Andrew Luck Reportedly Currently Leaning Towards Returning to Stanford, Not Draft

Andrew Luck is the consensus top NFL quarterback prospect in college football. The redshirt sophomore is expected to be the top overall pick in the draft if he elects to come out. Much like Matt Leinart in 2004, people expect the man who has led Stanford to an 11-1 season and Orange Bowl berth will come out of school. But what if he pulls a Leinart and returns? That scenario has been considered far less often, but it’s one proposed by Charlotte Observer columnist Scott Fowler.

In a blog post relayed by Pat Yasinskas, Fowler quotes a source who says Luck is currently leaning towards returning to school for his junior season. According to Fowler, “The source said he ‘knew’ Luck was leaning toward staying at this moment.”

“A lot can happen between now and Jan.15th,” said the source, referring to the date underclassmen must declare themselves eligible. “There will be a lot of conversations still to come. And whenever he goes pro, he will be a fantastic NFL quarterback. But this is a kid who truly enjoys college.”

A kid who truly enjoys college. Where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, Matt Leinart. I don’t know how accurate Fowler’s source is, and we don’t even know whether Luck’s current mindset matters, but the point is valid. Though many people are talking about which team will get Luck, there is no certainty that he even comes out. Remember, Luck is only a redshirt sophomore; he has two years of eligibility left and is no sure thing to leave school.

Rams-Seahawks Flexed to Primetime, Features Little Intrigue

They did it to us. We said they might, but hoped they wouldn’t — they did. For anyone intrested in watching two terrible teams this Sunday night, the NFC West-leading St. Louis Rams (7-8) will take on the second place Seattle Seahawks (6-9) for the division title and the four seed in the NFC playoffs.

The NFL had 16 games to choose from for the primetime slot, and while this game is the only one that will decide a division, it’s not the only one with playoff implications. The difference is the other obvious options — the Giants at the Redskins and the Bears at the Packers — each involve at least one team better than either of the teams playing Sunday night. Honestly, the only game on Sunday that doesn’t fit that criteria is the other NFC West game between Arizona and San Francisco.

Presumably, the NFL wanted to keep both the Packers and Giants at 4:15 EST in order to sustain some drama. If they moved the Packers to Sunday night, and the Giants and Buccaneers lost earlier in the day, the night game would feature two teams that had nothing to play for. This way, the Giants and Packers will be playing simultaneously, with the last Wild-Card spot on-the-line.

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Passer Ratings of 100.0 Skyrocketing in NFL

There are currently four NFL quarterbacks with a passer rating of over 100.0 —  Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers and Michael Vick. Passer rating is calculated using pass attempts, completions, passing yards, touchdowns and interceptions. Since the inception of the NFL, a quarterback has finished a season with rating of at least 100 just 51 times, a feat accomplished by only 35 different quarterbacks including the four listed above from this season.

In the NFL’s first 80 seasons, the mark was reached 26 times. Hall of Fame signal callers Otto Graham and Sid Luckman each had a passer rating of 100.0 or better once in the 1940s. No quarterback hit the mark in the ’50s. In the ’60s, four quarterbacks did it, including Bart Starr and Len Dawson — both during the 1966 season. Roger Staubach and Ken Stabler were two of the three to do it in the ’70s. The 100 mark was reached four times in the ’80s — once by Dan Marino and three times by some guy named Joe Montana. The heir to Montana’s throne in San Francisco, Steve Young, accounted for half of the ’90s total with six, the record for most such seasons by one quarterback.

Then came the new millennium. From 2000-2009, 17 different quarterbacks finished a season with a passer rating of 100.0 or greater 21 times. Five did it last year, including Brett Favre for the first and only time in his career. That’s 25 times since Y2K including this season, or one less than the total from the previous 80 years of professional football combined.

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Texans Defensive Coordinator Frank Bush Out Until 2am Before Loss, Does it Matter?

The Houston Texans began the 2010 season with high expectations. For the first time in the history of their young franchise, Texans fans were thinking playoffs. They began the year with a huge win over the Colts and featured an offense that looked as explosive as any in the league. Following their week seven bye, things went south in a hurry.

While most teams use the bye week to get healthy and regroup, the Texans found a way to crash and burn. Since the bye, Houston has lost eight out of nine games. For obvious reasons, head coach Gary Kubiak is on the hot seat. Houston fans and media are calling for his head, as they should be.

One such writer is Sean Pendergast of the Houston Press. In his Tuesday article, Pendergast raises a series of questions that he would like to ask Kubiak as a close follower of the Texans meltdown. One question that stuck out to us is whether or not a coaching staff should have to follow the same curfew rules the players are asked to abide by.  Good question, huh?

Pendergast said he was out at a local watering hole in Denver the night before the Texans took on the Broncos, and Houston defensive coordinator Frank Bush was out socializing with friends until about 2:00 a.m. He stressed that Bush didn’t appear to be intoxicated or doing anything wrong, but wouldn’t you think the defensive coordinator of the worst defense in the NFL would have better things to do the night before a game? Study a playbook, watch some film, get some rest — anything.

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Brett Favre Fined for Jenn Sterger Texts, Not Suspended

Thanks to Roger Goodell, Brett Favre can have his rah-rah exit from football on his own terms. If he decides to not pull a Brett Favre and fake retirement once again, we fully expect Sunday’s game against the Lions to be Favre’s last in the NFL.  You think the NFL would suspend him for such an event?  Not a chance.

According to Pro Football Talk, multiple reports indicate that Favre will be fined $50,000 or less for sexually harassing Jenn Sterger via text message while they both worked for the New York Jets.  If it were any other player in any other situation, they likely would have been suspended.

For whatever reason, the NFL loves Favre.  I can understand the media’s obsession in that he’s a constant dramatic production, but if I were Goodell I’d be sick of Favre making a mockery of retirement.  Clearly, Goodell has yet to grow tired of it and wants him to have his moment of glory before stepping away from the game.

Fortunately for Leslie Frazier, the Vikings aren’t in the hunt for the playoffs.  Otherwise, the interim coach would be faced with a major decision on who to start Sunday against the Lions.  Assuming Favre will be medically cleared to play, Frazier will obviously want him to be able to start his final game in the NFL.  However, Joe Webb looked like a seasoned veteran in a win over the Eagles on Tuesday night, so if the situation were any less unique he would be the obvious choice to start.  Stay tuned.

LBS NFL Power Rankings Week 17

1. New England Patriots (13-2, –)

Securing home-field advantage was obviously very important to the Patriots, as they looked as good as they have all year against the Bills. They forced seven turnovers and committed none and have become historically efficient at protecting the football.

2. Atlanta Falcons (12-3, –)

The Falcons stumbled against the Saints, but New Orleans is one of the best teams in the NFC and Atlanta can still secure a No. 1 seed with a win over the lowly Panthers. Matty Ice finally showed he’s human — especially in the Georgia Dome — when he couldn’t bring the troops back with about 4:00 remaining.

3. New Orleans Saints (11-4, –)

If the Saints’ defense can play like they did against the Falcons on the road, the defending champs could be headed back to the championship. Drew Brees overcame two interceptions to lead his team to a comeback win. No one should be itching to play New Orleans in the playoffs.

4. Baltimore Ravens (11-4, –)

Joe Flacco is going to have to play better in the postseason, but Baltimore’s defense got it done on the road against a tough Browns team. Ed Reed’s two interceptions were the difference in the game, and having him back and healthy is huge for the team heading forward.

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AFC and NFC Pro Bowl Roster Snubs: Aaron Rodgers, Matt Cassel and More

The 2011 Pro Bowl rosters were released Tuesday and there were some players left off the team that deserve a spot. Overall, the voters (a combination of fans, coaches, and players) did a pretty good job identifying the players who deserve to be on the roster. But of course there were some head-scratching selections, and a few close calls that we would like to address.

We realize that half the players will pull out of the game because of injury, lack of desire, or because they’re in the Super Bowl, but we still need to do this so people understand who really deserves to be in the game. Without further ado …

AFC QB: Matt Cassel over Peyton Manning. I’m not saying Peyton shouldn’t be there as an alternate, but the reality is he hasn’t had a great season and Cassel has outplayed him. Peyton’s 17 interceptions are my biggest issue while Cassel only has thrown five.

NFC QB: Aaron Rodgers over Matt Ryan. Ryan has enjoyed a strong season and has led Atlanta to the top record in the NFC, but Rodgers has been slightly better and more directly responsible for his team’s success than Ryan. Rodgers has done it all this year without a running game. Actually, he has been Green Bay’s running game.

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