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#pounditFriday, January 21, 2022

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Tate Martell reportedly retiring from football

Tate Martell in a suit

One of the most disappointing college football careers is finally coming to a close.

Joe Arrigo of Franchise Sports Media in Las Vegas reported on Tuesday that Martell has retired from football. Arrigo says Martell is focused on business and has some big things in store.

The retirement ends a highly disappointing career.

Martell entered the college football world as a heavily-hyped player since high school. His family moved from the San Diego area to Las Vegas so he could play for national powerhouse Bishop Gorman. Martell went 45-0 as Bishop Gorman’s quarterback and won the Gatorade National Player of the Year award.

Martell was featured on the “QB1” TV show and received tremendous attention as a recruit. He committed to Washington as a 14-year-old, then Texas A&M, and he ultimately switched to Ohio State, where he signed and played to start his career.

As a freshman at Ohio State in 2018, Martell saw the most action of his career. Urban Meyer used Martell in some red-zone situations, and the young quarterback passed for 269 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns.

Martell later transferred to Miami, where he rushed for seven yards and passed for seven yards over three games in two seasons. He also underwent a position switch to wide receiver. Martell ultimately transferred to UNLV, but he only appeared in two games last season.

The harsh reality is that few players entered college with more hype and exited with less production than Martell. His tendency to change schools and change commitments that was exhibited in high school continued in college, where he transferred twice.

H/T The Spun
Photo: Jul 11, 2017; Marina del Rey, CA, USA; Football player of the year Tate Martell of Bishop Gorman High (Nev.) during the Gatorade National Athlete of the Year Awards at the Ritz-Carlton. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dak Prescott apologizes for comments about referees

Dak Prescott in a hat

Dak Prescott issued an apology on Tuesday for his comments about NFL officials.

Prescott initially admonished Dallas Cowboys fans for throwing debris onto the field at AT&T Stadium after the team’s playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Upon being informed that the fans were throwing things at the refs, who had hurried off the field, Prescott changed his tune and complimented the fans.

On Tuesday, the NBA’s referees tweeted their disappointment with Prescott and asked the NFL to step in.

A few hours later, Prescott apologized via Twitter.

“I deeply regret the comments I made regarding the officials after the game on Sunday,” Prescott wrote. “I was caught up in the emotion of a disappointing loss and my words were uncalled for and unfair.

“I hold the NFL Officials in the highest regard and have always respected their professionalism and the difficulty of their jobs.

“The safety of everyone who attends a game or participates on the field of a sporting event is a very serious matter. That was a mistake on my behalf, and I am sorry.”

Not only is Prescott wrong to applaud the fans for throwing things at the refs, but he also was directing his anger at the wrong place. The Cowboys being unable to get off a spike at the end of the game was not because the refs were bad at their job, but because Dallas did their jobs poorly. They should not have called a risky play with only 14 seconds left. And Prescott should have got down earlier and handed the ball to the ref earlier.

Photo: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Burrow has awesome take on Bengals snapping ugly playoff streak

Joe Burrow

The Cincinnati Bengals saved their fans from 31 years of disappointment with their Wild Card win over the Las Vegas Raiders last weekend, but Joe Burrow did not seem all that excited about the feat. He had a great reason for his lack of enthusiasm.

Burrow told reporters on Tuesday that he loved seeing Bengals fans so pumped up following the team’s first playoff win since 1990. However, he said he has tried to downplay the achievement because he wants it to be the “bare minimum going forward.”

Bengals fans have to love that attitude.

The Bengals certainly did their fair share of celebrating after Saturday’s win. Head coach Zac Taylor came up with the awesome idea of delivering game balls to bars around Cincinnati. Burrow knows his team must quickly refocus, however, as an even tougher task awaits on the road against the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round.

Burrow is known for his calm demeanor both on and off the field. The awesome sunglasses he wore at his postgame press conference on Saturday spoke for themselves. You can’t ask for much more than your 25-year-old franchise quarterback not being satisfied with just one playoff win.

Photo: Sam Greene via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Browns’ Malik McDowell arrested over alleged public exposure incident

Malik McDowell during a game

Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Malik McDowell is in trouble with the law once again.

McDowell was arrested on Monday in Deerfield Beach, Fla., after he allegedly exposed himself in public. According to court records obtained by WPLG Local 10, police received a call that a man was walking around naked near a children’s school. Surveillance footage showed McDowell walk onto the property naked while school was in session.

In addition to public exposure, McDowell was also charged with aggravated battery of an officer and resisting an officer with violence. The police report accuses him of a “violent attack” on an officer that left the officer “dazed.”

The Browns issued a statement on the “very concerning incident.”

McDowell was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the second round back in 2017. He never played for the team due a combination of injuries and off-field issues. He was arrested for driving while under the influence and then disorderly conduct in 2017. He was also arrested and tasered during a traffic stop in 2019.

McDowell made his NFL debut with the Browns this season. He appeared in 15 games and recorded 33 total tackles and three sacks.

Photo: Oct 31, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Malik McDowell (58) celebrates after sacking Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (not pictured) during the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

JJ Watt has harsh comments for Cardinals after playoff loss

JJ Watt on the field

JJ Watt maintains high expectations for himself, his teams, and his teammates. That’s why he did not hold back after his Arizona Cardinals got blitzed 34-11 by the Los Angeles Rams in their NFC Wild Card playoff game on Monday night.

Watt returned from a serious shoulder injury to play in his Cardinals’ playoff game. The contest marked Watt’s first game since Week 7.

The veteran defensive lineman had three tackles as his team was crushed. Watt said after the game that the Cardinals’ finish to the season was a “massive failure” considering what they showed in the first half.

It’s hard not to agree.

Arizona began the season 7-0 and was in good shape at 10-2. Then they lost four of five to end the season, and five of six if you count the playoffs. Based on what they showed in the first half, seeing them get smashed in a 1-and-done playoff performance was a surprise. That’s definitely not what Watt had in mind when he carefully selected over the offseason to play for the Cardinals rather than any other team.

Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Peyton Manning drops S-bomb while caught on hot mic

Peyton and Eli Manning on the ManningCast

Peyton Manning encountered one of the perils of live television on Monday night’s “ManningCast” broadcast of the NFC Wild Card game between the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals.

Manning dropped a curse word on live TV while he was experiencing some technical difficulties during the first quarter of the game.

Eli Manning tossed to Peyton for analysis on a Rams touchdown, but Peyton apparently couldn’t hear his brother.

Peyton had a very colorful way of saying so:

“Can’t hear s–t,” he said.

Eli’s quick pivot was pretty hilarious, and kudos to him for being quick on his feet.

No, ESPN will not be thrilled with Peyton dropping the S-bomb during a live playoff game. That said, this one was pretty harmless, and there are worse things to be caught saying into a live microphone.

This is hardly the first time the ManningCast has run afoul of the censors. Nothing really came of that incident, and it’s unlikely that anything will happen as a result of this one either.

Funny video of Ryan Fitzpatrick at Bills game goes viral

Ryan Fitzpatrick

You can take Ryan Fitzpatrick out of Buffalo, but you can’t take the Buffalo out of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

A funny video of the veteran quarterback went viral this week. Fitzpatrick attended the Bills’ Wild Card game on Saturday against the New England Patriots. In a video posted on Twitter by a user named Kyle Margeson, a shirtless Fitzpatrick was going nuts in the stands after a Bills touchdown.

Keep in mind that the game, which Buffalo won 47-17, was played in near-zero degree weather. That is definitely a man with some nerves of steel.

Fitzpatrick, who signed a one-year deal with Washington last offseason but barely played this season due to injury, used to be Buffalo’s quarterback. He played for the Bills for four seasons from 2009 to 2012 but never made it to the playoffs with the team.

Now 39 years old, Fitzpatrick had some hilarious viral moments during his Buffalo career. Now it appears that he is still very much a member of Bills Mafia, even all these years later.

Photo: Norm Duve-American Century Championship

Shaq makes hilarious bet on Suns not beating Warriors in playoffs

Shaq sitting courtside

The Phoenix Suns have taken over the top seed in the Western Conference thanks to an outstanding stretch of play and the Golden State Warriors cooling off a bit. You could make a case for the Suns having a solid chance to win the conference a second straight year, but Shaquille O’Neal is absolutely certain that is not going to happen.

During a recent episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” O’Neal said the Suns have no chance of knocking off the Warriors in the postseason. If it does happen, Shaq promises he will walk around in public with “Suns” written on his backside and broadcast it live on social media.

“If the Suns beat Golden State, I will walk two blocks with ‘Suns’ written on my a–,” Shaq said. “I will post it live on Instagram and I will walk two blocks.”

Shaq has been high on the Warriors all season. He called them “unstoppable” during the same podcast and said the rest of the NBA is trying to emulate what Golden State does but lacks the talent to do it better. He said he guarantees the Warriors will win another title this season.

If you remember, Shaq took a ruthless shot at the Los Angeles Lakers last month while praising the Warriors. He’s not going to change his mind even if Golden State fails to secure the No. 1 seed in the West. His latest promise proves that.

Photo: Mar 10, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; NBA former player Shaquille O’Neal watches a game between the Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors in the third quarter at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 105-99. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-NFL QB explains what made Cowboys’ final play call so bad

Cowboys 49ers ending

The Dallas Cowboys have been heavily scrutinized for their final play call in Sunday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers. There’s no question they could have done a better job of executing, but the play never should have been attempted in the first place.

The Cowboys got the ball trailing 23-17 with 32 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. They needed to go 80 yards for the winning touchdown, and they reached the San Francisco 41-yard line with three straight completions. They then called a quarterback draw for Dak Prescott despite having no timeouts left. Prescott rushed for 17 yards, but the officials were unable to spot the ball in time for a spike (video here). Time expired before the Cowboys could run another play.

According to former NFL quarterback Chris Simms, the play never had a chance to work. He explained that all the coaches he worked with said 17 or 18 seconds was the cutoff for being able to run a play over the middle with time remaining for a spike. The Cowboys snapped the ball with about 14 seconds left.

Prescott could have gotten down sooner, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered much. There was also an issue with the referee spotting the ball. Those types of things happen in a hectic situation, and that was part of the risk the Cowboys chose to take. Obviously, they shouldn’t have.

McCarthy tried to defend the play call after the game, but there’s no debating the head coach made a mistake. The only question now is if it will contribute to him potentially losing his job.

Look: Arrowhead Stadium ran out of fireworks because Chiefs kept scoring

Patrick Mahomes Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs encountered a very good problem to have on Sunday.

The Chiefs trounced the Pittsburgh Steelers 42-21 during their Wild Card playoff game this weekend. They hung six touchdowns on the Steelers D, including a stretch of 35 unanswered points. Patrick Mahomes threw five of those touchdowns to five different receivers (including 315-pound offensive lineman Nick Allegretti). Tight end Travis Kelce even got in on the fun with a two-yard touchdown pass to Byron Pringle in the fourth quarter.

Kansas City found the end zone with such ferocity and such frequency that a hilarious message aired on the video boards of GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium: an announcement that the venue had run out of fireworks to set off for touchdowns. The video message apologized to the Chiefs fans and asked them to direct their complaints to the nearest help booth.

Fortunately, Arrowhead Stadium had a separate stash of fireworks saved specifically for the end of the game. Those fireworks were set off without issue as the game went final and the Chiefs won.

The Chiefs were huge 12-point favorites heading into the game, and they definitely took care of business. But the pyrotechnics crew at Arrowhead Stadium did not expect the team to be quite this dominant, even if this is actually something that has already happened to the Chiefs before.

Photo: Nov 22, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports