As we all prepare for the holidays to come, we are also getting ready to turn the page on 2014. Around the National Football League, it’s been one filled with drama on the field and controversy off the field.
From the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson situations to the San Francisco 49ers turning into a hot mess in front of our eyes, here are your top-10 scrooges from the 2014 NFL season.
10. Washington Redskins
Maybe Redskins owner Daniel Snyder will receive something other than coal from Santa. But that would take a number of things. First off, he would have to change direction on his stance regarding the team’s name. Second, taking a step back as it relates to the Redskins player personnel decisions could help too. After all, I am pretty sure most Redskins fans look at Snyder as nothing more than Richie Rich at this point.
Sadly, neither of these two things are going to happen. Instead, Snyder will continue to rear his ugly head into player personnel and coaching decisions. This will ultimately lead to either the firing of Jay Gruden or trade of Robert Griffin III. If not, the Redskins will again be back to square one this time next year as nothing more than a bottom feeder in the NFC East. For this, Snyder is most definitely a scrooge. And this doesn’t even take into account the atrocious performance we have seen from the Redskins on the field.
9. Dave Gettleman, General Manager, Carolina Panthers
Why can’t the Panthers have good things? This is a team that might very well earn a playoff spot in spite of its general manager. Playing without any viable receivers outside of Kelvin Benjamin as well as a lackluster offensive line, Cam Newton has struggled. He’s been sacked 37 times in 13 games and has turned the ball over 17 times.
And to be honest, Newton isn’t to blame for this. Carolina lost its three top receivers from a season ago, and Gettleman thought it made sense for the Panthers to replace them with a rookie receiver in Kevin Benjamin as well as a couple scrub veterans. As it relates to the left tackle position, Carolina didn’t even attempt to replace recently retired Jordan Gross. For this and a whole lot more, Carolina’s general manager is one of the top-10 scrooges of the 2014 NFL season.
8. Steve Bisciotti, Owner, Baltimore Ravens
Let’s call a spade a spade. Regardless of whether Ray Rice’s claims that Bisciotti promised him a job after his NFL career was over and actually texted him after the team released the former Pro Bowler, Baltimore’s owner didn’t handle the scandal as a man that’s on the up and up. More than that, he has that corrupt feeling to him.
Bisciotti also had this to say about his role on the Ravens during the entire Rice scandal.
If they force me to sell, I’ll sell. I don’t work that hard anyway, so if I sold the team it’s not like I’d be losing 60 hours a week.
Come on, dude!
7. San Francisco 49ers
Everything. I could write an entire 5,000-word article displaying why the 49ers are among the biggest scrooges of the NFL season. From all the off-field incidents that has surrounded the team, including multiple Aldon Smith situations and the Ray McDonald release, to Jim Harbaugh’s likely ousting as the team’s head coach, San Francisco has been a complete dumpster fire off the field.
Now take into account a 7-8 record heading into Week 17 as well as San Francisco’s poor performance at Levi’s Stadium, and the 49ers fan base have every right to believe that this team has played scrooge to a T. They can save face by retaining Harbaugh, but that’s about as likely as Santa showing up at your Christmas party drunk.
6. Adrian Peterson, Running Back, Minnesota Vikings
This isn’t as much about Peterson’s run-in with the law as it is about his attitude after. Taking to social media following his arrest on child abuse charges, Peterson seems to be incapable of recognizing that he’s not doing himself any favors.
From this tweet.
To this tweet.
Peterson himself is to blame for what has become a tarnished image. If he would have taken responsibility and worked to improve his image in the public eye, all would have been forgiven. He hasn’t.
5. Jay Cutler, Quarterback, Chicago Bears
Chicago’s season started with visions of sugarplums and touchdowns. And now at 5-10 on the campaign, Cutler will return to the field after being benched in favor of Jimmy Clausen last week. For the embattled signal caller, it will likely be his swan song in the Windy City. Speaking of swans and songs, head coach Marc Trestman is also as good as gone following Chicago’s outing against the Minnesota Vikings. This all coming less than a year after the Bears gave Cutler $54 million. That’s the equivalent of Grinch taking candy from children.
4. DeMaurice Smith, NFL Players Association Executive Director
Why the heck not? Smith and the NFL Players Association want to sit back and blame Roger Goodell for all the ills around the league, but where was he during the collective bargaining negotiations that gave the commissioner all the power he wields today? Just think about that next time Smith wants to spout off publicly.
A union that’s been weakened during Smith’s tenure as its executive director stands no chance of going up against a league that continues to see unprecedented growth in the sports world. And for that, NFL players can go ahead and call Smith scrooge.
3. Dean Blandino, NFL Head of Officiating
From the Week 2 flag fest between the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers to the controversial late-game call in the Saints-Falcons game on Sunday, officiating has been absolutely atrocious this season. And if we’re going to place blame somewhere, it has to be on the head of officiating.
Speaking of Blandino, he also decided to take time out his busy schedule earlier this year to hang out with members of the Dallas Cowboys organization on a party bus. Yeah, no impropriety there.
2. Ray Rice, Former Baltimore Ravens, Running Back
Let’s not ruin this festive season with a couple paragraphs on Rice. Onward!
1. Roger Goodell, Commissioner
Public enemy No. 1. Mr Goodell has shown himself to be nothing more than a figurehead for everything that’s wrong with the National Football League today. From suspending Rice just two games after his casino elevator incident to then turning around and suspending Rice indefinitely after TMZ released the now infamous video, Goodell’s leadership has been lacking throughout.
This doesn’t even take into account Goodell’s ineptitude as it relates to handing out punishment to players around the NFL. How in the world can a commissioner both hand out penalties and appoint former league executives to oversee the appeals? That’s not what we’d call due process, now is it? In any event, Goodell is the face of NFL problems today. And for that, he’s our No. 1 scrooge.
Photo: NY Post