AFC Championship - Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots

Movie about Malcolm Butler’s life in the works

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The story of an undrafted free agent going from working at Popeye’s to sealing a Super Bowl victory with an interception at the goal line is the kind of thing that sounds like a Hollywood movie.

That’s just what one producer hopes Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler’s life story will be in the near future. Producer Daniel Levin, whose filmLion is nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars, has purchased Butler’s life rights along with those of agent Derek Simpson for a film currently being called The Secondary.

Lion and The Secondary are against-all-odds stories of struggle and inspiration,” Levin said, via The Hollywood Reporter. “Derek would not stop until Malcolm got a chance.”

Football movies have been a mixed bag over the years, but the overcoming obstacles angle worked well for The Blind Side. That film about Panthers tackle Michael Oher’s high school days wound up nominated for Best Picture while Sandra Bullock won Best Actress for her performance in the film.

T.O. controversy underscores need for Hall of Fame transparency

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I started down the T.O. Hall of Fame time out rabbit hole a week ago due primarily to concerns regarding a lack of transparency in the selection process. After a week of arguments, counterarguments, and a few condescending comments from voters who resent being questioned or criticized by people who don’t know the inner working of the process, I’m back to where I started.

Those who criticize the process indeed don’t know the inner workings of the process because the process is kept completely secret. And the T.O. case proves that the time has arrived for transparency.

As Peter King of TheMMQB.com pointed out earlier this week, those who voted against Owens largely have slipped into hiding.

The fact that Owens didn’t make it from the final 15 to the final 10 suggests that the nays are more plentiful than necessary to transform him from one of the final five into a Hall of Famer. Don’t underestimate, however, the possibility that the voters collectively realized that enough of them would never get behind Owens on the final ballot (where it takes only 10 to put the kibosh on Canton) to make pushing Owens to the final 10 or the final five an exercise in futility.

It ultimately may be only 10 people who are anti-T.O. Maybe there aren’t that many; maybe the handful was loud enough and zealous enough that they managed to convince enough of their peers to think that pushing Owens through to the final five would set the stage for an ugly filibuster at best or a complete waste of time (and a spot that could have gone to someone else) at worst.

The only obvious “no” votes currently known (by me) are Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News (he wrote a column about it), Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (ditto), Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts (he made his case against Owens in a radio interview), and Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report (his Twitter account makes his position clear). All of the “no” votes should be known, and those who have kept quiet while the process has been challenged generally and a small handful of their colleagues have been attacked specifically should speak up.

Even if all the “no” votes were known, we still won’t know everything that needs to be known. Those voters who have chosen to disclose their position on Owens refuse to disclose the identity of other Hall of Famers, players, and/or coaches who have privately said that Owens doesn’t belong. Setting aside the question of whether these non-voters should have so much sway over the process, the refusal to name them makes the process even harder to accept.

It’s one thing to gather facts anonymously. Gathering opinions anonymously allows for those anonymous opinions to be tainted by personal animus. Also, it makes objective assessment of the basis for the opinions impossible, allowing for all sorts of subjective factors to be twisted and warped — and for the voters to abdicate their responsibility to assess the candidate to the whispers of those who, given the benefit of secrecy, are far more likely to yield to the temptation of human factors.

The broader concern is this: When evaluating a player based on what he did on a 100-by-53-yard patch of grass or FieldTurf or green cement, it’s easy to assess the opinions of the voters and to develop opinions on the accuracy of the outcome of the votes. When things that happened from the sideline to the parking lot become relevant to the process, it becomes impossible to know what is being considered, why it’s being considered, which others have made it through despite similar concerns, and whether those standards will be applied to future candidates.

There can be no consistency without transparency, and with no transparency it’s impossible for those who view Owens as a knee-jerk Hall of Famer to understand his omission for a second straight year. The voters who oppose Owens can either sneer at those of us who think they got it wrong or they can heed the criticisms, lobby for meaningful change, and bring a different approach to the process in 2018.

If it’s the former, there will be more sneering at those of us who think they got it wrong, both as to Owens and as to others who seem to pass the Hall of Fame eyeball test but can’t get in.

Report: Broncos have not discussed Victor Cruz

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Almost immediately after the Giants cut receiver Victor Cruz, reports emerged that theBroncos were interested. But those reports are now being contradicted.

Veteran Broncos reporter Mike Klis of KUSA reports that the Broncos have not discussed Cruz.

The Broncos could use a slot receiver like Cruz: They have a good 1-2 pair of starters inDemaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but not much after him.

However, there are questions about whether the 30-year old Cruz has anything left. Cruz suffered a torn patellar tendon in the sixth game of the 2014 season, missed the entire 2015 season after suffering a calf injury, and managed just 39 catches in 15 games last year. The Broncos may not be convinced that Cruz will be able to contribute anything next season.