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
Be nice to each other. We're all just trying to figure it out.
Bonus points to whoever's running the @SirPurr Twitter account with the "I'M THAT BEAR".
A live look in on Dwayne Haskins and the NFC East.
I had a sandwich at halftime Sunday.
Ron Rivera had an IV.
Ron Rivera, who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, received an IV at halftime in order to make sure he could coach the second half.— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 13, 2020
Washington would go on to erase a 17-7 deficit and win 27-17 🙏 pic.twitter.com/9pQNzJTJ5J
“No, you can’t have my job back Brady. Enjoy Florida, heard they got a nice retirement home picked out for you. Hope you know how to play Bingo.” pic.twitter.com/RjCRqZQ9tD— NOTSportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) September 13, 2020
FROM WEEK 2
Recap of Newton's endzone dive last night to finish the game. pic.twitter.com/gt001z4cBr— Joe Bryant (@Football_Guys) September 21, 2020
Dear Patrick Mahomes II II, Dan Marino says "Hi".
Week 2 in one image:
If Week 2 was a person pic.twitter.com/2vDgjVMxMa— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) September 20, 2020
Cowboys game recap:
Cowboys game recap: pic.twitter.com/QCE4ehDWoz— The Ringer (@ringer) September 20, 2020
Bill Belichick is all of us.— Alex Feuz (@AlexFeuz) September 23, 2020
January 2020 Vs. September 2020 pic.twitter.com/SqWbGBWInQ
FROM WEEK 3
I get players and coaches wanting to celebrate. But headbutts probably aren't the best idea. When only one person is wearing a helmet.
We don't deserve Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Mike Leach is still my favorite college coach.
Never change Mike Leach pic.twitter.com/ghFgCVzaGZ— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) September 27, 2020
FROM WEEK 4
It's October. Let's do this.
We are officially in the fourth quarter of 2020. Man I hope we are playing the Falcons.— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) October 4, 2020
The Dallas Cowboys defense pic.twitter.com/UirgPsU50f— #RingerNFL (@ringernfl) October 4, 2020
Colin Cowherd is right. Just because they're in Texas, doesn't mean the Cowboys have to play defense like a Big 12 team...
Tampa center Ryan Jensen with the "These guys make a lot of money. These guys earn a lot of money."
Me- Wake up wondering why my neck is sore— Ryan Jensen (@sinjen66) October 5, 2020
My neck- pic.twitter.com/j8C7N7YAZd
FROM WEEK 5
Fletcher Cox with the “Hey...HEY” is the big brother to keep us focused we all need.
A baseball note. "Walker Buehler's Pants" was trending on Twitter.
Walker Buehler's pants somehow got even tighter pic.twitter.com/QyjdOMnOaE— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) October 13, 2020
The Internet did what the Internet does.
this is what Walker Buehler looks like pic.twitter.com/up1kxSyVUX— Jason O. Gilbert (@gilbertjasono) October 13, 2020
Feels like I'm wearing nothing at all. pic.twitter.com/DpRaFglDnE— Willam (@Willam11962705) October 13, 2020
And my favorite...
FROM WEEK 6
Cowboys: 2-4— ESPN (@espn) October 20, 2020
The NFC East has a collective record of 5-18-1 through Week 6 😬 pic.twitter.com/A3HODbOPce
Oh, Daniel Jones...
FROM WEEK 7
The Presidential Debate was last Thursday night. Someone sent me this picture from a Delta flight taken during the debate. Red arrow on the Footballguy. It was probably someone reading this article right now.
The full scene as I never pass a chance to post a Happy Gilmore clip...
I love this.
FROM WEEK 8
More Ryan Fitzpatrick...
Ryan Fitzpatrick was wearing his shorts extra short at practice today as a tribute to recently traded WR Isaiah Ford, who wore his pants like that in practice.— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) November 4, 2020
(via @ruthiepolinsky) pic.twitter.com/X34l63jKDk
It was windy for the Raiders Brown game.
Let's not kid ourselves. That was just a cheap intro into the NFL Films classic clip narrated by John Facenda. If you're like me, you fell in love with the NFL during this period.
The Autumn Wind is a pirate
Blustering in from sea,
With a rollicking song, he sweeps along,
His face is weather beaten.
He wears a hooded sash,
With a silver hat about his head,
And a bristling black mustache.
He growls as he storms the country,
A villain big and bold.
And the trees all shake and quiver and quake,
As he robs them of their gold.
The Autumn Wind is a raider,
Pillaging just for fun.
He'll knock you 'round and upside down,
And laugh when he's conquered and won.
Everyone got an extra hour of sleep Saturday night, right?
“We get an extra hour of sleep tonight!!!”— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) November 1, 2020
Kids wake up at 5am instead of 6am... pic.twitter.com/OIg2DfR82e
FROM WEEK 9
Philip Rivers is all of us.
And you knew these were coming...
Pretty much this.
FROM WEEK 10
I've felt like this before...
Fun fact. If you google "Alex Trebek", it will provide the response: Did you mean “Who is Alex Trebek?” That's so good. Thanks to Footballguy Shannon Martin for that one.
Plus, Adam Thielen crushed Monday night with these.
Rock on, Smith Brothers.
Preston and Za'Darius Smith walk into Lambeau Field rocking "Super Smith Bros" t-shirts 🔥— Packers Nation (@PackersNationCP) November 15, 2020
(Via: Packers) pic.twitter.com/RFhoTRvupY
FROM WEEK 11
I knew it.
God Bless Football.
I love the NFL because both of these humans play the same sport professionally pic.twitter.com/EpnOzCU0ub— Johnathon Poppe (@JPopASU) November 23, 2020
FROM WEEK 12
Ken Norton, Jr. is still a gamer.
I love that Ken Norton Jr. still tapes up for a game. pic.twitter.com/PV9qrjojn3— Joe Bryant (@Football_Guys) December 1, 2020
Arizona for the win. They're not just being a good neighbor and allowing the 49ers to share their stadium and facility, they're winning Social Media at the same time.
Just a few basic rules about the house...— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 1, 2020
If there’s any food you like, we suggest you put your name on it or it will be thrown out... by us.
And don’t ever, ever, ever touch our drum set. https://t.co/WcJlcWffBT
The perfect reply.
Fun fact. I'm normally pretty neutral on fantasy team names with puns. Some are fun. Lots are weak. But my all-time favorite team in this category was my 2016 team in my home league, "He Don't Make The Law, He Justin Forsett". Still love that. So I've got a soft spot in my heart for him.
He was back on my radar this week winning the internet with this.
My Return To The NFL. pic.twitter.com/eY4fdVaihS— Justin Forsett (@JForsett) November 24, 2020
FROM WEEK 13
Mike Tomlin seemed to have a realistic take on things.
Tomlin, asked to what he might attribute all the receiver drops: 'Us sucking.'— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) December 2, 2020
The only question here is if Seattle scores too quickly.— Joe Bryant (@Football_Guys) December 7, 2020
That's why they play the games.
You can never go wrong with a Dwight Schrute quote.
Baker Mayfield, asked what's different with him vs. last year: "Whenever I'm about to do something, I think, 'Would an idiot do that?' And if they would, then I don't do that." #Browns @rainnwilson @theofficetv pic.twitter.com/pHepwAivzW— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) December 6, 2020
God Bless The Office.
FROM WEEK 14
I miss Chad Johnson so much.
Chad Johnson used to call Marvin Lewis and Hue Jackson up at 2am, tell em’ that he was open and then hang up. 😂 pic.twitter.com/bmLT3tsSX7— Kip Smithers 🏁 (@Chughes612) December 8, 2020
Oh that Larry Fitzgerald...
Lamar Jackson left the game with "cramps". I know that run. You probably do too. That's not cramps.
Because that’s how everyone runs with “cramps”. pic.twitter.com/GpUchE3LjE— Joe Bryant (@Football_Guys) December 15, 2020
Robert Griffin III III III knows what's up.
🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/JFatUvzlsh— Robert Griffin III III (@RGIII) December 15, 2020
FROM WEEK 15
Aaron Rodgers. Good at Football.
Here is a complete list of players with 40 passing TD in three separate seasons: Aaron Rodgers.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 20, 2020
Mack Hollins made his entrance Sunday. Everyone else is playing for 2nd place.
Aqib Talib proving once again, if your shoulders are wider than your waist, you can pretty much wear whatever you want and everyone will love it.
Put Talib in the Hall Of Fame just off this suit pic.twitter.com/7yHx0sPOaq— Eddie Francis (@yourboyeddie) December 21, 2020
Even if it looks like your grandma's couch...
Empathy and Kindness (And Santa) For the Win.
Empathy and Kindness Wins. A Mom let's Santa know her daughter is hearing impaired and Santa does the rest. pic.twitter.com/b5gd8EJvRD— Joe Bryant (@Football_Guys) December 22, 2020
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 2020.
Dang. This was a year.
It goes without saying this year has been the toughest year most any of us have faced in a long time.
Shauna Niequist is a writer I enjoy. She wrote this a few years ago but I think it applies to this year more than ever.
“My prayer is that what you’ve lost, and what I’ve lost this year, will fade a little bit in the beauty of the Christmas season, that for a few moments at least, what is right and good and worth believing will outshine all the darkness, within us and around us.”
That's my hope for you. That the pain of what you've lost this year may fade a bit as we seek out and focus on what's right and good and worth believing. That what's right and good will outshine the darkness. Happy New Year to you and yours from all of us at Footballguys. Rock on.
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 2020 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.
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