MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The 2018 Tony Boselli Hall of Fame Watch ends one way or the other later today. Here's hoping it's the right way for Big Bo.
Let's get to it … Fowler from Cowford:
This season was great, but the way it ended is only a sign of more misery to come until we find a true franchise quarterback. I have zero excitement for next or any upcoming year until that guy is on the roster. Otherwise, what's the point? We are in football purgatory without a quarterback that can drive the ball downfield and orchestrate a drive in crunch time with everything on the line. It's sad and frustrating to waste the talent. We are basically the Bengals until further notice. Without a quarterback, winning isn't sustainable. You can't afford to pay 21 great players to mask the deficiencies of one. The Patriots, on the other hand, pay one and fill in the other spots with whoever. That is sustainable. It's very fitting that this rollercoaster season ended with the highest of highs followed quickly by the lowest lows. Sigh.
John: Wow. I mean, just … wow. Your email makes enough "points" that it's actually difficult to know where to start. My first thought is if you can't get excited about the prospect of a team coming within a few plays of a Super Bowl, then perhaps you're interested in the wrong sport because it's going to be pretty rare for your team to be good enough to get you excited. My second thought is it's fine to want a "franchise" quarterback" – and evidently pretty easy to forget that such quarterbacks are rare commodities. Your model for sustainability is the five-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. I agree they're a good model and I am a big proponent of a model in which you put a franchise quarterback in place and let everything else take care of itself. Here is how many teams have truly used that model in the last couple of decades: the Peyton Manning Indianapolis Colts, the Brady Patriots, the Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers. That's pretty much it: three franchises, with the Manning Denver Broncos doing so for a far less extended time and perhaps the Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers deserving to be on the list; those were the quarterbacks who got their franchises to the postseason when healthy with no dips or down seasons. Philip Rivers, Cam Newton, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson … all are good quarterbacks, and all are elite, but their teams haven't been able to "pay one and fill in the other spots with whoever" and get to the postseason every year. So, if you've got Manning, Brady or Rodgers … by all means: use that formula. If you don't, then you do what all teams do. Build as sustainable model as you can, get the best quarterback play you can and try to win it all in the year your hot and healthy. And oh, yeah … remind yourself to be excited when your team gets close to the Super Bowl. It's not the ultimate, but it's cooler than a lot of things.
Robert Griffin III from Houston:
Eric from St. Augustine, FL: "Bring in a quarterback in free agency. John: "OK. Who ya got?" ME
John: I doubt you're on the radar.
Art from Drexel Hill:
What is the consequence an official faces when they blow a call? Is there any?
John: Officials are graded and evaluated after each game. They absolutely must perform up to a certain standard over the long term to remain NFL officials. But if you're asking if officials are pulled off games, fined or suspended – or anything of the like – for specific blown calls … no, it's rarely like that.
Sean from Jacksonville:
Howdy, what is the current thinking on the team's tight ends for the future? I know Mychal Rivera is injured, but he is still attached to the team. Is there a reason they haven't let him go? I'm not seeing him as a player next year, unless I missed something.
John: There's a simple reason Rivera is on the roster – and it's the same reason the Jaguars signed him as an unrestricted free agent last offseason: they believe there's a chance he can help the team. Rivera, remember, was injured during training camp last season and never really got a chance to show much either way. But the Jaguars liked him enough to sign him and they believed he was going to have a significant role in the offense. Why would they release that sort of player before he has a chance to be on the field and show them they were wrong?
Tim from Doboy Island, GA:
Hey O, regarding the Barry Church play, isn't the obvious answer to get low? Sure, you may get a bad reputation as a dirty player and possibly take out some guy's knees, but ultimately who cares? Your job isn't to be loved by opposing players. It's to win football games by stopping the other team from scoring. If your opponents have a problem with that then, like in the past, be more careful with where you throw the ball. And if the league begins to have a problem with it, then make that kind of hit illegal as well. But until then, do what you have to in order to win.
John: That's not the answer from a player's perspective. Players don't like taking out knees for a couple of reasons. One is few players if any like ending or shortening the careers of other players, and the other reason is that if you start taking out knees then you pretty quickly better be very wary of other players trying to take out yours.
Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire:
Hi, Mighty-O: Just seen Steve from Julington Creek's comments that the Super Bowl finishing at 10 p.m. is "late for a lot of people." That will be 4 a.m. for us in the United Kingdom. Now, that's late.
John: True that.
Mike from Bridgeport, CT:
Living one hour away from the Big Apple, I listen to way too much New York sports radio. Eli Manning's future is a popular topic. Many callers and Giants fans believe it's a foregone conclusion he gets matched up with Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville. Around midseason, and especially after the quarterback play we saw during the Chargers and Cardinals games, I was fascinated by the topic being a legitimate conversation. Now, I'd say it has a very low chance of happening. You'd have to give up picks for him and he's 37. I'd rather stick with Blake Bortles, see if he can elevate his game and carry the Jags over the hump he was so close to helping the franchise get over. Manning this week was on your "unlikely-to-be-available" list. I agree. I think he remains a Giant, but I also think he falls on the "not-upgrade" list partly because of Blake's progression and partly because of his age/need to acquire him via trade. What's your take if Manning was on the "actually-able-to-be-available" list? Would he even be a slight upgrade or worth the risk at his age?
John: I would see Manning as an upgrade, because I think he remains a very good quarterback who is borderline elite much of the time. One thing that would have concerned me last season about Manning is his mobility. Bortles' escapability saved the Jaguars a lot of sacks and that could have been a real problem had Manning been the Jaguars' quarterback.
Moshe from CD.MX:
Hi John. I read an article that said that Marrone does not have confidence in Bortles and that's why they knelt before the first half. If true, this is bad coaching. They should have tried something. The worst attempt is the one that is never made. And by the way, the Jaguars should demand from the NFL two compensatory picks of the next draft for been victims of a lousy officiating in the game against the pa ... cheatriots.
John: The theory that Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone doesn't have confidence in Bortles is a neat theory, though from this view the writer of the article is assuming a lot with little real knowledge.
Austin from Atlanta, GA:
Hey, John. Do you have a guess when will the new helmets and uni be released? Sure it's classified, but we all know it's happening.
Geoff from Jax:
I'm still not over it John. How long does it take man?
John: Every man heals at his own pace. And to be quite honest, some people are simply more "emotionally equipped" to deal with such things than others. I, for example, once hurt deeply from the brown-haired girl who will remain nameless not "liking me back" in sixth grade. It has been 41 years and I now can foresee a time when I no longer envision her leading a lonely life, eating beans from a can for dinner and crying herself to sleep saying, "I'm sorry Sixth-Grade, Zone. Forgive me …" So, yeah … your own pace, Geoff. Your own pace.