Saturday, January 22, 2011


Being in college is fun. For example, you have a lot of human resources around you and you get some great entertainment when their views clash on a particular subject. Today, I will be taking advantage of that.

Earlier this week, I asked my friend Amy and my boyfriend Andrew to write up a few things for me. Amy, a Jets fan, and Andrew, a Steelers fan, have been at each others' throats this whole week, so I decided to ask them (separately) to give me their thoughts on Sunday's AFC Championship game. I'm actually quite surprised there wasn't any swearing involved with the messages I received on Facebook. [Good job, you two!] They gave some really great analyses, and I'm going to strategically section them off verbatim in a smack-talking format.

Round 1 -- FIGHT!

Amy: Where do I begin before the epic battle arrives? Well, to all Jets fans, if we defeated the Steelers once, then we can do it again.

Okay my dears, what are your views about the QB situation?

Andrew: In one corner we have a quarterback who in all fairness has played well in every playoff game he has played in (Mark Sanchez) except the one game which it mattered most (AFC Championship Game last year). And then you have Ben Roethlisberger, a proven winner in this league, a two time superbowl winner. Taking all of his off the field issues that Ben has had throughout his career off the table and simply looking at him as a football player he is without a doubt one of the top 3 qb’s in the NFL. I see Ben as being better here…

Amy: At times, Sanchez can make bad moves on offense; however, his strength on offense is hand off the ball to an offensive player and run it. Short and usually precise to gain some yards. Big Ben can throw like crazy: BUT it's a 50/50 shot that the player open may get it. Big Ben, huge arm... well, overall. I can't even believe he can run and make some yards. With his personal record, well, make sure you protect your family/friends especially the female ones.

Oh, my dear, Amy, you're quite brutal with the Ben Rape-lisberger jokes--oh wait. Sorry. I forgot where I was for a second there. While I do think that Ben's troubles are going to be paramount from this point forward, his reliability and his bulk are going to make a world of difference here. Mark Sanchez is a very good quarterback and has a lot of options with him. I do agree with Andrew on saying he's done a great job in every postseason game he has played.

Round 2 -- FIGHT!

Next question...what are your thoughts on the rest of the offense?

Amy: Short and sweet. Sanchez, you can still run the ball and pick up some yards if you want. You did it before, you can do it again. Key Players (beside Sanchez): LaDanian Tomlinson, Shonne Greene ... Jets may be underdogs, but we are filled with surprises.

Andrew:  This is a little tricky. Because I am not a big fan of Rashard Mendenhall, I like him--I just don’t love him. I am however a bigger fan of the tandem of LT and Shonne Green. You got the older vet and young guy. Granted I don’t think they will be running on the Steelers defense (that’s for later on). But anyway I am a fan of the Jets running backs in this situation. Now this one is not business for me--its personal. Santonio Holmes used to be a Steeler now he is a Jet. I think he is a good receiver but I'm not rooting for him. I do believe that the Steelers' receivers are overall better than the Jets. You have “old faithful” in Hines Ward who seems to get better with age, and a great corps of young receivers with Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, and Emmanuel Sanders. I have never been a fan of Braylon Edwards but I believe IF The Jets will do damage they will do it not because of their talent but because of the weakness in the Steelers defense. 

There really is an assortment of guys on both ends of the offense. Sure, Mendenhall isn't Jerome Bettis, but is doing his job. LaDanian Tomlinson is being LT and running at his best like always. Shonne Green is a big force too on the Jets O. I will admit that the passing game is slightly stronger on the Steelers side of the ball, but key receivers like Santonio Holmes will be perking up the passing game on the Jets end. The strength of each sides' defensive lines will definitely be a factor in how well each offensive line plays out on Sunday.

Final Round -- FIGHT!

Speaking of defensive lines, how about those guys? Any thoughts on special teams too?

Amy: Jets' defense are very epic in the league. I think some football fantasy players put at least 1 Jet defense player on their fantasy team. REVIS! I know he pulled a stunt earlier, but hey, he came back. He's on his A game whenever defending a player. #24!! [Key players:] Defensive end Sean Ellis, David Harris, and of course, Darrelle Revis. From last game that Jets defeated Steelers, the key goal was SAFETY!!! Great sources for success with patience and endurance. Nick Folk is not bad of a kicker for Jets. The previous years for field goals against Steelers... not good.

Andrew: The Steelers win this one hands down. Our defense leads the NFL in just about every statistical category. [On Cornerbacks:] I gotta give this to the Jets. They got two of the best in the league there is really nothing I can say. [But with safeties...] TROY POLAMALU (case closed).

I'll admit, the defensive stuff is about even on each side, with big names guarding and blocking with pro-bowler force. The Steelers did have some woes on special teams going on throughout the year, but that hasn't really taken a toll yet. This should be a fun game.

Additional comments:

Amy: Overall, Jets do have something unique about themselves from the other teams: luck. Well, every team has luck. Somehow, Jets show their green of luck.

Double K.O.? I don't know...I don't really want to get in the middle of this. Between hearing "the Not Yets" and Roethlisberger jokes, I enjoy my life. I actually had part of my wardrobe on Monday thrown into the mix. I wore a green shirt and Amy goes, "she's wearing green," to Andrew wearing a Steelers jacket. What did I do wrong? My hands are clean of this! Seriously!

Anyway, I'd like to thank these two fine people for setting aside their differences for this brief time and actually writing their views on Sunday's war. I wish you two the best of luck. I swear, if one of you decide to call me after the game in tears because one of you lost, I'm not going to know what to say. Just...don't go to class the next day.

(with many thanks to Amy and Andrew!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Not-So-Se-cret---AaaaGENT MAaaN!

Let's have a small background to this story... Back when my winter break first started about a month ago, I was brainstorming yet again with my boyfriend. I brought up my Yao Ming idea, which eventually became a post, and he brought up student-athletes and agency/contracts. At first I thought, how on EARTH could I pull this one off? Well, many developments have come forth since, including a very intense phone debate that lasted well over an hour and I went and took no notes on this. Let's just say I wasn't the only person disappointed that I didn't capitalize on this. But who cares? I have a good memory, and I can present both sides of the argument. If I forget the other side, someone will just have to get a phone call. But anyway, let's go into the realm of student-athletes and their drafting scenarios, contracts, and the idea of giving these student-athletes agents in their college years.

Welcome to the Land of Opportunity, when in order to succeed prematurely, it's absolutely necessary to drop everything else you've worked for in the process order to get your dream job a la immediate gratification.

For those who don't normally follow college sports, they might find the idea of giving student-athletes an agent or a contract during their college seasons to be completely preposterous.  In today's age, where money just happens to have a slight correlation to "happiness," people have ideas that they might find NFL-caliber deals to be an effective tool in preparing student-athletes for what's to come after they complete their education. But who ever said that it was completely necessary to complete--or even have--a college education?

Let's play a game of scenarios here: say for instance that you're a very talented basketball player with average smarts and currently a junior in college. You're drafted in the first round and offered a huge contract in the process. You haven't finished college, but you have a chance to live your dream in the NBA. What do you do? Do you take the contract and sign with the team, or do you stay in school, go back into the draft for the next year, and graduate?
There are a lot of choices that come from this. You can finally live the dream even without an education to boot, and something like that is hard to come by these days. However, you might catch the "overhype syndrome" or the case of Chris Washburn and waste the privilege of the high life. On the other hand, you can stay in school, have an even better college year, go back into the draft at a higher pick, and get an even bigger deal. Here's a problem with this choice--you could sustain a serious injury and kill this whole idea all together.

So what do you do?

In order to prepare for these cases, many have suggested the early usage of agency and help the men (and women) in the cause to make a good decision while heading into the real world. Does the NCAA agree with this? No they don't. Why? Let's look at some rules: [via NCAA Rule Booklet]

12.3.1 General Rule. An individual shall be ineligible for participation in an intercollegiate sport if he or she ever has agreed (orally or in writing) to be represented by an agent for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation in that sport. Further, an agency contract not specifically limited in writing to a sport or particular sports shall be deemed applicable to all sports, and the individual shall be ineligible to participate in any sport.
... Presence of a Lawyer at Negotiations. A lawyer may not be present during discussions of a contract offer with a professional organization or have any direct contact (i.e., in person, by telephone or by mail) with a professional sports organization on behalf of the individual. A lawyer's presence during such discussions is considered representation by an agent.
12.3.3 Athletics Scholarship Agent. Any individual, agency or organization that represents a prospective student-athlete for compensation in placing the prospect in a collegiate institution as a recipient of institutional financial aid shall be considered an agent or organization marketing the individual's athletics ability or reputation.

So basically, no incentives, no offers, and no extra treatment until college is done or if you happen to head out prematurely. We all know what happens when you disobey these rules. For example, Reggie Bush recently gave up his Heisman Trophy that he achieved in 2005. This was due to allegations that he and his family received "gifts" which violates NCAA policy. In turn, every award he had achieved in 2005 was revoked as well. Brutal, yes.
This past year, there was also a great deal of controversy in the case of Auburn University quarterback Cam Newton. Supposedly, his father was soliciting money from "bigger-named colleges" because it supposedly had to take more than a scholarship to keep his son's talents. However, there appeared to be insufficient evidence of this act, and Newton was later reinstated in the running for awards and recognition and was later named the Heisman winner for this past season. Still, the problem was there, and someone (in this case, Cam's dad Cecil) got hurt in the process.

In my view, the idea of agency in NCAA would take way too much money to operate. Of course, you have the really big and powerful Division I teams and players, but doesn't that mean you would be showing special treatment to the higher divisions around the whole country?
The original idea conjured up by my argument partner was that agents should be designated to work at certain colleges. Hello? Wouldn't it take money out of the athletic program, let alone the school itself, to hire them and pay them royalties and dues to the University or College? Not only that, there's a huge issue that comes with hiring agents. It would look as if you're only giving the special treatment to Division I teams and leave Division II and III teams in the dusk when they might actually have very decent athletes on their respective squads. Who knows? They could actually get drafted.
In this day and age, people in every profession want money, cash, more money, and moolah. Wait...all of that is money. Yeah. Like I said, they want big bucks. It just wouldn't be possible in any school's budget. Life just happens to be rough like that.

I was asked the question of what would I do if I played a college sport and was drafted in the first round out of my junior year and was given the opportunity to drop everything for a huge salary. Well, me being a female, that's nearly impossible because many women in professional sports in the United States have second jobs and would only get a real professional salary in the WNBA as scary as that sounds. Anyway, I answered that I would wait the extra year. In many cases, there are people out there that might not exactly want to play a sport for the rest of their life; their heart might not be into it completely even though they do enjoy it as a general pasttime. Sure, if the big opportunity is there, you should take it. But what if you wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer [or a broadcaster like me] or any other thing? Unless if your mind can be changed right away, "just follow your heart--that's what I always do." Thanks, Napoleon Dynamite.
Just look at Stanford University's Andrew Luck. He was second in Heisman voting behind Cam Newton, is a junior, and is doing something super brainy along the lines of engineering. He's choosing to stay in school and skip out on the draft coming up in a few months. Why? He wants to finish in spring 2012 (like me!! haaa). I guess you get rare cases like this where people may love to play but have another love that they're willing to wait for. Now think--if he had an agent, would that have happened? You can't be so sure.

This is a really controversial topic that is still under review, and to be honest, I don't ever think it's going to float. It's a very big deal in the case of salary and collegiate values, and making it all about money and less of the wait and the talent nearly spoils the magic of college sports. These men and women have something to fight for, something to play toward. If they get a contract shoved in their face and they really don't want it because they're interested in another field, why should you as a school bother to hire agents for your student athletes? I'll admit, I do enjoy watching college sports over the professional sports sometimes because of the magic of natural talent and no thoughts of losing a contract or getting optioned or traded elsewhere. In college, all you have to do is get decent enough grades to keep playing. The scholarships, grants, and financial aid should do the rest. Then, when you get your career, that's when your cash flow comes in and you can handle the loans and the desire to get a Ferrari and get your parents a nice home on a remote island far away from you.

College sports: the best thing since a chastity belt. 
Don't you think the players should wear this on their uniforms?

I'm just kidding.

I think I've made my point here.

Oh, and because I poked at the song Secret Agent Man, here's a picture of Johnny Rivers and the song. It's the least I could do for you people.


Monday, January 17, 2011

The Horse

(This entry is written for a very special person currently in my life)

For a long time, I had always wondered about injury in the sports world. The media always shows the extreme upsides and extreme downsides of something. They'll talk about how long the athlete will be out, who performs the surgery (Dr. James Andrews always comes to much money does he make, anyway?), what kind of rehab they will be undergoing, and the athlete's "views and thoughts" on their return to their sport. But did you ever wonder what goes on when the cameras turn off? Have you ever thought of the psychological stress one goes under when his or her feet are cut off from underneath? Unfortunate circumstances come to people every day, and unhappiness begins to settle in, but do you think athletes want people to know that? People often use the expression of "getting back on the horse" to describe their quest of regaining the pleasure of their routines and passions.

I think it's about time for a scenario. Let's do the Scooby Doo ending for this.

You are a professional athlete. You not only hold the talent for your sport, but you're also talented in mind, music, and in charity work. With your ability to budget time, you always seem to find a time to do everything in moderation and gain happiness from what you do, regardless of the many hardships and obstacles that come your way.
Suddenly, your life takes a sudden turn for the worst. During a playoff game, you take a massive hit and sustain a freak injury to your ankle. This puts your chances of coming back in 100% shape in serious jeopardy. After numerous surgeries and bouts of rehabilitation, you try to regain your happiness through your other activities, but for some reason your endorsements and your other hobbies will no longer do the trick. You want to go back, but you have the fear that you've lost the passion to play again.

Did you fall off the horse?

Numerous athletes appear to be fearless upon the road to recovery, but there always appears to be doubt even when the future seems to be very bright. Some may go, "Will I ever be the same," or, "Will I get the same enjoyment from this again?" There's always that thought of compensation and then getting the scare of losing the passion and the will to continue. It may be a tough thing to get back "into the 'ole grind" of things, especially when an injury makes you sit on the couch way too long while watching The Golden Girls and eating a pint of Cinnabon ice cream [yes, that stuff really exists]. There is the time in one's life where they may think they no longer have the time to return to their love at full strength.

What does it take to get back on the horse?

Athletes may think that there are other priorities higher on the list after a lost passion in the offseason. He or she may take up a hobby or avoid working at something in thinking that they will not be given a warm welcome back to what they once had. There's the horror that the injury may come back and will make matters worse. What if things were different? What if he or she took a different path or had done something differently--could these things have been avoided? When it finally comes down to it, why do you fight to get better? Is there a decent point to?


Injury is an obstacle. It is just like every other obstacle and hardship that you have experienced in your life. At this point in time you can't just sit around and wallow. People say you should do it for the ones you love.
Let's think for a second--in order to know how to love someone else, shouldn't you love yourself first? There we have it. We're going to have to do it for us. Can it be done? Yes. Audrey Hepburn once said something along the lines of "Nothing is impossible. The word has 'I'm possible' in it." When the going gets tough, do it for you. Set time out to do this for you. Don't let anyone push you around. Get through your problem, get through your injury.

People on Twitter say they live every day with PMA: positive mental attitude. Even the things that a person has once enjoyed will be impossible without a positive mental attitude. This is what athletes choose--will they continue on losing the passion to heal and play, or will they re-budget their time and perform some self-pampering? Of course, your name may be Joe Theismann and have to make lemon pie out of a couple of lemons, but can something still be done with the love of your life?


I am AnimaniacZero, I was mentally injured, and I had fallen off the horse.
After much rehabilitation, I have found what has truly made me happy, and now I have gotten back on the horse. HEIGH-HO SILVER! Okay, that was horrible. At any rate, I'm glad to be riding again. I'm doing this for me.

[Are you? Thanks for the inspiration.]


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The NFL Slant for 2010-2011 - THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

To think that about 21-22 weeks ago, I was actually writing in this blog that I was going to begin following the NFL and I was going to start learning about the sport and appreciating it.

I actually enjoyed it.
Yes. I just said that.
I didn't think I was going to be that interested this season, but I was sucked in. Of course, I still have my bias since I played soccer (the other football) but I have a newfound respect for what simpletons call "tackle football."

But enough of that! Y'alls want to see the thoughts, the divisional winners, and what else is going on here!



East Division
Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) - Well, look at that. I remember analysts saying they weren't going to amount to anything this year. Even Ron Jaworski said they weren't going to do well. I guess nobody was expecting Kevin Kolb to get hurt the first game and then see Michael Vick put up MVP stats and have DeSean Jackson dance around in the endzone in the process. The team has great chemistry, but I still don't trust the defense. Lots of injuries are going to make the difference too.

North Division
Chicago Bears (11-5) - Ha ha ha. I said they weren't going to make it. I was obviously wrong. They say defense wins games, and by golly, is it ever so true for these guys. The offense isn't exactly top-notch yet, but rest and some head-cleaning should do the trick. Their first round bye is the cure! If the defense is healthy, they will stop higher-ranked QBs and keep the whole field playing at an even level. I don't necessarily think they're Super Bowl contenders, but look at how I was wrong about them not being possible threats this season?

South Division
Atlanta Falcons (13-3) - With a first round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, these guys will be the real deal and a big threat to take the NFC this year. Matt Ryan is doing an excellent job heading the squad, the fans....well, the fans are not going to let any team beat the home team.

West Division
Seattle Seahawks (7-9) - As the first team in NFL history to make the playoffs with a sub-.500 record, they look nowhere near as formidable as the rest of the teams fighting for the Lombardi trophy. After beating the Rams in a winner-takes-division showdown, they're riding heavy momentum going into Saturday afternoon's playoff matchup. Are they going to take it all? Most likely not, but just like all lower-seeded teams they will give everybody a massive problem if not prepared. Trust me on that one.

Wild Card Winners:
Green Bay Packers (10-6) - Despite the Series of Aaron Rodgers' Unfortunate Events, the gridiron men from the land of foam cheese heads are keeping contention in the NFC. Just like the Bears, the Packs are running on defense and keeping the games comfortable. Despite the mishap at the end of the game against the Patriots in Week 15, these guys are on fire.
New Orleans Saints (11-5) - This is a team that has an ability that can click on all cylinders when completely necessary. Although there is virtually no rushing game when it comes to this team, Drew Brees is still having a very good year, and the defense looks very stellar.


East Division
New England Patriots (14-2) - Okay, now for those who didn't expect this to happen, please stand up and we will be more than happy to beat the living snot out of you. Here's the weird part though--looking at their stats overall, they don't look like that much of a juggernaut. It's like their name just makes people cower and not play as well. No wonder why they lead the NFL in scoring. They let the guys take baby steps and just let them score. It's like the other teams are saying, "Okay, we'll try, but we won't exactly succeed. Here's a win for your troubles."

North Division
Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) - Despite suspensions, fines, and hair injuries, the men in black are back. They're so ready for the postseason, they made a coach get fired the day after the game. Well, they weren't the only reason, but let's poke at them a little more. As a good all-around team with a first round bye, will the "stairway to seven" continue successfully?
No joke, I tried my absolute best not to throw an excessive amount of jokes in this one.

South Division
Indianapolis Colts (10-6) - By the way Bob Costas was talking about these guys this past Sunday, it was made as if they just made the postseason, which they really didn't. They're also favored to be the dark horse to win the Super Bowl. Uhh........... 'kay. Don't get me wrong, the offense is probably the best in the league (as far as all-around stats), but the defense doesn't really come off as being special to me. I feel like I'm watching the Eagles defense when it comes to the run.
[Side Note: I'm from Philly...I often compare to Philadelphia teams because I'm such a nice person.]

West Division
Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) - In the battle of epic proportions between the Chiefs and Raiders in the middle of the season, the Chiefs pretty much ran away with the division. Matt Cassel is no longer riding the coattails of Tom Brady as he is holding his own and also boasting an awesome running game as well with the running backs. Given the chance, these guys will break out and give a well-built defense a massive problem.

Wild Card Winners:
New York Jets (11-5) - I love seeing Jets fans panic on Twitter. They kept going, "Oh no! We're slumping! J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS! Aaaaaaaah!" ...and they still get a Wild Card slot. They make me feel like I'm in high school again. LaDanian Tomlinson is still rocking the run, and the defense is near tops and will knock out heavy offensive contenders.
Baltimore Ravens (12-4) - Two words: momentum shift. The Ravens know when to turn things up and win the games by a hair. Don't count them out--they know when to give problems. The defense can hold in the clutch and Joe Flacco can say prayers with his long ball. The matches coming soon should be fun.


Now that we've taken a look at which teams are fighting for the top, let's look at the games coming our way this weekend:

Teams on Bye -- Atlanta & Chicago
New Orleans vs. Seattle - Like I said, the Seahawks will give any team a problem since not much will be expected from them. However, the Saints are determined to win two in a row. Pick -- Saints 31-13 

Philadelphia vs. Green Bay - Although they're in Philadelphia, Green Bay is looking to be the major upset since they were the ones who were victorious all the way back in Week 1. However, Michael Vick is playing this whole game. Pick -- Eagles 24-17

Teams on Bye -- New England & Pittsburgh
New York Jets vs. Indianapolis - These two teams are evenly matched and should be a great Saturday night war. However, Tomlinson and co. will be looking to find the holes in the Colts' defensive line and might provide an embarrassment for Indy fans watching the game. Pick -- Jets 27-20

Baltimore vs. Kansas City - Again, another match that should be fun to watch. However, the fans and momentum in the stadium can ultimately make the difference despite the offensive threats coming from KC. Expect this one to be close too. Pick -- Ravens 28-24

Additional predictions will be shown on my Twitter account after all is said and done.
Ladies and gents, this NFL season was super fun to cover all the way through for the first time, and I'm looking forward to doing much more next season.

'Til next time!