NFL Football

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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.


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.

Week 9: The Tim Tebow Saga and Other News

Well it has been two weeks since the infamous Carson Palmer trade and no one is quite sure who Palmer is as quarterback. Palmer showed flashes of greatness and then flashes of why Bengals fans had begun to lose confidence in their former starting quarterback, the interceptions. Proving last week was no fluke Carson Palmer proceeded to throw three more interceptions this week. On the bright side, Carson Palmer also managed to rack up 332 yards and three touchdowns through the air as well. While it was not a complete disaster, I can already hear Raider Nation tweeting and dialing up Jason Campbell, and doing whatever they can, to get Campbell back on the field.

The most beloved player in the nation took the field again on Sunday. No I do not mean Tom Brady or Michael Vick, but Tim, “I will prove them wrong”, Tebow. After seeing Tebow play on Sunday I am thoroughly convinced that Tebow should switch positions to running back. It would fix all the controversy that Tim Tebow is facing. If Tebow was a running back, Denver could run a halfback pass, and no one would complain about his accuracy. Tim Tebow would be able to do what he does best, which is run the ball. I could see Tim Tebow breaking 1,000 yards in his first season, if he was purely a running back. In addition, Tim Tebow could change the old Bo Jackson, “Bo Knows” advertising campaign to “Tebow knows”.

Ok back to reality, Tim Tebow is still the quarterback of the Denver Broncos and was able to muster a mediocre passing effort at 10-21 for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Tebow managed to avoid throwing interceptions by scrambling for 118 yards. For all the bad that Tim Tebow represents at the quarterback position, Tebow has managed to win two games in his last three starts. Last time I checked, winning is the most important quality in the NFL. Tim Tebow may not win pretty, but he is winning. I know every fan, teammate, coach, and owner alike will take ugly wins over losing pretty any day.

Speaking of losing pretty, Tom Brady knows all about it. Let’s face it the New England Patriots can score with any NFL team. New England have one of the most prolific offenses in the league. Unfortunately, for the Patriots, they still have no real defensive presence. Some days the defense looks better than other days but in general the New England Patriots defense is far from good. In Sunday’s game, with 1:36 left on the game clock in the 4th quarter and up by three points, the Patriots could not stop the Giants from advancing on a game winning drive. The New England Patriots allowed the New York Giants to march down the field, ending in a touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Jake Ballard. The touchdown pass came with only 15 seconds left on the game clock. The Patriots might want to call up Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison to come back. Maybe they can get Ty Law to stretch those old bones and join the team again. Whatever needs to be done, New England needs some help on defense, some serious help.

This NFL season never ceases to amaze me with all that happens every week. To think, if the NFL lockout did not end, we would have missed out on all this would have been a true tragedy. The ups and downs, all of the controversy is all what makes the NFL the most interesting sports league to watch. I have to thank the NFL owners and players for getting it worked out. Since we may not have an NBA season this year, I will take their catch phrase and say, “NFL Football, It’s fantastic!”

NFL Week 8: Costumes and Uniforms

Yesterday was Halloween and that means that Week 8 is in the books. Halloween is the time of year where things become rather strange and this week was definitely on the strange side. Teams that were predicted to lose, instead ended up winning. Teams that should have claimed victory rolled over and played dead. Some teams are even seeing a resurrection and have gained new life and focus.

Today I am going to play costume or uniform with my readers. Costume or uniform deals with how certain teams are playing so far this season. Does a team have a uniform on and playing up to their potential or is a team simply wearing a costume and fooling everyone.

Let’s get started with the teams who are wearing costumes:

1: Dallas Cowboys

2: Tennessee Titans

3: Washington Redskins

4: Philadelphia Eagles

5: San Diego Chargers

6: Kansas City Chiefs

7:New England Patriots

8: New York Giants

9: New York Jets

10: Atlanta Falcons

11: Chicago Bears

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

13. Oakland Raiders

This is a pretty good amount of teams that are not really who we think they are. Dallas tops the list and  is what I call a yo-yo team. Every week we never know if Dallas is going to wow us or just fail all together. The Cowboys continue to make some great plays and then make some horrible decisions. Some people still believe that Dallas can make the playoffs. This scenario is not likely this year. I can hear Jim Mora saying, ” Playoffs? Playoffs???……”, we all know the rest of the famous rant. Cowboys are going to need a great deal of luck to turn this season around.

The Washington Redskins have been playing better this year. The Redskins have a decent running game, led by whoever is Shannahan’s favorite back of the week. Similarly, Washington does not have an identity at quarterback. Neither Rex Grossman nor John Beck is an exceptional NFL quarterback. The Washington Redskins started out on fire at 3-0 and now the team is 3-4 after four straight losses. Washington had us fooled at the beginning of the season but now we see their true colors shining through. On the bright side next year’s NFL draft is fast approaching.

The Philadelphia Eagles are listed here because they have been showing us signs of greatness and signs of a bad team all season. The Eagles won their first game of the season and then proceeded to lose the next four games. Now Philadelphia has won two straight games and things are once again looking up. The Philadelphia Eagles looked like the fabled, “Dream Team”, in their win over the Dallas Cowboys. A part of me wonders if this team is similar to the NBA basketball team the Miami Heat, that they will have major ups and downs all season and then find some way to make it to the playoffs. If the Eagles can obtain a spot in the playoffs they will definitely be one of the favorites to make a Super Bowl run.

The New England Patriots are on this list because of their defense. The Patriots can score with anybody in the league but their defense is lacking in a big way. The Patriots are ranked 32 out of 32 teams in the NFL in defense. The Patriots are similar to many college teams which run the spread offense and depend on outscoring opponents to win games. This theory is great but it hardly ever works against the elite teams in the NFL. The New England Patriots will make the playoffs but unless the defensive issues of the team are fixed, they will be knocked out early.

The last team I will talk about out of this list is going to be the New York Jets. The Jets for the last two years have found a way to make it to the AFC championship game. This year looks like a year that we will see a new team in the AFC championship team besides the Jets. The running game from last years is not as dominant. The defense is giving up more yards each game than the last two years. Mark Sanchez or “The Sanchize” is only improving his acting and modeling skills off the field. Sanchez’s quarterbacking skills have not made the leap they should have made coming into this year. The Jets are talking big talk but I do not believe they can walk the walk.

Flipping to the other side of the NFL football spectrum we see the teams who are playing up to their potential. These teams are wearing the uniform of an NFL team and deserve to have the record they have accumalated over the first few weeks.

1. Green Bay Packers

2. New Orleans Saints

3. Baltimore Ravens

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

5. Buffalo Bills

6. Detroit Lions

7. Houston Texans

8. Cincinnati Bengals

9. San Francisco 49ers

10 Carolina Panthers

I know some of my readers are thinking, why are the Carolina Panthers on this list? The reason the Carolina Panthers make the list is because they have been playing competitive all season long. From the first week until now, the Panthers have been surprising everyone, due to the play of Cam Newton. The Carolina Panthers have established an identity for themselves and each week the team is becoming better. The Panthers have not won many games but they are very close to winning just about every game. Last year each Carolina Panthers game was a blowout, this year there have been no blowouts. Give it a couple of years and the Panthers will make a return to the playoffs.

I have written about the Detroit Lions before. I claimed that the Detroit Lions are a good team and they have not dissapointed me yet. I knew they would lose at some point during the year but good NFL teams rebound after losses well and the Detroit Lions finally proved they could do that this past week. The Detroit Lions have turned things around for the team this year. The Lions used to be the team that every team knew they could beat. Now the Detroit Lions, Led by Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson on offense and Ndamukong Suh on defense, are a team contending for a playoff spot. The Lions will continue to be turnaround story of the year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers got off to a shaky start this year going 2-2 in the first four games. The Steelers defense was playing horrible during that four game stretch. Experts and fans were calling the Pittsburgh Steelers old and washed up. Then the Pittsburgh Steelers we all know and love returned. The Steelers offense started being productive, their defense unit stepped up and started playing well. The Pittsburgh Steelers have not lost another game since. At this rate the Steelers will reclaim their normal playoff spot.

The Cincinnati Bengals have been good and bad over the last few years. The Bengals came into the year with a rookie quarterback, a rookie wide receiver, and an almost completely revamped defense. No one expected the Bengals to do much with all the changes the team was going through. The Bengals obviously believed they could be a good team and have proven it through the first part of the season. The Bengals are now 5-2 and looking like a team that is poised to make the playoffs this year. The Bengals are looking like a team that can potentially be a playoff team for quite a few years going forward. Maybe we might even see them bring out the Ickey Shuffle dance.

The last team that I will talk about in uniform is the San Francisco 49ers.  I have said it before and will say it again the 49ers are for real. San Francisco has always had a running game with Frank Gore as the primary back. Now Alex Smith has finally come around and started playing like a starting quarterback should. Smith is finally living up to his number one draft position after all of these years. The San Francisco 49ers defense has become an elite defensive unit. Jim Harbaugh should get coach of the year for molding the 49ers into a winning organization again. The SanFrancisco 49ers should easily win the division this year and make their first playoff appearance in years. The 49ers can be a playoff Dark Horse and play spoiler to some teams playoff hopes.

Well that is all for today. We will see as the season progresses which teams really are wearing a football player uniform and which teams are just wearing the costume. Some teams may even shed their costume for a uniform as the football season continues and vice versa. The playoffs are fast approaching it is time for time to put up or lie down and let the real teams play.

The Tim Tebow Era Has Begun: The Next NFL Great or the Next NFL Career Backup?

Tim Tebow has been the subject of many discussions this week. Tim Tebow has a love and hate relationship with fans and experts. People either love or dislike Tim Tebow’s play style. The majority of people tend to agree Tim Tebow is likeable and a great person outside of football. Most agree that Tim Tebow has some great leadership qualities and can motivate people. People even say that Tebow has quite a few intangibles that cannot be taught, like the will to win. Where people disagree is can Tim Tebow be a good NFL quarterback?

The knock on Tim Tebow is that he has a low completion percentage and cannot make the throws to be a good starting quarterback. We have been witness to Tim Tebow throwing the ball in four games now (three last year, one this year), to say he has some accuracy issues is an understatement. Tim Tebow is only completing 49% of his passes this year, which puts him on the bottom-of-the-barrel in relation to other quarterbacks in the NFL. The other thing people say is that Tim Tebow has an elongated throwing motion and this kind of throwing motion makes for a slow release.

In the NFL a slow release is pretty much like a death wish for most quarterbacks. If a quarterback is slow to throw the ball or holds on to the ball too much, usually a sack or a bad throw is the end result. A few quarterbacks avoid this fate by running around and extending plays, aka Ben Roethlisberger and Tony Romo. The problem with Tim Tebow is that he has not yet developed the accuracy of either of the above quarterbacks. The accuracy issues limit Tim Tebow’s upside by many experts opinion. If a quarterback cannot throw the ball but can run, he is basically a running back in the wrong position.

Tim Tebow had his first opportunity this season to prove all of the doubters wrong. Tebow replaced Kyle Orton as the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos this past Sunday. Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos looked awful for 55 minutes of the game. However, the last 5 minutes of the game, Tebow looked great. Tim Tebow helped to rally the Denver Broncos from a 15-0 deficit by throwing two touchdowns and a two-point conversion. Tebow put the Broncos into position to tie the game and go into overtime. In the overtime period the Denver Broncos kicked a field goal to win the game for a final score of 18-15.

While Tim Tebow did not look the part of a successful quarterback for three, almost all of four quarters of the game on Sunday, something changed in the last five minutes of the game. Tebow played like a true champion and people were able to see what Josh Mcdaniels saw in Tim Tebow when he drafted him in the first round. Tebow may not have the accuracy of the typical NFL quarterback but he definitely has the leadership skills and the will to win. These are intangibles are sometimes more important than a good arm or game mechanics.

I am not saying the Tim Tebow will not have to learn to be a more accurate quarterback or maybe shave some time off his release. However, I do believe that over time that he can learn to master these skills. Tim Tebow is far from the perfect quarterback for the NFL. Tebow does have a way of overcoming the odds like Doug Flutie, Drew Brees, Michael Vick, and even Kurt Warner. All of these quarterbacks did not have a perfect path to reach the place they are in the NFL. Tim Tebow will have his own way of reaching his full potential.

Many years from now we will either be talking about how Tim Tebow changed the game of football or we will be saying how we missed the opportunity to see what he could truly accomplish. Right now lets focus on next week and Tebow’s next start. The Tim Tebow saga has begun and the time for a win is now. Prove the doubters wrong again Timmy Tebow.

Bye Week Blues: Fantasy Foootball Waiver Wire Help

We are fully into the bye weeks at this point in the NFL season. Now is the time where all the fantasy football players of the world start panicking. A fantasy football owner’s star player has to sit a week and they have no clue which player to start in place of their star. Fantasy owners are frantically looking over the waiver wire to try to find that player that will break out this season. Sometimes the player that lands in a fantasy owner’s weekly lineup is just some player they are hoping will score them some points. Today we will take a look at some waiver wire wonders that can help fantasy owners fill in a week or even better yet reach the playoffs.

I will start with Christian Ponder, the quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings. Ponder was a hot waiver wire pickup last week. However, Christian Ponder may still be available in quite a few leagues. A great deal of the time fantasy owners like to wait and see on rookie quarterbacks or backups. Ponder did a decent job running the offense and made some good throws. Christian Ponder was 13-32, 219 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Ponder will not wow anyone with those statistics but for his first start, that’s a serviceable bye week filler at the quarterback position for sure.  Christian Ponder will only become a better quarterback as he becomes more comfortable in the offensive scheme. This means that in the future we should see some much bigger games from Ponder and fewer mistakes.

The next player I would like to talk about is Demarco Murray, the running back for the Dallas Cowboys. No one could have predicted that Murray would play to the level he did on Sunday. I have said before that the Dallas Cowboys need to bench Felix Jones and let someone else carry the load. Murray definitely answered the call on Sunday. Demarco Murray rushed 25 times for 253 yards and one touchdown.Only Adrian Peterson had a better rookie debut at the running back position. After Sunday, if Murray is still available I would grab him now. I do not foresee Felix Jones re-claiming the starting job if Demarco Murray continues to perform at a high level. I know that the Dallas Cowboys played the St. Louis Rams who are far from an NFL elite team. However, If Murray can perform at half the level of  his perfromance on Sunday on a weekly basis, I am sure the Dallas Cowboys will be elated in drafting the rookie. In addition, fantasy owners will be able to ride theMurray train into the playoffs.

Another player that fantasy owners need to take a look at is Jake Ballard. Jake Ballard is the starting tight end for the New York Giants. Ballard may not be Jimmy Graham or even Tony Gonzalez, but he is a decent option for the tight end spot. Jake Ballard scored a touchdown in weeks 4 and 5. Moreover, Ballard had season highs in week 6 with five receptions and 81 receiving yards. Jake Ballard has become one of Eli Manning’s favorite targets. Fantasy owners should take note and find a place for Ballard on their team. Jake Ballard could be a valuable number 1 tight end option or great bye week fill-in. Ballard is the real deal for the 2011 fantasy year.

The last addition to add to a budding fantasy team is the San Francisco 49ers defense. Every good fantasy owner knows the Baltimore Ravens Defense or the Pittsburgh Steelers defense as the best two defenses in the league usually. This year the Pittsburgh Steelers had a rough start to the year but seem to have righted the ship. Very few fantasy owners know or have thought about the 49ers defense as an elite defensive squad. If you are using standard scoring the 49ers have been consistent and the last two weeks the 49ers have really brought the pain. The 49ers defense only allowed Tampa Bay Buccaneers to put up three points against them and then the very next week held the high-flying Detroit Lions offense to only 19 points. The 49ers defense is a great defense to lean on the rest of the year. If the 49ers can keep up the defensive intensity, fantasy owners may have found another elite defense to help them win the playoffs and maybe even win the championship.

These are some of the waiver wire additions that will help fantasy owners win some much needed games and rise to the top of the rankings. If these players are still on the waiver wire grab them because each one is just starting to blossom into real fantasy contributor. When these players reach their full potential, they could truly turn around a fantasy season. I would rather be on the receiving of the dividends end than the end that missed out.

NFL Trade Deadline: Wheel’in and Deal’in Until the End

The trade deadline for the NFL has come and gone. In a year where not much was expected to happen by the trade deadline, a great deal of player movement has transpired. Some deals were made because the injury bug hit a few teams. Injuries have been more frequent this year due to the time every NFL team missed because of the NFL lockout. Many teams have lost players for the year and are now looking for some help. Tuesday was the last chance NFL teams would have to make those all important small or  huge blockbuster trades.

The biggest trade that was completed before the deadline was a deal made for Carson Palmer of the Cincinnati Bengals. Carson Palmer has been requesting a trade for some time now. The owner of the Bengals, Mike Brown, promised that he would never cave to someone wanting a trade. Brown stated that every player would have to play out of their contract. Mike Brown is known for being a man of his word, so the likelihood of the Bengals moving Carson Palmer before the trade deadline seemed unlikely. That was until the Raiders came calling with a deal the Bengals owner could not resist.

The Oakland Raiders lost Jason Campbell for the year and needed a quarterback. The Raiders gave up all future hope and are now taking the attitude, “Win Now or Bust.” The Raiders gave up a 1st round pick in 2012 and a 2nd round pick which can conditionally become a 1st round pick in 2013 if the Oakland Raiders win a playoff game. This is a high price to pay for a quarterback that has not particularly played well in recent years. Carson Palmer has not thrown for over 4000 yards since 2007 and has had numerous surgeries to different areas of his body. I am not sure Carson Palmer still has a 4000 yard season left in him. In addition, who really knows if Palmer’s body will hold up to the rigors of a football season after holding out and not playing during the pre-season or regular season until this point?

If Carson Palmer can survive the season I believe he is an upgrade over Jason Campbell at the quarterback position. Carson Palmer definitely has better arm strength and ability to stretch the field more than Jason Campbell. However, it remains to be seen how much the Raiders will use Carson Palmer to the fullest extent of his abilities. The Oakland Raiders are a run-heavy offense and lean on the shoulders of Darren McFadden more often than any other player. I do not foresee the Raiders balancing out their offensive play style anytime soon. After a few games we should be able to tell whether the Oakland Raiders really want the prolific 4000 yard Carson Palmer or whether they just want a game manager who will not make mistakes.

Another trade that took place before the deadline is the Denver Broncos traded Brandon Lloyd to the St. Louis Rams. Usually a team that is poised to start a new quarterback wants to have all of its weapons available to make that quarterback successful. The Denver Broncos have done the opposite and given away arguably their best player. The Rams gave up a 6th round pick that could become a 5th round pick if Lloyd catches 30 passes by the end of the year. The Denver Broncos have benched Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow has been named the starter.

All year the Broncos fans have been calling for Tim Tebow and now they have gotten their wish. However, by trading Lloyd are the Broncos looking towards the future or are they trying to set Tim Tebow up for failure. The controversy will continue each week as Tebow continues to pile up wins or losses. We will get a chance to see if he can survive without a true number one receiver to throw to. The St. Louis Rams acquire what they have been searching for, which is a number one receiver in Lloyd. However, the Rams are lacking in so many areas that even someone as talented as Brandon Lloyd may not make a significant difference in how many games the St. Louis Rams win. Controversy on both ends of this trade and only time will tell which team won and which team lost by completing this trade.

The last significant move before the trade deadline was the trade of Ronnie Brown from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Detroit Lions. The Detroit Lions were in dire need of a running back because Jahvid Best was suffering from concussion like symptoms after the game on Sunday. From all reports, the symptoms could actually be career ending for Best or he could play this upcoming Sunday. Obviously, the Detroit Lions did not want to take any chances, if their leading rusher had to miss a significant amount of time. Detroit traded Jerome Harrison and an undisclosed draft pick in 2013 to Philadelphia.

Ronnie Brown has reached that point in his career where he is beginning to team hop. Team hopping is when a player starts moving from team to team each year , hoping to rekindle their career. To me team hopping is the first step down to the road of football insignificance. If Brown does not prove he can still play in Detroit, this may be his last stop in his short career. Hopefully, for Detroit, Jahvid Best recovers and they only need Brown in a complimentary role and not as a workhorse. A timeshare between Ronnie Brown and Jahvid Best will put Detroit in the best position to be successful. Detroit can position Best as their home run hitter and Ronnie Brown could be that 1st and 2nd down back they have been looking for. If Detroit does have to rely on Brown to be the workhorse back , because Best has to miss some time, there are questions can he truly answer the call. Detroit could rejuvenate Ronnie Brown’s career or end it completely.

Tuesday reminds us that each NFL franchise is still a business and NFL teams are going to do what best helps their teams, regardless of what they say to the media. Mike Brown had to make the Carson Palmer deal at some point. The Broncos had to see what they have in Tebow after Kyle Orton failed to put together some wins. Moreover, the Lions could not afford to wait around to see if Jahvid Best would pass his concussion symptom test and be cleared to play. The time to make deals was Tuesday, it was now or never. Some teams could not afford to let the opportunity pass them by.

NFL Week 6: Rises and Falls

Now, let us get down to someNFL news and business. Another week is in the books for the NFL season and once again we have some new revelations. This NFL season has been one of ups and downs. Many of the playoff teams from the previous year are very far from repeating that success. However, some teams that did not make the playoffs last year are proving all of the doubters wrong. A great deal of players changed teams and while some have made an impact, others have led their team down the road to missing the playoffs completely.

This week we have seen the end of a career of one of the most well known players. Donovan McNabb is officially done, whether he is benched or not next week. McNabb has no hope of recapturing any of his former glory. I keep thinking that Donovan McNabb will show us a glimpse of his former self and all he continues to show everyone is the shadow of his former self. The Minnesota Vikings need to go ahead and tell McNabb to pack his bags and put in Christian Ponder. Let the world see what the rookie has to offer. It cannot be worse that what McNabb has shown the last few weeks.

This week we also finally have to confirm that the San Francisco 49ers are for real. The 49ers have been under the radar and quietly been defeating opponents. Alex Smith has developed into an effective game manager and has barely made any mistakes this season. Smith is completing a career high of 63.3% of his passes, has thrown eight touchdown passes, and only two interceptions. Jim Harbaugh has not only helped Alex Smith to become a reliable quarterback but also has changed the whole identity of the 49ers team. The 49ers now play great defense, have a good running game and have a 5-1 record this year. This past Sunday the San Francisco 49ers handed the Detroit Lions their first loss of the season. The 49ers are finally looking like a playoff contender.

Some teams got back on track after significant losing streaks. The Eagles aka former, “Dream Team”, put together a 20-13 win against the Washington Redskins. We saw the Philadelphia Eagles secondary step up and play like a secondary built to dominate the playoffs. Rex Grossman was intercepted four times after playing so well the first few games of the year. Monday, the New York Jets were able to stop their descent out of playoff contention. The Jets played a pathetic Miami Dolphins team which had no playmakers or highlights to speak of. The Jets basically had a game that served as an extra bye week and still failed to put on an impressive performance. We will see if both of these teams can truly turn it around and reach the playoffs.

A great deal of things remained the same in the NFL. The Packers are the best team in NFL. The Cowboys still cannot figure out how to close out games. Baltimore is continuing to prove why they are one of the best teams in the AFC. We are beginning to see which teams are the real contenders and pretenders. This lockout year is definitely going to be one to remember.

NFL Rookies to Keep an Eye On

To say this NFL year has been a bit strange to start is quite an understatement. The Dream Team Philadelphia Eagles are 1- 4. The Detroit Lions are 5-0 for the first time in ages. The Bills are sitting pretty at 4-1 after a dismal 2010 season. Some things have not changed such as the Patriots and the Packers being atop of their game.

The other unusual occurrence is that rookies are making a significant difference this year. I know there was a NFL lockout for quite a while. Generally, that should mean that veteran players should dominate and rookies will struggle. This year that is not the case, the rookies are coming into their own much quicker than expected. Today I will bring attention to three rookies that are accomplishing great things with their new team.

The first rookie that is playing better than anyone could have expected is Cam Newton. “Cammy” Cam as some call him is definitely quieting all the doubters. Cam Newton has come in and shown the whole league that his college career was no fluke. Newton has thrown for 1610 yards and seven touchdowns in just five games. In addition, Cam Newton has also rushed for five touchdowns. I sit and watch Cam Newton play and am just amazed that he looks nothing like a rookie. Newton makes all the right throws and occasionally he will throw a bad pass. Fortunately,Cam has no memory of the bad throws and will come right back and make a great play the next down. I am going to endorse Cam Newton as my favorite to win the Rookie of the Year. Cam Newton should have no problem grabbing the, “Rookie of the Year”, crown if he continues to play at his current level of play. The sky will be the limit for Mr. Newton and the Carolina Panthers for many years to come.

The second rookie that I want to bring to everyone’s attention is Julio Jones. The Atlanta Falcons gave up everything to move up in this year’s NFL draft to grab Jones. The Falcons obviously saw something in Jones that made him a special player. The Atlanta Falcons gave up 2011 and 2012 first round draft picks, a 2011 second round pick, and both 2011 and 2012 fourth rounds picks. If there was the kitchen sink left at Atlanta Falcons Headquarters I am sure they would have thrown that in at a chance to grab Jones. After the first few weeks of the season it looks like the Atlanta Falcons have made the right decision. Julio Jones is becoming a force to be reckoned with, being paired opposite Roddy White. Jones has 25 receptions for 358 yards in for the season so far. Even though Julio Jones has not yet reached the endzone, it is only a matter of time. Jones is the perfect fit for the Atlanta Falcons passing attack. The Atlanta Falcons may have given up the whole kit n’ caboodle to acquire Jones, but in the end I believe they will be happy with their investment.

The last rookie that I want to bring everyone’s attention is AJ Green. Everyone knew that AJ Green had talent when he was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals this year. No one knew just how much talent Green had or if he would be hindered by playing with a rookie quarterback. The answer is that AJ Green has flourished in the Bengals offensive scheme. Andy Dalton and AJ Green have developed a great chemistry over the first five weeks of the season. The chemistry between Green and Dalton will only grow as they play in more games together. The Cincinnati Bengals are once again an exciting team to watch and AJ Green is the main reason. Green has 24 receptions, 402 yards and three touchdowns in just 5 games. AJ Green is becoming the focal point of the Bengals offense as the season rolls on and each week Green is doing more to showcase his talent. The Bengals may be far away from a Super Bowl appearance but with the help of Dalton and more importantly Green, the Bengals may be a very good Playoff contender.

There are a few other rookies that are honorable mentions such as Andy Dalton, Von Miller, Daniel Thomas, and others. The above are the rookies that I believe have the greatest impact on their individual teams. I urge everybody to keep an eye on these players and watch their journey through this year. Each player brings something special to the game and each player is a joy to watch.

NFL Week 3: True Grit

Week three of the NFL is in the books and what a week of surprises it was. I will name this week officially, “True Grit Week.” This is the week that certain teams and players showed they have the ability to overcome impossible circumstances. The best part about this week is a great deal of the surprise performances came from unexpected teams or players. With that being said, let’s get on with looking at week three.

The first gritty performance of the week includes Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys. I am used to writing about the pitfalls and disaster of performances Tony Romo is known for when his team needs him most. However, this week all anyone can say is Tony Romo is a true leader. Romo suffered fractured ribs and a punctured lung in the Dallas Cowboys week two victory over the 49ers. Tony Romo was not even able to sleep in a bed all week because of the pain and still played in this week’s game. Tony Romo was able to put the Dallas Cowboys in position to win the game and beat the Washington Redskins. Tony Romo did not throw a touchdown but he stayed in the game and setup Dan “It’s a Daily Thing” Bailey for 6 field goals. Bailey may have scored the points but none of this would have been possible without the play of Tony Romo. All this makes me think of is that if Tony Romo can play with fractured ribs and a punctured lung, what was Jay Cutler’s excuse for not playing in the NFC championship game last year? Leaders have to tough and resilient, some quarterbacks have it and some do not.

The second gritty performance of the week goes to the Buffalo Bills. Every year there is a team that everyone is rooting for because of what the team has gone through in previous years. The Buffalo Bills have not been a particularly good team since the days of Thurman Thomas, Jim Kelly, Andre Reed, and James Lofton. Back in those days we would see the Buffalo Bills not only make the playoffs but also make the Super Bowl multiple years. I am not going to say that this Bills team is in that class of greatness yet but they are taking the right steps. This week the Buffalo Bills were down 21-0 to the New England Patriots at Halftime. During Halftime the Bills must have had some, “Flutie Flakes” because they took the field as a completely different team. The Buffalo Bills offense started clicking, led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson, Scott Chandler, and Fred Jackson. The Bills defense stepped up causing Tom Brady and the Patriots to turn the ball over four times. The Buffalo Bills ended up rallying from a 21-0 halftime deficit to win the game by a final score of 34-31. The Bills had lost to the New England Patriots on the last 15 meetings of the two teams. On Sunday, the Buffalo Bills finally were able to be on the winning side instead of the losing side for the first time in many years.

The third gritty performance of the week goes to the Detroit Lions. The Detroit Lions are very similar to the Buffalo Bills in that the Lions have not been very good for many years. The difference is that the Detroit Lions have never had any success in the playoffs. Last year the Detroit Lions ended the 2010 season with a record of 6-10. The promising part of 2010 was the Lions ended the season with four victories. The victories have continued into the 2011 season and this week would be no different. However the Detroit Lions did start Sunday’s game with an exceptionally bad start. The Lions were down 20-0 by halftime to the Minnesota Vikings. The Lions looked like they had reverted to some old habits. As the Lions came out in the third quarter, no one could have predicted the Lions would mount a comeback except maybe the Lions themselves. The Lions came out on fire and looked the part of a team who had won 10 games straight dating back to last year, including their four pre-season games. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson hooked up for 2 touchdowns during the game. The second touchdown tied the game up and put the game into overtime. Jason Hanson then completed the rally in overtime against the Minnesota Vikings with a field goal to make the final score 26-23. The Lions proved they have developed the resilience to find a way to win even against impossible odds.

Week three had a great deal of great performances by individual players and teams. These performances stood out above the rest. The 2011 NFL season has been full of unexpected twists and turns. Week four is on its way, we will see if these teams and players keep surprising us or will they revert to a version of their former selves.

Early NFL Season Shenanigan’s Award Candidates

Metta World Peace, AKA Ron Artest danced his way to elimination this week. I am not sure which looked worse Metta World Peace’s dancing or the Indianapolis Colts. Today I am giving out an award called the Shenanigan’s award. The Shenanigan’s Award is for players that have promised to show us greatness and showed us nothing. This award goes right in-line with the league cracking down on teams faking injuries. The award is for players or teams who fake out teams and fans by promising productivity and delivering less than stellar performances.

The first player to receive the Shenanigan’s Award is Chris Johnson. I realize that Chris Johnson did not have a training camp and came in late to join his team but I need to see some better results. Johnson held out to get the contract that would make him the highest paid running back in the league and has simply not produced. Chris Johnson has not even had a 100 yard rushing game this season. Johnson has been limited to 2.3 yards a carry and 77 total yards. I am sure the Titans expected more out of Johnson when they gave him a contract worth more than 50 million dollars. Chris Johnson has not only duped fans but also his team. CJ needs to step up to the plate and prove that he is worth his contract.

The second player to receive the Shenanigan’s Award is none other than Arian Foster. Arian tweeted a picture of his injured hammy and even called some areas specifically, “Anti-Awesomeness”. Arian Foster said that his injury was not that serious after he received some criticism for the tweet. In this case, I believe the critics were right about Arian Foster leaving twitter alone. Foster was supposed to be the cog that made the Texans machine run. Instead, all fans and teammates alike have seen is how limiting a hamstring injury can truly be. On the bright side the Texans have found a new running back in Ben Tate. It is looking more and more like Arian Foster may be headed to same runningback graveyard Ahman Green and Steve Slaton now reside in.

The third player to receive the Shenanigan’s Award is Donovan Mcnabb. It is beyond me how teams keep paying Mcnabb to lead their team when he is clearly past his prime. I was even fooled and thought Donovan Mcnabb would have some glimpses of his former glory. After his week one performance where Mcnabb did not even reach 40 yards passing, I lost all faith. Donovan Mcnabb’s week 2 performance was better but not awe inspiring at all. Actually, anything would have been an improvement over the previous week’s performance by Donovan Mcnabb. I do not think it will be long until the Minnesota Vikings start to think about how far Christian Ponder can take them.

The fourth Shenanigan’s Award goes to not just a player but a team we thought was on the rise. The Kansas City Chiefs surprised everyone last year with their new offensive scheme, trick plays and finished with a promising record of 10-6. Chief’s fans had high expectations for the 2011 season and expected to be playoff bound. The first two weeks of the 2011 NFL season the Chiefs have looked like a team that is lost when they take the football field. Now with their star runningback Jamaal Charles out for the season, the chances of a winning season are looking very slim for the Kansas City Chiefs.

An additional Shenanigan’s Award could also go to the Indianapolis Colts but everyone expected Manning to be out for an extended period. The hopes for the Colts were not high once the news of Manning’s injuries made headlines. Everyone knew that Indianapolis had no backup plan in place if Peyton Manning suffered a major injury. Dennis Green said it best, “They are who we thought they were!”  The Colts knew they were going to have to put up the white flag of surrender before the season even started when Manning went down.

Well boys and girls, ladies and gents, that is all the news I have for everyone today. I am sure we will have some more interesting sports happenings over the upcoming weekend. There will be reasons to boo and reasons to cheer, but we can all feel good that the NFL season is in full swing and finally here.

Revelations of the NFL Season Week 2

On the weekend where the Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz fight was flooded with some controversial underhanded dirty fighting tactics, we learned a few things about the NFL. After this past weekend, some of the cloudiness of how the lockout has affected different NFL teams is becoming clearer.

Week 2 Revelation #1: The Buffalo Bills may actually be a playoff contender. Like Chris Berman of ESPN says, “No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills!” This may very well ring true this year for the 2011 NFL season. Ryan Fitzpatrick is orchestrating some great offensive drives and the Buffalo Bills for the first time look like a real team. Fitzpatrick managed to throw for 264 yards and 3 touchdowns on Sunday.  Stevie Johnson is once again proving he is a go-to receiver. Fred Jackson may be the most underrated runningback in the league, but that guy is a true gamer.Jackson had 15 carries for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns. At 2-0 the Buffalo Bills are looking quite good to be a surprise this year.

Week 2 Revelation #2: Cam Newton is the real deal. I am sure no one thought Cam Newton would be as good as he has turned out to be. Everyone knew that Cam Newton was a freakish athletic specimen, but no one could have guessed that he would be breaking passing records. Everyone guessed Cam would be humbled this weekend playing the Green Bay Packers. All of the fans and football experts guessed wrong in their assessment of Cam Newton. Cam Newton has a cannon of an arm for a quarterback and slings it similar to the way Brett Favre used to play. Cam throws the football into some amazingly small passing windows and all over the field. The results vary, sometimes he will throw a wild pass or an interception, other times the pass is right on target. The good thing with Cam Newton is that the result is usually a positive one. We can still see signs of Cam learning the game, but each week he seems to be getting better. Wow what a quarterback Cam Newton will be when his quarterback ability fully develops.

Week 2 Revelation # 3: No or very little training camp increases injuries. Injuries are in abundance this year. The majority of the New York Giants defense is out for the year with various injuries. The Kansas City Chiefs, one of the teams that decided not to play any starters during the off season, has suffered season-ending injuries to a number of their players. The Kansas City Chiefs starting tight end Tony Moeaki, their starting cornerback Eric Berry, and their star runningback Jamaal Charles all are out for the season. The Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning could not rehab due to the lockout and just recently had to have, what could be season-ending surgery. Every week the injuries keep mounting. This season will truly prove which teams can deal with adversity the best as different NFL teams continue to lose players and have to find new players to step up.

Week 2 Revelation # 4: The Philadelphia Eagles are beatable. The Eagles may have made all the right off-season acquisitions but two weeks straight the Eagles have been torched by the opposing team’s run game. In week two Michael Turner ran the ball for 114 yards and one touchdown. While the Philadelphia Eagles pass defense is one of the best in the league but their run defense is where the chink is the chink in the Eagles impenetrable armor. If Philadelphia cannot stop the run game of opposing teams it could be a long season for them, especially when facing teams with a superior running game. Michael Vick also suffered a concussion and may be out for some extended time. Over the next few weeks the Philadelphia Eagles will be tested. The question is can Philadelphia truly soar like an eagle or will they flop like wounded bird?

Well that is it for today my faithful readers. Stay tuned as I will have more sporting news to come later in the week. Another week of college and NFL football is on the way. The anticipation is already building. The planning of a football party is already in motion. Get the grill out and let the football games begin!


Week 1 of the NFL Season is Done and We Have Learned….

The first week of the NFL season is over. We have learned some very important things after seeing all the teams play. I will go over a few revelations in this post that were eye opening.

#1 Thing we learned is: Cam Newton is a real NFL quarterback. Cam Newton looked great in his NFL debut. Newton showed some poise in the pocket and delivering the ball. Cam Newton looked like he was a true veteran and he was born to play the position. Rookies just do not come into a NFL game throw for 422 yards and 2 touchdowns. Newton also managed to run in another touchdown. I admit Cam Newton’s first game was against the Arizona Cardinals, but his performance shows great potential. NFL Fans should be excited in Carolina once again.

#2 Thing we learned is: Injury prone means fragile. Not everyone is an ironman like Peyton Manning and Brett Favre; injuries happen. However, some players suffer an injury every season. Steven Jackson is an NFL player that is injured every year without fail. This year just proves that Jackson is one of the most fragile players in the sport as he went down in week 1 with yet another injury. Steven Jackson injured his quad and there is no timetable for how long the injury will keep Jackson out.

#3 Thing we learned is: Surprises have already started. Week 1 was filled with a great deal of unexpected plays, outcomes and player performances. I have decided to list a few surprise highlights. Sebastian Janikowski drilled a 63 yard field goal. Wes Welker had a 99 yard touchdown reception. Both tie NFL records for their perspective positions. In addition, no one could have guessed Rex Grossman would actually have a very good game opening week with 305 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Baltimore Ravens showed they are ready for the season as they dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers to the tune of 35-7.  Similarly, the Colts crumbled more than expected without Peyton Manning calling the shots. Finally, Tony Romo choked away a Dallas Cowboys lead, after being gone most of last year. I thought if the Cowboys got a lead they would pull out the win. However, Tony Romo made numerous last minute mistakes to give the game away.

#4 Thing we learned is: Talent transcends time off.  Michael Vick went to prison, served his time, was released and the Philadelphia Eagles gave him a chance. Vick took the opportunity and ran with it. He is now the starting quarterback of the Eagles and the most explosive player in the league. Plaxico Burress also went to prison, served time, was released and the New York Jets have picked him up. In Burress’s first game back, He looked like the Plaxico of old catching some amazing passes and amassing 72 yards and a touchdown in his debut.

#5 Thing we learned is: Tom Brady is a still an elite quarterback.  Tom Brady threw for over 500 yards in week one. The majority of Brady’s completions went to his tight ends, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Tom Brady just sliced apart the Miami Dolphins defense like a Ginsu knife slices through butter. As matter of fact that should be Tom Brady’s new name, Tom “Butter” Brady, it would fit him for his exceptional ability. Give that man a commercial!

#6 Thing we learned is: Tony Romo and Kyle Orton both have sparks of brilliance but are extremely bad at other times. Both, Orton and Romo were sacked quite a few times during their games. In addition, both quarterbacks had instances where they dropped the ball just from not paying attention. I would say both quarterback’s needed to be benched after the way. Go ahead, get out the Ben Gay and let Jon Kitna play. Moreover, free Tim Tebow and give him the reins. Both teams are in need of a desperate change.

#7 Thing we learned is: The Miami Dolphins defense is awful. I admit Tom Brady is an elite quarterback but giving up a total of over 700 yards of offense is just inexcusable. The Dolphins should take whatever defensive plan they prepared and burn it. They do not ever need to open that playbook again. The Miami Dolphins might want to even bury the ashes. On the bright side if their defense does not get any better, the Dolphins will be able to punch their ticket for the Andrew Luck lottery.

Each NFL season is definitely filled with all sorts of twists and turns. This year the twists and turns have just started earlier than they usually do. This should be one of the most interesting seasons yet.  I am happy to see the conclusion for week one only because now we can get on to the anticipation of week two.

The NFL Season Begins and The Predictions are Here!

Labor Day has passed and that means later this week the NFL season will finally start. Football fans can finally rejoice and be glad that NFL football will take up television time for the next seventeen weeks. Fantasy football fans can set their lineups for the first time. All is well in “Football Land” again and I am loving every minute of it! Today I will be making some bold predictions about the upcoming season.

Prediction # 1: The Dallas Cowboys will miss the playoffs.Dallas is officially the most over-hyped team in the NFL. I have been hearing for years from friends and fans alike Dallas is the favorite to win the Super Bowl. This year that could not be further from the truth. I am only seeing an 8-8 team maybe a 9-7 team here and I do not believe that record will be good enough to make the playoffs this year. Dallas has a rough schedule including playing the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles twice, the opportunities for victories are looking limited. Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys would have to work some serious magic to win more games than nine. Maybe they need to go sign “Rudy” to a contract so they can be extra inspired.

Prediction # 2: The Philadelphia Eagles will not win the Super Bowl. The Eagles are looking like a Dream Team on paper and in Madden, but have not exactly played like one in reality. I understand that pre-season does not account for what can happen in the regular season. However,Philadelphia has not shown the team chemistry that is needed to win it all. The Eagles need to have more chemistry on offense and defense for the team to accomplish their goal. Right now the Philadelphia Eagles are like an expensive suit, I love the look but I am not sure I am buying it.

Prediction # 3: The Patriots will win the Super Bowl. Bill Belichick is a master at bringing out the best out of players. I believe fearless Patriots leader will bring Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth back to prominence. Both players have talked about how happy they are now and how great the Patriot experience has been thus far. I believe both players will outperform all expectations. Ochocinco and Haynesworth will help the Patriots get over the hump. I see the Patriots with Brady raising the Lombardi Trophy over his head.

Prediction #4: Peyton Manning will be the Comeback Player of the Year. Manning will be out for a while nursing a neck injury. The injury has not quite yet healed as expected and Peyton Manning could miss a significant amount of time. When Manning once again takes the field again, he will come back with something to prove. Manning will come back in and set the league on fire with his first game and continue to play like the Manning of old the rest of the year. The moral of the story is never count Peyton out, or you will pay the consequences.

Prediction # 5: The Detroit Lions will make the playoffs. The Lions are looking great. The Detroit Lions defense is no longer the laughing stock of the NFL. The Lions Defense is a force to be reckoned with, anchored by Ndamukong Suh. When Nick Fairley can finally make his debut, Suh and Fairley together will bring some much needed pain to opposing quarterbacks. Moreover, if Matthew Stafford can stay healthy the Lions offensive production should take a leap forward. Stafford is a better quarterback than any of the other Lions quarterback options. With Matthew Stafford running the show the Detroit Lions season is looking bright. I can already hear the Lions roar starting up as they amass wins this year.

Prediction #6: The Jets will not make the AFC Championship game this year. My prediction for the AFC championship game is the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots. I like the Jets but the Steelers still have the number one defense in the league and more playoff experience. The Patriots have the Tom Brady factor, which makes them Super Bowl contenders every year. In addition, seeing Brady will have another year under his belt with his current starters, his chemistry with the team will only increase. The additions of Chad OchoCinco and Haynesworth will be the pieces to make the Patriot puzzle complete.

Prediction # 7: The Atlanta Falcons will play the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game. I think this is the year that the Falcons step up and take the next step. The next step for the Falcons will be making it to the NFC Championship game. However, I am confident the Philadelphia Eagles will beat the Falcons. The Atlanta Falcons do not have enough defensive firepower to deal with Michael Vick. The Eagles will defeat the Falcons to make it to the Super Bowl. The Michael Vick saga will continue to give people good vibrations, granting him redemption.

I know that some readers may disagree with what my predictions but only time will tell if I am right or completely wrong. Either way the NFL season should be one to remember. With hardly any NFL training camps and off-season we will see which teams truly have team chemistry and a heart of a champion. Let’s get the games started, I am ready for kickoff.

Arian Foster vs. Twitter

I was wondering what I was going to write about today and then I got a revelation from twitter. I can always depend on some athlete to text something inappropriate on their twitter and yesterday was no exception. Arian Foster decided to voice his opinion and what an opinion it was. Mr. Foster lashed out at all fantasy football players in a tweet. Arian foster tweeted, “4 those sincerely concerned, I’m doing ok & plan 2 B back by opening day. 4 those worried abt your fantasy team, u ppl are sick.” That is the exact tweet, text talk included.

 I can understand Arian Foster not liking fantasy football, but that is no reason to lash out at all fantasy football fans. Arian Foster is wrong to stereotype fantasy football fans because all sports fans act the same way. There is no difference in a regular football fan cheering for their team, hoping a certain player is not injured because they want their team to succeed and a fantasy owner doing the same thing for their fantasy team. Both people have a similar passion for a team and seeing certain players succeed and hoping other players fail. If anyone has ever been to sports bar where people watch Football, people will cheer when the star player on their favorite team makes a great play and boo when an opposing team player makes a good play. The majority of football fans will sit, watch a game, and hope for a player to get injured or wish that an injured player from their favorite team recovers.

Moreover, this is just a regular football fan who loves football. Fantasy owners act the exact same way as a regular football fan and yet somehow Arian Foster relates this behavior to being sick in the head. I have to disagree; this is just normal football fan behavior. In addition, this behavior is no different than a person who plays the Madden football video game and hopes that a player on the opposing team suffers an injury. The person playing Madden wants this to happen to obtain an advantage during their game. In addition, if a person is playing a full season and a star player on their team gets injured, the person playing wants their player to recover.

Arian Foster also tweeted, ““I know opinions are usually cement. But, I love all my fans. My quarrel is with people who value a digital game over a humans health. #love” I guess Arian Foster is saying all Madden fans are sick in the head too. The majority of fans truly do not want to see a person seriously injured. I just do not see how someone can make such a generalization because people have a passion for a game, which is a great deal of fun.

Another point that is valid about fantasy football is that the game entices more people to watch and enjoy NFL football games. I know people who would never watch an NFL football game, but when they have a fantasy football team, these same people can cheer with the best NFL fans. Fantasy football has even become popular among women and I know quite a few women who enjoy playing fantasy football year in and year out. The majority of football fans used to be men, but as the popularity of fantasy football has grown so has the number of women who enjoy a good NFL football game. NFL Football has gained additonal fans all due to invention of fantasy football. More people are watching games than ever before in the history of NFL football.  The point of all this is to say football players need to think before they tweet and should not make rash generalizations

I am sure there may be some fantasy football players out there who are on the extreme end. However, most fantasy football players just love to share in good camaraderie, trash talk, and like football. I do not see anything about this that is so wrong. Pro athletes are paid millions of dollars to play a game and are in the public spotlight. Most sport fans are fickle; some fans will like a certain player, while others hate that certain player. This is true with regular NFL football fans and fantasy football fans alike. This is just part of everyday life in general. Arian Foster and every other pro athlete should just get over it, learn not to respond and learn some twitter restraint.

Tale of Two Players: Cam and Tim

I have been watching pre-season and there are quite a few players that intrigue me. The position battles have started. I have two players that I am keeping an eye on and hoping they get their opportunity to shine sooner than later. In addition, I am wondering which player will have a better career. The two players I speak of are Tim Tebow and Cam Newton. The reason these two players have caught my attention is because they have similar play styles, both won NCAA National Championships, and both have the ability to be a true playmaker.

Cam Newton is competing with Jimmy Clausen for the number one quarterback position. The Carolina Panthers drafted Cam Newton with the number one pick in this year’s draft. When a team uses the number one pick on a player the expectation is that player will start in the same year they were drafted. The same was expected of Cam Newton but now in camp Jimmy Clausen is doing his best to make his case for the starting position. While I do not think Clausen will start over Newton, I have seen teams hold a rookie out if they think the rookie is not ready. The Panthers do not have that luxury. The Panthers need Cam Newton to start now. Newton should be the starter the first game of the season.

Tim Tebow is in a more complicated situation. After the season ended last year, it was a foregone conclusion Tebow would enter this season as a starter. Everyone in the Denver Broncos organization believed it to such an extent, trade rumors concerning Kyle Orton immediately surfaced. The Broncos were happy to shop a quarterback who had just had consecutive 3500+ passing yards seasons. Over the 2009 and 2010 seasons Kyle Orton proved he was an accurate and reliable quarterback. Once the NFL Lockout was over, the Denver Broncos tried to finalize a trade for Orton with the Miami Dolphins. Unfortunately, at the last minute the proposed deal fell through and Orton had to stay in Denver. Now everyone is wondering will Orton remain the starter or will Tebow still get his chance to start.

Critics all agree Kyle Orton is a more efficient quarterback. While that is true, I believe that Orton is missing one key ingredient Tim Tebow has. Orton is missing the “IT” factor that Tebow has. Tim Tebow has something about him that makes him persevere when everything is against him. If the team needs a tough one or two yards, Tebow will take the ball and run it himself. When people complained about Tebow’s throwing motion, Tim Tebow took upon himself to change it and become better. When the chips are down, Tebow somehow inspires himself and those around him to play better. I do not see the same thing in Orton and because of this difference I am recommending sitting or trading Kyle Orton and rolling with Tim Tebow. Going with the recommendation the Broncos may lose more games than putting Orton in the lineup, but over the next few seasons the decision will make the Denver Broncos a better team overall. This is because the extra time will give Tebow a chance to establish better chemistry with the team. Once Tebow is given the opportunity to truly take the reins to the Broncos, I believe the Broncos fortunes will have a positive turn around.

Now let’s look at the ultimate question which quarterback will have a better NFL season and career. Both Tim Tebow and Cam Newton have their advantages and disadvantages. Newton has a better arm than Tebow, but Tebow has a more bruising running style than Cam Newton. Both players have willed their college teams to victory when the odds looked against them. The difference in the two players is one key factor. Tim Tebow has confidence combined with humility. Cam Newton has arrogance combined with confidence. I know my readers are wondering why this matters and makes a difference. The slight difference in personality makes a significant difference in the player.

Tim Tebow in a short time has learned that it will take much more than just him playing well for the team to win. Cam Newton has not learned this valuable lesson yet. Michael Vick at one time did not understand the same lesson in the past. Vick now understands that he needs true team chemistry to win. Michael Vick’s play style has changed tremendously for the better. Cam Newton will have to learn how to increase team chemistry and be able to depend on other players around him to make plays. This is especially true concerning the current Carolina Panthers team Cam Newton is on. Cam Newton will have to look to Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart to do majority of the running, while checking down to Greg Olsen when needed. Newton will have to learn to stay in the pocket and use his legs in a similar fashion as Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger, and Aaron Rodgers.

My pick for who will have a better season if both play the same amount of games is Tim Tebow. My pick for the better career will also be Tebow overall, even if Newton does have seasons in which he plays better than Tebow. I believe Tim Tebow entered the NFL on a team with more of the essential pieces in place. Based on the points discussed above and this factor, Tim Tebow will have a greater opportunity for success earlier in his career. Truthfully, it is hard to predict how well a career of any player will go. Tom Brady was a 7th round pick and no one could have predicted he would become an elite quarterback in the NFL. The true fates of Tebow and Newton we will not know until their careers play out. Anyone can only speculate as to the true inner potential of what any player can do if they apply themselves. I wish Tim Tebow and Cam Newton the best to each of their careers. Hopefully they will both prove they are the next great stars of the league at the quarterback position.

The Mighty Eagles!

Usually when I am screaming, “Go Eagles”, I am referring to my High School alma mater the Niceville Eagles. However, this year I have a distinct feeling that more Philadelphia Eagles fans will be cheering for their team more than ever before. Two weeks ago the Eagles were just another playoff contender who made some moderate moves in free agency. Today, the Philadelphia Eagles are the favorite to win the Super Bowl. The Eagles did not hype up their off season or make any crazy predictions similar to the New York Jets a year ago. The Eagles let their ability to sign the right players do their trash talking for them.

The Philadelphia Eagles have signed Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins to stop the run. Philadelphia played their trump card landing Nnamdi Asomugha, the best free agent on the market. No one even knew that Asomugha or the Eagles were even talking about a deal. Asomugha along with another free agent signing in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie takes the Eagles secondary from mediocre to one that can be truly scary. The addition of Vince Young gives the Eagles a competent backup to Michael Vick. Young is a proven winner and if Vick has to miss time, the Eagles are in good hands. The Eagles have even managed to land a workhorse secondary back in Ronnie Brown and an offensive tackle upgrade in Ryan Harris. Brown gives the Eagles a good power back and someone that can take some of the load off of LeSean McCoy. Ryan Harris will help to improve an Eagles offensive live that was in sore need of some blocking help.

The Eagles, who are known for hardly make any moves during the off season, have made all the moves this offseason. Philadelphia has done everything it can to prepare for a Super Bowl Run. The Philadelphia Eagles team on paper looks like it finally has all the pieces in place. The media is already dubbing the Eagles as the “Super Team”.  Now the Eagles just have to take the field and execute. The Eagles have to prove they truly made the right moves.  The Philadelphia Eagles President, Joe Banner, said it best “We (the Eagles) are all in.”

Is Randy Moss Really Done?

Randy Moss has announced that he plans to retire. The shock that this brings to the football world is astounding. Just a couple of weeks ago Moss’s agent was praising what good shape moss was in. The agent even said, “Randy Moss is in freakish good shape for the upcoming season.” This to me does not sound like a player who planned to retire this year but sounds like Moss planned to play. Everybody is wondering what changed this man’s mind. It is easy to see to anyone after the football frenzy of free agent signings that happened this week, Randy Moss’s team options dwindled considerably.

The Patriots, one of the teams Moss favored, signed Chad OchoCinco to a 3 year contract. Moss had hoped to be reunited with Tom Brady and have another season to remember. That option closed once the Patriots bought in number 85. The other team Randy Moss favored last year’s pre-season favorite to win it all, the New York Jets. The idea of Randy Moss and Santonio Holmes on the same team would make most defenses worry every Sunday in my opinion. However, the New York Jets went in another direction and decided to team Santonio Holmes with the former Giants receiver Plaxico Burress. Burress was recently released from prison and instantly became a coveted free agent commodity.  I am not quite sure how Plaxico Burress will fair after not having played a down of football in over two years. If Burress can show even half the talent of his previous stint in the NFL, the Jets will have one of the best receiving tandems in football.

With these two team options closed, Randy Moss may have seen his chances to play with a championship team dwindle to nothing. The other pre-season championship contenders such as the Packers, the Steelers, and the Eagles have no need of a new receiver to improve their receiving corps. The conclusion is that Randy Moss did not foresee any way that he would obtain an opportunity to play for a championship team this year. In addition, Moss did not want to go to a NFL team that was just classified as a decent team.

For all of the talent that Randy Moss has, he also has quite a bit of an ego. When Moss is on a good team he shines, plays extraordinary and is an unstoppable force of nature. When Randy Moss is on an average or bad team, he simply does not put forth the effort, he disappears. The disappearing act happened in Oakland, the Titans and the Vikings (in 2010). Moss flourished two times with the Vikings and exploded in 2007 with the Patriots with a record breaking season. Everyone is wondering if we have seen the last of Randy Moss and is his decision final. I think the decision is final until the right situation proposes itself. If the right team never comes calling, Moss will stay retired. If a championship team comes knocking on his door, I believe Randy Moss will return for one final mission. The mission being the only one he has failed and that is to obtain a championship ring.

Football is Back!

I can imagine the scene in many sports bars inAmericatoday had sounds of roaring cheers. The fans are cheering because the NFL Lockout is over and football is back. Football fans can dance up and down the streets of their perspective cities as they now know that their favorite Sunday activity has returned. I was so tired of hearing about the lockout everyday. I am still unsure why it took months for players and owners to finally reach an agreement. I understand mediation and negotiation but the process took much longer than anyone could have projected. It was not like the two sides did not know for years this time was coming. This is a clear example of poor planning and preparation on both sides.

Now that NFL has a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFL can get back to business as usual. Free Agency can get underway, Rookies can sign their first contract and training camps can finally start. The first rumor that I heard today was Brett Favre was in Philly and was looking to back up Michael Vick. I am not sure why owners keep giving Favre money. More power to Favre though, he continues to dupe teams into paying him for his services,  even though he is way past his prime. Favre might still be playing at the age of fifty at this rate. Anyone else think that if Favre does get signed as a backup to Vick , that the Eagles might need to sign an additional player as an insurance policy for their backup?

The Free Agency pool this year has some good players available. I am excited to see where players like Nnamdi Asomugha, Sidney Rice, Santonio Holmes, and Kevin Kolb land. I am ready to see the rookies such as Jake Locker, Cam Newton, Christian Ponder, A.J. Green and Julio Jones take the field. The rookies really have their work cut out for them this year. The rookies have to go right into training camp and then hope they have learned enough to be productive during the season. The odds are truly stacked against all the rookies this upcoming season.

All the confusion will play itself out in the next couple of weeks and the football games will begin. Without much of a training camp the games should be full of more surprises than usual. I am predicting an increase in crucial game-changing mistakes in the first few games as teams build chemistry. There is a good chance we will not see certain team’s full potential until the end of the football season this year. We may even have a few surprise playoff teams. No matter how it all plays out, I am just happy we have football back. I am ready for Sunday Football. I am ready for Monday Night Football. I am just ready for Football. Let the games begin!


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