Let’s just all admit it. The minute we saw that John Gruden had been paid an insane amount of money to become the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, we knew we were in for a wild ride. While his first season didn’t live up to the hype, it has been nothing but Must See TV ever since the season ended.
Let us quickly recap.
First, the disaster that was the 2018 season. With a record of 4-12, Gruden’s first season as head coach was underwhelming to say the least. In a year where the AFC West was a stand out division, the Raiders were the bottom dwellers. The tone of the season was set very early with the trade of linebacker Khalil Mack to Chicago, then later in the season the trade of wide receiver Amari Cooper to Dallas. Gruden didn’t hide the fact he was completely overhauling the team and managed to get some great draft capital in the process. While fans weren’t happy, the value received was fantastic.
It started as a dream. In 1892 two sports collided, soccer and rugby. On November 6, 1869, two prolific colleges, Rutgers and Princeton played what was advertised to be the first college football game. But it wasn’t until rugby player Walter Camp from Yale decided to change the rules to gradually turn the game of rugby into the game we now call American Football.
For the benefit of readers who will argue that their team should have been chosen to start the 100-year celebration, let’s put it in perspective. There is no question as to the birth of the game of football. In 1903 Pro Football was popularized in Ohio when the Massillon Tigers hired four Pittsburgh pros to play in the season-ending game against Akron. As teams started to implement rules of the game, like touchdowns and the forward pass, the game moved. In 1919, Earl (Curly) Lambeau and George Calhoun organized the Green Bay Packers. The Packers went 10-1 that season.
It’s been a pretty eventful offseason for the NFC North teams. Free agency has brought some good players into the mix, as my fellow reporter Wanda Wiedman has mentioned. New coaches and coordinators have been hired, and the teams are looking to solidify themselves with a successful draft.
The NFL offseason often brings a lot of changes and excitement to teams and their fans. Additions to teams, beloved players or coaches leaving, hold outs, the draft, drama is always present in the offseason. However, when a player retires, the drama seems to subside, and nostalgia takes over.
We all know its coming. No one can play football forever. But when a player has made an impact on the league, it’s hard to imagine them not being on the field anymore. It feels like a loss for fans, but a loss that they understand and respect.
The start of the 2019 NFL year has had a number of notable retirements, and its only March. Here are a handful of newly retired players that will be missed by fans.
Julius Peppers. Defensive God. His name alone put fear in the hearts of offensive coordinators around the league. In his amazing 17 year career which included time playing for the Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, and Chicago Bears, Peppers was a 6 time All Pro, with 9 Pro Bowl nods. It’s straight to Canton for Julius.
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.
Happy New NFL Year! It is the March Madness of the NFL. Legal tampering and free agency is well over a week old and it started off with quite a bang for some teams, including former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders and his former teammate, running back Le’Veon Bell to the New York Jets, and not to mention the huge trade that sent WR Odell Beckham, Jr. to the Cleveland Browns.
And although these big name signings and teams were bringing the month of March “in like a lion”, the Indianapolis Colts were, and still are, very quiet in the trade talks.
The Colts, who currently hold the most salary cap space for the 2019 season, have little movement going forward. Listening to many of his pressers and interviews, it should not be a shock that Colts’ GM Chris Ballard didn’t have any plans to sign any huge names or make big splashes. And there is nothing wrong with that, in my humble and honest opinion.
It’s that time of year… the NFL’s annual meeting of the Competition Committee is set to commence in Phoenix, Arizona, March 24-27.
During these meetings, the committee and teams can request changes to the Playing Rules, Proposals to change NFL Bylaws and creations of Resolutions.
This year, the biggest emphasis seems to be requests to adjust the scope of Reviewable Plays, whether by going through a representative of the league office, no longer limiting the number of challenges a coach can make, or increasing the scope of plays that can actually be reviewed.
The Philadelphia Eagles had requested a Resolution concerning the Thanksgiving Day games. Traditionally, the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys host the first two games of the day. Their request was for these games to alternate with one team playing “away” each year. That request has since been withdrawn.
It was bound to happen that Jonny Football would somehow end up in the Alliance of American Football. The news of former first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns, quarterback Johnny Manziel being released by the Montreal Alouettes and his subsequent barring from the CFL sent the sports world a flutter. There was an immediate reaction on Twitter of fans not wanting Manziel in the AAF because of his reputation of not taking the beloved sport seriously.
Manziel clearly left the CFL with the door hitting him on the way out. Whatever was the cause of his barring, it seemed that his respect of the Canadian league’s contractual requirements did not line up with his. According to Benjamin Allbright, Manziel didn’t report for mandatory counseling.