Tagged with "Saints"
Back To the Future: High-School Championship
Category: NCAA
Tags: ART SHELL HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL JIM MORA NEW ORLEANS SAINTS OAKLAND RAIDERS
This is what the Louisiana state championship trophies look like, can't get it to show up: https://theknightswhosay.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/lhsaa-trophy.gif

I hope filing it under ncaa is ok.

I haven’t written about high school sports since high school, but I had to comment about the high school I went to winning its first state championship since 1960. Hopefully it’s an interesting story. Some may know or be able to figure out the school, but I’ll avoid mentioning names.

What made it even stranger is that in watching the clips posted online (I subscribed to nola.com’s YouTube channel mostly for LSU content a while back), I saw a familiar face. It was the coach who had left my school in 1996. I honestly thought I was imagining things until I heard his name. He didn’t look much older either.

I’ll just call him Coach M. Since he left for a rival school, he wasn’t exactly my favorite person at the time. He did not do particularly well at that other school and had gone into other lines of work, although he had returned briefly to my school as an assistant at some point between the two stints. I would find out this was his first season back as head coach.

The administrators who were there while I was a student were all gone, so I guess that helped lessen any misgivings as well. Still, I’m sure some were skeptical he could just pick up where he had left off as a head coach. An NFL situation I thought of was Art Shell’s ill-fated return to the Raiders. Unlike Shell, however, it seems that Coach M had really kept up with the game.

I also compared it to Jim Mora (Sr.), who also left the Saints rather suddenly when I was in high school, coming back to the Saints and at least going to the Super Bowl in his first season.

Mora presided over a lot of improvement in New Orleans but was not able to win a playoff game with the Saints (although the Saints did have a first-round bye one season).

Coach M had won playoff games but had come up short on at least a couple of occasions in the semifinals. I mentioned the prior state championship had been in 1960. That was before the Saints even came into existence.

One difference is in recent years, the Saints did better than had ever done before. They won a few playoff games, won the Super Bowl one season, and made the conference championship in yet another season. But I’m pretty sure my junior year (two seasons after Coach M left) was the last time my high school had made the state semifinals. So I guess that all helps you imagine why it was so surreal.

After a bit of an upset in the quarterfinals (#6 over #3 on the road), it looked like it might be another year where they made it to the semifinals and fell short, which happened three times while I was there.

The last two games were remarkable too. In the last few seasons, my high school played really well against a rival school from the same district but ultimately came up short in both the regular season and the playoffs. That school was seeded #2 and had won the previous two state championships, as well as the district championships, and was undefeated. Somehow my school had them on the defensive all right, and my school prevailed,

In the finals, my school played a school that had 26 state titles. That school also did not exist in 1960. To be fair, it is a smaller school, so it wasn’t in the same classification in most of those years.

It was a low-scoring game with a lot of turnovers, but it seemed that the school that was used to state championships would pull it out when that school took a 14-7 lead into halftime (after a long drive to end that half) and still led 14-10 after the third quarter.

A number of second-half drives by both teams had stalled (or ended in turnovers) right outside of field-goal range, and obviously one ended in field-goal range. The other team got as close as the 25-yard line, but apparently that wasn’t quite a comfortable enough distance.

The player of the game was a running back, so the success my school had was mostly on the ground. But somehow with about 9 minutes to play, they drew up and completed a long touchdown pass of 45 yards. The team only had 112 yards of passing the entire game, including that play, against 217 rushing yards.

A combination of running down the clock and good defense took care of the rest of the game.

Normally you get more used to things like this after you find out, but due to the result, it’s only gotten more surreal since seeing that video. What adds to it is I ran (without much success) on the cross-country team in high school, and when I graduated we had never won a state championship in that sport. This was not the cross-country team’s first state title since I graduated; but it still adds to my feeling of disbelief to know my school holds what I consider the two biggest state titles of the fall, both of which seemed so elusive 10-20 years ago.
All Saints Day for Sports Fans
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL MLB Saints Redskins

All Saints Day follows Halloween and so it seems like a good time to take a quick look at the current Saints in the sports world starting with my 2013 Team of Destiny, the appropriately named team from New Orleans.  The Saints have risen to a mediocre 4-4 record, but that is good enough in the suddenly awful NFC South for First Place.  Going into this season, it seemed like the NFC had its Power Structure in good order, but halfway through the season, we have chaos.  All, that is except for my 2014 Team of Destiny, the Detroit Lions, who are quietly crusing right along in the NFC North.  While in the AFC, all seems right in the world as the usual powers are just that in 2014...and then there's Saint that gave us an excellent mid-season mini-classic is none other than that normally devilish NFL Schedule Maker who set us up with a Broncos - Patriots match up for Sunday afternoon.  Bless you, my son!

Here are a few other Saints in my book from the current world of sports....

>>  Jay Gruden, for pulling off that Monday Night Miracle for the Redskins...and for making up for the sins of his brother in the broadcast booth who was particularly hiduous behind the mic last week;

>>  Joe Madden, for willingly taking on the role of Cubs Manager and perhaps finally providing deliverence for all those lost souls who are Cubs fans;

>>  MadBum, who delivered a Fall Miracle to San Francisco as the Giants won another World Series...and for everyone else who lives in baseball purgatory waiting for Post Season Glory, well, there is always next year (spoken like a true Cub fan wannabe).

>> Gordy Howe, Mr. Hockey who is recovering from a stroke, belongs in Hockey Heaven but here's hoping he stays with us just a bit longer so we can say "thanks for the memories" at least one more time

Got a few Saints that need to be on the List...post 'em up here and give them their due!  

Have a great Saturday...good day to sit by the fireplace, it seems, and watch football!

 

And the Pick is....
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL Saints Seahawks Broncos

The start of football season mandates a prediction of a Super Bowl Champion...so to kill the suspense, I once again my Team of Destiny to be the New Orleans Saints.   As one who, as they say, "can't pick his nose," it is not worth calling into your favorite booking establsihment with a mortgage payment based on that prediction, however, I can't be any worse than the legions of so-called experts that picked - now here's a surprise - the Seahawks.

Just to expand on that for a moment, I have to ask what kind of expert do you have to be to pick the Broncos and Seahawks as AFC and NFC champions respectively?  The last meaningful data point we have to go on was the last Super Bowl...and last February, those were the best two teams.  But things change after the season, players move on, injuries accumulate (both seen and not seen), emotions vary...there are a lot of reasons why teams do not perform to expectations.  To me, a real preseason forecast would dig a little deeper to make their picks.

The fact of the matter is that unless there is some momumental change in the way the NFL does things, there will be about a 50% turnover in playoff teams, the last Super Bowl loser will not win a playoff game and the last Super Bowl winner will not repeat.  Those are historical facts.  The last Super Bowl loser to win the next Super Bowl?  The 1972 Miami Dolphins who had to go 17-0 to do it.   That puts over 40 years between us and the SB loser claiming the next title...you can add another year to that list as the Broncos will not repeat as AFC champs.

Picking the Seahawks to get back to the Super Bowl is a different subject - they are basically intact, have a young and developing QB, a great defense...what could go wrong?  They certainly will be a playoff team.  It is hard to imagine them not winning 10 games this season, but they play in a very difficult division.  One team of mystery is the Cardinals.  They have all the ingredients to be a surprise team and could upset Seattle.  One advantage both SF and Seattle have is that young QB's that have not had their "pay day" yet.  Once they do - and consume $20 million of cap space - their teams will slowly but surely deteriorate.  It is the Rozelle Curse of Parity working long after he retired.

My other big unknown team is my hometown Redskins.  We just don't know whether we are going to get Rookie of the Year RGIII or 2013 SpongeBob.  The defense looks better but who knows.  Playing in the terrible NFC East, winnning 8 games is not impossible and, who knows?, that may be enough!  So I have rambled on enough....here are the rest of my picks:

NFC Division Champs:   Eagles, Saints, Lions, Seahawks with Packers and Cardinals as wild cards

AFC Division Champs:  Patriots, Bengals, Colts, Broncos with Ravens and Chiefs as wild cards

Super Bowl:   Saints versus Patriots

Well...at least its different than everyone else - but those are my picks.

And Then There Were Eight
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NFL Playoffs Saints Broncos 49ers Seahawks Chargers

The NFL Playoffs get down to real business this weekend as the top teams finally get on the field.  A review of Wild Card Weekend is in order...my Fearless Forecast hit 3 out of the 4 games with my only miss being with the Bengals which I thought was a sketchy pick even when I made it.  You have to give Luck a lot of credit for rallying the Colts from such a huge deficit.  I guess people in KC probably learned a little why the Philly fan did not mind seeing Andy Reid depart.  Speaking of Philly, they put up a valiant fight - ?really a surprisingly good season - right up until the Saints, the Team of Destiny, kicked a stake through their hearts as time expired.   So all in all, we had 4 good football games...can we see the same quality of game in Playoff Week 2?  I say "YES!"

Game 1.  Saints - Seahawks (-8)

First off, I cannot pick against my Team of Destiny, the Saints who I selected as my Super Bowl Pick back in September.  I stand by my forecast to the bitter end...and if this game were in the Superdome, I probably would feel better considering the Saints were 8-0 at home this year...but they are in the House of Horrors in Seattle with their 12th Man and maniac stadium environment.  The last visit was no contest and the Saints said "No Mas" before halftime.  If the Saints can score early and get Brees in a rhythm early, they have a shot...he is a far superior to Russell Wilson as a former SB MVP and second only to Manning in passing this year.  The Seahawks have had everything go their way this season and their defense is Championship - Grade.  If they weren't playing my Team of Destiny, I would have a hard time picking against them being the NFC Champions this year.   PICK:  SAINTS

 Game 2.  Colts - Patriots (-7)

As I noted above, Luck has the special element that turns losses into wins, but going into New England against Tom Brady it is hard to see him being able to pull it off one more time.    Not only do the Pats have a huge edge at the QB position, they have the edge in scheme as we can expect Belichek to take away Luck's best weapon in Hilton.  The Patriots are 8-0 at home and weather will be less than ideal, a negative for a dome team like the Colts...at least it won't be snowing!  There is no way you cannot expect New England to win and win big.  If the Colts win, it will really start to build the Luck Legend.  PICK:  PATRIOTS

Game 3.  49ers - Panthers (Pick 'em)

This is the premier game of the weekend - two excellent teams with teams that will be competitive for years to come.  In this game, both teams come in red hot - the Panthers 9-1 in their last ten compared with SF at 8-2.  The head to head game this season tipped to Carolina at 10-9.  The QB's are comparable with relatively identical passing yard results for the season.  The teams have depended on denominating defense to offset occasionally spotty play on the offense side of the ball.  It will be a war of attrition in a game that could easily be decided by an end of the game score.  Enjoy it...a pick with some hesitation but my choice nonetheless... PICK: PANTHERS 

Game 4.  Chargers - Broncos (-10)

Nobody is giving the Chargers much credit to be in this game which may be a mistake...these are not Norv Turner's Chargers.  Phillip Rivers has it in him to go toe to toe with Peyton Manning, especially the Playoff Edition PM.  I think this game will be competitive and will show some more intensity than the casual fan may expect.  These teams know each other well, so there will be no surprises and let's face it, the Broncos defense stinks.  Can Peyton start to build on his 1 Super Bowl and 12 other playoff flameout legacy?  The Broncos were my second pre-season Super Bowl pick, so I have to stand by my selection, but do not be surprised if the Chargers make a game of it.   PICK: BRONCOS

OTHER SPORTS NEWS THIS WEEK OF INTEREST (TO ME AT LEAST)

The Hall of Fame added 3 great picks this year in Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.  All well-deserving and all PED free careers.  There will continue to be a lot of debate each year about what to do with Bonds, Clemens and that group...and really it should now become their personal hell, especially voting week.  The point of the HOF is that is it an HONOR to be elected not a right.  Why tarnish the accomplishments of so many greats from Babe Ruth to Ted Williams to Willie Mays and Hank Aaron with the likes of these cheaters?   Let them twist in winds of baseball history. 

A-Roid will learn his fate any day now and there is word that "he is willing to accept some suspension."  Really?  Is there anyone out there that thinks this guy has one shred of personal integrity?  His is so repulsive as a ball player and so it seems, a person, that it is hard to believe anyone stands by him unless they are in it for the money.  (His legal bill is supposedly reaching $10 mil...that might make him give up the fight).  A-Rod, please go away for everyone's benefit.

Tanaka is on the market...where will he land?  I hope the Cubs nab him...it is time for the Cubs to be relevant again.  It has only been 110 years.  The question I have is whether he will be good, great or the next coming of Sandy Koufax.  

Enjoy the games and have a great Saturday!

New Year, new rules
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL Colts Pats Broncs Chargers Seahawks Saints Panthers 49ers

 

New Year… new rules!

Winds of rule changes in the NFL are coming as the times they are a changin'.

San Fran (13-4) was able to go to the Tundra and beat Green Bay (8-8-1) on a last second Field goal by a score of 23-20.

The 49 ers should have hosted the game.

 

A re-seeding rule needs to be implemented next season. My take is that after the two teams earning the bye with the best records overall the rest of the field should be re shuffled. Conference record being the main tie breaker for the remaining four. The wining of a division by default like GB did this year shouldn’t earn you a home game.

The next issue is Pass Interference. Any PI call on a play gaining more than 20 yards or inside the red zone should be reviewable. The coaches should be able to challenge the non call as well and take the heave it up and hope I get a flag play out of the game. I was happy to see the officials keeping the flags in their pockets this past wildcard weekend.

My biggest beef with the NFL or more correctly, the networks is…Ads for ED products or female hyjinks products…they should not… should not be advertised during NFL games. Let’s face it, If you don’t suffer with ED you don’t want to think about it and if you do suffer with it you don’t want to hear about it or think about it during a football game. I understand that there are guys that suffer with this and that it might just be a matter of blood flow…but 99% of guys do not want their football game dotted with these ads.

 

Also adult diapers and slip and fall attorneys should be banned from doing ads during football games.

Beer ads, car ads (as annoying as they can be) are allowable, travel ads are all right, mayhem and the like are fine, what's better faster or slower and bigger and smaller ads make us laugh…and while I’m at it

but you don't want to be the local fisherman known as old fatty face.

 

And I think the NFL should bring back that old favorite known as second level pushing, forget the rule that was put in place to be called exactly ONCE all season…you Pats fans know what I’m talking about.

 

NOW on to the

The Divisional games

 

The Saints (12-5)and Drew Brees going back to Seattle (13-3) on Saturday afternoon will set the tone.

I still see the Seahawks winning but in a closer 24-21 type of game. Brees had problems on the road all season and although they did beat Philly, Seattle’s defense is far better than the Eagles

 

Saturday night will feature the New England Patriots (12-4) hosting the Indy Colts (12-5) with Andrew Luck fresh off a big comeback win vs Kansas City. The Pats will be with out another key defensive player, leading tackler Brandon Spikes

for the rest of the post season with that knee injury that will require off season surgery. The Colts are weak at WR and went so far as to sign Dionne Branch, former SB MVP to fill the gap. Branch hasn’t played in the NFL since last December and posted a very pedestrian 16 catches 141 yards no TD’s last year with old friend Tom Brady throwing him the ball. Look for Talib to take TY Hilton out of the game and the Patriots, rested and at home with rain in the forecast should once again ride Le Garrett Blount and Stevan Ridley  and take this in the 34-24 range.

The thawing 49ers (13-4) will travel to Carolina (12-4) for the early game on Sunday. Kapernick used arm and legs to beat Green Bay last week but this is a much better defense than the Packers… I think the home town team led by Cam Newton should advance to the NFC Championship game by a score of 27-21

 

The AFC late game is the third match between Philip Rivers Chargers(10-7)and Peyton Manning’s Broncos (13-3) this season…you haven’t heard that before, right? This is the game that has Peyton with all of the pressure to win and advance to the AFC Championship and Rivers playing with house money. The Fact that San Diego plays Defense and Denver opts not too is the deciding factor in this one with the San Diego Super Chargers (NFL Teams should not have songs)

pulling out an improbable win by a score of 31-28 and another year of Peyton being one and done.

 

I managed to go 4-0 this past week so you can take these picks to the bank if you so choose to use a bank…I personally just stuff this currency in my mattress.

Happy to be back at the gab this week and it was great to see our old friend B Dub back in towne

​Have a great day, thanks for your visit and comments.

Don't forget to check out Boston buddy Lanz right over there---->

 

  

 

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