Hines Ward Hits Keith Rivers, Breaks His Jaw and Knocks Him Out for the Season

Hines Ward is notoriously one of the toughest players in the NFL. He’s been fined several times throughout his career for his brutal play, including an incident two weeks ago for unncessary roughness against the Ravens. Apparently the strain on his wallet hasn’t deterred him from bringing his physical play to the field. Check out this hit he delievered on Bengals rookie linebacker Keith Rivers that resulted in a broken jaw:

While there was nothing illegal about the hit, you can’t help but feel sorry for Rivers after taking that punishment. Lesson be learned: always go hard and stay on your toes when you’re occupying the same space as Hines Ward. Otherwise you’re going to wind up hurt.

Someone Get Brett Favre on the Phone with J.D. Drew

It’s amazing what impact the words of a legendary quarterback can have. On Monday the news came out that Tony Romo’s broken digit would keep him out 4-5 weeks — enough time to seriously derail the Cowboys chances of a Super Bowl run. The next day we hear that Brett Favre — he of ten thousand straight NFL starts at quarterback — dropped Romo a dime saying he should man up and play through the pinkie injury. Next thing you know, Romo’s telling everyone he wants to play and starts throwing in practice. It was quite the turnaround in news and it leaves me with a few questions.

Exactly how did that conversation between Romo and Favre go? “Listen up here, Tony. I know you think you hot **** dating Daisy Dukes and all, but boy, lemme tell you this, if you gonna let a broken bleeping pinkie keep you out an entire month with a team that good, then you don’t deserve to be banging that hot piece of ***.” It probably was like 90/10 Favre dominating the conversation. I mean seriously, could we get that guy on the phone with J.D. Drew or something? You think Favre has time on his hands to speak with Carl Pavano? He could probably start charging thousands for the minute. If he ever needs something to do when he finally does retire, boy, I think he’s set. And it’s too bad for Romo, too — dude already had plenty of plans for the month off besides simply recovering.

Falcons Owner Arthur Blank Doesn’t Understand Which Team to Cheer For

I spent Monday praising the Falcons for their turnaround and Matt Ryan for his amazing display of maturity despite being a rookie quarterback. You would ordinarily figure that if anyone would be pleased by the team’s display it would be the team’s owner, Arthur Blank. While Blank might be pleased with the team’s success, he clearly does not understand the game of football. In this video, check the bottom right corner following the long completion from Ryan to Michael Jenkins that set up the game-winning field goal. You’ll be surprised to see a rich man in a suit trying to help the other team win. That man is Arthur Blank, according to The Sporting Blog:

Attention Dan Orlovsky: you now have some competition for most bone-headed play of the year. I’m guessing Mr. Blank won’t be making many more appearances on the sidelines following that display. Get a freaking clue dude.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: Biggest Surprises in the NFL

Through six weeks of the NFL season, the Atlanta Falcons are far and away the biggest surprise of the NFL. They’re tied for first at 4-2 and they’re doing it with a rookie quarterback as their starter. I’d guess that 90% of all prognosticators didn’t think the Falcons would win more than four games all season, no joke. Count me in that group — I thought they’d be a 2-14 team. The Falcons opened up the gates surprising people with a 34-21 win in week one over the Lions. Five weeks later, they’re proving it’s not a joke. Aside from the mess that the Falcons were before the season began, the fact that they were starting a rookie quarterback made me think they were headed towards 2-14 doom. The NFL’s hard enough as is unless your last name is Brady or Manning; how would a rookie come in and be able to win? Already a good chunk into the season, Matt Ryan is defying all odds and leading his team to a successful start.

While I still figure the Falcons to finish no better than 8-8, they’re already a success. Ryan has made very few mistakes which is exceptionally difficult to do when you’re a young QB. Take Joe Flacco as a comparison for instance. The Ravens’ rookie QB has thrown 1 TD and 7 INTs and lost one fumble. Eight turnovers in five games for Flacco against just one score. Ryan on the other hand has thrown five touchdowns against three interceptions. He hasn’t lost a fumble yet either. Ryan’s already developed a rapport with top target Roddy White and turned him into one of the NFL’s leading receivers. There are times (like the game at Tampa Bay) when Ryan certainly has looked like a rookie quarterback, but overall, he’s playing well beyond his years.

In the end, when you take a quarterback with a high pick in the first round, you’re really rolling the dice and just hoping he can pick up the game and work hard enough to become a solid NFL quarterback. Seems like the Falcons have already struck gold and will have a franchise QB for years to come.

Umm, Michael Vick, who?

Video: Dan Orlovsky Takes Safety, Clearly Has a Strong Sense of the Field

For the same reason I praised Matt Ryan for being such a good quarterback despite being a rookie, I point out the following video of Dan Orlovsky. This is exactly how lost a typical young quarterback looks in an NFL game:

I remember laughing out loud when I was watching this play unfold during the game. How could someone lose a sense of where they are on the field that badly? I mean if Dan Orlovsky doesn’t show you what field presence is then I don’t know what does. As bad as Jon Kitna may be, it’s pretty obvious that Dan Orlovsky isn’t the answer. Video via Ballhype.

Speedometer Says Reggie Bush Runs at Near Usain Bolt Speeds

We knew Reggie Bush was fast, especially after seeing his two game-breaking punt returns for touchdowns on Monday night against the Saints. If you were watching the game you may have noticed that they were clocking Bush’s speed on a speedometer (at least I saw that part on the highlights). Now I knew that Bush was certainly moving on his punt returns, but I had no idea he was going as fast as he was. Check it:

If you don’t think 22 mph sounds that fast, consider this: Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt averaged 23.07 mph over 100 meters when he took the gold medal with his blistering 9.69-second performance in the Olympics. That’s according to EliteFeet.com, which also translated the times of star runners Maurice Greene (21.0 mph in the indoor 60 meters), Michael Johnson (20.71 in the 400) and Florence Griffith Joyner (21.32 in the 100), among others.

A few caveats here: Bush’s 22 mph was recorded at his peak while Bolt’s 23.07 mph was his average speed, including the final 25m where he coasted. Still, given that Bush is avoiding defenders and running with pads, I’d say that’s pretty darn impressive. I’d love to see them clock Randy Moss, Darren Sproles, and some of the other burners in the league because there’s no doubt these are some of the finest athletes on the planet.

Chiefs Should Try to Trade Tony Gonzalez

One of the rumors that’s been flying the last few days is that Tony Gonzalez has requested a trade from Kansas City, and that one of his potential destinations is the New York Giants. Even though I usually want players to honor their contracts and stick with their teams, I understand Gonzalez’s plight, and actually feel the team should try to trade him. First of all, as good as Tony Gonzalez is — one of the best receiving tight ends ever — having him still can’t mask the fact that Kansas City’s quarterback options are Brodie Croyle, Damon Huard, and Tyler Thigpen. He’s doing his best to help this team win, but they just need too many more pieces to become successful in the immediate future.

The bottom line is that the Chiefs are rebuilding and a long way away from contention. Taking the Jared Allen off-season trade as a sign you are rebuilding, why not deal Gonzalez for a 4th round pick or something just to get another selection? How can it hurt you if you’re the Chiefs? Shockey warranted a second and fifth round pick before the season, Gonzo’s got to be worth a 4th or 5th I would figure. Plus, Tony’s already set the record for most receiving yards by a tight end, and he did it all with the Chiefs. What more can he do for the organization? No doubt Tony would like to go to a contender and have a chance of winning a game or two down the stretch. I say they should do it — it will help both parties. Maybe a move to NYC could give Tony an opportunity to meet a new female fan base, too.