Thursday, February 28, 2019

Witten is back, Manning might not be. (NFL)

What a week it's been so far! More football news popping up every damn day! (I'm not complaining!) Just when I thought there was nothing else that could be jam-packed into the week, it happens. And here I thought there would be no significant news until the NFL draft. Boy was I wrong!

Witten returns! 11-time Pro-Bowler Jason Witten is returning to the Dallas Cowboys after a nine month retirement. He must really want that Lombardi trophy, or money, or both. Witten was quoted as saying that "The fire to play still burns in me." We shall see if he can help the Cowboys win a Super Bowl next season, or watch as they bomb out of the playoffs again.

Manning back? The Giants are reported as saying they intend to hold onto QB Eli Manning for the time being. As I've aluded to before in this blog, Eli Manning is past his best before date, and is pretty much done at this point. He's a shell of his former self, and should retire immediately. The man has two Super Bowl victories to his credit (Tom Brady's 'kryptonite'. HA!), and has nothing left to pprove in the NFL. If anything, he should become a coach in some way.

If anyone cares.... The Oakland Raiders have finalized a deal to play the 2019 (and possibly 2020) season at the Coliseum in Oakland. Not that anyone gives a damn, because they'll be garbage and finish last or next to last. Raiders fans better stock up on tissues if they already haven't done so.

I know, I know. I'm savage.

Lulay retires, Gould is good? (CFL/NFL)

Two surprising events have occurred in the world of football today (because we needed MORE breaking news!), and one of them doesn't really add up. Also, I'm going to add another point on the Johnny Manziel release from yesterday. Buckle your seat belts!

Lulay calls it a career. Travis Lulay, longtime starter (and recent backup) at quarterback for the B.C. Lions, has decided to retire. Lulay won his only Grey Cup with the Lions in 2011, going on a really nice run that year. As of late, h's been an occasional starter and mostly a backup, the injury bug biting him hard. Still, I have a lot of respect for the guy. He's one hell of a competitor, and he won a Grey Cup (not to mention an MOP award). Nothing to be ashamed of here.

49ers franchise Gould. I get it when NFL teams place a franchise tag on a revered (and valuable) player on their roster. This is done to avoid him walking into free agency. But Robbie Gould? He's a pretty good kicker, no denying that. Problem is, placing a franchise tag on a kicker? I don't remember the last time I saw this happen. One would think the Niners would franchise Garoppolo or some other offensive standout. This one has me a little confused, and I'm a Niner fan.

Hey Johnny, what up? The CFL remains extremely tight lipped surrounding the circumstances of Johnny Manziel's termination. Kavis Reed (GM of the Montreal Alouettes) told us nothing yesterday, which was followed by Randy Ambrosie (the CFL commissioner we love to hate) telling us even more nothing. What are the 'conditions' that Manziel violated, and why aren't we being told anything? You would think they'd want to tell us before it gets out through the back door. The lack of transparency from the CFL right now is deafening.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Quarterbacks! (NFL)

There are some interesting snippets out of the NFL today, and I'd like to touch on them here. I've got four (that's right, FOUR) interesting pieces to dissect, so let's go!

Bye bye, Nick Foles. The Philadelphia Eagles are set to release QB Nick Foles, paving the way for his jump into free agency. I think this is beyond stupid, as Nick Foles has FOUR more playoff wins than QB Carson Wentz, and oh yeah, a SUPER BOWL VICTORY. The Eagles are getting rid of the guy that won them a Lombard trophy, and keeping the guy whose back keeps giving out. Got it?

Kaepernick wants to cash in. Former NFL player and occasional pain in the ass, Colin Kaepernick, apparently approached the AAF about playing in their league. Problem is, he wanted $20-million to play, which is ludicrous for a guy who is nothing more than a sideshow freak at this point in time. He is in no way worth 20 cents, let alone 20-million.

Cardinals are confused. Arizona doesn't seem to know what to do with QB Josh Rosen. They say he's their number one guy for now, but have made rumblings at the combine with some scouting. Also add to the fact that they are trying to put the short-lived Sam Bradford era behind them, and you have one very directionless franchise at the moment. Can't say I'm surprised.

The Raiders said what? Apparently, the Raiders are completely committed to Derek Car as their starting QB for the foreseeable future. Even though he is very inconsistent and injury prone, he is their man. Raiders personnel have been quoted as saying they "Aren't interested in drafting a QB." in the upcoming draft, preferring to stick with Carr. Aaaaand......the mediocrity continues in Oakland.

Manziel released! (CFL)

I literally just received word of this a few minutes ago (it's 2:20pm, Eastern time, right now) and had to jump on it. I normally wouldn't just go on about one solitary news item in football, but this is a pretty significant piece of news, and it warrants its own post. Because this just happened moments ago, I will break down the following as list points:

- The CFL ordered the Alouettes to terminate Johnny Manziel's contract, citing the fact that Manziel had circumvented the circumstances in regards to the agreement that paved the way for him to play in the CFL.

- The Alouettes aren't really elaborating too much on this, with GM Kavis Reed being quoted as saying that the Alouettes are "disappointed," and "gave Johnny a great deal of support and presented alternatives to him." Reed also said that Manziel was "Unwilling to proceed."

- Montreal has four other QB's on their roster. Vernon Adams, Jeff Mathews, Antonio Pipkin, and Matthew Shiitz are all available. Unfortunately, none of them are standouts, and in my opinion, not really starter material. Montreal now has a big problem to go with all their other problems.

- Manziel's career in professional football is more than likely over at this point. If he really did screw himself over with the CFL, he won't be touched by any other professional league. Before anyone says it, I have no doubt that the AAF will reject him as well. Remember, the AAF is a development league that leads to the NFL. Hell, I doubt if Manziel will even be touched by that garbage known as the Arean League. They'd have to be extremely desperate to sign him.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

2020/2021 Grey Cup games have been awarded. (CFL)

I know, I know. This happened on Thursday and I'm just getting to it now. Some of us work for a living and were also out of town when the announcement came down the pipes. In a perfect world, I could have had my laptop with me and posted live from the commuter train, but I digress. It's an imperfect world.

In case you DIDN'T hear about this, and live under a rock, it was announced Thursday that Saskatchewan would host the 2020 Grey Cup, while Hamilton receives the 2021 Grey Cup. And now, I will regale everyone with my problems with these choices.

Saskatchewan? Let me begin by saying that Saskatchewan is showing up too often in this blog. As a Winnipeg Blue Bombers fan, this is completely unacceptable. Now then, the last three of four Grey Cups had been played out west, this year's game also in Calgary. Too much western love going on here. I'd rather see it broken up, and have a Grey Cup in Montreal (but not at Big O), as well another Grey Cup game back in Ottawa (Why not?).

Rusty hammer. I am in no way a Hamilton Tiger-Cats fan, but they should have been a shoo-in for the 2019 game. Having to wait until 2021 to have the Cup there? Come on CFL, you can do better. With it's rich tradition and history with football, Hamilton should have gotten the nod before Calgary and Saskatchewan (That word again! Oh my!). Besides, the east as a whole needs more love. Watching a Grey Cup from Tim Horton's Field on TV alone would be great, and being there in person would probably be a unique and awesome experience all by itself!

Oh, and we're still waiting the Schooners.....

Say what? (CFL/AAF/NFL)

Three things I've seen in sports news that pertain to the world of professional football have left me scratching my head, or in one particular case, has me laughing my ass off quite uncontrollably. Let's begin, shall we?

Bridge signs with the Argos. This one falls under the head-scratching category. Brandon Bridge has spent the last three seasons backing up the often-injured Zach Collaros in Saskatchewan. The guy has a great arm, and can be developed. Instead, they let him go to the Argos, leaving the Roughriders with Drew Tate (who was retired last season) and Zach 'Brain Damage' Collaros. Not a good decision by the Roughrider's front office, but then again, it's Saskatchewan.

AAF. According to various sports outlets, the AAF (Alliance of American Football) is struggling. I don't think 'struggling' is the right word here. One, it's a brand new league. Two, it's in smaller cities (for the most part). Three, fans are slow to fill up the stands. All of this should have been expected for a startup league. I've watched several of the games and have found them to be quite exciting, and not nearly as bogged down as the NFL is with penalty flags and such. This league needs a little time before all the haters start hating.

Kraft is a dirty bastard. No easy way to say this, but it's true. Patriots owner Robert Kraft (who I despise) got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, so to speak. He's been caught soliciting sex and going to a spa run by hookers (shocking). This is just par for the course for an owner who is as dirty as his franchise. The NFL needs to come down harder on him than they did on Jim Irsay (Colts owner) several years back. Time to send a message to that fool and his team of punks.

In case anyone is wondering, that last bit made was the thing that made me laugh my ass off.

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Fleet win, the Bombers lose. (AAF/CFL)

Week Two of the Alliance of America Football is now in the books, and after being able to watch two more games, I can say it was another exciting week of football! I'm really enjoying the quality of game play and officiating thus far. I'm now going to break down the two AAF games I saw, as well as throw in some CFL news that has caught my attention.

The Fleet win at home. It's nice to see a professional football team back in San Diego, and was even better to see them pick up their first win of the season at home. The Fleet started off a but sluggish, but then picked it up and came out with the victory. There were some hard hits, and great plays, which is starting to become a trademark of the AAF.

Hotshots and Express go down to the wire. The Memphis Express had a big lead going into the second half, and let it all fade away, with the Hotshots coming back to win the game in dramatic fashion. Timely blocks and stops on defence allowed their offence to get back on the field and crank up the score, helping them to win. It was very fun to watch!

Hey Winnipeg, what's the deal? Almost a week into CFL free agency, and my Winnipeg Blue Bombers have done next to nothing. In the first few days, most of the big names were signed by other teams who were quick to make their upgrades for the upcoming season. Yes, Winnipeg did re-sign Adam Bighill ahead of time, but have done next to nothing so far. The Bombers need a franchise quarterback that doesn't tank in the playoffs. Matt Nichols is not that QB.

It's a little frustrating to watch your team do little when other teams do so much in free agency. Need I remind the Bombers that we haven't won a Grey Cup since 1990. Let that sink in.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

CFL free agent frenzy! (CFL)

Damn, that didn't take long at all. One day into CFL free agency, and all hell has broken loose, with some major moves across the league. I'm going to try to go over as many of these story lines as I can right now. From the looks of it, several teams are looking to beef up their rosters immediately, in preparation for training camp.

Mike Reilly! Well, I'm starting with the biggest signing so far, which is Mike Reilly heading back to the BC Lions. Just a few days ago, Reilly was given permission by the Eskimos to start talking to others teams. I personally called this, saying a week ago to my friends that he'd go to BC first and foremost, with the second likely destination being Calgary IF they hadn't re-signed Mitchell. One hell of a good pick up by the Lions right out of the gate.

Trevor Harris goes west. This one actually surprised me, as I really thought that Harris would either stay in Ottawa, or sign with the Toronto Argonauts. Edmonton might end up being a good fit for Harris, providing they get him some additional targets. It's interesting that Ellingson went with him to the Eskimos, and gives said team a boost right away.

Jennings to the RedBlacks. This one was makes sense, as a short time earlier, the RedBlacks lost their starting QB Trevor Harris to the Eskimos. Problem is, Jennings is a very inconsistent QB that can have amazing games, and crap games with equal frequency. I have never been fully sold on Jennings, but hope he can be turned into a legit starting QB in the CFL. Hopefully, Ottawa has a plan.

Lemon goes in for another squeeze. Shawn Lemon is back with the Argos, after bouncing around the league last year. Not a big deal, but still something positive for the Argos, who also need a proper starting QB, and an O-line, and..... well, you get the picture. Here's hoping the Argos do something rather than nothing in free agency, before it's too late.

Winnipeg. Helloooooo? Anyone home in Bomber land? Why haven't we done anything of consequence? Are we forgetting that it's been 28 years since our last Grey Cup? I would have preferred Mike Reilly, but that train has left the station.....

Monday, February 11, 2019

Thoughts on Week 1. (AAF)

Well, Week One in the Alliance of American Football (AAF) has come and gone, and I was able to catch two of the games myself. I was pleasantly surprised at how both games went, and I have some points to make thus far. Tally ho!

Excitement! In the first game (Fleet at Commanders), I witnessed several big hits, a couple of interceptions that got the crowd (and me) roaring, as well as relatively smooth game play that was a lot of fun to watch. There are a lot of good players on these teams, and it was interesting to see Mike Martz coaching again.

Lack of flags. I can count at least four or five plays (of many) that would have been instant flags in the NFL or CFL, but weren't called here. From a hit out of bounds, to a quarterback getting smoked, it was refreshing to see officials that actually let the players play, and not have flags every snap. Also, the 'SkyJudge' reversed a call on the field quickly, whereas in the NFL, the refs would have had a conference that lasted 10 minutes, used a replay, and still managed to screw it up. Kudos to the AAF.

Uniforms. Now that I've seen the majority of uniforms and colours in game action, let me just say that the players look awesome in their new duds. The colour schemes are vibrant, and look great on TV! Every team has a distinctively different look, and it's really neat.

Overall, I think Week One was a huge success. I'll have more for you when Week Two commences! Three cheers for the AAF!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

One week until the Alliance. (AAF)

Everyone is talking about tomorrow night's Super Bowl (of which I won't be watching this time around, but that's for another day's post), with not too many mentioning the start of the new Alliance of American Football, or AAF. Personally, I welcome this new league and it's eight teams. The list of names that are already associated with the AAF is impressive to say the least. They include:

Mike Singletary, head coach of the Memphis Express.
Steve Spurrier, head coach of the Orlando Apollos.
Mike Martz, head coach of the San Diego Fleet.
Troy Polamalu, head of player relations.
Hines Ward, executive.
Jared Allen, Executive.

That's just a smattering of the who's who involved with this fledgling league. I'm looking forward to this, as it seems enough time was taken to think this new league out and give fans the best possible football for us to watch. Everyone knows that February and beyond is a football wasteland until June, when the Canadian Football League starts up.

The only thing we really had to look forward to before was the NFL draft in April.

Let's give the AAF a warm welcome, and watch us some football!