The greatest football player of all time announced his retirement yesterday – and it wasn't even the biggest NFL news of the day. The Super Bowl is less than two weeks away, and it wasn't the biggest NFL news of the day. Yes, the Rams and Bengals will duke it out in Los Angeles to determine who's the king of the professional football, but there's a lot of other stuff happening around the league too. Let's dig into the most important news and notes from around the league on Tuesday.
Brian Flores Suing the NFL, Giants, Dolphins, and Broncos
Former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is suing the NFL, Giants, Dolphins, and Broncos in a class action lawsuit. Flores alleges that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered to pay him $100,000 in 2019 for each game the Dolphins lost in an effort to tank and secure the top overall pick in the draft (which would have turned into Joe Burrow). From an on-field perspective, this would be an egregious violation of league rules, and the NFL would almost be forced into taking action against Ross if Flores can prove that the owner made such a proposition. Flores also claimed Ross wanted to break league tampering rules and make contact with a star quarterback set to hit the open market in 2020 – this was later confirmed to be Tom Brady – but Flores refused, citing that such a move would violate tampering protocols. Ross then allegedly tried to set up a meeting between Brady and the Dolphins on a yacht and failed to tell Flores that the star quarterback would be there. There's a lot to unpack here, but the Dolphins – and Ross in particular – could be in hot water if Flores has proof for these allegations.
Flores also alleges the Giants interviewed him despite having no plans to hire him. The NFL mandates that each team interview two non-white coaches – "The Rooney Rule" – to promote diversity. Flores believes that the Giants had already decided to hire former Bills OC Brian Daboll, who has since been named New York's new head coach, before they interviewed him. Flores has texts from Patriots coach Bill Belichick as evidence. The texts show Belichick mistakenly messaging Flores (instead of Daboll) to congratulate him on being named the new head coach of the Giants. Flores responds by asking Belichick if he meant to message him instead of Daboll, and Belichick realizes his mistake and apologies for texting the wrong person. The Giants did interview Leslie Frazier and Patrick Graham before Flores, but Graham was an in-house candidate, and The Rooney Rule requires teams to interview multiple people of color who are not already in the organization. Daboll was always rumored to be the frontrunner for the Giants' vacancy – and those whispers only got louder after New York hired former Bills assistant GM Joe Schoen to be their new general manager – but it's understandably frustrating for Flores if they only interviewed him to satisfy The Rooney Rule after already deciding that Daboll was their guy.
The Broncos were the third team singled out in Flores' lawsuit. The former Dolphins coach says that team executives showed up an hour late in January 2019 when Flores was set to interview with them, and he adds that the Broncos executives in question – including John Elway – "looked completely disheveled and it was obvious that they had been drinking heavily the night before." Denver released a statement denying the allegations and saying they showed up on time for the interview, spent the entire three-and-a-half-hour period with Flores, and took detailed notes on the prospective coach. As is the case with all of these teams, NFL fans will just have to wait and see what happens here as far as the evidence both sides present in the lawsuit. Of course, it's also possible the parties reach a settlement.
Racial inequality has long been a problem for coaching staffs and front offices across the league. Regardless of what happens with the case, it was a brave move from Flores to step forward with this lawsuit, as it clearly will affect his ongoing search for a new job. At the very least, it adds fuel to the fire in a discussion that needs to be had, and it could force the league to look into new ways to promote diversity.
Tom Brady Announces His Retirement
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Saturday that Tom Brady planned to retire, but that was called into question when it came out that Brady had yet to tell the Buccaneers he was retiring. Of course, it always seemed likely that Schefter was right – it's hard to envision the most connected reporter in the league going public with something like this unless he was completely certain – and Brady merely wanted to announce it himself, but we had to wait a few more days to hear confirmation from the legend himself. The 44-year-old Brady spent 22 seasons in the NFL. From a sixth-round pick out of Michigan to a seven-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Super Bowl MVP, and three-time league MVP, it's unlikely we'll ever see a story as unlikely as Brady's during our lifetimes. He has the most passing yards and touchdowns of any player in league history, and his insane run over the past decade almost certainly cements him as the greatest football player to ever lace up a pair of cleats. He's a no-doubt first-ballot Hall of Famer as soon as he's eligible, and it'll be strange next season to have an NFL without Brady for the first time in more than two decades.
A New Team Name in Washington
The Washington organization has yet to announce their new team name, but it is heavily rumored to be the "Commanders." This rumor was supported when Chopper4's Brad Freitas posted a video of FedEx Field on Tuesday in which you can see the word "Commanders" through a window. Washington has been known as the Football Team for the past two seasons, but it appears that a new name is on the way. The only question at this point is when they make it official.