With the weekend results now in within the NFL the constant there appears to be with regard to the postseason , has been the fact any showdown between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady will draw the nation to their television sets.
Granted, when the New England Patriots play as the guests of the Denver Broncos , this game will be the marquee match-up of the conference championship games being played next weekend. Regular season and postseason meeting between these two prolific quarterbacks have become drama and a thrill ride ever since these two players entered the league. It would not be remiss to suggest the NFC championship game between the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers will be taking a backseat to the AFC championship game. There Carson Palmer will seeking to create an upset with the elimination of the Panthers, but I believe with the season had by Cam Newton we are likely to see Newton and the Panthers make their first appearance in the Superbowl !
Back to the AFC contest and the expectations for Broncos’ head coach Gary Kubiak , his coaching staff and in particular Peyton Manning. Kubiak succeeded John Fox and now having taken the team to the brink of another Superbowl appearance , the thought has to be ,can Manning guide the team to another Superbowl victory, which would be the second of his illustrious career ? As the Denver Broncos’ owner Pat Bowlem seeks to overcome his medical issues the debilitating illness of early onsets of dementia , it has to be said beyond the drama off the field , there will be a great deal of drama on the field when this game kicks off.
An exceptional season for the Carolina Panthers coming within earshot of only the second unbeaten season in NFL history , since the inception of the sixteen-game regular season schedule. The Panthers’ lone defeat came at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons , where Panther’ head coach Ron Rivera rested several of his starters during the waning during the second half of the game , leading to their 15-1 record . It was perhaps in the Panthers’ best interest to have lost the game and concentrate on the ultimate goal of the postseason and a Superbowl victory. Getting past the Arizona Cardinals will prove to be a tough task, but not an impossible one for the best team in the NFL. It is a game where the two opposing head coaches Bruce Arians and Ron River a will have show all of their acumen , once this contest gets a full head of steam.
With the recent announcement by wide receiver Reggie Wayne , it is intent to retire from the NFL , this Hall of Fame bound player steps away from the game and he has to be recognized as one of the best players of his era at the wide receivers’ position. His career stats place him in the upper echelons of his contemporaries, as well as his peers . His relationship with former teammate Peyton Manning is well-respected by both players and among their contemporaries. Wayne was unable to find a permanent team during this past season and now with his career having wound down , there is no need for him to assess where he ranks among his peers.
If one of Reggie Wayne’s contemporaries Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions has seriously mulled retirement , then one has to consider his position and the fact his talents have been wasted with the Lions over the past five years. The struggles of the franchise have been well-chronicled and the brunt of this malaise has to borne out by Ford family as the owners of the Lions and the clear ineptitude shown by the front office as well as the list of head coaches to have held the position over the last decade. Who can forget their 0-16 season, where the team at the time , from week to week sank to new levels of ineptitude. .
I have long been a admirer of Calvin Johnson and his retiring from the game I would have to say , would come as a complete surprise ! Johnson’s angst is understandable , where another season of incompetence was there for everyone to see with the team’s failure this season in the NFC North and the lack of real progress seen with Matt Stafford. I believe Stafford to be overrated , with his continued failings there for everyone to see ! Calvin Johnson is not due to become a free agent until 2020 , but with the continued disillusion of the wide receiver there might well be a chance the front office might well relent and possibly trade the player , knowing they would be able to obtain a slew of players in return. It remains to be seen if GM Bob Quinn would believe such a deal to be in the Lions’ best interests. For the moment Jim Caldwell’s job appears to be safe as the head coach of the team and there is no apprehension on my part in believing another year of this team failing to make the postseason and Caldwell would be relieved of his position. For the moment Jim Caldwell’s job appears to be safe as the head coach of the team and there is no apprehension on my part in believing another year of this team failing to make the postseason and Caldwell would be relieved of his position !
Eight wins in two seasons and Lovie Smith’s coaching career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ tenure with the franchise came to an abrupt end, after the decision was made to fire the head coach. Needless to say, the finger-pointing began with blames being apportioned right across the board. Idiotic praised, was heaped upon the shoulders of the team’s top , draft choice and the number one overall pick from this past season’s draft as Jameis Winston’s rookie season was an inauspicious one . A 6-10 season summed up the incompetence seen , even if Winston threw for over 3,000 yards and had a five-touchdown performance game for the Buccaneers . The only player on the team to have truly made an impact was running back Doug Martin who amassed over 1.200 rushing yards to finish among the top-ten rushers in the league for this past season..
Lovie Smith’s firing has led to the promotion of offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter , who in his formal acceptance of the position stated , he would seek to improve the Buccaneers’ performance of the franchise . I believe it will be a tough task for a rookie head coach whose head could be on the chopping block.. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers seem to have a revolving door with regard to the head coaches of the franchise over the eight seasons . Needless to say, GM Jason Licht’s position could come under a great deal of scrutiny during the upcoming season should the Buccaneers fail to contend. The only way is up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as this franchise seeks to reinvent themselves once again . Can it get any worse for this NFC South based franchise, whose only lasting moment of glory was their Superbowl victory over the Oakland Raiders ? This has been the only thing the Buccaneers’ fans have been able to cling unto for just over a decade. There is likely to be a big reassessment of the Buccaneers’ roster by the front office with several players likely to be jettisoned this off-season.
Other than the NBA , MLB and the NFL there are few sports in North America where a $20 million a year salary seems to be the norm. Within baseball , this stat is very much the norm , as too with basketball as well as football . Leading the way among the players with this classification are those with their guaranteed contracts , salaries and the fact a number of them have failed to live up to perceived expectations . With millions being paid out annually in salary commitments , it begs the question how can the NFL continue with their antitrust tax exempt status while teams at the drop of a hat, pending league approval , leaves a municipality in something of a rut ? Stadiums have been built for these professional franchises , whose owners are among some of the richest individuals in America.
With the recent announcement that the league hierarchy had granted their approval for the relocation of the St Louis Rams whose billionaire owner , Stanley Kroenke is the sixty-fourth richest individual listed on Forbes’ 400 list. Kroenke’s estimated $7.4 billion dwarfs many of his contemporaries within the league and the fact his franchise and the San Diego Chargers have been granted their relocation wish to move to the greater Los Angeles area.
Stanley Kroenke purchased a large tract of land in the city of Industry , California hoping to develop the acreage , with a stadium as well as commercial development, covering retail and entertainment concerns . The proposed stadium however is unlikely to be private-financed , with the belief , Kroenke and the league seeking the financing of the venture, coming by way of public funding (bond issue) jointly by the cities of Industry and Los Angeles . This proposal may well sit well with fans of the Rams, who would have yearned to see the NFL brought back to the greater Los Angeles area , but beyond that, their concerns on the impact to the infrastructure of the cities in question as well as the ongoing budgetary woes for both municipalities, isn’t within their sphere of thinking.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will continue to wax on lyrically concerning how competitive the league has become , its growing impact from an economic standpoint , which seems to be the only issue the commissioner can point to as a sign of positive growth. . Elsewhere, under his leadership, he remains an abysmal failure on a litany of issues encompassing the NFL . .Issues which the league has failed to address with any degree of their outcomes being long last ing much less being morally correct. .
As the NFL postseason comes into view what if anything are you hoping to see from the games being played this upcoming weekend ?
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Projected team salary cap (2016)
This month in NFL history