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Entrepreneurs Grind

Myles Garrett Is Tackling The Global Water Crisis By Partnering With Waiakea

Myles Garrett put it simply. 

“There are people who do not know what clean water looks like. They do not know what it tastes like. There are people drinking the same water as their livestock.” 

Today is World Water Day, and the NFL Superstar wants to do his part to help address the growing crisis that affects people all over the world. 

One of the most important things to remember about athletes is that they have a life outside of the game. For Garrett, he is focused on helping others and giving back, wherever and however he can.

It is easy to get caught up in our lives. For a large majority of the United States, water is something that we take for granted. 

When I talked with Myles, I was curious about something that I myself struggle with. So many people are advised to “not care what other people think.” Yet, it is so important to be a good representation of your family, the company you work for, or any community you might be a part of. Garrett says it comes down to one thing: 

“My mom kinda said there was only one thing that mattered, kindness. She was the one who showed me the water crisis when I was a kid.”

He said that he knows what it is like to, “be under the microscope,” and to be at the center of the conversation, but he does his best to not pay that much attention.

Instead, Garrett said that he has a lot of faith “in listening to my heart and my gut.” He feels that he is in a position where he can really change the world and affect lives. 

I asked Garrett about seeing the lives he is affecting through his new partnership with Waiakea

“I went on a trip a little over a year ago to Africa and that really opened my eyes.” 

Obviously, during this pandemic, it is difficult to get around, but Garrett is, “absolutely,” going back to Africa as soon as he can. This is something that he speaks about with passion. 

“People have stomach aches and headaches from drinking unsafe water.” 

When you are a superstar in the NFL, there is no shortage of networking opportunities and Garrett wants to put the power he has and the advantages he has to the test.

“I’ve been able to get David Njoku to help out. I am trying to get Baker (Mayfield) and Christian McCaffrey next.” 

But not all of us are friends with Baker Mayfield. I wanted to know what can someone such as myself do? What can the average person do to help this cause?

“Just donate. The amount doesn’t even matter cause anything helps.”

And he’s right. 

A $5 donation can hydrate a community for a week or a farmer for a month. 

No one is asking people to break the bank. But that statistic really proves a lot. Every little bit helps.

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Sports Strength

Who Is The Best WR in the NFL? These 17 Players Are The Best In The Business

In today’s NFL, focus more on the offense with high power units such as the Kansas City Chiefs. Along with Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs offense features one of the most dynamic wide receivers in the NFL today, Tyreek Hill.

However, Hill is just one of the prolific playmaking wide receivers in the league. So, putting together a list of just the top wide receivers is not as easy of a task as one might think.

We did our best to create just such a list, so here our rankings of the 17 best wide receivers in the NFL. 

1. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

Davante Adams was both the league’s highest-ranking and most valuable receiver, and it’s not particularly close. Adams has averaged 3.59 yards per route against press coverage this season, the second-best recorded since the league started tracking press data back in 2012.

Against single overall coverage, Adams generated a target open to the league’s fifth-highest rating during the 2020 season as a Green Bay Packers member.

2. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

Jefferson was a first-round pick, but few expected him to become one of the top receivers after just his first season in the league.

He finished the year with an elite grade of 90.5, which was slightly below the rookie record set by Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014 (91.2).

The most impressive aspect of his first year with the NFL was his performance on single coverage, a concern for him by NFL scouts after he left Louisiana  State University. But Jefferson has generated more yards per target (13.2) than any other wide in the league against single coverage this season.

3. A. J. Brown Tennessee Titans

Fifty players were picked in front of Brown in the 2019 NFL Draft.

The whole football world made a mistake when they passed on the receiver out of Ole Miss because of A. J. Brown was amongst the top 10 wide receivers in the NFL the past two seasons for the Tennessee Titans. This season, he demonstrated his ability again, averaging 6.2 yards after the catch by receptions and breaking 17 tackles out of 70 catches.

A total of 45.7% of these 70 catches occurred over at least five yards after the catch (the third-highest rate amongst pass catchers over the last two seasons).

4. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills

Stefon Diggs had a decent five seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, but he never came close to having a season like he just had with the Buffalo Bills.

According to PFF, Diggs earned grades between 78.3 and 82.6 in each of his five years as a Viking and jumped to 90.1 in his first season as a Bill.

Diggs saw a single cover at one of the NFL’s highest rates this season but still generated separation at the league’s fourth-highest rate on these plays. This is why Diggs had eight more catches against a single cover than any other wide receiver (58).

5. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

Hill was once again one of the league’s major deep threats, teaming up with Patrick Mahomes for six deep-reception touchdowns where he had at least one step of separation on his defender.

No player in the league can match Hill’s ability to put himself behind the defense with ease.

6. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals

DeAndre Hopkins’s ball skills were in full swing in his first season as a Cardinal, and he was the ultimate possession receiver, as expected. He also caught 13 of his 26 challenging targets and was responsible for more initial tries and touchdowns than anyone else in the league.

This year, former NFL defensive back Robert Nelson Jr. shared that he thinks Hopkins is the best deep threat in the league.

“You have the best threat in the NFL; what else can you ask for? No cornerback in the west can guard him. Come on, man, like 6’3 or 6’4 with hands down to your calves, his visual IQ is crazy, and he is strong,” said Nelson.

“He is going to score touchdowns. It is a no brainer, and I am not saying they will go to the Super Bowl, but I think they will do better than the last couple of years.”

7. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

No receiver has converted a higher rate of his targets into an explosive gain of 15 yards or more this season than Jones at 35.4%, which is the league’s highest level by more than six percentage points.

8. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints

Like Julio Jones, Thomas was limited this season due to injuries and saw only 54 targets in seven games. He did not separate at a high rate, and he didn’t do much after capture, but he was a monster at the point of capture on contested targets, as usual. Thomas was the fifth-highest ranked receiver on contested targets this year, and he now ranks first among contested catches (66) and contested catches (62%) in the past four years.

9. DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

DKMetcalf and Russell Wilson, as well as the whole Seattle offensive attack, may have cooled off, but he nevertheless managed to lead the league in deep reception yards in the regular season with 480. 

Dropped balls were once again a problem for Metcalf this season, and he now has 20 throughout his first two years in the NFL; however, the countless victories in downfield and on the ball contested (he finished in the top-10 scoring on such targets) sees him fall into the top 20.

DK Metcalf finished his sophomore season with 83 receptions, 1303 yards, and ten touchdowns. As impressive as those numbers are, some might say the most significant highlight from last season was when he tracked down Budda Baker after a Russell Wilson interception and looked like Baker was going to score.

10. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Evans has been impressive since he entered the league in 2014. Last season, he captured 67 catches; however, his 67 total catches, 1,157 yards with an average of 17.3 yards/take with eight touchdowns. He ranked 24th in 2019.

At 6 feet 5 inches,  Evans ranked fourth on deep targets (30) and eighth in yards per route (2.67). Evans had one of the best quarterbacks ever to play Tom Brady’s position, and this season with Brady at the helm, Evans finished with 70 receptions, 1006 yards, and 13 touchdowns.

11. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers

Keenan Allen produced the eighth-lowest average target depth among receivers (7.3). He was an excellent receiver for the Los Angeles Chargers this season. No route runner turned more passes thrown in their direction into a first down (28); he also ranked fourth in contested catches (18) and was eighth in drop rate (1.9%).

12. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Godwin was one of the most dependable targets in the slot, where he ran 67% of his routes, generating the highest take rate (85.7%). The second-highest passing rate when the target catch rate (138.3) and the highest contested catch rate (nine out of 11).

Godwin finished this year’s Super Bowl campaign with 65 catches, 840 yards, and seven touchdowns.

13. Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans

Corey Davis had an inconsistent 2020 campaign with several dominant performances and several so-so ones, but it was definitely still the best season of his career. Davis saw a fair amount of play-action passes thanks to offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, so it’s not surprising that he tied for second with 15-plus-yard receptions stemming from play-action pass attempts this year (18).

Davis finished the season with 65 receptions, 984 yards, and five touchdowns for the Titans.

14. Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills

Cole Beasley was an excellent addition to Stefon Diggs this year for the Bills, as he exploited the holes in the slot area coverage all year round. No wide receiver caught more targets by finding spots in the area this season than Beasley (35), a significant reason for generating the highest rate of open targets in the NFL. Last season for the Buffalo Bills, Cole Beasley had 82 receptions, 967 yards, and four touchdowns.

15. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons

Calvin Ridley led all NFL wide receivers in total explosive plays of 15-plus yards generated in 2020 (40). And as for the percentage of targets that resulted in one of those explosive receptions, Ridley was only second behind Julio Jones. 

Seven of those 40 gains of over 15 yards occurred when the defensive back forced a tight coverage, which tied for second place in the NFL. Last season for the Atlanta Falcons, Calvin Ridley had 90 receptions, 1374 yards, nine touchdowns.

16. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings

Adam Thielen did not separate at the same rate as in previous years, but he was still one of the league’s best receivers. The Viking is known for his course and outings, and this year Thielen retained a place in the top five when he came to receive the ball against a single defender and a lot of press coverage. This past season for the Vikings, Thielen had 74 receptions, 925 yards, 14 touchdowns.

17. Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

Robinson was responsible for more than half of the first downs and touchdowns produced by the Chicago Bears receiving unit this year. Robinson finished the 2000 season with 102 receptions,1250 yards, and six touchdowns for the Bears. This offseason, he is looking to cash in on his success with the Bears this season as he is looking for a big contract from Chicago or one of the 31 other teams in the league.

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Sports Strength

The 15 Longest College Football Winning Streaks of All-Time

When it comes to winning, Michael Jordan said it best: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

For these college football teams, winning was their bread and butter. Many of these streaks are from as far back as the 19th century and remain untouched to this day. As connoisseurs of the art of winning, we at ONE37pm needed to examine the 15 longest winning streaks in the history of Division-I college football.

1. 1908 – 1916 University of Washington [59]
Asahel Curtis Photo Company Photographs via Wikimedia Commons

The Washington football team from 1908 to 1916 won 59 straight games over eight years under the leadership of Gil Dobie. Per Lynn Borland of the Seattle Times, Dobie accumulated  59-0-3, a record that has not been duplicated. The University of Washington was not considered a major college football team during this era.

2. 1953 – 1957 University of Oklahoma [47]

Oklahoma holds the NCAA record for most consecutive victories from an extensive collegiate program at 47-straight. Their streak spanned five seasons, from 1953 to 1957. The OU lost to Notre Dame 28-21 when the 1953 season opened and tied Pittsburgh 7-7 the following week. The Sooner’s streak began with a 19-14 victory over arch-rival Texas in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas in October of 1953.

3. 1887 – 1889 Yale University [37]
Wikimedia Commons

The Yale Bulldogs football team went 37-0 from 1887 to 1889. The first season they went 9-0. The following season, they continued their winning streak, winning 13 straight games. During the 1888 season, they did not allow a single point and beat their rivals by a total of 694 to 0. During the final season of the 37-win streak, they went 15-1, with the only loss coming to Princeton University in the season’s final game.

The Bulldogs held their opponents on goal in 12 games and beat all opponents by a total of 664 to 31.

4. 1890 – 1893 Yale University [37]
Wikimedia Commons

After losing to Princeton University 10-0 at the end of the 1889 season, Yale went on another 37-game winning streak during the next three years.  In its third year under head coach Walter Camp, the team established a 13-1 record, recorded 12 shutouts, and beat all opponents with a total of 486 to 18. Their only loss was to rival Harvard with a score of 12–6.

After their loss to Harvard, they didn’t see a loss again for the three years until they faced Princeton in the 1893 season’s final game.

5. 1969 – 1971 University of Toledo [35]

Toledo’s 1968 season ended with a three-game losing streak, but they followed it up with three perfect seasons straight. Quarterback Chuck Ealey, who threw for 5,000 yards and scored 42 touchdowns in three years with the Rockets, took the series to the field. After Lauterbur’s departure to Iowa after the 1970 season, assistant John Murphy coached the Rockets to a record-breaking 12-0 in 1971.

6. 2000 – 2003 University of Miami [34]
Eliot J. Schechter / Stringer via Getty Images

At the start of the 21st century, Miami was the first school to accumulate 30 victories in the new millennium. The winning streak started under Butch Davis, who ended his career with the Hurricanes with ten consecutive wins following a Week 2 loss to Washington in 2000. After a Sugar Bowl victory over Florida, Davis moved to the NFL, and Larry Coker took over. 

During the first year of Coker, Miami enjoyed its first perfect season since 1991. They went 12-0 and won the school’s fifth national championship with a 37-14 win over Nebraska in the Rose Bowl. This 2001 squad was propelled by a defense that included Ed Reed, Jonathan Vilma, Phillip Buchanon, and more.

7. 1894 – 1896 University of Pennsylvania [34]
Wikimedia Commons

Between 1890 and 1899, Penn went 124-14-2, for a victory percentage of 89.3. This included nine consecutive seasons with no less than 11 wins. Most importantly, they ran two consecutive perfect seasons in 1894 and 1895 and a 14-1 campaign in 1896 for 34 consecutive wins.

8. 2003 – 2006 University of Southern California [34]
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

This series went on from the fifth game of the 2003 season to the epic 2006 Rose Bowl. This streak is not in the record books though, because most of the wins have been canceled due to NCAA violations. Nevertheless, the win streak by USC still happened, and we were all glued to our seats.

9. 1914 – 1918 University of Pittsburgh [31]
Wikimedia Commons

In its second season under head coach Joseph Duff, the team compiled an 8–1 record and outscored all opponents by a total of 207 to 38. The following season, the team went unbeaten with an 8-0 record, outscoring their opponents by a combined total of 247–19 under Pop Warner. In his second season with Pittsburgh, Pop Warner went 8-0; over the next two seasons, they went 15-1.

10. 1948 – 1950 University of Oklahoma [31]

In their second year under head coach Bud Wilkinson, the Sooners tallied a 10-1 record (5-0 against the conference opponents), winning the Big Seven Conference Championship. They beat their opponents by a combined total of 350 to 121. Two Sooners received All-American honors in 1948, Buddy Burris and Jack Mitchell.  Six Sooners were recognized at all conferences: Burris, Mitchell, Owens, Paine, Thomas, and Walker. The following season, they went undefeated with an 11-0 record, and in 1950, the Sooners finished the season with a 10-1 record.

11. 1968 – 1971 University of Texas 1968-71 [30]

Texas led its Wishbone offense into an undefeated regular season with a national championship the following year. During the 1970 regular season, they were perfect again; however, the streak ended at 30 with a loss to Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl.

12. 2012 – 2014 Florida State University [29]
Jeff Gammons / Stringer via Getty Images

The Seminoles series kicked off with a 21-15 win over Georgia Tech in the 2012 ACC Championship. The following year, the eventual Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston, led the team towards a perfect season and the final BCS national title. Florida State was more neglected the following season but still stayed undefeated and won the ACC title again. Then in the first-ever College Football Playoff match, Oregon blew out the ‘Noles 59-20.

13. 1990 – 1993 University of Miami [29]
David Madison / Getty Images

The Hurricanes lost to Notre Dame in the sixth week of the 1990 season but won their final six games, including a 46-3 Texas win in the Cotton Bowl. They were perfect the following season and won the national championship. Miami subsequently went 11-0 during the 1992 regular season but was beaten by Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.

14. 1973 – 1975 University of Oklahoma [28]
Duane Howell / Getty Images

Except for a 7-7 tie with USC in the second game of the 1973 season, the Sooners win streak would actually have been 37 games.  When they were banned from bowls and television, Oklahoma went 10-0-1 in 1973 and 11-0 in 74, winning the national championship. The Sooners won their first eight games in 1975 but turned the ball over eight times against Kansas in a 23-3 loss. They bounced back to win their last three games and their second straight national championship.

15. 1978 – 1980 University of Alabama [28]
Collegiate Images via Getty Images

Alabama won the final two of the seven national championships under Bear Bryant with an 11-1 season in 1978 (the only fault being a 24-14 loss to USC in Game 3) and a season of 12-0 in ‘79. The Crimson Tide won their first game of the 1980 season and took the #1 position, but were upset by Mississippi State 6-3, ending the streak at 28.

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Sports Strength

Who Has The Best Defense In The NFL? The Best 12 Teams, Ranked

Today’s NFL is geared towards the offensive side of football, but as the old saying goes: Defense wins championships. The 2013-2014 Seattle Seahawks’ defense known as the Legion of Boom is the last defensive unit to lead their team to a Super Bowl win, and that was seven years ago.

They beat the Denver Broncos 43-8 at MetLife Stadium in 2014, and Malcolm Smith was named MVP of Super Bowl XLVIII.

Despite offense leading the way, the defense is still crucial to any team’s success. With that in mind, ONE37pm decided to look at the top defensive units from the 2020-21 season and who had the most impact.

1. Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams have their anchor on their defensive line Aaron Donald, who is on every offensive coordinator’s and quarterback’s scouting report. The Rams are first in passing yards allowed yards per game (190.7), first in points scored by a team with (296), second in opposing quarterback rating (80.4) to the Steelers, and second in timed sacks to the Steelers with 53.

In the secondary, they have shutdown cornerback Jalen Ramsey who normally shadows the opposition’s best wide receiver; they also have rookie Jordan Fuller and three-year veteran Darious Williams. They all helped give the Rams a deep and productive secondary this season.

The Rams are tied for sixth in QB pressure percentage (27.8) and rank seventh in disruptions (140). Donald’s production alone this season accounted for 53 disruptions, 11 sacks, and three turnovers.

The Rams would hold quarterbacks to an average of just 190.7 yards per game. Los Angeles would drop right behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Indianapolis Colts in the rush defense category, giving up 91.3 rushing yards a game.

2. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are an eternal power on defense, allowing only 17.6 points a game last year, third-best. The team’s talent improved during the off-season with additions from Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe on the defensive line, not to mention trading for pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue as well.  They also added rookie linebackers Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison. Despite cutting safety Earl Thomas on August 23, 2020, after a training camp altercation, the secondary remains elite with Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters.

The defensive schemes that Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale is dialing up from the sideline have opposing quarterbacks confused. Baltimore is ninth in the league in opposing passer rating allowed (89.3) and completion percentage over expectation of -0.5 percent.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers’ defense is bursting with star power with Cameron Heyward on their defensive line, pass rushers T.J. Watt, who led the league in sacks with 15, and Bud Dupree, and a young inside linebacker in Devin Bush. In the secondary, they have safeties Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds.

They were ranked third with points scored by a team with (312), they were also ranked third for pass attempts against them with (526) behind the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys. The Steelers were also fourth in penalties commented and accepted with (103), third in penalty yards commented with (980), and their QB pressure percentage is (39.6).

4. Washington Football Team

The football team ranks ninth or better in each of the following categories: Yards allowed per game, passing yards allowed per game, intercept rate, bags per attempted pass. They also ranked in the top-10 in points allowed per game, third-down percentage, and red-zone percentage. The last of these categories is Washington’s best because no other football team in the league is as good at stopping the run in the red zone.

They are also allowing the seventh-lowest passer rating in the league while holding a higher-than-expected completion percentage of -1.4, which is equal to the sixth-lowest rate in the NFL. Meanwhile, Rookie Chase Young out of Ohio State made a case for Defensive Player of the Year. The second pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, he finished the 2020-21 campaign with 7.5 sacks, 32 solo tackles, and four forced fumbles.

His play did not go unnoticed, as he caught the attention of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback and future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. After calling him out before their wild-card game.

“I want Tom Brady… I play ball,” Young told ESPN earlier this month. “I’m excited to go against the best. The media, their job is to stir it up. If you know me, I’m excited about every game. Tom Brady, you think I’m not excited to play against the GOAT? You trippin’. I’m not going to apologize for saying I want Tom. No, I want every quarterback I play against.”

Brady replied, “he is obviously a great young player…He went to Ohio State, so I think that Ohio State-Michigan thing wears off on him a little bit,” according to Fox Sports’ Paulina Dedaj.

After the Buccaneers beat Washington 31 to 23 on the road, Young asked Brady for his jersey.

5. New Orleans Saints

The  Saints finished the season with the fifth-best defense overall after turning heads this past season. At one point they went on a hot streak with their defensive play, after allowing less than 20 points during a five-game stretch, which was the longest streak of any team last season.

They also ranked in the top five in expected points contributed by rushing defense with (22.79), other categories include rushing yards per game, passing yards per game, interception rate, sacks per pass attempt, and points allowed per game. Trey Hendrickson also had a breakout season with 13.5 sacks, 22 solo tackles, and a forced fumble. and became the first Saint since 2014, not named Cam Jordan, to record ten or more sacks in a season. As for Jordan, he finished the season with 7.5 sacks, 34 solo tackles, and a forced fumble.

Teams had difficulty moving the ball against the New Orleans defense on a regular basis to reach the red zone, especially through the air. Even the percentage of completion of Saints permitted on expectations still ranks 10th with -0.4.

6. Miami Dolphins

Miami is excellent at getting off the field in key moments, placing first in the third lower percentage, second in permitted points per game, eighth in sack bypass attempt, and ninth in red-zone percentage. The Dolphins are also among the league’s top in percent completion allowed on expectations to -3.5 per pass allowed. Their 18 interceptions are tied for first in the NFL along with New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, Xavien Howard snatched ten of those 18 interceptions for the Dolphins this season and returned them for a total of 77 yards.

Dolphins also spent a lot of capital in the offseason on guys such as Shaq Lawson, Elandon Roberts, Kyle Van Noy, Byron Jones, to name a few.  Lawson finished the season with four sacks, 17 solo tackles, Elandon Roberts 1.5 sacks, 33 solo tackles, one forced fumble, Kyle Van Noy 6.0 sacks, 46 solo tack two forced fumbles. In his first season, not in a Cowboys uniform, Byron Jones snagged two interceptions and returned them for 15 yards combined. Meanwhile, rookie corner Noah Igbinoghene and defensive lineman Raekwon Davis help round out the Dolphins defensive unit.  Emmanuel Ogbah had a solid campaign with the Dolphins as he registered nine sacks, 25 solo tackles, and forced three fumbles last season. Miami finished the season 10-6, falling short of a playoff berth after being eliminated late in the season. Still, they are heading in the right direction under the leadership of second-year head coach Brian Flores.

7. New York Giants

The New York Giants’ defense was among the strongest units in football, allowing 22.3 points per game, the ninth fewest in the NFL this year.

A lot of credit goes to first-year defense coordinator Patrick Graham, who reinvigorated a defense that had been one of the worst in football in the past few seasons.

Their strength was on the defensive line, particularly Leonard Williams, who led the team in sacks with 11.5, which was the most by a Giant since Jason Pierre-Paul in 2014. Williams also registered 29 solo tackles. The Giants’ defense was a big reason why the Giants were able to upset the Seattle Seahawks on the road on December 6, 2020.

“I think schematically we did a good job making (Russell Wilson) feel pressure and making him uncomfortable,” Williams said. “He felt like he had a guy on his side and had to hold the ball. I felt like we were coming at him from many angles, and it made him a little bit confused sometimes. Overall, he’s the head of the offense; being the quarterback and making him uncomfortable is what we needed to do. I think we did a good job of that.”

8. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs’ high power offense gets a lot of the attention, as they should, with the reigning Super Bowl MVP featured on that side of the ball in Patrick Mahomes. However, don’t sleep on their defense. 

Before the 2019-20 season, they opted to switch to a 4-3 defense under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, then proceeded to sign Frank Clark, and Tyrann Mathieu was brought over from the Cardinals in free agency.

They were also able to resign defensive tackle, Chris Jones. Clark had a solid year this season with six sacks, 21 solo tackles, and zero force fumbles; Mathieu had six interceptions, which he returned for a total of 70 yards, including one of them the house for a touchdown. Jones also had a solid campaign for the Chiefs recording 7.5 sacks, 23 solo tackles, and two forced fumbles to help Kansas City return to the Superbowl. The Chiefs are looking to repeat as back-to-back champions for the first time since the Patriots did it in 2015 and 2016 orchestrated by Tom Brady.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers still need to figure out how to keep opponents out of the end zone (19th in red-zone percentage) and limit their efficiency across the air. They were 22nd in passing yards per game, but the yardage totals tell the public that there are weaknesses in the Bucs defense. However, their lack of a strong pass defense doesn’t tell the whole story.

The Buccaneers are ranked 1st in allowed yards per game, 7th in yards per game and interception rate, and 6th in sacks per game. The Tampa Bay defensive line is stacked with veterans such as Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh, Steve McLendon, and Lavonte David. Barrett registered eight sacks and 43 solo tackles, Pierre-Paul 9.5 sacks, 34 solo tackles, and four force fumbles, Ndamukong Suh had six sacks, 27 solo tackles, and a forced fumble. As for Steve McLendon, he finished the regular season with 15 solo tackles, and David has 1.5 sacks, 82 solo tackles, and three forced fumbles. The Bucs’ defense was able to frustrate Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints with multiple turnovers on their way to Super Bowl LV.

10. Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis ranks fourth in intercept rate, fifth in yards per game, and seventh in racing yards per game and passing yards per game. The Colts are also tied for sixth place in the league in authorized completion percentage on expectations to -1.4 percent. Their pressure figures are not quite so strong (10th in sacks per attempt, for example), but the Colts are downright unpleasant when it comes to defending the run.

The Colts quickly approached the ball carriers and closed the running lanes just at the time of the opening, producing the league’s fifth-best percentage over 10 yards allowed at only 9.5%. This helps explain their standing among the top seven in the aforementioned categories. We can point to the addition of DeForest Buckner as a major reason for this success. 

Indianapolis is close to average in third-down percentage and even worse in red-zone percentage (tied for 22.) Nevertheless, the Colts ranked 10th in points per game.

11. Buffalo Bills

Head coach Sean McDermott did a good job building the Bills into a postseason team during his tenure, starting with the improved defense. The Bills gave away the second-lowest NFL points last season, just behind their rivals, the New England Patriots. 

They lost some key pieces from last season like Shaq Lawson, Jordan Phillips, and Lorenzo Alexander. However, their nucleus remains intact with Jerry Hughes, Tremaine Edmunds, and the secondary led by the corner Tre’Davious White. They were able to reach the AFC championship game for the first time in 30 years thanks to Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and their solid defense.

12. Tennessee Titans

Tennessee has gone through a cultural transformation under head coach Mike Vrabel over the last two years, and the defense has made great progress, placing 3rd in points allowed in 2018 and 12th last season. They solidified the secondary, and 2019 first rounder Jeffery Simmons showed great flashes after returning from injury. The team found a ball hawk in  Kevin Byard, and they hoped the additions from Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley would solidify their pass rush. 

However, Byard only finished with one inception this past season for the Titans; meanwhile, the Clowney signing in the offseason was very disappointing as he only registered 14 solo tackles and one forced fumble. 

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Sports Strength

2021 NFL Draft Prospects: 20 Players to Watch

The NFL Draft is one of the biggest and most important events in professional football. Teams attempt to address their biggest needs by drafting some of the best players in college football, and collegiate athletes finally climb that mountaintop and join the ranks of the NFL.

Every year there are potential superstars in the draft, ones that have the potential to be true game changers and help alter a team’s trajectory. As we enter the territory of Mock Drafts and theories on what teams will draft which prospects, here are 20 players you should keep an eye on.

1. Trevor Lawrence

Position: Quarterback

School: Clemson

Conference: ACC

Year: Junior

Lawrence is, by far, the best prospect in this year’s draft and, to be honest, the best prospect the NFL has seen in years. Many draft analysts and college football experts have called Lawrence the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck, which is very high praise and is a lot to live up to. Anyone that has watched Lawrence play in college knows what he brings to the table: NFL level awareness and pocket presence, excellent accuracy, decision making that rivals the best pro quarterback, and more. 

He is the consensus number one pick in the 2021 Draft, will be a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and in all likelihood, that team’s starting quarterback week 1 of the 2021 season.

2. Penei Sewell

Position: OT

School: Oregon

Conference: Pac-12

Year: Junior

Some people say that drafting an offensive lineman early in the draft isn’t a “sexy” pick. Sure, maybe offensive linemen don’t create the showstopping highlights many people love to watch but make no mistake about it: An elite offensive line leads every good offense. 

Enter Penei Sewell from Oregon. Considered to be the best offensive lineman in the draft, Sewell succeeds most when forced to block on the move and keep pace with the guys rushing the QB. A guy at his size with his mobility is a rarity, and while he sometimes lacks the ability to finish a play successfully, he has shown that he is open to making the adjustments necessary to up his game. This is something he will need once he gets to the pro level.

3. Zach Wilson

Position: Quarterback

School: BYU

Conference: West Coast Conference

Year: Junior

Another Quarterback, Wilson, has been flying up draft rankings left and right practically all season. He had a not so great 2019 year, but in 2020 he excelled in almost every aspect of the game. He is on the smaller side for a quarterback (think Russell Wilson size.) He has the ability to make plays on the move, which in today’s NFL, where that sort of skill is becoming more valued, is a great asset. He has a cannon of an arm, with many people gushing over his ability to push the ball downfield with incredible accuracy.

There are concerns about his durability, considering he’s undergone shoulder surgery already, and his size also plays a factor in this at the next level. Still, he has a massive upside when he can play.

4. Micah Parsons

Position: OLB

School: Penn State

Conference: Big 10

Year: Junior

Parsons was the first defensive player to be selected on Mel Kiper Jr’s first mock draft, and for a good reason. Despite opting out of the 2020 season, Parsons led Penn State with 192 tackles, 19 for loss, and 6.5 sacks in his 26 games for the Nittany Lions. The 2019 All-American, 2019 Big Ten Linebacker of the Year, and Cotton Bowl MVP is an absolute beast and will very likely be a top 10 selection.

5. Justin Fields

Position: Quarterback

School: Ohio State

Conference: Big Ten

Year: Junior

For awhile, Fields was seen as this draft’s “consolation prize” basically, whoever missed out on Trevor Lawrence would be able to draft him. While there might be some truth in that assessment, it really is unfair to Fields. Fields isn’t as complete of a prospect as Lawrence; he struggles with his decision making and often holds onto the ball too long, among other issues. However, what he lacks in “football IQ,” he makes up for with raw talent. He has impressive arm strength and can keep a play alive, using his legs and mobility when needed. Many of Fields’ issues can be worked on and, hopefully, fixed with proper coaching when he gets to the NFL.

6. Ja’Marr Chase

Position: WR

School: LSU

Conference: SEC

Year: Junior

One of the better wide receivers in a draft loaded with great prospects at that position is Ja’Marr Chase. Chase, a junior from LSU, has impressed in an otherwise lackluster season for the Tigers. He loves to go up and attack the ball, which makes his skillset extremely valuable to any offense when combined with his hand strength. Put it this way: Quarterbacks love guys like Chase because it makes their job a whole lot easier.

He also isn’t afraid to make catches in traffic, which benefits offensive production and always a welcome sight for any QB. 

7. Kwity Paye

Position: DE

School: Michigan

Conference: Big 10 

Year: Senior

The 6’4” 270 lb Michigan defensive end had only 11.5 sacks throughout his four-year college career, including only two in his injury-shortened senior year. However, Mel Kiper Jr. recently had him pegged to go in the first round, at #21 to the Indianapolis Colts. He is raw but has all of the athleticism and tools to become a star in the NFL. 

8. Caleb Farley

Position: CB

School: Virginia Tech

Conference: ACC

Year: Junior

Farley, like Gregory Rousseau, opted out of the 2020 season. In 2019, the 6’2”. 207 lb cornerback was a first-team All-ACC selection as a red-shirt sophomore. The converted wide receiver missed the entire 2017 season due to a knee injury and spent 2018 getting acclimated to playing defense, defending seven passes, and intercepting two. 

9. DeVonta Smith

Position: WR

School: Alabama

Conference: SEC

Year: Senior

Smith had an absolutely monster season at Alabama this year, racking in over 1800 yards and 23 touchdowns. His production led to him winning the 2020 Heisman Trophy, and he helped lead the Crimson Tide to another National Championship. 

Given these statistics, you might be wondering why he isn’t our top-rated WR. Well, to answer your question, drafting Smith or Chase is a toss-up. They are both excellent players, and any offense will receive a major boost when they arrive on the scene.

10. Jaylen Waddle

Position: WR

School: Alabama

Conference: SEC

Year: Junior

Another Alabama WR, Waddle was the Robin to Smith’s Batman, serving as the number two in the Crimson Tide offense. When they couldn’t turn to Smith, Waddle was able to seamlessly step in and excel. While he isn’t the biggest receiver, which could provide some issues for him in the pros, Waddle is able to dust defensive backs with his speed. He also has immense talent as a kick returner, a welcome asset for any team.

11. Patrick Surtain II

Position: CB

School: Alabama

Conference: SEC

Year: Junior

Patrick Surtain II is the son of former Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs corner Patrick Surtain Jr. The three-year starter for Alabama was the first cornerback off the board on Mel Kiper Jr’s draft board, with the prototypical size you are looking for in a cornerback. However, there is some concern about his deep field speed, which may scare some teams away. Regardless, he is a lock to be taken in the first round. The only question is, how high?

12. Gregory Rousseau

Position: DE

School: Miami

Conference: ACC

Year: Junior

After an impressive 15.5 sack 2019 campaign, Rousseau opted out of the 2020 season amongst Covid concerns. The 6’ 7”, 267 lb defensive lineman can shift around anywhere on the line and cause havoc, but he is still a bit raw. Having only played in one game in 2018 and sitting out all of 2020, his game experience and tape are limited, so it’s possible he could slip to the late first round or even second round. However, he is an absolute monster, and some team out there will roll the dice on the high risk, high reward Rousseau.

13. Nick Bolton

Position: LB

School: Missouri

Conference: Big 12

Year: Junior

The 6’0” 232-pound linebacker starred for Missouri and is well known for delivering big hits despite being a bit undersized. He is a good athlete with great instincts and was considered the Missouri defense and a locker room leader. My best guess has him landing somewhere later in the first round, although I wouldn’t be shocked if he slipped into the early second round because of his size concerns.

14. Kyle Pitts

Position: TE

School: Florida

Conference: SEC

Year: Junior

I know what you’re thinking: “A tight end? On a top prospects list?!” Well, that should show you just how special Pitts is. Pitts, while listed as a TE, can best be described as a larger wide receiver. What I mean by that is, he’s fast, he’s lean, but he’s also strong enough to block when you need him to. 

His speed is one of his greatest strengths, it’s not often that you’ll see a tight end keeping pace or outrunning defensive backs, but Pitts has the ability to do just that. Given that he is such a “hybrid” type of player, he is difficult to scheme around, giving offenses another advantage heading into gameday.

15. Javon Holland

Position: Safety

School: Oregon

Conference: PAC 10

Year: Junior

Holland is another player that opted out of the 2020 season but is widely considered the top safety in the draft regardless. The 6’1” 196-pounder racked up 66 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, four pass deflections, and a pick-six in his 2019 campaign. He is known as a good leader with a stellar football IQ and an excellent athlete. He is a lock as a first-round pick, but likely not until later in the round.

16. Trey Lance

Position: QB

School: North Dakota State

Conference: Missouri Valley Football Conference

Year: Sophomore (RS)

Another quarterback? You betcha. 

Lance is a “roll the dice” type of player because he comes from the FCS, so his opponents’ level of difficulty brings up the question of just how good he is. He has immense talent, showcasing an ability to watch a play develop, remain calm, and deliver a strike, placing the ball exactly where it needs to go. 

He struggles with deep-ball accuracy, which, if he is drafted by a team with receivers that specialize in those types of plays, presents a concern. However, Lance is more of a project than the other QBs in the draft, so with proper coaching, it is a skill that he has time to improve on.

17. Christian Barmore

Position: DL

School: Alabama

Conference: SEC

Year: Sophomore

The 6’5” 310-pound tallied 37 tackles and a team-high 8 sacks in his 2020 redshirt sophomore season, good enough to earn him Third Team All-American honors. Barmore was selected as the Defensive MVP of the 2021 National Championship Game and has all the necessary tools you are looking for in a star interior d-lineman. He is projected to come off the board somewhere in the mid-late first round.

18. Patrick Jones II

Position: Edge

School: Pittsburgh

Conference: ACC

Year: Senior

Jones was selected as a first-team All-American after his phenomenal 2020 season, in which he compiled 44 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, and a fumble recovery. He led the ACC in sacks (5th in the country) and was named a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the country’s top defensive player. It will be interesting to see where he lands, as there are some size concerns. The late first-round seems about right, but all it takes is one team desperate for an EDGE to fall in love, and he could go much higher than that.

19. Joseph Ossai

Position: OLB

School: Texas 

Conference: Big 12

Year: Junior

In 2020, Ossai stood out for the Texas Longhorns with 55 total tackles, 5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, and 3 forced fumbles.  The 6’4” 253-pound EDGE is known for his athleticism and ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. Another raw prospect, his hustle, and endless motor should translate well to the NFL. Ossai will likely be selected at the end of the first or top of the second round.

20. Rashawn Slater

Position: OL

School: Northwestern

Conference: Big 10

Year: Senior

As I mentioned above, any good offense begins in the trenches. Along with Sewell, Rashawn Slater is one of the top prospects to keep an eye on in this year’s draft and has the potential for serious success in the league.

What Slater lacks in size, he makes up for in his skillset and talent. He has the ability to recover from his mistakes quickly and adapt to what is happening on the fly. He is better suited at playing on the inside of the offensive line, possibly as a guard, and can help with any team’s run game.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

Spencer Paysinger on How His Story Inspired the Hit Show, ‘All-American’

The CW hit series All-American will be premiering its third season later tonight. The show, based on the life of a former seven-year NFL veteran and Super Bowl Champion Spencer Paysinger, has become a hit with audiences everywhere.

Paysinger grew up in South Central Los Angeles but went to high school in Beverly Hills. After graduating, Paysinger attended the University of Oregon playing for Chip Kelly, who is now the head coach at UCLA.

Following his time in Eugene, he had a chance to play in the NFL. He went undrafted in 2011 but was signed as a free agent and went on to win a Super Bowl with the New York Giants.

Paysinger recently sat down with ONE37pm to discuss All-American‘s upcoming season, supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement, his thoughts on Nipsey Hussle’s passing, and how his personal story sparked a pop culture hit.

ONE37pm: When you get that first phone call from Warner Brothers after writing your one-sheet detailing what All-American could be, did you see the series headed into its third season?

Paysinger: I honestly couldn’t see that far ahead at the time. I had one foot out of the NFL mentally, and I was actively pursuing things off the field to have that transition. But, when they called, and I set up that initial meeting, it was one of those we will see where this can go. At the time, I knew for the most part how hard it was to get a show off the ground. However, it was not until we were in the weeds of it; I completely overshot my understanding of it. It is ten to 20 times harder to get a show off the ground, and going into the third season, and it wasn’t even on my mind.

ONE37pm: From your perspective, why do you feel that not only your personal story but the show has clicked with pop culture?

Paysinger: One, it’s great; two, it lets me connect with a lot of fans out there and even connecting with old teammates. I did not realize some of the things that were going on in my life when we were playing together. This was cool because it allows us to reconnect in that capacity and be a part of a show like this going into its third season that has come to the forefront in pop culture.

I always said, and this was when we were shooting the pilot playfully, saying every seven to ten years, there is this high school phenom show that grabs different demographics. Whether it is stories, representation, or that salaciousness of it and I felt at the time, we had all the pieces to be that show. So, you fast forward, and I would argue that we are that show.

That you can look back in 10 to 15 years, we will be aligned with The OC, Friday Night Lights, and maybe Gossip Girls, and whatnot. So, I am happy to shepherd this project through, but this show would not be where it is today if it wasn’t for our showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll and our amazing writers’ room.

ONE37pm: How much do you think it helped the show that it was listed under Netflix’s top-ten shows to watch?

Paysinger: Yeah, even going back to the first season, I chose to believe that if we didn’t pop off on Netflix after that first season, we might not be entering our third season.

Netflix gave us a huge bump in viewership and reach. So, the fact that we hit at excellent times, in my opinion, and I think we hit Netflix after two or three weeks of the pandemic. It gave a lot of people time to take in our show.

ONE37pm: This season will showcase Spencer James (Daniel Ezra) and Billy Baker (Taye Diggs) at South Crenshaw High School after winning the state championship twice at Beverly Hills High School the past two seasons. When your parents informed you that you would be attending Beverly, what push back did you get from your friends back then?

Paysinger: Honesty, the real story is that I was always supposed to go to Beverly Hills. Billy Barker’s character is somewhat loosely based on my uncle Carter Paysinger, who was the coach of Beverly at the time. So, I went to Beverly straight out of middle school. Crenshaw had been my home school, but I was already out of the district. I lived right down the street from Crenshaw and was officially enrolled there for two weeks.

They literally called every day and said Spencer is not in attendance until my mom informed them that he is not going anymore because he is at Beverly.

So, leading up to that point in the seventh and eighth-grade, at that age with friends that you have been in school with for years, you start to figure out what school in LA you are going to attend. During this time, I was literally the only kid that knew for a fact I had to go to Beverly. I wanted to go to other schools with my friends, such as Inglewood High School and Clover High School, where some of my closest friends were going, but jokily at the time, I got a called an Oreo.

After middle school graduation, I knew that a lot of friends would die because I was going to play across town because of it. However, it also allowed other friendships to become stronger.

ONE37pm: In the series, you play against Crenshaw. Did you get to face them in the championship in real life?

Paysinger: No, that is when we allowed creative freedom with the show.

I tell them to listen when creating a CW hit show; you must allow for creative freedom. It made sense to have Spencer have one foot in both worlds in South Central and Beverly.

We were like we need to put these two schools together, and technically, both schools are in different districts and never overlap.

ONE37pm: Nowadays, you must have a note or special reason to attend school out of the district. How did it work back then for you to attend Beverly?

Paysinger: I attended Beverly because of the multi-culture program, which was started in the late 1960s early 70s.

My uncle was like the second generation of black students to integrate Beverly High School. In the late 60s, the students petitioned the school to integrate the school because it is the 60s.

They felt like they didn’t have a realistic view of the world at the time and petitioned to integrate Beverly Hills High School. In the 70s, that started my trajectory to going to Beverly because all of my uncle’s family on my dad’s side went to Beverly and all my aunts and uncles on my mom’s side went to Crenshaw.

ONE37pm: In the series, Tamia’ Coop’ Cooper and Patience showcased their talents as actresses and artists. Are there any artists you grew up with or attended Beverly Hills High School with you that made it in the music business?

Paysinger: I went to school with Romeo Miller (Lil Romeo). I think he was one or two years under me, and that was when Hurricane Katrina happened.

Many of those kids migrated to the west coast, and it got to the point where you got excited to see Master P (Percy Miller). He was a very involved parent, which I think is dope.

Leighton Meester went to Beverly, and I think she was a year or so beneath me. There were some others, but more so actors than artists.

ONE37pm: This season touches on the Black Lives Matter Movement and sexuality. Why did you guys feel that it was important to showcase these two topics in the third installment of the series?

Paysinger: I think it goes back to being a part of that show that deepens route in pop culture today. I do not think you can discuss anything in pop culture without turning on a light and seeing what is happening in this country. So, what we did with All-American is read those headlines and naturally integrate those in our show. You will see stories about Black Lives Matter, and the intersection of sexuality in our show.

We have been showcasing, and this season, we are discussing what mental health means in the black community. The reason All-American has become a hit beyond the football, drama, and the twist and turns that come with creating a dynamic show like this is that we are talking about issues that kids are actually dealing with today. I can’t tell you how many people hit me and say they can relate to a specific character.

ONE37pm: When you and Michael Evans Behling were interviewed by Complex, you shared that you just read the sixth episode for this year’s season. As of today, how many episodes are completely filmed and ready to go?

Paysinger: We are a little down the road from it, and I can’t tell the exact number just because of confidentiality reasons and with our shooting schedule up in the air because of COVID. With the starting and stopping restrictions that we have to deal out here in Los Angeles, I would say we’re down the road, and hopefully, come next week, and beyond, we can roll out without a hitch.

ONE37pm: Over the last three years, what has it been like being able to grow with all the cast and the rest of the crew?

Paysinger: What I have learned from this crew is how badly they want this show to not only do well but to resonate across the country and the world. A lot of our actors really tried to understand their roles at a deeper level.

Even when you looked at Daniel Ezra when he was creating Spencer James’s identity, he was walking around South-Central listening to Nipsey Hussle for weeks. He wanted to put himself into that mentality, which I think was great.

So, it is just these guys commenting on the role with the significance they have in this role and literally hitting out of the park every episode.

ONE37pm: Like Nipsey, you had to grow up with navigating through gang violence. What were your first thoughts when you heard he passed away?

Paysinger: Ironically, I was waking up from a nap when I saw that I had a text from Rob Hardy, who directed our pilot episode. He sent me a video and a small article about it and said, “Is this real?” And mind you, I live right around the corner from where it happened. I am two days away from going on a trip on vacation, and essentially my neighborhood was ripped apart. Literally, one of the icons was taken away from us. It was cumbersome on my heart because as a father, he left behind kids; as a husband, he left behind a wife.

The fact that he had such an impact on the world, but specifically South Central, and he did rep anything other than South Central, is why we all loved him. It was a gut punch, and even when I was on vacation, and I could not enjoy myself at the time. I know I am fortunate enough to have this type of life, but things are happening in South Central, and I could not do anything about it.

Unfortunately, I was not able to meet Nipsey Hussle; he was supposed to be in the season finale of episode one, but we got rained out, and our schedules and he could not commit our extension. However, I think his legacy will live on.

ONE37pm: You went undrafted after four years at the University of Oregon, however, you signed as a free agent with the New York Giants and went on to win a Super Bowl. What were some of the things that you were hearing from NFL scouts before the draft?

Paysinger: Yeah, I heard mid to late-round to undrafted, and by mid, I mean anything after the fifth round to me, you might as well go undrafted. Because at that point, you might have a little more power in where you go.  So, my expectations were not high but come draft day, and mind you, we were in a lockout. I was always reading what was happening in 2011; I was not able to have conversations. However, on draft day, I got phone calls from seven or eight-teams, but I ended up not getting drafted. Fast forward three months, I received phone calls from teams, including the New York Giants, and literally off a five-minute conversation and presentation, I picked the Giants.

ONE37pm: How much did you learn from Eli Manning and Michael Strahan?

Paysinger: I didn’t play with Michael Strahan, but he was at the facility a lot, but I did play with Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Antrel Rolle, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Deon Grant. Those were the guys. When you play on an NFL team, especially as a rookie, you seek guidance from older guys. I have been on teams where the older guys are not necessarily the best leaders on the team, but they are able to drive the team in whatever direction they want it to go. And by far, the Giants and Panthers were the two teams where those vets had it down pat.

They came in, and I remember Justin Tuck and Tyler Sash, who was a safety with us, and you can see the New York Skyline from our practice field. He says, “look at that city, it’s undefeated, and if you try to go up against that city, it will eat you alive.”

You need to respect it, the fans, the people in the city, and do whatever you can to bring a championship to this team.  Just taking that and always know my place on this team. Each team has a high expectation of knowing what your job is, knowing what you are supposed to do, and your teammates know their job you are going to win.

By the time we got to the playoffs, no one was messing with us because we were so locked in.

ONE37pm: You played for Chip Kelly, while at Oregon. What are a couple of positive things about coach Kelly that does not get talked about in the media?

Paysinger: Yeah, Chip really took a hit from the media when he was in Philly for cleaning the house. I always understood the perspective that it is a team sport. There is no one player bigger than the team.

In his specific system at the time, I do not know how much it has changed, but at the time, it could thrive without superstars. So, when you have some of those people who think that they were potentially bigger than the team and mind you, I was not in those locker rooms. I am not speaking for anybody, but from my understanding, there were a lot of guys that thought they were bigger than the team and need x amount of whatever to produce. Chip was like, this can run with or without you, and if you do not want to be here, we can send somewhere else. So, I had that understanding in college of him allowing his players to think bigger. I am not going to speak for him with the NFL, but in college, he was the first guy that openly talked about winning a national championship that I played for. Before it was, we are going to win the PAC 12, but he was like, we can do that, or we can win a national championship. I think that is the type of energy that put Oregon to where it is today.

ONE37pm: There are reports of a possible All-American spin-off, which would focus on Jordan Baker’s girlfriend, Simone Hicks. Is that something that you might be apart of as well in terms of the creative team?

Paysinger: Nothing has been finalized on that right now. My team is working to potentially be part of that because it came from All-American, and I loved to be a part of that project. We are currently in talks to do so, but yeah, they will present the story, and I can’t talk about it outside of what has been reported. I think the stories that we’re presenting allow our spectrum to be a little bit bigger in telling black stories.

ONE37pm: CW just greenlit a nine-part series highlighting stories similar to yours. Why did you feel this thing to pitch to them?

Paysinger: All the credit goes to my co-host Yogi Roth, Blue Ox Films, and Rain Management. They put it together and came to me and said, do you want to be part of this. Once I watched what they had and understood the angle they were trying for, it was a no brainer. I feel like All-American has put me into a position as an ex-professional athlete to tell stories. If All-American was not what it was, nobody would care what my story was, but it shed light on how many different athletes and what they must go through to get where they are going.

ONE37pm: Outside of your work in Hollywood, what other business ventures are you involved with?

Paysinger: I am a co-investor and owner in a coffee shop called Hell-Top and Kitchen. It is co-owned by Issa Rae and other public figures in LA and it is blacked owned, and it is in Inglewood, and we have three locations out here in Los Angeles and are eyeing our fourth and fifth locations.

A dear friend, AJ, came to me the same year we were thinking about developing All-American. He wanted to have something that was black-owned outside of Starbucks, and I jumped at it and was the first investor and been a part of the process for three-years. Outside of that, I’m an angel investor with some other NFL athletes in companies and pouring it back into the community.

Categories
Sports Strength

These Are The 31 Best Undrafted NFL Players of All-Time

Numerous NFL greats did not take the traditional route to achieve their football dreams. While many enter the league through the draft, some do not get selected by one of the 32 teams and must prove themselves and get signed as free agents.

They might have had to go to the Arena Football League, Xtreme Football League, or even NFL Europe back in the 1990s and early 2000s, but they took those avenues and made lemonade out of lemons, sort of speak.

We here at ONE37pm elected to name who we think are the top 30 undrafted NFL players of all-time.

1. Kurt Warner

Kurt Warner took a unique route into the NFL. After going undrafted coming out of Northern Iowa, the Green Bay Packers would sign him, but they released him from the roster.

Before the 1994 season, when no other NFL team would give him an offer, he went to work at a grocery store in Cedar Falls for $5.50 an hour, according to David Mikkelson of Snopes. 

In 1995, Warner signed a deal with the Iowa Barnstormers of Arena Football League (AFL). He would go on to be named to the AFL’s First-team in both 1996 and 1997. He would also lead the Barnstormers to ArenaBowl appearances in both seasons in the league. 

Before the 1997 season, Warner was invited to a tryout with the Chicago Bears, but an injury to his throwing elbow ended his opportunity. In 1998, he would sign a future contract with the St.Louis Rams (now the Los Angeles Rams), but he was sent to play in NFL Europe, backing up future Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme.

After his stint in Europe, Warner was signed by the Rams, and during the 1999-2000 season, Warner led the Rams to their first and only Super Bowl. He would make one more appearance in the Super Bowl in a Rams uniform in 2001, but they would fall to Tom Brady and the Patriots.  

After a very successful career, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

2. Warren Moon

Warren Moon was overlooked in a 12-round NFL draft in 1978 but made his way into the Canadian Football League, playing with the Edmonton Eskimos, where he won five consecutive CFL titles.

He then joined the Houston Oilers and set 37 franchise records in 10 seasons. After 1993, the Oilers elected to trade Moon to the Minnesota Vikings, where he played two and half-seasons before breaking his collarbone. He would play four more seasons in the NFL with the Chiefs and the Seattle Seahawks before announcing his retirement in 2001.

He was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 2006, becoming the first undrafted quarterback to achieve this honor.

3. Antonio Gates

Antonio Gates was recruited to play basketball and football in Michigan but ultimately decided on basketball and transferred to Kent State. 

Despite a standout career with the Golden Flashes, the 6-foot-4, 255-pounder was too short of having any NBA career, so he chose to try out for the NFL and went on to be one of the most extraordinary tight ends in NFL history.

Gates has the most touchdowns of any tight end in NFL history (116) and was named to the Pro Bowl eight times.

He will most likely be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2025. Gates decided to retire before this past season after playing 16 years in the NFL.

4 . James Harrison

At six feet, 242 pounds, he was considered too short to play defensive lineman. However, he proved the doubters wrong by making five Pro Bowls, winning two Super Bowls, and the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year.

In 2018, Harrison decided to hang it up for the second and final time after playing with the New England Patriots and 15 seasons in the NFL. 

After retiring from the NFL, he has decided to pursue a career as an actor. He was inspired by the Fast and the Furious series and in a recent interview with UPROXX, Harrison discussed how the movies sparked his interest in Acting.

“Acting has been something that I wanted to get into after seeing The Fast and Furious. And I’m like, “I could do what Vin Diesel is doing,” said Harrison.

“So, that’s what made me feel like I could do it. I mean the acting thing, I mean, I’ve been acting since I was a little kid. You know, everybody tells lies, so I just thought I was a little better at it than them (laughs).”

Harrison will most likely be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the 2023 class.

5.Willie Brown

Willie Brown was not a coveted prospect after his time at Grambling University. Initially signed by the Houston Oilers, then cut, but Brown got his foot in the door of the NFL with the Denver Broncos and became a starter in his rookie season.

Traded to the Raiders in 1967, Brown became a legend with the silver and black and would turn himself into a shutdown cornerback. 

Brown also won three Super Bowls with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders (XI, XV, XVIII). Completing his career with 54 interceptions, he was a four-time Pro Bowler, five times All-Star, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984.

6. John Randle

John Randle signed with the Minnesota Vikings after going undrafted out of Texas A&M-Kingsville, a Division II school in the Lone Star Conference. 

The Vikings decided to take a chance on Randle, whose older brother Ervin Randle played eight seasons in the NFL as a linebacker with the Buccaneers and Chiefs from 1985 to 1992.

Randle did not make the Vikings regret their decision and went on to become one of the best defensive linemen of the 1990s, and he had no problem letting the opposition know about it.

He was named to seven Pro Bowls and registered 137.5 sacks in his career, tied for ninth place in NFL history. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010, his second year on the ballot.

7. Dick ‘Night Train’ Lane

Night Train had an exciting path into the NFL after spending a year at Scottsbluff Junior College.

Before attending Scottsbluff, Lane enlisted in the United States Army in 1948 and served for four years, according to Newspaper.com.

Lane worked in an aircraft factory in Los Angeles after leaving the army, lifting a heavy sheet metal from a bin and placing it in a press, according to Newspaper.com.

In 1952, he got an opportunity to play with the Los Angeles Rams as a defensive back.

In his first season in the league, he set an NFL record with 14 interceptions and is currently ranked fourth in league history with 68. He only trails Paul Krause, Emlen Tunnell, and Rod Woodson.

In 1974, He became a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

8. Adam Vinatieri

Adam Vinatieri is one of the greatest kickers of all time.

Vinatieri kicked the game-winner in multiple Super Bowls and has more points than any player in NFL history. 

While he has not officially retired after being released by the Indianapolis Colts before the 2020 season, when he does decide to hang it up, he will be on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

9.Emlen Tunnell

Emlen Tunnell served in the Coast Guard during the Second World War and then finished his college career at the University of Iowa at age 24.

He would go undefeated but would later sign with the New York Giants. He would be the first black player to play in the organization and became an impact player on New York’s defense.

During his rookie season, he would grab seven interceptions and finished his career with 79 picks. That is the second-most in NFL-history, and he was the first African-American inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1967.

10. Emmitt Thomas

Emmitt Thomas went to Bishop’s College and was signed as a free agent by the Kansas Chiefs.

He played from 1966-1978, and his Hall of Fame career included 58 interceptions, a Chiefs franchise record, and five Pro Bowl appearances.

After playing for a long time, he had a long career as an NFL coach, winning two Super Bowls on the sidelines with the Washington Redskins in 1987 and 1991. He retired after the 2018 season.

11. Lou Groza

Some might disagree, but kickers are football players, and Lou Groza was a trailblazer on the field. He also played on the offensive line but made a name for himself as a kicking specialist.

He was a part of four championship teams as a member of the  Browns and was appointed the Sporting News NFL MVP in 1954, the award’s first recipient. College football also named their best kicker award after Groza.

12. Willie Wood

Willie Wood was an eight-time Pro Bowler, nine-time All-Pro, and five-time NFL champion.

However, shoulder injuries from his time at USC left him undrafted. Without a letter he wrote to legendary coach Vince Lombardi, Wood may never have gotten to the NFL. Thank goodness he did.

Wood received his induction into the Hall of Fame in 1989.

13. Joe Jacoby

Joe Jacoby was the pivot of the Hogs’ [Washington Football Team] legendary offensive line, playing left tackle for three Super Bowl-winning teams.

But he was not drafted back in 1981. However, he signed with Washington for training camp.

He would go on to be named four Pro Bowls and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

14. Bill Willis

Bill Willis is in the College and Pro Football Hall of Fame simultaneously, but he hardly even had a career with the Cleveland Browns.

At 6 feet 2, 213 pounds, an undersized defensive lineman also played in an era when black football players’ opportunities were limited.

Willis started as a coach when he tried out for and made the Cleveland Browns at age 24. He ended as a four-time All-Pro and won the NFL championship in 1950.

15. Priest Holmes

During Priest Holmes’s career in the NFL,  he was one of the most feared running backs in football.

Holmes was passed in a stacked University of Texas backfield but blew up with the Kansas City Chiefs under coach Dick Vermeil.

Holmes holds the Chiefs’ franchise record for touchdowns, led the NFL in the race in 2001, and was the NFL’s offensive player of the year in 2002.

16. Marion Motley

Marion Motley was another NFL player who became a star, and they co-broke the NFL’s color barrier by joining the Browns and Bill Willis in 1946.

Motley was primarily a full-back who led the NFL by rushing like a 30-year-old for the Browns champion in 1950. His 4712 yards is number six in Browns’ history, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1968.

17. Rod Smith

At Missouri Southern, Rod Smith broke the conference (Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association) and academic records before becoming one of the best modern-day NFL wide receivers.

Smith has 11 Broncos franchise records, including most career catches (849), most career yards (11,389), and most touchdowns (71).

18. Wes Welker

Upon entering the league, Welker became Tom Brady’s favorite weapon on the Patriots. He led the NFL in 2007, 2009, and 2011 in catches and helped New England reach the Super Bowl twice in five seasons.

Though Welker never won a ring, he was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro.

19. Jason Peters

Jason Peters was a 320-pound tight end when he left the University of Arkansas. The NFL Scouts were enthusiastic about his talent but conflicted over what his potential in the league could be.

However, the Buffalo Bills gave him a shot on their offensive line, and he made nine All-Pro teams as a tackle for the Buffalo Bill and Philadelphia Eagles. He is still playing for the Eagles and is projected to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame whenever he decides to hang up his cleats.

20. Larry Little

During the 1972 season, Larry Little started every game for the undefeated Miami Dolphins team and helped them back in 1973.

Little was named a five-time All-Pro, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993.

21. Tony Romo

Tony Romo is a 14-year veteran out of Eastern Illinois and did not get invited to the NFL draft in 2003.

Following the draft, he was offered a contract by the Dallas Cowboys, but it would take three years before Romo had the opportunity to start for the first time.

He took over for Drew Bledsoe after Bledsoe went down with an injury in Week 7 of 2006.

He would be named to four Pro Bowls and took the Cowboys to the playoff on four different occasions.

He now works as a color commentator for CBS Sports.

22. Nate Newton

Nate Newton was a five-time Pro Bowler and mainstay on one of the NFL’s best offensive lines with the Cowboys, who won three championships in the 1990s.

But every NFL team overlooked the All-MEAC right tackle out of College. 

The Washington Redskins cut Newton when he couldn’t make weight in training camp in 1983. Jimmy Johnson helped him figure it out in Dallas, and the rest is history. 

23. London Fletcher

London Fletcher was just 5 feet 10 inches tall, but after an exceptional career with John Carroll, a Division III school in Ohio. The linebacker fully profited from his NFL opportunity with the Rams as a free agent not drafted in 1998.

He was one of the 1999 Rams Super Bowl champion team leaders and went to four Pro Bowls, all with the Washington Redskins.

A two-time All-Pro (2011, 2012), Fletcher finished his career with 1,380 solo tackles, the sixth all-time in NFL history.

24. Jeff Saturday

Jeff Saturday was excluded from the NFL Draft in 1998 due to his inadequate size. Despite this, the Ravens signed the 6-2 feet, 295 pounds lineman but released him before he played in a Baltimore uniform.

He then worked in retail before finding a home with the Indianapolis Colts, where he became a six-time Pro Bowler and twice All-Pro as a protector of Peyton Manning.

Now working in broadcasting, Saturday has been inducted into the Colts’ Ring of Honor and is still eligible to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

25. Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett did not get drafted after a tenuous career in College. The Seahawks signed him as a free agent in 2009, then released him after a couple of months, and the Buccaneers took him over.

After four seasons at Tampa, he went back to Seattle. He became one of the NFL’s most disruptive defensive linemen, Anchoring the Seahawk defense line for five seasons, earning three Pro Bowl appearances, and helping Seattle win its first Super Bowl.

In 2018, the Seahawks traded Bennett with the Eagles, which dealt him to the Patriots a year later. 

After ten years, Bennett announced his retirement before the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and wanted to spend time with his family.

26. Robby Anderson

A rising star in the league, Robby Anderson finished second all-time in receiving yards at Temple University. He went undrafted but was signed by the New York Jets, where he started 62 out of 64 games in a Jets uniform. Before the 2020 season, he signed a two year deal with the Carolina Panthers, and over his five years in the league, he has 4155 yards and 23 touchdowns.

27. Chris Harris, Jr.

Chris Harris Jr. went undrafted in 2011 out of Kansas but was signed by the Denver Broncos. It was a great decision because he made four Pro Bowls and helped them win a Superbowl. He was named to the 2010s All-Decade Team, and throughout his ten seasons in the league, he has snagged 22 interceptions.

28. Doug Baldwin Jr.

Baldwin went undrafted out of Stanford in 2011, but the Seattle Seahawks scooped him up and paired him with Russell Wilson, and the pair hooked up for 49 touchdowns in seven seasons. Baldwin was a key piece for the Seahawks that helped lead the Seahawks to their first and only Super Bowl win.  Unfortunately, he suffered a career-ending injury in 2018 and was forced to retire.

29. Bart Scott

Bart Scott went undrafted out of Southern Illinois University and played seven seasons, but was given a chance out of College by the Baltimore Ravens, where he would play from 2002-2008. The Jets would pick him up after that, where he played for four seasons, and he would finish his career with 538 tackles and 25 sacks.

30. Victor Cruz

Victor Cruz did not get drafted out of the University of Massachusetts Amherst but was picked up by the Giants, where he quickly made a name for himself. Every time he scored one of his career 25 touchdowns, he started salsa dancing in the endzone, quickly becoming his signature move. He would win a Super Bowl with the Giants during his six seasons in the league before he had to retire due to injury.

31. Spencer Paysinger

After not being selected in the 2011 NFL Draft out of the University of Oregon where he played Chip Kelly, Paysinger signed with the New York Giants as a free agent. As a rookie, Paysinger did not get much playing time. In 15 games, he racked up just 12 tackles. 

However, he was a part of the Super Bowl XLVI winning team in 2012.  Over the next three years with the Giants, he accumulated 104 tackles in 47 games. He registered his first career sack in 2014, and in 2015 he signed a one-year deal with the Dolphins and re-signed in 2016.

During his time in Miami, he racked up 57 tackles. He would retire in 2017 after brief stints on the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers practice squads. After his football career, he moved onto acting, and he has been a major part of the CW hit series All-American, which is based on his life at Beverly Hills High School.

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Sports Strength

The Top 10 Longest Winning Streaks in NFL History

If you are a fan of one of the 25 teams not mentioned on this list, you won’t be able to relate to the feeling of not losing a single regular-season game for over one whole calendar year. The fact that three teams made it on this list TWICE (Patriots, Colts, and Bears) is absolutely astonishing.

The level of consistency needed to win even four or five games in a row in any given NFL season, when you consider factors like injury, suspensions, weather, and even good old fashioned luck can not be understated. Every team on this list won at least 16 games in a row!

Of course, it helps when you have a quarterback like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, but the stories behind some of these streaks, how they stayed alive, and even how they ended, is what makes sports so much fun.

1. 2008-2009 Indianapolis Colts: 23 games (9 + 14)
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First Game of Streak: 18-15 vs New England (11/2/08)

First Loss: 29-15 vs New York Jets (12/27/09)

The 2008 Colts started the season 3-4 but rallied to win 9 games in a row to finish the season at 12-4. However, it wasn’t enough to win the AFC South title as the Tennessee Titans finished the season 13-3, and they were upset in the Wild Card round against the San Diego Chargers 23-17. 

In 2009, the Colts came out of the gates on fire, winning their first 14 games of the season. With a perfect season in sight, head coach Jim Caldwell pulled the Colts starters a little more than halfway through their week 16 game against the New York Jets. The Jets went on to rally and win by a score of 29-15 and would make the playoffs because of this win (combined with their week 17 win vs. the Bengals). The two teams later met up in the AFC Championship game three weeks later, with the Colts winning 30-17 and punching a ticket to the Super Bowl XLIV, where they would lose to the New Orleans Saints 31-17.  

Most Memorable Game of the Streak: vs New England 35-34 (10/15/09)

This game had everything you could want in a primetime NFL matchup. You had Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady in their primes, slinging the ball all over the field. The Pats took an early 24-7 lead, but the Colts fought all the way back and trailed 34-28 with 2:08 left on the clock. Facing 4th & 2 at his own 28-yard line, Bill Belichick famously decided to go for the first down and seal the game, rather than punt. The Colts came up with a huge stop, and Manning went on to throw the game-winning one-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne with 12 seconds left on the clock. 

2. 2006-2008 New England Patriots: 21 games (3 + 16 + 2)
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First Game of Streak: 40-7 vs Houston Texans (12/17/06)

First Loss: 38-13 vs Miami Dolphins (9/21/08)

The bulk of this streak took place in 2007 when the Patriots had a perfect 16-0 regular season. This was only the eighth team in NFL history to finish a regular season undefeated, and the first since the league expanded the regular season to 16 games. Of course, their perfect season would be ruined in the Super Bowl when they lost 17-14 to the New York Giants.

In 2009, Tom Brady tore his ACL on opening day against the Kansas City Chiefs and in week 3, the Miami Dolphins would end their almost 2 calendar year long streak of regular season wins. 

Most Memorable Game of the Streak: vs. New York Giants 38-35 (12/29/07)

When this game was played, nobody could have envisioned that it would be a Super Bowl preview. All of the hype surrounding this game was focused on the Patriots finishing their perfect season. The game was otherwise meaningless, as both teams had their playoff positions locked in. Fans wondered if both teams would bench starters in order to avoid a potential injury, but both teams went all-in trying to win at all costs. The result was one of the most memorable games in the modern era. The Giants actually led by 12 points in the 3rd quarter, but the Patriots would go on to score 3 straight touchdowns and win the game 38-35. Even though they lost the game, the Giants gained momentum and confidence that they could play with anybody, and many of their players said that it was the springboard for their unlikely Super Bowl run. 

3. 2003-2004 New England Patriots: 18 games (12 + 6)
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First Game of Streak: 38-30 vs Tennessee Titans (10/5/03)

First Loss: 34-20 vs Pittsburgh Steelers (10/31/04)

The bulk of this streak came in 2003, where the Patriots won the final 12 games of the season to finish 14-2. They would go on to win XXXVIII vs the Carolina Panthers 32-29 on the final play of the game, an Adam Vinatieri field goal. 

Most Memorable Game of the Streak: vs. Houston Texans 23-20 (11/23/03)

An absolutely wild game, as star kicker Adam Vinatieri missed the potential game winning field goal at the end of regulation, kicking it off the right upright. On the first play of overtime, Mike Vrabel intercepted a Tony Banks pass setting the Patriots up for yet another field goal to win the game. This time, the Texans Ramon Walker blocked the Vinatieri 37 yard attempt. 

With 41 seconds left in overtime, Vinatieri would line up for a 3rd shot at ending the game, this time kicking the 28 yard chip shot through the uprights to extend the Patriots winning streak to 11 games. 

4. 2014-2015 Carolina Panthers: 18 games (4 + 14)
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First Game of Streak: 41-10 vs New Orleans Saints (12/7/14)

First Loss: 20-13 vs Atlanta Falcons (12/27/15)

The 2014 Panthers won their final 4 games of the season to finish 7-8-1, which was actually good enough for them to win the NFC South and sneak into the playoffs with a sub .500 record. They were only the 2nd team in NFL history to win their division with a losing record but actually won their Wild Card opener against the Cardinals, eventually losing in the 2nd round to the Seahawks 31-17.

In 2015, they would use the momentum of their strong finish to win their first 14 games with starting QB Cam Newton winning the 2015 MVP. They made it all the way to the Super Bowl, eventually losing to the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl 24-10. 

Most Memorable Game of the Streak: vs. New Orleans Saints 41-38 (12/06/15)

The Carolina Panthers went into New Orleans and took part in an absolute shootout against Drew Brees and the Saints. Cam Newton would go on to pass for 5 touchdowns, twice leading the Panthers back from 4th quarter deficits, including the game winner from 15 yards away to Jerricho Cotchery with 1:05 to play. This win extended the Panthers winning streak to 16 games and had them sitting pretty at 12-0 on the season.  

5. 1933-1934 Chicago Bears: 17 games (4 + 13)
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First Game of Streak: 17-14 vs Portsmouth Spartans (11/26/33)

First Loss: 7-0 vs Green Bay Packers (9/22/35)

This team was coached by the legendary George Halas and led by bruising running back Bronko Nagurski. In 1933, they finished 10-2-1 after winning the final 4 games of the season, going on to win the NFL Championship against the New York Giants 23-21. 

In 1934, the Bears would go undefeated in the regular season, eventually meeting up for a rematch with the NFL Eastern Division Champion New York Giants in the Championship Game, known as the legendary “Sneaker Game”, in which the Giants switched to basketball sneakers at halftime because they provided better traction on the frozen field. After the switch, they would go on to come back from a 13-3 deficit to beat the Bears 30-13. 

Most Memorable Game of the Streak: vs. New York Giants 10-9 (11/18/34)

The Bears beat the Giants 10-9 at the Polo Grounds on the east side of Manhattan in a rematch of the 1933 NFL Championship Game in front of a crowd of 55,000 fans. The Giants took a 9-0 lead into the 4th quarter before the Bears came storming back, scoring 10 unanswered points to secure their 15th win in a row. 

6. 2012-2013 Denver Broncos: 17 games (11 + 6)
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First Game of Streak: 35-24 vs San Diego Chargers (10/15/12)

First Loss: 39-33 vs Indianapolis Colts (10/20/13)

The Denver Broncos were the talk of the NFL entering the 2012 season. They had just traded starting quarterback Tim Tebow to the Jets and signed former Colts QB Peyton Manning to lead the charge. After a slow 2-3 start, the Broncos went on to win the final 11 games of the regular season, eventually losing in the AFC Divisional Round to the Ravens 38-35. 

In 2013, they came flying out of the gates, winning their first 6 games en route to a 13-3 finish, culminating in a Super Bowl XLVIII appearance in which they were absolutely trounced by the Seahawks 43-8. The game that broke their winning streak saw Peyton Manning lose to his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, now led by their new star quarterback Andrew Luck. 

Most Memorable Game of the Streak: vs. Dallas Cowboys 51-48 (10/6/13)

Peyton Manning vs. Tony Romo in Dallas, a shootout for the ages! Romo threw for the first 500 yard game in Cowboys history, including 5 touchdowns, while Manning had 414 yards and 4 touchdowns. With the score tied 48-48 and Denver poised to score the go-ahead touchdown with under 2 minutes left, Denver faced a 3rd and 1 from the Dallas 2 yard line. The plan was to pick up the first down, but not the touchdown, as the Broncos did not want to give Tony Romo a shot to tie up the game. The plan worked to perfection as Knowshon Moreno picked up the first down, and the Broncos ran the remainder of the clock out, setting up the game-winning field goal as time expired. 

7. 1941-1942 Chicago Bears: 16 games (5 + 11)
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First Game of Streak: 31-13 vs Cleveland Rams (11/9/41)

First Loss: 21-21 vs Green Bay Packers (9/26/43)

The 1941 Bears went 10-1, their only blemish a week 6 loss to the Green Bay Packers. They would go on to win the NFL Championship, against a familiar foe, the New York Giants 37-9. The following season, they went 11-0 but were somehow upset by the Washington Redskins in the Championship game 14-6. 

The 1942 Bears are frequently mentioned as the most dominant team in the history of football, scoring 376 points that season and giving up only 84. In their last 6 games, they shut out their opponent in 4 of them by a combined score of 140-0. 

Most Memorable Game of the Streak: vs Cleveland Rams 47-0 (11/29/42)

This game was actually tied 0-0 after the first quarter before the Bears rattled off three straight touchdowns. Running back Gary Famiglietti ran 12 times for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wide Receivers Hampton Pool had 2 catches for 118 yards and a touchdown, and Ray McLean had 4 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. The only reason this game was memorable is that the Rams actually put up a fight earlier in the season, losing by a relatively small margin of 21-7. 

8. 1971-1973 Miami Dolphins: 16 games (1 + 14 + 1)
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First Game of Streak: 27-6 vs Green Bay Packers (12/19/71)

First Loss: 12-7 vs Oakland Raiders (9/23/73)

The 1972 Dolphins are the last team to have a perfect season, and still to this day send champagne to the team who defeated the sole remaining undefeated team. This streak actually started in the final week of the 1971 season and continued through week one of the 1973 season. 

Most Memorable Game of the Streak: vs. New York Jets 28-24 (11/29/72)

The New York Jets actually led in this game 17-7 on the strength of a Joe Namath touchdown pass and a John Riggings touchdown run. The Dolphins came back and were leading 21-17 in the 3rd quarter before Namath threw another touchdown to give the Jets a 24-21 lead. It lasted until late in the 4th quarter when Mercury Morris scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 14-yard run. 

9. 1983-1984 Miami Dolphins: 16 games (5 + 11)
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1st Game of Streak: 37-0 vs Baltimore Colts (11/20/83)

1st Loss: 34-28 vs San Diego Chargers (11/18/84)

The 1983 season was Dan Marino’s rookie year, and they ended the season on a 5 game winning streak, finishing 12-4 and the AFC East champs. They would go on to lose in the Divisional Round of the playoffs 27-20 to the Seahawks. 

In 1984, they started 11-0 and went on to win the AFC Championship against the Pittsburgh Steelers 45-28 before losing to the 49ers in the Super Bowl 38-16. Marino destroyed league records in ‘84, throwing for 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns, however was the final time in Dan Marino’s career that he would make the Super Bowl.  

Most Memorable Game of the Streak: vs Philadelphia Eagles 24-23 (11/11/84)

Philadelphia, despite their 4-5-1 record, actually led this game 17-7 in the 3rd quarter before the Dolphins rallied and took a 24-17 lead. The Eagles scored what looked to be the game-tying touchdown on a Ron Jaworski pass with less than 2 minutes left in the game, but the Dolphins blocked the extra point, preserving the winning streak. However, they would lose the following week to the San Diego Chargers, ending it at 16. 

10. 2004-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers: 16 games (14 + 2)
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1st Game of Streak: 13-3 vs Miami Dolphins (9/26/04)

1st Loss: 23-20 vs New England Patriots 9/25/05)

The 2014 Steelers went 15-1 with hotshot rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger under center, eventually losing in the AFC Championship game 41-27 to the New England Patriots. Roethlisberger actually started the season on the bench, until incumbent starter Tommy Maddox was injured in a week 2 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. He would go on to go 13-0 as starter, winning the AFC north. 

Most Memorable Game of the Streak: vs New York Giants 33-30 (12/18/04)

This matchup featured two of the top quarterbacks from the famed 2004 class that included Roethlisberger, Manning and Philip Rivers, three future Hall of Famers. In this game, Roethlisberger threw for a season high 316 yards and set up the Steelers go-ahead touchdown with 4:57 left. Going back to college, this was actually Big Ben’s 25th straight win in games that he had started.

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UPNXT: NFL Wildcard Weekend DFS Value Plays

Guess who’s back? Back again! Even though our UPNXT NFL articles came to an end for the regular season, we decided to come back with some daily fantasy picks for this weekend’s NFL Wildcard playoff games. There’s a total of six games taking place over the course of Saturday and Sunday, so, if you’re an NFL fan or play DFS, you’ll want to stick around for some of our favorite picks on DraftKings or FanDuel.

1. Quarterback
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens – DraftKings $7,800, FanDuel $9,300
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Jackson enters Sunday’s game against the Titans as our favorite quarterback on DraftKings and FanDuel. This game has an implied total of 54.5 points, with the Ravens as -3 road favorites. Where Jackson really shines in DFS is his ability to rack up yards through the air and on the ground. It can’t be overstated, but quarterbacks with rushing upside are my favorite guys to roster, and Jackson happens to bet he best dual threat quarterback in the NFL. I expect him to surpass 20 fantasy points, with 30 as a real possibility as his ceiling. Tennessee has done a good job shutting Jackson down in previous matchups, but he and the Ravens seem to be hitting their stride at the right time. Roster Lamar Jackson with confidence and consider stacking him with fellow Ravens Marquise Brown or Mark Andrews.

2. Running Back
Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts – DraftKings $7,900, FanDuel $8,800
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What a way to end the season with a bang! Jonathan Taylor capped off a productive rookie year with an outstanding performance against the Jaguars, rushing for 253 yards and two touchdowns. The Colts’ leading rusher faces off against the Bills on Saturday, with the game total set at 51, and Buffalo as -6.5 favorites at home. For the regular season, the Bills have been a league average defense in terms of points allowed to opposing runners, giving up 24.5 fantasy points per game. Taylor has led this backfield in most rushing metrics for most of the year, and I don’t expect that role to change in this spot either. How he performs will likely come down to Indy’s defense, and their ability to slow down Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs. If they can keep the score close and competitive, they can feed their workhorse tailback and keep him involved. We like Taylor as a cheaper alternative to Derrick Henry if you’re looking to save some salary this weekend.

3. Wide Receiver
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints – DraftKings $6,400, FanDuel $6,800
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Before being placed on IR by the Saints to end his regular season, Michael Thomas was beginning to get his groove back in what has been a down year full of injuries. The total for this game is 47.5 and the Saints are a massive -10 home favorite. He will have a tough matchup against the Chicago Bears this weekend, as they’ve allowed just 33.7 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts. If quarterback Drew Brees and Thomas can shake off the rust and get back on the same page, I think Thomas is a tremendous value play at under $7,000 on both DFS sites. Both players should be completely healthy and poised to make another deep playoff run.

4. Tight End
Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team – DraftKings $4,900, FanDuel $6,400
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He may not be cheap, but he’s worth it. Other than Terry “F1” McLaurin, Logan Thomas is my favorite receiving option on this Washington Football Team roster. He’ll face a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense allowing 14 fantasy points per game to tight ends, putting them in the bottom ten in the league at defending the position. This game is implied for 44.5 points, with the Bucs as -8 favorites on the road. This could be one of the games that doesn’t stay close for long, meaning quarterback Alex Smith may have to throw more than he normally would. Often, those passes have been targeted towards McLaurin and Thomas. Unlike other tight ends in the league, Thomas isn’t used as a blocker as much, as they opt to have him running routes as much as possible. I think he’s a good bet to go over ten fantasy points in this matchup.

5. Defense/Special Teams
New Orleans Saints – DraftKings $3,800, FanDuel $4,600
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Anytime I can get an elite defense versus Mitch Trubisky, I get excited. As we know, Trubisky and the Bears offense have had their fair share of struggles this year, and this is a prime spot for us to target him once again. New Orleans allows the fifth fewest fantasy points to the opposition’s signal callers, averaging just 17.4 points per game. Couple that with the fact that they are also the best versus opposing running backs, and you’ve got all the makings of a monster fantasy performance for the Saints defense. I can see them putting the clamps on running back David Montgomery and being up by enough points that the Bears are forced to throw it, which is exactly what we want. The more that a quarterback drops back, the more opportunities there are for our defense to rack up sacks, picks, and forced fumbles. I usually pay down at defense, but in this case, I don’t mind spending more salary for a defense in such a sweet spot.

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Lamar Jackson Is Not As Good As Patrick Mahomes, But He Could Be One Day

The Baltimore Ravens are currently sitting at 6-2, and they are second in the AFC North, behind the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. Unsurprisingly, the reigning MVP, Lamar Jackson, has been a key figure in Baltimore’s hot start to the season. Jackson, in just his third year, has posted a winning record of 25-5 tying him with Dan Marino for the best start by a quarterback in NFL history.

“It’s pretty cool, I’m up there with a Hall of Famer,” Jackson said via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “But you still got to win each and every game. So, it’s all right.”

“I think that’s really something. Wow,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson tying Marino’s mark. “Lamar will tell you it’s a team effort. I think the team will tell you that you couldn’t win those games without Lamar.”

Jackson’s latest victory this past Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts did not come without adversity. The Ravens trailed the Colts 10-7 at the half and coming into Sunday’s game, Jackson was 0-6 when playing from behind.

However, on Sunday, that would not be the case; Jackson would complete all ten of his passes for 119 yards and add a nine-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Finishing the game with 170 yards passing on 19 passes and added 58 yards on the ground with a touchdown.

Jackson has accumulated 1513 yards on 62.9% of his completions through the first eight games, with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has also rushed for 469 yards and three touchdowns.

Since entering the league, Jackson has been criticized for using his legs to run rather than using his arm. When the pocket starts to collapse, everybody knows that he will take off, including ESPN’s analyst and former Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Marcus Spears.

“That percentage of them winning is because of Lamar operating as he did from the pocket [on Sunday],” Spears said in September.v” I don’t care what anybody says; every analytic person knows when Lamar Jackson is running the football.”

That’s not to say Spears is not a fan of Jackson’s game, but the main goal is to win a Super Bowl eventually, and for that to happen for the Ravens, according to Spears, Jackson has to evolve as a quarterback.

“I felt good about what Lamar did. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t use his legs; I was never trying to make that point,” Spears said. “For his evolution, for his next phase of the game and when we’re talking about winning a Super Bowl, he’s going to have to operate from the pocket like that, especially if they are in the playoffs.”

Jackson has also drawn comparison to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and reigning Super Bowl MVP, Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes won the regular season MVP back in 2018, and the following year led the Chiefs to a Super Bowl victory, and Ravens are hoping Jackson can do the same. If Jackson can win the Super Bowl, would he receive the same respect that everyone gives Mahomes? It’s tough to say.

However, NBA analyst Brendan Haywood does not think it will happen.

“Lamar Jackson will not get the same respect as Patrick Mahomes because he is not as good as Patrick Mahomes,” said Haywood on Instagram Live Monday night.

“They can win games with Lamar being a game manager. That is how they have won games this year. If you watch the Ravens play, Lamar ain’t been ballin. Lamar is not in anybody’s MVP conversation. Lamar is not a top seven guy in the NFL, and it is because he has a bunch of games under 200 yards passing. His rushing has gone from 80 yards per game to like 58 per game; his rushing TDs are down from last season. And the thing is the NFL has film on him, and Lamar cannot throw outside. Those on time, back-shoulder throws like Patrick Mahomes. They know that this dude is trying to run the ball or play action and throw the ball in the seams to his tight-ends or Hollywood Brown, and people are covering that.”

Jackson and the Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman need to switch things up to catch these defensive coordinators off guard. And they can start this week when they play the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football.