Football in 2017 is terrible. Absolutely terrible.
It’s a good thing we have a short list of absolute studs (Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Le’Veon Bell, Carson Wentz, Todd Gurley, Everson Griffen, Zach Ertz and Jason Witten, etc.) to make the games entertaining, or the missed tackles, broken coverages and terrible quarterbacking would be intolerable.
Of course, it would also make this weekly column unnecessary. So...keep on keepin’ on, NFL.
Countdown List of the Week: Three Benchings That Should Have Happened Before Eli Manning
3) Antonio Brown, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers
He’s a hazard to everyone around him. Why? Because he’s always breaking things — like records, and the laws of physics.
2) The Dallas Cowboys
No Ezekiel Elliott? No Sean Lee? You’ve just eliminated two thirds of the players worth watching in Jerry Jones’ dumpster fire of a team.
1) Ben McAdoo, Head Coach, New York Giants
He can’t prepare a team, can’t make in-game adjustments, looks like a deer in headlights every time the camera is on him, has the worst mustache in the NFL, and might have a lower football IQ than Lady Gaga. But that’s not why he’s on this list. No, he’s here because, to replace Manning, he selected Geno Smith. Geno-Freakin’-Smith. Manning at his worst (i.e., Manning in 2017) is a lateral move to Smith at his best. There’s no difference: no field vision, terrible decision making and doing absolutely anything to avoid taking a hit (including throwing terrible interceptions). Their season is officially, mathematically over. There is, literally, no reason whatsoever to not throw Davis Webb to the wolves for the rest of the season to see how he does. At least, then, you know if you need to draft another quarterback early in 2018. Putting Smith at the helm is simply McAdoo mailing it in until Black Monday when he is allowed to fade into the obscurity of the one-and-done coaching dustbin.
Meme Tweets of the Week
The key is to not have orange in your logo...or be from Kansas City
In NASCAR racing, it was quite literally decades and decades before a green car was not considered to be terrible, deadly luck.
Is there a similar curse in the NFL in 2017? There are five teams with orange in their color schemes. Only one — the Bengals -- picked up any wins in November. That’s gotta mean something, right?
Then there are those Chiefs, who have no orange. Their primary, non-white colors are red and yellow, though, and those two colors combine to make...yup: orange.
The moral of this tale: only idiotic writers like me would think something as inconsequential as the color of a team’s uniform dictates how many games they will win in November.
How is “Brandon Weeden’s Youth” not part of this?!
Construction the NFL's worst ever quarterback pic.twitter.com/Xuht3bmqMy— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) November 26, 2017
Other things we could add to this list: Eli Manning’s “generosity”; Ryan Leaf’s testicular fortitude.
I’m pretty sure Denver fans have a great coping mechanism
Toke it easy, Broncos fans. No need to buzz off like that. Eventually, every team comes down from their high horse. The key is having the stones to recover and give it another go next year. For the rest of this season, it’s best that you just take the hits as they come. Sure, your players are burned out now, huffing and puffing with despair. But never fear: this, too, shall pass along. It will fade like smoke in the dark. It’s tough to get rolled up like that, week in and weed out, I know.
I have a few parting words to my friends in Denver. Keith: Don’t be frowning all the time. Doobie smiling, despite it all. Mark, you can come to my place when you’re in town and have a cold beer, on me. Mary, ju wanna come too?
Winless Teams Watch
It’s not funny anymore. It really isn’t. I mean, how can karma allow the freakshow in Cincinnati to continue, maybe even with the Bengals sneaking into the playoffs again, and possibly even saving head coach Marvin Lewis’s job for yet another season, despite mounting evidence that he’s a terrible leader with absolutely zero killer instinct or control over his players? Meanwhile, Cleveland — the near-literal Pit of Misery, if we are being honest — can’t catch a break.
How bad has the 2017 season gotten for the Browns? This bad: their punter, Britton Colquitt, left the game with a possible concussion. His replacement, kicker Zane Gonzalez, had one punt in the game. It was good for 16 yards.
For the record, Steelers linebacker James Harrison was once called upon for an unlikely special-teams substitution, taking over as the long snapper. His snap might have doubled the distance of Gonzalez’ punt.
Stat of the Week
In eight games before the Steelers’ bye week, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had three games in which he threw more than one touchdown. He has thrown at least two touchdowns in all three games since their bye. Before the bye, he had 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. In the three games since, he has 10 touchdowns and three interceptions.
And, of course, there is this gem: before the bye, he had -11 yards on 16 rushing attempts. Since the bye, he has six carries for 40 yards.
- There is a video making the rounds right now of a few Steelers fans fighting in the stands of Heinz Field during the team’s victory over the Packers Sunday night. It’s disgusting behavior. But, as I was listening closely, trying to figure out what the fight was about...I heard it in the background...that phrase that now makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end...at the 14-second mark: “dilly dilly!”
- Sign of the Times: this has irked me since NFL.com redesigned their site prioer to the 2017 season. Looking at their main navigation menu, the options are: News, Scores, Schedule, Standings, Video, Fantasy, and “...” They no longer have Statistics in their main links list. You have to click the ellipses to see it in the “other” site links. There are a lot of things I don’t know, but I do know this: when fantasy sports becomes more important to fans than understanding the statistics behind the sport, the apocalypse is surely nigh upon us.
- Aqib Talib and Michael Crabtree are knuckleheads who got both ejected and suspended. So, any intelligent football fan is right to ask, at this point: how on God’s green Earth is Vontaze Burfict still in the league?!
For a majority of people in this world, and specifically Americans, December is a time of festivities. Christmas (both religiously and secularly), Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are major moments for many of us. But let’s not forget, as we dine on massive meals and share expensive gifts, that there are those who will be without even the basic necessities for extended periods, and in one of the coldest months of the year. As Charles Dickens said in A Christmas Carol, “many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts ... it is a time when want is keenly felt, and abundance rejoices.”
Take care of your fellow man, this holiday season and all the year. You never know when the tables will be turned and you will be the one in need.