I don’t believe any entity in sports knows how to create hype for seemingly innocuous events quite like the NFL.
This week they released the 2019 schedules in prime time. Social media was on fire with love/hate from each fanbase. And some teams spared no expense on video excellence in sharing their schedule with everyone.
Perhaps it’s just because so many teams don’t have a first-round pick in next week’s draft – Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, New Orleans – or maybe fans are just so hungry or anything football related, but the excitement surrounding this year’s reveal was amazing.
This season an unprecedented eight NFL teams will have new head coaches. And for six of these coaches, it will be their first time running the whole show.
Bruce Arians has stepped out of the booth and back onto the field in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have floundered recently and Jameis Winston hasn’t grown or flourished the way we expected him to when he was drafted in 2015. Perhaps promoting former NFL QB turned offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will be the first step in turning Winston around.
But the seven other coaches have their work cut out for them. Let’s take a look at these “rookies” and, maybe the biggest key to their success, who will be under center as they take the field.
This week, we are focusing on the positives of the AFC, its teams, its players and its communities making ‘good happen’. #GiveBack
But before I get to that, some news on the retirement front. Yesterday, it was announced that New England tight end Rob Gronkowski is officially retiring from the NFL, effective immediately. He will be missed. This week, there was another memorable retirement announcement from Philadelphia defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. He put new meaning into ‘going out on top’.
The Haloti Ngata Family Foundation‘s motto is: Improving the lives of others through love and strength. We wish him all the best in his future! Ngata definitely belongs on the #NFLGoodGuy list here at Our Turf Football.
The first day of the NFL’s “Free Agent Frenzy” period is over and a few teams made quite a splash. And even though free agency hasn’t truly started, the legal tampering period has brought some great news to some teams.
This is the time of year where Armchair Experts try to predict what their teams will do and are filled with either excitement over signings or depression when their team isn’t as active as they think they should be.
While the drama surrounding the trade of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders took a lot of the focus over the weekend, Monday’s free agent activity brought us all back into the mix.
The Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions made the loudest noise in adding talent to struggling teams. Their fanbases seem to be really excited about the possibilities these new players bring, but they aren’t the only teams who were active yesterday.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft became the talk of the football world last Friday. No, not for winning yet another Super Bowl. It was because his name came up as part of an investigation in Jupiter, Florida, that was targeting a human trafficking ring.
According to 15th Circuit State Attorney Dave Aronberg, Kraft was issued a summons yesterday, formally charging him with two counts of soliciting prostitution in a Florida spa.
While we wait to see what, if any, action the NFL will take against Mr. Kraft, I thought I would take a look at how the NFL hands out punishments to players, referees, team personnel and owners. And what I found has left me kind of disturbed.
With the success that the NFL’s youngest head coach, LA Rams HC Sean McVey, it was no surprise NFL owners wanted to try to find the same needle in a haystack. This offseason brought a fury of hirings of young head coaches. Smartly, those coaches are looking to veteran coordinators to fill out their coaching staff.
While teams like Tampa Bay decided to go with a veteran head coach in Bruce Arians, most other coach-needy teams decided to go young. Arizona, Green Bay, Miami, and Cincinnati have all hired coaches between the ages of 35 – 39.
Not that age has anything to do with coaching, but it does have to do with experience. Bringing in veteran coordinators and specialist not only is savvy, but it allows the HCs to be educated by some of the best.
To look at the NFL today it’s hard to imagine it without the diversity it displays, but there was a time when there wasn’t. In honor of Black History Month, we will look at the changes the NFL has gone through as it pertains to African American players.
African Americans have been a part of the American Football evolution as far back as the 1920s with players like Fitz Pollard and Bobby Marshall leading the way. The position of quarterback had not been a position that was openly offered to African Americans, but in 1968 that all changed with Marlin Briscoe.
Going into the 2019 NFL season many teams have needs. Some have different needs than others, but no need is more important than that of the quarterback. There are at least 5 teams that are going to need some help at that position.
The Denver Broncos addressed theirs by agreeing in principle for Baltimore Ravens benched QB Joe Flacco. While Flacco won’t be the answer long term for the Broncos, he will at least give them some time to find their franchise quarterback.
Many NFL analysts have ranted that this 2019 quarterback class, to say it nicely, is average. No one guy stands out at this moment. You’d have to assume Bronco’s GM John Elway agrees with that assessment since he pulled the trigger so quickly on Flacco. I’ve always felt that if you pick a player in the first round, that player has to start day one. I just don’t feel that there are day one starters in this draft, which in my mind is why Flacco is a Bronco.
So what does this signing mean for the other teams that are quarterback-starved? It means another free agent/ “Gap” quarterback is about to hit the market. If the Broncos can’t find a team to trade their one and done QB, Case Keenum to, then he is expected to be released.
Even after being named MVP of a Super Bowl LII, even after saving the Eagles 2018 season and taking them to the playoffs, Philadelphia continued to tell quarterback Nick Foles he just wasn’t good enough. QB Carson Wentz, who has been injured the last two seasons, will be their starter. Foles decided that it was time to move on, and he paid $2 million to do it.
The Eagles had picked up Foles $20 million option, but that would mean he would continue to carry a clipboard for Wentz. Foles paid the fee to be released from that option, but Philadelphia still has the ability to franchise tag him. This would give the team the ability to trade him. It has been reported that multiple teams are interested in bringing Foles on board. This isn’t surprising considering the state of the quarterback situation in the NFL.
The New England Patriots pulled out another win, hoisting for the 6th time the coveted Lombardi Trophy. It was not the epic game of the century, and it did not excite the masses.
But despite the typical performance of quarterback Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Julian Edelman, it is fascinating how the Patriots seem to resurrect the careers of players whose athletic efforts have been stagnant.
Everyone talks about the non-existent Bill Belichick coaching tree, but it may be because they are looking at it all wrong. The coaching tree actually morphed to the players on the field who came from other teams. Players who were the epitome of the walking dead until they came to life in New England. Whatever it is that Belichick is serving up in training camp, these free agency players are getting the banquet of a lifetime, in the form of Super Bowl rings.