Sunday, December 30, 2007

Patriots, Best Team Ever? Hold That Champagne

According to veteran NFL football analyst, Chris Collingsworth, the 2007 New England Patriots are the best team ever. Collingsworth should know because he's been around long enough to compare the Pats to the other contenders laying claim to the title: Namely, the 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1985 Chicago Bears, also the 1984 San Francisco 49ers. Considering rule changes, free agency, also salary levels, its very difficult to compare teams from different eras, but statistically, rough estimates can be made regarding the Patriots and their contemporaries . First of all, numbers don't lie; despite a team's apparent domination, one must consider the competition those totals were compiled against. Let's briefly look at the talented 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers. That club ended the season 14-2. In the playoffs, they beat the Denver Broncos 33-10, the Houston Oilers/Titans 34-5, but they struggled winning the Super Bowl against Dallas 35-31. In fact, the Cowboys could have won the game; but tight end, Jackie Smith, dropped a go ahead pass in the end zone. During the regular season, the Steelers only scored 356 points, however back in the day, defenses were allowed to employ the bump and run and other cumbersome tactics which have been banned in today's NFL. The sluggish Steelers offense, meanwhile, was not nearly as good as the wide open aerial game employed by the Patriots. Considering defense and special teams, however, the Steelers were clearly superior to New England. Pittsburgh, moreover, placed nine players from those clubs into the Hall of Fame, more importantly they accounted for four Super Bowl titles. Despite having superior personnel, however, the Patriots superb coaching staff would probably allow them to prevail in a mythical match up with Pittsburgh. The 1984 San Francisco 49ers were 15-1 and rolled through the playoffs by beating their oft nemeses New York Giants 21-10, the Chicago Bears, 23-0, and the Miami Dolphins 38-16. On competition alone, you can argue the 49ers beat one of the consensus best teams of all time, the Bears, and one of pro football's greatest quarterbacks, Dan Marino. The 49ers, moreover, revolutionized the game by incorporating Coach, Bill Walsh's, west coast offense. Instead of handing the ball off to his running backs, Walsh instructed quarterback, Joe Montana, to throw the ball in the flats to running backs, Roger Craig, Wendel Tyler, also Bill Ring. These five and six yard incremental gains allowed the Niners to work the ball down the field on long time consuming drives resulting in a then record 435 points. San Francisco's defense, furthermore, was stingy surrendering a meager 227 points. Surprisingly, this was considered to be Bill Walsh's best team, but it lacked Hall of Fame play maker, Jerry Rice. The running game was spiked by Wendel Tyler who gained 1,262 yards rushing. Even with a great quarterback like Tom Brady and receivers, Randy Moss along with Wes Welker, the Pats would not be expected to beat the 1984 San Francisco 49ers. The last great team the Pats would face are the 1985 Chicago Bears. They were 15-1 defeating the Giants 21-0, the Rams 24-0 en route to a 46-10 trouncing of the Patriots in the Super Bowl. The Bears scored 456 during the season while surrendering 198. The running game was led by bruising, Walter Payton, nicknamed, Sweetness, for his deft moves. What made the Bears special was their defense led by Hall of Fame middle linebacker, Mike Singletary. This bunch also had Hall of Fame players, Richard Dent also Dan Hampton. They blitzed their corners and linebackers frequently in a scheme invented by defensive coach, Buddy Ryan. Anyone who saw those Bears would say the Patriots would be in a terrific mismatch against the Monster of the Midway. In compiling 16 wins the Pats struggled against lesser opponents like the Ravens, Eagles, and the New York Giants. The Patriots deserve their place in the pantheon of great NFL teams, but Collingsworth misspeaks when he labels them the greatest team ever. At best, they are the third best team behind the 1984 49ERS and the 1985 Bears.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sean Taylor in Black and White

Unfortunately, It came as no surprise when the photos of four African American males were unveiled as the perpetrators of the abhorrent murder of Redskins' safety, Sean Taylor. For more than thirty years, an ugly persistent trend of murder and mayhem has plagued America's inner cities. This voracious predation by ruthless young black males is taking a beleaguering toll on the survivors of these victims. The latest unsuspecting target was Taylor. He was slain when four youths entered his home intending to rob him; but Sean surprised them and shots were fired striking Taylor in the delicate femoral artery. Shortly thereafter, he bled to death. Young black males comprise less than six percent of the population; however they make up forty percent of those in lockup. Consequently, a culture of incessant killing pervades the mean streets of many major urban areas where drugs, prostitution, also murder run rampant. But what causes such blatant disrespect for the value of black human life? According to the Department of Justice, African Americans are most likely to be killed by someone of their own race. Whites, on the other hand, are more likely to commit rape along with other sexual crimes. The disparity results from blacks' historic role as mules for the drug trade. It's no secrete: blacks sell the drugs to whites; yet the justice system targets the sellers, not the users. It isn't fair, but two wrongs don't make it right. Nonetheless during the predawn hours on Monday, it all came full circle for Sean Taylor as the last globule of blood drained from his body. Meanwhile, one of the assailants, 17-year old Eric Rivera, went on his myspace page, and posed in a bed engulfed by crisp hundred dollar bills. Dade County police believe Rivera was the shooter. His attorney said that it hadn't yet dawn on Rivera what he had done, nor the consequences of another youth whose salad days are wasted. Fortunately despite the carnage, dedicated mentors are redirecting some black youth into educational programs which are finally steering some of these young men into college, rather than prison; it will be generations, nevertheless, before black males realize Barak Obama is a true role model, not Fifty Cents.

Today in the National Football League, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have to win in New Orleans to gain street cred in the NFC; otherwise, the Bucs could find themselves facing a must win situation next Sunday in Houston against the Texans. Tampa has a great secondary capable of matching up with New Orleans' receivers, but the Bucs must pressure New Orleans quarterback, Drew Bledsoe, into mistakes. Tampa Bay has not consistently rushed the passer all year, therefore New Orleans should cover the three points; but if your gut instincts say the Buccaneers will win today, you may be right. Either way you look at it, today's game is a toss up. Very few teams are capable of taking down the Saints in the Super Dome, however if Tampa wins, they could become a team destine for a deep playoff run. In other games, Indy should prevail against Jacksonville, and the Bears should defeat the injury riddled New York Giants.

On Sunday, the National Football League will pay tribute to Sean Taylor's memory by emblazoning his number, 21, on every player's helmet.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Redskins, not Custer make last stand

Normally after ten weeks, at least one or two NFL teams emerge from the pack and start playing their best football. For four quarters last Sunday, it appeared the Washington Redskins might be one of those teams. Their superlative effort against the Dallas Cowboys fell short by less than a touchdown. Yet, just having a chance of beating the Cowboys in Texas Stadium speaks volumes about the gamesmanship of coach, Joe Gibbs; however, the Cowboys repeatedly took advantage of a hole in the Redskins secondary created by an injury to hard hitting safety, Sean Taylor. He missed the game due to a slight knee wound. This Sunday, Taylor is probable so there may be no such breach in the Skins defense, and that means problems for Washington's new opponent: Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers rolled past the Atlanta Falcons 31-7. Unlike the Redskins, the Bucs offense struggled until the defense turned an Atlanta fumble into a touchdown. After that, Tampa Bay's defense swarmed all over the hapless Falcons. This game is intriguing because it could be the Redskins last chance to stay in the wild card race. For the Buccaneers- a loss coupled with a win by New Orleans over Carolina- sets up a winner take all South division showdown next Sunday between Tampa and the Saints. The Bucs, nevertheless, are just a 3 1/2 point favorite against the Skins meaning this game is a toss up. Tampa Bay could be flying under the radar; consider, the running duo of B.J. Askew also Ernest Graham has been a pleasant surprise, but it underscores how poorly Gruden is evaluating his personnel. For example, how could Graham have languished on the bench this long in favor of Mike Alstott also Cadillac Williams. Graham, meanwhile, holds onto the ball like a loaf of bread, consequently it may be only a matter of time before he fumbles and returns to Gruden's doghouse. In this match up, I will go out on a limb by predicting a Buccaneers victory 24-21. If Tampa wins, they could become the surprise team in the NFC capable of making a deep run in the playoffs. In other games, the Patriots should cover the 24 point spread against Philadelphia. The Saints and Carolina are a toss up, but I look for the Saints to win. Finally, take the Packers and the points in Dallas.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What's the matter with Kansas?

Can anyone take this college football season seriously? The rash of upsets combined with the interchanging of numbers one, two, also three have turned college football into a joke. So whose really number #1: LSU? They lost to Kentucky while needing a miracle to beat Florida. What's the matter with Kansas? For one, they built their impressive record against teams with a combined record of 5-29. As for Oklahoma, not even Julie Andrews can take them seriously considering the whipping Texas Tech gave the Sooners. More than likely, Oklahoma may rebound and beat Kansas or Missouri in the Big Eight championship. LSU, furthermore, could lose to a surging Georgia or Tennessee in the Southeastern Championship final. That could leave us watching West Virginia against Ohio State in the pseudo National Championship game. Having computers also sportswriters pick the two best teams to play for a title is turning college football into a farce. A freak show violating the spirit of Title IX. A landmark decision mandating continued expansion of athletic opportunities for the underrepresented gender. The NCAA offers a playoff system for all of its sports except football. Unless college football implements a playoff, no one will take the national championship game anymore seriously than the Meineke Car quest Bowl, or whatever its called.
This week in the NFL, no one wants to lay claim to the to the NFC South. Tampa Bay can't win on the road; the Saints' defense is full of holes; the Falcons are plain bad; and Carolina can no longer depend on an aging Steve Smith; however in Green Bay take the Panthers and the points. I like Atlanta to continue its surge against Tampa. The San Diego Chargers will win in Jacksonville.

Friday, November 02, 2007

For now, take the Colts

This week in the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts may win the battle, but the Patriots will ultimately win the war. Its only the regular season, and the defending champions should defend their home turf, but in the playoffs, a healthy New England should prevail easily. With a front line of nose guard, Butch Wilfolk, also Richard Seymour, the Pats are clearly the best team in the National Football League. Notice, I didn't even mention, the great free safety, Rodney Harrison. The Colts, furthermore, have more to play for. The last thing Indy wants is traveling to New England for a playoff match up in the dead of winter. This thought alone will incentivize them to play their butts off. Take the Colts in this classic match up of unbeaten teams. As for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, what a difference a week makes. This team was 3-1 two weeks ago and now they're spiraling out of contention. Will anything change this week? the Jaguars only threw the ball seven times and still won; something unheard of in the pass happy NFL. Granted, Arizona has better receivers than Jacksonville, so expect the Cardinals to take advantage of Tampa's struggling defense. Take the Cardinals and the points. In Tennessee, the Carolina Panthers should prevail over the Titans, meanwhile the Saints will cover the spread while handily defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars. New Orleans is well on its way to coming back and winning this division.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bucs could be singing blues in Motown

There's an old saying that timing is everything. Unfortunately for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they have to travel to Motown for a game against the well rested Detroit Lions. The giant killer this week could be Lions head coach, Rod Martenelli; As the former defensive coordinator in Tampa, Martinelli has a huge advantage of knowing the Bucs defensive personnel and how to attack it. Furthermore with wide receivers, Braylon Edwards also Calvin Johnson, Lions' quarterback, John Kitna, has the weapons to frustrate Tampa's outstanding defense. On offense, the Buccaneers sole play maker is wide out, Joey Galloway, meanwhile the running game is plodding along with injuries to Cadillac Williams also Michael Pittman. Although quarterback, Jeff Garcia, is effective, he remains hampered by an inconsistent line and ultra conservative play calling. What Tampa lacks in offensive efficiency, they make up in special teams. Their opponents are often facing poor field position because of the superb punting of Jeff Bidwell, meanwhile field goal kicker, Matt Bryant, remains deadly accurate from long range. But knowing Lions' offensive coordinator, Mike Martz, he's studied the game film from the Tampa Bay massacre in Indianapolis. For anyone who says, "Well that's Payton Manning for you." I assure you Mr. Manning will be running for his life in Jacksonville Monday night. The Buccaneers have no pass rush also Ronde Barber is too small to cover Calvin Johnson. The Lions should cover the 2 point spread winning 28-21.
On Monday night, I look for the Colts to make a stand and defeat Jacksonville. As for college football, fortunately the obsession with South Florida is over. The team was very overrated and Rutgers proved the Bulls could hardly beat top ten teams like Oregon, LSU, or South Carolina; let alone monsters such as USC or Ohio State. Sure the Buckeyes looked horrible last year against Florida, but OSU lost all of its edge by being idle for 31 days. Everyone was believing in South Florida because the roster is built on Florida recruits. Well, those boys from the sunshine state got their asses kick by a bunch a guys from a basketball area. Finally, I expect Florida to upset Kentucky.

Friday, September 21, 2007

LSU showdown with South Carolina

This week's hottest games are South Carolina at LSU, Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams at Tampa Bay, and the desperate Falcons hosting the Carolina Panthers. Lets look at the LSU match up against the Gamecocks. Since the beginning of the year, South Carolina's feisty coach, Steve Spurrier, has been saying his team is underrated. Spurrier has been insistent on claims Carolina is being underestimated in the race to win the Southeastern's Conference East Division. Spurrier, moreover, said the Gamecocks would no longer be happy just contending, they expect to win the alliance. Considering last year's nail biter against Florida, he could be right. The old ball coach would have won that contest had it not been for a blocked field goal. South Carolina, furthermore, outplayed the Gators for four quarters. Fortunately, Spurrier returns with most of his team intact from last year. The Gamecocks have a stifling defense and a competent run and gun offense. LSU , meanwhile, has looked like one of the top five teams in college football with big wins over Virginia Tech also hapless Mississippi State. The Tigers, nevertheless, are coached by big mouth, Les Miles, whose teams have a history of being out coached in big games. I would take Carolina and the points. As for the remaining games, I expect the Cowboys to beat the Chicago Bears. The Monsters of the Midway are unsettled at quarterback, furthermore they need to continue getting field position and touchdowns from punt returner extraordinarie, Devin Hester. If Dallas corrals him, they should win.
Meanwhile, the desperate St. Louis Rams visit Tampa Bay. Last week against New Orleans, the Buccaneers' defense flashed a lot of the speed that led them to a Super Bowl championship.
The Saints weren't ready for it and neither will the Rams. Tampa Bay will cover. In Atlanta, the Falcons have new quarterback, Byron Leftwicth, and the Panthers are smarting from a loss to the resurgent Houston Texans. Carolina will barely escape with a win, but they'll cover.
Alright bettors those are your picks for the week....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Michael Vick in Black and White

Many people wonder why African Americans frequently play the race card when it comes to justice in America. Take Falcon quarterback, Michael Vick, until his confession more blacks believed he was innocent. Why? Many blacks are confronted by the stark racial injustice in the judicial system. For example, blacks are convicted and imprisoned at a rate of 4-1 for many of the same crimes committed by whites males. African American males, furthermore, are only six percent of the population; nevertheless, they comprise forty percent of the prison population. No wonder blacks cry foul whenever a prominent African American is incarcerated. They are not just carping about Vick, but the larger picture of racial injustice in America. The demonizing of Vick on the talk radio and television circuit stands in stark contrast to Columbine. Many whites, particularly females, blamed the parents, bullies, and the school for the one dare to place the blame at the feet of cold blooded killers Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris. The same attitude prevailed when the Menendez brothers confessed to slaying their parents. Once again, it was the boy's father, not Lyle Menendez, who was excoriated for their son's heinous behavior. Finally, blacks couldn't ignore the obvious implication when a white male was arrested 23 times before gunning down an unsuspecting Tampa sheriff. He was conducting a drunk driving sting. The notion in this society of white males being the victims while blacks are the perpetrators have tipped the scales of justice into trash can full of doubt and bewilderment. Quarterback, Michael Vick, must be held accountable for breaking the law, but African Americans have every right to complain about a justice system that only wants to judge them by the color of their skin.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Are Rams Ready To Explode?

The Rams opening season game against the Carolina Panthers could spur either team to a playoff berth. For example, the Rams will follow that meeting with showdowns against Arizona, also Tampa Bay. Conceivably, St. Louis could be 3-0 heading into a clash against the Dallas Cowboys. The Rams, furthermore, can depend on a healthy right tackle Orlando Pace while the left side will be manned by Alex Barron. With quarterback, Marc Bulger, wide receivers, Issac Bruce, also, Drew Bennett, the Rams will score plenty of points. More importantly, the recent acquisition of punt returner, Dante Hall, could potentially give the Rams consistent field position. During their last six games, the Rams scored 165 points, and that's certainly going to give defensive coordinators nightmares. St. Louis' defense, however, feel asleep last year by ranking 31st against the run and 22nd against the pass...not good news for a team facing Steve Smith and the Carolina Panthers on opening day. In the mediocre NFC, this match up rates as the game of the week, but bettors can expect the Panthers to prevail on the road.

Rating the Rams
Offensive Line (A)
Special Teams (B+)
Defense (C)
Projected Finish 10-6

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Gruden: happy trails

Who would have anticipated four years ago coach, Tony Dungy, celebrating a Super Bowl win also a best selling novel while his replacement in Tampa begrudgingly awaits a pink slip. When John Gruden hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy in 2003, Dungy must have been thinking about the scripture that says, "Those who are first now will be last then, and those who are last now will be first then." For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the words are prophetic. Last year, they finish at the bottom of the NFC South, and things aren't looking up this season. On defense, middle linebacker, Derrick Brooks, is at the tail end of a stellar career, unfortunately he's playing like it. Defensive end, Simeon Rice, was unceremoniously released while other aging veterans simmered over their fate. Rice, meanwhile, was let go despite the Bucs registering a paltry 25 sacks. Consider, Carolina's, Julius Peppers, had 13. A new defensive line consisting of Kevin Carter, Patrick Chukuwaruh, and first round draft pick, Gaines Adams hardly inspires fear. Adams, furthermore, has been manhandled in practice by the Bucs' honeycomb offensive line. In the secondary, cornerback, Brian Kelly, returns from an injury also teammate Ronde Barber is savvy but he's also 33-years old and contemplating retirement. Furthermore, defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffen, is believed to be fed up with Gruden blaming the defense for the team's decline. On offense, Gruden signed quarterback, Jeff Garcia, to figure out Gruden's complicated playbook. Unfortunately, Garcia will face the same fate former signal callers Chris Simms also Brad Johnson confronted: no pass protection. The line consist of second year tackle, Jeremy Trueblood, Davin Joseph, John Wade, rookie, Aaron Sears, and Luke Petitgrew. Trueblood lacks quick feet, consequently defenders run around him. Joseph is solid, but Wade is creaky with bad knees; Sears is a rookie who battled weight problems at Tennessee and many feel he's better suited at tackle. What does that tell you? As for Petitgrew, he's battling chronic back problems, so the Bucs probably would have been better off signing someone off the street. If Garcia survives the season behind this bunch, he should say five Hail Marys and take communion. At running back, Cadillac Williams, is in a west coast offense, yet he has trouble catching the ball. Another first round pick flanker, Michael Clayton, is backing up a sixth round choice, Maurice Stovall. Gruden's poor draft choices and mediocre free agent signings have the Buccaneers with little hope for success this season, or the future. Another 4-11 year, and He'll probably be cut loose. By then, Tony Dungy may need an offensive coordinator.

Bucs projected record

Monday, August 06, 2007

Chow Time in Carolina

The Panthers will pin their hopes this season on three critical changes. First of the all, Carolina's new offensive coordinator is Jeff Davidson. He's revitalizing the Panther's stagnant running game with a zone blocking scheme for running back, DeAngelo Williams. Zone blocks require an offensive lineman to block an area rather than a player. The technique was very successful for Davidson in Denver where the Broncos guzzled up huge chunks of yardage. Williams was familiar with the system at the University of Memphis. Besides a new coach, the Panthers want to re-sign dominant defensive end, Julius Peppers, but he wants to become the highest paid defender in the league. It's believed, Peppers wants to exceed the Colts, Dwight Freeny, with a contract neighboring, 72-million over six years. Lastly, the Panthers need another extraordinary season from receiver, Steve Smith. This year, he will have some help from gangly flanker, Dwanye Jarrett, another good Panther draft choice from USC. A healthy Steve Smith makes everybody's job easier, consequently quarterback, Jake Delhome, should rebound from last year's struggles; however, Smith must return to his old form, otherwise the Panthers will labor to improve on last year's 8-8 season. Another concern is the strong safety position. Hard hitting and intelligent, Mike Minter, says he will retire this season, meanwhile Carolina signed former Bear strong saftey, Chris Harris. The defense will need the taciturn, Kris Jenkins, to play like a Tasmanian devil, but the Panthers think his excessive weight, 375 lbs, will doom him to another sub par performance. Jenkins was left off the team's bonding trip: an outing where the players took turns racing NASCAR stock cars. Jenkins was also angry over persistent trade rumors involving him. The Panthers will need to win their opening game in St. Louis to remain in Pro Football Weekly's power rankings: Carolina is seeded 13Th.
With the downfall of Atlanta, the Panthers should secure the wild card by finishing the year 11-5. That would keep coach, John Fox, employed for another season.

Next: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Friday, July 27, 2007

Are Falcons Better Without Vick?

Quarterback, Michael Vick, has a lot of problems and so do the Atlanta Falcons. Vick, nevertheless, can legally beat this case. Without him though, the Falcons may not fare so well. Of all the damming indictments of hanging, electrocuting, and body slamming Pit Bulls, none of charges specifically mention Vick. Most of the allegations target co-defendants, Quanis Phillips, Tony Taylor, also Purnell Peace. Vick is charged with ordering the dogs to be killed, but how do you prove it? The only witnesses are convicted criminals. For example if you were a juror, who would you believe? Even for the Feds, there is no guarantee 12 men and women will agree to convict Vick based on eye witless testimony. Following the Duke Lacrosse case, meanwhile, no one will be in a hurry to send anyone accused of a crime to the gallows without some hard evidence. Vicks' footprints, nevertheless, were all over Coach, Bobby Petrino's, game plan, but now he'll have to settle on journeyman Joey Harrington; he was released last year by the Miami Dolphins. Conversely for all of Vick's highlight reel runs, he was still sacked 47 times , moreover, he consistently failed to connect on passes to wide open receivers. Making matters worse, the Falcons have already lost multi purpose back, Warrick Dunn. On defense, tough, Patrick Kearney, - who is stellar- signed in the off season with Seattle. Dependable linebacker, Demorrio Williams, is hurt; however, he could be ready for the opener against the Minnesota Vikings. Fortunately, Atlanta will regain the services of hardened nose tackle, Grady Jackson, who along with Ronald Coleman will make the Falcons difficult to run on. The linebacking corp remains the team's strong point. Yet with back up quarterback, Matt Shuab, in Houston, the Falcons just don't have the pieces to win this season. I project Atlanta will regress from last year's 7-9 season to 4-12.

Next Week
Carolina Panthers

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Seen Michael Vick Lately?

According to talk radio, Vick has been appearing at dog fighting matches all around the country. The Falcons, nevertheless, better be prepared when PETA, and other animal rights activist begin voicing their displeasure at the Atlanta superstar. Admittedly, Vick has his share of problems. For example, he pointed the middle finger at rowdy Falcon fans, he was apprehended by airport security who discovered a water bottle with a hidden compartment reeking of marijuana, a member of his entourage was accused of stealing a Rolex at Atlanta International Airport, and a woman settled a lawsuit after blaming Vick for giving her herpes. Now its dogfighting a brutal diversion illegal in 50 states. According to several eyewitnesses, Vick assisted in electrocuting, hanging and beating dogs to death who were badly injured in the ring. Of course, an eyewitnesses can also be a jailhouse informant willing to offer incriminating testimony in exchange for a lighter sentence.Unfortunately, death row is full of innocent people awaiting execution based on bogus eyewitness accounts. Vick, himself, is blaming his cousin for all the transgressions. Conversely, defenders of Vick are pointing to - of all things- ultimate fighting as an excuse for allowing all this to go away. In another weird dichotomy, the Rev. Al Sharpton has joined with PETA in condemning Vick. HUH? For the National Football League, none of this is good news. Consider, the NFL's lagging attendance in Europe forced the alliance to acknowledge it can't grow the sport beyond its borders. NBA commissioner, David Stern, meanwhile, giggles as the NBA outsells the NFL in merchandise while bragging the NBA also gets way more website hits. Major League Baseball is preparing for a true international World Series, but the National Football League is struggling with attendance issues in Charlotte, and Jacksonville. Either team could be relocating to Los Angeles. It used to be character issues were the sole province of the NBA, but the legal issues of Michael Vick, Pac Man Jones, and Tank Johnson, have smeared a corporation riding the wave of endorsement success. For now, the National Football League would be wise to do an extensive background check on all the players selected in the first two rounds. The league should also make it very clear that abberant behavior can result in expulsion from the League. Vick, nonetheless, will probably beat these charges; despite his lapses, he's not a career criminal, more importantly his lack of an accurate arm could someday force him into a backup role. A place where Vick could no longer blindside the National Football League.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Handicapping The New Orleans Saints

Are you ready for some football? Well in two weeks several teams will open camp, meanwhile I'll be breaking down the season. Despite opening against the Colts in Indy, I'm picking the New Orleans Saints to finally make it to the Super Bowl, however that's contingent on quarterback, Drew Brees, and running back, Reggie Bush, staying healthy. The Saints also have to find an adequate replacement for receiver, Joe Horn. He moved over to Atlanta. The Saints will have to pray their spotty defense holds together, but unlike the past, the South division isn't as competitive; therefore, New Orleans should get a lot wins against division foes. Furthermore, Coach, Sean Payton, is an extraordinary play caller, and with Bush, the Saints should excel on special teams. Nevertheless, first round pick, Robert Meachem from Tennessee, will have to live up to expectations for people to forget about reliable, Joe Horn. The other wide out, Marcus Colston, must continue to get better, but that will not be easy considering the upgrades other divisional foes made this season. As the year progresses, the Saints seem to be emerging as the team to beat in the National Football Conference, moreover New Orleans appears to be the only NFC team capable of competing against vastly superior AFC powers: New England, Indianapolis, Baltimore, and San Diego.

Grading the Saints
Offensive Line (B+)
Offense: (A) *
Special Teams (A+)
Defense (C)
*Led NFL

Projected Finish 12-4

Next Week, I will preview the Atlanta Falcons.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Is Kobe Screwed?

As for accusations of rape, I don't know if Kobe sexually assaulted the woman in Colorado, but I do know he's getting screwed by the Los Angeles Lakers. Talk about being pissed off, Bryant lost it when the Los Angeles Times quoted a Laker insider: evidently, this source blamed Bryant for the Lakers reluctance to extend Oneal's contract. On his website, Kobe said he had absolutely nothing to do with owner, Jerry Buss', decision to resign Oneal. According to Bryant, Buss said Shaq was neither fit, healthy, nor willing to hustle 82 games. More importantly, Kobe said he only agreed to re-up with the Lakers because Buss told him Los Angeles wasn't going to rebuild; instead, they were going to acquire top free agents and contend for the title. Current players, Kawnme Brown, Lamar Odom, and Luke Walton are far from being premiere NBA players. Bryant, furthermore, could not understand why the Lakers passed on Jason Kidd, Baron Davis, and Carlos Boozer...players available during the All Star break. Now Kobe is asking to be traded; after reading the Times, Bryant's decided to shout, "Screw You!" In an interview today on ESPN's, Dan Patrick's show, Bryant was asked if he would consider playing anywhere including an out-post like Atlanta? Bryant replied, "Yes." Some Laker fans think Bryant's outrage is timed to force Buss to hire former General Manager, Jerry West. Such a move would certainly anger current GM, Mitch Kupchak...a close friend of West. Only in Tinseltown can this soap opera continue such an impressive run.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Lightning looking for Jesus

The Tampa Bay Lightning is looking for a miracle goal keeper. In fact, they're looking for Jesus. According to coach, John Tortarella, his team needs a goalie who can stop any puck heading towards the net. Unfortunately, this coach has forgotten that playoff hockey is won by fore checking, stick checking, and cleaning out bodies in front of the net. Far too often, the Lightning defensemen can be seen backpedaling into net minder, Johan Holmquist, sometimes knocking him out of position. With the exception of forward Andre Roy, Vinny Lecavalier, Shane Obrien, and Marty St. Louis, the rest of the players rarely touch the streaking Devils with anything more than a glancing tag. Until Friday when the Devils went into their infamous trap, New Jersey was almost out
shooting Tampa 2-1. With the failure of the defensemen to clear the net, Holmquivst, is having to make saves on his back. Meanwhile, the Devils just skate in unmolested and get good shots on goal. Someone needs to tell Torterella that Jesus isn't coming back to save the Lightning.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sorry Florida: UCLA Isn't Gator Bait

So here we are primed for college basketball's premier sporting event: the Final Four. The elite game features defending champion Florida against UCLA. Last year, these two teams met in final, but tonight they hook up in the semi finals. For the Bruins, 2006 saw them walk off the court shell shocked by Gator guard, Lee Humphrey's, proficient three point shooting and center, Joakim Noah's, tenacious shot blocking. The Bruins were already hanging their 12Th NCAA championship banner when the roof caved in. For some reason, UCLA uncharacteristically decided to donate a National Championship banner to Florida. Meanwhile, they lost by 25-points. Because of the Bruins' great history also tradition, they never took the Florida Gators for anything more than a football school. This time, the UCLANS are ready to re-establish their great folklore by proving that the most competitive amateur basketball is played on the West Coast. Not only will UCLA beat Florida, the Bruins will blow them out with a winning margin of more than 12-points. This game will not even be close. Goodbye Florida, the Bruins bid you a fond farewell. We hope you stick with football...something you're good at.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Oh Devil Rays, Knock, Kock?

Knock, Knock, anyone home? When it comes to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, nobody answers: meaning no one's held accountable. Now we learn slugger, Josh Hamilton, is batting .440 for the Cincinnati Reds, moreover he'll probably make the opening day roster. The same Josh Hamilton who was a first round pick also projected starter for Tampa. Hamilton suffered numerous drug relapses before finally turning his life around and playing in the Rays farm system. He was well on his way to a comeback before a knee injury side tracked him. Last year, the Rays placed the North Carolina native on waivers. The Reds took a chance, and Hamilton is paying off in huge dividends. The silly thing about this transaction is the Rays kept Hamilton despite his relapses. Why on earth would they put him on waivers when the club had already endured through so much turmoil? It makes about as much sense as two people getting a divorced after fifty years of marraige. Hello, is anyone home? A club filled with restless young players still lacks veteran leadership, furthermore in the American League East, the Rays know the season is over before it starts. The manager, John Madden, refuses to challenge the club because he recognizes no one cares about winning here; so why should he. Major league baseball should consider doing what some minor league affiliations do. If a triple A club does not remain competitive, it is reclassified as a double A team. Perhaps, that's the only way to send the Rays back to the minors...knock, knock!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Lightning on Thin Ice

In the National Hockey League, the Tampa Bay Lightning are inching towards a playoff berth; however despite having the two of the top scoring threats, Vinny Lecavalier also Marty St. Louis, the Bolts are struggling in goal. This could handicapped the club's playoff hopes. Neither Holquist nor Marc Dennis have been consistent in goal. Both players, moreover, have been taking turns letting in soft goals. Tampa Bay is playing with the same consistent hustle and voracious fore checking that defined 2003 Stanley Cup champions. Yet, the hockey equivalent to basketball rebounding is stalwart goal tending, and the Lightning aren't getting it consistently. Currently, the New Islanders are receiving great net minding from Rick Depietro. Against the Rangers, he played brilliantly by stopping 56 goals. That's what turns also rans into serious playoff contenders. Tampa Bay may not be in the playoffs long without better goaltending.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tim Hardaway, don't worry you're too ugly.

Former basketball all-star, Tim Hardaway, was banned by the NBA for making very disparaging remarks about gays. Kudos for NBA commissioner, David Stern. First of all, how can African Americans disassociate themselves from the plight of homosexuals. Consider, it was just sixty years ago blacks were the group to hate. For example, 14-year old, Megar Evers, was beat to death for whistling at an attractive white woman. African Americans, moreover, were ridiculed, discriminated against, and segregated from society. His constitutional rights, well the KKK uses it to encouraged hatred against blacks, the Skinheads hide behind it to promote racism against Jews, and the Aryan Nation uses it to promote sexism against women. Stern, meanwhile, was just taking the necessary precautions to protect his league from a man whose vitriolic comments aligned him with racists. Hardaway said that he was homophobic and hated gays. He, furthermore, stated he would feel uncomfortable dressing in front of a homosexual. As for perversion, more heterosexuals molest and rape children than gays, and as ugly as Tim Hardaway is, he shouldn't worry about any man or woman checking him out.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Colts are just better.

For the first time in pro football history, two African American football coaches will face off for the most coveted prize in American sports: the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The Chicago Bears, Lovie Smith, and the Indianapolis, Colts, Tony Dungy, will be the focal point of the Super Bowl. Pro sports has always been the vehicle altering the landscape of racism. Consider the Dodgers signing of Jackie Robinson. That bold move by general manager, Branch Rickey, led to the integration of public schools, the army, also public transportation. Ironically 35-years ago, it was believed by many that African Americans lacked the mental capacity to play quarterback in college and pro football. Today, their speed also athleticism has revolutionized the position. Dungy, who has built a Hall of Fame resume, plays down the significance of this historic occasion. He says it will only be news when no notices the color of a head coach's skin. But tonight, over 35-years of prejudice will finally be buried when he or Lovie Smith holds up the Vince Lombardi trophy.
* As for the game, I'm picking the Colts 24-14. Indy's defense is too fast for the sluggish Bears to contain; everyone seems to forget, moreover, the banged up Seattle Sea hawks almost beat Chicago in the second round playoff game. New Orleans, could not believe they let an opportunity slip away when they clearly were the superior team. Although Lovie beat Tony to the Super Bowl the Colts will make sure Tony Dungy is the one who hoist the trophy.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Boise State ain't Gator Bait.

So Gators, what does this prove: absolutely nothing. Florida's lopsided win over Ohio State is almost as laughable as the system that created a mythical champion; and judging by the television ratings, no else is buying it. The tightly contested Orange Bowl between underdog Boise State and Oklahoma experienced a 27 percent drop in ratings. That translates into 27 million less viewers than last year. The Sugar and other nameless bowls saw their numbers drop also. It seems to suggest that no one is buying the theory a National Championship can be won using computers, sportswriters, and coaches. After not playing for nearly two months, did you really expect Ohio State to play to its potential. Now maybe OSU coach, Jim Tressel, will join Florida's, Urban Myer, in calling for a playoff. It would have been nice to see who would emerge from a pool of Florida, LSU, Boise State, and USC. The NCAA does it for every other sport ; why not do it for the biggest money maker of all. My hat goes off to Florida, but are they really better than LSU or USC? Americans are right in tuning out these bowls. Now if the NCAA really cares about the regular season, the only undefeated team left standing is Boise State, therefore the Broncos are the real national champions.
As for the National Football League, I like the the Colts to upset the Ravens. Despite Baltimore's record, the Titans were right in giving up on quarterback, Steve McNair, and the Colts should exploit his declining skills. The San Diego Chargers should eke out a close win over the ageless Patriots. The Philadelphia Eagles are peeking at the right time and they'll defeat the Saints, but this one will be close. Finally, the Chicago Bears will win one more game before hibernating for the winter....Happy New Year Football Fans.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Darrent Williams: Pro Athletes and Gangsta Rap

Its becoming all too clear pro athletes partying with gangsta rappers is a volatile cocktail. On New Year's eve, the Denver Broncos' 24-year old starting corner back, Darrent Williams, was gunned down a few blocks away from a popular Denver night club: the Shelter. The New Year's eve social gathering was held in conjunction with a birthday party for the Denver Nuggets, Kenyon Martin.
According to police, a confrontation erupted between Williams' entourage and another group in attendance. This group may have consisted of some rappers also their Disc Jockey. Williams was not thought to have been an instigator, only a bystander; however his past affiliation with gangsta rappers is well documented. This violent episode coincides with another shooting at the University of Pittsburgh. Several of their basketball players were shot when a man thought a player was coming on to his alleged girlfriend. Professional athletes are accustomed to being the toast of the party, nevertheless this perception is starting to be routinely challenged by hoodlums, rappers, or anyone else seeking the limelight. The competition for women, particularly the gold-diggers and hoes, frequenting these sets can set off a deadly explosion resulting in a carnage of fatalities. Consider the ingredients: booze, male ego, and the allure of sex can make any high strung male risk everything for a tenuous one night stand. The women know which night spots are frequented by athletes and rappers. These affairs are high stakes opportunities to meet gorgeous women of all races. Unfortunately, it's turning into a life and death battle for African American males who are rapidly becoming the sexual role model and preference for many women. Congratulations brothers; Jack Johnson would proud; but if you want to keep it real, let the hotties know, they're not worth dying for.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Gruden vs Alstott

In Tampa, a unique showdown occurred between coach, John Gruden, and the legions of fans endeared by hard charging full back, Mike Alstott. Since winning the Super Bowl, the Bucs have posted losing seasons four of the past five years. 2005, however, was an aberration with Tampa capturing the 2005 NFC South title. During each of those losing seasons, some fans complained on talk radio about the lack of carries for Alstott. Some believed Gruden had something against the popular veteran; for the time being, Alstott didn't help his case by privately complaining about the lack of carries. Meanwhile, the tempestuous Gruden may have bent over backwards by giving Alstott chances at the expense of the more productive, Michael Pittman. Sunday, Pittman had over 108 yards rushing including 33 all purpose yards. Arguably, he's as good as starter, Cadillac Williams, but Pittman usually comes in on passing situations. Yesterday, he started in place of the injured Williams. A five time all pro, Alstott may have been underused considering how nimble he is running the ball. He also has excellent hands; something Cadillac clearly lacks. As for Gruden, he shows poor judgement in evaluating talent. For example, quarterback, Tim Rattay, has a better grasp of the West Coast offense than either, Chris Simms, or Bruce Gradowski. Rattay, however, didn't start until the last two games of the season; furthermore, the selection of Cadillac Williams, also receiver, Michael Clayton, seems inexcusable considering the wealth of talent around the league at these positions. Alstott, and defensive end, Simeon Rice, have insinuated the Buccaneers are poorly prepared for games and fail to make adjustments during crucial junctures. Although that's the head coach's responsibility, there are over 20 other Buccaneer assistant coaches who are also at fault. This may have been Alstott's last game, nevertheless, the Bucs should put him in a key management position to continue his association with the team. For no other player symbolizes the traits of toughness, character, and responsibility than the man known as the " A Train."