Typically upsets are reserved for college sports but clearly Week 16 of the NFL season was the exception. The Pros and Joes in Vegas clearly had no idea about the mayhem that ensued on Football Sunday. The Atlanta Falcons who have been the epitome of bi-polar both excited and infuriated dirty-bird nation after their win over once undefeated Carolina Panthers. Falcons led by a tenacious no name defense made Cam Newton looking anything but Super. The Panthers potent offense was stifled one drive after the next. On offense, Julio Jones outmuscled Panthers corner Josh Norman and Devonta Freeman had Luke Kuechly grasping for air. Although the Falcons still have a glimmer of playoff hope their fan base is again left wondering for the umteenth year what could have been.
In the midwest the Saint Louis Rams continued to be a tough out for their bitter division rival the Seattle Seahawks. The Rams continue to be good enough to win games but not bad enough to finally solve their quarterback needs. Led by the best defensive line a squad can draft the Seahawks running game was so putrid that Beast Mode would not have stood a chance. Since the Rams have been eliminated from the playoffs contention for weeks, they are simply playing for pride.
The heart that the Baltimore Ravens showed in out hustling the high octane Steelers was truly a thing of beauty. Led by a roster full of journeymen the Ravens fought on when most would have folded. The savviness of Ozzie Newsome’s eye for talent was on full display. No Joe Flacco. No Justin Forsett. No Terrell Suggs. In spite of these losses Coach Harbaugh should be commended for his efforts, due injuries the Ravens have built depth that will yield them a high draft pick and huge dividends in 2016.
The only team decimated more by injuries than the Ravens are the New England Patriots. So the fact that the Patriots lost was not much of a surprise and the fact two more Pats went down with serious injuries has unfortunately become expected. But with a depth chart decimated by injuries the Patriots have an excuse, the same can not be said about the Panthers, Steelers, and Seahawks. Clearly, these teams left their hard hats at home and though they would get a ‘W’ by just showing up. Proverbs 6:18 says pride comes before the fall, next week we will find out how far each team has fallen. A Playoff spot? Home field advantage? Stay tuned… I know I will – A.Denmark
Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Subscribe to podcast
Unlike wine which only gets better with time the time span of an NFL athlete has an expiration date. No matter how intensity the veterans off season workout may be every player on the gridiron will lose the battle to father time. Each year the NFL get an infusion of new faces, fresh legs, and new talent and in order to make room for the next group of stars veterans are forced to either retire, be cut, or waived. The franchise cornerstones of fans favorite teams struggle accepting this inevitable fate and often fail to leave with their pride intact.
The NFL waiver wire is filled with players who have collected their fair share of honors at the height of their career who are now unemployed looking for work. Even Canton-bound Hall-of-Famers like former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher and 2011 Defensive MVP Charles Woodson must find a new home place to finish the final years of their career.
The brutality and sheer violence of the NFL game played on the gridiron is nowhere near as intense as the cold truths issued out by an NFL franchise front office. At the prime of a franchise player’s career he can do no wrong but with each new acquisition or draft selection the same player many viewed to be irreplaceable will one day be deemed an expendable asset.
Although a few of the former All-Pro players will receive another chance at stardom, majority of them will be forced to accept the reality that their time in the NFL is done. Which veteran who once filled stadiums and excited masses will be left waiting in vain for that call that will never come? Ex- Pittburgh Steelers linebacker, James Harrison? Ex – New York Jets linebacker Byron Scott? Ex- Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney? Ex- Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner? In time the answer to these questions and more will be revealed because in the NFL its not the guy in pads but the guy in the tailored suit with matching cuff-lings who will end their career in the NFL. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark
Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 EST & Sat 1030 EST
When San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith was given a clipboard and forced to watch Colin Kaepernick after leading the 49ers to the NFC Championship game last year many questioned Coach Jim Harbaugh. By deciding to go with Kaepernick many believed Harbaugh broke the cardinal rule that a starter does not lose his job because of an injury.
Ezra Shaw – Getty Images
Not one to give a hoot about public perception Harbaugh ignored the criticism refusing to reconsider his choice even after the 42-13 blow out against their division rival the Seattle Seahawks where Kaepernick looked both confused and overwhelmed.
Although Harbaugh had supreme confidence in his elite defense he knew that if he wanted to be in Super Bowl XLVII he would have to expand his ball control offense. With Kaepernick at the helm the 49ers offense began to finally make use of their play-making pass catchers Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. The transition to the spread offense took half the season to perfect but it was necessary if the 49ers truly wanted something more.
Blessed with elite athleticism and an ever improving arm Kaepernick saved his best performances for the playoffs: 496 yards passing, 202 yards rushing, and 6 total touchdowns. Many feared that inexperience would be his downfall but his play against some of the NFL’s top defenses says otherwise.
After the San Francisco 49ers lost to the sub .500 Saint Louis Rams many expected the Kaepernick experiment to end. Many thought that if the 49ers could not beat the lottery bound Rams what chance would they have against the arm of Aaron Rodgers or
Ian Walton – Getty Images
the dynamic wide receiver duo of Julio Jones and Roddy White in Atlanta. Three playoff games and one NFC Championship later Harbaugh can lean back in his seat and pose this question: Who’s the dummy now? As the San Francisco 49ers gears up for Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans their match-up with the Baltimore Ravens promises to be one for the ages. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark
Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google