Thursday, November 23, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Midseason Report: What would we do without Tony Romo?

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Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the first half of the NFL season.

Goofiest story

Pizza Wars! Sounds like it should be a TV show on Food Network. First, the Papa John guy blames company losses on the NFL and the anthem protests, slamming league commissioner Roger Goodell in the process. Then ProFootballTalk points out that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who currently has a little feud going with Goodell, is buddies with Papa John and owns a bunch of Papa John franchises and might have been behind the whiny rant. Then Pizza Hut joins in to say its sales are fine. And then frozen pizza DiGiorno comes off the top rope and makes fun of Papa Johns, who also has to ask that Neo-Nazis don’t eat his pizza. Tell me you wouldn’t watch this show.

The MVP of 2017 so far

Tony Romo. Who would’ve ever thought that Romo would be more valuable in the television booth than on the football field? The former Cowboys quarterback is the best broadcaster to come along since John Madden. He’s a half-season into his new gig at CBS and is already the best analyst in the game. By far.

The Anti-MVP of 2017 so far

President Trump. This whole anthem protest had pretty much died down until Trump popped off at a campaign-style rally back in September. He practically dared NFL players to kneel again after all but a few had stopped. Then again, maybe Trump should be thanked for revitalizing those who want to continue speaking out about racial injustice.

Most sobering tweet that sums up 2017

From ESPN’s Field Yates:

Aaron Rodgers, JJ Watt, Odell Beckham, Jr., Deshaun Watson, Andrew Luck, Julian Edelman, Eric Berry, David Johnson. Injuries are the worst.

Time to hang ’em up

Eli Manning is a Hall of Famer and a classy guy. But he’s part of the problem for the 1-7 Giants. Could he go to another team like his brother did and win some more games? Sure, that’s possible. But it would be cooler to see him end his great career with the only team he has ever played for.

Biggest surprises

1. That any team with Blake Bortles at quarterback could be 5-3.

2. That the Saints, Rams and a Vikings team without Sam Bradford are all in first place.

3. That the Bills and Jets are actually competitive.

Biggest disappointments

1. The Bucs at 2-6. What a mess.

2. That the Broncos, Giants and Colts (not having Andrew Luck) are all in last place.

3. Did we mention how disappointing the Bucs have been?

Coaches on the hot seat

Ben McAdoo (Giants)

Dirk Koetter (Bucs)

Hue Jackson (Browns).

Coaches warming up in the bullpen

Jon Gruden

Josh McDaniels

Maybe, Jimbo Fisher? (That just might be the Glazers’ interview list if Koetter is let go.)

Most worst news team

Houston. What a season it has been for the Texans. They lose their best defensive player (J.J. Watt). They lose their best offensive player (Deshaun Watson). And their owner (Bob McNair) goes off the rails by messing up a phrase and getting in hot water with players by saying the league can’t let the "inmates run the prison.’’ And yet somehow, coach Bill O’Brien has this team at 3-5 and not completely out of it.

Best coach-QB combo

(tie)

Doug Pederson/Carson Wentz (Eagles). Pederson is your coach of the year and is most responsible for Wentz’s league-high 23 touchdown passes..

Sean McVay/Jared Goff (Rams). No one is calling Goff a bust anymore, not after leading Rams to three victories of more than 30 points.

Team that isn’t as good as you think they are

Saints. They are 6-2, but they’ve gotten fat on bad teams: Bucs, Dolphins, Packers (without Aaron Rodgers) and Bears.

Team that isn’t as bad as you think

Falcons. They are 4-4, but it’s just a little Super Bowl hangover. They’ll pick it up in the second half.

What the heck happened to?

The Raiders. Many picked this team to get the Super Bowl and they’re 4-5. They can’t rush the QB. They are struggling offensively. And they have losses to the Broncos, Ravens and Chargers.

Three things that popped into my head

1. There are plenty of on-field MVP candidates, but let’s be honest. If you had one game to win, would you not want Tom Brady as your quarterback?

2. Prediction. Either the 49ers or Browns are going to go winless. If I had to pick one? I’d say the Browns.

3. The Super Bowl will be a battle for the state of Pennsylvania: Steelers vs. Eagles.

Contact Tom Jones at tjones@tampabay.com. Follow @tomwjones

Comments

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