Monday, December 26, 2011

There Is More Than One Way To Skin A Cat

As I see it, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have at least 6 major needs, in no specific order: Linebacker that pairs with Mason Foster, Shutdown Cornerback to replace Ronde Barber, #1 Preferably Tall Wide Reciever, Pass Blocking Offensive Tackle, Versatile Offensive Guard, Complementary Running Back.
Other Needs: (Safety Depth, Versatile Fullback)

The Bucs can go SEVERAL different ways in their draft, so they really need somebody that will make decisions by their self. They have to trust Dominik's drafting, because he's generally done a great job of choosing players. Every 1st and 2nd rounder we have selected in the past 3 years has shown the ability to be legit starter in the NFL, except maybe Benn, who has shown great flashes with the ball in his hands. (except when he steps out before it gets there)

Option 1: Buc Ball Route
 "We think that if we have a strong defensive draft, we can become a real NFL defense like we were in the old days. No more worst in anything. A Top half in Passing D, and a Top 20 Rushing D would be a big difference in one year."

1st Round: Claiborne: (6'0, 185, 4.4) (Shutdown Corner, Great Speed, NFL Starter for 10 years) No Claiborne? KirkPatrick: (6'3, 192, 4.46) He shows the toughness that Ronde Barber shows, with ability to blitz the QB and tackle running backs, as well as be a great cover corner.

2nd round: Take a Linebacker. This team cannot stop anyone. Looking at Prospect Background's, this draft seems to have more quality Outside LBs outside the first round, so it looks like Mason Foster will stay at MLB. Here they could take Lavonte David (6'1, 225, 4.55, Tackling Machine and Playmaker quoted as a great fit for Tampa Two) at best. Other available players: Danny Trevathan (6'1, 232,4.56, 5th in nation in tackles) Sean Spence: (6'0, 224, 4.49, leader for U of Miami)

 "Our franchise quarterback will never properly develop if we don't surround him with top offensive talent. We've never dedicated one of our top 2 picks to him since he's been here. We love him, we put our faith in him to lead us to the promise land." 

1st Round: Blackmon: (6'1, 215,4.48, top Wide out in football for 2 years) Kalil: (6'7, 295, 5.01, consensus top OL) Richardson: (5'11, 224, 4.49, proven amazing talent) The Bucs have been trying to get a top pick for the past 9 weeks, and we are not going to ruin it now. Give em the 5th or 6th pick in the draft: Colts will pick Luck, Somebody will get RGIII, and somebody will draft Claibrone. That leaves 3 to be picked. We have a top 6 pick, so at least one of these players will be available. Blackmon allows us to run a 3-4 WR Spread Offense that Freeman thrives in, and gives us a true number one WR. Kalil gives Freeman more time in the pocket. A mobile guy like Freeman can use time in the pocket to destroy opposing defenses. With Kalil on the left and Penn on the right, Freeman would never have anything to worry about. Richardson gives us the best backfield in the NFL. period. Let's face it, Blount is amazing at times, but he needs a compliment. Richardson not only compliments, but turns Blount into the compliment. He will catch out of the backfield with fluid hands, run over defenders, and has breakaway speed.

2nd Round: If they get Blackmon: This pick will be an offensive lineman. Tackle Prospects: Mike Adams: (6'6, 320, might be relegated to right tackle) Nate Potter: (6'6, 295, needs to add strength) Guard Prospects: Kelechi Osmele: (6'5, 347, played tackle in college) Kevin Zeitler: (6'4, 315, played for Wisconsin: somebody must have been making that offense move.) If we get Kalil or Richardson: Look for a Wide Reciever here. Depends on whether they're looking for a burner or a Calvin Johnson type. Notable Prospects: Dwight Jones: (6'4, 225, 4.55, great with YAC) Kendall Wright: (5'10, 190, 4.39, great deep threat) Rueben Randle: (6'4, 208, 4.51, high school phenom doubles as returner and would instantly start at both positions)

Option 3: Best Player Available
 "We can't specifically look for positions, because there are alot of things that we need." 

This strategy works a lot better for teams that have no obvious holes, or in this case, too many obvious holes. Maybe it doesn't require making specific decisions, but if you rank your top 100 players, it will give us the best players we can get for the first three rounds in the draft.There is no way for us to determine what need is more important than the other. We need at least 4 new players (Cornerback, Strong OLB, Weak OLB, Safety) to make our defense playoff worthy, and that will not come in one draft. We need at least 3 new players on our offense (#1 WR, Tackle, Guard) to create a playoff team, and that most likely will take more than one year to create. The gradual approach could help us to be mediocre accross the board next year, which is good enough to be competitive in every game we play.

First things first: The Bucs will need to finish out the season, and find out who will be leading our team next year. After losing 9 in a row, the owners are the only people with job security, and even they are in trouble with ticket sales.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Captain America vs The Mile High Messiah


2nd year. Reserve quarterback. Struggling team. Starter goes out, and this backup engineers an amazing string of victories. True underdog story of Tim Tebow, right? Wrong. Once upon a time, The Patriots were not a powerhouse offense capable of scoring 30 points per game. They weren't equipped with a Hall of Fame quarterback and a super talented recieving core. A decade ago, they were a defensive team starting a guy that nobody expected to succeed. 3 months later, that guy became the youngest QB to ever win a super bowl. Will Tim Tebow be that guy come January? Only time will tell. Until then, the task at hand is more important. For the Broncos: Making the playoffs. For the Patriots: Clenching Home Field Advantage.

These two teams could not possibly be more different from a personnel perspective. New England has a high powered finesse offense, and a historically horrible defense. Denver has a physical, low scoring offense, but a defense capable of keeping any team in the league under 20 points on any given Sunday. Except for the Packers of course, but that's a whole different story.

This clash of styles will be great to watch, but even more exciting will be the ever-amazing Tebow Time. If you haven't heard about it yet, then you need to come out from under the rock you live in, and step into the light. Apparently, it has become a theme in nearly every Broncos' game for the offense to underperform throughout the first three quarters while the defense keeps the score close. During the 4th quarter and Overtime, however, Tim Tebow, AKA The Mile High Messiah engineers comebacks like Montana and does it with Vick-like quickness. In his 8 starts, Tebow is 7-1 with 5 4th Quarter Comebacks, the most of any player in that timespan.

The lesser known story will be that of Tom Brady, Captain America. With 4273 passing yards this season, he is on pace to shatter Dan Marino's record of 5084 yards. In a year where quarterbacks have dominated more than usual, he has carried the Patriots and been one of the best.


The Patriots will come out firing, but the Broncos will play their game stick with them. I don't think its possible to blowout this Bronco team, especially in Denver, because of their effort and intensity. However, there are a number of injuries to watch in the Denver secondary, which will definitely have an impact on the game.

Matchups to Watch

Champ Bailey vs Rob Gronkowski. Seems unlikely at first glance, but the 6'0 Bailey has been locked up with both Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez over the last few years and done well. At 6'6 265 lbs, Gronkowski is a different breed than those two. His combination of size, strength, and athleticism make him an unstoppable force.

Broncos WRs vs Patriots DBs. Last week, the Denver Recievers dropped 6 passes in the first three quarters. Missed opportunites like those this week will kill you when you have Tom Brady on the other side of the field. Ironically, the Patriots DBs have been so bad that they are using their wide receivers at both safety positions. Allowing this guy to throw for over 250 yards and 2 touchdowns is not the recipe for success.


Broncos win, 20-17. Tebow will lead yet another 4th quarter comeback. This time, it will be with his legs. And not to mention this guy.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Rapid Fall of the Chicago Bears: Is There Still Hope?

     The Chicago Bears are having some serious problems. 1 time Pro Bowl QB Jay Cutler is out for another month with a broken thumb on his throwing hand. Matt Forte, league leader in yards from scrimmage through 12 games, is out for a month with an MCL sprain. The backup quarterback, Caleb Hanie, has 6 interceptions in 2 starts. Could things really get any worse?

     Apparently, they can. According to recent reports, these are the top 2 replacement options for the Bears: Donovan McNabb and yes, you guessed it, Brett Favre. Things are falling far and fast for this team, and Lovie Smith is going to have to pull off something amazing to get them back on track. As of now, the Bears (7-5) are 2nd in the NFC North, and tied for the 5th seed in the NFC playoff standings with 2 other teams.
Their last four games:
                                    @Denver (7-5)? LOSS, see Tebow
                                    vs Seattle (5-7)? Possibly a Win, unless Marshawn Lynch is in beast mode
                                   @Green Bay(12-0) LOSS, i mean really, its RODGERS
                                   @Minnesota(2-10) Possibly a win, but not a given against Adrian Peterson.

That means the Bears will finish the season, at best, 9-7, with a strong possibility of 8-8. Hate to say it Bears fans, but if Donovan McNabb is your best option, you are better off hoping for the worst.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Is Tim Tebow the Real Deal?

 Click The Image For Evidence
Conventional wisdom would tell me no. THAT horrible throwing motion says no. Denver's current executive vice president of football operations and greatest Bronco of all time, John Elway, even says no. However, a quick look into the box score from the last 6 weeks says yes. The wins are there. The history is there. The leadership is there. The potential is there. 

Tim Tebow's pre-draft measurables? 6'2 3/4, 236 lbs, 4.71 40 yard dash, 38.5 inch vertical. With that size and athletic ability, quarterback would not be in the top 3 for his best suited positions. Fullback, Tight End, and Linebacker would seemingly suit him much better. The fact is, that is what makes him great. He is able and willing to put his body on the line at any time at the end of the game. He outweighs Michael Vick by 30 pounds, and most larger QBs are not even close to his speed.

No matter what people think of Tebow as a person, love him or hate him, he is a force to be reckoned with in the National Football League.

Down by 4 points. 2 minutes left in the game. 3 timeouts left. What Quarterback are you going to choose?
I'm taking this guy. The worst passer in the NFL is now the hottest QB in the league.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Spectacular Story of Marcus Dixon

    This past week, HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel did a story on Marcus Dixon, a young man from a small town in Georgia. His high school numbers? 6'6. 260 pounds. All Star Defensive End. Honor Roll Student. Full Scholarship to Vanderbilt University. Marcus Dixon had everything in the world going for him, until it all went horribly wrong.

    Dixon rose from humble beginnings to become who he is today: Defensive End for the New York Jets. As a young  African-American boy in Georgia he was left without any family to take care of him, and was taken in by a local White family. Not so much like Michael Oher, because he wasn't 350 pounds when his new family first met him. Marcus did, however, show a knack for sports at an early age, and as he continued to grow taller and stronger, he rose onto the national scene as one of the top football players in the country. However, with great ability, comes great responsibility.

    When Marcus decided to become intimate with classmate Kristie Brown, everything went wrong. Her father, a man known to be racially prejudice, found out his daughter had sex with a black boy and she accused Marcus of rape. Although that did not hold up in court, Dixon was convicted of statutory rape and aggravated child molestation, crimes that lead to a sentence of 10 years in prison with no chance of parole, because he was 18 years old, and Kristie Brown, a sophomore, was only 15.

    Soon after the conviction, HBO's Real Sports did a feature story on Dixon, and brought the case into the national spotlight. A number of people and organizations, including the NAACP, traveled to Georgia and protested. Not long after, Marcus was set free and went on to play football at Hampton University, a historically black university in Virginia. Upon graduating, he entered the NFL Draft, but was not selected. He was signed & cut by the Dallas Cowboys in 2008, but was picked up by the New York Jets in 2010, and has been making plays ever since.

    A lot of young people out there could learn from his mistakes. Although he did nothing to deserve the punishment he received, Dixon obviously put himself in an unfavorable situation. 

Word of Advice: The only way to stay out of trouble is to stay away from it.
Marcus Dixon was able to overcome it because of talent and exposure, but many others never get that chance.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Legality, Morality, and Penn State

     In the United States of America, there is a fine line between what the law says and what the human heart tells you. In the case of the Penn State Nittany Lions, they are guilty of disobeying both schools of thought in some way or another. This whole situation is absolutely sickening.
     Former Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky was caught in the act of raping a 10 year old boy by Graduate Assistant Matt McQueary in 2002. The next day, McQueary reported this to Head Football Coach Joe Paterno, who followed the chain of command and sent the report up to the Athletic Director, who told the Senior VP, who told the School President. No legal action was taken. Nobody alerted the authorities. In fact, McQueary never even did anything to stop the act as it took place. After the chain of command was followed, Sandusky was ordered to stop bringing children to the football building. Despite that, he was allowed to continue operating a summer camp at a Penn State Satellite Campus from 2002-2008 where he had daily access to young boys. During this time period, at least one known boy was molested. He told his mother a few years later, and they alerted the authorities in 2008, which began the criminal investigation against Sandusky. The neglect shown by the Penn State administration alone should have been enough to put the whole staff in Jail. However, they did follow protocol, so only the upper level admins are in legal trouble.

     From a moral standpoint, this whole situation was just plain wrong. Sandusky is a rapist, and the rest of the school is full of enablers. As an able-bodied man, it was McQueary's responsibility to put a stop to the act he saw in the team showers on that day in 2002. Sandusky's superiors should have immediately alerted the authorities. The students of Penn State support Joe Paterno through thick and thin, but this incident is too explicit to keep any of the people on the staff that knew about it. If there were no other recorded incidents of rape after the initial sighting, maybe the board of trustees would not have had to come down so hard, but the fact that even 1 other boy was harmed, tells me that some serious action had to take place. Yes, the school administration followed protocol, but the thing is, this isn't about grown men. This is not the military. These are kids that cannot protect themselves, and underprivileged kids at that. They needed somebody to protect them, and Penn State did not do that.

     Conspiracy theorists from different groups are already having a field day with this whole scandal. Is it a coincidence this action just so happened to take place days after Joe Pa broke the career wins record for D-1 Football? Would people act the same about the situation if these were 10 year old girls? Why isn't anybody at Penn State concerened with the victims? These questions will never be answered, and the reason nobody acted on their knowledge of Sandusky can never be explained, but one thing we do know is that State College, PA will never be the same.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Not even Santa can deliver an end to the NBA Lockout

     We're a week into the scheduled start of the NBA Season, and it looks like things are not going to get any better on the lockout front. Owners want money. Players want more money, its as simple as that. The problem is: The two sides can't agree on what would be a sufficient percentage of total profit for each side. In my opinion, it all boils down to one word: GREED. The average NBA player is overpaid, and above average NBA players get overpaid even worse. For example, Rashard Lewis. A streaky shooter that is past his prime, Lewis is the second highest paid player in the NBA, making over $22,000,000 this past year. Gilbert Arenas made over $19,000,000, and he hasn't been good since he did this. It makes no sense that these guys can gets paid more than LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Dwight Howard. Although the Superstars do have a legitimate gripe against the owners, the league is 99 percent role players, and that is why the owners cannot give in to them. 
     The way the market is run is never going to be successful, because the players have been allowed to run things in recent years.  The Rookie wage scale works great. Team Salary Caps are fine. There are no gripes about insurance and retirement benefits like there were in the NFL, only one issue separates the Players Association from the Owners' Association: Money. That one issue, however, is splitting the sides further and further apart as time goes on and representatives get restless.   This evening at 5pm,  the owners' current proposal of about a 50/50 split will expire, and Derek Fischer says the Players Association will not accept it. David Stern, however, says they refuse to back down, and will in fact make their next proposal even worse for the players. After 5pm comes and goes, games can be canceled all the way through Christmas.

When will the NBA Lockout end? We do not know for sure, and it may not be until after the 2011-2012 season. Whether it ends or not, Basketball Never Stops.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The 'Super Chargers' will beat the Super Bowl Champs

    Preview: Later today, The Green Bay Packers will play the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. When that game comes to end, the Pack will fall to 7-1. The Chargers (4-3) led by Phillip Rivers have experienced a recent 2-game slide, which only motivates them more. The Packers (7-0) have had smooth sailing all year, and many don't see when they will ever lose. However, further analysis tells me different. Mediocre teams, such as the Vikings and Panthers, have led the packers at halftime. This is somewhat of a trap for the Packers. They are coming off a bye week where they basked in the ambiance of their supposed 'greatness', and they have to travel halfway across the US. The Chargers are coming off a 2 game losing streak, their coach is in danger of losing his job, and their quarterback is going through a rough patch.

Gameday Notes: Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 20 touchdowns and 3 ints in 7 games this season.
Phillip Rivers currently has the lowest passer rating (80.7) he's ever had.
San Diego's defense ranks 4th in the league against the pass.
Vincent Jackson and Ryan Matthews have been limited during practice this week, but both are expected to play.
After the bye week, Packers are healthy and ready to go for the game.

Prediction: Chargers 24, Packers 20. Late 4th quarter comeback by Rivers will win it for the Chargers.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cam Newton: The Second Coming?

     Its week 9 of the NFL season now, and it has become evident that the biggest sleeper in the draft was in fact the number 1 overall pick. Through 7 games, he's managed to revive Steve Smith's career,  score 15 touchdowns, and single-handedly turn around the Panthers abysmal offense. He nearly defeated the Super Bowl Champs, and a couple weeks ago he turned his sights on the Redskins. We all know how that turned out. Last week it was the Vikings, and although they did not come out with a win, he still ended up with three touchdowns. In his first 8 games, Cam Newton has thrown for 2,393 yards and scored 18 total touchdowns. That means he is currently on pace for 4,786 passing yards and 36 total touchdowns, numbers that have never been reached by a rookie.

      The hype for Cam Newton was not always there forever. As a freshman at the University of Florida playing behind Tim Tebow, he rarely ever saw the field. During his sophomore season, he was suspended from the team for stealing a laptop. At the conclusion of the season, he made the decision to transfer to Blinn College, a junior college in Texas. In one year at Blinn, Newton redeemed himself by winning the National Championship and being elected a Junior College All-American. He then decided to transfer to Auburn University, where he led the Tigers to an undefeated season, a National Championship, and broke a number of records along the way. 

     His journey to success was not easy by any means, but he is now the most promising prospect in the NFL by far. His outstanding abilities, unlimited potential, and impressive production are just a few things that tell me he could end up being the greatest to ever set foot on the gridiron.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Josh Freeman: Superstar?

     For all the hype surrounding former #1 Overall pick Matthew Stafford and perennial Superbowl contender Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman has quietly led the Buccaneers to a 2-0 division record, 4-2 overall, and the top of the NFC South.
     Ever since he entered the league, Freeman has shown a knack for being at his best during crunch time. In 31 career starts, Freeman has 9 fourth quarter comebacks. Last year, he ranked (NUMBER) in the league with 95.9 passer rating, and led the Buccaneers to a 10-6 record, more than triple their '09 total.
     This year, however, things didn't start as smooth. Through 5 games, Freeman   had 3 passing touchdowns, 6 ints, a 74.6 rating, and 45 a point loss to the 49ers.This past sunday, however, the Freeman that we all remember from last year stepped back into the light. 303 yards, 2 touchdowns,  a win over the Saints, and a passer rating identical to the one he posted last year. The amazing part is that Freeman can do this while at the helm of the yougest team in the NFL.
     Mark Sanchez has continued to struggle with a career passer rating of 72.4, but the Jets are continuing to contend despite him, because he has an amazing supporting cast. Stafford's career has been the opposite: playing well while healthy, but in a losing effort for the past two seasons. He has led his team to a 5-1 start, with 15 TDs and only 4 ints, but don't forget he has the 6'5 240 pound Calvin "Megatron" Johnson. This year, however, is the make or break year for all three of them. Done with the rookie jitters. Through with the sophomore slump. The third season is the year an NFL QB is expected to start playing the way he will for the rest of his career.
     Josh Freeman goes over all these guys as the potential superstar, because he is the unquestioned leader of the offense. He doesn't have any superstars on his team that take the lead when things go wrong, all the blame is put on him. What happens when the Bucs need a win? Freeman does his thing. No current pro bowlers on defense. The lone pro bowler on the team comes from the offensive line. This guy is the real deal, and we will continue to hear more and more about him as this season goes on. The Buccaneers next three games: vs Bears at Wembley Stadium, at New Orleans, and home vs Houston. All this leads up to a monumental showdown at Lambeau Field on November 20th.
In the famous words of Terrell Owens, "Getcha Popcorn Ready." Josh Freeman and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are about to put on a show that the rest of the NFL might not be ready for just yet.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Are the Eagles Really This Bad ?

We all heard it before the season started:
     Superbowl Predictions.
     The "Dream Team".
     Miami Heat Comparisons
     Michael Vick for MVP.
     Nnamdi Asomugha is better than Darrelle Revis.

Through the first 5 weeks of the season, the Eagles have done all but prove these things.
In fact they have done the opposite:
     1-4 record overall.
     4 game losing streak.
     26.4 points allowed per game.
     7 interceptions and 7 fumbles for Vick.
     "Great" defensive backfield is getting toasted left and right.

     Playcalling, injuries, and poor play have all plagued the Eagles as they have continued to spiral downward for the past month. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Michael Vick is still Michael Vick. Last week he broke the career rushing record for Quarterbacks. LeSean Mccoy has 7 touchdowns. DeSean Jackson is averaging 19.5 yards per catch, and is still one of the best playmakers in the game. 2011 additions Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins have combined for 12 sacks. The statistics are there. The Eagles are just a few plays away from being 4-1, and I expect them to prove it this sunday against the Washington Redskins.



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Can the Cardinals win the World Series?

This fan sign is indicative of what everyone has been thinking during the Cardinals-Brewers series. If you pitch to Pujols, he hits a double, or does this. If you walk him, you put him on base without putting up a fight.
Which one do you choose?
In my opinion, they are better off avoiding him. Albert Pujols is number one in Cardinals' history in every major postseason batting category. He's the only player in MLB history with at least 30 home runs in each of their first 11 seasons.

Series is 2-1. Pujols is on Fire. Kyle Lohse is pitching tonight. Looks like the Cardinals have a great chance of at least advancing to the World Series.
Look out Texas, I believe The Machine is coming to town.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Night Preview: Colts at Buccaneers

The Indianapolis Colts (0-3) travel down to Tampa tonight to take on the up and coming Buccaneers (2-1).
The last time these two faced each other on Monday Night Football, the Bucs were up 35-14 with 4 minutes left, but Peyton Manning and the Colts stormed back to win in overtime 38-35. However, there will be no such heroics for the Colts this week. Josh Freeman is by far the more decorated starter in his match up, and his 8 career 4th quarter comebacks speak to his ability to make plays in the clutch.

Curtis Painter will make the first start of his Career tonight.
Bucs sold out a home game for the first time since 09-10 season.
Freeman will try to get back on track after starting the season with a 2-4 TD:INT ratio.
Dwight Freeney attempts to continue his dominance against '10 Pro Bowler Donald Penn.
Will the Colts slip to 0-4? Can the Bucs improve their position in the playoff race? We'll see tonight.

Prediction: Manning is out. Collins is out. Painter is in. Bucs win. 27-10.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Redskins vs Cowboys: Best Rivalry in the NFL?

Big Time game on Monday Night Football tonight. How big? You might ask.

Well first some fun facts.

The first game between these two teams was played was on October 9th, 1960 which ended in a 26-14 Redskin win.

The all time series lead is held by the cowboys by a wide margin. 60-38-2. However, in the postseason the Redskins lead 2-0.

Between these two teams are 27 Division Titles, 13 Superbowl Appearances, and 8 Superbowl titles.

Sports Illustrated has deemed it the top NFL rivalry of all time, and that could indeed be the case.

Todays game pits two teams that are fighting for power in the relentless NFC East. The Redskins (2-0) are coming off a surprising start and looking to make a big splash by going 3-0. The Cowboys (1-1) are looking to stay above water after big injuries to three key players on offense. The keys to the game include Romo's ability to fight through a broken rib, LaRon Landry's effectiveness in his first game back from a hamstring injury, and Dez Bryant's ability to get open in the absence of Miles Austin.

Despite all the hype, this one may turn out to be a low-scoring, defensive battle that doesn't feature any outstanding offensive play. Look for Special Teams to play an important role.
Prediction: 20-13 Redskins.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tom Brady: Best Ever?

          As most of us know, Tom Brady had a historic night on Monday Night Football this past week: 517 passing yards and 4 touchdowns, including one TD that went 99 yards. His career resume is astounding: 3 super bowls, 2 time league MVP, and a Comeback Player of the Year Award to top it all off. Without question, I think he has proved he is the best quarterback in the NFL today. But could he possibly be the best of All time?
         Joe Montana. John Elway. Dan Marino. Peyton Manning. Brett Favre. Terry Bradshaw. Steve Young. All of these players are among the best all-time. All of them have done things that most players never do, whether it be winning MVP Awards, Super bowls, or Superbowl MVP Awards. For most, these are the guys they will argue are better than Tom Brady. For me, there is a simple metric. MVP awards and Super bowls are nearly equal on my scale, but winning multiple of both trumps anything else.
First up: Dan Marino. He had an amazing career in Miami with a lot of individual success. Unfortunately, he played in a league ruled by other people. Despite all the statistics he racked up, he only won one MVP and never did win a super bowl. His polar opposite was Terry Bradshaw. A mediocre quarterback at times, Bradshaw managed to slip in a league MVP during his 4 super bowls in 6 years because his supporting cast made amazing plays. His career 212:210 TD:Int ratio explains his worth better than his record.
          Next: Brett Favre, the most statistically decorated player of all-time. Passing Yard and Passing Touchdown record. (As well as the Interception record) 3 time MVP, won a super bowl, but no MVP there. His 297 game iron man streak is his most impressive of all, but his postseason flubs undermine his greatness.
Peyton Manning: Same old story, just a different name. His career has followed a path very similar to Brett Favre's, with the only difference being a 4th MVP and a Super Bowl MVP. Those years of postseason mishaps hurt his resume' tremendously.
         John Elway has been to more Super bowls than any QB ever. However, his record was 2-3. He makes a strong case for the Top 3, but those super bowl losses tell me he can't be the best. Steve Young went to three super bowls and was 3-0, but he was the backup in the first two. His versatility was great, but concussions prevented his longevity, and he just didn't start in the league long enough to be at the top of the top. For these two, its just another Loss in a big moment.
          Now the one we have all been waiting for: Joe Montana. 4 time super bowl champion, 2-Time NFL MVP. The only player on this list (Besides Brady) with multiple Super bowls and Multiple MVP Awards. He always came up big in the clutch, and "Big Sky" Montana could really air it out with accuracy, unlike your average gunslinger. The only difference between Montana and Brady: Supporting cast. While Montana was winning super bowls, he had Jerry Rice, the greatest receiver of All-Time, catching his passes. Tom Brady, on the other hand, had no pro bowlers in the receiving core for any of his 3 super bowl wins. This is what separates him from the others. For Brady, receivers brought stats. The wins were coming before the receivers ever showed up. You know what I think, so now I ask you: Is Tom Brady the best ever?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Fall of the Miami Hurricanes

         From the 1980s to the early 2000s, it was all about "The U". In recent years however, since the National Championship loss in 2002, the Miami Hurricane football program has been steadily spiraling down. Rock bottom has occurred during the past year, where Miami not only lost to the historically inferior USF, but also had 6 starters convicted of illegally accepting money from a booster, which could lead to harsh penalties for the University's football program.
          It all started in 1978. The front office held a vote to consider dropping Miami football down to 1-AA or get rid of it completely after a controversy involving some players tossing a man into a lake, just the start of a "bad-boy" persona in Miami.In '79, they hired Howard Schnellenberger and everything changed. By '83, the Hurricanes were National Champions. He bolted for the NFL immediately after, and Jimmie Johnson took over. In '87 the U won the National Championship again, and this time went undefeated in the process. Johnson left in 1989, and Dennis Erickson replaced him. He proceeded to win the national title in his first year with the school. The U continued to build their reputation for bad sportsmanship, evident by the '01 Cotton Bowl Classic in which they received 9 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Following theis season, the NCAA  passed "The Miami Rule" which gives a 15 yard penalty for excessive celebration and taunting. The Canes won their fourth national championship in 1991, a season remembered by the infamous "Wide Right" game, and another undefeated season. Another coaching change followed shortly after, with Butch Davis taking the helm. NCAA sanctions led to down seasons from '95-97, but a return to prominence was near in sight. Davis left after 2000, the first Miami coach in 20 years to leave without a national championship. Larry Coker took over in '01 with one of the greatest college football teams ever assembled. This team included future NFL pro bowlers such as Ed Reed, Clinton Portis, Frank Gore, Andre Johnson, Vince Wilfork, Jonathan Vilma and the late Sean Taylor. They won the national championship in a 37-14 blowout over Nebraska, but this would mark the pinnacle of the Canes success. The heartbreaking loss in the 2002 National Championship marks the last time they reached the big game as of yet. 
          The bad got worse. Back in the '80s and '90s, the bad boy attitude was accepted, because Miami was the best team on the field nearly every game they played. But in the 2000s, however, that was no longer the case. '06 saw the U pitted against Florida International (FIU) in the most infamous brawl in NCAA history. The administration proceeded to take action: they fired the coach and engineered a program initiative to stay away from recruits with bad attitudes. Apparently, that was the wrong decision from a wins perspective. During Randy Shannon's tenure from '07-10, the Canes went 28-22 with a 0-3 bowl record.
          Al Golden is the current coach, and is off to a bad start with a tough loss at Maryland that I attended. (Which featured some very noteworthy jerseys) The question is: How did a University with 5 national titles in 20 years fall so far so fast? The only answer is recruiting. Other schools are getting those players that Miami used to find in local places. Different strategies and schemes have led to a move away from that, but getting back to their roots is the only way that Miami will get back to their winning ways.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Amazing Catches

In a week where Baseball continues to dominate highlight reels, and an outstanding catch reigned supreme, we remember this catch by Masato Akamatsu of Japan as possibly the greatest in the history of baseball.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Year of the Quarterback - Josh Freeman Style.

Literally Sports: Video of the Week
E:60 does a story on one of the brightest young stars in the game, Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman.  His dedication motivates him to continue striving to get better. Hone his skills. Become a Super Bowl Champion.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Art of Retirement

Randy Moss is an athletic freak. At 6'4 210 lbs, Moss has been clocked at 4.25 in the 40 yard dash, and is known to be the best in the game at Wide Receiver.  His domination of the game began as early as high school, where he won back to back state championships. In college, at Marshall, he scored at least 1 touchdown in each of his 28 career games, and won the Division 1-AA title in '96. He followed up his outstanding college career in the NFL, where he is currently tied for 2nd all-time in recieving touchdowns with 153.  This week, at age 34, Moss decided to retire. Many have speculated that he will soon return to the NFL, prompting this question: how often do pro athletes retire and return? The answer is, for the great ones, quite often.
         Throughout history, the best players in sports have overstayed their welcomes by staying in their respective leagues past their primes, because they have trouble letting go. Some of which even retired and came back to the professional ranks. Michael Jordan, Brett Favre, George Foreman, and Lance Armstrong. Each of these guys are legends, and at some point were the top players in their leagues. After retiring, however, each of them returned  following their initial retirement, and some after their subsequent retirements.
          Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. He retired in '93 to play baseball after winning three consecutive championships,  only to return in '95 and win three more championships from '96-98. He retired again in '99, for what most thought would be the last time. However, another return in '00 marked his last bow, but by then he was merely a shadow of his old self.
         Brett Favre is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever throw a football. He retired in '08 as a seasoned legend that was somewhat nudged out by new management. In his first comeback attempt, he played a so-so season that ended in a late season collapse. Favre again decided to retire in '09. When training camp rolled around, however, Favre unretired and ended up having his best season in recent memory, but, after making a fatal mistake, lost in overtime of the NFC championship game. The rough ending prompted a return in '10, but the QB's age began to truly show, and he retired for a final time (perhaps) earlier this year.
         George Foreman is one of the toughest boxers to ever enter the ring. He took a short hiatus from boxing in '75 after suffering his first knockout in the 'Rumble in the Jungle' versus Muhammad Ali, but a year later attempted a comeback. It wasn't entirely successful, and he retired the next year. A decade later, he returned to the ring and regained the World Heavyweight Title. After refusing World Boxing Association demands to fight their number 1 challenger, Foreman was stripped of his title. He challenged again in a match where the winner was scheduled to fight World Champion Lennox Lewis, but Foreman lost and retired from the ring forever in '97.
         Lance Armstrong is the most courageous cyclist in the history of the sport. After winning a battle with testicular cancer, he went on to win a record 7 consecutive Tour De France titles from '99-'05. He retired soon after his 7th title, but returned to the tour in '09. That year he finished in 3rd place, very impressive for a 38 year old cancer survivor. The next year, he announced, would he his last time competing in the Tour De France, and went on to finish a dissapointing 23rd place. In 2011, he again retired from cycling amid doping allegations.
         Although the professional career of Randy Moss is not as decorated as those of the aforementioned superstars, he is a future Hall of Famer, and is arguably the 2nd best Wide Reciever in NFL History. By merely examining his ego you would concur that this will not be the last of Randy Moss, for his final season will have been an utter embarrassment. Therefore the question is not could he return, but should he?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Role of Swagger in Sports

A New Phenomenon

     "Swag" is a phenomenon that has been influencing sports since the beginning of time, but not until recently has it become known as the most important trait of a perennial winner. For years, there has always been that special "thing" that carried Joe Namath to victory in Superbowl III, or the "icy veins" in the clutch that propelled Michael Jordan to 6 championships, but in all honesty, it was their swag. Webster would define swag as an inner confidence that one exudes in everyday life. However, it is more than that. 

     Swag is what makes Tom Brady spike the football in the Steelers endzone. It is the reason Tiger Woods does this after his winning shot at the 2008 US Open. It moves Tim Thomas to, instead of  making a conventional save, knock this guy onto his butt while saving the puck during the Stanley Cup Finals. Gets Brandi Chastain to not only score the biggest soccer goal in US history, but also rip her shirt off during a wild celebration in the middle of the field during the 1999 Women's World Cup. All these examples show how a combination of cockiness and confidence, also known as swag, can go a long way to ensuring success.  

     Although this is a new term, its not only used by the new generation. ESPN is embracing it, as people like Merril Hoge consistently praise those players that "Have that Swagger". The NCAA gives out gifts to each player on FBS football teams that play in bowl games. What do they call these collections of gifts? Swag Bags. The only downside to swag is that those who are lacking tend to suffer. For example, LeBron James. He has terrific showmanship, and did all he could to prove himself a 'clutch' player throughout the 2011 NBA playoffs. However, when the time to be great came upon him, his turn to take over, his chance to silence his doubters once and for all, he took a backseat to two of his teammates. He lacked the internal fortitude necessary to consistently and comfortably be in control. In other words, he was lacking Swag. Another guy, Roger Goodell. Over the past year, he's received increasing amounts of criticism that have turned into public humiliation, and he's letting the Owners control his every move during this NFL Lockout. When it comes down to it, Goodell isn't capable of leading people in the way his position asks: he needs more swagger. 

     Swag is not something that can be earned, bought, or achieved, rather it is something that lies within the heart.  Those that have it will continue to shine, while those that are without it will continue to falter. 
The million dollar question is: Do you have swag?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Blocking The Lockout

Block The Lockout

     For the past week, there has been growing speculation each day that the NFL Lockout will come to an end. The question is: WHEN? Major issues dividing the Owners association from the Players Association are being resloved left and right, yet there still has not been a tentative agreement, or final resolution. When the lockout began, there were 5 main issues the the two sides could not agree upon: Season Length, Player Salaries, Revenue Sharing, Financial Information, and Rookie Salaries.

     Over the past 128 days, the owners essentially gave up on their coveted 18 game season, and the two sides agreed on a Salary Cap and a Rookie Wage Scale. That leaves two things, arguably the two main issues: Revenue Sharing and Financial information. In an event at the NFLPA headquarters, I personally asked Dee Smith what needs to be done to end the lockout. He simply told me that they have to see the NFL team revenue books, or they can't agree to anything regarding revenue sharing. The NFL owners are claiming that they were losing money(link) in the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), and need to take a larger percentage of the NFL revenue. 

     Although they have publicly stated this, they are yet to show any evidence that this is the truth. As a result, the negotiations have been intense, with no love on either side. Carolina Panther's Owner Jerry Richardson insulted Peyton Manning and Drew Brees during earlier negotiations Roger Goodell was booed horribly at the NFL draft. James Harrison said this about Rodger Goodell last week. The list goes on and on. The only way to solve these problems is for both sides to make concessions. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and with the deadline to preserve the 2011 Hall of Fame Game approaching rapidly, the everyone is desperate. 

     Owners are desperate, because every week the NFL misses out of the preseason is another $ 250 million less revenue. Players are desperate, because many of them will not have the means to support themselves or their families without football. Fans are desperate, because no NFL means no going to games, no cheering on their favorite team, no Superbowl, and worst of all, no Fantasy Football. The end-goal here is just to make sure we have professional football this year. Most believe its simply a matter of time before that happens. The question is: How much time?

Monday, July 11, 2011

An Anniversary of Greatness

Women's World Cup 

     12 years ago yesterday, Brandi Chastain scored the winning penalty kick in the World Cup Final vs China. In the 2011 world cup, that same greatness appeared in the American team as they defeated Brazil in 5-3 in penalty kicks. Although this win was not in the finals, it was in some ways a more dramatic win. Twists and turns dominated the game late, and players showed their true colors. Buehler got a Red Card in the 65th minute. On Marta's penalty kick, Hope Solo made the block, but it was called back because of an encroachment penalty. On the second try, Marta converted the kick and tied the game 1-1.  

     In the Extra Time, Marta scored again on a beautiful kick in the 92 minute. After 30 minutes of back and forth between the two teams, a beautiful cross by Rapinoe and an even more amazing header by Abby Wambach in the 122nd minute tied the game at 2-2. What's next? Penalty Kicks. Up first: Boxx. Her kick is blocked, but encroachment is called on the goalie. Next kick is good. The teams go back and forth until the US goes up 3-2 with  Daiane (Brazil) up. Hope Solo reads the shot perfectly, and easily saves the goal. Two shots later, the US moves onto the semifinals. By playing man-down for 55 minutes, scoring the latest goal in World Cup History, and winning in penalty kicks, the 2011 game proved to be even more dramatic than the one in 1999. 

     However, that day in 1999 was significant for a different reason. Not only was it a World Cup victory, but it set the tone for a new age in women's soccer in America. Women came before in the men in any discussion regarding American soccer. Mia Hamm was featured on a commercial battling against Michael Jordan. Little girls across the country looked up to Brandi Chastain. Abby Wambach and Hope Solo have a chance to be just as iconic as the faces of the past. The question is: Will they do it?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Athletes and Social Media

     Social Athletes

     This past week, Donovan McNabb brought up a hot-button topic that has really been buzzing in the world of sports as of late: Athletes on Social Networking sites. Most notably, Twitter. Time and time again, those that are in the public eye have been criticized for comments posted on the Internet,  most recently Congressman Weiner of New York. Because of the Lockout in the NFL, and now the NBA, athletes have too much time on their hands, and are adding to the problem.  Rashard Mendehall questioned whether Bin Laden was actually guilty of crimes against the US. LeSean Mccoy unnecessarly criticized Osi Umenyiora during a time the players are supposed to be banding together. Maurice Jones-Drew killed two birds with one stone by calling Urban Meyer a quitter, and indirectly doubting the toughness of Jay Cutler. 

     These are just a few of the people that have gotten too loose with their words, and tweeted about topics they have no business commenting on. As professional athletes, these men are expected to set a good example for the next generation, which are the same people that follow them on twitter. However, there is a difference between the fan's expectations, and the mind of the athlete. Fans expect their favorite players to be at their best at all times: on the field and off the field. Athletes, on the other hand, choose to speak their minds, just like every other person in the world. 

     The difference is, their opinion matters to a lot more people than that of the average person. For example, take Dwight Howard. He has more than 2,000,000 followers on twitter. When he tweets this, more than 2 million people immediately see it. Once they see it, it gets retweeted.. And retweeted... And retweeted even more, until eventually it ends up on the news, and tens of millions of people know about it. Something that was originally intented as a joke, now ends up being a nationwide media catastrophe. These types of occurrences are happening more and more often in the world of sports, and people like Donovan McNabb are trying to find a way to put a stop to it. His message to athletes: Delete your twitter.

 My question to the world: Is speaking your mind to the world worth jeopardizing your public image?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Production or Potential ?

Professional Sports in America began in the late 1800s with Major League Baseball, and now include the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, etc.  Thousands of these stars have graced our televisions, and wowed our eyes. The coaches and owners that select these players typically choose based on the trends of their time.  In Baseball and Football, the top players are chosen based on production and proven skill. Touchdowns, Wins, Strikeouts and Home Runs are  commonalities of every pick. In basketball, however, it is becoming more and more popular to select players based on unproven potential. In the 2011 NBA Draft, 4 of the top 7 draftees were international players. None of these players have experience playing in America, but, because of their size, athleticism, and "upside", they were selected higher than proven talents from the NCAA. Enes Kanter is a prime example of this. Kanter, from Turkey, has been a hot commodity leading into the draft, but has not played organized basketball in over a year. After leaving his home country to play basketball at the University of Kentucky, he was declared ineligible by the NCAA, because he had previously played professional basketball. Despite all of this, he was taken 3rd overall. Kemba Walker, on the other hand, is an athletic mastermind who proved himself throughout his three year college career. The 2011 Bob Cousy Award winner, a 2011 NCAA Champion, and the 2011 Final Four Most Outstanding Player had one of the best seasons of any collegiate athlete, yet he was the 3rd player selected from his position.  Historically, proven talent has always been a sure thing. In the past, players like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'neal, and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar were outstanding in college, and their success translated to the NBA where all three dominated their respective decades. Nowadays, the top collegiate athletes typically do not stay in college long enough to develop, which causes NBA teams to rely on potential. 4 out of the past 5 number 1 overall picks have been freshmen, with the exception being a sophomore. Talent pays, and now that the players have caught on, they are foregoing instrumental years of development in order to get paid the big bucks. So the question still stands: Production or Potential ? The World may never know.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Why are Men's sports more popular than Women's sports?

     Since the beginning of time, Men have dominated over Women. In sports, it has been a universal phenomena. Football. Basketball. Baseball. EVERYTHING. The notion has plagued me for years: NBA players have an average salary of 4,900,000. WNBA players make an average of 55,000. This wide disparity in salary perfectly illustrates the views of the world today. People pay less attention to women's sports, and discount them as exceptional athletes, because men are bigger, stronger, and faster. This unfortunate prejudice has been passed down from generations, and someway or another we need to break the trend. 
     It's undeniable that Football, Basketball, and Baseball are owned by men, but in sports such as tennis, soccer, and golf, women could be getting just as much publicity as men. In Tennis, men and women are beginning to grow near equals. The top ten men average $3 million per year, while the top 10 women hover around $2 million per year.  Although they are both making significant amounts of money, the men are still making 50 percent more.The FIFA Women's World Cup begins on June 26th. The 2010 Men's World Cup averaged 400 million viewers per match. I expect the ratings generated from this event to be just another indictment on the sexism in the sports world of today. As far as golf goes, the disparity is much wider. On an average Tiger Woods year, the top PGA salary would hover around $10 million. Because of extenuating circumstances last year, the top salary was just above $4 million. On the LPGA, however, the top money winner earned less than $2 million dollars. Why is this? Why are there so many examples of the same thing? The sports are the same. The quality of play is equal. Gender remains the only difference.