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NFL Unfiltered Week 11: Giving Thanks For Football

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In relation to our real lives, the NFL doesn’t matter. We have children to raise, mortgages to pay and jobs to keep. But as distractions go, it is fantastic and we’re incredibly fortunate to have it.  

Therefore, like saying what we’re thankful for before a Thanksgiving meal, this week’s ‘Unfiltered offers thanks and an extra drumstick to some of the teams and players that make pro football our nation’s pastime.  

*We begin with a very special thank you to USC, Texas and LSU for underachieving this season. That means head coaChip Kelly/Bradford photo: ftw.usatoday.comch Chip Kelly has a choice among three of the most attractive college football jobs in the country.  If he wants a new challenge, or is simply annoyed by the whining of NFL players, he has plenty of options. And for Eagles fans, that’s a reason to give thanks.    

*We must not forget the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who exposed Kelly as an unqualified and inept talent evaluator. This is the first real adversity of his career and it all stems from his need to control everything. This is the Peter Principle in full effect, so thank you Tampa Bay for helping to accelerate the inevitable.  

*Future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, and the Patriots in particular, deserve some of the criticism they get for not always playing by the rules. However, they also deserve many, many thanks for playing football at such a high level for this long. Love them or not, the Patriots are interesting in a league where interesting isn’t always easy.  

*Speaking of the Patriots, let’s give thanks for head coach Bill Belichick. He showed the nation how to manage the clock at the end of the first half against the Buffalo Bills. It isn’t complicated and should happen every week in every NFL city, but it doesn’t.

*Be thankful for Bills coach Rex Ryan and his authenticity. Perhaps he plays up his personality some for the cameras, but his reaction to the Patriots touchdown at the end of the first half was priceless, and genuine. Like a supporting actor in a film, the NFL needs guys like Ryan.   

*Give thanks for the Green Bay Packers for drafting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, which guaranteed a chance to watch him play on the best holiday of the year. He is the best combination of intelligence and athleticism since Hall of Famer Steve Young.  

*Be thankful Panthers quarterback Cam Newton matured. Newton has transformed from an entitled millennial, to a leader on one of the best teams in the NFL. He isn’t perfect, but he is clearly taking his craft more seriously. Sometimes, growing up takes a while.  

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*I’m thankful Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak for having the wherewithal to tell future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning enough is enough. When an aging player refuses to go away quietly, you must remove him loudly, and Kubiak did that.      

*Give thanks to the official in charge of monitoring player head trauma in the Rams/Ravens game.  After years of denial, the NFL now acknowledges the dangers of concussions.  However, the official’s inability to see quarterback Case Keenum’s struggle to get to his feet is a reminder the league still has work to do.    

*Let’s give thanks for Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer. His career as a starter looked over in Oakland but he stuck with it and has a real chance to win the Super Bowl.  He is as pure a passer as any in the league.  We’re all in for a real treat in January.  

*Be thankful for all the coaches in the league more committed to running the football.  And judging by the fact only two passers threw for more than 300 yards (Palmer and Andy Dalton) this week, it is safe to say many are.  Seems this whole “passing league” ideal is a bit overstated.  The quarterback is the most important job on the field, but you better run the football consistently if you want to win a championship.  

*Generally speaking, the Dallas Cowboys are very easy to dislike. But we ought to give thanks for quarterback Tony Romo. He has played at a very high level for a long time and might just be the most likable Cowboy of all time.  

 

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area. He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention. His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

Contact Earl at emyersiii@hotmail.com

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Chip Kelly/Bradford photo: ftw.usatoday.com