THE GRAPEVINE: McNabb to Baltimore? A New Ravens Helmet?

Lombardi's Way THE GRAPEVINE: McNabb to Baltimore? A New Ravens Helmet?

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ESPN apparently doesn’t know what to do to keep their ample staff of contributors to the “worldwide leader” busy so they’ve concocted a power ranking of the league’s helmets. No really, they did.

Acclaimed journalists such as: John Clayton; Pat Yasinskas; Bill Williamson; James Walker; and Paul Kuharsky were asked to vote on the best looking helmets in the NFL. Now keep in mind most of these guys are much more familiar with DQ (Dairy Queen) than they are GQ so their prowess when it comes to fashion probably doesn’t get past the blue light specials at Kmart.

To prove my point, the group’s choice for best helmet is none other than the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now here’s a design that is so creative it was lifted from the logo of the American Iron and Steel Institute. Get it…Steelers…steel?

Creative, right?

And the logo appears on only one side of the helmet.

Did they have budget cuts the year the design was implemented and the extra sticker was viewed as a luxury item? Well according to the Steelers were unsure how it would look on the helmet. Even they weren’t originally keen on the helmet yet these polyester pirates from ESPN gave the eyesore their highest grade.

And speaking of eyesores, also among the top 10 helmets is the candy corn dome of the Cleveland Browns; the Bears and their cutting edge “C” (he said tongue-in-cheek) and the Miami Dolphins’ cartoon blow-hole mammal.

Where did the Ravens land in the poll? Try tied for second worst (of those teams receiving votes) along with the Patriots, Bills, and Panthers. The 49ers, Bengals, Titans, Texans, Falcons and Cardinals did not receive a single vote.

I guess these dudes don’t like birds. The highest ranking bird of the five feathered teams was the Eagles at No. 17.

So what’s next ESPN, the top fight songs?

This NFL Lockout is really wearing thin and there is no end in sight. I see this thing as a flow chart of sorts. If A happens then go to C; if B then D and so on and so forth. Not until each card has been played will this thing end provided both sides maintain their resolve.

The owner’s had a huge win recently when the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis took their side and kept the lockout in play. June 3rd was supposed to be a big day, during which the same court would decide if Judge Susan Nelson’s ruling that the owners lift the lockout would be overturned. The suspense is now over because the same judges who voted in favor of the stay will permanently overturn Nelson’s decision.

That tilts the leverage way in favor of the owners and for me, it is clear that the owners want to fracture the players’ solidarity – and they will.

As medical bills mount, mortgage payment deplete bank accounts and free agents lose money and opportunity, they will force union chief DeMaurice Smith to the bargaining table with white flag in hand. And let’s not forget the veterans are in the middle of what may be their last lucrative contracts. I’m sure they are eager to punch the time clock again. Think Marissa Tomei and My Cousin Vinny.

The recent ruling wasn’t just a win for the owners – it was Custer’s Last Stand for the players.

Recently The Sun’s Matt Vensel floated the idea of Donovan McNabb as the Ravens backup QB. Now on the surface Vensel’s rationale seems solid particularly when you consider the other available backup quarterbacks on the market (when the lockout ends).  But, Vensel makes a huge assumption – that McNabb will willingly accept the role of backup to a far less accomplished quarterback in Joe Flacco.

McNabb is only 34 years old and while not a spring chicken, he does have something left in the tank by today’s standards. The first time that Flacco struggles, will the calls for McNabb grow louder and how might the player the Ravens still sees as its long-term franchise quarterback respond? And if John Harbaugh does cave to the catcalls for McNabb does he even have what it takes to make the Ravens better or even effective?

The Eagles willingly gave up their franchise record setting QB to a division rival in the Washington Redskins and they were so enamored with McNabb’s play that they benched him in favor of Rex Grossman. Are you kidding me?

Making matters even worse, McNabb would have to learn yet another offense – his third in 3 seasons and he will be forced to do so during an offseason that is shrinking every day.

While he might be more decorated than the other veteran backups on the market, McNabb is hardly suited for the backup QB role in Baltimore. If Marc Bulger does move on as expected, the Ravens need to find a quarterback familiar with the Don Coryell system that offensive coordinator Cam Cameron employs. The Ravens might not have to look much further than San Diego where a 35 year old veteran backup familiar with that style of offense could soon be unemployed.

His name – Billy Volek.

Be sure to check out our Ravens Helmet Contest. Put your creative skills to work and win $$$!

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts "The Fanimal" also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi


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