Category Archives: NFL

What Ohio high school has produced the most NFL players?

If you’ve recently run out of ways to brag about old alma mater, Pro Football Reference has just the tool for you: a database of high schools for the 22,000+ NFL players in the site’s database.

It’s not perfect as there are some duplicate schools and typos that need to be cleaned up, but it’s still awesome if you’re a nerd who wants to know where the best players come from (And if there was any doubt, I’ve proved I fall into that category with previous pieces on the recruiting of Urban Meyer, Jim Tressel and John Cooper at Ohio State for Buckeye Sports Bulletin).

And speaking of bragging rights, the Ohio schools at the top have one of if not the premier rivalry in the state: Canton McKinley and Massillon Washington

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Mark Cuban apparently not that informed about NFL TV or the hog market

So Mark Cuban made headlines by saying Thursday night NFL games that have been around for a decade, and Saturday games that legally can’t be televised until after the college football season is over, could lead to over saturation that hurts the league, and that was covered by everybody under the sun?

His ability as a newsmaker is unmatched.

(Full story: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says ‘greedy’ NFL ‘ is 10 years away from an implosion’ – ESPN Dallas.)

I must say I am endlessly fascinated by these situations that come up from time to time in which a person suggests something that seems plausible and could perhaps even be true but fails almost completely to actually say anything to prove their point.

Before the NFL expanded its push into Thursday night (as ESPN consistently failed to deliver worthwhile college matchups over the past few seasons), I would have agreed it seemed like a risky proposition. Though my Twitter feed seems to be clogged with people complaining about the quality of the games, ratings were up last season

"Mark Cuban just doesn't get me."

“Mark Cuban just doesn’t get me.”

Also amusing, at least to me, is that Cuban pretty much missed the mark with his fat pig analogy, too, as lean hogs have dominated that market for decades, perhaps even to the detriment to the industry.

Otherwise, he really nailed this.

Contemplating competition for Andy Dalton

In his “10 players to watch at the 2014 NFL Combine” for the National Football Post, Dave Miller compares former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron to Andy Dalton, saying that he has a chance to have a beginning of a career similar to the Bengals quarterback. That’s an interesting way to put it I would say because Dalton’s early career has been very admirable. The big question now is where he and the Bengals go from here.

Better quarterbacks have had great careers that didn’t start off as well as Andy Dalton, although there are other good quarterbacks especially recently who have had as good or better starts than him from a numbers perspective.

Dalton is an interesting case because he doesn’t have the physical tools that create high early expectations for somebody like a Matthew Stafford or a Cam Newton, but now he’s won enough, in part because of him and in part because the situation created by the Bengals suddenly learning now to draft over the past five years or so, that the expectations are very high just the same.

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Welcomed to the jungle

The ’88 freakin Bengals. Man… 25 years ago they were the first team I learned to love and the first to break my heart.

I wouldn’t learn until later the brilliance of the zone blitz, the beauty of a play fake or the genius of Guns n’ Roses, but that was a season that marked me forever as a sports fan.

I’d been going to football games since literally before I can remember, but that’s the year ideas began to congeal. I didn’t know everything that was happening on the field, but I knew Ickey Woods and James Brooks were a killer running back tandem and Boomer Esiason was the MVP of the league. No idea what a zone blitz was, but I remember David Fulcher was a bad man. Continue reading

NFL: Following playoff loss, Boomer blasts Bengals coaches

The last man to quarterback the Bengals to a playoff victory acknowledged the current Cincinnati signal caller played a role in the Bengals’ 27-10 loss to the Chargers on Sunday, but Boomer Esiason had larger issues with the lack of response he saw from Marvin Lewis and his staff in the second half.

Meanwhile, the southpaw praised the San Diego staff for turning up the heat on defense and pushing the pace on offense.

Boomer blasts Bengals coaches | FOX Sports on MSN.

Bengals mascot Who Dey like you’ve never seen him before

Sorry, but I just cannot get enough of this picture of the Bengals mascot dressed for the weather and to honor veterans for their service during the most recent Battle of Ohio.

Enjoy! (And note the camera man eyeing him warily to his left.)

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(Photo by Kevin Jairaj of USA Today Sports and via

Browns assembling Wolverine killing crew?

The Cleveland Browns may not catch the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North race, but maybe the signings of former Ohio State offensive lineman Reid Fragel and former Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards yesterday indicate a new goal: assuring they can Michigan.

While unique, this is an approach that figures to play well to a large portion of the Browns’ fan base that warms up for Sunday afternoon by spending Saturdays hoping for Ohio State wins and Wolverine losses.

Browns sign Edwards, Fragel.

Nate Jackson discusses life after concussions as an ex-NFL player | The MMQB with Peter King

“Because it feels good to be a missile, even when it leads to my destruction. We all know how the big story ends. If I don’t die on the field, I promise you I’ll die off of it.”

That is the conclusion of the latest in a series from MMQB examining the concussion crisis facing football – Nate Jackson discusses life after concussions as an ex-NFL player | The MMQB with Peter King.

This is the third piece out of the series I have read, and they have all been interesting. Continue reading

On expectations, plateaus and late September in Cincinnati

Late September 2013 is a strange time to follow Cincinnati pro sports, that’s for sure, so here is something to ponder while we wait to see what October has in store: Who would have thought there would come a day when the Reds and Bengals could both become good enough to be frustrating rather than bad enough to be depressing? Continue reading

Potential pitfalls of tanking in the NFL

The Browns’ trade of Trent Richardson to the Colts for a first-round draft pick was an interesting move to say the least.

Richardson has not been a slam dunk, top-five pick quality guy for the Browns so far, so it’s very possible they sold high (not that the Colts’ pick is likely to be in the top 10). I know on draft day there was actually some frustration among fans they had to pick him when he was there last year because he was the best player available and drafting running backs in the first round has gone out of style, but after draft day that really loses most of its importance.

After draft day, all that matters is who on your roster can play.

I know there is a line of thinking that says being only kind of bad or event decent is pretty much a waste of time in the NFL, but I’m not sure if that is true.

Sometimes starting over causes more headaches than can be accounted for. By that I mean it can create a total number of issues that becomes too hard to deal with in the increasingly short windows of time now allowed to build a team in the NFL.

Everyone has issues every year, even the Super Bowl champions. There are no super juggernaut teams, particularly now 20 years into the salary cap era with the rosters still ridiculously small.

The thing about changing regimes is it can turn some aspects of a team that were a strength and turn them into a weakness before the pre-existing weaknesses are fixed. That makes the product worse overall. I know some believe that might not be a bad thing, but I’m not so sure.

There is so much parity in the NFL taking an all-or-nothing approach can be very dangerous and counterproductive.

So many games could go either way, often there is not much difference between 10-6 and 6-10 other than a couple of bad bounces or poorly times injuries.

That is why a couple of years ago I began to wonder if taking the long approach in the NFL is the wrong way to do it. I’ve come to believe prudent way to run an NFL franchise is to treat each season – each game, really – like a chance to win. So many things could go wrong between now and next September, it’s hard to put too much faith ever getting there even while things slip away now.

That doesn’t mean run your players into the ground or ignore the salary cap, mind you, but don’t give away assets unless you’re really getting something in return.

As much as it makes sense to leverage now for a better future, I have never been able to bring myself to root for a team to lose in order to get a better draft pick. No matter what my brain might have told me in week 14 about the difference between the first and fourth pick in the draft, I always wanted to see the Bengals pick up that third win of the season in December if it was there for the taking back in the forlorn 1990s. Maybe that is another psychological phenomenon at work, but we’ll save that topic to explore another day.

Anyway, don’t over think this. One in the hand is still better than two in the bush in the NFL. Everyone is the same when training camp starts. Where a guy was drafted doesn’t trump if he can play or not, and the bottom line is you’ve gotta have more guys who can play than the other team to win.

Maybe this move will facilitate getting the franchise quarterback the Browns have lacked for so long, but those can be found outside the top 10 if you know where to look (see Green Bay and potentially San Francisco and Seattle for current examples), and it will be interesting to see how he fares if the team hasn’t found a suitable running back to take some pressure off him while he develops.