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NFL Labor Pains … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

The current climate of professional football is not what anybody involved in the game – owners, players, fans and media – signed up for when we made the pigskin our favorite sporting orb.

Over the last year, the question I’ve been asked most by fans, readers, listeners and posters to the site is whether there will be NFL football in Fall 2011. The owners and players will be without a labor agreement come March 4 and some sort of deal needs to be negotiated between the parties.

I’ve always answered the same way – there are very smart people on both sides of this issue and when smart people get together, if they want to achieve a deal, then they will get it done. It’s impossible for me to believe that either the owners or players want to kill the golden goose that football has become over the last 24 years since the league’s last labor unrest.

I still feel that agreement is possible, but the foundation of my beliefs is being shaken by the current status of negotiations between the billionaire owners and the millionaires that work for them. Right now, the lawyers are in control, as both sides prepare to go to court. The NFL Players Association has been plotting its course of decertification, where they would disband as an association and then file an anti-trust case against the league. The NFL on Monday confirmed that it had filed an unfair labor practice charge against the NFLPA, claiming the union has not bargained in good faith because it plans to decertify. …Read More!

NFL Combine – Wide Receivers

As the NFL heads towards its annual Combine next week, the invitation list helps narrow the field on the top prospects in the country, both seniors and underclassmen. Over the next week we’ll preview and review each position.

The group of 46 wide receivers that will be at the NFL Combine is one of the most diverse positions that can be found in this year’s class of draft eligible players. There are stars like Alabama’s Julio Jones (above left) and A.J. Green of Georgia (above right) and unknowns like Kealoha Pilares and Ricardo Lockette. They range in height from 6-5 to 5-6½. They are from big-time programs like Auburn, Georgia, and Alabama, and Division III schools like Mt. Union and the NAIA like Walsh University.

The group has 11 underclassmen including Jones, Green and Pittsburgh’s Jonathan Baldwin – all three are considered first-round prospects. It appears there is something for everyone among this group, no matter where a team might be looking to draft a receiver. …Read More!

NFL Combine – Linebackers

As the NFL heads towards its annual Combine later this month, the invitation list helps narrow the field on the top prospects in the country, both seniors and underclassmen. Over the next week we’ll preview and review each position.

The linebacker group that will head to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis is a talented bunch. There are a host of players who are tweeners, who are listed by some teams as defensive ends and some teams as outside linebackers. In this list we have put the players at the positions that the Combine lists them on the official roster. If you are looking for a player who has been an outside backer and he’s not here, he’s probably in with the defensive ends.

The top outside linebacker is Texas A&M’s Von Miller (above left). One of the top inside guys is Greg Jones of Michigan State (above right), who was very productive over his four seasons with the Spartans.

As a position of need for the Chiefs, we’ll have more on all the linebackers coming at the NFL Combine. They’ll be one of the last position groups to work for the league personnel at Lucas Oil Stadium. …Read More!

Cleaning Up The Hall … Monday Cup O’Chiefs

It was a weekend where I unplugged a bit after a constant barrage of football since July.

I fired up the site Sunday night and see that my post on the Hall of Fame has drawn plenty of reaction. Even my mother warned me that I got people all stirred up. That’s never my intent, but if so, that’s OK. I’ll address some of that at the end of this post

First, I want to bring you what I promised in that Hall of Fame post and that was my ideas on how the process can be improved. Understand right off the top that selecting entries to any type of Hall of Fame is a process fraught with peril and is never an easy thing. In every sport, a place in the Hall with the greatest of that game is the ultimate accomplishment.

The different major sports in this country all do it in different ways. The Baseball Hall of Fame voting is done by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who have been part of the organization or 10 years or more. This latest class had 581 ballots cast by mail. Each voter could vote for as many as 10 or as few as none. To make the Hall, the player had to be named on 75 percent of the individual ballots.

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame voting is something of a mystery, done by screening committees that are not publicly named. The Hockey Hall of Fame has an 18-person committee made up of Hall of Fame members, hockey personnel and media. They are appointed to three-year terms.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has 44 voting members. There’s one for each city where there is an NFL team (New York has two). That’s 32. There is a representative of the Pro Football Writers Association each year. That’s 33. And the final 11 are at-large selections. All voters are selected by the Hall from the ranks of the media who have covered the game for a number of years. There are representatives from newspapers, magazines, television, radio and the internet.

Here are my thoughts on three areas of the Hall that would improve what I think already is the best way to select a Hall of Fame among the four major sports: …Read More!

NFL Combine – Running Backs/Fullbacks

As the NFL heads towards its annual Combine later this month, the invitation list helps narrow the field on the top prospects in the country, both seniors and underclassmen. Over the next week we’ll preview and review each position.

The running back class that will be available to the NFL in the April Draft is not stacked with a host of top flight runners. Only two or three are considered “for sure” first-round prospects, led by Oklahoma’s DeMarco Murray (above left).

The group of backs that will be at the NFL Combine includes a host of small backs – those weighing less than 200 pounds. That group is topped by Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter (above right), who is 5-7¼, 199 pounds.

Of the 40 halfbacks and fullbacks, only one comes from outside major college schools. That’s Taiwan Jones out of Division 1-AA champion Eastern Washington. …Read More!

Chiefs Special Teams Finish Poor

Over the years, NFL special teams coaches have come to wait each February the release of Rick Gosselin’s special teams rankings.

The pro football writer for the Dallas Morning News, Gosselin’s overall ratings on the kicking game have become the standard by which teams judge their special or not so special teams. The rankings are based on 22 statistical categories from the 2010 season. Teams gather points based on where they finished among the 32 teams. For instance, Atlanta was the best kickoff return team in the league with a 26.5-yard average. Thus they get one point in the rankings. The lowest total qualifies as the best kicking game in the league.

And in 2010, that would have been New England, as the Patriots posted 269 points or five less than the Tennessee Titans (274) and eight less than the Cleveland Browns (277).

The Chiefs finished at No. 24 in the rankings with 407.5 points. Other than being one of 24 teams that did not miss a PAT kick during the season, the Chiefs did not finish first in any of the other 21 categories. …Read More!

NFL Combine – Safeties

As the NFL heads towards its annual Combine later this month, the invitation list helps narrow the field on the top prospects in the country, both seniors and underclassmen. Over the next 10 days we’ll preview and review each position.

This is not a big year for safeties in the NFL Draft. As the players get ready to head for Indianapolis and the NFL Combine, there will be 19 safeties among the players who will go through the four days of work for the league clubs.

As the 2010 college season ended, there was not a college safety considered a first-round prospect, and if so it would be at the bottom of the round. There appears to be no Eric Berry in this group; the Chiefs selected Berry with the fifth pick of last year’s NFL Draft. Among the top names in the safety group is Oklahoma’s Quinton Carter (above right). He’s joined by another Big 12 Conference safety David Sims of Iowa State.

The ACC has the biggest representation of safeties in the Combine with four, led by Clemson’s DeAndre McDaniel (above left). The Pac-10 has three, including California’s Chris Conte. …Read More!

Cassel Sees His Number Retired

With the Patriots, Matt Cassel wore No.16. With the Chiefs he wears No. 7. At Southern Cal, he wore … nobody remembers what he wore since he never played. Actually, he wore No. 10.

That’s the same number he wore at Chatsworth High School in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. Cassel was back on campus Friday where his No. 10 jersey was retired by the school.

Here’s a short story on the event, plus a good video that all Chiefs and Cassel fans will enjoy. He remains a man you can root for.

Here’s the link.

Hall of Fame Dunce … Weekend Cup O’Chiefs

I really hate to do this, but I feel there’s no choice in this matter. When you are dealing with an ignorant bully, there are only so many times you can let it slide.

I’m talking about Jason Whitlock, Kansas City’s long-time sports media bully extraordinaire. Listen, if I blogged something about that blob every time he was factually incorrect or didn’t know what he was talking about, then I would never stop. With the shrinking of his audience and no outlet for his special brand of yellow journalism in Kansas City, Whitlock tends to flail about willy nilly these days, trying to pick journalistic fights so he can save a dead career.

He’s not Chicken Little, he’s Chicken Big and he laid an egg this week by going after the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors. If you like, you can go off to the only outlet he has these days and read the whole thing. I’m not going to link and make it easy.

But I will re-cap some of his comments: he says the process of selecting inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame is corrupt. He uses as evidence the failure of OT Willie Roaf to get a first ballot election. Whitlock says the committee knows nothing about football and does know about backroom dealing. Here are a few actual passages: …Read More!

NFL Combine – Quarterbacks

There will be 18 quarterbacks at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis starting on February 24. The biggest names in that group are unlikely to do much throwing or even working out during their scheduled practice day of Sunday, February 27.

The names at the top of the boards around the league are Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton of the national champion Auburn Tigers and former Missouri starter Blaine Gabbert.

The other best known names in the group are Washington’s Jake Locker, Ricky Stanzi out of Iowa and Alabama’s Greg McElroy. …Read More!


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         Copyright 2010 Bob Gretz. May not be used or reprinted without the expressed written consent of Bob Gretz.