News and Notes : 3.22.13

The weirdest, saddest, angriest, and best news of the past week in the NFL.

We’ve reached the portion of the off-season in which legitimate news that will actually matter come September is hard to come by but tabloid-style flashy news is everywhere.

It’s kind of fun.

Plenty of other things happened over the course of the last week, but these are the five categories of events that stood out most for me:

Weirdest: Last Friday, I was sitting on a friend’s couch, catching up on the week, when my iPhone lit up with “Elvis Dumervil takes pay cut to stay in Denver.” No big surprise there. Then, no more than a minute or two later, this: “Elvis Dumervil cut from Denver after missed contract deadline.” And that was quite the big surprise.

In what has to be one of the weirdest sports stories ever (although there have been quite a few hum dingers lately), Elvis Dumervil’s now former agent didn’t get his contract faxed over in time to meet the deadline, and the Broncos had no rational business choice but to cut him. Now, this isn’t quite as devastating as it might seem, because they can resign him if they want to (and most signs point to that happening), but still…wow. It raises a variety of thoughts. Among them: 1) Fax machines? 2) The business side of football in all it’s cut throat glory is the same for all players with few exceptions.

3) Fax machines.

Who knew?

Saddest: It takes a lot for me to say this as a Packers fan and thus a non-fan of the Bears and all their constituents…but it’s sad to me that the Bears wouldn’t resign Urlacher for a measly $3 million. I realize that I just used the phrase “measly $3 million” but when you’re talking about keeping one of your veterans for the duration of his career and the difference between giving him a one-team legacy and cutting him loose is about $1 million (they offered him 2, he said he would negotiate 3)…it just seems like class should prevail over business at that point.

And now we have Exhibit 700 as evidence to why I would be a terrible GM.

Angriest: Greg Jennings is now the millionth Packer to don the Purple. And who helped him reach that decision? The Vikings other recent big-time NFC North steal: Brett Favre.

You’re really not helping to orchestrate your hero’s welcome back to GB, 4.

Three guesses as to which team is reportedly trying to grab Urlacher now that he’s on the market?

The Purple We-Can’t-Find-Our-Own-People Eaters.

Seriously…burns my biscuits.

Best: Praise the Lord and Hallelujah, the Tuck Rule is no more. I think it’s safe to say that no one is more pleased than Charles Woods0n.

Best Intended: The new helmet rule is taking a lot of flack from fans and players alike, and it’s easy to see why. At first glance, it seems like this new rule – which is trying to increase player safety by penalizing running backs who make contact with the crown of their head in the open field – is the latest stop on the train to football’s demise, at least football as we currently know it. Trying to make an unsafe sport safe is a tall order. It’s also an impossible, highly important, order. And when changes are made to the fabric of the game, it’s an order that causes mass hysteria.

But as a few level-heads have pointed out, this rule doesn’t change anything. No running back has ever been taught to hit with the crown of his head. Besides not making safety sense, it doesn’t make football sense. So this rule really shouldn’t be that big of a deal; in fact, it should be celebrated.

However, and this is an elephant of a however, the celebration pauses when we consider how in the world this is going to be officiated. The rule makes sense on paper, and it even makes sense on tape, but at game speed? When officials are keeping track of other factors and are trying to make their best judgement in real time in the mass of humanity that is stopping the run? That’s going to be rough. There will be lots of flags, lots of disgruntled people, and lots of throwing the baby out with the bathwater to the tune of, “They’re killing football!!!”

Don’t give up on this rule – or the future of football – quite yet. These changes aren’t being made to kill a game we love; they’re being made to make sure it doesn’t die of it’s own volition: an inherently violent nature and a refusal to adapt.

What do you guys think of the new rule?

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