Jeff Schultz blog 

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Atlanta will get Super Bowl despite weather

  • 10:32 am Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Pay no attention to this memory, football fans. (David Tullis)

The Falcons decided to hold an “historic” (quoting from a news release) ground-breaking for their new stadium Monday night, complete with fireworks. It was a curiously timed event in that the team has already bulldozed the first of two churches to make room for the stadium and has been plowing land for several weeks.

But NFL owners were in town for spring meetings so actually it makes perfect sense. This was all for show. It was for Falcons owner Arthur Blank to try to change the talking points in Atlanta for residents who still may be unhappy about public money being [More]

Falcons not wowing Vegas: Are concerns real?

  • 9:15 am Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Has Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff done enough to plug holes? (AP photo)

According to the first post-draft odds in Las Vegas the Falcons are 40-1 win the Super Bowl (via Bovada). That places them tied for only 13th overall, and maybe more significantly only tied for eighth among NFC teams.

These odds fall in line with previously released over-under win totals. The Falcons are projected to win only eight games in 2014 season (via Cantor gaming), which puts them behind New Orleans and Carolina in the NFC South, as well as Seattle, San Francisco, Green Bay, Chicago and Philadelphia in the conference. (Complete odds are listed below.)

As we know, oddsmakers set odds based [More]

Falcons may see tougher Mike Smith in ’14

  • 8:01 pm Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Falcons coach Mike Smith was candid about the team's weaknesses. (Kent Johnson, AJC)

I’ve posted a column on on my Tuesday conversation with Falcons coach Mike Smith. Having spoken to the man a few hundred times since his hiring in 2008, I can attest he was as candid as he has ever been. (Going 4-12 last season after a string of winning seasons might left him believing there was little reason to hold back.)

Smith didn’t talk about specific players. But he admitted he saw warning signs about the team’s offensive and defensive lines as far back as training camp in July and August, particularly when the Falcons held practices against the [More]

Broncos to cut Champ Bailey, should Falcons sign him?

  • 10:39 pm Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Champ Bailey was limited during the regular season by a foot injury but played in the playoffs.

The Denver Broncos plan to cut Champ Bailey, according to multiple reports.

Is it time for the Falcons to bring him home?

Bailey, the former consensus All-American at Georgia and a native of Charlton County, played in only five regular season games for the Broncos because of a foot injury. But returned for Denver’s postseason run to the Super Bowl. The Broncos have told him they plan to release him, which had been expected. The 35-year-old is near the end of his career, but he says he has no plans to retire. His release will save Denver $10 million on the [More]

More NFL playoffs? Too late for ’09 Falcons

  • 2:11 pm Thursday, February 27th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

There is a very good chance that the NFL expands its playoff field from 12 teams to 14 teams, and for at least two very good reasons: 1) Happy fans in two more NFL cities spending money in January; 2) Happy network executives willing to pay the NFL more money to broadcast two more games because they’re selling more advertising.

In the NFL, as in life, follow the money for the reason why anything will or won’t happen.

But prepare for more mediocrity.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that there’s growing support within the league to add two playoff teams. The new [More]

Super Bowl: ‘Short Takes’ on Seattle’s rout of Denver

  • 9:55 pm Sunday, February 2nd, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

I’ll be back shortly with a full column on the Seattle Seahawks’ stunning 43-8 take down of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in Sunday’s Super Bowl.  Until then, here are my three “Short Takes” on the game (which tied for the third most lopsided Super Bowl in history):

1. Peyton’s meltdown: I wrote earlier in the week how Peyton Manning’s comeback from four neck surgeries to throw 55 touchdowns this season, culminating in a Super Bowl run, possibly elevated him to the No. 1 quarterback of all time. I still believe that. But he looked like a rattled rookie, [More]

Dimitroff: Clowney will be difference-maker

  • 5:22 pm Thursday, January 30th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff admits the team needs more grit.

NEW YORK  — Falcons general manger Thomas Dimitroff made his annual trip through radio row at the Super Bowl Thursday. When he was finished, Darryl Ledbetter and I had a private audience with him. Darryl will have a full story later on on some of Dimitroff’s plans this offseason but here are a few comments that stood out to me:

UPDATE: Here’s a copy of the full Q&A, posted by D-Led.

– Ignore speculation that he or any NFL team is down on former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney: “I’ll just say what everybody in the country knows: [More]

Manning may now be No. 1 QB in history

  • 4:06 pm Thursday, January 30th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
How dedicated is Peyton Manning? This was him monitoring practice in December while receiving therapy on his ankle.

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — I’ve just finished a subscription column that should be posted soon about Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, the focus of which is wondering how anybody can still question his legacy or place in NFL history.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to full column (subscription).

Four years ago, before Indianapolis and New Orleans met in the Super Bowl, I wrote a blog with my rankings of the top 10 quarterbacks in NFL history. You can get to the blog by clicking this link. But here was my top 10 at the time: (1) Joe Montana, (2) Johnny [More]

Expect Atlanta to get Super Bowl despite storm

  • 4:50 pm Wednesday, January 29th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz
See this thing? Atlanta needs about 100 more of them. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

NEW YORK – So here I am at the weather-threatened Super Bowl in New York and I’m about to blog on the Super Bowl-threatening weather in Atlanta. What’s wrong with this picture?

This is what I know about the mess in Atlanta and what it means for the future.

1) Our city annually seems less prepared for inclement weather than any I know of.

2) Atlanta will get another Super Bowl, anyway.

I know sports fans and civic leaders who care about such things are panicking that the snow and ice of the past day in Atlanta, and the slow response in the cleanup, [More]

Digi-Blog goes to Super Bowl Media Day

  • 3:53 pm Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 by Jeff Schultz

NEWARK — The answer to your question: Yes. It’s quite glamorous to be a sports writer and cover events like Super Bowl Media Day. Doesn’t the dateline say it all?

Media Day mutated into some unrecognizable form back in the 1980s, when MTV started sending female VJ’s in tight pants and tight low-cut blouses, with buttons screaming for relief. I’ve heard a number of dumb questions during the several Media Days I’ve attended, including:

– “Tell me, why do they call you Boomer?” (Problem: That was to San Francisco’s Joe Montana, not opposing quarterback Boomer Esiason of Cincinnati.)

– “How long have you [More]