Welcome back, babayyyyyyyy! It’s football season again, which means it time to get “open bar wedding” drunk, eat chili, and be in public in a jersey at the only acceptable time. For some reason, this off season has felt like it has lasted around 14 months, mostly because the NBA had two seasons since the end of the Super Bowl. While the NFL offseason feels like a forced marriage of non-news masquerading as news, the NBA legitimately brought the sports world to a screeching halt.
The fact is, NFL free agency just isn’t that interesting. The draft has its merits, much less so the controversies contrived from thin air keep the NFL pursed on the lips of the plastic faced talking heads tasked with giving us the news in a way that is palatable as we slowly grow to loath our own lives on a Planet Fitness treadmill.
It all feels…forced. But you know what isn’t forced? The football season! It’s coming! Each year, 31 teams(sorry Raiders, you signed Nathan Peterman, you know what you area bout) enter training camp with the ultimate manifest destiny of holding the Lombardi trophy over their heads to distinguish themselves as the champions of champions. Super Bowl winners are forever. That’s why, after Tom Brady dies, his ashes will be shot into a low orbit over the moon so, on just the perfect night, you can look up at the moon with your grandson and say “Do you see that? That was the penultimate cheater for all time.
And yes, in this scenario, an iron lung bound, 114 year old Bill Belichek will still be coaching the Patriots.
For those that find the ability to take themselves off the methadone drip that is the football season for a few months to do such esoteric acts as socialize and live a normal life, here are a few of the things that you missed:
Kyler Murray goes number one in the draft, further drives a stake through the heart of baseball
Kyler Murray was taken with the number one pick in the NFL draft this season, just a year after being taken with the number 10 pick in the Major League Baseball draft. For reasons both obvious and not-so-obvious to the average sports fan, Murray decided to not play baseball, and join Arizona to ostensibly be their starting quarterback for the next decade. Why did he choose football over baseball?
*Money. Murray’s rookie contract in the NFL guarantees him 35 million dollars over 4 years, including a 23 million dollar signing bonus. If the Cardinals opt into the 5th year of his rookie deal(and he would have to be pretty butt for them not to), he will earn upwards of 20 million dollars for that season, bringing his total contract to 5 years, 55 million.
The Oakland Athletics did everything they could to make it more tempting for Murray to play baseball, but because MLB operates with such incredible draconian rules to suppress the contracts of players before they hit free agency, he would have made no more than 7 million dollars over his first 5 years.
*The Show. By going to the NFL, Murray guaranteed himself to not only be on the roster on day 1, but quite possibly the opening day quarterback. Major League Baseball just doesn’t work like that. Murray would have reported to Vermont to play for the River Monsters for short season ball to get him back up to speed after having not played baseball in nearly a year. When he shows to have a grasp on that, he would be moved up to play for the Beloit Snappers of the A ball Midwest League. If he tears up the Midwest league, then he would be able to move on up to the Stockton Ports of high A ball. If he is just so unstoppable there, his next stop will be for the Midland Rockhounds in Double A.
Major League ready after that, sorry champ, that’s not how baseball works. Instead of bringing him up directly from AA, the Athletics would most likely keep him in the minors to delay his service time so they can manipulate an extra year of control on Murray’s contract, the A’s would send him to play for the Las Vegas Aviators. THEN, if he continues to prove himself there, they would bring him up sometime in May, after the service time rules pass. Even if he plays above his head as a top prospect in all of baseball, there is zero chance of him being on a Major League roster until May 2021. And yes, it’s currently August 2019. I’m not writing in a time machine.
The truth is, there is little to no incentive for teams to bring players up early unless those players are willing to sign severely under market contracts. Given the choice of playing in the NFL every week or riding a bus through the east coast and the parts of California that aren’t particularly interesting makes Murray’s decision even more defendable.
*Status. This is a pretty easy one. You rarely see MLB players doing national tv commercials, repping products for nationwide roll outs, or being the face of Sprite. NFL players and NBA players own the athlete sponsorship game. Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith Schuster are out there dancing, raking in that sweet sweet Pizza Hut cash. Peyton Manning’s aww shucks I lost a chromosome look is still schlepping pizzas for Papa Johns and Nationwide Insurance. Is that a Pepsi commercial? It must be Drew Brees. Some wacky household mishap? That’s just Aaron Rodgers rolling out the newest State Farm commercial.
Antonio Brown has 99 Problems, and his helmet and feet are two of them
If you have been blissfully unaware of the summer of Antonio Brown, here is the cliff notes version. He complained and didn’t practice so hard last season that the Steelers deactivated him for the last game of the season in spite of the fact that they were still fighting for a playoff spot. He threw everyone under the bus after the season, including noted quarterback and before picture in a Atkins Diet commercial Ben Roethlisberger. He was able to force his way out of Pittsburgh to join the thunderdome set extras that represent the Oakland soon to be Las Vegas, but was almost temporarily Reno, Santa Clara, San Antonio, and quite possibly Joliet Raiders. Leaving the Steelers to join the Raiders is the rough equivalent of leaving Starbucks to work a glory hole behind a Dunkin Donuts.
And since he has joined the Raiders, he managed to step into a chryotherapy chamber without proper footwear, causing extreme frostbite on the bottom of his feet. He refused to stay off his feet afterwards and continued to tear the skin off his feet because healing is for pussies apparently.
THEN, he went on a full scale tantrum over his helmet. If that sounds stupid, let me explain how stupid it is. The NFL, in their infinite desire to window dress the concussion problem, have cracked down on helmet safety and outlawed certain helmets because they don’t offer the proper amount of protection. Antonio Brown wore a helmet that was outlawed this past offseason. So did Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers and Brady, being adults, switched helmets. Antonio Brown has gone to Wile E Coyote-esque lengths to not have to use the new helmet. He showed up with his old one and just tried to use it. The team said no. He had a fit and left. He came back the next day, used the new helmet for a day, then tried to wear the old helmet again, and the old helmet was taken away from him. THEN, he had an old helmet custom painted to look like a new helmet so as to not raise suspicion. Because there is no justice, we still haven’t seen what this amateur Picasso did to make it look like the new helmet, but it fooled exactly nobody, and it was taken away from him again. Now he refuses to practice in training camp and is LITERALLY threatening to quit football if he isn’t allowed to use his old helmet. The NFL has responded by saying in very lawyer words that Brown can go have sex with a garbage disposal if he so pleases, but he won’t be wearing his old helmet on the field of a game. We are through exactly one game of the preseason and Brown has already locked up “Diva of the Year.” Nobody has locked up an award this quickly since Tom Hanks played that lucky dullard in Forest Gump.
NFL Has Done Went and Made Replay Worse
In an overreaction that would make Tucker Carlson blush, the NFL has changed the replay policy to include the coaches being allowed to challenge a pass interference penalty in a way to overcompensate for a blown pass interference call that caused the Saints, in part, to lose the NFC Championship game.
We have now hit the point where every year, the NFL does something as a reaction to something that happened the prior season but isn’t likely to be an issue again. Sometimes it works(backing up extra points to make things more interesting) and sometimes it takes the fun out of the game(moving the kick off up to cut down on kick returns). But leave it to the NFL to do everything humanly possible to make sure they have sanitized the game to a level that makes it easily ingestible to even the most passive of fans.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing a ton of stuff over here at Fancy Boys Club. I’m going to do division by division breakdowns of every team. There will be a podcast or two in there, and FBC will be releasing a full page of predictions on Thursday, September 5th, just in time for opening night. Like the page, stay tuned, and enjoy. And as always, if you have any questions or comments, be sure to hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org