Posts Tagged ‘NFL’

Cam Newton has proven to be the Superman many thought he was – but his detractors are still looking for Kryptonite.

It’s been a while since the last time I’ve written an original post for the blog. If you’ve added this page on Facebook, then you know I tend to post articles and ask for feedback daily, so I am indeed active in terms of how I utilize Shoot, Pass, Quibble! However, there are SO MANY different sources of information and analysis on things in the world of sports, oft times when I come up with a concept for something I’d like to write – I find it’s already been done and approached from a variety of angles. And to be quite honest – I don’t want to feel like I’m parroting anyone, or even appear that way.

But as luck would have it, a friend on Facebook provided me with the perfect topic for this post. Since we went back and forth for the better part of 2 hours on Facebook over this subject, I realized – it’s one that hasn’t really been broken down the way I tried to break it down to my friend. Eureka – my next post.

Now, before I go forward, I want to say – this particular blog isn’t meant to dis my friend, nor is it to be taken as an excuse to take potshots at him in the least. However, I WILL refer to things from our online conversation, and to things I’ve heard and read in reference to the subject matter. Some perceptions out there need to be refuted and cleared up. So, to paraphrase the great poet Jay-Z: “Sorry (friend), I’m just trying to advance my quotes – I ain’t making you the butt of my jokes…”

Now, with all that said…Alex Smith is a b***h.

If you’ve watched Alex Smith’s NFL “career” – this picture is something you’re extremely accustomed to seeing.

I’m sure most, if not all of you, have by now heard San Francisco QB Alex Smith’s verbal shot at NFL Rookie Of The Year Cam Newton. When asked about his statistics from a season ago, Smith, a long-time NFL under-performer (he was the #1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft) who had his most successful NFL season just last year, unnecessarily threw Cam and the Carolina Panthers under the bus for pretty much no reason. In order to be perfectly clear and transparent, so no one accuses me of “ESPN-ing” this up (read: saying something as though it’s fact, without actual evidence to support it – knowing my audience will buy it due to my reputation) – check out the actual clip of Smith’s words (the quote that has generated the press comes about 4:46 in).

Now, when watching the entire interview, Smith doesn’t seem to be too much of a jerk, right? Seems like he’s just answering questions about his team and the upcoming season. But the media jumped on the Cam comments, and rightfully so – Newton and his team had nothing to do with that conversation. Smith could have easily made his point without naming Newton or any team at all; the question is – WHY did he do that? Why did he choose Cam Newton of all other QBs he could’ve named? What was the impetus?

I’ll get to that a little later.

For now, let’s deal with the fallout from that interview. Newton’s teammate, linebacker Jon Beason, fired back in support of his quarterback on Twitter: “Alex smith, don’t hate on Cam (because) your stats would’ve gotten u cut if Peyton decided to come 2 San Fran. Truth b told. That’s after a 13-3 yr.” Yikes.

Jon Beason stuck up for his teammate in a manner I can relate to – by simply telling the truth.

Talk about going for the jugular. Thing is – Beason is 100% right. The absolute truth of the matter, and absolute fact – Smith was a free agent this year. The 49ers put out a take it or leave it offer, and Smith, somehow feeling he was due more as the QB of a successful 13-3 team, balked. He felt undervalued, and went out to test the market. Only thing is – there was no market for Smith. He didn’t receive a single offer from any team in the entire league. In fairness, the 49ers offer was a very good one, and one I believe was beyond fair and generous for a QB of his level (and one that he eventually signed). But the fact that they didn’t franchise him, and fully allowed him to test the market speaks volumes. The Miami Dolphins, desperate for a QB, didn’t even offer him a contract (even though they met with him). Lest you forget, the Dolphins pretty much suck. I can’t even name you any other teams, because Miami was pretty much the only team that gave this guy a call. Now, by my count, there were about 10 teams (including San Francisco) that had needs at the starting QB position before both free agency and the draft.

Here are some more Smith facts – a year ago, the 49ers had so much faith in this guy, they drafted QB Colin Kaepernick in the 2nd round. Kaepernick wasn’t drafted as a “sit and wait” QB – he was expected to compete for and win the job. So what saved Smith’s bacon? The lockout. New coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t have the time to really work with the kid like he would’ve liked, so he went with the experienced guy on the roster. That’s it. Nothing more. When Smith performed decently during the season, the team felt a breath of relief. And lest one tries the argument of how it wouldn’t matter since it was a new coach – Harbaugh kept much of he 49ers’ system that was previously in place the year before since he didn’t have a full offseason to make major changes. Smith, of course, was familiar with that system.

What’s that? I’m missing something? Oh, believe me, I know. I know how San Francisco went balls to the wall to get Peyton Manning. I know full well the coach who rejuvenated Smith’s career and who supposedly had so much faith in his ability had no contact with him during this time period, and was the first person to go see Manning throw at Duke, secretly flying in under cover of night. I know that the 49ers put on the press harder than any other team until Manning told them he wasn’t interested. Big show of confidence, right?

But let’s get to the meat of the argument, and the perception that some people (my friend included) bought into – that Smith’s comments hold merit. Because, make no mistake about this in any capacity…THEY DON’T. See, outside of throwing a guy under the bus, Smith’s comments actually aren’t true in relation to Cam Newton. This line stands out in particular: “…if you’re losing games in the second half, guess what? You’re like the Carolina Panthers and you’re going no-huddle the entire second half and, yeah, Cam Newton threw for a lot of 300-yard games, that’s great. You’re not winning, though.” The only part of that statement that’s true is Cam and the Panthers didn’t win. But the STRONG implication, the one that most people in the NFL (by their own words, not mine), the media and the public took to heart, was that Cam got his stats because his team was always losing, and thus, they were constantly trying to throw the ball to attempt to stay in games, padding Cam’s stats and making him look like a better QB than he actually was. There’s an implication that HIS (Cam’s) stats were overblown, and that he isn’t as good as advertised.

Rubbish.

Look up what Smith did in HIS rookie season. It WON’T be pretty.

What Smith says assumes (A) Newton was always putting up stats in garbage time and (B) it’s easy to get the stats Newton got. If it’s so easy, how come no other rookie ever did it? Stands to reason most rookie QBs are on teams that aren’t top-caliber (the first-year starters, at least). No, it’s dismissive of a record-breaking achievement. Drew Brees puts up gaudy numbers whether his teams are good or bad (feel free to check his career stats and the win-loss records of the teams he’s played on – whether the teams’ are good or not, he pretty much always gets his numbers). So one could dismiss his numbers if they chose to, but it would be foolish to. Smith’s first season as a starter wasn’t in the same galaxy as Newton’s, by the way. Hell, no one’s was – because Cam broke every major rookie QB record of note. Smith isn’t even in the top 20 of rookie seasons by a QB. Hell – not even top 50 (look it up). Remember – Smith was a #1 draft pick, just like Newton. Please don’t forget that.

Smith didn’t go 13-3 because he was so great – he wasn’t even a Pro Bowl selection. He went 13-3 because he had a top 5 defense and a fantastic running game. Teams didn’t game plan to shut him down AT ALL. People who just take stats without context might buy the crap he said. But he’s as responsible for his team’s gaudy record as Joe Flacco is. Meaning – they both rode great defenses and strong running games to success. The difference is – Flacco at least HAS been above-average his entire career. Smith has been sub-par until last year. And both QBs had somewhat similar seasons stat-wise last year, both of which were good seasons for both.

But make no mistake – Ray Rice, Frank Gore and their defenses were the main components of the Baltimore Ravens’ and 49ers’ success last season. Anyone arguing differently is a fool.

Now, here’s the point I made to my buddy on this – I WATCHED these games. While my friend appeared to have taken Smith’s words as valid, and simplified it down to the wins & losses argument – I knew that argument held no water because I actually saw the games. Hell, it’s essentially why I know so much about sports – I watch the actual games. In today’s society, we have so many people who form their opinions off of watching ESPN highlights and reading stories or listening to/watching talking heads segments…they try to form accurate opinions on things without actually having seen things for themselves. When I was growing up, I got popped if I joined an adult’s conversation without knowing what I was talking about. And I remember watching the adult men clowning any guy who spoke up who didn’t know what he was talking about. Now – it’s commonplace. Everyone has an opinion, but few can back it with substance.

I not only watched the games that came on Sundays and Mondays (including games seen on NFL League Pass and Canadian TV once in a while), I watched THE REPLAYS on NFL Network during the week. That’s right – even after seeing the highlights and knowing the results, I still watched replays of most of the games throughout the week if I was home. I don’t watch TV shows as much as others – I watch sports. And read. I have my shows, but I think there’s probably less than 10 TV shows I watch regularly in the course of a year. So I saw almost every Carolina game, and I saw most of the 49ers games as well.

Why did I bring this up? Because Cam’s numbers actually came over the course of entire games; he did not pad his stats in blow out losses as implied by Smith. All of the scrutiny by the entire sports media, yet no one has brought up this supposed reality until Smith? Bullcrap. I watched the games. I KNOW better. Stats without context make for people speaking without actual knowledge of the subject matter.

However – stats WITH context are used by knowledgeable folks all the time. After I made this point to my friend – about watching the games and seeing Cam do it throughout, not just at the end – I decided to look up what my own eyes saw. Bingo – the eyes don’t lie. This is what I found (again, anyone can feel free to look these things up and prove me wrong):

Out of ten losses, the Carolina Panthers were only blown out in 3. So, they were

Cam Newton sure looked good for a guy with supposedly padded his stats.

in the game in 7 out of 10 losses. Not exactly padding stats in the 2nd half. Overall for the year, the Panthers led in 14 of 16 games, including 10 in the fourth quarter, but of those 10 they won only six. Carolina finished 6-10 and behind Newton’s offensive production upped its scoring average from 12.2 points per game in 2010 to 25.4 points per game in 2011. Newton completed 60 percent of his passes for 4,051 yards and 21 touchdowns, with 17 interceptions, and he rushed 126 times for 706 yards and 14 touchdowns, the most for a quarterback in NFL history.

So, just look at that for a second. Soak those statistical facts, that I saw with my own eyes, in. And also realize – Newton is one of the rare QBs who had more TDs than interceptions in his rookie year, and of those interceptions, some of them were FORCED in an effort to win. One could argue had he had an even average NFL defense, you could lower the INTs by about 5-7 in number.

Do you now realize that Smith’s words and implications aren’t just off – they’re literally ABSURD?!? Like…literally. ABSURD. To quote Skip Bayless, Smith’s assertion is “asiNINE, asiTEN, asiELEVEN…”

From a man’s standpoint, what Smith did was what some of us call “b***ha$$ness”. This isn’t a case of a defensive player throwing a jab at a rival, like James Harrison saying something about Joe Flacco, or Ray Lewis talking about Eddie George. Rivals talk crap about each other, tweak each other, etc. – it’s par for the course. But one thing you don’t see – you don’t see QBs randomly throwing each other under the bus. Think about it – with Tebow-mania last year, how many active QBs did you hear say anything negative about him? For the 5 years Brett Favre fought LeBron James as the biggest attention-whore in all of sports, how many active QBs talked bad about him? Anyone ever hear a current QB chime in on Tony Romo when everyone else is grilling him?

No. Because you don’t do that. You’re all QBs – you understand. You know the deal. You’re part of the same fraternity. Leave that to the media, analysts, ex-players, etc. But QBs don’t trash other QBs. Even ESPN anchor Trey Wingo said in reference to this “Keep my name out your mouth” (editorializing what he thought Cam’s thoughts should be on this).

So yes – like I said above…Alex Smith is a b***h. The question I posed before – why did he do this? Well – I can’t prove this, and I may never be able to – but it’s what I think…

Because of good ol’ jealousy and bias.

Let me be clear so there’s no misunderstanding – I’m 100% saying Cam Newton’s race had to do with this. Absolutely. I can’t prove this, and I’m pretty positive if this was brought up in the larger media conversation, Smith would eventually deny it as completely untrue. We’d get the obligatory stories of how many Black teammates he’s had, the great relationships he’s had with Black players and people he knows, what he’s done in charity that involved Black folks…etc. You’d have Black teammates stepping up to speak up for the guy, no doubt. Just like if your co-worker said something negative about a Black employee that you suspected was rooted subconsciously (or consciously) in racial bias or prejudice, there are probably many who wouldn’t see it as that – and probably a small number who would.

But I simply don’t believe he would’ve mentioned Andy Dalton’s name if HE had the same season and stats as Cam. You know who ACTUALLY had the type of season Smith described? One with good stats that were padded late in games? Philip Rivers. Know how I know? I had him on a fantasy team. Every single week, I’d look at how he was performing during his games, pissed that it was the 3rd quarter and his stats were anemic. I tried to trade him all year – couldn’t get a good deal back. Everyone low-balled me. But you know what? Come the 4th quarter, Rivers’ stats would improve considerably. This didn’t occur in every game, but A LOT of them. By the end of the game, I had somehow squeezed out at least 250-300 yards and a couple of TDs out of a guy who went into the 3rd quarter barely over the century mark. Note – Rivers threw for over 4,000 last year as well; he actually had 4,624 to Cam’s 4,051.

Why didn’t Smith mention Rivers? Who is a veteran QB who was literally criticized for under-performing in the first half of most of his games during the course of the year NUMEROUS times?? Why didn’t he name Tony Romo – who had the same criticisms? Cam didn’t get that criticism all year, and his games and stats were broke down meticulously every week.

Competitive nature, you speculate? Hmm – Cam Newton has never played a single down against the 49ers. Not in last year’s preseason. Not in last year’s regular season. Nor are they scheduled to meet this season, either. It’s completely possible Smith has never even been within 25 miles of Newton. Ever.

They have never been in the same division. They’ve never had any historical rivalry. Smith’s college, Utah, has never had any beef with Newton’s schools (Florida and Auburn). This is like me talking about the director of marketing at my job – I’ve never met the guy (or woman).

Newton popped into a QB’s head who doesn’t have any relationship with due to the fact that he’s a Black QB who bucked what he was “supposed” to do (which was have a crappy season, NOT torch the league and it’s records). I don’t expect many to agree, because in my experience many people need blatantly racist or prejudiced words or actions to believe that as a possibility – but as someone who has watched this game my entire life and who is sensitive to these subtle digs at certain players – that’s what I see. In fact, in writing this article, I tried to think of the many players who have had racial digs or underlying slick comments directed at them…and it was easier for me to think of the Black pro QBs I can think of who I’ve never heard anything like that for. You know who they are?

Vince Evans (only when he played for the Raiders) and Charlie Batch. That’s it. Literally. And I’m not even saying it never happened with them – I just never heard or read it in regards to both.Those are the only 2 Black pro QBs out of 30+ years of watching football that I can think of like that.

Cam’s used to this crap by now. In fact, if I was him, I’d end each press conference by saying “Your daughters love me” – just to see how many people’s heads explode at the thought.

It’s completely speculative that Smith’s comments are born out of a bit of jealousy and racial animus, and unless he decides to become a much more vocal presence in media, we may never know either way. I just know the facts and circumstances I’ve laid out here. Newton, who by this point is beyond used to shade being thrown his way, I’m sure ain’t sweatin’ this much. But I felt like someone needed to actually refute the implications and insinuations put out by Smith (I’ve encountered no articles doing so to the degree I have), and to put some speculation as to why Smith would even purse his lips to say Cam’s name.

What Smith needs to do, really, is man up and SHUT THE F*** UP. Had he said the same about Philip Rivers, my opinion would be the same as far as him throwing another QB under the bus – you don’t do that. Accept that you’re being questioned about your statistics because you’ve been a mediocre QB almost your entire career, and you’re a #1 draft pick who has had the likes of Tim Rattay, Ken Dorsey, Trent Dilfer, Shaun Hill, J.T. O’Sullivan, Chris Weinke and Troy Smith start OVER you in your career thus far. A guy who was going to be CUT after the 2009 season until you agreed to re-structure your contract to remain on the team. A guy whose team has tried to bring a QB to replace you 2 years in a row. A guy who completed only 46% of your passes in the NFC Championship loss to the NY Giants.

A guy who will NEVER be as good of a QB as Cam Newton is already. Because if Newton had your team – they might have won the Super Bowl. And Newton wouldn’t have been classless enough to throw anyone under the bus when asked about improving his game – since he’s been asked about it already, and thus far, has simply said he’s working to get better.

Sad to say – but Alex Smith could learn a lot by watching a former rookie/2nd year player if he could get over himself. As it stands, he just added himself to the “athletes I don’t like” team. And even on that squad – he’s not good enough to be a starter. Something I’m sure he’s used to.

THIS is the Alex Smith I’ve known for the better part of 6 seasons.

Advertisements

Robert Griffin III would be a sure-fire stud QB - if he had a different coach...

Now that the draft is over, I know most people are already deluding themselves into thinking their team had a good draft. Seriously – I have met very few people in my life who honestly thought their team had a horrible draft right after it’s over. The reasons for this are simple: (1) it takes about 2-3 years to see if a draft class was truly good or bad, and (2) most fans, whether they realize it or not, convince themselves of their teams doing better things in the off-season than they’ve actually done because they want that to be true, not because it is.

I’m not about to sit here and “grade” each team did, because there are numerous articles out there for you to read from far more knowledgeable draft experts on the subject. Besides, those “experts” are rarely right on entire draft classes per team, and it’s their job to examine that all year. It’s not my job to do so – so why would I think I’m going to be correct if they can’t??

No – I figure I’ll just give a few thoughts on the draft now that it’s over with.

  • Washington has done nothing to dissuade my belief they’re going to ruin Robert Griffin III’s pro career. It’s true – I felt that way way before the draft, and I feel that way even moreso now. Why? Who the eff drafts a guy to be a franchise QB – and then drafts another highly touted guy to play QB in the same draft (Kirk Cousins)?? That makes me think wild-eye Shanahan is already scheming for a possible Plan B if Griffin III struggles. Which is dumb. You draft a QB in the top ten – you give him 3 years to succeed or fail. Period. Mark my words –Robert Griffin III is the best QB prospect in this year’s draft, in my opinion. But teaming with the Shanahans…if he can overcome all their crap and tomfoolery, I may have to buy his jersey.
  • I’m already sick of Andrew Luck. No, really – and I don’t even dislike the kid. But I’m beyond sick of hearing comparisons to John Elway, Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, etc. Like – seriously. This kid hasn’t thrown one pro pass. Indianapolis is NOT a good team on paper. They have a new coach. New scheme, new offense, new players. You want me to believe he’s as good already as the all-time great players who built their rep up over at least a decade? With all these variables?? GTFOH!!

    And yes, I remember these same media heads trashing Cam Newton last year, when every person who watched him thought he was a sure-fire stud – well, until they allowed themselves to be convinced otherwise by the “experts”. Let me tell you something, and this I GUARANTEE – Luck will NOT have as good of a season as Newton had in his rookie year. Newton shattered rookie records, and threatened some non-rookie ones. Has anyone heard him compared to Marino, Elway or Brett Favre after that?? I sure haven’t. Hell – Peyton Manning, who was unbelievable in college, didn’t get THIS much props before he had actually played (he did get a lot, though). So yes – I’m completely sick of him due to the way the media has talked about him – already. Doesn’t mean I wish him ill will or failure. But ugh – the crowning of him as a savior is completely off-putting to me.

  • The Buffalo Bills had a pretty decent draft. Oh, believe me – if they didn’t, I’d be the first to clown. But outside of drafting WR TJ Graham in the 3rd when stud WR Nick Toon was still available – they did pretty good for themselves. While I think it was a mistake to draft CB Stephen Gilmore over WR Malcolm Floyd in the 1st round, the Gilmore pick isn’t a bad one – at all. I think he’s a good player. One has to keep in mind – the Bills’ drafts over the past few years have been the biggest jokes in the AFC. And when they did find good players, they lost them within 5 years time. Again, time will tell on their picks – but it was a stable draft for them. Hell, it seems better than my team’s draft. Speaking of which…
  • I don’t know what my Raiders did. Like…I don’t. They DID address needs, and the offensive lineman they selected – Utah’s Tony Bergstrom – is capable of stepping in as a starter at guard for them. The rest of the draft picks seem to be either to provide depth or are projects to work on. But it’s really hard to judge what they did. I think new GM Reggie Mckenzie is making prudent decisions since taking over, but man – I’m REALLY going to have to wait to see how this turns out. I still say the biggest mistake the team did was getting rid of coach Hue Jackson.
  • The Patriots reloaded. So let’s see – New England made the Super Bowl with a sub-par defense (by their standards). So what do they do? LOAD UP on defense in the draft. Yikes. SU’s Chandler Jones and Alabama’s Donta Hightower lead a group of good defensive draftees that will undoubtedly make them a Superbowl favorite again. Geez – why can’t my team be as smart and sound as them? I think most rational people wonder the same thing.
  • People are cruel. Whomever called up Rutgers WR Mohamed Sanu during the 1st round and pranked him by telling him he was about to be selected by the Cincinnati Bengals is a evil bastard. The kid sat there heartbroken watching them actually choose G Kevin Zeitler with the 27th pick instead. Luckily, Cincy would choose him in the 3rd round. But the kid who did that to Sanu – cold-blooded, man. Cold-blooded.
  • The NFL is a cruel business. I know most of us know that, but Colt McCoy REALLY knows that right now. After only a brief trial to grow as a QB, the Cleveland Browns are already scrapping the plan to build around him and drafted OSU’s Brandon Weeden to take his job. Yikes. This is the team that put McCoy back in the game after he was knocked silly with a concussion, and put his health at risk (nothing ever happened to them for that, either – highlighting the NFL’s hypocrisy on player safety). Considering how quickly they gave up on Brady Quinn – I’m thinking the most uncomfortable QB job in the league may be QB for the Browns.
  • The St. Louis Rams BETTER be improved. With all those draft picks and players they added – if they’re just as bad as last year, that’s going to be inexcusable. I don’t expect them to be a Super Bowl contender – but I’m thinking a 7-9 finish with promise for the future is a fair expectation.
  • The rich get richer. The Green Bay Packers and NY Giants were already good teams. They both had pretty good drafts for teams that are already elite. Perhaps that’s why they’re already elite.

    That’s my quick reactions to the 2012 NFL draft. Everyone has hope at this point of the year – everyone’s got a shot right now. But we won’t know how it play out until we see some mini-camps and preseason games. Until then…you know I’ll stay on it!!

Well – NFL free agency began Tuesday, and while it’s not a free-for-all, things have certainly gotten off to a rapid, exciting start. While “Manning-Watch 2012” is in full swing, other notable players have already settled in with new teams and contracts. Most notably, DE Mario Williams has literally shook up the league by signing the richest contract for a defensive player in NFL history – and taking his services to the Buffalo Bills, of all places.

This has to be the surprise of free agency, and I doubt anyone will top it. In Buffalo, the fanbase is going CRAZY – a little too crazy, if you ask me. I understand the excitement, and I think anyone should be excited to land possibly the #1 free agent out there – but you’d think Jesus was signed to play (and I’m not talking about your Latino neighbor with the hot wife). This is no shock if you look at the history of free agent signings in the post-Jim Kelly era – the fans had similar over-reactions to Drew Bledsoe and Terrell Owens coming to town. They’re desperate to be competitive, and the small town desire to be as relevant as the big city teams permeates throughout the area.

Mario Williams (with his fiance) may truly be the biggest free agent signing of the NFL off-season - and NOT just due to what he brings on the field.

Just don’t tell me this means Super Bowl – the Houston Texans had a much better team than the Bills the past 5 years with Williams, and yet never made the playoffs (they made it last year, but he was hurt after the first 5 games). It takes a complete team – and last I checked, while this is promising for the Bills – they still have the same crappy head coach.

In the short term, it means nothing if the team doesn’t continue in building the team up – it’s just a way to sell season tickets and make money. But the DRAW that comes along with the biggest free agent coming to your town??

Well – put it this way. No one gave a fudge about Green Bay before Reggie White gave ’em a shot. And while Williams is no Reggie White – he can be used as a piece to entice free agents to a city they would NEVER consider otherwise.

In my opinion, regardless of how it plays out for the rest of the off-season – the Williams signing is THE BIGGEST signing of this year’s free agency, no matter what. Not because of his name, but because of what it would mean for drawing in money, national TV coverage, and – if the organization actually is trying to be a contender – what it means for bringing in other players over the years.

The Bills also had their sights on grabbing a top free agent WR – but were spurned by WR Robert Meachem, who instead signed with the San Diego Chargers. Replacing the now-departed Vincent Jackson (more on that in a second), I think the Chargers make out here. While Meachem is 3 inches shorter, he’s still 6 ft. 2, has great hands and speed, and is considerably cheaper than Jackson would have been if SD had kept him. He has a catch rate of over 60%, and while some would try to argue he benefited from having Drew Brees as his QB – I find that argument flawed, because wouldn’t he stand to benefit from Philip Rivers too, by that train of thought?

He’s also incredibly durable and much less injury-prone than Jackson. Combining him with Antonio Gates, Malcolm Floyd and the newly signed Eddie Royal – he could have a breakout year. Hell, he got at least 600 yards the past 2 years as the 4th receiver in New Orleans – you think he can’t get that with MORE targets as a #1 WR??

Both New Orleans and Sand Diego lost pieces to the team that’s really cleaning up in free agency so far – the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After a really bad season last year, they’re re-tooling and spending the money to be a force in the NFC South. They grabbed Jackson from San Diego, top free agent guard Carl Nicks from the Saints, and a good cornerback in Eric Wright from the Detroit Lions. This is a team that already had tons of great pieces all over the board. Granted, they’ve got a 1st-time NFL coach in Greg Schiano, but if he can remotely get this team to build a good chemistry…Tampa Bay could wind up a playoff team again.

Thus far, the biggest loser in free agency is unquestionably the Miami Dolphins. Let’s see – they gave up troubled but talented WR Brandon

Peyton Manning came to Miami - and then he left Miami. For good.

Marshall to the Chicago Bears for a bag of peanuts and a Snicker bar (not really – but two 3rd-round draft picks ain’t too much better); got passed over by Reggie Wayne when he re-signed with Indianapolis instead of giving the Dolphins a shot like he had hinted, and were officially eliminated from the Peyton Manning sweepstakes Friday. Yikes. And this is a team that didn’t have a winning record last year, and now have a new coach to deal with.

What are they doing? I have friends who are Dolphins fans, but I’m sorry – they look like they’re on a one-way ticket to doormat-ville. Even if they sign free agent QB Matt Flynn – does anyone really see anything out of this team to say their future looks promising? Granted – there’s a lot of time left, and the draft hasn’t happened. But things are looking a bit crazy right now…

A few other moves I think are good: San Francisco signing Randy Moss to a low-risk, incentive-laden contract; the Tennessee Titans throwing themselves into the Manning sweepstakes and signing free agent guard Steve Hutchinson (a good friend of Manning’s); the St. Louis Rams juicing Washington by trading their #2 pick for the #6 pick, a 2nd-rounder this year, and 1st round picks in 2013 and 2014…along with getting Jeff Fisher (yet another person Miami missed out on!) as head coach and grabbing top free agent corner Cortland Finnegan, and finally – Washington, for fighting for their annual title as the off-season champions of free agency (they’ve made quite a bit of signings thus far), as well as securing the right to draft superstar NCAA QB Robert Griffin III (even if they DID get killed in what they had to give to do so).

Still A LOT of time to go, and this will be playing out literally for months…but wanted to just give a quick look at this past week in free agency comings and goings. We’ll see how it plays out – until then…Shoot, Pass, Quibble!!

Well, here we are – sports lovers everywhere are still talking about the magnificent games from Sunday’s conference championships. The NFL couldn’t have gotten it any better – 2 games, both hard fought, both going down to the last play to decide the game. There was great defense, exciting offensive plays – and much drama to lure people in. We even had quite possibly the worst rendition of the national anthem ever done before a nationally televised NFL playoff game (thanks, Steven Tyler!).

With all that was wrapped up in yesterday’s games, I figured I’d offer a few opinions and observations on one of the most exciting conference championship Sundays in years…

  • Any comparison between Trent Dilfer and Joe Flacco is pure nonsense.

    The Trent Dilfer/Joe Flacco comparisons were ridiculous. No, really – reading articles making that comparison and hearing people even bring it up make me question their knowledge of football. Honestly – do people even have any facts or knowledge to go with their opinions any more? Joe Flacco’s only crime in his brief time thus far in the NFL is that he’s not an elite QB. Meaning – he’s not one of the Manning brothers, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Michael Vick,etc. But he’s a damn good QB, and one I think half the teams in the league would be very satisfied with. Trent Dilfer? The man was putridat the QB position – so much so, HE willingly admits it when pressed on it.Joe Flacco had his worst percentage throwing the ball this year (57.6). Even with that, he was able to throw for 3,600 yards and 20 TDs (vs. 12 Ints) on a team centered around an all-pro, all-purpose running back in Ray Rice. By comparison, Trent Dilfer had a worse percentage throwing the ball in 9 out of 14 of his NFL seasons – and the year that Baltimore won the Super Bowl, he had 1,502 yards passing, with 12 TDs vs. 11 Ints. The Baltimore Ravens literally won in spite of this QB monstrosity. And I don’t recall him ever being the reason they won a single game, like Flacco has been numerous times. In fact – he led them to victory yesterday, if not for Lee Evans having the ball ripped ripped out of his hands for a TD, and Billy Cundiff getting his Shankapotamus on during the gimme field goal attempt to force overtime.

    People need to go look at stats and video of people before the make such foolish comparisons.

  • Speaking of Lee Evan and Billy Cundiff – yikes. Add San Francisco’s Kyle Williams to that bunch. I’d be sick if I was any of those 3 players, but especially Williams and Cundiff. Evans at least was the victim of an awesome play by the well-traveled cast-off-turned-playoff-hero Sterling Moore. The other 2 guys? I can’t offer even the slightest excuse for them. Williams lost a fumble earlier in the game that resulted in a NY score – you’d think he’d be especiallycareful the rest of that game. Cundiff? I wouldn’t have even let him change in the same locker room as me if I was his teammate.I’d cut Williams and Cundiff the next morning if I was either team’s GM. Evans? No, because the play made on him actually isn’t such a rare occurrence, and was just a heads up, quick-thinking play by the defender. Baltimore still had 2 plays to win or tie after that.

    Sidenote: I like watching the different racial dynamics in terms of how large numbers of people view and react to things. I have about 700 friends on my personal Facebook page…after the Baltimore-New England game, it was interesting to read the reactions of people in my feed. Most people who aren’t Buffalonians couldn’t believe Cundiff missed the kick, and reacted with shock about it. However, Buffalonians, specifically white Buffalonians, all centered in on Lee Evans and blamed him as much as Cundiff – and in some cases, more. And the first thing they brought up was “Ronnie Harmon” – the scapegoat of the 1989 divisional playoff game between the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills. I’ve always had an issue with the scapegoating of Ronnie – Ronnie dropped a potential game winning TD, but Buffalo still had time on the clock to win. However, the very next play, Jim Kelly threw an interception. In Buffalo, Harmon became a villain, and to this day gets talked about in a derisive manner. Kelly took no hit for his awful interception – most people don’t even recall it here.

    This stands out because Buffalo (and the Western New York area) is a very segregated, racialized area. It simmers beneath the surface, but it’s very apparent, especially to outsiders who come here. While I’m not saying white Buffalonians purposely decided to hang the blame on Black players as the villains of both games and ignore or lessen the impact of the mistakes made by white players…looking at that reaction and seeing no one else in the country in my feed having that reaction except white Buffalonians speaks to observations I’ve made for many years when it comes to sports and race in this region.

  • Disliking Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots has nothing to do with the reality that this team is THE team of the past 10 years.

    Why can’t people ever simply give the New England Patriots props? 5th Super Bowl appearance since 2001? Winning despite their supposedly “awful” defense? Playing players out of position when needed – Aaron Hernandez at RB; Julian Edelmanat DB? In-game adjustments and reactions that befuddle and bewilder opponents year in and year out??Understand this, because it’s a theme I’ve been screaming for years – some where along the line, some people have confused dislike or hate of a team (or certain players) with actual reality. Your dislike means nothing in terms of reality. The Patriots are good, Bill Belichick is the best coach in the game, and Tom Brady is money in the bank. Between the teeth gnashing and complaining, make sure to give these guys their props.

  • Speaking of props, let’s give some out to The Harbaugh brothers. These two guys came up one game short of a Super Bowl match-up straight out of Hollywood. Brother vs. brother…man, what a storyline THAT would have been. Both men did a great job in coaching their teams this season, and honestly are a couple of plays short of reaching the top of the NFL mountain. Respect to those guys – their both great coaches.Sidenote: How sick are you if you’re a Miami Dolphins fan seeing what Jim Harbaugh did in one season with a formerly crappy team?? You’re looking at that thinking “That could’ve been US…”
  • NY Giants coach Tom Coughlin deserves props, too. This guy had to deal with his entire defense being hurt at different points of the season, losing his top 2 WRs, his top RB, linemen, etc. He also had the cloud over his head of possibly being fired…but he never gave up on his team or the season. Personally, I think it was silly to entertain getting rid of him in the first place. Say what you will, but his team always plays hard, and he always gets the best out of his players – even if he’s mean as hell, and considered a bit douchey in how he deals with players at times. He commands respect – he’s old school. And to be honest, while people will bring up Mike McCarthy, Bill Belichick, and Jim Harbaugh as coach of the year candidates – I think no one is more deserving than Coughlin.
  • You can’t spell “elite” without ELI. As I’m sure you all know by now…
  • Count me among the proud Black Latinos happy to see Victor Cruz taking his salsa dancing to Super Bowl…
  • If the 49ers can keep their defense as good as it was this year, and upgrade their WR corps…they could be beyond scary next year.
  • Well, looks like I was right about a few things, and wrong about others. If you look back at my playoff predictions from the beginning of the season, you can see where I went wrong and where I was on-point. Like many, I was fooled by the hype of the Philadelphia Eagles, and the bluster of Rex Ryan and the NY Jets. But I was right to call Green Bay not repeating, Atlanta & New Orleans duking it out to win their division, and the Texans and Lions emerging. But my St. Louis and San Diegopicks? Doh!!I picked the Patriots to win it if they played Atlanta, and to lose if they played New Orleans. But who do I go with now that we have a rematch with the Giants? Who wins?

    I’ll save that for another article in the near future. And it doesn’t escape me that I was right about my AFC pick – I usually pick at least one of the Super Bowl participants correctly each year. However, this will be the first time in about 2 years I didn’t flat-out pick the Super Bowl champion from the beginning.  Hey – I SAID the lockout threw me off earlier this season. Lolz! =)

    Until next time, remember – Shoot, Pass, Quibble!

Interesting few days of sports…

  • So, Tim Tebow does it again. No need for me to recount what happened – turn on any Sports TV or radio show if you somehow missed it. AND, the Denver Broncos won becauseof his passing. Another chapter added to the great story that is the Broncos’ 2011-2012 season.I find it funny, though – Tebow haters still can’t give him any type of credit, regardless of what occurred in front of everyone’s eyes. I give props to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith for humbly admitting he was wrong – something a lot of blowhards on the network simply can never bring themselves to ever say (I’m looking at you Tedy Bruschi, Merril Hoge and Skip Bayless). The popular excuse that people want to latch on to…”Pittsburgh had injuries.”

    Um…SO?!?

    Let’s be clear – EVERY TEAM has injuries. I’ll remind people – the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl last year with tons of injuries. The NY Giants and Houston Texans won their divisions and 1st round playoff games with numerous injuries all year. One of the typical people I deal with who doesn’t necessarily think about these things – they just regurgitate whatever becomes a popular, repeated point – said to me “Pittsburgh didn’t have their defensive leader or their top running back.” I replied “Neither did Denver”. Yeah – he had forgotten Brian Dawkins and Knowshon Moreno were Denver’s injured starters who were out. Oops.

    Plain and simple – the better teams step up and get through injuries. Sure, there are major injuries some teams can’t recover from – the Indianapolis Colts can attest to this – but most good teams can and do. And seeing as coach Mike Tomlin isn’t using that as an excuse, and Pittsburgh was favored to win – I don’t find it any sort of coincidence that every human being I’ve heard who is using the injury excuse is also anti-Tebow.

    Get over it. As I tell people all the time – you not liking someone or something doesn’t change reality. Hell, I don’t like LeBron James particularly – you’ll never hear me discredit him if he’s had a phenomenal game or literally caused his team to win. Then again, I don’t get upset and have to change reality if someone I don’t cheer for wins or proves me wrong. ***kanyeshrug***

  • Everyone is talking about the Lakers, Thunder, Bulls, Heat, Knicks, etc. for different reasons in the NBA this season…anyone notice that the Portland Trailblazers might quite possibly be the best complete team in the league right now? Because I definitely have.
  • Eli Manning said at the beginning of the season he was just as elite of a QB as Tom Brady. People laughed…looking at his season, I don’t think the kid was lying. Is he better? No. But he’s in the elite class, no doubt.
  • Anyone notice that ratings and attendance are up in the NBA after the lockout? I honestly didn’t see that coming. But apparently, the NBA had the same result after it’s lockout that the NFL did – people complained and b***hed so much, when it returned, they were all eyes. Conspiracy theorists might even say both leagues knew this would be the result. I for one am a bit shocked that both leagues saw no negative effects to revenue and ratings…
  • Very quietly, a storm is brewing in the NHL. No one is noticing, because – quite frankly – Americans could care less about hockey in general. But when the NHL announced conference realignment, the NHLPAtook that as an opportunity to assert their power as a union again. The issue is currently in flux, because the players haven’t agreed. This isn’t about them having a problem with it – it’s about them (the NHLPA) trying to re-establish themselves after getting massacred by the owners during their collective bargaining battle and subsequent lockout in 2004-2005.I’m not as deeply knowledgeable about hockey as I am other sports – but this doesn’t look like a good sign for the next labor negotiations. The union will be looking to wrest back some power and control after their massacre (which was decidedly worse than the loss the NBA players just took).
  • Quick – name a good, current heavyweight boxer not named Klitschko. Yeah – I can’t either.
  • You think money doesn’t talk? It was announced last week Floyd “Money” Mayweather will not start his jail term until AFTER he participates in his next fight, presumably on May 5th. Wow – that’s a hell of a bribe.
  • Someone complained on former player and fellow Syracuse alum Derrick Coleman’s Facebook page that they felt the Syracuse Orange are being “disrespected” because they’ve been #1 for 5 weeks and haven’t been on national TV a lot. Silly argument – SU hasn’t played any team outside of Marquette (this past Saturday) that was even projected to be a decent game. Most channels and networks decided on what games they’ll air well ahead of time, and the Orange have been playing a weak part of their schedule for the past few weeks. But it’s not a bias thing – the people making that complaint probably never notice how many times they find out that #1 (at the time they were ranked that high) Ohio State, Duke, Kentucky, etc. have lost in a game that wasn’t on national TV.Syracuse will be on national TV a lot more when they get into the real meat of the Big East schedule…
  • Ricky Rubio is the real deal.
  • I still don’t care about the BCS National Championship tonight. I’ll check it out…but if it ain’t good by halftime, I’ll watch the highlights on “Sportscenter”.
  • Jorge Posada is going to retire after 17 years with the NY Yankees. With 5 World Series titles under his belt, I’m thinking he can leave with his head high. Props, Mr. Posada.

 

That’s all for now. Interested as always in your feedback. Make sure you spread the word on the blog – sign up for email updates to new posts, and have your friends add the page on Facebook.

Until next time…Shoot, Pass, Quibble!

At the time that you’re reading this, the NBA Lockout has already resulted in regular season games being lost. This is not much of a surprise to anyone who has been following the lockout; I said during last season we wouldn’t have basketball. The question isn’t will we have a full season, it’s how many games will we have – if any at all.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has engaged in a very public smear campaign against his players and their union during this NBA Lockout.

In the past 2 weeks, the players and the players’ union (the NBAPA) dug in their heels and stopped giving concessions to the owners. Once that occurred, commissioner David Stern and the owners essentially walked away from negotiations. But it’s being painted – to good effect, I might add – that the players are being greedy and just need to agree. They’re rich anyway, right? In this economy – how are we (the public) supposed to feel sorrow for a bunch of millionaires in shorts paid to put  ball through a hoop?

I would never argue people should feel bad for either side in a sports labor negotiation amongst the “Big 4” American professional sports (football, basketball, baseball and hockey). But I will say – people are not being fair in how they’re viewing this thing, and what opinions they’re forming. At the end of the day, let me be clear – I feel the NBA players have a bigger case for their side than the NFL players did for theirs. And the NFL players got a deal that was fair because they fought hard and didn’t cave. I’m hoping the NBA players remain steadfast as their football brethren did – but let me break down why the NBA players are right in the position they currently hold.

On the surface, the average fan looks at David Stern saying a “deal can be made” and posturing that games are in danger of being lost as a reason to blame and down the players. Stern is extremely smart an manipulative, and he has fully banked on the average fan’s ignorance to win the public relations war. The problem is – most people just hear his words and let them rile them up; there’s no thought to the validity of what he’s saying. How are the players the ones at fault for games being lost? No, really – think about it. This is a lockout. By definition, that means a company, corporation or business is locking it’s employees out from work, benefits and payment in an attempt to force them to agree to their demands in collective bargaining negotiations. The NBA could easily allow games to be played under the old system while they continue to negotiate a new deal with the union. Companies do this all the time; I myself spent over a year negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with my old company – and they went by the rules of the old contract while we negotiated.

So that’s the first thing. Understand – the players are at no fault at all for no games being played. That’s 100% the owners doing.

The league is also doing a good job fanning the flames of belief that the players are greedy. Again – let’s look at the reality. Look up any article detailing these negotiations, or watch any sports update. The players haven’t asked for anything new. Obviously, they were fine with the old system. However, they have made significant concessions while the owners have made none – other than to come off of a small number of new demands to the CBA. And even with those things, the owners are being tricky with it…they first demanded a hard cap (I don’t even see how a hard cap could work with the small number of players on a roster, per team), then said they came off of it – by changing that demand to essentially a triple-tax for every dollar a team goes over the initial salary cap. Um – that’s the same thing as a hard cap. No team can afford to pay triple per dollar over the cap. It’s insulting to the players’ intelligence that the NBA thinks they wouldn’t recognize that.

Demanding massive changes, and then lessening those demands isn’t making concessions. It’s dictating what you want, and then saying “well, I still want this, but I’m willing to not demand as much as initially”.

The NFL eventually began coming to a legitimate middle ground with their players, and that’s when the deal got done. But the NBA doesn’t have the threat of the courts to force it to play ball fairly. And with their TV money for the season already in the owners’ pocket (the NFL’s TV money was held in escrow by the courts until a deal was in place), all the “we’re in danger of losing money” talk is rubbish. Sure, everyone’s losing money – but the owners are quite able to deal with it. Much more than the players. Their stupid lockout is potentially killing future funds and ratings.

A big component of this has been the argument over BRIBasketball Related Income. Currently, the players get 57%; the NBA insanely wants that number to drop to 46%. Um…why? This isn’t the NFL or MLB. No one watches or goes to games simply to see a team any more; they want to see stars. Unlike any other sport, the NBA’s players are front and center as the stars and leading draw to games. The Miami Heat were a must-see TV and in-person event last season – and that was all because of Chris Bosh and LeBron James joining Dwayne Wade on the team. Before then? No one cared about that team on a national level since Shaquille O’Neal played there. Thus, James and Bosh made them the hottest team in the league.

The players, especially the stars, drive the popularity of the sport moreso than any other. And you want them to take less than 50% of the income? That’s just – stupid.

But before you think the players are bugging for getting 57% (a figure the league agreed to in it’s previous CBA, you should note) and not wanting to go below 50%, understand what BRI really is. It’s the income brought in from all things directly associated with the games on the court. This means money from TV contracts, ticket sales, concessions and souvenirs. But the NBA makes a lot more money than that off the players that they don’t have to share. How, you figure?

Consider this – LeBron James’ jersey became the #1 selling jersey in America last year, spurred by the fact that he switched teams (so he had a new jersey for fans to purchase). Kobe Bryant’s jersey is #1 worldwide. How much extra money do you think either player sees for that? If you guessed $0, you win a Scooby snack! The only thing either player gets for having more people buy jerseys with their name on the back is bragging rights. The NBA pockets that loot. And for those of you who have bought the brand-new NBA 2K12 – outside of Take Two Interactive (the company that owns 2K Sports), who do you think is benefiting from the insane profits from that game?? Think D.Wade or Derrick Rose are soaking up dollars from it? If you do – you’re in serious error. The NBA is loving it, though – trust that.

The players get extra dollars from endorsement deals, but unlike the NBA as a collective – every player isn’t guaranteed to see that. Stars get endorsement deals. Who amongst you thinks Earl Boykins gets good money – if any – from endorsements?? Earl’s income comes strictly from his NBA check. Meanwhile, the NBA can use his name and likeness to make tons of money that they don’t have to pay to him directly. And, the owners can make additional money from renting out their facilities, cutting minority percentage ownership deals, and making direct agreements with companies – all without giving those extra dollars to the players.

So now you understand, in addition to knowing that they drive the profits, why the players find it absurd to cut percentages.

The other big thing the NBA and Stern have been touting is trying to make a landscape where everyone has a chance. Um – everyone DOES have a chance. The reason certain teams do better than others? Better decision-making and management. The NBA would have the public believe all the big market teams with big money dominate. Really? Ask any Knicks fan if that’s true. That team has sucked since the Ewing era was over. Chicago Bulls – just recently good (first time since Phil Jackson left). Clippers? Please. Miami has been bad more often than good in their team history.

But the small market, not big-spending San Antonio Spurs have earned 4 titles in the past decade. And they’re always good. The Sacramento Kings were a force during the Shaq-Kobe years; they’d most likely have a title if not for the L.A. Lakers and Spurs. The Indiana Pacers were always a contender in the 90s, but Michael Jordan was a hard hump to get over. Utah, New Jersey, Oklahoma City, Cleveland, Phoenix – all these teams have experienced success as mid-level to smaller market teams.

The NBA expects the public to forget history, however. And guess what? Many do.

Look – I’m not saying the players are perfect, and that you should go out and picket your closest NBA arena. But the truth needs to be talked about, and perspective needs to be given. And for those who would show anger because it’s millionaires vs. billionaires – I’d simply ask you to apply the NBA’s demands to your own company. Would YOU like a big pay cut if you’re the main reason your job turns in profit, while your company swears they’re losing money – but won’t show you the records to back the claim? Would you like to eat a deal forced on you that won’t necessarily hurt your top-earning coworkers, but would impact YOUR paycheck severely as a lower or mid-level earner?

The owners are the greedy ones here. And David Stern has numerous quotes over the years indicating this negotiation is more about “crushing the players” than bargaining in good faith – they want to destroy the union and players the way the NHL did to their players and it’s union. While I don’t know what will happen or how this will end – I’m hoping the players prevail and get a good deal.

Then we can get back to enjoying the #2 most popular team sport in the country. And that would be a good thing – outside of football, there are no professional sports most people find more enjoyable than basketball.

These were the seats I had for the Oakland Raiders-Buffalo Bills game on Sunday. Life is good.

What up, everyone. Took a few days to myself to handle some business, relax and catch a game. The game in question didn’t turn out the way I wanted – the Buffalo Bills beat my beloved Oakland Raiders 38-35 – but it wound up being honestly one of the greatest regular season pro football games I’ve ever seen. The atmosphere, along with the game, was unbelievable!

So much to discuss over the past few days – so let’s get to it…

  • What’s that, you say? Cam Newton passed for 400+ yards again?

    All Cam Newton has done is set NFL records and lead his team in rushing - as a rookie.

    Against the defending Super Bowl champions? Uh-huh – after my article last week, a few heads still wanted to debate with me about him, still listening to “the experts” in the media. Again – I’m the only expert you need to listen to. Because I have no agenda, and have no problem admitting I’m wrong.

People can say whatever they like – every time this kid goes out to play in the National Football League, he makes history – literally. He’s only the 7th player in NFL history to post back-to-back 400 yard games. Oh, the chumps experts want to point out he threw 3 INTs and the team didn’t win – and?? 2 of those INTs were by all-world corner Charles Woodson, who does that against anyone. And last I checked, Cam doesn’t play defense. His team was in a position to win, and that’s more than anyone expected. If a person can’t give it up to him at this point, when Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers was gushing about dude after the game – well, I already know what category to put you in.

  • The Buffalo Bills are for real. Oh, don’t get it twisted – I’m not putting them in Super Bowl contention yet. And this is Buffalo – they’re playing above their ability for what they have. But that’s the point – they’re playing above their ability. They’ve got heart, and 3 superb, underrated players at the skill positions – QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, RB Fred Jackson and WR Stevie Johnson. The defense is suspect, but if they get it together – watch out. This is unquestionably THE surprise team of the young NFL season. You’ve gotta give them props – Kansas City may be awful, but beating a high-octane Raiders team – and doing so by driving it down at the end to win on a 4th down play? Consider me very impressed.
  • Floyd Mayweather Part 1: This chump has been on the lips of everyone since the debacle Saturday night. Let me start with the fight – um, hello? You people are still paying for PPV boxing matches?? Tsk, tsk. Someone asked me did I want to chip in to “get the fight” and I laughed. Look – for you slower people out there – most major boxing matches on PPV will either (A) not live up to the pre-fight hype, (B) end in a debacle or fiasco (like this one), (C) make you realize that paying for it was a complete waste of money, or (D) prove all 3 things I listed correct at the same time. I, like many others, watched that joint for free.99 on the Internet – and to be honest, I wasn’t going to watch it. I only logged on because I needed something to watch before a new episode of “Bleach” came on Cartoon Network at midnight…

Floyd won - but he didn't win the way an all-time great would.

  • Floyd Mayweather Part 2: Floyd won like a sucka. For real. Oh, I’ve heard it all – Victor Ortiz was being dirty with the headbutts, so he had it coming (there’s no question he was dirty, that’s not my point). That’s what a lot of people are saying to try to justify Floyd’s sucker punches. But here’s the thing – Victor Ortiz isn’t remotely in Floyd’s class. I’d expect a hyped-up, over-matched bum like this guy to try something dirty once he started getting his arse kicked. Even so, he was caught, and a point was taken away. Floyd deliberately caught him as he was breaking embrace from an “apology hug”. Was it legal? Sure – ref had deducted the point, and had restarted the match. But the ref wasn’t even looking himself. Floyd engaged in giving the hug, then snuffed him. Meaning he knew what he wanted to do.

And my thing is this – regardless of the legality of the punches, I’ve watched

Does this look like the face of a guy distraught about losing? I'd smile too if I made millions and went home with her after the fight...

boxing my entire life. Watched footage of the greats, read up on it – the whole nine. I’ve never seen a great fighter have to do that to win. That was wack, especially seeing how easily he was winning the fight. And the only people I see defending it are Floyd fans. This is a big reason I have this blog – I’m honestly one of the few people I know who can talk about sports without any bias kicking in for teams or players I like.

To those who disagree, ask yourself this – if the situation was reversed, and Ortiz beat Floyd by quickly knocking him out after an embrace when he wasn’t ready to fight – would you honestly have the same opinion you do now in defending Floyd? Because, if you’re actually being honest with yourself – I’m betting 99% of those who disagree would be upset and calling Ortiz a cheap punk, even if Floyd had head-butted him first.

  • Floyd Mayweather, Part 3: I almost made this subject a separate blog by itself…but I’ll address it here. I was, and still am, completely mortifiedby the comments and reactions to Mayweather screaming in

    There is no excuse for Mayweather's disgusting display of disrespect and ignorance.

    an old man’s face (Larry Merchant) after the fight. The justification by the classless fans of Floyd is that Merchant often says critical things about Floyd. Um – so? And?? So let me get this straight – anyone paid to offer analysis and opinion about sports should be subject to intimidation, disrespect and cursing on live TV?? Larry Merchant is 80 years-old. I don’t know about the cretins who support and think this was funny, but I was raised to respect my elders. If Floyd has a problem with how Merchant talks about him (newsflash – most of the media talks negatively about Floyd), then he could’ve ended it when he said “Go talk to Victor”. That’s it – end the interview. That would have actually been more effective, because then Merchant would have to answer to his bosses as to why he couldn’t get an interview with the new champ after a fight – and those bosses would’ve more than likely either made Merchant ease up in the future, or not allowed him to do future interviews.

But screaming “You ain’t (spit)!!” in an old man’s face is the most classless, disgusting thing I’ve ever seen a boxer do in an interview. Hell, I can’t really think of any athlete doing that before. By comparison, I posted a blog applauding Chris Bosh, who faced incessant detractor Skip Bayless face-to-face. Bayless has said much more and way worse about Bosh – yet Bosh exhibited a calm demeanor and addressed him head-on. I gained a huge amount of respect for Bosh.

Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Bill Russell – hell, even Barry Bonds in recent history – have faced way worse scrutiny and had much worse said and written about them. The things they had to deal with were really disrespectful, not just negative critiques of their abilities within the sport. They had to deal with the worst things said and done to them and the people around them. Guess what? NONE OF THEM (or others) ever reacted this way. And they might’ve actually been justified in doing so; and I suppose many would understand. So the excuse that Merchant had that type of thing coming falls short to an intelligent writer with manners and decorum.

No – I’ll say it flat-out – Floyd’s actions were the actions of a PUNK, and were classless, disrespectful, and disgusting. And those who support and cheer such action – I think you’re classless, disrespectful, and disgusting. And I think you didn’t get proper home training.

We as a society have embraced ignorance so much, we can’t even recognize it when it manifests itself. Some of us actually applaud such garbage. And those that do – I find your mindsets to be sick. Nuff said.

  • The news that Syracuse and Pittsburgh will be joining the ACC obviously sent shockwaves through the college sports world. As a SU alum, it feels like a punch to the gut – I’ve been a Big East head my entire life. This doesn’t make much sense – the money each school will get will be a miniscule increase over what they both already get. While it obviously makes the ACC a beast in all sports, especially basketball and football, it actually hurts my alma mater – our football program is rebuilding. We’re not even one of the best teams in a weak Big East football conference – so now we’re going to the ACC, with Pitt, Miami, Maryland, Clemson, Florida State, Virginia AND Boston College?? We go from rebuilding to being a football doormat. That team that everyone circles on the schedule and goes “Well, that’s a definite win.” And I don’t want to BE that school.

SU basketball coach Jim Boeheim isn’t happy about it, either: “If conference commissioners were the founding fathers of this country, we would have Guatemala, Uruguay and Argentina in the United States. This audience knows why we are doing this. There’s two reasons: Money and football.” Yup, Jim. And for me, what hurts even more – my school and Pitt conspired to do this. The ACC approached both schools a year ago, and put this in motion back then. SU and Pitt, 2 crucial members of the Big East (SU helped found the conference, for heaven’s sake), worked with the ACC to keep it a secret and put the wheels in motion. Do you guys know how hard it is to keep something like this a secret for a year in the information age?? No one knew anything about this?? Unbelievable. And there’s rumors the ACC wants UConn and Texas next. Smh…

  • So word is Terrell Owens is in Korea right now looking for a stem cell treatment he couldn’t get here in the states. Let’s call this for what it is – the desperate actions of a desperate man. Owens is in major financial trouble according to reports, in part due to his multiple kids with multiple mothers, and his lack of desire to pay support for the children or to even have a relationship with them. I feel no sorrow for him, and hope he doesn’t ever get a shot in the NFL again. He’s a team-killer, and has caused problems to every team he’s been on (except Cincinnati last year). He and Tiki Barber are getting what they deserve, in my opinion.
  • The NBA players union and the NBA are scheduled to have some of their lower level reps meet this week to hammer out a deal. Expect nothing to happen of note.
  • Jamaal Charles, Nick Collison, Thomas Davis and Roscoe Parrish – come on down! You’re the next contestants on “Injuries Linked To The NFL Lockout!!”…
  • Anytime you enter the game to Metallica's "Enter Sandman" - you know you're pretty much THE MAN.

    Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer ever – officially. Rivera has 5 championships in 17 seasons with the Yankees, and his story is literally that of a legend. I truly think you could make a movie about this guy’s life, and it’d be a huge hit. I won’t detail everything – you can read his bio here – but I’ll just say as a fellow Panamanian, this man truly makes me proud – on and off the field.

  • Saturday night is UFC 135, headlined by the light heavyweight championship between champion Jon Jones and challenger Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Who you guys got in that match? I’m going with the champ, even though I love Jackson.
  • Congrats to the Phoenix Mercury for defeating the Seattle Storm to advance to the Western Conference Finals in the WNBA. I think Diana

    The Phoenix Mercury continued their post-season dominance in recent years.

    Taurasi is awesome, so good for her – but I’m mad I don’t get to see Seattle’s Sue Bird play any more. She’s one of my WNBA crushes (along with Swin Cash, Candace Parker and a few others). They’ll await the winner of tonight’s Game 3 between San Antonio and top-seeded Minnesota. In the East, the Indiana Fever will host the Atlanta Dream on Thursday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

That’s all for now. Love to read your reactions…your turn to chime in. Shoot, Pass – Quibble!