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. Jim Tomsula: He may look like the most dependable player on the local Elks softball team, but Tomsula really is the new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Niners fans don't seem too pumped about the move, but I sense sneaky returns here.
2. Andrew Luck: The Colts quarterback has a shot to reach the Super Bowl by knocking off Manning and Brady in back-to-back weeks. That's the kind of stuff that gets you on the Madden cover. Isn't that what this is all really about?
3. Dean Blandino: Ruling the Dez Bryant play an incompletion wasn't popular, but Blandino got the call right (according to the rulebook anyway) and forever wiped out the narrative that he plays favorites to the Cowboys. Dean's Xbox controller answers to no man.
It was a bad week for ...
1. Doug Marrone: Did Marrone leapfrog from a head-coach chair to the great abyss? Somebody might have gotten some historically poor advice.
3. Todd Bowles: OK, he just got his first head-coaching job, how bad a week could it have been? But how about the pressure of that introductory presser? Reminds me of the old axiom: You never want to be the guy who replaces the guy. You want to be the guy who replaces the guy who replaced the guy.
Rex is risen
I love Rex like he was one of my loud and obscene Irish uncles, but nothing about this Bills marriage feels right.
It was great to get the old Rex back on Wednesday, but my biggest takeaway from that press conference was Ryan actually entertaining the thought of a reunion with Mark Sanchez. Quarterback has become more than a blind spot for Rex, it's full-on Ralphie-after-he-eats-the-soap permanent disability.
I want to see Rex succeed, because the NFL is a better place when Ryan is winning and being a swaggering goober at the podium. But this feels wrong. Western New York could be to Ryan what Russia was to Napoleon.
Here's a fun game: How long can you watch this Jim Tomsula interview with CSN's Jim Kozimor without looking away? This is about as uncomfortable as it gets.
The best part comes right at the top, when Kozimor tries the "it's you and me talking" routine and Tomsula is clearly having none of it. A transcription of his opening answers:
"Yep, OK, nah (inaudible breathing noise). Yeah weh ... ahowwo. Ehhh. Eehhhh ... I dunn-nahh."
What The What?
Charity is good, but why would a peson want anything to do with this leg cast?
A refresher: This is the cast Robert Griffin III wore after suffering a dislocated ankle in Week 2. This was a bummer. You'll remember RGIII missing a mess of games with the injury, then returning to play the worst football of his life. The Redskins ended the season 4-12 and RGIII has become a D.C. pariah. So yeah, lotta good memories here.
Then there's the basic sanitary issue. Casts are disgusting. Sweat and the inability to clean the area causes bacteria to grow under the cast and into the lining. The funk is mighty, as anyone that's ever had to wear one can attest. Hard pass.
Inside the Gronk party bus
Last week, we congratulated Rob Gronkowski for achieving the lifelong dream of owning his own party bus. Inside The NFL had the genius idea to roll with the Gronk family to Saturday's divisional matchup between the Pats and Ravens.
As you see in the above video, a Gronk tailgate experience is exactly what you might expect. Gronk brothers pour out of the bus like it's a clown car. The designated driver -- and possible Gronk consigliere -- is a guy named Bobby Goons who looks exactly like a guy who would answer to the name Bobby Goons. There are Hammer dances, shotgunned beers, cornhole and every type of grilled food imaginable.
Did I mention beer? By kickoff, it's clear many, many frothy beverages have been consumed. The only sad thing is that Gronk himself can't take part. If I'm Belichick, I make this video go away. Gronk can never know what he's missing.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
When's the last time this actually worked out for somebody? I've said it before but it bears repeating: I assume the whole appeal of a stunt like this is to be able to say for the rest of your life that you got the tattoo before the team won. But you can also get the ink after the title win, then just tell everyone you got it before. Some lies are worth it.
Miss him yet?
Please take note of the time stamp. We're starting to understand why the Niners wanted to see other people.
Tweet of the week -- Shade Edition
This aggression cannot stand. I'm not mad ... I'm disappointed.
The Beast Mode Conundrum
Marshawn Lynch doesn't like talking to the press. This truth has cost him literally tens of thousands of dollars. As I began to watch the video of Lynch above, taken after Seattle's playoff win over Carolina, I found myself annoyed by what felt like petulant professional athlete behavior. But at some point, my opinion turned.
There's some obvious passive aggressive behavior from media people here who pepper Lynch with questions knowing he faces another huge fine if he walks away. (The woman who asked Lynch to talk about his charity was especially ruthless.) This isn't new. They should all know by now they'll never get anything. It's a cat-and-mouse game with no winner.
I'm Team Lynch here. Just leave the guy alone.
Fashion tips with Bill
I don't want there ever to be a time where Bill Belichick and his ridiculous athletic apparel isn't part of my life. This might actually count as a formal look for BB. Never change, coach.
Quote of the Week
"When we -- the first time we created something called a tuck rule, it's the only reason we know -- I'm just being honest -- the only reason we know who Tom Brady is, because of a tuck rule."
Have you actually listened to this yet? You really should. Ray Lewis is PISSED. He's straight yelling into his phone at Stephen A. about a play that a) happened 13 years ago and b) had nothing to do with his career.
What makes things even more confounding is that Ray Lewis likes Tom Brady. Ray is all aboutTom Brady. He "presented" Brady when the quarterback topped NFL Network's top 100 players countdown a few years back, calling him the "greatest of the greats." He even delivered the ol' "The scouts couldn't measure the fire that burned within him!" routine.
So I'm pretty sure Ray Lewis didn't mean what he said. Which isn't the best look for an analyst.
Freud enters the building
Elway should have rolled with it. Bathe yourself in praise for 15 straight minutes -- just go full Ric Flair -- then take no questions and walk off. Alas.
Veteran Free Agent Combine to debut
Like Scrub Daddy, this is one of those ideas you can't believe someone didn't think of sooner. The only person to feel for is Rich Eisen, who will almost certainly have to anchor 18 straight hours of live coverage of the damn thing.
Only 100 players get invited, which adds another level of intrigue. I assume Terrell Owens got his application in roughly 12 minutes after the memo leaked. If he doesn't get picked, just assume he pulls a Willie Mays Hayes and sneaks into the camp.
Hero of the Week: Hair Guy
I'm sorry it didn't work out for him on Sunday, but you have to admire the dedication. How long does something like this take? Do you have to buy the seat behind you? Is there an endlessly tolerant wife or girlfriend involved? What do you do with that hair when it's not spiked? There doesn't really seem to be a natural resting place for it.
This is a good fan.
Villain of the Week: Local Vandals
Look at that dude. That dude's a sweetheart! Josh Wood is a die-hard Seahawks fan from Tacoma who decorated his car for "Blue Friday," which has become a thing in the greater Seattle area. Overnight, some local toughs smashed the back window of his hatchback (Note: the back window is sacred for hatchback folk) and used paint to scrawl, "Hawks going to choke. You suck" along his bumper.
Wood called it a "Hawks hate crime," which feels strong, but OK, he's emotional right now.
I have a two rules in life: 1) Never mess with a man who drives a hatchback and 2) Never mess with a man who wears a sequined coat. Point is, somebody just stepped into somethin' bad.
Sub Rob Lowe Power Rankings (updated)
So I've gotten a ton of tweets from people who want to know where the two new Sub Rob Lowes -- both unveiled during the New Year's Day bowl games -- rank on my SRL power rankings. So let's do it. First, click here to see the initial rankings.
And now, we welcome the two new entrants. Good luck, guys ...
Meathead Rob Lowe
Super Paranoid Rob Lowe
And now, the updated -- and still definitive -- Sub Rob Lowe Power Rankings:
Until next time ...
The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews Championship Sunday and makes our picks for each game. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.