Posted on: December 22, 2011 3:10 pm
By Josh Katzowitz
For the hardcore NFL football fan, Twitter is necessary. Sometimes, it’s a necessary evil -- slogging through your timeline to read what some players are eating for lunch or trying to get through multiple RTs of fans who want a shout-out from their favorite NFL star can be quite tedious.
But there are players and executives who get the Twitter thing. Those who can put together a nice one-liner or turn a delicious phrase or break a bit of news. It’s a nice way for NFLers to communicate directly with fans and either inform them or make them laugh. In this day and age, Twitter is important (as much as any social media can truly be important).
That’s why, for the second-straight season, we’ve put together a Top Ten with a Twist list on the best NFL player/executive Twitter accounts. These people brighten our day 140 characters at a time, and since much of Twitter is tasteless swill, these are the people who keep us coming back for more. And that is something to RT about.
10. Shawn Andrews (@imshawnandrews): He was my No. 1 selection on last year’s list, but after he was released by the Giants in the offseason, Andrews is out of football. His Twitter account, though, remains look-worthy. If you’re a foodie, Andrews is for you, especially as he tries to appease the weight-watching angel on his shoulder while ignoring the devil who wants him to binge. Recent tweet: These Chick Fil A Chicken Strips In The Mall Taste Like They Been Dipped In A Lil Fish Grease!!! I Like It!!!!! ***Crunch***
9. John Elway (@johnelway): You’ve got to love it when the executive vice president of football operations for the Broncos breaks news on his Twitter account about team signings and coach hirings. Elway has been more transparent about his team’s front office moves than anybody I can remember, and doing it on Twitter is a really smart way to keep the lines of communications open with Broncos fans. His in-season account hasn’t been quite as entertaining as it was in the offseason, but still, give Elway credit. It has been a novel idea. Recent tweet: Tim's doing a great job leading our offense, coming through when we need him the most. He's a winner who gets better every day.
8. Darnell Dockett (@ddockett): The Cardinals defensive end is the definition of the athlete who just doesn’t give a crap what he says or how it might affect him in the future. Which is what makes his account awesome. His best Twitter moment of the year came when he did real-time play-by-play of a traffic stop. His topper, though, was when he refused to allow the police to search his car, and they simply had to let him go. Dockett can be offensive, but there’s little doubt he’s entertaining. Even if his obsession with hooking up with Oprah is a little disturbing. Recent tweet: I'm going to sleep I'm so tired! I'm gonna dream about @Oprah and them thick chocolate thighs tonight. We gonna get back together soon!
7. Greg Aiello (@gregaiello): A return to the top Twitter list for the NFL’s top PR spokesman. Aiello answers questions from fans in his brusque manner, and he saves scribes e-mail queries but releasing league statements directly to the masses. Plus, his mini-feuds with some scribes during the lockout were interesting to watch from afar, and his haikus are not to be missed. Recent tweet: No. Hemingway. RT @giantspathanlon: Haiku? RT @gregaiello: A man in a good mood as the sun also rises. RT beautiful sight as the sun rises!
6. Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay): You just won’t find an NFL owner who is so in touch with his fans (and maybe not an sports team owner anywhere outside Mark Cuban). Irsay is delightfully weird, posting deep album cut lyrics by classic rock bands, and he made multiple jokes about going after Brett Favre at the beginning of the year when it was clear Peyton Manning couldn’t play. Lately, he’s been less funny and more soothing to an upset fan base. That doesn’t make him any less delightful. Recent tweet: Woke up this morning,with an arrow thru my nose..there was an indian in the corner..trying on my clothes.... .He said "Get lost" and walked towards his Cadillac..and I chopped down that palm tree..and it landed on his back....” (editor’s note: it’s a Neil Young lyric)”
5. Chad Ochocinco (@ochocinco): The Patriots receiver was more fun when he was still a Bengals receiver, and he (we assume) wasn’t hemmed in by Bill Belichick. But he’s still funny and still outstanding to his fans. Somehow, during the worst season of his career, he’s become much more likeable. Recent tweet: I remember when @evelynlozada kicked me out of the house for cheating.......... She takes #Monopoly way to (f------) serious.
4. Faux John Madden (@fauxjohnmadden): For me, parody accounts are hit or miss. Mostly misses, actually. Faux John Madden hits much more than it misses, though. And when you’re crawling through your timeline on a lonely Friday night, that is much appreciated. Recent tweet: If you need something to keep you awake while watching this Falcons-Jaguars game.. Call Sam Hurd.
3. Jim Schwartz (@jschwartzlions): By far, the best NFL coach on Twitter (hell, off the top of my head, I can’t think of another coach who’s actually on Twitter). Mostly, he taps out updates of the Metallica songs he’s inputting into his head (or tweeting a picture of Raiders fans flipping him the bird), but you have to appreciate a guy who takes a little time out from watching film and game planning all day to remind us all what James Hetfield had to say in 1987. Recent tweet: #nowplaying on the way to Oakland stadium: Babylon AD "Bang Go the Bells", Metallica "Blackened", Deep Purple "Highway Star"
2. Chris Kluwe (@chriswarcraft): As his Twitter handle implies, the Vikings punter is big into role-playing games. So, you have to wade through some of that, but Kluwe makes his tweets so damn funny, it’s nearly impossible not to be entertained by his musings. He’s a guy who knows how to make great use of the hashtag. Recent tweet: Remember Saints fans, if you're planning on bringing feminine hygiene products to the game to throw at me, please ensure they are unused.
1. Arian Foster (@arianfoster): He’s not only one of the top running backs in the league, he’s also a Zen master on his Twitter account. Foster is one of the game’s most interesting thinkers, and his tweets aren’t the usual athletic bluster. They’re deep and interesting and funny. Which is why he’s the No. 1 NFL tweeter around. Recent tweet: I smile at our potential, but weep for our actions. May the light you see tonight fill your heart with what it needs. I love you all.
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Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:15 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 3:32 pm
Posted by Ryan Wilson
The NFL seems uninterested in dispelling the perception that there are two sets of rules -- one for the players and one for everyone else associated with the league. The latest instance came after Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz reenacted the "Wait, what did he just do to me?!" scene that has played out at every pro wrestling match ever staged.
On merit alone the incident isn't worth a fine (and none was levied); the sheer embarrassment of being a part of such a spectacle is punishment enough. But this is the NFL, where no transgression is deemed too small (see, for example) … except when it doesn't involve players.
Remember when the Colts announced before the season that they had hired former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel as a game-day consultant? Instead of meting out the punishment, the league seemed happy to let Indianapolis handle it, but only after the story went public. That would've never happened had Tressel been a player (like, say, Terrelle Pryor).
Understandably, these inconsistencies irk players, and two of them spoke out about it Thursday during an appearance on NFL Network's Total Access. Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey and Texans wideout Derrick Mason, who have 28 years of NFL experience between them, were amazed Harbaugh and Schwartz escaped punishment.
(For what it's worth -- and we imagine not much -- NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said this on Monday: "Fortunately, there was no fighting and thus no basis for a fine. … However, both coaches told [VP of football operations] Ray Anderson today that their post-game conduct was wrong and will not happen again. ... We believe their response is the correct one and that their post-game conduct going forward will be more appropriate.")
“What if that was a player? How would (the NFL) react to that?,” Bailey asked. “These are supposed to be the leaders of our team(s), and you let them get away with it, so to speak, and now how do you think the players will start acting? I like it personally, but I just know how the NFL operates today, it’s amazing to me they let this slide.”
“I think they should have (been fined), because these are the leaders of your team,” he said. “I think the NFL should have slapped them with some type of fine, $5,000 or $10,000 here or there, to at least show them they have to be responsible for what they do on the field.”
We love that Mason has no idea how much the coaches should've been fined, no doubt because the league has a history of arbitrarily handing out punishments.
It's one thing to be strict -- we get that. There's a plan, and even if most people don't agree with it, they know the rules going in. But when the judge, jury and executioner is a paranoid schizophrenic you're going to have issues like this crop up several times a season.
(By the way, Yahoo.com's Doug Farrar notes that "it could certainly be argued that both [Schwartz and Harbaugh] stepped on the wrong side of this one," and then points to the NFL's fine schedule which plainly states that "Sportsmanship: Excessive Profanity; other Unsportsmanlike Conduct (e.g., toward opponent(s), game personnel, fans, etc.): $10,000 / $20,000.")
This seems like a good place to include what some other NFL coaches had to say about The Handshake when it invariably came up at their respective weekly press conferences.
Bill Belichick: "[The post-game handshake] is so heavily scrutinized by the media that it’s an event bigger than the game itself, which is so absurd. Like a lot of things, it takes any personalization out of the game and makes it a public topic of discussion. I think it’s pretty ridiculous that the media focuses on it the way it does.
“I’d like to think that the reason that the people are there is to see the game and to see the competition. But they seem to want to talk about everything but the game. That’s not uncommon. That’s the media’s job, so that’s what they do. It certainly takes away from, as a coach, the things that you would say, so you find other times to do it outside of that. Maybe before the game, or a phone call to the coach after the game, that kind of thing.”
Mike Tomlin: "I really have no thoughts [on the handshake]. I think it is the same sometimes, when we pay attention to things that are meaningless, insignificant. The story of the NFL should be on the game itself. That was a hard-fought game played by two really good football teams, two exciting teams on the rise. I think that should be the story, not some unfortunate incident that happened after the game. I think that is silly."
When asked what does into a handshake, Tomlin was frank.
"I don't practice it. I don't think about it. I am just going to be cordial, be respectful and wish them well moving forward. I don't know about the norms, OK. I don't get into that. If I spend too much time thinking about the handshake, then I am not doing my job."
John Harbaugh: "I can just tell you this: I think I know who was right. But whoever was right or wrong, I know whose side I’m on. I’m definitely taking sides. [It’s] the same side I’ve always taken. … You know what? Everybody’s got a lot to learn. So I guess right now, [Jim's] 5-1. If the biggest lesson he has right now is how to shake hands postgame, after a victory, he’s doing OK.”
Fair point. But as one NFL coach told CBSSports.com's Clark Judge, Harbaugh and Scwhartz "are going to regret it in the morning. They just bought a film clip for life."
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Posted on: October 17, 2011 6:56 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2011 7:00 am
Posted by Josh Katzowitz
You have almost certainly seen the video of Jim Harbaugh exuberantly shaking Jim Schwartz’s hand and you watched as Schwartz responded in anger. You have heard Ryan Wilson and Will Brinson talk about it on their podcast. You have read Brinson’s take on the top five coaches you’d want in a steel-cage death match beside you.
The only thing left was to wait for the league to decide the punishment on Schwarbaugh-gate (you prefer Harwartz-gate instead?).
And now we have our answer: no punishment, says the NFL.
“On Detroit-SF coach incident, fortunately, there was no fighting and thus no basis for a fine,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tweeted in a statement. “However, both coaches told Ray Anderson today that their post-game conduct was wrong and will not happen again. We believe their response is the correct one and that their post-game conduct going forward will be more appropriate.”
Harbaugh told reporters today, via Rapid Reporter Michael Erler, that he spoke with the league about the incident. “It was a fact-finding mission for them, and I shared my side of it,” Harbaugh said. He also said that he would speak with Schwartz privately but that he would not apologize.
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Posted on: September 28, 2011 12:33 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 12:38 pm
Cedric Benson is reportedly facing a three-game suspension for violating the NFL's player-conduct policy during the lockout. But when the Bengals face the Bills this weekend, Benson will be on the field.
"I'm playing," he said according to the Bengals' official Twitter feed. And head coach Marvin Lewis confirms it.
While there hasn't been an announcement from the NFL regarding Benson's suspension, he met with the league Tuesday as part of his appeal hearing. An explanation of the process from NFL spokesman Greg Aiello (sent to PFT Wednesday morning) sheds some light on the process.
“A player is not suspended until he has had an opportunity to file an appeal and for that appeal to be heard and adjudicated,” Aiello said via email.
There doesn't appear to be a timetable on when a ruling will come, either. The biggest issue is that Benson, who is apart of the NFL Players Association, was unaware that the NFLPA and the NFL had agreed to punish some of the players who had violated the league's conduct policy during the lockout. In fact, Benson last week filed a charge of unfair labor practice against the NFLPA.
CBSSports.com colleague Josh Katzowitz wrote Sunday, "Benson is arguing to the National Labor Relations Board that the NFLPA wasn’t a union during the lockout -- the NFL and a group of retired players all have made the same claim in various lawsuits because, in fact, the NFLPA decertified before the lockout began and took great pains to announce that it no longer was a union -- and Benson also says that he wasn’t an employee of any team during the lockout. Benson reasons that he shouldn't be suspended for actions that occurred when he wasn't an employee of the NFL or of the Bengals."
Benson isn't alone. Teammate Andrew Whitworth agrees.
"The union let those eight guys down,” Whitworth said, via CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Paul Dehner. “I don’t feel like that was fair. To me, if I was told that was a make or break, I would've said that’s a make or break deal that we were going to sell out eight guys to have an agreement."
As PFT.com's Mike Florio pointed out Wednesday, "The biggest question seems to be whether the NFL has the power to impose discipline against players for off-field conduct occurring during the lockout. In Benson’s case, the situation is complicated by the fact that he wasn’t even employed by an NFL team, since his prior contract with the Bengals had expired."
Who knows how long it will take to sort this out, bur for now, Benson will keep playing.
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Posted on: September 5, 2011 3:09 pm
Posted by Will Brinson
Our own Mike Freeman reported earlier Monday that Jim Tressel's employment with the Colts will begin in the seventh game this season. In other words, he's being suspended for six games by the Colts and/or maybe the NFL, though it's not actually being called "a suspension."
Additionally, reports have circulated that the non-suspension suspension was actually Tressel's idea. It is, for technical purposes, not an NFL-imposed suspension. However, plenty of speculation surfaced Monday afternoon about what role the NFL played in the decision to "wait to hire" Tressel.
Fortunately, the NFL gave that some clarity before too much could be made of the decision.
"On the Jim Tressel matter, the team's statement acknowledges that our office had discussions with the Colts over the weekend," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tweeted Monday. "[The] Colts fully understood issues & committed to addressing them. We were informed last night of decision reached by the team & Mr. Tressel.
"We believe decision reached by the Colts and Jim Tressel is appropriate. He will begin working as a game-day consultant after 6 games."
As Ryan and talk about in the most recent podcast (coming soon!) this probably is appropriate. Unless you're Jim Caldwell, in which case you'd like to make the decision to wait and hire Tressel a little more permanent.
For the NFL, this is a weird line to establish -- without establishing! -- because what happens if the Bengals try to hire Butch Davis? That's a hypothetical situation, of course, but would they be given the same freedom to make the decision as the Colts? And what would be the appropriate way to determine if and when it was OK to begin employing Davis with the team.
I firmly believe that the league and the Colts (and Tressel himself?) are doing the correct thing in making sure that he can't simply waltz out of college football and immediately get a job in the NFL, especially if Terrelle Pryor is in the middle of a five-game suspension.
But there's nothing right about meting out punishment in a seemingly random way, and as while there might not be an issue with this right away, it would probably make everyone feel better about the transition of coaches if there was a clear-cut process for regulating NCAA violators and their entrance into the NFL.
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Posted on: August 17, 2011 8:48 am
Posted by Josh Katzowitz
With the new NFL rules stating that kickoffs are to be taken from the 35-yard line instead of the 30 -- though the Bears didn’t feel they needed to follow that rule, since apparently they wanted to work on their kickoff coverage -- it seems pretty clear the NFL wants to reduce the number of returns that can be taken.
In fact, as we wrote last March, the reason the rules competition committee wanted to make the change in the first place was because of safety concerns. But according to Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the league has an ulterior motive for making the change to kickoff placement.
The NFL wants to eliminate kickoffs entirely.
During a session with the media Tuesday, one questioner, according to CSN’s Tom E. Curran, began a query this way: “If the intention of the NFL is eliminate kickoffs …” Belichick quickly interrupted.
"That's what they told us," Belichick said. "I'm not speaking for anyone else. That's what they told us, that they want to eliminate the play."
Which would fundamentally change the game in a way that is not completely impossible to fathom but which critics could claim also turns the NFL into more of a flag football league. Even if that supposed philosophy never comes to pass, Belichick talked about the current system, in which teams might build rosters differently if kickoff returners won’t make as much of an impact.
"If, instead of covering 60 kickoffs in a year you think you're only going to be covering 30, then is that coverage player as important, or -- on the flip side of it -- is the return game?" Belichick asked (presumably in the rhetorical sort of way). "If you're going to be returning 30 instead of 60, are the guys who block on the kickoff return (as important)? If you think you're going to be returning more punts than kickoffs (there's a decision to weigh). Usually you're going to be returning more kickoffs than punts but if you think you'll be returning more punts than kickoffs, then maybe you put more of a priority on your punt returner than your kickoff returner."
To be fair, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello had this to say to CSN regarding Belichick’s claim that the league wants to squash kickoffs: "(Chairman of the Competition Committee) Rich McKay and (NFL Vice President) Ray Anderson say that’s not accurate. They said the Competition Committee’s position was that they wanted to 'shorten the field' and that the movement of the kickoff line would potentially reduce the number of kickoffs to be returned. They said they are unaware of anyone saying that it was intended to 'eliminate' the kickoff return."
But if that was the case and the NFL really does want to eliminate kickofs, you can bet teams like the Bears (because of KR Devin Hester), Browns (because of Josh Cribbs) and the Seahawks (because of Leon Washington) who are already not pleased with the new rules will be really, really unhappy.
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Posted on: May 10, 2011 11:31 pm
Posted by Will Brinson
Perhaps the most bizarre thing to come out of the lockout yet happened on Tuesday afternoon, when an "organization" named the National Football League Players' Reserve (NFLPR) filed a Motion to Intervene in the NFL's appeal with the 8th Circuit.
This is odd because no one really seems to know what the NFLPR is, although it's described in the filing as a "separate single entity nominative fair use organization whose reference and interests pertain to collegiate rookie football players entering the ranks" of the NFL.
This is strange because, insofar as anyone can tell, there are no collegiate rookie football players associated with this organization that no one knows about.
It's even more strange because, if you try to find out about the organization, the only things you'll really run into are a suggestion to Google "NFL PR" (like NFL public relations), NFL "Power Rankings" links and a link to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy's Twitter page (@NFLPRGuy).
Things get even weirder, though, as this motion was filed by David R. Flood, President, National Football League Players' Reserve (as well as a US Army veteran apparently). Flood, who is representing the NFLPR pro se in this matter, could not be reached for comment.
There are some odd things in the case, but for the moment they probably don't matter too much, as most reports circulating indicate that this motion is frivolous at best and will likely be either a) ignored or b) dismissed. The only reason it warrants mentioning? Because it somehow became the weirdest thing to happen in this already weird NFL labor dispute.
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Posted on: April 28, 2011 10:16 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:30 am
Posted by Will Brinson and Mike Freeman
On Thursday morning, the NFL said it would continue with the status quo , despite Judge Nelson ruling against their request for a stay. Unsurprisingly, the players disagree with their stance, and Jim Quinn and Jeffrey Kessler, attorneys for the players, sent out an email to all players and agents declaring they believe the league year to be open.
CBSSports.com has obtained a copy of that email correspondence, in which the NFLPA also states they believe the NFL will be in contempt of court if they don't open the league year immediately.
"Unless and until such a request is granted, however, we believe the 2011 League Year now has to begin. The NFL and the Clubs cannot collectively continue to refuse to deal with players. It is our view that the NFL &the Clubs will be in contempt of court if they do not comply with the order unless and until they hear differently from the 8th Circuit."
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Now, this doesn't change a whole lot, really, because the NFL is probably just going to ignore the NFLPA's request to begin the year.
They're also probably just going to ignore any calls from agents and players,
However, sources tell CBSSports.com that "some team phones are ringing off the hook" with agents flooding teams with requests for free agent business. Additionally, those sources said that some teams are "not refusing" to talk about free agency at the moment.
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