1. Saints quarterback Drew Brees (36 years old) is currently suffering from plantar fasciitis, the same injury that has sidelined Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (39). Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (35) and Browns quarterback Josh McCown (36) have broken collar bones.
Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (35) is dealing with a hand injury, but shouldn't miss any time. Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (40) is dealing with jaw, back, and neck issue, but is still possibly available.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (38)? Fit as a fiddle in the middle of one of his best seasons. He could very well be the last man standing of his generation.
These are the 35+ year old quarterbacks with 100+ attempts. It must be the avocado ice cream.
2. Speaking of age, Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson (39 years old) announced his intention to retire at the end of the season. Woodson, Manning, and Hasselbeck were all part of the same 1998 draft class and Woodson is playing at the highest level of all of them. While Manning is finishing one of the worst quarterback seasons on record, Woodson was just named to another Pro Bowl.
Woodson was actually the winner of that legendary Heisman class of 1997, beating out Manning, Ryan Leaf, Randy Moss, and Ricky Williams (who won the Heisman the next year) for top honors.
Eighteen years. As a defensive back. That's unheard of. Woodson has put together a career for the ages and could be a deserving first ballot Hall of Famer.
3. Seahawks running back Fred Jackson is going to the playoffs for the first time at the age of 34. Jackson signed with the Seahawks after the Bills let him walk, although the Patriots were in pursuit of his services as well. Jackson only has 297 yards on the season, on pace for the lowest in his career, but I don't think he minds too much. He's going to the dance after years of futility in Buffalo.
It's similar to Steven Jackson (32 years old) signing with the Patriots and making it to the playoffs for the first time since his rookie season in 2004. It pays to be a great team player with a little bit of patience.
4. The NFL upheld the one-game suspension of Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Apparently NFL's Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino told officials during the game that Beckham could be tossed:
"There was a point in the game," Blandino said on NFL Total Access, "where I did get on the headset to the replay official to remind the referee you can eject players, you'll have our full support, this thing cannot get out of control."
That's insane that Beckham wasn't tossed after his antics during the game and it just shows the great inconsistencies between officiating crews. Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib was tossed for poking a player in the eye, while Beckham was allowed to play after throwing haymakers and targeting the heads of other players.
Beckham's punishment doesn't validate the actions from the Panthers, either. If the Panthers truly tossed around homophobic slurs at Beckham, the players at fault need to be brought into the spotlight.
5. The Cardinals acquired quarterback Carson Palmer a 7th round pick from the Raiders in exchange for a 6th round pick and a future 7th. The Jets acquired quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick from the Texans for a 6th round pick, thanks to conditional escalators that bumped the price up from a 7th round pick. These have paid off pretty well for the acquiring teams.
It makes me wonder if teams could be interested in trading for some other quarterbacks that teams have given up on their upside, and still have a successful, and relatively cheap, cornerstone on offense. With such a ridiculously inflated market for quarterbacks, journeymen players of the Jeff Garcia, Kyle Orton, or Jason Campbell tier could be a solid inefficiency for teams looking for a stopgap.
It's just a matter of finding these players- and Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer might be the perfect example of a player that can be used within the greater system for overall success. Others might include Shaun Hill, Mark Sanchez, and possibly Sam Bradford. All these players have flaws, like Fitzpatrick, but the right teams can capitalize on their strengths and put them in a position to succeed.