Monday, July 25, 2011

CBA almost done, time for free agency

Last week NFL owners agreed on a proposal and ended the lockout.  Now we are waiting for the players to agree and officially bring back football.  The league year, free agency, training camp and possibly a supplemental draft could all start within days.  This is going to be one crazy week. 

There is so much going on.  I don’t know where to begin.  I feel rushed, but I think the most important topic behind signing a new CBA will be free agency.  So, let’s look at three free agents that everyone will be watching.

1. Nnamdi Asomugha (Oakland Raiders cornerback) – He is 30, but still could upgrade a team’s secondary.  So, all 32 teams should be interested in him.  The team that could really use Nnamdi is the Houston Texans.  Their defense was last in defending passes.  A cornerback, who only allowed 52 passes to be completed against him in the last three seasons, would definitely help out.  I think that the Texans will get him. 
2. Santonio Holmes (New York Jets wide receiver) – The Jets want to keep Holmes.  Rumor is that Dan Snyder (owner, Washington Redskins) would pay big bucks for Holmes. The Jets were too close to a Super Bowl last year to let a key piece of their offense leave.  I see Holmes staying with the Jets.

3. Braylon Edwards (New York Jets wide receiver) – Another great receiver the Jets had in their arsenal last season.  When the Redskins are not successful getting Holmes, they will go after Edwards.  I think the Redskins will go deep in their pockets, but I think the Jets will be able to sell the benefit of keeping the core intact to get to the Super Bowl.  Rex Ryan (Jets Head Coach) wants a championship.

Heels & Helmets®

Monday, July 18, 2011

NFL lockout biggest winner

With the end of the NFL lockout seemingly in view, I was pondering who benefited the most from the nation being without its favorite sport for 128 days.  NFL owners and players are not included in this conversation.  Both sides will report some victories when the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is complete, but not conducting business for over four months was not beneficial to either side.

So who benefited while the NFLPA decertified, NFL owners and players attacked each other in court and fans prayed for the lockout to end?

I think the largest beneficiary of the NFL lockout is former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.   Prior to March 13 when the lockout began, Terrelle was headed back to Columbus, Ohio for his senior.  His final season as a Buckeye was going to begin on the sideline because he was suspended for the first five games of the seasons.  This was his punishment for selling awards and accepting improper benefits.

During the NFL Lockout more damaging news came out about Ohio State’s football program.  It led to the resignation or retirement (pending which day you speak to Ohio State administration) of coach Jim Tressel.  A week later, Pryor announced that he would not return to play at Ohio State in the fall.  Instead he will enter the NFL through the supplemental draft, dodge participating in a NCAA investigation and avoid punishment for his actions.

I’m sure Pryor is grateful for the lockout. 

Heels & Helmets®

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ohio State please stop the charade

Ohio State punished their football program for playing ineligible players by vacating their 2010 season.  In my book this really doesn’t mean anything.  So… the records will say that they didn’t win any games last season when they actually did?  Come on.  Everyone remembers the games.  People know what points were scored.  I don’t know how Ohio State considers this self-imposed penalty enough for the infractions committed by their players and coach.

Punishments are supposed to deter programs for committing the offense again.  Vacating wins from one season will not discourage any player from selling memorabilia or any coach from covering it up.  This does not even show that Ohio State is seriously contrite about the situation.

I should not be surprised.  This is the same program that gave out suspensions last December to players’ for the first five games of the 2011 season.  The suspensions were not effective immediately because they wanted their star players to play in the Sugar Bowl.  They also waived the $250,000 fine that they threw at former coach Jim Tressel for lying about the scandal.  On top of that they are now giving Tressel money for “retirement.”  Can’t you see how furious Ohio State is?

If Ohio State really wants to show that they are not only embarrassed about what happened, but will not tolerate it; they need a harsher punishment.  Forget a past record.  It’s already in the books and removing it does not change what happened.  Ohio State needs to lose some scholarships and not be eligible for a bowl game. 

Ohio State’s act of disappointment and outrage is not fooling me.  I don’t think that it is convincing the NCAA either.  Their hearing before the NCAA Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis is scheduled for August 12.  I’m sure more penalties are to come.

Heels & Helmets®

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tom Brady is “The Man”

Tom Brady was voted the No. 1 player in the NFL Network’s Top 100 players of 2011.  Players on the list were voted by their peers based on their performances during the 2010 NFL Season.  I raised eyebrows on some selections throughout the list, but the consensus on Tom Brady being the top player is bona fide.

OK, let me get this out of the way.  Tom Brady is a Michigan Man.  Yes, I studied at The University of Michigan.  Yes, I worked for Coach Lloyd Carr while Brady played in college.  Yes, I have an affinity for Michigan Football.  Yes, I bleed maize and blue.  I am biased, but I don’t ignore the facts.

So for the quarterback debate, let me give you the facts on Tom Brady.  In 2010, he had 36 touchdown passes and only four interceptions.  He did this without a corps of Pro Bowl receivers.  His deep threat receiver, Randy Moss, was sent to Minnesota a couple of weeks into the season and he made adjustments to lead the Patriots to a 14-2 season.  In contrast, Peyton Manning threw 33 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

Many times I feel like quarterbacks only look as good as their wide receivers.  It helps to have receivers like Chad Ochocinco (Cincinnati Bengals) and Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions).  These are the types of guys who will make big plays out of bad passes.  Brady did not have that luxury last season.  He took his young receiving squad and made things happen.  New England was just a touchdown away from playing in the AFC championship game.  Take Brady away and the Patriots would not have even made the playoffs.

I don’t like to use championships as part of the criteria in discussions about the best players in team sports.  However, since the sports world insists that it matters, I’ll go there.  Brady has three Super Bowl rings.  No question he is the best.

Heels & Helmets®