Friday, September 30, 2011

Mark Sanchez Gets Far Too Much Credit For Success of New York Jets

Prior to the 2011 NFL season, I made the statement that Mark Sanchez really needed to step up this year for the New York Jets.  The guy is the face of a winning football franchise in the country's biggest football market, but he has yet to deserve the adulation.  It bugs me when this guy is on several national football commercials when there are many more guys in the league who deserve it more.

Let me state for the record that I do not wish for Sanchez to fail.  I simply want him to live up to the expectations the team have of him.  He's had some good games in the playoffs, yes, but his atrocious play in the regular season is a major reason why the Jets have had the Wild Card instead of a top seed the past two years.

QBR Rating Shows Sanchez Is Less Than Average 

Somebody Is Stealing Snap Counts From The Cowboys? Easy Solution!

Apparently all those bad snaps from the Dallas Cowboys last week during the Washington Redskins game were not entirely due to bad communication between Tony Romo and Phil Costa (the center).

The Cowboys claimed that the Redskins defensive line was mimicking the Cowboys snap count and throwing off Costa, inducing him to snap the ball while Romo was making adjustments behind him.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kevlar Is the Newest Line Of Defense For...Football Players??

In the past couple football seasons, there is a new innovation in protective wear being used by players.


The same ultra-hard/protective material used to stop bullets is now being applied to NFL padding.

Tony Romo wore a kevlar-laced vest last week (and will continue to wear) to protect his broken ribs.

Fans Getting Booted From Games For Simply Standing?? Reason #2854 Why I Don't Go To Games

A strange story is emerging out of Cleveland today.  Apparently a fan was ejected from a Cleveland Browns game this past Sunday for..wait for it....

Excessive standing.

Yep, you read that right!  Bob Stipe, a 25-year rabid member of the Dawg Pound, is a very loyal fan.  He loves to go to the game with other friends and family and root very loudly for his team.

However, on Sunday, Stipe was cited once for excessive standing before his ejection.  That first offense was for standing and cheering during a third down play in the first quarter.  An usher ran down to tell him that he couldn't do it, but Stipe states that everyone was also standing behind him already.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Week Four Of the Fantasy Football Season - Time To Hunker Down!!

So we're just about 1/4 of the way through the Fantasy Football regular season (most leagues end in Week 16 nowadays, with playoffs starting in week 13), and your roster should be starting to show its true colors.

  • If you've had a player for three weeks, he's not hurt, and he's yet to crack the top 40 of position ranks (for RB/WR, I'd say top 15 for TE), then it's time to consider cutting him - unless he's Chris Johnson.
  • The reason why I say that is that it's one week until the Byes start, and you're going to need room on your roster for guys that are actually producing.  
  • The vast majority of you are only claiming one defense right now. I suggest to go ahead and look at your bye week for the best defense match-up, and go grab that team. Waiting until the week of the Bye is going to provide you with far less options.
  • Guys To Trade:
    • If there is someone in your league who is willing to take these guys on, my advice would be to trade Michael Vick, Antonio Gates, and Arian Foster if you can get decent quality in return. All three guys are injured and haven't produced well this season.  Everything points to the idea that they will continue to struggle with injuries for most, if not all, of the rest of the season. Be bold. Look to win now.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kyle Orton Not Doing Enough To Keep Tim Tebow On Bench Much Longer

Here's an incredible stat, courtesy of

Kyle Orton, since Week One of the 2010 season, has a QB rating of 46.2 when the Broncos are trailing by 8 points or less with less than 10 minutes to go in the game.

Be Ready: Tebow Should Get Starts Before Season Over
Here's another crazy stat: In those 11 drives that Orton has led the Broncos where they're down by 8 points or less within the final 10 minutes of the game, the Broncos have only scored ONE touchdown.

After Week 3 Of NFL, Some Surprisingly Terrible Performances By Top-Flight Quarterbacks

The NFL is very rarely predictable, and the 2011 season is no exception.

Here's some crazy stats in regards to starting quarterbacks this season so far:

  • Tom Brady threw as many interceptions in the Week 3 game against the Buffalo Bills as he did the ENTIRE 2011 SEASON - Four.
  • Who leads the NFL in interceptions?
    • Phillip Rivers - 6
    • Matt Cassel - 5
    • Tom Brady - 5
Yes, Tom: FIVE Interceptions

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Michael Vick - Was He Really Over His Concussion When He Broke His Hand?

When I wrote about the Eagles in pre-season, I made the case that the entire season rested on the health of Michael Vick.  The Eagles have Mike Kafka and Vince Young as backups, and they are clearly not up to the caliber of Kevin Kolb.

That will prove to be the achilles heel of the Eagles' plans for the Super Bowl.  The Eagles are clearly incapable of much without Vick at the helm, and Vick seems incapable of staying healthy.  Last week it was a concussion, and this week it's a broken hand (or was it still his concussion - see below).

Injuries Continue To Dog Vick

We're all aware of the four games that Vick missed last season due to a rib injury.  What's more concerning are the multiple injuries he's already sustained this year.

The broken non-throwing (right) hand he sustained today is obviously a bit of a concern, but to me still not as much as the concussion he suffered last week. (**Update: Hand not broken, just badly bruised)

Did anyone else notice on the play that Vick supposedly broke his hand that he was hit on the chin/face mask?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Does The NFL Need To Hire Independent Game-Day Doctors For Sidelines?

In light of Boomer Esaison's recent comments on Tony Romo's rib/lung injury in last Sunday's game between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers, I've been thinking about the role of doctors on the sidelines of an NFL game.

Typically, each NFL team will carry a certain number of orthopedic surgeons and regular medical physicians on the sideline at each game.  Multiple doctors are needed for those instances when more than one player is injured, or when a player needs to go to the locker room for an evaluation.  Of course, there are also athletic trainers and other ancillary medical personnel there as well.  Other specialists such as neurologists, ophthalmologists, and dentists are on-call.

These doctors are usually not paid.  Many times they come from a medical practice or hospital that has some kind of exclusive medical contract with the team.  In return for their free services, they may get to advertise that they are ___'s team doctors.

Despite not getting paid by the team, there is most certainly considerable pressure from either the player or the team to get an injured player back on the field as soon as possible.  This is where the problem lies.

Notre Dame's Tommy Rees Is Not Going To Get Benched

Tommy Rees is the starting quarterback for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish now and for the rest of his career in South Bend.  Don't believe me?

Just ask Notre Dame Head Coach Bryan Kelly.  The sophomore quarterback is definitely going through some growing pains this year, but Kelly has shown absolutely no inclination to take him out of the game at any point.

Why is that?

After all, in four games this year, Rees has thrown five interceptions to just six touchdowns.  You could say that the Irish's failure to win against Michigan and South Florida were related to turnovers by Rees (among others).

You could say that, but you can also definitely say that they had better chances to win because Rees was in the game.  Against South Florida, Michigan, and Pittsburgh, Rees has led his team on important fourth-quarter scoring drives.

Peyton Manning To Work In Coach's Booth During Colts Game

Peyton Manning, recovering from his neck fusion surgery 16 days ago, will be finally able to be present for the Indianapolis Colts Week 3 game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

However, he won't be on the field, but in the coach's box high atop Lucas Oil Stadium.  In Week 1, he was barred from traveling with the team to Houston because it was only a few days after his surgery.  In Week 2, his doctors told him to stay home.

This past week, Manning was at the Colts facility every day.  When he wasn't watching practice and helping Kerry Collins and the offense, he was seen walking laps around the field.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Abby Wambach, USA's Women's National Team Puts On Quite A Show Against Canada

The USA Women's National Soccer Team has put on a few friendly matches against Canada in the past few weeks in a mini-national tour of sorts following their rather popular run in the World Cup.

Last night, USA defeated Canada rather soundly 3-0.  Abby Wambach, by far America's most well-known and popular female soccer player right now (until Hope Solo wins Dancing With The Stars), scored two of the goals in a highly dramatic fashion.

Young phenom Alex Morgan scored the third goal after coming on in substitution late in the match.

Here is the first goal.  It's a BULLET shot, blind, and somehow finds the upper corner.  If only the guys could score like this.

NBA Lockout Cancels Training Camps/Several Pre-Season Games: When Will Fans Really Care?

News came out of the NBA today that, due to the lockout, all training camps have been cancelled.  Along with that, 43 preseason games were also cancelled.

That brings the season up to October 15 in the NBA schedule.  As the lockout continues, more and more games will be cancelled  but it unknown as of yet when the regular season, set to begin on November 1, will be affected.

What It's All About

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How's That New ESPN Quarterback Ranking System Working Out So Far?

When ESPN unveiled its new Quarterback Ranking System, called Total QBR, count me as one of the skeptics.  I'm not a fan of a statistical system where no one but the creator knows how it's really put together.

In any case, the system was created to provide a more accurate means of determining who the best quarterback really is.

So, who are the best QBs based on ESPN'S Total QBR for Weeks 1 and 2 combined?

  1. Tom Brady
  2. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  3. Matt Hasselback
  4. Tony Romo
  5. Matthew Stafford
  6. Aaron Rodgers
  7. Matt Schaub
  8. Drew Brees
  9. Jason Campbell
  10. Rex Grossman

How To Adjust Your Fantasy Football In Week 3 - 2011 NFL

I was fortunate enough to win both of my games this week in both leagues to push my record to 2-0.  One game was won simply because Michael Vick got hurt before he could amass the stats that would have beaten me.

I was extremely tempted to change my lineup this week, but decided not to.  As much as I always want to tweak things, one of the golden rules of fantasy is to ride your horses until they stop performing.  With Brady, Welker, Beanie Wells, and Vincent Jackson on my team, I expect the horses to run for quite a while.

Another epic development in my keeper league this week was the loss of Jamaal Charles, who was placed on IR for a torn ACL.  Why is it epic? Because he was on my team two weeks ago until I traded him for Vincent Jackson.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Indy Reporter Thinks Colts Should Go Get Brett Favre - Okay, Let's Compare Favre To Kerry Collins

Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star thinks that the Indianapolis Colts need to dump Kerry Collins and go get Brett Favre off his tractor.  (Apparently he didn't read my post: Five Reasons Why Brett Favre Isn't Coming Back)

Seriously, that's what he wrote:
Why not try something a little crazy and see if Brett Favre is interested in dismounting his tractor and taking over the Colts offense?
Now you may or may not think that the Colts can win with Collins (I do, but they're not going to make the playoffs this year without Manning).  However, to think in any conceivable way that old #4 is the way to success is seriously misguided and ill-informed.

Tony Romo's Broken Rib/Pneumothorax and How He Could Still Play (Hint: Be Like Mike)

So Tony Romo's rib injury took a dramatic turn today when the Dallas Cowboys announced that the rib fracture itself punctured a lung and caused a pneumothorax that they discovered after the game.

What the heck is that??

So when Romo got hit just right in the game on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, one of his ribs broke.  The fractured end of the bone then moved into the space in his chest where the lungs are contained.

Inside that space, all of the air is contained within the lungs itself.  There is actually negative pressure (lack of air) that fills the remaining space that allows the lungs to inflate/deflate as you breathe.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Philadelphia Eagles, NBC Announcers All Do Admirable Job Trying To Convince You Michael Vick DOESN'T Have A Concussion

Michael took a hard shot on Sunday Night Football and was taken out of the game by the Philadelphia Eagles.  The hardest shot was to the NFL's new policy on concussions.

Two minutes after he got off the field, he was taken to the locker room (walked on his own) looking fairly normal (except for the blood he was spitting up supposedly from a bitten tongue).  Five minutes after that, NBC announcers reported that the Eagles were evaluating a neck injury for Vick.

***Andy Reid acknowledging in post-game press conference that Vick has concussion. Eagles are not nearly the problem that the announcers covering the game are. Please read the rest of my post for why I'm still mad.

This story stinks in so many ways.

Tony Romo Shows Why He Can Take Dallas Cowboys To Playoffs

Just a week ago, Tony Romo was a complete goat for two turnovers committed in the fourth quarter in a loss against the New York Jets.

Today, with another road game against the San Francisco 49ers, Romo was once again set up to be the fall guy.  If the Cowboys had not won the game, or (more specifically) Romo had not been involved in that fourth quarter comeback, Romo would have been labeled a choker again.

However, this time that's not what happened.  Romo, shaking off a reported broken rib, put himself back into the game at the end of the third quarter.  He then led the Cowboys on two fourth-quarter scoring drives to tie the game up at the end of regulation.

Tim Tebow Plays Wide Receiver For the Denver Broncos, Could See Increased Role

In today's Denver Broncos game against the Cincinnati Bengals, we finally got to see Tim Tebow get some playing time in 2011.

It wasn't at quarterback, however.  It was at wide receiver.

Tim Tebow Practices At Receiver
Photo: Getty Images
The Broncos have been suffering from a rash of injuries, especially on offense.  Brandon Lloyd was ruled out for the game earlier, and then Eddie Royal appeared to pull his hamstring in the second quarter.

With just a couple starting wide receivers left, the Broncos turned to Tebow to get out on the field and run a few plays as a slot receiver.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Did the Ohio State Buckeyes Coach Give Up On His Team Against Miami?

It's going to be a painful season for Buckeye fans everywhere.  Ohio State looks to be pretty underwhelming in a lot of ways, but most glaringly at quarterback and head coach.

Jim Tressel left the team pretty bare of quarterback talent once Terrelle Pryor left.  Joe Bauserman started at quarterback tonight, but by the start of the fourth quarter had more passing attempts (15) than actual yards (13) (stat courtesy of Bruce Feldman, CBS).  Ohio State will have to give a longer look at Braxton Miller this week in practice in advance of the game against Colorado next week.

However, I reserve the biggest criticism for the head coach for one glaring error of judgement at the end of the game.

Coach Fickell, do you not know what timeouts are for???

Peyton Manning's Recovery Depends Totally On Nerve Regeneration Following Fusion Surgery

On September 8, Peyton Manning had surgery to fuse two cervical vertebrae together to manage recurring pain he had been having in his neck and arm.  This neck fusion was done after the previous neck surgery failed to alleviate the pain that had resulted from a herniated disc.

The Colts kept quiet about Manning's recovery problems with the last surgery, trying to buy time to see if Peyton could rehab it enough to play.  However, lingering weakness in his triceps from a slowly regenerating nerve root, and a sudden increase in pain when he attempted harder workouts, led to the decision of the neck fusion.

See: Peyton Manning Has Third Neck Surgery for a description of what the surgery entailed.

What Will His Recovery Look Like?

Peyton will be in a cervical neck collar to restrict his movement while the bone graft placed in his disc space fuses to the neighboring vertebrae.  This, along with a small bone plate, will provide some stability for that particular neck joint, which should protect the spinal cord in the initial weeks/months following surgery.

Image courtesy of 
He will be very limited in what he can do for the first few weeks following surgery.  Most patients following neck fusion are not allowed to lift anything more than a gallon of milk for the first six weeks.  It's possible, considering Manning is a professional athlete, that he could recover faster, but to think that he'd be ready by mid-season is asking too much.

Rocky Mountain Showdown Features Battles Of Two Quarterbacks With High Expectations

Here in Denver, today is known as the Rocky Mountain Showdown.  It's the annual game between the University of Colorado Buffaloes and the Colorado State University Rams, and always a very hard-fought played game between in-state rivals.

While it's certainly a passionate game for the locals, it doesn't make much waves nationally.  Neither team has been successful in years, and both are struggling to satisfy their fan bases.  In Colorado, it's far more common to find local sports bars catering to fans of other teams, such as Michigan, Nebraska, and Texas, than it is to find a bar full of CSU or CU fans rooting for their teams.

Recent Troubles For Both Programs

Friday, September 16, 2011

Week One NFL Recap: Jaws Said WHAT On Monday Night Football??

It's difficult to draw many conclusions from Week 1 of the 2011 NFL season, other than it's going to be another great year!

There were, of course, a few surprises: Pittsburgh looking so unprepared, Atlanta as if they had missed all of training camp, and Kansas City wondering if they could get Charlie Weis back from Florida.  Let's also not forget the terrible start by Monday Night Football analyst Ron Jaworski and his S-bomb.

Those were the bad surprises.  The good surprises were Cam Newton's 400+ yard debut, the fantastic opening game between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints (no Super Bowl hangover for the Pack), Brian Urlacher's awesome game for the Bears, and even Reggie Bush's nice offensive day for the Miami Dolphins.

NFL Fans Attending Games To Be Subjected To Full Body Pat Downs Starting This Week

In an complete over-reaction to one idiot at the New York Jets-Dallas Cowboys Sunday night football game this past week, the NFL is going TSA.

As in, full body pat downs will be the order this weekend at all NFL stadiums.  In an effort to try and make the fans feel more secure, the NFL has ensured that security lines will be longer and that tempers will no doubt flare.

Tedy Bruschi Is 100% Right; Ochocinco Needs To Study/Work Harder

Former New Patriots leader and current ESPN NFL analyst Tedy Bruschi ripped into current Patriots wide receiver, Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson, this week.

It seems Bruschi is a wee bit tired of Ochocinco's constant tweeting this pre-season and on Monday night about how amazing the Patriots well-oiled machine of an offense works.

Bruschi said this of Ochocinco's comments: "stop tweeting and get in your playbook."

I wholeheartedly concur.  He's not a rookie. He's an All-Pro veteran wide receiver.  Until he drops the constant fawning over Tom Brady and the other players on offense, Ochocinco will never be a part of it.  He IS a member of the offense.  His lack of production (one catch on Monday) illustrates that he is lacking in the preparation and execution departments.

I think Ochocinco is unfailingly honest, and it gets him into trouble at times.  He has a ton of potential to do a lot of damage for the Patriots, and at some point they are going to need him.  When you are in awe of something, you're separate from it (unless you're speaking of yourself in the third person, but this is Ochocinco, not Terrell Owens).  Ochocinco needs to think of the Patriots in terms of "us" not "they."

Perhaps Bruschi's leadership-from-afar comments are the kick in the pants that Ochocinco needs to finally get over that hump.  I'd be willing to bet he gets at least six catches this week.

Here is Bruschi defending his comments.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Notre Dame Is, By Far, The Best 0-2 BCS Team I've Ever Seen

I don't think anyone thought that Notre Dame would be winless after the first two games of the 2011 season.  Head Coach Bryan Kelly was supposed to have engineered a turnaround in Irish fortunes much the way he had turned around Cincinnati when he coached there.

However, 0-2 is exactly where the Irish stand, but if you have actually watched the games you know that the Irish should have won both contests.  A plethora of turnovers (five in each game) will prevent any team from winning even the most lop-sided of games.

Now, with a potential 0-3 start looming, Michigan State comes to town.  The Spartans are a traditional rival of the Irish, and have won 10 of the last 14 matchups.

Michael Vick Returns To Atlanta On Sunday; Difficult Game For Falcons In Many Ways

One of the highlights of the Week 2 NFL schedule is the Philadelphia Eagles travelling to Atlanta to play the Falcons in what is Michael Vick's homecoming as a starter.  It should be noted that both the Eagles and Falcons are widely predicted to face each other in the NFC Championship this coming January, but this game will be known primarily for what #7 in green does.

Vick was an icon in Atlanta for the six years he was the starting quarterback for the Falcons until his trial and subsequent prison sentence for dog fighting.  There still is a great well of support for the former quarterback in Georgia, and one would expect to see many Vick jerseys at the game.  The big question is how many folks pull out their old Falcons #7 jerseys.

NFL Films Delivers Another Gem In "Bill Belichick: A Football Life"

Tonight, NFL Network broadcast the first of a two-part series entitled "Bill Belichick: A Football Life." Belichick was taped/recorded in every possible situation by NFL Films during the 2009 season.  They showed him on the field, practice, film room, and in his office talking over strategy and reminiscing with important Patriot figures like Tom Brady and owner Robert Kraft.

It's certainly not the sullen, reticent Belichick that most NFL fans outside of New England are used to seeing. We were treated to a nice flashback of his days as the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants where he won two Super Bowls and some flashes of emotion that we've only rarely seen from him.

Contrary To Some Denver Broncos Fans' Wishes, Tim Tebow Isn't Getting Off The Bench Any Time Soon

It was bound to happen.  The first loss where the Denver Broncos offense had some difficulty, and the fans would be screaming for Tim Tebow.

Photo: Denver Post
Orton threw for 304 yards (24-46 with one touchdown, one interception, and one fumble lost), but it was a very inefficient outing. There were times when his throws were off, and times when he didn't make the right read (I only say this because watching the game, I'd see an open guy on the replay that Orton missed).  He's not that mobile, so he can't take off running when the play breaks down. Orton also doesn't have the great history.  He's never thrown for more than 20 touchdowns in a season, and never had a quarterback rating for a season above 88.

However, screaming for Tebow isn't going to help anything.  The only way Tebow sees the field this year is if the Broncos are clearly out of the playoffs after mid-season, or if Orton gets hurt.  Even then, I'd rather see Brady Quinn get a chance.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

With One Clutch Game, Tony Romo Will Transform Into The Guy Who Will Take Cowboys To Super Bowl

A few days ago I wrote a post about the game on Sunday night between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Jets in which I stated that Tony Romo blew the game.

I still stand by that, but after a few days of consideration I feel that Romo is very close to becoming one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.

There are some quarterbacks that can have multiple bad games, but their defenses or other players on the team bail them out repeatedly.  Then, when the game is on the line, they deliver mightily and are thought of as great players.  Quarterbacks like Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger in their respective Super Bowls are examples of this.

Then there's those quarterbacks who have yet to show any clutch ability because they haven't yet come through in a huge way for their team.  They are the ones who are most remembered for their failures than any successes they might have had.  Tony Romo is one such quarterback.

Fantasy Football 2011 - How To Adjust Your Team For Week 2

Full disclosure: I won both of my games in my two fantasy leagues last week.  In my Keeper league, I actually scored 176 points behind strong performances from Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Ray Rice, and Beanie Wells.

However, even I'm making fantasy roster adjustments in the next few days. I'm trolling through the waiver wire to see who is out there to pick up.  One of the biggest mistakes fantasy owners can make once they start winning is to keep their team the way it is.  I had a disappointing day from Owen Daniels, so I went out and found another backup tight end in case he continues his slow start.  I'm also temporarily benching Vincent Jackson until the San Diego offense wakes up.  In his place is Reggie Bush, who probably only has a half dozen games in him until he gets injured.  I'll start him while I can.

First of all, do not go and drop a potential fantasy stud just because he had a bad game last week (such as Matt Ryan).  The only reason to drop a potential stud is injury, such as San Diego's kicker Nate Kaeding who tore his ACL on Sunday.

First Roger Federer, Then Rafael Nadal, And Now Novak Djokovic - Greatest Era Of Men's Tennis Ever?

There have been a lot of great players in the history of tennis, and occasionally a few of those all-time greats have overlapped their playing careers.  This has allowed for some pretty memorable matches.  Borg-McEnroe, Sampras-Agassi, and Federer-Nadal are just a few of men's tennis' greatest rivalries.

Roger Federer, with 16 Grand Slam titles, is going to go down as one of the greatest players of all time, and last many were also given that accolade to Rafael Nadal (10 Slam titles).

Indeed, no one had Federer's number quite like Nadal.  At first, it was simply the clay courts where Nadal dominated.  Their head-to-head record is 17-8 in Nadal's favor, and 14 of those wins for Nadal came on clay courts.  Nadal leads Federer 6-2 in Grand Slam finals (again, mostly on clay).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cam Newton Shows Doubters Wrong In Week One, Can He Sustain It?

I'll be honest: I was terribly surprised today at Cam Newton's record-breaking offensive performance against the Arizona Cardinals.

Photo: yahoo sports
427 yards shattered the old rookie record held by Peyton Manning (adding insult to his neck injury, no doubt) from 1988 (302 yards).

What was more appealing about his performance, however, was how he reacted after the game ended and the  Panthers had lost.  He sat at his locker, dejected and not talking to the media.  It wasn't until his individual post-game press conference that he spoke.

"One thing I have to work on is trust," he said, shrugging off the hype surrounding his historic debut. "I'm surrounded by a lot of excellent talent. I've got to trust them."

Tony Romo Blows The Game For the Dallas Cowboys Against The Jets; Mark Sanchez Shows Improvement

In what was a really good statistical performance for Tony Romo (23-36 for 346 yards; two tds, one interception, one fumble),  the Dallas Cowboys lost to the New York Jets 27-24.

Why? Tony Romo. (See my subsequent posts re: Romo blowing game against Lions)

He played for three quarters in a fairly efficient way, despite being under constant pressure from a swarming Jets defense. He made no crucial mistakes, and seemed to have matured from the sometimes erratic qb he has been in the past. ((See: Romo Can Lead Cowboys To Super Bowl))

However, his fumble at the Jets three-yard line in the fourth quarter is probably the difference in the game.  It was 3rd and 2, and clearly no one was open.  Scrambling, he attempted to dive forward and the ball was knocked from his hands.  The Jets recover the ball, and instead of the Cowboys kicking a field goal and going up by 10 points, the game stayed within one score.

Pittsburgh Steelers Pick Up Where They Left Off In Super Bowl XLV; Aging Defense To Blame?

Probably the most surprising result today on the first Sunday of the 2011 NFL season was the Baltimore Ravens thoroughly dominating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 35-7.

The Steelers acted as if they were still in the pre-season, playing what is hopefully their worst game of the year (if not, it's going to be a long winter in Pittsburgh).  Is it just a bad game, or are the Steelers just falling apart?

In Super Bowl XLV in February, the Steelers had three turnovers, and the defense could never seem to stop Aaron Rodgers whenever they needed to.  Today against the Ravens, the game was well out of hand before the Steelers got rolling on offense, and despite the fact that they virtually matched the Ravens for yards and plays run, the game was not even close.

Photo: Joe Giza/Reuters

Interim Cy-Hawk Trophy Gets Ripped Apart After Dramatic Triple-Overtime Iowa State Victory Over Iowa

The Iowa State Cyclones defeated their in-state rivals, the Iowa Hawkeyes, in a highly dramatic fashion on Saturday.  In Triple Overtime, the Cyclones scored a touchdown to win 44-41.

Immediately after the winning touchdown, the Cyclone players raced across the field to the Iowa sideline to reclaim the Cy-Hawk trophy, the prize for their victory.

In recent weeks, this Cy-Hawk trophy has seen a lot of damage.  Changing the old trophy design to a new one that was roundly and almost completely rejected by college football fans in Iowa, the Cy-Hawk trophy on display at the game was a temporary one while the new one is being made.

This Cy-Hawk Trophy Was Cut Before
The Season Started

Here's a video of the excitement following Iowa State's victory.  At 1:18 into the video, you can see the trophy clearly is whole, although the top piece might be coming off at that point.

At the 1:34 mark of the video, the trophy is clearly in at least two pieces (despite the video going out of focus for a few seconds there).  Somehow I think even the above trophy design would have been ripped apart in the face of such an exciting victory.

It's Week One - Your Fantasy Football Team Is Not As Good, Or As Bad, As You Think It Is; Part 6 Of My Fantasy Football Primer

So it's Week One of your Fantasy Season and your feelings about your fantasy team are one of the following:

  • I have the best team ever!!! I'm going to dominate my league!
  • My team sucks. I might as well not even bother to play.
  • I have no idea what's going on.
Let me tell you first: there is no way to know how your team is going to do the entire season based on your current roster and their Week One performances.

I'm sure many who drafted Peyton Manning a month ago thought they were set at quarterback (Tip: Don't drop Peyton if you have him unless you absolutely need the roster spot; more on this later).

Finally, the National Nightmare That Was The Brett Favre Annual Un-Retirement Is Finally Over

Although I wrote about this a few months ago (see my Five Reasons Favre Is Retired post), Brett Favre is absolutely, 100%, unequivocally retired.



Bus Cook told ESPN's Adam Schefter that not one single team called him in the off-season to even inquire about the future Hall-of-Famer.

It doesn't mean ESPN won't be able to tease its viewers/readers with the occasional " Team X Has Contacted Favre" rumor to rile the masses. However, it will mean that we won't have to see him beaten up and bleeding on the field anymore.  No more ill-fated throws, no more interceptions, no more crazy runs down the field following a long touchdown.

Where Is The Offense For USC In 2011? Is Pete Carroll To Blame?

Are the dominating offensive times over for USC? In two very close wins over Minnesota and Utah this year, USC has struggled to put points on the board.  This seems highly uncharacteristic for a team that, just a few years ago, was 37.5 points per game (over twice what they're doing right now).

Most disconcerting is that this is with junior Matt Barkley at quarterback, who is considered one of the top quarterbacks in next year's NFL draft.  Typically, by the time a USC QB is starting for his third year, he's putting up numbers that would qualify him for the Heisman.

Let's take a closer look at the stats. I've rounded up where appropriate.  2011 includes just the first two games played.
                                         2011              2010               2009            2008              
Total Yards                      393               431                 389                454
Passing                             286               250                 230                269
Rushing                             109                189                167                195
Points/Game                    21                  31                   26                  38
BCS Rank - Offense          55                  28                   49                  13

Saturday, September 10, 2011

NFL Requiring Teams To Post Real-Time Fantasy Stats In Stadiums On Sundays For Fans

In what is certainly just a small first step to major future changes in the ways fans experience a game in person, the NFL has ordered all 32 teams to post real-time fantasy stats from across the league in their stadiums.

The NFL is attempting to enhance the live game experience for fans that may feel cut off from the rest of the NFL when attending a game.  Some stadiums, such as Denver's Mile High Field, have poor reception for wifi/smart phones in the seating areas.  I know when I went to a Broncos game last year I couldn't get reception inside the stadium and felt completely removed from that day's NFL action.  For a football junkie, this was very difficult.

Novak Djokovic Shows His Heart While Roger Federer Fades Away

Five-time US Open Champion Roger Federer is quickly turning into Andy Murray, coming close but not close enough in Grand Slam Tournaments.  He appeared to have today's US Open semi-final match against Novak Djokovic well in hand before he seemed to completely shut down.  Djokovic managed to pull out an amazing come-from-behind win 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.

Photo: Suzy Allman/New York Times
For the first two sets, Djokovic seemed to struggle to find his rhythm.  Frustrated, he seemed to determine to regain his energy coming onto the court for the third set, and it was almost as if Federer recognized that. The change in Federer's play was telling, going from a more attacking style to a purely reactionary and conservative one that did nothing for him.

No One Has Notre Dame's Number Quite Like Michigan And Denard Robinson

Another epic classic between Michigan and Notre Dame came down to who had the ball last in their possession.  Michigan pulled out a last-second victory against Notre Dame, 35-31, after scoring 28 points in the fourth quarter.

Denard Robinson continued his heroic play for the Wolverines, throwing for 338 yards (on just 11 completions) and running for an additional 108 yards.  Of the 452 yards Michigan produced on offense, Robinson was responsible for 446 of them. He also accounted for all five of Michigan's touchdowns.

Notre Dame opened strong, going up 14-0 in the first quarter, but couldn't find much scoring success afterwards.  Five turnovers (two interceptions and three fumbles) will usually prevent that.

Could Conference Realignment Ultimately Mean a BCS Bowl Playoff System Is Necessary?

If you're an SEC fan, one would think you're not all that terribly happy with the way the BCS conferences are restructuring.

As the Big 12 has slowly been crumbling, other conferences are picking up the defectors.  The Big Ten took in Nebraska, and the Pac-10 took Colorado.

Now Texas A&M is leaving the Big 12 (pending a legal challenge by Baylor) and going to the SEC, making it that conferences' 13th team.  Another team will need to be added to keep the divisions equal, and it's almost certain that it will be an already successful football program.

Djokovic Is Going To Need Epic Comeback In Order To Defeat Federer In US Open Semi-Final

Roger Federer dominated #1-ranked Novak Djokovic 7-6, 6-4 in their US Open Semi-Final match over the first two sets.

However, Djokovic came out on fire in the third set, was able to break Federer while holding his own serve, and is now up 4-1. Federer, who seemed so aggressive and confident in the first two sets, seems to be hanging back more now in the third.

Certainly Djokovic, until this third set, hasn't shown the skill and excellence that has made him the Tour's most dominating player this year.

You may remember that Federer was the one who defeated Djokovic in the semi-finals of the French Open, stopping his winning streak at 43 matches.

Following Djokovic-Federer is the other semi-final featuring Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.

If you can't catch the match on tv on CBS, head over to the website for the US Open.  From there, you can watch live video coverage of the match.  They stay live constantly, allowing you to watch the players through the breaks.

Forbes Ranks Dallas Cowboys As Top NFL Franchise in Value

Forbes has released its annual valuation of NFL franchises, and it's no surprise that the Dallas Cowboys remain in the top position.  Their estimated worth is $1.85 BILLION.

Owner Jerry Jones has shown time and again what a great businessman he is (not saying anything about his ability as a football GM).  Cowboys Stadium, built at a cost of $1.2 billion, is an investment that makes millions for Jones year-round.  The stadium has 320 luxury suites, and 15,000 club seats that generate over $100 million in seat licensing annually.

The average NFL franchise is now worth $1.04 billion, an increase of 1.4% over last year, impressive considering the economy and the months-long lockout the League endured this year.  The Cowboys are far ahead of everyone else because Jones continues to use the Cowboys name/brand to create new streams of revenue.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Jack Sock Wins First Senior Title In Mixed Doubles At The US Open

American teenager Jack Sock wasn't supposed to have much success at all in this year's US Open. Indeed, him winning his first round match was certainly something to celebrate.  Getting beat by Andy Roddick in the second round was expected.

Winning the Mixed Doubles Championship at 18 was simply a pie-in-the-sky dream.

Sock and Oudin Celebrate Their Championship
Photo: Matt Slocum
However, with partner Melanie Oudin (a 19-year-old American), Sock achieved just that.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta Video To Explain Peyton Manning's Surgery

CNN's resident neurosurgeon, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, explains Peyton Manning's recent spinal fusion surgery.

One takeaway point: no quarterback has ever undergone this procedure before, so no one knows what his recovery will be.

Notre Dame-Michigan Will Come Down To Battle Of Quarterbacks

In a week with precious few ranked teams playing each other, there are very few games of national interest on tv this week.  I do plan on watching UGA-South Carolina, as that does impact the SEC East.

However, the game of the week is Notre Dame at Michigan: 8 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN.  There are many reasons for this:
  • This is the first night game at the Big House, Michigan's stadium. Lights were added during renovations in the off-season
  • They are expecting this to be the largest attendance ever for a college football game - 115,000!
  • Notre Dame and Michigan will both be unveiling new throwback uniforms specially made for this occasion

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Peyton Manning Gets Third Surgery, a Cervical Fusion, Out Minimum 8 Weeks

**See Peyton Manning, His Noodle Arm, And What This All Means" for most recent info**

The Indianapolis Colts have finally released some definite information in regards to what has happened to Peyton Manning's neck, and why/how his recovery was slowed.

There are more reports coming out that he had surgery today, and not on Sunday as first rumored.

Here's what we know now:
  • ESPN's Chris Mortensen is now reporting on twitter that Manning had surgery this morning (interesting timing given all the firm denials last night), and indeed had a cervical fusion.  Expected time out is at least 2-3 months.  No word yet on if he's going to be placed on IR.
  • Peyton's slow recovery was indeed due to slow nerve regeneration.  This slow healing caused his triceps in his throwing arm to be weak and affected the velocity of his throws.  
  • Manning was removed from the Physically Unable to Play list so he could at least practice with the team to assess his progress
  • Manning began to have pain again in his neck and upper back once he started throwing more, which necessitated the multiple specialists' opinions and the rumors of surgery flying around everywhere
  • Apparently, the surgery recommended is an anterior (upper neck) cervical fusion, which is where bone grafts and plates are used to permanently stabilize the cervical vertebrae affected (see video below).  See this post on what his recovery entails, and what his prognosis is.  
  • Can Peyton play in the future? It's definitely possible, depending again on if other areas of his neck become affected down the road, and how well that triceps nerve continues to regenerate.
    • His older brother, Cooper, who had his own cervical spine fused, said this: 
"Everyone is different, but I've had a fusion and I've known players who have had fusions and went on to play football. ... You can get a pretty good range of motion back and much more stability once it heals."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Who Is Telling The Truth About Peyton Manning's Neck?

The Peyton Manning neck saga kicked into yet another gear today when Indianapolis radio host, Jake Query, stated that two reliable sources told him that Peyton had already had neck surgery on Monday.  The real bomb, however, was that he was going to be out for the entire year.

**See my original post, here, of how serious could Peyton's neck injury be**

Within a few hours of that report hitting the "news," Colts owner, Jim Irsay, refuted it, tweeting:
"Peyton didn't have a medical procedure last sunday,we'll have more info 2 add clarity 2 situation soon.".
Let me tell you one thing that I know.  If Peyton has, or has not had something done to his neck, it's not a medical "procedure." It's really-delicate-microsurgery that only a top neurosurgeon/specialist will be asked to perform.  It's NOT a procedure.  A procedure is removing a hangnail, or a wart.  It's not spinal surgery.

Why would he even need another surgery anyway?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Will Ochocinco Have A Randy Moss-Type Season With Tom Brady And The Patriots?

Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson got a very early Christmas gift this year: in July, he was traded to the New England Patriots.

For Johnson, who has never been the sideline/off the field negative distraction that other top wide receivers such as Randy Moss/Terrell Owens were, this move must have been the greatest gift that anyone could have ever given him.

However, Johnson has had to learn a new system, one that is apparently infinitely more intricate and detailed than the one he was involved with in Cincinnati.  (**Side note: how badly does that bode for Carson Palmer, if he decides to return to the NFL one day, and manages to get away from the Bengals?)

Winnipeg Jets Unveil Awesome New Uniforms

The Winnipeg Jets unveiled their new jerseys today in a ceremony at 17 Wing Winnepeg, the local Canadian Air Force Base.

The Home jersey is dark blue ("Polar Night Blue," actually), with the away jersey white with dark blue sleeves.  They're currently available for pre-order at

Can Lane Kiffin Make It To Year Three With the USC Trojans?

If you ask football fans what they think of current USC head coach Lane Kiffin, you're liable to get some pretty passionate responses.  If you're an Oakland Raiders fan, you dislike him. If you live in the state of Florida, you REALLY dislike him. If you're a Tennessee Volunteer fan, you REALLY REALLY dislike him.

What he needs to stop doing is finding ways to make USC fans (and potentially his own players) dislike him.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Maryland Unveils The Most Awful Uniforms Known To College Football EVER

Under Armour is usually known for their slick-looking, futuristic clothing line, but one has to wonder what they were thinking when they unveiled the new uniforms they designed for the University of Maryland football team.

Fear This Multi-Colored Turtle!!
Photo: James Lang/US Presswire
Seriously, what were they thinking?

Without Peyton Manning, Are The Indianapolis Colts Doomed? Not So Fast!

I wouldn't panic just as yet at the news that Peyton Manning is going to miss at least Week one of the 2011 season.  There are many reasons for this:

  • In case anyone forgot, the Colts lost in Week 1 last year to the Houston Texans, 34-24, and still managed to win the division with a strong finish to the year
  • Without Manning under center, the Colts should be more diversified.  Granted, the Colts system is highly predicated on Manning's system of complex hand signals and verbal codes, but it doesn't have to be.  Expect to see something rare this year from the Colts: this crazy thing called a huddle.
  • Kerry Collins is a very good experienced quarterback, and the best of the free agent bunch that was left available to the Colts.  They're in much better shape than if they hadn't signed a veteran, or if they took someone like Jake Delhomme.
Donald Brown

Mark Richt's Job In Danger This Season If He Doesn't Beat Georgia's Rivals

There are several extremely loud University of Georgia alumni/fans who have been highly critical of Head Coach Mark Richt for the past couple of years. I've not been one of those, but I can understand their frustration.  Mark Richt is most definitely skating on thin ice this year.

Richt was hired away from Florida State in 2001.  As offensive coordinator for the Seminoles, Richt engineered a dominant, dynamic offense that won two national championships during his seven-year tenure.  It also was in the top five of scoring offense in the nation five of those years.

Several Key Games Highlight Week One NFL Schedule - Many With Playoff Implications

The NFL has done a fantastic job of scheduling in Week 1 of the 2011 season.  Rivalry games and games featuring top teams highlight what should be an exciting kickoff.

The Games With Playoff Implications - Yes, Playoffs
  • New Orleans Saints @ Green Bay Packers - The Super Bowl Champions begin their title defense Thursday night against one of the top teams in the NFC.  Drew Brees vs Aaron Rodgers is what everyone will focus on, but I'm wanting to see what the Packers look like with all of their offensive weapons back.  Also, what impact will Mark Ingram have in the running attack for the Saints?
  • Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens - Classic AFC matchup destined to be a nail-biter.  Will the Ravens offense finally reach its potential?  Will the defenses of both teams continue to be dominant, or will this be a high-scoring affair?
  • Atlanta Falcons @ Chicago Bears - Playoff matchup between two divisional leaders.  How will Julio Jones improve the Falcons offense with Matt Ryan at the helm, and can the Bears defense match up?  Also, how will Chicago's offensive line handle the Falcons improving defense?  Will Cutler show the effect of all that improved footwork and supposed maturity??

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Rumors Abound That Peyton Manning Needs A Third Neck Surgery; Career In Jeopardy?

If you have read this blog before, you know that I have been following the Peyton Manning neck surgery/recovery saga closely.  Peyton has acted weird since his neck surgery in May to remove part of a bulging disc that was apparently impinging on a nerve(s).  Weird in the sense that he's been irritable and evasive in regards to his progress.

Considering the lack of information that was coming out of the Indianapolis Colts about their franchise qb, his delay in returning to the field was interpreted by me as an indication that there was indeed nerve damage done by the original impingement.  That damage could be causing a delay in sensation, motor control, and strength.

Terrelle Pryor To Appeal NFL's Five-Game Ban After Saying He Wouldn't

After saying for weeks that he wouldn't, Terrelle Pryor is now going to appeal the five-game suspension that the NFL levied on him upon his entrance to the NFL via the Supplemental Draft a few weeks ago.

Just another classic reversal from the former, disgraced, Ohio State quarterback.  Now, granted, it is widely known that the NFLPA wanted Pryor to appeal from the moment he signed his contract with the Oakland Raiders.  That was to try and stop the NFL from becoming the NCAA's long arm of the law.

US Open - Americans Still In Contention As Big Four Roll

No major upsets have occurred among the Big Four (Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray) in the first week of the US Open, the last Grand Slam in the ATP season.

Now we are about to start the fourth round, with the winners making the quarterfinals.  Four Americans have made it this far which, sad to say, is the best that America has done since 2003.

  • Mardy Fish - Still playing very well, but now times get very tough indeed.  If he manages to defeat his fourth round opponent, Jo-Wilifried Tsonga, he would most likely match up with Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.  Still, Fish is peaking at the right time and is most definitely the best chance for an American to reach the semifinals.
Photo: Barton Silverman/New York Times

Update On Derek Jeter's March Through MLB's Record Books

Derek Jeter continues his amazing hitting following the breaking of the 3,000 hit barrier July 9th.  Tonight, Jeter tied a career high for five RBIs in one game.  Given that there's only 24 games left in the regular season, I wanted to take another look at where the New York Yankees shortstop stands in history right now.

All-Time Hits Leaders

  • #19 - Dave Winfield (3,110 hits)
  • #20 - Jeter (3,064)
  • #21 - Craig Biggio (3,060)
  • #22 - Ricky Henderson (3,055)

Big Thumbs Down On The Nike Pro Combat University of Georgia Uniforms

Losing to Boise State had nothing to do with it: I do not like the Nike Pro Combat uniforms for the University of Georgia (my alma mater).  This team did not look like my Dawgs. Tradition is a big part of the southern football culture, and these uniforms just fly in the face of it.

The color scheme isn't a good mix. I couldn't stand the shade of red that was used. It looked terrible on my tv screen (not HD).  With no striping or change in color from jersey to pants, the players easily blended into each other on my screen.

Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Tommy Rees Should Lead Notre Dame Rest Of Season; Gives Irish Best Chance To Win

When you spend an entire off-season debating which quarterback should be your starter, the worst time to find you made the wrong choice is at halftime of the first game of your season.

However, that's exactly what happened to Head Coach Bryan Kelly and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish when they took on South Florida at home on Saturday.  Waiting until halftime to make the quarterback switch was one of the major reasons why Notre Dame ultimately lost their home opener to South Florida, 23-20.

Dayne Crist
Photo: Michael Conroy/Getty Images

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Frank McCourt Offered $1.2 Billion For The Dodgers; Will He Do It?

The hopes of Dodger fans everywhere were raised with the news that an LA businessman has offered Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt $1.2 billion for the franchise.

Bill Burke, the founder of the Los Angeles Marathon, is the man with the plan.  Apparently there are also investors from China involved.  It would be the second MLB franchise to have foreign investors.  Currently, the Seattle Mariners have partial Japanese ownership.

If it goes through, it would be the largest amount ever paid for a Major League Baseball franchise.  In 2009, the Cubs were sold to the Ricketts Family for a then-record $845 million.

My Fantasy Football Team - How And Why I Drafted

After almost three weeks, my keeper league draft finally finished a few days ago.  I can now reveal to you my choices.  Let me first lay out the rules:

  • 12-team Keeper league; Last year I made the playoffs, but ultimately finished fifth.  I'm out for revenge on a number of my competitors.
  • Each team gets to keep three players from last year.  There's a three-year limit on how long we can keep any one particular player.
  • Our roster spots are qb, one dedicated RB, one dedicated WR, two flex RB/WR, TE, DP, Def, K, with six bench spots.
  • I made a trade before the draft started.  I sent Jamaal Charles (one of my keepers) to another team for Vincent Jackson.  I know Charles is predicted to be a top 5 RB, but I just am very wary about him.  He doesn't get scoring touches, and the Chiefs have a new offensive coordinator this year.  Jackson has a one-year contract, and after holding out for most of last year, has to be very hungry to play.

My team:

College Football Is Back!!

Tonight starts the 2011 NCAA BCS Football season with a slate of games that's sure to...well, okay, the real action is on Saturday night, but there are still several decent games to watch.


There are a couple of ranked teams in play tonight, with the most notable being:

#11 Wisconsin facing UNLV in Madison - It will be the first start with the Badgers for former NC State quarterback (turned baseball player turned QB again) Russell Wilson.  Wilson started at NC State for three years, and gives the Wolfpack a wildcard option at quarterback to go along with their dominant running attack.  C


#14 TCU is at Baylor. TCU breaks in a new quarterback, and Baylor tries to prove that they're for real after getting to a bowl game last year after a 16-year drought.