NFL

NFL Scapegoats Who Took The Blame For Others’ Ineptitude

Darren - November 17, 2023
NFL

NFL Scapegoats Who Took The Blame For Others’ Ineptitude

Darren - November 17, 2023

New York Times

Eli Manning

Some players blatantly become scapegoats because they have inept coaches. Manning became a high-profile casualty when Ben McAdoo decided to stamp his authority. The head coach took the legendary Giants quarterback out of the limelight and installed Geno Smith as the starter.

CNN

McAdoo attempted to cast the blame for the Giants’ malaise on the two-time Super Bowl winner. In the end, it didn’t work out as they went 2-10 before he lost his job in 2017. If he spent as much time coaching as he did applying hair gel, the team might have done better (via SBNation).

CNN

Pete Carroll

Carroll is one of the NFL’s longest-serving head coaches and enjoyed Super Bowl-winning success. However, the Seahawks came within an inch of winning a second Vince Lombardi Trophy. The coaches ordered Russell Wilson to pass the ball to Ricardo Lockette but Malcolm Butler picked it off.

Sports Illustrated

Nobody could believe that Wilson didn’t offload to ‘Beast Mode’ Marshawn Lynch. Nonetheless, Carroll defended the play and the statistics supported him. Wilson also blamed himself for not putting enough juice on the pass. Furthermore, Seattle OC Darelle Bevell reportedly made the decisive call, not Carroll (via CBC).

247 Sports

John Kasey

The Panthers made their first-ever Super Bowl appearance in 2004 when they played the Patriots. They had an incredible opportunity to lift the coveted trophy but fell tragically short. Kasey was one of the team’s scapegoats because of one infamous moment. He smashed the ball out of bounds from a kickoff in the final minute.

Sports Illustrated

This gave New England a great field position and they went on to score the winning field goal. The unfortunate part was that Kasey played an integral role in the Panthers’ run to the final. He even kicked five field goals in their playoff win over the Cowboys. But nobody remembers that because of his misfire (via Yardbreaker).

Boston.com

Josh McDaniels

Let’s start this off by saying that McDaniels is a garbage head coach and the Raiders should never have hired him. But that doesn’t change the fact that he joined the long list of franchise scapegoats. He was out of his depth and the team played terribly before Mark Davis finally pulled the trigger and ended the disastrous McDaniels Era in Las Vegas halfway through the 2023 season.

CNN

But everyone knows Davis and his ineptitude is the franchise’s biggest problem. He hires and fires coaches like new editions of the iPhone and has created a horrible culture within the franchise. The chaos continues with every new hire but Davis is the only constant. Again, his record is worse than his horrendous haircut (via Defiant).

Sporting News

Jared Goff

Goff has been one of the NFL’s biggest scapegoats several times in his career. The Rams blamed him for losing Super Bowl LII in 2019. It was the roughest night of his career as he finished 19 of 38 for 229 yards with no touchdowns. Yes, he was ineffective but they hung him out to dry after the game.

Fox News

The quarterback deserves respect for the amazing way he rebounded with the Detroit Lions. Some Ford Field regulars doubted him after a tough start to life under Dan Campbell. But Lions OC Ben Johnson got the best out of the former Golden Bears star and turned him into a top-level starter on a playoff team (via USA Today Sports).

Sportscasting

Lamar Jackson

Jackson is one of the NFL’s most interesting players because of his dual-threat abilities. However, some analysts continue to hate the Ravens star. They consider him a glorified running back and ignore his MVP record. Meanwhile, he became one of the league’s biggest scapegoats during his contract negotiations in 2023.

Bleacher Report

The Browns destroyed the market when they gave Deshaun Watson one of the most one-sided contracts ever. Jackson saw this and Patrick Mahomes’ deals before deciding he wanted a piece. Franchises across the league attempted to hold out in an act of petty vengeance but in the end, Jackson ultimately won (via Essentially Sports).

Marca

Justin Fields

Everybody knows that Chicago is where quarterbacks go to die. Sadly, Fields discovered this the hard way after doing everything in his power to take them forward. Sometimes quarterbacks are the problem because they’re not good enough. But Fields has an elite skill set and is one of the best rushing QBs in the NFL.

Sporting News

However, Bears OC Luke Getsy continues to force Fields to play in the pocket and takes away his biggest asset. This forces Fields to play outside of his comfort zone and it’s not working. Fans blame him for not throwing touchdown passes but the franchise isn’t helping him. They’re not giving him his best shot to be successful (via Northern Star).

People

Baker Mayfield

The Browns had a miserable 2021 season after they made the playoffs the previous year. They reacted by making Mayfield into one of the league’s biggest scapegoats. They stymied his chances of finding a good trade before signing sexual assaulter Deshaun Watson to an outrageous $230 million contract (via Fansided).

AP

Meanwhile, they ignored the reality that Mayfield played through the pain barrier during a tough season. They didn’t give him a chance to bounce back in a ruthless decision. It’s common to blame quarterbacks when everything goes wrong but this was horrendous. If it was anybody except Watson maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad.

Dallas Morning News

Dak Prescott

Prescott’s situation is interesting because he’s a very talented quarterback. However, he’s had injury problems over the past few seasons and missed a lot of football. Whenever the Cowboys underperform, the fanbase erupts and calls for Cooper Rush to replace their franchise star.

New York Post

This is idiotic and shows the futility of turning the best players into scapegoats. Rush is the type of quarterback who a team can win games with. But Prescott will win his team’s games. It’s a subtle distinction but a very important one. Prescott entered the MVP conversation in 2023 because he was in a stable environment (via Fox Sports).

Sportscasting

Joe Pisarcik

Pisarcik was a central figure in one of the NFL’s worst plays ever. He also became one of the most notorious scapegoats in sports history. The coaching staff ordered him to hand the ball off to Larry Csonka when the logical move was to take a knee. Herm Edwards became a hero as the ‘Miracle at the Meadowlands’ was born.

Philadelphia Eagles

Immediately, everybody turned on Pisarcik but he was under strict orders. The quarterback didn’t want to make this boneheaded play but OC Bob Gibson threatened to cut him. He was in a no-win situation and took the brunt of the heat after everything went wrong (via Bleacher Report).

Bleacher Report

Scott Norwood

Norwood is probably the biggest scapegoat in the Bills’ history. The kicker had the chance to be a hero in Super Bowl XXV and score the winning field goal. However, he infamously sent his 47-yard attempt wide-right and the Bills lost the game. It was a moment of anguish for an otherwise consistent player.

AP

Furthermore, it stained his legacy forever which was grossly unfair because he made 72 percent of his overall kicks. It’s also worth mentioning that the Bills lost four straight Super Bowls. If they won just one of these it would take the heat off of this painful memory for this long-suffering fanbase (via Bleacher Report).

AP

Ken Dorsey

The Bills endured very mixed fortunes in their first 10 games of the 2023 season. Their fans had big expectations after Buffalo flirted with the promised land over the previous couple of years. However, they didn’t expect a 5-5 record to start the season so head coach Sean McDermott made a ruthless call to avoid becoming a scapegoat himself.

The Athletic

He fired offensive coordinator Dorsey because he wasn’t getting the best out of Josh Allen. But many people saw this as a desperate move. Furthermore, Allen blamed himself and acknowledged that he wasn’t playing at his highest level. Dorsey was unlucky because the team was looking for scapegoats (via Fox Sports).

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