Pro Football History.com Blog
December 16th, 2023
With less than two months left, the NFL is approaching the end of another exhilarating season, marked by intense competition and standout performances, which bring the spotlight onto various award races and the potential head coach candidates for 2024.
NFL Awards Race Analysis
Let’s take a look at the NFL awards race as it stands:
Most Valuable Player (MVP)
In the MVP race, the odds from various sports betting online platforms have Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens standing out with impressive odds of +400. Jackson's consistent ability to stress defenses has been a pivotal factor in his favor, as observed by both fans and sports betting enthusiasts.
Tied for second place are Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, with their performances closely monitored by the sports betting online community. Their leadership and statistical achievements have significantly influenced betting odds and discussions in online sports betting forums.
Offensive Player of the Year
The Offensive Player of the Year category is fiercely contested, with Tyreek Hill of the Miami Dolphins. Hill's profound impact on the Dolphins' offense, combined with his historic performance this season, underscores his exceptional ability as a wide receiver.
Christian McCaffrey, A.J. Brown, Jalen Hurts, and Lamar Jackson trail in the subsequent ranks, each bringing unique skills and game-changing performances that have significantly influenced their teams' offensive prowess.
Defensive Player of the Year
The Defensive Player of the Year race is dominated by Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns. Recognized for his disruptive pass-rushing and significant role in the Browns' overall defensive improvement, Garrett has been a force to reckon with.
His athletic prowess and strategic acumen on the field make him a standout player. Following him are Micah Parsons and T.J. Watt, who have also displayed exceptional defensive skills and have been a vital asset to their NFL teams.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
C.J. Stroud of the Houston Texans is the leading candidate, with his impressive performance as a rookie quarterback.
Defensive Rookie of the Year
Jalen Carter of the Philadelphia Eagles leads this category, noted for his significant impact as a defensive tackle. Devon Witherspoon is a notable mention but still trails significantly far behind Carter.
Comeback Player of the Year
Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills is the leading candidate, recognized for his incredible return to football after suffering a cardiac arrest last season. Tua Tagovailoa and others follow in this category.
Coach of the Year
For the Coach of the Year, Dan Campbell of the Detroit Lions is the frontrunner, acknowledged for transforming the Lions into a competitive and physical team. His coaching style, marked by resilience and innovation, has been pivotal in reviving the Lions' fortunes and instilling a new spirit in the team.
The NFL Awards race of 2023 encapsulates the essence of competitive sports - talent, determination, and excellence. As the season concludes, these awards not only honor individual achievements but also celebrate the spirit of teamwork and the relentless pursuit of greatness that defines the NFL. Each candidate, with their unique contributions and remarkable performances, has left an indelible mark on the league, setting the stage for an exciting and dynamic future in American football.
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By Stephen Juza
November 29th, 2023
In an unsurprising move, the Carolina Panthers fired head coach Frank Reich only eleven games into his first season with the team, giving him the dubious career footnote of being the only coach to be fired mid-season in back-to-back years. He is the second coach to be fired this year, joining former Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels who was fired a few weeks ago. As the dust settles on this decision, let's delve into the specifics of Reich's firing and the challenges the Panthers faced under his leadership.
Reich's tenure in Carolina was cut short in the midst of his first season, a move predicted by our model as early as Week 5, reaching its pinnacle anticipation in Week 10. The Panthers, mired at the bottom of the NFL with a disheartening 1-10 record, are on track to finish the season with their worst record since at least 2010 when the team finished 2-14.
Hopes were high for Reich, known for his offensive experience, to rejuvenate a Panthers offense that hadn't ranked higher than 20th since 2018. However, after 11 games, the team found itself in the 29th spot in points and 30th in yards gained. The anticipated synergy between Reich and first overall draft pick Bryce Young fell short, with Young showing only moderate success compared to the standout performances of several rookie quarterbacks this season. In a year with a record number of rookie quarterbacks starting, the first overall pick being outshined by so many others raises concerns.
The firing of Reich adds another chapter to the Panthers' recent coaching turbulence. Just last year, the team parted ways with Matt Rhule after only five games into his third season, leading to a midseason turnaround under Steve Wilks and a 7-10 finish. The current regression raises questions about the team's decision-making and the direction in which they are headed.
While the team can now shift their focus to potential replacements for the 2024 season, our focus shifts to which other coaches could be joining Reich and McDaniels on the unemployment line, and perhaps Panthers fans who want the season to end can focus on a different thrill like Bally online casino slots to pass the time when the games aren’t on.
According to our model, Jonathan Gannon leads the pack with an 81% chance of being fired after the season. In his debut season with the Cardinals, Gannon's team sits at 2-10, tied for second to last in the league. While the team has struggled on both sides of the ball, the team should have starting quarterback Kyler Murray for the remainder of the season after missing the first nine games due to injury.
Brian Daboll Following closely behind is Brian Daboll, last year's Coach of the Year, with a 78% chance of being fired. After being the surprise team in 2022 and looking like a team on the rise, Daboll's second year in New York has not been kind, with a 4-8 record and tied for last place in the NFC East. The end of the season schedule is not friendly to the team either, with two of their final five games against the league-leading Philadelphia Eagles.
Brandon Staley rounds out the top three with a 60% chance of being fired, facing regression in his third season at the helm of the Chargers, who currently sit last in their division. Staley recently was fired up in a post-game press conference in which he defended his work and that he would continue calling the defensive plays. However, despite his experience on the defensive side of the ball, the Chargers have never ranked higher than 21st in the league in defensive points allowed during his three years at the helm.
With a month left in the season, the coaching carousel is just heating up, with several coaches likely to join Reich in the coming weeks.
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November 26th, 2023
The Pro Bowl is an event that can be a great way for the NFL to wind down at the end of its conclusion, with fans and players alike able to participate in the festivities.
Scheduled to take place following the conclusion of the Playoffs and in the lead-up to the Super Bowl, there have been a number of changes to the Pro Bowl, including its name to the Pro Bowl Games. These changes have been made for a variety of reasons, which has helped to keep the engagement of this annual event with fans as high as possible.
This year’s event will be taking place at Camping World Stadium in Orlando for the first time in three years, and tickets have already been made available to purchase.
Based on what had been able to achieve last year for the inaugural Pro Bowl Games, there could be a lot of demand for them. According to data, more than 58,000 people had turned up to the games at the Allegiant Stadium - this year’s Super Bowl venue - which was up 16% on the year before.
For those who may be unfortunate not to get tickets due to the likely demand, they will be able to watch the event on TV or through a platform that offers the ability to watch Football Live Online from the comfort of their home. More than 6.4 million viewers watched proceedings last season, and it would not be a surprise if more were to tune in once again after another top NFL season.
What events will take place at the Pro Bowl 2024?
Fans who decide to attend the event will be able to experience a multitude of different activities, with the AFC competing against the NFC across various skill-based games and flag football over multiple days.
Competitions will likely see the return of the Gridiron Gauntlet. This is an event in which six players from the AFC and NFC compete against each other in a team relay race they have to tackle through walls, crawl under doors and climb barriers as they attempt to get across the field the quickest.
It is possible to expect to see the Move the Chains game, too. This game will feature offensive and defensive linemen having to work together to try and move the 3,000 pounds of weight from the wall and then pull it along the ground and access the finish line.
There will be other skill-based challenges for other positional players, with quarterbacks likely to be challenged with their accuracy, while wide receivers may be tested with their catching abilities. These will all take place on the Pro Bowl Skills Show, which can provide a good vibe throughout the entire day.
Flag Football game could be bigger than ever
The Pro Bowl Games recently introduced the concept of a flag football-based game at the end to keep players safe from injury after a long season. However, this year’s could be even bigger with the news that the sport has been included in the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
The AFC will be coached by the legendary quarterback Peyton Manning, whereas the NFC will be coached by his brother, Eli, who is a two-time Super Bowl winner with the New York Giants in his own right.
Amid the announcement of the inclusion of flag football, it will be interesting to see what the NFL decides to do regarding the game. With it only being played once a year, could we see the league look to try and adopt an approach to ensure Team USA has a solid chance of winning gold in a sport that many expect them to dominate? Will they look to use it as a way of practicing, or will it be kept the same, and each year will be based on those that deserve to be in the Pro Bowl Games following the season they just had?
It is important to remember that fans currently have the main say when it comes to selecting the AFC and NFC rosters, as they are able to cast votes on who they believe should get the opportunity to go.
By Stephen Juza
November 18th, 2023
Entering Week 11, there are division matchups all around the league. This article examines one such divisional matchup that much of the country will watch on Sunday: the New York Jets versus the Buffalo Bills, delving into their historical confrontations as long-standing divisional rivals.
This game is a pivotal matchup for either team to prevent the season from slipping away. Both teams have fallen short of the preseason expectations and are eager to regain their momentum.
The Bills are hopeful that firing offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey can rejuvenate their struggling offense. The team entered the season with Super Bowl or Bust expectations, driven in part by the three consecutive AFC East titles and the conviction that Josh Allen was the second-best quarterback in the AFC. However, they currently hold the second position in the division at 5-5, and another loss against the Jets will place them at least two games behind the lead with six games remaining.
For the Jets, they entered the season with expectations of ending their playoff drought. They brought in future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, retooled the offensive coaching staff, but it all came crashing to earth after only four plays when Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon in a season-opening win against the Bills. Since that victory, the Jets have posted a 3-5 record while averaging the third-fewest points a game (16.0) in the NFL. But a second victory against the Bills will keep them in the Wildcard hunt.
While the Jets took the initial game in the season series, the Bills are favored at many NY sportsbooks this Sunday. Despite the offensive struggles that led to Dorsey’s firing, they are still averaging 10 more points a game than the Jets offense.
And while the Jets have won the most recent matchup, it’s a series that has traditionally been very even. The two franchises have been facing off since they both joined the American Football League (AFL) in 1960, the league’s inaugural year. The two rivals faced off in Week 1, with the Jets (then the Titans) taking the game 27-3.
Overall, the Bills lead the series 68-58, which includes the single playoff matchup between the two teams in the 1981 AFC Wildcard game. The Bills also hold the longest streak of victories between the two teams, ten consecutive wins from 1987-1992.
While the head-to-head matchup may be even, franchise success is not. While the Jets own the only Super Bowl victory between the two teams, the Bills have won 13 division titles to the Jets’ four, and have won four conference championships to the Jets’ one.
What to expect this weekend:
With both teams struggling on offense, but dominating on defense, expect a low-scoring affair between the two rivals. While the Jets’ struggles mean a constant stream of field goals, the Bills’ struggles will still manage a touchdown or two. Expect the Bills’ offense will be good enough to carry the home victory over the Jets, 20-12, splitting the season series, and putting them back on pace for a division showdown with the Dolphins in a few weeks.
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November 17th, 2023
In the thrilling world of college football, every season brings its share of highs and lows, victories and defeats, and heroes and underdogs. One such season that has captivated fans nationwide is the 2023 season, marked by the intense rivalry between the Washington Huskies and the Oregon Ducks.
Notably, this season saw Michael Penix Jr. of the Huskies square off against Bo Nix of the Ducks in a game still being discussed in every fan's living room. The outcome of that fateful game not only affected the AP Poll rankings but considerably shifted the odds for the coveted Heisman Trophy. Let's delve deeper into the fascinating story behind the 2023 Heisman Trophy odds.
Unstoppable Ducks Vs. Struggling Huskies
We've seen a clear shift in their performance trajectories in the aftermath of the epic showdown between the Ducks and the Huskies. The Ducks, led by the formidable Bo Nix, have been performing at an outstanding level, going 4-0 in the last four games with a +96 point differential. Nix has been a standout player, amassing over 1,300 passing yards and 16 total touchdowns with just a single interception. His completion rate of 77.5% even puts him at the top among all qualified FBS quarterbacks.
On the other hand, despite remaining undefeated, the Huskies have shown signs of struggle. Their victories over Arizona State, Stanford, USC, and Utah were hard-fought, with margins of less than 10 points. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr.'s performance has been less than stellar, with a completion rate of only 62% and eight touchdowns with four interceptions.
Comparing these two Heisman contenders, it's fair to say that Nix has emerged as a more efficient offense. Quite interestingly, the sportsbooks seem to agree, with FanDuel's hypothetical line for a Pac-12 game between Oregon vs Washington favoring the Ducks by 6.5 points. In the race for the Heisman Trophy, Nix is currently the betting odds leader. However, the season is not over yet, and as we have seen, there can always be unexpected turns on the road to the Heisman Trophy.
Dark Horses in the Heisman Trophy Race
While Penix and Nix have dominated the discussions around the Heisman Trophy, two other players have quietly showcased their talent and made a case for themselves - Marvin Harrison Jr. from Ohio State and Kyle McCord.
Harrison Jr. has been performing exceptionally, with over 1,000 yards receiving in this season alone. His recent game against Michigan State, where he racked up 150 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches, has been hailed by many as Harrison’s “Heisman game.” Accounting for about 40% of Ohio State's passing output this season, Harrison’s contribution to his team is undeniable.
Similarly, Kyle McCord, leading the No. 1 AP-ranked Buckeyes’ offense, has proven to be an indispensable asset. If Ohio State triumphs over Michigan, wins the Big Ten Championship game and makes the College Football Playoff, largely due to Harrison's and McCord's contributions, they could potentially make compelling cases for the Heisman Trophy.
Of course, the CFP Committee has the final decision. If Washington and Oregon are left out of the College Football Playoff, it could further bolster these dark horses' chances in the Heisman Trophy race. The climax of this captivating season is yet to unfold, and the NCAAF betting odds may still have surprises in store.
Impact on NFL Draft Stock
The performances of these players on the collegiate field not only position them as Heisman contenders but also significantly impact their NFL draft stock. Bo Nix's exceptional agility and precision, coupled with his leadership qualities as showcased in leading the Ducks, have certainly raised his stock in the eyes of NFL scouts. His ability to maintain a high completion rate under pressure is a testament to his potential in the big league.
Although Michael Penix Jr.'s recent performances may have raised some concerns, he remains a strong NFL prospect. His resilience and ability to pull through crucial moments, as demonstrated in the game against Oregon, underline his potential as a future NFL quarterback.
Similarly, the rise of Marvin Harrison Jr. and Kyle McCord cannot be disregarded. Harrison Jr.'s exceptional receiving skills and game-changing performances for Ohio State have undeniably put him on the radar of NFL teams. Moreover, McCord's ability to manage and lead the AP's No.1 ranked team showcases his potential as a valuable asset for any NFL team.
As the 2023 College Football season marches on, the contest for the Heisman Trophy and NFL Draft positions continue to evolve. The race remains thrillingly unpredictable, from the seemingly indomitable Bo Nix and the resilient Michael Penix Jr. to the emerging dark horses like Marvin Harrison Jr. and Kyle McCord. Regardless of the eventual outcomes, the performances we have witnessed so far underscore these athletes' extraordinary talent and dedication. No matter who walks away with the Heisman Trophy or where these players land in the NFL Draft, their contributions to the sport will always be remembered.