Archives For Football

ncf i obrienb 576Rick Reilly has a feel good article about Penn State’s new coach Bill O’Brien who led them to an 8-4 record. In the midst of every tragedy, there is a glimmer of redemption.

When 10-year-old Jack O’Brien sat in the stands at Penn State this season and heard 90,000 people chanting his dad’s name, he thought it was music and danced in his wheelchair.

When Bill O’Brien himself heard it, he wanted to go hide under the bench.

“It’s soooo embarrassing,” O’Brien grumbles. “I hate it. I wish they’d chant a player’s name.”

O’Brien will just have to suck it up. Because what he did this season at Penn State will be talked about until the Allegheny Mountains crumble.

Into the teeth of the worst college football scandal in American history, into a sex-scandal mess the National Guard couldn’t have cleaned up, Bill O’Brien pulled off a football miracle: He made you forget Penn State was radioactive.

O’Brien went 8-4 in the middle of nuclear winter. He kept popping open umbrellas while it rained bowling balls. He made a numb town feel again. That’s why he’s either the coach of the year in college football this season or you melt down the trophy.

 

Rick Reilly has a great article thanking Peyton Manning for his class.

Thank you, Peyton Manning.

This might be the beginning of something better. Might be the end of everything good. But before we slog into what happens next, where you’ll go, what you’ll do, we owe you a thank you for what you’ve done and who you’ve been.

So thank you, Peyton Manning, for never showing up in the VIP section of Cheerleaders, overserved and under-mannered.

Thank you for never ending up on Court TV, or Page Six or with parts of somebody’s nose on your knuckles.

It was trendy to make fun of your “Yes, sirs” and “No, sirs” and your 1950s haircut but many of us secretly admired it.

You played a violent game and yet somehow held on to that southern gentility. In the middle of the worst time of your life, you took the time to write a hand-written note of sympathy last week to Fox’s Chris Myers upon the death of his son.

Thank you for watching more film than Martin Scorsese. Thank you for always being the last one to go home at night, for knowing more about what defenses were going to do than some of the players on those defenses themselves.

You came to a nowhere franchise and made it Somewhere. Greatness poured out of your fingers because you put in the hours and the study and the pain to let it. Two Super Bowls, four NFL MVPs, 11 Pro Bowls, 11 playoff seasons and more records than a used CD store.

That Super Bowl win was classic you. Every day that whole week, you made your center, Jeff Saturday, spend an extra 15 minutes snapping you balls you’d soaked in a bucket of water. “It might rain,” you said. So when it did, and Chicago Bears quarterback Rex Grossman looked like he was throwing greased watermelons, you looked like you were throwing rocks.

Fourteen years in the league and the worst we can say about you is that you made a lot of castor-oil faces and your helmet left funny marks and one time you laid into your “idiot kicker.” Fourteen years and you didn’t sext anything, wreck anything or deck anybody.

You were a 10,000-watt bulb in a small city, and yet you never seemed to tire of it. If you did, you rarely showed it. There’s a fan website — peytonmanning18.com/encounters.html — where everyday people tell how you were with them. It’s hard to find a rotten one.

“Peyton was so nice and down to earth,” one wrote. “He was just as polite and nice as I’ve always heard,” wrote another. “He was getting ready to leave and wanted to take a picture with me and thank me for driving his golf cart,” said a third. It’s a lousy site if you’re a cynic.

I have no idea how much time and money you have to give to a hospital to have it renamed in your honor, but they did that for you in Indianapolis. Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent. Says a lot.

How many times can one man change an entire city? Well, without you there’s probably no Lucas Oil Stadium. Without Lucas Oil Stadium, there’s no Super Bowl this year in Indy. Without the Super Bowl, there’s no brand-new, drop-dead gorgeous JW Marriott downtown. Forbes figures you improved the Colts’ value by $233 million. Compared to that, $28 million to keep you doesn’t seem like much, does it?

Thank you for showing up at podiums in your shoulder pads some nights because you knew some of us had early deadlines. Thank you for making us laugh in all those ads. If there’s ever been a funnier jock on “Saturday Night Live,” I’ll keep a ham in my pants.

Thank you for showing up to work every day, every week, season after season. You started 208 straight games — through purple thumbs and black eyes and stomach flus that left you green. You get paid either way, so thanks.

Hell, you even tipped great. The other night, in North Carolina, you left an extra $200 on a $740 check that already had an 18 percent tip in it. According to my abacus, that’s 100 percent class.

Lastly, thank you for the way you left. Always thought you’d go out as a Colt, and go out the way you wanted, but if it had to end this way, “I truly have enjoyed being your quarterback” is as good an exit line as I’ve heard. You made it sound like it was an elected position, an honor, a job where you knew people were depending on you. You were right.

You came to the line and changed the play 1,000 times, but you never changed your team, your city, your fans. Jim Irsay did all that for you Wednesday.

That would’ve gone down most guys’ throats like a porcupine, but you took it and you smiled and you stood there with your arm around Irsay like he wasn’t the one dumping you, like there wasn’t a thing he could do about it.

That’s grace. You had it in the huddle and you had it in the pocket and you had it at the end.

So thank you, Peyton Manning. And bravo. You wore the horseshoe, but it was us who got lucky.

Tim Tebow Mic’d

December 15, 2011 — Leave a comment

Tebow mic’d for the game against the Bears.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Mp_noHHOk7A#!]

HT: Andy Naselli

These paragraphs are revealing:

Even though Daunte Culpepper has not played in the NFL in two years, his mark on the game is still being felt. Culpepper affected the fate of the franchises in Minnesota, Miami, New Orleans and Green Bay as much as almost any player who has worn those teams’ uniforms.

Were it not for the success Culpepper enjoyed in 2004, Minnesota would have been more inclined to use one of its two first-round picks in the 2005 draft on a quarterback. But Culpepper was coming off a 2004 season in which he threw for 4,717 yards and 39 touchdowns. Minnesota thought it was set at quarterback. So it used the seventh overall pick in 2005 on South Carolina wide receiver Troy Williamson. It used the 18th overall pick on Wisconsin defensive end Erasmus James. And then, with the 24th overall pick, the Green Bay Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers.

The very next offseason, after Culpepper struggled at the start of the 2005 season and then tore up his knee on Oct. 30, the Dolphins traded a second-round pick to Minnesota for the then-disgruntled Culpepper rather than signing free-agent quarterback Drew Brees, who wanted to land in Miami. And so, with Culpepper landing in Miami, Brees had no choice but to go to New Orleans.

Rodgers and Brees, the men whose fates are tied to Culpepper’s, have combined to win the past two Super Bowls. Their success is an ongoing story, a reminder of how timing really is everything and why teams are wise to draft the proverbial best player available. Now Rodgers has the Packers unbeaten. Their march to perfection — going strong enough to make Mercury Morris and the 1972 Dolphins uneasy — is under way. And Rodgers is leading the Packers into Monday night’s game against a Minnesota organization that bypassed him twice in the draft.

Brees has the Saints in first place in the NFC South. He is leading the Saints into Sunday’s NFC South showdown against the second-place Atlanta Falcons. And Culpepper, who worked out for the San Francisco 49ers in August, is out of football while Minnesota and Miami still are trying to make up for multiple mistakes. It is a different form of fantasy football, detailing NFL hypotheticals that could have but didn’t happen. But it also is a glimpse of how much one quarterback helped change the way the league is viewed today.

Here are some insightful comments about the Tebow criticism:

Imagine for a second, the Denver Broncos quarterback is a devout follower of Islam, sincere and principled in his beliefs and thus bowed toward Mecca to celebrate touchdowns. Now imagine if Detroit Lions players Stephen Tulloch and Tony Scheffler mockingly bowed toward Mecca, too, after tackling him for a loss or scoring a touchdown, just like what happened Sunday.

I know what would happen. All hell would break loose.

You cannot mock Muslim faith, not in this country, not anywhere really.

It is primarily a respect issue, because religion is sacred and should be off limits. Yet when Tulloch and Scheffler dropped to a knee to mock how Tebow prays — an action known as “Tebowing” that has gone viral among the public, too — we yawned and told Christians to lighten up. We blamed Tebow for making a show of honoring God rather than himself in moments of joy. We excused them because Tulloch said he was mocking “Tebowing,” not God.

What this whole repeating cycle of Tebow — rip his game, mock his faith, rise to his defense, repeat — has revealed about religious discourse in America is ugly. We have become so enamored of politically correct dogma that we protect every minority from even the slightest blush of insensitivity while letting the very institutions that the majority holds dear to be ridiculed. And this defense that Tebow invites such scrutiny with his willingness to publicly live as he privately believes calls into question what exactly it is we value…

It is hard to admit one is a Vikings fan these days. But I cannot cut my loyalties loose, despite the fact that they spun me around last year and kicked me below the belt.

Now they have gone (or so it seems) and picked up another veteran quarterback, Donavan McNabb.

What should we make of this?

First, they had no other choice. They need more options in the quarterback position.. Even if McNabb does not start, we need someone there if Ponder is not ready.

Second, I am not convinced the McNabb is done. He did not have the weapons around him in Washington that Minnesota provides. He could come in and have a dud year, but then again he could have another breakout year. I am willing to take the chance. Like I said we don’t have many other options.

So in conclusion, I welcome McNabb, whether it be as a mentor to Ponder or as our starter.