Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gameday II

"Let's Fly" - Coach Bombay

The Super Bowl is rarely logical. There was no logic behind David Tyree's catch, behind Dyson getting tackled one yard short or behind Brady's comeback.

But matching up the players on paper can help us determine where the differences between two teams lie. So without further ado, the breakdown of Super Bowl XLIII

Kurt Warner has made another resurgence just when everyone was beginning to forget about him, and rightfully the Hall of Fame talk has begun. Ben Roethlisberger has already won a Super Bowl and has shown poise under pressure. But somehow it just seems that Warner has one big game left in his illustrious career.

Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower are no Smash and Dash but they have been an efficient duo. They cannot, however, compete with Willie Parker's pure speed and skill.

Hines Ward is good. Santonio Holmes is good. Larry Fitzgerald is great. He is simply on another level right now. And don't fool yourself into thinking that Anquan Boldin won't show up...he will.

Heath Miller is a solid receiver, and Arizona's defensive backfield are not great at covering TEs. The Cards' starting tight end is....umm....I don't actually know...bad news

Both teams have good ones but there are times where Kurt Warner feels pressure and that's where his biggest weakness lies. So perhaps the Cards' O-Line isn't better but a good performance from them could be more important in this game than a superb one from the Steelers'.

The Cards' line can lug some hole with big Darnell Dockett in the middle and Bertrand Berry on the outside. But they've got nothing on the monsters lining up on the Steelers side of the ball. Casey Hampton is experienced and talented and when LaMarr Woodley puts his hand in the ground Warner's going to have watch out...

James Harrison is frighteningly good. LaMarr Woodley has dangerous speed, and James Farrior and friends can stop the run. Karlos Dansby could be Superman and the edge would still go to Pittsburgh.

Adrian Wilson is a great blitzer and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is going to be a star. That said, Pittsburgh's covering corners are darn good, and Troy Polamalu will be the best safety in the league once Ed Reed decides to act his age. If Ike Taylor and Deshea Townsend can cover Boldin and Fitgerald it will be very tough for the Cards to win.

Um...Neil Rackers kicks far right? Yeah, okay, we'll go with him...

I can't name either so I guess we're forced to call it even.

So it's 6-3. Last year, it was 7-3 Patriots. But though they were expected to win, for one night they were outmatched. Many expect the Steelers to take care of business Sunday night. The Steelers are favored by a full touchdown. The oddsmakers don't even expect this to be close.

But the best moments come out of the unexpected. There are times when a person or a team does something so incredible and amazing there was no way anyone could see it coming. There will be a play or two in this Super Bowl that no one expected. Whoever makes that play will win this year. I think it'll be the Arizona Cardinals. There's something about this team that makes you believe they can rise up and win. They can fly, or more specifically, Larry Fitzgerald can. 
One Play. 
That's all it takes.
The Cardinals can do it.

THE PICK - ARIZONA (+6.5) over Pittsburgh


Friday, April 11, 2008

Sonics Are Worth Saving

Clay Bennett purchased the Seattle SuperSonics from Starbucks magnate Charles Schultz in 2006.
Clay Bennett agreed to make a "good faith effort" for one year to get a new arena deal in the Seattle area and to "affirm" that they would not attempt to relocate the team.
Clay Bennett in July of 2006 said "It is not our intention to move or relocate the team. ... We fully intend to fulfill our obligation to KeyArena."
Clay Bennett in August of 2007 said in an e-mail to NBA commissioner David Stern "I would never breach your trust. As absolutely remarkable as it may seem, Aubrey and I have NEVER discussed moving the Sonics to Oklahoma City, nor have I discussed it with ANY other member of our ownership group.”
Clay Bennett is a liar.
E-mails were released yesterday that had been obtained by Seattle city officials for use in their civil lawsuit against Clay Bennett and the other Sonics owners, to try and force the team to uphold their lease on KeyArena, which runs through 2010.
In the April 2007 e-mails, Bennett responded to a message from co-owner and CEO of Sandridge Energy Tom L. Ward asking if the team was “doomed to have another lame duck season in Seattle.” Bennett answered both Ward and co-owner Aubrey McClendon by saying "I am a man possessed! Will do everything we can. Thanks for hanging with me boys, the game is getting started!"
Yet four months later, Bennett assured Stern (in capital letters, no less) that he had never even spoke of the potential move out of Seattle.
Lying is not a criminal offense. It has become quasi-accepted in today’s business world that untruths must be told to get by. Everyone lied to their parents as a teenager, about why they came home late, or if they had experimented with drugs.
This is not that kind of lying.
Even those of us who are not sports fans still care passionately and emotionally about something. Perhaps you love the books of a certain author. Maybe you are enthralled by the music of a particular artist.
Now imagine if the purveyor of your passion was wiped out. Then spit on. Then kicked, just for good measure.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the life of a Seattle basketball fan.
The ownership that purchased the Sonics that have been beloved by so many over the years, knew from the moment they acquired the team that it would not stay in Seattle. He made promises to fans that held their team dear, that he knew from the get-go he would not keep. And he did not flinch. This all from the man who was once described by his friends, in a Tacoma News-Tribune article, as a man who “might not always give you an answer but does not lie.”
Like a spoiled child, Clay Bennett and his cronies grabbed something they did not have, promised not to remove it and to respect those with whom they shared it. Then they tried to run away with their new toy.
The majority owner of the SuperSonics is no ordinary liar.
Clay Bennett has spit out falsehoods so massive and overwhelming, that they have served to almost crush the spirit of millions of Seattle SuperSonics fans. Almost.
The Sonics fans have risen up as one to cry out against this poor excuse for a human being and his rich friends. The website was founded by Sonics fans that could not bear the thought of losing the team they grew up with. It was founded by the fathers of children who love to go to Sonics games, where they have a good time with their dads win or lose. These are the men, women and children who are fighting the wealthy behemoth that is the Seattle ownership.
Talk about a David vs. Goliath battle.
One question remains. Why should you, the average sports fan care about the loss of a far-off team?
Because it could happen to you.
Granted, most owners are not the vile, contemptible scumbags that Clay Bennett is. But the fact that the NBA and its fans can allow a team to be ripped from a city that has so much basketball history and passion is reprehensible. This is a city that can motivate a former player to take the time out to write the article like this.
A city that wrote letters to ESPN columnist Bill Simmons ( /080228 &sportCat =nba) that exude so much pain, the writing seems to cry on your computer screen.
What if that happened to you?
So from across America, if we as sports fans can do nothing else, we can yell and shout our disgust and displeasure at David Stern and the NBA. We can disgrace this man who insulted the intelligence of so many people, young and old, with no regard for the feelings of anyone but himself. If that’s the best we can do then lets do it.
Liars are unpleasant and disliked. Liars should be treated with as little respect as they treat all of the people who they attempt to deceive in their arrogance. Liars should not be tolerated.
And Clay Bennett is the biggest liar of them all

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Presidents Day Song

(This song is a joke. Don't get offended. It's sung to the tune of an Irish Drinking Song such as is sung on "Whose Line Is It Anyway" e.g.: Enjoy!)

Today we honor our leaders
From one to 43
Beginning with the man who
Chopped down the cherry tree
Some presidents had a peaceful time
Some had to reconstruct
Some of them were really good
Others, like Harding, sucked

Washington kept lots of slaves
A hypocrite was he
Adams was pretty decent
‘Cept for those dumb sedition laws
Jefferson wrote declarations
He was a bit of an egotist
Madison stood tall for religion
Though he was only 5’6”

Monroe wrote something important
They call it a doctrine
John Quincy dropped dead in Congress
His daddy got him in
Jackson had a temper
Gave his opponents a scare
Martin Van Buren became president
Despite his awful hair

William Henry Harrison
Should’ve worn a coat
So John Tyler succeeded him
Quickly without a vote
James K. Polk was 11
He said “54-40 or fight”
Zach Taylor died from a sickness
Contracted on July 4th night

Fillmore would not have been president
‘Cuz he had a funny name
Pierce did the Gadsden Purchase
And had a wife named Jane
Buchanon was a bachelor
His presidency was kind of plain
Lincoln freed all the slaves
Then he was shot and his wife went insane

Johnson was the first impeachment
This made him really sad
Ulysses Grant was a great general
But as president he was really bad
Hayes was our 19th president
Against Boss Tweed he had guts
Garfield was really awesome too
Before being shot by a dude who was nuts

Chester Alan Arthur
Had three first names
Grover Cleveland was 22
But we’ll see him again
B. Harrison was embarrassing
He led as if he were on crack
His presidency was so awful
The country took Cleveland back

McKinley took on Spain
And a canal he began to dig
Teddy busted trusts and stuff
With a stick that was really big
Taft was a president and a judge
Though he was large in the gut
Wilson entered the war late
But still kicked some German butt

Harding was a moron
The worst president ever
Coolidge led us to depression
So he wasn’t much more clever
Hoover had bad timing
And he didn’t get real far
But we were saved by a New Deal
From a crippled FDR

Truman dropped the big bomb
And fully ended the Third Reich
Eisenhower was fully bald
But still everyone liked Ike
JFK saved us from crisis
But girl problems he had
LBJ got run out of office
Because Vietnam was so bad

Nixon was so paranoid
That’s what caused Watergate
No one wanted Ford as president
Though he tried to set the country straight
Jimmy Carter tried his best
But Iran was so hostile
Everyone loved Reagan
Even though he was senile

George H.W. Bush bombed
Iraq from dusk to dawn
Bill Clinton helped the economy
But couldn’t keep his pants on
The next George Bush had problems
He couldn’t say nuclear you see
I don’t know who the next president is
But I hope it’s not Hillary

Saturday, February 9, 2008

One For The Ages

(This article appeared in the Feb. 7 edition of the QC Knight News)

NYG 17-14 NE.
That was what the scoreboard read at the end of Super Bowl XLII, a game that many people are beginning to call the greatest Super Bowl ever. The 18-0 New England Patriots came to Glendale a confident, if not cocky, team. They left humbled by a Giants team that simply wanted it more and turned the perfect Patriots into an NFL footnote instead of the greatest team of all time. That is not to say that these 2007 Patriots won’t be remembered. Their perfection through 18 games will be invoked with regard to future undefeated clubs, but always along with the painful, unyielding fact that they could not win the most important game of all. Meanwhile, the Giants proved that willpower and resolve, not to mention a ferocious pass rush, should never be underestimated. After clinching a playoff spot in week 16 against the Buffalo Bills, Tom Coughlin made the unorthodox decision to play all of his starters, even though there was nothing to gain. The result was a thrilling week 17 showdown with the Patriots that would end a three point victory for the Pats, with the key play being an Eli Manning costly interception. He would only throw one more after that game.
There was a book written by the Boston Globe that was advertised the week before the Super Bowl entitled “19-0,” a reference to the Patriots inevitable perfection. Tom Brady mocked Plaxico Burress for saying the vaunted New England offense would score only 17 points. Well known ESPN columnist Bill “Sports Guy” Simmons predicted a 42-10 Patriots blowout. It was obvious that the Patriots and their fans thought this game would be no trouble. The Giants proved them wrong on their very first drive. New York ate up just under ten minutes and took a 3-0 lead. The Patriots stormed back, however, and took advantage of an Antonio Pierce pass interference call to score the game’s first touchdown on a Laurence Maroney 1 yard run. The Giants began to look sloppy, first an Eli Manning interception that went off the hands of receiver Steve Smith and then a fumble by Ahmad Bradshaw. But then something odd happened. The unstoppable Patriot offense was stopped. And then they were stopped again. Linebacker Kawika Mitchell sacked Tom Brady, and one play later it was Justin Tuck throwing Brady to the grass like a rag doll. Manning fumbled again. And again Tuck sacked Brady, this time stripping the ball as well, which assured that the Giants would go into halftime down only 7-3. The Patriots and Coach Bill Belichick, famous for their halftime adjustments, came out for the second half just as flat as they had finished the first. This time, the Giants would take advantage. Manning hit rookie tight end Kevin Boss for a huge 45 yard play. Boss, who replaced Jeremy Shockey after he suffered a broken leg, was one of many rookies to contribute largely to the Giant success this postseason. Along with Ahmad Bradshaw, cornerback Aaron Ross, Steve Smith, safety Michael Johnson and others, the rookies played like fearless veterans in this Super Bowl. Smith caught a 17 yard pass for another first down, and the drive was capped off with a touchdown pass from Manning to wide receiver David Tyree to give the Giants a 10-7 lead. But Tyree’s night was not over.
The Patriots have been a great team all season, and they would not yield this game without a fight. Tom Brady led a strong drive downfield, but the star was Wes Welker. Welker, who finished the night with 11 catches for 103 yards and was second in MVP voting, caught short passes and weaved tantalizingly out of reach of New York defenders for big gains. Brady finished the drive with a third down touchdown pass to Randy Moss with just 2:42 left on the clock. But unlike in years past, these Patriots left time on the clock.
Eli Manning, the man mocked for being a “comical leader” by Tiki Barber, walked into the huddle and said simply “we’re going to go down and score.” The drive did not start out well for the Giants who were forced into short plays to convert tense third and fourth downs, and they had already expended all but one of their timeouts. That’s when the Giants called the play they called “Phantom.” Eli Manning dropped back to pass and was engulfed by Richard Seymour and Jarvis Green. Just as Giants fans began to lose hope, Manning somehow snuck out of the sack and heaved a 32 yard pass to David Tyree, who leaped high in the air over safety Rodney Harrison and caught the ball with one hand trapping the pigskin against his helmet. It was a play, already dubbed by some as “The Catch II,” that will certainly go down as one of the best in Super Bowl history. “It was supernatural” said Tyree after the game, “some things just don’t make sense.” Steve Smith after the game could only say “Man, that was a catch.” The Giants, already confident, now believed, as did all their fans, that they were destined to win this game. Sure enough, a few plays later, Manning lofted a fade route to Plaxico Burress. It is a play call that Giants fans have come accustomed to seeing. Most times in the pass the ball would be deflected to the ground harmlessly. But not this night. This night was special. Burress badly fooled cornerback Ellis Hobbs with an inside move, and was wide open in the end zone for a touchdown. The Giant faithful erupted as the receiver known as “Plax” took a knee and absorbed the moment. Tom Brady came back on the field with seconds remaining, but there would be no comeback in this game. DT Jay Alford, another rookie, lit Brady up one last time and the Pats turned the ball over on downs. Bill Belichick did his best to show up the Giants by leaving the field early, despite being told by the referee that there was time on the clock. It did not matter. Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning took a knee amidst chants of “18-1” from the crowd, and the impossible had been achieved. Antonio Pierce after the game summed it up after the game by telling reporters about the new motto “18-1: Super Bowl Champion New York Giants” quipped Pierce “Write that book.” The Giants shocked everyone with a playoff run against all odds. “They’re the worst Super Bowl team ever” said Knight News sports editor Ari Goldstein. Perhaps. But they are now the NFL champions, and the winner of the greatest Super Bowl ever.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


"When you win you get a feeling of exhilaration, when you lose you get a feeling of resolution. You resolve never to lose again."
The New York Giants have been very resolved since last they played the patriots. They've gone on an amazing run ever since that intense Saturday night showdown, including zero interceptions by Eli Manning, the emergence of Corey Webster, and the rise of Ahmad Bradshaw. The Patriots however are confident and cocky as they've been all season. One only has to look at the book already being advertised on, entitled "19-0," to see that the Patriots consider this game already won. ESPN's Bill "Sports Guy" Simmons is calling for a 42-10 blowout. All but two "experts" on ESPN picked the Patriots. The nation seems to think that a New England win is inevitable. I do not. So let's give a position-by-position breakdown.
This one's a no-brainer Tom Brady may be one of the greatest all-time QBs and Eli Manning, superb progression aside, is still Eli Manning.
Running Backs
The Pats backs are dangerous more for their ability to catch passes and run. The Giants ability to stop Kevin Faulk will be a big factor in this game. However the Giants have a strong two-headed running attack, which is stronger than that of the Patriots. Look for Ahmad Bradshaw to have at least one run of 20+ yards, and it may come at a key time.
This is more of a factor for New England than New York. Both units have played together for a few years and are very strong and disciplined. There won't be many penalties as both teams were ranked near the bottom in that catergory, so it'll simply come down to who contains the pass rush better, and opens more holes for the running backs.
Wide Receivers
The Giants have made major strides here as the season has gone along, with Steve Smith now an integral third receiver. That said, the Patriots corps is Maddenesque, and is probably the best grour of receivers the league has ever seen. Brady gets too much credit that should go to these guys for route-running and surehandedness.
Tight Ends
Basically Ben Watson vs. Kevin Boss, and the way Boss has filled in as a rookie in a couple years this might be close. But it isn't now.
Here finally the Giants have a clear advantage. Umenyiora, Strahan and extevsive Justin Tuck use all have potential to cause major problems for Brady. On the other side is star DE and DT Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork, both widely regarded as some of the dirtiest players in the NFL. The big G-Men upfront can handle them.
The knock on the Giants 'backers is that they can't cover. The Pats unit has been called old and slow. Both teams will attempt to exploit their opponent's group. Whoever does it better may win this game.
Again, here the Giants have made major strides. The future looks bright with the reborn Corey Webster and rookie Aaron Ross. Those two have been mentored all season by Sam Madison and Gibril Wilson. This has turned into a strength for New York. However, once again here the Pats are simply better. Asante Samuel is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and they play strong together.
Special Teams - Return and Coverage
The Giants have found a real threat here in Dominik Hixon and the Patriots have had ne all year long in Ellis Hobbs. Meanwhile the Giants still have "When you're in trouble you call" R.W. McQuarters (say it together) returning punts. The Pats also get better distance on their kicks and that gives them the edge.
Lawrence Tynes is a good kicker. But he has had trouble in the past under pressure. He'll need to get over that because this game might come down to his foot. On the other side, Stephen Gostkowski has been solid throughout his short career, but this'll be his first Super Bowl. Does that change anything?
I'm only putting this here 'cuz I like Jeff Feagles. Maybe by the end of the game I'll even find out New Englands's punter's name. (just kidding. I know it's something Hansen)

So that's 7-3 Patriots. And yet I still believe the Giants will win. Why? Because there's more to sports than who's better on paper. That's why I grew up on stories of U.S.A.-U.S.S.R., of Kirk Gibson and Scott Norwood. It's why our favorite movies are Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Rocky, and Angels In The Outfield. We want to root for an underdog, we want to believe anything can happen. And tonight in Glendale anything can happen, and anything will. And when the clock hits 0:00, that feeling of resolution will turn into a feeling of exhilaration.
The Giants will win.
New York Giants (+12) over New England Patriots, Final Score NYG-31 NE-27
Postseason Picking Record against the spread: 8-1-1

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

The New York Giants will be playing in Super Bowl XLII
Hang on I need to capitalize that....
Sorry for shouting.
But how can a New Yorker not be ridiculously excited after a game that had every break go against the Giants, two missed field goals setting up a situation that seemed a perfect deja vu to the infamous Jay Feely Seahawks game, and win the NFC Championship in the 3rd coldest game in NFL history in Lambeau Field.
There are a few things that must be pointed out from this game:
1. Blown offsides call on Kabeer Gbaja Bjamala
He clearly and obviously jumped so Eli just went down and waited for a flag that didn't come. Seriously I have to question the officiating crew here. Every person watching the game saw that offsides, and yet every offficial missed it. There needs to be some sort of penalty for refs in these kind of games. I don't want to see any of those guys out there for a championship game again.
2. Emergence of Corey Webster
In the playoffs, because of the injury to Sam Madison, Webster was forced to start. This, I feared was the Giants achilles heel. Instead in the playoffs, Webster has shut down, in order, Joey Galloway, Terrell Owens and Greg Jennings while grabbing two key interceptions. This is a guy who USA Today, in their last draft preview issue, called the worst Giants draft pick in the last three years.
3. Michael Johnson's Punch
With less than two minutes to go, R.W. McQuarters returns a punt into Packers territory and fumbles for the second time. A fellow on the Packers named Jarrett Bush has a clear shot at the ball. And with the coaches on the sidelines assumedly shouting "FALL ON IT!" he attempts to pick up the ball. If he gets it, the Packers would've had the ball at midfield with a kicker (Mason Crosby) who once hit a 70 yarder during practice in Colorado. Instead, Michael Johnson dove and punched the ball out of Bush's hands and it was recovered by Domenik Hixon. That's a play that would not have been made during the regular season. This has been a changed Giants team since Week 17. It's as simple as that.
4. The Drafting of the New York Giants
The most important aspect of the Giants improbable playoff run. This past draft yielded Aaaron Ross, who has solidified one of the starting cornerback slots (1st Round). Steve Smith, who has come up with catch after clutch catch in the postseason and has been a solid third receiver for Manning (2nd Round). Kevin Boss who has taken over as the starting tight end and hasn't missed a beat, he's caught everything thrown to him and been a solid blocker as well (5th Round). Ahmad Bradshaw, who has had the biggest impact with the Giants these last few weeks. He's been the lightning to Brandon Jacobs' thunder. Tiki who? (7th Round). Michael Johnson made the aforementioned game saving play, but has also filled in as the starting safety this year and helped shore up a weak secondary (7th Round). And that's just this year's draft! Has there ever been a draft with so many impact players for one team in their rookie year? I don't think so. And in recent years, the G-men have picked up Corey Webster (2nd Round '05), Justin Tuck (3rd Round '05), Brandon Jacobs (4th Round '05), Matthias Kiwanuka (1st Round '06) among others. This playoff run has been built on youth, and there is only one more hill to climb: Mount New England.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Championship Sunday

On Saturday Clinton took the win in Nevada while McCain picked up South Carolina. Hopefully the New York to Arizona connection will be working again Sunday when the New York Giants face the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots play the San Diego Chargers for a spot in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona. Primaries plus football got me thinking...which football team would represent each politician best, and maybe this could help determine the winners of this week's games...hmmm...well the given is...

This is the obvious choice, the sense of inevitability, the blowouts in early polls but the vulnerability shown a little in the Iowa Caucuses/Last half of the season and strong comeback showings in New Hampshire/Jacksonville. They both actually are the front-runners in the favored party/conference. Does this mean Hillary will win? Well first she'll have to contend with...
The underdog who has performed better than anyone expected. He even looks a little like Norv... The truth is no one believed either one had a shot at beating Hillary in Iowa/The Colts and they did. So Saturday in Nevada, Obama took more delegates but Clinton won the popular vote and the momentum so...
Chargers (+14) over Patriots but Final Score: NE-35 SD-31

Now on to the Republican side where the overwhelming favorite is of course....

The old veteran who's had a great career, wasn't doing well in recent years but mounting a surprise comeback with one last amazing campaign that's surmounted all expectations. Now they're favored and have all the momentum. But the one obstacle that stands in his/their way is the Florida primary/NFC Championship where they'll face...

It's only fitting to have New York represented by it's mayor. Nobody thinks either has a chance to win it, but they both have a plan and they're sticking to it. Giuliani still leads in the polls in Florida and he's the conservative who can stop McCain there. Similarly, the Giants have the pass rush that no one else does that can threaten Green Bay. So with all the experts going with McCain/Green Bay, I'm calling the upset in the heat on Florida and the cold of Green Bay...
Giuliani (+5 Delegates) over McCain and
Giants (+7 1/2) over Packers with a final score NYG-27 GB-24

See you in Arizona.