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Joe Burrow, The NFL's Divisional Round, & Pro Bowl Format Changes

Our latest episode features a quarterback-centric discussion of the NFL Playoffs Divisional Round as well as updates to the NFL's Pro Bowl format.

Key topics of discussion include Joe Burrow's captivating power on and off the field, Josh Allen's playoff struggles, Jalen Hurts' QB ranking, and Brock Purdy's Cinderella story.

Watch/listen here:


Mike Lewis 0:08

Welcome, everyone. Welcome to left Fanalytics Podcast Mike Lewis, Doug Battle Emory University online Doug, this is one of my favorite weeks of the year in terms of covering the world of sports because it's very clean. It's very self contained. You know, we've got the the NFL is the NBA starting to warm up, I guess, you know, the Lakers had a big comeback. There's a few other thing you know, college basketball is chugging along, but this is prime time for the NFL for the next several weeks. The playoffs are of course, the big thing is a little bit of an aside, is it true that they're playing flag football at the Pro Bowl this year?

Doug Battle 0:51

I haven't kept up with the Pro Bowl format all that much. But to be fair, when they played with pads, flag football would have been an improvement for the caliber of football that fans were getting to see. So I will say this on my podcast. years back. I had Robert Edwards former running back at Georgia, New England Patriot Come on. And he was one of the greats of Georgia had a very promising rookie career for the Patriots. And he tore his ACL at the flag because they used to do a flag football game and I think since then they haven't had it. But they're doing it again. And so it's like God, what a shame to go down that way. So it's like they can do anything they want for player safety. But at the end of the day, sport like football things happen and you know, the players are still taking a risk every time they go out there. So we'll we'll see how it is. But you know, I've I've been saying for a while with the NFL, NBA like playoff games and stuff are not playoff games, all star games, I think it would be more fun to show them like, like do a basketball game with the NFL all stars and do a football game with the NBA. I want to see LeBron and full pads going up against you know, I want to see Yanis out there playing defensive end. And you know, opposite. I want to see Joe burrow hitting those threes. And so I'm like, mix it up, make it fun. So it looks like they're taking a step in that direction and trying to make it something different product than the usual Sunday and a lesser version of the usual Sunday.

Mike Lewis 2:29

Hey, look, it's fat. Two things. Number one back in the 1970s I think it was ABC Sports had something called the superstars where you almost got what you're asking for where they took all the top players from the NFL. And this is back in the day when these guys didn't make enough money to like wave their hands and say No way. The top NFL guy baseball guys basketball guys. They took them out to Hawaii and they had them run obstacle courses, bike races against women. You know, I just you know, and that was a lot of fun but I think the you know the money in sports kind of killed that. Here's before we get to the playoffs. The Pro Bowl is the one thing the NFL isn't good at. Right I mean, that's you think they touch is magic. And I'm gonna I'm gonna give you a hypothesis. The Pro Bowl was the one thing that has no aspect of hope to it. The combine the draft free agency, there's hope right the the Jets are gonna get a quarterback. The Falcons are gonna get a quarterback right. But the the Pro Bowl a dud for a long, long time.

Doug Battle 3:35

Yeah, I don't know what it is. But every time like I never tune in first, the ratings have to be horrendous, which is why they're changing the format. But to me, it's like oh, tune in and watch a bunch of rich guys on vacation like hanging out for the football. Like, there's no there's no stakes there. I mean, there's nothing nothing memorable ever happens. Unless it's something horrible like an injury. And then you say, well, that's why they shouldn't do the Pro Bowl or that's why I shouldn't you know, go out there and give it his all. And so I mean, I think and here's here's something where the NBA probably does a better job. Because the dunk contest. Regardless of the criticism it gets on any given year for not being as good as the time Vince Carter was there or when Michael Jordan or whatever. It draws a lot of eyeballs and people tuned in for that. It's interesting. It's an element of the game that doesn't get rated like Vince Carter might have been the greatest of all time Dunker, but he never won any championships. So it's like that's his championship or for guys like that. That's their championship and it for fans. You know, sometimes players who aren't the greats are the winners. And they're like, I mean, Aaron Gordon and Zach Lavine are really good players, but they're not the faces of the NBA become dunk contest season. Those are the guys it's time for them to showcase and build their brands build their fan bases. And so the NBA He has that the skills challenge and then the game itself is usually competitive interesting what for whatever reason there's history with like Kobe versus Jordan and and all these matchups that we would fantasize about had there not been all these all star games. And so the NFL is lacking that my my proposal a while back was in place of the dunk contest, they need to have like a one handed catch contest for all these receivers to do it, do it in style, get some style products, it's time for you just

Mike Lewis 5:32

you just want pure novelty and all this. I mean, my my take on this watching,

Doug Battle 5:37

I want to see something amazing. That's what the dandy emphasising

Mike Lewis 5:41

the NFL flag football pro ball is not the way forward. I mean, they can throw it out there and then get that's just not going to work. I like where you're coming at. Let's just turn it into a novelty a circus act.

Doug Battle 5:55

Of course. I want to see a basketball game with these guys. I want to see all the guy. You watch them in warmups and suddenly catches and these guys make and and it's just amazing. And I'm like that's the dunk contest of the NBA. That's what you don't get an extra point on the field. When you have a cool touchdown catch versus a regular one just like with dunking versus laying it up. But fans love it. They love to see those videos go viral. And I'm like that's, I would love to see that. I personally watched those guys also just receivers, we see him in the endzone celebrating their creative bunch. And so it'd be very entertaining to see what they what they come up with.

Mike Lewis 6:34

Yeah, I mean, and again, it's such a tough one, right? I mean, MLB major, you know, the All Star game has kind of I think the all star game now loses to the Field of Dreams games.

Doug Battle 6:46

Right? So it's like the homerun derby.

Mike Lewis 6:49

It's like we'd rather Yeah, we'd rather see you know, than play outside in the NHL. It's these all star games have gotta be reimagined. Okay, Doug, but back to the sort of the serious topic. So, yeah. Well, look, I mean, this is this is where stars are made. I think we can argue that Well, I mean, we got two quarterbacks. I think the AFC game is a little bit more compelling. And again, it almost always boils down to the the quarterbacks and play. Joe burrow continues to win the continues to win the NFL. I mean, Patrick mahomes is it's interesting how Patrick mahomes is sort of the almost the establishment sort of the almost the goat like figure and Joe Burrows is coming for the crown. And Doug, it kind of feels like Joe burrow is going to take that ground. And and let me give you another sort of something to respond to. If I'm the Cincinnati Bengals, Joe burrow is the highest paid quarterback in the NFL next year. I'm not waiting. I'm locking that up immediately.

Doug Battle 7:53

Yeah, it's like you got Tom Brady. I remember wanting the giants to trade Daniel Jones and say Quan Barkley to trade up and their first round pick to train up in the draft to get Joe burrow because I was that big of a believer, and him and he's, he surpassed my expectations. But, you know, I'm hesitant. Mike, you started to make a prediction there with Joe burrow and Patrick mahomes. I'm hesitant to make any kind of predictions after last week. I had made a prediction about Tom Brady, beating the Cowboys confidently which aired after the game. And I also was throwing a lot of love toward Daniel Jones, who I still thinks just needs an offensive line as a Giants fan. But yeah, as did to make any kind of predictions. But Joe burrow this last week in the snow against Josh at Josh Allen, by many has kind of been thought of as that next guy behind mahomes It was Brady for the longest time and then mahomes took the throne. And Josh Allen a lot of people are kind of eager for him to overtake mahomes For whatever reason. And so I was I mean, I will say going into that game, I was like man, I hate that one of these teams has to lose, but in Buffalo in the snow for Joe burrow does show up and perform. I mean that you talked about this is where legends are made. That game will certainly be in his documentary, you know, passing, you know, in dominant fashion, beating a Josh Allen led Bill's team that a lot of people had a Super Bowl favorites all year long on their home field, in the snow. Unbelievable. And on the flip side, like I mentioned Daniel Jones. Last week, I talked about the difference between Jones and burrow. Because in professional sports, a lot of times there's such a marginal difference between these players who are viewed as absolutely elite and these players who are viewed as duds. And I mean playoffs. You said this is where legends are made. This is where for one Week Daniel Jones was legitimized because he won a playoff game. And then he was discarded by the media and by a lot of people because the Giants lost a playoff game. Joe burrow is winning those games. And maybe it's because he's on a better team. I don't but I mean, maybe it's because he's Joe burrow. Right. And it's, it's, it's like, you're gonna bet against him in any big game, regardless of how under match his team is. It's getting hard to do that.

Mike Lewis 10:25

Well. I mean, it's, in look, these sort of some small things that don't, that in some ways don't matter, but in other ways are incredibly important. Yeah. I mean, you know, on Instagram, you know, just scrolling through the feed, Instagram will not stop showing me the little clip where burrow is warming up. And he's throwing the ball well in advance of the receiver but he's also spinning during warm warm ups. You know, he looks like he's having a it looks like he's having a great time out there. It almost it looks like like ESPN is like shooting it for a documentary. The production values are so good on that. And then in the postgame where you know, the the sideline reporters asking him about next week and the first thing out of his mouth is well, better get those refunds out there on the tickets for the neutral site game that would have happened, right? He dominated the the before the during and the after. And I think that's what that's the magic of this of this guy. Right. It's we started. We fell in love with Joe burrow as a as a show last year and it continues Doug. Joe burrow is our quarterback if we ever have a fantasy football. We were drafted Joe burrow first.

Doug Battle 11:37

Joe burrow number one overall. Yeah, he I mean, and he did it at LSU. I mean, crazy crazy thing about burrow is that his junior year at LSU. He was viewed as kind of a placeholder quarterback, and he annihilated Georgia. And I went to that game and I was like, I thought it was just a one hit wonder he just played out of his mind for one day. But as it turns out, that's another day in the office for him. But you know, comparing him against a guy like mahomes mahomes is so spectacular and so unique as a player with burrow, it's hard to put your finger on what makes him special on the field. In college it was he was sneaky elusive, which I don't know that that's as much a part of his game in the NFL. He's certainly not doing design runs or anything like that on a regular basis. He just has the intangibles and he's he's got the same like, for example, comparing him against Daniel Jones, which I know sounds ridiculous, but physically similar prospects. Jones might be faster, he might have a bigger arm. I'm not sure. He is a leader. He's a good kid, you know, but it's like Burroughs got this, like sixth sense or something that just sets him apart. And more times than not in the NFL. That's, that's what makes the great ones great. And so Joe burrow. I mean, I'm seeing those jerseys everywhere now. I never saw I don't think since Chad Ochocinco have I seen a Bengals jersey? In public? And I'm seeing those those burrow jerseys. You know he's one of those guys. Girls love them guys want to be him guys respect him. And he's universally loved. It seems that might honestly be his biggest problem is he doesn't have enough haters like a LeBron or like a Tom Brady.

Mike Lewis 13:24

Hey, the question is, When are they going to start to arise?

Doug Battle 13:27

I know it's a matter of time.

Mike Lewis 13:29

But it in some ways. That's what makes him so remarkable. I mean, again, now I'm talking from a marketing perspective, right. We had that we were talking aways back about you know, who is who is universally loved. I think we came up with Shaquille O'Neal. Charles Barkley. Joe burrow. Right.

Doug Battle 13:46

All right now for the time until he beat somebody's team in the AFC Championship. Next week on a bad call or something, you know, with Brady with Brady, it was the deflate gate, and I'm gonna Raiders.

Mike Lewis 14:00

I'm a Steelers fan by history. I don't care when burl beats the Steelers. There's some sort of magic cap. Now.

Doug Battle 14:07

I'll say this. And I probably have said this before I went to the SEC championship game. And I guess it was 2019. Georgia would have made the college football playoff if they won that game. They had a very good team. And LSU of course, had I was having a historic year. I remember paying money for that ticket. And people were like, oh, that's, you know, I paid a decent amount of money. It wasn't anything crazy, but it crazy is relative, you know, it just means more in the SEC. And I had people telling me, you know, Georgia is gonna lose that game and you're gonna be you're gonna feel like you just threw away all that money. And I was like, no, not because if, if Georgia wins, they will have beaten one of the best teams in football history to make the college football playoff. If Georgia loses. I get to watch Joe burrow be great in person and get to tell my grandkids that I saw Joe burrow carve up one of the As defenses in the country and I wasn't even mad about it, I was sitting there my jaw on the floor, watching him evade, you know, Trayvon Walker and the pass rush and throwing it downfield, Jamar Chase and Justin Jefferson, just absolute carving up my team. I wasn't mad. And it's my team that I went to school there. I love you know, I bleed red and black is what everybody says. I wasn't mad. I was like, this kid is phenomenal. I know a lot of friends. Like I know some friend girls at Georgia who walked away from that game and were they had a crush on Joe burrow. They were like, they called they had a nickname for him and everything. But he became you know, nobody likes Jake Fromm. Everyone likes Joe burrow, and he's the guy that beat. So that was that was how it worked after that game.

Mike Lewis 15:50

Okay, so then Doug, play General Manager here. And we got to remember, you know, Dak Prescott makes $40 million a year Kyler Murray makes $46 million a year. All these guys make, you know, all these sort of top 10 Maybe top 15 Maybe top 20 Guys in terms of how it's actually playing out, make $40 million a year. Joe burrow has what I think two more years before, he's an unrestricted free agent.

Doug Battle 16:26

As if he's going to be an unrestricted free agent. Well, okay. But then, you know, oh, Lamar Jackson on us.

Mike Lewis 16:33

When does Cincinnati pay him? I mean, you know, and is, if I'm sensing if he takes them to the Super Bowl, and he wins a Super Bowl. I mean, it's, it ends up being kind of a strange situation, are you going to make him wait another year to to, you know, or another two years to get him paid. And when you look at what some of these other guys are making and and again, it's almost like this notion of like, if it's a guy that we think can someday get us to deep playoff runs, and maybe if the stars aligned, get us to a Superbowl. And then you you're looking at a guy that has changed the face of a franchise, the Bengals the Bengals are bottom tier NFL brand, right? The Bengals may be a very legitimate NFL brand and a decade after Joe burrow. Yeah, so what do you think you're gonna pay him $50 million a year, you're gonna pay him $4 million more than Kyler Murray a year.

Doug Battle 17:33

Kyler. Murray has definitely overpaid in that situation. But well, yeah, it's like you need to find a way to set it where he's always going to be the highest paid even next year when somebody tries to reset the market. Because Joe burrow deserves that as a player. And, well, the same floods on the homes.

Mike Lewis 17:53

Is he the most important I mean, maybe mahomes is the other one here. The most important guys to their franchises in the NFL, is those two, right?

Doug Battle 18:03

And you could say Josh Allen or Justin Herbert. I don't know. I think they've got to have the level of success in the in the postseason to earn that. And right now it's burrow, taken a team that drafted him first two years prior meaning they were the worst team in the league to a Super Bowl appearance last year. And an AFC Championship this year with a chance to do it again. Just absolutely incredible. Everyone loves him. And you mentioned the value he brings to the Cincinnati Bengals. I was watching them this week. And I the thought occurred to me. I used to always think the Bengals jerseys were ugly. And now I think they look cool.

Mike Lewis 18:44

That's perfect. That's beautiful. I

Doug Battle 18:46

think they look cool. I'm like, I would wear one of those. Like that's like the cool thing. I see him around, you know that number nine would burrow on the back. It's just like, it's I don't know, it's when the dirt when an ugly Jersey starts to look cool because of a player and the success that he's bringing that. That is that's a special player. And I got to ask Mike, why aren't we seeing Joe burrow in every commercial? Why are we still seeing Baker Mayfield and

Mike Lewis 19:13

I can't figure it out, you know, and again, I don't want to bash mahomes But I can't imagine that you know I mean if I'm a brand and I'm looking like it I mean it's think about like the the Rodgers and mahomes StateFarm ads, I think it states or maybe but state farm or Allstate Insurance adds state man at a minimum I'm pairing borough with a guy like with a guy like Rogers or a guy like you know, someone that if I'm not just putting you know, I'm not just given the keys to the Add to burrow. I'm pairing him with a Shaq or a Rogers because I think he's you know, I've said it so many times now. That guy is market sports, Marketing Gold

Doug Battle 20:00

But nobody's it doesn't seem like and the grand scheme of things I'm just shocked after last year superball is like he's gonna be in every commercial from now until he's the new Michael Jordan. He's gonna be wearing Hanes can be drinking Coke. He's gonna be drinking Gatorade, he's gonna, you know, we haven't actually seen that with him.

Mike Lewis 20:19

You know, maybe, and I can't quite figure this out. Maybe no one knows quite what to do with them.

Doug Battle 20:28

Yeah, I guess I mean, you've got Kawhi Leonard and Jack Harlow and New Balance commercials. And so I don't know. I don't know if anybody knows what to do with any of these guys, but burrow just seems like an easy one to me.

Mike Lewis 20:43

I would think so. I don't quite get it either. But there's gotta be come on someone out there Nike, someone step up and you know, run with it. I had no idea.

Doug Battle 20:53

little sidebar conversation here. But this week, I saw Steph Curry and some ridiculous ad. And you know, we've seen Nick Saban, and ridiculous ads for Aflac for years. And he keeps doing I mean, it's just every time I see him, I have to think about being on set and being the one to tell him what to say and how to behave and how weird that would be. When you're a guy like Steph Curry or like Nick Saban, where you're you have all the success on the field or on the court, and you're set like you money is not you don't have to worry, you don't have to take little side gigs, to put money on the table for your family or for your family's family. What inspires these guys to go out and do ads, even ones that seem to compromise their integrity, or their legitimacy or seriousness, as a as an athlete or as a coach? Because part of me with burrow is like maybe he's getting those offers? And he's just like, why would I spend my free time doing an Aflac commercial when I don't need the money? And that looks goofy?

Mike Lewis 22:01

That's a good, it's a good question. Because I, I mean, I think there's, I'm gonna speculate that there's two things. So there's one, there's one element that is just what people want to do. You know, people always want sort of more fame and more attention and more, more money. And the other part of it is I'll blame Michael Jordan, is there something in here that Jordan really did change sports and all these guys now. And even if they're not naturally inclined to it, they have an agent that thinks of them as a brand, right? And Doug, if you're this brand, I mean, but but but when you put it that way, it is kind of remarkable some of the ads they get into right.

Doug Battle 22:39

And some weird stuff in

Mike Lewis 22:41

general, but you know, but But again, it worked for Jordan right? Ballpark, Frank's Hanes underwear, I mean, Gatorade and McDonald's is he you know, he kind of had a lot of variability there in terms of the the categories.

Doug Battle 22:54

Yeah, I love McDonald's. It's like, you know, athletically, Jordan was built by McDonald's, they were crucial to his success.

Mike Lewis 23:04

Well, I mean, I mean, I like I don't think, okay, and so, you know, my homes, you know, mahomes narrative and all this is kind of funny to me, because mahomes is only what, 567 years and still say six years into the league, and I thought you're

Doug Battle 23:19

gonna say five, six, and I was like, That's Kyler Murray. Yeah, I don't I've lost track. I mean, it's, he's one of those guys where it's like, he's been the young guy for forever. And now it's like, Wait, there's not the young guy anymore.

Mike Lewis 23:34

But he, you know, but so he's now so firmly established that it's almost, you know, it's like, he doesn't get enough he doesn't get enough credit. And maybe he's gotta win the Super Bowls in the only thing that he can actually do is to win Super Bowls to get in the conversation of is, is he the next you know, goat? Is he going to surpass Brady? He's a remarkable a buddy. You goes back to something you said. You watch a game and you watch the highlights. He's remarkable. Compared to

Doug Battle 24:06

he's like, it's like watching Steph Curry. Yeah, it's like he's doing things that people haven't been doing.

Mike Lewis 24:11

But there's, there's layer of, there's an element of like magic to his games. But on the other side of it. I mean, you know, it's you hate to criticize these guys. He's terrible in those ads. He's not he's not good. He doesn't have the I heard someone say he's, you know, he doesn't. He doesn't have the star power outside of the game. So he ends up kind of this very, sort of strange mixed bag in terms of his position and all this. But, you know, look, if I'm in the NFL and I'm looking at it. I think at the beginning of the season, they would have drawn up it's like okay, mahomes versus Josh Allen, the establishment guy, you know, the the great versus the guy trying to earn his stripes. Um, look In addition, I'm going wow, this is perfect. This is, you know, better. Yeah, this is even better.

Doug Battle 25:06

Yeah, it is. And I was getting back to my homes, there has always been like, I don't know, it's not like he's a bad guy. You know, it's not like there's any real issue or any real criticism anyone has. I've never heard of a real valid criticism of his care. I don't think there's any criticism at all is there? Yeah. But for whatever reason, it's like, I don't know if it's the way he talks or what, but it's like he's not universally loved. Or universally, he doesn't strike a chord in the same way that a guy like burrow does. And you see that in the NBA? With, like, I think, right, even well, going back. I think Tim Duncan statistically had a pretty equivalent career to Kobe Bryant, and you didn't hear a peep about Duncan retiring. You know, he wasn't in all the ads, he wasn't the guy like he was not a marketing guy. He just wasn't him. mahomes at least puts himself out there. And he goes for it. And he shoots for that stuff. And I'm sure he'll have a future in broadcasting or something. Because he seems like he's positioning himself for that. But you know, today in the NBA, it's like some of those best players dancik. And in yoke, it's like people can't pronounce their names. People don't. from different cultures and Americans, I just, I don't feel like marketers know what to do with those guys, where it's like, you might have the next Jordan and Luca dodge, like, statistically, he's on pace. But they don't even really do much with him. And I feel like, burrow again is like the polar opposite, where it's like, this is like, you just got handed a gift, like, this is so easy. He's Michael Jordan, in football form, in Cincinnati, without a gambling problem, or perceived gambling problem. And he's Joe Cool. He's, I mean, the name is literally already there. for that. It's like it just it's so easy. And it's just amazing to me that we're not seeing him. And every ad like we are with even a Patrick mahomes who, like I said is it for whatever reason is not universally loved in the same way. I personally hypothesis is that said that weird is that it's with his his voice is just kind of different, different to listen to.

Mike Lewis 27:22

And you know, like, and I'll say this thing about Joe burrow, and then let's get to the other quarterbacks in the AFC because I think those are interesting narratives as well. Yeah, I'll even put it out there, that the other athletic brands and I don't know if he's got to deal with Nike, or this seems like the deals are always with Nike burrow might be this kind of very unique game changer in that, if I'm Adidas, or Puma, or, you know, whoever. He could be the guy that changes the changes the status quo. I mean, you know, you look forward and even you look forward and you think about, you know, football being the only true mass market sport left. You know, it was definitely a Jordan Nike partnership that did great things for both of them. Adidas or Puma, or whoever wants to Under Armour, you know. And again, you know, probably it's sort of just talking nonsense here, because burrow probably has a lucrative deal with one of those companies already. But probably that is, that is something that is not that's probably the part of the story that is not being exploited as much as it should. Okay, Doug, the guy's Josh Allen. Is his narrative changing to being Oh, he's Jim Kelly, part two,

Doug Battle 28:37

you know, narrative like overreaction narrative, maybe?

Mike Lewis 28:40

I don't know. Definitely over here. I

Doug Battle 28:43

was like, Is that who he actually is? No, but I mean, that difficulty for him. And I mean, any of these guys in the AFC, AFC is just loaded with it used to just be you had to get through Tom Brady. And that's pretty much it.

Mike Lewis 28:59

Okay, well, let me add to this, and then you can keep going. Trevor Lawrence is a top 10 quarterback in this league now. Yes. Yeah. Okay. So he's, he's the guy. He's also this. This is after he's done, what he's done. After two seasons, we look at the data that third year. Trevor Lawrence is the real deal to the AFC is loaded with these kinds of

Doug Battle 29:21

Floto quarterbacks and so it's like the and great not just quarterbacks. Great teams. Great coach. I mean, Andy Reid, and he's not a historically great run with Kansas City. And so it's people don't view them like the page, you know, when you kind of got a pass when you would lose the Brady and the Patriots because it was like, well, it's Brady and the Patriots. I mean, the chiefs are on that kind of run, I think they would have been competitive with those teams. And so it makes it really difficult for teams like the bills and guys like Josh Allen, I think they had a great chance this year with the home field in the snow. That's just that's got a crush that fan base who's incredibly passionate as we all know, but um, Yeah, overreaction might be, it's kind of like, I've referenced this before, it reminds me of when LeBron wasn't winning finals. And people were saying he's never going to win when he doesn't have the finals gene, he doesn't have that in him. And I think that it was a matter of time. And these guys who are going to play long careers, it's going to happen eventually, you just keep you stay at that level where you're, you're giving yourself a shot every year it's gonna happen. Or the refs are gonna rigged in your favor, depending on if you're a conspiracy theorist or not. But what Josh Allen, you know, that's my, like, long term view. It's like, he's one of the greats he's, you know, the bills are gonna keep knocking on the door, and nothing's changing to keep keep them from being competitive in the future. But it and again, like Kirby smart at Georgia, when they were losing the Alabama the first time it was like, Oh, dang, there'll be back next year. And then the next year, when they lose a heartbreak at Alabama has like, they're never going to beat Alabama, they need to move on, they need to move on to a guy who can do it, you know, who can get them over the hump. And then once they do it, it's like, oh, he's the greatest of all time, everyone forgets that that was a narrative. And I feel like that'll be Josh Allen with the chiefs and with the Bengals where, you know, he's right now, that's the narrative, but give it time, if you're a Bills fan, because you're in a very, very good spot, they're well positioned to be back.

Mike Lewis 31:21

Well, small point, very small point, in a way also, you know, potentially, something that drives the NFL nuts, potentially, you're looking at a situation where your best teams in the AFC are located in Kansas City, Cincinnati, buffalo, Jacksonville, that's got to hurt in a way.

Doug Battle 31:43

Yeah. And they don't have that infrastructure. The NBA is where all the great players always end up playing for the big cities. For for the most part, there's the exception of Yanis and Milwaukee, but it still feels inevitable. It's like that guy is gonna end up in LA or New York or somewhere eventually, even though he might be he might be an exception because his personalities a little different. But like Zion Williamson, I'll be shocked if he's in New Orleans for his you know, for the long haul, if he ends up being the star that many project him to be. The NFL though guys came to stay put, I think the incentives are there for them financially with the way a contracts are structured. And so Lamar Jackson, you know, if he jumps around, and he has a lot of success, or Daniel Jones this offseason, like there's a couple opportunities for it to change with a couple of unrestricted free agents at quarterback. But largely these guys get signed before they become an unrestricted free agent, and they tend to stay put. So if if that stays the same, you know, if you don't have Josh Allen leaving the bills to go play for the Rams, or you know, just in a big market, the Giants or something that would be wild, the Jets, the Cowboys, like if you don't see that the NFL? I don't know, I don't know how they changed their strategy, where it's like, did they go for like a more localized fan base? Or do they build the national appeal of these local teams that largely have local fan bases. And as we know, with the bills, for example, as much as their fan base is perceived as great and mighty? Like you've looked at the numbers and onScale, they don't have that national presence that teams like the Cowboys have that these bigger market teams do have?

Mike Lewis 33:27

Yeah, I mean, I think they just, you know, in some ways, probably the worst thing they could do is try and fix something, right? I mean, just let it play out. Well, that play out. Okay, so you mentioned Daniel Jones and the NFC side of this equation. I think the two most interesting quarterback narratives and people might disagree with me on these are the two guys that lost you know, Daniel Jones, I think did a lot of work for himself. He's gonna be he's gonna be a very interesting maybe not as he's not gonna get the attention that Jackson is gonna get. But I'm really fascinated by how his quarterback contracts, you know, his free agency is going to kind of play out. And man, I mean, talk about the overreactions. dasp Dak Prescott one week ago was on a roll and then you know, you look at him this morning on that with the talking heads absolutely pilloried just destroyed you know, and it's like the way things switch for the Dallas Cowboys and and you know, Dallas Cowboys quarterback are really, really remarkable. And, you know, in some ways, it's, it ends up being justified, right, because Jerry Jones is probably going to, you know, uh, you know, well, of course, the great thing that quote the burro when they asked him about the his championship window, and he said something along the lines of well, as long as I'm playing here, but for the Cowboys is the Cowboys championship window rapidly closing and so does something have to be majorly overhauled there. Maybe,

Doug Battle 34:58

I don't know, I guess It's weird with the Cowboys because I remember Tony Romo years and feeling like oh, they're Windows closing with Tony Romo. And it's like every year, they have no excuse. It's like they have a great offensive line really saw a defense, like a top 10, NFL quarterback, really good playmakers that receiver, like it's been that way for almost my entire life. They are always the over dogs, and they never achieve anything. And so I'm not surprised to see overreactions with Dak Prescott. But I mean, we've seen it both ways with him. But, you know, cowboys shouldn't have resigned them. And then they did sign them and he plays great. It's like they should have signed up for longer, like, Whatever, whatever the deal, or they should have signed them sooner, like they risked losing a an elite guy.

Mike Lewis 35:48

I think if I might be wrong here. I think he's got two years left on the deal. I don't think they're resigning him, you know, it two years left is probably time to start thinking about the extension. Right. And they're probably going to let that play out, I think.

Doug Battle 36:03

Yeah, we'll see. I mean, I'm still kind of curious to see, do you see Brock party have some success for the 15th and for San Francisco 40 Niners with Dallas Cooper Rush was on a run earlier this year. And I, who knows, but there might be a faction of that fan base who feels like Man, we should have just rode the hot hand. We should have kept with it. And of course, I want him to say Hindsight is 2020 because that may not that's likely not the best option but that's how that's how fans react to these things. And so interesting situation never drama free in Dallas.

Mike Lewis 36:39

Okay, let me tell you about Brock Purdy surrounded for the second most yards in the playoffs so far. Nice. Tied for a while now he's throwing three touchdown passes with zero interceptions. In terms of the QBR and the passer rating metric way up there. Doug, you know it, you know that I look at quarterback data a lot. I have no idea what to make of Brock party. It's like some of these guys, you know, it's like, again, sort of the limits of statistics and data and analytics. I don't know what it means. And so maybe I'm under estimating the importance of that story just because I don't get it. And I kind of feel like the bubble could pop any minutes. I have no idea. Yeah, it

Doug Battle 37:27

it's weird because I've seen it go both ways. Like I saw Tony Romo have his little Linsanity run at first. And then he sustained that like he was one of the top NFL quarterbacks for some time really for the majority of his career as a starter. And on the flip side, are seeing Hi Nikki in Washington for the Washington armored commander football team. And thinking this guy could be the next Romo because he he's a gamer, he's got a lot of heart and he can sling it and he's, and it's like, he fizzled out. And so with Purdy it's like, Is he is he a Heineken or is he a Romo? And of course, the ultimate example, even further than Romo is Tom Brady, for that. And like you said earlier in this podcast, this is where legends are made. But also, you know, to finish that this is also where people were quickly forgotten. Daniel Jones quickly forgotten Josh Allen this playoffs like could have been his year, he could have become a great one. But nope, he's he's, that's not even in. That's

Mike Lewis 38:31

rapidly moved from, you know, amazing to, you know, the Cowboys got to make a move with you know, and again, ever win it with him. You think about how close that game actually was, if he throws one more touchdown pass, then again, they're, they're talking about building monuments to him. So yes, it is. It's

Doug Battle 38:49

an oftentimes it's out of the hands of these players who are who are getting the judgment from the fans and from the press. But that's, that's just how it works in sports. And so, party's one of those guys, if he wins on Sunday, or Saturday whenever they're playing. He will be the biggest story going into the Superbowl. He will be you know, he they will make statues of him in San Francisco the Niners are going to have to trade trade Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo and it'll be a very huge story national phenom covers Sports Illustrated if they lose he's forgotten He's third string next year. You know train Lance and Jimmy G get the get the nod over him and he had a nice little run and did his job as a backup so that's how pivotal these games are for the perception of these players and of these teams and even coaches and so like you said we're Legends are Made but like I said, we're people are quickly forgotten and potential as legends are erased from history.

Mike Lewis 39:52

You know, in the guy that I think I've been almost completely despite how much focus I have on quarterback Next. I still don't know what the thing about Jalen Hertz. I just don't I mean, you know, it's like, I definitely undervalued him in terms of his contribution going into the season. And I look, I, you know, we do tend to see these ramp ups of improvement, rapid improvement over the first three years. I don't know. I wish I could get my head around hurts in terms of figuring out just what his long term prognosis is. But I don't have much of a sense do you? Do you have an opinion, a strong opinion about it,

Doug Battle 40:35

my gut feel on hurts is that he's a better Dak Prescott. And my comp for him in the draft was that he can be a Dak Prescott. Now, I have to kind of analyze myself here. Because had, let's say the Eagles, played the Niners and lost a close one and the Cowboys played the Giants and blew him out. I might be saying, you know, he's a poor man's Dak Prescott. So getting back to how much the outcomes of these games plays into our perception of these players. Jalen hertz nonetheless, to me, that's, that's he's that type of quarterback. I think he's probably it's funny, because I'm, like, analyzing myself in my head. And as I say this, you know, he's arguably a better leader.

Mike Lewis 41:21

You know, what part of I think bothers me about hurts is the fact that he lost his job in college. To to. Yeah, and I think I'm overly any sort of talk about cognitive biases and all this, that if you lose your job in college, it's hard for me to think you're going to be that really top level Pro. But he is now in a position where suddenly he can start to approach that, that elite, that elite level, a guy that can go to the Super Bowl and potentially win Super Bowls. But I do wonder if he had kept his job at it at Alabama, would we be looking what I you know, I'll self correct. Would I be looking at him as a fundamentally different entity?

Doug Battle 42:03

Absolutely. And you have to I mean, I have to remember, Joe burrow lost out to JT Barrett, and Dwayne Haskins, and an Ohio State and had a transfer. And that's where for him, he was viewed as a placeholder that first year because everyone's like, Oh, they got a transfer kid that got beat out at another school. And so, and then on the flip side, like, of course, I pull from Georgia, because I fought pretty closely. But like, Jermaine Johnson, was a guy that was second team on the pass rush. And Georgia was loaded ended up being a first round pick out of Florida State because he transferred and he played well. And it's like, if it might seem undrafted and be like, Man, I would rather not have a guy who got beat out and transferred. And so I totally get that with Jalen hertz, where it's like, it feels like he can't be topped here because he wasn't even the top guy at one college school. Regardless how great that school is. You think if he's got that, like, Joe burrow and um, if he's got that, like, Killer Instinct, or that, you know, intangible that put separates him from the rest, that that wouldn't happen. And so, and I think you see that with quarterbacks all the time, I think there's a lot of guys who transfer in college, and I think it hurts their, you know, perception, because it's like, Well, this guy, he's second tier, he had to transfer to play. And so I think that's where Jalen hertz is maybe, like, breaking that.

Mike Lewis 43:31

And maybe it's just a function of, you know, I mean, again, we think in terms of these narratives that are played out there, right, if someone loses a quarterback battle, it's like they were they were defeated by the eventual protagonist, right? And, you know, I mean, and again, and I'll give it a Georgia example, I'll give it a Georgia example for a change. You know, who's that kid? Yeah, JT Daniels was supposed to be the, the gunslinger the, the highly talented gunslinger coming in with the big NIHL deals. And he lost that battle to the mailman. Right, the, the, you know, the walk on. And I think that's kind of devastating to how people perceive Daniel's and now he's going somewhere and transferred a couple of times. And it's, it's amazing. I mean, and I think part of it is he lost to a guy whose narrative was, oh, this is just a plucky kid getting by on you know, hard and drive without a lot of natural talent. And you know what, that may not be the case. I mean, Stetson is projected to be what a fourth or fifth round draft pick.

Doug Battle 44:41

Yeah, like on the flip side, I mean, it's that's it's a four time MVP of college football playoff game. So if you in retrospect, if you haven't, finalist, right, if in retrospect, if you have a Heisman Trophy finalist transfer into Georgia while JT is there, and he beats him, it's a different story than and first of all, JT never got beat. And a quarterback battle JT got hurt. Same thing I haven't Jacob Eason and I still to this day will say this about JT Daniels. I first off, I never thought he was like a first round talent in the NFL. But the perception of him was sky high when he came in at Georgia. And with that offense taking the next leap under Todd Monken, the offensive coordinator who came in and modernize the Georgia offense, and I thought Georgia was going to win championships like they have. And I felt like and I still feel like 2021 They had a pretty good shot of doing it with JT Daniels had he led Georgia to their first national championship as a former five star not a walk on as a former Five Star had he been the guy to transfer him from USC, lead Georgia to their first national championship and over 40 years, and be a Heisman final. If he had achieved everything that Stetson achieved, which he easily like he was on pace for prior to injury. He was on pace for first round pick, first or second round pick, cover Sports Illustrated. The perception is that he's this elite talent. But he gets hurt. Stetson goes in there, wins a bunch of games he has to transfer he ends up in a really bad situation without an offensive line in West Virginia. They have another quarterback who's better for playing behind you know better scrambler better, more elusive better quarterback when you don't have an offensive line. So he has to transfer the rice at this point like I don't know if he gets drafted. When when his time comes the NFL so it's that it's that big a difference in perception. Whether you and another Georgia example real briefly. Jacob Eason, freshman year Georgia put up comparatively better numbers. The Matthew Stafford did his first year at Georgia. He was every mock drafts number one pick for two years in the future. So after his junior year, everyone had him go number one overall gets hurt Jake Fromm plays ECNs to transfer Eastern ends up being like, I don't know, fourth to sixth round pick really late pick. And not to say it's like he deserved an earlier pick. But we've seen lesser, Zach Wilson, like we've seen lesser quarterbacks go or lesser upside, you know, less prototypical quarterbacks go that early. And I still think had he stayed at Georgia, had he not gotten hurt had he been the one to lead Georgia to the Rose Bowl and all that, that he would have been, he would have been a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft two years later. And so he's amazing. Just the perception that comes with these transfers in these situations.

Mike Lewis 47:36

Doug, sometimes I think there's something off about me because when you said Zach Wilson, all I could think was God, I wish he was successful.

Doug Battle 47:45

I think a lot of people in the preseason was just wondering

Mike Lewis 47:48

how I look at sports. I'm still rooting for that. I mean, okay. Or to wrap things up? What are you looking for this? We don't usually do predictions and I'm not going to make a prediction. I'm gonna sort of give you what I want to have happen. What do you you can predict the games you can tell me what you want to see happen?

Doug Battle 48:08

Yeah, I'm curious to see if Patrick mahomes plays and how hampered he is if he wins the game on a high ankle sprain again against Joe burrow, because now burrows legitimized it to make the Super Bowl that's going to be an all time gritty, tough it out goat status performance by mahomes. And of course, on the flip side, if if burrow beats mahomes Again, I think people start to talk about burrow as the guy like he's he wasn't a fluke the first time the Bengals are back in the Super Bowl. burrow is the alpha of not just the AFC but the NFL. And so that say Why are

Mike Lewis 48:53

you picking the Bengals are you hoping for the Bengals?

Doug Battle 48:58

I'm hoping for the Bengals. I don't hate the chiefs. I just I liked the Bengals. You know, I like Joe burrow.

Mike Lewis 49:04

Let me let me sort of deal with the

Doug Battle 49:06

injury to mahomes I would almost feel I would probably have to favor the Bengals until I see that he he's okay. Yeah.

Mike Lewis 49:12

I mean, it's I think I saw some are heard a stat that borrows the first guy to win three his first three NFL playoff games on the road, which makes you wonder, you know how, you know how far can this go along? But all he's doing this all on the road as well. But it is is a remarkable thing. mahomes Completely remarkable talent, unquestioned talent, you know, if you look statistically the best quarterback in the NFL easily this last year. I'm 100% rooting for Joe burrow. You know, it's the story I want to see. I want to see happen. It's, it's the most compelling it's the most compelling way that this can go. Now. I mean, I suppose if you're all if you're the NFL, you almost want to go for mahomes Almost setting This up is like a you know Frazier Ollie these guys going back and forth your your Manning and Brady kind of battle go Bengals

Doug Battle 50:09

yeah and then in the NFC i i would love to see party do it. I would love to see the Niners do it but it's I can't pick against the Eagles right now they are red hot. They're playing great football. You know as much as we feel like we don't know what to make out of Jalen Hertz. He feels like a proven commodity relative to Brock Purdy relative to the 40 knives for hardest just have a good football team. They've they've won games with three quarterbacks this year. And so I think people don't appreciate how good like top to bottom that football team is. And so that may be a more competitive game than many think it will be but it's hard to I can't pick against the Eagles right now. Would love to see it but thinking Eagles either Super Bowl, I mean, eagles chiefs Eagles I want to Eagles bills before like I thought that would be a great matchup for the Super Bowl but burrow versus the Eagles. I mean, it's and let's get back to Alabama vs LSU a quarterback and college rivalry ties into it. So it's they can't go wrong. The NFL can go wrong. Brock Purdy making a Super Bowl would be a huge it'd be like Stetson Bennett in college, you know, it'd be the same. Same story. The

Mike Lewis 51:31

the three teams I got most wrong admire and well I'll return to my preseason forecast. The three teams I got the most wrong were the Cleveland Browns, the San Francisco 40 Niners and the Philadelphia Eagles. And you know, different reasons for all of that, you know, the suspension of Deshaun Watson and he came back and he was fairly terrible when he came back. Not really no, not foreseeing the jump by Jalen Hertz. And the 40 Niners man I don't you know, when you isolate the quarterback talent that is there and you say that, you know, Garoppolo is kind of a plus one kind of a breakeven guy, kind of an average talent historically. And you say, well, a guy like Trey Lance, a rookie is probably going to be a minus three guy and Brock party. You know, that's got to be a minus something. And then you look at how well they've performed the only takeaway is that that is truly a remarkable team that's been assembled. It's one of these very rare teams where the quarterback the quarterback, doesn't really need to drive what what's happening. Yeah, that said parties numbers of three touchdowns, no interceptions, second most yards thrown for in in the in the postseason. Remarkable stuff. So what I want to have happen 100% I want San Francisco versus Well, I want 30 versus burrow in the Super Bowl. I mean, kind of a fun one too, especially after all these years of kind of these 42 year olds, 38 year olds to go sort of completely in the opposite direction of these these young guys that are, you know, kind of, and again, you know, burrowing magic. And I just, you know, party seems like it'd be kind of a fun story for a change.

Doug Battle 53:17

Yeah, and you know, if I'm the NFL I would almost if party is going to be in I'd rather be against mahomes than burrow just because I almost feel it'd be better to have like that establishment guy versus the long shot kid. And I don't know that borrows quite establishment yet. I think he will be after this year. But he's still kind of thought of as the kid you know, the, the kid with moxie. So, we'll see. We'll see how it plays out. But I'm, I'm looking forward to some good football and not caring about the Pro Bowl or any of that. Until they add like a basketball game or a volleyball game or a one handed catch contest. So

Mike Lewis 54:06

Doug, it's good to help for something that was never gonna happen, but I'll see future changes to the pro ball because flag football ain't the answer. And I'll give the NFL a hint. Right everything you do works because it all has this aspect of hope. I don't know exactly how you translate that to the Pro Bowl. Maybe you played the play the Pro Bowl in the summer and it's just rookies but you know, you gotta get up. You gotta go into what actually works for you spectacle and ope. With that, let's let's cut it here as always more Till next week.



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