As we kick off the 2013 NFL season tonight, we are graced with this incredible set of NFL team sigils, in the style of the house sigils from Game of Thrones. For those of you who are geeks for both the NFL and GOT (like us), this is pure nirvana.
Created by internet hero DJroomba, aka Tim Proby, the complete gallery of all 32 teams (even the Jets) can be found here, and includes several variations for each club. We’ve posted some of our favorites below, and saved the best for last in the Patriots and Browns. Enjoy your new desktop wallpapers!
MORE NFL TEAM SIGILS AFTER THE JUMP
JaMarcus Russell is widely considered the biggest draft bust in NFL history.
His precipitous fall from #1 overall draft pick out of LSU in 2007 to an overweight, codine-abusing washout after just three seasons is well-documented (including by us, multiple times), but the one thing that’s missing from most stories about Russell is the human element. What, exactly, caused someone with the world in the palm of his hands to throw it all way for some fast food and sizzurp? And how could it have all fallen apart so quickly?
This ESPN special, entitled “Jamarcus Russell, Waking Up” provides the most insight yet into the mind of Russell, from his high school days to LSU and through his darkest days in Oakland. It tells about how Russell lost one of his closest uncles – and then another uncle – in the same year (2009), which helped to derail him mentally before his final season with the Raiders. And it shows you a man today who, after three years away from the game, is facing his failures head on and gearing up for a comeback.
Along the way, the feature transforms Russell from a punchline into a sympathetic figure, and one you want to root for. Whether or not Russell will make it back to the NFL remains to be seen (we wouldn’t exactly bet on it), but it’s a reminder that at the end of the day, these gladiators we root for on Sundays are real people too, facing real human struggles. And sometimes we all fall short of the glory, and deserve at least a chance at redemption.
VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP
As expected, the NFL Owners voted to abolish the infamous “Tuck Rule” by an overwhelming margin today, bringing an end to one of the more controversial rules interpretations in recent history. The owners also voted to ban ball carriers from initiating contact with the crown of their helmets in the open field - a rule that should prove to be wildly controversial in its own right over the coming weeks and months.
As we know, the Tuck Rule was made famous in 2001 when Tom Brady lost the ball after starting a passing motion – but while bringing the ball back down toward his body – during a snowy playoff game against the Oakland Raiders. It allowed a fumbled ball that is moving forward in the hand of a quarterback to be ruled an incomplete pass … an interpretation that flew in the face of common sense every time it was applied. Well after more than 11 years, reason has finally prevailed, and the rule was eliminated by a 29-1-2 vote.
For their part, the victims of that call – the Raiders – have responded to the rule change via Twitter, en Espanol:
Adios, Tuck Rule.
— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) March 20, 2013
If you’ve been listening to the debate over the replacement refs, and wondering exactly how they impact the game negatively or jeopardize player safety, I give you Exhibit B (Exhibit A HERE).
Oakland WR Darrius Heyward-Bey left today’s Raiders-Steelers game on a cart, after taking this brutal helmet-to-helmet hit in the endzone from CB Ryan Mundy:
Heyward-Bey was knocked unconscious, and laid motionless on the field before being taken to a local hospital with a neck injury. No flags were thrown on the play.
The Oakland Raiders showed the world last night how important a long snapper can be to your team’s successes (or in this case, mind-numbing failures).
After their starting Pro Bowl long snapper Jon Condo left the game with a head injury, back up linebacker Travis Goethel stepped in and tried to fill his shoes … despite not having long snapped since high school. And almost instantly, Goethel proved that it’s a lot harder than it looks.
Goethel’s first snap attempt bounced back to Lechler, who couldn’t field it cleanly and got tackled in the backfield. The second snap was decent enough, but the punt got blocked by an untouched Charger defender (Lechler’s first blocked punt since 2006). Oakland actually got the third punt off (barely), but on the fourth attempt, Goethel apparently just stopped trying:
After much hype and build-up, the NFL unveiled new uniforms from Nike for all 32 teams today … and aside from the Seattle Seahawks, your favorite team will pretty much look the same next year.
There had been some concern among fans that Nike was going to redesign every team’s uniform to look like the Oregon Ducks, but in general the changes are barely perceptible.
The biggest change across the board is to the collar, where Nike added their “Flywire” design which supposedly helps keep the collar flat against the pads, and some teams have included a two-tone color scheme to go along with it. There are some other updates to the construction, fit, fabric and color shadings that I’m sure are huge differences to the uni-geeks over at Nike, but nothing the average fan would really notice.
The fine folks at uni-watch.com have a detailed team-by-team breakdown of changes to the uniform, and you can VIEW UP-CLOSE PHOTOS OF ALL 32 NEW UNIFORMS HERE.
It turns out the Packers, Raiders, Eagles, Falcons and Panthers passed entirely on the opportunity to update their unis, essentially rejecting Nike’s proposed modifications. But the Seahawks decided to go for it, re-vamping their color scheme to include neon green and updating the helmet logo for a completely new look. You can check out more detailed photos of the Seahawks uniform at this gallery, but it’s not nearly as bad as some people are making it out to be (photo below).
Raiders’ LB Rolando McClain was arrested on Thursday in Alabama for allegedly pointing a gun at another man’s head, threatening to kill him, then pointing it away before firing next to his ear. As he was being put into the Decatur police patrol car, McClain paused for the cameras, giving us one of the odder photos we’ve seen all year:
McClain – who grew up up and Decatur and attended Alabama University – is now facing several misdemeanor weapons charges, but says he’s still preparing to play in tomorrow’s Raiders-Dolphins game. Something tells me Rolando doesn’t fully grasp the gravity of his situation.
This week, the folks over at Forbes magazine put together their list of the best and worst owners in professional football. The rankings are based on each franchise’s change in total value and win percentage over the last five years, with each accounting for half of the overall ranking, plus a bump for post-season success. And while the results probably won’t shock anyone, it’s nonetheless interesting to keep track of which owners consistently keep their clubs at the top of the game.
The top spot goes to New York Giants co-owners, the Mara and Tisch families, who have seen a 33% growth in the team’s value since 2006 (the highest in the league). Close behind in second place is Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots, who have increased their value 17% by posting the highest winning percentage of any team in the last five years. Rounding out the top five are Jim Irsay of the Indianapolis Colts, the public stockholders of the Green Bay Packers and Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys.
At the bottom of the barrel we find William Clay Ford Sr. and the Detroit Lions. Although the team is enjoying a resurgence this season, Ford’s team has epitomized futility in professional football for the past ten years. Reaching brand new lows in 2008 with their 0-16 2008, Detroit was the only team to actually lose money last year. While the average NFL team has seen growth of 8% over the last five years, the Lions have seen their overall team value drop by 3% in that same time period.
The late Al Davis claims the second-worst spot for his mis-management of the Oakland Raiders, with Ralph Wilson Jr (Bills), Mike Brown (Bengals), Randy Lerner (Browns), joining him in the bottom five.
VIEW THE 10 BEST AND WORST OWNERS AFTER THE JUMP
ReadAndReact’s intrepid reporter, TheDarkHorse, ventured into the Black Hole on Sunday to take in the Week 6 Raiders-Browns contest. A devoted Browns fan, we’re just glad he made it out of Oakland alive to share these pictures with us:
Yesterday, the Oakland Raiders took the field against Houston just one day after the death of their longtime owner, Al Davis. And after his club pulled out a 25-20 victory on a final-play endzone interception by Michael Huff, head coach Hue Jackson fell to his knees and wept, overcome by the emotion of the day. But when he addressed his team in the locker room afterwards, it was even more clear how much Davis meant to Jackson, his team, and the entire Raiders organization.
We’ve certainly had our share of fun at Davis’ expense in recent years, but you can’t deny the impact the man had on the game of football, and people who played and coached under him.
WATCH JACKSON’S POSTGAME SPEECH AFTER THE JUMP