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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: 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 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.

NFL Playoffs Are Here!

The Playoffs are upon us and the games are all set. We will be missing some of the normal playoff contenders this year, such as the Indianapolis Colts, who failed dismally without Peyton Manning (See the Jim Mora Video above to understand how the Colts really feel.) This weekend NFL playoff football starts on Saturday and we are looking at some exciting football action both days. We might even see some dark horses rise up and claim a victory. The records are reset for the playoffs. It is either Win or go Home.

The first game that we will see this weekend will be between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Houston Texans. I am impressed by Andy Dalton, AJ Green, and the Bengals defense. However, I am more impressed by the Houston Texans number one ranked defense, Arian Foster, Ben Tate, and Andre Johnson. I do not believe the Bengals have enough firepower to overcome the Texans defense and keep up scoring wise with the Texans. I will predict that the Houston Texans win this game 31-14.

The second game that will be played on Saturday will be between Detroit Lions and the New Orleans Saints. If the Detroit Lions were playing some other NFC team, excluding the Green Bay Packers, I would say they have a chance to win the game. Unfortunately, the Lions have drawn the short straw and have to play the New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees and company will comfortably and easily outscore the Detroit Lions. The Lions are a good team with a nice high-flying act featuring none other than Calvin Johnson. The problem is the Lions high-flying act pales in comparison to the Drew Brees air show. The Saints silence the Lions roar with a final score of 42-28

On to Sunday’s games and the first game that we will see on Sunday will be the Atlanta Falcons versus the New York Giants. This will be the closest game of the whole weekend. We have two teams that play like an elite NFL team on some days and look dismal on others. This means that which ever team between the Falcons and the Giants brings their “A” game on Sunday, will win the game. The New York Giants have been playing better as of late and so the edge in the game goes to them. That does not mean that we immediately count Atlanta out of the running. The Falcons have an “X” factor in a running back named Michael Turner. If Michael Turner gets going and the Atlanta Falcons can control the tempo of the game, we could see the Falcons advancing to the next week instead of the Giants. In the end, I believe that intangibles of Eli Manning and his ability to play at times like his big brother Peyton Manning, will be the difference. The Giants will win the battle in the 4th quarter with a final score of 28-24

The last game will be one of the most interesting. Interesting because we have no idea what will really happen. The Denver Broncos take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the last game of the weekend. I am not sure which Broncos we will see though. I want to see the 4th quarter come-back, winning Broncos come out and play their hearts out, giving them chance to win the game. I fear we may see the not so productive Broncos and the team will get blown out. No matter which Denver Broncos team shows up, the result should be the same. The Pittsburgh Steelers will come out with the win. The Steelers defense is too good to allow Tim Tebow and company to work any “Tebow Time” magic in the 4th quarter. Even with Big Ben not playing at full strength and Rashard MendenHall out for the playoffs, The Pittsburgh Steelers will score enough points to win. The final score of this game will be 21-7 in the favor of Pittsburgh.

There you have it, a complete preview of the first weekend of NFL playoff football. The regular season may be over but now the real battle starts as NFL teams try to win each week. No mistakes are allowed, any team that loses is done. To the victor goes the spoils and a chance to play another day. Time for each NFL playoff team to prove they belong in the playoffs and the pretenders to be eliminated. Now is the time for teams to go after it all or be sent home to watch television. The stakes are high and the winner will be greatly rewarded.

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.

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.

NFL Football: Danger Signs

We learned quite a few things in the first week of the NFL season. We saw which teams needed a good off-season with a training camp and which teams have great chemistry no matter how much they practice. Today I will share with my readers the five teams that I believe will end up with the worst records of the current NFL season. I will examine teams starting with the 28th overall ranked team and end with the 32nd overall ranked team.

The 28th ranked team of the 2011 NFL season will be the Denver Broncos. While people who play Fantasy Football will love every time Kyle Orton throws 300 passing yards, this is a bad sign for the Broncos. When Orton throws for 300 passing yards this season the reason will be because the Denver Broncos are playing from behind trying to catch up to their opponent. In addition, this does not even excuse how bad Kyle Orton looked in week one. Moreover, the Denver Broncos offensive line is less than stellar and Knowshown Moreno is injured which means that he will miss some games. The Denver Broncos are one big bad hurricane-sized disaster waiting to happen.

The 29th ranked team of the 2011 NFL season will be the Cleveland Browns. I actually like Colt McCoy and Peyton Hillis but the Browns are still in rebuilding mode. The team has no clear number one receiver to speak of. In addition, the Cleveland Browns defensive unit is not one of the NFL’s top defenses. Cleveland will have their wins and losses this season, but the team will definitely spend more time on the losing side of the spectrum. Peyton Hillis and Colt McCoy may provide us some highlights during the season but these performances will not mean much in the end as the Browns continue to struggle to overcome their many team issues.

The 30th ranked team of the 2011 NFL season will be the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have been mediocre for a long time. This year they decided to increase the mediocrity by refusing to trade Carson Palmer to help improve their team. Moreover, the Cincinnati Bengals released their top wide, the touchdown celebration expert, Chad OchoCinco and their best cornerback in Jonathan Joseph. The Bengals are making all the right moves to advance in the wrong direction. I do not see much upside for the Cincinnati Bengals this year or for a few years to come. The days of the “Ickey Woods Shuffle” is a far off distant dream with the current Bengals roster.

The 31st ranked team of the 2011 NFL season will be the Seattle Seahawks. Pete Carroll may think he has a good game plan for the future of the Seahawks, but the plan is so buried, no one can see it. Releasing quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and then trading for lesser competent Tavaris Jackson is not the way to get some numbers in the win column. I was kind of impressed that Charlie Whitehurst looked more capable than expected. Make no mistake though; Whitehurst is not the answer either. The only shimmer of hope on the whole Seattle Seahawk team is Marshawn Lynch. I do not foresee Lynch having any room to run though as opposing defenses will load eight in the box against the Seahawks, begging the team to beat them with the pass. It should be a long season of losses for the Seahawks this year. Hopefully, Carroll can avoid the coaching hot seat until next season.

The 32nd ranked team of the NFL season will be The Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are the only team I know that one player can truly devastate the entire team’s chances to win games. Peyton Manning is injured and there is no true timetable for his return. Without Peyton Manning the Indianapolis Colts have nothing. When I mean nothing, they have no real running back to speak of, as Joseph Addai is past his prime. Dallas Clark’s, Pierre Garcon’s and Austin Collie’s numbers will be greatly reduced, without Manning. Reggie Wayne will still get his catches but his receptions will only pad his stats. The Colts offensive line is in a rebuilding mode and is average at best. The Indianapolis Colts defense is not awful but is nowhere near approaching good. This leaves the Colts with maybe scratching out one or two wins. Does anybody remember how life was for the Indianapolis Colts before the Peyton Manning Era? The Colts were awful for many years before, this year will be reminiscent of those previous years. The Indianapolis Colts should go ahead and get ready to shake Roger Goodell’s hand for the first pick of the NFL draft next year. Maybe by then they will have learned their lesson and draft Peyton Manning’s successor. It’s about time Indy.

Maybe some of these teams will surprise us and not take their place at the bottom of the NFL rankings. Sometimes the unexpected happens and a team becomes that “dark horse” team that everyone wants to see win. I am not seeing that potential in any of the above teams mentioned, but stranger things have happened.

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.

Fantasy Football Draft Help: Top Ten Wide Receivers

We have delved into the Quarterbacks and Running backs already, now we are going to take a look at the Wide Receivers that will make or break a fantasy football season. Depending what type of fantasy league a fantasy owner is playing in, depends on how important drafting the right mix of wide receivers is. Below are the top ten wide receivers for the upcoming fantasy season.

The number one receiver this season will be Calvin Johnson. The man known as Megatron just keeps producing no matter who is throwing him the ball. Johnson has so much talent it is hard to even predict what he will accomplish in any game he plays in. The only thing we know is there will be some spectacular catches and he will reach the end zone the majority of the time he takes the field. To put this all in perspective Johnson had 1120 yards and 12 TDs playing with backup quarterbacks the majority of the 2010 season. The numbers should only go up with Matthew Stafford finally healthy and poised to play 16 games.

The number two receiver who is running a close second behind Calvin Johnson is Larry Fitzgerald. Mr. Fitzgerald was able to still have a good fantasy season with horrible options at quarterback. When Derek Anderson is your best option to throw you the ball you should be worried on a number of levels. Larry Fitzgerald still came through with 1137 yards and 6 TDs. Now, Larry Fitzgerald has a decent quarterback in Kevin Kolb. While I am not sold on Kolb being a great Quarterback for the upcoming season, he is like a superhero coming to the rescue compared to the other options the Cardinals had at their disposal. Fitzgerald’s numbers should only go in a positive direction with Kolb throwing him the ball.

The number three receiver is Andre Johnson. Johnson has the best quarterback of the bunch of the top three receivers. The real problem with Andre Johnson is that he is injury prone and spends a significant time each season dealing with an injury. When Andre Johnson is playing, he is nearly unstoppable, and cannot be covered. Unfortunately, fantasy owners can never be sure how much or how often AJ will take the field.

The number four receiver is Hakeem Nicks. Nicks is a big receiver and a definite red zone threat. Steve Smith is gone and went to find greener pastures with the Eagles. Eli Manning may have his ups and downs but is still a talented passer. Everything is in place for Hakeem Nicks to have a great season. Nicks numbers will rise and fantasy owners will be quite happy they took a chance on the North Carolina Alum.

The number five receiver is Roddy White. Some may think the addition of Julio Jones will take away from Roddy White’s production, but the addition of Jones will instead give White more opportunities. Teams will now have to account for Julio Jones as well as Roddy White and this means more one-on-one coverage for both receivers. Matt Ryan definitely has the arm to get the ball to both receivers. The Atlanta Falcons air attack is poised for a great season and Roddy White is leading the charge.

The number six receiver is Mike Wallace. Wallace ended up having a breakout season last year. He has clearly become Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite receiver amassing 1,257 yards and 10 touchdowns. A season like 2010 for Wallace is no fluke. Mike Wallace should have similar numbers this season which should make owners very happy.

The number seven receiver is Greg Jennings. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers managed to win the Super Bowl last year. Rodgers and Jennings have had a connection for quite a few years now. The two show no signs of slowing down, even though Jennings might lose some balls to Jermichael Finley. Draft Greg Jennings as a number one receiver with confidence.

The number eight receiver is Vincent Jackson. Jackson is now back, healthy and not facing a suspension. Vincent Jackson should be able to put up some great numbers with Phillip Rivers at the helm. Rivers is an elite quarterback and Jackson is his favorite receiver. As long as Vincent Jackson can stay on the field, he should have solid numbers this season.

The number nine receiver is Reggie Wayne. The reason Reggie Wayne is not ranked higher on this list is the “Peyton Manning Effect”. Without Peyton Manning to call the shots and deliver the ball, the Colts offense will be almost non-existent. If Manning is out for an extended period of time, expect Wayne’s numbers to take a hit. Dependent on how many games Peyton Manning misses will lower or increase the production of this consistent wide receiver fantasy producer.

Finally the number ten receiver is Desean Jackson. This is the Philadelphia Eagles’ year to have one of their best years ever. The offense should be topnotch and the defense should be much improved. Desean Jackson is deep threat and has the ability to make game-changing plays in an instant. Jackson has the most upside as long as we see the good version of Michael Vick.  As Vick goes, so does the chance for Desean Jackson to have a great or mediocre year.

Bonus content:  Below I will list the top ten Tight Ends and Defenses. I am not going to go in depth about either of these positions because neither position is essential to win a weekly fantasy battle. The impact of a tight end or defense is minimal in most leagues. The difference between the number one tight end or team defense and number ten ranked one is not significant. In addition, I will not compile a list of Kickers at all. My advice is just pick a kicker, they are all similar in production. All that being said below is my Tight End and Defense rankings

 Tight End Rankings:

  1. 1. Antonio Gates
  2. 2. Jermichael Finley
  3. 3. Jason Witten
  4. 4. Dallas Clark
  5. 5 Vernon Davis
  6. 6. Brandon Pettigrew
  7. 7. Kellen Winslow
  8. 8. Aaron Hernandez
  9. 9. Owen Daniels
  10. 10. Jimmy Graham

Team Defense Rankings:

  1. 1. Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. 2. Philadelphia Eagles
  3. 3. New York Jets
  4. 4. New England Patriots
  5. 5. Green Bay Packers
  6. 6. Baltimore Ravens
  7. 7. San Diego Chargers
  8. 8. Chicago Bears
  9. 9. Detroit Lions
  10. 10. New York Giants

Now all of the aspiring fantasy owners can dominate their fantasy season by choosing the right receivers, tight ends, and a team defense to round out your team. A good draft is a decent start to a fantasy football season but working the waiver wire will make a team a championship team. Just keep in mind no matter how a fantasy season is going, the main rule of any fantasy football league. The main rule is to have fun in every league and enjoy a great season.

49ers vs. Raiders, Violence at the Bay

Every city has violence and a great deal of the time the violence is related to gang violence or violent crime. Many times the two are connected as they usually accompany one another. However, on Saturday during theSan Francisco49ers and Oakland Raiders game, a confrontation which started during the game escalated to gun shots. A man and his friends wearing 49ers jerseys walked by some Raider fans, tempers flared and a fight started.  Later after the game as a 49ers fan was walking to his car, gun shots rang out. This man was hit four times in this incident. In addition, in a separate shooting, another man was shot suffering superficial wounds and one other fan was beaten in a bathroom. No one lost their life but how does a team rivalry become so heated that one person wants to shoot another.

I understand about a person having passion for the team they choose to cheer for but this is shocking on many levels. NFL players’ battle on the field, they take bone cracking hits, and they trash talk all throughout the game. When the game is over all the players shake hands with each other and everybody makes it home to see another day. NFL players have a passion for the team they play for but the rivalry never reaches the level where weapons are wielded or bullets start blazing. I can understand trash talk can get heated over just about anything. I have witnessed people who are good friends, have a disagreement and want to beat each up over a game of cards. The majority of the time they come to their senses and each person cools off in time. A great deal of the time, the two people involved in the card game are friends once again a few hours later. Watching a sporting event should be no different. Friends and families attend football games to have a good time. That time should not be ruined by people who let their anger get out of control, resulting in a series of life threatening actions. Some sports fans are going to trash talk and say things that might get under someone else’s skin. However, people need to have enough sense to let things go and not let them reach the level they did on Saturday.

Every person should be able to go home after football game and see their family and friend.   One person almost died tragically because of a foolish argument about which team was better. If not for the help of a stranger that person would have never got the medical attention he needed. Luckily, the person who suffered four gun shot wounds was able to get to the hospital and all reports are that he is stable. On this day this kindness of a stranger saved a life. Even though there were some significant injuries, every person was able to see another sunrise. The police are searching for the shooters and I hope they find every person involved. All of the events on Saturday transpired because someone wanted to prove a point that they are right about their favorite team. Is being right really worth the value of another person’s life?

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.

Fantasy Football Draft Help: Top Ten Quarterbacks

After much of the turmoil of the lockout has subsided the time for Fantasy Football is here. Today, I will give my rankings for the top ten Fantasy Quarterbacks of upcoming NFL season. I play Fantasy Football every year and always end up in the playoffs. I do not win the championship every year but I am competitive every year. That being said I thought I could offer some insight into Fantasy Football drafts this year. Listed below are my top ten Fantasy Quarterbacks for the upcoming season.

Top Ten Fantasy Quarterbacks
1. Tom Brady
2. Michael Vick
3. Aaron Rodgers
4. Phillip Rivers
5. Drew Brees
6. Peyton Manning
7. Matt Ryan
8. Ben Rothlisberger
9. Tony Romo
10. Matt Schaub

Now after seeing my top ten I know people are wondering why Tom Brady over Vick. While Vick is the most electrifying player in the NFL and will probably go to the Super Bowl this year, he also has a tendency to suffer injuries. I also predict that there will be a bit more of a balanced attack in the Eagles camp this year with Lesean Mccoy and Ronnie Brown in the backfield. Tom Brady on the other hand hardly ever goes down due to injury, has a new receiver in Chad Ochocinco to stretch the field, and always puts up impressive numbers every game. Brady’s numbers should increase and the Patriots running game is still not a huge threat. All of this brings me to the conclusion the Patriots are going to throw the ball early and often.

The Super Bowl Champion Aaron Rodgers comes in at number 3 but do not let that fool anyone. Rodgers will get back his favorite target in Jermichael Finley. The Packers will also have their lead running back Ryan Grant returning to the field this season. This means that’s the Packers attack will have more of a balance this year. Rodgers will have a greater focus on a short passing game with Finley back and the Packers will pound opposing defenses with Grant. Rodgers numbers will be good but not near the numbers he managed to put up a year ago.

The Quarterbacks I have ranked at position four , five and six will have similar numbers to a year ago. Drew Brees numbers might dip a bit as the saints try to implement Mark Ingram. Depending how effective Ingram is, will determine if Brees will return to his old form or have his numbers reduced. Peyton Manning may have to miss some playing time to recover completely from his recent surgery. If all goes well Manning will start week 1, if not the Colts may hold Manning out a couple of weeks at the beginning of the season to make sure he is fully recovered. If drafting Peyton Manning make sure to have a backup plan in case Manning has to miss time at the beginning of the seaosn. Matt Ryan may have the best year of his career. This all depends as to whether Julio Jones can live up to the hype. If Julio Jones is worth all Atlanta gave up to acquire him then the Falcons will have an increased passing attack. This bodes well for Ryan and his numbers for 2011 Fantasy Football season.

The last three on my list are almost all interchangeable. Ben Rothlisberger will do what he does every year. He will put up good to impressive fantasy numbers. All of the Steelers receiving corps returns and is ready for the 2011 campaign. I would draft Rothlisberger with confidence and ride the Steelers wave. Reports are that Tony Romo is recovered and ready to play at the start of the season. However, I have to see Romo in a game before I believe that he is truly ready to go. In addition, once a player suffers an injury such as Romo did, there is always a chance for re-injury. I would be cautious in drafting Tony Romo as my number one quarterback. Matt Schaub always puts up some amazing games and then sometimes he has some average games. The Houston Texans do not have a true identity to their offensive scheme. A person can never tell if they are a passing team or a running team. It is hard to know whether Schaub will throw 30 times or if the Texans will hand off the ball to Arian Foster 30 times. Once the Texans determine what kind of offensive team they are, we will be able to determine if Schaub’s fantasy numbers will rise or fall. For this reason, it is hard to rank Schaub any higher than number ten on the list.

Hope this list helps everyone in their upcoming Fantasy Football drafts. I know everyone is excited to build a championship fantasy team. It should be not only an interesting but also a great year for Fantasy Football. Let the victories and losses begin.

Free Agency Has Begun!

Free Agency began this week and while official signings cannot actually happen until Friday, many agreements were made. Some of the free agency signings will make fans cheer and some will make fans truly scratch their head. Here is my take of some of the signings and how the newly signed players will impact their teams. Donovan Mcnabb was signed by the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings have another accomplished quarterback to lead the way after the Brett Favre Experiment went awry last season. Mcnabb will give the Minnesota Vikings a definite upgrade over the current quarterback roster which boasts Joe Webb and Christian Ponder. Donovan Mcnabb walks into a great situation and should have a season reminiscent of his glory days.

One player Mcnabb will not have at his disposal is Sidney Rice. Rice will sign a five year 41 million dollar contract with the Seattle Seahawks. The contract is a good long term contract but I do not see the Seahawks winning a great deal of games. The Redskins made headlines by signing three receivers way past their prime in Brandon Stokely, Jabbar Gaffney, and Donte Stallworth. None of these receivers are going to scare any secondary the Redskins will face. In addition, the Redskins signed Kellen Clemens to their roster. Clemens has been a backup all of his career. The Washington passing attack is looking dim at best. The Washington Redskins would have been better off just keeping their money.

Santonio Holmes decided to stay at home with the New York Jets. Holmes is being rewarded with a five year 50 million dollar contract. Truly the Jets wanted to remind Holmes that there is no place like home. Now, if New York can also acquire Nnamdi Asomugha then they will be one of the favorite contenders for a Super Bowl run. Nnamdi has not made an agreement with any team but the Jets are looking like the favorite to acquire his services. Kevin Kolb is still available and looking for a new home. It is rumored that Kolb and the Arizona Cardinals are working on a deal and should have a contract by the end of the week. I like Kolb but to me he seems a bit overrated. I think any decent quarterback can put up good numbers when throwing to Desean Jackson and the Philadelphia Eagles receiving corps. The Eagles also have one of the best offensive lines and running games in football. Only time can tell but I am tempering my expectations on how good Kolb will be in Arizona.

Another quarterback seeking a team this season is Kyle Orton. The Denver Broncos have decided to put their hopes in the golden boy Tim Tebow for the future. Orton who played relatively well as a starter for the Broncos wants out of Denver. The Miami Dolphins have come knocking and aim to sign Kyle Orton to a new deal. The only real hold up with everything is how much Miami is willing to give up to add Orton to their roster. Finally, Deangelo Williams will resign with the Carolina Panthers. I have to respect Deangelo Williams for his loyalty but even with Cam Newton I do not see the Panthers winning more than five games this season. The Carolina Panthers are still missing way too many key players to be a true contender. I am predicting the Panthers offense will feature some running, more running and when all else fails run some more. It should be interesting to see how the carries are split between Deangelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Goodson and Cam Newton. Free agency continues to heat up more as each day passes. Teams are making moves and spending a significant amount of money. Even in the off the field activities football excitement is in full swing. Stay tuned, more major changes are coming.

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!

Football Freedom is Almost Here!

On a day where I expected to write about the United States Women’s Soccer Team victory over Japan, I am wallowing in disappointment because of the loss to Japan. I am happy for Japan but know that the United States Women’s Soccer Team gave the game away. The good football news for today has to do with the NFL and the lockout the league is currently experiencing. The good news is the NFL lockout may in fact be over as early as Friday. If this does indeed happen, fans are assured to have what they have dreamed about since the end of last season.

The fans will finally be able to sit on a lazy Sunday afternoon and enjoy a football game. Fantasy football drafts can finally be completed and top fantasy squads built. The end of the lockout will mean good things for all the players involved especially the rookies and free agents.  The rookies and free agents will be able to sign new contracts. Both will have an opportunity to be with a new team. The rookies will join the team that drafted them. The free agents with whichever team they choose to be with. The close games and the blowouts will once again grace the major television stations. The death defying catches and over the top touchdown celebrations will bring a smile to everyone’s face.

In addition, we can see the teams that surprised us during the season to make the playoff and which ones failed miserably all season long. Play off victories and losses will shock the public as we see which teams have the true definition of heart. The Super Bowl bringing an end to it all with an amazing halftime show, funny commercials, and a victory celebration of the World Champions. The good times are right around the corner. Football is almost upon us and it will be a wonderful new season.

Money Problems

Can we get it together? My patience is wearing thin. I need the owners and players of the professional sports teams to step up. How in the world do we end up with the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of the iconic baseball team facing bankruptcy? Moreover, we have two lockouts in two major professional sports leagues, the NBA and the NFL. I now truly understand what the phrase means that says, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” The reason for the lockouts and Los Angeles Dodgers situation is all due to money issues. In the case of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the money issue is due to mismanaging team spending for years. Recently, the Dodgers were even having trouble meeting the team payroll. Someone in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization should have seen this situation coming and taken some proper precautions. Now it may be too late for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Los Angeles Dodgers are in such dire straits that the Major League Baseball Association is having a hard time bailing them out.

The NBA and the NFL lockouts are due to players and owners not being able to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. The players want an increase in the salary they receive. The owners do not want to increase the amount of money the players receive.  The owner’s justify their position declaring they need the additional funds to run each organization.  The players believe that the owners do not need as much money to run each organization effectively. The two sides in either league cannot seem to reach an agreement. The power struggle negotiation has begun in both the NBA and the NFL. Neither the players nor the owners want to be the one who makes a compromise. Both sides want only an agreement where their side has the advantage. While the NFL is much further along in the negotiation than the NBA, neither league is close to reaching a beneficial agreement for players and owners.

This means we as a nation could go without a NFL or NBA season next year. The thought of going a whole year without seeing Kobe Bryant battle Lebron James in the NBA playoffs would make my heart sink. Similarly, not being able to see Aaron Rodgers and the Packers attempt to repeat as Super Bowl Champions, would be just as disappointing. In the end, one side is going to lose and one will win. The bad part is not what happens in relations to the players or owners. The truly bad part is that fans have to suffer through the whole process and cannot even go out with friends to enjoy watching their favorite pastime.

The Double Standard

On Friday, the news was released that Nike has once again signed Michael Vick to an endorsement contract. After all Michael Vick has done in the past, this is a sign of true forgiveness. Sports superstars can commit all sorts of grievous acts and the public will forgive them. The public will forgive them as long as they can play or can still deliver a good performance. Michael Vick dog fighting exploits were some of the most heinous acts of animal cruelty to date. Yet, Vick went to prison, served his time, made all the right moves and most importantly proved he can still play football. Some people will never forgive Michael Vick. However, the majority of the public has forgiven him and Vick is again a fan favorite. As much as I think Michael Vick’s story is inspiring, most average people would never be seen in a good public image if they committed the same crime. The majority of people would forever have a permanent scar on their image.

The truth is if a professional sports superstar can perform at a high level during game time, the public will love them. The public’s memory is short term when a player is helping their team win. Kobe Bryant and Ben Roethlisberger have proven it, even though both players were accused of rape. Ben Roethlisberger was accused of rape not once, but twice, and Steeler’s fans still love him. Moreover, Magic Johnson has proven it, even though he cheated on his wife and also contracted the HIV Virus. Tiger Woods has even been forgiven to an extent, though he has not returned to his former playing glory. Plaxico Burress will be the next one to be forgiven as he comes back and plays at a high level to help a NFL team. The lesson here is there is a double standard in society. The nation lives by the “What have you done for us lately?” standard. The past does not matter so much anymore in sports. Sports is all about the present and the future.


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