Friday, January 30, 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015 NFL Hall of Fame Selections

The NFL will be naming their 2015 Hall of Fame class shortly. You can make a case for every man on the list. I know that my list isn't what will be announced. They will not vote 2 coaches in the same year. And that coaches rarely get in. That being said, I would put in Don Coryell and Jimmy Johnson before anybody else in the Modern-Era list.

Found On Twitter: Twitter After Dark™

This could have so many different meanings… I hope the author was referring to the jerseys!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS: Gamesmanship, Ethics, and Cheaters

Remember that classic scene in the movie "Casablanca" where the police are about to raid "Rick's" casino:

    - RICK (Humphrey Bogart): "How can you close me up? On what grounds?"
    - CAPTAIN RENAULT (Claude Rains): "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"
(a casino employee hands Renault a pile of money)
    - CROUPIER: "Your winnings, sir."
    - RENAULT: (softly) "Oh, thank you very much."
    - RENAULT: (loudly) "Everybody out at once!"

Here's what I think about the New England Patriots and "DeflateGate":  Since it's so commonly known among NFL officials that under-inflated footballs are easier to throw and catch in wet/cold weather, it seems to me that under-inflated balls are also just as easy to throw and catch in the heat of summer.  And if NFL officials know this, and the Patriots know it, then it's not unlikely that every other team in the league knows it, too, including the Indianapolis Colts who, coming to play in the outdoor cold of Foxboro, MA, in January, would have benefited the most from that knowledge. And if the NFL knows the benefits of using cheating footballs, then their farm teams (the NCAA) know it, too.
So, here it is:  I seriously doubt that the Colts were all that surprised by this scandal. If they were surprised, it was probably because "civilians" (those of us outside of the NFL's fraternity circle) found out about their close-hold secret so publicly--everyone's been outed! 
Everyone's now got the stink eye peeled on the Patriots, but only because they won--and won big, so check those balls (uh, footballs, I mean).  But did the umps check the Colts' balls (errr, footballs) during that game?  How about the Seahawks?  And seriously, other than Off Track Betting (OTB), Vegas, and the millions in fantasy, who really gives a damn about the losers, or their balls?  But how much do you wanna bet the Redskins, or the Jets, or the Raiders also deflated their balls (verdammt! I meant "footballs!!")?
My point: Why is anyone suddenly shocked that there's cheating, immorality, unethical conduct, graft, dishonesty, and corruption (and murder, and sex assault, and bigotry, and perjury) in an industry that involves hundreds and hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars, which incentivizes its players who haul in hundreds and hundreds of millions of those dollars?  Wait, I forgot, these are our kids' role models...that's a scary thought! 
So, did the Patriots cheat? Probably.  Steroids, point shaving, bounty hunting, game fixing, deflated footballs, corked bats, betting on your own team, taking dives, sandpaper, tar, bribery...this is all the nature of professional sports.  As fans, we're now feigning surprise and false indignity.  Just wait until next year!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ray Lewis, Tom Brady, and NFL rules

I am going to do two things that I try not to do in this post. Talk Semi-Blasphemy about the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. The second is to agree with Ray Lewis. The first is because this blog is led by a fearless leader who really likes his New England teams. I respect that, so I will poke fun at him once in a while because of what happens to his teams but stay away from some controversies. The second is because I just think that Ray Lewis is a blowhard that usually makes no sense. But I am violating these rules because it goes to a larger point that Zeb was trying to make with the Dez Bryant non-catch and Ray Lewis was speaking about when he mentioned Tom Brady awkwardly.

Think back to 2001 and the New England Patriots. Drew Bledsoe gets hurt early in the season. And I still cannot believe that Zeb is at the front of the line for him to be a Hall of Famer. Anyways, in comes Tom Brady to lead the Patriots into the playoffs and that fateful playoff game against the Raiders in Foxboro. We all know what happens in the "Snow Job", Charles Woodson strips Tom Brady of the ball but there is a tuck rule that had been put in place in 1999 for some reason.

Imagine what would have become of Tom Brady had the Patriots lost that game. First thing is that the Patriots do not win that Super Bowl. Duh! The dynasty of the Patriots may have never came into being. Why? Because at that time Bill Belichick is not considered a certified genius at the time. After the disappointment of that loss, you think that Belichick would have stuck with Brady at quarterback, or turned back to the veteran Bledsoe who was ready to start that 2002 season healthy? If you say Brady, then stop reading this post. You are too delusional for rational thought.

If Bledsoe leads that 2002 team, I don't think that Brady is in Foxboro too much longer. They have a commodity that is valuable as a trade chip and a previous league MVP in front of him. I believe that the Patriots trade Brady and never obtain the dynasty that they have had in the AFC East for the past 15 years. There is something about Brady that is able to get the best out of his teammates that Bledsoe never could in his years in the league. So the Patriots might have become the 49ers of the 2010's. Good enough to make the playoffs and even possibly a Super Bowl, but not good enough to have a sustained run of being the favorite each year to win the entire thing. I believe that the 2003 and 2004 championships would never come into being because Brady and his magic were the reason for the win over Carolina. The Eagles defense would have had much more success against Bledsoe if he were still playing in 2004. 

When Ray Lewis launched his nobody would have ever heard of Tom Brady except for the tuck rule rant, he was discussing how the NFL has way too many rules for the game that is being played. I think that Tom Brady would have become a starting QB somewhere else, he wouldn't be the superstar that he is today. But his point is this, we fans all saw a fumble that Charles Woodson caused during the "Snow Job". The only reason that it wasn't is because of a rule that the NFL had passed because of some incident earlier in history that they thought they needed to legislate. And that is what started Tom Brady on the path to super stardom. I happen to agree with that.

On Zeb's and Lewis's argument that the NFL has too many rules, I concur. But I also see the other side of the argument. Remember why the NFL says that the defense has the right to substitute when the offense does? It is called the Wyche rule. Sam Wyche used to substitute players quickly and run the play. He wasn't breaking the rules, but the "spirit" of the rule for substitutions. So a new rule had to be put into place. Sort of what will probably be put into place after the "4 OL formation" the Patriots utilized against the Ravens. It didn't violate the rules, but the "spirit" of the rules.

Less rules would make the NFL a more interesting game, but then we will go back to the era of hucksters and people being befuddled if a play is legal or illegal. More rules will make it more regimented and stifle innovation. It is a balancing act that the NFL needs to get correct. Sometimes, it fails on that. The Dez Bryant non-catch is one of those fails. So the next time that you complain that a rule is stupid, remember earlier in the history of the league, there was another call where the public said that they needed that exact rule to make sure that an injustice would not be committed again.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Worst

The NFL has the worst referee system and worst rulebook in pro sports.  Now you have playoff games two weeks in a row where the outcome was unequivocally altered by the referees the damned replay system.
Last weekend it was a reversal of a pass interference call, a judgment call, where never before had you seen such a call reversed.  You can argue whether that was pass interference or not but you'll lose that argument for two reasons:  A, if you're being honest, you know you've seen less interference called as interference; and B, again, you've never seen that call reversed before.  Without that happening, a different teams wins that game.
Same thing with the call in today's Cowboy/Packer playoff game.  The outcome changed who would win the game.  First, there's this rule defining what is and what is not a catch, defying what you know with your own damned eyes to be a catch; and secondly, even within that rule I think it's a catch.
Now before you go all "tuck rule" on me, you know full well I've always said that was a horrible rule and it decided a game unfairly.  This rule needs to be changed as well back to what a catch used to be -- the receiver had control of the ball and made one, two (and counting his knee) three steps.  Isn't that control?  Isn't trying to reach for the goal line "making a play" with the ball?  And why the hell isn't he down when his touches down and he still has control?
Hopefully this shit doesn't follow the old adage that this stuff happens in threes because I don't want to see it again in the four games remaining in this season, especially if it helps screw my team too.

Thankfully there's a frigging hockey game coming on.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Patriots win Divisional Round

I don't know if it was rust or what, and give the Ravens credit, but things looked pretty bad for the Pats early on in this game, as the Ravens marched down the field pretty easily two straight times to put the Pats down 0-14.  The Patriots righted the ship and got back in the game, only to have Tom Brady make two very big mistakes.
First, he took back-to-back sacks to take them out of field goal range and thus take 3 points off the board.  Then after tying up the game at 14 and holding Baltimore to a three and out, Tom throws a bad interception in a minute to go in the half, giving the Ravens the ball at their 40.  The Ravens go on to a score a touchdown that they should've had no business getting.
In the end the defense got its act together enough to slow Baltimore down and allow the Patriots to take the lead and the win in the end.  The Patriots' only lead was the final touchdown they scored, winning 35-31.  The highlight of the game was a flea flicker pass TD from Julian Edelman to Danny Amendola.  Amendola had a big game, which was good to see for a guy who'd been a bust since he's been here, except for the last few weeks.
On to the conference championship next weekend.  Go Pats.
Oh, a couple of milestones for the Patriots in this one.  Tom Brady passes Joe Montana for all-time playoff touchdowns and Bill Belichik ties Tom Landry for all time playoff wins.

The Pictures Do Most Of The Tallking

After beating Illinois State 29-27 in Frisco TX, the Bison achieved the first 4-peat in Division I Football History. The Senior class lost 3 games in their four seasons at the school. The Drive for 5 is next year.

Monday, January 05, 2015

A look at the 2015 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot (Part 4)

The last post looking at the 2015 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot. This exercise hasn't been as easy as I thought it might be. It caused me to reevaluate some players, and actually support players that I personally thought were jerks (Here's looking at you Jeff Kent). It also made me look at the BBWA and shake my head at the political agendas that some of the voters have against certain players. The voting rules need to be changed and some of the political statements that the voters are doing need to stop. Deciding that you aren't going to vote for anyone because you don't know who used steriods is not a valid vote. That voter should be eliminated from voting. Sort of like Dan LeBatard for his stunt last year.

Down to the final 7 candidates:

Sunday, January 04, 2015

A look at the 2015 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot (Part 3)

I am sorry for the lateness of this part. I have started a new job, the holidays hit and I had to travel out of state for personal reasons. And while I thought that this would be 3 parts, I am going to have to extend the series to 4. There will be 7 players this time and the last 7 next time. Just because of a time crunch this evening. One player in this part made my ballot. There are some fine players listed here. That leaves two spots for the final part of this series.


You won't need me to tell you what kind of sports anchor Stuart Scott was or what effect he had on his chosen profession...ESPN has that covered in spades.  Instead I want to take this opportunity to encourage you to see for the first time or see again his acceptance speech at the ESPYs this summer, having been given the perseverance reward by the Jimmy V Foundation.
Stuart Scott last his long battle with cancer this morning at the age of 49.  Think of the two young daughters he left behind and live your life like there is no tomorrow because it is certainly possible.

This speech in my opinion is right up there with Jim Valvano's legendary speech:

Thursday, January 01, 2015

College Football Semi-Final Picks

This year was tough for my prognostication. Finished the regular season 8 games under .500. Now I am going to try and pick the playoff winners.

Sugar Bowl - #1 Alabama vs. #4 Ohio State (+9) - Alabama is the heavyweight of the SEC. And everybody is still playing with the Week 2 storyline that the Big 10 wasn't that good. I go the other way. I believe that the SEC was over-hyped this year. I just watched the destruction of both Mississippi schools in their respective Bowl games. LSU lost to Notre Dame. The only SEC that has impressed me this bowl season is Georgia. Anyways onto the game.

I don't believe that Blake Sims will be able to get that Alabama offense on track against the Buckeye defense, especially that defensive line. Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide defense will be able to hold the Buckeyes offense enough to keep it close. But I am going with Ohio State to win the game. I would take the 9 points each and every time it is offered.
#1 Alabama 20, #4 Ohio State 24

Rose Bowl - #2 Oregon vs. #3 Florida State (+7.5) - Here is the game that I want to see. I think that both offenses go crazy. Both defenses have given up big plays during the season and I think that they will in this game as well. The last two Heisman winners both throw for over 400 yards and it looks like the scoreboard is attached to a pinball machine. In the end, I give the Ducks just enough to win the game, but not cover the spread.
#2 Oregon 45, #3 Florida State 41.

What I see at the National Championship Game: