There has always been a push within the game of football to find ever more rare and unknown players. The 1940s brought an effort to permit black players into the league; as bizarre as that seems now, it wasn't that long ago in real terms, and teams like the LA Rams led the way. The AFL All-Star game was moved in January, 1965 because the original city's hotels (New Orleans) wouldn't allow black players to stay or eat at the players' hotel there. Modern experience tells us that scouting traditionally black schools changed the game. By the 1950s there were teams like the Cleveland Browns who were also scouting the smaller schools and bring in big name players from them.
Now, the NFL is increasingly looking at players from Canada. Danny Watkins moved from British Columbia to Oroville, California, to take part in the firefighter's academy at Butte College, planning a career in that brave profession. Now Watkins is a former 2011 first-round pick out of Baylor who's starting and playing well for the Philadelphia Eagles. Philip Blake, a guard/center for the Denver Broncos, was one of four players from Canada selected in last month's draft. Boise State's Tyrone Crawford (Dallas Cowboys) is a defensive tackle (6-4, 275), as is the 318 lb Akiem Hicks (New Orleans Saints); both went in the third round. The 6-5, 290 lb DE Christo Bilukidi (Georgia State) went to Oakland in the sixth round.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In a surprising development, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Niosh) has found that ex-NFL players actually live longer than the normal US male population, with fewer deaths caused by cancer and heart disease.
However, the Niosh study of 3,439 former players oddly found that defensive linemen were felled by heart disease at a much higher rate than players at other positions. The research did not account for cognitive and mental health issues, but Niosh says it is now studying those causes of death as well.
Meanwhile, the war of words between ex-players over whether they'd allow their sons to play football continues on many fronts. Kurt Warner responded to the vitriolic comments from dimwits Merril Hoge and Amani Toomer by pwning them, and old friend Trevor Pryce, who played at Michigan with Toomer, called Amani's words "probably the most idiotic thing I've ever heard."
Florence, originally drafted by the Chargers in 2003, was cut by the Bills on Friday after three seasons with the team. Reports out of San Diego that day indicated the Chargers were interested in bringing the 31-year-old corner back to his original team, although there have been no reports since of a visit.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! At surface, the timing of Denver's firing of Brian Xanders may be a bit puzzling to some, or an indication that John Elway was unhappy with the job Xanders did with the recent draft.
But as the always astute Andrew Mason notes, there was no better time - not a season ago, not months ago. By letting Xanders stick around for a year and a half post-McDaniels, Elway gave the X-Man a chance to prove his worth, also buying time for John to himself to ease his way into running the organization. And by keeping Brian for the draft, the Duke avoided a repeat of the glaring error McDaniels made when he axed Jim and Jeff Goodman just two months prior to the 2009 Draft, wasting months and months of work. (Oddly, Mike Klis says McDaniels held off on major changes for a year, but the firing of the Goodmans and concurrent elevation of Xanders to GM stand clearly as evidence to the contrary.)
From the cynic's perspective, this also theoretically buys Elway another draft in the public's eye. If 2012 goes less swimmingly than the Peyton Manning-fueled anticipation would suggest, what are the chances that Jim Saccomano & Co. trumpet the 2013 offseason as the first one free of McDaniels and Xanders's input? In reality, #7 was likely running the show last weekend anyway, and the departure of Xanders was a mere formality at this point. But again - there is no hiding the fact that it's Elways show now.
The Broncos have fired Brian Xanders after four years with the organization and three seasons as their general manager. Although the story by Mike Klis portrays the decision as a mutual parting of ways, it doesn't take much reading between the lines - or of the DP's Breaking News email titled, Broncos fire GM Brian Xanders after three years in Denver - to discern that the choice was all John Elway's.
Xanders was originally hired by Mike Shanahan in 2008 as assistant GM before being elevated to the GM position following the hiring of Josh McDaniels. McDaniels and Xanders teamed up on a slew of controversial personnel moves, including the trade departures of Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Tony Scheffler, and Peyton Hillis, the drafting of Knowshon Moreno, Robert Ayers, Alphonso Smith, Richard Quinn, Tim Tebow, Zane Beadles, and J.D. Walton, and the acquisitions of Laurence Maroney, Jarvis Green, and LeKevin Smith, among others.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! As Mike Freeman details, HOF guard Joe DeLamielleure joined Kurt Warner and Troy Aikman as prominent ex-players to question the future of the NFL and express a reluctance to allow family members to play the sport. Said DeLamiellere to a San Diego radio station:
I have five grandsons. I have told my daughters from day one, those boys are not playing football. Now the oldest is eleven. There is no way. Not until they clean it up. They are trying to clean it up. But not until they take care of the guys who helped build this game, would I consider letting my children or grandchildren play.
We have sub-poverty pensions. [The NFL] does not want to give the guys livable pensions. Give them health care, so they can go to a private doctor without jumping through hoops with the NFL and the NFL union.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Chargers will hold a public tribute for Junior Seau at Qualcomm on Friday afternoon. Tim Brown says Seau was in good spirits at a golf tournament two days before he committed suicide.
Despite an announcement earlier in the week by the Seau family's pastor that they would allow CTE researchers to study Junior's brain, they have apparently taken a step back to reconsider their decision.
By now it's well known that Seau is the eighth member of the 1994 Chargers to have passed, but sadly the string of tragedies that has struck them began even before the end of their magical run to the Super Bowl.
This event, of course, has nothing directly to do with the Denver Broncos and football. And yet, on some level, it does. That's because it provides the ability to reflect on those rare spaces--the crevices, if you will--of American culture in which America really is greater than the sum of its parts.
A brief explanation is in order. Since the 1960s there have been two particular areas of American culture in which race (however we choose to define this term), class, and all other manner of categorical classifications blend and morph into the America we all puport we want and export across the world--a true melting pot. This was never more true than in the 1980s. This was the era in which we saw the emergence of the black quarterback in the NFL; further, we began seeing the fusion of music that had traditionally been considered black (hip-hop and rap) with music that had been considered white (rock). You saw the likes of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, blending funk and rock, but also the collaboration of diverse groups like Aerosmith and Run DMC, with the insanely popular remake of the Aerosmith song Walk This Way. This continued when Public Enemy (Fight the Goodell) and Anthrax combined to remake Public Enemy's Bring The Noise.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In its letter to the four players suspended in the Saints' bounty scandal, the NFL alleges that DE Will Smith helped Gregg Williams set up and fund the bounty system in New Orleans, that LB Scott Fujita also contributed to the fund during the 2009 playoffs, and that DE Anthony Hargrove was an active participant in the system.
In responding to the grievance filed by the union yesterday over the four players' suspensions, the league notes that the NFLPA did not challenge any of the facts in the case, nor the length of the penalties. In its statement, the NFL also alleges the NFLPA had never before suggested the players should possess immunity from punishment under the current CBA.
A legal expert says the issuance of suspensions by the Commish falls under the Ginger Hammer's best-interest powers to protect the league, and thus should pass muster with arbitrators.
Meanwhile, NFLPA counsel Richard Smith says the league has refused to provide the union with any of the evidence they requested, including player names, interview transcripts, or violation dates.
I’ve been writing about football for the last four years, and when I am occasionally taking myself really seriously, I remember that that makes me part of the Broncos media. Not the part of the media that feels the need to suck up to Jim Saccomano (I’ve seen that in action elsewhere), but still, we have a platform that tens of thousands of people have visited, and continue to visit, and we’re on a really rapid growth curve. Throughout the Broncos media, lots of words and thoughts are generated and consumed about the Broncos, and some of them are mine, which is kind of cool.
Given that IAOFM has a place in the media environment, I have always found it interesting to consider the content producers in other places within that environment. What are they bringing to the table? Who exactly are they serving with their content? Is any of it worthwhile, or is it a bunch of garbage?
I’ve always been fascinated by talk radio, for two reasons. For one thing, it’s really old media, but it continues to be a really highly-used form of communication. All kinds of new technologies have emerged over the last 80-90 years, and nothing quite kills the radio star. I mean, just in the sense of a normal product life cycle, radio should have been destroyed and replaced many times over by now, and in some ways, it’s more successful than ever. My main interest in radio as a medium is why that is.