CHIEF CONCERNS: Kansas City managed to take the field just a little more than 24 hours after one of their own committed an unthinkable murder-suicide. Photo courtesy Jamie Squire/Getty Images

NOTE: This week’s NFL Notes was delayed by the announcement of Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year.

A fumble. A blown call. A clutch touchdown. Every week the action in the NFL forces the headlines around the league to change. To evolve. A cold team becomes a hot team. A hot team slips up. Someone one is one game closer to the playoffs and someone is one game closer to their season being over. These are the weekly notes on the trends and other happenings from around the league after every weekend.

Some Thoughts on Jovan Belcher and the Chiefs

I know I didn’t say much about the Jovan Belcher incident Saturday afternoon. Quite frankly, in such a senseless, seemingly unforeseeable tragedy, what is there really to say? Well, that didn’t stop others from talking about it and their thoughts have sparked a few of my own.

First of all, let’s stop with the head trauma talk. Concussions and football-related mental illness is absolutely a problem that needs to be dealt with, but there is 100% no evidence that it played any role here. To be honest, bringing in the concussion debate is a cop-out, a simpleton’s observation. As if to say, hey, there are some mentally ill ex-football players and this game did something crazy, there must be something there.

Head-related trauma occurs from repeated incidents over an entire career. More to the point, the vast majority of symptoms do not present until well after the athlete has retired. So, for us to say that a 25-year-old, 3-year veteran had something akin to CTE and that it caused him to do what he did this past weekend seems more than a little farfetched.

Now, as for the NFL keeping the game as scheduled, I had no problem with it. Let’s be realistic here: the absolute most that was ever going to happen was that the game be delayed about 28 hours and played in prime time on Monday Night. Logistically, that would have been an absolute nightmare on the fly for everyone involved. But more importantly, how much closure and healing were players affected really going to get in that time span? This is an incident that is going to reside with the team for YEARS. Delaying the game would’ve done nothing for them.

As far as I know, the NFL did their due diligence in allowing the appropriate parties to weigh in on the decision and assist in its resolution. This was not another instance of Roger Goodell’s often perceived “tyrannical” nature. I don’t know if it was the RIGHT call, necessarily, but it sure wasn’t the wrong one.

And finally, I get that the Chiefs and the network affiliates wanted to whip this into a feel-good story of brethren coming together, but I just couldn’t get behind it. What Jovan Belcher did early Saturday morning was inexplicably heinous and an example of the absolute worst that humanity has to offer. I feel for those that lost a good friend on the team, but Belcher MURDERED in cold blood the mother of his child. Where was her jersey hanging in the locker room?

 

PASS RUSS: Despite being drafted far after his peers, Russell Wilson has been one of the most successful starting rookie quarterbacks in an unprecedented year. Photo courtesy Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Over a Hump in Seattle?

We have to face the music at some point: the Seattle Seahawks could be a playoff team.

All season long, we’ve tried to label them otherwise. At first, they were just that team that got a free win at the hands of replacement officials. Then they were the team that no one wanted to face in Seattle but no one took seriously on the road. But after Sunday’s win at Chicago? Maybe things have changed.

The Seahawks play with their mortality very apparent, which is why so many people want to knock them. They have a third-round, undersized quarterback, a receiving corps. that has perennially been the death of big names and a defense that comes off as nothing more than average. In fact, the only thing that clearly scares their opponents is Marshawn Lynch, and that may just be because he took his helmet off.

So I think it would surprise the casual fan to learn that, if the playoffs were decided today, Seattle would be in.

Can they be beaten? Sure, but who can’t? You could point to any one NFL team aside from a handful of elite clubs and I can show you a team that dropped a game they should’ve won. In fact, that’s what the NFL has evolved into here this season: a few elite teams and then 27 or so that exist in varying levels of mediocrity. This is what the pundits so often like to refer to as “parity”.

Nevertheless, on Sunday, Seattle may have elevated their status in that pool of mediocrity. Proving they can win on the road against a tough opponent is good, because that’s what they’ll likely have to do if they secure that Wild Card spot their slotted into right now.

Saved By the Bell?

On one final note, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal posted a great tid bit last night where he dug up an episode of Saved By the Bell: The New Class in which 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, then a quarterback for the Colts, did a guest appearance.

The show never lived up to its predecessor and, until last night, most people probably forgot about that little golden nugget, but it left me wondering: who else could’ve pulled it off. Here are our suggestions for some casting calls for other not-yet-created ’90′s show spin-offs:

Terry Bradshaw as Tim ‘The Toolman’ Taylor in Home Improvement: The Later Years

Bill Romanowski as a burnt out bully in Boy Meets World: Never Graduate

Tim Tebow as the new lead in 8th Heaven (since the football career is going nowhere)

Michael Strahan as the third twin post-gender reassignment surgery in Sister, Sister, Sister Now Brother

Deion Sanders as Will Smith in The No-Longer-Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Jack Lambert as anything in Goosebumps

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NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
When Bryan isn’t writing, he is on Twitter! Make sure to give him a follow @bclienesch for NFL updates and other shenanigans!

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