KYLE WILLIAMS RETIRES – A SAD AND HAPPY DAY FOR BUFFAL BILLS FANS
There hasn’t been a harder-working or more devoted-to-Buffalo player in Bills history than Kyle Williams, who announced his retirement from football on Friday morning.
No. 95 is the team’s all-time leader among defensive tackles in games and sacks. He’s made five Pro Bowls and still can play. He’s had another solid season.
But he’ll turn 36 in June. He decided it’s time to call it a career after 13 NFL seasons and pursue his many other interests.
Not many NFL players spend their entire careers with one team. Kyle did. That figures. He loved being a Buffalo Bill.
Fans now will have the opportunity to salute Kyle at Sunday’s season-ending home game against Miami. I’m pretty sure it will be a tribute that he and his family will forever remember and cherish.
He was a terrific ambassador for the team and the city. His younger teammates never had a better leader.
He’s going to be missed in western New York, that’s for sure, but it will feel good when he returns to see his name added to the Wall of Fame at New Era Field.
SUGGESTION TO THE BILLS: SIGN RUNNING BACK KAREEM HUNT
I know many of you won’t like this suggestion to significantly upgrade the Buffalo Bills, but...
If the Bills are completely serious about a major improvement next season, why not sign free-agent running back Kareem Hunt?
Hunt is a free agent only because he was released by Kansas City after a video surfaced last month that showed him shoving and kicking a woman in a hotel hallway last winter.
Obviously, Hunt’s conduct in that incident was inexcusable. He’s had other episodes of misconduct.
In fairness, Hunt’s family history has been troubled, to say the least. He overcame a lot to reach college and get a shot in the NFL. He grew up short of positive adult role models.
Has this young man finally seen the light? Is he taking his anger management sessions seriously? Is he salvageable? If or when will be reinstated by the commissioner’s office and be allowed to return to the NFL?
In terms of talent, Hunt would be an asset to any team in the NFL – few more than to Buffalo.
Hunt is 23 years old and already one of the NFL’s best two-way running backs. His stats for his two-season career:
27 games...25 total touchdowns...453 carries for 2,151 yards; 4.7 yards per carry; 15 rushing TDs; 79.7 yards rushing per game; 79 catches for 833 yards; 10.5 yards per catch; 10 TDs receiving.
The Bills could save $5.4 million of LeSean McCoy’s $9 million cap number for 2019 if they trade or release him before next season. He’ll be 31 and appears to be spinning his wheels. Buffalo isn’t likely to be a genuine post-season threat next season with or without him.
Hunt would give Buffalo’s feeble offense a huge boost.
WHY PATRICK MAHOMES SHOULD BE THE NFL MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Heading into the final week of the 2018 NFL regular season, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees probably is the favorite for NFL Most Valuable Player.
He shouldn’t be.
Here’s why Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes is more deserving:
Compare their passing numbers:
Brees – 364 of 489 (.744) for 3,992 yards; 8.16 yards per attempt; 32 TD passes; 5 INTs; sacked 17 times; 115.7 passer rating; 266 yards passing per game; 31 rushes for 22 yards, 4 TDs and 11 first downs.
Mahomes – 369 of 556 (.664) for 4,816 yards; 8.66 yards per attempt; 48 TD passes; 11 INTs; sacked 26 times; 114.0 passer rating; 321 yards passing per game; 65 rushes for 281 yards, 2 TDs and 18 first downs.
One argument from the pro-Brees camp is that New Orleans has an NFL-best 13-2 record while Kansas City is a mere 11-4 and the four losses were in high-profile games. But check out the scores: New England 43-40, Los Angeles Rams 54-51, Los Angeles Chargers 29-28; Seattle 38-31. Mahomes did his job. The team’s defense was the problem. The Chiefs scored 150 points and their opponents scored 164 points in those games.
Brees also has the sympathy advantage. He’s 30, a future Pro Football Hall of Famer, and he hasn’t won a league MVP award yet. It’s time for a nod for lifetime achievement. That’s what some say.
Baloney. Brees has had better seasons. Who knows if Mahomes ever will have another MVP-caliber season?
ANOTHER BONANZA FOR NEVADA’S LEGAL SPORTS BOOKS
Nevada legal sports books won a net $27.1 million in November, including $18.4 from football (college and the NFL).
David Payne Purdum of ESPN Chalk reports that Nevada sportsbooks are expected to set all-time records for amount wagered and amount won this year.
The Nevada sportsbooks are fortunate that listeners to my show in News Radio WHAM 1180 don’t live in Las Vegas. In our annual Bob vs. Listeners NFL handicapping contest, listeners enter this Sunday with a healthy 118-102-7 against the point spread this season. I’m 109-111-7.
IF YOU MISSED THE CHEEZ-IT BOWL, CONGRATULATIONS
Eorty-plus college football bowl games probably is too many, but ESPN makes it all possible by paying to carry a bowl game every night for way too many December evenings.
Wednesday night’s Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix was one of the worst college football games I’ve ever seen. If you weren’t tuned in, good for you.
TCU entered the game with a 6-6 record and California was 7-5.
TCU won 10-7 in overtime. The Horned Frogs had 28 yards passing – for the entire game.
The two teams combined for nine interceptions and only 30 first downs. They were a combined 9-for-31 in third-down efficiency.
The TCU sports information director managed to be flagged for a 15-yard penalty for jumping onto the field while celebrating an interception and crashing into an official. It was the highlight of the game.
After the victory, TCU coach Gary Patterson said of the ugly game, “I’m glad that’s over.”
He wasn’t alone.
JON JONES IS FAVORED IN HIS UFC RETURN
Rochester product Jon “Bones” Jones, perhaps still the most exciting name in mixed-martial arts, will end his 17-month exile when he returns to the Octagon to take on Alexander Gustafsson for the light heavyweight championship Saturday night at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
Jones is favored by BOVADA odds for the pay-per-view title fight: bet $285 to win $100...Gustafsson bet $100 to win $225. Jones won a decision over Gustafsson via unanimous decision at UFC 165, September 21, 2013, in Toronto. It is recalled as a classic fight.
In the co-main event, Chris Cyborg Justino is $260 to win $100 versus Amana Nunes ($100 to win $200) for the women’s featherweight championship.
BOB’S “BEST BET”: CHARGERS TO JOLT BRONCOS
The Los Angeles Chargers lost at home to Denver Week 11 and are coming off a disappointing 22-10 home loss to Baltimore last week. They should be eager to make amends Sunday in this tune-up for the playoffs.
The Chargers are 7-0 outside of Los Angeles this season and QB Philip Rivers figures to have fun against Denver’s patch-work secondary. The Broncos are hurting on offense minus injured star rookie running back Phillip Lindsay.
The Chargers are favored by 6 ½ points and that looks like a bargain. This week’s “Best Bet”: Los Angeles Chargers 31, DENVER 10
Sunday’s other games
(home team in CAPS)
BUFFALO (-4) 21, Miami 20 – Bills rookie QB Josh Allen might put together a complete game – running and passing -- but I’m not counting on it.
GREEN BAY (-7 1.2) 28, Detroit 17 – The Packers are 5-1-1 at home, QB Aaron Rodgers still means business and the Lions are averaging 15.8 points in their last nine games.
KANSAS CITY(-13 ½) 38, Oakland 14 – The high-powered Chiefs have way too much firepower for the Raiders to handle and QB Patrick Mahomes gets a last chance to pad his MVP portfolio.
MINNESOTA (-4 ½) 24, Chicago 13 – The Vikings are back in top form on defense and hope to avenge a Week 11 loss road to the Bears.
NEW ENGLAND (-13 ½) 33, New York Jets 10 – The Patriots love to beat up on AFC East rivals at home and Tom Brady is likely to have a big day after letting the ground troops get the job done against Buffalo last week.
NEW ORLEANS (-7) 27, Carolina 13 – The Panthers are 1-9 in their last 10 road games and that’s Taylor Heinicke, not Cam Newton, at QB.
NEW YORK GIANTS (-6) 20, Dallas 17 – The Giants might win over the NFC East champs but the 6-point spot to the Cowboys seems overly generous.
PITTSBURGH (-14 ½) 38, Cincinnati 17 – The frustrated Steelers figure to crush the hapless Bengals, who are 1-10 in the last 11 meetings.
Atlanta 27, TAMPA BAY (+1) 20 – The Falcons are back in gear on offense and the Buccaneers have been horrible on defense all season.
Philadelphia (-6 ½) 30, WASHINGTON 14 – The defending champion Eagles are playing well again and the Redskins can’t match their firepower.
BALTIMORE (-6) 23, Cleveland 20 – The Browns have one loss since November 5 and have the talent and confidence to hang tough in this spot.
HOUSTON (-6 ½) 28, Jacksonville 10 – Blake Bortles to the rescue for the Jaguars? Doubtful.
LOS ANGELES RAMS (-10) 35, San Francisco 13 – The Rams could use a confidence boost and the 49ers are the NFL’s only winless team on the road.
Indianapolis 27, TENNESSEE (+3 ½) 13 – The Colts have won the last 10 meetings, including 38-10 at home Week 11, and they’re the healthier team entering this showdown for a playoff berth.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...
Friday, December 28
John Henson 28...B.J. Ryan 43...Rod Niedermayer 44...Adam Vinatieri 46...James Jett 48...Ray Bourque 58...James Brooks 60...Carlos Carson 60...Ray Knight 66Auerilo Rodriguez 71...Jorge Velasquez 72...Hubie Green 72. Sienna Miller 37, John Legend 40, Seth Meyers 45, Denzel Washington 64, Gayle King 64 and Maggie Smith 84 are invited to the birthday party.
Saturday, December 29
Myles Garrett 23...Eric Berry 30...Christen Press 30...Alan Branch 34...Laveranues Coles 41...Richie Sexon 44...Theo Epstein 45...Jay Fiedler 47...Henry Jones 51...Sean Payton 55...Devon White 56...Joe Gilliam 68...Laffit Pincay Jr., 72. Jude Law 46, Ted Danson 71 and Jon Voight 80 are invited to the birthday party.
Sunday, December 30
Carson Wentz 26...LeBron James 34...Dominic Raiola 40...Heath Evans 40...Kenyon Martin 41...Grant Balfour 41...Laila Ali 41...A.J. Pierzynski 42...Tiger Woods 43...Patrick Kerney 42...Kerry Collins 46...Michelle McGann 49...Ben Johnson 57...Sandy Koufax 83. Tracey Ullman 59 and Matt Lauer 61 are invited to the birthday party.
ON THIS DATE IN SPORTS HISTORY...
113 years ago (1905), the Intercollegiate Athletic Association was founded; it became the NCAA in 1990...74 years ago (1944), former Washington Redskins third baseman Buddy Lewis won the Distinguished Flying Cross...61 years ago (1957), CBS stated it wouldn’t broadcast baseball games where minor-league games were on...60 years ago (1958), the Baltimore Colts beat the New York Giants 23-17 in the 26th NFL championship game; it was the league’s first sudden-death overtime game...43 years ago (1975), the Red Army beat The New York Rangers 7-3 at Madison Square Garden...10 years ago (2008), the Detroit Lions lost 31-21 to Green Bay to become the NFL’s first winless team in a 16-game season.
85 years ago (1933), the New York Yankees refused to release Babe Ruth to manage the Cincinnati Reds...61 years ago (1957), the Detroit Lions beat the Cleveland Browns 50-14 in the NFL championship game...49 years ago (1969), the New York Times reported that Curt Flood would sue baseball and challenge the reserve clause...34 years ago (1984), Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers reached 100 points in his 35th game of the season...29 years ago (1989), Wayne Gretzky and Martina Navratilova were named Associated Press athletes of the decade...11 years ago (2007), Tom Brady threw his 50th TD pass of the season as New England finished the NFL regular season 16-0.
62 years ago (1956), the New York Giants beat the Chicago Bears 47-7 in the NFL championship game...37 years ago (1981), Wayne Gretzky of Edmonton scored five goals in a 7-5 win over Philadelphia; he had 50 goals in 39 games.
Bob’s next News Radio WHAM 1180 sports column will be posted at noon Wednesday, January 2, 2019. Thank you for listening and reading. Happy New Year!