Please note, if you're reading this in email, we've got a cleaner version online here.
We do a ton of insightful, thoughtful and serious features here at Footballguys with smart people thinking deeply for you. This is not one of those features.
This is Random Shots and it's a few pages of me downloading my goofy and dysfunctional mental hard drive that gets stuffed with way too many random items from too many hours watching, reading about and listening to football every weekend and throughout the week. It's the only way I manage. Here's hoping it has some value for you.
We'll see. Now let's get to it.
Y'all. Can we talk?
I've been writing Random Shots a long time now and lots of you have been reading for a long time. I'm grateful and appreciative for you being a part of this goofy column. It's maybe way too idealistic of me, but I feel like we have a connection. You to me and me to you. So I hope you'll hear this as if it came from a friend. And not your crazy uncle on Facebook.
I've often made fun of overplayed stories in this column.
This week feels different. A lot different.
It's complicated. It's important. It's passionate. It's frustrating. It's personal. It's confusing. It's uncomfortable. I get it.
I'm also well aware you don't need another voice smugly telling you what to think. That's everywhere. And a huge part of the frustration.
Instead, I've got an idea on what you should do. And it comes from Pete Carroll with this line. "There's an empathy that needs to be understood if we're going to make any movement forward".
The operative word is "empathy". It means trying not just to understand, but to feel where the other person is coming from. And why they feel the way they do. It's more and deeper and more difficult than "sympathy".
Stephen Covey wrote about this when he said, "Seek first to understand. Then to be understood."
The second important part is "moving forward". I don't think anyone wants to stay where we are. And we have a choice. Let things take us wherever the chips may fall. Or try to do what we can to move in the direction we think is best. I believe the latter is preferable.
So do something. Seek out a person or persons who feel differently than you on this issue. If at all possible, do it in person. You be the one to take the first step. Instead of snarky jabs or angry soundbites, ask them humbly with open hands, "Can you help me understand?". Then do something almost as important as the first step: Shut up and listen. And try to put yourself in their shoes. Don't object and don't argue. Let them fully explain why they think what they think. Ask questions to clarify like, "What I hear you saying is _______. Is that right?" Or, "Is it fair to say you think ______?" But don't argue or make assumptions and don't put words in their mouth.
Once you've fully heard and fully understood them, if they're as mature as you, THEN you talk about what you feel. If they're not as mature as you, then maybe they don't want to hear or understand your side. This is not about you. And that's ok.
And to be completely clear, I'm talking to all "sides" on this. I have good people I know and love who're all over the map on this issue.
And to be even more clear, this isn't hippy-dippy everything's groovy stuff. This is loving your neighbor stuff.
I believe no matter which "side" of this one falls on, realizing this is bigger than yourself and trying to understand another person is going to be the key to moving forward. Maybe that's too idealistic. But that's what I'm going with. I hope you'll come with me.
Back to your regularly scheduled programming...
If you let me make the rules, I'd make every television broadcast switch to the Spanish announcers for any field goal attempt over 40 yards. This is gold.
Almost as good was quarterback Carson Wentz promising Elliott his game check if he made the kick.
Other reports have Wentz making $31,764 per week. Either way, that's an expensive microphone he was wearing.
Wednesday, Wentz said they'd worked something out.
Not that he's asking for it but some advice for Wentz. By "worked this out", I hope he means "do what I said I'd do". Wentz is going to play a long time in this league and make a boatload of money. Trying to save dollars there could be the most costly money he ever spends. Trust is expensive.
Thanks to Footballguy David Dodds for that one.
Boise State has a dog to retrieve the kickoff tee.
They've done this for years but it never gets old.
Thanks to Footballguy Stephen Bogush for that one.
More animal fun. You know you were cheering for the Squirrel here.
Overheard in the halftime locker from the London Game Sunday morning:
Who knew Mike Glennon would live up to his picture on the Gameday program Sunday?
Jacksonville was leading Baltimore 37-0 in the third quarter and ran a fake punt to gain 58 yards.
Cleveland fans feeling like Tom Brady...
I was traveling this past weekend and wasn't able to watch RedZone on television Sunday as normal.
Instead, I actually watched a single NFL game live on Sunday afternoon. Like a real fan. Pittsburgh at Chicago. With apologies to my many Steeler friends, it was kind of awesome.
Sometimes the Onion hits a little too close to home...
Thanks to Footballguy Keith Overton for that one.
Nathan's right. You have to start somewhere.
Like most everyone, I love Romo as an analyst.
One guy who's not a fan is Brent Musberger.
Musberger, of the Vegas Stats and Information Network, went out of his way this week to make sure we all knew we're wrong. Wagging his finger to Romo with, "And you're not going to be a hit. Here’s a memo to all of you people that say ‘Ah this is great’. Uh-uh. It's not gonna happen…"
Musberger then somehow felt compelled to go into "The further and more years you spend away from the league, you're going to know less and less about the personnel on the field. So I'm blowing a STOP THE HYPE. Ok? Right now."
Says the guy who's been out of the NFL for... his entire life.
Seattle's offensive line still has "issues"...
Carson Palmer ready to do work.
If I'm Bruce Arians, I'm thinking about pulling Palmer out of these Bucket Challenge contests. Guy doesn't need any more shots to his confidence.
Beware Sumo Kirk Cousins.
Baseball Note: Cubs infielder Addison Russell dove for a ball in the stands in St. Louis and knocked over a Cardinal's fan's nachos.
Russell then made things right.
It wasn't enough the Lions lost. The food in the locker room was on fire.
This woman wins the "Cool Under Stress" award for the week. She opens the door and a ball of fire falls out and she doesn't flinch. If that wasn't enough, she tried to blow out the fire like a candle.
Case Keenum turning heads in Minnesota...
Kansas City coach Andy Reid announced he would not be scaling back Kareem Hunt's workload.
Hunt guys responded.
Dez Bryant scored on this play.
I'm not sure if it says more about Bryant or the Cardinals defense but it's remarkable either way.
The ESPN crew gave Matt Hasselbeck a cake for his 42nd birthday. He smashed his face into it.
And injured himself.
I know there's more to the story (there was a dowel in the cake), but C'mon Man.
Monday morning comment to Mindy Kizer: "Wow, your son's a starting quarterback in the NFL. I bet you have great seats!"
Mindy Kizer: "Yeah. It's awesome."
Here's the dilemma companies face in 2017. If you're going to have a relevant social media presence, you probably need some young people managing things. The problem, sometimes they go a little too far.
This was just the beginning of Baltimore's problems in London Sunday as this tweet was posted then deleted.
The internet roasted Ezekiel Elliott last week for giving up on a play and not pursuing a defender who intercepted a Dak Prescott pass. And rightfully so. Why do people talk about never giving up on a play? Chicago's Marcus Cooper and Pittsburgh's Vance McDonald gave a perfect answer Sunday.
Glitch in the Matrix.
The Falcons - Lions game featured 6 players named Matt. All with single digit jersey numbers.
Hat tip to Dan Blankowski, DailySnark.com and redditer Yronno
Wrapping this week with a Music Note. I did enough soapboxing at the beginning.
Son House is one of my favorite artists. He's Jack White's favorite too. I'm not going to write a bunch of words about his music. You listen. You'll get it.
That'll do it for this week, Folks. Thanks to Footballguys Clayton Gray, Stephen Bogush, Keith Overton, David Dodds and Dan Blankowski for the help on this one. If you've got a Random Shot of your own, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for playing along. I hope you make the most of whatever you're doing in your life. Love your neighbor and stick together.
Peace and Grace to you.