During the fourth quarter of their 105-92 win over the Charlotte Bobcats last Wednesday, Miami Heat‘s Dwayne Wade delivered a kick to the groin of Bobcats’ guard Ramon Sessions. For his ‘low blow’ the NBA gave Wade a one-game suspension resulting in $150,000 in lost wages. Without Wade the Heat lost to the Detroit Pistons 109-99 Friday night.
What’s done is done but Wade and his agent Henry Thomas are appealing to the league his loss in salary. “We are doing it on the basis that I don’t think the suspension was warranted,” Thomas told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Wade has expressed his feelings to the media saying “it was a bang-bang play”.
“He felt that it wasn’t warranted,” Thomas said. “I saw the play and I just don’t think that it was.”
The Heat also released a statement in support of Wade and it’s players.
“Unfortunately, he is the type of player, along with other players on our roster, that defenses take privileges with. We stand with Dwyane and support him in this situation and have made our feelings known to the league office.”
Not only do they believe the ‘play’ did not warrant a suspension but that Wade’s squeaky-clean record of 10 years should be enough not to suspend him.
“While we accept the decision of the NBA regarding Dwyane Wade, we do not agree with it,” the Heat said in their statement. “In his 10 years in the league, Dwyane has never been suspended, and has been an exemplary player and positive influence to his teammates and fans and we have been honored to have him as part of the Miami Heat family.”
On behalf of Wade, Thomas will make the appeal to the league through the Players Association but it could be weeks before Wade sees a return of any lost wages.
The NFL regular season ended last night with the Cowboys securing their seat on the couch for the playoffs. For the ‘Boys and 19 other teams, April’s draft, and the start of a new season can’t come soon enough.
The NFL featured stories of a player reaching the lowest of lows, a coach becoming a national inspiration, and a national inspiration becoming a backup bench warmer in New York. We’ll recap the 10 biggest stories from the 2012 NFL regular season and leave the debate up to you. Did we get all 10 stories right? Which did we miss? Which were ranked too high or too low?
10. Ex-College Coaches Solidify Their Spot on the NFL Sideline
The rule has always been what works in college doesn’t work in the pros, with very few exceptions. The last few years showed us that that trend may not be entirely true, and this year put it right in the spot light. The San Francisco 49ers, lead by ex Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh, were the number 1 seed in the NFC last year for the playoffs, and despite changing QBs 2/3 through the season, have the 9ers as the #2 seed this year. Pete Carroll has the SeattleSeahawks as the 5 seed at 11-5 with a rookie QB starting, who wouldn’t have even garnered a second though in training camp on just about every other team in the league. Ex Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano came in to Tampa Bay, and while the record doesn’t necessarily show it, improved the team immensely.
9. The New York Jets and Their Traveling Sideshow of a Season
What a season it’s been for the New York Jets. Everyone was so excited when Tim Tebow was traded to the Big Apple after taking the Denver Broncos in to the Divisional round of the playoffs last year. That move, among others, has now cost GM Mike Tannenbaum his job, and could very well end up costing Rex Ryan his. The fact that the team brought in Tebow was enough to rattle Mark Sanchez in to his worst season as a pro. Despite the constant drama, the Jets were still in the playoff picture after a week 14 win in Jacksonville. After that, the Jets went on a 3 game losing streak to end the season, including a 28-9 thumping week 17 at the Buffalo Bills.
8. Jovan Belcher
2012 was a year for the Kansas City Chiefs to forget both on and off the field. The Chiefs were the worst team in the league, and in a shocking act, one of their players turned this season from a figurative nightmare in to a real one. On Saturday, December 1st, Chiefs LB Jovan Belcher confronted his girlfriend and mother of his infant daughter and killed her in front of his own mother. He then drove to the Chiefs facilities, where he drove up to see head coach Romeo Crennel and GM Scott Pioli among others in the parking lot. He approached them with a gun to his head, and when he heard police sirens, he stepped behind his car and pulled the trigger.
7. Calvin Johnson Breaks Jerry Rice’s Record for Single Season Receiving Yards
Any time anyone breaks one of Jerry Rice’s 21 records, you’re doing something right. This year, Calvin Johnson took the crown for single season receiving yards king, with 1,964 yards, clobbering Rice’s record by 116 yards. What makes this more impressive is that Johnson broke the record on the exact same amount of catches (122) that Rice had during his record breaking season in 1995.
6. Backup QB Controversies Were the Hottest Trend
Before the season even started, there were controversies in Seattle, Arizona, New York, Cleveland, and Miami. Every single one of those teams ended up starting a back up, or choosing the rookie QB over the veteran as the starter. The drama in New York only intensified throughout the year. As the season progressed, we had more backups take their spot as the starter. Colin Kaepernick came in when Alex Smith suffered a concussion, and relieved Smith of his starting duties immediately. The same situation took place in Philadelphia, with a lot less success than in San Francisco, when Nick Foles came in when Mike Vick suffered a concussion. Foles has remained the Eagles’ starter, but still played bad enough to cost Andy Reid his job. Jacksonville and Kansas City are among other teams who had a QB controversy at some point during the season.
5. Injury To MVP, Times 2
The NFL is full of stories about guys coming back from injuries to have good seasons, or guys returning to their pre-injury form, but it hasn’t been quite done like it has this year by two players. Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson have defied all odds and have played arguably the best season of their careers.
Peyton Manning may not have the best numbers of his career this season, but when you factor in that he missed an ENTIRE NFL season, had multiple neck surgeries during that time, changed teams, and had to establish chemistry with an entirely new group of receivers, O-lineman, running backs, and coaches, and the fact that the Broncos are the #1 seed in the AFC for the playoffs…well that in itself speaks volumes, even if it takes you 3 breaths to read out loud.
Adrian Peterson’s leg exploded late last year, and he was initially expected to miss all of the 2012 season. Except that AP’s not human, and recovered in just over 24 minutes from the surgery, and ran a marathon 4 hours later. In reality, Peterson didn’t miss any of the regular season, and despite only rushing for over 100 yards 1 time in the first 6 games of the season, a span in which Peterson had 499 rushing yards, he nearly broke the record for rushing yards in a season. Eric Dickerson’s record of 2,105 set in 1984 was safe by 9 yards at the end of the year. Adrian Peterson finished the regular season with 2,097 yards, and a trip to the playoffs.
4. Chuck Pagano Becomes National Inspiration
When Indanapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay announced on October 1st that his head coach had leukemia, and would be hospitalized for six to eight weeks, it took everyone in the NFL by surprise. Players on the Colts and around the league showed support by sporting Chuck Strong bracelets and t-shirts. Over 3 dozen Colts players shaved their heads in support of Chuck Pagano. It was announced before week 17 that Pagano would be returning for the last game of the season to lead his team in to the playoffs. This story became bigger than the NFL, and took the entire country by storm. Everyone from grandparents to their grandchildren were touched by this story and Pagano’s story of triumph. Pagano even inspired a couple of Colts cheerleaders to shave their heads in support. He also gave one of the most sticking and touching moments of the entire season, when he addressed his team in the locker room for the first time since going through chemo therapy, seen below.
3. Bountygate and its Ramifications
While Bountygate didn’t happen this year, the punishment doled out by the NFL was in effect for this season and it destroyed the Saints, especially in the early part of the season. Head Coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season. GM Mickey Loomis was suspended for the first 8 games on this season. Saints players Jonathan Vilma (16 games, later reduced), Will Smith (4 games), free agent Anthony Hargrove (8 games), and Browns LB Scott Fujita (3 games) all were affected by Bountygate and the punishments doled out by Commissioner Roger Goodell. The Saints started the season 0-4, and ended the season losing 4 of their last 6 games.
2. Replacement Refs
We were all subjected to watching the worst officiating anyone can remember for the first 3 weeks of the regular season. During this time we saw some of the most flagrantly wrong calls in the history of the game. Does anyone remember Golden Tate’s “catch” to win MNF against the Packers? Does anyone remember Darrius Heyward-Bey getting almost murdered by Ryan Mundy, and not drawing any flag at all? Goodell, the owners, and the NFL Referees Association came to an agreement and we had the regular refs back for week 4. There haven’t been any hugely blown calls since, and we’re all still alive, so in hindsight, it wasn’t that bad.
1. Rookie Takeover
Forget Rookie of the Year. These rookies could be considered for MVP. The class of rookies that came in this year was ushered in with more hype than most, with the sure fire picks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III leading the way. Other rookie QBS to start were Ryan Tannehill for the Dolphins, Russell Wilson for the Seahawks, and Brandon Weeden for the Browns. Three of these guys (Luck, RGIII, and Wilson) lead their team to the playoffs.
The Redskins are the most exciting team to watch play offense because of RGIII, and his backfield partner, rookie RB Alfred Morris. You may know Morris as the 2nd leading rusher in the league this year with 1,613 yards. In Tampa, rookie RB Doug Martin was drafted with the Bucs second 1st round pick, and was named the starter early during training camp. Martin responded by exploding for 1,454 rushing yards, and another 475 receiving yards, leading the usually hapless Bucs offense to respectability.
The NFL regular season has come to an end with the Washington Redskins defeating the Dallas Cowboys and claiming the last playoff spot. With the end of the regular season brings “Black Monday”, a day where coaches who failed to live up to their team owner’s expectations get fired. One of these coaches is Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith.
After his Bears started the season 7-1 they faltered down the stretch going 3-5 and missing out on a playoff spot. This was the second straight year the Bears finished third in the division after making it to the NFC Championship game in 2010. In Smith’s first three seasons in Chicago he made the playoffs twice and even made it to the Super Bowl in 2006, but in the next 6 seasons was only able to make it back to the playoffs once. The Bears ownership had enough of these disappointing seasons and finally let Lovie Smith go.
It was no surprise Gene Smith was fired by the Jacksonville Jaguars. In his 4 seasons he compiled a 22-42 record, including a 2-14 record this past season, missing the playoffs in each of those 4 seasons. This past season the Jaguars had a horrible defensive and ranked among the bottom in the league. They allowed the third most points and the third most yards per game. In serious need of defensive leadership the Jags should hire Lovie Smith.
Lovie Smith is a great defensive coach. He has proved this in each of his coaching stops. His first NFL job as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ linebackers coach, Lovie played a big part in creating the Tampa 2 defense. He was then hired by the St. Louis Rams to be their defensive coordinator where he turned the leagues worst defense into one of the best. In 2000, the Rams allowed 29.4 points per game, in 2001 when the Rams hired Smith they allowed only 17.1 points per game and advanced to the Super Bowl the same year.
Smith’s reign with the Bears was always about defense. The Bears had one of the best defenses in the league this past season allowing only 17.3 points per game, good for third best in the league. The Bears were also the 5th best in yards per game allowing only 315.6.
The Jaguars are a horrible team that needs to fill a lot of holes. The Jags had one of the league’s worst offenses this season, but they do have weapons on this side of the ball. They need to start focusing on building their defense and their offense will come around (Tebow Time). It won’t be an easy fix or a quick fix, but the hiring of Lovie Smith would be a good start.
Simple as that. If the Texans do not win the AFC and fall to either New England or Denver on the road, they only have themselves to blame.
Two games they had! Two games (in Edward Rooney from Ferris Bueller voice). One against the one dimensional Vikings and the other against a young Colts squad. Both ending in with double-digit losses.
From coach of the year candidate to hot seat? The Texans’s collapse may put Gary Kubiak back out of favor with them hometown faithful.
The AFC has once again been gift wrapped to either Peyton Manning or Tom Brady thanks to Houston’s inability to close the deal. A team that dominated the AFC all season, a team that’s season began with a resounding thumping of Miami, a team that was led by Defensive Player of the Year candidate JJ Watt just simply completed a choke job that the 1993 Houston Oilers squad that blew a 35 point lead to Buffalo in the playoffs would be proud of.
Defend this collapse, Texans. You can’t blame inexperience. The team played in two postseason games last year. Losing Mario Williams? The Texans still finished near the top in the NFL in sacks. You can’t blame injuries. Then what is it? Look to the top.
Gary Kubiak has done a solid done the past two seasons on capitalizing in a Peyton-less AFC South; however, number 18 has been replaced by number 12 who only finished one game behind you. Oh and that guy is just a rookie for a team that is only going to get better.
Despite the efforts of All-Pro, JJ Watt– the Texans couldn’t win one game in two chances to stave off Denver and New England.
For most teams you could argue that the window is still open for a season or two. This may also be true for the Texans but with an aging Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub, the window may soon be closed.
There are no guarantees in the NFL and when you have an opportunity to achieve greatness, you must take it. Because you never know how many opportunities you may have.
Houston had theirs in 2012 and they choked. Plain and simple.
Atlanta Hawks’ star DeShawn Stevenson is getting hit with a big bill after a year of dodging payment. Stevenson managed to avoid paying a $190,000 bill from his ex-agent, but now a judge has ordered him to pay the bill in full.
Stevenson’s agent Mark Barelstein claims he represented DeShawn since 2006 and brokered some massive deals for the NBA star including deals with the Washington Wizards in 2007 ($15 million), the Dallas Mavericks, AND the New Jersey Nets in 2011 ($2.5 million).
In January 2012, Mark filed legal documents claiming DeShawn failed to pay the commission he was owed via contract in the sum of $190,043.80.
An arbitration court agreed and ordered the NBA star to pay the bill back in August, but DeShawn still hasn’t paid.
Mark was forced to file legal documents earlier this month in Georgia (where DeShawn lives and works) to have the judgment enforced there and start the process of collecting.
“Unfortunately, it turns out that the logo hasn’t been permanently mothballed. Disappointing. Grade F” wrote Lukas.
The Braves first used the logo in 1959 while in Milwaukee and used it occasionally for 30 years until they were pressured to get rid of it by various groups who believe Native American imagery in sports to be offensive.
“It really is a wonder that the Braves are going with these caps. As far as I can tell, there was no real groundswell to bring this logo back, which is saying something in an age where fans of several teams hold a deep affinity for their old-school looks.” said Yahoo!’s Big League Stew
“For reasons that completely escape me given how the team has slowly eliminated native American iconography from their uniforms (i.e. getting rid of the tomahawk on the alternate jerseys, etc.), the Braves have unveiled a hideous BP cap with that old “screaming Indian” logo. Most of us had thought that they had canned that thing, but apparently not. Poor, poor form, Atlanta.” said Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra.
“Maybe somebody in the team’s marketing department incorrectly surmised that the city of Atlanta loves stereotypical depictions of entire races of people. Perhaps ownership was sick and tired of the Washington Redskins and their culturally insensitive name remaining the most offensive rendition of Native American culture in this country. Why did the Braves screw this up so badly?” said Bleacher Report’s Timothy Rapp.
“Hands down, the worst (of the 30 new batting practice caps). The team had appeared to be getting away from some of its use of Native American caricatures, avoiding using a similar “screaming Indian” from its throwback alternate introduced last year, but the folks who don’t see anything wrong in the tomahawk chop, probably won’t mind this.” said CBSSports.com blogger C. Trent Rosecrans.
For many years now groups around the country have lobbied against Native American imagery and nicknames in sports, believing them offensive and dehumanizing. Aside from the Braves in baseball, the Cleveland Indians have felt such pressure towards their name and ‘Smiling Indian’ logo for years. In other sports you have the Chicago Blackhawks, Golden State Warriors, Florida State Seminoles, Kansas City Chiefs and probably the most offensive of them all; the Washington Redskins.
On the flip-side of the argument, however, many believe that such names and logos are honoring Native Americans and not dehumanizing them.
Alabama offensive lineman DJ Fluker is ready to take it to Notre Dame‘s Manti Te’o. He and his teammates are sick of the media’s ‘attack everyone else but Manti Te’o’ game plan for the Tide so he is going to use that as motivation for next week’s BCS National Championship.
“Everybody has their own way of (challenging) us,” said Fluker. “We’re going to go right for him. He’s what they call the best of the best, gotta go take it to him.
“They have a great defensive line,” continued Fluker. “They always get to the ball pretty quick. They’re basically like everybody else, almost like Georgia a little bit. They’re going to be a challenge, a challenge that we’re going to have to prepare for.”
Notre Dame’s defensive front seven has yet to see a strong offensive line like Bama’s. This will definitely be their toughest test all season and will make for the best matchup of the game. With running backs Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon, Bama will take their power running game right into the teeth of the Irish defense, including Te’o.
In the SEC Championship against Georgia they ran for 350 yards. They will try to do the same against the Irish.
The fans in Jacksonville want their savior to return to his hometown.
Tim Tebow was passed over, again, for the starting role this week for the Jets, a move that he “wasn’t happy about,” according to Jets head coach Rex Ryan. Tebow was brought to New York to compete for the starting job, and has been designated to ride pine essentially all season. The Jets look set to release or trade Tebow after the season, and for both parties, it seems the sooner the better.
There are a few teams that could use a player like Tebow, but one in particular, the Jacksonville Jaguars, may have an interesting angle in trying to sign the most polarizing player in the league. Is there a conspiracy in the NFL to get Tim Tebow to the Jaguars?
The Jags wanted Tebow Time to invade their stadium every Sunday this past offseason before Tim’s brother convinced him to go to the Jets. Jacksonville will be first in line to talk to Tebow. He’s from the area, has a strong fan base from his legendary days at Florida, and is generally seen as the state of Florida’s do no wrong, golden boy athlete. Unless of course you’re an FSU fan.
Tim Tebow throwing one of his few passes this year in Jacksonville.
So what’s the big deal? The Jags are a terrible team with less than desirable QB play, with a chance to get a player that will fill the seats on his name alone. Tim Tebow has had success at every level of play, including the NFL, and there’s no reason to think that should change.
Except that according to the New York Jets coaches through their actions, and (anonymous) teammates, through their words, Tebow is the worst player to ever put on shoulder pads, and is lucky to even sniff their jocks after practice, much less actually dress up like a real life NFL player every Sunday.
So which end of the spectrum does reality lie in? Obviously somewhere in the middle, but Tebow Time is more of a cult following because of his values than his abilities to play football.
So why are the Jaguars so interested in getting this guy?
Tebow to the Jaguars is only a ploy by the owners to get the team moved to Los Angeles.
Sure, the first year or so the fans will fill the seats to see football Jesus play on Sundays in the Sunshine State. But this IS the Jacksonville Jaguars we’re talking about. So unless Tebow can take them to the playoffs every year, the fans will stop showing up again. When the fans stop showing up, the team will have even smaller resistance in moving the team to Los Angeles than they are now.
The team can pitch a “fresh start” idea to the city. Tebow? Gone. Maurice Jones-Drew? Sayonara. Mike Mularkey? Adios.
This would be a pitch to whichever group would be buying the Jags to move them to build a new stadium around a coach that you hand pick, who will be working with
Rendering of Farmers Field with the roof open (credit: farmersfield.com)
your GM, who will pick the new face of your franchise. That group would appear to be Anschutz Entertainment Group, who already has funding and plans to build Farmers Field in Downtown LA, right next to the Staples Center.
Football belongs back in LA, and Tim Tebow could be the one to take it there.