By mid-morning the greatest QB in the history of the NFL, Tom Brady, formally announced his retirement. That triggered a news cycle that many thought would dominate the day. After all, Brady is the biggest winner in the game and has amazed us by playing at an elite level at the age of 44. That story alone would have normally last two days or more of praise and memories but not this day.
A sitting college football coach on the eve of National Signing Day may have been in his office saying goodbye to staffers and friends. Jim Harbaugh had been recruiting and telling players why they should come to Michigan. At the same time, stories emerged that Harbaugh was going to meet with the Minnesota Vikings about the head coaching vacancy. That's right, on the day a few more players might choose to go to Michigan, the head coach of the program is apparently meeting with an NFL team and is expected to accept an offer. And if Harbaugh takes the Vikings' job then Matt Rhule, the sitting Carolina Panthers head coach, is said to be the top choice to take over at Michigan. Such a move would add the Panthers to the list of NFL teams needing to fill a vacancy. But then again, David Tepper- owner of the Panthers, signed Rhule to a seven-year contract worth $62M and apparently has been thinking about getting rid of Rhule anyway.
Then came the news that Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams chose to transfer to USC and play for Lincoln Riley. Riley was the reason Williams chose to go to Norman in the first place. The choice is not surprising but Williams waited and apparently gave thought and consideration to LSU and Wisconsin before choosing LA as his new home. That was the big college football news for a few hours.
Later in the day, Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin gave a press conference and went off on NIL and started talking about salary caps and paying players millions of dollars and basically accused Texas A&M of spending $25M on a recruiting class. By the way, that rumor has been out there for weeks.
Then news came that Kevin Steele, long time college football defensive coordinator who worked with Gus Malzahn at Auburn as recently as 2020, had accepted the DC job at Miami to go work with Mario Cristobal. This comes days after Steele had agreed to take the same position at Maryland. Steele was out recruiting last week for the school and in his office on Tuesday when he announced he was leaving for south Florida.
Next up was the biggest bombshell of the day when news came that former Miami Dolphins' coach Brian Flores was suing three NFL teams and the league alleging discrimination regarding the interview process. The suit contains details alleging Dolphins' owner Stephen Ross offered him money to lose games, wouldn't meet with a potential QB(supposedly Tom Brady) who Ross was recruiting and more. The lawsuit also shows text messages from BIll Belichik to Flores that may show the Giants had chosen Brian Daboll before Flores even interviewed for the job. That story has become the biggest story in the NFL and for good reason.
But the day wasn't done. Because Daniel Snyder's Washington Football Team seems to always find a way to make headlines and usually not in a positive way. A television news helicopter was flying near the team's stadium and a photographer spotted a sign inside the stadium showing "Washington Commanders". The team is expected to introduce its new nickname at a press conference today. Apparently the secret is out. Then again, former team QB Joe Theissman leaked the new name in an interview he did on Monday.
That's enough news to fill a season, but not in football. The great American soap opera of football delivers news every hour. Who knows what's in store today. Grab your popcorn as the day is just starting...
Final thought: Happy Groundhog Day. The tradition of Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog at Gobbler's Knob, looking for his shadow started in 1886.