BACK IN THE BOX! Returned last season as the host of "the Penalty Box", the post game call in show for Rochester Americans broadcasts on Sports 1280 WHTK, as well as studio host for game broadcasts and intermission updates. Looking forward to starting a second straight season this upcoming year.
Weekend morning newscaster on WHAM.
Sometime fill in host for Bob Matthews or John DiTullio, as well as hosting call-in shows during Yankees and Red Wings rain delays.
Graduated from West Irondequoit high school (in 1984) where I was the sports director at the student run radio station, WIRQ, as well as the "voice of the Indians" football and basketball radio broadcasts.
Graduated with a B.A. degree from Florida Southern College (in1988). Announced FSC basketball games on local cable TV. Also announced local high school football games on local cable TV.
Have worked for WBBF-AM, WPXY-AM, Sportsradio 990, and then moved on to Clear Channel in 1997, where I have worked for WHAM and WHTK since as a board operator, producer, newscaster, traffic reporter, weatherman and sports host, as well as all-around good guy.
I am also psyched to be back on the air hosting "the Penalty Box", the post game call in show for the Rochester Americans radio broadcasts on 107--3 FM and 1280 AM.
I recently also started reading newscasts on Newsradio 1180, WHAM. It is a good opportunity for me, although I never saw myself as a "news guy". I am still enjoying the opportunity.
It seems like just yesterday that the NFL season was getting underway doesn't it? Heck, it seems like just two days ago since training camps were getting underway. Doesn't seem more than a week ago that the Giants were beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl last year either. Oh well, enough about time flying. The NFL playoffs get underway this weekend, and I am here to offer you my keen insights into what you can expect to happen....
Saturday, 4:30 pm. AFC wild card game, Cincinnati @ Houston.
The 12 and 4 Texans were rolling along at 11-1 a month ago, and looked like a shoo-in for the #1 seed in the playoffs. A funny thing happened on the way to the AFC title game--the Texans lost their swag.
Personally, I think the loss last week to the Colts might be the best thing to happen to Houston. My preseason pick to make it to the Super Bowl needs an extra week to get that swagger back, and I think they will get it against the Bengals. The key is going to be re-establishing the run, which the Texans have gotten away from the last few weeks.
Houston is 7-0 when Arian Foster runs for 100 yards or more on the season, and I think Houston does everything they can to get back to that pounding style that worked so well for them early in the year. Ben Tate is healthy again after missing long stretches of the season and is nearly as good as Foster.
Andre Johnson has been a huge target of late and will be again Saturday, but I don't think the Texans will NEED him to be. I think they jump out to an early lead, and then tee off on Andy Dalton. The result will be similar to last years 31-10 win over the Bengals with TJ Yates at QB. I'll go with 27-13 Houston.
Saturday, 8 pm, NFC Wild card game, Minnesota @ Green Bay.
The Vikings needed a 199 yard performance by Adrian Peterson and a perfect game otherwise to beat the Packers last weekend to make it into the playoffs. I don't think they will be as lucky two weeks in a row.
The Packers had one of the most opportunistic defenses in the league a year ago, and this year, although they forced fewer turnovers, they have played better defense. I think the key to this game will be the Packers ability to force young Christian Ponder into bad throws and poor decisions. If they can force an early turnover or two and get out to a lead, it will nullify Peterson's ability to have a huge impact on this game.
I don't think this will be a blowout, but I expect the Packers to win fairly easily when all is said and done. A close game at the half and early third quarter will turn into a Packers runaway with Ponder committing a few costly 2nd half errors due to the Packers pass rush. I'm going with the Pack 37-20.
Sunday, 1 pm, AFC Wild card game, Indianapolis @ Baltimore
The Colts have been a really nice story all season long, and a playoff win over the favored Ravens would continue that amazing story of Chuck Pagano coming back from a battle with Leukemia and top pick Andrew Luck wowing the league with all kinds of rookie records, as the Colts went from 2-14 to 10-6. Sadly, I don't think there will be a happy ending.
If the Ravens have a defensive weakness, it is against the run, which is the one thing the Colts do not do well. Baltimore is 9th in the league against the pass, and have the playmakers (like Ed Reed) to shut down Luck and force the rookie into interceptions, which is one thing he has been prone to in his incredible rookie campaign.
Much like the Texans, I think the Ravens get back to establishing their running game, which has been forgotten about all too often this year with their up-tempo, no huddle attack. I expect Ray Rice to be nearly unstoppable against a Colts defense that has had problems stopping teams with strong running games all year.
If somehow this game is close late, I think the Colts may actually have an edge, as I would trust Andrew Luck with the ball in his hands on a possible game winning drive more than I would trust Joe Flacco, but I don't think that will be the case. Once again, I'm going with the home team favorite--34-24 Baltimore.
Sunday, 4:30 pm, NFC Wild card game, Seattle @ Washington
Finally, we get to what I think will be the best game of the weekend. A battle of rookie quarterbacks making their first playoff starts. Two evenly matched teams, both with great balance, mobile quarterbacks and solid running games.
The main difference is that nobody, and I mean NOBODY, has been playing better football over the last month of the season than the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks won seven of their last eight games, including the last five by a combined score of, are you ready for this--193 to 60!!! It doesn't get much more dominant than that at the NFL level.
Seattle usually struggles on trips to the east coast, but with this being the playoffs, combined with how well they have been playing, I don't think that happens this time. Robert Griffin III's knee is still not at a hundred percent yet, and the fired up Seahawks defense will try to exploit that. I think Seattle does whatever it takes to win this game, and pulls it out at the end 27-24, possibly on a game winning Steven Hauschka field goal.
As the regular season comes to an end, and the playoffs loom, I had to contemplate a number of things and be effusive, eliciting all my thoughts and, well...BLOG. That's what this thing is for right? Anyways, let us start with my thoughts on the Buffalo Bills....
The Bills win over the Jets has some pluses and minuses. My first thought was, "leave it to the Bills to screw up getting a cherry draft pick in the draft with a win in week 17". Instead of picking in the 5-8 range due to a 5-11 record, the Bills will end up drafting in their customary 10-13 range. Upon further reflection though, I thought, "Heck, what does it matter"? The worst part of it is that the Bills most likely lost any chance they had at Manti Te'o, but they probably wouldn't have had a shot at him anyways.
What's most important is fostering a culture of actually WINNING instead of losing. I am sick of hoping for the Bills to lose the last game or two every stinkin' year in order to get better draft picks. Instead of that, how bout actually winning games, which leads to winning more. Plus the Bills pull into a tie with the Jets at 6-10, which isn't much consolation but it's better than having last place all to yourself.
The other negative, other than the lower draft pick, is that the win MIGHT save Chan Gailey's job for next year. Gailey has to go, if only for the complete and utter misuse of CJ Spiller. Ryan Fitzpatrick had the 2nd most pass attempts of any team in the division other than the Patriots. He is in the middle of the pack in that catagory in the whole league. That is far too much, especially when Spiller leads the league with a yards per carry average of 6.5, half a yard better than Adrian Peterson's 6.0.
As a head coach, you have to know your personnel and how to best utilize them. Here's hoping the Bills can Chan and hire a coach who can get the ball into CJ's hands 20 or more times a game instead of the 13 or 14 he has had under Gailey.
--Losing to the Colts could be the best thing that could have happened to Houston. The Texans had struggled mightily the last few weeks, and if they had won this week in ugly fashion and got a bye, it would have been one and done in the playoffs against whomever they played. By falling to the #3 seed, they will have an opportunity to beat a team that they should be able to beat next week at home (Cincinnati), build some confidence and get back on a roll heading into conference semi-finals.
--I found myself rooting for Calvin Johnson and against Adrian Peterson in their pursuit of records. I really wanted to see Megatron become the first wide receiver to get 2,000 yards because it's never been done before and it would be cool to see someone do that. I don't have anything against Peterson, but it was refreshing to hear Eric Dickerson admit that he DIDN'T want Peterson to break his record a few weeks ago. Since then, I have been secretly hoping Peterson wouldn't, thus making Dickerson's day. I love honesty in sports I guess. If Dickerson had said the usual things, "Adrian is a great player and records are made to be broken and I'm gonna be rooting for him...yada yada yada", I probably would have felt different.
--How wild was it that Peterson would have been a shoo-in for breaking Dickerson's record if his teammate Blair Walsh had missed the game winning field goal and they Vikes and Pack went to overtime. But what a class act when he found out he came up nine yards short from Pam Oliver in the post game interview, and then said winning the game was way more important.
--Coming into the final week, the only quarterbacks Andrew Luck had a better quarterback rating than were Jake Locker, Brandon Weeden, Mark Sanchez, Chad Henne and Matt Cassel. Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick has a better QB rating than Luck. Obviously quarterback ratings are a complete and total joke amd mean jack squat.
--Who woulda ever thought the Chicago Bears and their fans would have to cheer for the Green Bay Packers in order to get into the playoffs? That's kinda like Iraq cheering for Iran to take over Syria.
--It was a fun week watching the way teams played. Many teams who had nothing to play for going for it on 4th and 10. Fake punts. Two point conversion attempts. Onside kicks. Kind of makes you wish teams would play like this every week of the regular season.
--Andy Reid reportedly will be fired tomorrow. My first thought on this was, "Wouldn't this be a great guy for the Bills to go after"?After talking to my good friend Scott, who lived in Philly for most of Reid's tenure, I am not so sure. According to him, Reid is a good X's and O's coach, but is among the worst coach's he has ever seen at time management, coaches challenges and other similar decision making capacities.
The other thing about Reid is that he is the kind of established "big name" guys who the Bills will never go after, and even if they did, would never come to Buffalo. As many as a dozen coaches could be fired tomorrow, but most of them deserve to be and might not be huge improvement for the Bills. Much as I hate to admit it, if the Bills fire Gailey, their best hope might be to luck out with a top notch assistant coach bidding for his first ever head coaching job. Maybe the Bills can luck out like the Oilers/Titans did with Jeff Fisher, or the Steelers did with Mike Tomlin, or the Packers did with Mike McCarthy.
--I applaud Atlanta for using their starters in the final week, even though they had nothing to play for. The way they have played at home in the first game of the playoffs a couple of years ago against the Packers, they need as much confidence heading into the playoffs that they can get. Problem is when you use your starters for that purpose, you better win the game, and by losing to Tampa Bay, the move probably backfired big time. Now the Falcons have to feel far less confident than they would have if they didn't play their starters.
--Minnesota continues to shock me. The Vikings seem like they should be easily beatable. They have Adrian Peterson but little else, or so it seems, yet they beat the then AFC top seeded Texans last week, and proved it wasn't a fluke this week by beating the NFC's 2nd seeded Packers. It's old-school, but a dominant running back and a pretty good defense can still compete with anyone in today's NFL.
--Seattle and St. Louis should be two of the NFC's dominant teams for the next 5 or more years. They played each other this week and the Rams put up a fight. Russell Wilson may be the most underrated quarterback in the league, and the Seahawks are young, strong and still improving. The Rams have improved ten fold this year, are one of the youngest teams in the league and have a ton of primo draft picks in the next couple of years.
--Payton Manning could be better than he ever was and the Broncos will be tough to beat in the playoffs. Getting the #1 seed is huge for Denver. With Manning playing like he is, and the road to the Super Bowl going through the high altitude of the Mile High, it is Manning's best chance to win the Super Bowl since he last won one with the Colts.
--Poor Kansas City Chiefs. They get the #1 pick in the draft, but it's one of the worst years to get the top pick in recent memory with no clear cut top choice.
--Drew Brees became the first quarterback ever to pass for over 5,000 yards in back to back seasons. I still don't know if I should be terribly impressed with that, as it seems it is more a function of their system and the type of team they are, rather than how great a quarterback he is.
I could keep going and going, but I better stop here. I can't wait for the playoffs! The NFL is still the best thing going in sports, so bring it on!
What the hell is wrong with this Merril Hoge guy???
Hoge, who is reknowned largely for his hatred of Tim Tebow (and not much else) opened his big fat yapper again this week in the wake of the "Tebow begged out of Jets wildcat packages" scandal.
In case you didn't hear about it, Time Tebow SUPPOSEDLY told Rex Ryan that he didn't want to be a part of the Jets "wildcat" packages last week, after he was upset that Ryan didn't name him the starter after Mark Sanchez benching.
Tebow has since said that Ryan misinterpreted what he was saying, which I believe. It has never been in Tebow's character to selfishly take a stand like that. Hoge apparently doesn't believe Tebow, because this week he called him as "phony as a three dollar bill" and once again ripped his ability as a quarterback.
This is the umpteenth time that Hoge has laid waste to Tebow in the media, on ESPN or to anyone who will listen. Why? Who pissed in his cornflakes? What has Tim Tebow ever done to Hoge to such be the object of his "professional" wrath?
If I could have the opportunity to talk to Merril Hoge, not that I want to, I would tell him, "You know Merril, there are are PLENTY of other players you could criticize. Tim Tebow has never beat up his wife or cheated on her. He has never driven drunk and killed someone. He has never been busted in a crack den. He's never killed any animals. He hasn't raped a woman in a bar. He has never fathered 15 children in 13 cities out of wedlock. He has never been arrested for assaulting someone in a bar, or been kicked out of one for being too drunk or belligerant to other people or the cops. All he has done is play his very best on every down, led by example with a high moral character, and praised his God. How can that be worthy of such harsh criticism?".
Everyone has always said that Tebow has serious shortcomings as a quarterback. They said he will never succeed in the NFL at that position. They said his skill-set was better suited to another position. They said he had terrible mechanics.
Tebow finally got a shot to play quarterback in the NFL last year. As a starter. Despite all the negativity that was said about him, he won seven of his first eight starts including three in overtime, went 9-4 overall as a starter and led his team to a playoff win over the ten point favored Steelers.
Despite all those heroics, he lost his starting job (when the Broncos signed Peyton Manning), was shipped off to the Big Apple, and has toiled in anonymity all year, pigeonholed into a stupid "wildcat" role and other idiotic ways to get him on the field such as on the punt protection team.
Now, if you listen to Hoge and all the other media "experts", it's almost like last year never happened. Like it didn't exist. Like his 9-4 record as a starter took place in some kind of parallel NFL universe.
Now everyone is back to saying the same things all over again. That Tebow can't possibly succeed in the NFL as a starting quarterback. That his mechanics are awful and can never be improved. That Tebow will have to learn a different position if he wants to play in the NFL.
Why? How can there not be a single talent evaluator, offensive coordinator or head coach not see what I see? That Tebow is a FOOTBALL PLAYER! That all he does is find a way to win games. That few players who have ever laced up the cleats can get 10 other guys to believe in him and the ability to score more points than your opponent, no matter how ugly it may look.
Look, I know the kid is raw, but goshdarnit, look what he did last year in his first opportunity to play QB in the league. Even with just raw athletic ability. Imagine what he could do if someone would just believe in him and give him the chance to learn to play the position better.
Today, one of Tebow's former teammates came out in support of Tebow. Ravens receiver Deonte Thompson, who played with Tebow at Florida, said what a leader he is. He talked about how positive Tebow is, that negative thoughts never came out of his mouth. Told how Tebow continually kept his fellow players up, and made them believe that anything was possible. It's about time someone stepped up for Timmy.
If Chris Mortenson is right, and Tebow ends up in Jacksonville next year as their starting quarterback, I have no doubt he will once again make the experts scratch their heads. He will prove that it doesn't take great mechanics, or a spectacular 40 time, or a cannon for an arm to succeed and win at the NFL level.
All he needs is a chance. I'll be rooting for him. It will be a nice change to cheer for someone who not only wins but does it with class, and has such good moral character. The NFL could use more role models like Tim Tebow.
Remember that old song, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth", or the Mariah Carey hit "All I want for Christmas is you"?
Well, nevermind "you" or "my two front teeth". I am going to share with you MY sports Christmas list. This is a list of all the things I would like to have happen in my next sports year.
--A new starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. I don't care if it is a veteran from another team that the Bills trade for like Michael Vick, Matt Flynn, Colt McCoy or if it is a young high 1st or 2nd round draft pick. Someone who could be ready to step in and start right away and build the future around. If this isn't the year to draft and develop a QB, then go with the veteran.
--While I'm at it, I'd have the top inside linebacker in the NFL draft be available for the Bills. Perhaps Manti Teo, Georgia's Alec Ogletree or 'Bama's CJ Mosley. Whoever it is better be fast as lightning and a tackling machine. Is it too much to dream that the Bills could land Vick or Flynn and have Teo fall to them?
--A resolution between the NHL players and the owners and an end to the NHL lockout. I don't miss the NHL as much as many fans in the NHL cities, but for their sake and the good of the sport, I hope the players and owners come to an agreement, and play at least a shortened season and playoffs.
--An all-star caliber defense-first stay at home defenseman for the Rochester Amerks. Even though the NHL is locked out, I hope the Sabres keep an eye out for any players in Europe who want to come back to play in the states or pursue a possible trade with another AHL team to shore up the defensive liabilities with this Amerks team.
--That Tim Tebow is aquired by the Jacksonville Jaguars, like Chris Mortenson of ESPN says is a "virtual certainty". Then, I hope the Jags immediately name him their starting quarterback for 2013, and not hand him some backup role like he had this year with the Jets. The Jaguars would then immediately become my new favorite team again (as they were from 1997 to 2001).
--A power hitting free agent 1st baseman or outfielder that the Twins would sign and send down to the Red Wings for most or all of the year. Perhaps a guy like Nick Johnson or Don Kelly. Austin Kearns, Lyle Overbay and Luke Scott are all still available and might be willing to play in triple A if they can't hook on with a big league club who would find a spot for them.
--A 2nd national championship for the Syracuse Orange. There are no dominant teams in NCAA basketball this year like there usually is, so it's wide open. The Orange could be as good as anyone in the country and is always a tough out with that 2-3 zone. If they are playing at the top of their game and healthy come tournament time, they'd stand as good of a chance as anyone.
--Derrick Rose return to the starting lineup of my favorite team, the Chicago Bulls. I'd then love the Bulls to once again get the #1 seed in the Eastern conference, like they had last year when Rose got hurt. This year, in that scenario, things could be different and they could actually defeat the Heat on their way to a 7th championship, but first since the Jordan era.
--That Alex Rodriguez comes back from his hip surgery sometime after the all-star break and starts hitting like he hasn't hit in years. Say what you want about A-Rod, I'd still rather see him atop baseball's all time home run list instead of Barry Bonds.
--To win one of my fantasy baseball leagues. I am in two fantasy baseball leagues, one AL and one NL league. I have not won my NL league since 2004, and haven't won my AL league since 2009, and finished in the cellar last season. It's about time I win at least one of them again.
--To win one of my fantasy football leagues. I am in two league and a co-owner in a third. I have not won either of my fantasy football leagues since 2004 and 2001 respectively. Not only that but I have been around the .500 mark in each league over the last five seasons combined. In the league I am a co-owner in, we have lost the Championship game three of the last four years. We are the Buffalo Bills of fantasy football. It's about time I had a juggernaut that wins a title again. I'm so due, I'm like a pregnant woman in the 10th month.
--Finally, I hope that this sports blog blows up with tons of new readers. Keep on coming back, a couple of times a day. Even if you have already read it, and tell all your friends to do the same thing ok? Bookmark my page, and click on it liberally.
I hope you all got everything you wanted for Christmas. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL!!!!
to make a holiday donation to help fund clinical reseach trials for my blinding eye disease, please go to www.curechm.org
"Yeah we give the red jerseys to the guys we never planned on playing around here kid"
Tim Tebow is upset. He is mad at the Jets coaching staff and Rex Ryan for passing him over in favor of starting 3rd string quarterback Greg McElroy for the rest of the season. I can't say that I blame him.
It is a travesty what Ryan and the Jets did to Tebow this year. It is bordering on a conspiracy theory. It's like they signed him for one specific purpose--to put an end to "tebow-mania" once and for all. It's as if last season, the Jets got beat by Tebow on Monday night, leading to his magical run, and soon after, the evil genius Rex Ryan went down in his dungeon, rubbed his hands together, and said, "I will find a way to put an end to this Tebow-mania if it is the last thing I do! Someday, when I am done with him, he will never do this to me....or anyone else ever again...bwahahahaha".
With that evil and sinister laugh, Ryan set his evil plan in motion. He would find a way to ruin Tim Tebow's career, and end the Tebow-worship of fans everywhere. When the Broncos signed Peyton Manning and kicked Tebow to the curb, Ryan saw his chance, and pounced, convincing Jets ownership that he needed Tebow. That he could do so many things to help the club. That he will find ways to get Tebow on the field.
He was true to his word. Ryan put Tebow on the punt unit. He put him out there on offense as a decoy dozens of times. He even allowed Tebow to touch the ball 40 times all seaeson, or about 2 and a half times a game. Wow! Tebow passed the ball 6 of 8 times for 39 yards. and rushed 32 times for only a 3.2 yard average. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry in Denver over his first two years, so why was his average down? Because every player on the defense knew when Tebow was in the game, he was going to run the ball because of how infrequently he was out there.
Ryan destroyed Tebow this year with how he has used him no doubt. He obviously never planned on using him. Numerous times this season, Mark Sanchez looked awful, and the offense looked stagnant. Ryan had the chance to go to Tebow. It would have been completely logical, and pleased thousands of Jets fans at the time...yet he never once did it. When he finally decided to pull the plug on Sanchez, he chose McElroy over Tebow. That leads me to conspiracy theory #2: That Rex Ryan never wanted Tebow, Jets owner Woody Johnson did.
Lets say that the Wood-man made the phone calls, and demanded that his GM and coach get on board with it, because he wanted Tebow. Johnson set the trade in motion, and brought Tebow to the big apple. Johnson is a Jerry Jones east coast wannabe who loves when his team is in the limelight. Perhaps he saw the writing on the wall that his Jets were going to be also rans this year, and loved the idea of getting fans on board behind a guy like Tebow. At the very least, it would give the Jets plenty of time on Sportscenter and many quotes from press conferences in newspapers around the country.
In this scenario, Rex Ryan secretly resented his boss the whole time, saying to his intimate fellow coaches, "we may have this guy in a Jets uniform, but we don't need to actually play him!". So, to stick it to Johnson, and give him a message to stay out of his business, he kept Tebow on the bench at every chance he got.
Either way, it wasn't fair to Tebow, and it isn't fair to hundreds of thousands of Tebow fans who want to see him play and succeed. If anybody who has ever played the NFL game deserved that chance this year, it was Tim Tebow.
I will never understand the aristocracy that is the group of NFL head coaches. All Tebow does is win football games. All he has EVER done is win football games. He has been a monumental success in high school, in college and in the NFL. He led a team that was hopelessly dead in the water with Kyle Orton behind center, and led them to the playoffs, with a half dozen stunning 4th quarter comebacks along the way. Yet now, many people, even my father in law, say (about Peyton Manning), "now we have a quarterback who can bring us back and win games we were behind". How quickly they all forget.
Tebow has bad mechanics, bad footwork, a slow release, can't read a defense and so on and so on, yet put him in there and your team will have more points on the scoreboard at the end of the game than the other team in most cases. I've said it before and I'll say it again...no quarterback who ever played has the intangibles that Tebow brings to the table. All he needs is just ONE team....ONE coach who believes in him and is willing to turn over the keys to Tebow.
Someone has to be out there. Jacksonville? Arizona? You can't tell me that Tebow doesn't give you a better chance to win that Blaine Gabbert or John Skelton or Kevin Kolb! Obviously, this season is hopeless, but if Tebow can escape from New York, and find one team that will give him a starting shot, I promise you, Tebow-mania will ride again, and he will beat Rex Ryan the next time he plays against him too!
donate to clinical research trials for my blinding eye disease at www.curechm.org
I can't stand it anymore! Like many Bills fans over the past decade, my cup of frustration hath finally runneth over. I warn you optimistic Bills fans--you might not want to read any further because this is NOT going to make you feel any better.
I have tried to be patient. I have tried to be realistic. I have tried to give everyone from the players to the coaching staff to the front office the benefit of doubt. I have tried....
Where do I start this rant of epic proportions? Gosh there are so many places to point the finger at after another thrashing, this one a 50-17 loss to the suddenly powerful Seattle Seahawks. I know the Seahawks are becoming a very good team, but the Bills made them look like the Green Bay Packers of the mid 60's. It's one too many blowout losses. I can't take it anymore! I'm over the edge...finally.
Is it too much to ask to not let games TOTALLY get away from you? The Bills have now allowed 45 or more points FOUR times this season! In those four games, the Bills have been outscored 195 to 76. That's beyond embarassing. That's pathetic.
Is it too much to ask that you consistently get the ball in your best players hands at least 20 times a game? C.j. Spiller had run for 944 yards on the year and is averaging a Gale Sayers-like 6.6 yards per carry, and has caught 34 passes for another 354 yards, or 10.2 yards per catch coming into the game. Yet he is averaging only 13.6 touches per game. What a waste of talent!
Is it too much to ask for a quarterback to make more things happen for his own team than he does for the opponent? Ryan Fitzpatrick has 22 TD passes, which is average but 15 interceptions, and most of those coming in those blowout losses. There is no quarterback in the league who is less able to make things happen for his team when his team is behind.
Is it too much to ask to get what you pay for? These Bills finally open their wallet this off-season and got an underachieving Mario Williams who has played hurt all too often. They paid a boatload of money for Mark Anderson who also has been hurt much of the season and has tallied a grand total of 12 tackles and 1 sack. Their 1st round draft pick Stephon Gilmore only has one interception, but does lead the team in passes defended with 16. They inexplicably re-signed Chris Kelsay a year or two ago, and he has 14 tackles and 2 whole sacks. Their #3 overall pick two years ago, Marcel Dareus has 34 tackles, 3 and a half sacks and is starting to hear the B word whispered about (bust).
While I'm at it, is it too much to ask for to really hit the mark on a draft pick once in a while? Oh, and the ones you do hit on, to not trade them away? Mike Williams, #5 overall pick--BUST. Marcel Dareus, #3 overall pick--DISAPPOINTING SO FAR. Torrell Troup--DEPRESSING when you could have had Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez. Willis McGahee--TRADED. Marshawn Lynch--TRADED. JP Losman--BUST. And so on...you get the picture.
Is it too much to ask for for the Bills to finally pay good money for a top notch coach? The Bills haven't spent for a top of the line coach in just over 30 years, since the days of Chuck Knox. Even Hall of famer Marv Levy was hired on the cheap at the time. Since Knox, Bills fans have had to deal with unproven guys like Gregg Williams, Mike Mularkey and Kay Stephenson, as well as retreads like Gailey, Wade Phillips, Dick Jauron and Levy. Wouldn't it be amazing if the Bills could somehow lure Bill Cowher or John Gruden away from their cherry TV gigs with a Brinks truck full of cash?
Is it too much to ask for to draft a top prospect quarterback to build your team around more than every 30 years? It's been 30 years next April that the Bills drafted Jim Kelly out of Miami. That worked out pretty well. Since then, the Bills traded a first round pick (that ended up being Fred Taylor) for Rob Johnson, who was the bane of the franchise for almost a decade. They attempted to make Todd Collins a franchise quarterback, and traded up to pick JP Losman. Maybe with that track record, they are gunshy, but sooner or later, the Bills have to roll the dice again.
Coach Chan Gailey went 4-12 in his first season. Fans gave him a pass. He went 6-10 last year. Fans said "improvement" and gave him a pass. This year, the Bills have 5 wins again with two left, and need to win both to show improvement. I'd be shocked if it happens at this point. Now at least, you look at the talent on the roster and you think "this should be AT LEAST a .500 team". Gailey's first year, 4 and 12 was about right. Not anymore.
I can't give Gailey and his staff a pass anymore. If for the simple reason that they chose to hitch their wagon to Ryan Fitzpatrick as their franchise quarterback with a huge salary befitting a starting quarterback last year. Not exactly shrewd evaluators of talent are they? Even a semi-novice football fan like myself could tell that was a moronic move. Now Buddy Nix and Gailey are paying the price, and will probably pay for it with their jobs in a couple of weeks.
As a fan, I never thought I would be saying this, but I am starting to long for the 7-9 glory days of Dick Jauron. I'm actually starting to gain big time respect for Mike Mularkey. I am honestly starting to wish that maybe, just maybe, the Bills would have given JP Losman a little longer look.
I'm starting to wonder if this never ending nightmare will ever end?
OK, I know I am actually two days late for the headline for this column, but it's not my fault. I wrote it already, on the 12th. After finishing, I clicked on the "update section" button, but then realized that there was a typo in the headline. I clicked edit and it loaded A BLANK PAGE! Yes all my work was gone. Technical difficulties and my schedule precluded me from writing it again until now, so please forgive me.
The bottom line for an article about #12's on 12/12/12 is that it occured to me that this date will not come around again for another hundred years, and as the great philosopher Prince once said, "and that's a mighty long time". In fact, it will be another NINETY years until we even can get to 1/1/01 again, so I will be long dead and gone by then.
So, I didn't want to miss this opportunity, a one in a hundred years chance, so here is my list of my top twelve players who have ever worn the #12 in aports:
12. Michael Jordan. I know you are thinking, "What? Jordan wore 23, or 45. What are you talking about??". Well, actually Jordan wore #12 for one game. On Valentine's day night 1990 in Orlando, somehow Jordan's jersey was stolen prior to the game. The equipment manager tossed Jordan a #12, and MJ went out and dropped 49 on the Magic in 47 minutes, but his Bulls lost 135-129. If the best athlete to ever play professional sports wore #12, even for just one game, he is going on my list.
11. Dwight Howard. The premier center in the game today, "Superman" is the biggest force in the paint today. He is a double-double machine, and even though he can't shoot free throws, he deserves to be on my list.
10. Wade Boggs. The five time batting champion was the best hitter in baseball for much of his career, along with Tony Gwynn in the National League. Boggs hit over .330 a whopping NINE times in his career and over .350 five times. Finished with 3010 hits in his career and won a World Series with the Yankees.
9. Roberto Alomar. Sticking with baseball, it's hard to put Alomar ahead of Boggs, but for a shorter time, mainly just the 90's, Alomar could do more things better than Boggs. Career .300 hitter with over 450 stolen bases and was a great fielding 2nd baseman.
8. Joe Namath. You can argue with Namath's stats, but you can't argue with what he did for the NFL. Namath's bold prediction that his huge underdog Jets would beat the Colts, and then did, pushed the NFL to new levels. His fur wearing, pantyhose pitching, nightlife loving persona gave the NFL a true matinee idol when it really needed one.
7. Ivan Cournoyer. One of the key players on the Montreal Canadiens juggernaut of the 60's and 70's, he scored 428 goals and nearly a thousand points. He was elected to the hall of fame in 1982.
6. Jim Kelly. Perhaps this is a hometown bias, putting Machine Gun Kelly this high, but he was the unquestioned leader of the Bills dynasty that went to four straight Super Bowls in the early 90's, and was eventually elected to the hall of fame.
5. Roger Staubach. Roger the Dodger was one of the best big game QB's of all time, leading the Cowboys on numerous 4th quarter comebacks and breaking my young heart many times as I always rooted against the Cowboys when growing up. Won two Super Bowls, played in many others and became a hall of famer.
4. Aaron Rodgers. I'm putting Rodgers this high based on potential. He is one of the top 3 elite quarterbacks right now and has won a Super Bowl. Based on his current age, and the fact that the Packers should be good as long as he plays for them, he could win a few more before he is done.
3. Terry Bradshaw. I never thought of him as an elite QB when he played but you can't argue with his four Super Bowl rings. Even better of a big game quarterback than Staubach, his Steelers usually beat the Cowboys when they played.
2. John Stockton. With apologies to Bob Cousy, Isiah Thomas, Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson, Stockton is the best pure point guard of all time. An underrated scorer and defensive player, no one ever ran the "pick and roll" better than Stockton.
1. Tom Brady. What can you say about Brady, other than perhaps the best quarterback the game has ever seen. He is like a surgeon, carving up defenses to lead his teams to one of the highest winning percentages of any quarterback who has ever played. Won three Super Bowls and has a chance to win another one or two. Does everything Joe Mantana could do, and does most of them better.
Well, thats my list. Feel free to comment below in the comment box and tell me how yours would differ. Did I leave anyone off?
A story on Yahoo sports last Friday handicapped the possible places Michael Vick would end up next season. The story assumed that Vick has played his last down in Philly, and would be moving on next year. Guess who the author named as the most likely place for Vick to end up....? Would you believe, Buffalo?
Yes, Jason Cole believes that Buffalo would be the most obvious and logical place for Michael Vick to play next season. Cole quotes a "source close to the quarterback" saying that despite the Bills denials in 2009, that the Bills were actually a pursuer of Vick then.
He says the Bills are built to win "as soon as possible", that they have a solid offensive line, and that head coach Chan Gailey has experience working with mobile quarterbacks, being the offensive coordinator for the Kordell Stewart-led Steeler team that won the AFC North division a decade or so ago.
Cole makes some very good points. I would like to add a few more. With the Bills personnel, specifically running back CJ Spiller, the Bills would have a ton of speed in that offensive backfield for Gailey to play with. With draft choice TJ Graham entering his 2nd year, which is when most dominant receivers come into their own, the Bills would have the fastest QB/RB/WR combination in the NFL.
I like the idea quite frankly. Vick still has a few years left, and is still the most dynamic player in the NFL. What is the old adage...."speed kills"? Well, the Bills would have speed in droves offensively, and that is an exciting proposal.
There aren't any real blue chip, can't miss, first round quarterbacks in next April's NFL draft. If the Bills were to add Michael Vick, it would free up a draft pick that they would have used on a quarterback, and instead allow them to draft the top wide receiver in the draft or 2nd best depending on where the Bills end up in the standings. They could also use that pick on the best available run stuffing interior linebacker that they currently lack.
I know a lot of people are down on Vick right now, but that could actually help Buffalo. They might not have to give up more than a 2nd or 3rd round pick for Vick, and the expectations bar would be lower. Expectations weren't too high for Vick in Philadelphia when he got the starting job, and for a half season at least, he was one of the best players in football.
The other thing to remember is that for the last two years, Vick played behind possibly the worst offensive line in football. He had no time to throw, and often was running for his life before he could even set up to pass. Give him protection and a short passing scheme like Chan Gailey currently has in place, and the result could be dynamite.
I know it would not be popular with many people in western New York, especially with animal lovers. Vick still has that stigma from his dog-fighting arrest. There would no doubt be protests and picketing at the stadium, and there is no doubt Vick would not be making many promotional appearances around the area. Many fans would still revile Vick and many would probably root against the Bills. If I were the Bills brain trust, I would tell those people, "sorry folks but this is about winning football games".
If the Vick idea doesn't fly, then I have another one for you: Trade for Matt Flynn.
Seattle gave Flynn a guaranteed $10 million dollars in a three year, $26 million dollar deal last offseason. Then they decided to make rookie 2nd round draft pick Russell Wilson their starter after training camp. Flynn was highly sought after after last season and would provide a huge upgrade over Ryan Fitzpatrick, even though he is more unproven than Fitzy.
Fitzpatrick is proven. You know what you are gonna get. I'd rather take my chances on an uproven Flynn or a high risk Vick, than stand pat with Fitz or risk missing on a highly drafted quarterback. Get one of these two guys and put off drafting q future franchise quarterback until there is one worth drafting a few years from now.
Buddy.....are you listening? Any questions...you have my cell.
To donate to clinical research trials for my blinding eye disease, please go to www.curechm.org
Kasandra Perkins--the REAL tragedy.
I have a problem with the general mindset about this whole Jovan Belcher murder-suicide story. It seems to me that too many people are almost honoring Jovan Belcher. Mainly it's the players on the Chiefs as well as the coaching staff and GM Scott Pioli, who watched Belcher end his own life with a gunshot to the head right in front of him. It is also some of the mainstream sports media as well.
The players all are talking about how sad it was that their troubled teammate died. That they all wished they could have done something. The sports media talking heads talk about what a sad story it is to have an athlete who rose the top of his profession after being undrafted. He went to the University of Maine, which wasn't exactly a football hotbed, and still somehow rose to the pinnacle as a starting linebacker in the NFL. Everyone says it is such a terrible tragedy for the Chiefs organization, to lose a player like Belcher. I say the biggest tragedy is the way this story has been covered.
My bottom line is that Jovan Belcher is a stone cold MURDERER! He got drunk, spent a couple of hours at another woman's apartment in the middle of the night, then went home to his girlfriend that he had a child with, argued with her, and then shot her to death in the head.
I don't care that the couple had arguments and issues recently. I don't care that the team reached out to Belcher to try to help him deal with his situation with his girlfriend. I don't care that Belcher was a hard worker who rose to fame against all odds. I don't care that he is an NFL player. All that I care about is that Belcher took the life of a beautiful young 22 year old woman, and left a three month old child without a mother's love for the rest of its life.
There should be no hero worship. There should be no mourning of a beloved linebacker of a professional football team. There should be no displays of Belcher's uniform in the locker room before the game. There should be no "win one for the Belcher" speeches. There should be no feature stories from the networks about the player that was Belcher. Why should anyone give the man respect or fame now, after he did what he did. The fact that many of these things have happened sickens me to be honest.
The fact that Jovan Belcher shot himself in the head at the Chiefs facility in front of his head coach and GM is not a tragedy by any means. If anything, it saved the taxpayers a lot of money in a trial. Belcher should not be thought of in any way as a good guy who did a bad thing. Belcher took a life, which makes him a very bad guy in my book.
The tragedy is that Kasandra Perkins will never get to live her life. She will never experience the joy of getting married. She will never get to experience watching her children graduate. She will never be able to retire or enjoy growing old with a loving family around her. She will never get to laugh again. Her child will never be held by her mother again, or even know who her mother was. That is the only tragedy here, plain and simple.
Now they want to say this whole tragedy is all about guns, that a gun is to blame. That's ridiculous. A boat overturns and people drown--do you blame the water? If Belcher was so irate that he killed his girlfriend, having a gun didn't help him. I'm sure in that situation, he would be just as capable of using his hands or bashing Perkins' head in with whatever he could grab. Maybe it would make killing himself in front of his coach and GM harder if he didn't have a gun, but who cares if he survived after that? The biggest damage had already been done.
The second amendment of the Constitution says all Americans have the right to keep and bear arms. That means every American, including the crazy ones who happen to play football. When it comes to unalienable rights, you can't discriminate. I believe in the Consitution and the Bill of Rights. It has made this the best damn country in the world, and I am not about to say we need to overturn that amendment. That's yet another dream of Obama that I hope he never realizes.
The story of the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide is a tragedy--at least the murder part, and we need to learn from it. Too bad Kasandra Perkins learned too late.