The future of the NFL is here

Last night’s game on Monday Night Football delivered, big time.

In the great city of Los Angeles, a city hurting after the recent wildfires that destroyed hundreds of homes as well as the shooting at a bar in Ventura County, the Kansas City Chiefs and LA Rams gave an extraordinary, record-setting show of offense and defense.

By the numbers, 105 combined points, more than a thousand yards of offense, 13 total touchdowns, and a hometown victory for the Rams. Both offenses and defenses shined for almost comical numbers; just go and look at the stats for yourself and try your best to not be bewildered.

Boy, was this game a chess match. A shootout. A duel. A battle. Or as legendary WWE commentator Jim Ross would call a heavily brutal wrestling match, a “slobberknocker.”

Both quarterbacks, with not even three years of NFL experience under their belt, made for an all-time classic that smashed Vegas odds and drew national attention. Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff, both, in their own regards, highly touted and popular stars this year, together threw for 891 yards and 10 touchdowns. This type of thing you’d expect out of veteran quarterbacks like Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Roethlisberger… but no, it was the new guys. All of them.

It’s just simply the way the game was played. It could’ve been that the location was at in a general college football venue, or maybe it was both powerhouse teams are already near-locks to win their divisions. But overall, you can’t say every player on each team was a veteran in their own right. But almost every one of them was a playmaker.

Names like Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Kareem Hunt helped accelerate the Kansas City offense, all of whom haven’t even been in the NFL for that long (Kelce was drafted in 2013; the others were in later drafts).

On the other side of the ball, where the Rams defense can be regarded as the best in football right now, Samson Ebukam recovered a fumble for a touchdown, scored a pick-six, and racked up several hits on Mahomes. Definitely earned himself the game MVP.

But the most disruptive player on the Rams defense, much to no one’s surprise, was Aaron Donald. He was an animal, a fiend, a force to be reckoned with. He was just as unstoppable as any quarterback or wide receiver who was playing Monday night. Consistently bursting through the Chiefs’ offensive line, Donald was the man who forced two of Mahomes’ fumbles, further proving that he’s the best defensive player in football right now. As if his resume didn’t show that already.

With defense being the most looked-at aspect of this year’s upcoming draft, Donald is the pinnacle of what every prospect should aim to be and look to surpass. Well, with the inclusion of Bears linebacker Khalil Mack, of course.

Every single player participating in last night’s bout knew how it special the game would be, but didn’t expect that it would lead to one of the best games we’ve seen in a while. Most of them felt that watching the game would’ve been better than playing in it.

Rams defensive end Michael Brockers said afterwards in the locker room, “I just really wanna go home and watch it. To be in it was stressful. To watch a game like that… that’s what football is made for.

Rodger Safford, Rams offensive guard, described the unfolding events as him “probably losing two or three years of my life with all those heart attacks.” There were six lead changes during Monday night’s game, with three of them occurring in the fourth quarter.

What’s important to remember now that this game is all said and done is that this is the future of football. This game showed the progress of change within the league. The only thing close to the intensity of this Chiefs-Rams matchup was last year’s Super Bowl, which featured 1,151 yards of total offense. Looking at these two examples, there’s really no way that they would’ve been played in any year before 2018; pivotal matchups and the electric hype leading up to it, this is how the league could look for years to come.

Not to mention, all of these stars who came out to play Monday night will continue to shine for plenty more games to come, or even years for that matter. This new class of studs and standouts have shown us that the entertainment level of football is in good hands, and it starts with each and every player and coach that took part in last night’s Los Angeles spectacle.


Could Nick Bosa’s Decision Be a Turning Point in College Sports?

Seven games into the Ohio State football season, and star defensive end Nick Bosa is calling it quits. Earlier this week, he announced that his career with the Buckeyes is over.

Bosa expressed his increasing frustration after being forced to sit out the game against Penn State due to a core injury. He would then sit out the following two contests, having had surgery on September 20th.

In a near-unprecedented move, he withdrew from the university to focus on the upcoming NFL Draft where, according to several mock drafts, he’s slated to go within the first five picks.

Choosing NFL prep over both education and a possible second National Championship in the CFP era marks a culture shift, where top power players are beginning to realize their professional potential where their skills could actually bring them a big paycheck. It’s hard for them to visualize that if their health isn’t at 100-percent.

Plus, they aren’t earning anything for playing at such a high level in collegiate sports besides just a free education. In the primetime hours, players like Bosa are putting their bodies on the line every game. And for what? For the major universities and NCAA to take the money and use it towards unnecessary facility enhancements?

Josh Rosen said last year that players will leave early wanting “to get paid before injuries ruin the very thing that allows them to earn.”

And now the conversation arises again: is it time to start paying college players?

Nothing major, nothing groundbreaking… something substantial and uncontroversial. Many school presidents say that it’s time for a serious conversation regarding the issue. The waterslides, Jacuzzis, and barbershops that programs are installing into these new, eye-popping facilities come from team earnings that could be put to better use.

After all, the players are the reason why the stadiums reach sold-out capacity, why television contracts are skyrocketing for teams and P5-conferences, and why companies like Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas live off the sponsored apparel.

Translation: players make the program and it’s time to start making it worth their time to play at and learn at these top-tier schools.

A standard salary or giving player the right to use their names, images, likenesses, etc. (bring back the NCAA Football video game @EASports!!!)… anything that will help prevent NCAA battling legal issues in the future with players who suffered life-altering injuries during their time as a collegiate player.

It’s only  a matter of time before more top athletes like Bosa follow in his path. We’ve seen players miss significant/insignificant bowl games to steer clear of injury, and now that it’s been stepped up to a major portion of the season, the field has changed.


Let’s Not Overhype Saquon Just Yet…

Regardless of your fandom, you should be excited to see Saquon Barkley play in the NFL. I shouldn’t be the only one watching his first regular season game against Jacksonville on Sept. 9th.

This man is building up so much hype for the New York Giants and for the newly-drafted NFL class. If one player can generate so much buzz about an entire season, it’s already very impressive.

Just look at his highlight reel from his career at Penn State and tell me he’s not going to be fun to watch.

Big play after big play, like clockwork.

Maybe it’s the media that has set big expectations for him or maybe it’s the Giants organization, being that they skipped on drafting a future franchise quarterback to develop behind Eli Manning. Now they’ll get to run the ball the way they’ve wanted to for years.

But us as fans are to blame as well; the amount of anticipation we expressed in the desperate waiting for Barkley’s entry into the league does seem a bit overwhelming. His Giants jersey is already the No. 1-selling on online pro shops everywhere.

Much of it is deserved after his career of tearing apart college defenses on the ground and occasionally in the air. But it’s a matter of if his maturity allows him to handle all the stresses.

Leave it to ESPN to add to the already-immense pressure.

The leading sports media outlet in the world listed Barkley as one of the best players under the age of 25, before he’s even played a single down…

These so-called “experts” are delusional. Listing Barkley rather than Offensive Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara (RB, New Orleans Saints) is a crime. Better yet, an absolute joke.

Yes, it’s no doubt he’ll be good, but ESPN is going the route of hyping up a soon-to-be New York hero. As Barstool Sports wrote, the media will always try to draw attention to the next big thing in the Big Apple.

“O’dell Beckham Jr. was supposed to be that guy. But due to a combination of his own mercurial nutjobbery, lack of postseason success and missing almost all of last year, that hasn’t panned out,” Jerry Thornton writes.

We all watched the same film, read the same reports, and we can all collectively say and agree that he has the greatest potential we’ve seen out of any draftee in years. But now’s not the time for rash assumptions.

The pressure has already built up enough on him. We shouldn’t continue to add to it other than wishing him the best. However, it is common when we see someone of so much skill and speed now competing with the big boys. Personally, I feel it’s a shame that Barkley got kind of sucked into all of that.

The New York Giants want to avoid seeing an overhyped bust just as much as the fans. Hopefully, he’ll conquer all expectations.



Top 5 2018 CFB Offensive Prospects by Position

I’m not the only one counting down the days until college football begins, right?

A little less than a month away, there are a handful of players making waves and turning heads before the season gets underway. Many of them are aiming towards a national championship, but only a few are destined to be first round prospects in April’s NFL Draft. There’s a lot to prove and a lot of scouts to impress, so without further ado, here are five prospects from each position to look out for during the 2018 college football season.


(Note: so far, this is looking to be one of the weakest class of quarterbacks in years. There are hardly any standouts and will probably only be two drafted within the first round.)

1. Justin Herbert, Oregon

Scouts are already saying that Herbert has big-time potential, which is essential for Oregon if they want to get back to the top of the Pac-12 conference. Although he only played eight games last season, the now-junior completed 67-percent of his passes for 1,750 yards with 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. As a true freshman, he racked up 1,936 yards with 19 touchdowns and a 64-percent completion rate.

Strengths: Good size, strong arm, patience in the pocket, pass placement that leads receivers out of coverage, ability to pick up yards running

Weaknesses: Field vision

2. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn

Another quarterback entering his junior season, Stidham finished 2017 with 67-percent of passes completed, 3,158 yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions. He steadily improved upon his struggles from the beginning of the year and rounded off the season by knocking off both undefeated Georgia and Alabama. Scouts have praised him for his potential as well saying he could end up being a high-first round pick if he stays consistent.

Strengths: high football IQ, good throwing mechanics including a quick release, vastly improved field vision against the rush, very mobile with excellent speed

Weaknesses: needs to fix side arm release, not that physically gifted compared to Herbert

3. Drew Lock, Missouri

Lock grabbed the media’s attention by setting an SEC single-season record for touchdown passes in 2017 with 43, while also completing 58-percent of his passes for 3,964 yards. Missouri has been known to be a lacking team over the past couple seasons. Lock turned that around in the last half of the year winning six straight games after the Tigers had a 1-5 start. Talk about a tear. He was very wise to return to Missouri before turning pro, because there are a lot of improvements to make.

Strengths: big-armed gunslinger with great ability to throw any pass, good size, tight window passing, downfield passing, mobility

Weaknesses: accuracy, field vision, prone to overthrow, a little too powerful, needs to be consistent with timing and anticipation

4. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State

An ankle injury in the Egg Bowl ended his season early, which probably helped him decide to return for his senior year. He amassed 29 total touchdowns with 14 of them rushing and 1,782 yards. However, his high interception total (11) doesn’t excite a lot of scouts, but as Dak Prescott’s successor, he has a lot to prove this season if he wants to compete in the most challenging conference in college football.

Strengths: pro size, breakaway speed, charisma

Weaknesses: accuracy, pocket passing, too many forced passes

5. Easton Stick, North Dakota State

A lot of media buzz has generated after three nice seasons with the Bison, and what a statement to make after Carson Wentz entered the NFL. Just look at his consistently improving season statistics:

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He unfortunately wasn’t listed on NFL team’s preseason watch lists with other first- through fourth-round projections. That could quickly change midway through the season.

Strengths: quality arm, mobility in and out of pocket, ability to make NFL throws

Weaknesses: needs to learn how to fit the ball in tight windows, connection with receivers, needs faster throwing motion

Running Backs

1. Bryce Love, Stanford

Currently getting a shocking comparison to Chris Johnson, Love is better than other smaller backs who have gone in the first round in the past (David Wilson, Jahvid Best, etc. At 5-foot-10 and 196 pounds, he’s tough and extremely fast. If you need proof, watch the video and how his vision of the field sends him to the end zone in a matter of seconds. This early Heisman candidate is deadly, as he’s already putting up NFL- like numbers (8.1 yards per carry, 2,118 yards, 19 touchdowns).

2. Damien Harris, Alabama

Harris took a very long time to develop into a well-rounded back. Scouts has compared him to Doug Martin when he was a dominant runner in the NFL. With great vision, good contact balance, and strength, Harris has the potential to be elite, especially since he was Alabama’s leading rusher. In 2017, he averaged 7.4 yards per carry with 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s due to explode for even more this season.

3. Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma

Anderson is now the next man up for the Sooners now that Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine have moved on to the NFL. The now-feature-back had an impressive 2017 season with 5.9 yards per carry for 960 yards and 11 touchdowns. While he is quick with a superb ability to get to the second level of the defense, he’ll need to develop better acceleration to burn defenders on his way to the end zone.

4. Mike Weber, Ohio State

Limited by a hamstring injury for a few games, Weber still took 96 carries for 608 yards with 10 touchdowns. He won the starting job to replace Ezekiel Elliott out of a group of highly recruited and talented backs. In his impressive debut season, he averaged six yards per carry for 1,096 yards and nine touchdowns.

5. Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M

From his freshman year onward, Williams has looked like he’s got potential. The Aggies’ offensive line struggled, however, during his sophomore year and only totaled 575 yards on the ground. After getting a commitment out of the No. 1 offensive tackle out of high school, Kenyon Green, Williams will look to have an easier time boosting his draft stock. During his freshman year, he picked up 6.8 yards per carry with 1,057 yards and eight touchdowns.

Wide Receivers

1. A.J. Brown, Mississippi

The Ole Miss Rebels have had a hard time getting their swagger back over the past couple seasons, but A.J. Brown has been a standout on an offense that lost its starting quarterback to injury. He still managed to total 75 receptions for 1,252 yards and 11 touchdowns. Brown is quick with polish and physicality and dangerous with the ball in his hands. With broken tackles left and right, he has tremendous yards-after-the-catch potential.

2. Ahmmon Richards, Miami

Brad Kaaya lacked the consistency to really show Richards’ true ability in 2016 and in 2017, he only played seven games because of a hamstring injury. He still displayed his play-making ability in his appearances, averaging 19.1 YPC. Here are his statistics from his previous two years:

2017: 24 catches, 439 yards, three touchdowns

2016: 49 catches, 934 yards, three touchdowns

3. Deebo Samuel, South Carolina

Scouts are excited about the rise of this young projected 2nd rounder. If he stays healthy, he may go even earlier. In 2017, he displayed explosive speed and play-making ability with 15 receptions for 250 yards and three touchdowns. However, in the third game of the season, he broke a bone in his left leg. But after returning a kick for a touchdown in each of the two games prior, the Gamecocks knew they’d have him primed and ready for the following season.

4. N’Keal Harry, Arizona State

Poised to be the leading receiver for the Pac-12 conference this season, Harry was able to snag 73 passes for 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017. Scouts report him as a late first-rounder or an early second-round pick. I expect him to be picked late in the first round if he can find enough speed to separate from the pro-caliber cornerbacks on his routes.

5. Marquise Brown, Oklahoma

Very fast and an instant threat to score, Brown can practically catch a pass whenever he wants to. As a sophomore, he averaged 19.2 yards per catch for 1,095 yards on 57 catches with seven touchdowns. He needs to get stronger for the NFL, but his thin frame will do for now because of his explosiveness. Just needs to work on adding weight while maintaining his speed.

Tight Ends

1. Noah Fant, Iowa

To me, Iowa has become “TE University” in recent years after the amount of prospects they’ve produced; Fant can continue the trend after his breakout sophomore year, hauling in 28 passes for 486 yards and ten touchdowns. He can only get stronger and become a better blocker to climb up the draft boards. This kid is dangerous.

2. Caleb Wilson, UCLA

Wilson shined in the Bruins’ legendary comeback over Texas A&M, catching 15 passes for 208 yards. He was Josh Rosen’s most reliable receiving threat prior to a season-ending foot injury, therefore, his statistics don’t add up to much. However, scouts are eyeing him to be an early second-round weapon for the lucky NFL team that drafts him.

3. Kaden Smith, Stanford

Stanford is no stranger to producing great tight ends for the NFL, with most of them being solid blockers and productive receivers. Dalton Schultz is long gone and playing with the big boys professionally, so Smith should be seeing more playing time with the Cardinal. Look for him to build upon his resume after catching 23 passes for 414 yards with five touchdowns back in 2017.

4. Tyler Petite, USC

Although his college highlight reel has yet to be created, Petite had a great junior season with Sam Darnold at quarterback, catching 23 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns. But now it’s time to break in a new quarterback after making only minor contributions to the offense over his past three seasons. His blocking also needs to improve drastically before he can see himself as an early third round pick.

5. C.J. Conrad, Kentucky

Seeing something great come out of the Kentucky football program is surprising to me to say the least. But they have a stud in Conrad who, in 2017, caught 16 passes for 286 yards and four touchdowns. Unfortunately, his season ended early because of a foot injury that needed surgery. Although there was limited opportunities for him to shine, he has a lot of upside to grow and build his draft stock this coming season.


(disclaimer: some of the videos, if you choose to watch, won’t point out the linemen)

1. Jonah Williams, Alabama

Are you surprised an offensive tackle from Alabama is at the top of the list? Williams was a freshman when he earned a starting spot at right tackle for the Tide back in 2016. Now at left tackle in replacement of Cam Robinson, he’s reliable covering the blind side and very intuitive in the run game and pass protection. Williams’ size and speed will be very special for the NFL team that chooses him.

2. Trey Adams, Washington

Forced to return to the Huskies for his senior year after an ACL tear in October 2017, Adams is and will be a first round pick come April. He’s shown great range, quickness, athleticism, and agility after a far-from-flawless season opener against Rutgers. He was rated as one of the best pass protectors in 2016 and should be just as dominant once the season is in full swing.

3. Greg Little, Mississippi

Little showed big potential (see what I did there?) as a freshman starter for Ole Miss, but his sophomore year was lackluster at best. Scouts have reported that his recent gains of experience will make him elite as a junior in a conference full of highly-touted offensive linemen.

4. Bobby Evans, Oklahoma

Evans and Orlando Brown were a dangerous tag team last season with both of them covering the right and left ends of the pocket, respectively. He opened up a lot of holes in the run game and protected No. 1 overall Baker Mayfield diligently. Evans will be moving to the left side of the line this season and is projected to go within the first four rounds of the NFL Draft.

5. Michael Deiter, Wisconsin

The B1G Championship illustrated that Deiter needed to return to the Badgers in 2018, being constantly flustered by the skill of Ohio State’s defensive line. To put it in perspective, Nick Bosa made Deiter his “bitch” and showed him that there was a lot to work on with his technique. After replacing Ryan Ramczyk at left tackle in 2017, Deiter made a solid season with good size and athleticism. If he wants to be a first-round pick, he needs to get better leverage on the ground game.


1. Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama

Yes, yet another Crimson Tide lineman. Don’t act surprised.

Bo Scarborough and Damien Harris have this man to thank for opening up so many holes in the trenches. Pierschbacher has played both left guard and center for the Crimson Tide as a solid run blocker. This season will give him the opportunity to improve his pass blocking ability as Alabama will try to move him between guard and center.

2. Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin

Both Alabama and Wisconsin will have a lot of offensive linemen featured in the early rounds of this coming NFL Draft. Benzschawel adds to that list due to his bulky size with an ability to fire off the ball and generate the most important thing an interior lineman can do: push. His linear build does hurt him in retrospect, but he’ll beat you off the ball and make you regret lining up against him.

3. Alex Bars, Notre Dame

Although he has experience at right tackle for the Fighting Irish, Bars will be a better fit at inside guard this season and for his foreseeable future in the NFL. But head coach Brian Kelly and offensive line coach Jeff Quinn will have to make a decision whether he’ll be the right replacement for Quenton Nelson or Mike McGlinchey. Violent in the trenches, he pounces off the ball ready to attack like a proper interior lineman.

4. Michael Jordan, Ohio State

Bursting onto the season during his freshman year starting at guard, Jordan showed great improvement in 2017 as a sophomore. There’s a recent trend of interior linemen from the Buckeyes going in early rounds and he should be able to follow that, no questions asked. Jordan already has good size to go with his strength and athleticism. With a little bit more development, he’ll be able help the Ohio State offense dominate the B1G Conference.

5. Dru Samia, Oklahoma

Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma backfield was fronted by some quality offensive linemen last season and Samia is one of them. After moving from right tackle his freshman year to right guard the following season, he provided steady pass protection and holes for running. All he needs to do is gain some size and strength and his frame will be perfect for the NFL.


1. Dalton Risner, Kansas State

Performing well on both the inside and outside of the o-line, the Wildcats’ coaching staff knows they have a shuffle piece in Risner to move around at their disposal. Simply put, he’s been reliable anywhere he’s put. However, for the NFL, moving back to center will be his best fit.

2. Connor McGovern, Penn State

As aforementioned, some of the best running threats we saw last season would be nothing without their interior linemen. By far, the best running back we’ve seen in years, Saquon Barkley, has this man to thank for making him look good. McGovern opened a lot of holes for him as a quality run blocker and will need to maintain consistency as a pass protector for quarterback Trace McSorley. Great height and arm length makes McGovern a great fit for an NFL center spot.

3. Jesse Burkett, Stanford

There’s a reason why Burkett is playing for Stanford: he’s a very smart blocker. Overall, he has the best ability out of every center to block up to the second level of the defense. Only a little bit of size, however, but he makes up for it with a good combination of skills and athleticism.

4. Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame

As one of the shortest centers in this upcoming draft, Mustipher (6-foot-2) would be rated higher if he were taller and had more length. His size does limit him in certain aspects, but he has proved to be an impressive blocker for Notre Dame. Steady in pass protection and aggressive in the trenches, Mustipher may be a huge surprise this season.

5. Jake Hanson, Oregon

Hanson had a good season in 2017 and is still questionable as an entry into this upcoming NFL Draft. Why? Maybe it’s because he still has some strength to develop and experience to gain as a well-rounded center. The decision is ultimately up to him when he feels ready. As a quality athlete with some quickness, Hanson should know what he has to work on and will grow as a dominant interior lineman.



First off, I want to extend a massive congratulations to the city of Philadelphia and the Eagles organization on winning their first Lombardi trophy Sunday night. It was a long time coming, but they finally were able to take home their first Super Bowl win since… well, before the Super Bowl even existed.

Nobody can argue that both offenses did a miraculous job last night, making for historical numbers in combined total yardage. However, it all came down to who could torch the opposing defense, especially on third down where it all mattered.

The Eagles offense ran their RPO offense like I had never seen before. They were stellar. Whenever faced with a third down, they continued to come up big. Donnie Jones only had to punt once.

On the other side, the Patriots offense was running like they had all season. The big plays happened but it just wasn’t enough. In the end, the offensive line got tired and overwhelmed by the pass rush which caused Tom Brady to lose a fumble on an attempt to throw.

The better team won. What else is there to say?

But what does this mean for the Patriots now? They made so many big moves in the offseason and only some actually paid off. The addition of Brandin Cooks was by far one of the greatest transactions they could’ve made for the franchise. A deep threat receiver who made it a nightmare for defensive backs to cover. Losing him impacted the team’s performance significantly Sunday night.

And I will never understand why Malcolm Butler didn’t start on defense. Whatever the coaching decision was there, I feel that they’ll be reflecting on that for a long time. One thing that is for certain, you will never see him play another down for the Patriots ever again.

As for Tom Brady, he’ll have to wait for his next shot at history-making until next season. People can’t continue to argue that he isn’t the greatest quarterback to ever play the game of football. He’s already proven that. He didn’t choke last night; he put up some of the best numbers by a losing quarterback in a Super Bowl. The postseason is where he shines the most, but his performance was not a determining factor in the final decision Sunday night.

I’m happy to see an organization like Philadelphia, who’s waited practically a lifetime to see their beloved team win their first significant championship since the AFL-NFL merger. That’s my sports-fan persona talking.

As for my diehard-Patriots-fan persona, I know this isn’t the end. Far from it. Knowing how much the organization has built up since the dawn of the millennium and how much they’ve already accomplished, everybody knows that they’ll be back and with a vengeance. A loss like this on such a grand stage will loom over Tom Brady’s head and the entire franchise like a storm cloud. The coaches and players will be picking apart every little thing in order to get back to the same place they were this season.

Every team needs improving, including the “evil empire” that is the New England Patriots.

Ever since the postseason began, the Patriots started a social media the social media hashtag “#NotDone” to show that there’s still more on their plate and that there’s a job that still needs to be done. I didn’t think that this was the right one to use. If you’re a team in the NFL, the goal isn’t to win just one championship; it’s to win several and to cement your legacy as one of the stoic franchises that football has ever seen. While the Patriots have already done this, their job is far from over.

They might be down and out right now, but the Patriots are #NeverDone.

We’ll be back…

Injuries Are Killing Football

This 2017 NFL season sucks.

I won’t lie, it has been interesting thus far, especially with the Rams and Jaguars being some of the league’s best right now,… but it still sucks.

Devastating, season-ending injuries have taken some of the best talent that we’ve seen over the past couple years. We get extremely excited to watch these players demonstrate these abilities and then watch all their season’s potential fall. While it’s painful for us to handle, I can’t imagine the grief that these stricken players go through.

For me, it all started when Julian Edelman was carted off to the locker room during a preseason game against the Lions. Hours later, it was revealed that he had suffered a non-contact ACL tear. All New England fans alike were heartbroken, especially after the amazing season he and his team just had.

Many wondered what would become of the Patriots and Tom Brady without one of their main weapons on offense. We chose to bite through the pain and keep moving forward. So far, the season has been very shaky for the Patriots, but it can only get better… hopefully.

But then the list of extremely talented, seriously injured players continued to grow from there. Now in Week Nine, the names are staggering:

QBs: Ryan Tannehill, Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson, Carson Palmer
RBs: David Johnson, Dalvin Cook, Spencer Ware
WRs: Julian Edelman, O’Dell Beckham Jr., Allen Robinson
TEs: Greg Olsen
OTs: Joe Thomas, Jason Peters, Zach Strief, Joe Staley
OGs: Marshal Yanda, Mike Iupati
Cs: Ryan Kalil
DLs: JJ Watt, Stephon Tuitt, Solomon Thomas, Cliff Avril, Sharrif Floyd
LBs: Dont’a Hightower, Whiney Mercilus, Tamba Hali
DBs: Stephon Gilmore, Jason Verrett, Eric Berry, Malik Hooker
Ks: Dan Bailey

Looking at it from a glance, the list is compiled of names who’ve been decorated in the game of football. Major awards, conference standouts, Pro Bowlers, etc.

Personally, it killed me the most when David Johnson went down Week One because I picked him first overall in fantasy. My team hasn’t been the same ever since.

I think the worst it came to was this week when Deshaun Watson went down with an non-contact ACL tear in practice, just a day after the Astros won their first ever World Series. What a heartbreak for the city of Houston who had come off a major hurricane and had already lost their hero JJ Watt earlier in the year.

Watson is a rising star and his 19 touchdown passes lead the league – an impressive stat for a rookie that didn’t even start the season opener. He was well on his way to earning Rookie of the Year and the unfortunate injury halted that campaign.

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I look forward to seeing what he can accomplish next season.

But with all the injuries at the quarterback position, Colin Kaepernick still has not been contacted for a job, but that’s not the issue at hand.

The injuries might’ve done something to the “wow” factor of the game and the reason why we all tune in every Sunday in the fall. But it has done something to the postseason. Imagine what the playoffs will be like now; the NFC North is anybody’s without Aaron Rodgers and the Packers taking it every year, the Rams and Jaguars may get their first taste of playoffs in a while, and we’ll get to see if Tom Brady can pull it off again (I’m secretly hoping this happens).

10 Active NFL Players That Deserve to Win a Title

Winning the Lombardi Trophy should be the mindset of every single NFL player in the league; it signifies a team’s dominance and the effort they put into achieving this admirable feat. Unfortunately, in a league controlled by powerhouse teams that take up the Super Bowl spotlight, some players who have made a namesake for themselves have either never been able to win the big one, or ever be in one. It’s a shame that some of the game’s best athletes haven’t been able to get their hands on the championship trophy, despite their incredible work ethic and accomplishments. With that said, here are ten of the most elite, active NFL players that deserve to win a title:

10. Carson Palmer

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Carson Palmer did not have the greatest start to a professional career coming off a Heisman award-winning season and being drafted first overall by the Bengals. He bounced back later in his career to win the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2015 with the Arizona Cardinals. For his sake, he does deserve some playoff glory for the hardships that he’s been through. For a man who has everything, it’s strange that he is partially defined for what he’s missing: a title.

9. Julius Peppers

julius peppers.jpg

Peppers hasn’t come as close to a Super Bowl win since he and the Panthers were dashed at the hands of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXVIII (how tragic). He is currently the Panthers’ all-time leader in sacks, forced fumbles, and blocked kicks. It’s extraordinary that a man drafted in 2002 is still a force to be reckoned with in the league today. His consistent level of play and upgrade to any defense has made for a great career that would be nicely capped off with a Super Bowl victory.

8. Frank Gore

Frank Gore

At 33 years old, Gore is a still a stud running back that is able to rack up 1,000 yard seasons when most backs his age are at home on the couch. This past season, his 1,025-yard total was the highest by any RB not named John Riggins or Walter Payton in year 12, making for his ninth 1,000-yard season. He did get close to a championship win with Harbaugh’s 49ers, but he won’t get anywhere close with the mending Colts. For a player about to head in to his 13th year, he’s been everything of what a championship player should be.

7. Antonio Gates

antonio gates

111 career touchdowns – tied for most ever by a tight end alongside Tony Gonzalez. 36 years old, more than 200 NFL games played, and Antonio Gates still doesn’t have a ring. He also earned three straight first-team All-Pro Honors from 2004 to 2006. In the direction the Chargers have taken their organization over the past couple years, Gates won’t be in the Super Bowl spotlight anytime soon, even after all work he’s put in to help his team win… or at least try to.

6. Joe Thomas

joe thomas

If you give this guy a championship, you might as well give his whole team one too, and they need one more than anything. Joe Thomas has played every snap at left tackle for the saddest team in the league, the Cleveland Browns. His only winning season was his rookie year, where the Browns went 10-6 surprisingly. The six-time first-team All-Pro has done his job extremely well at an elite level while his team has gone 38-106 since 2007. This guy deserves to win, but being the humble guy that he is, he’ll put the entire city of Cleveland first.

5. Eric Berry


This guy’s life could be a movie if some Hollywood studio decided to pick up his story. After being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in late 2014 and going through chemotherapy treatment in the offseason, Berry came back for the 2015 season and was named a Pro Bowler, a first-team All-Pro, and AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year. That’s simply incredible. The Kansas City Chiefs just made him the highest-paid safety in the NFL with a franchise tag to go along with his monstrous contract. What would make his story more incredible, however, is if he was able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy to bring it all around full circle.

4. Julio Jones

julio jones.jpg.pngSo close, but yet so far. The Atlanta Falcons were by far the best team in the NFL last year, but fell flat and blew the biggest lead in Super Bowl history (Go Pats). Julio Jones is the best wide receiver in the game today and has done nothing to tarnish his reputation off the field. I think back to Stephen A. Smith’s rant about him on First Take back in February about how it’s all about actions with him, not words. Not to mention that he’s a one-man highlight reel (see catches he made in Super Bowl). If Jones and the Falcons win a championship in the next couple years, it’ll be rightfully deserved because of the enormous work ethic they all put into success. But against the Patriots, they might have to work on holding a lead better.

3. Jason Witten

jason wittenSure enough to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, Witten is without question one of the best tight ends to ever play the game. Like Gronkowski, Witten is asked to block very often and is an every-down player. He currently ranks seventh all-time in tight end catches behind Tony Gonzalez. He even helps rookies adjust well to their new spots on the team (example: Dak Prescott completed 72 percent of his passes when targeting Witten). He’s a team player that can still perform at a high level. However, the Dallas Cowboys haven’t seen a Super Bowl appearance since the mid-1990’s. Witten won’t be touching any trophies soon if his team keeps on choking in the playoffs like they have in the recent past.

2. Adrian Peterson

adrian peterson

When healthy and available, Peterson has been a dominant player on any field he steps on. He’s also the last non-quarterback to win league MVP. He came close to breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, which was the main reason why the Vikings landed in the postseason in 2012. Unfortunately, he has missed a total of 28 games over the past three seasons and has developed a severe case of fumbilitis. Now with the Saints, his career is going in a different direction now that him and Mark Ingram will have to share backfield duties. His resume is all of what a championship player should be, but his lone NFC Championship appearance was not one to be remembered. Maybe he’ll help the Saints get back on top and then he’ll finally be able to add a Lombardi Trophy to his repertoire.

1. Larry Fitzgerald


It hurts me that Fitz hasn’t won a championship yet. Fitzgerald will obviously waltz right into the Hall of Fame when eligible. But can he get a ring to walk in with? His best shot was back in Super Bowl XLIII where the Cardinals lost to the Steelers. He currently ranks third-all-time in receptions and led the league last season in that same category. Time is running out for him as he has already openly pondered retirement. As one of the most reliable wide receivers to ever lace up his cleats, Larry Fitzgerald deserves a championship that will make his career completely fulfilled.