While lamenting that the car had to be put in the shop on Friday...
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay
If you missed my blog post from earlier this week covering last Sunday's basketball games and news on a WNBA return by former Boston College star Carolyn Swords, you can check it out HERE.
New England Patriots - Do Your Job? I guess we can now say "Done Your Job".
The Patriots 28-24 win over the Seahawks in Super Bowl 49 had everything you could possibly have wanted in a championship clash. While I would've been very disappointed had the Patriots lost, if I am being honest this was a heck of a game from both teams.
I watched the first half of the game with my mom and things started out slow but decent. I was decked out in my Patriots gear of course and when Tom Brady threw that interception to Jeremy Lane (see below), my heart came crashing down.
But that play, as bad as it was, turned out to be a key factor in the game. After coming down with the ball, Lane broke his wrist (the pictures online were quite gross) and he was replaced with Tharold Simon. And Tom Brady just torched Simon for most of the game. He eventually hit three of his four TD passes against Simon.
The Patriots getting on the board first with a TD pass to Brandon Lafell (see below) had me cheering. As soon as I stopped, I immediately thought, "Man, Lafell has been such a fantastic pickup this year and now it pays off for him with a TD in the Super Bowl. Bet Chad Johnson wishes he'd learned the playbook!"
Seattle wasn't firing on all cylinders for most of the first half, but they did tie the game at 7 thanks to a 3 yard TD run by Marshawn Lynch. Lynch finished with 102 yards rushing. And while he did have a number of nice runs, including the last run, the Patriots much maligned run defense did manage to stop him at those moments when they ABSOLUTELY had to.
A Rob Gronkowski TD catch (see below) put the Patriots up 14-7 with about 30 seconds left in the first half, I have to say that I was feeling pretty confident of going into the break with a lead. Stupid me!
Instead, the Seahawks went on an 80 yard drive and went against conventional football wisdom to score the game tying touchdown with 2 seconds left. Talk about a deflated feeling. The Patriots played some of the worst 2 minute drill defense I've ever seen and Seattle picked them apart.
The key figure in that drive was receiver Chris Matthews. He caught the TD pass from Russell Wilson, as well as three other receptions. He likely would've been the MVP of the game if Seattle had one. The most amazing thing about his game was that those four catches were the first he'd had all season. Hell, he was working at a Foot Locker before getting the call to try out for the team.
In the second half, Seattle's offense got rolling. They hit a field goal to take a 17-14 lead and then with the Patriots offense sputtering, they got a TD catch from Doug Baldwin and had a commanding 24-14 lead.
Truthfully, I was a little bit distraught at this point. The Patriots were looking bad and Seattle's defense wasn't the kind to give up a lot of points in the fourth quarter. Yes, I had my moment of doubt. Stupid me again...then the Patriots got rolling on their own.
With the run game practically non-existent, everything came down to Tom Brady's arm once again. And despite another gawdawful interception, he rose to the challenge one more time.
Brady hit Danny Amendola (see below) for a TD to make it 24-21.
He used Shane Vereen as a pass catcher out of the back field to pick up first downs. And when the drives looked like they were going to stall out, he picked up big first downs by hitting Gronkowski and Julian Edelman.
After defensive stops, the Patriots managed to move down the field once more and Brady put the Patriots ahead when he hit Edelman with his fourth TD pass of the game (see below).
I was going out of my head cheering when Edelman scored, but then I saw that there were still 2 minutes on the clock. "Oh crap," I said, "Please don't let them fuck this up!"
And it looked, at first, like the football gods were not listening or simply wanted to torture me and fellow Patriots fans because Seattle started their last drive with a 31 yard pass to Marshawn Lynch. And then came this admittedly spectacular catch by Jermaine Kearse (see below), that had me cursing his name and the Patriots defense.
The ball is on the six yard line and every Pats fan had to think that defeat was about to be snatched from the jaws of victory. Seattle ran the ball with Lynch and he picked up five yards to put the ball at the one yard line with about 40 seconds to go.
Everyone knew what the next play was going to be. It was hand the ball to Lynch and watch him barrel through the defense for the game winning score.
Everone except for the Seattle offensive coordinator it seems. And/or Pete Carroll. (You think Packers coach Mike McCarthy is breathing a sigh of relief now that he isn't the coach that made the worst play calling decision of this year's playoffs?)
What happened has already been tagged as the worst play call in Super Bowl and maybe football history. Seattle threw the ball on second down at the one yard line and an undrafted rookie name Malcolm Butler, who had been victimized two plays before on the Kearse catch, stepped into Patriots lore forever when he jumped the route and intercepted the ball to set off a wild celebration as he clutch the ball and fell down at the one yard line!
Okay, I lost it! I was screaming joy. I know, I know there was still 20 seconds left and anything could happen. But this was freaking awesome! And then the last 20 seconds ticked off the clock and MY New England Patriots were the...
I was screaming in joy, I screamed out the door in celebration and I came back in and whooped it up some more!
Bill Belichick (pictured below) led his team on a focused march from that very bad loss to Kansas City where everyone was jumping off the bandwagon or at the very least questioning just what the hell was going on with the team. Distractions, controversies and what have you...he and the team was on to whatever came next.
Tom Brady (see below) threw for 328 yards and 4 TDs in his 3rd Super Bowl MVP performance. He set a few records along the way as well (I'll let you look those up on your own). He did get sacked twice and had those two INTs but strange how winning cures all ills, isn't it?
It was great to see the players celebrating joyously like Gronkowski (6 catches for 68 yards and that TD) or like Brandown Browner who appeared overcome with emotion.
The defense had their moments to shine in the game besides Butler's INT. Rob Ninkovich (pictured 1st), Darrelle Revis and Chandler Jones (pictured 2nd) all sacked Russell Wilson in the game.
Julian Edelman (below 1st) had 9 catches for 109 yards and the game winning TD while Shane Vereen (pictured 2nd) had 11 catches for 64 yards with each catch seemingly the most important play the Pats needed at a given time.
And while a brawl broke out at the very end of the game, a nice moment of sportsmanship was seen when Richard Sherman and Tom Brady shook hands.
The Sports Illustrated cover for this week:
And of course there was merchandise to buy! The locker room T-shirt was ordered first and then there is a championship jacket that my mom is paying for half of as my birthday present this year.
And while I know that they are going to hate us because they ain't us, I'm going to enjoy this winning feeling. Thank you and good night!
By the way, if you want to check out some fan reactions to the end of the game, check out the video below.
Cleveland Browns - Cleveland has had a really bad week. My friend Chad must be banging his head against the nearest solid surface. First, the NFL suspended Josh Gordon for at least a year for a violation of the substance abuse policy. Then came the news that backup QB Johnny Manziel has entered rehab.
And just yesterday, the news broke on a national level that the team is being investigated for breaking the league's electronic communication policy. According to the story I read, club GM Ray Farmer (pictured below) is the point man and the team could be in big trouble for his texts to the sideline during games.
The Celtics have put together a nice little run lately. They picked up three more wins this week after beating the Knicks, Nuggets and Sixers. I know that none of these opponents is all that good, but a win is a win.
Boston beat the Knicks 108-97 after jumping out to a 14-2 lead to start the game. The quick start was attributed to lineup changes made my coach Brad Stevens.
Avery Bradley (pictured below) scored 26 points to lead the Celtics while Jared Sullinger had 22 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists.
Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder added 13 points apiece and Brandon Bass had 12 points.
On Wednesday, the Celtics built up a nice lead but had to hold off a Denver rally before prevailing 104-100. Marcus Thornton (pictured below) and Avery Bradley scored 17 points apiece to pace the Celtics offense.
Tyler Zeller (pictured below) and Jae Crowder hit for 14 points each. Jared Sullinger was late to the game and was benched until the start of the 2nd quarter. He still managed to finish with 14 points and 7 boards. Evan Turner finished with 7 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists.
Friday night saw the Sixers come to town. The Celtics were less than gracious hosts for most of the game and came out with a 107-96 win that improved them to 19-30 on the season.
The Celtics led 60-42 at halftime and built a 70-49 lead to start the second half. But as is usually the case, they ended up playing a bad stretch of basketball (14-16 minutes worth according to post game comments by coach Brad Stevens) and let the Sixers claw all the way back into the game. With about 7 1/2 minutes left in the game, the Sixers were down just 83-80.
However, the Celtics responded, got their offense straightened out and captured the win. Jared Sullinger (pictured below) had 22 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists (new career high) to lead Boston's 6 players in double figures.
Avery Bradley added 18 points and Tyler Zeller finished with 16 points and 9 rebounds.
On Saturday night, the Celtics saw their three game win streak come to an end with a 96-93 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Jared Sullinger (see below) led six Boston players in double figures with 17 points and 7 boards.
Meanwhile, Evan Turner's stat line looked like the winning combination on a slot machine. He scored 7 points, had 7 rebounds and dished out 7 assists.
The Celtics finish their week with a 19-31 record.
In other league news, the Orlando Magic fired coach Jacque Vaughn this week. The team was 15-37 this year and Vaughn had a 58-158 record in 2 plus seasons. So arguing for him staying on the job might have presented anyone with some issues to overcome. But I did find it a little strange that the team's GM is staying on in his job despite the fact that he's the one that put the roster together that can't really compete.
The WNBA season got a rather sizeable shakeup months before it even starts. Earlier this week, Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi announced she is skipping the upcoming season in order to rest. This is being done at the behest of her Russian team. And making the story even more interesting is that the Russian club is going to be paying her to take the summer off. You can read more HERE.
Catholic University - The Cardinals lost to Elizabethtown 63-58 on Wednesday night. They rebounded from that loss to beat Drew 60-52 on Saturday afternoon. They are now 15-7 overall and 9-4 in Landmark conference play. Amber didn't see any action in either game.
Boston College Men - Olivier Hanlan (seen below) had a 28 point scoring performance against Notre Dame this week but it went for naught as the Fighting Irish, ranked 10th in the country, came out on top 71-63.
Aaron Brown (pictured below) chipped in 13 points and 8 rebounds while Dennis Clifford added 6 points and 7 boards.
On Saturday, BC was tied with North Carolina at halftime but the Tar Heels took over in the 2nd half and won 79-68. The loss drops the Eagles to 9-13, with a 1-9 conference record.
Olivier Hanlan (shown below 1st) scored a season high 30 points (with a team high 5 turnovers). Aaron Brown (shown 2nd) added 18 points and 6 rebounds.
You can see highlights of the game below.
Hartford - The Hawks got a late basket from Deanna Mayza and two foul shots from Amber Bepko to hold off Binghamton 51-46 and raise their record to 14-12 (7-3 in America East play). Bepko finished the game with 18 points and 6 boards. Cherelle Moore scored 13 points and grabbed a team high 8 rebounds
Mayza scored just 5 points including that late score which helped to offset her seven (of the team's 19 for the game) turnovers.
Boston College Women - The Eagles hosted Clemson on Thursday night and it was a big night for members of the freshman class. Ashley Kelsick, Katie Quandt (#42 pictured below 1st) and Martina Mosetti each scored 14 points to lead the Eagles to a 68-53 victory, their second (2-7) ACC win of the season. Overall, Boston College is now 10-12. Kelsick added 6 rebounds and 4 assists and Quandt had 4 rebounds. Mosetti (pictured below 2nd) had 5 rebounds and tied her career high of 7 assists.
Emilee Daley (shown below 1st) scored 13 points and grabbed a career high 9 rebounds while Nicole Boudreau (pictured 2nd) tallied 11 points.
You can check out highlights of the game and then the post game press conference with Coach Erik Johnson and Martina Mosetti below.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Upper Cape Girls Varsity - Michaela scored 6 points in Upper Cape's 51-36 victory over Blue Hills on Wednesay night. It was their first game Rams after 10 days off due to winter snowstorms.
But things seemed to catch up to the Rams when they played a makeup game against Sacred Heart on Thursday night. They hadn't been able to practice for two weeks and when you factor in that Sacred Heart played Upper Cape very tight the first time around, one of the only teams that have remotely challenged the Rams all season, the result wasn't all that much of a surprise. This time around, the Saints got a 20 point performance from one of their players and took advantage of Upper Cape's complete lack of offensive cohesion. The final score was 38-23 in favor of Sacred Heart, the lowest point total for Upper Cape this season.
On Friday night, their offense struggled in the first half and they led by just two points at the break. But they got going in the second half and beat Norfolk Aggie 54-34. Michaela didn't score in the game as Upper Cape raised their record to 14-1. They remain a perfect 6-0 in conference play.
Bishop Stang Boys Varsity - The Spartans dropped their game against Bishop Feehan 70-58 despite a season high 19 points from Jake.
Stang routed Coyle-Cassidy on Friday night 84-44. The win raises their record to 9-6 (4-3 in conference) and leaves them one win short of qualifying for the state tournament. Jake had 11 points in the game.
Wareham Boys Varsity - My ex-player Mark scored 9 points as the Vikings knocked off Cardinal Spellman 81-62.
On Friday night, Wareham had a rematch against Bourne. The Canalmen had beaten Wareham earlier in the season, a loss that will likely cost Wareham a chance to extend their conference championship streak. The Vikings worked up a nice lead but saw it disappear with a late Bourne rally and the game went to overtime. One of Wareham's players (not one of mine) had a huge night offensively. Andy finished with 42 points (including 22 made foul shots). He shined brightest in the overtime period as Wareham took the game 84-78. The win leaves them at 14-3 (10-2 in conference). Josh had 2 points in the game.
Bristol-Plymouth Girls Varsity - B-P had three games this week. They started off with a 43-37 loss to Old Colony. Savahna hit two foul shots in the game. On Wednesday night, they destroyed South Shore Voc-Tech 43-16. Savahna told me that she had a bunch of rebounds in the game.
On Friday, I was supposed to go see Savahna play against Tri-County Voc-Tech, but I ended up missing the game because of car trouble. In a way, it was a good thing that I wasn't able to go because B-P got whipped 46-20. If the loss itself wasn't bad enough, the win gave Tri-County the conference championship. B-P's offense was nearly non-existent in the second half with the team managing just 5 points.
On Saturday, they had a game against West Bridgewater and lost 54-30.
Wareham Girls Varsity - The Vikings knocked off Bourne 44-26 this week to raise their record to 11-7 (8-4 in conference). Tieyanna and Gabby (#10 in blue below from an earlier game this season) scored 6 points apiece in the game. Erica added 3 points. The team has spent the second half looking completely different from how they started out the season. You can read more about the changes that have come over the course of the season HERE.
Sturgis East Girls Varsity - It was an eventful week for the Storm. They had 2 games to play and they had to do it while adjusting to a coaching change. The head coach of the team resigned for personal reasons and the assistant coach was handed the interim tag.
The first game was against Sturgis West and the East team came out with a 35-30 victory. Isabella didn't score in the game but she did make an appearance in four of the Cape Cod Times online picture gallery photos that went with the game. She's just a cameo player in three of the photos but the one below is of her making a play for a loose ball. She's in the white uniform with her face obscured by her arm.
On Saturday, the team played St. John Paul II and got stomped 50-20. The loss left them at 4-8 overall and 2-6 in conference play. The one positive note from this loss comes on an individual level for Isabella. She led the team in scoring with 9 points. I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure that's the first time she has topped the scoring chart for her team.
MISCELLANEOUS SPORTS ARTICLES OF THE WEEK
I originally read this article in the print edition of Sports Illustrated a couple weeks back. The magazine's website just posted it online on Friday Feb. 6th. The article is an in-depth feature on former Yale swimmer Tony Blake that made for some fascinating reading. Here's the link.
Books - I finished reading the Robert K. Lewis mystery Untold Damage this week. It is the debut novel from the author and (obviously) first in his Mark Mallen series.
The opening line of the book is "Mallen woke up with the needle still in his arm". It was a very effective way to grab the reader's attention and send them on a pretty interesting journey. The book did move a little slow at times but it was a pretty good read.
I sent a tweet out to the author (who responded) and the publisher (who retweeted it) and I'm looking forward to reading the second book in the series. The author said the second book is the Empire Strikes Back to the first book being Star Wars.
TV - Just another reminder that the second half of The Walking Dead season premieres tonight at 9pm EST on AMC.
If you watch the HBO series Game of Thrones, you are familiar with the guy who plays the character called "The Mountain". He's a huge guy and apparently takes part in European strongman competitions. Recently it was reported that he broke a 1,000 year old Viking strength record. You can read about it HERE.
Netflix will premiere the entire 13 episode first season of Marvel's Daredevil series on April 10th. You can check out the show's 90 second trailer below.
Music - Jack Russell's Great White (another band with two groups using some variation of the name) has released a new single called "Hard Habit" You can check out the lyric video for the song below.
I have to say that I was pretty surprised to find myself enjoying the song.
The band Toto has a new album coming out March 24th and they have released a video for the new song "Orphan". I enjoyed this one as well.
And the new band Revolution Saints has released a third song from their upcoming debut album. The song is called "Back on My Trail" and once again, I liked the song.
Rivalries are what actually make sports what they are sometimes. No, most of the time. While it's fun to watch teams who don't know a thing about one another play on certain occasions (the first four Super Bowls, the original Team Canada/USSR hockey series, the World Series as it was before interleague play, to name a few) it is as frequently irritating to have to watch your home heroes play game after game against teams you know nothing about and care even less about.
That's called 'dilution', and we have plenty of it. The NFL somehow can get away with it despite the shortest schedule of anyone, and maybe it's just that which helps. We see nearly every team play at some point, maybe a couple of times.
But at least around these parts, it's the rivalries that draw the most interest. The ancient ones draw fans even if one team is a joke and the other a powerhouse. We got those. Red Sox vs. Yankees. Bruins vs. Canadiens.
Football has had its rivalries too. And even in the (comparative) 3-yards-and-dust era, the quarterback was still the hero, the focus of attention. Long ago the college game attracted far more attention than the professionals, and still may. Notre Dame's teams have always been competitive, and have almost always been identified by their quarterbacks. Jimmy Clausen. Brady Quinn. Ron Powlus. Joe Montana. Joe Theismann. Terry Hanratty. John Huarte. Daryl Lamonica. Paul Hornung (yup!). Ralph Guglielmi. And the oldest we'll name, and still probably the most famous, Johnny Lujack, the championship hero with the perfect name. Have you ever heard a better name?
Name catchiness aside and Notre Dame aside, there was a purpose to this little digression. NFL rivalries are as often as not defined by great quarterback rivalries. It doesn't always happen since great quarterbacks don't grow on trees (though the mountain of rules changes that have altered the game may make it seem so today), but it has happened many times.
Which is the best of all time? One of those impossible questions that every sports fan loves. You can argue all day and nobody wins or loses, except perhaps by plurality vote among those present. I know what I think.
Let's have at it. First, who are the candidates? I'll give you my short list, starting with the oldest one I know anything at all about.
Sid Luckman (Bears) vs. Sammy Baugh (Redskins)
In an era when the quarterback stayed on the field to play safety (imagine some of the new guys trying to do that), the two best teams just before the Second World War were these guys, led by the two best quarterbacks. It was a formative stage for football. The Bears were known more for pounding the ball, though Luckman somehow found time to set some passing records. They pounded the ball for 4 titles in 7 years, a run broken up by WWII and in which they likely would have won at least one more. Their chief rival in Washington was led by a brilliant athlete who once led the league in passing, punting and pass interceptions! Baugh threw the ball like no one else back then.
Baugh's Redskins won 2 titles, both against the Bears (once before Luckman arrived), and played in 3 more title games. The signature game between the two rivals was the 1940 73-0 drubbing the Bears put on Washington, though the lopsidedness of the score was more the result of a trick play the Bears popped on the Redskins for that game than anything else. Two years later, the defense ready, the same Skins edged the Bears 14-6 in the championship game.
The Bears won the rivalry matchup. Who won the quarterback matchup is a debate for the ages. Perhaps both did. However that is debated, it was a legendary rivalry.
Otto Graham (Browns) vs. Bobby Layne (Lions)
Paul Brown's eponymous postwar Cleveland team was, like other teams, a result of coaches planning battle strategy for WWII. Tactics such as platooning and play-calling from the sidelines (Brown used 'shuttling guards') started to take over the game, along with more emphasis on the passing game than ever before. His quarterback, Otto Graham, never played a season without going to the title game, once in the NBL (predecessor to the NBA), four times in the AAFC, and six in the NFL. That's a winner.
Graham's biggest rival, Bobby Layne, was a good ol' Texas boy straight out of Highland Park in Dallas. With him, the Detroit Lions became a dynasty themselves. Three times he and Graham met in the title game. Twice Layne won, then he beat the Browns again after Graham had retired. Graham was like a machine ("Otto-matic") and Layne a swashbuckler frequently hung over at the start of the game. They were anything but clones. The Browns continued to succeed, though at a diminished pace, after Otto left. The Lions would never see a title game again after trading Layne to the Steelers, the famous 'Curse of Bobby Layne', which he actually did predict in a fit of pique at being traded.
Bart Starr (Packers) vs. Johnny Unitas (Colts)
All through his career, at least before injury had diminished his effectiveness and playing time, Unitas was considered the prototype of a quarterback. Great leader, clutch performer, passing wizard, and all for a great team stacked with all-pro personnel. He rocketed to fame after beating the NY Giants twice in a row in the first two widely televised NFL championship games.
Alas for Unitas and the Colts, a decade of seeming dominance was interrupted and superseded when the Giants' OC Vince Lombardi decided to take over the Green Bay Packers HC job in 1959. He immediately turned the doormat Packers into a marginal winning team at 7-5. Then in 1960, led by Alabama's Bart Starr, the Pack pulled the unthinkable by actually beating the Colts in the NFL's western division. They would lose to the Eagles, led by Norm Van Brocklin in his swan song. They would win 5 of the next 7 years, barely edging the Colts (always thought superior) in the west every time.
Starr's concentrated winning record is legend. But Unitas wasn't done just yet, somehow quarterbacking the Colts over Dallas in 1971 for the first post-merger 'Super Bowl' win. It was a victory largely ignored by a nation miffed at the thought of the AFL/NFL rivalry, tied at 2-2, being brought to an end, and Unitas didn't play very well. But he won. It may have been a fitting award to a guy who did all he could to stop the Green Bay locomotive that plagued him.
Tom Brady (Patriots) vs. Peyton Manning (Colts, Broncos)
This is quite a leap in time. What, there weren't other rivalries in the interim? Sure there were, but they weren't long-lasting on both sides. Who was Montana's biggest rival? Phil Simms? Bradshaw vs. Stabler is pretty good but it didn't last long, was rather one-sided, and doesn't meet the standards of the prior three entries. Those were team rivalries. Aikman vs. Young is similar. But for fans thinking that free agency and then salary caps had pretty much wiped out the age of longstanding rivalries, a surprise was coming.
Everybody knew Peyton Manning was good. The Colts knew, and threw him into the fire for a miserable first season. He learned from it. Nobody knew who Tom Brady was, and besides, the Patriots had an all-star quarterback in Drew Bledsoe. Then, much as Celtic Hall of Fame center Ed McCauley found himself replaced by Bill Russell decades earlier, Bledsoe found himself replaced by Tom Brady.
In the recent age with its ever-increasing emphasis on the passing game and its enormous media exposure, the quarterbacks have never been more in focus nor more responsible for team success. And in this era, Brady and Manning have been the standards, running up absurd yardage totals and incredible W/L totals. In Baugh's and Luckman's time, only such as John Wayne and Humphrey Bogart were seen by as many as Brady and Manning. And because both have been near-perpetual division winners and playoff contenders, they've met almost yearly in the regular season and frequently in the playoffs. Brady's had the upper hand in the majority, but Manning's had his moments too. And no rivalry has had nearly the coverage. The level of play has generally been exquisite.
It's not really a fair fight, because media exposure increases with time. But in this case, it may not be necessary. There's a very good case for either Brady or Manning being the best at his position who ever lived. Each is a great field general, each has passed the ball and piled up wins like almost no one before. Brady gets the winner's title. To many, Manning still gets the 'Ideal QB' title. It's a lot like Starr and Unitas in that respect. But the weight of the new hyper-offensive game is far more on the shoulders of these new guys than it ever was on the shoulders of their predecessors.
Who could take over? Luck vs. Griffin was assumed to be the heir apparent a few years ago, but so far only Luck has held up his end. Then Wilson vs. Kaepernick looked promising. Its promise is now in question with the Niners' collapse and Kaepernick's regression.
I generally tend to look at recent entries in these sorts of things through polarized lenses to try to remove the added glitter they get for a variety of reasons. But in this case Brady vs. Manning is my all-time winner, and we have been privileged to see it not only first-hand but an incredible number of times considering the sport and its brief schedule. With the advent of helmet radio, yet another league attempt to turn the QB into just another chunk of beef, we may never see their like again. What an awful thought.
Well folks, it’s that time once again… time for another visit from your old pal IHM. I’m turning 32 years old today… and feeling every bit of sixty! Man how the last year just flew by… seems like it’s getting harder and harder to slow the time down these past few years though. Seems like every time you look up it’s a new season, and soon enough it’s an all new year!
Got my early birthday present from Mrs. IHM later on last night, a nice Viking drinking horn. Tonight I plan on putting it to good use!
So first things first… a heartfelt congratulations to all the Patriot fans here at the Gab! Great season for you all, especially considering the way it began with that loss at Kansas City in week three. Boy how things changed after that, eh? The defense came together and wound up outplaying the “best defense in football” in the Super Bowl, and that Tom Brady kid turned out to be pretty damned good too! Guess it wasn’t Jimmy Garappalo’s time just yet, was it? And what a great football game we were all treated to on Sunday… some folks prefer the commercials and halftime show… but I think I can safely say that everybody here at the Gab was hoping for one thing overall, a great showcase to close out a season of turmoil in the league… and the Patriots and Seahawks delivered on that for sure! Hopefully 2015 will bring a season devoid of controversy, and all about the sport we all love.
And how about Dick Sherman... suddenly, no shit talking... no diarrhea of the mouth... just silence. In fact, I didn't hear anything out of that toolbag until yesterday when the announcement of his child being born was made. I'm sure as hell not going to say anything but congratulations to him about that... but the look of pain and sadness on his face when Butler picked that pass was worth the price of admission!
Speaking of controversy… turns out “deflate gate” was a controversy full of, well, hot air! Yeah, according to reports, the only ball found to be “significantly deflated” used in the AFC Championship game actually belonged to the fucking Colts! The ball that was intercepted by delivery boy abusing LB D’Qwell Jackson, was “significantly under inflated”… but there is absolutely zero evidence that the ball wasn’t doctored while in the Colts possession and not while in New England’s. The remaining balls were “just a tick” under the PSI levels, according to a report by Ian Rappaport of the NFL Network. So let’s see if there is a campaign of apologies for New England, since the media essentially spent the entire two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl bashing them as “cheaters” and “disgraces to the game”… I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were the Patriots, but they sure as hell deserve something. Of course, a Lombardi Trophy is pretty good compensation as well!
So the question becomes, how did the football become so deflated? Is there any evidence that the Colts, in fact, were the ones who deflated the ball in order to incite all this faux outrage and anger towards the team that soundly defeated them for a Super Bowl bid? If there is even a shred of evidence to that end, what punishment should the Colts then face? All questions that need to be answered, and answered soon by the league. Just like the apologies owed to the Pats, I wouldn’t hold my breath on that getting settled in any type of public way either though.
Despite the newest evidence that DeflateGate is all pure stupidity, Hall of Fame electee Charles Haley joined the legion of idiots who have called the Patriots integrity into question by saying that the scandal will “haunt” Tom Brady for the rest of his life. Haley joins fellow Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Warren Sapp as having come out to make public statements of this nature. His response came from a press conference question about which quarterback he’d want to play with, Montana or Brady.
As good a week as this has been for Patriots fans, it’s been equally bad for Browns fans… but what the hell else is new? Gordon is out for 2015 due to his perpetual stupidity… Johnny Football is in rehab (which might end up being a good thing if the guy actually learns something and gets his shit together)… and now there are reports the team could lose draft picks due to text messages sent by GM Ray Farmer regarding play calling. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer!
The offseason police blotter has fired up already… here’s the highlights from the post-Super Bowl week…
Packers DT Letroy Guion was arrested for felony possession of marijuana in Florida, allegedly carrying $190,000 worth of dope and an illegal firearm.
D’Qwell Jackson was arrested for assault over a parking space spat with a pizza delivery guy.
Cowboys RB Joseph Randle was arrested for the second time in four months… the charges include possession of marijuana and domestic violence.
And, of course, Hall of Famer and NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp was arrested in Arizona during Super Bowl weekend for solicitation of a prostitute and domestic violence.
Less than two weeks until pitchers and catchers report, folks!
But with that, the Tigers got some bad news this week, learning that Victor Martinez was injured during an offseason workout, and will require surgery on his left knee. So anybody out there still not liking the Cespedes deal? It gives you protection for Miggy in the lineup with Martinez out for likely at least half the season… if not more.
Over in the NBA, the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Month was announced… and it was a five way tie! That’s right, the starting lineup of the 17-0 in January Atlanta Hawks was elected as recipients of the award, the first time in NBA history that five players have shared the honor. The Hawks also set a league record by going 17-0 in the month of January… the first team ever to go 17-0 in a single month. All-Star selections Al Horford, Jeff Teague, and Paul Milsap were honored along with Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll. Good to see the league actually taking a shine to the whole “team first” concept for a change!
As for the Hawks, they host the Warriors tonight as the best of the East hosts the best of the West. Who the hell would have thought that this would be a legitimate NBA Finals preview before the start of the season? Of course, ESPN will not have that game featured, as it already scheduled the Clippers vs. Raptors game for the Friday night spot… damn shame.
In NHL news, while Gordie Howe has made a dramatic recovery from the stroke he suffered, his brother, also an ex-NHL player (33 games for the Rangers over three seasons), Vic Howe passed away this week at the age of 85.
That’s all I’ve got for this week folks. Thanks as always for reading and for any comments you leave on the way out! Have a great weekend Gabbers.
yet again the snow is falling here in the New England area.
Typically the Boston area gets 42"a year.
This year we will surpass that total by about 50%
The Duckboat parade to celebrate the NE Patriots 4th SB win was done in the cold on Wednesday and it being the 9th such parade since the 2001 SB we are used to this. We never take it for granted but we are used to it. I've been to 3 of the 9 and didn't make the trek this time.
Belichick now has 6 SB rings, 2 as a DC with the NY Giants under Parcells and 4 of his own as HC of the NE Pats. love him or hate him you can't take away from this run, the talent recognition and the coaching and motivating ability of this guy.
Brady now holds just about every Post season passing record there is and how a rich and privledged man, married to a super model with all he has accomplished can say the right thing at the right time giving all of the credit to his coach, owner and teamates...controled humility.
The Patriots were down by 10 points with just over 10 minutes to play. The running game was not working. The only horse left to ride was TB12. Ride him they did. In the last two TD drives when Seattle's leagues best pass defense, KNEW Brady was going to pass Brady was 13-15 fro 130 yards and 2 TD's to his pair of 5'9" WR's Edelman and Amendola. Seattle knew he was going to pass and they couldn't stop him...that is what an MVP HOFer does and Brady did.
Pete Carroll was 50 seconds from back to back SB wins and a big trophy on his resume by out coaching Bill Belichick...instead he out coached himself. Why that pass? why not run Lynch??
Who was to blame?
in a couple weeks only Seattle fans will be thinking about that, the rest of the NFL and their fans will have accepted the fact that the Patriots are the winners of SB 49 (sorry Harvey, no roman numerals will you find here)
and will play the season opener next Sept 10th, a Thursday in September, against either the Philadelphia Eagles or the Pittsburgh Steelers. Why those teams? Thats just the NFL schedule for you. The Pats play the NFC East next year and the best teams they have on there home schedule are from Penn.
just thinking about warmer days...
Now our focus will turn to baseball. The Red Sox have been on that roller coaster with a last and a first and a last...now it's time for another first. I can't wait for pitchers and catchers to report.
Florida is looking grand at this time, I will be heading that way on February 27th and will be back around the 9th of March.
11 days of Sunshine, Ocean, palm trees and golf.?
This is a road trip with my #3 son Chris. We will have some good photos to share once i'm back in town. He heads out on the 12th of March for three weeks in Alaska with some college buddys. One of the guys is working on his PhD with a wolf study in Denali...can't wait for those pictures.
I will need someone to fill in for the 5th of March so let me know if you are available.
Check out my snowbound brother Lanz right over there
Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. Last Sunday, 114 million people watched the Super Bowl…but I was not one of them. I went to see American Sniper instead. For the record, I would like to congratulate the New England Patriots for a job well done. What the Patriots have accomplished in their impressive run, places them at the top of my list of best teams of all time. You can argue for the Steelers or 49ers or maybe the Cowboys…but because this Patriot run of excellence has been so long, my vote goes to the Patriots. Look at the numbers, 4 Super Bowls and in each of the past 14 seasons (except 2002- 9 wins) they have had 10 or more wins. It is an historic run and I refuse to acknowledge the petty claim of cheating to denigrate what this organization has accomplished. Speaking of petty…did you hear the new report that perhaps only one football was “significantly” under inflated? Did you also know that the gentlemen, who visited the bathroom for 90 seconds with the game balls, had the Colt footballs as well? It is becoming increasingly obvious to me that the folks that paint the Patriots “cheaters” are simply looking for a reason to ignore the obvious. The Patriots have won a bunch of games because they are a damn good team. They have also won a bunch of games with a constantly changing roster. Only Tom Brady and Vince Wilfork remain from the 2002 championship team. This victory is a testament to just how great Bill Belichick is. It is rare to see a man achieve success as an NFL coach, much less one that also acts as the GM. I know that the hoodie shuns the spotlight, but I think it is time to shine the spotlight on the man most responsible for the 4 Super Bowl trophies in New England.
I also tip my hat to Tom Brady, but refuse to say that this Super Bowl somehow makes him the best QB of all time. If Brady had never won another Super Bowl, he would still have been a better QB to me than Terry Bradshaw. Just as I believe Peyton Manning to be a better QB than his brother Eli. Super Bowl wins signify team success and for me do not identify the best QBs. I will always choose to use the measure that Bum Phillips did when discussing the best running backs. When asked where Earl Campbell ranked all time, he said…”he may not be in a class all by himself, but it don’t take long to call roll.” History will show that Tom Brady is one of the best QBs to ever play the game. Brady has always been a class act and I think that this behavior in winning distinguishes the Patriots from last year’s winning team. It reminds me of a Paul Brown quote to a player that was celebrating a TD…”son act like you have been there before”. Enjoy the victory Patriot fans, but remember…you have been there before! I read on Tuesday that Tom Brady plans to give the truck he received as MVP to Malcom Butler. I am not surprised, because that is who Tom Brady is.
With today being signing day, I know that many fans will be anxiously awaiting the commitments for their favorite college team. I found it very interesting to read that no 5 star recruit started in this year’s Super Bowl. In fact, for both teams…only 7 starters (Lynch, Carpenter, Irvin and Maxwell – Seattle and Blount, Gronk and Hightower for New England) out of 22 were 4 star recruits. We become so focused on our favorite schools “winning” the recruiting war that we forget that great talent is often overlooked. With football, the intangibles are often more important than the tangible skills that coaches love to admire. Russell Wilson was a 2 star recruit, but he is an example of a player that has worked very hard to become a Pro Bowl QB in the NFL.
The Texas Longhorns have been very active in recruiting this year. While it is great to get those players deemed as “can’t miss”…it is those 2 star players that become great that excites me. I am excited with the direction that Texas is headed, not because of this year’s class…but because I think that Texas finally has a coaching staff capable of “coaching” up the talent that chooses to become a Longhorn. While I know it is exciting to receive acclaim for garnering a very talented class, let’s remember that the proof is always in the pudding…or wins if you will. So enjoy today and the accolades of the incoming talent, but don’t forget about those unsung guys that will head to school with a big chip on their shoulder.
You probably have heard that Johnny Manziel has entered a rehabilitation facility. In watching this guy over the past few years, I am not surprised at the news. While I celebrate this event with others, I celebrate for a different reason. This move just may save Johnny Manziel’s life. There have been few athletes that have lived such a public life of hard living. Reckless is a word that can be used to describe Manziel on and off the field. On the field, reckless can be a good thing…but off the field, it generally leads to big problems. You may think that undergoing treatment is a waste of time, but I am here to tell you that the process can work. In truth, it really depends on why Manziel walked through the doors of that treatment center. Although, Johnny can find knowledge of his disease, his sobriety will depend on his ability to accept change. Big changes, as in friends, habits and thinking will be necessary for Manziel to fully transition from Johnny Football to Johnny Manziel. It is obvious that Johnny Football cannot cut it in the NFL. What worked in his high school and college days, does not work on the professional field. Of course, is this really any different than other college graduates? Oh, I know the money is different, but I am talking about leaving the college life and joining the working world. It is a different deal, as Manziel has learned. I would guess that it is 50/50 regarding Johnny‘s chances at making the necessary changes. But, this is a big first step for Manziel…I sure wish him luck.
It is two weeks before pitchers and catcher report to Spring Training and I don’t know about you, but I am stoked. With the new season approaching, there are many things to consider. One of the things that I am very interested to see is how Giancarlo Stanton responds to standing in the box against live pitching. Most of us remember the story of Dickie Thon or to go way back…Tony Conigliaro. Both of these very talented guys were never the same after being hit in the head. It seems that Stanton’s eyes are okay, so I am really hopeful that he is able to return to the game with no changes. Miami has invested huge money in building around their young outfielder, so it is very important that he is close to his old self. I am sure the pitching staff of the Nationals will have them be favored to win the NL East…but I would not count Miami out. This is team loaded with young talent and just the right mixture of veterans. The addition of Prado, Latos, Morse and Dee Gordon makes this a very interesting team for me. I think the big question is how soon will Jose Fernandez return from Tommy John surgery? Can the Marlins hang around until June?
The big news in baseball on Tuesday is Yoan Moncada. The Cuban player has been declared a free agent. With the recent change in the US relationship with Cuba, MLB has changed their policy with regard to foreign players. With a sworn affidavit indicating that they are residents of another country, do not plan to return to Cuba and are not a Cuban official…they are eligible to play in MLB. Yoan Moncado is a name you want to remember. This is a 19 year old kid that has five very sharp tools. Moncado is a 2B, but some seem to think he may be more suited for 3B. This youngster is 6’1” and 210 with speed being his highest rated tool. But there is power in his swing that has many teams drooling. Of course, the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers are reported to have interest…but San Diego has been mentioned as well. The estimated contract for this guy is $80 million. Damn! I wonder how long before MLB puts some competitive cap on the Cuban players that will surely be on the way? A couple of other names to watch for are Andy Ibanez and Hector Olivera…
BOB does a great job pointing out douche bags each week. I could not help but offer another name for consideration. Does the name Conrad Hilton ring a bell for anyone? Yep…Conrad is the brother of Paris Hilton. Apparently, Conrad went a bit crazy on a flight from London to LA. Conrad Hilton goes berserk on the plane and tells all on the plane that they are all f’ing peasants. He then began to punch the plane inches from the flight attendants face. When he fell asleep, the captain had the crew secure him in his seat. Nice…said his daddy would buy him out of this as he did last time…which cost $300k. Attorney Robert Shapiro says that Hilton took a sleeping pill before the flight and was not himself. Hilton was later arrested in LA and is now enjoying a stay in a treatment center. Yeah…I know, I wondered the same thing. Nah..but there is no way that they would be in the same treatment center, right?
The other guy in the news is Warren Sapp. If what I heard is true, I can only shake my head. Warren had a visit with a prostitute and apparently did not think the price was worth the ride. A big argument ensued and the police were called. What can you say about this? C’mon man! Sapp lost his job with the NFL network. Man...what a sap.
The last thing I have today is to wonder why Bill Belichick is catching so much noise about kissing his daughter after the Patriots won the Super Bowl? What is wrong with people in the media? IT IS HIS DAUGHTER! The guy just won the Super Bowl. Am I missing something?
That is all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
I believe you should live each day as if it is your last, which is why I don’t have any clean laundry because, come on, who wants to wash clothes on the last day of their life?
Often, when I am reading a good book, I stop and thank my teacher. That is, I used to , until she changed her number.
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…