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2020 NFL Off-season

eagle eye

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There is a lot of debate on sports talk radio over whether the Chiefs win in Super Bowl LIV will be a one and done or if this is the beginning of a dynasty. The type of winning that would get the Kansas City Chiefs named Team of the Decade for the 2020’s. Frankly, any team not named the Patriots gets the same treatment. People are looking for the next big thing. People have been waiting for over 20 years for somebody to unseat the New England Patriots as the kings of the mountain top. This Chiefs win is so fresh and new and there are few people alive who actually remember Super Bowl IV when KC beat Joe Kapp and the Minnesota Vikings 23-7. Any KC fan under 50 years of age has never known a season like the 2019 season with Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.


Mahomes is the catalyst for an explosive offense that features dazzling speed and an overall array of offensive weapons that make KC possibly the most envied roster on the offensive side of the ball in the NFL. I believe Mahomes is what sets him apart from other NFL teams and makes KC a contender just because he’s there. What makes Mahomes different is not just his immense talent as a QB but his maturity and demeanor on and off the field. Mahomes has that ‘it’ factor and he sort of reminds me of Joe Montana. Despite “The Catch” which broke this Dallas Cowboys fan’s heart I couldn’t help but like Montana. I liked Montana all the way back to his Notre Dame days when he was winning games in the 4th quarter. The most memorable was the “Chicken Soup Bowl”, the 1979 Cotton Bowl which was a game played in stupid cold weather in Dallas. The weather was so cold it was like the Dallas-Green Bay “Ice Bowl” in the 1967 NFL Championship game. Montana was suffering from hypothermia and made several trips to the locker room to get warm intravenous fluids pumped into him to ward off the cold. Trainers even fed him hot chicken soup to help warm him up. He came back late in the 3rd quarter to lead the Fighting Irish to a 35-34 win as time expired over the Houston Cougars. When Montana entered the game the Irish were trailing 34-12. Montana wasn’t cocky, he was confident. Joe Cool was his nickname and it fit. I get that same feeling from Mahomes. All three games the Chiefs played they got behind and came back to win. In the Wild Card game they trailed the Texans 24 zip when they started making their comeback eventually beating Houston 51-31. In the Divisional Round the Chiefs trailed Tennessee by 10 points two different times in the game before winning 35-24. In the Super Bowl they trailed San Francisco by 10 points with just under 9 minutes left in the game and won going away 31-20.


The Chiefs believe in Mahomes like teammates believed in Joe Montana. There are other parallels to Montana. Both won the Super Bowl in their first try, both won MVP in their first Super Bowl, both began playing in their 2nd season and both won Super Bowls in their 3rd season. Are you hearing the Twilight Zone music yet? The 49ers won their first SB in 1981 and they won 3 more times including the last one in 1990 with Montana at QB. Like those 49ers squads, the Chiefs are young and built to compete over time. I really believe 2020 won’t be the last time the Chiefs hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy, I’m just sayin’.

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  • 3 weeks later...

For as long as I can remember spring pro football has been about as interesting as watching grass grow. It started in 1974 with the World Football League. It folded after two seasons. Next came the USFL which lasted from 1983 to 1985. Then came the World League of American football. The seasons for this league were sporadic in the beginning as the league struggled to find a foothold. Officially, it last the longest of any other rival league to the mighty NFL, going from 1991 to 2007. WLAF morphed into a subsidiary of the NFL and became known as NFL Europe and, in it’s last season, it was known as NFL Europa. NFL Europe was sort of like the minor leagues to the NFL teams. Several players got a jumpstart to their careers in the NFL in NFL-E like Kurt Warner, Adam Vinatieri, Jon Kitna and James Harrison to name a few. What NFLE did was get American football a toe-hold in the European market. It’s a market that now knows what American football is and it is popular in parts of Europe. That’s why the NFL still has 2 or 3 games a season in London. I wouldn’t be surprised if those games start being played in Paris or Berlin at some point in the near future.


The next spring football league was the first incarnation of the XFL, the Extreme Football League, led by wrestling mogul Vince McMahon. It was joke. The football was terrible and it was broadcast like WWE events. Thank God it only lasted one season.


Next was the Alliance of American Football, the AAFL, which debuted in 2019 and folded 8 weeks later because of financial difficulties.


There have been other leagues that tried to go up against the NFL in the fall but two stand out. From 1946 to 1949 there was the All-American Football Conference. All lot of the day’s best players went to this rival league and it began a bit of a dynasty for the Cleveland Browns who won all four of the championships in the 4 year history of the league and when the league folded the Browns along with the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Colts were brought into the NFL. The Browns won the 1950 NFL Championship in their first season in the league and they played for the championship in 7 of their first 8 years in the league. The continued to be contenders all the way through the 1980’s when their fortunes changed for the worse. The Browns won NFL Championships in 1950, ’54, ’55 and 1964 and they were in the playoffs throughout most of the 1960’s. The team was named for their first head coach Paul Brown. Brown’s innovations and use of the forward pass created a juggernaut of a team. Art Modell, the owner of the Browns fired Brown who re-emerged in 1968 as the co-founder and first head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals.


The second rival league was the American Football League. It was founded in 1960 and became so popular it rivaled the NFL and the competition between the two leagues was fierce. Many stories abound about the battle to sign the best players. The Kansas City Chiefs were originally the Dallas Texans but they moved to KC when the NFL set up in Dallas with one of it’s new franchises, the Dallas Cowboys and to avoid the competition after 3 seasons because Texans owner Lamar Hunt decided the Dallas market was too small to sustain two pro football teams. Hunt moved his team to KC and after a fan vote decided to name his team the Chiefs after KC mayor Harold Roe Bartle’s nickname he gained because of his deep involvement with KC and St Joseph Boy Scouts. The Chiefs won Super Bowl IV in 1969 and by that time the NFL had won 2 SB’s and the AFL had won two with the first coming in 1968 when Joe Namath guaranteed his Jets would be NFL bully Baltimore Colts which they did in SB III. After the Chiefs win further legitimized the AFL the two leagues merged into one league, the National Football League, with two conferences, the NFC and the AFC who would play for the NFL championship each year.


There is a new league in town now. The XFL (reboot or 2.0 or BETA test league). It is run by the same knucklehead Vince McMahan but this time it’s not about the hype it’s about football. No really, I’m serious. I have watched a couple of games and I like it. The quality of football is much better than it’s predecessors and there are some rules innovations that should make the NFL sit up and take notice. Not a big fan of the uniforms I’ve seen but they have to be different from NFL unees don’t they? It’s not the unees themselves but the color schemes are a little sketchy. I’m going to continue to watch this new league. This league has 10 teams including a pretty good Houston Roughnecks team which has a 10-game season culminating in a 4-team playoff and a championship game. That will keep my football Jones sated until the NFL draft. Now, I’m off to White Castle to see if I can find Harold and Kumar.

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  • 2 months later...

The NFL draft was a spectacle that did what it needed to and that was thru the process of coordinating a draft online with 32 teams and it went off without a glitch. Among getting picks in on time and also the draft pick trades, all went off smoothly. Texans coach Bill O’Brien was openly upset when a deal he thought he made with Detroit fell through when Detroit backed out at the last second. Because the clock was ticking down O’Brien had to make a pick and he selected DT Matt Greenard with a pick thought he was giving up for more draft picks. That was not the fault of the technology it was all human based. The Lions ended using all 10 of their draft picks while Houston had to settle for their own 5. There were trades of draft picks for draft picks and players for draft picks taking place as usual. Despite the fact it was a virtual draft, it was all pulled off without a hitch and it was the only relevant sports event since early March. The Patriots failed to draft a QB despite letting Tom Brady go via free agency. Apparently, Bill Belichick is ‘all in’ on Jarrett Stidham the 2nd year QB from Auburn who the Pats drafted in the 4th round of last year’s draft. Stidham is from Stephenville TX so he has that going for him. He will also have much travelled Brian Hoyer as his backup.


It was fun watching the coverage even though Saturday was a beautiful day. I was still parked in front of my computer and TV watching events unfold. One noticeable absence was Mel Kiper’s foil Todd McShay. McShay had to sit out the draft because he is recovering from Coronavirus. McShay’s absence was a stark reminder of the fact that COVID-19 knows no boundaries. McShay was diagnosed on April 23rd and he is receiving treatment. A big part of the draft was the Draft-a-thon which gave fans an opportunity to donate to the fight against COVID-19. You can still donate using the link on NFL.com. At the conclusion of the draft NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the Draft-a-thon had raised over $100 MM to donate to the fight against COVID-19. Good for you NFL. This is on top of all donations made by players and teams who have all been very generous. The Cowboys also suffered tragedy when Dak Prescott’s older brother Jace died on Thursday. The announcement of the 31 year old brother of Dak came not long after the Cowboys made their initial pick of the 2020 draft taking CeeDee Lamb. This must have been devastating news to Dak and his little Brother Tad who lost their mother to cervical cancer in 2013. No cause of death has been announced.


I enjoyed the draft, a lot. It was the first relevant sports event in over a month outside of virtual eating contests. All we’ve had since social distancing has been in effect is reruns of past sporting events and stuff leading up to and including the draft. Thanks to the NFL for being a 24/7/365 entity. The draft gave us a welcome break from the state of our social distanced world. Now, I want this Coronavirus to be eradicated so things can get back to normal. But, then again, don't we all.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This week saw the passing of Phyllis George. She was 70 years old at the time of her death. She died of a blood disorder not related at all to COVID-19.


George’s passing is significant because she was a ground breaking woman in the world of broadcast sports. She was hired to one of the on-air hosts of the CBS NFL pre-game show called The NFL Today that aired each Sunday beginning in 1975 making her an icon to women by breaking the gender barrier in sports broadcasting much the same way Barbara Walters broke the gender barrier in broadcast news. George was Miss Texas in 1970 and she won the Miss America pageant in 1971. 4 years later she was teamed with Brent Musburger and Irv Cross and later Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder as they defined what NFL pre-game shows would be going forward. In its first year on the air The NFL Today won 13 Emmy Awards and began an 18 year run consistently winning its time slot until 1994 when CBS lost their broadcast rights to NFC games to FOX. George had two stints on The NFL Today, from 1975 to 1978 and 1980 to 1983.


George was a native Texan born in Denton in 1949. For her first 3 years of college she attended North Texas State University (now known as the University of North Texas) but after she won the Miss Texas pageant in 1970 she found that Texas Christian University offered full scholarships so she completed her degree at TCU. George, later in the 1980’s, married John Y Brown Jr who owned Kentucky Fried Chicken and later became Governor of the State of Kentucky. George was First Lady of Kentucky during his term in office.


An icon of the 1970’s passed away this week and it’s a passing that deserves to be recognized.



Edited by eagle eye
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