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. Jerry Richardson: The owner saw his Panthers win twice this week, moving the franchise above the .500 mark for the first time since Dec. 2008. For some context, the last time the Panthers were above .500, Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" was the No. 1 song in America. (That nugget comes courtesy of NFL Media's David Ely, who unironically wears a Cam Newton graphic T-shirt to the office sometimes.)
It was a bad week for ...
(Yes, I'll wait the two hours if you want to NetFlix Varsity Blues right now. I got time.)
"A Football Life" is on a roll. Two weeks after Matt Millen busted out his "Simple Jack" overalls, the series offered up its best episode of the season with an unblinking look at the life of Pat Summerall.
The "Murder ... ... She Wrote" gag above is just classic. Madden and Summerall will never be topped as an NFL broadcasting team. They'll always remind me of my grandfather watching the Giants on Sundays, drinking root beer in his big brown chair and not talking to anybody. It's a much happier memory than my words perhaps convey.
What the What?
ESPN paid big to land Ray Lewis' services as an analyst on "Monday Night Football." What have they gotten for their investment? Nice suits, smart-person glasses and a whole bunch of crazy talk.
"Me going out on that field tonight and me looking at Adrian Peterson's eyes, it's something that I want to bring up that I don't want to see happen to this young kid," Lewis said. "Because we saw it happen to a great one time before, which was Barry Sanders."
The insinuation, of course, is that the Vikings are so crappy that Peterson has fallen out of love with football and could be a candidate to Pull A Barry and retire prematurely.
Tweet of the week
Quote of the Week
"(If) I see him in the streets I'm going to bust him in his (expletive) mouth."
I spend every Thursday night in Around the League's International headquarters in Culver City, Calif. Directly to my right: The NFL's social media guys. (Yes, it's a real job. They tweet. Let's call them Duane and Bryce.)
Just as my excitement for live football starts to build, Duane and Bryce throw a wet blanket on the room.
"Oh man. The anti-Pryianka tweets are coming in again," they say. (They speak in tandem.)
Priyanka Chopra is the singer of our "Thursday Night Football" theme song. The negative tweets generally are some variation on the theme of: "Who is this woman?"
How dare you, nameless Twitter person. Priyanka, a Bollywood star, has 4.8 million Twitter followers. That's almost double the amount of that other pregame singer. Priyanka almost has as many followers as the NFL, which should make Duane and Bryce a little uneasy. The pro-Priyanka groundswell started with my comrade Marc Sessler earlier this week. What's not to like?
Perhaps I'm defensive because Priyanka is our pregame singer. Perhaps you just like awkward arm gestures and wedding-like dance moves. I'll take Priyanka. You can take your cheese pizza, vanilla ice cream and house salad. I want some flavor.
Thanks, Gregg. For the record, I'm all in on Pryianka, though I wonder if her "I know you're gonna like it in my city!" intro is best served for regional tourism campaigns.
Hero of the Week: Brett Favre
A gaggle of sad and desperate NFL teams may or may not have reached out to the Ol' Gunslinger about another comeback at the age of 44. Favre shot it down emphatically, which NFL writers should be eternally grateful for.
While we're here, when will we see the last seriously reported story about a possible Favre comeback? The ATL team settled on the 2015 season, which might be a tad optimistic.
Villain of the Week: Brandon Meriweather
Dude. Stop hitting people in the head. Not sure if you noticed, but the NFL kind of is paying attention to this stuff now. Being the "Old-School Enforcer Guy" won't get you on "Jack'd Up." Actually, that "Jack'd Up" segment doesn't even exist anymore. You see where we're going here?
Wess isn't known as Cliff Clavin of the ATL team for nothing. A detailed breakdown of possible trade candidates ahead of next week's deadline.
"Off-Broadway Joe: The Song And Dance Of A Playboy Nearing Middle Age" -- Inside Sports (via Deadspin)
Originally published July 1981, this is a fun insider account of Joe Namath's quest for a new identity after his playing days were over. An aging playboy's uncertain journey.
Until next time ...