NFL WEEK 4: Goss’ three good things, three bad things and one thing to watch

photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

By Anthony Goss

Week 4 of the NFL season presented major headlines before any players stepped foot on the field for the games, with the COVID-19 outbreak among Tennessee Titans players and staff.

After Tennessee’s game vs. Pittsburgh was postponed, news broke out that Patriots quarterback Cam Newton had tested positive for the virus as well. Luckily, no other outbreaks occurred, and the NFL moved forward with most of its scheduled games.  

Three Good Things 

4-0 Records and Stellar QB play going hand in hand 

There are several undefeated teams left, but the Bills, Chiefs, Packers and Seahawks all sit at 4-0. 

The common denominator with all these teams? Excellent quarterback play.

Josh Allen has improved vastly this season and led a poised Bills team to a win in Vegas on Sunday afternoon. With the Patriots vs Chiefs game moved to Monday, the spotlight shifted to Allen and the Bills. Allen took care of the ball and threw for two touchdowns, adding one more on the ground as well. 

In a close defensive battle, the Chiefs outlasted the Patriots in a game where Patrick Mahomes was not his usual self. The reigning Super Bowl MVP performed under his standards, but has been great this season.

Aaron Rodgers has turned back the clock for the Packers through four games, after an offseason and draft highlighted by questions about his successor and ability to play at a high level. Rodgers continued to silence the doubters on Monday night, throwing for three touchdowns in the first half en route to a 30-16 win over the Falcons.

Finally, Russell Wilson continued his quest for his first MVP by leading the Seahawks to a 31-23 win against the Dolphins. Like Mahomes, this was not his best performance, but great players find ways to win football games, and that’s what these quarterbacks have done this season.  

Browns make a statement 

The defense in Dallas is atrocious, but Kevin Stefanski deserves credit for bringing change to a Cleveland Browns team with its first 3-1 record since 2001. 

Down early, losing running back Nick Chubb to a right MCL sprain, the Browns held their ground from a furious Dak Prescott comeback and made a statement in Jerry World on Sunday afternoon. 

The Cleveland defense, headlined by defensive end Myles Garrett, forced two crucial turnovers that led to great field position and touchdowns on both possessions. WR Odell Beckham Jr made plays all over the field, including a touchdown catch off a creative trick play thrown by his former LSU teammate and now fellow wideout, Jarvis Landry. 

QB Baker Mayfield was solid and did not try to force anything downfield or off his legs, something he was criticized for last season. When RB Nick Chubb went down with a knee injury, the rest of the running back committee stepped up and made solid runs to keep the Dallas defense on its heels throughout the game. In a loaded AFC North, the Browns sit at 3-1, but this team has found its identity on the ground and will be a formidable opponent going forward.  

Chargers have their guy 

Despite the loss to the Bucs on a gloomy Sunday afternoon in Tampa Bay, the Chargers have found a bright side in rookie QB Justin Herbert.

In what was supposed to be a learning year on the bench for Herbert, he has stepped in for injured QB Tyrod Taylor and shown some moxie in his game. Yes, there are some mistakes to be fixed, but Herbert provides the Chargers with their best shot at winning football games.

Herbert has shown confidence since stepping in, especially on Sunday as he went toe-to-toe with future hall of fame QB Tom Brady. On Sunday, Herbert went 20 for 25 with three touchdowns, and one interception but a passer rating of 137.9. 

The Chargers and Herbert will continue to grow, but if he continues to make plays like he made on the 53-yard bomb to Tyron Johnson, a promising future lies ahead for the Chargers. 

Three Bad Things 

Dallas Defense in Disarray 

Just as I mentioned before, the defense in Dallas is atrocious. Granted, there are some other issues on this team, but man…. this group has been pathetic.

The Cowboys have given up 36.5 points per game through the first quarter of the season, with a run defense that has given up a league-high 172.5 yards per game (last in the NFC) and a passing defense giving up 258.0 yards per game. 

Dallas refused to spend money on its secondary in the offseason, and now is paying a hefty price. 

The departure of cornerback Byron Jones in free agency has hurt more than expected, leaving a depleted secondary that seems to be a few steps behind receivers on almost every throw. 

In the second year of his big contract extension, LB Jaylon Smith has had little to no impact on the field, and DE Tank Lawrence and the “Hot Boys” have been ice cold in the pass rush, doing very little to generate turnovers and stop the run.

Hopefully, the Cowboys defense can find some success when the Giants come into town next week, but after giving up 49 points to the Browns, nothing is guaranteed.  

Houston, We Have a Problem 

Bill O’Brien is out as head coach, but things do not look good for this team.

The Texans sit at 0-4 after falling 31-23 to the Vikings in a battle of winless teams. After finishing first in the AFC South the last two seasons, Houston looks like a team far from contention this season. 

The Texans have an NFL-worst run defense, which Dalvin Cook exposed this week with 130 yards and two touchdowns. Left with little to work with on offense since the departure of WR DeAndre Hopkins, Deshaun Watson posted his worst quarterback rating of the season (37.8), and the run game failed to break 100 yards.

The Texans do not have either a first or second round pick this season, thanks to Bill O’Brien, so tanking is not an option either. They will look to turn the page next week against the Jaguars, but their next two opponents have a combined record of 7-0. The road ahead for Houston is daunting, but hey, at least they didn’t draft Mitchell Trubisky. 

Cardinals Grounded in Carolina 

After two games into the season, many were high on the Arizona Cardinals. Kyler Murray looked like a video game character as he led the Cardinals to two wins to start the season, but since then, they have struggled.

Last week against Detroit, Murray made some questionable throws that hurt the offense, and this week, the defense had issues as the Panthers pounced on a defense that had a hard time finding stops.

The Cardinals are a younger team, but in a season where they are competing with Seattle (4-0) and the Los Angeles Rams (3-1), they need to win games against the lesser teams of the NFC if they want to clinch their first playoff berth since 2015. 

Keep an eye on… 

Coronavirus measures moving forward 

The NFL was doomed for a COVID-19 outbreak from the start.

Just as the MLB demonstrated in its regular season, it is close to impossible to prevent the transmission of the virus without a bubble format.

Now that the Titans officially had an outbreak within the organization and the Patriots and Saints had outbreak scares, fans should prepare for the possibility of a pause in the season. The NFL was able to perform schedule gymnastics this past week and create byes for the teams affected, but this cannot become a continuous response to outbreaks if the league wants to carry out the rest of its season.

The NFL has already had issues coaches wearing their masks improperly on the sidelines, and going forward, they must find a way to keep all players, coaches, and staff safe and healthy.  

NFL WEEK 2 COLUMN: League experiences unusually high number of injuries

photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

By Ryan Surmay

Week 2 of the National Football League season was one of the league’s weirdest in recent memory.

It seemed as though in every game, a key starter went down with a significant injury.

These injuries will have a severe impact on this season, as many teams lost key players and are forced to adjust game plans for the rest of the year.  

The most notable injured players included Saquon Barkley, the running back for the New York Giants, and Nick Bosa, the San Francisco 49ers’ reigning NFC Rookie of the year.

Both suffered from season-ending ACL tears.

Christian McCaffrey, who amassed nearly 2400 yards from scrimmage last year for the Carolina Panthers, suffered a high ankle sprain and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

The list goes on, with other notable players such as Jimmy Garoppolo, Drew Lock, Bruce Irvin, and Courtland Sutton all expected to miss significant time.  

The 49ers seemed to be hit the worst with the injury bug in their game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

In the first half, San Francisco lost Bosa and Soloman Thomas, the team’s two starting defensive ends, on back-to-back plays.

They both were carted off the field with knee injuries. It was later revealed that they both tore their ACL.

Then, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, which kept him out of the game after halftime.

Running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman also suffered knee sprains. The 49ers lost five starters on Sunday, while already being without others such as starters George Kittle, Richard Sherman and Jason Verrett.  

After the game, the NFL launched an investigation on the turf at MetLife Stadium after members of the 49ers claimed that the turf was “sticky,” which would explain all the lower-body injuries because of the abnormal movements in their legs.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan backed his players, saying, “I know that’s as many knee injuries and ankle stuff and people getting caught on the turf as I have ever been a part of.”

“From what I saw, the other team did, too,” Shanahan said. “I know our players talked about it the entire game, just how sticky the turf was. It was something our guys we’re concerned about right away and the results definitely made that a lot stronger.” 

The NFL said that it performed all the required testing on the turf, and found that it was up to code and safe to play on.  

These injuries were not just a factor in this game, but a trend around the league.

Some may attribute injuries to the fact that the league had no preseason games for the first time since 1977, and while that can be a factor, it is not the only possible explanation.   

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL was forced to make changes to its offseason plans in order to be ready for the season to start on time.

One of the biggest adjustments to this was the shortening of training camps. Players reported to camp this year on July 28, while during the 2019 season, they had to report by July 17.

While it may only be roughly a two-week difference, there was no optional, team-led practices in the offseason like there normally is.  

The combination of a shortened camp and no preseason games forced all the players to speed up the process of getting ready for the season.

Their bodies were not acclimated to all of the hits and abnormal movements they were taking, which may have caused them to suffer more soft tissue injuries. 

NFL WEEK 2 COLUMN: Allen leads Bills, Chargers can’t finish, league fines coaches for mask violations

photo: Eric Espada/Getty Images

By Nic Gelyon

Josh Allen now has two plays that Bills fans may never forget. 

T-shirt worthy plays, if you will. 

First, the game: Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who completed 65% of his passes only three times in 2019, now has a 70.37 completion percentage through two games in 2020.

Allen threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns in Buffalo’s 31-28 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, a game in which the Bills were missing Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano: two of their key defensive players.

Now, the play. 

It was not an incredibly important time in the game. The Bills were up 17-7 with a minute and two seconds left in the first half. 

Facing a third down from their own 33-yard line, Allen dropped back to throw and proceeded to escape from the Miami defensive front to his left. 

Anyone who has ever seen Josh Allen run knows the Dolphins were now in trouble. Allen still looked to pass, though, and pump-faked before realizing he was out of options.

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy barreled ahead at Allen, and after colliding head-on, they were both headed for the ground. Allen’s hands met Van Noy’s chest while Van Noy’s arms surrounded his shoulders. A perfect tackle in the making.

Allen’s down… But he’s not.

Van Noy loses his grip on Allen, who is still standing but almost on the ground himself. The perfect combination of flash and might, Allen proceeds to run right through Emmanuel Ogbah, and into the arms of several other Dolphins defenders.  

We don’t need to talk about the fact that Allen could have destroyed his throwing arm on this play, or that he almost fumbled the ball toward the end.  

Allen, if he continues to be a combination of physical dominance and passion for his team, showed Sunday afternoon that he may just be unstoppable. And he never showed it more than with one minute to play in the half, deep in his own zone, up by ten against a mediocre Dolphins team.  

That speaks volumes.

TO THE WEST, the Los Angeles Chargers – for the umpteenth year in a row – continue to suffer massive collapses at the end of games.  

They did it again on Sunday. The Chargers, up 17-0 against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, let KC score 17 unanswered points before allowing a last-minute Harrison Butker field goal to win it for the Chiefs in overtime.  

This was always an issue that fell on the lap of former Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers, or Mike McCoy, or Marty Schottenheimer. Any one of the Chargers’ old guard. 

But they aren’t in Los Angeles – or San Diego – anymore.  

So, who is to blame for the Chargers’ misfortune? I personally tend to believe that teams have a personality. The Patriots are smarter than you. The Seahawks are tougher than you. The Rams are flashier than you.  

The Chargers cannot finish a close game. 

I RETWEETED ESPN’s Adam Schefter Sunday night, after he jokingly said that Seattle and New England were winning awards for ‘best drama’.  

He’s not lying though.  

“Sunday Night Football’ gets it right, it seems, every single weekend. And I understand that it’s the NFL who decides which primetime games go to which network, and that they seem to give the best games to NBC. 

But the NFL puts those games on Sunday night because of the effort NBC puts in to making their broadcast better than everyone else’s. 

By the way, Sunday Night Football has won 10 “Outstanding Live Sports Series” Emmys over the past 12 years. And, per Deadline, they beat the Emmys in the ratings by about 7 million viewers Sunday night. 

SUNDAY afternoon, the NFL, guns a-blazing, up and fined Kyle Shanahan, Vic Fangio, and Pete Carroll for not wearing masks during their respective games. 

All three wore neck gaiters, well, around their neck. All while continuing to prowl the sidelines. 

This raises a few questions: one, should the NFL ban the neck gaiter? Because it’s obviously become more of a scarf than a protection device for NFL coaches.  

Two: what’s the issue with the neck gaiter and the headset? Can you not communicate through a gaiter for some reason? I ask because I find I can hear and talk just fine through a gaiter. And you know, I can do the same through a regular mask, as well.  

A point I saw all over NFL Twitter on Sunday night was, that shouldn’t the NFL have called to teams during these games to get coaches to put their masks on?  

The answer, for me at least, is no. Because the NFL is allowing fans into stadiums, and lots of them. Because the NFL doesn’t – and never will – care about the optics of anything they do. Because the NFL is consistently late to the party on the issues that matter most, to their players and their fanbase.  

Because no matter how long we had to watch Pete Carroll’s gum-chewing, mask-less face parading the sidelines Sunday night, nothing was going to take the wider, general focus off the football game. And that is what makes the NFL indestructible. 

NFL Returns

By Matthew Shalloe

After a seven month wait from the conclusion of Super Bowl LII back on Feb. 4, the NFL is officially back. Whether it be the struggles of the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1-1), or the flaming hot start of quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick (eight touchdowns through two games), we have already been surprised on our beloved football Sundays. Although it’s early, the first two weeks of the NFL season has been exactly what we have waited all offseason for, both entertaining and enjoyable for fans across America.

Let’s start by talking about the previously mentioned Pittsburgh Steelers, who are off to a bit of a rough start, winless through the first two weeks of the season.

After a week one tie with the Cleveland Browns, the Steelers dropped their home opener in week two in a 42-37 loss at the hands of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes passed for 326 yards and a whopping six touchdowns, bringing his season total to 10 through his first two games as a starter.

It is still too early for the Steelers to hit the panic button, but it is the perfect time for them to finally give All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell the money he wants, as they need him back desperately. Bell has continued his holdout in dispute of being franchise tagged for the second year in a row. The offense is clearly not the same without him, and if the Steelers want to right the ship, they will need Bell in their backfield going forward.

Image result for le'veon bell
Courtesy: The Spun 

As we continue to talk about the electric start to the season of quarterback Patrick Mahomes, it’s almost unbelievable to say that another NFL quarterback has gotten off to a better start. What Mahomes is doing is unbelievable and has Chiefs fans everywhere already thinking they’re bound for a playoff berth.

However, Buccaneers quarterback and NFL journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick might be just that much better to start the season. Fitzpatrick is filling in for Jameis Winston, who was suspended three games for breaking NFL personal conduct policy, and making the most of his opportunity. Playing on his seventh team in his 14 NFL season, Fitzpatrick is off to a flaming hot start, passing for 819 yards and recording 9 total touchdowns. Oh, and he is off to a 2-0 start after beating the New Orleans Saints and the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. It will be interesting to see if Fitzpatrick can keep up his play throughout the season, assuming he won the starting QB job away from Winston, a former first overall pick in the NFL draft.

There are a few other teams that have come out of the gate hot to start the season, as seven teams have posted back to back wins to start the season 2-0. Some more surprising than others, as the Bengals, Dolphins and Broncos are among the teams that are off to a shockingly good start.

Quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green are clicking better than ever on offense in Cincinnati, and it’s the return of quarterback Ryan Tannehill from injury in Miami that has propelled the Dolphins to an unbeaten start. The signing of quarterback Case Keenum, who played for the Vikings last season, has the Broncos perfect to start the season.

Along with those three teams and the previously mentioned Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas Chiefs, the high-powered Jaguars and Rams round out the seven perfect teams through the first two weeks of the season.

Not all teams have been as fortunate as the ones mentioned above. The Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills, who have just not looked good in any of the three phases to start off the season, have both fallen to an 0-2 start. The Raiders, Texans, Giants and Lions are the others to stand at 0-2, but perhaps none have looked as bad as the Bills and Cardinals.

The Bills were forced to turn to rookie quarterback Josh Allen in week two after an atrocious outing from quarterback Nathan Peterman in week one. The rookie looked decent under center in his first NFL start, but the result was the same in another loss, a game that was so ugly at half that CB Vontae Davis left the stadium and retired.

As for the Cardinals, the signing of quarterback Sam Bradford has been a failed experiment, as he has led the offense to just six points through the first two games of the season. Meanwhile, 10th overall pick rookie quarterback Josh Rosen has to suffer on the sidelines watching Bradford struggle. As the season goes on, you can expect the rookie quarterback to join Allen and Jets quarterback Sam Darnold as the only three starting rookie quarterbacks in the NFL.

Courtesy:Yahoo Sports 

The first two weeks have been fun to watch, and we can expect it to continue as the season goes on. It’ll be interesting to watch if the hot starts of Mahomes and Fitzpatrick can stay alive, or if the Pittsburgh Steelers can get back to what they are accustomed to: winning. Whether your team is in good standing or not, one thing is for certain– NFL football has returned to excite Sundays everywhere.

2015 NFL Preview

By Josh Svetz

It’s finally time, football is back! Yes, friends, it’s finally time to sit on the couch, eat some snacks and watch your favorite team try to capture the Lombardi trophy. Of course, that sentiment presents one big question–who is that team going to be? Let’s try and figure that out.


I’m only going to say this once: if you don’t have a good quarterback, you usually aren’t going to do too well. The quarterback position can make or break a team, as many teams have great rosters top to bottom, but a below-average quarterback.

In fact, you can predict at least a few of the division winners just by examining the quarterback.

For example, teams like the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots should win their divisions due to their strong quarterback play, with Andrew Luck and Tom Brady commanding the huddle. The next two divisions are a bit tougher. In my opinion, the AFC West and AFC North are both three-team races.

In the North, the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers all could end up taking the division crown by the end of the season.

In the West, the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers each have the tools to clinch a playoff spot. However, in the West, I still think Peyton Manning and company take that division, and in the north, I believe Baltimore finds itself with the division title in the end. To me, those four teams are locks, with Denver probably being my least confident lock. Now that the divisions are wrapped up, things get interesting.

This year’s AFC wildcard is wide open. There are only about four teams that I couldn’t envision having the possibility of making the playoffs. Honestly, the Steelers, Bengals, Bills, Dolphins, Chargers, Chiefs, Texans and even the Jets have the rosters to compete for a spot. However, choices need to be made, and in the end, I will always lean towards which teams have good quarterback play.

In that case, I’m going with the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers. Yes, I understand Ryan Tannehill is not an elite quarterback by any stretch, but he improves every year, and if he improves on last year’s numbers, he will be very close to being a top 10 quarterback in the league depending on how things shake out. As for the Steelers, their defense is not very good, but their offense could end up as the best offense in the league, as they have arguably the best three-headed monster with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, Le’Veon Bell at running back, and Antonio Brown at wide receiver. While I understand that Bell and last year’s talented rookie, Martavis Bryant will be out with suspensions, I still believe the offense will generate enough production to stay afloat, and when those two come back, it’ll be scary.

With that said, anything could happen with those two teams, so if I were to pick two alternates to find their way into the playoffs, it would be the Chargers and the Bills. If you told me the Bills traded for an average NFL quarterback like Andy Dalton right now, I would easily have them in the wild card round; in addition to an improved offense, they sport arguably the best defense in the league. I like Tyrod Taylor, but I’m not sure if he can actually get the Bills to where they need to be. As for the Chargers, they have a top ten quarterback in Phillip Rivers, and have a solid enough defense, but they are incredibly erratic and streaky and I don’t trust them. Remember how hot they were last year? After starting 5-1 last year, they ended up going 4-6 the rest of the season, missing the playoffs.

So, with six teams placed into the playoffs, who will actually come out on top? I think in the end, it’s between the Patriots, Ravens and Colts. This is the year Andrew Luck takes the next step. With an improved offense and a couple years under Luck’s belt, I expect the Colts to find themselves in the Super Bowl at the end of the season.


As I said last time, you can get a good idea of which teams will make the playoffs just by looking at the quarterback position.

In that sense, both the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks should be locks, with Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson dictating the offenses and both teams featuring experienced, and deep rosters. From there, we have two completely wide-open divisions in the NFC South and NFC East.

The East and West both feature three-team races. In the East, the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, and New York Giants each have teams that can compete. In the South, the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, and Atlanta Falcons all have their issues, but one of those teams has to win.

In the East, I like Chip Kelly and the Eagles to take the division. They’ve upgraded at almost every position other than offensive line and feature arguably the best backfield in the NFL. With that said, some people may believe the Eagles downgraded at quarterback, but the former QB, Nick Foles was a product of Kelly’s system, and will assuredly struggle with the St. Louis Rams this year. The new QB, Sam Bradford, has actually been solid but doesn’t play that often due to injuries. Hopefully, in a quick passing system like Kelly’s, Bradford will be able to avoid multiple hits and finally live up to the potential that made him the first overall pick several years ago.

As for the South, this division is weak. These teams all have multiple issues with their rosters, which means truthfully any team could win this division. Many people may believe that either the Saints or Panthers will take the division, but I’m going with the Falcons. Led by veteran quarterback Matt Ryan and featuring the talented duo of Julio Jones and Roddy White, the Falcons should have a productive offense this year. As for the defense, the unit should be improved immediately with the presence of former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn taking over as head coach. Not to mention the continued development of Desmond Trufant, who looks to make a big leap this year, and put himself into the discussion for top cornerback in the league.

The last two spots in the playoffs could go to a couple teams. In total, I could envision the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, and New York Giants each having a good chance to take the wildcard spots. Both Dallas and New York have extremely high ceilings. I could see them both competing for a championship, and I could also see them only getting five wins. The outcomes vary, maybe more than any other teams in the league. Since I believe Dallas and New York are extremely risky picks, I’ll take the Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings.

The Cardinals won ten games with a combo of Logan Thomas, Drew Stanton, and Ryan Lindley at quarterback last year. Now, with a healthy Carson Palmer, I believe Bruce Arians and company make something happen. As for the Vikings, not only do they have one of the best young defenses in the NFL, a new receiving corp, a promising quarterback in second-year player, Teddy Bridgewater, and one of the best offensive lines in the game, but they also get back one of the greatest running backs of all time in Adrian Peterson, who was suspended after week one last year. All this combined, and you have a young, hungry and ferocious team that could make some noise in the playoffs this year.

While all six of the teams we’ve put into the playoffs have a shot at the Super Bowl, a few teams have better chances than others.

In the end, I believe the Packers, Eagles, and Seahawks each could contend for the Lombardi Trophy. However, when it’s all said and done, I have Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers getting to Santa Clara this year.

At the end of the season, the Indianapolis Colts will face the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl. In the game, the Packers and Colts will have a fantastic shoot out, resulting in a victory for the Packers.

Of course, in the glorious game we call football, anything can happen.

Football Hall of Fame Series: Will Shields

Editor’s note: This is the second article in our Pro Football Hall of Fame Series by staff writer Josh Svetz. Svetz will be covering the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio on Saturday night. 

By Josh Svetz


When people look back at Will Shields’ legacy, they will remember the huge blocks he gave guys like Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson and Marcus Allen, the countless Pro Bowl and All Pro selections he received and the overall consistency he showed as one of the best offensive linemen of his generation.

But Shields’ legacy will also be his standing as one of the best men the NFL has ever seen.

Shields’ contributions on the field, as great as they are, don’t even compare to what he’s done off the field.

A former Walter Payton Man of The Year Award winner, Shields has been involved with charity way before he even had legitimate financial stability.

“After going through training camp (with the Chiefs), getting to a point where I felt a little more comfortable about it (creating a charity), I wanted to sort of make a statement that I was here to stay,” said Shields. “I’m one of those guys that had a chip on his shoulder, because I was a third round pick (despite) winning the Outland (top offensive lineman in college football award) and other (awards).”

Shields started his charity, the Will to Succeed Foundation, back in 1993. Now, being a third round pick in 1993 did not guarantee you financial stability. Shields could have easily flamed out in the NFL which would have made the decision to put funds into a charity a poor move. But, due to the chip on his shoulder, his confidence in his abilities and his overall good nature, Shields gave back to the community immediately, and hasn’t stopped since.

Shields has only expanded in his charitable efforts, as documented by Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star.

“(Shields) built a computer lab at The Children’s Place, gave $200,000 to Good Samaritan Boys Ranch, gave kitchen equipment to the Niles Home for Children, helped the burn unit at the University of Kansas Hospital, annually takes battered women to spas around the city to pamper them, provides backpacks stuffed with school supplies to kids and set up transportation for kids in the inner-city to get and keep jobs,” Mellinger wrote.

Shields received great influence from his superiors, which likely made the bold decision seemingly easy.

“The (Kansas City) Chiefs had at least seventeen guys at the time giving back to the community. They were all veteran players, all guys that solidified themselves as being the standard for what everything else was set for,” said Shields.

“I wanted to take my place and say ‘hey, I want to be like those guys and set roots in the ground, and prove that I wanted to be a part of it.

“You could say it was a gamble, but it was one of those things (risks) I was willing to take to make a statement and show the Kansas City Chiefs that I would stay there and be the best Chief I could.”

The Chiefs couldn’t have been happier. Not only did they get one of the best offensive guards in NFL history, but they got one of the best men off the field in NFL history.

Today, the charity Shields started in 1993 has raised over four million dollars and has done countless other things to help the community. He has also helped students get to college, paying for their tuition in a move that is so under reported that the actual names of the children receiving those donations can’t be found, but countless testimonies by kids have given light to some of the great works his foundation has done.

Shields is a rare breed. We rarely see a young NFL player give back early, let alone a rookie who wasn’t even a first round pick. He deserves every accolade he receives when he steps into Canton, Ohio to be enshrined with the greats.

All the Pro Bowls in the world, can’t compare to what he’s done to give back off the field.


NFL: Soon-to-be Hall of Famer Polian looks back at the early ’90s Bills

By Joshua Svetz

Six-time NFL executive of the year Bill Polian is finally getting the credit he deserves, as he will soon be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.

As the former general manager of the Buffalo Bills from 1985-1993, Polian helped build a team that appeared in four straight Super Bowls.

In an NFL media conference call, Polian offered his take on what he considers to be one of his best accomplishments in his career. When asked by Sal Capaccio of WGR 550 radio about the great 1990s Bills, he said he never thought we would see a team like that in the NFL again.

“(Those Bills were) an incredible array of talent. I was very fortunate to have been surrounded by them,” Polian said. “I said at the time I left to cherish them, because you won’t see their like again.”

Polian opened up a bit about the landscape of the NFL at the time when he left the Bills in 1993.

“I wasn’t pressured (out), but I just realized that with the new landscape that was coming in professional football, with the advent of free agency and the salary cap, that it was unlikely that there would ever be another team that was as good top to bottom as our team was, as the Cowboys of that era were, and (as) the 49ers, who kind of bridged both eras, (80s and 90s) who Bill Walsh really put together before the salary cap.”

Polian described some of the best teams in NFL history. The Cowboys won three Super Bowls in that era, beating the Bills in back-to-back championship games. Walsh’s 49ers won three Super Bowls in the eighties before head coach George Seifert took over and guided them to two more championships in the 1989 and 1994 seasons.

Of course, the 1990s Bills are the team Polian helped build, and he won’t soon forget them.

“That’s a very unique team in football history, because it’ll be very difficult unless there is a major change in the labor situation and the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to put together a complete team like (that team was).”

Due to the restrictions of the CBA and labor situations it is extremely unlikely that we will see a team like the 90s Bills again.

Despite that, fans can take solace in knowing that even after Polian’s successful stints with the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts, he hasn’t forgotten his roots.




New ownership dilemma over


By Nathan Moser

For more than two decades, there has been questions dealing with the future of the Buffalo Bills. Consider that the franchise’s only owner, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. was in his 90s. Wilson had founded and owned the team since 1960. There was the idea that once Wilson passed away, his daughters would have possession of the franchise, and they would sell the team to the highest bidder — whether that new owner or owners were planning on keeping the Bills in Buffalo or not.

Many Bills fans wanted Wilson to sell the team to someone who was going to keep the team in Buffalo while he was still alive, but he always kept the idea that while he was alive, he always wanted to own the Buffalo Bills.

The fears of many Bills fans finally came true when Wilson passed away on March 25, 2014 at the age of 95. This left many fans wondering: What would happen to the football team that has been playing in Buffalo for more than 50 years?

Once the Wilsons decided to sell the team instead of keep it, there were many candidates that wanted to place their bids in. There was Terry Pegula, owner of Buffalo’s National Hockey League team the Sabres; Tom Golisano, who was owner of the Sabres before selling the team to Pegula; a group that consisted of singer Jon Bon Jovi, who eventually got kicked out of the group, as well as Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment chairman Larry Tanenbaum and Edward Rogers III, who is the deputy chairman of Rogers Communications; and Donald Trump among others.

The top three bidders for the franchise were Pegula, who bid $1.4 billion, setting an NFL record; followed by the Toronto group, and Trump. The Wilsons, in the end, decided that the Pegulas were the right fit to be the second owner in franchise history. The NFL finance committee agreed to the sale to the Pegulas, and the next step in the process is to get the owners’ approval, which is expected to come when the owners meet in October.