Dan Hanzus takes questions from you, the readers, in the reincarnated End Around Mailbag. It livvvvvvvves!
Watching the Eagles and their fans celebrate their first Super Bowl title in franchise history affected me more than I thought it would. I wasn't sobbing in the press box or anything -- NO EMOTION IN THE PRESS BOX AT ANY TIME -- but as a 37-year-old Jets fans still waiting to see my team play in a Super Bowl, Philly's victory delivered unexpected feels. The Eagles spent decades as the perpetual NFC East bridesmaid. And now here they were celebrating amidst green and white confetti. If green and white confetti can fall for the Eagles, why can't it fall on the Je -- I need to slow down.
Anyway, the Iggles victory drops us down to 12 teams without a Lombardi Trophy in their main lobby. The Denied Dozen, we'll call 'em. Here's my ranking of who's most likely to be next:
1. Vikings: QB uncertainty aside (you know sound pro football analysis is in the offing whenever you put quarterback play on the backburner), all the pieces are there. Dalvin Cook's coming back, too. If the Vikings get Kirk Cousins -- this makes a lot of sense for team and player, for what it's worth -- I'll have them right there with the Eagles as my NFC favorite for Super Bowl LIII. If they wind up bringing back Case Keenum and/or Sam Bradford, they're still in good shape.
2. Jaguars: Here's the team that should have been the favorite to land Cousins but instead locked themselves into another year of Blake Bortles. We'll see how all that works out. In fairness, Bortles wasn't a total albatross in the playoffs and Jacksonville pretty much beat itself in the AFC title game. The Jaguars are close, but the Bortles dilemma continues to hang over the franchise.
3. Falcons: I can't figure this team out. I thought they would suffer the worst Super Bowl hangover of all-time -- they started 3-0. I begrudgingly bought in on them and they lost four of five. Then they get hot down the stretch, knock out the Rams on the road in the Wild Card round. I'm convinced Atlanta is ready for an all-time revenge match with the Pats. Then the offense goes back to sleep in Philly and that's that. Matt Ryankilled me in fantasy, too. Whatever, I'm over it.
4. Texans: Here's my AFC sleeper that may not be a sleeper at all. You have to wonder if we'll ever get to see peak J.J. Watt again, but would you be stunned if he had 18 sacks next season? Me either. Deshaun Watson, meanwhile, was in the midst of a superstar breakout campaign as a rookie before a torn ACL ended his season. A full season of Watson makes this a fascinating team playing in a conference in transition. Have I mentioned a full season of Watt and Jadeveon Clowney on the same front can still happen? How about 16 games of DeAndre Hopkins playing with a legit franchise quarterback? This team is saucy.
6. Chargers: The Bolts just can't ever seem to get over the hump. They haven't won more than nine games in a season since 2009. Some late-career Philip Rivers magic would be nice.
7. Lions: On the Around The NFL Podcast we talk about The Dalton Scale, a device that acts as the prime meridian of NFL quarterbacks. If you're on the right side of Andy Dalton, you're a franchise quarterback. If you're on the wrong side of Dalton, you are not the answer behind center. If you're Andy Dalton ... well ... you're just stuck in the middle. The Lions are the Andy Dalton of NFL teams. There are contenders. There are pretenders. And the Lions are just chilling in between.
8. Titans: Is Marcus Mariota the real deal? I don't think anyone can be sure one way or the other, even with those late-season theatrics. Let's hope Mariota is being coached up by a more adventurous staff in the post-Mularkey era.
10. Cardinals: Arizona had a window. It closed. What's next?
12. Browns: I know Cleveland should come out of this draft with some premium talent, including at the quarterback position. But nope.
The Eagles should wait this thing out -- and they probably will. When Cousins signs, there will be a handful of disappointed teams still desperate for an answer at quarterback. This feels like the time when Howie Roseman could pounce on a vulnerable GM. Speaking of Roseman, you know your life is blessed when you have the Super Bowl MVP as your insurance policy at quarterback. I'd push for a late first-rounder and accept nothing less than a second. If the guy at the other end of the line balks, tell him to watch Super Bowl LII again, then compare that to the QB he currently has in his building.
Dear God, no. Do you know how difficult it would be to pull off that kind of evaluation? Given the stakes, can you imagine the media coverage? And now you're going to trust the Browns to nail it? Nope. Nope. Nope. If Cleveland is in love with one of the QBs, they have to get him at No. 1. If Saquon Barkley is still on the board at No. 4, do it. The Browns and GM John Dorsey can't get cute here. We saw how that worked for the previous regime.
I've only seen two. The Office and Black Mirror. And they're two of my favorite series in their respective genres. Actually, I also remember watching Mr. Bean a lot when I was a kid. He was a funny little man. So yeah, my track record with British television is limited but sterling. Just don't tell me I should watch Fawlty Towers. I am not going to watch Fawlty Towers. You can't make me watch Fawlty Towers.
Ugh. I'm sorry that you have to even ponder this scenario, Marc. Hey teams: Stop moving. Anyway, 30 might seem old to switch allegiances, but you still got a good 50 or 60 years on the blue marble so I'd say keep an open mind if the Las Vegas Raiders don't light up your Christmas tree. My ATN Podcast colleague Chris Wesseling dumped the Bengals to go agnostic and seems quite happy with his decision. Results will vary, of course.
I'm doing an EDM podcast with Bill Belichick. Every week, hell, twice a week, we'd hunker down in my garage, listen to the newest offerings in electronic dance music -- both the underground stuff and more mainstream fare -- and offer up observations and hot takes. Like, what could be better than Bill Belichick doing a five-minute monologue on DJ Marshmello's set at the Shaky Beats festival?
I'll fly the flag all day for my boy Marty Scor-seez, so Donnie Brasco is bringing up the rear. Casino is Scorsese's underappreciated masterpiece, but ultimately its lack of proper recognition in the context of Scorsese's oeuvre is directly connected to Goodfellas, which was a towering achievement that sits on my Mount Rushmore of favorite films.
Goodfellas just showed up on Netflix, by the way. If you've never seen it, carve out two-and-a-half hours then thank me later. One thing I just noticed is the similarities in narrative arc between Goodfellas and The Sopranos, another classic piece of gangster entertainment I recently revisited. The first 90 minutes of Goodfellas -- like the first three seasons of The Sopranos -- shows the high side of the life. The money, power, women, brotherhood, etc. The last 60 minutes -- and final three seasons of The Sopranos -- takes you on the downward spiral. Both end as cautionary tales.
Anyway ... 1) Goodfellas 2) Casino 3) Donnie Brasco
I feel like a Super Bowl at Wembley Stadium makes a lot of sense for everyone involved. I mean, what is this International Series really for if it's not building toward something like that? More importantly, would there ever be a better time for the long-gestating Oasis reunion than halftime of Super Bowl LVII? Let's make this happen, Rog.
Bad news for you Nick, because I believe you'll land in Ryan Tannehill purgatory for at least one more season. For what it's worth, Tannehill is under contract through the 2020 season. Also worth mentioning: In his first year under Adam Gase, Tannehill went 8-5 as a starter with a passer rating of 93.5. You can do a lot worse than Ryan Tannehill. I'd use the 11th pick to upgrade elsewhere on the roster and see how it shakes out.
Everyone likes to jump to Clay Matthews, but he's a little too showy with that lion's mane for my tastes. Here's a far less popular answer: Jay Cutler. He's got a killer coif. Has had it for years. People are loathe to give the man credit for anything, but you're being unfair to deny him his place atop NFL Follicle Mountain.
Of course, Smokin' Jay is a free agent and likely has played his final game. The throne may soon be vacated. I'd turn this into a pay-per-view if the NFL let me.
'Til next time.