The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Humphrey with the 63rd overall pick in 2021, and now he’s in rare company as a rookie first-team All-Pro. He allowed just 12 pressures all season and earned by far the best PFF run-blocking grade (92.5) of any center, never mind rookies. Humphrey possesses excellent quickness in his footwork and movement and has a nasty streak as a run-blocker with a tendency to finish hard and mix it up with defenders. Kansas City’s center spot has been solid the past few seasons, but the team got a huge upgrade in the middle of the draft this year.
ESPN’s first NFL Week 18 Monday Night Football: Doubleheader Saturday (January 8) was one for the records, as the Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles (8:15 p.m. ET) and Kansas City Chiefs-Denver Broncos (4:30 p.m. ET) become two of the five most-watched Monday Night Football games in the ESPN era (274 games since 2006). Both are ESPN’s best regular season NFL audiences in more than a decade. Monday Night Football: Doubleheader Saturday elevated MNF regular season viewership to an average of 14,182,000 million viewer a game (19 games), the best regular season viewership for ESPN since 2010 and the third best since 2006.
The Cowboys and Eagles generated an audience of 20.3 million viewers on ESPN, ABC, ESPN Deportes, while the Chiefs-Broncos delivered 19.1 million viewers across the same networks, resulting in a Doubleheader Saturday average of 19.7 million viewers
The New York Jets veteran offensive lineman earned his medical degree from McGill in 2018 while a member of [the Kansas City Chiefs]. With the Jets’ season now complete following a 27-10 loss Sunday to the Buffalo Bills, Duvernay-Tardif said he has medical considerations to also address this winter.
“Honestly, everything is on the table right now,” Duvernay-Tardif told reporters after Sunday’s game. “I think, for me, it’s important also to look at my future as a physician.
“There are some deadlines, there is some issues that I got to work out with the medical faculty, with the licensing back home in Canada, to make sure that I’m not having to restart that eight-year process that I went through. So, I’m going to get those answers and then I’ll start looking at my options from the football perspective.”
Duvernay-Tardif, 30, said medical graduates have four years to start their residency. Given he graduated from McGill in May 2018, that deadline is fast approaching.
“The No. 1 quality is leadership,” [Broncos general manager George Paton] said earlier this week. “We’re looking for someone to lead this entire organization, to lead this community and to lead our players. That’s the No. 1 trait we’re looking for. Obviously, we want the best football coach. I’m not worried about what side of the ball, and I’m not worried about a playcaller. We want leadership. That’s our No. 1 priority.”
The Broncos have formally requested to interview New England Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy; Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and Packers quarterbacks coach/pass game coordinator Luke Getsy.
Regarding Speaks, the 6’3”, 285 pound defensive end was a former 2018 second round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs (2018-19), but has also spent time with the Las Vegas Raiders (2020), Dallas Cowboys (2020, 2021), New York Giants (2021), and Buffalo Bills (2021) organizations.
During 16 career games (4 starts), he has 24 tackles (15 solo), 3 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries.
Meanwhile, Williams is a big body in the interior at a listed 6’2”, 309 pounds. Signed as a 2015 undrafted rookie free agent by the Arizona Cardinals (2015-17), Williams later became a member of the Kansas City Chiefs (2018-19), New England Patriots (2020), Cincinnati Bengals (2020), Arizona Cardinals (2021), and Houston Texans franchises (2021).
He has 108 tackles (65 solo), 4 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery during 57 career games (9 starts).
Coincidentally, both Speaks and Williams were Super Bowl Champions with the Kansas City Chiefs organization back in the 2019 season—having since moved onto other NFL stops.
Around the NFL
The New York Giants fired head coach Joe Judge after just two seasons on the job on Tuesday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
The team later confirmed Judge’s dismissal and announced it would first hire a general manager, who would subsequently lead the search for the next head coach. Previous GM Dave Gettleman announced his retirement on Monday.
“Steve (Tisch) and I both believe it is in the best interest of our franchise to move in another direction,” team president John Mara said in a statement. “We met with Joe yesterday afternoon to discuss the state of the team. I met again with Joe this afternoon, and it was during that conversation I informed Joe of our decision. We appreciate Joe’s efforts on behalf of the organization.
“I said before the season started that I wanted to feel good about the direction we were headed when we played our last game of the season. Unfortunately, I cannot make that statement, which is why we have made this decision.
“We will hire a general manager and that person will lead the effort to hire a new head coach.”
Kaiser’s estate, per The Athletic, claimed that a right of first refusal signed when Bowlen bought the team back in 1984 — which gave Kaiser’s estate the right to match any offer if the Broncos were ever put up for sale — was still valid. It sought, then, to obtain the right to buy back at least a share of team ownership. But Denver District Judge Shelley I. Gilman sided with the Pat D. Bowlen Trust, including longtime team president Joe Ellis, removing the legal barrier from a potential sale. Gilman specifically linked the invalidity to the fact that both Kaiser and Bowlen have since died, per KUSA, with Kaiser passing in 2012 and Bowlen in 2019.
Ellis is expected to address the ownership situation after the Broncos hire a new head coach, having just dismissed Vic Fangio following the 2021 season.
Forgive Mike Tomlin if he snoozed through the end of the Raiders-Chargers’ Sunday night overtime thriller that put the Pittsburgh Steelers in danger of missing the playoffs.
After all, the 49-year-old coach had just come off a grueling overtime affair of his own, grinding out a 16-13 win over the Baltimore Ravens, and had every reason to believe his team’s playoff berth was in the bag. With that win secured, only an improbable tie between the Raiders and Chargers — which would’ve happened were it not for Daniel Carlson’s 47-yard field goal as time expired — could have vanquished the Steelers from the postseason.
And Tomlin was counting sheep through it all.
He said he “dozed off” toward the end of the game, per NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala.
“I’m probably better off not having watched it,” he added.
Tomlin can’t be caught asleep this week, however, in preparing for the AFC’s No. 2-seeded Chiefs (12-5). Kansas City hammered Pittsburgh, 36-10, in Week 16, just three weeks before Sunday’s playoff rematch (8:15 p.m. ET, NBC).
“They handled us and handled us definitively. We understand that. At the same time, we’re not paralyzed by that,” Tomlin said, per Kinkhabwala. “We accept that we didn’t play well enough, we accept that we didn’t plan well enough.”
Smith was arrested Monday morning following the Seahawks’ return from Arizona after their last game of the season. According to the arrest report, the state trooper “detected a strong odor of intoxicants and observed the driver had bloodshot, watery eyes.” Smith told the state trooper he had some wine earlier in the night but had stopped drinking 90 minutes before he was pulled over.
Smith declined to take a preliminary breath test and a judge issued a search warrant for a blood draw. Smith was taken to a hospital where he became agitated before the blood draw, even with the Seahawks’ director of team security present to try to calm Smith down, according to the report. Restraints were used to complete the process, troopers wrote.
Smith was then transported to the King County Correctional Facility. He was released on $1,000 bail later Monday.
A spokesperson with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office told ESPN that they received the case from the Washington State Patrol on Tuesday and are awaiting blood results from the WSP crime lab before making a charging decision, which is routine procedure.
Tafoya has been with NBC for 11 seasons. Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles will mark her fifth time working the game.
In total, she has covered more than 300 regular season games and 26 playoff games. Tafoya has won four Sports Emmys for Outstanding Sports Personality. She’s also spent time working on ABC and ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” and been part of coverage for the NBA, Olympics and more.
NBC’s broadcast booth is expected to change significantly next season. Tafoya was replaced by Kathryn Tappen this season after she missed a few games in December. Tappen is reportedly a “clear leading candidate” to replace Tafoya next season.
Michaels has been rumored to be leaving NBC for Amazon, who will start broadcasting games on a regular basis next season. If that happens, Mike Tirico is expected to take over his play-by-play duties alongside Collinsworth.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
According to FiveThirtyEight's ELO model, there is an 86 percent probability for the Chiefs to defeat the Steelers. The Bills have a 70 percent chance of beating the Patriots, while the Bengals would win 74 percent of the time against the Raiders.
With this information, we can predict which teams the first-seeded Titans are most likely to face in the Divisional round.
Titans Opponent Chance Bengals 44.5% Patriots 25.8% Raiders 15.7% Steelers 14.0%
We can do similar math to calculate where the second-seeded Chiefs are most likely to be after the Wild Card round.
Chiefs Opponent Chance Bills 60.2% Bengals 19.1% OUT 14.0% Raiders 6.7%