Tuesday, December 29, 2009

No NFL in 2011?

Adam Schefter speculated, I refuse to use the word "report" when it comes to him, that there is a very good chance the NFL will not have a 2011 season. His reasoning was not that the players and owners would struggle to settle their differences once the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires, but the owners of big market teams and small market teams would be fighting it out.

Apparently the big guns like Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder don't want a salary cap and want to spend as much as they want on players. Of course, this is the greatest fear of all small market teams.

I really shouldn't justify this rumor with a post, though. Schefter did not name a single source or owner who told him that the 2011 NFL season was looking bleak. He just said he thinks there is a good chance there won't be football that year because the owners will not be able to agree to a new CBA.

I hate that kind of reporting. Really, anytime there are anonymous sources, I question the story. There are a few exceptions, but they are rare. How do we know it's not just a small market owner trying to get leverage and fans on his side before the future CBA talks? Why remain anonymous. The other owners are going to find out eventually when the talks begin and you pick a side. I just don't understand why you bring this story up if you don't have any sources who are man enough to put their name with it.

Now, if this were true, how much would Fall and Winter of 2011 stink? We'll still have the NHL, NCAA football and basketball, but it won't be the same. I don't care about the NBA until May and when teams actually start playing defense. Not only will we have to find things to do on Sundays, but think of the bigger ramifications. How much money will Vegas lose out on? What will us fantasy football fanatics do? Go outside or read a book on the weekend? The thought is sending shivers down my spine.

Then there is the even worse scenario, which is an NFL with no salary cap. I could deal with it for one season, but I would bang my head against the wall repeatedly if it was like baseball and had no cap until the end of time. It's not even the idea of a few teams spending boatloads more than the rest of the league, it's the overpaying of mediocre players that will anger me the most. Long snappers will be demanding $6 million a year like relieving specialists who come in to pitch to one to two batters in the later innings.

Seriously, from a fan's perspective, what good comes from a league with no salary cap? What next, the AFC being forced to go for a two-point conversion after every score, while the NFC will still have a choice?

The Clash - Rudy Can't Fail

Monday, December 28, 2009

Stupid Colts

The Steelers would need a little less help next Sunday if the Indianapolis Colts didn't sit their top players for the second half of their game against the New York Jets on Monday. But instead, coach Jim Caldwell decided that perfection means nothing, allowing the Jets to rally and win.

Granted, the Steelers wouldn't be in this mess if they beat Chicago, Cincinnati (either time), Cleveland, Oakland, Baltimore or Kansas City. If they miss the playoffs, it's not the Colts' fault, it's their own.

But I can still be upset. Aside from the homer mentality, I'm peeved that a coach backed away from a chance at history. This might be a stretch, but how many great things would our society be missing if people were afraid to get hurt? Or if they didn't aspire for greatness and perfection? Would we have the light bulb, skyscrapers or individually wrapped cheese slices? Hell no!

I realize that the examples above are a lot bigger to the world, but it's still a valid point. We can find examples in sports. Look at Ted Williams. Going into the final two games of the season in 1941, he was batting .39955, which would have been rounded up to .400 at the time. His coach offered, the key word here is offered, to hold Teddy Ballgame out of the lineup to preserve his .400 season. Williams said no, went 4-for-5 in the first game and 2-for-3 in the second game of the double header. He finished the season with an average of .406.

Once again, I picked an example that is somewhat different. The coach was offering for Williams' chance at history, not because he wanted him to rest for a playoff run. But still! How many Colts players wanted to sit out the second half? I doubt any of them did, and they should have been given the choice. Your team has a bye in the first round, rest then!

From another perspective; how would you feel if you were a Colts fan who bought tickets to that game for Christmas, or any reason? You think you're going to see the best team in the league, and instead you get a preseason game. Would you feel cheated? I think I would.

There is no doubt the Colts earned the right to rest, but there is no guarantee Peyton Manning would get hurt if he played the second half. He's started almost 200 consecutive games, so I think there is very good chance he would have been fine had he stayed in.

Enough ranting. I just don't understand why you wouldn't strive for perfection if it was in your grasp. I was a few seconds away from reciting some Eminem rhymes to emphasize my point, but I held back.

Al Pacino - Peace With Inches (Not a song, but I love it!)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Halladay

Is that a brilliant headline or what? I didn't steal it or anything. Pretty sure my old editors would laugh at me for it, but it would be out of jealousy.

My boy, Roy Halladay, is off to greener pastures in Philadelphia. He goes from a team that had little to no shot at the playoffs, to the favorite for the National League pennant. They grow up so fast.

Halladay has been one of the top five pitchers in baseball for the past four or five years. Unfortunately for him, he's been stuck in a division with the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox for his entire career. Despite facing these consistently stacked lineups several times each year, Halladay has had an ERA below four in eight of the past nine seasons. Now he is pitching in the National League, and in a division with the likes of the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves. I'm getting goosebumps.

I expect some will have concerns with how Halladay will adjust to the bigger and more passionate market. Let's be honest, baseball is not the big sport in Toronto and never will be. If he stunk up there, which he didn't, no one would have really known or taken note. If he struggles in Philly, people are probably going to call for his demotion, egg his house and send death threats to his children. The sad part is, I don't think I'm even exaggerating with that last statement.

To put more pressure on Halladay, the Phillies shipped their postseason hero, Cliff Lee, to the Seattle Mariners to make room for Halladay. Lee was practically perfect last year for the Phillies, and their fans won't forget. In fact, many are upset and questioning the move after all that Lee did for their team.

They shouldn't be.

As a big Blue Jays fan and someone who has actually been following Halladay for years, (be honest Phillie fans, you hardly paid any attention to him until last summer when there were rumors you would trade for him) let me assure you that Halladay will be lights out. And he will do so for next four to five years you keep him. No pitcher in the league has the work ethic of Halladay. He is the first player to the field and never whines. Despite years where his team was terrible and gave him no support, he never came out and demanded a trade or threw anyone under the bus. Even if people paid attention to baseball in Toronto, you would have never heard him complaining about not being one of the highest paid players in the game, because he understands that the team is bigger than he was.

I'm very excited that Halladay will finally get a chance to pitch in the postseason and show how great he really can be. It saddens me a little bit that he went to Philly. Just like Donovan McNabb, you guys don't deserve him. But at least he's not a Yank or a Sock (should it still be Sox when singular?).

I could try to analyze all the other players involved in this deal, but I have never seen them play. It sounds like every team made out well, but who knows with minor league players?

Simon and Garfunkel - The Boxer

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Packers, Steelers; The tale of two teams

The Green Bay Packers - Pittsburgh Steelers matchup Sunday pits two teams against each other, who were once in the same boat this season, but now are headed in opposite directions.

Green Bay looked down and out in Week 9 after they suffered an embarrassing defeat the otherwise winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They weren't in the playoffs and looked as if the playoffs were practically impossible. Most people, including myself and my family in Wisconsin, had given up on the Pack. Oh, how wrong we all were.

The Packers didn't pack it in, they took the loss as a wake-up call and have gone 5-0 since that game.

Meanwhile, in Week 11, the Steelers suffered a humiliating loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Unlike the Packers though, the Steelers sunk into a deep hole in the following weeks. Rather than looking in the mirror and recognizing their problems, and fixing them, they made excuses, like the defensive players claiming to not know the play calls.

The Pittsburgh media and a lot of Steelers fans have been too hard on the black and gold, but how can you not question the team's effort and passion if they are losing to the likes of Kansas City, Oakland and Cleveland? Cleveland?!? If you had asked me before this year, heck, if you had asked me before any season, that we would not score a touchdown against the Browns, I would have laughed at you for a good five minutes. I would have found out your place of business, and called relentlessly to remind you of how dumb you were. Now I'm the dumb one!

Quick unrelated note. Sidney Crosby just scored a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers in Philly, his fifth point in the past two games against the Flyers, and yet the fans are chanting "Crosby Sucks." I understand they hate him, but the chant just doesn't make sense at that point. Maybe a "Go Home Crosby" chant, or a "Screw You Crosby."

Sorry, back to football.

That is why I am interested in the game this weekend. Maybe the Steelers will look at the Packers and come to realize that maybe they handled the past couples weeks the wrong way. Or maybe they will crawl deeper in a hole and hope for a higher draft pick.

One more thing. To all the Steelers fans; our team is not yet eliminated from the playoffs. Our chances are slim, but as long as their is a chance, you need to cheer for them to win. Don't tell me you want to lose out and get the higher draft pick. I want them to win every game, and you should too, especially when playoffs are a possibility. Tanking and hoping for losses is something I have never understood in sports.

Of course, you are entitled to your own opinion, I just think it's wrong.

Indianapolis Colts 31, Jacksonville Jaguars 17: If I were coaching an undefeated team, I would go for perfection. The Colts have a shot at being thought of as the greatest team of all time if they pull off the 19-0 year. You have to take that chance.

Van Morrison - Caravan

Monday, December 14, 2009

Panthers players need to shut up

This blog is certainly not friendly toward the New England Patriots, or any Boston team for that matter, but I hate stupid people even more.

A couple of Carolina Panthers came out after their game with Patriots this weekend and said they knew Randy Moss would give up if they jammed him early. While Moss did have a lousy game (one reception for 16 yards and a fumble), The Patriots won the game. Chris Gamble and Chris Harris might want to worry a little more about winning a game next time and not shutting down one player.

Maybe instead of bragging about how you forced Moss to shut it down, you should worry about stopping Wes Welker from catching 10 balls for 105 yards. Or maybe, you should think about how your own offense stunk it up for all but one play.

To be fair, I haven't seen a story that says what the journalist asked Gamble and his teammates. The member of the media could have asked what they did to shut down one of the top receivers in the league, and Gamble thought it was the only positive thing his team could take from the game.

Of course, there are no moral victories in professional sports. You can't lose a game and then come to the media and brag about shutting down one player. It's just stupid. Maybe the team didn't lose because of you. Maybe you played your butt off and did well, but your team still lost. There is nothing wrong with taking positives from a defeat and growing for the next game. But calling out a player on the other team who didn't play well is immature and shows that Gamble is more about himself than his team.

The Pogues - Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Week 14 picks

Normally I would be excited for a 10-6 week, but then the Steelers lost to the Oakland Raiders and the Cleveland Browns in less than a week. It will be hard to get excited for the last three weeks of the season. All I got going for me is the hope of beating the Baltimore Ravens next week. Wishful thinking the way we're playing, but the Ravens have been sucking lately too!

On with the picks.

The St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will lose again this week. I learned my lesson last week when I picked the Bucs for an upset.

New Orleans Saints 27, Atlanta Falcons 10: It's looking like Matt Ryan and Michael Turner won't play, so the Falcons have very little chance in this one.

Green Bay Packers 30, Chicago Bears 17: Watching Jay Cutler fail in Chicago has been one of the bright spots of this season. Nevermind that there are two 12-0 teams for the first time in NFL history, this is the type of stuff that makes me happy. Last time these two teams squared off was in Week 1 and Cutler threw a bunch of picks. It's going to happen again, and I'm stoked.

Indianapolis Colts 27, Denver Broncos 17: If this game were in Denver, it would be closer, but I just can't see Kyle Orton coming into Indy and walking away with a win. Maybe if it were Week 16 or 17 and Jim Sorgi was leading the Colts.

Kansas City Chiefs 16, Buffalo Bills 10: Snore.

Minnesota Vikings 24, Cincinnati Bengals 10: You shut down Cedric Benson and the Bengals' running game, and you are in good shape to beat them. The Vikings can stuff the run, and Vikings' offense is well-balanced. I also despite the Bengals and wish them the worst every week.

New England Patriots 21, Carolina Panthers 6: Just my luck that the Patriots play a soft team like the Panthers when Brady is dealing with all kinds of hurt.

Jacksonville Jaguars 24, Miami Dolphins 23: If you can tell me how to predict how either of these teams will play week-to-week, I would greatly appreciate it.

Baltimore Ravens 34, Detroit Lions 10: Is it sad that my first thought about this game was "Even the Steelers beat the Lions,"?

Houston Texans 24, Seattle Seahawks 21: Texans' coach Gary Kubiak is probably canned after this season if the Texans don't finish better than 8-8. I don't think they will, but I do think they win this game.

Washington Redskins 27, Oakland Raiders 13: I love meaningless games in December. The Redskins have been playing well lately and the Raiders are coming off their biggest win in years. It might actually be a good game.

San Diego Chargers 31, Dallas Cowboys 24: Early in the season I am quoted in this blog as saying the Chargers were not a quality team. I think another apology blog post is on the horizon.

Philadelphia Eagles 27, New York Giants 24: Predicting what the Giants will do this season if almost as tough as picking Jags games. The Eagles won the first meeting 40-17 and will win this one too.

Arizona Cardinals 34, San Francisco 49ers 17: Dear Mike Singletary, thank you for changing to a pass-heavy, spread offense for the final weeks of the season. Now I have no running backs on my fantasy team with potential for 20+ points. What are my chances you give Frank Gore more than 15 touches this week. No? Damn you.

Elvis Costello - I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What the hell?!?

4:16 left in the first half and the Steelers have 0 points against the Browns.

I'm going to go puke.

Time for panic in Steel Town?

Don't let the title of the post fool you. I'm picking the Steelers to crush the pathetic Cleveland Browns 38-13. However, ever since the second half of last year's Super Bowl, I have not been liking what I have been seeing on the defensive side of the ball.

The Steelers have always had a history of shutting down an opposing offense when they needed a stop. When the Steelers lost a lead late, it was an exception to the rule. This year, I'm terrified when the Steelers have a leader in the last two minutes, let alone the entire fourth quarter.

What's also scary is that they can't win the close ones this season. Out of their six losses, five are by three points. The other was a six-point loss where it was actually the offense that choked. That is a scary stat for a team that is supposed to be hard-nosed grinders.

With all this considered, along with the fact Troy Polamalu still isn't practicing, should the Steelers and their fans around the globe be worried? It pains me to say it, but absolutely.

Considering they have lost to lousy Chicago Bears team, a lousy Kansas City Chiefs team and a lousy Oakland Raider s squad, you can't look at anyone on the Steelers' schedule and think they have an easy game. They are going to have to work for every win, and other than a great stand against the Minnesota Vikings, they haven't been working hard enough to win important games.

Their defensive backs are getting confused and not knowing the play, or they are getting burned/embarrassed. Quick note: The media and fans have really been laying into Ike Taylor (and rightfully so) for his poor play against Louis Murphy last week. Especially the jump ball he let Murphy catch. What I want to know is how Deshea Townsend is getting off the hook for that play? Look at the replay and Townsend is just standing behind Murphy, watching him go up and make the reception. Why the heck was Townsend not spearing the crap out of Murphy? Or at least jumping up and trying to bat the ball away. He just stood their with his hands out wide like he was calling for a ball in center field.

Brain farts like this are why the Steelers are losing games, and why I'm scared it's going to keep happening this season.

With all that being said; the four games left on the schedule are all winnable. The Browns are the Browns; the Green Bay Packers are playing well, but I'm not sold on their O-line and James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley are playing well right now; The Baltimore Ravens' offense is struggling mightily; and the Miami Dolphins have no real weapons. Of course, the Steelers have been playing poorly lately too, so they could also lose every game.

I have faith (some may call it homer faith) that the Steelers will right the ship, make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl ala 2005. The road will just be harder and longer than originally expected.

George Michael - Faith

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

College coaches

Whether it's basketball or football, I can't stand college coaches. Well, it's mostly the system I can't stand. A coach can sign multi-year deals with a program, and then hightail it out of there when he gets a better opportunity.

Look at this whole Notre Dame-Brian Kelly situation. It seems to happen every year. A team in a major bowl is on the verge of their coach leaving them before their season is even over. If an athlete does this, he has to sit out a year.

It's crap. Especially when you consider the biggest reason a player chooses a school is the coach. Yet the coach is free to leave and the player can't follow for a year. I know some coaches have contracts that call for buyouts, but their are always tricky devils like the Rich Rodriguez that can get out paying complete buyouts.

I feel like I would just be repeating myself if I continued. It sucks and I don't like it. College coaches should not be able to interview for jobs if their season isn't over.

Sorry, I'm uninspired lately.

The Kinks - All Day and All of the Night

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Week 13 picks

Look out people! I'm rolling! 11-5 last week, 12-4 the week prior, there is no stoppiong this train I'm on! Bonus points to anyone who can tell me what videogame I got that phrase from. What will these bonus points do for you? The glory of being as big of a nerd as me!

Let's rock.

St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns will be stomped this week, but the Tampa Bay Buccanneers will get their second win of the season. Imagine how bad Matt Moore must be if he is BEHIND Jake Delhomme, Scary thought, right?

Philadelphia Eagles 27, Atlanta Falcons 13: Michael Turner is not playing and the Falcons have been struggling this week. I never know which Eagles team is going to show up, but I'm feeling good about them this week.

Cincinnati Bengals 30, Detroit Lions 7: The Lions are about to be included in the original three group. Other than that win against the Browns, their games are just sad to watch.

Indianapolis Colts 33, Tennessee Titans 17: How does Vince Young do what he does. I don't understand it, but it obviously works and he should never be counted out. Peyton Manning is rolling this year, though. And let's be honest, he's one person you never want to bet against.

Denver Broncos 24, Kansas City Chiefs 13: What's more disturbing, me dreaming that Kyle Orton throws for 600 yards in a win today, or the fact I am dreaming about the Denver Broncos?

New England Patriots 35, Miami Dolphins 13: The Patriots haven't lost two games in a row in like five years. Bill Belichick will run this score up to make himself feel better about last week. The Dolphins also don't have the weapons to keep pace.

Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Oakland Raiders 3: Unleash hell, baby!

New Orleans Saints 28, Washington Redskins 10: The Redskins D is really good this year. Their offense really isn't. The Saints are great on both sides. One a side note, I really hate Alexander Ovechkin. And for all of you people (only Caps fans) who think his knee-on-knee hits are not dirty, and the other players' fault, you are clueless homers.

Houston Texans 30, Jacksonville Jaguars 17: Shut down MJD, shut down the Jaguars. I think the Texans accomplish this goal and get back in the Wild Card hunt, but they will still finish 8-8.

Dallas Cowboys 27, New York Giants 21: What happened to the Giants?

San Francisco 49ers 24, Seattle Seahawks 17: The 49ers are switching to a pass-heavy offense, and with the emergence of Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis as a receiver, they can make it work. Even with Alex Smith at QB. Frank Gore is also still a threat to score and will keep the defense on their toes. I'm looking for a positive for the Seahawks, but I'm struggling.

Arizona Cardinals 27, Minnesota Vikings 20: I'm putting my roll on a risk with this pick. Kurt Warner should play (once again, this pick reverses if he's out) and the Vikings haven't had to face this kind of offense this year. The Cardinals are not the Bears, or the Lions, they are a solid team that could shut down Adrian Peterson.

Green Bay Packers 27, Baltimore Ravens 17: The Packers got a wake-up call after that loss to the Bucs. They have been playing solid football since that game and they are gonig to continue this week. Then, they will take Joe Flacco, shave his unibrow and restore balance to the world.

U2 - I Will Follow

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What to do with Vick

Coming into the 2009-2010 NFL season, there was a lot of buzz about Michael Vick. A lot of analysts/media people seemed to think he would greatly help a team because of the Wildcat craze that we can thank the Miami Dolphins for.

Vick then signed a two-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, and some of these same analysts and media people thought this was the beginning of the end of Donovan McNabb with the Eagles. Those people have to be feeling pretty ridiculous right now.

Rather than gradually taking more and more snaps away from McNabb, Vick has thrown for... wait for it... prepare yourself... six yards! He is 3-for-9 and has run for a whopping 65 yards. So much for Vick going crazy with the Wildcat and making the Eagles' offense impossible to gameplan for.

I don't have a stat in front of me to prove this, but I'm pretty sure rookie running back LeSean McCoy has more snaps at quarterback under the Wildcat formation than Vick. If McCoy doesn't, then it's certainly close.

The big question now is, what is Vick's future? Will he be a backup for the rest of his career, or will a team in need of a quarterback (Oakland, Buffalo, St. Louis, Carolina to name a few) go out and take a risk? I don't think he will be a starter again.

It is good that he was allowed back in the league without further punishment, and I fully supported the decision, but his career might be over after this year. Maybe someone takes a chance on him after and injury, but I think the two years off really hurt him. And let's be honest, he was a mediocre quarterback completing around 53 percent of passes before the two years off. He never threw for more than 3,000 yards and he never had 20 tocuhdown passes. That is OK if you manage a game well, but he didn't do that either.

Anyone still think McNabb is feeling threatened?

By the way, all of you Philadelphia fans that don't liuke McNabb and boo him, you don't know much about football. Despite only having a star receiver for a season and a half, McNabb consistently puts up solid numbers and is a top 5 quarterback. You are lucky to have him and are going to miss him when he leaves. I guarantee it.

I almost forgot there was a football game tonight. Thursday NFL games are stupid. Teams have three days of rest and are expected to play at the top of their games. It doesn't make sense to me.

Anyway, New York Jets 17, Buffalo Bills 10: So I missed last week when I thought Mark Sanchez would play worse than Jake Delhomme and cost the Jets the game. More proof that you should never, ever, pick Delhomme to win a game. I think Sanchez only turns the ball over twice, rather than five times, giving the Jets the wins.

When in Rome - The Promise

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


What golf cliche would you use to descrive Tiger Woods' current predicament? Tiger needs a mulligan. Tiger chunked it. What the eff was he thinking considering his wife is smokin' hot?!

OK, the last one is not a popular golf cliche, but it could be after a Us Weekly report released today said Tiger was having a 31-month affair with a cocktail waitress. He didn't admit to the affair, but Tiger confessed to "transgressions" and is apologzing the pain he is causing his family.

In the same story, Tiger said, "Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means."

I'm sorry, but how could he not know the extent of tabloid media in this day and age? Atheletes as big as Tiger can't take a pee without atleast five people knowing if the urine has a darker shade of yellow to it or not. Today, if you are an athlete, movie star or politician, you can;t do anything wrong without people finding out. It's a sucky truth for you guys, but it's a fact.

Also, did Tiger not see what happened with Steve McNair and his mistress? I realize that Tiger's alleged affair has been gonig on for a lot longer than the McNair story, but he still has to realize that information is going to leak out.

Other than a rascist fan or golfer killing Tiger, this is probably the worst thing that could happen to golf. The sport's golden child, the man every one comes to see, could be a cheating SOB. How many fans will turn on him now?

I just would have thought athletes and other similar celebrities would have learned by now that if you cheat on your spouse, it's going to bite you in the ass harder than it would any private citizen. When will they learn?

The Eagles - Lyin' Eyes

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Henry to be punished?

France's star striker Thierry Henry might be punished by Fifa for his handball last month in a World Cup qualifying game agianst Ireland.

If you missed it, Henry blatantly used his hand to keep a ball in play, then passed it to a wide open teammate who scored the game-winning goal. The goal led to France qualifying for the World Cup, and the whole country of Ireland falling into a state of depression the nation hasn't seen since the potato famine.

OK, so maybe they're not that depressed over it, but they were pretty pissed. They petitioned Fifa to replay the game. When that didn't work, they had the stones to ask France to replay the game. Once that failed, they asked Fifa to make an exception and put Ireland in the World Cup.

Well, now I see the Bottom Line on ESPN 2 reads "Fifa considering punishing Henry for the handball."


Is he really the man who should be punished for this incident? Well, he did committ the handball, but come on! The referees blew the call. I have never heard of a player being punished for a handball after a game. Henry didn't headbutt anyone, he didn't kick anyone in the junk. He hit the ball with his hand and contributed to Ireland having one more reason to drink heavily.

The man and his family have faced death threats. A whole country is probaby thinking up ways to cause him pain and citizens of his own country are calling him a blemish on the country. That's enough.

I still can't wrap my head around Fifa actually punishing a man for a handball. Just award Ireland a free kick next time the two teams play.

Stiff Little Fingers - Alternative Ulster