End Around: Cheers to Pagano, Payton staying put

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

It was a good week for ...

1. Peyton Manning: Even if The Sheriff goes down in flames in the playoffs, he'll always have that one last special moment when the crowd at Mile High went mad as he walked onto the field.

2. Chuck Pagano: Pagano said finding out the Colts would keep him made Monday the "best day of my life." His wife is going to kill him.

3. Sean Payton: After much ego-stroking, Payton is staying in New Orleans and will likely get an extension to boot. But does anyone actually believe Payton when he says he never wants to coach anywhere else? You lie!

It was a bad week for ...

1. Lovie Smith: In November, Lovie was a buzzy Coach Of The Year candidate. In January, he's out of a job. Hell of a league.

2. Johnny Manziel: It took just two years for Manziel's NFL career to complete its transition to total farce territory. No call/no shows at work, ill-timed Vegas sojourns, blonde wigs, faux geotags, dog accomplices. Run, Browns, run.

3. Jim Tomsula: The 49ers asked him to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, then they forced him to go down with the ship. Now why would anyone want to work there?

Ragnar's darkest day

This is undoubtedly the greatest misstep in mascot history. Ragnar is done. He's a man without a country. He has no loyalty, and now no one will be loyal to him. And all because a FOX producer called him with a dopey idea and he didn't have the sense to say no.

Meanwhile, at the Factory Of Sadness

That guy should probably get fired. Meanwhile, I know history tells us there's almost no chance the Browns' wild decision to hire Jonah Hill from Moneyball will be anything but another massive misstep for the franchise, but maybe -- just maybe -- this is the move that finally brings Marc Sessler, Phil and the rest of Browns Nation peace.

While we're here, I would like to formally suggest that Sashi Brown -- the Browns' other major front-office hire this week who has no significant personnel background -- drops his last name, adds a slammer and goes exclusively by Sashi! from now on.

Hug a Jets fan this week

It's bad enough the Jets blew their playoff chances against freakin' Rex Ryan on Sunday. That alone provides enough pain to last Gang Green fans into August. It's not a true signature Jets heartbreaking moment until a soul-crushing "What if?" is factored into the mix.

Kenbrell Thompkins nearly scoring on a miracle 73-yard touchdown certainly qualifies.

"I would have scored, 100 percent," he said.

Stop it, Kenbrell. STOP! Jets fans don't want to hear that. As a Jets fan myself, I actively hoped CBS wouldn't have time to show a replay of the near catch. How sad is that? I just knew it was going to be bad, and sure enough, tape don't lie. Thompkins had the ball and a clear path to a forever place in New York sports lore.

Unfortunately, Jets fans aren't allowed to have nice things. Where is the Jets' Helmet Catch? Their Holy Roller? Their Tuck Rule? I'm going to sit in my car and cry for awhile.

Oh go away, turd.

Kicker fail

Here is the only positive memory to take out of Sunday if you're a Jets fan. I love Dan Carpenter's teammate in the background, clearly thinking to himself, "Yep, that's why we make him sit with the equipment managers on the plane."

What the what?

Danny Amendola has been with the Patriots long enough to know that you don't show up late to Bill Belichick meetings. The Hooded One cares not for the challenges presented by often cruel New England winters.

In an effort to try to get ahead of the game, Amendola had a carport constructed in his driveway to protect his car from the elements and make a dig-out scenario less imposing in the event of a snowstorm. This is what rich people do. Who could possibly have a problem with this?

Well, other rich people in Amendola's tony Providence, R.I., neighborhood do. From The Boston Globe:

The home sits on Benefit Street, a hillside thoroughfare filled with colorful restored clapboard homes featured on countless postcards. Neighbors complain the carport is a blemish on the community's atmosphere.

"It's a simple utilitarian structure, but if you had tons of these around the neighborhood, it would significantly detract from the historic quality and aesthetic appearance of the Benefit Street neighborhood," said Tim More, who has lived in the neighborhood for 45 years.

This is a real feud that is happening in the world right now. If I'm the Patriots' Divisional Round opponent, I bake in defensive audible calls like "CARPORT," "BENEFIT STREET" and "AESTHETIC APPEARANCE." Amendola will crumble.

Soooooo ... what's Brian Urlacher been up to?

You do you, Brian. This is a no-judge zone. I'm just glad you didn't use the same guy as Dr. Tobias Funke.

Urlacher's new look could take some time getting used to, but it doesn't come close to the most jarring rich bald guy transition in modern history. That belongs to Seinfeld star Jason Alexander, who started showing up on the late-night circuit one day with a full head of dark hair. This was destined to fail for one reason: Alexander was arguably the most famous bald guy in television history. There was an entire episode of Seinfeld in which Elaine eviscerated George for wearing a bad toupee! Can you imagine the phone conversation Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David had when they heard about this?

Eventually, Alexander got rid of the hairpiece. He couldn't keep the impossible dream alive. Let's hope Urlacher has a better go of it.

Brett Favre's news conference

When you work for "The Shield," you end up watching a lot of NFL Network. It plays most of the day on the TV at my desk, so I have a pretty rich base of knowledge when it comes to the programming and commercials. For instance, the King of Daytime Ads is unquestionably Alan Thicke, 80s sitcom star and real-life dad to R&B pariah Robin Thicke. I'm utterly convinced a divorce (or two) wiped out Thicke's Growing Pains earnings, which would explain why he's offering solutions for tax woes at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday.

I have less patience for Brett Favre, who is an NFL legend who surely made a massive amount of dough during his playing career. And that's before we get to all that Wrangler GWAP. I mean, really: How much of your savings can you blow through when you never leave Hattiesburg? Brett doesn't need the money.

I hope someone writes an oral history one day about what it was like on the set of this commercial.

Tweet Of The Week

Now that's how you bury a former employer. Harbaugh traded mass dysfunction and a failing roster in San Francisco for a ticket back to college and cult hero status. He wins.

Quote of the Week

"Like many players at this stage of their career, I am currently evaluating options for my future. I would expect to have a decision regarding this matter in the not-too-distant future."

-- Calvin Johnson, who sounds like a guy who might be ready to pull a Barry. Hang in there, Lions fans.

Hero of the Week: Tom Coughlin

In an ideal world, Tom Coughlin's storied career would have ended with the old coach being carried off the field after a third Giants Super Bowl title. Sports rarely allow such fairytale exits, though, and Coughlin was no exception.

The Giants kicked their coach of 12 years to the curb after a fourth consecutive season without a playoff berth. But credit Coughlin for going out with dignity intact. Coughlin delivered a stirring exit address to a roomful of reporters, team officials and players, wrapped his farewell with touching words for Eli Manning, then stepped off the podium and blew right by Giants owner John Mara. It was like a scene out of a movie.

Not a bad way to go out for a guy who just a few years ago looked more like Bud Kilmer than Eric Taylor.

Until next time ...

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