Gridiron Girl


Dressing to Regress by BDazzle

You know the drill girls; you might dress like all that but if you don’t have any substance behind the style, the big boys’ll throw you back in the pile.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-49ers-nolanfired&prov=ap&type=lgns

49ers fire Nolan, promote Singletary to head coach
By GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer

AP – Oct 20, 9:26 pm EDT

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP)—His teams never played as well as he dressed.

Mike Nolan, the San Francisco 49ers’ dapper coach, was fired Monday night after seven games in his fourth consecutive dismal season, ending his attempt to rebuild the five-time Super Bowl champions.

After four straight losses culminating in Sunday’s 29-17 defeat to the New York Giants, the 49ers didn’t even wait until their bye next week before replacing Nolan with assistant head coach Mike Singletary. The Hall of Fame linebacker will take over for the rest of the season, general manager Scot McCloughan said.

Nolan cut a striking figure on the 49ers’ sideline in his custom-made dress suits and ties. His team’s performances, however, could not match his sartorial splendor. He was 18-37 in nearly 3 1/2 seasons with the 49ers, who hired the veteran defensive coordinator to run every aspect of the club in January 2005.

Nolan brought back a measure of respectability to a franchise that finished with the NFL’s worst record in 2004, but he has the lowest winning percentage (.327) among any San Francisco coaches who made it through more than one season with the team. He barely avoided dismissal after finishing 5-11 last season, but couldn’t even make it to midseason this fall.
 
“The decision was difficult, because Mike has been both a friend and valued coach of our team,” said McCloughan, who was hired by Nolan but gained authority over the coach last year. “My first obligation is to do what is in the best interest of our fans and the entire 49ers organization.”

Instead of logically delaying a decision on Nolan’s fate until the bye following Sunday’s home game against Seattle, McCloughan and owners John and Jed York suddenly couldn’t wait another day to get rid of the family’s choice to fix the 49ers, who have endured five consecutive losing seasons and haven’t made the playoffs since 2002.

Nolan was the third NFL coach to be dismissed during the season, joining Oakland’s Lane Kiffin and St. Louis’ Scott Linehan. The Rams have won two straight games under interim coach Jim Haslett, and the Raiders are 1-1 under Tom Cable.

Yet the 49ers still came up with a bizarre way to announce a decision that should fill their fans with joy. Nolan first confirmed his firing to FOXSports.com, but the team waited more than six hours to make a formal announcement.

Nolan seemed to have no idea he would be fired when he conducted his usual news conference earlier Monday, and he didn’t return a phone call from The Associated Press. Several team executives—including Jed York—and coaches either wouldn’t comment or didn’t return phone messages, e-mails or text messages, while most 49ers players only knew what they heard on TV.

Such abrupt, secretive decision-making is no surprise from an organization run by the mercurial York family, which took over the 49ers after beloved owner Eddie DeBartolo lost control of the team in 2000 to his sister, Denise DeBartolo York.

The 49ers’ fortunes have plummeted under the Yorks, who improbably gave power over every aspect of the Niners’ football operations to Nolan, a career assistant who had never been a personnel executive. The unorthodox arrangement finally reached the conclusion many expected when Nolan was shown the door.

Singletary, the famed centerpiece of the Chicago Bears’ dominant defense on their 1986 Super Bowl team, has been at Nolan’s side since 2003, when he worked for Nolan on the Baltimore Ravens’ coaching staff. Singletary interviewed for a handful of head coaching vacancies in recent years, but was out of the NFL from the end of his playing career in 1992 until joining the Ravens.

“I am confident that Mike Singletary’s leadership ability, along with his experience as both a Hall of Fame player and coach, gives him the ability to turn our season around,” McCloughan said.

The 49ers didn’t manage a winning season or make a significant impact on the league in Nolan’s tenure. In fact, he might end up being best remembered in San Francisco for his insistence on wearing a suit and tie on the sideline for the 49ers’ home games.

After two years of protracted negotiations with Reebok, which has a contract to supply clothing to the league’s coaches, Nolan got permission to wear his specially designed suits for two games in 2006 and a full home season last year. He claimed they projected an image of authority while paying tribute to the league’s former coaching greats, including his late father, Dick, who coached the 49ers and New Orleans Saints.

The 49ers fielded the NFL’s worst offense during two of Nolan’s first three seasons, including last year. His first two offensive coordinators—Mike McCarthy and Norv Turner—left after one season for head coaching jobs, and Mike Martz became his fourth offensive coordinator last winter.

Nolan’s future also was heavily tied to quarterback Alex Smith, the No. 1 overall pick in 2005. Smith never became a consistent starter in his first three seasons, and had an embarrassing public spat with Nolan last year over the severity of the quarterback’s shoulder injuries, which forced him onto injured reserve.

Smith’s shoulder gave him more problems this year, and the quarterback went on injured reserve before the season began. The 49ers promoted veteran journeyman J.T. O’Sullivan to the starting job, but a decent offense under Martz’s direction hasn’t been able to counteract a defense that has yielded a league-high 196 points.



Manning Up by BDazzle

There’s a Giant difference between these two brothers-et-arms… and there’s no question who’s going to be Manning the next football dynatsty —  the numbers don’t lie, they Eli.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/2008/10/07/2008-10-07_experts_say_giants_qb_eli_manning_surpas.html\

Experts say Giants QB Eli Manning surpasses brother Peyton
By RALPH VACCHIANO
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

Wednesday, October 8th 2008, 12:12 AM 
 
It looks like younger brother Eli Manning may have taken the reins from brother Peyton as best quarterback in the family.

Eight months ago, Eli Manning was the Super Bowl MVP. Now he’s the MVM.

In the battle for supremacy in the First Family of the NFL, young Eli has – at least temporarily – overtaken his older brother as the best Manning in football. Four games into the season, Eli leads Peyton in every significant, quarterback-measuring category. And one quarter of the way through his fifth NFL season, the kid once dubbed Eli the Terrible is suddenly rated the fifth-best quarterback in the league.

“That doesn’t surprise me,” said Marshall Faulk, the former Rams running back and now an NFL Network analyst. “I’ve listened to Peyton talk about his little brother and Peyton says that this kid is something special. You’ve got to believe Peyton Manning knows something about quarterbacks and he’s not just saying it because it’s his little brother.”

It is true that Peyton has been touting the merits of Eli ever since his kid brother was in high school, but it’s only recently that Peyton has truly had to look up at him. Peyton, of course, was watching from a luxury box when Eli won Super Bowl XLII last February, and became the second straight Manning to win the MVP. And now, Peyton is the leader of the 2-2 Indianapolis Colts, while Eli is 4-0 and leading arguably the best team in the league.

Not only that, Peyton – an eight-time Pro Bowler on the fast track to the Hall of Fame – has slipped to 20th in the quarterback rankings. His passer rating of 79.2 not only puts him way behind Eli (99.7), but also behind signal-callers such as Chicago’s Kyle Orton (87.6), Oakland’s JaMarcus Russell (84.9), and San Francisco’s J.T. O’Sullivan (82.2).

“It’s very early and I would never count Peyton out,” said one NFC scout. “But at the moment, it looks like Eli is set up to have the better year.”

 



Lions and Bears, Oh My by kennythunder

Lions are putting all their eggs in the basket. But come this winter, will it be early hibernation, or out with a roooooaaar! Looks like the Ford campsite might have some beastly visitors!

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3609065

Lions’ new braintrust puts focus on winning the next game
Associated Press

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Beat the Bears.

That’s the stated goal of the two executives now in charge of running the Detroit Lions in the wake of Matt Millen’s dismissal Wednesday.

Executive vice president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew say they want to focus the franchise on winning its next game against Chicago.

Lewand will likely be back next year for a 15th season with the Lions to help with salary-cap issues and other business matters.

Mayhew wants to be retained, but one of Millen’s first hires insisted he doesn’t view the opportunity as an audition.

“I haven’t really thought of it like that,” he said. “The way I look at it, we have to beat the Bears. Right now, I’m the general manager. I’m focused on getting our guys ready and our coaches ready to beat the Bears.”

Detroit’s season seems to be over after getting routed in its first three games, but Lewand and Mayhew told beat writers Thursday a lot can be done to salvage the year and answer critics.

The Lions have a bye this week before hosting the Bears.

“The public perception will be positive when we beat the Chicago Bears in 10 days,” Lewand said.

Millen turned a lackluster franchise into a laughingstock during seven-plus years as team president. The Lions were an NFL-worst 31-84 since 2001 — one of the worst stretches in league history — and are 0-3 this year. This awful start drops them to an NFC-worst 10-25 under coach Rod Marinelli.

“The reality is, we have 13 games to play and we’re two games out of first place,” Mayhew said. “We can’t play the way we’ve played so far. But that’s not scary to me being two games out of first place with 13 games left.”

Millen added Mayhew, a former Washington Redskins teammate, to the front office soon after the Ford family lured him out of the broadcast booth to run the franchise.

“Matt and I have different viewpoints on a lot of things about football, but I’m a Millen guy,” Mayhew said. “I’ve known him for 18 years. We won a Super Bowl together.

“Yesterday was a different day for me. It was a sad day. It was a good day. … It was everything.”

Lewand has done a lot for Lions ownership for more than a decade, including guiding the construction of Ford Field, and might as well be known as “Teflon Tom” because it would be stunning if he’s not working for the team next year and beyond.

The University of Michigan graduate, however, is not focused on his future in the organization. He is trying to improve its culture right now.

“Our job that we started yesterday is to try to create the kind of organization that can work together toward a common goal,” Lewand said. “That’s really easy to say. It’s extremely difficult to do.”