Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

It’s been over a decade since the lowly Bills have played a meaningful game in January.  But it won’t be too long before we start seeing Buffalo in the playoffs again.  They may have lost yesterday to the Giants, but they are still the best up and coming team in the AFC.

To start, you always have to look at the quarterback.  And they don’t get too much better than the Amish Rifle, Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Fitzy has the 5th best QBR (ESPN’s wonderful new statistic), the 5th


Ryan Fitzpatrick

most touchdown passes, and the 6th most passing yards.  Oh and he got a 48 on the Wonderlic Test.  That’s 15 points higher than Tom Brady and 20 points higher than Peyton Manning.  Last but not least, Fitzpatrick is the first Bills quarterback since Drew Bledsoe to give fans real hope.  J.P. Losman was never truly embraced by people in Western New York and neither was Trent Edwards.  But the Amish Rifle gives out the Ivy League, blue-collar football vibe that every fan wants out of their leader.

Next comes the man that he hands the ball off too: Fred Jackson.  Jackson has been under the radar for his entire career.  He played college ball at Division III Coe College, a school in Iowa with 1,300 undergraduates.  After spending four spectacular seasons there, he went undrafted and spent a season in the National Indoor Football League, one in the United Indoor Football League, and one in NFL Europe.  It wasn’t until 2006 that Marv Levy invited Jackson to Pittsford, NY for the Bills’ Training Camp.  This season, he’s leading the NFL in yards per attempt and he’s second in rushing touchdowns.  He might be 30 years old, but the Bills still have a few years to groom former Clemson running back C.J. Spiller into an every down back.

Last but not least, the defense.  Over the past decade of sub-par football, the Bills have had an untalented, undersized group.  But this year, the Bills weigh an average of over 310 lbs on the defensive line.  Last year they only weighed about 285 lbs.  They’re also moving up on the skill

Marcell Dareus

Marcell Dareus en route to a touchdown in the BCS National Championship Game

side.  Nearly one-third of their defensive players come from SEC schools, including their 2011 first round pick Marcell Dareus.  At the end of the day, the Bills may not be on the defensive level of the Ravens, but they’re moving up the NFL ranks.

Despite this, the Bills still aren’t getting the love that the Lions are getting.  One reason is that they have the Patriots and the Fighting Rex Ryans in their division.  But the Patriots aren’t what they were in 2004.  Tom Brady is 34 now.  That’s old enough for him to join the NFL version of the AARP whenever he chooses.  But he’s also getting more distracted.  He’s starting to focus on his super-model wife and his Uggs as opposed to football.  Also, his favorite target, Wes Welker, will be 31 after this season.  With that age combination, the Patriots’ years of dominance are numbered.  As for the Jets, they really aren’t all they’re hyped up to be.  They may have reached the AFC Championship the past two seasons, but this season they are a mediocre 2-3 (pending tonight’s game against the Dolphins).  And the Sanchize has never completed more than 60% of his passes in a season.  He may be a great game manager, but unless he can rise above the Mendoza Line of quarterbacks, he won’t be considered an elite passer.

All of these factors come together to form a new era of Bills dominance.  Ralph Wilson is getting more and more hungry for a Super Bowl and he’s finally putting the pieces together to make it happen.  Hopefully the Bills take a page from Al Davis’ book and JUST WIN BABY.


Now that the NFL lockout is over, we can focus on what really matters: Brett Favre speculation.  First, he landed in New York as a Jet.  Then, he sailed off to Minnesota to become a Viking (twice).  Now, it seems the rumor mill has him flying into Philadelphia as an Eagle.  Bad puns aside, it looks like the Favre train will keep going throughout training camp and even into the regular season.

Brett Favre

Favre training in Mississippi

Vick has already said that he would love to have Favre as his back-up.  And who wouldn’t?  He’s got more passing yards and touchdowns than anyone else.  And most importantly, he has a ring.  But I highly doubt Favre will want to play second fiddle to anybody, let alone a proven player like Vick.  For one, there is no chance that Andy Reid would start Favre in front of Vick.  Favre is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history and he won’t want to ride the pine in Philly, even if it means getting a second ring that way.  Not to mention the fact that Reid is on the hot seat as the Philly head coach.  If he decides to start Favre instead of Vick and it backfires, he could be fired before the season is over.

Also, the Eagles shouldn’t even want Favre as their back-up.  His main job would be to coach and mentor Vick.  First off, Vick’s style of play is far different from Favre’s.  In years that he has started over half of his team’s games, Vick is averaging 5.6 rushing touchdowns per year.  Favre averages just over 0.7.  Favre will be of no use as a coach to a player like that no matter how great Favre may be.  But beyond being a coach, Favre would be a poor mentor to Vick.  Vick is trying to get on the right path in life.  And since his prison release, he’s done a pretty good job.  Favre could be a huge detriment to Vick’s progress.  Let’s not forget that just last year Favre was fined $50,000 for not cooperating in the NFL’s investigation into his alleged sexting of a female employee of the New York Jets.  If this was the only incident in his career, it might be fine.  But before the 1996 season he also ran

Michael Vick
Michael Vick is only 31 years old

into some trouble.  Favre was banned from drinking alcohol by the NFL after he admitted to being addicted to Vicodin.  He also spent 46 days in a drug rehab clinic for said addiction.  Don’t forget the Vick has gotten in trouble for drug use, specifically marijuana.

One final reason the Eagles shouldn’t want Favre is the new salary cap.  The cap has been set at $120 million, $4 million lower than the 2009 cap.  The Eagles need to know that their money is better spent getting weapons for Vick than getting him a back-up.  My suggestion: Plaxico Burress.  Sure he’s a risk.  But remember the last guy who came out of prison to play for the Eagles.  And Burress carries much less controversy than Vick did.  He also brings as much publicity to the team as Favre would.  At the end of the day, it’s best for everyone if Favre just stays home in Mississippi and does his job as a grandpa.

Don’t ask me how, but somehow the Pittsburgh Pirates are only 0.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.  The lowly Pirates (who ironically have the 7th most World Series titles) haven’t had an above-.500 season since 1992.  That was also the last time the Pirates made the playoffs.  Barry Bonds led that Pirates team in home runs.  By any measure, the Pirates have been the laughing stock of the MLB for nearly the past 2 decades.  It seems like there is one team like that in every league; a team that is so obsolete that the casual fan may have forgotten that they even exist.  Here are those teams.

NBA – Charlotte Bobcats

Despite being owned by the greatest of all time, the Bobcats do not have much going for them. 

Kobe and Gerald Wallace, who was traded to Portland

They have the third lowest franchise winning percentage (.387) and their only playoff appearance resulted in a quick exit at the hands of the Orlando Magic.  Oh and they just traded away their all-time leading scorer Gerald Wallace.  The lockout certainly doesn’t help them either.  If the major market owners get their way (and in my opinion they will), Charlotte will be left out to dry, trapped in a realm of obscurity.  The only other team in the running for the NBA was the Clippers, but Blake Griffin will bring them back up whenever the NBA starts back up again.

NHL – New York Islanders

The New York Islanders might as well play in the AHL (the dragon mascot would fit).  They haven’t made it out of the first round of the NHL playoffs since 1993, a Pittsburgh Pirates-esq streak.  And since the NHL lockout, which canceled the 2004-05 season, they have had only 1 season above .500.  They are also averaging the lowest attendance per game in the NHL with a meer 11,059.  They do have one bright spot in John Tavares.  Unfortunately, he shares the same name as his uncle, who is the all-time scoring leader in the National Lacrosse League.  It’s unfortunate because many people (especially in upstate New York) associate Tavares with a lacrosse stick.

NFL – Buffalo Bills

Like the Pirates, the Bills have not made the playoffs since last century.  But it’s more than just not making the playoffs.  It’s a combination of bad coaching, bad management, and bad players. 

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson making a joke

Their last coach to be tenured more than 4 years was Marv Levy.  He was fired after the 1997 season when the Bills went 6-10.  Their only season above .500 since 1999 came in 2004.  That year, the Bills were one game away from the playoffs when in week 17 they had to play the Steelers.  However, the Steelers had already clinched a first-round bye and ended up playing their JV squad for the majority of the game… and the Bills couldn’t win.  That effectively sums up the past decade in Buffalo, culminating with Steve Johnson’s infamous drop last season.  But hey who know maybe Ryan Fitzpatrick is the guy that Ralph Wilson’s been looking for… or maybe not.