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Lane Mergler

Lane Mergler’s Weekly: The Rex Ryan Edition

As the 2010 football season comes to an end with a Green Bay Super Bowl victory, let’s turn the clock back three years. The New England Patriots were the first team to ever win sixteen regular season games and despite a Super Bowl loss teams were still afraid that they would only be better come next season.In the ensuing offseason, the Jets acquired quarterback Brett Favre in an attempt to compete against New England, but their season ended in disaster and they wound up finishing in third in the division. It was then that owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum decided to push the reset button and hire the complete antithesis of what a head coach should be in former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. And it worked.Since Ryan’s hiring, the Jets have been the only team to compete in consecutive Conference Championship Games. Ryan has also helped lay out the groundwork for them to continue this streak well into the future. In the first major personnel move of the Ryan era, the Jets traded up in the 2009 draft to select quarterback Mark Sanchez. Sanchez has put up stats that are far from elite, but he is the only quarterback in NFL history to win at least four playoff games in his first two seasons and not have multiple rape allegations. While Ryan’s overall football knowledge has launched the Jets into the elite standard of teams, it was his revolutionary ways of handling his job that give the team its identity.Soon after Ryan was hired by the Jets he started making brash statements. In his two years as head coach he has made many statements and done a lot of things that instigate controversy. These actions are amplified when compared to his archrival in Patriots coach… Read More

Lane Mergler’s Weekly: The Solution to the 18-Game Dispute

Unless things change quickly, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and the executives are on the verge of ending the labour peace they have maintained since 1987. If they cannot agree to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) by March 3, there will be a lockout.In 2006, the NFL and its players union agreed to a CBA that was very much in favour of the players. One of the main things that the owners grudgingly agreed to was allowing the players nearly 60 percent of the league’s revenue after $1 billion was taken by the owners. Considering that the league generates approximately $9 billion in annual revenues, the players would receive approximately $4.8 billion, compared to the owners’ $4.2 billion.One of the reasons why the owners agreed to this deal, which seems like a ripoff, was because the CBA was made nearing the end of then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s tenure. Tagliabue had kept labour peace for the seventeen years that he held the position and he did not want his career to end on a negative note. Former executive director of the NFLPA Gene Upshaw was well aware of this andtook full advantage of Tagliabue’s desire to keep the peace.Thirty of the thirty-two owners voted in favour of this deal while expecting that the next CBA would swing back in their favour. You could certainly argue that the owners were being foolish and that they should have refused the deal. They did not have anything in writing saying that the NFLPA would play nice with them when the next CBA was to be agreed upon, and I would completely agree with this thinking. The only problem is that the owners don’t, and that’s all that matters.Because the owners feel they got robbed when working out the previous agreement, they have come… Read More

NFL Power Ranking’s Week 12

1. Green Bay Packers (11-0) (Last week: 1)– The rightfully deserved hype that Aaron Rodgers receives really overshadows the fact that this team also has a fairly impressive defense, which was shown when they kept the Lions from scoring any points until the fourth quarter last week.2. New Orleans Saints (8-3) (Last week: 3)– Jimmy Graham didn't play football until he went to Grad School at Miami. In only his third year of playing the sport, he is one of the best tight ends in the game and could be the next Antonio Gates.3. Baltimore Ravens (8-3) (Last week: 7)–This team just put up 9 sacks on the team with the second best record in the NFL and made their offense look like it was that of a high school team. I really wish they played the Packers this season.4. New England Patriots (8-3) (Last week: 6)– Who is the more dangerous threat: Wes Welker or Rob Gronkowski? Even though the answer may have seemed obvious as the start of the year, it certainly has gotten closer.5. San Francisco 49ers (9-2) (Last week: 2)– The 49ers can be the first team to clinch their division with a win this weekend. Their opponent is the Rams. I'd say we just put an X beside them in the standings now and let it be over with.6. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) (Last week: 4)– Even if Big Ben had a broken thumb, their performance on Sunday night was inexcusable and they seemed lucky to come away with the win.7. Atlanta Falcons (7-4) (Last week: 10)– After winning 5 of their last 6, it is fair to say that the Falcons have gotten out of their slow start and are revving to go. They still are only a game back on the Saints in their… Read More

Power Rankings Week 11

Green Bay Packers (10-0) (Last week: 1)– The long time anticipated game is finally here this Thursday. The Packers take on the Lions in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day in what could be their only loss of the season.San Francisco 49ers (9-1) (Last week: 2)– After watching what should be good games between Detroit vs. Green Bay and Dallas vs. Miami, a great day of football will be capped off with the Harbaugh Bowl. What seemed like it would be a terrible game to finish off the night a few months ago now looks like it could be the most competitive.New Orleans Saints (7-3) (Last week: 3)– The Saints have two important weeks coming up soon, as they take on the Giants this week and the Lions the week after.Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3) (Last week: 4)– Now that the Ravens have the same record as them, the Steelers will have to finish the season off strong if they want to win the division.Chicago Bears (7-3) (Last week: 7)– After he finally has a good season as a Bear, Jay Cutler breaks his thumb just as the final stretch begins. Bears fans must be praying that Caleb Hanie will be a better quarterback than what his name alone projects him to be.New England Patriots (7-3) (Last week: 5)– Bill Belichick has to be the only head coach in the world who would go for it on 4th down twice with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter and his team up by 24. That is just one more thing to add onto the neverending list of classless things he has done.Baltimore Ravens (7-3) (Last week: 10)– I guess that based off of the way the Ravens are playing this season, the Bengals must be a pretty good team. If they weren't,… Read More

NFL power rankings: Week 10

Green Bay Packers (9-0) (Last week: 1)– The season is nine games deep and no one has stopped Aaron Rodgers yet.  Will anyone do so in the final seven? San Francisco 49ers (8-1) (Last week: 2)– The 49ers have only allowed a team to rush for more than 100 yards in a game once this season—they allowed 108 yards to a Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy led Eagles squad. New Orleans Saints (7-3) (Last week: 7)– The ending didn't truly do the game justice, but a well played win by the Saints gives them a game and a half lead in a very competitive NFC South. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3) (Last week: 5)– The Steelers, first in their division, play only two more games against teams with a winning record, the Bengals and the 49ers.  Baltimore needs to have an impressive finish if they want the division.New England Patriots (6-3) (Last week: 8)– When the division is on the line, Brady and his team once again showed up to play.  However, it is a little surprising that Rob Ninkovich did as much damage as Brady.Houston Texans (7-3) (Last week: 9)– Considering that all other good AFC teams have some competition in their division, it is possible that the Texans run away with home field advantage in the playoffs.Chicago Bears (6-3) (Last week: 10)– The Bears are now tied for second in their division and are red hot as they face the entire AFC West in their next four games.  Look for them to take a wild card spot in a surprisingly difficult NFC this season.Detroit Lions (6-3) (Last week: 3)– Matthew Stafford got intercepted for a touchdown on two consecutive drives in what was their biggest game of the year to date.  A loss this crushing isn't easy to overcome, especially when Detroit faces… Read More
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