Tag Archives: Adrian Peterson

Monday Morning Breeze: The Revolution Will Be Caught One-Handed

[(MOST IMPORTANT NOTE: The Breeze will recap CFB’s Alabama-Clemson National Championship game on Tuesday, so this will be Professional Football-heavy, or College-Deflated, depending how you choose to see the glass re: -imisms) It’s near impossible to miss the unfolding humor in a reality that pits America’s Most Traditionally Revered NFL team against the steaming pile of toxic that has been Daniel Snyder’s Washington Trumps, in D.C., for a wild-card playoff game.

When you add the fact that a prominent Packer player is named “Ha Ha Clinton-Dix” while Hillary stumps for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination, I mean, clearly Fate’s got a warped thing for the wickedly absurd. So what could prepare us for an NFL Wild-card weekend that lived up to its name? Where Ace Ventura jokes became re-relevant (“laces out”) making my heart gently weep for Minnesota’s Blair Walsh Project, where it seems everyone wants to be like ODB Jr whether it’s receivers vying for his “Best Ever Catch ‘Til Tomorrow” crown, or Vontaze’s Burfict crime-ing for his “Grossest Cheap Shot” frown, where all he does is Russell Wilson Seattle to wins (or perhaps Faith’s wind), while the Bengals missed Double-Deuce Dalton more than the time it takes to restore sore thumbs, Pack Nation slumbers well ’cause Aaron Rodgers remembered how to kinda throw again, some.

To playoff football let’s succumb. Enter to the beating drum of your heart’s hum and maybe find fun…

NFL PLAYOFFS PORTION OF THE PROGRAM

NFL Playoffs Games of the Week (Wild-card Round) Kansas City Chiefs 30 @ Houston Texans 0 So it was, ho hum, on the very first kickoff of the very first ho hum playoff game KNILE DAVIS EXPLODES THROUGH A MASSIVE HOLE AND ho hum RETURNS IT ONE-HUNDRED AND SIX FREAKING YARDS FOR THE TD. Houston was never really close on the majority of this play or for the rest of the game as Kansas City would never relinquish that lead, with the helpful, steady hand of Alex Smith leading the way and the woefully unsteady hand of Bryan Hoyer (4 picks, yikes!) leaving the Texans exposed like a butterfly filet of poor play.

Jon Gruden quote of the day: “JJ Watt’s battling a bad groin injury.” Look, Watt’s an incredible player, but even he can’t fight a Kansas City O-line AND tangle with one of those “bad groin injury” things at the same time.

Pittsburgh Steelers 18 @ Cincinnati Bengals 16 An enchanting, angry contest. Part 1 of “Insane Catches by Incredible Wideouts,” and Vontaze’s Rage. This story told with the help of Vine’s visuality. We’ll start with the uglier portions of the game and finish with the beauty of Martavis’ gorgeous holy-roller TD catch. In all, it seems Andy Dalton will still get blamed for another 1st round exit, even though he wasn’t playing. We begin with one Vontaze Burfict losing his famously hot-tempered mind, producing a near clone of the ODB Jr. cheap-ass headshot, this time on Antonio Brown…

..but “Oh by the way” Burfict was way more egregious, disgusting, with this cheap headshot on Maxx Williams in a previous game versus the Ravens. Careful, it’s disturbing…

https://vine.co/v/iMWPBbFYELr

…and continuing the ugly parade, Pittsburgh ASSISTANT COACH Mike Munchak, yes, a coach, ripping some of Reggie Nelson’s dreads, rightfully pissing him right off…

…but thank all that’s True and Right in the world for Martavis Bryant’s incredible athleticism, focus, and brilliance all on display on this catch in the 3rd quarter, possibly trumping Beckham’s one-handed stab heard ’round the world…

Seattle Seahawks 10 @ Minnesota Vikings 9 This game will forever be remembered (by me) as “The Blair Walsh Project,” but it also included Part 2 of “Incredible Catches by Amazing Wideouts” and one of the more unlikely turning-point plays in recent history. First off, it looked cold as freezer burn in Minn-eh-sot-ah, -3 degrees for much of the game, with breath bursting from the entire stadium’s mouths like 80,000 proud vapers.

While their defense was its usual stout self, Seattle came out slightly resembling a steaming crater of ineptitude on offense. Then the play below happened, which appears to foreshadow more terror for Wilson and the ‘Hawks offense. Except he’s Macklemore uncommonly composed Russ Wilson, even in the face of certain peril, proving once again on this play why he’s so valuable to Mr. Pete Carroll and the ‘Hawks. For a little forced imagination, think of how 99.9% of the time the QB/center shotgun exchange is botched like this it results in, at best, a sack.

Instead, picture this reality where Wilson recovers smoothly, calmly baseball slides, retrieving the ball and springing back up in one swift motion, rolls away from oncoming defenders, looks downfield and fires a strike to a wide-open Tyler Lockett for the game-changing play. Seattle would go on to a TD and huge momentum swing, injecting life into their moribund offense and turning the tides of what was shaping up to be a certain Viking victory.

Yeah, I believe in momentum, F Nate Silver on this topic, and this was a huge swing in a game largely dictated by field position.

…then Adrian Peterson fumbles on the ensuing Viking possession, and SEA recovers with 10:30 left in the 4th.

…oh by the way Doug Baldwin becomes a bent Beckham-like wizard and makes this incredible one-hander…

…although Chase Coffman proves there should be some kinda permit receivers have to earn to attempt one-handed catch, like a driver’s license, ’cause he tries to be like Doug B. but instead makes an interception so easy…

Trailing Seattle 10-9 very late in the 4th quarter, Kyle Rudolph beat Kam Chancellor in man coverage for a huge first down catch (vindication for Chancellor getting away with a clear hold on Rudolph earlier), putting the Vikings in money-FG position for the certain game-winner. It was a kick that 99.6% of the time would’ve been a Blair Walsh layup 3-pointer. In a kinder, gentler reality Walsh nails the kick, the Vikings win, slay the 2-time Super Bowl Seahawks and move on to the next round.

In this harsher, cruel, coooold reality Walsh shanks the kick so badly left of the uprights, like a boomerang that didn’t go where it was supposed to and never came back, allowing America to brush the 8-inch thick dust off every Scott Norwood and Ace Ventura joke no longer forgotten to mankind. I understand Walsh is a professional, paid a ton of money to make that kick. He has to make that kick. But damn, I just feel bad for him.

Green Bay Packers 35 @ Washington Cousins/Trumps 18
This game started with a bizarre “DeSean Jackson scores but doesn’t” on a catch and run where he crossed the goal line near the pylon but crossed too far and stepped first out of bounds while holding the ball back pre-goal line. Green Bay went on to hold Washington to a field goal and early momentum. However, Green Bay’s offense was dormant for much of the first half until Aaron Rodgers started hooking up hardcore with Davante Adams and James Jones (don’t worry, Olivia Munn) and headed into halftime up 17-11 after giving up a safety.

In the second half, the Packers could not cover Washington’s Jordan Reed, who played incredibly (9 catches, 120 yards) with Kirk Cousins putting the Washingtons up 18-17 with a QB run. As the second half wore on though, Green Bay wrested control away, shutting down Washington’s attack, pounding Washington’s D with a steady diet of Lacy and Starks, and squeezing just enough juice out of A-Rod’s recovering air raid to coast comfortably into the next round. Kirk Cousins and the Washingtons were kinda like Leo here, at the Golden Globes: they won their division, had home-field against the Pack, everyone was lauding them for pulling through the RGIII fiasco.

They’re laughing, they’re having a good time, sitting nearer the top than they’ve been in a while. Meanwhile Rodgers and the Pack were like Lady Gaga: they just hadn’t looked like their typically dangerous self after blazing to a 6-0 start to the season before dropping 4 of their next 5 and finishing 2nd in the NFC North.

But oh, never forget about the beautiful power of Aaron Rodgers and the Pack, as they approach laughing Leo/Washington all the way from the forgotten back, shimmering the entire way as they (purposefully?) knock the Snyder’s over-extended elbow out of the way, smirking a triumphant return to the next round with a future full of promise, leaving Leo and the Snyders meekly grimacing in their wake.

https://vine.co/v/iMApWTgWgvL

THIS WEEK’S SIGN SOMETHING’S ASKEW IN THE WORLD

https://vine.co/v/iMm2OdgxwAK

Selfishly Sprayed Tweets Peak at Past Week

Packers Host Vikings For NFC North Title

Well that was less than enjoyable. The Green Bay Packers went in to a road game with the Arizona Cardinals last week with many questions as far as some fans were concerned. Unfortunately for those fans, their questions were resoundingly answered. Having emerged from their desert voyage thoroughly embarrassed in week 16, a home game with the Minnesota Vikings now looms with the NFC North Division on the line.

What’s that? You slept through last week’s Packer game against the Cardinals and have been so busy that you’re just now getting a chance to tune in and see what’s on tap this week for the Pack? In that case, let’s get you up to date:

  • The Packers are 10-5
  • They play the Vikings this week at Lambeau Field in the regular season finale
  • On the line in this game is the NFC North Division title and a first round playoff game at home
  • The loser is in the playoffs still, and heading to Washington to face the Redskins for the first round game

I know, not so bad right?

The Arizona game can be looked at in no other way than a “burn the tape” type of game for any Packers fans that wish to maintain their fleeting grip on sanity. The Packers have many flaws for a team in the position they now find themselves in. On offense, from top to bottom, nothing has gone smoothly all year for a unit that was expected to carry the team as they have in the past. There has been no consistency in the run game. The wide receivers have struggled to get open all season, lacking the ability to gain separation downfield, and dropping far too many balls when Rodgers finds ways to get it to them.

Injuries among the offensive line have caused communication breakdowns in the run game as well as in pass protection. Rumblings of Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy not seeing eye to eye have not yet been silenced. Opposing defenses have figured out the formula to slowing the Packer offense down and Mike McCarthy and his offensive staff and personnel have not yet been able to come up with the answers to solve the complicated riddle that is this season.

I’m done asking questions. I’ve gotten my answers. The fate of this season is not yet sealed, however, expectations can now be properly set. This is a Packer team that should contend for the division, go to the playoffs, and lose in one of the first 2 playoff rounds.

Essentially, they’re right where they should be from their performance this season. No more thoughts of a first round bye. Arizona proved they’d earned that. No more expecting to compete against the Broncos, Panthers and Cardinals. This year’s Green Bay Packers aren’t on that level. They are not a team that should be talked about in the top echelon of the National Football League. So, is it over?

No! Of course not!

The Packers have the players to get it done. They have the coaches to get it done. Their defense can continue keeping them in games. The offense could figure it out at any point now. I’m no longer hoping for it or expecting it. A guy can only take so much pain. I’m just saying it could happen. This week 17 matchup with Minnesota is the last chance to put some great momentum and confidence together heading into the playoffs. It’s a great chance to turn the page. Minnesota has played well this season and serves as a nice challenge for the Packers. It’s apropos that this game is for the division.

I won’t breakdown the game and look at any matchups. Adrian Peterson is pretty good. The Packers will have to contain him. Blah, blah, blah. I can’t “burn the tape” on this season and throw out everything before this and now pretend to look at this game and prognosticate about what can/will/should/could/might happen…maybe. Throw the records out. Flip the page. Burn the tape. This is the type of game where none of that matters. The Packers earlier win against the Vikings this season doesn’t matter. How the Vikings and Packers have played this year up to this point doesn’t matter. Any players that are out or injuries, excuses, etc. don’t matter. The opinions of fans and media don’t matter. The flaws and questions and answers and unanswered questions don’t matter. The Packers and Vikings play today in a one game season for the division.

Find a way to win. It doesn’t have to be pretty. The 2010-11 Green Bay Packers are not walking through that door. But the final chapters of the 2015-16 Green Bay Packers season have not yet been written. Green Bay still has a chance to make a run in the playoffs and write their own story. The chance to come back after an embarrassing loss and play for the division title in front of their home fans is now the challenge that sits before them. I’m excited to see how they respond. I won’t be hoping for anything. I’ll just be watching, without expectations. Let’s see what they’ve got

I’m Telling You There’s a Chance: Bold NFL Predictions 2015

Welcome to opening day of the 2015 NFL season. The 220 days of anxious anticipation are over. It’s finally here. That’s not to say that the NFL has been out of mind for all this time. Quite the contrary. We all recognize that the NFL has become a year-round event.
In fact, many of us had spent the past several weeks waiting to hear about a certain big ruling. Will he be there for opening night or not? As it turned out, the hearts of many football fans were broken when we learned that Roger Goodell will not be at the game tonight. But Tom Brady will be, so I guess that’s something.
Before the games kickoff tonight and this weekend, I, along with a couple of my biggest football fan friends, recorded our fearless forecasts for the season.  It’s our annual tradition.  We each submit one audacious prophecy per team, one that is unlikely to occur, but we’re telling you there’s a chance. Then we lay out the teams in alphabetical order along with the corresponding predictions (hey, Matthew Berry isn’t the only one allowed to make bold predictions). Then we put the papers on the fridge. At least we did when we were college roommates. Now we will probably just email them to each other or something.
Okay, that’s enough of a prelude. Here are my predictions for the 2015 season.

 

 

Arizona Cardinals – Carson Palmer, at 35 years old, will set career highs in passing yards and passing touchdowns. Reasoning: With the best weapons he has had since the days before Chad Johnson changed his name to Ochocinco then back to Johnson, and the benefit of a passing-friendly league, Palmer looks poised for a big year.

 

Atlanta Falcons – Julio Jones will have at least 1,000 more receiving yards than the next highest player on the falcons. Yeah that’s right. Reasoning: Jones is going to be the focal point of this offense. By a lot. He may reach 200 targets, Roddy White keeps getting older, and Julio is going to start 16 games one of these years.

 

Baltimore Ravens – Justin Forsett will lead both his team and all NFL running backs in receptions. Reasoning: Last season with Marc Trestman as his head coach, Matt Forte set the single season record for receptions by a running back with 102. Marc Trestman is now Baltimore’s offensive coordinator. Baltimore also has very few pass-catching options. Forsett will be a popular target.

 

Buffalo Bills – Tyrod Taylor will lead NFL QBs in rushing yards. Reasoning: Rex Ryan loves to run the ball, so why not add the QB to the mix? Taylor, one of the best athletes playing the position, will likely be looking to avoid turnovers as much as possible since he won’t need to score much with that Bills defense clobbering people. Taylor will tuck and run more than a few times this year.

 

Carolina Panthers – No receiver will reach 600 yards receiving. Reasoning: The situation is rough. Kelvin Benjamin was by far their best last season and he will not play a down this year. Other than Greg Olsen, they don’t have any even semi-reliable options. Even so, one of them will still catch a touchdown, so at least they will beat the 2014 Chiefs in that category.

 

Chicago Bears – Jay Cutler will have the best touchdown to interception ratio of his career. Reasoning: John Fox and Adam Gase are smart enough to realize that Cutler is an erratic decision maker so they will have him running a simple offense with few opportunities for him to make costly mistakes. This will mean as many rushing plays as possible and short simple throws for Cutler.

 

Cincinnati Bengals – After four consecutive trips to the playoffs, the team will win only 5 games and finish last in the division. Reasoning: They flop in the playoffs every year. The regular season is going to start looking like a long, tough road to failure. At some point they will stop believing, no matter what Journey says.

 

Cleveland Browns – Duke Johnson will lead the team in catches. Reasoning: Johnson is already the most talented player on their offense, and the coaches will be looking for any way to jumpstart their anemic passing attack.

 

Dallas Cowboys – Dez Bryant will catch 20 touchdowns and set a career high in catches and receiving yards. Reasoning: The Cowboys don’t know who to use in their running game and may be figuring that out all season. There is no one they trust more than Dez, especially in the red zone.

 

Denver Broncos – As a team, the Broncos will lead the NFL in rushing attempts. Reasoning: The coaching staff keeps promising a more balanced attack. I believe them. They will pair a run-heavy offense with a stout defense, saving Peyton for the playoffs.

 

Detroit Lions – Calvin Johnson will play in every game, and Golden Tate will still lead the team in receiving yards. Reasoning: Tate and Stafford established a strong rapport last season when Johnson missed time. I expect that to carry over into this season.

 

Green Bay Packers – James Jones, who was signed a week before the season opener, will catch 10 touchdown passes. Reasoning: The packers can plug in just about anyone here and throw him 10 touchdowns. Jones already knows the system, is familiar with Aaron Rodgers, and with Nelson out, a big opportunity is there for some Packer wide out.

 

Houston Texans – J.J. Watt will lead the team in receiving touchdowns. Reasoning: Last season the team leader had 6 touchdown receptions. J.J. Watt had 3. Closer than you thought, right? With Arian Foster out early, Houston will be looking for someone to turn to in the red zone. Why not Watt? That guy can do anything.

 

Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck will lead the league in passing touchdowns, passing yards, 300 yard games, and win MVP. Reasoning: This pick may not actually be all that bold, but I just want to be on record as a huge believer in Luck. The guy is great and keeps getting better.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars – Denard Robinson will be the team’s top fantasy scorer among non-QBs and will finish as a top 30 overall fantasy running back. Reasoning: Just because a team spends a high draft pick on a running back, doesn’t mean he will make an impact as a rookie. Remember Bishop Sankey last season? T.J. Yeldon is no sure thing either. Robinson can outplay him all season long.

 

Kansas City Chiefs – A Chiefs receiver will catch a touchdown pass this season. Is that too bold? Okay. I’ll go with another one. Alex Smith will set career highs in passing attempts, completions, yards, and touchdowns. Reasoning: In year three, Andy Reid will finally open up the offense more for Smith, who will now have a legitimate star receiver to throw to in Jeremy Maclin.

 

Miami Dolphins – DeVante Parker, currently fourth on the depth chart at WR, will lead the team in receiving yards. Reasoning: His talent is immense, easily the highest on the team. Jarvis Landry, the team’s current number one WR, is solid but will likely catch a lot of short passes, limiting his yardage total. Parker has the explosiveness and big-play potential to quickly make him a favorite target of Ryan Tannehill.

 

Minnesota Vikings – Adrian Peterson will lead the NFL in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and yards from scrimmage. Reasoning: He’s rested. He’s eager to prove himself. He’s a physical freak of nature.

 

New England Patriots – Rob Gronkowski will set the NFL records for most receiving yards and most receiving touchdowns by a tight end. Reasoning: Brady is back and ready to send a message. The Patriots always respond to controversy with stellar play on the field. All Gronk has to do is stay healthy.

 

New Orleans Saints – Brandin Cooks will catch at least 100 passes and score 10 touchdowns. Reasoning: With Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills gone, Drew Brees will need a new favorite target. Cooks flashed brilliance as a rookie and appears poised to build on his success this year.

 

New York Giants – Eli Manning will be a better fantasy QB this season than Peyton. Reasoning: As I already mentioned, Denver is going to run the ball a ton this year. On the flipside, the Giants don’t have a dependable running game. Instead they will attack through the air as Eli utilizes all of his finally healthy receiving options.

 

New York Jets – Chris Ivory will top 1,100 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. Reasoning: He is the undisputed bell cow in their back field and will have plenty of opportunities to run. The improved receiving corps should help move that extra defender out of the box, which will open running lanes for Ivory.

 

Oakland Raiders – Latavius Murray will finish with more total yards than DeMarco Murray. Reasoning: DeMarco had 497 touches last season, including the playoffs. No running back that has ever carried the ball as much as he did last season has ever played 16 games the following year. The Eagles also seem set on divvying up carries to each of their backs to keep everyone fresh. In addition to DeMarco’s production likely taking a steep drop, Latavius has finally won the chance to be lead back for a full season. This role in an improving offense makes Latavius a good bet for a breakout season.

 

Philadelphia Eagles – Sam Bradford will break the Eagles single season records for passing yards and touchdowns. Reasoning: Chip Kelly is a quarterback whisperer, guru, sage, and anything else you want to call him. Not to mention that Bradford is a much better fit for this spread offense than most people realize. If he can stay healthy, he is in for a huge season.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers – Despite missing the first four games, Martavis Bryant will score 10+ touchdowns and finish as a top 25 fantasy wide receiver. Reasoning: This will be one of the best Steelers offenses ever. Big Ben is playing better than, they have two of the league’s best players at WR and RB, and there is just enough left over for Bryant, who will benefit from all the defensive attention given to the team’s top guys.

 

San Diego Chargers – Ladarius Green will be a top 5 fantasy tight end in Gates’ absence and will finish the year in the top 12 at his position. Reasoning: He has the talent; he just needs the opportunity. With Gates out to begin the season, he will finally have his chance.  I think he will take advantage.

 

San Francisco 49ers – Vernon Davis will finish the season outside of the top 25 fantasy tight ends. Reasoning: He made virtually no impact last season and has shown no reason to make me believe this year will be different. His days in San Francisco are numbered.

 

St. Louis Rams – Todd Gurley will return from injury after missing the first 4 games and still win Offensive ROY. Reasoning: The Rams ground game will struggle early without Gurley, which will cause the team to excitedly thrust him into a feature role as soon as he’s ready. From the day he takes the field for the first time, he will be the best rookie in this class.

 

Seattle Seahawks – Tyler Lockett will lead all Seattle WRs in receiving yards and finish as a top 30 fantasy WR. Reasoning: The Seahawks receiving corps has no clear cut leader, so the opportunity is there for someone to step up. After a brilliant preseason by the rookie, Lockett seems as likely as anyone to emerge as the best of the wide outs.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Doug Martin will finish the year as a top 15 fantasy running back. Reasoning: I don’t know why Martin was so mediocre over the past two seasons after an explosive rookie campaign. I’m not sure which player he will be going forward, but I lean toward the guy from his rookie year. If he can approach that level this year, he should crack the top 15 at running back, maybe even the top 10.

 

Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota will lead the team in rushing yards. Reasoning: Given the recent trade for Terrance West, the team clearly doesn’t have a running back worth trusting. They will likely spread the carries around to many backs and Mariota will end up steadily accruing the team’s highest total.

 

Washington – Alfred Morris will finish the season outside of the top 25 fantasy running backs. Reasoning: The team is a train wreck. The coach doesn’t like his quarterback. The quarterback doesn’t like his coach. And there is an angry-running rookie RB that is going to take away many touches from Morris.

 

 

What do you think? Follow Jared on Twitter (@JaredAndrews3) and leave a comment! Make sure to like More Than a Fan on Facebook!

Adrian Peterson’s Future in Minnesota, or Somewhere Else

I still remember where I was when I first caught wind of the marks Adrian Peterson put on his child. It was Friday, the last day of an awful week for the National Football League. A night after the Baltimore Ravens and their Ray Rice-loving fan base was showcased on CBS’s Thursday Night Football, the thought was that the worst was behind us. With all respect due Rice as a pretty good football player, he is not and never was the superstar that Peterson was. With Peterson in this mess, sweeping off-field violence under the rug ceased to be an option for Roger Goodell. Since that Friday afternoon, neither Rice nor Peterson has played a down in the NFL, but that’s likely to change in 2015.

Rice, like some other also-rans in the league, was released and suspeneded indefinitely by the league because video surfaced of him striking his girlfriend in an Atlantic City elevator. He was later reinstated, but did not sign with anyone, an inaction you can almost probably attribute more to lack of interest in his football abilities, going forward, more than anything else. He’s clearly not the story, when you look ahead to 2015, not when compared to an all-time great like Peterson. Technically, Adrian Peterson remains a Minnesota Viking, though it’s fair to say, that’s subject to change before training camp.

For the next three seasons, through 2017, Minnesota controls Mr. All-Day, but none of the money is guaranteed. If he wasn’t Adrian Peterson, Vikings owner Mark Wilf would send the troubled star packing, no questions asked. However, there’s at least a conversation to be had, whether he’s the greatest Viking of all-time, though the floor would certainly listen to arguments for Fran Tarkenton and a few other names a die-hard Viking fan might throw out there. On March 21st, he’ll be 30 years old, and for many, that’s when you have to do the sniff test on NFL running backs, to determine if they’re expried or not. Again, with anyone else, that might be enough to cut bait, as if the wounds on his 4 year-old child weren’t enough, but we are talking about Adrian Peterson.

I know we went over all of this last fall, but in the context of the NFL sweeping its problems under the rug, it’s probably worth re-visiting exactly why Peterson wasn’t on the field for 15 of the Vikings’ 16 contests in 2014. On that Thursday, the infamous date of September 11th, a Montomery County (TX) grand jury indicted him on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. Again, the is a 4 year-old we’re talking about, and pictures revealed welts and open wounds on the boy’s back, rear end, legs, ankles and other unmentionables. Our world class athlete used a tree branch to show his pre-schooler who the boss was.

The former Oklahoma running back swore he never intended to harm his son in such a way. Let’s keep in mind, it wasn’t that long ago that Peterson’s biological son was buried after the child’s mother’s boyfriend beat the 2 year-old to death. For most, that would put things in perspective, and not to kick Peterson while he’s down, but many believe that he was far too apathetic about losing his flesh and blood, though he learned of the young man’s existence and that flesh and blood connection just days before the child died. For what it’s worth, I am inclined to believe Peterson’s claim about not wanting to harm his son. The problem is, he did.

Child discipline gone too far, that’s often the claim when it comes to abuse. Though I don’t have children of my own, many who do have asserted that children that age can be a pain in the ass. I’m sure I was that same pain in the ass at that age, and what’s a parent to do when acceptable corporal punishment (if you can believe there is such a thing) meets resistance? If you’re attempting to strike a child in a safe place and they move, you could miss and strike an unsafe area. I honestly buy that, but that buys you the benefit of the doubt on one wound. After that, well, every mark you leave and each inkling of pain you cause a defenseless child is simply a road map to grand juries, public outrage, and Commissioner’s Exempt lists.

How he ended up on that list, that’s something of a focal point, at least from Peterson’s camp. Did Kevin Warren conspire with the NFL to make sure he landed there? Warren is the team’s Vice President of Legal Affairs, and at the time, an exemption was a better alternative than suspension for Peterson’s bankroll. He was initially deactivated for one game, and if this sound familiar, it might be because Goodell only suspended Rice for two games before the public outrage forced his hand into something indefinite (which was justice, but admittedly unfair to Rice). An arbitrator later ruled in the league’s favor to keep Peterson on the Exempt List for the entire season, rendering his 2014 season over.

Now, for avoiding the PR nightmare that would have ensued, had the Vikings and the NFL let this child abuser on the field in Week 3, just days after envoking their new Domestic Violence policy, there is tension between the Vikings and Peterson, at least from where Peterson sits. The Vikings want him back, despite the criminal activity and despite his upcoming 30th birthday, but the running back’s camp is trying to leverage a trade. The problem is, the Vikings hold all of the leverage cards.

We’re going to hear about the Cowboys and it makes sense, DeMarco Murray’s future in Dallas is far from stable and the Cowboys are much closer to the finish line than Minnesota promises to be for the remainder of Peterson’s prime. It would also be a return home to Texas, but he does himself few favors forcing Minnesota’s hand here, as it is up to them to get the right value to trade him, when they could simply ask him to report to camp and play out his contract. And how dare he create problems with the team, when they “have been staunchly loyal to Peterson, probably to a fault,” according to Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press in Minnesota.

They deactivated him for one game after the allegations surfaced but briefly attempted to bring him back the following week, despite the fact that the populace was ready to torch Winter Park. After formal charges were filed, they got him on the commissioner’s exempt list so he could continue to get paid his full salary for doing nothing.

While he was gone, they didn’t badmouth him. They never wavered publicly in their support for him and, often referred to his stellar character — a hard sell at the time.

And they always said they wanted him back. What else were they supposed to do, issue a statement saying that Peterson’s 4-year-old son got what he deserved?

The real question is, does anyone (aside from the Cowboys) want the headache? The shelf-life thing may not pinpoint to a running back’s 30th birthday, but it is real. We’ve seen it too many times to deny the precedent, is Adrian Peterson the exception to the rule? My take: if anyone can defy garden-variety limitations a human being is supposed to encounter, it’s him. So, once you’ve established that the 30 year-old Adrian Peterson is worth the while from a football standpoint, you have to really evaluate if you can handle him in the locker room? In Minnesota, those familiar with him might forgive the actions that put him in Texas courtrooms, but he’s clearly ready for a change of scenery, and if he’s in a new locker room, it will be a direct result of the damage he inflicted on the body of a 4 year-old. He’d be around men who probably don’t know him, men with young children, and men who won’t forgive what he did to that defenseless boy.

Sure, he can help the Jets, Dolphins, Ravens, Colts, Chargers, and some NFC teams the Vikings would see on a regular basis, but what would those teams be willing to part with, especially considering his future with his current employer is not tenable? He doesn’t have another 2000 yard season in him, and with the Vikings, he’s due almost $13 million in 2015 alone. Who wants to shell out that type of cash on a gamble. The gamble doesn’t seem to reside with Peterson staying out of trouble with the law, but maybe it does. If he’s upset with anyone other than himself through this entire ordeal, which took nearly a full season from a potentially record-shattering career, maybe he’s learned nothing at all. And as older players go, is he the one you want mentoring your younger players?

It’s possible he’s immune to all of this inside the cloak of Jerry Jones or whichever owner ponies up the ransom Wilf and GM Rick Spielman are going to demand to give Peterson his way, and really, it might work out. However, logic would dictate Peterson and his agent take a step back and realize just how healthy remaining in cold Minnesota might be for Peterson on the whole.

Jameis Winston is the Seminoles' Own Worst Enemy

Defending Champ’s Playoff Chances Dashed amid Jameis Winston Distractions. That is how the year for the Seminoles is bound to end with Winston at quarterback. His most recent incident just adds to the list of things Winston has done that show a lack of leadership and more so, a lack of maturity. We’ve all been young and at some point maybe done things we regret, so I’m not saying he can’t change. But that is a change that can’t be made overnight and certainly not in time to save Florida State’s season. You can deal with distractions at other positions, but quarterback? Good luck. How are his teammates supposed to look to him as a leader when he keeps inducing distractions for his team?
In that sense, his teammates have to be getting frustrated, let alone the coaching staff. It’s difficult enough to repeat as champs when things are going right. This year’s FSU team is not good enough to simply show up amid distraction and run through the ACC. Finally, Winston had to be suspended and will not be on the field for his team on top of the off-field distractions. And in light of the quarterback’s string of behavior, it’s incredible he’s being suspended for only a half.
The incidents Winston has been involved in are even more of a cause for concern. These weren’t just “had a few too many drinks and did something stupid” mistakes. The most recent incident was the FSU QB standing on a table in the middle of Florida State’s campus yelling an obscene phrase. Joke or not, doing this was dumb, immature, and frankly irresponsible considering how much Winston has on the line. It also shows a lack of awareness that he didn’t think it would be a big deal. In a reference to his inability to be on the field for the first half Saturday, Winston stated, “That’s what eats me up”. Funny choice of words considering his off-season theft of crab legs. This brought up another of Winston’s issues, entitlement. Just because you’re the Heisman Trophy winner doesn’t mean you can get away with stealing or deserve things you can’t afford. I’m not particularly fond of seafood, but there are certain nice things I’d like to have but can’t afford. You know what I don’t do? Steal them. He shouldn’t get away with it any more than I should. But therein lies the problem. Winston gets off easy. It isn’t really a surprise. However these instances come on the heels of a sexual assault allegation. The charges may have been dropped, but the university is currently investigating and they can discipline based on the school code rather than the criteria used for a police investigation.
With all of this under Winston’s belt, how does that add up to a half game suspension? With the NFL’s image crumbling under a PR nightmare, FSU is letting its star quarterback play without discipline for an alleged sexual assault. Granted there is visual evidence in the cases of Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice, but Peterson is now not being allowed to play until his issue is resolved. Meanwhile Florida State is investigating Winston for what would be a worse crime and letting him play. Sure, no criminal charges were filed, and he may be completely innocent. But if in the end the university determines he violated the school’s honor code, it will surely take an image hit for letting him play. Seminole teammate Chris Casher was sentenced to probation for recording the incident but deleting it later. If there was nothing incriminating, why delete the video?
Even if you give Winston the benefit of the doubt in that case, it is part of a long line of ill-fated judgments on the quarterback’s part that should’ve had his most recent incident result in much more than a one half suspension. He has become an embarrassment to the school. Each post-incident interview has him saying they are misunderstandings or simple mistakes, and that he just needs to learn to make better decisions. Well he hasn’t, and the lack of discipline will only allow him to continue to make poor decisions and repeat the apologizing and “being better going forward” charade until his time at Florida State is over.
Regardless of the off the field outcomes, Winston’s decision making is going to come back to haunt the football team’s 2014 chances. For a quarterback who has already struggled to meet expectations this season, distractions are the last thing he and his team needs. This is especially the case for a team that hasn’t shown the dominance pre-season magazines anticipated as it heads into ACC play. Winston may not get further punishment, but he has already been a hindrance for a Seminole team that can’t afford a loss in a league where watered-down is an understatement.

Facebook, Fantasy Football, and the Emmys

There is very little of interest going on in the NBA right now. I figure I could bang home some more Celtics thoughts or talk again about the 2014 draft, but it just feels wrong to do that to anyone kind enough to be reading this. And if I’m going to do you wrong, I’d rather do it on an epic scale by talking about fantasy football and television. I hope no one is offended if I drive outside my normal lane.

First things first, a couple of items I really just have to get off my chest.

If you argue about politics on Facebook, and then get mad when you don’t affect hearts and minds, I’m probably not letting you babysit my kids. I’m not a big Facebooker, but I know a guy who “defriended” another guy because the other guy disagreed with him on whether a local city should or should not get a casino. Both of these fellas are in their mid 40’s.

If you dress to the nines when you go play 9 holes of golf after work at the local muni, I’m probably not letting you watch my kids. Nothing funnier than watching a guy in a $300 outfit play like me.

Thank you.  I’ll let you know when more stuff bothers me – I’m sure you’ll be counting the minutes.

You don’t see a lot of fantasy sports talk on More Than A Fan (by design?). Maybe someday I’ll write an article that speaks to the very loud minority of football fans who despise its very notion, but for today I’m simply going to talk top 10 players.

There are a million different ways to set up a league – some leagues use bonus points for yard markers (hate it), some leagues start 2 QBs per week (intrigued by it, never tried it), and some leagues are even starting to use team running backs rather than individual guys (offended by it, think those leagues should die). The below list is for a standard rules league that I’d guess 95% of the 32,000,000 fantasy players play by. I’m not breaking any ground, I’m just giving my thoughts on what will (probably) be your most important pick of (probably) your least important activity all year.:

Top 10 picks in a standard fantasy draft:

Adrian Peterson – Peterson’s getting a lot of headlines for coming out and saying when he’s going to break the all-time rushing record. I don’t care a lot about that either way, but from a fantasy perspective it’s nice to see a running back with confidence. It’ll mean he’s going to demand the ball. And with Leslie Frazier and Christian Ponder being the only things that could keep him from getting the call whenever he wants, I’ve got a lot of faith in AP as the best player in fantasy this year. Not much faith in the Vikings, but who really cares about the Vikings.

Arian Foster – I can’t really come here and say I expect him to get injured, but I’ve got that injury feeling on Arian this year. He always seems to dance around the edges of something major, there were rumors about a messed up knee (remember when he tweeted his social security #?), I don’t know. He’s good, but I know I wouldn’t end up with him.

Jamaal CharlesAndy Reid will help. Alex Smith is a good-sized upgrade at QB (think about the magnitude of that sentence for a second). Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe will reap the benefits. Big year for Charles – 1600 yards and 12 TDs.

Doug Martin – 1500 yards rushing, 500 yards receiving, and 12 TDs would be outstanding numbers, and all that would mean is that he doesn’t regress in his sophomore season. Potential inconsistency is the big thing to worry about.

Drew Brees – I wanted to rank him first. Here in New England we’ve seen what happens when the NFL pisses off an outstanding coach / QB combo. Brees and Sean Payton will be out for blood this year. Guys like Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham should greatly benefit from the NFL suspending Payton last season.

Ray Rice – No Anquan Boldin, no Dennis Pitta in Baltimore means that they’re going to rely heavily on Rice for the 7-12 yard chunks. Huge volume season coming up for Rice, the only question is how many TDs he’ll manage.

Marshawn Lynch – I’ve never been a big Lynch guy, but it might be time to admit I was wrong. He rarely has those games that win you the week on their own, but he’s as consistent as they come. And with Percy Harvin going down, Lynch’s touches increase even more.

Aaron Rodgers – The consensus best QB in football has to have a place on the list. I’m just flummoxed by the lack of weaponry they’ve surrounded him with in Green Bay. Randall Cobb had better step it up, because Jordy Nelson and JerMichael Finley are not big-time guys. That said, Tom Brady’s had some pretty damn good years without big-time guys, so maybe that’s the right formula.

Calvin Johnson – Toughest one in the league to rank, I think. He keeps getting stopped on the 1 yard line, or somewhere nearby. Almost 2000 yards last year, but he had almost as many fumbles (3) as touchdowns (5). Talented, but if you draft him you’re probably punting on either RB or QB and that’s a little unnerving.

C.J. Spiller – I don’t know. I have Spiller as the last RB in my top 10. Could be him here, could be Alfred Morris, could be LeSean McCoy, could be Trent Richardson, could be Tom Brady or AJ Green. I wouldn’t want the 9th or 10th pick in any draft this year. Much rather 14 and 15 (in a 14 team league) or 18 and 19 (in an 18 team league).

The Emmys

Last thoughts are around the Emmy awards. I’m a guy who has been firmly in the TV camp in the TV vs. Movies debate that’s been raging since HBO started pumping out shows like Oz, Deadwood, and the Sopranos. I love to argue about the best tv shows of all time almost as much as the best NBA team, left-handed hitter, or quarterback.

So the Emmy awards bother me. That it’s possible the awards are being voted on by people who’ve potentially only seen 1 episode is ludicrous. Do the Oscars only require their voters to watch a 15 minute clip of each movie? Anyway, maybe I’ll rant more about this some other time. For now, here are my Emmy picks without explanation or justification. Thanks for reading.

Lead Actress Drama: Claire Danes (Homeland)

Lead Actor Drama: Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)

Supporting Actress Drama: Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)

Supporting Actor Drama: Mandy Patinkin (Homeland)

Lead Actress Comedy: Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)

Lead Actor Comedy: Matt LeBlanc (Episodes)

Supporting Actress Comedy: Merritt Weaver (Nurse Jackie)

Supporting Actor Comedy: Adam Driver (Girls)

Best Drama: Breaking Bad

Best Comedy: Louie

Adrian Peterson is the NFL MVP

The NFL regular season is over, and so is the headline format for NFL columns that I’ve been using. To let you guys into some of the stuff that muddles around in my head while I’m thinking about how best to stay informative and entertaining here on More Than a Fan, I let myself get stuck having to write certain things about the NFL after every week by using those Three Things I Know titles.

At the beginning of every season for every sport, I sit down and tell myself that I won’t let myself get stuck covering the league or a team like a beat writer. Not that beat writers are bad, I happen to like lots of them, but it’s just that I’m not a beat writer. If there has been any success here at MTAF at all, it’s been because we’re a great group of personalities that run our mouths about whatever we feel like.

There will be a lot of times during the football season that I’ll be talking NFL and/or my beloved Cleveland Browns, but if there’s a cricket match that strikes my fancy one Tuesday, I don’t want to have to run out of the time I need to write about it because I have to pick out some facts about the NFL. (Cricket has matches, right? Games didn’t sound right)

Now that that’s over, today’s column actually is about the NFL. Sorry to the cricket fans for getting their hopes up.

Adrian Peterson is the NFL MVP

Without a doubt. Let’s start with the reasons that we all know: 348 rushing attempts for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns. He led the league in rushing by over 400 yards and out-gained the top four other Vikings skill players combined.

There are so many statistics that help prove why Peterson is the MVP that I couldn’t possibly list them all here (okay, I could, but it’s New Year’s Eve, for Pete’s sake), but there’s still one big reason why Peterson might not win the NFL MVP; Peyton Manning.

There are many folks that would gladly give Manning the MVP award and Peterson the Comeback Player of the Year award instead of the other way around. (Let’s face it, the two of them are sweeping those two awards) Truthfully, the argument for Manning to win the MVP is pretty massive, too: 583 pass attempts, 68.3% completion, 4,659 yards for 37 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions.

So, we have two players that absolutely deserve the MVP who’ve both had stellar seasons. Both led their teams to the playoffs and both look to continue their success in the postseason. There’s got to be a something that makes them different.

The difference is the circumstances under which they’ve thrived.

Peyton Manning led a playoff team back to the playoffs. He had two receivers with 85+ receptions and 1,000+ yards. Sure, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker had better numbers with Manning this season than they had with Tim Tebow in 2011, but these guys weren’t made by Manning, they were just helped by Manning. How do I know? Because catching more than 25 passes with Tebow at quarterback pretty much ensures that you have pro bowler potential with a decent passer at the helm.

Adrian Peterson led a 3-13 offense to the playoffs. That’s right, in 2011 the Minnesota Vikings were 3-13 with an almost identical roster. Peterson only played in 12 games last season before mangling his knee and saw first hand that anything other than a Herculean effort on that stripped down Minnesota offense won’t get him anywhere. So that’s what he gave; a Herculean effort.

Adrian Peterson carried his team the way that running backs rarely are able. He carried a terrible team up the cellar stairs and made it all the way up to the top floor. That deserves NFL MVP.

Now, picking the future Super Bowl MVP is a different story…

 

Three Things I Know About the NFL After Week 15

I really only know two things today. I really need to work on this title.

Players Can Be Heroes

What the Hell, guys?

Two weeks ago I had to write about Jovan Belcher and the Kansas City Chiefs. Now I can’t seem to concentrate because every few minutes something reminds me of what happened in Newtown, Connecticut. It was so hard to concentrate on football, or any sports, this past weekend. So hard to spend my time agonizing over games played by grown men… especially when those grown men’s dreams started off as thrilling fantasies in their minds when they were barely as old as the children murdered Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary.

But then I noticed something. I noticed Victor Cruz memorialized Jack Pinto, a victim in Sandy Hook who was Cruz’s biggest fan. I noticed all the New York Giants writing S. H. E. S. on their helmets to make sure that Sandy Hook Elementary School stayed on our minds. (As if it wouldn’t) I noticed Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson writing the name of every slain child on his cleats before his Monday Night Football match up against the New York Jets.

I noticed the moments of silence before every NFL game. I noticed the somber inclusion of young fans during pregame ceremonies. I noticed every flag in the NFL flying at half mast. I noticed each of the small, personal tributes from men who can vividly remember how it feels to have their dreams come true. And see them, along with every other parent in the world, acknowledge their fears for their children during each moment of remembrance.

I noticed that these players can be heroes. Not all of them, and not all of the time. But when a young boy who dreams of Victor Cruz in life can leave his family with memories of those dreams coming true because of the compassion of the player of which he dreams… Victor Cruz may not have saved anyone from a burning building or fought for our country, but he’s a hero in the eyes of that family.

And in mine.

Adrian Peterson is the MVP

I haven’t talked much about player awards yet this season, but I feel like the time has come. Choosing Adrian Peterson as MVP is probably the largest no-brainer in the history of football. I’m not quite ready to anoint him as best ever, but if he isn’t best this year then I’ll be slathered in butter, wrapped in bacon and fried up like a big, gamey hors d’oeuvre.

Here are some of my favorite Peterson stats:

Adrian Peterson has rushed for 1812 yards in 15 games to lead the NFL. Marshawn Lynch is second in the league with 1379 yards. In other words, Peterson has out-gained Lynch by more yards than Saints running back Mark Ingram has totaled this season. The tenth leading rusher in the NFL is Buffalo Bills C.J. Spiller. Peterson has Spiller beat by more yards than Eagles’ LeSean McCoy has totaled.

Peterson has more yards rushing than any wide receiver in the NFL has receiving. The closest is Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson with 1667 yards receiving. And how is Peterson keeping up with these receivers who are averaging around 14 yards per catch in the yardage department? Easy, he’s rushed 289 times this season, for an astounding 6.3 yards per carry. In fact, if you add Peterson’s receptions out of the backfield, Peterson’s 327 touches are more than the 313 receptions that the top three receivers in the NFL, Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson and Wes Welker have combined for.

Finally, Peterson’s 2,023 total yards from scrimmage is only 11 yards short of equaling the Vikings five leading receivers. Percy Harvin, Kyle Rudolph, Michael Jenkins, Jerome Simpson and Devin Aromashodu COMBINED have more yards than Peterson by a first down. From where you’re sitting to the front door. The other FIVE most productive non-quarterbacks on his team are that distance better than him.

Holy Crap. Adrian Peterson’s nickname is All-Day. That must be because that’s how long I could spend looking up statistics to prove his dominance.