Monday November 7th, 2016

Welcome to Week Under Review where we have a few words about a few newsworthy quarterbacks, but first something big is happening on Tuesday…

The twisty, soul-crushing election of 2016 is finally almost over. Once a President-Elect is named on Tuesday night (we can only hope), the hard part begins. As we learned from Chris Jackson’s George Washington in Hamilton, “winning is easy, young man, governing’s harder.”  The first order of business: naming a cabinet. 

To make things easier on these mentally spent candidates—and because one candidate might not know what a cabinet is—I have done the dirty work and made select appointments from the vast pool of NFL figures.  Because, why not?

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Secretary of State: Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys owner

Love him or hate him, Jones has done well to be find himself at the nucleus of every league issue while maintaining his status as a rainmaker.  Jones was the power broker who facilitated the most significant relocation in 20 years. He pretend moved the Rams to Los Angeles on Entourage several years ago before cornering owner Stan Kroenke and convincing him to do it for real.  Jones may have a complete lack of self awareness as he slimily glows about Tom Brady’s wife or allows his son to party with NFL’s head of officiating on his team bus (actually, that was brilliant), but boy does he get stuff done.

Secretary of Defense: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots head coach

A mastermind in every facet, Belichick thrives on outthinking any opponent.  He knows when to be aggressive or simplify. He knows how to utilize his assets and doesn’t hesitate to cut ties with anyone he believes is no longer necessary to his main goal, no matter how good they may be. (Hi Jamie Collins…and a lot of other players!) Most importantly, he is 100% when it comes to picking generals. This is an absolute no-brainer and if Belichick’s Patriots weren’t far and away the NFL’s best attraction, I would advocate for this appointment in real life.

Treasury Secretary: Matt Thomas, Seattle Seahawks vice president of football administration

America clearly needs a salary cap guru to assume this position, and according to my colleague Greg Bedard, Thomas is the NFL’s best. “He’s ridiculously smart and did well and in Cleveland and Miami,” Bedard says. Thomas’s NFL career dates back to 1998 —12 of those years were with the Browns. The team’s win-loss record leaves a lot to be desired but hey, they’ve stayed in business. Thomas has been with the Seahawks since 2013. 

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Secretary of the Interior: Daniel Snyder, Washington owner

C’mon, with these two candidates you really thought the cabinet would be squeaky clean? By his mere existence, Snyder will bring the drama and controversy to inherently draw more attention to a typically dry area of government. Aside from educating the public about manatees and ocean currents, the Department of the Interior is tasked with maintaining good relationships with federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes. Interior is the perfect opportunity for Snyder to redeem himself among those he has alienated.  What could go wrong?

Secretary of Education: John Urshel, Ravens Guard

This is an easy choice. You want the guy who just scored four straight A’s while pursuing his PhD in Mathematics at MIT.

Secretary of Agriculture: Sam Farmer, NFL Reporter, L.A. Times

Yes, Farmer is an establishment appointee, having covered the NFL for 20 years. But he is also deeply connected with all walks of life and a master schmoozer. Using the adeptness of a gazelle swiftly striding over 100,000 acres of open field, Farmer can extract exclusive information from Patrick Peterson and in a flash pivot to cracking open a beer with Bruce Arians. He will surely apply the same skillset to balancing the preservation of farm subsidies while managing wildland fires.

Secretary of Labor: Anyone but DeMaurice Smith.

Party of Five: Lingering thoughts from Week 9

1. Soon to be Secretary of State Jerry Jones seem to be relishing the positive spotlight that's shining on the 7–1 Cowboys and their phenom rookie Dak Prescott. Jones has been amusingly out of character with his coyness. “Romo may be back this week” has become his Monday mantra. Last week, Jones cited “chemistry” as factoring into his quarterback decision. Then, when asked about the situation after Prescott’s flawless three-touchdown performance against Cleveland, Jones said, “I’ve got a good problem right now.” There is no conceivable way that Prescott is getting pulled, and I would be absolutely stunned if both Romo and Prescott haven’t been told this. It’s amazing to turn back the clock to a year ago when the Cowboys were reeling on the field and housing a violent abuser in its locker room. Jerry must be having an absolute blast right now.

2. Let me echo everyone else who has an NFL column at SI or anywhere else...or simply possesses two functioning eyeballs: Sit Ryan Fitzpatrick. Start Bryce Petty. Fitzpatrick is a mess right now, mentally and mechanically. The first of his two interceptions, straight to 324-pound Dolphins defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, was among the most frustrating picks he’s thrown. That’s saying something.

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3. As a quarterback and future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers is supposed to a leader. Questioning his teammates' lack of energy or toughness, as Rodgers did following the Pack’s loss to the Colts, is not leadership. It’s his frustration, his deflection. Call for the general desire for improvement, don’t try and pinpoint the symptoms of anyone beyond yourself. I admittedly may be a bit jaded by all the weird Rodgers’ family drama emanating from the last season of The Bachelorette, but I can’t remember the last time Rodgers said anything publicly that bordered on inspiration. But I still have mad respect for his leadership in lip syncing.

4. Yikes, the Sunday Night Football ratings are again ugly. Courtesy of Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith, Week 9’s Broncos-Raiders game drew an 11.7 rating, down from SNF’s 14.7 rating in Week 9 of last year. This game featured a rivalry royale between the emerging Raiders and the Super Bowl champions battling for divisional supremacy. The anthem protest narrative has mostly died down, the election is almost over with very few undecideds remaining, and the World Series is over. This is a very bad sign for the NFL. By the way, this number only supports my theory that the lack of superstar quarterbacks is having a significant effect on viewership. Derek Carr is playing well and has been a great story, but few non-Raiders or Broncos fans are cancelling their dinner reservations for Carr vs. Trevor Siemian. 

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5. Finally, a poignant moment from my weekend. My amazing cousin Daniel had his B’nai Mitzvah (multiple Bar Mitzvahs at once because this is New York City), and I couldn’t be prouder. Daniel read and chanted flawlessly and gave a powerhouse speech about the boy he is and the man he is becoming. One of the other bar mitzvah boys also gave a moving speech, this one about respect. The speech was already gripping but catapulted to another level when he invoked his ultimate example of a respect warrior: Colin Kaepernick. This boy spoke eloquently and emotionally of Kaepernick’s risktaking in a quest for the oppressed to be treated equally. There was something particularly moving about an upper-middle class 13-year-old Manhattanite viewing Kaepernick as a role model and his brand of activism as the gold standard. At that moment, I truly realized that Kaepernick’s legacy will forever be bigger than a Super Bowl berth or a passer rating.

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