Grizzly Bomb is proud to continue our partnership with the No Redeeming Qualities Podcast! This week, we found out how little the guys actually know about James Bond and D.B. Cooper.
I know nothing about football. Seriously. I’ve picked up a couple athlete names over the years, and I can name a bunch of teams (both NFL and CFL) but really, I know nothing about football. Which says a lot about The League, as it has become one of my favorite shows on TV despite my lack of knowledge regarding their favorite sport. Funny is funny, and that’s what makes these following teasers amusing to a guy who barely understands them.
Do I know who these football players are? No. I do know they play football, and are known by the characters of The League, and damn it, that’s good enough for me. So while a lot of my fellow fans mention the appearance of this foozball star here or that foozball star there, I am more than happy to sit back and watch Taco be Taco.
The 2012 NFL regular season has come to an end. For those that advance to the playoffs, congratulations, you get to continue on your march towards the grand prize: The Lombardi Trophy and the legendary status of being a Super Bowl winner. However, for the others, some of you get to pack your bags because the NFL sometimes stands for Not For Long.
Today is Black Monday, the first Monday after the end of the regular season and the day where the pink slips are handed out to coaches and general managers for failing to achieve the only goal in the NFL and of Charlie Sheen: Winning. Today was especially bloody as we saw long-term coaches get canned, as well as some of the newer ones that probably did not get the chance they deserved to see the improvement through.
Regardless, let’s recap to who is looking for new jobs this winter.
Andy Reid is probably the biggest, and yet least surprising name on the list. The Philadelphia Eagles dismissed the 14-year head coach today after a massively disappointing 4-12 season. Despite six division titles, five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl appearance, the record that stands out is his last two years where he was 8-8 in 2011 after collecting superstars such as Jason Babin, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Dominque Rodgers- Cromartie. The defense was horrid and took even more of a hit after changing coordinators mid-season this year. He also was 1-4 in NFC Championship games and the Philly faithful won’t forget that. He knew this was coming and I’m sure he will welcome the change. It has been a rough few years as he had a myriad of family issues in Philadelphia that came to a head when his son was found dead at the Eagles training camp. He already is trying to inquire about coaching openings and building a staff so he should get right on his feet. I do think Philadelphia will miss him because his teams always makes runs at the division or the playoffs but after the last two years, it was time to move on.
On the somewhat surprising front, Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears was also let go just as his team was eliminated after the Minnesota Vikings victory over the Green Bay Packers Sunday night. After nine years with the Bears, he made the Super Bowl once in 2006 losing to Peyton Manning’s Colts. Again, a solid coach with a good record (81-63 with the Bears) but the collapses of recent years and the offensive struggles did him in. Last year, the Bears started out 7-3 before going 1-5 the rest of the way and this year started 7-1 before going 3-5 the down the stretch and missing the playoffs again. The end of the year consistency has not been there and despite having Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, and Matt Forte the offense has ranked 2nd to last in yards per game since being hired as head coach. Something had to change, especially with the NFC North offenses being powered by Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Adrian Peterson. They needed people to keep up with the vaunted defenses he fielded during his tenure. Again, he’ll definitely find work again, if anything as a D-Coordinator because he always employs great defenses dating back to his times with Tampa Bay and St. Louis.
In Kansas City, after locking up the 1st pick yesterday after getting thrashed by Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, Romeo Crennel was let go by the Chiefs. Again, no shock, but surprisingly GM Scott Pioli remains employed and most definitely, it’s the personnel that did in the Chiefs, not just the coaching. The reverse actually happened in New York when the Jets let go of GM Mike Tannenbaum and kept coach Rex Ryan. Again, personnel depth and the Tim Tebow trade probably destroyed Tannenbaum’s chances to redeem himself for 2013.
In San Diego, Norv Turner and GM A.J. Smith finally got canned after constant disappointment in their organization. Watching Philip Rivers regress and the drafting of LT replacements go south made the decision easy for the Chargers brass. I still think A.J. Smith should’ve been fired years ago after the way he handled LaDainian Tomlinson’s exit from the Chargers, and getting rid of Drew Brees. Plus getting rid of Marty Schottenheimer after a 14-2 season was pretty stupid, especially since the reason was because they had a ‘dysfunctional relationship’.
In other news, the Cleveland Browns got rid of coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert. New ownership took over so they just wanted their own people to take over and start fresh considering the ridicule the franchise gets nowadays. Shurmur has a great offensive mind so it will interesting where he ends up because of the job he did to help Sam Bradford (before he regressed). The Buffalo Bills also got rid of Chan Gailey after three losing seasons so that comes as no shock. With the Bills not making the playoffs since 1999, they carry the longest playoff drought in the league. The $100 million dollar signing of Mario Williams signing didn’t help the expectations as well so he had to go.
For now, the Arizona Cardinals end the red slip list with the firing of their coach Ken Whisenhunt and GM Rod Graves. Despite making the Super Bowl in 2009, the team could not recover from the Kurt Warner retirement and have been languishing in the bottom ever since despite having Larry Fitzgerald. The GM Graves didn’t help things by trading to get Kevin Kolb and handing him a $63 million dollar contract. Also getting destroyed 58-0 by the division rival Seattle Seahawks didn’t help keep the spotlight off their ineptitude.
So that’s the list so far, I guess we’ll see if we add more names to the list. Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers are probably on the clock as we speak…
Giants (12-7) versus Patriots (15-3) 6:20 ET on NBC (if we’re lucky kickoff will be before 7)
If you have been paying any attention at all to this weeks upcoming Superbowl game between the Giants and the Patriots there are two things you are probably sick and tired of hearing about. The health of Rob Gronkowski and the sequence of events that led up to David Tyree’s amazing catch in Superbowl XLII.
Revenge. There has been a lot of people predicting that the Patriots have the revenge factor going for them in this game because of the way the Giants ruined their perfect season. While I’m sure there is some serious residual sting from that loss for the Patriots players, it’s a losers lament and something that affects the fan base more than the players. Bill Belichick is not the kind of coach that is going to allow his players to blame anyone other than themselves for getting unexpectedly punched in the mouth by the Giants. The greater motivating factor for this years Patriots team is that the Giants were the last team to beat them this year. The teams are on a combined 15-0 run but as I chronicled before the Pats haven’t played a lot of talented teams and just barely got out of the Baltimore game alive whereas the Giants are gaining momentum at just the right time and have been beating the cream of the NFC.
Rob Gronkowski on the other foot is the other major story of the week. I have no doubt in my mind that the Gronk is going to play in the Superbowl. Whether they numb him up, he just plain guts it out, or he goes out of his mind on cocaine like L.T. used to do in the 80’s, he is going to be on the field this Sunday.The big debate is as to how effective he will be. If the Patriots can drive the field and get into the red zone I feel that Gronkowski with his freakish size will still be an effective end zone threat, a place that he has thrived all season. The Giants should be able to limit his impact on the rest of the field however by jamming him at the line and taking advantage of the fact that his speed should be hobbled.
Vegas has the Patriots listed as favorites giving three points to the Giants however I feel like this is the Gee Men’s game to lose. The Giants are better than the Patriots in every category except Quarterback. The trio of Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham is deadly and doesn’t allow defenses to key on any one guy. Big Blue’s running game has been much maligned all season and just hasn’t been the game-changing strength that it has been in previous years but I’m still taking Bradshaw and Jacobs (Thunder and Lightning) over Green-Ellis and Woodhead (The Law Firm and Mighty Mouse) especially the way the Offensive Line has been coming together for the Giants. Both the Patriots and Giants secondary has been questionable all season but now that the Giants are healthy they have this category in the win column and have the extra edge of being able to use more defenders on the strength of what could possibly be the best front four in the NFL.
That leaves us with the last X-factor of the game being Brady versus Manning. When you think of Brady v. Manning the first image that comes to your head is the Elder Manning, but this year he will again be watching from the luxury boxes as Eli battles on the field. In years past this would be a match up that you didn’t even have to really think about. Brady was the better and more consistent Quarterback with all the experience and swagger to go with it and Eli was the on-again off-again sufferer of the “Manning Face” who could either throw for 350 yards or throw for three picks.
This year we have seen a different Eli. The Manning Face still creeps up from time to time but I have been really impressed with the consistency of Eli’s game this year and last week against the Niners he showed some serious toughness as he shrugged off sack after sack without letting it affect his pocket presence. Tom Brady on the other hand is starting to show a few chinks in the armor and had a self-admittedly horrible game against the Ravens and there is a reason it’s not the same old Brady versus Manning this year. These guys are getting older and with all the hits and injuries you have to endure it’s hard to have a long career in the NFL. That being said Brady doesn’t have bad games two weeks in a row, he has the backing of one of the greatest game planners in the game with Bill Belichick and the Patriots won’t make the mistake they made in 2008 of underestimating the Giants.
So who takes home all the enchiladas on Sunday? Homerism aside, sort of, I am staying with the New York Football Giants. All of the factors seem to be in there favor. The only category the Patriots dominate the Giants in is at TE and their most important TE is hobbled. You can argue successfully that the Pats have the edge at Head Coach and Quarterback but the margin is not that wide. The Gee Men have a great Defense right now and unlike teams who have been carried to Superbowl victories on defense alone, see 2000 Ravens, the Giants also have a great offense. Defense wins Championships but it doesn’t hurt to be able to sling some arrows too. The greatest factor the Giants have going for them is that they are peaking at the right time and that has been the blueprint for winning Superbowls for years now. The Giants rode a similar kind of wave in 2007, the Saints and the Packers did the same thing the last couple years and look for the Boys in Blue to do it again this year. One more thing Patriots fans. Try winning a Superbowl without Adam Vinatieri! The Patriots three Superbowl victories were each decided by three point and two of those were game winners by Vinatieri who has also since won another Superbowl with the Colts.
Final Score: Giants 27, Patriots 20
Ravens (13-4) at Patriots (14-3): 3:00 ET on CBS
The last time these two teams met in the playoffs (2009-10) the Patriots lost the game before it really even started. The Ravens came out hungry and utterly dominated the Pats in the first quarter scoring on their first play from scrimmage a 83-yard touchdown from Ray Rice. It was an absurdly lopsided game in which Joe Flacco threw only 10 passes and the Ravens rushed 42 times for 221 yards. Bill Belichick and the Patriots that remain from that season assuredly have that game burned into their memory and likely have seen all too much of that game tape in the study rooms this week. The keys to success for both teams are still very relevant from then to now.
The Ravens need to start strong and use their defense to throw Tom Brady and the Patriots off their game hopefully creating turnovers. They will also need to establish a strong running game in order to bring more balance to their pass attack. Joe Flacco has a much improved receiving core between Anquan Boldin, Lee Evans and speedster Torrey Smith. Conversely the Patriots need to control the Ravens run game, limit their turnovers and make Joe Flacco and his mustache beat them.
The Patriots are really a puzzling team. They finally got the playoff monkey off their back by dominating the Broncos for their first playoff win since losing Superbowl XLII. Let’s be honest though, the Broncos are not a good team and if you look at the Patriots schedule it’s been a long time since they played any really good teams.Since their bye week they lost to the Steelers and Giants (2 good teams) and then beat the Jets, Chiefs, Vickless Eagles, Colts, Skins, Bronocs, Dolphins and Bills. Not a lot of good competition in there.