Monday, October 31, 2011

Lane Kiffin Acts Like The Petulant Child Again, Blaming Referees For Loss To Stanford

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I'm not a Lane Kiffin fan.  I feel that Kiffin is one of those coaches who routinely places blame on others for his own shortcomings.

That being said, he still had his team in a position to beat Stanford on Saturday night.  With the score tied, a USC wide receiver caught a pass and attempted to go out of bounds to stop the clock.  Close observation of slow-motion replay showed that the player landed in bounds with a knee before he slid out of bounds.  The time on the game clock was 0:01 as he hit the ground.

Kiffin is telling anyone who will listen today that apparently he had some sort of agreement with the sideline official nearest him that he would call timeout as soon as the play was whistled dead.  He feels (and is probably right) that, with one play left in the game, his kicker could have made the game-winning field goal.
While the play was being reviewed, Kiffin reminded side judge Brad Glenn to tell the head referee that he had requested the timeout, and he said he received an assurance that the timeout would be called if it was ruled after the review that there was one second left."I was basically lied to," Kiffin said Sunday. (emphasis is mine)

Please explain your rationale to me, Coach Kiffin.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Yahoo Article On Why Tim Tebow's Days As a Starting Quarterback Are Numbered

Tim Tebow's Final Days As An NFL Starting Quarterback Are Approaching

Cam Newton Proving All The Doubters, Including Me, Wrong

I was so certain that Cam Newton was never going to succeed in the NFL.  Smug in my certainty, I waved off the early reports that Newton was grasping the offense and leading his team in pre-season workouts during the lockout. Why did I think he was going to have such a hard time in the NFL?

My Three Reasons Why I thought Newton Would Have Difficulty In NFL

Tim Tebow Can't Compare to Matt Stafford, Or Even 2011 Rookie Quarterback Class

Anyone who watched today's game between the Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions saw a disparate tale of two first-round quarterbacks.

On one side, you have Matt Stafford, #1-overall pick of 2009, throwing for three touchdowns and racking up a 130.2 quarterback rating on 22 of 30 passes.

On the other side, you have Tim Tebow, the 25th pick of the first round in 2010, looking pretty lost at times while he threw for 172 yards on 18/39 passing with one touchdown, one interception, one fumble lost, and a qb rating of 56.8.

Both players came into the NFL after storied college careers (Stafford at Georgia, Tebow at Florida) where they looked competitive against each other on the field.  My, how times have changed.

Friday, October 28, 2011

San Diego Chargers Let Player Stay in Game With Concussion; Later Suffers Seizure on Plane

I've previously written more than a few times about how the NFL is missing the boat with their concussion management policy.  Teams are circumventing this in a myriad of ways, with the players ultimately suffering.  I think, until this week, that the most obvious victim of this abuse has been Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles.  Not anymore.

Last Sunday, San Diego Chargers offensive lineman Kris Dielman appeared to have suffered a head injury on a play during the fourth quarter of the game with the New York Jets.  He went to make a block and then reeled away from the defender and fell to the ground.  When he attempted to get up, he was noticeably shaky and had a hard time standing.

The referee saw him, but didn't blow his whistle for an injury timeout.  Dielman seemed to be able to pull himself together after a few seconds and stay in the game.  No one from the Chargers sideline came in for him.

Now that incident itself might have been swept under the rug if Dielman has remained okay.  However, on the team charter flight back to San Diego that same night, Dielman went into a grand mal seizure.

Now the NFL is investigating.  Dielman was never evaluated for a concussion during the game, and was only diagnosed afterwards.  I've written before about how I believe it's only a matter of time before the NFL puts independent doctors on the sidelines of games to watch over the players.  Clearly, the teams are failing at this in some cases.

Miami Dolphins Reach Out To Cowher; Another Stupid Move By Owner Steve Ross

One would think that Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross would have learned his lesson last year.  While he still had a head coach on staff who had not yet been fired, he courted Jim Harbaugh and tried to hire him away from Stanford.

The move received a lot of negative  publicity in the NFL, where typically a coaching search is not supposed to start until you've actually got the head coaching position open.

Well, here he goes again.  Rumors are flying that Ross has contacted yet another potential coaching prospect before he has yet to fire Tony Sparano.  This time it's Bill Cowher, former coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers and current CBS analyst.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Guest Post About Matt Forte and His Contract Situation

I'm a guest contributor on another sports site, State of the Sport.  Last week I contributed an article that I wanted to share with my readers here.

Chicago Bears Risk Losing Matt Forte By Not Getting Deal Done Now

Indianapolis Colts Should Not Draft Andrew Luck, And This Is Why

When the 2012 NFL Draft rolls around next April, the overall consensus #1 pick will be Andrew Luck from Stanford (if he comes out of college, that is; he still has a year of eligibility left).

Of the three teams that right now will be most likely to have that #1 pick, the Miami Dolphins seem a much more likely choice to select Luck than either the Indianapolis Colts or St. Louis Rams (who already have their franchise QB in Sam Bradford).  

However, even if the Colts do get that #1 draft spot, they should not take Luck.  Even if Peyton Manning is unable to fully recover from his neck surgery of a few months ago, they should not take Luck.  

Here are my reasons why:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Legend of Tim Tebow Adds Another Thrilling Chapter With Comeback Victory Over Dolphins

For anyone still watching the Denver Broncos game against the Miami Dolphins late in the fourth quarter (and honestly, outside of Denver/Miami fans, you'd have to be a true glutton for punishment to be still watching), you got to see some of that special Tim Tebow magic that makes his fans love him so much.

There was something for everyone in that game, however.  If you despise Tim Tebow, there was plenty in the first 54 minutes of the game to love as well.  Wildly thrown balls (some, to be honest, were probably throwaways), near-frenzied scrambles as soon as a defensive player touched him, and virtually none of the excitement that we all thought we'd get watching Tebow start a game.

Denver couldn't even manage a conversion on a third-down play until the first scoring drive with about five minutes left to play in the game.  It was just overall a completely inept offensive performance that confirmed all the bad things his detractors have been saying for a long time now.

(Photo: John Leyba/Denver Post)

Then, all of a sudden, it was like the second coming of Tebow.  I don't know why, but suddenly he was completing passes.  He wasn't running, mind you.  The ball moved down the field via passing, and what was a 15-0 deficit turned very quickly into a 15-15 tie by the end of regulation.

Jerome Harrion's Brain Tumor Removed, Doctors Say They Got It All

Neurosurgeons have removed the brain tumor from Jerome Harrison and are saying they think they got the entire mass.  The diagnosis is a ependymoma, an uncommon tumor arising from brain tissues.  The tumor was discovered earlier this week on a physical prior to being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Apparently Harrison was truthful with his team doctor during the physical, and told him he was experiencing headaches. Most commonly symptoms of an ependymoma in the fourth ventricle of the brain (where Harrison's was found; a ventricle is a space in the brain where the cerebrospinal fluid is found) are severe headaches, vision loss, vomiting.  Other symptoms of this type brain tumor can include insomnia, temporary inability to identify colors, twitching, and seeing horizontal or vertical lines when staring into bright light.

About 85% of these type tumors are benign, but team officials haven't released information yet as to whether the tumor is benign or malignant.


So Where Is Peyton Manning At In His Recovery From Cervical Neck Fusion?

We are a little over six weeks from when Peyton Manning had his September 8 cervical bone fusion surgery, and I've been trying to figure out where he would be in his recovery. It's been difficult because the Colts have been in the kind of information lock-down that they were in before he had the bone fusion surgery.

A few weeks ago, Indianapolis Colts Jim Irsay said that Manning's recovery was coming along and that he'd put the odds of him playing this year at just under 50%.

Of course, he was improving from his pre-surgery condition.  Simply removing that problematic disc was enough to greatly alleviate Peyton's pain.  I would think one major sign of improvement would be to simply not be in pain.

The first order of business is to get the bone fusion to heal.  Healing of this sort is similar to any other broken bone, although as a fusion there is more extensive healing that needs to take place.  Six weeks after the process has started, you should be able to tell that the bone is healing.

However, according to one source, "substantive" bony healing doesn't happen for three to four months for the average person.  That would put us right at the end of the season.

Donovan McNabb Benched Because He Was Constantly Late And Didn't Know Offense

In what it rapidly becoming a sad end to what some thought at one point was a Hall-of-Fame career, Donovan McNabb will watch another game from the sidelines today.

With the promotion of Christian Ponder to the starting position, some might expect that there are some in Minnesota who oppose the move and perhaps this might cause some issue in the locker room.

They would be wrong.

A report by Michael Lombardi (NFL Network) is illuminating what kind of leader that Donovan McNabb has truly been in his three-month stay so far in Minnesota.  Apparently he's frequently late to meetings and practice, isn't putting in the kind of time required of a starting quarterback in the film room, and didn't know the offense to the point where he was finally forced to wear the wrist card with the plays on it.

Tim Tebow Time Starts Today For Denver Broncos

Two weeks of buildup in the Mile High City, and today it all comes to a head when Tim Tebow assumes the starting quarterback job in his first starting action since Week 16 of 2010.

Broncos fans are somewhat excited, although there are still many that don't currently support him (they don't support Kyle Orton, either, they just want the year to be over so that they can draft a new QB).  As I watch the game today in a sports bar in the Denver suburbs, I am fairly confident I will hear pro- and anti-Tebow comments constantly.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bryan Kelly Really Has No One But To Blame But Himself For Notre Dame Loss To USC

I'm extremely confused.  Did Notre Dame and USC switch game plans for the game tonight?

I'm sure legions of Notre Dame fans are wondering just how it is that Notre Dame ended up with only 43 net yards rushing tonight on just 14 attempts against USC (who, by the way, had 218 yards rushing on 44 carries).

Clearly USC had the better game plan tonight.  A ball control offense, utilizing the running game far more effectively than they had all season, accumulated 442 yards.  Quarterback Matt Barkley was accurate when needed, and very well protected in the pocket (not one sack by the Irish).

The Irish looked a step behind all night on defense, seemingly determined not to allow the big play deep but letting everything come in front of them.  Ultimately that hurt them, as USC had five drives of nine or more plays.  This resulted in the Trojans possessing the ball for almost 2/3 of the entire game (time of possession was 39:21).

Defeating USC Monumentally Important For Notre Dame In Many Ways

Notre Dame (4-2) comes into their game against USC (5-1) tonight on a four-game winning streak.  The anti-Irish crowd that were so vocal the first two weeks of the season has been largely quiet as of late as the Irish have had several convincing victories.  The turnover issue that sunk them in their losses (5 turnovers in each game) seems to have been resolved, and the Irish seem to be cranking up to a very good season.

The game against USC, however, is undeniably the biggest game on the schedule for this season.  Nobody is going to expect Notre Dame to defeat Stanford as long as Andrew Luck is playing, and the game against Michigan earlier in the year is more of a regional game than a national must-see event (despite the greatness of that contest).  Until Michigan can regain its national reputation that it lost with the hiring of Rich Rodriguez, the Irish-Wolverine game will be more about local recruiting.

Let's look at everything at stake tonight (for both teams):

Friday, October 21, 2011

Troy Polamalu Fined $10,000 For Calling His Wife To Tell Her He Was Okay After Injury

I understand that rules are rules, but I think it stinks that the NFL has fined Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu $10,000 for a phone call he made on the sideline during last Sunday's game against Jacksonville.

It's against NFL rules to use a cell phone on the sidelines starting 90 minutes prior to the game and ending once the game is over.  Polamalu was actually using a team doctor's phone.  Why?

He was calling his wife to tell her he was okay after being diagnosed with a concussion.

What Happens When You Taunt Greek Soccer Players? They Pull Your Shorts Down! Video!

I really don't anything else to add here.  I think the video speaks for itself.

Baltimore Ravens Are Second Team To Switch Their Playbook To iPads

As discussed by this blog several weeks ago, the NFL is finally breaking out of some of its old, heavily ingrained traditions.  One of those is the use of paper and very, very thick binders to house the team's playbook.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the first team (considering they have the youngest coach in the league in Raheem Morris, it's not surprising) to convert their playbooks to an iPad format, and so far the players have been loving it.

Now the Baltimore Ravens have converted to a digital iPad world, and are able to immediately reap the benefits.  The idea came from Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, and was approved by management when they calculated they could recoup the initial investment of buying 120 iPad2's worth $700 each within two years.

Crazy Streaker Dressed As A Referee Throws College Football Game Into Chaos

In Thursday night's football game between Arizona and UCLA, a most unusual play occured right before the end of the game.

A man dressed in an ill-fitting referee uniform runs onto the field, blowing the last play dead before it can start.  He then tries to grabs the ball from the real referee and then takes off down the field, pulling off his clothes as he goes (ESPN refuses to show this).  During the confusion, a couple of opposing players go from heated words to a bench-clearing skirmish from both sides. ESPN DID show this.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ronnie Brown May Be Pissed, But Defaulted Trade Resulted From Finding Brain Tumor In Jerome Harrison

For many fantasy football fanatics, the rumors of the trade between the Detroit Lions and the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday was big news.  Ronnie Brown was to leave the Eagles and head to the Lions to backup Jahvid Best, who is currently suffering from the second concussion of this season.

The Lions were set to give the Eagles Jerome Harrison and an additional undisclosed pick in return.  Harrison had been the featured running back before the arrival of Peyton Hillis for the Cleveland Browns for the past 3-4 years, but had been signed as a free agent by Detroit in the pre-season this year.

However, the trade was voided because Harrison failed his physical.  The reason why he failed his physical was even more astounding than the trade being voided in the first place.

Jerome Harrison has a brain tumor.

Of all the reasons to fail a physical in the NFL, a brain tumor is certainly one of the most unusual.  Some are saying that the physical that Harrison received may have saved his life, but only time will tell once the tumor is diagnosed and hopefully treated.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fantasy Football Week 7: Five Players To Add NOW

I was a combined 9-1 in my two fantasy football leagues before this past week, and the bye week situation finally caught up with me.  I lost both of my games through a measure of bad luck (LaGarette Blount being hurt) and just more bad luck (opponents had best games of the year).

So with that in mind, understand that this bye week madness is over in two more weeks.  Then it's the push to get into the playoffs.  You should still be continuing to make moves.  If you haven't read my earlier posts for tips on guys I've already recommended, check them out (didn't do one for Week 6):

  Week 1   Week 2   Week 3   Week 4   Week 5

Carson Palmer - Clearly if you think you need a quarterback the second half of the season, pick up Palmer.  He's a bit of a risk, as no one knows how or when he will play.  He was a top fantasy performer before this year, so if you need a quarterback get him.

Can Carson Palmer Be The Franchise Quarterback The Oakland Raiders Think He Is?

My first thought upon hearing that Carson Palmer was being traded to the Oakland Raiders for TWO first round picks was that Al Davis is somehow channeling his wishes from the great beyond.

Then I woke up and realized that perhaps it really WASN'T Al Davis who was making those crazy gambling decisions for the Raiders the past few years.

Okay, that's not true, either.  The Raiders are currently 4-2, playing very well, and in dire need of a quarterback after Jason Campbell got hurt this past week.  Another point is that Campbell is a free agent after the season, and it wasn't like he was lighting up the NFL.  The Raiders only have Kyle Boller and Terrelle Pryor as their backups.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Are The Philadelphia Eagles Allowing Michael Vick To Play With A Concussion?

Michael Vick has been upset with what he calls unfair treatment by officials this season.  Namely, cheap shots and illegal hits that he's been receiving at the hands of opposing defenses.

Instead, what he should be angry about is how the Philadelphia Eagles are regularly allowing him to continue playing after he suffers what appears to be a concussion to the casual viewer.  I'm usually not that morbid, but if Vick continues to get hurt like I discuss below, his story is going to end very badly this year.

Vick Being Held Up By Teammate Following Hit To Head
AP Photo
One Concussion, Or Three?

Denver Broncos Trade Brandon Lloyd To St. Louis Rams And Old Coach Josh McDaniels

The Denver Broncos today avoided a lot of locker room friction by trading away one of their top wide receivers, Brandon Lloyd.  The Broncos will receive a sixth-round pick (with a possible upgrade to a fifth round pick depending on production) in the 2012 NFL draft as compensation.

Lloyd was known to be a fervent Kyle Orton supporter, and had been vocal in his support before the year started.  Orton was benched last week in favor of second-year starter Tim Tebow.  Head Coach John Fox announced last week that Tebow would be the starter going forward.

Lloyd is actually going to a better position for him as he finishes up the last year in his contract.  St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels knows Lloyd very well from his time in Denver and should be able to utilize him well in their pass-happy offense.  It will be crucial for Lloyd to finish the 2011 season strong in order to get his next contract, which could be the 30-year-old's last.

The Rams could certainly use a good wide receiver in this rather anemic offense of theirs.  So far the best stats for any Rams wide receiver is for Brandon Gibson, who has 17 catches for 214 yards.  Lloyd currently has 19 catches for 283 yards in a fairly conservative offense.  Last year, under McDaniels in Denver, Lloyd had 1,448 yards of receiving to lead all NFL receivers.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Now That "Bad" Rex Grossman Has Been Revealed, Washington Redskins Should Bench Him

As a long-suffering Chicago Bears fan, I can tell you firsthand how much Rex Grossman broke my heart when he was still the starter there.  Now Washington D.C. can begin to feel my pain as well.

Why coaches continue to give Rex a chance to start in the NFL is mind-boggling to me.  As a sporadic backup/fill-in, he's fine.  However, once he gets comfortable enough, there is a game coming like the one today in which he threw four interceptions against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Video: Jim Schwartz Gets A Little Nuts In His Scuffle With Jim Harbaugh

Anybody wanting to know how the Lions have learned how to fight and become winners has to look no further than their head coach, Jim Schwartz (video below).

After the game between the Detroit Lions and the San Francisco 49ers (in which the 49ers won), the coaches met to do the traditional post-game handshake.  Except in this case, Harbaugh was leaping and celebrating on his way over to Schwartz.  When he got to Schwartz, Harbaugh gripped his hand hard and pounded his back for a second and then ran off.

Photo: Andrew Weber/US Presswire

Guest Posting On

I've started writing some guests posts for a cool sports website,

Here's my first entry.  Are the New York Jets Falling Apart?

NBA Lockout Will Never Resolve As Long As Star Players Continue To Interfere With Negotiations

As the NBA lockout drags on, and the rest of the sports world goes on, the players of the NBA are getting a little crazy.

Both sides of the lockout have spent the last few days presenting their case to the public at large.  NBA Commissioner David Stern has gone to great lengths to state the case of the owners and how they've already made concessions to the players (not sure what those are, because it's seemed fairly one-sided so far).

What interests me more are the responses of the players involved in the negotiations.  The union leaders are doing a fine job of presenting their case, but apparently they haven't been able to control their own people.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chicago Cubs Grab Theo Epstein, Now Should Go After Ryne Sandberg

It's absolutely a new era for the Chicago Cubs. No one will know if it's an era of winning until they start playing games again, but the Cubs are making bold moves finally.

The first step was firing long-term General Manager Jim Hendry, who had been the GM since 1992.  It's unusual for a GM to be in one position for that long, as evidenced by the fact that at the time of his firing, he was the third-longest tenured GM in the MLB.  Under Hendry, the Cubs made the playoffs three times in ten years, with an overall record of 749-748.   

Hendry had made a number of bad decisions in recent memory.  Many millions were paid to underachieving players such as Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Kosuke Fukudome,  and Milton Bradley.  However, in my opinion, the worst decision he made was in his managerial choice after Lou Pinella retired during the 2010 season.  Instead of going with Hall Of Famer former Cubs player Ryne Sandberg, Hendry choose interim manager Mike Quade. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wayne Rooney Suspended For Three Euro 2012 Matches After Stupid Kick To Opponent's Leg

England striker Wayne Rooney has hurt his team once again after being suspended by UEFA for what should be the entire group stage at the 2012 Euro tournament.  The suspension was given for an act carried out by Rooney during England's match with Montenegro last week.

In the video, you can see the Montenegro player take the ball away from Rooney, who then appears frustrated and angry.  He tries to jump the back of the other player and when that doesn't work, he kicks first at his foot and then at the back of his leg.

Now typically, a red card usually results in a one-game suspension in international play.  However, UEFA reserves the right to extend that suspension if they feel it is necessary.  Given Rooney's reputation and prior misconduct, it's clear they are sending a message.

Terrelle Pryor Feels Sad For His Former Ohio State Buckeye Teammates

If I were an Ohio State Buckeye, I don't think I would want this guy talking about my program ever again.

Terrelle Pryor, former (and still currently disgraced) Ohio State Buckeye quarterback, gave an interview to a Pittsburgh radio station today (97.3 The Fan) where he said this of his former teammates:
I know I should be on the field helping them guys for the mistakes that I have made, but I am not perfect," Pryor said. "Right now it saddens me. I get sad sometimes watching the guys because I know I can be on the field helping them guys, but I can't think about that right now. I am on the next page and trying to take care of business. I hope all the success for them guys and I pray for them and hope they turn some things around."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Want To Be An NFL Owner? Green Bay Packers To Sell More Team Stock In 2011

The Green Bay Packers, the NFL's only publicly owned football team, is looking to sell more team stock by the end of the year.  The stock sale would go to fund the $130 million of renovations needed at Lambeau Field.  As I would love to buy just one stock of the Packers so I could say I'm an NFL owner, I will post how to do this as the time grows closer.

Keep these things in mind:

  • The price for one share is likely to be $200.
  • If you are a stockholder, you're an NFL owner!
  • Packers stock doesn't increase in value over time, nor does it pay dividends.
  • As a stockholder, you're entitled to attend the annual stockholders meeting at Lambeau Field and be able to tour the locker room and the playing field
Most NFL teams typically pay for stadium improvements by having some sort of local/city tax increase.  The Packers are the only team that doesn't force any local tax payers to fork over money. They raise it by selling more stock and getting private financing. 

There are currently 112, 205 shareholders who own a total of 4.75 million shares.

ESPN's QBR Says Tim Tebow's Game Sunday Better Than Aaron Rodgers

ESPN is bound to get a lot of criticism for this week's QBR (Total Quarterback Rating) rankings.

Here's the top QBs for Week 5 as based on the Total QBR:

  1. Alex Smith
  2. Ben Roethlisberger
  3. Drew Brees
  4. Matt Cassel
  5. Tim Tebow
  6. Aaron Rodgers
  7. Tom Brady
  8. Curtis Painter 
I've discussed it before, both in attempting to explain it and using it to illustrate certain points.  My biggest problem with the QBR is not having any kind of openness to it so that others (those with statistical knowledge which is not me) can examine it for objectivity and accuracy.

Peyton Hillis Knows Now Is His Best Chance To Win Big Contract With Cleveland Browns

Peyton Hillis knows he is extremely fortunate to be in the position he is now with the Cleveland Browns as a star running back in the NFL:

  • At college at Arkansas, was a fullback because there were two flashier backs behind him in juniors Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.  His senior in 2007, as a fullback, averaged 5.6 yards/carry (the same as McFadden).
  • McFadden and Jones were both drafted in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft, where Hillis wasn't taken until the 7th round by the Denver Broncos
  • In his rookie year in 2008, Hillis had a handful of starts and promising games before suffering a tear in his hamstring which ended his season
  • In 2009, the new Broncos under Josh McDaniels rarely utilized Hillis.  At the end of the season, they traded him to the Cleveland Browns for Brady Quinn.

Fantastic Cover For Today's Detroit Free Press - "Lions, Tigers, and Bears - Oh My!"

It's a great day to be living in Detroit (when was the last time someone said that??), with the Tigers MLB playoff game and the MNF contest between their undefeated Lions and the rival Chicago Bears!

Did You See The NFL Cameraman Who Got Bulldozed During The Vikings game?

I was watching the Minnesota Vikings-Arizona Cardinals game on Sunday at a sports bar when a sideline cameraman was run over by the Vikings' wide receiver.  Fox replayed the hit three separate times from three different angles, and each time the bar crowd reaction was louder.  Hope the guy was okay!

This is the worst-looking replay.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Strangest Football Play Ever: Shoe Sticks In Helmet, Rips Helmet Off Player's Head

I couldn't believe it when I saw it today, but I witnessed the most improbable equipment malfunction I've ever seen.

New York Jets tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson got his Size 17 cleat stuck in the helmet/face mask of New England Patriot Patrick Chung.

Apparently Ferguson's legs flew up in the air after a block and somehow connected with Chung's helmet as he ran by.  All in all, a very strange scene.

No shoes were harmed during this play.

Tim Tebow Divides Denver Broncos Fans, But He's Their Only Hope This Year

Even after today's game in which Tim Tebow almost brought the Broncos back to defeat the San Diego Charger, you'd be mistaken if you thought that the entire city of Denver is pro-Tim Tebow.  Many of the fans who pay to watch on Sunday in person seem to be Tebow fans, but until the last week they were the minority.

As a Denver resident, I listen on/off to local Denver Sports radio to hear what the general feelings are regarding the quarterback situation for the Broncos.  I also talk to a lot of Broncos fans around town and have asked them throughout this year their opinion on Tebow. I also spend my football Sundays at a popular sports bar to watch the games, and can get the general feel of how they feel about the guy.

I've come to three conclusions:

1) The fans that love him ignore his faults, and generally blame everyone else when something he tries doesn't succeed.  They think he's the next John Elway.
2) The fans that hate him give all the credit to the rest of the team when he succeeds, and blame him if he's not perfect.  They think he will never be a quarterback, and the team should have already cut him.
3) There are not a lot of people in between #1 and #2.

Oakland Raiders To Stay in Davis Family, But Expect To See Changes In Near Future

Al Davis' death on Saturday will not change the ownership structure of the Oakland Raiders - yet.  Davis made sure, prior to his final days, to have a structure in place that would allow his wife, Carol, and his son, Mark, to remain the majority owners of the team.  In 2007, Al Davis sold a 20% stake in the team to a trio of businessman for $150 million.  The purpose of the sale was unknown, but usually stakes in a team are sold to raise cash.

In 2007, the team was reportedly valued at $750 million.  In 2011, Forbes values the Raiders at $761 million, at a time when the average franchise is worth at least 30% more.  In their 2011 valuations of all 32 NFL franchises, Forbes ranked the Oakland Raiders at #31 (Jacksonville is last).  There were many reasons for that:

  • In 2010, Oakland had the lowest attendance in the league, averaging 46,431 fans per home game, and had some games blacked out locally as a result
  • Cumulative lack of wins over an extended period of time:
    • Raiders last won their division in 2002 (they actually had a string of division championships from 2000-2002)
    • In the past 25 years, the Raiders have won nine or more games only SEVEN times!!
  • The gang culture that has overtaken the stadium while at home, and resulted in the cancellation of future  pre-season games with local rival San Francisco 49ers.  Do fans feel safe in the Coliseum? The Los Angeles Dodgers faced heavy scrutiny after a baseball fan was pummeled to near death in their parking lot, but you don't hear much about the fans that were hurt during that pre-season game with the 49ers.  There was one shot, and one severely beaten in a bathroom.  

Video: Clint Dempsey's Goal vs Honduras - Skill and Patience Prevailed

Clint Dempsey scored the only goal in the USA Men's match with Honduras yesterday, and it was a nifty one.  In the past, an American player who got the ball in the box surrounded by defenders would probably have panicked and try to send a quick re-direct in the direction of the goal (and miss wildly).  Dempsey takes the time to gather the ball in, make a few fakes, and then send a beautiful curling shot into the corner of the goal.

It's a world-class shot from our latest world-class player.  Landon Donovan used to be USA's greatest player, but I believe that Clint Dempsey has overtaken him.  From his increasingly productive play for the national team, to his time as starter for the Premier League's Fulham.  Dempsey is the one to watch out for in the next few years.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Could Ohio State University Receive More Punishment In Wake Of Posey Suspension?

I'm sure most Buckeye fans breathed a sigh of relief in August when the NCAA declared the investigation into Ohio State University over, and decided not to hand down any serious punishment.  However, that relief was obviously short-lived as it has seemed these past few months that more and more Buckeye violations are being uncovered with alarming frequency.

When does the NCAA stop buying whatever line that Ohio State is handing them about compliance and begin to actually levy some real sanctions?  Vacating a Big Ten Title, a full season, and practically forcing you to "ask" your coach to retire (when he was so unbelievably guilty) isn't that big of a deal in the scheme of things.  Not when much harsher penalties could await the program.

What honestly matters is the now, and the near future.  Neither looks pretty at all for the Buckeyes.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chicago Is Mystified: White Sox Hire Robin Ventura While Cubs Won't Hire Ryne Sandberg

It's a tale of one city and two distinctly different major league baseball clubs.

Chicago sports fans are some of the most passionate around, but even they might be scratching their heads at the latest news out of the south side.

The Chicago White Sox have hired former player Robin Ventura as their new manager.

When I heard the news, I knew the name but couldn't quite place Ventura's prior managerial experience. I assumed that he must have had some level of minor league experience.  Amazingly, I came up with nothing.  Ventura has ZERO experience as a manager or as a coach, and his first job for both will be with a major league team.

Peyton Manning Finally Cleared To Stand On Sidelines of Colts Games Following Neck Surgery

Doctors have finally cleared Peyton Manning to stand on the sidelines of the Indianapolis Colts game on Sunday vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.

It's been four weeks since his neck surgery that fused two cervical vertebrae together, and for the past two weeks Manning was confined to the coaches' booth far away from the field.  This was done both to make sure Peyton wasn't putting himself at risk by potentially not being able to move out of the way if the action got too close, but also because doctors most likely didn't want him to push himself too much to be standing the entire three-to-four hour game.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Phoenix Coyote Goalie Wears Awesome Mask Tribute To Pat Tillman/Veterans

For the 2011 NHL season about to start in a few days, one of the coolest things to look at are the new goalie masks that have been created.

A couple of months ago, I wrote about Columbus Blue Jacket goalie, Steve Mason, and his new amazingly wicked mask designed by Dave Gunnarson:

Now we have another awesome mask that pays tribute to both American and Canadian soldiers fighting overseas on one side.  The other side is a tribute to Pat Tillman, the former NFL player from Arizona turned Army Ranger.  Tillman was killed in Afghanistan in April of 2004.

Artist David Arrigo designed the mask.  Check this site out for more of his work.

Week Five Fantasy Football: How To Survive (and Thrive) During The Bye Weeks

So we've finished the first quarter of the season. How's your team? Thriving? Or barely surviving?

Do not despair! Even if you're 0-4, you can still make the playoffs at this point.  The trap that many winning fantasy football teams fall into, especially during bye weeks, is being complacent and stop making moves.

You must constantly look for an edge; a player that could possibly still have that breakout year.  Let's first talk general strategy during your bye weeks.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Andy Roddick, Always Entertaining, Tells Reporter He Should Retire

An unsuspecting reporter today questioned Andy Roddick on whether or not he should retire following his poor showing in 2011 (video below).

Currently ranked 15th in the ATP standings, Roddick hasn't been ranked this low since 2001.  Roddick has had a very poor 2011, with only one ATP title (at Memphis), and one other final (at Brisbane).  He wasn't able to make it past the quarterfinals in any Grand Slam event.

Is Roddick's career over? No. He's still capable of playing very well and winning.  Something is obviously wrong this year, whether that's injury or just lack of conditioning or mental focus.  However, he should still have at least a few more good years in him.  After all, Andre Agassi won two titles at the age of 29, and another at the age of 33.

Brett Favre Provides Several Entertaining Insights In His First Broadcasting Performance

Future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre tried his hand at a new career this past weekend.  During the Rice-Southern Mississippi game, he provided color commentary for the broadcast.

I think it's painfully obvious that he needs a LOT of work to be considered even capable.  Here's a few examples of his work:

"The good teams are good at what they do."

When asked about football talent in Mississippi: "I'll tell you...I can't begin to tell you."

On the key to a good defense, Favre said: "You have to have a good nickel back."

Check out Brett in action. Here's a sample video:

Hey, color commentary during a live football game is hard for beginners.  Favre was clearly nervous. It's pretty easy to make fun of the guy at times, but fans would love it if he could channel some of that funny good ol' boy side that he frequently showed on the sideline.  If he could manage to do that, I wouldn't be surprised to see him in studio someday.

Minnesota Vikings Need To Admit Christian Ponder Only Chance They Have At Decent Season

I know it's only the fourth week of the NFL season, but when you're 0-4 in what is arguably the best division in the NFL, it's time to admit things need to change.

Ponder Takes A Snap In Training Camp
Photo: Jim Mone/AP
It's clear that the Donovan McNabb quarterback experiment has failed.  He was supposed to be a stabilizing force while rookie Christian Ponder got his feet under him before becoming the eventual starter.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Aaron Rodgers Already A Better Quarterback Than Brett Favre Ever Was

In the Spring of 2008, the Green Bay Packers had a huge dilemma on their hands.

Brett Favre, THE definition of a franchise quarterback and future Hall of Fame member, had decided to end his very short-lived retirement and come back to play for the Packers.

The Packers had to choose between letting Favre back in the door or turning the keys to the offense over to untested Aaron Rodgers, their first round draft pick in 2005.

Ultimately they made an almost-unthinkable decision: they let Favre go (traded him to the Jets) and named Rogers their new franchise quarterback.  The decision divided Packer fans at the time, with many wanting Favre back.

However, three seasons and one Super Bowl victory later, those Packer fans are now ecstatic in their praise over Rodgers as a quarterback.  He's done the unthinkable: made Packer fans completely forget about Brett Favre.

NHL Getting It Right More Than The NFL In Regards To Illegal Shots To The Head

The NHL means business when it comes to head injuries.  After failing to properly punish players for years for intentional shots to the head, their biggest first step was in realizing how big of a problem it was causing.  Three major issues in the past year have seemingly opened up NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman's eyes:

Photo: Shaun Best/Reuters
  • Sydney Crosby's months-long rehab for a very serious concussion that he sustained back in December.  A concussion that wasn't properly diagnosed and treated at the time, and was further compounded when he was hit in the head again a week later in January.  Crosby's concussion symptoms were so severe as to prevent him from playing the rest of the season.  His career is still in jeopardy depending on how he reacts to future hits.  This would badly hurt the NHL as Crosby is one of hockey's most recognizable players, no matter if you love or hate him.
  • The deaths of several NHL players in the off-season that could conceivably be traced back to chronic traumatic brain injury from their playing days. Two of the players (Tom Cavanagh and Rick Rypien) died of suicide and one died after a fatal mix of pain drugs (Derek Boogaard).  All three were current players, and considered "enforcers" on their team: players that usually are the ones to dole out the biggest punishing hits.  Also Wade Belak, a recently retired player, committed suicide in August after suffering from depression.  Symptoms of CTE are known to be depression, drug abuse, and headaches that increase in severity with the progression of CTE.
  • Former enforcer Bob Probert, who died of heart failure in July of 2010, was found to have suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).  This chronic degenerative brain disease is the root of the recent effort by the NFL to treat concussions more seriously.  Probert is the first, but most certainly not the last, contemporary hockey player to have been found to have CTE.  Most likely he is the first of many as illegal shots to the head have become commonplace in the NHL over the past several years.

What Goes On Inside Tony Romo's Head? Can He Be Trusted?

I really thought I was on to something with Tony Romo this season.  After looking at his stats over his first five years starting, I realized that his performance on the field had been very similar to Drew Brees at the same point in his career.  I postulated that his rough past was mostly due to a terrible defense and a bad head coach, and perhaps lack of confidence in tight situations.

I initially defended him after a fourth quarter collapse in Week One after he had two turnovers that helped the Cowboys lose in dramatic fashion.  I felt that he simply needed one game in which he brought the team back that would push him over the hump of bringing the team back in the fourth quarter.

So when he actually DID do that against the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins in Weeks Two and Three, I felt that we were seeing Tony Romo 2.0: the guy that would finally lead the Cowboys back to the Super Bowl.

However, there's just as much original version Romo as there is the new version, and the Cowboys clearly follow whatever version Romo happens to be playing that day to success or failure.