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|Posted on August 25, 2016 at 12:25 PM||comments (10)|
Years ago, political pundits raised the battle cry, "It's the economy stupid!" That was their way of saying that it should be obvious that the economy is the most important subject on most voters' minds. Similarly, it should be obvious that the best opportunity for a team to get to the Super Bowl and to win consistently, is to have an elite quarterback. There are, of course, exceptions. The Tampa Bay Bucs, the Baltimore Ravens, the Denver Broncos in 2016, and other teams have won the Super Bowl without elite quarterbacks. However, there has yet to be an NFL dynasty without an elite quarterback. While it is true that defense wins championships, just as great pitching usually beats great hitting in baseball, the great quarterbacks will keep a team in annual contention for the Super Bowl.
That is why it is bemusing to watch some fans with great quarterbacks take them for granted, not realizing that they are rare athletes. NFL quarterback is the most difficult position to play, and some teams never get a great quarterback. Fans have trashed Terry Bradshaw, Big Ben Roethlisberger, and other great quarterbacks, simply because they might not have had the greatest individual statistics. However, after all is said and done, all that matters is winning the Super Bowl. If a quarterback can get his team to the big dance repeatedly, he is as great as he needs to be.
|Posted on August 12, 2016 at 9:46 AM||comments (6)|
The NFL pre-season is finally upon us. The New England Patriots will have to do without QB Tom Brady for four games due to his suspension for the deflategate fiasco. The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without their star receiver Martavius Bryant all year because of his repeated drug violations. Moreover, Leveon Bell will probably be suspended for four games due to his failure to show up for drug tests. There are other NFL athletes facing drug suspensions as well.
It all makes one wonder. These athletes are not living their dreams. They are living their wildest fantasies. How in the world can they jeopardize all they have for the temporary pleasure they get from using illegal drugs? Why is it that, if they want to alter their consciousness, they cannot do so with alcoholic beverages, at least until their relatively short careers are over?
Some fans have given up on sports altogether because of the illicit drug use and other problems. However, there will always be hundreds of millions of sports fans throughout the world that will keep supporting their favorite athletes and teams. They can hardly wait for the regular NFL season to begin.
|Posted on March 7, 2016 at 1:37 PM||comments (19)|
The football season has been over for some time now. The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl and Peyton Manning has officially retired. Now, many football fans will turn their attention to the upcoming draft and free agency. These days, there is always something to keep the interest of football fans all throughout the year.
It will be interesting to see what teams will do. Most fans want their favorite teams to pursue players in free agency. However, not all teams have enough money to do so, and some teams just do not put much emphasis on free agency. They prefer to build primarily through the draft.
In any case, parity in the NFL assures that most teams have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. And after a team makes the playoffs, anything can happen. What is more encouraging for most teams is that no team has won back-to-back Super Bowls since the New England Patriots did it several years ago.
Hope springs eternal. Even fans of the Buffalo Bills --a team that has suffered for 15 years --are hopeful of making the playoffs. We'll see!
|Posted on December 30, 2015 at 1:32 PM||comments (6)|
The playoff race in the NFL has just become stranger. The Pittsburgh Steelers were supposed to cruise into the playoffs against supposedly inferior competition, even though said competition was within its division. But the Baltimore Ravens shocked the Steelers in the biggest regular-season upset in Steelers history. The Steelers were favored to win by 11.5 points over the Ravens, who have more players on injured reserve than any other team, and who started a fourth-string quarterback in Ryan Mallet.
But all is not lost for the Steelers. If the Buffalo Bills defeat the Jets and the Browns lose to the Steelers, Pittsburgh will go to the playoffs. However, if the Jets win, the Jets will be playoff bound.
Some fans were shocked that the St. Louis Rams defeated the vaunted Seattle Seahawks, who, like the Steelers, were on an impressive winning streak. But the Rams have been playing the Seahawks tough in recent years, and they are not intimidated by the vaunted Legion of Boom.
This weekend everything will be settled. Teams will get their final chances to determine who will get into the playoffs and who will be seeded where. This is why they make the big bucks.
|Posted on December 18, 2015 at 9:51 AM||comments (26)|
This has been a great year for the NFL for those that love parity (or as those that hate it call it, mediocrity.) In the NFL "Least," the only team that probably has no chance to make the playoffs is Dallas. Cincinnati lost their star quarterback, Andy Dalton, and the inexperienced AJ McCarron will have to take up the slack. Denver must also depend upon their backup quarterback with Peyton Manning still out with an injury. However, Manning had been struggling, anyway. If the New York Jets can win out, they will make the playoffs, as will Kansas City. If the Jets falter, and the Pittsburgh Steelers win out, the Steelers will make it.
Getting back to the NFC East, someone joked that perhaps a committee should be formed to select a team from that conference to go to the playoffs. None of them seem to want it very badly. The team that wins will have a poor record. Still, that's not so bad. Not many years ago, Seattle made it to the playoffs with a record of 7-9 and stunned the then-vaunted New Orleans Saints. In the last two years, the Saints made it to the Super Bowl, winning it the first time, and almost winning it last year.
Things are getting interesting in the NFL. Get your popcorn ready!
|Posted on November 6, 2014 at 10:29 AM||comments (3)|
Just when you think you have the NFL all figured out, everything changes. Some people love parity, and others hate it. Count me among the former group.
It seems like yesterday that everyone was saying that the Patriots were finished, the Seahawks were destined to repeat as league champions, the Bills would inevitably wind up in last place, the Cowboys would stomp unimpeded into the playoffs, etc.
Now, many believe that the Patriots are the team to beat; and the Seahawks look sluggish, have lost their "swag," and are intimidating no one. The Bills, under quarterback Kyle Orton, are on a winning streak, and their offense and defense look impressive. The Cowboys look as though they could once again be a .500 team.
One of the biggest surprises over the past two weeks has been the inspired play of Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben has thrown for 522 yards in a game with no interceptions and six touchdowns. Last week he made it back-to-back games with six touchdown passes and no picks.
The season looks to only get better. And it's all thanks to parity.
|Posted on September 21, 2014 at 6:33 PM||comments (5)|
It is week three of the NFL, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the NFL is still a league of parity. To some, this means mediocre teams. To others, it means non-stop excitement and possibilities. All but the very worst teams can dream of the playoffs and even the Super Bowl.
The Buffalo Bills looked like world beaters until they were humbled by the San Diego Chargers, 22-10, in week three. The Seattle Seahawks looked as though their "legion of doom" was impenetrable until it was humbled by the same Chargers in week two. Not many fans expected the Cleveland Browns to defeat the the New Orleans Saints in week two, or the Chicago Bears - defeated by the Bills in week one - to beat the vaunted San Francisco 49ers in week two.
It is important not to over react in the early weeks of the season. A team will not necessarily finish the season the way they started it. Though the football season is not necessarily a marathon (it is only 16 games) it still takes a while to play itself out. Fans should not get too high or too low in the early part of the season. They should just enjoy the ride, hope for the best, and expect the unexpected.
|Posted on September 6, 2014 at 6:49 PM||comments (6)|
The 2014 NFL regular season is finally upon us. The real bullets started flying with the Seattle Seahawks crushing the Green Bay Packers. Some fans believe that Seattle will repeat as Super Bowl champs. However, in this day and age, repeating is incredibly difficult. No team has repeated since the New England Patriots 10 years ago. Only one dynasty - my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers - has ever repeated twice. In any event, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has won more games in his first two years than any quarterback in NFL history. Perhaps he will become the first Black quarterback to win back-to-back Super Bowls.
My other team, the Buffalo Bills, might have an incredibly difficult year. There are rumors of bickering between team president Russ Brandon and head coach Doug Marrone. Quarterback EJ Manuel has been inconsistent in the preseason, but the team's run defense has looked awesome.
There will be many questions this year. Can Washington's quarterback Robert Griffin III (RG III) return to the form of his impressive rookie year? Can the San Francisco 49ers overcome their many problems? We will see.
|Posted on September 3, 2013 at 6:40 PM||comments (2)|
The new football season is finally upon us. As a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, I am especially curious as to how they will do. They are in the same division as the NFL champions, the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have lost such stalwarts as linebacker Ray Lewis (to retirement) and safety Ed Reed (to the Houston Texans.)
Then there are the Cincinnati Bengals. They have a top-ten defense, and exciting players in quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green. They eliminated the Steelers from playoff contention, and they are ready to go for another season.
There are other intriguing stories. How will the Denver Broncos do without Elvis Dumervil (who departed for another team due to an erroneous fax transmission) and Vonn Miller (lost to a suspension?)
How about my second favorite team, the Buffalo Bills? They have a disgruntled safety, Jairus Byrd, perhaps their best defensive player, who wanted a contract exension. Lineman Eric Wood just signed a contract extension, but their offensive line is unproven. They have excitng new receivers in Robert Wood and Marquise Goodwin, but they are rookies, and wide receiver is one of the hardest positions to learn. Finally, there is E.J. Manuel and Jeff Tuel, their two rookie quarterbacks. If Tuel starts, he will be the first undrafted rookie to start an NFL game since the modern draft. (And he would have to play against the defensive guru Bill Belicick.)
So, it is that time again. "Let's get this party started quickly. Right?"
|Posted on November 2, 2012 at 7:43 AM||comments (14)|
American football is America's real national past time. Baseball has long lost this coveted title. People constantly complain that fewer African Americans are playing organized baseball. They give many reasons for this state of affairs. However, reason number one has to be that many African Americans, like many Americans of all backgrounds, find baseball to be rather boring. Football and basketball offer far more excitement.
Many girls and women are football fans, too. They are found braving the elements at games, watching on television, etc. In some cases, wives know more about the game than do their husbands. This is why I cringe every time I hear the term "12th man" when referring to fans of the home team. Men are not the only ones loudly willing their team to victory.
This blog will be for anyone interested in the National Football League. All kinds of insights and opinions are welcome. We are the midway point of the season, so there is still a lot of football to discuss.
Let's have at it.