2012 NFL Season

I’ll Be Back

I’ll Be Back

Tuesday Morning Tailback Classic

The Denver Broncos are favored by the most points ever this coming week when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars (28 points) and the majority of all hype these days is on Peyton Manning and Broncos. This is not without reason, as Manning is on a historic path for many all time records and the Broncos have won 16 consecutive regular season games. It is hard to believe that just 51 weeks ago (when that streak began), the Broncos and Manning seemed in trouble. Manning was coming off a full season missed due to an injury some thought would finish his career and he hadn’t played particularly well as the Broncos started 2012 with a 2-3 record. Further, they were down 24-0 at halftime of a Monday Night contest against rivals San Diego. Below is the Tuesday Morning Tailback article from October 16, 2012 after Manning led an unbelievable comeback.

Original article:

Peyton Manning leads unbeleivable comebackPeyton Manning is not done.

This is a refreshing statement to say because as recent as 10:00 last night, I was thinking that he might be so. At that point, the Denver Broncos went into the locker at halftime down 24-0, despite the fact that they were statistically even with the San Diego Chargers on offense. That first half was not so much brutal as it was ugly. The Broncos fumbled inside their own 20 on consecutive punt and kickoff returns, giving the Chargers an easy 10 points right from the top. Even when the Broncos seemed to start getting things rolling in the 2nd quarter, it appeared it just wasn’t their night. Manning hit a wide open Eric Decker, who had a clear path to the end zone but tripped over his own feet on the 30-yard-line and two plays later a missed audible led to a “pick six” in the other direction and what should have been a 10-7 game was suddenly 17-0.

The Chargers put together their only real drive right before the half, capped by an Antonio Gates TD with 24 seconds left. It was around this point that I noticed the PA at Qualcomm Stadium adopted the famous “Go Chargers” call by former governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar to fire up the crowd on critical downs. It was repeated so many times that it reminded me of the action figure my son had of Schwarzeneggar’s “Terminator”, which constantly repeated the famous line “I’ll Be Back” when he pressed a button. With a 24-0 lead it certainly appeared that San Diego would cruise to victory and be in firm control of the AFC West division. Even though the Broncos had 2 timeouts remaining, Manning knelt down to bring the game to the half and seemed to symbolize the Broncos conceding defeat.

I began to wonder if the aging and recently seriously-injured Manning just didn’t half enough in the tank to overcome such adversity. Nine years ago in a similar situation – a Monday night game on the road – Manning and his Indianapolis Colts overcame a 21 point deficit in the fourth quarter. But those days seemed long gone at around 10:00 last night night. Little did I or anyone else know, Manning was really thinking “I’ll Be Back”.

A completely different quarterback and a completely different team came out in the second half. Right off the bat, Manning drove the team 85 yards in about 4 minutes for their first score and this seemed to wake up the entire team, especially the defense. On the Chargers first drive of the second half, Elvis Dumervil caused quarterback Philip Rivers to fumble and it was returned by Tony Carter 65 yards for another Bronco touchdown. Suddenly it was 24-14 and, even though the Broncos were still down by ten, it felt like momentum had completely shifted.

The fourth quarter started with the Broncos defense once again shutting down Rivers and the Chargers offense followed by Manning once again leading the team down the field for yet another touchdown and the Broncos within three points. It was now clear to me that the Broncos had absolutely refused to lose this game, so their continued barrage to a 35-24 victory was simply a fait accompli by that point.

Just as everything was clicking for the Broncos, it completely fell apart for Rivers, who went on to throw 3 more interceptions and lose another fumble in the fourth quarter (he had a total of 6 turnovers in the game, 2 fumbles and 4 interceptions). Full disclosure, I’m no fan of Philip Rivers and have long felt he is grossly overrated as I pointed out in last year’s article Prince Philip and Rivers was still named an all-pro last season despite throwing 20 interceptions. But his collapse last night was downright sad as he completely shriveled in the heat of the high-pressure moment.

Manning’s play was a complete contrast to Rivers, who coming into the game had won 4 of 5 head-to-head matchups against Manning (a stat that ESPN beat to death in the pre game hype). There is no doubt that Peyton still has something left in the tank and if the Broncos could learn how to start games like they finish (they’ve trailed by 20 points or more in 4 of their 6 games this season), then this may be a special season in the Rocky Mountains.

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Tuesday Morning TailbackTuesday Morning Tailback is a weekly article during football season which take a critical look at the NFL. We do this from the base belief that NFL football is the greatest game in the history of mankind, but some recent policies and the overall direction of the league has chipped away at this greatness. Our primary goal is to spark debate on these subjects, so please leave your own opinion on this article in the comment box below.

Other Sports Related Articles

Nevermore

Nevermore

by Tuesday Morning Tailback

And so it ends.

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NOTE from Tuesday Morning Tailback: This was my lame attempt to announce I would write “nevermore” following the 2012 season and the championship by the Baltimore Ravens. Of course, it was a false alarm as Tuesday Morning Tailback continues through the 2013 season.

 

Tuesday Morning Tailback LogoTuesday Morning Tailback is a weekly article during football season which take a critical look at the NFL. We do this from the base belief that NFL football is the greatest game in the history of mankind, but some recent policies and the overall direction of the league has chipped away at this greatness. Our primary goal is to spark debate on these subjects, so please leave your own opinion on this article in the comment box below.

Why So Much Suck?

A fake Jim Nantz and Phil SimmsSo the President of the United States has stated that he would have hesitated to let his son (who would have looked like Travon Martin, by the way) play football, if he actually had a son. In an interview with New Republic “I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence,” said President Obama. “In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won’t have to examine our consciences quite as much.”

So now we find out (gasp!) that football may be dangerous. Who knew? We’d better get right on that immediately to protect these adults who have worked and dreamed of being in the position of playing this dangerous sport! Now the sports media have their talking points for the week to stop any chance of real fans getting real pre-game coverage.

In other news, the worst broadcasting tandem in history will be calling this week’s Super Bowl on CBS, the most mundane broadcasting network in history. The boring Jim Nantz, who has stated his opinion calling The Masters golf tounament is a bigger thrill than calling the Super Bowl, will be joined by downright dumb Phil Simms. During the Divisional Playoffs a few weeks back, Simms suggested that the Houston Texans should set up for a field goal when down by 13 with under two minutes remaining. A third grader can figure out how that math doesn’t work out! Whatever happened to Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen? Pat Summerall and John Madden?

Then just in case there’s not enough suck involved, we’ll have beyonce lip-syncing through the lame halftime show, which lasts way too long and seriously kills the game’s momentum even when The Who or the Stones are playing.

Hopefully we’ll have a good Super Bowl in New Orleans on February 3rd.

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Tuesday Morning Tailback LogoTuesday Morning Tailback is a weekly article during football season which take a critical look at the NFL. We do this from the base belief that NFL football is the greatest game in the history of mankind, but some recent policies and the overall direction of the league has chipped away at this greatness. Our primary goal is to spark debate on these subjects, so please leave your own opinion on this article in the comment box below.

The Brothers Harbaugh

Jim & John HarbaughA little over year ago, as their respective teams headed into their respective conference championships, I wrote an article about Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh called Hardy Har Harbaugh. Of course, both of their respective teams lost their respective championships and the Brothers Harbaugh failed to reach Super Bowl XLVI. However, this year they both achieved that goal and will meet in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on February 3rd, so I’ve decided to heap praises on the Harbaughs once again. What follows below is mainly from that article a year ago.

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is a year older than his brother and has a longer head coaching tenure. John has led the Ravens to the playoffs in each of his five seasons as head coach. The team traveled to Foxboro, MA and defeated the New England Patriots to advance to the Super Bowl in New Orleans. This was the Ravens third trip to the AFC Championship during John’s tenure as head coach, but the first that they won, as they lost to Pittsburgh in 2008 and to New England last year. The Ravens have played twelve playoff games under John Harbaugh, with only two of those games played in Baltimore, so the John’s Ravens are road tested in big games.

Jim Harbaugh is only in his second year as head coach for the San Francisco 49ers, but his path to this position is a bit more colorful than that of his older brother. Jim was the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, and yes, the Baltimore Ravens over a 14-year playing career in the NFL. He led the pre-Peyton Colts to the AFC Championship in 1995, coming within one dropped “Hail Mary” pass against the Steelers of taking the Colts to the Super Bowl, and coming in second that year in NFL MVP voting behind Brett Favre.

After retiring in 2001, Jim was an assistant coach with the Oakland Raiders, before turning around two college programs, San Diego University and Stanford, as head coach. This climaxed with an 11–1 Stanford team in 2010 and a blowout victory in the Orange Bowl, Stanford’s first Bowl victory in 14 years. Just days after that victory, Jim Harbaugh was offered a 5-year $25 million contract to become the head coach for the San Francisco 49ers, a team with a great tradition but who had not made the playoffs since 2002. In his first season he led the 49ers to a 13-3 record and a #2 seed in the NFC playoffs, ultimately losing to the New York Giants in the 2012 NFC Championship Game. This year was much the same, #2 seed, a victory (against Green Bay) in the divisional playoffs but now a road victory in the NFC Championship against the Atlanta Falcons.

The father of the Harbaugh brothers is Jack Harbaugh, who was an assistant coach at Michigan under legendary coach Bo Schembechler, as well as several other colleges over a long career, obviously establishing a strong pedigree of coaching success. The brothers faced off for the first time as coaching foes on Thanksgiving night, 2011 in Baltimore, with John’s Ravens defeating the Jim’s 49ers 16-6. They will have a rematch in New Orleans on February 3rd.

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Tuesday Morning Tailback LogoTuesday Morning Tailback is a weekly article during football season which take a critical look at the NFL. We do this from the base belief that NFL football is the greatest game in the history of mankind, but some recent policies and the overall direction of the league has chipped away at this greatness. Our primary goal is to spark debate on these subjects, so please leave your own opinion on this article in the comment box below.

Kneeling Down On the Job

by Tuesday Morning Tailback

Peyton ManningI don’t care how many smug commentators say otherwise, nothing is worse than a coach who doesn’t play to win. And this is especially true in the playoffs. I can still remember the 2003 NFC Divisional Playoffs when both Mike Martz of the Rams and Mike Sherman of the Packers cost their respective teams a trip to the NFC Championship because they played “not to lose”, and lose is exactly what each did. Ironically, Martz’s opposing coach that day was John Fox, then of the Carolina Panthers. But apparently the lesson of his team’s good fortune due to Martz’s mistake was lost on Fox.

Now head coach of the Denver Broncos, Fox had top quarterback Peyton Manning kneel down in the fourth quarter with 31 seconds left and two timeouts in a tie game. The game went into overtime and the Baltimore Ravens eventually won. Questioned about this contraversial decision, Fox said his team was “in shock” following the Ravens improbable 71-yard touchdown pass moments earlier that tied the game, and he felt they needed to “regroup”. Fox added; “I’d do it again ten times in that situation” and team President John Elway backed him up. But in the playoffs, you don’t “regroup”, you win or you lose.

Want proof of this? Just look a mere 20 hours into the future. The Atlanta Falcons had relinquished a 20 point fourth quarter lead and fell behind 28-27 to the Seattle Seahawks with (irony of ironies) 31 seconds remaining. Unlike the Broncos, the Falcons had two things going aginst them – they were trailing and they had no timeouts remaining. There was no option for the Falcons to “re-group”, they had to score or lose and they won. Bottom line is, the Atlanta Falcons are playing next week and the Denver Broncos are not.

The infamous kneel down was not the first ultra-conservative move by Fox in Saturday’s game. He had Manning to the same after the Ravens scored to tie the game right before the half. Worse, he totally abandoned the game plan when Denver had the best chance. Ronnie Hillman got a first down with 2:23 remaining, forcing the Ravens to use their time outs. Another first down would have ended the game. But Fox didn’t even try to get that first down, not even letting Manning put it in the air even on third down when Baltimore had nine men in the box. So, in Fox’s opinion getting that first down to seal the game was not worth the risk of not wasting 45 seconds – terrible call.

Now the Denver Broncos have plenty of time to “re-group”.

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Tuesday Morning Tailback LogoTuesday Morning Tailback is a weekly article during football season which take a critical look at the NFL. We do this from the base belief that NFL football is the greatest game in the history of mankind, but some recent policies and the overall direction of the league has chipped away at this greatness. Our primary goal is to spark debate on these subjects, so please leave your own opinion on this article in the comment box below.

Those Shanahans Need to Be Fired!

by Tuesday Morning Tailback

Kyle and Mike ShanahanIt may have taken an entire season, but I think I’ve finally figured out why the constant use of “RGIII” by mainstream sportscasters and broadcasters has become such a burdensome thorn in my side. I first parodied this in our first regular season article this year called The Idiocy of Overused Acronyms, but the real issue I have with this did not surface with clarity until the aftermath of this weekend’s NFC Wildcard playoff when the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Washington Redskins. Robert Griffin III, the Redskins rookie quarterback left the game what appears to be a serious knee injury (there are conflicting reports of the severity as of Tuesday morning). Following the game, the media shitstorm really started.

By Monday morning, many in both sports and “mainstream” were pompously proclaiming that this is a “fire-able offense” by head coach Mike Shanahan and his son, Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. These calls were made in spite of the post game press conference where Griffin stated that he told Mike Shanahan that he knows the difference between pain and an injury and, although he was in a lot of pain during the game, he was not “injured”. This statement was accepted by Shanahan but was, of course, not good enough for the media. Then it all came together why the whole “RGIII” bothers me so much.

I’ve come to realize that there is a difference between the well-centered and intelligent man with extraordinary talent who is Robert Griffin III and the cartoonish media Frankenstein with pre-fabricated scripts of destiny already written for him and no real concern for his own judgment or opinion, which has been deemed “RGIII”. These media morons questioned why Shanahan would put “the future of the franchise” in such jeopardy while apparently never realizing that Griffin is a far bigger stakeholder in his own future than the Redskins “franchise”. From their perspective, Griffin couldn’t possibly have a say in his own condition – he’s just the mindless million dollar sports car who is being driven by such irresponsible drivers as the Shanahans. So that’s my theory on the where the slippery slope ends when middle-aged “reporters”, not just kids or color commentators, adopt a once hip, quickly passé acronym as a replacement for the human name of the actual man.

Adding an ironic twist to this all is that this should all happen in Washington, DC, where scapegoating responsibility has become the default art form of the 21st century. Perhaps someone in that town needs to draft some federal legislation to determine when an NFL coach can and cannot play his quarterback.

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Tuesday Morning Tailback LogoTuesday Morning Tailback is a weekly article during football season which take a critical look at the NFL. We do this from the base belief that NFL football is the greatest game in the history of mankind, but some recent policies and the overall direction of the league has chipped away at this greatness. Our primary goal is to spark debate on these subjects, so please leave your own opinion on this article in the comment box below.

Romo Is the Hero Dallas Deserves

January 1, 2013
By J.D. Cook

Tony RomoIf I have to hear another excuse for the Dallas Cowboys, I’m going to ban sports media from my television. I do not know why the sports media (NFL Network and ESPN) love the Dallas Cowboys so much. Perhaps it’s because they have the biggest fan base in America due to whatever marketing team dubbed them “America’s Team” in the 1970s. This moniker is, of course, ridiculous considering they are the quintessential “Texas Team”. The Patriots who won the super bowl in the 2001 football season after 9-11 may be more deserving of being dubbed “America’s Team”, or perhaps Green Bay or Pittsburgh due to their historic accomplishments. That discussion is for another day though. Today’s discussion is set for the “Cult of the Cowboys” in the sports media.

Leading up to last Sunday, all I heard on every channel was “Dallas vs. Washington to decide the playoffs”, “Dallas vs. Washington will be the best game of the season”, “Dallas vs. Washington will be the best game ever”, etc. There were of course other games that were equally important to playoff seeding and no amount of hype can actually make a game great – the Green Bay vs. Minnesota game was far more entertaining than Dallas vs. Washington. The game was also being advertised as a huge showdown between teams on equal footing, except it was fairly obvious going into the game that Dallas was not nearly as good as Washington. Not only had Washington already beaten Dallas recently but last year Dallas lost the division in the exact same manner to the New York Giants and the season before that, they were 6-10. So my question to the sports media is; “why the heck weren’t the Redskins billed as the definite favorite?”

So the game came and went and the outcome was exactly as I predicted. The up-and-coming Washington Redskins trumped the Dallas Cowboys. Why did this happen? The Dallas Cowboys..are just not that good! They have not been very good for the last ten years! Every season they are billed as the team to beat, and every year they aren’t. Unfortunately, everyone hears them billed as a top team and I can guarantee you that 31 other teams in the NFL always want to beat the Cowboys a little more than other teams in the league because of this. Then as if to make up for the inflated reputation they give Dallas, the sports media then spends the entire off-season apologizing and making excuses for this team.

They got started early this year as the minute that Dallas lost to Washington, stories about how sad it was that Tony Romo couldn’t win the big game started to appear. Suddenly Romo has become the fall guy for the sports media’s given reputation to Dallas. It was only a matter of time really. Every season the sports media was able to blame something or someone else until finally they landed on Romo. It is kind of sad because Romo seems like a nice enough guy and he is a decent quarterback. but the sports media needs its sacrifice to keep the illusion of the Dallas Cowboys supremacy alive and this year Romo’s number might just be up because the sports media can’t just admit the plain simple truth that the Dallas Cowboys just aren’t that damn good!

They’d rather live in a lie for the sake of placating the egos of Dallas fans then admit the journalistic truth. I’d like to believe this is not because Dallas is the biggest generator of revenue in the Sports world but I am not that naïve. I can’t wait to see what excuse the Sports Media comes up with if the Cowboys suck next year.

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Tuesday Morning Tailback LogoTuesday Morning Tailback is a weekly article during football season which take a critical look at the NFL. We do this from the base belief that NFL football is the greatest game in the history of mankind, but some recent policies and the overall direction of the league has chipped away at this greatness. Our primary goal is to spark debate on these subjects, so please leave your own opinion on this article in the comment box below.