It was a good week for …
1. Tom Brady: We could probably keep him in this section on an infinite basis, but this week Tawmy gets the spotlight for being the leading Pro Bowl vote-getter. It’s impressive that he can still be the league’s most popular player in his 16th season. It’s amazing that he deserves every single one of those 701,554 votes.
2. Khalil Mack: The Raiders linebacker had more sacks (five) on Sunday against the Broncos than Jadeveon Clowney has had in his entire career (4.5). Mack was taken four spots after Clowney went No. 1 in the 2014 NFL Draft.
3. Jeff Fisher: Teflon Jeff is headed toward another 7-9 season, which equals endless job security with the Rams.
It was a bad week for …
1. Andy Dalton: This is not supposed to be how Dalton’s storybook redemption season was supposed to end. Let’s hope the Glowing Gingerman gets back by January — the AFC playoffs will be worse if he can’t.
2. Ryan Mallett: Mallett, who slept and pouted his way out of Houston, cleaned himself up and signed a multi-year deal with the Ravens. “The best thing probably was for me to be cut.”
3. Dwayne Bowe: The seldom-used wide receiver only pops up these days to grant grim interviews about how he believes he fell off the face of the Earth. “I’ve never been through anything like this in my life.” Related: The Browns should put that quote on the cover of their 2015 yearbook.
Tweets Of The Week
The Jaguars dropped a 50-burger on the awful Colts on Sunday, a win that kept their playoff hopes alive and acted as a measuring stick for how much progress the franchise is beginning to make under Gus Bradley and David Caldwell. So yeah, plenty of reason for excitement, but we can tell you nobody was more pumped than Jacksonville’s social media guy.
Watching all the highlights from today.
Walking into work on #VictoryMonday after your team scored 51 points.
Good for the Jaguars. They deserve happiness. But seriously, how long was Social Media Guy sitting on the 50 Cent GIF? That was his “In Case Of Emergency Break Glass” viral hammer drop.
Pete Carroll is 63 years old
Coach is on another level. Literally.
I want you to think about your dad or your grandfather, or that one boozy uncle who falls asleep on the couch by 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve. They aren’t climbing lockers. Pete Carroll is a sexagenarian outlier.
All hail Pylon Cam
Sideline awareness off the charts.
The camera placed inside the end-zone pylons has provided a neat little perk to broadcasts this season, but Monday night served as the technology’s coming-out party. I’m not sure Odell Beckham gets credited for a touchdown on his incredible catch-and-drag against the Dolphins without the pylon serving as a Marisa Tomei-level expert witness.
(Hey, whenever I can slide a 23-year-old pop culture reference into this space, I’m gonna do it. At least Belichick — a monster End Around fan, by the way — will dig it.)
Anyway, I want to find the scientist who invented Pylon Cam and invite him to my holiday party. You have made football one percent better. You can have all the Two Buck Chuck your belly can handle.
Curious about jersey swaps
It’s become ubiquitous in the NFL. A game ends, personnel from both teams meet at midfield and prominent players from each squad trade jerseys before retreating to their respective locker rooms. If you listen closely during these trade-offs, you can hear football’s forefathers rolling over in their graves.
Me, I don’t have a problem with it. I’m just not sure I get it. Like, why is this being done? Does every star player have a wing in his home dedicated to displaying game-used jerseys of their buddies? Or is this done for profit somehow? Is the equipment manager OK with their apparel being given away? Do players have to pay for the jerseys to be replaced? Why would anyone want Jay Cutler’s shirt?
But what I’m most curious about is the basic protocol.
Brandin Cooks said Eric Ebron texted him today telling him they needed to exchange jerseys Monday. Both were first-rounders in 2014.
OK, that makes sense. But I’d assume many jersey swaps go down in an impromptu fashion. Which makes me wonder if someone has ever approached another player, asked for a jersey swap and been denied. It’s *had* to have happened, right? Is this considered the most humiliating social faux pas inside the world of professional football?
If I’m a backup special teams gunner on the Bears, I’m going up to Adrian Peterson after Sunday’s game and offering up the swap. Just see what he says. My guess is something like, “Nah man, I’m straight,” but you never know. If they ever let me in the NFL, I’d be an agent of chaos in social situations like this.
Kill it, kill it, kill it
My only reaction to the long national nightmare that is #ColorRush:
When I went to see Creed last month (tremendous, by the way), the coming attractions played back-to-back trailers for Kevin Hart vehicles in which he partners up to fight crime with someone significantly larger than him (Ice Cube in one movie, Dwayne Johnson in the other). It was a lot of Kevin Hart on the road to Adonis Creed.
I spotlight this photo for two reasons: 1) Cam is wearing a sweater with a black Santa dabbing (excellent) and 2) Kevin Hart is absurdly smaller than Newton. You almost think the photo has to be doctored. If the Panthers win the Super Bowl, Cam should leverage his cultural cache to do a Twins reboot with Hart. I would almost go see that.
What the what?
The New York teams are dominating the Stupid Locker Room Fights game right now. Four months after Geno Smith got IKO’d over a $600 debt, Giants defenders Cullen Jenkins and Damontre Moore were involved in a pre-practice altercation over a pair of Beats headphones.
You see, Odell Beckham had bought Beats for everyone on the team. Jenkins took more than one pair, which angered Moore, prompting the skirmish that prompted his release. So stupid! Though let me say this: Cullen. Bruh. You gotta know you shouldn’t be snagging multiple Beats if that means a teammate won’t get one. And Jenkins wasn’t even the guy who got cut!
Meanwhile, Beckham is doing his one-hand catch pregame thing and soaking up a world of adulation. Little do people know the carnage he has created. No wonder he wears the Joker cleats.
What’s Josh Gordon up to?
The suspended Browns wide receiver is dipping his toes into the art world. This video offers a promising glimpse into where Gordon’s head is at these days while also offering a “WTF?” moment in the form of Gordon talking shop with the singer of Incubus. I can’t say I saw that coming when I clicked in.
Quote of the Week, Part I
“They can’t eat you. They can fire you but they can’t eat you.”
— Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who makes a strong point while also reminding us how much it would suck to be an African antelope.
Quote of the Week, Part II
“Donald is a good friend of mine. I have known him for a long time. I support all my friends. That is what I have to say. He’s a good friend of mine.”
— Tom Brady, who actually seems to be serious about this friends-with-the-Donald thing. Hmm.
Speaking of Trump …
Every couple months or so, a website reimagines NFL logos for comedic effect. It is sometimes OK. This week, Uproxx recrafted NFL logos in the vision of Donald Trump, a presidential front-runner and co-star of the 1992 comedy Home Alone 2: Lost In New York.
This one’s probably the best:
Hero of the Week: Chris Long
Rams defense lineman Chris Long traveled to Tanzania last year to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. But he came back with a mission. After seeing the widespread sickness of a local population struggling to survive without clean water, Long founded The Waterboys Initiative, which enlists NFL players to raise money for clean water projects across East Africa.
In just four months, Long — a Walter Payton Man Of The Year nominee — has raised more than $400,000, funding eight new wells and bringing clean water to nearly 40,000 people. His goal is to install 32 wells, one sponsored by a player from each team in the league. Find out more about The Waterboys Initiative right here.
Chris Long is literally saving lives. This is Bono stuff.