It’s been a minute since I wrote my last article, so I thought I’d close out this month with a banger. There’s been a few big stories dropping in the month of August, and “Around the Gridiron” is basically my opinion on these big stories. There’s been some news regarding the College Football season, some surprising roster maneuvers in the NFL, and the re-revival of the XFL (How many lives does this organization have?).
Are We Playing or Not?
College football has been up in the air since the beginning of the year, and really, the NCAA has not handled it well at all. Rather than taking control of the situation and giving each conference the same rules and guidelines, the NCAA basically said, “we’ll let you guys figure it out.” With that, each conference has made their own decisions on whether they should play sports or not.
Of the Power 5 Conferences, the PAC-12 and the BIG10 both opted out this year with the hopes to return in March. The BIG12, SEC, and ACC (so far) have decided to play football this year and give the nation something to look forward to on Saturdays.
I’m not sure why these conferences think it would make sense to resume football in March. The NFL Draft takes place in April with, or without athletes who play in those conferences. So what’s the plan here? These kids are going to play college ball, get drafted in the middle of their season, finish their collegiate year, and have maybe one month of rest before hitting training camp? All of that is unlikely, and add onto the fact that these schools are maintaining an open campus to all students. Some of which are allowing intramural sports to be played on campus!? The real problem with college football right now is that there are SO MANY people involved with each school and conference. It’s essentially the same thing as having way to many cooks in the kitchen. It’s crowded, everyone is trying to voice their opinions, and the end result? These kids wont’ be allowed to play this year. I’m expecting a massive amount of college seniors to opt out and just prepare for the NFL draft, which should be interesting next year.
Hopefully the SEC, BIG12 and ACC can keep their shit together. I’m afraid these conferences are going to cancel at the very last minute and make the claim, “Well, at least we tried,” while giving a shoulder shrug and heavy sigh on camera. For the state of Alabama’s sake, I hope there’s football. I’m pretty sure that if the University of Alabama DOESN’T play a season through, the entire state just implodes on itself and turns into a cesspool of people, moaning the word “Fooooooootbaaaaaaall” like hungry zombies. Look, I get it. We’re in a pandemic and safety comes first. Anyone who chooses to opt out (on any level) shouldn’t be scrutinized for a decision they made. I’m just confused by the hypocrisy involved. If you cancel all fall sports due to COVID, shouldn’t you also cancel “In-Person” classes, intramural sports, and everything else that’s fun to do in college?
Big Name Free Agents
As of April 23rd, (probable) future Hall of Fame Safety, Earl Thomas was released by the Baltimore Ravens. Apparently, he’s a major douche and the Ravens are tired of his shit. Thomas has had quite the streak as of late. First, he left a Seahawks game on a cart while flipping off Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll. Probably not the best move to make when you’re wanting a new contract. The Seahawks let him go, and Thomas went and played for the Ravens during the 2019 season. He talked mad shit about the Titans and Derrick Henry before their playoff match, only to be stiff armed so hard by El Tractorcito that Thomas started playing offense and became a lead blocker. His world got turned around so hard that he decided to have a three way with his brother a few months later, and then fight his own teammates at training camp 2 weeks before Kickoff. Maybe Earl Thomas has always been this way and we’re just now seeing it, but the guy has some problems he needs to deal with and I would think most teams are cautious to sign him.
Right now, the Cowboys seem to be the best fit for Thomas after the team swung and missed on Jamal Adams. It’s probably a great fit, as Earl Thomas was seen telling Jerry Jones to, “Come get me,” while he was still in Seattle. Jones loves big name players and will do anything to make the Cowboys relevant again. I’m fully expecting Thomas to sign a deal with Dallas in the near future.
It’s Clowney’s own fault as to why he’s still a free agent. Multiple teams have shown interest in him, however, nobody has signed him yet due to the fact he’s asking for a ton of money. The last I saw, Clowney was asking for a contract that would give him $18 million/year. It’s not like he’s out of the price range of these franchises, it’s just giving him that much money is risky. The guy is a freak athlete (probably infused with alien DNA or something) and has been a monster in the league since his arrival in 2014.
The problem though, is that Clowney hasn’t been the most healthy. He’s had a few surgeries throughout his career and just ended 2019 with another injury. Of course COVID complicated things as clubs weren’t able to get their doctors to perform a physical. But now that teams are allowed to work players out, there still hasn’t been any movement in the Clowney sweepstakes. In fact, it’s been pretty quite the last month and a half. However, the teams that have been the most connected to Clowney as possible landing spots are the Titans, Seahawks, Browns, Eagles, and Ravens.
Of those five teams, the Titans make the most sense, as Clowney has experience playing with Head Coach Mike Vrabel. Not only that, but there’s a ton of familiarity on that defense already for Clowney where he’d likely step in without missing a beat. When Vrabel was the Defensive Coordinator in Houston for the 2017 season, he made Clowney a utility player. Jadeveon was essentially allowed to move around wherever he wanted on the front seven, which led to Clowney having the best year of his career.
The XFL Rises Again… For the Third Time
COVID ended the XFL season before it could really get started. It was quite the shame too, as the XFL was and eXtremely Fun League to watch. From unique rules, beer chugging, beer-cup snakes as big as my house, and live interviews DURING the game, this league was setting itself up for success. It had the potential to become a secondary league to the NFL for players to showcase their talent in live games. I imagined it to become a fun developmental league for the NFL, only to be taken away and go bankrupt.
The XFL was in the middle of a law suit between WWE Owner Vince McMahon and Oliver Luck. However, one of the greatest wrestlers of all time stepped in and purchased the league. CAN YOU SMELLLLLLLL WHAT THE ROCK COOKIN!!?? The GOAT came out of nowhere, gave the coronavirus the People’s Elbow, and gifted the XFL a new life. It’s unclear on exactly when the XFL will start playing games though. I believe they’re planning to start the week after the Super Bowl, but hopefully, Dwayne Johnson and his business partners can maintain the same level of excitement the league was producing earlier this year. Shout out to The Rock for being America’s hero.