For the first time in a long time, the 49ers’ defense looks weak

The San Francisco 49ers knew they would be playing without Aldon Smith for a chunk of this season. They were surely being optimistic, and hoping for a four-game suspension after his repeated violations of the rules that govern basic human decency and common sense (technically, for violating both the personal conduct and substance abuse policies, […]

brice Butler

3 preseason standouts who will do nothing this year

For football fans, every day is a good day for an overreaction. The NFL is structured in such a way that it encourages screams of either joy or agony over a small sample size. A game is played, and then there’s a full week for analysis and scrutiny. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it’s […]

Josh Gordon smile

On Josh Gordon, the CFL, and what could have been

Josh Gordon needs structure. He needs guidance, and he needs some semblance of routine in his life. So far, getting any of those things on his own hasn’t exactly worked well. And since the NFL banned him from even being around the Cleveland Browns facilities during his season-long suspension (when we learned the league doesn’t […]


NFL records poised to be broken in 2014

Records are meant to be broken, and that’s especially the case in this particular era of NFL history. That’s because offense is through the roof and the accumulation of sheer stats has exploded. Here’s a look at some records that could be in peril entering the 2014 campaign. Career passing touchdowns The record: 508 (Brett […]


The NFL doesn’t care about Josh Gordon

When the Josh Gordon decision was finally, mercifully announced earlier this afternoon after his appeal, it was the same decision we’ve expected since early May. He’s gone for the season due to repeated violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. He’s gone even though his lawyers claimed it was second-hand marijuana smoke this time. That […]


Why everyone wins in the Logan Mankins trade

A trade that actually works out for all parties involved seems like it should only exist in some sort of happy, magical land, a place where a 99-pack of beer is something we have invented (wait, what?). But this trade just might be it. Yes, we’re witnessing history here, though maybe we should exercise a […]


Peyton Manning, Andy Dalton, and when numbers fail us

I’m not sure why, in any sport, there has to be a divide and a war between those who produce statistical analysis, and those who just want to watch the game. We can have both. That battle was at its peak in 2011, during the height of Tim Tebow’s NFL reign. I hesitate to even […]


Why the Rams’ quarterback trade options are limited

When the St. Louis Rams drafted Sam Bradford in 2010 with the first overall pick, the front office thought they had rostered a franchise quarterback. That’s the belief of every general manager who uses the top pick on the most important offensive position. No, it’s an assumption. On draft day there’s a sense of relief […]


NFL’s entertainment value suffering with penalty spike

Oh God, what have I done, can I take it back?!?! As a fan of the New Orleans Saints, I watched “my team” get wrecked in Seattle twice last year, once to diminish their playoff seeding, and once to end their entire season. It was not fun times. Of course I then watched that Seahawks’ […]


5 potentially crippling preseason injuries

Bone breaking and muscle ripping, and just general body chaos will always be a part of football. A horrible and unfortunate aspect of the game for both the downed player and his team, but a reality nonetheless. The pain of that reality is amplified when an injury occurs during the utter nothingness of a preseason […]


Moving the extra point to the 1-yard line could be the answer

We’ve stated time and again that making the extra point only slightly harder isn’t the solution to fixing the game’s most boring play. If anything, dropping the success rate from 99 percent to, say, 90 percent would only make fluky misses more common, which in turn would result in more tough-luck losses. Plus, kicking from […]

Andrew Hawkins

5 underrated offensive difference makers

Of the many ambiguous terms we toss around, “underrated” is among the industry leaders. What exactly constitutes an underrating? And who is doing the rating? We are. We all are. An underrated player is someone who makes an unexpectedly awesome play, and then you say “hey, who’s that guy?”. Or he can also make you […]


Upon Further Review: The Super Bowl halftime show wasn’t always a big deal

“Upon further review” is a recurring segment in which This Given Sunday analyzes quirks and fascinating tidbits from the NFL’s history books. The Super Bowl halftime show has become such a staple that the NFL is now asking potential A-list performers to essentially bid for the right to star in it. But that wasn’t always […]


Time To Push The NFL Preseason Out The Moon Door

Summer TV is the worst. It’s either crap you’ve already seen or mid-season replacement shows that weren’t good enough to get a full slate of episodes during pilot season. And nobody cares, because that three-month parade of filth is presented entirely by design. And the NFL has followed suit, presenting a slate of horrid, borderline-unwatchable […]