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.

  • What's more thrilling for Chase Elliott: Winning Daytona 500 pole or flying in F-16?

    Jeff Gordon is retired. Tony Stewart is injured and going to retire this year. Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick are all in their 40s. The grandstands surrounding Daytona International Speedway, which hosts Sunday's iconic, season-opening 500-mile race, have been expanded and refurbished into what they are calling a motorsports "stadium."

    It doesn't require a poet to see this Daytona 500 as a race in transition and the start of a year that NASCAR must look to a bolder but uncertain future. Chase Elliott (AP)

    Then along came 20-year-old Chase Elliott, the son of Bill Elliott, a NASCAR Hall of Famer and one of the most popular drivers in the sport's history, driving the 24 car that Gordon rode to four Cup titles and untold fame himself.

    And then Elliott won the pole in his first qualifying.

    NASCAR's next big thing is here, not a moment too soon. It needs him, especially him, tying old and young, fresh and familiar, promise and talent for a sport that needs every bit of star power to

    Read More »from What's more thrilling for Chase Elliott: Winning Daytona 500 pole or flying in F-16?
  • Cam Newton's defense of his pouting shows fallacy of culture war debate

    Cam Newton refused to apologize for his relatively brief and not particularly loquacious media conference following the Carolina Panthers' loss Sunday in Super Bowl 50.

    "Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser," Newton told reporters in Charlotte on Tuesday.

    This was a tremendous answer and not because it propped up one side of the debate surrounding Cam or devastated the other side of the debate surrounding Cam. Instead it did both to both.

    Dislike Cam because he's a pompous, look-at-me modern star lacking grace and class … how about channeling some Vince Lombardi? Is that old-school enough for you?

    Love Cam and believe every bit of criticism thrown his way is based on cultural misunderstanding, mean-spiritedness and the fact the NFL didn't create a safe space for him to deal with the micro (or macro) aggressions Von Miller unleashed on him … no, he acted exactly how he wanted to act. It was genuine. He meant it.

    Cam has become a piñata in the middle of a culture war debate

    Read More »from Cam Newton's defense of his pouting shows fallacy of culture war debate
  • When Von Miller and the Broncos realized they had broken Cam Newton

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. – On the sixth snap of Cam Newton's Super Bowl, Von Miller charged at him from the edge, hit him face first and promptly ripped the football out of his hands. Just tore it out.

    This was grown man stuff. This was violent, blunt-force defense. This was the best player on the Denver Broncos confronting the best player on the Carolina Panthers, and just taking what he wanted – the ball, the Super Bowl, his football soul for the next few hours.

    "That play did it," Denver linebacker Brandon Marshall said. "That play rattled [Newton]. We got in his head like that. We got in his mind. He hasn't been harassed like that all season."

    Cam Newton is sacked by Von Miller during the first half of Super Bowl 50. (AP)Cam Newton is sacked by Von Miller during the first half of Super Bowl 50. (AP)You may never see a defensive player dominate a football game like Miller dominated Super Bowl 50 in leading the Broncos to a 24-10 victory. It wasn't just the six tackles, the 2½ sacks and the two forced fumbles that produced Denver's only two touchdowns.

    This was some unholy stuff, balletic brutality that made him the most important player

    Read More »from When Von Miller and the Broncos realized they had broken Cam Newton
  • Broncos D shuts down Cam Newton, Denver wins Super Bowl 50

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Across a season where his team won 17 times and he was named the league's Most Valuable Player, Cam Newton appeared invincible.

    Then along came Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Malik Jackson, Wade Phillips and the entire Denver Broncos defense that bruised, battered and eventually beat him in the biggest game of them all.

    Denver 24, Carolina 10 in a defense-delivered upset in Super Bowl 50.

    Von Miller strips the ball from Cam Newton during the second half. (AP)Von Miller strips the ball from Cam Newton during the second half. (AP)It was the Broncos' defense, not the Peyton Manning offense that was most responsible for Denver's points. A Miller sack and strip of Newton in the first quarter was recovered in the end zone by Jackson to give Denver a 10-0 lead and set the tone that this was a different level than Carolina had seen.

    The game was capped by another Miller strip of Newton that set the Broncos up on Carolina's 4-yard line. C.J. Anderson scored a few plays later to put it out of reach. Newton was sacked six times, tossed around like rag doll.

    Miller was named Super Bowl 50 MVP.

    "This game was much like

    Read More »from Broncos D shuts down Cam Newton, Denver wins Super Bowl 50
  • Johnny Manziel's latest and most disturbing incident may leave NFL teams asking, 'Why bother?'

    The allegations were ugly and troubling. The decision by law enforcement in Texas not to pursue the case was firm yet confusing.

    Did Johnny Manziel repeatedly hit his girlfriend last Friday night, drag her by the hair and hauntingly order her to "shut up or I'll kill us both"? In terms of the legal process we'll never know since Dallas police closed the case detailed in a report viewed by WFAA-TV.

    Whatever remains of Manziel's football future probably hangs in the balance of what private investigators, including the NFL itself, can glean from potential evidence and witnesses that come from the police report  filed by Manziel's ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley. The Cleveland Browns are expected to formally cut Manziel in March at the start of the league's business year, freeing him to sign anywhere that will take him. The Browns are expected to release Johnny Manziel in March. (Getty Images) The Browns are expected to release Johnny Manziel in March. (Getty Images)

    If teams care enough to look, parts of Crowley's story make this more than just a she said, he said that often plagues these kinds of cases. That could be good or bad for

    Read More »from Johnny Manziel's latest and most disturbing incident may leave NFL teams asking, 'Why bother?'
  • Panthers have 'Super Bowl Shuffle' swagger, but not enough to flaunt in this era

     SAN JOSE, Calif. – Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera played for the 1985 Chicago Bears, a team so dominant that during the season they boldly recorded a rap song, "The Super Bowl Shuffle."

    It essentially predicted a championship.

    Rivera didn't appear in the video because it was filmed early on the morning the team returned from a game at Miami, which proved to be the only loss of the season. The linebacker skipped it and slept in. Walter Payton, Richard Dent, Williams "Refrigerator" Perry and others made it though. William Refrigerator Perry and teammates showed them how to drop the mic in the 1980s. (Getty Images)William Refrigerator Perry and teammates showed them how to drop the mic in the 1980s. (Getty Images)

    The entire concept is almost unfathomable these days, an era where sports is so uptight and repressed that the Panthers' dancing after touchdowns was/is a major storyline headed into their Super Bowl 50 matchup with the Denver Broncos.

    Even Rivera shakes his head at the concept. He runs an operation that encourages individuals to celebrate their personality, but what would he feel if they did that?

    "Dread," Rivera said.

    [Score great deals for Super Bowl 50 tickets

    Read More »from Panthers have 'Super Bowl Shuffle' swagger, but not enough to flaunt in this era
  • Texas takes big step back toward relevance with signing day blitz

    It’s been six seasons and 35 losses for the Texas Longhorns. There’s been the rise of TCU and Baylor, one-time bottom feeders the Longhorns used to whip so often it wasn’t even that much fun.

    Texas A&M got into the SEC and rode Johnny Manziel to the claim, at least recruiting-wise, that they run the state. Meanwhile Alabama, LSU and others started using that increased SEC footprint to raid the place.

    Infighting, firings, uneasy transitions, an inability to land even local kids … it’s been a stretch of everything UT thought it was above, but wasn’t.Charlie Strong needed a big finish on National Signing Day and it appears the Longhorns got it. (AP)Charlie Strong needed a big finish on National Signing Day and it appears the Longhorns got it. (AP)

    So forgive the Longhorns for crowing a little bit more than should be allowed on National Signing Day. Charlie Strong, thanks to a late recruiting push Wednesday, landed a very promising group of recruits, ranked 13th nationally per Rivals.com, the kind that UT used to annually draw in.

    A bit of normalcy never felt so good in Austin.

    "It was a great day today and a great finish,” Strong said.

    It doesn’t turn the program around over night,

    Read More »from Texas takes big step back toward relevance with signing day blitz
  • Broncos' Wade Phillips has hotline to Drake and dialing up rugged defense

    Malik Jackson was in the Denver Broncos' locker room recently, discussing the rapper/entertainer Drake with his defensive coordinator.

    This was somewhat unexpected since his defensive coordinator is Wade Philips, 68 years old and a veteran of the NFL since 1976, not counting all the years at the knee of his father, Oail Andrew "Bum" Phillips. Drake may not be some underground artist, but still, this is also a guy who recently tweeted out a picture of a Gatlin Brothers Band album.

    "He said, 'I started from the bottom like he did,'" Jackson said, Phillips giving a nod to one of Drake's hits. "For him to say something like that, for him to know what's going on, for him to know a Drake song like that, that's pretty funny."  

    No one may be having more fun here at Super Bowl 50 than Phillips, at least when he isn't trying to figure out how to stop Carolina's Cam Newton, which doesn't seem like a particularly enjoyable task. Everything else is a combination of a late-career soaking-it-all-in

    Read More »from Broncos' Wade Phillips has hotline to Drake and dialing up rugged defense
  • NFL's missing data on air pressure is another black eye in deflate-gate saga

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Roger Goodell sure did get upset when Tom Brady destroyed his cell phone last year during the deflate-gate saga, an implication the quarterback was hiding something.

    The NFL commissioner returned the favor on Tuesday when he announced the league did not keep any of the data on air pressure of footballs that officials were required to log and submit to the league office during the 2015 season.

    Evidence? What evidence?

    [Score great deals for Super Bowl 50 tickets at SeatGeek]

    Roger Goodell (AP)Roger Goodell (AP)Now the New England Patriots are no longer able to point to specific, NFL-generated data that proves Ideal Gas Law, not human tampering, caused its footballs to lose air pressure in the 2014 AFC championship game.

    That study was supposed to be the franchise's best chance to introduce new information that might allow the return of the 2016 first- and fourth-round draft picks, plus $1 million, the league docked it for deflate-gate.

    "We do spot checks to prevent and make sure the clubs understand

    Read More »from NFL's missing data on air pressure is another black eye in deflate-gate saga
  • Peyton Manning soaking up improbable run to Super Bowl as retirement speculation continues

    SAN JOSE, Calif. – There is mounting evidence that Peyton Manning will retire following Super Bowl 50 Sunday between his Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. There is no evidence that he won't.

    "Maybe I hit the fountain of youth in the next month and I play another 10 years," Manning offered here Monday.

    Well, other than that there is no evidence.

    Peyton Manning and the Broncos arrived in San Jose for Super Bowl 50 on Sunday. (AP)Peyton Manning and the Broncos arrived in San Jose for Super Bowl 50 on Sunday. (AP)Teammates say he hasn't revealed anything. His parents grew emotional before the last game believing that would be the end of his 17-season career, although they say Peyton hasn't told them anything. His older brother Cooper says he doesn't know anything for certain either, but he has his suspicions. The NFL Network reported he told some friends this was it, but there are no details.

    Then there is the video after the AFC championship game of Manning telling New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, "Hey, listen, this might be my last rodeo. So it sure has been a pleasure."

    Manning didn't deny he said what he said. He even acknowledged

    Read More »from Peyton Manning soaking up improbable run to Super Bowl as retirement speculation continues

Pagination

(2,601 Stories)