Monday, June 27, 2011

Michael Vick’s past still haunting him

The NFL Network has been counting down the Top 100 players of the NFL 2010 Season voted by current players.  Yesterday, they revealed the 20th player down to the 11th player.  I was amazed to see Michael Vick at #20.  Number 20 is not justified for a guy who was not supposed to start and ended up not only starting, but also carrying his team to the playoffs. 

I’m not disturbed by Vick’s placement among his counterparts at the quarterback position.  Landing at #20 puts him in the Top 5 among quarterbacks.  Aaron Rodgers is#11.  Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are sure to be unveiled in the Top 10.  All of these guys are Super Bowl champions.  For some reason even though football is a team sport, a player’s skill level gains more respect with a championship.  So, it is to be expected that they would rank higher than Vick.

What is alarming to me is that when you take the quarterbacks out, there are 15 other players who are ranked higher than Michael Vick.  I have respect for all positions, but it isn’t a secret that the NFL is a quarterback driven league.  So how does a defensive end on a team that is ranked #23 in total defense rank higher than Michael Vick?  DeMarcus Ware is a beast.  He had 80 sacks, but the Dallas Cowboys didn’t even make the playoffs. 

I believe the ghost of Michael Vick’s past reared his head once again.  It is the reason that after a remarkable season he was not the league’s MVP, was runner up in the Madden 2011 cover contest and is now #20 on the NFL’s Top 100.   Michael Vick saved his team.  The same can’t be said for many of the guys in front of him.

The final 10 players will be presented on Sunday on the NFL Network at 8 p.m.  EST. Who do you think will be #1?

Heels & Helmets®

Monday, June 20, 2011

NFL lockout threatens New Year’s Day football

Last week the 2011-2012 College Football Bowl Schedule was released. One thing was glaring to me – the absence of a bowl game on New Year’s Day. College football fans and alumni look forward to seeing their schools play in a “good” bowl game. This was defined by its proximity to New Year’s Day. At Michigan it was the Rose Bowl. Yes, prior to the BCS, the Big Ten champ always represented the conference in Pasadena, CA. But, it was also a New Year ’s Day game. Not a pre-Christmas game. The entire nation watches New Year’s Day games.

This season there will not be any college football on New Year’s Day. The Gator, Outback, Capital One, Ticket City and Rose bowl games were moved to January 2. This is not because of classes or finals. January 1 is a Sunday and the planned finale of the NFL regular season. A full schedule of NFL games are slotted for New Year’s Day, so that means no college football. If the NFL does not have a season, it means no football at all.

Check out the bowl schedule, but don’t make plans for the BCS Championship Game. It is scheduled for January 9, but will move to January 7 or 10 if the NFL pushes its regular season schedule back a week because of labor negotiations.

Heels & Helmets®

Monday, June 13, 2011

NFL Lockout Blues

We’re at Day 93 of the NFL Lockout. There has not been a decision from the court. The NFL and NFLPA released a joint statement last week telling fans that they are conducting confidential discussions before Chief Magistrate Judge Bovian. This does not excite me. They have been talking on and off for months and have not made any progress.

The issues remain the same. At the center is money. Players want to keep what they have and the owners want more. Players want to see the books. Owners are not showing their books. I don’t see how more discussions will get them past this impasse. Unless both sides make some concessions (and soon), we will not have professional football this fall.

I’m mad about not being able to countdown to the start of the NFL season. I’m just hoping that there is a season. How about you?

Heels & Helmets®

Monday, June 6, 2011

Plaxico Burress is free and job hunting

Plaxico Burress is a wide receiver from Michigan State University who played in the NFL for nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2000-2004) and New York Giants (2005-2008) before serving 20 months of a two-year sentence for a gun-possession charge.  He was released today because of good behavior.  Now the Super Bowl Champion who caught the winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl XLII is unemployed.

Where will Plaxico get a job?

New York Giants – This is the last team that Plaxico played for.  I don’t see this happening because I believe that John Mara (Giants Co-owner) is still upset that “a player could carry a loaded gun into a nightclub, shoot himself and miss the rest of the season but get to keep his entire signing bonus.”

Chicago Bears – Mike Martz’s offense would improve greatly if Jay Cutler had an aggressive quarterback like Plaxico.

St. Louis Rams – The Rams could use a veteran wide receiver to help their young quarterback, Sam Bradford. 

New England Patriots – The Patriots have not replaced Randy Moss, so Tom Brady does not have a deep threat wide receiver.  They survived the season and made it to the playoffs without one, but lost to the New York Jets 28-21 in the divisional round of the playoffs.  A guy like Plaxico could have made the difference.  His catch in Super Bowl XLII ended the Patriots’ perfect season.

Philadelphia Eagles - Coach Any Reid gambled on Michael Vick and it was successful.  Plaxico is talented, but is not an exceptional player like Vick, so the risk may not be worth it to Reid.  However, he also grew up in the Tidewater region of Virginia like Vick.  Maybe this is Reid’s good luck region.

Plaxico is 33 and will be 34 by the time a season starts.  Even if he did a great job staying in shape, he has not played football since the end of 2008.  It will take him some time to get back to competing at a high level.  This doesn’t mean that teams should shy away from him.  I’m sure that he can still play and he can be acquired for a good deal because he has a lot to prove.


Heels & Helmets®