Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Worst of the All Stars

Pro Bowl
Photo: billsoPHOTO via Flickr 
What is the point of the Pro Bowl? It is nowhere near as cool as the NBA All Star Game, the MLB All-Star Game, or the NHL All-Star Game. In fact, all three of those All-Star events last an entire weekend and are fun to watch. The NFL All-Star just plain boring.

Players show up a week before the game, learn a few plays, and then get one to three series in the game, and go home. No fun skills tests, no interesting plot twists, nothing. How is that different from any other NFL game week?

Simply put, it in Hawaii. That is the only thing that separates the Pro Bowl week from any other average NFL work week; it's location.

The best NFL players don't even participate. Why? Because they are playing in the league championship game the very next weekend. Think about it. We're missing Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, Colin Kaepernick, and Frank Gore...just to name a few. What's an All-Star event without the All-Stars?

What's at stake? In the MLB, the winning league gets home field advantage for the World Series. For the NBA and NHL, it's bragging rights. In the NFL..."we're all winners". Again, whats the point?

In the NBA, there's the Slam Dunk Contest. In the NHL, there's the Best Trick Contest. In the MLB, there's the Home Run Derby. What marquee skills test makes the NFL All-Star festivities awesome? Nothing.

It's time to do away with the NFL Pro Bowl. It is simply another chance for players to get hurt and all they get is some cash and sweet new jersey to hang in their house. Possibly a trophy if they play well enough.

There is one simple way to keep the NFL All-Star weekend. Add to it! Make it cool! Add a skills competition. A punt, pass, and kick type thing. Play some flag football with some retired players like Prime Time and Montana. Don't just have all these fans go to Hawaii for one week of practice and a meaningless football game.

Each year, the Pro Bowl becomes less popular and the laughing stock of the major American-sport All-Star events.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Terrible Teo...

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Teo, above, claims to be the victim of a cat fish. (Photo: Neon Tommy)
Possibly the biggest, and weirdest, sports news story so far this year is what happened to Manti Teo. For those of you that haven't heard, and shame on you if you haven't, Teo was in love with a woman that never existed, never died, and he never even met.

Which sucks, because he was the inspirational sports story of 2012 after she "died" just six hours after his grandmother died and he went out three days later and played a sensational game for Notre Dame. As you could probably guess, my reaction is the basis for this blog post...

First off, hats off to the folks over at Deadspin for writing an incredibly detailed account of the story from start to finish. They did a really great job and you should take a look at the article that is linked to above (after you finish reading this one, of course).

I don't understand how Teo could have possibly been duped in this situation. There are so many fine details that he claims to have happened that never happened at all. For instance, he claims to have first met her following the Notre Dame versus Stanford game. If she never existed, how could they have had "love at first sight"?

There are too many discrepancies and things that would just have to be coincidences for Teo to not be somehow involved in this scandal in some way. If this girl was in car accident, that was never reported, and then put in the hospital and diagnosed with cancer, also never reported, then why didn't he go and visit her? How busy can he be? I'm Chip Kelly, who gave Teo a game ball in honor of "Lennay", would understand.

And how come Teo didn't look devastated in his interview with ESPN in the days following her death? If something you love THAT much were to be taken away from you like, you'd be a wreck! I know I would be a total mess!

But not Teo. He remained calm and played as if nothing had happened. If you were to let a loved one pass without ever visiting them in the hospital, you'd (hopefully) feel some sort of remorse. Not Teo. He has yet to show any sort of remorse...or emotion since he has been silent since this story broke (also interesting).

If Manti Teo has nothing to hide then why has he gone into hiding? If he the mentally strong individual that he claims to be, why doesn't he face the media storm that is lingering and waiting for him to come out? In my opinion, he's hiding something...something BIG.

In my honest opinion, Manti Teo is lying. He was definitely involved in this scandal it was all one big publicity stunt. He saw this as an opportunity to take advantage of the media, the public, and to rocket himself onto the national stage and into the spotlight.

Will this effect his draft ranking? I doubt it. One thing is clear, what Teo did on the field was no hoax. He is one of the best linebackers in this years draft and that is no joke. I think that he will still be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft this coming April.

What are your thoughts on the Manti Teo story? Star the discussion and leave a comment below!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Baseballs Bad Image

A-Rod's Baseball Collection

Well, in a sport that has been gutted, destroyed, and ravaged by steroids, baseball finally got it right this past week.

It was a two step process that needed to be done. Major league baseball is on the right track in returning to be America's past time, although I doubt it will. However, doing whatever they can to rid themselves of the dark steroid era days will contribute to their success, increase popularity, and, most of all, decrease in bad steroid-related baseball jokes.

Early in the week, baseball did what only happens in every other major league sport. The only difference, baseball did what can only happen in baseball! They voted and nobody was inducted into the Hall of Fame. The 2013 class will be empty. The ballot included major players from the steroid era like Clemons, Sosa, Bonds and McGwire.

Were there players that should have been inducted? No doubt. But, I am not here to debate whether or not players should have or shouldn't have been. I am not here to debate whether or not baseballs Hall of Fame voting system is as obsolete as your grandmothers or great-grandmothers computer.

I am simply here to say that baseball was correct in leaving players linked to the steroid era out of the Hall. In my opinion, they should be left out forever. Players where there is a substantial amount of evidence (I don't know how much that is) that points to them having done steroids, should be left out of Cooperstown...forever (spoken like Squints from The Sandlot).

The next step baseball took towards cleaning up its act came later in the week when Commissioner Bud Selig announced that there will be random drug testing starting this coming season. In my opinion, this has been a long time coming. Baseball has needed a random drug testing policy since someone first came up the idea.

If you ask me, football has become Americas new favorite sport with baseball falling in at second and the basketball being a close third. Will baseball ever overtake football? Probably not. Most people have come to associate baseball with steroids and steroids with baseball. It's the outcome of an era of big bats, big stats, and big muscles that were aided by big needles with big drugs.

While it may not become America's favorite sport again, it can get rid of the stereotypes, bad jokes, and bad image. Ensuring that steroid users can't get into the Hall of Fame and instituting a random drug testing policy are just two giant steps in the right direction.

What do you think of baseball and the steroid era? Will it ever be a thing of the past? Leave your thoughts in a comment below and start the discussion!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

And the Winner is...

andrew-luck (1)
Andrew Luck, above, may be the front runner for Rookie of the Year. (Photo: PathosProject)

As the regular season draws to end and the playoffs begin, the award races are beginning to heat up. For today's post, I'll be taking a look at the Rookie of the Year race.

At the beginning of the season, there were three clear-cut front runners: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III (RG3), and Trent Richardson. Following the regular season, the number of players in the running increased to four...but two were not expected.

Andrew Luck and RG3 were essentially locks as finalists for the award. But, after a season that came up just short of 1,000 rush yards for Richardson, I am removing him from my final four. Instead, I am adding Russell Wilson and Alfred Morris.

As the season progressed, so did Wilson (and that's what landed him on this list). However, based off of his slow start and inconsistent season, you can eliminate him. Luck, RG3, and Morris were consistent in their performances throughout the whole season.

So that brings it down to three finalists: Andrew Luck, RG3, and Alfred Morris.

Let's start with the dynamic duo of RG3 and Alfred Morris. Washington's most loved players became the first rookie quarterback and running back tandem to rush for over 500 yards individually in a single season and led the Redskins to a 10-6 record and into the playoffs.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the award races, these are two are each others worst enemy. They rely on each other like blue cheese and buffalo wings. If you remove one, the other is awful. And if RG3 or Morris is removed from the offense, it is nowhere near as successful.

Who does Andrew Luck have? No one. The running game has been less then stable this season for the Colts and without Reggie Wayne the passing attack would have a hard time getting going. Simply put, Luck is doing this by himself. He's putting on an absolute display and has been doing so since the beginning of season. Plus, he's led his team to an 11-5 record, better than RG3s 10-6.

BUT, in the interest of fun, here are my final two for NFL Rookie of the Year....Andrew Luck and Alfred Morris.

OUTRAGE in the Nations capital as RG3 is left off my final two for a sixth round draft pick that just happens to also play for the Redskins...but, I have my reasons.

What happens when RG3 can't find the handle? Who do they rely on? Alfred Morris. Who is the "set-up" man for the offense? Alfred Morris. The Redskins rely on the run game of Alfred Morris to make the passing game go "BOOM". So, that's why he's my finalist.

As for Andrew Luck? Well, come on. Didn't I explain that above? He is the Colts sole source of offense and has filled some pretty big shoes (*cough* Manning *cough*) pretty well. In fact, Luck's rookie season has gone considerably better than Manning's AND Luck didn't even have a real head coach for most of it.

So...the winner of the 2012-2013 NFL Rookie of the Year Award is........Andrew Luck.

Luck has gone against all odds. The questions about whether he'll be like Manning, then his head coach  leaves after being diagnosed with cancer (#ChuckStrong), and he still lead his team to an 11-6 record and a playoff birth.

Read it and weep, ladies and gents.

Who do you think should be Rookie of the Year? Leave your answer in a comment below!