Most of the following was written a few weeks ago and was never completed due to a bout of vertigo that lasted almost two weeks. I apologize for the delay and hope that you enjoy the content written both at that time and at this time. If you have any questions I direct your attention to past Garrett as present and future Garrett are both currently out of the office.
Welcome back to Around the League with me. Today finds the standings of our league at an all-time weird. The top five teams are all tied at the top and each subsequent team is separated by a game. It will be a tight race until the end to see who makes the playoffs and who gets a first round bye. I know that every week has left me both nervous and excited and I hope that the same has been true for each of you. This league would be no good if it isn’t fun and for that reason I’m glad to do it with you, my dear friends.
This week three of our favorite teams find themselves on a bye week. That being the Patriots, Chargers, and Colts. It will be the first week I don’t watch a Colts game and so I’ll likely be watching whatever is on TV in Thousand Oaks this Sunday. This got me to thinking, what goes on during a player’s bye week? More specifically, what great shenanigans and stories can we find? We'll break down a bit of the history and then get in to two stories.
What exactly is the bye week? It’s the one week in the season that healthy players get to rest. Even the injured ones get a full extra week of recovery. It’s also a week players long for all season. They get to leave the team facilities and spend time with family, college buddies, or just sleep. The bye week first came to the NFL in 1990. It's unclear where the concept first originated in sports, but NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was eager to bring it to football. The intent was to secure major television contracts for the next few years by lengthening the season. There have been three exceptional circumstances to the normal bye week schedule. In 1993, the final year of the television contract, each team had two byes during the season. Another strange circumstance comes whenever a team has a game postponed. The missed week becomes their bye week and the game is rescheduled for their originally intended bye week. Though I can't find what would happen if both teams don't have the same bye week. We'll leave that one on the table. Finally, between 1999 and 2001 there were thirty-one teams in the NFL when the Cleveland Browns entered the league. It wasn't until the induction of the Houston Texans that the bye weeks stabilized to their current form so every week someone was on bye.
Much of the news coming out of the NFL in the last couple of years has nothing at all to do with football. Rather we hear crazy stories about murder charges from Aaron Hernandez, domestic abuse from Ray Rice, and poor parenthood from Adrian Peterson. During this year's Dolphins bye week, defensive end Derrick Shelby decided to hit up the local Fort Lauderdale evening entertainment establishments and drunkenly grope a bunch of women. Coming off of his best game of the season, Shelby resisted arrest once the cops showed up and got a bit roughed up after he challenged them, saying, "what are you going to do?". Referring to his good performance the week before against Oakland, the HoustonPress stated,"Now he will have plenty of time to brag about that performance to ladies who want nothing to do with him. The wounds suffered from the arrest won't help his ability to secure consensual groping targets either..." In the interest of avoiding sensationalism and besmirching the NFL, it is a select few players like Shelby that give a bad name to players in their time away from the field. It is , however, a recurrent problem in which we would all love to see change. (source: HoustonPress)
Transitioning from sad indiscretions to the simply silly, this year during the Eagles' bye week long snapper Jon Dorenbos took a trip to Hollywood. Playing in the NFL gives players an easy way into the world of the rich and famous. Jon was having dinner at Hollywood producer and diehard Eagles fan Steven Chasman's house when Mel Gibson decided to stop by. The two of them proceeded to spend the night doing magic tricks for kids. 'Why were there a bunch of kids?', you may ask. I have no idea, but it sounds like a bye week well spent. (source: CBS Sports) Another good way to spend the bye week is preparing for a future career. The average length of an NFL career if a player makes an NFL roster on opening day of their rookie year is about 6 years. (a much better representation than the oft-publicized overall average for players of about 3 years) Though not a bad stint for most players, it will rarely pay the bills for the average life span of a U.S. male of 77.4 (W.H.O.). During the bye week many of the more well-known and insightful players are given trial runs as commentators and analysts on the major broadcast networks. For many this will lead to jobs after they retire from the field. My current favorite NFL player has a weekly segment on NFL Network titled Kickin It with Pat McAfee on Thursday mornings and was able to help host the whole program on the Colts' bye week. My biggest takeaway from this? Getting a degree in broadcasting is not likely to land you a job as a host or an analyst in sports. Better look into weather. Especially if you're pretty.
Ultimately, the bye week is good for the players and good for the league. Though we are certainly happy when it's over and we can get back to watching our team.
Shelby's mug shot:
Nonsense of the week:
While on the topic of bad decisions, take a peak at this hilarious explanation of one of Shia Labeouf's nights in New York after returning from Ireland: