Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Should we forgive Vick?

Dog Killer. Felon. Star Quarterback. Comeback. Redemption. Which word would you use to describe Michael Vick? Coming off his spectacular performance Monday Night against the Redskins I think it is a perfect time to ask the question: Should we forgive Vick?

We all know the story of Vick by now. We know what went on at Bad Newz Kennels. We know where he grew up from and what the culture was like. It seems like he has changed but has he really? Or rather, does it even matter?  Some people will hate Michael Vick forever. Some people have already forgiven him. But for those of us that are undecided why have we not made up our minds yet?

America is a forgiving country especially if you are really good at something. If Michael Vick wasn't an NFL star he'd be working at your local grocery store or be out on the streets right now. People wouldn't be giving excuses for him or saying he served his time. He'd be another ex-con from the streets.  But since he is a superstar athlete he is given a second opportunity at life. Whether or not that is fair it is the reality. 

Do I think Vick has changed? In some ways. I'm sure he recognizes what he did was wrong and that he is sorry to some degree. But I don't think you can ever truly change someone's core values. In his head he knows he was wrong, but in his heart he probably will never realize how atrocious his crimes were.

For those of you who say he served his time and deserves a second chance I'd ask you the same thing I ask people who are anti-death penalty or anti-abortion. What if it happened to you? What if it happened to your dog? This guy knowingly allowed Pit Bulls to be hung and electrocuted on his property. These are defenseless animals killed for sport. Now the guy is going to get a huge multimillion dollar deal after this season and these dogs are still going to be dead.

But this is a place where we allow Dante Stallworth and Leonard Little to keep playing after killing someone while drunk. We allow people like Ben Roethlisberger to serve a 6 game suspension after an alleged rape. Why not give Vick another chance? Were his crimes worse than theirs? I guess it is all a matter of opinion.

If you do choose to forgive Michael Vick please never forget what he did.  While I'm glad to see all the good he doing now for the community, it doesn't take back what he did for so many years before this. While he came from a place where this was part of the culture that by no means excuses his actions. Especially when he had the means to get out of that lifestyle and still chose to stay in it.  Yes, Michael Vick is indeed back. Whether or not that is a good thing is for you to decide.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

You have to be a little crazy to play in the NFL

One of the hottest topics around the sports world these days are the huge fines and suspensions being handed down to players who partake in "dangerous hits". Some say it's good that the league is emphasizing safety and protecting its players. Others think the strict punishments will water down the NFL and change the way the game is played.  Players like Steelers linebacker James Harrison have even gone so far as to threaten to retire from the NFL all together.  It's certainly touched a nerve in both players and fans alike.

I'm somewhere in between on this one. I think on one hand you can't have defensive players taking head shots at defenseless receivers. On the other hand, suspending and fining players exorbitant amounts of money is a little excessive, especially for first time offenders. The biggest problem is what defines a dangerous hit because theire are so many factors involved. What if the receiver puts his head down at the last minute and the tackler inadvertently makes a helmet to helmet hit? Is that really worthy of a suspension? How do we know if certain plays are intentional or accidental? Most importantly, how can you really implement a rule that is so vague?

The fact is football  is a crazy sport. When I have kids I'm going to encourage them to play tennis or basketball.  I've played pretty much every sport and nothing compares to the feeling of making a big hit. It's not something that can be described. At the same time it is an extremely violent game and I only played at the high school level. I remember coming home after two a day practices with massive headaches every night from the beatings I took. I can only imagine what getting hit by Ray Lewis must feel like. The pads really don't do much. 

The point is, when you're an NFL player you have to be a little crazy. You can't be a normal human being like the rest of us. You have to be a little off in the head. Why else would you risk debilitating injury every Sunday.  In my opinion NFL players deserve every penny they get. You know what the average career for a running back in the NFL is? Two years. Name another profession like that. It's nuts and that is why we like watching. Americans pride themselves on being tough and its why NFL is king in this country.  At the end of the day, let's remember that everyone in the NFL signed up for this. Safety is important but no one is making these guys go out there. They know what their getting into when they sign that dotted line. Let's hope Goodell and company don't start policing the NFL like David Stern does the NBA. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

No rhyme or reason to the NFL

It's impossible to analyze the National Football League. It just changes too much from week to week. Last week the Redskins looked like world beaters for three quarters and this week lose to the Rams. The Cowboys look terrible in week 1 and 2 then crush a supposedly solid Texans team. The defending champ Saints have looked downright pedestrian despite returning most of their Super Bowl team. Even the freaking Bills scored 30 points! Shame on you Patriots.

But this randomess and lack of consistency from week to week is why people love the NFL. It really is true that on any given Sunday any team can beat any other team. Except of course if you are the Browns, but even they give teams a run for their money.  This is why it frustrates me when analysts and so called experts proclaim one team to be dominant one week, then totally switch around their opinions the next.  The fact is the true identity of a team is somewhere in the middle.

Look, at the end of the day it's all about match ups and who is hot at the end of the year. When the Patriots lost last week to the Jets I didn't care. It's week 2 and they were playing in New York. You're supposed to hold serve on your home field right? Same with the Redskins. The Skins aren't as good as they looked against the Texans for 3 quarters, and not as bad as they looked against the Rams, who by the way aren't that bad of a team themselves. People need to be patient and look at the body of work. 

With the 24 hour news cycle and constant analysis we basically have no choice but to buy into the hype. The Colts lose their opening game and suddenly their reign is over? I wish, but that is far from the truth. The Bears are 2-0 so now Jay Cutler has it figured out? Talk to me in week 8.  Why do people feel the need to make such big statements about their teams. Just let the season play out.

The fact is it's hard to have consistency in a sport that has just one game a week. Each game is entirely different from the one before. But this is why we love football. Sports are one of the only things in life we don't want to know the ending too. We want to be surprised. We want to root for the underdog. We love sports because there is no script.  I say stop all the analyzing, kick back and enjoy some football.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Summer Ramblings: Brett Favre, Shaq, T.O, A-Rod, and summer boredom

Is anyone else ready for September? If I watch one more baseball "top 10" play I think I might throw up. Is the Sportscenter #1 play really a guy going three feet to his left to make a catch? I think our Alumni Softball team could make half the catches on that list.  That's when you know it's time for football. Speaking of football, the Brett Favre saga has begun again. Will ESPN stay in business after he retires?  I guess that doesn't even matter because he will never retire.  Look, for everyone who thinks he really can't make a decision about his retirement they are living in a dream world. He's going to come back. He always was. He likes the attention and probably was in Cleveland burning Lebron jersey's with the rest of the city because he took the spotlight from him.

Speaking of Lebron, his former teammate, Shaq, is now a Celtic. I'm not sure if he needs to make alimony payments or just isn't ready for the inevitable "Shaq's Life" reality show.  In all honesty, I think it's a decent move. The guy is a walking corpse, but he's a 7'1 walking corpse and can provide some stability till Perk comes back.  Can you imagine this team 7 years ago? Besides the fact that Rondo would still be in college this team would have like 7 future hall of famers in their primes. Where is that Hot Tub Time Machine when you need it?

Now a little baseball. I have to laugh at this whole A-Rod thing. 600 home runs? Who cares? The last 10 years are tainted with steroids and before you say, "well everyone did it" talk to Hank Aaron. That's one of the reasons I don't respect the sport. 162 games, 15 hours between pitches, and games in November? You know how many young fans you are losing by staying with your ancient ways? This is the instant gratification world we live in. It sucks, but it's reality. Don't be surprised when hockey is more popular than baseball in 10 years. 

Last but not least, T.O. Yes, Terrell Owens.  About 6 months ago I said to myself that life was too short to hate anyone. The exception to this is T.O. I actually kind of like Ocho Cinco. He'll never win anything of signifigance, but at least he knows he's acting like an idiot. T.O is a phony and I hope he fails miserably in Cincinnati.  I usually hate when people hate strangers they've never met. But I am 100% sure T.O is not a good human being.

Look, I know I sound bitter in this blog, but I'll blame it on the fact that August is the worst month of the year. The only good thing August has is vacations. It has no holidays, extreme humidity, no football or basketball. It's a worthless month, unless of course you were born then, in which case I apologize. Fall can't come soon enough. Have a great night.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do Americans really care about soccer?

The World Cup is over and Americans now have to ask ourselves one question: do we care? Sure, we all cheered as the US won their group for the first time in 80 years. Yes, the Donovan goal against Algeria was surely an electrifying moment.  However, the question remains: what now? Do we forget about soccer for the next four years just like we forgot about track and field? Or are we going to start watching the Premier League or, gulp, the MLS.

In my opinion it's not that we don't like soccer, it's that we don't like anything but the very best. This is America where you're either a winner or  loser.  There's really no in between. You don't see people watching Triple A baseball or D-league basketball do you? That's essentially what the MLS is.  What do you really expect when the professional product is a glorified minor league.  Sure. there are some really good players in the MLS, but on a whole the Premier League is, no pun intended, premier. 

Also, Americans like their stats. This is a country where we employ people to discuss fantasy sports.  We don't want 0-0 games, we want numbers.  We want a winner and a loser. Also, the flopping is a huge turn off. Americans love violence. We don't want people crying out in pain everytime someone touches them with their pinky finger. Some of the injures are legitimate, but most guys crumble in pain if they've been nicked in the foot. 

With that said, count me in as a person that is willing to give soccer a chance. First of all, HD has helped soccer more than any other sport. The grass is so freaking green. What can I say I'm easily amused. Second, with no commercials you know when a game will be ending. There is no suffering through the plethora of Cialis and car insurance commercials that take up so much time in other  sports. Also, it really is beautiful to watch when played at it's best.  I still don't know how it's possible to do all that stuff with your feet, but they are like magicians out there. 

In short, let's keep watching and more importantly, caring about soccer in America. We may just come to realize what the rest of the world already knows.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Don't blame Lebron, blame society

I'm not a fan of Lebron James at all. I think he's arrogant,  narcissistic, and an attention whore. I was all set to blast him in my column today, then I realized it really isn't his fault he's this way; it's society's. For those of you who have lived under a rock for the last month, the Lebron sweepstakes comes to an end tonight in an ESPN hour special appropriately called " The Decision." I'm not sure why anyone is surprised this is happening.

This is the world we live in where people know more members of the Backstreet Boys than Supreme Court justices. Where Jessica Simpson's weight issues are more important than what is going on in the Gulf Coast.

This isn't Lebron's fault. He's doing this because he can. It's like the cost of beer at a sports game. They charge $8 because people will buy it. It's the same situation here. I guarantee most of you reading this will be watching tonight at 9pm when Lebron announces to the world where he's going to play for the next 5 years. I know I will be. The guy's kind of a prick, but sure knows how to market himself.

You don't like what's going on tonight and what goes on in the media in general? Then stop consuming it. The same people that hate on overexposure in the media are the ones watching it. Since day 1 Lebron has been coddled and told he was the best at everything. The guy has been told he was a god since he picked up a basketball, so over time a person starts to believe that. Of course he has an ego, who wouldn't?

At the same time he needs to stop trying to make excuses of why he's holding the special. To raise money for the Girls and Boys Club? Are you serious? Does anyone actually believe that? He's holding it because he wants to grab every single bit of attention he can before Brett Favre rolls into the spotlight next week.

That being said, Lebron's decision tonight will affect the landscape of the NBA for the next 5 years. I think Chris Bosh is overrated, but still Lebron, Wade, and Bosh would be a real tough team to beat. I don't know how Wade and Lebron would work together, but I'm sure they'd figure it out. Let's hope for competition's sake Lebron stays in Cleveland or goes to the Knicks. Also, don't discount the ego factor here. Will Lebron be able to share the spotlight with Wade? They can say all the right things, but at the end of the day Lebron wants to be the #1 guy all the time. It's in his nature. I really can't wait for this whole thing to be over so I can eagerly await Brett Favre's annual "to retire or not to retire" saga.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Not a fan of the Dog Days of Summer

For a lot of people the beginning of summer signifies great weather, pool parties, and vacations. It's a time for relaxation and fun in the sun. While I like being outside as much as anyone, for me summer represents one thing: the beginning of the worst sports period of the year.

The day the NBA Finals ends to the day football season begins is torture for me. Look, I like the Red Sox and all, but even baseball fans will admit the sport is boring.  The season is too long, there are about 15 minutes between pitches, and we expect everyone as being on or having been on steroids. Hell, Ken Griffey Jr., one of the best hitters of his generation fell asleep in the clubhouse. I'm sorry,  I tried to hold off on baseball bashing for as long as I could but there it is.

This offseason will be especially hard after the tough loss to the Lakers a couple weeks ago. Now we have to deal with the "where will Lebron go" drama and fear that a possible dynasty might be on the horizon. We also have to think about the Celtics future as a whole. The Celtics are in a difficult position right now.  Do they keep the core players in tact and add one or two role players for one more run at a title? Or do they blow it up aside from Rondo, Garnett, and Perk and try to get younger. I wouldn't want to be in Danny Ainge's shoes that's for sure.

At the end of the day I don't care what the Celtics decide to do as long as basketball starts again. I already miss the chilly December nights sitting in front of my TV watching Rondo dish out assists and Tommy scream at the refs. I miss Garnett's scowl and Ray's threes. I miss watching Celtics basketball. The best part of the year for me is November when basketball starts and football is in full swing. Let's hope this next couple months goes by quick so we can start gearing up for another run at the title.

Friday, June 25, 2010

DC is becoming superstar city

DC area sports fans are a long suffering fan base. The district hasn't won a major sports title since before Bill Clinton was president. The Redskins are the champions of the off-season every year before ultimately crumbling into mediocrity. The Wizards have the dumbest name in sports, and haven't been truly relevent since they were the Bullets. The Nationals have been bottom dwellers since they came to DC in 2005. The Capitals, while brilliant during the regular season, have continuously choked in the playoffs. Yes, the DC sports scene has been downright depressing.

Better days look to be on the horizon. Steven Strasburg has looked incredible in his first few weeks as a starter, and has single handedly brought baseball to the forefront in Washington. Alex Ovechkin is the best player in hockey and has brought the Capitals onto the national scene. With the selection of John Wall last night, the Wizards have their point guard of the future and look to be well on their way to bouncing back from the nightmare season of last year. Even the Redskins seem to be making good moves, with the addition of proven winners Donovan McNabb and Mike Shanahan. It all looks good on paper, but as we in DC know, it's a little early to get too excited.

To really turn the page and change the culture of sports here in Washington D.C, we need to get rid of a couple players. Those of course would be Albert Haynesworth and Gilbert Arenas. The first player is obvious. This guy is lazy, out of shape, and thinks he's god's gift to the world. Can he be a dominant force on the defensive line? Of course he can. But if the Redskins truly want to compete for championships they need to do away with signing these high priced free agents and bring in more character guys.

The Gilbert Arenas situation is a little more cloudy. One thing I think we can all agree on is the guy is not the sharpest tool in the shed. I don't think he's a bad person for what he did, just an idiot. The way he handled himself afterward is why people are so pissed. But the gun situation isn't the main reason I think he needs to go. I'd be willing to give him a second chance if he started becoming a leader on this team. With John Wall coming in, I'm worried having Gilbert around will hurt his progression as a point guard. Gilbert can say all the right things, but at the end of the day he wants the ball in his hands all the time. Also, let's not kid ourselves and think Gilbert is going to bring the Wizards into title contention. The guy had a couple spectacular years but is always injured and doesn't bring it every night. I say cut our losses(that contract truly is horrific) and move on to the John Wall era.

One more thing. I think John Wall is legit and will be a better pro than he was a college player. The guy has all the intangibles you need in a great point guard and I'm excited for what the Wizards can do next year if they put a few more pieces together. Though I'll always be a Boston sports fan at heart, I always have supported the DC area teams and hope the superstars can help Washington's teams live up to the hype.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Kobe/Jordan debate is ridiculous

We live in a "what have you done for me lately" society. People have short memories and often think whoever is hot at that moment is the greatest ever at whatever they do. No segment of the population is guiltier of this than sports fans. We proclaim everything as the “greatest game" or " greatest player". We are so quick to judge everything the day after it happens without putting it in any kind of context. This is exactly what is happening right now with Kobe Bryant.

Look, as much as I hate the guy, Kobe is one of the 10-15 best players of all time. But to compare him to Jordan is silly. What's even more ridiculous is making all of these comparisons before the Finals. If Kobe loses that will make him 4-3 in championship series’ and 1-2 without Shaq. That will also mean he has lost twice to his most bitter rival and three times as a favorite.

For anyone who forgets, Jordan was 6 for 6 in Finals appearances. Why are we so eager to anoint everyone the next Jordan? More than likely there will never be another player like him because the game has changed so much.

Even if Kobe wins the title this year, I don't think the Jordan comparison is applicable. Kobe spent the first part of his career as a secondary player to Shaq. Also, don't compare Scottie Pippen and Shaq please. Pippen was a great player and one of my favorites to watch, but he wasn't Shaq. Shaq is one of the most dominant players of all time and was in his prime during those title years. Also, I think we can all agree that it is much easier to win a title with a dominant big man than it is with a swing man.

At any rate, the simple fact is it's ridiculous to make statements like Kobe is better than Jordan when the facts don't back them up. The truth is if Kobe loses to the Celtics again those same writers will talk about how he has lost 3 Finals and is overrated. They will go right back on the Lebron bandwagon again. I wish people could just be more patient. These debates are fun but only when they make sense. Let's hope the Celtics crush the Lakers and end this debate once and for all.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lebron showed us why he'll never be like Mike

First off, the Celtics victory over the Cavs was no fluke. They are a better team than the Cavs top to bottom and dominated the series in pretty much every phase. The media and fans are coming down on Lebron pretty hard and for good reason.  It's not so much that the Cavs lost the series, because like I said the Celtics are a better team when they are playing at their best. Rather, it's HOW they lost the series, or more specifically, what Lebron showed in defeat.

Lebron James is a truly remarkable player that eventually will win a championship or two. However, in my opinion he will never be Michael Jordan or Larry Bird or any of the truly great ones.  The reason for this is simple; he lacks a killer instinct. Every great player in every sport has had an insane drive to win everything. Larry Bird walked into the locker room before the 1986 Three Point shootout and asked who would be finishing second. Jordan would turn everything into competitions from board games to black jack. These guys hated to lose more than they loved to win. Lebron seems content with just making a lot of money.

Also, Lebron typifies the modern day coddled athlete. Larry Bird played injured half his career. He could barely bend down after games yet still played his heart out and sacrificed his body diving for loose balls. We all know MJ had the flu so bad he was practically throwing up on the sidelines during Game 5 of the 1997 Finals. Yet he still willed his team to victory. Lebron would've been at home getting a foot rub probably. All in all, players these days just aren't as tough, and Lebron is the poster child for it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why I like the McNabb deal

It's been about a week since the surprise announcement that Donovan McNabb was coming to the Redskins in exchange for a second round pick this year and either a 3rd or 4th pick next year. The reaction around the DC area has been mixed, but many seem to hate the deal. This goes to show you the general attitude Redskins fans have of their team and for good reason.

The Skins have always been the champs of the off-season. Unfortunately they have not been able to follow that up with a quality product during the season itself.  The truth is, they haven't made a big splash like this since I can remember. This is not trading for a running back, defensive tackle or linebacker. This is a trade involving their division rival for the most important position in not just football, but all of sports. It's a risk worth taking in my opinion.

McNabb is not going to carry this team on his shoulders. He's not the player he once was. However, he certainly is a winner. Five Conference Championship games with a mediocre at best receiving core(besides the TO year) is very impressive during the free agency era. Not winning a Super Bowl doesn't make you a bad quarterback.  Marino and Jim Kelly never won a Super Bowl, and neither one of them played in the NFL today that is full of parody.

In addition, he's had to deal with the hostile Philadelphia sports scene. Skins fans are passionate, but at least they like their own team.  He's also battled injuries and the biggest jerk in sports in Terrel Owens and still been able to be successful. Through all this he has for the most part carried himself as a true professional.

I think the biggest problem people have with this deal is that they see it as a typical Redskins move. That is signing a high priced, well known player on the downside of their career. They expect the worst. But I think McNabb can succeed if they put the right players around him. First things first, get an offensive line. Peyton Manning would have struggled last year behind that patchwork line. Granted Campbell takes about 3 days to get his throws off, but still that line was atrocious. Second, get rid of Portis and Haynesworth. Portis is a shell of his former self and is a "me first" type of player who the Redskins don't need as they try to turn another chapter. Haynesworth is an impact player, but is injury prone and plays half the snaps.  Cut your losses and move on.

There has been a culture of losing in Redskins nation for the last 15 years or so. Dan Snyder doesn't know football and only cares about money so it's really not that unexpected.  The good news is Shanahan and Bruce Allen both have proven track records and know football. I really think Shanahan's success with Elway at the tail end of his career is a good sign in terms of what we can expect from McNabb. Donovan is no Elway, but still has some good years left in him.  Also, don't underestimate the power of revenge. McNabb can talk all he wants about having love for Philly and just being excited to start fresh. But he's a human being, and anyone would be upset after how he was treated there.

Lastly, let's not forget Jason Campbell. Campbell was set up to fail in Washington and it's best for him to try to find a team, any team, that he can start fresh with. I think we all can agree that Campbell handled himself like a true professional in his time in Washington and we wish him the best.

I think Redskins nation should embrace their new quarterback and hope for the best. This is a guy that has been there before and is a proven winner. Plus, don't underestimate the fact that he knows the defense of a team they play two times a year. I think the Redskins are better overall than they were before the deal and look forward to more moves this offseason.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Respect your Enemies

I was all set to go off on a crazy tangent about my digust that the Yankees, Lakers, and Duke all have won titles this past calendar year. Then I stopped and thought, what is the use? The fact is, my teams have had a great run the past 10 years and I should appreciate that. If my major complaint in life are that the teams I hate the most are winning championships life is pretty damn good.

Next to the Lakers there is no team I despise more than Duke. However, I will give credit where credit is due. Coach K is an outstanding coach and deserves the recognition he gets. Past Duke teams have been soft, but this years team was tough mentally and physically. They had superior size and 3 guys that could score 20 points on any given night. I wish UNC had a point guard like Nolan Smith and shooters like Singler and Schyer(sigh).

They were gift wrapped an extremely easy bracket, but then again so was every team after so many teams fell early. It doesn't matter who you play, winning a national title is a tough thing to do. Watching Butler's run to the title game is proof that you actually do have to watch some mid major basketball to do well in your brackets. I had Butler out first round based on word of mouth alone. If I had seen how good this team was I would have had them at least to the Elite 8.

One of the hardest things to do as a sports fan is give credit to the teams you hate.  If this was 5 years ago I'd be depressed and angry throwing around excuses like it was my job.  But I like to think I have matured since then, and now realize there really is no use for stressing over things like this. What can you do? The teams won and that's that. Hope for a better season for your teams next year and move on with your life. Congrats to Duke, but UNC will be back next year and ready to take you down.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Anyone But Duke

I hope to never see this again

The title of this post says it all. Since UNC and Umass aren't in the tournament this year my number one focus is Duke losing. Unfortunately, and it sickens me to say this, but they have played pretty well these last few weeks especially on the defensive side of the ball. Not to mention they were gift wrapped the easiest region of all time even though they were a borderline #1 seed to begin with. I guess the silver lining in all of this is I get to root against them one more time on Saturday. Like I've said before, rooting against a team can almost be as fun as rooting for a team.

Every March Madness is filled with surprises but this one seems to be especially "mad" if you will. Two 5 seeds playing each other and three of the four #1 seeds bowing out early. It goes to show you that basketball is by far the dumbest sport to bet on. It's way too unpredictable. My bracket was toast after Villanova and Kansas lost in the same day. It looks more and more like naming my work pool Anyone but Duke may have had the opposite effect. Let's just say I'll be a huge WVU fan this Saturday.

A few months ago I wrote a column "Down with the Haters" about my dislike of people that hate just to hate. Now, I guess in some ways I'm guilty of this when it comes to my feelings for Duke. However, I think it's okay to hate a team more than it is to hate a player. Unless that individual has specifically harmed you or someone you know there's no reason to hate that particular individual. The exceptions to this? Terrell Owens and Kobe Bryant; Everyone should hate them.

Hating a team is different because you aren't attacking a person but rather just an organization. I don't hate Coach K or John Schyer or any of those guys. I just hate or rather strongly dislike Duke's basketball team. Same goes for the Lakers. While I don't like a lot of the players on the Lakers I don't hate them personally, but I do hate the Lakers as a team. Well, I do strongly dislike Kobe because I don't see any possibility of him being a good person.

The point is, part of loving sports is hating some teams. But always make sure to not take it so seriously. Remember these guys did not do anything to you and are just trying to help their teams win. Also, like I always say we wouldn't hate these teams if they weren't good You can root against them as much as you want, but let's quit with the personal attacks. Except of course if those personal attacks are going against T.O or Kobe, then please attack at will!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why we love the Underdog

March Madness means the underdog takes front stage once again. In no other sporting event in the world do we see more upsets than during these 3 weeks. Nobody becomes somebody. Heroes are born. Goliaths fall. We embrace the underdog because in a way most of us are all underdogs in some sense. We want to see the little guy win because we have all been in that position before. Sure, when Northern Iowa toppled #1 seed Kansas most of us tore up our brackets. But then we cheered for these unknowns who were suddenly on center stage. Why? Because we've all dreamed of feeling that excitement for ourselves.

It's interesting that Americans get so behind underdogs because America is the anti-underdog. We are the most powerful nation in the world and besides soccer, expected to win pretty much everything. But while America itself is like that, the citizens themselves come from all walks of life. 99% of us will never set foot on the world stage. We go about our regular days fighting against the odds to succeed. The world is a cruel place sometimes and we are all battling to make it through. For us, we are the underdogs in this game of life (sappy but true!)

I realized when the Colts lost to the Saints in the Super Bowl that it is almost as fun to root against a team as it is for a team. That is another reason we love the underdog. We love to root against the favorite. For the casual fan who doesn't have money on their bracket, you are probably pulling for Cornell tomorrow night. Chances are you won't be rooting for Duke to win it all. I'd love to see an all mid major final someday. I can see Duke and Kentucky play anytime I want.

Nobody remembers the favorites who won. We all remember when George Mason made their magical run back in 2006, but some might take a few moments to remember who actually won that tournament. " Who is this year's George Mason" replaced "Who is this year’s Gonzaga". You never hear who is this year's Kansas or UNC or Duke. Every year there is a champion but usually it's the underdogs who stay in our memories forever.

My bracket is done and has been since Villanova lost last Saturday, but truthfully I don't care. I'm going to enjoy rooting for the Cornell's and Saint Mary's of the world. I'm going to hope Northern Iowa can continue their magical run. I'm going to root with everything I have against Duke. I will always cheer for the underdog unless of course it is against any of my teams. It's human instinct to root for them. Plus, it's just a lot more fun if the little guy wins than the favorite, don't you agree?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Athletes shouldn't be our role models

In the wake of the recent Tiger Woods apology, I thought I would give my two cents. Originally I was going to comment solely on the speech itself, but that has been done 3,000 different ways already. I think we can all agree that Tiger Woods isn't the person we thought he was, and that he will never truly recover from this scandal. Sure, the sponsors will come back and people will love him again, but this will be a cloud over him for the rest of his life. It's a sad state of affairs, but he has no one to blame but himself.

There seem to be two main camps people are a part of. One group thinks Tiger's personal life is none of our business and he shouldn't feel the need to apologize. After all it's not like he broke any law. The other camp think Tiger is a fraud and thinks his personal life is absolutely our business. I tend to lean toward this group because the personal lives of public figures are open to being scrutinized in this day and age. Plus, I can't defend or say nice things about a person who cheated on his wife. Just don't get married Tiger.

So, what does all this have to do with the title of the post? Well, the biggest reason this is such a big story is because of a huge problem in the world. That problem being that we look at athletes and movie stars as our role models rather than people we actually know. It's kind of sad isn't it? A lot of people in this country come from bad backgrounds where they don't have anyone else to look up but famous people they read about and watch on T.V. We treat these athletes like they are our own family, but in reality we know nothing about them. Tiger Woods shouldn't be anyone's role models besides his own kids. Its fine to look up to him and want to have what he achieved, but don't act like he is the person you want to be because you don't know him.

My dad is my role model and always will be. Even if a red headed NBA player that likes 2pac, Phil Collins, and kayaking comes along, my Dad will always be my role model. You know why? He's always been there for me and I can trust him. I love Larry Bird to death, but he wasn't helping me with my homework when I was a kid or going camping with me. Role models should be people you know and that have been there for you through your good and bad times. Sure, your mom and dad don't have millions of fans paying to watch their profession every night, but that shouldn't matter.

There's a big difference between admiring someone and someone being your role model. I admire Tiger for his incredible talent on the golf course, but I think it's sad that people who have never even met the guy lose sleep over this whole incident. I really hope those people can build actual real relationships with people so they can have something more tangible to consider a role model. Thanks for reading everyone!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Peyton Manning isn't that clutch

Watching the Colts lose is almost as satisfying as watching the Patriots win.  Needless to say I was ecstatic with the Saints 31-17 victory  in the Super Bowl last night.   Going into the game everyone was talking about Manning being the greatest QB ever, and maybe at the end of his career he will be.  However, he definitely isn't the most clutch and his playoff record is pedestrian at best.  Manning has a career playoff record of 9-9 and has repeatedly lost games where the Colts were the favorite.  His only Super Bowl win was against a team led by Rex Grossman. Even that year they had to come back from 18 points down to beat a Patriots team whose best receiver was David Givens. 

The Colts are turning into the Atlanta Braves of the NFL. Year after year they win their division and come into the playoffs as favorites.  But at the end of the day they can't finish.  This is America where we value championships above all else.  Hell, we consider Joe Namath one of the greats and his numbers were average at best. By the way, he could be the most overrated player of all time.  Anyway, when Manning threw that interception to basically seal the game last night, I was the happiest guy in the room.  I thought to to myself how thankful I was not to have to listen to two weeks of Manning coverage. The fact that he refused to shake hands at the end makes it even better.  See, the Patriots aren't the only ones who are bad sports!

Enough talk about Peyton Manning though. Let's talk about one of the best stories in the history of sports; The New Orleans Saints.  Remember this team was as good as gone after Katrina. But Paul Tagliabue insisted the Saints stay in New Orleans.  The Saints had been the Clippers of the NFL for so long and were more or less a joke.  Then Drew Brees gets signed as a free agent and the rest is history.  By the way, that has to be the greatest free agent signing in sports history.  Not only has he put up huge numbers and won a Super Bowl, but also been instrumental in getting the city of New Orleans back on its feet.  I don't know anyone who doesn't like Drew Brees. The guy just seems like a genuinely nice person and he's also an incredibly gifted quarterback.  I hope the Saints continue to do well in the coming years.

Sean Payton has to be given a lot of credit as well.  The onside kick call to begin the second half was the play that changed the whole complexion of the game.  What other coach makes that call in the NFL? Certainly not Jim Caldwell, who I'm still convinced is some kind of robot.  That call reminded me of how Belichick used to be back when he was at the top of his game(sigh).  If the play doesn't work out the Colts probably win the Super Bowl.  But you know what, if they just kicked it off regularly the Colts probably would've won as well. Never underestimate the importance of momentum in sports.

Well, football is over now and it's bittersweet.  The Saints beating the Colts was pretty much the best thing that could happen  with the Patriots being elimintated.  The fact that it happened in that fashion makes me down right giddy.  On the other hand, football is over and my Sunday's wont be the same.  Thankfully I'm a huge NBA fan, but there's something about football season that puts an extra hop in my step.  Congrats to the Saints and to the city of New Orleans!.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Super Bowl that could've been

Even though the Patriots aren't in the Super Bowl this year, I'm still very excited.  The two best teams all year are playing in the final game and that is how it should be. I've said all year that if the Pats didn't win I'd want the Saints. Hopefully they can pull out a victory in Miami.  It's safe to say I'm very relieved the Vikings decided to fumble away(literally) the game yesterday.  Now I don't have to avoid SportsCenter for two weeks.

As great as this match up should be it could've been better if both teams were undefeated.  I think it's probably for the best each team lost because the pressure of an undefeated season can wear on you.  But just think of what kind of excitement there would've been if both teams came into that game with no blemishes on their record.

The games itself were up and down yesterday.   Even with the Jets up 17-6 I kind of knew the Colts had that game in hand. As much as I dislike them, they had a hell of a post season run and should be a great rival to the Patriots next year. Peyton Manning is an incredible quarterback. As much as I hate to admit it, he's the best we've ever seen and though I will be rooting hard against him in the Super Bowl it would be hard to bet against a team led by him.

The other game was just plain weird.  Both teams kept trying to give the game away whether it was the Saints with penalties or the Vikings with fumbles.  The Saints had a chance to recover two of those fumbles but the Vikings were able to recover.  Adrian Peterson is going to have a hard time sleeping for awhile.  Without his fumbles the Vikings probably win that game.

As great as Brett Favre has been in his career he's not very clutch.  The last two NFC title games he has lost for his teams with dumb interceptions.  You never throw the ball across the field especially in that situation.  Plus, the fact that he could've scrambled for about 10 yards instead.  I think all the hits he took during the game really influenced the decision.  As much as I've hated on Favre this year for being a sellout I kind of felt bad for the guy afterward.  He's been remarkable in his durability and is very entertaining player to watch.

All in all very satisfied with this match up.  I don't see how any person who isn't a Colts fan would not be cheering for the Saints in this one. This city deserves a champion and what a moment it would be if they were able to win.  I think it will be a close game throughout but in the end destiny prevails and the Saints win.  It's silly to bet against Peyton Manning but I'm going to do it.  Let's go New Orleans!

Monday, January 18, 2010

What in the Jets?

Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Brett Favre, Mark Sanchez. Wait, Mark Sanchez? Yes, somehow the Jets  are in the AFC title game and I'm still trying to piece together how this happened.  I thought this was the only game that would be a blowout all week. As it turns out, the other 3 games, which I thought could go either way, weren't even close.  I guess in retrospect it makes sense. 

The Jets matched up very well with the Chargers, as the Chargers can't run and the Jets have the best pass defense in the league.  Still, I thought Mark Sanchez would find a way to blow it, yet it was the Chargers that choked.  I don't know how their kicker is going to recover from that. Also, LT needs to retire, like right now.  He never runs for more than a 2 yard gain and it is just sad to watch one of the best running backs ever be so plain average.

The Jets win sets up a lose-lose scenario for any Boston fan. Colts-Jets is as bad as it gets, so I guess I'll just root for a tie(just kidding.) Thankfully the Saints are still in it. Everyone who doesn't have a team left in the field should be cheering for New Orleans. The city needs something positive to happen and that team is very likeable across the board.

I loved the Cowboys getting crushed yesterday but I wish it wasn't to such a sellout like Brett Favre.  Anyone who has ever loved a team shouldn't respect a selfish person like Favre no matter how good he is. I'm hoping the Saints blow them out of the water next week in New Orleans.

All in all I guess it could be worse.  With the Cowboys losing, it makes the nightmare of all scenarios, a Cowboys-Colts Super Bowl(which I would not watch) impossible.  The Jets getting to the AFC Title game makes the Patriots loss seem even worse.  There is no way Belichick lets that Jets team beat them in the playoffs. Oh well, I guess maybe the Jets fans deserve something good to come their way.  Hope everyone had a great weekend and go Saints!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Patriots fans deserve an apology

Yesterday's Patriots loss to the Ravens was embarrassing and unacceptable. Give the Ravens credit for playing a pretty solid game, but the Patriots simply did not show up. It's not the loss that makes me mad, because without Welker the Pats weren't going to win it all anyway. Rather, it is the fact the Patriots were so unprepared and out coached. I've defended Belichick over and over again this year, but I can't this time. I am finally at the point where I think he might have lost his touch. While I still think he's a good coach, he's no genius anymore.

Randy Moss is the laziest player in the NFL. Seriously, for all the great he did in 2007 we don't need players like him on this franchise. I can't remember the last time I saw a player put in so little effort in a game this big. He could be catching 3 touchdowns a game, but chooses when he wants to play. If he had half the heart of Welker he’d be unstoppable. Instead he just jogs around disinterested for most of the game. At this point, I say get rid of him. During our Super Bowl run we had Troy Brown and other role players as receivers and beat teams with our defense and coaching. I don't care if the Patriots don't win as many games. It makes me sick watching a player as talented as Moss play like such a coward.

This "is the Patriots dynasty over" story the media is conjuring up is crap. What is the definition of a dynasty anyway? The Patriots haven't won a Super Bowl since 2004 so if your definition of dynasty is winning titles then they haven't been one for a long time. The NFL is a fickle league, and just because the Patriots played one terrible game doesn't mean the franchise is done. People put way too much stock in one game and don't look at the body of work. Please also remember Brady just came back from knee surgery this year and had about 3 broken ribs for most of the season.

All in all it was a pretty terrible way to end what was an up and down type of season. The Patriots lacked heart and were unprepared; two things I never thought I'd ever say about a Bill Belichick coached team. All I can say now is, go Celtics.

Monday, January 4, 2010

NFL Playoff Preview

It's that time of year again. The holiday season is behind us and it's time for playoff football. Three of the four first round Wild Card match ups will feature rematches from Week 17 games, and the fourth will be a rematch from earlier in the season. I was excited for a possible Patriots run until the news of Wes Welker's season ending injury.

First off, Welker should be a legitimate MVP candidate. He had 123 catches this season, even while missing almost 3 full games. He was by far the MVP of the Patriots, and is one of the toughest players in football. For those people out there saying Belichick was stupid to play his starters, I will say this. It's very easy to say things like that after the fact. But the truth is this was a freak accident and could've happened the first play of the playoffs too. I'd rather have a coach that takes risks and wants to win every game, than someone like Jim Caldwell whose team might as well have not shown up yesterday.

Let's not complain Boston fans because we've still had it pretty damn good the last decade. Even though there have been some really crappy injuries (Brady and now Welker), the fact that we have been consistently a top tier team during the post-free agency NFL is pretty remarkable. Plus, even if the Pats lose, at least we get to root against the Colts, Cowboys, and whoever is playing Brett Favre.

Though the Patriots are going to need a miracle to win the Super Bowl this year, I still think they can beat the Ravens. While they've lost Welker, they have all their running backs back and I'm not sold on the Ravens being that good. The Jets lucked out that they got to play the Bengals to get in the playoffs, and then get to play them again in the first round. The Bengals look to be by far the weakest team in the playoffs, and I expect the Jets to win an incredibly boring and ugly game.

The Dallas-Philly match up is intriguing and could be the best match up of the weekend. Dallas hasn't won a playoff game in 14 years. Let me say that again, Dallas hasn't won one single playoff game for 14 years. I would love if that streak reached 15 Saturday night, but sadly I think this could be Dallas's year to get to a NFC title game. I think Dallas wins a close one 24-20.

In the final game of the weekend I see Green Bay winning an exciting game against Arizona. My reason for this is simply because I have no idea what Arizona team will show up on any given week. Arizona could win the Super Bowl or lose to a JV high school team, you really just never know.

My Super Bowl prediction is Chargers-Saints, though to say I lack confidence in this pick would be the understatement of the decade. My only hope is that it isn't Dallas-Indianapolis. I seriously would not watch the Super Bowl if that happened.

In any case, the football playoffs are bittersweet to me. Though I love watching the games, it also sadly signals the end of football season, and means it's a few months closer to Baseball season. I guess we should all enjoy this last month as much as we can. Thanks for reading everyone!