Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Super Brady better than Super Elway

The QB Files: Tom Brady Vs. John Elway
fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com

As the only other quarterback to start five Super Bowls, John Elway seems like the perfect place to start when evaluating Tom Brady’s Super Bowl legacy.

The story of Elway in the Super Bowl is essentially a tale of two quarterbacks. The young and inexperienced raw talent that helped his team to three Super Bowls in his first seven seasons (taking a beating in each) and the wily veteran who rode Terrell Davis to a career-capping pair of victories.

This one was not particularly close. Elway was an all-time great, and the two Super Bowls victories to end his career were a tremendous story, but on the biggest stage he cannot match Brady’s resume.

Tough (impossible?) to find fault with this one. During Brady's first three Super Bowls, he was complemented by very few offensive stars (Corey Dillon had one big year in 2004), just like Elway was during his early SB trips. The body of work from Brady's SB performances has simply been better than Elway's, and that's without even getting into the rings.

Blocked! Broncos give Dennis Allen his first tiny defeat

Broncos deny Raiders from talking to Smith
espn.go.com

The nice play is over in the AFC West. It didn’t last long.

When Dennis Allen was hired to be the Oakland Raiders’ head coach last week, his former boss John Fox wished Allen well. And, now, Allen is on his own.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Broncos have denied the Raiders permission to speak to linebackers coach Richard Smith for the Oakland defensive job.

Go ahead and chuckle. After losing Dennis Allen, you deserve it. The serious part of this move, though, is that it tells you how much the Broncos value Richard Smith. Let's say Del Rio leaves after one year?  Who do the Broncos turn to? I think we've got our answer. (h/t, RSH)

Big time doubt that Peyton Manning plays again

Sources fearful over Manning’s ability to return
sports.yahoo.com

The nerves in Manning’s arm are not healing as quickly as hoped and, worse, don’t appear to be progressing at enough of a rate to indicate that he will play again, according to two sources with knowledge of Manning’s rehabilitation from neck surgery. The vertebrae in his neck that were fused have healed as expected and Manning began throwing in December. But he hasn’t shown improvement in velocity on his passes, and the two sources fear he likely never will again.

In addition, two league-affiliated doctors with experience in spinal fusion surgery said it could take up to a year before Manning knows if he can return. Both said the risk is too great for Manning to play again and, because of the timeline, neither would recommend the Colts pay Manning the $28 million bonus he is owed in March.

The lesson here?  When Rob Lowe tweets, you better damn well listen.

Del Rio: I’m fired up to be here

Del Rio Introductory Conference Call
www.denverbroncos.com

I’m all in…I’m fired up to be here.

There wasn't a lot of wow factor to Jack Del Rio's introductory press conference earlier today, but his passion for football came through loud and clear.  Del Rio could have taken a year off and waited for another opportunity, but in his own words, he was "chomping at the bit."  

Del Rio talked very little scheme and gave a lot of big-picture answers.  One can hardly blame him.  He hasn't had a chance yet to watch the Broncos' defense on film.

A few interesting tidbits from the conference call were as follows:

  1. Del Rio said that during the 2010 Draft, Tim Tebow came off the board earlier than the Jaguars had him ranked.
  2. The new strength and conditioning coach, Luke Richesson was "out of the box" and into the latest training technologies and exercise science.
  3. Del Rio said he wasn't even thinking about future opportunities as a head coach and was simply glad for the opportunity to be a member of John Fox's staff.

Other than these points, Del Rio said he wants the Broncos to create turnovers, be aggressive, and get to the quarterback.  He failed to mention ripping out the quarterback's spleen, but we'll assume it was implied.

Raiders so bad, they need military assistance

Allen declares 'new day' in Raiders history
www.csnbayarea.com

Perhaps most relevant, however, is Allen’s purported penchant for military-like discipline after the Raiders set single-season standards for penalties (163) and penalty yardage (1,358) last season. The Broncos, meanwhile, were flagged 101 times for 842 yards en route to winning the AFC West with an 8-8 record.

We knew the Raiders were the dumbest team in the league.  What we didn't know is that it's going to take a real hard ass to make them smart.  Good luck, Dennis Allen. You're going to need it.

Revisiting “The Helicopter” from SB 32

Inside a Moment in Time - Spin Move
espn.go.com

As soon as Elway stood up, he turned to his teammates. “I knew that was going to give us the momentum to win the game because I looked at our sideline and [everybody] was going nuts,” Elway said.

“When he got up, his eyes were so big that you could see all he could think about was getting that first down. Once he got it—and I saw the relief in his eyes—I knew it was over,” (Rod) Smith said.

Wow, either these guys were just more confident in the heat of battle than us fans were (certainly possible), or this is what they say in retrospect. Because really, how many Denver fans (especially  those who had been through the prior three Broncos Super Bowls) "knew" the game was over before the fourth quarter had even started? Even when John Mobley knocked down that final fourth-down pass, I can't say I believed what I had seen...

McGahee pwns Ravens fan at Pro Bowl

Zing Of The Year: Willis McGahee Fires Back At Ravens Fan Who Makes Fun Of Tim Tebow
www.sportsgrid.com

“If you get a better quarterback you’d beat more people,” the man in the Ravens jersey, who surely thought he’d gotten one over on a Pro Bowler, said to McGahee.

McGahee was a good sport and all, but didn’t miss a beat.

“That’s not nice. That’s like saying if you had a better kicker, you’d have won.”

Willis McGahee, razor sharp off the field too...

Richard Smith a candidate for Raiders DC job

Raiders defensive coordinator update
espn.go.com

Among the potential candidates to become the Raiders’ next defensive coordinator could be Denver linebackers coach Richard Smith, New Orleans defensive line coach Bill Johnson and San Francisco secondary coach Ed Donatell. Broncos coach Dennis Allen has coached with all three men. Smith and Donatell both have coordinating experience. Johnson coached Allen at Texas A&M and worked with him in New Orleans and Atlanta.

As is customary in the NFL, it's a strong likelihood Allen will be allowed to take at least one or two assistants with him, even if it's to Oakland.

Del Rio comes to Denver

Broncos hire Jack Del Rio as defensive coordinator
sports.yahoo.com

The Denver Broncos announced Friday night they had agreed to terms with Del Rio to become the club’s new defensive coordinator. Del Rio was Fox’s first defensive coordinator in Carolina in 2002 before leaving after one year to coach the Jacksonville Jaguars, who fired him in November.

Del Rio replaces Dennis Allen, who left after one year in Denver to coach the Oakland Raiders.

Del Rio is the Broncos’ seventh defensive coordinator in seven seasons. Other men who have filled the Mile High musical chair in the last six seasons are Larry Coyer (2006), Jim Bates (2007), Bob Slowik (2008), Mike Nolan (2009) and Don Martindale (2010). Allen was the only one who left for a head coaching job.

“We are thrilled to be able to add such a well-respected defensive coach to our staff,” Fox said in a statement issued through the team’s Twitter account.

Del Rio's hiring didn't come as a shock, although many thought they would promote from within.

More on this development to come, but Del Rio's work as the defensive coordinator for Carolina in 2002, in which the Panthers ranked #2 in total defense, got him this gig.

Just keep chopping wood, Denver.

Terrell Owens trying to stay relevant

Love Me, Hate Me, Just Don't Ignore Me
www.gq.com

Owens may have made a lot of money in his career—at least $80 million—but he insists almost all of it is gone.

He let other people take care of things. He says his financial advisers (informally recommended by Rosenhaus) put him in a series of risky, highly leveraged ventures that he didn’t discover until autumn 2010, when he finally demanded a full accounting. And of course there were the houses and condos, which he had always figured he could rent out; they became dead weight when the real estate market collapsed in 2008. Individually they weren’t terribly lavish, but together the mortgage nut is reportedly almost $750,000 a year. The Atlanta house is on the market; the south Jersey place he paid $3.9 million for was sold for $1.7 million in late 2010. Most egregious of all was the ill-fated Alabama entertainment complex (with an electronic-bingo component) that cost him $2 million. He invested, he says, at the suggestion of his advisers and a lawyer they steered him to, Pamela Linden. The venture turned out to be illegal in the state, not to mention a violation of the NFL’s policy prohibiting players from investing in gambling. Owens is suing Linden, as is Clinton Portis, the former Redskins running back who also invested.

Stop me if you've heard it before:

  1. Star athlete grows up poor and with little;
  2. Star athlete works hard to make it big;
  3. Star athlete makes it big and gets paid millions;
  4. Star athlete is unprepared for wealth preservation;
  5. Star athlete goes broke;
  6. Star athlete writes a book/goes on TV/is featured in magazine lamenting life story.

It's easy to make fun of Owens here.  Stupid is as stupid does.  And if it mattered, I would drop in a spreadsheet right now showing the future value of $80 million (or even his base salary for one year) if left in an almost risk-free asset like TIPS (Treasury-Inflation Protected Securities) over a time horizon, like, say, the rest of Owens' working life (age 60).  But we all know it wouldn't matter.

The NFL is bigger than any one player.  Owens is finding this out.  The lights have dimmed, no one is watching, and soon, sooner than he realizes, the advisers, agents, magazines like GQ, and so-called friends won't care either.  Sad? Yeah?  Suprising? No, not really.