Don’t Let Fauci Take Your NFL

If you see an NFL player, you should not ask him for a selfie. Instead, you should recoil in horror, and shout at him to get back in his bubble. Or at least, that’s what a little troll by the name of Anthony Fauci might advise you to do.

For some ridiculous reason, the NFL asked Fauci for advice. Predictably, Fauci told them to close up shop:

“Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall.”

Fauci acts as if there is no such thing as antibodies. And while the jury is still out on the exact behavior of COVID-19 antibodies, I think it’s safe to say that they do indeed exist. Otherwise, we would have thousands of people suffering from multiple infections; something that has not been observed.

So, I personally wouldn’t be the least bit worried about taking a selfie with Ezekiel Elliott. Here is what he said about his battle with COVID-19:

“I would say I had maybe one or two days when I felt symptoms. Even then, it wasn’t too bad. I had a cough and a little bit of shortness of breath. Now, I feel good. I feel normal.”

Hardly the end of the world, right? After all, this is football we’re talking about – a game that is literally the equivalent of being in a car crash – weekly. Broncos’ superstar Von Miller, who suffers from asthma, had it worse than Elliot, but even he will recover much faster than he did from the torn ACL he suffered in 2013.

So, which would you prefer? To be sacked by Cleveland Browns’ defensive-end Miles Garret, or get infected with COVID-19? Miles would snap my spine in two, so I would take my chances with COVID-19.

President Trump slapped down Fauci right after the bubble comment, so the NFL is safe for now. However, that may not last. First, kneeling players may cause Trump to withdraw his protection. Second, a Biden victory in November might spell the end of football mid-season. Third, the NFL Players Association may pull out the old “abundance of caution” and order its players to surrender. Fourth, the NFL might simply run up the white flag as the COVID-19 hype reaches deafening levels.

Which it will.

Prepare to be terrorized like you have never been terrorized before. Take a look at this official CDC map (click to enlarge):

The whole country is green, and considering the current media hype, green must mean that everybody is dying, right? Wrong. Green means that, statistically, nobody is sick enough to go to the doctor. Here is what the chart looked like back in February 2020:

Now that was a problem. But today? It’s smooth sailing.

Those maps are made from data collected by the U.S. Influenza Surveillance System – one of the fabulous things our hard-working government bureaucrats produce for us. Go to this page and play with the interactive map yourself.

The map probably won’t begin to heat up until around Election Day, when the weather gets cold, and people start staying inside and breathing on each other all day.

There is a lot of pressure on the NFL right now, during the summer when nobody is sick. Imagine how intense the pressure will get when flu season starts, and people get sick for real.

Furthermore, it’s entirely possible that the NFL will save more lives than it takes by playing the 2020 season. Back in May, doctors at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California reported that they had more suicide deaths than COVID-19 deaths during the lockdown. It turns out that being isolated, locked-down, and terrorized by constant media propaganda takes a toll on many people who then look for a way out.

But, if you have the NFL to watch, you will at least be able to enjoy a few hours of your life every week during the inevitable second lockdown. And that will likely save some lives.

In other words, the NFL is likely to be medicinal. It should be provided to the public just like Vitamin D. And while players make more money than Trader Joe’s clerks, they should still be lauded for their service.

They will shut the NFL down if they can, so fans will need to fight for their right to party. Write to your congresspersons, your governor, and your mayor, and make sure that they know that the only way they can get your vote is if you can watch Nick Chubb trample DBs like they were so many bowling pins every Sunday.

Are the Browns Still a Dirty Team? (Cleveland Browns Red Flag #2020-4)

In 2019, the Browns’ hype-train pulled out of the rail-yard, and rolled straight into a brick wall. Browns fans were shocked to learn that their oh-so-fabulous team was, in reality, a bunch of clowns, committing 18 penalties for 182 yards, and handing Game One to the Tennessee Titans on a silver platter.

Were the refs punishing the Browns? Maybe, but why? Could it be that the league was not enamored of coach Freddie Kitchens’ plan to make the Browns a more “physical” team? Did they take note of the Browns beating up the Colts during their preseason practice session? Did the NFL want to nip that thuggish coaching in the bud as they strive to make the game less dangerous?

Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know. But what I really want to know is what coach Stefanski is doing to undo Kitchens’ bad coaching. I don’t recall him making any statements on the subject, or the Browns press discussing it. So, that’s why it is our 4th red flag.

And it is indeed a pressing matter. While there have been many changes made throughout the organization, the Browns still come up as #4 when you pull up a list of the most-penalized teams in the NFL. So coach Stefanski, how are you addressing this enormous problem?

The o-line and the DBs sometimes have to commit penalties to protect the QB, and prevent touchdowns, respectively. But what about receivers? Surely a receiver’s job is to receive (ha, ha) penalties by running his routes so well that the opposing DB has to grab him. But Odell Beckham Jr. committed 5 penalties, and was a bit of a troublemaker. OBJ was a big supporter of coach Kitchens’ policy. Here he is fighting with Marlon Humphrey during the Browns’ victory over the Baltimore Ravens:

That penalty moved the Browns from the Ravens’ 30 yard line, all the way back to the 48. The Browns were up by a touchdown and trying to widen their lead in the third quarter when OBJ just had to fight Humphrey. True, Humphrey was roughing-up Odell, but it seems to me that Odell should be complaining to the refs and trying to get them to watch Humphrey more-closely and draw a penalty rather than indulge his ego by fighting Humphrey.

Browns fans also seem to be assuming that Myles Garrett will be able to avoid getting suspended again this year. But will he? With all the hoopla over the Mason Rudolph incident, you may have forgotten that Myles was fined $42,000 after the game against the Jets in week 2. Here’s what Myles said afterward:

“It’s been like this for awhile, and I feel like they [QBs] have been getting added protection as the years go on. And they sell the tickets of quarterbacks scoring touchdowns, but it’s our job to get after them and I’m not going to stop that, just gonna play the game like it’s supposed to be played. Nothing post- or pre-snap.”

So, here you have Myles thinking that he has the authority to change NFL policy. Do you think the NFL took notice? I do. I think they were just itching for Myles to screw up so that they could put the hammer down on him. That’s why his punishment later in the year seemed so draconian. Did Freddie Kitchens do anything to try and change Garrett’s attitude after the Jets game? Apparently not.

Was it Kitchens who taught the “gentle poet” how to rip off a helmet and bash people with it? Did they drill that in practice? I don’t know, and I don’t know if Myles is “cured” or not. However, if I were coach Stefanski I would not assume that he was. Freddie Kitchens did a lot of damage to the Browns, and it may require quite a lot of work to undo it all.

Contrary to what Myles said, the job of a defensive-end is no longer to sack the quarterback; the job is to sack the quarterback just so. And that’s not easy. It’s something that requires self-control and finesse. Does Myles have that? Well, he didn’t during the Pittsburgh game, and we haven’t seen him play since then, so who knows?

After the Jets game, I cringed every time Myles rushed the quarterback. I was terrified that he would snap somebody’s spine or cause some other disaster. And indeed, the fight with Mason Rudolph (though tame by NHL or UFC standards) was catastrophic for the Browns’ playoff chances. If the 2020 season were to start today, I would still be cringing because I don’t have any reassurance that this issue is being addressed.

We Browns fans are excited about what appears to be a huge coaching upgrade for 2020. But, we have to keep in mind that Kevin Stefanski is a rookie as head coach, and he has some gigantic egos to deal with. Does he know how to manage such players? I certainly hope so.

On the helmet incident, I believe Myles when he says that Rudolph called him the n-word. But Myles did start the fight, dragging down Rudolph long after he released the ball. However, Rudolph escalated the fight by pulling Myles’ helmet halfway off. I also think that there was further racism with the black player (Myles) being called “barbaric” by the white announcer, and the white player (Rudolph) being given the benefit of the doubt by Troy Aikman who said:

“I couldn’t tell if Mason Rudolph’s left hand was caught in the helmet somehow of Myles Garrett, and that’s why he was trying to go to the headgear the way that he was…”

Absurd. As if it’s impossible for a white player to be a bully and a dirty player. (That comment can be heard at the 5:16 mark of this video.)

Clearly, if Rudolph had succeeded in getting Myles’ helmet off, he would have hit him with it and we would have had a totally different outcome. If you look up “bully” in the dictionary, there is a picture of Mason Rudolph. Does he not look like the prototypical bully? How many smaller kids did he stuff into lockers in high school? I bet it was a lot. He knew about the helmet-move and didn’t even have a dirty coach like Freddie Kitchens to teach it to him.

Did Myles Garrett Give Baker Mayfield PTSD? (Cleveland Browns Red Flag #2020-3)

In his rookie debut in 2018, Baker Mayfield was a fantastic quarterback. In 2019, he sucked. Kind of mysterious, no? Most analysts attribute Baker’s regression to the loss of OG Kevin Zeitler, and a consequently degraded o-line.

But I blame Myles Garrett.

How is that possible? How could a defensive player like Myles effect Baker’s game when he isn’t even on the field at the same time as Baker?

Answer: Myles was on the field at the same time as Baker during practice. And no, Myles did not whack Baker in the head with his helmet. However, many people have remarked that Myles “ruined” practice by being way better than the Browns’ o-line that he was practicing against.

So, the ones are on the field practicing, and on just about every pass play, there’s Myles wrapping-up Baker before he can get the ball off. He doesn’t injure Baker of course, however, subconsciously Baker learns that he is not safe, and that he needs to flee the pocket – even when he is not being pressured.

This is the reddest of red flags because everybody is thinking that the addition of Jedrick Wills Jr. and Jack Conklin to the Browns’ o-line is going to restore Baker to his former glory. But, if I am right, it will not, and Baker will continue to see ghosts, have another terrible year, and maybe lose his starting-QB job to Case Keenum.

Speaking of which… Maybe one of Keenum’s jobs as backup-QB should be to take snaps when Myles is on the practice field. I’m not saying that Baker should be coddled, however his subconscious mind does need to be reconditioned into trusting his revamped o-line, which by all accounts will be far superior to the 2019 edition.

This brings to mind a story about MMA fighter Georges St. Pierre as told by his coach, Firas Zahabi, on the Joe Rogan show. As GSP was training for his fight with Dan Hardy in 2010, he got knocked down during a sparring session. In order to rebuild GSP’s confidence, and unbeknownst to GSP, Zahabi instructed the sparring partner to not throw any punches at GSP in the final round, and he did not; he just took a beating. And it worked; GSP was elated after the round and very pleased with his comeback performance. And he went on to defeat Hardy, even though he was probably concussed going in.

The important part of this story is that even the GOAT, GSP, needed to have his confidence restored.

Of course, Baker might catch on if Myles is never on the field at the same time, and that might ruin the therapy. But if so, another treatment will need to be found. An intellectual recognition that he has a better o-line this year probably won’t be enough. He needs to be conditioned to know in his bones that he is safe enough to stand in the pocket and wait for his receivers to complete their routes.

The top priority of the Browns is fixing Baker Mayfield. However, the little adjustment to Baker’s footwork made by coach Van Pelt isn’t going to get the job done by itself. This a job for a sports psychologist. And Baker could start right now with perhaps some visualization exercises, hypnosis, etc.

If this isn’t done, then the Browns will need to change their offensive scheme to match Baker’s disability. Otherwise, we will be watching a rerun of the 2019 season, which nobody wants.