St. Louis Rams Look Relevant Again

Although the St. Louis Rams never seem to be listed among the most consistent NFL bottom feeders (such as Oakland, Cleveland or Jacksonville), the last decade has been anything but kind for the team that once called Los Angeles its home. Ever since Rams fans were treated to The Greatest Show on Turf, featuring Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt, and Isaac Bruce, the team have been rather irrelevant. The franchise has not seen a winning season since 2003, and the last playoff appearance came a year later in ’04. There are certainly other droughts in the NFL that are worth more recognition, but this little stint is nothing to boast about. 

Luckily for Rams nation, St. Louis general manager Les Snead has put together a roster that is poised to make the playoffs in 2015. Get excited, Rams fans!

The hot topic everyone wants to talk about is the switch at quarterback. Nick Foles will be under center for the Rams come September, and the transaction that snatched him from Philadelphia in exchange for Sam Bradford may turn out to be great for everyone involved. Foles was inconsistent at times with the Eagles, especially in 2014 before he suffered a season-ending collar bone injury. With that being said, Foles has proved he can win games in this league. He is 15-9 overall as a starting quarterback, which is by no means jaw dropping. However, since 2013 when he overthrew Michael Vick for the starting job in Philly, Foles is a combined 14-4. 

Some will say that he was simply a product of Chip Kelly’s system (which we will ultimately find out) but Foles showed glimpses of talent even early on when Andy Reid was still coaching the Eagles. He has the arm talent to really stretch the field and create big plays. His performance with the Rams will come down to consistency and discipline. Bradford was playing well before his ACL tear last year, but it was time to move on for the organization. They also saved a lot of money in the deal.

Foles won’t have to do it all by himself. He’ll have some toys to play with. The Rams are extremely deep in the backfield, and this will help alleviate some of the pressure off of him. The big news out of camp is that first round pick Todd Gurley has been cleared to start practicing and will be ready for the regular season. Gurley is a workload back, and a franchise-caliber player that the Rams can build the team around. However, as strong and powerful as he is, expectations need to be tempered for University of Georgia product, as he is coming off of a serious injury. That is where the depth comes in. Tre Mason is a talented scat back coming into his second year, and his rookie season was a nice start to his career. Mason totaled 765 yards and averaged 4.3 yards per carry. Benny Cunningham is another guy who can start in a pinch and give the other backs a breather. 

On the outside at receiver, there is no real star, but again the depth is formidable. Kenny Britt showed last year how talented and effective he can be when he stays out of trouble. Brian Quick will be returning from injury and he is a guy who has made big plays and stepped up for the Rams in the past. Stedman Bailey is still looking to take the next step and harness that impressive athleticism. Tavon Austin has begun to find his niche as a gadget player. Of course Austin is a disappointment overall, but if he can find any way to contribute with his speed, it will prove invaluable. 

Also, not underestimate the duo of Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks at tight end, especially as red zone targets. The offensive line is young and will have growing pains, but 2014 first round pick Greg Robinson should improve. Barrett Jones is a versatile and intelligent lineman known best for his success at the University of Alabama, and he will finally get his first real chance to play. Veteran Rodger Saffold remains at guard.

This is a young offense that will most likely struggle to score at times. It’s safe to say this unit won’t be posting 30+ points a game, but that is perfectly fine because if the Rams make the playoffs, it will be due to the special defense they have put together.

The group is strong at practically every position. The Rams front four of Chris Long, Michael Brockers/Nick Fairley, Aaron Donald, and Robert Quinn should be frightening for opposing offenses. This unit can get after the quarterback and cause serious havoc. Long only played in six games last year and battled an ankle injury, and the same held true for for Fairley in Detroit, who finished with a 9.8 Pro Football Focus grade before a bad knee sidelined him for the season. Aaron Donald picked up right where he left off at the University of Pittsburgh and dominated as a rookie. The future is so bright for the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year, and PFF had him as the best defensive tackle in the NFL in 2014 with an overall mark of 34.4. Quinn had a down year last season, by his standards. He still managed double digit sacks and is still one of the best 4-3 defensive ends this league has to offer. This front four is scary and it will drive this defense. Just ask Peyton Manning what he thinks of these guys.

James Laurinaitis and Alec Ogletree are more than capable linebackers in the middle of this unit, and they can benefit greatly from the guys up front. Ogletree is still young and developing as he enters his third NFL season, but he really played well in the second half of the campaign a year ago. Laurinaitis is a veteran MLB, and although his play is not spectacular, he is dependable on a weekly basis. The Rams also picked up former New England Patriot Akeem Ayerswho made some big plays last year and showcased his ability to get after the quarterback off the edge. 

The back end of the defense is also impressive. Janoris Jenkins is a corner who likes to take risks and anticipate passes, but his attitude and play style fit the group as a whole. It seems that the Rams found a steal in the 2014 draft with sixth round pick E.J. Gaines. As a rookie, Gaines recorded 10 passes defended and two interceptions. When quarterbacks threw towards Gaines, their combined QB rating was a 79, which is sub-par. Perhaps the best part of this stacked defense are the two safeties, T.J. McDonald and Rodney McLeod. These two are head hunters who fly to the ball and make plays.

McLeod you most likely know best from this.

SB Nation

And here is McDonald, who almost took Gaines’ head off trying to hit Odell Beckham Jr.


With a defensive-minded head coach in Jeff Fisher and a creative defensive coordinator in Gregg Williams, this defense should be fun to watch.

Young weapons on offense that can make ends meet for a surefire top five defense? Sounds like a playoff team to me.

Charges dropped against Aaron Kromer, son

Misdemeanor battery charges against Buffalo Bills offensive line coach Aaron Kromer and his son have been dropped.
The boys’ parents reached a resolution with Kromer’s lawyers.
The Bills know the charges have been dropped.
Kromer remains on indefinite administrative leave.
The Kromers pleaded not guilty.
On July 11, Aaron Kromer allegedly punched a boy in the face and threatened to kill his family if he spoke with police following a dispute over beach chairs.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Redskins sign Junior Galette

The Washington Redskins have signed former New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette to a one-year deal.
Galette has encountered trouble off the field.
The Redskins also have his rights for next year.
“This deal isn’t about the money,” agent Alvin Keels said. “Junior feels that he has a lot to prove both on and off of the field.”
Follow me on Twitter: @RavensInsider
Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

2015 Seattle Seahawks Are Men Among Boys In The NFC West

Few expected the NFC West to become the powerhouse it is today after the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks clinched the division in 2010. Yet three conference championships and one Super Bowl victory later, it now seems like a yearly given that the NFC West will be among the best in football.

Fans, however, would be prudent to temper their expectations for this division in 2015, as a multitude of factors suggest the division as a whole is approaching rapid decline. The Seahawks should still dominate, but, compared to years past, the rest of the division stands little chance of competing with Seattle for the division title.

St. Louis Rams

The Rams can blame their 6-10 record in 2014 on their paltry offense, which ranked 28th in yards per game (314.7). 

St. Louis tried to remedy this problem by trading Sam Bradford to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for Nick Foles, but he’s not a sure improvement. Foles followed up his incredible 2013 season with a dud in 2014, earning an overall performance grade of -7.4 from Pro Football Focus premium statistics, 25th among quarterbacks. Shaun Hill and Austin Davis, the team’s 2014 passers, ranked 26th and 29th, respectively. 

Foles also loses a respectable offensive line in Philadelphia, which ranked 8th in pass blocking, while St. Louis ranked 27th. 

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Rams fans hope that Todd Gurley will propel this offense to acceptable levels, but the reality is that Gurley, though supremely talented, won’t change much initially. Gurley is still recovering from a knee injury and his availability Week One remains uncertain. Even when he does play, defenses will stack the box and force the Rams to throw. Drafting Gurley was a start, but St. Louis has miles to go in the passing game before they win consistently. 

San Francisco 49ers

The Niners have appeared in conference championships three of the last four years, yet they parted ways with the man that brought them there, Jim Harbaugh

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Probably the biggest testament to Harbaugh’s value was just how many players abandoned ship after he announced his departure. Frank Gore, Mike Iupati, Dan Skuta, Chris Culliver, and Michael Crabtree are all on different teams now, and Patrick Willis retired. Some may have left anyway, but it’s unlikely all six would have left if Harbaugh stayed. Clearly, his leaving was a sign that rebuilding was looming.

Time is working against the aging Niners defense. With the addition of thirty-four year old Darnell Dockett, the Niners have four defensive players age thirty or older expected to see significant playing time. 

While the defense is filled with veterans whose window is closing, the offense is a total unknown. The offensive line is young and showed promise last season, but Colin Kaepernick took major steps backward in his passing game, posting the lowest total QBR of his career (55.86), and he remains unproven. Likewise, Carlos Hyde replaces Gore and he’s talented, but it’s not a given he will be the bell cow they previously had. 

Arizona Cardinals

After consecutive seasons with double-digit wins, the Cardinals look poised to contend in 2015 at first glance, but several predictive metrics suggest decline is imminent. 

The Pythagorean projection was explained by fellow SQ contributor Daniel Apadula in his article on teams poised for a comeback. Essentially it’s a mathematical prediction of wins developed by Football Outsiders, the idea being that teams who over/underperform their projection are likely to regress the following year. This bodes poorly for the Cardinals, who outperformed their expected win totals of 9.46 in 2013 and 8.34 in 2014. 

Also detailed in Daniel’s article is the predictive application of fumble recovery percentage. Theoretically a team’s fumble recovery percentage should be around 50%, yet Arizona recovered fumbles an NFL-best 62.86% of the time in 2014. This kind of luck is unsusta
inable, so expect fewer fumble recoveries in 2015 and consequently, maybe fewer wins. 

Arizona’s strength in 2014 was its defense, which changed a lot this offseason. Starters Antonio Cromartie and Dan Williams both signed elsewhere and former defensive coordinator Todd Bowles became head coach of the New York Jets. Bowles is credited with the attacking style defense that made Arizona dangerous and opposing teams will recognize his absence. Arizona added LaMarr Woodley and Cory Redding, both of whom figure to help the pass rush but do nothing to fill the depleted secondary. 

Offensively, the big question going forward is whether Carson Palmer can stay healthy. In his six games last season, Palmer threw eleven touchdowns and just three interceptions, demonstrating relative effectiveness in Bruce Arians’ vertical system. 

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After Palmer tore his ACL in week 6, however, the Cardinals were exposed, as backup Drew Stanton ranked 31st among quarterbacks in PFF’s overall performance grade. Palmer’s injury history (17 missed games the past four seasons) suggests a sixteen-game stint is unlikely, so the arrow is pointing downward in Arizona. 

Seattle Seahawks

Despite two years of utter dominance, the Seahawks could actually be better in 2015. Only three starters departed this offseason–Byron Maxwell, James Carpenter, and Max Unger. Maxwell is replaced by veteran Cary Williams, whose physicality suits the Legion of Boom well. Carpenter is easily replaced by Alvin Bailey, and as for Unger, the Seahawks are plenty happy with that move, considering they got Jimmy Graham in return. 

Graham has to be the biggest offseason upgrade for any team, solely because his red zone prowess should stop plays like this from ever happening again:

Seattle has led the league in total defense the past two seasons, and all of their core components are slated to return Week One. Factor in the the addition of Graham to an offense that already features a dominant rushing attack via Marshawn Lynch and continues to improve with the growth of Russell Wilson and Seattle’s offense should score more than enough for the Legion of Boom to continue carrying them. 

We’ve come to know the NFC West as one of the toughest divisions in football. That might not be the case this year, as major question marks surround the Rams, 49ers, and Cardinals. Unsurprisingly, the Seahawks appear poised to trounce the competition once again, but for the first time in a while it looks like their division won’t offer much resistance. 

Coaches On The Hot Seat Entering The 2015 Season

With conference media days wrapping up in the next week or so, this seems like the perfect opportunity to check out some coaches that’ll definitely be watching their words. Here are three coaches trying to save their jobs this season:

Tim Beckman (Illinois)

In three seasons as the head coach of the Fighting Illini, Beckman has posted a 12-25 overall record with a disappointing 4-20 record in the Big Ten. Three of those four wins were against a lowly Purdue team, a very inconsistent Penn State team, and an underperforming Northwestern squad. 

Entering the fourth year of Beckman’s tenure, Illini fans have plenty of reasons to be upset, but a few reasons to be optimistic. Under Beckman, Illinois has improved their conference record each season, going 0-8 in 2012, 1-7 in 2013, and 3-5 in 2014. Last season, the Fighting Illini also made a bowl game for the first time with Beckman at the helm, losing 35-18 to Louisiana Tech in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Looking at the schedule in 2015, Illinois has a difficult non-conference game on the road against North Carolina before the Big Ten games begin. In order for Beckman to keep his job for another year, the Illini would have to win seven or eight games and go at least 4-4 in the Big Ten. There is no doubt that Beckman and the Fighting Illini will have to pull off a few upsets to reach the seven win mark, but with college football you never know what will happen. 

Mike London (Virginia)

Let’s begin with one of the few positive highlights of Virginia’s season in 2014, a 30-13 dominating win over Miami (FL).  Also, what a catch by Canaan Severin at the :30 second mark in the video.

Now to the bad news. London is 23-38 (11-29 in the ACC) in five seasons as head coach of the Cavaliers. Virginia has only one bowl appearance in those five seasons, which was a 43-24 loss to Auburn in the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl.

The Cavaliers’ 2015 schedule is very interesting. Road games against UCLA, Miami (FL), and Louisville will be tough but Florida State and Clemson aren’t even on the schedule, which is great news for Virginia fans. In order for London to keep his job, the Cavaliers will need to make a bowl game by winning at least six or seven games. Also, a win against in-state rival Virginia Tech would go a long way in helping London remain head coach.

Kirk Ferentz (Iowa)

I understand that Ferentz’s buyout is astronomical (over 10 million dollars right now), but the Hawkeyes have been in a decline for a few years. Example:

The Hawkeyes are 34-30 in the last five seasons under Ferentz, which isn’t good enough for anybody associated with the Iowa football program. In those five seasons, the Hawkeyes are 1-3 in bowl games; the lone win coming against Missouri in the 2010 Insight Bowl.

In 2015, Iowa doesn’t have Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, or Michigan on the schedule. However, the Hawkeyes have two tough games on the road at Wisconsin and at Nebraska, that I don’t see them winning. Overall, Ferentz will need to get eight or nine wins and reach a .500 record or better in the Big Ten to keep his job. 

Hawkeye fans are fed up with mediocrity, they want more wins, and the recruiting (or lack thereof) hasn’t given them much hope; most of them want a fresh start. It is looking like it will be another tense year for Ferentz and the Hawkeyes.

Other coaches who may be out as head coach next year: Paul Rhoads (Iowa State), Norm Chow (Hawaii), Al Golden (Miami (FL)), Kevin Wilson (Indiana), Mike MacIntyre (Colorado)

Source: Seahawks ink Russell Wilson to four-year, $87.6 million contract extension

The Seattle Seahawks have locked up star quarterback Russell Wilson to a four-year, $87.6 million extension, according to a source.
The blockbuster deal includes a $31 million signing bonus and $60 million in guarantees.
There was a self-imposed Friday deadline that the Seahawks and Wilson have met.
Follow me on Twitter: @RavensInsider
Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

2015 Season Preview: Houston Texans

One of the big stories of the 2014 NFL season was the turnaround of the Houston Texans. Going into training camp a year ago, not many would have expected a winning record out of the Texans. However, they finished the season 9-7, largely as a testament to the outstanding coaching job by first year coach Bill O’Brien. In his second season, the arrow is pointing up and a playoff berth is possible.
Last year, four different quarterbacks started games in 2015. This year, it looks as if it’s a two-man battle for the job between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett. Hoyer, who the Texans signed as a free agent, started 13 games for the Browns last year. While Hoyer lacks outstanding physical traits, he is smart and instinctive and knows how to play within himself. He also has excellent leadership qualities that will help him win the job.
Ryan Mallett may have better physical characteristics, but he lacks the mental toughness and decision making skills to be a starting NFL quarterback. The third quarterback will be Tom Savage who is similar to Mallett in that he has physical traits but lacks the mental.
Running Back
In Arian Foster, the Texans have one of the best running backs in the league when he is healthy. Unfortunately, he came into the league with an injured knee and has already missed time in his career.
Alfred Blue is the primary backup and he did a nice job as a rookie running for 528 yards. Kenny Hilliard and Chris Polk are two other players to watch at the running back position. The fullback is Jay Prosch who is a blocker only.
Wide Receiver and Tight End
The big loss in the receiving corps is Andre Johnson, the Texans all-time receiving leader. While Johnson is not the player he used to be, it will be tough to replace his leadership. Third-year man DeAndre Hopkins, who had 76 receptions a year ago takes over as the number one target. He has big shoes to fill, but he could be their next great receiver.
The other starting wide out will be Cecil Shorts III who was signed away from Jacksonville. The third receiver will most likely be Nate Washington another free agent signee. In his 11th year, Washington has seen his best days.
In the third round, the Texans drafted Jaelen Strong. Strong had first-round talent but there were questions about his overall competitive nature and attention to detail. There is no questioning Strong’s talent and if he plays to his ability the Texans got a steal.
The tight end will be Garrett Graham who is more of a receiving threat. I look for second-year man C.J. Fiedorowicz to come on strong this year now that he is acclimated to the NFL game.
Offensive Line
Many thought Houston would take an offensive lineman early in the draft but that wasn’t the case. Going into camp the starting line looks to be Duane Brown and Derek Newton at the tackle spots with Xavier Su’a-Filo and Brandon Brooks at guard and Ben Jones at center. Su’a-Filo has to step it up as he was a disappointment last year as a rookie.
The depth is thin with Tyson Clabo and Jeff Adams. The feel good story would be if David Quessenberry makes it back on the field after battling lymphoma last year. He reported to camp but hasn’t yet been cleared to play.
Defensive Line
The Texans have the best defensive lineman in football, J.J. Watt. This is only his fifth year in the league and he hasn’t yet become the player he will eventually be. The new face on the line is former New England Patriot All-Pro Vince Wilfork. Wilfork isn’t the player he once was, but the reliable veteran should be able to give the Texans 40 strong snaps a game. The end opposite Watt is Jared Crick who had his best season last year but still needs to become a better pass rusher.
The depth is questionable but Brandon Deaderick may be the most reliable. Jeoffrey Pagan, in his second year has to come on and show he is worthy to play in the rotation. The big question mark is second-year nose tackle Louis Nix III. Nix was a bust as a rookie and the hope is that he has matured in the last year. He has the natural talent to be very good, but questions surround his dedication to the game.
Last year’s number-one overall draft choice Jadeveon Clowney had a forgettable rookie season. Because of knee injuries he did virtually nothing and now coming off micro-fracture surgery his impact level is questionable. Clowney has the talent to be a great pass rusher, but will this come to fruition?
Opposite Clowney is Whitney Mercilus who does a solid job defending the run and rushing the passer. While he may never go to a Pro Bowl, he is a good player to have on the roster. The depth outside is a question mark. Jason Ankrah has talent but he’s inexperienced and has not been able to show it yet. John Simon is another talented, but inexperienced guy waiting for his chance.
Inside Brian Cushing isn’t the player he was a few years ago and we may never see that player again. I really like rookie Benardrick McKinney. I felt he was one of the better inside linebackers in the draft and he should start right away. If he isn’t ready than Akeem Dent is ready to step in. The former Falcon started seven games last year.
The strong defensive line helps the secondary. I remember when Houston fans were calling for corner Kareem Jackson’s head when he was a young player. Now he is the best cover guy in the Houston secondary. Across from Jackson is very reliable Johnathan Joseph who is entering his 10th year. While he may be getting up in age, he still plays well.
The safeties will be Rahim Moore who was a starter with Denver last year and most likely Stevie Brown. Moore is better suited to play the free safety spot.
I look for first round pick Kevin Johnson to be the nickel corner as a rookie. It would not surprise me if he strongly challenges Joseph for the starting slot. The fourth corner should be A.J. Bouye. The depth at safety will be Eddie Pleasant and most likely free agent rookie Kurtis Drummond, Many draftniks felt Drummond would be at worst a mid-round selection.
Houston has a solid team at just about every position but quarterback. For the Texans to challenge for a playoff slot they have to get good play from that position. While the defense is strong, the unit lost much of their depth to free agency and they have to hope the key players stay healthy. Also Jadeveon Clowney’s  injury recovery will be important for the Texans.
At this time, Houston doesn’t have enough to overtake the Colts for the division crown but they should challenge for an AFC Wildcard spot.
Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

Suspended Jets DE Sheldon Richardson charged with resisting arrest

Suspended New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson was charged with resisting arrest after a July 14 incident where police say he was driving a car engaged in a high-speed road race near his home in St. Louis, the prosecuting attorney said Thursday in a statement.
A fully loaded semi-automatic weapon was found in the car, a 2014 Bentley, police said, and there was “a very strong odor of burned marijuana” emanating from the vehicle, the St. Charles County prosecuting attorney’s office said in a statement posted to its website.
Richardson’s car was traveling as fast as 143 mph, according to the statement, and police said a 12-year-old was among the passengers in his car.
The incident occurred only 12 days after Richardson received a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
Reports of the arrest didn’t surface until late Thursday, less than one hour after Richardson, commenting publicly for the first time on the suspension, vowed to stay clean.
“I’m not a dope fiend, man,” Richardson said. “I apologized to my teammates and this organization. I told them they don’t have to worry about my name being in the news again.”
Richardson is scheduled to appear in St. Charles Circuit Court on October 27 for his arraignment.
The Jets didn’t know about this for Richardson, an NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year two years ago and a Pro Bowl selection last season.
Jets coach Todd Bowles said the team will help Richardson “get help for his problem. .. It’ll be a good lesson for him. I’m sure his parents are more disappointed than anybody, and he had to stand that. His actions will speak louder than his words going forward.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

The State Of The NFL

The NFL has gone through a series of controversial off-seasons that have been riddled with accusations of cheating, domestic violence, suspensions and a serious revamping of the player conduct policy. Case after case continues to come forward that further shrouds the NFL in negative attention. That being said, it needs to be understood where the NFL stands from a social standpoint, and from a product standpoint, because the two differ greatly. 

Socially speaking, the NFL may never be in a worse place than it is now. The list of controversies goes on and on: domestic violence, deflategate, spygate, bountygate, Greg Hardy, Ray Rice. These are just a few of the most outstanding examples of improper conduct put forward by the NFL. Not to mention, Roger Goodell has looked like a completely misguided leader by focusing his efforts on inflating footballs rather than trying to establish a simple punishment system that will make players never even think about laying a finger on their wives or girlfriends. 

Also, the league is receiving intense resistance from multiple groups surrounding the short suspension of Ray Rice and the Redskins’ name. On top of this the NFL is currently dealing with a class-action suit brought against the league by former players. Think about that if you’re just an average person trying to choose a league to be a fan of: some of the best players in the game’s history are suing the league because it doesn’t take care of its players properly. 

Needless to say, from a public eye, the NFL is beginning to drift away from integrity. The NFL has been generally tainted in the public eye in a way that will take years of damage-control to fix. That being said, the product is impeccable, and that’s what saves the league and makes it America’s sport. 

The NFL may struggle from a public perspective, but the key to the success of the league is that it has gained more fans than it has lost and retained the great majority of its existing fan base. Fans of the NFL are simply too captivated by the on-field product to let the social hits the league has taken actually deter their viewership. In fact, since 1990, Super Bowl viewership has increased 17 different times when compared to the number of viewers from the years prior, according to

The regular season is also filled with the drama of broken records and career accolades. Peyton Manning broke the single-season and career record for passing touchdowns in back-to-back seasons, which completely distracts from other amazing players and feats. JJ Watt, a defensive player, was ranked as the best player in the league by his peers, which is astounding because Chiefs’ linebacker Justin Houston was one sack away from breaking the record for a season with 23.

Rodgers and Brady continue to set new quarterbacking standards while the athletic boundaries of NFL players continue to be surpassed by the likes of Dez Bryant, Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson. It is clear that the NFL has never seen a better level of athleticism or play in its 90-year history, which allows the league to continue to stand tall as the most patriotic sport this country has to offer.

The NFL is at a complicated crossroads. The growth of the league has led to the NFL being the main source of sports entertainment for most of America, which means all of the warts and negative aspects of the league have been prominently put on display. The state of the NFL is not good right now. The league looks somewhat foolish and the public has lost plenty of respect for the integrity of the game. However, it is undeniable that the football being played is the best that has ever been seen, and that looks to be enough to fight back public controversies… for now.