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Thursday, August 20, 2009

U.S. Rugby Chat Episode 11: Mid Season Report


Once again, we are back and talking rugby with none other than Jeremy Beynon from HeavensGame.com. This week we get into a bit of dicey territory when we take a look at the Mid-Year report provided by U.S.A. Rugby. Take a listen and see how we interpret this massive document.

Listen Here

View the USA. Rugby Mid-Year Report Here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ArmchairGM Down Today

For reasons unknown The mothership known as ArmchairGM has been down virtually all day, saying it's "not a valid Wikia".

Next thing you know AGM works again but only for it to be down again for upwards to 1-2 hours.

We'll keep you posted on what has happened.

I'm pretty sure AGM is not down for good so I'll just assume it's a technical glitch. Hopefully it's just a glitch.


And we promise to update this site more as football season is approaching.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

2009 NFL Preview with Predictions Part 1: The NFC

(Who, contrary to popular, joyous celebration and belief, is STILL alive and
getting RIGHT back into his old habits of posting NFL preview articles several months too early. Good times!)

As I was sitting back earlier yesterday evening and filtering out whatever it was that my girlfriend was yelling at me for... I had a random change of heart about how I was going to approach my 2009 NFL Prediction/Preview article. As I was looking at and also picking winners from Super John's simply SUPERB (CLICK HERE TO GET IT – seriously, it's A+ stuff!) NFL season schedule, I realized that while we can have a pretty firm and grounded grasp on say – the first half of the season – there are just WAY too many outside factors that come into play such as injuries, player suspensions, and of course, Cinderella stories, to try and accurately make any kind of educated and realistic end-of-season type prediction.

Traveling further upon this train of thought, not only did I actually try to convince myself that predicting the first ten weeks of the season would be fun – but I actually thought it would be just as satisfying and intellectually filling as a full season preview. Don't bother asking me why I thought this was a good idea. It was probably a mix of being yelled at for not washing the entire house with a toothbrush and being hypnotized by the whole NFL schedule on one sheet of paper.

Yeah, but ANYWAY, after I went through and picked every game for the first ten weeks and mapped out the standings I was left with... well, I was left with some predicted Week 10 standings.

Thankfully though, common sense prevailed and I realized that I was heading down a rocky and spike-stripped trail that would probably only succeed in leading me to waste countless hours of my time predicting perhaps the most obscure point throughout an entire NFL football season. That's right. I have returned, ladies and gentleman!

As with all my write-ups, please feel free to shower me with praise or disagree vehemently while questioning how I've managed to even figure out how to get on a computer and use the Internet. Unfortunately, there is no in between...

First up in Part 1? The National Football Conference (also known as the NFC).

Cue the predictions!


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NFC North:

1. Bears (12-4)

2. Packers (8-8)

3. Vikings (7-9)

4. Lions (4-12)

Off-season occurrence that could shake up all of 2009: The Bears acquisition of former Broncos QB Jay Cutler.

Wild card/Sleeper team of the division: Minnesota Vikings


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A lot of people might think that I'm taking the Cutler deal as a sure-sign that the Bears will turn things around. If that's what you were thinking, than you, sir, are correct!

Cutler is a GREAT quarterback with an absolute CANNON for an arm and he also now has one of the best all-around backs in the league behind him in Matt Forte. If not THE best all-around back – but we'll wait a bit longer to anoint him with that title.

Either the Bears are going run away with it or it is going to be an absolute, drag-em-out brawl, reminiscent of the AFC and NFC South over the past few years or so, with everyone in the seven to nine win margin range.

The Packers can really go either way. They had a solid draft and have some playmakers and potential stars on either side of the ball. Also, they now know that Aaron Rodgers is no bum, so that's always a good thing, of course.

The Vikings' quarterback situation is still pretty wide open as I highly doubt Sage Rosenfels will end up leading this team to the promised playoff land. Tarvaris Jackson, on the other hand, could go balls to the wall this off-season and forcefully take over the reins while being the QB everyone thought he could be. He showed flashes of brilliance at the end of last year but let's not get ahead of ourselves shall we? Or we could. IT'S ONLY JUNE FOR GOODNESS SAKE! AHHHHH!



Still though, with a stellar offensive line and arguably the best running back in the league in Adrian Peterson, all the Vikings would really need would be to not lose games on the defensive side of the ball and also hope the receiving corps of Berrian, Harvin and Rice can help carry a passing game that will be led by one of two quarterbacks – both of which are questionable signal callers in their own right.

As for the basement team: surprise, surprise! It's the Lions! At least they're heading in the right direction after throwing off an ill-intentioned team strategist and GM Matt Millen. Hopefully he's not on Football Night in America again this year, as that would not make ANY sense at all and probably cause half of Detroit to throw their televisions out their windows. We can't be having that, NBC!

Unless, of course, you ask him questions each week that center on how he'd run certain teams into the ground; that would definitely have some good time potential!


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NFC South:

1. Falcons (11-5)

2. Panthers (10-6)

3. Saints (7-9)

4. Buccaneers (5-11)

The Buccaneers are to quarterbacks as chocolate is to...? Uhmm... what?!

Wild card/Sleeper team of the division: New Orleans Saints


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This is pretty much the same thing as last year, with the Falcons and Panthers running away with the season's race while the other two teams sulk deeper into the depths of despair and losing. You could practically flip-flop the Falcons and Panthers for that #1 spot that will probably take at LEAST 11 wins in order to be able to wear the crown.

Also, I said last August that Deangelo Williams would break out during the season, much to the chagrin of some very loyal Jonathan Stewart owners. Well, they both had great seasons so I'm not trying to suggest who won the argument, but I AM suggesting that Deangelo Williams is going to have another stellar year, if not a better one, and NOT just because he's one year away from his contract year with a pretty tasty incentive bonus to work towards.

If you didn't notice it last season, Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have learned to feed off each other. They've both realized that they're too good to be replaced by the other and have accepted this fact while, at the same time, trying to playfully outdo each other each and every game. Don't get me wrong, I think Stewart will have another solid year, but I think Williams will come out on top stat-wise at the end of the year thanks to more experience, more wisdom, and a career and attitude changing experience in which he realized he had to work his tail off to succeed in the NFL and could not just rely on pure talent.

As for the Stewart vs. Williams' argument, I'm personally against debating anymore. They're two unique talents who are both going to have good games that are better than the other, and any time spent trying to argue who is better than the other could be better spent on looking forward to when you next get to watch them again. I was 100% pro Deangelo Williams last year, I'm not going to lie, but after many a game spent trying to root against him I eventually just stopped and wondered what tine the world was wrong with me. If you're a football fan than you can delight in watching both of these guys play – regardless of which is on your fantasy team. I'm aware that fantasy loyalties can complicate matters, but unless one of them gets injured, I think it’s been made pretty clear that they’re both going to get their fair share of pigskin touches.



All they really need is for Delhomme to continue on and stay injury-free and what we've got is a Panthers team who's fully ready to take any and all comes for the NFC South title. Not to mention just THINKING about the Panthers vs. Falcons divisional race (at least from the outset of the season) already has me giggling like a little schoolgirl.

As for the other two teams, the Saints definitely have the talent and could explode at JUST the right time. If Reggie Bush's surgery went well than they may be that dark horse candidate that everyone loves to pick come pre-season. They're certainly an INTERESTING pick, that's for sure. By interesting, I don't mean that I'd bet money on them mind you. Just... interesting – like -- bet your buddy $20 they'll win at least 8 games interesting. I just got the shivers.

Last and probably... deservedly... least... the Tampa Bay Buccaneers! I dunno, I just don't see them doing ANYTHING unless they somehow nab a veteran QB like Brett Favre or Michael Vick. Rookie Josh Freeman has some potential for sure, but he's no Joe Flacco and he's no Matt Ryan. Although he does have a fairly strong offensive line to help with protection and joining him on any credit card commercial deals he decides to film. It's up in the air if he'll even be starting though, and I just don't see Byron Leftwich leading this team ANYWHERE but downtown-Charlie-Brown-into-the-ground. This looks like it may be shaping up to be one of those classic, "Start the veteran until the season's practically gone and hopeless, then just throw in the rookie signal caller to learn the ropes, get roughed up for the rest of the season, and throw Peyton Manning early in his career type interception totals."

Then again, you never know. Freeman COULD be the next Joe Flacco or Matt Ryan – but I just don't think so. Kellen Winslow Jr. would certainly help matters, though... if he doesn't break both his legs trying to jump in front of and wave down a taxi or something. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if I heard that story break on Sportscenter in a few minutes. Would you? '


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NFC East:

1. Redskins (11-5)

2. Cowboys (10-6)

3. Giants (9-7)

4. Eagles (7-9)

Best chances to be the "least in the NFC Beast"? Eagles by a mile.

Wild card/Sleeper team of the division: WHAT?! There is NO such thing as a sleeper team in the NFC Beast!! RAWWRG SMASHH!


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Out of all of the divisions for each of my annual NFL previews, I ALWAYS completely whiff on the NFC East predictions and they end up being the exact opposite of what I predict they'll be. You may all now commence your future divisional bets on the Eagles if you wish.

Now to explain the method behind my madness:

While Jason Campbell hasn't certainly been the ideal starting QB, especially for a franchise like the Redskins who have no problem with spending the equivalent of the gross national capita of a small country on an injury prone role player, I for one have seen him show flashes of brilliance over the past few years. And even more so last season! He's certain not to take the Redskins courtship of Jay Cutler lightly and with his contract up at the end of the season, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if he had a monstrous, breakout year.

He has the weapons on offense to put up plenty of points on the board on a good day and now has some defensive playmakers to step it up on the defensive side of the ball. If all goes well (although judging from my previous NFC Beast predictions it will instead go horribly wrong) then I can honestly see the Redskins taking the NFC East crown. I really can. Seriously, I'm not trying to talk myself into this pick at all. No way!

The Cowboys on the other hand just remain an enigma per the usual. While Terrell Owens departure will surely be felt, it probably isn't going to make THAT much of a difference considering how old he was getting and how often he dropped passes that hit him square in the hands. I'm not saying the guy wasn't a game breaker and an occasional game changer or anything, but I AM saying that he's a diva who whines like a little biatch when things don't go his way. And how quickly we've all forgotten about Roy Williams! His skills were overshadowed a bit with the arrival of Calvin "The Freak" Johnson, but from what I remember of him, he used to be pretty good.



All the Cowboys doom and gloom can stop. They're going to be fine. And even if they DON'T turn out okay this season, all that really means is that we can all rejoice and dance around because who DOESN'T love to see the Cowboys lose and then subsequently make fun of Cowboys fans right after? Seriously! Who's with me! Anybody? No?

The Giants are still the Giant, sans Plaxico Burress, which, to ME, is a pretty big sans. He was there best receiver and played a HUGE role in their Super Bowl win. So there's that. It's up in the air as to how it's really going to affect them. I personally can't wait to see Brandon Jacobs pound the rock though – it's truly a joy to see him run the football and also run full grown men flat over. Good times!

As for the Eagles, I just get the feeling that they're on the decline rather than on the up-and-up. Brian Westbrook is going to lose his magical powers sometime soon and I'm projecting that it least starts this season.

All in all though, this could be McNabb's last hurrah in an Eagles uniform and while I picked them to finish last, I'm not going to be double-taking if McNabb starts slinging balls left and right and sixty yards downfield. No matter what happens, we can be sure that the NFC Beast will live up to its billing as one of the most tough, exciting, and action packed divisions throughout all of the league. Plus, you can call it the NFC Beast which is just hilarity in its purest form. '


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NFC West:

1. Cardinals (10-6)

2. 49ers (8-8)

3. Seahawks (7-9)

4. Rams (4-12)

The only certainty in the NFC West this coming season: It will, in fact, RAIN in Seattle. Write it down!

Wild card/Sleeper team of the division: Do I have to? Uhmm... well... if I HAD to pick a sleeper team – like if you had a gun to my head and I HAD to pick a sleeper team – I guess I'd take the Niners. 'Cause Mike Singletary is the man and will have them playing their hearts out each and every week. Too bad they don't have a steady QB option though -- unless of course, you consider Damon Huard a steady QB. HAHAHA!


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Now that the Seahawks' marathon streak of winning the NFC West – which lasted what... 42 straight years in a row or something – has been broken, the NFC West is at least worth following now. Well, maybe not the Rams but we can still hope can't we? Hey, I wonder If Marc Bulger will be out of the concussion section of the St. Louis Hospital in time to start the season. What? Have the Marc Bulger has a horrible offensive line jokes and gets concussions and breaks his ribs all of the time jokes been done to death? LIES! Some jokes just never get old!

The Cardinals look to be the juggernaut that will take the divisional crown this year, but as we all know, this is the NFL and in the NFL, we're always a split second away from someone's MCL, ACL, TCL, ZCL or ABCDEFG getting torn apart or severed. One of those injuries to Fitzgerald and bam – we might start thinking someone else has a chance in the division. Maybe...

But for now, it's looking like the Cardinals got it on lockdown unless Matt Hasselbeck bounces back and greedily snatches the crown back once again for the Seahawks. Knowing Matt Hasselbeck though, I wouldn't put that past him at all. He seems like a very greedy person.

The 49ers are definitely a wild card and a promising prospect for a deep sleeper pick if ONLY because Mike Singletary is the MAN! They need to fix the QB situation though because no matter how much heart and ferocity everyone else is playing with, that same heart and ferocity can't complete passes and throw for touchdowns. Surprising, I know, but trust me -- it's true!

The Rams could potentially come out of nowhere and surprise everyone but I'm convinced that Marc Bulger cannot and will not drop back to pass anymore WITHOUT preparing himself for broken ribs, a broken hand, or just a good old concussion. Good job offensive line! Way to fail your job in such a RIDICULOUSLY pathetic way that you may have mentally scarred your poor QB for life.



Definitely a good two years at the office for you guys though, and by good, I mean absolutely, positively, horrifically, disgustingly bad. Good thing they brought in some new blood that hopefully understands that they're job is to PROTECT the QB – not let him become a weekly staple at the local emergency room every Sunday night.

I understand that sacks are unfortunately a part of the game, but the poor guy went through TWO years in a row where he wasn't just sacked often, but he was sacked by people who were very often no longer being held back by the lineman. AKA he got hit HARD when he got sacked.

I hope the offensive line is successfully patched up at long last and we can finally see the Marc Bulger of old. But I just highly, highly doubt it. I don't know why.

Translation: He's not coming anywhere NEAR my fantasy squad. Sorry, Marc. You burn me once? Shame's on your offensive line. You burn me twice? Shame's on your offensive line. You burn me THRICE? Nice try offensive line but I'm going to make fun of your torrid performances until the day that I no longer want to anymore.

Revenge at its finest!

Stay tuned for the AFC focused Part 2... sometime in the next few days. So stay tuned!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Oh! Mass Media, how doest thou annoyest me?

I spent a random 20 minutes watching some popular sports network today while I was sitting at a local establishment and oversaw the scattered brainplops of those participants/employees within the media conglomerate. Their conversation started on a simple premise: Randy Johnson is likely the last 300 game winning pitcher we will ever see. They went into the logistics of how difficult it is for a pitcher today to tally enough decisions per season on top of the needed longevity it takes to become a 300 game winner.

It bored me to death. Kneejerk reactions are no longer commonplace these days - they are EXPECTED!

They gave reason after reason why it is so tough to amass 300 wins in a career under baseball's current conditions - specialized relievers, pitch counts, etc - where starting pitchers receive less than 69% of their start's decisions. They jumped the sheer cliff of - there's no one on the immediate horizon to win 300 games (save Jamie Moyer from pitching well into his 50's) - to "No one will ever do it again!"

Gee, brainiacs a mere 30 years ago, that number was all of 74%. So apparently we should expect 5% less 300 winners to make the cut based on that fuzzy math leap of logic, right? My guess is that 5% is the same as ALL with today's economy...

Furthermore, they neglected to note that two of the winningest pitchers EVER recently retired (or were "shooed away") - Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens both eclipsed 350 wins! Another pitcher with 300 wins still thinks he's active (Tom Glavine). How easy is THAT to do with a 5 man rotation and specialized relievers.

They neglected to note how Randy Johnson sucked for a LONG time before he became a winning pitcher. They noted that it takes a pitcher many seasons of 20+ wins to make a 300 win career yet blatantly refused to note RJ had all of THREE 20-win seasons in his lengthy career! THREE!

Let's disregard the overwhelming realism that the Big Unit became only the 24th pitcher in the HISTORY of the GAME to accomplish the feat. So it's not exactly an easy bar to leap in the first place... Over nearly 150 years, we should average a 300 winner about twice a decade. We've had 4 this decade. And it's even more interesting to note that nearly HALF of the 300+ wins pitchers have won their 300th game SINCE the advent of the 5 man rotation, designated hitter and the arrival of the closer and specialist relievers.



NONE of this is my point, though.

The next two stories after this great debate are what really irritated me:

1) Roy Halladay won his 10th game of the season yesterday.

It's JUNE 7th and he has 10 wins... me thinks he's going to make a solid run at 20 wins this season. Gee, that would give him his third 20-win season in his career - the same number as Randy Johnson had! Wow! And get this... Oh yeah, that win yesterday gives him 141 for his career... or 49 more wins than Randy Johnson had at the very same age!!! Hello!

2) Stephen Strasburg is a "Once in a generation talent", blah, blah, blah. Gee, let's not tell him that he has NO CHANCE at winning 300 games, right?



I won't get into the whole "Magic are down 2-0 so the series is obviously over", "Brett Favre is trying to come back so let's not speculate how much he obviously will suck because he's old" or "Let's disrespect Roger Federer because he didn't beat the #2 player to win the French Open title."

When Television was invented there were debates over whether they would lead to the downfall of society. I must say is it's not the TV's fault. All I'm saying is - Educate yourselves people! Sports information disseminated for the masses should be consumed for entertainment purposes AT BEST! Laugh at your buddies who think they have a clue because they saw two morons debate the topic on TV. If they foul sports information up this badly, you can only guess what the real story behind the nightly news might be... From now on, I'm only watching the commercials... that way, I might ACTUALLY learn something useful!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

DSRTSV! (6/2/09)

The game of cricket has a Randy Johnson moment (minus the exploding bird). Pigeon, meet death.


105 Days Until Seahawks Opening Day

ibringthegrit

Come on Ruskell, you have 105 days to do the right thing.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pujols v.s. Ramirez (and Other Fantasy Updates)

We are nearly a month into the 2009 MLB season, meaning players are pretty much up to speed on things while others are already nursing injuries, some worse than others. All you fantasy baseball players are probably looking for that waiver wire gem and/or contemplating a few trades, blockbuster or not. Power or speed? Consistency or scattered power outages? Wins or saves? These are all questions that enter the fantasy owner's mind at all hours of the day. What you want in a player is, quite obviously, consistence. Surprises usually aren't welcome in the fantasy world, especially since most surprises aren't necessarily good ones. Not only that, but you want a player that you can count on, and it sure doesn't hurt to know exactly what to expect from this player each and ever day.

For these reasons, Albert Pujols should have been the number one player taken in the draft this year (and every other year of his illustrous career, for that matter). Pujols is the definition of consistency. Since entering the league in '01, Pujols has put up 30 or more home runs (HR's) with over 100 runs batted in (RBI's) and, yes, he has even had a .300 or better batting average (BA) in all eight of those seasons. Don't underestimate his ability to steal a base or two, either. In '05, he stole a career-high 16 bases and has four so far this season. At age 29, Pujols will have 500 career home runs in no time and if he can keep this extraordinary pace, may even contend with the home run record in his later years.

Why draft Hanley Ramirez with the first overall pick, when you can snag Pujols? Yes, Ramirez's track record looks pretty good too, but he doesn't have it all like the St. Louis Cardinals' first baseman, Pujols. Ramirez has played three full major league seasons in the Florida Marlins organization as a shortstop, but hasn't quite shown the consistency and reliability you want in your top fantasy player. When he has a good day, yeah he's good, but the fact that he has never recorded over 100 RBI's, and his batting average has been a little off-beat (.292, .332, .301) at times, tells me that he has some weaknesses. Whether it be an inability to hit with runners in scoring position, or lagging injuries, there are holes on Ramirez's stat sheet.

Pujols v.s. Ramirez (so far in '09)

Pujols (24 games; 87 at bats): .356 BA, 9 HR's, 29 RBI's, 4 SB, 25 runs, 18 BB's, 8 K's, .724 SLG

Ramirez (21 games; 81 at bats): .272 BA, 2 HR's, 12 RBI's, 3 SB, 9 runs, 7 BB's, 13 K's, .432 SLG

Final Word: After taking a look at the two's numbers after the first twenty games, I am sticking with my Pujols over Ramirez verdict. El Hombre, as they call him in St. Louis, is leading every major category over the speedy Hanley. Pujols, one of the best all-around players in the game today, attracts more walks than most other players, therefore he produces a lot of runs for his ball club and has more chances at stealing bases. All of these reasons lead me to believe that he is not only a great player for your fantasy team, but does a lot to help his team win games. St. Louis would not be nearly as good a team without him.

As for the rest of the fantasy baseball world? Well, here is my list of six current hot and cold players (as of Monday, May 4th):

Hot

Carlos Pena, 1B, TB..In the past three or four games no one has been hotter at the plate than this slugging infielder. In his team's four-game series against the Red Sox this weekend, Pena was 6 for 14 with two home runs and four runs batted in. He is hitting just .269 this season, but I expect his power surge (11 HR's, 27 RBI's in '09) to continue through October, maybe November.

Zack Greinke, SP, KC..Yes, the Kansas City Royals (14-11) are in first place, and it is mainly because of this young man. Greinke has posted a 5-0 mark, and a 0.50 earned run average (ERA) in his first five starts this season. He has recorded two complete games with 10+ K's in late April, and has straight dominated opposing batters. His only two earned runs of the season came on the 29th of April against the Detroit Tigers. Greinke is, without a doubt, the hottest pitcher in baseball right now. He will make his sixth start of the season tomorrow against the Chicago White Sox.

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, SD..Gonzalez has seemed to have gotten overlooked by the other stars of the game, but Gonzalez has hit nine home runs (tied for third most in the league), and has had just three games without a hit in his team's 25 games this season. He has put up a solid .318 average, and has driven in 20 runs. His team hit a bit of a cold streak during their series against the Dodgers this past weekend, but I expect him to continue his successes throughout the season.

Cold

Mark Teixeira, 1B, NYY..Expected to make an immediate impact in his new home in New York, Teixeira has been a bust already (in some people's minds). The slugging first baseman has his just .182 with three home runs and 10 runs batted in while in pin stripes. In his past 12 games, Teixeira has had six hit-less games (a combined 8 for 46 with zero home runs and three runs batted in). Not exactly what New York fans, and fantasy owners, were expecting 20 games into the season. Get it in gear, Mark!

David Ortiz, DH, BOS..U-G-L-Y! It appears as though Ortiz's best fantasy days are behind him. The "former" slugger is hitting .215 with zero homers in 93 at bats. As a matter of fact, Ortiz hasn't hit safely since April 29 against the Cleveland Indians (went 1 for 5), meaning he went 0 for 11 in Boston's four-game weekend series with the Rays, as his Sox dropped three of the four games.

Josh Hamilton, OF, TEX..Hamilton has been a big disappointment to both baseball fans and fantasy owners. Much was expected from him this season after his monster year in '08, but he was recently placed on the 15-day disabled list by Texas after he sustained a strained rib cage muscle. In the 18 games he played in before his DL stint, Hamilton was hitting a rather low .242 average with just two home runs and 10 runs batted in. You may see him again towards the middle to end of the month, but most likely not before then.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Never Again Shall I Watch the NFL Draft on ESPN

I wasn’t expecting the best of coverage by ESPN for the NFL Draft, but goodness me did that “coverage” suck. I know it’s hard to fill in 2 days of things to talk about, but everything from Erin Andrews’ pointless interviews, to having a bunch of talking heads, to Todd McShay dying for Seattle to draft BJ Raji (when we already have Brandon Mebane, Cory Redding, and Colin Cole) was too much to handle. This cannot be possible. For lack of a better phrase, they half-assed one of the biggest days in the NFL that has absolutely nothing to do with playing the game itself. There was nothing positive about this year’s telecast.

I used to like Chris Berman. On Saturday though? Pathetic. His puns are worse than ever “The 4 hour mile”, he constantly strung together incoherent sentences broken up in between more incoherent sentences. It’s like he wanted to set up one of his colleagues before the pick was made but it just came off as awkward. When the highlights of Matthew Stafford were narrated by Boomer I couldn’t bear it. He could not possibly have been prepared. He looks so lost and it’s embarrassing. If I’m ESPN I’m thinking of phasing him out slowly.

Steve Young, Mark Sanchez is “Presidential” in the way he dresses? What the hell are you talking about? He did this again later on with another player. Young is a good analyst but even he was awful. It’s like he was intent on shouting over everybody with insane observations while stressing the importance of the QB position. Frankly I’d rather have Emmitt Smith back than listen to Young again. At least I’m guaranteed entertainment I can laugh at.

The team of Berman, Mel Kiper, Steve Young, and Keyshawn Johnson made my life hell. I had to mute the TV several times because it wasn’t intelligent debating. It was 4 guys shouting over nothing. You may not like Around the Horn, but the mute button is probably the best part of that show.

Todd McShay should be fired because he adds nothing other than arguing with Kiper but you already knew that.

Michael Smith was so awkward over the weekend with his little touch screen draft board thingamajiggy. He couldn’t articulate himself properly much of the time and is not good on TV. Stick to reporting and writing because you do a solid job in that department.

We’re not done yet. The pointless “sideline reporting” has reared its ugly head yet again. Erin Andrews interviewing Matthew Stafford before the official announcement that he would be the #1 overall pick AND after Roger Goodell made it official was unnecessary. Why do we need immediate thoughts from them after they’ve been selected?! It’s just more talking heads that are not needed for a professional broadcast.

Where is ESPN getting these people? An injury analyst? Are you serious?! Pedro Gomez should be banned from television. If he’s going to tell me that Edgerrin James was watching the Heat/Hawks playoff game with his kids then I’m not a happy camper.

Enough picking apart of individual people, let’s go to the production itself. I know they’re at the mercy of advertisers, but going to commercial break 4 minutes before a pick is about to be made is unacceptable! They ended up missing the final pick of the 1st round.

It’s also anticlimactic for the cameras to zoom in on a player who is on the phone smiling, knowing he’s about to be selected by whichever team is on the clock. Can’t you just wait 20 seconds instead of practically giving away the pick? I swear they did this 6 or 7 times in the first 15 picks.

Why do I need these stupid polls on the ticker? They put up one that asked “Will Josh Freeman be the starting QB in week 17?”. Zero percent said yes, and zero percent said no. Come on. It’s bad enough I have a bunch of guys shouting nonsense to me, what’s the purpose of adding reader polls after nearly every pick?

I’m going to leave it there even though I have some more things to say.

That is the last time I’m watching the NFL Draft on ESPN. My tolerance has been pushed off a cliff. It’s like they don’t even care what they do anymore. Since I know you’re scoping blogs ESPN, hear me on this one (and just about every other blog and media outlet there is), your COVERAGE IS BEYOND TERRIBLE.

I’ll watch it online if I have too. I can’t stand it anymore. It’s obvious they aren’t getting any better at what they’re supposed to do. Excess doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. I’m fine with simplicity. ESPN is not capable of understanding that, and I know that I’m not the only one fed up with this.

Check back in June when I end up writing the same thing about the NBA Draft.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Sun Sets on Phoenix's Playoff Hopes

It’s a slow news day and I had to come up with a cheesy title! Bear with me here.

Has there been a more disappointing team than the Phoenix Suns? In their first year since they fired Mike D’Antoni for consistently folding against the Spurs, they won’t even make the playoffs. They beat the New Orleans Hornets last night to temporarily save their playoff chances, only for the Dallas Mavericks to come swarming in and blowing out the Utah Jazz to eliminate them. This all could’ve been prevented on Sunday when they were in Dallas to try and cut their lead on the 8th seed in the Western Conference to 2 games. Instead, they gave up 81 points by halftime and got blown out.

It all started when they hired Terry Porter as head coach. Porter made it to All-Star weekend before getting dumped. The problem? Rumored chemistry issues with the players, and it wasn’t fun to watch Phoenix anymore. They were at times running a half-court offense that paralleled the San Antonio Spurs. Slowing down the game is not what these Suns were meant for.

Alvin Gentry was hired to give the Suns a chance at the playoffs, and he is currently squeaking over the .500 mark as an interim. The fast and exciting team was back, but so was the awful defense of the past that has stopped them from reaching the NBA Finals.

In a year where Shaq has played his best basketball since he won the championship with Miami, Grant Hill has been healthy all year, and Steve Nash continues to put up great numbers, they have the golf clubs ready! Why? Because it was also a year where Amare Stoudemire had a sub-par year and had an eye injury that ended his season. Steve Kerr inexplicably traded Boris Diaw and Raja Bell for Jason Richardson of the Charlotte Bobcats. They did nothing to improve their defense and instead threw away one of their best defenders in Diaw.

It really has been a trainwreck season for Phoenix, and I’m not sure the fans are going to be happy with Steve Kerr’s moves. He has caught the Suns dearly. Like the Spurs, the era has ended. The days of cruising to the playoffs is over. The days of being labeled a “serious contender” to win it all is over.

This team is getting older. Nash, Shaq, Hill, all in their 30s. Stoudemire has the knees of a 77 year old. It’s time to rebuild in the desert. Maybe trade away Amare like they had planned to 2 months ago. Hope that the lottery balls bounce their way in the draft. The only question remains is if Steve Kerr is on the hot seat after this failed season.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Don't Worry

Things are slow.

We haven't posted in a long time.

But we'll be back.

Eventually.

Here is the video of the day.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Brandon Marshall Arrested.....AGAIN

We’ve been through this before. The Denver Broncos are trying to figure out how they want to handle the Jay Cutler trade ordeal, and then Brandon Marshall promptly does something stupid, AGAIN! The wide receiver was arrested for disorderly conduct on Sunday, making this 4 arrests in 4 years. Apparently he was in a fight and was released on a $300 bond. Now, he’s not only being dumb, but he’s being dumb while Roger Goodell is commish. You know what that means!

He was suspended for three games last season for repeatedly running afoul of the law — Marshall’s suspension stemmed from seven police-related incidents with his former girlfriend, Rasheedah Wately.

But he had his punishment reduced to a single game when he pledged to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that he would stay out of trouble.

Marshall, 24, now potentially faces a longer suspension to start the 2009 season, perhaps as much as eight games, which is the punishment other players have received for repeatedly getting into trouble off the field.

The league doesn’t require convictions for the commissioner to suspend a player.

He’s talented and all, had a very productive season in ‘08, but I think the Broncos should consider getting rid of him. The transition from Rod Smith to Brandon Marshall would’ve been easy and smooth had the latter been interested in behaving. Coupled with the aforementioned Cutler deal I think the Broncos have pretty much written their own soap opera.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Middlesbrough Fans Told to be Quiet

Plenty of tough times for Middlesbrough FC. Currently, they sit in the relegation zone in 19th place, and I don’t recall them winning a Premier League game this year. If you watch Middlesbrough home matches, you’ll quickly notice the lack of a full stadium, it’s a bit quiet, and their matches are so boring.

CLEARLY the fans need to tone it down for their own home matches. This is the text from the letter written by Boro’s safety officer, Sue Watson (thanks from The Beautiful Game).

Dear Block 53A supporter

Standing at Riverside Stadium

Over the last few games this season the stewards have tried hard to persuade you all to sit down in this area of the ground.

The club are grateful of and encourage your noisy passionate support, but please remember that the Safety Certificate for the ground, issued by Middlesbrough Council, does not allow permanent standing within the seating areas.

I know when the action is exciting and the team are shooting at the north end of the ground the instinct of every fan is to stand, I do not want to stop you doing this, but then please sit down. If you could adhere to this but still maintain your level of support then all parties will be happy.

We need you to work with the stewards towards a safe environment, this compromise is the way forward and respects the wishes of other fans, which want to sit in the same area as you but cannot stand.

I am receiving more and more complaints from our own fans also seated in this area about both the persistent standing and the constant banging and noise coming from the back of this stand. Please stop, make as much noise as you like when we score, but this constant noise is driving some fans mad.

That is the dumbest request I’ve ever heard. So if they make a shot on goal you can stand, but when they don’t you must sit down and shut up? And who are these fans complaining about the other fans standing up and making noise? That’s what you are SUPPOSED to do! This isn’t cricket, and since one-third of the stadium is empty anyways you can just move to another seat!

Last year the Baltimore Orioles told its fans to tone it down when the VISITING TEAM was at-bat! It’s like these guys are wanting fans not to be fans.

Could you imagine going to a Seahawks game and the PA announcer goes “Fans, the Vikings are on offense so we suggest you do be quiet so they can hear each other!”?

How could you make such a letter at a time like this? They have had little to cheer about and now you want a portion of the stadium’s attendance to be quiet?

Singing, chanting, standing for your team is a part of being a fan, especially in Europe. Trying to limit it because supposedly some fans complained is just ludicrous.

As you can imagine, the fans who sit in the Block 53A section weren’t too happy about it, and there is now a Facebook group calling for Sue Watson to resign. They also turned their backs at the pitch in their recent game against Wigan.

Way to go, Boro! You’re losing fans by the minute, losing money by the second, and losing on the pitch! This obviously is what you’re trying to achieve!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Big Ten Basketball is Just Embarrassing

If you ever get a chance to watch 5 minutes of Big Ten basketball, you will quickly realize that not only is it the most boring conference on the planet, but the goal is to not score.

Thankfully, I wasn’t one who had to deal with the lowest scoring Division I game since 2005. If you just finished watching Penn State vs. #18 Illinois, I’m sorry. For those who didn’t watch this, want to know the final score?

Are you sure?

Are you REALLY sure?

Are you so sure you want to know the score?

Okay, your loss.

Penn State 38 Illinois 33

That’s right, the #18 team in the country against a team on the bubble combined to score fewer points than Providence did in their blowout loss to Louisville. A grand total of 28 shots were made out of 96 attempts, Illinois did not take one attempt from the free throw line, and Talor Battle led all scorers with 11 points for the Nittany Lions.

The score at the under 16:00 TV timeout was 2-0 for the home team Illini.

At half time it was 17-15 in favor of Penn State.

What is the matter with the Big Ten conference? Not one team makes for good TV and they couldn’t score consistently if they increased the diameter of the rim by 5 yards!

Anyone who attended that game should demand a refund, especially since it was Illinois, the ranked team, playing at home.

38-33 is a great football game, not a 40 minute basketball struggle.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Erin Andrews Wins Again!!

Some of you may have heard about the the contest being run by Playboy to find America's sexiest sportscaster. Well all the votes have been tallied, and the results are in. Once again for the second year in a row ESPN's Erin Andrews has taken the title of sexiest sportscaster in America. Not too surprising really. Congrats to Erin, although our vote here at Walker-Sports still goes with Washington D.C.'s own Lindsey Czarniak









Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Just Because the NFL Season is Over....

…..Doesn’t mean the arrests stop! In fact, we’re just getting started! The Super Bowl marked the official end of the competitive 2008-09 NFL Season (the Pro Bowl is just nothing), and the arrests were on!

Jamaal Williams of the San Diego Chargers, arrested on DUI suspicion. That’s the 2nd time the Chargers have had someone arrested for DUI in a month, with Vincent Jackson the other player.

Darrell Reid of the Indianapolis Colts, already arrested 2 years ago for marijuana possession, was arrested a few days ago on disorderly conduct and trespassing chargers. Reid refused to leave a nightclub and when asked to leave by an off-duty police officer, said this:

“I don’t have to because I am a football player with the Indianapolis Colts.”

That sense of entitlement already failed the last time, it won’t work this time.

Next up, Terry Glenn! The former wide receiver for the Patriots, Packers, and Cowboys has had numerous run-ins with the law, so he felt he needed to get in on the act. Glenn was arrested on public intoxication and marijuana possession charges. The arrest actually happened in late January, but was not made public until the 5th of this month. Glenn was also caught wandering around a hotel naked before the arrest, and he already posted bond.

Last but not least, former Falcons running back Jamal Anderson! The man who created the “dirty bird” dance is a really dirty bird, arrested on felony cocaine possession and misdemeanor marijuana possession charges.

“The patron had heard what he thought was sniffing from inside the stall and told the off-duty officer,” police spokesman Otis Redmond said, according to the newspaper. “The officer went into the restroom, heard the same sniffing and peered over the stall door. He saw Jamal Anderson and Mark Hudson sniffing two lines of powdered cocaine off the back of the toilet.”

Hudson, 20, was also arrested at the bar in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, the report said.

Police found a 1-inch square bag of cocaine and a suspected marijuana cigarette in Anderson’s pocket, according to the paper. Police said both men were in possession of cocaine, according to other local reports.

Must be a pretty interesting place if someone sniffing means it’s time to call the cops. Anderson was working as an analyst for ESPN before his arrest.

There you go folks, those are your multi-millionare football players. This is what the NFL has become, and the league is very much earning its reputation as a league of criminals.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A-Rod Test For Positive For Steroids, What's That Mean For MLB?


By now, everyone has heard the news that New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez tested positive for anabolic steroids during the 2003 baseball season. At the time A-Rod was playing shortstop for the Texas Rangers. He was also the AL's home run champion and the AL MVP. According to four different sources, A-rod tested positive for two anabolic steroids.

To be completely honest I could careless what this means for A-Rod or for the New York Yankees as I am not a fan of either. However, I do find the situation very interesting for Major League Baseball. This has not been the best week for Bud Selig and company in the home offices. Earlier this week Selig was ripped for earning $18 million last year. On Wednesday the federal government unsealed documents that will confirm the steroid use by Barry Bonds, and now you have one of the biggest names in the sport on the biggest team in the game testing positive for steroids. To be frank, MLB is hurting.

It seems that no matter what Major League Baseball does it just cannot get out of it's own way. They have tried to put the entire steroid era behind them by ignoring it, and it did not work. They confronted it with the Mitchell Report and it did not help. And now you have another major player testing positive and it just makes this whole thing feel like the nightmare you just cannot wake up from.

MLB has taken some major hits over the last 10 years. If it's not one thing it's another and obviously Bud Selig cannot right what is a very slow sinking ship. Perhaps MLB should scrap their leader bring in someone else and try start over again. Baseball will never return to it's glory days that is for sure. It is pretty sad to see how what was once an American pride has crumbled in the national spotlight.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Shaquille O'Neal Neal Anti Gay?

According to some gay rights groups the Big Daddy came across as being anti-gay in this commercial he filmed for ESPN. As a result ESPN chose to pull the ad before he made its way into regular circulation.

The funny part about all of this is, anyone who has checked up on Shaq's track record he is anything but anit-gay. He was one of the first players to come out a few years ago and stated he would have no problem with a gay teammate. To add to that, when Shaq was a member of the Miami Heat he once put on his sheriffs hat and chased down and arrested a group outside of a club who were taking part in a gay bashing beat down. So in reality Shaq is anything but anti gay. Nonetheless ESPN chose to air on the side of caution with this one.

Monday, February 2, 2009

How I See It: Steelers Capture Number Six in SB XLIII

As a life-long fan, I was very happy to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the underdog Arizona Cardinals last night in Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa Bay, Florida. Not only did they win their record 6th Super Bowl title by defeating Arizona 27-23, but also Ben Roethlisberger proved, once again, why he is well on his way to a Hall of Fame career. I understand he still has a lot to prove, but the fact that he already has two Super Bowl championships under his belt at age 26 is remarkable. Let's not forget about his rookie season in '04 where he went 13-0 as the starter in the regular season and took his team to the AFC Championship game against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. I will put it this way, Roethlisberger is a play-maker--that's all there really is to say about that. A clutch play-maker. Say what you want about holding on to the ball too long, but the reason why he's so good is because he uses his huge body (6 foot 5, 240 pounds) to avoid defenders and find the open man. That's exactly what Big Ben did on that final drive, which includes the last 6-yard TD toss to eventual MVP Santonio Holmes with :35 to play.

Roethlisberger, Holmes, Arizona's mental errors on defense. They all played a key role on that final, 78-yard TD drive which put Pittsburgh ahead 27-23. I don't want to hear anything about those penalties--that's not why I wrote this article. Arizona killed themselves, I will put it that way. There was no need for Adrian Wilson to run Mitch Berger over after Jeff Reed's field goal attempt. And how about all those holding calls enforced against Mike Gandy going up against James Harrison? Arizona can only blame themselves for all those penalties.

Arizona gave a valiant effort, but they truly only played one quarter of fabulous football. Pittsburgh went out there on fire in the first quarter and Arizona pretty much just dug themselves too big of a hole early on. Pittsburgh continued their first quarter donination from the rest of this season by holding on to the ball for 11:28 of the 15 minutes and producing two scoring drives, giving them an early 10-0 lead. Arizona had a nice goal line stand, stopping Roethlisberger inches from the end zone--had Ben gotten in, Pittsburgh would've had a two TD lead instead of a 10-point lead.

Warner bounced back from his three passing yards first quarter by leading his offense down the field, 83 yards, in approximately five and a half minutes. The nine-play drive was capped by a one-yard TD pass from 37-year old Kurt Warner to TE Ben Patrick. 10-7 Pittsburgh. The two teams exchanged punts for the next several minutes--with a Ben Roethlisberger INT thrown in the mix--until Arizona put together a nice little drive after the two-minute warning. Six Warner pass plays (4/6 for 33 yards) and a Tim Hightower run play later the Cards found themselves knocking on Pittsburgh's door with :18 left to go in the first half of play. After a four-yard pass complete to Anquan Boldin failed to stop the clock, head coach Ken Whisenhunt decided to call his final timeout of the half. So with no timeouts remaining and Arizona had the ball at PIT's one-yard line, Whisenhunt and his offensive coordinator Todd Haley had no choice but to put the ball in Warner's hands and pass the ball--well, duh, what else would Arizona do! Either way, Arizona ended up paying the price. The NFL's defensive player of the year, James Harrison, smelled the end zone, and after snagging the ball out of the air and running 100 yards (a new SB record, by the way), Harrison found it as well.

The veteran QB Warner makes a costly mistake with no time left in the first half and that proves to be at least a 10 point TD for Harrison, who needed his oxygen after the Jim Brown-like run to paydirt. The play was reviewed by the booth (inside two minutes) but the call on the field was confirmed and the TD stood. Despite the final drive for Pittsburgh, I think Harrison's INT returned for a TD was the play of the game. Had Arizona scored a TD there, or even just kicked a chip-shot FG, the second half may have been totally different, therefore ending a little differently.

After Bruce Springsteen's solid effort during halftime, play got back underway with a Jeff Reed kickoff to Arizona's return man, J.J. Arrington. On Arizona's first possession, Pittsburgh's defense got a heavy dose of Edgerrin James, but they held up and even forced another Warner fumble (even though it was challenged and the call was eventually overturned). Shortly afterwards, Arizona was forced to punt. Pittsburgh's first possession of half number two resulted in almost nine minutes elapsing, and after the big Adrian Wilson "unneccessary roughness" penalty gave the Steelers a first down deep inside Cards' territory, the Arizona defense got back to work. Just three short plays after the big penalty against Arizona, Pittsburgh was forced to attempt another short FG, which Reed (and his crazy dyed-blonde hair of his) kicked throught the uprights for a 20-7 lead.

But, not so fast Pittsburgh fans. With just over 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Arizona's offense really started clicking, and Pro Bowl WR Larry Fitzgerald finally broke out and was the heart of Arizona's eight-play, 87 yard drive which was capped by, yes, a one-yard TD pass to Larry Fitzgerald himself.

Still 20-14 with three minutes left, Pittsburgh was caught in a pickle. Arizona punter Ben Graham had a fantastic punt, downing Pittsburgh inside their own five-yard line. Ben Roethlisberger, on third and 10 at their one, threw a 19-yard bullet to Holmes for the first down. But..center Justin Hartwig was called for holding--which was quite obvious and VERY stupid, by the way--and a safety was called against Pittsburgh since the penalty took place in the end zone. As you all know, safeties are worth two points for the opposing defense. PIT 20, ARI 16.

Safeties also mean the Cardinals would get the ball on a free kick, giving them solid field position. It took just two plays for Warner to throw a short pass to Fitzgerald, who was running a 5-yard slant route. Of course, Fitzgerald has that speed burst, and he turned up the center of the field for a 64-yard TD. Kicker Neil Rackers put Arizona ahead 23-20 with his extra point, which split the uprights easily.

Arizona and their fans must not have watched much of Pittsburgh football this season, this game was certainly not over, and Arizona gave Roethlisberger way too much time to get into the end zone (just over two minutes, in fact), not to mention that Pittsburgh had two timeouts remaining plus the two-minute warning which stops the clock.

Roethlisberger got right to work, throwing a 14-yard strike to Santonio Holmes right after a 10-yard holding penalty called against guard Chris Kemoteau. That pass is really what got the GW drive going. The highlight of the drive: A 40-yard pass and catch by Holmes, who later caught the go-ahead six-yard TD catch, which was a phenomenal, tight-rope catch in the back of the end zone--the pass happened to go right over the outstretched arms of THREE Arizona defenders. Again, the play was reviewed by the officials but the call on the field stood as called--a TD--which was, in fact, the correct call.

Pittsburgh left about :30 for Arizona to drive down the field and score, but Pittsburgh's defense held up, forcing a questionable fumble (LaMarr Woodley with his second sack of the night AND the forced fumble). Defensive end Brett Kiesel recovered the fumble, wrapping up the sixth SB victory in the team's history. The officials should've reviewed the play, that certainly would've stopped most of this "controversy" and "bad officiating" talks, even though I believe the call would've stood as was. The ball was coming loose before Warner's arm went forward, the ball went forward because it was still against his body, but it was obvious Warner had no control over that ball.

Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23

Great game, nonetheless! One of the best in the past 10 or 15 years, and I will give the Cards credit, they played a heck of a game, but Mike Tomlin deserves this one. Six pack, one for the other thumb, whatever you want to call it, it belongs to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But, one of the best parts about all this, Pittsburgh has the chance to do this again next year, and the year after, and even the year after that. Could this be another Steeler dynasty? Who knows. But it's a good start (two of the last four SB wins). Great way to end the season, Pittsburgh. Congratulations, let's do it again!

Walker's Favorite Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl XLIII was phenomenal. Really it was, the game far exceeded my expectations and if you lived under a rock and did not know who Larry Fitzgerald was before the game kicked off, you better realize who he is now. While the action on the field was hot, some of the biggest companies in the United States proved they did not care about the recession and went out, spent big and struck gold with some great commercials. Listed bellow are our favorite Super Bowl commercials.









Digg!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

SSR's Super Bowl Pick

This is it. Today is the day the world will watch the big game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. So, any reason why I am not really that excited? This is the one Super Bowl where I have watched little coverage, little hype, and would really consider not watching altogether. As a Seahawks fan, do I really want a division rival winning the Super Bowl? But I digress….

Matchup: Pittsburgh Steelers (14-4) @ Arizona Cardinals (12-7)

Time: 6:28 PM ET/3:28 PM PT

Where: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL.

Why: To avoid the Super Bowl Loser’s Curse

Network: NBC

Announcers: Al Michaels and John Madden (with 500 people on the pre-game show and roaming the sidelines).

SSR’s Pick: Steelers 23 Cardinals 14. I have picked against the Cardinals in every game, and I was very tempted to pick them in this game. However, I can’t bring myself into thinking that Pittsburgh’s defense will be unable to break down Arizona’s explosive offense. If Arizona is going to win this game it will be through their defense. As crazy as that sounds, the Cardinals have forced the most turnovers in the post-season, with 11 in total. In fact, it is probably the biggest reason why they are in the Super Bowl, by forcing turnovers and giving their offense a chance to shine. Naturally, they’ll be facing a team that turned it over just 1 time in their 2 games. On offense I think that Larry Fitzgerald can’t be stopped, so it’s up to Anquan Boldin to stop being a baby and play some football. It’s up to Steve Breaston and the rest of the receiving corp to give Kurt Warner a 2nd option against this strong Steelers secondary. The running game for Arizona has been strong throughout the post-season, but the Steelers didn’t allow a 100 yard rusher all season long, so forget about that. It’s not like you can force Arizona to pass though, and they will have a greater chance if they can somehow beat the Steelers with underneath routes and screen passes. Alas, I think Pittsburgh will win because they will not make the mistakes that the other teams Arizona faced in the past did, and that is putting relentless pressure on Warner so that he won’t get the chance for even a quick pass to his receivers. On offense I don’t expect anything spectacular, but Ben Roethlisberger is the highest rated QB on 3rd down, and the unheralded Heath Miller will also key the Bruce Arians coached offense. He is stronger, and more mobile than Kurt Warner and that is another big persuasion towards Pittsburgh. Willie Parker is my MVP, I think he will have one of the best games of his career, and break past that tough Arizona front 4.

WIS’ Pick: Cardinals 15 Steelers 10. If it comes anything close to that, then it is easily the most boring Super Bowl of all-time. The Cardinals kicked 5 field goals and did not allow a touchdown until Willie Parker scampered to the end zone with 1:43 left in the game. The Steelers had one last chance late to win the game, but Big Ben was flagged for intentional grounding on the final play of the game, as he goes just 12-23 with an INT. Kurt Warner was the MVP with a 16-28 passing day for 210 yards. I don’t know why, because Neil Rackers got them all of their points, but you can’t give it to a kicker, right?

Enjoy the game.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The PETA Super Bowl Commercial that NBC Doesn't Want You to See

We all know what PETA's agenda is. In addition we also know what the Super Bowl is really about, Viagra and Beer ads. So I'm not too sure why this PETA ad was considered too racy for the Super Bowl. Nonetheless, I've gone out of my way to find the ad that the Super Bowl does not want you to see.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII Preview Extravaganza: Terry McAulay

Let’s kick the Super Bowl preview off with what is obviously the most important non-player in the game, the referee. Only the best have the honor of reffing in the big game, legends like Red Cashion, Jim Tunney, and Ed Hochuli. Some games are called very well, others are scrutinized by fans and media alike (Bill Leavy).

For the 2nd time in his career, Terry McAulay will be the head official in the Super Bowl. The report from the LA Times says that McAulay was selected over Walt Anderson and Bill Carollo, with the 2 men working in the conference championship games. McAulay has been in the league for 11 seasons, and was the referee for Super Bowl XXXIX between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.

Interestingly enough, McAulay’s crew is one of the least experienced in the league and everyone else besides McAulay has not been an NFL official for even 10 years! The crew who gets the Super Bowl is based on grades on their performances throughout the season by league supervisors, and in a year where zebra-wearing incompetence and controversial calls have been at a high, this seems like a weird decision. I say this is a rather weird decision because……

This was the same crew that screwed over the Tennessee Titans in their divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens. It’s McAulay’s crew that made Jeff Fisher and the entire Nashville population lose it. Do you have a short memory? Well there are some things that transcribed that could’ve completely changed the outcome of the game and who would play in the Super Bowl.

With a little over 2 minutes remaining, with the Ravens driving and the game tied at 10-10, it appeared that the play-clock in the stadium had reached zero. Nearly a full 2 seconds passed by before the ball was snapped, and Joe Flacco found Todd Heap for a gain of 23 (leading to their winning field goal). McAulay explained the folly:

The official Terry McAulay said afterward that the back judge was responsible for the call, that the real play clock had not hit zero and that the Titans could not have challenged for delay of game.

What is the real play-clock? There is no excuse for the “real clock” to be 2 seconds behind the stadium clock.

We know very well about the last Super Bowl that involved the Steelers and the refs, let’s just hope McAulay won’t be the center of controversy. I don’t think he is a bad referee and he and his crew should be given a chance to shine.

Of course, one more moment like the “Beer Bottle” game in Cleveland that was a part of, or the play-clock situation in Nashville means he’ll be downgraded just like Ed Hochuli.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

DSRTSV! (1/26/09)

Things have been slow at BNB lately, but that will change soon....hopefully. Expect a lot of Super Bowl talk as the season winds down.

But the video of the day is brought to you by the KTFO society. Shane Mosley whipped Antonio Margarito in a stunning 9th round TKO upset last night, and is the new WBA welterweight champion.

Rounds 8 and 9 for your viewing pleasure.


Random Super Bowl Facts

Our first Super Bowl preview post of 2009! It’s the Steelers and Cardinals duking it out in Tampa for the right to claim the Lombardi Trophy. While Pittsburgh making it to the Super Bowl after Tennessee lost was not surprising, the Arizona Cardinals dispatching opponents that were supposed to knock them out really is. Let’s explore some of the possibilities for the winner of this game.

If the Steelers win…….

  • It would be their 6th Super Bowl title, an NFL record, and they are the only team among the 3 who currently have 5 to have played in the Super Bowl in this decade.
  • Mike Tomlin would be the 2nd black head coach to win a Super Bowl in the year that Tony Dungy, the first one to win it, retires.
  • Charlie Batch would get a 2nd Super Bowl ring.
  • Byron Leftwich, former top 10 pick now journeyman backup, would get a Super Bowl ring.
  • Their last 3 Super Bowl titles would have all come against teams from the NFC West (Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis - then LA Rams, Arizona Cardinals).
  • The AFC North would snag both Super Bowl titles held in Tampa in the 2000s (the Ravens being the other).
  • It would be their 2nd Super Bowl won when Al Michaels and John Madden are the announcers.

If the Cardinals win….

  • Only the Seahawks will be in the ringless category of the NFC West.
  • Matt Leinart would get a Super Bowl ring doing nothing but get benched.
  • Kurt Warner would be the first QB to start on two Super Bowl winning teams.
  • The same applies to Warner if he wins MVP.
  • They would become the first 9-7 team to ever win the Super Bowl.
  • Edgerrin James would get a well-deserved ring.
  • Every player on the team except Kurt Warner would get their first Super Bowl ring.
  • They would be the first Super Bowl winning team from the NFC West since 1999, led by Kurt Warner of course.
  • It would be the 2nd year in a row the NFC takes the title, something that hasn’t happened since the Cowboys and Packers took Super Bowls 31 and 32.
  • Did I mention Matt Leinart would get a ring?
  • Ken Whisenhunt will have beaten the same team where he was offensive coordinator of the 2005 Super Bowl team.

Stay tuned for more Super Bowl bonanza stuff.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Turnovers Key in Arizona, Pittsburgh Wins: Recap of Conference Championship Weekend

The Super Bowl matchup is now set, the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers will battle it out in Tampa Bay in less than two weeks. Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt will have the honor in facing his old team with the Vince Lombardi Trophy on the line (Whisenhunt was offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh before taking the Cards' head coaching job two years ago).

How these two teams did it yesterday? Simple, they minimized mistakes and were able to force some turnovers on the other side of the ball. Arizona's veteran QB Kurt Warner will be headed to his third career Super Bowl (1-1) while Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger his second (1-0).

Philadelphia Eagles 25, Arizona Cardinals 32

This game was an offensive explosion, which surprised, once again, countless amounts of NFL fans and "experts" (I don't like using that word, but that's what they are called). Most NFL followers, including me, had doubted whether or not Warner and all-pro WR Larry Fitzgerald would have the connection they had made the previous two weeks. But, Fitzgerald caught nine passes for 152 yards and three TD's (all in the first half) throughout the game as Asante Samuel and Brian Dawkins struggled to stop the Arizona passing attack which went for 267 yards (ARI: 369 total yards).

Philadelphia did more of the same when they had the ball. Despite being down 24-6 at the half, Donovan McNabb got his team together and made a late surge, scoring 19 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarter, taking the lead for the first time after a 62-yard bomb to rookie WR DeSean Jackson. Philly led 25-24 with 10:45 to play after a David Akers failed extra point and a failed 2-point conversion (after the 62-yard pass). McNabb threw for 375 yards and three TD's (Philly gained 454 yards on offense) but his first half INT was a costly mistake.

Arizona was poised to win the game, and on their very next possession, Kurt Warner put together a 14-play, 72 yard drive which took 7:52 away from McNabb and got him out of his groove. The drive was capped with an 8-yard pass from Warner to '08 fantasy stud, Tim Hightower; a TD machine this season. The successful two-point conversion for Arizona made it a seven-point game, 32-25, and the bandwagon jumpers went crazy!

Philadelphia's offense got two more chances to even the score before time ran out, but were unsuccessful. McNabb got a solid start to the drive with a couple of short to medium passes to Jackson, TE Brent Celek and RB Brian Westbrook, but four straight incomplete passes on first and 10 gave the ball back to Arizona with under two minutes remaining. A quick three-and-out on defense put the Eagles in position for a ver deep pass of, lets see, 91 yards. With :09 to play, McNabb's short pass play with a couple laterals failed and Arizona went on to win the game as the time expired.

In just his second season as the head coach, Ken Whisenhunt has taken the Arizona Cardinals to their first-ever Super Bowl. Had it been one year earlier, they would've been playing in their very own stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Either way, Arizona will cherish this moment for a lifetime.

Baltimore Ravens 14, Pittsburgh Steelers 23

Ah, the other BIG game this past weekend. Perhaps the matchup that has received all the attention (east coast bias, huh?). Pittsburgh was favored by six points, but that didn't bother Baltimore any. Number one defense versus the number two defense, that's what this game was all about and the victory could've gone either way.

Pittsburgh got the ball first and was able to drive down the field thanks to a big play from reliable veteran WR Hines Ward, which put the Steelers in field goal range. Jeff Reed's 34-yard field goal capped a 7-play, 55 yard drive and gave Pittsburgh the early 3-0 lead. The key in the very long first quarter was the defense for Pittsburgh. Baltimore's rookie QB Joe Flacco had just two passing yards and Baltimore had just 17 total yards and zero first downs in quarter number one. The Ravens four first quarter possessions; punt, INT, punt, turnover on downs. Pittsburgh; FG, punt,

FG, fumble. BAL 0, PIT 6.

It really wasn't until the end of the first half when Baltimore's offense started producing. A three-play, 66-yard drive, in which just 1:02 elapsed from the game clock was capped by a 65-yard pass from QB Ben Roethlisberger to WR Santonio Holmes. The TD extended Pittsburgh's lead to 13-0 with about 14 minutes to play in the opening half. With just under three to play, Baltimore cut the lead in half with a three-yard TD run for Willis McGahee. Matt Stover's extra point made it a 13-7 ball game.

Poor clock management at the end of the half on Roethlisberger and coach Mike Tomlin's part sent the two teams into the locker room with a close six-point game. With Hines Ward out with a knee injury and Big Ben shaken up after being hit several times after passes, Baltimore stole the momentum just before the half. Fortunately for Baltimore, Pittsburgh failed to put more points up after what should've been an easy, wide open TD catch for 6 foot 4 rookie WR Limas Sweed. Sweed dropped the pass and Pittsburgh failed to get any points from it. Another fine example; what looked to be an easy TD pass to Holmes was ruled incomplete and Pittsburgh settled for a FG. One more thing; Pittsburgh got a gift-call on what was apparently a roughing the punter called on Baltimore. Punter Mitch Berger was awarded the Academy award for his acting and Pittsburgh was given the ball back deep inside Baltimore territory. What does Pittsburgh do? Nothing, not even three points.

Baltimore fails to capitalize on the momentum early in the second half, punting on their first three possessions. Pittsburgh manages three points off another Jeff Reed field goal, this one from 46 yards out. On their other two third quarter possessions Pittsburgh punted, as well. BAL 7, PIT 16 at the end of three.

Early in the fourth, however, Baltimore pulls within two on Willis McGahee's second TD of the day (this one from 1-yard out). After the TD, Flacco just seemed to fold under pressure. Pittsburgh's defense continued to bring the heat and Flacco just collapsed in the pocket. The Ravens' last three possessions looked like this; INT, fumble, INT. In the final six or seven minutes of regulation, Flacco and the offense had seven plays, gaining just 43 yards.

The game was virtually over when Flacco's second--of three total--interception was run back for a 40-yard TD by all-pro SS Troy Polamalu, who was all over the field all game long, like usual.

Despite the spectacular play by the home team, not all was good in the final minutes of play in Pittsburgh. A very big collision between Pittsburgh's Ryan Clark and Baltimore's Willis McGahee sent Clark to the sidelines with wooziness and McGahee off on a stretcher with extreme neck pain (as it was later categorized). McGahee was released from the hospital earlier today, however, after spending the night in a Pittsburgh hospital. He seems to be ok.

Finally, Flacco was picked off once more to end his horrendous night in Pittsburgh. The Steelers held on to advanace to their 7th Super Bowl appearance in the 43-year SB history. Only Dallas (8) has more appearances than Pittsburgh as the Steelers look to capture their NFL-record 6th title against Arizona on February 1st, 2009 in Tampa Bay, Florida.

I can't wait.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What Do You Get....

When you throw the ball 47 times and run it just 17?

You lose your 4th NFC Championship game in 5 tries!!!

Cardinals Make it to Super Bowl


Yep. It's true.

Dear Andy Reid

You are fired.


Signed,

The fans of the Eagles and SSReporters

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

DSRSTSV! (1/13/09)




Naughty drunk Giants fan. Can't you take a loss properly?

The Official NFL Conference Championship Preview (2008-09)

This is it. Four teams will play til the death this Sunday. Four teams will give it all they've got and leave it all out on the field. The winner? Well, all the winner will get to do is travel to Tampa Bay and play for the Vince Lombardi Trophy in two weeks, a chance at NFL history. Both the NFC teams, Philadelphia and Arizona are looking for their first-ever Super Bowl championship. Baltimore is looking for their second title since returning to Baltimore in 1996 while the Pittsburgh Steelers are seeking their record-breaking 6th Super Bowl win.

Three of the four QB's in this weekend's games have played in a Super Bowl, two of those three have a ring in their possession (Kurt Warner with STL in '99, Ben Roethlisberger with PIT in '05).

The Phildadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals will kickoff at 3 PM ET in Glendale, Arizona. The Eagles must stop the duo of Warner and Pro Bowl wideout Larry Fitzgerald after the two went for 166 yards and a TD against the Carolina Panthers last week. Eagles safety, Brian Dawkins, is nearing the end of his career and has yet to win a ring. Dawkins, the heart and soul of Philly's D for years, is Donovan McNabb's and the rest of the Eagles' motivation. Arizona's motivation in this game? How about losing season after losing season. They have rarely even managed to make the playoffs and they finally realized they are just one game away from the Super Bowl in Tampa. What more can you ask for??

As for the Ravens/Steelers game in Pittsburgh (scheduled to kickoff at 6:30 PM ET), many believe the third time's the charm for Baltimore's stingy defense. Pittsburgh has come out on top in both of the two team's previous meetings this season, and that was a Steelers team suffering injury after injury. But, after watching the Steelers 35-24 route of the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, the Steelers look to be as healthy as ever. This game will be better than the Super Bowl itself. The cold, snowy weather will make due for a very physical, run-based game. Both defenses are on the top of their game and are looking to knock off their division-rival. The winner of this game has a very good chance in the Super Bowl. I present you the third of four Playoff Previews (4-4 in eight playoff games, ew that's not good):

  • What I, myself think.
  • What Madden 09 (for XBOX 360) says.

and, of course...

  • What 'Whatifsports.com' says (FYI: WIS just recently released the 2008 rosters).

NFC Conference Championship

Philadelphia Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals

Sunday, January 18th, 2009 at 3 PM ET

ME: PHI 24, ARI 17

Donovan McNabb has played tremendously this playoff season and even when Philadelphia's run game has struggled, Philly has been able to win games anyway because of solid defensive play. Asante Samuel and Brian Dawkins have had great games in the defensive secondary and if they can double-team Larry Fitzgerald it will be a much easier win for Philadelphia than expected. Give Brian Westbrook the ball early and often to take pressure off McNabb and continue giving him the ball if/when Philly gets a comfortable lead. Yes, Arizona winning this game will be a great head-liner, but I'm doubting them once again. Prove me wrong, Arizona!

Madden '09: PHI 16, ARI 23

Kurt Warner led his team to victory with a little help from the best WR in the league, Larry Fitzgerald of course. Warner went 23 of 32 for 238 yards and 2 TD's against Brian Dawkins and Asante Samuel. Guess they should've double-teamed him, huh? Fitzgerald caught both TD's for 24 and 32 yards in the second and third quarters. The rest of the scoring came off the once Pro Bowl kicker Neil Rackers who booted three FG's from beyond 43 yards. Donovan McNabb passed for just 195 yards and a TD, Brian Westbrook caught a TD and ran for another. A safety on Kurt Warner in the third capped Philly's scoring as Arizona rolled on to their first-ever Super Bowl appearance. Can you believe it!?!?

WIS: PHI 27, ARI 13

Well, it appears as though WIS knew exactly what Philly had to do to stop Warner and Fitz...double-team them, of course! I've mentioned that in this article several times now and yes, it works occasionally. Arizona couldn't stop Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook. McNabb threw for 321 yards while Westbrook ran for 128 and a TD. Brian Dawkins made 8 tackles and record 1.5 sacks with a forced fumble on Warner. Now, that's how you win ballgames!

Overall: PHI (2-1)

AFC Conference Championship

Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Sunday, January 18th, 2009 at 6:30 PM ET

ME: It's a toss-up! (but really, Pittsburgh wins 17-14)

Literally, I'm not sure I can pick a winner. Pittsburgh is favored by 6 points, but it will be much closer than that. People are continuing to say that Baltimore has more motivation and "third time's the charm" but that's just bull. Pittsburgh is just as motivated as Baltimore is. The two teams have the hottest defenses in the league right now and both QB's have very similar abilities and are about one inch and 10 pounds size difference. Ben Roethlisberger will be playing in his third career AFC Championship game and this defense seems to have a little more playoff experience on their side but that's about it. Like I said earlier, though, Pittsburgh seems to be healthy for the first time in what, 12 or 13 weeks at least. Baltimore's defense did struggle to stop Tennessee's run in the first half of last game, Pittsburgh will need to mimic what Tennessee's Chris Johnson did while actually on the field. I picked a generic score of about 17-14 and flipped a coin. Baltimore won two out of three times. But, I'm going against those odds and saying Pittsburgh wins. Call me bias all you want, I'm not a professional, I do what I want!

Madden '09: BAL 17, PIT 20

Ed Reed picked off Ben Roethlisberger once and sacks him twice, but James Harrison and James Farrior lead Pittsburgh's defense with 2 sacks each (PIT sacked Joe Flacco 6 total times), and Troy Polamalu picked him off twice. Ray Lewis led Baltimore's hard-hitting defense with 13 tackles and a sack as Roethlisberger completed 18 of his 29 passes for 202 yards. Hines Ward was clutch as he caught seven passes for 89 yards and the game-winning 24-yard TD catch with less than a minute to play. Jeff Reed's two 40+ yard FG's were huge, too. Baltimore got off to a 14-0 start and led 14-3 at the half. But, just like most other games this season, Roethlisberger led a second-half comeback. Pittsburgh outscored Baltimore 17-3 in the third and fourth quarters on their way to another Super Bowl appearance.

WIS: BAL 7, PIT 6

Talk about a defensive slugfest! In the end, Baltimore late big-play makes the difference. Rookie QB Joe Flacco throws a 79-yard bomb to TE Todd Heap with just under four minutes remaining. Heap has made a couple big plays in the past couple of games and he had 94 of Flacco's 174 passing yards in the one-point win. Ray Lewis' 10 tackles and Ed Reed and Justin Bannan's interceptions of Ben Roethlisberger make the difference in the game as Roethlisberger goes 11 of 22 for 99 yards and 2 INT's. The game may not have been as close if veteran kicker Matt Stover hadn't missed the 45-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter for Baltimore.

Overall: PIT (2-1)

Super Bowl Match-up:

Philadelphia v.s. Pittsburgh

Battle of PA!

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