2011 NFL Season: Week 1 Remix by Lloyd Vance

WR Calvin “Megratron” Johnson and his fellow Lions came to play as Detroit knocked off the Bucs in one of Sunday’s more entertaining games

After a lockout that lasted 136 Days and it seemed the longest training camp/preseason ever, the first regular season game weekend of the 92st NFL season titled: “Back to Football” was finally played. NFL Universe just couldn’t get enough of America’s Game as Week 1 stretched over three game days (September 8th, September 11th, and September 12th).  Fans turned out in record numbers as even the downtrodden Jacksonville Jaguars played to a sellout.  Excitement was all around the league that fan’s get enough of.  But there was also solemn remembrances as the NFL and it’s fans remembered the tragic events from September 11, 2011 with much reflection.  There were stirring National Athems — I like Queen Latifah’s renditionat the US Open Tennis Championships the best — Players wearing patriotic gear, and great commercials — loved the State Farm ad of little kids singing “I Love New York” to the firemen.

Overall the first week of the 2011 NFL season brought surprises (Ravens demolishing the Steelers, Raiders ending the Broncos opener win streak, Cowboy losing a 14+ point lead for the first time in team history, Bills thumping 2009 playoff team, the KC Chiefs and several photo finishes), Non-surprises (Colts struggling without Peyton Manning; Michael Vick looking like a “Human joystick” again, Tom Brady winning in an opener again,  Redskins and NY Jets winning emotional games at home on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11), Cheers, and Tears (Sorry Cowboys fans…Romo just didn’t have enough “killer” instinct to knockoout the NY Jets when he had the chance) that only NFL drama can provoke. The wins and losses no doubt will create a buzz of “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” around the water cooler and on sports radio, but remember the NFL season is a 17-Week Marathon. Continue reading

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2011 NFC Preview By Matt Lombardo

Last season the Green Bay Packers besieged by injuries mounted a late charge in the regular season to enter the playoffs as the NFC Wild Card and later marched to Dallas where they hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. The Packers toppled NFC favorites Philadelphia, Atlanta and Chicago, who all figure to be contenders in this year’s race, en route to their first Super Bowl Championship since 1996.

The NFC can best be described as a whole, as a conference on the rise. Each division boasts teams that on paper will be much improved from a year ago, and the stalwart favorites all improved in the offseason, be it by making bold additions or simply by taking advantage of the continuity necessary to build on early this season after a lockout wiped away all offseason activities.

Here is a division by division look at the NFC entering the 2011 season. Continue reading

Donovan McNabb Continues to Spark Debate In Philadelphia

Despite entering his second season away from Philadelphia, Donovan McNabb remains a lightning rod for conversation in the city of Brotherly Love.

On August 10th, Mike Missanelli; afternoon drive host on 97.5 FM ‘The Fanatic’ in Philadelphia, welcomed NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley in studio to co-host his show for four hours. During the unique and wildly entertaining program Missanelli and Barkley covered everything from an interview with Mike Tyson, to whether or not Andre Iguodala even wants to play for the Sixers, to exactly where does LeBron James belong in the conversation of all time greats.

Of course it was inevitable that McNabb became a topic of conversation. You can hear the clip here: 

Barkley and Mike on McNabb (download by right-clicking link)

If you missed the interview, The Fanatic (WPEN-FM) is airing encore presentations of the show in its entirety on Friday from 2pm to 6pm during Missanelli’s typical shift, again Friday evening from 10pm to midnight and Saturday from 7pm to 11pm.

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast – Week 16 Preview

 

In the Taking It to the House NFL Week 16 Preview Podcast This week teams will look to punch their tickets for the “Big Dance” as the National Football League’s 91st season prepares for the playoffs.  One game of interest will be in Cleveland as the Baltimore Ravens (10-4) face off against the Browns (WR/KR Josh Cribbs pictured)

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast – Week 16 Preview

NFL Insider Lloyd Vance and Host Mark Gray give you their “Pick 6” for Week 16 including talking about teams looking to punch their tickets for the “Big Dance” as the National Football League’s 91st season prepares for the playoffs. 

 The biggest game probably will be in Atlanta as the Falcons will take-on the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints in an NFC South showdown.

Vick Shines in Eagles’ MNF Destruction of Redskins

Michael Vick, “You Were Ridiculous!” in the Eagles 59-28 Monday Night Football destruction of the Washington Redskins

With the signing of Donovan McNabb earlier in the day to a somewhat unexpected 5-year, $78 million contract extension with $40 million guaranteed that will more than likely allow the veteran quarterback to end his storied career in the Nation’s Capital, everything seemed in place for a shining moment on Monday Night Football. 

But…Hold-up wait a minute as the quarterback that set the NFL’s favorite weekly evening drama into orbit was none other than McNabb’s former understudy’s understudy, Michael Vick.  The mercurial quarterback, who many doubted ever could become a “complete” passer, opened several eyes as he had a magical night in the Philadelphia Eagles 59-28 demolition of the Washington Redskins (4-5) on MNF.

Vick was the catalyst as the Eagles (6-3) busted out to a 35-0 lead early in the second quarter.  In a night where McNabb – passing numbers 17 for 31 for 295 yards with 2 TDs and 3 INTs in the loss — could only applaud his former Syracuse recruit.  Vick gave Eagles’ Nation something to remember for a long time. 

The Birds set team records for total yards in a game (592), points in a half (45) and had the biggest lead after the first quarter for any NFL road team (28-0) since at least 1950.  “We got outcoached. We got outplayed. They did everything right,” Redskins disgruntled DL Albert Haynesworth said after the embarrassing loss.

At the 2010 Philadelphia Eagles first mini-camp after the draft, I noted to a fellow media member the Vick looked to be 100% back and then he impressed me more by sounding like a new mature humbled individual when I talked with him after practice.  I thought, “Wow”, this guy is going to be an asset helping out new starter, Kevin Kolb, as a veteran back-up and serving in the Wildcat.  But none of us had any idea that the NFL’s new quarterback guru, Andy Reid, had remolded the fallen star and created MV7 version 2010, a masterpiece.

Redemption road has been a long one for the former NFL superstar turned public enemy number one for his part in a notorious dogfighting situation that cost him over two years away from the game that he so dearly loves.  But this is not your standard, “Michael Vick is Back” story as there is no question regarding whether the former 3-time Pro Bowl player can redeem himself.

No, the real question is “How Can’t Michael Vick be considered the leading candidate for the 2010 NFL Most Valuable Player Award?”  Forget about McNabb and his extension – former Eagles franchise great already has his hands full enough with a Washington team that badly needs some offensive talent – as well as former Reid “anointed” starter Kolb.

Vick is playing at a level that deserves to put him in any conversation with the Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees.  That’s right…I am doing the unthinkable in putting Vick in a quarterback class that some thought he could never achieve.  Incredibly at age 30, the former Atlanta troubled prodigy has become the player everyone thought he could be when the Falcons made him the NFL’s first overall draft pick way back in 2001. 

His speed to the corner is at an elite running back’s  level, his arm is looking better than any quarterback in the league right now and under the guidance of Reid, Vick now has the work ethic and pocket presence that has to be leaving everyone in the NFL scratching their heads… are you reading Greg Knapp.

On his magical night, Vick became the first player in NFL history with at least 300 yards passing, 50 yards rushing, four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a game. Ironically it was Vick’s magical legs — ran eight times for 80 yards and two scores plus moved past Steve Young  into 2nd place in NFL history for yards rushing by a quarterback – that were an afterthought as his arm did all his talking.  The former Virginia Tech star threw an 88-yard laser touchdown pass to a streaking DeSean Jackson on his first play of the game and he never looked back in one of the greatest performances in Monday Night Football history. 

“I’ve had some great games in my day,” Vick said. “But I don’t think I’ve had one quite like this one.”  He accounted for 6 touchdowns while finishing with off the chart passing numbers finished 20 for 28 for 333 yards and four touchdowns – completed first 10 passes of the night.  But more impressive to me is the fact that Vick still hasn’t thrown an interception or lost a fumble this season – sorry Brett Favre…you lead the league with 16 INTs. 

The Birds are now 4-0 when Vick starts and finishes the game, which has made him an instant star in Philadelphia and galvanized a once fractured fanbase. We will see if the Vick Express can continue all the way through the playoffs, if he too can get a coveted extension, and continue playing at a level the NFL has not scene since Young’s magical 1994 Super Bowl winning season for the Niners.

Eagles’ veteran receiver Jason Avant said of his quarterback’s phenomenal play, “The guy is unreal. How do you defend him when we have everything going? I have not seen anything like that. It was so much fun out there.”

But more importantly, the Eagles and Vick now have moved into a NFC East first-place tie with the New York Giants (6-3), setting the stage for next week’s megawatt Sunday Night Football battle at the Linc.

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast 111510 (Part 1)

In Part 1 of this week’s Taking It to the House NFL Podcast — Before the Eagles-Redskins big Monday Night Football Clash, the surprising topic everyone was discussing was quarterback Donovan McNabb’s contract extension

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast 111510 (Part 1)

NFL Insider Lloyd Vance reviews Week 10 of the 2010 season with host Mark Gray including the Washington Redskins giving quarterback Donovan McNabb a huge 5-year extension

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast – WCHE Interview 110110

The benching of veteran QB Donovan McNabb was all anyone, including Lloyd Vance and Matt Lombardo, wanted to talk about after 2010 NFL Week 8

After a crazy 2010 NFL Week 8, including the Washington Redskins benching Donovan McNabb in a 2-Minute Drill Situation in a bad loss to the Detroit Lions, NFL Insider Lloyd Vance makes an appearance on the “Matt Lombardo Show” on 1520 WCHE – West Chester, PA