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ESPN trying to find the first person to dub the Sons Of Anarchy

From ESPN:
The New York Jets’ young and impressive defensive line — composed of Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison and Sheldon Richardson — is being called the “Sons of Anarchy.”

Where the nickname started, we’re not exactly certain. But we like it. And we’re looking to give credit to its creator.

During our brief research, we found the nickname on several message boards, the earliest dated Sept. 16, when someone with the handle “MetsJetsFTW” posted it on the

The poster, who has to be a Jets fan given the NSFW slogan that appears under his handle, wrote: “Harrison, Richardson and Wilkerson all have names that end in ‘son,’ plus they’re all destructive beasts like the biker gang in the show. I’m suggesting that we call our D-line the Sons of Anarchy.”

On Twitter, someone with the handle @NYS_G tweeted to Deadspin that his friend @MANIMALJOICE created the nickname. He tweeted, “Hey @mowilkerSON, @BigDame900 and @Godforshort – How about this nickname for y’all? SONS OF ANARCHY – since all your names end with ‘Son’.” That tweet came on Sept. 23, though.

But perhaps the coolest thing we found was a post on Sept. 18, which showed Jets coach Rex Ryan wearing a Sons of Anarchy T-shirt while posing for a photo with a fan.

Maybe Rex came up with the nickname. If not, we’re sure he’d approve.

In the meantime, enjoy the havoc being caused by “The Sons of Anarchy” themselves.

The Jets currently rank first against the run, allowing just 73.8 yards per game and 3.1 yards per carry.

All three members — or “-sons” — of the trio are homegrown.

Wilkerson, 24, the team’s first-round pick in 2011 out of Temple, has 8.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. At this rate, he’s going to be Pro Bowl-bound.

Harrison, 24, joined the Jets as an undrafted free agent last season. The William Penn product has 32 tackles and a sack.

Richardson, 22, was drafted with the pick the Jets received in exchange for All-Pro Darrelle Revis. The No. 13 overall selection out of Missouri has 41 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble.

Update: Thanks to a response from “@DvdVill” via Twitter, we may have tracked this down. DvdVill referred us to a post over at Following the Jets’ 24-21 preseason victory over the New York Giants on Aug. 24, user “WadeBoggsNeverWalkedAgain” wrote: “The ‘sons Of Anarchy… Wilkerson, Richardson & Harrison look damn good!”

Is this the earliest you’ve heard of the nickname? Or is there something earlier? Again, let us know on the comments section below or by hitting me up on Twitter: @MazzESPN.

NFL says former officials not fired

NEW YORK (per AP) — The NFL says nine former on-field officials have not been fired from part-time jobs.

Former NFL referee Jerry Markbreit said Friday that he and eight other retired officials were asked to hand in their NFL-issued laptops and had been fired. The league wanted the nine men to train replacement officials after the league locked out the current officials.

The NFL says in a statement that the nine ”are seasonal employees who have decided not to work at this time. We asked for their NFL-issued laptops back so that those who are working right now can use them.”

The other eight ex-officials are Ron Botchan, Red Cashion, Tom Fincken, Dean Look, Ben Montgomery, Jim Quirk, Bill Schmitz, and Sid Semon.

Standing tall

The regular officials’ contract ran out on May 31, and the NFL has been lining up replacements.

The players were locked out for 4 1/2 months last year before getting a 10-year contract.

”Lockout seems to be their negotiating strategy with everyone,” said referee Scott Green, president of the NFL Referees Association, of which Markbreit and the eight other officials are not members. ”We don’t want to be locked out. We want to get back to the table and get this resolved.”

The league responded Wednesday that it began the process of hiring replacements when the officials told the NFL of their intention to authorize a strike.

”We have great respect for our officials and in keeping with that view have made a proposal that includes substantial increases in compensation for all game officials,” that previous NFL statement said. ”We have negotiated in good faith since last October. We accepted the union’s suggestion that we involve federal mediators in the negotiations.

”We are available to meet with the NFLRA at any time to negotiate a new contract.”

No talks are scheduled.