The NFL’s powerhouse teams, and the Denver Broncos, propelled me to a 13-4 (114-54) straight up. I started to get pretty excited about my record this week, until I remembered that the Cowboys, Steelers, Bengals, and Jets all choked away covers. I eked out another non losing against the spread week by going 8-8 (70-69). I feel like at least one of those losses against the spread shouldn’t count. I mean, really Pittsburgh? It took a last second interception to pull out a six point victory over Tyler Palko and the Kansas City Chiefs. One score. Against the Chiefs. That shouldn’t count.
Three Things I Know Today
Stevie Johnson is my favorite player. This week, anyway. Buffalo Bills WR Stevie Johnson broke out the biggest set of celebration balls I’ve ever seen Sunday, mocking now Jets WR Plaxico Burress by pretending to shoot himself in the leg after a second quarter touchdown that put the Bills temporarily in the lead. After the shooting, Johnson broke out the NY Jets flying around celebration before crashing to the ground. If you haven’t seen the video yet, search Stevie Johnson Celebration on YouTube. (I’d love to embed the video, but I’m certainly not going to run More Than A Fan afoul of the good and just Roger Goodell.)
I need to say two things right off the bat about what I think about Johnson’s celebration; it was dumb, and I loved it. Johnson is going to get fined because the NFL strictly prohibits players from making gestures with simulated firearms during a game. I support that rule, and support the fine – whatever it is – the Johnson will incur. I hope he never does it again, because guys who do the same stupid thing over and over can deteriorate a team. (I’ll get to Ndamakong Suh in a second.) On the flip side, I also think that Stevie Johnson’s celebration was hilarious. Look, every one of you reading - MTAF writers included – made a Plaxico joke at some point after the incident. Don’t lie. I know I did. Take a deep breath and laugh at something funny. And, if you’re still really pissed off about Plaxico Burress getting mocked in an immature, dumb act on national television, go back in time and don’t let him shoot himself in the leg. While carrying a gun in sweatpants.
And, really, who wears sweatpants to a club, anyway? Was he going to make it rain with pocket lint?
I’m out on Ndamukong Suh. Unless the Cleveland Browns trade for him, then I’m back in.
I’ve been a Suh defender since day one. I loved the draft pick, I love watching him play, and I love the fact that he’s got an old school mean streak in him. That mean streak is important for a defensive lineman or linbacker. A player needs to have a certain level of willingness to inflict pain to be effective in the trenches. Suh has that willingness. The problem is that he doesn’t have the discipline needed to thrive in the NFL. Of course, this doesn’t mean Suh will never figure it out, but he certainly hasn’t yet.
My point doesn’t have much to do with how bad Sunday’s arm stomping was specifically, but more about where Sunday’s arm stomping likely leads. The Detroit Lions will fine Suh $25,000, and, if Suh is suspended, will have to pay a $50,000 fine themselves due to team members being fined more than $100,000 in a season. On top of the & 25,000 fine from the Lions, an NFL fine that could potentially be as high as $75,000. Not only will Suh get hit with steep fines, but it’s expected that the NFL will suspend him for two games. Which would cost him two $82,000 game checks. A half second of petulant childishness could cost Suh $264,000.
More than the money could be the impact of Suh’s act on the team. His suspension likely won’t affect the Lions record if he’s out for two games. They would be underdogs against the Saints next week and any playoff team should be the Vikings the week after that. But, this lack of discipline can affect a team beyond the immediacy of wins and losses. Teams become their leaders. The Jets are brash, arrogant, and over-rated – just like Rex Ryan. The Patriots are steady, calculating, and unrelenting – because of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. The Packers are free-wheeling, confident, and aggressive – Aaron Rodgers and Charles Woodson. The pattern exists for a reason, and if the Lions fall into the pattern behind Ndamukong Suh, they’ll never be a true championship contender.
T.J. Yates is the best third string QB in the NFL. Or the worst starting QB in the NFL. Either way, he’s definitely got his work cut out for him the rest of the season. After Matt Schaub went out with a lisfranc injury two weeks ago and now Matt Leinart has a broken left collarbone and is on IR, the Titans season rests on T.J. Yates’ shoulders. Or at least next week, when Yates will start against the Atlanta Falcons and be backed up by the recently signed Kellen Clemens. There’s no telling where the Texans will get a replacement starter from, or even if they’ll get one, but they’ve worked out Brodie Croyle, Jeff Garcia, Trent Edwards, and Chase Clement. I’m not sure any of those guys would be better then Yates, especially considering their lack of familiarity with the playbook and how long it takes to get up to game speed.
Yates was a fifth round pick out of North Carolina. He played all four years, compiling 9,377 yards on 62.3% completions. Yates threw 58 touchdowns, but also 46 interceptions for Butch Davis led Tar Heel teams that went 28-23 during his tenure. I’m not sold that a guy who went 1-2 in bowl games (if we’re calling the Meineke Car Care and Music City Bowls bowl games) for a mediocre ACC team can lead a late season charge to win an NFL division. At least I wouldn’t be sold if that QB didn’t have Arian Foster, Ben Tate, and Andre Johnson taking every last little bit of pressure off of him and his team’s closest rival playing a tougher schedule and needing to make up two games.
Call me crazy – no, really, that would be the nicest thing I’ve been called all day – but I still think the Texans win the AFC South.
(Phew. I can’t believe I wrote about the Texans’ QB issues without mentioning Brett Favre. Favre’s agent Bus Cook said the Texans hadn’t contacted him about his client’s availability. Let’s keep it that way, Texans. Nobody wants to see an old quarterback get killed on the football field. Let him go while he’s playing one of those backyard games. That’s the only fitting way. A gunslinger always dies with his Wranglers on.)