Monday, April 11, 2016

Is Josh Gordon the new Ricky Williams?

The story of Josh Gordon suspension issues is reminiscent of another exciting player that took the NFL by storm. 

Way back in 1999 legendary coach Mike Ditka shocked the world by helping the Saints send eight draft picks, including all of their 1999 selections, and 2000 first- and third-round choices, to Washington for the chance to select Ricky Williams with the No. 5 pick.

Williams had finished his senior season as the NCAA career rushing leader and became the first Longhorn to win the Heisman Trophy since Earl Campbell in 1977. Ditka compared Williams to some of the game's all-time great running backs and wanted to use his punishing run style as the cornerstone of his offense.

As Williams started to interact with his teammates more they noticed he had quirky ways and it was reported that he suffered with social anxiety disorder, avoidance disorder, and borderline personality disorder.

Williams had moderate success with the Saints, but when he was traded to the Dolphins in 2002 in his first season with the Dolphins, he was the NFL's leading rusher with 1,853 yards, a First-team All-Pro and a Pro Bowler.

After taking the NFL by storm it was announced on May 14, 2004 that he tested positive for marijuana in December 2003 and faced a $650,000 fine and a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

Williams decided it would be best for him to retire before that punishment was handed down and he decided to study holistic medicine at the California College of Ayurveda. He officially returned to the Dolphins on July 24, 2005 and paid back a percentage of the money he made while also apologizing to his teammates.

Williams had a modest season by his standards finishing with six touchdowns and a 4.4 yards per carry average on 168 carries and 743 yards. But in February 20, 2006, the football league announced that Williams had violated the NFL drug policy for the fourth time, but one report suggests the substance could have been an herb taken when he studied holistic medicine.

Williams once again tried to make a comeback with the Dolphins in 2007, but as part of his reinstatement he agreed to a strict regimen of multiple drug tests per week. In order to help with his marijuana habit he decided to take up yoga and was able to play for the Dolphins for a few more years while also making history by being the 7th player in NFL history to begin a season age 32 or older, and reach 1,000 yards rushing that same season.

Now the NFL and the Cleveland Browns are dealing with their own Ricky Williams with talented wide receiver, Josh Gordon.

Gordon, who led the NFL and set a Browns record with 1,646 receiving yards in 2013, also had to miss two games because he was suspended due to violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

In 2014, Gordon announced that he had been suspended for one year for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, but eventually that ruling was reduced to 10 games amidst the new NFL drug policy.

During the 2014 season Gordon only played 5 games and caught 24 passes for 303 yards and was once again suspended this time by the Browns for the final game of the 2014 season due to a violation of team rules.

Gordon was forced to sit out the entire 2015 season after being suspended by the NFL and was hoping to get reinstated for the 2016 season, but new reports surface that he failed a drug test on March 20, 2016.

 The sample Gordon submitted tested positive for marijuana and dilute and while the sample was diluted in the eyes of the NFL it counts as a failed drug test.

Unlike Williams the future is still unknown for the explosive and talented wide out, Gordon, but time will tell if is just an irresponsible kid that is going down a road of self-destruction or dealing with other mental health issues that has prevented him from making smart decisions.

His NFL career is now in the hands of Roger Goodell and his spot with the Cleveland Browns might also be in jeopardy as he has now become a liability.   

Saturday, March 12, 2016

What to do with an empty bracket?

347 NCAA Division I basketball teams at the start of the season were all vying for a spot in the big dance. It seems like even as selection Sunday quickly approaches that just that many have a chance and or a solid reason as to why they should be in the tournament.

So what to do with the empty bracket? Well, I am certainly not telling you how to fill out your bracket. You certainly don’t want my advice as my bracket historically ends up looking like a hot mess as the tournament advances through the sweet 16. It seems intuition and gut feelings work best in making predictions where reason, statistics, and logic seem to be useless.  

What I am talking about is more of the question who should even be in the tournament. You can’t even think about who will win the head to head matchups if you don’t know who’s in the tournament. Quite frankly none of the big name teams have really shown that they deserve to be in this year. No team has really earned the number one seed. So how should they decide? I think that they should give all the teams in the division a number and use a random number generator to pick what teams will play.  

Now, that is just my suggestion and as interesting as that would be, I don’t think they will decide it that way this year. They will continue with the auto bids and the committee selection process like they have done in years past.

This year’s tournament for certain will be very interesting. There are many predictions as to who will make the tournament and they all show that there will be several new faces that will be in as well as some familiar ones who will not. In my opinion this will be the first year that truly anyone in the bracket could will it all. There really is no powerhouse team that has played unbelievably well. All of the teams have that I think will be in have proved that they can win but, they have also proven that they are all beatable.

To me this uncertainty makes it more exciting. I love underdogs and if you have listened to my football predictions on HawkTalk you know how much faith I have in major upsets. I we could select the better team just by paper stats they would not need to play the game.  

There also are some strong teams in the field that I expect to perform well and here are my predations as to who will be in. To me it is safe to say that Kansas and Villanova with the best records of 28-4, Virginia, Oregon, Xavier, Miami, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Michigan State, West Virginia, Indiana, and yes even Kentucky at 23- 8 and Duke at 23-10 will all make the tournament. To me all but the teams listed with the exception of Kentucky and Duke have all earned a spot in the tournament. While this has not been the best year for powerhouse teams all of these I expect to be 5 seeds or above simply on schedule toughness and overall record.  

Kansas especially has played the best of any team all season beating UCLA, Vanderbilt, Oklahoma, Kansas State, among others. As of know they are undoubtedly the best team with tournament hopes. They have a strong starting crew Perry Ellis who leads the team averaging almost 17 points per game. Alongside him are Frank Mason III, Wayne Selden Jr., Devonte’ Graham, and the rest of the team.

Kentucky and Duke are another issue. I do not think that either of these teams has truly earned a spot in the tournament. However I do believe that they will be in the round of 64 based only off of reputation and toughness of schedule. Those two getting in will have little to do with their on-court performance this year. I do not expect them to get out of the second round. They are simply not that strong of teams.  

Based on the teams rich history I think that they will be a 5 seed or better which is outrageous but will probably be true. However bot have lost to teams that a top caliber team shouldn’t have. Duke lost to UNC, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, and Louisville. Kentucky lost to Texas A&M, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt.

On the other hand, Monmouth at 27-7 and Valparaiso at 26-6 should both be in the tournament. They have both played extremely well this season in their respective conferences.  

Monmouth has played well beating teams like Notre Dame, Dayton, UCLA, and Georgetown. However their one inhibiting factor is that they lost Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference final game to Iona who now has the auto bid. Monmouth has a strong point leader with Justin Robinson leading the team with almost 20 points per game. They also have strong defensive game. As a team they average 15 steals and 41 rebounds per game. As a whole this team if they are able to sneak in has a strong chance to perform well on the big stage.  

Valparaiso also has had an impressive season but sits in a worse spot than Monmouth. They have played well but have not really beaten any big name teams other than Missouri State. As a solid basketball team they deserve a chance at the big dance based on overall record eliminating the toughness of schedule factor. They similarly lost in overtime for the horizon league championship. Valpo will make it to the tournament but I simply do not think they are strong enough to win it all.   

Overall this March Madness will be the most bizarre one that we have ever seen. It will full of more than its share of upsets. I expect this to be the year where the underdogs out preform the teams we have been accustomed to seeing in the tournament. For my finial prediction I am really going out on a limb and hopefully it won’t break. Personally I love the underdogs.  My finial prediction is that if Monmouth makes the tournament, that they upset everyone and win it all.

Yes I said it. I predict Monmouth as the National Champions. You can call me crazy but as I said earlier, logic is useless for predictions like this. Anyone can win and that’s why they play the game. You have to go with your gut and mine tells me that Monmouth takes home the trophy.  

-Joe Kubicki

Friday, February 5, 2016

What to do with Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods: a 21st century sporting icon and, as a result, a household name. Woods is a man who is compared to some of the greatest players in the game of golf and expected to break the records from players including Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicholas. He is a man who inspired many of the younger players at the amateur and professional level. He played with absolute authority, and he was realistically expected to win every tournament – or at least stay in contention.

But now the once-counted-on consistent front runner can’t count on much of anything these days. After having the worst season in his career and two back surgeries, Woods is uncertain as to when he will return to the game of golf, according to an article from ESPN in December 2015.  In an interview at The Albany Golf Club found on, Woods blamed the uncertainty of his return to competitive golf on the unhealed nerves in his back.

"For nerves, there are really no timetables, and therein lies the tricky part,” Woods said.  

The former champion is now 40 years old, has a long list of injuries, is still fixing his reputation after several issues in his personal life, and, on top of that, is trying to fix a golf game that was in shambles as of his last competitive appearance. So what should he do now?

An article posted in late December on Wood’s webpage said that he is looking forward to returning for the 2016 season but unfortunately still does not mention an expected date of return to competition.

Many people question as to whether he will or will not return, as well as whether or not he really should return. I do expect Woods to return to playing completive golf in the next year or so. I do not expect him to ever play as dominantly as he did earlier in his career. He is 20 years older than when he started, and the years have definitely taken their toll on him. As to whether or not he will win again on tour, I do not think that he will win any more on the PGA Tour. Everything about his game is flawed. He can’t seem to get his swing fixed even though he has been through several instructors, and, more importantly, he can’t seem to get his head in the game. Ever since his personal issues from a few years ago came to light, he has never really played the same.

I think that the best thing for him is to bow out and retire officially from playing professional golf. If he returns to the tour I expect him to struggle tremendously. It is only going to frustrate him further. Woods no longer serves the role of inspiration for younger golfers. He has been replaced by players like Rickey Fowler and Jordan Spieth.

Only time will tell what Woods will do and who knows, maybe we will see him become a commentator in the near future.
-Joe Kubicki

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2015 Packers Free Agency: Five Players the Packers Should Pursue

Randall Cobb of the Green Bay Packers
Well, it’s basically that time of year again. The time where Packer faithful get their hopes up that Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson finally puts his hand on the trigger and scores a high priced free agent.

Well, keep dreaming. The only high priced free agent Thompson will ever sign is someone who is already a Packer.

Speaking of Packer free agents, wide receiver Randall Cobb and right tackle Bryan Bulaga should be at the top of their priority list.

Cobb is looking for around $9 million a year, and at this point, what Bulaga is looking for is unknown.

The Packers do own a nice amount of cap space this offseason though, as the cap number for this year has been raised to around $143 million. Given that, the Packers should be able to afford Cobb and Bulaga.

However, just because the Packers won’t be going after some high priced outside free agents, doesn’t mean they can’t make an impact this offseason.

The Packers only made two outside signings last year, linebacker Julius Peppers and defensive lineman Letroy Guion, and they both had a significant impact on the 2014 season.

So, here are three outside free agents that could greatly benefit the Packers next season.
  1. Shane Vereen: Running Back, New England Patriots
Shane Vereen of the New England Patriots
I love the idea of Vereen coming to Green Bay. Packers’ running back Eddie Lacy is a great physical runner, but he is nowhere near the receiving threat that Vereen is.

Vereen is a lot like Cobb, but a running back. If Cobb returns, and he likely will, then Green Bay could very well be a matchup nightmare next season.

Hopefully Vereen sees the potential of working with Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers because it would definitely make the number one offense in the NFL even more dynamic.
  1. Charles Tillman: Cornerback, Chicago Bears
Charles Tillman of the Chicago Bears
This possibility is only if the Packers do not resign cornerback Tramon Williams because they would probably rather have him over Tillman. However, if the price for Williams is too much, the Packers would definitely not hesitate in letting the ageing cornerback go.

But, exit one ageing cornerback, and insert another.

Tillman will probably not demand much money on the free agent market and could come as a bargain. The Packers are not afraid to take ex-Bears players as we saw last year with Peppers, and
Tillman could come in and play well in a limited role. He’s got a knack for forcing fumbles which could really help the Packers come next season.
  1. Brain Orakpo: Linebacker, Washington Redskins
Brian Orakpo of the Washington Redskins
Call me crazy, but I like linebacker Clay Matthews in the inside role. He played better than expected at that position last year and really helped the run defense when he made the change, if the Packers sign Orakpo this offseason, he can stay there.

Orakpo could very well be a risky signing given his injury concerns, but those injury concerns will probably drive his price tag pretty low. He might want to sign a one year prove-it-all deal, and the
 Packers would most likely be happy to do it for the right price.

Orakpo is an effective pass rusher when healthy, and the upside to him far outweighs Packers’ linebackers Mike Neal and Nick Perry.

Monday, January 26, 2015

First Round Mock Draft 1.0

With the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select...well that's a good question that we don't know yet.  However, I decided to go through and do my own mock draft on this blog and give you my analysis with each pick.

1.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  QB Jameis Winston/ Florida State
A lot can be said about Marcus Mariota but Winston is the most NFL ready quarterback in this draft.  On top of that, the Buccaneers really don't have an effective quarterback on their roster.  Since they have the first overall pick, it's a good idea to take Winston and give Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson a quarterback.

2.  Tennessee Titans:  DT Leonard Williams/ USC
Why pass on Mariota here?  Well I think Tennessee is going to go all in on Zach Mettenberger so now that leaves the question as to who you take here.  Leonard Williams is the best player in this draft and the Titans need to revamp that defensive line.  Drafting Williams here is a good way to start.

3.  Jacksonville Jaguars:  DE Randy Gregory/ Nebraska
Again, the Jaguars are stuck in a situation where they should take the best available player and that is Randy Gregory.  This guy is going to be a playmaker at the next level and its truly something the Jaguars could use.

4.  Oakland Raiders:  WR Amari Cooper/ Alabama
The Raiders obviously need a lot but a receiver is a good place to start.  Last year they drafted their quarterback in Derek Carr out of Fresno State but now this year, they need to draft a franchise receiver for their franchise quarterback.  Cooper all the way here.

5.  Washington Redskins:  OT Brandon Scherff/ Iowa
The Redskins need a ton of positions but an offensive tackle is a must for them.  They have Trent Williams but no one else on the line can protect their quarterback, whether that be RGIII or whoever.  Scherff is a great pick for the Redskins.

6.  New York Jets:  QB Marcus Mariota/ Oregon
Finally, after the first five teams pass on him, Mariota goes to the Jets.  I'm not sure if this will be a good thing or not but I do know there is no way Mariota will fall past this point.  There has been a lot of talk about the Eagles trading up to get Mariota but they would probably have to get the number two pick just because of the risk that the Titans can take Mariota.  With that being said, Mariota would be a perfect fit for the Jets as they need to rebuild around a good quarterback.

7.  Chicago Bears:  SS Landon Collins/ Alabama
The Bears can go a lot of different areas but safety is the best bet for them here.  Landon Collins may not be a playmaker at the next level but he certainly will be a solid strong safety in which the Bears would get instantly stronger at that position.  It's hard for me to see the Bears passing on Collins if he is still on the board.

8.  Atlanta Falcons:  DE Shane Rey/ Missouri
The Falcons need a lot of different positions but the two most important for them are pass rusher and offensive tackle and by drafting Shane Rey, you fill a big need.  Rey is going to be a stud at the next level and Atlanta won't pass on him if he's still on the board.  Atlanta is in a good spot because they can see who goes where before they pick.

9.  New York Giants:  DE Dante Fowler Jr./ Florida
The Giants almost have identical needs to the Falcons.  They were unable to protect Eli Manning a year ago and they could really use a tackle but their pass rush was so bad last year.  If a guy like Fowler is still on the board and the Giants have a chance to snag him, they have to do it.  He will add a lot of pass rush and make this defense much better.

10.  St. Louis Rams:  WR DeVante Parker/ Louisville
I don't know why a lot of analyst forget that the Rams still haven't really filled that receiver void for Sam Bradford.  They thought they did when the drafted Tavon Austin but to this point, Austin hasn't produced like they had hoped.  Here's a good chance to pick up a stud receiver in DeVante Parker and give Bradford a good receiver.

11.  Minnesota Vikings:  OLB Shaq Thompson/ Washington
The Vikings could go offensive line here but I think they pass and go back to the defensive side of the ball.  Thompson will be a nice compliment to Anthony Barr who the Vikings took a year ago out of UCLA.  With the Vikings still needing more linebackers, Thompson seems like a great fit here.

12.  Cleveland Browns:  OLB Vic Beasley/ Clemson
Speaking of a team in need of pass rush, the Cleveland Browns really need help in that category.  They have a lot of good chances in this draft but this is their first.  Beasley can flat out rush the quarterback and he is a great 3-4 guy who will fit their system.  The Browns getting Beasley would be a perfect fit for them here.

13.  New Orleans Saints:  CB Trae Waynes/ Michigan State
This is right around the point where I expect the first corner to go.  Trae Waynes has been flying up draft boards as of late and the reason being is because he has transformed himself into the best corner in this draft.  The Saints have no good corners whatsoever and picking Waynes makes so much sense.  The last time the Saints went corner in the first round was Patrick Robinson out of LSU, who ended up really being a bust.  They need to fill the need of that position here.

14.  Miami Dolphins:  OT T.J. Clemmings/ Pittsburgh
Speaking of a guy flying up draft boards, T.J. Clemmings has really come on to the scene as of late.  Here's a guy who has mainly played right tackle in college and is perfect for the Dolphins.  JuWuan James has really filled that left tackle role for the Dolphins but they still need protection on the other side of Tannehill.  Clemmings would be the perfect guy for Miami here at 14 if he is available.

15.  San Francisco 49ers:  CB Marcus Peters/ Washington
The 49ers are in desperate need of corner help and Peters seems like a no brainer to me here.  If Peters wasn't kicked off the team, he would be a top pick in this draft but he was and now he has dropped a little bit.  However, he is still exactly what you want in a corner and the perfect fit for the Niners.

16.  Houston Texans:  OT La'el Collins/ LSU
The Texans really do need a quarterback but an even bigger need for them is offensive tackle.  They will more than likely re-sign Ryan Mallett so drafting Collins here gives Mallett better protection since they really struggled on the offensive line this year.  Collins can play tackle or guard for you and this is a good pick for them.

17.  San Diego Chargers:  DT Danny Shelton/ Washington
It seems like I can talk about rising stars in this draft all day but Shelton is one of them.  His weight may be a concern but he is extremely explosive for his size.  That is something the Chargers are missing and they are missing a good Nose Tackle.  Danny Shelton makes the most since here and I would not pass on him if he's on the board.

18.  Kansas City Chiefs:  WR Kevin White/ West Virginia
Not to be confused with TCU corner Kevin White, wide receiver Kevin White from West Virginia is truly a top receiver prospect in this draft.  And who needs a receiver more than the Chiefs?  Remember, not one touchdown catch last year for the Chiefs was by a wide receiver.  That's because they don't have any wide receivers.  Kevin White would be a great pick and will probably help allow for Dwayne Bowe to get open more.

19.  Cleveland Browns (Trade with Buffalo Bills):  DT Eddie Goldman/ Florida State
Eddie Goldman is one heck of a football player.  While he may not have the explosiveness that Shelton has, he certainly finds ways to be around the ball.  He's great at stopping the run and was a huge part of Florida State's successful defense the last two years.  The Browns could really use another addition to that weak defensive front and Goldman fits perfectly.

20.  Philadelphia Eagles:  CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu/ Oregon
Well this should really have an asterisk by it because the Eagles may seriously try and trade up for Mariota.  However, if they don't get him, I could see them getting his Oregon teammate, corner Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.  While Ekpre-Olomu has dropped in the draft, he still will be a good first round corner and is really a good fit for a need the Eagles have.  On top of that, why not reunite him with Chip Kelly.

21.  Cincinnati Bengals:  DE Alvin "Bud" Dupree/ Kentucky
The Bengals have two flaws; they have no second wide receiver and they have no pass rush.  I think at this point in the draft, with three good wide receivers already gone, they should fill the pass rush need and they should do that with Bud Dupree from Kentucky.  This guy can flat out play and he's extremely explosive off the ball.  Dupree is a talent you can't pass on if your Cincinnati and is a great fit for them.

22.  Pittsburgh Steelers:  OT Andrus Peat/ Stanford
While the Steelers really need secondary help,  they also really need to protect Big Ben once he gets his contract.  They really have no top notch tackles and they could really use one.  Andrus Peat is dropping on draft boards but will still be a late first round pick.  I don't see how the Steelers can pass on a pretty intriguing prospect in Andrus Peat at 22.

23.  Detroit Lions:  OT Ereck Flowers/ Miami (FL)
Ironically enough, the Lions could also use a tackle.  Last year, the Lions were really playing right tackle by committee and this is not something they can do again this year.  With the top two defensive tackles, Shelton and Goldman, gone already, the Lions should take a tackle to fill that right tackle position.  Even though a deal may get done to keep Suh in Detroit, it's not a good time to address that position at this point in the draft.  Ereck Flowers would be a great pick for the Lions to fill their right tackle need.

24.  Arizona Cardinals:  HB Melvin Gordon/ Wisconsin
While I'm not a fan of taking a running back in the first round, this is one team that could sure use a good one.  Melvin Gordon was the best running back in college football last year and honestly he can help put the Cardinals over the top.  He's an explosive runner and will help boost that 3-yard per carry problem they have an Arizona.  With Gordon and Ellington, the Cardinals can develop an extremely explosive run game.

25.  Carolina Panthers:  CB Kevin Johnson/ Wake Forest
Tough spot for Carolina to pick considering they could really use an offensive lineman here.  However, there really aren't any first round caliber offensive tackles left so its a good idea for them to look at their other needs.  They do need pass rush but they also really need secondary help.  While their young defense played good down the stretch, it was mainly thanks to their linebacker play.  They  could use some corner help and Kevin Johnson is another guy you want in a corner.  He's got all the tools and would be a gem if he went to Carolina.

26.  Baltimore Ravens:  HB Todd Gurley/ Georgia
Some teams rely a lot on their offense and the Ravens are one of those teams.  While he probably won't be drafted ahead of Gordon due to his injury, Todd Gurley will be an absolute powerhouse at the next level.  If the Ravens can get an explosive back like Gurley, I wouldn't pass on him if I were them.  While they have other needs, their in a good position to take him.

27.  Dallas Cowboys:  DT Michael Bennett/ Ohio State
When you look at the Cowboys, they don't really have an explosive interior defensive lineman.  While their defensive ends played really well this year, they need a defensive tackle to play the interior in their 4-3 scheme.  Michael Bennett is a great pick for them.  While they could pick Malcom Brown, Michael Bennett makes more sense for their scheme and for the team as a whole.

28.  Denver Broncos:  WR Jaelen Strong/ Arizona State
The Broncos need to do something about Thomas and Thomas leaving for free agency.  In fact, if Demarryius Thomas wants too much money, I wouldn't bother signing him if I were them.  They drafted Cody Latimer a year ago and by adding Jaelen Strong, they would have two good, young receivers.  Plus add him to a guy they picked up in free agency, Emmauel Sanders, and your receiving core remains pretty good.

29.  Indianapolis Colts:  DT Malcom Brown/ Texas
Much like the Panthers, the Colts are in a bad position.  They could really use an offensive lineman but again, the first round caliber offensive lineman are gone.  So why not take another need in the nose tackle position and take Malcom Brown.  Here's a guy that can immediately boost the defensive line pressure for the Colts and do a much better job at stopping the run then what they Colts have had this year.

30.  Green Bay Packers:  MLB Benardrick McKinney/ Mississippi State
This to me is a no brainer.  The Packers are only a couple positions away from going back to the big game and McKinney will help with that.  The one position they really lacked in this year was middle linebacker with A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones seeing limited time and Sam Barrington seeing most of the snaps.  They need to find a good middle linebacker and McKinney is a good one.

31.  New England Patriots:  WR Dorial Green-Beckham/ Oklahoma
Dorial Green-Beckham hasn't played much football the past couple of years but when he has, he's been quite the talent.  If their is any team who could use a tall, lengthy receiver, its the Patriots.  Green-Beckham could make a run for rookie of the year if he ended up here and could be an instant playmaker.

32.  Seattle Seahawks:  WR Devin Funchess/ Michigan
The Seahawks have a no brainer pick here.  They traded away their best receiver in Percy Harvin and really need to add to their receiving core.  Funchess is moving up draft boards and since moving from tight end to receiver, has really been effective.  He's a talent that they could use down in Seattle and I think Russell Wilson would like this very much.

So their is my first mock draft.  I hope you guys liked it.  I've been working on this for quite some time now and it isn't as easy as one may think.  However, this years draft will be exciting and as a fan of the Packers who are eliminated from the playoffs, I can't wait for the draft.

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Packers vs. Cowboys

As most weeks in the NFL playoffs go, the people of the sporting world have all week to talk about football with a limited number of teams to talk about.  This week a lot of the talk has turned to the Packers vs. the Cowboys.  More specifically Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers.  Other than leading their teams to the playoffs what do they have in common?  Well Tony Romo was almost picked up in by the Packers.  Think about that.  Tony Romo as the Packer's quarterback and not Aaron Rodgers.  If Tony was picked up in 2003 there would be no need to draft Aaron 2 years later.  Tony would be the successor and Aaron would be making some other team in the NFL look outstanding.

There is so much more to this game though than just these quarterbacks.  Think back to the 1967 NFC Championship game.  The Ice Bowl.  The game that is forever known for being the coldest game in NFL history.  The game that sealed the identity of the Superbowl trophy.  Bet you didn't think about that.  If you think about it, if the Cowboys hold the Packers at the goal line and prevent them from scoring, then Tom Landry and the Cowboys most likely go on to win the Superbowl that year.  The there is an outside chance that the Lombardi trophy is named the Landry trophy.  Again this is a big if, but still it could have happened.

Now back to this weekends game.  Who really has more to prove?  The Packers?  Well Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson are trying to prove to the organization that their way of drafting stars and not acquiring them via free agency is the best.  Aaron Rodgers is still trying to get over the Brett Favre hump and silence the rest of the haters in Packer land.  He is trying to prove that he is the best weapon for the Packers.  Jerry Jones and the Cowboys are trying to keep their "America's team" name that they've had since the 90s.  They haven't done much since then and it is starting to look like, that if Jason Garrett doesn't lead this team to victory that he could be looking for a new job this postseason.  Tony is trying to prove that he can win playoff games, and that last week's win over the Lions was not a fluke.  He is trying to get rid of his non clutch nature.

The Cowboys probably have the bigger thing to prove this weekend in my opinion with Jerry, Jason and Tony.  This doesn't mean that I am in anyway rooting for the Cowboys this weekend.  It's always great to have an old Cowboy calling the Packer Cowboy game.  It's not like he'll be rooting the entire game. (Sarcasm in case you didn't catch that.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Really the Worst Call?

Who's fault really was it though?  Was it the referees? Was it the players?  well really both are to blame but that is human error in the game of football.  I am talking about the Lions vs. Cowboys game this weekend.  The game itself seemed to have come down to the call on the field.  Well the blown call I should say.  Yes the referees missed a crucial call that could have changed the game drastically but is it really the turning point in the game?  I don't think so.  You see the game of football is played by humans, and refereed by humans which means that there is a significant amount of human error in the game.

If the game were to change and it were to become a bunch of robots playing the game or at least refereeing the game people would begin to hate the game because it doesn't allow for human error.  As a fan I'm sure that a call has gone your team's way one or two times at least (that you can remember).  This is what makes the game exhilarating.  The thought that a call can be blown at anytime and that your team or the other team could start to walk away with the game is very exciting.  This can change the way that people view the game of football forever.  We have all heard about point shaving by the players but haven't really seen anything that involved that kind of controversy with the referees.  Sure the was the fail marry with Green Bay and Seattle a couple of years ago but that was a bunch of replacement referees, not ones that do this at this level all of the time.

Back to the game.  The referees are to blame for missing a call yes, but what I want to know is how is it that the flag can be thrown by an official across the field seeing that it was blatant pass interference but not by the referee that was standing the closest.  Then after the play the conversed about the play and were convinced by that same referee that didn't see the pass interference because he didn't want to  be thought of as not being able to do his job at the highest level.  Basically he missed the call and didn't want to take the blame for missing the call so he stuck to his guns, knowing he was wrong.  He just didn't want to seem wrong to the entire nation.

Finally the game was not lost on this call although the call had it gone the Lion's way could have changed the layout of the game.  It was lost by the Lions! Yes I'm not blaming the referees! The Lions constantly couldn't do anything with the ball in the second half.  This is a team that is supposed to be competing for NFC North titles on a yearly basis.  Your offense should know how to step up in the playoffs when the game is on the line.  This team was built with so many good pieces on the offensive side of the ball that there should be no excuse for not being able to move the ball.  I understand that there is not a lot of playoff experience on the team itself but the team does have experience and they should be able to concentrate on the matter at hand.  There was absolutely nothing for them to be sidetracked with because Ndamukong Suh got off of his one game suspension.  The team and this offense specifically needed to step up and we saw them collapse.  I guess Matthew Stafford is less clutch in playoff situations than Tony Romo.  And that is saying something.