Bold Predictions for 2012 NFL Season: Cutler Cracks a Smile, Brady Attempts the Impossible, and Eli Loses Some Weight…

Here we are…the preseason is behind us.  The regular season is before us.  And I have a few bold predictions (ten to be exact) for the 2012 NFL season:

10.  Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler will be more likable as a dad.  I didn’t say he’d be a better quarterback, but I do think fatherhood will soften his edges and make him a little more personable, or at least a little more human.  Hey, that commercial he did for The NFL Store was almost funny.  See?  It’s already working.

9.  On the other hand, fatherhood WILL make Tony Romo a better quarterback for the Cowboys.  He put a lot of pressure on himself (some deservedly) the last few seasons, but now seems happy and settled.  That will translate to the field in confidence, that he has someone to come home to…and it’s not Jessica Simpson.

8.  We will discover that Rex Ryan is a better coach when he’s overweight.  Maybe it’s the diet.  It’s possible he’s a little light-headed these days.  I mean, claiming this is the best Jets team he’s ever coached?  That may be more bold than his pre-preseason Superbowl predictions.  He must be seeing something in practice that we’re not.  Namely…touchdowns.

7.  We will learn why no one wants to coach (or play) in Miami.  If you watched Hard Knocks, you’re already half way there.

6.  We will discover that there was indeed something magical about Peyton Manning’s hands under Jeff Saturday’s butt.  Both will have decent seasons, but neither will be able to replicate what they had together in Indianapolis.  Seeing as they’re both playing in outside stadiums now, that’s mostly warm hands and a warm butt.

5.  Tim Tebow will become the starter for the New York Jets.  I don’t know when, but it will happen.  And when it does, the skies will part, the angels will sing, and Skip Bayless will crown him MVP…all before he completes his first pass (just before halftime).

4.  With the Patriots light on receivers, Tom Brady, upon suffering two Superbowl defeats to Eli Manning, will attempt to do the very thing wife Gisele Bundchen claimed he could not…throw the ball and catch it himself.

3.  Eli Manning will finally prove that he is an elite quarterback after all, and is undoubtedly the best quarterback in the Manning family.  Wait, didn’t he do that last season?  Forget it then.  Eli will find new joy playing for the Giants, without carrying a 230-pound monkey on his back named Peyton.

2.  After two weeks of fumbled calls, Father Goodell will finally open his checkbook and sign the NFL officials to a new contract, just in time for week three.  The replacement refs will miss the call, report to work, and flag the league for too many men on the field.  They will try to reverse the call, but won’t remember what it was.

1.  And for my last bold prediction of the season…Terrell Owens and Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson will fall in love (no, not with each other) and ride off into sunset, never to be heard from again.  I know.  I pushed it too far with that one.  Damn, it was a nice thought though…wasn’t it?

Here’s to the 2012 NFL season.  The clock is down to hours…and they’re ticking away.

XO

Coffee Cup Quarterback (Monday Edition) | Preseason Week 3: The One With the Starters

Ahhh…week three of the NFL preseason.  When the starters actually play and our teams begin to look less like it’s the preseason and more like the regular season.  For some teams, that was good news.  For others…not so much.

The New York Jets were featured on Sunday Night Football hosting the Carolina Panthers.  Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton was in regular season form.  He ran, he threw, he impressed.  And his team went on to beat the Jets 17-12.  No, the Jets don’t have a touchdown yet.  That was four field goals for them.  They have Mark Sanchez, they have Tim Tebow.  Before the season started, we couldn’t stop talking about this duo and what they could do.  And now that it’s started, we can’t stop talking about what they can’t do.  There were visions of hope.  After a thoroughly unsuccessful half by Sanchez (who was booed for letting the clock run down to end it), it was Tebow Time.  Tebow did what Tebow does, which is run and throw to the other team.  At one point, NBC Host Cris Collinsworth was dissecting the mechanics of his unconventional left-handed throw and Tebow broke out for a huge run and first down.  The timing was nothing short of divine.  This is what Tebow can do.  A few plays later…perfectly thrown ball…to a Carolina Panther.  This is also what Tebow can do.

Note to self: take Jets kicker in fantasy draft.  Tebow was eventually booed as well.  Yes, Jets fans booed both of their quarterbacks in one game and it’s only the preseason.  Tough crowd.

And to back up my theory that Twitter has no better use than for in-game football commentary, take this.  For me, the tweet of the night, maybe of the entire preseason:

Michele Tafoya asked Sanchez about the Jets’ lack of a touchdown and he pointed out that there is still a fourth preseason game to be played.  When pressed, he responded, “Looks like we’re saving all our touchdowns for the regular season.”  When they count.  Good plan.

And then we had the battle of the draft picks.  Number one, Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts take on number two, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins at Fed Ex Field.  There was hype.  There was a t-shirt…

In the end, it was just another preseason game.  Both quarterbacks highlighted their strengths.  Luck threw a lot and ran a little, RGIII threw a little and ran a lot.  Both had moments of brilliance.  Both had rookie mistakes.  The Redskins beat the Colts 30-17.  The most impressive drives came from (wait for it)…Rex Grossman.  Yes, Wrecks Grossman.  The guy who has never really been able to establish himself as solid starting material (at least for long), was brilliant.  Grossman finished 8 of 8 for 130 yards, 2 touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating.  Don’t be surprised if he gets traded to the Jets!

Other highlights for week three of the preseason:

We said hello to: Russell Wilson as starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, Peyton Manning’s first touchdowns (a pair) for the Denver Broncos, and Cornerback Vontae Davis as a Colt, traded to Indy by the Miami Dolphins.

We said goodbye to: Terrell Owens as a Seattle Seahawk (and possibly as an NFL player), Pro Bowl Kicker Billy Cundiff as a Baltimore Raven (the team chose to move on with Rookie Justin Tucker), and many of the players who will be released by our teams as the rosters are reduced to 75 players.

Lest you forget, the NFL really stands for “Not For Long.”

One thing we do hope is not for long…the replacement refs.  There is confusion, discussion, and an on field meeting with practically every call.  The games are being dragged out, and there have been mistakes.  Plenty of them.  But it is the preseason.  And the games don’t count.  Yet.  The players, coaches, even the fans have been fairly patient thus far.  That will end once those calls result in a “W” or an “L” in a team’s record.  We need better than this for the regular season.  And really, by the start of it.

So, let’s hope week four of the preseason brings renewed talks between the NFL and the official officials.

And…a Jets touchdown.

XO

Oh, T.O. Part 2: Tough Love

The last time I wrote about our friend Terrell Owens, he had just done the Dr. Phil Show and spent much of the time lamenting over his mounting financial obligations (primarily to the four mothers of his four children) and his dwindling resources.  Since then, the 38 year old former wide receiver for the 49ers, Eagles, Cowboys, Bills, and Bengals has been cut from the Allen Wranglers, an Indoor Football League team he had partial ownership of in Allen, TX.

Team owners say Owens refused to travel to two games crucial to the team’s post season play and was a no show at an appearance at a local children’s hospital.  “Our fans are amongst the best in the league and it is impossible to maintain a player when even our fans notice and comment on a player’s lack of effort both on and off the field. We need to do what is best for this team, our fans and this community,” said team co-owner Jon Frankel.

I’m sure playing in the IFL is a bitter pill to swallow for a former NFL star and current record holder.  But even at his best, T.O. was never known as a team player.  In fact, “I love me some me” was one of his signature catch phrases.  But with four children, Owens is still part of a team, like it or not.  This was an opportunity for him to support his family.  His agent has hinted that Owens is still hoping for a return to the NFL, which was unlikely before he was cut from the Indoor Football League.  And the longer this former star behaves like the diva he once was, the opportunities he finds for himself will be fewer and far between.

Is this rock bottom for T.O.?  Not necessarily.  Fame and fortune are fleeting things.  Athletes, actors, even politicians have trouble with the glare of everyday life after their spotlight burns out.  And it always does, it’s just a matter of time.  Playing “poor me” has not done this man any favors.  It’s time for some tough love.

Dear T.O.,

You were a fantastic star in the NFL.  You awed us with you athleticism, entertained us with your antics, and set records that have yet to be broken.  But those days are over.  It’s time to find out who you really are behind the flashbulbs and bright lights.  You have two choices before you, live the life you wish you still had or live the life you do have.

There really is no choice in the matter, still we hope you choose wisely.

Your Fans.

XO

Dancing with the NFL Stars

Donald Driver finds himself in good company today.  He joins Dallas Cowboys Running Back Emmitt Smith and Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver Hines Ward as NFL players who took home both the Lombardi Trophy and the mirror ball trophy.  “It took me 13 years to win the Super Bowl,” the 37 year old receiver for the Green Bay Packers said.  “I’m just glad it took me one season to win the mirrorball.”

And he won it out on the floor just like he does on the field, quietly and persistently.  There’s a lot to love about Donald Driver.  His life choices, his no drama, hard work attitude.  And he did it during what has been hailed the most competitive season ever on the popular dance reality show.

Now that Season 14 is over, who would we like to next represent the NFL on Dancing with the Stars?

Here is our Top 10 List:

10.  Rex Ryan (New York Jets Head Coach)

Pros: A chance to show off and add to his recent 90 pound weight loss.  Good recreational activity for him to share with his wife, who will certainly need some foot massages after all that dancing.

Cons: Ryan would likely crown himself the winner of the competition prior to the start of it, putting undo pressure on himself and his partner to live up to his bold prediction.

9.  Jay Cutler (Chicago Bears Quarterback)

Pros: Cutler’s fiancee and soon-to-be baby mama, Kristin Cavallari was a contestant on the show a few seasons ago.  Although she was cast off too early, she could give him some pointers.

Cons: Cutler is known for being “soft.”  A perceived fake knee injury during the finals could do him in for good.

8.  Ray Lewis (Baltimore Ravens Linebacker)

Pros: Known as one of the most intense, competitive players in the NFL.  That would surely translate to the ballroom.

Cons: It would be just too damn scary.

7.  Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver)

Pros: Another one of the good guys of the NFL, his work ethic and professionalism would make him an immediate contender on any season of DWTS.

Cons: A lot of potential mishaps with all that hair…jewelry, sequins, etc.  A wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen.

6.  Brett Favre (Retired Green Bay Packers/Jets/Vikings Quarterback)

Pros: Maybe this is a stretch, but his competitive spirit could carry him.  If he can dance his way back into the hearts of America, maybe the Packers will consider retiring his jersey earlier rather than later.

Cons: No telling how Brett will behave himself amongst all those scantily clad women.

5.  Victor Cruz (New York Giants Wide Receiver)

Pros: The boy can dance!  Cruz’s trademark touchdown salsa dance has already earned him a DWTS offer, which he reportedly turned down.

Cons: Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin is known for his no nonsense style.  May not look fondly on the attention or missed training for purposes of entertainment.

4.  Terrell Owens (Retired Eagles/Cowboys/Bengals Wide Receiver)

Pros: He may not be signed with a team, but this guy is still in playing shape.  Why do I feel like we’ve seen this show before?  Maybe because Chad Ochocinco’s season was like T.O. Light.  Trust me, the drama would be bigger, better, and juicier with Owens.

Cons: The drama.

3.  Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys Quarterback)

Pros: Romo is not afraid to make a fashion statement.  Put him in a newsboy hat, a fedora, seersucker, leather…it’s all good.  Well, maybe not the leather, but he’s still a costume designer’s dream.

Cons: The mirrorball trophy will never replace the Lombardi Trophy in the hearts of Cowboys fans.  If he doesn’t win the Superbowl the following season, Romo’s DWTS appearance will look like just another distraction.

2.  Reggie Bush (Miami Dolphins Running Back)

Pros: Where do I start?  That face looks like it was carved out of milk chocolate.  And his smile?  He would have Bruno and Carrie Ann at hello.  And the obligatory shirtless dance?  We’ll give him a 10 right now!

Cons: The admittedly shy star is known to shun the spotlight and even broke up with Kim Kardashian because he couldn’t handle the media circus that accompanied her.  However, the attention could benefit the many causes he supports, including Make A Wish and the NFL’s Play 60.  Come on Reggie, do it for us.  And by us, I mean the kids.  Of course.

1.  Tim Tebow (New York Jets Quarterback)

Pros: A lamb with a lion’s heart.  And he knows how to win on the field, in life, and certainly would win on the dance floor.  Whether he starts this season for the Jets or not, Tim Tebow has already won America’s heart.

Cons: Please.

XO

Oh, T.O.

I just finished watching Terrell Owens and his baby mama drama (all four of them, yes…4) unfold on The Dr. Phil Show.  Below is my response to Mr. Owens.  But first…does anyone have Tony Dungy on speed dial?

Dear T.O.,

Let me start by saying that you have already done what few men will ever do.  And I’m not talking about playing in the NFL.  That is an impressive feat, but pales in comparison to sitting on stage in front of a national audience with three of the four women you have children with (none of which you are currently dating).  You certainly have courage.  And potency.

Here are a few items for you to consider:

1.  Let’s start with a question.  Who told you this show was a good idea?  Seriously.  Because…it’s not.  Really, really, really not.  I think you’re operating under the assumption that any publicity is good publicity.  That is also false.  You should really look into replacing your people.  But then again, I thought that after your last accidental suicide attempt.

2.  There is something called birth control, use it.  Enough said.  If you have any questions about this, contact your sixth grade health teacher.

3.  Thus far, you’ve been known for your NFL records and off the field drama.  Maybe it’s time for you to come up with a new persona.  Your NFL career is likely over and even if it’s not it will be soon.  Make no mistake, we will always love you for your on field heroics.  But records are eventually broken and fame is fleeting.  Become a hero off the field, (see Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner, Drew Brees) especially with kids, (and starting with your own) and we’ll love you more and forever.  And in the process, you just may learn to love yourself.  And that’s something no one can ever take away from you, no matter how much child support you have to pay.

Good luck!

Heather

XO