Dan Wetzel

  • Like
  • Follow
Author

Dan Wetzel is an award-winning sportswriter, author and screenwriter. He has covered all levels of basketball as well as college football, the NFL, MLB and NHL. He is the co-author of the book "Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series," which following five printings of the first edition was re-released in a second, updated edition in October.

  • Even Peyton Manning's family had doubts about a storybook Super Bowl ending

    DENVER – Archie Manning's eyes began watering up behind his glasses, his voice catching as he tried to relay the emotion of earlier Sunday, of before Denver 20, New England 18, before middle son Peyton assured at least one more game, before that son advanced to his fourth Super Bowl and the Manning family's sixth.

    For Archie, all these years, all these games as a football star turned football father, this one felt like it might be too much to ask, that this might be it for an aging, fading, injured Peyton Manning in the face of those relentless Patriots. Peyton Manning got the best of Tom Brady on Sunday for the third time in the AFC title game. (AP) Peyton Manning got the best of Tom Brady on Sunday for the third time in the AFC title game. (AP)

    So there on Sunday morning, Archie and his wife Olivia quietly reminded each other to soak it all in because there might not be another game. They wound up crying.

    "[We] had a moment," Archie said postgame. "Just kind of talked about how no matter what happens it's been a great rodeo. It's been 18 good years. I don't know what is going to happen. I promise you we haven't talked about it. You just savor. It's a special day."

    The chief

    Read More »from Even Peyton Manning's family had doubts about a storybook Super Bowl ending
  • Brady-Manning rivalry takes center stage for perhaps the last time

    One of the byproducts of the NFL’s investigation into deflate-gate was the release of a trove of emails to and from Tom Brady.

    Almost none had anything to do with the investigation, allowing, unfairly of course, a glimpse into what a famously guarded player was actually doing and thinking. Most of it was boring and mundane. Brady was mostly just a dad of three who wanted to get the pool cover properly installed.

    There was one notable exchange though, especially as Brady’s New England Patriots prepare to play Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos Sunday in another AFC title game.

    It came in response to one of Brady’s childhood friends. The original email was about a November 2014 Grantland story comparing Brady and Manning, whom sports fans have spent incalculable hours debating who is better.

    Tom Brady greets an injured Peyton Manning in November. (AP)Tom Brady greets an injured Peyton Manning in November. (AP)“I've got another 7 or 8 years,” Brady wrote back. “He has 2. That's the final chapter. Game on.”

    Game on.

    The “2” was perhaps harsh, especially from a guy who virtually never speaks ill of any

    Read More »from Brady-Manning rivalry takes center stage for perhaps the last time
  • Antwaan Randle El's remarks not helping Roger Goodell's case against early draft entry

    In 2010, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was alarmed by what felt like a flood of underclassmen declaring early for the NFL draft.

    "I think what we've learned from experience is that very few individuals are ready, whether emotionally, physically or from a maturity level to [jump early to the NFL]," Goodell said at the time. "We don't benefit by having them come out early.”

    Goodell implemented a rookie salary scale that he believed would protect franchises from sizeable and risky (for them) contracts to unproven draft picks, and motivate players to return to school.

    Goodell was completely wrong. Predictably football players followed the same pattern that basketball players did a decade before when the NBA tried the same strategy. With no big money payday looming, they chose to turn pro as soon as possible to get the clock ticking toward a lucrative second contract.

    Number of underclassmen who declared for the NFL in 2010: 53.

    Number of underclassmen who declared for the NFL this year:

    Read More »from Antwaan Randle El's remarks not helping Roger Goodell's case against early draft entry
  • A year after deflate-gate ballooned, science shows shame of it all

    One year ago this week, an Indianapolis Colt named D'Qwell Jackson intercepted a Tom Brady pass in the AFC championship game.

    The ball soon found its way into the hands of Brian Seabrooks, the Colts' assistant equipment manager, who was suspicious of its inflation level. He quickly had an intern measure it from the sideline (and in the approximately 48-degree temperature of Foxborough, Mass.). When it came in under the NFL minimum 12.5 pounds per square inch, everyone from Colts executives to officials and even an NFL vice president believed it was proof of blatant cheating.

    The entire case worked backward from there, even if science says the psi level was probably exactly where it should naturally be and thus nothing unnatural, let alone nefarious, was occurring.

    Science, of course, meant nothing in this case. At least not at the time. The football's size doesn't seem to matter to Tom Brady. (AP) The football's size doesn't seem to matter to Tom Brady. (AP)

    What mattered was either the willful rejection or complete ignorance of it. No one in power that night in New England apparently knew what Ideal Gas

    Read More »from A year after deflate-gate ballooned, science shows shame of it all
  • Bill Belichick emotional talking about the late Ted Marchibroda

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Bill Belichick was 22 years old in 1975, fresh out of Wesleyan with an economics degree and lots of experience playing lacrosse and squash. There was no earthly reason for him to believe he should join an NFL coaching staff, which is why 250 or so letters he sent out went mostly unreturned.

    A friend of his father's called in a favor and swore on his work ethic, and so there was Belichick, hired by the Baltimore Colts' Ted Marchibroda as a gopher/odd job/chauffer and anything else they could invent.

    The pay was $25 a week. Everyone called him "Billy." Ted Marchibroda in 1975 as head coach of the Baltimore Colts. (AP) Ted Marchibroda in 1975 as head coach of the Baltimore Colts. (AP)

    On Saturday, Marchibroda died at age 84. A few hours later Belichick coached the New England Patriots to a 27-20 victory over Kansas City to reach the AFC championship game for the 10th time in 15 years, including each of the last five. They'll either visit Denver or host Pittsburgh on Jan. 24.

    The gopher is now one of the greatest coaches the game has ever known.

    "I wouldn't be here if not for Ted Marchibroda,"

    Read More »from Bill Belichick emotional talking about the late Ted Marchibroda
  • Big stage, big moment finally within grasp for Carson Palmer

    For a dozen seasons now Carson Palmer has been a good, and at times better than good, NFL quarterback.

    He has also operated in relative obscurity. Some of that is because his teams were often lousy. Some of it is because when they were good, he tended to get injured. Bouncing between less-hyped franchises in Cincinnati, Oakland and Arizona didn't help.

    And there was always some negative residue of his 2011 breakup with the Bengals, where Cincinnati fans bristled at his threat to ownership that he would sit out an entire season if he wasn't traded. Palmer never fully explained his side. When he was bounced to the Oakland Raiders and they had seasons of 8-8 and 4-12, he was easy to mock for not being careful what he wished for. Saturday will mark the first time Carson Palmer will play in the playoffs in six seasons. (Getty Images) Saturday will mark the first time Carson Palmer will play in the playoffs in six seasons. (Getty Images)

    Despite strong stats, he has played in just two playoff games – a forgettable loss after the 2009 season and another after 2005 when he sustained a major knee injury after just one pass.

    It's hard to be considered one of the best in the NFL, or be considered

    Read More »from Big stage, big moment finally within grasp for Carson Palmer
  • Chip Kelly's second chance is Niners' opportunity to fix Harbaugh mistake

    San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York stood at a press conference 10 days ago and came as close as he probably ever will in verbalizing that he made a mistake in pushing Jim Harbaugh out as the team's coach after the 2014 season.

    "I can't look backwards," York said. "We can't win games we already played. We can't undo decisions that were already made."

    Chip Kelly was fired by the Eagles after Week 16. (AP)Chip Kelly was fired by the Eagles after Week 16. (AP)Thursday he made it clear, in action, that he was going to learn, not run, from that mistake.

    He hired Chip Kelly.

    Kelly just finished a three-year run with the Philadelphia Eagles where he showed plenty of ability as an NFL coach, but was undone mostly by terrible personnel decisions after he gained control of the roster last year. He compounded that by what many in the organization have quietly – and former players have loudly – called an aloof and often distant and difficult personality.

    The guy can coach. Everything else is questionable.

    It sounds, while not perfectly, but in enough ways, like Harbaugh 2.0.

    So York will, undoubtedly, get

    Read More »from Chip Kelly's second chance is Niners' opportunity to fix Harbaugh mistake
  • RIP, St. Louis Rams: A tough lesson in the business of pro sports

    If, as Calvin Coolidge long ago declared, the business of America is business, then there are few businesses more American than the National Football League.

    And as with any American business, it can be cold and cruel.

    Tuesday was a day for the business of business, the league's 32 owners, a collection of the nation's wealthiest and most powerful entities, approved the plan of Stan Kroenke to move his St. Louis Rams to a palatial stadium he will build on an old horse track in Inglewood, Calif.

    It sends the Rams back to Los Angeles, the city they ditched 21 years ago on another day that was bitter or sweet depending on your zip code.

    The NFL also gave the San Diego Chargers a year to work out a deal to join the Rams, get a new stadium built back home or go to Plan C, whatever that might entail. If the Chargers don't move to L.A., then the Oakland Raiders will have a shot. The NFL will give each franchise $100 million if they choose to build a stadium in their current towns. The

    Read More »from RIP, St. Louis Rams: A tough lesson in the business of pro sports
  • Nick Saban: Greatest coach in college football history

    GLENDALE, Ariz. – The greatest coach in college football history has seen the future come for him, seen the trick offenses and innovative tempos and be-your-pal coaches who dab and dance and relate in ways he just can't.

    They've thrown everything and anything at Nick Saban through the years and in an era of unprecedented competitiveness, the 64-year-old has beaten them all back with a steely resolve to honor the basics – an old-school offense, a physical defensive front and a daily work ethic that is as intense as it is effective.

    Saban has captured his fifth career national title, including his fourth in the past seven years at Alabama, courtesy of a 45-40 victory over Clemson on Monday.

    Numerically, he now ranks second all-time, trailing just Crimson Tide legend Bear Bryant, who has six championships. In accomplishment, though, he stands alone. For all Bryant's undeniable genius, he worked in a different era of the game, with fewer schools committed to competing at the highest

    Read More »from Nick Saban: Greatest coach in college football history
  • It'll be tough for NFL to reject power play of Rams' Stan Kroenke

    [UPDATE: Owners rule out Rams-only move to L.A.]

    For two decades Los Angeles sat vacant, an NFL opportunity there for the taking. Only no one took it.

    Many groups made elaborate promises and drew up fantastic stadium designs but they all fizzled and died under the weight of the twin realities of funding and execution. Hollywood moguls, California governors, owners from other cities, it didn't matter. Stan Kroenke has big plans that don't include keeping the Rams in St. Louis. (AP) Stan Kroenke has big plans that don't include keeping the Rams in St. Louis. (AP)

    In a league filled with builders and billionaires no one could make L.A. happen, other than to use its threat as a relocation site to squeeze politicians back home. That was until a year ago when Stan Kroenke announced he was going to build a $1.86 billion stadium and office complex that his Rams franchise, and possibly a second tenant, would use. It would double as a world-class, and locally needed, big-event venue.

    He had the land and virtually all the permits in Inglewood, located near LAX. He had the money, he's a multibillionaire in his own right; his wife, Ann Walton Kroenke, too,

    Read More »from It'll be tough for NFL to reject power play of Rams' Stan Kroenke

Pagination

(2,608 Stories)