On Monday night, the Alabama Crimson Tide beat the Clemson Tigers 45-40, in what turned out to be the most thrilling championship game in recent memory, which marks Nick Saban’s 4th title in the last 7 years.
Heisman trophy winning runningback Derrick Henry tallied 158 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. 2016 Heisman hopeful Deshaun Watson totaled 478 total yards of offense (405 passing, 73 rushing) and 4 passing touchdowns for the Tigers.
This win cements Saban’s legacy as one of the greatest college football coaches in modern history, while reminding the nation of the dominant capabilities of the Crimson Tide program.
I found Derrick Henry to be most impressive. I still believe that he is a product of Alabama’s running system, but he does possess some elite traits (power, vision) that will most certainly transfer to the NFL. I want to hate the Tide, but that does not mean I do not respect the job Saban has done is Tuscaloosa.
On Tuesday, the NFL announced that the St. Louis Rams won the right relocate to Los Angeles. After a 30-2 vote by the NFL owners, the plan for the Rams Inglewood complex created by owner Stan Kroenke won out against the Carson City plans created by Dean Spanos of the San Diego Chargers and Mark Davis of the Oakland Raiders.
Interestingly enough, both the Chargers and the Raiders may not have lost out on the right to relocate. The Chargers have a year to decide if they would like to join the Rams as a joint venture, similar to the agreement between New York Giants and Jets. If the team passes, the Raiders then have a year to decide whether to take the Chargers place as LA’s second football team. And, if both teams should choose to stay in their respective homes, they will receive a $100 million paycheck from the league for all of their troubles.
On top of that, the Raiders still remain interested in relocating to San Antonio if they are unable to move to Los Angeles or receive a new stadium in Oakland within the next year. In other words, we may have to wait another two years before we receive any concrete answers about the Chargers or Raiders.
For now, let us all welcome back the Los Angeles Rams; finally out of the shadow of the Cardinals only to be placed firmly in the shadows of the Lakers, Clippers, Kings, and Dodgers. At least they are not the worst football team in the state (sorry, 49ers).
(Speaking of the 49ers…)
Chip, Chip, Hooray!
Today, the San Francisco 49ers have announced the hiring of Chip Kelly as their new head coach. After narrowing down the candidates to just two, Kelly and Mike Shannahan, CEO Jed York and GM Trent Baalke pounced on the former Oregon and Eagles head man. Many experts are very high on the move.
Chip Kelly could work wonders for the franchise, especially considering the fact that he was only hired as a head coach. It has not been reported if Kelly has any say in personnel matters, but Trent Baalke is still firmly the GM of the team. With Kelly focused entirely on coaching, the team should be able to rebuild and thrive within the new system he puts into place. Whether or not Colin Kaepernick can regain his 2012-2013 form is yet to be seen, but if he cannot do the job, Kelly and Baalke will find someone who can.
Oddly enough, it is very unusual that this coaching hire feels like a direct contrast with the type of coach Jim Harbaugh was during his tenure in San Francisco.
Catch a Tiger by the Toe
In case you missed it, the Cincinnati Bengals imploded this past Saturday. Due to two late personal foul penalties committed by Vontaze Burfict and Adam “Pacman” Jones, the Pittsburgh Steelers went on to beat the Bengals in the AFC Wild Card game 18-16. The first incident in question occurred after Burfict appeared to make a shoulder to helmet hit on a vulnerable Antonio Brown.
The next incident happened when Steeler’s linebacker coach Joey Porter stepped onto the field (a penalty last time I checked), and called out several Bengals players. Pacman retaliated, drawing the second flag and sealing the fate of the Bengals.
It is clear that Jones and Burfict were out of line and lacked poise in the given situation, but the fact remains that Joey Porter was on the field and deserved a penalty. I do not understand how the referees missed him interacting with the players. He is clearly the only guy who is not wearing a helmet or shoulder pads. The fact remains that the Steelers won and the Bengals lost. At the end of the day, Cincinnati can only blame themselves for their inability to close the game out.
The Miami Dolphins named former Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase as their new head coach. Gase brings with him a track record of tailoring offenses around talented quarterbacks, highlighting their strengths and minimizing their weaknesses. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was just another one of Gase’s successes. The Miami front office is hoping that the former Bears and Broncos offensive coordinator can help Tannehill tap into his immense talent and upside in order to become a top flight quarterback.
In response to the lose of Gase, the Bears promoted former quarterback coach Dowell Loggains to the vacated position. Loggains helps maintain continuity among the Bears offensive coaching staff, while helping to keep Jay Cutler comfortable. The Bears will only go as far as Cutler will take them, and another year with the same playbook will go a long way in doing that. Loggains has previous offensive coordinator experience with the Tennessee Titans in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons. With more talent at his disposal, Loggains should be capable of continuing the success the Bears offensive experienced last season, while helping to correct the unit’s failures.
Make no mistake, this is a make or break year for Cutler and any other pre-John Fox players. If the team is unable to remain competitive in the NFC North, we should see a systematic rebuild of the club. If you cannot win games with the talent you have, then you need to get new talent: pure and simple.