Pat Bowlen Was Exactly What You Wanted In An NFL Owner

NFL owners are businessmen. Because they are businessmen, they concern themselves with the bottom line, sometimes to a fault. No businessman is a saint nor should anyone expect them to be. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t traits a businessmen can possess that make him a good one.

When it comes to NFL owners, Pat Bowlen is not without his faults. He is not without his mistakes. Overall, though, he’s acted exactly like you expect an NFL owner should act. Let’s review the characteristics of a good NFL owner and how they applied to Bowlen.
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RIP Grantland


Effective immediately we are suspending the publication of Grantland.  After careful consideration, we have decided to direct our time and energy going forward to projects that we believe will have a broader and more significant impact across our enterprise.

Grantland distinguished itself with quality writing, smart ideas, original thinking and fun.  We are grateful to those who made it so.  Bill Simmons was passionately committed to the site and proved to be an outstanding editor with a real eye for talent.  Thanks to all the other writers, editors and staff who worked very hard to create content with an identifiable sensibility and consistent intelligence and quality. We also extend our thanks to Chris Connelly who stepped in to help us maintain the site these past five months as he returns to his prior role.

Despite this change, the legacy of smart long-form sports story-telling and innovative short form video content will continue, finding a home on many of our other ESPN platforms.

The Cowboys’ Problems With Domestic Violence Continue

As the Cowboys continue to enable Greg Hardy’s behavior, Todd Archer and Adam Schefter bring news of troubling behavior from one of Hardy’s teammates:

In a best-case scenario, [RB Joseph] Randle only will be fined. But more likely he will be suspended, quite possibly for multiple games, for a February incident in Wichita, Kansas, where Randle was arrested for unlawful possession of marijuana after police received a call for domestic violence with a weapon after an incident with Randle and the mother of his son.

According to the police report, the mother of Randle’s son said Randle broke a car window in an argument and threatened her with a gun with their son nearby. In April the charges were dropped, but while legally clear, Randle faced sanctions from the NFL.

It remains to be seen just exactly what Randle’s punishment will be, but if the NFL is going to have a policy against domestic violence with teeth, it should come down hard on Randle.  The reason why can be summed up with the name of one NFL player: Jovan Belcher.

That, of course, was a domestic argument that ended in the worst way possible: as a murder/suicide.  The key ingredient in why that was able to happen was due to the presence of a gun in such a volatile situation.  Thankfully, in the case of Randle no one was hurt.  But had there been one emotional misstep on his part, it could have turned out much worse due to the deadly potential that a gun possesses.

Any domestic argument that involves a gun should be deemed violent, even if no physical harm is done.  The Joseph Randle case should be a key determinant to see whether the NFL finally has a satisfactory policy against domestic violence, one that will actively discourage another Jovan Belcher-type situation from happening again.

Brandon McManus Named AFC Special Teams Player Of The Month

Suffice to say, this is an excellent honor for McManus, and it also is another good sign for the Broncos’ roster building.  While Matt Prater was released for reasons not necessarily related to his overpriced contract, it did allow the Broncos to cut free from that contract, and ultimately find a suitable replacement at the proper price to invest in a kicker.  As he is in only his second accrued season, he can be retained cheap once again in 2016 under an ERFA tender, and still reasonably cheap once again in 2017 under an RFA tender.  If McManus continues his high level of play, it will be nice that the Broncos won’t have to worry about this position for a while.

Midweek Musings: Here Comes The Pack

It’s back to Broncos football this Sunday and we all know the Broncos will have their toughest challenge yet.

The Green Bay Packers are 6-0 and the Broncos will wear their blue jerseys this week, which makes you wonder if they hope the uniforms bring them some of that Super Bowl XXXII mojo.

Seriously, this game will indicate how well the Broncos measure up against one of the best teams in the NFL. Although the Broncos are 6-0, the offense’s early struggles have some people questioning just how good the Broncos really are. And the Packers are 6-0 and are strong in nearly every aspect. Football Outsiders ranks Green Bay fourth in offensive DVOA, seventh in defense and ninth in special teams.
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The Not So Scientific Team Rankings, Week 7

Here are the Week 7 rankings. This week, I figured I’d include a notable statistic about every team’s starting quarterback.

As a reminder, the rankings utilized for the Not So Scientific Rankings are:

* Pro Football Focus power rankings

* Pro Football Reference Simple Ranking System

* Football Outsiders DVOA Rating

* Five-Thirty-Eight ELO Playoff Probability Rankings

* Andrew Mason’s power rankings

Please visit each site to look at what they use to determine rankings.
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Over The Cap: 2016 NFL Free Agency, Running Backs

Jason Fitzgerald reviews the running backs who will be free agents for the 2016 offseason and the contracts he anticipates they will receive.

Ronnie Hillman will be a free agent after this season and the Broncos will have to decide whether or not to extend him. Jason believes Hillman will have to settle for a one-year deal, unless he becomes a dominant player.

While there are still plenty of games to play, from the Broncos’ perspective, it’s best to either extend Hillman (although I can see John Elway allowing Hillman to test the market before doing so) or wait to see what street free agents become available. The draft is an option, of course.

Either way, signing a “big name” RB isn’t the best idea, even though C.J. Anderson has been a disappointment and, if Hillman departs, Juwan Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are the only other backs that will be on the roster.

Broncos Back To Practice

This is good news for the Broncos from the “how healthy is everyone” standpoint. Renck also tweeted that Sambrailo may not be ready to play every snap, but Gary Kubiak has tried rotating linemen and may plan on doing it against Green Bay.

Barnwell’s Top 25 NFL Teams

Grantland’s Bill Barnwell borrowed AP’s Top 25 ranking of college football teams to rank how he views the top 25 NFL teams this season. One spoiler: He ranked the Broncos ninth, which is arguably fair considering the Broncos’ early struggles on offense.

I imagine everyone has seen my Not So Scientific NFL rankings, but Barnwell’s column prompted a thought about what tiers we might put the NFL teams. It goes like this:
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