Super Bowl on the Verge of Getting Chilly

A new era of Super Bowl play is on the verge of being secured.  Actually, I guess you could say an old tradition is on the verge of returning to the NFL.  With each passing day, it seems more and more certain that America’s most prominent sporting event is once again headed for potentially harsh conditions.  This Tuesday at the NFL league meetings in Dallas, owners will vote “yay” or “nay” to decide whether or not New Meadowlands Stadium — the brand new, state-of-the-art home of the New York Jets and New York Giants — should host the Super Bowl in 2014.  One owner who has been particularly outspoken in favor of a New York bid in 2014 is Patriots owner Robert Kraft:

Doing it in New York is the right thing for a lot of reasons,” Kraft told the Daily News last week. “I’ve been going to Patriots games for 50 years up here. I personally believe all football should be played outdoors. Our league was founded on winter football with the Ice Bowl. Our sport is about resilience, mental toughness, adjustments. I think it will be a great experience for the fans. A memorable experience.”

Although he insists it has not affected his stance, Kraft is undoubtedly considering his own team’s interests.  If New York hosts a Super Bowl in its outdoor stadium, that would eliminate a major obstacle when it comes time for the Patriots owner to lobby for a Super Bowl to be played at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.  If, and when, New York breaks the cold weather barrier, harsh conditions can no longer be used as an effective argument against holding the big game in a stadium with the potential for snow and freezing temperatures.

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Rex Ryan, Damien Woody, Kris Jenkins in Weight Loss Competition

When we said that receiver Santonio Holmes was joining an already animated team, this is exactly what we had in mind. The New York Jets, who will be featured in HBO’s Hard Knocks TV show during training camp, have already embarked on a reality show this offseason. Head coach Rex Ryan challenged Damien Woody and Kris Jenkins to a weight loss competition, as he told the team’s official site via Pro Football Talk:

“The guys are going to have fun with it,” Ryan restated. “There’s an offensive player, a defensive player and a 47-year-old coach. The handicappers, I don’t know how they’re going to view this.”

Ryan may be at a disadvantage because he’s already dropped around 37 pounds since undergoing lapband surgery. At 311 pounds, Ryan still has a long way to go, however. This seems like a fun, playful competition that can build camaraderie and promote healthy eating. It’s good ideas like this that makes Rex Ryan a hit in New York. Now all he has to do is keep winning.

Ryan, Woody, Jenkins in Weight-Loss Battle [New York Jets]
Rex Ryan challenges players to weight loss competition [Pro Football Talk]

Santonio Holmes Escorted Off Plane for Being ‘Disruptive’

When he makes headlines like this, the Steelers must feel pretty good about shipping Santonio Holmes off to the Jets for a measly 5th round pick.  According to investigators, Holmes had to be escorted off of a flight at Pittsburgh International Airport on Thursday night for being a “disruptive passenger”.  No further details about the situation are known — and Santonio wasn’t arrested — but this certainly isn’t the type of publicity the Superbowl 43 MVP needs if he wants to convince fans and the NFL that he’s going to clean up his act.

Holmes is already going to miss the first four games of the upcoming season when he serves a suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.  Depending on what comes of this situation, Roger Goodell might decide to sideline him for a few more games.  The Jets don’t have a lot invested in Holmes after only giving up a fifth rounder, but they could certainly use the help at wide receiver and would probably prefer that he straighten out his act.  Between Cromartie, Holmes, and the loud mouths in the Jets organization (led by their head coach), it could turn out to be an entertaining soap opera of a year in New York.

UPDATE: According to ESPN, the reason Santonio Holmes was escorted from the flight was because he refused to turn off his iPod when the crew asked that all electronic devices be turned off so the plane could take off.  Wow.  Has he ever been on a plane before?  I’m pretty much speechless, so here’s what Rex Ryan had to say:

“I know what has been told to me and it kind of got blown out of proportion it sounds like in some of the media outlets and things. I mean, OK, lets face it, he should turn off his iPod. That’s what he should do. He should do that. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Santonio, but he certainly should do that.”

“Disruptive” Santonio Holmes booted from a flight in Pittsburgh [WPXI via Pro Football Talk]
Report: Holmes removed from plane [ESPN]

Santonio Holmes Joining an Already Animated Jets Team

The New York Jets have had a busy off-season so far.  They’re already signed on to be featured in the HBO original series Hard Knocks, so the new faces that will be joining them in training camp will serve as more than simple additions to their football team.  With the questionable characters they have added so far this off-season, New York might not have even needed to pair up with HBO to give their preparation period a reality show feel.  The Jets traded a fifth round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in exchange for Super Bowl 43 MVP Santonio Holmes.  Holmes’ services won’t be available immediately, however, as he has been suspended four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy

Holmes joins Antonio Cromartie, who has in the past admitted that having seven kids in five different states can be distracting to his NFL career, as the second player with off-the-field issues to join the Jets in the last two months.  While it’d be tough to argue that New York is not a more talented team with these two on its roster, I can’t help but think that Rex Ryan is quickly creating a recipe for disaster heading into the 2010 season.  Ryan has enough problems keeping his own name out of the headlines and behaving like a big boy, as he proved to us at an MMA event back in January where a fan caught him on camera giving Dolphins fans the bird.  The mix of characters on this team is going to be worth watching in itself for non-Jets fans.  For the J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets faithful, its going to be a complete hit or miss.

Steelers ship Santonio to the Jets [Pro Football Talk]
NFL to Announce 4-Game Suspension of Holmes [USA Today]

Hey, Did Someone Retire This Week?

Darn, I totally forgot. I guess that’s what happens when you blow your load once before. After all, you only get one funeral. Someone suggested stocking up on all the gear; it’s not a bad investment move considering it will be double the price when he “gets the itch” in a few months, you know?

(via Sports by Brooks)

Calvin Pace, Darrelle Revis Show Support of Teammate Brett Favre

Not many people have been complimentary of Brett Favre since the Jets’ season went down the tubes courtesy of his three interception performance against the Dolphins in week 17. That capped off a 1-4 finish leaving the Jets at 9-7 despite starting the season a sparkling 8-3. Thomas Jones was brutally honest in his criticism of Favre after the game, and so was I. Contradicting the criticism and feeling that Favre wasn’t liked in the Jets locker room were two members of the team. In separate interviews on separate shows, both Calvin Pace and Darrelle Revis supported Favre on Sporting News Radio. Pace first with the 2 Live Stews, Revis second on The Monty Show:

Pace: “Brett is a real stand-up guy. He’s just a country boy, just a simple guy — come in, come to work, not flashy at all, just a guy who’s done it a long time. I think a lot of people kind of get turned off for the simple fact that he doesn’t necessarily do the things that a guy my age will do. The guy’s 40-years-old. He’s seen and done a lot of things, why would he sit and try to hang out with me? I think maybe that might have rubbed people the wrong way, but his work speaks for itself.

Revis: “I had no problem with Brett. Brett has given me advice and he’s been a good friend to me. I guess guys have mixed feelings in the locker room.”

As critical as I’ve been about Favre, I think it’s only fair to present the other side of the coin. Of course I will point out however, that both players complimenting Favre are from the defensive side of the ball. I have a feeling the “divided” locker room has to do with the guys in the huddle who feel Favre let them down, rather than the guys who watched from the sidelines.

Jets Choosing Favre Over Mangini?

So three more coaches were fired on Monday, further reinforcing the notion that there are two types of head coaches in the NFL: those who are fired and those who are going to be fired. Eric Mangini had a roller coaster ride going 10-6, 4-12, and now 9-7. The team seemed to peak in week 12 which is when they won their 5th straight game beating the Titans on the road. From there they went 1-4 to slip out of playoff contention, a span in which Brett Favre stunk up the joint with two touchdowns and nine interceptions. Favre also was playing with a bum shoulder and probably should have ceded the throne to Kellen Clemens if that were the case. While some players pledged their undying support for Mangini, others sang a different tune about the coaching:

“We’re out there busting our butts and (Favre) is turning the ball over,” said the player, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because his comments would be frowned upon by the organization. “You can’t win like that.

“We never got any rhythm on offense. Instead of us pounding the ball with TJ (Thomas Jones), we’re doing all of this other stuff. It’s not just me, a lot of guys weren’t happy with the play-calling. They (the coaches) were always catering to Favre instead of doing what we were built to do, which is run the ball.”

Let’s see, the Jets have used recent first round picks on two of their offensive lineman (D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold) and they signed Pro Bowl free agents Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, and Tony Richardson to bolster the blocking up front (T-Rich is a fullback). There’s a reason I took Thomas Jones in my fantasy league and that was it — with that line they could push people around. Maybe the coaches did screw up by leaving things up to Favre instead of pounding the ball more. It also seems like the Jets are making this move to entice Favre to return to the team. Maybe he didn’t fit in with Mangini and wanted a new coach to consider coming back. Or maybe, just maybe, the Jets want to enter the Bill Cowher sweepstakes.

(quote via FanHouse)