This absolutely cracked me up! Enjoy!
NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell has issued an apology to fans as part of his press conference earlier today announcing the deal with the referees.
“Something like this, it’s painful for everybody. Most importantly, it’s painful for fans. We’re sorry to have to put fans through that.”
He added: “Sometimes you have to go through something like that in the short term for the right agreement for the long term.”
After weeks of chaos, it took the debacle scenario on MNF to motivate both sides to get a deal done. But it is finally done & I think everyone involved is happy that the regular officials will be presiding over the game tonight & for the rest of the season.
The sporting world has been turned upside down following the debacle in Seattle on Monday Night Football in which the Green Bay Packers were robbed of a victory by a botched call made by the NFL’s replacement referees.
Packers Offensive Lineman, TJ Lang made news Monday night and yesterday morning as people discovered his rather pointed tweets towards the NFL due to their ever failing replacement ref experiment. Lang continued to make noise based on his comments yesterday to 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit.
Lang said the Packers discussed taking “extreme measures” on their plane ride back to Green Bay following the loss. Extreme measures such as a strike or literally taking a knee on every offensive snap until the referee situation is resolved.
“Whatever it takes, it’s just a total embarrassment to everybody watching the game, the players in the game, it’s not fun to be a part of something like that… If it keeps going on, it’s going to get ugly.”
“Going into a game worrying about the refs more than the other team, it’s a problem. The NFL, the commissioners, if they don’t take action after last night… That should be the last straw.”
“Personally, I think more people nee to speak up,” adding that he believes players are too afraid of fines to speak the truth.
While I don’t think for one minute that players will strike or take a knee on every down, the more noise players can make the better in my opinion.
Ryan Grant, former starting running back for the Green Bay Packers has reportedly agreed to terms with the Washington Redskins according to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports:
The NFL replacement refs have taken quite a bit of criticism after repeatedly showing just how “in over their heads” they are. I personally don’t blame them, they’re doing the best they can. But I do blame the NFL and Roger Goodell for believing that they could just move on with replacement refs without missing a beat. That is pure arrogance in my opinion.
The worst of the replacement ref experiment may have taken place at the end of the Monday Night Football game last night as the Seattle Seahawks were attempting a game winning pass against the Green Bay Packers.
Russell Wilson essentially threw up a jump ball in the end zone with the Seahawks down 7-12 late in the 4th quarter. A Packers defender caught the ball, had both hands around the ball and fell down, with possession on Seattle WR, Golden Tate. Tate did not have his hands on the ball, let alone control or possession.
Somehow, even after review, the refs ruled a “simultaneous catch” which gives the possession to the offense. It was one of the most egregious calls i’ve ever seen.
Packers offensive Lineman, TJ Lang, agrees and he did not hold back on his Twitter account:
While I agree with him, and appreciate his candor… he’s going to be significantly lighter in the wallet….
Plaxico Burress went from catching what was ultimately the game winning TD catch in one of the biggest Super Bowl upsets of all time to being sentenced to prison for shooting himself in the leg in a Manhattan nightclub the following November.
10 months later, in September of 2009, Burress began his two year prison sentence which cost him the majority of the new $35 million contract he signed shortly before the now infamous nightclub incident. The New York Daily News has reported that Burress will shave 3 months off his sentence as he will be “conditionally released” on June 6th.
Burress requested and was denied early release and work release various times, but he is now eligible for conditional release after serving 6/7 of his sentence. Despite missing two full NFL seasons, his agent has indicated that at least two teams are interested in signing him for the upcoming season. Obviously, it’s his agent, so you never really know how much truth lies within agent released statements, but I would bet that multiple teams are interested in Burress.
Even though he will be 34 years old and has missed 2 full seasons, he is still 6’5″, 235 pounds and he can still make a huge difference in the NFL. While he will undoubtedly only obtain a short term (probably 1 year), heavily incentive laden contract, he will still have multiple teams from which to choose.
Bart Scott’s post game interview following the Jets’ playoff victory over rival New England went viral almost immediately. The WWE-like trash talking tirade was one of the most epic interviews of all time. It was such a hit, that the AP has reported that Scott trademarked his catch phrase “Can’t Wait!”.
Scott said in an interview in Orlando that the phrase “took on a life of it’s own” and that once he heard people wanted to use it on T-shirts, “if anybody is going to benefit off “Can’t Wait!” it should be me.”
Now we just have to wait and see how long it takes him to trademark “Can’t stop a nosebleed”…
The Cleveland Browns had some very high highs and some very low lows during the 2010 NFL season. They knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints and what was widely regarded as the NFL’s best team, the New England Patriots. On the other hand, they also dropped their last 4 games in quite unimpressive fashion.
While there were some surprising performances from new contributors like Peyton Hillis, Joe Haden, T.J. Ward and Colt McCoy, one of the most disappointing seasons came from cornerback Eric Wright (and no, not Eazy E).
Wright who sat down with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, joined the Browns in 2007 via a 2nd round pick. By 2009, he was one of the Browns better players and entered the 2010 season with high expectations and even aspirations of a Pro Bowl selection. Those expectations were quickly put to rest in week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens and he never seemed to recover. While not entirely his fault (coaches have some culpability), Wright was absolutely embarrassed by Anquan Boldin who beat him badly for 3 key TD’s in a Ravens victory.
Wright followed what he calls “the worst game of his career” with a less than stellar performance against Terrell Owens and the Bengals (while most of Owens 10 catches for 222 yards were not charged to Wright).
Wright, however, was directly responsible for giving up a game winning TD against Santonio Holmes and the New York Jets. The Browns, fresh off victories over the Saints and Patriots were on the brink of knocking off the Jets when Wright was beaten badly on a slant by Holmes. Thanks in part to poor initial coverage by Wright and then an awful tackling angle by safety T.J. Ward, Holmes took the short pass 37 yards to the endzone and secured a Jets victory.
Granted, Eric Wright was not to blame for every single poor play the Browns secondary had in 2010. But he was responsible for his fair share, and was probably the worst secondary player on the team. For this reason, these particular comments don’t sit well with me:
“Whether others were there or not, it didn’t matter,” Wright said. “By that time, it’s going to be Eric Wright’s fault.”
First of all, any time an athlete refers to him or herself in the 3rd person, it’s not a good look. Secondarily, the excuses, rationalization, and perceived whining isn’t what you typically like to hear from your players. He could have come off a lot better if he just owned up for not playing well and letting fans know that he’s coming back for a strong 2011.
He went on to make more excuses saying:
“It was two or three games and a few other plays and it destroys everything you’ve worked hard for as far as making a name for yourself. By the time people are saying ‘He [stinks], get him out of there,’ it’s hard to shake.”
Actually, with as poorly as he played and with his confidence completely gone (confidence is one of the key attributes for a cornerback) and with the strong play of Joe Haden, it made sense to “get him out of there”. There was a veteran who the coaches loved in Sheldon Brown, and Haden who made a great run at rookie of the year despite not starting at the beginning of the season.
Up until now, the criticism he received from the media and fans was completely understandable and justifiable. He may be a great guy and may end up being a solid player, but he was putrid in 2010.
But this is where it gets ugly.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Wright received death threats during the season that were never reported to the Browns or to police. He apparently attributed them to “extreme passion of Browns fans.”
However passionate Browns fans are, death threats are inexcusable. I don’t care what a player does on the field, says off the field, or how he or she is perceived by a fan base. Death threats are never acceptable, understandable, and they should be pursued in a criminal investigation.
Wright commented on the death threats saying:
“I wasn’t fearing for my life. As serious as a death threat may be, I wasn’t going to let a few apples ruin the whole tree.”
Following the season, Wright says he was contacted by some of the league’s elite cornerbacks such as Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel, and Champ Bailey about overcoming adversity. Wright indicated that they tried to “motivate him in a positive way to block out certain things.”
Wright went on to clarify that he played much of the season with a pulled hamstring and suffered a bone bruise in late November. The bone bruise typically sidelines players for 4-6 weeks, but Wright missed only 1.
Wright commented, “I didn’t want to let the team down. We were shorthanded at cornerback as it was. It was the same reason I came back last season two days after the car crash where I almost killed myself.”
If the hamstring injury is true (they are impossible to positively diagnose), it could help explain the poor performance after a very good 2009 campaign. If it’s true, you have to give him credit for playing through an injury for nearly an entire year.
Despite his awful 2010, the Browns offered a 2nd round tender to the much maligned cornerback meaning that if another team wishes to sign him, they would have to surrender a 2nd round pick to the Browns.
About returning to Cleveland despite the death threats, Wright said “I want to be in Cleveland. I feel like we’re going in the right direction and I’m hopeful.”
For as much venom Browns fans directed at Eric Wright last year, if he’s able to follow it up with a solid campaign in 2011, it will be all forgiven. It remains to be seen if the damage Browns fans did with their relationship with Wright can ever be repaired.
Michael Vick was scheduled to appear on ESPN’s First Take this morning which was being filmed in front of a live audience at Disney for ESPN’s annual “Disney the Weekend” BS. Pro Football Talk reports that near the end of the show, First Take host Dana Jacobson informed the audience and viewers that Vick would not be making the interview.
“We have some bad news. We were supposed to have an interview with Michale Vick, we’ve been telling you about it, and sadly the Eagles actually pulled the interview, is what I’m being told. In all honesty, we were looking forward to talking to Michael about what has been a turnaround season for him and what has been a rough few years and getting to some other stuff.”
Co-host Jay Crawford then added “We’ve been Oprah’d!” referencing the Oprah interview that was cancelled at the last minute. Interestingly, Jacobson clearly indicated that the interview was cancelled by the Eagles. When the Oprah interview was originally cancelled, it appeared that it was the doing of Michael Vick. Later reports indicated that the Eagles strongly urged Vick to cancel the interview, but they officially prohibited him from going on the show.
So why in the world would the Eagles be so afraid to let Michael Vick participate in interviews?
Honestly, I have no idea. I suppose it’s possible that the Eagles just want to avoid any potential negative publicity surrounding a “mis-step” by Vick on air, but that doesn’t even make sense. Vick has done countless public appearances speaking about his off the field issues and his story of redemption so why would the Eagles all of a sudden be so against interviews?
Just this week, Vick signed his franchise tender earning him a significant pay raise to an estimated $20m based on the 5 highest players at his position.
It makes little sense to me at this point, hopefully more details will be forthcoming.
Mike Holmgren very nearly hired himself as Browns Head coach and could have hired Jon Gruden before selecting Pat Shurmur according to comments he made on KJR-AM 950 Seattle.
Holmgren was hired as Browns president in late 2009 after his successful run with the Seahawks. Holmgren inherited Eric Mangini and after 2 years with the coach, Holmgren decided to relieve Mangini of his duties in favor of a better “fit” for his philosophies.
Many saw the move coming as Holmgren has made his affinity for the offensive side of the football and specifically the west coast offense very clear. Mangini, a Belichick disciple, was more defensive minded and the struggling and often inept Browns offense was something Holmgren could not live with.
As we know, Holmgren ultimately hired former offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams, Pat Shurmur after conducting only 3 interviews (none of which included the big name free agent coaches). But the interesting part is what occurred prior to the Shurmur hiring.
If you listened to Holmgren’s comments throughout the 2010 season and leading up to the hiring of Shurmur, he dropped several hints indicating that he had the “itch” to coach again. I personally thought that Holmgren wanted strongly to coach and I was a little bit surprised that he honed in Shurmur so quickly. The Shurmur selection makes a lot of sense if you think about it, but I was of the belief that Holmgren’s first choice would be to come down to the sidelines himself.
As it turns out, my thinking and the thoughts of many others, were not all that far off. Prior to conducting the first interview, Holmgren says he sought the opinions of General Manager Tom Heckert and Executive Vice President of Business Operations Bryan Wiedmeier regarding his potential return to the sidelines.
Holmgren gave them one day to think about it and told them the following:
“I told them if you don’t think it’s the right thing to do for our football team, you can say that, no strings attached. I came back the next day and they thought it would be a pretty good idea if I wanted to do that. We could make that work.”
“I went home and talked about it with Kathy (Holmgren’s wife). We prayed about it a little bit. I realized I came here to do a certain job. I want to fulfill that promise to my owner and see if in another role I can get the thing done.”
Holmgren is 62 years old and has accomplished everything imaginable as a Head Coach in the NFL so it’s not all that surprising that he (and especially his wife) wouldn’t want to invest the time and effort it takes to be a Head Coach again. However, despite his current role, at his core, he is a coach. There is no question that it kills him that he’s not able to control the team as a coach would and that he isn’t on the sidelines.
Despite the decision to hire Shurmur, which Holmgren at the time said he hopes this is the last Head Coach he has to hire for the Browns, he did not rule out a return to the sideline in the future. Holmgren has repeatedly referenced his promise to owner Randy Lerner to return the team to greatness in the role of team President. Holmgren has 4 years remaining on his contract as President and oh by the way, Shurmur just signed a 4 year contract.
4 years in the NFL is an eternity so anything could happen between now and then, but Holmgren offered this in response to questions about a future return to the sidelines:
“You never know for sure. Organizations and owners want to go with the younger guy. I get that. It’s OK. If I wanted to get back into coaching, I could have. I had that opportunity. Maybe I’ll get another opportunity, who knows?
“But I’m really not thinking that way. I’m really thinking this is what I should be doing, and I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. If I think any other way, you really run the risk of not doing the best job you can do.”
The next comments were incredibly surprising to me. Many Browns fans were up in arms that Holmgren didn’t interview Jon Gruden and some of the big name “free agent” Head Coaches out there. I personally believed that Jon Gruden wouldn’t have been at all interested in the Browns job, but I may have been dead wrong.
Holmgren said he could have hired Jon Gruden and that he also spoke with former Steelers Head Coach Bill Cowher:
“Bill (Cowher) wasn’t ready to come back. He was very honest about it. Jon said he’d come back for me. I said, ‘I need more than that. You shouldn’t just come back for me. You should want to do this.’ He really enjoys TV, and he’s good at it.”
I suppose the loyalty to Holmgren by Gruden shouldn’t be a surprise as Gruden learned under Holmgren early in his career, but this is the first that anyone has heard about Gruden being open to taking the Browns job.
While Holmgren has declined to take over as Head Coach, he is as involved as ever. Holmgren, as he has always said, has an “open door policy” with players and has taken a specific interest in QB Colt McCoy. Holmgren overruled his “Cabinet” in last year’s draft and made the decision to take Colt McCoy in the 3rd round. Holmgren has indicated that he is advising McCoy, but more on how to deal with life in the NFL than with passing mechanics or offensive strategy.
Browns fans may be unhappy that they missed out on Holmgren and Gruden as the next Head Coach, but by all accounts, Shurmur is an incredibly gifted and sharp coach and he should be a great fit under Holmgren to take the Browns to the next level.