The Lofton Files: Breaking up is hard to do


A little more than a year ago, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer decided he had had enough. He wanted a divorce. After eight long seasons he didn’t want to be a Bengal any more.

Palmer got his wish and a last-minute trade to the Oakland Raiders was ushered in by then-Raiders head coach Hue Jackson. Like any split, football divorces can work out many different ways. Both parties can move on and find themselves in better places, one party may forge ahead and prosper and the other doesn’t recover so quickly, or the dreaded double whammy, in which everyone loses.

In the NFL, the quarterback represents the head of the household and his partner is normally one or more of the following: head coach, team and/or city. The QB and his significant other(s) are joined at the hip, for better or worse, for richer or… well, in the modern NFL everyone gets a bit richer.

With the ever-evolving relationships of quarterbacks on our minds, let’s examine a couple that are now on the rocks.

Normally, when someone like Andy Reid rescues someone like Michael Vick, there is a nice, long grace period. Vick showed enough brilliance in the 2010 season with 21 touchdown passes and nine TDs on the ground – against only six interceptions – to be rewarded with a nine-figure contract. The euphoria surrounding that season and Vick’s $100-million big ones has long since passed the honeymoon stage. But, thanks to a smart pre-nup, the Eagles are looking at an early exit for the battered Vick.

Up the road in the Big Apple, the Jets learned a lesson many a playboy could’ve told them all about: if you get caught flirting by the paparazzi, you have to go out and buy a make-nice gift. That is exactly what happened with the contact extension handed to Mark Sanchez thanks to Tim Tebow’s arrival in New York. Sanchez was more or less along for the ride as Rex Ryan’s defenses took the Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship games. Now, his play has stalled out worse than that plane Denzel Washington was trying to pilot in the movie Flight.

Meanwhile, a cross-continental journey away, San Diego’s Phillip Rivers was once considered an “elite” quarterback and Norv Turner was a master play caller. If ever a couple was perfect for each other it was these two. Rivers even went to bat for his embattled coach after last season – a season in which Rivers threw 20 picks against 27 touchdowns as the Bolts finished out of the playoff hunt for the second year in a row. The owner (marriage counselor?) stepped in and extended the contacts of Turner and the team’s grumpy mother-in-law, A.J. Smith. Now, with Rivers on the slide (12 INTs, 15 TDs), it looks like what was so blissful from 2007 to 2010 is headed for a sad parting. Former Atlanta Falcons coach Jerry Glanville got it right when he said of the fickle ways of the league: “NFL… Not For Long.”

— James Lofton

James Lofton is the analyst for Westwood One’s coverage of Sunday Night Football. This week, James and Dave Sims will be in Pittsburgh as the Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens. Coverage begins Sunday at 7:30 PM Eastern all along the Westwood One Radio Network.


Comments Closed

Comments are closed.

More from the File Cabinet

The Lofton Files

The Lofton Files: Who is The Greatest?

30 January 2014 Comments are off for this post.
It was February 1964, 50 years ago next month, when a 22-year-old Cassius Clay uttered the simple phrase that would become so iconic, “I am the Greatest,” before he stepped into the ring to defeat Sonny Liston. Clay,…
Read More »
The Lofton Files

The Lofton Files: Whatever suits you – old or new

14 January 2014 Comments are off for this post.
Let me start off by saying I understand fashion, but I’m not addicted to it in the least. For the games I call on Sunday Night and in the playoffs I wear a suit and tie. I guess it’s because I respect the NFL and as a player and a…
Read More »
The Lofton Files

The Lofton Files: So what happens now?

07 January 2014 Comments are off for this post.
“So what happens now?” That famous lyric comes from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita – the play that debuted on Broadway in 1979 or the 1996 film starring Madonna. Colonel Perón has taken on Evita as his new lover and as Evita is entering the other nameless girl is exiting. “Another…
Read More »
The Lofton Files

The Lofton Files: Notes on Black Monday

02 January 2014 Comments are off for this post.
Black Monday has unfortunately become a day that NFL fans, players and coaches know all too well. Like that car crash on the other side of the road that you can’t take your eyes off of, Black Monday is the day after the regular season ends, when head coaches around…
Read More »
Lofton Files Loftys

The 2013 Loftys: Going Above and Beyond

26 December 2013 Comments are off for this post.
“I’m Sally O’Malley and I’m proud to say I’m 50!” Those are the words of Molly Shannon’s Saturday Night Live character in her tight red jump suit and bouffant hairdo, kicking and stretching and kicking. Kind of reminds me of Peyton Manning shuffling up in the pocket. And with that……
Read More »
The Lofton Files

The Lofton Files: Neck and neck at the close-out of the 2013 NFL season

17 December 2013 Comments are off for this post.
I’m a big fan of old tried and true sporting phrases, terms like “toe to toe” in boxing and “neck and neck” in racing – whether that’s of the auto, horse or human variety. Baseball’s “full count” for the three-and-two pitch is another favorite. Basketball has a great one to…
Read More »
The Lofton Files

The Lofton Files: Passing grades

06 December 2013 Comments are off for this post.
At last week’s Sunday Night Football game in our nation’s capital I got a chance to talk with NFLPA CEO DeMaurice Smith. Smith oversaw the last collective bargaining agreement, which hammered out 10 years of labor peace and lots of football on television and national radio. Winners and losers in…
Read More »
Load more posts