Coffee Cup Quarterback | Week 3: The Week It Got Ugly

Write it down, people…week three, that is.  That was the week the NFL’s ongoing lockout with the officials went from a distraction to crazy town.

It was a wild week to begin with.  A lot of close games and surprising outcomes.  And there were bad calls, missed calls, and questionable plays.  Yes, the longer this impasse goes on, the more uneasy we all become every time a flag is thrown.  And the more some players will try to get away with…

Like they say, it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.  Or an ear.  Which happened to Texans Quarterback Matt Schaub.  Schaub lost part of his left ear to a brutal, vicious, and illegal hit by Denver Broncos Linebacker Joe Mays, that ripped his helmet off (and apparently part of his ear with it), but thankfully left his head intact.

With emotions already running high, Sunday Night Football rolled around.  A big game.  The Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots.  A rematch of last season’s AFC Championship game, with the Ravens at home this time and on the hunt for revenge.

Young Ravens Wide Receiver Torrey Smith had a courageous performance after losing his younger brother in a motorcycle accident the night before.  He was teary at times and clearly feeling the outpouring of love from the Baltimore fans.  Smith had two touchdowns and helped to bring his team back within reach of the Patriots in the fourth quarter.

Just like last time, it came down to a field goal.  But unlike last time, it wasn’t Billy Cundiff, who missed.  Down by two, and with two seconds on the clock, undrafted rookie kicker Justin Tucker drove one high and over the top of the upright (making it non-reviewable).  The refs made it official.  The Ravens rallied around Torrey Smith.

And then…this happened.  On the way off the field, an angry and non-hoodie-clad Bill Belichick hopped on the Crazy Train (Patriots team song) and accosted one of the replacement officials.  He stopped and composed himself long enough to shake hands with Ravens Coach John Harbaugh.  You don’t mess with those Harbaughs and their handshakes.

Asked about his behavior during his post game press conference, Belichick, his usual, personable self, refused to comment.  Instead, he cited his team being flagged “like 30 times.”  Guess you can’t buy class in the form of a $75 pullover.

This is where we’re at, guys.  The NFL is one big dysfunctional family right now.  Fun to watch…but only if you’re not directly related.



Childress Feeling Comfortable in Brown

When former Minnesota Vikings Head Coach (and former Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Coordinator) Brad Childress signed on as offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, he didn’t just find a new job, he apparently found his signature color…brown.

Childress was photographed at practice wearing what could only be described as dark brown scrubs.  Maybe he’s following the old adage…don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.  If so, we can only take that to mean one thing…Childress aspires to work for UPS.  Either that, or he’s taking a page out of Bill Belichick’s What Not to Wear as Coach.  Apparently what not to wear…is anything bordering on stylish.

I never thought I’d say this, but someone just made Belichick’s hoodie look a little bit sophisticated…

Stay classy, Chilly!



Bountygate vs. Spygate

It was September of 2007.  Week two of the NFL season.  Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots has just been fined $500,000 and the team $250,000 and its 2008 first round draft pick for illegally videotaping the defensive signals of their opponents.  The media scrutiny was fast and furious.  They questioned the legitimacy of the team, its record, its character.  How did the Patriots respond?  They finished the regular season undefeated, won two playoff games, including the AFC Championship, and lost their only game all season to the New York Giants in Superbowl XLII.

It is April of 2012.  The New Orleans Saints find themselves amid a mounting scandal over illegal bounties paid by the team for injuries to opposing players.  Head Coach Sean Payton is suspended for one year, Assistant Coach Joe Vitt suspended six games, Linebacker and Defensive Captain Jonathan Vilma is also suspended for the entire 2012 season, Defensive End Will Smith is banned for the first four games, General Manager Mickey Loomis suspended for eight games and fined $500,000, the team is fined $500,000 and loses its second round pick in 2012 and 2013.  Former players Anthony Hargrove (now signed with the Packers) will miss eight games and Scott Fujita (now with the Browns) will miss three games.  Former Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams, signed by the St. Louis Rams in the offseason, is suspended indefinitely.

Can we expect the Saints to come out of bountygate much like the Patriots emerged from spygate?  With a collective chip on their shoulder and a “prove it to the world” attitude?  Nope.  For one, the Saints are also in contract talks with team captain and star Quarterback Drew Brees.  Brees has been tagged as a franchise player and is reportedly “livid” about it.  The tag gives the Saints until July 16 to sign him to a long term deal.  If they don’t, Brees will have to decide whether to sign the franchise agreement, which would pay him the league average $16.3 million for next season, or hold out.  After which, the then 34 year old Superbowl winning quarterback could be tagged once more or become a free agent.  The two sides are reportedly millions of dollars apart but are said to be communicating again as of recently.

This Saints team has been dismantled by the fallout from the bountygate scandal and really has no choice but to sign Brees to the long term deal he wants.  Down two coaches and a defensive captain, Brees is the only real leadership the team has until Assistant Coach Joe Vitt comes back in week 8 (following their week 7 bye).  To have Brees playing under a short term bargain deal or worse yet, holding out, would be suicide for a team already reeling from the bountygate fallout.

So no, don’t expect a repeat of the Patriots 2007 season.  Don’t expect these Saints to come out with a perfect season and make a run at the Superbowl, which is hosted in their hometown this year.  Not this team.  Not this time.  The best the Saints can hope for is for Brees to hold them together through a so-so season and look to rebuild in the near future.

As for the Saints, there’s not much they can do but write a blank check to Drew Brees, then sit around and wait for the next gate…to take the spotlight off of them.  Lord knows it’s already in the works.