I'm old enough to remember watching the 1958 NFL Championship game with my dad. My grandad took me to the first home game of the Kansas City Chiefs, they lost that September day in 1963. It wasn't long before I had my own pair of season tickets, paid for with lawn mowing money. Rode a city bus down to old Municipal Stadium as I was too young to drive. Was there for the last game before Arrowhead Stadium opened, the double overtime game vs. the Miami Dolphins on Christmas Day, 1971. I was on leave from the Air Force and my best buddy was on leave from the Army, so it was an extra special Christmas, even though we lost in a heartbreaker. I still believe that was the greatest Chiefs' team of all time. Growing up my house, you were a Missouri Tigers' fan, my dad insisted on it. My mom was a huge sports fan as well, even today she watches a lot of football and Nascar.
After I got out of the service, I managed a bowling alley and later sold bedroom furniture for about 8 years. My wife and I decided to leave the cold midwest and move somewhere warmer. We landed in Las Vegas and I worked in dice pits downtown and on the famed Las Vegas Strip for 20 years. I helped open both Treasure Island and the Bellagio. Met a lot of famous people, many of them nice, many of them not so nice. I won a couple of football handicapping contests over the years. And I was regular in the sportsbooks during football season. During that time I came back to Kansas City and saw 29 games and the Chiefs had a 27-2 record in those games. The 2 losers were both to Seattle, one of them the famous Derrick Thomas 7-sack game. I told Carl Peterson a few times he might win a playoff game if he'd bring me in to town. He never took me up on it. They haven't won a playoff game since '94.
In 1998, we remodeled our family room and we made it a 4-screen media room. In our new home we have a 5-screen media room and with DIRECTV, we can watch 15-20 games on Saturday and 8-11 on Sunday. I'm blessed with a wife of 33 years who loves football, who understands football completely. I'm a lucky man.
After living in Las Vegas for 20 years, we moved to rural Missouri 4 years ago. The best thing about it is it's really quiet, which is good. Some of our new friends here have come over to watch football and many of them don't understand how we not only watch 5 games at once, but know exactly what's going on in each game. Believe me, it's an aquired skill.
I've kept fans and even a few media guys informed about the NFL Draft for nearly 30 years. I've always liked the not-so-exact-science of scouting. Like handicapping, it can make you look pretty smart or absolutely clueless. But I always give my honest opinion and if I haven't seen a kid play, I won't rate them using someone elses reports.
Besides watching well over 400 games a year, we also enjoy the NHRA & NASCAR, both on TV & in person. We like boating, traveling, movies & lots of blues music.
I hope you'll find something good every time you visit RICHSFOOTBALLREPORT.com. I'll do my best give you the most accurate and timely football news. Opinion, predictions and hopefully a few laughs.
Well it has finally come, my release date. I will be going home for the first time since June 27th. I am completely pain-free & day by day I get stronger & improve my stamina. Balance & stability still a long way from my old self but they will return with the 3-4 months of rehab I am facing.
All day & evening I've been saying goodbyes to all the people who have put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Had a couple of emotional sendoffs with my primary day shift nurse & primary swing shift nurse. These two women, along with 5-6 others, held me together when I was coming apart at the seams & elsewhere. Tomorrow I say goodbye to my physical & occupational therapists. This will be especially tough since all four are so good at their jobs plus two of them are funny as hell. We're still working with our insurance company to allow me to do my out patient work here.
I think this 8 1/2 month ordeal has been as tough on Linda as it has been on me. She visited every single day, bringing Bear, until last weekend when we got a lot of sleet, snow & ice. She has been a rock & it will be wonderful to return home to begin spending our retirement together & not in hospitals & extended care facilities.
Now Bear won't be totally happy with my discharge, he is a huge hit here with the staff & many of the patients. He comes nearly everyday & has become the mascot around here. We promised to visit 2-3 times a month so Bear can be reunited with his adoring public.
I'm going to try to watch the Senior Bowl practices & game plus the combine by this time next week With free agency coming in less than 2-weeks, I have a helluva lot of film to watch. After the first week of free agency, building my draft board will come next. I will tell you I wish the Chiefs had the second round draft pick they traded for Alex Smith. This is a very deep draft, especially at two of the positions K.C. needs most, wide receiver & defensive backs. We better hope the league awards us a 3rd round selection in the form of a compensatory pick for losing Brandon Carr to Dallas in free agency. Having a pair of 3rd round selections would help immensely. There are 4-5 major questions about our Chiefs before we even get to the draft. We'll talk about them next week as time allows. We'll talk again very soon. Really glad to be back, this time to stay.
It took very little time for Tony Gonzalez to find gainful employment. It wasn't what many of you were hoping for unfortunately. Ever since the season ended, many Chiefs' fans had a dream the future first ballot Hall of Fame tight end would come back to Kansas City, play part of next season before retiring as a Chief. That's not going to happen altho he will retire a Chief when the time comes. Tony G. joined CBS Sports as a member of their studio crew. But if Gonzalez was going to become part of the team, someone was going to have to go. Dan Marino & Shannon Sharpe were canned by the network to make room. It is unknown if the network plans to fill the fifth spot vacated by Marino & Sharpe. Since Gonzalez has zero broadcasting experience, it's unknown how he'll do come September. Considering his brilliant, record breaking career, I believe he'll be a hit. Now as to the other part of the CBS moves, cutting Marino was no big deal, the guy seldom has any real insight & seemingly is more concerned with laughing it up over informing the fans. Marino was a great, great quarterback but a mediocre studio analyst. Judging from the emails I received in the past 24-hours, hiring Gonzalez was important, firing Marino & Sharpe hardly drew a single complaint. Except from me. I thought firing Shannon Sharpe was a major mistake. Yes, he can be somewhat of a goofball, yes I'm not a fan of his dress, but Shannon was a couple of things Marino never was. Danny Boy never stuck his neck out, never could honestly criticize other quarterbacks & there was very little doubt he was ever going to truthfully inform the fans about gameplans, QB-coach relations & lately anything to do with the Dolphins bullying scandal that went way up within the organization. Shannon on the other hand had a very firm opinion about everything & he wasn't afraid to share it. He was extremely informative & never backed down from anyone. Yes he can be boisterous, even obnoxious at times, but he gives the fans what they tune in for, solid information, Sunday after Sunday. Who fills the fifth chair in the CBS studio is unknown, personally I'd like to see someone like Brian Urlacher. Stay tuned.
With the NFL Scouting Combine getting underway this tomorrow, teams are loading up the team jets for the 5-7 days in Indianapolis, scouring the field for enough new talent to move them into the 2014 playoffs or keep them firmly in the postseason. The Miami Dolphins may have the smallest contingent at Indy after the Ted Wells report was released earlier this week, pointing the finger at a number of Dolphins, coaches, administrators etc. The awaited firing of offensive line coach Jim Turner happened early Wednesday evening as well as head trainer Kein O'Neill's dismissal. Head coach Joe Philbin isn't out of the woods yet, in fact earlier today, it wasn't even known if the team's head coach was going to the combine. For a team that hung in there until the season's final week looking for a postseason spot, they are a mess. If Philbin or whoever manages to clean this mess up, it will be nothing short of miraculous.
What happens to left guard Richie Incognito is still unknown, same with left tackle Jonathan Martin, the two who saw their relationship blow up all over social media, humiliating the franchise. Center Mike Pouncey could join the rest & be sent packin'. General Manager Jeff Ireland was the first to fall but he certainly won't be the last. We're going to hear a helluva lot more about the Miami Dolphins & their embarrassing franchise as winter turns into spring & then into summer. People mocked the Chiefs two years ago for their pitiful 2-14 record. I'd rather revisit that painful 12-months than go thru what Dolphins' Phans have ahead of them the next year or two.
He was a 6-time Pro Bowl safety, played 14-years for Green Bay, Minnesota & New Orleans, snagged 63 career interceptions & returned 11 of them for scores, he was that good. Great at forcing the run, a longtime defensive captain with a Super Bowl champs ring. So why am I writing like Darren Sharper is deceased? He is alive & kicking but he's in a whole lotta trouble that isn't going away soon. Sharper has been charged with seven counts of rape. He used cocktails he spiked to get the young women in the proper frame of mind allegedly. The charges are in three different states, basically following his movement within the league. The former future Hall of Famer could be looking at 30-years.
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice could very well have played his final NFL game as well if the charges pending against his turn into a conviction. Rice was seen on surveillance cameras in an Atlantic City casino of entering an elevator with his fiance'e only to emerge from the elevator dragging an unconscious Janay Palmer. The 27-year old Rice's attorney's stated there were "minor charges filed against their client that will go away soon." I guess we've reduced being knocked unconscious to "no big deal". The first facial closeup of Ms.Palmer on TMZ could effectively end Rice's career. Pics with black eyes swollen shut, split lips & bruises are very bad for business, a whole lot worse than Dwayne Bowe riding around with half a joint.
Last night I spent about three hours watching high school game tapes of four Mizzou signees for the upcoming season. A couple of things stood out about these high school seniors. One, Henry Josey is going to forgo his last year of eligibility & head to the NFL. His Tiger tailback buds, with the notable exception of Morgan Steward, sophomore Russell Handsborough & senior Markus Murphylook like the same back. All three are 5'9"ish, 195. The two backs Gary Pinkel signed this week, Trevon Walters & Ish Witter both stand 5' 9" & weigh in at 195. The other big news is all four prospects are from the state of Florida, which is a big deal. Picking off good to excellent talent in SEC territory is news for Pinkel's program. Watching them run as high school seniors got the juices flowing, this pair can play. They broke 50+ yard runs, one after another. Witters looked especially good catching the ball out of the backfield. Two wide receivers, Lawrence Lee & DeSean Blair were also impressive. Lee is a smallish receiver who has waterbug running style with the ball in his hands. Blair is big & fast, similar to Damien Washington. I saw some amazing redzone catches by Blair. Throw in OT Andy Bauer, rated the #1 player in the state plus OLB Brandon Lee, of Indianapolis, currently ranked as the #3 player in the state of Indiana. Other than these six players, I didn't see a lot that knocked me out, but there's always going to be a surprise, a two-star kid like Michael Sam who became SEC Defensive Player of the Year as well as a unanimous AP All-American.
Trevon Walters Ish Witter
DeSean Blair......yes, he caught it.
It should be noted, every signee was a three or four-star prospect. For the first time since Pinkel came to Columbia, the Tigers did not have a single 2-star prospect in their 2014 class, another big step forward.
I had sincere thought about bustin' outta here by Friday afternoon so I could get home & watch all four days of the combine. I needed to accomplish five things to be released & I did 3 1/2, so I'm still in the care center where I will stay for another 8-10 days. It was very disheartening when things did not go so good, but now I know exactly what I need to do to get the job done. I have some excellent PT guidance & I'll get it done. Like so many other things, I'll have to watch the combine on the DVR when I get home.
Wow, was all I could say. I was settling in for some channel flipping between the Beatles Tribute show & the NHRA Winternationals on ESPN2 & my TV viewing got a little sidetracked. I flipped over to the Deuce about 7:05 to see the first round of Top Fuel & it wasn't there, it was on ESPN. But just as I flipped over there I saw a picture of Michael Sam & the bold letters BREAKING NEWS. That startled me, what happened to Sam? What did Sam do? I get ESPN2 back on & amidst their gob 'o graphics, I see "declares himself a gay man." Huh? I mean I knew this day would come, but why today, why Michael Sam?
Unanimous AP All-American & Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year
Sam told his teammates this past August even tho many all ready knew. The entire coaching staff knew as well & to a man, they kept it really quiet. This speaks to the respect both player & coach had for him, no one breathed a word of his announcement. When he went to Mobile, Alabama to play in the Senior Bowl All-Star game, Sam discovered a number of NFL scouts were aware of his sexuality, so he knew it was time to control his own story or as he said to the New York Times "I want to own my truth." And there it is, the truth as told by a courageous young man. Forget about the combine, campus pro day, draft, contract negotiations, rookie mini camp & all the rest, imagine the media onslaught that began this evening, right after Sam's announcement. The senior from Hitchcock, Texas has already graduated, everything Sam has done since he signed as a 2-star recruit in 2009, he's done well. Now he'll be faced with reporters & photogs virtually every time he steps outside. His Mom's house in Hitchcock will most likely have media camped up up & down their street for a week or so. Michael Sam painted a great big target on himself with this announcement & it's directed more at the media than NFL prospects & players.
Mizzou head coach Gary Pinkel & Michael Sam embrace Senior night after beating A&M.
I'll always remember the 4th quarter of the Cotton Bowl with Mizzou leading by three, 34-31, with just over 2-minutes to play & Oklahoma State had the ball deep in MU territory. I remarked to Linda it was time for a big play by Michael Sam & not 10-seconds later, FOXSports play-by-play man Gus Johnson said essentially the same thing. On the very next snap, Sam explodes off the edge beating his man to reach OSU QB Clint Chelf. He strip-sacks Chelf & Mizzou DE Shane Ray scoops up the fumble & streaks 73-yards for the clinching score.
Now Sam will take his game to the NFL. He figures to be a 3rd or 4th round selection. He's always played with his hand in the dirt but as athletic as he is, you have to believe he'd have a better than even chance to standup outside in a 3-4 defensive scheme. I like this kid & after today, I respect him even more. After a WR in round one, I was hoping for Sam to fall to the Chiefs, they need more real pass rushers than Tamba & Houston, especially in case of injury. I love his non-stop motor, he is relentless in his pursuit of the quarterback. Now Sam is gonna find out what relentless pursuit really is as he is hounded by paparazzi & reporter alike.
If he is on an opening day roster, Michael Sam becomes the answer to a trivia question. If Sam opens the season as a starter, he'll be critiqued & examined more than RG3, Tony Romo or Matt Schaub & they're quarterbacks. But they're not gay & gay trumps everything when it comes to team sports, right or wrong. Michael Sam can't lead a team to a championship like a quarterback, but he can be an major part of a championship team, pass rushers are always in demand because of the impact they can make.
It won't be hard for me to root for Michael Sam, he's a Tiger, a defender with a non-stop motor, a winner & an all around good guy. I think most people will root for him as well, I've found the majority of football fans love football first & social issues are way down the line. So the quicker we can get past this "first gay in the NFL" the better. I believe his teammates care more about his football ability & effort. They want to win & if Sam can help his team with a forced fumble, a sack or a pass batted down on 3rd down, that'll matter more & his sexuality isn't an issue. That's how it ought to be in everyday life. We're not there yet, but maybe Michael Sam can help change a few more minds.
Bill O'Brien, the new head coach of the Houston Texans, announced today he has Romeo Crennell as his new defensive coordinator. The former Chiefs coach will be joined on this staff with another former Chief, Mike Vrabel, who will become the linebackers coach.
Quarterback Matt Cassel said on Wednesday he would likely opt out of the final year of his contract with Minnesota. The former Chief signal caller is due $3.7 million in the final year of his 2-year deal. If Cassel leaves the Vikings that leaves them with only Christian Ponder at QB on the depth chart.
CBS will televise the first 8 Thursday night games this season with the NFL Network handling the final eight. All eight games with be broadcast by CBS' number one team of Jim Nantz & Phil Simms. The network bid $300 million for the 8-game package which tells me the quality of the matchups will be considerably better this year. The league also announced a final weekend double-header on the last Saturday of the regular season schedule, another positive IMO.
Eddie George, studio analyst for FOXSports One, has admitted to severe depression. He said he had suffered from the condition for several years. George said he has yet to have thoughts of suicide but he needs medications if he is to get better. George has always struck me as a really decent guy & I hope he can get control of his life.
Did you notice the coyote skin coat Joe Namath was wearing for the coin toss before Sunday's Super Bowl? Well the fine folks at PETA did & Joe's name is mud with them right now. I was rather surprised with Namath's choice of outerwear considering real fur coats are pretty much a no-no anymore. But he wore it & now the animal right's group wants a full apology.
The Chiefs will select 23rd in the first round of May's draft. If you made me make a pick right now with the 23rd overall selection, right now.......... it would be WR Kelvin Bnejamin, the 6' 5" 233-pound receiver who caught the game-winner in the BCS Title game. Another possibility would be Notre Dame DE Sthephon Tuitt. A lot more about the Chiefs draft future coming up in the next two weeks.
It looks like the salary cap will increase by about $4 million per season the next two years.
Why is the SEC so consistently good, year after year, decade after decade? Today was national signing day & it was quickly apparent why this conference just does it better than all the rest. Four of the top-5 ranked recruiting classes were from SEC schools. 1. Bama 2. LSU 3. Florida State 4. A&M 5. Tennessee. Three more gave the SEC seven of the top-10 with 6. Florida 8. Auburn & 9. Georgia. Mizzou ranked 33rd with all but Vanderbilt & Mississippi State ranked in front of them. Tho the class didn't have a DGB or Sheldon Richardson, there were four 4-star picks & the remaining 25 selections were all 3-star picks.
Bob Gretz, a long time writer for the Star as well as a number of blogs, including his own. Gretz presented Derrick Thomas to the Hall of Fame for inclusion & has been active in Canton for more that twenty years. Bob's father, Albert R. Gretz Jr. passed away last Monday. He had barely covered the Super Bowl while planning his dad's funeral. Then this morning Bob's longtime wife, Anita, lost her long battle with cancer. She died after battling melanoma for several years. Bob's had a brutal week & my thoughts & prayers go out to him at this time
As I was preparing to watch the game by myself, definitely feeling sorry for myself, in walks my wife, Mike & Cindy with a Super Bowl feast in three bags. They had driven down from Kansas City earlier in the day to surprise me & surprise me they did. I can't think of a more wonderful Super Sunday Surprise. Linda & Cindy had coordinated this surprise earlier last week. God Bless all three of them for such a wonderful afternoon & evening. They left a while ago with Linda to go back to our house & they'll return home to Oklahoma tomorrow. Another thing that made Super Sunday enjoyable was that I had picked the Seahawks to win & that worked out well too. Honestly tho, I never saw this type of blowout coming, no honest person did.
Mike said midway thru the third quarter there ought to be a 10-run rule like softball. Once Percy Harvin ran back the second half kickoff for a touchdown, did any of you believe the Broncos were still in it? Be honest now. Have any of you seen Peyton Manning so ineffective? He wasn't alone, the entire offensive squad was pitiful, let's examine just how pitiful.
On the games first play from scrimmage, center Manny Ramierez snapped the ball past Manning's ear for a safety.
It took the Broncos 19:38 to record their initial first down, it was 15-0 by then.
Denver committed 4 turnovers to none by Seattle. One of Denver's turnovers, an interception throw by Manning, was returned by game MVP Malcolm Smith 69-yards for a touchdown.
The Broncos managed 27-total rushing yards to 135 by Seattle.
Was it me or did Manning throw just 2 passes more than 30-yards downfield? I hope the Chiefs' secondary will hit like the Seahawks secondary. They consistently whallopped Bronco receivers.
Zero sacks by Denver along with zero QB hits. Seattle only managed 1 sacks but added 4 hits on the QB, 6 tackles for loss & 8 passes knocked down.
I have no idea how many tackles Denver blew, but on a 23-yard touchdown by Jermaine Kearse, he broke 5 tackles on the way to the endzone. It was really pathetic.
Peyton Manning's passer rating: 73.5 Russell Wilson's passer rating: 123.1
Denver was out gameplanned & certainly out coached. I can't see anything Denver could hang their hat on, there wasn't any phase of the game the Broncos did better than Seattle. It was simply horrible.
So where does this result leave our two combatants? The Seahawks are among the 5-youngest teams in the league. They have a bright future with a huge upside except they will quickly run out of salary cap. As their young stars start negotiating their second contracts, it won't be long before they run out of money.Look at the impact of Percy Harvin tonight & he played less than 15 regular season snaps. Harvin can be fragile but he is a game breaker that makes the "Hawks offense that much tougher. Now that these young guys have their championship ring, it'll be time for some to go for the money if history has taught us anything. The 8-digit contracts established players look for in their second contracts eat up cap space quickly. It will be interesting to see the first guy the 'Hawks front office decides they can no longer afford, but for now this will be a very good team.
As for Denver, I think the future is far more bleak. Peyton Manning said last week he intended to play next season, he is after all, owed $22 million by the Broncos for the final guaranteed year of his contract. Not a penny of this deal is deferred. With a salary cap of approximately $125 million, Manning(Rodgers, Cutler, Brees, Brady, Romo & a few others)takes about 17% of your cap intended to pay 53 guys, it puts the GM in a situation where he has to pay the "franchise quarterback" while still filling the depth chart with playoff grade players. Tough to do. Denver gets a break as I think CB Champ Bailey has come to the end & he could save them $5-7 million in cap space. I doubt they'll keep RB Knowshon Moreno. More cap casualties on defense could include DE Robert Ayers & CB Dominique Rogers-Cromartie. Now Manning is another year older, do you believe he will duplicate his record-breaking stats of this season? Can't see it. For all the accolades vice president John Elway received from their fans & the media, he's got a tough road keeping them at this level.
After a record 8-hour & 59-minute selection meeting, seven prospects were chosen for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Michael Strahan, Walter Jones, Derrick Brooks, Aeneas Williams & Andre Reed was the modern day players selected. The veterans committee elected both finalists, Atlanta DE Claude Humphrey & finally, at last, a punter was elected.They chose the right one in former Raider Ray Guy. Former Chiefs guard Will Shields made it to the 10 to 5 elimination, but didn't make the Hall this year. In his group was Jerome Bettis, Marvin Harrison, Charles Haley & Kevin Greene. Of those selected today for induction, I'd put Walter Jones in the no-brainer category, he had to be the leading vote getter. The former Seahawks' left tackle surrendered nine sacks in thirteen seasons, an incredible stat.
The Chiefs will sign CFL star wide receiver Weston Dressler to a contract on Monday. The 28-year old Dressler played for the Saskatchewan Rough Riders, the 2013 Grey Cup Champions in the CFL. He caught 70 passes for 1,011-yards & nine touchdowns. In his 6 seasons with Saskatchewan, he totaled over 1,000-yards in five of them. The 5' 7" 179-lb Dressler would be a candidate to compete for time lining up in the slot.
Peyton Manning won his fifth NFL MVP award to no ones surprise. He broke about a dozen passing records & I couldn't see anyway he wouldn't be awarded his 5th MVP trophy.
Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera won Coach of the Year after starting the season squarely on the hot seat.
Also from Carolina came the Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Luke Kuechly.
San Diego quarterback Phillip Rivers took home the comeback player of the year.
Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy was the offensive rookie of the year.
Jets' defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was awarded the Defensive Player of the Year. The former Mizzou standout did a lot of talking leading up to the draft & as the season progressed, but he backed it up week after week.
Chicago Bears' cornerback Charles Tillman took home the coveted Walter Peyton Man of the Year Award for his extensive off-field charity work.
We have one last game tomorrow, the Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos & Seattle Seahawks. Denver's league leading offense versus Seattle's #1 defensive unit. Before the season began, this was the number one matchup for Super Bowl prognosticators. It wasn't mine as I'm normally off the grid with my selections.
A couple of other stats to take notice of, Denver's receivers led the league in YAC(yards after the catch). Seattle's defense led the league in fewest YAC. If you compare the defense of Seattle to the offense of Denver, it's #1 vs. #1 a lot of the time. In other defensive stats I feel are relevant, Seattle had 44 sacks, Denver 41 & almost identical on forced & recovered fumbles. A major disparity is interceptions, Denver 17 & Seattle 28.
The Seahawks have the biggest & best defensive secondary, all their corners are over 6' tall. Brandon Browner is 6' 4", Richard Sherman goes 6' 3". But possibly the best player in their deep backfield is free safety Earl Thomas. Seldom ever caught out of position, Thomas can fool QB's into throwing the ball right where he wants them to. Strong safety Kam Chancellor is a massive, intimidating hitter. As a group, they are superior open field tacklers, pointing to their lowest YAC stat.
The Seahawk defensive line is 10-deep & are rotated to keep them fresh. There's not a lot of drop off either. I think the Broncos will find it very tough sledding trying to run between the tackles. I don't see any weakness but let's not forget we're talking Peyton Manning. He can get rid of the ball in less than 2-seconds. That makes it all but impossible to sack him. But if his receivers are jammed at the line for even a half a second, the advantage goes back to Seattle. TE Julius Thomas & WR Demaryius Thomas are big physical receivers who should be able to beat the jams. But slot receiver Wes Welker & WR Eric Decker may have a helluva time vs. this big, physical defensive secondary. I can't see much success for Denver running inside, to many X-large defenders with superior instincts in there. MLB Bobby Wagner often goes unblocked, flying to the ball. Bruce Irvin consistently sets the edge making it super tough to run outside to the right. OLB Malcolm Smith can cover the field sideline to sideline with his excellent speed.
Without OLB Von Miller & CB Chris Harris, the Broncos line up tomorrow without their two best defenders. If Seattle can get consistent blocks on Terrence "Pot Roast" Knighton with Max Ungar & James Carpenter, look for RB Marshawn Lynch to have a big day. QB Russell Wilson doesn't have much in the way of gamebreaking wideouts. If Denver finds a way to stop Lynch, I think they win the game without much more discussion. But my prediction is based on them being unable to do that. Wilson can run for first downs, all the while keeping his eyes downfield, looking for a big play.
I like Seattle's return teams way better than Denvers. I like their coverage teams better as well.
All the analysis in the world don't mean squat because if Denver can give Peyton more than 2.5 seconds, they will be tough to beat. If the wind goes over the forecasted 10-MPH, Peyton might be in real trouble, he doesn't do well in windy conditions.
I've always been a defensive guy, love everything about defensive gameplanning. But what sets me off is the defense that lines up & says "here we are, beat us." That's the way the Steelers, Chiefs, Ravens, Bears & a few more did over the years. They knew how great they were & their confidence was rewarded with a championship ring. I see that same swagger in the Seahawks defense. I see the tackling ability, the ferocity in their hitting & their attention to detail, never being out of position or running out of steam, regardless of how quickly the offense snaps the ball.
Peyton Manning is one of the game's all-time great quarterbacks, but I think this could be a bad spot for him so I'm taking the Seahawks.
SEATTLE 23 DENVER 20
Because of icy roads, freezing temps & possible snow, I might be watching the Super Bowl alone, in my room on a 22" TV. Getting up the hill from where we live might be too much for Linda & Bear. I don't want her to risk life & limb to get in here to watch the game with me. No wings, no pizza, sub sandwiches, chips & dips or cold Buds. It'll be like no other Super Bowl in recent history. But I'm closing in on breaking out of this joint & that's way more important than a Super Bowl pizza. Enjoy the game & be safe on the roadways.
Last month Mizzou wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was arrested while in a car with two other men. Police found a substantial amount of marijuana, bags & an electronic scale in the car. But after questioning, DBG was released without bond. After further investigation, Green-Beckham has been cleared. One of the car's occupants admitted to ownership of all the pot & the supplies. The fact that he's been taken to the police station twice for pot charges since arriving in Columbia. DGB blossomed in his true sophomore season with 59 catches for 883-yards & 12 touchdowns. His upcoming junior year will most likely be his last for the Tigers, so staying out of trouble will be very important to the pro scouts. He could be in a very good place as his younger brother, Darnell, has committed to playig for Gary Pinkel's 5th ranked Tigers. Pinkel also got a commitment from 4-star wide receiver Nate Brown, a 6' 3" 215-lb speedster from Suwanee Georgia & Lawrence Lee, an even faster prospect from Florida. Add Bud Sasser, Jimmy Hunt & DGB, QB Maty Mauk ought to have plenty of targets to throw to.
Former Missouri Tiger running back Brock Olivio will join the Chiefs' coaching staff as assistant special teams coach. Coach Dave Toub lost Kevin O'Dea last week when he took a job on Lovie Smith's new staff in Tampa. Olivio left Columbia as the team's third leading rusher & was a top flight special teams player for the Detroit Lions for five seasons.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke made a major real estate purchase in Southern California. He bought 60-acres that sits squarely between Hollywood Park & the Forum. Hollywood Park is no longer a viable venue for horse racing & is designated for redevelopment. The Rams lease at the Eward Jones Dome runs out after the 2014 season. Could the Rams be moving back to L.A.? Kroenke is a Missouri native who has always stated his desire to keep the team in St. Louis. He also owns the Denver Nuggets NBA franchise, Colorado Avalanche of the NHL & the Colorado Rapids of the MLS. It's possible Kroenke could be using this as leverage for a new stadium in the Gateway City, the bickering over improvements to the Dome have gotten nowhere & like all owners, Kroenke believes a new downtown stadium could be the ticket to much higher revenues.
So Super Bowl media day has come & gone, over 6,400 press credentials were issued. Every year we hear a slew of ridiculous questions asked of the two teams. Here are the four I found to be head & shoulders worse than all the rest.
Asked of Peyton Manning: "Will you be hosting Saturday Night Live this Saturday?"
Asked of Denver linebacker Shaun Phillips: "Do you consider this to be a must-win game?"
Asked of Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman: "What are your thoughts on the recent trouble Justin Beiber has gotten into?"
The hands-down winner goes to a future Pulitzer Prize winner from the English press.
Asked of Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett: "Who has the stinkiest farts in your locker room?"
After another ten days of setbacks, I think things have improved enough to get back in front of the keyboard & start doing what I love to do, talk about football. Thanks for all the Facebook posts, emails, text messages & phone calls, I appreciated every single one of them. I returned to physical therapy & I'm working very hard everyday. I have another doctor's appointment Monday morning & if I get the thumbs up from this doctor regarding a foot injury, I cold be about two weeks from going home.
Last year the underclassmen declaring for the NFL Draft was a record 72. This year? Try 102 on for size. Like most other draft classes, the more juniors & 3rd year sophomores we have to choose from, the better the draft class becomes. I have hours of Senior Bowl practices & the game to watch once I'm released here. I will be home before the combine thankfully, a helluva lot to watch there. This is my favorite time of the year, pinpointing holes in the Chiefs' roster & finding just the right prospect to fill those holes.
The "Sultan of Sod", Kansas City's own George Toma is currently working on his 48th Super Bowl. The 85-year old groundskeeper was hand picked by then NFL Commissioner Pete Rozell after he attended a December game in Kansas City in 1965. He told Chiefs' owner Lamar Hunt "this is the best looking field I've ever seen in a winter climate. Whether the field was under a dome or of the artificial variety, Toma was charged with making it look it's very best. He has had to recall his cold weather techniques from his Kansas City days to make certain the field looks great. He has a staff of 48, 15 from his days with the Royals & Chiefs. He said he wants to oversee the next two Super Bowls, which would give him all 50 Super Bowls.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones continues to micromanage his team, insuring they won't make the playoffs again next season. After having Bill Callahan call the plays for one season, Jones has brought in Scott Linehan to become the passing game coordinator & the offensive play caller. Callahan will remain as offensive line coach which gives Jones his last three playcallers, Callahan, Linehan & head coach Jason Garrett. What a mess Jones continues to preside over. Get a real general manager. Also changing jobs is new defensive coordinator Rob Marinelli, formerly of the Lions. Jones forced Rob Ryan out for Monte Kiffin, who has now been replaced with Marinelli. Kiffin will be "promoted"(Jerry's words) to Assistant Head coach-defense. The Super Bowl hasn't even been played yet & already Jerry Jones has wrecked his coaching staff for next season.
The St. Louis Rams have canned their defensive coordinator, Tim Walton, & hired "bounty-gate" bad boy, Gregg Williams. Head coach Jeff Fisher wanted Williams all along to be his D.C. but a league-mandated 1-year suspension kept him off the Rams ' sidelines until he served all the suspensions. He was linebackers' coach for Tennessee last season but will bring new excitement to an already scary defense in St. Louis. What a night mare that division has become with all four teams having outstanding defenses.
Speaking of the Titans, tight end Delanie Walker said on a Nashville radio show the Titans have "six or seven guys who don't give their all & became a cancer in the Tennessee locker room. As soon as coach Whisenhunt & his staff looks ate the film from last year, they'll know who was dogging it." Those 6-7 players cost coach Mike Munchak his job. But if he was unable to get them squared away, playing well, firing him was the right thing to do. The AFC South was the worst division in the NFL this season, I expect major improvement in their W-L records in '14. Tennessee, Jacksonville & Houston lost 35 games between them, a number I believe can be improved on considerably.
Did you watch the Pro Bowl? It still isn't a real football game, but I doubt it ever could be. But overall, it was pretty entertaining, Jerry Rice's All-Stars winning 22-21 on a 20-yard touchdown pass from K.C.'s Alex Smith to Dallas' DeMarco Murray with 41-seconds remaining. Fullback Mike Tolbert of Atlanta, blasted over the goal line for a 2-point conversion to insure the slimest margin of victory. Another Chief, linebacker Derrick Johnson, won defensive MVP for the game.
What is Warren Sapp's problem? He's appearing on every radio show he can find at the Suoer Bowl hotal, for the specific reason of trashing Michael Strahan & Jets rookie Sheldon Richardson. Sapp, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last summer, is waging a one-man war against Strahan, who is a finalist for the Hall & will face the 44-man voting panel on Saturday. Whether he makes it or not this year, Strahan will eventually be elected. In regards to Richardson, Sapp loves shooting holes in his game as well. I was a fan of Sapp for many years, talked to him for about two hours in Las Vevas a few years ago but the guy I'm seeing now is nothing like the guy I remember. Knock it off Warren, you sound petty. You're already in the HOF, let's leave it at that.
Also in that final fifteen is Chiefs' guard Will Shields, let's keep good thought for #68. He too will get there eventually but let's end the suspense & anxiety for the Shields' family. His HOF resume includes 223-consecutive starts, 12-consecutive Pro Bowls, 8 All-Pro starter, NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, Ed Block Courage Award & an Outland Trophy winner at Nebraska. I own one professional model Chiefs' jersey, it's a Will Shields. I hope we get good news on his induction Saturday afternoon.
Dallas defensive tackle Josh Brent was convicted of intoxication manslaughter & received a 10-year suspended sentence. Brent's collage & pro teammate, Jerry Brown, died after an drunk Brent lost control of his sports car at over 110-MPH. Ten year suspended sentence? Really? Unbelievable.
Ex-Patriots' front office guy, Thomas Dimitroff, became general manager with the Falcons. Scott Pioli left the Pats at the same time to take a similar position with the Chiefs. He lost his job after Chiefs fans staged an organized revolt against management. Dimitroff threw Pioli a bone & hired him as an assistant GM. The best part of his new job is we won't have to hear his opinion daily on NBCSports.
For the first time ever, one of the teams in the Super Bowl is without any players with experience in this game. Seattle has no players & only one coach, linebackers' coach Ken Norton Jr.won three consecutive Super Bowls with the Cowboys & Niners in the early 90's. Did you know in two playoff games the Broncos have attempted 79 passes without surrendering a sack. If that trend continues thru Sunday, Denver wins. I'll have my full Super Bowl analysis & prediction very soon.
The ESPN program "Outside the Lines" has placed blame on the University of Missouri for the suicide of a Tiger swimmer, Sasha Menu Coury, in 2011 after an alleged sexual assault. The report said the school was aware of the assault but didn't have anyone arrested even tho they had suspects. Now the University will launch an independent investigation into the assault & her death.
Sorry folks, I've been off the grid for over a week, during the playoffs no less. It couldn't be helped, here's what happened. Last Friday I was finishing up my PT(physical therapy) & was told to walk on my tip toes 5 or 6 steps on each foot. I protested saying I couldn't do that when healthy but after not walking much for over 6-months, I thought it to be an unreasonable request. Normally I don't argue, I just do what I'm instructed to do, after all, they're the professionals. After some badgering, I started walking on my tip toes but after three steps I told my therapist it hurt & I wasn't going to make it to 5 or 6. I know the difference between stiffness, soreness & pain, this was pain. More badgering ensued & I made it to 6. As I sat back down in my wheelchair, the pain on the bottom of my feet was way more than it should have been. By Friday night, both feet were on fire. Used hot pack to ease it somewhat but I knew Saturday & Sunday were going to be worse. They were, when I stood up out of my chair, my toes on the right foot were maybe 1/4" from touching the floor, but the left was far worse, possible 3/4" from the floor. The balls of both feet as well as the arches were swollen badly. As I tried to sit up to type out a playoff post last Saturday morning, I couldn't do it. There was no position I could put my feet that was tolerable enough to get the job done. It was just real sharp pain as soon as my feet hit the floor. This continued into Monday & Linda & I were notified by the Care Center they wanted a meeting on Tuesday. This lasted for well over an hour as five experts tried to come to an agreement on what course of action they could take with me to get my rehab jumpstarted without hurting me. When in doubt, medicate. I was given the same doses of Percocet I received at the hospital immediately after surgery & three mega-doses daily of Valium in an effort to stop the spasms I've had in my legs for the past few months. Tough to rehab when you are unable to sleep because of these spasms. Went thru 16-20 hot packs over Thursday & Friday but only two yesterday. No spasms Friday or last night. Only have one complaint. I am borderline drooling vegetable. I doze off constantly even after 12-hours of sleep. I tried watching a college all-star game last night after the Alabama-Mizzou game. Between the two games I would estimate I fell asleep ten times. I went to bed last night at 11 & slept well all night. I hope I can stay awake for both games today & I can resume full PT tomorrow morning.
Next month the NFL Scouting Combine opens for business in Indianapolis & for once, we could see a show. Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina defensive end announced he will do a full workout that includes all the running & jumping. This superior athlete might rock the scouting world with the numbers he could put up, especially in the 40-yard dash, vertical leap, standing broad jump & the 3-cone drill. Clowney said on Friday he measured exactly 6' 6" 274 & ripped off an eye-popping 4.46 forty. Regardless of the lesser teams at the top of the draft who needs quarterbacks, Clowney will go in the first 5 selections.
In the Bad Behavior Department we have a trio of newcomers this weekend. Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith had to be taken off a Virgin America flight out of Los Angeles Friday evening after disobeying a flight attendant. Smith was asked to take off his headphones & when he refused the attendants pulled the plug herself to which Smith jerked the cords out of her hand & plugged them back in. She called airport security & Smith was quickly escorted off the aircraft & booked on a later flight on another airline. He was not charged with anything after being counseled by police.
Jets tight end Kellen Winslow III could be charged with lewd conduct in addition to possession of synthetic marijuana. Winslow was sitting in a Target parking lot in his Escalade when a woman pulled in next to him. As she exited her vehicle, she mentioned the nice weather & as she looked at Winslow up close, she claimed he was masturbating. She called police who didn't witness any sexual activities but they did notice 7 bottles of synthetic marijuana in his console. The woman told police the pants he had pulled down around his knees were not those he exited the vehicle at the orders of the police. He can be charged with possession but not lewd behavior unless the woman presses charges against Winslow.
Cleveland wide receiver Devon Bess was arrested early Friday in the Fort Lauderdale Airport after some bizarre goings-on. Bess was reportedly dancing & singly loudly in the crowded airport. When a police officer asked him to quiet down, Bess sang louder & as he danced around, his pants fell down twice. Since Bess had gone "commando" the cop wasn't amused. When he told Bess he would be charged if he didn't calm down, the receiver ripped off his shirt & got into a martial arts fighting stance. His pants fell down for the third time, so he was arrested. Just 24-hours earlier, Bess' Twitter account had a photograph posted of himself & what appeared to be a very large bag of pot. It has since been taken down but not before the Browns & the league got an eyeball on it. Bess was formerly the Dolphins Man of the Year for his work in anti-drug campaigns aimed at Florida youth.
Thye Cleveland Browns are the only team left without a head coach & when you consider how early they fired theirs you wonder what the hell is taking so long. The Minnesota Vikings named former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer to succeed Leslie Frazier.
The new England Patriots face off with the Denver Broncos in today's first Championship game, this one for the Lamar Hunt Trophy. This will be the 15th time Tom Brady & Peyton Manning will square off in the postseason. Brady leads the series 10-4. During this same time, Manning has had the better regular season record. He has had difficulty passing in New England wind, snow & cold. None of those factors will be a part of today's game in balmy Denver. It will be a sunny 50 degrees with light winds. I have to say Pats coach Bill Belichick may have reached a pinnacle in his HOF coaching career. After losing all five of his top receivers from last season, Belichick implemented a power running game & made Julian Edelman the Pats leading receiver with 110-catches. RB's Steven Ridley & LeGarrette Blount finished with 773 & 772-yards plus 7 TD's apiece. New England's O-line was a mess at the tackle position but Belichick just changed it weekly & the Pats continued winning. They lost the center of their defense, DT's Vince Wilfork & Tommy Kelly, LB's Brandon Spikes & Jerod Mayo. Still the Pats won & with Brady's 10-4 advantage over Peyton Manning, I'm taking New England. The Broncos secondary is a mess without Rahim Morris & their best corner, Chris Harris. I expect a high scoring game with the total of 50 1/2 surpassed before the 3rd quarter ends. New England 38 Denver 34
So what to make of the San Francisco, Seattle Seahawks game? It's so very tough to pick against the Hawks' at home, anytime against anyone, especially against a Forty-Niner team the Seahawks have crushed 3 times in 4 meetings over the past year. But that was when QB Russell Willson was playing lights out football. He is no longer & I doubt he can turn it on today. On the other hand, 49er QB Colin Kaepernick is playing better now, decidly better than Wilson. The Niners are healthy, deep & ready to return to the Super Bowl. Seattle has the best secondary in football, they'll need it today against the likes of Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree & Kaepernick. Throw in RB Frank Gore & a swarming defense & I believe it's just too much to overcome. Picking two road teams against 2 homes teams with 26 combined wins. Still........... San Francisco 23 Seattle 13
Tampa Bay The Bucs hired former Bears' coach Lovie Smith. I told you last week the word was Smith had struck a deal with former Cal head coach, Jeff Tedford, to become his offensive coordinator if he was hired as a head coach. Lovie also hired former Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier to become defensive coordinator.
Miami Fired offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, QB Ryan Tannehill's college coach. General manager Jeff Ireland was also canned. Former Chiefs' Director of Player Personnel, Ray Farmer is the leading candidate to fill Ireland's spot. Gary KubiaK & Kyle Shanahan have interviewed for the offensive coordinator vacancy.
Washington Jay Gruden was hired to be the Redskins 8th head coach since Daniel Snyder bought the team. Older brother of Jon, Jay had been offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. It's very possible Washington will retain Jim Haslett as defensive coordinator.
Cincinnati With the departure of Gruden, the Bengals hired Hue Jackson to fill the offensive coordinator's position.
Detroit Interviewed San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Wisenhunt & former Colts head coach Jim Caldwell.
Minnesota The Vikings have been busy this week interviewing a number of prospects for Leslie Frazier's old job. Wisenhunt, Darrell Bevelle, Todd Bowles, Mike Zimmer & Jack Del Rio have spoken to the Lions.
Tennessee Zimmer, Wisenhunt & Caldwell met with Titans' officials this week.
New England Rookie WR Aaron Dobson was ruled out of Saturday's playoff game against Indianapolis because of a foot injury. The Patriots also will go without linebacker Brandon Spikes, their 5th defensive starter to not make it to the playoffs. Pretty tall order even with Brady & Belichick.
Seattle The Seahawks will see WR/KR Percy Harvin in their lineup for the first time this season.
San Diego The Chargers offensive line could be in trouble Sunday as starting center Nick Hardwick is recovering from a concussion. He was cleared to practice but not yet cleared to play. Guard Jeremy Clary might not go either, he has an injured shoulder. RB Ryan Mathews hasn't practiced this week because of his ankle sprain but he'll be ready to go against the Broncos. Left tackle D.J. Flukker's ankle has healed enough he has moved from questionable to probable.
Kansas City The Chiefs will retain assistant director of player personnel Chris Ballard. The Bucs had requested permission to speak to him about their GM vacancy. The Chiefs will get crackin' on some contract extensions, namely QB Alex Smith, OT Brandon Albert & OLB Justin Houston. Smith had another year in his Forty-Niners' deal worth $7.5 million, a bargain for an NFL starting quarterback with his numbers. Albert is the Chiefs franchise player, he made $9.8 million this season. I could see John Dorsey putting the tag on him again, at a revised cost of $12.0 million. Don't snicker, the guy has surrendered 3 sacks in two seasons facing the leagues best blindside pass rushers. Houston has one more year left on his rookie deal & if he gets 10+ sacks next season, his asking price will go up considerably, you have to believe that will happen. My man Will Shields has made the Hall of Fame finalists list. I hope this is his year.
Mizzou Two Tigers will forego their final year of eligibility next year. Running back Henry Josey & defensive end Kony Ealy will move onto the NFL next fall. If Ealy works out well at the combine, he could slip into the bottom of the first round. Josey? I honestly don't know considering the devestating knee injury he sustained in November of 2011.
Florida State A number of the champion Noles could've moved on but have chosen to stay. Only three have announced their intentions to go pro. Running back James Wilder Jr., DT Timmy Jernigan & WR Kelvin Benjamin will make the move. Please, please let Benjamin be available when Kansas City drafts in round one.
Alabama Safety HaHa Clinton-Dix will move onto the NFL but the biggest news out of Tuscaloosa was the hiring of Lane Kiffin to fill the vacant offensive coordinator's position. Doug Nussmeier left Bama to take the same job with Michigan.
Auburn Tackle Greg Robinson & RB Tre Mason will leave Auburn with eligibility leftover. Robinson was the Tigers srating left tackle the past two seasons.
Texas A&M Two huge announcements coming out of College Station. Heisman winner Johnny Manziel & WR Mike Evans will leave the Aggies to enter the NFL Draft. Both figure to go in the top half of the first round. I see Manziel going in the top-5.
Oklahoma State WR/PR Josh Stewart will leave Stillwater for the NFL. Excellent player with a good upside.
Penn State It appears Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin will move to Penn State & an announcement could come as early as tomorrow afternoon.
Texas The Longhorns named former Louisville coach Charlie Strong to Mack Brown's old job. I like this move, Strong is a brilliant & tough defensive coach. Plus he is a great recruiter, something he'll need to succeed Brown.
Louisville In a truly bizarre move, Strong's vacancy was filled by former Cardinals head coach Bobby Petrino. He was Louisville's head coach from 2003-06, compiling a 41-9 record. After signing a new 10-year deal, Petrino bailed on the Cardinals, signing a 5-year deal with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. He didn't last a full season, resigning after 13-weeks. He didn't even tell his team face to face, preferring a 4-sentance "I'm sorry" that was slipped into their lockers. He then signed with Arkansas. That lasted four seasons before Petrino's outstanding character got him into real trouble. The married, father of four, hired his mistress for an athletic department job no one else was even interviewed for, a no-no for a state agency. Then he gave her several raises which he was not empowered to do. Then he was involved in a motorcycle accident & lied like hell about every detail regarding the mishap. It only took two days for the truth to come out & it cost Petrino his job. This guy has very little integrity, what is Louisville thinking rehiring this creep? He is an excellent football coach, that's why he gets job offers. I heard him say on ESPN's Mike & Mike in the Morning Louisville would be his last coaching job. But what if his terrific personality comes forward again, forcing Louisville to fire him? Would he refrain from listening to offers from other universities? Officials at Louisville know exactly what they're getting, so if things go badly, let's not hear about Petrino's antics surprising anybody.
Two NFL games today, New Orleans at Seattle followed by Indianapolis at New England. I don't see the Saints beating Seattle in Century Link Field. Too loud plus the forecast calls for a 98% chance of rain from kickoff to the final gun, another Seattle advantage. Hawks by at least 10.
Indy looks like they could have a chance against the Patriots, decimated by injury. But I never, ever have a death wish that includes picking against Belichick & Brady at Foxboro in the playoffs. Should be a close game, but I can't pick Luck & the Colts, I think Belichick will call a better game than Andy Reid did last Saturday. Enjoy!