Thu May 23 01:49am EDT
Before you laugh at the defense of Tim Tebow, NFL Quarterback, that you are about to read, there are a few things you should remember about its author, the one and only Chuck Norris:
Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.
Brett Favre can throw a football over 50 yards. Chuck Norris can throw Brett Favre even further.
These things, of course, are all true. Now, as to Chuck Norris' defense of Mr. Tebow, which Mr. Norris wrote on a site called WND.com (which also counts Ann Coulter and Ted Nugent among its contributors). The martial-arts expert and well-known action hero truly believes that the NFL doesn't know what it's doing when it rejects Tebow as a star quarterback.
"America has the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships) and the UCP (Ultimate Clutch Players)," Norris writes. "One is mixed martial artists, and the other is quarterbacks of the NFL. They all are athletic warriors who are extremely determined to win.
"My favorite in the UFC is Georges St. Pierre. My favorite UCP in the NFL is Tim Tebow."
Norris goes on and on, quite rhapsodically:
I have been following Tim since he became a quarterback for the Florida Gators, and I have never seen a more determined and inspiring athlete play the game of football. And I’m not alone in that sports assessment.
Norris then goes on to quote Akbar Gbajabiamila, Michael Strahan, and Forbes Magazine in his assertion that " Tebow is a player who rises to the occasion and delivers big in critical game moments."
Norris then insists that the Jacksonville Jaguars are the right home for Tebow.
Why? To put it simply, because Tim could help turn the mediocre team into a championship one. Tebow works miracles on the field, and his inclusion would embolden the spirit of the Jaguars among the team and fans.
Wed May 22 08:00pm EDT
In his 13-year career, Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher established himself as one of the greatest NFL players of the new millennium. And when he officially retired on Wednesday, it got people thinking about his legacy. A Super Bowl appearance, 180 regular-season starts, 41.5 sacks, 22 interceptions, 1,052 solo tackles, eight Pro Bowls, four First-Team All-Pro nominations, and his status as one of the few players to rack up the AP's Defensive Rookie of the Year (2000) and Defensive Player of the Year (2005) awards all will likely lead Urlacher to the Pro Football Hall of Fame sooner than later.
That said -- and this happens to every great player -- there are those moments one would rather forget. When Urlacher called into the Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday morning, Patrick went through many of Urlacher's great moments, and then got him to remember one of the goofier plays of the 2006 season -- which may have been Urlacher's best.
When Patrick asked Urlacher, "Who was the quarterback or running back you didn't get, and you really wanted to?" it didn't take Urlacher long to remember one particularly embarrassing play against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. It was Week 12 of the 2006 season, and Brady -- who will hardly go down as the most mobile quarterback of all time -- managed to elude Urlacher in the open field on a fourth-quarter scramble. As you can see in the video above, it was an atypical play for several reasons.
"Brady always kicked our butts -- I don't think we ever beat [New England] when Tom Brady was the starting quarterback," Urlacher remembered. "He juked me out of my shoes in 2006."
As Patrick said, "Every white guy who couldn't move loved that play, because it was Brady who was doing it."
"Man, he really got me, and he's one of the best of all time," Urlacher concluded. "There were just some guys I had a hard time with."
Not too many, but Urlacher also remembered his first experience against Minnesota Vikings superstar back Adrian Peterson, which did not go well at all for the veteran linebacker. It was Week 5 of the 2007 season, and Urlacher said something that got up Peterson's nose. He soon found out that it was a bad place to be.
Wed May 22 02:29pm EDT
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree suffered a torn Achilles during the team's OTA practice on Tuesday and could miss the entire 2013 season, Mike Garafolo of USA Today reports.
The severity of the tear (complete or partial tear) is currently unknown and should be the determining factor for how much time Crabtree will miss. As noted by Garafolo, two players — Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Da'Quan Bowers — returned to the playing field in 2012 after suffering Achilles injuries during the OTAs. Lindsay Jones of USA Today notes that, in 2011, Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas returned to action seven months after tearing his Achilles.
However, losing Crabtree for even part of the season would be a major blow to the 49ers as the 2009 first-round pick out of Texas Tech is coming off a breakout season. Crabtree established career-highs with 85 receptions for 1,105 yards with nine touchdowns and his involvement in the 49ers' offense increased with the insertion of Colin Kaepernick at quarterback.
Over the final seven starts, Crabtree was targeted on 10 or more passes four times as he caught 41 passes for 595 yards with five touchdowns during that stretch. Crabtree was targeted by Kaepernick on 28 passes in the 49ers' three playoff games, resulting in 20 completions for 285 yards and three touchdowns.
[Fantasy: Fallout of 49ers losing Michael Crabtree]
Wed May 22 01:57pm EDT
New York Jets second-round quarterback Geno Smith has decided on a new agent, telling reporters that on Wednesday that he will sign with "Roc Nation", the sports representation agency owned by rapper Jay-Z.
Smith parted ways with his original agents, Jeff Nalley and Erik Burkhardt of the Houston-based Select Sports Group, after falling out of the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.
"When you talk about being in New York, from the standpoint of what they can do in the city, I think it's a good move," Smith said, via Connor Orr of The Star-Ledger.
According to the NFLPA agent database, the only certified contract advisor employed by Roc Nation is Kimberly Miale, a associate and civil litigator at the Boston-based law firm of Tucker, Heifetz & Saltzman. Miale has not negotiated an active NFL contract, but the 2011 collective bargaining agreement has removed much of the negotiations from the rookie signing process.
As the No. 39 overall pick in the draft, Smith will sign a four-year contract worth around $5 million with nearly $3 million guaranteed. Smith will earn $405,000 in base salary this season, will receive a signing bonus of $2,030,620 and will earn $600,000 in fully guaranteed base salary in 2014.
Parting ways with a highly experienced NFL agency for an upstart group owned by one of the most successful hip-hop artists of all time has led some to question whether or not the rookie was choosing style over substance. Smith disagrees with that assessment.
Wed May 22 12:34pm EDT
You've gotta feel for Joe Namath. The dude remains the absolute unquestioned high point of the Jets franchise, and he's stuck watching a team with its head so far up its own backfield that it's turning in a circle. What do you do if you're Joe? Gripe and moan about the state of the franchise and come off as a bitter once-was, or try — really, really TRY — to find something positive, even when you're flying in the face of reality?
Namath, to his credit, is taking the latter route. Speaking to a local coterie of football fans, Namath went all-in on supporting incumbent quarterback Mark Sanchez. “I know that Sanchez is going to play better,” he said. “He went through some major distractions last year. No matter how much you say, ‘It doesn’t bother me, that’s not a focus-breaker,’ bull. I promise you you’ll see a different guy this year."
And by "different guy," Namath means a different Sanchez, not an entirely different quarterback, though he allowed that's not completely off the table. "Even if he’s not with the Jets, he’s going to play as long as he wants to," Namath said. "He’s that good. He’ll get another job. As long as he stays healthy, he’s going to stay in the NFL."
Wait, Sanchez writing his own ticket? Really? Sure, the only time Sanchez doesn't make a bad move in the pocket is when he makes a worse one, but we'll give Namath credit for knowing more about quarterbacking than the rest of us.
Of course, even the all-knowing Broadway Joe can't figure the Jets' thinking behind drafting Geno Smith. Namath can't figure why the Jets would pick up yet another quarterback, but noted that Smith is a "sensational athlete" despite being "a little lean."
Bottom line: Namath managed the trick of supporting Sanchez while still leaving himself scrambling room to support Smith should the rookie, or someone else, win the starting quarterback slot. That's why Joe's the best, kids ... you can't lay a hand on him.
-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-
Wed May 22 11:25am EDT
New York Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck has gone through two frustrating regular seasons in 2011 and 2012, amassing a total of 9.0 quarterback sacks after putting up 11.5 in his All-Pro season of 2010. Tuck did play the game of his life in the Giants' Super Bowl XLVI win over the New England Patriots at the end of the 2011 season, but more is expected of a man in the last year of a five-year, $30 million contract extension he signed in 2008. Giants general manager Jerry Reese recently said he had a conversation with Tuck about underperforming, and hoped that Tuck could "get back to his old form."
Tuck's held himself accountable about the whole thing, and to that end, he's found an unconventional way to try and get back on track. In March, he looked up well-known performance coach Tony Robbins, the best-selling author and successful motivational speaker who's perhaps best-known for his tactic of having people walk over hot coals to find a new level of potential.
"I realize I haven’t played my best the last two years," Tuck told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York. "Whether it be injuries or the circumstances surrounding this team. Who knows? I knew it was time for me to try something different. I've had people telling me to get my butt to Robbins for two to three years now. I finally said if I am going to be dedicated to my craft and to being the best that I can be, then this has to happen."
So, Tuck and his wife, Lauran, attended one of Robbins' "Feel the Power Within!" weekend seminars, and Robbins gave Tuck some advice about some things that may have been holding him back. Living up to the reputation of Michael Strahan as the Giants' main man on the defensive line is no small task, and if you don't approach it the right way, failure can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Robbins has worked with other notable athletes -- everyone from Wayne Gretsky to Serena Williams -- so he understands the surprising fragility of the athletic temperament.
Robbins to Youngmisuk:
"He’s a really responsible guy. He is not the kind of guy to swat that off. He feels it. He feels like he is responsible to carry things to some extent. So he fails and he’s down in that state of frustration and failure and then not feeling appreciated for what he doesn’t do. And all that gets in the way of just doing your job!"
Wed May 22 11:23am EDT
Former Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher announced his retirement from the NFL after 13 seasons.
"After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire," Urlacher said in a statement posted Wednesday on Twitter. "Although I could continue playing, I'm not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that's up to my standards. When considering this, along with the fact that I could retire after 13 year career wearing only one jersey for such a storied franchise, my decision became pretty clear.
"I want to thank all of the people in my life that have helped me along the way. I will miss my teammates, my coaches, and the great Bears fans. I'm proud to say that I gave all of you everything I had every time I took the field. I will miss this great game, but I leave it with no regrets."
Urlacher, who turns 35 on Saturday, was the ninth overall pick of the 2000 draft. During his 13 seasons with the Bears, Urlacher was credited with over 1,300 tackles, 41.5 sacks and 22 interceptions, including two that he returned for touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 258-pound Urlacher was named to eight Pro Bowls, which is the third-most in Bears history, trailing only Mike Singletary (10) and Walter Payton (nine). Urlacher was a five-time All-Pro and was voted the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.
"I'd been thinking about it for a long time," Urlacher said of his retirement during an appearance on the "Dan Patrick Show" on Wednesday morning. "I gave it a couple months to make sure I wasn't going to change my mind, but it wasn't really that hard a decision."
Injuries had begun to creep up on Urlacher in recent seasons. In 2009, a wrist injury ended his season after just one game and a serious knee injury in the 2011 regular-season finale caused Urlacher to miss most of last season's training camp. Urlacher missed the final four games of the 2012 season with a hamstring injury.
Tue May 21 10:10pm EDT
Free-agent defensive back Charles Woodson is returning to the Oakland Raiders as Jay Glazer of FOXSports.com reports that the 36-year-old has agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the team that selected him with the fourth overall pick of the 1998 draft.
Woodson, who won the 1997 Heisman Trophy while at the University of Michigan, was the 1998 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and was named to four Pro Bowls during his eight-year stint with the Raiders. Woodson joined the Green Bay Packers in 2006 and in seven seasons twice led the NFL in interceptions (2009, 2011). Woodson was named to four Pro Bowl squads and earned Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2009 before he moved to safety during a 2012 season where he would miss nine games with a broken clavicle.
Tue May 21 08:45pm EDT
Recently, you may have heard that the Internal Revenue Service came under some considerable fire for targeting certain groups seeking tax-exempt status while green-lighting others (such as one run by the brother of President Obama), but did you know that the National Football league, an organization that currently rakes in about $10 billion per year in revenue, is also a non-profit organization in the eyes of the government? While you're trying to figure that one out, we've got another one for you. Did you know that the league has been a non-profit organization since 1966, when the NFL merged with the American Football League, and then-commissioner Pete Rozelle folded in the request for an exemption with the request for an anti-trust exemption?
Yes, it's all true. Technically, the NFL is a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization. That part of the Internal Revenue Code "provides for the exemption of business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade and professional football leagues, which are not organized for profit and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual."
It's an interesting wrinkle, because while the NFL's member teams essentially act as a group of individual entities with an overarching partnership governed by the league, the league itself has not always argued so when it was against its benefit. In the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission vs. National Football League et al dispute argued in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1983, the league argued that it was a single entity, thus exempting it from certain antitrust statutes. The Coliseum Commission (and the Raiders franchise on whose behalf the Commission was responding) said that the league was instead a group of legal entities that act independently. The Court agreed with the Commission and the Raiders, finding that Rozelle had acted in bad faith in Al Davis' attempted move out of Oakland.
When Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens ruled against the NFL in the American Needle case in 2010, he more specifically outlined how NFL teams actually operate in practice, as opposed to pure theory.
NFL teams do not possess either the unitary decision-making quality or the single aggregation of economic power characteristic of independent action. Each of them is a substantial, independently owned, independently managed business, whose "general corporate actions are guided or determined" by "separate corporate consciousnesses," and whose "objectives are" not "common." Copperweld, 467 U. S., at 771. They compete with one another, not only on the playing field, but to attract fans, for gate receipts, and for contracts with managerial and playing personnel ...
[...] The fact that the NFL teams share an interest in making the entire league successful and profitable, and that they must cooperate to produce games, provides a perfectly sensible justification for making a host of collective decisions. Because some of these restraints on competition are necessary to produce the NFL's product, the Rule of Reason generally should apply, and teams' cooperation is likely to be permissible. And depending upon the activity in question, the Rule of Reason can at times be applied without detailed analysis. But the activity at issue in this case is still concerted activity covered for [the ruling's] purposes.
While member teams obviously operate for profit, the interesting wrinkle here is that the league itself claims not to. And one way to avoid profitability is to pay your current and former executives up the wazoo, which the NFL has done.
Tue May 21 03:37pm EDT
NFL owners voted on Tuesday to award Super Bowl L to the San Francisco/Bay Area and Super Bowl LI to Houston, Texas.
The Bay Area last hosted a Super Bowl in 1985 and was considered the heavy favorite to receive the historic 50th Super Bowl as construction is well underway on a new $1.2 billion stadium in Santa Clara, 44 miles south of San Francisco. NFL owners had to decide between the Bay Area bid and one from Miami, which has played host to ten Super Bowls.
The bid from the Miami group was considered a long shot for Super Bowl L after the Florida state Legislature failed to vote on a bill that would have provided funding for much-needed renovations to Sun Life Stadium. As the losing bid on Super Bowl L, Miami also bid for Super Bowl LI, but the same stadium issues that doomed the bid for Super Bowl L sunk their hopes of beating out Houston for Super Bowl LI.
Houston has hosted two Super Bowls previously, the most recent being Super Bowl XXXVIII between the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots in 2004.
"Congratulations to San Francisco and Houston on Super Bowl L and LI," Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said in a statement released by the team. "However, we don't think there's a better place in the country to host Super Bowl than right here in South Florida. I am grateful for the hard work and creative energy that the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee showed in their bid.
"Today’s decision doesn’t dampen our enthusiasm to pursue Super Bowls in the future, since we are steadfast in our belief that those games are good for the South Florida community."
Both San Francisco and Houston were awarded Super Bowls on the first ballot, which means their bids received a "super majority", i.e. 24 of the 32 votes, over the competing bid from Miami. If a new stadium does not materialize in South Florida, or if major improvements are not made to Sun Life Stadium, it might be very long time before the Super Bowl returns to the Miami area.
Posted Jul 2 2012
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Posted Jun 21 2012