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.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
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
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.
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
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
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
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!
Monday, January 12, 2009
The 32-year old, long-time Ranger has experienced his fair share of bad luck and shear discomfort throughout his nine seasons in a Texas uniform. It's not really that the Rangers organization has flat-out disrespected him, he has just been bumped around so much that he probably feels that way, at this point.
Originally a second baseman, Young played three different positions in his third season in the majors during the 2002 season (2B, SS, 3B). Before the 2004 season Young was, likely unwillingly, moved to shortstop after the trade of current SS Alex Rodriguez and the recent acquisition of former New York Yankees second baseman, Alfonso Soriano. That season Young played 158 games at short and two as the team's designated hitter (DH).
Young has played 150+ games at short every year since the move.
But after all these years, Young's days in Texas seem to be on the cusp of diminishing. Young announced publicy that he wants out of Texas after the organization's latest stunt; bumping Young to third. Texas is trying to replace Young with rookie SS, Elvis Andrus. Why the Rangers thought they could take advantage of Young's unique ability to play the game of baseball is beyond me. Before now, I really don't think I've heard much from Michael, but he has made his voice loud and clear this time; He WANTS OUT, Texas!
His numbers may not be quite as eye-popping as the likes of Alex Rodriguez or Albert Pujols, but Young can get it done and, as you can see, very versatile. He can hit, field and run at an above-average level day in and day out. Michael has hit for a .300 or better average in five of his nine seasons with Texas, has stolen double-digit bases in four seasons (he only went one season without any SB because he had just two AB's in '00), and has a career .980 fielding percentage in over 1,200 career games.
Add his five All-star selections, one All-star game MVP and his Gold Glove from last season and you've got a pretty reliable resumé.
My point: Michael Young should take his business elsewhere. If Texas' General Manager, Joe Daniels, and Manager, Ron Washington, don't appreciate what he has done for the team while at the position, they don't deserve to have a player of his caliber on the ball club. Period. End of story. Here's what Young, himself, has to say about the matter (Quote from MLB.com's Hot Stove Report):
"Shortstop is my job, I've worked hard at it. I've earned it."
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The 1976 Buccaneers, the 2008 Detroit Lions. Both came into the Superdome in New Orleans winless, among the most embarrassing teams in NFL history. The Buccaneers needed nearly 2 whole seasons to get their first win in franchise history, the Lions went from the days of Barry Sanders to the days of Dan Orlovsky. One of them left the Big Easy with their first, and only win in front of a crowd of about 1700. It’s the Buccaneers against the Lions using Whatifsports.com’s simulator, read on!
Narrated by John Facenda:
Tampa Bay kicked off to Detroit to start the game. I have no introduction because we’re talking about 2 teams that are remarkably, historically, inconceivably awful, and I don’t want to waste my breath doing an intro. Dan Orlovsky drove the Lions down the field against that inept Buccaneers defense. A 10 play, 75 yard drive took 6:16 off the clock. Sadly, we’ve got two winless teams, and Orlovsky could not hit Sean MacDonald in the end zone and they had to settle for a field goal made by Jason Hanson. 3-0 Lions
Tampa Bay, led by Heisman Trophy winner Steve Spurrier, responded with a bang. A combination of an aerial assault with John McKay and Morris Owens with the running attack featuring Louis Carter and Ed Williams took the Bucs all the way down to the 29 yard line of Detroit. Spurrier cleaned up the rest with a touchdown pass on the next play to John McKay, giving the Bucs a stunning 7-3 lead.
Back came Detroit, neither defense could stop each other it seemed, until Bert Cooper piledrived Orlovsky into the ground when Detroit was driving. The Lions would go into the next quarter facing a 3rd and 19 at the Tampa Bay 27.
A daunting task for the 0-16 Lions, a 3rd and 19 just when they were ready to pick apart the Bucs for more points. Orlovsky would not be denied, finding Michael Gaines, shedding a tackle and getting into the end zone. Lions 10 Buccaneers 7
Spurrier replied by playing pitch and catch with Morris Owens, all the way to the Detroit 29. The Lions defense stepped up though, and forced the first major mistake of the game. Jared DeVries pressure Spurrier, resulting in a sack and a fumble, which the Lions wouls recover at their own 34. The first turnover of the game meant the Lions had a chance to take a two possession lead.
Once again, a determined Lions offense beat up Tampa Bay, with Orlovsky completing 5 of his 8 passes in a 10 play drive. The 3rd down pass from the 5 hit Calvin Johnson, who scored his first touchdown of the game. The Lions capitalized, and took a 17-7 lead.
Late in the first half Hanson tacked on another short field goal, already Detroit’s 3rd red zone drive, but twice it ended in a field goal. Detroit was suffocating the Bucs, and went into the locker room with a 20-7 lead.
Lions coach Rod Marinelli only said to his team to do their best, while Tampa Bay coach John McKay (yes, there were two John McKays on the team, a coach and a player) reminded them that they couldn’t stop the Detroit Lions on defense, otherwise they were doing well. Whatever else was said obviously worked for Tampa Bay, because the Lions showed once again why they were winless, getting only 1 first down in the 3rd quarter and punting it 4 times. However, Tampa Bay did even worse, and didn’t get a first down until the final play of the quarter. Running back Rod McNeill picked up 34 yards on a draw play, rumbling to the Detroit 30. Heading into the 4th, the Lions were in the lead, but Tampa Bay had a chance to close that lead. Lions 20 Buccaneers 7
The very first play of the 4th quarter would be a touchdown for the 1976 Buccaneers. Spurrier, who finished the game completing less than half of his passes, hit Bob Moore, who outran the Lions defense for a 30 yard touchdown. Back in the game, down just 20-14.
Back came Detroit with a 10 play, 70 yard drive of their own. It was another drive dominated by the passing of Dan Orlovsky, but once again in the red zone they faltered, settling for another Hanson field goal. 23-14 Lions with 8:57 left in the game. For Detroit, 4 red zone posessions, only 1 touchdown to show for it.
Tampa Bay replied with an 8 play, 73 yard drive in just 3:07, huge considering time was running out, and Spurrier threw his 3rd touchdown pass, this one to Morris Owens for 14 yards. However, it wouldn’t be a battle of winless teams without a simple goof-up. Kicker Dave Green missed the extra point, and the Lions lead was 23-20 with 5:41 to go. A field goal would only tie, and not win the game thanks to that crucial screw up.
Don’t worry, the Lions would make a game-changing play. Orlovsky was replaced by Jon Kitna, trying to prove he can still play in the league. Kitna was 1-3 in his only series, the revived Bucs defense would not be fooled by Marinelli’s surprise, and Ken Stone picked off Kitna and returned it to the Lions 34 yard line with 3:55 to go.
Tampa Bay had a chance to win it in regulation, slowly pounding the football and just killing time off the clock. With just 1:32 to go, the Bucs were inside the 5 facing a 2nd and goal. The only thing stopping Tampa Bay from a comeback victory, was Detroit’s tiring defense, and sheer incompetence. Spurrier’s pass for Williams was incomplete, 3rd and goal. Only 1 more stand needed, and they would get it.
SLAM!!!!! Down went Spurrier at the 9 yard line, former Seattle Seahawk, Chuck Darby came up huge and sacked the quarterback to force Tampa Bay to kick the field goal to force overtime. It was now or never, Green already missed an extra point, and if he missed this chipshot field goal, the Lions would leave the already emptying out Superdome with a win. The snap was down, the kick was perfect, and with :39 left, overtime was imminent. Not only did Kitna’s interception give Tampa Bay life, it proved costly. Detroit’s attempt to win it with little time failed, overtime with the score tied at 23-23.
Detroit won the coin toss and elected to receive. They were devastated, already blowing a 13 point lead in the final quarter, knowing a missed extra point prevented this game from going into overtime. It was a disaster, Kevin Smith lost 4 yards on 1st down, Orlovsky scrambled for 6 yards on 2nd and 14. For some reason, Marinelli called a running play on 3rd and 8, and they got no yards. Just like that, Tampa Bay got the ball back.
The Buccaneers’ ground game gained 54 yards on their drive which started at their own 31, Spurrier threw just 1 pass, a completion to Owens for 15 to the Lions 35. Carter, Williams, McNeill, and Essex Johnson pounded the rock, wore down the Lions defense. Then, with the ball at the 7 yard line, went for the kill:
“Handoff to MacNeill, left side with a big hole!! TOUCHDOWN TAMPA BAY!!! TOUCHDOWN TAMPA BAY!!!! BUCS WIN!!! AT LONG LAST!!! WE HAVE A WIN BABY!!! TOUCHDOWN!!!!”
The drought was over. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Detroit Lions in a thrilling comeback win, and the 1976 team got their win after all, while the Lions went frustratingly into their locker room cementing themselves as the worst NFL team of all time. Coach McKay was showered in Champagne, Coach Marinelli congratulated his guys for trying.
Steve Spurrier won the MVP award for the game, completing 11-24 for 193 yards and 3 touchdowns, with no interceptions.
A game in which both teams made many mistakes as expected, the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were victorious.
* 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).
Baltimore Ravens @ Tennessee Titans
Saturday, January 10th, 2009 at 4:30 PM ET
ME: BAL 21, TEN 24
Like most playoff games nowadays, this game will be close and will come down to the team that makes the least mistakes. With DE's Albert Haynesworth and Kyle Vanden Bosch back in the lineup, Tennessee will get plenty of pressure on rookie QB Joe Flacco, sacking him many times and forcing multiple turnovers. With their elite RB's--Lendale White and rookie Chris Johnson--in the backfield, Tennessee will have no trouble controlling the clock. I actually believe if QB Kerry Collins can limit mistakes on offense and maybe score two or three times, they should be able to control the tempo and dominate both sides of the ball. Collins keeps the ball away from Ed Reed and Chris Johnson rolls for 120+ as Tennessee advances.
Madden '09: BAL 19, TEN 13
Turns out Baltimore's defense is very good, though I'm sure you already figured that out for yourself. The Ray Lewis-led squad dominated Kerry Collins and Tennessee in this Madden matchup by sacking him four times (two of which went to Lewis, himself), plus a Terrell Suggs INT. The bright moment for Tennessee was Chris Johnson's 56-yard run early in the third quarter, which gave Tennessee the 13-12 lead. But, the rookie Flacco managed a late scoring drive which was capped by a three-yard TD which he ran in himself. The Matt Stover extra point gave Baltimore the 19-13 lead with just over a minute to play. Ray Lewis sealed the win with a late sack of Kerry Collins as time expired. Could Baltimore match their 2000 Super Bowl season? Their defense just may be good enough.
WIS: BAL 6, TEN 12
Kerry Collins was't near as affective as he should've been (7 for 18, 44 passing yards), but he was able to get the job done, nonetheless. As I expected, defense is what won the game. Tennessee shut Flacco down, sacking him three times and limiting him to just 115 yards through the air. Chris Johnson led the team in rushing yards, with 75, as Tennessee picked up 155 on 35 carries. Four Rob Bironas FG's and three Matt Stover FG's were the only points of the game. So, I guess in a way, it was the special teams that made the difference. Anyway, Tennessee moves on, according to WIS.com.
Overall: TEN (2-1)
Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers
Saturday, January 10th, 2009 at 8:15 PM ET
ME: ARI 35, CAR 31
Ah, yes. The big, head-scratching prediction. I have been praising the Panthers' running game and calling Jake Delhomme the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year all season long, but I'm going to have to pick against the mighty Panthers this week. I like the matchup of Kurt Warner and Pro Bowl WR's Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin v.s. Carolina's 16th ranked pass defense. Arizona limited Atlanta's sixth ranked offense to 250 total yards and the game's second-leading rusher, Michael Turner, to just 42 yards (forced a Turner fumble, too). Not to mention the three turnovers they forced, including two Matt Ryan INT's. Arizona has as much of a chance at stopping the Panthers elite running game as anyone.
Madden '09: ARI 17, CAR 33
So, it appears as though John Madden and his crew don't agree with my upset pick, at all. He has Carolina playing mistake-free, T.O.P. domination. In this game, the killer duo of DeAngelo Williams and rookie Jonathan Stewart combining for 165 yards and 2 TD's (one each). Jake Delhomme went 18 of 26 for 261 yards and a late second quarter TD pass to All-Pro WR Steve Smith, which gave Carolina a 17-0 advantage. A late scoring spree for Kurt Warner and his Cards wasn't enough as the second seeded Panthers advanced to the NFC Conference Championship game.
WIS: ARI 38, CAR 24
Wow, this result really surprised me. Not only did Arizona beat Carolina by two TD's, but Kurt Warner threw for 269 yards and three TD's while Arizona stopped the DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart-led Carolina run game to 116 yards on 34 carries. Larry Fitzgerald was Arizona's leading receiver with 5 catches for 93 yards and two of Warner's three passing TD's. Arizona's defense also sacked Delhomme (14 for 22 for 182 yards) twice and picked him off once more, which happened to be returned 61 yards for a TD by former Steelers LB Clark Haggans in the second quarter.
Overall: ARI (2-1)
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants
Sunday, January 11th, 2009 at 1 PM ET
ME: PHI 17, NYG 31
I'm not buying into the whole "Eagles are untouchable" talk I keep hearing. Yes, they may have beaten the Giants earlier in the season, but I guess you haven't learned your lesson yet: don't doubt Eli Manning in the playoffs. He WILL prove you wrong, he's done it before. ESPN's poll showed that about 54% of people out there believed Philly would win. Philly's D gave up 83 rushing yards and two TD's to Adrian Peterson last week. What do you think the trio of Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw are going to do to this defense? If Philly can't get Brian Westbrook going early, it could be a long day for this Philly offense going up against the NFL's fifth best defense, led by DE Justin Tuck.
Madden '09: PHI 18, NYG 17
Philadelphia advanced with the slimest of margins thanks to 247 passing yards and a late TD pass to the rookie DeSean Jackson--who broke out for five catches, 102 yards and the TD catch. But, the Eagles pulled off the miraculous 14-point comeback thanks to four kicks booted through the uprights by veteran David Akers. Eli Manning and the G-Men took the 14-0 lead after a McNabb fumble was returned for a TD and Ahmad Bradshaw ran the ball in from two yards out. Akers hit three of his four FG's in the second half as McNabb's Eagles outscored New York 12-0 in the fourth quarter and 15-3 in the second half. Philly can thank Manning's two second-half INT's, which were both intercepted by Philly's Quintin Mikell. Brandon Jacobs' 133 rushing yards ended up making little impact on the outcome.
WIS: PHI 23, NYG 21
Donovan McNabb and the Eagles' D proved me wrong as Philly pulled off a two-point upset. Eli Manning was nothing compared to the red-hot Eagle defense. In fact, Manning went just 14 for 25 for 172 yards (0 TD, 0 INT). It was New York's running game that kept the Giants' hopes alive with 214 yards on 28 carries, scoring all three of the team's TD's (2 Ward, 1 Jacobs). Head coach Andy Reid did, in fact, get the running game going early and often for Philadelphia as Brian Westbrook scored his lone TD from 20-yards out just five minutes into the game. Westbrook finished with 129 yards on the ground and 46 through the air en route to a 23-21 win.
Overall: PHI (2-1)
San Diego Chargers @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Sunday, January 11th, 2009 at 4:45 PM ET
ME: SD 10, PIT 24
All bias aside, Pittsburgh will win this football game. The only thing I'm real worried about, at this point, is how Ben Roethlisberger will react after sustaining a concussion against the Cleveland Browns two weeks ago. The guy is a warrior and has been hit plenty before. If he can just manage the game--he really doesn't have to do anything special--Pittsburgh will be fine. Mike Tomlin will most likely get the run game going early and often. If Willie Parker can be affective on the ground, it's smooth sailing from there. On defense, they will need to stop the little man, Darren Sproles, since the 'Bolts will most likely be without Ladainian Tomlinson for a majority of the game, anyway. Score some points on the ground, limit mistakes and force a few turnovers is what Pittsburgh must--and will--do against the Chargers' on Sunday.
Madden '09: SD 17, PIT 24
Ben Roethlisberger played a real solid game, completing 18 of his 25 passes for 198 yards and two TD's. But, the talk of the night was Willie Parker and his 132 rushing yards and two TD runs. Pittsburgh lost two fumbles on offense, but Pittsburgh's two INT's and five sacks of Philip Rivers (three recorded by James Harrison) made up for the offensive turnovers. Tomlinson and Sproles combined for just 73 rushing yards as Pittsburgh held the ball for 36 of the possible 60 minutes.
WIS: SD 10, PIT 20
Again, Ben Roethlisberger had a solid game, going 15 for 22, 249 yards and a fourth quarter TD pass to Hines Ward. Darren Sproles and Ladainian Tomlinson combined for 101 of the Chargers' 122 yards on the ground, but a couple James Harrison sacks and a Troy Polamalu INT proved costly for Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers offense. Pittsburgh played usual Steeler defense and dominated the time of possession with their 338 total yards and zero turnovers on offense. Pittsburgh advances to play Tennessee in the Conference Championship, according to me and WIS.
Overall: PIT (3-0)
There is something wrong with Reggie Bush. Well, we have known since October that the onetime top pick of the New Orleans Saints has suffered from knee injuries the sidelined him for the bulk of the 2008 season. However, today our understanding of the extent of Reggie Bush’s knee injuries just became a little bit clearer, while our understanding of the future for the star tailback just become clouded.
The New Orleans Saints admitted today in a phone call that Reggie Bush underwent a microfracture surgery procedure on his left knee. The surgery took place in mid-December shortly after the Saints back was placed on injury reserve due to lingering problems in the knee. The microfracture surgery will sideline Bush for several months as he works to rehab the injured knee. Saints officials are hoping that Reggie Bush will be healthy enough to play come mini-camp in June.
However, the more interesting story behind all of this, is one has to examine the idea that Reggie Bush is a NFL bust? Just take a look at the stats, and see for yourself how effective the one time USC star has been since entering the NFL in 2006. Since entering the NFL in 2006 Reggie Bush has competed in all 16 games just once. Over the course of his three year career, Reggie Bush has rushed for 1550 yards, and he has 1599 yards receiving, that’s his combined total. Yes, Bush shares times one Pro-Bowler Deuce McAllister, but those numbers are flat out horrible for a player who was labeled as the savior for the franchise.
Reggie Bush has had his moments of stardom where he can take over a game with his big play ability, especially on special teams, where he is a threat to return a punt for a touchdown nearly every time he touches the ball. However, the sum of his overall body of work has to leave most wanting more from the top draft pick. In reality Reggie Bush’s impact on the Saint’s offense has been little more than the impact Devon Hester has had on the Chicago Bears offense.
Now with two years of limited action due to a bum knee, and the recent news of microfracture surgery, one has to seriously consider the overall effect of having Reggie Bush on the roster. His production on the field has been limited at best. He proved he cannot run between the tackles and therefore he is not an every down back. Not to mention, Bush seemed to pick up a bit of a fumbling problem this past season when he was in action. In addition one has to wonder just how seriously Reggie Bush takes his football career. He has plenty of distractions in his life now that he is dating tabloid headliner Kim Kardashian. Will he spend more time jetting between L.A. and Vegas than rehabbing? Hey, it is a legitimate question to ask, if Jessica Simpson is the antichrist for Tony Romo, who’s to say Kim Kardashian does not have the same affect on Bush.
Granted hind sight is 50/50 as Steve Spurrier would say, but one has to think the Houston Texans got it right, when they picked up Mario Williams with the first picked and passed on Reggie Bush. The injuries plus the lack of size, it’s just not possible for Bush to live up to expectations and he will never amount to much more than an above average special teams player.
Monday, January 5, 2009
That's just a few of the accomplishments that make up New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's long resume in the National Football League. But, Brady's 2008 campaign was destroyed right off the bat after suffering a serious knee injury week one of the season, against the Kansas City Chiefs. Both the ACL and MCL in his knee were torn after Kansas City defensive back Bernard Pollard rolled on top of it during the first quarter. The injury forced New England to place him on the injured reserve, abruptly ending his season.Former University of Southern California quarterback, Matt Cassel, stepped in right away and led the team to the week one victory, 17-10. With little NFL experience, not much was expected of Cassel--who hadn't started a game since high school before Brady went down. Many TV analysts and fans considered New England's season spoiled.
In three and a half quarters of play, Cassel went 13 of 18 for 152 yards and a touchdown pass against the Chiefs. Not bad. The following week, against division-rival New York Jets, Cassel threw for 165 yards in a 19-10 victory.
In the end, Cassel--the unlikely hero--threw for 3,693 yards, 21 TD's and just 11 interceptions for the 11-5 Patriots. Yes, the team failed to make the playoffs, but that doesn't take away from the successful season the 26-year old Matt Cassel had under center. Cassel started off a bit on the rough side of things, but towards the end of the regular season, Cassel was as cool as "Joe Cool'' himself while in the pocket.
His success brought up an interesting topic this Sunday. The Patriots' organization decided to use their "franchise tag" on Cassel, keeping him in town for at least one more season. For those that don't know, the franchise tag is a designation that each NFL team are allowed to place on one player--usually of high importance to the team--that is scheduled to be a free agent that year. This strategic manuever allows teams to keep a highly-talented player for one extra year. For that season, that player's salary is guaranteed for that season.
The announcement made by New England's front office can only mean two things: A. Tom Brady's rehabilitation isn't going very smoothly or B. New England wishes to keep Cassel as their starter for next season.
Say it's crazy, but I wouldn't be surprised if Brady started the 2009 season off on the bench. Cassel is five years younger than the all-pro Brady, and knee injuries are one of the worst injuries to sustain in a game like football. Brady doesn't want to return too early and aggravate the knee, which has already been operated on several times.
The smart thing for head coach Bill Belichick to do here is sit Brady to begin the season, no matter how well Brady says his knee is. I suspect that's the reasoning behind the franchise tagging of Matt Cassel and fully agree in this move, considering the situation.
I mean, what's the worst that can happen? Ok, so Cassel has a rough start to the '09 season. Big deal. Brady has overcome many obstacles in his nine-year career. Cassel has displayed the leadership skills, and overall talent this season, I'm sure he can manage. Besides, football is a team game. It will take more than a few quarterbacking mistakes to fall in an early hole.
Keep Cassel another year for stability, Brady gets back to his normal winning routine and the Patriots could get a lot in return for a quarterback of Cassel's caliber. But, it's never a bad thing to have two capable quarterbacks on your roster.