Friday, December 28, 2007

2007 Year in Review




  • The most lucrative NFL free agency signing period kicks off, with most teams having tens of millions of dollars to throw at players under the new collective bargaining agreement and high salary cap.


  • The Florida Gators defeat the Ohio State Buckeyes for the national championship...again. This time in basketball, of course.
  • Looking back on the NFL Draft, the biggest move had nothing to do with any rookie as it was the Patriots trading a fourth round pick for Randy Moss in the steal of the century.


  • The Golden State Warriors stun the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, as a number 8 seed upsets a number one seed in the NBA Playoffs for the first time in a seven game series.
  • The Chicago Bulls sweep the Miami Heat in the first round.
  • Portland and Seattle win the top two picks (Greg Oden and Kevin Durant) in the NBA Draft lottery.
  • Steve Nash's bloody nose became the perfect image to represent an intense playoff series between the Suns and Spurs. In a later game, Robert Horry's hard foul on Nash caused Stoudemire and Diaw to run off the bench, resulting in costly suspensions that may have cost them the series and championship.
  • Kobe Bryant goes on ESPN radio and demands a trade from the Lakers.


  • LeBron James singlehandedly beats the Detroit Pistons in another stunning playoff series upset, bringing his Cavs to the NBA Finals.
  • The San Antonio Spurs sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers in route to their fourth NBA championship.
  • The Anaheim Ducks win the Stanley Cup. I live in Orange County, and no one seemed to really notice, let alone care.
  • The NBA Draft is also highlighted by a couple of superstar trades, as the Boston Celtics acquire Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in the same week.


  • Tim Donaghy betting scandal.
  • Michael Vick dogfighting scandal.
  • Steroids in baseball scandal.


  • Harry Potter lives!
  • Barry Bonds sets the home run record with number 756


  • Spygate: The Patriots are exposed and punished as cheaters as they begin to route opponents every week.


  • The Boston Red Sox sweep the Colorado Rockies to win the World Series.


  • Super Bowl 41.5: Patriots 41, Colts 31. The talk of the Pats going undefeated suddenly gets serious.


  • The New England Patriots become the first to finish the NFL season 16-0.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


It has been a while, and there is a ton of newsworthy topics I could address on my return home.

I choose to focus on a particular portion of my trip to Orlando, Florida at Epcot Center in Disney World. It was while walking by a Mickey Christmas show in which I heard the lyric "a savior is born" in concert. I must admit that I was quite surprised to hear these great words that are synonymous with the upcoming Christmas holiday. It has become a old cliche, but the true meaning of Christmas has gotten lost in the midst of the commercialism, materialism, and overall business of the holiday season. And yet I was to be reminded of the true meaning of Christmas at Disney World, of all places. Well now, that is really something.

On a side note, if you have not been to Disney World, you need to go. Everyone, no matter what their age, must someday shell out and experience it.

I was not going to pass up a chance to see the up and coming Orlando Magic while there, so a couple of notes on their game against Utah:
  • The most overheard statement in the NBA is "Dwight Howard is a beast!" The thing is that he really is one, and you appreciate that a lot more in person up close. The guy can literally go up and grab the ball 13 feet in the air without breaking a sweat.
  • Carlos Boozer is also a beast. I mean, he is one strong man who you do not want to bump into in a dark alley. He just has that look, like "you do not want to mess with me, or even give me the wrong look or else I am going to kick your ass." The guy who I wisely picked No.1 in my fantasy league has not disappointed, and impressed me with his aggressiveness and strength in bullying defenders on his way to the basket, leading the Utah Jazz to a big road victory.
  • Carlos BOOZEr and Ronnie BREWER are on the same team. And they live and play in Salt Lake City, Utah. You cannot make this stuff up.
  • Reason #620 why NBA games are so much better in person: Dwight Howard did the Soldier Boy dance during pregame warmups.
  • J.J. Redick got a loud ovation from the crowd when he finally entered the game in the fourth quarter. Then you could sense the anticipation as he made a sweet play for a layup and spotted up for a three. The rookie is such a fan favorite, it is a wonder why he does not get more playing time.
  • The Magic are a good team, and will likely remain at the top of the East. This is not just because they are so good, but rather because there is no one else. Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkulo are good scorers, but they should not be anyone's primary playmakers like they are currently in Orlando. They both were ineffective in the fourth quarter, and until the Magic develop some type of go-to playmaker guy who can take over in pressure situations in crunch times, they will fall in the intense playoffs.
  • For $118 million, Rashard Lewis cannot play defense and should not disappear in the fourth quarter.
  • No one can stop Dwight Howard, just like no one could stop Shaq in his prime. Howard has yet to learn how to pass out of double and triple teams, and his jump shot is still developing. But he is on pace to become a future hall of famer and finish as one of the greatest big men of all time.
This is the point in which I am supposed to crack some corny/hilarious (depending on your mood/) jokes regarding the whole Jessica Simpson with Tony Romo and Terrell Owens (!?) love debacle before launching into a classic tirade about the sadness of Jamie Lynn Spears' teenage pregnancy and how it is representative of the overall decline in America's moral standards. But you already knew that.

So I was sorting through my batch of e-mails over the past week, and decided that these few great links sent from a couple even greater friends were too hilarious to pass up.

Paul Brogan Video Log #2
- Suggestions for President

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Scandalous Sonics

Sam Smith writes a column for MSNBC blasting Seattle Sonics management. Essentially, the new ownership group blew up the franchise, trading away its top two star players in the hopes of cutting costs and investing for a better team in the years to come, when the team will probably be in Oklahoma by then. Mean, but brilliant.

Hopefully, someone will try to Save Our Sonics, like Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Balmer.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Everett Walks

This is such a great story to hear:

Kevin Everett is walking on his own at a Houston rehab center, the latest significant progress by the Buffalo Bills tight end in his remarkable recovery from a serious spinal cord injury.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

MNF: Patriots 27, Ravens 24

What was Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan trying to do, ice the snapper? Baltimore led New England 24-20 with 1:48 remaining, and the Patriots were facing fourth-and-1; New England rushed up to the line to quick-snap, as the Patriots often do on fourth-and-1; the Ravens' defense expected a quick snap, was in position, and stopped the runner for a loss. Game over, Baltimore wins! But seemingly one second before the snap, Ryan called a timeout, so the play didn't count. Why did Ryan call a timeout? Beats me, the Ravens were in perfect position. New England ran another fourth-and-1 play and again lost yardage -- again it appeared as though Baltimore had won the game. But the zebras called a false start, a penalty that cannot be declined. (The whistle sounds on a false start, and the whistle ends the play.) New England converted on fourth-and-6. Then, four snaps later, Tom Brady threw incomplete on fourth down, and for the third time it appeared Baltimore had won! But the zebras called defensive holding, and you know what happened after that.

After the game, several Ravens complained that the officials -- who called 13 penalties against Baltimore, four against New England -- favored the Patriots. Losing teams often claim that the officials favored the winners; was there favoritism here? The defensive holding on fourth down with 55 seconds remaining was inarguable; the officials had to flag it. Ravens nickelback Jamaine Winborne theatrically removed his helmet after the call, and the officials could have flagged him for that, but they did not. But after Jabar Gaffney caught the touchdown pass that put the Flying Elvii in the lead with 44 seconds left, the zebras flagged Ravens linebacker Bart Scott twice for unsportsmanlike conduct -- once when he said something to an official and a second time when he picked up the flag and hurled it into the crowd. This was a stupid, stupid move. The very rare double-unsportsmanlike conduct penalty essentially awarded the game to New England; adding the encroachment penalty on the PAT, the Patriots kicked off from the Baltimore 35, drilling an easy touchback and preventing Baltimore's strong return game from creating good field position for the Ravens' final drive. The officials are not unaware of New England's record, and the widespread belief -- regardless whether this belief is grounded in fact -- is that the league wants the Patriots to finish undefeated. Excessively penalizing Baltimore in the final minute, in a manner that strongly aided New England, was at best a lapse by the officiating crew and at worst strange.

Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle said after the game that head linesman Phil McKinnely repeatedly called him "boy" in the game's closing minutes, a racial insult when spoken by a white person to an African-American. From the sound of things, Rolle was jawing with McKinnely, which even a veteran player such as Rolle should not do. But officials should never jaw with or insult players, either. If McKinnely did use a racial insult against Rolle, during the same game-deciding moments when the officials were favoring New England (so far, McKinnely has not commented on this), that would have been highly unprofessional and would call into question whether the officiating crew was neutral.

These things said, Baltimore has itself to blame for the loss -- or perhaps, New England has its superior line play to credit for the win.

Plus, add in that Baltimore was outcoached in this game, which has happened a lot this season. In the high-pressure final two minutes, three Ravens (Scott, Rolle and Winborne) lost their cool, while no Patriot lost his cool; that's good coaching by New England and bad coaching by Baltimore. Not only did Baltimore defensive coordinator Ryan call the strange timeout that erased what would have been the game-winning down, but New England moved 73 yards in 15 plays on its final drive, and on 12 of those 15 plays, Baltimore rushed only three. Three-man rushes can work if they are a change-up tactic; if you rush three for down after down, a good quarterback like Brady will eat your defense for lunch. In effect, the Ravens went into the prevent defense at the 3:30 mark, and it's well-established that the only thing the prevent defense prevents is punts. This bad tactical decision by Ryan was doubly vexing because New England's touchdown to tie the score at 17 in the third quarter also came against a three-man rush, so it's not as though the look was working.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Week 13: Lofa Tatupu!

Seattle Seahawks 28, Philadelphia 24 - Lofa Tatupu intercepted A.J. Feely THREE times, including one to end the Eagles potentially game winning drive to finish the game in the final seconds. The USC alum has been the best defensive player for the Hawks, who have quietly won four consecutive games.

UPDATE: Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren was asked what did he say to Tatupu after the game saving interception:

“I said I think you are our leading receiver today. He asked if he could take another week off, because he did not practice this week because of an injury. I said 'No, I love you and thank you for the win but you are practicing next week.'”

Paul Allen

Sports Illustrated has a great feature of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. We often read about Bill Gates and his wealth, so it is quite a nice change to see how fellow billionaire Paul Allen handles his cash, most notably with the purchases of the NBA's Portland TrailBlazers and the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Leno Writers Fired?

Everyone who knows anything about me knows about my love for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, with its comedic approach in updating its viewers about what is going on in the mainstream world of politics and pop culture. We finally found out what is going on with Leno and the writers' strike here, but as usual be advised that as with most news now a days, the actual truth is skewed and unknown. The way I interpret the details of the strike, it seems the writers are justified in going after a bigger piece of the pie that they are so heavily involved in producing anyway. Whatever the case, the bottom line is that the writers strike is eventually going to start hurting everyone, from those without jobs to the corporations losing ratings, down to the viewers as we lose our shows in the next month or so. Late night television was the first to go, and soon big time shows such as 24 are going to have to be postponed or canceled all together.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Week 12: Thankful for Botched Snaps

Seattle 24, St. Louis 19 - I am very thankful for friends, family, food, and football. But I this holiday weekend, I was especially thankful for the above botched snap. Eleven months after Tony Romo's fumble cost the Cowboys a playoff win and sent the Seahawks to the next round, the Blue Man Group was about to lose again before yet another botched snap, this time on 4th and goal in St. Louis. It was yet another crazy divisional game between the Seahawks and Rams, filled with interceptions, fumbles, returns, injuries, and huge plays. Somehow these two rivals always give us a great game that goes down to the final minute.

New England 31, Philadelphia 28 - After New England survived what could have been the NFL’s upset of the century last Sunday Night against A.J. Feely and the Philadelphia Eagles, there are two completely different ways this could turn out. One, as John Madden pointed out, is that suddenly the blueprint to beat the suddenly mortal Patriots is out. Perhaps the Patriots have been exposed and are indeed beatable. On the other hand, Bill Billichick will definitely use this to add to the enormous pile of motivation that the Pats already have been burning off of, and they can resume torching teams on their way to the perfect season.

Thanksgiving weekend was filled with great sports, highlighted by the NFL of course. The Monday Night game in Pittsburgh was ruined by the rain and a terrible field, and what could have been a scoreless tie was broken late in the fourth as the Steelers snuck away with a disgusting yet entertaining 3-0 win. Elsewhere, Peyton finally got to watch Eli in person, but the Vikings picked him off four times, including three picksixes in a 41-17 beatdown. Denver decided to kick to Devin Hester, who scored two touchdowns after fumbling his first return as the Bears topped the Bronocs in overtime, 37-34. San Diego finally got the passing game going, 32-14 over Baltimore. Finally, Kurt Warner threw for a career high 484 yards in a wacky game against the lowly 49ers. The Cardinals made the game-winner in overtime, but a delay of game penalty forced a retry that missed. Then Warner got sacked and fumbled in his own endzone, and San Francisco recovered to end the game, 37-31.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

What in the (bleep) did I tell y'all

Kevin Durant hit his first ever game winning shot at the buzzer in Atlanta last night to give the Sonics their second win of the season in a 126-123 double overtime thriller. While Damien Wilkens also shined in his homecoming, dropping a career high 41 points as his father and uncle watched, it was Durant who has now proved himself worthy of the hype. While the Sonics are going nowhere this season (except for maybe Oklahoma) they have gotten their first winning streak going. Most importantly, last night showed that KD is coming on fast as the NBA's next superstar.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Adande: Save our Sonics

My man J.A. Adande checks in with an informative piece about what the NBA should do regarding the arena situation in Seattle, pointing to the Hornets' lack of attendence in New Orleans. While the Sonics are seemingly destined to move to Oklahoma at some point, Adande points out that the economics of the situation are not necessarily in agreement. I love learning about the business of sports, and this is a good read.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Oh Phil, you so funny

The Spurs made 13 3-pointers in their 107-92 victory, and Jackson was asked if too much penetration was leading to open outside shooters.

"We call this a 'Brokeback Mountain' game, because there's so much penetration and kickouts," Jackson said. "It was one of those games."

Suspended...with Henrys

This is an absolutely hilarious link for those who have been following these three Henrys, all of whom are great talents in the NFL.

A little background information before you click:

  • Runnin' Chris Henry is the Titans’ running back who is in trouble for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
  • Catchin' Chris Henry is the Bengals receiver who has been busted for: speeding without a license nor insurance (but with marijuana); aggravated assault with a firearm...while wearing his own jersey; "sex crimes" (enough said there); two DUIs; assault of a 16-year old boy; providing alcohol to minors; When he finally got back from his eight game suspension last week, he got hit with a lawsuit after assaulting valet parking attendant after he refused to pay while shouting "Do you know who I am!?"
  • Travis Henry is the Denver Broncos running back who has shattered records by fathering NINE children with NINE different women and is in the process of contesting a possible suspension after testing positive for marijuana.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

MNF: Seattle 24, San Francisco 0

What is it about Seattle and being on national television? Either they get destroyed or they do the destroying. Two years ago, they ran the Texans out of town 42-10 on Sunday Night Football and walked into Philadelphia and shut out the Eagles in the snow 42-0 on Monday Night Football. Last year they were embarrassed by eventual the eventual NFC champions in Chicago, 37-6 on SNF, then shut out the woeful Raiders with Seneca Wallace running the show on MNF. Last night, they shut out the San Francisco 49ers, 24-0 on Monday Night Football.
  • During the telecast Tony asked Jaws if the score was more a result of the Seahawks being that good or the 49ers being that bad. Jaws quickly answered, it was the 49ers. I have to admit I agree. The 49ers are simply terrible, as the banged up Alex Smith cannot throw an accurate pass and Frank Gore is no longer the threat he was last year. SF handed the Seahawks multiple opportunities to trounce them. However, Seattle had two turnovers and a couple of costly penalties that took points off the board. If they were hosting a good team, the Seahawks could have easily lost.
  • Mike Holmgren unveiled a new look Seattle offense that featured the pass far more than the run. Matt Hasselbeck opened up the game in the shotgun and quickly stormed down the field. Matt is quietly having a great year, and it should only get better when Deion Branch returns. However, it remains to be seen how this different offense fares against better teams.
  • Mo Morris filled in for Shaun Alexander and did a decent job. What happens when Shaun returns?
  • The Seahawks are going to win a lousy NFC West, host a first round playoff game. They will be favored at home, and should they win, will likely have to travel to a Green Bay or Dallas. My prediction is similar to last year's end result: A thrilling first round close win followed by a heart-breaking close road loss.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Week 10: Bolts Shock Colts

With the Patriots on a bye (something tells me Brady was still scoring the field), our attention finally turns to a great slate of good games in the NFL.

  • Philadelphia 33, Washington 25 - McNabb and Reid got a much needed win in Washington thanks to Westbrook.
  • Jacksonville 28, Tennessee 13 - I give some credit to these two physical teams for beating up on their divisional rival Colts so bad that they did not have all their starters the past two weeks.
  • St. Louis 37, New Orleans 29 - Just when we thought the Saints were marching again, the ghost of Jim Haslett returns. They are still dangerous though, and will find a way to win their lousy division and host a playoff game though.
  • Buffalo 13, Miami 0 - The Heat and Dolphins have lost a combined 25 games in a row. Meanwhile, the Bills are hot, winners of four in a row and five of the last six. Yes, the Bills folks. Can they hang with the Pats next week on SNF?
  • Denver 27, Kansas City 11 - CSI: Mile High: Travis Henry is taking lie detector tests and turning over hair samples.
  • Green Bay 34, Minnesota 0 - Did you see that last Favre touchdown pass? Only his throws somehow make it there. Adrain Peterson went down early; what the hell is an LCL anyway?
  • Pittsburgh 31, Cleveland 28 - Ah, now this was a game. I like to shy away from moral victories, but the Browns have come a long way and have shown that they are capable of beating the Steelers. On the other side, Big Ben's comeback was phenomenal. You have to put him up there with the best quarterbacks in the league. Everyone hop on the bandwagon now, the Steelers are the prime candidate to upset the Patriots run at perfection in a few weeks.
  • Atlanta 20, Carolina 13 - Remember when this would have normally been a divisional showdown between a Super Bowl contender that had Michael Vick's number?
  • Cincinnati 21, Baltimore 7 - Seven field goals. Disgusting.
  • Chicago 17, Oakland 6 - Did Rex Grossman just win a game for the Bears!?
  • Arizona 31, Detroit 21 - Did Tim Rattay just win a game for the Cardinals!?
  • San Diego 23, Indianapolis 21 - Now THIS was the best game of the week. Peyton Manning threw SIX interceptions, Adam Vinitieri missed TWO field goals, and the Chargers offense was terrible. In a completely unrelated story, hell froze over.
  • Neither team deserved to win this game. The Chargers should have blown open the game in the first half with all the picks and good field position; instead they got two scores off special teams. The Chargers are supposed to have a powerhouse offense, but it was unable to put the game away. If the Colts won this game, we would all be talking about how great Manning is, managing to win despite missing so many starters, including two offensive linemen and two wide receivers and their stud tight end. Of course, he struggled without so many key elements of his team, and still was in a position to win the game at the end. Shame on you, Chargers.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Oh Matt, you so funny 5

From the Seattle Times:

Defensive end Patrick Kerney strained an oblique muscle in Sunday's game against Cleveland, the second Seahawk with that injury in the past two games.

"That's two obliques in two weeks," Holmgren said incredulously. "After 21 years I've had two in two weeks."

Kerney's injury gave Hasselbeck the chance to do what he does well, crack a joke about having the same injury as a teammate. Hasselbeck hurt his oblique against St. Louis on Oct. 21.

"Yeah, I think Patrick and I have been doing too many sit-ups," Hasselbeck said. "We're both big weight-room guys. It happens to guys like us, me and Patrick. People confuse us on the street as well. They have to kick us out of the weight room, turn the lights off on us."

Matt Hasselbeck is second in Seahawks history with 20,245 passing yards, trailing Dave Krieg by almost 6,000 yards. It's a milestone Hasselbeck wasn't aware of until Monday, the day after his 318 passing yards vaulted him past his quarterbacks coach, Jim Zorn.

"There are some records that you break that are kind of cool," Hasselbeck said. "Then others, they're a product of being fortunate enough to be with one team and getting to start and getting to play a bunch of games."

And surpassing Zorn?

"That explains all the draw calls he was calling for in the two-minute drill to try to keep the numbers low," Hasselbeck joked. "No, it's cool. Obviously there's a relationship there with myself and Jim Zorn because he is my position coach, but he's also one of the guys that you looked up to as a kid."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Week 9: Is it over?

  • The Patriots defeated the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday, 24-20, immediately placing them in the running to go 19-0 to go along with many other historic records they are on pace for. The commentary and analysis on this instance classic game and its repercussions on the rest of the season are endless, but just remember that the season is only halfway over.
  • The other game that made headlines was San Diego's letdown at Minnesota, 35-17. Adrian Peterson ran all over the supposedly great Chargers run defense, setting an NFL record with 296 rushing yards. San Diego's Antonio Cromartie returned a missed field goal 109 yards for a score at the end of the first half, setting the NFL record for longest play ever.
  • The Green Bay Packers are winning games. The defense is dominant, and Brett Favre is doing it all, grey hair and everything. I am not the only one who would love to see him get to the Super Bowl and hang with Brady or Manning in a shootout.
  • Pittsburgh destroyed Baltimore on Monday Night Football 38-7, and although it was more of the Ravens' mistakes that led to the rout, I have to put the Steelers right up there with Indy and New England. Everyone has the Pats and Colts penciled in for the AFC title game on January 20, but do not be surprised if another division winner (San Diego and Pittsburgh) comes in on a roll with momentum, and stuns one of those teams coming off their bye.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the season is not over folks. Not by a longshot.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Super Bowl 41.5

Patriots fans aside, I think everyone is on the Colts bandwagon this week. No one wants to see the Pats go undefeated, as great as they are. Peyton “funny guy” Manning is America’s darling while Tom “man whore” Brady is terrible role model, knocking up supermodels left and right. Tony Dungy vs Bill Billicheat is a matchup of a good family guy and man of God against a classless bore who runs up the score, shows poor sportsmanship, and is annoyingly mean to everyone. Oh, and he CHEATS. Not only in the NFL, but on his wife(s) too! Folks, this weekend is a battle of good versus evil. And shame on any of you for rooting for those evil Patriots. That being said, New England 41, Colts 31.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Durant Debuts

The beginning of a new era was highlighted on national television this week, and the phenomenal phenom Kevin Durant made his debuts. While the war over keeping the franchise in Seattle continues to rage on, Durant has quickly emerged as everything Sonics fans had hoped for.

  • Although the Sonics lost both games, they were to legitimate title contenders in the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns, neither of which was bound to lose their season openers.
  • In both games, Seattle was not only hanging with the best of the west, but was actually leading for most of the game. That is, until the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Without a respected leader and superstar, say a Ray Allen or Rashard Lewis, to make some clutch plays, the young and inexperienced Sonics are vulnerable at the end of games. In the home opener, Durant had 27 points midway through the fourth until the Suns' harassing double teams on him pretty much killed any Sonics offense.
  • My new main main "KD" struggled at times, but showed flashes of brilliance scoring against the likes of good defenders in Carmelo Anthony, Raja Bell, and Shawn Marion.
  • For such a skinny and supposedly weak player, KD was able to get to the basket a lot more than I expected, and will be an even greater threat once he develops the strength to go alongside the likes of the Kobes and Lebrons.
  • Durant has an amazingly smooth shot, and can consistently get it as a 6'9" guard with freakishly long arms.
  • What impressed me the most, however, was Durant's willingness to handle the ball, and his ability to make good passes. Durant is already drawing double teams coming off screens, slashing to the lane, or pushing the fast break, and has made some nice passes. Considering young guys normally take years to learn when and how to effectively pass the ball in the NBA (has Kobe learnt yet?), KD is already well ahead of the game.

other random thoughts...

  • It is November, and yet sports fans in Los Angeles are hyping the Dodgers' hiring of Joe Torre. Since when does a manager or coach carry that much weight that the team suddenly becomes a contender?
  • Oh right, the year Phil Jackson came to town, he immediately started a mini-dynasty.
  • My Houston Rockets are 2-0, and it is an impressive 2-0 considering they are breaking in a new offensive scheme under a completely different coaching style under Rick Adelman. Furthermore, the two wins were convincing ones on the road against western playoff teams.
  • T-Mac went off for 47 points at Utah last night, and Yao Ming is slowly embracing playing a faster game. The guys on Inside the NBA pointed out how Yao was getting the ball in transition and making a quick move in the post, preventing the defense from getting set and sending down double teams.
  • That style is exactly how the Lakers won those three championships, with a quick and agile Shaq running the floor and making quick moves in the post before the double teams could arrive.
  • All eyes on the Boston Celtics. Stay healthy Ray, and you may win a boatload of games (70?) and a ring.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sox Sweep

  • Okay, so the above picture was from Boston's improbable and memorable 2004 World Series Championship, but just know that they have gone on to win it all again this year, after sweeping the Colorado Rockies.
  • While the Rockies were not all that great of a team to begin with, but rather the bearers of a hot streak throughout much of October, this series may have proved that the American League's superiority over the National League in baseball is greater than the AFC over NFC in football and the West over East in basketball.
  • Alex Rodriguez informed the New York Yankees that he will opt out of his contract this year. What nice timing. I am a man of numbers, but these blow my mind: A-Rod will opt out of a $252 million contract originally signed with the Texas Rangers for ten years. He is walking away from the last three years of that deal, worth $91 million. I repeat, he is walking away from $91 million, in the hopes of earning more.
  • I found it interesting how the NFL did not schedule any marquee Sunday Night Football game as to not conflict with the World Series, but came close to holding Monday Night Football a mile away from where Game 5 would have been played in Denver. So much for that.
  • Oh, of course, there was a lot of football played today. The San Diego Super/Flaming Chargers burned the Texans, and are suddenly clicking and dangerous.
  • The Patriots head to Indianapolis next week. These two have been the best two teams for years now, and everytime they get together it is a shootout, thriller, and instant classic. Each team is undefeated at 7-0, and each are coming off of a series of impressive blowouts. The Patriots have been far more dominant though, setting up a rarity in sports: An undefeated defending champion will be the underdog playing at home. Think about that for a moment. The Colts are at home. The Colts are undefeated, they have not lost since 2006. The Colts are the defending champions. And yet, the Patriots will be the favorites Sunday, and they should be. Go figure.
  • Thank goodness the NBA tips off this week, otherwise the hype of this NFL showdown on ESPN and the likes would drive us all nuts.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Random Rocktober Thoughts

Random thoughts from an ash covered desert...
  • The Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies World Series has once again proved that success in sports is based on confidence and momentum. The rusty Rockies are no longer as red hot after a nine day layoff while the Sox are playing at their peak.
  • I had a chance to finally watch HBO's Inside the NFL, and Bob Costas and company made the excellent point that, a week from the showdown of the year in Pats at Colts, it seems that the other 30 teams are simply playing for naught. It is odd to every see promotors of a major sport essentially dub an entire weekend of sports insignificant.
  • Ironically enough, while the NFL may seem all about two teams, college football has adopted the parity that the pros once held, as pretty much everyone in the top 10-15 has reasonable national title hopes. Should be fun.
  • The reason why I picked Houston and Boston to meet in the NBA Finals is not because I am really that confident in them. Rather, I just wanted to be refreshing and bold. It is boring to pick San Antonio and Chicago, and for the sake of basketball, I hope we get some pleasant surprises this season.
  • Speaking of bold predictions, back to football: The Chargers, who were already gaining some steem before the fires, are going to rally behind the situation and make a strong run. Do not be surprised if they catch fire and knock off the Colts or Pats in the playoffs.
  • One more you ask!? Everyone looking ahead to Colts next week, the Pats finally show some weakness and stumble against the great secondary of the Washington Redskins.
  • Finally, by now everyone has heard J.K. Rowling's stunning revelation that the brilliant godlike figure of the Harry Potter series, Albus Dumbledore, is gay. While I am sure this rocked the worlds of many, in my household we have used this news item to institute a new trend: Instead of saying the common phrase, "that's so gayyy!" we now say "that's so Albusss!" Brings a whole new meaning to the term, "Dumbledore's Army", no?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

NBA Season Preview & Predictions

The 2007-2008 NBA season tips off Tuesday, October 30, after a tainted offseason in which David Stern described as “the worst that could happen to a professional sports league” in reference to the Tim Donaghy betting scandal. Referees shaving points aside, the NBA also made news through the drafting of the league’s next generation of superstars in Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, the Boston Celtics’ two blockbuster trades, and the infamous Kobe Bryant trade demand saga. There is no doubt that this upcoming year is sure to be filled with even more storylines, although everyone is sure to be eager to get back on the floor for some actual basketball. Here are some cunning predictions, in the order of projected finish:

Western Conference

Pacific Division

Phoenix Suns – The world’s best offense is poised to run away with the Pacific yet again. New general manager Steve Kerr traded away Kurt Thomas and two future first round draft choices in order to free up some cap room and sign Grant Hill. With an aging Steve Nash and a strong likelihood of the team being broken up soon for salary purposes, the window of opportunity is closing fast on the Suns. If Nash can stay healthy, the Suns will be right back in the conference finals again.

Los Angeles Lakers – Six years later, the Lakers organization is still reeling from the loss of Jerry West, and has gone from the premier sports franchise to a complete mess. While owner Jerry Buss’ admission that he is listening to trade offers for Kobe Bryant may very well be the beginning of the end of the Kobe era, coach Phil Jackson has quietly made a brilliant move in making Bryant the facilitator of the Triangle offense. The complex offense that has produced nine championships has drifted away in the last few years, but with the ball in Kobe’s hands more, he will emerge as an effective distributor and more of a versatile threat, a la Scottie Pippen of the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty. The Lakers are always a Lamar Odom injury away from missing the playoffs again, but look for former Bruin Jordan Farmar and a motivated Andrew Bynum to finally break out as the next great Laker tandem.

Golden State Warriors – The Warriors were the league’s Cinderella story last year, developing into the pride and joy of the Bay Area. Head coach Don Nelson receives most of the credit for having his former team’s number in route to a stunning upset of the first seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs last April, but will his coaching style still be effective coming off such a fun run? GM Chris Mullin raised some eyebrows trading away Jason Richardson for 8th overall pick Brandan Wright, out of North Carolina, in a trade that should pay off in the long run. However, in the tough west, the Warriors will narrowly miss the playoffs, sadly reverting the Bay Area back to its former status as a pro sports doormat.

Los Angeles Clippers – The Clippers had their Cinderella run two years ago, forcing owner Donald Sterling to finally open up his wallet and shell out the dough. Then last year, the Clippers reverted back to their status as, well, the Clippers. By re-signing much of its roster before last year, the Clips’ hands were tied heading into this offseason. Throw in Shaun Livingston’s freak knee injury and the loss of Elton Brand for most of the year, and the Clippers are destined for the lottery…again.

Sacramento Kings – New coach and former King himself Reggie Theus hopes to bring a renewed attitude to a team seemingly in a downward spiral. Good move in extending the contract of stud scorer Kevin Martin, but they do not have much hope when their best offseason addition is signing Mikki Moore, who is going to be lost without Jason Kidd pitching him easy layups.

Northwest Division

Denver Nuggets – The Nuggets’ Achilles heel has been injuries. If, and this is an enormous if, Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Marcus Camby, and Nene can all stay healthy, head coach George Karl can develop the team chemistry to lead this team to the league’s elite.

Utah Jazz – The Jazz were a pleasant surprise last season, reaching the conference finals behind Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams, reminding Salt Lake City of the Stockton and Malone days. If the Jazz can somehow get the most out of Russian brat Andrei Kirilenko, the supporting cast led by Mehmet Okur should fuel Utah to the playoffs, where head coach Jerry Sloan is at his best.

Portland TrailBlazers – The loss of Greg Oden for the year is a fatal blow, and there is already talk that he may end up closer to a bust like Sam Bowie than a gem like Shaq. That being said, the Blazers still have a bright future, and the departure of Zach Randolph allows Nate McMillan to hand the team over to its promising youth in Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Josh McRoberts, and Martell Webster. Remember these names, folks, because they are going to become a championship contender sooner than later.

Seattle Sonics – The not-so-super Sonics cleaned house this past year, as everywhere from management to coaching staff to the roster has been replaced or revamped. With ownership fighting the city government in a determined effort to move the team to Oklahoma City, the team wisely decided to trade away Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis while building a team designed to win in a few years, rather than now. The new GM is Sam Presti, formerly of the San Antonio Spurs, and is the genius who discovered Tony Parker in Europe. Similar to their Pacific Northwest rival in the Blazers, the Sonics are going to have a losing season again this year, but have a very promising future.

Minnesota Timberwolves – GM Kevin McHale was never able to build a consistent contender around Kevin Garnett, so the Wolves shipped the athletic superstar to Boston for the largest package of players and picks ever traded for a single player in NBA history. The Wolves will now have to build through the draft around Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, and Ryan Gomes. And they will be picking high, because they are easily the worst team in the west.

Southwest Division

Houston Rockets – The Rockets made the best offseason move that no one noticed in signing Steve Francis, and are now in position to win the deepest division in basketball. Remember, Francis was developing excellent chemistry with Yao Ming before being traded for Tracy McGrady. Now that T-Mac and Yao have a legitimate number three, Houston is poised for a deep playoff run under new head coach Rick Adelman’s aggressive offensive style.

San Antonio Spurs – When healthy, the defending champions are poised to win it all again. Problem is, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli have a tendency to break down as the season wears down. If Tony Parker develops a mysterious shoulder injury due to a ‘bedroom accident’ with hubby Eva Longoria, then the Spurs title hopes will be more desperate than housewives on ABC.

Dallas Mavericks – Sure, they may have won a whopping 67 games last year, but another choking performance by Dirk and company is sure to deflate the spirits of the Mavs, who will find it hard to be motivated to make another run at a top record. While Avery Johnson is a great coach during the regular season, he lacks the ability to make the necessary adjustments during the playoffs, as seen in the 2006 Finals and 2007 first round series. Dirk Nowitzki lacks the killer instinct to take over in the fourth quarter of big games, and until the Mavs get someone who can win those close games (Kobe…?), Mark Cuban has a better chance of winning Dancing with the Stars than he does winning a ring.

Memphis Grizzlies – Look for the Memphis Grizzlies as the most improved team this upcoming year. Unfortunately for new head coach Marc Iavaroni, they will not overcome the Texas three-step ahead of them in the division, but should be able to at least make some noise with the return of Pau Gasol and the drafting of Mike Conley Jr. to join a promising supporting cast in Rudy Gay, Stromile Swift, and Darko Milicic.

New Orleans Hornets – The full time return to New Orleans this season may be enough to spark some early success like their football counterparts did last year, especially with Chris Paul and David West emerging as the league’s next great duo. But Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic are injury prone, and as good as Byron Scott is, there is no way he can get them ahead of the stacked teams above.

Eastern Conference

Southeast Division

Orlando Magic – The Magic made the NBA offseason’s marquee free agent signing by acquiring all-star Rashard Lewis and guaranteeing him a $110 million over the next six years. While they certainly overpaid, the Magic now have a legitimate cornerstone to go alongside centerpiece Dwight Howard. New coach Stan Van Gundy has brought in Patrick Ewing to help Howard develop a post game, and if J.J. Redick also develops into a consistent offensive threat, the Magic can run away with their division.

Miami Heat – The defending champions were not able to flip the switch and turn the heat on again last season, and consequently were swept out of the playoffs. Remember the name Dorell Wright, as he will emerge as the Heat’s new star. Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O’Neal are still ailing from lingering injuries, so look for Miami to hover around .500 before catching fire and sneaking in the playoffs to make some noise.

Washington Wizards – In the eastern conference, one superstar such as Gilbert Arenas is good enough to make the playoffs. Problem is, this team is nothing without him.

Atlanta Hawks – On TNT’s Inside the NBA, which is filmed in Atlanta, Charles Barkley is fond of declaring that the Hawks will contend in a couple of years. Kenny Smith then routinely asks, “Why, is Shaq a free agent in two years?” referring to the fact that the Hawks need someone huge before they become good. Rookie Acie Law IV will help, but not that much.

Charlotte Bobcats – Michael Jordan’s team has just been set back a year because of the season ending injuries to Sean May and Adam Morrison. For a team that already lacks depth, look for them to remain at the cellar of the division.

Central Division

Chicago Bulls – Ten years after the completion of the Jordan era, the Baby Bulls finally break through and win the best division in the East. No need to trade for Kobe here, because Ben Gordon and Luol Deng continue to develop into all-stars with Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah providing energy and coming on as established role players.

Detroit Pistons – The Pistons are locks to contend in the East as usual, but look for them to be on cruise control through the regular season before making a deep playoff run. Chauncy Billups will need to have an MVP caliber year in order for the Pistons to break through.

Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavs mysteriously did nothing to improve their clearly flawed team this offseason, and it will be even more difficult for Lebron James to carry the Cavs in a much improved eastern conference that will be gunning for them. Daniel “Booby” Gibson is now the permanent starting point guard, but must develop into a consistent number two option. Head coach Mike Brown has plenty to prove after being exposed as a terrible coach during the playoffs.

Milwaukee Bucks – Andrew Bogut is set for a breakout year, and the addition of Desmond Mason to go alongside sharpshooter Michael Redd provides a solid trio. However, Chinese phenom Yi Jianlian has a long way to go before he even comes close to living up to the hype.

Indiana Pacers – Danny Granger was a pleasant surprise last year, but the rest of this team is not as promising. Expect Larry Bird to finally pull the trigger and move Jermaine O’Neal during the season.

Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics – What is with Boston and greatness? The Patriots, Red Sox, and even Boston College are all contending for championships. Danny Ainge’s bold moves were the story of the year, acquiring Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to go alongside Paul Pierce. The Celtics’ trades were so momentous, the NBA postponed its release of the schedule in order to give Boston more games on national television. The question is not whether the Celtics are going to dominate, but rather the question is to what extent. In the otherwise weak East, this stud trio could combine for 60-70 points a game, in route to just as many wins if all stay healthy. Critics point to the lack of a supporting cast and a potentially weak link in head coach Doc Rivers, but remember it only took one great player in Lebron James to carry Cleveland out of the East and into The Finals last year. Imagine what Boston will do with three.

New Jersey Nets – With Jason Kidd running the show, the Nets are always going to be in the mix. Vince Carter has never shown the ability to win games come playoff time, however. Look for Jamaal Magloire to break out with Kidd feeding him.

New York Knicks – Like the Lakers, this once prominent and classy franchise has evolved into a dysfunctional mess. If the players do not rally behind Isiah Thomas for a playoff push, expect the axe to finally come down on him. The real problem though, lies with Mason Square Garden Chariman James Dolan, so do not be surprised if he gets fired first.

Toronto Raptors – Andrea Bargnani shows flashes of brilliance towards the end of last year, so look for him to combine with Chris Bosh to form one of the most dangerous frontcourts in the NBA. If the Raptors were not hidden up in Canada, they would get a lot more attention and respect.

Philadelphia 76ers – Similar to Minnesota in the West, Philadelphia is still in rebuilding mode after trading away their superstar.


Most Valuable Player – Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Is there any one man with more motivation in the world of sports right now? After last year’s early first round exit, Bryant had to sit at home throughout last year’s NBA Playoffs and watch Lebron James shine in the spotlight as he singlehandedly lead his team to The Finals. With the possibility of a trade looming, Bryant must reestablish himself as the world’s greatest basketball player. Look for Kobe Bryant to win the MVP not by stringing together a bunch of consecutive 40+ point games, but rather a string of double digit assists games, ridding him of the common perception that he is a talented but selfish player.
Second Place: Tracy McGrady, Houston Rockets

Most Improved Player – Andrew Bynum, Los Angeles Lakers
Perhaps the only player more motivated than Kobe Bryant is the teammate who he thrashed this summer. Entering his critical third year in the league, the 20-year old Bynum will break out this year after working with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Second Place: Daniel “Booby” Gibson, Cleveland Cavaliers

Coach of the Year – Rick Adelman, Houston Rockets
Adelman is best known for his success with the Sacramento Kings several years back, and is credited with overachieving despite never having any big superstars. Now that he has Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming in Houston, look for the offensively minded Adelman to open things up and bring in fresh changes to the Rockets, who were bogged down in the past with Jeff Van Gundy’s slower half court sets and defensive philosophy.
Second Place: Stan Van Gundy, Orlando Magic

Rookie of the Year – Kevin Durant, Seattle Sonics
The 19-year old phenom is 6’9” tall with a 7’4” wingspan and has already been compared to Kevin Garnett. By trading away Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, Seattle has handed the reins to Kevin Durant, who will have all the opportunities to run away with this award.
Second Place: Jeff Green, Seattle Sonics

NBA Finals – Boston Celtics over Houston Rockets in seven.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Oh Matt, you so funny 4

Matt Hasselbeck, on pulling his oblique mussle in today's 33-6 win over St. Louis:

It was tough. I think it’s a great thing, I’m actually kind of excited. They told me I tweaked my oblique, which is awesome because I didn’t know I had any obliques. It’s good news, honestly. It’s in there somewhere, so I am really happy about that. I’m going to go home and tell my wife.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oh Matt, you so funny 3

On playing the Rams, another winless team this week:"It doesn't matter. I think we proved that last week."

On TV being too intrusive, demanding of players time."I don't think so; not to me. I think it's great, I think it's great for our games. High def television is one of the best things ever invented; second maybe the wheel – or fire, maybe."

On being teased about the falling camera incident in Sunday's game:"I've actually been on my teammates a little bit. I've heard where they saw it coming at me and they were laughing. What about throwing a block or something, you know? Isn't that really your job?"
~ Seahawks Insider, The News Tribune

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Kobe for Dirk?

In light or Mark Cuban's overanalyzed remarks on Dancing With the Stars, I was wondering why we do not see any all-star for all-star trades. If a Kobe trade is indeed in the works, it is likely that it would be for less value, similar to the Kevin Garnett, Allen Iverson, and Shaq trades. That is, a disgruntled superstar traded for a couple of young role players and draft picks.

If you are a team like the Dallas Mavericks though, what would stop you from pulling the trigger on a superstar swap? There is no doubt Dirk is just as vital to the Mavs as Kobe is to the Lakers, but I cannot imagine Kobe letting the Heat come back from 2-0 in the Finals or letting the Warriors run all over his team in the first round. While we can forever debate Kobe's character and teamwork, but there is no doubt that in the fourth quarter with a big game on the line, he is the best player to win the game.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Week 6: Duel in Dallas

New England 48, Dallas 27 - All eyes were on this showdown of 5-0 teams. Not surprisingly, the Patriots blew it open at the end, and the talk of an undefeated season has now begun. Although Dallas did at least hang with the Pats for the first three quarters, I still do believe that they will run away with the NFC.

Baltimore 22, St. Louis 3 - After such a terrible showing by the backups, Marc Bulger is determined to come back next week in search of their first win.

Minnesota 34, Chicago 31
- Adrian Peterson and Devin Hester stole the show in one wild game. If only the Vikings had a decent quarterback, with a beast of a running back and a superb defense, they would be quite a good team.

Cleveland 41, Miami 31
- Cleveland is reminding me a lot of Cincinnatti a couple years ago when Jon Kitna had a surprisingly good year so Carson Palmer had to sit. Derek Anderson is holding off Brady Quinn for now. Meanwhile, when is Miami going to win a game?

Green Bay 17, Washington 14
- Watched most of this game and am impressed with both teams in all facets of the game.

Jacksonville 37, Houston 17
- ESPN's Jaws says the Jags will give the Colts a game on next MNF.

Kansas City 27, Cincinnatti 20
- Larry Johnson finally gets going. How much of a mess are the Bengals?

Philadelphia 16, New York Jets 9
- I said that Oregon's Kellen Clemens is just as good as Leinart two years ago. We will soon see.

Tampa Bay 13, Tennessee 10
- Madden Curse kicks in on Vince Young.

Carolina 25, Arizona 10
- Vinny Testaverde wins a game at age 44. Kurt Warner goes down, so Tim Rattay steps in. Ouch.

San Diego 28, Oakland 14
- LT is back.

New York Giants 31, Atlanta 10
- Bold prediction: the Giants will contend for the NFC East title.

New Orleans 28, Seattle 17
- NBC’s Andrea Kramer quoted Mike Holmgren on Reggie Bush at halftime of last night’s game: “We knew he was quick, but we did not know he was that quick.”

Are you kidding me!? The supposedly football genius and fellow USC alum underestimated Reggie Bush’s quickness of all things? My great grandmother has no idea who Reggie Bush is, but even she would not be so dumb as to say something like that. What is next, are you going to reveal that you were not prepared for Mack Strong’s retirement sending the Seahawk running game down the drain? You were supposed to fix Seattle’s running game, not New Orleans’. Or are you going to tell me that you did not know that if you do not get much pressure on Drew Brees, he suddenly has the accuracy of Manning and Brady? Nothing that transpired last night should have surprised anyone. They are who we thought they were! And we let them off the hook! *Storms out*

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cheap & Easy

I do not know why I cannot post this, but go ahead and listen to it. This is from ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd, their popular morning show host.

Among the highlights:

For the record, being the most popular thing in the world, you gotta remember, 75% of the world lives in or near poverty. In other words, cheap and easy is almost always the most popular way to go. Is rice the tastiest food? No. But it is easily the world's most popular. Yes, soccer is the most popular sport in the world. It is cheap and easy.

Football is complex, it is expensive, it is not easy. American football is the best game, the most complicated, the most choreographed, and it means the most here, that matters more. We got the dough, we got the brains, and we got the options. Football is smart.

It is not arrogrant when it is true. American Football is better.

Frank TV

Sunday, October 14, 2007

SNF ~ Saints at Seahawks

You know that ESPN show Around the Horn, where four sportswriters debate hot topics? Here is how host Tony Reali started off one of the segments: "And now we move on to the New Orleans Saints. They STINK. The END."

The writers then proceeded to make a mockery out of the fact that Sean Payton thinks bringing in a new high profile kicker will help. Yes, that is the problem leading to an 0-4 record. The kicking game.

That being said, everything is set up for an upset this weekend. The Saints are no longer America's darlings. The pressure of Super Bowl expectations are long gone. Sunday Night Football. Primetime, NBC. All eyes on Reggie Bush, who excels in the spotlight.

Al Michaels: What do the Saints need to do to fix this?
John Madden: Well Al...uh...they need to stop all this turnover stuff.

Wow. Thank you, John.

The Saints are desperate for a win. But the Seahawks are sure to come out fired up after losing to the Steelers...again. More motivation? Mack Strong was forced into retirement this week, so the heart and soul of the Seahawks for the past 15 years will raise the 12th man flag before the game, firing up an already high-on-caffeine Seattle crowd.

If all else fails, we will borrow a page from Pac-Man Jones and make it rain. In Seattle, they are so used to precipitation that they do not even notice it anymore. And we all know how people from New Orleans react to a little water.

Mike Holmgren has never lost to the Saints, and there is no reason to start now.

Seahawks 24, Saints 7 .

BCS Shakeup

I remember arguing during the first couple weeks of September that the college football is just as predictable as the pros, and that we might as well cancel the season and pit No.1 USC versus No.2 LSU and get it over with. Well, so much for that. The BCS rankings were released today, and after a crazy couple of weekends in which all the top condenders have been upset, the Ohio State Buckeyes find themselves at a firm No.1 ranking. With a relatively soft schedule, Ohio State has not been overly impressive, but it is more about the mere fact that they remain undefeated and have avoided the big letdowns:
  • LSU lost in triple overtime 43-37 to Kentucky.
  • California lost at home to Oregon State 31-28.
  • USC lost its No.1 ranking two weeks ago after being exposed in a close victory against Washington. Then they were stunned last week by Stanford, 24-23. (That same weekend, Notre Dame got their first win against UCLA, and the Anaheim Angels were swept out of the playoffs. Throw in Lakers' owner Jerry Buss saying he would be willing to trade Kobe Bryant, and it was a terrible week of sports in Southern California).
  • The season's first BCS rankings feature the 6-0 South Florida Bulls and the 7-0 Boston College Eagles at No.2 and No.3 respectively.
  • Who!?
  • Exactly.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Lounge

Former Los Angeles Times columnist, now of ESPN, J.A. Adande checks in with a good look at my Seattle SuperSonics. The entire franchise, from ownership to management to the roster, has been revamped, and as time passes it looks more and more like the team is heading to a bright Oklahoma. A small part of me wants to believe that a youthful team will rally around a wise coaching staff and sneak up on unsuspecting teams this season, stealing a playoff spot, motivating the city and ownership to somehow come up with a deal to stay in Seattle. Then my brain tells my heart, ""

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Week 5: Oh no, Romo!

Dallas 25, Buffalo 24 - What!? You mean to tell me the Cowboys won this game? Everything went wrong for Tony Romo - FIVE interceptions and a lost fumble. But Trent Edwards interception (why are you throwing up by eight late in the fourth quarter!?) led to a touchdown, followed by an onside kick, followed by a game winning field goal by rookie kicker Nick Folk. Last night's game was by far this season's instant classic, and was reminiscent of last year's Monday Night Meltdown by the Arizona Cardinals against the Chicago Bears. The Bears, seemingly destined to win even after such a horrible quarterback performance, rode the come from behind victory to the Super Bowl. At 5-0, the Cowboys are the clear NFC favorites with the big test looming Sunday against the seemingly unstoppable Patriots.

Houston 22, Miami 19 - Houston is not as good without Andre Johnson, while Miami is still searching for its first win. The story of this game was Trent Green's hit and the trashtalk that ensued after. I am all for being a tough guy and helping your teamates and all, but as a quarterback, he should not be blocking anyone.

Jacksonville 17, Kansas City 7 - The AFC South is the best division in the NFL, and whichever team comes out second to the Colts as a wild card has a chance to give a division winner a game come January.

New England 34, Cleveland 17 - 19-0, anyone? First test this Sunday at Dallas.

New York Giants 35, New York Jets 24 - This game should be played every year. Regional rivalries should be strengthened. Let us see the Jets-Giants, Raiders-49ers, Chargers-Cardinals, Steelers-Eagles, Dolphins-Bucs, Chiefs-Rams, Ravens-Redskins more often then every four years. All these teams practically share territory and fans, so why not spark the league with some intraconference rivalries?

Arizona 34, St. Louis 31 - Kurt Warner is back, and he has the offensive weapons and smart coach to make some noise again. Look for teams to blitz the heck out of Warner though, who is not as great without a clean pocket.

Washington 34, Detroit 3 - So much for my mancrush of Jon Kitna. As for the Redskins, it takes a year for a coaching staff to come together and have its full effect. All those high priced coordinators hired last year are having a positive effect now. Jason Campbell looks like the real deal.

Tennessee 20, Atlanta 13 - What an ugly win. The Titans are one of those teams like the Jaguars who can sneak into the playoffs and give a great team a game.

Indianapolis 33, Tampa Bay 14 - And this was without a lot of key Colts starters. Peyton needed a big win going into a bye after a couple of tough games.

San Diego 41, Denver 3 - Still waiting on Jay Cutler to prove himself. Meanwhile, are the Chargers back? Again, it takes a while for a coaching staff to come together and have its full effect.

Baltimore 9, San Francisco 7 - Eww.

Chicago 27, Green Bay 20 - The Packers lose their first game of the season, while Brian Griese does just enough to get the entertaining comeback win. Are Da Bears back?

Pittsburgh 21, Seattle 0 - People have told me that Seahawk fans should stop talking about that one big game against the Steelers. Okay.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Mack Strong

Seattle Seahawk fullback Mack Strong announced his retirement today, a day after suffering a herniated disk in his neck that was causing trauma to his spinal cord. The loss of their lead blocker is a fatal one to the already struggling Seahawks. In a whopping 15 years in the NFL, ironman Mack Strong has blocked for three 1,000 yard rushers in Chris Warren, Ricky Watters, and Shaun Alexander. As an active member of the Seattle Church of Christ and President Bush's Pro Bowl friend, Mack Strong has been one of my favorite Seahawks. Thanks for a great career Mack.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Jon Kitna

ESPN The Magazine has a great feature on Detroit Lions' starting quarterback Jon Kitna. The former Seattle Seahawk has led the normally woeful Lions to a surprising 3-1 start.

A couple of the article's highlights, written by David Fleming:

Since he signed a four-year, $11.5 million deal in March 2006, about 20 Lions have given their lives to Christ. Teammates, converted or not, credit Kitna -- and, in part, this religious awakening -- with helping change the previously poisonous attitude in the Lions' locker room. Says [backup QB] Orlovsky, "He is the pulse and the heart and the soul of this team."

Kitna: "My first responsibility to this team is to be a quarterback. But my priority in life is to be a man of God."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Oh Matt, you so funny 2

Taken from The News Tribune:

On Deion Branch getting more involved in the offense:
"I think the first week Coach Holmgren didn't have in on his fantasy team, and then he was able to trade for him and it really changed everything."

On him playing fantasy football:
"I got a real team. It's not fantasy. It's real, live."

On him studying the playbook with help from his wife:
"She plays Coach Holmgren, so to speak. She'll say the personnel group, then she'll say the situation, then she'll say the play. It's much like when you're studying for an exam in college or something. ... Just sort of (studying) during commercials at night when we're watching television, or after that in bed. It's very romantic."

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Week 4: 420+

Green Bay 23, Minnesota 16 - Brett Favre literally carries the Packers on his back en route to a 4-0 start. Favre threw touchdown passes numbers 421 and 422, overtaking Dan Marino for the most all time. Even though Peyton Manning is on pace to break what is now Brett's record in the next decade, not enough can be said about Favre's amazing play.

Houston 16, Atlanta 26 - So much for all that Matt Schaub leading the Texans to the playoffs. In his return to Atlanta, Schaub is outplayed by Joey Harrington.

Buffalo 17, New York 14 - I have a hard time caring about a division that is so far apart from its leader, the New England Patriots.

Cleveland 27, Baltimore 13 - Are the Browns suddenly a surprise team or is it just that the banged up Ravens are overrated?

St. Louis 7, Dallas 35 - Tony Romo amazes me. The guy is so agile and makes 'streetball' plays all the time. Dallas is the NFC's clear front runner right now. Thanks to a ton of injuries, the Rams are done, their only touchdown was a Daunte Hall return.

Chicago 27, Detroit 37 - Brian Griese struggles in his debut as the Bears' starting quarterback. Thanks to Mike Martz, the Lions are like his old Rams in that they are simply going to outscore their opponents.

Oakland 35, Miami 17 - Daunte Culpepper scored all five touchdowns in his return to Miami. Call me crazy, but do the Raiders have a shot at winning their division?

Tampa Bay 20, Carolina 7 - This is why the NFC is so weak. Divisions like the South have no favorite whatsoever. Cadillac Williams is done for a while after that freak knee injury.

Pittsburgh 14, Arizona 21 - Props to Bill Simmons who called Ken Whisenhunt's influence in a surprising upset. With Kurt Warner winning a game now, what happens to golden boy Matt Leinart?

Denver 20, Indianapolis 38 - We know Manning owns the Broncos. Why even play this game?

Kansas City 30, San Diego 16 - Three loses in a row for the struggling Chargers. Instead of blaming the new coaching staff, upper management should bear the criticism for letting the entire 13-3 regime go.

New York Giants 16, Philadelphia 3 - McNabb goes from quarterback on the way out, to elite quarterback, back down to on the way out. With no Westbrook, a terrible offensive line, the still recovering McNabb stood no chance.

Seattle 23, San Francisco 3 - Keep on sleeping on my Seahawks, America. They just stormed into San Franciso and shut up everyone who doubted that the NFC West still belongs to Seattle. Matt Hasselbeck was sharp and the defense was dominating. Remember, the Seahawks are a fumble away from being undefeated. Super Bowl rematch in Pittsburgh next weekend.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Week 3: Separation Time

Talk about Separation Sunday. The best story of the weekend was the Green Bay Packers upsetting the San Diego Chargers at home. The Chargers are certainly in a funk, probably due to the completely new coaching staff, as exhibited by LT's frustration, even getting into it with his quarterback Philip Rivers on the sidelines. The Packers are 3-0, Brett Favre is playing like a whole new quarterback while the defense is quitly looking great. Watching this game, however, I did not like the lack of a running game on the part of Green Bay. Granted, the Chargers are great at stopping the run and have a weak secondary, but eventually the Packers are going to have to get some yards on the ground.

T.O. said the Dallas Cowboys made a statement by winning in Chicago on Sunday Night. Remember, the Cowboys were a botched snap away from advancing to the playoffs and going to Chicago, where they just proved they can win. Tony Romo is playing amazing, scrambling around and putting up huge numbers. Romo is in a contract year, and Jerry Jones is obligated to pay up soon the way he is playing. Hopefully it does not have some sort of crazy mental effect on the field.

The Patriots put up another 38 points in another blowout, and it the Brady to Moss combination is not even fair for opposing teams. In the AFC, the Colts and Steelers also advanced to 3-0.

The Ravens are good enough team to make some noise in that tough AFC, but again, it is way too early for Steve McNair to be banged up already. And how about Kurt Warner replacing Matt Leinart and nearly rallying for the win? Go figure.

Back to the NFC, where the Saints are already this year's most disappointing team. Sure, Dallas and Green Bay are looking good at 3-0, but let us not forget the Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle is a fumble away from joining those elite teams at 3-0 after winning a wild west game against Cincinnatti, 24-21. You had safeties, fourth down and two point conversions, quarterbacks catching passes, and turnovers galore. While Carson Palmer and the Bengals put up big numbers again, Matt Hasselbeck is quietly having a good year. The fourth quarter featured four lead changes, including Hasselbeck's strike to Nate Burleson for the game winning touchdown. The ensuing kickoff was fumbled, and Palmer and the Benglas offense never got a chance to come back again. While the Seattle defense got eaten up statistically, new safeties Brian Russell and Deion Grant each caught interceptions and made several key plays. The banged up Shaun Alexander has yet to even get going. Hasselbeck was asked whether he'd like a little more national recognition for his hot start to the season. "I think it's better that we just chill out here [in Seattle] in the witness protection program," he said. "We're good. Let them talk about all the East Coast teams and their cool throwback uniforms." As the analysts start to make early judgements and separate the teams, do not sleep on my Seattle Seahawks, folks.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Week 2: Oops!

The Seahawks fumbled away a sure win in another wild weekend. Carson Palmer's SIX touchdown passes were not enough as Derek Anderson and Jamal Lewis led the woeful Cleveland Browns to a surprising 51-45 victory. This makes the 2-0 Steelers look more dominant, as were the New England Cheatriots who ran the Chargers out of town on SNF 38-14. Indy survived another Vince Young comeback while the Bears looked terrible despite winning their home opener. The Saints got blown out again while Dallas takes over as the highest scoring team. Denver lucks out with another Jason Elam game winner. Green Bay, San Francisco, Detroit, and Houston are all 2-0. In the immortal words of the legendary Vince Lombardi, what the hell is going on here?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bolts Bandwagon

With the Rodney Harrison suspension and the fines of Bill Bellichick and the Patriots organization for cheating, New England may just be the most disliked sports franchise right now. Heading into this Sunday Night's huge showdown against the San Diego Chargers, it seems nearly everyone would love to see the Patriots lose after such a controversial week. Other than the Denver Broncos, who would be justified in rooting against San Diego in hopes of winning the AFC West, I would think that fans of the other 30 teams in the NFL are pulling for an upset at Foxboro, happily hopping on the Bolts Bandwagon.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Oden Out

On May 22, I wrote: Portland last had the No.2 pick in 1984, selecting center Sam Bowie, a bust in comparison to the fellow who Chicago took next by the name of Michael Jordan. Deja vu anyone?

Oden was limited and missed much of his freshman season at Ohio State with a broken wrist. Then he missed most of the summer league with tonsillitis. Now, he is out for most of the year after microfracture surgery on his knee. Instead of being the NBA's next big star, Oden is unfortunately on track to be an injury prone bust.

Goodell Strikes Again

NEW YORK (AP) -- New England coach Bill Belichick was fined the NFL maximum of $500,000 Thursday and the Patriots were ordered to pay $250,000 for videotaping an opponent's offensive and defensive signals.

Commissioner Roger Goodell also ordered the team to give up next year's first-round draft choice if it reaches the playoffs and second- and third-round picks if it doesn't.

More on Pats

Now that the Patriots have been caught cheating, everyone around the NFL has thrown in their two cents, resulting in an even larger cloud cast over the New England organization and their three Super Bowl wins. Opponents are openly questioning how legitimate the Patriots' wins are while Sports Illustrated finds more occurrences of Patriot videotaping. The commentary and debates on this subject can be endless; the fact of the matter is that the Patriots cheated to gain some competitive advantage. Imagine if they go on to make another Super Bowl run again this year, something which is quite likely. Then the NFL's integrity would be no better than the NBA's after the referee scandal.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Cheating Patriots

Let us do something out of the ordinary these days and present the facts:
  • NFL security officials confiscated a camera and videotape from Patriots video assistant Matt Estrella on the New England sidelines when it was suspected he was recording the Jets' defensive signals.
  • The league also was reviewing a possible violation into the number of radio frequencies the Patriots were using during Sunday's game, sources said. The team did not have a satisfactory explanation when asked about possible irregularities in its communication setup during the game.
  • Last season, the Green Bay Packers had an issue with a man wearing a Patriots staff credential who was carrying a video camera on their sideline.
  • The Patriots have not presented their case to the league, nor anyone else for that matter.
  • LaDainian Tomlinson: "I think the Patriots actually live by the saying, if you are not cheating, you are not trying" Keep in mind that LT has a running feud with the Patriots after last year's "classless" celebration on San Diego's turf after a playoff victory. Chargers stud linebacker Shaun Merriman was suspended four games last season for essentially cheating as well. Chargers visit the Patriots on Sunday night.
  • The New England Patriots beat the New York Jets 38-14 last Sunday, the seventh consecutive win at the Meadowlands for Tom Brady and company. The Patriots offense was effective largely because Brady had plenty of time thanks to his superb offensive line. Brady was never sacked, was not pressured much at all, and was only hit once. In other words, the Jets defense was basically helpless.
  • As perennial contenders, the Patriots are the front runners to win it all this year, and have won three Super Bowls in four years, prompting many to dub the team as a dynasty.

That dynasty's integrity is now in serious question. This is not an exaggeration folks. Even if these specific allegations are not as serious as they appear to be, there is no doubt that after being caught twice, at the very least, Bill Belichick's staff has been and continues to be up to something fishy. The extent of the spying and how much does it help the Patriots may never been known, but the fact of the matter is that there is already enough evidence for the NFL to punish the Patriots, most likely through monetary means and in the form of multiple draft picks.

Remember that the NFL is more about game planning and preparation than anything else. With the rapidly advancing technology, coaches are constantly trying to acquire any competitive advantage that may help in preparation.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What a Week One!

The first week of the NFL season is in the books, and it was quite a wild ride. The mere return of meaningful professional games would have been enough, but a bunch of entertaining matchups and amazing finishes provided for an even better weekend.

New Orleans 10, Indianapolis 41
By now the Thursday opener has had time to sink in. Peyton tears up the Saints for 31 points in the second half, but it was the Colts defense that impressed holding last year's No.1 offense to three measly points. The Colts are in an unprecedented circumstance as the defending champions with little pressure to repeat; more pressure is on arch rival New England Patriots who, with all the offseason improvements, everyone has winning the Super Bowl.

Denver 15, Buffalo 14
Kevin Everett's life threatening injury is more important than anything else here. The Broncos out gained the Bills 470 to 184 in total years, but trailed for the first 59:59 of the game! Jason Elam rushed onto the field and kicks the winner as the clock ticks down. Denver's defense is already great, but if Jay Cutler, Travis Henry, and the Bronco offense keeps it up, throw them into the long list of contenders in the AFC.

Tennessee 13, Jacksonville 10
I did not catch much of this game, but did notice the Titans running all over the Jags, while Jacksonville's was limited on the ground. Go figure. Maybe it is as simple as it sounds: Vince Young is a winner, he just somehow wins these types of games.

Miami 13, Washington 16 (OT)
Almost had a freak finish at the end of regulation. Jason Campbell shows promise, but these two teams are not going anywhere this year.

Carolina 27, St. Louis 13
I am going to continue the new trend of patting myself on the back as I called this upset. However, no one foresaw Steven Jackson being contained so well though. The injury to left tackle Orlando Pace pretty much kills the Rams season.

New England 38, New York Jets 14
The biggest story of the week, as the Patriots may have actually exceeded the large expectations placed before them. Tom Brady went off, and with Randy Moss stretching the field and keeping defenses conservative, that gives Brady more time in the pocket to tear up opposing defenses. There is already talk of a 19-0 season, but it will be interesting to see how the elite teams attack this scary offense. Say, San Diego on Sunday night.

Atlanta 3, Minnesota 24
Adrian Peterson continues to impress, emerging as the early frontrunner for offensive rookie of the year. The Viking defense dominates again, although it was against the woeful Falcons.

Pittsburgh 34, Cleveland 7
Big Ben and company looks goo, but similarly, it was against the woeful Browns. The Browns used two quarterbacks, neither of which were named Brady Quinn. After a beatdown by the Steelers, you have to wonder how great that Dallas trade is looking now. The Browns look like they could end up with one of the worst records in the league, consequently giving the Cowboys one of the top picks in next year's draft.

Philadelphia 13, Green Bay 16
The Packers won this game on defense and special teams. Watch out, when Favre gets the offense rolling, they could easily steal the NFC North division.

Kansas City 3, Houston 20
I am not sure whether to be impressed with Matt Schaub and the Texans, or whether it is just that the Chiefs are that bad.

Tampa Bay 6, Seattle 20
Ditto. A solid win for my boys up in Seattle, as the offense showed glimpses of their sharp 2005 form, and the defense was dominant. But then it was against the Buccaneers.

Chicago 3, San Diego 14
Watching games throughout the first week, and it is clear that defenses are far ahead of offenses. It takes more time for complex offenses to get in rythm before they start clicking and wearing down defenders. This was a defensive struggle, and the Chargers only blew this one open towards the end. After sitting out the preseason and coming in rusty against a great defense, LT had a rough start. Some are saying he had a bad game, but he still scored two touchdowns folks.

Detroit 36, Oakland 21
The battle of the losers was quite entertaining. The Lions put up points, and may finally make that breakthrough on offense that is expected in Mike Martz's second year. Daunte Culpepper gives the Raiders a better chance to win than McCown.

New York Giants 35, Dallas 45
What a game! I normally do not like divisional matchups as the featured Sunday Night game, but those NFC East teams always have great shootouts. Romo and Manning went wild, but Eli's fourth quarter shoulder injury kills the Giants season.

Baltimore 20, Cincinnati 27
Big win for the Bengals, although it is encouraging for the Ravens that after so many turnovers they still had a chance to win it at the end. It is a pity that Steve McNair and Ray Lewis are already hurt.

Arizona 17, San Francisco 20
Again, the defenses looked better than the new offenses here. Alex Smith came up big in the game-winning drive in another nationally televised thriller. Great finishes like these are why everyone is so glad that football is back!