About the author: Liz Bhandari is an NFL writer, podcaster, and blogger based out of Manchester, England. She is the host of the popular podcast @GridironWine and is the event planner for #NFLUKFanMeetUp events.
Last week, rumours circulated around the Los Angeles Chargers being linked with a move to London. It was very quickly denied by the owner, Dean Spanos who said he has no intention of moving the franchise to London despite reports of a potential relocation. The best part though was their social media team’s reaction and reference to the iconic scene in Wolf of Wall Street where Leonardo Di Caprio’s character Jordan Belfort tells the office, “I ain’t f****** leaving!”.
The trade deadline has passed, and it was pretty uneventful. Yes, there were a few trades in the week leading up, but, as it often does, it ended up being a lot of rumors and wishful thinking. What this week has brought, however, is a handful of odd stories that have many shaking their heads.
Let’s start with Tom Brady. Brady, the 42yr old, future Hall of Fame, current Patriots quarterback, has never played for another team and truly no one could imagine him doing so. Until this week. I think it started with Jason La Canfora’s article saying Brady has an interest in playing for the Los Angeles Chargers next year if he’s not in New England. It snowballed after that, with fans and media grabbing the idea and running with it.
As the NFL season heads into Week 5, I’m seeing a bunch of complaints from fans regarding the officiating. Everything from missed to horrendous calls is being written about in social media and is causing much consternation among fan bases. Some are even taking these calls personally.
As for me, I tend to be a bit of a stickler for grammar and such things. I like it when people use the correct terms for officials and I very seldom see people appropriately credit the Line Judge or Referee with doing the job they have.
So, I thought it might be time to share with you all the basics of NFL Officiating: what are the “positions” and duties of these people who seem to have more and more impact on how games are being played.
On Saturday all 32 teams finalized their 53-man roster, releasing and waiving players in a surprising frenzy. The big news, of course, was the blockbuster trade of Houston Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks.
The Texans were willing to pay roughly half of Clowney’s $15.9 million salary for 2019 despite the franchised tag they placed on him. I would call that a win for Clowney and he gets to be a part of a newly built Seahawks front defense that now consists of Clowney, linebacker K.J. Wright, DE Ziggy Ansah, defensive lineman L.J. Collier, and LB Bobby Wagner.
As I try to follow up after this sentence, the words that I truly want to say are just not coming out the way I would like. But at the age of 29, the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback called it a career due to so many setbacks from injuries throughout his career.
“I’ve been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab-injury, pain, rehab-and it’s been unceasing, unrelenting, both in-season and offseason. And I felt stuck in it, and the only way I see out is to no longer play football.” Andrew Luck stated in an impromptu press conference initially set for Sunday afternoon. “I’ve been stuck in this process and haven’t been able to live the life I want to live.”
Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon has been reinstated to the NFL on a conditional basis. Many thought his last suspension would be permanent, but Commisioner Roger Goodell released the following statement today, stating they were giving him another chance to turn his troubled career around.
“Commissioner ROGER GOODELL notified JOSH GORDON of the New England Patriots that he will be reinstated to the NFL on a conditional basis.
Effective Sunday, Gordon may rejoin the Patriots to attend meetings and engage in conditioning work and individual workouts.
Subject to appropriate progress on clinical care and other arrangements, he will be permitted to participate in team activities including practice. Because he will not have had sufficient conditioning and practice time, however, he may attend but may not play in the Patriots’ Thursday, August 22 game.
“We are all rooting for Josh to succeed, both personally and professionally,” said Goodell. “Everyone shares in that hope and will continue to support him to every extent possible. But as Josh acknowledged, ultimately his success is up to him.”
Gordon had been suspended indefinitely since December of 2018 for violations of the NFL-NFLPA Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. “
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s proposal to increase the number of Seniors, Contributors and Coaches candidates as part of a special Centennial Class of 2020 was approved by the Hall’s Board of Trustees during its annual meeting yesterday.
The measure is intended to honor the NFL’s Centennial Celebration through a special Centennial Class that will be comprised of 20 members in 2020. The group will include five Modern-Era players, 10 Seniors (a player who has been retired for more than 25 seasons), three Contributors (an individual other than a player or coach) and two coaches.
The Hall of Fame Board passed the resolution that will suspend the Hall of Fame’s current Selection Committee By-Laws for the Class of 2020 election cycle only.
The Center position in football, in my opinion, has been vastly underrated. In terms of continuity or success for an offense, it all starts in the middle. The center has to know the play, snap the ball and then immediately get busy protecting his quarterback.
Amid a multitude of pre-snap decisions, the center must have an awareness that, at times, surpasses that of the QB. His reaction to what the defense is doing and the possibility of an audible from that QB ultimately determine the success of every single play. EVERY. SINGLE. PLAY.
While only ten of these unsung positional experts have been recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I’m pleased to say that this year there will be an eleventh: New York Jet Kevin Mawae!
When we were dividing up the articles for the 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame class, I jumped on the chance to write about Champ Bailey. Most of you know I am a lover of defense, and Champ was in a class by himself.
Cornerback Champ Bailey was drafted in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft. It almost seems impossible that it was that long ago simply because it feels like he just left the game yesterday. Champ spent his first five seasons with Washington, then moving on to Denver in 2004.
His stats are staggering. Impressive from the start, Champ had five interceptions in his rookie year, including three against the Arizona Cardinals on Oct 17, 1999. In Denver, he had three division titles, started in two AFC Championship games, and one Super Bowl. 52 career interceptions, returned for 464 yards and 4 touchdowns. First Team All-Pro 4 times, Second Team All-Pro 4 times, voted to 12 Pro Bowls and named in the All-Decade Team for the 2000s. He holds the NFL record for most consecutive games with an interception (5).