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Friday, July 29, 2016


Michael Irvin: Wes Welker Is Best Wide Receiver in Football

Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin is the latest NFL analyst to enter the “best receiver in football” debate. Todd Haley and Jason Garrett both have Calvin Johnson at the top of the list, as does Andre Johnson. Rob Ryan ranks Miles Austin and Dez Bryant towards the top. But Michael Irvin? Well the former Cowboys star is going in a different direction.

“If you ask ‘Who is the best receiver in the league?’ I say it’s Wes Welker,” Irvin asserted during a guest spot on Jim Rome Is Burning. “His versatility makes him one of the best. Period. And we don’t want to hear that, because he’s not a 6’4″ 230 pound Andre Johnson, or Brandon Marshall, or Calvin Johnson. He goes inside and he plays outside. Man, I love Wes Welker.”

It’s not just Welker’s spectacular start to the season that impresses Irvin, it’s also his ability to recover from a major knee injury suffered in 2009.

“I had a knee injury that almost ended my career. I went into depression,” Irvin admitted. “I couldn’t come out of that thing. [Welker] snaps right back.”

Welker leads the NFL with 40 catches and 616 receiving yards through four games. He’s blowing away the field in both categories, but Irvin should know better than to fall into this trap.


Kevin Burnett to Reporter: Put on Some Pads, Homeboy

When you play for a team that is underachieving and seeing its playoff hopes quickly fade away only four weeks into the season, it is tough to avoid frustration.  The most recent example of anger boiling over during postgame press conferences has been Michael Vick, who lashed out at the referees last week and and this week became infuriated when a writer asked him what his feelings were on dropping to 1-3.  Kevin Burnett, a linebacker for the 0-4 Dolphins, outdid Vick during during an interview after Sunday’s loss to the Chargers.

As the Miami Herald pointed out via Pro Football Talk, Burnett got verbally aggressive with a reporter who had apparently written something about the struggling Fins that ticked him off.

“I don’t know how you want to talk to me, homeboy” Burnett said to the reporter who is unnamed at the moment. “If you’ve got something to say, come at me like a man, homeboy. Don’t hide behind no computer. Hey, if you want to see if I can tackle, you put on some pads, homeboy. Don’t get mad. Why you’re going to criticize the team in your own hometown, boy? You’re supposed to support the home team.”


David Beckham Gets in Opposing Coach’s Face After Galaxy Win (Video)

David Beckham got into it with the Real Salt Lake coach following the Galaxy’s 2-1 win on Saturday. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Becks was upset that Real coach Jason Kreis had yelled at the referee. The ref handed out six yellow cards, four of which went against Salt Lake.

“Apparently [Beckham] thinks he’s the only one who can yell at referees,” Kreis said. “He wanted to continue [the discussion] after the game.”

Here is a video of the incident:

I honestly didn’t know Beckham had that in him. That’s not something I expected to see from the Easter bunny.

Chest bump to Sports Grid for the story.

Dirk Nowitzki Tells Tony Romo to Ignore His Critics and Keep Working

As I sat and watched the Cowboys dismantle the Lions on Sunday, a few different thoughts ran through my head.  Among them were “last week’s win has given the Cowboys their swagger back,” and, “Detroit could be in the process of proving it is a pretender.”  By the time the clock ran down to 0:00 in the fourth quarter, order had been restored in the football world.

The Lions proved they are still a playoff contender; Calvin Johnson further solidifed his standing as the best wide receiver in the NFL; Matthew Stafford showed he can lead a team back from a huge deficit; the Lions defense proved it can get stops when needed; and Tony Romo reminded us that there is no quarterback in the NFL who is better at throwing away a game.

Romo may have thrown three interceptions and two pick-sixes in the second half to personally secure a Lions victory, but at least he has Dirk Nowitzki to pick him up if he’s feeling down. The reigning NBA Finals MVP sent this comforting message to Romo Monday:


Yankees Beer Man Steve Lazarus Suspended for Joking with Red Sox Player

Yankees beer vendor Steve Lazarus is part of “the help,” and the team wants to remind him that a man in his role should not be consorting with the players. Lazarus was suspended for both playoff games the Yankees hosted this weekend after joking with an opposing player last weekend.

Lazarus told the New York Post he was hanging out with co-workers in between Sunday’s doubleheader when they heard the sound of cleats nearby. Lazarus noticed it was Red Sox reliever Alfredo Aceves, and decided to mess with him.

He walked over and playfully called out, “Hey, you got ID?”

Without missing a beat, Aceves grabbed his crotch and shot back, “I got your ID right here.”

Seems like a pretty harmless exchange, right? Apparently the Yankees brass didn’t think so. Lazarus was suspended the first two games of the ALDS for “harassing” an opposing team’s player.

I can understand why teams would not want its employees to distract or bother opposing players, but context is important when deciding punishments. Because Aceves took it well, and because Lazarus was just joking, he should have been gently reminded that the Yankees would prefer if he didn’t interact with opposing players. Come on Yankees, you’re better than that.

Forearm bash to NESN

Dan Reeves: Tim Tebow is ‘Closest Thing to Roger Staubach I’ve Seen’

Tim Tebow’s desire to be the best at what he does is no secret. Whether you believe he deserves to be the Broncos starting quarterback, and bought a billboard to prove it, we can all agree Tebow has a tremendous work ethic.  Whether the Broncos would be better off with Tebow starting instead of Kyle Orton is a seperate argument. This particular discussion is intended to examine whether or not Tebow should be compared to Roger Staubach.

You may know Staubach as the two-time Super Bowl winning, Hall of Fame quarterback that was selected to six Pro Bowls during his tenure with the Cowboys in the 1970s.  Tebow, on the other hand, is a man many consider to be the second coming of Christ, who has been as low as third on the depth chart this season. That didn’t stop former Broncos coach Dan Reeves from drawing a strong comparison between the two.

According to The Denver Post, Reeves recently called Tebow “the closest thing to Roger (Staubach) I’ve seen in a quarterback.”  Reeves reportedly said that Staubach “didn’t want to get beaten by anyone” which is exactly the “type of winner” Tebow is.  Based on that logic, I guess it’s safe to say half the guys in the NFL can be compared to the Cowboys legend.


Navy Comeback Wiped Out by Unsportsmanlike Penalty, Was it Fair?

More often than football fans would like, exhuberance is often mistaken for unsportsmanlike behavior. Egregious celebrations aside, players should have a little wiggle room to be excited. The good news is that they usually get it. Unfortunately that was not the case for Navy quarterback Kriss Proctor. The great fourth quarter comeback by the Midshipmen was all for naught when Proctor was flagged for an unsportsmanlike penalty after scoring in overtime Saturday against Air Force.

The overtime touchdown was Navy’s first lead against Air Force. Football is a game of yards, and the 15 yards that came with the flag turned out to be very costly. After being pushed back on their extra-point attempt, Navy missed the kick and their lead stood at six points. Air Force subsequently scored and kicked the PAT to win the game. After coming back from 18 points and taking the lead, this was a rip-your-heart-out kind of penalty.

But should Proctor have been penalized?  On replay, Proctor emerged from the pile and slighty shoved a Falcon player (I say “slightly” because the man barely even registered the contact) as he made his way to the other side of the pile.  Then, he pushed another Falcon who was still standing over the pile, presumably to get him out of the way so his teammates could get up.   We’re talking about a man full of glee and adrenaline and testosterone.  Still, nothing Proctor did seemed that flagrant, especially if you consider the circumstances.

Back judge David Vaughan, who threw the flag, probably missed the Steelers/Ravens game because there were at least a half dozen altercations that looked much worse than Proctor’s penalty. The call was sort of like getting ticketed for speeding at 70 on the freeway.

Although the place-kicker should have made what was basically a chip shot FG, plays ought to be analyzed on their own, not what comes afterward. In this case, neither Vaughan, nor Proctor should be tongue-whipped. Instead, let’s ask ourselves why referees, especially the college variety, don’t start giving a little more space between bad sportsmanship and joy? It’s not like Proctor jumped up just to get into it with an Air Force defender.

High School Girl Crowned Homecoming Queen, Kicks Winning Field Goal in Same Night

If Hollywood pooled its top writers together, they couldn’t have put together a better script than this. High school senior Brianna Amat kicked the winning field goal for Pinckney High in Michigan Friday night, the same night she learned she had won homecoming queen.

Amat is a star player on the school’s soccer team, and she began kicking for the football team after telling her soccer coach that she wanted to kick for the football team as well. She’s made four field goals and seven extra points on the year, but none were bigger than the one she made Friday night.

Amat nailed a career-best 31-yard field goal in the third quarter against Grand Blanc to make it 9-7. Her field goal wound up being the winning kick as Pinckney knocked off the No. 7 team in the state. But the story doesn’t end there.

Before kicking the winning field goal, Amat was called out of the team’s locker room during halftime. To her surprise, she was crowned homecoming queen during the game.

It’s a story you can watch in the video above, or probably in a movie theater in a few years. Amat should also be reminded that her career doesn’t have to end after high school; some colleges are willing to try out female kickers. If Amat can improve on her distance, she could take her “kicking queen” act to the next level. If she does, we know she’ll be a hit.

Eagles Reporter Howard Eskin Said He’d Bike to San Francisco if 49ers beat Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles sideline reporter Howard Eskin was so confident the Eagles would beat the 49ers Sunday, he told a San Francisco radio station he’d bike cross country if the team lost.

Appearing with Gary Radnich and Larry Krueger on KNBR Friday, Eskin declared the Eagles a “stone-cold mortal lock.”

“I will tell you right now, there is no chance the 49ers will win. Zero,” he stated. “I’ll take a bike from Philadelphia to San Francisco [if the 49ers beat the Eagles].

“There’s no way the Eagles go 1-3. None. Absolutely none.”

Naturally, the Eagles proceeded to blow a 23-3 3rd quarter lead, missing two field goals and fumbling on their final drive to lose 24-23. The self-proclaimed “Dream Team” is now 1-3.

Eskin, you may recall, is the same person who reported that Michael Vick would be out 2-4 weeks after injuring his hand last week. Vick didn’t miss any games. Eskin also said in July that the Eagles would be interested in Brett Favre as a backup once Kevin Kolb was traded. They signed Vince Young instead.

We’ll consider this strike three for Eskin, who apparently learned nothing from the failures of LA radio host John Ireland. You can listen to Eskin’s radio guarantee in the audio clip below. Thanks to Injury Rate for the tip.


UPDATE: As Off the Bench pointed out to us, Eskin’s son wrote a blog post demanding that his father honor the bet. Let’s hope he does.

Jim Schwartz Jabs Rob Ryan After Calvin Johnson Burns Cowboys

While most people recognize the greatness of Calvin Johnson, the Lions receiver still has his detractors. In January, it was Al Davis saying Calvin is nothing special. In August, it was Cris Carter declaring that Calvin was not elite. And despite Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett saying last week that the Lions receiver could be the best player in the NFL, Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan refused to praise the man known as Megatron.

In the week leading up to the Cowboys-Lions game that saw Detroit come out on top, the brash Ryan said that although Johnson is excellent, he’s not as good as Cowboys receivers Miles Austin or Dez Bryant.

Few people will deny the talent and ability of Austin and Bryant, but to say Calvin is not at their level is a joke. Megatron proved it on Sunday.

The Lions phenom caught two touchdown passes from Matthew Stafford, including one where he was surrounded by three defenders, and another where he skied a few feet off the ground in isolation. His touchdown catches were part of Detroit’s 24-point comeback win, and they served as a nice statement in the face of Ryan who dared to say he was below Dallas’ receivers.

Following the win, Lions coach Jim Schwartz took a subtle jab at Ryan. “I’m glad the third best wide reciever on the Cowboys is on our team,” he said.

Very well put, sir. That’s all that needed to be said. Calvin now has set an NFL record with two touchdowns in four straight games giving him eight on the year. He is by most accounts the best wide receiver in football.

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