The OCHO: Week 17
Antonio Brown has left the building
God damn, sometimes this column just writes itself for me.
Surprising Thing Number One: The Giants are keeping a stark raving lunatic on as head coach.
One of my least favorite coaches, Joe Judge, is expected to stay on as head coach for another season in NY, per Adam Schefter this past week. With that said, his rambling insane post game interview following an overwhelmingly bad performance against an equally bad Bears team might just change management’s mind. Amongst the non-sensical babble about culture (that ignored the team getting worse in basically every facet this season, and totally checking out two weeks early), was the above gem of a quote. This quote could (and should) have come straight from the mouth of Donald Trump. This very obvious lie (I’m not sure if it was his lie or the player who called him) doesn’t do anything for him, and makes him seem even more like a joke than he already is. I am so sorry Giants fans. You are a prestige franchise and you deserve better.
Expected Thing Number One: The Miami Dolphins miracle run came to an unassuming end.
The Dolphins good fortune (and good play) came to an end on Sunday against a nearly full strength Titans team that is simply better. As I expected, the Titans overwhelming defensive front had a field day with the Miami Dolphins offensive line that isn’t just the worst in the league this year, but is one of the worst in football history. The weather didn’t help things for Tua Tagovailoa, who looks very uncomfortable in bad weather. Given the Dolphins reliance on precision passing to move the ball, this lead to a total collapse. This ending renewed calls to replace Tua with a certain QB who is known for his firm and inappropriate “handling” of things. This would be a mistake. The Dolphins aren’t going anywhere without addressing the seismic issue of it’s offensive line. Don’t believe me, then listen to the words of former Miami Dolphins offensive tackle and 7 time Pro Bowler Richmond Webb.
I let Richmond know I agreed with him, and we had a nice little back and forth.
This is a career highlight. FWIW, Richmond Webb FOLLOWS ME lol. I’m sure I’m on mute, but still. It’s a nice moment for a nobody like me.
Surprising Thing Number Two: The Ravens punched the Rams in the mouth. Then the Rams punched the Ravens in the butt.
C’mon OBJ, not cool. The Ravens came out hot to try and save their season. Chuck Clark, who is presumably one person, was all over the field to try and cover for all the Ravens’ missing defensive backs. The Ravens jumped out in front, but eventually, their missing pieces caught up with them, and they frittered away their lead and lost by 1. It was a tough loss, and likely ended the Ravens’ season. What a rough season it was too. It’s hard to blame the coaching staff, which milked a near win out of a totally overmatched group Sunday. Hopefully next year the injury bug will hold off long enough for them to make it. Meanwhile, another Sunday, and another back breaking pick 6 for Matt Stafford. Stafford is probably the worst best QB I have seen this season. Do with that what you will.
Expected Thing Number Two: The Vikings will miss the playoffs because Kirk Cousins is an Anti-Vaxxer
Last night the Packers creamed the Vikings, who never even thought of playing offense behind the blundering, overwhelmed play of future Sherriff Deputy Sean Mannion. Earlier this week, Kirk Cousins tested positive for Covid. Due to the league’s rules, and his status as a staunch Anti-Vaxxer, this means Kirk was required to be out for this weekend’s game instead of being eligible to return. I wonder how that sits in a locker room. You work hard all season, and your last chance to win is completely destroyed because a guy in your locker room gets his news from You Tube. It’s also a tough break for someone like Justin Jefferson who had a chance to have the most receptions in his first two years of any player ever. We ride players all the time for their me first attitude. Here, Cousins put himself over his team. It’s his right. But let’s just keep this in mind when we evaluate Cousins in the future. He is a me-first guy. If you feel like that’s too harsh, watch this funny video to forget about it.
Surprise Thing Number Three: The Chiefs are absolutely overwhelming in the first quarter of every game. The rest of the game though…
The Chiefs also had their win streak come to an end in a thrilling contest with the Cincinnati Bengals that I desperately hope is a playoff preview. Joe Burrow lead a phenomenal comeback that can be directly attributed to Ja’Marr Chase making me look like an absolute moron for trying to take him out of the Pro-Bowl. He set fire to the Chiefs defense and racked up one of the greatest receiving days ever. He is the real deal and should be the ROY. The Chiefs, meanwhile, have a weird quirk. Every game they get out to a great start, then, as the game wears on, their offense dries out and they slowly lose momentum while the defense tries to hang on. This week they couldn’t. They also suffered 2 more injuries to their offensive line which is rapidly becoming as thin as it was in last year’s Super Bowl. This will present a real problem as soon as they get matched up with an elite pass rushing team and/or don’t start a game well. Put this in your memory bank, and save it for the post-season, where teams like the Bills, Titans, and Patriots await.
Expected Thing Number Three: Say heylo to my little friend
This isn’t connected to football, but how about this referee with the greatest mic check of all time, and the crowd feeling that call and response. We need more quality mic checks of this nature and I immediately hope this man is assigned to the Super Bowl. IT’S OK TO BE FUN. THIS IS AN ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCT.
Surprise Thing Number Four: Are the Raiders for real?
The Raiders have very quietly hung around the playoff race all season. Despite all of the chaos, terrible stories, demoralizing defeats, and terrible mismanagement, this team is somehow still on the precipice of losing in the first round by three touchdowns. I myself have declared them out of the mix several times. All they need now is a win next week over the Chargers at home to get in. This week, they surprised the Colts in Indianapolis to give themselves a shot, highlighted by this great play from Derek Carr, who just quietly continues to be a solid quarterback. Given everything that has transpired and the recent death of former Raiders coach John Madden, it sure feels like this is a storybook ending trying it’s damnedest to happen. I hope it does.
Expected Thing Number Four: Me talking about Antonio Brown
In one of the most bizarre scenes in NFL history, Antonio Brown stripped off his gear in the middle of the Bucs/Jets game and simply left. He ordered an Uber, the Bucs cut him immediately, and the entire Antonio Brown saga came to an end so sudden that we couldn’t have imagined it if we had tried. Just two weeks ago I was wondering what it would take to get Antonio Brown off the Bucs and it turned out to be quite simple. Him refusing to stay. A lot of people have all sorts of opinions on this (including me). One of the most common I have seen is how CTE plays a role in what is going on with Brown. While this is probably true, I don’t think this is the primary issue with Brown’s constant behavioral issues. Half the NFL probably has CTE, but there is only one Antonio Brown. The real reason behind it is much simpler. His entire adult life he has been surrounded by people who have enabled his bad behavior to get what they want out of him. Whether in Pittsburgh, Oakland, New England or now in Tampa Bay, teams, players like Tom Brady and sponsors have ignored his transgressions, and pushed to have him play no matter what. Brown is nobody’s fool. He has seen team after team ignore his actions, so why SHOULD he change. No one demands that he take accountability. No one demands that he actually change. Just two weeks ago, the Bucs ignored his selfish decision to fake a vaccine card because the team needed a wide receiver. Brown never apologized, or admitted what he did was wrong. Brown was immediately put back in a starring role, without any significant challenge to his behavior. Why wouldn’t he think he can demand or do whatever he wants? Brown has spent his whole life knowing that no matter what he did, he would always be allowed to play football somewhere for someone because he is incredibly good at it. The NFL, it’s teams, and even Tom Brady have ruined Brown’s life by showing him accountability means nothing. The best thing that could ever happen for Antonio Brown at this point is to lose everything and hit rock bottom until he accepts that he is responsible for his behavior, his behavior is wrong, and his behavior has consequences. Only then will his life turn around. Stop giving him unearned chances, and maybe he will change his behavior long enough to earn one.