Good Pre-Season NFL Stories
Looking back, do you remember these stories that came out while we were anxiously waiting for the season to start?
#1 Sam Bradford’s trade request
A few weeks before the draft, Sam Bradford requested a trade after he found out that Philly traded up for the number 2 pick. Everyone knew it would be a quarterback, either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz, and Bradford knew the team’s plan was to make one of these guys — not him — their franchise quarterback.
In terms of his reputation, Bradford’s trade request backfired. For one, it came off as incredibly greedy. Philly had signed him to a two-year, $36 million contract which included a non-refundable $11 million dollar signing bonus.
In addition, it led people to question him as a competitor. If he didn’t want to compete for his job with a rookie. The last thing you want to see in your quarterback. It didn’t make things any better when the Eagles front office had to reassure him he had the starting job — and he was still reluctant. Petulant.
The Eagles refused to trade him. A few weeks after the draft, Bradford showed up to practices. PR machine said it was all good and the players had his back. The story came out later that he had wanted to play in Denver. Who can blame him?
A few weeks later, the Vikings hired him after Teddy Bridgewater went down with a knee injury.
Bradford lost respect. Americans don’t like whiners who get paid millions to be merely average. He has a lot to prove. Success in the playoffs will be a good start.
#2 Ryan Fitzpatrick’s hold-out
While all the top free agents were getting signed, nothing was happening in New York. Ryan Fitzpatrick had solid numbers last season with 3,900 yards and 31 TDs. He stepped in after Geno Smith broke his jaw and turned a bleak QB situation around. He got the Jets 10 wins including a terrific final stretch. The crucial exception was a bad loss in Buffalo on the final game of the season that caused the Jets to miss the playoffs.
For this unfortunate lapse, it seemed that Fitzpatrick was being denied a fair deal. Initial rumors were that Fitzpatrick was offered $7 million a year for three years. Since this is what the Eagles over-pay Chase Daniel, that amount is considered “back-up money.”
It was an off-season when mid-tier quarterbacks like Brock Osweiller, Kirk Cousins, and Sam Bradford were signing huge deals from free agency. Osweiller only started 7 games in his career. Kirk Cousins would have been considered a bum by anyone before the 2015 season. Bradford has a career 60% completion rate and a 1.5 touchdown:interception ratio.
At 34 years old, there was no certainty Fitzpatrick would repeat his 2015 performance. A deal eventually got done: the Jets agreed to pay him $12 million for the 2016 season.
At 34 years old, there was no certainty Fitzpatrick would repeat his 2015 performance. A deal will probably get done any day soon if Fitzpatrick can get paid respectable money for a team that lets him grow a full sized beard.
#3 Laremy Tunsil’s rip
On draft night, a video was released of Mississippi State offensive guard Laremy Tunsil wearing a gas mask, doing a bong hit. It was insane, and it came outon Twitter as the draft was starting. The revelation sent owners and team decision-makers scrambling.
Almost every team had Tunsil near the top of their draft board. As the twitter video came to light, teams started moving him off their boards. Even teams like the Giants who needed a guard made a different selection. The “slide” was eventually checked by Miami, who took him at number 13.
Afterwards, he did a very good job of explaining himself to the press under the circumstances. He said it was an old video, that wasn’t him anymore, his tweeter account had been hacked, he was glad to be part of the Miami Dolphins organization, and blessed to be playing in the NFL.
#4 Tom Brady’s suspension revisited and reinstated
On April 27, a federal appeals court restored a 4-game suspension for Tom Brady. In an exact replica of the events that played out last year, Brady appealed the decision.
The year before he won the appeal. This year he did not.
The deflagate scandal is now three years old and difficult to understand. One article says a group of scientists unanimously agreed he did nothing wrong. The NFL thinks otherwise.
Brady lost his appeal. he wasn’t even allowed to show up at practice. Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett started the first 4 games and won three out of four. Brady came back in week 5 against Cleveland and inflicted touchdowns on an inexperienced Browns secondary. The Patriots are on pace to finish the season with 12 wins.
What was unfair was the NFL stripped the Patriots of their first round draft pick in the 2016 draft. Then they reinstated the suspension of Tom Brady. They served the Patriots two major penalties for one minor scandal.
#5 Raiders’ ownership wants to move the team to Las Vegas
The Oakland Raiders ownership wants a new stadium and Las Vegas wants a pro football team. The Raiders play in an old stadium that they share with the A’s. Until November, there is a baseball diamond in the middle of the field. Ownership has been demanding a new stadium for years.
The city of Oakland has refused. Sports stadiums are a controversial use of public funds. Oakland residents have a history of activism and self defense. They won’t let their schools and hospitals go under to raise a new stadium. By comparison, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other cities in Brazil built massive stadiums for the World Cup at the expense of public services, roads and water pipelines.
From a sports perspective, it is such a terrible idea because it would undermine the teams’ fan base. The Raiders Nation is known for a working class background and underdog status. Las Vegas is known for hotels named Paris and New York. The Raiders Nation is as fiercely loyal and foul-mouthed as the Gavioes da Fiel (Hawks of the faithful) who support the Corinthians’ soccer team in Sao Paulo.
It makes no sense.
The whole idea seems so farfetched that it might be nothing more than a ploy by the ownership to twist their home city’s arm. The city of Las Vegas has approved $750 million for the new stadium. The way is cleared for the Raiders to move to Vegas. If it does happen, it would be like a piece of plastic in the orange juice.