NFL Football

We’re just beginning our NFL coverage…we’ll have much more soon, including extensive coverage of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Utter Chaos: ESPN’s coverage of the NFL Draft a complete disaster

April 23, 2010

Berman isn’t the only one to blame for ESPN’s horrendous coverage of the First-Round of the NFL Draft Thursday. (Pic via awfulannouncing.com)

With the highly publicized move of the 2010 NFL Draft to Thursday night, the sporting world cast its eyes on ESPN in primetime.

The Boo-Ya network promptly delivered one of the worst sports productions in television history.

The brass at ESPN should be both ashamed and embarrassed with the production staff and the so-called “talent”, headlined by a flustered, sweaty, and angry Chris Berman.

Berman is widely known for being huge prick, with little respect for his colleagues. His rants—presumably leaked by a member of ESPN’s staff—gave the public a glimpse into his idiotic personality:

Watching him trying to lead an organized discussion Thursday was like trying to watch JaMarcus Russell play quarterback—lots of angry glares at his teammates and finger-pointing along the way to a complete failure.

Boomer had no control over who talked when or what was said during the broadcast. He repeatedly was forced to scramble; certainly not his specialty. Much like JaMarcus trying to escape the pocket, he had no chance.

The highlight of the chaos came midway late in the first round, when ESPN returned from break. While the cameras focused on members of the United States Military on stage being honored by the NFL, viewers were treated to 30 seconds of bumbling bonus-analysis by the commentators, who had no idea their mics were live and they were actually on the air. The director cut to Berman, who upon finally realizing the panel was live, gestured wildly before stammering some cheesy comment regarding the work of the military.

Here it is, with apologies for the horrible audio:

Boomer wasn’t the only person to struggle Thursday. The addition of Jon Gruden to the seasoned veterans of draft coverage added another layer to the debacle.

Gruden would not shut up. He always had to get the first word in after a pick was made, constantly praising the picks while offering little actual analysis of the players ability—aside from obvious comments like “C.J. Spiller is fast.” Really? America had no idea.

Chucky sounded like a guy trying to make some friends in hopes of landing another coaching gig.

Colleagues Steve Young and Tom Jackson would love for that to happen. Both jumped at the chance to talk once Gruden stepped off his pulpit. They interrupted each other constantly—neither was willing to give in—resulting in both men talking simultaneously throughout the night.

And then there was good ole Mel Kiper. Once known as an annoying talking head, Kiper endeared himself Thursday by making good points. More importantly, he made timely points—dropping relevant knowledge on his clueless counterparts. He attacked the Broncos’ selection of Tim Tebow, only to be bombarded with the value of character and work ethic, the usual argument among moronic fans and apparently NFL draft “experts” in support of Tebow.

Kiper was strangely silent from that point forward, like a child who had just been scolded, spanked, slapped, and sent to the corner after getting its mouth washed-out with soap. At one point late in the first round, when asked his opinion regarding the Pats’ selection of CB Devin McCourty, he simply shrugged his shoulders and kept his mouth shut.

Awkward.

ESPN should hold itself to a higher standard. Sadly, a virtual monopoly on the sports broadcasting industry suggests that may never happen.

In the meantime, I encourage you to tune into the NFL Network for your draft coverage.

Roethlisberger suspension harsh, but certainly deserved

April 21, 2010

Big Ben is expected to undergo "cognitive behavioral evaluation" during his suspension. (Pic via phoenixfanster.com)

The great and powerful Goodell has spoken. The NFL commish suspended Ben Roethlisberger for six games Wednesday, bringing weeks of speculation to a merciful end.

The details of Big Ben’s ban include mandatory behavioral counseling, which could reduce with suspension to four games. At the very least, that is still 25 percent of the 2010 NFL regular season, causing the Steelers to reportedly begin shopping his services.

The question remains as to exactly what kind of counseling he will undergo.

He probably won’t follow in Tiger’s footsteps and head to sex rehab. His physical appearance and love of the nightlife suggests he might need to put down the bottle, but alcohol is probably not the source of his problems.

A love of sex and alcohol doesn’t exactly distinguish Big Ben from the rest of the population.

Roethlisberger’s problem is simple: he is a colossal d-bag. His lack of respect for others, something that began developing even during his college days at Miami of Ohio, is what separates him from the masses of law-abiding citizens.

Some people, including ESPN’s Tim Hasselback, will argue that Roethlisberger is a law-abiding citizen because he hasn’t been charged. In reality, witness testimony and circumstantial evidence have shown Big Ben broke numerous laws. The witness testimony and evidence may not have been enough for a conviction, but it is enough to show a pattern of dispicable behavior.

Goodell is making an example of Roethlisberger, just as he did with Pacman Jones and Tank Johnson, who were suspended despite never actually being convicted of crimes.

Unlike Jones and Johnson, Big Ben was never actually formally charged with a crime. But the details of the case proved to be a powerful indictment to his character. He isn’t a defensive lineman or cornerback, he is the face of one of the proudest franchises in the NFL. Letting him off the hook just would have done a great deal of harm to the NFL’s public image and Roger Goodell’s reputation.

Did the punishment fit the crime? No. Did Roethlisberger get what he deserved? Yes.

Now the only question is if he will actually learn something. Therapy can be effective, but ridding Big Ben of his idiotic tendencies might prove to be an impossible task.

Steelers send Santonio away quietly

Holmes is heading to the Big Apple in exchange for a fifth-round pick from the Jets. ( Newscom Photo/Pic via masterprocrastinator.com)

Santonio Holmes’ knack for getting in trouble earned him a ticket out of town in the dead of night. The Steelers sent Holmes to the Jets for a fifth-round pick in the 2010 draft. That’s it and that’s all.

Sunday’s trade marked a surprising and premature end to Holmes’ productive career in Pittsburgh.

What’s even more surprising is that the Steelers were prepared to release Holmes if they were unable to trade him, according to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report Monday.

Holmes wasn’t just the MVP of Super Bowl XL. He had emerged as the Steelers best receiver in the last two seasons, with the ability to make tough catches and stretch the field. His release leaves Pittsburgh very thin at receiver. Mike Wallace and Hines Ward will most likely be the starters heading into next season. The Steelers are in the market for a receiver in the draft, possibly Notre Dame’s Golden Tate, a good route-runner with a squeaky-clean image.

In the end, image is what led to Holmes’ departure.

Holmes hasn’t been charged in the Florida case involving allegations that he threw a glass at a college woman. He has however, been suspended by the NFL for violating the leagues substance abuse policy.

Holmes will miss the first four games of next season. He missed one game after being arrested for possession of marijuana in 2007.

The former Ohio State Buckeye was also arrested for disorderly conduct and domestic violence during his rookie season, although no charges were filed in either case.

The Steelers have been one of the NFL’s proudest and most stable franchises for decades. Already facing an onslaught of criticism in connection with the Ben Roethlisberger fiasco, the Steelers made a decision to get rid of the other bad apple.

It’s not that difficult to replace a star receiver. But replacing a relatively young franchise quarterback is a whole different ballgame.

Next year should be an interesting one in Pittsburgh.

Report: Roethlisberger won’t be charged by Georgia D.A.

April 12, 2010

Big Ben might wanna stay out of college bars for a bit until things cool off. (Pic via scrapetv.com)

Ben Roethlisberger will not be charged in connection with the alleged sexual assault case in Georgia, ESPN is reporting at this hour.

Authorities are expected to make a full statement regarding the findings in the case at around 2 PM Eastern Time. It is believed that they will be fairly detailed in terms of why charges were not filed.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said Monday that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is attempting to meet with Roethlisberger this week to discuss the quarterbacks love for drunk college chicks.

The Steelers must be relieved this thing is over, although a civil suit is certainly still a possibility. The proud franchise traded Santonio Holmes late last night for next to nothing–clearly an attempt at image repair.

More reaction on the Big Ben story following today’s press conference.

What about Brett Favre? Just call him gramps

April 6, 2010

Brittany Favre recently gave birth to a her first child, a son named Parker Brett. (Pic via officialbrettfavre.com)

I never thought I would say this, but as Brett Favre’s NFL future continues to be up in the air, I’m really hoping he returns to the NFL for another season.

Favre’s oldest daughter Brittany, a 21 year-old college student, recently gave birth to a son, making her daddy a grandpa.

Not many details are known about the newest edition to the Favre family at this point. The name of the father has not been released.

We do know the child’s name: Parker Brett…something.

How crazy would it be to see a grandpa playing in the NFL? Where not talking Sean Landeta and his stupid helmet here either, we’re talking about a quarterback, a Hall of Fame quarterback nonetheless.

Tuesday’s news could throw a bizarre twist into the annual Brett Favre retirement saga. If Favre does decide to return, he could become the first active NFL player to be a grandfather–nobody really knows if there has already been a grandpa in the NFL.

On second thought, maybe Brett Favre should retire. I’m not sure the sports world can take another six months of Ed Werder and Rachel Nichols reporting recycled news from outside the Favre compound in Mississippi.

No joke: Shaun Rogers arrested for carrying loaded gun in carry-on luggage

April 1, 2010

Shaun Rogers: Very big, and apparently very dumb too. (Pic via midwestsportsfans.com)

Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Shaun Rogers proved to be a colossal fool Thursday, when he was arrested for carrying a concealed gun through security at the Hopkins International Airport in Cleveland.

According to the Police report, Rogers was detained after officers identified a loaded .45 caliber hand gun in his carry-on luggage. Rogers was booked without incident for carrying a concealed weapon, which is a third-degree felony in Ohio. No charges have been filed at this time.

This is without doubt one of the stupidest things a professional athlete has done in recent memory. It seems unlikely Rogers intentionally tried to sneak the gun through security, but it’s hard to imagine he simply forgot about the loaded gun.

Rogers has yet to release a statement on today’s events. It will be interesting to see him try to explain his side of the story.

The Roger Goodell frustration alert level has been elevated to bright orange.

Former football player catching on following Superbowl success

March 5, 2010

Even the most avid college football fans probably don’t remember Isaiah Mustafa. On the heels of his impressive debut in Old Spice’s Superbowl commercial, it appears the former Arizona State reserve wide receiver has caught a big break.

Mustafa has been acting for several years now, playing small, manly roles. But his newfound fame has translated in interest across the entertainment world, including an appearance on Oprah coming in March.

Maybe Tim Tebow can use his Superbowl commercial to land some film roles if the whole quarterback thing doesn’t work out. He would thrive in roles such as “Bartender 2” or “Construction Worker C”.

Don’t think it couldn’t happen.

Bears ink Peppers to six-year deal

March 5, 2010

Perfect marriage: Peppers got the big deal he wanted and the Bears got the pass-rusher they needed. (Pic via boston.com)

The Chicago Bears and Julius Peppers have finalized a deal that will bring the athletic defensive end to Chicago at a hefty price, ESPN reported Friday afternoon.

The exact terms of the deal are unknown, but Peppers is expected to earn around $13 million during the first three years with the Bears.

The five-time Pro Bowler provides the Bears’ aging defense with a huge lift. Chicago struggled against the pass last season, primarily due to the lack of consistent pass rush and a rash of injuries in the secondary.

Peppers has the ability to be one of the NFL’s most dominant players–when he is motivated. It will be interesting to see if he takes plays off now that he has the long-term deal he has wanted for years.

Bears sign Chester Taylor

The Bears signed longtime Vikings running back Chester Taylor to a four-year deal worth $12 million dollars, bolstering what was an anemic ground-game in 2009.

Taylor rushed for just 338 yards last season with the Vikings, but rushed for over 1,200 yards in his lone season as a starter prior to Adrian Peterson’s arrival in Minnesota. Although he is probably on the downside of his career and has battled injuries, Taylor should have plenty of the tank after playing as a reserve for the last two and a half seasons.

Taylor’s arrival puts pressure on Matt Forte, who lacked explosiveness last season after a sensational rookie season in 2008. Forte has had some knee issues but is expected to be healthy by the start of training camp.

More free agent reaction coming soon here on ToTheTin.

Bengals Jones-ing for trouble yet again

February 13, 2010

The Cincinnati Bengals continue to be the NFL’s version of a halfway house. Friday the team announced it has agreed to terms with former Jaguars WR Matt Jones.

Jones was released prior to last season after he violated terms of his plea agreement following a conviction for drug possession.

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg for the Bengals.

The team worked out Pacman Jones–sorry–Adam Jones–Thursday. Jones didn’t play anywhere last season after being rejected by the CFL. That alone should be a sign to stay away.

Fresh off a 2009 AFC North Title, the Bengals are evidently looking to spice things up only months after the death of troubled WR Chris Henry. We all know his story.

In addition to adding Matt and possibly Adam Jones, the team is reportedly targeting free agent Terrell Owens.

It seems shocking that the Bengals keep taking chances on players. The franchise’s reputation continues to get worse. LB Rey Maualuga plead guilty to drunken driving in early February.

Hopefully the people at HBO decide to focus on the Bengals training camp again in August; there certainly would be plenty of fascinating topics to discuss.

Destiny had nothing to do with Saints’ super performance

February 8, 2010

Payton's gutsy onside kick call had more to do with the Superbowl victory than Hurricane Katrina (www.bobcatsigs.org)

There is nothing more frustrating to a sports fan than being bombarded with ridiculous theories explaining the success–or failure–of a certain player or team.

Enter ESPN’s human-interest machine Rick Reilly, who unveiled the strange idea that Saints–like, you know, actual Saints–influenced the Colts’ play-calling and caused Reggie Wayne to play what was probably the worst game of his career.

According to Reilly and many others, it was destiny that lifted the Saints football team to unprecedented heights.

A more plausible theory would be that Harry Connick Jr. paid Wayne to throw the game.

I just can’t understand this notion of destiny. Was it destiny that caused a hurricane to ravage New Orleans? No, it was favorable weather conditions and a city constructed well below sea level. Was it destiny that Peyton Manning would lob a pass into the hands of Tracy Porter? No, it was a bad read and a really bad route.

The idea that a sports team can save a city is beyond idiotic. Sadly, this idea has been around for years, and until Sunday was last brought up during Michigan State’s improbable run to the Final Four in the Motor City last March. The Spartans defeated three No. 1 seeds to earn a berth in the Title game, which caused the national media to practically crown Tom Izzo as Pope Tom I for saving the city of Detroit from its economic plight through a “basketball bailout” of sorts.

The Saints delivered joy to a region starved for it, but a Superbowl victory won’t bring jobs, improve the levee system and certainly won’t raise the struggling city above sea level.

So why are we so eager to attribute success to destiny?

It’s human nature to want happiness for the less-fortunate; call it karma, poetic justice, or…destiny. When something magical happens, like a small-market mediocre franchise suddenly rising to the apex of the sports world, we feel all warm and fuzzy inside. We try to explain these things by calling it a miracle, a stroke of luck, or in some cases as an act of God.

Now for a dose of reality: Drew Brees is the most underrated player of my generation. Sean Payton is a terrific coach who will always be remembered for calling that onside kick to start the second half. The Saints are loaded with talented receivers, three quality running backs, and an opportunistic defense that improved throughout the season. That’s not destiny–it’s reality.

The Saints won because they played the better game. It’s just that simple. Move over destiny, it looks like you need to make some room for delusion.

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