Super Bowl week is upon us, and in order to prepare ourselves mentally for the big game ahead, it often helps to look back upon the season that was, to remember how exactly we got here in the first place.
Fortunately for those with attention deficit disorder, the folks at ESPN put together highlights from the 2013 NFL season in just 2 minutes and 40 seconds, so you don’t have to waste any of your valuable time with a more in-depth analysis.
We love our GIFs here at ReadAndReact, so we’ve started a new weekly feature where we collect the best GIFs from each NFL week, and post them all in one convenient spot for your viewing enjoyment.
Most of these come courtesy of the always-awesome GIFulmination, @SBNation GIF or@CJZero Twitter… so special thanks to those guys. Submit your favorites GIFs to firstname.lastname@example.org, and PLEASE BE PATIENT WHILE THIS PAGE LOADS.
In honor of the passing of Steve Sabol – who is the reason so many of us fell in love with professional football – SBNation posted these classic NFL Films GIFs:
Willie Brown running into your living room:
Earl Campbell = truck:
True to his word, following last week’s game-ending controversy against the Giants and with his Buccaneers losing 16-10 to the Cowboys today in the final minutes, Tampa Bay rookie head coach Greg Schiano once again blitzed his opponent’s victory formation as Dallas ran out the clock.
In fact, this time the Bucs went after the snap three consecutive times, with Schiano calling a time out to act like a tough guy and scream at his players before the final attempt.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE
Before the mics go silent, you can hear Schiano loudly shouting “I don’t give a f@ck what they think”. And since he knows the cameras (and all of his critics) are watching, Schiano then proceeds to coach harder than he had the entire game, tearing into his players as though it was the biggest play of their lives. He specifically went to extra care to make it seem as though he’s coaching technique to swipe at the snap before it reaches to the quarterback … as though this somehow would justify his “strategy”.
As expected, the Cowboys were fully prepared for Schiano’s tactics, and once again, it didn’t work. Despite the fact that the Cowboys’ center got blasted backward on each attempt (with the Bucs lining up offside on the last try), Tony Romo was able to cleanly field the snap … and Tampa Bay still lost.
Our final thoughts on all this: While Schiano is well within the rules for coaching his team to play this way (and will apparently get a lot of practice at it), no matter how you slice it, it’s still a bush league move. It’s the equivalent of getting your ass kicked in a street fight, and then when your opponent lets up and starts walking away, flailing wildly at his junk. There’s a small chance you’ll hurt the guy, but it’s definitely a cheap shot.
And regardless, you’re still a dick.
This past Sunday, on New Year’s Day 2012, we were fortunate enough to attend the much-hyped Giants-Cowboys game at MetLife Stadium.
This was for all the marbles in the NFC East, with the winner taking the division and the loser going home to face a long off-season, watching the playoffs from the outside looking in. A play-in game, if you will, between bitter division rivals. As regular season match-ups go, it doesn’t get much bigger than this. So we battled our hangovers and made the trip to East Rutherford, where we took a lot of pictures along the way to share with you, our loyal readers.
Despite our sterling reputation as an emerging force in new sports media, we didn’t have any press passes or fancy cameras for this one, so these photos are all from the fan’s perpective … and all of them were taken on an iPhone 4s. We hope you enjoy!
(CLICK ANY PHOTO TO EMBIGGEN):
CONTINUE AFTER THE JUMP FOR MORE PHOTOS FROM THE GIANTS/COWBOYS GAME
Every once in a while, the Worldwide Leader will produce a package that takes a different approach to the usual sports analysis, and thus stands out from the pack. Usually, we can rely on our boy Kenny Mayne to bring the off-center humor to the party, but this time Trey Wingo steps up with his feature on the trials and tribulations of Tony Romo so far this season. In it, he and NFL Live co-host Marcellus Wiley go for a ride on the “Romo Coaster”, which promises to simulate the thrills and spills of a game with the much maligned Cowboys’ QB at the helm.
Watch as Wingo somehow manages to provide a perfectly cogent breakdown of Romo’s successes and failures while riding the coaster, while Wiley mainly tries to keep his lunch down:
VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP
Wow. Just wow.
After dominating the first half of Sunday’s Cowboys-Lions game and leading 27-3 in the third quarter, Tony Romo and the Cowboys figured out a new and exciting way to blow a football game. Romo threw two – count ‘em, TWO – pick six interceptions (3 total 2nd half INTs) that let the Lions back in the game and eventually defeat Dallas, 34-30. It was a stunning performance on both sides of the ball, as the Lions completed their second straight 20+ point comeback and improved to 4-0 for the first time since 1980.
Watch as Romo throws a gift-wrapped interception to his former teammate (and groomsman in his wedding) LB Bobby Carpenter who takes it to the house, and then follows that up with another INT to CB Chris Houston, who cuts the Lions deficit even further with a 56-yard return:
VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP
Via Reddit/r/nfl comes the instant-classic Tony Romo Flowchart, which takes you step-by-step through the Cowboys quarterback’s typical thought processes after receiving a playcall from head coach Jason Garrett.
We have no idea who created this masterpiece (it was originally posted to Reddit by user “Tokyosexwhale“), but it’s pretty much perfect, especially coming on the heels of Monday night’s game against the Redskins, where Romo was working with a crew of inexperienced receivers and a center who seemingly couldn’t remember a snap count. Kudos to you, sir.
CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW FULL-SIZE
Since our resident Cowboys fan, C-O-U-R-T-N-E-Y, has remained silent about the outlook for his favorite team, this guy will have to suffice as our “expert” opinion on the subject for now.
In response to the Cowboys meltdown at the Jets in Week 1, YouTube user divalover159 delivers a tirade for the ages on his favorite franchise, owner Jerry Jones, and QB/whipping boy Tony Romo. It’s nearly ten minutes of pure, unadulterated passion, bouncing bellies and questionable grammar, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Matt Foley, motivational speaker.
Sure, it goes on a bit long, but something about this video is truly captivating …
VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP
The Tony Romo we’ve come to know and love finally showed up in the 4th quarter of tonight’s Jets-Cowboys tilt at the newly-christened MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.
After an impressive three quarters of football, Romo and the Cowboys led New York 24-17 with 9:12 remaining in the game, and 3rd & goal from the 2-yard line. With a chance to seal the win with a touchdown (or at least a field goal), Romo took the snap from shotgun, looked right, then left, then straight downfield before tucking the ball and deciding to run for it. See if you can guess what happens next:
The Jets later tied the game on a blocked punt & return for a score, and Romo – who finished 23-of-36 for 342 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT – had a chance at a game-winning drive with under a minute to play. But Romo’s first pass attempt was an awful one, getting picked off by Darrelle Revis, which set up Jets kicker Nick Folk to be the hero, drilling a 50-yard field goal with :27 to go.
It’s been a tough season for Cowboys fans — but there’s plenty of salt left in the shaker to pour into those wounds.
The question creeps up again: Are the Cowboys the most inappropriately hyped team in professional sports?
Their on-field performance seems to be of no issue: if they win three games this season, playing some of the worst football in the NFC, there’s no doubt the league will still slate them for five or six nationally televised games in 2011. Quality on the field not even taken into account, we’ll be told their the “most talented team in the NFC” come summer.
Stripping away the media sheen, what do the Cowboys substantively bring to the table?
Why have we been force-fed this team during its 15-year, post-Aikman wanderings? They’re consistently outplayed by other teams — especially in big games. This has been happening for years.
And why the media’s love affair with frat-boyish Tony Romo?
While everyone’s busy anointing Romo the next Roger Staubach — is he more accurately the next Danny White, during an equally depressing era of Cowboys football?
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN takes a look at some of today’s stars and (imperfectly) attempts to match them to their natural predecessors of old.
Danny White and Tony Romo
Most Cowboys fans will not appreciate the comparison — and deny it.
White presided over a Cowboys franchise that still felt it was all that based on its glory years a decade or so before. The 6-foot-2, 193-pound White was 62-30 (.674) as a starter and 5-5 (.500) in the playoffs. He was never able to get Dallas to the Super Bowl, despite a string of double-digit-win regular seasons and a talented supporting cast. His inability to win the big game didn’t help fans forget about Staubach.
Romo presides over a Cowboys franchise that still feels it’s all that based on its glory years a decade or so ago. The 6-foot-2, 219-pound Romo is 39-23 (.629) as a starter and 1-3 (.250) in the playoffs. He has never been able to get Dallas to the Super Bowl, despite a string of double-digit-win regular seasons and a talented supporting cast. His inability to win the big game hasn’t helped fans forget about Aikman.
Notorious ‘Boys fan, C-O-U-R-T-N-E-Y, suggested Romo be compared to Fran Tarkenton. OK, let’s do it:
Tarkenton, a Hall of Famer and nine-time Pro Bowler, played for 18 seasons, 13 of them with the Minnesota Vikings. He was drafted by the Vikings and played six years in Minnesota before spending five seasons with the New York Giants. He then, in his 12th season, returned to the Vikings and led the team to three Super Bowls.
Tarkenton won 124 games as a starter and was 6-4 in the playoffs.
During a golden era in the Vikings’ history, Tarkenton was their leader, willing them to NFC crowns.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.
Kevin Mack and Peyton Hillis
Kevin Mack, a 6-foot, 224-pound bruiser who surprised people with his agility, downhill running style and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, gave Cleveland a much-needed lift after the Browns masterfully plucked him from the USFL’s Los Angeles Express for a song. In 1985, his first campaign with a young, developing Browns team under the direction of poised rookie quarterback Bernie Kosar — who became the team’s starter in Week 6 — Mack barnstormed his way for 1,104 rushing yards, 297 receiving yards and 10 total touchdowns. He helped an 8-8 Browns team squeak into the playoffs. He rushed for 5,123 yards (4.0 yards per attempt) and 46 touchdowns in his career. He also caught 197 passes for 1,602 yards and eight scores.
Peyton Hillis, a 6-foot-1, 240-pound bruiser who has surprised people with his agility, downhill running style and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, has given Cleveland a much-needed lift after the Browns masterfully plucked him from the Denver Broncos for a song. In 2010, his first campaign with a young, developing Browns team under the direction of poised rookie quarterback Colt McCoy — who became the team’s starter in Week 6 — Hillis has barnstormed his way for 726 rushing yards, 256 receiving yards and nine total touchdowns in nine games. He has helped a young Browns team to wins over a series of playoff-caliber teams. In three seasons, he has rushed for 1,123 yards (4.8 yards per attempt) and 14 touchdowns. He has also caught 52 passes for 454 yards and two scores.