Here at GiR Central we are still unpacking, as I ready for myself for another business trip this week. Unlike another football blogger, I have to maintain this NFL addiction with a non-NFL day job, which really gets in the way of just being able to think football 24/7. But the bank is insistent that we make mortgage payments, and who am I to argue? I rather suspect we have another light week come up, but I know there are articles on the way from some of our staff writers, and I am working on a rather fun one that I hope to get the chance to post while I am on the road this week. Plus, the Rat’s Widow is beginning the research on her weekly predictions, and that series promises to be a lot of fun.
I don’t know about anyone else, but watching Mike Florio at PFT flip flop on the bounty situation has been rather disheartening. I tend to think that, due to his legal training, Mike fixates on a single point, blows that point out of proportion, and then begins making broad generalizations based on that point. None of the key evidence in the Bountygate scandal has really changed, but Mike is now on the player’s bandwagon. For example, the debate is now raging over whether or not it was Mike Hargrove who can be heard demanding payment after a hit on Vikings’ quarterback Brett Favre in the NFC Championship Game. Now the thought is that it might actually be Remi Ayodele who made the comment, given that Ayodele was the player who hit Favre high on the play. Personally, watching the video I tend to think Hargrove actually said it twice and couldn’t be heard the first time, so he repeated himself to be heard. That’s why you see his lips moving, but then his head ducks briefly out of the shot at a key time. But even if it is Ayodele who said it, I will ask the question…
Even if the NFL investigator erred in identifying the correct player for the comment, Florio seems to be missing a basic point that should be a part of his legal training; there is a difference between making an error and making a substantive error. Even if the league erred in identifying the correct player, the fact remains that the comment, “Give me my money” was made on the sidelines following what was believed to be a game-ending hit on Favre. In my mind it doesn’t matter who said it; the comment remains proof that payment was on the table for a Saints’ player injuring Brett Favre. We don’t know how many players the NFL interviewed, or if Ayodele was one of them, but this is simply a case where the players and now Mike Florio are calling on technicalities to try to minimize or outright dismiss a case that on its face is compelling. Identifying the wrong player does not negate the case.
OK, enough on Bountygate, at least for the moment. I remain convinced that Roger Goodelll is going to stick to his guns, and to allow the case to play out in court if necessary. And then the courts can determine how important the technicalities are.
Other NFL items this week? There were only two that I took real note of. The first was that the Patriots re-signed safety James Ihedigbo, primarily a special teams player who was pressed into way too much playing time in a depleted secondary last season. And while Ihedigbo performed as well as he could be expected to, it was painful to have to watch him be tended to by trainers after what felt to be nearly every single play. Given the Patriots defensive improvements in the off-season, and the fact that Steve Gregory seems to be fitting in to the Patriots’ system very well, I am not sure there will be room on the roster for Ihedigbo this season.
The other amusing gem was from San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis. That’s right, the same guy who informed us that the 49ers should be Super Bowl favorites is back, with an even bolder proclamation. According to Davis, he will “be the best tight end to ever play the game.” That’s quite a mouthful there, Vernon. While there is nothing wrong with confidence, I am beginning to wonder if this guy isn’t a few fries short of a Happy Meal. First, Mr. Davis, you’re not even as good as the second best tight end for the Patriots. But then again, there are probably only a handful of tight ends that are as good as or better than Aaron Hernandez. But there is no way that he, or any other tight end (Jimmy Graham included) is better than Rob Gronkowski, and only Graham could be considered as good as Gronk at present. Davis has been in the league for six seasons and never broken the 1,000 yard mark in receiving. He has scored double digits in touchdowns once, and yet he’s ready to put himself up with the current great performers AND with legends like Mike Ditka. Riiight. Davis ranked 32nd in receptions last season, racking up 792 yards and 6 touchdowns on 67 catches. The best ever? He finished behind seven other tight ends just last season. Give it a rest, Vernon.
OK, with that out of my system, it is time to have a productive day at… you know… day job kinds of things. Damn bills. And I don’t mean the kind from Buffalo.