1) I vaguely remember Ken Stabler's playing days, but I'm fully aware of his legend. The Ghost To The Post, The Holy Roller and The Sea Of Hands are some of the greatest moments in the history of the NFL and all three have Stabler in common. Another iconic moment in NFL lore, The Immaculate Reception, was needed because Stabler came off the bench and scrambled 30 yards for a touchdown, giving the Raiders a 7-6 lead over the Steelers.
Ken Stabler died last week at the age of 69 after a battle against prostate cancer. Reflection on his career brings up questions about his omission to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. His late game heroics are well known, as were his late night exploits, but there's no denying The Snake's place in the history of the NFL.
Stats are only part of the Hall of Fame equation, the other is common sense. Ken Stabler is a Hall Of Famer. It took him a few years to grasp control of Oakland's quarterback job, but once he had it, he was one of the best QBs in the game.
He played the bulk of his career in the 70s, a time where the passing game was much different than what we have today. He didn't have the big arm like some of his contemporaries, but he got by with a high football I.Q., he was an outstanding leader and he was extremely accurate.
Stabler has a Super Bowl ring, 4 Pro Bowls and an MVP award on his resume. While he certainly doesn't need the Hall to cement his legacy in the NFL, he should be in because he belongs.
2) From 2006 to 2014 Haloti Ngata played for the Baltimore Ravens. During that time Ngata made 6 Pro Bowls, the Ravens missed the postseason only twice and they won the Super Bowl in 2012. His defenses ranked in the top 10 in fewest yards allowed seven out of nine years.
"It's exciting, man," he said. "I've never been a part of a defense like this. You have so many athletes: J.J., Ziggy, Caraun, Darryl Tapp. You just have so many playmakers all over the front on the D-line. I'm just excited to be a part of it."
Never been a part of a defense like this?
As a rookie in 2006, Nagata played on a D with 6 Pro Bowlers, including Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs. Three perennial Pro Bowlers that he played with for much of his Raven career. Last year he played alongside Pro Bowlers Elvis Dumerville and C.J. Mosley.
The 2014 Lions team had one Pro Bowler on the roster, and that guy is playing in Miami this year.
3) By now you've heard about the medical records of the New York Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul being leaked.
After JPP blew up his hand on the 4th of July he went to the hospital to have his index finger amputated, and someone at the hospital leaked his records to ESPN. There are obvious ethical questions surrounding ESPN publicizing the records, but they didn't do anything illegal.
The silver lining all of this, is we get to enjoy the most ludicrous list ever made in the history of lists.
My ranking of finger importance in a defensive end: 1) thumb 2) ring 3) pinkie (4th & 5th most important for power grip) 4) middle 5) index— David J. Chao, MD (@ProFootballDoc) July 9, 2015
4) Jason Pierre Paul wasn't the only dumbass that blew off some digits on July 4th, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' C.J. Wilson also mishandled fireworks.
But with no leaked medical records to look at, we're forced to take the word of his father who claims Wilson lost 2 fingers in his accident.
I was a little disappointed that we never got a list of finger importance for defensive backs from Dr. Chao, but since Wilson has no career interceptions, no career passed defended and only 5 career tackles, I'm guessing his NFL career won't be affected.
5) Dallas defensive end Greg Hardy had his 10 game suspension reduced to 4 games last week and I'm again left wondering about the arbitrary suspension lengths. It seems every time the NFL hands down a suspension not related to substance abuse, and the player goes through the appeal process, his suspension is reduced.
6) If you aren't a fan of the NFL playing games overseas, prepare to gripe through the next decade.
Last week the NFL and Tottenham Hotspur reached agreement for at least two games per year to be played at their new stadium, which opens in London in 2018. The stadium will have a retractable grass surface with an artificial surface underneath.
The 10 year agreement isn't only for the minimum 2 games per year at the Tottenham site, but other venues in the UK are available for the NFL as well.
And as for an NFL team permanently relocating to the UK, it looks like they don't want one.
7) This is just sad if you're a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It's not much better if you're a Chicago Bears fan either...
8) If you're an NFL quarterback, most of your fans either love you or they hate you, it kind of goes with the job. With the Cincinnati Bengals' Andy Dalton, whom many Cincy fans wonder if he'll ever become a top tier QB, the fans skew towards the hate side of things.
The MLB All-Star game is in Cincinnati this week, so Dalton appeared in a celebrity softball game, and the fans in attendance mostly booed him. The fans eventually came around on him, but that may have had something to do with him jacking 2 home runs.
Dalton has had the Bengals in the playoffs every year he's been in the league, but his teams have gone one and done all four years. I didn't realize just how bad his performances have been until I looked up his playoff stats. In the regular season Dalton has an 85.2 career passer rating, but his in the postseason that drops to 57.8. Yikes...
9) I'm not a big believer in quoting a quarterback's winning percentage when discussing how good a QB is, but this stat I saw on NFL.com was pretty amazing. In an article discussing 5 records that will never be broken, they brought up former Bear signal caller Jim McMahon and the 1985 Chicago Bears' 18-1 overall record.
That one loss came on a Monday night in Miami, a contest started by backup quarterback Steve Fuller. You see, every time Jim McMahon started that season (including the playoffs) the Bears won. Ditto 1986. In fact, from McMahon's last few starts in 1984 to his first few starts of '87, the product of Brigham Young (the school, not the man) simply did not lose. In the process, McMahon won 25 straight starts, a feat that has never been matched by an NFL quarterback. It should be noted that the Bears didn't win every game during those four years -- going 10-6, 15-1, 14-2 and 11-4 during the regular season(s). But nearly every time they lost, McMahon was hurt.
If you never saw McMahon play the game, it's hard to understand just how good of a player he was. Those 25 wins were as much a product of the great defense the Bears had in those days, but McMahon was a playmaker that seemed to come through when his team needed him.
10) Did you happen to catch the Chicago 6 at the Taste Of Chicago over the weekend?
In case you weren't aware, the Chicago 6 is a band that was started way back in 1987 by members of two Chicago sports franchises. It featured Chicago Bears' Hall of Famers Dan Hampton on bass and Walter Payton on drums, defensive back Dave Duerson on trumpet with the Chicago Blackhawks' Troy Murray on saxophone, and Curt Fraser and Gary Nylund on electric guitars.
The group has changed through the years, but Hampton has been joined by fellow '85 Bears' Otis Wilson and Steve McMichael and musicians John McFarland, Matt Kammerer and Ed Kammerer.
"To even be doing this after 27 years, something I started with Walter Payton, is really cool," Hampton said. "Really we're paying homage to Dave Duerson and Walter who aren't here with us anymore, keeping up their memory and really having a lot of fun."
One of the highlights of their performance was a refashioning of the Super Bowl Shuffle. While Danimal and Mongo wouldn't rap in the original, both are spitting a few lyrics in the remix.
"When they came to me I threw a ‘fit-ka.'/ Then I sold out just like Ditka," Hampton's additional rap goes.
McMichael's verse includes a reference to joining The Chicago 6: "Otis and Hamp needed a fix, now they're finding out I'm a pretty good mix."
While I couldn't find any video of the group from the Taste, here's a couple clips of the fellas rocking out from 2014.