Calvin Johnson Says What Everyone Already Knows

originally posted on deadspin.com


Calvin Johnson Says He Retired Because The Lions Weren’t Going Anywhere

Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images

In the year since Calvin Johnson unexpectedly retired from the NFL at age 30, the wide receiver has hinted at some displeasure with the Detroit Lions, mostly over the team’s attempt to recoup his signing bonus, but he’d never indicated that the Lions had anything to do with him walking away from the sport. Now he has, and it’s about what you’d think.

In Italy doing press ahead of the Italian Bowl, the championship game of American football in that country, Johnson said the Lions’ futility definitely played a part in his decision to quit, in addition to the toll football was taking on his body.

“I didn’t see a chance for them to win a Super Bowl at the time,” Johnson said.“For the work I was putting in, it wasn’t worth my time, to keep on beating my head up against the wall, and not go anywhere.

“It’s the definition of insanity.”

“That’s everybody’s goal, when they come to the league, is to win a Super Bowl. That’s the ultimate goal. … I wanted to win it, and like I said, I just didn’t see that opportunity [with the Lions].”

Johnson implied he would still be in the NFL if the Lions had allowed him to go anywhere else. Detroit has historically denied players’ requests for trades (as Barry Sanders found out upon his early retirement), and the Lions apparently refused Johnson’s request to be released to go elsewhere.

“I mean, I thought about it,” Johnson said, when asked if he thought about changing teams. “Just like in basketball, you know, guys, they create these superteams. But it’s not quite like that in football where I had the freedom just to go. I was stuck in my contract with Detroit, and they told me, they would not release my contract, so I would have to come back to them.”

The asymmetry in football contracts is striking: Teams can end them at any time for any reason and just stop paying what they agreed to, but players are trapped in them. At the time Johnson retired, he still had four years left on his deal.

The management bootlickers are already out in force this morning, but some facts are unchangeable. Like that Megatron was the best and often only reason to watch the Lions for most of a decade. And that the NFL is a worse place without him. And that two of the most exciting skill position players ever to play the sport left it early because Detroit couldn’t build a real contender.

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NFL Week 16: WTF Just Happened?

The NFL regular season is all but finished, with only the Wild Card spots left to be determined……..well, also seeding, general rankings, home field advantage and if Mike Tomlin will whoop Terrry Bradhsaw’s country-ass when he sees him this summer.  

The biggest news from the weekend:

  •  Buffalo said goodbye to the Rex Ryan Experiment, ending a reign of mediocre football sauteed in a Ryan Brothers whiskey sauce that even Patrick Hammer would be proud of.  (Now that’s what you call a sub-reference)
Rob & Rex Ryan at Easter

Rob & Rex Ryan at Easter

  • The Oakland Raiders woke up from the best dream any of them have had in 14 years, when Derek Carr broke in half.  There goes any Super Bowl hopes and dreams for 2016-17, Matt Mcgloin is NOT the guy, sorry to say.

 

  • The Playoff C.F. is C.F.-ed A.F. (so many teenager-abbreviations):

AFC

1. New England Patriots (13-2). The New York Jets weren’t even a speed bump on the Patriots’ road to the AFC playoffs. If they win or if the Raiders lose in Week 17, the Patriots will secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC field. The worst they can do is end up at No. 2.

2. Oakland Raiders (12-3). Oakland clinched its spot in Week 15. If the Raiders win at Denver or the Chiefs lose at San Diego in Week 17, the Raiders will be AFC West champions. Of course, the bigger issue right now for Oakland is that it is going to have to play its postseason games with Matt McGloin or Connor Cook at quarterback.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5). A brilliant Ben Roethlisberger comeback against the Ravens on Sunday night clinched the Steelers’ second division title in three years and eliminated Baltimore. Pittsburgh will host a playoff game on Jan. 7 or 8.

4. Houston Texans (9-6). When Cincinnati place-kicker Randy Bullock‘s attempt for a winning field goal sailed wide right on Saturday night, it made Houston champion of the AFC South for the second year in a row. The Texans’ Week 17 game in Nashville now has no relevance.

5. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4). The Chiefs can still claim the AFC West, but they need to beat San Diego in Week 17 and hope the Raiders lose in Denver.

6. Miami Dolphins (10-5). After a 1-4 start, the Dolphins have won nine of their past 10 games. And Miami clinched a playoff spot with Denver’s loss to Kansas City on Sunday night.

Surging: Miami’s regular-season finale on Sunday is at home against the Patriots. That meeting offers the Dolphins a chance to show themselves — and the Patriots — that they can play with New England. In Week 2 at Foxborough — before Miami’s offensive line came together and Jay Ajayi emerged — Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett and the Patriots built a 31-3 lead on the Dolphins and held on to win 31-24.

Slipping: Houston’s AFC South rivals had rough outings on Sunday. The Tennessee Titans lost their quarterback, lost a game to the 3-12 Jacksonville Jaguars and lost a potential playoff spot. The Indianapolis Colts were defeated in Oakland and eliminated from postseason contention even before Houston played. The Texans took care of their own business in an ugly game on Saturday night, but they already had received some help in the form of disappointing performances from the two teams behind them.

Worth noting: The Steelers are a perennial playoff team, but it hasn’t been easy. This is only the second time they’ve won their division since 2010. Their 2014 team was a division champion as well.

NFC

1. Dallas Cowboys (13-2). Dallas has everything wrapped up that can be wrapped up — a division title, a bye and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. When the Cowboys get back from Philadelphia on Sunday night, they won’t have to leave Texas again all season. (Super Bowl LI is in Houston.) The only question for the Cowboys is what to do about resting and/or protecting their players or keeping them fresh for January games.

2. Atlanta Falcons (10-5). With their win and the Buccaneers’ loss, the Falcons have clinched the NFC South. And thanks to Seattle’s loss, Atlanta has a chance to clinch the No. 2 seed in the conference and a first-round bye with a Week 17 home victory over the Saints.

3. Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1). They came all the way back and somehow still lost a home game to the Arizona Cardinals because of a missed extra point. Seattle is the NFC West champion, but it might have cost itself a chance at a first-round bye. As of now, the Seahawks would have to play three games (with at least one on the road) just to reach the Super Bowl.

4. Green Bay Packers (9-6). Green Bay is technically the NFC North leader at the moment. The Packers are tied with the Lions for first place but beat them head-to-head. The teams face off again in Week 17 at Detroit, and the winner will be division champ. The loser can still get in but would need help. Specifically, if the Packers lose, they would still be a wild-card team if Washington and the Buccaneers both lose. The Packers also could sneak in as a wild card if Washington loses and Green Bay clinches the strength-of-victory tiebreaker over Tampa. To do that, the Packers need any one of the following four teams to lose in Week 17: San Francisco, Tennessee, Indianapolis or Dallas. But the main point here is: win and the Packers are in as a division champ.

5. New York Giants (10-5). The Giants didn’t get it done on Thursday against the Eagles, but the Saints helped them out by beating the Buccaneers, which allowed the Giants to clinch a spot in the NFC field. The Giants are locked into the No. 5 seed no matter what. They cannot improve or weaken their seeding, and they will open the playoffs at the home field of whichever team finishes in the No. 4 spot.

6. Detroit Lions (9-6). This is the most fragile seeding in the whole picture. Having lost Monday night in Dallas, Detroit still has a chance to finish as NFC North champ and will do so if it beats Green Bay on Sunday night. If Detroit loses Sunday, the Lions would need a Washington loss to get them in as a wild card.

Surging: Washington might have cost itself a playoff berth with its home loss in Week 15 to the Carolina Panthers, but it rebounded nicely Saturday and still is in the race. If Washington beats the Giants on Sunday — assuming the Detroit-Green Bay tilt doesn’t end in a tie — Washington will get in as a wild-card team.

Slipping: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t eliminated, but a ton has to happen for them to get in. They need to win. They need Washington to tie. They need Green Bay to lose. And they need all four of the following teams to win their Week 17 games: San Francisco, Tennessee, Indianapolis and Dallas. Sounds like next year for Tampa.

Worth noting: The Minnesota Vikings (7-8) started the season 5-0 but were eliminated from playoff contention with Saturday’s loss in Green Bay. They traded their first-round pick to the Eagles for quarterback Sam Bradford after Teddy Bridgewater got hurt, and now they face an early and uncertain offseason.

  • The Cleveland Browns won a game, now they have to live up to expectations……hahahahahahah, wait, no.  A winning streak to end the season at 2-14 is the NFL equivalent of the “Tallest Midget” syndrome.

browns

 

DISCOUNT DOUBLE CHECK!!

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In case you have a life and weren’t watching Thursday Night Football last night (STILL weird); you missed a giant WTF-JUST HAPPENED game between the Detroit Zombie-Lions and the Green Bay Injured-Reserved Packers.  Let me briefly fill you in on what you missed: THE LONGEST HAIL MARY-WINNING PLAY IN NFL HISTORY.

The Miracle in MoTown!

The Lions lead 17-0 at halftime, the game was a train-wreck to watch and completely boring on all accords.  The Packers STILL apparently hadn’t woken up from their multi-week, sleep-walking, too much turkey and gravy, game plan that’s been plaguing fantasy owners and Green Bay fans like the nut-check torture  scene in James Bond “Casino Royale” .

Then, all of a sudden as if God is a Packers fan (he definitely hates the Lions), Aaron Rodgers reminded us why he’s the Discount Double-Check KING of Insurance and Football in the mid-west.   An incredible 61-yard “please somebody catch it” heave for a game-winning TD by everyone’s favorite QB-who can save you 40% on auto insurance.

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I know they didn’t play the Bears last night, I just thought this was funny.

The hail-mary wouldn’t have happened if there wasn’t a suspect (but justified in the moment) face-mask call on the previous play when DE Devin Taylor reached out to bring down the mighty A-A-Ron, and Taylor’s right hand made contact with Rodgers’s mask.  In super-slow-mo, the replay showed it wasn’t as bad as it looked and in fact, maybe wasn’t even a penalty.  BUT, in real time you can’t blame the refs for making the call.

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This penalty gave the Packers one more play with ZERO TIME remaining on the clock.  Time for the old back-yard, everybody go deep and we chuck it to the sky-play that NEVER works…..even in the backyard.

One more time:

That’s GAME-TIME folks.  Let’s go home.

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Groundhog Day for RG III

MAYBE Robert Griffin III has a GIANT microscope on him for his never-ending, running of the mouth, MAYBE he talks himself into corners with the media, MAYBE the media needs to let-up on the man a little bit and let him breath.

Regardless, HE DEFINITELY will be running for his life yet again this season, and it doesn’t look very fun.  RG III was concussed last night in the preseason game against the Detroit Lions, he left the game in the second quarter with a stinger and was evaluated for a concussion.

It was released today that he DID in fact receive a concussion and he’s been mumbling obscenities and keeps repeating “The Media’s Coming” all morning.  OK, maybe that last part isn’t totally true, but he did receive a concussion.

I hate posting these two ass-clowns, but it’s the only video I could make available.  So here you go, the two out-of-touch professional loud-talk-arguers weigh in on Robert Griffin III: