FMIA Week 11: Patrick Mahomes and the Moments Competitors Love; Alex Smith and the Spirit of Thanksgiving

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What a Sunday. In some order: Derrick Henry steamrolls the skidding Ravens (again) Carson Wentz is lost at sea (and on Lake Erie) Poor Joe Burrow The Steelers are 10-0 and the ’72 Fins are getting nervous Taysom Hill slam-dunks the haters Tuamania, paused The Cowboys have a pulse Colts stymie Rodgers And by the [more]

FMIA Week 10: Inside The Hail Murray And How The Cardinals Got It Done

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Remember last spring, in Franchise Receiver Lotto, when Buffalo made the big trade for Stefon Diggs and Arizona paid far less to deal for DeAndre Hopkins? Referendum time Sunday in the desert. When Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen made a spot-on throw and Diggs laid out for an end-zone catch with 34 seconds left, the Bills [more]

FMIA Week 9: Saints Expose Bitter Truth About Buccaneers In Blowout

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There’s a new president (seemingly), the best Steeler start in their 88-season history, a boffo/weird Sunday-nighter, and Patrick Mahomes doing the absurdly kind of dominant things his political mentor, LeBron James, did at 25. But a moment, please, for Alex Trebek, the Jeopardy! host for 36 years, who died of pancreatic cancer Sunday morning at [more]

FMIA Week 8: Steelers Stay Perfect, Sit Atop Midseason Power Rankings

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In 1954, the Steelers drafted the Heisman Trophy-winning running back from Notre Dame, Johnny Lattner, in the first round. Wearing number 41, Lattner had a fine rookie season for Pittsburgh, making the Pro Bowl and scoring a touchdown in the Steelers’ biggest win of the year, a rout of the NFL champion Cleveland Browns at [more]

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
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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

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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]