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.
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.
Former Giants quarterback and current NFL analyst Phil Simms made headlines a couple of weeks ago when he said, in his opinion, Eli Manning was not one of the "elite" quarterbacks in the NFL.
That comment made for a firestorm among fans and other analysts, who mainly said he was crazy as a loon. Giants fans called Simms jealous, as most Giants fans would now say Eli, and not Simms, is the best QB in the history of the franchise. They said he was jealous because Eli is going to pass most of Simms marks in the Giants record book. Other noted analysts said "how can Eli NOT be among the elite quarterbacks in the game today after winning two Super Bowls in the last four years?
Well, I got your back Phil! I agree with him. I'll tell you why soon, but the important thing to remember is....it's all just our opinions.
According to dictionary.com, the word "elite" means, 1. "The choice or best of anything considered collectively, as a group of class or persons". 2 "Persons of the highest class". 3. "A group of persons exercising the major share of authority or influence within a larger group". So, based on those definitions and my knowledge of football, I will give you MY "elite" quarterbacks in the game today, and the other catagories of ranking.
Top tier: ELITE QUARTERBACKS.
Tom Brady. An obvious choice. The class of the current crop. 30-10 record as a starting QB in the postseason. 324 career TD passes and only 118 career interceptions. Three Super Bowl wins.
Peyton Manning. Holds most records in the record book or will most likely by the time he's done. Made an amazing comeback from neck surgery and is still at the top of his game. Won one Super Bowl, and the only knock on him is he should have won more with all the good Colts teams he was on.
Drew Brees. Has led the NFL in passing yards 3 times since 2005 and is leading this year. Broke Dan Marino's record for passing yards in a season. Great completion percentage of 65.6 for his career. Won one Super Bowl.
Aaron Rodgers. Took over for a legend in Brett Favre, and is on pace to be thought of as a better quarterback than that legend...a rare feat indeed. Much like Brees and the others, he is unbelievably efficient. High completion percentage (65.5) and TD/int ratio. Won one Super Bowl.
Ben Roethlisberger. The last QB on my "elite" list. Big Ben is slightly below the others stats wise in every catagory, but makes up for it with guts and guile. Takes more hits than the other elite QB's and usually gets back up for more. 10-4 playoff record. Won two Super Bowls.
Tier two--veteran QB's who are very competant but not quite elite:
Eli Manning. Woefully inconsistent for an upper echelon QB. 200 career TD's but 140 INTs. Completion percentage only 58.6 for his career, but barely over 60% the last five years. Will scorch his opponent for 400 yards and 4 TD's one week and then throw for 160 with a TD and 4 picks the next week. Won two Super bowls and had a 4-0 record in both postseasons, but lost his first playoff game in three other years. I put him in the same catagory as Terry Bradshaw, who won Super Bowls but was never quite among the elite QB's of his era.
Philip Rivers. Has good numbers. Passes for a ton of yards and has a good completion percentage, yet throws too many interceptions. Lack of leadership, as it seems his teams often win far less than it seems they should.
Tony Romo. Also too inconstent to be elite. Exciting QB who takes too many chances throwing into coverage and making bad reads. When he is on, he is among the best though, but that is not often enough. Will never win a Super Bowl.
Matt Schaub. Very competant QB who will never be an elite QB. Very solid numbers, but not spectacular. Hasn't been in enough big games to know if he is a good big game quarterback. A bit injury prone.
Jay Cutler. Great arm, pretty good numbers. Very valuable to his teams, as their record without him indicates. Good leader. Still, something's missing. Doesn't endear himself to teammates, or anyone else for that matter. Too injury prone and brittle.
Michael Vick. Barely makes this catagory for me, and that is only because of his explosiveness and the fact that he brings something to the table most of these other QB's dont. Makes things happen on a football field. Running ability is second to none in NFL history as a QB.
Tier three: Young quarterbacks who could someday be "elite".
Matt Ryan. Has the arm, the tools and the head. Hasn't done anything in the playoffs though yet.
Matthew Stafford. All the tools in the world. Cannon for an arm. Great numbers so far. Looks like a young Brees, but the jury's still out.
Andrew Luck. The number one pick in last years draft is showing why. He is special, and has shown to be a great leader already. Leading his team to the playoffs after a one win season last year would be unprecedented.
Robert Griffin III. Looks like he could be the whole package. A Michael Vick who can actually pass the ball exceptionally, lead, and read defenses. Only thing I worry about is his longevity, due to his playing style.
Cam Newton. Similar to RG3, he is fast and can run, but he is more of a beast physically. Taller, stronger etc. Passing wise though, he is still a work in progress. Lot of upside and could be great, or he could turn into another Daunte Culpepper.
Andy Dalton. Looks to be the real deal. Similar to Matt Ryan to me. Has all the tools and great size and arm stregth. Way too early to tell for sure though.
Ryan Tannehill. Too early to say, but has upside and could end up being elite eventually. Hard to tell with that receiving corps.
Russell Wilson. The next Fran Tarkenton or tier five? Could go either way at this point.
Colin Kaepernick. No way to tell after four games how he will be eventually, but has shown some nice abilities.
Tier four: Starting NFL QB's no one will remember in twenty years.
Carson Palmer. Was on his way to being elite after two years in the league, then regressed and has never come back. Disappointing career for a former #1 pick.
Josh Freeman. Some may argue he could still be elite, but I just don't see enough pocket presence or defensive recognition in him to get much better.
Joe Flacco. At least HE thinks he is elite. He is the only one, and I am pretty sure it will stay that way.
Sam Bradford. I know many people will say it is too early to leave this former #1 overall pick in the tier four catagory, but I would have liked to see a "special" quality in him by now. I haven't.
Christian Ponder. Same for Ponder. It's early, but he hasn't shown me a dominant, "special" trait yet and I doubt he will.
Tier five: Guys who should be wearing a ball cap and holding a clipboard.
Mark Sanchez. Yet another former USC high draft pick who has never lived up to expectations.
Ryan Fitzpatrick. Comparing him to the other QB's in the league is like saying he brought a squirt gun to a gunfight. Has an NFL backups arm. Lucky he found a team he could start for for 3+ years and would pay him a boatload of money. He should be a less than a million dollar a year backup.
Matt Cassel. Had his opportunity in KC for the last few years, and hasn't done anything with it. Headed for a backup job somewhere soon.
Blaine Gabbert. Former first round pick has played like a sixth rounder. Has the size and arm but hasn't shown an inkling of being even a competant NFL quarterback yet.
Alex Smith. Oh right, he is already wearing a baseball cap and holding a clipboard.
Then there is the one guy I can't put in any catagory because the NFL refuses to give him a chance to prove that last year wasn't a fluke, and that is Tim Tebow.
There were a couple of new incidents in the news yesterday that makes you wonder, "What goes through some sports fans minds"???
What is it about being a fan of a team that makes normally well-adjusted individuals do things that make even wild animals shake their heads in disgust?
Today, we learned about the sentencing in an incident that I admit, I didn't even hear about when it first happened. Allow me to try to explain.
After last years national championship game between LSU and Alabama, bars were crowded in the French Quarter. Fans were out celebrating 'Bama's big win over the Tigers. In one of those Bourben Street restaurant/bars, apparently one LSU fan watching the game on TV, drowned his sorrows over losing a little bit too much. The soused fan apparently passed out and was lying somewhere in the establishment, either on the floor or in a booth or somewhere. Now here is where it gets bad....
Allegedly, an Alabama fan saw this poor soul lying wasted and passed out and couldn't resist the urge to be what he thought was funny, and took out his genitals and simulated a sex act with the drunk dude while another 'Bama fan filmed it with his camera phone or camcorder. The clip went viral on YouTube, and the 'Bama fan, Brian Downing, was arrested and charged with being a world class A-hole. Actually it was "performing an obscene sex act", and also "sexual battery".
Downing was sentenced yesterday, accepting a plea bargain that was agreed to by the unsuspecting victim. His attorneys were able to get the sexual battery charge dropped, and Downing pled guilty to two counts of obscenity. He was sentenced to two years in prison, but attorneys said he will probably only serve nine months.
All of this because of a momentary indicretion where Downing lost his mind. Why? Perhaps he was drunk as well. I would bet on it. Perhaps it was because he was so thrilled by Alabama's win, and felt like humiliating a losing fan would somehow make the victory even sweeter. Whatever it was, there is no excuse for that behavior.
Also today, tweets by New Orleans Saints players Chase Daniel and Jimmy Graham pointed out that workers on the tarmac at the Atlanta airport threw eggs at the Saints team bus that was picking them up after their chartered plane landed. Of course, this was probably precipitated by the actions of a few weeks ago, when a Saints player pretended to urinate on the Falcons logo sometime during the Saints win, which knocked the Falcons from the ranks of the unbeaten.
Still, the classless gesture was another example of sports fans taking their actions to an extreme. I sure hope that whomever it was that had to clean the eggs off the bus' exterior was also a Falcons fan and appreciated the good humor of the act.
Why does our love for sports cause fans like these to act in such abysmal ways? What is it about our love of sport, that causes people to act like pure neanderthals, with no empathy or caring for other individuals? When it comes to Downing, his actions came against a fellow fan who had no idea what he was doing, couldn't do anything to stop it, or could not even verbally protest it. In the airport workers case, would they have thrown eggs if the players were standing twenty feet in front of them and not sequestered in a bus? I doubt it.
Sometimes, fans actions have fatal consequences. Just a few weeks ago, 26 year old David Gerken of Rochester was kicked out of the Bills game against the Dolphins at halftime for "disorderly conduct". You can only speculate, but it probably had something to do with the team uniform he was wearing and a confrontation with other fans.
I've been a Bills season ticket holder in the past. I have personally seen how ridiculous fans act in the stands. I have personally seen a fan cheering for the Bills opposition get into it verbally with Bills fans the whole first half, until he finally ripped out his junk and told everyone to "_____ it", before he was finally thrown out. That same guy is probably a salesman, or an emergency room technician or an elementary school teacher 24 hours later. It just doesn't make sense, the "jeckyl and hyde" nature of sports fans.
How can I forget the story of Brian Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan who was savagely beaten nearly to death in a Dodger stadium parking lot after a game between his Giants and the rival Dodgers. Why? Just because he was wearing a Giants uniform instead of a Dodgers uni? Stow is learning how to walk again now, while his attackers are doing jail time. Is it all really worth it?
Then there is the tragic case of Andres Escobar, the Columbian soccer player who accidentally scored an "own goal" on his net, giving the US a 1994 FIFA World Cup win over Columbia. Allegedly the loss led to huge gambling losses by many Columbian drug lords, who took their anger out on Escobar by shooting his to death for his sporting blunder. They took a mans life away from his family, and took a father away from his children. All because of an accident on a futbol pitch. Is there any justification?
Think of all the people who have died over the decades in stampedes and riots following soccer hooligans actions at big soccer games, usually in Europe. Most of these fans went to enjoy seeing a GAME in person, never knowing it would be their last day on earth. Another example of sporting events causing mayhem and death.
I know I am bringing up many questions, but sadly, I don't have any answers. I guess it is just the way it is. Sports brings out the best in people many times. The competition, the joy of overcoming adversity to snatch victory is a great thrill in life. Unfortunately, it is obvious that sports also can bring out the worst in people.
All I can say is, the next time you are proudly wearing the colors of your team, and something or someone provokes you, think before you act. Respond, don't react. Empathize and remember that your adversary is a person too, and that actions have consequences. Just because you are in a stadium or cheering for your team in a bar or at a house party, doesn't make you exempt from commiting a crime.
Don't do it! Let calmer heads prevail, so that you can cheer for your team another day.
There are few things wrong with the National Football League. The NFL overtook baseball as america's pastime probably twenty years or so ago, and now is the favorite sport in the US by leaps and bounds. If the NFL has one problem, it could be the amount of devastating injuries and concussions to its players.
Every year it seems to get worse. Each year, the weekly injury reports get longer and longer, and with more serious, long term injuries. It used to be that most skill position starters could play all 16 games a season. Now, it seems that if a starting quarterback, running back, wide receiver or tight end plays in every game, it is a small miracle.
To its credit, the league is also focusing more on concussions. If a player has even a possibility of a concussion, they are held out, at least for a few plays while they get tested, and some times for a game or three if it is determined to be bad.
The reasons for all these injuries and concussions are numerous, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why. For one, the players are much much bigger now than they were in the 1970s for example. In the 60's and 70's, a defensive lineman average weight was between 230 and 250 pounds. Offensive linemen were maybe 10 or 20 pounds heavier. Now defensive linemen have to be at least 270 in most cases with nose tackles topping out at 350 or so. Linebackers used to be anywhere between 210 and 230 in the 70's. Now they are 250. If you are a running back and you don't weigh 200, you are labeled a "scat back" and relegated to 3rd down situtations. OJ Simpson played at 195-200 pounds. Gale Sayers was 190. Now both would be like Reggie Bush--too small to take the field every down.
Players are not only larger than they used to be, but also faster. Back in the old days, 40 yard dash times were not even thought of. They didn't have stopwatches and timers on everyone in massive prospect combines. Now, if you are a linebacker and you can't run a 4.6 40 yard dash, you won't get a look in a training camp.
Add bigger players to faster players, and like Einstein said, "Force=mass times acceleration. More speed and more size means more force, which means harder collisions when body meets body.
It's actually amazing that there haven't been more tragedies. The names of players paralyzed while playing NFL football rolls off many fans tongues: Darryl Stingley, Mike Utley, Dennis Byrd, Kevin Everett. If you watch NFL football as much as I do, you'd swear there should be more. In fact, I don't think it's even a matter of when the first NFL player dies while playing in a game, but when.
So, what do we do about it? How can we stem the tide of the extreme violence in the NFL and possibly cut down on injuries? Well, I don't know if you will ever be able to get back to how things used to be, but I have a few ideas....
My first idea would not be very popular with many, especially fantasy football players, but instead of each team having one bye week, I would actually add to that and give each TWO bye weeks a season.
Of all the major sports, the NFL is the one that you NEVER hear fans say, "it goes on way too long". Also, the pre-season is utterly useless, and no one, not even the fans, like it. The NFL should finally realize this and cut at least one game and preferably two from the pre-season schedule. Each team plays two pre-season games. Then final cuts are made.
You take the extra week or two and add it to the regular season. Make it an 18 or 19 week regular season. Start it around the 3rd week of August. Training camps could start a week or two earlier as well, say early to mid July. Teams would still play a 16 game season, but each team would get TWO bye weeks, spaced out at least a month apart.
With so many more days of NFL football being played, this extra bye week would help players and teams immesurably. Now that there is a Thursday night game every week, plus Sunday night and Monday night games, teams are being asked to play two games on less than a weeks rest way more often than they should be. An extra bye week would give players who are injured more time to heal, and it would give every player, banged up or not, extra time to rejuvenate their bodies.
Another way to possibly curb injuries would be to widen the field. Make each NFL regulation field ten or twenty yards wider. Make it more like the Canadian Football League, without the crazy rules. The rationale would be: with more space to cover, there would be fewer hard hits and more space to move about freely for the bigger bodies of today's football players. A side byproduct would be more scoring and exciting games for fans, even if fewer would get to see them if seats had to be removed in order to fit the field.
Finally, the only other way of alleviating extreme hard and dirty hits, hits to the head, and helmet to helmet collisions would be prevention due to repeatedly hitting players who commit these ingractions in the wallet. HEFTY fines for first and subsequent offenses on a sliding scale AND suspensions for increasing amounts of time without pay would force these players to think twice about delivering cheap shots. These fines today for $10 or $20 thousand dollars with no suspension is hardly enough of a deterrent for these defensive players making millions.
Try this on for size:
First offense--$100,000 dollar fine and a one game suspension without pay.
Second offense--$250,000 dollar fine and a two game suspension without pay.
Third offense--$500,000 dollar fine and a five game suspension without pay.
Fourth offense--$1 million dollar fine and a year suspension without pay (16 games)
Fifth offense--Lifetime suspension from the NFL
That would just about do it. Injuries would still happen, but they wouldn't be caused by egregious actions of other players as much. Hopefully it would still make the product just as enjoyable and fans would get to see the players they pay their money to see more often. At least I have some ideas. It doesn't seem that the NFL does.
donate to clinical research for my blinding eye disease at www.curechm.org
"Turkey day" was a very appropriate nickname for yesterday, because there were plenty of turkeys to choose from yesterday in the sports world. Of course, when I say "the sports world", I largely mean the NFL, which let's face it, IS the center of the sports world.
Turkey #1: Jim Schwartz
The Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz made a game changing boner when he tossed a challenge flag on Justin Forsett's 81 yard touchdown run in the second half of the Lions eventual overtime loss.
Everyone in america watching that game, or at least those who hadn't had the tryptophan kick in from the turkey yet, could see with their naked eyes that Forsett's knee and right elbow had touched the turf of Ford Field after a 7 yard gain. Everyone saw it, except for the officials on the field, who never blew a whistle and let Forsett scamper the rest of the way to paydirt.
In a moment of anger, Jim Schwartz reached into his pocket and threw his challenge flag onto the field. Oops! BIG mistake! Doing so resulted in a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which nullified the review of the scoring play, which would have resulted in the call being overturned and brought back to the point where Forsett was down. The result? The play had to stand up and the touchdown could not be overturned. The game eventually went into overtime, where the Texans won. Without that touchdown, that doubtfully would have happened.
Schwartz said he knew the rule, but in a moment of anger, couldn't help his reaction. Because of that momentary meltdown, the Lions lost a game they should have won, and cost themselves whatever slim chance they might have had to get back in the playoff hunt.
Turkey #2: The NFL rule book
Schwartz deserves some of the blame, but not all of it. The rule itself is an absolute joke. You can't fault the officials either for upholding the letter of the rule book law. The rule is completely at fault. The ultimate objective of replay is to get calls right that might have been missed on the field. This asinine rule of an inadvertant challenge flag being thrown wiping out that replay is a total joke and needs to be abolished immediately if not sooner.
You have to feel sorry for Lions fans everywhere. They played their hearts out, only to see a win stolen from them by a stupid rule.
Turkey #3: NFL replay officials
I never thought I would be missing the replacement officials, but after some of the calls made by the replay officials, I am starting to. There have been numerous calls recently, including a couple yesterday, that should have obviously overturned by replay, but weren't.
One of them that I can remember was in that same Lions game. In the first half, the Lions punted to the Texans and the ball obviously bounced off a Texan blockers foot. The player even turned to look as if to say, "what was that that just hit my lower leg?" There were a couple others that were obvious calls as well. It's almost comical. The announcers all agree, along with their official in the TV broadcast booth...Mitch Perreira I think is his name, and they all say "Oh, this call is obviously going to be overturned". Yet somehow, the referee comes out from under his little hood and says, "after review, the call on the field is confirmed", and you the fan watching on TV, the announcers and all the fans watching on the jimbotron all exclaim, "What? Oh come on, no way!!!!"
Again I say, the point of replay is getting calls right. If the officials on the field are not going to use it to get them right, then why bother? You know, I seem to remember less controversies BEFORE they had instant replay than the do now with it!
Turkey #4: Rob Ryan and his Dallas Cowboys defense
The Cowboys came into their Thanksgiving game knowing that if they won, and the Giants lose to the Packers this week, that they would be tied for the lead in the NFC East. Washington knew the same thing, yet the Cowboys had the home field advantage and Tony Romo was unbeaten in home Thanksgiving day games. Dallas' defense played like they thought all they had to do was take the field and they would win. They found out it doesn't work that way.
Robert Griffin the third torched the vaunted Dallas pass defense for three first half touchdown passes and four total. They compounded that by allowing rookie 6th rounder Alfred Morris to run through them like they were swiss cheese. Morris had 113 yards and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. He kept the 'Boys off balance all day and controlled drives, despite not having a single run longer than 16 yards.
Sure Tony Romo threw two more picks, but you can't blame him. Not after Romo passed for 441 yards and three TD's in a furious comeback effort that nearly paid off. Without Romo showing up like he did, the Cowboys get blown out at home, instead of losing 38-31
Turkey #5: Rex Ryan
Sexy Rexy has just about reached the bottom of the grave he has dug for himself as head coach of the Jets. He used to be an interesting character, but it has all gotten real old. He has turned a team that was a perennial contender into a bad football team with a horrendous offense. The Jets can't pass the ball, as Mark Sanchez has just about finished proving that he will never be an effective NFL quarterback, and they can't really 'ground and pound' it either.
Sanchez had one of his better statistical games of the year (26-35 for 301 yards, 2 TD's-1 int) , but it was misleading. In the first quarter when the game was still in doubt, Sanchez failed to read the defense properly and threw a bad interception that killed the Jets momentum. Early in the second quarter, Sanchez turned the wrong way on a dive play handoff, then improving, ran into the line of scrimmage and fumbled after running into his own lineman. The ball was scooped up and returned for a touchdown and the onslaught was on.
After the game, Ryan reiterated to everyone who would listen that Mark Sanchez still gives the Jets their best chance to win, and not Tim Tebow. Where have we heard that one before? Oh yeah, just last year after week four when John Fox said the same thing about Kyle Orton when the Broncos were 1-3. After another loss dropped them to 1-4, he decided Tebow gave the Broncos a better chance to win and you know the rest.
Ryan's steadfast refusal to make the same decision shows his stubborness and also puts into question his real reason for signing Tebow in the first place. I mean, if he isn't going to give Tebow a shot now for a team that has been so pitiful and out of sync under Sanchez for much of the season, when is he going to use him? Depriving the fans, media and the entire NFL world of getting a chance to see Tebow even try, is a complete injustice and it should ultimately cost Ryan his job. Fox was on his way to being fired last year, but saved his job BY turning to Tebow. Now he is still coaching in a great NFL city that is headed to the playoffs. Ryan is going to lose his job in a great NFL city by NOT making the same decision this year.
And finally, Turkey #6: The NHL players union.
Just because the lockout is still going on, and it is all their fault.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Turkey day, and only had to deal with the kind of turkey that you eat.
You know what? I am done with this whole "throwback" jersey thing.
It was cute a few years ago. Back when it was fresh and new, and many teams unveiled different versions of their old uniforms. It was usually on special Sunday's--throwback Sunday's, when for one week a season, teams got to pay homage to their past.
They don't have those special Sunday's anymore. I would like to think that is because the people in charge at the NFL offices have some brains and intellect.
Look, I know much of this throwback junk is all about money, revenue, and teams getting saps, ERRR...fans to buy these pieces of crap on their team websites and so on. I realize this, but are fans really that stupid? Do NFL fans really have such lack of taste that they would wear a Halloween costume to a wedding or a funeral? Obviously the folks in charge of teams, the NFL, or whoever makes the decisions to dress their teams each week think so.
The thing is, lately NFL teams don't have to wait for those "special throwback Sundays" anymore. It seems they can just suit up in extreme retro uni's any week they want, and as often as they want.
The latest culprits are the Pittsburgh Steelers, who as far as I know have adopted the 1940 Pittsburgh Pirates uniforms as their new "regular" uni's. The Steelers have scrapped the ol' black and gold at two of their last three home games. Apparently, they think bumble bees are far more frightening than the garb that won a handful of Super Bowl rings.
The Washington Redskins are another of the teams that has donned the retro uni's lately. A few weeks ago, they put on the 1930's maroon and gold uni's, complete with helmets that were faux leather. Are you serious? Do they really think fans are thinking, "Wow, look at those helmets! They look just like they are made of leather!"
Even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got into the action with their throwback pumpkin color uni's that they wore way back in 1976! At least those were seen in my lifetime. Why these teams want to showcase uniforms that were first worn when no one alive remembers them is beyond me.
Other teams that have worn throwback uniforms in games that are so ugly that they should have been burned, include the Philadelphia Eagles, the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, New York Jets and Denver Broncos, who looked more like postal carriers or UPS delivery men than football players.
Why can't teams just be happy with their regular uniforms and their "alternate" uniforms? It's about time the NFL offices send down some kind of mandate to give up on the throwbacks, or at least limit them to something worn since the Nixon presidency.
It will be easier on our eyes, and we won't have to wonder who the heck that team is when we see a highlight clip. It's about time the NFL focused more on it's present and future, and stop looking back to its less than attreactive past!
Donate to clinical research for my blinding eye disease at www.curechm.org
This was the way it was supposed to be all season long. The Buffalo Bills defense, infused by over a hundred million dollars worth of talent, and a number one draft pick was supposed to be one of the leagues best. Bringing in former #1 overall draft pick Mario Williams and sack expert Mark Anderson, and drafting Stephon Gilmore as one of the top ten picks int the most recent NFL draft was supposed to pay immediate dividends.
It's not, and it hasn't. The Bills came into their Thursday night prime time game ranked dead last in the league in points allowed per game at 31.67 and 2nd last in yards allowed. It's been hard to swallow for Bills fans, as well as a front office that finally opened their wallet as wide as it will go for the first time in more than a decade, in a serious attempt to show fans that they were serious about winning again. Still, with all that money spent, and a number one draft pick spent on D, the Bills found themselves right where they were last year--right at the bottom of the league in both points and yards allowed.
Last night, the cure-all came in the form of a Dolphin, as Miami strode into town and acted like those Dolphin teams of the early 90's, who were psyched out about playing in the frozen tundra of Ralph Wilson stadium before the game even started.
The Bills D played like the early 90's Bills D as well. That #94 of Mario Williams sure looked a lot like the ol' #78 of Bruce Smith. The #95 of Kyle Williams looked a lot like the #91 of Jeff Wright too. I swore Cornelius Bennett, Darryl Talley and Nate Odomes were out there as well.
Ryan Tannehill looked a lot like a rookie quarterback, completing only 14 of 28 passes for 141 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions. Reggie Bush, who can make defenders look really silly at times, was totally hemmed in by the Bills defense, who limited him to only 20 yards on 10 carries. Power back Daniel Thomas didn't fare much better with only 33 yards on 12 carries.
Miami could only muster 184 total net yards against this suddenly stout Bills defense. Buffalo also dominated the time of possession battle by over ten minutes. So now the question seems more like a case of "Is the Dolphins offense really that bad or was the Bills defense that much better?"
I think it's a combination of both. Coming into this year, I thought the Dolphins could be one of the NFL's worst teams. I thought that even more after how pathetic they looked on HBO's "Hard Knocks" and in the pre-season. With a rookie qrarterback, an undersized running back who doesn't like running between the tackles, and zero talent at the wideout position, I predicted the Dolphins would join Arizona as the NFL's offensively inept duo.
Miami has surprised me though so far. After beating Cincinnati, St. Louis and the Jets for a three game winning streak to improve to 4-3, the Dolphins were one of the league's surprise teams. Since then though, the fins have lost to the Colts, were hammered by the Titans and now a loss to the Bills to fall to 4-6, even with Buffalo.
I personally think that aside from the three game win streak, the rest of the season is more indicative of their talent level. What that means is that despite Buffalo's 19-14 win, I don't think everyone should be so gosh darned impressed. Sure, a win is a win is a win, and the Bills needed a win more than anything. I'm just saying that before you run to the water cooler to talk smak with your anti-Bills friends, you might want to wait for them to show the same perrformance against another NFL team that actually has an NFL offense.
The Bills offense played like a Bills offense has to play in a Bills win. They weren't overpowering by any means, but played well enough, got enough first downs to control the clock, and didn't make many mistakes. Ryan Fitzpatrick was 17-27, but for only 168 yards, zero touchdowns and most importantly, NO INTERCEPTIONS. The Bills are not going to blow people away. They shouldn't try. The less Fitzpatrick has to pass, and the shorter his throws are, the better for both.
C.J. Spiller had 22 rushes, and caught 3 passes, which equals a much improved 25 touches. Fitzpatrick had to just manage the game and not try to do too much. This game should be the measuring cup for Bills success. Clone it, bottle it, and try to do the same thing every week, and the Bills would be fine. Problem with that is, not every team is as offensively inept as the Dolphins.
So Bills fans, take this for what it's worth....a solid win in front of a prime time audience--just don't go crazy with superlatives, or start getting ready to buy your playoff tickets yet. Now, that being said, I'm not saying it's out of the question either.
Next up, the Bills travel to Indianapolis on ten days rest to take on a Colts team that is due for a letdown. Then Buffalo gets the beatable Jaguars, Rams and Seahawks at home. They then travel to south Florida to take on this same Dolphins team, and then close at home against the Jets, who look like they are ready to throw in the towel for the season already. With that schedule, finishing the season with a seven game win streak would not be completely out of the question in my mind. It would mean a 10-6 record, as well as a heckuva lot of momentum and confidence heading into the playoffs.
That being said, if Andrew Luck goes off for another 400+ yard game and the Colts hammer the Bills, Buffalo rolls right back into the NFL roadkill catagory. It could all come down to that. Mark your calendar for one o' clock on Sunday, the 25th of November. The Bills season is on the line.
There are certain things in sports that are utterly predictable:
--That Derek Jeter will get a clutch hit when the Yankees really need it most. By the same token, that Alex Rodriguez will strike out in the same situation.
--That you can go to pretty much any soccer game in the world and not expect to see more than three combined goals in the game.
--That Phil Jackson coaches the Lakers every few years, and...
--that you can watch or listen to pretty much any football game and always hear the announcers say the phrase "took it to the house".
However, I am beginning to think that the most solid prediction of all in the world of sports is that THE BUFFALO BILLS WILL SOMEHOW FIND A WAY TO LOSE.
I'm not sure what the cause of this is. Is it coaching? Is it ownership and management? Is it the players that get drafted, signed or otherwise put on a Bills jersey? Is there some kind of curse that comes over players once they cross the border into western New York that turns them into nervous, sniveling, shivering, scaredy-cats in clutch situations? Whatever it is, it is real. It is palpable. As any long suffering Bills fan can attest, it is most definitely NOT a fluke, and it has been around for most of the history of the franchise, aside from what obviously was a six year dream from 1988-1994 or so.
Maybe it's just the Patriots. The first meeting, the Bills had a 21-7 lead and were rolling along, only to be outscored 45-7 from that point on in a blowout loss. Then yesterday, the Bills went into Foxboro where they haven't won since Tom Brady started his career there. The Bills hung around, hung around and hung around, and then found themselves 15 yards away from a score and game winning extra point from doing the unthinkable--beating the Patriots in their own domain, ending the streak and even getting back into the heart of the AFC East race.
The Bills were down by six points, and had driven the ball to the New England 15 with about 40 seconds left. Buffalo had no timeouts by this point, but with 40 seconds, it shouldn't matter. Plenty of time to pass or run and get back to the line of scrimmage for at least four plays. For most good teams, fans would like the position they were in. For Bills fans, it was simply a sense of impending doom.
As the Bills strode to the line with a 1st and ten on the Pats 15, I said to my wife, "How do you think they will blow this this time? Will it be an interception?"
She said, "maybe they will complete a pass and get tackled in play at the 1 yard line as time runs out."
Under heavy rush, Ryan Fitzpatrick nearly gets sacked on 1st down, and throws an incomplete pass. Down to 33 seconds left.
At that point, I said, "what about a sack? Fitzy gets sacked before he can get a pass off and the team can't get back to the line quick enough and time runs out?"
My wife replies, "Could be a completion and then the receiver fumbles before he gets into the end zone."
On 2nd down, Fitzpatrick drops back to pass....and fires a laser....right into the breadbasket of Patriots corner Devin McCourty. Game over. Bills lose again 37-31.
I'm not making that up. That was virtually the conversation and timeline word for word that my wife and I had watching the end of that game. The thing that makes if funny to me is that if WE were having that coversation, I know there had to be perhaps THOUSANDS of other couples and groups having the exact same conversation, along with thousands more fans watching the game alone who were thinking the same thing (including some that may have been watching alone AND having the same conversation with themselves, in their padded walled rooms).
Not ONCE was there an inkling that Fitzpatrick would throw a game winning touchdown pass or make an amazing scramble into the end zone in that situation. NOT ONE! If the Bills and Fitzpatrick had somehow pulled off that amazing, improbable, come from behind miracle victory, no one would have been more shocked than I. Well, maybe not. I'm guessing most Bills fans would have been just as shocked. This is the current problem in Buffalo.
This losing mindset, built over a 12 year span of not making the playoffs, is so pervasive, it transcends all things Bills. From the fans, to the coaches and the players, it is tough to change. I'm not sure what the solution is either.
Perhaps a game like this, if somehow the Bills had won, would have been the start of it. Maybe playing a consistent stretch of three or four games that the Bills win would do it. The fans at the Ralph are still as rabid as any fans anywhere, which is a testament to their patience, or stupidity, but the bottom line is, something needs to change.
My personal guess is that things will not change until the Bills develop a young true franchise quarterback to build the future around. The current problem is that the Bills braintrust (and I use that term loosely) THOUGHT they had that in Fitzpatrick. Most regular fans knew better, and because of that decision, this team has spun their wheels for three years and left coach Chan Gailey on unstable job footing. At least Buddy Nix was quoted last week as saying he realized that the team needs a franchise QB. It's about time.
Fans can't possibly take too many more losses like today.
I have to admit I don't feel like writing right now, but I know I need to. My pre-election political commentary blog is dated since the election is now over, so something else needs to be in this space.
Not only do I not feel like writing, but I don't feel like watching TV, reading about sports or doing just about anything else. God forbid, sex is even a serious question mark at this point. I don't feel like doing anything except sleeping. I just wish the nap could last for four years.
I am quite frightened for our country after this election. I was scared to death four years ago at this time and after seeing what happened during those four years--I had reason to be. I can only imagine the devastation this administration can do with another four. Now the people receiving handouts from the government outnumber those of us who work hard for a living. 2012 was the last chance to stem that tide. Sadly for this country, it didn't happen. This country is quickly becoming a country of two sides.....those who contribute to society and have to pay for those who do not, and those who do not contribute to society and rely on those who do.
That is exactly what the Democrats wanted of course. Now, with four more years of the chronically unemployed being added into "the system", and millions more illegal aliens presumably getting voting rights in the next four years, Obama, Nancy Pelosi and company will be an autocracy. Our country will never be the same, and it amazes me that so many people with a modicum of intellect do not see this coming.
Not to mention that China holds much of our debt, we are pulling out of most war zones around the world, and Obama is doing all he can to take away our nuclear capabilities while none of the rest of the world is, scares the bejesus out me personally. It might not be long before China takes over the US economically, and if that doesn't happen, the Muslims will through terrorist infiltration.
Oh well, we might as well just hit "pause" on the next four years. With a Republican controlled House and a Democrat controlled Senate, the right will continue to do everything they can to keep Obama and his policies in check. It is our last line of defense against socialism, and I pray that they continue to do so. So basically, nothing will get done the next two years at least, and hopefully the next four. All the Democrats who exalted in victory last night will be disappointed and blame Republicans and people like me will be praying that the House and Senate doesn't fall into Democratic hands two years from now. Once both do and Obama is still in power, it will be the absolute death knell for the American way of life.
This country is more split than it has been since the civil war, and things don't promise to get any better. At least with Clinton, you had a feeling Republicans could take the country back and get us on track again. I don't have that hope anymore.
You know the old joke...."you've heard about what Obama politics are like--you go into a fast food restaurant, order, and the guy in line behind you pays for it". I guess there are a lot of people in this country who don't mind being that 2nd guy in line.
I'd rather pay for my own thank you.