FOOTBALL TENSION, LETTER TO JOHNNY FOOTBALL, NFL PREVIEW, COLLEGE RISERS/FALLERS & TEBOW HATERS

September 4, 2013

OK–all together now— breathe in and breathe out. We, as a football nation, need to lighten up just a bit. If its not those meaningless preseason stats its those overblown College Football polls. This time of year its very easy to get very excited or very disappointed in what is about to happen to your favorite football team. Some tension is merited, most of it is a waste of time.

Besides fireworks and Duck Dynasty, there is nothing more overrated than the preseason in the NFL. Your starters play a few quarters  (if that) giving way to those trying to salvage their last few pro paychecks. Some even judge their team’s win-loss record in the month of August??!  Do I need to remind you that the worst team in the history of the league, the winless 2008 Detroit Lions were yes—undefeated in the preseason.

The only thing more overrated than preseason games are preseason practices—especially in this day and age of social media. Every great catch, hit or drop is instantly tweeted or posted on Facebook. Its time for all of us to look forward to the coming months in favor of stressing out on the meaningless present—the real stuff is about to kickoff –that you can truly stress over?

Overreacting, Overbearing and Over Obnoxious football fans headline this week’s jog around the Naborhood ….

LETTER TO JOHNNY FOOTBALL: Dear Johnny,

You don’t know me, I’ve interviewed you a few times but you have no reason to remember. Unlike many others, I haven’t criticized you for the majority of your post Heisman hangover moments. I, like you was a college student once and liked to consume a few beverages and attend my share of parties. Because of that, I’ve never had a problem with you having a good time and think its funny that several of your critics have forgotten how much fun they had in college.

With that said, I don’t understand why you gave all of your critics easy ammunition in your first game back. I understand that you’re a target and that many are jealous of you but don’t make it easy on them. Doing your fake autograph celebration and pointing to the scoreboard to Rice? Rice??  Really Johnny? C’mon your better than that. The reports of your unsportsmanlike conduct exploits—can’t even name those Rice defenders you taunted because—no one knows who those guys are?!!

Everybody knows you for a reason—you are the most exciting player in college football. That’s a great honor and with it comes an added responsibility. You didn’t sign up for that one (sorry that was mean) but it comes with all the good stuff. In the future I won’t judge you for your partying but please don’t let me down—punish your critics the best way you know how—with more Johnny Football!

NFL PREVIEW: Ok I never pick my college football favorites because of all the turnover each season. College polls should follow my lead and wait till October but we talked about that last week—the NFL is another story. For the most part the core is intact for most of the contenders. I’m confident the Patriots and Broncos will win their respective divisions because the other teams are so bad. I feel the Texans are one of the steadiest teams around so give me Houston in the AFC South and I like the Bengals supplanting the Ravens in the AFC North. My AFC wildcards–how about the Ravens and the Colts who will be better than most people think.

The NFC is tougher—I like the Saints to make the playoffs  “if” and its a big iffie–if they can play just average defense but right now would pick the Falcons to win the NFC South. I also like the Niners to win the NFC West and I have a few surprises after that. I love the Lions to edge the Packers in the NFC North and how about  the Eagles in the NFC East as I can’t wait to see Chip Kelly and Michael Vick add their “creativity” to the pro ranks. My wildcard NFC teams will be the Seahawks and Saints. So there you have my playoff contenders—let’s get to the good stuff:

SUPER BOWL MATCHUP: The Niners are the best team I have seen in recent memory and they show no signs of letting off the gas pedal–I like Colin Kaepernick to take more steps forward than Russell Wilson–even though he’s one of my favorite players to watch. While I like the Broncos, they are just losing too many players on the defensive side of the ball–so while it would be easy to go with the Patriots, I like the Texans to finally have their breakout year and come out of the AFC. So on Super Bowl Sunday in the New Jersey–you heard it hear first—San Francisco beats Houston 27-24!

BREAKOUT STAR: REGGIE BUSH: The former Saint proved a lot of people wrong with his play in Miami where he showed he could run between the tackles if given the opportunity. I hope you Fantasy Football Freaks drafted him high because having Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson–look for this brand new Lion to give Detroit its own version of the tripletts. They have been looking for a running back for years—they have the right man in Reggie.

MAKE OR BREAK SEASON: JOSH FREEMAN: I’ve never seen an athlete stood up for, for so long in one market than suddenly sold out like the Bucs quarterback. Freeman’s supporters have made all kinds excuses for him his first four years in the league—he’s still young, he’s had too many coaches etc etc etc. Enough with the excuses, the play of Andrew Luck, Kaepernick and Wilson last season made Freeman’s supporters look foolish—its a contract year, he has plenty of toys in that offense—put up or shut up time for the Bucco this fall.

BREAK DOWN: JASON GARRETT: The Dallas Head Coach is a Lone Star time bomb. Jerry Jones embarrassed him this offseason by taking play calling duties away then dishing them out to Bill Callahan. This will be Garrett’s last season in Dallas and expect Jon Gruden to finally jump out of the broadcast booth to restore order with America’s team. While it may be tricky with Chucky and Jerry—Gruden will love the spotlight of Big D and the challenge of making Tony Romo a winner in the postseason.

COLLEGE RISERS & FALLERS: I don’t have any helmet stickers handy but I will enjoy dishing out college football awards every week. What a fantastic opening week of College Football where for a change several games and players lived up to the hype.

HEADLINER: CLEMSON: It was all there for the taking and Clemson tackled its demons. Big game, big spotlight and the Tigers for a change won a game many doubted they could. In a game against Georgia that was every college football fan’s just dessert—there might not have been any defense but there was plenty of Tajh Boyd and company making plays at the expense of the Dawgs. Boyd is off and running on his Heisman trek and Clemson has done what the majority of the country hasn’t—they have figured out the SEC. Back to back wins over LSU and Georgia set the tone for the Tigers—it’ll be fun to see if they don’t fall to those ACC lightweights as they have in recent years.

HIGH RISER: JAMEIS WINSTON: Alabama finally lost one—they couldn’t haul in FSU’S Jameis Winston. The Hueytown Alabama native shunned the Tide and could be the best thing that ever happened to Jimbo Fisher.  Pretty decent debut—25 of 27 for 356 yds, 4 TD and no picks. Sure its only one game but who are we kidding—its more than that—-this kid is special, will only get better and while I like Johnny Football he’s everything Manziel isn’t.  A few weeks ago he told the media he won’t get “Manziel disease.” We’ll see on that—one thing he does have in common with Johnny—both were shunned by Texas Head Coach Mack Brown—whose talent evaluation is taking a beating on the recruiting trail of late.

FREE FALLER: USF: and I save my worst for last—oh those USF Bulls. The Willie Taggert Era started so promising with an 80 yard run from the first play from scrimmage—- but after that Division I-AA McNeese State would score the next….40 pts?? Yes the Cowboys picked up a 53-21 win and a 400,00 pay day. According to footballgeography.com–its the worst defeat EVER by a 1-A team to a 1-AA in 35 years–dating back to Boston College losing to UMass by 27 points in 1978. Skip Holtz was a nice man but boy did he leave the cupboard bare in Tampa—but the Holtz fallguy excuse can only last for so long…..

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT: OK it looks like I was wrong—maybe Tim Tebow can’t be fixed. It appears his wild and never boring NFL career is over. It was quite the four year run as Tebow became the first Heisman trophy winning QB to lead his team to a playoff win since Vinny Testaverde in 1998. The only other Heisman winners to do that–how about Roger Staubach and Jim Plunkett.

I can admit when I’m wrong but what I will never understand is the joy that so many get at Tebow’s expense. So many are happy with his demise where if this makes you feel good its really pathetic. Many and that includes his religious following put the former Gator on a pedestal but don’t blame that on Tebow. He’s a good kid who was a fantastic college player who came up short in the pro’s. He will go on to live a productive life —those happy he failed explain to me why this gives you such joy??

EXTRA POINT: Another reason not to panic football fans—eight times in the history of  the NFL—- a team who lost their first game of the season went on to win ….a Super Bowl?! Yes—take a breath and enjoy Week one!

UNTIL NEXT BLOG,

Mike

 

 

 

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