Monday, February 13, 2012

NFL Relapse

The wait for 2012 Kickoff has began

This weekend was weird for all of us football fans across the country. Though the actual playing is over, football never ends. With the impending draft in April as well as the Peyton Manning decision which is fast approaching at the end of March, the NFL will still be alive and kicking.
This ain't ending pretty

Though the game has been dramatically changing over the years and though I think these changes have taken away from what I remember the game to be, it is still the best game in the world to me - more on the college level, in my opinion.

I do like some of the rule changes which protect the players and also those which allow for the refs to make better calls and have them not be the deciding factor in a game. I like the stance that the league is taking: The Eye in the Sky don't Lie.

Though I believe in the safety of the players, I think they have gone too far in protecting them. When I played the violent nature of the game was accepted as being part of it. There were guys who got crippled or paralyzed playing but what are the chances of that happening to one player during the course of your playing days. Even if you only play high school football and you start, you may play 30-40 snaps a game. Multiply that by 10 and then multiply that by the number of kids playing high school foot ball. Now check to see how many people were paralyzed during one year. I would bet that the probability of getting paralyzed while playing  high school football is under 1%. I don't think most ball players who play football truly think about being paralyzed or severely injured while playing. We all accepted that risk while playing, if you played scared you will either ultimately end up hurt, get someone else hurt, or both. I do think the better equipment, especially helmets, have done wonders in helping to cushion some of the blows sustained during football.

The probabilities of ending up like Stingly aren't great

Equipment alone does not fully protect players from sustaining concussions and this is where the NFL stepped in to attempt to remedy the possibility of head trauma. They are now penalizing for helmet to helmet tackles as well as hitting a defenseless receiver.  These two rules, in addition to protecting the QB rules, are really awful.

Here is my problem with it: You are going to tell a huge man, who is moving at full speed to mentally stop, gauge where the offensive guy's head is and then make adjustments to how to hit him, all while making sure he protects himself? Are you kidding me. Or, with respects to the defenseless receiver rule, you're telling me that a QB throws a bad ball and WR has to jump for or stretch out to get it and the DB has a clear kill shot that he shouldn't take it? That he should wait to see if the WR catches the ball and then tackle him? Really? This is still football correct? This is still the game where the team who physically dominates another team and breaks the other teams will is the one who wins correct? Is this not the league who made a living off of selling 'Sudden Impact' and 'The NFL's Crunch Course' DVDs?  I thought that you get paid more for the risks involved. If that's the case, then the players now a day are over paid. I do think that given the TV contract and merchandising money, NFL players are properly paid. They are paid what their market value signifies. But, we as fans are getting the watered down version of what a  lot of us remember as football.  We are being robbed. I want to see dudes get crushed and receivers get hit so hard that they have no idea where they are at. Not dirty but 'old school' legal. If the rules get any more soft we will be watching flag football in a few years. At the rate America is raising these soft boys now, flag football will be as big as ever by then.

Maybe the league should put a limit on the size and speed of players to ensure that the collisions will not be as hard and you know how the league will look if that ever happened. I will leave that alone for now.

Anyway, if the NFL really cared about the health of players then why don't they mandate knee, thigh and hip pads? Those aren't necessary? So let me get this straight, you don't want guys to tackle up around the head, but you would rather them to go after parts that aren't protected.
 What's protecting his legs?

Add to that, most times the players would have to duck their heads to make these types of tackles. Is it me, or do most of the neck injuries occur when a player ducks their head and leaves their necks exposed?

Does the NFL want this to be proper form?

With all of this said, I think that some of these rules need to be looked at again and changed or eliminated totally. Why not fine the QB for throwing a pass that leads a WR exposed. I do think that the launching rule is good for protecting the players but a pure head to head is just part of the game. Get it straight NFL.

One thing I liked to see this year was the emergence of the TE position and how this will totally revolutionized the game and how defenses play. Thanks to Tony Gonzales (who may have the finest, classiest wife in the NFL) and Antonio Gates, offenses are now making the TE a focal point of the passing game. The Gronk, Aaron Hernandez, Vernon Davis and Jimmy Graham are making it very difficult for defensive coordinators.

And who will you have covering Vernon Davis?

Think about it, just as the league began to  draft more CB's to play safeties because of the 4 and 5 receiver offensive sets made it impossible to keep those Sean Taylor, no-covering type safety's on the field, a new problem has occurred. Introducing the 6-6 260lbs, 4.4 running behemoth. Where before hand you used to use your SS to play the TE, then they became too big for the SS so you got your best coverage LB playing them. Well, the TE's became too fast for the LB's - Vernon Davis, a 4.3 40. DB's aren't consistently running that fast. Now where do we go? Just as DE's have become hybrids so will you next LB. He will have to be 6'5  and 250lbs with the athleticism of a small forward and the speed of LaRon Landry. Just as they have turned basketball players to TE's they will have to use these same guys to play LB's and I believe there will be a market for them- 3 down linemen, 3 LB's, Hybrid Position and 4 DB's.  Welcome to the new NFL.

One last note is that I was wayyyyyy off on my Superbowl pick, but there is one consolation prize: Chad Johnson did not get a ring and most of all he was a non factor. Johnson is one guy who I really don't like. Never have. I just don't like people who NEED attention and will do anything to get it. I always thought he was overrated and a loud mouth and a bad influence to our young African-American boys around the country - thanks Prime Time. So, I don't mind being wrong if that's the price.

Hey look a me!!!!!!!!1 Please

Have a great day and talk to you soon.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Super Bowl Blog

6:01 - The boys are all here and its party city. I've taken a nap and getting ready to roll. I think NBC has done a great job of the pre game. Yes it's always over the top but I like the way Dungy and Harrison has given a true superbowl perspective

The TV

6:13 - They just introduced both teams. it's amazing how unfazed by the hype. It's all about to go down now baby

6:16 - Obviously these two singers are country singers singing Oh Beautiful. Not bad though

6:17 - Lets see what Kelly Clarkson can do. Awesome rendition. Lets get Al Michaels going

6:19 - The Dictator preview was just shown. I will definitely be renting that when it comes out.

6:21 - OK, i thought there would be no women here and I hear female voices in the kitchen. Giggling and laughing. Not what I came for. They gotta go before kickoff.

6:23 - I'm trying to figure out why people do not like Chris Collinsworth. He can not be any worse than Troy Aikman. Aikman seems to have no emotion but that's just my opinion

6:25 - The boys just remarked Curtis Martin looks like a little Sammy Davis Jr.

6:27 - Love the pornstache that Wes Welker has going on

6:32 - Looks like Eli is unphased and wants to get the ball out quick. NY;s running game has a allowed a little play action for the Giants. Even if they are unable to run, the threat is what counts

6:35 - The Giants are going right at the corners for the Pats.

6:37 - Belicheck is mixing in zone and man and has confused the Giants a little. NY punts on first series

The Chef is cooking it up

6:40  - who was the sister sitting next to Mrs Tom Brady. Forget Brady's wife , who's the sister.

6:41 - Brady just panicked. Good call by the refs. I can't believe Brady was unaware of where he was.

6:47 - The Giants are driving after the safety and the Pats look like their heart been taken from them. Like their whole emotional make up depended on how Brady Plays

6:50 - Eli is playing tough

7:04 - a very good first qtr. Brady has to get 7 out of this drive.

7:06 - you ever wanted to go to the go-daddy site. Hmmm. I think I would like to do it.

7:16 I love when the game is slowed down now and you have to start to playing and the emotion is stipped out

7:18 - Having a discussion about why the Bills never won a superbowl. My argument was that it was Marv Levy's fault. Others thought it was the players. Having a real relationship with those teams, I can say coach's actually win the championhips and how the players respond to them during the week. The Superbowl is won during training camp. Trust me

7:25 - The Pats are so out of sync both offensively and defensively. Maybe I was wrong about the momentum factor. The Giants seem as though they just believe that they sould be winning

7:30 - That kicker from the Giants is the MVP right now

7:49 - TD Pats. That was huge. And they get the ball back to start the 3r qtr. Notice after the touchdown how emotional Brady was. Now look at the kickoff. BAM!

As a side note, the Giants have 32 minutes to sit in the locker room. How much of their confidence has been zapped from this scoring drive.


8:18 - Madonna sucked. Old tail need to sit down with that bad lip sync job. She needs to get her but back in the church of scientology and sit down.

C-lo sucks also. Not much of a fan of the crap he sings anyway.

Now back to the game.

THe Pats now are in ssyn and look ready to explode. If they get 7 on this first drive, it can spell doom, or it will be a scoring fest in the 2nd half

8:25 - Just watched the Pats do a play action play and Piere-Paul just stopped in his tracks before rushing Brady. There is where the Pats are getting the advantage in slowing down the Giants rush

8:29 - TD Pats. So I'm sitting here before the touchdown and I'm looking at the Giants D and I said, are they going to leave the middle of the field open and sure enough, Hernandez with the TD on a quick cross.

NY needs a long sustained drive for 7. Need to physicall abuse the Pats D

8:33 - Watching Craft give high fives is hilarious. Old white guys and high fives are so awkward. GOtta love it.

8:39 - OK the fiat commercial got a rise out of the brothers. Sex sells

8:43 - This gme is about to get a little interesting. Both QB's are so in tune with the game.

8:45 -  l love the NSX commercial with Seifeld and Leno. I wanted an NSX real bad in my 20's. It's good to see them back and re-done. You never know, I still may have the opportunity to get one.

8:56 - Looking at the stats of the QB's let you know how well those defenses are playing. Both Eli and Brady has both over 100 passer rating. The defenses are tightening up at the right time to force punts

9:01 - Being in Buffalo, I just saw a commercial of our local NBC affiliate ch 2. One scene of black people in a whole video. Very buffalo. They let you know what they truly feel about the black folk here

9:04 - What the heck is Brady doing? Heck of a defensive play on the interception by the middle backer

9:07 - The Matthew Broderick commercial was good for us old schoolers

9:21 - the carreer builders commerical with the monkeys were hilarious

9:22 - Brady is looking real scared. He doesnt want to step up in to the pocket and make a throw. He just looks a little frazzled. I would not be surprised if he sneaks in a couple runs so that they can get a little play action pass going.

The Giants are playing real good defense and forcing Brady to not stand tall. This is obviously going to come down to the end

9:31 Wes Welker dropped the ball. WOW.

9:32 Ok here we go. Eli's shinning moment.

9:33 Manningham  what a catch. He is in. Eli said F-it. I'm going to win this thing.

Ok Collingsworth needs to shut the hell up. Trying to defend Brady's throw and deflecting the cause to the WR. And now saying Manningham didn't catch the pass.

9:38 SO what does NY do. Go for the FG or the TD I say go for the TD

9:55 - Wow what a game. I do not mind being wrong when its a great game. Eli officially put himself in the Hall of Fame along with Coughlin.

The Gronks foot just lost the game. He couldn't move to get the ball. It was there for the taking.

And my Super Bowl Pick is.................

Less than 24 hours and the Super Bowl will be live and in living color, and for some, High Definition. For fans, we've been able to fill our time with work, and watching all those annoying position and coaching breakdowns. We get to see some old players talk about how they dealt emotionally with the time leading up to the big game. The media, God Bless their soul, dissects every small story that comes out of each team camp. It can be overwhelming with the stories and experts and fans. And it get worse on game day. How the heck do you need a 6 hour pre-game show.It can be overwhelming sometimes. It makes it unenjoyable. But we love football. We need football. We crave it baby. This is what makes Super Bowl week so great. Just the fact that a lot of us grow up wondering what it would be like to come out the tunnel or be on the sidelines when the national anthem is sung. Some athletes have said that they have had to fight back tears because their emotions are so overwhelming. Most American men grow up wondering what that would feel like and to play for a world championship on a world stage. Knowing that people have set aside everything for this day. Even our military, who protects our freedom, gives the troops time to watch and enjoy the game. It's the Super Bowl and it deserves the hype.

With this said, lets begin to break down this game and look at the match ups. As I stated in my previous blog, winning games is all about match ups and that's what will decide this game.

Momentum: Much has been said about how the Giants were 7-7 and on the verge of not making the playoffs and how they won the last two games to win the division, dominate both the Falcons and the Packers and then knocked off the 49ers at Candlestick to advance to Indy. They come to the dance with a great amount of momentum and swagger (I hate that word). Yet, do you realize that the Pats come in on a 10 game winning streak? They have been very quietly putting together a very good run of their own except in true Bill Belichick fashion, they have been mum about their accomplishments. I actually give the edge to the Pats on this one because during their winning streak, they have gotten better in every aspect of the game, except one:Tom Brady. Tom the Terrific has been, well, terrific, but has struggled in a few games. That doesn't bode well for the Giants. Yes, he doesn't like to be hit, but I believe that the Pats will attack the Giants differently this game: runs and screens. Both of these plays will literally make the NY pass rush void. This Pats team sorta reminds me of the 1988 49ers. The team that actually went 10-6 during the regular season as Joe Montana looked good but not as invincible as previous years. In my opinion, Brady is sort of like Montana in that, in a big game would you really want to bet against him? The Giants have been doing a lot of talking about hitting Brady and how they expect to win ( they should expect to win and I don't see why the media is making such a big issue about it). They are talking as if the game is already in the books. This is not a very good strategy against the highest winning Coach-QB combo in the history of the NFL. Could this two weeks be enough time for the Giants to lose their mojo? Possibly

Nastiness: I think that the Giants are the more physical of the teams. But this is true more on offense than on defense. I like the Giants commitment to the running game with Bradshaw and Jacobs. This could definitely make a huge difference in a tightly contested game. Neither defense is especially physical and I do not see those nasty and physical linebackers and safety's of past teams. There are no Rodney Harrison's, or Teddy Bruschi's for the Pats, or Antonio Pierce's for the Giants. The NFL has opted for speed and with this speed comes more guys who can be pushed around. I have watched the Patriots play and they seem to just totally abandon the run, even on the goal line. They would rather pass the ball. I believe this is where the Giants have the advantage. If this game does become a slug fest, the Giants can do what they did to the Packers and break the will of the Pats.

Big Balls Factor: Eli vs Tom, Tom vs Eli. I think this match up is actually even. Eli, to the chagrin of my dad, has proven he can flat out play. I don't think people look at him as lucky or as a game manager any more. He has shown that he is en elite QB. We already know what Brady can do so no need to talk about him. It isn't the QB's who will decide the game, it will be who he has around him who will step up on the biggest stage and not have stage fright. Victor Cruz, and the rest of the Giant receiving corp has become the darlings of playoffs by having some monster games. They have definitely stepped up to the plate. But for some reason, I'm not seeing them as making THAT catch at THAT time to score THAT TD. Because of the Patriot way of doing things, I can actually see their guys having no care or feeling no pressure to perform. They go out and do things at a level and composure that few do. To me its the Pats who have the advantage in this factor.

Coaching: Much has been made of the Bill Belichick model of consistency. He is easily one of the greatest coaches since Bill Walsh. When your team is referred to as the Evil Empire, then, in my mind, you've done the right things. Once criticism of Belichick is that he cheats. Well if he has cheated, oh well. In the NFL, you can not consistently cheat and when. It's literally impossible. It will catch up to you. He is a master at preparation and talent evaluation and his teams always plays hard and enjoys beating peoples butt. On the other sideline is Tom Coughlin. I like his old school approach and the way his teams are structured. Line up, run the the rock and play D. What more do you want. He believes in playing great special teams and just being an all around solid team. It works well and he has seemed to put up the middle finger to the NY press and stand toe-to-toe with them. Like Belichick, his teams are prepared and motivated in big games. He has gone mind game to mind game with Belichick and has beaten him two consecutive times. Simply, he knows how to get his players ready.I think there is actually no edge in this match up that sticks out  unless you count the 8 super bowls Belichick has been in as an assistant or head man. But, if someone was to put a gun to my head, I'd have to bet my life on Belichick just because he seems to always find that one flaw or that one angle to motivate his team.

Flaws: Exposing a weakness of a team takes a lot of time and patience. You kind of gnaw at a team until an opportune moment and then expose them. We saw the 49ers do that against the Saints in the playoffs. Remember the crucial third down when Alex Smith rolled out and ran for the score. Well, I'm sure the coaching staff waited all game to catch the Saints in their all out, man-to-man blitz, knowing that the QB would not be accounted for. End result TD. I love the way the Pats seem to expose your strengths and weaknesses. They know the strong part of the Giants is their pass rush and how their line stunts in certain situations. The Giants know how the Pats like to get the ball to Wes Welker in critical third downs and how he is usually Brady's first read. These are obvious things, but it's the little small areas which coaches look for that they try to expose. It could be something as simple as a half yard split by a wide out that can tell you where the play is going. It's these small, minute things that will make the difference in a game. Ask the Saints Tracey Porter who waited almost a full game to take advantage on one Peyton Manning flaw - going to Reggie Wayne on the read slant. These instances are what is going to make the difference in the game. I believe the advantage goes to the Pats. I think Brady will expose some of the Giants issues in the secondary better than the Giants defense can expose Brady's dislike for pressure.

With that said, I think this game has the makings of a good Super Bowl, but for some reason I see a blow out. I think this will be both Tom Brady's and Bill Belichicks stamp on being the true dynasty and set the franchise apart from any other. I like the Pats to win big and make a mockery of the Giants early.

Final Score
New England 38 -  NY 13

Have fun watching the game and check back soon

Friday, February 3, 2012

The NFL Playoffs and the Superbowl

Well we are finally down to the best two teams in the NFL. The fight for the Lombardi trophy, a $88,000 payout and a big fat ring

Cash and bling - a young brothers dream.

I know some of you may say that other teams should have made it but if they should be there, they would be there. Don't believe me? Lets look at some of those teams who everyone feels 'should' be going to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl. The list includes those who didn't make the playoffs as well as those who made the playoffs.

Philly Cheese Eagles: First of all, it was Vince Young who proclaimed the Eagles as the dream team. Yes the weak minded, I'm going in to recluse, Vince Young. Nuff said. The Eagles were a preseason favorite of many and with Michael Vick as the QB they had good reason. Add to that a slew of big name free agents, and you have a 'sure fire' recipe for success.What Happened: The Eagles stumbled out of the gate. They failed to give Vick an offensive line to protect him and Vick committed a lot of turnovers. In addition, the defense could not play as a unit in spite of probably the best corner combo in the league. The Eagles seemed to put it together late in the year and played some inspired ball but still fell short of the playoffs. Given how they finished the year, there will be a lot of jockers for the 2012 season. The lack of consistency is what kept Philly out of the big game.

Pittsburgh Tomlins: The Steelers will always be my favorite team in the AFC because of Tomlin. The brother can coach - plain and simple. Pittsburgh's issue lies in the fact that they got away from who Pittsburgh is and what the city stands for offensively: A butt kicking running game and an efficient passing game. Instead, we saw Big Ben tossing 40 passes a game while tossing 14 interceptions with only 21 TD's. He got the crap beat out of him by standing in the pocket waiting for long route combo's and when they needed to run the ball in the playoff game against the Bronco's they could not. They need to go out and get a big dark nasty RB from somewhere who's sole desire in life is to punish defensive players - in other words, they need a running back with the mentality of James Harrison. Moving ahead, with their aging defense, the Tomlin would be wise to get a running game upgrade or his defense will tire out in some games.

Baltimore Ravens: The preseason mindset was, IF Joe Flacco can step up, they would have a legitimate shot at winning a Super Bowl. Well Flacco was consistently inconsistent and even though the Ravens went 12-4 it was due to the running of Ray Rice and a very good defense. Talk about a team who could use Peyton Manning. Flacco was unable to make the Patriots play honest defense and that was the issue in Fox borough. To give Flacco credit, he did deliver a good pass to that idiot, worthless piece of crap Lee Evans but he dropped it - pretty fitting way for that useless receiver to end his wastless career. As you can guess I'm not feeling Lee Evans. He lost me a $1 bet. Bastard.

New Orleans Saints: Two darn consecutive years these dudes refuse to tackle. Two years in a row that Roman Harper is involved in a missed tackle that resulted in a TD. He sucks, the D sucks, Gregg Williams sucks. How the heck do you go with a full blitz and leave freakin Roman Harper as your lone safety. This dude has about as much coverage skills as I do at 44 years old. Why not Zone blitz and give Alex Smith some different looks and force him in to a bad throw. I'm glad Williams is gone, and take Harper and the rest of the no tackling squad with you. Damn that felt good to get out. Moving on.

Green Bay Packers: Green Bay was obviously almost every one's choice to win the Big One. They had arguably, the best QB in the league and a great organization. They stormed out to 13 straight wins and looked to be heading towards Indy. The problem I saw with the Packers is that they never peaked. In this league, it is important to hit a stride, especially in your weak link. This weak link was the Packers defense, who I never felt was getting better. If you have the number 1 ranked offense, you can get a false sense of security as a defense. You are rushing the passer so much that you look like world beaters on defense because the opposing team insone dimensional. Well that may work against week opponents, but not against the Giant's. In that game, when the Giant's D made some stops and forced a few quick possessions by Aaron Rogers, and the defense had to play both run and pass for a full game, we saw their true colors. Until that defense can consistently make stops and make tackles, they will lose to teams who can extend the game.

As you have read, each team had a flaw or two, but each team had a shot at getting to the Dance- but they didn't. I prescribe to the motto that if something should of happened it, it would have happened. The two teams who should be in the Super Bowl, New England and New York, are there. If the Saints could tackle, they would be there. If the Ravens had a consistent QB, they would be there. If my grandmother had balls, she would be my grandfather. IF IF IF.And the list goes on.

Both the Patriots and the Giants have played outstanding football and their head coaches are great motivators and game planners. And most of all, both teams are peaking in those areas which they were vulnerable during the early stages of the season - defensively. Both teams were said to have weak defenses during the season. Both teams have two of the worst pass defenses in the league. The key to their championship run and with any run in sports is the match-ups. Could the Patriots win in Pittsburgh against a franchise QB in Big Ben, and could the Giants beat New Orleans with Drew Brees? Probably not. It's not their fault that they got match ups against Joe Flacco and Alex Smith. Both defenses won with their front seven, but in different forms. The Giants have gotten through the playoffs defensively by putting big time pressure on the QB's - they played three games vs teams who liked to pass instead of using a more balanced attack. The Pats used their front seven to stop the run - they played two teams who rely heavily on the run and have inconsistent QB's.

Ah the perfect storm. They played teams who played teams who fell right in to their defensive strength. Again, getting to the Dance, is all about match-ups than it is how well of a team you have. If the Giants would have missed the playoffs, and say Dallas made it, then Green Bay may have been in the Superbowl. MATCH UPS WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS.

So where are the match ups for the Super Bowl and who has the advantage and who do I think will win? Check in Saturday as I make my final Super Bowl pick. Until then.


My bad, I almostforgot the most important part about the game. THE FANS