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NFL Schedule Released: Prime-Time Party Games!

NFL party

The NFL regular-season schedule has been released, and if you're one of those who likes to mix in a little partying with your NFL, you might want to start planning now.

We'll get to the whole schedule shortly, but right now here's a little taste. The first weekend is perfect for a NFL kickoff party. Great games and it will still be warm enough for some outdoor grilling.

The Kickoff Game features Green Bay at Seattle, Thursday, Sept. 4 on CBS. The Seahawks open their Super Bowl defense against a team capable of knocking over anybody.

Really, why not just stretch the party out the whole weekend?

Because on Sunday, the marquee matchups are San Francisco at Dallas and New England at Miami. A few hours later in prime-time, you've got the Colts at the Broncos. That means a possible future Hall of Fame quarterback, Andrew Luck of the Colts, against a certain Hall of Fame quarterback, Peyton Manning.

Then on Monday night, you've got a doubleheader: The New York Giants at Detroit - another Manning, Eli, for the Giants and strong-armed Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson for the Lions, and San Diego at Arizona.

Party on. Here's the whole schedule.

Now, back to the here and now, specifically the upcoming NFL draft. Here's a shot of reality for all those who are getting too excited: last year's first-rounders who sucked this past season.

- Getty Images

NFL Schedule Released: Prime-Time Party Games! originally appeared on About.com Football on Thursday, April 24th, 2014 at 09:37:25.

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Mocking the Mock NFL Drafts

NFL Draft

Some - well, almost all - of the hundreds of NFL mock drafts going around remind me of when I used to be a travel writer.

When I did research on a place before going, I often read travel articles, many of which were found, naturally, in travel magazines.

To say that most travel stories are "fawning" would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions, with the obvious and notable exception, of course, of the About.com travel section.

Most of them were so over-the-top embarrassing and misleading, that I would choose the most flowery and ridiculous by singling them out in an attempt to humiliate the writers. It never did. These people prided themselves on being travel mouthpieces. They just wanted free trips, and they would do anything to get them.

Sportswriters aren't nearly as bad - nothing on earth is as bad as bad travel writing - but they do tend to be a little too positive about most of the projected first-round draft choices. After all, a lot of first-rounders fail. They can't all be can't-miss prospects.

Here's my mock draft, painstakingly developed with respect to whom I think teams should draft, according to my research.

It's fascinating enough, but right before the NFL draft on May 8, look for a story on those certain first-rounders who I think will fail. I think that one will be more interesting, or at least more fun.

- Getty Images

 

Mocking the Mock NFL Drafts originally appeared on About.com Football on Monday, April 21st, 2014 at 13:37:57.

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Donald Trump an NFL Owner? No Way, This Ain't No Carnival!

Donald Trump

I see where some NFL fans are getting their team banners all in a wad over the Buffalo Bills situation.

Buffalo owner Ralph Wilson passed away recently, and the Bills are up for sale. One fear is that whoever buys the Bills will move the team out of Buffalo.

That is a possibility. It would be completely class-less, of course, but NFL owners will seriously contemplate the move. Making money hand over fist is never enough for these guys, and they are certainly looking at the fact Buffalo is only the nation's 51st largest TV market. That's where the money is, or isn't in this case.

The other fear is that Donald Trump will become the owner. This is not a possibility. Even NFL owners recognize Trump is a braying buffoon who would shatter the league's carefully cultivated public relations image.

Now, if it were the World Wrestling Federation Trump was interested in, that would be a different matter.

Bills fans: You're right to worry over a possible move out of Buffalo, but don't worry that your team will be sullied by clownish ownership.

Let's get back to the real game. Here is my profile of the league's leading rusher, LeSean McCoy.

- Getty Images

Donald Trump an NFL Owner? No Way, This Ain't No Carnival! originally appeared on About.com Football on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 12:28:35.

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Is Jadeveon Clowney a Good-for-Nothing Lazy Bum or What?

Jadeveon Clowney

So how much credence do you put into that NFL "personnel" man's slanderous comments about Jadeveon Clowney?

Clowney, of course, is the man/monster defensive end from South Carolina, the guy so many call "freakish" because of his extraordinary blend of size, speed and athleticism.

He is also the projected top overall pick by many draft experts in the upcoming NFL draft. Those who don't project him as the top pick sometimes question his, um work ethic.

The anonymous NFL exec in question said this about Clowney, according to NJ.com: "He's spoiled and he's lazy. He's never worked hard a day in his life, now all of a sudden you're going to give him a bunch of money and expect him to work hard? I don't see it."

The question is: With the NFL draft scheduled for May 8, is this simply a ploy by some team to cause doubt in the minds of those picking higher, so that his team can grab him?

Or is this the considered opinion of a wise man with inside information?

My opinion: I think Clowney is so lazy that if he woke up with nothing to do, he'd go to bed with it only half done.

Now let's go to some hard workers, the best cornerbacks available in the 2014 NFL draft.

- Getty Images

Is Jadeveon Clowney a Good-for-Nothing Lazy Bum or What? originally appeared on About.com Football on Monday, April 14th, 2014 at 13:39:06.

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Super Bowl Rematch! Who Cares if it's Meaningless?

Peyton Manning

Yes, the NFL preseason schedule has been released, to wild applause by NFL fans everywhere. Who goes nuts over a preseason schedule? Only in the NFL.

The most intriguing contests - if I may use that term for meaningless, exhibition games - involves recent Super Bowl champions.

Since the league hasn't released times or specific dates yet, we know the losing Broncos play the winning Seahawks in Denver the weekend of August 7-10. It's win-win for the Seahawks, but everybody knows the Broncos will be putting a ton of effort into this game, the kind of effort you don't normally see in a preseason game.

It would be a psychological blow if the Broncos lose. If the Seahawks lose, they could simply shrug and smirk.

There is another Super Bowl matchup the first week: The losers - San Francisco - play the winners - Baltimore. Of course, the Ravens are only a shadow of their Super Bowl winning team, so this one doesn't come close to the gravitas of the Broncos - Seahawks matchup.

If you're filling in dates with your pencil, here are some specifics: the Hall of Fame game is in Canton on August 3 between Buffalo and the New York Giants.

Also, the first Thursday night game is normally played in the home town of the defending Super Bowl Champs. That is scheduled for September 4. The regular season schedule is due to be released some time this month.

Now for some meaningful NFL stuff. With the draft getting closer and closer, check out my list of the Top 10 NFL draft steals of all time.

- Getty Images

Super Bowl Rematch! Who Cares if it's Meaningless? originally appeared on About.com Football on Thursday, April 10th, 2014 at 09:41:02.

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NFL Season Starts! Well, Sort Of

NFL workouts

The NFL has a lot of rules, and some of them are pretty stupid. Like the one barring contact between coaches and players in most offseason workouts. I've never understood it.

Teams with new coaches get a head start, so seven NFL teams started their offseason workout problems Monday.

The players go to the weight room or practice field for weight work and conditioning workouts. Coaches aren't permitted. The only time players and coaches can interact is in instructional meetings.

The league and the players union don't want to subject the players to a grueling, year-round schedule. That makes sense.

But, these workouts are voluntary for one thing. For another thing, these guys are getting paid millions of dollars and they already get over three months off. Nice work if you can get it. I don't see contact between players and coaches hurting anybody. I mean, it isn't like these guys have real bosses, like you and I.

What about me? I write about the NFL year-round. How come I don't get a 15-week vacation?

By the way, the two-week head start should also include those teams with new coordinators, not just new head coaches.

And now for bigger stuff. The draft is approaching, and here are my top, college wide receivers for the 2014 NFL draft.

- Getty Images

NFL Season Starts! Well, Sort Of originally appeared on About.com Football on Monday, April 7th, 2014 at 11:30:32.

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DeSean Jackson: Best or Worst Move of the Offseason?

DeSean Jackson

When Washington recently signed DeSean Jackson after Philadelphia released him, Redskins fans seemed to celebrate with lite beer, electronic cigarettes and artificial sweeteners.

In other words, they didn't want to have a real celebration. They didn't want to invest too much joy at their team signing one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL who also has some troubling off-field issues. They wanted some wriggle room - "I told you so" - in case the move implodes.

That's why the Jackson move to the Redskins is such a hot topic these days. Will he tip the balance of power to the 'Skins in the mediocre NFC East?

Eagles coach Chip Kelly seriously wanted to lose this guy. With good reason. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder seriously wanted to grab him. With good reason.

My studied prediction: After the 2014 season ends, Redskins fans will be drinking full-flavor Guinness, smoking Cuban cigars and using real, sweet sugar.

But, let's not get ahead of ourselves. The draft is coming up quickly. Here are the best college quarterbacks available, in my most humble opinion.

- Getty Images

 

DeSean Jackson: Best or Worst Move of the Offseason? originally appeared on About.com Football on Friday, April 4th, 2014 at 09:39:36.

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NFL Combine: Dreams or Delusions?

Tim Tebow

Baseball is usually the province of the impossible star. But, there are always some extraordinary longshots trying to make it into the NFL. Those are the stories I like.

At the NFL Regional Combine in Indianapolis, a few old-timers are trying for one last chance at glory.

Like Alex Bannister, a 34-year-old former Seattle Seahawk. Bannister actually had numbers similar to what he had when he was a special teamer for the Seahawks.

He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.60. In 2001, he clocked 4.47; bear in mind he's 13 years older and 30 pounds heavier.

"I feel young. I feel like I can do it," Bannister told Seahawks.com.

There is also Jonathan Wilfong, 38, a former linebacker for Shasta Junior College and Mike Long, also 38, a former quarterback for the University of Indianapolis.

Wouldn't you love to see these guys on an NFL roster?

I know, I know, it will never happen.

At least they're trying. Here are some yahoos who could have had it all, but failed miserably. My Top-10 NFL draft busts of all time.

- Getty Images

NFL Combine: Dreams or Delusions? originally appeared on About.com Football on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 at 12:33:42.

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What? Another Night of the NFL on TV?

Mark Cuban

I've always thought Mark Cuban was a blowhard so I rarely pay much attention to what he says or does.

When the Dallas Mavericks owner started spouting off about how the NFL would have an "implosion" in 10 years, I couldn't really fathom why the media ate it up.

It's hardly an original thought, but when a rival professional sports franchise owner says it, it makes news.

In this case, he happens to be right. The NFL is indeed getting too greedy. The league recently announced it will show Thursday night games, partnering with CBS. That means the NFL on Sunday, Monday and Thursday.

The NFL is hugely popular right now. But, the scrap heap is full of enterprises that were once successful only to overextend and over-saturate themselves to the point of failure.

People hunger for the NFL. But, if the league isn't careful, that hunger will turn into yawning boredom if every time fans turn around there's another game on TV.

Just saying.

Back to the real game. Hey, free agency isn't over yet. There is still some real quality on the shelves. Here is my opinion of the best talent still available.

- Getty Images

What? Another Night of the NFL on TV? originally appeared on About.com Football on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 at 13:03:56.

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Sanchez Story Shows How Quarterback Position Has Evolved

Mark Sanchez

Most everybody who has been watching the NFL for the last few years would agree that the most devalued position in the NFL is the running back. They're almost interchangeable. Gone are the days when a great running back could carry a team.

I agree. And I also think the second-most devalued position is ... quarterback.

Look at Mark Sanchez. He was the Jets golden boy with dark hair for a few great years, leading them to consecutive conference title games. He was able to do that because he had a lot of help.

But, the Jets never improved their situation, never made the kind of moves Seattle made, to make their overall team better. Without being surrounded by talent, Sanchez showed he was a very mediocre NFL QB.

Look at Russell Wilson of Seattle. A great quarterback? Not by any stretch of the imagination, at this point anyway. He's a Super Bowl-winning quarterback because he is at the epicenter of a deep and talented team.

There are obviously some great quarterbacks now playing - Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers - but others are simply cogs in offensive systems, doing the things a lot of others could do.

I present: Cam Newton, Alex Smith and Nick Foles.

Last week, the Jets released Sanchez, their former No. 1 pick, and signed aging veteran Michael Vick. Except for the color of their skin, the fact one is left-handed, and the fact that one doesn't like dogs, aren't they sort of interchangeable?

Now, the cornerback position has risen dramatically in prestige. Every team has got to have at least one great cover guy. Here's our profile on one of the best, and definitely one of the loudest, Richard Sherman.

- Getty Images

Sanchez Story Shows How Quarterback Position Has Evolved originally appeared on About.com Football on Monday, March 24th, 2014 at 10:27:35.

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