Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Forgive me for not sparing you of the stupid puns.

Okay, so a lot of you are already aware that Lions defenseman Ndamukong Suh is serving a two-game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct during the Thanksgiving game against Green Bay. To people who only watch highlights of the previous matters that he's been involved in, people might think that it was the right decision to suspend Suh. To the "old school" people who have been around in the business for several years (or decades, rather) and have watched the game just as long probably thought that this was an inappropriate resolution.

Oh wait, it gets better--the NFL also wants Suh to take anger management classes. Oh. My. Oreos. I can list about five or six girls that I played ball against that need these classes a heck of a lot more than him. It's quite ridiculous if you ask me.

I'm pretty sure anger management classes can only do so much, and they can only deal with certain issues. There really isn't any way to calm certain kinds of sports-related aggression. Sports like football need that kind of aggression to have the player play at their best and to get the job done as efficiently as possible. However, that kind of aggression can get in the way when it comes to possibly injuring someone to the point where it was completely unnecessary. Those people you can't really cure of anything because they just have a mental problem somewhere down the line.

It is time for a sports psychology lesson (as learned last night):
Yaaaay, aggression in sports. Aggression can be: "an occurence of a result of a complex process mediated by one's thoughts, feelings, and emotions and resulting from the interaction of numerous personal and situational factors" (Weinberg, Gould 2010).

Isn't football all about this kind of aggression to begin with?
My father (bless his soul) would have spat on this suspension and then would have brought up all of the tough guys that pretty much tackled quarterbacks and all of the other little guys to the eighth circle of Hell. Did you ever think of that? Have you ever thought that guys have taken way more rougher beatings back in the day than they do now? Believe me, money helps this cause. Guys would be missing teeth and play with sprains and just about anything else that would be physically possible to play with. Several of these guys are still alive too. Some of them might be a little messed up in the head now, but that doesn't mean that they needed to be suspended for those hits. That's what football was all about back then. Back then, the guys really didn't play for the money; the athletes played for pride and for the love of the sport. Today, you can't be so sure. In all honesty, the money helps their cause to play at their best and avoid injury as best as possible. Sometimes, I can almost count on my mom going, "what's with this 'fair catch' crap??"

There's one case that goes in my way for this argument. One of the bigger cases who had a huge impact on the game and caused a lot of controversy is former NFL linebacker Lawrence Taylor. I know, one of the first things you think of is when he broke Joe Theismann's leg and ended his career (here's the break...it's nasty) but he was also famous for changing the way the game was played on defense. His style was said to be shades of the old days when guys would aim straight to exposed ribs and stuff like that. On the other hand, he was infamous for many issues he had off the field; he was known to have had a cocaine addcition and had numerous bouts of drinking. However, these missteps didn't keep him from being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Let's admit this now, some of the biggest scary guys can actually become incredibly successful in life--how about that? Sure, his registration of being a low level 1 sex offender now hurts this example a little bit, but he's publicly admitted that he lived a reckless life at times.
I just don't understand why people have to be suspended or fined everytime there's a rough hit or some form of unsportsmanlike conduct. I know that kids are watching and you want to set a good example, but there are also times when you have to be competitive and show a little aggression in your play. I don't care if Ndamukong Suh had a bit of a track record when it came to incidents like the one on Thanksgiving Day--there wasn't a serious injury that came from this problem. I only think that drastic measures should have been taken if Suh had continued that conduct throughout the rest of the game, but no, he was kicked out of the game during the third quarter because of the incident.
I could only imagine what would have truly become of The Fridge if they were giving him this kind of trouble...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

AZ's Slant on Sunday - ESPN: The Real-Life Psychological Thriller

(After writing this, I fully realize that this post will either make or break the dream I may have of maybe working at ESPN. Still I write.)

I don't know about you, but I'm getting absolutely irritated by the often unnecessary coverage on ESPN about the realignment of some NCAA teams, aren't you? There's that expression of beating a dead horse, right? I think there should be a new expression called "beating the Kentucky Derby" after all of this.

Me, being the nerdy "one who still reads newspapers" kind of person, I read a copy of USA Today a few weeks ago. It mainly highlighted how ESPN may be the driving force in much of the realignment occurring in NCAA sports conferences today. How is that, you ask? The article states: "As a TV rights holder, ESPN is a business partner to a wide array of conferences and schools (its total college outlay will average more than $700 million annually by next year)" (Berkowitz et al. 2011). Time out...really? Oh wow. We're talking about an overhaul of juggernaut proportions here. There are now speculations of scripting these things just so people can keep watching like it's some soap opera in danger of being canceled because it's "out of style."

Here's the thing though, they (ESPN) won't be a public "you do this or else" kind of group--they'll only really start talking about it once it's brought up. Once that happens, they'll blow it up to Chernobyl-like proportions so people have no choice but to talk about it at the dinner table with your sons/dad or at the bar with your buddies. If you read my previous post, you know exactly where I'm going with this. ESPN isn't exactly telling them what to do, but they're certainly making a big deal out of it so the people have it on their mind and their opinions have a possibility of swaying something.

It irritates me, is all. This is what the media does day in and day out. At this point, you're probably asking why I still insist on going into this field. Trust me, it's not for the swaying or the setting of the agenda for the people. I want to write about things, just as I am right now; however, when it comes to blowing something up, then we've got problems.

When it comes to the agenda, it's like the organizations watch the coverage, and then they go, "huuh, we're actually doing this? Since when?" Because of the false coverage, high officials start asking questions, and just to keep suit, the organization will try to deny the allegations, leading to more and more controversy. If it sounds like it's a bad thing if a team is covering something up, that will lead to more press (bad press at that). Geez, I wish I had a blackboard at a time like this. If I were to display examples to you, I'd draw something that would ultimately resemble a vicious-looking cycle. Nobody is safe from the press. ESPN is this huge conglomerate that can make or break you. They've been doing it for over 30 years now, so they're pretty much seasoned veterans when it comes to making a mountain out of a molehill. Do they do it all the time? No, but they're certainly infamous for showing favoritism toward certain topics (coughcoughTimTebowcoughcough). On that note, nobody would really care about what Tebow does personally if ESPN wasn't constantly breathing down his neck...am I right or am I right?

Anyway, media outlets that primarily deliver news have the tendency to pick brains and psychologically screw around with your mind in some way. Is it ethical? Unfortunately, that is still up for discussion. People have to make money, so people have to make news stories. Is starting certain moves such as talking about division moves the right way to go about making things interesting for the audience? Well...I don't think we're ever going to avoid it. This is going to horribly confuse presidents of University status, but it looks like the world of college football is sucked into the realm of psychological drama and they're [art of the all-star cast.

Oh, journalism. How two-faced can you be...

[You can find the digital article I had mentioned here. You're welcome.]


Friday, November 11, 2011

NFL Midseason Slant for 2011-2012 -- Stuck in the Middle with...THEM

(Much of this post was composed before the Chargers/Raiders game that occurred last night. This will feature records after Week 9.)

Oh man. Oh man oh man oh man. We're halfway through already? That's too scary.

Let's take a look at the standings for this year's midway point in the NFL:


Eastern Division

Three-way tie. (omfg)
New England Patriots (5-3) - Am I shocked about this one? Well...sort of. After losing two straight games to the Steelers and the Giants, Brady and the crew look daunting as always, but the defense has some holes to mend after two straight mishaps. Will they be the usual contenders? They should be. Their schedule looks to give the defense some time to recover.
New York Jets (5-3) - As for these polar opposites of the Pats, their defense has been excellent over their eight games, but the offense hasn't been at their strongest at all. Mark Sanchez has an inconsistent groove, and their running game wasn't what it used to be (what happened, LT?). With a roller coaster year so far, it may only go downhill for these green guys.
Buffalo Bills (5-3) - Wowwowweewow. Personally, I am shocked. This is usually the team you don't hear about all that often because they're usually sub-par among the rest of the teams in the AFC. However, this year could definitely be their year, as they've been shocking against big powerhouse teams like the Patriots. I like their chances. Here's hoping that their defense doesn't decide to start letting victories slip by toward the end. These guys by far have one of the easiest second half schedules in the league, and it would hurt to see them choke now.
Miami Dolphins (1-7) - One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong...ha. It's not like they make terrible showings or anything--they just come up short constantly. Even though they made an absolute killing this past week to the Chiefs (which is no big shock), things aren't looking as strong for them in the long run. They may be good front-runners for the spoiler though, don'tcha think?

Central Division

Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) - Wow, there is no such thing as the run when it comes to their defense. That's fantastic. Although Andy Dalton isn't an "elite quarterback" per se, they make lemonade out of lemons each week. They didn't exactly have the hardest schedule over the nine-week period, so they will certainly be tested during their second half of the season.
Baltimore Ravens (6-2) - The Ravens, as usual, have had a stellar defense with guys like Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs. As for offense, Joe Flacco will often be the man on the spot when it comes to the decision-making. With flexible choices through runners and receivers, possibilities are endless for this team. By the way, they like to beat the Steelers just like last week. All of this last minute stuff they've been doing over the past few weeks have been quite exciting, I'll tell you that much.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) - I'm gonna get flack for saying this, but this team is often out-of-sync. In the case of offense, Roethlisberger can really turn it on at times, but sometimes the defense doesn't support the good offensive bursts. It can then go the other way around; the defense can be super awesome, but then the offense may come up short and then Suisham blows a super easy kick. This team will need couples therapy if they want to return to the playoffs and make a good showing this year.
Cleveland Browns (3-5) - Can they stop the pass? Oh heck yes. Can they stop the run? Oh heck no. With a weaker offensive squad, a lot of their games are going to look like a big low-scoring struggle (the 6-3 win over the Seahawks was the best game ever...just kidding). They will mainly have divisional matches coming up, and since they're all defensive powerhouses, things could get really sour for the Brownies.

South Division

Houston Texans (6-3) - These guys really have the potential to actually make it super far this year. The only issue for them is having the possibility of burning out once Week 10 rolls around. They've been making a great showing with Matt Schaub in the lead role at QB and with Arian Foster playing the role of "godsend." Their defense has also been fantastic, but there will be that one game where they'll make a costly mistake and it'll make them look like just an average team. Don't let the "wrong place at the wrong time" statistic fool you--they could be Super Bowl contenders come Week 17.
Tennessee Titans (4-4) - At .500, they're about as average as you could possibly get in the NFL. With stats that are ranked in the middle all down the line in the whole league (except for rushing, but that's beside the point), it can go either here or there for these guys. What can I say? Matt Hasslebeck could either have a good run with these guys and constantly make a good showing...it just depends on what the rest of the team will do at that time.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) - Here, my children, is statistically the worst offense in the NFL. The only thing keeping them alive at this point is Maurice Jones-Drew, their surprisingly strong defense, and their times of upsetting the opposition; I mean, that only really happened once against Baltimore, but that was huge. There's not much to say about these guys except they need a quarterback in the worst way. It's so sad. I want these guys to do well, it's just that their QB area is the equivalent of the next team I'm about to talk about...
Indianapolis Colts (0-9) - Wait a minute...they're the basement team I have to talk about this year????? I guess it's rather obvious that no Peyton Manning equals no winning season. Don't get me wrong, they've come close several times, but they never get the job done. There's no point in seeing Manning whatsoever this year. If he's back, I'll be severely disappointed...just finish the season out, guys. That's all.

West Division

Again, I did this before the Thursday night game. Thanks for screwing with my post, NFL Network.
Another three-way, eh? For some reason, this doesn't look as impressive...
San Diego Chargers (4-4) - Remember what I said about the Steelers? It's exactly the same for these guys. They have the potential to be really great; Philip Rivers is really rocking the quarterback role, and the defense has their shining times. Although they're at .500, the games they've lost have been close, so that means they haven't really been giving up in the usual ways. Did their game against Oakland stay that way yesterday?
Kansas City Chiefs (4-4) - Why do these guys like to fall asleep during certain games? It's almost as if they like to get spanked sometimes. I never thought Matt Cassel was a good lead, and well...there's never that much team chemistry showing out on the field. Think Jonathan Baldwin, kids. Can they look like a gelled team for the rest of the season? I say nay. It's just not happening.
Oakland Raiders (4-4) - These guys would look so much more impressive if the defense didn't like to scare everyone with high-scoring games. With a shaky quarterback position in tow, we'll see what Carson Palmer can deliver for the future. I like the rushing with Darrius Heyward-Bey in the lead spot for that.
Denver Broncos (3-5) - Warning: Tim Tebow will not be the person to "save" this team. It's not because he's a Born-Again Christian (there, I said it, now leave me alone). The defense is not that good, and that is why Denver is having a hard time. The management has been so poor that so many other things could have been done to this team during a game so that they wouldn't let certain losses slip through their fingers. Just sayin'. I'm gonna go and "Tebow" as I feed the dogs.


East Division

New York Giants (6-2) - Me thinks that since Peyton is not around this season, there's hardly any pressure on Eli Manning, who is having one of the best seasons of his career. However, the G-Men have a really, really tough schedule ahead of them, so the defense will definitely be tested against some of the stronger offenses in the league. I will admit that I feel bad because this team has a good playoff shot, but could be severely upset if they don't remain strong in the second half.
Dallas Cowboys (4-4) - The only really bad blip on this team's radar is their slaughtering to the Eagles back in Week 8. Aside from this, their offense has been really effective with Tony Romo (with punctured lung action!) in QB and with rookie DeMarco Murray running away with stellar numbers at RB. All that needs to be avoided is injury from this point on and they could take the Wild Card no problem.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) - Some "dream team," eh? The defense is good on paper but is not jelling the way they should. Michael Vick might be great in the leadership role right now but he does not mix the pass with the run because he can't throw as well as the average QB. Speaking of the run, the rushing game is fantastic. LeSean--err, "Shady" McCoy is running these guys to the top in the league in rushing yardage per game. That's the only stable thing going for them at this point.
Washington Redskins (3-5) - Ouch. What the heck happened to their offense? After McNabb's exit, they've had two QB's (Grossman and Beck) that have been hot and cold for these guys. If the defense was as shaky as the offense, I'd be calling these guys the Colts of the NFC. Dead serious. The offense is not very strong at all. That needs fixing and fast.

North Division

Green Bay Packers (8-0) - Now that's what I'm talking about for a reigning Super Bowl-winning team. Aaron Rodgers is having a fantastic year, and he's putting up massive points for an undefeated team that is a massive force to be reckoned with. However, we're somewhat lucky that the offense has been on fire, because the defense is having a hard time keeping up with the opposing offensive passing game. I'd love to see the streak keep strong, but the defense is going to make that difficult.
Detroit Lions (6-2) - Here's another team that is absolutely scaring the crap out of me. Matt Stafford: most underrated QB right now. And their defense...oh man, when was the last time their defense was actually this good? I mean, they're having the "holey syndrome" where they're having issues with the run, but if you eliminate that from the mix, these guys will have a postseason in their sights as a Wild Card team. Ku-dos.
Chicago Bears (5-3) - These guys will have their little problems here and there, but they're making a good run as far as I'm concerned. Matt Forte is a beast in the rushing game, and Cutler has a safety issue with his offensive line. He will get fumed at times when he is not blocked. I think back to Week 2 against the Saints in that case. Hey da Bears, don't let the little things make you come up short.
Minnesota Vikings (2-6) - I'd like to hold an open forum here: who still thinks that Donovan McNabb should be a starting QB? He's been quite painful to watch unless if he hands off to Percy Harvin or Adrian Peterson. The defense makes me nervous too. Final answer: just finish the season out without needing to fire/beat the snot out of anyone.

South Division

New Orleans Saints (6-3) - Oh Drew Brees, my fantasy starting QB...you're the man--wait. Sorry...the team itself. Anyway, the Saints defense can be very hot and cold these days. You can see them hold a winless team to a touchdown (the Colts) and then the week after they'll gift-wrap 31 points to a then-winless squad (the Rams). Offense, stay classy. I like you guys. Everyone pretty much expects your offense to be top-10. I do, at least. Thanks for keeping my team a manageable 4-5, Brees.
Atlanta Falcons (5-3) - Oh Matt Ryan...my backup QB--crap, I did it again. If you look at the team on paper, they don't exactly look like the strongest squad, but they will make it happen. One side of the pigskin picks up after another when things go sour, and I like that. That's what teamwork is all about. Will they make it far? I'd like to see it happen, but I don't think the cute act is going to go much farther than this. "Easy" teams could really make them suffer.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4) - Don't get me wrong, these guys have deserved every single one of their wins, but aside from that, I'm not overly impressed with their team as a whole. Their defense has a few holes in it, and Josh Freeman can have his problems every once in a while. Yeah, you can take what I say as a grain of salt because they can surprise anyone on any given Sunday, but that's almost like flipping a coin.
Carolina Panthers (2-6) - From the looks of this team, why does it look like Cam Newton and Steve Smith are the only people on the Carolina offense? That's just...bad. Newton keeps putting up monster numbers and the offensive and defensive lines just look at it and go, "That's nice. We'll challenge you even more now." The running D is horrible, and it just makes a QB with promise look like some dude named Tim Tebow. Dead serious.

West Division

San Francisco 49ers (7-1) - SHOCKED AGAIN. Wow. They look like GODS in this division. Why? Deeeeee-FENSE. Alex Smith and crew on the offense aren't exactly the best in the league, but Frank Gore is keeping that line bearable for me. The defensive line (to me) is statistically the best defense in the NFC, and if the offense steps it up, they could have one heck of a run against the reigning Super Bowl Champion Packers.
Seattle Seahawks (2-6) - You look at the 49ers and then there's a cliff with three teams in it. Seattle is one of those teams that have a numerous amount of shortcomings. I never really thought Tavaris Jackson was a strong QB. In short, I still think this team is hungover from beating the Rams and the favorited Saints last year in the playoffs. Good season, boys.
Arizona Cardinals (2-6) - You're trying, Kevin Kolb, I know you are. You guys are only making good showings against teams poorer than you, and that's...just, really bad. The only shining points on this team are Early Doucet and Larry Fitzgerald at WR, and that's saying everything there. Give them the ball and points might be involved with that. End of story.
St. Louis Rams (1-7) - Weren't these guys supposed to be good this year too? I was just wondering because everyone seems to hype the Rams year in and year out and they disappoint. Sam Bradford dropped off after his rookie year and then that was pretty much it. I feel bad for you, guys. Just enjoy your World Series victory.


And that just about does it for me here. It seems like this year is going to shock, surprise, and make you go, "wow, seriously?"

I like it that way.

Check back around the new year for the final results of this awesome season!

PS - Go listen to Stealer's Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle with You." You will not be sorry.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sex, Lies, and JoePa

I live in the state of Pennsylvania. Some friends of mine go to Penn State. Therefore, I will write.

Lots of crazy things happen in college. Some of them can be so crazy that they require mindless riots and sex scandals to make things interesting for everybody.

Tonight on this lovely post here at The Sports Nut Blogs, we're going to talk about some controversy. Oooohhh, nice juicy controversy. ...Not.

Jerry Sandusky (left) and Joe Paterno (right)
Our story begins way back in the 90's, where Jerry Sandusky was defensive coordinator for the Penn State Nittany Lions college football team since the 1977 season. However, during that time, it was allegedly told from assistant Mike McQueary that he was seen performing a sexual act on a ten-year old boy in the men's locker room. Although he was investigated for suspicion of this in 1998 (while he was still coach), it was never reported to higher officials for criminal charge. Sandusky then left the squad in 1999 later to create charities and events while continuing to support Penn State's football team. A few weeks ago, Sandusky was finally arrested for about 40 charges of sexual molestation over the period of fifteen years. Back in 2002, Joe Paterno (by McQueary's word) did report of certain molestation acts performed by Sandusky, but they were never reported to police.

Last night, Paterno, along with PSU president Graham Spainer were relieved of their duties as coach and president, respectively.

What? Why?
A lot of people have been wondering why Paterno has gotten the axe because of this. People said that he did nothing wrong--that he actually did the right thing by reporting the incident to the University's athletic director. However, he was more or less guilty by association. The reason why he was cut from the program was because he (as well as Spainer) didn't follow through with this and they never reported it to police. (We just wish that some of the student rioters understood this part.) Because of this, Paterno's near-Hall of Fame status is now tainted and he's going to be nothing more than taboo. The obvious was also made on something because Paterno previously announced before the season began that he was going to retire after this year. Something was definitely up, don't you think?

After the announcements were made, it was almost as if Penn State University went into meltdown.

I know that football is a big deal out in State College, Pennsylvania, but those rioters made Penn State University look like a school filled with a bunch of idiots. A lot of the people I know on Facebook are incredibly upset and practically apologizing for the stupid acts that they did. If you didn't read, the riots after the announcement of the firing of Paterno resulted in students pushing over an Altoona news van. Are you kidding? It's not like you guys have the right to do that. Pushing over a news van isn't going to get what you want. You guys are all about 20 or so, right? You're not 7. Nobody stole your crayons, for goodness sake. Grow up. I didn't get to read if any of them were arrested or reprimanded in any other way for that, but they do deserve a little something for immaturity.

On top of this, the Nittany Lions' football team is planning on sitting out on their game against Nebraska on Saturday. What's that going to do? Gain sympathy or something? No, it will make you guys look stupid. Nothing that the school is going to do will take away from the fact that boys were molested and they had to live with it while the attacker got away with it for so long. It sucks, I get it. But the last thing you want to do is to reduce yourself to a rebellious piece of a whiner.

Unfortunately for Penn State this is getting blown out of proportion, and it's pounding this painful controversy in every student, student-athlete, and coach's mind right now. I don't even go there--I only live in the state--and it's getting ridiculously annoying and painful to watch and listen to.

Now all that we have to look forward to is to hear about the aftermath of what had happened last night. Fun fun fun.


Friday, October 28, 2011

TV Wrecks Sports

(After reading Jerry Mander's Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television and Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, I feel that this post was bound to happen.)

I don't understand why, but I'm seriously starting to hate television nowadays.
Why? It clearly skews our vision of sports and local/world events in general.

I'm not going to say that several books have completely changed my life and everything, but I will admit that many things about the media are making so much sense to me these days. You have to hear me out on this one. I'll start asking you a few questions: what is your favorite sport? Have you ever seen it up close and personal? What are your least favorite sports? Have you ever seen those sports up close and personal?

Now that we've got that out of the way, let's get some facts and figures out of the way.
Television is always supposed to be exciting, right? Sex and violence sells, right? O.K.! Now, what sports do you think are the biggest sellers on TV because of their violence rate? If you said MMA, boxing, and football, you're absolutely right. What's the lowest sellers? Baseball and soccer. Hockey and basketball is in that gray area because it's not exactly violent as it is fast-paced.

My argument is this: unless you're truly at a sporting event, you will not fully appreciate the energy and feeling of a sport. I keep telling the soccer haters that they don't know what the hype of soccer is about unless if they've actually been there. Just by watching television, people will think that certain things are boring. When something is slow and there aren't enough camera cuts or shots, people will get bored. It's a known fact. What would happen to you if you just watched the television show a basic sunset? You'd get bored--unless if they threw in a couple of cutscenes showing a rolling ocean or birds flying by. With soccer, you will just see a constant pan during play unless if there is a stoppage. It makes sense if you're not a soccer fan. You're entitled to not like it because it doesn't give you a flexible view of things--and let's be honest, you may not be around people to enjoy the experience with.

Let's take a country like Spain or Brazil for example. Soccer is HUGE in those countries. Why? It's not just because it's the most played sport in the country, but there are enough teams and big enough stadiums for those people to fill them and watch every week. Money isn't exactly a factor, either. The amount of people that constantly come every week pretty much pays for itself. It's the same with football here...every week there's more than enough teams for people to constantly fill the stadium and stuff like that.

I understand that not everybody has the money to constantly go to see sporting events, but think before you say something. If you're watching a sport you may not be familiar with, you're heavily restricted in evidence to create an opinion. Television restricts all experience; it only gives generic pleasure and satisfaction, and not the full sight of things. Believe me, I wouldn't be a big of a soccer or baseball fan unless if I didn't play the sports myself and retrieve the full experience that way. Because I have that love for them, I can definitely appreciate the sports regardless of whether I see them live or see them on TV.

Aside from that, television makes you view what they want you to see. If you can't get a legitimate viewpoint, uniformity in beliefs through just seeing sports on television could destroy the unique opinions and welfare of sports itself.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Coach's Tale

(To Mom, the strongest woman in the world.)

After the somber events that have occurred in my life over the span of three months, I have taken a lot of time to think about a lot of memories. A lot of them had to do with my parents, of course. One of the prouder moments they had together was when they helped coach many of the sports teams that me and my younger brother were a part of. They didn't have to go to school for it; they just took what they knew from experience and taught those skills to young girls and boys.

Today, my mother and I saw the film The Mighty Macs in which basketball coach Cathy Rush started from square one and made young women from a small college into champions. After watching that movie, my mother and I reminisced about how she used to coach my softball teams in grade school and how wound up we would all get in it--no lie, I would too...I'd make phone calls if the parents were busy with things and I was a teammate telling the parents what was going on. It was awkward, I'll tell you. We later talked about how we'd want to do it again. It wouldn't be because we loved the stress and the competition (well, for me it wouldn't), it would be because coaching is almost like a sport of our own. We got our own fun and joy out of it, even though I wasn't a legitimate coach at all.

I don't necessarily think this is the same case for all forms of coaching, whether it would be on the professional level or on the recreational level, but to me, coaching requires a lot of "street smarts," if you get where I'm heading to with this one. Don't understand? I'll explain as best as I can.

For example, a couple of days ago Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington compared his matchup to Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa to a chess match. To me, it's more like Battleship because I hardly understand chess, but that's besides the point. Before you do the major planning, you need to know your men (or women in other cases) and make sure that they are conditioned and ready to do their job and make the most of their ability. Sure, it would really help if you played the sport before, so you know what kind of conditioning you would need and what kind of emotions are placed into certain fields of the sport. In other words, you need to know the basic mechanics and how to build up someone who is just learning how to play. When I first started out in CYO softball, there were a few girls who did not know how to hit a ball or even catch one correctly. Regardless of who knew and who didn't, my parents took everyone back to the beginning and taught the basics of how to catch and how to hit. Because they knew how to build those mechanics, some of these girls became so well-nourished in the craft that they even went on to play in high school. To see that happen, you can believe that the coaches get a great amount of satisfaction when there is a success story like that. When you can teach like that, you can get a better feel on placement and how to approach difficulties in cases of games and drills.

I guess you can see why my parents were so wound up in it; once they got a gist of their players, the planning process of placement and strategies provided for each athlete took more time than they would ever care to share with me. The way I see it, the easy part for them was the encouragement and the teaching of particular values that just about any parent would teach to their own children. The teachings of belief, heart, and teamwork would need to be heard at times by players because of the [often] lack of being on the same page or the fog of mental imagery of their own self-strategy. The way a coach acts like a mother duck to keep the team together gives the players another "parent" to look up to. This person taught them specific values on life and love in sports.

Don't lie...doesn't he look like a huggable grandpa to you?

Although it may be true that you may need to have a knack to do stuff like this, you can understand why it's so easy to get wound up in coaching. Most of all, it's pretty awesome to see your master plan all unfold and just watch your team propel to greatness (whatever that may be, since not everyone can go undefeated).

The one thing that my mother and father always wanted before anything else--as much as my mother was competitive and loved to win--they wanted us to have fun. Even professional managers will want their athletes to enjoy themselves in order to remain intrinsically motivated to be at their best and succeed. Isn't that what it's all about after all? Coaches have fun seeing you have fun. How about that? There's so much inner psychology from it that in reality, it all boils down to enjoyment of some sort. Sure, there have probably been some real evil coaches that people may have had in the past...they probably just had a stick up their you-know-where...but even when they were in a good mood, they wanted to see you succeed while carrying out the "master plan."

I won't lie, I'd love to coach some sort of team at some point in life. Teaching comes as a second nature, so how bad could it be to tell a coach's tale to my children someday?


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Momentum Shift - The Keymasters

Yeah, I just totally went there.
It's October, meaning that Halloween is around the corner. Ergo, it's a perfect time to make a Ghostbusters reference! Anyway...

Whenever I watch college football on television, I think to myself, "Man, this place is loud. How is anyone not mute or deaf after this game?"

You think to yourself, why are spectator sports really called spectator sports? Believe me, it isn't just because people like to watch the sport and sit there with their pipes and curly mustaches like we're in the days of Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio. It's because spectators will relentlessly root for their team;  in the meantime, they'll boo and jeer the opponents out of the stadium if they have to. Think Texas/Oklahoma or Army/Navy just to name a few college game examples.

Different factors such as mascots, cheerleaders, and supporter groups like the Black Hole and the Hogettes help the home team's cause and give the home team that extra little boost to perform at their strongest.
If you're in the right kind of sports city, the crowd will let you know that you're doing a terrible job as well. Cities such as New York and Philadelphia (I know this all too well with the Eagles) will even boo at their home team after a crappy job in practically giving away the game to the other team.

It's funny, but I am currently taking a sports psychology course at my school and we were just talking about this concept on Monday night. Note this too--I began writing this post that afternoon before reading the gist of the chapter. Weird, eh? Basically, we discussed that the concepts of home-field advantage have been the center of research over the past several years. Although the facts of home-field advantage date back to well over 100 years ago, there has been evidence present of phenomena such as "choking." Sound familiar? People will argue that since there are higher stakes, there's added pressure that comes along with the loudness of the crowd and the anxiety-filled atmosphere. When you think about it, that makes a boatload of sense, right?

You also have to figure in this tidbit: if a tree falls in the woods, is it going to make a sound if someone is there to listen to it? Teams that hardly have an attendance at their games will have to work from the bottom-up if they need an extra push to get back into the game. You will often see fans from the opposing team file into the stadium to support the team and give them the home-filed atmosphere that they are most familiar with. If the actual home team doesn't have a fanbase of their own to begin with, how are they going to get a momentum shift from an outside force? I won't lie, I do feel a little better when I'm up to bat and someone's cheering for me. That's just my preference though.
I even remember watching a friend playing NCAA Football (I forget which year, to be honest) and while the guys are placed on the line of scrimmage, you have the capability to make a play "raise the roof" and make the crowd louder. That had to have been the weirdest function I've ever seen on a game, but apparently it was really useful to the person playing the game.

There are probably numerous naysayers that will say that the crowd does nothing and that the only way a player will work at their optimum level is if they stay focused and disregard the crowd. I heavily disagree with this statement, and the main reason is because athletes will want to play and they will want to make themselves as well as other people happy. That is our goal in life: happiness. Sure, you could play your heart out and not care what anyone else thinks about you, but when you have [what seems like] the world behind you in doing something, doesn't that give you a spurt of confidence? Doesn't that fine-tune your focus a little bit more? Playing to love the sport is one thing, but playing to entertain is another aspect that usually isn't looked into. When I played softball, I played it because I loved to play. In hindsight, I was also seen as an athletic entertainer; my parents and other family members enjoyed the heck out of watching me play my heart out. Because they loved to see me at my best, they cheered for me. Isn't that what a crowd does for an athlete they love?

There's a lot of lingo out there such as "the sixth man," or "the tenth man," and those extra guys are the people in the bleachers and the stadium seating. Why? They have the heart and soul to inspire the guys playing out on the field. We have that extra manpower to push the other guys to greatness. Sure, we might not always understand everything about the sport, but we know that positive reinforcement never really hurt anybody in the long run...

The crowd holds the key. Momentum can shift at any moment once the crowd takes ahold of it.
They are the keymasters.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

The MLB Postseason Slant for 2011 - SHOCKtoberfest

I seriously think I blinked twice and September is pretty much over. That's how fast the postseason is here.

Of course, the regular season didn't leave without a couple of fights to the finish. We had both Wild Card divisions in a war on Wednesday night, and the smoke cleared with two teams coming from behind.

Aw man, I love this time of the year: chilly weather, the return of all pumpkin-flavored things, crunchy leaves, my birthday (duh), Halloween, and most of all...the MLB playoffs. This is when you see the best facing the best in America's game.
(It's also a good time for bars because you have this, Oktoberfest, and football going on.)

Anyway, this is also the exciting time of the year when I give my slant on the contenders in this playoff year and give my views on who is the candidate most likely winning either MVP or Cy Young.
Play some awesome music for me. I won't choose it for you this time. (:-P)

2011 MLB Postseason

I'd like to call this an "NBA-style season" because there were some divisions that were incredibly close or just a complete bust about two weeks after the All-Star Break. This is also one of the interesting occasions that every team in postseason has at least 90 wins or more. You always have at least one team with 87 or 88 wins. Anyway, let's do this crazy thing.

National League Contenders

Philadelphia Phillies (102-60) - Once you see their starting rotation in Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt, and Worley, you think, "Aw man, these guys are going to be tough." Then you see their bullpen...and think differently. After winning their fifth-straight NL East title, they're aiming to go back to the big dance. Let's just hope the lineup stays healthy and consistent so that they can make it that far. Let's go eat?

Milwaukee Brewers (96-66) - These guys are a well-rounded team that could be absolutely dangerous--especially at Miller Park (their home field). They will have their flaws at times, but with a good mix of veterans and not-veterans (what was I going to put there?), they've got the juice to really surprise anyone. Zack Greinke, Ryan Braun, and Prince Fielder are totally going to shake things up at home this postseason.

Arizona Diamondbacks (94-68) - These guys have improved immensely over the past few years. Sure, they were stellar back in '07, but then they dropped off the face of the planet for a few years. Now they've returned with smarter offense and an excellent bullpen (J.J. Putz, anyone?), they're not going to go away quietly in the postseason. One last thing, Kirk Gibson for manager of the year. He made a slump-happy team a load of winners.

[Wild Card] St. Louis Cardinals (90-72) - Holy heck. After a roller coaster season filled with injury and disagreement, the Cards were determined to fight through thick and thin to make the playoffs, and it all paid off. It wasn't easy, but Chris Carpenter and the mean 3-4-5 of Pujols, Holliday, and Berkman speared through. Although the record doesn't prove their worth compared to the other NL teams, they can really make life difficult and upset you.

American League Contenders

New York Yankees (97-65) - I guess you can say that a postseason may not be a postseason if the Yankees don't poke their heads in somehow. Regardless, their offense is effective as always with Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, and Curtis Granderson. I'm assuming they're not having any "problems" with their starting rotation either. Rookie Ivan Nova is making a name for himself (more on him later), and CC Sabathia is your average threat to kill you in some way. Deh-deh-dehhnehnehh-New Yorrrrk New Yorrrrrrk....

Detroit Tigers (95-67) - Just because these guys are in possibly the weakest division in the league, that doesn't mean they're not going to make it past the ALDS. It's not only Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera helping the team out either. They had a huge surge in power and defense in the second half of the season, and they have the juice to surprise anyone. Dare I say World Series bound? No, I don't want to jinx.

Texas Rangers (96-66) - They're baaaaaaack. As they should be. There's nothing seriously different about the team since last year except Cliff Lee, to be honest. The last thing I'd want to see is to see them try too hard to get back to the World Series. As long as the starting rotation remains focused, the top hitters on Texas' squad should follow suit. It's that easy. They had stellar teamwork last year--let's just hope they remember how to go about it.

[Wild Card] Tampa Bay Rays (91-71) - Fun fact, I had the Boston Red Sox saved in this spot for two weeks. That's how pleasantly surprised I am that the Rays made it to the postseason. Hard work and determination is an understatement for these guys. The pitching can be great when it wants to be, and their hitting/defense is well-feared in guys like Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton, and Johnny Damon. I like their chances again this postseason.


Individual Winners

NL MVP - Matt Kemp (Los Angeles Dodgers) - This one wasn't really hard because there wasn't really anybody else who "stood out" in the NL at all this year except for Kemp. Although it doesn't look like the stats did a lot because he's on a lower-ranked team in LA, he's been in contention for the NL triple crown for the whole season. Heck, his offense was some of the only stuff keeping the Dodgers alive at one point. If he doesn't get MVP, God only knows what the voters were getting high on before the voting process

NL Cy Young - Roy Halladay (Philadelphia Phillies) - This was so hard to predict. You have Cliff Lee, who is a two-time NL Pitcher of the Month, Roy Halladay, who is last year's CY winner, and Clayton Kershaw, a heavily unrecognized ace because of the team he is on. Based on stats alone, Halladay is the favorite with Kershaw being the dark horse to upset the Phillies fans.

NL Rookie of the Year - Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves) - This was almost too easy. Freeman is a very versatile first baseman, and at a young age, he has the potential to hold about a decade's worth of power in the long-run. I guess you can call him this generation's Chipper Jones. Wait...Chipper who? Ha ha ha.

AL MVP - Jose Bautista (Toronto Blue Jays) - Talk about carrying an offense for a long while. Joey Bats may just be your ordinary outfielder on the only Canadian team in MLB, but his offense and defense has been huge throughout the year. Just because he's on a .500 team (like Kemp above), that shouldn't take away his chances to receive this award. Look at the individual, not the team itself. That's why I'm not predicting for someone like Curtis Granderson.

AL Cy Young - Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers) - This is a no-brainer. He's the Major League leader in wins, and boasts incredibly potent stats everywhere else. He's a bonafide beast at what he does. What else can I say? This award is his. If he's in the running for AL MVP as well, you know he's good.

AL Rookie of the Year - Ivan Nova (New York Yankees) - Being a pitcher in the New York Yankees staff means that about 75% of the time you will have big shoes to fill. This guy did that this year. Going 16-4 with a 3.76 ERA in your first year as a pitcher means a LOT--especially in the American League. He's got a pretty hefty chance to take this based on his top-five stats in wins and win percentage (16 and .800 respectively).

Unlike last year, I will not be making series predictions until the World Series. Why? I'm terrible at that stuff. I think out out every series I predicted last year, I only got one series right. So there. You would think based on records alone that it would be Phillies/Yankees for the second time in three years, but you never know. This year, I'm going to enjoy playoff baseball in the comforts of my own home with my hot tea and my school books and my slippers.

Until next time...


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stem Cells are Bad, Mmkay?

This is definitely one of the weirdest sports-related stories I've heard in a while. It's almost something that Charlie Sheen in his tiger blood days would get pounded for. But as some of you guys are already familiar, Colts ailing QB Peyton Manning is currently in question after word got out that he took a private jet to Europe for stem-cell treatment in accordance to his injured neck. He's had three neck surgeries within 19 months and the treatment he sought for is not approved by the FDA here in the United States.

Are you serious?

What they tried doing for him--in my opinion--sounds pretty cool and innovative. Basically, the doctors just take stem cells from another part of his body and inject it into the injured area so that the good stem cells would multiply and eliminate the bad injured cells. Unfortunately, a controversy like this is all the more reason why the FDA hasn't approved of this treatment here because he supposedly had this treatment before he underwent his third neck surgery. In other words, it doesn't look like the treatment worked on him at all. Outsiders are seeing the foreign treatment as a last-ditch effort to get Manning back in the lineup, and I'm going to be honest, there's no way someone can say that it wasn't.

Meanwhile, fingers are being pointed because what Manning may have done is illegal. BUT, there hasn't been an official confirmation that this event actually happened. You see, there may be one person that has good news that wants to be spread and it doesn't happen, but there could be dirt from two or three reporters that spreads like wildfire. Why? Because it's national taboo and it's controversial. The fact that Manning was very adamant in wanting to come back to start the season isn't helping his innocence in any way, and this very story is just adding more frustration to Manning and the Colts team. The reason why I put the Colts in that previous statement is because Peyton had just recently signed a new deal and there's a huge chance that this year's salary may be going out the window due to Manning missing the rest of the season due to neck treatments. As more facts are coming to light about what secrets have been kept, we don't exactly know what other bad things might come out of this, such as you know...breaking government laws.

This whole thing just looks ugly. I don't exactly know what's going to happen here. If there is valid evidence that Peyton Manning underwent stem-cell treatment that is banned in the United States, there is a pretty hefty chance that he will face massive consequences for this. Are we talking jail right now? I have absolutely no idea. We've already had a football player jailed for dog fighting rings and shooting oneself in the leg [This will be covered in a later post], but for illegal medical treatment? I don't know. It could happen though. But for right now, Peyton might have made a boo-boo in wanting to come back to play. This is not going to look good on his track record, but only time is going to tell on how the NFL and FDA are going to handle this pickle.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Red Whines: The Ultimate Athletic 9/11 Tirade

This will probably be the only time I will incessantly spew red, white, and blue from my mouth like a redneck in a pickup truck with a rifle in hand.

Now this here post is about AMURRKA.
(I explained on Twitter that this is how George W. Bush pronounces this)

As all of you know, yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Because the area that took the biggest hit of them all during that time was New York City, the New York Mets tried to make a nice gesture by wearing hats that represented the NYPD and the FDNY first responders. Major League Baseball said no. MLB wanted a unanimity with all players wearing the usual caps with the flag on the side of the cap.

Wait just a cotton-picking minute here...what??? They had a great intention to do so. It's not like the Mets were going to do that for the rest of the season, secede from the league, and then create new rules for their own league (which would be scary, in my humble opinion). They were being reverent. The whole state of New York went through absolute hell, and honoring the first responders in that subtle way would have been nice. The Mets went against MLB's request ten years ago in wearing the hats, why should this be any different? The one thing that confuses me is why Major League Baseball didn't allow these hats:

I thought these hats were the coolest ideas ever. Why weren't these worn yesterday???

I'm well aware that there is a rule that says that you cannot violate the uniform or "dress code," as it were. However, for a day like this, I feel like the rules should be bended on such a solemn day like September 11. Rules were made to be broken, you know. God forbid we all show some respect and patriotism among the people that go out there to protect and save our rear ends... Can't you tell this makes me mad?

I can understand that the NFL didn't do anything except for the unraveling of a giant flag by players and Armed Forces representatives, which is pretty much what baseball teams did around the country yesterday also. I have no problems with people staying uniform, but with a team like New York--a place that was in turmoil for nearly four months afterward--they should get a little perk, don't you think?

However, I have a theory: What if the Yankees did this too? Would Major League Baseball say something to them? After all, they are America's baseball team, and the Mets are lowly and dealing with bankruptcy and whatnot. I bet you dollars to donuts that if the Yankees did this along with the Mets, nothing would have been done about it. Sure, they allowed the Washington Nationals to wear hats to honor the US Navy Seals in August--but in batting practice. Are you kidding me? That's the team representing the nation's capital.
I understand that these games are televised and there's something being "advertised" on a cap, but do you think there are people out there that are going to take any further thought into it? There might be truth in the statement that police/fire administrations around the US may be a touchy subject, but again, on a day like this things should be a little different.

Now if you will excuse me, I'm going to go watch America's game.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Social Media: THE REVENGE

Many moons ago (oh, who am I kidding, it was about a year back) I wrote about how many sports figures were going to outlets such as Twitter and Facebook to get in touch with fans and basically see what they do in their everyday lives.
You can read that little number here.

Facebook and Twitter are awesome tools. You can talk to people, write about what's going on, and meet new people. However, you know how there's always those one or two individuals that go an abuse that privilege of having nice things? That is happening right now. ESPN is (expressively) having a cow, a few horses, and a couple of chickens over the developments of this story. Personally, I wouldn't blow it up to astronomical proportions, but it is a big deal in the sense that people are being a little too... free when it comes to their freedom of speech in the social networking world.

Over the past few weeks or so, numerous football players have been under fire for the questionable content that they have been posting on their Twitter websites. I don't exactly remember what they were word-for-word, but I know one of them had something to do with guns. Yes. Oooh scary scary scary. On Twitter, I don't tell you stupid stories on how I'm driving in the car and I blast Buckwheat Boyz while eating a chocolate chip muffin from Dunkin' Donuts. Ohhh wait, I already did. But yeah, did you care about that? I highly doubt that you did unless if you're my mother, since I would technically be driving her car and I'm eating while driving and doing a massive 808. You see, if I ever tweeted that, I would fall into the category of the stupid uses and abuses of Twitter.

I like to call something like this the "TMI Principle." As mentioned above, I don't go on Twitter or on my personal Facebook talking about extremely personal details like what my parents do or what I own or do or anything of that sort. There are just some things I want to keep to myself and to the people I personally know around me. I'd hate to say this, but not everyone is meant to be an open book. I would think you should at least know the person and speak to them in person in order find out that stuff. I remember news from a few months ago saying that every tweet in the Twitter-land is being archived in some way. Oh, well guess what, looks like there are some people that pulled a Plaxico Burress and shot themselves in the leg while having too much fun.

Should these guys get penalized for it? Yes, but not in the way it's usually handled. Fining someone isn't always the best approach. Some of these guys have enough money to pay about 50 fines and still do the stupid stuff they do. If the sports leagues can get into contact with the Twitter administrators, maybe some bans or penalties could be put into effect. That would probably be the best way to spook them. If you really want to vent and talk about questionable stuff, they still sell diaries with the little locks and keys on them. Hello? Dollar Store + one dollar = Dear Diary, -- that simple.

I don't care who you are...please have the self-dignity of sparing the rest of us the extra details, okay?
TMI dude, TMI.

Just listen to Thumper; he's got the right idea going...


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thome: The Real Life Natural

As a lot of people already know, Cleveland Indians' designated hitter Jim Thome hit his 599th and 600th career home runs at Comerica Park on August 15 as a member of the Minnesota Twins. He is now the second-fastest person in baseball history to reach 600 home runs in a career; the only person ahead of him is the legendary Babe Ruth. Due to a lot of the steroid scandals ruining sports around us, there are bound to be folks out there that are thinking that Thome did not do this feat naturally.

What is there to say about something like this?
It's a real shame that people automatically point fingers to PEDs when something so rare and incredible happens in baseball. After doing a lot of extensive reading, Jim Thome has been voted one of the friendlies ballplayers along with the hug-master Mike Sweeney. What does that have to do with this, you ask? I seriously doubt that a kindhearted guy that helps put his extended family through school would be a bonehead and do such a thing as taking shots and boosts to make his mark in major league history. If you want to make a mark in the history of a sport, do it right.

In Thome's case, he was a consistent power hitter and did things like this throughout his career. He didn't have an astronomical change in build or mechanics over his near 20-year career, so that should be enough proof that there is no foul play involved in his play. However, the naysayers that believe he was and is juiced would use the argument that he is near the top all-time in strikeouts. Why? Everybody else strikes out too. Derek Jeter strikes out a lot and you're not going to use the excuse of "well, he must be juiced up because there's no way he could have over 3,000 hits naturally." Get real. There's a lot of paranoia going around since the PED blacklisting that began in the early 2000's.

To me, Jim Thome is a real life natural at the game. He doesn't need the juice and doesn't need the stuff that will make guys great and later broken. I don't think he'll be breaking stadium lights anytime soon, but he's got something a lot of boys want someday, and that's legendary status. Also, what the boys want in seeing a natural is the positive influence they can pass on to other players looking up to them and the kindness that they provide to the fans that love them so dearly.

I mean c'mon...who wouldn't want to be naturally friendly too?

I don't care what you guys say, Thome's got the natural talent to be in the Hall of Fame someday.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

No Minor Adjustments Needed!

Not a lot of people may think about something like this, but once it's in the brain you may tend to go, "hmph, that is an interesting question."

Does anybody notice how certain major sports leagues have minor league affiliates and others don't? Major League Baseball has the MiLB with an extensive farm system of A, AA, AAA, and so on; the NHL has the AHL, along with numerous lesser leagues around the U.S. and Canada; the NBA has their own developmental system known as the D-Leagues or NBA-D; finally, Major League Soccer even has affiliates (although not direct) below them on the soccer pyramid in the form of the United Soccer League.

What about the NFL?

The National Football League is one of the biggest sports leagues in the world, so how is it that they don't have a developmental system? Sure, I bet a lot of people considered the USFL (United States Football League) the "minor leagues" in the 80's until the USFL decided they wanted to be bigger than the NFL and then proceed to implode on itself. But in all honesty, there's no gray lines between college football and pro football. If a college player who is drafted is cut in preseason, where else can they go? To the gym so they can train and wait another year? Sadly, that's the case. Unfortunately for these guys that don't make it to the main rosters of their team, an idea of having a minor league system implemented into the NFL would never work.

Why do you think that is?

The first argument that would probably come up is the length of the season; each NFL team plays a minimum of 16 games. There wouldn't be enough of a legitimate time period that would make up a healthy season of minor league football. Also, roster sizing is a big issue, as there are the ideas of second-stringers and third-stringers in football. Most big league systems have over 80 games (with the except of MLS, which has 34) and they have the capacity to make moves and transactions. For example, Major League Baseball has 162 games, and since their rosters are smaller than football rosters and the minor league season is shorter, you have the capability of "bringing guys up" when there is injury. It's the same thing with hockey; they have 82 games and a smaller roster as well. Oopsie daisy, NFL.

Here's another thing to chew on: football is one of the more intense contact sports out there; you would have the "minor league" players going out there and getting pummeled and maybe losing their chance to remain healthy to try out again for the pro team the next year. Sometimes fresher guys that don't play for a season and then train on their own are usually the best guys to go after if adjustments are needed for the next season. With that being said, you're probably thinking right now that having a minor league would actually benefit the guys that were cut in preseason so that they're still playing. But think of this next part of my argument:

I'll be playing devil's advocate with this one--wouldn't that somewhat eliminate the concept of owning a "practice squad" since a lot of those guys would be playing for that lesser team? Another problem that would stem from this would be that more money would have to be incorporated into hiring other guys to work with each major squad that exists in the farm system or in the pro system. Basically, a lot of money would have to be involved to make a farm system happen. In this day and age where money is big, that's never going to happen to any football franchise. Period.


In looking at the Arena Football League and what they went through with an attempt to create their own developmental system (known as AF2...how creative...), you can tell why making a developmental system in football would never work. One of the big reasons was money, as well as the particular areas the teams were marketed in. They would literally put teams in awkward areas that already had a huge section that was more faithful to an NFL team as well as an area already housing an AFL team and try to expand more from there. It was too much football--and I know some people out there might say, "aww, c'mon, you can never have too much football! Heh heh heh!" Yes, I said it. Now go take another swig of your beer and go back to watching Monday Night Football.

However, it is safe to say that there were a lot of guys that somewhat "developed" in other football-related leagues such as the Arena Football League, the Canadian Football League (which I highly respect since the NFL practically rules the world and the CFL are still around despite that) and in NFL Europe when that existed. Although I wouldn't call these three leagues "minor," they moved to the bigger and better things in the strongest football league in the world. That's all that matters, right? It's just a shame that there isn't a second chance, per se, in having a minor league system to fall back on. You either make it or you get cut. That's all for now and for the future.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Curious Case of Tim Tebow

(Written by guest blogger Andrew)

Slowly but surely our world is forming more and more “battle lines:” Republican vs. Democrat, Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice, Coke vs. Pepsi and now we can add one more--“Orton vs. Tebow.” It has been the most interesting story of the post-lockout NFL offseason with more ups and downs than your normal daytime soap opera.

And now on Sports Nut Theater... As The World Turns (in Denver)

This week in the “Mile High City,” a tale of two quarterbacks: one who has all of the personality of let’s say, a loaf of bread; the other the most damning “Love Him or Hate Him” athlete in perhaps sports history, of course I’m talking about Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. Now in order to give this plot the rightful respect its due, well hold on, Sally! Allow me to fill in the blanks. 
Kyle Orton played his college ball at Purdue University where he had relative success, a Heisman hopeful, tying fellow Boilermaker Drew Brees’s record for most passing yards in a game, and other “so-so” accolades. Orton was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 4th round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Now although Orton achieved relative success (his best season as a Bear was 9-6; the Bears missed the playoffs that year) and is “a nice little quarterback,” he was traded to the Denver Broncos and was believed to be Jay Cutler’s replacement. While playing two years in Denver, their record went from 8-7 to 3-10. 

(Now down south in Florida, another Quarterback was making a name for himself...)

Enter Tim Tebow! A highly recruited quarterback out of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Tebow was awarded an Athletic Scholarship to play for the University of Florida under coach Urban Meyer. He played for the Gators from 2006-2009, in which he had what many believe to be the most storied career in college football history. Now allow me to read you some of Tebow’s resume while as a member of the Florida Gators (want the full list? Go to Wikipedia):

*  Heisman Trophy winner - 2007
*  First-team Academic All-American - 2007
*  Associated Press SEC Offensive Player of the Year - 2007
*  BCS Championship - 2008

Now you would think with all of this that Tebow’s possible success wouldn’t be questioned, well you would be wrong. During the offseason leading up to the 2010 NFL Draft I believe I heard the words “bad throwing motion” in the thousands. Tebow became the most scrutinized draftee in the draft’s history; professionals had a field day with him predicting he would go anywhere from the 1st overall pick to not going to be drafted at all. 
Tebow was selected to the chagrin of many in the first round of the 2010 draft to the Denver Broncos where he has been the subject of a “tidal wave of hate.” Everything in his life has been picked at with the rusted metal fork of the media, from his “horrible” throwing motion to the fact that he is a Christian. 

I am in the growing minority of people who is actually a Tim Tebow supporter. And for full disclosure I am a God-fearing man, and I appreciate the fact that Tebow is as well, but I want to make it clear that is not the only reason why I support Tim Tebow. Call me old-fashioned but I actually like the way he plays ON THE FIELD! The thing that a lot of people aren’t realizing is that he hasn’t gotten the chance to prove himself; he has started a grand total of three games. Now do I believe that Tim Tebow is the next Tom Brady? No. But do I believe that in the right place he has the chance to win Super Bowl rings? Yes I do! What people have to realize is that he is not going to give you the “sexiest” numbers, but the one thing he does is he wins. You think he is not accurate? Go look at the tape from the National Championship Game where he tore apart my Oklahoma Sooners. The key is you have to actually have to let him PLAY! And now reports out of Denver say that Tebow could be THIRD STRING! BEHIND BRADY QUINN!  This is coming from the same organization that was willing to trade Kyle Orton three weeks ago so that Tebow could be the unquestioned starter. EARTH TO DENVER! Let Tebow play! Who knows? He might actually be good!