NEW: Keeping it Loose Podcast 1/17/17

Getting back in the game this semester. JT and Ryan talk about some NBA spreads for Wednesday and the upcoming NFL games. Warning extreme looseness.

What’s to Come, & Bill Burr’s Take on Deflategate

Now before you get mad, please hear me out. This isn’t opinion, but this is honestly what you can expect. Tom Brady does not have a chance at winning his appeal.

The U.S. Court System is not going to overturn Roger Goodell’s ruling. Not because of the facts or circumstantial evidence involving the case itself, but because of the NFL bylaws. When players enter the league, they agree to adhere to the rulings of the commissioner. For this reason, they don’t have the right to sue. It is like checking the “I Agree” box when you update your software. You never read the fine print, but hidden in the text are statements that protect whatever company you are dealing with. The NFL is no different.

Hear what an expert in law has to say about the issue:

https://twitter.com/foxandfriends/status/724915784279969792

So, essentially, Roger Goodell is the judge, jury, and executioner. If I were the players, I would try to bargain for some sort of hearing board made up of both executives and former players. That would be a great way to ensure that any player found in violation of a rule would have a fair due process. The current situation is not only unfair, but it doesn’t work. It seems as if the league is not harsh enough with serious offenses such as Greg Hardy or Ray Rice, and they are too harsh with less serious offenses such as the ‘Deflategate’ allegations.

 

I’m sorry for Pats fans, because this issue should be over and done with, but unfortunately, it is not. However, unless Brady is ok with throwing money away on attorney fees, he should just drop the appeal. He’s got plenty of cash, so if he’s fine with writing a big check, then more power to him for standing up for the principle.

 

Pats fans, you’ll love this. Savage stand up comic, and die hard Bostonian, Bill Burr just rips all things Deflategate. Let’s just say the Colts don’t have a leg to stand on… This is worth the watch ( and that’s coming from a Jets fan).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTjCdpAAYo8

 

– R. Ilardi

 

 

 

Who Does Sam Bradford Think he is?

(Photo via philly.com)

Gee, it must be great getting paid $36 million over two years to play football. Well, apparently, Sam Bradford doesn’t think so. As news broke that the Philadelphia Eagles packaged a horde of draft picks to move up to the 2nd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, it became nearly certain that the Eagles had their sights set on Carson Wentz as their QB of the future, assuming Cal QB Jared Goff goes first. That left Sam Bradford, who just signed a 2 year, $36 million contract with the team, feeling “unwanted”. Now, he has made it clear he wants out of Philly, and is refusing to show up to any of the off-season workouts. If only he knew how lucky he was.

Keep in mind: although Philly has plans of drafting Wentz in the first round, Bradford was a lock for the Eagles starting job this year. The team wants to give Wentz at least a year or two to learn from the bench before taking the helm as starter. So, the job was all Bradford’s for the 2016 season, maybe the next season as well. Not only would Bradford be starting, but he would have a chance to display his skills to the league and hopefully get another hefty contract coming off of this current two-year deal. Most QBs in this league, a league with a 3-4 year average shelf-life, would kill to be in his position. But, obviously, the 2010 first round draft pick sees himself in a greater role.

Bradford’s agent, Tom Condon, expressed his client’s concerns regarding this situation. “Basically, our contention is that the team could have used the draft picks on offensive and defensive players for this season, to win this season. If the plan was to build for the future, where does that leave Sam this year?” (ESPN.com) Sure, Bradford has a point; he wants to be the franchise piece and not a stop-gap for their future solution at quarterback. But, he is completely missing the point. Frankly, when people think of Sam Bradford, they don’t think of a “franchise quarterback”. Instead, they think of an injury prone draft bust who has a losing record in his 5 years as an NFL starter. He’s averaging a million dollars earned for every touchdown thrown in his career, $58 million in career earning to go with 58 touchdown passes. His job isn’t to demand a safe home where he can play, his job is to compete and prove to NFL coaches around the league that he is truly the guy capable of manning the ship. Instead, his trade request just comes off as cowardice and spoiled.

I do not understand how Bradford feels entitled to this kind of “special treatment”. Maybe the money is getting to his head. Let’s not forget, he did receive the largest amount of guaranteed money at the time he was drafted. This was the year before the new CBA agreement created a rookie wage scale that significantly reduced the guaranteed money paid to rookies. Just for perspective, Bradford received a 6-year, $72 million contract ($50 million guaranteed) as a rookie. The next year, after the new CBA was implemented, Cam Newton (another fellow 1st overall pick) received a 4 year, $22 million contract. Cam is now the league’s reigning MVP, and Sam is the average QB who can’t quite understand what opportunity looks like.

No one was saying that by drafting Wentz this year that Bradford can’t be the Eagles starter for the future either. He simply could have worked harder and potentially outperform Wentz in training camp and retain his starting role for years to come. But he felt too pressured by Wentz, forcing this trade request. This surely says something about Bradford’s confidence level in his own game.

After this public outcry for a new home, this leaves Bradford in an even worse situation than he could have had. For one, even if he wants to be traded, that doesn’t mean other teams want to take care of this spoiled QB with a $36 million price tag to his name. And if he stays put in Philly, which seems like the likely option, he’s going to have to play through the harsh criticisms not only from the noisy Philly fans, but from his teammates. It remains to be seen how this move will affect his public image, but it seems certain that he’s not going to be that franchise player that he hopes for. Real franchise players let their play do the talking, not their contracts.

– J. Yellin

The Countdown to October 9th Starts Now

(Photo via designbyhumans.com)

In the shocker of the century, the all-mighty Lord Goodell wins and continues his reign of absolute power over the league. After appeals had revoked Goodell’s initial 4-game suspension handed to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady just over a year ago, the NFL’s appeal of the appeal has won. Tom Brady’s original 4-game suspension will be reinstated and effective starting in week 1 of the upcoming 2016 NFL season. It is a sad day for all of patriot nation…

After going to court last year and winning the appeal that vacated his 4-game suspension, it always worried me that Brady was never out of the troubles of Deflate Gate. Although Judge Richard Berman found that Goodell over-stepped his powers in giving Brady his suspension, today we witnessed the reinstatement of Brady’s 4-game suspension, despite the fact that nothing about the case has changed. If there was some sort of new evidence presented of this alleged occurrence or any proof that something actually happened, then fans would have no right to question this decision made by the court today. But regardless of this horrible mistake of a court ruling, as of today, we will have to see the Patriots play their first four games of the 2016-2017 season without their star quarterback and franchise leader, Tom Brady.

I have complete faith in the Patriots and likely starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. We will obviously not see the same offense in these first four games as we would with Brady under center, but I look for the Patriots defense to carry them through these first four games. A young defense that ranked 9th last year in overall defense and allowed only 19 points per game will be much improved this year after bringing in free agents Chris Long and Terrance Knighton, and having a healthy roster going into next season, specifically the linebackers who were heavily injured last season.

Along with this top 10 defense, the Patriots have brought in many veterans to strengthen the offense, like TE Martellus Bennett, RB Donald Brown and WR Chris Hogan. That, along with the already proven Patriots passing threats of Gronkowski, Edelman and Amendola, plus the return of both Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount to solidify the back field, has me feeling very confident in Jimmy Garoppolo in this four game stretch to start the season. The Patriots will open the season with a tough game in Arizona against the Cardinals, but after that, they have very winnable games against Miami, Houston and Buffalo. I believe if all things click early on with the offense, we could see the Pats sitting at 3-1 when Brady returns to unleash hell on the NFL. Worst case scenario, I see this team losing no more than two of these first four games.

Fast forward to week 5 of the 2016 NFL season: the return of the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, from a suspension given because of a scandal that was the biggest waste of time in sports history. A pointless investigation that turned into a web of lies from the NFL that is now regarded in the two words we all hate… Deflate Gate. We will see the revenge-filled quarterback come out of this suspension with more fire than ever, and more to prove than ever before. Brady is going to go on a rampage against any and all opponents he faces, and who better to start it than the Cleveland Browns. Mark your calendars folks. Sunday, October 9th at 1:00 pm, the revenge tour begins.

– J. Horrigan

 

Farewell to the Ironman

(Photo via nypost.com)

I truly dreaded the day when this would come, but unfortunately it has. The cornerstone of the Jets roster, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, has decided to retire from the NFL and leave the New York Jets stranded. As a die-hard fan, this is a crushing blow. As any Jets fan would know, let alone any NFL fan, the Brick was a class act, a leader among men. He let his performance do the talking, not his actual voice. I personally remember him getting drafted 4th overall in the 2006 draft, a move undesired at the time, but I knew this man was something special.

D’Brickashaw Ferguson fully lived up to his name: the Brick Wall. He started every game for the Jets for 10 full seasons (10,352 snaps), and only missed one snap in the process: a failed trick play at the end of the 2008 season. And frankly, no one could underestimate his leadership and integrity both on and off the field. He never appeared on the injury report, which is special in its own right. But he was much more than that; Ferguson was a true competitor and a role model for all players looking to find their place in this league. He never had off-the-field issues, let alone any on-the-field issues, that would normally alter a man’s reputation.

As the Jets move forward, they must address this pressing need at left tackle. I can definitely see them concocting a plan to bring in a veteran to take Brick’s spot, but it is a near certain possibility that they will address this need in the draft. I would like to see either Jack Conklin or Taylor Decker fall to the Jets’ spot at the 20th pick, but that seems unlikely. Instead, I look for them to draft an edge rusher in the first round, another big need of theirs, and possibly go after a Jason Spriggs or Germain Ifedi in the 2nd round. But whatever the case may be, no one can truly replace the hallmark OT that was D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

There is a reason why Ferguson broke the huddle after every game. He was the man everyone trusted; you knew what you were going to get with him. A hard-working, team-above-self mentality that trickled down to the rest of the organization. He certainly went through tough years with the Jets, as any Jets fan would know, but he didn’t waver in performance. He was strong, consistent, and impactful in every game, every snap, and every minute.

As a man soon to enter the Jets’ Ring of Honor, I owe great gratitude to the Brick Wall himself. He was the foundation of the locker room. Although he wouldn’t say it himself, you knew his presence was felt among all players. He didn’t speak much, so much so that people often questioned his love for the game. But that is a false assessment of who he was. D’Brickashaw loved the game more than ever, so much so that he never wanted himself to ever be better than the game itself.

While some might think that 32 years is too young to retire, at least he knows when to hang up his cleats. He understands that if he’s not playing up to his level of excellence, then what’s the point at all? He knew what imitations were, and understood that his time as an all-pro left tackle was behind him. But if anyone understood what he meant to the Jets’ franchise, let alone any other franchise in the league, you would understand that the Brick was a champion of the game; a true professional, and someone who will be dearly missed. All I can say is, thank you Brick. You were an ironman in the trenches, a master of your craft, and equipped with unique skills that stood above the rest. You will always stand above the rest.

– J. Yellin

Brady’s Boo’s

(Photo via finance.yahoo.com)

It’s that time of the month where we find new ways to hate Tom Brady. Like I said in the last article, I’ll be doing this once a month to entertain everyone in the country that doesn’t live in that tiny little corner of the country. I can’t even say those two nauseating words describing their geographic location.

Anyway, I’m guessing you all saw the latest Instagram video of Tom Brady blowing through a conch shell, calling Rob Gronkowski running out of the woods and coaching him. SWEET DUDE. I saw SpongeBob do that when I was seven years old. Gronkowski running through the woods being the giant child that he is. Yeah, that dude is a savage, but just the fact that he is one of Bill Belichick’s minions makes me dislike the video that much more. Tom, c’mon now, shouldn’t you be in your garage with some air pumps and footballs? Not just entertaining social media, but even SportsCenter is all over it. Good for you guys not having to train this early in the year cause you play in the AFC East. But hell, if I was born in practically another country in that corner, I would be loving that video. Tom Brady Is the GOAT to be remembered as winning Super Bowls and blowing a conch shell.

– M. Gress

RG3 and Browns Looking for a Clean Slate

(Photo via ign.com)

After weeks of speculation, it has officially been announced that Robert Griffin III, former 2nd overall pick and 2011 Heisman Trophy Winner, will be joining the Cleveland Browns. Clearly this is a match made in heaven, right? Two misfits trying to find their place in the league have decided to join forces and lead the lonely Browns to victory. What can possibly go wrong? Well, if you ask the Browns and new head coach Hue Jackson, they sound convinced that RG3 is starting to turn a page in his career. When asked about his growth through the years, Jackson said, “You want to see if he’s humble, if he’s grown from his experience, because in the NFL you have to keep growing,” (usatoday.com). Apparently, they have a plan in mind, it’s just that when you are talking about the Browns, you truly never know.

People around the league believe that RG3 will be a great fit in Cleveland due to the healthy support system that he has in place. Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton can help Griffin in many ways that Jay Gruden simply could not. Griffin did start to show some signs of maturity, as he accepted the role as Kirk Cousin’s backup for the entire 2015 season. He surely still has some physical attributes that set him back from being an elite QB, but at least we know he is in a better state of mind than he was during his Washington years. And lucky for Griffin, this time, the burden of the team’s success may not fall solely on his shoulders.

Although Browns are prepared to have Griffin compete for the starting job in Cleveland, they are still prepared to take a QB with their 2nd pick in the first round (RG3 also just-so happened to be picked with the 2nd overall pick in 2012). They can take either Carson Wentz or Jared Goff, but it seems like the North Dakota State product seems to be the QB higher up on most analysts’ draft boards. Hypothetically, if Wentz was to be drafted by the Browns, then all of the pressure will be off of Griffin, perhaps for the first time in his career. Griffin will have the freedom to compete for, and likely capture the starting job for 2016. But this year is not the year Browns fans are particularly concerned about. With or without Carson Wentz starting at QB for them, it seems certain that no one was expecting a big splash from the Browns this year anyways. Their focus is on developing their future, as their rebuilding process wanes on. And I actually think Griffin can become a solid bridge QB for their future.

This recent move provides the Browns with numerous opportunities. Sure, they can use that 2nd overall pick to draft another area of need, like their atrocious defense, but keeping Wentz on the bench for half or the entire year I think will prove to be the best investment the Browns have made in years. If RG3 plays well, than that is all the better for both the Browns and Wentz’ development. Wentz can watch a former highly-touted, highly ridiculed prospect succeed in the NFL in a way that can take the pressure off of his own game. And Griffin can rise to the challenge and make himself a valuable commodity once again for GMs and owners to see. It seems ever more clear that for the first time in perhaps a decade (maybe longer), the Cleveland Browns are finally ready to put this “QB-Abyss” chapter of their long history to a close.

– J. Yellin