as him being my top qb for this draft as of right now.
Josh: In the league today, Joe Flacco, Tony Romo, and Ryan Fitzpatrick are notable players that played in the FCS. Of these players combined, they have one Super Bowl win. I was initially shocked when I saw Wentz as an early second round selection. Today, I am still questioning it. As a FCS quarterback, he dominated. How well does that translate to the NFL? He has good size with a strong arm. Still, is he better than Paxton Lynch or Connor Cook? On my board, he is the #4 QB. It would be very risky to take Wentz anywhere near the top 10 and I don’t see it happening or working out.
Here is our inaugural installment of The Bell. On a weekly basis, Every week we will highlight prominent stories. This week we highlight Calvin Johnson, Coaches, and the wildcard games.
1. Calvin Johnson is reportedly considering retirement.
per Dave Birkett Calvin’s Statement
Josh: Following my first look at this story, I was very shocked about “Megatron” even considering retirement at this stage of his career. Given he has had several injuries throughout his career, he is still 30 years old with several good seasons ahead of him. I truly do not believe he retire. Is he really going to exit his career like this? Calvin, next to Randy Moss, is the most athletic receiver to play the game. He should not cut it short. One idea I do get out of this story is that Calvin is trying to escape from Detroit (and I do not blame him one bit).
Tom: This is both really surprising and not a surprise to me. With Borland retiring last year after dominance it spurred the conversation if more NFL players would retire early. I understand where Calvin is coming from contemplating this, he and the next few generations of his family should be set for life and he might as well go out on top regarded as at least one of the best receivers.
2. Wildcard Weekend Reaction
Josh: Wow was that a crazy weekend of football?!? All 4 road teams won! While I only predicted 2 of the 4 games correctly, I still had a good time watching these games. The Chiefs extended their winning streak t0 11, the Packers (and Aaron Rodgers) got back on track, the Steelers winning off two defensive penalties in the final minute, and the Vikings giving away a 4th quarter lead at home and missing a chip-shot field goal. Going ahead, it looks as if the Chiefs will give Tom Brady a run for his money and the Seahawks get a rematch against Cam and the 15-1 Panthers. Can all 4 road teams come away with victories again?
Tom: The AFC pretty much happened how I expected. The NFC was a completely different story. The first game was insane, defensively. The second game started off looking like packers were done with two minutes played in the game, but Rodgers took charge, made actually good play calls by going no huddle, and won. I cannot wait until next weekend to see what it brings.
3. Coaching vacancies and hirings
Josh: From this past week, I was most shocked about the firing of Tom Coughlin. How many coaches have 2 Super Bowls under their belt? The Colts and Saints retained their coaches, which wasn’t a surprise. The Browns fired their coach,again (and it won’t work out next year, again). I was very shocked that the Bucs fired Lovie Smith after a good turn around last year from their previous 2-14 season. The Dolphins scored on Adam Gase, who was previously the offensive coordinator for the Bears. I like this signing because Gase drastically improved Jay Cutler’s play when it seemed impossible. I think he will do the same for Tannehill. Also, after another playoff loss, will the Bengals part ways with coach Marvin Lewis? Watch out, more coaching changes are coming soon!
Tom: I read an article talking about Tom Landry and how if he coached today he wouldn’t have been Tom Landry. It took him six seasons to show actual results. Today he would have been fired halfway through season three. Anyway, I hate how a lot of the time teams just talk to known coaches for example Rex Ryan. Eagles and Giants flip flop coaches?!?!? At least Gase got some recognition. He has done pretty well with qbs however his run game is lacking and that means Lamar Miller IS GOING TO DALLAS! I will give my thoughts once all the coaching positions are filled.