‘The Jets stole the draft’ by maximizing resources

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In the wake of the NFL’s 87th player selection meeting, catching up on the stories that resonate a week later …

“We all wear the scars,” Rich Eisen said, speaking for New York Jets fans across the universe. “The Buttfumble scar, the fake-spike scar, and the NFL Draft scar. Or scars.”

1980: Lam Jones drafted ahead of Anthony Munoz
1983: Ken O’Brien over Dan Marino
1988: Dave Cadigan over Michael Irvin
1995: Kyle Brady over Warren Sapp
2002: Bryan Thomas over Ed Reed
2003: DeWayne Robertson 12 picks ahead of Troy Polamalu
2012: Quinton Coples over Chandler Jones
2018: Sam Darnold over Josh Allen

“The greatest statistic in NFL history concerns the Jets draft,” Mike Greenberg said. “They picked Ken O’Brien over Dan Marino, Al Toon over Jerry Rice, Blair Thomas over Emmitt Smith—and when those guys retired, Marino, Emmitt and Rice were the most productive quarterback, running back and receiver of all time!”

I called the two biggest Jets fans in mediaville to ask about what the Joe Douglas New York Jets just did, drafting four of their top 19 players (per Douglas) and exiting the draft as the consensus biggest winners. Drafting cornerback Sauce Gardner, receiver Garrett Wilson, edge-rusher Jermaine Johnson at 4, 10 and 26 in the first round and snagging running back Breece Hall four picks into the second round sent their fans into orbit, which is a strange place for them to be in the days after the draft. Usually, Jets fans are hoarse from booing picks.

“The Jets stole the draft,” said Greenberg, the ESPN host of it. “An embarrassment of riches.”

Best Jets draft ever? I asked Eisen.

“Not a very high bar,” he said. “But yeah!”

NFL: APR 28 2022 Draft
New Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. (Getty Images)

I’m not a fan of grading drafts, as you know. For perspective, three years ago, the fourth, 10th and 26th picks in the first round were Clelin Ferrell, Devin Bush and Montez Sweat, and only Sweat had his fifth-year option exercised by his team this spring. Projecting GREAT DRAFTS!!!!! a week after they happen is fool’s gold. The 10th pick in the three drafts before Devin Bush: Eli Apple, Patrick Mahomes, Josh Rosen.

The Jets had Gardner, Wilson, Johnson and Hall rated among their top 19 prospects, so clearly they’re thrilled with the haul. Now they have to produce, and we’ll see.

I will say the more impressive thing, to me, than the players chosen was the plan GM Joe Douglas executed in the last two years to maximize resources. With the 2020 trade of Jamal Adams to Seattle and 2021 trade of Sam Darnold to Carolina, Douglas turned those picks into three offensive pieces the Jets think will be long-term keystones: left guard Alijah Vera-Tucker—who had a 15-game streak with no sacks allowed as a rookie—plus Wilson and Hall. (What I especially liked was Douglas moved up for Johnson and Hall, and he was able to keep his 2023 draft intact; he did it all with his 2022 draft picks alone.)

Add quarterback Zach Wilson, tackle Mekhi Becton and wideout Elijah Moore from the first two Douglas drafts, and tight end C.J. Uzomah in free agency this year, and you’ve got an offense Douglas has built from scratch. Becton’s worrisome, with weight and injury concerns. He needs to grow up fast and prove to Douglas he can be a long-term tackle. No one knows if he can.

Overall, the Jets have ground to make up. To compete with Buffalo, Miami and New England in the AFC East, obviously, Zach Wilson has to be good. But I think a lot also depends on Garrett Wilson being explosive and physical enough to be what Stefon Diggs is for the Bills. Douglas said working through the receiver group and prioritizing Wilson was “really tough.”

“Every single receiver brought something different and dynamic,” Douglas told me. “You had guys that could run by anybody. You had big body guys with unbelievable catch radius. You had guys that were just pure route-runners. Ultimately, we felt like the guy that had the best combination of all those traits was Garrett Wilson, a guy that had the route skills, the ball skills, the catch radius, the ability to attack the ball and make contested catches, the ability to make people miss right after catch, create explosive plays in space, and a guy that had the top-end speed to get behind defenses and threaten vertically. He had the best combination of all the traits we were looking for.”

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills
Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. (Getty Images)

The quarterback will be the key to it all, of course. Zach Wilson had some nice moments last year—a 28-24, turnover-free loss to Tom Brady and the Bucs sticks out—but not enough to know yet whether he can be a long-term passer for a playoff contender. “It’s all on a quarterback who still looks like he’ll be carded at every bar he walks into,” said Eisen. “We don’t know if he’s the right guy yet.”

I’m not sure I’m in league with Greenberg when he says, “Dramatic improvement is a very reasonable expectation.” But I do know this: The Jets have a plan, with a GM who’s executing it well, and they have a chance. Finally, long-term, they have a chance.

Read more in the full Football Morning in America column

What to know about the 2023 Pro Bowl: Dates, how to watch/live stream info, AFC, NFC coaches, competition schedule, and more

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The 2023 NFL Pro Bowl will take place over the course of two days at Allegiant Stadium–home of the Las Vegas Raiders–in Paradise, Nevada. The excitement begins on Thursday, February 2 as NFL fan-favorites compete in a brand-new skills challenge featuring the following events: Epic Pro Bowl Dodgeball, Lightning Round, Longest Drive, Precision Passion, and Best Catch.

Sunday, February 5 will feature the following: the Best Catch Finale, Gridiron Gauntlet, Kick Tack Toe, Move the Chains, and three seven-on-seven non-contact Flag football games between the league’s best players.

See below for additional information on how to watch the 2023 Pro Bowl as well as answers to all of your frequently asked questions.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

Who are the coaches for the 2023 Pro Bowl?

AFC Coaches:

  • Peyton Manning – Head Coach
  • Ray Lewis – Defensive Coordinator
  • Diana Flores – Offensive Coordinator

NFC Coaches:

  • Eli Manning – Head Coach
  • Demarcus Ware – Defensive Coordinator
  • Vanita Krouch – Offensive Coordinator

How will the 2023 Pro Bowl be different from previous editions of the event?

Rather than the traditional tackle football game, this year’s Pro Bowl will debut a skills competition and a non-contact flag football game.

How will scoring work?

According to the NFL, points will be calculated in the following way:

  • The winning conference of each skill competition earns three points towards their team’s overall score, with 24 total points available across the eight skills events.
  • The winning conference from each of the first two Flag football games on Sunday will earn six points for their team, for a total of 12 available points.
  • Points from the skills competitions and first two Flag games will be added together and will be the score at the beginning of the third and final Flag game, which will determine the winning conference for The Pro Bowl Games.

How to watch the 2023 Pro Bowl:

  • Where: Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada
  • When: Thursday, February 2 (7:00 PM ET) and Sunday, February 5 (3:00 PM ET)
  • TV Channel: ESPN, ABC, and Disney XD

When is Super Bowl 2023?

Super Bowl 2023 takes place on Sunday, February 12 at 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox.

Where is Super Bowl 2023?

Super Bowl 2023 will be contested at State Farm Stadium–home of the Arizona Cardinals– in Glendale, Arizona.

What teams are playing in Super Bowl 2023?

The Philadelphia Eagles will face the Kansas City Chiefs marking the first time since 2017 that both top seeds qualified for the Super Bowl.


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Super Bowl food 2023: Appetizer, entrée, and dessert ideas for Super Bowl LVII inspired by the Eagles and Chiefs

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As the countdown continues toward Super Bowl LVII, the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs are getting their game plans set. But while they go over their plays, the rest of America goes over their menus in preparation for the big day. When it comes to the Super Bowl, everything is always the best — the best teams, the best performers and, of course, the best food.

But how can you impress your party in the kitchen while showing support for your favorite team? Let’s take a look at some iconic food from each of the Super Bowl team cities to prepare for Super Bowl LVII.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl LVII: Date, location, how to watch

Philadelphia Super Bowl food

Crabfries

Why have plain old fries when you could have crabfries? That’s exactly what Pete Ciarrocchi, the CEO of the legendary Philadelphia restaurant Chickie and Pete’s, said one day when creating this intriguing concoction.

While the name may be misleading, crabfries do not contain any actual crab, but rather a blend of spices and Old Bay seasoning that allow the dish to take on a subtle seafood flavor. Topped with a creamy, cheesy dipping sauce, the crinkle-cut fries are sure to take your taste buds to the next level.

Cheesesteak sloppy joes

It simply isn’t Philly without a cheesesteak. Keep it casual in your kitchen on Super Bowl Sunday with Katie Lee Biegel’s Philly Cheesesteak sloppy joes, an easy way to rep the Birds.

Can’t get enough of the cheesesteak? Bring some more Philly specials to the table with this cheesesteak dip, the perfect way to amp up your appetizer game and leave party guests feeling like they just took a trip to the City of Brotherly Love.

RELATED: Rob Gronkowski predicts Eagles to win Super Bowl LVII

Water ice

Is the action of the game heating up? Cool down with a classic Philly treat, water ice. First originating in Bensalem, Pennsylvania in 1984, the icy dessert is now sold in over 600 stores nationwide. The original Rita’s Water Ice shop, however, still remains open for business.

You can even show a little extra passion for the Birds by whipping up this green apple variation, sure to leave you refreshed and ready for the Lombardi.

Kansas City Super Bowl food

Cheese slippers

If you’re looking for a classy, yet authentic appetizer to bring to the table, there’s no better fit than the cheese slipper. This ciabatta loaf baked with melty cheeses and topped with seasonal vegetables and herbs has Kansas City natives hooked.

While the bread is typically baked to perfection by local shops, test your own skill level with this gourmet slipper bread recipe that you can complete with the mouth-watering toppings of your choice.

RELATED: How many Super Bowls have the Chiefs been to, won?

BBQ burnt ends

It’s rare to hear the words Kansas City without barbeque following short after. If you’re looking to impress your guests with your Super Bowl food spread, get out to the grill and start showing off.

While many cities in America know how to cook up some excellent BBQ, the combination of the sweet flavors and mouth-watering sauce has made Kansas City a hub for barbeque lovers for decades.

BBQ burnt ends, while a bit time-consuming, are  well worth a little elbow grease. The dish is also one of the few in Kansas City with a distinct origin story. The meal first found its creation at Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque, a legendary African American restaurant in KC. Bryant originally made the burnt ends from the trimmings of pork belly, but since then, BBQ lovers have made incredible bites out of many styles of meat.

And if you’re feeling extra ambitious, try fixing up some classic Kansas City sides to pair with your entrée to perfection.

RELATED: What to know about Rihanna, the Super Bowl LVII halftime performer

Chiefs chocolate chip cookies

While there is no specific dessert that defines the Heart of America, you can still show your Kansas City pride with these ever-colorful Chiefs chocolate chip cookies.

Make sure to have your food dye handy, because the red and yellow hue of these cookies are sure to show everyone whose side you are on.

Or, if you’re feeling artistic, design an eye-catching Chiefs jersey out of the fan-favorite rice krispie treats. Whether you make Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce or Chris Jones, you’ll have the tastiest Super Bowl jerseys around.

How to watch the Super Bowl 2023 – Philadelphia Eagles vs Kansas City Chiefs:

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