Matt Schaub draws pity; Dominic Raiola earns hisses


Welcome to the Around The League End Around, a weekly look back at the world of the NFL. Dan Hanzus serves as your guide.

It was a good week for ...

1. Geno Smith: The kid is a human roller-coaster. The Jets should play their home games at Six Flags.

2. Drew Brees: Lost amid Peytonmania is the fact that Brees is on pace to throw for more than 5,500 yards and close to 40 touchdowns. Oh, and the Saints are 5-0.

3. Tony Romo: Forget the haters. Romo outplayed Peyton Manning in a regular-season game in 2013. This is roughly equivalent to your grandmother pummelling 1991 Steven Seagal in a martial arts battle.

It was a bad week for ...

1. Julio Jones: A busted foot ends his season and effectively closes the Atlanta Falcons' Super Bowl window. Free Tony!

2. Giants fans: If someone would've told you in August a New York team would be 0-6, would you guess it was the franchise led by a two-time Super Bowl MVP? Big Blue supporters can't even find a decent place to watch their team fail anymore.

3. Matt Schaub: Creepers at his crib, pick sixes following him like haunted ghouls, T.J. Yates (T.J. Yates!) one tipped pass away from taking his job. When you complain about your life, think about Matt Schaub's first.

What the What?

If you caught NFL Network's "A Football Life: Matt Millen" this week, it's hard not to have some sympathy for the man. Millen comes off as a genuinely decent and passionate guy who just got in over his head.

That said, when the entirety of the Detroit Lions' fan base believes you to be a buffoon -- his son's description, not mine -- perhaps it would've been wise for Millen to ditch the overalls when discussing the raging dumpster fire he birthed in the Motor City.

The "Simple Jack" look works for no man. To paraphrase Kirk Lazarus, you never go full-overalls.


She will rule us all one day.

Tweet of the week

You think somebody's still a little bitter about how the 2009 NFL Draft played out?

And now, Ricky Williams on weed

"I don't agree that it was an Achilles heel, I kind of think it was more like spinach for Popeye."

That's the type of stuff you love to hear from your running backs coach!

Guest rant

Elliot Harrison is an analyst for NFL Network's "NFL Fantasy Live," author of the popular Power Rankings column and occasional Honky Tonk 2000 patron. Today, he offers up a rant in defense of Antonio Ramiro Romo.

This week I have the privilege of guest writing in @DanHanzus and' space (we refer to everyone by their social media handles now.) The convo went like this:

This man is on NFL Network programming approximately 21 hours per day.
This man is on NFL Network programming approximately 21 hours per day. (
Dan: "You can rant about anything you want."
Me: "Sounds great."
Dan: "Yeah. So write about Tony Romo and the Denver loss. 250 words"

You see, some of my colleagues at NFL Network and call me a "Romopologist" or a "Cowboy homer." Truth is, I'm neither. I grew up in Dallas, but don't have a crusty Cowboys baseball hat resembling anything close to Hanzus' Jets ballcap, which I swear I saw walking into an antique store on La Brea by itself the other day. On the subject of Romo, I merely grow weary of people camping out on Twitter, waiting for him to make a mistake, and then -- even if it's Week 2 versus the Jags -- champing at the bit to say he screwed up "in another HUGE game."

Which brings us to the Week 5 loss to the Broncos. It was an exciting game, not a BIG game. Dallas is still in first. And while it might be important to Broncos fans who want their team to go undefeated, ultimately they'll go 14-2 and get home-field advantage anyway.

Now, here are some other non-Romo points on that game:

1. Why is Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan not receiving love for the incredible play he made, getting position, then lunging to intercept the ball in front of Gavin Escobar. It was brilliant. I gave him love, actually. Side note: Love Actually is a surprisingly good chick flick.

2. Had the ball been thrown away, it would have been third-and-16. Dallas probably would punt, with Denver getting the ball around its own 45. The Cowboys already had allowed 48 points. Hmm. What are the chances they stop Manning with two minutes to play and three timeouts? Come on.

Lastly, just a historical nugget. Only one quarterback has ever thrown for at least 500 yards, five touchdowns and one pick or less in a game ... Y.A. Tittle, who's in the Hall of Fame.

One guy, 94 years of the NFL. So tap the brakes on the Romo hate. It was a tough loss, a great performance, with one late mistake in an early-season game. Calm down.

While we're here ...

Since Elliot brought it up, here's a quick personal anecdote about Love Actually. (You never know what you're going to get on the End Around!)

Thousands shared stories telling us why they love football in a contest to win a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII. We chose 10 finalists. Now you choose the winners.

Back on New Year's Eve weekend in 2007, my then-girlfriend (now wife) and I pooled money with a bunch of other couples and rented a big house in Vermont for a ski trip. We didn't know many of the people very well (read: at all), but on balance, we had fun. 

That is, until Sunday afternoon, when the couples curled up on the couch to watch Love Actually.

So the movie is slogging along, Hugh Grant is stammering, everyone is being super British, you know the drill. The thing finally ends on some grand romantic gesture and the credits roll. I turn to my male counterparts for a shared look of relief. Instead, all four of the guys are choked up. Legit tears.

It was at that exact moment I realized I was either: a) The Last Real Man or b) completely dead inside.

Moving on ...

Hero of the Week: Johnny Jolly

Sizzurp destroyed Jolly's life. The Packers defensive tackle's addiction to codeine led to an NFL suspension, multiple arrests and jail time.

Jolly eventually got clean, rededicated himself to football, and opened the 2013 season as a starter for the Packers after a three-year absence.

It's always good to see a redemption tale. Too often this stuff goes the other way.

Villain of the Week: Dominic Raiola

The Lions center decided it would be funny to pick on a bunch of University of Wisconsin band members at Lambeau Field on Sunday. (A predictable canned apology soon followed.)

Raiola is a 13-year veteran who will turn 35 in two months. Isn't it a little late in the game to be acting like the cold-hearted bully in a 1980s teen comedy?

Read Option(al)

"Luck's Effect on Colts Transcends His Statistics" -- Chase Stuart, The New York Times

A deeper look into the burgeoning greatness of Andrew Luck, who continues to fly under the radar as one of the NFL's best quarterbacks. Well, not every radar.

"Shame on Jets for mistreating Sanchez" -- Rich Cimini,

Cimini has been covering the Jets since the first Clinton administration. He nails the hypocrisy that's surrounded the handling of the twilight of Sanchez's Jets career.

Until next time ...

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