Tag Archives: NFL

2023 NFL Conference Championship Round Predictions

By Sam Morris

Sam Morris is from Madison Heights, Michigan, and is an undergraduate student at BGSU majoring in Sports Management. He has a passion for sports writing and journalism. In his free time, he volunteers in the strategic communications department at BGSU at various sporting events and he also performs, writes, and produces his own raps for the music industry club at BGSU.

January 28, 2023

Conference Championship Round Overview

After such a crazy NFL season with so many unique storylines, at the conference championship round, the teams remaining are surprisingly predictable. In fact, three out of the four teams remaining were in the conference championship round last season. In the NFC, the Niners are looking to avenge their disappointing loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams last season that was the result of a dropped interception by ex-Niner and current Philadelphia Eagle Jaquiski Tartt. On the other hand, the Eagles are looking for their second Super Bowl win in the last six years and will try to give the other three teams their second straight year of failing to win the Super Bowl after getting to the conference championship round. In the AFC, the Chiefs and Bengals meet in the AFC Championship for the second straight year. This is the Chiefs fifth straight AFC Championship game in a row. In their previous four they are 2-2, losing to the Patriots and Bengals but beating the Bills and Titans. The Bengals are attempting to get to the Super Bowl for the second straight season after upsetting the Bills in Buffalo in the divisional round. Below are my predictions for these conference championship matchups.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (15-3) VS. 2. San Francisco 49’ers (15-4) (Sunday, January 29th, 3:00)

Breakdown: Last week, I went 3-1 and my undefeated playoff prediction record was broken as the Eagles absolutely destroyed the Giants on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles proved to me and the rest of the NFL that their defense is able to dominate any offense on any given day as they not only got heavy pressure on Daniel Jones but also held Saquon Barkley to just 61 rushing yards and no touchdowns. Statistically, Jalen Hurts also looked back to full form last week despite his shoulder still obviously looking like it is bugging him. As he goes up against a much more formidable defense in San Francisco, as opposed to New York, helping heal his injury will become even more of an interesting focal point for the Eagles to focus on. Although Philadelphia gave up just 7 points last week, San Francisco’s defense was almost as impressive, only giving up 12 points to a more explosive offense in Dallas. Like the Eagles, the Niners’ pass rush got immense pressure on Dak Prescott, and they also got 2 interceptions to win the game. Overall, I think these are the two best overall teams in the NFL this season. They are both extremely talented and have depth in many facets of their respective rosters. On defense, I think they are very similar and equally talented so I will be looking to their offensives to make this prediction.

Jalen Hurts is an MVP candidate and more experienced than Brock Purdy which gives Philadelphia an advantage at the Quarterback position. Despite this, I think San Francisco has a better running back group because McCaffrey has clearly been a top-3 back since being traded midseason. Although the Eagles have a very talented group as well with Sanders, Scott, and Kenneth Gainwell, McCaffrey’s star power combined with the depth of Elijah Mitchell and rookie Jordan Mason gives the Niners this advantage. The Niners also have Deebo Samuel who can play both wide receiver and running back which gives San Francisco another unique advantage. As for the receiver group, A.J. Brown is the best pure pass catcher out of all the players on each team, but I think San Francisco’s group of Deebo, Aiyuk, Jennings, and Kittle is overall more talented and has more depth than Brown, DeVonta Smith, Watkins, and Goedert. I mainly think this because of Deebo’s unique skillset and Kittle who gives the Niners another level to their offense in the passing and blocking game that Goedert doesn’t give the Eagles. Kittle has 60 receptions, 765 yards, and 11 touchdowns whereas Goedert has 55 receptions, 702 yards, and only 3 touchdowns. With a skill group of McCaffrey, Deebo, and Kittle, the Niners don’t need an MVP level quarterback like the Eagles have in Hurts. It became clear when the Eagles lost Hurts for two games that they needed him to give them their offensive firepower. For these reasons, I think the Niners have a slightly more talented offense and will win this game based on their skill group and by exposing some of the weaknesses in the Eagles’ offense with their elite pass rush defense.    

Prediction: Eagles (21)   49’ers (24)

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (15-3)  VS. 3. Cincinnati Bengals (14-4)  (Sunday, January 29th, 6:30)

Breakdown: While I incorrectly guessed the Giants-Eagles game, I correctly predicted that this would be the AFC championship. One of the most interesting things when looking at this matchup is that the Bengals-Chiefs will be meeting in the AFC Championship for the second straight year. Joe Burrow and the Bengals have beaten Mahomes and the Chiefs by exactly three points three times in a row, 27-24 in this year’s regular season, 27-24 in last year’s AFC Championship, and 34-31 in last year’s regular season. Mahomes and the Chiefs will look to get revenge on Sunday Night Football, but to do so they will have to go through the hottest offense in the NFL. Although the Chiefs have a dominant passing attack, the Bengals pass defense should be able to at least contain them. The Bengals have one of the best secondaries in the NFL, ranking third in passing touchdowns allowed. While the Chiefs barely beat Jacksonville 27-20 last week, the Bengals beat the Bills 27-10 in Orchard Park, mostly because their pass defense held Josh Allen to a mediocre game. With this being said, Mahomes is not on Allen’s level right now as he is still recovering from his mid-game injury against Jacksonville.

On the other hand, the Bengals’ already weak offensive line has lost left tackle Jonah Williams and right tackle La’el Collins. This is not good news for Cincinnati as they go up against the Chiefs pass rush that has 55 sacks, which is second in the NFL behind the Eagles. Although the Chiefs definitely have this advantage on the line of scrimmage, the Bengals have the advantage in the rushing game with Joe Mixon, an advantage at quarterback with Mahomes being injured, and the advantage in the secondary. Because of these advantages, and the fact that the Bengals seem to have Mahomes’ number with 3 victories in a row, I think the Bengals will barely pull off the victory over the Chiefs and will face the Niners in what would be a very exciting Super Bowl.

Prediction:  Chiefs (28)   Bengals (31)



Which non-playoff NFL Teams Can Turn it Around, and When? 

Green Bay Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers leaves Lambeau after last loss of the season.

By Kalen Lumpkins

Kalen is a fourth year BGSU student from Toledo, Ohio. He is a sports management major with a minor in journalism. His primary sport interests include football and tennis, but he also has an interest in a wide variety in other sports, from baseball to hockey. His dream job outside of college is to be a sportswriter for an organization like ESPN or Sports Illustrated.

January 21, 2023

The NFL playoffs are upon us! They kicked off on Saturday, January 14th for ‘Super Wild Card’ weekend, and a trip to the Super Bowl has never been more uncertain. 

What is certain, however, is that not everyone will have the opportunity to reach the Super Bowl. 

As the dust settled in the last regular season games, the offseason for teams that missed the postseason began. Some teams ended the year with genuine optimism for the next season, while others ended with major concerns about the future. 

Here is where each of these 18 teams stands: 

COMING FOR THE CROWN

New York Jets 

Jets’ fans had to deal with plenty in their rollercoaster season. New York, led by Zach Wilson at the time, raced out to a 6-3 start, which included home wins against the Bills and Dolphins. 

All good, right? 

Well, yes, until Breece Hall tore his ACL in Denver. When he went down, the offensive flaws that the prolific rookie covered up were revealed, and they were ugly. After a 10-3 loss to the Pats, Jets’ coach Robert Saleh benched Wilson in favor of Mike White. Unfortunately, the points were still absent. The Jets would go without a TD in their last three games and end the season on a six-game losing streak. 

A disappointing end to a promising season, sure, but the Jets’ campaign proved that they are truly just a QB away from being contenders. With the potential offensive AND defensive rookie of the year on the same team, and the pending return of Breece Hall, New York has a plethora of weapons that will keep the QB of this team in a good position. Who that QB will be is the looming question this offseason, but if they get that question right, the Jets will be the last team you want to see on your favorite team’s schedule. 

Detroit Lions 

It is all coming together for Dan Campbell’s team. The start of the season was rough, as the Lions would lose 6 of their first 7 while allowing 31.7 (!!!) PPG. In the next ten games, however, Detroit went 8-2, allowing 20.2 PPG across that stretch while ending the year with the 5th highest-scoring offense. If the Lions did not take a stumble at Carolina, we would have seen Detroit in the playoffs, and they would have arguably been the best wild card team in the field. 

Despite the postseason miss, they jumped over plenty of hurdles like sweeping Green Bay and finishing with a +.500 record, among many others. There is also no need to look for another quarterback as Jared Goff has been ‘lights out.’ 

While this offense is fully capable of outscoring opponents in a shootout, the Lions should focus on their secondary to fully boost their Aidan Hutchinson-led defense. The fans can feel the atmosphere changing for their team, and Detroit is a quality 2023 draft away from being contenders. 

ALMOST THERE

Pittsburgh Steelers 

Just like last season, there was no reason that Pittsburgh should have been over .500 this season, but here we are. The Steelers started 2-6 in their first eight games and finished 7-2 in the final nine. Mike Tomlin and company found ways to win this year and the coach has yet to have a losing season in his 16-year tenure. 

Also, like last season, however, was the presence of the Steelers’ offense, or lack thereof. In Ben Roethlisberger’s last season, the Steelers scored 20.1 PPG. Replacing him with Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett has resulted in an offense that scored 18.1 points a game. It was hard to watch at times when the Steelers had possessions, but Pickett has shown massive improvement to close out the season. Along with Pickett, George Pickens has shown that the Pickett-Pickens connections will be a big part of Pittsburgh’s playbook. 

There is still work that needs to be done on both sides of the ball, but the Steelers are potentially a good draft or two away from returning to the franchise’s winning ways.  

Washington Commanders 

The Commanders sat in the last wild card spot for most of the final part of the season, and it seemed like their spot to lose. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened in Week 16.

If there is one thing that this season told the Washington organization, it is that the franchise QB may not be on their roster currently. Sam Howell showed out in the season finale, but that is a very small sample to go on when you are deciding who to hand the keys of the offense. 

At the same time, though, this may be their best option next season. The defense ranks in the top 10 of many categories while the offense has playmakers like Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson, so Howell will not be thrown to the wolves. The plan in D.C. should be to see if Howell progresses throughout the next season. If he does, great! If not, the 2024 QB class is expected to be stacked with talent. 

Things may look a little grim for the Commanders right now, but there are options in the future.  Choosing the right one will determine whether Washington competes soon or goes into a full rebuild. 

New England Patriots

We need to tell the situation here how it is. Mac Jones needs help. He has put the Pats in positions to win, especially in divisional play, but the receiving core has let him down countless times. 

Yes, Tom Brady was able to go 12-4 in his last year with New England with arguably less, but the Pats still seem to have a hard time realizing that TB12 is not under center anymore. 

Now, let it not be mistaken, the Pats do not have a bad receiver room, they just need an elite weapon. That could potentially be Jordan Addison in the draft, or someone in a trade (Deandre Hopkins?). Whoever it is, that elite receiver will free up the playbook and allow Mac Jones to be stellar. 

50-50

Los Angeles Rams  

Long story short, it was not supposed to go this way. The defending champs started at a decent 3-3 record, but it was pretty evident that this team was not the same as last year’s championship team. Add in Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp’s injuries, and the Rams would finish the season 5-12. 

The Rams still have the pieces that won them a championship, but can they be healthy long enough? Age is starting to play a factor in the roster as well, as retirement rumors have swirled around names like Stafford and Aaron Donald. 

Even if everyone comes back, will they be able to compete at the same level? We have seen how good and how bad this team can be, and it will be interesting to see which team shows up come the 2023-24 season. 

Green Bay Packers 

The Cheeseheads are in the 50-50 category for now because how next season will go depends entirely on Aaron Rodgers. Losing a receiver like Davante Adams would be a blow to any quarterback, even if you are the great Packers’ QB. The remaining receiving core dropped many passes and was not on the same page as #12 to start the year. 

Then came the emergence of Christian Watson, which helped Green Bay go on a four-game win streak to set up a win-and-in game at Lambeau Field. 

Instead of making the playoffs, though, the Detroit Lions would give the Packers a hard slap back to reality. This was just the second time the Lions swept the Pack since 1991, and the season finale was a true testament to where the teams currently stand. 

Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson have shown that they can be legit wideouts, but last year’s draftees could be too little too late to keep #12. If he stays, Green Bay can contend. If he leaves, it could be tough sledding for a few years in Wisconsin.

Cleveland Browns

Yes, the offense did not click in Deshaun Watson’s six games played this season. However, the Browns are in the 50-50 category because a full offseason with the team could build chemistry and help the former Texan to get back to his prime play. Cleveland has all the weapons, including some they do not fully utilize (Nick Chubb, cough, cough) to help with this task. 

However, when you hand someone $230 million guaranteed, you expect results immediately. The AFC North is not going to wait around either, as the Bengals, Ravens, and Steelers are all looking to be legit contenders for the division crown. 

The story in Cleveland next year will be Watson’s progression, and if there is not any, the Browns will have to fix what could be the biggest mistake in the team’s history. 

Tennessee Titans 

The injury bug hit the Titans the hardest this season, but they were still able to fight until the final game of the season for the division crown. This is just a further example that Mike Vrabel continues to find ways to win. 

Of course, Ryan Tannehill should be back next season, but will that make a difference? The Titans’ seven-game losing streak showed that this team has needs in more areas than expected. The Tennessee defense allowed 274.8 passing yards per game, the worst in the league. The Tennessee offense passed for only 171.4 YPG, 31st in the league, and the offense scored 20+ points just six times in the year.

Again, Coach Vrabel does a great job adjusting, but there is only so much he can do. With the Jaguars gaining momentum into next season, it is make or break for the Titans in 2023-24. 

Denver Broncos 

What seemed like a match made in heaven when Russell Wilson signed with the Broncos quickly turned into a nightmare. 

This offense should have been lights out, but instead, they ended up as the lowest-scoring unit in the league. Wilson lacked chemistry with his receivers, but the coaching decisions also played a part in this. Nathaniel Hackett put the Broncos in poor situations during games all year and constantly made questionable decisions.

Management made the right choice in parting ways with Hackett, and a new coach is exactly what this team needs. The next person in line should have an offensive mindset to help Wilson strive and find use in all the weapons he has. There are plenty of options, like Sean Payton or Eric Bieniemy, that should be able to accomplish this feat, and the correct hire will change the atmosphere in Denver. 

PATIENCE, FANS

Carolina Panthers 

The fact that the Panthers were positioned to win the division in Week 17 shows that this team can compete… within the NFC South. The division was a slugfest all season long, and the division winner, the Buccaneers, only managed to win eight games. 

The Christian McCaffrey trade turned out to not be the rebuild call that we expected it to be thanks to D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard, but it did show the problems that McCaffrey’s play was able to cover.

Carolina started three quarterbacks this year, and none of them was able to spark the offense. DJ Moore tried his best to help the QBs out, but he cannot do it himself. 

The defense, however, has shown that they can be a legit unit. The play of Jaycee Horn and Brian Burns helped the Panthers stay in most of their games. 

This will be an intriguing unit for whoever takes over as the Panthers’ head coach, but they should be prepared to take a few seasons to rebuild the offensive side of the ball. 

Indianapolis Colts 

If the Colts’ historic collapse against the Vikings told us anything, it is that the veteran QB angle is not working. Philip Rivers had a good run, but the Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan eras have fallen flat. Ranking in the bottom half of the league in most offensive stats, Indy is in desperate need of a new face of the franchise. 

Luckily for them, there should be a quality QB prospect when to Colts come on the clock in April’s draft. The team is young, so a rookie QB to build with the rest of the squad should pay dividends later. 

Let us not sugarcoat it, though, this team needs improvement everywhere. Opposing receivers had career games against this defense, while the offense could not respond to opposing teams’ runs if their lives depended on it. 

This team is a good 3+ good drafts away from relevancy but drafting a QB with the fourth pick this year will be a good start for a rebuild.

Atlanta Falcons 

Marcus Mariota was the guy for the Falcons to start, but Desmond Ridder is the better choice going forward. 

The Falcons were helpless through the air, but they ranked 3rd in the league in rushing yards per game. That does help take some burden off your QB, but it is not a good recipe when you are trying to contend for the playoffs. 

The same goes for the defense that allowed 370.8 YPG and 22.7 PPG.

Ridder should be the future and building around him should be the team’s focus for the next few seasons. 

Chicago Bears 

There are rumors that the Bears may trade their top pick instead of being on the clock first. Neither would be a bad idea, but Chicago may be on the top of the draft board this time next year if the defense is not addressed. The biggest problem is that the Bears’ defensive line failed to pressure the opposing quarterback or stop the run.

Ironically, the Bears ranked last in rushing defense and first in rushing offense. The offense is thanks to Justin Fields, but he is still learning to be a consistent passer. The receiving core is not giving him much help, so there might be a few drafts before the Bears are back. 

Chicago fans, though, should be excited about Fields’ play and should look forward to his next steps. 

New Orleans Saints 

The Saints find themselves in the weirdest spot out of the other non-playoff teams. They have a road win over the #1 seed in the NFC, the Eagles, but also a loss to the 4-13 Cardinals. 

That alone should show the ceiling and the floor of New Orleans right now. 

There is a large question mark at the quarterback position, and some offensive weapons, like Alvin Kamara and Juwan Johnson, have not been able to consistently produce under Dennis Allen’s system. 

One thing that has stayed true is the Marshon Lattimore-led secondary, which only allowed 184 passing yards per game. 

Maybe a quarterback in the upcoming draft will fix the Saints (C.J. Stroud x Chris Olave reunion?), but we will not know the state of NOLA until the draft concludes. 

UH OH….

Las Vegas Raiders 

In a hectic season that saw Las Vegas blow leads, play down to inferior competition, and lose playoff-potential games among other circumstances, one thing remains. 

Raiders’ fans are fed up. 

How does a team have the rushing yards leader, a receiver with 1500+ yards with 14 TDs, AND a defensive end with 12.5 sacks on the year finish 6-11? 

The Raiders organization would point the finger at Derek Carr, hence why he was benched the last two games of the year with the full intention of moving on from the veteran. This move, though, could lead to detrimental consequences for the team. 

Davante Adams stated that Carr was the reason he went to Vegas in free agency, while Josh Jacobs has stated multiple times that he is tired of how the team is run. 

Those are just two of the huge question marks right there, along with some others. Who will be Carr’s replacement? Are the Raiders going to lose their star WR and RB all in the same off-season? How will they be able to afford to have them stay? Will the defense ever be fixed? 

As usual, there are more questions than answers when it comes to the Raiders. If Jacobs, Adams, and Carr all leave, though, the 2023-24 Raiders could be an ugly sight to see.  

Houston Texans 

For a 3-13-1 team, the Texans found themselves tough to beat this season. That is a great sign for a rebuilding team, but Houston still has a long way to go. 

The Texans have the #2 pick in the draft (due to a heavily criticized win over the Colts to close the year) and they will probably use that on a quarterback. Houston needs work almost everywhere, however, and fans should be prepared for a 3+ year process. There were promising signs, though, like the play of rookie RB Dameon Pierce and rookie CB Derek Stingley Jr. 

The most important action the Texans’ front office can take is to be patient with the next coach. The situation here is not ideal and changing head coaches every year is going to keep them at the starting line. Whoever gets the keys to the team next must also be fully willing to coach through slow progress. 

If Houston finds that coach, it will be exciting to see the rookies of this team grow into NFL stars. 

Arizona Cardinals 

Watching Arizona fall into the position they are in now has been disappointing, to say the least. Just last season, the Cardinals were off to a 7-0 start and had plans to win a Super Bowl. Ever since that start, Arizona has gone 8-19. 

This run has resulted in Arizona parting ways with Kliff Kingsbury, and the Cardinals suddenly find themselves in a hole. The health of Kyler Murray also comes into question as the former Heisman winner recovers from an ACL tear. Deandre Hopkins coming back to Arizona is not a lock either, so the Cardinals could be coming into next year with even fewer weapons than what they had last year. 

The Cardinals are slated to pick 3rd in the upcoming draft, and whoever they choose will be coming into a mess. Fans will continue to look at that 7-0 start and wonder what could have been because it is going to be a while before the Cards get to that point again. 

2023 NFL Divisional Round Predictions

By Sam Morris

Sam Morris is from Madison Heights, Michigan, and is an undergraduate student at BGSU majoring in Sports Management. He has a passion for sports writing and journalism. In his free time, he volunteers in the strategic communications department at BGSU at various sporting events and he also performs, writes, and produces his own raps for the music industry club at BGSU.

January 20th, 2023

Divisional Round Overview

The wild card round is over, and what a crazy one it was! The round included the third-largest comeback in NFL postseason history and three backup quarterbacks starting playoff games. Now, there are only 8 teams left in what has been a very interesting season. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and the defending Super Bowl Champions are all out of contention, leaving the Chiefs, 3 teams from last season’s worst division (the NFC East), a team led by the 2022 ‘Mr. Irrelevant,’ a team that had the worst record in the NFL last season, and two teams who played each other just over 2 weeks ago in one of the scariest games in NFL history. The schedule has been set for the divisional round and just like last week, below I attempt to predict the outcomes of each of the 4 games. Speaking of last week, I went a perfect 6-0 in predictions, and will attempt to carry that undefeated streak into the divisional round.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-3)  VS. 4. Jacksonville Jaguars (10-8)  (Saturday, January 21st, 4:30)

Breakdown: The opening divisional round playoff game between the Chiefs and Jaguars should be an exciting way to kick off this weekend of football. The Jaguars beat the Chargers 31-30 in last week’s wild card matchup after coming back from being down 27-0 at halftime. I picked the Jaguars last week and was amazed to see them pull off the comeback after Trevor Lawrence played horribly in the first half by throwing 4 interceptions. As I predicted, the Chargers’ rushing defense imploded last week against the Jaguars offense, but their secondary played so well that they ended up leading for the majority of the game. The Jaguars are dangerous in this game because they are playing with nothing to lose as barely anyone expected them to make it to the playoffs, let alone to the final 8.

However, The top-seeded Chiefs will be a different team than the Chargers as they play with a lot more poise and are much more experienced in the playoffs. Mahomes, despite being just 27 years old, is the oldest and most experienced quarterback left in the AFC and his top-tier talent combined with the rest of their offensive skill players should be a problem for the surging Jaguars. Kelce has statistically been the best receiving tight end in the league this season and the WR core of JuJu Smith-Schuster, MVS (Marquez Valdes-Scantling), Mecole Hardman, and Kadarius Toney has also been one of the best in the league because they can catch deep ball passes and run clean routes. The running back duo of 7th round rookie Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon is also a dangerous part of the Chiefs offense because their speed, power running ability, and ability to pass catch all complement the receiving offense very well. Because the Chiefs’ offense is so much more experienced and talented than the Chargers, it makes sense that the Jaguars defense won’t be able to stop them since they could only hold the Chargers to 27 points in the first half; because of this, I think the Chiefs will win this game.

Prediction:  Chiefs (34)   Jaguars (24)

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (14-3) VS. 6. New York Giants (10-7-1) (Saturday, January 21st, 8:15)

Breakdown: This Saturday Night game featuring two NFC East rivals will feature two young quarterbacks in Jalen Hurts (one of the most improved and valuable players in the NFC) and Daniel Jones. While Hurts is coming off a much-deserved bye week to rest his injured right shoulder, Jones is coming off an impressive win against the Vikings where he threw for 301 passing yards, had a 68.6% completion percentage, 2 touchdowns, no interceptions, and 78 rushing yards. The Giants victory was the one upset I picked last week, and it proved to be the poor defense of the Vikings that was Minnesota’s downfall. However, against any defense, Saquon Barkley’s performance and Daniel Jones’ performance last week would have been very effective.

Philadelphia’s defense is much better than the Vikings as they led the league in sacks this year. In fact, they had 70 sacks as a defense which was 15 more than the Chiefs, who had the second most, and a whopping 26 more than the number one overall defense, the 49’ers. This will be an obvious problem for the Giants as their relatively weak wide receiver core of Slayton, Hodgins, and James will now have less time to get open for Daniel Jones. However, this could actually be a blessing in disguise for New York as their top 5 rushing offense goes up against the Eagles who blitz so heavily to get sacks that they often leave gaping holes in their secondary and linebacker levels of the defense. Therefore, the Eagles’ rushing defense is ranked 17th in yards per game. The ability to get big gains on the ground with Saquon coupled with the fact that the Eagles don’t overcompensate their blitz packages with secondary help make it so that Barkley has a big day with one or more huge gains down the field. In the regular season, the Eagles trounced the Giants 48-22 in their first matchup but only won 22-16 when they faced them in week 18.

This second matchup concerns me for the Eagles as they played Jalen Hurts and he did not perform well, really for the first time all season, as he threw for 1 interception and had no touchdowns. On the other hand, the Giants rested most of their starters in week 18 as they had already clinched the 6 seed. This meant that backup Davis Webb would play in his first career NFL game, despite it being his 6th season in the league, and he posted a better overall stat line than Hurts, throwing for a touchdown, and having zero turnovers. I think this will be the closest game of the weekend, but for the reasons I have presented I think the Giants once again pull off the upset and Barkley and Jones will have huge games.

Prediction: Eagles (24)   Giants (27)

2. Buffalo Bills (14-3) VS. 3. Cincinnati Bengals (13-4)  (Sunday, January 22nd, 3:00)

Breakdown: This, in my opinion, is the most intriguing game this weekend for a few reasons. First, this is a rematch of the game when Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and was carted off the field. That game eventually got cancelled, and now that these two teams face each other again there will be much more at stake in terms of how they end their seasons. Because of the Damar Hamlin injury the Bills will be very motivated in this game. Secondly, these two teams have the best combined record out of all the games that are happening this weekend at 27-7. The Bills were many people’s Super Bowl favorites in the preseason after how last season ended so abruptly to the Chiefs in the divisional round. This pick made sense as Josh Allen is incredibly talented and the Bills offense and secondary is loaded with stars such as Stefon Diggs, Tre’Davious White, and Jordan Poyer. As the season has progressed, Allen has improved but the Bills themselves have had to rely on him too much as their defense has struggled in recent weeks, especially last week against Skylar Thompson and the Miami Dolphins. As well as the Dolphins started this season, they have imploded over the last half of the season and the fact that the Bills’ defense could only beat the Dolphins by 3 when the Dolphins had a third string quarterback playing is very concerning. Allen also struggled last week himself as he threw 2 interceptions. Overall, the immense pressure on Allen and Diggs could prove to be a lot for this team to overcome.

As for the Bengals, their defense played very well against the Ravens, holding them to just 17 points and forcing a fumble recovery for a touchdown as well as an interception. What this game will really come down to is the matchup between the Bengals receiving core and the Bills’ secondary, as a great performance by one of these units could prove vital in the game’s outcome. I believe that the Bengals’ receiving core and Joe Burrow will be able to overcome the Bills’ home field advantage and that Josh Allen’s relatively recent struggles won’t get better against a much better overall defense in Cincinnati compared to Miami. While this game will be close, I predict the Bengals will get a hard-fought win.   

Prediction: Bills (28)   Bengals (34)

2. San Francisco 49’ers (14-4) VS. 6. Dallas Cowboys (13-5)   (Sunday, January 22nd, 6:00)

Breakdown: The Sunday Night Football Matchup features a rematch of last season’s wild card game between the Niners and Cowboys. Although I predicted the Cowboys game correctly last week against the Bucs, I stated that I thought it would be the closest game of the weekend because of Dallas’ inconsistent defense. However, this was not the case as Dallas crushed Tampa Bay and sent Tom Brady packing. Dallas was one of the more impressive teams last week as Prescott played about as well as he has all season, and the Parsons-led defense got heavy pressure against Tampa Bay. Dallas will attempt to get revenge against San Francisco as last season the Niners eliminated Dallas in the infamous game that ended with Dak Prescott running the ball for a 20-yard gain despite the Cowboys only having 14 seconds on the clock and no timeouts left. This led to Dallas not being able to snap the ball in time before the play clock expired. This season, Tony Pollard has emerged as a true number one running back and their dominance against Tampa should be concerning for the Niners.  

However, despite Dallas’ great performance last week, it was against a team with a losing record. The Niners will be a much tougher test and if they play like they did in the final quarter against the Seahawks, it will be very tough for Dallas to win. Ultimately, I think San Francisco’s multitude of skill players on offense and amazing defense will be too much for Dak Prescott to handle and the Niners will move on to the NFC Championship game against the Giants for the second straight year.   

Prediction: 49’ers (30)   Cowboys (22)


National Football League Injuries and Damar Hamlin

Caption: Bills fans sign a poster in support of Demar Hamlin’s recovery.

By Ryan Harless

Ryan Harless is a third-year undergraduate at BGSU from Hillsboro, Ohio. He is majoring in Sport Management with a Journalism Minor. Baseball and golf at all levels are his primary interests but he is also interested in combat sports, hockey, basketball, and football.

January 17, 2023

Over recent years, we have watched the National Football League come under scrutiny due to their responses to severe injuries that happen to players. Just this season alone we have seen frightening injuries on live TV. We know football is a potentially dangerous sport for participants and that players are risking their lives when they step on the field. But no one was prepared for what we saw when the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals faced off in the next-to-last regular season game.

On January 2nd of this year, Bills’ safety Demar Hamlin tackled Tee Higgins of the Cincinnati Bengals. Hamlin got up after the tackle, then stiffened and fell backwards. This caused widespread panic not only to the viewers at home and in the stadium but also to the players on the field. Bengals’ running back Joe Mixon immediately started waving for medical personnel after Hamlin collapsed while many of the other players looked on in horror and shock. CPR was performed on Hamlin while he was still on the field which led many to fear the worst.

Hamlin was unresponsive as he was carted off the field and transported to a hospital in Cincinnati. Looking at the hit, we realized that this was not the same sort of injury we are accustomed to seeing as there was no major impact to Hamlin’s head. Rather, the injury was to his heart as he suffered cardiac arrest on the field. At the time, we were unaware of what precisely his injury was.  

After many uncomfortable minutes for fans in the stadium and fans watching at home, it was announced that the game would be suspended. Coaches for both teams agreed that the game should not resume. The NFL agreed with the coaches and suspended the game around 10 p.m.

This decision proved to be divisive among sports writers and fans alike. Some agreed with the decision of the league to not continue play as no one (outside of medical personnel) was aware of the severity of Hamlin’s injury. Some, such as Skip Bayless, tweeted a question of how the NFL would be able to postpone such an important game with post-season implications.

Of course, Bayless was hit with a wave of negative backlash to the extent that his “Skip & Shannon” co-host protested by not showing up for their show the next day. After a day of Skip hosting by himself, Shannon was back on the show and they discussed the Tweet in question.

The silver lining of the Hamlin situation is that he has since been released from a hospital in Buffalo following his transfer from UC Medical Center and was reportedly up and cheering on his team from the former hospital. He was even on a phone call with his team before their game the following week. Hamlin’s playing days are still a point of uncertainly, however.

This instance goes to show that neither the NFL nor fans know what the proper response to injuries should be. The NFL seems to do everything they can to have games move forward. But I think there are times where situations arise that are infinitely bigger than the game. There have been many strides in the past few years towards making the game safer. Things like advanced helmets made to help reduce impact on shots to the head, and just knowing more about concussions as a whole. But it seems clear to me that the NFL is not going to be the one to step in and make a change. I just worry that if things do not improve soon, there might be an even more severe on field injury that changes the current course of action for dealing with injuries.

What to Watch During (and after*) Quarantine

By Griffin Olah

Submitted: April 16, 2020/Published: June 2, 2020

Griffin is a second-year undergraduate BGSU student from North Ridgeville, Ohio. He is a Sport Management major and a Journalism minor. His primary sports interests are baseball and football, both collegiate and professional, but he is also interested in basketball, MMA, boxing and hockey.

[*Editor’s Note: With apologies to Griffin Olah and readers of Maxwell Media Watch, this insightful entry was submitted during a semester when everything suddenly went online. I should have published it earlier, but hopefully it still provides useful tips for media alternatives to live sporting events in the meantime. N. Spencer].

If you’re anything like me, you miss sports. With COVID-19 shutting down every sports league (we’ll ignore Dana White’s “fighting island”), I need something to quench my thirst for more sports. Luckily, there are quite a few alternatives that can get us all through quarantine while not spending a fortune.

One of the first things I discovered, with the help of Twitter, was the massive MLB library on YouTube. That’s right, Major League Baseball stores broadcasts on both its own YouTube channel, MLB, and on another, the MLB Vault (Langs et. al, 2020). This allows you to go back to see any memorable game in MLB history that has aired on television. Personally, I’ve enjoyed myself watching Game 7 of the 2016 World Series (the game ended with the rain delay), the 2017 Indians winning streak and the wildly entertaining 2019 Home Run Derby match-up between Joc Pederson and Vlad Guerrero Jr. There’s enough there to spend entire days watching baseball, and maybe you’ll even find some hidden gems that you forgot happened.

The NFL has a similar vault of games, but they house it in its own website, NFL Game Pass. Although it usually requires a subscription, the NFL made Game Pass free to all users through May 31, 2020 (NFL.com, 2020). Game Pass has an archive of all games played since the 2009 season, from preseason all the way through the playoffs and the Super Bowl. It also has access to many of NFL Network’s series, including A Football Life, America’s Game, SoundFX and more. I’ve spent a lot of time watching old Browns replays, including the 2018 game against the New York Jets that debuted Baker Mayfield, the 2009 game against the Chiefs that Jerome Harrison played out of his mind, and the America’s Game episode of the 2009 Saints. 

If you aren’t against spending money, however, the ever-popular ESPN+ might be for you. For only $5 a month, you can have access to a massive library of ESPN shows, replays and films. ESPN has streaming deals with many collegiate sports conferences, the NHL, UFC and boxing organizations, allowing many past games and competitions on their platform. I’ve spent hours in the 30 for 30 library and watching old UFC fights featuring Stipe Miocic. If you’re still bored and you want some non-sport action to watch, ESPN+ also can be bundled with Disney Plus and Hulu for $12.99 a month. 

If live action is what you’re craving, however, then eSports might fill that void for you. At the forefront of eSports is NASCAR, with its iRacing Pro Invitational Series. Using real drivers on iRacing, a platform most already use for practice, NASCAR is simulating the missed events of their season (Nicholson, 2020). The simulated races are also aired on Fox, so NASCAR fans can watch just like any other race.

Going along with eSports, the MLB has taken initiative with its MLB The Show Player’s League. Each team has selected one player to represent them through a series of three-inning games on the popular video game franchise (Toribio, 2020). Each player streams their games on their own Twitch page, which works similar to YouTube, so you can hear their commentary in real time. Cincinnati Red pitcher Amir Garrett and Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo have already proven to be both wildly entertaining to watch and incredibly good at the game. I’ve watched some highlights, and I’ll be tuning in whenever Garrett and Gallo take the virtual field again.

Finally, the NBA has attempted to offer another alternative with live action- a HORSE tournament. Current and former NBA and WNBA stars are pitted against each other in the classic basketball game in each of their home gyms (Gartland, 2020). While reception has mostly been negative, with many people claiming the games are too boring or citing internet problems, basketball fans may still be enjoyed. I haven’t tuned into any of the matchups, but if you’re starved for some basketball, it might be right for you. The competitions do air live on ESPN, so anyone interested in watching will have to tune in in real time.

Obviously, there is no true alternative to live sports action, but we can come close. Whether replays are your thing or not, there are tons of options to watch until we get sports back, whenever that may be. Until then, take a look through all of these services and find your favorite, or maybe find something new that’s not discussed here. Either way, good luck with filling your sports void and I hope these can get us all through until the return of sports.

References

Gartland, D. (2020, April 13). ESPN’s NBA HORSE competition was tough to watch. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved from: https://www.si.com/extra-mustard/2020/04/13/espn-nba-horse-tournament-highlights

Langs, S., Simon, A., Randhawa, M., & Catania, J. (2020, March 14). One classic game to watch online from each MLB team. MLB.com. Retrieved from: https://www.mlb.com/news/classic-mlb-games-to-watch-online

NFL.com. (2020, March 18). NFL offers fans free access to NFL Game Pass. NFL.com. Retrieved from: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001106855/article/nfl-offers-fans-free-access-to-nfl-game-pass

Nicholson, J. (2020, March 18). NASCAR launches eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. eSports Insider. Retrieved from: https://esportsinsider.com/2020/03/enascar-iracing-pro-invitational-series/

Toribio, J. (2020, April 10). 30 stars to compete in ‘MLB The Show’ league. MLB.com. Retrieved from: https://www.mlb.com/news/30-stars-compete-in-mlb-the-show-players-league

The Early Trials of Ben McAdoo

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

It is widely known that players and coaches of New York’s professional sports teams are subject to scrutiny that might not exist for smaller market clubs. If he wasn’t aware of this before, Ben McAdoo, Head Coach of the New York Giants, now certainly understands the magnitude of operating in the epicenter of professional sports.

As the Giants near the midway point of the NFL season, they sport a record of 4-3 which falls a bit short of the hefty expectations that were placed on them heading into the year. This team, which missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year in 2015, underwent a massive and expensive rebuild in the off-season. The Giants handed out over $200 million in free agency in an attempt to revamp an atrocious defense that plagued them last year and then followed suit in the 2016 NFL Draft when they selected cornerback Eli Apple with the 10th overall pick. However, the changes didn’t just come in terms of players but also with coaching. Following the disappointing 2015 season, two-time Super Bowl winning Head Coach, Tom Coughlin, decided to step down, leading to the eventual promotion of Ben McAdoo from Offensive Coordinator to Head Coach for the first time in his career. Obviously there were going to be a few growing pains stemming from the changes  made, but no one could have predicted the problems that would surround the Giants in the first few weeks of the 2016 season. To expect a rookie Head Coach to handle these problems with ease would be an unreasonable assumption.

Odell Beckham Jr., who has shined in his first two seasons with New York, has been a topic of discussion among the media so far this year. While the Giants were able to get off to a 2-0 start to begin the season, disappointment ensued when they relinquished a late lead to the NFC East rival Washington Redskins in a 29-27 loss. Beckham had the camera turned on him for the most part of the game due to the highly anticipated match up between him and CB Josh Norman. Beckham was able to have a very productive day, catching seven passes for a combined 121 yards and drawing multiple penalties. While he was able to do well on the field, what he did off of it was a different story. Following a stalled possession, Beckham took out his frustration on the sideline when he struck a kicking net that responded by bouncing back and hitting the receiver in the face. This humorous highlight was then played on loop in the following week while reporters discussed the player’s struggles to handle his emotions. In their next game against the Vikings, Odell once again had the spotlight on him when he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on a day where nothing went his way. Following these outbursts, Odell released a statement where he was quoted as saying, “I’m not having fun anymore,” when talking about playing football.

Odell seemed to have changed his ways in the next couple weeks where he manged to keep his emotions in check and make fun of his altercation with the kicking net on multiple occasions. But in a game against the Baltimore Ravens, after scoring a game winning touchdown to cap off a career day which included a staggering 222 yards receiving, he cost his team when he removed his helmet on the field leading to an unsportsmanlike penalty. These sideline tantrums have turned into an unnecessary distraction for a team with playoff aspirations and have also put Beckham’s teammates and coaches in a bad spot. McAdoo and the rest of the Giants’ players have voiced their support for the player but emphasized that these kinds of actions will not be tolerated anymore.

The other big dilemma that McAdoo has had to deal with in his first year as Head Coach involved Giants’ kicker, Josh Brown, who was accused of abusing his wife. After the team signed Brown to a two-year $4 million extension in April, the player was suspended for the first game of the season stemming from an investigation conducted by the NFL into his arrest in May of 2015. Although he was never charged in the matter, Brown certainly broke the NFL’s domestic violence policy but somehow only received a one game suspension. This minor penalty does not demonstrate what Commissioner Roger Goodell has stated would be the base-line punishment for any player involved in domestic violence. After the Ray Rice fiasco in 2014, Goodell announced that anyone involved in these kind of cases would receive a minimum six game suspension. But rather than focusing on how the league failed to uphold this policy, New York media looked at McAdoo as having mishandled the entire ordeal and questioned why a player like this was able to stay on the roster.

Things changed when new documents were released last week by the King County Sheriff Office that showed Brown admitting that he had abused his wife, Molly Brown, on multiple occasions. This caused the NFL to re-open their investigation into the case and the New York Giants organization did what they should have done in the first place when they officially cut Brown.

Following the release of Josh Brown, Giants President and Chief Executive Officer, John Mara, admitted that him and the rest of the team’s executives’ actions in accordance to the situation were “misguided.”  He stated that the information that was made available to them never showed any irrefutable evidence that Brown had been guilty of committing this crime but after the release of these new documents they concluded that it was time to part ways with the player.

With all of this said, is it reasonable to place the blame on Ben McAdoo for not handling this situation properly? No, but that is the reality of being in charge of a professional team in the biggest market in sports. As previously stated, the team was never given all the information about Brown’s case and when they finally were, they cut the player. Sadly, even though they did the right thing, they will still be criticized for not doing it soon enough.

Being a rookie Head Coach in the NFL is obviously no simple task, but add in the fact that that McAdoo has had to deal with a variety of sensitive issues while also considering the ferocious nature of NY media, it is almost impossible to operate under the radar. For now it seems like this issues have been put in the past, OBJ is well aware of the fact that he simply cannot continue to act the way he has been and Josh Brown is officially not the Giants responsibility anymore. Although, this doesn’t mean McAdoo can relax yet. He still has the duty of putting a competitive team on the field every Sunday, he has to figure out how to incorporate new formations and plays into an offense that has been exposed as being one-dimensional, and overall he has to be a leader for a team that is currently missing one. So far in 2016, the NFC East has shown it might be the best division in all of football and now that these problems seem to be in the past, the New York Giants can finally just focus on winning games.

 

 

 

 

 

Leicester City: The Greatest Sports Story. Ever.

 

By Nate Flax

As the clock hit the 96th minute of the Tottenham – Chelsea match, the entire soccer world realized that the greatest underdog story in sport history had concluded. After trailing 2-0 at halftime, Chelsea came back to draw with the second place Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to a brilliant 80th minute equalizer by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. As the final whistle blew to end the heated London Derby, Tottenham’s title hopes were dashed and for the second year in a row, a new Premier League champion was decided at Stamford Bridge. However, this time it wasn’t one of England’s heavyweight contenders, but instead a club that had been written off before the season even started.

Leicester City

Located right in the heart of England, world-famous clubs, always surrounded Leicester with Manchester just to the North and London to the South, but until this year, very few that did not follow the BPL closely even knew a soccer club existed there, even though the team was founded in 1884 (132 years ago). The Leicester City Foxes were simply insignificant, finishing at the bottom of the table the year before and had only received promotion into England’s top league the year before that. They entered the season 5000-1 odds to win the title this year and featured a team that had cost just £80 million to put together (to put in perspective Manchester City spent £80 million on one transfer alone earlier in the year). Billy Beane’s Moneyball scheme wouldn’t stand a chance against this. Other recent previous 5000-1 odds as explained by ESPN’s Paul Carr included 16-year-old Paul Chaplet’s chances at this year’s Masters (where he shot 21 over par and finished dead last) and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ chances to make the playoffs with a month left in the season and their record sitting at 14-35. The odds for Elvis Presley being found alive were also 5000-1.

Being written off before the season even started, Leicester really had no chance of failing any expectations given to them, quite frankly because there were no expectations to start with. But that’s when everything clicked. Led by Riyad Mahrez, Danny Drinkwater, Jamie Vardy, and seasoned manager Claudio Ranieri, the Foxes outdid themselves by continuing to be that pesky opponent that just wouldn’t give up even though they seemingly had no business competing with powerhouses like Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea. Yet somehow, with Chelsea holding Tottenham to a draw, Leicester City sat seven points clear on top of the table with just two games to play, making it impossible for anyone to catch them, and crowning them the kings of England. With the third smallest budget in the Premier League, the Foxes became the first team not named Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, or Chelsea in 21 years to win the title, and just the sixth to win out of 48 that have tried since 1992. After a season that proved that money can’t always guarantee a crown, Leicester City concluded the fairy tale of a season that underdogs could previously only dream of.

Reflections on Laremy Tunsil’s Historic Draft Slide

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

The 2016 NFL Draft was held this past Thursday night in Chicago and there were some surprises to say the least. A couple of things that may have shocked some fans included linebacker Myles Jack falling out of the first-round, CB Eli Apple being drafted at No. 10 by the New York Giants, and the mind-boggling amount of former Ohio State Buckeyes taken in the first-round. But one thing that took everyone by surprise was how far offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil fell.

                                                                                    Image via http://www.clarionledger.com

A dramatic series of events led to Tunsil falling all the way to the Miami Dolphins at No. 13. This player, who was once seen as the number one overall prospect in the draft, saw his downfall begin moments before the draft. Exactly thirteen minutes before the start of the draft, a video was posted to Laremy’s verified Twitter account that showed the former Ole Miss Rebel smoking what is assumed to be weed from a gas-mask bong. After a couple of minutes the video was taken down and the account was then deactivated. The video may have only been up for a few minutes but the damage was done and once again the power of social media was demonstrated.

Even after Tunsil had been selected by the Dolphins the mayhem continued. After the pick, an image was uploaded to Laremy’s Instagram account that showed text messages supposedly between Ole Miss Assistant Athletic Director John Miller and Tunsil. The conversation consisted of Tunsil seeking money from Miller to pay his mother’s rent and electric bills. Last season at Ole Miss, Laremy served a seven-game suspension stemming from similar accusations where he was found guilty of accepting improper benefits.

When it was all over, Laremy was still drafted in the top twenty but his fall cost him millions of dollars. In an article from ESPN titled Video kept Ravens from drafting Laremy Tunsil with No. 6 overall pick, writer Jamison Hensley discusses how the video impacted the Baltimore Ravens evaluation of Tunsil. The author writes, “The Baltimore Ravens would have taken Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil with the No. 6 overall pick were it not for the gas mask video that surfaced.” Even though he only talks about one team, it is probably fair to say the twelve other teams that passed on the prospect were thinking similarly. In the same article, Hensley writes something that ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, “According to Schefter, Tunsil lost $7 million by falling seven spots in the draft.” Not only did this social media blunder tarnish the player’s image, but it also caused him to lose a lot of money.

It was very hard to watch this young man’s life just unravel right in front of us on one of the biggest stages in professional sports. But this is just the latest case of athletes suffering at the hands of social media. Recently it has been reported that the Dolphins believe Tunsil’s former financial adviser is who hacked into these accounts and posted the image and video. During the draft, ESPN analyst Jon Gruden gave his opinion on the issue, “We live in a glass house these days. … There’s a lot of money and people’s futures at stake. I hope this doesn’t come back to haunt Tunsil. Hopefully it’s a learning experience for him. He’s gotta clean this up if he wants to play in this league.” With this statement, Gruden echoes mine and surely many others opinions.

Following the draft, Laremy Tunsil admitted to the media that he had in fact taken money from an Ole Miss coach and that the screenshots were real. It is unclear whether the NCAA had already been aware of these actions since they had already suspended the player last season for the same reason. Now that Tunsil had admitted such a thing to an audience of millions, the NCAA will surely continue their investigation with the university.

This event is one of the most publicized examples of an athlete being punished for things that had been posted to their social media accounts. Obviously it is unfortunate for Tunsil to fall all the way to No. 13, but he is saying all the right things starting with accepting full responsibility for his actions. The player has a bright future ahead of him in the NFL but this will follow him for many years to come. It cannot be emphasized enough how big of a role social media plays in forming a person’s image and it is crucial for athletes as well as regular people to realize how to properly use these platforms. It is my hope that other athletes learn from this and don’t make the same mistake Tunsil did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trouble in Philly: Sam Bradford Wants Out

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

The City of Philadelphia has had a tough go with their professional sports teams in recent years. Most notably, the Eagles have consistently under performed despite having elite talent like LeSean McCoy, Demarco Murray and DeSean Jackson at some point over the past four years. The Phillies have quickly plummeted to the bottom of the MLB and how could we forget the 76ers who have been one of the worst teams in NBA history for the past few seasons. The struggles continued when Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford reportedly requested a trade early Monday morning.

                                                                           Image via http://www.philly.com

The former number one overall draft pick is most likely seeking a trade because of the move his current team made a few days ago. Last Thursday the Philadelphia Eagles agreed to send the no. 8, no. 77, and no. 100 picks in this year’s draft along with a first-round pick in 2017 and 2018 second-round pick to the Cleveland Browns to receive the second overall pick in this year’s draft as well as a 2017 fourth-round pick. After the trade was officially completed, Eagles representatives announced that they planned on taking a QB with the second overall pick. It is interesting that Philly decided to trade away so many picks just so they could draft another signal-caller with the second selection. It is only interesting because this past off-season the team signed Bradford to a two-year deal which included $22 million in guaranteed money while also signing former Kansas City quarterback Chase Daniel to a three-year contract where he is guaranteed $12 million.

It is obvious that the Eagles are trying to solidify what is widely seen as the most important position in football and the trade shows just how desperate they were in doing so. Bradford is upset with the move and he has every right to, why would he tolerate being seen as a stop-gap player?

Earlier in the week, reports were that even after the trade, Sam did not wish to be traded and wanted to prove to the organization that he was “the guy.” But now the complete opposite is being said, the next couple days will prove which report is correct. For now we’re going to pretend that Bradford actually does want to be traded. There are a few teams who are in the market for an experienced quarterback. To name a few, the Denver Broncosand San Francisco 49ers.  With the departure of both Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler, Denver is in dire need of a player who can lead the team. In San Francisco’s case, the organization has not shown the most trust in Colin Kaepernick and might be interested in making a deal.

Even with his reported request for a trade, Eagles management is supporting Bradford. Executive Vice President of Football Operations Howie Roseman was quoted as saying, “to reiterate our support for Sam Bradford and go back to our statements last week — that Sam is our starting quarterback.” This statement shows that the team is trying to downplay the drama surrounding their quarterback situation, and they are saying the right things.

Even if the former Oklahoma Sooner did request a trade, the media has no room to criticize him. Just like any other player, Bradford wants respect. And if the team does actually use the 2nd pick on a QB, which will most likely be Carson Wentz, why is it wrong for them to plan for the future? The organization is attempting to change the approach they have had the past few seasons, instead of trying to win now, they are figuring out how to win in the future and that means they must have a quarterback who can do that. It would not be the worst idea to take Wentz and let him sit for a couple of seasons allowing him to adjust to a pro style NFL offense. But even if Wentz isn’t thrown into the fire his rookie year, he still has a lot of pressure on him. Philadelphia sacrificed a lot to get this pick and they are counting on Wentz or any other QB they get to make it worth it.

The 2016 NFL Draft will be held in Chicago on April 28th and Eagles faithful as well as media will be waiting patiently to see what their team does. If Philly sticks to their plan and takes a QB, it will take a couple seasons to see who got the best of the trade because now the Cleveland Browns are seen as the clear winners and that is a first.

 

 

Reactions to Tom Coughlin’s resignation

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

As new head coach, Ben McAdoo sits in his office, evaluating the state of the New York Giants organization and Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. prepare for the Pro Bowl later tonight. One man is confined to his couch getting ready to watch his former superstars perform, Tom Coughlin.

After 12 years as the head guy in New York, on Jan. 4, Tom Coughlin decided to step down from the position. Coughlin leaves with an overall record of 102-90 and two Super Bowl rings while also having had the opportunity to coach multiple elite players such as Michael Strahan, Eli Manning and Odell Beckham. During his tenure as Head Coach, something fans could always count on from the team was that the players were going to run out of that tunnel and play as hard as they could for Tom. It was hard to say that was true the past three years. Maybe that is what led to his resignation, or was it that the team had not made the playoffs since 2011? Or was his age becoming an issue? At 69 years old, Coughlin was the oldest coach in football. Any one of these reasons could have been the deciding factor for him to move on from the New York Football Giants.

At first it wasn’t clear whether Coughlin had stepped down under his own power, or the Giants had actually let him go, but out of respect told him he could tell the media he was resigning. Adam Schefter of ESPN cleared the air when he said Coughlin, “decided to step down before Giants asked if he wanted to stay.” Most New York media outlets running stories about Coughlin chose to describe the resignation as him stepping down or moving on from the organization; its easy to see the amount of respect that not only the fans have but also the media because instead of saying he resigned or was forced out they chose to use softer words to describe it.

During this past season, especially towards the end, there were pretty much two points of view on Tom Coughlin and his future with the Giants among fans and the media. One was that it was time to start fresh, after four years of missing the playoffs and having a losing record three of those years, most people were ready for a change. Many media sources wrote about Coughlin in negative but respectful ways, citing his multiple failed attempts at going for it on fourth down rather than kicking the field goal and more notably about how Coughlin didn’t remove Odell Beckham Jr. from the game when he and Carolina Panthers cornerback, Josh Norman, had multiple altercations during the game including trash talk, shoving and pushing, and even throwing punches at each other. The other view people had on the Tom Coughlin issue was that fans should stay loyal and the Giants organization should keep offering him one-year deals until he was ready to call it quits. Some people might have felt this way because of the two Super Bowls he brought to New York or because he brought the Giants back to elite status. The thing that may have swayed many loyal fans into having the first point of view was probably when the Giants were absolutely dismantled on Monday Night Football by the Minnesota Vikings, losing 49-17. When the team was pushing for the playoffs and playing in a huge Monday night game, they came out just flat and no one seemed like they wanted to be there or even cared about the outcome. With those circumstances, the team should have come out and played with a fire under them, but instead they rolled over and allowed the Vikings to do whatever they wanted.

All of the wins and losses, Super Bowls, and division titles are now just a thing of the past. All we can do now is look back at Tom Coughlin’s legacy with the Giants and it’s probably a safe bet to say that most people will remember him in a very positive way. He goes down as one of the best coaches in New York Giants’ history and we will all miss seeing him and his rosy cheeks on the sideline every Sunday.