If there’s anyone who knows about storming the court, it’s Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. Damn near every time Duke loses, the opposing team’s fans storm the court.
It has happened 4 times this year, once in each of Duke’s losses.
The most recent one was last night, when Virginia beat the Blue Devils 73-68.
Elated Virginia fans stormed the court after the game, despite the fact that it technically wasn’t even an upset. Sure, Duke was the higher ranked team, but Vegas odds had Virginia favored by a point before the game.
Coach K’s main beef was with the fact that his team wasn’t allowed to get off the court before the fans took over.
“When we’ve lost in the last 20 years, everybody rushes the court. Whatever you’re doing, you need to get the team off first. Celebrate, have fun, obviously you won. That’s cool, but just get our team off the court and our coaching staff before students come on.”
He’s not necessarily saying that fans shouldn’t be allowed to storm the floor after a big win. Just let the players get off the court, so you make sure nothing happens.
With thousands of fans rushing the floor, running by a dozen or so people from a rival school, literally anything can happen, and Coach K knows that. Not only that… if anything happens between players and fans, the players will be the ones held accountable every time.
“Look, do you know how close you are to — just put yourself in the position of one of our players or coaches. I’m not saying any fan did this, but the potential is there all the time for a fan to just go up to you and say, ‘Coach you’re a [expletive],’ or push you or hit you. And what do you do? What if you did something? That would be the story. We deserve that type of protection. I’m always concerned about stuff like that, especially at this time of the year. What if that happened and we get a kid suspended? That becomes the national story. It’s not all fun and games when people are rushing the court, especially for the team that lost. Again, congratulations to them, and they should have fun and burn benches and do all that stuff. I’m all for that. They have a great school, great kids, but get us off the court. That’s the bottom line.”
He raises a valid point.
If a fan hits one of the players, or does something that could potentially injure someone on the visiting team, there’s really nothing that the players could do without risking suspension or possibly worse.
It’s a safety issue, and teams need to be able to get their players off the court safely. If you must storm the floor, go ahead. But safety should be the top priority, and that’s being lost amid the chaos, when fans just storm the court before the players get a chance to leave.
Most of us would love to be Alex Rodriguez. He’s got more more money than any of us could imagine, movie star looks, and is the third baseman on the most illustrious franchise in all of sports. Not to mention, he is widely thought to be one of the greatest baseball players of his era and possibly one of the best baseball players to ever play the game, period. He’s a lifetime .340 hitter with over 650 career home runs and nearly 2,000 RBI.
One would think its good to be Alex Rodriguez. Well, not so much lately – especially after the Yankees’ dramatic come from behind victory in Game 4 of the ALDS – in which Rodriguez was pinch-hit for by 40 year old platoon player Raul Ibanez.
With the Yankees trailing Orioles by a run in the ninth inning and staring a 2-1 series hole dead in the face two outs away from being on the brink of elimination from the ALDS, manager Joe Girardi called Alex Rodriguez back to the bench and inserted pinch hitter Raul Ibanez in his place. The result produced one of the most memorable games in the Yankees’ long, illustrious postseason history: Ibanez homered into the right field seats to tie the game, and then did it again in the 12th inning to win it.
Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York has already dubbed the move as the “pinch hit heard ‘round the world”.
Strangely enough, both veterans were originally drafted by the Seattle Mariners two decades ago. Not that there’s much comparison beyond that: Ibanez was taken with the 1,006th pick in 1992, A-Rod with the first pick in 1993.
And yet Girardi’s move made plenty of sense. With the bases clear and the Yankees two outs away from a loss, the situation called for a long ball. Rodriguez’s power swing has been MIA for weeks. With a right handed pitcher on the mound and Yankee Stadium’s short right field wall beckoning, the lefty swinging Ibanez was simply a better bet to go deep.
But the move underscores a developing problem for the Yankees going forward. Rodriguez – he of 647 lifetime homers and three MVP awards, one of the greatest players of all time – was pinch-hit for with a playoff game on the line. A short time ago, that would have been unthinkable. At 37, A-Rod’s skills appear to be in sharp decline. Yet thanks to a move by partner Hank Steinbrenner five years ago, the Yankees are committed to Rodriquez for $114 million plus potential bonuses for another five years, through 2017 (we haven’t heard much from Hank in the past few years – brother Hal is clearly running things now).
Yankee brass has stated its desire to drop the club’s $200 million payroll to under $190 million by 2014 in order to drastically reduce the luxury tax bill it would owe under the new collective bargaining agreement that was negotiated in 2011. The problem: in 2014, A-Rod, who will turn 39 that season, will still be making $25 million. CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, who will be 33 and 34, respectively, will take up another $46 million. And the team’s best player, Robinson Cano, still needs to be re-signed once his current deal runs out after next season. There is zero chance the Yankees will let Cano walk, or that he will be making anything less than $20 million in 2014. That adds up to at least $91 million tied up in four players.
And what if Derek Jeter, who put up a strong season this year, wants to keep going? If Jeter’s 2013 season is anything close to his 2012 season, then public relations alone would probably force the Yankees to cough up a decent contract to the captain, even as he turns 40 (Mariano Rivera? He’s vowed to do one more year, but two seems unlikely).
The Steinbrenner family naturally wants to keep selling the big money Legends Suites at their four-year-old baseball palace, and keep the value of their YES Network propped up as much as possible. But that is tough to do when a large portion of payroll is devoted to a few core players on the downside of the slope while trying to fillout the balance of the roster with younger, cheaper talent.
Remember, just a short while ago General Manager Brian Cashman was ready to let A-Rod leave when he opted out of his prior contract back in 2007, only to be overruled by the caving Hank Steinbrenner. Now Cashman has Steinbrenner to thank for making his job tougher.
Regardless, pinch-hitting for Rodriguez worked out well last night because Raul Ibanez came up big and the Yankees won the game. However, this story is going to continue to evolve and it’s going to be fascinating to see how A-Rod reacts both on and off the field moving forward in the 2012 playoffs and beyond.
Orlando Magic: They obviously need to figure out how to prepare for the impending exodus of Dwight Howard, so they picked up two of the draft’s top 3 or 4 centers in Andrew Nicholson (#19) who is a great scorer and decent shot blocker, and Kyle O’Quinn (#49) who retained his good rebounding and shot-blocking numbers against the big schools he faced last year (played at Norfolk State).
Charlotte Bobcats: Everyone was expecting MJ to get too involved and screw this one up, but instead Charlotte went smart and solid with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (#2) whose ridiculous energy and athleticism make him a top-flight defender and undervalued offensive contributor, and Jeffery Taylor (#31) who is another versatile and tough wing defender of the highest magnitude, plus a great spot-up shooter who plays within the flow of the game. Neither is the piece to turn this horrid franchise around, but both are the types of high-end role players the Spurs would covet.
Worst Team Drafts
Portland Trail Blazers: They needed a center and a PG, so they took big man Meyers Leonard (#11), who lacks toughness/drive and is a bad rebounder (doesn’t go well next to Aldridge, another poor rebounder), and Damian Lillard (#6), who is really just an undersized SG who has been nothing but terribly inefficient against good opponents and whose team’s success in college was way underwhelming. They added Will Barton (#40), a multi-faceted SG, in the second round which was nice, but they sold the #41 pick despite having one of the two richest owners in the NBA and good players still available – players like PG Scott Machado who is an actual PG and has had far more success against big-name opponents than Lillard.
Washington Wizards: Their top pick, Bradley Beal (#3), is a huge stretch this high in the draft (comparisons to Ray Allen ignore the fact he shot 33% from deep in college, including only 35% over his final 10 games, but Allen shot 44%), and Czech guard Tomas Satoransky (#32) is way too raw and un-aggressive to be a contributor any time soon, if ever.
Denver Nuggets: Frenchman Evan Fournier (#20) is much further from being a consistent contributor than the average fan has been lead to believe, Quincy Miller (#38) is an overhyped athlete who hardly produced in college, and Izzet Turkyilmaz (#50) was on no one’s draft board.
Detroit Pistons: We’ve been hearing for weeks that Andre Drummond (#9) has no motor and will certainly be a bust, Khris Middleton (#39) has been slowed by a knee injury and is an inconsistent scorer (which is supposedly his strongest attribute), and Kim English (#44) is a great outside shooter, but he’s not good at anything else.
Worst Pick of the Lottery
It’s really hard to pick just one this year since so many teams reached for boom/bust players who have at least a 75% chance of being busts. Cleveland took Dion Waiters (#4), a scoring SG who never started a college game and has a weak jumper; both of Portland’s picks—Damian Lillard (#6) and Meyers Leonard (#11)—have the types of red flags you avoid in the lottery (discussed above); there is no way Detroit’sAndre Drummond (#9) pans out; and the Hornets went ridiculous with their second pick when they selected Austin Rivers (#10), whose shot selection and willingness to be a passer or defender are all pretty bad. If I had to pick the worst of the bunch, I’d go with Rivers since I can at least figure out what the other teams were trying to accomplish with their picks, but Rivers will simply cut in on Eric Gordon’s effectiveness and development, and Rivers doesn’t have the head to be a PG.
Best First Round Picks After The Lottery
A trio of big men all have a lot to offer the teams that picked them up in the second-half of round one. Houston snagged Royce White (#16), a true do-it-all PF who could become the league’s best point-forward if used correctly. Next the Cavaliers got center Tyler Zeller (#17), after a trade with Dallas who drafted him, an ultra-intelligent defender and highly effective scorer and rebounder. Boston’s patience was rewarded when Jared Sullinger (#21) fell into their lap; a top-10 talent, some concerns about Sullinger’s back made him slide, but if he holds up like he did in college, then he’ll be one of the biggest steals we talk about from this era.
Best Second Round Picks
1. Jae Crowder (#34), Dallas: Picked by Cleveland but sent to the Mavs as part of the Zeller trade, Crowder has all the makings of a Kidd-Gilchrist/Kenneth Faried/Kawhi Leonard role player with a relentless energy and a decent skill set.
2. Doron Lamb (#42), Milwaukee: Lamb has the best 3-point shot of all the SG’s, is the most prepared to be a mistake-free PG in a pinch, and his defense is above-average. Quite possibly the best SG in the entire draft.
3. Jeffery Taylor (#31), Charlotte: Taylor is a lock-down defender with great awareness and results as a spot-up shooter or weak-side finisher.
4. Mike Scott (#43), Atlanta: Scott is a high-motor, high-intangibles PF who makes the most of his scoring opportunities and bangs the boards.
5. Orlando Johnson (#36), Indiana: Drafted by Sacramento but sold to Indy, Johnson is a SG who can score in a variety of ways in the mid-range and long-range, and he’s a competent defender and rebounder.
Best Player Not Drafted
The best player whose name wasn’t called on Thursday night is certainly PG Scott Machado, possibly the second-best PG in the draft. Not only does he make great decisions with the ball as a true game manager, he’s an efficient and capable scorer who had a slew of big games against much bigger schools, leading tiny Iona to a few note-worthy upsets. The other guy worth mentioning here is New Mexico PF Drew Gordon, one of the nation’s most elite rebounders.
Happy New Year to all of my readers! 2012 is finally here and so is the NFL Playoffs! With each playoff team having no perfect formula to winning the Super Bowl just yet, we shall see how much the bye week helps out the number one and two seeded teams in both the AFC and NFC. Let’s kick off the blog!
Here are my Top Three Performances from NFL Week 17:
1. Quarterback Matt Flynn (Green Bay Packers): Before we talk about his performance in the Green Bay Packers 45-41 home win against the Detroit Lions, one thing must be said about Packers backup quarterback, Matt Flynn. Flynn is ready to be a starter, obviously not for the Packers, but if his team doesn’t get offers the way Matt Schaub did when he played as a solid backup for the Atlanta Falcons, then the teams in the NFL in need of a quarterback are missing out. Flynn has been solid everytime he has been out in the field but who knew in the last game of the season he would set Green Bay passing records? Flynn went on to complete 31 of 44 (70%) of his passes for 480 yards and six passing touchdowns, both which are now newly set Packers single game passing records.
2. Running Back Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens): If there is one thing that still rings true, it is the fact of the matter that the Baltimore Ravens need production from their running back Ray Rice in order to get far into the NFL postseason. For the second time in his young NFL career, Rice has accumulated for over 2,000 yards from scrimmage, making him a valuable asset to the Ravens organization. The Ravens in need of a win in order to clinch the AFC North title and a bye week, traveled to Paul Brown Stadium to take on the young but hungry Cincinnati Bengals. Rice didn’t disappoint in this game, as he ran over the Bengals on 24 carries for 191 yards and two long rushing touchdowns (70, 51), in a 24-16 Ravens road victory.
3. Wide Receiver Victor Cruz (New York Giants): The Dallas Cowboys flew to New Jersey knowing how much a win for the NFC East title was needed against the host New York Giants. With Cowboys owner Jerry Jones observing the game from his skybox, Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz wanted to make sure Mr. Jones’ visit to Metlife Stadium was bittersweet and disappointing. Cruz would catch six receptions for 178 yards and one touchdown, a 74 yard score, to help the Giants beat the Cowboys in a 31-14 home victory. The Giants won their first NFC East title since 2008 while the Cowboys traveled back to Dallas with an irate Jerry Jones.
Today was the NFL’s version of “Black Monday”. Unfortunately, there were no deals on NFL apparel and merchandise, only firings of head coaches and front office staff. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired their head coach Raheem Morris while the St. Louis Rams parted ways with their head coach, Steve Spagnuolo. And after a disappointing year for the 2-14 Indianapolis Colts, the Colts front office parted ways with their vice chairman Bill Polian and his son Chris Polian, who was the general manager.
Here are my Top Dog Awards for the best players and coaches in the National Football League:
NFL Most Valuable Player: New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees, for his stellar record breaking year in which he threw for 5,476 passing yards and 46 touchdowns, while leading the NFC South champion Saints to a 13-3 record.
NFL Offensive Player Of The Year: Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson, for having a career year with 96 receptions, 1,681 yards, and sixteen touchdowns, which helped the Lions make their first postseason appearance since 1999.
NFL Defensive Player Of The Year: Baltimore Ravens LB Terrell Suggs, for providing the Ravens defense with the best statistical year of his career, piling up a career high fourteen sacks and forcing seven fumbles for the third best defense in the National Football League.
NFL Offensive Rookie Of The Year: Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton, for being the only reason to watch a Panthers game plus breaking the rookie passing yards record with 4,051 yards, twenty passing touchdowns, and fourteen QB rushing touchdowns.
NFL Defensive Rookie Of The Year: San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith, for being an integral part of the 49ers success on defense, notching fourteen sacks in his first full season in the NFL.
NFL Head Coach Of The Year: Cincinnati Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis, for having faith in both rookie QB Andy Dalton and rookie WR A.J. Green to lead the Bengals on offense, which paid off as the Bengals finish the season 9-7, and are the sixth seed in the AFC Playoff picture.
Baylor quarterback and 2011 Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III was certainly impressive in his team’s Alamo Bowl win against Washington, which saw both teams set new bowl records in yards and scoring. Griffin III has recently announced that he has not made up his mind yet in regards to entering the 2012 NFL Draft, as many scouts who watched the Alamo Bowl truly believe that the Baylor QB is ready to play in the NFL. Over the next couple of days, there will be other highly touted quarterback prospects that will be observed in the upcoming bowl games. Stanford QB (and the projected number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft) Andrew Luck will be playing against Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl tonight while Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson plays against Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl tomorrow night.
Despite off the court problems with former assistant coach Bernie Fine, the Syracuse Mens Basketball team is still the best in the nation, leading the coaches USA Today poll at number one, and a 15-0 record. Unfortunately, as it always is in college basketball, the number one spot always changes. John Boheim’s Syracuse team could be tested this Saturday as they play against #20 Marquette. Or they just may suffer their first loss near the middle of February when they host #9 Georgetown, #8 UConn, and play #10 Louisville on the road.
Thank you for reading my blog this week! Next week, we will be gearing up for the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs, and we will also discuss the possible resurgence of golfer Tiger Woods in 2012. Be sure to check me out on Facebook (Joshua Collins Hall), follow me on Twitter (@MadDogSportz), or e-mail me at email@example.com for any questions regarding my blog and future projects. Enjoy your Monday night, I am out.
With six days left in 2011, many of us are now setting up our New Years resolutions for 2012. With weight loss, trip plans, and more financial destinies in my sight, I do wish 2012 to be an exciting year for sports. Maybe an United States-born heavyweight boxing champion would be nice considering the Klitschko brothers rule that division. Anyways, time to kick off the blog!
Here Are My Top Three Performances From NFL Week 16:
1. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers): On Christmas night, the Chicago Bears traveled to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin to take on the Packers. Luckily for the Packers, they had Aaron Rodgers at quarterback while the Bears had Josh McCown, who was coaching a high school football team two months prior to this game. It was easy to predict that Rodgers would also have the better game, completing 21 of 29 pass attempts (72%), 283 passing yards, and throwing five touchdowns. With the 35-21 home victory over the Bears, the road to the NFC title will be set in Green Bay.
2. Defensive End Robert Mathis (Indianapolis Colts): The Indianapolis Colts have had a rough 2011 season so far but last week’s win, the Colts first of the season, was a definitely a positive event that the team desperately needed. The AFC South Champion Houston Texans were traveling to Indianapolis on Thursday night with certain doubts heading into the 2011-12 postseason, doubts that the Colts would increase. Colts defensive end Robert Mathis may not stop the running power of Texans running back Arian Foster but he can disrupt the Texans passing game in ways that would change the outcome of the game. Mathis would collect two sacks and one forced fumble, helping the defense hold the Texans to 283 total yards in a 19-16 Colts home victory.
3. Wide Receiver Wes Welker (New England Patriots): Just when you thought the New England defense was going to lose the game to the Miami Dolphins at home, in comes Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to play “Superman”. If Tom Brady was “Superman”, then his receiver Wes Welker must be “Batman”. Welker aka “Batman” had one hell of a day against the Dolphins, contributing with twelve receptions and 138 receiving yards in a 27-24 Patriots home victory. And with one more victory, the road to the AFC title will be set in New England.
Here are my All Bite, No Bark Selections for the best players of the 2011-12 NFL season:
QB: Tom Brady (NE)
RB: Ray Rice (BAL)
FB: Vonta Leach (BAL)
WR: Wes Welker (NE), Brandon Marshall (MIA)
TE: Rob Gronkowski (NE)
OT: Matt Light (NE), Joe Thomas (CLE)
OG: Logan Mankins (NE), Marshal Yanda (BAL)
C: Maurkice Pouncey (PIT)
DE: Elvis Dumervil (DEN), Robert Mathis (IND)
DT: Haloti Ngata (BAL)
OLB: Terrell Suggs (BAL), Tamba Hali (KC)
ILB: Pat Angerer (IND)
CB: Kyle Arrington (NE), Lardarius Webb (BAL)
S: Eric Weddle (SD), Matt Giordano (OAK)
AFC Special Teams
K: Neil Rackers (HOU)
P: Brandon Fields (MIA)
KR/PR: Joe McKnight (NYJ)
QB: Aaron Rodgers (GB)
RB: LeSean McCoy (PHI)
FB: John Kuhn (GB)
WR: Jordy Nelson (GB), Victor Cruz (NYG)
TE: Jimmy Graham (NO)
OT: Chad Clifton (GB), Jeff Backus (DET)
OG: Jahri Evans (NO), Steve Hutchinson (MIN)
C: David Baas (NYG)
DE: Aldon Smith (SF), Jason Babin (PHI)
DT: Henry Melton (CHI)
OLB: Lance Briggs (CHI), DeMarcus Ware (DAL)
ILB: Patrick Willis (SF)
CB: Charles Woodson (GB), Brandon Browner (SEA)
S: Dashon Goldson (SF), Kurt Coleman (PHI)
NFC Special Teams
K: Dan Bailey (DAL)
P: Andy Lee (SF)
KR/PR: Devin Hester (CHI)
The 2011-12 NBA season started on Christmas Day with several games airing on national television, some that were intriguing, others…not so much. The Los Angeles Lakers lost a tough one at home, as Derrick Rose sunk a game winning shot to give the Chicago Bulls an impressive comeback win on the road. The New York Knicks hosted the Boston Celtics at home and impressed the Madison Square Garden crowd in New York with a huge win over the aging Celtics. The reigning NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks looked subpar in their home debut, dropping a stinker to the Miami Heat in front of their hometown crowd.
I can remember watching a late night documentary on George Foreman not too long ago on tv. The one thing that stood out to me throughout that documentary wasn’t Foreman’s boxing career or his business savvy, but the boxing career of his son, George Foreman III. Foreman III learned to be a business man early because of his father but more recently he has put together a stout boxing record, going 14-0 with 13 knockouts. If he is half as good as his father, I think heavyweight boxing purists will be in for a real treat in the near future.
Thank you all for reading my blog this week! Next week, I will be giving you my 2011-12 awards for accomplishments in the NFL. Check me out on Facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any information regarding my blog and future projects. Have a Happy New Year, everybody!
Happy Holidays to my readers out there who stop by every week and read my ridiculous rants. It is always a pleasure to dish out all the sports news, both good and bad. I wish nothing but happiness to you and your loved ones. Enough with the sappy Lifetime diatribe, let’s kick off the blog!
Here are my Top Three Performances from NFL Week 15:
1. Quarterback Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints): Hall of Fame quarterbacks Dan Marino and Johnny Unitas both have NFL records that are in major trouble, all thanks to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Unitas’ 47 consecutive games with a passing touchdown will have to wait until 2012 but with the way Brees is gaining passing yards these days, Marino’s single season record of 5,084 passing yards may soon fall into silver medal status. Brees certainly had a field day through the air, as the Saints picked up a huge 42-20 road victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Brees completed 32 of 40 pass attempts (80%), threw for 412 yards, and five passing touchdowns.
2. Running Back Reggie Bush (Miami Dolphins): Every once in a while, he just turns into real life video game. This used to be a constant for Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush, who would light up the scoreboard, and rewrite the record books during his days as a USC Trojan. After his tenure with the New Orleans Saints in which writers deemed him a bust, Bush has seemed to be finding his groove again in South Beach, and yesterday was proof of that fact. Bush carried the ball 25 times for 203 yards and one touchdown, a 76 yard score in the fourth quarter, to help the Dolphins pick up the 30-23 win on the road against the Buffalo Bills.
3. Defensive End Tamba Hali (Kansas City Chiefs): Who would have thought that the Kansas City Chiefs would be the team to give the undefeated and defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers their first loss of the season? The Packers and their quarterback Aaron Rodgers have been making mince meat of most defenses on their schedule in the 2011 season, even having blow out victories on the road. Chiefs interim head coach Romeo Crennel and his defensive end Tamba Hali weren’t going to lie down that easily to the Packers or even think of losing for that matter. Hali sacked Rodgers three times, hit him twice, forced one fumble, and helped the defense hold the Packers to 315 offensive yards in a shocking 19-14 Chiefs home victory.
Congratulations should also be in order for the Indianapolis Colts, who picked up their first win of the season, beating the Tennessee Titans 27-13 at home. However, the quest for the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft becomes quite interesting in the next two weeks, as the St. Louis Rams and the Minnesota Vikings have two wins each. If the Colts choose to show up in the next two games and win at least one game, the chances of not landing Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck becomes too high for comfort. Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck both want be the starting quarterback in 2012, and if Dan Orlovsky continues to improve, he may start for a different team.
The ever controversial, media hating, possibly tainted, all-time home run leader Barry Bonds is currently serving hard time…in his mansion. Bonds, who gave misleading information to the federal grand jury in their investigation on steroid use in professional sports, was sentenced to thirty days of house arrest, and two years probation. Not a bad sentence for a guy who used to pay off his former trainer Greg Anderson to keep quiet and serve jail time in order to delay the investigation. If this proves anything, it is that Barry Bonds made a mockery of the system, and the federal jury along with the verdict, looked like a complete joke.
It looks like life as a Lakers fan isn’t faring so well in Los Angeles these days. After a failed trade for Chris Paul which ended up being approved for the Los Angeles Clippers and a trade which sent Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks, the Lakers are left with little to look forward to in the shortened 2012 NBA season. Lakers star player Kobe Bryant will be going through a messy divorce, Derek Fisher isn’t going to play any younger at 37, and Ron Artest, I mean Meta World Peace, is going to be his usual crazy self. New Lakers head coach Mike Brown is going to have his hands full in the Western Conference while other teams around his own continue to grow stronger by the day.
The WWE made a stop at First Mariner Arena in Baltimore last night for its “WWE TLC” pay per view. If you were a fan of surprises and delightful outcomes, last nights wrestling event was the place to be. C.M. Punk retained his WWE Championship in a triple threat ladder match, Daniel Bryan cashed in his “Money In The Bank” contract and won the World Heavyweight Championship, and the WWE’s own internet sensation, Zack Ryder won his first WWE singles title as he defeated Dolph Ziggler in a surprisingly good match to win the United States Championship. And the best part of the event: No John Cena in the main event!
I would like to thank you all for reading my blog this week! In the next two weeks, I will give you my own selections for the 2011-12 Pro Bowl teams, and my NFL 2011 Awards. Be sure to check me out on Facebook (Joshua Collins Hall) or e-mail me at email@example.com for any information regarding my blog and future projects. Enjoy your Monday night, I am out.
Thirteen more days until Christmas Day! I hope everyone is done shopping by now and I also hope nobody slacks on buying their NFL Playoff tickets either! There are three weeks left and you never know if your team will get a home game…or a playoff appearance for that matter. Time to kick off the blog!
Here are my Top Three Performances from NFL Week 14:
1. Tight End Rob Gronkowski (New England Patriots): Many people within the New England Patriots organization will tell you that the success of the Patriots lies in the arm and precise decision making of their star quarterback, Tom Brady. But Brady would tell you that his success is due to the elevated play of his receiving corp and with the exception of wide receiver Wes Welker, nobody on the Patriots has been better than tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski, without question, is having one of the best seasons ever by a tight end and his performance in the Patriots 34-27 road victory over the Washington Redskins proved it. Gronkowski caught six receptions for 160 yards and two touchdowns, eclipsing 1,000 yards on the season, and catching his 14th and 15th touchdowns, setting a new NFL scoring record for a tight end in a single season.
2. Linebacker Terrell Suggs (Baltimore Ravens): The Baltimore Ravens have been knocking heads and taking names on defense during their 2011 campaign. Credit would normally go to Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis but in his absence, linebacker Terrell Suggs has not only stepped up his performance as a player, he has stepped up as the Ravens newest defensive leader. With the winless Indianapolis Colts traveling to Baltimore this past weekend, it didn’t matter to Suggs if their quarterback was Peyton Manning or yesterdays starter Dan Orlovsky, Suggs was going to stick to the “Ball So Hard University” style of getting to the quarterback. Suggs attained three of the Ravens four sacks, forced three fumbles, and sent the Colts packing in a 24-10 home victory in Baltimore.
3. Quarterback T.J. Yates (Houston Texans): During a playoff race, it is very difficult to ask so much from your third string quarterback. With the Houston Texans losing their starting quarterback Matt Schaub and backup quarterback Matt Leinart to injuries, the Texans playoff hopes rested on their rookie third string quarterback, T.J. Yates. Yates and the Texans had a tough task on hand, playing on the road against a young, yet impressive Cincinnati Bengals team. Yates completed 26 of 44 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns, including a last second touchdown pass to receiver Kevin Walter for not only a 20-19 Texans road victory over the Bengals, but the Texans first AFC South division title, and their first playoff birth in franchise history.
It looks like a few teams in the NFL sharpened their axes earlier than expected. With the Jacksonville Jaguars being the quickest team to cut ties with their head coach, the Miami Dolphins (4-9) and the Kansas City Chiefs (5-8) went ahead today and fired their head coaches after disappointing starts to the 2011 season. Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano was fired after four seasons with a 29-32 record and one playoff appearance, while Chiefs head coach Todd Haley was fired after three seasons with a 19-26 record and one playoff appearance. Haley did have more to overcome than Sparano did with his team, as the Chiefs lost their Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Cassel, Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles, and Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry all to season ending injuries.
This past weekend, Major League Baseball suffered another “stain” in its fluttering fight against player use of performance enhancing drugs. This “stain” feels much worse as the latest violator of the MLB drugs policy turned out to be 2011 National League MVP and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder, Ryan Braun. Braun who produced a batting average of .332, 33 home runs, 111 RBI’s, and 109 runs scored during the 2011 season with the Brewers, is looking at a fifty game suspension in 2012 as a first time offender if the suspension is final. Hopefully, Commissioner Bud Selig does something right for once and strips Braun of his MVP trophy, as it would be an utter disgrace in professional sports not to do so.
Congratulations goes out to Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, as he gained enough first place votes to win the 2011 Heisman Trophy. Griffin III led the Baylor Bears to a 9-3 record and an Alamo Bowl appearance, passing for 3,998 yards, 36 touchdowns, and nine rushing touchdowns. This comes as much to surprise to many people, me included, who believed Griffin III had a minor outside shot to win the Heisman from the likes of Stanford’s Andrew Luck or Alabama’s Trent Richardson. Look for Griffin III to land in a comfy spot in the 2012 NFL Draft, depending on the combine of course.
UFC 140 turned out to be quite a memorable pay per view for those that love knock outs, tap outs, and broken arms. UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones retained his title against Lyoto Machida by making him tap out to the Guillotine choke hold in the second round, improving his record to 15-1, and earning his second successful title defense. Frank Mir broke his doubters hopes and Antonio Nogueira’s arm in a first round submission win, earning him some ground in the UFC heavyweight ranks. Antonio “Little Nog” Nogueira knocked out Tito Ortiz in the first round, and with four of his past five fights ending in losses, it looks like the end is near for “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy”.
Thank you for reading my blog this week! Next week, I’ll give you my awards for the best and worst players/coaches in the National Football League and much more! Feel free to check me out on Facebook (Joshua Collins Hall) or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information regarding my blog and future projects. Enjoy your Monday night, I am out.
Happy Cyber Monday! Whatever the hell that is. At least it’ll be safer than going out to the mall and getting pepper sprayed by crazed shoppers. Time to kick off the blog!
Here are my Top Three Performances from NFL Week 12:
1. The Baltimore Ravens Defense: In not only the first NFL Thanksgiving game in Baltimore but the first brother versus brother head coaching matchup in NFL history, the Baltimore Ravens defense came through in their Thursday night match-up against the San Francisco 49ers. Before their game, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and his little brother, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh posed with their family for a gridiron-styled Thanksgiving family photo. Too bad that was the only pleasant moment for Jim as he struggled to come up with a game plan for his 49ers offense, which only mustered up 170 offensive yards. The Baltimore Ravens defense crushed 49ers quarterback Alex Smith for nine sacks (Suggs 3, Redding 2.5, Ngata 2, Zibikowski 1, Webb .5) in a Ravens 16-6 home victory over the 49ers.
2. Running back Beanie Wells (Arizona Cardinals): With their 2011 season going down the drain, the Arizona Cardinals needed a solid road win against the St. Louis Rams to keep their minimal playoff hopes alive. Cardinals quarterback John Skelton isn’t the guy you would count on to win the game for you, so how about Cardinals running back Beanie Wells? Against the Rams defense, Wells displayed the running power that made him a star at Ohio State, and a 2009 first round pick. Wells rushed for a Cardinals franchise record of 228 yards on 27 carries and one touchdown, helping the Cardinals achieve a 23-20 road victory against the Rams.
3. Quarterback Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons): Trying to hang on to their sixth seed spot in the NFC Playoff race, the Atlanta Falcons had an easy task at home against the Minnesota Vikings. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan does realize the implications that each win holds from this point on and with the Green Bay Packers likely nabbing home field advantage, the Falcons still have a chance to contend for the second seed in the NFC Playoffs. Ryan did nothing short of proving once again that he is indeed one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, helping defeat the Vikings 24-14 at the Georgia Dome. Ryan threw for 262 yards, three passing touchdowns, and completed 27 of 34(79%) passes for a 128.2 passer rating.
As Al Pacino once said in “The Godfather Part III”: “Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in”. The same could be said for Urban Meyer, who agreed to a six-year, $4 million a year contract to be the head football coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Before taking a less stressful job as an ESPN college football analyst, Meyer won two BCS National Championships and two SEC Championships with Florida (’05-’10), and won two Mountain West Conference titles with Utah (’03-’04). Despite being under close watch by the NCAA, it will not be long before Ohio State becomes a contender once again in the Big Ten Conference.
Bye bye Bruce! That is the tone a majority of Washington Capitals fans and Caps management are carrying this week, as their head hockey coach Bruce Boudreau has been relieved of his duties after over four seasons of being the Caps head coach, and being the fastest coach in NHL history to achieve 200 wins. The cold hard facts remain: Boudreau’s Caps teams have always played strong in the regular season and faltered in the postseason, as well as starting off 7-0 this season, and winning only five of their past fourteen games since then. Management replaced Boudreau with former Capitals player and captain Dale Hunter, who has no NHL managerial experience, but looks to reinvigorate the Caps hockey team to their fullest playing potential.
The NBA Players Association and NBA owners look like they have finally come to an agreement of sorts. NBAPA Executive Director Billy Hunter told his fellow players that they will receive 51.2 percent of the Basketball Related Income, while the rest will go to the owners, creating almost a 51-49 split amongst the players and owners. The 2011-2012 NBA season hopes to start off on Christmas Day, with thoughts of putting the 149 day lockout behind them. Don’t look for a kind reception for several NBA franchises right away, including small market teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trailblazers.
The mens basketball team at Syracuse University have been keeping closed practices recently as more details surface on the sexual abuse investigation involving former assistant coach Larry Fine. Two former Syracuse ball boys, Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, have came forward with accusations of sexual abuse against Fine, who claimed the accusations were false. Laurie Fine, Larry’s wife, confirmed in a recorded phone interview with Davis that she knew of Larry’s sexual abuse history, and she knew of the sexual relationship that Fine had with Davis until Davis turned 27. I wonder how Larry Fine is going to defend himself in these matters now?
Thank you for reading my blog for this week! Next week, we look into more NFL performances, more dirt sheet news, and a possible BCS Championship review. Feel free to check me out on Facebook (Joshua Collins Hall) or e-mail me at email@example.com for any info regarding my blog and future projects. Enjoy your Monday night, I am out.
I would like to wish every one of my readers a Happy Thanksgiving. In times like these, it is best to keep close to those you love. And the holiday season is always a good time to celebrate the wonderful things in life with all of your friends and family members. Let’s kick off the blog!
Here are my Top Three Performances from NFL Week 11:
1. QB Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions): What a year of redemption for the Detroit Lions and their quarterback, Matthew Stafford. After the past two seasons which have ended on injured reserve placement, Stafford is putting up one of the best regular season performances by a Lions quarterback since NFL Hall of Famer, Bobby Layne. Despite being down thirteen points at the half to the visiting Carolina Panthers, Stafford lit up the Panthers with 335 passing yards, five touchdowns, and completing 77.7 percent of his passes (28 for 36). The Lions defeated the Panthers 49-35, improved to 7-3, and could be the likely opponent to end the Green Bay Packers undefeated streak on Thanksgiving Day.
2. WR Jordy Nelson (Green Bay Packers): Speaking of the undefeated Green Bay Packers, their main strength is not just all about their star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Their main strength also includes the abilities of the receiving corp, and who has been better in the red zone than Packers receiver Jordy Nelson? Facing a stout Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense at home in Lambeau Field, Nelson’s abilities led the Packers to a 35-26 home win, their tenth overall win of the 2011 season. Nelson caught six receptions for 123 yards and two touchdowns, his eighth and ninth touchdown receptions on the year.
3. The Oakland Raiders Defense: With the Denver Broncos and Tim Tebow creeping up the AFC West standings, the Oakland Raiders needed to make a statement against on the road against the disappointing Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings led by rookie quarterback Christian Ponder, had quite a shakey performance in regards to keeping the ball. Raiders linebacker Aaron Curry and cornerback Demarcus Van Dyke each recovered a fumble, while the Raiders also collected three interceptions, one which was picked off by defensive tackle Tommy Kelly. Kelly also acquired two of the Raiders five sacks, in a 27-21 road victory over the Vikings.
Congratulations go out to Detroit Tigers ace pitcher, Justin Verlander for winning the American League MVP Award for his stellar 2011 performance. His 24-5 record, 2.40 ERA, and 250 strikeouts made him the first starting pitcher to collect both Cy Young and MVP honors since Roger Clemens for his 1986 performance with the Boston Red Sox. If not for Verlander, the Detroit Tigers would’ve missed out on the postseason and an AL Central title. The good thing out of all of this is that Verlander will be 29 when the 2012 season starts, and he will have many Cy Young-like years ahead of him.
Tony Stewart ended Jimmie Johnson’s five year Sprint Cup reign yesterday at the Ford 400, winning his first Sprint Cup Series Championship since 2005. Stewart also became the first person to win the Series title as both a racer and an owner since 1992. Carl Edwards gave it a valiant effort but finished several points behind Stewart to take 2nd place overall on the year. As far as Jimmie Johnson goes, regardless of the outcome, his legacy in the NASCAR world is set in stone.
It was exciting to the see The Rock back in action at last night’s Survivor Series pay per view event in Madison Square Garden. I also loved seeing CM Punk win his second WWE Championship, having Howard Finkel introduce him to the ring and as champion, and also I appreciated the fact that Dolph Ziggler is getting much exposure in pay per views with his amount of matches. I didn’t like the fact that Survivor Series only had one traditional Survivor Series bout, as well as the fact that Zack Ryder wasn’t on the card despite the New York crowd chanting his name loudly throughout the night. And when in the hell will WWE get the point and turn the ever so hated John Cena heel?
Thank you for reading my blog this week! Hope you all get to enjoy your turkey and cranberries! Feel free to check me out on Facebook (Joshua Collins Hall) or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any information regarding my blog and future projects. Enjoy your Monday night, I am out.
As legendary boxing referee Mills Lane would say…Let’s Get It On!
Here are my Top Three Performances from NFL Week 9:
1. QB Eli Manning (New York Giants): In Super Bowl XLII, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning shocked all of his critics when he came back against the undefeated New England Patriots and made crucial plays to beat them 17-14. Not only did the Giants win Super Bowl XLII but Manning garnered a Super Bowl MVP trophy in the process. Several seasons later, Manning had found himself in the same predicament except this time, it was on the road in front of a crazy New England crowd. With one and a half minutes on the clock and a three point deficit facing them, Eli Manning mustered up a late touchdown drive, passing for 250 yards overall, two touchdowns overall, and an overall victory in New England 24-20.
2. RB Willis McGahee (Denver Broncos): With a very good running game going for the Denver Broncos, it is very naive to say that they are eliminated from the AFC Playoff picture. The Broncos are 3-5 while the other three teams in the AFC West are 4-4, plus riding the momentum of Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is certainly helping the Broncos morale. Of course, the Broncos success will also depend on the production of their starting veteran running back Willis McGahee, who has been nothing short of spectacular. McGahee had a great outing at Oakland, rushing for 163 yards on twenty carries, and scoring two touchdowns in a 38-24 road victory against the Raiders.
3. WR Julio Jones (Atlanta Falcons): The 2011 NFL Draft class has produced some solid receiver prospects halfway through the 2011 NFL season. Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones is becoming quite the worthy investment for quarterback Matt Ryan and the rest of the Falcons offense. The only problem Jones has faced going into his eighth game against the Indianapolis Colts was that he hasn’t been too successful in the end zone. With only three catches and 131 receiving yards, Jones found the end zone twice, and caught two touchdowns in a 31-7 Falcons road victory against the Colts.
The Baltimore Orioles have finally found their general manager according to sources. Dan Duquette (no relation to former O’s GM Jim Duquette) is now going to be the man to pick up where former general manager Andy MacPhail left off, and try to field the Orioles first winning season since 1997. Boston Red Sox fans know Duquette as the man that brought Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Johnny Damon, and many others through free agency. Like Buck Showalter as a manager, his acquisitions proved worthy after his departure. As a longtime Orioles fan, it would be nice to have these two stay long term rather than dumping them too soon and going into yet another dreadful rebuilding plan.
The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers last night in Pittsburgh 23-20, after a grueling and stressful fourth quarter. It is the second time that the Baltimore Ravens have swept the Pittsburgh Steelers in regular season play, their first since 2006. Kudos goes to both teams, who proved that their hatred ranks their rivalry at the top of the NFL rivalries scale. Also, you got to give credit to Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who led a 92 yard drive near the end of the fourth quarter to give his team the victory, and proving that he can win the big games.
Penn State football is in a world of hurt after child sexual abuse allegations towards former Nittany Lions assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky have surfaced. The worst thing of it all, was the irresponsibility that the coaches and staff showed in not reporting these matters that occurred in 2002. The irresponsibility also lies on longtime Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno, who has stated that he is “shocked” and “disheartened” by these allegations towards Sandusky. For a man who has done so much in college football for almost 50 years, it would be a shame if Joe Paterno’s legacy were disgraced and tarnished by these terrible matters.
I am excited about the fact that Ultimate Fighting Championship will be holding a World Heavyweight title fight live on the Fox network. Cain Velasquez (9-0) will be defending his title against Junior dos Santos (13-1) this coming Saturday night at 9 PM ET. For those that love the sport of mixed martial arts, this card will feature nine fights, unfortunately no heavyweight fights are located in the undercard. I am picking Velasquez to retain his title with a 4th round knockout but dos Santos will put up quite a challenge.
Thank you for reading my blog this week! Hopefully UFC on Fox won’t disappoint and hopefully baseball free agency can heat up as well. Feel free to check me out on Facebook (Joshua Collins Hall) or e-mail me at email@example.com for any information regarding my blog and future projects. Enjoy your Monday night, I am out.