Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dream Decade for a Boston Sports Fan

Ten years ago today if you had told me that Boston would be the most successful sports city in America going into 2010 I would have laughed. Then I probably would have gotten a little angry at such a cruel joke.  However, after 6 titles in the 4 major sports this decade, that is the reality.  We Boston fans love seeing the glass half empty, but we really need to recognize this past decade for what it was; the greatest decade for Boston sports ever.

Let's start off with Boston's favorite team the Red Soxxxxx. No fan base(besides maybe the Cubs) was more tortured than Red Sox nation up until 2004.  I was attending Umass at the time, and was amazed how serious and loyal people from New England were about the Red Sox.  You really need to be around it to comprehend the level of passion they have for their team.  When the Red Sox came back to beat the Yankees in the greatest come back in sports history, mass hysteria ensued around New England.  Sure, they had one more series to go, but nothing was stopping that train.  With another title two years later, the Red Sox were no longer the loveable underdogs, but a team expected to win a title every year.

Now on to the dynasty of the decade.  Say what you want about the Lakers or Spurs in the NBA, but everyone knows football is by far the hardest sport to build a dynasty.  Yet, the 2000's(what are we calling that decade anyway?) Patriots were just that.  Three Super Bowl wins in four appearances and a near perfect season made the Patriots the model franchise in the NFL.  Sure, a lot of the haters will remember them for Spygate and 18-1, but what the Patriots accomplished in that decade could never have been predicted.  Say what you want about Brady, but for a 6th round pick I don't think he's done half bad for himself.  As for that unfortunate Super Bowl game against the Giants, I'm still in denial about that one.  Patriots win that game 8 out of 10 but just got outplayed that day.  Anyway, whether you love or hate the Pats, the past decade put them in the national spotlight, which could not be said for any decades before.

Now on to my favorite sports team, the Boston Celtics.  Sure, until the 2007-2008 season the Celtics were mired in mediocrity.  However, the 2008 title victory over the hated Lakers was worth it.  The Celtics were the 3rd wheel in Boston with the success of the Red Sox and Patriots.  But on July 31,2007 that all changed. The addition of Kevin Garnett brought back Celtic Pride and that whole season was a magical ride.  My whole life I had heard about the great Celtics teams of the past, but had never witnessed more than a Conference Finals trip from my beloved team.  Winning a title that year was worth all the years of frustration. The fact that we beat the Lakers made it even more sweet.  That Celtics title was worth more to me than all the other Boston sports championships combined.

All in all I was ridiculously spoiled this past decade in terms of sports success. Along with the 6 titles my Boston teams won, my favorite college basketball team, the UNC Tarheels, won 2 titles and were in most people's minds the college basketball team of the decade.  People need to cherish their teams success. Too often we think our teams will always be good, but sports is cyclical.  The next decade my teams might be terrible but that will never erase the great decade that was the 2000's.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A quick recap of the last decade in sports(Part 1)

So much has happened in the past decade that it would take 50 pages to chronicle it all, but I will do my best. The decade started and ended in similar places. The Yankees and Lakers both won titles in the first and last years of the decade, Tiger Woods was the headline of every major sports news outlet, and yes the Cleveland Browns still sucked.  However, if I was to characterize this decade in sports it would be for the spectacular highs and equally spectacular lows.

Let's discuss the good stuff first.  We saw Michael Phelps win a record 8 Gold Medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics. At those same Olympics, we saw Usain Bolt blow away the competition with flare and seemingly effortless grace. We saw Roger Federer win a record 15 Grand Slam titles and stay #1 in the world for 237 straight weeks. We saw Tiger Woods win major after major and literally carry the sport of golf on his shoulders. Boston fans enjoyed 6 championships in baseball, football, and basketball combined. This included the Red Sox breaking the 86 year old curse of the Bambino in style, coming back to defeat the hated Yankees from 3-0 down.

Memorable games and moments were aplenty. Who could forget the 2007 Fiesta Bowl and the Statue of Liberty play to give Boise State the upset win. Or afterward when Boise State running back Ian Johnson proposed to his girlfriend in front of millions around the country. I still remember the deep pain I felt during the Patriots loss to the Giants in the greatest upset in Super Bowl History, only to be replaced by the immense joy after the Celtics victory over the Lakers 4 months later.  How about the 6 Overtime game between Uconn and Syracuse and the memorable run George Mason had in the 2006 Final Four.

However, with all the good that happened in the past decade, sadly some really terrible things happened as well. From the steroid scandal that rocked baseball, to the Tim Donaghy scandal in the NBA. You had the Michael Vick dog fighting ring and Kobe's rape allegation. Just recently the Tiger Woods scandal rocked the nation, leaving fans to question everything they thought they liked about the decade's most famous athlete. I'm not sure if there was just more bad stuff going on, or if the 24 hour news cycle and media overload led to more events being publicized.

Technology played a huge role in the changing of sports media.  People went from reading the sports page to reading sports blogs. People were able to watch games on their phones and rewind plays using TIVO.  HD TV made going to a game less appealing.  Internet chat boards became perfect sounding boards for angry and often ignorant sports fans across America.

Yes, sports in the past decade were anything but dull.  It certainly will be interesting to see what happens in the next 10 years.  All I know is I will be watching every bit of it. In Part 2 I will discuss the great decade it was for Boston Sports fans. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Treat Teammates Like Family

When it doesn't go perfect out there, everyone wants to jump on Randy. It's all of us, and we all have to do a better job."-Tom Brady
When I first heard the comments from Panther cornerbacks Chris Gamble and Chris Harris badmouthing Randy Moss for supposedly giving up in last weeks game, I knew how the Patriots would react. You can say what you want about the Patriots or Boston sports in general, but they will defend their teams to the death. Brady, Belichick, and even the owner Robert Kraft stood up for Moss saying it was unfair criticism and that Moss was still one of the most dominant players in the game. Moss certainly did not have one of his best games, and admittedly does have a tendency to give up at times. But a teammate should never call out one of their own.

This is how a class organization like the Patriots handle things. However, this speaks to a larger issue in sports. Too many times these days players use the media as a platform to discuss what should be a private matter. From Larry Johnson tweeting about his distaste for his head coach, to Heinz Ward calling out his quarterback, there seems to be less and less team loyalty these days.

So, why is this? It could be that in the era of free agency, everyone is out for themselves. Players hop from team to team trying to get as much money as they can. Winning is still the number one priority, but for some teams and players, making money is a close second. Or is it the media and technologies fault? If the Internet and the 24 Hour News cycle existed back in the day would we have the same type of problems? Would Larry Bird and Robert Parish be bad mouthing each other through Twitter?

I really believe professional sports players should treat their teammates like family. I mean in essence isn't that what they are? Players often see their teammates more than their own families. They have to trust each other and believe in each other to succeed. If one of your own makes a mistake, it is the responsibility of the teammate to forgive and back them up.

If you look at the successful teams in sports, they all have tight bonds. My beloved Celtics are a perfect example of this. Have you ever seen any tension on this team? They all seem to genuinely like each other and go about their business as professionals. Even if this isn't really how it is, perception is huge in life. If you can outwardly portray a certain image and deal with things internally you will be more successful.

Look, just like families, teams have issues too. The important thing is to protect your own and not throw one another under the proverbial bus. I was proud to be a Boston fan on Monday. By backing the Patriots it reflects the loyal city that Boston is.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Tiger Woods scandal: A Microcosm of Society

During the last week or so every major news network in the country has been covering the Tiger Woods scandal like it was the presidential election.  The scandal of course, is Tiger's involvement with at least one, and possibly many other women outside of his marriage. The reaction to this story has been mixed, especially between males and females. Not surprisingly females seem to have harsher criticism for Woods than males.

I think I fall somewhere in between total disgust and understanding. On one hand, though I don't condone it, I can see the temptation a person like Tiger Woods would have to venture outside his marriage. On the other hand, the fact that not only was he married, but he cheated on his wife while she was pregnant makes me have no sympathy for the guy.

The fact is this isn't the first nor will it be the last time an athlete cheats on his wife. So I ask you, why is this story bigger than the war in Afghanistan and the Health Care debate right now in America? The logical reason is that Tiger Woods is the most famous athlete in the world. Sure, that is part of it, but not the real reason. Michael Jordan had about 6 girlfriends on the side and no one really seemed to care.

In my opinion the real reasons this story is so big is two-fold. One is the death of journalism. There is no such thing as news journalism anymore. TMZ has replaced World News Tonight as Americans primary media source. We'd rather watch The Real World Cancun than our Nightly News. Sex has always sold, but never to this extent.

With the internet and the 24 hour news cycle, there is no time to write a well thought out article, because the next story will have already happened. This isn't the media's fault, it is the consumer's. You want real news start watching real news. Remember the media is a business just like anything else.

Second is perception. Tiger Woods has always kept his private life to himself, so we judged him as a person by what we saw on the golf course. 99.9% of us have never spoken or seen Tiger Woods in person. We assume he is a certain way because he has never gotten in trouble and hugs his wife and kids after every golf tournament. We see his carefully crafted image and assume that is just how he is. The difference with him and Jordan is that Jordan never pretended to be a family man.

This story shocked me at first, simply because Tiger has had such a spotless past. The real losers in all this are not Tiger or his wife, but his two small children. Tiger should never have gotten married and Elin should have been weary that a person of Tiger's stature might cheat. I'm sorry but if you are a spouse of a famous athlete you are in denial if you don't think your husband might cheat on you.  I think there really is something to be said for professional athletes to wait until their playing careers are over to get married, because this seems to happen way too much.

Also, for all those holier than thou people out there saying they would never do what Tiger did, I will say this to you. Most of us could never imagine what it is like to be Tiger Woods. While there is no defense to what he did, don't try to say you wouldn't do something when you really couldn't comprehend the situation. The real issue here is that we as a society care so much about this situation, when we really shouldn't be concerning ourselves in the private lives of other's. Thanks for reading everyone!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Give credit where credit is due Boston Fans

I'm a Boston sports fan for life, but I have to admit that there are no bigger "Homers" than Boston fans. They never give credit when credit is due, and always put blame on their own team for not playing well.  It's okay to stick up for your team, but don't be ignorant.

The Saints simply dominated the Patriots in every facet of the game last night. Look, the secondary played a terrible game, but that was also a product of the Saints being such a great offense. The Saints have 4 guys on the outside that can beat you, not to mention the best quarterback in the game today, Drew Brees. Say what you want about Manning, Brady, and Favre, but Brees is the MVP hands down. He's the only one without a Pro Bowl receiver or running back. Favre is having a great season, but that Vikings team is probably 8-3 with Jason Campbell as the quarterback.

I don't get why last night's game was a surprise to anyone. The Saints came in undefeated playing on their home field on Monday Night. That usually is good for at least 7-10 points right there. Plus, the fact that the Patriots are hurting on the offensive line, have lacked a solid pass rush all season, and haven’t won a road game on US soil all year. The problem people have is that they just assume tradition trumps the present. If you look at how the two teams have played this year last night's result isn't surprising at all.

I jinxed the Pats secondary by saying they were playing pretty well this year, and for the most part I think they have been. However, last night they looked like the Redskins secondary letting receivers get way too wide open. A poor performance by the secondary is directly connected to a poor performance by the defensive line. Brees had way too much time to throw last night and it translated to 5 TD passes. On the other side, Brady looked as bad as I've seen him look since the Denver game. I'm hoping this is just an aberration and he gets back on track quick.

As a Patriots fan, I think it is important to look at the glass half full. Now we will be the underdogs again as a 3 or 4 seed and the pressure will be off. The Saints and Colts can go undefeated for all I care; I wouldn't wish that kind of pressure on my team again. Also, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop on Brett Favre, but it doesn't seem like it is going to happen anytime soon. He fell into a perfect situation and has been playing lights out football. I feel really bad for Packers fans.

To conclude, I really respect and find there is a lot to like about the Saints. With the Redskins out of contention, I will be pulling for them to go to the Super Bowl and hopefully set up a rematch with the Pats in February. Thanks for reading everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Redskins aren't as bad as you think

Washington D.C isn't normally recognized as a championship-starved city like Cleveland or Detroit.  But the reality is, it has been one of the the worst major sports cities for awhile now.  The last championship to come through DC was in the early 90's.  Even Cleveland got to the NBA finals 5 years ago.  The fact is, people in DC could care less how the other teams do as long as the Redskins do well.

Redskins fans are some of the most die hard and loyal following out there.  Their loyalty is truly being put to the test with all the terrible front office decisions made by Darth Snyder.  Still they keep coming out to support their team.  People can make fun of the Redskins all they want, but I really don't think they are that bad.

The Redskins have four major problems.  They have an inexperienced, below average coach in Jim Zorn.    They have an owner that cares about dollar signs more than the product on the field.  Their offensive line is terrible, both because of injuries and because they refuse to draft anyone or pick up anyone in free agency.  Finally, they have a quarterback that isn't bad but isn't good either. Jason Campbell is the defintion of average, and in today's game average won't cut it.

This may seem insurmountable, but I don't think it is.  Look, even with all these problems the Redskins almost beat the NFC East division leaders yesterday without both their running backs. Not to mention the two interceptions they missed,  and the two field goals missed by Suisham.  Cowboys fans really shouldn't gloat after that win.  I really think any game that ends with that low a score shouldn't even be counted. 

The Redskins defense is one of the top 10 in the league, if not better.  They made a mistake dumping all of their money on a player who barely sees the field, but I really like the D as a whole. Don't get me started on Jim Zorn's decision to kick a field goal at the end of the first half.  Losing teams kick field goals in that situation.  You can say what you want about Belicheck's call on 4th and 2 last week, but at least he has the balls to try to win games.

The saddest part about this Redskins season is that the NFC East is so mediocre.  This was the year the Redskins could've made some noise.  When will they realize that you can bring in all the high price free agents you want, but if you don't have a good coach, quarterback, and offensive line it is all for not.  This Redskins team is good enough to be 8-8 this year, but they will probably finish 5-11.  Redskins fans are used to the saying wait till next year, and unfortuantely they will have to again.

In other news, the Patriots beat the hated Jets. Now Rex Ryan is complaining that the Patriots "disrespected them" by throwing a deep ball late in the game.  I'm sorry Rex, but weren't you the person that talked smack about the Patriots early in the season.  This is the NFL, you get paid to beat people up. Brett Favre continues to defy the odds.  I still dislike him  for all he has done the past few years, but the guy can still play.  He fell into an ideal situation and has made the best of it.  It's weird to me that Jacksonville is 6-4.  You can't always judge a team by their record, because I'm pretty sure the Redskins could beat the Jags if they were both healthy.  Thanks for listening to me ramble.  Keep your head up Skins fans.  Zorn is only coach for 6 more games!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Belichick made the right call

As Patriots fans we live by the phrase, "In Belichick we trust." Why wouldn't we? He has three Super Bowl wins in four appearances, and has been the leader of the most dominant team of the decade. Everyone is calling his decision to go for it on 4th and 2 idiotic, and that is understandable. But, would those same people be calling it gutsy if they had converted that 4th down?  That is what I always get so frustrated about with both the media and the fans. Their opinions often change based on the result.

My first reaction was the same as many of yours. Are they really going for it? Or, well they must just be trying to get them to jump offsides. I was crushed. We had dominated the Colts for most of the game and now our chance at home field was gone. This morning on my drive to work, I realized that this was really the only call he could have made. Does anyone think Manning wouldn't have driven 60 yards for a touchdown? He had two drives that quarter of equal or more yards, one which took less than 2 minutes. Sure, one of those drives was aided by a suspect pass interference call, but I think Belichick knows his defense well enough to know when they are out of gas.

Also, they had one timeout plus the two minute warning to work with. The Patriots were down  two defensive linemen and their best rushing linebacker Tully Banta-Cain. If you add that to the fact that Manning has gotten to the point where he always scores touchdowns in these situations, you can see why Belichick might have made the decision he did.  Would it have been more difficult than going the 30 yards? Of course. But I still think it was the right call for that situation.

Though I defend Belichick's decision to go for it on 4th and 2, he made plenty of other mistakes in the game.  His first mistake was using up all of his timeouts too early. Even though I think Faulk did come up short, it would've been a play to challenge, and without the timeouts he did not have that luxury.  Also, I don't understand why they called a timeout on first down after the kick off.  Lastly, though Kevin Faulk is probably my favorite player in the league, why not go to Wes Welker on that 4th and 2? He was doing basically anything he wanted the entire game and is the best slot receiver in the league.  Sometimes I  think Belichick is over confident and just expects the chips to fall in his favor every time.

What makes Belichick so great is that he is willing to take chances, but sometimes these risks backfire. I understand both sides of the debate, but at the end of the day it is easy to make opinions after the fact. The Patriots are still going to win the division and be a 2 or 3 seed in the playoffs. They aren't scared of the Colts at all, but I will admit Manning is in Belichick's head. Belichick showed the ultimate respect to Manning by going for it on 4th and 2. Peyton showed how great of a quarterback he is by virtually winning the game by himself, with the absence of a running game. I think he has developed into the equal of Brady in terms of being clutch, at least in the regular season.

The bottom line is this; Belichick made the call and has to live with the consequences.  The game is over so there is no use in mulling over what could have been. If you can't make 2 yards, maybe you don't deserve to win the game.  These two teams will most likely meet again in the playoffs on the same field, and I fully expect the Patriots to win that game. Remember hate him or love him, Belichick always will get your attention.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Down with the haters

I've always been amazed how intelligent people become ignorant when their sports teams come up in conversation.  Sure, some of these people are just dumb in general, but a vast majority are hard working, decent individuals in every other aspect of life. However, as soon as their rival team comes up in discussion it's,”I hate this team" or " I hope this guy gets injured." Whatever happened to just rooting for your team and enjoying the game?

Yesterday I was at a bar watching the Patriots game. The bar also happened to be hosting the Miami Dolphins DC game watch event. By the way, Dolphins fans are really obnoxious. When they weren't celebrating a 4 yard gain, they were cursing at the Patriots players, and even clapping when a Patriots player would go down injured. Look, you can dislike a team all you want, but celebrating or wishing injury on someone else is out of line. Also, what does yelling and screaming at the refs on TV do anyway? It just makes you look like an idiot.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Don't blame the Yankees, Blame Baseball!

I can't hear you Royals fans!

As a Red Sox fan, seeing the Yankees hold up their 27th World Series title last night was not the most pleasant experience of my life. However, they need to be congratulated for a great season and a great postseason. Let's stop with all the, "well the Yankees bought the championship" complaints. You know what, maybe they did, but so would your team if they could. I hate when people claim that their team would never do what the Yankees did, or that the Yankees have no soul. The truth is they would love their team to do the same thing if given the opportunity. This is not the Yankees fault, but baseball's fault for not having a salary cap.

If you are a Red Sox fan you have nothing to complain about. First off, you have the second biggest payroll in the league, and assembled a team full of corporate robots similar to Yankees teams of the past. You have the opportunity to win a championship every year and have won two in the last five years. Yet you complain that the Yankees are bad for baseball. No, the system baseball has in place is bad. When you have the Marlins with a $36 million payroll and the Yankees with a $200 million dollar payroll, it just doesn't add up. The argument could be made that some owners have the money but choose not to spend it, and that is a valid point. But the fact remains if there was a salary cap, teams like the Reds, Pirates, and Royals would feel like they have a chance.

Monday, October 26, 2009

2009 NBA Preview

I love the NBA. Look, it is certainly true that the players are overpaid and too many fouls are called.  But the fact is, the best athletes in the world play in this league, and it is as exciting as any sport to watch.  I think this year especially could be something special.  You have 5 teams that have a legitimate shot to win the title, and will make for an epic playoffs.  You have the two most storied franchises, in the Celtics and Lakers, at full strength.  You have Lebron looking to avenge last years disappointment, and an overweight but motivated Shaq trying to prove he still can be the man. Don't forget about Vince Carter having a chance to play with a championship caliber team for the first time.  Will he continue to underachieve, or will being on a good team elevate his play?

In the West you have the addition of Ron Artest to an already stacked Lakers squad.  The question remains how Artest will blend in with his new teammates, and if the Lakers have the same fire they did a year ago.  You also have an under the radar Spurs team that made some outstanding additions during the offseason. I still think the Spurs are the favorite to come out of the West.

There are individual players to watch as well.  This could be the year Kevin Durant ups his game to the next level and becomes one of the top 5 players in the game. Will Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo build off there outstanding postseasons and be considered amongst the elite point guards in the league? How will KG come back from his injury, and will the addition of Rasheed Wallace be the piece that gets the Celtics another championship? Also, it remains to be seen if  Gilbert Arenas will be able to stay healthy.  I think the Wizards can be a 4 or 5 seed if Gilbert plays like he is capable of playing. A ton of questions, with the answers to be played out on the court.  Don't assume the NBA isn't as good as it used to be.  Sure the league has its problems, but it is an amazing game to watch.
Befiore I go, let's discuss a  little football and baseball.  First, congrats to the Phillies and Yankees(cringe) for making it to the World Series.  I will be on the Philly bandwagon for the next week and a half, but sadly realize there is no stopping the Yankees this year.  They remind me a lot of the 2004 Red Sox, and the Red Sox sadly remind me of the corporate robotic Yankess of the last 10 years.  I'm looking forward to being in Boston for a couple of games.  Rooting against the Yankees is almost as fun as rooting for the Red Sox.

The good news is the Redskins didn't lose yesterday.  The bad news is they play tonight.  Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if they won, because the Redskins have always played to their competition, and are better as underdogs.  Also, can anyone please explain to me why Jake Delhomme and JaMarcus Russell are still starting for their teams? I don't get this at all.  How many times do these guys have to screw up for them to be benched? The Patriots have outscored their last two opponents 94-7 which is good.  Unfortunately there last two opponents would probably lose to the Dillon Panthers at this point. I can't get over how bad some of the teams are this year.  I can't remember a year with so many teams that are just flat out terrible.

Thanks for reading everyone. Go Celtics!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Darth Snyder

The Redskins are a lot like the 1999-2001 Rams, except exactly the opposite.  I don't know if I've ever seen an offense this bad. I've certainly never seen an offense with so many playmakers play this terribly.  They are a joke of a team and should be embarrassed.  There are very few fan bases more loyal than Redskins fans, but that loyalty is being pushed to the brink right now. Skins fans are getting used and taken advantage of by Darth Snyder. 

Jim Zorn was over his head from the get go, and should have never been hired.  You don't hire a substitute 4th grade math teacher to teach Advanced Chemistry at Harvard do you? That would be silly, but is in essence what is happening here.  The rule of thumb in football is never hire a person that has never been a coordinator before. Good things rarely happen.

This isn't Zorn's fault.  If you are asked to be the head coach of the Redskins you do it, especially if you were a quarterback coach before.  This isn't Jason Campbell's fault.  Jason Campbell is a drop back passer that is not a fit for the West Coast offense.  He has a banged up offensive line and is too slow with his decision making for the quick decisions quarterbacks in that system have to make.

Also, why you spend $100 million in the offseason for a defensive tackle when your defense was already top 5 the year before is beyond me.  Why not get two offensive lineman and a receiver instead? Do your homework for god sakes! Haynesworth is a great player but has always had injury problems and plays half the snaps. The Skins defense looks pretty good this year, but it doesn' matter how good they are if they can't score a touchdown against the Chiefs. 

Thankfully I still have my Patriots.  The 59-0 thrashing of the Titans yesterday was exactly what the doctor ordered.  Look, I'm not going to say Brady is back, because honestly I don't think I've ever seen so many wide open receivers in my life. However, I'm starting to get really excited about this team.  The defense looks as good as ever, the running game is solid, and Brady to Moss is back. 

Now that the Redskins season is over, let's talk about the juggernaut that is the Saints.  I like this Saints team a lot, and think they are clearly the class of the NFC after their whupping of the Giants yesterday.  Drew Brees is the real deal.  I think what this team is doing for the city of New Orleans is great.  The fact that he is doing all this without any big name receivers makes it even more amazing.  Here is hoping the Saints continue their torrid streak.

One other note on the Redskins. I love kayaking and often pass by Dan Snyder's massive mansion on my way to the C&O Canal.  For those of you who don't know, he had hundreds of trees cut down illegally, so he could have a view of the water, and got in a ton of trouble with the federal government.  So, not only does this guy not care about the Redskins, he doesn't care about nature! I say run this guy out of town ASAP.

Thanks for reading everyone.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Don't get too upset Boston fans!

Today the Red Sox, Patriots, and Redskins all lost. I was upset for about 5 minutes then realized, you know what, life is still good. The fact is, the Red Sox weren't going to win it all this year. Also you shouldn't feel bad for a team with an $180 million payroll that has won 2 world series championships in 5 years.

Same goes for the Redskins. Look, as I said before it's all about expectations. When you go into the season with an unqualified coach, an average quarterback(who is below average because of a dismal offensive line), and a high priced free agent that plays only 50% of the snaps, this is what you get. What do Redskins fans really expect? This was always a 7-9 or 8-8 team and will continue to be mediocre until Dan Snyder leaves.

As for the Patriots, they lost a road game to a solid undefeated Broncos team. Tom Brady is still off, but the defense played pretty well. These two teams will probably end up meeting again in the playoffs and I expect the Patriots to bounce back. The Broncos are a great story, and are part of the reason this has been one of the craziest football seasons in recent memory. Who would've thought the Bengals and Broncos would be atop their divisions in mid October?

Look, this is sports people. You always have days where your teams lose, but get over it. It is going to happen a thousand more times in your life. How this took me 24 years to figure out I really don't know. Solid weekend overall. For those of you who haven't experienced the feeling of floating down the river on a fall day with pumpkin beer and Rod Stewart playing in the background, do it immediately.

Another work week tomorrow, time to rest up.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Patriots of Old

The Patriots pulled off a huge win yesterday against the previously undefeated Ravens. They did it with defense, efficient red zone offense, and a little luck. It reminded me a lot of the Patriots of old. The 2007 New England team was an aberration, and probably something that will never be seen again. The Pats have always been a team that wins a lot of close games and plays solid defense. There defense this year is the best I've seen in awhile. If not the best, it is certainly the fastest. The fact that they are doing this without their stud linebacker Jerod Mayo is encouraging. Brady still looks rusty, but is coming around. Also, there running game is stacked, but I don't get why Maroney still plays. Everytime Sammy Morris or Fred Taylor run they get at least 4 yards. Not to mention my boy Kevin Faulk who is an automatic first down every time. I really like how this Patriots team is coming together. Once Brady gets back to about 80% of his old self we should be ready for a great run in the playoffs.

Now on to the woeful Redskins. This has to be the worst 2-2 team of all time. Maybe not the worst, but they certainly have played the worst. The good news is they are 2-2 and playing Carolina and Kansas City in the next two weeks. Can you think of an easier schedule to start a season? The defense doesn't look too bad, but this offense looks atrocious. I don't get it, they have a lot of talent but don't seem to be able to put it all together. During the 2nd half they looked a lot better, but you can't beat the Rams and Bucs, maybe the two worst teams in the league, by a combined 6 points and expect to win any NFC East games. Let's hope the Skins play like we all know they are capable of playing.

In other news the Saints look downright scary now that they have a legitimate defense. The Broncos are one of the weirdest stories in the NFL. They bring in an offensive minded coach and are supposed to have one of the worst defenses in the league. As it turns out their defense has played great, but they can't score more than 17 points. They will definitely lose next week to New England.

One non-related sports story. Saturday I took a drivers improvement class from 8-5 and it was one of the top 3 most painfully boring events I've ever been involved with. Don't speed people, trust me it is not worth it.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Redskins Real Problem

I'm a Patriots fan at heart, but I love the Redskins as well. For those of you not from DC, the Redskins reign supreme around here. In fact, no other team really comes close. Redskins fans are deeply loyal to there team, almost to a fault. For Skins fans there is always next year. One of my friends once said about the Redskins, "Loyality is a bitch" and that is so true. The Redskins always have great offseasons on paper. Then the product on the field always ends up not living up to the expectations. Take Albert Haynesworth for example. He could be the Defensive MVP this year and he wouldn't be worth his contract. The guy only plays 60% of the snaps, so even if he's dominant is that worth the $41 million guaranteed money? The answer to that is of course no.

The problem with paying these players so much money is that they lose motivation. Everyone plays hard in the NFL, but it's natural to play harder when you have money on the line. Therein lies the Redskins real problem. It isn't Campbell or Zorn, but rather the organizations fault, specifically Daniel Snyder. Zorn was never qualified to be a head coach in the NFL but Snyder brought him in anyway. That isn't Zorn's fault, it is Snyder's. As for Campbell, the guy is an average NFL quarterback, why do people expect anything else?

The Redskins do everything the opposite of the Patriots. They sign big name free agents and pay them a ton of money, then use the draft as a secondary talent source. The way you should do it is pay your big name players who have produced for you for years, and build through the draft. Then you have hungry, young players with something to prove. Until Dan Snyder releases ownership of this team they will continue to dwell in mediocrity.

Now on to the Patriots. I love Bill Simmons but he tends to lose hope on his Boston teams too early. The Patriots handily defeated a good Falcons team Sunday and the defense had another stellar effort. They've let up 16 and 10 points in the last two weeks without their best defensive player. The offense is going to come, but the defense was the big question mark. Do you really think Brady won't start being the Brady of old later in the season? The guy missed a whole year, do you expect him to throw 6 touchdowns his first game? It's a process but as fans we want immediate results. The fact is the Pats will be right there in the end and one of the best offenses in the league.

In other news, I got last place in my office pool last week so get to play for free this week. I'm also last in my two fantasy leagues. Why am I writing a sports blog again? As always, comments are appreciated. Have a great day!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The death of the pick up game

Technology is a great thing. I don't know what my life would be without the Internet, HD, or my Ipod. But technology also makes us lazy and encourages stupidity. For example, I'm terrible with directions and have lost all hope in my ability to read a map. Therefore, I got a GPS and find myself typing in directions from the grocery store down the street. Not really, but you know what I mean. What does this have to do with pick up games? Well, with this updated technology people would rather sit around playing video games, then go outside and actually play sports. I never understood it. I'm going to be that 75 year old guy stumbling around trying to guard his grandkids.

As a kid all I did all day was sports. I'd play pick up baseball in my neighbors backyard and shoot hoops all day and night. I played so much that my basketball actually lost its grip. I hated being inside and still do. In high school when I wasn't practicing for a sport, I was playing pick up with the " Great Falls Crew". I was lucky enough to be good friends with people who all loved playing pick up hoops. We would battle almost everyday in the summer, and every weekend during school. This continued during summers in between college. Binns, Brett, Zane, Zo, Chow, Rich, and a variety of others would play almost everyday at Zane's court, or the courts at Village Green. Binns and Brett would talk a lot of shit, but they'd always back it up. Really we all talked a lot of smack to each other but it was all in fun. The important thing is we were all out there playing sports instead of sitting in a dark basement in our pajamas wasting away our youth. The exception to this is ofcourse Justin Chow who made a career out of playing Madden and has won a ton of money off it.
During college I had some of my best pick up games. We had a crew of 5 that played together everyday and would repeatedly go days without losing a single game. Everyone worked well together and we had Steve Perry, who is probably the player I've most enjoyed playing with over the years. He could take over a game when he wanted to, but was always a pass first player. I will always miss those pick up games.

Today I'm still always down for a game. Lately I've been frequenting the courts around Arlington and have rounded up a solid group of players to play with. Of course, I have to mention the battles that go down at the Dolly Madison courts in McLean. The main battles are with my arch basketball Nemesis's Waleed and Tarick Gamay, better known as the "Gamay Package". Nothing pleases me more than beating them in basketball, and conversely nothing makes me angrier than losing to them. They have perfected the "Gamay shuffle" and the "Gamay excuse." They have turned into some solid basketball players though, and have beaten me in about 10 straight games to this point. I can't forget to give a shout out to Kareem Yakub, the most improved player. He still can't cross over and look up while dribbling, but he has an automatic three point shot from the top of the key. This is all just friendly smack talk for all you sensitive types out there.

It is up to the youth of America to revitalize the pick up game. As we get older and more responsibilities come our way, we have less and less time to call up the boys for a game of basketball. Don't waste your youth. Before you know it you'll be 45 years old, with 3 kids, a wife and mortgage. You will be dreaming of the days when you had the ability to shoot a turn around J. All I know is as long as I can walk I'll always be down for a game to 11.

Thanks for reading everyone. Sign up to become a follower if you like the blog, or sign up so you can tell me how much you hate it every week! Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Getting over a loss

Sunday I watched my Patriots get manhandled by the Jets, and I got to think about how I've changed in my reaction to losses. In my younger days, yes I'm an old man at 24, I would've been depressed or angry at such a defeat. Now I realize the big picture. Life is still really good. In fact, I wrote the draft of this entry at sunset on the Potomac in the Nations capital. It seems almost foolish that people get so upset about their teams losing. How does a loss by your team really affect you in the long run. Get a life, and yes that includes me.

The same thing goes for intramural sports. Saturday we lost our flag football game and everyone was acting like someone just kicked their dog in the face. Who the hell cares. I understand we are all holding on to our youth and are competitive, but it is all in fun. We are past the stage where any type of sports we play truly matters so just go out have fun and laugh. Remember the fact that you get to play flag football on a sunny 70 degree day makes you luckier than 95% of the world.

It's all about perception. It's great to be passionate. You won't find a more hardcore Celtics or Tarheels fan than me. But the fact is, at the end of the day what do you have to gain by fretting over a loss. What's done is done, so just move on. The exception to this is of course the Giants win in the Super Bowl two years ago. Now that is hard to recover from.

As for the Patriots loss itself. The media is going to proclaim the Jets and Mark Sanchez as the upcoming team and in turn will bury Brady and the Patriots. Truthfully, I hope they do. The Patriots in 2007 weren't a typical Patriots team. New England plays better as an underdog, much like the hometown Redskins. Speaking of the Redskins....They looked bad, but not as bad as the score might indicate. They had there chances to score, but just couldn't do it in the red zone. They need to beat Detroit by at least 20 points this weekend, and not have it be a replay of last years near loss. Remember, this isn't college football, a win is a win.

Thanks for reading all 5 of my readers. If you do read this blog please comment or become a follower. You can say this is the worst blog ever written and it would make my day. No person is easier to please than me. Have a great night!

Monday, September 14, 2009

It's Week 1 People!

Yesterday was the first full day of the NFL season and the fans and the media are already overblowing everything. You don't know anything in the first 3-4 weeks, much less the first week, about how a team is going to fare the rest of the year. Let's start with good old Brett Favre. I thought it was amusing that one of the headlines on after the game said, "Favre and Peterson help Vikings beat Browns." No, Petersen and the Vikings defense won that game and will win most every game the Vikings play. Petersen is the best player in the league and the best running back since Barry Sanders. He is truly an amazing player to watch. The fact that they were playing one of the worst teams in the league in the Browns makes Favre's performance look even less impressive. Get back to me in week 8 when Favre has about 15 picks to his name.

I'm actually writing this paragraph over right now after that crazy finish to the Patriots game. I don't even know where to start. First off I don't know whether to be happy we won or disgusted cause we beat the Bills by a point. Look, the Bills played a great game but this is why you can never turn off an NFL game. I was jumping out of my comfy recliner when the Bills fumbled that kick off. Brady is back. He started off rusty but as the game progressed he got back to the Brady of old. I feel kind of bad for Bills fans, but at the same time, the Patriots were the better team for most of the night. That Jackson guy is legit, and whoever has him on their fantasy roster should be very happy. I saw a lot of hate on Facebook on the Patriots, and I think I should put my sports haters blog back up. Look, there are teams I don't like, but I'd never get to the point where I would wish injury or death even in a joking sense on a team. It's a game and we are living vicariously through these people. Jealousy is a bitch and the haters just wish they had a team as successful as the Patriots franchise. I really want to ask people why they hate Tom Brady. Probably cause he has everything that they never will. Anyway, awesome game and bring on the Jets next week!

Now on to the hometown Redskins. Calm down Skins fans, you weren't supposed to win this game remember! You were playing one of the better teams in the NFC at their home field. Anytime you win one of these games it's a great win but the loss is nothing to be ashamed of. For all the Haynesworth haters, you probably don't understand football. Defensive tackles don't get many sacks or tackles. Their job is to take on blockers so linebackers can make the tackles. Haynesworth gets double or triple teamed every play. Again, people over blowing the good and bad when the reality is something in between.

Drew Brees showed he is prime for another huge season with 6 TD's. He is right behind Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the quarterback hierarchy. If he can get a couple playoffs wins under his belt or a Super Bowl appearance he will be right there. The Broncos crazy finish cost me $140! I have a pool at work where you put in $5 a week and whoever gets the most games right wins the pool. With that game I went from 2 losses for the day, to 3. Should've known the Bengals would've found a way to screw up somehow. Jay Cutler had a nightmarish start to his career with the Bears. Cutler is one of those guys that you know just by looking at him is a prick. There is no chance he is a humble, nice, genuine person. If anyone knows otherwise please let me know. That coupled with Urlacher's season ending injury puts a damper on the Bears playoff hopes. McNabb's injury is unfortunate for an Eagles team that looked really solid yesterday. Picking up the greatest balding red headed quarterback of all time in Jeff Garcia was a great move.

A little tennis now. Congratulations Juan Martin Del Potro for beating the greatest player in tennis history on the biggest stage. This guy is only 20 years old and is only going to get better. Now Federer has a bunch of young guns going after him and I think he will raise his play accordingly. Also, congratulations to Kim Clijster for one of the great comebacks in tennis history. Just 18 months after having a child she is back on the circuit and winning the US Open.

Thanks for reading everyone. Remember Redskins fans and fans of other teams that lost this week. At least you aren't a Lions fan, they are the only ones that should be really depressed.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

NFL Season Begins!

It feels like Christmas. After months of anticipation the football season is upon us. This year is extra exciting because of all the subplots heading into the season. What kind of impact will Vick have on the Eagles? Will Favre last an entire season(hell no). Will Tom Brady be the Brady of 07 or will he show some rust? These are all questions that won't be answered right away, but by mid October we should have a better idea of how they have played out. The Patriots look great on offense this year, but I am a bit worried about their defense, with the loss of several key veterans. The good news is they actually have some guys that can run now, and our stud linebacker Jerod Mayo is one of the best young defenders in the league. If the defense can hold opponents below 20 there is no way the Patriots go any worse than 13-3.

As for my other team, the Redskins, it is really anyone's guess. I'm all for the build on your strengths strategy but the Skins needed to do more on the offensive side of the ball in the off season. It all comes down to Jason Campbell and if he gets the courage to take some chances and make some plays. The guy isn't a bad quarterback, but if you are going to win in this league you need an above average or great quarterback. The young receivers need to step up as well. If Antwaan Randle El is the 2nd leading receiver the Redskins aren't making the playoffs, that is a fact.

I'm not as high on the Vikings as everyone else. This is a team a quarterback like Jason Campbell would thrive in. Brett Favre is the exact opposite of what they need. They need a guy who doesn't throw interceptions and everyone knows Favre throws more interceptions than almost anyone. Plus the fact that he is about 67 years old and refuses to come out because of his pride. It is a recipe for disaster. I see the Seahawks as making a comeback in the pitiful NFC West, the Saints winning a tough NFC South, and the Giants winning an always brutal NFC East. I see the Giants coming out of the NFC because of their offensive and defensive lines. It is generic to say, but that is how teams win in the NFL, at the line of scrimmage. Just ask the 2007 Patriots.

In the AFC I see the Steelers, Pats, and Chargers as the only legitimate teams that could make a run to the Super bowl. I see the Pats-Steelers in the AFC Championship game with the Patriots using their home field advantage to advance to the Super Bowl. Then it is a Giants-Pats rematch with Karl having a massive panic attack before the game. Seriously if this happens I don't know if I can watch.

The truth is who the hell knows what is going to happen this year. The NFL is probably the most up and down league of any of the pro sports teams. Who is this year Atlanta Falcons? What teams will get hurt most by injuries? Injuries make or break a teams season. That is the reason why it is so hard to predict before the season. All I know is Kevin Faulk is the most underrated player in the league. The guy gets a 1st down every time he touches the ball. I named my Fantasy Football team after this guy. Watch for him this year on the Patriots. Him and Welker would give me a heart attack if I was an opponent of the Patriots.

Thanks for reading everyone. Keep the comments coming. If you hated the blog I want to know about it to make it better!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Seymour to the Raiders

Happy Labor Day everyone! Lot's to get to today. Let's start off with the trade of Richard Seymour from the Patriots to the Raiders for a 2011 First Round pick. My first reaction to this trade was utter confusion and anger. Why would the Patriots trade their best defensive lineman for 8 years running, for a draft pick 2 years down the road? After I thought about it more it makes sense. The Patriots weren't going to sign Seymour, who has been injury prone the last few years, to a big new contract so they figured they should at least get something for him in return. I've learned to never question Patriots management, and so I am going to trust them on this one. The good news is, the Raiders almost always have a top 5 pick so the Patriots will most likely get a high draft choice or use that pick to acquire someone like a Julius Peppers. They also need the money to re-sign Brady, the only player that is non-tradeable on the Patriots. The Patriots will hopefully pick up Jeff Garcia, who was mysteriously let go by the Raiders a couple days ago. Everyone knows there aren't enough balding red heads in this league and the guy can flat out play. Plus, we need more than 2 quarterbacks.

College football started last weekend with a bang. Ohio State almost lost to Navy and BYU beat mighty Oklahoma. The loss of Sam Bradford was a crushing blow to Oklahoma's season. College football is crazy in that your season can literally be over the in the first week. I don't know if that is a good or bad thing but it sure keeps it interesting. I was at a wedding Saturday night so I missed the Tech game, but heard they looked pretty bad, especially on offense. One of these days the offense is going to have to catch up with the defense and special teams if they want to contend for a championship.

I had my first fantasy football draft last night. I picked up Steve Slaton and Michael Turner as my running backs, and Aaron Rodgers as my quarterback. The fact that I have Chad Ocho Cinco on my team puts me over the top(chuckle). Fantasy football is extremely nerdy but I love it anyway. I still can't believe there are people paid to simply analyze and give advice on it. You gotta love America!

The US Open saw Venus Williams and Andy Roddick go down last weekend. I don't know why Venus and Serena are considered even close to equal, as Serena is clearly the more dominant player, and has won on every surface. The men's draw should be really interesting, but in the end the Fed Express should take the crown.

Thanks for reading everyone. NFL preview blog is next!

Friday, September 4, 2009

I love Fall

The weather is getting cooler which means football is upon us and the horrid month of August is over. Seriously, I love Northern Virginia, but the summers here are not pleasant. This summer was surprisingly cool, but still, the humidity is oppressive. I don't get why people are so sad to see summer go, especially when you work an office job. Sure, you get to go out and do things after work in the summer, but it's not like college where you have summers off and can sleep your way through a crummy summer job.

The fact is fall is the best season in Northern Virginia. In fact, there are probably few places in the country with better weather than early fall in DC. I love that first time I get to put on a sweatshirt and when the leaves start turning color. The river is absolutely incredible in the fall. The water gets deeper and bluer. Kayaking down the river in the fall is the greatest feeling in the world.

With fall also comes the start of football season, the exciting part of baseball season, and the start of school, or for those who work, the celebration of another year of no homework. It's weird this is the third fall I haven't been going back to school and I don't miss it one bit. Why would I want to be broke living in an apartment on the Amtrak line again? Plus, I live in Arlington and there is always tons of stuff to do and people to meet. Money isn't everything, but being broke just sucks. I hope to never have only $5 to my name like I did in college again.

With football season also comes fantasy football season. The time when us sports nerds get together for online drafts and smack talk. It's crazy, if you had told me 10 years ago there would be actual people whose jobs it was to give advice and analysis on fantasy football I would've laughed. But here we are talking about and hyping up our fantasy drafts. Gotta love the internet!

As much as I loath baseball at times I'm getting excited that the Yankees and Red Sox should both be in the playoffs and hopefully face each other in the ALCS. This is how it should be every year. The people that say parody is good for sport are dumb. Dynasties and great teams in big markets are good for sports. You aren't getting the casual fan with a Rays- Diamondbacks World Series, sorry.

The US Open in tennis has also started. This is my favorite tournament of the year and I would love to go to it at some point. I'm thinking Federer-Murray in the final with Federer winning a 6th straight US Open crown. This is yet another reason why I love this time of year. The first sunday of the football season will also have the US Open championship. I will be glued to my recliner all day.

It is a ghost town at work today with everyone leaving for the Labor Day weekend. I'm going to my friend Brian Crane's wedding tomorrow. It's crazy that one of my friends is getting married, I'm getting old. Thanks for reading everyone. Hope to write again very soon!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why do certain cities like certain sports?

A couple more weeks of filler blogs until football season is upon us. As much as this summer period is a slow one for sports, I have enjoyed writing about some of my random sports ideas and theories. Tonight's entry is about the mystery of why cities identify with certain sports even though logic says it doesn't make sense. Let's start off with Boston. I will never understand why the Red Sox are the number 1 team in Boston, and by such a large margin. My bias of baseball aside, it is freaking cold there 8 months out of the year. Hell, basketball was invented in Massachusetts, yet the Sooxxx are the most talked about team 12 months out of the year. I could understand if they were one of the most storied franchises ever, but the fact is before 5 years ago they hadn't won anything since World War I. In that time span the Celtics(who should be the #1 team) have won 16 titles and play in the state where basketball was invented. On the opposite end you have the Florida Marlins who can barely get half of there seats filled in a game, in a state where you can play baseball year round.

In LA basketball reigns supreme. This makes more sense because at least they have one of the storied championship franchises in history. But still,wouldn't you be playing baseball in LA? Why would anyone even go inside if you lived there. I was there for four days in July and I felt like I was in the movie Groundhog Day. It is 75 and sunny all the time!

Why did Texas and the south in general become the hot bed for football? Why are people obsessed with basketball in the midwest states like Kentucky and Indiana, though it's most popular teams lay on the coasts? I guess it's like anything else, it starts somewhere gains popularity, then everyone kind of follows the lead. I remember asking my friend Jim why the Red Sox were so popular in Boston and he said "because it is what we grew up with." I guess that is in essence the reason why anyone follows anything. You grow up loving or believing in a certain something and never stop to think why you do.

Plaxico Burress got a raw deal. Two years for shooting yourself is ridiculous. I know it is the "law" and that New York has very stiff(and rightfully so) gun laws, but two years for a crime where no one but the person who committed the crime got hurt is just wrong. I'm no Burress fan. The guy caused me one of the worst days in the last 5 years of my life when he caught that pass to win the Super Bowl two years ago. But to me it is pretty clear they were trying to send a message here. I just don't get the justice system. I know it is the best in the world, but that doesn't mean it isn't still unjust. I remember working in the Federal Probation office a few years ago, and seeing guys get 10 years for possession of marijuana and 3 months for child molestation. If anyone can explain that let me know. Burress should've got 3-6 months, 500 hours community service, and a hefty fine. The guy is a dumbass but not a criminal. This is one of those rare times where being a celebrity hurts you.

Thanks for reading everyone. Football preview blog is coming up. Have a great night!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Brett Favre

This has got to be the most highly anticipated sports season of all time with all the story lines headed in. You have Vick's return from two years in jail, Brady's comeback from injury, and Favre joining the Vikings. By the way, Michael Vick and Rick Pitino should each take Favre out to dinner for taking the negative media coverage off them. What is it about this guy? Sure he was one of the greats to play, but what he's done the last 3 or 4 years is more negative than positive. The fact is, as much as people want to hate the guy, he generates interest and sparks ratings. If you want the coverage to stop then stop watching.

What more is there to say about Brett Favre? I'd really be interested in hearing a Packers fan take on this whole saga. I've never experienced anything similar with any of my teams. However, I can tell you this much, if Larry Bird had decided to come out of retirement and join the Lakers he would cease to be my favorite player. I would still like the guy, but I would lose a lot of respect for him.
It's not just Favre going to the arch rival Vikings, but the way he has gone about it. Football isn't like baseball, or even basketball. It is a total team game, and though the quarterback is the most important position, everyone needs to be on the same page to succeed. I can't imagine how pissed all the Vikings players are,(though they would never show it) at Favre acting like he is above everyone else. It is the Vikings fault too though. They enabled Favre to pull something like this.

I don't hate Brett Favre, but I do feel sorry for Packers fans. Say what you want about it being a business, but Favre went about this the wrong way. He did this for years before too. For the last 4 years as a Packer he went back and forth about retiring, until finally the Packers had enough with it. Let's be honest here, Favre isn't even that good anymore. The guy looked like he was about 67 years old on the HD TV. Sure, his injury contributed to his poor play the second half of last year, but does anyone actually believe a 40 year old guy, who thinks he's still 25, can stay healthy the whole year? Especially when he refuses to ever sit, because he wants to keep his record of consecutive starts alive. Will the Vikings be better? Probably, but they won't make it past the first round of the playoffs. They have a great defense and the best running back in the league, but you need to be able to pass in today's game. Favre can make some great throws but he will also make his share of bonehead ones, which will come back to haunt the Vikings.

I'm going to Boston this weekend to visit some college buddies. I'll be at Fenway during the Yankees game Saturday which should be an experience. For my next entry I want to write about the strange phenomenon of cold cities liking warm weather sports and warm cities liking cold weather sports. Why does Boston love baseball and LA love basketball. Shouldn't it be the opposite? Anyway, thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wild Start to the Football Season

I thought preseason football was supposed to be relatively devoid of story lines? Let's start with Tom Brady's return to the Patriots. I can't explain in words how great it is to see him back behind center. Even the interception he threw was beautiful. I didn't get to see the full game, but the addition of Chris Baker was a huge pick up. Ben Watson has not lived up to the expectations he had coming out of college and Baker is a much better blocker. If Brady stays healthy, I think you can pretty much write in a Pittsburgh-New England AFC Championship for the ages. Even if you aren't a Patriots fan you have to admit that Brady being back is great for the league.

Unfortunately my other team, the Redskins, did not fair so well. You can't tell much from preseason, because much of the game is played by players that will never even suit up for a real game, but it is still never good to get shut out. Their defense on paper could be the best in the league. They are deep in every position. However it all comes down to how the offensive line protects Jason Campbell. Everything on offense is predicated on how well the QB is protected, especially when its someone like Campbell who has a tendency to hold the ball too long.

Michael Vick's return to the NFL is obviously a huge story. His signing by the Eagles was surprising to me at first, but makes sense when you think about it. I don't like the Eagles at all but they are a solid organization, that has a good coach and a stable, solid quarterback who also happens to be close with Vick. Vick and Mcnabb in the same backfield is kind of a scary thought, especially when one of your favorite teams plays in that division. I think that Vick did pay his dues, but deserves all the heckling he is going to get from opposing teams. I'm kind of in the middle on this whole debate. On one hand I recognize that Vick came from a culture where dog fighting was accepted, so part of me wants to sympathize with that. On the other hand, the guy made millions and millions of dollars and had every chance to stop the operation he was running and chose not to. I'm glad he was made as an example so hopefully dog fighting will cease to exist in this world. As a football player, Vick will take some time to adjust but eventually will become a scary weapon for the Eagles. They needed more playmakers on offense and they certainly got one.

This is shaping up to be one of the most interesting football seasons in recent memory. I'm supremely confident in the Patriots to have another spectacular season under Brady. I am a bit more apprehensive about the Redskins, but think they might be able to sneak out a 9-7 season and make the Wild Card. But what I think doesn't matter, that is why they play the games. Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Underrated signings by the Celtics and Pats

Football has started! Well, preseason football, but after 2 months of nothing but baseball highlights I'll take what I can get. Speaking of baseball, the hated Yankees just swept the Red Sox last weekend creating a seemingly insurmountable 5 1/2 game lead in the ultra competitive AL East. I still think both the Red Sox and Yankees will make the playoffs, and hopefully play each other in the ALCS. The Red Sox getting Wakefield and Dice K back will be huge. I've always been a John Smoltz fan, but he just wasn't getting the job done.

The Patriots made another great move acquiring Raiders cast off Derrick Burgess for a 3rd and 5th round pick. Burgess had a down year last year, but like Moss before, is a former pro bowler that I really feel will excel with a winning team like the Patriots. What must Raiders fans think? These former Raiders taking less money and in some ways lesser roles to get away from them. I really have to admire fans of bad teams and their willingness to stick through season after season of disappointment. Burgess fills the Patriots dire need for an outside linebacker. Belichick has always gone intelligence over talent, but it helps to have some talent as well. With the offense they have they won't need to shut down other teams anyway.

The Celtics made a great move in bringing back Glen " Big Baby" Davis. Now they have Rasheed, Big Baby, Perkins, and Sheldon Williams forming a nice interior rotation. I'm still bummed about them not bringing back Leon Powe as he is one of my favorite players in the league. However, I still think they are markedly improved from last years team, which they needed to be because of the improvements of the other top teams in the league. Speaking of top teams, the more I think about this Artest signing, the more I think the Lakers might have gotten worse by letting Ariza go and adding Artest. First off, Artest is a headcase and though he might be better than before, he still can implode at any minute. Secondly, he isn't the defensive player he used to be and has a tendency to take bad shots that disrupt the offensive flow. I can see Artest winning a couple games for the Lakers this year but also losing a couple. Ariza was one of the biggest reasons the Lakers won the title last year, and was their defensive stopper. At 23 he also has so much potential. I think the Spurs might be able to dethrone them in the West this year.

I should mention the David Ortiz steroids news as well. This whole steroid thing is so depressing and I tend to blame the commissioner more than the players. Think about it, if you were a player and knew other players were taking steroids and getting huge contracts and putting up big numbers, wouldn't you be tempted to do it?Think about it. If you were a minor leauge player making 20 grand a year and you see your teammate, who is equal in skill, next to you taking steroids and getting a 10 million contract from a major league team, wouldn't that tempt you? What did the commissioner expect to happen? You can't assume people are going to be moral you need to have stricter rules. Hell, I bet if steroids were available back in the old days Willie Mays and all of them would have taken them to. Blame the system not the players. Well, blame the system back then. If players do it now they deserve to be punished.

The weeks before football season is almost like the weeks before Christmas for me. I get that tingly feeling inside. I'm looking forward to the openings games for the Patriots and Redskins this Thursday! Thanks for reading everyone!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Michael Vick

I haven't written in awhile, because quite frankly I'm in a sports depression. It's generic to say, but I am counting down the days until football season begins. As much as I hate on baseball, I will admit that the last month or so can be rather exciting, especially since the Red Sox and Yankees are battling for the top spot in the stacked AL East. However, every month before that is pretty boring.

Anyway, this will be my first and last entry of the week. I'm going "Hollywood" tomorrow to visit my sister, friends, and maybe run into Tupac. I was going to wait until I got back to write, but I couldn't resist commenting on this Michael Vick saga.

As most of you know Michael Vick was reinstated to the NFL this week. It's anybodies guess at this point if he will miss any time, or how affective a player he will be. I hated on Michael Vick a ton when the dog fighting charges were brought against him a couple years ago. Though the disdain for him as a person has worn off a bit, I pretty much still hold the same view about him in general.

All the Michael Vick backers keep talking about how other NFL players have committed worse acts and gotten less punishment, and they are right. The fact is though, Vick was punished justly for his crime but the others weren't. That is the thing everyone is missing here. Don't compare Vick's situation to other situations, because everyone knows professional athletes get special treatment. For once the law cracked down. Leonard Little should have been banned from the NFL for life as far as I'm concerned. He killed another person while driving under the influence, then got another DUI charge a few years later. However, because he is a professional athlete and drunk driving is a common crime in this country, he was let off with an 8 game suspension.

I think as bad as this sounds, that is the reason Vick's crimes were looked and punished differently than all the DUI manslaughter and domestic assaults. It's because most people have known people that have gotten DUI's, or people that have gotten in fights that have escalated. In some twisted way they can relate to what happened. But most people haven't participated in the electrocution and drowning of innocent dogs. Also, the fact that dogs are helpless creatures and are seen as parts of the family for many people in this country, has contributed to the uproar.

It's also the fact of the planning and duration of the crime. Vick was doing this for years. He hosted these events at a house that was purposely secluded. He didn't have a few too many and drive a car, he planned these events out and knew what he was doing. Sure, he grew up in an environment where this was part of the culture. But that is no excuse for him to do it. I have no sympathy for Michael Vick. With money and fame comes responsibility no matter what anyone wants to say.

It should be interesting to see what team Vick goes to. No matter what you think of him as a person, the guy is flat out exciting to watch on the football field. I just hope the Patriots or Skins don't pick him up because it would be a media circus. Yes, Vick did pay his debt to society. At the same time, he deserves all the hateful treatment he gets. I'm willing to give him another chance, but I would guess he still doesn't think what he did was wrong. That in essence is what is wrong with our society. We punish people, throw them in jail, but sometimes they are not rehabilitated. Maybe for the first month or even year, but it is hard to change a person's inherent ethics and values.

I can't believe it is almost August(worst month ever) and the end of summer. I'm looking forward to a few days of relaxation on the beach and time spent with friends and family. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why we are sports fans

Sports are and always have been such a huge part of my life, that I've never stopped to think why me and millions others are so consumed with following them. Most of us played sports as kids. Some of us played in high school, even a few in college. But there comes a point in every sports lovers life that you lose the ability to be a player, and become only a fan. There in lies the core of why we are sports fans. We are living vicariously through our teams and our favorite players. When our team does something good or bad we do something good or bad. That is how we as sports fans stay connected.

It also has to do with wanting to feel part of something bigger than ourselves. I'm a Celtics fan and feel like I'm a part of the bigger Celtics community. When I go to bars and their on TV, I feel like I'm representing them in a way.. When I go into a bar in Boston I feel at home. It is almost like an extended family for sports fans. Sports gives us a chance to get away from the realities of everyday life for a few hours. When our team wins we feel a sense of accomplishment even though in reality we had nothing to do with it.

The problems come when you take it too seriously. I know first hand about this. I remember back in high school, anytime UNC would lose in the NCAA tournament I'd be depressed and angry for a week. It's ridiculous when you think about it. Does your life really change just because your sports team doesn't win? Nothing was worse than the Super Bowl 2 years ago when the Patriots lost. I thought I had slowly gotten over the stage of life when I let sports get to me that much, but I honestly couldn't watch or read any sports related items for two weeks. Yes, I am still kind of bitter. The good news is, even though I'm nervous when my teams play now, I get over losses a lot better than I used to. Being depressed about a sports loss is similar to a lot of things in life. It does no use to regret what already has happened, you move on and hope for the best next time.

The Internet has created a whole new breed of sports fan. Now you have so much negativity and hatred between people. Go on any message board and you will see tons of hateful comments and most of it makes no sense. It is ridiculous to hate anyone just because they are on a team you don't like. Look, I've done it before and for that I'm a total idiot. But I've realized that you can hate a team, but you can't hate the players. It is dumb to hate Peyton Manning just because he is on the Colts and really good. I don't know the guy at all, and just because he is the best player on my rivals team doesn't make him a bad person. The exception to this of course is T.O who sucks at life.

I love being a sports fan, though it can be an extremely frustrating life. This is especially the case if you like the Redskins, who always seem to underachieve, and whose owner only cares about dollar signs. But for some reason we keep rooting for our teams. No matter how much they break our heart, no matter how many times the players change, a sports fan always cheers on their team to the end.

A few quick comments about what is going on in sports right now. I think we all see why golf is not a sport at this point and rather just a really difficult hobby. Look, if a 59 year old can get within 1 shot of winning a grand slam championship it can't be a sport. Also, football season is 3 weeks away, thank god. The other night I was at a bar watching four baseball games side by side and nearly threw my head against the TV. One thing I will say about baseball is Albert Pujols is a flat out beast. If it ever came out he was on steroids I would never watch a baseball game again. The chase for the pennant between the Yankees and Red Sox should also be very interesting.

Thanks for reading everyone. If you haven't already, please go on the Potomac River at sunset. It will probably change your life.