The NFL is obviously happy with Orlando as its location for its postseason Pro Bowl All-Star Game, and they demonstrated that again on Wednesday morning.
That’s when the league announced that for the fourth consecutive year the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl will be played at Camping World Stadium the weekend before the Super Bowl:
— NFL (@NFL) August 7, 2019
For the last three years, the All-Star game has called Orlando it’s home, and there’s no doubt that football fans in Central Florida (and all over the country) have enjoyed coming to Central Florida to be part of the festivities that week.
However, the game itself has come under increasing criticism, and rightfully so, as the players involved seem less and less interested in it actually being a football game.
In fact, we went so far as to say that the NFL should stop playing the game, as it has devolved into a mockery of what a “football game” should look like. Here’s part of what we wrote last January:
At the risk of being criticized for being reactionary or even like Clint Eastwood and “Get off my lawn,” no one can defend any longer what we’re seeing, as anything that resembles a football game.
No you can’t defend something that used to be at least an aggressive and fun All-Star Game featuring the NFL’s best players, but that has devolved into a farce.
A farce where no one wants to block, much less tackle anyone.
This was on full display from the beginning of the game on the dreary damp Sunday in Orlando. This as, handoffs would go to running backs, who would run into the massive bodies at the line where players were not blocking the players in front of them. And, the referees would eventually just blow the whistle with everyone standing around.
Quarterbacks would throw the ball down the field to receivers, who were running 3/4 speed against defensive backs who were running a 3/4 speed and both might, or might not, try to make the catch or play on the ball.
Yes, there was an occasional moment, where are you saw flashes with a significant throw or runner would break free, but make no mistake: what the Pro Bowl has become, gradually over the last few years, and now on full display Sunday, is not football.
It’s not even close.
Nonetheless, the Pro Bowl will continue and be televised again this season by ESPN on Sunday afternoon January 26th. The Super Bowl will be played the following week in Miami at Hard Rock Stadium.
XFL allocates former Georgia star QB Aaron Murray to Tampa team
The reboot of Vince McMahon’s Spring XFL Football League is slated for next February, and the eight teams are making preparation with a draft of players. And, this includes the Tampa Bay franchise, the Vipers being allocated by the league a local high school and SEC star, as their quarterback..
— Tampa Bay Vipers (@XFLVipers) October 15, 2019
Murray has ties to the Tampa Bay area, as a native who led Plant High School to a State Football Championship. He’s also the Southeastern Conference all-time leader in completions passing yards and passing touchdowns in a career.
Murray briefly was with the Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles from 2014-16.
He was last seen quarterbacking earlier this year in the now-defunct Alliance of American football with the Atlanta Legends (above) franchise. They selected Murray for the same regional interest of him having played college ball down the road in Athens, Georgia.
Murray actually split time with former Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms in Atlanta. The AAF, however, unraveled and folded due to financial problems just eight games into their inaugural season.
The other seven teams in the XFL were allocated a quarterback the same way and there are a couple of familiar names.
Former Oklahoma National Championship-winning coach, Bob Stoops, is the coach and GM of the Dallas Renegades, and the league selected his former Oklahoma quarterback, Landry Jones.
Jones left Oklahoma with the all-time record for passing yards and touchdown passes in a career in the Big XII, just like Murray for the SEC. Jones is a former backup in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as the Raiders and the Jaguars last season.
Former Ohio State Star Cardale Jones is getting another opportunity in his professional career, as the XFL assigned him to the Washington D.C. Defenders.
Jones helped Ohio State win the Big Ten Title in relief in December of 2014 and then quarterbacked the Buckeyes to their two College Football Playoff wins, including their National Championship victory over Oregon.
Jones was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2016 and also was with the L.A. Chargers for three seasons.
The XFL will continue filling out rosters with a Tuesday draft, with numerous players from Florida or Florida schools that have already worked out regionally for all of the clubs.
Former Gators kicker Pineiro is Chicago hero- for now
Every week in the NFL there are heroes in the clutch for different franchises. However, in a market like Chicago with the rabid, massive following like the Chicago Bears, when you do something dramatic to help them win everything is taken up to a new level.
That’s something that new kicker, and former Florida Gator Eddy Pineiro, is experiencing after his dramatic game-winning 53 yard field goal with no time left in Denver Sunday gave the Bears a 16-14 win.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 15, 2019
First, it looked as though the Bears had blown the game when they allowed Denver’s Joe Flacco to lead a last-minute scoring drive that resulted in a dramatic touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders with :31 seconds left. And, then, the two hooked up on the go ahead two-point conversion to Sanders for 14 – 13 lead.
But undaunted, the Bears, led by quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, got into scoring position on a 25-yard completion to the Broncos 25 to Allen Robinson with just :01 remaining.
That’s when Pineiro, who had kicked two lengthy field goals earlier in the game, stepped on the Mile High turf and calmly, with 80,000 Bronco fans going berserk, booted home a line drive game-winner to make the Bears 1 – 1.
As we wrote earlier this month, Pineiro, a second year player, had won the Bears kicking job coming out of preseason. Pineiro won the spot over Elliott Fry by hitting a 58-yard field goal against the Colts, followed by another 3-for-3 against the Titans in August.
And Gators fans will remember the Miami native having a good college career at Florida. He made 17/18 FG’s during the Gators miserable 2017 season. And combined with his 21/25 the year before, he totaled an 88% field goal career mark.
Pineiro declared for the 2018 NFL Draft after only two seasons with the Gators, but went undrafted. He signed as a free agent with the Oakland Raiders in May of 2018, however, he was placed on injured reserve last September. Earlier this summer, he was traded to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Finally, let’s keep in perspective that we are not talking Chicago icon status like: Michael Jordan, Walter Payton, Ernie Banks and Patrick Kane have.
Still, it was a large moment early in his tenuous Bears kicking career and Pineiro is celebrating, like he should.
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