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It's the QB, Stupid

Posted on August 25, 2016 at 12:25 PM Comments 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. 

NFL LATEST MUSINGS

Posted on August 12, 2016 at 9:46 AM Comments 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.

FOOTBALL SEASON IS OVER

Posted on March 7, 2016 at 1:37 PM Comments 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!

NEW CHALLENGES IN THE NFL

Posted on December 30, 2015 at 1:32 PM Comments 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. 

THE PLAYOFFS ARE APPROACHING

Posted on December 18, 2015 at 9:51 AM Comments 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!

The Plot Thickens in the NFL

Posted on November 6, 2014 at 10:29 AM Comments 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.

NFL UPDATE

Posted on September 21, 2014 at 6:33 PM Comments 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.

It's Another New Football Season!

Posted on September 6, 2014 at 6:49 PM Comments 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.

Writing Tip Number 8: Communicate Respectfully

Posted on September 1, 2014 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (14)
Email, texting and social media have become perhaps the most popular forms of communication in many parts of the world. However, many people express themselves via these outlets in ways they would never do over the phone or speaking face-to-face. Many people using these vehicles of communication are curt, disrespectful, vulgar, etc., especially if they believe they can be so in anonymity. However, the writers come off as rude, unprofessional, petty, ignorant, inhumane, etc.

In an organizational setting, disrespectful emails can ultimately destroy morale and even bring down the entire organization. Writers should not only re-read their emails to check for the tone, but they should not copy others if their emails are intended to discuss matters that could have a negative or detrimental impact upon the organization.

People composing or responding to emails regarding alleged poor job performance, etc. should be patient and give serious consideration to their writing before going off half-cocked. Respect and common courtesy are the keys to effective communication.


Writing Tip Number 7: Strive for Consistency

Posted on August 10, 2014 at 2:46 PM Comments comments (13)
Many writers are unsure of themselves and for that reason lack consistency. For example, within the same article, essay or book, they might spell words or use punctuation in different ways. They might spell a name "Terri" on one page, while referring to the same person as "Terry" on another. Or they might use a period outside of quotation marks in one sentence and use it within quotation marks in another instance.

Even if a writer is not certain how to spell a word, use punctuation, etc. she should be consistent. The words should be spelled the same throughout the work, and the punctuation should be the same when the same circumstances apply. It drives editors, proofreaders, and worst of all readers crazy when trying to figure out how a word should be spelled, how the writer wants to use punctuation, etc. At least if a writer is consistent, those reading, editing or proofreading her work will be better able to figure out the intent of the writer, and if necessary, how to correct her writing.

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