I was too poor to go to Cooperstown when I was younger. But I was obsessed with baseball statistics. I borrowed books in the library to study up on all things related to the history of the MLB. One of the impressive feats I remember reading was Reggie Jackson’s three home runs on three pitches in the 1977 World Series against the Dodgers.  But like I said before, I was only concerned with statistics and the statistical anomalies that would pop up from time to time. 

 

When I finally got access to the Internet, I searched the baseball Hall of Fame and found Reggie Jackson, a man whom I only identified as a Yankee, naturally wearing a Yankee hat. I began to read articles related to Reggie Jackson, I soon discovered Reggie’s contentious relationship with the Yankee brass, specifically George Steinbrenner and manager Billy Martin. While Jackson was widely revered in Yankee circles, (he participated in Old Timer’s games and he’s enshrined in Monument Park, the Yankee equivalent to the Ring of Honor) he spent most of his Hall of Fame caliber years with the Oakland A’s. For as miserable as those years were dealing with the New York media, I don’t understand why Reggie Jackson was so gung-ho about being enshrined as a Yankee. His case was one of the one’s cited as the Hall of Fame changed the rules such that they (as in the committee) chose what hat they wore into Cooperstown. 

 

Here are some other situations similar to Jackson’s: http://espn.go.com/page2/s/hat/HOF.html

 Image

This brings me to Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod has never truly been welcomed to the Bronx. He was a clear upgrade from Aaron Boone the year he arrived in a Yankee uniform in 2004. He was a part of the team with one of the all-time great Yankee lineups never to win a championship:  (the famed 3-0 collapse) and (murderer’s row and Cano). 

A-Rod didn’t make the case for himself either, having poor postseason efforts, where he consistently underachieved, especially in so-called “clutch” situations. Money was not an issue for the Yankees as they realized true multiple MVP season that they had the best player in baseball if not one of the top-3. 

However, to be truthful, A-Rod never stood a chance. It was Derek Jeter’s team. The beloved 4-time World Series champion (at the time) would never take a backseat for A-Rod. Jeter didn’t exactly always give Rodriguez his most resounding endorsement either. Not to mention the most beloved manager in Yankee history, Joe Torre, batted a slumping A-Rod, 8th in the 2006 ALDS vs. the Tigers. Has there have been a bigger slap in the face to a reigning MVP than to be demoted to 8th? A-Rod kept his cool through all of it. He couldn’t win.

Until he did. The 2009 New York Yankees World Series Championship should read: Alex Rodriguez becomes a “Real Yankee” [Sidebar: Full disclosure, I am a Yankee fan. I love being a pretentious snob when it pertains to my Yankee fandom. But the “Real Yankee” trope is about as obnoxious as we can get. I’ve never heard that associated with anyone in my lifetime except A-Rod. He’s the only guy who dealt with that. It wasn’t that he wasn’t a “Real Yankee” as much as us Yankee fans were overprotective of our patron saints of the 90s and early 00s, Joe Torre and Derek Jeter.] Hitting over .360, A-Rod was finally worth the money and the headache. 

 

[youtube:www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWnPHkYqidE]

 

Since then, he’s been God-awful. He’s hit below .200 in four straight postseasons series. His 2012 postseason campaign was both comical and painful watch simultaneously. If his 3-27, 12 K performance wasn’t bad enough, the media caught wind of A-Rod being, well, A-Rod. A new faux-scandal emerged involving A-Rod flirting with an Australian model during Game 1 of the ALCS. Not to mention, there were talks of trading Alex Rodriguez to the Miami Marlins in the MIDDLE OF THE ALCS. 

 

Alex Rodriguez has been kicked around and stomped on by the fans, the Yankee organization and the guys within the clubhouse. I’m not sure how he can look back at his years with the Yankees as media whipping boy and fall guy for all that has gone wrong with the New York Yankees since he’s arrived. The contract doomed him in many ways, but Alex has suffered enough. [I’m leaving myself wide open for my sympathies for a man who will make nearly $130 million over the next 5 years for being basically a glorified role player. And I’m okay with that] Dozens of fan bases would have killed for a guy who has produced like Alex Rodriguez. Most fans would be happy to say they were able the witness one of the 10 best players of all-time play for their city. Not New Yorkers, not Yankee fans. I hope when it’s time for Rodriguez to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame [still up for debate considering that whole PED admission] he wears another hat. The Yankees never deserved him. 

 

Aside  —  Posted: October 20, 2012 in Collaborative Posts

Response to Scoop Jackson Article

Posted: October 9, 2012 in Bunker

We’re reminded why Scoop Jackson isn’t allowed to write often on ESPN.com. I have no problem with Scoop Jackson generally speaking, but I now understand why he was so viciously criticized by Jason Whitlock. I read this article about the Kansas City Chief fans cheering Matt Cassel’s injury during Sunday’s matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

I was asked what I found problematic with the article:

This article gave a quite embarrassing justification for the fans actions. Given the state of the NFL and knowing the terrible lives most of these players live after giving their bodies for the game (dementia, paralysis, lack of pension etc.) you can’t boo a guy who has just been knocked out of the game with a head injury. Boo a guy if he performs poorly, not when he’s unconscious and we don’t know what will happen with his career. As I told Linton before, the Michael Irvin situation referenced in the article was appalling and after that nothing would shock me. I wasn’t shocked by this, but I’m shocked when people try to justify their awful behavior in the stands by saying I paid $X for this ticket. You don’t have the right to throw out decency for your fellow HUMAN BEINGS just because paid the price of admission. Much like you can’t say I’m not paying taxes, because I don’t like what the government spends my money on.

Moreover what’s not often mentioned is what Roger Goddell has done is to humanize the game a bit more. The realities of the dangerous game that football have become much more apparent and exposed in the national media as a result of the regulation of head injuries etc. The media has caught up, the NFL has caught up, it’s time for fans to do the same. Especially people who have NEVER played. There’s a disconnect with the fans where they view players through some sort of video game lens. It’s alienating and the problem is that Scoop Jackson is justifying that alienation rather than bridging the gap.

Anytime you say, “I’m not justifying, just explaining”, you’re justifying. “Kansas City should have seen this coming”? Really. Blame the GM for the fans’ frustration with a player’s performance is one thing. To blame the GM for not putting the best product on the field is one thing. To blame him for the callous response from a frustrated fan base is lazy.

32 Questions and More: Week Five

Posted: October 7, 2012 in ALL II
Tags: , ,

Finally snapped out of my 9-7 streak with an impressive 11-4 performance.  Good to see everyone pleased about the return of the regular referees and then turn on them with the quickness of a WWF Attitude Era plotline.  As usual, my picks and questions for the week.

Cardinals at Rams

Kolb was sacked eight times last week and their starting quarterback is out due to injury.  Could there be a worse omen going forward into trap game Thursday?

Sam Bradford’s comeback trail has been lackluster but he doesn’t need to be brilliant to win against the fourth best team in the NFL.  Can he get enough protection to complete just enough to pull off the upset?

Dolphins at Bengals

Dolphins are in the bottom three in pass defense.  Bengals have given up some yards in chunks.  Can Ryan Tannehill continue overachieving long enough to exploit a weak, between the numbers secondary?

Can the Bengals return to the playoffs by only beating teams with under .500 records for the second straight season?  If so, that is an awesome accomplishment that defines a good football team.

Packers at Colts

Can the Packers play a single game without an egregious call against them?

How quickly will the Chuck Pagano story be shifted to match the Colts performance on Sunday?  If they do well, it’s an inspired performance playing for their coach.  If they do poorly, it’s the natural letdown to such a huge loss.  Get better, Chuck.

Ravens at Chiefs

Ravens got up for division rival Cincinnati and AFC elite rival New England.  Can they avoid a letdown on the road at Kansas City?  (Trap game #2)

The clearest advantage for the Chiefs is in the ground game with Jamaal Charles against the Baltimore edges.  With a slower Ravens defense, can Charles get established early and often to control the game opposite Flacco’s no-huddle?

Browns at Giants

If Browns fans were told after four weeks they would be keeping pace with the New Orleans Saints, how many would be disappointed by that reality?

Is it time to give Manning, Eli some credit as a quarterback who makes his teammates better after looking at the great start by perennial butt of the joke tight end Martellus Bennett?

Eagles at Steelers

Accurately picked the Eagles win against the Giants but don’t like their mistakes.  Both teams have porous offensive lines.  Can the Eagles pass rush outperform the Steelers counterpart?  If so then you have a win.

How much will the addition of James Harrison add to the top three pass rush defense going against a turnover prone quarterback?  Not much but it cannot hurt.

Falcons at Redskins

Can the Falcons stop the Atlanta, Georgia sports weekend from hell (Braves screwed in the Wild Card game and Georgia Bulldogs no-showed against South Carolina)?

Where does the Redskins pass defense begin in trying to contain Julio Jones and Roddy White?

Seahawks at Panthers

Russell Wilson is completing exactly 60% of his passes which is good until you see it’s for 600 yards and four touchdowns.  How poorly does he need to play before Carroll considers two game hit wonder Matt Flynn?

Seattle has an elite defense.  If they opt not to blitz, is Newton good enough to make tight throws and know when to throw it away?

Bears at Jaguars

Is it troubling for Bears fans that their franchise quarter back is playing as well as Blaine Gabbert? (Same completion percentage, touchdowns, more interceptions)

The problem with MJD vs. Forte is that Jones-Drew runs against the Bears defense.  It’s a pretty formidable challenge.  Can the Jags get Laurent Robinson going to ease the burden on their running game and reestablish a potential red chip wide receiving talent?

Titans at Vikings

Hasselbeck and Johnson.  Possible tagline for the season “Titans Football: Turning back the clock too late?”

Are you sold on this Vikings team that needed two improbable special team scores to beat the Lions?  Lots to pick apart with this team.

Broncos at Patriots

Can the computer pick apart the evil genius on the road?  It’s really the first and only meaningful Manning test I need to see.

Do you think the Patriots can afford another home loss following their last game against the Cardinals at Foxboro?  Key to this game is Stevan Ridley and getting to the 4.5 yards/carry mark.

Bills vs. 49ers

Who would’ve guessed that Ryan Fitzpatrick would be leading the NFL in touchdown after 4 games (12 TDs, 7 INTs)?

As dominant as their rush defense is, their pass defense has been that much better.  Can their offense avoid looking poorly in what should be a comfortable win?

Chargers at Saints

Chargers got worked by the NFC at home.  Hard for me to imagine this being different.  Can Rivers reassert himself in the top quarterbacks conversation that he woefully fell out of last season?

Things are much easier when you need to focus on just one threat.  Will the Saints put the clamps down on still recovering Ryan Matthews to turn this into a shootout?  Brees still can outperform Rivers – especially in the Mercedes Benz Superdome.

Texans at Jets

Since the Texans don’t really play good teams it’s hard to know just how good they are compared to others.  Certainly a top three team.  Do the Texans need to blow out the Jets to get the respect is probably deserves?  At least a ten point victory is needed.

How many offensive weapons do the Jets have?  *Waiting…waiting…* Yeah I guess that’s Sanchez’s fault too.

Don’t insult me. I know Miguel Cabrera is going after the Triple Crown and I will even concede Cabrera has been one of the best and most consistent hitters in the past three years. But don’t tell me that he’s having the best hitting season since Carl Yestremski in 1967. For some reason this has been a very popular narrative over the past few weeks while we (maybe 2% of the country) have been enthralled in Miguel Cabrera’s chase for the Triple Crown.

 

I’m not going to try to poo-poo Cabrera’s accomplishment, it’s a statistical anomaly in baseball. We should marvel at Cabrera’s accomplishment and even give him the MVP as he’s spearheaded the Tigers’ run to the AL Central Division title. But to try to debate that this is one of the top seasons of all time is embarrassing.

and irresponsible. Off the top of my head I can think of names such as Ted Williams, Ken Griffey, Jr., Sammy Sosa even Alfonso Soriano who have had better seasons than the one Cabrera’s currently having.

 

Yes I get it, Cabrera’s numbers are as follows .329/44/137, impressive by any measure. But if we’re going to argue that the simple fact that he will win the Triple Crown is the reason why this is one of the great season of all-time, forgets that the Triple Crown is a very subjective statistic. Just last year Cabrera’s Triple Crown numbers this year wouldn’t hold up as a Triple Crown season. Why? Because there would be four players (including Cabrera) who would have hit for a better average. If Cabrera hit two less Home Runs, wouldn’t the MLB hand the MVP to Mike Trout? Probably. The accomplishment alone should not merit Cabrera anything more than an MVP nod. Let’s not get carried away with aligning Cabrera’s seasons along side some Pujols, A-Rod and Sosa’s seasons. Not to mention, Barry Lamar Bonds.

 

Again, don’t insult me. I was old enough to see Barry Bonds 2001-2004 seasons. I know what I saw. I saw offensive domination like no one had ever seen. Forget Bonds’ 73 HR season where he also hit .328, drove in 137 RBIs and set the record for walks, 2002 is the most devastating season a player has ever had without crushing more than 50 Home Runs. .370/46/110 with 198 walks. This is a season no one has ever come close to matching. Let’s not even mention that 2004 was not too far behind 2002.

 

The media should stop pretending that those Barry Bonds seasons didn’t happen. I can understand that Bonds was the face of the steroid era and the single-season and career Home Run records are forever tainted. But it’s important to remember that it did happen. If the media really wanted to do the job correctly, provide the necessary perspective. We can’t erase Bonds from the record books and not talking about those seasons won’t make the reality of those seasons any less true. So again, don’t tell me this is one of the best offensive seasons of all-time. 

32 Questions and More: Week Four

Posted: September 29, 2012 in ALL II
Tags: , ,

As a Packers fan I was going to have a very long post on the disgraceful end of the Monday Night Football game where a win was given to the losing team on a play so egregious that Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch and companions openly acknowledged they had been gifted a “W” but the 13th man.  My greatest frustration with the game did come with the final bad play but had been building for some time after the blown roughing the passer penalty.  Still, Green Bay played a terrible game for 30 minutes.  The offensive line looked as bad as USC did against Stanford.  Dropped passes.  Just a poor look.  I hate when people say “well, you should never put the game in the hands of the officials – just play better” because in general it is true but sometimes you are put in situations where you need to battle.  The Packers struggling in this game shows me that Green Bay can make adjustments (see the final 30 minutes of that game) and that Seattle’s defense is legitimate.  You hope the referees do their jobs properly so battles can be decided on the field.  Oh well.  Despite the screw job, I didn’t exactly want the NFL to cave in on everything to resolve the labor dispute immediately.  Some of the requests were absurd no matter the amount of money the league makes, especially the idea that part-time employees making on average $140,000+ should get a pension plan while full-time NFL employees do not.  NFL should have paid them more.  Eventually they settled things but it should be noted that my main man Commissioner Roger Goodell is employed by the owners who would not budge on these issues.  I know Goodell has a cushy life and criticism is part of the job but as fans we should do better at understanding what the Commissioner has control over (player conduct inconsistencies) vs. what the Commissioner is merely a representative on (labor negotiations between monetary interests).  Look up in the press box to the big wigs you cheer for putting players on the field – and try not to forget they were the same people that delayed and damaged the game.

Another 9-7 week for me.  Third straight in three weeks.  It’s consistency that will lead me through the lesser hot streaks of other “bloggers” on this site.

Browns at Ravens

Brandon Weeden played well last week.  Baltimore’s defense has been fraudulent.  Can Weeden put up numbers on this defense and should we owe him an apology for a bad week one?

Trap game on a Thursday night?  It’s the only reasonable way they lose this game.

Falcons vs. Panthers

With major quarterbacks struggling, is the Ice Man Matt Ryan in position to win an MVP trophy?  Best team in football right? (No, its still the 49ers)

Maybe I am out of touch but I had no issue with the Charlotte Observer’s editorial cartoon of Cam Newton with a Miss Kitty shirt.  Should I be more open to arguments like the one Stephen A. Smith laid out?  Should CAAAAM just play better?

Patriots at Bills

After week one, who thought the Patriots would be behind the Bills in the AFC East?

Fred Jackson is the game changer.  But his presence means nothing compared to the Buffalo expensive front seven versus Brady’s machine-like offense.  Can Mario Williams get to Brady?  Is this game the one where we know if Williams’ contract was a waste of money?

Vikings at Lions

Two close games with less than stellar opponents and a dominant performance against the best team in the NFC.  With teams no longer looking at this team as a gimmie, will the Vikings step up or was Week Three a fluke?

Detroit can win with Shaun Hill right?  Hell, if they can shut down Percy Harvin they can win…right?

Titans at Texans

Chuck Klosterman wrote a great piece on how fantasy football has changed how people view player success and performance (re: Chris Johnson).  Mr. Johnson has 45 yards after three games.  Is there any real way to understand this stunning lack of productivity?

Are the Texans the most underrated (certainly underappreciated) team in the NFL?

Chargers at Chiefs

Hehehe…Chargers got exposed didn’t they?  NFC seems superior to the AFC so seeing the Chiefs should right the ship.  Don’t mind the classic Arrowhead trap game fever and questions about the Chargers defense matching up against Jamaal Charles.

Not going to go overboard with Charles’ big day.  Can the injured secondary force Rivers turnovers?  Two is the magic number.

49ers at Jets

Alex Smith struggled, defense struggled, special teams looked good actually.  Can losing to the Vikings be forgotten by going from west to east and winning?  In the modern era, nothing is more overstated than east to west splits.

Joe McKnight playing cornerback in practice.  How much more evidence do you need that this team is a mess?  First place in the AFC East by the way.

Seahawks at Rams

Not to be a spoiled sport but it is impossible to look at Russell Wilson and think “there is a good quarterback.”  How bad is Matt Flynn?

Felt good about this being a trap game until I wondered: How is Sam Bradford going to deal with this really good Seahawks defense?  Rush the passer with the Rams offensive line somewhere between Packers bad and Bears bad.  Not good.

Dolphins at Cardinals

Amazingly enough, the Dolphins should be tied for the AFC East lead.  Reggie Bush needs to be healthy for them to win.  In any event, how good would this team be with Matt Moore at quarterback?

Skelton is healthy.  Kolb appears to be “back” which means he is good but not that good but good as of late.  Who will be the quarterback of the future for the undefeated Cardinals?

Raiders at Broncos

Can’t figure out this team, can you?  When McFadden is on, he is ON!

Peyton Manning going behind early is concerning.  His comebacks are reassuring.  Can the offense avoid early struggles to keep the game close?  If so, they will win.

Saints at Packers

Brees has struggled to live up to his high standards.  Will Brees and the Saints validate the third ranked defense in the NFL or expose it as a result of poor offense opponents?

The Packers offense has struggled to live up to its high standards.  Will Rodgers and the Packers get back on track against a bad Saints defense or expose themselves to be mortal?

Bengals at Jaguars

Looks like the young Andrew Dalton maybe winning the Dalton/Newton argument of 2011.  Will the Bengals be able to stop MJD or at least try to avoid being a bottom team in run defense?

Speaking of MJD, he is averaging 5.3 yards per carry.  That’s nuts.  Can Blaine Gabbert pull himself from the jaws of being a 50% completion percentage quarterback to support their star running back?

Redskins at Buccaneers

Simple question: Can the Redskins defense be half as competent as their offense?  All of their struggles have to do with their defense giving up over 30 points per game.

Over/Under Josh Freeman touchdowns 2.5?

Giants at Eagles

Can the Giants offensive line handle a talented and powerful Eagles front four?

LeSean McCoy.  Does Andy Reid forget he plays for his team?  Will he get some touches?

Bears at Cowboys

Can the J’Marcus Webb turnstile hold up against DeMarcus Ware?

Will Tony Romo – off to his typical good start – avoid his typical big game mistakes?

Point/Counterpoint

Posted: September 23, 2012 in ALL II, Bunker, Collaborative Posts

Defense of Goddell – ALL 2

Per usual with the legal sphere and rich folks (especially in sports), we get a bunch of confusing statements, juicy headlines, and more questions than answered.  Earlier this week, Jonathan Vilma finally met with Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss his involvement with the Saints bounty program, the story that will not go away.  Soon thereafter the meeting, the public learned that Vilma and his attorney were given a signed affidavit (available here) of Gregg Williams’ statements pertaining to the bounty program.  Not being a legal scholar, I know that the penalty for lying in an affidavit is perjury and that is something people should not want to face because it’s a BIG deal.  (Note: I am a PhD student in political science, not a law student.  I will leave the legal side open for my more legally inclined colleague) The kicker in all of this is the new rush to present affidavits on the situation.  Vilma’s attorney Peter Ginsburg suggests 30 players are ready to defend Vilma.  Vilma took to Twitter to suggest Williams was bullied into signing this.  Everyone is confused as to why its dated September 14, 2012.  All of this does not matter to me because until further notice it appears as bad for Vilma as it did before.

The first thing that bothers me is the quickness for people to dismiss the genuine nature of the affidavit.  Most people acknowledge that the statement mirrors the exact information he gave to the NFL back in March.  Most people complained that they did not believe the evidence the NFL had and some recently suggested Williams was backing out of his statements; the affidavit seems to double down on the genuine nature of the statement.  Maybe this is the contrarian opinion but this seems more than reasonable since this is going back in front of a court.  I suppose it’s also contrarian to not hate the commissioner but I digress.

The other part of this that gets me going is the public’s willingness to be on board with the 30 players willing to support Vilma.  This, to me, sounds similar to the Lance Armstrong situation that everyone sided with USADA on a month ago.  Remember Lance being confronted with more and more people in trouble and giving testimony claiming he doped?  Remember Lance saying he didn’t and could bring many more teammates, coaches, etc. to support his side?  Remember no one giving a damn that Lance could do that?  I do. I do. I do.  Vilma is now in a similar situation and everyone seems to be siding with Vilma because Goodell is a bad man.  Having a bunch of players pop up to your defense does not mean you didn’t do anything.  It means you have people that said you didn’t do something other people said you did.  Why does Gregg Williams get no credibility but Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, and others do when making statements after testing positive and “in the clutches of the man?”

What this comes down to is Roger Goodell and the NFL are not just picking on the Saints.  We are in a semantics war between pay for performance and pay for injury.  It’s a lawyer’s wet dream which means it’s time for me to bow out.  What I do know is that a bounty system did take place and that involved some players.  Now, no player is willing to rat on another. I get that.  But some player was involved.  Multiple players were involved.  While I am in no position to challenge someone’s motives, I do wonder if this is about integrity or the moolah lost.  If this was not a full season suspension, would we even be here?  Maybe.  I have no issue with Goodell looking to hold players accountable for their involvement in something egregious like a bounty scandal.  Hope the players implicated are the ones involved but to this day nothing has changed to point the finger of doubt towards anyone but Vilma and the three other’s fingered by the NFL.

 

Defense of Jonathan Vilma: Bunkie

I don’t know whether or not Jonathan Vilma is directly responsible with this pay for performance (some call it a bounty) scandal. He’s racking up legal fees by the day to defend his name and reputation, money I’m sure he’ll want when he retires. I can respect the way Vilma has gone about defending his innocence. When Goddell asked to meet with Vilma, Vilma refused, a move I first criticized. But what has become increasingly obvious is that Roger Goddell has relied heavily on hearsay and third party references to come to his conclusions about bounty-gate.

An independent arbitrator lifted the suspensions. That tells me that there is a serious lack of evidence on the side of the NFL. Don’t get me wrong, the circumstantial evidence mounted against Vilma is convincing, but since when do we convict on such matters. While some may quibble with the idea that we still aren’t even certain that this was a bounty scandal, the distinction between pay for performance and bounty is very important. The NFL needs to go out and prove without a doubt that this Saints system was contributing to unnecessary violence that would not have happened were it not for this system. That’s tough to do. Especially when there’s no smoking gun. So in a desperate attempt to save face and pin the deed to Vilma, Goddell reached into the gutter to trot out the troll that he suspended indefinitely: Greg Williams.

Although I’m not a fan of the “Stop Snitching” era, this Greg Williams affidavit is exactly why that moniker was created. Greg Williams was the face of the bounty-gate, he received the most severe punishment of all. He’s desperate. Goddell’s desperate. They are both making a deal with the devil. For all of those who believed that Goddell had an agenda against the Saints, this helps give that notion A LOT of credence. I’m sure Goddell didn’t obtain this affidavit without giving Williams a little something in return. Vilma’s defense, although it sound childish, is valid: “The nfl has 1 affidavit saying i did it. I have NINE saying i didnt. Do the math. Hush haters”. The whole investigation and the subsequent suspensions were resolved via questionable circumstantial evidence, why can’t the defense be the same.

When it comes to NFL credibility, well, these are the same people who are telling us the replacement referees are doing a great job.

32 Questions and More…Week 3

Posted: September 21, 2012 in ALL II

Consecutive 9-7 weeks makes me a contender in the NFC East and a league leader in the AFC South.  Picks in bold and 32 questions for 32 teams in Week Three.

Giants at Panthers

Every week the Giants are more and more injured and that famed pass rush is not doing the job to help the band-aided secondary.  Will Manning, Eli need to throw for 400 yards to beat the Panthers by a touchdown?

How will the Panthers decide to confront the Giants defense: a primary run first team with three NON-INJURED THOUGH NOT HEALTHY running backs or a passing attack to take on the Webster led secondary?

Rams at Bears

Sam Bradford can pick apart a bad defense but for now the Bears still have a good defense.  In a tight game, will Steven Jackson be healthy enough to open up lanes for Bradford to go over the top (re: Cedric Benson last week versus the Bears)?

Matt Forte is the top rusher and second leading receiver.  He is hurt.  Who steps up to fill that void in the wide receiver department?  Did the Brandon Marshall signing detract from a still poor wide receiving corps?

Bills at Browns

Was the Bills defensive performance against the Chiefs last week taking advantage of a beat up team or a sign of a defense meeting high expectations?

Brandon Weeden looked great.  Trent Richardson looks good too.  Everyone else is disastrous.  Is there real hope for Cleveland going forward?

Buccaneers at Cowboys

Which unwritten rule will Greg Schiano break this week?  I can only hope he doesn’t do the handshake at the end of the game and advocate for more helmet-to-helmet hits.

It’s clear that Tony Romo is doing this on his own.  Will people see through the box score and recognize that Romo is overachieving with an offensive line on par with the USC Trojans?

Jaguars at Colts

Upset special.  MJD looks smooth like an American beer with nearly similar initials.  Can Blaine Gabbert get his life together to play consistent decent games?

Luck is in a similar situation with Romo with a terrible offensive line but got his first win against the once formidable pass rush of the Minnesota Vikings.  Still, is Reggie Wayne the team’s MVP?

Jets at Dolphins

Loss against a good defense.  Tebow getting a bump.  Sanchize under fire.  Hate to deflect a bit but will anyone call out Shonn Greene for being unsatisfactory at the running back position?  3.1yds/carry is not exactly ground breaking.

Tannehill played better too but the guy of the team is Reggie Bush.  He looks very good this year coming off a season where he looked like a number 2 overall pick in 2006.  Can he establish the run against a top flight front?

49ers at Vikings

Recently bloodied Alex Smith has now beaten Rodgers, Stafford, and Brees in three of his last four games.  Is he any closer to getting respect from anyone in the league?

The Vikings have played the two closest games of the season based on play (not score).  Both of those teams were not good.   Can the Vikings, at home again, provide the 49ers defense with some problems and keep it close again?

Chiefs at Saints

So when the Chiefs go 0-3 will my upset pick to win the AFC West be voided due to serious injuries on the team?

Not to be rude but Drew Brees isn’t exactly playing at an MVP level.  Their defense is atrocious.  Can the Saints hold off a fledging Chiefs offense and can Brees establish himself against the beat up defens?

Lions at Titans

What’s wrong with Matthew Stafford?  This is abnormal.

Chris Johnson has 19 carries for 21 yards.  What’s new with this guy?  This is normal.

Bengals at Redskins

Law firm is producing nicely and Andy Dalton has resumed his solid performance from last season.  I know the spotlight is on A.J. Green but who will cover Andew Hawkins and his 14.2 yards/catch?

Josh Morgan got death threats after his penalty cost the Redskins last week.  When will fans get a grip and upgrade their priorities?

Eagles at Cardinals

How many turnovers can the Eagles (Vick) commit and still win?  Isn’t that the theme for the first few games for the Eagles?

Kevin Kolb’s revenge maybe a bit over blown.  Will he survive against a legitimate NFC East pass rush?

Falcons at Chargers

Matty Ice looked good early but the Monday Night Football game was way too close after those early turnovers.  On the road outside, can Matt Ryan be productive enough to open up lanes for a struggling Michael Turner (2.6yrds/carry)?

Philip Rivers is back on track and Ryan Matthews should be returning this game.  Will this begin to swing the tide from the NFC to the AFC?

Texans at Broncos

First real test for the Texans who got to 2-0 with confident wins over scrubs.  I do believe in this defense and the best set of running backs in the league.  Will that offensive line be able to protect Schaub who has one touchdown in two games?

Peyton stunk, worked through it, and almost pulled off the comeback.  Not to start a controversy but can it ever be a good sign anytime Brock Osweiler is warming up?

Steelers at Raiders

Can the Steelers gain control of a tough AFC North against a weak opponent as their rivals fight it out in Baltimore?

Before anyone can point a finger at Carson Palmer (and he should not get a finger pointed towards him), what happened to Darren McFadden with 54 yards total in two games?  Not acceptable.

Patriots at Ravens

Quietly kept, the Ravens defense can be run on.  With the Patriots excited (and more commited) about the run, can Stevan Ridley get to the century mark on the ground?  Does that guarantee a win?

Will Joe Flacco finally cement himself in the next tier of quarterbacks?  This game falls squarely on his shoulders as this is not his offense.

Packers at Seahawks

People are very quick to point out how the Packers offense has not looked sharp.  It may have something to do with playing the best defense and a perennial top five defense in the first two weeks of the season.  Can Green Bay play an effective game against another top tier defense in the NFL?

Do the Seahawks have (or need) enough offensive diversity to slow down the revitalized Packers pass rush and move the ball down the field?

 

Way Down in the Hole for the Referees

Posted: September 18, 2012 in Bunker

Here’s some irony for you, we watch football now not only to watch the players, but to watch for the next controversial play where we, the fan, can poke fun of the ineptitude of these replacements. We love to scream and holler about how much we’re bothered by the refs, but on our twitter feed we allow the referees to trend. We hold our breaths every time a flag is thrown or one of the players screams at the refs until they throw a flag. Forget the integrity of the game. If integrity of the game truly mattered, wouldn’t we have been up-in-arms for years when we saw the first team to get the ball in overtime kick a Field Goal for the win? Wouldn’t we have fled the NFL after the controversial calls in the Steelers vs. Seahawks SuperBowl XL where the NFL had to soon apologize for the horrendous officiating during that particular game. Turns out the game is rigged, not by the refs,  not by the league offices, but us, the fans. They sucked us in and we’re not going anywhere.

Remember when there was an alternative?

[youtube:www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKk5qTtpOjg]

Steve Young’s right, we’re all shills. We never truly cared about the integrity of the game, because our love for the NFL has no integrity. We need something to talk about early in the season other than the game itself. We don’t mind, we’re not going turn the game off. We’re all Bubbles and even though Pandemic is just Yellowtop , we’re still buying.

 

Sundays are our Hamsterdam:

 

[youtube:www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOHkrZECnfs]

Narratives of Week 2 Before They Happen

Posted: September 15, 2012 in Bunker

The Cowboys go 0-2 and every one is reminded of Tony Romo’s biggest choker moment. We are showed the video 5 or 6 times to try to make Seahawks-Cowboys a more relevant game than reality reveals.

[youtube:www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRn5b4BJyiI]

Victor Cruz drops key passes while announcers are shocked at this even though Cruz was top 5 in drops last year.

Fans realize that Kansas City and Buffalo have teams when they are forced to sit through highlights and pretend that they only care because they have Jamal Charles and CJ Spiller on their teams.

Analysts will make a big deal out of the Vikings being 2-0 and Adrian Peterson’s heart and determination will be lauded.

When you pay a Coach $7million and he gets suspended, it hurts your team.

We are shown a flashback of Michael Vick’s right fibula fracture in 2003.

Griffining attempts to be the black Tebowing (Mature audiences only). And fails miserably.

People begin looking at the Texans schedule and find little reason why that team won’t clinch before December.

Dick Lebeau begins talking to an empty chair, while Tebow scores a touchdown.

Peyton Manning will be on every National primetime game this season.

The debate about player safety takes a new twist.

Rough week in the picks department but week one is about survival and figuring out what you really have against other opponents.  Going 9-7 was a nice start but in the 32 questions below, it’s already must win double digit games or I fear a benching or even a firing.  Ok maybe not but it’s not as bad as Andy Reid’s seat.  Picks and questions for week two with winners in bold.

Bears at Packers

Chicago has played the Packers close and lost over the past six meetings but has not been this balanced in years.  Will Cutler’s plan to bait the Packers into press coverage result in a 125yd, 2TD performance from Brandon Marshall?

Offensively the Packers looked the same, playing well against the top defense in the NFL but defensively looked as suspect as ever: little pass rush, penalties, and corners who could not keep up.  Can Mr. 1000 yard rusher Cedric Benson provide enough quality rushes to ease some pressure off Aaron Rodgers to outscore the Bears?

Bills at Chiefs

Kansas City struggled last year due to key injuries on the offense and the little depth in the secondary.  Last week, the defense came under attack with injuries to starting corner Brandon Flowers, linebacks Derrick Johnson and Jovan Belcher, and safety Kendrick Lewis.  Can this team catch a break?

Along with the Chiefs, the other upset playoff pick that looked bad was the Bills.  The upgraded defense got worked by Sanchize and Ryan Fitzpatrick seemed healthy and still crappy.  Will Chan Gailey be outcoached by Romeo Cronnell?  If you get worked by the offensively limited Jets, everything else seems like an uphill battle.

Saints at Panthers

How stupid were people to suggest that Super Bowl winning coach and offensive mastermind Sean Payton wouldn’t be missed because Drew Brees is really good?

How long will it be before Panthers GM Marty Hurney (employed in Carolina since 2002) get the ax for perpetuating this rotational running back mess?  Decide on the running back of choice and let that person run the ball.  Caaaaaaaaaaaaam….woaaaaah, Caaaaam is spared for now.

Browns at Bengals

Since week two comes falls on the week of September 11th and Brandon Weeden struggles with American flags, how will avoid the pregame blitz from good ol’ USA!USA!USA!? Did you notice his attempt to fake right and run backwards before taking the sack?

The Bengals were blown out by Baltimore but that game was much closer than the final score indicates.  If Vick can throw four interceptions and still win by one, does that mean Andy Dalton has only two turnovers worth of error to win?

Vikings at Colts

Adrian Peterson not only played, he ran for two touchdowns and looked pretty amazing in week one.  Can the Vikings enter week three as the only 2-0 team in the NFC North!?

It’s easy to credit a wide receiver when he has a great quarterback just was its easy to forget a star with a bad quarterback (see Larry Fitzgerald).  Have people underappreciated the greatness that is Reggie Wayne?  (YES!)

Texans at Jaguars

In Andre Johnson’s career, he has never had a double digit touchdown season but first things first: Can Johnson tie his 2011 touchdown total in only two games this season?

Blaine Gabbert played well in a game they should’ve won if they weren’t the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Will the Jags be fooled again into thinking they can compete this season (check out Jacksonville’s paper after they won the first game of the 2011 season), only to win four games?

Raiders at Dolphins

Is it possible to trade Reggie Bush to the Raiders to complete their insatiable desire for USC Heisman trophy winners from the Pete Carrol days?  (Sidebar: Did the Raiders address the question of why on a 52 man roster there was no one capable of long snapping to the punter in the event of injury?)

Aside from Darren McFadden, is there a more important non-quarterback offensive player for an AFC team than Reggie Bush?  Both Bush and McFadden run and catch more than anyone else.

Cardinals at Patriots

Which was more shocking: Arizona winning against the Seahawks or Kevin Kolb leading the win against the Seahawks?

Again, how the Patriots got this easy schedule?

Buccaneers at Giants

Greg Schiano prepared his defense to crush the Panthers rushing attack and he succeeded (10 total rushing yards for the Panthers).  What will Schiano focus on against the Giants and can stopping one thing be enough?

One game is an aberration; two is more of a trend.  Can Martellus Bennett back up his solid week one performance with a boneheaded free week two game?

Ravens at Eagles

Will the Ravens no-huddle offense make them the better team with better offensive athletes this Sunday?

How hard is it to believe that Vick will play winning football after his dud in Cleveland?

Cowboys at Seahawks

Are we just at the peak of the Cowboys season before underachieving the rest of the year or is there still room for improvement?

Yes, the Seahawks came one dropped pass from winning the game but is Bill Simmons’ pick to win the Super Bowl the dumbest thing ever written?

Redskins at Rams

Can recent fantasy pick up and rookie running back Alfred Morris be more than a one hit wonder before Shanahan pulls the plug?

Am I too afraid to pick the upset when this game has all the signs of a trap game?  (YES)

Jets at Steelers

How many games of leeway does Sanchez have after his amazing week one performance?

Can the Steelers ever get through a game without losing an offensive lineman?

Titans at Chargers

Is it bad to say that Chris Johnson is back on track after his 11 carry, 4 yard day last week?

It’s hard to root for Norv Turner but this could be the season where the losing streak comes at the end and not the beginning?

Lions at 49ers

Quietly kept, the Lions didn’t do themselves any favors with a poor performance in St. Louis.  Will Jim Schwartz successfully make it through the postgame handshake on opponent territory?

Randy Moss is back.  Manningham looks good.  Defense?  Spectacular but will it be able to contain a dual threat team with an elite wide receiver like Calvin Johnson and a healthy Kevin Smith?

Broncos at Falcons

Peyton Manning back in a dome with a high speed, no huddle offense and he rarely loses night games in primetime.  Can he pick apart an upgraded secondary with an injury to Brent Grimes but still anchored by Asante Samuel?

Can the Falcons’ streak of winning in that dome during the regular season over power Peyton’s power to not lose in primetime at night?  (Or is this going to be the first good test of how much better the NFC is over the AFC?)