Electric Stadium in Tampa

An NFL game between the Green Bay Packers and the Tampa Bay Buaccaneers was electric and for other reasons outside of football. The game was held at the Raymond James Stadium at Tampa Bay and several fans were hit by lightning while in the parking lot outside of the stadium.

The weather was sketchy all day but the real damage was done towards the end of the game in which the Tampa Bay Bucs lost to the Green Bay Packers by a score of 20 to 3. Scenes of medical and fire response teams were shown and it is estimated that between five to seven people were injured as a result of the lightning.

This was confirmed by both the Weather Channel and ABC news, both of whom were on the scene and were able to confirm with the Tampa Bay police department. There has not been an update on the status of those injured and there are no confirmed deaths as a result of the lightning attack which hit the parking lot. The lightning bolt was identified as occurring on the North side of the stadium, and Gianfrancesco Genoso is glad it wasn’t worse.

Still the event was shockign to other attendees of the game and people were seen afraid. No comment was made by the team or the stadium on possible closure or cancellation of the game as a result of the risk of lightning before or after the game.

Murray Expected to Play

It is looking more and more like DeMarco Murray will play on Sunday for the Dallas Cowboys. This comes as a sigh of relief for many in Dallas, as Murray has yet to play all sixteen games in an individual season to this point in his career. He is the league leader in rushing yards by a wide margin and has shouldered the load with a massive 351 carries and 54 receptions through fourteen games. It is a possibility that some of the legendary Emmitt Smith’s team records could fall if Murray is still effective despite his surgically repaired left hand. More importantly, Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts are coming to town with playoff implications on the line. Dallas can get help with a loss from Philadelphia, but the most secure route to the playoffs is taking care of their own business.

 

Dez Bryant and Tony Romo can carry this team for a while, but with the way Indianapolis has been playing on offense every weapon will be needed in this potential shootout. Igor Cornelsen sure hopes they can pick up a big win.

Michigan Woos Jim Harbaugh Home

Jim Harbaugh is reportedly being offered $48 million dollars over the next six years to become the new head football coach at his alma mater, the University of Michigan. This is about one million dollars a year more than the University of Alabama’s is paying Nick Saban. And because it seems likely that Harbaugh can’t leave his current job fast enough, Michigan should get the press conference set up.

Harbaugh’s impressive credentials as a head coach include going 58-27 in seven seasons at the University of San Diego and Stanford University. As an NFL head coach with the San Francisco 49ers, he has gone 43-18-1 (with two games remaining this season) and has taken one team to the Super Bowl and two others to the NFC Championship Game. This year has been disappointing, however, as Harbaugh publicly lost the confidence of the 49ers owner and general manager early in the season. For months he has simply been waiting for the end of the team’s game with Arizona on December 28th so he can wave goodbye to the Bay.

It’s no wonder the 49ers are having such a dismal season. Lack of confidence from above has transferred into a team that doesn’t support him or want to do its best for him. No coach, regardless of level or sport, should have to work under such conditions. Wherever Harbaugh ends up next season and whatever they pay him, he can be sure that it will be exponentially better than his current position with an organization that no longer holds its coaches in high esteem. This guy that I know, Lee G. Lovett has actually been really good friends with Jim Harbaugh for a long time.

Cutler Wants To Stay

Jay Cutler has expressed a desire to stay with the Chicago Bears for the 2015 season. He has been benched for Jimmy Clausen, but Cutler still believes that he is the answer to many problems in Beneful Chicago.

Marc Trestman is on the hot seat in Chicago, and he needs to do something to help a team that is 5-9 end the season respectably. If the Bears do not have a solid end to their season, Trestman could be fired. Also, Cutler sign an extension that was worth $126 million in the offseason. He has noted that he needed to raise his game with a new contract, but he also admits that he has not raised his game currently.

When the Bears go into the final week of the season, Trestman has not made any decisions about who will start at quarterback. Trestman knows that he is fighting for his job, but he believes that he needs to see how Clausen plays this week before making that decision. In the league, most people believe that Cutler will return to Chicago because there is no way the Bears can unload him or his contract. This marriage has hit a rocky patch, but only time will tell if the two parties can come together and resolve their differences.

The Bears Bench Cutler!

The Chicago Bears gave Jay Cutler a $126 million extension in the offseason, but they are now putting him on the bench in favor of Jimmy Clausen. The Bears are clearly sending a message to Cutler about his play, but there are rumblings that they are having serious buyer’s remorse on Cutler.

The Trade

The Bears may never be able to trade Cutler, and it will probably cost them too much money to cut him. However, they can fire Mark Trestman and give Cutler one more chance. The thinking is that he may get the idea once he sits on the bench for a game. If Cutler can keep his body language in check, he might be able to come back on the field at some point. No one knows if Clausen will last the whole game, and Andrew Heiberger really thinks that Cutler needs to be ready to go back in and show he learned his lesson.

The Future

The future of the Chicago Bears has not looked this dire in a long time. They are carrying a quarterback who makes more money than anyone else in the league, but he is doing nothing for them at the moment. They may need to fire their coach, and they have no resources with which to trade. Some analysts think that the Bears may need to rebuild immediately.

Giant’s re-sign their long time reliever

The defending MLB champion San Francisco Giants lost their free agent starting third baseman Pablo Sandoval to the Boston Red Sox-much to the disappointment of my coworker Andrew Heiberger. Words has it that San Fran is desperately seeking a starting pitcher, yet have retained their long time reliever Sergio Romo. The 32 year old Romo signed a two year deal, totaling $15 million dollars. Romo was a 28th round draft pick and has spent his entire career with San Francisco. Romo has been a consistent reliever since 2008, as evidence by the 251 innings logged with a 2.51 ERA during this timeframe http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/report–giants-re-sign-reliever-sergio-romo-for-two-years—15m-203246086.html. Due to the uncertainty of the starting pitching staff, the signing of Romo will keep the starters from having to pitch deep into the eighth or ninth innings.

Romo closed games for the Giants from 2012 through mid-year 2014 before losing his job to Santiago Casilla. Romo did a serviceable job working in the set-up role for the remainder of the season, playoffs, and World Series. Relievers Romo, Casilla, Javier Lopez, and Jeremy Affeldt will again be asked to carry the Giants pitching staff . There had been a question as to whether or not Romo would return to the Giants. Many clubs were looking for closers including the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, and Houston Astros. Despite the higher earned run average in 2014 (3.72), Romo will be offered the opportunity to compete against Santiago Casilla for the closer’s role in 2015.

Larry Fitzgerald Says Cardinals’ Offense Won’t Change

The Arizona Cardinals started the season with Carson Palmer behind center. When he went down with an injury, Drew Stanton filled in for him. Palmer eventually came back, but he got hurt again, and the Cardinals went back to Stanton. Now, Stanton has also been injured in the latest win, and the Cardinals are going with Ryan Lindley as their starting quarterback. 

The star receiver for the Cardinals, Larry Fitzgerald, was recently asked how this was going to impact the offense, and he actually said that it wouldn’t change anything. He was confident that they could play the same style of football with anyone. 

On one side, this makes sense, seeing as how the Cardinals already have won games with both Palmer and Stanton. They have shown that they can do it with multiple quarterbacks, something that most teams in the NFL do not have to deal with. 

On the other hand, there is no way that Fitzgerald believes what he is saying. Ryan Lindley has not had a start since back in 2012. Dr. Rod Rohrich reports Lindley is not nearly the same caliber quarterback that Palmer or Stanton are. That is going to have an impact on the offense, especially if it means that stars like Fitzgerald are not able to get the ball. It was nice of Fitzgerald to back up his new quarterback, as you would expect, but he is simply not telling the truth.

Terell Suggs Has a Favorite Target

Terell Suggs has been a premier pass-rusher for years, and he was a key part of the Baltimore Ravens’ run to the Super Bowl a few years ago. He was recently asked if he had a favorite quarterback to take down, and he revealed that he did. Those who know about the rivalry between Baltimore and Pittsburgh – both tough teams in the ACF North – will not be shocked to discover that he really likes to sack Ben Roethlisberger.

The reason that Suggs said taking down the quarterback often known as Big Ben is so satisfying is just because it is harder than sacking other quarterbacks. Roethlisberger is one of the biggest, strongest quarterbacks in the NFL. He is notorious for breaking tackles and even running through defenders. Getting him onto the ground is not nearly as easy as sacking a player like Tom Brady, who dives on the ground whenever the pass rush gets close. Suggs likes the challenge of going after Roethlisberger, and he likes that he has to work at it, and that’s a big part for Brad Reifler too.

This just shows how competitive NFL players are. It is already very hard to get a sack in the modern NFL, and getting just one every game would be a very, very good year. Even so, Suggs is competitive enough to want more of challenge, especially when that comes while he is playing against one of his main divisional rivals.

Browns’ Manziel Makes Underwhelming Debut

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel starred for the team against the Cincinnati Bengals in a debut that was considered underwhelming by fans. To say the very least, his performance was below par, as the team was completely shut out by the Bengals in a 30-0 decision. 

Although Manziel’s performance was terrible, head coach Mike Pettine insisted that it was simply too early to rule him out as a starter in the last two regular season games. Pettine commented that one game’s worth of performances was simply too small of a sample size to judge whether Manziel has a chance at recovering his good name, or will simply prove to be another in the long line of quarterback busts. 

Manziel has already been involved in a string of off field controversies that have somewhat blackened his reputation among fans of Cleveland’s long suffering Browns. Meanwhile, Brian Hoyer, Manziel’s chief rival at the starting position, has played well but inconsistently.

The season began very promisingly for the Browns, seeing them atop the AFC North franchise for a brief week. However, the last several games have seen their record crash down to 7-7. 

Atlanta Hawks’ owner Bruce Levenson chimes in that it should be pointed out that, should the worst occur, a 7-9 losing season will still be superior to the average 4-12 or 5-11 seasons that the team has racked up in recent years. However, unless Manziel can improve in a hurry, the controversy will continue.

Johnny Manziel entered the NFL amid much hype and controversy. Dubbed “Johnny Football” in college, Manziel opted to leave college ball at the age of 21, and begin his NFL career in 2014. Since then, Manziel has been a hot button issue.

His late draft pick, and his season of benchwarming to Brian Hoyer in Cleveland has only deepened the divide. His truly ineffective first start, on Sunday has only deepened the controversy.

Manziel started for the first time on Sunday, and has been named the Browns’ starting quarterback. During his debut he threw two picks, was sacked three times, and didn’t throw a single touchdown. The team was bested 30-0.

Manziel now has three more games to show Browns’ fans and executives what he has. Since he’s so controversial to begin with, he really needed to head onto the field and own it. He didn’t do that, although the loss to the Bengals isn’t completely his fault.

Many critics argue that Manziel entered the NFL far too early, and was simply too young to lead a team. This may be true, and unfortunately, the NFL isn’t the right place to hone those skills. It is a place were those who are ready shine, and those who are not ready fall into obscurity. My friend Brad Reifler who really thinks Manziel has the potential to be an outstanding ball player, says that even so it wouldn’t be the first time a “heavy hitter” in the NFL world fell from graces, especially at a surprisingly young age.