Friday, February 3, 2012

Super Bowl Preview: The Pats get Revenge

The Pats are back in the Super Bowl for the 5th time in the last 10 years (god we Boston fans are spoiled). This time around is completely different than 07-08. Much of the talk this week has been about Eli Manning and how he and the Giants  look so much like the team of 07. Actually, this isn't true. They are better than that team.

The Giants should be favored in this game and I'm not really sure why the spread is still -2 for the Pats.  How do you beat the Patriots? Have a dominant defensive line that can pressure Brady and explosive receivers that can expose the suspect, though underrated Patriots defense. The Giants come equipped with both of these. Not to mention the hottest quarterback in the league, Eli Manning. The Giants in theory should win this game.

Why do I still think the Patriots will win? It is simple. The underdog role is when the Pats play their best football. Personally I hated the 2007-2008 season. Every game we had everything to lose and nothing to gain. We were always the top dog. Although the Patriots have been dominant at times this year, the defense is suspect at best and we have no outside receivers (Ocho Cinco is horrific). 

What we do have is the best player in the game (Tom Brady), the best coach ever ( Belichick), and Gronk, who may or may not be a human being. You combine that with the revenge factor and I see a Pats win. My prediction is 30-20 Pats, though I hope it's a blow out. Those that want a "good game" are not real fans of either team. The best game I ever saw was the blowout of the Lakers in game 6 of the 08 Finals.

A couple quick thoughts before I go to sleep like the grandpa I am.  Eli Manning is nowhere near as good as Peyton Manning. In the Twitter world we live in people only remember what's good right now. Eli had a great year and yes if he wins a second Super Bowl he's in the top 5 of active QB's but are you serious? I've always rooted against Peyton but that guy dominated for a decade straight and never had half as good a D as Manning. Put together 6 more years of this Eli and maybe you can be compared to your older brother.

If Brady wins Sunday he's the greatest quarterback ever. Four Super Bowls in 10 years is like winning 7 super Bowls back in the 70's. If he loses though, that's two straight Super Bowl losses as a "favorite".  Even worse is the inevitable blabber we'll hear the from the talking heads who will say "Eli is the most clutch QB ever" way too many times. Don't make me turn off SportsCenter for 3 weeks again Pats. Let's do this.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What the Penn State Scandal tells us about Society

"Paterno told Penn State athletic director Tim Curley that McQueary had seen Sandusky "fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy." About two weeks later, Curley told McQueary that Sandusky's keys to the locker room had been taken away." -The Detroit Free Press

Really? That's it. Are you kidding me? Paterno and the Penn State brass are told about a young boy being sexually abused and they treat it like some underage drinking offense? Whether or not this quote is fabricated,  the fact is Paterno did not do enough. In this case it's not enough to just play by the book. Paterno backers and Penn State Alum will defend Paterno to the death and I guess I can understand that. He is Penn State.  At the same time don't for one minute think they would be defending any other coach from any other school if they did the same thing. Sports fans have blinders on especially when it comes to the college they went to.

In case you've been living under a rock for the last week you know about the heinous acts committed by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky to 8 (probably dozens more) young boys during his tenure at Penn State. The acts are the most despicable you can imagine. The fact is Paterno knew that it was happening and didn't put a stop to it. Taking away someone's keys to the locker room? What a joke.

The riots at Penn State are microcosm of what is wrong with society. We treat our sports figures as larger than life and put them on a pedestal. The backers are all talking about how Joe didn't deserve to go out like this or they should've let him finish the season. Why? First off Paterno stopped coaching the team about 6 years ago but that is besides the point. If this happened anywhere else the person would've been fired. Did Joe commit a criminal act? No. At the same time he knew a criminal act was going on and just filed a simple complaint. That isn't acceptable. This isn't someone cheating on a test. This isn't someone getting a free ticket. This is knowing one of your coaches is having sex with young boys and ruining their lives forever. Yes, these kids lives are ruined forever and I guarantee he did it to more boys because not enough was done.

I saw riots at Umass after Red Sox wins and didn't understand them.  In fact I don't really understand riots and breaking stuff in general. This isn't just a Penn state thing it's a society thing. I love sports as much as anyone but why are we so passionate about relatively unimportant things like sports and not about moreimportant matters like a child's well being? There were more people rioting against Joe Paterno's firing than rioting against the the Penn State leadership and everyone involved with these crimes. It's sickening.

Did we forget about moral code? Why is selling a jersey more of an offense than not following up on sexual abuse to a child? Sometimes it's not enough to just play by the book when their are young kids lives at stake. These kids are tainted forever and so are there families and so are there families families. Sure, Penn State is in chaos now, but it will bounce back. Unfortunately the victims will never be the same.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Red Sox Didn't Deserve It

Last night's Red Sox loss to the Orioles completed an epic collapse never seen in MLB History. It marked the first time a team has lost a 9 game lead going into September. What made it that much more pathetic was that the Red Sox had to rely on the Yankees to get them into the playoffs. They didn't deserve to play in October.

Let's look at the facts. The Sox started the season with World Series aspirations and right out the gate went 2-10. The overly sensitive and dramatic Red Sox fans freaked, but the season is 780 games long so no one really should have paid attention.

The Sox ended up going on a roll and looked prime to grab only their second division title since 1995. Instead, the Sox and their $162 million payroll lost the final game and wild card spot to a team with a $42 million payroll. The fact that this salary disparity even exists makes me not really respect the game of baseball, but that is for another blog.

No one should feel sorry for Sox fans. We have won two world series titles in the last 7 years. We're relevant every year. We get any top player that doesn't go to the Yankees or Phillies. We are everywhere, so always have fellow Sox fans around.

With that being said, Red Sox Nation should be concerned with the direction the team is going. Being from DC, it reminds me a little of what Dan Snyder has done. Paying players exorbitant amounts of money ( Carl Crawford) and basically saying, you have to be an MVP or you are a failure. Crawford came on later in the season, but with his salary we probably won't be able to keep one of the best and most popular young players in the game Jacoby Ellsbury. We do not want to turn into the Yankees (if we haven't already).

The question really becomes, would you rather have the pressure to win it all every year with high priced free agents? Or would you rather build a team around less known entities like Ellsbury and Pedroia? Obviously, most players don't turn out like those two, but sometimes I miss the feeling of watching an underdog succeed. I haven't enjoyed the Red Sox the last few years because it just seems like the culture has changed.

Look, I don't blame the Red Sox for spending money. If you really want to change baseball you need a salary cap. While Bud Selig can talk all he wants about parody in baseball, the fact is the Orioles will probably never be in the playoffs again and the Red Sox, Yankees, and Phillies will always at least be in the hunt. While this is a tough loss to take, I can take comfort in knowing that at least they will be back in the hunt next year. Unfortunately, most fans can't say the same.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Low Risk, High Reward....That is the Patriots Way

The last time I wrote in this blog the Patriots had just been dominated by the hated Jets and I was in a state of depression. Was the Patriots dominance over? How would we bounce back from this? I should've known better. The Patriots are a winning organization. They are the best organization in sports because they draft well, only spend money on indispensable players (Tom Brady), and always follow the formula of low risk and high reward.

When I first heard the news of the Haynesworth signing yesterday I was shocked, then angry, then a little giddy. Look, I've lived in DC and seen first hand how much of a scum bag this guy is. I don't know if there has ever been a worse teammate in the history of sports than Haynesworth was on the Redskins. However, I then realized that bringing him in was pretty much a no risk situation.

We only have him for one year and have to pay him $5 million. The Redskins needed to get rid of the guy so we got a former defensive player of the year for a 5th round draft pick. Does anyone remember what happened after the Randy Moss trade? I sure do.  I'll never root for Haynesworth but the Patriots were in serious need of D-Line help and I think at the end of the day Fat Albert will be a positive fit.

Ocho Cinco was a great pick up. People get this impression that he is a bad teammate. Not at all. Sure he's flamboyant and over the top but the guy plays hard on the field and wants to win. More importantly he already has a good relationship with Belichick.  If Belichick sees something in him than I am on board. Also, remember that the corpse of Carson Palmer was throwing to him last year. The guy can barely throw 10 yards anymore. With the Patriots other weapons on offense Chad will get more single coverage and I expect 75-80 catches and 9-10 touchdowns out of him this year. He doesn't have to be a top 5 receiver for us he just needs to be a threat. Our lack of a true #1 was exposed in last year's loss to the Jets.

The Patriots do it again. Even if the Haynesowth and Ocho Cinco trades don't pan out(which I think is highly unlikely) what have we really lost? We still have one of the best young defenses in the league, the best quarterback in the league, and the best young pass catching tight ends in the league. Not to mention Robert Kraft who is the best owner in all of sports. I can't wait until football.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Not a fan of the favorite role

After yesterday's tough loss to the hated Jets it reaffirmed my distaste for being the favorite. I hated the undefeated 2007-2008 Patriots season. Every week there was everything to lose and nothing to gain. This postseason was much the same. People all had us in the Super Bowl. Furthermore,  playoff football is a one game elimination sport. The best team doesn't always win. It is about who is playing the best on that day.

With that being said, on paper the Jets are a better team than the Patriots. Overall they have better players than New England. They have more proven receivers and running backs. They have better corners, linebackers, and pass rushers.  People always say in Belichick and Brady we trust, and I agree that they are the best coaching/QB duo of all time and have not lost faith in them. At the same time they surely aren't unbeatable. The Jets are what the Patriots used to be. A team with something to prove. The difference is the Jets like to talk smack and create controversy but that's for another blog.  I'm hoping that next year the Jets will be the team everyone is going for and that the Patriots can get back to the underdog role they played so well earlier in the decade.

Before the season I thought this was a rebuilding year. We had a very young defense, Welker was coming off injury, and the O-line had question marks. On paper this was a 9 or10 win team. We flat out overachieved because of the great play by our rookies, most notably McCourtey, Gronkowski, and Hernandez. Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Law Firm for short, were outstanding.  Brady had a season for the ages and Belichick showed he still has plenty left in the tank. We dealt with the Randy Moss issue and as usual came out on top. There is a lot to look forward to for next year especially with the 157 picks we have in the draft.

I hope we are in the Jets position next year. I hope we are the underdog going into New York. This is when the Patriots are at their best.  I'm not going to start complaining and being bitter about this loss. I'm fortunate enough to have a team that is good enough to make the playoffs. Think of being a Browns or Lions fan. At the same time it's not always great being the hunted. On day's like this I think back to 2002 Super Bowl win against the Rams and get nostalgic. Anyway, it's Celtics season now. Time to move on. Life's too short to let a sports game get you down.