football

Eli Manning Wants You to Have Fake NFL Memorabilia

Let's not pretend that this is a unique and horrifying story about one unethical athlete. I would be willing to bet you that Eli Manning is just the guy who got caught saying what he felt:

Eli Manning had a role in the New York Giants' scheme to sell fake game-used memorabilia, Kaja Whitehouse and Bruce Golding of the New York Post reported.

Per court documents, Manning sent an email to equipment manager Joe Skiba that read, "2 helmets that can pass as game used. That is it. Eli."

This came shortly after a request from marketing agent Alan Zucker for two game-used helmets and jerseys.

Manning, Skiba and the Giants were among those named in a lawsuit from three memorabilia collectors.

Another email exchange featured Skiba admitting to the plaintiff that Manning created the fake memorabilia because he "didnt want to give up the real stuff."

So much for the sanctity of the sport and the love that an organization has for its fans. Anything for a buck, right?

Do you know how much sports memorabilia I own?

None.

Why?

Because it's probably all fake, and always has been fake, so why throw away money on something that could be real or could be as phony as Eli's crocodile tears will be when he has to address this issue. I don't hound people for autographs and I don't care about selfies or anything like that. Do you know what's real?

Technically, everything.

But why throw away money on something? For the fun of it? Well, I guess it depends on how you define fun.

Oh, and why are most of Archie Manning's kids assholes? 

Rex Ryan and Rob Ryan

Not much love from the local media in Buffalo:

Rex Ryan came to Buffalo full of bluster and boast, proclaiming himself as the man who was going to end the Bills’ unfathomable playoff drought, which in January 2015 stood at 15 years.

Rex was going to build a bully, the kind of team that no one was going to want to play against. The No. 4-ranked defense he inherited would become No. 1, just you wait and see. Playoffs? Of course the Bills were going to make it.

“I’m not going to let our fans down,” the bombastic Ryan said the day he was introduced as the Bills’ head coach, two weeks after Doug Marrone had quit. “I’m not going to do that. I know it’s been 15 years since the Bills made the playoffs. Well, get ready man, we’re going. We’re going. Am I guaranteeing a Super Bowl and all that? I’ll tell you what I will do; I will guarantee the pursuit of it. Through hard work, through preparation, we’re going to see how many teams match our work ethic, and all that.”

Well, two years later, Bills fans are let down, way down, not to mention aggravated, and now they have to saddle up for another bumpy ride as the Bills — yet again — will hit the reset button after announcing Tuesday that Ryan and his brother, Rob, have been fired.

Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn will serve as head coach when the Bills close their season Sunday in New York against the Jets. It was also announced that general manager Doug Whaley - who has had a hand in hiring the last two Bills head coaches - will lead the search to find Ryan's replacement, a strong indication that Whaley's job is safe.

Owner Terry Pegula released a boilerplate statement that read, “I spoke with Rex earlier today and we mutually agreed that the time to part ways is now. These decisions are never easy. I want to take this opportunity to thank Rex for all his efforts and wish him all the best moving forward. Kim and I and our entire Bills organization share in the same disappointment and frustration as our fans, but we remain committed to our goal of bringing a championship to western New York.”

Rex is walking out of town with his tail between his legs, having never backed up any of his big talk. The Bills won just 15 of the 31 games he coached; they tacked on two more years to their postseason drought; their defense got much worse as the players never bought into, nor understood, Ryan’s complex scheme; and while no one ever questioned the work ethic of Ryan or his players, it was clear the Bills were not a well-prepared team, and they were often an out-coached team on game days.

When you lose in the NFL, it's worse than anything on Earth. It is quite possible that, fifty years from now, aggrieved Bills fans will burn the Ryan brothers in effigy. But, the funny thing is, the Ryan brothers will be back next season, standing on the sidelines somewhere, and they'll have good jobs and good contracts and all of this will be forgotten.

Melt Down That Goddamned Statue of Joe Paterno

Well, if this doesn't end the discussion as to what Joe Paterno's legacy should be, I don't know what will:

A man testified in court in 2014 that Penn State football coach Joe Paterno ignored his complaints of a sexual assault committed by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in 1976 when the man was a 14-year-old boy, according to new court documents unsealed Tuesday in a Philadelphia court.

The victim, who was identified in court records as John Doe 150, said that while he was attending a football camp at Penn State, Sandusky touched him as he showered. Sandusky’s finger penetrated the boy’s rectum, Doe testified in court in 2014, and the victim asked to speak with Paterno about it. Doe testified that he specifically told Paterno that Sandusky had sexually assaulted him, and Paterno ignored it.

“Is it accurate that Coach Paterno quickly said to you, ‘I don’t want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about?'” the man’s lawyer asked him in 2014.

“Specifically. Yes … I was shocked, disappointed, offended. I was insulted… I said, is that all you’re going to do? You’re not going to do anything else?”

Paterno, the man testified, just walked away.

They should melt that statue down and use it to make sewage system grates, something useful. I don't like to be wasteful. I do like the idea of justice being served. And if there was any justice whatsoever, the NCAA would invalidate every Paterno win since January 1, 1976 and make it permanent. People make significant character-defining choices in their lives, and Paterno made his when he walked away from accountability.

Finally, one decent thing happened today:

the Hall initially decided that his family members would not be allowed to speak for him at the ceremony. Seau died by suicide in 2012, two and a half years after retiring from football. A study of his brain tissue found signs of CTE, and in January 2013 his family sued the NFL, alleging that his suicide was caused by a brain disease developed from years of sustaining hits while playing in the league. A policy had been in place since 2010 disallowing others to speak on behalf of posthumous inductees.

The Hall later reversed course, allowing Sydney to speak. The New York Times reported the late Seau told his family that he wanted Sydney to introduce him should he ever be inducted. Seau did not discuss the circumstances of her father's death.

Even though Sydney Seau let the NFL off the hook and didn't say anything about how Junior Seau killed himself, we cannot forget that this man gave his life to play a game that has a billion dollar fixation on minimizing the impact of concussions on players.

Recreational Drug Use and Professional Athletes

We are getting to the end of this kind of bullshit:

The combine drug test is called an "intelligence test" by teams, because players invited to the combine know months in advance when the test is coming. No one should ever fail it. But a select few seem to every year, and that year [Justin] Houston did.

Sports writers love to talk about team chemistry and respect for the tradition of the game and how a player "plays the right way." That's all bullshit. It is the conservative, tradition-heavy sort of nonsense that holds athletes in the modern context to an impossibly high standard of moral conduct that has never gone away. A sports writer can churn that out in a few hours and go home early when they have nothing to say on a particular day. Moralizing is a way of filling space when there isn't anything to write about.

Who would you rather have on your team? A kid who used pot or a man who beats his wife? Which is worse? Because until recent history intervened, drug use was worse than beating your kids after knocking out your wife if you were a talented NFL player.

In the case of Justin Houston and his $100 million dollar contract, you have to praise his talent, excuse what is becoming a minor and barely noteworthy indiscretion with what should be a legalized drug, and wonder when someone is going to tut-tut their way to the end of an 800 word column full of stereotypes and hidebound traditionalism dressed as original analysis.

Tom Brady Cheated

What are we talking about here?

The Wells Report on whether or not the New England Patriots "deflated" the footballs used in a regular season game clearly shows that the team cheated. It cheated with the assent of the starting quarterback and it extended down into the franchise.

Via Deadspin:

Jim McNally is Rosencrantz and John Jastremski is Guildenstern and I'm not sure who Brady is because he just doesn't sound moody enough to pull off Hamlet.

The only question now is whether or not the Patriots will face severe fines and suspensions. I know Roger Goodell takes care of Bob Kraft, but how is that going to be possible after this report?

Richie Incognito is the Face of the Buffalo Bills Now


This is not how you want your tenure as a head coach to start--with a Richie Incognito issue.

I don't know what Rex Ryan thinks he's going to get out of a player who has uniformly been considered a detriment to good order and discipline. You might get a renewed level of effort out of him, but you'll never get him to buy in and contribute in a positive way. The NFL has failed to deal with poor player conduct and now Incognito is the face of the Bills.

How much do you want to bet that they will cut him in August?

Everybody Hates to Waste a Draft Pick


Johnny Manziel is making a laughingstock out of the Cleveland Browns franchise. There are some players who have dumped on him and some that are cautiously optimistic that he'll be able to solve his issues and be the quarterback next year.

Manziel's drinking and alleged drug abuse are the equal of Tim Tebow's Christian beliefs? Should we expect them to get a reality show together and talk about what they've learned because the NFL doesn't think they have what it takes to win football games?

It's all a sickening mess.

The Biggest Choke Ever


Today was a "win" for the New England Patriots.

However, the Seattle Seahawks lost today's game with the worst decision possible--they turned over the ball on an interception on the one yard line without handing the ball to the most powerful running back in the NFL.

Seattle threw this game. There are gamblers right now screaming hell back down into their souls over this call. Someone, not me, is convinced there was a fix in on this game. Holy hell.

Tom Brady was once drafted as a catcher for the Montreal Expos. He chose football instead. Today, he became the greatest quarterback in NFL history. When he retires, which I suspect won't happen for another couple of years, he will pass Manning and Favre's records and walk away from the game with all the marbles.

The Mainstreaming of Problems in the NFL


This is the way it starts.

When they are discussing your major and minor controversies on entertainment shows, you're in trouble. And this year, the NFL borrowed more trouble than it knows what to do with.

It's not enough to name bullshit committees and dump a little money on research and give out pithy payouts. It's not enough to run a few Public Service Announcements. It might not be enough to simply break a player and drive them out of the league.

Marshawn Lynch is the number one problem in the NFL right now, if you're an owner trying to control the labor pool. Lynch is the one thing that the NFL won't tolerate, and that's a star who defies the League's inviolate rules on maximizing revenue streams and exposing the players to good publicity. So, of course they're going to do whatever they can to make him worse than Hitler and eliminate his defiant pronouncements from the public consciousness.

The problem is, Lynch is not being unreasonable enough and the popular culture has latched on to the excessive zeal that the NFL has used to break the man. This is the unexpected outcome that exposes the NFL for not only being unfair and ridiculous but overly punitive as well. The NFL is an owner's league and operates as if the rise of powerful stars is anathema to the business model. Stars are fine, so long as they do nothing to impact revenue streams.

I just can't figure out what Marshawn Lynch's refusal to mouth cliches is doing to hurt the league. If anything, congratulate him on being thoughtful enough to hold back, right? No, the NFL can't do that. Lynch is breaking through to the fans by refusing to play along with the need for sports writers to fill their columns and their wire stories with what amounts to little more than moral lessons and conformity. Lynch, being a Millennial, sees through the phony world of sports writers and their magnification of inane details (those gold shoes are a distraction! you can't be a cancer in the locker room! we have to establish the running game!) and he represents a modern threat to the outdated morals of the game.

Deflated Balls in New England


Oh, come on:
WTHR's Bob Kravitz is reporting the NFL is investigating whether the New England Patriots illegally deflated footballs during the team's AFC Championship game against the Colts Sunday night.
Enough about the sanctity of the sport. If the NFL can't run a game where the game balls are under some sort of fair and neutral control, of course the home team is going to deflate the balls and get some sort of advantage.

The NCAA Quietly Forgets What Happened At Penn State


There is absolutely no reason to "restore" 112 wins for the Penn State Football Program, other than to prove that all that matters is winning in college sports and not, ahem, all of the sexual abuse carried out against children.

Someone somewhere must really hate Bobby Bowden. They took away twelve of his games because an academically ineligible player played in those games. They took away 112 of Joe Pa's wins because he tolerated the sexual abuse of children in his facilities by not wanting to know about that sex stuff or whatever.

The NCAA knows what's worse, and shut up, that's why.

Penn State's football program is synonymous with blind allegiance, willful disregard of the law, and Jerry Sandusky having his way with young boys in the shower. Why would the NCAA make a move like this? Oh, money, you say?

Well, that's exactly it. Penn State is betting that, with the restored wins and the scholarships it can now offer prospective players a chance to play for a school that allowed the old ball coach to dictate to everyone how things were going to be and who was going to get away with sexually abusing minors. Joe Pa has that much power, even after his death? Really?

I would think that we would have waited at least a generation before trying to cover up what happened and forget all of that child sexual abuse carried out on Penn State property by a Penn State employee. I guess not.

You Can't Hate Chris Christie Because He's a Cowboys Fan


Joan Walsh is a of a mind to spank Chris Christie for being an avowed Cowboys fan, and there's something weird about this that brings to mind the current state of NFL fandom.

NFL fans don't care about these three things--politics, concussions, or winning. They want to see their team and that's the tribe they identify with. If their team is losing, and is staffed with losers, they will rail about the owner or the coach but they'll still buy the gear and they'll still come back to the games. If the old timers come on and complain about being hit in the head twenty-six times in one week, they'll nod sagely and flip over to the other game and do nothing.

Nobody cares about politics so if Chris Christie is seen putting a body on Jerry Jones, so what? It's a free country. You can like whatever team you want.

If You Win, You Can Get Away With Anything


Like I've been saying, if Johnny Manziel had won anything during his brief tenure with the Cleveland Browns this past season, his off the field behavior would be a non-issue. There are plenty of losers out there and no more than a handful of winners. The winners can do whatever they want and the losers will be subjected to the NFL's stodgy lifestyle analysis and the whims of billionaire owners, none of whom are losing any money by putting a lousy product on the field. Pardon me if I'm not impressed by the idea that him partying had anything to do with the fact that the Browns were pleading with Rex Grossman to come back and save their season.

Did Jimmy Haslam give his team a chance to win this past season? Does that even matter anymore with free agency and parity in the league being what it is nowadays? If Haslam cared what his fans thought, he'd discount tickets for next year as an apology for the fact that he didn't find the best players. Call me when that happens.

Johnny Manziel and the NFL's Tired Old Cliches


So the kid wasn't so great in his NFL debut. So what?

Now that he has prostrated himself so that NFL writers can lecture all of us about teamwork, maturity, and practice (we're talking about practice? Not a game, practice? - thanks NBA), I would expect that, between now and this time next year, running Johnny Football out of the game will be the blood sport of the post-Tebow era.

Sportswriters project their worldview onto athletes and, in so doing, can crank out between one and five columns that they wouldn't already have had to write. All they have to do is look for a kid like Manziel and get all serious and tell everyone about the sanctity of the team sport.

This is all bullshit because if Manziel had won and not gotten hurt, he'd still have three girls on his lap before and after "practice."

If you win, you get to keep doing whatever you want. If you lose, take a knee and kiss the ring.

The Minnesota Vikings Are a Hapless Franchise


For the first time since 1983, the Minnesota Vikings will not be sending a player to the useless human endeavor known as the Pro Bowl:
For the first time in three decades, the Vikings did not have a player selected to the Pro Bowl.
The Vikings had a pair of strong candidates in defensive end Everson Griffen and safety Harrison Smith, but they were edged out by other top performers at their positions in voting done by fans, coaches and fellow players.
The last time the Vikings were not represented at the Pro Bowl was 1983.
In his first season as a starter, Griffen ranks eighth in the NFL with 12 sacks through 15 games and also has recorded 51 tackles. But he was not one of the six defensive ends selected.
Smith, meanwhile, is tied for fifth in the NFL with five interceptions and his three sacks are tied for the most among defensive backs. But six other safeties were picked.
While no Vikings made the Pro Bowl through the voting process, there is a chance that Griffen, Smith or another Vikings player could later be selected as an alternate.
If this sort of thing still mattered, I'm sure it would be an issue. I don't know that I've even ever seen a Pro Bowl game. Why do they still play it? Are they afraid that the NFL junket to Hawaii will cause someone to actually feel a measure of outrage that they were denied a chance to go play a meaningless game?

The Minnesota Vikings remain a hapless franchise. They should sit down with the team that plays in Washington D.C. and figure out who can claim the mantle of worst professional sports franchise ever.

Colts Player Arrested in D.C.


Joe Lefeged, Colts safety, arrested in D.C. | WJLA.com

If you're going to raise hell in the District of Columbia, at least make your friend sit down:
Police say officers stopped the car for speeding and because another passenger in the car, 23-year-old Aaron Timothy Wilson, was standing completely upright in the backseat.
Mr. Lefeged was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people doing the wrong things with the wrong items in the wrong car. That's pretty much the end of his career unless someone comes up with an alternative real fast. When the Indianapolis Colts go to training camp in the months ahead, there are plenty of people who are willing to be the next Joe Lefeged who don't raise hell in the District.

I'm beginning to think that there are people out there who are in the NFL who don't want to be in the NFL. Let them get out of professional football. Really, it's not that hard to understand. If you want to play football and make a good living, get yourself as far away from the kind of people who bring guns and liquor in cars into Washington D.C.

Chris Kluwe Was Gotten Rid Of


The Minnesota Vikings have proven, once again, what a classless organization they are when it comes to dealing with players.

Chris Kluwe "had to go" because of what, exactly? Because he was a "middling" punter? The distance between him and the best punter in the NFL amounts to a few yards per punt and little else. That can certainly make or break a game or two, but so can having an inexperienced punter try to break into the league and so can having a guy who has played multiple games against your division opponents. If Kluwe had collapsed, statistically, and been the worst punter in the NFL last season, I wouldn't argue against him being cut. He did not do that. He played adequately for his position which, I'm sorry to say, isn't even that important.

The Vikings are free to do whatever they want but don't tell me getting rid of Kluwe was a "football" decision. They got rid of him because he was an outspoken supporter of ending bigotry in professional football. The NFL has a lot of problems, and hating people who are gay is one of them right now. If you area  player and if you speak out against this, you are going to be gotten rid of.

That's all.