Peyton Manning Takes Subtle Shot at Brett Favre, Brad Childress

The huge debate that arose this week came after the Colts pulled their top starters in the middle of the third quarter against the Jets. The team was up 15-10 at the time and wound up losing 29-15, ending their unbeaten season. Indy is now 14-1 and coach Jim Caldwell and president Bill Polian are getting plenty of heat for their decision to protect their players. Peyton Manning was seen with a disappointed look on his face on the sidelines and admitted as much after the game. He even got in a subtle shot at Brett Favre and Brad Childress when asked about being pulled:

“I was not surprised,” Manning said. “I knew potentially that was part of the plan. There was not a head coach-quarterback argument of any sort. I’m on the same page as coach Caldwell. I was told before the game to be flexible and go out and score as many points as we could. I’m disappointed we didn’t score more.”

It’s hard to understand how that comment was a shot at the Vikings just by reading it; you had to see Manning’s face to see the grin he had on his face to know he was taking a jab at Favre and Childress. If you saw him, you would have recognized that he put emphasis on the head coach-quarterback argument part. Now that the Colts have lost and their perfect season is over, the questioning has come. I weighed in on the debate for The League panel at the Washington Post. Check it out here to read where I came out on the issue.

Andy Reid Slaps Referee on the Butt Prior to Official Review

Eagles coach Andy Reid sure has been showing his playful side on the sidelines the past few weeks. Two weeks ago, Reid chest bumped with DeSean Jackson following a touchdown for the second time in the season. Last week against the 49ers, Reid gave an opposing player a shoulder shrug. This week, he was busy slapping one of the refs on the butt prior to an official review as a way of saying “Give us a good one!” Check out the screen caps:

andy-reid-ass-slap andy-reid-ass-slap2

So Chad Ochocinco gets fined thousands for trying to slip a ref a dollar bill as a joke and Andy Reid slaps one on the butt to try and get a good call. It worked out for Reid considering the review gave Jeremy Maclin a catch on what turned out to be the game-winning drive for Philly. That throw was one of the best passes Donovan McNabb made in the entire game — it was a laser beam down the left sidelines for Maclin who made a diving catch while falling out of bounds. At 11-4, the Eagles are looking strong but their work is not done considering they play the Cowboys in week 17 with home field advantage in the playoffs on the line. Their six game winning streak should give them plenty of confidence heading into the clash in Arlington.

Bears Fans Buy Billboard Asking for New Coaching Staff, Front Office

Purchasing billboards seems to be emerging as a popular way for fans to express their opinions about their team. Not long ago, we saw a group of Notre Dame backers slam Charlie Weis who later wound up being fired by the university. More recently, a Raiders fan took out a loan to purchase a billboard ad urging Al Davis to hire a general manager. Right, as if that’s going to fix all the problems in Oakland. Still, it is a fan’s right to express their opinion in this manner, and Bears Fans United are certainly taking advantage of the opportunity. Here’s the billboard:


In Arlington Heights, a group called “Bears Fans United” has put up a billboard with a message to the McCaskey family. “Do the right thing. Hire an entirely new coaching staff and general manager.” It’s signed from Chicago Bears fans.

The group plans to place a similar advertisement in the newspaper, but only if they can raise enough money. So far, the group has raised $3500 and the billboard cost $3,000.

General manager Jerry Angelo’s inability to hit on first round picks has long been an area of contention for Bears fans so I’m sure many would be fine with Angelo getting canned. His two biggest offseason moves were acquiring Jay Cutler and Orlando Pace. No wonder the fans are pissed. While Lovie has led the team to the Super Bowl and the defense has fallen apart since Brian Urlacher got hurt, the team would be foolish not to consider a change given all the talented coaches out there.

Next Time Brett Favre Should Not Make it so Obvious He’s Ed Werder’s Source

Last December, ESPN reporter Ed Werder was being heckled by a Cowboys fan for his report suggesting T.O. was resentful of Tony Romo’s relationship with Jason Witten. A year later, Werder’s in the middle of another team controversy, this time regarding the Vikings and Brett Favre’s relationship with coach Brad Childress. Childress tried unsuccessfully to bench Favre on Sunday night, with Favre later saying there was a heated discussion on the matter. Childress tried to downplay things but then Werder came out with a report delineating Favre’s issues with his coach. It couldn’t be more obvious from whom the criticisms came:

According to sources, Favre dislikes that Childress seldom discusses the game plan with him during the week, and does not encourage the quarterback to offer suggestions as to which plays he feels most comfortable calling in certain situations. When Favre changes the play at the line of scrimmage — using his film study and experience — Childress bristles, even when the audible Favre calls works perfectly.

Unless Favre has a best friend or wife or someone who knows exactly how he feels, it’s pretty clear that those items came directly from Brett. While I understand that players have competitive spirits, it’s wrong to undermine a coach by not doing what he says (coming out of the game), and it’s just as bad to then run to the media about the problems, speaking anonymously. Favre needs to handle his issues by speaking to his coaches directly, not as a source to the media. Good ole number four may have learned how to take care of the ball better in his 19th year in the league, but he still has figured out the best way to resolve issues.

Tony Dungy’s Disparaging Comments Inspired Cowboys Against Saints

For a guy who seems so reasonable and fair, former Colts coach Tony Dungy made quite an absolute statement last weekend on Sunday Night Football on NBC. When discussing the upcoming Cowboys and Saints game regarding Dallas’ chances at the playoffs, Dungy said the Cowboys didn’t stand a chance against the Saints in New Orleans, adding that the Giants were likely to jump the Cowboys for the final playoff spot in the NFC. Apparently the Cowboys coaches got a hold of the tape and played it for their team as a motivational tactic. The tactic proved to be quite effective; Tony Romo was particularly motivated by Dungy’s remarks.

In two separate occasions after the game, Romo made reference to Dungy’s disparaging comments. First, on the field after the game, Romo told Alex Flanagan of NFL Network that Dungy’s comments motivated the team. Later in the postgame press conference, Romo said the same thing and elaborated, adding that he was surprised to hear such a definitive statement coming from a former coach. Romo’s right — if anyone should understand the “Any Given Sunday” concept, it would be a former coach. But Dungy is now a television commentator and he has clearly embraced that role, making firm and polarizing statements. Even if Dungy’s trying to be controversial, I’m surprised he didn’t leave any room for the possibility of a Dallas victory. I remember being surprised to hear Dungy discredit Dallas, but I’m more surprised it got back to the Cowboys players and that they used it to their advantage. Good for them, it was a well-deserved win. So much for the December lull b.s. the media was drilling into everyone’s mind; beating the Saints proves the Cowboys can be as good as anyone in the NFL.

Here’s a taste of Dungy’s analysis of the Cowboys last weekend on NBC:

Brett Favre Was a Boone’s Farm Guy

Brett Favre has already sold us on his image of being a simple Southern boy. He’s the pitchman for Wrangler jeans and he’s hardly ever been caught wearing anything too fancy. The famous line about good ole number four is that he’d play the game for free. Maybe at some point he was close to doing so because he admitted to drinking the cheap stuff back in the day. From his USA Today interview:

“I haven’t drank in 12 years — not a drop,” says Favre. He says he never liked the taste of alcohol, only its effect.

“I thought I used to like Boone’s Farm,” he says with a laugh. “Three-dollar Strawberry Hill — perfect for throwing at signs when you were done.”

Anyone who’s been in high school or college should be quite familiar with Boone’s. The funny thing is seeing such a tough guy, Ironman quarterback like Brett Favre who’s never missed a start, admit he used to like a girly drink. Brett may have just lost a few man points for that admission.

Reggie Nelson Called Out for Sucking, Screwing Jaguars, and my Fantasy Team

(that’s Nelson above, getting brushed aside by Reggie Wayne)

As is the trend for the Jaguars, they took the Colts down to the wire but eventually lost because Indy made the plays down the stretch that they didn’t. Jacksonville, like many teams, seems to be good enough to hang with Indy but they cannot deliver the knockout punch. They might have been able to win on Thursday night had they not given away a touchdown with about five minutes left. Reggie Wayne had beaten Dwayne Cox down the sidelines in what seemed to be a cover-2 zone. Peyton Manning then heaved it over safety Reggie Nelson’s head into the arms of Reggie Wayne. The Colts had a 60-yard bomb that would have taken them inside the 10, but Reggie Nelson’s second bad decision gave them a touchdown.

Instead of pushing Wayne out of bounds — which he easily could have done — Reggie Nelson decided to go for a low-probability strip. When he whiffed, Wayne waltzed in for an easy score. Not only was Nelson’s choice dumb because even with a strip the ball would have gone out of bounds, but also because the defense had a shot to hold Indy to a field goal after that. Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio was understandably pissed, saying about Nelson “He didn’t play well. You can’t stay in the lineup playing like that.” I wish I had the power to bench Nelson too because his sloppy and lazy play put me in a major hole. In both of my fantasy football leagues, my opponent in the playoff has Wayne and is off to a great start. Even though I entered the Coors Light Fantasy Football League playoffs with the top overall seed, I could get knocked out in the first week! Maybe if Reggie Nelson knew was at stake here he would have made the stop. Furthermore, Nelson’s crappy tackling job allowed Dallas Clark to score Indy’s fourth touchdown of the game. Heck, Nelson was one of the Colts’ MVPs of the game. Here are the highlights lowlights in case you haven’t seen them:

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