Author Archives: Ben Van Iten

About Ben Van Iten

Ben decided that after guiding several Madden franchises to Super Bowl titles he now had the right to say whatever he wanted about football on the internet. His obsession with all things NFL is no longer cureable.

This just in: Aldon Smith is nuts

No one is laughing now

No one is laughing now

You might not have noticed this yesterday.

After all, there was the exciting final round coverage of the Masters, or perhaps you were enjoying baseball or basketball. You could have been prepping for a Mad Men or Game of Thrones party. Surely you weren’t glued to NFL news, as anything that happens this time of the year is either horrifyingly boring or…just plain horrifying.

This would fall under that second one. Continue reading

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2013 Team Retrospective: The San Francisco 49ers

Can't get enough Harbaugh-face.

Can’t get enough Harbaugh-face.

Other than a few rough stretches, the San Francisco 49ers were discussed as perhaps the second best team in football for much of the season.

The catch?

The best team played in their division.

While the 49ers put together arguably the best overall three year run in football since the 2011, not a lot of people are going to remember it unless another Lombardi trophy ends up in the bay area soon. The team has a young nucleus and probably the second best coach in the game, but in the NFL the window isn’t always as big as it seems. And as we saw in the offseason, Harbaugh’s relationship with the front office isn’t exactly…stable.

If this season would have happened a few years ago we would be falling all over ourselves with praise, but it didn’t and such is life. This is the 2013 49ers retrospective. Continue reading

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2013 Team Retrospective: The Oakland Raiders

"See you again in two years when I'm in this same room...being fired." (photo credit:

“See you again in two years when I’m in this same room…being fired.” (photo credit:

When I think of the Oakland Raiders, I don’t think of a touchdown pass or any play in particular. I don’t think of their Super Bowl Championships or hall of fame players.

No, the images that are stuck in my head are of the most recent past: Desmond Howard and Larry Brown given huge contracts after winning Super Bowl MVPs, a revolving door of crappy head coaches, trading away what seemed like eighty six draft picks for Carson Palmer, etc.

For a good portion of my life the Raiders have been a non-factor in the AFC…or even worse, a joke. So even this season, when I would argue that they made strides, I still have a hard time feeling optimistic for Raiders’ fans. At any moment the ghost of Al Davis could be reborn, and trade away the future of the franchise for Michael Vick.

Get out your Jeff Hostetler highlight reels and a box of Kleenex, this is your 2013 Raiders Retrospective.

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2013 Team Retrospective: The Atlanta Falcons

Writing the Bucs and Falcons retros in the same week can really bum a guy out (photo credit:

Writing the Bucs and Falcons retros in the same week can really bum a guy out (photo credit:

The Falcons, more so than any other team in recent memory, seem to be hit by devastating playoff loss hangovers.

After being throttled by the Packers in January of 2011 during the divisional round of the playoffs, a year where they had the best record in the NFC, they went through a year of inconsistency that culminated in a wild card birth and another throttling at the hands of New York Giants. Unlike the previous year, they never seemed like a threat to make a run.

Fast forward a year after that and the Falcons regained their 2010 form by once again having homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. After they blew a huge lead only to win in the closing moments against Seattle in the divisional round, it appeared maybe they got the proverbial monkey off their back. They followed that up a week later by blowing another huge lead against the 49ers, and this one they were not able to salvage in the closing moments.

The hangover from this loss seems to be more severe, as Atlanta was unable to even joke about the playoffs this season.

So gather round readers, and share your favorite Matt Ryan turnover (here’s mine): this is the 2013 Falcons retrospective. Continue reading

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2013 Team Retrospective: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

"I'm going to treat a bunch of spoiled millionaire athletes like five year olds. WHAT COULD GO WRONG!" (photo credit:

“I’m going to treat a bunch of spoiled millionaire athletes like five year olds. WHAT COULD GO WRONG!” (photo credit:

The success of Pete Carroll in Seattle, and the NFL’s earned reputation as a copycat league, ensured that innovative high energy college coaches were going to get a shot in the NFL.

The results have been mixed to say the least. For every Chip Kelly over the years there has also been a Steve Spurrier, or a Greg Schiano.

After some key free agent signings during the offseason, the Bucs came into the season as a sneaky sleeper to contend for the NFC South. In fact, they were so sneaky about it once the season started that it appeared to everyone in the world that they SUCKED BALLS. What a perfect disguise!

Schiano was rumored to be fired by half time of week four, the players were in full “fuck the coach” mode before then, and the best man to man cover corner to suit up in the last ten years was playing almost exclusively zone coverage. Throw in the flat out release of a quarterback who was supposed to be the face of the franchise a few years ago, a differential of -101, an eight game losing streak to start the season and what you are left with is the 2013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Don’t read any farther if you’re already in a bad mood…this is their retrospective. Continue reading

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