Cheers for Julio's fiery start; jeers to, um, literal fire

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. Tom Brady: The NFL tried to keep Brady off the field in September. Not only did 12 play, he took home the league's Player Of The Month award. The lesson, as always: Tom Brady wins.

2. Julio Jones: The Falcons wide receiver is on pace for 181 receptions, 2,346 yards and 21 touchdowns this season. That's good! We haven't seen a season like that since Jets wide receiver Rob Moore (in my iconic Tecmo Super Bowl season of 1992).

3. Patriots beat reporters: Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui was traded to the Saints, ensuring they'll never have to look up the spelling of his name ever again.

It was a bad week for ...

1. Josh Scobee: Scobee's Steelers tenure will be a rough one to include on the old job résumé. Perhaps he can leave it off entirely, like I did with my eight-hour career with Slomins Shield as an ineffective cold-caller of elderly women.

2. Victor Cruz: The Giants wide receiver could be out several more weeks after aggravating a calf injury. This is why you don't tempt the Football Gods with premium cable glory docs called I Am Giant and mansion celebration parties dubbed "The Return".

3. Cody Parkey: The Eagles kicker is out for the year after tearing all three muscles in his groin. This will probably curtail more than his football activities.

St. Louis football is fire

Who knows if this is the last season at the Edward James Olmos Edward Jones Dome, but I feel like the field literally bursting into flames is kind of a foreboding sign. The game was delayed when the on-site vacuum failed to properly remove burnt rubber pellets from the field in a timely manner.

Perhaps some better equipment would have helped ...

The Ryan Mallett Experience continues to be enjoyable

As I wrote last week, I have no idea how much longer we'll get to enjoy Ryan Mallett as a legitimate NFL entity, but let's just soak in every moment of the Texans quarterback who carries himself like a Season 2 antagonist from Ballers.


That leg kick! That "Eff everybody, I'm a god!" sideline glare! I want to bottle his essence and turn it into Axe body spray.

Here's the recommended way to watch the Dolphins this year

Did you know Joe Philbin is still the coach in Miami? Like, they willfully decided to bring him back for another season? Hope London doesn't have import limits on charisma!

What the what?

Jets tight end coach Jimmie Johnson brought his son to his team's home game against the Eagles on Sunday. The spawn decided this would be a good time to bury prominent Jets players on Twitter. A collection of the tweets, each of which were accompanied by a photo of a player at a pregame function:

Um, solid burns? Unfortunately for the young man, Cromartie saw the online criticism.

My father is not a violent man. But Papa Hanzus would literally end me if I went to his office and pulled something like that. And here's the craziest thing: Jimmie Johnson's son is 24 years old.


This is what I call a top-shelf regional tailgating exercise

One potential negative: How the hell do you eat a lobster in a parking lot? There's a reason why hamburgers and hot dogs have stood the test of time in such settings.

C'mon Jaws

You may recall ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski dropping this doozy in August 2013: "I truly believe Colin Kaepernick could be one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. I love his skill set. I think the sky's the limit." He changes his tune officially after Kaepernick melted down with four interceptions (including two pick sixes) in a blowout loss to the Cardinals on Sunday.

Two things: First, let this be a reminder to take much of what you see and read in August with a grain of salt. There are a lot of hours to fill at that time, and only so much to talk about. Second, you'll notice Jaws doesn't even admit he was wrong. Rather, it was Kaepernick who has failed to make the most of his generous "toolset."

This doesn't feel quite fair. Back in the summer of 2013, I got sucked in by a couple of strong Brandon Weeden preseason games and declared the then-Browns QB would throw 30 touchdowns. I was stupid, and possibly on drugs. But I didn't blame my failure on Weeden's inability to reach his potential. I simply got it wrong ... and I owned up to it! It's OK to be wrong. Forget the spin zone.

I cannot love this enough ...


More: "Why can't they just stop fighting all the time?" Luck then reportedly began trembling after hearing a loud crash followed by a disconcerting silence."

Let's get social

Well played, Panthers Social Media Millennial. Speaking of millennials ...

Wait a second, J.J.

That's Texans star J.J. Watt posing with former Saved By The Bell star Mario Lopez, known to true fans as Bayside uber-jock and chameleon lover Albert Clifford Slater. Which led to ... Untitled

Which prompted:

OK, let's unpack this. Watt was born in 1989, which means he was a toddler during the SBTB glory years of the early 90s. Could he have caught up on the show in syndication as an adolescent? PERHAPS, but Watt's demographic typically skews away from Bayside and toward the wretched, overrated, basic Boy Meets World as the generation's kitsch, youth-oriented nostalgia fix.

What's my point? I'm not sure. I suppose I'm just annoyed that Watt is getting flirtatious social media messages from Tiffani-Amber Thiessen while legitimate fans (LIKE ME) have nothing to show for their loyal fandom other than an intricate knowledge Rod Belding's ulterior motives and a wildly crappy Lifetime movie based off a trashy tell-all book written by Screech.

Chalk this up to just more evidence of the privilege afforded to rich, famous, transcendentally talented professional athletes. Stop appropriating my culture, bro.

Oh dude, give it a rest

I probably would've given ol' Mercury a pass if J.J. Watt didn't get me so upset. Blame him.

Instagram of the week

Is there any question that Ciara is in total control of this relationship?

Quote of the Week, Part I

"I don't know the details. What he was asking for, I don't know. I like the guy. He's a good guy."

-- Vikings star Adrian Petersondelivers an impassioned, thoughtful message of support to Ragnar, the unemployed Norseman with questionable bargaining acumen

Quote of the Week, Part II

"Some may say that's a little over the top or whatnot, but it didn't really cost that much, so why not? We're basically trying to replicate everything that we're doing here over there."

-- Jets senior manager of team operations Aaron Degerness, on why the team brought 350 rolls of toilet paper to use in place of the thinner toilet paper available in England.

Hero of the Week: Pats fan who was given Brady's 400th touchdown ball

After Danny Amendola caught Tom Brady's first touchdown pass on Sunday, he did something he shouldn't have. Amendola flipped the ball into the stands, unaware that Brady had just thrown his 400th touchdown pass.

Brady and the Patriots could've been in an uncomfortable situation if the fan in possession of the ball -- a longtime season ticket holder named David Bowen -- had held the pigskin hostage for a king's ransom. (Ask A-Rod how fun that is.) But the fan quickly returned the ball, and was rewarded for his act of decency with the chance to meet Brady himself.

"He was very generous, he was very nice to us," Bowen said, per the Boston Herald. "It was overwhelming, it's something I'll remember forever."

Now I'm ending my column with feel-good stories about the Patriots. That's how you know J.J. Watt got me worked up. I'm gonna go lie down.

Until next time ...

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