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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

Best Play In Super Bowl History?

Since the Super Bowl ended, many pundits and fans alike have stated that James Harrison’s interception return for a touchdown was the greatest play ever in Super Bowl history.

James Harrison

James Harrison

But I just don’t see it.

It was an excellent play, to be sure, but best ever?  While I appreciate that the interception helped prevent a Cardinals touchdown–and more importantly Cardinals momentum–I don’t regard that play as the best ever.

For starters, it happened at the end of the second half.  This wasn’t with two minutes to go in the fourth quarter.  Second, while an interception return for a touchdown is incredible, I’ve seen Ed Reed this season have more spectacular interception returns than the Harrison scamper down the sideline.  In my eyes, that play was more of an indictment of Arizona’s inability to tackle a linebacker running out of gas.

I’d argue that Rams linebacker Mike Jones stopping Titans wide receiver Kevin Dyson on the very last play of regulation in Super Bowl XXXIV was much better.  The Titans needed a touchdown to tie the game and send it into overtime.  Mike Jones, a relative unknown, prevented Kevin Dyson from gaining the extra yard that he needed.  Despite Steve McNair’s efforts on that drive, the Titans came up one yard short.  Ironically, weeks before, the Titans had benefited from the Music City Miracle–a play that essentially came down to whether the lateral from Frank Wycheck to (oddly enough) Kevin Dyson was indeed a lateral or forward pass.  Was it a yard forward or behind?  Well, weeks later in the Super Bowl, it was clearly one yard short.

Kevin Dyson

Kevin Dyson

In my opinion, though, last year’s catch by David Tyree was the best in Super Bowl history.  In fact, NFL Films President Steve Sabol wrote an NFL.com article about it last season.

The Giants were all that stood in the way of the Patriots being immortalized for all time.  Down 14-10, it’s 3rd and 5 at the Giants 44 yard line.  There’s one minute and fifteen seconds left in the game.  Manning takes the snap and finds a way to elude the grasp of  Jarvis Green and Adalius Thomas.  Manning hails the ball down the middle of the field, and a wide receiver that nobody heard of battles with a Hall of Fame safety in Rodney Harrison.  Tyree pins the ball to his helmet while falling backwards.  He holds onto the football.  First down, Giants.

Just four plays later, Manning hits Burress in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown.  The rest is history.

For my money, that’s easily the best play in Super Bowl history.  It had drama and significant ramifications, but more importantly, it left you in awe.  After an entire year, I still cannot understand how 1) Eli Manning was not sacked, forcing an almost impossible fourth down attempt and 2) how David Tyree–who only caught four passes in the regular season and whom teammates stated was dropping passes all week in practice leading up the big game–could find a way to hold onto the football in such a tough, high stakes situation.

February 5, 2009 Posted by | Features & Opinions, NFL | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worth Another Look…

As you all know by now, the StatDragon is a big Super Bowl commercial fan. Although I thought this year’s ads were weaker, on whole, than they have been in previous years, I have provided my favorites from Sunday that I believe to be worth another look:

1. THANK YOU SOBE, FOR TURNING RAY LEWIS INTO A LIZARD:

2. WATCH THE RHINO HERE. THIS IS HOW I USED TO STROM INTO FRAT PARTIES IN COLLEGE:

3. “GIVE DADDY A KISS:”

4.  ANYTHING WITH A BOB DYLAN SONG AND I TURN INTO A SENTIMENTAL MESS: 

 

… and for those of you who put down too many PBR’s before the 4th quarter,  here’s what it all came down to:

 

Peace in the Middle East. StatDragon.

February 4, 2009 Posted by | Fantasy Football, Features & Opinions, General, NFL | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Death of Sunday

It was Groundhog day and wouldn’t you know it, that Punxatony Phil got scared again. Cue the music “So put your little hand in mine…” (Side note: Groundhog day the movie had to be one of the easiest acting jobs of Bill Murray’s career. Now what if he continuosly woke up on Super Bowl Sunday, I would test out every party and eventually hit every prop bet! WOW! Anyways good movie.) 6 more weeks of winter kids and tack on the death of football Sunday. With the Steelers winning their 6th Super Bowl, we have completed another season of excitement and NFL action. Now you’re asking yourself, what can I do on Sunday’s from now on? Let me share some survival tactics to fill your lonesome days.

Bruce!!!

Bruce!!!

Before I cure your Sunday woes, let’s talk about the Super Bowl. First of all, you may have witnessed one of the funniest moments in the history of halftime shows. Bruce Springsteen’s power slide made me cry laughing so hard that I had to rewind it at least 12 times. I found it online and watched it again at work today. Classic stuff. Halftime was also when the game peaked and the action started to happen. Harrison’s 100 yard Int for a TD, 3D commercials and Bruce baby! Harrison later went on to beat someone, 3D commercials sucked and Bruce smashed into a cameraman.

The 4th quarter was solid…but in no way was this the greatest game ever. It did mark the first time I ever won in Super Bowl squares. I’d like to thank Mr Whisenhunt for his first quarter challenge and Mr Tomlin for kicking a field goal at the 1-inch line. That lead me into a chant of “Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl.” And how was that last play not reviewed? Come on, even if the crew upstairs saw that the fumble occurred, build some suspense, let the audience look it over and decide. Instead, the game ended and Polamalu was left staring at the stars for…ever. Now that’s a strange cat.

To-do’s on Sundays:
Start studying College Basketball — There is no better time than now to think about your brackets in March and learn who you can count on disappointing you and busting your bracket. This may also lead to increased boredom and eating.
NBA action — The NBA should be alright to watch with some specially highlighted games on all day. Primetime NBA is good but it will not fill the void of an NFL Sunday. I would also like to thank myself for jinxing Andrew Bynum in my last post. 8-12 weeks, ouch!
Invest in the Fox Soccer Channel — well it is futbol and it is on Sundays. Give it a shot, or not.

Movies — This time of year they start playing the classics from “What about Bob” to all the Rocky movies in a row. Take a load off and enjoy. You never know when the Mighty Ducks trilogy will be on again, Gordon Bombay and the flying V.

Read a frigging book — Lazy ass. Or this blog! Message brought to you by sportsfly.com.

If those don’t meet your needs, have a coke and a smile!coke

I’m Feeling kind of Sunday
RaginRondo

February 3, 2009 Posted by | NFL | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Super Bowl Commercials Not Too Funny In Dead Serious Economic Times

It wasn’t all bad.

While I certainly couldn’t tell you what each ad was hawking, a few made me chuckle.  A couple made me laugh.

The commercial that featured a man getting thrown out of his office window while still sitting on his office chair was funny due to the surprise.  A couple of the ads featuring the Clydesdale horses were cute.  The commercial depicting snow globes hitting vending machines–and a old man’s crotch–was great and Alec Baldwin promoting Hulu was simply classic Alec Baldwin.

But, of course, many missed the mark.  The ad featuring talking, dead flowers arrived DOA.  And bad ads featuring people shouting about Hyundai’s and cheap GoDaddy ads (still don’t know what the site is about) trying to tease viewers with sex completely missed the mark.

And the Troy Polamalu ad?  Mean Joe Greene can’t be happy.

Super Bowl Commercial Featuring Polamalu

Super Bowl Commercial Featuring Polamalu

But more than that, with America in the midst of the biggest economic crisis in decades, with people losing their jobs and unable to pay for college, you would think the ad companies would specifically aim for more funny commercials.  They didn’t have to be gut busting, “fall out of your seat funny” advertisements–but funny nonetheless.  I spent more time giving a slight smirk to almost all of the ads rather than genuinely laughing.  I kept thinking that that it’s hard to believe that  millions of dollars are spent on such uninspiring, unfunny ads.

The ads that stick most with people after the Super Bowl is over are often the ones that made you laugh.  I guess that’s why I don’t really remember most of them.

February 3, 2009 Posted by | Features & Opinions, NFL | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mike Tomlin is Black–And It Didn’t Matter

Late last night, Mike Tomlin became just the second black head coach in NFL History to win a Super Bowl.  There was no coverage of it.  No press conference.  No discussion of it during media day or after the clock read 0:00.

Race Not an Issue

Race Not an Issue

Just two years ago, Tony Dungy became the first black head coach to win a Super Bowl.

In fact, Tomlin’s race didn’t seem to factor into any discussion at all by the media and fans alike.  If anything, Tomlin’s age was a bigger eye opener.  At just 36–and in his second year as head coach–Tomlin became the youngest coach to ever win a Super Bowl.

On NFL Network last night, Deion Sanders brought up the point that age seemed to trump race this year.  Tomlin seemed happy that his race wasn’t a significant story regarding the Super Bowl, stating, “I’ll continue to get older,  but I’ll always be black.”

In a post Barack Obama world, one would like to hope that this becomes a trend.  That a black man or woman–or any minority–can ascend to the pinnacle of their profession and the surrounding discussion  will pertain to the quality of his or her performance rather than the amount of melanin in his or her skin.

It is well known that Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney is a big Obama supporter.  He also helped usher into the league the now famous “Rooney Rule”–which states that a team with a head coaching vacancy must interview a minority for the position.  It’s certainly possible that Mike Tomlin’s race–along with his resume–helped open the head coaching door for him.  Hired just two seasons ago, it’s not abundantly clear that Tomlin was the correct choice.

In that respect, the Rooney rule worked to perfection.  It allowed a man who might otherwise get passed over for a promotion to get an extra look.  It opened the door for him–but it was Tomlin’s job to walk through it and secure the position.  And he did. And oddly enough, from that point on, race didn’t matter.

Not even after a Super Bowl victory on the first day of Black History Month.

Now that is the epitome of progress.

February 2, 2009 Posted by | Features & Opinions, NFL | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

NFL Halftime Show=NFL Punking Out

The NFL needs to grow up.

Janet Jackson in 2004

Janet Jackson in 2004

Or maybe young.

Ever since the infamous moment when Janet Jackson’s breast was exposed for public consumption in 2004, the NFL has become scared.  Terrified, really.

In fact, that 2004 Super Bowl didn’t just feature Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake.  Nelly, P.Diddy, and Kid Rock performed, too.

Previous years have seen acts such as No Doubt, Mary J. Blige, Boyz II Men, U2 and Queen Latifah.

But since 2004, the NFL has played it safe.  They’ve turned to classic performers who are now carrying AARP cards.  The last four Super Bowls have featured Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Prince, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show will feature Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

It’s not that we shouldn’t recognize past artists who helped pave the way.  But there are dozens of great acts that deserve to be given the exposure of the world at halftime.  From Alicia Keys to Adele to Kanye West–there is a new generation of musical acts that fans would love to see.  And ones who haven’t already been in the business for four decades.

Even Jennifer Hudson, a young woman who has won an Oscar and has recently been nominated for four Grammy awards due to her debut release this past year, is only singing the National Anthem.  For two brief minutes.

The NFL needs to get its act together.  You can’t market the league, memorabilia, and its products (such as Madden NFL Football) to a demographic that is roughly 35 and under, and yet trumpet out artists who are pushing sixty.  It’s not that Prince or Bruce Springsteen aren’t legends–they are.  But it’s time to showcase new legends for a new generation of fans.

The Super Bowl is the most watched event of the year, and so there’s no doubt that someone is enjoying the choices of halftime performances.  But the league should not be so scarred by the Janet Jackson incident that they’re afraid to let a young woman back on the stage.  Or any woman, at that.

Memo to the NFL:  You don’t have to worry about an orgy breaking out on stage.  No one will spew vulgarity.  Learn from your 2004 mistake, find ways to correct it, and move on.  Don’t hide your product behind an artist whose hey day was during the Nixon administration.

January 30, 2009 Posted by | Features & Opinions, NFL | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Straight Cash’s Super Bowl DO’s and DON’Ts

All right, you got your gear, you got a place to watch, so now, here are some do’s and dont’s to prep you for the big game and party.

My ticket to the Big Game

My ticket to the Big Game

If you’re a visitor to the party:

1) Do bring something — anything, a Steinlager 12-pack, wings, dessert, something. Even if you’re broke, you can scarf up for a bottle of Thunderbird or Pabst; just show that you appreciate your host’s sacrifice.

2) Do Not get too drunk before the game starts (applies to host also) — You don’t want to be blacked out if Warner throws a winning Hail Mary or Polamalu seals it with a pick … it’s all about a smooth slip into inebriation. 6 to 8 brews by kickoff is optimal (this applies to a guy around 180 pounds, add one beer per 30 pound level up).

3) Do Not double dip — and that not only applies to the ranch dressing, but to your pal’s spliff stash or his hottie chick.

4) Do Not bring any suckas to the party — No annoying girlfriends or “marks” who have no concept of a first down. SIDE NOTE: Be very prepared to feel the wrath if you go to a Cardinals party and you’re the only one rocking the black and gold (or vice versa)

5) Do have fun — Cheer and yell with gusto! Boldin just scored, stuff that Terrible Towel in that Pitt guys face.

6) Do know when to shut yer trap — during the anthem, commercials (yes, commercials) and when they present the trophy (optional during the Boss’ halftime set).

7) Do prepare for the post-game properly — designate a driver (BEFORE the game) or stash a sleeping bag in your trunk, or stash the designated driver in a sleeping bag in your trunk.

Set channel & volume. Unload battery. Stash.

Instructions: Set channel & volume. Unload battery. Stash.

As a host, not much: You already provided enough eats, drinks, TV and pad. You’re the master of your domain, but just a few things:

1) Do Not channel surf — Once the game starts, put the remote away for the next 4 hours. Yes, it’s your remote control. And yes, it’s your house. But the Super Bowl is bigger than you brother, and you became Obama-esque when you signed up for this (you’re here to serve, protect and deliver).

2) Do provide proper and plenty of trash receptacles — easy clean up, less stink; because these jokers you’re inviting think that they’re tailgating indoors.

3) Do provide for the post-game — ice cold water, fresh coffee, taxi numbers, instant soups, and in some cases, extra sleeping bags (or at least sweep the pick-up truck bed).

Finally, if you’re like me and watching the game with newborn in tow while the Mrs. has a “self-day,” then no rules apply. Do what you want, you’re the king of the castle. Though you might wanna take it easy on the booze, because you don’t want to make any nacho mix-up with the con queso dip and the nearby diaper.

Any other “do’s” and “don’ts” that I forgot?

Enjoy another wonderful American Institution.

Straight Cash … Homey!

January 29, 2009 Posted by | General, NFL, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Most Shocking Super Bowl Story Ever?

If the Cardinals find a way to seek out a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend, one has to wonder if this would be one of the most improbable Superbowl victories ever.

Most Shocking Sports Moment?

Most Shocking Sports Moment?

It would be hard to make the case for the biggest Superbowl upset.  After all, while the Cardinals have come out of nowhere, they certainly aren’t devoid of talent.  Boldin, Fitzgerald, Warner, Dansby, Dockett, Rolle, and Wilson are significant pieces to the success of the team.

And, of course, the Jets Superbowl win over Baltimore in 1969 ranks as the biggest Superbowl upset.  The Jets were double digit underdogs.  And ranking a close second is arguably the Patriots victory over Kurt Warner’s Rams in 2001.  While the Patriots were a Cinderella team, and an inspiration to a nation that was still in mourning due to terrorist attacks on September 11th, the Patriots were a rag tag team.  A collection of very good, sound football players, but no stand out athlete or star.  And that includes a young Tom Brady.

But the Cardinals are different.  This is a team that won only nine games this season.  This is a team that played in a division where two of its rivals fired their head coaches (49ers and Rams) mid-season, and the Seattle Seahawks were ravaged by injury.  And still, the Cardinals only won nine games.  Let’s be honest–how many thought the Cardinals were for real when it was announced they won their division late in the season?  How many thought they would make noise in the playoffs?

This is a Cardinals team that couldn’t run the ball most of the season and who lost 4 of their last 6 games to close out the regular season.

And yet, here the Cardinals stand.  A game away from winning their very first Superbowl titles in franchise history.

The idea that the Cardinals, a team that has arguably been the worst franchise in sports history, just might knock off one of the best franchises in all of sports (Pittsburgh), is nothing short of amazing.

What Do YOU Think?

January 29, 2009 Posted by | Features & Opinions, NFL | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Super Bowl MVP…Rod Tidwell???

Meet Tidwell, the new Boldin

Often times movies take place in the past, depicting a different time than the one we know now. Other films make statements about society as it exists currently. There is even plenty of cinema which places us years in the future with promises of flying cars or world ending issues. Very few movies however, make predictions which actually come true. That being said, when Cameron Crowe wrote and directed “Jerry Maguire” in 1996 he must have been listening to the “Power of Love” while cruising into 2008 proud of his flux capacitor, because Anquan Boldin is in his movie…. Crowe simply changed his name to Rod Tidwell. I know your mind has already been blown, however I will outline the ridiculous similarities for any nay-sayers that may be left out there (Hey nay-sayers, “help me, help you”). We’ll start with the obvious: both Anquan Boldin and Rod Tidwell play wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. Both Boldin and Tidwell are disgruntled by their respective contracts that each believes to be far inferior to that of his teammates. In Boldin’s case specifically, with two years and just under six million dollars left on his current contract (he signed a four year extension in 2005 for 22.67 million) he wants something closer to Larry Fitzgerald’s four year, forty million dollar deal he signed this past March. Both players are playing to prove they deserve the contracts they are requesting, and while playing incredibly hard for said contracts each takes a crazy hit in the endzone by multiple players from the opposite team which threatens to end his career. Both players come back much faster than immediately expected, with Tidwell eventually getting up a few minutes later, and Boldin only missing two games despite predictions by doctors that he would miss much more time. The similarities between the courage, strength, and athleticism of these two strong African American athletes cannot be denied and should not be ignored. If Cameron Crowe was able to put Anquan Boldin on the big screen in 1996, shouldn’t we at least ask him when he thinks this economic crisis might end? President Obama should invite him into the oval office, hear what he has to say and then tell him, “You had me from hello.” I’m just sayin, the man has some way of seeing into the future… of this I am sure. In closing I have a word of advise for Mr. Boldin; fire your agent, call up Tom Cruise and offer him a job. Then, when you help lead your team to their first ever world championship, get on the podium, grab the mike, and yell “SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!” Tom will take care of the rest. Oh yeah, and in case any of ya’ll forgot, Rod Tidwell has a word meaning love, respect, community, and MONEY……….. it’s “quan”…

StatDragon out.

p.s. LadyDragon….. “You complete me”

January 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment