Every year we hear about the NFL coaching carousel. This year is juicier than most. We've seen firings galore. Smith, Trestman, Allen, Ryan, Fox, all zapped. We've seen one guy (Marrone) just pack up and opt out. We've seen a migration to, not from, the NCAA, and from a projected top contender too. That would be Harbaugh of course.
But it's the hirings that are making news now, and it's not for their spectacular earth-moving impact either. In most cases, it's more like "Oh no, what were these guys thinking??" Meanwhile, rivals within the divisions and elsewhere are probably popping champagne corks. Sometimes it's not just the new hires, it's also the holdovers. Whatever it is, status quo lovers probably like what they see.
Seattle and the Cards (maybe even the Rams) are surely happy about the NFCW. The high-profile Niners hired their own DL coach Jim Tomsula to replace John Harbaugh, and his first viral quotation was "It takes a village." Really? Perfect fit for San Fran where, unfortunately, the team no longer plays. Perfect fit for the NFL? I hear Singletary was available. Tomsula is actually a tough guy. Who quotes Hillary Clinton. But so was Singletary, except for the Hillary Clinton part. The Niners seem to prefer... um... what do they seem to prefer exactly? The press isn't im-pressed. So what do they know anyway? They may be right on this one, even if only due to the Law of Averages. Might be an irreparable case of the inmates running the asylum.
For Green Bay and Detroit, things are looking up in the NFCN. Da Bears moved to fix everything by hiring John Fox. This guy couldn't win with John Elway slinging loaded checks at everything that moved trying to make him a bigger figurehead success than Erik Spoelstra. The Bears needed a hands-on guy who breathes fire, not a caretaker. Perhaps I underestimate the man. Nah. Does anybody see John Fox turning around a train wreck? And sputtering Minnesota has retained Mike Zimmer, whose 7-9 debut hardly left the frontrunners looking over their shoulders.
The Chargers and Chiefs probably feel pretty good about next year in the AFCW right about now. Back at the ranch, John Elway is considering... Gary Kubiak? Pretty good OC. Like Elway needs an OC. Pretty bad HC. But if Diva Manning walks away, the situation changes. Kubiak thrives without a QB. Look what he did in Houston, after all. You do get the sarcasm? Oh, Elway is also considering Adam Gase. His own OC. There seems to be an obsession with OCs. Peyton Manning's OC? That's like hiring Genghis Khan's bodyguard. Or maybe Warren Buffett's financial advisor. But fear not, Bronco fans (of which I believe few outside Colorado exist) --- we hear Doug Marrone is on the interview list too. Thank goodness, huh? Maybe Manning is insisting on a total yes man. Meanwhile, Jack Del Rio to Oakland? Maybe the best news the Raiders have had in ages. This guy got Jacksonville to contend for a spot until late in the season for years. Soon as he left the same team sank like a rock. He's got his work cut out for him, but count me as a believer until shown otherwise. They have nowhere to go but up. But it's too far to go in one year to scare the rest of the division, or so one would think.
The Patriots are used to winning the AFCE, as in more used to it than anybody ever anywhere. Uninformed folks elsewhere assume that's because the division is weak. But at least earlier this season, the division had the best out-of-division record in the NFL over the past 10 years. And things may actually be looking up for New England. How? Rex sounds at first blush like a good fit in Buffalo. But wait... a few minor issues here. How is Schwartz going to tolerate Rex running the defense? He's not. He's fired. Schwartz was a pain, but Buffalo's D was playoff caliber with him. Is hiring Rex just fixing what ain't broke? He clearly intends to focus his energy on the D. The QB situation, on the other hand, is what Buffalo needs work on. It's hard to picture Rex holding Orton over. It's harder to picture him starting EJ Manuel. Wait a minute... no it's not. Buffalo has needed a solid QB since the front office forced Wade Phillips to bench Flutie. You want Rex in charge of that? And back in New York, Todd Bowles to the Jets probably doesn't bowl over the NY crowd, but it could prove a sleeper pick. Ok, so it doesn't bowl me over either. You? Round it out with Miami bizzarely rewarding Joe Philbin with another year after the team folded up like an accordion being squashed by a Mack truck.
The NFCE contenders aren't too worried. New York will retain Tom Coughlin, probably a good idea considering his track record with an average team. The Giants will have to scare Philly and Dallas with new personnel. Even Washington has no HC news. But down in DC, Bill Callahan becomes (maybe) the OL coach. Remember him? Jon Gruden's assistant in Oakland the year of the Snow Bowl in Foxboro? The one who inherited the team when Gruden split for Tampa and watched helplessly as Gruden stole all his carryover signals in the Super Bowl? That aside, he was the Boys' OL coach and apparently a good one. And the Skins need OL help badly. Hope he can block. Apparently Chuckie gave a good recommendation to his brother.
In the NFCS, is anyone not worried? The division was won by the putrid 7-8-1 Panthers, who were even worse than their record might indicate. Ron Rivera isn't going anywhere, and has finally begun to make noises like someone who swore off Camade. Lovie Smith and Sean Payton are back, but with what? And in the wake of the firing of Mike Smith, word is the Falcons have narrowed down their search for a new HC to Dan Quinn and Teryl Austin. Knew you'd be excited. But the division may be nervous anyway. Anything's better than Mike Smith, it appears. Could you lead the Falcons to two dismal seasons in a row? That takes work.
The AFCS is pretty motionless, and that speaks well for Indianapolis. Whisenhunt stays in Tennessee. O'Brien remains in Houston, perhaps the worst news for Indy. You know what to think about the threat from Jacksonville when you google 'Jaguars head coach' and all you get are hits on Del Rio being hired by Oakland. Not kidding. Just did it. Poor Gus Bradley.
We round things out with the AFCN, another motionless division, where no news is probably good news considering the level of play across the board. Cincinnati fans may be starting to object, but it will fall on deaf ears.
Hello ladies and gents, and welcome to this week’s grumble with IHM. This week, we’ve seen a little of this, a little of that… nothing all that impressive. You know, aside from the greatest week of football the NFL has to offer (the two day, four game bonanza known as the “Divisional Round”), the potential fall of a legend (Peyton Manning goes down to his successor Andrew Luck in said Divisional Round), the crowning of the first college football playoff champion (the Buckeyes somehow), and a bunch of other crazy crap. So, without any further ado… let’s get on to it!
As Moz has said many a time, the NFL’s divisional round is the greatest spectacle that the sport of football offers us. The best eight teams, all vying for a spot in their respective conference championship games, all hoping they will be the next team to get their hands on the Lombardi Trophy. This year’s crop of games did not disappoint… the Pats outlasted the Ravens in an instant classic, the Packers got some “controversial” help beating the Cowboys, the Colts surprised some and sent the Broncos home, and the Seahawks dominated the 7-8-1 Panthers.
And then there were four… the NFL’s final four features teams that don’t exactly shock anyone. The Patriots, Colts, Seahawks, and Packers are among the perennial favorites the league actually has. Each team was a virtual lock to win their division this year… with the exception possibly being the defending champion Seahawks who play in arguably the toughest division in the sport, the vaunted NFC West. Despite that, they edged out the 11-5 injury plagued Arizona Cardinals to win it in the final week of the season, and certainly benefitted from the surprising fall of the San Francisco 49ers.
As for this week’s games… the Packers make the trip to Seattle, where the Seahawks are nearly impossible to beat in the playoffs thanks to their “12th Man”… you know, that and their stifling defense and impressive ground game. With Aaron Rodgers less than 100%, it almost seems like a lock that the Seahawks will be afforded the opportunity to defend their title on February 1st at University of Phoenix Stadium in Harvey’s backyard!
As for the Patriots and Colts, if you look at what happened earlier this year when the Patriots dismantled the Colts nearly two months ago 42-20, it seems like Tom Brady will get another shot at shutting up Dick Sherman on the world’s biggest stage. Since then, the Colts are 7-1… the one loss being a 42-7 blowout at the hands of the Cowboys while they rested the majority of their skill players. The key here will be if the Pats have someone to lock down T.Y. Hilton, Andrew Luck’s go to guy. The Patriots are the clear favorites, but a key will be the ground game that has all but vanished since the week 11 drubbing of the Colts. This one has the makings of being an instant classic, especially if Tom Brady and Andrew Luck end up getting into an old fashioned shootout. My pick is the Patriots, but that pick is not made with a ton of conviction.
As for the college football playoff championship game, it might not have been pretty in the end, but we finally got what college football fans have been clamoring for for decades now… a playoff and a true champion crowned. No, TCU did not get a chance… and Baylor didn’t get in, but that was mainly their commissioner’s doing when he was too big of a pussy to name an outright conference champion! The funny thing is, the two teams everyone argues should be in would have supplanted the eventual champion, Ohio State. You can argue all day long that TCU might have beaten the Buckeyes, but then again, after witnessing the way that Buckeye defense was able to dominate both Alabama and Oregon, you’d probably be wrong! If the playoff proved anything it is this; Urban Meyer is the best coach in college football today… and when you give him that amount of time to game plan for a team, they are going to be tough to beat.
Now I am no longer a Buckeye fan. I was glad to see them win, sure, but after the Tressell debacle and the constant flow of garbage I heard out of that fan base defending that charlatan (and some STILL do to this day), I was out. I’m not jumping back on the bandwagon… merely observing what a guy like Urban Meyer brings to the table. But if there is a fan base I hate even more than that one, it would be Michigan’s! Well, obviously Penn State fans are the world’s #1 dirtbags… but that’s a different story for my next rant! I hope Michigan fan is paying close attention… especially now that the “savior” Jim Harbaugh is back in town. Is Harbaugh a good coach? Yes, he is. Is Harbaugh anywhere near the level of an Urban Meyer… or even Nick Saban? No chance in hell. He inherited a ready to go San Francisco team, which is the sole reason for his success in the NFL. San Diego State? They are a perennial contender in the MWC… they were before he came around, and they have been since he’s left. Stanford… his record there is less than impressive, 29-21, including going 1-1 in bowl games in his four years there. So be careful what you wish for Michigan fan… and just because you get it doesn’t mean you’ll be hanging any banners any time soon!
In other NCAA news, Oregon QB Marcus Mariota has declared himself for the 2015 NFL Draft, despite the flaws in his game that were exposed by the Ohio State defense in Monday night’s title game. Not sure about any of you, but in my opinion this guy has bust written all over him. Hell, I think I’d take a chance on Jameis before I went with Mariota. He’s a solid kid, great off field, but Winston is light years ahead of him as far as on field ability is concerned.
As was reported by AFD earlier this week, the NCAA is considering reinstating the 111 wins they initially stripped from Joe Paterno, an act that would once again make him the winningest coach in the history of college football. This of course comes a few months after they decided to shorten the bowl ban initially placed on the Pedo Cats, despite the fact that the university was proven to have covered up decades of child rape at the hands of assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Of course, dirtbag Pedo Cat fan is thrilled by this idea. Once again, lawyers step in and ruin something… if there is one thing I hate nearly as much as Matt Millen and pedophiles, it is fucking lawyers. And how about that… all of them have a connection to Penn State University. So get ready sports fans… you could very well see the bloated, perma-looking the other way corpse of Joe Paterno surpass an actual good man in Greg Robinson once again on the NCAA’s all-time coaching wins list… and you could possibly finally see my fucking head explode with disgust!
The Pistons have improved to 8-2 over their last ten, with losses to the Hawks (who are currently on a ten game winning streak) and Pelicans the only two blemishes on their suddenly solid record in the past two weeks, and are now just 2.5 games out of the 8 seed in the East. A major highlight included an impressive 114-111 win over the Raptors in Toronto in which Brandon Jennings had 34 points and 10 assists going up against arguably the best PG in the East in Kyle Lowry. If they can keep this up, the schedule favors them through February… and we could have a .500 or better basketball team here in Detroit!
Danny Ainge has been all over the map this year, making trades and picking up draft picks on what seems like a weekly basis so far this year. There are so many players coming and going in Boston, it’s starting to look like Kim Kardashian’s bedroom up there!
But all joking aside… the tanking in the NBA this year is just out of control! The Knicks, Lakers, Celtics, 76ers, and Timberwolves… all God awful and looking to get worse with every transaction! Wonder if Adam Silver is going to step in and do anything anytime soon…
Calgary Flames rookie LW Johnny Gaudreau is reportedly seeking to secure the trademark “Johnny Hockey” in both the US and Canada. Evidently Johnny wants to become the new most hated man in hockey. Now admittedly I don’t know much about the guy. He’s got a solid 32 points in 42 games so far this year, and he is a former Hobey Baker Award winner at Boston College… but come on man… you’re better than that! Leave the goofy fucking nicknames to former Heisman winning washouts!
That’s all I’ve got for this week folks. Thanks for reading and for any comments you leave on the way out, and have a great weekend Gabbers!
CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION: To the notion that the SEC is still the NCAA Football’s best football Conference. The setting has changed. The PAC-12 has made great strides the last couple of years, and the BIG-10 just got a big boosts from both Ohio State winning the National Title in convincing fashion and Jim Harbaugh returning to his alma mater Michigan. Add in the fact that TCU and Baylor had such impressive seasons with the fact that Texas will be back as a National power in a couple of years to Oklahoma and Kansas State always delivering , and it sounds like a four Conference race to see which Conference is the best.
CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION: that Nick Saban is college football’s best coach right now. While It is true that he has won National Titles at both LSU and Alabama, my money goes to Urban Meyer for what he has done as a Head Coach at Utah, Florida (two National Titles), and now Ohio State (2015 National Title). How the Buckeyes dismantled Wisconsin (59-0), Alabama (42-35, and Oregon (42-20) with a third string quarterback in its last three games just adds to the luster of Meyer’s impeccable coaching credentials.
CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION: that Jameis Winston will not be the #1 pick in the upcoming NFL Football Draft, and it just re-enforces our Nation’s love of the professional game that I am actually writing about the draft while we are still wrapped up in the Super Bowl hunt! Sure Winston has some off-field stumbles, but his talents for the switch from college to the professional game fit so well, I can guarantee that he is worth the gamble as the first pick of the draft. His talents say that he is a future star drop-back passer as long as he eliminates his off-field miscues.
CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION: That Phoenix is not front- row center the best sports city in the country for the next 6 weeks. Let’s see, we have the Pro Bowl (all-star game), followed by the Phoenix Open and the Super Bowl (on the same weekend), and then there’s Spring Training with fully ½ (15) of MLB’s teams training here. The Open is golf’s #1 attended event each year. Last year 176,000 went on Saturday, an all-time record. Add the fact that Tiger Woods will be playing there for the first time since 1997, and you have a recipe for a new all-time attendance record. The golf tournaments usually suffer without Tiger in the field; the one exception to this rule has always been the Phoenix Open.
CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION: that everything old really isn’t new again. NFL teams the Jets and the Broncos fired head coaches Rex Ryan and John Fox and, barely a New York minute later, Ryan was hired as head coach of the Buffalo Bills and Fox is the new guru of the Chicago Bears. These coaches are being recycled as fast as aluminum cans and 2 liter plastic bottles (except they are worth a bit more). The jury is still out on whether these two were good hires.
CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION: that the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is not letting in enough qualified players. I would rather that they erred to the extreme of leaving some deserving players out than opening the flood-gates and letting everyone in. I do believe, however, that guys like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens belong (to me they are both Top 10 all-time guys). It is time Cooperstown softens on the steroid hard-line that is in effect now in the voting process. My thoughts on the matter of steroids have evolved, and Cooperstown needs to alter its stance also. Baseball’s best players belong, and that includes two guys with permanent bans, Joe Jackson and Pete Rose. I hope these two are voted in someday by the Veterans Committee and it would be great if Pete is still alive to experience it happening.
CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION: That Randy Johnson will walk into Cooperstown clad in anything but an Arizona Diamondbacks cap and uniform. That’s my story and I am sticking to it. Congratulations to Arizona for your very first Hall of Fame player!
CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION: that J.J. Watt and Rob Gronkowski are really legitimate threats to win the NFL’s MVP Award this season. They are definitely the NFL’s best two players who are not quarterbacks, wide receivers, or running backs; I do not dispute that fact. They will gather some votes, but I do not see either getting even one first place vote. Call me naive, but I think all those #1 votes will go to the stud quarterbacks with maybe a few votes going to running back Demarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys, who had a remarkable season. We will all know in a couple of weeks when the league announces their winners.
CANCEL MY SUBSCRIPTION: again that everything old really isn’t new again. Someone emailed me this wonderful short documentary about a World War 2 American pilot who crashed a British Spitfire plane over 60 years ago. The event evolves full-circle to modern day in this short documentary from 2007 that won an award at the Sundance Film Festival. Enjoy:
Got any subscriptions that you would like to cancel? Leave a comment on the way out and consider it done!
It’s Thursday and it came quick this week, Started the new gig last week and was in training after training for the entire week. Finally made it to the new office on Friday for a few hours and met some of my new team. I’m their leader, but I won’t be leading until I find out what exactly my role is as leader. I say some of this in jest of course, but basically all their paperwork goes through me to make sure it meets state regulations. If I haven’t commented on your blog this week it means I’m just busy working longer days and have less time to spend on other things in the office. My apologies.
It was a great Football weekend once again . Did anybody really except Ohio State to beat Oregon? I had Oregon winning by a landslide and the Big 10 is my favorite conference it always has been and always will be. The one thing I really thought hurt Oregon was their aggressiveness.on defense. You had Ohio State pinned near the goaline twice, but they found a way out. Of course both times resulted in turnovers and one was definitely due to being aggressive. Like I said being overly aggressive...guys over pursued when tackling and trying to contain the quarterback and the running backs. Guys didn’t like tackle receivers as well. That is just my take.
The Baltimore Ravens have to be the dumbest team in professional football. Taunting penalties kill teams and that is what I mean by dumb. The Patriots good defense played horrible. Joe Flacco played a great game as did Forsett. But the Patriots in the long run found away. Come on admit it you loved the school yard play with Edelman, the former Kent State Quarterback launching a bomb. Belichick created confusion by subbing in guys with numbers not 50-79 on the offensive line and declaring them ineligible. It worked and it was within the rules. I got more hugs from drunk guys at this one then from my wife over the past few years. Even got a few from Drunk guys wives.. It was cold but worth it.
The Indianapolis Colts just shocked me going into Denver and beating the best defense in the league. Peyton was obviously hurting and didn’t perform up to expectation but neither did the rest of the team.
The Panthers gave Seattle more than they bargained for. I was hoping the Cowboys were going to play next week but I think the Packers have a shot if Aaron Rogers is a little more healthy. Of course I’m taking the Patriots. I will be at the AFC Championship Game Temp in the 40’s and light rain I’ll take it baby.
I didn’t see the Cowboys game. The Lake was finally frozen enough to skate on(I live on a lake) Solid Cold temps last week the entire week. So Sunday myself Lil Lanz and three of his buddies skated for about 3 hours from 2 til dark. We had a ball out there. Had some pond Hockey going and I couldn’t walk Monday it was fun. I think half our town was out there on Sunday. As matter fact, one of the teachers asked the boys if they were out there, as she saw them skating on the way to the supermarket. The boys were out again yesterday except Lil Lanz couldn’t skate with Hockey practice last night and newly sharpened blades . Pond Ice kills blades..
Some funny Rex Stuff comming out of Buffalo like he wants to buy a house in the town up there where it snows the most. The Sabres have just become his favorite NHL Team. Good for Rex he ien't going into a bad place he just needs a QB.
The Boston Celtics have had a fire sale. Geez I thought Red Could move players especially when he pulled off a deal with the Blue Jays to get Ainge ,but Ainge is like a friggin stock broker moving players wheeling and dealing. He acquired Austin Rivers but rumor has it he will be shipped to the Clippers maybe a lil insider trading going on there.
Lil Lakesiders report
The boys had the best weekend of the year. They won back to back games on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Extra practice Friday Night the boys did well. Lil Lanz picked up two assists on Saturday setting up his linemate quiet Stevie. Who ended wearing the hat. Lil lanz had a bunch of shots just couldn’t put one home. That wasn’t the case on Sunday he netted two. The goalies both stepped up big time both Ollie and Jonathon. Next week only one game in a USA Hockey Tourney.