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It's That Time Again!

Posted on September 11, 2017 at 3:24 PM Comments comments (44)
The 2017 NFL season kicked off with a stunning upset of the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots by the underdog Kansas City Chiefs. Patriots fans should not be worried, and they certainly should not panic. However, they should be concerned. Tom Brady missed a lot of open receivers, and he is 40 years of age. Though the Patriots won the last Super Bowl, they were getting blown out before their historic comeback. They could not generate a pass rush last year, and they are still struggling in that area. Their defense was smoked in the pre-season, and now this latest disaster. Still, they are the Patriots, and they have weathered many storms in the past.

The Buffalo Bills won their first game against the struggling New York Jets. Cincinnati lost a shocker to the Ravens. The Cardinals blew a lead to the comeback kings of Detroit, and Jacksonville ruined a feel-good story for the flood-ravaged fans of Houston.

Next week should offer more great games and more suspense.

Colin Kaepernick's Future in the NFL

Posted on August 3, 2017 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (63)


What will come of Colin Kaepernick's NFL career? Many people believe he is being "blackballed" by the league because of his allegedly unpatriotic refusal to stand for the national anthem during games.  Now, Baltimore owner Steve Bisciotti has publicly requested that people actually pray to help him decide whether the Ravens should sign him. It seems to me that the main reason Kaepernick has not been signed is that he is simply not an elite player. After all, teams think nothing of signing talented wife beaters, drug abusers, thugs, dog fighters, and so forth. Is alleged un-Americanism really worse than criminality? If Kaepernick displayed the same talent he displayed when he led the 49ers to a near-win over the Ravens in the Super Bowl, he would probably still be starting for the 49ers, despite his protests. After all is said and done, talent - which translates into money - pretty much trumps everything in sports.

Can the Patriots be De-Throned?

Posted on July 19, 2017 at 3:57 PM Comments comments (32)
The New England Patriots often look downright unbeatable. Often, it seems that, of their AFC competitors, the Steelers have the best chance of beating them. But that seems unlikely unless the Steelers can play better on the road and get the home field advantage in the playoffs. That way their offense could keep pace with the Brady bunch. However, if they play in New England, the Patriots will successfully do to Pittsburgh what they always do -- just spread them out and pick them apart.

In the NFC, the Falcons blew a 25-point lead to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. This year, the Cowboys could win it all if Ezekiel Elliott can manage to stay out of trouble and Dak Prescott can show that last year was no fluke.

Time will tell!

RESPONSIBILITY AND SPORTS

Posted on April 10, 2017 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (21)

Aaron Hernandez was a fantastic tight end for the New England Patriots. Yet he sabotaged his career and is still facing murder charges years after his first murder conviction!

Why is it that so many professional athletes flush their fantasies down the toilet in such foolish ways? It does not seem to take much for an athlete to stay out of major trouble. Why is not fabulous success a strong enough deterrent to crime and foolish behavior?

It would seem that success would overrule peer pressure. However, that does not always seem to be the case. Some athletes would rather ruin everything just to fit in and impress their friends. Indeed, Ray Lewis practically bragged that some of his closest friends were thugs, and that he was unable and unwilling to give them up. He, too, got into serious legal trouble and was almost convicted of a killing.

Athletes are going to have to learn that, in many cases, friends can be the number one reason for their downfall. They need to learn to choose their friends wisely, and in some cases, kick the bad ones to the curb with the quickness.   

JAMEIS WINSTON'S FAUX PAS

Posted on March 3, 2017 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (16)

Many people believe that athletes and entertainers should just perform and keep quiet about their social and political views (unless those views are agreeable to those opposing athletes and entertainers expressing their social and political views!)

I, on the other hand, applaud everyone's right to express themselves. However, everyone must be held accountable for the views they express.

Poor Jameis Winston found this out the hard way. The star quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in February (Black History Month) told a group of young rambunctious boys at Melrose Elementary school in St. Petersburg, Florida that they had to stand up while the girls remained seated. He said the boys were strong and could do anything they wanted. On the other hand, he said the girls are "supposed to be silent, polite, gentle."

Winston meant well, but obviously, the sexist message did not go over well with most people. The sad part is that what Winston said is perfectly consistent with conservative Christian beliefs; but his critics were afraid or too ignorant to challenge the probable source of his comments (i.e., his religion.) In any case, athletes should be as careful about their public statements as they are about trying to play a mistake-free game.

THE OFFSEASON

Posted on February 17, 2017 at 1:26 PM Comments comments (24)
Now that the Super Bowl has ended, NFL fans are thinking about the draft and how their respective teams will do next season. The Dallas Cowboys had two of the most impressive rookies in NFL history in quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. No rookie quarterback has ever led his team to a Super Bowl, so Dallas fans should not have had their hopes so high. But another season beckons, and some Cowboys fans are already saying they will win the Super Bowl next year. (What a change from last year, when the Cowboys were one of the worst teams in the league.)

There is a precedent for the Cowboys. Ben Roethlisberger won his first 13 starts his rookie season and led the Steelers all the way to the AFC championship where they lost to the New England Patriots. Yet the following year, the Steelers won it all.

With the draft, hope springs eternal. The Buffalo Bills hope to end the longest playoff drought in the league at 17 years. Cleveland hopes to get on the winning track. Atlanta hopes for another shot at winning a Super Bowl.

Let the draft begin! 

THE SUPER BOWL IS SET!

Posted on January 25, 2017 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (33)

Not surprisingly, the New England Patriots have made it to a record ninth Super Bowl. (The team they defeated, the Pittsburgh Steelers, have won more Super Bowls and more post-season games than any team in NFL history.)

Perhaps much more surprising, the Atlanta Falcons blew out the Green Bay Packers to become representatives of the NFC in the Super Bowl. Unlike the Green Bay-Atlanta NFC championship game, this Super Bowl could turn out to be a shootout.

Thirty other teams are left to wonder what it will take to make it to the big game and become a Super Bowl champion. New England, the favorite by three points today, is a perennial Super Bowl contender. They have the magic potion of Tom Brady at quarterback and a mastermind at head coach. Pittsburgh probably did themselves no favor when WR Antonio Brown used social media to film his coach talking to his team and making unflattering comments about the Patriots. Then
Brown had a mediocre showing in the game.

Let's hope that this Super Bowl turns out to be truly super, unlike so many of the others.

DECEMBER FOOTBALL

Posted on December 2, 2016 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (25)

December is when the cream in the NFL starts to rise to the top. There are some teams that always play their best football in that month, in anticipation of the post season. Those teams include the New England Patriots, the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

However, some teams are going to have to try especially hard to make it. The Steelers, for example, are currently tied for first place with the Baltimore Ravens, another team that has historically played well in December. The Steelers have a game this weekend at home against the surging Giants. It is supposed the first time that Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown compete in the same game.

Seattle has been struggling this year. Even though QB Russell Wilson has become healthier and has regained much of his mobility, the team is still not doing very well.

This is the month when the best teams will go on winning streaks or keep winning streaks going. This is the month that separates the men from the boys.

THE NFL STARTS TOMORROW NIGHT

Posted on September 7, 2016 at 12:03 PM Comments comments (24)
The game between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos will be the first rematch between Super Bowl opponents to start the season since the Kansas City Chiefs played the Minnesota Vikings after Super Bowl IV.

This is one game that I am especially looking forward to. Cam Newton played a terrible Super Bowl. The Carolina defense, while not as stellar as Denver's, played well enough to win. However, Newton did not make enough big plays with his arm or his legs. Fans expected much more from the league MVP.

It was especially disappointing to see Cam refuse to talk with the media after the loss. He had always been so friendly toward the media when he was winning. He has to learn how to take the bitter with the sweet, and never forget that he is the leader of his team and the face of his franchise.

I believe that Denver will win big - perhaps by a score of 35-10. Though they no longer have Josh Norman, their defense should still be good enough. Additionally, Denver's new quarterback should struggle mightily. Let the game and the season begin!

IT'S ALMOST TIME!

Posted on September 2, 2016 at 1:18 PM Comments comments (809)
This weekend will be the last week of pre-season football. And it could not happen soon enough. There have been many serious injuries to key players for several teams. Perhaps the most notable are injuries to QB Teddy Bridgewater of the Minnesota Vikings and tight end Ben Watson of the Baltimore Ravens.

Many football fans, players and coaches believe it is time to change the pre-season or get rid of it altogether. Others, like New York Giants QB Eli Manning, say they need the pre-season. Some coaches say there is simply no way to evaluate players and decide who makes the team without a lengthy pre-season.

For now, though, it is time to focus on the upcoming regular season. Hope - not to mention blind optimism - reigns eternally for many fans. With parity in the NFL, anything is possible for all but the absolute worst teams. Injuries will continue to pile up, teams will get hot at the right time, superior coaching will come into play, officials' calls will decide momentum and games, and so on. The regular season is almost here, and true football fans will enjoy it regardless where their favorite teams finish at the end.

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