When Kyle Van Noy re-joined the New England Patriots after a year-long sabbatical in Miami, I posed the question "So How Soon Until Josh Uche Gives Kyle Van Noy His #53 Back?" via a blog title. Well, to answer my own question, via blog entry, it appears that today, April 26th, 2021, is said day.
Kyle Van Noy will officially wear #53 this season, and Josh Uche will wear #55, last worn by analytically one of the worst defenders in the NFL, John Simon.
With the NFL loosening its position-based jersey number rules, KVN got in front of any rumors that he might rock a single-digit this year in his return to Foxboro. Talk about a hashtag good guy move looking out for those who already have a #53 KVN Patriots jersey!
Recycling a jersey after a player leaves is an excellent way to stick it to the man (s/o Celtics fans with Dee Brown or Antoine Walker jerseys). Especially when the numbers on the Pats color rush uniforms from Kyle's first stint in New England are far superior to their 2020-present Wal-Mart counterparts. Even though I'm a Cam guy, I hate that I bought his jersey because #1 looks so bad in this slightly tweaked font.
Look at the 1 on Cam's jersey compared to the 1 in 31 on Jonathon Jone's jersey in the first photo. It just doesn't do it for me. I need that base on the bottom.
With KVN reclaiming 53, Josh Uche pondered going back to 6, the same number he wore at Michigan.
Before ultimately claiming 55 as his own.
#6 is currently worn by two-time 2020 AFC Special Teamer of the week, Nick Folk. For a second I forgot and thought maybe Belichick was keeping it open to retire for Ryan Allen. #6 is currently the one of two single digit number that hasn't been retired by at least one NFL team (#2 is the other) and it would be such a Belichick troll move for that to be the first double-dynasty era retired number.
I totally forgot the Vikings signed Patrick Peterson. He is officially the first player to change his uniform number under the new rule.
Not that anybody is actually keeping track (or cares), but I am a tad self-conscious about the amount of time it'll take me to finish a blog, and I just want to let you know that I finished this blog much quicker than the time between this post and the Song of the Day would suggest. I was catching up with a buddy on Zoom! Check-in on your people!!
Song: Yellowbelly (2021)
Artist: Teenage Wrist
Album: Earth is a Black Hole
I hate being a slave to the algorithm, but Apple Music knocked this recommendation out of the park. Yellowbelly sounds like 1997 and 2001 had a baby.
In early April, the Kansas City Chiefs proposed a rule that would loosen NFL jersey number restrictions. Yesterday, NFL owners approved that change and a few others for the 2021 NFL season.
Choose Your Own Adventure Blog: You can catch up on all of the new rule changes for 2021 here on your favorite niche blog in the bold and italicized text below or scroll til you see standard text face to reach the meat and potatoes of this post.
NFL fans, get ready for a trove of jersey number change fun.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported that NFL owners approved the proposal on changes to jersey numbers, per sources informed of the situation.
The proposal, submitted by the Kansas City Chiefs, adjusted the restrictions on who can wear which jersey numbers. Specifically, the approval unlocks the number of players eligible to wear single-digit numbers, which had previously been relegated to QBs, kickers and punters.
The expanded jerseys will allow running backs, tight ends, fullbacks, H-backs and wide receivers to wear numbers 1-49 and 80-89; defensive backs can choose from 1-49; linebackers 1-59 and 90-99; offensive linemen 50-79; and defensive linemen 50-79 and 90-99. QBs, kickers and punters will remain in 1-19.
Expanded practice squads due to the COVID-19 led to some number issues for certain clubs last year, precipitating the number use change.
A plethora of players could look to change numbers, particularly skill position players and defensive backs who might move to single-digit numbers they wore in college or younger years.
Other issues undertaken by the clubs during Wednesday's meeting, per Pelissero:
I personally love this move, but you already knew that from reading my previous blog. We really only need the number rule in place for eligible vs ineligible receivers. That serves a purpose for not only the QB but officials as well. As for everything else, I say, let the players express themselves. It's a fucking GAME.
Unfortunately, as society attempts to get more fluid and free of arbitrary restrictions used to control us, there are still plenty of people who hate change and want to hold on to the old days of Free Safetys wearing #20-49 and girls not be allowed to wear pants.
Tom Brady does NOT think the NFL's new number rule is a good idea. He think it's going to lead to bad football because players won't know who to block!
This next post reads a lot like anti-LGBTQ+ marriage equality rhetoric...what are you so upset about, Tommy? This isn't ruining the sanctity of football. I feel like he definitely had something else typed before posting since "let" is capitalized (Detective Dozo). "What kind of door are these number changes opening??? What's next some DL bro wants to marry a horse?"
I've never seen Brady so vocal about something on social media before. He kept pretty quiet during a witch hunt about PSI but, a CB wearing #8 is where he draws his line!
Sure, Brady is in great physical shape from all his pliability and avocado ice cream bull shit, but mentally, could 43-year-old Tom Brady just be getting forgetful with his increased age? Is he worried this rule change will expose him? Are numbers going to make him fall off the cliff like it's Price Is Right?
Brady has been bragging about how his age and experience have him ready for everything a defense can throw at him since AT LEAST 2017. (via: CBS sports)
“You can’t surprise me on defense. I’ve seen it all. I’ve processed 261 games, I’ve played them all,” Brady said. “It’s an incredibly hard sport, but because the processes are right and are in place, for anyone with experience in their job, it’s not as hard as it used to be. There was a time when quarterbacking was really hard for me because you didn’t know what to do. Now I really know what to do, I don’t want to stop now. This is when it’s really enjoyable to go out.”
But new jersey numbers are the end of the world? It doesn't add up.
Is Brady like someone who is sort of illiterate and just memorized a bunch of words but can't actually read? (definitely not talking about myself here) After 20+ years in the league, can Brady not identify the Mike linebacker without a 5 in the first digit giving it away? This guy has been a starting NFL QB since 2001, so maybe he's forgotten that college football has followed these loosened number rules for generations? SEC Teams still knew they had to block Jadeveon Clowney in college even though he was #7. Maybe that's why Brady's Michigan Wolverines allowed the most famous tackle in non-BCS/playoff bowl history?
Sure he's adapted and changed with the game over the last two decades, but Brady has been shouting out "54's the Mike" since before the Houston Texans existed. He's been bragging that he has "the answers to the test" for YEARS, and now when he's only got one to six years left, someone's out here changing shit? I guess I'd be mad too with change so late in my career, but based on how smart you are and how much football you've seen, I'd hope jersey numbers weren't the only way you could differentiate between a safety or linebacker.
Is it a little inconvenient for the offense? I guess, but literally, every rule in football except for a safety through the end zone resulting in a touchback favors the offense; tough titties, Tommy boy! Take 25 minutes during a meeting at training camp to go over the changes. If you're this worried about jersey numbers ruining your offense and football in general, I think that says a lot more about the intellectual capacities of your teammates, coaches, and opponents across the league. Have some faith in your NFL brethren; they can handle this! Numbers aren't even changing for defensive linemen. Just remember what my o-line coach and every o-line coach has been saying for 60+ years since Paul Brown invented assistant coaches, "gap, down, backer." If college players can figure it out with non-50s linebackers, I think the pros can too. It's going to be okay, Tom. Way to make yourself look 78 years old.
This entire thing is about making more money disguised as player empowerment. New numbers = new jerseys fans want to buy and the NFL is totally fine with that....just as long as the player switching his number covers the cost of all his old jerseys.
Tom Brady already publicly shamed me at training camp in 2003, denying my autograph request in front of my best friend and hundreds of screaming fans, so I'm pretty sure he doesn't care what an anxiety ridden blogger has to say, but bro shit like this is why people fucking hate you. It isn't the plastic surgery, diet cult, or two decades of domination; it's the complaining. This is some cry-baby nonsense. Way worse than anything on the field. You're just mad it's going to make your job that you're still the best in the world at a tad more difficult when you're going to be done in a few years. It's like old people voting against the Green New Deal. And yes, of course, I know nobody will care about this story in like four hours but saying this will ruin football is lunacy. I still love you, man. Ole Dozo is just trying to help while hopefully making some strangers on the internet laugh.
Semi-rare TRIPLE P.S.
Brady just tweeted this out as I posted this blog for my 100+ followers to see. Glad to see he's got a little sense of humor about this whole thing.
Song: Shining Star (live)
Artist: Earth, Wind and Fire
Album: That's the Way of the World (1975)
Happy Earth Day!
Today is April 20th or in American date shorthand, 4/20. In some circles that date is synonymous with pot, weed, grass, dope, ganja, Mary Jane, chronic, bubonic chronic, sticky icky, broccoli, devil's lettuce, jazz cabbage, tree, herb, Maui-Wowie, kush, green crack, Houdini, and my personal favorite, reefer.
With cannabis recreationally legal in 16 states (add Virginia and New Mexico to the list this summer) & Washington, D.C. and anywhere from 65-70% of Americans supporting legalization (depending on your source), it seems like a matter of time until cannabis is federally legal in the United States (I'm not holding my breath).
Whether you recognize 4/20 as a holiday, it's just another day to puff that sweet, sweet cheeba, or you don't burn like Wade, there is no denying it's the most famous cannabis-related day on the calendar.
I don't want to be the Jeffrey Dahmer of vibes on this day of celebration, but it's important to remember how fucked up the history of "the war on drugs" and the reasoning behind cannabis' schedule one label are.
With more and more states legalizing, the legal cannabis industry raked in record high profits in 2020. You might have noticed countless restaurants and other companies running 4/20 promotions. I'm not sure how many of those actually care about restorative justice. We've seen how companies use Pride Month a cash grab. The same cannot be said for Ben and Jerry's. This was taken directly from their home page.
So what can you do? Well before grinding up some of that sweet left for your next bowl pack, bong rip, one-hitter, joint, blunt, spliff, gas mask, apple, or steam roller, please take 42 seconds to support the ACLU in telling Congress to support the MORE Act, which would deschedule cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and enact various criminal and social justice reforms related to cannabis, including the expungement of prior convictions (s/o Wiki). Hell, it's so easy to support that you can totally do it after indulging too ;)
CLICK HERE to add your name to the list. There's no reason (other than hate and white supremacy) that a plant that allows thousands if not millions of people to LEGALLY make a living/fortune can also keep thousands if not millions of people in jail, then ruin their chances at employment and productive life once they get out. We can do what's in our power to fight that evil. I highly suggest watching Grass is Greener on Netflix if you haven't already.
The American influence on European soccer is not exactly going Super well right now, but there's at least one Yank in football (futbol) who is doing things right, and that man's name is Ted Lasso.
Who is Ted Lasso? Well, in short, he's an American college football coach who now coaches soccer across the pond. What started out as a gimmick commercial to promote the Premier League on NBC in 2013 has turned into a full-fledged Apple TV series that premiered last August in a hybrid-streaming setting. The first three episodes came out at once, then only one new episode per week, like how people used to watch TV in the 1700s.
This clip from Late Night with Seth Meyers further goes into the development of the Ted Lasso character. Trauma Warning: Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde were still together when this interview took place.
If you only watched the first clip, you're probably thinking to yourself, "how many hacky football vs. futbol jokes can one show make?" and while it's a valid criticism, Ted Lasso is so much more than that. It's endearing AF. Ted Lasso is an upbeat, uplifting, heart-warming/breaking, hilarious show on Apple TV that just happens to be based around soccer. You will laugh and cry. It doesn't matter if you know what a kit, boots, or the pitch are or not. To use a tremendous 7th-grade word, Ted Lasso transcends football/futbol/soccer. Full disclosure: I have been a Sudeikis guy since he was going to Taco Town with Andy Samberg and Bill Hader, but this role may is the best thing he's ever done. It's my personal favorite new show from 2020.
Now, I totally understand if you haven't watched it yet because who actually has Apple TV? I only have a subscription because I got a free year with my iPhone. I think since I bought a Macbook last summer that it bleeds into a second free year. I'm not sure if I'm paying out of pocket yet, and unfortunately, there's no way to tell. Outside of The Morning Show and Ted Lasso I have no use for it. What I'm trying to say is with 93 different streaming services, I totally get if you haven't seen Ted Lasso season one yet, but we have ourselves a little 4/20 miracle today as news just came out that we're only three months and three days away from Season 2 of Ted Lasso!
Since I'm a hashtag good guy, I'm not going to spoil any of the plot except that the name of the club Ted manages is AFC Richmond. If you haven't watched yet, you've got three months and three days to catch up. If you're like me and can't wait for season two, hopefully, this teaser/trailer/industry buzzword holds you over like a nice pint of ale at ye local pub.
Unrelated but semi-related.
Song: Stonedman (Star Man Parody) 
Artist: Ole Dozo
This hit single premiered one year ago today!
Alex Smith is calling it a career after 16 years in the NFL with the 49ers, Chiefs, and Washington Football Team.
After leading the University of Utah to an undefeated season, highlighted by a BCS busting win in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl, Alex Smith was the 1st overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft; becoming one half of an answer to the trivia question "Which college/university is the only one to produce the #1 pick in the NFL and NBA draft in the same calendar year?" with Andrew Bogut.
Of course, as the reigning Comeback Player of the Year, most articles today are going to be about how inspirational Alex Smith's comeback after a devastating injury that nearly cost him his right leg. There's no denying that. The E60 piece is a must-watch. I still can't believe he actually pulled it off and played professional football again. The dude's leg looked like a half-eaten chicken wing. What Alex was able to accomplish on the football field this season after what happened to him in November of 2018 is remarkable. His leadership and "game managing" helped WFT go from 2-7 to the playoffs. I wish he was able to play in the Football Team's playoff game.
But before becoming the Joe Theismann for millennial/Gen Z football fans, Alex Smith was one hell of a quarterback.
Along with John Elway, Fran Tarkenton, Donovan McNabb, and fellow class of 05er, Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith is one of only five quarterbacks in NFL history with at least 35,000 passing and 2,500 rushing yards. In the seven career playoff starts, Smith threw 14 touchdown passes and only two interceptions.
It really was the tale of two careers for Alex. In today's era where we see teams give up on 1st rounders after only a year or two, he's the last of a dying breed. From 2005-2010 Alex Smith looked like a total bust, completing less than 60% of his passes while throwing more INTs than TDs and sporting a 19-31 record as a starter.
From 2011-2020 once he had consistent coaching (the 49ers had three different offensive coordinators Alex's first three seasons), Smith went 80-36-1 with 148 TD and only 86 interceptions (never reaching double-digit interceptions in a single season). In his career, Alex Smith lead teams went 99-67-1. With 199 career touchdown passes and 99 wins, I truly wish he was able to sprinkle in one more of each before hanging up his cleats for good.
There were rumors Urban Meyer wanted to bring Alex to Jacksonville to mentor Trevor Lawerence this season.
Now that his career is officially over, I think it's safe to say Alex had some all-time lousy luck. First, he went to an awful situation in San Fransisco and had to deal with the Rodgers comparisons like it's his fault the 49ers made the wrong decision. Then once the 9ers got good, Kyle Williams cost him and the rest of the 2011 squad a spot in the Super Bowl. The following year, Alex was playing the best football of his career when he got hurt and lost his job to Kaepernick. I still think the 49ers win that Super Bowl with Alex Smith, but it's easy to forget how electric Kap was when he first broke onto the scene.
Next, he gets shipped to Kansas City in 2013 and helps turn the Chiefs around after one of the darkest seasons they ever experienced. Then in the playoffs, his team lost a game where he threw 4 TD and held a 28 point lead in the 2nd half.
In 2016 the Chiefs lost to the Steelers at home after having a game-tying two-point conversion taken off the board following a questionable holding call. His final game (2017 Wild Card round) with the Chiefs saw Kansas City blow a 21-3 lead to the Tennessee Titans where Marcus Mariota threw a fucking touchdown to himself before they eventually went forward with Patrick Mahomes in 2018.
There's no denying picking Mahomes over Alex Smith was the right move for the Chiefs going forward, but I always felt bad for Alex for the situations he ended up in since his style of play wasn't as sexy. He had his best season in 2017 and got shipped to Washington with their God-awful field, and of course, we all know what happened there.
In 16 starts over three seasons with the Football Team, Alex went 11-5. He was a winner wherever he went and beloved by his teammates. The 2011 Saints-49ers Divisional Round game is still one of my favorite games of all-time; craziest final fourish minutes ever. If the 49ers end up winning the Super Bowl that season his touchdown run and game-winning pass are elevated even higher in NFL lore.
Congrats on a great career, Alex. I loved watching you play but am sooo happy you're calling it before what's left of your leg got destroyed even worse. *Switches back to third person POV* It looks like if he ever wants to coach, Andy Reid's got a spot for him.
It's fucking crazy that a RUNNING BACK from Smith's 2005 49er draft class is still technically active. Frank Gore needs to sign with the Patriots this year to complete his tour of the AFC East.
The Bengals New Uniforms Are Officially Out and I Might've Been a Little Harsh At First (But Not Really)
In March, when new Cincinnati Bengals uniforms leaked on Twitter, I wrote an informative blog about the history of their uniforms. Today their new look is official. For the first time since 2004, the Bengals have made wholesale changes to their unis.
They're not as bad as I initially thought. They're fine, somewhere between a 6.7 and 7.1 out of 10. They'll certainly cover the player's privates and shoulder pads. I don't hate them like I hate the new Falcons unis. A little minimalistic for me, but that's an excellent way for a cheap franchise to cut costs. I mean, they even used the Deion quote that I reference back in March but left out the most important part of Deion's Primetime message.
Simple doesn't always mean bad when it comes to uniforms. The Packers, Raiders, and Giants have simple uniforms, and those are widely considered upper echelon in the NFL uniform landscape. These are certainly an improvement from the Carson Palmer/Andy Dalton era uniforms, but IMO leave a little more desired. You can find tons of fan-made edits that blow these out of the water, but I'm going to use the exact same example from the previous blog for the sake of time.
Personally, when I see these jerseys, they scream Houston Texans, and I cannot get past it; major Texans vibes with "BENGALS" written across the chest and a similar shoulder concept. Plus, from 50 feet, the orange ones are carbon copies of the Bears orange tops.
That's my biggest problem. The Bengals aren't thinking for themselves, just like how Paul Brown "stole" his uniforms back from the Browns. You have the perfect opportunity to go all-in on a new look for the Joey B. era, and instead, you become the Chicago Texans. CREATE YOUR OWN PATH, Bengals!!!
Just because you're the only team to lose multiple playoff games to the Houston Texans doesn't mean you need to steal their lack of swag. Be you, Bengals! Have you been following the news recently? The Texans are the last NFL origination you should be copying in any aspect.
I know there are only so many possible designs and fonts, but when you have this opportunity to rebrand and shake that loser image that the Bengals have been cultivating historically, you gotta have a little more creativity and individuality than orange and black Texans jerseys.
I know those are both frowned upon in football, but the Bengals were long overdue for new threads, and with a (potential) franchise QB in Joe Burrow, it's the perfect time for a rebrand with a hot ass look. Again, the new Bengals uniforms are fine. Not as ugly as I first thought in March, but they definitely leave you wanting more. Side note: Are TV numbers a thing of the past? These don't have them, neither do the new Patriots, Chargers, or home Rams jerseys.
Song: Vacation (1982)
Artist: The Go-Go's
It's officially April Break for the boi! LFG