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Various Sports Mutterings from Sportsfly.com!

Never a Dull Moment

The Super Bowl concluded just seventeen days ago, but it feels like ancient history.

So goes life in the NFL.

With the season officially ended with final Pro Bowl game in Hawaii, the off-season is now in full swing.  Team are getting ready for the scouting combine, which begins on Wednesday with workouts commencing on Saturday.

Big name players plan to show up, though some (such as Michael Crabtree and Matthew Stafford) obviously don’t plan to do much while on the field.

Dont Expect Crabtree to Run the 40 at the Combine

Don't Expect Crabtree to Run the 40 at the Combine

Then there’s free agency.  Players such as Matt Cassell, Karlos Dansby and Shayne Graham have already been franchised.  Others aren’t so lucky.  The Bucs have released Jeff Garcia.  The Jaguars said goodbye to Fred Taylor.  Deuce McCallister is out in New Orleans and the Ravens have cut ties with cornerback Chris McCallister (no relation).

Expect more blood shed in the coming weeks.

Oh, there’s also movement outside of the league, too.  Marshawn Lynch was arrested on gun possession.  Apparently, Plaxico Burress is Lynch’s hero.  Lynch has already been in trouble with the law–last time it was a violation with his car (bumping a cop with his vehicle).  Clearly, some players never learn.  If Lynch gets suspended, he might just spend some time with PacMan Jones.

Then there’s the Vick saga.  It’s been reported that the Atlanta Falcons are actively shopping the rights of still incarcerated former quarterback Michael Vick.  Vick’s status with the league is in limbo, as he’s currently suspended indefinitely.  If he does return to the the league, it will be interesting to see how much protesting a given team will receive from PETA and fans alike.  Then again, if Ray Lewis, Jamal Lewis, and Lawrence Phillips can get second chances, is it really out of the realm for Vick, too?

Regardless, the NFL off-season is starting to kick into high gear.  And it’s quite possible that it will be just as exciting as Super Bowl 43.

February 17, 2009 Posted by | Features & Opinions, NFL | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pro Bowl is Merely a 2009 Campaign for Teams

With the Presidential election over, and the excitement of primaries, caucuses, and delegates far behind us, some people may be in withdrawl.  Whatever will you do without politicians verbally sparring with each other as they fight for the chance to be the next President of the United States?

2008 Campaign

2008 Campaign

There is, however, a solution.  Afterall, nobody really watches the NFL Pro Bowl.  Though it airs in beautiful Hawaii each year (though this year will be the last for the Aloha state), the actual game is boring.  Players obviously play not to get hurt, and the game itself is, truly, more meaningless than the last exhibition game in the pre-season.

With that said, there may be a few reasons to tune in.  Free agency is right around the corner, and many players playing in this game (Albert Haynesworth, TJ Houshmanzadeh, and more) will be free agents.

On ESPN’s NFL Live, Haynesworth was discussing his future.  He said he doesn’t know what the Titans will do, but that he’s open to seeing what other teams show a strong interest in him.  Haynesworth then picked up a Colts helmet, posed with it, and stated that he could see himself in Indianapolis.

Peyton Manning was soon interviewed and stated that the Pro Bowl really is like a campaign.  Players from a given team will court a soon to be free agent–hanging out with them in Hawaii, going out to eat, etc–and then when free agency rolls around, that player has signed with that team.

Look no further than when Terrell Owens wanted out in San Francisco.  In the Pro Bowl that year, he was getting quite friendly with Ray Lewis and Donovan McNabb.  That off-season, he was traded to Baltimore (temporarily) before landing in Philadelphia.

Oddly enough, Houshmanzadeh has already expressed a potential interest in playing in Philly, as well.

One has to wonder, if this kind of politicking does indeed work, is it any wonder why the awful teams never seem to get better?  Surely, it’s not all about camaraderie–money is the number one motivating factor.  But, if there aren’t a lot of Detroit Lions players at the Pro Bowl to openly campaign to a popular soon-to-be free agent, one would have to assume that he would be less likely to sign there.  Bad teams need all the more representatives present to showcase the organization in a good light.  Afterall, it doesn’t take much convincing to sign with the New England Patriots or Pittsburgh Steelers.  If you’re the Kansas City Chiefs, however, one would probably want to hear from a few players on the team about why signing in Kansas City would be such a wise move.

Manning/Delhomme

Manning/Delhomme

And while it is ultimately about money, no player wants to be stuck in NFL Purgatory–also known as Oakland.

February 8, 2009 Posted by | Features & Opinions, NFL | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Straight Cash’s Divisional Playoff Picks

There are some juicy, juicy matchups this weekend. Lots of top defenses showcased, a wild gun show on display in the South, and a good old NFC East hatefest. Let’s get it on.

Do the dance, Ray, do the dance.

Do the dance, Ray, do the dance.

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans, 01/10/09, 4:30pm EST, CBS
Line/Total: TEN -3, o/u 34

The Pick: BAL +3

Everyone’s saying that a rookie QB like Flacco will fold against Tennessee’s punishing front, but New Guy Joe gets to see this type of “D” everyday in practice. The Titans won back in Week 5 (13-10) in a grind it out, defensive battle, but I think the difference this time is the improved play and confidence of Flacco and the growth of Le’Ron McClain as a legitimate back to pair with Willis McGahee. Kerry Collins, LenDale White and Chris Johnson are stabling forces for the Titans, but the loss of Kevin Mawae under center will play a big role at the line. To me, it just seems like the Ravens D is jacked entering the postseason, led by All-world hawk Ed Reed. No doubt, Tennessee is still one of the top 3 defenses in the league, I just don’t think they have enough weapons offensively to put up points. The Ravens will keep it close and may win outright — lots of penalties, trash talking and clock running in this one.

My name is not pronounced Del-Homey

My name is not pronounced Del-Homey

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers, 01/10/09, 8:15pm EST, FOX
Line/Total: CAR -10, o/u 49

The Pick: Over 49

I’m riding the Arizona “over” train until it falls off the tracks. This team cannot cover anyone and Kurt Warner must try to outgun each opponent they face. And why not? with both NFC Pro Bowl WR starters at his disposal in Boldin and Fitzgerald, could you blame him. Carolina has found gold in their backfield tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. And of course, Steve Smith is a game changer. Need some numbers? The two teams combined for 50 in a 27-23 Panthers win in Week 8. The over is 7-2 in Arizona’s and Carolina’s last 9 games. Carolina has given up an average of 25 points in that span, and Arizona 29.5. It’s Jake Delhomme’s 33rd birthday Saturday and his wish of a Carolina win will come to fruition, just not sure it’s by the 10 points Vegas is projecting them by. So take the over, sit back on the Lazy Boy and watch some fireworks in the Bank of America Dome.

Don't do the dance, Donovan, don't do the dance.

Don't do the dance, Donovan, don't do the dance.

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants, 01/11/09, 1:00pm EST FOX
Line/Total: NYG -4, o/u 38

The Pick: NYG -4

The Eagles are playing excellent ball at the right time. The Donovan McNabb Hall of Fame talk has resurfaced. Philly’s defense has been dynamic with Johnson at the helm. I’m still taking the Giants to win and cover. A few reasons why: 1) They’re at home. 2) Eli has more weapons to pass to than Donovan. 3) Brandon “Frankenstein” Jacobs is at full force. 4) The 3-headed monster that is Jacobs-Ward-Bradshaw is more effective than a nicked up Westbrook and Buckhalter. 5) The Meadowlands field will be slick and there’s a 90% chance of snowfall/rain, which bodes well for the Giants ground attack. 6) The Giants have been there, done that, and coach Coughlin has had an extra week to prep the troops. And finally, 7) Those two “MENSA” candidates Andy Reid and McNabb will find a way to implode on the big stage. ‘Nuff said.

Now if I could just "PLAY like a champion" on Sunday.

Now if I could just "PLAY like a champion" on Sunday.

San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers, 01/11/09, 4:45pm EST, CBS
Line/Total: PIT -6, o/u 37.5

The Pick: PIT -6

I still don’t believe in Philip Rivers. While everyone waxes poetic about his natural ability and competitiveness, I still think he’s just a gunslinger who lacks the leadership quality (charisma) to inspire his team. That said, the Steelers will bring the pressure in waves at the Chargers, and Rivers will have to get rid of the ball quicker than he’s used to. Darren Sproles has to be ready to catch short dinks from the backfield ala LaDainian Tomlinson, while Gates must push hard off the line for SD to be effective. Now, what concerns me for Pittsburgh is the offensive side of the ball. Big Ben is holding on to the ball longer than he should be, resulting in multiple sack games, while the deep threat in Santonio Holmes has been nullified throughout the year. Look for the Steelers to give the Chargers a big dose of Fast Willie Parker and Mewelde Moore. The -6 points from Vegas is pretty steep, but the Steelers have gotten all the breaks of late and it’ll be a game-changing turnover (maybe by the wavy-haired Samoan) that’ll put the Steelers over the top. Also, that same competitiveness that Rivers is lauded for will be his undoing as he’ll attempt some unnecessary deep throws into the Pittsburgh’s secondary. The only thing that worries me is Big Ben’s bell being rung to the tune of another concussion.

Went 3-1 in last weekend’s Wild Card matchups. Let’s keep up the good vibes.

2009 record: 5-2.

Straight Cash … Homey!

January 10, 2009 Posted by | General, NFL, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Hopeless in Seattle”…not this year!

OK.  2008 didnt see the Football Huskies tally another National Championship, nor did it showcase the Mariners coming back from 2 games to none to send the Yankees home from the playoffs, or did the Seahawks go undefeated at home en route to another Super Bowl shot….but, what it did provide was a miserable, cellar-dweller, across the board, display of mediocrity from the entire line of Seattle based sports teams.  But!  I have also spent the last 8 years watching a certain President drive our economy into the ground, pick fights with every country but Canada, and pile-drive the morale of American citizens.  And what happened next?  HOPE.  Yes, hope…as in Barack Obama…as in no more Bush….as in better and more opportunity.

The pieces are in place for the city of Seattle to rise up and bring respectability back to a city of higher standards.  Like the Huskies football team, the Seattle Supersonics (remember them), and the Seattle Storm* of the WNBA, we will look at how and why each franchise/college team has a shot at bringing home the gold.

(* means “nobody cares”)

Seattle Mariners:

Let’s not forget that the Mariners were fighting for the AL West title just 2 years ago.  The only true losses from that team are Raul Ibanez and Jose Guillen, but the youth and the addition of Erik Bedard make this team as talented if not more than ’07.  Seattle has the best leadoff man in baseball, has the $$$ to sign Griffey as the DH, an onslaught of talented young catchers and pitchers, highly touted infielders Yuniesky Betancourt and Jose Lopez, a charismatic young GM and a new Manager that brings winning experience by way of Oakland and Anaheim (I refuse to play the “Los Angeles of “game).  Prediction: 84-78 record, Jeff Clement, Brandon Morrow and Felix Hernandez become All-Stars and the AL West was in reach until Bedard got hurt.

Seattle Seahawks:

In 3 seasons with Atlanta, Jim Mora Jr. was 26-22 building around the anti-christ to animal rights activists, Vick, and establishing a top running game.  Why is this relevant?  Mora not only has Hasselback at QB, but has the speedy and creative Seneca Wallace to work with.  Seattle also has an army of “C” class RB’s to work, similar to what Mora had in Atlanta, but made successful.  The defense boasts Pro Bowlers Patrick Kerney, Marcus Trufant, Lofa Tatupu, and Julian Peterson and have all intentions to add a high-profile free agent, probably a safety (Jermaine Phillips, Kerry Rhodes) or DT (Albert haynesworth, Tommie Harris)…, OR, how about bolstering the offense (Fred Jackson, Derrick Ward or maybe T.J Houshmandzadeh)???

The Seahawks boast arguably the best OT in the history of football (Walter Jones) and have a decent rest of O-line, when healthy.  The receiving corps clearly needs an upgrade, even without the injuries, fortunately, Seattle has the 5th overall pick…Michael Crabtree!  If we cant sign Jackson or Ward as free-agent RB’s, I have no problem with taking Chris Brown of Oklahoma with the 5th pick in the 2nd round.  The talent is there, Paul Allen has the money, and the Seattle fans believe…it is all up to Mora to put it all together.  Projection: 12-4, loss in the NFC Championship.  Seriously.

Washington Huskies – football:

Jake Locker has the running ability, energy and potential leadership ability of Tim Tebow…unfortunately has the passing ability mostly likened to Garo Yepremian.  But wait, in comes Steve Sarkisian, the former offensive coordinator and QB coach at USC, having developed Carson Palmer, Matt Leinert, Matt Cassel, John David Booty and Mark Sanchez.  Couple this dynamic with WR D’Andre Goodwin, OLB Donald Butler, DT Alameda Ta’amu and a solid Offensive Line, and the Huskies could turn in and 5 to 6 win season.

Washington Huskies – basketball:

As of this moment, the Huskies are 12-3, 2-0 in the Pac-10 and undefeated in 2009.  Jon Brockman is a beast down low, and the trio of Isiah Thomas, Justin Dentmon, and Quincy Poindexter get shots up.  There is no reason that the Huskies cant make a serious run at the Tournament this year.  Projection: 22-9 in regular season (12-6 vs Pac-10), should win 2 games in the Pac-10 tournament (24-10), that is worthy of a 8-11 seed in the NCAA 64.  I’ll take it!

All in all, this is a good year.  Each team has a reasonable shot to bring home a crown, although my personal projections dont allow any of them to deliver this year…but in 2010, it will happen!

January 9, 2009 Posted by | College Basketball, College Football, General, Major League Baseball, NBA, NFL | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NFL Makes An MLB Move

Fresh off the most exciting final weekend in recent NFL history, the NFL brass couldn’t sit back and enjoy the success.  Nope, instead of congratulating themselves at Monday morning meetings and beginning the propaganda brigade for the postseason, the NFL announced that the 2010 Pro Bowl will be played in between the 2010 Conference Championships and the 2010 Super Bowl

Youre Better Than MLB

You're Better Than MLB

The NFL Pro Bowl is already the most irrelevant of all the all-star games because it is played after the season, many players don’t attend, and the games are more like glorified scrimmages, but moving it in between the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl isn’t going to fix anything. 

From a ratings and marketing perspective the new schedule will probably boost ratings slightly.  However, the problem with the schedule change will probably result in fewer high-caliber players attending.  For instance, what happens if 10 players from the teams participating in the 2010 Super Bowl are elected to the Pro Bowl?  Will their teams allow players to play in the Pro Bowl if they’re playing the Super Bowl the following week?  The answer is no way.  The Pro Bowl has constantly put the NFL in a bind, but it’s never been a hindrance.  Moving the Pro Bowl could make the Pro Bowl more of a nuisance than an anticlimactic end to the best seasonal sport around.  Instead of living with the inherent design flaws, the NFL put on it’s Bud Selig hat and decided to tinker.  Ask MLB how good tinkering works out.  From no salary cap, to all-star game foibles, to the PED problem, the MLB has mastered the art of amplifying  little problems into larger ones.  Note to Roger Goodell.  Take a look down Park Avenue at your friends at the MLB and don’t follow their lead.  Keep the NFL as is.  You’re doing just fine.  Or did you not watch the week 17 action?

FlyMaster Signing Off…For Now!

December 29, 2008 Posted by | Features & Opinions, General, NFL | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Curious Case of Romo’s Favreness

Farewell Favre

Farewell Favre

Jets fan for a day, suicidal by night! One of the many playoff scenarios involved the AFC East. After watching my beloved Pats dispose of the Bills in windy Buffalo, I had the distasteful chore of having to root for the Jets vs. Miami. I wanted neither team to win this game praying for a McNabb miracle tie. Then I heard Brett Favre’s pregame speech to his offense which went something like; “Alright guys, let’s get back to playing the football when we won 5 in a row. No matter how this goes, win or lose, we gotta put our best effort forth and that’s all we can do. Love you guys”. Followed by half his team running back in the tunnel and tucking their balls in their purses. Then Favre mailed it in after his first TD celebration. The guy showed no emotion or grit, while his offense forced me to smash my head into the wall just hard enough to cause blurriness and borderline consciousness. I figured if I had to be a Jets fan, then I had to boo and throw snow balls like the rest of the Zoo Yorkers. One pick, two pick and then pick number three sealed the fate of Mangini and the Pats. Like any New Yorker, I left the game early and found myself watching continuous commercials for Marley & Me. That’s what Brett Favre can do to an afternoon and to the hopes of an 11-5 New England team.

Romo, the new "old" Favre

Romo, the new "old" Favre

Now to the new “old” Favre, Mr. Romo. Tony Romo has become about as clutch as my friend Danny’s attempt to hit on women after 6 hours of drinking. Danny speaks in a German-like tongue, juggles his drinks and falls on the floor. Now that’s Tony Romo in a playoff like atmosphere. He’s the new Brett Favre of our generation. A gun slinger who can fool you 67% of the time but when he needs to seal the deal under pressure, ends up throwing an INT. Going back to my friend Danny, when he needs to seal the deal, he calls the girl a sexy little biatch and falls flat on his face. The female usually runs in the other direction but takes his phone and throws it in the women’s bathroom toilet. It’s crazy the similarities here. Philadelphia trounced the dramatic Cowboys into the ground thanks to Romolicious pulling his best Favre impersonation. 183 yds and 1 Int, Pro Bowl numbers in a win or go home game. All I ask is that Wade Philips now gets fired for his useless, awful attempt at coaching. TO certainly won’t beshedding any tears for his QB anymore. And you better believe Jessica Simpson rids herself of Romo after watching him collapse. After Sunday, Tony’s going to need a new girl and a cell phone. I got a feeling that thing is flushed down the toilet like the hopes and dreams of Cowboy fans everywhere.

Life isn’t measured in minutes, but in moments.

RaginRondo

December 29, 2008 Posted by | NFL | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

20 NFL Questions

Braylon Edwards of the Browns

Braylon Edwards of the Browns

1. Why does Braylon Edwards blame the fans of Cleveland for his icy reception instead of blaming his own two hands?

2. Speaking of Cleveland, how in the world can the Dolphins go from 1-15 in 2007 to potential division winners in 2008, but the Browns haven’t come close to that in the ten years since their return to the league?

3. Do you think the winless Buccaneers of 1976 really want the Lions to win a game?

4. Why can’t T.O. simply utter these two words when posed a question?: No comment

T.O.

T.O.

5. After seeing the success of the Patriots during this decade, why does Jerry Jones continue to invest in trouble making divas?

6.  Is it possible that GM Carl Peterson actually fell on the sword to save his buddy Herm’s job?

7. Is  anyone else as tired as I am of these Miller Lite “More Taste League” ads?

8. And can I just watch a football game without being bombarded about commercials discussing erectile dysfunction, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer?

9. Don’t you hope that this disappointing season won’t be an aid in moving the Bills out of Buffalo?

10. Can we please do away with the Pro Bowl and just have skill competitions?

11. Speaking of the Pro Bowl, did Brett Favre really deserve to be voted in?

12. Aren’t you surprised that you haven’t seen Peyton Manning in more ads this year?

13. When Al Davis inevitably fires his interim head coach, who in the world will want to coach this team?

14. Is wide receiver Jerry Porter the worst free agent signing of the off-season?

15. Isn’t Michael Turner the best free agent signing of the off-season?

16. Do you think the San Diego Chargers regret letting Turner walk away? 17. If he had a decent quarterback, wouldn’t Adrian Peterson be well over 2,000 rushing yards by now?

18. Isn’t it hard to believe that recently convicted O.J Simpson was one of the best backs the NFL has ever seen?

19. Aren’t you tired of ESPN’s John Clayton reporting a story one day, and contradicting himself the next?

20.  How is it that no matter who coaches the team (who plays for the them), the Steelers always win?

December 19, 2008 Posted by | Features & Opinions, NFL, Talkin Trash | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Christmas Card, from Andre Johnson

Happy Holidays, from Andre!

DEAREST FRIENDS AND FAMILY,

It’s the holiday season and while I’ve been busy spreading holiday cheer in Houston, I wanted to update everyone with what’s going on in my life and wish you’ all Happy Holidays on behalf of the Texans.  Also, a special shout out to all my Hurricanes out there in Miami…what what!!!

Some people would say that I have played like a stud this year, but I wouldn’t refer to myself that way. I’m way too humble. In a league where my colleagues were embarrassing the wide receiver position with their trouble making antics and selfish attitudes, I just did my thag. We still have half a month left of regular season to play; yet thus far I’ve reeled in 103 receptions for 1400 yards. Competing in an incredible conference this year (AFC) I was able to step my game up and tried hard to keep my boys in the running. We could potentially end the season with a 9-7 record, but we will be hard pressed to make the playoffs.  Although I am disappointed, progression as a team is what I strive for the most, and I am thoroughly happy with our advancement. Our team was blessed with the arrival of rookie sensation, Steve Slaton, who added a lot to the offense. His threatening presence in the backfield with 1,100 yards/ 8TDs (through week 15), made opposing defenses respect the run and, furthermore, gave me the opportunity to get open downfield. Also, I must give credit to where credit is due. Kevin Walter, my “brotha from anotha motha,” tormented opposing D’s with 57 receptions and 850 yards. This helped our team tremendously as we posted the 4th most offensive yards in the NFL.

A great honor came, this year, when NFL.com published some very kind words about me:

“While the league has been plagued with selfish personalities of Plaxico ‘have gun will travel’ Burress,  Anquan  ‘trade me’ Boldin, or the (always) volatile and emotional T.O., Andre Johnson is a giant of a man who takes the blame for his mess ups, but deflects credit for achievements to others.”  Wow! Thanks for the kind words, guys!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention, I have some great news! This week my teammate Mario Williams and I booked tickets to Hawaii for February.  We are headed to the Aloha State with the intentions of sharpening our skills in body boarding, chowing down on some fresh Mahi Mahi and creating some havoc in the 2008 Pro Bowl.

The Andre Johnson Foundation, which I started in ’03, had two wildly successful events this year, one of which we donated approx. 1,000 bicycles to children from low income, single parent homes in the Houston and Miami areas.

My last two games will be at Oakland and at home vs. Chicago. If you have me on your fantasy team, I think I can produce for you. Their pass defenses are sharp, but have allowed 195 and 233 AYPG respectively. I know that my good friend , and sports blogger, STATDRAGON highly recommends starting me.

It is my great wish that all of you enjoy the best of holidays and have a happy and safe New Year.

Lovingly,

‘Dre

December 17, 2008 Posted by | Fantasy Football, NFL | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment