Halloween special: The scariest players in the NFL

On this Halloween, I profile the scariest players in the NFL.  If you’re like me, you have nightmares about these players staring you down…not to mention your quarterback.

Jared Allen, Defensive End for the Minnesota Vikings

Yes, Jared Allen may be lovable…in a big, goofy dog kind of way.  But he’s also intimidating…in a growling Doberman kind of way.  You never really trust him, you never take your eyes off him, you never turn your back on him, and you never…ever piss him off.  Just ask Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterback Josh Freeman.

During last week’s Thursday Night Football game between the Vikings and the Buccaneers, Bucs Tackle Donald Penn kept blocking Allen after the play was over.  The two got physical and Penn knocked Allen’s helmet off, giving him a bloody nose.  Once the two were separated and back on the field for the next play, no one had to tell you what was going to happen next.

The whistle blew, the ball was snapped…and before he could say, “Trick or Treat,” Josh Freeman was on the ground with a bloodied Allen starting him in the face.  Just like a scene from a horror movie.

Fan’s best friend…but only if he’s on your team.

Troy Polamalu, Safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers

Don’t let the Head & Shoulders commercials fool you.  Troy Polamalu may be sitting at a piano, long hair flowing…but as elegant as he looks, he’s a fierce fighter on the field.  Over ten seasons in the NFL, Polamalu has racked up 614 tackles, 9 quarterback sacks, and 29 interceptions.  He also has two Super Bowl rings and seven Pro Bowl appearances to show for it.  Superhuman strength and speed?  Maybe he does moonlight as a vampire.

The hair is fair game on the field.  If you think it holds him back, though…think again.  But Head & Shoulders did insure Polamalu’s locks through Lloyds of London (for one million dollars), just in case.

If any player has the nerve to mess with Polamalu’s mop…it will grow right back anyway.  At least, it would in Twilight.

Ray Lewis, Linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens

Ray Lewis is not only the best linebacker on the Ravens defense, he is arguably the best linebacker in the NFL…and quite possibly the best to play that position.  Ever.

The Ravens are missing Lewis, who was ruled out for the season with a torn triceps muscle in week six.  And they may be missing him for much longer.  Reports say the 17-year NFL veteran who is not so quiet along the sideline, is quietly contemplating retirement.

In his storied career, Lewis has racked up more records than any trophy case could hold, including a Super Bowl, Super Bowl MVP, a record 13 Pro Bowl appearances, more than 2,000 tackles, 41 sacks, and 31 interceptions.

Coupled with his keen sense of leadership and that intense look, this is not a guy you want anywhere near your quarterback.  Not even on the sideline.

And then, there was that murder investigation…but I won’t go into that.

If Ray Lewis retires from football, he will be remembered only for his game killing plays, his violent attacks on quarterbacks, and his ability to stop runners dead in their tracks.

Aside from all that, he’s also one of the most loved and respected players of all time and is known for having a huge heart.  In 2010, Lewis had a street named after him in honor of his work in the Baltimore community.

I don’t care.  I still don’t want to run into him in a dark alley.  Even if it is Ray Lewis Way.  But don’t tell him I said that.  Ok?

Happy Halloween!


Coffee Cup Quarterback | Week 8: The one with The Queen, and the bumble bees, and Superman…

Week eight of the NFL season had London calling for the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams.  It was strange to hear our anthem followed by God Save The Queen.  I still can’t decide how I feel about that.  But God save The Queen when she saw how the Patriots head coach was dressed.  Yes, The Hoodie went global.  And it made its debut during a fan rally in Trafalgar Square on Saturday.

Patriots Coach Bill Belichick and Owner Robert Kraft

Will Belichick start a European fashion trend?  Will they be rocking hoodies with dress shirts and headbands on Oxford Street?  In Chelsea?  Probably not.  On behalf of America, I apologize to the Brits and Her Majesty.  I also apologize for the game…the Patriots beat the Rams 45-7.  American football is the greatest sport in the world.  But it is much more entertaining when two teams play.

At least they got to see the Gronk show.  Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski had eight catches and two touchdowns.  After the first, he did an awkward march before spiking the ball.  The crowd went nuts for his Changing of the Gronk.  Asked later who he was imitating, Gronkowski replied, “That little nutcracker dude that’s guarding the house.”  Americans…

Speaking of fashion statements…the Steelers took a lot of grief when they took the field on Sunday in this:

Steelers’ Halloween Costumes/Throwback Uniforms

Yes, the throwback uniforms are hideous.  But I think they were misunderstood.  The Steelers were dressed up for Halloween (as Peyton, Eli and Deion).  They just couldn’t get the wings and tutus to fly (literally) with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.  That’s why they call it the No Fun League.

Seriously though, no one ever wore those as uniforms…right?

Meanwhile, on NFL Halloween Sunday…Indianapolis Colts Running Back Vick Ballard played Superman, though he wasn’t in costume.  It was without a doubt the play of the day (and most likely the play of the week, maybe the month).  In overtime against the Tennessee Titans, Ballard goes in flying, upside down, over the pylon for the game winning touchdown.

Colts Running Back Vick Ballard Flies One In (In Overtime) Against the Titans

It was the Colts’ first road win of the season (and last season) and their first back-to-back win of the season (and last season).  Bet the Titans get their hands on some Kryptonite (or Stickum) before the teams meet again in Indy on December 9th.

And a real life hero, 11-year-old Dante Cano from Marlboro, New Jersey.  He came up with the idea of using pink penalty flags for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and wrote Roger Goodell with his idea.  On Sunday, Cano was invited to Met Life Stadium to present the pink flags to the officials before the game between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins.

Dante Cano (11) Meets NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

We hope to see the pink flags used during all the October games next season.  And remember, you can now bid on all the NFL in Pink items used this month.  The money goes to the NFL’s A Crucial Catch.

Just proves you don’t need a cape or a jersey to be a hero.

Or a hoodie.


The Wife. In the Bedroom. With a Steak Knife.

The following is a true depiction of these events as I remember them:

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.  January of 2006.  The Colts had their most talented team.  Peyton Manning was at the top of his game, Bob Sanders was healthy and living up to his nickname (Superman), and Edgerrin James was running strong.  This was it.  We were unstoppable.  This was the year the Colts were going to the Superbowl, no doubt about it.  Granted, it was in Detroit…but I didn’t care.  In fact, I had already purchased a faux fur Juicy Couture coat to wear for the occasion.  All we had to do was get there.  What I didn’t know, was that one person was standing in our way.  No, not Big Ben Roethlisberger.  Danielle Harper.  That name may not ring a bell to you, but it’s etched in my mind as a Colts fan forever.

I was feeling good that morning, optimistic.  It was the second round of the playoffs.  The Colts had won the division, had home field advantage and were coming off a first round bye.  I got up and poured myself a cup of coffee, picked up the paper and settled in before I had to get ready to go downtown.  And there it was in black and white, on the front of the Indianapolis Star sports page.  “Danielle Harper, wife of Cornerback Nick Harper, Arrested”…for stabbing him in the knee with a steak knife!  Oh, #@%*!  I screamed for my husband.  When I read him the story, he had the same reaction I did…bad feeling about this game.

We headed down to the RCA Dome with an ominous feeling and went through our usual routine, which was a bit superstitious.  Tailgating (at Palomino), all four of us in our correct seats in the stadium, waiting.  Just waiting.  And then, it happened.  There was a minute and a half left in the game.  The Colts were behind 21-18 and had to turn the ball back over to the Steelers at their goal line.  It looked hopeless.  Then, for the first time that season, (and almost his entire career) Jerome (The Bus) Bettis fumbled the ball.  And who was there to grab it?  Yep, you guessed it.  Nick Harper.  The one guy we had who was literally playing on one good leg.  Harper was able to scoop up the ball and started to make a run for the Colts end zone, when Roethlisberger, the biggest (and possibly slowest) quarterback in the league caught up to him.  Just like that our Superbowl dreams went up in smoke and the Steelers went on to win the Superbowl.

I don’t know whatever became of the Harpers.  For the record, Danielle claims she stabbed her husband in the knee by accident.  All I know is that as painful as that loss was for us Colts fans, it wasn’t half as bad as it was for Nick Harper.  He still has the scar to prove it.