The Moral of the Story: Check Your Balls
So when the deflated football controversy first hit, I was like “give me a break…” I mean the Colts got pounded and we’re gonna say the footballs were a little soft? Puh-lease. Then the details started to sift down…that the Colts had notified the NFL of a similar infraction in their game against New England earlier in the season; that the Colts had put the inflated pressure of game balls on their pre-game “list” for the NFL to be aware of and check for this game; etc.
I get it--we're all worn out. And I don’t want to rehash this ad infinitum. But while I've heard a lot of whining about it I really haven't heard any "rational human thought" on the whole thing. And not that I'm rational, but I thought I'd share some of my random thoughts on this weird, controversial, and in my mind ridiculous on so many levels, issue.
First off, as I posted on an FB thread earlier in the week: if the specs for the football—ie make, model, air pressure standards, etc—are so critical (and they should be, by the way) then why the hell does each team have their own balls? In baseball, the baseballs are inspected and brought to the game by the umpires…the Cardinals and Cubs don’t each have their own baseballs for a game they are contesting. In basketball, my understanding is that the home team provides the basketballs, but again they are delivered to the officials pre-game for inspection, then secured, and administered by the officials during the contest; and they are identical in terms of specification to those used elsewhere around the league.
In a league as buttoned up as the NFL, why in the world is this even protocol? One ball, one spec, the officials bring ‘em to the game. Here you go boys, play. Simple, no? Why even create this opportunity for controversy?
Second, I do think the inflatability of the ball is a fairly significant item. Reduce the inflation of a ball by 15% and grip it. If you don’t think that two pounds less inflation makes a ball easier to catch, grip, etc., you are not being honest with yourself. On a cold, wet and rainy night, or a freezing one where a properly inflated ball feels like a cement block, it is a huge advantage. I don’t think it makes up 38 points of deficit; but don’t play it off like it’s nothing.
I’m reminded of when I was a kid: I had a German Shepard named Casey who to this day is the smartest dog I’ve ever known. If you played baseball with a tennis ball, he could play the outfield and would not only catch the ball on the fly but could field it off a hop and run it in. Casey, on a grounder to the outfield, was faster and much more reliable than many of my friends who would field, bobble, and errantly throw into the cornfield. Likewise, if you played with a slightly deflated football he could play receiver—because the ball was easier to catch. True story. Anyway…
Third we have rules. So you break a rule that potentially improves performance. Suspend someone for a game? Lose a couple of draft picks? It’s cheating. Whether you think it’s significant or not, it’s important enough that there’s a rule about it…you need to enforce it. The entire universe has gone nuts over steroids in baseball and the “advantage” it afforded—and yet that was at a time when the league didn’t have a policy against it and a huge majority of the league was doing it. But people want to laugh about this; they’re ok with a team breaking the rules like this to gain an advantage. This would be like some aerodynamic advantage in NASCAR but you still get to win the race. I mean it was ONLY half an inch difference. Wrong. You cheat, you lose.
Fourth—if the Colts really did report this back in November, was the NFL pulling a Ray Rice on us and pretending it didn’t happen? Did they do that because it was New England, because they thought it would go away, or because they think Jim Irsay is a league rogue and an idiot? This represents a huge credibility gap for the league if it’s true…and these guys are experts when it comes to credibility gaps.
Five: minor in context—but again, these are just the things that pop up in my mind—why in the hell do kickers have a separate ball? Don’t give me the rhetoric about kicking, the ball being slippery, etc. I get all that. But part of the game is the ball. Wouldn’t the assumption be that you have to kick the same ball that this guy just threw and that guy had to catch? If you really want to laugh your ass off…think about fake field goals. (Better yet--that ill fated Garo Yepremian pass in SB VII. Actually, HE could have used a deflated ball there...) Hey, let’s have separate balls for free throws! Different hockey pucks for penalty shots! Let’s change the baseball when relief pitchers come in! Good grief…
If you’re a Colts fan, give up the “We were wronged!” approach. If what I’ve heard is true, the balls were checked and thrown out at halftime—and the Colts balls were used in the second half. So your team got waxed the worst with New England using the good balls.
I’m wondering about Baltimore. If New England were using the balls indoors in November and in their second outside playoff game in January, you’d certainly be using it outside in your first playoff game in January. Baltimore didn’t get blown out, and the balls weren’t switched at halftime. Probably no way to go back and check after the fact, but it would sure be interesting to know. I’d kind of like to watch that game again now, and look for dropped passes by the Ravens, or one handed grabs by the Pats.
Last, but most certainly not least, can the NFL and Roger Goodell have possibly strung together a worse year? Would you like to be their PR firm about now? Cheating, wife beating, child mistreating. What, they ran out of hookers, handguns and heroine? What would you give for the Super Bowl story line to be that Max McGee was out all night and played drunk? Woo hoo, controversial stuff that. Oh for the good ol’ days. This league, whether anyone wants to admit it or not, has a problem; and it’s like a snowball rolling downhill at this point.
In conclusion, I don’t have an axe to grind, and I’m not particularly a fan of either team. But stuff like this is what makes you sick about sports. If you play, stick to the rules; if you’re the league, enforce them. And in the meantime, please try not to put the two teams I like least in your biggest game of the year. Ack. For truly the first time in the history of this grandest of NFL games—I could care less if I watch a down. Tell me more about this Lingerie Bowl…
Well, the time has come again for my annual blog (with a tip of the hat to 3rd Stone) on the Pro Football Hall of Fame voting.
The process is a little different this year than in previous years b/c "builders" are finally in their own category. That means people in the back office do not have to compete against players and coaches. This is a move for the better. I expect the two builders who are Finalists, Bill Polian and Ron Wolf, to go in.
The Veterans selections are also voted on separately. This year, there is only one Finalist, Mick Tingelhoff. I expect him to get in, and he should. HOWEVER, MORE PLAYERS FROM THE AFL SHOULD BE IN. IT'S THE PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME, JACKWAGONS! NOT THE NFL HALL OF FAME.
YES, I'M DISGUSTED THAT JOHNNY ROBINSON AND JIM TYRER ARE NOT IN (and I was an Oiler fan, not a Texans/Chiefs fan).
This year, we have 15 Finalists from what the HOF calls the "Modern Era". Only a maximum of five can go in.
I'm going to ask you to vote for only five at the bottom of this blog. While it is theoretically possible that 8 could go in off this list, neither any of the Contributors or Tingelhoff could go in. Since the rules were changed to allow for separate nominations for contributors starting this year and the Vets are limited to one this year, I think all 3 will go in. They are voted on first. The HOF rules say at least 4 and a maximum of 8 must be admitted each year. With 80% votes being needed, it's not an easy task to accomplish.
Hence my "rule of 5". Life is about prioritizing, and so it is here.
Now, I'm going to summarize each candidate below in the following format
# of Pro Bowls/# of First Team All-Pros/ Super Bowl record
Then after that
# of Top Tens (TT) in an appropriate category (RB's, WR's, and QB's will have 3 carries-catches-QB rating/yards/TD's) and # of League Leaders (LL). Defensive players will have sacks or INT's)
So, if someone is a WR
5/2/2-1: 8-3-4, 2LL
Five Pro Bowls, 2 First Team All Pros, 2-1 in the Super Bowl (2 rings then)
8 times TT in # of catches, 3 times TT in total receiving yards, 4 times TT in TD's, and he led the league twice in a combination of those categories.
* denotes first year of eligibility, obviously a finalist once!
Parenthesis tells how many times including this year, the candidate has been a finalist. So (3) means it is his 3rd year as a finalist.
Your nominees in alphabetical order
Morten Anderson, PK (2) 11x TT's in scoring, no LL's, 1st all-time in games played, HOF all decade 80's and 90's
Jerome Bettis, RB (4) 6/ 2/ 1-0: 7-5-4, no LL's
Tim Brown, WR-KR (6) 9/ 0/ 0-1: 6-5-8, 1 LL
Don Coryell, Coach (2)
Terrell Davis, RB (1) 3/ 3/ 2-0: 3-4-3, 3 LL's, 1x NFL MVP
Tony Dungy, Coach (2), 1x Super Bowl Champ
Kevin Greene, DE (4) 5/ 2/ 0-0, 8TT's in sacks
Charles Haley, DE (6) 5/ 2/ 5-0, 4TT's in sacks
Marvin Harrison, WR (2) 8/ 3/ 1-0: 6-7-8, 5 LL's, HOF all decade 00's
Jimmy Johnson, Coach (1), 2x Super Bowl Champ
John Lynch, S (2) 9/ 2/ 1-0 no TT's in INT
* Orlando Pace, OL 7/ 3/ 1-1
* Junior Seau, LB 12/ 6/ 0-2: HOF all decade 90's
Will Shields, OL (4) 12/ 2/ 0-0: 12x All-AFC by Pro Football Weekly
*Kurt Warner, QB 4/ 2/ 1-2: 6-3-6, 5 LL's, 2x NFL MVP
This is the first year that the builders have been separated from the players and coaches under the current voting rules.
There are no "Top 100" players as ranked by the NFL.com panel in 2010. We have not had one of those eligible since 2013.
There are 3 Coaches as Finalists this year. Not 100% sure, but I think this is the first time we've had more than 1 coach as a Finalist since before 1990.
Coryell was a Finalist in 2010.
There is no morals clause for the Canton HOF voting.
"My vote": how I would vote
"Committee says": Will he actually get in
Only one pure PK is in the HOF right now. That being Jan Stenerud. I personally thought Jason Hanson was a better PK during his era, but Anderson's #'s cannot be denied. With that being said, his window is still open, and Ray Guy, a pure P, went in last year. Take a number, Morten.
My vote- NO
Committee says- NO
Disclosure, I have a grudge against Bettis b/c I felt he lied about the Phil Luckett coin flip. The NFL more or less exonerated Luckett (someone who has spent the night at my home) on this. With that being said, I ask this Q every year: Do you think Ricky Watters should be in the HOF?
Both have very similar yardage #'s. Watters is more versatile. Bettis played on better teams and was goal-line meat grinder. Both have a ring, both went to ND (and were teammates for a year). Bettis gets the hype b/c he was more press friendly. Sorry, Jerome. Doesn't cut it even if I hold Luckett aside. However, I give you props for introducing Earl Campbell into the NFL's Top 100 players.
My vote- NO
Committee says- NO
Probably the first real tough call for me. My excuse in the past was that Carter should go in before him. That has now happened. Look at his stat line: No All-Pros. When you look at his career #'s in terms of TT's and LL's, you see a picture of a very good receiver in his era, but not one of the greatest. However, what makes this a hard call is his value also as a return man. You clearly tried to kick away from this guy. That means something. Regarding the Committee vote, I have to wonder if his comments of the last few years are going to hurt him.
My vote- NO
Committee says- NO
Intuitively, you can make an honest case that he is the best coach of the three on the ballot. In San Diego and St. Louis, he turned perennial losers into contenders. He re-invented the passing game, and behind Bill Walsh, is arguably the most influential coach in today's NFL game. However, he never got to a Super Bowl, only had 111 wins and 3 playoff wins. Sorry, Don.
My vote- NO
Committee says- NO
John Elway would probably be the first guy to tell (not to mention Mike Shanahan?) you that Terrell Davis is the primary reason Elway climbed that mountain at the end of his career. I think of this guy in terms of a Gale Sayers who had one extra year (78 games v 68 for Sayers). He had more rushing and receiving yds than Sayers even per game (114 v 92) and fumbled about 2/3rd's as frequently as Sayers. So why am I struggling to vote for this guy?
Well Sayers obviously was a return man which Davis missed, but Davis has two rings. Well, Sayers was all-Pro in 5 of his 6 seasons, but Davis has a league MVP. The more I think about this guy, the more I think he is worthy. The Committee though knows this is his first shot as a Finalist, after many years of being eligible. Does that impact me?
My vote- NO
Committee says- NO
The second of our coaches on the list. Look, the guy is one defensive genius, but OC's and DC's don't get into the HOF, rightly or wrongly. OK, he won a Super Bowl and got within an eyelash of one in Tampa Bay w/o an offense. He's also the politically correct choice with him being the first black HC to win a Super Bowl. He's that friendly talking head on NBC SNF.
So, why am I not voting for him? Well, there is another more deserving candidate on the list. Furthermore, if Dungy was so great, how come Gruden somehow generated an offense with the same personnel (plus "Give me the d**n ball!") and won the big one the next year?
My vote- NO
Committee says- YES
I feel bad for this guy's candidacy. He's always at the discussion of a great player, but never at the top of it. So it goes again this year.
My vote- NO
Committee says- NO
The "bling king" of the NFL. The only player with FIVE Super Bowl rings- with two different teams no less. Now, take away the rings (I'll get to that in a minute), and he's not as good as Greene. But how can I take away the rings? Well, was he ever one of the best half a dozen players on his club?
I thought his best shot was when they played the SB in Dallas a few years ago, and that train left. It has left here also, until at least Greene boards it.
My vote- NO
Committee says- NO
Detractors will say "all he did was play catch with Peyton Manning". Well, he did play catch, to the tune of 5x a league leader in either TD's, yards, or catches; to the tune of being named to the all-decade team; to the tune of 3x All-pro. In other words, over the course of a decade, he was clearly one of the best or the best at his position; and he's not just a kicker.
Doesn't impact me much, but I think the fact he played his entire career in Indy will help him with the Committee.
My vote- YES
Committee says- YES
Hey, wait a minute isn't he already in and got in 1994? Oh wait, that was THAT Jimmy Johnson who was a feared DB for the 49er's (insert rim shot).
Seriously, you mean to tell me that plastic hair is not in? Well, maybe the Committee has decided to associate Johnson with his product endorsement "Extenze" to make him wait (insert 2nd rim shot).
To me, this is a no brainer. The guy turned Dallas around in 3 years. People also forget he took Miami to the playoffs 3 out of 4 years he was there.
Well, hey, I'm sure as Jimmy and Extenze would agree, "the longer you wait, the more satisfying it is" (insert 3rd rim shot).
So, someone tell me why Tom Flores is not in, please?
My vote- YES
Committee says- NO
Now, I'd like to think that he is on the list for more than the reason that he's only good white DB we've had this century (woooooo!). Well, fact of the matter is he's a pretty hard hitter. I'm not an OC, but I would think you would have to plan your offense around the idea that Lynch could meatwagon your wideouts or TE.
Not on the all decade team though, never in the TT in Int's. Not on my ballot either.
My vote- NO
Committee says- NO
First one of the three 1st year ballot guys who is a Finalist. I am partial to the OL guys who work the trenches. They have been under appreciated by most fans (and somewhat in the HOF) b/c there are no glamour stats to show. If they are doing their job, you never hear about them.
While he's not on the PFHOF 1st team all-decade he is on the 2nd team, and he did make PF Reference's first team all-decade. I'm certainly A-OK if he gets in, but he's not getting my vote this year for a reason you will soon see (hint, I can only vote for 5)
My vote- NO
Committee says- YES
2nd of the first year eligibles. For me, this is the easiest choice of anyone on the ballot this year. The guy played the game with abandon, and he could inspire his team with his play. Yea, it was that style of play that may have lead to his early demise; but that shouldn't be held against him. Perhaps the more interesting Q is that if he came along 20 years later would we be having a discussion about he great he was? Guys might not be able to play his style in 20 years.
My vote- YES
Committee says- YES
He is a lot like Kevin Greene, as an OL. Always one of the best, never the best. However, his being one of the best was for a dozen years. Pace had a better prime, but Shields had the longevity and the consistency. My vote is for Shields b/c Pace will get in in the next couple of years. Shields window is closing. Plus, teammate Willie Roaf got in 3 years ago, that's enough of a time period for people to forget about that. Don't think the Committee will though.
My vote- YES
Committee says- NO
The last of the first year eligible guys. Very appropriate we save the most interesting and most talked about candidacy last. Talk about a fairy tale story- Undrafted, bagging groceries at Hy-Vee, playing for the Iowa Barnstormers. Gets a call to the Rams b/c of injuries. Then Trent Green goes down and a sobbing Dick Vermeil says "we will rally around Kurt Warner, and we will play well".
Well, did you expect MVP well and Super Bowl MVP well?
His detractors (putting their societal views aside v his) say he really only had 4 good years, and is in the middle of pack in terms of a lot of stats when compared to other big name QB's. Fair enough. They will also say that he played on good teams, well, maybe not so fair there. The guy won a 2nd AP (not PFWA) POY award in 2001.
For me though, the defining moment is 2008. After many put him on the slag heap for the 2nd time, he leads Arizona to the Super Bowl. That's 7 years from 2001 against New England.
Let's also remember this:
Kurt Warner is the first QB to be a Finalist since 2006. The last QB who was a Finalist that did not get in was 1998 (Ken Anderson). All other QB's since then who have appeared as a Finalist got in on their first try.
The Committee is settled then. Me? Well, if Warren Moon got in on his first try and he never even got to a conference championship game, Warner is a no-brainer. Oh, and remember, I was an Oiler fan.
My vote- YES
Committee says- YES
My votes: Harrison, Johnson, Seau, Shields, Warner
Committee says: Dungy, Harrison, Pace, Seau, Warner
The polls are open: Who are your five?
College Football Post-Season, Version 3.0
Well, the evolution of D1/FBS post-season football continues, and I think most would say this year’s “playoff” was a success. Yes, it is still subjective in that a “panel of experts” is selecting the final teams. But any time you expand the pool you get better representation, and I think this year’s outcome shows it: in all likelihood the former BCS format would have produced an Alabama v Florida State championship game…and those two teams were both eliminated in the semi-finals.
There have been some interesting comments made about this year’s outcome. Someone—it may very well have been one of you YGS regulars, but I apologize that I can’t find the post—stated that it was hardly an “undisputed” champion in Ohio State…after all, they lost in the first game of the year to Virginia Tech. They then ran through the old progression: so and so beat whatstheirname, who beat whatchamacallit U, who beat Navy, who beat blablabla, who beat VaTech, who beat Ohio State; how can that be undisputed??? However, by that logic, the last “undisputed” NCAA Division 1 basketball champion was Indiana in 1976. And there probably has never been an “undisputed” NCAA baseball champ. The only way to ever have an undisputed champ by that thinking is a team that was never beaten. To me, undisputed in this setting harkens back to the days of two polls and two champs who didn’t play each other—ala Alabama and USC back in the late 70’s.
I like the “tournament” format. To make it work, or more accurately, make it fairer, would be to further expand the pool to eight or even sixteen teams. When that is broached everyone starts screaming about the “student athlete” and how much more that represents in terms of their time and commitment to practice and away from school. That’s a bogus red herring folks.
First, all of these teams are practicing now. The top 16 teams are all playing in bowl games the first week in January…so they are practicing all through December currently. The only additional “commitment” would be a game on Saturday in the weeks leading up to the championship. Truthfully, many more students would be done with football earlier because they would be out of the tournament on December 12 or 19 or 26 rather than practicing all of that time to play on December 30 or January 1. This argument also goes flat in the sense that you are already keeping 200 student athletes active until January 12, so on a team by team basis what’s the difference?
Second, when you talk about academics, virtually all of these institutions are on holiday break from mid-December until after the first week of January now. So you aren’t impacting class time, you aren’t impacting homework, and you aren’t impacting academics any more than you are now for every team that is in a bowl game.
And third—any concern for this being based on the student athlete goes right out the window when you consider that it’s already being done at every level below the FBS. They all have funky names now, but what we use to recognize as D1A, D2,and D3 all have multi-game playoffs with virtually all of them being sixteen teams, as does the NAIA. The teams that win those titles are playing 14-15 games in their season. Regulate FBS to an 11 game season (cut some of these meaningless out of conference games against Poughkeepsie State) and only two teams will play in a 15th game in a 16 team scenario. Here’s a little heads up: Ohio State and Oregon both played 15 games this year.
So how would The Hoov’s playoff look? If you go eight teams, I’d take the champion of the “Power Five” conferences (Big Ten, Big Twelve, PAC 12, SEC and ACC). Only one team per conference—no at large bids. You have to win your conference, period. It would be up to the conference to determine that: if you want it to be via conference championship game, so be it. I’m sure they like the revenues those develop. But it also adds a pretty risky test. Would you rather Ohio State has to beat Wisconsin, or would you eliminate all of the risk and liability that goes with that one game to give them (and your conference) a better shot at winning the national championship?
From there for an eight team format, I’d take the next three power teams in an agreed upon format—some kind of “Sagarin-like” ranking. I still want the hard caveat that if you’re in a conference you have to be that conference’s champ. If Cincinnati or Boise State or Northern Illinois ranks in the top eight or ten but finished second to Tupelo Tech…sorry, you don’t go. Likewise, if LSU or Florida is ranked #2 behind ‘Bama—or even ahead of them given poll proclivities and weird twists of fate—but the Tide is crowned conference champ, geaux home. You’re either a champion or you’re champion bait.
A sixteen team format would be similarly based—add more conferences (MAC, Mountain West, etc), and deepen the at-large pool. At this stage you could think about second teams from a given conference…but I’d almost rather stay at eight or go twelve teams than have two Big Ten or SEC teams. I know I’ll get blowback on that; but to me, in the limited NCAA football season/schedule (ie, not 35 games as in basketball or 60 as in baseball), I think a very high premium should be placed on winning your conference. I absolutely hated the whole Alabama-LSU thing a few years back. Sorry—you got beat in-season, no double jeopardy.
So all in all, The Hoov would propose a twelve team tournament; Take the 6-7 top conference champions, and the rest at-large...but still, gotta be a conference champ to get in if you are indeed in a conference. Independants, as they do now, would have to earn muster in the power rankings. You'd have four "play-in" games, and the top four seeds get a bye. Four quarter-final games, two semis and the championship. That would still allow you to have an 11 game regular season. Go to 12 regular season games if you're going to keep the concept of a conference championship game. The most games any team would play is 16 if one of the "play-in" teams won. Otherwise, you're playing 15...which as stated is what the Ducks and Bucks played this year.
The conference champion rule has a second benefit—it eliminates some of the power ranking problems. When you start dropping the second or third ranked teams from a conference, the pool thins and becomes clearer. And this is where you're allowing the opportunities for some of the lesser schools/conferences. I know we’ll hear the argument: “SEC Team X might be second to Bama, but they’re still better than everybody else!” Tough. Beat Bama and you’re in. To me that is akin to Duke or UNC losing in the first round of the hoops tournament but they get to go on anyway. “Oh sure, George Mason beat them, but they’re still better than almost everyone else…” Tough. Win to get in. The conference championship is your first qualified. As I mentioned earlier, I think that bears even more weight in the shorter schedule and format of a football season.
The bottom line is that a tournament of this nature for football is not only not impossible; it is already being done at virtually every level, save this one. So stop using these lame arguments and tell us what it really is. It isn’t money, because adding pressure-filled and in-demand games in the tournament setting only increases revenues—both primary and tertiary. Forget ticket sales and games and TV, think of the commercial and sponsorship opportunities. Do you think March Madness generates more money now than when it was smaller? The formality and finality of a tournament setting breeds money.
The issue is power. As it stands now (even in this new format), “Big Football” keeps their arms around it—oh sure, under BCS they would give one or two teams their shot every year. We all loved the Boise State, TCU, Northern Illinois Cinderellas. And they’d even win one here and there. But that was their shot at the dance. None of those teams were ever going to get to dance with the prince (ie play in the Championship game), let alone marry him. They even do it now with the current selection committee; remember this year how all of a sudden Alabama leaped up in the ranking when it got down to the final two weeks? And that’s why you’ll likely never see an “automatic” scenario like the lower divisions have now—because these power schools don’t ever want to be in a position where Appalachian State or Eastern Carolina could steal their Wheaties.
And that leads us to “Mega Conference”…which I hate the concept of with a passion. But that’s another post.
As a final side note, I posted two years ago after the SEC's seventh national championship in a row that it was less a statement of the conference's dominance than it was about Urban Meyer and Nick Saban as great coaches. At that point those two had won five of the SEC's seven titles, and now with Meyer's ring at OSU for his third (and including Saban's first with LSU), he and Saban have won seven of the last twelve overall. I stand by my earlier assessment of the SEC--and I now believe you're seeing "Urban renewal" in the B1G. With Meyer, Mark Dantonio's continued improvement and relevence at Michigan State, and Jim Harbaugh's hiring at Michigan, B1G is the new SEC. Watch for trational powers Wisconsin, Penn State and Nebraska to get their grooves back; and don't forget the east coast influence now with Maryland and Rutgers.
Hello ladies and gents, and welcome to this week’s grumble with IHM. This week, we’ve seen a little of this, a little of that… nothing all that impressive. You know, aside from the greatest week of football the NFL has to offer (the two day, four game bonanza known as the “Divisional Round”), the potential fall of a legend (Peyton Manning goes down to his successor Andrew Luck in said Divisional Round), the crowning of the first college football playoff champion (the Buckeyes somehow), and a bunch of other crazy crap. So, without any further ado… let’s get on to it!
As Moz has said many a time, the NFL’s divisional round is the greatest spectacle that the sport of football offers us. The best eight teams, all vying for a spot in their respective conference championship games, all hoping they will be the next team to get their hands on the Lombardi Trophy. This year’s crop of games did not disappoint… the Pats outlasted the Ravens in an instant classic, the Packers got some “controversial” help beating the Cowboys, the Colts surprised some and sent the Broncos home, and the Seahawks dominated the 7-8-1 Panthers.
And then there were four… the NFL’s final four features teams that don’t exactly shock anyone. The Patriots, Colts, Seahawks, and Packers are among the perennial favorites the league actually has. Each team was a virtual lock to win their division this year… with the exception possibly being the defending champion Seahawks who play in arguably the toughest division in the sport, the vaunted NFC West. Despite that, they edged out the 11-5 injury plagued Arizona Cardinals to win it in the final week of the season, and certainly benefitted from the surprising fall of the San Francisco 49ers.
As for this week’s games… the Packers make the trip to Seattle, where the Seahawks are nearly impossible to beat in the playoffs thanks to their “12th Man”… you know, that and their stifling defense and impressive ground game. With Aaron Rodgers less than 100%, it almost seems like a lock that the Seahawks will be afforded the opportunity to defend their title on February 1st at University of Phoenix Stadium in Harvey’s backyard!
As for the Patriots and Colts, if you look at what happened earlier this year when the Patriots dismantled the Colts nearly two months ago 42-20, it seems like Tom Brady will get another shot at shutting up Dick Sherman on the world’s biggest stage. Since then, the Colts are 7-1… the one loss being a 42-7 blowout at the hands of the Cowboys while they rested the majority of their skill players. The key here will be if the Pats have someone to lock down T.Y. Hilton, Andrew Luck’s go to guy. The Patriots are the clear favorites, but a key will be the ground game that has all but vanished since the week 11 drubbing of the Colts. This one has the makings of being an instant classic, especially if Tom Brady and Andrew Luck end up getting into an old fashioned shootout. My pick is the Patriots, but that pick is not made with a ton of conviction.
As for the college football playoff championship game, it might not have been pretty in the end, but we finally got what college football fans have been clamoring for for decades now… a playoff and a true champion crowned. No, TCU did not get a chance… and Baylor didn’t get in, but that was mainly their commissioner’s doing when he was too big of a pussy to name an outright conference champion! The funny thing is, the two teams everyone argues should be in would have supplanted the eventual champion, Ohio State. You can argue all day long that TCU might have beaten the Buckeyes, but then again, after witnessing the way that Buckeye defense was able to dominate both Alabama and Oregon, you’d probably be wrong! If the playoff proved anything it is this; Urban Meyer is the best coach in college football today… and when you give him that amount of time to game plan for a team, they are going to be tough to beat.
Now I am no longer a Buckeye fan. I was glad to see them win, sure, but after the Tressell debacle and the constant flow of garbage I heard out of that fan base defending that charlatan (and some STILL do to this day), I was out. I’m not jumping back on the bandwagon… merely observing what a guy like Urban Meyer brings to the table. But if there is a fan base I hate even more than that one, it would be Michigan’s! Well, obviously Penn State fans are the world’s #1 dirtbags… but that’s a different story for my next rant! I hope Michigan fan is paying close attention… especially now that the “savior” Jim Harbaugh is back in town. Is Harbaugh a good coach? Yes, he is. Is Harbaugh anywhere near the level of an Urban Meyer… or even Nick Saban? No chance in hell. He inherited a ready to go San Francisco team, which is the sole reason for his success in the NFL. San Diego State? They are a perennial contender in the MWC… they were before he came around, and they have been since he’s left. Stanford… his record there is less than impressive, 29-21, including going 1-1 in bowl games in his four years there. So be careful what you wish for Michigan fan… and just because you get it doesn’t mean you’ll be hanging any banners any time soon!
In other NCAA news, Oregon QB Marcus Mariota has declared himself for the 2015 NFL Draft, despite the flaws in his game that were exposed by the Ohio State defense in Monday night’s title game. Not sure about any of you, but in my opinion this guy has bust written all over him. Hell, I think I’d take a chance on Jameis before I went with Mariota. He’s a solid kid, great off field, but Winston is light years ahead of him as far as on field ability is concerned.
As was reported by AFD earlier this week, the NCAA is considering reinstating the 111 wins they initially stripped from Joe Paterno, an act that would once again make him the winningest coach in the history of college football. This of course comes a few months after they decided to shorten the bowl ban initially placed on the Pedo Cats, despite the fact that the university was proven to have covered up decades of child rape at the hands of assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Of course, dirtbag Pedo Cat fan is thrilled by this idea. Once again, lawyers step in and ruin something… if there is one thing I hate nearly as much as Matt Millen and pedophiles, it is fucking lawyers. And how about that… all of them have a connection to Penn State University. So get ready sports fans… you could very well see the bloated, perma-looking the other way corpse of Joe Paterno surpass an actual good man in Greg Robinson once again on the NCAA’s all-time coaching wins list… and you could possibly finally see my fucking head explode with disgust!
The Pistons have improved to 8-2 over their last ten, with losses to the Hawks (who are currently on a ten game winning streak) and Pelicans the only two blemishes on their suddenly solid record in the past two weeks, and are now just 2.5 games out of the 8 seed in the East. A major highlight included an impressive 114-111 win over the Raptors in Toronto in which Brandon Jennings had 34 points and 10 assists going up against arguably the best PG in the East in Kyle Lowry. If they can keep this up, the schedule favors them through February… and we could have a .500 or better basketball team here in Detroit!
Danny Ainge has been all over the map this year, making trades and picking up draft picks on what seems like a weekly basis so far this year. There are so many players coming and going in Boston, it’s starting to look like Kim Kardashian’s bedroom up there!
But all joking aside… the tanking in the NBA this year is just out of control! The Knicks, Lakers, Celtics, 76ers, and Timberwolves… all God awful and looking to get worse with every transaction! Wonder if Adam Silver is going to step in and do anything anytime soon…
Calgary Flames rookie LW Johnny Gaudreau is reportedly seeking to secure the trademark “Johnny Hockey” in both the US and Canada. Evidently Johnny wants to become the new most hated man in hockey. Now admittedly I don’t know much about the guy. He’s got a solid 32 points in 42 games so far this year, and he is a former Hobey Baker Award winner at Boston College… but come on man… you’re better than that! Leave the goofy fucking nicknames to former Heisman winning washouts!
That’s all I’ve got for this week folks. Thanks for reading and for any comments you leave on the way out, and have a great weekend Gabbers!
OH and now
The NFL is down to the final 4.
Indianapolis will visit New England and
Green Bay heads to Seattle.
Looking back at my pre season final four I can see that I was half right.
I had Pittsburgh coming to Foxboro and
New Orleans going north to Green Bay.
The Pats had a difficult time with Baltimore and the Colts had an easier time with Peyton and the Broncos than expected which will set up for a high scoring game Sunday at 6:30 PM
Green Bay held off the Cowboys as Dez’ non catch was just that by NFL rule…a non catch. Sometimes a catch that looks like a catch is really not a catch.
Seattle’s defense proved way too much for a weak Carolina team and sets up a classic for the NFC title Sunday at 3:00 PM
Milestones, Tom Brady (46 td’s)passed his hero Joe Montana (45 td’s) for #1 alltime in Postseason TD passes after throwing 3 against Baltimore. Brady needs 7 yards Sunday vs Indy to pass Peyton Manning in playoff passing yards.
Bill Belichick won his 20 playoff game
Julian Edelman has as many postseason td’s as Andy Dalton.
It was revealed that Peyton Manning played the past four games with a torn thigh muscle. Peyton looked like he had aged 10 years in the second half of the season and should be thinking seriously about retiring. He is a first ballot HOFer with out a doubt and will retire with the most regular season TD’s (530) in NFL history. The closest active QB’s are Brees (396) and Brady (392) both will probably pass Dan Marino (420) next season but will have to play at a high level for 5 more seasons to come close to Peyton or Farvre (508).
MLB HOF selected 4 worthy players a couple of weeks back. Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson and Craig Biggio.
I was watching for one of my personal favorites, whom many consider to be borderline, to see how many votes he’d get.
Once again Curt Schilling fell well short of the required total.
Many don’t like Schilling because he is an outspoken man. He doesn’t hold his cards (or opinions) close to the vest. If you happen to be a little sensitive he may offend you and his personal views are not always mainstream.
Curt will openly admit that he doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut. He will often say something tongue in cheek and have it taken wrongly.
His recent comment about Smoltz getting enough votes and Him not so much was because Smoltzie is a Democrat and Curt is an outspoken Republican was taken as him complaining about his party affiliation as being a consideration. Most people know that John Smoltz is not only NOT a Democrat but is in reality to the conservative Right of Schilling.
Curt said after that he thought most would get the sarcasm in the comment…apparently the offended are not as sharp at Curt gave them credit for.
Here are Schilling’s credentials after 20 years of MLB
Regular season :
W/L 216-146 .597 winning pct.
83 complete games
W/L 11-2 .846 winning pct.
4 complete games, 2 shutouts
W/L 4-1 .800 winning pct.
3 world series Championship rings 2001, 2004, 2007
one World Series MVP 2001
Schilling has better stats in various categories than many HOFers
For example: strikeouts to walks,
Schilling (4,39) is 1st all time, ahead of
2nd place Pedro Martinez (4.15) and
3rd place Mariano Rivera (4.09)
and every other pitcher that has pitched since the year 1900.
Schillings 8.6 strike out per 9 innings is better than HOFers: Smoltz, Rich Gossage, Bruce Sutter, Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton, Rollie Fingers, Tom Seaver…
Schillings 20 career shutouts are more than Pedro, Smoltz and Babe Ruth
Schillings 216 regular season wins are more than Smoltz, Don Drysdale, Hal Newhouser and Dazzy Vance to name a few HOFers
Curt Schillings post season record of 11-2 (.846)is a better win pct than all pitchers alltime except
Left Gomez 6-0 (1.000)and
Mariano Rivera 8-1(8.99)
The raw numbers, especially the post season dominance show that Curt Schilling is a Hall of Fame quality pitcher and should get the necessary votes no mater what the voting writers think of his politics or big mouth.
I understand their reluctance to have Curt inducted with others as his speech would take hours and would overshadow the others, they will have to give him his own day.
The facts don’t lie and the numbers are the facts here in my thirdrocian attempt to make a case for Schilling.
Have a great weekend and enjoy the NFl conference Championship games.
The Ditkahs start the second half tonite
Check out Lanz right next door