Posts Tagged ‘Donovan McNabb’

NFL 2010..One Roller Coaster of a Season!

The 2010 NFL Season had more ups and downs than all the roller coasters in Cedar Point combined!  We love roller coasters and since the NFL season had just as many thrills and chills, we thoroughly enjoyed these past months on the gridiron.  Here are just a few of our favorite highs and lows….

High Points:

Michael Vick’s comeback! 

This is no doubt the “feel good” story of the year.  Vick’s phenomenal performance after being incarcerated on dog fighting charges and being relegated to back up behind both Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb could truly be a movie script.  The perfect ending may have to wait, though.  Only a Super Bowl Championship seems like the larger than life finale fitting Vick, Andy Reid and the Eagles.

Ndamukong Suh PAT attempt 

In early November in a game vs. the NY Jets, 307 pound Ndamukong Suh, a rookie tackle for the Detroit Lions, lined up for the extra point attempt after the starting kicker got injured.  While he missed the extra point, the sight of Suh making the attempt was definitely a highlight of the 2010 season!

Celebration dance by B.J. Raji 

In the NFC title game vs. the Bears, Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji intercepted a Bears pass and “ran” 18 yards for a TD.  His hula hoop-like dance was one of the most amusing, fun moments of the playoffs!  Click below to see Raji in motion.

The Chicago Bears

The Bears made it to the NFC title game, despite the preseason prediction by most pundits who beleived they were a below average team with little hope.  In 2009, they went 7-9 and had failed to make the playoffs for the third consecutive year.  The Bears ended the 2010 season at 11-5.  Some people believe that luck was a big factor in their winning season, as they faced a number of back up QBs and a 7-9 Seattle Seahawks team in the playoffs.  In Week 1 against the Lions, a Detroit TD was overturned by a little known, controversial call with just a minute to play, giving the Bears the win.  Lucky or not, it was good to see the Bears return to the playoffs once again!

Aaron Rodgers 

The Packers’ QB finally emerged from Brett Favre’s shadow.   His stellar play this season earned the Packers a Super Bowl Championship, but nearly as important, gave Rodgers the recognition he deserved.  During the regular season, he earned a passer rating of 101.2 – the third best in the NFL.  He also ranked third in rushing yards by a QB.   In the post season, Rodgers had a passer rating of 109.8 and showed his composure and exceptional ability to read defenses.  What we love most about the Aaron Rodgers 2010 story is that in addition to being a great QB, he seems to be a genuinely good guy as well!

Low Points:

Mike Shanahan   

Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan started a streak of behavior in October that slowly spiraled into a complete lack of respect for veteran QB Donovan McNabb by the end of the season.  Trailing by 6 and with less than 2 minutes left in a game against Detroit, Shanahan benched McNabb and put in back up Rex Grossman.  On the next play, Grossman fumbled the ball, Detroit returned it for a TD.  After that fiasco, most coaches would have tried to apologize for their poor decision.  But Shanahan went in front of the media and awkwardly tried to explain his decision by first claiming he benched McNabb because he didn’t feel he could run the 2 minute offense.  His statement was perceived as a criticism of McNabb’s intellectual ability by many in the public, so Shanahan changed his reason, stating that he actually thought McNabb didn’t have the physical endurance to effectively run the two minute offense.  Later, he modified his statement once again and claimed McNabb was suffering from sore hamstrings.  The tension between Shanahan and McNabb was quite evident.  Later, with only 3 games left in the regular season,   Shanahan benched McNabb in favor of Rexman and actually publicly demoted him to 3rd string.  The Redskins had a myriad of problems this season.  But it appears that Shanahan chose to focus on McNabb rather than recognize other issues hurting the team, including the coaching staff and their poor decision making over the course of the season.

Peyton Manning’s streak of INTs

11 INTs over a three game span brought forth criticism about Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning.  Some questioned his age, while others questioned his ability.  Manning had to deal with a porous offensive line, a slew of injuries to his receiving corps and no running game all season.  Despite his 4700 yards of passing this year, Peyton could not carry the team alone.  But to question Manning’s ability is absurd and short sighted.  It was one of the low points in the season for us, but Manning himself seemed unscathed by his critics.  That focus and drive makes him one of the game’s all time greatest QBs!

Vince Young meltdown 

In a game vs. the Redskins, Young injured his hand.  When Titans coach Jeff Fisher put back up Kerry Collins in, Young became agitated and a childish tantrum ensued.  He paced the sidelines, swearing and mumbling to himself, and then tossed his shoulder pads and jersey into the stands as he stormed into the locker room at the end of the game.  That day was his last as the Titans’ starting QB.  Owner Bud Adams recently announced that Young will not be on the roster next season.  He will either be traded or released. 

Inconsistent fines by the NFL 

The NFL established a reactionary, subjective policy early in the season in response to a number of head injuries.  While we applaud their efforts to protect players, this policy fell short and needs to be revamped before next season.

Super Bowl XLV seat fiasco  

In the most technologically advanced and extravagant stadium in the history of football, Jerry Jones’ Cowboys Stadium came up short on the most important day for the NFL.  400 fans attending the Super Bowl were unable to be seated because their seating area was not completed in time.  The seats were valued at $800 and the NFL issued a refund of $2400 to each of those affected.  Fans had the option to watch the game in the $350 “Standing Room Only” section or on monitors in the North Field Club.  Despite these allowances by the NFL, fans were understandably upset.  There is no excuse for incomplete seating areas in a venue like the Super Bowl!

New York Jets Tripping 

The Jets Strength and Conditioning coach, Sal Alosi, admitted he intentionally tripped Miami’s Nolan Carroll as he raced down the sideline on punt coverage.  Alosi’s role in the NFL was to help players become physically stronger and healthier, yet he showed a complete lack of judgment when he tried to trip an opponent running at full speed.  Alosi was subsequently fined and suspended by the Jets.  Later, the NFL levied a $100,000 fine against the Jets.  Alosi announced his resignation from the team January 31st.

The NFL’s decision to postpone the Eagles vs. Vikings game 

In late December, the NFL postponed the Eagles/Vikings game because of a predicted winter storm expected to dump 18 inches of snow on the city.  Since when does FOOTBALL get postponed due to weather?  This isn’t soccer and the NFL set a bad precedent by postponing the game when both teams were in the city and capable of playing.  Vince Lombardi must have turned over in his grave!

We hope you have enjoyed our review of our favorite ups and downs of this past season.  It truly was an exhilarating ride, but like any good roller coaster, seemed much too short!

Post Season Awards! Brady Earned NFL MVP, But We Still Don’t Have to Like Him

The Super Bowl is over and it’s time to reflect upon the past season.  What were the highs and lows?  What player or team was the biggest surprise and who left fans feeling disappointed?  Which coaching and owner decisions were successful and which were foolish?  There’s plenty to discuss about the 2010 NFL season and playoffs, but before we delve into these issues, let’s take a look at a few of the major post-season honors recently awarded to some of the gridiron’s greatest players.

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady was named the NFL’s 2010 MVP.  The award is bestowed by the Associated Press and voters consist of 50 members of the media from throughout the U.S.  For the first time, the vote for MVP was unanimous, with Brady receiving all 50 votes.  In 2007, with a 16-0 record, Brady received the MVP award with 49 votes. 

This season Brady passed for over 3900 yards.  With 36 TDs and a mere 4 INTs, his TD:INT ratio of 9.0 set a record for the highest ratio in NFL history.  The previous record was set by Brady in 2007.  Brady also set another incredible record this season with 334 consecutive throws without an interception.  His pretty boy looks, coupled with his exceptional athletic ability, make him one of the most popular NFL players among women – just not us!  But we will concede that he truly did deserve this award.

The 33 year old Patriots QB was also named AP Offensive Player of the Year.  He led his team to a 14-2 regular season record, the best in the NFL.  Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick shared the spotlight as well.  He was named NFL Coach of the Year, receiving 30 of the 50 votes by members of the AP.  Since joining the Patriots in 2000, Belichick has led the Patriots to 3 Super Bowl Championships, 4 Conference Championships and 8 Division titles.  This is the 3rd time he has received Coach of the Year honors.

The NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year was a much closer vote, with Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu edging out Green Bay Packer linebacker Clay Matthews by just 2 votes.  Polamalu received 17 votes, Matthews earned 15 and fellow Steelers linebacker James Harrison received 8.  Polamalu had 63 tackles this season, along with 7 INTs in 14 games.  His game-changing play ability, coupled with his natural instincts, helped Pittsburgh earn its #2 defensive ranking and get them to the Super Bowl.  In the end, however, Clay Matthews earned the NFL’s most sought after award – a Super Bowl title.  His forced fumble in the 4th quarter was a MAJOR momentum changing play in the game and helped seal the Packers’ victory.

Speaking of the Super Bowl, another award was given out Sunday night.  Aaron Rodgers became Super Bowl XLV MVP after he and the Green Bay Packers defeated Pittsburgh 31-25.  Rodgers completed 24 of 39 passes for 304 yards.  He had 3 TDs and no interceptions.  The victory was the first Super Bowl title for the Packers since 1997.

Finally, we come to an award that is perhaps our very favorite this post-season – the Comeback Player of the Year.  Michael Vick was recently honored with this AP award, receiving 29.5 votes.  After limited play in 2009 as a back up to Donovan McNabb, the 30 year old Vick began the 2010 season as a back up to Eagles QB Kevin Kolb.  When Kolb became injured in the first game of the season, Vick stepped in and his exceptional performances earned him the starting position for the rest of the season.  This season, Vick threw for over 3000 yards, 21 TDs, 6 INTs and had an impressive QB rating of 100.2.  His spectacular scrambling and running ability earned him 9 rushing TDs and almost 700 yards on 100 attempts.  After his 18 month incarceration for dog fighting, his success both on and off the field this season deservedly earned him the Comeback Player of the Year honor.

Stay tuned for more post-season discussion!  Next up:  the highs and lows of the 2010 NFL season!  With more drama than a cat fight on an episode of “The Bachelor”, this past season had many thrilling ups and downs that are both entertaining and interesting to look back on.  The season may be over, but a true fan never tires of gabbing about the gridiron!

2011 New Year’s Resolutions Around the Gridiron

We have been gone for a few days, squeezing out the last of the holiday festivities before getting back to reality.  As we head into 2011, we have made our list of resolutions, hoping to accomplish at least a few of the things we long to do this coming year! 

In that spirit, we offer the following New Year’s resolutions for some of our favorite (and not so favorite) football-related individuals and others from 2010.

Mike Shanahan

I resolve to faithfully read the “Miss Manners” advice column so I can learn the meaning of respect and apply it to those around me, particularly legendary quarterbacks who have earned it. 

I resolve to go to my local Barnes & Noble to purchase “Coaching Football for Dummies” in hopes that I can learn SOMETHING useful to salvage my professional career.

The New York Jets

We resolve to hire Strength and Conditioning coaches who work on OUR players and not the other team’s players.

We resolve to recognize that women are more than just Barbie Dolls and can actually contribute to sports.

Brett Favre

I resolve to get rid of my cell phone.

I resolve to take the hint from the injuries Gods and finally retire for REAL.

Randy Moss

I resolve to keep all thoughts about the superb abilities of former coaches and teammates tucked away securely in my head, especially during post-game press conferences.

I resolve to keep all comments regarding catered foods and canines to myself.

Roger Goodell

I resolve to keep Vince Lombardi from turning in his grave by never postponing games due to snow and wind.

I resolve to keep the word “Wussie” from ever being associated with the NFL again.

I resolve to keep the NFL from turning into the National Flag League by concentrating on REAL player safety issues instead of legitimate hard hits.

Cam Newton

I resolve to never listen to my father’s advice.

I resolve to take lots of pics with my Heisman, since I will undoubtedly be returning it within the next few years.

Ohio State

We resolve to stop being an NFL player factory and at least APPEAR to provide an education.

We resolve to duct tape our President’s mouth whenever he attempts to discuss football.

Eli Manning

I resolve to stop giving the camera that Gomer Pyle  “Gaaw-aawl-ly” look when I throw an interception.

I resolve to call my big brother and get advice on how to transform my naïve country boy persona into one fitting a New York quarterback.

NCAA

We resolve to fairly enforce our rules and not allow players from big football programs (read Auburn and Ohio State) to get off the hook.

Tucker Carlson

I resolve to actually practice the Christianity I profess and learn that forgiveness is one of its tenets.

I resolve to never speak about football, or any other sport, again.

I resolve to loosen my bow tie, in hopes that it sends oxygen to my brain so that I think before I speak.

Michael Vick

I resolve to finish my story book-like comeback with a fairy tale ending and take my team to the Super Bowl.

I resolve to continue to be THE most exciting player in the NFL while showing the world that redemption is truly possible.

Twas the Weekend Before Christmas…

Twas the weekend before Christmas, when all through the teams

Not a creature was stirring, but some QBs were it seems!

There was quarterback drama hanging in the air

With some players wondering how they got there!

 Indeed some quarterbacks are quite stirred up at this time of the season.   Here is a glimpse of some of the hustle and bustle this weekend among a few of our favorite QBs.

Rookie QB Tim Tebow will make his first start today against Oakland.  Starter Kyle Orton has bruised ribs, so Tebow will head the Denver offense and try to turn around the 3-10 Broncos.  For Tebow, this opportunity is a reason to feel quite jolly this holiday season!

Donovan McNabb feels like he just got a visit from the Grinch.  Benched by Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan, McNabb has not only been told he is the 2nd string QB behind Rex Grossman, but that for the remaining two games he will be 3rd string.  If there was ever a “Grinch Who Stole Christmas” in the NFL, it is Shanahan and his Bah, Humbug disrespect he has shown the veteran QB.

For Brett Favre, his streak of consecutive starts is over.  Last week his 297 straight starts (321, if playoffs are included) ended because of his sprained shoulder.  Once again he will miss this weekend’s game and it seems as though this may be his final year in the NFL.

Another QB is also having a “Blue Christmas”.  Aaron Rogers is sitting out today’s game due to injury.  Like Favre, his streak as a starter is over.  He had started every game since taking over from Favre early in 2008.

Peyton Manning finds himself under pressure to keep the Colts’ playoff hopes alive.  If the Colts lose to the Jaguars, Jacksonville will clinch the AFC South.  The Colts would be at 7-7 and have to hope other teams lose in order to have any shot at the playoffs.  Peyton’s uncharacteristic streak of interceptions seems to have ended last week against the Titans. Will he be able to maintain that momentum and carry the Colts to the playoffs?

In this last weekend before Christmas, these quarterbacks find themselves in a season of transition.  As the playoffs approach, will they overcome their challenges and be able to deliver a great gift to their teams?  Stay tuned…the drama has just begun!

The Nightmare Before Christmas – Starring Donovan McNabb

The Washington Redskins threw a lump of coal in Donovan McNabb’s Christmas stocking yesterday.  Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan announced that McNabb will be the 2nd string QB on Sunday when they face the Cowboys.  Rex Grossman will be the starter.

Oh, but the insult didn’t end there.  Shanahan continued piling on by saying that McNabb would become the 3rd string QB for the last two games of the season, behind John Beck.  John who???

McNabb’s performance this season has been inconsistent.  No one can argue that.  At 34, McNabb is showing some signs of an aging QB.  He does not have the mobility of a younger player and with a weak offensive line, he has been sacked 37 times.  He has thrown 15 interceptions this season, which has not helped the struggling team who is now 5-8.

Benching McNabb for Rex Grossman epitomizes the total turmoil the Redskin organization is in.  Say what you will about McNabb’s numbers this season, he is still a far better choice than Grossman or John who??  McNabb’s QB rating is 77.1, certainly not the rating he has had for most of his NFL career.  But Grossman’s rating is 75.9.  So does this give the Redskins a BETTER chance of success? 

McNabb is a veteran QB who has been to 5 NFC Championship games, 6 Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl.  He has over a decade of experience as an offensive leader in the NFL.  That kind of game know-how and instinct is immeasurable and should not be so easily dismissed.  When a team is in such overall disarray, a veteran QB and his leadership abilities are vital.  Does Shanahan thinks that Grossman or John who?? are better choices?     

The last time Donovan was benched by Shanahan didn’t work out so well for Washington.  Trailing by 6 points with less than 2 minutes left in the game, Shanahan inexplicably took Donovan out and put Grossman in.  On his first play, Grossman fumbled the ball and it was returned by Detroit to seal the win.  Apparently this remarkable performance was enough to earn him the starting job this week!

At the time of that initial benching, Shanahan claimed he did it because he didn’t feel McNabb had the ability to effectively run the two minute drill.  This was perceived by many to be an insult to McNabb’s ability to understand the offense.  In other words, it appeared as though Shanahan was questioning whether or not McNabb had the intellectual ability to run the plays.  After great media attention, Shanahan modified his statement and said McNabb did not have the physical endurance necessary for the two minute offense, despite McNabb showing no signs of physical problems during the game.  Finally, Shanahan offered a third and final explanation.  He claimed Donovan had sore hamstrings.  These conflicting statements were the first signs of the strained relationship between McNabb and Shanahan.

Yesterday’s announcement by Shanahan showed a complete lack of respect towards McNabb.  Instead of looking at the other major troubles on the Redskins – weak offensive line, weak defense and weak special teams – Shanahan has decided to focus on McNabb.  Certainly Washington’s abysmal season cannot be blamed entirely on Donovan.   But Shanahan seems determined to put the spotlight on the veteran QB, perhaps to keep the spotlight off of his own shortcomings.

The Cowboys were happy to hear of Donovan’s benching.  They would rather face Grossman, who was 15 for 32, with three interceptions, the last time he played against them.  When told the news, Cowboys players smiled and laughed at the prospect.  But for Donovan McNabb, his benching is truly a “Nightmare Before Christmas” and an incredibly undeserved lump of coal in his stocking.

It’s Week 9 and Oh What a Season it has Been!

Here we are, in week 9 of the NFL schedule, which means we are half way through the regular season!  Time flies when you’re having fun.  As we reflect on what has unfolded in the NFL thus far, we were inspired to say it with poetry.  (Don’t ask why, frankly, we really don’t know)

 

The NFL season is already half completed

Some of our teams have won, others were defeated

Players have been benched, a few were even traded

Coaches have been praised, a few are truly hated

So at this point in the season, we look at where things stand

One thing we know for certain, this season has not been bland!

 

The great and mighty Saints were expected to be dominant

But here in 2010, they’re not so prominent!

The trendy “who dat” slogan was such a catchy phrase

 But the way the Saints are playing, was it only just a phase?

So as New Orleans struggles to find a way to win

Will another team replace them as America’s new darlin’?

 

All throughout the league, quarterbacks are making news

With so many controversies, it’s easy to feel confused

In Philly, Vick was out…then in..then out again

The Steelers had their own QB troubles – the behavior of Big Ben

McNabb was benched for Grossman, a decision that boggles the mind

Grossman fumbled his first play, and the Redskins fell behind!

 

The Vikings made a trade to pick up Randy Moss

Four short weeks later, they gave him quite the toss

Randy’s open praise of his former coach and team

Caused coach Childress fury and to fire him it seems

Randy’s now a Titan, playing in Tennessee

Will he find a home there?  Or will he have to flee?

 

Jerry Jones’ Cowboys now stand at one and six

How does this happen to a pre-season Superbowl pick?

The Bills are once again at the bottom of the pile

Will frosty Buffalo fans ever find reason to smile?

The Panthers and 49ers are also down this year

Their fans are not celebrating, but drowning in cold beer

 

The Patriots are once again winning, doing it with flair

Even with Tom Brady and his Justin Bieber-like long hair

The Giants and the Falcons are tied for first in the NFC

Who will win their division?  We will have to wait and see

The Ravens, Chiefs and Colts seem to be true contenders

While the Jets, Packers and Steelers may just end up pretenders

 

The season’s only half way through, there’s lots more games to play

Some teams will continue to win, some may go astray

Football is a game of inches, so the saying goes

It’s a game that can’t be predicted, as any true fan knows

So enjoy the “second half”, it will be an adventurous ride

It’s what makes football the greatest game – that cannot be denied!

Chilly in Philly? Could a Quarterback Controversy Cool Down the Red Hot Eagles?

Philadelphia may be the City of Brotherly Love, but is it the City of Quarterback Love at this moment?  At the start of the season, Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid named Kevin Kolb his starting QB.  Michael Vick was listed as number two on the depth chart until Kolb suffered a concussion in game one against the Packers.  In that game, Kolb’s play was mediocre at best.  Preseason for Kolb was not much better, but to be fair, the offensive line had not quite jelled that early in the season.

In the Packer’s game, Vick came in when the Eagles were down 20-3.  He rushed for 103 yards and passed for 175 in a valiant effort that nearly saved the game.  The Eagles ultimately lost 27-20.  But on that fateful day, Vick won the hearts of many Eagles fans who had their doubts about his ability to be a leader on the field.  In his next game vs. the Detroit Lions, Vick once again had an outstanding showing, throwing for 284 yards, 2 TDs and a 35-32 victory.

The next day, Monday, Kolb was cleared to play and Coach Reid announced him as the starter.  In a move that surprised everyone, Reid retracted his statement the following day.  He named Vick the starter, much to the delight of Eagles fans everywhere.  Was this a quarterback controversy in the making?  Not really.  Since Kolb’s performances had been shaky and Vick’s had been far superior and consistent, the decision was an easily justifiable one for Reid.

Vick’s performance vs. the Jaguars the following week was dominating as he racked up 291 yards passing.  He threw 3 touchdowns, ran for one and showed that he had developed into a pocket passer. His ability to read defenses, make quick decisions and throw the deep ball were new traits the old Atlanta Falcons style Vick simply didn’t possess.

The next game versus the Redskins, Vick entered the game as the NFL’s 3rd leading passer.  On a run into the end zone near the end of the 1st quarter, Vick suffered a rib and chest injury that forced him out and Kolb back in as starter.  Thus the seeds of a QB controversy were born.

Kolb had a solid performance against the Redskins, throwing for 201 yards and one interception in a 17-12 loss.  The next game against the 49ers, Kolb threw for 253 yards and no interceptions to lead the Eagles to a 27-24 victory.  Last week versus Atlanta, Kolb’s performance was even more stellar, as he completed 23 of 29 passes for 326 yards.  Most importantly, Kolb regained the confidence lost in the pre-season and took control of the offense.

Now that Vick’s injury is healing and he is about to return, Andy Reid has been barraged with questions about who the starter will be.  Does he stick with Vick, who mere weeks ago he announced as the starter?  Or does he stay with Kolb, who seems to be in a rhythm – a groove –  so to speak?  Quarterback controversies can tear a team apart, and with the Eagles tied for 1st place in the NFC East, they have a lot at stake.

For the unflappable Andy Reid, this is a win-win situation.  He has 2 top rated QBs that most franchises only dream of having on their rosters.  After Kolb’s concussion, Vick stepped in and took control of the team.  With an offensive line suffering from a number of injuries, Vick’s impressive scrambling ability was a key component in the Eagles’ early victories. After Vick got injured, Kolb showed great poise.  The offensive line started playing together as a unit, allowing Kolb to show off his strong arm and ability to make big, downfield throws.  So for Andy Reid, he can use these two formidable weapons to keep opponents guessing.  Defensive coordinators will face a nightmare trying to prepare their players to face two very different types of QB’s.

From all reports, Kolb and Vick are handling the potential controversy quite well.  Vick is simply grateful to be given a second chance at all, given his dog fighting conviction and jail time.  His contract with the Eagles expires at the end of this season.  Given his maturation into a top QB and leader, Vick knows his future looks bright whether he is named the official starter or not.  Kolb, too, is grateful for a second chance given his unimpressive start.

QUARTERBACK CONTROVERSY?  Nahh.. this is more like QUARTERBACK DESTINY.   The Eagles can utilize both players and confound defenses all season long.  While other coaches and teams may succumb to media pressure about the OFFICIAL starter, Andy Reid can simply smile at the cameras as he did this week.   When asked about who the starter would be, Reid replied “you take Michael Kolb and we go play, baby”.  Doesn’t sound like a controversy to me.

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