Expect the refs to throw a lot of flags during Super Bowl LVII

Carl Cheffers

I don’t watch sporting events for the players or the game. Seeing incredible athletes accomplish phenomenal feats that I wouldn’t dream of doing in a billion years…nope, not for me. Rather, I watch sports because of the officials. To be so close to the action despite having none of the athletic prowess, yet still have a serious impact on the outcome of each game…well that’s a power trip I could really get behind. See, the referees are the true heroes of every sports league’s story. I only wish more attention was given to them each game. I wish they never had to face any accountability for incorrect calls that cost teams, fans, and players their seasons. I’m not the only person who thinks this either.

A few years ago, an entire section of an NHL game between the New York Islanders and Vancouver Canucks was filled with fans mimicking the most impactful people on the ice — the referees. They went absolutely berserk for every call. This is the type of respect I believe all officials deserve.

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In case the sarcasm throughout the last two paragraphs didn’t jump off the page at you, I haven’t been too pleased with NFL officiating recently. It feels as though every year, more officials make an effort to stir up drama and ruin a team’s or specific player’s day. Maybe I’m looking too deep into it though. Also, before I get into why I’m not looking forward to the officiating in Super Bowl LVII, I want to make it clear, this isn’t an invitation to disrespect officials at any sporting event. While I do believe there needs to be some sort of accountability at higher levels for atrocious judgments, that’s no reason to make a referee’s life hell. Okay? Glad we can agree on that. Now, without further ado, I can’t stand the guy who’s going to head the officiating crew for the Super Bowl.

Carl Cheffers has called a lot of penalties

Carl Cheffers has been an NFL official since 2000. In that time, he has established himself as one of the league’s most avid flag tossers. Since 2010, Cheffers has only once been below the league average in penalty yards enforced per game (2016). In 2021, games officiated by Cheffers saw penalty yards increase by over 27 compared to the league average. That was the highest mark in the NFL. But he didn’t back down in 2022. Cheffers repeated as the most penalizing ref, although that number did drop from 27 yards over average to just 18. Over the last two years, Cheffers and his crew have called about two more penalties per game than average.

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While these incessant flags haven’t affected the outcome of games — Cheffers only saw home teams win at a .02 percent rate above league average this year — the flags still make the game much less enjoyable for fans. There are absolutely zero people on the planet who love seeing the pace of a game come to a standstill. Whether it’s basketball players fouling their opponents constantly and then pausing for free throws, numerous icing and offsides calls in hockey, or back-to-back-to-back holding penalties in the NFL, slowing the game to a halt sucks, but I guess it should be expected for this upcoming Super Bowl.

It also appears that the officiating has leaned drastically in favor of one specific team. In his last six games officiated — and nine of his last 10 — Cheffers has called at least twice as many penalties on one team than the other. It all started on Nov. 6, 2022, during a game between the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks won that game by a final of 31-21. They were penalized six times for 34 yards. The Cardinals were penalized 12 times for 77 yards.

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The next week, the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the New Orleans Saints 20-10. The Steelers suffered only three penalties. The Saints? Ten. Now, this isn’t to say that the team that faces more penalties is dead in the water. Of those nine instances where one team trudged through twice as many flags, three of those teams wound up winning the game: The New England Patriots in Week 12, the Buffalo Bills in Week 16, and the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15. In all fairness though, the Bills and Chiefs played the Bears and Texans respectively in those games. It doesn’t matter how many penalties each team racked up in those games, you’d expect them to beat the organizations with the first two picks in the upcoming draft.

Cheffers and the Chiefs

I want to talk about the Chiefs a little bit more though. This season, Cheffers refereed two of Kansas City’s games. The Chiefs were called for 11 and 10 penalties in those games, respectively. This entire season, the Chiefs have suffered 94 penalties. 21 of them came from Cheffers across just two games. The penalty yardage is even worse. On the season, the Chiefs lost 923 yards to these penalties. 201 of those yards came from Cheffers. That’s 21.78 percent of their total penalty yardage coming in just two games. Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ opponents in those games suffered only nine penalties for 105 yards. Chiefs’ opponents lost 845 yards this year, meaning only 12.43 percent of all Chiefs’ adversary penalty yards came in those games. It’s still higher than where it should be proportionately (2/17 = 11.76 percent), but it’s much closer than where the Chiefs fall. Oh, and remember that Super Bowl between the Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers that saw Patrick Mahomes get blown out 31-9? Well, the Chiefs had 11 penalties called against them in that game. The Bucs? Only four. Take a wild guess whether or not Cheffers was on the officiating crew for that game.

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Cheffers and the Eagles

Cheffers did referee one Philadelphia Eagles game this year — their Divisional Round matchup with the New York Giants — but the Birds only suffered four penalties in that game. The Giants suffered eight.

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If you’re a Chiefs fan, this isn’t good news. If you’re an Eagles fan, this is great news. If you’re an NFL fan with no allegiance to either team, this means we’re probably in for a boring championship game. By calling so many penalties, games that Cheffers officiates tend to be very low-scoring.

Cheffers has officiated 12 playoff games since 2010. The under has hit in 11 of those games with the only exception coming in Tom Brady’s miraculous 28-3 comeback during Super Bowl LI. It hasn’t been particularly close either. In those 12 playoff games officiated by Cheffers, the under has hit by an average of almost 13 points.

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It’s not all bad news for Kansas City though. The Eagles are currently favored by 1.5 points, and it seems Cheffers has historically been very kind to underdogs. Since 2019, they’re 42-24-2 against the spread in games officiated by Cheffers. All I’m saying is that if you have an opportunity to parlay the under with the over on penalty yards against the Chiefs…maybe consider it. I know I will.

Bengals RB Joe Mixon allegedly points gun at woman, arrest warrant issued

Joe Mixon carrying the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the AFC divisional round

An arrest warrant was issued Thursday for Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon for allegedly pointing a gun at a woman in downtown Cincinnati last month.

Mixon’s agent Peter Schaffer said he expects the charges to be dropped, saying it’s a rush to judgment, and for what it’s worth Mixon’s mom also said her son didn’t do it.

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“I really feel that police have an obligation before they file charges — because of the damage that can be done to the person’s reputation — to do their work,” Schaffer said in a statement.

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The full details of this latest alleged incident haven’t been released yet, but what has been discovered so far isn’t great.

The warrant, obtained by WCPO’s Evan Millward, states that Mixon pointed a gun at a woman and said, “You should be popped in the face, I should shoot you, the police [can’t] get me.”

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This allegedly happened Jan. 21, a day before the Bengals’ playoff game against the Buffalo Bills. Cincy won

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The team has opened up an investigation, and the NFL is already dealing with another situation regarding Philadelphia Eagles reserve lineman Josh Sills.

“The club is investigating the situation and will not comment further at this time,” a Bengals spokesperson said in a statement Thursday.

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Mixon’s record of violence toward women

Mixon was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school, and one of the gems of the Sooners’ freshman class of 2014. However, before he even played a down in Norman, a video surfaced of him punching Amelia Molitor, breaking her jaw and cheekbone, after a disagreement at a restaurant.

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It resulted in him being sat down for his entire freshman year, and justifiably dropped his draft stock once he declared for the NFL following the 2016 season. He eventually settled with Molitor before going pro. 

If David Tepper wanted to end the ‘old boys network’ he would have hired Steve Wilks

Team owner David Tepper introduced Frank Reich as the new head coach of the Carolina Panthers.

David Tepper is saying all the right things — he just isn’t doing them. The Carolina Panthers owner made waves this week when he insisted that he was doing his part in breaking up the NFL’s “old boys’ network” of wealthy white owners that seldomly hire Black people and minorities to positions of power, particularly as head coaches. Tepper’s comments came after hiring Frank Reich — a white coach — over the team’s former interim coach Steve Wilks — a Black coach who took over for Matt Rhule, another white coach.

Rich white dudes love telling on themselves.

“We have probably the most diverse executive team in the NFL right now. We are probably a minority of white men on our executive team right now. That’s where it starts. That’s America,” Tepper proudly bragged.

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Tepper explained that the Panthers’ front office includes his wife, who serves as the chief administrative officer, along with three other women in high-ranking roles, chief administrative officer (Kristi Coleman), senior vice president (Kisha Smith, a Black woman), and general counsel (Tanya Taylor, also a Black woman.)

Anytime a white man like Tepper is quick to point something out like this, they never realize that the ability to count the number of minorities in your circle isn’t a good look.

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“I’m not a racist. See, I have three Black friends!” — An old white man proverb.

“How do you break that old boys’ network? How do you break that process? You break the process by trying to get the best people possible in every role you can do,” he said. “Whether it’s the new [general counsel] we hired, who happens to be an African American woman. Whether it happens to be Frank Reich, who is a Caucasian male.”

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Tepper almost pulling a “Jerry Jones”

What’s at the heart of the issue with Tepper is that he’s almost pulling a “Jerry Jones” on us. Too many people got caught up in that infamous photo of Jones from 1957 in Arkansas among a crowd of white students, “standing on the frontlines of one of Little Rock’s darkest segregation clashes,” from the Washington Post’s story, and not what it was about — as it focused on Jones’ lack of progressiveness in diversity despite all the power he wields in the NFL.

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Jerry Jones has never hired a Black head coach. Tepper has never hired a Black head coach. See the connection?

What makes it worse is that the man who is claiming that he’s a diversity warrior on the mean streets of Injustice Boulevard, told us from the beginning that Wilks never had a fighting chance at being the Panthers’ permanent head coach, even before he went 6-6 after Rhule started the season 1-4.

“He’s in a position to be in consideration for that position,” Tepper said about Wilks in October. “I had a talk with Steve, no promises were made, but if he does an incredible job, he has to be in consideration.”

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“Incredible job.” Think about that for a second, as you realize that Tepper moved the goalposts for Wilks before the game even started. Ironically enough, Reich was 3-5-1 in his last season coaching the Indianapolis Colts before he was fired.

Does that sound “incredible” to you?

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If Tepper wanted to actually fight injustices in the NFL and show his colleagues the right way to do it, he would have hired Wilks and given him enough time to see if he could turn things around in Carolina — the same way that most of these owners do with the white coaches they love to hire. Doing the right thing isn’t hard, it just requires you not to be a coward. The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a Black coach since 2007 and have yet to suffer a losing season during the Mike Tomlin era.

See, it’s not that hard.

If the NFL’s “old boys’ network” is ever going to end, it will happen when more Black coaches are hired and white owners start advocating for their colleagues to change their thinking when it comes to voting on ownership selection — as the owners have never elected a Black person to own a team.

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That’s something David Tepper knows all about. When he was approved to buy the Carolina Panthers in 2018, it took place at the annual owners’ meetings. But, do you know what also happened that very week at those meetings? The owners voted to implement a national anthem policy against kneeling, which was something straight out of the “old boys’ network’s” playbook. How do I know? Because I was there when it happened.

A Kelce by any other name is just an offensive lineman

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, left, and his brother, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce (62), exchange jerseys following an NFL football game

Welcome to Deadspin’s The Sports Nihilist, where all is for naught and we are but accidental jolts of electrified meat stuck to the surface of a rock in an indifferent universe. Fuck you.


What is a sports family if not a contemporary monarchy? One member of a family makes a name for him/herself, and their sons, grandsons, brothers, sisters, daughters, and even nephews are elevated to a higher level of awareness. The Kelce brothers aren’t even sons of Olympic athletes, and I’m good if I never read another Brotherly Love headline for the rest of my life.

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Look, mommy, brothers are playing each other in the Super Bowl

It’s really hard to remove the charisma from Travis and his brother, but every news outlet, sports or otherwise, is making it really difficult to care. It’s not so unbelievable that I need to know their parent’s names, or clap like a happy monkey while reading the ceaseless puff pieces.

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I’m supposed to care about an offensive lineman because he’s related to the best receiving tight end in the NFL? I’m sorry, I thought this was America. We didn’t fight the revolutionary war just to watch hierarchies grow anew.

We need to overthrow the Manning family, or at least force them to skip a generation. Arch, your scholarship is revoked and your playing career is done. Get ready to be a banker or a garbage man because the Mannings’ reign atop ESPN’s newsfeed is over.

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Look at Christian McCaffrey. Did the son of a pro receiver really need to be in the NFL, too? You know who could use the assistance of a man-child? The steelworkers of America or whoever is in charge of digging ditches. I was told that Luke McCaffrey would be Nebraska’s next Heisman quarterback, and he sucks. He’s not even a good college receiver at Rice.

I bet this is how the English felt under King Henry XIII or whatever. This is your new leader, and his only qualification is his last name. Fuck all that.

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Idol worshiping starts with a last name

New rule: If you’re not better than the athlete who made you famous, you have to change your last name. Sorry, Sterling, you have to drop the Sharpe on account of Shannon. Hey, Cole Anthony, your new NBA name is Cole Jones.

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I’m not sure what happens when the son eclipses the father like Steph Curry and Dell. Maybe Dell and Seth have to take their wives’ last names. Wait, that won’t work. Seth is married to Doc Rivers’ daughter, and I don’t think he’s good enough to use that name either.

Perhaps adopting the Brazilian one-name method is a workaround. Pele doesn’t have a last name, and thus we don’t readily know his children.

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From now on, there will be no more nepotism. Guys are going to have to earn it like Russell Crowe in Gladiator. You want glory? Kill a fucking tiger before you bleed out from a knife wound and then bring down the emperor in front of a Colosseum full of people who want to see you gruesomely murdered for sport.

The offspring of pro athletes are born not only with a silver spoon but also with golden genes. (OK, that’s not always the case, but for the sake of this column, it’s gospel.) Bronny James didn’t get all of his dad’s 6-foot-10 frame, yet he’s still tall and athletic enough to get a full ride to the college of his choice.

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End the hegemony. Stop elevating people because of their last names. Am I the only one who remembers Marcus Vick? Haven’t we heard enough from Jackson Mahomes or Andy Reid’s kids? Think first before you roost in the family tree of sports royalty.

A name only matters as much as you want it to, and for the Sports Nihilist, nothing matters.

A guide to betting on Super Bowl LVII

Workers prepare for the NFL Super Bowl LVII football game outside State Farm Stadium, Feb. 1, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz.

If you’ve ever wondered why your Uncle Frankie was screaming at the top of his lungs six inches away from the television screen even though his favorite team wasn’t playing in the game, it was because the mortgage payment was coming up and if Cam Newton had fallen on that fumble, maybe he wouldn’t have had to find a new place to live. Don’t be like Uncle Frankie.

Yes, betting can be an exciting addition to the traditional enjoyment of a sporting event, but it’s never worth losing your hard-earned cash. Bet responsibly, and only bet with expendable money you’re willing to lose. With that said, there are more than a few interesting lines and prop bets coming up next weekend. Of course, you can always bet on the outcome of the game or the over-under, but this year’s Super Bowl matchup seems particularly difficult to pin down.

On one hand, you have the perennial favorites, the Kansas City Chiefs. They’re not a team anyone bets against lightly. No matter how well you believe the opposing team matches up, this is a team that just manages to win, time in and time out. Currently, they are 1.5-point underdogs. The Eagles are a really well-built team with Pro Bowl-caliber players at absolutely every level of both their offense and defense. However, the unstoppable aura that surrounds the Chiefs is difficult to look past, and the level of the Eagles’ success in these playoffs is easily mitigated by looking at who they had to play to get to this moment.

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The 49ers were supposed to be a tough matchup, but quarterback Brock Purdy barely got an opportunity to throw. Sure, the Eagles put up 31 points on that daunting 49ers’ defense, but if not for a non-catch by DeVonta Smith that set up the first score, a mishandled snap from 49ers’ backup Josh Johnson that led to the Eagles’ second score, and a questionable roughing the punter penalty that set up another score, we might be talking about an entirely different ball game. All that, and the fact that the Niners almost made their star running back their go-to passer. Although Philly’s win over the Giants was definitely impressive, it was to be expected as well given the Eagles’ drastically superior talent pool as well as the fact that they were coming off a bye week.

It’s difficult to call, and that’s why I don’t feel good going either way. If you want to do something like betting both sides slightly to your advantage like putting a unit on Chiefs (-3) while simultaneously putting another unit on Eagles (-3), considering both would be better odds in the books’ favor, you might be able to come out with a little extra money either way with minimal risk considering that any line three points or less is considered a pick ‘em in the betting world.

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Forget the moneyline, check out these prop bets

If that’s not your cup of tea though, and you’re looking for something with a little more juice, here are some prop bets I really like.

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Kenneth Gainwell Receiving Yards O/U 10.5

Prediction: OVER

While most sportsbooks have Gainwell’s line at 11.5, FanDuel currently has it set to 10.5. That already implies that there’s money to be made here. Gainwell has seen a lot of work the last two weeks and while a lot of that can be attributed to game script shifting in favor of leaning on running backs, there’s also reason to believe Gainwell is being looked at favorably by the Eagles’ coaching staff.

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Gainwell is also the most prolific pass-catching back on the Eagles. Should the game script flip in favor of the Chiefs, odds are that Gainwell will see the field more often than any other Philadelphia back late in the game. Even if he gets only two or three targets, Gainwell has shown an ability to make the most of his opportunity, breaking a 17-yard gain on a quick pass against San Francisco. All it takes is one of those for Gainwell to hit his over, and I’d be willing to bet he’ll get more pass-catching work in this game than in the Eagles’ other two games combined.

Chiefs Team Rushing Yards O/U 99.5

Prediction: UNDER

The Chiefs have never been a very efficient rushing team, and in close games, the Chiefs don’t run the ball very often. In 2022, the Chiefs failed to record a single game with over 100 rushing yards when they recorded 20 or fewer rushing attempts (five times), and even when they have rushed the ball 20 or more times in a game, they don’t always reach the 100-yard threshold (three more times). I would expect this game to be close, and thus, I doubt the Chiefs will fall into the running game. Therefore, they shouldn’t reach 100 yards. It’s as simple as that.

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The Eagles’ run defense is somewhat questionable. They’d allowed at least 100 rushing yards in six straight games before their matchup with San Francisco. However, those games were all against run-heavy offenses. Kansas City is not.

Chris Jones NOT to record a sack (-108)

Chris Jones is a game-changing pass rusher. No one is denying that. However, I trust the Eagles’ offensive line just a little bit more. Against the 49ers, Lane Johnson and company held DPOY candidate Nick Bosa to zero sacks and zero QB hits. That’s tough to do. Bosa had at least one quarterback hit in all but two games this season and to see such a dominant pass-rusher get held in check all game is insanely tough.

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Jones does have a few things going for him. For one, it’s likely the Eagles pass the ball more in this game. Given San Francisco’s devastating luck with QB injuries, the Eagles were in a position to wind the clock down early. They likely won’t have the same luxury against Patrick Mahomes. More pass-rush opportunities could lead to one sack. However, the Eagles have been phenomenal at shutting down opponents’ top pass rushers all year.

Lane Johnson, Landon Dickerson, and Jason Kelce all finished top-10 in the NFL in pass block win rate this season. That’s one guy at every level of the offensive line. No matter where Jones lines up defensively, he’s going to pair up against an absolute dawg. Jones did post the second-highest pass rush win rate among defensive tackles in the NFL this year.

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However, he was double-teamed at a pretty mediocre rate. I’d expect the Eagles to put more effort into trivializing Jones’ impact, forcing someone like Frank Clark or rookie edge rusher George Karlaftis to beat them instead. Jones will likely still leave an impact, I’d just be willing to bet that impact won’t show up in the sack column.

Does anyone care that Arena Football is coming back next year?

Cleveland Gladiators WR Michael Preston catches a 6-yard touchdown pass during the third quarter of an Arena Football League game between the Philadelphia Soul and Cleveland Gladiators on June 24, 2017.

The Arena Football League is making a comeback and is set to hit the field again in 2024. Arena football has been around in a couple of different incarnations since 1987 but hasn’t been active since 2019. For a long time, it was a primary alternative to the NFL in the United States. Now it feels like just another “professional” football league looking to compete in an already oversaturated market.

The USFL, XFL, and now the Arena League. Americans love football, but that doesn’t necessarily translate outside the NFL. Regionally, Division I college football is also huge in certain areas of the country. But do we really need this many pro leagues? Probably not, and the turnout for these games will prove that.

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If you watched even one minute of the USFL’s return last year, you saw the stands in these huge stadiums and how empty they were. But let’s give credit where it’s due. FS1 and mainly Colin Cowherd sold the hell out of that league in its return. And apparently, they’re ready to do the same again this spring.

The XFL reboot

On Saturday, Feb. 18, the XFL makes its long-awaited return to the gridiron. We all love The Rock and anything he’s involved with, but for goodness sake, this isn’t going to work. It didn’t work the first time Vince McMahon tried it over 20 years ago. Obviously, it’s great for all these young football players who don’t make the NFL and want to continue their playing careers. But if it’s not the NFL, the casual fan just doesn’t give a damn.

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That’s an issue the AFL will run into, along with fighting the XFL and USFL for popularity. This time, they’ll need to bring something different to the table to stand out from the crowd. During the 90s, when arena football was at its peak, the NFL still revolved around running the ball and playing great defense. The AFL brought that 7-on-7 passing league atmosphere long before the NFL resorted to the same brand of football.

Hopefully, these leagues can find a way to last for a while, but it will be tough. The USFL is already heading into the second year of its comeback tour, but who knows how much longer FOX will pour money into that pit. XFL, AFL, you’re on deck. Please don’t disappoint us. 

Houston Texans are going to do DeMeco Ryans like they did David Culley, Lovie Smith

DeMeco Ryans

Despite being an annual news story around this time of the year — due to the circus that’s caused by the way that coaches are fired and hired in the Lone Star State — DeMeco Ryans is returning home to be the newest head coach of the Houston Texans. They say “home is where the heart is,” but the Texans don’t love anybody — especially Black head coaches.

It’s not a question of “if,” but one of “when,” as Ryans has chosen to take the worst job in the NFL, and will ultimately walk in the same shoes as David Culley and Lovie Smith — the franchise’s last two head coaches, who are both Black, that were fired after one season on the job.

It wouldn’t be smart for a white coach to take the Texans’ job. And at this point, it’s nothing but a lucrative payday for Black ones — given that the Black coaches in the past who have led that franchise haven’t been allowed to make it through more than one training camp.

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Houston, he’s home

The Texans have agreed to a six-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers’  defensive coordinator, who was once a former Defensive Rookie of the Year who would go on to be an All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowler during his time as a player in Houston. The length of the deal is important, as it guarantees that Ryans will cash out whenever the Texans decide to be done with him. The “Houston Texans” have been a franchise since 2002, and in that time only Gary Kubiak (almost eight seasons) and Bill O’Brien (almost seven seasons) are the longest-tenured coaches in franchise history — as no one else has been able to stick around due to the team’s decision to either hire someone who was sorry, or fire someone before we knew if they were capable.

“DeMeco is a proven coach with a track record of success who has an innate ability to lead people,” Texans GM Nick Caserio said in a statement. “… We are working to build a sustainable program that has long-term success and DeMeco is the coach we feel is the best fit to help us achieve our goals. We know how important it is to get results now and we have a lot of work to do, but I’m excited to partner with DeMeco to build our football team together.”

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That’s cute. But, this is a franchise that has an all-time regular season and a postseason record of 146-201-1, which calculates to a .421 winning percentage.

And if that wasn’t enough, the “news” around Ryans became news itself, as it turned into a battle of he-said/he-said as two of the league’s insiders reported different stories on how it all went down. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Denver Broncos spent Tuesday trying to convince Ryans, for a second time, to be their new head coach. But once they realized it wasn’t happening, they decided to go with Sean Payton.

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But according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter — the dude who has a history of being a mouthpiece for the league, agents, players, and front offices — Ryans was never in the running in Denver and wasn’t contacted by them this week, as Payton was who the Broncos wanted.

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DeMeco Ryans once sued the Houston Texans

Who knows, but no matter how Ryans ended up in Houston, there’s still the fact that this is a man that once sued his former team and current employer. In 2016, Ryans brought litigation against Harris County, who owns NRG stadium, the management company, the turf company, the Texans, and the league for more than $10 million due to tearing his Achilles in a game against the Texans when he played for the Eagles. Ryans felt like the field conditions led to his injury. Eventually, the league and the Texans were dropped from the lawsuit as the case was settled in 2021.

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Houston’s history with Black coaches

The marriage between Ryans and the Texans has become a hot topic given the franchise’s history of being one of the preeminent examples of how Black coaches are mistreated in the NFL. On one side, you have a team that’s on its fourth Black head coach if you add Romeo Crennel’s 12-game interim stint in 2020 to the lone seasons that Culley and Smith had before Ryans signed on. But on the other hand, you can’t point to the Texans’ decision of hiring three consecutive Black coaches as being an example of “diversity” and “racial progress” when, to date, none of those Black men have been allowed to stay on the job as long as the white coaches that preceded them.

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Never forget that this is a team that used to be owned by a man who once doubled down on saying, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” when Black players were kneeling in peaceful protest against racism and police brutality during the national anthem. The team is now run by that man’s son, who made a public racist remark about Asians at a charity event in 2021.

Hiring a Black person, or any other minority, to do a job without empowering them is useless, as it’s proof that they were brought in to make a quota — not an impact. History has shown us that this is how the Texans operate.

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When Ryans blows his whistle at training camp, it will be one of his first official moves as the head coach of the Houston Texans. He will be following in the footsteps of the Black men that came before him. And like them, he will more than likely feel a sense of pride as being one of the select few Black head coaches in NFL history. But what DeMeco Ryans must also recognize is that no matter how much he believes that he can be the exception to the rule, he now works for a franchise that’s proven that they won’t let that happen. The Houston Texans only hire Black coaches to fire them.

Don’t expect Dallas to host a Super Bowl any time soon

AT&T Stadium

Jerry Jones championed the construction of Jerry World — AT&T Stadium — to host major sporting events far and wide, not simply for eight or nine Dallas Cowboys home games per year. His building hosted a Super Bowl in 2011 but weather problems in the Metroplex made that one a miserable experience. Now an NBA game between the Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons, have been affected by weather in that region, which will go further towards making his beautiful facility a less than ideal location for the big game.

The Pistons lost to the Dallas Mavericks 105-111 on Monday, and are still stuck in Dallas. An ice storm has forced thousands of cancellations at both Dallas Fort-Worth and Dallas Love airports, and residents are being advised to stay off of the roads. With it not being safe for the Pistons to travel back home to Detroit, the NBA announced that their Wednesday night matchup against the Washington Wizards will be postponed.

This is not the first time an NBA game has been moved due to weather. A Wizards game was postponed in 2016 due to a winter storm.

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Still, as ugly winter weather can be, it is uncommon for NBA, and even major college basketball, to postpone games due to weather or other water issues. During the legendary 2010 Snowmageddon that dumped up to three feet of snow in the Washington Area, Scottie Reynolds took the subway from the Villanova’s hotel to Georgetown’s home arena. In 1994, pyrotechnics caused fire-fighting water cannons to drench the Alamodome in water. The arena was ready for the game to tip off 50 minutes later.

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Bad weather didn’t force a kickoff delay the night Aaron Rodgers won his only Super Bowl Championship in Arlington, Texas, but that week was a misery for everyone who was in town. Falling ice from the stadium roof injured construction workers. The weather affected events in town, and also customers who paid Super Bowl prices to be in the stadium for the game.

Temporary seats were put in place to sell more tickets for the game. Due to the icy conditions, installation of those seats was put behind schedule. The job wasn’t finished until game day, which didn’t allow the fire marshalls enough time to inspect them. Those seats were deemed unsafe, and 1,250 people had to be relocated. Per an NFL statement, there were 400 people who weren’t able to be reseated and were given a refund at triple-face value.

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A decade later, another ice storm is forcing the postponement of an NBA game 1,000 miles away. That delay of course pales in comparison to what the people of north and central Texas are dealing with at the moment. Hundreds of thousands of homes and other buildings are without power. That can bring back some bad memories of what happened during the Texas power crisis of Feb. 2021 when millions of people lost power during a severe winter storm.

Politics or climate?

Ask Jones why his building hasn’t been awarded a Super Bowl since 2011, and he would blame politics. In Jan. 2022, he said on 105.3 The Fan that new stadiums are being constructed with the promise of receiving a Super Bowl — kind of like how Dallas hosted its first-ever Super Bowl two years after opening its new facility.

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He is correct that Minneapolis, Atlanta, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and New York, all hosted Super Bowls after opening new state of the art stadiums. However, the Super Bowl is in Arizona this year after being there in 2015. The NFL also replayed other hits from the past and went back to Miami, New Orleans, Tampa, and even Houston.

Dallas had its shot to be part of the rotation and it missed badly. With February winter storms again affecting transportation, it’s time to realize that the Metroplex shouldn’t host a worldwide spectacle like the Super Bowl that requires a massive amount of people to travel there during that time of year.

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Plenty of other major events are still out there for Jones’ building to host and keep its elite standing in the public eye.

Chad Johnson gives pro athletes a crash course in frugality

Chad Johnson

“Frugal” would be one word to describe Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson during his playing career in the NFL. During a recent sit-down interview with Shannon Sharpe on his “Club Shay Shay” podcast, Johnson revealed his secret to holding onto most of his earnings from football.

So, Johnson, a former NFL star, isn’t above flying Spirit airlines and wore fake jewelry during his days in the league. This is something every professional or potential pro athlete needs to hear. Regular people working 9-5 jobs claim they won’t fly Spirit. This is certainly advice athletes making millions per year should consider.

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Instead of wearing jewelry that costs thousands and flying private planes, it’s ok to save a little bit of that money. Indeed, there are some things Johnson splurges on, like vacations, and he probably has a nice car or two in his garage. But not feeling the need to stunt every minute of every day like many pro athletes is smart.

Don’t give in to the pressure

Ochocinco mentions how it’s hard to always uphold that persona for multiple years. It’s hard and expensive. And what’s the point? Most players will never make as much money as when playing their chosen pro sport, especially NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL players. To spend it all frivolously before retiring is senseless, but it happens far too often.

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Most of these players run through a majority of what they earn within five years of retirement. We all know that story; although this generation of players seems to be doing a little better with their money, some end up near broke before turning 40. Obviously, Johnson was thinking ahead about his future and took measures to ensure he didn’t end up on a documentary for squandering all his money.

Being the flyest doesn’t always mean you’ve spent the most money. Confidence shouldn’t be based on how much your watch or shoes cost. Swag is what you make it out to be. Johnson’s flex is knowing he has the money but also having the discipline not to flaunt it all the time. Working hard and buying nice lavish things is great, but that shouldn’t define a person. High-level college athletes should also be paying attention to this in preparation for the life some could lead soon.

Tom Brady’s pre-Super Bowl retirement makes things awkward for Fox’s Greg Olsen — but here’s a solution

Former NFL tight end and current color commentator Greg Olsen

The comeback king may finally be done, but Tom Brady’s football obituary should begin with his error of making one comeback too many. The venerable Patriots legend Tampa Bay Buccaneers mercenary-for-hire announced his retirement in a no-frills social media post on Wednesday morning.

Prior to his final season — we hope! — Brady signed a 10-year, $375 million megadeal to become the network’s lead analyst. By leaving the starting spot in Fox’s booth open for a year, he allowed Greg Olsen to cement himself as a broadcasting powerhouse and the timing of his retirement also made things awkward for the former tight end as the fervor for Super Bowl LVII amped up. Suddenly Tom Brady looks like the Drew Bledsoe of color commentary.

Network broadcast A-teams

Serving on the network A-team has been a prestigious honor through the years. John Madden and Pat Summerall set the standard. Olsen and his play-by-play partner in the No. 1 booth, Kevin Burkhardt, replaced former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman and Joe Buck after the pair peeled out for bigger money to be the faces of ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

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Olsen’s insights and analysis on Fox’s No. 1 play-by-play team have been a pleasant surprise to viewers and especially to Fox. Super Bowl LVII is his breakthrough moment though. As a veteran tight end in the NFL, Olsen was consistently overlooked. Wide receivers and quarterbacks always stole the limelight from the two-time All-Pro, but as a sportscaster, Olsen was finally the leading man. And he was killing it.

Meanwhile, Tony Romo is getting dragged

Over Championship weekend, Olsen’s CBS counterpart Tony Romo was getting dragged for his wet labrador retriever energy during the riveting Cincinnati Bengals-Kansas City Chiefs game, while the former calmly and professionally supplemented a subpar product over at Fox.

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Olsen knew this day was coming

However, Olsen was always aware of the $375 million meteor heading toward his career Everest. During an appearance this week on ESPN 1000’s “The Waddle and Silvy” radio show, Olsen said it would “suck” if Brady retired, but sounded like he was in good spirits and taking it all in stride.

“We all know the reality,” Olsen said. “I know what I signed up for this year. My goal — and I said this before the season even started — my goal was to try to do the best job that I could. Give people a fun listen. Give people maybe a little bit of a different perspective and insight into the game. Do the best job that I can.”

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Now on the verge of his career apex, Olsen is staring down a demotion. The timing of Brady’s announcement a week and a half before the Super Bowl is a stark departure from his mission to avoid being a distraction before the Big Game. He went in the opposite direction this time around. Is it too late for Brady to pop in and replace Olsen or play an active part in the network’s Super Bowl coverage in some capacity? Possibly in the pre-game show alongside James Brown, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson, Michael Strahan, and Terry Bradshaw? (TMZ reported that Brady is not in the network’s Big Game plans.)

Soon the Fox pregame crew will swallow the earth whole, but at least Brady is familiar with both teams. Brady’s Bucs eliminated Jalen Hurts’ Eagles in the Wild Card round in 2022 and dueled with Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4. Olsen’s job is probably safe for two more weeks, but a quarterback controversy is over the horizon. Fox has too much invested in Brady to bench or have him learning the ropes on the B-team. However, there’s also a real possibility his football celebrity doesn’t translate to broadcasting.

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A choice to make

The conventional thinking is that Fox will have to choose between the excellence of the low-key Olsen and the lucrative money they shoveled at Tom Brady — but there is another option. Make the Olsen-Burkhardt duo a trio. It’s been done before successfully. Dick Enberg’s booth with Phil Simms and Paul Maguire is often regarded as one of the great A-teams in broadcasting lore. Maguire eventually formed a new troika with Mike Patrick and Joe Theismann. Before Aikman and Buck were an inseparable pair, they formed a transcendent three-man booth with Cris Collinsworth. It didn’t last long, but their chemistry was undeniable. Brady to a tight end in the booth just feels right. Don’t screw this up, Fox. Do the right thing for yourselves and for the fans.