Monday, March 26, 2012

Tebowmania storms Manhattan

Today the New York Jets will announce their new backup quarterback.  Yes, a NFL team is hosting a press conference to show the No 2 guy behind the center hold up his new Jets jersey.  A big show for a quarterback who is supposedly going to take about 20 snaps per game seems a bit much.   It is.  However, the quarterback is Tim Tebow, so it is necessary.

Tebow is not your average QB and he certainly will not be treated like a backup.  This is not because of his arrogance or his skill.  It is because of his fans.  Tebow has a strong following.  To say that they are zealous is an understatement.  Fans in Denver forced the club to make him the starting QB.  It is not uncommon for fans to express their desire for change, but Tebow’s fans purchased advertising to make their point.

 “Tebowing,” the act of getting on one knee and bowing your head, has spread around the nation.  Rex Ryan, the Jets head coach, has already experienced fans coming up to him and “tebowing” and Tebow has not been announced as a Jet yet.  A person with this type of appeal coming to the largest media market had to have a press conference.

The Jets will get some great publicity and jersey sales will increase, but I think that this was a horrible move for the Jets’ locker room.  For the past two years, I picked the Jets to go to the Super Bowl.  They came close in 2011, losing in the AFC championship game to the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Last year they did not make the playoffs.  The problem was not talent.  The team lacked direction and trust in leadership.  Some publicly criticized their quarterback, Mark Sanchez, albeit anonymously, it shows the chaos in the locker room.

Tebow’s presence is going to make this worse.  Who is the real leader of the team?  When teammates and fans are bashing Sanchez what will happen?  Do player’s believe that Tebow was really brought to New York to be the backup?  Does Sanchez?

The Jets have said that they plan to use Tebow in their wildcat offense.  He can run and would be a threat to defenses in that type of offense.  I just don’t see two quarterbacks being co-starters working well for the Jets.  Especially, after the season they just had.  Tebow worked some miracles with the Broncos, so maybe he will do so with the Jets.  I like Tebow, but I am not a buying the Jets having a young, developing quarterback backup another young, developing quarterback.

Watch the press conference live online at noon ET on

Heels & Helmets®

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Manning goes from young Colt to big Bronco

The wait is over.  Peyton Manning is packing his bags and going to the AFC West.  The four-time MVP will be the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos.  

Manning is not just a great acquisition for Denver; he is a game changer.  However, Broncos fans should not reserve hotel rooms in the Big Easy for Super Bowl XLVII just yet.  The Broncos are a young team.  Manning has to go west and train a new offense to really block and stop bucking around.

The good thing for Denver is that Peyton is revered for his work ethic and skill.  His presence commands respect and he will not have any difficulty gaining trust in the locker room.  This is important because the offense is going to completely change from a run offense to a pass-first offense.  Plus, Manning’s play calling is unlike any other QB.  Listening and trusting is key.

I’m not really concerned with Peyton’s health.  Reports about his exams have been favorable.  It has been over a year since he played in a NFL game.  It will take him some time to get back to 100%, but he is a champion and ready to compete.  He is ready to get to work and will be in Denver next month for OTAs (organized team activities).  

One player does guarantee a Super Bowl, but a guy like Manning will surely improve Denver’s 8-8 record last season.

Heels & Helmets®

Monday, March 12, 2012

Peyton Manning goes team hunting

After 14 years with the same team, in the same city with the same fans, Peyton Manning is moving on.  Last week he and Colts owner Jim Irsay held an emotional press conference to announce that the 11-time pro bowl quarterback would no longer be the offensive leader of the Indianapolis Colts.  While it was a sad day in Indianapolis, it made a lot of other fans hopeful about the prospect of their team landing the quarterback.

I read that 12 teams were going after the future hall of famer, but not all of them were announced.  Over the weekend, Manning visited the Denver Broncos and the Arizona Cardinals.   

The Broncos rolled out the red carpet for Manning.  They sent a charted plane for him and provided a tour of the facility with team leadership.  It is widely know that he is close to John Elway, vice president of football operations for the Broncos and John Fox the head coach. 

The Arizona Cardinals were not out-done by Denver.  They held meetings, tours of the facility and had their all-pro receiver, Larry Fitzgerald join them for half of the day.  Manning has a good relationship with Arizona’s head coach, Ken Wisenhunt.

Peyton is back at his home in Florida.  He will continue training and weighing the options for his new team.  A visit to the Miami Dolphins has not been planned, but they are one of the teams who expressed interest in having the NFL’s biggest free agent join their locker room.  It is possible that Manning could “take his talents to South Beach.”

Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, did not attend either one of the visits.  It is clear that for Manning, the first step in the process is football.  When you are Peyton Manning, you know that the money will come. 

Heels & Helmets®

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bounty-gate punishment should be bountiful for Gregg Williams and NFL players

Last week the NFL exposed a bonus performance system that Gregg Williams used while he was the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints that breaks the league’s rules.  In the system, players received cash for not only performance, but also bounty payments for injuring players. 

The NFL’s investigation which originally began in 2010 discovered that Saints players received $1,500 for a "knockout" hit and $1,000 for a "cart-off" hit, with payouts doubling or tripling during the team's three playoff appearances in 2009, 2010 and 2011.   Knockout hits refer to a player being knocked out cold.  As you can probably guess, a cart-off hit is an injury that leads the player to being taken out of the game.

This was the case for former Detroit Lions running back James Stewart.  Former Buffalo Bills safety, Coy Wire, ended Stewart’s career with a hit and was rewarded for it.   Stewart was just 31 and coming off of season in which he rushed for more than 1,000 yards when he stopped playing because of the injury.

Wire said, "I shattered James Stewart's shoulder, and he never played again. I was showered with praise for that. It's a shame that's how it was. Now I see how wrong that was."  Wire played for Williams from 2001 – 2003 when he was the Bills’ head coach.  He says that the environment was one of malicious intent.

Williams was summoned to the league’s headquarters in New York for a meeting today.  He will discuss the allegations with NFL security officials and general counsel, Jeff Pash.  He has already admitted that the bounty system existed in New Orleans and acknowledged that it was wrong.  The meeting will address whether he used a similar system at other teams he coached including the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins.  It is anticipated that Williams’ discipline will be severe and unprecedented.

I am disgusted by the bounty system.  I understand the physicality of the game and the competitive war mentality that these players have developed.  It has been engrained in them since they were little boys playing Pop Warner football.  A friend of mine shared that he remembers his little league team giving an award to the player who had the “hit of the week.”  What little boy would not want to receive that praise in front of his peers?  I get motivating players to perform at the best of their ability.  However, to coach or play this game with the cruel intention to injure another player and end his career is unconscionable.

Williams should not be the only person punished.  Players should be punished for their participation in funding these bounty payments.  They have damaged their counterpart’s careers and lives.  Their actions make a mockery of everything that the NFL and NFLPA are doing to increase safety, decrease injuries and protect THEM!

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith the executive director of the NFLPA need to send a strong message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated in professional football.

Heels & Helmets®