Tebow Time

Tim Tebow has not taken an NFL snap since last pre season with the New England Patriots. Tebow is a person of high character, a strong religious faith and a polarizing figure. Tebow, who led the University of Florida to 2008 BCS title, and won the 2007 Heisman Trophy had great skills in college. However, those skills couldn’t translate in the NFL. He has some success in Denver, but when the Broncos signed Peyton Manning he was traded to the New York Jets. Tebow played on special teams and on goaline and short yard situations. His was not resigned by the Jets and was signed by the Patriots, but was cut at the end of the preseason. He will be covering College Football for the new SEC Network as well as other ESPN properties. Tebow still wants to play quarterback in the NFL, but some experts want him to play another position. Could Tebow make it as an NFL quarterback or another position it takes one team to give him a chance. To be honesty I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

From the Sidelines

Erin Andrews will replace Pam Oliver as Fox Sports number one NFL sideline reporter starting this season. Andrews was covering the MLB All-Star Game and talking to Cardinals and National League starting pitcher Adam Wainwright. He was backtracking on his comments about grooving Derek Jeter pitches to hit. He is not a fan of social media and said so at the end of the interview.

The Dennis and Callahan show, weekday morning hosts of Boston’s sports radio station WEEI went off on Andrews calling her names, and the host had to apologize later on the same day. Sideline reporters have always been criticized because their job has been called useless. The reason is the NFL has placed limits on what they can or can’t report on. The NFL Broadcast Fact Book has explicit rules for what they are allowed to do and that prevents them for doing their job.

These limitations on the field and plus the networks habit of hiring young ladies to covering the NFL really hurts the overall coverage of the game. It is denying these women having a true voice covering the game. The paradox of being an sideline reporter is how many women breaking into sportscasting. Suzy Kolber and Andrea Kremer who were sideline reporters are doing their best work in studio and in depth interviews. I hope in the future that sideline reporters are able to do that without the NFL hindering their work.

Ricky

I could never understand why people like Ricky Williams. Some people think he is a free spirit who loved marijuana and never listen to authority figures. To be honest he had a gift and wasted it by getting into trouble with smoking marijuana that equals with being suspended by the NFL. He did rushed for over 10,000 yards over his NFL career, but his drug suspensions cost him a chance of being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Williams was the 1998 Heisman Trophy winner out of the University of Texas, and the New Orleans Saints traded the whole draft for him. In 2002, he was traded to the Miami Dolphins and had two straight 1,000 yard seasons. The problem I had is that Williams was suspended for the first four games of the 2004 season for a violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Williams decided to retire from the NFL instead of accepting his punishment and taking responsibility for his actions. I watched an interview he did with the Campus Insiders Bonnie Bernstein, and Williams said he would not go into the NFL Draft, but instead traveling around the world. Williams didn’t want to be defined by being just a football player. However, when you have responsibilities to your teammates, coaches, and to the organization that pays you a lot of money to play. You don’t quit on them to do your own thing. How many coaches would put with Williams antics in my view not many.

Happy Valley

Bill O’Brien left Penn State after two seasons to become the new head coach of the Houston Texans. He was frustrated by the small minority of supporters of the late coach Joe Paterno. The search is on for a new head coach, and the favorite is Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin. The only thing that is in Franklin’s past is several former Commodores were charged with rape and the investigation is still going on. Larry Johnson Sr who is the interim head coach, and was a part of the coaching staff for the past 18 seasons. Mike Munchak, who was fired from the Tennessee Titans as their head coach could get an interview. Also being considered is former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach and Penn State assistant Greg Schiano. The problem I have is that Tom Bradley was not considered. Bradley who played and was long time assistant coach, plus was the interim head coach when Paterno was fired three years ago. How come Bradley is not getting a shot, but Johnson is an opportunity to become the head coach. They both worked with Jerry Sandusky and that is a big mystery to me.

Wild Card Weekend

The Wild Card Playoffs were some of the most exciting games in a long time. The Kansas City VS Indianapolis game was Andrew Luck’s time to shine, and despite throwing for 3 interceptions he threw for 443 yards and 3 touchdowns. Luck led the Colts back from a 28 point deficit to beat the Chiefs 45 to 44. The Chiefs were hit by major injuries to key players such as Jamaal Charles. The Philadelphia VS New Orleans also went down to the wire. The Saints didn’t rely on Drew Brees, but Mark Ingram rushing for 97 yards and at touchdown. Their defense held LeSean McCoy to 77 yards and held Nick Foles to 195 yards passing and sacking him twice. Kicker Shayne Graham who was signed late in the season kicked 4 field goals, including the game winning 32 yard with :00 to give the Saints their first ever road playoff win 26 to 23 over the Eagles.

The biggest surprise was San Diego taking care of the Cincinnati Bengals 27 to 10. Philip Rivers had a steady performance, and the Chargers relied on the running game rushing for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns. Their defense forced 4 turnovers and sacked Andy Dalton twice. The San Francisco VS Green Bay game was down to the wire finish. Colin Kaepernick had a good day throwing the football for 237 yards, but made big plays running the ball for 98 yards. Michael Crabtree had 8 catches for 132 yards, and made two big catches on the 49ers final drive that led to Phil Dawson 32 yard field goal with no time on the clock to beat the Packers 23 to 20.

Next Week’s Divisional Playoff games: Saturday New Orleans VS Seattle at 4:35 P.M.
Indianapolis VS New England at 8:15 P.M.

Sunday San Francisco VS Carolina 1:00 P.M.
San Diego VS Denver 4:40 P.M

Bad Calls

During the Kansas City Chiefs vs San Diego Chargers game last Sunday there were two calls that bothered me a great deal. The first call was late in the 4th quarter when the Chiefs place kicker Ryan Succop was lining up for a 41 yard field goal, but he missed it. The Chargers had 7 men on the line of scrimmage the new rule that was instituted this season make that illegal. That should have been a 5 yard penalty and Succop should have been allowed to kick a 36 yard field goal.

In the overtime period, the Chargers Eric Weddle tried to get a first down on a fake punt. Weddle made the first down but he fumbled the ball and the Chiefs returned the fumble for the apparent winning touchdown. However, the referee ruled that forward progress was stopped beyond the first down marker, and possession of the ball appeared irrelevant as the play was blown dead. The NFL announced that those mistakes were made, but that was of little concern to the Steelers who would have been in the playoffs if the Chiefs would have won.

The NFL Playoffs are starting this Saturday afternoon,and the officials assigned to the games can’t afford to make any mistakes that could hurt any of the playoff teams who are trying to advance to the Super Bowl.

Steelers Review

The Steelers finished the 2013 season 8 and 8 and missed the playoffs due to a 0-4 start to the season. There are a few things they will have to be change to get back to the playoffs.

1. The offensive line has to get healthy. Injuries to Maurkice Pouncey and other starters caused the line not to get together until later on in the season. If the offensive line is healthy Le’Veon Bell will gain over 1,000 yards and Ben Roethlisberger will have the protection to throw the ball to his corps of receivers.

2. The Defense has to get younger and better. The Steelers have the oldest starting defense in the NFL, and some of the starters will not return. Brett Keisel, Ryan Clark, Ike Taylor, Lamar Woodley, and Troy Polamalu may not return due to contract issues or the Steelers going with younger starters. In Polamalu’s case he would have to return and take a lower salary.

3. Needs in the Draft. The Steelers needs a wide receiver to help out Antonio Brown, They need help in the cornerback, and a safety for help in the secondary. A linebacker to help out Jarvis Jones and blitz the quarterback. They could use depth in the offensive line or defensive line.

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