FMIA Week 7: A Strange Day in NFL, and Why Bucs Signed Antonio Brown

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These are strange days in the NFL, and not just because of COVID-19. New England, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas: 6-21. Tampa Bay, Arizona, Buffalo, Pittsburgh: 21-6. The starting Dallas quarterback this morning is named Ben DiNucci. Cam Newton, benched. Baker Mayfield, five TD passes in 34 minutes. Michael Thomas, hurt and doghoused. No one in a [more]

FMIA Week 6: Ryan Tannehill, Titans Are Changing The Narrative In AFC

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You can learn so much about a team, and about its quarterback, when the fire alarms are blaring. Those fire alarms, in this case, sounded in Nashville as the clock ticked down on the Titans’ perfect season . . . :14, :13, :12 . . . with the Titans Offense down seven and jogging to [more]

FMIA Week 5: Rescheduled Games, Fired Coaches and Pain in Dallas—A Look Back at the NFL’s Newsy Sunday

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A frenetic day in the life of the NFL, 2020: 5:45 a.m. ET, Long Island, N.Y. ESPN’s Adam Schefter, in the bathroom near his bedroom, texts contacts or talks softly, not wanting to disturb his sleeping dogs or wife. He’s trying to find out early COVID-related news before he jumps in the shower to prep [more]

FMIA Week 4: 2020 NFL Weirdness Continues With Postponed Games, Positive Tests And, Oh Yeah, Football

NFL Week 4
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Updated, 9:12 a.m. So this is what it’s come to in the NFL in 2020: As I pressed the button to finish writing this column at 3:32 a.m. Monday, with one of the intriguing games of the early season due to kick off early this evening in Kansas City, we wait for a couple of [more]

FMIA Week 3: Josh Allen’s Pissed Off, Tony Romo’s Proud and Buffalo’s 3-0

Josh Allen
USA Today Sports

Can the pantheon of great young quarterbacks fit another one? Wilson, Mahomes, Jackson, Prescott, Watson. Maybe Newton. In the first three weeks of this season, Josh Allen, the bucking bronco from Wyoming, is kicking down the damn door to greatness and forcing his way into that pantheon. Through three weeks of his third NFL season, [more]

FMIA Week 2: Let Russ Cook? Wilson Has Ingredients For First MVP Season

Let Russ cook
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So we all know about the weird Russell Wilson’s-never-gotten-an-MVP-vote story. (It’s not an outrage, by the way, which I’ll explain.) But have you noticed something about the first two weeks of this strange NFL season, as it pertains to Wilson? He’s playing like he’s trying to put the MVP case so far out of reach [more]

FMIA: The Good, The Bad and The Trubisky In Weird, Wonderful NFL Week 1

NFL Week 1
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Football 2020: Weird and glorious and argumentative and ticked-at-the-officials and fulfilling and full of stories and the same old Browns and Trubisky the Magnificent and Brady down and Cam up and did I mention weird? Average attendance in the 13 NFL Week 1 games Sunday in Pandemic America: 1,085. Attendance in Foxboro: zero. “This felt [more]

FMIA: Roger Goodell Is Ready For A Covid Season. Are You Ready For A Bucs-Ravens Super Bowl in Tampa?

Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson
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“Do you believe,” I asked Roger Goodell on the eve of the most unpredictable NFL season of our time, “that you may have to play a season where every team does not play a full 16-game schedule?” “I don’t know,” Goodell said Friday afternoon. “We’re prepared if we have to do that. We’ve obviously gone [more]

FMIA: The NFL’s Surprise Team Of ’19 Doesn’t Plan To Be One-Year Wonder

Ryan Tannehill
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NASHVILLE — The Ryan Tannehill story has not gotten enough run. Everything about it is amazing. The Arthur Smith story has not gotten enough run. Everything about it is amazing. To acquire Tannehill 17 months ago cost Tennessee 1 percent of its 2019 salary cap and the 135th pick in the 2020 draft. He ended [more]

FMIA: Repeat in a Pandemic? Patrick Mahomes and Chiefs on a Mission

KC Chiefs
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KANSAS CITY — Royals outfielder Whit Merrifield, the reigning American League hits leader, is a buddy of Patrick Mahomes. When Mahomes bought a chunk of the baseball team that plays across the parking lot from Arrowhead Stadium, the new owner sent his All-Star employee a cute text. So it seemed logical to ask Merrifield (via [more]

FMIA: Sweat, Vomit And A 43-Year-Old QB—Two Hot Days In Tampa Bay With Tom Brady And The Buccaneers

Tom Brady, Bucs Camp
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TAMPA — At mid-morning Friday, anticipation was heavy in the air at Bucs training camp, as heavy as the stifling humidity. Heat index: exactly 100 degrees. GM Jason Licht, in a Bucs-orange mask dotted with team logos, walked near (not within six feet) a camp visitor and said quietly: “The defense has been secretly scouting [more]

FMIA: 2020 NFL Training Camp In A Pandemic—A Day In Life Of Texans

Houston Texans COVID training camp
Courtesy of the Houston Texans

Opening night: one month from tonight. The Houston Texans likely will be significant underdogs at Super Bowl champion Kansas City, and rightfully so. But the important thing in 2020 is something else, on the weekend we passed 5 million documented COVID-19 cases as a country. It’s actually whether Houston-Kansas City, and the 268 NFL games [more]

FMIA: After Two Early Playoff Exits, Lamar Jackson Enters 2020 On A Mission: ‘I’m Tired Of Going Home’

Lamar Jackson
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Lamar Jackson did not watch the Super Bowl. The game was on his home turf in south Florida for the first time in 10 years, and Jackson loves football, but he couldn’t bring himself to watch. Not the biggest surprise, really; players who think they should be playing in the game often don’t watch it—just [more]

FMIA: NFL Versus COVID Begins As Camps Open With Careful Optimism

Peter King, NFL Camps
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When the deal to open training camps on time got done Friday, a call was organized for all the football people, coaches and GMs, in the NFL. Super Bowl champion coach Andy Reid was asked to speak. He’s become a sort of United Nations secretary general, a bridge to all constituencies—speaking to union reps, advising [more]

FMIA: Tour Of Vikings Complex Gives Insight Into NFL’s New Normal In ’20

FMIA: Vikings complex
NBC Sports

EAGAN, Minn. — The head coach lost his parking space. COVID-19 casualty. There’s a 40-foot BioReference Laboratories trailer in space 136 in the Minnesota Vikings’ players/coaches parking lot just outside the entry where every essential Vikings employee will arrive to work this year. The trailer has four COVID testing bays, with certified testing agents ready [more]