The Top 10 Boneheaded Moments Of The 2014 NFL Season
Bad plays and physical mistakes are going to happen to every team and player in the NFL at some point. Colin Kaepernick fumbling on the one-yard line against the St. Louis Rams or botched coverages on defense are terrible breaks but also part of the game.
Bonehead moments are the face-palm, “D’oh!” acts that leave you shaking your head in wonder. The difference between this past year and others is just as many of those moments came from off-field events as during games.
The Browns Move Up for Johnny Football
The Cleveland Browns struggled at quarterback with Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell after Brian Hoyer was lost for the season with a right knee injury in Week Five. They had already selected cornerback Justin Gilbert with the eighth overall pick and when the opportunity arose to move up four spots to No. 22 in the first round they jumped and drafted 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Johnny Manziel out of Texas A&M.
The Browns hoped they were getting the quarterback who single-handedly brought his team back from a 38-17 halftime deficit to win the Chick-fil-A Bowl 52-48 over Duke. What they got was the irresponsible, party animal version.
Now with John DeFillippo hired as the new offensive coordinator to replace Kyle Shanahan, who resigned with two years left on his three year contract, Cleveland is discussing the quarterback position again.
DeFillippo has recently been quoted saying, “We're not sure if our starting quarterback is in the building or not. If he is, great. If he isn't, great too." Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, who many say was the real decision maker when it came to drafting Manziel, echoed that sentiment, “"We've got to get a quarterback and got to get it fixed.”
With that kind of decision-making by the Browns’ “leadership” expect Cleveland to continue looking up from fourth place at their AFC North competition.
Love Is Blind…and Stupid, Part 1
How else can you explain the reaction Ray Rice received from Baltimore fans when he emerged from the tunnel for the Ravens’ first preseason game? At that point Rice was under a two game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy after video surfaced of him dragging his unconscious fiancée, now wife, out of an elevator at a New Jersey casino.
It was public knowledge that the inside the elevator video existed and what was on it but the fans cheered anyway. Would they have still cheered if Rice was playing for the 49ers that night?
Eventually TMZ.com released the elevator video. Confronted by the graphic scene of Rice cold-cocking his wife Goodell decided to increase his suspension to indefinite, Baltimore released him and fans decided to exchange his jersey for other players when given the opportunity by the Ravens.
Love Is Blind…and Stupid, Part 2
Minnesota Vikings fans got their turn in the spotlight when pictures were released of Adrian Peterson’s four year old son showing open wounds and welts that had been inflicted with a switch and a belt as punishment for misbehaving.
After Peterson was suspended for the Vikings’ Week Two game against the New England Patriots many fans showed up wearing his jersey to show support.
One woman in the pre-game parking lot added a three foot long tree branch as a prop to demonstrate her Peterson worship, an image passed around far and wide across the internet.
While the identity of this woman hasn’t been revealed all anyone can do is hope she hasn’t reproduced yet. Lord help the child, and the father, if she has.
Coach Tresty’s Flying Circus
Imagine former Bears head coach Marc Trestman as at the podium as John Cleese sitting at a desk saying, “and now for something completely different,” and the Bears players reacting as if they were cast members of the Benny Hill Show. In essence this sums up the 2014 Chicago Bears season.
When it was revealed that wide receiver Brandon Marshall had signed to appear on “Inside the NFL” Trestman was asked for his reaction. “I trust Brandon,” Trestman told Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune. “He asked me about it. I trust him to make decisions that are in the best interests of the team first.”
On the Monday before the season opener against the Buffalo Bills linebacker Lance Briggs took a day off after asking Trestman for personal time. It was revealed on Wednesday that Briggs was at the grand opening of his barbecue restaurant in California, something Trestman didn’t know at the time.
Trestman preached accountability week after week without holding his players to that standard. Eventually it cost him. By mid-season he had lost the clubhouse and was fired the day after the season ended.
Lovie Never Learns
While head coach of the Chicago Bears Lovie Smith put together some top defensive units but it was his inability to develop a consistent offense, or hire a coordinator that could, that ended up costing him his job. He has proven that he learned nothing about that failure in his year away from the NFL.
On January 2, 2014 he hired former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford as his offensive coordinator. While Tedford had 11 years at Cal on top of experience in the Canadian Football League, he had never been a coach in the NFL. To compound that mistake on March 12 he signed Josh McCown to be his starting quarterback.
While McCown had a good run when replacing an injured Jay Cutler for the Bears in 2013 he’s never been much more than a mediocre back-up for a majority of his career.
Tedford was only on the sidelines for Tampa Bay for three preseason games before taking a leave of absence due to health. The Buccaneers released him on December 5. McCown proved unable to follow-up on the success he had in 2013 and Tampa Bay finished the season as the team with the worst record in football.
Act Like You’ve Been There Before Part One
In the first quarter of Detroit’s Week game against Green Bay linebacker Stephan Tulloch sacked Aaron Rodgers for a seven yard loss, leapt into the air to celebrate and dropped to the turf in pain after he landed. Tulloch was placed on injured reserve with an ACL tear and missed the rest of the season.
In Week Eight Chicago Bears defensive end Lamarr Houston picked up his first sac k of the season during a 51-23 embarrassment against the New England Patriots. Houston, obviously thrilled that he finally provided a return on investment to Chicago after signing a big free agent contract the previous summer celebrated so hard that he ruptured his right ACL, ending his season.
Act Like You’ve Been There Before Part Two
The Oakland Raiders were 0-10 heading into a Thursday night game against the 7-3 Kansas City Chiefs. With just under two minutes remaining the Raiders took a 24-20 lead on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to James Jones.
With 40-seconds left and the Chiefs attempting a final comeback linebacker Sio Moore sacked Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith for a seven-yard loss on a third down play. With the clock running and the Chiefs back on their own 48 Oakland defensive end Justin Tuck called a timeout.
Tuck must have panicked to make such a bonehead mistake, giving the Chiefs a chance to organize a fourth down play instead of rushing to the line for a last gasp attempt.
Actually, it was Tuck who made the play of the game. Moore, along with Khalil Mack, were twenty-yards behind the line still celebrating the sack. Kansas City was seconds away from running a free fourth down play against a nine man defense, or at least benefit from what would have been the most obvious offsides penalty in NFL history.
Fortunately for Moore and Mack an incompletion by Alex Smith on fourth down sealed Oakland’s first victory of the season. After the game Moore apologized for his lack of awareness.
Giants Hold pregame huddle on Eagles Logo and Pay the Price
You would think teams would learn to leave the logo alone. The Giants were 3-2 but must have felt undefeated heading into their Sunday night matchup in Philadelphia.
Once the game started the Eagles crushed the life out of the Giants. Philadelphia outgained them by 194 total yards and sacked Eli Manning eight times in a 27-0 rout.
That game was the first of a seven game losing streak for New York. Say it one more time, leave the logo alone!
Ahmad Brooks Benches Himself
No, we’re not talking about a crazy weight room feat of strength. In Week 11, on the road against the New York Giants, he became so upset about being platooned at linebacker with Aldon Smith and Aaron Lynch that he pulled himself out of the game.
During the second half, instead of standing on the sideline with his head in the game he went back to the bench, removed his helmet, cleats and had the tape cut from his ankles while watching his 49ers teammates defeat the Giants 16-10.
Brooks later apologized for the incident but four weeks later he was benched again, this time by Harbaugh for missing a team defensive meeting
49ers Push Jim Harbaugh Out the Door
Before Jim Harbaugh arrived in San Francisco the 49ers had missed the playoffs in eight straight seasons under four coaches. Under Harbaugh they went to three consecutive NFC Conference Championship games and one Super Bowl, that they came 1:50 and five yards away from winning. Even after a 2014 season where the 49ers had to overcome injuries and adversity they still finished 8-8 in what proved to be one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL.
Given that success most teams in the league would rip up the fifth year of that coach’s contract and write new paper to make sure he stayed in town. San Francisco decided it was better to “part ways” with that coach.
If an organization is about winning they find a way to deal with a coach who can be stubborn and uncompromising. Apparently owner Jed York and general manager Trent Balke decided it was all about them instead.