Training camp is weeks away and frankly, there is very little write about. As you can probably tell, I am a huge fan of writing series and weekly editorials. Since it is Friday and we are all looking to enjoy our last ours before the weekend, I am introducing a new series called "NFL Clown Shoes" that will look at the most headshaking, idiotic and funny news in the NFL. Every Friday, we will go over the stupidity that sometimes comes with the reporting of the 24/7 news cycle and moronic coaching decisions.
1) First off, the Minnesota Vikings have hired draft bust, Jeff George, to serve as a mentor for their starting quarterback, Christian Ponder. While former flame out quarterbacks serving as mentors is nothing new (Chris Weinke, Ken Dorsey), the George hiring is extremely puzzling. In case you are unaware, George was the first overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. George fizzled out of Indy pretty quickly after building up the record of 14 wins and 35 loses with team. He then bounced around the league Atlanta to Oakland to Minnsota to D.C. to Seattle to Chicago and then back again to Oakland. During this time, George did everything he could to wear out his welcome every spot. He frequently antagonized fans, teammates and coaches and was obviously not Christmas cards from the Irsays.
While Ponder has had a rocky road for a career so far, he has been anything but a problem child. Why bring in a walking advertisement for selfishness and poor leadership? Isn't the only point of mentoring someone if you are helping them grow? Ponder knows not to be a jerk and also knows that he should turn the ball over, so I am not sure why George's presence brings anything to the table. Why not hire former Eagle, Jeff Garcia, to mentor him? Garcia worked with JaMarcus Russell and may have landed him a spot in the league, when just a few months ago, teams wouldn't say "hi" to him on the streets.
2) While I think playing paint ball is fun and is good for team-building, when you are a team that is as bad at football as the Jets are, why not practice more? Rex Ryan has made a reputation out of speaking his mind and using odd techniques to get his team motivated, a paint ball game during OTAs is just idiotic. But that's exactly what the Jets did. I understand you want to get the team together and build up the team chemistry, but can't you do it on your own time? If guys are really into winning and are true competitors, can't they arrange a game, instead of taking up practice time? Last time I checked, Mark Sanchez could barely complete an accurate pass. Wouldn't you rather have talent be, you know, coached to success? (Sidenote: Could you imagine Marty out there with the paintballs?)
3) Lastly, the NFL is really trying to go global. The league hopes to move a team on a full-time basis to London, without any clear regard for obvious issues. Many have speculated that the ignorantly-observed "lack of fanbase" dwellers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, would be the right fit for the move. What is funny about all of this, is that the league is trying to move a team who "supposedly" can't draw an audience, to a foreign market with even less emotional investment to the league or the team. Jacksonville is a football city, whether the national media or population realizes. Moving a team to London would not only destroy ability to recover NFL pride in the city of Jacksonville, but would also turnoff an American market to the country's most popular sport. While growing the fanbase overseas is important, why not just resurrect NFL Europe? The NFL needs a minor league system and Eric Mangini wants to be a head coach again. It's a perfect fit.
As Pro Football Talk has pointed out, the European team would cause vicious scheduling problems as well as impact the excitement and integrity of free agency. Not only that, but does it even make sense to take away another team from a country that literally eats up everything that an NFL team serves them? Are there Jaguars in an part of Europe? Who's the Boss? What about the exchange rate?
Clearly, the NFL needs to think all of this through.