Welcome to Week 12 Blitzers. Talk about two different games of the week from your Barkeep. Definitely two different reasons to drink; however, your barkeep got himself back on the winning track by picking the Bucs to come out victorious. No there were no cab rides or crab legs. Nor were there any Fitztragic sightings. But there were plenty of Blackbeard Cocktails on this week’s podcast. While it wasn’t an overall favorite from all of the guys (you can’t win over the crowd every single time), it did its job and delivered the desired effect. Gentlemen, your “Camille Mack” custom jerseys are en route as we speak, courtesy of the Blitzed Barkeep. It’s the least I can do for keeping me entertained each week. For the rest of you, if you’re wondering who Camille Mack is and how the guys got that drunk, you can catch it here:
This week’s podcast was highly entertaining and outlined three teams that are on the outside looking into the playoff picture. Stats Guy gave us an interesting statistic that as of Week 12 in the NFL, NO team is technically eliminated from playoff contention. Being Week 13, lets take a look at three teams that were supposed to be in the playoff picture, apparently went to happy hour a little too early, but are on the outside looking in and one that has surprisingly positioned itself rather nicely to make a playoff push down the stretch.
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8)
Where do you possibly begin with this team? For starters, take a look at their 2017 defensive stats: 268 total pts (2nd), 286.1 yds/game (2nd), 55 sacks (2nd) 21 INTs (2nd), 17 fumble recoveries (tied 3rd), 2 TDS. To sum it up, they were dominant. In 2018, they are far from it. They are giving up 320 yds/game. Through 11 games, they’ve already given up 243 points, only have 22 sacks, 8 INTS and have only recovered 3 fumbles. The story this season is that the defense is not generating offensive opportunities for a shorter field, which is important for a team that does not field what we’ll call an efficient offense. That’s the difference between 2017 and 2018 Jacksonville. The Jaguars are the cocky drunk asshole at the bar that doesn’t know when to shut up. Eventually they get their teeth knocked in by someone who has no business being in the same fight with them. Jacksonville is losing to teams they shouldn’t be losing to. They need to do less talking off the field and more playing on it.
Blitzed Final Stretch: IND, @Ten, WASH, @Mia, @Hou
Final Record Prediction: 5-11 (miss the playoffs)
Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
What’s wrong with the defending Super Bowl champs? Overall, their offense is not performing as efficiently as last year. Their passing is actually up statistically this year (2017: 233 yds/gm 2018: 253.6 yds/gm) but that’s not always a good thing. It usually means they are playing from behind more than they should be. The fact that their rushing (’17: 132.2 yds/gm; ’18: 100.8 yds/gm) and scoring (’17: 28.6 pts/gm; ’18 20.9 pts/gm) are way down while they are giving up more points per game (18.4 pts/gm last year compared to 23 pts/gm this year) back that statistic up. Teams are punching Philadelphia in the gut right away this year causing them to go away from their game plans that worked so well last year. Less offensive balance coupled with worse defensive efficiency usually leads to one heck of a super bowl hangover. If the Eagles don’t want to become the 14th team all-time to win the Super Bowl then miss the playoffs the following season, they need to drink some water, cure that hangover and get back to their winning recipe from 2017.
Blitzed Final Stretch: WASH, @Dal, @LAR, HOU, @Wash
Final Record Prediction: 8-8 (miss the playoffs)
Atlanta Falcons (4-7)
The Falcons have struggled to replace the offense that Kyle Shanahan had in place during their Super Bowl appearance two years ago when he left for San Francisco. Either that or that come-from-behind loss permanently damaged the likes of Matty Ice and company so much that they’ll never be the same. What other excuse do you have for not giving Julio Jones (yes THAT Julio Jones who is 6’3”, 220lbs with a 38.5” vertical jump and a 4.39 40 yard dash) any red zone looks or touchdowns through the first 8 games of the NFL season? Clearly the offensive play-calling has left a lot to be desired in the ATL over the last two years and needs to be improved if the Falcons are to make the most of the Ryan/ Freeman/ Jones/ Ridley combination before its too late. There is entirely too much talent on this team to be 4-7 and only two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance. Playing Drew Brees and the Saints twice a year lately hasn’t helped either… just saying.
Blitzed Final Stretch: BAL, @GB, AZ, @CAR, @TB
Final Record Prediction: 6-10 (miss the playoffs)
2018 Surprise Team
Chicago Bears (8-3)
Raise your hand, all you Blitzers outside of Chi-town, if you saw this coming this year. The two of you that raised your hand, you are cut off. Most NFL analysts, fans and experts had the Bears pegged for 2019 or 2020 as the year they blossom. But Trubisky has that offense dancing on a whole ‘nother level, thanks to the talent that was added this offseason. Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen form a deadly lightning and thunder combination and the wideouts are athletic, quick and most importantly catch everything thrown their way. On the other side of the ball, there’s that guy named Mack. He’s not a big deal or good or anything. He only forces a fumble and gets like 5 sacks a game. He single-handedly wrecks the opponent’s offensive line with a menacing glare. I don’t know about you, but I sure wish my team gave up those 1st round picks for him. Unless you’re from Green Bay, Minnesota or Detroit, these Bears are young, fun to watch and are going to be good for a while. I don’t plan on kicking them out of my bar any time soon.
Blitzed Final Stretch: @NYG, LAR, GB, @SF, @MINN
Final Record Prediction: 12-4, NFC North Champs, 3rd Seed Playoffs
This week’s Game of the Week has that playoff feel again after I punished you all with a boozy matchup last week. For that I apologize. Like a good game of beer pong or flip cup, sometimes its more fun to drink than it is to watch the game. I don’t think that will be the case this week. I present to you the San Diego Chargers (8-3) vs the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3-1). I’ve given up on calling them the Los Angeles Chargers because its just weird and I don’t want to do it anymore. They belong in San Diego. This game however is in Pittsburgh, so our drink of the week is the Bootleg Black and Gold Whiskey Cocktail.
Bootleg Black and Gold Whiskey Cocktail:
2 oz. Whiskey
1 oz. Kahlua
1 oz Grand Marnier
Dash Orange Bitters
Blitzed Build: In a shaker, combine Whiskey, Kahlua and Grand Marnier together with ice. Shake thoroughly.
Glaze the rim of a rocks glass with an orange rind. Strain the cocktail over rocks and pour a dash or two of orange bitters in. Garnish with an orange rind twist.
This is an important AFC battle between 8-3 and 7-3-1 teams. The Chargers are looking up at the Chiefs while the Steelers are on top of the AFC North yet again. Most importantly through all of this, both are trying to keep pace with the hated New England Patriots (also 8-3) and trying desperately to prevent them from gaining a bye or home field advantage in the playoffs. In this particular game, us Blitzers should be rooting for the division leader Steelers. The reason? New England visits the Steelers in Week 15 so keeping pace as the division leader is most important at this point.
So lets play this game out the Barkeep’s way after a few Black and Gold Whiskeys. Pittsburgh surprises its fans by having a Le’Veon Disappreciation Day for the first 5 fans that come through the stadium door. They each got one day contracts to play RB and rotate in behind James Connor to prove that a certain former running back was not missed, not even a little bit. Once Pittsburgh is comfortably up by 4 touchdowns, John Smith comes in and take the ball over the right tackle for 10 yards. Well done. Darren Powell, Greg Schmidt and Scotty Hamilton each run for gains of 8, 12 and 15 yards respectively. Kudos to you. Finally, Shawn ‘The Bug’ Freeman breaks free and busts a 40 yard touchdown run of his own as the final fan Disappreciation run of the day. The crowd goes wild waving their terrible towels. In a show of their German heritage, a pair of black and gold lederhosen gets thrown onto the field while an almost naked fan jumps over the railing behind the end zone. Only a terrible towel covers his terrible wienerschnitzel as he is tackled by security at the 50 yard line. Point made. Le’Veon Bell can be replaced and has been admirably by one James Connor.
I think we are tired of hearing about Le’Veon Bell. In case you don’t get my joke about Pittsburgh and their German heritage, there’s a wonderful invention called Google. You should try it sometime! As for the actual game prediction, I think this will be an entertaining, possibly back and forth affair and most certainly high scoring. I do think that with San Diego coming west, and with Big Ben playing at home that Pittsburgh will come out victorious. And because of the potential playoff implications with New England, the NFL thanks you.
Final Score: Pittsburgh 27 San Diego (Los Angeles) 24
Well Blitzers, that’s all from your Blitzed Barkeep for now. Remember to drink responsibly, take Brady’s name in vain and always give your keys to a friend if you’ve had too much. Tune in to the Blitzed NFL podcast this Tuesday to hear the guys review this week’s drink of the week and recap all of the action during Week 13.
The Blitzed Barkeep is a #TeamBlitzed All Pro from Bills Mafia. You can follow Blitzed Barkeep on Twitter here.
Last week I told you about some talented NFL players who made poor career choices. This week I bring you stories of hope. Here are a few NFL stars who chose bold career moves that paid off.
Steve Young (From the Los Angeles Express to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the San Francisco 49ers)
In the 80s, Brigham Young University was churning out QBs the way Quakers churn butter. A talented lefty named Steve Young was one of them. Young actually began his pro career in the USFL with the Los Angeles Express. His contract was for 10 years and $40 million, small by today’s standards, but huge in those days. The league ultimately went bankrupt and Young was chosen first in the 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his 19 starts the Bucs went a measly 3-16 while Young floundered, throwing 11 touchdowns and 21 interceptions over those starts. Tampa had enough of the Brigham Bust and he was sent to the San Francisco 49ers for the 1987 season where he would play back up to some guy named Joe Montana. To say things went well for Young is a bit of an understatement. From 1987-1995 he picked up three Super Bowl rings, a Super Bowl MVP, and two NFL MVP awards. Plus, as you can see by his USFL photo, he escaped from uniform purgatory twice.
Brett Favre (Atlanta Falcons to the Green Bay Packers to the New York Jets to the Minnesota Vikings)
The University of Southern Mississippi wasn’t exactly a hotbed of quarterback talent. In 1991 the Atlanta Falcons drafted a USM alum in the second round. His name was Brett Favre. He was with the Falcons for all of one season, throwing four passes and completing none of them. Maybe they couldn’t get past how a guy could spell his last name one way but pronounce it another, but whatever the case, Favre was traded to Green Bay in 1992. Over his next 16 seasons in Green Bay Favre would amass 61,655 passing yards, throw 442 TDs, and help the Packers win Super Bowl XXXI. He would be named NFL MVP three consecutive times from 1995 through 1997 and was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year in 2007. A falling out of sorts with the Packers led Favre to be traded to the Jets for the 2008 season. The team would go 9-7 under Favre, although he threw as many INTs as he did TDs (22), possibly due to a torn bicep, which was diagnosed in late December of 2008. Favre announced his retirement that February and was released in April. His retirement lasted less than five months as Minnesota couldn't resist the temptation of giving the ultimate ‘eff you’ to the Packers. Favre would lead the Vikings to a 12-4 record, throwing 33 touchdowns and only seven picks on the season. His heroic season came up just short in the NFC title game, which the Vikings lost in overtime, 31-28. His final season in 2010 was marred by injury but Favre is the only player on this list to benefit twice from a change of scenery.
Marshall Faulk (Indianapolis Colts to the St. Louis Rams)
Marshall Faulk was gem from San Diego State University. The Indianapolis Colts drafted him at number two overall in 1994. Faulk won the 1994 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award and in the five years he played with the Colts, rushed for 5,320 yards and 42 touchdowns. With a new contract due, the Colts decided it was time to part ways with Faulk prior to the 1999 season and sent him off to the St. Louis Rams. Over the next seven seasons Faulk would rush for 6,959 yards and 58 touchdowns. He’d win three NFL Offensive Player of the Year awards with the Rams and his lone Super Bowl ring as well. He pretty much said, “Faulk you,” to Indianapolis.
Greg Olsen (Chicago Bears to the Carolina Panthers)
In 2007 the Chicago Bears used the 31st pick in the draft to take a tight end out of “Da U” named Greg Olsen. He was tall and athletic and fit right in with the new breed of NFL tight ends. In four years with the Bears Olsen caught 194 passes for 1,981 yards and 20 touchdowns, which was respectable if not spectacular. In 2011 Olsen was dealt to the Carolina Panthers. The 2011 season saw him catch only 45 passes for 540 yards but from 2012 through 2016 things took off. He averaged over 76 catches and almost 969 yards per season over that span and made three Pro Bowls. While injuries have hampered his career over the past two seasons, Olsen has clearly been finer in Carolina.
Curtis Martin (New England Patriots to the New York Jets)
Curtis Martin was a Pittsburgh kid who attended the University of Pittsburgh. Thanks to the Philadelphia Eagles signing Patriots free agent running back, Kevin Turner, the Pats got the Eagles 1995 third round draft pick and chose Martin (How’d that work out for you, Eagles?). Martin had three solid seasons in New England averaging over 1,266 yards per season on the ground and rushing for 32 touchdowns while collecting 890 total receiving yards. As a restricted free agent after the 1997 season, Martin got an offer from the New York Jets. The Patriots did not match the offer and Martin was reunited with Bill Parcells and it felt so good. Over the next eight seasons Martin rushed for 10,302 yards and 58 touchdowns, including a league-leading 1,697 yards in 2004. He would also catch 367 passes for 2,439 yards over that same stretch. The Jets qualified for the playoffs four times during Martin’s tenure with the squad but never did win a Super Bowl. Hmm, maybe this move wasn’t all that successful for him but I digress.
Well, there you have it. Five players who sought greener pastures and actually found them without stepping in cow pies. What players that made big career moves do you feel benefitted most? Hit us up in the comments and while you’re there, check out the work of my teammates, Behind the Sticks from Blitzed Barkeep and The Scouting Report from Blitzed Scout. You’ll be glad you did.
Until next time, don’t drink room temperature beer, keep your balls fully inflated, and remove Tom Brady from your Christmas card list.
Mike Zimmer's Ears is a Minnesota Vikings fan from Pennsylvania and is a #TeamBlitzed All Pro. You can follow him on Twitter.
We wanted to nominate Sean Fallon from Buffalo, NY for Father of the Year for dressing his newborn in this awesome onesie. You're our new hero, Mr Fallon.
Psst, NFL! Might want to make these in other team colors.
Welcome to Week 11 Blitzers. Raise your hand if you watched that Monday Night game. If you didn’t, you missed one hell of a fireworks show. It was haymaker after haymaker of offensive prowess that in this bartender’s opinion could have used a little less referee interference. My prediction may have been off regarding the outcome, but Kansas City had more than enough opportunities to put LA away and/or pull off the last second-come-from-behind-victory (can you call it that in this type of game?). I think it should be mandatory that these two teams meet every year for the next 10 years as long as Mahomes and Goff are at the helm. While we’re at it, let’s start with a rematch on February 3, 2019 at Mercedes Benz Stadium for Super Bowl LIII. If that happens, then at least the Patriots won’t be in it! I think the guys felt the same way on the podcast. If want to know why, then you must have missed this week’s episode. You can catch it here:
I’m thankful for a lot of things in my life. I’m thankful for the guys here at Blitzed NFL for giving me this opportunity to write each and every week about football (even though they blame me for anything that goes wrong now… thanks guys). I’m thankful for my family, friends, career and health. I’m also thankful that I was able to actually stay awake here on the east coast to watch the end of that Monday Night game. I’m seeing a theme here… Seeing as its Thanksgiving, I got to thinking “What are NFL teams thankful for this season?” Watching this past week, I decided this week’s blog should be dedicated to this year’s rookie class because let’s face it: Its hit or miss when a team’s draft pick actually becomes a star. Hello Jamarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf. However, when a draft pick does pan out (Shannon Sharpe -7th Round or Joe Montana- 3rd Round), there’s certainly a lot to be thankful for. Here are my Rookie Thanksgiving Feasts from 2018 so far that their respective teams have a lot to be thankful for.
2018 Rookie Thanksgiving Feasts
Darius Leonard (IND)
Can you say 2nd round steal? Leonard has been absolutely dominant in his rookie season and has given Indianapolis every reason to give thanks this holiday season. Currently one of the top dogs in the Defensive Rookie of the Year chase, he’s one of the main reasons (outside of the miraculous return of Andrew Luck) the Colts have surged back into the AFC wild card race. The front office in Indy is certainly raising their glasses at their Thanksgiving table and saying thank you to the 36th overall pick out of South Carolina.
Blitzed Rookie Stats: 104 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 INT, 3 PD
Phillip Lindsay (DEN)
If you think a 2nd round pick is a steal, this next rookie is grand larceny in terms of draft picks. This undrafted free agent from Colorado stayed local and signed with his hometown Broncos. Elway is drunk with love (not vodka unfortunately) this Thanksgiving thanks to the production Lindsay has given him all while splitting time with another drafted rookie- Royce Freeman. It's Lindsay, however who seems to be more explosive and given the team better stats each week. Expect Lindsay to see more touches the rest of the way.
Blitzed Rookie Stats: 670 yds rush, 5.5 avg, 5 TD; 24 rec 187 yds 1 TD
Saquon Barkley (NYG)
Saquon Barkley is the significant other that is invited to Thanksgiving dinner and meets the family for the very first time. Tons of pressure. Crazy environment. Every move analyzed. I don’t know about you, but the 2nd overall pick from Penn St has made the Giants forget about Sam Darnold (or any of the other QBs taken in the draft that the Giants may have stupidly considered taking instead of Barkley) and has passed the tests with flying colors. The Giants love him. NY loves him. This bartender loves him and now he’s in the other room taking shots with Uncle Charlie and Aunt Shirley. Tests passed.
Blitzed Rookie Stats: 728 yds rush 7TDs; 64 rec 540 yds 3 TDs)
Derwin James (LAC)
Quick question Blitzers- who is currently leading the Pro Bowl voting for safety in both the AFC or NFC? That’s right, the 17th overall pick from Florida State is the leading vote-getter thus far (I know its still early but that’s crazy for a rookie considering the other established safeties in the NFL). San Dieg-er- Los Angeles is very quietly putting together a great year and James is leading a defense that is extremely difficult to pass on. The reason the Chargers are so thankful for James is he fell to them at pick 17 when he was projected to go in the top 10. That’s like having your favorite dessert all to yourself at Thanksgiving, after you come out of your food coma from dinner. Or maybe you just hid the dessert like I do every year. SHH.. don’t tell my Mom. I promise you, though, no one hid Derwin James from the other 16 teams who passed on him.
Blitzed Rookie Stats: 62 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT, 7 PD
So onto the game of the week. This week’s game features two teams that do not have much to be thankful for this year other than, well, hoping to position themselves to land a guy like one of the Feasts above. Folks, I give you the San Francisco 49ers (2-8) vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7) as my Boozy Game of the Week. Why, Barkeep? Why would you do this to us? Well, because sometimes you just need a reason to drink - and this drink looks awesome.
1 ½ oz. Kraken Black Spiced Rum
2 oz. Guinness Stout
Blitzed Build: Combine Kraken and Coke in a half pint glass, top with Guinness
Unlike last week, this is not a preview of Super Bowl XLIII. The Niners lost their top offseason acquisition in the preseason, then their stud, adult-actress-dating quarterback during Week 3 (both to ACL tears). They are also the current holder of the top pick in the 2019 NFL draft. The Bucs have rotated starting QBs this year more than the Kardashians have rotated NBA players through their bedrooms. Neither have been good decisions and neither seem to have ended very well. Regardless, both teams had promising starts to the season that were derailed very quickly, which gives both teams reasons to drink.
So lets drink! Jameis Winston gets the start for Tampa Bay again. After throwing several passes to the wrong red-colored jerseys, he decides to take a cab ride (alone) to the super market for some delicious crab legs. Ryan Fitztragic continues the tradition of great season starts and terrible season finishes (I’m a Bills fan, I know.) and comes in to save the day, or so it would seem. After leading Tampa to back to back touchdown drives to take the lead, he proceeds to throw back to back interceptions, raising San Francisco’s total to 7 on the day. Coach Koetter has had enough and decides to instill a run only offense for the rest of the day. With San Francisco leading by 3, Fitzpatrick somehow still throws a 3rd interception without throwing the ball, with under a minute left. San Francisco wins the game, moves to 3-7 and ruins its chances to tank the season for the 1st overall pick in next year’s draft.
No seriously, that was close to my prediction. Except Winston isn’t going to go steal any crab legs. Or take a cab ride… alone… again. I do think this is going to be a sloppy game with several turnovers on both sides. We may see a QB switch AGAIN if Winston can’t produce. San Francisco has turned its offense over to undrafted-free-agent-wonder Nick Mullens (will he become a Thanksgiving feast?) and Tampa Bay still has a really good offense if they can clean up the mistakes. I think San Francisco keeps the first overall pick for the time being and Tampa pulls this one out at home.
Final Score: Tampa Bay 30 San Fran 21
Well Blitzers, that’s all from your Blitzed Barkeep for now. Remember to drink responsibly, take Brady’s name in vain and always give your keys to a friend if you’ve had too much. Tune in to the Blitzed NFL podcast this Tuesday to hear the guys review this week’s drink of the week and recap all of the action during Week 12.
The Blitzed Barkeep is a #TeamBlitzed All Pro from Bills Mafia. You can follow Blitzed Barkeep on Twitter here.
Recently, Brandon Marshall signed with the New Orleans Saints, who felt, for some reason that what their #1 scoring offense was missing was a 34-year old WR on the downside of his career. And that got me thinking about players who have made moves to other teams in their careers. Many of us have been there as well in our own jobs. You feel stuck in a dead end job (see: Raiders) the boss always on your ass (see: Patriots), days seem to last forever (See: Browns stuck in a Hue Jackson-coached 2017 time loop), and sometimes you think death can’t be any worse than work. You need to make a change and get the hell out of there.
But about a week into your new job, you’re pining for your old desk, your old co-workers, and even that boss who rode your ass. You’ve made a bad career move and you know it. In NFL history some great players have done the same. So here’s a list of five players that stick out in my mind. Guys that made poor choices or just plain hung onto the game too long and instead of going out with a bang, they limped out with a fizzle.
Johnny Unitas (From the Baltimore Colts to the San Diego Chargers)
Johnny Unitas was one of the best QBs of his era. His play was almost as sharp as his black high top spikes and flat top haircut. Unitas had 118 wins as the Baltimore Colts quarterback from 1956 through 1972 against only 60 losses and four ties (I hate wearing them and hate seeing them in statistics). After the 1972 season, Unitas headed west to the powdered blue uniforms of the San Diego Chargers. It didn’t go well for him. He played in only five games, starting in four of them. His team went 1-3 in those starts and he completed only 34 of 76 passes, garnering a QB rating of just 40.0. He should have traded those high tops in for Huarache sandals while he was ahead.
Cris Carter (From the Philadelphia Eagles to the Minnesota Vikings to the Miami Dolphins)
Carter started off an Eagle and was let go because, “all he does is catch touchdowns.” He landed in Minnesota and continued to catch touchdowns and pretty much everything else thrown at him. From 1992 through 2001 his lowest single-season catch total was 92. The future Hall of Famer wasn’t ready to call it a career after 2001 and ended up in Miami, wearing a new number (88) and hoping for one last year in the sun. C.C. should have done what most people who move to Miami do and retired. He played in a mere five games as a Dolphin, starting just once. He caught eight passes for 66 yards in his final season. True to form, however, he did manage to get a touchdown before he finally called it a career.
Emmitt Smith (From the Dallas Cowboys to the Arizona Cardinals)
Smith was a punishing runner during the heyday of the Dallas Cowboys (I hate that they even had a heyday but I digress). From 1991 through 2001 Smith never fell below 1,000 yards rushing in a season and averaged 4.2 yards per carry. Still feeling he had something left in the tank, Smith became an Arizona Cardinals in 2003. Smith lasted two seasons in Arizona, rushing for just 1,193 total yards and averaging just 3.3 yards per carry, ending his career somewhere around Area 51.
Eric Dickerson (From the L.A. Rams to the Indianapolis Colts to the Oakland Raiders to the Atlanta Falcons)
Eric Dickerson was a marvel to watch. He combined speed and size along with a good pair of hands, making him a very dangerous man on the football field. In 1984 he ran for 2,105 yards, breaking the single-season rushing record as a Ram. He became a Colt midway through the 1987 season and continued to be a force for the next few years. His season with the Raiders was acceptable if not spectacular as he rushed for 729 yards. Dickerson bypassed calling it a career after that 1992 season and instead opted to play for the Atlanta Falcons in 1993. Dickerson managed just 26 carries that season gaining a mere 91 yards without scoring a touchdown. Instead of being seen as a dirty bird, fans were probably flipping Dickerson and Falcons’ ownership the bird.
Randy Moss (From the Minnesota Vikings to the Oakland Raiders to the New England Patriots to the Minnesota Vikings to the New England Patriots to the Tennessee Titans to the San Francisco 49ers)
Randy Moss didn’t run, he glided. Throw the ball anywhere near him and he pretty much caught it. He was straight cash, Homie. Moss seemed to perform well just about anywhere he landed until the very end of his career. He played for three teams in 2010 but his worst stop of all was Tennessee. The Titans got themselves a Ferrari but had no idea how to drive it. Moss only had six catches for 80 yards in his brief tenure with Tennessee and decided to call it a career...temporarily. In 2012 he made his return to football, suiting up for the San Francisco 49ers. Randy should have stayed retired. Sure he caught 28 passes for 434 yards but that was pedestrian for a future Hall of Famer. In this case a balling Moss gathered no stones.
Those are my five worst career moves in NFL history. Next week I'll share Part 2, which is the five best career moves in NFL history.
I'm guessing you have your own, so hit us up in the comments and read the works of my teammates, the Blitzed Barkeep and Blitzed Scout who do some mighty fine work.
Until then, Happy Thanksgiving! Keep your mugs frosty, your footballs fully inflated, and Tom Brady away from your cell phones.
Mike Zimmer's Ears is a Minnesota Vikings fan from Pennsylvania and is a #TeamBlitzed All Pro. You can follow him on Twitter.
This past week’s episode of the Blitzed radio podcast talked about upsets happening around the NFL. This season alone we’ve seen the Bills go into Minnesota and knock off the Vikings (dammit), the Browns beat the Falcons without Hue Jackson’s interference, and a most glorious takedown of the Patriots by the Titans (MariGOATa?). It got me to thinking: what are some of the biggest upsets in NFL history? Fear not, Blitzers, MZE has you covered. I dug deep into the archives and came up with five games that stuck out in my mind.
1996 AFC Playoffs, Jacksonville v Denver (DEN -12.5)
The Jacksonville Jaguars were in their second year of existence in 1996. After starting 3-6 they rattled off wins in six of their next seven games and squeaked into the playoffs as a wild card. They took out the Bills in the wild card round then advanced to play top-seeded Denver the following week as a 12.5 point underdog. On paper, this was a mismatch almost not worthy of viewing. When the Broncos jumped out two a 12-0 lead after one quarter, folks were grabbing remotes and looking for a rerun of, “Little Giants,” to watch. The Jags yelled, “Screw the Annexation of Puerto Rico! Stay right here!” The next two quarters saw Jacksonville outscore Denver 20-0 led by quarterback, Mark Brunell, bruising running back, Natrone Means, and kicker, Mike Hollis. Denver would cut the lead to three twice in the fourth quarter but in the end, Jacksonville held on for a 30-27 win.
1987 NFC Playoffs, Minnesota v San Francisco (SF -11)
The Niners in the 80s were rock stars. Bill Walsh was at the helm and Steve Young stepped in at quarterback replacing Joe Montana without really missing a beat. The 1987 team went 13-2 in a strike-shortened season that involved games played by replacement players and faced the Vikings in the divisional round. The Vikings entered the playoffs with an 8-7 record however they were 8-4 with their regular players (oh if only Shane Falco played for them during those replacement weeks). Vegas had the Vikings as an 11-point underdog but they didn’t play like one. Wade Wilson threw two touchdown passes, Chuck Nelson hit five field goals and the Vikings stunned the 49ers at Candlestick, 36-24. The following week they came up just short in Washington, losing 17-10 to the eventual Super Bowl champions thus crushing the hopes of their fan base yet again.
Super Bowl IV, Kansas City v Minnesota (MIN -12)
Super Bowl IV would be the last one featuring an AFL-NFL match up. The Minnesota Vikings came into this one as a 12-point favorite over the Kansas City Chiefs and why shouldn’t they have? Led by “The Purple People Eaters” defense, this one was expected to be a laugher. It certainly was but not for the Vikings’ faithful. The Chiefs pounded their ground game to the tune of 151 yards. Len Dawson was efficient if not effective. Jan Stenerud connected on three field goals and the Vikings offense never got going. In the end, the Chiefs took home the Lombardi with a 23-7 win and Vikings fans were left hoping next year would be the year.
Super Bowl XLII, New York Giants v New England (NE -12.5)
The 2007 New England Patriots were a juggernaut. I mean they’ve been a dominant force since the Deflater and the Cameraman joined forces but in 2007 they were literally unbeatable, winning their first 18 games of the season to waltz to the Super Bowl. Their opponent was the New York Giants. The G-Men had a mediocre 10-6 regular season, including a 38-35 loss to the Patriots in the final game of the regular season. They entered the playoffs as a wild card team and took down the Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Packers in succession, on the road. It was expected that the regular season finale was a fluke as the Giants were 12.5 point underdogs coming into the Super Bowl. The Giants defense was stifling, holding the Patriots to 45 yards on the ground and keeping Tom Brady in check for most of the day. Despite their defensive prowess, the Giants still trailed 14-10 with 2:42 to play after a Randy Moss TD catch. Then, one of the most memorable plays in Super Bowl history occurred. Eli Manning spun out of a sack with a move that would make Britney Spears’ jaw drop. The heave to David Tyree and the ‘helmet catch’ set the Giants up and with 35 seconds to play, Plaxico Burress caught a 13-yard TD pass sending the Patriots to an 18 and ‘oh shit’ season. Eli Manning is one of my heroes just because of his crushing of Patriots fans’ hopes in Super Bowls.
Super Bowl III, New York Jets v Baltimore Colts (BAL -18)
The NFL dominated the first two Super Bowls over the AFL. Most felt Super Bowl III would go the same way. The Colts entered the game with only one loss on the season. They were led by Earl Morrall at quarterback and running back, Tom Matte. The Vegas line on the game had the Colts as an 18-point favorite. The Jets had a brash quarterback from Beaver Falls, PA, by the name of Joe Namath. “Broadway” Joe was a flashy dresser with a mouth that was really bigger than his talent (come at me on this, please). Namath guaranteed a Jets Super Bowl win, causing more chuckles than a Carol Burnett Show skit (Google the reference if you must). The Jets defense was relentless intercepting three of Morrall’s 17 passes before he was lifted from the game for some kid named Johnny Unitas. The change didn’t help as Matt Snell battered his way to 121 yards on the ground and the Jets only TD of the game. Jim Turner hit three field goals, including a nine yarder (that’s right, a NINE yarder) and the Jets won Super Bowl III, 16-7. Joe Namath was named the MVP. It would be the first and only time a Super Bowl MVP got the award because of his mouth as well as a bust in the Hall of Fame because Lord knows his play isn’t why he made it (again come at me on this, please).
Those are my five biggest NFL upsets in history. What do you have? Hit us up in the comments and please check out the blogs of my teammates, Blitzed Barkeep and Blitzed Scout.
Until the next time, Blitzers, pour yourself a cold one, turn on the Red Zone Channel, and count down the days until Tom Brady retires.
Welcome to Week 11 Blitzers. Boy was I wrong on last week’s game of the week prediction. Being a devout member of Bills Mafia, I can attest that 95% of the NFL did NOT see that coming. The other 5% that claims they did, clearly needed a breathalyzer test before they left the Blitzed Bar after drinking those delicious Roaming Buffalos.
I would like to thank the guys for the heartfelt compliments this week regarding my drink concoctions so far. I can honestly say that I’m happy that I’m able to recommend both a tasty and intoxicatingly influential product for them each week. I like to measure my drinks by how well the guys can speak by 3rd and 4th down as well as how difficult it becomes to say things such as “McVay”. Seriously guys, is it that difficult to say “McVay”? Based on the amount of laughing I did, the difficulty the guys had talking and the fun they had this week, the Roaming Buffalo got a 9.5 out of 10 on the Blitzed Booze Rating Scale. You can listen to the podcasts yourself to see why it’s so entertaining.
Week 11 provided plenty of entertaining studs itself. First, a fun fact for all you Blitzers out there- did you know that Boston and Massachusetts banned happy hour? That’s right. No wonder no Patriots players ever get on this list. Just kidding. This Barkeep just doesn’t like them. New England actually did make this week’s list but it’s not for the same reasons as our Blitzed Coach alluded to on the podcast. (*shakes head disapprovingly*) Let’s recap Week 10 Blitzed_barkeep style.
Week 11 Happy Hour Studs:
Mitchell Trubisky (CHI)
Have yourself a week Mitchell Trubisky. The 2017 2nd overall pick of Da Bears is truly coming into his own this year and he put on a show against the team that shut down the ‘oh-so-great’ Tom Brady in Week 3. Your next round is on me, sir.
Week 11 Blitzed Stats: 23-30, 355 yds 3 TDs 0 INTs (W 34-22)
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)
Every time you think Big Ben might be slowing down, he turns in another performance like this. Pittsburgh hit Carolina so hard on Thursday night, Cam Newton’s clothes came back INTO style. They were quick, efficient and struck from everywhere on the field including the longest scoring play in the Steelers storied history. This bartender was seriously impressed.
Week 11 Blitzed Stats: 22-25, 328 yds 5TDs 0 INTs (W 52-21)
The New England Patriots are like Monday mornings. No one likes them yet everyone has to deal with them every, single week. However, Monday mornings are so much better when the Patriots lose. The Titans harassed Brady so much in this game that he was pulled mid-way through the 4th quarter for Brian Hoyer, unable to finish his 300th game. Too bad. No one on Team Blitzed is shedding any tears. Instead they’re raising their glasses while yelling ‘Titan Up!” Well Done.
Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb (CLE)
How do you not put this Dynamic Duo on this list of studs this week? One woke up feeling dangerous and the other made the Falcons defense look foolish all day. The decision to fire Hue Jackson paid immediate dividends as the Browns looked like a team finally ready to say ‘enough is enough’. I just ask one thing Baker- make sure you even out that tan before any more tighty-whitey advertisements.
Week 11 Blitzed Stats: Mayfield- 17-20 216 yds 3 TDs 0 INTs;
Chubb- 176 yds rush 1TD, 3 REC, 33 yds 1 TD (W 28-16)
This week’s studs delivered some special plays and certainly impressive stats. Well, this week’s game of the week es muy especial tambien. La problema es que el campo era tan malo que la NFL decidiò mover el juego a Los Angeles. Solo porque el juego no està en la cuidad de Mèxico, no cambia mi selecciòn para el juego de la semana. Esto podrìa ser una vista previa del Super Bowl 53. That’s right, your Barkeep knows a little Spanish too. If it were still in Mexico City, the drink of the week and this column would have had a much different theme. Unfortunately, I’ll translate and tell you that the field conditions were so bad, the game is not in Mexico City anymore and was moved back to Los Angeles. Either way, it could be a preview of Super Bowl 53. International or not, my game of the week is the Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) vs the Los Angeles Rams (9-1). The drink of the week might not be as multi-cultural as I had originally planned… however it promises to be just as delicious.
Kansas City Ice Water:
1 oz. Gin
1 oz. Tito’s Vodka
½ oz Triple Sec
1 dash(es) Grenadine
1/4 oz. fresh squeezed Lime Juice
Lemon Lime soda (sprite or sierra mist)
Blitzed Build: Combine gin, vodka, lime juice and triple sec with ice into a shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into a pint glass over rocks. Fill with lemon lime soda. Add a splash of grenadine or cherry juice to give it the red Chiefs color. Garnish with a lime wedge.
First, why is this my game of the week? Both offenses are highly potent. The Rams are 2nd in the NFL in rushing (144.8 yards per game), 2nd in total yards per game (448.0) and 3rd in scoring (33.5 pts per game). The Chiefs are right there with the Rams and rank 3rd in total yards (423.1 per game) and 2nd in scoring (35.3 pts per game). Both teams have MVP candidates in Todd Gurley (LAR) and Patrick Mahomes II (KC). The result of all this offense? Only the highest Vegas over/under lines in NFL history at 63.5 and what’s sure to be an explosive, highly competitive contest.
So let’s drink some Kansas City Ice Waters and have some fun. Both teams showed up to Mexico City. They stayed the week to get some sight-seeing in before the game. Jet lag plays a major role here and both offenses fail to live up to the hype. Deciding that Mexico City was more fun, someone breaks out the bottles of tequila that got snuck into the stadium. An impromptu fiesta at half-time ensues and helmets turn into sombreros. Football takes a backseat while Mahomes, Goff, Gurley, Hill, and Hunt quit football to pursue their life long goal of forming a mariachi band. They call themselves ‘Los Jefes’ and perform their first song for the random ‘Tour of the Stars’ bus that somehow got lost and found its way into the LA Coliseum.
Cameras flash while off in the distance Aaron Donald sacks a piñata, bursting it open. Mini Oscar-shaped chocolates burst out. Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr. and Matt Damon sprint onto the field and begin fighting over the chocolate awards but are seen quickly being ushered off by the LAPD while yelling ‘But it’s the only time we’ll ever get one!” The referees decide that since Hollywood-Hell has broken loose, they would enlist a running clock. LA somehow manages a last second field goal and wins the game 3-0.
Well that was fun. Instead of the Kansas City Ice Waters, let’s slow down and have some regular water. I gave you the stats above, and in all reality this should be a high scoring game. The difference here is that the Rams defense has been vulnerable of late while the Chiefs defense has been rather good over the past 5 weeks. My bold prediction for this week is the Chiefs make a stand when they need it most and will hand the Rams a 2nd loss on the year. Final Score Prediction: Chiefs 49 Rams 45.
Well Blitzers, that’s all from your Blitzed Barkeep for now. Remember to drink responsibly, take Brady’s name in vain and always give your keys to a friend if you’ve had too much. Tune in to the Blitzed NFL podcast this Tuesday to hear the guys review this week’s drink of the week and recap all of the action during Week 11.
Welcome to Week 10 Team Blitzed. We’ve reached the halfway point and so far, your Barkeep has gone 3 for 3 on drinks for the guys, as well as two out of three on his Game of the Week predictions. The Saints killed it this week taking down the previously unbeaten Rams in convincing fashion. From the wicked hangover Stats Guy had the next morning, the guys also took down the Vieux Carré in convincing fashion and produced yet another great show. If only saying the name was as easy as it was to drink. You can listen to it here:
Being the Mid-Point of the season, I decided to offer up my Blitzed Barkeep’s MVP race. This however, will have a bartender’s twist to it. You see, there are different types of bartenders based on their style of serving drinks. These are my (and pretty much everyone else’s who’s paid attention this year) top four MVP candidates at this point in the 2018 NFL season.
THE MIXOLOGIST- Drew Brees
A mixologist in the bar industry is someone who genuinely cares about their craft. They study it. They understand it. They live it. But most importantly, they’re better at it than you. They balance everything and can make anything in the bar work together just by looking it. It’s a real treat to be served by a mixologist. This is Drew Brees. He’s smart, crafty and he makes every weapon in his arsenal more dangerous. At the age of 39, he’s having one of the best seasons ever for a QB in history. If ever he deserved the award, it’s this year.
Blitzed MVP Stats: 76.3% 2,336 yds, 18 TDs 1 INT
THE FLAIR BARTENDER- Patrick Mahomes II
A flair bartender puts on a show. They flip bottles behind their back, pour 10 shots at a time out of shakers five feet in the air and light drinks on fire before sliding them across the bar to you. They’re exciting, entertaining and people are drawn to flair bartenders because hell, they’re cool. Patrick Mahomes II is the definition of cool. He grew up hanging out with MLB superstars. He never panics. He’ll escape, run around seemingly for fun all while taunting the defenders then uncork a 75 yard pass- IN THE AIR- for a TD and smile while doing it. More importantly his team is winning to the tune of an 8-1 record and the current home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Blitzed MVP Stats: 66.2% 2,901 yds, 29 TDs 7 INTs
THE DIVE BARTENDER- Todd Gurley
Dive bartenders are gritty, hard workers that work in the trenches. Their workplace is not very clean. They have loyal customers who will come back over and over for the same crappy beer because it’s their bar and you’re their bartender. Todd Gurley is certainly the dive bartender of my candidates. He’s not flashy. He doesn’t really need anyone else. But damn he’s good. He shows up day in and day out and gets the job done no matter what. LA loves him and he’s their running back.
Blitzed MVP Stats: 868 rush yds 12 TDs, 37 catches 362 yds 4TDs
THE CLUB BARTENDER- Aaron Rodgers
This is the unsung drink slinger of the bartending world. The workplace is hot and loud. Drinks are spilling everywhere. Customers have no idea what they’re ordering and its chaos night in and night out. Aaron Rodgers’ talents seem to be lost in Green Bay. It’s chaos all around him and the team never seems to get it together. He consistently puts together MVP statistics every year but the team does not. He deserves better- plain and simple. Oh, and he’s basically done it this year on one leg.
Blitzed MVP Stats: 60.6% 2,542 yds, 15 TDs 1 INT
While those four guys are having great years, the Blitzed Bar_keep’s Twitter Poll landed on a team that’s not having an MVP-type year for this week’s Game of the Week. The Buffalo Bills’ season has left many from the Bills Mafia with a reason to get Blitzed. Therefore, this week’s drink of the week is the Roaming Buffalo Cocktail, inspired by the Buffalo Bills.
Roaming Buffalo Cocktail
1 1/2 oz. Buffalo Trace Bourbon
1/2 oz. Light Rum
1 dash(es) Grenadine
1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
1/4 oz. Orange Juice
Blitzed Build: Combine ingredients with ice into a shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with small lemon or orange slice.
Originally, the story line for this game was interesting. This would be 3rd overall pick Sam Darnold facing off for the first time against 7th overall pick Josh Allen. Many Bills and Jets fans hoped that this would be the beginning of a great quarterback rivalry and the changing of the guard in the AFC East. Instead, we get Derek Anderson *Bills Mafia drink* or Nathan Peterman *Bills Mafia takes ten drinks* vs Josh McCown *Jets fans drink*.
I am however, your Blitzed Barkeep so here is how this will play out. The Buffalo Bills, fuelled on the power of the Roaming Buffalo, turn again to Nathan Peterman after Derek Anderson proves ineffective in the first half. With the score tied 0-0, Peterman lifts up his jersey to reveal a Superman logo and says he was hustling us all along and starts tossing perfect pass after perfect pass. The Bills put on an offensive show in the 2nd half scoring six touchdowns (doubling their season total) and the Jets never knew what hit them. Peterman’s streak of pick 6’s ends and he is named starter for the rest of the year. The city of Buffalo builds him a statue and names an elementary school after him to apologize for starting a GoFundMe retirement fund.
Fortunately, reality has set in and I’ve sobered up a bit from my Roaming Buffalos. The Bills are not going to be fixed offensively this year. They simply don't have the talent on the OL or in the WR groups, and are performing at a historically bad rate this year. The Jets have a good defense and will have zero problems handling the ineptitude of the Bills offense. A mistake by the Bills with a short field, or too many three and outs will lead the Jets to a very ugly victory.
Final Score Prediction: Jets 12 Bills 6
Well Blitzers, that’s all from your Blitzed Barkeep for now. Remember to drink responsibly, take Brady’s name in vain and always give your keys to a friend if you’ve had too much. Tune in to the Blitzed NFL podcast this Tuesday to hear the guys review this week’s drink of the week and recap all of the action during Week 10.
Giants, Raiders, Bills and Browns fans are feeling the pain this year. Seems like their only good Sundays are on their bye weeks. How long will their misery last and when it’s finally over, is it really over? Talk in these fanbases is that if they just 'trust the process' their years of patience with sucking will be rewarded with an NFL dynasty - or at very least a winning football team. The Blitzed Crew talked about this on their most recent show.
That got me thinking, how often does that actually happen? So I went back over the last 30 seasons to see how teams fared when coming off of three consecutive, “this team makes me drink,” losing seasons (or in one special case, an expansion team) followed by a minimum of three consecutive non-losing seasons. And only nine teams in 30 years pulled it off. The good news, my friends, is that the average sustained success of these nine teams was about five years. But hold on to your champagne for just a bit as I give you a little breakdown.
New York Jets 1994-96
From 1994 through 1996 the Jets couldn’t get off of the ground. They had a combined record of 10-38. However thanks to the tutelage of pre-Slim Fast Bill Parcells (did he ever really drink that shit?) and a defensive coordinator you may know named Bill Belichick, the Jets produced three consecutive non-losing seasons followed by three more under Al Groh and Herm Edwards, who always played to win the game. Super Bowl appearances during these ‘up’ years: none, nada, zero, zip.
Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens 1995-98
One of the most beleaguered franchises in the NFL went through four brutal seasons from 1995 through 1998, posting a 21-42-1 record (what is it with this franchise and ties?). The first two of those years were in Cleveland before they headed east to Baltimore, where the losing came with them only with better stone crabs. Maybe that good crab meat helped as their next three seasons saw a 30-18 record and a Super Bowl ring after the 2000 season. Ah Brian Billick, how could you do that to us Vikings fans? How? Answer me, dammit!
Jacksonville Jaguars 1995
The Jaguars came into the NFL in 1995 as an expansion team and, as everyone predicted, struggled. The next season, and for four seasons after that, however, they turned it all around and “DUUUVAL!” was living the life. Then came the turn of the century and apparently Y2K hit hard as the team dropped 40 of its 64 games from 2000 to 2003. In his second season as head coach, Jack “His Name’s Del Rio and He Dances on the Sand,” got things turned around and for the next four years the team won 40 of its 64 regular season games. Despite this regular season turnaround, the Jags have yet to even play in a Super Bowl.
San Diego Chargers 1988-91
In the early 80s, “Air Coryell,” lit the skies in San Diego. In the latter stages of the decade and into the 90s, it was more like a whale’s vagina. The team had a combined record of 22-42 from 1988 to 1991, floundering at the bottom of the AFC West. They dipped into the college ranks and found Bobby Ross to become their new head coach. From 1992 through 1996, Ross led the team to a 47-33 regular season and a Super Bowl appearance. Unfortunately they sort of didn’t appear for the game and got housed by the 49ers. It’s pretty much guaranteed that the San Diego Chargers will never play in another Super Bowl.
Seattle Seahawks 2008-11
From 2008 through 2011 not even having a 12th man could help the Seahawks. They were 23-41 in those years and even Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan could find time to take a nap. Then in 2012 third year head coach and Southern California fugitive, Pete Carroll found an undersized and uber-talented quarterback in Russell Wilson. Over the next six seasons the team went 65-30-1 making two Super Bowl appearances, including winning it all in 2013, mauling the Denver Broncos 43-8 and even better, nobody had to vacate anything!
Philadelphia Eagles 1997-99
The Eagles of 1997 through 1999 were worse than a cheesesteak witout da wiz. They had a combined record of 14-33-1 and not even a hot soft pretzel or dreams of pelting Jolly St. Nick with snowballs could satisfy the fans. As the 21st century began 2nd year head coach Andy Reid, who when asked, “Gino’s or Pat’s?” probably answered, “Yes,” calmed the masses. For the next five years the Eagles won 59 of their 80 regular season games, making the playoffs in each season. They played in the Super Bowl after the 2004 season, losing to the Patriots 24-21. Welcome to the club, guys.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1988-96
Over a nine-year span from 1988 through 1996 the Buccaneers lost two thirds of their games. It was a different story from 1997 through 2002. Tony Dungy came in and led the team to four playoff appearances. When he left after the 2001 season things went Spider 2Y Bananas. Jon Gruden led the 2002 team into the Super Bowl and beat his old team, the Oakland Raiders. But he couldn't sustain that winning edge for very long and now he’s back in Oakland beating the Raiders all over again.
St. Louis Rams 1990-98
The Rams called St. Louis home from 1995 until 2015. Prior to that they were in L.A. From 1990 through 1998 it didn’t matter where they called home. They were terrible anywhere with a combined record over the two cities of 45-99. In 1999, his third and final year at the helm, Dick Vermeil, led by former stock boy, Kurt Warner, got a Super Bowl ring by a yard. Mike Martz took over and got the team to the playoffs twice more in 2000 and 2001, including another Super Bowl appearance where they lost to the damn Patriots. That’s right, I said the damn Patriots. I hate them. I really, really hate them.
The Dallas Cowboys - 1988-90
This is easily the most successful of the teams mentioned. From 1988 through 1990 they played more like cow pies than Cowboys, going 11-37 in that span, leading to the firing of legendary head coach Tom Landry. The six seasons from 1991 through 1996 were a hell of a lot different. With a level of success that would make J.R. Ewing look like a gas station attendant, the Cowboys went 60-36 in their regular season games, made the playoffs in all six seasons and won three Super Bowls led by Jimmie Johnson from 1991 through 1993 (two rings) and Barry Switzer from 1994 through 1996 (one ring). Barry Switzer has a Super Bowl ring. Let that one sink in for a minute.
So, is the pain of sustained losing actually worth it? Of the nine teams listed here, there are seven Super Bowl rings among them with five of the nine actually playing in one. So keep your chins up, New York (or is it New Jersey?), Oakland (or is it Las Vegas?), Buffalo and Cleveland (but maybe they’ll move to Baltimore too). Just keep trusting the process and live life with the Lloyd Christmas approach because I’m saying there’s a chance.
Until next time, raise a glass, toss a ball, and keep sticking pins in that Tom Brady voodoo doll.
Okay, before I get started I have to explain my new blog header. As many of you know, I’m a longtime Vikings fan and last week I made a bet with a Saints fan on the outcome. The loser had to change their Twitter pic for a week, and the nice folks at Blitzed NFL were good enough to change my blog header as well - even though it wasn’t part of the bet.
Also, as a part of the bet, I am required to write this too (sigh):
“Who Dat? Who Dat? Who Dat think dey gonna beat dem Saints?”
Okay, with that unpleasantness out of the way, on with my post.
Poor Hugo Cruz. All he was trying to do was his job. Sure he blew a big call, but maybe, just maybe he was distracted momentarily by a cute girl in the stands. Maybe he was thinking of that South Park episode where Butters…anyway you get the point. So he missed a False Start call that altered the Browns Chargers game. And for that he was the first referee let go mid season in 50 years of NFL football. The guys talked about it on the last show, where they talked about the scariest things in the NFL:
Now I’m told that Mr Cruz had a trend of poor reffing performances this year and the false start was just the straw that broke the camel's back, but let’s not let facts get in the way of a good blog post. Let MZE take you on a bad trip down memory lane of the worst reffing calls of all time.
AFC Playoffs 1972 - The Immaculate Reception
The Steelers of the 70s were a dominant force. They were the Patriots except without a cheating QB and coach. The Steelers were about to lose to the Oakland Raiders. Quarterback Terry Bradshaw dropped back and fired a pass to the waiting Frenchy Fuqua. Raiders’ Jack Tatum, a vicious hitter in his day, drilled Fuqua and the ball caromed into the waiting hands of Franco Harris. The rest was history as, “The Immaculate Reception,” would forever go down in football lore. Here’s the thing. In 1972 it was illegal for two receivers to touch the ball consecutively without a defender touching it in between. Replays don’t give any evidence of Tatum touching the ball so the “Immaculate Reception” was really, “The Illegal Reception.” Too bad there was no replay back then, huh?
Thanksgiving 1998 - The Wrong 'Flipping' Call
Nothing says Thanksgiving like turkey and Lions’ football. Well, that and Uncle Gene drinking too much wine and sharing his political views. This particular Thanksgiving gave us the Steelers visiting Detroit. It was an epic struggle that got us free football. All referee Phil Luckett had to do was flip a coin and listen. Simple, right? Apparently not. Steelers RB and now Hall of Famer, Jerome Bettis, yelled loud and proud, “tails!” Maybe it was the noise that couldn’t escape the Dome. Maybe Phil was hanging out with Uncle Gene the night before. Whatever the case, Phil saw the coin come up tails and inexplicably gave the choice to the Lions. Since when does, “tails,” sound like, “heads?” The Lions took the ball, marched down the field, and kicked a field goal to win the game. This did not cost Phil his job.
AFC Wild Card Playoffs 1999 - The Music City Miracle
The Buffalo Bills are one of the most heartbroken franchises in NFL playoff history. During the AFC Wild Card playoffs in January of 2000, their collective gut wrenched on a very sour note. Late in their game with the Tennessee Titans, the Bills took a one-point lead. One kickoff and some prevent defense would have sent them on to the next round. Titans tight end, Frank Wycheck, fielded the bouncing kick and history was about to be made. Frankie Boy thought fast and threw the ball clear across the field to quick wide receiver, Kevin Dyson. The Bills’ special teams unit was at a loss as Dyson ran the ball 75 yards down the field for the game-winning touchdown. Thing is, it wasn’t a lateral. It was a forward pass by the slimmest of margins. No flag was thrown and for whatever reason there wasn’t enough on video for the officials to change the call. Had that flag come down, we don’t get one of the best Super Bowls ever and maybe Bills’ fans would have one season of true glory…or five Super Bowl losses, which seems more likely. Should have started Flutie over Johnson anyway.
Monday Night Football 2012 - The Fail Mary
In 2012 NFL officials were in a salary dispute with the league and got locked out. The season began with replacement referees and things couldn’t have gone worse in the Seahawks-Packers Monday Night clash. With a 12-7 deficit, late in the 4th quarter, Russell Wilson heaved a pass into the end zone. Packers safety M.D. Jennings intercepted the pass and the Packers had held on for the win…or so they thought. After a blatant Offensive Pass Interference shove in the back, Golden Tate managed to get his hand on the ball on the bottom of the pile. Officials awarded the Seahawks the game-winning touchdown via the dual possession rule. Apparently it really was the Golden touch. I personally applaud the officials for this call but then again, I’m a Vikings fan so…
NFC Playoffs 1975 - The Hail Mary
It was a cold and dreary day December day in Minneapolis. The Vikings were ahead of the Cowboys, 14-10 and were prepared to advance to the next round of the playoffs. That is until one of the most blatantly missed calls in NFL history was made (but I’m not bitter). Roger Staubach heaved a pass in the direction of his wide receiver, Drew Pearson. As the ball descended, Pearson took down Vikings’ defensive back, Nate Wright, with an assault that would have gotten him five years in a Minnesota correctional facility. As Wright was sprawled out on the ground, Pearson made the catch for a 50-yard touchdown and the “Hail Mary” pass was born…basically because Pearson had to say 10 of them for his penance for his blatant penalty. Curse you, Drew Pearson! Curse you and…never mind. My therapist says I’m getting better.
So you see, folks, everyone makes mistakes. Next time you miss a decimal point at work or put that bottle marked, “Flammable,” next to a space heater just be glad you don’t work for the NFL or you may find yourself selling plasma to make rent.
Until next time, raise your glass, toss that pigskin around with your besties, Eff Tom Brady, and Go Saints!!
Let us know what you think was the worst call in NFL history.