Bill Belichick’s destructive impact eroding NFL’s popularity

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks to the media following the AFC championship NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots won 24-20. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The NFL would be better if Bill Belichick never coached.

I write that even though I look forward to watching his team, the New England Patriots, play in the upcoming Super Bowl. I appreciate his mastery of football schematics. I consider him the best coach in NFL history.

But, his legacy is negative.

Nothing can change that.

Click here to read the rest of my column.

This article has 302 Comments

  1. Wow, that’s some blame game. Before Jimmy, I’d pile on but after Jimmy, I’ve since lost my animus. NBA? Ha! That may be the case with the little ones you hang out with, but I’ve never been a “sports” fan. Never watched baseball, hockey or basketball. Football is the only sport I’ve ever had any interest in. Now, I can assure you in Texas, football will always be king. Why football gets such a bad rap, I’m not sure. We’re allowed to cheer when a boxer gets knocked out, but a “whoo” hit on a football player gets everyone’s panties in a bunch. Hockey fights, no problem. MMA/UFC, the more blood, broken bones, the better. Seems like a double standard to me, but I really don’t see football fading away anytime soon….

  2. “Belichick cheated. That’s even worse.”

    Thank you Grant.

    “Belichick dishonored football.”

    Thank you Grant.

    “He took advantage of the NFL, and undid everything that made it the most popular league in America.”

    Thank you Grant.

    “He created a culture of paranoia in the NFL.”

    Thank you Grant. Great read. Spot on, except Walsh is still GOAT IMO.

  3. You are tying an awful lot of things to Belichick here. Some of us were actually discussing this last week. Ultimately Belichick was fined for where he had a camera setup not the act of taping because there was no rule against it. He wasn’t cheating because it wasn’t against the rules.

    As far as league popularity declining because of him that is a real stretch. The league continued to climb in the ratings long after the disclosure and subsequent fine.

    While I wish more practices were open to the media, I get why teams aren’t more open to it considering the NFL has so few games and any information could affect the outcome in a given week. They are very paranoid though considering the fact everything you need to know about a team is on film.

    Belichick continues to win every season because he’s the best there is. NFL players are very well known your nephew notwithstanding. The NBA has a fraction of the ratings the NFL does and will never take over the mantle as America’s top sport because it’s a very flawed game and league. It has more viewers from the 18-49 range by percentage, but that is also based on a small number of games between the top teams in the sport. The reality is the NBA is a league dependent on a few stars and about 5-6 teams. The majority of the league doesn’t draw fans to the games or get ratings on TV. If any game will one day topple the NFL it will likely be Soccer. It’s got a global following and a lot of kids are starting to play it in North America. The decrease in kids playing football won’t result in more playing basketball, they already play basketball. It will result in more playing Soccer.

    The only thing that will kill the NFL is the safety of it and the studies that will continue to come out against it. The league has had to make a number of unpopular changes to the game, and more parents aren’t letting their kids play. Those are the real problem the NFL faces. Belichick has nothing to do with that.

    1. n the NFL taping opponents is LEGAL as long as it’s not:

      Miscellaneous Rules and Regulations, Section A. reads, “No video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches’ booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game.”

      That’s it. They taped from the WRONG spot. That was the violation. Not the taping itself which was perfectly legal. All the rest is a bunch of know-nothings deciding what was done was some immoral act.

      And the reason they taped from the sidelines was because they normally tape from the press box. BUT the press box is on the wrong side in some stadiums. So they taped from the field. Which other teams, btw, have done as well yet nobody says anything.

      Like Deflategate. The Colts balls were also underinflated. By the same amounts. No investigation. No penalty. Nothing. It’s one of biggest loads of crap I’ve ever seen and absolutely confirms it was about the politics of the situation and not the fact that the cold makes footballs softer because physics.

      1. DeflateGate was an issue because it was an advantage for Brady. Brady liked footballs inflated less than the league requirements. That does not mean it was equally beneficial to Colts/Luck even though they used the same ball. Let’s say the league temperature rule for indoor stadiums is 66-72, but Drew Brees likes a balmy 76. It just so happens that his statistical performance is measurably better at 76 degrees. It is a rule violation even though opposing qbs are playing in the same climate.

        As far as video tape gate goes, Ill bet I there is evidence to support the case that Pats knowingly broke the specific rule of where they can tape and used it to their benefit.

        1. “As far as video tape gate goes, Ill bet I there is evidence to support the case that Pats knowingly broke the specific rule of where they can tape and used it to their benefit.”

          “Bill Belichick has been illegally taping opponents’ defensive signals since he became the New England Patriots’ coach in 2000, according to Sen. Arlen Specter, who said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told him that during a meeting Wednesday.”

          “Specter said Goodell gave him that information during the 1-hour, 40-minute meeting, which was requested by Specter so the commissioner could explain his reasons for destroying the Spygate tapes and notes.”

          “Goodell said Belichick told him he believed the taping was legal; Goodell said he did not concur.”

          “Goodell noted that “we were the ones that disclosed” the Patriots’ illegal taping of the New York Jets’ defensive signals in Week 1 of last season. Further, Goodell said, they had an admission by Belichick.”

        2. Fumble rates are far lower with deflated footballs. Can’t remember the source, but the difference is stark. Once the league allowed teams to handle the stored footballs (at Pats and another team’s request) their fumble rate plummeted relative to other teams.

          1. Yup. People talk about how the Pats blew out the Colts in the deflated ball game. And that’s true. However, the Colts were warned about the balls by the Ravens. So the Pats did it to Baltimore the week before, which was a close game.

            11 of the 12 balls were underinflated. So why keep 1 ball properly inflated?


            The higher the air pressure inside the soccer ball, the farther it will go when it is kicked, writes engineer and soccer ball enthusiast Bruce Rigsby on the site Soccer Ball Your kick transfers more energy to a stiff ball, compared to a spongy one, as less of the energy is lost to deformation of the ball’s surface. Thus, the extent of air pressure in the ball affects how far it sails off your foot. The same concept applies with other inflated sports equipment:

      2. “In a September 2006 memorandum sent out by NFL Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson, all teams were told that ‘videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coaches’ booth, in the locker room, or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game.'”

        1. ““In a September 2006 memorandum…”

          Yeah, you might as well call that the ‘Belichick’ rule. How can he not know that rule? He’s always looking for an edge like Pete Carroll (another cheater).

            1. Do you think the HOF voters will make Belichick wait a year or possibly leave him out forever? He doesn’t have a great relationship with the media, Bonds didn’t either.

              1. Don’t know, but I wouldn’t vote for him. If you dishonor the game by cheating, the league shouldn’t honor you in its Hall of Fame.

              2. And he is largely responsible for the league becoming so impersonal the past 10 years. He popularized that trend.

              3. People who defend Belichick and Bonds are no different than people who love Trump. Same type of moral relativism.

                I couldn’t agree more with you Grant. And I was a guy who never missed a Barry Bonds at-bat during his steroid-enhanced run. Now I feel duped.

            2. Grant – leave your politics out of your sports writing. You’re as predictable as your father.
              The reason the NFL is going backwards in popularity is not because of the best coach in the league. You know the real reason, and so do your readers.

              Barry Bonds was the best player in his era. His era included many players, coaches, owners, media, GM’s, and others, complicit in the steroid era.
              You are all hypocrites now.

              And if you’re against steroids, then why do you make your living on football?
              That league was rampant with steroid use.
              You’re guilty too.

              Very sad Grant. Very sad.

              1. “Barry Bonds was the best player in his era. His era included many players, coaches, owners, media, GM’s, and others, complicit in the steroid era.”

                Everyone else was doing it. Ah yes, the Lance Armstrong defense. But everyone else was not doing it as Canseco would have you believe.


                “While Canseco claimed that more than three quarters of the league were on steroids, which would equate to over 600 players in all of baseball, the Mitchell Report, a 21-month investigation into rampant steroid use in the MLB, named 89 players, both current and former.”

              2. Alice I totally agree that using politics was inappropriate. What would have been more appropriate is drawing a parallel to double standards in sports and the double standards displayed by todays media. Grants focus totally on Trump as an example of a political negative is just another instance of the bias of today’s media. The standards should be the same for everyone in both sports or political reporting. Other wise I concur with Grants article.

            3. So I am immoral in your opinion because I believed Trump was a better option than Hillary? You dishonor journalism and disrespect 50% of the population all in one statement. You my good man make yourself irrelevant and expose your ignorance without so much as a second thought. You are a bigger tool than Bill Belichick.

              1. Grant the issue was not loving or hating Trump but fairness and holding everyone to an equal standard. You seem to have a problem with that not only in politics but also in sports. You allow your personal agenda to color you perspectives. Your father wrote an editorial article. News people now days seem to have a problem with recognizing the difference between reporting news and writing editorials. Everyone wants to write their own personal opinions and no one wants to report the news objectively.

              2. disrespect 50% of the population

                If you are talking about Trump voters, that was 46% of the vote, of which was 59% of the eligible voters. So, of the population ? Try 19%. So better button that up before accusing someone else of ignorance

              3. No Chris, you’re not immoral for voting for Trump. You are immoral for continuing to defend someone who has made a disgrace of the presidency of the United States!

              1. iLava
                You sound like another bitter Bernie Sanders fan or Hillary Clinton fan your champions lost get over it

            4. Donald J Trump is the greatest President since Abraham Lincoln. What he has done for this country in 1 year has been nothing short of spectacular. Don’t believe me? Just ask him.

              1. I still remember as a teenager, Jimmy Carter telling us to turn our thermostats down, wear a sweater, and that we’d run out of oil by 2011….

            5. I can’t even believe this stretch. Give me a break. Yeah, lets equate the morality of cheating in sports to the illegal discrimination of immigrants/accusations of sexual assault/potential collusion with foreign governments. Get a grip.

        2. Yes it became illegal in 2006, AFTER Belichick had already won 3 rings legally. And they’ve won 2 rings since and going for a 3rd. Spygate meant absolutely nothing and many teams and coaches admitted they did the same thing and said it was barely effective. Jerry Rice admitted to using stickum on his gloves and which is way more worse when it comes to cheating.

          This is one of the most bias and worst articles about sports I’ve ever read. Maybe your dumb kid doesn’t know anything about football because he doesn’t like football or the fact that the 49ers have sucked for years now? NFL ratings may be slightly down but it’s still the most watched sport in the US by a massive margin.

      3. Matt Walsh, a Patriots video assistant in 2001 who was fired after the team’s 2002 season, told the media the same week that he had information and materials regarding the Patriots’ videotaping practices. The Boston Herald reported that the Patriots had also videotaped the St. Louis Rams’ walkthrough practice prior to Super Bowl XXXVI. The NFL reached a indemnity deal with Walsh on April 23, 2008, and arranged a meeting between Goodell and Walsh. Prior to the meeting, Walsh sent eight videotapes, containing opponents’ coaches’ signals from the 2000 through 2002 seasons, in accordance with the agreement. Goodell and Walsh met on May 13, 2008, at which time Walsh told Goodell he and other Patriots employees were present at the Rams’ walkthrough to set up video equipment for the game but that there was no tape of the walkthrough made. Other unnamed sources claim that, in fact, a tape of the walkthrough was made.

        Personally, I find it hard to believe the Patriots had their camera’s set up during the walkthrough, but failed to tape it.

    2. While I’m on the fence about BB cheating or not (arguments to be made on both sides), he did try to gain competitive edges by doing something off the field of football and that does taint his legacy somewhat.

      Is that the reason for football losing its luster? Doubt it. I think the reasons are variegated. One is the advent of free agency. Casual fans have a hard time keeping up with the turnstile of players. People don’t develop long relationships with players. As a consequence we root for jerseys (thank you Jerry Seinfeld). That is also true if the owners looking out for business interests rather than building city/fan loyalty. There are other reasons too but I don’t think BB was alone in creating an atmosphere where personal interest waned.

    3. “Ultimately Belichick was fined for where he had a camera setup not the act of taping because there was no rule against it. He wasn’t cheating because it wasn’t against the rules.”
      ~ rocket,

      Getting an edge on your opponent for the purpose of having an advantage has all the markings of cheating in my book.
      Belichick committed a moral and unethical act (rule or not) against the “good sportsmanship” unwritten rule of the game. Because of that, he will never be considered the GOAT for me.
      But (ok on my soapbox here) the entire professional sports world is nothing more than big time business with dirty and greedy hands marring it’s integrity – but that’s for another topic.

  4. Whoa Grant! Can’t you at least go bold? Hahahahahahahaha!!!
    Always fun for someone to declare that The Emporer has no clothes!
    But I gotta ask…….have you and Lowell been sampling those Psilocybin ‘shrooms?
    Undercenter, Oregon…..what have you been sending to Grant?
    Or did they open a Hunter Thompson Time Capsule Box?
    I equate BB’s pushing the limits approach to NASCAR drivers riding the curb to cut
    Milli-seconds. Walsh pushed HARD. Bum Phillips stole Fouts’ plays in a PlayOff game.
    To the victor go the spoils. The victors write history.
    The Patriots’ Dynastic Legacy is NOT just about cheating, although it is an undeniable sub-plot. It’s about getting it done on the field at the right moment; time after time after time.
    Who didn’t know the Pats had a chance late in that Jags game? Ssshhhhh! Don’t admit it! Brady is Brady.

    1. Not sure what Oregon sent him but I sent him some Alice B Toklas brownies laced with some pure and natural micro organisms that enhances intuitive thinking with the very precise instructions, only eat one two inch square in an eight hour period….obviously he ate the whole thing in one setting and off he went……

        1. Ha! I was in line donating plasma a month ago, and this dude taps me on the shoulder and mumbles some urban word for synthetic marijuana. I was like, “What”? After I understood what he was talking about, I said, “Why in the hell would anyone want that…it doesn’t make any damn sense”! He starting laughing, and then said I’d be surprised….


    Sorry, just had to do that. Your column is so ludicrous that I couldn’t help myself. The fact is all your talking points are either pure BS or common practice within the NFL. And if we’re going to bring out the torches, Walsh cheated to. Walsh took credit for things he didn’t do. Yet I never see the torches and pitchforks…

    So here is the real deal — ALL SPORTS RATINGS ARE DOWN. The NFL is down. The NBA is down. MLB is down. The NHL is down. And even college football ratings are down. And it has everything to do with societal changes and nothing to do with Belichick and the Patriots. The primary reason is cord cutting. People like me who no longer have cable, but, instead, watch through live-streams. We don’t count in the ratings. But we watch all the same.

    So, unless you think Belichick has some super human power and has wrecked the four major sports leagues, plus NCAA football, in the US you should rethink your position. OTOH, if you’re convinced he has these mutant, super-human powers, perhaps we should just make him Dictator for Life before he decides to enslave us all…

    Anyway, in the end, this was just a cheap-and-easy, mail-it-in character assassination made up of a of a bunch of nothing-burgers, half-truths and non-truths. And a big fat waste of electrons and time.

    1. “Anyway, in the end, this was just a cheap-and-easy, mail-it-in character assassination made up of a of a bunch of nothing-burgers, half-truths and non-truths. And a big fat waste of electrons and time”

      So the same as every other lil cohn article then.

    2. Many good points. Love the Niners, but the entire fan base and the league figured out that Eddie D was either cheating or bending the rules while building his dynasty. He’s loved for it here because he
      brought home so many trophies.
      The league however did not like it and they eventually changed the loopholes and the rules specifically because of Eddie D.

      You and your dad love and adore the Niners, just like me and millions of faithful fans. Hypocrisy on your part?

      When it comes to cheating , football once again, is the leader in steroid use and PED’s.
      Hiding head injuries is a bigger problem than one grumpy coach.

      For your readers who think that 89 players were all that were using steroids or PED’s– well that’s a joke.
      Canseco , for all his faults, is not being accused of lying , just telling the truth.
      Having inside info on actual MLB players, friendships and all, the usage was far and above 89 players using. But true that all were not.

      Grant , along with your Dad, and other hurt feelings media, you’re just Bonds haters because he was rude.
      His godfather Willie Mays, used ” beanies” back in the day, to keep him going strong day to day. He even wrote about it himself in his book.
      All of you weak kneed writers, given far too much owner, are keeping Barry Bonds out of the Hall. Shameful on your part really.

      1. “Canseco , for all his faults, is not being accused of lying , just telling the truth.”

        Canseco said most of everyone else was doing it because it makes him look better (less bad really). I’m sorry, but I don’t believe the words of a known cheater. Canseco, a guy that ratted out people to make a quick buck on a book.

        He might actually think that everybody else did it because he turned players on to it wherever he went, taught them how to do it. BTW, congratulations to Jim Thome, Vladimir Guererro, Chipper Jones, and Trevor Hoffman for making the HOF. Maybe next year Bonds and Clemens, maybe never.

  6. Electronic and other kinds of subterfuge likewise have a long NFL history. The NFC Championship trophy is named after George Halas. For 63 years, Halas owned the Chicago Bears. For 40 of those years, he coached them, winning 324 games (still the second most in NFL history) and six NFL Championships.

    During his ownership, the team won a total of eight NFL titles. An innovator who pioneered the use of game film, Halas also had a reputation for espionage. Rivals and reporters claimed that he bugged locker rooms, coaches’ boxes, and teams’ phone systems. They said he had spies watch practices.

    In fact, Fido Murphy, a Bears’ scout who also worked for the Steelers, once admitted to having a kid watch a Rams’ practice. The kid hid under the scoreboard, studying the defense. Murphy passed the information to Bears’ coaches and advised them on countering the defense.

    George Allen, having worked for Halas, ran closed practices and had a security expert to sweep his office for bugs, tape records, hidden cameras, etc. Jimmy Johnson had two staffers on staff to tape games and practices. Tony Dungy was a notorious sign stealer and has repeatedly said he used sign stealing as a DC and as a Head Coach. Schottenheimer was a famous sign-stealer. Herm Edwards was a sign stealer and has talked about it multiple times on ESPN radio.

    Anyway, with old-age comes experience. And if you get out a bit more and oh, maybe experience a bit more, you learn that all these terrible, horrible things Belichick did weren’t cheating and are a part of football. Period.

  7. Belicheck didn’t ruin football…
    But he has become bigger than the sport..
    Him and Brady took over the league…
    They gamed the system…created rules…broke the rules…
    Just think… their whole legacy is built off of controversy,skating by and being lucky..
    Tuck rule, Videotaping,Brady rule(can’t hit a QB low) deflategate, vinateri field goals,the other team collapsing on the big stage

    To beat the Patriots…You gotta beat them at their own game… Atlanta did it for three quarters.
    .It’s as if a team needs to have a strategy for one Half of the game…then another for the other half…
    God help you Eagles…
    .I don’t want to see the Patriots win it again…
    If I had to bet ..
    Most of the world doesn’t either..
    Nick Foles has to play out of his mind…
    The Eagles Defense has to get to Brady all four quarters…
    Doug pederson has to keep his foot on the gas..
    Outcoaching Belicheck and Brady seems undoable… Somehow Coughlin did..

    If I’m Pederson…I’m calling Coughlin… who’s Jag’s team just faced them…for advice
    I’m picking Legarette Blount’s brain…for offensive tendencies
    I’m picking Chris Long’s brain …
    who was just over there last year for a beat on the Defense.

    God help you Eagles!.

    1. It comes down to your statement, “ the other team collapsing on the big stage.” The playbook for the Pats is the same for every other team. Win the line of scrimmage and play sound football. I’m not saying bill and his system is not good but every team has flaws and you have to exploit them. If you have an NFL accurate QB you can always be successful putting up points, regardless of WR talent. The battle comes when you have to stop the opponents QB. That happens at the line. PERIOD. The Pats only had to sit back and see if Blake could beat them and he didn’t. He missed some key throws and the play calling was suspect in second half. The Giants beat Brady with QB pressure and two lucky catches. Baltimore beats them with front seven. If Andrew Luck were healthy on Jacksonville things would be different.

  8. Maiocco:
    The #49ers are looking to add assistant defensive line coach under Jeff Zgonina. Hearing USC D-line coach Kenechi Udeze is in the building today. Vince Oghobaase, who held job last season, joined Chip Kelly’s staff at UCLA.


    “There tends to be an unshakeable double-think about New England’s dynastic run under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. While their greatness is undisputed, the team’s documented history of conniving to get an advantage is simply impossible to ignore unless you root for the team or place winning at all costs above the integrity of the game.”

    “The Patriots are cheaters, Brooke. The Patriots cheat,” Tapper said. “This is just a fact as established by investigations. They’re a cheating team”

  10. Rozelle’s vision was to grow the NFL by humanizing football coaches and players — many of them anonymous backups hidden behind facemasks.

    I miss how during broadcasts, John Madden would talk about a player that happened to be on the sidelines. Interior Linemen. Punters. Everyone.

      1. As did the actual League not caring about concussions and just the overall dangers of playing the sport in the first place.

        But the biggest decline started with Kapernick taking a knee. That started in the Obama era so we can leave today’s politics out of it.
        Fans just don’t like the disrespect of our police officers or military.
        Kap the Radical ” pig socks”, owns all of this. Maybe he’ll be our President some day?

  11. The salary cap and draft encourage parity. Rule changes favoring pocket passing are anti-parity.

    A team with a good quarterback in a good system has an advantage so big, it might was well be called “unfair.” Hope the 49ers sign Garoppolo before the draft.

  12. The NFL accounts for just less than 1/2 of the shows on the list of 50 highest from 2017. But the NFL is becoming less popular because of Bill Belichick.

    Okie dokie.

      1. So much so that not a single NBA regular season game cracked the top 100 while the list is littered with prime time NFL games.

        Even Warriors-Cavs on Christmas is nowhere to be found, and that’s the best they have to offer.

        1. That’s because the NFL has far fewer games. They’re bigger events. But, the NFL is losing ground to the NBA in terms of popularity.

          1. Based on what? Facts and figures, pls. Else, mark it as a pure opinion based on sympathy. The comment on Trumpism is obnoxious and irrelevant.
            I bet anyone on this blog, before ShannyLynch &JimmyG fell into our lap, would steal B&B any day of the the week and twice on weekends, if they could. Including you. And some of them, even after our magical though unproven (or not totally proven) trio came on board. Be realistic, ultimately the Lombardi is the goal. “Winning”is the goal. “With class” is just a nice add-on.

          2. Yea because 6′-6″+ men with arms down to their knees that take a ball and put it in a hoop 10′ high is soooo fascinating to watch. Ha! Basketball is like playing checkers compared to football, which is like playing chess. The Jaguars game against the Patriots was a prime example of how BB was setting things up, and thinking several moves ahead, while Sacksonville failed to countermove….

          3. Ratings for regular season Thanksgiving Day games between middling tems dwarf those put up by the best the NBA has to offer.

            If the NBA increased 32%, while the NFL dropped, yet the NFL is still king where it truly counts it just shows how far ahead the league is anyway. The “demise” has little to do with this goofy premise blaming Belichick.

            1. Yes, the NFL is still king. But it’s losing fans while the NBA is gaining fans. Eventually, the NBA probably will be king.

              1. No chance. The NBA is boring. It’s becoming an all boys party. All the free agents flock to one team while the small markets die. The NBA is never going to be king.

              2. I don’t think kids care at all about the XFL, but they do like the NBA a whole lot. My generation preferred football even when we were in elementary school.

              3. The NFL will always rule because it has Sunday. On Sunday, everyone sits around, eats drinks and is merry. It is now a time honoured tradition. Nothing can beat that tradition.

            2. The XFL thing was sarcasm.

              When I was a kid we were all about Magic/Bird on the playground.

              The NFL got to a point that a decrease was inevitable, but there’s a number of issues that have contributed to it.

              BB, CK, the verbose ex-USFL owner, CTE, cost of attendance and more.

              The conspiracy theories abound. Remember the whole “it was fixed” after the Seahawks beat the 49ers in the ’13 NFC Championship Game?

              1. True, a number of issues contributed. But the Belichick-ification of the NFL has turned off younger fans.

                When I was younger, kids loved Jordan and Shaq. But the coolest shoes on the playground in 1995 were the Deions. Jumaane had them. I’ll never forget.

              2. Whatever happened to Jumaane?

                I think the young fans has more to do with the CTE/injury stuff than anything else.

                I got to meet Magic once. Summer of ’91 I was at a QB/Receiver camp in Thousand Oaks.

                Coolest moment though was running across the field at Candlestick when they clinched the division in 81 against the Giants. A family friend put me on his shoulders and I was able to slap hands with Ronnie Lott who the fans had picked up. I was 7 at the time. We had a piece of turf in our garage for years.

              3. Good question! I saw Jumaane at the five-year high school reunion but not the 10-year reunion.

                Possible about the young fans, but I doubt my nephew has heard of CTE. I think he’s just genuinely uninterested in football. I’ll see if I can secure a one on one with him and get the real scoop.

                I wish I could have seen Lott play.

              4. Yea, believe it or not, Illinois is making tackle football for 12 and under illegal. I guess me and my buddies would have been arrested every Sunday at Dave Robinson’s yard.

                On a side note, the french have decided to fine there citizens 80 pounds if a man is caught publicly commenting on a woman’s looks. Vive la France!

              5. Grant, That could be a fun offseason read and follow up. Rumor has it that his agent doesn’t allow many one on ones though.

                Razor, I don’t see that as a big negative. Get them out there playing touch or flag until middle school. That’s the route I’m taking.

                Speaking of tackle football, remember those days when a tackle game would start at recess only to have a yard duty come break it up? Go back to class full of grass stains and dirt everywhere.

              6. I don’t either Hammer, but if they’re cruising neighborhoods and rounding up kids playing tackle football because they’re underage, then I guess I’ll be the bad guy that has a problem with it….


      Although football remains our most popular professional sport, that popularity has been declining over the past five years, from 67% saying they were fans in 2012, to 57% in 2017. However, professional basketball has risen 3%. According to ESPN, basketball is the most popular sport among American youth, both boys and girls, while football has dropped to third place.

      1. “This year the NBA, despite its protests, has increased its TV ratings by 32%, while the NFL’s viewership dropped from 16.5m viewers last year to 15m this year.”

        1. My nephew is a little older than yours. He’s still a hardcore Niner fan, but now he’s just a casual fan when it comes to the rest of league. We used to play a ton of Madden. Now he’s all about NBA2K. When I’m looking for something to watch on TV, he’ll see NBA Basketball on the guide. He’ll ask who is playing? I could say Bucks Vs 76ers and he would still want to watch it. Kind of like how we watch at least one crappy NFL matchup every Sunday.

          1. My 12 year old plays football, basketball, and baseball. When he plays video games it is all nba2k ,names players on all teams, back ups on the nets I have never heard of. Their is something to this.

            He has niner, Giants, and warrior gear and tells every one he is a fan but spends more time watching the warriors than baseball and football games.

      2. The NFL’s ratings decline is on par with the overall decline in TV ratings as a whole. There are obviously some turned off by different issues in the league, but that isn’t what has fueled most of the ratings losses. People are moving away from traditional sources of programming most of which can’t be measured by a ratings formula. That is why the league had focused on getting games on streaming services the past few years.

        As far as the NBA gaining on the NFL, they are still worlds apart in popularity. Maybe the NBA will make it closer as time goes on, but Basketball has never been and likely never will be on par with Football because it just isn’t on the same level of entertainment. It’s a sport people like to play more than they like to watch and while the numbers may be up this year, they are reliant on a select few teams and players to fuel it. Most of the NBA teams are struggling to draw fans and ratings. Relying on 20% of your league to carry the ratings is not sustainable. People like competition and knowing their favorite team has a chance. The NFL provides that while the NBA doesn’t.

        Another thing that hasn’t been discussed is the rise in popularity of video gaming competitions. That is another area that will bite into the traditional sports landscape.

        Anyway this is a long winded way of saying that Belichick has nothing to do with the NFL’s decline and the league itself is far from being on it’s way out. It still laps the field by a wide margin.

  13. Bill Belichick and the Patriots are the same as Craig Bellamy and the Melbourne Storm here in Australia. There is no debating Bellamy and the Storm are great – their record speaks for itself much like the Patriots – but they have also had two of their premiership titles stripped from them for flagrant cheating of the salary cap and their questionable on field tactics have resulted in the need for a number of rules introduced into the game to prevent such tactics as they were blatantly dangerous and led to injuries.

    Basically some people are so focused on winning they are willing to press the boundaries of what is permissable (and go beyond it), even if it is unethical or clearly goes against the spirit of the game, all in the pursuit of an edge to help them achieve victory. And no, these people do not deserve to be honoured for this. I have no issues saying people like BB are great at what they do, but find it very hard to support them being honoured as ambassadors of the game.

    The saddest part is that people like BB are so good at what they do they would be successful without cheating or doing questionable things.

    1. And here was me thinking it was all down to Cronk Smith and Slater!

      (Still haven’t gotten over the World Cup final, you git)

          1. ;0)

            Nah, I’m just being a whinging Pom!

            Seriously tho’… probably the three best rugby league players in the world, all playing for the same club. How is that fair? It’d be like, imagine if Brady, Gronk and Cooks were all on the same…

            oh wait

        1. Closest we’ve come yet to beating you, least as far as I can remember. But still not good enough. Some things just aren’t meant to be.

          1. Dude, what’s that sport y’all have over there that when you score, the refs twirl their hands like they’re drawing a gun?

            1. Australian Rules Football was on ESPN a lot in the early days. They needed programming and that came cheap. It was funny to see the guys dressed up in white coats and hats do the Shooter McGavin move after a score.

              1. Yea, that’s where I saw that and I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever seen in sport.

  14. Jesus Grant, get a grip.

    By most accounts the actual game impact of video taping was fairly minimal.

    It’s 2018, not many people really care much about “Spygate” anymore. It’s older than your 7 year old nephew. If anything people moved on to “Deflategate”…at least that happened in this decade and that was 3 years ago and has been reduced to stupid Patriots/Brady jokes.

    Most teams are far more secretive compared to 20+ years ago. It’s the information age…teams gather and process far more information than ever before. Because of this teams have become more secretive.

    Baseball’s history is filled with scandals and it’s still standing. So Belichick did a bad thing…it aint the end of the NFL world. No the NFL’s problems aren’t a curmudgeon coach that did a naughty thing last decade….it’s problems are it’s pubic image. It’s poor image on how it manages drug abusers, domestic abusers, head injuries, player safety (those Thursday Night games for starters…). And IMO, the very info obsession that I mentioned earlier, the amount and degree of control the offensives and defensive coaches and their schemes impose on the players has stifled the game’s natural and violent flow. It’s like watching a boring pre-orchestrated dance. How many screen passes, slants, crossing/levels passes seam passes, outside/stretch zone plays, power plays etc…can we watch?….it’s all the same. How many teams have decided to simply stack the box and cover the middle of the field and dare the offense to pass outside and deep (which mostly works except against the few elite QBs). The NFL has become BORING to watch. It’s no longer about players out playing other players. It’s about teams better executing their plays against other teams executing their plays. Yes, team offense and defenses has always existed. But There was a greater emphasis on players making big plays vs…today..players need to just do their jobs in the scheme.

    1. Well said allfor… I think Belichick is so despised because football has become basically a chess game and whoever moves the pieces best wins. The coaching schemes define what each player’s (piece’s) role is and the way the coaches move the pieces around is really what determines who wins. Belichick plays chess like IBM’s Watson but, at the end of the day, chess is much more fun to play than watch.

      1. Belichick is despised because he’s not a warm and fuzzy guy to the public and he wins a lot.

        The scheme heavy emphasis in the NFL goes way back to varying degrees with the Niner’s own Bill Walsh and even George Seifert being contributors. IMO the NFL itself went far into this direction when the implemented the use of on field helmet radios. This greatly increased the communication efficiency of detailed plays into the huddle (Paul Brown used to have a Guard run back and forth from the sideline to the huddle to communicate the plays….why a Guard I don’t know…maybe the Guard needed the extra exercise). Before helmet radios, plays were signaled in by hand signals or the QB called his own plays. Belichick is an innovator and master strategist so he’s the face of this overly schemed up (and boring) NFL game and also because his teams have achieved so much. But guys like the Niner’s own Kyle Shanahan and the Ram’s Sean McVay are right there with him. It’s just that Bill isn’t as well liked personally as the other coaches.

        I mentioned earlier that the NFL has an image problem. The concussion problem and player’s health issues aren’t going away. Outside of football Mecas like Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania, more and more kids are being steered away from playing football because of injury concerns. Those kids are playing soccer, basketball and even baseball. It’s hard to watch and root for a sport if you don’t get to play it.

  15. Both of the two most popular sports (Olympic sports and NFL) have lost ground in recent years:
    I doubt the small loss of popularity of NFL has anything to do with Bill Bellichick. It has more to do with owners putting profit over other factors that encourage long term sustainability of the business such as player health and tweaking the rules of the game more often to the right extent to keep it more interesting to viewers compared to other sports.

  16. hmm…..interesting read…….think the bb accusation might be a stretch……….

    Note: Anyone that loves Trump hates America………..

  17. “Al Davies sued the league. Suing the league is bad”

    Nothing like a well reasoned argument to sway the reader. Pulitzer stuff right there.

    That is how I describe Mr. Cohn today. I have been screaming the same things for years and have been laughed at. Thank you Grant. Great post. I disagree with you on one point, that Belichick is the best coach ever. We will never how much his cheating was an advantage in helping him win. I also believe that Bill Walsh won during an era where you played outstanding teams 7 to 9 times per season counting the playoffs. The NFL now is weak and watered down. Lastly there were other accusations of cheating against Belichick, Marty Schottenheimer and his staff strongly felt that Belichick’s staff was breaking into the visiting coaches office in Foxborough and stealing visiting teams game plans. Who knows how far his cheating went.

  19. I, for one, can accept that this blog is different than just reporting; there’s lots of opinion mixed in to what Grant posts. OK, love it or leave it or roast it.
    But I will admit to being rocked back by the B.B., Bonds, Trump reply. It seems so illadvised and unprofessional.
    Every single person here has political opinions, but no one comes to this site for those reasons. I make socio-political wisecracks with my friends verbally and in e-mails and Fb posts but try to avoid them here because nobody cares.
    Razor and I have a general idea where each other stand. We do fine on here. His musical tastes are decidedly more metallic than mine (blues/jazz/rock),so what? Politics? So what? Religion? Please!
    If most commenters can show self-restraint, why not the moderator? Seems bush.
    And NO, that’s not a reference to either #41 or #43.

      1. I could sit down with you for a conversation and likely come to several points of agreement on #45, but that would be between us and not tangential to a public forum sports blog. Not to be Church Lady, just opinion on appropriateness.

      1. Please stop……there is a big difference between (Obama, Bush, Clinton) – and Trump.

        we cheapen the debate trying to lump them into the same boat…..

        “Had his daughter meet with the Chinese president the same day that her company won trademarks from the Chinese government.”

        “Allowed the State Department’s website to advertise his Florida resort.”

        “Knowingly hired a paid agent of the Turkish government as his national security adviser.”

        “Allowed the Justice Department to prosecute a woman for laughing at Jeff Sessions.”

        that is not something (Obama, Bush, Clinton) would have been involved in…….so please don’t……

        1. Don’t get sucked down that drain, bro! Holding back is the right idea!
          : -)
          Even in questioning turning over that rock I was trying to avoid going to any specifics.
          We gonna be awright

          1. :)… trying Bro….

            let agree “some” people are not happy…but to lump them into the same under the “politics” umbrella is a no no…..

            its the same issue i have with kap….if you not going to vote then you can’t talk….

      1. Lots of people excuse immoral behavior by high performers such as Belichick, Bonds and Trump. It’s a troubling trend in this country.

        1. please there is a huge difference between Belichick/Bonds and Trump

          those guys immoral behavior has nothing to do with how we are viewed in the world or my paycheck or health insurance………….when i travel overseas nobody cares or even knows about NFL or Baseball………but the value of the dollar and how Trump policies affect them they care about…..

          so please stop……they are not immorally the same…..

          and Trump is not a high performer……..what did he perform?……

          1. Of course there’s a huge difference between them. But, there’s a common thread among people who defend their misconduct.

            1. America is not like a blanket- one piece of unbroken cloth. America is more like a quilt- many patches, many pieces, many colors, many sizes, all woven together by a common thread.

            2. You’re such a hypocrite Mr. Cohn.
              You make a living writing about the most despicable league ever – the NFL. It has been about abusing its players for decades.
              It has the shortest tenure for a player than baseball or basketball, due to the violent nature of the game.
              The players have been bulking up on
              PED’s since the early 70’s at least.
              They masked players injuries with pain killers forever it seems.
              Hiding the horrible effects of concussions and brain injuries is also owned by the NFL. Suicides.
              Drug use was rampant in the NFL – cocaine in the 70’s, 80’s and beyond.
              That’s barely tapping the surface. Hardly a high character league by any measure.
              How do you sleep at night cashing
              those paychecks for writing about the NFL?

            1. I say we head over to Foster’s house and burn one. My friends inside the Alabama precinct tell me he’s got some pretty good stuff…;>)

              1. In all seriousness, Foster is a reason not to sign Bell or Lawrence. Don’t want to surround Foster with those kinds of people.

              2. Grant, when you get down to brass tacks, the onus is really on Foster to surround himself with the right “people”. But, yea, you only want so many bad boys in the locker room….

        2. Wait. Did you call Trump a “high performer”? The guy has failed at everything he’s tried, from professional football franchise owner to casino runner? How TF do you go bankrupt running a casino? That takes special talent.

          1. you have to give the “idiot” credit tho……he won the POTUS……..he was able to fool alot of ppl……that has to be a high performer thing……

            1. Other than president, that’s an apt description of any one of the Kardashians as well. And with what Trump has done to that, president is no great shakes these days.

              Let me ask you this. Would you consider someone having $200 million of notes on $100 million of assets “rich”?

  20. As much as we all like to disagree with Grant……he has a point that there is a trend that proves kids prefer NBA than NFL.

    I am not sure BB has anything to do with the decline….you can actually argue BB and the NE is the only thing helping the NFL…..can you imagine if NE did not make the SB…….do you really think Bortles and Foles would generate more views than Brady in the SB……

    i am trying hard to get back to NBA and honestly its hard……used to be a Bulls fan….then Sixers fan…….then Heat fan…….now I have no team……..

    …I miss the days of systems (Bulls Triangle, Utah Jazz pick and roll)…….these days its just run down the court and shoot (aka Warriors)…….

    1. I’ll disagree with you wrt to the Warriors. I was out of the country for a number of years and didn’t follow the NBA or NFL for that matter. When I got back, I was very disappointed watching NBA games. To me, Barkley epitomized what the NBA had become. Throw a lob pass into a player and let him back the defender down and then shoot. The same play over and over again, with little to no passing.

      But with the Warriors you have passing and lots of it. Almost too much, imo. I don’t like it when they pass the ball down low to a guy, who could take a layup shot (which mostly would be contested), and then he swings it back out to Curry or Thompson for a three point attempt. But then I grew up and played ball when there was no three-point line. At any rate, imo, compared to the 90’s, the NBA is far more interesting to watch now.

      I’ll also never forget a Jordan interview from about ten or so years back. He was asked about the relatively high number of European players that were now in the NBA. Jordan responded that he thought it was a good thing, because he felt the Europeans emphasized fundamentals more than American-born players. He felt that most American-born basketball players were more interested in showboating than pure basketball.

      1. back in the days….your 3 point shooters….. Jeff Hornacek, Stockton, reggie miller, steve kerr….etc…..didn’t come down the court and just jack up shots…..they made shots provided thru the system…..

        looks at the warriors and see how many fast break 3 point shots taken…….

        we don’t have the traditional positions anymore (C, PF, SF, G, PG)….now we have power forwards shooting 3’s……and a SF’s playing point……

        everyone loves showboating they just pretend not to……

        1. Oneniner, it’s just the evolution of the game. The bad boys of yore wouldn’t have a chance in today’s league. Myself, I find the Warriors game, pass pass to find a more open man, a thing of beauty. That’s because I’m a Knicks fan and was just subjected to a decade of stop ball – once it found its way into Carmelo’s mitts. That’s throwback for you, and completely at odds with the uptempo of today’s game.

    2. Oneniner

      Yeah, it’s sort of fun reliving the ‘good ole’ days’…I began as a Yankee fan in 1947, and it began a playground brawl if anyone took the name of Phil Rizzuto, Yogi Beerra, or any of the rest of my heroes in vain…Then I jumped on board with the SF 49ers in 1949…even though it was a Catholic school with asphalt playground, and I didn’t even know the positions…but I DID know who played them for my beloved niners. Hoops became cool, ’cause we could play full-court (same asphalt playground), and I read about the Boston Celtics and adopted them. So you tell me , what could have been more cool than having the Yankees, Celtics, and the niners as my teams to cheer in the ’40s, and 50’s and 60’s ? I learned to ‘hate’ Elroy ‘Crazylegs’ Hirsch, Tank Younger, Mike and Marlin McKeever, and all of those from the ‘dark side’ (Rams) I still can’t cheer them. Now some 70 years later, I still cheer the 49ers, and Yankees, and occasionally the Celtics (Dad was born and raised in Ireland). My heart still beats faster when one of MY teams does something like signing Jimmy Garrapolo…and I’m on the internet everyday hoping for the Senior Bowl to drop some ‘gems’ to the niners…Aww…the hell w/BB and Brady…we’re gonna’ do just fine…

  21. Belichick’s place in history will be debated for a very long time because he obviously used unethical tactics to achieve an edge. My personal opinion is that many coaches attempted the same thing but Belichicks success at cheating and subsequent SuperBowl wins makes him the gold standard for cheaters everywhere. I think Belichick would have still won Superbowls because he is a great coach but I don’t think it would have been as many.

    A well respected reporter in Houston named John McClain relayed this story several years ago on a local sports radio show. Just after the Patriots won the 2001 AFC Championship game over the Steelers, McClain was interviewing a Patriots player, (I believe it was Ted Johnson). The player was talking about the greatness of Belichick as a coach. During a critical point in the game, the Steelers had the ball and were driving. The Steelers had called a timeout and both teams were on their sidelines preparing for the next play. As the players were retaking the field Belichick calls Johnson(?) back over to the sidelines and says Hey, watch for this specific trick play from the Steelers. The Steelers had run this exact trick play against the Patriots 2 or 3 years prior and it had been successful. The Steelers had not run that trick play all year in the 2001 season and the Patriots had not prepared for it in practice leading up to the 2001 AFC Championship Game. Sure enough, the teams retake the field and the Steelers run that trick play and the Patriots stop it. At the time Johnson(?) was telling McClain how great a coach Belichick was because he was so prepared that he thought the Steelers might run a trick play they hadn’t run in 2 or 3 seasons and Belichick remembered it just in that moment. McClain went on to say on the radio that interview happened years before the cheating scandal broke. But as soon as the Jets accused Belichick of cheating McClain immediately remembered that interview with Johnson and thought, “Jeez I wonder if Belichick knew which play was being run before the Steelers actually ran it.”

    Having said that, Belichick isn’t ruining the NFL. The rules are ruining the NFL. Reviews slow the game down to a snails pace and the officiating makes NFL games almost unwatchable. Even though I am a faithful 49er fan I find myself drifting further and further away from the NFL and more toward college football. I find college football to be much more entertaining than the NFL these days.

    1. Good post Houston.

      The filming of signs was going on before Belichick and others including Tony Dungy have admitted to doing it at one time or another. That doesn’t win football games however. There is really nothing you can do to win a Football game that is more effective than just executing better than your opponent. That’s why I don’t put much credence into the Belichick cheated claims. He went beyond the traditional ways of trying to gain and edge, but it wasn’t illegal to film signals and it didn’t help Brady to throw a great pass or a LB make a tackle. That’s just your team being better than the other and nobody has done it better than Belichick.

        1. I guess it’s pre_SB boredom. But the next 6 weeks before FA is a good opportunity to discuss big-picture issues in the NFL, and the Niners.

  22. Report on quarterback Luke Falk:

    He overthrew targets all week. Not a lot of zip on the ball, struggles out of structure, slow processor, made more poor decisions than his numbers some games indicated.

    1. Evidence that all scouting is speculative: Todd McShay on Luke Falk at Senior Bowl practices, “I’d contend that he has been the most consistent quarterback here. He’s playing faster than other signal-callers and seems really relaxed on the practice field. He made a nice pump-fake on a rollout to his left, which got the defender in the air and allowed an easy completion. Like Mayfield, he does the little things well, and the talk of how fast Falk picks things up is showing up on the field. He throws a really catchable ball. It was another good day for him. ”

      I can’t remember who it is, other than it is someone on this blog whose opinion I respect and always has thought out responses (I think it is MidWest Dynasty), who is a big fan of Josh Allen, and thinks he is the #1 quarterback in the draft, but I don’t see it. The Ringer has a good article today about Allen’s inability to be accurate, and there is this fun twitter storm: Everyone agrees he has the best arm, and the best body frame, but Allen strikes me as Christian Hackenburg, part deux.

      1. I think you’re referring to CFC, with respect to Allen. Did you see him trying to hit the bullseye in the net? Horrific accuracy.

        As for McShay, I don’t respect his opinion as it pertains to scouting.

    2. I don’t need a scouting report to tell me Luke Falk is not a good NFL prospect. I don’t even think he was the best QB at his college. I saw him play 2 games and that was 2 games too many. The kid had poor accuracy, terrible decision making, and his pocket awareness was abysmal. I wouldn’t waste a 7th round draft pick on this kid. He’s not a good player.

      1. Luke Falk career stats

        Comp ATT PCT YRDS Y/A AY/A TD INT Rate
        1403 2054 68.3 14481 7.1 7.4 119 39 142

        Careful “Rocket” is going to show up and argue he is Top 10 status………

      2. Falk definitely wasn’t as good this year as last year. He looks like a decent backup at the pro level at this point.

        The concerns about Allen in that link are similar to the ones I have. He’s a perfect specimen physically, but his play doesn’t match the talent. He has high bust potential for sure.

        1. hard to turn down Allen’s physical tools…..the guy looks legit……..

          you sound confident he will bust……

          we “both” going to keep an eye on him…..

      3. Falk wasn’t the same player after his 5 INT game. After that he was all over the shop the rest of the season.

        Didn’t help that his HC kept the QB debate alive there right throughout camp and the season. I think he played scared of getting benched all year.

        But these are things you have to get used to if you want to succeed in the NFL. Need to have the mental toughness to overcome. Very disappointing year for Falk and wouldn’t be surprised if he goes undrafted.

        1. Agreed, Scooter. Falk was one of my favorite college QBs in 2016, but as you say, 2017 was a different story. BTW: Are you guys aware that Falk’s backup, Hilinski, who was the presumptive starter for 2018, committed suicide this past week. Very tragic story.

    3. I thought Falk could be a less athletic version of Alex if he hit his ceiling. Now I think he could be a less athletic version of CJ. What happened to Falk’s accuracy?

  23. I know Grant Cohn doesn’t espouse height at the Leo position, but I think Kemoko Turay, Leo, Rutgers should be the 49ers day 2 target….

  24. Top standouts at Senior Bowl practices not named Baker:

    1. Nathan Shepherd
    2. Alex Cappa
    3. Will Hernandez
    4. Andrew Brown
    5. Justin Jones
    6. Isaiah Wynn
    7. Trayvon Henderson
    8. James Washington
    9. Tyrell Crosby
    10. Colby Gossett

    1. Razor

      You’ve got 4 of my favorites on your list….
      Will Hernandez
      Isaiah Wynn
      Tyrell Crosby
      Alex Cappa

      I’ve got to do more reading on the others

  25. The San Antonio Spurs won five championships from 1999 to 2014. They have a grumpy old coach that gives interviews with short and rude answers. They had Tim Duncan, a leader that is considered to be one of the all time greats.

    What those Spurs didn’t have was a cheating scandal. Where’s all the Spurs hate? Why wasn’t everyone hating on SA because they were jealous of their success? Simple, the Patriots cheated, the Spurs didn’t.

    1. I got to meet Davis Robinson outside the Nike store in Chicago. Dude is tall like a skyscraper. I don’t know him personally, but he sure seemed like one good person….

      1. Yeah, Robinson is a stand up guy, Duncan too. I remember Robinson scored 70 points in the final game of a season to beat out Shaq for the scoring title. It wasn’t Robinson’s plan. The players just kept feeding the ball to their good dude teammate.

    2. I honestly don’t buy the Pats cheating argument…….Football to me still comes down to the play on the field……

      You won’t see me wearing a Pats Jersey but I give credit where credit is due…….I mean cmon after how many SB appearances do we just say the Pats as an Org is top notch…..

      I will never say T. Brady is the G.O.A.T……….but I think he is not normal and he definitely is Jordan like

      I will never call Bonds a cheater because before the “steroids” he was the best HR hitter in baseball……and the whole steroids thing is a wash…….lots of players used it and were never caught…….again it still comes down to the play on the field…….does steroids help you see the ball better?

      1. “I will never call Bonds a cheater…”

        But he did cheat.

        “….does steroids help you see the ball better?”

        No, but it can turn a routine fly ball into a home run.

        “…because before the “steroids” he was the best HR hitter in baseball.

        Not true. He never led the league in HRs until he started juicing. But he was the best all around player pre-roids.

        1. Bah steroids are taken because they work. And while they may not help you see better they will make you more explosive. Being more explosive means the player can react a tick later and still get around on the ball.
          It means more hits, home runs, rbis etc. It also would help with the every day wear and tear that bodies go through in a season… meaning players will be on the field more.

      2. Belichick doesn’t belong in the same conversation with Bonds imo. Belichick didn’t break the rules other than the spot where he placed the camera. That is a long way from taking steroids so you can stay on the field and be stronger.

          1. There was nothing I loved more, back in the day, than a Charles Oakley forearm shiver to anyone expecting an uncontested layup. Give me a John Starks head butt. Or coach Van Gundy hanging on to Zo’s leg like a crazed terrier while Knicks and Heat benches clear in a full court brawl.


            Come on Razor, rocket, what football fan wouldn’t have loved that game? 😆

      1. “Because nobody cares about Basketball.”

        Basketball doesn’t have as many fans as football, but there’s still millions of us. The other dynasty from that time was the Lakers. They got all kinds of hate because it seemed that the refs were always on their side. Tim Donaghy basically confirmed those suspicions.

        “Referees A, F and G were officiating a playoff series between Teams 5 and 6 in May of 2002. It was the sixth game of a seven-game series, and a Team 5 victory that night would have ended the series. However, Tim learned from Referee A that Referees A and F wanted to extend the series to seven games. Tim knew referees A and F to be ‘company men,’ always acting in the interest of the NBA, and that night, it was in the NBA’s interest to add another game to the series. Referees A and F heavily favored Team 6. Personal fouls [resulting in obviously injured players] were ignored even when they occurred in full view of the referees.

        1. How doe a team like the Lakers win the NBA championship, and get the the first round Pick in the next draft…?…James Worthy…?

      2. I don’t hate Basketball, but it pales in comparison to the days of Bird, Magic and Dr. J for me. Now the NBA isn’t relevant until the playoffs because only 2-3 teams actually have a chance to win. It’s nowhere near Football in popularity and I doubt their top heavy system takes them much higher, but who knows? Football isn’t going to last in it’s present form for many more years so maybe it will become so bad the other sports will move up the ladder. Either way I think the sport that will give the NFL it’s biggest competition in the coming decades will ultimately be Soccer and down the road video gaming.

        Twitter followers don’t equate to ticket sales or TV ratings unfortunately and that is why Basketball much like Football will have to make inroads in streaming.

        1. There is no other ultimate team game than football. Basketball is a waste of time, and I can’t keep up with all the scoring in soccer….

        2. “Football isn’t going to last in it’s present form….”

          Robots maybe even Cyborgs some day. The young people will really like that!

          1. I was just thinking about that, Dave. Robots with the ability to tweak their attributes in accordance with a balanced amount, and then deployed by coaches according to their strategies….

          2. Put High Dollar Prize Money into BattleBots, form City Franchises and build small arenas (most folks will just stream it). Sure fire plan as the business model was developed in Rome a long time ago.

          1. The NBA is fundamentally flawed by the game itself. One person can showboat and take over a game, they play 82 games, and quite frankly, the strategy is simple….

  26. As an alternative argument for why basketball may be gaining viewership ground on the NFL, in particular younger generations, could it have something to do with the overall shift in younger generations for immediate gratification and short attention spans? Basketball is fast paced with scoring all the time. NFL has many periods if inactivity followed by a few seconds of action throughout a 1 hour game goes for more than 3 hours.

    1. Basketball has a lot of inactivity. Foul calls resulting in FT’s and endless timeouts slow it down considerably, and most of the time the “action” is players jogging down the court.

      It is a shorter game overall which your point pertains too and there is merit to that. The NFL does run on too long with needless stoppages.

      1. I enjoy the draft process in football almost as much as the regular season too. I guess I’m just a football nerd. Then there’s fall, where depending on where you live, the leaves change colors, the temperature cools, and football season begins. I don’t think the NBA can ever stimulate the senses in that fashion….

      2. Sure, its not literally non-stop action, but it is significantly faster paced.

        Oddly enough the fast pace is one of the reasons I don’t like the sport. Points should be earned and come at a premium. It just seems too easy to score in basketball.

        1. Lol, of course it’s easy to score in basketball, Big Scootie. You got these guys that are 6′-7′ tall, with long arms and hops, and all they gotta do is take that little ball and put it in a hoop 10′ tall….

    1. between a healthy Garcon, Kittle, Celek, Goodwin, Taylor, Juzw…whatever, & the RB’s, we’ll have a rcvr corps to give JG a 4000+ yard season…just imagine this passing attack with a 4 ypc run game…it could be scary…

        1. Sure would be nice to see this offense with a dominant OL. Whether Nelson is the right pick or not I don’t know, but between FA and the draft they really should be looking to revamp it.

        2. Undeniably SF needs to upgrade the OL, and I’m not hating on Pugh, but the Giants were 26th in rushing in 2017, and we’re going to plug in two of their 5 OL and suddenly become a juggernaut? Seems overly optimistic

          1. Pugh graded out as one of the best at his position in years 2015/16, which leads some to believe 2017 was an anomaly. Besides, if we get him I could nickname him Pepe Le Pugh;>)

            1. — out of 321 total 1st downs for 2017:
              — run: 27% (88 run plays for 1st’s)
              — pass: 64% (206 pass plays for 1st’s)
              — penalties- 27 1st’s.
              that’s 88 1st downs for 408 run snaps….
              we have an imbalance….
              I’d really like to see run plays contribute 35% or more of our 3rd down conversions…
              and I don’t believe the RB’s are to blame here…

            1. And those are arguements in favor of them?
              : -)
              Just teasing, but…….
              ( Feeling a bit testy today. Some guy ran a red light and ruint the front end of my car this morning. C’mon man!)

              1. D’oh! Sorry to hear that mate.

                With Pugh and Richburg, they are easily two of the better OL available. I wouldn’t overthink it.

              2. sorry to read about your encounter with yet another red light runner…
                really bad here in SF BayArea, lots of crazy drivers, often with an Uber or Lyft sticker in the window of the nutjob’s car…

                I’d suggest reactive armor applied to the front and rear of your ride…

              3. Thanks guys, all is well. The other guy’s insurance company already made contact to set things in motion. This guy wasn’t pushy or speeding, just seemed to brain fart the red. Pretty good bump though, both mine and The Duchess’ sunglasses flew onto the dashboard. 👀

  27. Senior Bowl players 9ers met with and the four following Thursday practice:
    CB Christian Campbell, Penn State
    S Trayvon Henderson, Hawaii
    DT Nathan Shepherd, Fort Hays State
    LB Fred Warner, BYU

    Previous Reported Interviews During Senior Bowl Week
    C Bradley Bozeman, Alabama
    WR Michael Gallup, Colorado State
    DE Da’Shawn Hand, Alabama
    QB Kyle Lauletta, Richmond
    CB Siran Neal, Jacksonville State
    DT Harrison Phillips, Stanford
    G Skyler Phillips, Idaho State
    WR Byron Pringle, Kansas State

  28. Deleting post. I was questioning Tremaine Edmunds weight, but it looks like I got bad information from a website. has him at 250lbs not 220 lbs.

      1. It seems like 220 lbs is too light for LEO based on typical players (for example, Cliff Avril is 6’3″ and weighs around 260 lbs).

        1. Agree. I think Haley as a rookie was 245. That’s probably a base minimum, and long arms and /or height are good features for Leo.

  29. Montana or Brady—-Who’s the Best ?

    I side with the GOAT on this. It was a different era so you really can’t compare, as Rice said: QB’s are more protected now than then. You can’t hit them above the shoulders or below the waist; QB’s can scramble and slide for protection; they can scramble past the OT then throw the ball away w/o the threat of a grounding and loss of down call, etc., etc.,. If Joe had all that he would never have suffered those injuries, would have played longer and had to hold the ball so long when he could have just thrown it into the ground.

    1. Those who insist on judging, being honest with themselves, must include past era rules before passing judgement.

      The following QB’s played in an era when the above rules were non existent. Also they had to contend with DB’s, LB’s and others who closelined their WR’s crossing the middle with forearm shivers, bumping, grabbing, etc., to take them out of the play. So fans nowadays who look back on a 105 yd. passing game by a QB would look at it as a horrible game. But they’re judging it from their perspective.

      QB’s like LaMonica, Stabler, Bradshaw, Greise, Len Dawson, Roger Staubach, Tarkenton, Bart Starr, Bert Jones, Roman Gabriel and Otto Graham must be considered in the equation.

      Therefore, all things considered, fans would have to agree with Joe Montana that Otto Graham is still out there.

      Joe didn’t say Graham was the best—only to be considered.

      TomD has considered. Otto Graham was the best QB in NFL history.

      Graham was taught by Paul Brown, mentor of Bill Walsh, Tom Laundry, Shula, Bill Arnsparger, Dick McPherson, Rich Kotite, Marty Schottenheimer, Sam Rutigliano, Lou Saban, etc.

      Graham’s career record, playoffs, NFL Championships:

      The Hall of Famer led the Cleveland Browns to 1O NFL Championships in the 10 years he played for them.

      “The test of a quarterback is where his team finishes,” said Paul Brown, Graham’s coach in Cleveland. “By that standard, Otto Graham was the best of all time.”

      1. Otto Graham | Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site

        Two Minutes of Pro Football History: Otto Graham’s Winning Ways · Two Minutes of Pro Football History: Dub Jones · Otto Graham, 1921-2003 · Garcia, Davis Jerseys Arrive at Hall · Ball from 106-point Shootout on Display · Browns Punter Visits HOF · Young family vacation · HIDDEN TREASURES · Frank Gatski, 1919-2005 …

    1. Modern NFL focus on the CTE…You may have noticed Graham playing w/o the benefit of a facemask, and with leather helmets in college.

      Wonder how many concussions he suffered and still played on ?

      1. I would guess fewer. I think all the padding adds to concussions. No one launches themselves into someone head first if they don’t have a nice helmet.
        Everyone talks about how tough rugby players are but they never cite that an NFL hit has roughly 3x the force behind it. Padded players completely launch themselves.

  30. If Kyle Lauletta is available in a later round, the niners should draft him. He is impressive and the comparisons with Jimmy G are believable. Let him sit behind Jimmy G and who knows where he might be in his development in two years. To me he could be a possible insurance policy if the team can’t sign Jimmy G to a long-term contract and if Jimmy leaves after two years.

    1. They have already used a 3rd round on bethard, but you never know, Jimmy G still has not come out and say he wants to be here long term which does make me nervous a little bit. He seems perfectly fit to run this team for a long time.

      1. Agree that Jimmy G is the real deal and I want him to be our franchise QB. But I think Lauletta has better QB skills (similar to Jimmy G) than Beathard. Even if Jimmy stays, I think Lauletta would be a better backup than Beathard. And if Jimmy does stay, we could maybe move Lauletta in 4 years time for an early draft pick, like the Patriots moved Jimmy G. Pure speculation, of course, but I don’t think it is a bad plan.

        1. It’s not and you make great sense, however their are quite a few needs as you know, edge rusher, cb,wr, lb so I am worried we would use a lot of draft capital early, all qbs go way earlier than they should so if Lauletta is the real deal we would have to use at least one of the third round picks to secure him, your thinking is sound like Walsh who preached you try to grab a qb in every draft even if you have a stud or two!

          1. Yeah, my original post mentioned if he is available in later rounds. But I think his performance yesterday results in him being drafted by the third round. If the niners were to take him in the third round and if Jimmy was under the FT because they couldn’t sign him, it would probably make me wonder……..

  31. Cubus,

    QB Laultetta was seen being interviewed by Shanahan. In watching his highlights I was struck by the talent of his WR’s also.

    These small school gems exemplify the research Shanny/Lynch have the time for now that their front office has an entire offseason.

    Last years late start has been well documented by the bay area media….April 26-28th can’t get here soon enough.

    Shanny acquired his franchise QB, year one and I’m laying odds that his impact WR isn’t far behind—easier to find than a QB !

  32. Mark Nzeocha Athletic Tape.wmv

    Linebacker Mark Nzeocha was set for restricted free agency this offseason, but there won’t be any need for the 49ers to tender him a contract offer before the start of the new league year.

    The 49ers avoided that process by just going ahead and re-signing Nzeocha on Friday. The team announced it is a one-year deal.

    1. BOTTOM LINE Nzeocha has a tremendous amount of athleticism and speed, but his instincts for the game must be developed and sharpened before he can be trusted as a full-time starter. His potential and ceiling are exciting (provided he recovers from injury), but he’s the textbook definition of project. Like the Eagles’ Bryan Braman, he has the length and speed to become a highly effective special-teams player.

  33. Alabama center Bradley Bozeman has been in contact with the 49ers

    The Crimson Tide center who proposed after winning the National Championship has had contact with 49ers personnel

    One of the needs of the San Francisco 49ers for the upcoming season is interior offensive linemen.

    Bozeman, who has played multiple positions on the offensive line, is most comfortable at center where he started for the Crimson Tide for the last two seasons. He was a key component in the success of their run game, garnering him a unanimous second team All-American honor. Bozeman was named team captain by his teammates and had 31 career starts.

    Bozeman, who is 6’5, 314 pounds (Daniel Kilgore is 6’3, 308 pounds

    1. 2nd or 3rd round? Or first round ,the 9th or 10 th pick seems to high to me! Shanahan always preaches an elite center is needed to run is offense correctly, I just do not think Bozeman is elite yet.

    1. I would rather watch Curling……. I think they should turn the event into some sort of Battle of the Stars format.

      Talib may be available- 2 yrs $19 left on his contract……… would serve as a nice bridge/insurance policy. Graded out top 15 last year in coverage per reports- 32 yrs old.

  34. Bucky Brooks has Marcus Davenport going to TB@#7. If not, would he be a Leo candidate? He’s played ‘Up’ a good deal, so seems like a fit to me. SF doesn’t need a Strong End right now.

    1. Yea, I was high on Davenport until the practice reports. He struggled but he redeemed himself in the Senior Bowl. He’s a fit, but Brooks is cooked up stairs if he thinks he goes at 7. Just like he has us taking Edmonds over Nelson. Davenport has a lot of upside, but I don’t see him going anywhere near that high. More than likely he’s a late 1st, early 2nd….

        1. I like the kid a lot. He has a great attitude and some good traits.
          However, I (like you) was concerned regarding the early reports comming out of practice at the senior bowl. My concern with him is, I’m still trying to see where he wins? Like I said earlier he has a lot of very good traits but doesnt appear exceptional in any one area. Good get-off, not great. Ok bend, but needs to improve. Nice hands but not still needs a lot of work.
          Even when he got his sack, he didn’t beat his man so much as take advantage of the fact that the tackle had worked to far up field and the qb stepped up.

          I should also note that much of this should be expected from a small school prospect and teams may like the fact that he is so Raw. He is so unrefined that many may relish the chance to see what he could be. I think this is why he is the most intriguing prospect in this draft to.

          Given the choice I would still take Nelson, but he merrits much thought and discussion.

  35. TomD

    Modern NFL focus on the CTE…You may have noticed Graham playing w/o the benefit of a facemask, and with leather helmets in college.

    Wonder how many concussions he suffered and still played on ?


    Shoup says:
    January 28, 2018 at 1:01 am
    I would guess fewer. I think all the padding adds to concussions. No one launches themselves into someone head first if they don’t have a nice helmet.
    Everyone talks about how tough rugby players are but they never cite that an NFL hit has roughly 3x the force behind it. Padded players completely launch themselves.

    TomD’s Take: Yeah, you’re right, Lamborghini or Model T

  36. Top Leo prospects:


    I’d say if Landry, Obo were to slide into the second round, we should pounce. The other guy I like is Turay, but his medicals on his shoulder will need to be checked out. Mata’afa is another good looking prospect. Josh Sweat, who I haven’t got to yet as far as checking out his tape, is another guy whose medical reports will be important….

    1. They should draft Mata’afa just for his name. If Hercules isn’t a good enough first name, it will be great being able to say “Hercules is a baaaad Mata’afa” every time he makes a play. :-)

      1. Ha! Nice one, Scooter! He seems like a guy BB would draft with that 2nd pick we traded. If Davenport goes in the first round, I’ll wager it will be the Seahawks who make that move. I’d stay away from Key. I think if we’re being realistic as of right now, the guy most likely there at the bottom of the 2nd will most likely be Turay. I don’t see Obo or Mata’afa or Landry still on the board when it’s our turn….

    2. Based on this “report”, there is one 49ers blogger that thinks Mata’afa would be ideal for Saleh’s D.

      I agree. Mata’afa is a player I really like. Yes he has question marks about how he will go as an edge player, but I really do love the first step quickness, strength and tenacity. Type of guy I think will find a way to make plays wherever you put him.

      1. Mata’afa is another interesting player.
        I wouldn’t touch him in the first round with all of his question marks but I would like to know…

        Where do you all have him projected to go?

    3. I actually think Landry is the best fit for a Leo in this defense. I love his getoff and bend.
      Chubb is bigger and has elite hands but isn’t as sudden (I don’t think we will get the choice)
      Landry is why I want the niners to trade back. My dream scenario ends with them getting.
      1. Landry – Edge – 1st rounder
      2. Wynn or Price – Guard – 2nd rounder
      3. Hughes or Oliver – CB – 2nd rounder


    “I remember (from ’04) Jim Johnson saying to me ‘they know our signals, do your best to disrupt them’, in hindsight, he was right. It was evident to us, we believe that Tom knew where we were pressuring” – Steve Spagnuolo

    “Spagnuolo worked under Johnson in Philadelphia when the Eagles took on the Pats in Super Bowl XXXIX. This was well before Spygate was a thing. That wouldn’t happen until 2007. So Johnson knowing back then that the Patriots were somehow catching on to team’s signals is an eyebrow-raiser.”

  38. Grant, so you clearly would not vote for Jerry Rice for the HOF? He freely admitted spraing a banned substance (stickum) on his hands/gloves. This would, obviously, aid in his ability to catch passes. And, by your logic, you don’t think Joe Montana noticed a glue like residue on the ball? So he clearly was in on the ‘cheat’. So you would not vote for him either, correct?

    Glue on your hands would be a much bigger advantage to the passing game than a ball being underinflated by the weight of a dollar bill. So does that mean all the 49ers rings are tarnished and should have an asterisk?

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