Monday, October 1, 2012

NFL: The Doofus Rankings

Since we're nearly a quarter of the season done (for the great majority of teams, anyway), I know what everyone has been clamoring for... the Sports Doofus NFL Rankings.


Cleveland Browns - not surprising.  They don't have a very good team, and a pretty poor 28 year old rookie qb running the show.  Although one bright spot for the Browns, RB Trent Richardson looks like a stud.  He won't put up great numbers, because face it, the team stinks...but he has the look of a future all pro.

New Orleans Saints - pretty surprising.  I knew losing Sean Payton for the season would be tough on the team, but woah.  The Saints have shown a bit of fight the past few weeks, losing in Overtime, and taking the Packers to the wire, and their offense still looks pretty potent.  Would not be surprising to see them start playing better, and winning games now.

1-3 and looking it.

Detroit Lions - What has happened to the Lions?  They look, well generally, pretty bad.  Matt Stafford has regressed, their defense looks bad, and I'm not sure anyone is scared of their "physicality" any more.  Still think they could make a run, but pretty poor effort so far.

Carolina Panthers - Saw this one coming.  How many times do we have a young team play genuinely frisky one year (against a last place schedule) and then fall back to reality the next season (See the Chiefs from 2 years ago).

Indianapolis Colts (1-2) - Again, not that surprising.  I think people who bought into the Andrew Luck Kool-Aid forgot how bad this team was last season.  Luck is a fine player, but he needs alot of help

Jacksonville Jaguars - This could be the worst team in the League.  QB Blaine Gabbert has not shown much in the way of growth, and the team seems to be lacking an identity.  Not sure how they won a game, but they did.  Fun Fact:  For the life of me, without looking it up, I can't name their head coach.  This is the only team in the League I can say that about.

Tennessee Titans - They are  better than Jacksonville, but barely.  Chris Johnson's struggles have been documented by pretty much everyone.  Jake Locker is turning into a decent, not great QB, though.  I like the way he handles himself out there.

Oakland Raiders - Much like the did the Raiders beat the Steelers?  It really makes little sense.  They got destroyed by the Dolphins, beat the Steelers, and then get rocked by the Broncos.  Their defense does not look good, and they haven't been able to run the ball well, except the one game.  They had alot of buzz after that Steeler win as a team that could be interesting, and then fell on their face.

Kansas City Chiefs - Not a very good team.  Watched their game with the Chargers last week and I gotta say, aside from Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles, there isn't much there.  And Romeo Crennel is doing his impersonation of the former head coach of the Browns...what was that guy's name?  Oh yeah, Romeo Crennel.

1-3 Losing, but Frisky

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - You may be surprised to see them here, as this isn't a very good team.  But, But, But... this team isn't all that horrible/terrible.  They beat Carolina, and lost to the Giants (in a close one), to the Cowboys (in a close one), and the Redskins...who needed a late drive engineered by RGIII to sneak out the win.  Next 3 games:  Kansas City, New Orleans, and Minnesota.  Don't be surprised if the Bucs turn some things around

Miami Dolphins - Lost to undefeated Houston, pounded the Raiders, lost to the Jets because their kicker missed a potential game winning field goal, and lost to the undefeated Cardinals.  This has the be the most surprising "Frisky" team.  The Cardinals defense has been stopping everyone, Tom Brady included...and Ryan Tannenhill nearly broke the rookie passing record yesterday.  I like what they are building there.

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) - Not sure what to think of this Steelers team.  They lost to the Broncos, pounded the crap out of the Jets, and then got beat by the Raiders.  Too up and down to get a good idea of this team, but any team with Big Ben has a chance.

2-2 Pretenders

Washington Redskins - RGIII looks to be the real deal, which is a good thing for Mike Shanahan, because this really isn't a great team.  They'll win some, and they'll lose some, but they aren't going anywhere.

St. Louis Rams - the return of Jeff Fisher and his team of cheap shot artists.  What a surprise to see Courtland Finnegan on this team.  I'll be honest, does it surprise anyone that Gregg Williams and Jim Schwartz coach "dirty" defensive play?  Who were they DC's for again?  So I can't cheer for the Rams.  But I like Sam Bradford.

Seattle Seahawks - Russell Wilson this, Russell Wilson that... blah, blah, blah.  Pete Carroll is still the head coach of this team, and they are a travesty of officiating away from being 1-3.  How do you beat the Packers like that...with everyone saying it was a crime, and a farce, and then go out and lose like that to the Rams?

New York Jets - Tebocolypse alert!  I love every minute of this.  I love seeing big and brash Rex getting his arse handed to him.  And they are a missed FG from the Dolphins away from being 1-3 and on a 3 game losing streak.  With Revis out for the season, their best corner is now Antonio Cromartie.... enjoy your season Jets fans.

Buffalo Bills - Not sure what to make of the Bills.  They aren't terrible.  But you don't get rocked by the Jets like that on opening weekend, and then once you gain some momentum, get shellacked by the Patriots once people think you are contenders.

Dallas Cowboys - if they had won tonight, it would be a different story.  But Bad Romo showed up again, throwing 5 interceptions, and they looked pretty poor.  I'm not counting the Cowboys out, yet.  But I'm close.  Too up and down.  Similar to the Bills.  They aren't terrible, but they need to be more consistent to believe in their chances.

2-2 Contenders

New York Giants - lost a close game to Dallas on opening night, and a very close game to the Eagles last night.  They are fine.  In fact, if you look at their last two Super Bowl wins... the Giants are right where they want to be.

Green Bay Packers - certainly the loss to the 49ers was a surprise.  They then, in turn looked Great against the Bears, pretty bad against the Seahawks (even though they got jobbed), and barely hung on to win yesterday against the rudderless Saints.  Still think this team could go all the way.

New England Patriots - I don't like their defense, and I don't like how they have been playing.  But still here they sit at the top of their division after a poor start.  The Patriots are like Jason Voorhies, they just don't die.

Denver Broncos - not sure what to think of the Broncos.  I don't think their defense is all that great, it's OK, but nothing special.  Their running game is nothing to write home about, and Peyton Manning isn't all the way back (will he ever be?), but nonetheless, they are 2-2 and pounded the Raiders pretty well, and beat the Steelers.  But both of those teams have losing records?  They fell behind by 20 in both games against good teams.  I could see them win the division, or go 8-8.  It wouldn't surprise me.

3-1 Winning, but something smells wrong

Philadelphia Eagles - They barely won two games in which they had 8 turnovers, got pounded by the Cardinals, and then turned in a pretty solid performance last night.  The Eagles have some talented players, but I'm not sure Michael Vick is going to survive the pounding he has taken so far this season.

Minnesota Vikings - Possibly the most surprising team of the year.  Many pundits predicted them to be one of the bottom 5 teams of the year?  Well, let's look at the Vikings shall we?  
They beat the possibly worst team in the league, Jacksonville in Overtime.  Then, they turn around and lose to the Colts (the only game they've won).  So, they were actually pretty poor.  
But then, they shock the San Francisco 49ers, just pounded them... who saw that coming?  And they beat the struggling Lions last week.  But only by 7, and had a kick return and a punt return to win the game.  (The Titans scored 44 points on this Lions team the week before... the Vikings scored 20, and 14 of them were on special teams returns.

Basically, I'm not sure what to make of this team...they played great against a very good team, and pretty poorly to be honest, against 3 not very good teams.  (Don't buy into the "they played a solid game" against the Lions ploy.... special teams TD's do count, but you can't count on them every week).

Christian Ponder does seem to be a great fit for their West Coast offense though, and I gotta admit I enjoy Leslie Frazier as a coach.  He's like Lovie Smith 2.0.  The Vikings are playing well, my suggestion is that Vikings fans should enjoy it... it probably won't last that long.  But they are making strides, and seem to be on the right track...I just don't see them keeping this pace and going 12-4 for the season.

3-1 Winning under the Radar

San Diego Chargers - Quick Question!  What team played a division rival on the road, won by 3 scores, and were up by 20 at halftime?  Let's check the headlines from the NFL page at and shall we... that should shed some light on the subject.

espn's NFL headlines

NFL. com Headlines

Hmmmm.... no mention of the San Diego Chargers?  Do you think if another team won a division game, on the road, in dominating fashion, they might get some attention?

Homer alert:  Yes, I'm a chargers fan.  And yes, I know they've beaten Oakland, Tennessee, and Kansas City.  And yes, the Falcons absolutely schooled them.  I just find it interesting that no one is talking about this team at all.

I'm not saying they are a great team, but they could turn into one...they are certainly better than most people think.

3-1 and Under, Under the Radar (shhhhhhh.)

Cincinatti Bengals - so far under the radar, I left them out of the first version of this post!

I kind of like this Bengals team.  I like the Red Rifle, I love AJ Green, and count me a huge fan of DC Mike Zimmer.

Seriously, every year when the chargers make their annual swoon, I start looking at HC candidates from other teams, and Mike Zimmer always looks good to me.

This is a pretty good team, and they are going to be in the race.

3-1 Winning, and could make a habit of it.

Baltimore Ravens - This is a pretty darn good team.  But, despite what Joe Flacco says and thinks about himself, he has to continue to prove it week after week.  No more laying eggs like you did against the Eagles, and no more barely holding on to beat a win less Cleveland team at home.  I think they will win a lot of games, but I'm not sure if that will translate to post season success.

Chicago Bears - My favorite part of the Chicago Bears?  Lovie Smith.  Dude is unflappable.  Jay Cutler goes out and has a horrible game against Green Bay?  Who cares.  The next week, beat the Rams convincingly with Cutler still not playing good.  The Bears reflect the mentality of their coach, not their temperamental but talented QB.  The reason the Bears can survive with personality like Cutler at QB is because of Lovie Smith.  Seriously, does he get any credit?  Most underrated coach in the League in my opinion. 

San Francisco 49ers - Would probably be the top team in the league if not for their hiccup against the Vikings.  But that hiccup exists.  If you can take the lead on the 49ers, and force them away from the run the ball, control the clock, offense... you can beat them.  Absolutely loved the pounding they put down on the Jets yesterday.  Very good team.

4-0 What could be wrong?

Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons have a really good team, especially since they added Mike Nolan as their Defensive Coordinator.  Seriously, if they make a late post season push, or possibly a Super Bowl appearance, I don't want to hear about Matt Ryan growth and Maturity.  He's a good QB, but their defense is the BIG difference between this year's team and previous versions.  I watched the entire game when they dismantled the Chargers, and yes...Ryan and the offense looked good, but their defense was surreal.  They just execute.

Arizona Cardinals - Raise your hand if you had the Falcons at 4-0 when the season started?  What no one?  Me either.  I don't think their run can last, but their defense is also really, really good.  Patrick Peterson and Calais Campbell are both top 10 defensive players in this league.  Don't count this team out as a flash in the pan.  If they can continue to play Defense like this...they play in the NFC West... Seattle, St. Louis, San Francisco... not offensive juggernauts there.  They are a definite threat to make the playoffs.

Houston Texans - So far, Hands Down, bar none, the Best Team in the NFL.  They can run the ball, their backup running back can run the ball, they have a dominant WR, they have a couple nice 2nd and 3rd option receivers... Their QB plays smart, and can throw the deep ball.  Their defense is tough against the run, and can get after the other team's passer.  Now, what does this mean?  Does being the best team in September mean you are going to be the best team in December?  Recent seasons say no... the Packers two years ago, and the Giants last year, BARELY made the playoffs, but got on a roll, and won the Championship. 

However, with that said, the Texans are the class of the League.  So far.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

NFL Live Blog: Giants/Cowboys season opener.

Coming to you LIVE (well as I write this, it's live, by the time you read it it will be later, but you get the drift) from a farmhouse located somewhere near Elkton, SD....

It's the NFL Season Kickoff Live Blog

(too much?  yeah, I guess so)

Tonight's match up features last year's Super Bowl Champions, The Giants of New York (New York Giants!  Madagascar, witness?) against the Dallas Cowboys.

On hand tonight, we have my brother Chuck, his wife Cheryl, and our children.  Could make for some fun conversation.  Also... I've got my g-mail account open, and I'm waiting for comments from the peanut gallery (that means you...the 3 or 4 people who read this blog).

NY Giant Superbowl greats are bringing out the Lombardi trophies the team has won to the delight of the fans.

Let's break this game down a bit, shall we?

We've got the Tom Coughlin led Giants, against Jason Garrett's Cowboys.  Coughlin looks like your neighbor's Grandpa, he's still spry, and you don't dare go on his lawn.  Jason Garret reminds me of Ron Howard.  I know it's a cliche to compare him to another redhead, but I can't help it.  Opie Cunningham faces off with the old dude from down the street who may have killed someone in the

The QB battle tonight is another contrast in styles.  You have Tony Romo of the Cowboys, who seems to put up good numbers every year, but never really goes anywhere, and has a reputation for choking under pressure...and being a bit injury prone.  On the other side, we've got Eli Manning, who is most famous for being Peyton's kid brother.  Eli rarely wows you with amazing plays, but he's usually pretty smart and comes up big in the clutch, and he's won 2 Super Bowls, and he's NEVER hurt. 

To be honest, I wouldn't want either of them qb-ing my fantasy team, but that's me.

Queen Latifah did a pretty solid job singing the National Anthem.  Remember when she was a rapper? 
Giants start off with the ball, and try a deep play action pass on the first play.
Giants go 3 and out, and will have to punt.  My wife just called and I'm attempting to blog and talk at the same time... this is hard.
Dallas also goes 3 and out...and we start the season with a couple of punts.  Commercial break.
My nephew came in the room, and played Switchfoot's "Meant to Live" for a minute there.  That was a wild minute...stereo, football game, wife on the phone, blog on the laptop...
Eli just hit Victor Cruz on a beautiful pass down the left sideline.  Nice gain there. 
Seriously, how old is Al Michaels?  He did the Miracle on Ice game, back in 1980!  It's 2012, and he's still going strong.  Chris Collinsworth is my favorite color guy for NFL games. 
Eli's slowly moving the G-men down the field here.  The Giants fumble on a sweep play...rookie RB Wilson dropped it when he was hit and the Cowboys recover.  My brother Chuck likes Tom Coughlin.  I agree, Coughlin is a good coach. 
Let's see what Romo can do here.  Big time false start on #77 of the Cowboys...Smith.  I don't blame him though, that Giants D-Line is nasty. 
On 3rd and 4 Romo completes a pass to someone, but my other nephew was in front of the screen and I couldn't see who it was.  This is a real professional operation we've got going here.  I love it.
A brief interruption in the action here, as we lost power to the television and cable box.  Honestly, like 2 seconds after I typed what a professional operation is going on here.  Not sure what happened, but the Giants fans were cheering, and they went to commercial.
Giants have the ball now, and Eli immediately hits Hakeem Nicks on a quick play action play.  I really like Nicks, very good wideout.  After a couple runs by Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants face a 3rd and 2 and Manning completes a short pass to Victor Cruz.  Manning did a nice job recovering a terrible snap there.  End of the first quarter... 0-0.
My 2nd son is pumped, because we just checked our fantasy football league and he's leading everyone in scoring with 11 points.  It's his first year. 
As I type that, Eli gets sacked by the Cowboys.  Nice pressure by DeMarcus Ware.  On 3rd and long, Eli is pressured, and has to throw it away...another punt.  Nearly a great special teams play there, but the ball crosses the goal line.
Just caught sight of Kevin Gilbride on the Giants sideline.  Not a fan.  That man ruined my Chargers for years.  He's done a nice job as the OC of the Giants, though. 
In the meantime, Dallas is moving the ball down the field.  A nice pass to Dez Bryant, and a scramble by Romo.
Giants intercept the ball and nearly return it for a TD. Causing son #2 to beg me repeatedly to check the fantasy scoreboard (He has the Giants defense).  A couple of runs by Bradshaw, one outside, and one inside, go nowhere and it's 3rd and goal.  Eli in shotgun:  throws over the middle, incomplete.  Victor Cruz wanted pass interference on that play, and it looked like he a legit beef.  Tynes kicks the FG to start the scoring.
Giants 3  Cowboys 0
Text from "Timmah":  On the bright side, I have only heard "replacement refs" once.
Very true.
The Cowboys get called for another false start... it's their 3rd or 4th one.  They then run a draw play and Jason Pierre Paul just swallowed it up.  That guy is a beast.  I remember when he was coming out in the draft...they kept saying what a freak athlete he was, and he's shown it in the NFL.  On 3rd and long the 'Boys come up short on a pass completion...nice tackling by the Giants secondary.
I just realized, that I've written a ton of stuff, and we're in a 3-0 game.  Eli takes the field again.  Nice to see that Al and Chris are wearing matching outfits tonight.  That's important.  For what, I'm not certain... I guess it shows they're a team.  Because if they aren't dressed alike... you know they could be... competing or... showing each other up, or ... I don't know...why do they need to dress alike?  Answer me that?
Here's how boring this game has become, my brother and I have been discussing movies that we've watched and fell asleep during.  My claim to fame is "Die Hard with Avengance" and Chuck's was "Mission Impossible".  The Giants have to punt again. 
Eli and Deion Sanders are in the commercial for direct tv's season ticket package.  Where do they come up with these pairings?  A current qb... who's won two Superbowl's, and an old cornerback who hasn't played in years...yeah, let's put them in a commercial together...
2 minute warning, and it's still 3-0. 
Dallas is threatening to score, and of course we have another timeout.  And I get to hear that IE9 Song...Again.  Who loves their Internet browser?  And who loves Internet Explorer? 
Touchdown Cowboys on a pass from Romo to WR Kevin Ogletree.  PAT is good, and it's 7-3 Cowboys.  1:01 to go in the first half.
 See if Eli can do anything in the last minute.  Cruz drops an easy pass on the first play.  On 2nd down, De Marcus Ware brings down Eli...He is really good.  leading to a 3rd and 16.  The Giants run a draw as the clock runs out on the first half. 

Halftime:  Cowboys 7 Giants 3

Commercial for the Voice:  which leads to the question... Real?  or not so Real?  Anyone who has seen the Voice knows of what I speak. 

Snack Break!

Dallas starts with the ball in the 2nd half, with a nice little swing pass to Demarco Murray for 9 yards.  And Romo hits Ogletree on a deep ball for a Touchdown!  Nice pass...nice play.  This Ogletree looks like a player, don't remember him from before this season.

Cowboys 14 Giants 3

Very surprised to see Dallas come out and score on the opening drive of the 2nd half.  Nice job of play calling by Opie Cunningham.  The Giants defense looked off balance that entire drive.

Comment from Kelly: 
Baby Khloe is sleeping through this game...and how you may ask?  Has her Daddy not done a good job in bringing her up as a Giants fan? is because her Daddy is 20 miles away watching the game at Cubby's and she can't hear him yelling at the G-men.

Eli Manning hits a beautiful deep pass to Hixon for 39 yards.  Bradshaw takes the ball around the left side for a touchdown.  PAT is good.

Cowboys 14 Giants 10

This game is actually turning out to be pretty exciting now.  Chuck says the first half was a "malaise".  I agree.  Good word.

Demarco Murray makes a beautiful move in the backfield, make a couple tacklers miss, and turns up a 48 yard gain.  A nice scramble by Romo makes it first and goal for the Cowboys.  On 2nd down Romo gets sacked... Pierre-Paul had the initial pressure, as I said before...that guy is a Beast.  On 3rd down Romo tries the Ogletree plan again...and it's broken up, Dallas settles for a FG.

Cowboys 17 Giants 10 (all of a sudden the offenses are in control)

Roughing the passer is called on the Cowboys.  It wasn't egregious, but he did go to the head with his hands.  Refs had to call it.  I've got to say, these replacement officials are doing a pretty good job.  A few mistakes here and there, but nothing too bad.

Anthony Spencer gets a sack on 3rd down, and the Giants make the first punt of the 2nd half.  Dallas will take over on their 17 yard line.

Chuck and Son #1 are having a riveting discussion on video games...  Miles Austin made a gorgeous catch on a dangerous throw by Romo for a first down.  And I just tried to sign Ogletree to my fantasy football team, and another player had grabbed him...exactly one minute before I made my request.

Dallas is moving into scoring range.  Murray makes a nice run down to the 13 yard line.  Tackled by Dez Bryant, his own teammate (basically).  Dallas gets called for an illegal hands to the face penalty, ouch.  That will push them back 10 yards.  Now at the 23 yard line.  Romo is pressured out of the pocket, and Dallas gets called for holding.  Now another 10 yards back.

On first and 30.... Romo completes a 34 yard TD pass to Miles Austin.  What the heck were the Giants doing?  Dallas extends the lead.

Cowboys 24 Giants 10  5:51 to go in the game.

Ahmad Bradshaw takes a simple draw play for a big gain into Dallas territory, I got a feeling Eli isn't done yet.  Doesn't mean they'll come back and win, but he's got some moxie. 

4th and 2, a Cowboy stop will pretty much assure a victory.  Dallas calls a timeout.  What do you run here if you are Kevin Gilbride?  If it was the old Giants with Brandon Jacobs... you'd just power it up there.  I'm thinking they will probably throw it...but Eli isn't mobile.  Like if you have Romo or someone who can scramble  you could call a pass on some sort of a roll out...

Giants come out in shotgun, and Eli completes a pass to Victor Cruz, but Dallas had jumped offside, anyway.  First down.  Eli JUST misses Hixon on a pass down the seam...that was a TD.  Just led him a bit too much.

3rd and 6 from the Dallas 18 yard line.  Eli hits Cruz at the 13.  4th and 1, and Bradshaw gains the first down in the no huddle.  1st and goal.  Touchdown pass to Marcellus Bennett.  Flag on the play.  Pass Interference on the Defense.  I told you Eli wasn't done!

Cowboys 24  Giants 17  2:36  to go

The Giants kick away, and Dallas returns to the 26 yard line.  So, if you're Jason Garrett, do you run it?  Do you pass it?  I think you run on first down.  And they do, for a short gain.  2:26 to go.  2nd and long.  Timeout Giants. 

Demarco Murray makes a nice gain, and the Giants call another timeout, their last.  It's 3rd and short with 2:17 to go.  Murray makes a run outside to the left for a first down, but there is a penalty flag on the play, and the Giants are claiming holding.  It is holding, on Jason Witten.  It's now 3rd and 12.

Romo in Shotgun... and hits Ogletree for a first down.  2:00 warning.  Dallas has a first down, and the Giants are out of time outs.  The Cowboys go into "Victory" formation, and will kneel down a couple times, and that will be it.

Pretty exciting second half, and a nice game to start the season with.

I'm getting excited for Monday night, and the Chargers/Raiders showdown.

Hey Carson Palmer... you know who's coming for you?  Antwan Barnes.

NFL Kickoff Blog starts at 7:30 pm Central

I'll be doing a live blog of tonight's Giants/Cowboys game tonight.

Here is the plan... I'll have my gmail account account open:

And if you have a comment, snide remark, or snarky opinion....send it to me...preferrably in the chat option or whatever.... and then I'll include it in the live blog.

I will publish and post the blog at the conclusion of the game.

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot... Carson Palmer?  Shaun Phillips is coming for you, on Monday night.

Hey Carson, you looking forward to this?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Live Blog tomorrow night

Tomorrow night, I plan on writing a live blog for the Giants/Cowboys game, as we kick off the NFL season.

Really looking forward to this season, hopefully my Chargers are better than last season, but the pre-season results don't look promising.  Although what does preseason mean?

The Packers and the Patriots are the favorites, but I'm hearing alot of buzz for the Ravens and the Broncos for whatever reason.  I know Peyton Manning is good and all, but that was the worst playoff team I've ever seen last year. 

Other NFL things to look forward to: 

the Rookie QB's.  Andrew Luck, Robert Griffen III, Brandon Weedon, Russel Wilson, and Ryan Tannehill.

the Bears "new look" offense - Jay Cutler now has a big time receiver in Brandon Marshall.  Be interesting to see if the Bears open up the playbook.

the 49ers - was last year a one year wonder, or does Coach Harbaugh still have the magic touch.

the Seahawks - predicted to do nothing, but were kicking every one's tail in the pre-season.  But what does the preseason actually mean?  Usually nothing.

Look forward to seeing Melvin Ingram hunt down Carson Palmer next Monday night.

He's coming for you Carson, and he's not happy...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pre-season Game Diary: Chargers/Packers

Since tonight kicks off the NFL preseason games, and the fact that I am currently staying with my parents during the week for work (long story), I thought tonight would be a good opportunity to break out another game diary.

My Dad is a life-long Packer fan, so I thought it would be fun to jot down what went on during the game.

Not in attendance tonight is my brother Chuck, who is also a Packers fanatic.  He is also a certified member of the "Mike McCarthy Haters Club".  I think McCarthy is a pretty solid coach, but then again my team is coached by Norv Turner, so I'm used to FB teams underachieving.  I'm expecting some texts from Chuck during the game... maybe I'll share a few.

The pregame show just confirmed that Keyshawn Johnson is the worst studio analyst on the network.  He mentioned that the Chargers let Mike Tolbert go (the didn't, he was a free agent who signed for less money in Carolina), and that Rivers likes to throw to tall WR's, and how are Robert Meachum and Eddie Royal going to fill the shoes of Vincent Jackson?  When everyone knows Antonio Gates is the primary target for San Diego's offense, and I'm pretty sure Rivers completed a few passes to Darren Sproles over the years, who isn't exactly very tall.

Breaking News:  espn reporting a Lakers trade for Dwight Howard is considered "imminent".  Very exciting news.

Also, the first female referee will work an NFL game tonight.

On a personal note, I'm looking forward for South Dakota State Jackrabbit Dale Moss to see his first NFL action tonight.  An undrafted free agent, Moss played 4 years of BB for SDSU before playing one year of FB.  I'll be pulling hard for him.

Also excited to see the Chargers first round draft pick Melvin Ingram.  Supposedly he's been playing great in camp.  Along with fellow rookie defensive player Kendall Reyes.  I'll be watching for those guys.

7:00 Welcome to Qualcomm stadium.

Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden are calling the game.  I like Gruden, but man, does that guy like him some quarterbacks.  He gushes about pretty much every one.  Wonder how much qb love he'll throw around tonight?

They mention the "replacement officials" due to the NFL officials lockout, and also mention the first female official, Shannon Eastin.  She is hoping she doesn't get noticed during the game.  That's probably the right mindset.

7:07 Mason Crosby kicks off, and preseason is underway!  Touchback.

Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense take the field. 
First play is a quick 6 yard pass to Antonio Gates.
The second play is a sack of Rivers by Packers Rookie Nick Perry.
Perry is flagged for "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" after the play.  On the replay, it didn't look like much, causing Gruden to say, "I'm not sure why the called that".  My Dad laughs at this.

Scifres punts, and the ball is downed inside the 5 yard line.
Dad:  "I can't See!"  (My Mom had walked into the room in front of him.)

7:16 MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Packers start on there own 3 yard line.
First play is a pass, Rodgers was flushed out of the pocket, and then James Starks drops an easy pass.
Gruden loves how Aaron Rodgers manipulates the snapcount.

3rd and long, and of course Green Bay converts.  The Chargers were the worst team in NFL history on 3rd down defense last season.  Ok, well not in history, but in 60 years.  It was bad.  Something they need to improve.

3rd and 5, and another conversion.

7:20 Starks fumbles the ball.  Looks like he didn't take the handoff cleanly.
Former Packer, and new Charger Atari Bigby recovers the fumble.
Dad:  He was an old Packer.  I don't remember much about him, but I remember he was a Packer.

7:23 Chargers take over on the GB 26 yard line

7:26 Rivers hits Antonio Gates down the seem for a pretty 23 yard Touchdown pass.  Kaeding kicks the extra point.

Chargers 7 Green Bay 0

7:30 Kaeding kicks off, and the Packers return man, Diondre Borel fumbles the return.  Chargers recover.

7:32 Philip Rivers throws a pass intended for Robert Meachum and is picked by Tremond Williams.  Terrible pass by Rivers.

This is ugly.  3 Turnovers with the starters playing.  6:31 to go in the first quarter.

The Head Referee in this game looks scared.

7:37 Packers go 3 and out, and have to punt.

7:39 Chargers rookie RB Michael Hayes loses a fumble, and the Packers AJ Hawk recovers.

4 Turnovers already.

Green Bay takes over at the San Diego 42 yard line.

On 3rd and 2, Rodgers just misses James Jones.
On 4th and 2, Rookie Linebacker Melvin Ingram gets pressure on Rodgers, forcing a bad pass that is intercepted by Antoine Cason.  Nice play by Ingram there.

5th Turnover.  We're still in the first quarter.

7:46  Jarrett Lee from LSU enters the game as the Chargers QB.  We'll see no Charlie Whitehurst tonight.  "Clipboard Jesus" has a slight knee injury and won't play.

Chargers have to punt and Packers punt returner, Shaky Smithson muffs the punt.  The Packers recover.  He lived up to his name on that play.  Shaky.

7:49 Graham Harrell enters the game as the QB for GB.
He promptly misses his first 2 throws.  3 and out, and the Packers punt.

7:53 1st Quarter ends.  7-0 Chargers up.

No texts from Chuck yet, but I gotta feeling they are coming.

This is when pre-season gets confusing, you don't know half the players.

The Chargers go 3 and out, and have to punt.

Dad:  Typical first game, it's a comedy of errors.

Packers go 3 and out, and have to punt.

This is pretty boring.

8:05 Jarrett Lee returns to lead the offense.
He makes a couple of first downs on passes.
Lee actually looks pretty good, better than Harrell anyway.

8:09 Time out called by Norv.

Drive stalls out on the 17 yard line.
Nick Novak promptly boinks the field goal of the left upright of the goalpost.  Somewhere, message boards are blowing up with the epic Kaeding/Novak debate.

Graham Harrell returns to the field and throws a couple inaccurate passes.  Then finally completes one, but for no gain.  He doesn't look very good to me.

Packers punt.

Curtis Brinkly gets a couple of runs for a first down.  He has a great story, I'm pulling for the him.

Lee throws a nice pass to WR Vincent Brown for a 36 yard gain, and then hits Brown for a 27 yard Touchdown.  Vincent Brown looks like a player.  Novak Makes the Extra Point! 

Chargers 14 Packers 0

Novak kicks off, and it's returned to the 30 yard line.

Graham Harrell actually completes a pass!  Of course it was on a 3rd down play.

2:00 warning

1st and goal, and Harrell is Sacked by Larry English.  Flag on the play however, as Melvin Ingram gets called for "Hands to the Face".  1st down again.

8:36  On second down Harrell completes a TD pass to Randall Cobb from 3 yards out.  Crosby kicks the extra point.

Chargers 14 Packers 7

8:39  Lee takes a knee, and its Halftime.  14-7 Chargers.

Text from Chuck:  Packers D still trying to prove who needs to know how to tackle?  We have a gimmick defense and a huge waste of talent.
(He hates the coaches)

Text from Chuck:  They were the worst defense in the league.  They had huge talent.  The gimmick wore out and that's all Capers had.  The Packers are in Trouble.
(He really hates the coaches)

Text from Chuck:  The pack has proven they can have success in spite of, not because of their $h!tty coaching staff.
(He really, really, hates the coaches)

Honestly, I think the Packers coaches are alright, but admittedly I don't watch all their games.  I just know they win alot.  And my team has Norval calling the shots.  And I will admit, Aaron Rodgers would make most Head Coaches look good.  He's phenomenal.

8:52 Tirico and Gruden return for a game of "Who's in that jersey?"

8:54 Harrell starts the 2nd half like he started the first, missing an open WR.
The Packers go 3 and out, and punt.

Jarrett Lee returns for the Chargers, he looks pretty good for a rookie in his first game action.

9:02 As I write that down, he fumbles a snap.
9:02 And then throws an interception.

9:06  Highlight reel on Melvin Ingram.  Showed college highlights, and clips from he first half.  I'm really excited about this kid. 
-fellow rookie Kendall Reyes gets a good pass rush, and forces another Packers punt.

9:14  Dale Moss is in the game!  Just went in motion.
Harrell misses Moss badly on 3rd down, and the Packers have to punt again.

9:19  Chargers take over.  Lee still at QB.  Thought that we might see Kevin O'Connell this drive.
On 3rd down and 10, Lee completes a short pass to Curtis Brinkley.

And the Puntfest continues...

9:22 Find myself hoping that Moss gets a reception.
9:24  And he does.
9:25 Harrell completes a 3rd down pass, and Gruden raves about him.  Guess he hasn't noticed all his other throws.
Thow the ball to Moss!

9:27 end of the 3rd quarter.  Chargers 14 Packers 7

9:31  Moss with a 7 yard catch

9:34 Moss with another catch, and gets some love from Tirico.

9:38 Green Bay running back Marc Tyler drives the ball in for a touchdown.
Green Bay goes for 2, and the pass attempt fails.  Should have thrown it to Moss.

9:53  Nothing of interest has happened on the field in the past 15 minutes.
-But, It sounds as if the Dwight Howard to the LA Lakers deal is official.  The Lakers will keep Pau Gasol.
-Nash, Kobe, Metta, Gasol, Howard = Wow!  This coming NBA season is going to be fun.

9:56 Lee completes a nice deep ball down the left sideline.  He doesn't look too bad.  He'll probably get plucked by another team if the Chargers try to sign him to the practice squad.

10:03 Curtis Brinkly jumps over the pile for a TD.  He's shown better than Hayes in this first pre-season game.  Still a longshot to make the roster though.
Chargers 21  Packers 13

10:07 QB change for the Packers, rookie BJ Coleman from UT Chattanooga.

10:13 Game Over

Thoughts?  Well, hard to tell.  Such a mixture of players and such, and with all the subbing, not a lot you can take away from a pre-season game.  Melvin Ingram does look promising though, and Jarrett Lee looked better than I thought he would.

For Green Bay, they better hope nothing happens to Aaron Rodgers.  Harrell wasn't getting it done tonight.  But again, it's just one game, and a preseason game at that, and the first one. 

These will definitely be two teams, I'l be keeping my eye on this season.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Insanity Post on TVFury

I wrote a blog post on doing the Insanity home fitness program for TVFury.

Check it out.

I've got some pretty good ideas for some new blog posts, but I'm struggling with time.  New job, new career, moving, etc, etc...

Gotta just sit down and focus.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Olympic Thoughts

So, with the games nearing a week old, I thought I'd dust off the blog, and put down a few thoughts.

The opening ceremony?  It was pretty cool.  I didn't watch the entire thing, because it was quite long, but the James Bond/Queen scenario was enjoyable, and any time you can end a show with Paul McCartney, it's pretty epic.  I did NOT like the US Opening Ceremony Uniforms, c'mon Ralph Lauren... a beret?  Ridiculous.

My favorite part of the opening ceremony?  In a landslide..... Mr. Bean!!!
Mr. Bean "ran away" with a most impressive Opening Ceremony performance.
-The Americans are kinda kicking some butt in the pool this year.  It seems like each race there is a challenger to an American, but they are all from different countries.  The American swimming program is really quite extraordinary.

-Can people cut Michael Phelps a break?  I don't know if I'd consider him the greatest Olympian ever, but he HAS to be in the discussion, he just has to.  And for anyone to criticize him for "not taking it seriously" and "being cocky/arrogant", well that is just asinine.  The man has pretty much dedicated his life to swimming, and he's basically lived in the pool, and now at the close of a tremendous career you criticize him?  I don't get it.  Enjoy it.

Beach Volleyball
-Both the men's and women's teams are doing well so far.  It will be interesting to see if Misty May Treanor and Keri Walsh can win the gold for a 3rd straight Olympics.  Pretty phenomenal run they are on.

-Worst thing about the London Olympics?  The weather and it's affect on the beach volleyball uniforms.  They are playing in long sleeves!

-Congratulations to the women's gymnastics team for winning the team gold medals.  Very impressive performance by the young ladies.

-The men's team on the other hand was a disappointment.  It was tough to watch.  I really felt bad for those guys, you could see it in their faces, it wasn't going their way.

-What a terrible rule it is that only two members of each team can make the individual all-around finals.  Just criminal.  I think it should just be a certain number of gymnasts... the top ones from the prelims make the finals... and if all 5 members of team USA make it, and some other country only gets one, that's too bad.  It's "Individual", it's in the name of the event!

-This US team is so good, I actually fell asleep watching them rout Angola the other day.  Would they beat the 92 dream team?  Probably not, outside of Tyson Chandler they really have no size.  But, I think it would have been a heck of a game.  The 92 team was much better offensively, but this current team is much better defensively.  It's fun to speculate.  No matter, if they lose to anyone it would be a colossal upset.

I find myself looking forward to watching the track and field events.  Overall, I've been pretty impressed with the Olympics, the Americans are performing well, and London appears to be doing a great job as a host.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I can't do this all on my own...Scrubs thoughts

So the other day, I was driving along and listening to the oldies station on the radio, and Boston's More Than a Feeling came on.  For most of my adult life, the first thing I would have thought of was Matt Thurston blasting this song on his radio repeatedly in the dorms (first floor Waneta Hall fall of 1989).  However, what immediately did spring to mind, was the "Air Band" from Scrubs, formed by Ted and the Janitor.

I miss scrubs.  Sure, there were better comedies out there, Seinfeld for sure, M*A*S*H definitely.  But for whatever reason, I don't miss them as much.  Scrubs left an indelible impression on me.  I find myself thinking of it often (like in the car), using lines from it often (to which most people just look at me like I'm a nutcase), and often I just break out in laughter because I remembered something from scrubs that reminds of something going on at the time (at which people look at me like I'm a nutcase).

Comedy Central used to show "repeats" of scrubs twice a day every day, for it seems like 5 years.  We watched it all the time at my house.  I distinctly remember my 3 year old son (at the time) when I was singing the scrubs theme song "I can't do this all on my own..."  finishing my song as he walked by "I'm no Superman".  He was 3.  He didn't even look at me.  It was burned into his brain.  (And yes, I realize that my 3 year old recognizing and singing a television theme song does not qualify me as a "Father of the Year" candidate.

I miss these guys.
It was hilarious and ridiculous, yet real and relatable.  At one moment an irreverent, zany, comedy about doctors.  In the next moment, moving you to tears over something that real people deal with all the time. 

Jim Valvano made his epic speech at the ESPY awards in which he said "You laugh, you cry, you think... that's a full day.  That's a great day."  That was scrubs, it made laugh, it made you cry, it made you think.

I'd like to post or link to some great "scrubs moments" here, but there are honestly too many... however, there are some great "compilations" on youtube, including:
Lastly, I'd also like to mention that scrubs also had one of the greatest final episodes of all time, ending with a video of JD imagining his future set to Peter Gabriel's "Book of Love".

You can still follow Zach Braff and Donald Faison on Twitter.  They banter back and forth just like Turk and JD did.  But I still miss the show.  I still watch it when I can, and I always laugh.  I miss you guys!

Friday, June 22, 2012

So Distrespectul

Anyone familiar with Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless and their endless bickering on espn's First Take will enjoy this video.

This is just hilarious, and fun, and phenomenal.

I love Stephen A. Smith, and although I'm not a fan of the bickering that goes on during that program, I do understand that is what the show is all about.

Can't Beat the Heat

Congratulations to the 2012 NBA Champions, the Miami Heat.

I'm not sure there has ever been a more disliked, disrespected, and just out and out hated team to win a Championship.  What the members and coaching staff of this team has had to go through the past two seasons has really never been seen before.  Yet, here we are two seasons, two finals appearances and a one championship later.  So a tip of the cap to the Heat, and much respect from the Sports Doofus.

To Pat Riley - The Architect
Put together this team by wooing LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and re-signing Dwayne Wade.  His critics were many.  Who is going to play post?  With that much money spent on those three players how can he build a championship roster?  I cannot count how many times I heard something along the lines of "they have 3 good players, and nobody else".  Yet, the roster was evidently good enough to make the NBA finals both years, and won their title in their second try.  Here's the thing, this team isn't old.  I keep hearing about how the Thunder are the team of the future, and they may be.  But I don't think Miami is going away for the next few seasons.  They are going to be around awhile.

To Eric Spoelstra - The Coach
It was just a few weeks ago and I was hearing things like "Doc Rivers is coaching circles around Spoelstra", "He's in over his head", and "Spoelstra will be fired unless the Heat win the title".  Well, they won the title.  Now, this wasn't an easy task for any coach.  Sure he had his "Big 3" to build around, but who else could handle that many egos, that much publicity, that much pressure, and the constant scrutiny this team was under.  It could have and would have crippled many coaches.  Coach Spoelstra kept his cool and just did his job.  I loved how he handled himself throughout the past two seasons.  Every time the Heat fell behind in a series (down 2 games to 1 to the Pacers, down 3 games to 2 against the Celtics) the media was crying for his head and talking about how the Heat were "vulnerable" to this and/or that.  Adjustments were made, changes in gameplan were implemented, and the Heat were able to overcome.  I'm not sure it's possible that enough credit will be given to him.  He deserves as much credit as anyone.  Period.

To LeBron James - The Best Basketball Player on the Planet
LeBron will get most of the coverage for this championship, and deservedly so.  I don't think there has ever been a player who has been more criticized despite his greatness on the court.  Certainly, "The Decision" played a large factor in this.  I remember watching it, and I said it myself immediately afterward, "I hate the Heat".  I admit it.  I piled on.  I joined the Haters club.  I felt like he was a cop out, and a coward, and someone undeserving of any praise.  However, as the past two years went on, I couldn't help but pull for the guy a bit.  He's not my favorite player, or my favorite person, but c'mon people... this guy is simply amazing. In the Celtics series, he spent time guarding Rondo (the point guard) and Garnett (the center), he did it all.  He led fast breaks like a point guard, rebounded like a power forward, and led the team when they needed it (dropping over 40 points in Boston in a possible elimination game on the road).  Watching him play this post season was just epic.  It was an epic performance from the preeminent player in the world.  I hope now that some of the haters will let go of their issues, and just enjoy the amazing abilities the man brings to the table.

To Dwayne Wade - The Sidekick
One of the things we've been subjected to redundantly over the past two years is "who's team is it?".  After all, Wade had led the Heat to a title in 2006.  He was the "alpha dog" in Miami, he was the man and now he was going to have to share the ball with LeBron?  And countless discussions about how "LeBron and Wade play the same way... they can't survive that way" in addition to the "Who takes the last shot in a close game?"  Most people felt that it would be Wade's team, and LeBron would settle in as his 2nd in command.  It didn't work that way, LeBron is too good, too talented, and it takes a big man to "step aside" and let another player take over the "leadership" role (I mean, seriously can you imagine Kobe deferring to anyone?  anyone?).  Wade did that this season.  He let LeBron take charge, and correctly so.  

To Chris Bosh - The Forgotten
It wasn't long into this run, about 10 games in or so, that the jokes started.  "Big 3?  More like Big 2 and a half."  Bosh was chastised, called out, and at times scapegoated for the failures of the team (like they don't have a post player, and Bosh just wants to shoot jumpshots).  However, it was very easy to see in the Boston series how much Chris Bosh meant to this team.  Boston was having their way with the Heat inside until Bosh returned from his abdominal injury.  Notwithstanding his incredible performance in that game 7 win against Boston, it was just the difference he made to the team... Garnett and/or Brandon Bass couldn't drop off and help clog the lane, because Bosh made them pay from the perimeter.  And he was a very impressive player throughout the NBA Finals.  Lost in the hype surrounding the game 5 championship clinching win (LeBron's triple double, Mike Miller's shooting performance), was that Bosh played an outstanding game.  He scored 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks...And, he got the game started scoring inside a couple of times early, and made a beautiful move past Kendrick Perkins for a dunk that ignited the crowd.  Do not underestimate the importance of Bosh to this team.  In reality, he really is the perfect "3rd wheel" and played his role to perfection.

To The Role Players - Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Norris Cole, Mike Miller
For two years I've heard that the Heat "didn't have anyone outside of the Big 3".  Well, that just turned out to not be true.  
Shane Battier shot lights out from the field in the first few games, hitting timely 3's and keeping the floor spaced for Wade and LeBron to drive.  He took charges over and over again... really I don't think I've ever seen a better charge taker than Battier.  Without his performance there is no way the Heat win this title.
Mario Chalmers, despite struggling mightily from the field in games 2 and 3, made several big plays to seal game 4 for the Heat (scoring 25 points), and honestly, Chalmers is an underrated defender.  I'm not saying he's in the running for any all defensive team, but he's better than you think.
Udonis Haslem didn't do anything fantastic in the finals, but he was the only "big" who saw any playing time besides Chris Bosh.  He set picks, grabbed boards, and made hustle plays.  And he was also HUGE in their win in the Celtics Series, especially when Bosh was out with injury.  He's only 6'8" and was often guarding 7 footers, and then having to switch off on screens to guard speedy guards like Westbrook, Harden and Rondo.
Norris Cole as a rookie really came up big.  He made some nice plays in the Celtics series, and he scored a quick 8 points to start the Heat comeback in game 4 (remember, they were down 17 in the first quarter of that game).  This guy has a bright future in the league, and certainly showed he wasn't afraid of the moment.
Mike Miller - well, Mike didn't do much throughout the playoffs, he was bothered by a back injury, and he looked like it on the court.  He couldn't run from one end to the other, he was painful just to watch.  Then, game 5 of the finals he hits 7 of 8 3 pointers.  Just an unconscious shooting performance from the South Dakota native (former Mitchell Kernel).

Also, a tip of the hat to the Thunder.  An excellent young team, with an exciting and talented group of players that should be in the running for the NBA title for many years to come.  Westbrook, Durant, Harden, and Ibaka are only going to get better.  Remember Thunder fans, last season the Heat took it on the chin in the finals too.  This young team keeps improving, keeps advancing a round farther in the playoffs each year.  I can foresee another Heat/Thunder NBA Finals next year.

One last thought on OKC.  Coach Scott Brooks has done a great job with this team.  I started to read some rumors and whispers on a few talk shows, and on twitter blaming him for his team's failures.  It would be a colossal mistake for the Thunder to get rid of Coach Brooks.  They need to keep him and his team as intact as they can and bring it back again next year.

Thanks for reading my thoughts, enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Heat/Celtics Series Final thoughts.

First, before I start in on the Heat/Celtics Eastern Conference Finals, how about these NBA playoffs?  Just amazing drama and performances up and down the league.  It's been incredible to watch.

Starting with Derrick Rose tearing his ACL in the Bulls/76ers series, then his team fighting back and taking the Sixers 7 games.  The Nuggets took the Lakers 7 games in the West, another compelling series that could have gone either way.  Then in the second round... The Sixers and Celtics went 7 games, the Pacers led the Heat 2-1, and the Lakers/Thunder series was closely contested (even if the Thunder won in 5.. those games were tough and hard fought.

Then, looking the Conference finals...both were compelling, but the Heat/Celtics was clearly the better series.  OKC took a punch from the Spurs losing the first 2 games, and then won 4 games in a row.

This Heat/Celtics match up was epic.  Miami winning two at home, followed by Boston winning two at home (2 of those games going to overtime).  Boston beating the Heat in Miami in game 5, to go ahead 3-2 and returning home for game 6.  At that time, LeBron couldn't close...Spoelstra couldn't coach, Dwayne Wade wasn't playing great.  And they have to play in Boston, facing a team with oodles of confidence, who won 3 in a row.

Then, the LeBron James game happened.  He was amazing in game 6.  He was that "force of nature" we saw against the Pistons those years ago.  Unbelievable performance.

Which set up game 7 tonight.  I actually was surprised at the start of the game.  Boston took the early lead, and kept it for pretty much the entire first half.  I even tweeted that Miami "had to close within 5 by half, or the Celtics win".  They didn't.  They were down 7 at the break.  And yet, they found a way to win, actually running away in the final few minutes.  With that, I have 3 thoughts on game 7.

1.  Chris Bosh was HUGE tonight.  He was an amazing.  He hit 3 3 pointers, but more important than that was his defense and rebounding.  Remember earlier in the series when the Celtics were getting numerous offensive rebounds in crunch time?  With Haslem and Bosh on the court, the amount of 2nd shot opportunities for the Celtics simply weren't there.  On a few occasions, KG looked like he was in position to grab the board, but Bosh would slide over and snag it away.  It happened several times.  Chris Bosh came up big tonight, and proved that it really is a Big 3, not a Big 2.

2.  Rajon Rondo is an enigma.  In game 2 he goes off for 44 points.  He had 10 assists at halftime tonight.  He flirts with a triple double nearly every time he steps on the floor.  That said, his turnovers in Game 6 were a huge reason why the Heat were able to blow the Celtics out in that game.  And tonight, Game 7, NBA  Finals on the line... Dwayne Wade was playing 5 feet off him in crunch time.  There is no other "star" in this league who would be given this much space.  And I don't think you can be considered with the best players in the league when you're at the top of the key, and your man is standing on or slightly below the free throw line.  Don't get me wrong, he is an extremely talented player, and I'm not here trying to rip on his game, I just don't think you can be considered "elite" if the other team lays off you in crunch time.

3.  Eric Spoelstra can coach.  He was ripped on in the Indiana series, when they fell behind 2 games to 1.  Then the Heat ripped off 3 games in a row.  In this series, when they fell behind 3-2, I was reading things like "Spoelstra is in over his head".  Tons of credit were being thrown in the direction of Doc Rivers, and rightfully so, but you do realize he won 2 games with Rony Turiaf starting at center and playing significant minutes?  Then, he tried Joel Anthony, and he did what Joel Anthony does...mostly play a little D and stand around on offense.  When they got Chris Bosh back, they looked like a different team out there.  I'd really like to see the guy get some credit.  He got the Heat to the finals last year, in the first season of the "Big 3", and now he's returned.  You try and manage a team with that many egos, and the outlandish expectations of everyone in the media.  If the Heat lost this series, the cries for his firing would have been deafening.  And it would have happened.  However, they made the finals again.  Give Coach Spo his due, he deserves it.

Really looking forward to the Heat/Thunder finals.  The two young "Big 3's" get to face off Durant-Westbrook-Harden vs James-Wade-Bosh.  It's all set up to be a "good vs evil" finals.  The team from the small market, with the young home grown stars (the Thunder drafted each of those 3 in consecutive seasons), going against the evil, plotting, free agent signing Heat.  Really should be fun to watch.  Two teams with tons of athleticism and neither team is afraid to mix it up on the defensive end.  Can't wait to see how many fouls Kendrick Perkins disagrees with (all of them).  Can't wait to see how many "did you just see that shots" that Kevin Durant hits.  Looking forward to see LeBron leading the break, all 6'9" and 250 pounds of him (seriously, how scary would that be to see coming at you with a head of steam).

NBA Action, It's Fantastic!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Farewell Don Quixote

For whatever reason, some years back I determined that it would be a wise course of action for me to pursue reading great works of literary fiction.  I thought reading one "classic" a year would be good for me, and as someone who likes to read, I thought it would be something I'd enjoy.

Well, for the most part this has held true.  I have read a number of "classics" over this period, including:  Catch 22, Slaughterhouse Five, The Count of Monte Cristo, and so on...  I'm not sure if all the "classics" I've read are actually "classics".  For the most part, I have just picked a book that is older than I am and has some acclaim.

And then came Don Quixote.  I'm slightly ashamed to admit that the first two times I tried to read this book, I was unable to do so.  On both occasions I would start it, and then I'd lose motivation, and eventually I just gave up.

However, this time I was confident and motivated.  Last year I had made it through Dumas's "The Count of Monte Cristo" which had also been translated, and was written in another century.  So I figured, "I can read this".

Well, late last night I accomplished my goal.  It took me the better part of 3 months of reading almost every night (it's a terribly long book, 976 pages in Hardcover).  The language is pretty difficult, being that it is translated from a form of Spanish in the early 1600's.  When I was halfway through the book, I became convinced that I would never finish it, and also... that quite possibly it would never end.

However, last night as I finished the final few chapters I found myself sad with the realization that Don Quixote would soon be leaving me.  What  tremendous characters that Cervantes created.  It is sort of sad for me to let "The Knight of the Lions" and his faithful companion Sancho Panza fade away.

If you ever wanted to read Don Quixote, I would recommend it as a great story, with unforgettable characters and adventures.  However, you need to be warned that you need to bring your endurance...your patience will be tested, and ultimately, rewarded.  But it isn't easy reading.

As for me, I'm going to read some lighthearted comedy for a while, probably starting with Michael Ian Black's "You're Not Doing It Right".

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Top Ten NBA Coaches

So, since we're in the heart of the NBA playoff season, and nearing the conference Finals, I thought it may be a good time to break down the top 10 coaches in the NBA.

(Well that, and the fact that I didn't have anything else to write about... the top ten list is the savior of the uninspired writer)

As always we will be using a highly specific and advanced system to measure, judge, and properly rank these coaches... namely my opinion.  So without further pomp and circumstance.... my top 10 NBA coaches.

10.  Lionel Hollins - Memphis Grizzlies 

I'm a fan of Coach Hollins.  I like the way he carries himself on the bench.  He did a pretty good job with Memphis this year, losing Zach Randolph for a big portion of the season.  Part of this ranking...being included in the top 10, is living off of last season's knocking out the Spurs in round one.

9.  Mike Brown - LA Lakers

Most Laker fans are not a fan of Coach Brown, and I will admit to being confused at some of his rotations, but the guy did not have an easy job this past season.  He had the Chris Paul trade vetoed, Lamar Odom asked to leave, Pau wasn't himself most of the season because of trade rumors, Metta World Peace got suspended for the first 6 playoff games, and he had to deal with all the Andrew Bynum stuff.  They lost in the 2nd round of the playoffs, but they were in, and could have won 2 of those games...  I liked how he carried himself, didn't make excuses, and accepted accountability.  Remember Coach Brown led LeBron and not much of anything else to the NBA finals, and had the best record in the league 2 straight seasons.  I think he's a pretty good coach.

8.  Scott Brooks - Oklahoma City Thunder

I've been very impressed with Coach Brooks throughout these playoffs.  He has really done a nice job with this Thunder team.  The players all seem to know their roles, there are no surprise rotation changes, and they pretty much play the same way every day.  Consistency is big.  Now how much of this is having a bunch of young stars to build around, and how much of it is coaching?  I guess we'll find out.

7.  Doug Collins - Philadelphia 76ers

Doug Collins is a great "teacher and builder" of teams.  Basically, if you suck and you have some young guys you want to improve, you bring in Doug Collins.  However, after a few years, his act wears thin on NBA veterans and he needs to be replaced.  However, he is a very sound coach, and really does a fine job in getting people to improve.

6.  Rick Adelman - Minnesota Timberwolves

This guy should probably be higher on the list.  Coach Adelman has built a pretty good career, and he's won pretty much everywhere he's went. (Except for Houston).  He was just a few games from making the finals in Sacramento, and actually made it to the Finals with Portland.  The Timberwolves got a good one here, and if they can keep the core of their young team together... they could be a team to watch in coming seasons.

5.  George Karl - Denver Nuggets

He's also never won the big one, but he made the finals once with the Sonics.  I'm also a bit biased towards George because he's a Tar Heel.  And consistently he has taken teams that aren't as talented as the teams he goes against, and stretches out a long series.  I think he's improved as an NBA coach over the years, and honestly his Nuggets team was probably my favorite team to watch during the season... watching Ty Lawson run the break, it was like watching the Tar Heels.

4.  Doc Rivers - Boston Celtics

I don't think I'd have had Doc this high if not for this season.  I wasn't that impressed with the title he won (beat the Lakers in 6 games without Bynum), they couldn't make the finals if one of their players were hurt, and he did have "The Big Three" to lean on.  Certainly he wasn't making any top ten lists the year before Boston acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.  But he did a really good job this year.  And actually, the job he did this year made me re-think his entire tenure.  He's a pretty good coach.  Although he coaches for the enemy.

3.  Tom Thibodeau - Chicago Bulls

Here's how you know you have a good coach... your team's best player, the reigning MVP of the league gets hurt and plays in only 39 of 66 regular season games, in a compressed schedule, strike shortened season, and you still pull off the best record in the league.  Yes, they lost in the first round.  But they did lose Derrick Rose, again, in the first round.

2.  Rick Carlisle - Dallas Mavericks

Coach Carlisle finally reached the "top of the mountain" last year, and he has been a highly regarded coach in the NBA for many years.  He had been the head coach of the Indiana Pacers when they were given the death blow by the NBA for the Malice at the Palace incident.  He was hamstrung this past season as Dallas chose to let players leave to clear cap space.

1.  Gregg Poppovich - San Antonio Spurs 

Not much more can be said about coach Poppovich that hasn't already been said many other places.  But the fact that he can still have the spurs in a position to be NBA contenders after all these years is just simply amazing.  The only coach that is on Popp's level is Phil Jackson and he isn't in the league right now.  The Spurs have gone from a defensive team, to an unstoppable offense force.  From a team that was post orientated to a team that stretches the floor and hits 3's like no one else.  Popp's ability to get his team to continually be a contender no matter what style, no matter what year, sets him apart from the rest.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fixing the Lakers at TV Fury.

Yesterday, New York author and blogger Shawn Fury and I did an e-mail exchange it which we attempted to fix the roster of the LA Lakers.

You can read the exchange here.

Thanks to Shawn and fellow site runner Terry Vandrovec for giving me the opportunity to contribute.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

So a few weeks ago, I was just sitting around and I noticed that the coachella music festival had a YouTube channel.  As I was working on a paper for Grad School that weekend, I spent a great deal of time with coachella playing in the background.  (BTW, how cool is it that you can watch free streams from music festivals now?  If they would have had things like this when I was in college, I'd have never graduated... I'd have gotten expelled after watching too many Lollapalooza's).

They had 3 stations or channels or streams or whatever you want to call them.  Usually with a different band performing on each one.  As evening rolled around I had just been really impressed with "We Were Promised Jetpacks", and was looking for who I was going to watch/listen to next.

And then I heard HER.  Check out this clip from that performance, it's short, and you'll see what I mean.

That voice was amazing.  Her band was locked in.  They had an old school kind of groove going on, and the crowd was eating it up.  I must have told my son about 15 times "these guys are amazing!"

And, on top of that... she's quite... how do I put this as not to offend... well OK, I'll just say it, she's gorgeous.  I kept thinking to myself as I watched the performance... "How is this woman not a Huge Star?"

So that night I downloaded their album "Grace Potter and the Nocturnals".  I have to say, it's pretty darn good.  The catchy single "Paris (Ooh, La, La)" is the most commercially successful track.

It just makes me wonder, how or why people become stars?  How do we end up listening to the crap we hear over the airwaves, and not hear people with actual talent?  

They have a new album coming out in June called "The Lion The Beast The Beat" and you can bet I'll be downloading that one as well.

One other thing I noticed in watching YouTube clips, is so many people mention how great a live band they are, and that they are a much better live band than they are on their albums.  And you can see this online... just go look on YouTube... you won't have any trouble seeing amazing performances.

I'll leave you with another clip from that coachella performance I watched that night.  Tell me that band isn't just having a great time?  You Go Grace!  (and your Nocturnals!)