Black Quarterback: The Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Episode
By Brandon Simmons
Diddy is the Hip Hop Jerry Jones
The NFL needs Diddy as one of its owners. Sunday, amongst sexual misconduct allegations, current owner Jerry Richardson announced he will be selling the team at the end of the season. Later that night, Diddy hopped on Twitter and proclaimed that he would buy the team; even referred to them as the North Carolina Panthers. Regardless of the official title that there may be, this is a move that has been destined for somebody I like to call the Black Jerry Jones.
My whole life, Puffy has always positioned himself as an owner of some sort. For 20 years, he has been the CEO that my age group and younger have always aspired to be. Diddy has the skillset that we all know for a big time owner: general manager, branding and diversifying revenue. Diddy has brought us many musical talents such as the Notorious B.I.G., 112, Faith Evans and French Montana. Yes, French is still one of the hottest artists that’s out right now. He’s been able to stay relevant in the music business in over 20 years, an industry that will spit you faster than a running back at 30. The way he branded his music as what Biggie would call “Ashy to Classy” spilled over into his Sean John clothing line, probably one of the first urban wear lines to feature sport and business attire. That same branding helped him transform unknown Ciroc into the lightskin Hennessy.
Bottom line is this: I pray that this is a serious idea from Diddy because I do believe he can pull this off. In addition to him, Golden State Warrior guard – and Charlotte native – Steph Curry tweeted he wanted in on the venture, as well as former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The league will shit itself with Kaepernick at the helm but it’s also part of the reason why the league is dealing with some of its issues today. The NFL has been going through some things for a few years now. Their ratings are down, they have been constantly slammed for not connecting with younger audiences and also getting criticized for their relationship towards minority fans, despite the fact that over 90 percent of the players are African American, but largely due to their handling of the protests during the national anthem led by Kaepernick. Diddy is the bridge and voice that can address such things. A lot of these owners are old white dudes, who are probably passing down these franchises to more old, rich white people.
We have to push Diddy to get this done to show black people other avenues beyond the stereotypical careers such as rap and sports. It’s an ironic method of course, but it shows that black people can evolve within these particular industries rather than occupy the same roles. There’s nothing wrong with being an athlete or entertainer, but those same people need agents to get them contracts they are worth and owners who can help them be successful in their careers.
One Call Affects them All
One of the biggest fears about refereeing in any sport, is that a call will decide the fate of a game. Most of the time you will see it in the NBA if a certain foul is called and sends a player to the free throw line within the final minute of a contest. The Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers are right now experiencing that very pain. Sunday, both teams suffered some of the worst calls remembered in NFL history. The Steelers had a touchdown taken away after it was concluded that tight end Jesse James caught the ball but the catch did not survive the ground. The Raiders actually had a 4th down stop taken away from their defense after an index card determined that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott actually got the ball past the marker on 4th and short.
Both plays came at critical moments and contributed to the losses of both teams as well as any damage to their psyche. Shortly after the Steelers’ bad call, they were at the goal line down by 3, but decided to run a fake spike play and ended up with a pick. The Raiders themselves suffered by giving up a touchdown on that very drive and ended up losing the game on similar fate to what the Steelers did (more on that in a few).
It has to be sickening to know you just lost your season on something as frivolous as a rulebook technicality or something as small as an index card. For the Raiders, they still hold a grudge for the tuck rule back in 2002, so they have to have some sort of gripe about whatever this rule was supposed to be. The Raiders have already suffered their fate at the hands of this bad call, but the Steelers may or may not witness the effects when they are deep in the playoffs.
The Sins of Winning the Game
Former ESPN analyst Herm Edwards was famous for the phrase, “You play to win the game.” In addition to their bogus calls, the Raiders and Steelers found themselves in the same predicament. After the Steelers lost their touchdown, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger decided to run a fake spike play and throw a quick slant, even though he was down by a field goal. The pass resulted in an interception and a loss to the New England Patriots, which may have gave them the edge in a tie breaker. The Raiders were in a similar situation as they were down by 3 in Dallas’ territory. On 2nd and 3, deep in the red zone, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr drops back for a pass but scrambles for the end zone. He dives forward but fumbles the ball into the end zone and it’s ruled a touchback in favor of the Cowboys. We love to tell our players to win the game but God forbid if they fail when doing so.
Fans don’t seem to get that the risks involved with winning are sometimes coupled with losing consequences. They love when players are taking big chances to win games but hate when it just as much when it fails. When a coach converts a 4th down early in the game, he’s a genius; if he misses it, the fans are questioning his playcalling. They already had some questionable calls go against them and now they’re making some questionable decisions. Roethlisberger going for the touchdown, when he could have taken time off the clock to tie the game is not that bright, especially when your best wide receiver is injured and out of the game. All Carr had to do was run for the first down and hand the ball off to running back Marshawn Lynch to get some hits at the end zone to win the game. If either one of those plays fail, then both teams had a chance to win by kicking the field goal and going into overtime.
The Raiders and Steelers might pay for the sins of playing to win. They are sins because when these types of decisions fail, players are baptized in hellfire for making a dumb move that cost them the game. Remember when Belichick went for it on 4th down in that AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning. People legitimately criticized and questioned his skillset when that play bombed. Fast forward to this past Sunday, and it’s rare that you get two calls highlighted as to what might affect your season. The only these two teams can really do is repent with wins the rest of the way out.
The Legacy of Marvin Lewis
Sunday, Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis announced he would be leaving the team to pursue other opportunities. There’s not a lot of coaches who have used those exact words as a particular excuse on why they’re leaving but Lewis made himself an exception to the rule. Lewis was one of the first topics I blogged about in Black Quarterback’s debut post. My angle was describing how the Bengals have been bad for so long that he has managed to keep his job as a coach despite the failed playoff success. Ironically, it has become my focal point when reflecting on his tenure with the Bengals.
It all kind of makes you wonder what this means for black coaches going forward. Lewis received leniency that a lot of black head coaches did not seem to receive at the time. But with the Bengals, things were a little different. Before Lewis arrived in 2003, Cincinnati was one of the worst teams in the league, with their previous playoff appearance coming in 1990. But after he was hired, Lewis took the team to 7 playoff trips, including 5 straight from 2011-2015. However, neither of these trips amounted to any type of playoff victory, which was a huge criticism against the Bengals during this time.
Lewis instilled a sense of winning in this team that the franchise lacked before he came. There were quite a few losing seasons in his resume while coaching the Bengals but the 7 playoff trips within these 15 seasons matched the 7 playoff appearances previously held before the Marvin Lewis era. Despite him bringing this type of success to the team, he could not get them over the hump. When teams go from the outhouse to an apartment, eventually they want to move on to a house. Regardless, it can not be denied that he built something in that franchise to make them realize they can go higher than they were before.
Shoutouts / Shutouts
Jaguars secured the berth – The Jacksonville Jaguars clinched their first playoff berth since 2007, beating the Houston Texans, 45-7. They still have a chance to win the division as they are up 2 games over the Tennessee Ttians, who will they will play in their season finale.
What game was Clowney watching? – Houston Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney referred to Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles as trash, despite him throwing for 326 yards and 3 touchdowns. Even as a Texans fan, that criticism is unacceptably foolish.
Only 2 more weeks left in the season and a lot of teams have gotten washed out of the way for the playoffs, but a few wild card hopefuls remain. A perfect example will be the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are coming off a 42-7 beatdown by the Los Angeles Rams while the Cowboys are fresh off their controversial win against the Raiders. Both teams realize this may very well be their last shot at the postseason this year; but to make matters worse for Seattle, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot comes back from his 6 game suspension. The game that will also shake things up is the battle between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. The NFC South has been the strongest division in football all year but has yet to be decided. A loss won’t guarantee elimination, but it will put one of these teams on the brink of it. In fact, you can expect all four of these squads to play these games like their lives depended on it and give their all. But until then…I’ll holla.
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