Showing 1 - 10 of 303 posts found matching keyword: football
Very much has been made recently of Stephen Ross' fundraiser for Donald Trump. Ross is the billionaire owner of several lifestyle brands catering to the young and, shall we say, Trump-resistant set. Little has been made of the fact that Ross is also the principal owner of the Miami Dolphins. Dolphins' fans know all too well that Ross doesn't actually care about the consumers of the products he's selling.
A brief reminder: in September 2016, when some guy named Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel during the national anthem, the world came unglued. Players on other teams soon followed. Some owners (and many fans) made villains of Kaepernick, but others supported his activism, including Ross.
"I think these guys are really making a conversation of something that's a very important topic in this country, and I'm 100 percent supportive of them."
Unfortunately 2016 was an election year, and The Great Divider used the protests as evidence that American needed to be Made Great Again. After you-know-who was sworn into office in early 2017, Ross shifted with the political wind.
"I think it's incumbent upon the players today, because of how the public is looking at it, to stand and salute the flag."
Translation: they shouldn't protest because people don't like protests and it makes it harder for him to sell tickets to his terrible football games. Ross went so far as planning to fine and suspend players who offended his sensibilities until the players association forced him to back off. Way to be 100% supportive, bud.
Anyway, to those of you who claim to be shocked to discover that a billionaire businessman's only concern is how he can exploit you to make more money, welcome to the America Dream.
And here, just when I thought I'd never mention Jay Cutler on this blog again, his wife says that he sucked, quote, "harder than he's ever sucked before."
The joke writes itself.
If you can't see the joke as told by Stephen Colbert via YouTube above, try it at The Draw Play dot com.
Don't ever change, Jay.
I was planning on going to a professional football game this weekend when the Atlanta Legends played the Salt Lake Stallions at Georgia State Stadium on Sunday. But now I will not be doing that.
Not because I've got other plans or because I couldn't afford tickets. No, I will not be doing that because the Alliance of American Football has taken its ball and gone home. The league "suspended operations" yesterday, which is a euphemism for "went out of business."
Unlike previous off-Broadway versions of the NFL, I had been enjoying the AAF games. I loved their tweaks to the usual NFL rules. (No kickoffs. All extra point attempts had to be 2-point conversions. Referees for the referees.) Alas, it was too beautiful to survive. By which I mean, obviously, the NFL had to kill it.
The Alliance had been struggling for capital since they started play in February. Attendance and television numbers were actually very encouraging, but behind-the-scenes backing was not. The nail in the AAF's coffin was the NFL and NFLPA refusing to play ball and allow young, signed NFL talent to crossover and make the AAF a true developmental league like the World League was in the aughts. I can't say as I blame them. There's only so much money to be made from professional football, and right now, they have it all. Why should they share if they can get away without? (Capitalism Rule #1: Business ethics is an oxymoron.)
Anyway, I'll be free this Sunday afternoon. Maybe I'll take in a movie.
No sooner do the Dolphins trade one Ryan than they pick up another.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzgerald has been signed as the Dolphins' starting signal caller. The Dolphins will be Fitzpatrick's 8th team in his 14-year career. He'll set a record if he completes a single pass for the 'Fins in 2019. Long-term marginal competence has to count for something, and that something appears to be about $5 million, the price of Fitzpatrick's new contract. The team paid Jay Cutler twice that in 2017. He won 6 games. I guess they're expecting Fitz to manage only 3.
This will be Fitpatrick's third tour of duty in the AFC East. He's already passed through the locker rooms of both the Bills and the Jets. All totaled, he's managed a career 6-5 record against his new team. The only team in the division that hasn't hired him is the New England Patriots. He has a 2-9 record against them.
It's probably worth noting that during Fitzpatrick's entire career, the Bills, Jets, and Dolphins have had at least 13 starting quarterbacks — each — while the Patriots have had essentially one. (Technically, they've had 4. Tom Brady missed all of 2008 with a knee injury and served a 4 game suspension in 2016 because he likes saggy balls. But there was never any doubt who the team's starting quarterback was.)
Will Fitz bring his Fitzmagic to Miami in 2019? My Magic 8-ball says no. So does Vegas. Even before dumping Tannehill, sports books were down on the 'Fins. Last week, if you bet a dollar on them to win the Super Bowl, you could pocket $300. That's three times longer odds than are being given to any other team. Comparatively, the never-going-anywhere Detroit Lions are 100-1. Those were Friday's odds that the Dolphins could win their division. I'm sure the addition of Fitzpatrick isn't bringing them any closer.
Ye gods. It's going to be a long season.
One year ago, I wrote, "Sadly, it looks like another rebuilding year is in the cards for the 'Fins." I shouldn't have acted so surprised. Ever since a real estate baron bought the team in 2008, the rebuilding never stops in Miami.
It was pretty clear that 2019 was going to be a rebuilding year when Coach Gase was fired (with cause). And then Yesterday, the Dolphins traded starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill to the Titans. Ryan was a first-round pick (8th overall) in 2012. After 6 years — though only 4½ on the field thanks to some very questionable medical decisions concerning his oft-injured knee — he's now worth something less. (The Dolphins essentially gave away Tannehill plus $5 million for a 2020 4th round pick. That feels about right. He should have been a 4th round pick in 2012.)
With Tannehill gone, there are zero quarterbacks on the roster who have played a single snap in the NFL. That's a step up from 2017, when Jay Cutler filled in.
The question now is whether the Dolphins hire a cheap free agent to fill the void or will some rookie from the draft get the call? Neither of those seem like great options. I can't say as I'm very excited about the prospect of Jacksonville wash-out Black Bortles taking snaps, and there's no phenom like Andrew Luck coming out of college this year. 'Suck for [Drew] Lock' doesn't have the same ring.
Maybe I can find something else to do on Sundays this fall.
Today is Groundhog Day. By the time you read this, you will know whether or not we should expect more winter based on whether or not it was overcast when a particular groundhog woke up. (The most famous prognosticating groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, has seen his shadow in 104 of 131 years, and his chroniclers say he has been "right" only 39% of the time.)
The last time I mentioned Punxsutawney Phil on this blog was in 2008. That was also a Saturday, one day before the Super Bowl. The Patriots were playing in that game, too. The Patriots lost in 2008. Could the same happen tomorrow? I think that's the question we should be asking the groundhogs. Even if it always picked the Patriots, it would still be right more often than it is about spring.
Should old acquaintance be forgot....
The Dolphins, by which I mean Dolphins' owner Stephen Ross, got a good look at Santa's leftover naughty list and fired head coach Adam Gase on New Year's Eve. Said ESPN.com:
Gase couldn't escape the mediocrity that has followed the Dolphins since 2000. He finished 23-25 [.479], with his lone playoff game being a wild-card loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2016. Miami was 7-9 this season.
To be fair, Gase's record wasn't any worse than his two immediate predecessors (Philbin, 24-28 [.461], and Sparano, 29-33 [.468]), but he wasn't any better either, which was particularly damning for someone who was supposed to be such a great offensive genius.
The biggest indictment of Gase was that he often fielded an anemic offense despite being thought of as an offensive guru and quarterback whisperer when he got the job. The Dolphins finished 24th or worse in total offense in all three seasons under Gase, including 31st in 2018.
There's anemic, and then there's Adam Gase' offense. In 2018, the Dolphins weren't just the worst AFC team in total yards, they were also the worst AFC team at yards per game, first downs, third-down conversion percentage, and field goals attempted. On the positive side, they were the best in the AFC in punts attempted and total punting yards!
As surprising as it might seem in hindsight, Ross hired Gase to turn around the under-performing Ryan Tannehill in 2016 after Gase had performed a similar "miracle" with Peyton Manning. You read that right. Gase was Manning's offensive coordinator in Denver in 2013, and somehow he got credit for Peyton's record-setting comeback there, never mind that Peyton was already one of the all-time greats before the neck injury that slowed him down for the 2011-2012 seasons. The way people talk about Gase, you'd think he performed Peyton's surgery himself.
Anyway, whether or not Gase had any ability to improve his players before he came to the Dolphins is a moot point. In Miami, inability to recognize and develop talent is an infectious disease.
Frankly, I feel sorry for whoever comes to town next.
I'd been saying for several years that I should just take a day trip over to Legion Field to attend the annual Birmingham Bowl. This year, I finally put my money where my mouth was and bought tickets near midfield. I'm glad I did.
Friend Randy drove. He's always extra fun at football games. He often sees things on the field that I would miss. However, neither one of us spotted the fireworks on the field prior to the National Anthem. We weren't the only ones in the stadium caught off guard when rockets quite literally went off with a red glare, interrupting the poor singer struggling to cope with a bad sound system.
That wasn't the only time fireworks would catch us unaware. There were explosions after every score, it wasn't until halfway through the second quarter (score 28 to 7, Memphis lead) that we finally learned to anticipate the bang.
Dreamland BBQ was one of many vendors brought in just for the event, and we were surrounded by a cloud of delicious meat smoke for most of the game. Considering the warm December sun and enthusiastic (if smallish) crowd, it was an ideal way to watch a game.
All of which was set dressing for the game itself, which was fantastic. Memphis managed both an interception and kickoff returned for touchdown on back-to-back drives, and Wake Forest fell into an early hole which would take them more than three quarters to reverse. Memphis responded, and the game came down to a missed field goal at the final gun. Very exciting.
If every Birmingham Bowl was this good, I'd go every year.
I've had a lot of bad things to say about the Miami Dolphins as of late. Enough that after today's game, friend Keith sent me this text:
Dude. Stop complaining. Ya'll won for fucks sake.
Yes, we did! With the longest play from scrimmage (69-yards) to win a game with no time remaining in the fourth quarter by any NFL team since the 1970 merger. (I know that's a long qualifier, but I'll take what I can get.)
Watch it on YouTube.
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