Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Former Chicago Bears Player "Peanut" Tillman...FBI Special Agent??

News broke earlier today that former Chicago Bears star, Charles "Peanut" Tillman, is training to become an FBI agent? Is this real, or just a gimmick? How hard will it be for him to get in? Is he even eligible? All fair questions. Let's take a look...

Age Restrictions

Tillman needs to be under 37 years old by the time he is appointed.  It's likely that Tillman has been working on this for a considerable period of time; probably shortly after his retirement from the NFL last summer. It's been reported that he's been training with agents in Quantico (FBI headquarters) on/off for years. As the application and initial testing process is lengthy (lasting over 18 months usually from the initial steps to actual appointment), Tillman needs to be pretty far along in the process at this time. While he could get an age waiver, that is usually granted to veterans only.

Photo: http://media2.newsnet5.com//photo/2012/12/05/FBIquanticoWEB_20121205102030_640_480.JPG

Educational Requirements

Tillman has a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette while he played college football there form 199-2002.  Amazingly, even while excelling on the field he managed to complete his degree in just three and a half years. That being said, in whatever field of the FBI he wants to enter, he must be able to pass a stringent written and oral exam.  That usually requires intensive studying and a thorough mastery of the selected subject (see below).

Physical Requirements

It's a bit of a joke to think that "Peanut" wouldn't be fit enough to pass the FBI's physical tests.  These include testing in sit-ups, push-ups, sprints, and endurance running. If you'd like to take a gander at the recommended fitness levels, take a look here.

Work Experience

This is where the FBI is going to have to be somewhat lenient with Tillman.  While it's been reported that he's "trained" with the FBI in various off-seasons while he was in the NFL, I'm not sure how much of that he can equate to actual work experience. That being said, I'm quite confident that Tillman would have already been granted either an exemption or the proper credit that he needs to have this requirement fulfilled before he got very far in the application process.

What FBI Position Would He Want?

It's not enough to simply be able to pass all the requirements for becoming an FBI agent. He has to be actually needed by the FBI in the field he wants to enter.  This is from the FBI hiring site:

 "While the FBI encourages applicants from all backgrounds to become Special Agents, we are currently looking for Special Agent applicants with skills in the following areas:
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
  • Foreign Languages
  • Law
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Certified Public Accountants (CPAs)
  • Attorneys
  • Engineers
  • Detectives
  • Military (specifically Special Forces, Explosives, WMD and Intelligence Experts)
  • Scientists (lab experience)
  • Foreign Language(s) speakers
  • Pilots (helicopter, fixed-wing)"
This is where I see Tillman faltering. It's not so much that he can't pass the testing; it's whether or not he has a particular set of skills that the FBI can utilize right now. I wish him all the best, however. It would be an amazing accomplishment to become an FBI special agent.






Tim Tebow After NFL, MLB...What Comes Next?

Tim Tebow's athletic career has certainly been an exciting and varied one. From college quarterback sensation to his roller coaster ride as an NFL player to his surprising success as a minor league baseball player with the New York Mets organization, Tebow has certainly pushed his athletic abilities to the max.  However, once his baseball career ends with the Mets, what should (or would) he pursue next?

There's no doubt he'll continue his work as a College Football analyst for ESPN, at least in the short term. I wouldn't be surprised to see him switch networks at some time (especially if Fox Sports wants to really jazz up its in-house college analyst talent), but he'll never switch from NCAA football to any other sport. He's really not identifiable as a baseball player despite his recent successes, and his NFL career was so controversial that not many would accept him as someone who could speak authoritatively on the NFL.

Photo: http://www.bostonherald.com/sites/default/files/styles/full/public/media/ap/387b2e262a174ea89e034fd16f00a1a7.jpg?itok=pPq_-lGF

However, college football analyst is a part-time gig running almost exclusively from September to December.  He's going to need something else to fill his time, and it will need to be something in which he can utilize his popularity to further his ambitions.  What could he do? Let's look at the most likely options for Tebow moving forward:

Politics
I can't really see Tebow doing this as it would be far more tedious and acrimonious of a career than he's ever had. Getting into politics is about the only thing that could decrease his popularity. What office would he even want? Anything below a Congressional Senator or representative seems like a waste of his popularity. However, can you really see Tebow discussing national issues like immigration and foreign policy?

Tv Show Host
I'm sure there are a ton of networks out there who would love to have Tebow host a show.  It could be anything from his own daytime talk show (imagine how many older females would tune in) to a smaller show on a sports network. I think he could get large audiences with anything in the fitness field.

Personalized Branding
This is where Tebow has not been fulfilling his potential. While he has his own charitable foundation, he has yet to truly put the power of his own name to work.  Imagine if he had his own online network where he had multiple platforms pushing his ideas on sports, fitness, religion...the possibilities are endless and the appetite of his fandom is insatiable.  He has a popular Instagram account with over a million followers, but he doesn't post videos that often and he doesn't have any sort of YouTube channel.  Why not occasionally record a workout that he could put on YouTube? He could further his goal of raising money for the foundation and keep his name in the public eye and potentially reach far more people than he is now.

And...for when he wants a little athletic competition...

Crossfit Games

Anyone who has ever seen Tim Tebow knows that he's a workout fiend. The "sport" of Crossfit is something that I'm sure he's already well familiar with, and if he could qualify for the Crossfit Games (their championship) it would be a huge boost to the sport and give his athletic prowess new life. Give Tebow a chance to show off his muscles and flash that smile of his in front of a potential huge new audience!


Sunday, September 17, 2017

DeShone Kizer Out For Game With Migraine - Cleveland Browns Need To Worry



Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer was removed from the Browns game with the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter.  Soon thereafter it was reported theat he was suffering from a migraine which makes it extremely unlikely that he will return to the field today. ***Kizer did return to the game in the third quarter which I consider to be a big mistake. I would treat a migraine in-game the way I would a concussion.***

https://cdn-s3.si.com/s3fs-public/styles/marquee_large_2x/public/2017/08/23/deshone-kizer-browns-starter-nfl-preseason.jpg

Kizer has no public history of migraines and there's been no indication prior to today of any other medical issues in the past few months. Why would he have a migraine now?

A migraine can be a symptom of a variety of issues:  concussion, head trauma, and neck trauma would be the most common.  Kizer was taking a pounding by the Ravens defense prior to this issue and it most definitely led to the onset of the migraine.

The most troubling thing is the fact that there's no prior history of migraines with Kizer (unless the Browns release information in the coming week detailing some hidden history).  When was the last quarterback removed during a game for migraines? I can't think of one.  The most popular player to suffer severely from migraines was Percy Harvin and he suffered from those throughout his NFL career.  Ultimately it's what cut what should have been a long brilliant career far shorter than it should have been.

Kizer had 25 starts at Notre Dame but he most certainly is being hit a lot harder now in the NFL than he ever did in college.  Is this just a fluke or could it signal a potential worrisome problem with the supposed quarterback savior for the Cleveland Browns?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Terrell Pryor, Sr. Is No Tim Tebow, And That's a Good Thing

Back in 2011 or so, no one would have predicted that Terrell Pryor, Sr. was going to be a better NFL player than Tim Tebow. I mean, look at the situation - Tim Tebow, Heisman Trophy winner and first round draft pick, had replaced the highly ineffective Kyle Orton in  Week 4 of the 2011 NFL season. After starting 1-3, the Broncos found new life with Tebow and finished the year at 8-8 and actually won a playoff game. It was Tebowmania in Denver and around the country and he was on top of the world!

Photo: http://www.denverpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/20120108__broncos-tim-tebow-grimace-010812p1-1.jpg?w=600

Where was Pryor in 2011?

Getting banned from Ohio State University for numerous illicit activities, getting his head coach fired, and then somehow getting selected in the supplemental draft by the Oakland Raiders.

Polar opposites, right? Ironically, once 2012 started their paths were on similar trajectories. Neither player had the kind of skill set that NFL quarterbacks generally require. Very few teams were willing to take a chance on either player, including a Broncos team that traded away Tebow to acquire an aging veteran quarterback coming off a significant surgery for a neck injury.  That doesn't speak a lot about the confidence they had in him for the future.

For both Tebow and Pryor, it was their mental quarterbacking capabilities more than their physical ones that caused team after team to turn them away. Despite the fact that both quarterbacks had been highly recruited and decorated in college, neither's game translated into success in the NFL.

When Tebow was traded to the New York Jets in 2012, it seemed like a good spot with potential to turn into a good thing for him.  However, the Jets never seemed to want to put him on the field and cut him the following year as soon as they drafted another quarterback (Geno Smith, y'all).  Somehow following that debacle the New England Patriots gave him one last shot to make an NFL roster but cut him before the 2013 season started.  Thus, the NFL career of one Timothy Richard Tebow was over.

Tebow could have learned a lot from Pryor. While Tebow was struggling trying to improve himself as a quarterback, Pryor was doing the same for a variety of teams: Oakland (where he did start a handful of games), then the Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs, and Cincinnati Bengals.  It was after yet another quick cut by a team with no interest in attempting to develop him as a quarterback that he made the momentous choice that Tebow never did:  he switched to a more natural NFL position.  For Pryor it was wide receiver. For Tebow it would have been tight end.

Pryor's height and natural speed were great assets to him as he worked hard to learn how to be a NFL wide receiver. The other thing he had was tenaciousness. Pryor was cut at the very beginning of the 2015 season by the Cleveland Browns and spent virtually the rest of the season out of the NFL before being re-signed by the Browns in December.  From that point on, Pryor began to impress with his receiving skills and broke out at his new position in 2016.  Where did that take him? Signing a pretty nice one-year contract with the Washington Redskins for the 2017 season and providing him with an opportunity to sign an even larger one next year if he performs well in a clearly better offense.

Where is Tebow? Playing minor league baseball as a 30-year-old.


Photo:  https://usatthebiglead.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/tim-tebow-baseball.jpg?w=1000

Had Tebow displayed the kind of flexibility and adaptability that Pryor did at the same point in their careers, he would still be playing in the NFL somewhere as a tight end. I have no doubt about that. Tebow's strength and drive would have made him relevant to at least one team over the past 4 years. However, his pride and stubbornness sent him packing and now he's playing minor league baseball. I think that a higher power was trying to tell Tebow something, but he just wasn't listening.





Thursday, September 14, 2017

Shroud Retires from Cloud9 and Counterstrike, Becomes Twitch Millionaire

In the world of competitive e-gaming, the name Shroud evokes a strong reaction.

Fear, mostly.

One of the most popular and respected gamers in the world of CounterStrike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) retired last month from Cloud9 after a highly successful run with the professional gaming group.  Michael "Shroud" Grzesiek told his boss that he wanted to focus full-time on streaming on Twitch.

Photo:  http://wiki.teamliquid.net/commons/images/thumb/5/50/Shroud_at_SL_i-League_S2.jpeg/600px-Shroud_at_SL_i-League_S2.jpeg

While this move was met with sadness by many of his ardent fans, they quickly followed him to his newest profession: video game streamer. On Twitch, he is still known as Shroud.  Now, however, one could call him Mr. Shroud. Immediately after his retirement and move to Twitch became public news, his stream vaulted into the most watched stream almost immediately.

On any given day when Shroud streams, as many as 35,000 people are watching him play Player Unknown Battlegrounds (PUBG) for hours at a time. Not only that, but his fans are richly rewarding him for the opportunity to watch him slay new opponents mercilessly for hours every day. A subscription to Shroud's channel costs $5 and gives the subscriber special chat privileges.  Shroud takes home roughly $3.50 of that (and possibly more if he has negotiated with Twitch recently).  Within his first three weeks of streaming full-time he went from under 10,000 subscribers a month to over 30,000.  Taking the conservative approach that he earns $3.50 per subscriber (and that he maintains or surpasses these numbers consistently), that means he earns over $100,000 per month on subscriber fees alone.

Factor in the multitude of daily donations that he also gets (the highest single donation I've seen him get personally is $1,300 at one time), and I wouldn't be surprised if he clears another $10,000 a month from those and that's being conservative.  Don't forget that he also gets a fair bit from outside sponsorship and ads. He's also been discussing Shroud-themed merchandise.

All this means is that Shroud has positioned himself to be hugely popular and successful for years to come.  With an estimated annual income of at least $1.3 million (and that's probably a low number; YouTube revenue isn't included), Shroud has the means and ability to brand himself in a unique and enviable way in the land of professional streaming.

Personally, I never knew who Shroud was before he appeared full-time on Twitch last month. I enjoy PUBG and watched a few other streamers play it.  However, once I started watching Shroud's stream I realized what a top-level gamer looked like. More than that, Shroud's calm and laid-back personality makes it easy to watch/listen to him for hours at a time.  I wish him much success and plan on watching him for a long time to come.

The Cincinnati Bengals Need To Explore Trading AJ Green

Regardless of tonight's outcome in their game against the Houston Texans, the Cincinnati Bengals are clearly heading for another down season. Last year's 6-10 record may just a blip in what has been a fabulous run for Head Coach Marvin Lewis and the team, but it's most likely the harbinger of an impending rebuild.  If that happens, say goodbye to Coach Lewis and many other key pieces to the team.

The season could not have started off any worse last week for the Bengals than losing to BALTIMORE 20-0. BALTIMORE!!!  Now, this won't look so bad if the Ravens end up winning the division and going far in the playoffs. However, the more likely scenario is that the Bengals struggle to win 7 or 8 games this season. That will become very evident by October and before Thanksgiving the massive rebuild will have already begun.

http://www.spotrac.com/assets/images/original/USATSI_8211486_160074578_lowres1.jpg

Outside of a coaching/general manager change, the Bengals need to look at how they can accumulate draft picks and more young talent. How to do that most effectively?

Trade AJ Green before the trade deadline arrives on October 31.             .

Of all the weapons (offensive and defensive) that Cincinnati possess, none will bring more in a trade than the All-Pro wide receiver, especially if he manages to continue his consistent play over the next few months.  He should garner at least one first-round draft pick as well as additional picks and perhaps some defensive help.  Trading quarterback Andy Dalton won't bring in nearly as much, and you'd rather keep a decent, experienced quarterback to help in the rebuild.

Who would trade for Green?  I can see the most likely options being the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, and the Seattle Seahawks.  Jerry Jones in Dallas would love to add another huge wide receiver and may be looking to give his team another boost heading into a Super Bowl run. Atlanta has just one real receiver threat, and it's possible that Julio Jones could be injured (as he often seems to be). The Seahawks' struggles with their offensive line have been well-documented over the past few years. Adding a serious deep threat with Green would take the pressure off of that line and give Russell Wilson a chance to really air it out.

Green has been a fantastic player for the Bengals, but since it is likely that they aren't going to be Super Bowl contenders in the foreseeable future, they need to get what they can while they can. 



Peyton Manning is the Reason NFL Ratings Are Down

Blame Peyton Manning for the NFL Ratings Slump

Lots of people are speculating about the causes for the slump in NFL tv ratings over the past year. Last year it was the presidential election. Or maybe it was Tom Brady being suspended. Maybe it was lack of competition.

There's only one real reason why less people started watching football last year.

Peyton Manning's retirement.

Let's face it - love him or hate him, Peyton Manning was a ratings giant during his playing days in the NFL.



Photo courtesy of Variety

Who else in the NFL engenders that level of popularity and greatness?

Tom Brady? He's loved and hated in equal degrees and doesn't have the likability factor that Manning did.



Eli Manning?  - Peyton's little brother is known far more for his sideline scowl than his sense of humor. Unless it involves a commerical with Peyton. Despite two Super Bowl rings, there's still a fair amount of controversy over just how good this particular Manning is.

Cam Newton? He has the talent and the personality, but his pouts and tantrums following losses are well-documented. He also needs to bring back Nate.

Andrew Luck? Actually needs to get on the field and play.  Also needs to be traded to a new team where he can actually win.

Drew Brees? Likable and outstanding as a quarterback.  For some reason, he's never quite grown the fan base that Manning did.

Matt Ryan? - Bleh. Nice guy, good quarterback. Has a penchant for comebacks but the Falcons are not a widely followed team. Had he won the Super Bowl, things might have been a bit different for him, but not he's just the butt of too many jokes (28-3 anyone?)

Every other quarterback in the league who even has the potential to be good falls into one of the above categories. The rest of the quarterbacks are just not nearly as good and hard to support.

The best thing that the NFL could do would be to encourage Manning back into the NFL in some way: owner, broadcaster, or studio analyst. Even in owning a team, I would count on a number of new fans would turn in to see how they did. Until then, expect the ratings slide to continue.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lance Armstrong Relieved Investigation Is Over, But Doping Suspicions Will Never End

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong recently got the best news of his life (okay, second best; getting cured of cancer had to be tops) when Federal prosecutors decided to drop their doping case against him.

Had prosecutors continued the case, it undoubtedly would have cost Armstrong a decent amount of his personal fortune (more than what he has already paid to his lawyers) and possibly greatly damaged his status among cancer survivors.

Armstrong With Jan Ullrich Trailing, As Usual

Peyton Manning, His "Noodle Arm," and What This All Means

Peyton Manning's throwing arm a "noodle?" Well, for lack of a better term, duh.  The guy has been experiencing nerve damage since before his May operation to remove part of a damaged disc.  What's not known is whether or not Peyton's nerve damage was something that just occurred prior to his May surgery, or whether or not the neurosurgeons failed to fully correct the issue in May and that nerve was being constantly traumatized by further disc degeneration until the cervical fusion in September.



Peyton's recovery depends on this difference.  If it was damage that occurred prior to the May surgery and the nerve injury stopped them, then we are three months ahead in his nerve regeneration.  That could make a difference in whether or not Peyton plays in the 2012 NFL season.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Classy Move By New York Jets To Congratulate Giants On Super Bowl Win

Should this surprise me? It certainly seems like it's rather unexpected.  Today the New York Jets took out a full-page ad in the NY Daily News to congratulate the New York Giants on their Super Bowl win.

While I'm sure a lot has to do with the fact that the New York Giants defeated the Jets' arch-rival New England Patriots, it's still refreshing to see that level of sportsmanship from a team that has shown anything but that since Rex Ryan took over.

H/t to Darren Rovell