I say the same thing every December but I think it's fitting the regular season wraps up this time of year. Because for me, the NFL season is sort of like Christmas: Tons of anticipation and then it seems to be over before I know it.
Part of the fun in writing this column is I know I'll get to share some thoughts with folks like yourself who love football as much as I do. And that strikes me as a very good thing. I've had a blast throwing out my goofy observations this season. And I've smiled at the emails from people telling me they've thought some of the same things as they were watching the games.
As I wrap up the regular season this Week 17, I've pulled up some of the more interesting things I remember seeing during the year. It's my sincerest hope that you've enjoyed reading this column a fraction as much as I enjoyed writing it. We'll do it again next season. If you've got thoughts and ideas on how this thing can be better, or just want to yell at me about my preseason Odell Beckham Jr ranking, feel free to shoot me a line at Bryant@footballguys.com.
Here's to Football,
FROM WEEK 1
And you guys just keep acting like the Madden Curse isn't real...
There aren't a lot of rookie wide receivers who can pull off the pacifier mouthguard.
DK Metcalf can pull off the pacifier mouthguard.
Full beard Bruce Arians messes up one of my favorite graphics of the summer.
FROM WEEK 2
Riddle me this, Batman.
How does a guy like Keelan Cole possess the hand-eye coordination to make this catch...
Then miss a low-five this epically?
And when I say "epically", watch what he does to himself after the miss.
Yeah, I'm twelve.
It was interesting to see the NFL carrying water for Patriots owner Robert Kraft with the obvious "plausible deniability" shtick.
Mr. Wilson with the logical reply.
Rice's football team may not be great. But their band is savage.
I'm just going to leave this one right here...
Rarely seen in the wild, the rushing Philip Rivers is as elusive as it is beautiful.
ESPN is a major network. Can we not get Booger some AC?
FROM WEEK 3
During Thursday night's game, Tom Brady tweeted: "I'm turning off this game I can't watch these ridiculous penalties anymore #TENvsJAC"
I responded with what all you guys were thinking...
I say we go back to the old Tear-Aways.
What in the world was happening with the Aaron Rodgers' conehead helmet Sunday?
Still not as good as this one though.
Live look in on Case Keenum Monday Night...
FROM WEEK 4
What a time to be alive.
Take Me Home, Pat Mahomes...
I could probably end this one right here and it would still be one the best Random Shots I've done.
This is why you don't leave things to the unpaid interns.
Of all the possible pictures, this is what the folks running the Raiders official social media account chose to go with?
I'm just going to leave this one right here.
As a #Footballguy, I'm totally down with Andy Reid's Mozart the Painter as the definition of a Footballguy.
The internet is tough though...
Thanks to Footballguy Kirk Hardwick for the help with that one.
FROM WEEK 5
With DK Metcalf and Lockett both scoring first-half touchdowns, I was reminded of this picture from the summer. People went nuts over the "giant" Metcalf and the "tiny" Lockett.
Using that logic, I couldn't believe nobody was talking about how tiny the people in the stands are....
This official played it cool.
This reminds me of a story where a friend of mine went to an Appalachian Craft Fair type thing. There were a ton of booths set up with lots of displays and demonstrations. How they ground corn to cornmeal and how they kept bees for honey and such. One older man had a display set up with a still for making moonshine. The man looked and sounded the part with a long white beard and overalls and a gravelly drawl.
As he talked about how the still worked, it became pretty evident this guy knew a LOT about making and selling illegal moonshine.
A kid raised his hand and asked the question everyone was thinking, "Mister, how do you know so much about making moonshine?"
The Old Timer didn't bat an eye and said, "Son, it come to me in a dream..."
Finally a break in the Dallas case...
Oddly enough, it's a couple of years old.
Hat Tip: Happy Gilmore
Hat Tip: Memes Of The NFL
Another mark against my theory. If pre-game outfits mattered, Amari Cooper would've scored 8 touchdowns Sunday...
I know he's not producing to match his draft spot. But I love JuJu Smith-Schuster.
This clip is one of those "so loaded" videos.
Smith-Schuster racing to his friend and seemed shocked to see him down like this.
An 11-year vet in Ramon Foster clearly rattled while 10-year veteran center Maurkice Pouncey plays the older brother/dad trying to hold them together.
FROM WEEK 6
This photoshop is just mean.
Thanks to Footballguy, and long-suffering Lions fan, Bob Henry for that one.
Disturbing news from New England. But explains the longevity thing...
FOXBOROUGH, MA—Complimenting the first-year player for providing a valuable contribution to the quarterback’s needs, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick confirmed Wednesday that the team had brought up young rookie Travis Wofford from its practice squad to provide fresh blood for Tom Brady.
“He’s been a bit tired these last few weeks, and we think Travis is going to provide just the healthy, nutrient-rich blood Tom requires,” said Belichick, adding that the Patriots first instituted the process in response to Brady’s slow start to the 2012 season, and now transfuse the blood of seven to 10 rookies per year to ensure the 42-year-old quarterback’s circulatory system is constantly flush with the young blood it needs to perform at a high level.
“We’re excited for a guy like Travis to come up to the 53-man roster and take reps for a few days in between bloodletting sessions until his body is slowly drained of all liquid. Of course, we only want the highest-quality rookies who follow a strict diet and training regimen so that their blood is the healthiest. That means no junk food, no nightshades, and no taking days off. As long as we keep up the supply of rookies, Tom could easily play into his fifties.” Belichick added that the Patriots were already scouting a college wide receiver who could provide a nice pair of kidneys for Brady during the 2020 season.
God Bless the Onion. And no, Giants Fans, this isn't real. At least I don't think it's real...
I heard some Titans folks say, "It can't get worse".
I'm an optimistic guy. But it can always get worse.
(Narrator Voice: "It did not get worse.")
I had a few years in school that started like the Cowboys season...
FROM WEEK 7
Todd Gack has the full support of every defensive coordinator in the league outside of Carolina.
I normally rail on people who panic about the rain. The San Francisco at Washington game Sunday poked a bit of a hole in my theory...
To be fair, it rained pretty dang hard...
Seriously though, this game produced some fantastic pictures.
This one from Geoff Burke is amazing.
Give this Skycam Operator a raise. This is amazing.
Thanks to Footballguy Keith Overton for the help with that one.
For you movie guys, this was probably the closest thing the NFL gets to the famous Copacabana Steadicam shot from Goodfellas.
This is the NFL.
What a classic picture from Getty's @patricksmith04.
FROM WEEK 8
I told you last year Zay Jones is a Wizard.
In case you were wondering...
Still a Wizard.
Texans linebackers before the game.
I'm surprised the Raiders gained a yard.
I fully admit I'm too old school and too much about the team and I know I'm not representative of the masses. But that's one of the lamest things I've seen in a long time.
If you've read more than one of these columns, you know I'm far from a Baker Mayfield defender but that's unreal.
I wonder if he did the "Tom-eeeeee I made you these! Do you like them? OMG OMG OMG, I hope you like them!"
Turns out that wasn't the only questionable decision Beckham made Sunday.
Brady's response to the cleats...
FROM WEEK 9
Browns This Summer:
One of these is not like the others...
Hat Tip To Ian McCuistion
I think we've figured it out.
Hat Tip: Phil Alexander
Hockey Fans are...Different.
Hat Tip: @NFL_Memes
I like to think I'm pretty good at predicting football.
I'd be lying if I said I saw this coming.
I miss Cam Newton.
But he lives on with us this year through stuff like this:
How, Dallas? How?
FROM WEEK 10
I hope you're sitting down for this.
Mike Tomlin won a challenge.
If Judge Smails from Caddyshack and Mr. Howell from Gilligan's Island had a baby, I bet he'd clap like Jerry Jones.
That's pretty funny.
Never Change, Raider Fans.
Thanks to Footballguy Chad Parsons for that one.
Apparently, "Sources" is code for "Anyone who's watched television this year".
A lot can change between now and then but a Kansas City - Baltimore playoff game would be fun.
(Narrator Voice: "Not a lot changed.")
I don't know much about the University of Minnesota but P.J. Fleck's made Random Shots twice now.
Yes, I know most every player warms up with some sort of hip opening stretch like this.
But Dak Prescott was still fun.
Mainly for the avalanche of things like this.
Thank you, Internet.
I googled "trying too hard" and Travis Kelce was the answer.
FROM WEEK 11
Drew Brees been hitting that buffet line...
I've said it before, I should publish my Footballguys Email Box from every Monday morning.
This one was fun with the followup.
Oh, Bears Fans...
Thanks to Footballguy Clayton Gray for that one.
Quenton Nelson with the keg stand TD celebration.
The internet lost its mind calling it "epic" and "amazing".
It was a keg stand.
And turns out he got stuffed at the one-yard line and it wasn't even a touchdown.
Here's my challenge to you. And to myself.
Be this kind of friend.
FROM WEEK 12
Thanksgiving Dinner advice and the Music Note. Family Gatherings can be tough sometimes as everyone has different opinions and beliefs. Just remember, one thing Unites Us All...
God Bless Adele.
A live look in on the Jaguars defense trying to stop Tennessee...
Tom Brady: "Everyone who says Patriots get the advantages. I don’t know about that."
Ref out there killing it with the Al Bundy.
49ers have their swag back.
Tom Brady after the Cowboys game:
FROM WEEK 13
I sometimes feel I've made a questionable career decision...
The only thing more predictable after a Patriots loss than the awkward presser are the "Brady is done" posts...
Although let's not pretend America doesn't love this...
Hat Tip: Memes Of The NFL.
I'm not going to lie. This got me too.
Thanks to Footballguy Daniel Simpkins for that one.
Auburn was a 3 1/2 point underdog and barely won Saturday after giving up 45 points to the #5 team in the country with their backup quarterback.
And stormed the field.
On the other hand, I'm going to just leave this right here...
Thanks to Emily Steen for that one.
On that note...
Worse, two of the first three comments to Gantt's post thought he was serious...
As a society, "We're in a tight spot, Boys"
Hindsight is sweet.
FROM WEEK 14
New England going with the throwback logo...
I don't know how good Drew Lock will actually be. But anyone with a Buzz Lightyear TD celebration is ok in my book.
Breaking News: Photo of the airport worker responsible for loading the Kansas City equipment into their plane has been released.
Thanks to Memes Of The NFL for that one.
If this quarterback thing doesn't work out, Ryan Tannehill might want to think about becoming a safety...
I'm not sure what it says about me that CBS putting up the fake Andy Reid made my weekend.
I don't know if the audio is real but I don't want to know if it's not.
FROM WEEK 15
One of my favorite Sports Illustrated covers from a few years back featuring Belichick Santa.
This is why it kills me to hear Eagles fans or Giants fans or other similar teams talk about their struggles...
HT: Memes Of The NFL
Ryan Fitzpatrick is now the Dolphins leading rusher. For the season.
Let that sink in.
Before we get too excited, Ryan passed Mark Walton to take the lead...
If you have a brother, you understood this exchange Sunday night.
Wrapping with this one. Our friend Clue Heywood asked a good question on Twitter Monday afternoon:
If you know me, you know I answered with one of my favorite stories. And one I tell here often.
Heading into the last day, a doubleheader, of the 1941 baseball season, 23-year-old Ted Williams' batting average was .39955. He could have sat out the meaningless last two games of the last day and his average would have rounded to the hallowed .400 mark.
From the sabr.org article: "In his autobiography, My Turn At Bat, Williams recalls Joe Cronin telling him, 'You don’t have to be put in if you don’t want to. You’re officially .400.' Ted reports his reaction: 'Well, God, that hit me like a ***damn lightning bolt! What do you mean I don’t have to play today?'"
But you probably know the story. Williams put his .400 mark at risk and played. Both games. And went 6 for 8 finishing the year at .406.
How that applies to you and me is simple. I feel pretty safe in saying we're not going to hit .400 in the majors. But we all get to walk to the plate every day and take some swings. Take yours.
That'll do it for 2019.
I want to thank all the folks who sent me funny things they saw this year. You guys rock and you make my job easier. And thanks to all of you for the kind words throughout the season - you humble me. Sincerely.
This may be the last Random Shots of the year but Lord willing, I'm not going anywhere. You can always reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay in touch with us on Facebook by clicking "like". And you can keep up with me on Twitter or keep up with my non-football stuff here on Instagram.
I realize I've often strayed from sports and climbed on the soapbox maybe a bit more than I should. I intentionally left most of those off this collection as most of the rants were more a context thing. But not to be too dramatic about it, I felt like we sort of went through the 2019 season together. There were tough moments. And plenty of light moments. It wasn't all fun, but I think I can say it's been good to be together.
I'm completely down with Ram Dass who said: "In the end, we're all just walking each other home at night." Thanks for walking with me.
Peace and Grace to you.