Saturday, December 30, 2006
Friday, December 29, 2006
Ranking the NFL - Week 16 [EdMcGon]
RAVENS: As evidenced by their win over Pittsburgh, the Ravens are still playing for the first week bye in the playoffs. Woe be to Buffalo this week (or any week during the Winter season).
CHARGERS: As if the Chargers don't have enough offensive weapons already, wide receiver Vincent Jackson is starting to come on during the last month of this season. With 5 catches for 97 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Seahawks, Jackson had a statement game. If he can stay healthy, Jackson will become one of the premier receivers in the NFL over the next few years.
PATRIOTS: You have to admire the Patriots for not falling into the Jacksonville trap. They played the Jags tough. The Pats look playoff-ready.
BEARS: Brian Griese finally got to play...in a meaningless game.
SAINTS: The Saints are still the most dangerous team in the NFC. They are still young, but they play with a lot of heart. My gut feeling is they will do well in the playoffs.
TITANS: Six wins in a row? Their last loss came to Baltimore? If the Titans make it to the playoffs, call them "Cinderella".
EAGLES: How good are the Eagles? In the last three games, they have beaten all three of their divisional opponents. On the road. In December. Can you say "clutch"?
COWBOYS: What the heck was that? If the Cowboys beat the Eagles, they clinch the division. The Cowboys are pretenders.
BRONCOS: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! I love games in Denver in December, don't you?
COLTS: I like it when I make the prediction of Tony Dungy being fired after this season, only to see the Colts come out and stink up the place against the Texans. Keep up the good work Tony. You're making me look like a genius.
BENGALS: Does the name "Brad St. Louis" mean anything to you? He might end up with his namesake after he botched the long snap that cost the Bengals the game against Denver.
CHIEFS: You have to love the K.C.-Jacksonville game this weekend. Lose, and they are out of the playoffs. Win, and they have to wait and see what happens in other games. One of the few week 17 games with some drama.
JAGUARS: I know the Jacksonville fans are down on David Gerrard after he fumbled away the game against New England. But the Jags are really a more dangerous team with Gerrard. If not for him, we wouldn't even be talking about a close game with New England.
GIANTS: The Giants coaching staff has pulled off a maneuver worthy of "The Three Stooges": Tom Coughlin has replaced offensive coordinator John Hufnagel as offensive play caller with QB coach Kevin Gilbride. Much like replacing Curly with Shemp, expect the hilarity to continue. As I have pointed out in two previous posts about Hufnagel and Gilbride, neither of these clowns should be allowed anywhere near an offense.
PANTHERS: Only 10 points against Atlanta? That is NOT playoff-calibre.
JETS: If the playoffs started today, the Jets would either be in Indianapolis or New England. Can you say "one and done"?
FALCONS: They need to beat or tie the Eagles in Philly in order to have a chance to make it to the playoffs. Jim Mora, I hope you have your desk cleaned out.
SEAHAWKS: Here is a hypothetical scenario for you: If Seattle loses to Tampa Bay this week, they will be 8-8. While they have already clinched the NFC West, they would NOT EVEN be a wild card team in the AFC.
RAMS: It is scary to think this team is still in the playoff hunt. The Rams are the proverbial equivalent of the ugly girl in the corner at the school dance. She is hoping some of the pretty girls will drop dead or get sick or just leave, so some of the cute boys will ask her to dance. Sadly for Ram fans, the dance would be called off if the NFL were that desperate.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Pick the NFL Winners - Week 16 Results
Anyway, the results from last week's "Pick the NFL Winners" are:
joe gibbs - 9
David Stefanini - 8
Robert A. George - 8
EdMcGon - 7
J. Mark English - 6
In the only game that someone named "Joe Gibbs" won this week, Joe Gibbs is our winner!
By the way, if you followed his advice and "bet the house" on the Redskins this week, I can only hope you don't live in a cold climate.
This will be the last "Pick the NFL Winners" for the season, but we will be back next week with a very special "Pick the NFL Playoffs".
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Jason Kidd Gets Fined for Blaming Refs [David Stefanini]
President Ford: The Athlete [J. Mark English]
From 1931 to 1935 Ford attended The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he majored in economics and political science. He graduated with a B.A. degree in June 1935. He financed his education with part-time jobs, a small scholarship from his high school, and modest family assistance. A gifted athlete, Ford played on the University's national championship football teams in 1932 and 1933. He was voted the Wolverine's most valuable player in 1934 and on January 1, 1935, played in the annual East-West College All-Star game in San Francisco, for the benefit of the Shrine Crippled Children's Hospital. In August 1935 he played in the Chicago Tribune College All-Star football game at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears.
He received offers from two professional football teams, the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers, but chose instead to take a position as boxing coach and assistant varsity football coach at Yale hoping to attend law school there. Among those he coached were future U.S. Senators Robert Taft, Jr. and William Proxmire. Yale officials initially denied him admission to the law school, because of his full-time coaching responsibilities, but admitted him in the spring of 1938. Ford earned his LL.B. degree in 1941, graduating in the top 25 percent of his class in spite of the time he had to devote to his coaching duties. His introduction to politics came in the summer of 1940 when he worked in Wendell Willkie's presidential campaign.
President Bush Remarks about President Ford [J. Mark English]
My fellow Americans, all of us are saddened by the news that former President Gerald R. Ford passed away last night. I spoke with Betty Ford. On behalf of all Americans Laura and I extend to Mrs. Ford and all President Ford's family our prayers and our condolences.
President Ford was a great man who devoted the best years of his life in serving the United States. He was a true gentleman who reflected the best in America's character. Before the world knew his name, he served with distinction in the United States Navy and in the United States Congress.
As a congressman from Michigan, and then as Vice President, he commanded the respect and earned the good will of all who had the privilege of knowing him. On August 9, 1974, he stepped into the presidency without ever having sought the office. He assumed power in a period of great division and turmoil. For a nation that needed healing and for an office that needed a calm and steady hand, Gerald Ford came along when we needed him most.
During his time in office, the American people came to know President Ford as a man of complete integrity who led our country with common sense and kind instincts.
Americans will always admire Gerald Ford's unflinching performance of duty and the honorable conduct of his administration, and the great rectitude of the man himself.
We mourn the loss of such a leader, and our 38th President will always have a special place in our nation's memory.
President Ford lived 93 years, and his life was a blessing to America. And now this fine man will be taken to his rest by a family that will love him always, and by a nation that will be grateful to him forever.
May god bless Gerald Ford.
President Gerald R. Ford: July 14, 1913 - December 26, 2006 [J. Mark English]
Labels: President Gerald Ford
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Monday, December 25, 2006
The Best Packer Quarterback [EdMcGon]
One thing that struck me in the comments was people claiming Brett Favre as the best of all time. But I don't even consider him the best Green Bay Packer quarterback. That would be Bart Starr.
Using the same criteria I used to determine the best quarterback of all time, Starr is very close to Favre, even considering the different eras in which they each played. Starr's numbers are on the left, with Favre's numbers as of last season:
Completion Percentage: 57.4% vs. 61.5%
Average Gain per Attempt: 7.85 vs. 7.04
Touchdown Percentage: 4.8% vs. 5.2%
Interception Percentage: 4.4% vs. 3.4%
NFL/Super Bowl Championships: 5 vs. 1
Average Rushing Yards per Carry: 5.3 vs. 3.5
Passer Rating: 80.5 vs. 86.0
Those are similar numbers considering the different passing nature of the eras involved. The yards per pass attempt explain a lot. In Starr's era, the passes were generally thrown farther than in the "west coast" era of Favre. This also explains why Favre's completion percentage was higher, although Starr's 57% completion percentage was the NFL career record when Starr retired. Finally, with Starr typically throwing the ball farther than Favre, Starr naturally threw more interceptions per attempt.
But for a true comparison on game management, let's add fumbles to interceptions per game. Favre turned the ball over 1.57 times per game. Starr turned the ball over 0.93 times per game.
But the number that stands out is the championships, where Starr holds a 5-1 advantage. Adding in the facts that Starr was a better runner and game manager than Favre, and Starr is clearly the better Packer quarterback.
Merry Christmas: The Truce of 1914 [Victorian Museum]
The Truce of 1914
In 1914 when soldiers in
The young men were not home by Christmas. The war dragged on and on for years and
In December of 1914, however, a strange thing happened on the Western front. It was Christmas Eve, and the weather suddenly got cold, freezing the slush and water of the trenches in which the men were bunkered down. In the German trenches soldiers started lighting candles. British sentries reported that there appeared to be small lights, raised on poles or bayonets and although these lanterns clearly illuminated the German troops, the British held their fire. Even more startlingly, British officers saw through binoculars that some enemy troops were holding Christmas trees over their heads with lighted candles in their branches!'' The Germans, who celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, were extending holiday greetings to their enemies.
A few German soldiers started singing carols and it was soon picked up all along the line as others joined in harmonizing. Then they began singing "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!" The British immediately recognized the melody and began singing "Silent Night" along with the Germans.
Then occurred one of the most unusual incidents in military history. One by one, soldiers on both sides laid down their weapons and ventured into no man's land - too many of them to prevent their superior officers from objecting. An undeclared truce had broken out spontaneously, against all orders and the rules of military combat.
One eye-witness account of the unofficial truce is given in the wartime diary kept by veteran Frank Richards. In it he wrote:"We stuck up a board with 'Merry Christmas' on it. The enemy stuck up a similar one.
"Two of our men threw their equipment off and jumped on the parapet with their hands above their heads as two of the Germans did the same, our two going to meet them. They shook hands and then we all got out of the trench and so did the Germans."
Richards explained that some German soldiers spoke perfect English. One, who had worked in
The German officers appear to have taken the lead role in the Chritsmans get-together having provided barrels of beer not only for their own men but two barrels for the British soldiers too. The Brits, however, claimed the French-made beer was barely fit to drink. They gave each other small gifts from chocolate bars and tobacco to tins of processed beef. Others joined in and as the day progressed this mass fraternisation spread along the front to include soccer matches between the two forces. Men who the day before had been shooting to kill were sharing tots of rum and showing each other family snapshots.
The men sat around campfires together singing the choruses of Christmas carols, "Silent Night" being the favorite since it was known by both sides. Before midnight they said their farewells and returned to their own lines.
According to Peter Simkins*, of
"Along the British section of the line, about 22 miles in Flanders, particularly on and around Christmas Day (it wasn't just a Christmas Day phenomenon), both sides began to detect in the opposing trenches, certain signs of Christmas celebration (if celebration is the right word in such a setting). Germans would be heard singing, 'Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht.'
"People would shout messages like: 'Fritz, here. I was a waiter in a
Merry Christmas: Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Clause [Newseum]
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Michael Vick Breaks 1,000 Yard Rushing Mark [David Stefanini]
Let's hear all the critics today say how a QB should not do that, how he will never win, and he threw 2 int's. All of this is true, but for a week can we at least give the man credit for doing something that has never been done before? They still may make the playoffs and if they do so they will be a dangerous team to play. Vick can still win a game by himself, and that can lead to playoff W's.
Now will it happen is a much bigger and difficult question. I do not think it will happen this season, but if the Falcons can get a WR, maybe a Randy Moss, who can catch the ball they will have a shot next season.
Tiki Barber Ponders Last Home Game [J. Mark English]
A: I think about it. Its the last time I'll ever put on this blue uniform and walk off this field. And its sad, but its a natural progression of sport and inevitably it comes to an end. I'm excited. I have a whole lot of opportunities going on to the next thing.
Q: Are you guarding against some of your emotions right now?
A: Maybe subconsciously, because I get so focused on just playing and winning and trying to figure out a game plan, how to be successful. Maybe. And I know at some point after this week it might not happen until after the New Year and our last game, but I realize that I won't be doing this anymore. But its not something Im scared of, its not something I regret. Its been a great run for me I know that. Great ups, great downs, I've been to a Super Bowl and hopefully if things turn around a little bit I'll be able to go again.
Q: Because it is your last home game, do you have a little added extra motivation for you this week?
A: It's the greatest stadium in the world to play in. The knowledge and the emotion of these fans are phenomenal. And given that the guy on the other side of the field this week is the one who started to make me into who I am, its even more so. Its like I'm showing out for my daddy over there, so it'll be fun.
Q: Have there ever been second thoughts for you at all since you made this decision?
A: No. The decision was beginning to formulate in my head after last season. It was made significantly before we started. Its right for me, and every guy knows in their head when its time. I know its time.
Governator (Schwarzenegger) Injured Skiing [J. Mark English]
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger broke his leg while skiing with his family Saturday morning in Sun Valley, Idaho, a spokesman said.
Schwarzenegger, 59, was taken to a hospital for X-rays and was discharged with a fracture to his right femur, said Adam Mendelsohn, the governor's Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications.He will have surgery to repair the bone when he returns to Los Angeles, Mendelsohn said. The governor remained at his Sun Valley home Saturday night and still planned to spend Christmas there.
Yao Ming Injured During the Rockets-Clippers Game [Michael Vinciguerra]
That looks like the face of a man in serious pain. Yao is expected to miss at least six weeks, but thats nothing compared to how badly the Rockets will miss him. Six-time all star, Tracy McGrady, has already sat out the past seven games with back spasms. Yao was leading the Rockets in points, rebounds, and blocks per game
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Mike Nifong: RESIGN! [J. Mark English]
A lawyer for one of the athletes bitterly demanded that District Attorney Mike Nifong drop the remaining counts, accusing him of offering shifting theories of the crime in an attempt to win the case at any cost.
Back in April, Nifong knew that there was no DNA match which coud have provided evidence that the players were not guilty. He failed to allow the defense legal team in on this important information. He also failed to meet with the accuser, who frequently changed her story. Funny how during all of these mishaps he was busy trying to win an election as a Democrat. Its possible that the publicity surrounding him during this national case, helped him win the election.
If he helped manipulate evidence to convince a voting public that he was doing a decent service for the public at large, then he should resign. Should he not resign then he should be threatened with legal action for manipulating evidence to sway public opinion against the players, whose lives now will never be the same.
Iverson Performs Well in Nuggets Debut [David Stefanini]
Other than Iverson looking good, the Denver Nuggets’ fans gave him a 1 minute standing ovation before ever setting foot onto the court. Watching the game was amazing, I never saw someone get applauded like this before they even played for their team. It just goes to show how ready and willing Denver is to embrace 2 All-Stars (1 of them a sure Hall of Famer).
The Nuggets are going to be a tough team when Carmelo gets back and they are going to be even tougher in the playoffs. They now have two guys who can single handily win a couple of games in the playoffs, and if they find a way to get along and share the ball, they will be the favorites to get to the Finals.
Potential Candidates for the Title of MVP in the NBA as of Today [Michael Vinciguerra]
-Steve Nash: Yea I know he has won this already but c'mon a 15 game win streak in basketball is rare and Nash is a beast with on the team with his league leading 12 apg
-Dwight Howard: This may be a stretch, but I would list Dwight Howard as a candidate only because Orlando has never looked so good and Howard leads the league in rebounds with almost 13 per game (always nice to have).
-Jason Kidd: Even though the Nets are doing pretty awful (and that doesn't surprise me) I have to list Kidd as an MVP candidate because his 13 ppg, 9 rpg, 10 apg show he is averaging nearly a triple double per game!
-Gilbert Arenas: Washington surprised me with their impressive performance this year....then again it doesn't surprise me when you have a player like Arenas, who drops 60 points in a game and then 5 days later scores another 54 in a game
-Lebron James: Of course what MVP list would be complete without King James, who is carrying the Cavs on his shoulders with impressive numbers that include 27 ppg, 7 rpg, 7 apg
So there you have it. My list of MVP candidates thus far in the season. As for potential teams....don't sleep on the Knicks, who are riding a 3 game win streak and consist of a young squad with the potential to succeed.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Carmelo Will Not Appeal Suspension, but J.R Smith Will [David Stefanini]
Nowitzki Injuried Last Night [David Stefanini]
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Vince Young Runs Light Years Past Michael Vick [Guest Writer, Michael Vinciguerra]
Upon Michael Vick’s entrance into the NFL, I despised him immediately. This hatred is primarily because he radically changed the role of the quarterback position and did it terribly wrong. The role of scrambling quarterbacks reached its height when Vick entered the league. One would assume that Vick would be quite a challenge because defenses would never know whether Vick would pass or take off running down the field for twenty yards. But NO! Vick spends each progressing year hurt or gaining somewhat decent numbers (I’m talking about throwing numbers, not rushing - After all, what’s the point of rushing for 200 yards if you still lose the game?!) And still sportscasters praise his unique style of play and predict good things for him. Sportscasters need to set their alarm clocks because it’s time to wake up and realize Vick is no good and will never win a Super Bowl. As I watch Vick play, I don’t even think he knows what he’s going to do half the time. I understand his receivers are less than mediocre, but if you overthrow them half the time or set them up where they are going to get pummeled right after the catch I wouldn't be able to catch the ball either. Vick is too inconsistent, inaccurate with his throws, and makes poor decisions because he is always in a hurry to take off running with the ball. Basically, the Falcons will never win a championship until Vick becomes a running back or learns to pass. But enough about Vick. Let’s move towards the future of scrambling quarterbacks.
After watching Vince Young play in college, I somehow magically accepted the notion of scrambling quarterbacks. I sat their after the Rose Bowl and said to myself, “Mike, you know, scrambling quarterbacks are fun to watch...when they get it right. Oh yeah and...get a haircut you bum.” I knew Vince Young had the potential to dominate in the NFL and sure enough if the Titans would have started him from the beginning of the season they would have had a much higher winning percentage and would have owned at least the Wild Card. But let us not dwell on what would have been. After all, Young will be around next year and as a Colts fan that scares me. Vince Young impacted the Titans like no other quarterback I’ve seen in awhile. He not only brings excitement to the game with his well-balanced and executed mix of rushing and passing, but the most important thing is HE WINS. Hell, he not only wins, he comes back from 4th quarter defecates where most people would have turned their televisions off and soaked in a bathtub (Giants anyone?...and I like bubbles in my bath). I almost feel sorry for Vick, who has spent 6 years trying to fit into the role of a scrambling quarterback while almost instantly, Vince Young enters the league and is successfully doing what Vick tried to perfect during his six year span. To end this argument about which scrambling quarterback is better, I'll pose a question: Who would you rather rely on when your team is on their own 10 and down by four points with two minutes left in the game?
Pick the NFL Winners - Week 16 [EdMcGon]
All for pride, no money.
Here are the picks from last week's co-winner, yours truly (my picks in red):
Kansas City at Oakland: The Raiders proved last week that they are mailing it in.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh: The only issue here is whether the Ravens decide to coast into the playoffs. All things being equal (and they never are), the Ravens should win easily.
Carolina at Atlanta: The last time these teams met, Steve Smith was not playing. This could get ugly.
Chicago at Detroit: Da Bears should be able to sleepwalk to a victory in this one.
Indianapolis at Houston: The scheduling gods are brutal. Forcing the Texans to play the Colts twice in a year?
New England at Jacksonville: While I still think New England is better than Jacksonville, the Jags have a tendency to upset better teams (and then lose to a lousy team next week).
New Orleans at N.Y. Giants: Remember after Hurricane Katrina, when the Saints played their "home game" against the Giants, in the Meadowlands? I wonder if that memory of that will get the Saints up for this game.
Tampa Bay at Cleveland: If you have to watch a game between two teams not going to the playoffs, this is the one to watch. Whichever one of these teams wins is the one to watch for improvement next year.
Tennessee at Buffalo: The battle of the also-rans.
Washington at St. Louis: This is a pick-em.
Arizona at San Francisco: The only reason to watch this game is Frank Gore. Aside from LT, Gore is the best running back in the NFL.
Cincinnati at Denver: If you can only watch one game this weekend, I recommend this one. Well, maybe the Philly-Dallas game too.
San Diego at Seattle: Will Phil Rivers show up, or does it even matter? With LT running the ball, the Chargers could stick a uniform on John Hadl.
Philadelphia at Dallas: Are the Eagles for real?
N.Y. Jets at Miami: Much like most people in New York, the Jets are going to Miami for Christmas.
T.O Gets Snubbed Out of Pro Bowl: [David Stefanini]
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Barry Zito to the Mets? [J. Mark English]
In anticipation, I had some fun photo altering this image and giving Zito a snug place amoung the Met Christmas ornaments:
Pop Warner & Pee Wees [J. Mark English]
Usually at Giant games, they roll out the high school marching bands. Its impossible to hear them, and I've never been understood the purpose of the flags they wave around. (If anyone could explain what possible function that flags have in conjunction with a marching band, please explain in the comment section.)
The only good half time shows occur in the pre-season where they feature frisbee catching dogs. One can hear sarcastic cheers from the crowding crowing "sign up that dog."
Finally, the Giants have given the fans something to enjoy during the regular season. Every week they have a Pop Warner match up of little kids playing football.
To get a whole game in during half time (which only lasts fifteen minutes) the offense and defense of both teams face off at different ends of the field.
The music on the loudspeakers features classics from NFL Films, as you see these little kids running around as if they are pros. The fans, instead of racing to the bathroom stalls, actually hang back to watch kids playing not for the love of money, but for the love of competition.
This year marked the 50th Pop Warner Super Bowl, which took place in Orlando. Sports Illustrated had a great write up about the annual event. Here are some highlights:
Welcome to the world of big-time peewee football, which is what the Pop Warner Super Bowl has become. Last weekend more than 8,000 players, cheerleaders and dance-team members were on hand as the youth league celebrated the 50th playing of the Super Bowl with title games in four age groups. It was a far cry from the first Pop Warner championship, in 1947, when some 2,000 fans showed up at South Philadelphia High to watch the local Palumbo's Clickets beat the Sinatra Cyclones, a New York City team sponsored by Frank Sinatra, 6-0. (No title game was played between 1953 and '58 or from 1979 to '82.)
"We've come a long way," says Jon Butler, the executive director of Pop Warner youth football. "Fifteen years ago we had 180,000 kids playing Pop Warner. Now we have 400,000, and there's lots of room for growth. But what really amazes me is how sophisticated the kids are getting in both the techniques and the terminology they're learning at such a young age." No team at Disney World last week ran a more complicated offense than the Jaguars. They line up in an archaic double-wing offense (somewhere, Pop Warner was smiling: He created the formation in 1912) that features two tight ends, two wingbacks and a halfback. The backs constantly spin and flip the ball to each other on handoffs and reverses. To learn their 30 offensive plays, the kids used a decidedly 21st-century tool: the video game Madden 2007.
"I programmed our offense into Madden to help me memorize our plays," says halfback Aveontay (Sumo) Armstrong, 11, who returned a punt 63 yards for a TD -- one of SportsCenter's Plays of the Day last Saturday. "It was easier than homework."
Photo of the Day: Gang Green on Sesame Street [J. Mark English]
Iverson Traded to the Nuggets! [David Stefanini]
Ranking the NFL - Week 15 [EdMcGon]
RAVENS: The Ravens got a little scare when Steve McNair got hurt. Even though they still won with Kyle Boller, it was only Cleveland they beat. If this were the playoffs, and the other team were the Chargers, Boller doesn't win.
CHARGERS: In all the LT hoopla, did anyone notice that Phil Rivers stunk up the place? Just in case you missed it, Rivers was 8-23, 97 passing yards, and 2 interceptions. That is NOT playoff caliber.
BEARS: I bet Rex Grossman (339 passing yards and 2 touchdowns) wishes he could play the Buccaneers every week.
COWBOYS: The ONLY way Terrell Owens returns to Dallas next year is IF the Cowboys win the Super Bowl. This is a good team, but that is still a BIG "if".
COLTS: If the Colts don't make it to the Super Bowl, and they won't, what happens? Tony Dungy gets fired. Who replaces him? Monte Kiffin, the Buccaneers defensive coordinator. It makes perfect sense. This team needs a great defensive coach, and Kiffin is one of the best. Kiffin is also the master of the "cover two" defense, which the Colts run (poorly).
BENGALS: I hate to admit it, but I found myself agreeing with Joe Theismann at the end of the Colts-Bengals game: The Bengals ran too much too early in that game. Carson Palmer seemed out of sync the entire game.
SAINTS: Just when we are ready to beatify the Saints as the best in the NFC, they go and lose to the Redskins. The Media was beating up the Colts last week for their run defense (or lack thereof), but they need to look at the Saints, after giving up 161 rushing yards to a team whose best running back is Ladell Betts.
PATRIOTS: The Texans were the proverbial bug on New England's windshield this week.
BRONCOS: Don't read too much into the fact that Jay Cutler looked better than Matt Leinart in the Broncos-Cardinals game. Remember the defenses each of them had to face.
CHIEFS: R.I.P. Lamar Hunt.
PANTHERS: The Panthers better get Jake Delhomme back soon. Their playoff chances are starting to look like an old litter box.
STEELERS: Just when you think it is safe to be a Steelers fan, winning five of their last six...[cue the theme from "Jaws"]...they get Baltimore this week.
TITANS: Have you noticed no one is talking about Jeff Fisher being fired anymore?
EAGLES: I am beginning to wonder if the Eagles will go farther in the playoffs with Jeff Garcia instead of Donovan McNabb. This is not to say that McNabb is a bad quarterback, just that Garcia seems to run this offense just a bit more efficiently.
REDSKINS: Is this team showing us something for next year, or is their win over the Saints just a mirage?
GIANTS: They have won one out of their last six games. To you Giant fans out there, even if they manage to squeak into the playoffs, do you REALLY want to see them humiliate themselves on a playoff stage?
BILLS: Since their bye week, Buffalo has lost to two teams: Indianapolis and San Diego. They have beaten their other five opponents. But unless they can pull off an upset in the last two games against Tennessee and Baltimore, this will be as high as they go in the rankings. Until next year...
JAGUARS: Even though the Jags are firmly in the Wild Card race, I cannot say they should be. A team that is only 2-4 in their own division does not deserve a playoff berth.
DOLPHINS: Miami's combined scores from the last two weeks: 21-21. They beat New England 21-0, then lost to Buffalo 21-0.
BROWNS: The Browns-Bucs game this weekend is actually an intriguing matchup of underachieving teams with tough schedules.
JETS: This team does NOT deserve to be in the playoffs. Especially not in the AFC.
FALCONS: Jim Mora's "joke" about leaving the Falcons to coach the University of Washington was received by Atlanta fans with a collective "don't let the door hit you on the way out".
BUCCANEERS: The scheduling gods have no mercy on the Bucs. Even when they get an easy game like Cleveland this coming weekend, they have to actually play in Cleveland. As a Raider fan, I can't stand the Bucs, but even I am starting to feel sorry for them. Sort of.
VIKINGS: You know things are bad when quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is getting playing time.
49ERS: If the 49ers win out, and the Seahawks lose their next two games, the 49ers will win the division. The Seahawks next two opponents are San Diego at home and Tampa Bay on the road. On the other hand, the 49ers should beat Arizona this week, but Denver next week will be the make or break game. I won't predict the 49ers over Denver, but I will say the 49ers deserve a playoff berth more than the underachieving Seahawks.
SEAHAWKS: This is a playoff team? I think not. They will lose their next two games to give the 49ers a shot at the playoffs.
RAMS: Steven Jackson's combined rushing and receiving stats: 370 rushing attempts plus receptions, 1916 combined yards, and 10 touchdowns. That is the end of the good news for the Rams.
Ok, no more comments on these teams. They are just bad. Deal with it.
How Bad is the NFC? [J. Mark English]
But truly, in football, the once proud National Football Conference...a conference the pulled off 12 Super Bowl wins in a row, has sunk to a new low.
Just take a look at how pathetic the scenarios are:
- New York Giants - They lose five of six games, and still controll their own destiny.
- Philadelphia Eagles - A few weeks ago they were 5-6, their franchise quarterback was out for the season, and they were dead in the water as a team. Now, at 8-6, they have a shot to win the division.
- New Orleans Saints - Last week they were being taken seriously as a Super Bowl contender. This week they get beaten at home by the Washington Redskins.
- Chicago Bears - After blowing a 14 point lead to the Tampa Bay Bucs, they just barely survive and win in over time. In doing so, they clinch home field advantage, and yet have are the team least likely to make it to the Super Bowl.
- Seattle Seahawks - A few weeks ago the team gets their MVP running back back from injury. And they proceed to lose two games back to back against the Arizona Cardinals, and the San Francisco 49ers.
- Atlanta Falcons - They have the greatest show on turf with Michael Vick, but the head coaches father is calling him a coach killer. Can you make this stuff up?
- Carolina Panthers - Two home games in a row against the Giants and the Steelers. They lose both games, losing the one against the Steelers 37-3.
LT is the Best [David Stefanini]
1) Barry Sanders
2) Jim Brown
3) Walter Payton
Barry Sanders had no offensive line in front of him, no QB behind him, and no defense to get him the ball. With that said he was the most explosive runner of all time. To try to tackle him was a complete mystery. He would make cuts that would injury the opponents if they tried to tackle him. Watching highlights and live games of him is simply amazing, LT has several years to go before he catches Barry.
Just look at the numbers and Jim Brown is considered one of the top 3 RB's ever. He has the most yards per carry, and most yards per catch of any running back. He would score touchdowns left and right (though LT is on a better pace than anyone in history). Jim Brown retired in the prime of his career and still had very gaudy numbers to put up. He was a great RB.
Walter "Sweetness" Payton is the second leading rusher in NFL history, behind Emmitt Smith. Watch Payton run is like watching an artist paint. He saw holes that weren't there and hit them perfectly. His speed and athleticism made him a great player for many years.
So LT has some work to do to catch these guys. If he can keep this pace up for several more years, then LT will be the best to ever wear a uniform, as his coach proclaimed earlier this week. There should be no doubt at all he is the MVP (I've been saying that for the past 2 months) and Offensive Player of the Year. With those two titles under his belt and several more records along the way when his career is all said and done I think there is no doubt LT will be considered to be the best Running Back of all time.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Your Daily Fix 12.18.06 [J. Mark English]
- The Knicks and Nuggets weren't the only folks fined today. Cowboys' own, Mr. Owens, was hit with a $35K fine for spitting.
- Packers' assistant coach, Jeff Jagodzinski, will coach Boston College. (His first mission should be to learn how to beat Miami...they haven't won since the infamous Hail Mary pass from Doug Flutie.)
- Hard to believe but: Ex-Saints quarterback Adrian McPherson is suing the Tennessee Titans because their mascot hit him with a golf cart before the second half of an August exhibition.
- Praise the Heavens! Michael Strahan is finally practicing again for the Giants.
- Brad Radke of the Twins is expected to retire tomorrow.
- Gilbert Arenas scored 60 points last night as the Wizards take care of business against Kobe and the Lakers.
- Knick coach Isiah Thomas denies threatening Carmelo Anthony before brawl. (Can the Knicks just go ahead and give us all a Christmas present by firing Thomas.)
- George Karl shares with my frustration about Isiah Thomas. (Though Karl can get revenge by trading to the Knicks an overpriced, selfish, veteran for top draft picks that do not have lottery protection...Isiah would be all ears for this kind of trade.)
- Look out for those Badgers! Wisconsin jumps to the number 4 spot in the AP Poll...their best slot ever.
- Fabio Cannavaro wins FIFA's World Player of the Year. (I never thought that on this website I'd be linking a sports story from Al Jazeera...)
Giants: "It is a Little Bit Frustrating" [J. Mark English]
"We know what we are, but know not what we may become." - William Shakespeare
"I wish I could pinpoint why we make so many mistakes that cost ourselves, because there were times this year that we played exceptional. There were also times when we played like we were a team full of rookies. We have done that to ourselves. We have no one to blame other than to look at each other. I think we are an underachieving team today, certainly. Especially with how many opportunities we gave them and our opportunities that we did not take advantage of. It is a little bit frustrating." - Tiki Barber
The real frustration about the Giants loss yesterday to the Eagles, was that an Eagles fan gave me the moment of a life time outside the stadium. A moderately good looking, twenty something, female, obviously drunk, ran towards an RV covered with Giants' colors. She took advantage of the ladder at the back of the RV, and darted to the top of the RV, and took down the Giants flag that had been blowing in the Meadowlands' wind all day. She then removed her Dawkins jersey, and flashed all the Giant fans in the parking lot. Her breasts were right out in the open for all disparaged Giant fans to see. At least they finally had something to "smile" about. (Or she was just paving the way for Bourbon Street and the New Orleans Saints that are coming to town next week)
Back to reality: as part of my tradition, I left the stadium yesterday and made my first phone call to my brother. He told me that he didn't want to talk about the game at all. And then did so anyway. He called the team a bunch of losers, from the equipment boy, to the head coach. Teams that play the way the Giants did yesterday, do not deserve to win. They do not even deserve to be called a football team.
Harsh words, but who can really disagree?
Herm Edwards once said "you play to win the game." Yesterday, and frankly, for the past six games, the Giants have played to lose the game.
The Giants had four turnovers. How can you expect to win a game with that many give aways?
The Eagles had 12 penalties, which accounted for over a hundred yards. Could the Giants take advantage of the Eagles mistakes? No.
Twice in the second half the Giants found themselves with a first and goal. And twice, they came away with only a field goal. Unacceptable.
Twice in the second half, the Giants took leads of 16-14, and then 22-21. How did the defense and special teams respond? They gave the lead right back.
This has been par for the course over the past six weeks. They continue as a team to invent new ways to lose.
Now this team has a choice. Can they actually find themselves...discover how to win together as a team in the 15th game of the season? Or do they fall further into despair, and end this season in shambles?
Magic moments in sports do happen when you least expect it. As improbable as it seems, if the Jints go on a six game winning streak starting Sunday, the last win would leave them with a Vince Lombardi Trophy in hand.
In the final analysis There is considerable doubt that this team can even win one game, nevertheless the two they must win just to ensure a playoff berth.
As my Christmas wish though, I wish for a home win by this team. To give the loyal Giants fans a chance to see what they have paid a lot of money to see. A Giants victory. By the end of the fourth quarter on Christmas Eve, Giant fans will either have lumps of coals in their stockings, or the hopes of a playoff berth dancing in their heads.
NBA Brawl Suspensions [J. Mark English]
NBA scoring leader Carmelo Anthony was suspended for 15 games Monday and six other players were penalized as commissioner David Stern came down hard on both teams after the Nuggets and Knicks brawled at Madison Square Garden.
Nate Robinson and J.R. Smith each got 10 games, and four other players also were suspended. Stern fined each organization $500,000. But there was no separate penalty for Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, who had warned Anthony not to go into the lane before the mayhem started Saturday night.
Mardy Collins, whose hard foul on Smith sparked the fighting, was suspended six games and Knicks teammate Jared Jeffries will miss four. Also, the Knicks' Jerome James and Denver's Nene were both penalized one game for leaving the bench area during the chaos.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Comment: Knicks are a Disgrace [David Stefanini]
After the initial flagrant foul, which should draw a huge suspension, its Carmelo Anthony's turn to act like an embarrassment. This is the NBA's leading scorer and a sure pick for the All-Star game. What does he do, he decides to turn into Roy Jones Jr. and take a swing at Collins, who started this whole thing with the hard foul.
Now, little, "wanna-be tough guy" Nate Robinson takes matters into his own hands and tries to act tough in front of any Nugget player he can find. Then there is Jared Jefferies who has done nothing for the Knicks all year and he wants to act like a wild animal going after Carmelo, why; he wanted to back up his teammates.
The NBA should suspend Carmelo, Nate, and Jared at least 20 games. All players involved should get some kind of punishment, but the NBA should make an example out of these three. They did it with Ron Artest, now these three "adults" (though they act like children), should be heavily punished.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Lakers are Playing the Rockets AND Refs [David Stefanini]
Then comes the last play of the game. Kobe takes a shot, misses, the rebound is grabbed by Luthor Head, who stupidly goes to dribble up court instead of calling a time-out. They end up taking a time-out with 1 second left. I look at the clock and the refs give them 3.4 seconds. I am watching the same game that everyone else is watching?
One more time, in overtime with 3:30 left with the Lakers down by 2, Kwame Brown was just called for a traveling because he fell with the ball. The fact that Yao Ming threw him to the floor I guess doesn't really matter. Hopefully David Stern won't fine me for this.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Rating the Rookie Quarterbacks [EdMcGon]
So how do Cutler's first two games (27-51, 331 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions) stack up against the first two games of the other three rookie quarterbacks starting this season? Better than Vince Young (24-50, 218 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions), but worse than Matt Leinart (46-77, 485 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 1 interception) or Bruce Gradkowski (45-75, 409 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 1 interception).
However, the real flaw with Cutler has been fumbles. In two games, he has fumbled five times, only recovering one of them. Of the other rookies, Vince Young came closest with two fumbles in his first two games (recovering neither of them).
Speaking of Young, while he might make the highlight films more often, it has actually been Matt Leinart who has been the most productive of the rookie quarterbacks. With 56.2% of passes completed, 2171 passing yards, 10 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 2 lost fumbles, and a 73.9 passer rating, Leinart is the not-so-shining star of this group.
But rookie quarterbacks, take some consolation in Peyton Manning's rookie numbers: 56.7% completed, 3739 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, 28 interceptions, 3 fumbles lost, and a 71.2 passer rating.
But if you REALLY want to feel better, take a look at Hall of Famer, 4-time Super Bowl Champion and 2-time Super Bowl MVP Terry Bradshaw's rookie numbers: 38.1% completed, 1410 passing yards, 6 touchdowns, 24 interceptions, 3 fumbles lost, and a 30.4 passer rating.
What does all this prove? That rookie quarterback statistics are overrated.
(Hat tip to NFL.com and databaseFootball.com)
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Matsuzaka Completes Deal to Red Sox [David Stefanini]
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
The Rebels Are Now the Dark Empire [J. Mark English]
"We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will. We've got to spend time in the shadows...if we're going to be successful. That's the world these folks operate in, and so its going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective." - Vice President Cheney
"You are beaten. It is useless to resist...you have only begun to discover your power...The Emperor will show you the true nature of the force. He is your master now." - Darth Vader
I wish to send out a Happy Holidays to the city of Boston, and to the loyal fans of the Boston Red Sox. For nearly a full century the only thing fans of the team from Fenway knew was misery. While the team from the Big Apple won 26 World Series, your team suffered like no other.
But now, the ultimate gift has arrived.
After years of trying to take down the Empire, your team has realized that an Empire such as the Yankees can not be crushed. So now, you have joined, and maybe even out-eviled (if that can even be considered a word) the mighty New York Yankees.
It is official, Daisuke Matsuzaka, will be hurling pitches in Bean-town over the next six years, for perhaps up to $60 million a year. With this deal the Red Sox only can win, because the team will invade the Japanese market. Matsuzaka is a national hero in his home country, and the millions of his followers in Japan will flock to any television to watch him pitch, and buy every jersey, cap, and glove that will have his name on it...which will also just happen to have a Red Sox logo.
The Sox have invested heavily into Matsuzaka. Do not forget that not only will they be paying him up to $60 million, but add to that figure the $51.1 million the spent just for the rights to negotiate with the soon to be 26 year old rookie. According to Jack Curry of the New York Times, "the most the Red Sox could end up spending on Matsuzaka is $111.1 million, a yearly average of $18.5 million."
On top of this the Red Sox have agreed to pay J.D. Drew up to $70 million for five years. They are also more then likely to be holding on to Manny Ramirez for yet another year (and his $18 million a year). Last year their payroll was second only to the Yankees. The Yankees payroll was roughly $199 million, whereas the Sox were at $120 million.
So far this off season, its the Yankees who have been cutting the trim, and the Sox have broke open the piggy bank (they even tried to add Eric Gagne to the bullpen). It would appear that the Red Sox are set to be baseball's new evil empire. They are looking to dominate a world market, and surpass the Yankees as the highest grossing team if not just in baseball, but all of sports.
The deal with 'D-Mat' could end up being a bargain, when you consider the revenue they will make from their exposure in Asia. And if the team they have assembled can win, and continue to win for the years to come, there is no reason to believe that they cannot start building on what could be the essence of a financially guaranteed dynasty.
Christopher Bettinger from MIT writes:
And over at Fannation.com, Jason Carulli drives the Evil Empire theme further:
"The Boston Red Sox have finally managed to turn the tables on New York's so-called Evil Empire... The move obviously is the foundation for the construction of Boston's own Death Star as finishing in 3rd place with the second highest payrool in the Majors has left a bad taste in the mouths of New Englanders everywhere... Let them think what they want, Theo Epstein knows this movie is not pent up angst for all those years of the Yankees controlling their offseason with the almighty dollar...it is a move that, when all is said and done, will only cost the Sox roughly $100 million for a future ace that will jam his "gyroball" down the throats of the New York lineup...
"...Whatever their motives, it is a gamble, you don't know if you are getting the next Hideo Nomo or Hideki Irabu. But one thing is for sure, it is a baseball business at its best, so welcome to the lonely club Boston, and enjoy the hate beacuse there is no turning back now."
And the point is, if it is all about business, then bravo Red Sox...and bravo capitalism! Now lets see if it produces a dynasty for the new empire. It sure has produced plenty for the old one.