Dan Wetzel

  • Cam Newton's defense of his pouting shows fallacy of culture war debate

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    Cam Newton refused to apologize for his relatively brief and not particularly loquacious media conference following the Carolina Panthers' loss Sunday in Super Bowl 50.

    "Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser," Newton told reporters in Charlotte on Tuesday.

    This was a tremendous answer and not because it propped up one side of the debate surrounding Cam or devastated the other side of the debate surrounding Cam. Instead it did both to both.

    Dislike Cam because he's a pompous, look-at-me modern star lacking grace and class … how about channeling some Vince Lombardi? Is that old-school enough for you?

    Love Cam and believe every bit of criticism thrown his way is based on cultural misunderstanding, mean-spiritedness and the fact the NFL didn't create a safe space for him to deal with the micro (or macro) aggressions Von Miller unleashed on him … no, he acted exactly how he wanted to act. It was genuine. He meant it.

    Few, it seemed, were willing to let him sit in peace. They still won't.

    "I am who I am," Newton said.

  • When Von Miller and the Broncos realized they had broken Cam Newton

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. – On the sixth snap of Cam Newton's Super Bowl, Von Miller charged at him from the edge, hit him face first and promptly ripped the football out of his hands. Just tore it out.

    This was grown man stuff. This was violent, blunt-force defense. This was the best player on the Denver Broncos confronting the best player on the Carolina Panthers, and just taking what he wanted – the ball, the Super Bowl, his football soul for the next few hours.

    "That play did it," Denver linebacker Brandon Marshall said. "That play rattled [Newton]. We got in his head like that. We got in his mind. He hasn't been harassed like that all season."

    You may never see a defensive player dominate a football game like Miller dominated Super Bowl 50 in leading the Broncos to a 24-10 victory. It wasn't just the six tackles, the 2½ sacks and the two forced fumbles that produced Denver's only two touchdowns.

    The NFC South.

    Miller has a pack of wild men around and behind him, ones looking for a clue that their suspicions had been correct.

  • Broncos D shuts down Cam Newton, Denver wins Super Bowl 50

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Across a season where his team won 17 times and he was named the league's Most Valuable Player, Cam Newton appeared invincible.

    Then along came Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Malik Jackson, Wade Phillips and the entire Denver Broncos defense that bruised, battered and eventually beat him in the biggest game of them all.

    Denver 24, Carolina 10 in a defense-delivered upset in Super Bowl 50.

    It was the Broncos' defense, not the Peyton Manning offense that was most responsible for Denver's points. A Miller sack and strip of Newton in the first quarter was recovered in the end zone by Jackson to give Denver a 10-0 lead and set the tone that this was a different level than Carolina had seen.

    The game was capped by another Miller strip of Newton that set the Broncos up on Carolina's 4-yard line. C.J. Anderson scored a few plays later to put it out of reach. Newton was sacked six times, tossed around like rag doll.

    Miller was named Super Bowl 50 MVP.

    In the end, defense won the championship.

     

  • Johnny Manziel's latest and most disturbing incident may leave NFL teams asking, 'Why bother?'

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    The allegations were ugly and troubling. The decision by law enforcement in Texas not to pursue the case was firm yet confusing.

    Did Johnny Manziel repeatedly hit his girlfriend last Friday night, drag her by the hair and hauntingly order her to "shut up or I'll kill us both"? In terms of the legal process we'll never know since Dallas police closed the case detailed in a report viewed by WFAA-TV.

    Whatever remains of Manziel's football future probably hangs in the balance of what private investigators, including the NFL itself, can glean from potential evidence and witnesses that come from the police report  filed by Manziel's ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley. The Cleveland Browns are expected to formally cut Manziel in March at the start of the league's business year, freeing him to sign anywhere that will take him.

    Who is telling the truth?

     

     

     

  • Panthers have 'Super Bowl Shuffle' swagger, but not enough to flaunt in this era

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

     SAN JOSE, Calif. – Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera played for the 1985 Chicago Bears, a team so dominant that during the season they boldly recorded a rap song, "The Super Bowl Shuffle."

    It essentially predicted a championship.

    Rivera didn't appear in the video because it was filmed early on the morning the team returned from a game at Miami, which proved to be the only loss of the season. The linebacker skipped it and slept in. Walter Payton, Richard Dent, Williams "Refrigerator" Perry and others made it though.

    The entire concept is almost unfathomable these days, an era where sports is so uptight and repressed that the Panthers' dancing after touchdowns was/is a major storyline headed into their Super Bowl 50 matchup with the Denver Broncos.

    Even Rivera shakes his head at the concept. He runs an operation that encourages individuals to celebrate their personality, but what would he feel if they did that?

    "Dread," Rivera said.

    [Score great deals for Super Bowl 50 tickets at SeatGeek]

  • Texas takes big step back toward relevance with signing day blitz

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    It’s been six seasons and 35 losses for the Texas Longhorns. There’s been the rise of TCU and Baylor, one-time bottom feeders the Longhorns used to whip so often it wasn’t even that much fun.

    Texas A&M got into the SEC and rode Johnny Manziel to the claim, at least recruiting-wise, that they run the state. Meanwhile Alabama, LSU and others started using that increased SEC footprint to raid the place.

    Infighting, firings, uneasy transitions, an inability to land even local kids … it’s been a stretch of everything UT thought it was above, but wasn’t.

    So forgive the Longhorns for crowing a little bit more than should be allowed on National Signing Day. Charlie Strong, thanks to a late recruiting push Wednesday, landed a very promising group of recruits, ranked 13th nationally per Rivals.com, the kind that UT used to annually draw in.

    A bit of normalcy never felt so good in Austin.

    "It was a great day today and a great finish,” Strong said.

    For now, that is enough.

    How big of a push was this? Rivals.com ranked the Texas class fifth in the state on Monday; by Wednesday it was  No. 1.

  • Broncos' Wade Phillips has hotline to Drake and dialing up rugged defense

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    Malik Jackson was in the Denver Broncos' locker room recently, discussing the rapper/entertainer Drake with his defensive coordinator.

    This was somewhat unexpected since his defensive coordinator is Wade Philips, 68 years old and a veteran of the NFL since 1976, not counting all the years at the knee of his father, Oail Andrew "Bum" Phillips. Drake may not be some underground artist, but still, this is also a guy who recently tweeted out a picture of a Gatlin Brothers Band album.

    "He said, 'I started from the bottom like he did,'" Jackson said, Phillips giving a nod to one of Drake's hits. "For him to say something like that, for him to know what's going on, for him to know a Drake song like that, that's pretty funny."  

    No one may be having more fun here at Super Bowl 50 than Phillips, at least when he isn't trying to figure out how to stop Carolina's Cam Newton, which doesn't seem like a particularly enjoyable task. Everything else is a combination of a late-career soaking-it-all-in and how-do-you-like-me victory dance.

    He grew restless and bored. Retirement wasn't taking.

    So how do you stop him?

     

  • NFL's missing data on air pressure is another black eye in deflate-gate saga

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Roger Goodell sure did get upset when Tom Brady destroyed his cell phone last year during the deflate-gate saga, an implication the quarterback was hiding something.

    The NFL commissioner returned the favor on Tuesday when he announced the league did not keep any of the data on air pressure of footballs that officials were required to log and submit to the league office during the 2015 season.

    Evidence? What evidence?

    [Score great deals for Super Bowl 50 tickets at SeatGeek]

    Now the New England Patriots are no longer able to point to specific, NFL-generated data that proves Ideal Gas Law, not human tampering, caused its footballs to lose air pressure in the 2014 AFC championship game.

    That study was supposed to be the franchise's best chance to introduce new information that might allow the return of the 2016 first- and fourth-round draft picks, plus $1 million, the league docked it for deflate-gate.

    Spot checks?

    That's quite a lot of procedure for a simple "spot check."

    More NFL coverage:

     

  • Peyton Manning soaking up improbable run to Super Bowl as retirement speculation continues

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    SAN JOSE, Calif. – There is mounting evidence that Peyton Manning will retire following Super Bowl 50 Sunday between his Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. There is no evidence that he won't.

    "Maybe I hit the fountain of youth in the next month and I play another 10 years," Manning offered here Monday.

    Well, other than that there is no evidence.

    Teammates say he hasn't revealed anything. His parents grew emotional before the last game believing that would be the end of his 17-season career, although they say Peyton hasn't told them anything. His older brother Cooper says he doesn't know anything for certain either, but he has his suspicions. The NFL Network reported he told some friends this was it, but there are no details.

    So, is he retiring?

    "I'll deal with all that after the season," Manning said.

  • Here's how Downtown Julie Brown changed the Super Bowl

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    Twenty-five years ago a job offer came in for Downtown Julie Brown, the British-born actress and model who had become famous in America for sporting small skirts and big personality each afternoon on the dance show "Club MTV."

    The syndicated television program "Inside Edition" wanted her to cover the Super Bowl between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants. Only the show didn't want her to report on it like the sports pages at the time, but to essentially do the opposite. The focus would be fun and flirtatious, centering on parties and personalities, basically everything going on in Tampa that week except football.

    Today, as the game has exploded into a week of pop culture with a football game in the middle, such coverage is commonplace. In 1991, it was unheard of – the Super Bowl, especially the media coverage of it, was the domain of crusty sportswriters and blazer-clad sports broadcasters.

    "At the time nobody was doing the good-time pieces," Brown told Yahoo Sports this past week. "It was all stats. I was like, 'We know all that. We know they are really good.'

    Then suddenly it wasn't.

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