Clay Matthews has taken the NFL by storm this year due to his incredible on the field performances as well as his charismatic personality. Honestly, you must only listen to one interview with the young man to come away impressed with both his professionalism as well as his sense of humor. He is known, in addition to his defensive prowess, for his long blonde locks. So much so, that Suave recently signed him to an endorsement deal similar to that of Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.
“The Claymaker” had a little fun with his sponsors and with his fans today, however, when he tweeted the above picture. Along with the picture, Matthews tweeted “Just got my Britney Spears on… what do you think???” Obviously in reference to Britney’s breakdown a few years back when she was threatened to be tested for drug use which prompted her to shave her head completely.
For Matthews, this is obviously (hopefully) just a bit of fun with his fans and newest sponsor because he’s getting far too much money to maintain that hair to just shave it off for a laugh. I’m sure this is part of some other commercial venture or comedic performance.
Many, myself included, believe that Mike McCarthy is the true Coach of the Year in the NFL after navigating an NFL season all the way to the summit of the football universe. It is difficult enough for any team in the NFL to get through a season and win a Super Bowl. Add to that the incredible injuries and difficult road culminating in knocking off the premiere franchise in the NFL today, and Mike McCarthy showed the world just how great of a head coach he is.
But perhaps the single best move by McCarthy wasn’t that he out-coached Mike Tomlin throughout the game, or that he called his own shot entering the week by saying that he had a great QB and that he intended to use him and rely on him to win the game for them. All week, McCarthy said that they rode on the back of Rodgers and that wasn’t going to change. Boy was he right. The Packers ran the ball an astounding 13 times! NO ONE… I mean no one, thought that either team would be able to win the game with less than 15 rushing attempts.
But the best thing McCarthy did happened the night before the game during his final meeting with his team before they went to sleep (or at least tried to sleep) the night before the biggest game of their lives. In an incredible show of confidence in himself and his team, Mike McCarthy brought in the ring fitters to size each and every person for their Super Bowl rings.
Some may think that’s arrogant or cocky and you may be right on some level, but guess what? It worked. The Packers came out from the start and looked loose, confident and certainly didn’t let the moment get the better of them. Even when the Steelers came roaring back and the Packers seemingly lost all momentum and were on the verge of losing control of the game, they stood strong and responded. Greg Jennings was even seen grabbing his ring finger after one of his 2 TD’s during the game.
Did McCarthy’s decision to fit his team for rings on Saturday night win the game for them? Of course not. But it shows you the culture and attitude of the team and that confidence carried forward on the field last night. After the massive injuries the Packers sustained during the game, including their defensive captain, Charles Woodson, and after the Steelers took their best shot and came back firing, it would’ve been very easy to let that game slip away.
The way Rodgers played last night, throughout the playoffs, and all season, I just hope McCarthy fit him for a championship belt as well.
Not really a look-a-like… but ya know…
Just a few short years ago Plaxico Burress was one of the heroes of the Super Bowl as he played a key role in helping the New York Football Giants derail the Patriots’ pursuit of perfection. As we know, Plaxico then had the unfortunate situation whereby he shot himself in the leg at a night club. Due to New York City’s strict gun laws, the star WR has been spending his time in prison.
According to reports by TMZ, Plaxico has “full TV privileges” and will be able to watch the Super Bowl in prison. Not a bad perk for inmates… I wonder if those inmates would be able to watch the Super Bowl if it wasn’t Plaxico Burress locked up along side them or if this is some special perk.
Steelers rookie Center Maurkice Pouncey had an incredible first season in the NFL. Not only did he earn a Pro Bowl bid, but he helped to stabilize a shaky Steeler offensive line and is headed to the Super Bowl in his rookie season. Unfortunately for Pouncey and the Steelers, he went down with an apparent ankle injury during the AFC Championship game against the Jets. At the time, it was thought that he suffered a sprained ankle.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette, Pouncey also has a broken bone in his left ankle along with the high ankle sprain. This is a tremendous blow for the Steelers as he is now considered “highly doubtful” for Super Bowl XLV. Pouncey didn’t miss a game this season and despite going out in the first quarter of the AFC Championship game, the Steelers were hopeful that he would be able to recover during the 2 week layoff leading up to the Super Bowl.
The Steelers are publicly saying that he hasn’t been ruled out for the Super Bowl, but players have already indicated that he will likely not be able to play. According to the Post-Gazzette, Chris Kemoeatu told reporters earlier this week that Pouncey would not be playing in the Super Bowl. He then backed off those comments presumably after being talked to by Steelers brass.
For the Steelers, the biggest question beyond Big Ben’s suspension for the first 4 games of the season has always been if their O-line could hold up. They don’t have a strong line by NFL standards to begin with and they have suffered injuries which have caused them to shuffle players around all season. Despite the line’s inconsistency, the one anchor this season had been Pouncey. Losing him presents significant problems for the Steelers against Green Bay.
The first and “biggest” challenge is B.J. Raji. Raji is an underrated player at Nose Tackle for the Packers and even though he can take up space, he’s not the traditional “Space Eating” 3-4 NT like Gilbert Brown. Raji is athletic and can rush the passer and even drop back into coverage as we saw against the Bears. Raji is a handful for any NFL center, let alone a backup who has seen limited time this season.
Secondarily, the Packers have an extremely underrated defense and very complex blitz schemes. Dom Capers has transformed the Packers defense into one of the league’s best and Clay Matthews and company will present serious concerns for the Steelers offensive line. Pouncey is responsible for all the line calls and losing your starting Center who is the “quarterback of the o-line” is never a good thing. Obviously, Roethlisberger has a unique ability to get away from pressure, but the Steelers o-line’s ability to hold up against the Packers rush will play a huge part in this game.
Two weeks is a long time and medical staff’s can do an awful lot in that period of time. Ben Roethlisberger just recently played with a broken bone in his foot and it’s still possible that Pouncey will give it a go. Either way, even if he’s able to play, he will certainly be far from 100% and it will impact the game.
The New York Jets came into Pittsburgh floundering. Well, as much as a 9-4 team could possibly be floundering. After a blowout loss to rival New England and an ugly loss to division foe, Miami, the Jets put themselves in a tough position entering the game against the Steelers. The offense hadn’t scored a TD in two games and nearly the entire team was under fire, especially Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan.
The only saving grace for the Jets was the absence of All-World safety, Troy Polamalu which is the true catalyst to the amazing Steeler defense. His absence truly makes them a different, and weaker team. The Jets got off to a hot start as Brad Smith returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and they were actually able to run the ball fairly well against the vaunted Steeler defense. The Jets were able to run for over 100 yards and LT and Shonn Greene combined for 89 yards. Not great, but effective enough to keep the Steelers honest and control the clock a little bit.
Braylon Edwards added 8 catches for 100 yards and had an incredible catch over the middle of the field where left his feet for a ball and got popped by hard hitting safety Ryan Clark. Clark was flagged on the play for launching at Edwards’ head.
Sanchez wasn’t lighting it up by any means, but he did have a solid game passing for 170 yards on 19/29 attempts. He added a running TD on a great naked bootleg where he was literally untouched going into the endzone.
The game was tight throughout and the Steelers had some good performances as well. Rashard Mendenhall added 100 yards on 17 carries with 1 TD and Ben Roethlisberger threw for 264 yards with 1 TD.
Late in the game the Steelers had the ball deep in their own territory, trailing the Jets 17-20. The Steelers ran a play from shotgun and as Roethlisberger handed the ball off, the great Jason Taylor made an incredible play shooting the gap for a safety. This would prove to be the critical play in the game in my opinion as it extended the lead to 5 points which obviously forced the Steelers to score a TD as opposed to a FG.
The Steelers got the ball back with under 2 minutes left and Big Ben had them driving. With only 1 timeout, the Steelers were right around midfield and seemed to be dead to rights after Big Ben was stripped by a blitzing Jets defender. Roethlisberger recovered but lost a lot of yardage which set up a 3rd and nearly 20. On the next play, Roethlisberger hit the speedy Mike Wallace for a great catch and handful of yards after the catch to pick up a first down.
The Steelers got down inside the redzone with a 1st & 10 at the 10 yard line. They were forced to clock the ball setting up a 2nd down with 9 seconds left. Big Ben held the ball for far too long in my opinion, waiting for a WR to get open and threw an incomplete pass in the back of the endzone in the vicinity of two Steelers receivers and several Jets defenders. On 3rd down, the Steelers only had 2 seconds left and obviously one more play. It was an incomplete pass ending the game and the Jets escaped with a much needed victory.
Like I said, the safety by Jason Taylor proved to be critical as the Steelers would have been otherwise able to tie up the game and force overtime. It was an incredible game from start to finish and the Jets went from reeling to beating one of the best teams in the NFL and improving to 10-4. For now, the crisis in New York is averted.
Bill Cowher was once one of the best and longest tenured Head Coaches in the NFL after spending 15 seasons with the Steelers, going to two Super Bowls and winning one. He then “retired” following his first Super Bowl win at Super Bowl XXL against the Seattle Seahawks. It was later discovered that he had ample reason to walk away as he wanted to spend more time with his family and rightly so. Just earlier this year, his wife passed away from breast cancer and in addition to this struggle, he had long wanted to spend more time with his children.
Due to his desire to be closer to his family and his home in North Carolina, it was long speculated that the logical spot for his return to the NFL would be the Carolina Panthers. For whatever reason, he does not appear to be interested at all in the Panthers, so much so that those rumors have all but died. But as the 2010 NFL season is drawing to a close, Cowher is apparently getting the “itch” to return to the sidelines. Just about any NFL team with a vacancy, and some without a vacancy would want him running their franchise, but where does Bill Cowher want to coach?
It was reported this morning that Cowher has put together a “Wish List” of sorts detailing the top 3 coaching jobs that he would consider IF there were a vacancy. Obviously Head Coaches make a very good living in the NFL, but Cowher does have a pretty cushy job in the studio and he’ll need to have an ideal situation in place in order for him to make the jump back to the NFL. As much as he wants to still coach, he has been, and I believe he will remain to be very patient.
So what are the teams on his “Wish List”?
3. New York Giants:
This one strikes me as very odd for many reasons. First, Cowher placed a caveat in his list saying that “if these teams had a vacancy”. He obviously has to do this so as not to disrespect any coach who is currently under contract, but we all know that it’s just a way to get around breaking the “coaching code” of not publicly pursuing a job that is already filled. The Giants are in a fight with the Eagles for the NFC East crown and even with a total collapse to end the season, it would be extremely unlikely that Tom Coughlin would be fired. Especially with the pending labor situation where teams are very apprehensive to make coaching changes until the CBA situation is cleared up.
There have been previous rumors that Cowher would want to coach in New York, but I don’t see it happening. At least not in 2011.
2. Houston Texans:
The Texans job has been rumored for other NFL head coaches, but this is the first I’ve heard Cowher mentioned. The Texans continue to be a solid team under Gary Kubiak, but they have failed to take the next step into the playoffs. In a year where the Colts are struggling more than they have in nearly a decade, the Texans failed to take advantage and they are significantly underperforming. There is certainly talent in place (especially on offense) and a coaching change has been rumored for quite some time.
This is a plausible scenario if Cowher wants the job pending the labor issues obviously.
1. Miami Dolphins:
This one puzzles me as well similarly to the Giants. Tony Sparano has done an outstanding job turning around the Dolphins from a 1-15 season to making the playoffs. And while they’ve struggled this season, it hasn’t been because of coaching in my opinion. They have significant issues at QB and they play in an extremely difficult division. I honestly can’t see Sparano losing his job in general, and again, especially because of the looming lockout.
So the question I have is whether or not this is a true “Wish List” or just a smoke screen from Cowher to put the NFL on notice that he’s ready to return and to drum up interest. There is no way that this wasn’t leaked on purpose and the only question is whether or not it’s an honest list or if there is some ulterior motive. The market will be full of suitors for Cowher so I’m not sure why it’s necessary, but perhaps it’s an attempt to get some of the over-zealous owners to overpay for him.
Dallas was previously rumored, but with the success of Jason Garrett and the lockout, it’s largely believed that Jerry Jones will stand pat with his current coach.
Many Browns fans would love to have Cowher on their sideline and he certainly knows the division inside and out, but team President, Mike Holmgren isn’t likely to bring Cowher in. There are too many other viable options that fit Holmgren’s agenda and Cowher doesn’t fit in. If Holmgren makes a change that doesn’t involve him returning to the sidelines in Cleveland then he’s likely to bring in someone from his own coaching tree.
The Redskins are a complete disaster and some have speculated that Mike Shanahan will be one and done after butchering the season and losing his mind. Daniel Snyder is crazy, but I don’t think he’s that crazy. Plus, I don’t think Cowher would go anywhere near D.C. given their roster and big time problems with the franchise.
So in summary, at this point, I honestly have no idea where he’ll end, if anywhere. But I don’t believe that the “Wish List” is an honest representation of where he wants to land. We’ll keep a close eye on Cowher, Gruden, and other big name coaches who are itching to get back on the sidelines.
Yesterday’s matchup between the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers was quietly one of the better games as well as one of the more intriguing matchups of the day. The Steelers had to withstand a wide open, blatantly dropped touchdown by up and coming WR Steve Johnson in overtime to get the win.
Steve Johnson then went on to blame God for his drops on the day and James Harrison was yet AGAIN flagged for a personal foul for leading with his head. But the latest interesting storyline on this game happened last night during NBC’s Football in America broadcast.
Rodney Harrison was providing “analysis” of the highlights of this game when he described Bills RB Fred Jackson as “The greatest player you’ve EVER heard of.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I think of the greatest players I’ve ever heard of only a handful of names come to mind… Jim Brown, Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, John Elway, Johnny Unitas, Lawrence Taylor, etc. But Bills RB Fred Jackson has never, and will never come to mind when discussing the greatest players I’ve ever heard of!!!
Now, obviously I’m just joking as Rodney obviously meant to say “The greatest player you’ve NEVER heard of”, but the constant butchering of the english language by these NFL analysts is growing very tiring. It would be one thing if he misspoke and went on, but Rodney said it twice during the segment!
Rodney was a very good player and just about every analyst that is on TV today was as well. But you would think these networks could train these morons to at least speak the language moderately well!!!
Good lord, get these guys a copy of Rosetta Stone or something!
The issuance of this week’s NFL fines from the Commissioner’s Office taught me one thing. Roger Goodell absolutely hates James Harrison. Harrsion, star linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, has been fined repeatedly this season and in previous seasons for what are deemed to be illegal hits in the field of play. Harrison has been fined more than any other player this season accruing $100,000 in fines for “Helmet to Helmet” hits.
Mind you, each and every one of Harrison’s hits occurred in the field of play, between the whistles. I believe most are warranted, not because they’re cheap shots or dirty plays, but because Harrison is either too dumb, too stubborn, or both to adjust the way he hits. He clearly leads with his head down, not seeing his target, which is incredibly dangerous for him and for his target. He’s made a big deal out his fines as he doesn’t understand what he can do differently and even feigned retirement. But it’s clear to me that as long as he continues to lead with his head down, he’ll continue to get fined. All he has to do is hit with his head up and actually see his target.
But even so, each hit is within the field of play and clearly during the play, not after the whistle. Compare this to Richard Seymour‘s outburst against Harrison’s teammate, Ben Roethlisberger. Seymour took out his frustrations for the Raiders beat down by the Steelers on Big Ben’s face with a semi punch right in Ben’s grill after the play. If anything, a blatant hit to the head of a star QB, AFTER THE PLAY would draw the attention and punishment of the league office.
It did draw some attention to the league office, but not all that much. Seymour was fined $25,000 compared to the $50,000 fine issued earlier in the year to Harrison and others. So does Roger Goodell just hate Harrison that much? Is he THAT irritated with Harrison’s stubborn behavior and retirement threats?
I definitely think someone in the NFL League Office has a big problem with James Harrison. I don’t know if it’s Goodell himself or one of his advisors. But they seem dead set on sending repeated messages to Harrison to correct his behavior and tackling technique.
Who knows… maybe Goodell decided to take it easy on Seymour because he saw the ridiculous flop by Big Ben…
Maybe Goodell knows Big Ben deserved much worse than that after his repeated abuse of drunk co-eds over the past few years…
Maybe the bounty that co-eds across the nation put on Big Ben’s head extended to the Commissioner so he would take it easy on Seymour…
Ok, I’ve seen this on other blogs already, but it’s such a bad ass video that I just had to post it. In case you haven’t seen it, during the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders game today, Richard Seymour was frustrated and took it out on Big Ben’s face. The Steelers won convincingly and the physical game got a little out of hand as Seymour popped Big Ben.
It’s one HELL of a hit!
After the game, Steelers coach, Mike Tomlin was asked about the incident and he made it clear that he held no ill will towards Seymour. He said that this incident wouldn’t tarnish his view of Seymour and he called him “an awesome player”. Tomlin took responsibility as well saying that everyone, his team included, let things get out of hand.
Seymour was ejected from the game and will likely be fined by the NFL league office. The only real question at this point, is how much and whether or not he’ll be suspended for another game. With all the protection for QB’s, I’m curious to see how Roger Goodell will treat a blatant act of violence against one his star QB’s. My guess is Seymour will be fined $100,000 with no further suspension, but we’ll see. If James Harrison deserves $100,000 in fines for hits between the whistles, then Seymour better get at least $100,000 for a blatant cheap shot.
But on the other hand… Seymour was just doing what dozens of victimized co-eds wished they could’ve done had they not been too drunk to function! Maybe they took up a collection and put a bounty out on Big Ben and Seymour collected!