NFL / nfl football

ESPN's Early 2019 NFL Power Rankings: What They Got Wrong
The 2018 NFL season is over and analysts just couldn't wait a full week before revealing their "way-too-early" power rankings poll results. Since we have yet to enter free agency and not a single college player has been drafted to an NFL team (the draft is in April), these rankings really don't mean much other than showing what NFL experts think about current team's rosters and prospects going forward.The list ranks teams from 1-32 and gives reasoning as to why each team earned their given ranking. Here are four rankings I believe they got completely wrong#8. Seattle SeahawksESPN's Brady Henderson writes, "The Seahawks' winning 10 games and earning a playoff berth last season was a reminder that a team with an elite quarterback should never be counted out, no matter how many key pieces around him are gone." That isn't exactly comforting to Seahawks' fans.The 10-6 Seattle Seahawks are a team on the decline in my opinion (sorry @bethalea, Seahawks fan). Russell Wilson is on top of his game, but he's not getting any younger, weapons around him are not certain, and their defense is fading fast. The NFC West is a division that will improve this year, and playing two games each against the Rams and an improved 49ers team could result in 3-4 losses. I think the Seahawks are highly overrated by analysts at this point in the offseason.They were placed in the rankings ahead of the Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles, two teams I think will outperform them in 2019.#14. Minnesota VikingsComing off of an 8-7-1 season, the Vikings are stuck in a competitive division with a Bears team that is on the rise. The Vikings have defensive playmakers like Harrison Smith and Everson Griffen and two fantastic receivers (when healthy) in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, but RB Dalvin Cook and quarterback Kirk Cousins were mediocre at best last season. I would rather bet on the #16 Green Bay Packers, #18 Atlanta Falcons, and #19 Carolina Panthers than on the Vikings. Unless they can improve at quarterback and running back, don't expect the Vikings to make the playoffs in '19.#18. Atlanta FalconsWhile I feel that the Vikings and Seahawks are overrated, I think these rankings look past an Atlanta Falcons team that could contend for the NFC Championship. Yes, I said it, I think with the right moves the Falcons could push the Rams and Saints down the stretch.Atlanta will get Freeman back from injury on offense and with a healthy Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones, they still have some of the best weapons in the NFL. "...the Falcons should be much better equipped to challenge the Saints in the NFC South -- that is, if they can add more toughness on both the offensive and defensive lines," says Vaugn McClure. Only time will tell, but I would still take the Falcons over the Seahawks and Vikings, moving them into the top 10 of the power rankings.#27. Detroit LionsI'm biased as a Detroit Lions fan, but I just can't accept that the Lions will be the 27th best team in the NFL in 2019. Second-year head coach Matt Patricia and veteran QB Matt Stafford both have something to prove. The Lions also have young studs ready to take the next step on both sides of the ball.On offense, Kerryon Johnson (RB) and Kenny Golladay (WR) showed why they were drafted in the first three rounds of the past two drafts. Johnson finished the season with 641 yards and 3 touchdowns. Most importantly, he averaged an impressive 5.4 yards per carry. Golladay led all Lions receivers with 70 receptions and 1,063 yards.On defense, Jarrad Davis is starting to stand out. He led the Lions in solo tackles (73) and added six sacks and 10 tackles for loss.The Lions are not serious contenders in the NFC, but they are capable of making a run towards the playoffs and are much better than the #27 ranking given by ESPN analysts. What do you think about the above rankings and my assessment? What players would you change on ESPN's early NFL rankings?Read ESPN's "Way-Too-Early" Rankings HereWho do you support? We would love for you to consider voting for @teamgood here:
NFL Has Highest Unfavorable Rating
Americans don’t like to mix politics and the Super Bowl, according to a new report. Although Americans are looking forward to the Super Bowl ads almost as much as the Feb. 3 battled between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots, they do not want to see partisan attacks along with the jarring tackles. This is true not only for older viewers, but younger ones who are often portrayed in the media as being especially socially conscious. A Morning Consult poll of 2,201 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 3-5 found that almost two-thirds of Americans don’t think political ads have any place at the Super Bowl. Almost two-thirds of Americans believe the Super Bowl is not the place for companies to make political statements. Only 20 percent think it is in appropriate. Democrats (57 percent) are less likely to feel this way than Republicans (80 percent). Delivering the right message is especially important as a 30-second ad during this year’s game will cost about $5 million. Following Donald Trump’s election in 2016, many Super Bowl ads run during last year’s game had political overtones. An advertisement for 84 Lumber ad seemed to criticize the president’s immigration policies by featuring a border wall and immigrants. A Budweiser ad took a similar tack, showing the beer’s 19th-century creator, Adolphus Busch, immigrating to the United States, in an account that historians have pointed out is largely inaccurate. In other Super Bowl ads run last year, a cellphone company trumpeted the need for equality while a Ram Trucks commercial used a sermon by Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote the value of service. The Morning Consult poll found other evidence that politics and sports don’t mix. While the poll found that the football is America's favorite team sport, it is reported that the NFL has the highest unfavorable rating of any professional league. Some 27 percent of Americans have either an unfavorable or very unfavorable view of the league – much higher than the combined unfavorable ratings for Major League Baseball (12 percent), the NBA (20 percent) the NHL (15 percent) or the MLS (18 percent). The finding likely reflects a number of controversies surrounding the NFL in recent years. Most notably the controversy surrounding former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and several other players who refused to stand for the National Anthem. Nevertheless, the NFL saw its TV viewership rise 5 percent this year, following two years of decline attributed in large part to political controversies. Off the field violence by players is another issue that has brought negative attention to the league. This includes the murder conviction of New England Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez and the and a video-tape showing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting his fiancée in a hotel elevator Controversy’s involving concussions and steroid use maybe leading less Americans to play the sport in high school according to statistics released last year. Those concerns shouldn’t keep fans away from the Super Bowl however which is expected to again be the most watched event in the United States this year. -J.H

Pittsburgh steelers Antonio Brown absent from games
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown's absence from Sunday's 16-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals reportedly resulted from an argument with a teammate rather than a knee injury. According to Gerry Dulac and Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Brown threw a football at one of his teammates in an "unspecified heated dispute" during a walkthrough before practice Wednesday and then decided not to practice for the remainder of the week. He was reportedly not present for Saturday night's team meeting. Per Dulac and Bouchette, Brown expected to play Sunday and was at the stadium, but he was declared inactive and left at halftime. One player told Dulac and Bouchette the Brown situation was "embarrassing" and "the worst I've seen." That player also said the handling of the situation impacted his desire to play Sunday. Per NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala, multiple Steelers players were surprised Brown didn't play Sunday. Following Friday's practice, head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters Brown was having his knee tested because he "didn't feel comfortable enough to [practice]," per Dulac and Bouchette. Brown's knee was never tested and played no role in his missing Sunday's game. Kinkhabwala noted Tomlin held a team meeting Monday and did not address the Brown situation. Brown was not present for the meeting. With regard to the incident at Wednesday's walkthrough, Kinkhabwala reported Brown and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had "a little bit of a disagreement." Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports noted Brown and Roethlisberger had an issue that was "fairly ugly" and that Brown was "totally in the wrong." Though the Steelers beat the Bengals, they missed the playoffs with a 9-6-1 record because the 10-6 Baltimore Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns on Sunday to clinch the AFC North. The 30-year-old Brown enjoyed another highly productive season in 2018 with 104 receptions for 1,297 yards plus a career-high and NFL-leading 15 touchdown catches. Brown was named a Pro Bowler for the seventh time in his nine-year NFL career, and he has now caught more than 100 balls in six straight campaigns. Despite maintaining his status as an elite wideout, Brown took a backseat to JuJu Smith-Schuster at times, as the second-year receiver led the Steelers with 111 receptions for 1,426 yards. Brown appeared frustrated numerous times throughout the season and seemingly directed his anger toward Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner. With Smith-Schuster emerging as a bona fide No. 1 receiver and the Steelers having selected James Washington in the second round of the 2018 draft, there will likely be speculation that Pittsburgh could trade Brown. If a team does deal for Brown, it will acquire the three years remaining on his contract at an average annual salary of $17 million.