Happy July everybody! I’m back here a week after the 4th of July and I hope everybody had a great fireworks show. Speaking of fireworks…
1. There are actually two different firework stories in the NFL, but I’ll start with the headline one. New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul was in a firework related accident on the 4th of July, and this story spirals out of control so grab some popcorn. The injury occurred in his hometown in South Florida and he was admitted to the hospital shortly after the incident. When the story was first reported, the severity of the injury was unknown, so the Giants organization sent a team trainer down to visit JPP. JPP and his agent decided to refuse access to the trainer-who could have had him brought to the Giants’ elite hospital connections in New York-and the Giants decided to revoke the $60 million long term deal they had previously offered to him. On Wednesday, JPP had his right index finger amputated, and it was discovered that his thumb is broken. The Giants still have the franchise tag on Pierre-Paul, but he has yet to sign it, which means he is not under contract for the team and the team is not required to pay him. Now for analysis. I was reading an article on NFL.com yesterday that drew a player comparison for Pierre-Paul since entering the league in 2010. The comparison? Oakland Raiders DE Justin Tuck who played with JPP in New York for a few seasons. The Giants let Tuck walk away in free agency because his stats had dipped, but were about to give JPP $60 million for having the same stat line. Why? The 2011 season and the end of last season. In 2011, JPP was one of the top d-linemen in the league. At the end of last season, JPP looked like he was returning to form, but he was playing against teams that allowed a lot of sacks, and the Giants were already out of the playoff picture, meaning that he played well against inferior competition when it didn’t matter. In my opinion, the Giants should let JPP walk because his immaturity is not needed in the Giant spotlight that is the media circus of New York. That’s right, I’m calling for the Giants to rescind the franchise tag.
2. The second fireworks story is also in Florida, where Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB C.J. Wilson also hurt his hand. Unlike JPP, Wilson has been in contact with the Bucs organization, however because Wilson is a player fighting for a roster spot, his incident will likely prevent him from getting a roster spot.
3. Moving on to another one of the NFL’s not-so-gems, Dallas Cowboys DE Greg Hardy has had his suspension for domestic violence reduced from 10 games to 4 games. This was a stupid move by the NFL, and not just because I’m a Giants fan and am not looking forward to my teaming playing against Hardy. Let me remind everyone that RB Ray Rice also committed an act of domestic violence, and he was booted from the league for the incident. The difference between the two cases? Video evidence. Ray Rice was caught on camera, and Hardy was not. Hardy was lucky to get a 10 game suspension because he probably should’ve gotten a season long suspension at the least. In my opinion, if you want to know why the league reduced Hardy’s suspension, ask Jerry Jones. I’m guessing Jones pulled some strings with this deal because he is dying to get his star acquisition on the field. Watch out NFL, if you still think Dallas is “America’s Team” and treat them better, you could end up taking a lot of heat. That goes for you too Jerry.
4. Now for a truly sad story, former Oakland Raiders QB Ken “The Snake” Stabler passed away on Thursday at the age of 69 due to colon cancer. He was a four-time Pro Bowler in the NFL, won Super Bowl XI, won two National Championships at the University of Alabama, and led the Crimson Tide to an undefeated season too. He was one of the best left-handed passers in league history and I agree with John Madden when he says that he belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
5. The Top 100 Players of 2015 finished up the list this week with the top 10 players. Here is the list with my opinions. Keep in mind that the list says “of 2015”, so I’m focusing on performance over the past season alone. 10) Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots- Can’t argue with this one. Not only did he stay healthy, but he and Brady led the Pats to a Super Bowl victory. If anything, he should be ranked higher. 9) Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks- This ranking is spot on. His electrifying running brought the Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowls and while he isn’t the best, he’s one of the best and VERY consistent. 8) Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers- Antonio Brown was the best WR in the NFL this year. He and Le’Veon Bell took the Steelers to the playoffs this season. 7) Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts- This ranking is too low. He is top 5 in the league because he took the Colts from worst in the league, to getting further in the playoffs every season with a trip to the AFC championship this season. 6) Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions- Based on this season ALONE, this is WAY too high. Megatron was still great, but had some injury issues and, unlike the other top ten players, he didn’t lead his team to their success this season. He should not be in the top 25 and if it were up to me, Le’Veon Bell would be here. 5) Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos- This is too high. Broncos management has stacked the team to get a Super Bowl ring, and Peyton is unable to get there. He shouldn’t be top 10 for THIS season. 4) DeMarco Murray, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (was Dallas Cowboys)- He led the league in rushing yards. This is a perfect spot. 3) Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots- This is just slightly too high. He led his team to a Super Bowl victory, but I can’t stop thinking about the Kansas City game and ‘Deflategate’, so he slips down but still in the top 10. 2) Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers- He is the best QB statistically which means usually he would be #1 but… 1) JJ Watt- Watt showed that not only is he ELITE at his position, but he is capable at other positions too, including offense. Watt deserved to beat Rodgers to #1 because of his versatility. The QBs aren’t always king.
That’s all for TheHaysWay today, have a pleasant tomorrow.