The Sunday: Slips and Misses

And That’s Not Travelling?

We know it’s early in the NBA season but how do multiple steps without a dribble get by the refs? They are professionals right?

 

The Slip

Arkansas Head Coach Bret Bielema was so happy about his teams OT win at Ole Miss that he couldn’t wait to jump….

He was probably still blown away by this play that kept Arkansas alive in OT.

 

No Direction

Ken WhisenhuntThe Tennessee Titans fired Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt less than two years into his regime. Not only that, they fired him with starting quarterback Marcus Mariota out, they recently took the 5-1 Atlanta Falcons to the wire and he convinced one of the greatest defensive minds in NFL history (Dick LeBeau) to come to Nashville this past off season.

It is clear that the Titans ownership (or lack thereof) has no clue what they are doing or what direction they are going. It is a franchise that is being run remotely from Houston. The best thing that can happen for Titans fans is for the franchise to be sold to an owner who actually has a plan and cares about the franchise.

Were Those ACC Officials?

Nebraska defeated #7 Michigan State on a 30 yard touchdown catch that shouldn’t have counted. The Nebraska wide receiver was clearly out of bounds but the refs said he was pushed (meaning intentionally). It doesn’t really appear that way. Michigan fans may call this karma.

While that is bad, the following was called as a taunting penalty. Seriously.

Unstoppable?

The Golden State Warriors are the defending NBA Champions. Guard Stephan Curry is the reigning MVP. So far they are 7-0 in the 2015/2016 season and Curry has scored 20 points in a quarter three times already. To give you some perspective, Oklahoma City’s Brian Westbrook lead the NBA in that category last year and he did it four times….all season. Yes, Curry is taking it to the next level. 

That Just Happend

North Dakota State Zack Vraa made arguably the most outstanding catch of the weekend. Best part? Watch the defender afterward.

NDSU WR Catch

Meanwhile this happened in Pocatello, ID to end the Montana vs Idaho State game in overtime.

The Sunday: Full Swing

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Perfect

There were a lot of questions about Marcus Mariota’s professional football prospects. Well things are looking good after week 1. First the Tennessee Titans beat up on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42-14 and second, Mariota was a big part of that as he went 13-16 for 209 yards and four touchdown passes. He was, in a word, perfect.

 

Showing Class

Oklahoma defeated Tennessee in a fantastic comeback in Knoxville, TN. However now it becomes about actions by OU players after the game. OU defensive end Eric Striker and Tennessee head coach Butch Jones got into it. Jones took issue with Striker’s celebrations after the game. He told him as tweeted by Jason Kersey,

 

Later, safety Hatari Byrd was caught on video flipping off the Tennessee fans. Safe to say that if these teams meet again in the future, there would be no love lost.

Cardiac Cougars

BYU may be the 2015 football version of the ‘Cardiac Pack’.  They won their second straight game via Hail-Mary. 

There is some questioning of the Cougars though. In the last three games they have had some questionable conduct. BYU offensive lineman Ului Lapuaho punched a Boise State player squarely in the nuts during a scramble for the football on Saturday night. This comes on the heels of the brawl BYU had with Memphis in the Miami Beach Bowl last season and some questionable hits on Nebraska players two weeks ago.

The Sweetness

Love soccer or hate soccer but you have to admit, this was a thing of beauty.

 

The Difference In The End

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

There were several surprising retirement announcements in the last few days. First, the San Francisco 49ers Patrick Willis followed by Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker, former Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds. Common factor, all under the age of 31 and could still command top dollar. It came as a surprise but it shouldn’t be, especially in the age of CTE.

Patrick Willis could, and probably will, be considered for induction into the pro football hall of fame. He’s been that good. In fact he’s been the cornerstone of the 49ers for the eight years that he’s been in San Francisco. Through thick and thin, he’s been the constant.

Patrick Willis

Willis said goodbye to the 49ers and the NFL on Tuesday in a surprise to just about everybody. Reason, his feet and not being able to play at a high level. Later in the day came news that Jake Locker was walking away from the game, only four years removed from being a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft. Locker, like Willis, had been suffering from constant injuries. Unlike Willis though, Locker played 30 games and never lived up to the franchise quarterback tag that people branded on him when he was drafted.

Finnegan and Worilds are two more players who could have commanded top dollar on the free agent market but chose instead to walk away. Finnegan after a nine year career and Worilds at the age of 27. Worilds reason is a bit more interesting, he wants to devote more time to his religion (he is a Jehovah’s Witness). Finnegan did leave us with a great / not-so-great moment, when he and Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson got into a fight during a game.

While each player has their own reason for walking away from a high profile, lucrative career you have to believe that the reports about CTE had to play a part in their decision. What is all the money and glory for if you can’t remember what you did and enjoy your life after football?

Other players have retired at a young age such as former Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall. He wrote an interesting piece for the Huffington Post last year as to why he left the game at the age of 26. He is currently pursuing a screenwriting career in Southern California.

Could this be a new trend in the game? Players leaving after five, six, seven years? Cashing out while they are up? Convincing themselves that to go any longer would cost more than it’s worth? Time will tell but it is a distinct possibility.