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By Joe Kazmar
For the Record 

Kaz's Korner

NFL Business continues amid Super Bowl hype

 

Last updated 2/7/2023 at 5:22pm

9 The 14-day dead time between finding out who is playing in the Super Bowl and the game itself is usually filled with all kinds of stories ranging from what cologne some players use to the color of their wife’s or girl friends’ hair.

But that two-week dry spell that concludes in a few days really has had some interesting news about what else is happening in the NFL including coaches filling some of the vacancies that existed after the regular season—or is some cases the playoffs—to guessing what the two grey-bearded quarterbacks have in mind for the 2023 NFL season.

One of the articles of much interest to the NFL fans in Southeast Texas was the Houston Texans hiring DeMeco Ryans as their new head coach last week after the football writers in that area speculated about who the new coach should be.

Once again, the Texans hierarchy opted to select a “head coaching virgin”, that is a person who has NEVER been a head coach either in the NFL or even high school or college.

But DeMeco Ryans is different because he was drafted by the Texans and was a stalwart at his linebacker position for several years before becoming a very successful defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, who coincidentally were ranked as having the best defense in the NFL last season.

When the news came out last week, the Houston Chronicle had a sports editorial stating that the hiring of Ryans will be one of the best moves the Texans’ organization has ever made.

“It ranks right up there with the time Charley Casserly drafted Ryans with the first pick of the second round of the 2006 draft. Cal McNair and Nick Caserio will look like geniuses in a few years,” the article boldly stated.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton would have been another coach who would have gotten similar accolades if he had been their choice., but the Texans would have to “buy” Payton out of his affiliation with the Saints in the form of a couple of high draft picks or several million dollars or both.

They got Ryans and still have plenty of space under the salary cap with which to operate in this year’s draft and free agent marketplace.

“Ryans distinguished himself from day one—the first day on campus at Alabama and his first day with the Texans. He carries himself in a manner that commands respect. Outstanding student, player, citizen,” the article explained.

Ryans was a three-time academic All-SEC honoree and was on the dean’s list every year besides leading the Crimson Tide in tackles three times. In his first year with the Texans, he led the NFL in tackles and was named defensive Rookie of the Year. He was an All-Pro selection his second season.

Two years into the 2011 season, Coach Wade Phillips said Ryans knew the Texans defense better than he did and Phillips—the Orange native—is the one who invented it, the article pointed out.

And speaking of Payton, the Denver Broncos agreed to a deal with the Saints that made him their head coach also last week. He already had a couple of the ingredients that helps make a coach an instant success—a championship-winning quarterback in Russell Wilson and a good defensive team.

The other topic always prevalent just before the Super Bowl is what will greybeard quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers do for the 2023 season?

Brady answered that question last week when he announced that he was retiring—“for good this time”—while Rodgers did like he does every year by keeping them guessing.

I got to see the movie he produced --80 For Brady” --the true story about four women between ages 75-81who loved to watch him play quarterback. The four women were portrayed by Sally Fields, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno and Lillie Tomlin. It’s a great movie to watch this week to get you in the mood for Sunday’s Super Bowl.

It was announced last May that whenever Brady’s playing days are officially over, he would join Fox Sports as the network’s lead NFL analyst in a 10-year, $375 million contract. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if we are enlightened by a cameo appearance by Brady in Sunday’s Super Bowl, which will be televised by Fox.

As for Rodgers, ESPN’s “First Take” Monday morning had a theory that made sense to me. Host Stephen A. Smith opined that Rodgers and his favorite green Bay target Davonte Adams had made long-range plans before the 2022 NFL season to rejoin each other in 2023 with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Adams, who was traded by the Packers to the Raiders in March, played the entire 2022 season under the guise of rejoining his college quarterback teammate Derek Carr. However, Carr was benched before the end of the regular season which cleared the path for Rodgers to move in. But keep in mind this is only a far-fetched theory, but it really makes sense to me.

KWICKIES…Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the seventh quarterback to lead the NFL in passing during the regular season and then make the Super Bowl. However, the others are 0-6 in the big game. The last quarterback to lead the league in passing and play in the Super Bowl that year was Tom Brady in 2017 season, but the New England Patriots lost Super Bowl LII to these same Philadelphia Eagles 41-33.

The four football writers for the Houston Chronicle made their picks for Super Bowl LVII in the Sept. 11, 2022 issue and three chose the Buffalo Bills while only one had the Chiefs. One writer picked the Eagles to win the NFC but lose to the Bills in the Big Game.

Despite the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am being suspended by winds high enough to move the golf ball on the green, the PGA Tour event winner Justin Rose wasn’t determined until Monday afternoon when Sunday’s final round was completed. Sunday’s final round was played without the amateur golfers, but the amateur winner was none other than Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a 10-handicapper who had not played golf since training camp back in July.

Ejiro Evero, who turned the Denver Broncos defense around, was named last weekend as the new defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers. The 42-year-old Evero was one of nine candidates to interview for the Panthers head coaching position that was finally decided when owner David Tepper hired veteran head coach Frank Reich.

And a huge trade before tomorrow’s NBA deadline finds controversial All-Star Kyrie Irving being traded to the Dallas Mavericks by the Brooklyn Nets. Irving is shooting 48.6 per cent from the floor, 37.6 from three-point range and 88.3 per cent from the free-throw line.

JUST BETWEEN US…Sunday’s Super Bowl LVII is between a team I like and one I’ve never cared for. I agree with the Las Vegas Boys that the Philadelphia Eagles are the better team, but with wife Susan being from Missouri and the fact that I’ve won a little change betting on the Kansas City Chiefs, I can’t turn down points on a team that has been to the Conference Championship Game five years in a row. A few of the Eagles fans who were on the ball were able to get a couple of points early last Monday, but by the time the sun set, Philadelphia was favored by 2 ½ points. That number dropped to 2 and by last weekend, it sunk to 1 ½ points. The over-and-under was 50 ½ and that could be a problem getting it right. Both teams have high-octane offenses and should surpass the over, but they have bone-crushing defenses which could result in a low-scoring, ball-control offense and go under. My Projected Score—Kansas City 31, Philadelphia 28 with a field goal winning the game.

 

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