Kevin Lewis (1975-Present) was born in Mine Hill, New Jersey, grew up in a little town named Niceville, Fl, and currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kevin was saved, giving his life to Christ at the age of 30. Kevin has a passionate love for God and Jesus. He is a firm believer in the power of prayer and that prayer can change things. Since 2008, he has been writing poetry and devotionals centered around his beliefs in Christ. Kevin has published two books, the first being Water for the Christian Spirit Vol. 1 and his most recent title called Devotionals for Living Free. Kevin also maintains an additional blog focused on His Christian beliefs called Kevin chooses to writes on a variety of subjects to share his thoughts, to help and inspire people. He hopes that through his words, his readers are enlightened and their day is a little brighter.
isaiah75 has written 119 posts for Nikki Panache

NBA: Has the Miami Heat Lost Their Sizzle?

This time last year all anyone could talk about is how the Miami Heat were the clear cut favorites to win an NBA Championship. Most of the experts had declared that the Miami Heat were going to cut down the net and hoist up a banner at the beginning of this season. That plan was derailed by the Dallas Mavericks last season and this year does not look like the Miami Heat’s year either.

If the Miami Heat cannot finish games in the NBA Playoffs they might knock themselves out of contention.

Last season NBA teams were scared when the Miami Heat came to their city. Opposing NBA teams did not know what to expect and by the time a team adjusted the game was over. The Miami Heat looked like a good team during the last NBA season and turned the corner into a great team during the NBA playoffs.

This season the tide has turned for the Miami Heat. No NBA teams are in awe of the Miami Heat anymore. The fear has subsided and the majority of the NBA teams have adjusted to the Miami Heat’s style of play. Some NBA teams still cannot muster a victory based on pure talent but other teams like the Chicago Bulls have no problem “Putting the Smack down” on the Miami Heat.

The Chicago Bulls have the talent to prevent the Miami Heat from reaching their goal

Any game the Miami Heat played, last season, was the hottest ticket in town. Now the Miami Heat have lost a great deal of their shiny luster and sizzle. The Miami Heat games this season are maybe the third or fourth hottest ticket in town. The team is no longer the favorite to win anything. The best the Miami Heat will do is make a deep playoff run.

Kevin Durant,  Russell Westbrook, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are the favorites to win it all this year

The Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics will make it hard for the Miami Heat to make it out of the Eastern Conference. Moreover, even if the Miami Heat do make it out of the Eastern Conference the team will most likely be playing the Oklahoma City Thunder or the San Antonio Spurs. Both of these teams should have no problem handling the Miami Heat. The Oklahoma City Thunder would be the tougher matchup out of the two teams though. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden make for a tough matchup for any team in the NBA, including the Miami Heat. Not to mention, the bench of the Oklahoma City Thunder is much deeper than that of the Miami Heat. Over a long series the Oklahoma City Thunder chances of obtaining victory over the Miami Heat is very good.

Will the Miami Heat once again be defeated in their second attempt at obtaining an NBA Championship?

The Miami Heat have yet to prove that they have the Championship formula and this year does not look like one that will confirm that the Miami Heat will be World Champions. The Miami Heat have too much to overcome to accomplish that goal. The Miami Heat depend solely on their “Big Three” to win the majority of their games. Without a real bench to speak of, the Miami Heat will be in trouble all Playoff Season long. The Miami Heat may very well end up being a team with a legacy of having great talent but one without a Championship.


NCAA Basketball: Anatomy of Two Superstars

This week we saw the NCAA basketball champion be crowned for the Men’s and Women’s tournament. While there were some upsets as usual in the Men’s NCAA tournament, the Women’s NCAA tournament was straight forward. The question though is was either tournament more exciting or less exciting this year?

The reason that I asked this question is because it was a pretty much foregone conclusion from the first game of March Madness; who was going to win both tournaments.Kentucky was picked by many to win the Men’s NCAA Tournament and Baylor was the favorite to win the Women’s NCAA Tournament. Both teams were clearly more talented than any other team they faced. Both teams also had the best player in the NCAA. Anthony Davis, who would have made the jump straight to the NBA if it was allowed, is clearly a man among boys. His talent level is through the roof, Davis has redefined the art of the block in college basketball. Similarly, Britney Griner has done the same for Women’s college basketball. To see a woman dunk with the same authority as her male counterparts is simply amazing.

Anthony Davis and Britney Griner are the best players in college basketball

The problem with amazing players who are truly on a higher level than their teammates or the opponents is we know when they play what the outcome will be. The team they play on will win every time or a very high percentage of the time. We start to watch the game to see what how that player will help his team win the game and not because we think their team will lose. Occasionally, that player’s team will have a rough patch where another team will threaten their greatness. It does not take long for the player to kick their game-play up a notch and make us realize how good they really are.

Anthony Davis and Britney Griner while fun to watch I believe made the every game predictable in outcome. No one could truly challenge either of their teams. The only question was how long the opposing team could keep up before the game was out of reach. Even in both of Kentucky’s and Baylor’s championship games this truth held firm.

 Will Anthony Davis and Britney Griner return next year to dominate March Madness again?

I am not trying to take anything away from two great players. I am just saying that the excitement was not the same this year because the favorite going into the tournament was clearly a few levels above the competition. If Anthony Davis stays which is not likely, next year Kentucky will cut down the net again at the end of the season. The likelihood of Britney Griner returning is much greater and Baylor will once again dominate the Women NCAA tournament.

With all that being said congratulations to Kentucky and Baylor for a great year. Both teams deserved to be declared the Champion of their perspective tourneys. Maybe next year another team will rise up to truly challengeKentuckyand Baylor for the crown. Seniors will graduate, a new freshman class will come in, and juniors will rise to become the new seniors as every NCAA team will try to prove they have what it takes to be a champion. Only time will tell which, if any teams have truly made a leap big enough to come out on top.

NFL: The New Orleans Saints Comeback Story in the Making

By now we all know that the New Orleans Saints were behaving nothing close to what their name portrays. The New Orleans players and coaching staff were being the exact opposite of saints. The consequences were great for their actions as the Saints head coach Sean Payton is suspended for a year. Going into this season, New Orleans had no plans to look for another head coach.

Bill Parcells could be the new interim Head Coach of the Saints…

Now the Saints have to make the decision to find the best candidate to continue winning games for the upcoming season. Rumor is that Bill Parcells could come out of retirement to take over the coaching reins for a season. Parcells has even said that he would take the position if Sean Payton asked him to do it. The real question is should Parcells consider the job even if asked?

The New Orleans Saints and Bill Parcells a perfect match for a year?

The easy and right answer to this question is yes; Bill Parcells should come in and coach for a year. The situation that Bill Parcells would walk into could not be much better than the New Orleans Saints Situation. Parcells would inherit a team with one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Drew Brees. In addition, New Orleans features one of the best tight ends in the league in Jimmy Graham, along with the all purpose yards record holder Darren Sproles. The defense may suffer major hits when the suspensions for players who participated in the Bounty scandal are handed out. However, I believe the Saints will still have enough offensive firepower to compensate for their defensive woes and still be very competitive.

The best part of the whole situation that Bill Parcells would experience is that Sean Payton is doing everything within his power to prepare everything for the Interim Head Coach before he is suspended. This means that the transition will be much smoother than if a coach was fired and Bill Parcells had to come in, restarting from scratch. I am not saying that all the work will be done for Parcells but the situation is a more comfortable one than majority of other coaching changes.

Drew Brees without Sean Payton for a year will be a strange feeling…

I have to admit personally I would love to see Bill Parcells come back and coach the New Orleans Saints. The story would be a true “comeback story”, Bill Parcells as a comeback coach and then the New Orleans Saints as a team that is overcoming the odds. The story would be one that people would talk about for years to come if the New Orleans Saints can manage to win the Super Bowl. Matter of fact, I can already imagine the movie they would make with Al Pacino starring as Parcells.

Maybe that last part is a bit much but if the events mentioned above do take place; I am confident I would not be far off from the reality of it all. The point is I believe that Parcells has at least one more run left in him. Parcells may not need to add to his legacy but since the opportunity has a chance to arise, Parcells would not have a better opportunity to accomplish that feat.

Can Bill Parcells and Drew Brees do the impossible and win it all?

We will again have to play the waiting game to see how everything plays out. Fortunately for everyone involved and the fans the resolution will not drag out as long as the Peyton Manning situation. We only have to wait a few weeks or maybe even a few days to know the outcome. The waiting game has begun

Peyton Manning: Signed, Sealed, and Delivered

The decision has finally been made. There was no big television program to announce the decision. No charity benefit to immortalize the decision for years to come. Peyton Manning told the media and the media did the rest. Peyton Manning is going to sign with the Denver Broncos, after a little under two weeks of pondering. This weekend, Manning had narrowed it down to three teams, the San Francisco 49ers, The Tennessee Titans and the Denver Broncos.

It is official Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco!

Today, Peyton Manning only has one team that is on his mind and I will do my best to deliver why Peyton Manning chose the Denver Broncos over the other two NFL team options. I believe I have a good grasp on why a quarterback of Peyton Manning’s caliber would choose the least attractive option.

First, let us look at the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers seem to have it all. The San Francisco 49ers have a championship defense, a great running game lead by Frank Gore, a coach who loves to develop quarterbacks, and the team just signed recievers Randy Moss and Mario Manningham. Sounds like the San Francisco 49ers would have been a great place for Peyton Manning to go to right? The 49ers are a wonderful team and I have little doubt Peyton Manning could win a Super Bowl there.

Alex Smith would have been an afterthought if Manning Airlines would have landed in San Fran

One big issue with the San Francisco 49ers though that most people do not think about. Eli Manning plays in the NFC and I believe that Peyton Manning truly does not want to play in same conference as his brother. If I had a brother and we both played in the NFL I would also want to play in different conferences so there is a chance me and my brother could meet in the Super Bowl. The desire could be the same for the two Manning brothers and that could be one major reason neither wanted to play in the same NFL conference as the other brother. For this reason alone I believe it did not take Peyton Manning long to decide San Francisco would not be his new home.

Peyton Manning did not want to relive the “Glory Days” in Tennessee…

Secondly, we can look at the Tennessee Titans. The Titans have one of the best running backs in the league in Chris Johnson, a go to receiver in Kenny Britt and a defense that was once the top-rated defense in the league last year. Add Peyton Manning and the Tennessee Titans could be a true force to be reckoned with. In addition, Peyton Manning played his college careeer as a Volunteer at the University of Tennessee. Manning never was able to win a NCAA Championship but Peyton Manning is still one of the most beloved figures in the state of Tennessee. If Peyton Manning had chosen the Titans as his home, there would be no shortage of NFL Fan or even just Tennessee Volunteer love for him.

The familiarity and the dedicated fan base may have been the reason that Peyton Manning decided not to go toTennessee. Peyton Manning seems like the kind of person that likes to prove himself. In Tennessee there is nothing to prove, people will automatically adore Manning wherever he decided to show up. That can be great for some people but to others it is not something that they desire.

 Peyton Manning plans to follow in the footsteps of John Elway

This leaves the Denver Broncos and why Peyton Manning chose this specific team. The Denver Broncos have a good running game, a very good defense, and some average receivers. All these things aside, one major component had to influence Peyton Manning’s decision and that is John Elway. John Elway and Peyton Manning’s stories are similar in many different facets. Peyton Manning is trying to accomplish similar to what Elway accomplished at this point in his career. Peyton Manning has made it clear he wants to win another Super Bowl or even two. John Elway has painted the picture that with Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos will have an opportunity to accomplish that feat.

With the arrival of  Peyton Manning in Denver; the demise of “Tebow Time” was inevitable

Moreover, The Denver Broncos believe that Peyton Manning can be their savior and have signed Manning to a 5-year 96 million dollar contract. With that kind of money invested in Peyton Manning, everyone knew Tebow Time would no longer be a Denver phenomenon. The New York Jets decided to give Tim Tebow a new home as big as his fan base. The Jets have committed to Mark Sanchez but if Sanchez does struggle Tebow might be called on to take over the starting position.

Can Peyton Manning take a hit or will he end up back on the injured report?

The courting of Peyton Manning is over. No one will know if Peyton Manning can truly deliver until He takes the field. We will not even know if Peyton Manning can take a hit until he does. We can still only try to make a prediction that Peyton Manning will be the Manning of old we know and love. If it is determined that Manning cannot play after all the hype, will the Denver Broncos be able to recover. The answer is invariably no. The Broncos better hope that Peyton Manning can overcome the odds; they are truly stacked against the new, “Golden Boy” of Denver.

NFL Free Agency, Great Beginnings

Free agency for the NFL has started and the deals have started flying on the first day. A great deal of teams took advantage of free agency to make some major improvements to their perspective teams. Some moves were expected but no one could have foretold the final outcome after the dust settled.

Will we see good or bad Moss in San Francisco this upcoming NFL season?

To start off NFL Free Agency, Randy Moss was quick to find a new home. I had expected Moss to sign with the New Orleans Saints when the reports of an impressive workout surfaced and I considered how wonderful it would be for him to be paired with Drew Brees. Instead, Moss will be the newest member of the San Francisco 49ers. Moss only signed a one year deal but it could be all that he needs to reach the Super Bowl if the 49ers can pull together a run like the last NFL season.

Unfortunately, two problems may stop Randy Moss’s “Road to Glory”. The first problem is no one knows if Moss is motivated enough to actually play to his full potential. Moss has a tendency to play when he is motivated and take plays off when he does not think it is worth the effort. The second issue is Alex Smith is still the San Francisco 49ers quarterback. I like the way Alex Smith played last year but let’s be honest, Smith is no Tom Brady. In additon, Randy Moss depending on Alex Smith to get him the ball does not make me very excited. I am foreseeing another down year for Moss unless Alex Smith can find his inner Peyton Manning. Moss can make a quarterback look much better than he is; Alex Smith is just a very average quarterback.

Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler are “Reunited and it feels so good!”

An unexpected move that happened today was that Brandon Marshall was traded from the Miami Dolphins to the Chicago Bears. The trade reunites Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall. The Miami Dolphins received two third round picks and the Chicago Bears receive the go-to receiver they have been looking for. With Cutler playing much better as of late, Matt Forte running the ball and receiving out of the backfield, and Brandon Marshall hauling in receptions, Chicago should have a good chance to go far in the playoffs. Of course this relies on the fact that none of the Chicago Bears key players become injured and every player can stay out of off-the-field trouble.

Vincent Jackson not a San Diego Charger anymore??

Another player made some waves today by leaving his previous team for greener pastures is Vincent Jackson. Vincent Jackson has been a recipient of most of Phillip Rivers passes besides Antonio Gates over the last seven years. Vincent Jackson has signed a 5-year contract for 55.5 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This means that Jackson will be the primary receiving threat for Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback, Josh Freeman. I truly do not know what to make of Josh Freeman, because Freeman has never had a real number one receiver to go to. Jackson could be the catalyst to take Freeman’s passing attack to the next level. On the flip side, Vincent Jackson could expose Josh Freeman as just an average quarterback. Whichever outcome happens, one thing we can be sure of is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not afraid to make some major moves this free agency season.

Calvin Johnson signed one of, if not the biggest deal of this off-season

Lastly, how can we talk about free agency and not mention the biggest deal? Calvin Johnson aka Megatron managed to ink a mega deal. The Detroit Lions signed Calvin Johnson to a 132 million, 8-year deal. The deal includes 60 million dollars guaranteed which trumps the Larry Fitzgerald deal which had 50 million guaranteed. Johnson is clearly the best receiver in the league and worth every penny of the deal. No other receiver in the league even comes close to Johnson’s production of almost 1,700 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. Calvin Johnson is simply the best at his position.

Free agency has just begun and more deals are sure to come, especially as the NFL Draft looms closer. Like every season we will have some free agency winners and losers. A great deal of the time all it takes is the right player in the right season to change a team’s fortune. May the right and wrong free agency moves begin…

NFL: The Courting of Peyton Manning

Well it has finally happened. No one thought the day would come. Peyton Manning is no longer an Indianapolis Colt. Over the last few months it had become quite apparent that this day might come but many were hoping, wishing, and even praying that the Indianapolis Colts would find a way to keep Peyton Manning on the team. However, the closer the deadline became, the more everyone realized that it was finally going to happen.

Which NFL franchise will Peyton Manning sign with now that he is a free agent?

Peyton Manning is a free agent and instead of hoping that someone will pick him up, Peyton Manning will be interviewing teams. Manning will take the best situation for himself and what he wants to accomplish at this point in his career. Peyton Manning probably has three to four good playing years left in him. Knowing that, Peyton Manning will want to find the best situation to make it to the Super Bowl and win the whole thing. Peyton Manning does not have the luxury of going to a rebuilding team and hoping they can squeak into the playoffs on his coattails. Peyton Manning will not even consider teams like that as an option.

Everyone is wondering which teams are the best options for Peyton Manning and all of what he wants to accomplish over the next few years. After eliminating all the teams with true franchise quarterbacks, there are only a few teams that make real sense. The Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers all make sense at some level. This of course is not looking at what kind of deal Peyton Manning could potentially work. I am just considering which team could benefit the most from the arrival of Peyton Manning.

Is it a wise move for the New York Jets to still have faith in Mark Sanchez?

Examining all of these possibilities the team that would give Peyton Manning to accomplish a Super Bowl right away would have been the New York Jets. I am not the biggest fan of Rex Ryan and his coaching methods but the New York Jets are one great quarterback away from going to the next level. Mark Sanchez aka “The Sanchize” is not the answer. Everyone knows it and so does Rex Ryan. It was apparent last year that Mark Sanchez is nothing more than a game manager. However, as of last night the New York Jets decided Mark Sanchez was their choice of the future and signed their quarterback to a contract extension worth 40.5 million. The Jets may think Sanchez is worth it, but I just do not see it.

The Arizona Cardinals would be an interesting choice for Peyton Manning’s new team

Personally, I would love to see Peyton Manning on the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have seen the failing of the Kevin Kolb Experiment and need a real franchise quarterback. Larry Fitzgerald is still one of the best recievers in the game. The Cardinals have Todd Heap at the tight end position who could return to top form with Manning throwing him the ball. In addition, the Arizona Cardinals defense is a young defense who is on the rise. Manning could do similar things to what Kurt Warner accomplished when he was the quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals.Manning might even be able to do the improbable and make the Cardinals Super Bowl contenders once again.

The Redskins will draft Robert Griffin III but do not count them out as a suitor for Peyton Manning

No matter how much we do our research and try to guess where Peyton lands, only Peyton Manning truly knows where his last stop will be. Any of the other NFL teams I named could end up being the place Peyton Manning decides to call home. Even though the Washington Redskins have moved up in the draft to take Robert Griffin III, I would not count them out of the running for a landing spot for manning. It would be a great situation to have Peyton Manning teaching Griffin III for 2 -3 years. The potential for that kind of mentoring situation would be truly sky high.

Of course, with all that being said we could have some surprise team show up to claim the coveted rights to Peyton Manning. The ride from now until the end of the courting match of Peyton Manning will be one to remember. We will have all sorts of speculations, some much crazier than others. Everyday we will hear more and more about what Peyton Manning is doing, who Peyton Manning is visiting, and which team has the edge. Whatever happens hopefully, Peyton Manning has more sense than to do something similar to the Lebron James “The Decision” fiasco.

NFL: Headhunting for Cash

Let’s talk about ethics today. In a time when Disney has decided that using their only African-American princess character to sell watermelon candy, which is more than questionable ethical action, the current major NFL news tops this easily. I really though my ears were deceiving me when the announcement was made of what kind of ethics some people have in the NFL. I had to do a double-take when I heard a NFL team had actually installed a bounty program as a normal every day business practice.

The New Orleans Saints are now America’s new bounty hunters??

I have watched enough movies and television programs to know how bounty hunting works. I know it is a job and a dangerous one at that. The person who has a bounty on them is a fugitive from justice and the person hunting them is trying to bring them back to justice. If the bounty hunter succeeds then they will get a sizeable paycheck for helping the government for capturing the fugitive.

The New Orleans Saints are neither a government and no matter the moniker their name carries, the Saints are not hunting down fugitives at any time. Just then how do the New Orleans Saints justify having a bounty program in place. The players on the New Orleans Saints this past year implemented an illegal bounty program which was in essence a hit list. If you are familiar with a hit list, it is more of what an assassin or a mob hit man has. This is where someone is paid a fee to rough someone up or even worse kill a person.

The New Orleans Saints defensive players were paid extra money to injure certain players on the opposing team. The Saints defensive players were told to knock key players out of the game. The proof this type of program has been going on for a while, such a command was given to the New Orleans Saints defensive players concerning Brett Favre when he was playing. The amazing thing is the defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints Gregg Williams knew all about the program and supported it.

Gregg Williams really thought he was “The Godfather” by supporting/implementing his bounty program

I can understand wanting to lay a good hit on someone if you are defensive player, but your coach sending the message to actually do your best to injure someone is just mind boggling. Maybe Gregg Williams has watched too many Godfather movies. Did Gregg Williams really think he was a Don in a mafia organization ordering players to perform “a hit” (in a completely different sense of the word than a normal football hit) on unsuspecting players?

Saints defense motivated by a love for a city down on it’s luck or was it pure greed?

Gregg Williams actually involved 27 of the players on the New Orleans Saints roster in his bounty scheme. This number of players is for all intensive purposes half of the New Orleans Saints roster. While it would be good to think that Gregg Williams acted alone in implementing this system, there is a high probability some of the other coaching staff knew what was going on. Before it is all over I am sure we will see some additional people suffer some heavy consequences.

Will Sean Payton also suffer the consequences of, “The Bounty Hunting”, scandal?

I realize that football may be a violent game and injuries are sure to happen. An injury should be an accident though and not because another player is receiving a special bonus for intentionally causing harm to a person. I know that professional football or professional sports for that matter is a business where it pays to be the best. However, at the heart of it all, we have to decide where to draw the line. In the end if we take things too far is it truly worth it?  Ultimately we have to see that football is still just a game.

NFL: No Luck Is Neeeded, It Is All About RG3

I know that the next NFL season is far away in the future but it is never too early to start to think about some events that will have major implications on the upcoming season. One event that could change a team’s fortune for next season is the NFL Draft. The Draft is where teams can find players to build their teams around or a key player that can take a team to the next level.

Luck  is the clear cut choice of the Indianapolis Colts, but has the fascination died down?

The Indianapolis Colts are betting the farm that Andrew Luck is the next great quarterback phenomenon. The Colts have already said that Andrew Luck is their man and they are going after him with the first pick. Andrew Luck could very well live up to all the hype and the Colts will have proven they know a good quarterback when they see one.

Robert Griffin III ran a 4.41, 40-yard Dash time, did I mention Griffin is a quarterback?

However, another player may have even greater talent than Andrew Luck. This player might even have a more successful NFL career than Andrew Luck. Robert Griffin III or RG3 could prove that he is the best quarterback in this year’s draft.Griffinhas already won the Heisman this past year and recently RG3 wowed everyone with a 40 yard dash time of 4.41. To put this in perspective receivers are praised for having that kind of speed and Robert Griffin III is a quarterback. If Michael Vick is fast, Robert Griffin III is blazing with a capital B.

In addition, Robert Griffin III has proven that he is not only an accurate but has the arm to throw any deep pass he desires. Griffin may not make every throw but when the game is on the line, very few quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Draft class can match up to Griffin’s ability to come out on top. Andrew Luck is a once in a lifetime talent but it is safe to say Robert Griffin III is also the kind of quarterback we will not likely see again.

Which  NFL team tunnel will RG3 be running out of this upcoming NFL season?

NFL teams have seen Robert Griffin III’s resume and everyone likes what they see. Quite a few teams are willing to give up multiple draft picks to trade up just to obtain the services of RG3. The St.Louis Rams are more than willing to trade the second pick of the NFL Draft to the right suitor and make one team very happy to have a new franchise quarterback. The Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins seem like the most likely places for a deal to be worked out. Cleveland and Washington have the most to offer St. Louis for their number two draft pick. That is not to say other teams will not make attractive offers. However, Cleveland and Washington are the only teams able to reach the current asking price in full. The St.Louis Rams know that they hold an Ace up their sleeve in the pick that can be used to obtain RG3. The Rams have a great deal of needs and aim to use their ace to put a dent in a long list of needs.

Clear Proof that the shiny “Lucky” coin has lost it’s luster and shine.

This time last year, all the world could talk about is Andrew Luck, now the “Luck Phenomenon” has died down. Enter now the age of the Robert Griffin III infatuation. Luck has become old news. We know which team Luck is going to land on. We know when Andrew Luck is getting picked. Luck’s story up until draft day is written in stone. Robert Griffin III’s story just keeps growing more every day. What will the end of the chapter before the complete book is written. Only time will tell…

NBA All-Star Weekend: It’s Just Average!

Well the weekend was slated to be one of the most anticipated in sports with the NBA All-Star weekend upon us. I was one of the NBA fans that was excited for this NBA All-Star weekend because last year Blake Griffin jumped over a car and every part of the NBA weekend bought excitement. This weekend should have been one that every NBA fan enjoyed.

Instead fans were served up a mediocre sequel to a NBA weekend that last year boosted NBA ratings to new heights. The skills competition was mainly players jogging at half speed looking like they did not even care if they won or lost. The final round was a bit more exciting but I am sure no one broke a sweat trying to make it through the preliminary rounds. Tony Parker won this very lackluster, unexciting event.

And the winner of the Three-Point Shootout is Kevin Love??

The three point shootout was a bit livelier than the Skills competition. However, I am sure they did not get the most prolific three-point shooters in the NBA. Anytime Kevin Love is a participant in a three-point competition we know they were struggling to find people to enter.  Kevin Love is purely a power forward and while is a good three-point shooter should not be a first pick. Where is Ray Allen or Paul Pierce? Where is Kyle Korver? I would have even taken Ben Gordon over some of the final players that participated. The three-point shootout lacked star power and also the real “streak” three-point shooters that are known to “light it up” from deep. When it was all said and done, Kevin Love, the most unlikely candidate won the title of three-point champion. Congratulations to Kevin Love but I am convinced the NBA could have gotten a better roster to compete in the NBA three-point contest.

Gone are the days of good Dunk Contests…

Next on the agenda was the Slam Dunk contest. Gone are the years when we saw Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins compete in the Slam Dunk contest. We used to see NBA players fight to get in the Slam Dunk competition. Now as soon as a player gets a bit of fame they snub the Slam Dunk contest. We will never get to see Lebron James against Kobe Bryant to see who the best dunker is. Even better would be to have Lebron James, Blake Griffin, and Dwight Howard all showcase their best dunks against each other.

Instead all NBA fans received were a bunch of players no one knew putting on the lamest slam dunk contest ever. This year the NBA Slam Dunk contest did not even have formal judges. No I am not kidding; no judges at all were part of the contest. The voting was done all by votes tallied by fans on the internet. Half of the fun of previous contests as a fan was arguing over why one dunk got a 50 and why one dunk was a 49. It still boggles me to why they decided to not have judges this year. The majority of the dunks were jump over this or that and it each dunk took too many tries for the competitors to complete the desired dunk. I believe the NBA should have put in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that star players have to be participants in some part of All-Star weekend besides the All-Star game. Some guy named Jeremy Evans won the slam dunk contest. Who is Jeremy Evans you ask? I had to ask myself the same question and then refresh my memory. If Evans did not have a Utah Jazz uniform most people would have not known what team Jeremy Evans plays for.

The best part of the whole weekend was the NBA All-Star game. I should probably say the 4th quarter of the NBA All-Star game was the best part because for about 3 quarters, neither the Eastern Conference nor Western Conference All-Star team plays at full speed. Both teams hardly play defense for the first three quarters of the All-Star game. However, in the 4th quarter is when we see things start to heat up. Every all-star player in the game stepped up their game but none greater than Lebron James. The Eastern Conference was down by 15 points in the 4th quarter and when Lebron James came in, the run started.  James hit multiple three-pointers, some that looked impossible to help eventually dwindle the Western conference lead down to one point.

Lebron James came up short in the NBA All-Star game too, is this a sign of things to come?

The Eastern conference was almost able to take the lead but we saw why the Miami Heat lost the playoffs last year come to fruition in the NBA All-Star game. Dwayne Wade could not hang on to a pass from Lebron for a wide open layup. In addition, Lebron threw a critical last second turnover that sealed the fate of the Eastern Conference. The question still looms in many NBA fans mind; will we see a similar meltdown when Lebron James and the Miami Heat enter the NBA playoffs?

NBA All-Star weekend may have been the second most watched All-Star weekend in NBA history, but does this more have to do with that not much more was on television. Maybe it was because more people now have a way to watch television in general. The reason could even be people were hoping like a bad movie the weekend would eventually get better. Whichever the reason, we can only hope that next year will return to yesteryear where NBA All-Star weekend was just as fantastic as the rest of the NBA season. One can only hope….

NBA: This is the Year, but Who’s Year?

The Miami Heat this year are once again poised to win it all. The Heat have the best record in the Eastern Conference and are playing up to the level everyone expected. The Miami Heat look like a team that can make a deep playoff run and win the whole NBA Championship. Lebron James could very well achieve his first NBA Championship this year.

Hold on though, the road will not be easy. I am not even sure that the Heat will make it out of the Eastern Conference with the Chicago Bulls playing well and the emergence of the “new look” New York Knicks. I might even say that the Miami Heat may have had their best chance to obtain a Championship ring last season. While the Heat are not a pushover by any means, many teams are adjusting to their style of play. In addition, other teams are constructing their own Championship caliber rosters to challenge the Miami Heat.

Who wins the Eastern Conference this year?

The Dallas Mavericks can of course cause some trouble for the Miami Heat if they see them again in the NBA Finals. The San Antonio Spurs could pose some interesting matchups for the Miami Heat and may be able to pull off a miracle similar to the Dallas Mavericks improbable playoff run last year. However, the Oklahoma City Thunder could very well not only be a challenge for the Heat but be one of the only teams that can prevent the Heat from reaching their goal for a second consecutive year.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are two of the most dominant scorers in the game. Serge Ibaka is a defensive force in the middle and James Harden may very well be the new Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson. The Miami Heat will have their work cut out for them if they see the Thunder in the NBA Finals. I am confident that the Thunder will have no problem finishing games this year.

We know which one has proven to be more clutch….

Kevin Durant is as clutch as they come when the game is on the line. Give Durant any sort of room and he will shoot “the dagger” that will put the game out of reach any time. On the other side we have Lebron James who has still yet to prove that he can finish important games. If James has a meltdown in the 4th quarter during playoff games like last year, the Miami Heat will have a hard time even making the NBA Finals. In addition, once the Miami Heat make the Finals, if Lebron James is still having the same issue, the curtain could fall on the Miami Heat show again.

It is a distinct possibility that the Miami Heat will lose in the playoffs again this year, and everyone will say the experiment has failed. The Miami Heat will have tried to bringing players with phenomenal talent together without the teamwork needed to be successful. If Lebron James does not win this year can he truly keep the name “King” James? All the kings I have ever read about have crowns and Lebron James will be lacking one. Maybe Lebron James will need to take on a new moniker. I am voting for “Knight” James until Lebron James can prove that he can deliver at least one of the many promised rings to South Beach.

NBA: The Mighty, Mighty, New York Knicks??

The question that everyone wants to know that watches NBA basketball is, how good can the New York Knicks be? The answer is that the Knicks can be very good. The New York Knicks, once they figure out how all the pieces fit together, could challenge the Miami Heat for Eastern Conference dominance. With the addition of J.R. Smith and the discovery of Jeremy Lin, the sky is now the limit for the New York Knicks.

In addition to Jeremy Lin, J.R. Smith could be the missing piece the New York Knicks needed?

The problem that the New York Knicks face is that no one knows how all the pieces will coexist. Amare Stoudemire, Jeremy Lin, Carmello Anthony and J.R. Smith all have to form some semblance of team chemistry. The main problem that was apparent in last night’s game versus the New Jersey Nets was that Carmello Anthony was not sure where to fit in within the Jeremy Lin run offense.  It was easy to see that Anthony was trying to find his place on the team. I cannot remember the last time that Carmello Anthony played 37 minutes and only had 11 points.

Can Jeremy Lin and Carmello Anthony coexist in New York?

Until Carmello Anthony finds his place on the team and fills his scoring role, the New York Knicks will be just another good team. However, once everything clicks for Anthony, the Knicks will become one of the great teams in the Eastern Conference. No one doubts that Carmello Anthony can score and put up some spectacular performances. The real dilemma is how long will is it going take for Anthony to figure out how to do the same without being the main focus of the offense? Carmello Anthony has to become a role player, who is willing to sacrifice his own personal numbers for the good of the team. I am not sure if Anthony can accomplish the feat, no matter how much Anthony claims he can. Carmello Anthony for most of his career has been a shoot first and ask questions later kind of player. This is definitely one of the most anticipated “wait and see” stories of 2012.

Are we actually going to see a Carmello Anthony that passes the ball this year?

The sooner Carmello Anthony becomes another working part of the Knicks machine rather than driver, the better off the New York Knicks will be. The problem is that time is running short. The shortened NBA season gives the New York Knicks a limited amount of time to make everything fit together before the playoffs. The New York Knicks are going to have work overtime to develop the kind of team work that wins a championship in less time than many of the other top playoff contenders, including the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Can the Knicks actually challenge the Miami Heat this year?

The Miami Heat took almost all of last NBA season to finally come together and start playing like a NBA championship contending team. Even after the Miami Heat were deep into the NBA Playoffs, we still saw some lapses in team chemistry. The New York Knicks can only hope that their learning curve is much shorter and the team comes together before the NBA playoffs begin. If the New York Knicks are able to accomplish the task, the Knicks could ride the Lin-Mello-Stoudemire-Smith wave far into the playoffs.

Jim Irsay vs. Peyton Manning and the World

The Peyton Manning Saga has been a subject of much controversy since last year. However, the curiosity of everyone has increased leading up to the Super Bowl, since the game was in Indianapolis. Now that a Super Bowl champion has been crowned, all the attention has shifted to all eyes on Peyton Manning and his decision whether to stay or leave the Colts.

Peyton Manning has said from day one that he would love to stay an Indianapolis Colt and play out the rest of his career with the team. Manning has never said that he wanted to leave the Indianapolis Colts organization. The writing has just been on the wall for a while. With the firing of most of the coaching staff and even Vice President Bill Polian, the Colts have made it very clear they are moving in a new direction. Jim Irsay, the owner of the Indianapolis Colts has even stated the team is drafting Andrew Luck with the first pick of this year’s NFL Draft. Luck is for all intensive purposes Peyton Manning’s replacement and the Indianapolis Colts quarterback of the future.

Should the Colts stick with the past or go with the future?

Jim Irsay is true to his name as everything he says is kind of like a person saying “Err umm you may have heard that but that is not exactly the truth, err um but this is kind of the truth.” Jim Irsay clearly wants Peyton Manning to retire but Manning has no plans to cooperate with Irsay’s plans. Peyton Manning plans to return and play in the NFL this upcoming season.

Peyton Manning did have some neck surgery this past year, the third in two years. Manning has been recovering all of last season to get ready to return for this upcoming year. Peyton Manning has even been cleared by two different doctors to play. Jim Irsay has refuted that statement that Peyton Manning is cleared to play, saying he has not been cleared by the Indianapolis Colts. This is a clear example of how Jim Irsay is not supporting Peyton Manning’s return. Usually an owner would support his starting quarterback doing everything he can to get back on the field. Irsay is not that kind of owner.

Is the support of Peyton Manning’s return by Jim Irsay all one big sham?

The public and fans do not want to see Manning on another team. Jim Irsay does not want to see Peyton Manning go to another NFL franchise and witness Manning helping another team rise to the top. In spite of all this, everyone realizes that the Indianapolis Colts will most likely release Peyton Manning at some point before March 8th. March 8th is when Peyton Manning is due his roster bonus over 25 million. The Indianapolis Colts cannot afford to keep Manning and also pay Andrew Luck his contract as well. The inevitable is coming soon with Peyton Manning being able to choose from a number of suitors.

Who will win the services of Peyton Manning this year if he leaves the Colts?

Jim Irsay did make a PR move by endorsing that Peyton Manning was welcome to stay. After a whole year of no support for Manning, now when Irsay thinks his image is bad he wants to endorse keeping Manning. Irsay should have been saying this long ago. Now the statement just looks like Jim Irsay is trying to save face. Jim Irsay did much too little and way too late in my opinion of the way he treated Peyton Manning. If I was Manning I would already have my bags packed and have one foot out of the door.

A great deal of teams would welcome Peyton Manning’s services and pay him well. Jim Irsay may say that he knows what he has in Peyton Manning but I do not believe that he does. If Jim Irsay really had a clue of how special Peyton Manning is, the treatment of the star quarterback would have been much different. Unfortunately, Jim Irsay decided to take the wrong road when dealing with this delicate situation. The Indianapolis Colts need a quarterback of the future but they may need a new owner right now.

NBA: The 5 Game Epic Story of Jeremy Lin

By now the World is enraptured by the next great thing and that next great thing  people are clamoring about is Jeremy Lin. Lin has generated all sorts of buzz leading the New York Knicks on an impressive win streak. The more impressive part is the Jeremy Lin has done it without any help from the injured stars Carmello Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. Jeremy Lin has had five games of scoring more than 20 points.  Lin has become the go to guy on a very limited New York Knicks roster.

Jeremy Lin has become a New York sensation in just five games

In addition, Lin is dishing out an impressive amount of assists, averaging eight assists a game . Jeremy Lin is drawing comparisons to a lesser impressive Steve Nash clone. While Jeremy Lin does not nearly have the resume of Steve Nash, Lin is catching the attention of all the critics with his improved play. Everyone is wondering is this some fluke run that will end abruptly as teams begin to figure Jeremy Lin out?

Is Jeremy Lin a less impressive version of a young Steve Nash?

The answer to that question is inevitably yes and no. To explain, what Jeremy Lin will do will change as Amare Stoudemire and Carmello Anthony return. His role will change from being the go to guy for every play to being much more of a facilitator. Instead of Jeremy Lin having to try to knock down as many shots as possible as he did in previous games, Lin will share the wealth so to speak with Stoudemire and Anthony.

Can Carmello Anthony and Amare Stoudemore coexist with Jeremy Lin?

This does not mean Jeremy Lin will not score. I can easily see Jeremy Lin continuing to average 20 points and 8 assists a game even with Amare Stoudemire and Carmello Anthony back in the lineup. Lin may even average greater or less numbers depending on what the team needs him to do to win. With the defensive attention Amare Stoudemire and Carmello Anthony will receive when on the court, opposing teams will have to allow Jeremy Lin to roam free. Having to lessen the pressure on Jeremy Lin will definitely cause some defensive mismatches to fall Lin’s way.

Total Linsanity!!!

None of the signs are there to say that Jeremy Lin will be a one week wonder. Lin did not suddenly acquire some, “Space Jam Michael Jordan”, basketball skills. Jeremy Lin is just a diamond in the rough that needed the right coach to make him shine. The New York Knicks may have found the missing piece and created their own “Big Three.” Only time will tell if the pieces will fit together. My best guess is that Linsanity will continue as Jeremy Lin continues to help the New York Knicks Win! Win! Win! or should I say Lin! Lin! Lin!

NFL Off-Season Beginnings: Mistakes

The NFL is officially upon us and we have already seen a big move be made by the New York Jets deciding to keep Santonio Holmes. The Jets decided to keep Holmes, even though he was due $15.25 million dollars in guaranteed money. Holmes signed a 45 million dollar contract last year and I was not sure the New York Jets would keep Santonio Holmes this season after putting up sub-par numbers last season. Santonio Holmes only caught 51 balls for 654 yards and 8 touchdowns. Santonio Holmes is nowhere near an elite NFL wide receiver but he is getting paid like one.

Are the New York Jets over paying for Santonio Holmes services??

Let us put things in perspective and look at elite reciever Larry Fitzgerald, who makes 15 million a year. Larry Fitzgerald had 1411 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns last season. Santonio Holmes is not even in the same league as Fitzgerald talent wise yet the Jets seem to want to over pay for his services.  In addition, Santonio Holmes has caused quite a bit of conflict in the New York Jets locker room. Not only is Holmes being over paid but he is also a disruption on the team. I do not get the logic of the New York Jets leadership by keeping Santonio Holmes. If I was in a similar situation I would trade Holmes for some draft picks and find some receivers in the NFL draft. Moreover, I would spend over 50% less what the New York Jets are paying Santonio Holmes for putting up some very average wide reciever numbers.

While the New York Jets were busy making mistakes in keep players, the Indianapolis Colts are about to make an even bigger mistake in releasing one. The Indianapolis Colts are setting themselves up to release Peyton Manning. We may not know what the status of Peyton Manning’s health is at this point but if Manning is any form healthy I would not release him. Peyton Manning is an elite quarterback and even if he is only 75% healthy, Manning is better than probably 50% of the quarterbacks in the NFL. I can name quite a few teams who would dump their current quarterback for Peyton Manning in a heartbeat. These teams would not even blink an eye as they sent their current quarterback packing to make room for their new NFL franchise savior, Peyton Manning.

Peyton Manning is saying he is healthy and ready to go! Release Him??

In addition, Peyton Manning would get a huge payday to go to his new team. Manning would not have to worry about proving himself to receive what he is worth. Manning has done enough to prove that he is worth the risk. I am already envisioning a Drew Brees situation all over again where the Colts let Peyton Manning go and Manning brings another franchise back to relevance. Peyton Manning might even win another Super Bowl with the right team and the Colts will still be rebuilding. This will be similar to the San Diego Chargers situation a few years ago when they decided to release Drew Brees after the team drafted Philip Rivers. Drew Brees signed with the New Orleans Saints and the rest is history. Since that decision, how many Super Bowls have the Chargers won? Recently, the San Diego Chargers cannot even make the playoffs. However, each year the New Orleans Saints, with the former San Diego Chargers quarterback, are competing for a Super Bowl every year.

Remember when the Chargers thought Philip Rivers was a better option than Drew Brees….

Peyton Manning, if healthy, could legitimately be the franchise quarterback for another team for three to four years. Give a good NFL team a player that can boost their franchise to the next level for three to four years and they will be happy on two levels. First, the NFL franchise can compete in the playoffs for that time every year and have a chance at making the Super Bowl. Second, the move would buy the NFL franchise time to draft and build for the future. This would be especially true at the quarterback position for that NFL team because the quarterback the team decides to draft can sit and learn behind Peyton Manning. A good NFL prospect that can learn behind an Elite NFL quarterback like Peyton Manning will automatically increase their potential development ceiling. Aaron Rodgers learned behind Brett Favre for a time and now Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. If a team can do something similar with Manning being a mentor to a younger quarterback, the sky is the limit.

Will we see Peyton Manning doing this pose with another NFL team before his career ends?

In a perfect world, Peyton Manning would stay inIndianapolisand Santonio Holmes would have been released as well. However, we know that we do not live in a perfect world and the both situations will end up in the opposite of those outcomes. The jet that is Santonio Holmes has already landed to complete one half of this equation. Peyton Manning airlines is still circling deciding where to land. Where will the final destination of Peyton Manning be? No one knows but it is definitely a story worth watching to see how it all plays out. As the drama ensues the immortal words of Terrell Owens comes to mind “ Get your popcorn ready!”

NFL Special Report: The Super Bowl

Well the Super Bowl has come and gone. As expected by most of the experts and myself the Giants won but it was definitely not in the dominant manner most predicted. The New York Giants won 21-17 over the New England Patriots. Tom Brady and the company put up quite a fight that went down to the last play. We will never know if the outcome would have been different if the Patriots had Rob Gronkowski at full strength and not the very limited role he played.

Tom Brady and the Patriots leave defeated…

If “The Gronk” was fully healthy would the outcome have been different?

What we do know however is that Tom Brady needed some major help on the receiving end, and the answer was not Chad Ochocinco. Deion Branch, Wes Welker, and Aaron Hernandez all dropped balls at crucial times that would of helped the Patriots maybe win the game. I am not sure if it was nerves or not but catches these players would normally make were all of a sudden being dropped all over the field.

It could have been the aftermath of the Tebow effect, as Tim Tebow was on the news more than the actual Super Bowl was during the weeks before the game. Especially the last week before the game I saw more airtime devoted to Tim Tebow than to what was going on with the Super Bowl. On the other hand, maybe it was the Peyton Manning Curse because they desecrated the stadium he built (figuratively speaking) by replacing his picture with that of the hated Tom Brady.

I am being facetious but I have heard all the stories and excuses as to why the Patriots loss. Tom Brady’s significant other put it plainly, “My husband cannot throw and catch the ball at the same time.” And so the finger pointing has begun from the fans, public and even some sports analysts, even though Tom Brady, Coach Belicheck, and owner Robert Kraft are all optimistic about next year and the direction the Patriots are moving.

And what is not to be excited about? The New England Patriots have two first round picks and two second round picks in this years upcoming NFL Draft. They have a largely young team with some up and coming stars. The Patriots also have one of the best quarterbacks in the league that took a team with the worst defense all the way to the Super Bowl in Tom Brady. The future is looking bright in Patriots Land.

On the other side of the field, we have the Super Bowl Champions, the New York Giants. No one at the beginning of the year picked the Giants to do anything significant at all. Matter of fact, most experts had claimed the Atlanta Falcons or the Philadelphia Eagles to be the team that had a chance to win the whole thing. Little did anyone know that Eli Manning would turn the corner from good quarterback to elite NFL quarterback during this NFL season. The running joke has become more true than ever that we cannot truly have Elite without Eli being included.

Eli has done the impossible once again, taking down the Patriots in the process

Eli Manning has had a dream season that was something like out of a movie. If we were in the theater watching this story with some popcorn, every person would have come out saying, “Wow that movie was great!” Even if a person is not a New York Giants fan, they have to recognize that the New York Giants did something very inspiring over this last NFL season.

I did not see one inspiring story from the New England Patriots side of the field other than that the players were playing for the owner’s wife who passed. That is a great cause for the players but it is hard for the public to really connect to. In addition, that story was a very small part of what was heard from the Patriots camp. Most of what I heard all week was jokes about Rob Gronkowski’s ankle.

That is wonderful to have a sense of humor but on the New York Giants side of the ball, I heard a story about Justin Tuck who wears a special wrist band from a child he befriended that dealt with cancer and eventually died from the disease. I, like every other fan, that saw the story looked to see if Justin Tuck had it on during the Super Bowl and true to his word it was on his wrist. That is the kind of story that touches the soul of people. Or I also saw a story about Jason Pierre-Paul’s dad who was blind and has never seen his son play, but listens and cheers for his son every game. The first game that Jason Pierre-Paul’s dad came to was the Super Bowl. They showed him at the game, enjoying the game and listening to the game.

Justin Tuck after making a sack and the wristband is there…inspiring!

Jason Pierre-Paul played his best football with his dad in attendance for the first time ever

If a person was not a Patriots fan, how could they not love what the New York Giants represented coming up to the game. The New York Giants had player stories that would connect with the hearts of many people who saw them and heard them. Even if someone did not really care if the Giants won or lost, people would connect with a certain player and want them to do well because of their story. I am sure some people as the game continued wanted the Giants to win not because they were fans but because of the connection that person had developed with a certain player, due to these different heart-touching stories.

I can safely say that this has been one of the most enjoyable NFL seasons in a long time. The ups and downs were frequent and it was a great to see some new teams rise up and challenge the veteran teams. The Detroit Lions, The San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans, and the Cincinnati Bengals all look to have bright futures ahead of them. Off season is officially here, let the excitement for next season begin today as we dream of another great season next year. Do not look at this as the end but only the beginning of another great year.

NFL: Super Bowl Preview

This weekend to most sports fan is the biggest weekend of the year. It is Super Bowl Weekend and all of the NFL fans have been waiting all year to see which teams would be the ones to overcome all the odds to land in the big game. This year we have the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. It must be the Northern air that has given both of these teams the will to persevere.

No one could have guessed that these would be the two teams left out of all the 32 NFL teams at the beginning of the year. That being said, no NFL football fan can be disappointed by the matchup. This is a game that some might even call the Heroes versus the Villains. I only say this because New England has developed a reputation of having such a swagger that it truly rubs many fans the wrong way. I have heard so many people say to me lately, “I want anyone to win other than the New England Patriots.” This makes New England the villain that people want to see taken down. What better team to accomplish the goal of stopping New England than the last team that beat them in the Super Bowl?

Is this really how most people see the upcoming Super Bowl Game??

In 2007, New England had gone 18-0 and needed one more game for a perfect season. Everybody saw the writing on the wall, and it was a foregone conclusion New England would not lose the Super Bowl. However, New England happened to play the New York Giants who had got one similar hot streak to this year’s playoff run. The Giants ended up doing the impossible and taking down their own giant in the unbeatable Patriots. The not so distant past.

Fast forward five years and we have a rematch, except this time no one is saying the Patriots is unbeatable. The majority of people are favoring the New York Giants in the game as no one has any faith in the New England Patriots very suspect defense. Fans and some experts are claiming that the Patriots will notch another loss this time around, and it will solidify Eli Manning’s legacy as an elite quarterback.

The game itself has everything a football fan could want; two potent offenses, an NFL elite defense, some rising stars and two of the best quarterbacks in the game– Tom Brady and Eli Manning. With two quarterbacks that surpassed the 5000 yard passing mark, we should see some amazing passes and catches. In addition, we can count on some great defensive plays, and of course as always some Belichick trickery. Bill Belichick definitely gets the Les Miles title of the Mad Hatter in the NFL.

The New England Patriots definitely have a high scoring offense that can put up points on any NFL team. However, the job of scoring will not be such an easy task against a New York Giants defense that is ranked #2 in the post season in total defense. Tom Brady will be under pressure all day from the New York Giants dominant front four which include Osi Umeniyora, Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Chris Canty or Dave Tollefson. Tom Brady will not have time to sit in the pocket all day and pick apart the defense has he has been able to in previous games. Brady will have to get the ball out of his hands quick or suffer the consequences.

Another significant point to take notice of is that Rob Gronkowski, aka “The Gronk” aka Tom Brady’s favorite target is dealing with a high ankle sprain. No matter how much rehab Rob Gronkowski does, he will not be 100 percent when he enters the game on Sunday. I am not saying that Tom Brady cannot adjust to Rob Gronkowski being injured. However, when you are used to having a very reliable option every week and then that option is suddenly very limited or not there at all, Tom Brady’s day will be much harder. It will be interesting to see how the New England Patriots deal with the New York Giants front four rush.

Can “The Gronk” recover in time for the big game on Sunday??

On the other side of the field, we have Eli Manning and the New York Giants. The Patriots do not have the same luxury as the New York Giants with having a dominant front four. The Patriots will have to employ a more conventional blitzing scheme which employs linebackers. Eli Manning was able to pick apart the San Francisco 49ers defense which has superior linebackers and a superior defensive line. I have no doubt that Eli Manning can do quite a bit of damage through the air to the Patriots defense. The only issue that the Giants face is trying to keep up with the Patriots scoring attack. If the game starts to get into a high scoring affair, the New York Giants may be in trouble. I am not sure if the Giants can keep up with the Patriots where defense is an afterthought.

As my readers know I would not leave without giving some sort of prediction. I am going to predict that the New York Giants defense will indeed be able to pressure Tom Brady enough to get him off his normal rhythm. The Giants will win to the score of 31-24 over the Patriots.

Will we see a repeat of the New England Patriots defeat and be taking this same picture ?

Well that is it boys and girls. The final game of the football season is on the horizon and soon we will have a Super Bowl Champion. We have had a great NFL season and even when it is all over we will be immediately thinking about the NFL Draft and next season. Enjoy the Big Game, have a great Super Bowl party or attend one, and I will see everyone on the other side.

NFL Pro Bowl: View Of An NFL Prototype

Hello all, the sports world was definitely very active this weekend. Shaun White proved that even with a sprained ankle that he is the dominant force in snowboarding. In addition, we also see that Tiger Woods does not look like he has fully recovered from a broken heart as he fails to clinch another victory. Bill Belicheck even managed to make a joke on Monday and show his humorous side. I had forgotten the master of the stoic impression could actually have a funny bone in his body.

The Pro Bowl also took place over the weekend and because of some players choosing not to attend, alternates were allowed to take their place. One of the alternates the public was able to see in this year’s Pro Bowl was Cam Newton.

While other players were at the Pro Bowl,Cam was actually one of the most interviewed and talked about. The media asked about what other quarterbacks such as Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers thought of someone with Cam Newton’s abilities. Both Roethlisberger and Rodgers were impressed but seemed worried that this new prototype of quarterback could make the pure pocket passer obsolete.

When Cam Newton was interviewed and asked if he was satisfied with making the Pro Bowl this year,Cam indicated this is only the beginning and he plans to accomplish greater things. Mr. Newton even said that he wants to go past reaching for the stars and become a planet! That may be a bit much but Cam Newton definitely has a way with words. We may soon see if Cam Newton can be as smooth with his words as Muhammad Ali was during his prime of his career. It would be refreshing to see a bit of a different kind of attitude than what we are used to seeing at the quarterback position. I would not mind seeing a quarterback with some swagger in a good way.

Cam Newton did not play particularly well during the Pro Bowl.Newton only threw for 186 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Cam Newton was also sacked a few times, which is something we are not used to seeing sinceCamis known for his running versatility. It was easy to tell that Cam Newton was not very comfortable running the offense at the Pro Bowl. However, whenCamlooked to a familiar face in Steve Smith, lead wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, we were able to see what he is truly able to do. Steve Smith caught 5 balls for 118 yards and a touchdown. All of Smith’s yards were delivered courtesy of Cam Newton.

This year we have seen the ups and downs of Cam Newton. We have seen him have great performances and then some performances that made us realizeNewtonis still a rookie. With all that being said no one can deny his talent. Players, coaches, and owners are all realizing that a new prototype of quarterback may very well be the future of football. Defensive coordinators are soon going to have a much harder job as quarterbacks such as Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, and Denard Robinson are soon going to be the norm.

As much as some love Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, teams are going to soon be clamoring to get their hands on the next Cam Newton, Randall Cunningham, or Michael Vick clone. The changing of the guard will come over the next few years and Cam Newton may indeed be the frontrunner. I have no doubt we have not seen anywhere near the ceiling where Cam Newton will actually level off. We can all just sit back and enjoy the ride that Mr. Newton has so graciously given us all a ticket on.

Will the Giants vs. Patriots Superbowl Be the Most Anticipated Superbowl of All-Time?


By Michelle Zehr

Zehr is a contributing writer for Gold Star Games, a tailgating games company.

The year 2007 was a story of David and Goliath when it came to the Superbowl.  The New England Patriots dominated the NFL with an 18-0 record. The Patriots appeared to be unstoppable and were looking to make history.  On the other hand, the New York Giants were given very little credit. Vegas and the general public had written the Giants off. The Giants took the long, hard road to the Superbowl, which included a stop at Lambeau Field to take on Brett Favre and the Packers.

Then there was the Superbowl, the Giants put an end to the Patriots’ perfect season. With an amazing defense, an explosive offense and a receiving miracle that occurred when David Tyree caught the ball with the help of his helmet to set up a Plaxico touchdown pass.

Now, back to the present. The Patriots finished the season on top of the AFC. On the other hand,  the New York Giants finished fourth in the NFC and had to win a tough road game versus San Francisco to make it to the Superbowl.

This has long been the opportunity Bill Bellcheck and the New England Patriots have been waiting for over the past five years. Bellcheck now has the chance to redeem himself from what was quite possibly the most devastating loss in Superbowl history and earn a fourth Superbowl ring for the New England Patriots’ franchise.

On the other hand, you have Eli Manning, who is looking to legitimize his career by receiving his second Superbowl ring, which would be one more than his big brother, Peyton, has. Manning has the chance to prove himself as an elite quarterback.

We have one team looking for redemption and other team looking to write their place in NFL history as one of the best teams in the past decade. This is bound to be a Superbowl for the ages, one that everyone (whether you like the Giants and/or Patriots or not) will be looking forward to.

Football: Icons and Championships, Rematch is Set

Well the weekend was quite eventful. First and foremost the most important event that took place over the weekend was the death of an icon. Joe Paterno passed away this past weekend at the age of 85. Paterno was the head coach and the face ofPennStateUniversityfor many years. When people thought of PennState, they immediately thought of Joe Paterno.

The Penn State scandal that took place late last year and cost Joe Paterno his job was the beginning of the end. Before the scandal hit the news Joe Paterno had said he would still coach through the end of the season and beyond. Due to the Penn State scandal though, Joe Paterno lost the only job he had known for 45 years. I believe that even though Joe Paterno said he was dealing with it fine, that in truth, the whole situation crushed him.

After losing his head coaching position at Penn State, the reports started rolling in that Paterno was sick, dealing with lung cancer and other ailments. Before the Penn State scandal was public knowledge, we had no idea Joe Paterno was even sick at all. While no one can take away anything from what Joe Paterno accomplished in his time at PennState, I believe the loss of one of the things he loved most was too much for Paterno to handle. Ultimately, once the decision was final and Joe Paterno no longer had any Saturday games to prepare for, no kids to share his wisdom with, and no more college football victories to celebrate, Paterno lost the will to carry on any further. Truly this weekend was a sad end to the legacy of a great man.

College football was not the only football world shaken up this weekend though. We still had NFL Football Conference Championship games this weekend.  The two games featured the Baltimore Ravens versus the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers versus the New York Giants. Both games lived up to the hype. Neither game was a blowout and both came down to the last few plays.

The first game of the weekend was AFC Championship game featuring Baltimore Ravens versus the New England Patriots. The Baltimore Ravens played a great game. Joe Flacco actually out played Tom Brady and showed why he is the Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback. Joe Flacco threw for 306 passing yards and two touchdowns, while Tom Brady only threw for 239 yards and zero touchdowns.  Joe Flacco made all the right throws other than a couple of throws here and there. One crucial throw that Joe Flacco missed was to Torrey Smith, where Smith was wide open downfield and Flacco just overthrew him. If Joe Flacco had hit Torrey Smith on that throw, Smith would have out run the New England Patriots defender for a touchdown.

Ray Rice did not have a particularly impressive game only rushing for 67 yards. The Patriots did a good job of keeping Ray Rice in check all day. Benjarvus Green-Ellis of the New England Patriots actually ran for more yards than Ray Rice by one yard and was able to score a touchdown as well. Even though Tom Brady did not throw for a touchdown, Brady did run for a touchdown by diving over a pile of defenders. Tom Brady showed that he had the heart and will to win with that dive.

The game ultimately came down to the last 30 seconds with the Patriots up 23-20. Joe Flacco threw what should have been the game winning pass to Lee Evans. As Lee Evans caught the pass and tried to secure the ball, the ball was knocked out by Sterling Moore. If we looked at the catch that Lee Evans had, we could debate whether he had the ball long enough to be declared a touchdown. However, since there was no call for it being a touchdown, the play was never reviewed. Then the Baltimore Ravens had one more chance to tie the game up and go to over time with a Billy Cundiff 32 yard field goal. Cundiff ran out on the field, lined up for the kick, and missed the field goal wide left. Any NFL kicker should be able to convert a 32 yard field goal and Cundiff missed it completely. If I was the Ravens I would be looking for a new kicker for next season.

The final game on Sunday was the NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants. The fans got exactly what they expected out of this game. This game was a down to the wire game where both defenses of the 49ers and Giants played their hearts out. Everyone was able to see how dominating the Giants defensive front can truly be. In addition, the 49ers linebacker corps showed why they are one of the best in the league. Patrick Willis and company caused Eli Manning havoc all day.

Alex Smith after having a great game last week had a pretty terrible game this past weekend. Smith threw for 196 yard and 2 touchdowns but watching smith play was not poetry in motion like it was against the New Orleans Saints. Vernon Davis made Alex Smith’s bad day be a passable quarterback performance as Davis made up for the majority of Alex Smith’s passing yards on just 3 catches for 112 yards. We were able to witness the difference between an elite quarterback and a good quarterback as Eli Manning played a great game. Eli Manning threw for 316 passing yards and 2 touchdowns in less than favorable weather conditions as the rain came down upon the field. Despite the play of Alex Smith, the 49ers were still able to keep up with the New York Giants. The two plays that gave the New York Giants the victory were two plays made by the same player.

Kyle Williams, the replacement for Ted Ginn Jr. because of an injury, was given the job of returning kicks. Two times during the game Williams made huge errors on kick returns. The first time happened during the second half where the ball was kicked to Williams on a punt and Williams was going to field the punt but then decided not to. However, when Williams decided not to field the punt the ball bounced off the leg of Kyle Williams and The New York Giants recovered the ball in great field position. The second incident was in overtime. Kyle Williams was returning a punt again and this time he had the ball stripped from his grasp on the return. These are two very crucial errors that probably do not happen if Tedd Ginn Jr. was on the field. The second fumble allowed the New York Giants to setup and kick the game winning field goal. My heart goes out to Kyle Williams because he was trying to do the right thing both times and just happened to make the two most costly mistakes of the game. Hopefully, Kyle Williams will be able to put this behind him and move on to do some wonderful things for the 49ers down the road. The final score ended up being 20-17 in favor of the New York Giants.

The Super Bowl is no set and looks like we will have a rematch of the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. We should see a great game as we see one of the top offenses in the league try to out smart one of the best defenses in the league and vice versa. I am ready to see if Eli can get that second ring or will Brady get his fourth ring. The battle should be one to remember. The final game of the season is looming closer. I am ready to see who will be the Super Bowl Champion but I am also sad the season will be over.

NFL Division Championship Preview: Veterans and a Throwback

Well the weekend is almost here again and that means some great NFL conference Championship action is on the way. This weekend will determine who plays in the NFL Super Bowl. The Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots will meet for the AFC Championship game. TheSan Francisco49ers and New York Giants will meet for the NFC Championship game. The clash of four best teams in the NFL will begin on Saturday.

The first game this Sunday is between the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots. The Baltimore Ravens have one of the best defenses in the NFL and the New England Patriots have one of the best offenses in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens ended the season ranked the number three defense in the NFL only allowing 288 yards per game to their opponents. In addition, the Ravens have limited opponents to score an average of 16.6 points in a game. The Ravens do not make it an easy task for opponents to put the ball in the end zone.

However, on the other side of the field, the New England Patriots are one of the highest scoring offenses in the NFL. The Patriots seem to have the ability to score at will and literally run up the score on whoever they play. The New England Patriots ended the regular season ranked the number two ranked offense in the NFL averaging 32.1 points a game. While I do not think that the Patriots can put up 32 points on the Baltimore Ravens, the Patriots will definitely score a few times.

Tom Brady is a master at dissecting defenses and once he finds a team weakness, the game is over. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are nightmare matchups for anyone who tries to cover the prolific tight end duo. Gronkowski will find the end zone at least one time during the game and if “The Gronk” can find the end zone multiple times, we are sure to see the Patriots running out of the Super Bowl tunnel in February. The Baltimore Ravens cannot afford to let the New England tight ends dominate the game. Hopefully, the Baltimore Ravens can disguise their defensive coverage enough to prevent Tom Brady from taking advantage.

Ray Lewis and company have their work cut out for them. The one factor that the Baltimore Ravens have working in their favor, besides their defense, is they have a great running game. Ray Rice is arguably the best running back in the league running the ball and receiving out of the backfield. Rice is capable of taking over a game on his own and allowing the Ravens to run a ball control type of game. Ray Rice ran for 1,346 during the regular season, second most in the NFL. In addition, Ray Rice had an impressive 704 receiving yards. If the Baltimore Ravens can get Ray Rice going, they have a chance of limiting how much Tom Brady sees the field. The Ravens will have to control the clock and have a significantly greater time of possession than the Patriots to come out with the win. Unfortunately, I do not believe the Baltimore Ravens can accomplish this goal. The final score to the game between the Patriots-Ravens game will be 24-17 in favor of the Patriots.

The second game on Sunday is between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants. Joe Montana and Phil Simms will take the field… oh wait…we are 2012, not some throwback game. I had to reminisce for a second because it has been so long since we have seen these two teams play in a NFC Championship game. The San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants are almost mirror images of each other in the type of game that they would like to run each week. Both teams can run the ball and control the time of possession of the game. Both teams have great defenses that can strike fear into opponents and cause turnovers. Before last week, I would have said that the New York Giants have an advantage in the passing game.

However, after seeing Alex Smith play last week I am not sure who is the better quarterback. Eli Manning has proven it more times this season but Smith has played mistake-free football all season long. Alex Smith may not have put up the gaudy passing numbers but Smith gets the job done most weeks. Last week though Alex Smith threw for 299 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Alex Smith even showed that he had an additional dimension to his game by running for a touchdown as well. No one can knock Alex Smith anymore for just being a game manager, Smith can make the throws.

This game will come down to two very important factors. The team the runs the ball better and has less turnovers will win the game. On the running side of the ball, the New York Giants feature Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. The San Francisco 49ers feature Frank Gore, who every year proves, that he is over his injury plagued seasons. Gore is a fierce downhill runner that has the speed to break for a long score at any time. Gore was the number six running back in the league this year with 1,211 rushing yards. I like the New York Giants running game in the post season but hard to bet against Frank Gore in any game that he plays. The San Francisco 49ers have the edge in the running game.

On the defensive side of the ball, the front four of the New York Giants is one of the best in the league with Osi Umenyiora, Jason Pierre Paul, Justin Tuck, and Chris Canty. With these four players rushing the offensive line in different formations, most teams will have a tough time having a productive day. The Giants can definitely bring the pressure on opposing quarterbacks and stop the run. The San Francisco 49ers on the other side of the field have Justin Smith along with linebackers Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis. I love what the 49ers are doing on their defensive front but San Francisco still has a good way to go before their defense is on the same level as the New York Giants. That being said, the New York Giants have the edge on defense. In the end, the San Francisco 49ers will win the game due to the play of Frank Gore running the ball well and Alex Smith continuing to prove he deserved his number one draft status in 2005. The San Francisco 49ers  will claim victory with a score of 34-31.

This is the final weekend before we reach the big game. It has been quite a long season but a great one. I cannot believe that we almost missed it because of a financial dispute between players and owners. Have to thank the players and owners one more time for getting it all worked out. Playoff action is in full effect and soon we will have our Super Bowl teams. All teams not only need to bring their “A” game but their “A+” game. Let the division champion be crowned.


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