Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

Dear Steeler Nation Mike Tomlin Ingrates: Take a Seat and Shut the F#%& up!!!!

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

MT

The divisional round of the NFL playoffs are underway this weekend.  If your team is still alive with the hope of reaching and winning a super bowl, be grateful.

 

After all, you could be a Bills, Vikings, or Browns fan.

 

This brings me to the baffling criticism more than a few of my fellow members of Steeler Nation have for head coach Mike Tomlin. Yes, that Mike Tomlin.  The Super Bowl winning coach with a 64% lifetime winning percentage; the same one who has not had a losing season in his first ten.

 

A summary of the critique is that he was a token fast-track hire due to the Rooney Rule, which is the NFL rule that mandates a minority coach be interviewed for all head-coaching jobs; 2) he inherited a great team, and situation with an upper echelon QB in Ben Roethlisberger; and 3) that he has lost to a lot of bad teams.

 

Let’s address them all from the last forward:

 

Under Tomlin the Pittsburgh Steelers have absolutely loss to a lot of bad teams.  There is no way around this.  Even if we overlook losses in 2012 and 2013 when the team was only 8-8 itself, there is still more than enough of a sample of mind boggling losses to include 3 in 2009 as defending champs to the likes of a 4-12 Chiefs team, and 5-11 Raiders and Browns teams.  (The Raiders loss was especially appalling, given it was at home to a career backup journeyman QB.  Tomlin has gone 1-3 to very bad Raider teams).  In 2014 there was the home loss to the 2-14 Buccaneers and another loss to a 4-12 Jets team.  And who can forget the playoff loss to a Denver team in 2011 as defending AFC champs?   Yes, by definition that Denver team was not a bad team, by virtue of making it to the playoffs.  But you still can’t lose to a team led by Tim Tebow.

 

So that criticism is valid and is on Tomlin.

 

The other two are crap!

 

Was Tomlin handed a great situation, team, and upper echelon QB?  The answer to that is mixed:  yes, great situation for the stability the Steelers management provides but Ben was hardly an upper echelon QB at the time.  As matter of fact, he was coming off his worst year as a pro, throwing 23 picks in 2006.  Upon Tomlin’s arrival in 2007 he had one of his best two years of his career.  Has it ever occurred to any of Tomlin’s haters that just maybe he has had as much of a hand in Ben’s success as the other way around?

 

Sure, the team was a year removed from winning it all in 2005, but went 8-8 and missed the playoffs in Bill Cowher’s last year of 2006.  I would not call that great.

 

Has it occurred to you that Tomlin might know something about coaching, even without Ben?  After all, in the 17 games Ben did not start under Tomlin, the Steelers actually have a winning record (9-8), including a 3-1 start in 2010, when Ben was suspended.  When Bill Belichick started this year at 3-1 without Tom Brady, it was lauded as evidence of his coaching brilliance.  Why not the same for Tomlin?

 

I am not suggesting that he is as good a coach as Belichick.  He is not!  I only insist that our critiques have a semblance of consistency.  The fact is that over his career, Belichick is 50-53 in games not started by Tom Brady.  Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy is 3-5-1 when Aaron Rogers does not start. Sean Peyton is 0-2 without Drew Brees for the Saints.  Winning consistently with or without an upper echelon QB is nowhere near as easy as this faction of Steeler Nation would have you believe.

 

How have others done who have inherited even better situations?  Let’s look at when George Seifert took over the reins from Bill Walsh for the 49ers, and when Barry Switzer took over for Jimmy Johnson and the Cowboys.  Both inherited SB champs and HOF QBs in Montana and Aikman, much further along in their development than was Ben when Tomlin took over the Steelers.  Seifert would repeat in ’89 and win yet again in ’94.  After 8 years, he won over 70% of his games.

 

A cautionary tale for Steeler nation is that it wasn’t enough for the 49er faithful and they ran him out of town.

 

They have not won a SB since.

 

Switzer won in his second year in 1995, then presided over the gradual decline of the Cowboys to become an afterthought by the late 1990s.  Only now are they beginning to emerge from the wilderness.

 

I ask you Steeler Nation: would you rather have had Barry Switzer?

 

Winning consistently in the NFL is never a sure thing.

 

Winning Super Bowls, even with a HOF caliber coach and QB is even less of a sure thing.

 

There have been a total of 5 such combinations over this era to include Shula/Unitas, Allen/Juergensen, Grant/Tarkenton, Shula/Marino and Levy/Kelly that NEVER won a Super Bowl.  This group of 5 has a cumulative record in the super bowl of 0-10!!!!!!

 

Sure, Shula won when paired with Griese, but the point remains that they don’t grow Super Bowl winning coaches on trees, nor are they bottled and sold.

 

The last suggestion (which is that Tomlin’s hire was tokenism) is as insulting to the Rooneys as it is to Tomlin.

 

If any organization in sports deserves the benefit of the doubt when it comes to which coach to hire, it is the Pittsburgh Steelers.  When they picked Tomlin to be their coach, they had only two for the better part of the previous 40 years.  Both won Super Bowls.  Tomlin has won a Super Bowl.  They got this!

 

If those of the football world were only as outraged by the reasons for the Rooney Rule as they are about the Rooney Rule, we may not need a Rooney Rule!

 

On an even larger level, the snipes at Tomlin reflect a larger, uglier American reality reaffirmed by the recent presidential election.  The simmering narrative that anyone Black who ascends to a position of prestige and or privilege did so without merit and at the expense of “hard-working Americans”, which is dog-whistle-code for “White folks.”

 

When Ronald Reagan employed his brand of the “Southern Strategy” to lure what would become known as “Reagan Democrats,” ground zero for this demographic was the greater Pittsburgh, PA region. As the steel mills of the area closed, Steeler fans spread all over the country, which is what in part makes up Steeler Nation today, but that mindset is as prevalent today as it was when Reagan won the White House in 1980.   Donald Trump used the same formula, only on steroids, to win the same office in November.

 

As for solutions, within football alone, there aren’t any.  If Tomlin continues to win, it’s what he is supposed to do with all that was “given” to him.  If he does not, it’s validation that he is not a good coach and should have never gotten the job.  He could walk on water and his critics will complain that his feet got wet.

 

This solution is above and beyond football and requires the critics to look at themselves in the mirror and reassess their expectations. This requires rational self-assessment…..a quality that fanatics (fans) have very little history of displaying.

 

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

Aqib Talib…and Where is an Old Raider When You Need One?

Friday, January 6th, 2017

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

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By now, you have heard that Denver Broncos corner Aqib Talib literally snatched the chain off the neck of Oakland Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree.

 

For this he was not penalized.

 

For this Crabtree did nothing.

 

Think about that for a minute…….

 

My guess is that most will think about one of two things: 1) What the hell is the matter with Talib?;  or 2) What the hell is the matter with Crabtree?

 

Can you imagine anyone doing such a thing to Raider legends Jack Tatum, Lyle Alzado, or even mild-mannered Cliff Branch?  It would have NEVER happened.  And if it did, Talib would have been dealt with on the spot!  No one bullied the old Raiders….they were the bullies as “The Autumn Wind” confirms.

 

On Talib, in the era of football when it is most difficult to be a good corner, he is a great corner.

 

That’s the end of the contextual accolades for him.

 

He is also a first class jackass.

 

We know he is not the sharpest tool in the shed.  You can’t be if you shoot yourself, which he did.  But I would like to think his deal is more complex than simply being an idiot.

 

I don’t know if the root of this is a bad upbringing, mental illness, or any of the other usual suspects.  Frankly, after people hit 25 years of age, I don’t especially give a damn about the “why”.  We are not talking about a child, but a grown damn man running around daring someone to check his ass.  If he goes up against the wrong dude in a night club, he may be obliged and blown away.  If this ever happens, some will lament about how “misunderstood” he was when in fact he is on the short list of professional athletes most likely to be mourned the least in the wake of such a tragic ending.

 

That very foreseeable ending for Talib is the most important reason why Crabtree needed to do something!  Bullies are never bilingual.  They understand one language and one language only, and that is their own.  By doing nothing, Crabtree contributed to the embolden of Talib making the tragic ending I or anyone else can foresee all the more likely.

 

Dolphins Seahawks Football

I am not saying that it was Crabtree’s obligation to save Talib from himself.  I am saying that in the larger scheme of things, it would have been better for all parties involved, had he retaliated in the one language Talib understands.  Not out of some inflated sense of machismo or superficial notion of manhood, but out of a need to do his part to keep the world around him in balance.  When we allow anyone to get away with mistreating us without accountability we allow a dangerous imbalance that will inevitably demand correction.  That correction almost always comes in the form of loss….be it loss of face, profession, freedom, or life.

 

Crabtree’s failure to respond will only encourage the Talibs of the NFL to continue along the same pattern and sends a message to the rest of the league that they can treat Crabtree any way it chooses.  Can you imagine what the likes of Pacman Jones will do to Crabtree now?

 

Whatever the ensuing melee that would have resulted from a justified Crabtree response would have been, we all know it would not have ended in anyone being shot to death.

 

In the streets or at the club, not so sure.

 

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

McCaffrey and Fournette Are Right!

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

(Image courtesy of The Sporting News)

(Image courtesy of The Sporting News)

 

Both Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette have chosen to skip their bowl games in preparation for the NFL combine and draft.

 

Their basic reasoning is risk/reward analysis: the risk being another Jalen Smith or Marcus Lattimore cautionary tale by getting hurt and losing millions by dropping out of the first round of the draft, where virtually all of the guaranteed money is.  The reward: a pat on the back from your pimp…ah I mean coach and athletic director for leading your team to a victory in a game that is all but meaningless to everyone except those who collect the TV revenue, and that ain’t the players.

 

From some corners we hear the same old tired responses such as, “they signed a contract” or “they are quitting on their teams.”   

 

Let’s address both.

 

On the contract, it would seem to me that a natural evolution of the student athlete organizing movement would be to challenge just how legally binding are these contracts?  After all some are with 17-year old minors.  My Judge Mathis law degree says such are not binding.  Even if they are, who really thinks that a 17-18-year old fully understands all the parameters of such a commitment?   The most compelling response to the contract piece is the fact that highly sought after coaches routinely break their contracts for the cash and greener pastures after having “promised” their recruits in their parents’ living rooms that they will be there for the duration.  If the college experience is truly an educational environment and coaches are themselves educators, then both McCaffrey and Fournette have learned well.

 

As for quitting on their teams, yep, that is exactly what they are doing.  No way around that except to say that many of those same teammates that they are quitting on would do the exact same thing if they were in that position.   And what position is that?  The position of coming to the reality that all college athletes are not created equal.  If the 3-year starting left tackle at Ohio State or Alabama can’t see that his value is higher than his teammate who is the 3rd string tight end and occasional special-teams player in his fourth year, he is an idiot. 

 

Finally, what they won’t do is feed you or your family if you suffer a career-ending injury or worst in a meaningless game.  Any bowl game short of the playoff means about as much as a professional pre-season game.

 

The stakes are even higher for a running back, which is the ultimate pro-sport disposable.  They last on average of about 3 seasons.  They cannot begin to draw their pension until 55 and the annuity at 35.  According to a Sports Illustrated report in 2014, nearly 80% of NFL players are broke 3 years into retirement. 

 

Against this backdrop, if Fournette or McCaffrey were your sons, can you honestly say you would advise them otherwise?

 

They are both making a sound business decision and showing that they have learned the valuable lesson of placing the proper value on their labor.

 

NCAA big-time college sports is as transparent an example of the American Capitalistic “pimp and ho” system as there is.  If these two young men have learned to pimp themselves in their best interest rather than passively allow others to do so in their best interest, I say more power to them and hope and suspect more will follow suit.

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

The Economics of Playing NFL QB

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

Brock Osweiler is introduced in Houston (Image via WashingtonPost.com)

Brock Osweiler is introduced in Houston
(Image via WashingtonPost.com)

Does Brock Osweiler, on the basis of 7 starts, deserve the $72 million ($37 million guaranteed) that he has coming to him?

Of course he does, if some idiot is willing to pay him.  That is what the market is willing to bare.  What a team is willing to pay and what can be justified by on the field performance have never been completely in line.

Keep in mind that we are not talking about some billionaire owner being subsidized by taxpayer dollars to build a stadium, largely with seasonal workers and jobs with no benefits.  We are talking about a guy playing a game, largely financed by our voluntary viewership and patronage for a league that has made it blatantly clear that it could not care less about the health of its players after they are done.

He would be the idiot not to get every dime he could get and only those with a poor understanding of the economics of playing NFL QB are unclear about this.

What are those economics?  Think of it this way: there are 32 NFL teams.  If we evaluated the performance at starting QB with a letter grade, I can only come up with 17 that could clearly be graded as at least a “B.”  I am excluding rookies and first year starters in Tennessee, Tampa, and Washington, even if they are trending upward, due to the cautionary tale of RG3.  Simply put, their sample is too small to make a final assessment.  But even if they pan out, that still leaves 12 teams with a significant need of an upgrade at QB.  The irony of it all is that 3 of those 12 (Vikings, Texans, and Broncos) made the playoffs last year, to include the eventual champs.

Bottom line is that there are more NFL Teams than there are high quality QBs.  This produces an odd economic reality which allows the unproven and proven pedestrians, in terms of performance, to make out like bandits……..and we should not blame them for exploiting a situation reinforced by the false narrative that a team must have an upper-echelon QB to win the Super Bowl.

History shows that a dominant defense is a better predictor of winning the Super Bowl than an upper-echelon QB.  Consider this, of the 50 Super Bowls, the losing QB in nearly half of them (23) are either hall of famers or league MVPs.  Eighteen of them split between Elway, Tarkenton, Kelly, Staubach, Warner, Manning, and Brady lost more than one.  Compare that to this list of single SB starters to include Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, Mark Rypien, Jeff Hostetler, Phil Simms, and Jim McMahon.  Their Super Bowl record was 6-0.  The common denominator was dominant defense.

I submit that as long as the false narrative of needing elite QB play is more prevalent than the reality, which is that there simply are not 32 dudes on this planet that can play NFL QB at an elite level, about a 3rd of the league will continue to chase that which simply does not exist in a quantity large enough to meet the demand.

Smart economics would stop going for the home run at QB and instead load up on defensive talent.

 

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

Why Chip Failed

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

(Image via CBSSports.com)

(Image via CBSSports.com)

The simple truth is that Chip Kelly never had the talent to win big in Philadelphia.

The more nuanced answer is that the Chip Kelly the talent evaluator was the primary reason he lost the very sort of talent that might have helped him avoid his fate.

Say what you want about DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy, they were both proven difference makers when Kelly committed the almost always fatal sin that befalls many coaches of thinking that his system mattered more than players.

A system/scheme is the platform through which players can shine.  It is no more the performer than a stage or theater is for a play.

I suppose coaches should be expected to fall for this line of thinking that they matter more than they do, especially in football where I contend they matter most.  After all, when your job is largely performed in a fishbowl and every decision is dissected and second guessed, you had better at least be able to give the appearance that you are sure of yourself…..even if you are not.

Simply put, players are most responsible for winning and winning elevates a system.  Case in point: what we know today as the West Coast offense began long before Bill Walsh got to San Francisco.  The Bengals, with Walsh as QB coach and Vikings used the same system throughout the 70’s.  But the Bengals were an occasional playoff team and the Vikings lost 4 Super Bowls, so they were not credited by popular casual observers.  The same is true in other sports.  The Triangle Offense can be traced to that L.A. college basketball juggernaut….USC in the 1940’s.  Nobody cared until it was the staple of Michael Jordan’s offense in Chicago.

Players matter more.  Bill Belichick’s record without Tom Brady is 47-52.  George Seifert after Young and Rice was 16-32.

Any coach who deludes himself to think otherwise has written his own epitaph.

Oh we love and welcome innovation.  Helps a short attention span society stay engaged.  That’s the exciting part.  But like the sheep that breaks away from the herd, your success and failure will show more brightly.

If you are right, you’re a genius and can peacock your way forward.  If you’re wrong, you are a wounded wildebeest for prey and will be fired!

Don’t believe me, ask Chip Kelly.

 

Gus Griffin for War Room Sports

WHAT DOES IT TAKE?: Greg Hardy, the need for pictures, and what it says about America

Monday, November 9th, 2015

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

GH

I’m clear about Steven A. Smith’s  agenda: he caught a lotta flak after the Ray Rice abuse case and is now pandering to the very folks who wanted his head.
What is more useful is to discuss the threshold of proof necessary to acknowledge the mistreatment of some, particularly women, Black, and Latino folks.
On due process terms, it seems to me that only the Dallas Cowboys can take any action against Hardy and we all know that if they did cut him, more than a few teams will be lined up to sign him.  I’m clear that Greg Hardy is a bully and likely a psychopath. I would shed no tear if he never played in the league again. But I did not need to see pictures of his abuse to come to that line of thinking. The fact that anyone needed pictures to get to this level of outrage means that this is much bigger than Greg Hardy. This is about America and whose suffering is at the back of the line for addressing. It’s clear that women being brutalized by men and Black and Latino folks by police requires a certain level of visual proof beyond that of most others. In the Black man’s case, Eric Garner, sometimes even the picture isn’t enough. I’m not suggesting that alleged victims are all truthful. That “cry wolf” opportunist element is out there. But there is a distinct difference in justifiable scrutiny of the truth and hoping one is not being truthful so that we can maintain our business as usual world views about women, Black, and Latino folks being primarily responsible for their mistreatment. I say we because on the Greg Hardy issue, I am just as much of part of the problem. Certainly not for condoning violence against women but because Hardy’s arrogance and indifference is fueled by the very fundamental fact, be it conscious or subconscious, that he knows I and most of you will keep watching the NFL. Roger Goodell and Jerry Jones know it as well. So Ill climb down from my soapbox and hopefully “Screaming” A Smith will soon follow.
Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

Riley Rebel: Champion Athlete for America, Misunderstood Victim of Racist Roots, and Supremacist Upbringing

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

by B. Austin

BA

 

 

 

RC

It’s time to let “Riley Rebel”, champion of the Confederate Calvary of America, live in peace.  Time to stop judging him for shit we allow others to get away with, because it is less brash…not as overt.  I am absolutely certain his feelings are shared by many, many, many young white males from his background.  Personally, I prefer my racists and supremacists out in the open where I can see them and know their position.  I am not going to church, living near, or associating with Riley Rebel in anyway…so like white people have said for 100’s of years: “Run cracker run! Go run, jump, catch, hit, tackle, and entertain me with a football as you break your body apart for my entertainment”.

What BOTHERS ME THEN YOU ASK?  Well, I am glad you asked. What bothers me is the 7 or 8 other NBA owners that were Donald Sterling’s pals, which we will probably never know about.  What bothers me is the fact that the NFL, whose players are 72% black, have only 3 or 4 black head coaches, a few coordinators, the weakest player’s union, and NO BLACK MAJORITY OWNERS.  No, Riley Rebel doesn’t bother me much.  What bothered me was when 4 St. Louis Rams players decided to take a stand for justice regarding Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Police organizations and Policemen took a stand against that, and football fans didn’t rally or stand up against tyranny.  Nah, Riley Cooper didn’t bother me at all…he is entertaining.  I was much more concerned with the sports and athletic community’s lack of presence and silence in the #JusticeOrElse events.  Riley Cooper had no input there.  There are so many truly devious and heinous instances of white supremacy, racism, ethnocentrism, white privilege, white entitlement, Black apathy, Black colorism, self-hate, and overall societal erosion to point at, AND use sports as your landscape with which to do so.  Riley Cooper isn’t worth all the anger and ire he receives.  What Riley is to us and himself is a relatively slow, not-so-talented, overlooked, overpaid white professional athlete, who lives as a minority at his workplace and his true feelings came out on camera.  He probably faces an inferiority complex every day, and in the comfort and confines of his own territory, a Kenny Chesney concert filled with white country music fans (but secured by hulking Black security guards), Riley let that inferiority complex and alcohol get the best of him.  Here were guys that were bigger and stronger than him but making far less money and having far less status…and he was in front of his entourage…he had to let testosterone and frustration blend with the alcohol and racism, to go ahead and let his honest feelings be felt.  I actually feel sorry for dude. He has to live with this and public scorn for the remainder of his career, meanwhile America remains the same and the real problems go unsolved. He is merely an honest product of his environment.

 

B. Austin of War Room Sports

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Monday, September 14th, 2015

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CONCUSSIONS & ACCENTS: Dr. Bennett Omalu, the NFL, Hollywood, and Will Smith

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

by Nwaji Jibunoh

Nwaji Blog

 

 

 

 

Dr. Bennett Omalu & Will Smith

Dr. Bennett Omalu & Will Smith

Upon reflection, my very first exposure to the NFL aka “American Football” had to be in the 80’s when the Super Bowl became big ticket events in Nigeria because of the halftime performances. I remember at a very early age not understanding the game and also trying to compare it to Rugby. The one thing that stood out was the sheer physical nature of the game and how hard those tackles were. I remember my mother saying “I hope you never plan to play this dangerous sport”.

Fast forward 30 years and sports analysts and NFL enthusiasts are now engrossed in a medical term known as CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), which according to PR newswire is a form of encephalopathy that is a progressive degenerative disease, which can currently only be definitively diagnosed postmortem. In March 2014, researchers announced the discovery of an exosome particle created by the brain which has been shown to contain trace proteins indicating the presence of the disease. The disease was previously called dementia pugilistica (DP), i.e. “punch-drunk”, as it was initially found in those with a history of boxing. CTE has been most commonly found in professional athletes participating in American footballAssociation footballice hockey, professional wrestling, and other contact sports who have experienced repetitive brain trauma. It has also been found in soldiers exposed to a blast or a concussive injury.

One of the pioneers of the research that discovered and named this degenerative disease is Dr. Bennett Omalu, a forensic pathologist who is the Chief Medical Officer of San Joaquin County in California and a Professor in the University of California Davis Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Dr. Omalu is of Nigerian origin but has resided in the US for over 30 years. Through his research he discovered this disease and was able to link it to the death of certain NFL athletes such as Mike Webster, after CTE was found in his brain during an autopsy. He wrote a book called “Play Hard, Die Young”.  His story is being adapted into a major motion picture called “Concussion”, and Hollywood Blockbuster icon Will Smith will play the character of Dr. Omalu.

We all know Will Smith. In 2007, Newsweek referred to him as “The most powerful actor in Hollywood”. You ask why? Well, over the last 20 years, where he has done 21 films in a leading role, those movies have earned $6.6 billion. Basically, if you are looking for a big actor to portray your story, there is no actor bigger than Will Smith. The movie Concussion will come out on Christmas day 2015.

Ever since the trailer for the movie came out, there have been a few social media discussions about how authentic Will Smith’s accent was, given that he is playing a Nigerian. Nigerians from all walks of life have made their displeasure known about how the accent sounded more Southern African (Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa) than anything close to West African, and more specifically Nigerian. Such questions as to why a “Nigerian” couldn’t play the role or why Will Smith couldn’t learn a proper Nigerian accent have been circulating all over the place.

The challenge with such perspectives is that it deviates from the purpose of what Will Smith is trying to accomplish. This story is about one of the most profound developments in sports in the last 30 years as it has fundamentally changed the regulations around hitting in the NFL. In addition to that, the NFL on August 30, 2013 reached a $765 million settlement with former NFL players over their head injuries. The settlement created a $675 million compensation fund from which former NFL players can collect depending on the extent of their conditions. Frankly speaking, this was astonishing given that the NFL is behemoth institution that nobody takes on and wins. So why on earth should it matter if “the most powerful actor in Hollywood” gets the accent right or not when there is a bigger mission at hand of letting the word know of this disease and the impact it has on life after sports for several NFL players?

Hollywood has a history of regionalizing accents and they get it wrong a good percentage of the time. Call it creative license or sheer standardization to culturally identify but at the same time ensure that the primary audience (USA) can understand what is being said.

Dr. Omalu is a remarkable human being who has probably saved the lives of hundreds of athletes. He achieved this feat practicing medicine in America and pushing this agenda in a very American game. He just happens to be Nigerian.

In a situation like this, the story is more important than an accent and that story is being told by one of the world’s biggest story tellers.

As a Nigerian, I am extremely proud of Dr. Omalu and I am so excited at the fact that a Hollywood Star such as Will Smith is about to play this role.

Credit to everyone involved in this project and may the lives of NFL athletes be spared as a result of this.

 

Nwaji Jibunoh, International Correspondent for War Room Sports

Located in Lagos, Nigeria, Nwaji Jibunoh is War Room Sports’ International Soccer Contributor.  Nwaji also contributes commentary on U.S. sports from an international perspective.  He’s an Atlanta Falcons fan, Howard University alum, and former tight end for the North Atlanta High School Warriors.

Philadelphia Eagles draft 2015 recap: The grades are in

Monday, May 4th, 2015

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog

 

 

 

 

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The 2015 draft has come and gone, and the dust is beginning to settle for the Eagles and teams around the NFL. How did Chip Kelly do in this draft, the first where he had full control of the process?

Despite the incredible speculation and trade scenarios leading up to the event, the draft was decidedly without drama for the Eagles. They didn’t land Marcus Mariota, and they didn’t draft any offensive linemen. But they did load up on defensive backs, an area of need for many years.

The draft grades are pouring in, and there seems to be consensus about the Eagles’ performance: no one was wowed, but it wasn’t a miss. Better than average – every grade I’ve seen has been in the “B” range.

Heading into the draft, the team needed to find a dynamic wideout to replace Maclin, and they did that nicely with the first-round selection of Nelson Agholor. They needed to find a likely starter at corner, and they now have some options there, with the pickup of the versatile Eric Rowe. The Jordan Hicks pick was too high, given his injury history. They needed help at safety and picked up a few options for that position. Philadelphia needed to address holes in the offensive line left by the departure of Todd Herremans and the likely exit at any moment by Evan Mathis (what WAS that this weekend?!).

Draft expert or casual fan, no one truly knows the success or failure of this draft until we see how the six drafted players perform for the team in the next few years. As the Daily News’ Paul Domowitch said in an article today, “There is no right or wrong with respect to the 2015 NFL draft right now. There are only opinions.”

A few other perspectives on the Eagles’  2015 draft performance:

A roundup of draft grades from national media, including a B+ from Mel Kiper, Jr.:

“He has put a premium on guys that will buy in, and I think he got those types and hit a couple home runs in the process. Nelson Agholor to me just screams ‘high floor’. He’s a great route runner, plucks the ball out away from his body, has the proven toughness of a return man – you should hear Polian talk about that – and is sneaky explosive. He can get behind defenses. I also think Eric Rowe at No. 47 overall was a steal. He is a great kid and offers up versatility (CB or S), and I thought he’d be a good value as early as the end of Round 1.”  –Birds 24/7

An NFC East personnel exec weighs in on the Eagles draft:

“He loved the selections of first-round wide receiver Nelson Agholor and second-round defensive back Eric Rowe, really, really loved them. But he hated the third-round selection of linebacker Jordan Hicks (way too high).” – Philadelphia Daily News

A B+ for the Birds from Brandon Gowton, an extensive round-up of grades from other outlets:

“My first impression of the Eagles draft class is that it looks solid. There aren’t really any picks that make no sense at all to me. The team did a nice job of addressing needs by selecting players who fit their scheme and culture.” – Bleeding Green Nation 

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Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports