Ok, that title is a stretch, but what happened yesterday over the course of 10 minutes in the National Football League was a chain of events so awesome, it still doesn’t seem real. The NFL’s long been America’s favorite sport with an offseason this year trumping anything any reality TV show has mustered in the past three years. Except, of course, seasons one and two of Jersey Shore before you realized people were getting paid more per episode than most of us will ever stack in a year. But that’s another story.
Since Wes Welker dropped the pass which could have sealed the Giants fate in this year’s Super Bowl, drama and the NFL have walked hand-in-hand ever since (with the only intermission being “Linsanity”). It’s like last year’s lockout hell almost never happened. Yet, if the stories football has produced these past few weeks have been a marijuana high, the events of March 21, 2012, have to be the equivalent of doing a line. Or smoking/snorting/injecting whatever drugs River Phoenix did in Hollywood back in the ’80’s.
Tebowmania Will Soon Be Coming To Broadway
Let’s get one thing clear. Well, even more clearer. John Elway wanted Tim Tebow in a Denver Broncos uniform as much as Jay-Z wanted Cam’ron with a Rocafella chain. Cam and Timmy were controversial fan favorites. Both had unorthodox styles only their truest of fans appreciated. And, while we’re reaching, Cam had Jim Jones while Tebow, voluntarily or not, has Skip Bayless. Jay-Z didn’t invite Cam and The Dips on the Roc The Mic Tour. And Elway, um, looked like he sh*t himself with each Tebow victory, almost as if praying for his downfall was the only thing keeping him up at night.
Bomani Jones said yesterday John Elway was having the best week ever, and he is if you really break down the situation. Not only does he bring in “his guy” in Peyton Manning. Acquiring arguably one of the top three or five signal callers to ever play the game makes the Tebow exile 1,000x easier. It’s like dumping Rihanna to see how things work with Paula Patton. Or Pilar.* You can’t honestly be mad at shelving a guy who may or may not be football’s Messiah for one who is the only four-time league MVP, can you? Of course not. So now Tebow heads to the New York Jets of all places and who knows what the hell is on the verge of happening. Antonio Cromartie is already giving the guy the Forest Gump bus treatment basically telling him “seat’s taken” and “can’t sit here.” Amazingly, however, this somehow does not decrease the chances of Tebow enrolling each of Cro’s 37 kids in Sunday School which would be the best headline TMZ ever came up with if it actually happened.
Then, there’s the entire Rex Ryan angle. Finally, and probably the best one yet, the “Tebow-start-watch,” which will be 2011 on steroids in the media hungry metropolis that is Gotham. Calling him “Jamarcus Russell with a better defense” two years ago may have been a stretch, but Mark Sanchez is no Eli Manning. Let Sanchez have one of those three or four game stretches appearing completely ignorant to the quarterback position. That’s all I’m saying. Dealing with the shadow that are their big brothers, the Giants, is big enough. Now he has to deal with Tim Tebow? Unless he somehow met the Wizard of Oz this offseason and purchased some balls, contract be damned, Tebow will start at some point. And it gets even better when you realize the two ranked dead last in QBR last season. I’m serious, it’s impossible not to love sports.
And the crazy thing about the entire situation is that on any normal day, this would have dominated every television show from SportsCenter to The 700 Club if it weren’t for…
Roger Goodell Throws The New Orleans Saints Under The Bus
Follow this timeline.
12:44 P.M. - Adam Schefter tweets, “Sean Payton suspended one year. Mickey Loomis 8 game and $500,000 fine. Saints fined $500,000 and a second round pick in 2012 and 2012.”
12:50 P.M. - I alert the crew of the news.
Between 12:51-12:53 - “WTFFFFFFF? A YEAR?! Are they going to hang Greg Williams then?” – David D.
“Holy shit.” – Whitt.
“This is ridiculous.” – David D.
“To me, that’s harsh. The Patriots cheated, which is a question of integrity and rule-breaking. The saints told their players “we’ll pay you a few bucks extra to hit the f*ck out of somebody in an already violent game.” – Gotty.
“No exaggeration: as soon as the news broke a hellacious storm just hit the city. tornado warnings and all…smh.” – David D.
Yeah, Dave took the news the hardest as his offseason from hell was delivered the knockout blow and according to Warren Sapp, it’s all Jeremy Shockey’s fault. All in all, Sean Payton now has a year of unpaid vacation. The general manager, Mickey Loomis, was suspended for eight games. Assistant coach, John Vitt, saw six games and the team losses two second round picks in 2012 and 2013. Plus, the Bountygate fiasco isn’t over yet with rumors of actions against players (including Johnathan Vilma) are on the horizon for allegedly installing prices on the heads of Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Kurt Warner.
Basically, this is the closest example to the “death penalty” college football implements that the NFL has ever taken on. How one chooses to view the situation mainly stems on which side of the fence they see the issue. On one end of the spectrum, Gregg Williams and the Saints weren’t exactly honest and forthcoming about the issue. Putting a halt on the system once league offices became hip to what was going on was best for all parties involved. You keep creeping around on your wife and sooner or later she’s going to attack you with a golf club. And in today’s football, where everyone is concussion crazy – which they should be because the long term effects of head trauma is more serious than most realize – playing with fire in this instance got the Saints and their entire fan base burned worse than when Lamar Odom found out he was traded to New Orleans (then wasn’t).
However, on the other hand, and as a fan of football period, you’re left to wonder if the Saints even have any room to operate now. No head coach, their best offensive lineman is gone and Drew Brees’ contract situation still isn’t rectified long term. Plus, look at the rest of the division. Atlanta figures to improve on last year. Carolina’s got arguably the best young quarterback in football with Cam Newton. And Tampa Bay is quietly having the best offseason of any team including the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers, which includes possibly drafting Trent Richardson in next month’s draft. For a division that has rested on Bourbon Street for the past several years, Goodell’s Iron Fist could have effectively ended one of the most feel-good eras in football. That is, unless of course, Drew Brees does the impossible and rescues the franchise again.
Pending he doesn’t and New Orleans decides to pull a Portland Trailblazers and clean house, allow me to mention one thing to Payton. Hey, Sean. Tupac said it best. If you come to Dallas, you will see your art brought to a bigger plateau, and you will be paid next year. Dallas, Sean. Dallas. Just think about it. [Editor's Note: F*ck you, Tinsley.]
* – Hi, Pilar.