Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Riley Cooper was wrong, but its way OVERBLOWN

Let me start off by saying that what Riley Cooper said was wrong and insensitive. He should have never said what he said, but he did and it is time to move past. Can any of us truly say that at 25 years old, we never made a bad decision or said something we regret? Does anyone believe he was at a Country music concert and was NOT drunk? I do not think so. I can understand his team, the Philadelphia Eagles, giving him a brief leave of absence to get some sensitivity training or whatever. What I cannot understand is the public outcry for the league office to suspend him. Since when has the NFL turned into Big Brother, watching and judging its players even when they are away from anything related to football?

First of all, for those who don't know, the league could not punish Riley Cooper. Under the newest collective bargaining agreement, both the team and the league cannot punish a player. So, as soon as the Eagles decided to handle things in house, there was little to nothing Roger Goodell could have done. Second, I think people as a whole are becoming way too concerned with being politically correct all the time. It is turning this country into a soft country. We are becoming far too worried about appearing so perfect, that its rotting us from the inside. Finally, although what he said was wrong, is he not protected by a little thing called the first amendment?

Freedom of Speech is one of the strongest pillars this country was founded on. It allows any citizen to speak there mind, as long as they are not threatening violence on another person. For example, it is this freedom of speech that allows members of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church to rally with hate at the funerals of fallen soldiers and the like. It is despicable, but they are protected by the Constitution. While Cooper's contract almost certainly has language concerning issues detrimental to the team, his biggest punishment is going to be going into a mixed minority locker room everyday and having to look his teammates in the eye. Some have said they forgive him, others have said they aren't sure yet about him.

Another aspect of the story is how the guy grew up over the last 7-10 years. He played his college ball at Florida before joining the Eagles. Anyone who has ever played football, or been in a locker room, you know the "N" word is thrown around in many different contexts. While Cooper's use was certainly on the bad end of the spectrum, is it out the realm of possibility he felt somewhat exempt from the consequences because he worked and went to school with a bunch of black athletes. Perhaps he was so overexposed to the word, he felt nothing wrong with using it however he felt. Surely, he was mistaken in his thinking, but at the end of the day this story was way overblown by the media. Its time to move on, and start reporting about all the murders, crime and poverty that are effecting this country in a far more powerful way.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Boxing will always be the #1 combat sport, at least to me

Besides running, there is no simpler yet complex sport than boxing. Since ancient times, people would pay to watch two gladiators step into the ring. It was a test of skill, endurance and will power. At one point, boxing was the top draw in terms of sports in America. Guys like Frazier, Ali, and Foreman were household names. However, over the last 20 years the sport has declined in popularity. There are still a ton of great fighters and fights almost monthly, but the public seems content to let the sport continue as more of a novelty. That can change, but its going to take some give and take from both fans and the boxing community.

The biggest obstacle facing boxing is the lack of any real heavyweight competition. The Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, currently share all the major belts. The problem with that is they both promised their mother a long time ago that they would never fight each other. This is a promise that will not be broken, and it is killing the sport. The heavyweight division always has offered the most marketable stars. Their size and power make them natural attractions, but without valid competition, there are no quality fights to be had. The Klitschko's have been unstoppable and appear to remain that way until they decide to retire. While both are future Hall of Fame inductees, their style of fighting does not draw in new viewers. Boxing purists love their almost robotic style, throwing jabs and lead rights; fans think it is boring. So, until the heavyweight division becomes competitive again, boxing as a whole will still wait for another cultural boom in America.

Another big problem plaguing American boxing, is the lack of homegrown superstars. The two biggest American stars currently are probably Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Andre Ward. Mayweather is currently the best pound for pound fighter in boxing and is an established force in boxing. He is a great self promoter, and his PPV fights continue to break records. For better or worse, he plays the cocky character perfectly. Half the fans pay because they likely are witnessing one of the greatest fighters of all time. The other half pay because they finally want to see someone shut him up. Andre Ward is a former Olympic gold medalist. He is already a star, and with his undefeated record, is quickly ascending to super stardom. Outside of these two, American fans do not have a ton of legitimate talent to root for. Also, there is no real American talent in the heavyweight division. This is a problem because rooting interests would suggest people would most likely root for a fighter from the same country as them. However, most Americans with heavyweight size are usually committed to playing football or basketball.

There is also some work that needs to be done from the sanctioning bodies and promoters in boxing. There are so many different sanctioning bodies, that it can get confusing for people to follow. The WBC, WBO, WBA and IBF are just a few of the sanctioning bodies. It leads to too many champions and titles often being forfeited.  Also, there are too many weight classes; there is almost a different weight class every few pounds. They need to limit the amount of weight classes, thereby adding more quality fighters to each smaller division. Finally, promoters need to stop hoarding fighters and not allowing their fighters to fight guys from other promotions. Currently, Bob Arum and Golden Boy are the two biggest promoters in boxing. They often squabble about fights and fighters, and the fans end up on the losing end. Mandatory fights should be made regardless of the promoter, the purse or the venue.

With the rise of MMA in America, boxing needs to make some drastic changes fast. The sweet science is a beautiful sport, but it is in danger of falling by the wayside. Fans have still proven to pay big bucks to see mega fights, so the potential is there. If the big wigs in boxing in the USA were smart, they would start cultivating interest in the youth of America. It is rare to find a boxing gym nowadays, with parents often concerned with physical contact and injury. However, boxing can provide children with many valuable lessons. Hard work, overcoming obstacles, and sticking to a regimen are all things that will benefit children in their adult lives. The possibility of injury is there, but is very limited as long as professionals are around to supervise. I love boxing, and hope it continues on the upswing. I used to and still love watching boxing with my dad, and it is something I hope to watch with my son in the future.

Monday, July 1, 2013

This Year will be Brady's Biggest Test

Tom Brady is one of the greatest stories in the history of the NFL. He was overlooked coming out of the University of Michigan; he had to hear 6 other quarterbacks names get called before his. Players such as Giovanni Carmazzi and Tee Martin were drafted ahead of him. He was the fourth quarterback of New England's roster. Finally, after an injury to Drew Bledsoe in 2001, Brady got his shot. The rest is well documented history. Three Super Bowl wins, a single season touchdown passes mark, and a sure fire fist ballot Hall of Fame career. However, this upcoming season may be his most difficult. With the loss of Aaron Hernandez to a murder charge, Wes Welker to free agency and Rob Gronkowski sidelined with back surgery, Brady will have to implement a new system in order to keep the dominance going.

As astounding as it seems, the New England Patriots currently have one wide receiver that caught a pass from Tom Brady last year. His name is Julian Edelman, and he is not even assured a roster sport through training camp. The loss of Welker may be felt the most, as he was Brady's favorite target. He was New England's all time leader in catches, but the team felt they could still maintain a championship team by letting him walk. The team signed Danny Amendola, who plays the slot just like Welker. The potential problem is that Amendola has a history of injury. The team also signed Donald Jones and Michael Jenkins. Jones could never become a consistent force in Buffalo, while Jenkins has earned the nickname Molasses Mike for his inability to separate from coverage. While Brady has done wonders with groups of no name receivers before, this group is going to test the skill of the 35 year old. But luckily for him, he won't have to do all the heavy lifting.

The Patriots usually go as far as Brady's arm will take them. But last year, the Patriots found they had a pretty good compliment of running backs. Led by Stevan Ridley, this group is going to be asked to shoulder a heavy offensive load. Ridley rushed for over 1,200 yards and a dozen touchdowns last year. The team will expect nothing less and it will likely have to lean on the running game. In addition, the team also has Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden, and the newly acquired LeGarrette Blount. Vereen has been used as a pass catcher, while Bolden and Blount run with more power. This group will have a lot to prove, and with defenses keying on Brady first, they could be a nice surprise.

All in all, I think it will be another division title in New England. They are lucky they play in one of the worst divisions in football. While the Dolphins spent a lot of money this off season, there is no proof that will translate to the field. The Jets and Bill are both in a rebuilding phase. This should give Brady at least another season to get into the playoffs. From there, anything can happen. Brady has gone to 5 Super Bowls, and won 3. If he can get just one playoff win, I think this season will be a success. Just don't tell any Patriots fans that. They expect to hoist the Lombardi trophy every year, no matter what.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Time to make a move Giants

With the baseball season right about at the halfway point, its time for teams to decide whether they are contenders or pretenders. Those who feel they can contend will look to strengthen their team for the final run. A missing bat or pitcher could be the key to a championship. For teams who are out of it, now is the time to both dump payroll and see what they have in young talent. For the San Francisco Giants, this question is a hard one to answer. They are currently 3 games under .500 and sit 6.5 games in their division. While some may say that makes them pretenders, we are talking about a team that has won it all 2 of the past 3 years. There is still time to turn this season around, but the Giants are going to have to make some changes in order for that to transpire.

The first thing the Giants need to do is find another power bat. Currently, the team ranks 28th out of 30 teams in home runs hit. They also rank in the bottom half of the league in slugging percentage. They do rank 6th in the league in team average, so all is not lost. They get people on base, but aside from Buster Posey, they have no other premium threat in the lineup. Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval have proven to be streaky, so I think another big bat would help. Josh Willingham of the Twins is a player I would look out for. The Twins are in rebuild mode, and might want to unload the 34 year old on the cheap. He could slide into left field until Angel Pagan returns, then can platoon, pinch hit or even play some first base. The power he brings is worth the price, and with the arms in the Giants division, they need as many quality hitters as possible. The Giants need to find power at one of the corner positions of left field or first base. Those are typically power hitting positions, and the Giants are severely lacking in that area. For example, Brandon Belt has 8 home runs as the Giants everyday first baseman. Chris Davis, first baseman of the Orioles, has hit 28 home runs. The situation needs to be addressed because the offense has to score to win, because the pitching has been far from dominant.

Over the last few years, pitching has been the Giants calling card. From the starters to the bullpen, fans could almost always expect a great performance from the pitching staff. It even gave birth to the phrase "Giants baseball......torture!". One run games were routine, but OK because the pitching staff could shut down most opposing teams. It would seem, however, that the league has slowly begin to catch up with the Giants. The team ranks in the bottom half of the league in team ERA and WHIP. This is alarming mostly because the offense is so woeful; the team has a hard time playing catch up, which puts added pressure on the pitching staff to carry the team. While there is no one transaction fix, I think adding another starter is crucial. Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito have been less than stellar, and the bullpen has been down right atrocious. In a perfect world, the Giants would trade for Phillies ace Cliff Lee, a proven starter who would thrive in a pitchers park like AT&T. He does have a huge contract, but the Giants have deep pockets and could afford to take the hit if they wanted. It probably wouldn't cost too much as the Phillies try to slash payroll, and you could trade Tim Lincecum. Chances are the team won't resign him anyway, so might as well use him to get something. In baseball, sometimes all the moves in the world don't mean a thing without some luck.

Much like 2011, this season the Giants have been struck by multiple injuries. Pablo Sandoval, Marco Scutaro, Ryan Vogelsong, Angel Pagan and Santiago Casilla have all missed multiple games with injuries. All of those players were integral parts of the World Series winning club. If the team can get back a strong Vogelsong and Pagan, it will go a long way to turning the season around. Sometimes you can't overcome a laundry list of injuries, so only time will tell. Whatever happens to end the season, the Bay Area is lucky. Having a team win 2 championships in 3 years is a rare feat nowadays. So even if this season ends with disappointment, these guys have given us plenty to cheer for over the last 36 months of so.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Not surprised about Hernandez

Since the conclusion of this past Super Bowl, there have been 28 arrests involving NFL players. The most shocking arrest came today, when New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested. Shortly after his arrest, his was released by the Patriots. Following his arraignment, the world found out he was being charged with first degree murder as well as numerous gun charges. While this certainly is one of the most shocking arrests, it can not come as a surprise to followers of the NFL. For as long as people can remember, players have been getting arrested for a myriad of crimes, and the end does not appear to be insight.

The biggest problem facing players in the league, is that pretty much all of them do not come from rich families. That usually means that when they sign their rookie contracts, they become support for many members of their families. Also, they now have so much disposable income, they don't know what to do with. They end up spending money on cars, clothes, houses and jewelery. Of course, they think the next logical step is to buy guns, because you have to protect all these new belongings. Parents, guardians, or friends need to level with these kids. You are bigger than most humans, and usually roll with an entourage. Let them protect you or carry the guns. You have one job, to play a game for millions of dollars. It is sad that some people wont tell them they are messing up in fear of losing their meal ticket.

The next biggest problem with young NFL players are the people they allow to hang around them. Many players gain an entourage of family and friends, most of whom are there to reap the benefits of being close to an NFL player. While the player might feel some obligation to his friends and family, only he has worked his ass off to get to that level. They should not feel guilty about saying no to those closest to them. After all, the average NFL career is less than 5 years, meaning it may start off hot, but the money can quickly be gobbled up. No one is saying you cant give back, that is one of the benefits of being an NFL player. They just have to be smart about things and realize this money has to last the rest of their lives, they wont be making millions for the rest of their lives unless they get lucky.

The last problem they face is probably the most difficult to fix. The culture of athletes is general is a poor one and many athletes think they have to fit into that mold. They should be out at the club, popping bottles in the VIP. They should be dating models or actresses. Pretty much living the life of a celebrity. The problem is, they are not celebrities per say. They don't sing or act, they play a game. Unlike being an actor or singer, off the field problems can derail an athletes career.While you may be perceived as a dork or loser, staying in and watching television is a much safer activity. At the end of the day, its about the positions you put yourself in; a smart person knows how to avoid or at least recognize a potential problem. Stupid people either cant see trouble coming, or think they can deal with it. Sad to say, but the arrests will keep continuing as long as these factors are still rampant.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tebowmania isn't dead, just on Hiatus

Both Tim Tebow fans and detractors both were made happy early this week, when Tebow signed with the New England Patriots. Fans of Tebow are happy he is still in the leauge after drawing little to no interest on the free agent market. People who do not like Tebow are happy he went to New England, where the circus that usually follows Tebow will not be tolerated. It really is the perfect situation for all parties involved.

On the surface, the move does not make much sense for the New England Patriots. They have one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Tom Brady, and he has said he wishes to play until he is at least 40. They also have a young, strong armed quarterback in Ryan Mallet. So, why would they add someone as their 3rd QB? I think this will end up being a brilliant move for New England. Tebow is reunited with Josh McDaniels, the man who drafted him in the first round while a coach for the Denver Broncos. Without any pressure of starting, he can refine his horrendous mechanics for a whole season or two. Then, I see the Patriots trading away Ryan Mallet. He is far too young and talented to waste away on the bench.

Before letting him walk as a free agent, they will trade Mallet for a 3rd round pick. This will bump Tebow into the second string role, but by then his mechanics should have much improved. Unlike his last two stops, the fan base in New England loves its current coach and quarterback. There will be no huge media push to play Tebow, and that is exactly what he needs. Tebow has never lobbied for himself to play, but his loyal followers are always insistent. This move allows him to sit and learn behind one of the all time greats, while still having a shot at contributing to a Super Bowl winner.

Do not hold your breath waiting to see Tim Tebow take a snap under center. Unless it is the preseason, he will be holding a clip board or playing another position. Everyone in the organization knows that Tom Brady gives them the best chance to win. It has been that way for over a decade. They will not take the ball out of Brady's hands for the sake of a gadget play. Tebow is more than capable running the ball, so I would expect to see him lined up all over the field. He will be especially dangerous in the red zone, where a read option play with him and Brady could prove lethal.

All in all, I think it is a win win situation for both sides. Tebow can grow as a player without the media hype surroungding him. The Patriots are known to be very bland with the media, and that should help calm the circus. I don't know if Tebow will ever be a starting caliber quarterback. But, I do know this is the best situation for him to be thrown in. It will be fun to follow, but unlike his stint in New York, we will not have daily press conferences about him or his practice habits. The Patriots are all about winning, not about individuals. Just ask Wes Welker about that one.

Monday, June 10, 2013

We all know LeBron is great, but explain to me something.......

LeBron James has just won his fourth MVP award in the last five seasons. He has proven to be the most talented player in the league, at least from an overall skill level. However, I think there are somethings people are over looking when talking about Mr. James.

To any follower of basketball, we expected just about nothing less from LeBron James. Since appearing of the cover of Sports Illustrated while still in high school, we have been expecting big things from him. He was anointed "The Chosen One" and even has a tattoo that says as such on his body. He was drafted number 1 overall right out of high school by his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. After 7 seasons in his hometown, including the franchises first finals appearance, he was gone. He could not deliver a title to his home state, so then he made his first mistake.

For the first time in history, a free agent had an entire show dedicated to his free agent destination. It was called "The Decision". On national, prime time television, James went on ESPN and ripped out the hearts of not only Cleveland fans, but fans of the NBA. He said he was taking his talents to Miami, to team up with off the court buddies Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. The decision turned a lot of people of because of the grandiose way James went about a business decision. Never before, and probably never again, has an athlete gone on prime time television to address his next destination. The worst part was that Cleveland was still in the running to resign their hometown hero, but he ripped there hearts out on national TV.

Since arriving in Miami, they have both won and lost an NBA championship. The team has added other pieces at a cheaper cost because players are willing to take less to win a title. While I am a proponent of this attitude, it is generally not the way the game used to be played. It used to be that a player would essentially want to be the "Man" on his team. Like Jordan, Russell, Bird or Magic, when you thought of those guys, you thought of them as the one guy on their team. Now, players just want to team up in pursuit of rings. To me, it is not a good thing for sports in general. Pretty soon, there will only be a handful of viable teams, while the rest have to watch as mega teams get put together. It is sure to have an impact on the overall product sports are trying to produce.

Basically, I think LeBron James is the most physically gifted player in the NBA. He can do it all, but he is not without his flaws. He could not win a championship until he teamed up with two other superstars. He has a tendency to disappear in big games, deferring to other teammates. While he is surely going to be a Hall of Famer and be talked about as one of the greatest ever, there will also be whispers about the things he could not do on his own. Namely, carrying a team to a title.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Here we go....The Old 3 vs. The Big 3

The NBA finals start tomorrow, and there are a few interesting story lines. The Miami Heat will be looking to repeat as champions, led by the third year trio of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. The San Antonio Spurs counter with their own three headed monster of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. The biggest difference between these two groups is age, although they way they were brought together has many fans hoping the Heat do not repeat.

All 3 of the Spurs "Big 3" were brought together through normal means. Draft and free agency paid of well for the Spurs, who have consistently been an elite team since Tim Duncan's arrival. On the other hand, the Heat's "Big 3" came together via suspect free agency. Dwayne Wade was the only player drafted by the Heat. When Wade, James and Bosh became free agents at the same time, they decided to take less than market value and team up together. Many fans and former players thought this was a cheap way to go after a title. Rather than lead a team to a championship as a singular star, these three teamed up to make the quest easier. While it has proved easy, it will tarnish their individual legacies. Wade was the only one of the 3 to win a title previously, and even that was done with the help of Shaquille O' Neal.

The San Antonio Spurs have defied logic over the last 15 years. With Tim Duncan as the leader, the team has consistently made the playoffs and gone on deep runs. Duncan and coach Greg Popovich have formed one of the greatest player coach combinations ever. While it would be nice to see them win another championship, the odds are stacked against them. The Miami Heat are the defending champs, have the best player in the game, and are overall a younger team.

The Heat are going to be favored to win, and it will be easy to see why. They have a remarkable collection of talent that can stretch the floor. Also, they have the games all time leader in 3 pointers made in Ray Allen. Add to that the Heat have been playing tenacious defense, and you have a recipe for disaster. The Heat are not perfect, but when firing on all cylinders, there isn't a better team in the league.

Personally, I would like to see the Spurs win. I would love to see Tim Duncan win another title because he is without a doubt the most underrated superstar in NBA history. Add to that the immense character and likability, its easy to root for them. Also, LeBron and company come off as spoiled and too expectant. They need to be humbled, so hopefully the Spurs can do it. Unfortunately, if I was a betting man, I would pick the Heat in 6.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Pay Attention! It's Mariano's Farewell Tour

For those fans lucky enough this summer, I would say do whatever you can do to try and see Mariano Rivera pitch one last time. The Yankee great and future hall of famer will hang up his spikes at the conclusion of this season, his 19th in MLB. He is without a doubt the greatest reliever of all time, and he has spent his entire career with the New York Yankees. In the era of free agency, this is both a testament to his team loyalty and sustained longevity. Not too many pitchers strike fear into the hearts of a professional hitter, but armed with his cutter, Rivera has been a force to be reckoned with.

After a brief start to his career as a starter in 1995, Rivera was moved to setup man in 1996 and then closer in 1997. The rest is history. Rivera is the all time saves leader in MLB by a wide margin. He has well over 600 saves; only one other person in history has over 600 saves, Trevor Hoffman with 601. He holds countless major league records, most of which are a testament to his longevity and success. Some of the most impressive, but sides the saves, are his 15 consecutive years saving at least 25 games. Also, he has finished over 900 baseball games in his career. His most impressive regular season record may be one he shares with hall of famer Walter Johnson. In 11 seasons, he has recorded an ERA under 2.00; go take a look at the league leaders in ERA for a full season to gain some perspective of this accomplishment. What has made Mariano a legend is his post season success. No pitcher in the history of the game has had as much success in the post season as Mariano Rivera.

Long time Yankees manager Joe Torre said that the regular season was fun for Rivera, but the post season is where he separated himself from the rest of baseball. In helping the Yankees win 5 world titles during his tenure, Rivera has set countless post season records. His 0.70 ERA is a record, made all the more impressive when you consider his 96 appearances are also a record. No pitcher has saved more games in the post season or pitched more consecutive scoreless innings. In an era of 1 inning closers, Rivera made the multiple inning save a specialty of his. During 1998-2008, Rivera made 26 saves lasting more than 1 inning. To compare, the rest of baseball combined during that time only had 33. His success helped the Yankees shorten game to around 7 innings, giving them a distinct advantage. When he would come into the game, you could bet money that the game was over. Only most occasions, it was.

As he gets ready to ride off into the sunset, I hope everyone will take a moment to cherish what he meant to the game and how good he really was. Playing for the Yankees, he has made his fair share of enemies among baseball fans. People love to hate the Yankees, and Rivera was a big part of that. His success brought titles back to New York, and a swagger that people either embrace or detest. While I may not be a Yankees fan, I am a baseball fan. I can appreciate what it took for him to be such a dominating force. Hopefully, us fans will be lucky and the Yankees will make the playoffs this year. Then, we can give Mariano the proper send off, perhaps a final save in a 6th championship season.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Great Time to Be a Bay Area Sports Fan

It has taken quite a while, but the Bay Area sports scene has become one of the strongest in the entire country. Sure, there have been other high times of success, but the current run has seen just about every team from the area have success. With the exception of the Raiders, all of the major professional sports teams are having fine seasons. Even better, most teams are doing it with young rosters, giving promise to a sustained run of excellence.

The San Francisco 49ers are one of the best teams in the NFL. Having just lost the Super Bowl in February, the future looks promising. Led by a young Colin Kaepernick, the team has the players and potential to be an elite team for at least another decade. Also, the front office has shown over the last few seasons that they know what they are doing; supplying Jim Harbaugh with all the necessary pieces he needs to put a winning product on the field.

The San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's are both making names for themselves in MLB. The Giants have won 2 of the last 3 World Series and look to be in shape to make another run this season. They will have some questions coming up soon that will determine how long the dominance can continue, but they have a core of veterans that have proven they know how to get the job done. Also, having locked up young pieces like Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, the future looks solid. The Oakland A's have become a force, but not in the traditional sense. They play small market baseball, relying on talent evaluators to get the most out of their money. This has made them competitive despite spending a small percentage of what the top teams spend. It is scary to think what would happen if the front office was given a $150+ million dollar payroll.

The San Jose Sharks have been very consistent over the last decade. Regular playoff appearances have become the norm, but that is not good enough. The lack of a championship is what haunts this club. They have had great teams, but have not been able to get over the hump. While it is a little frustrating not having a championship, just getting into the postseason year after year is an accomplishment all to itself. They show no signs of slowing down.

The Golden State Warriors are the newest team to shine from the Bay Area. They made the playoffs this year, for only the third time in roughly 25 years. While that may not seem like much to celebrate, the team has the look of a team that can compete for the foreseeable future. Led by Stephen Curry, the team has a bright future. Coach Marc Jackson recently said Curry and back court mate Klay Thompson were the best shooting back court ever. Shockingly, there were not many people in the media who thought that was an outrageous statement. That goes to show you what kind of core the team has. All they need to do is get a dominant big man and stay healthy as a team. Easier said that done, but it is not like they need a bunch of pieces to become a contender.

Even with the lackluster efforts of the Oakland Raiders, the Bay Area sports scene remains bright well into the future. Besides, its not like the Raiders are very far off from contending. A few solid drafts and they will be back in the title hunt. It is time people start recognizing the amount of success the area is having. While they have not turned into a bunch of championships, I could see plenty of titles coming back to the back in the next 10 years. I am not talking about one or two either, but multiple from many sports.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Crabtree likely done for year, what now?

The San Francisco 49ers just suffered a major blow as wide receiver Michael Crabtree has suffered a torn Achilles tendon. It is a devastating blow for the defending NFC champs, but luckily is has come sooner rather than later. While the injury is most likely season ending, it gives the 49ers time to adapt a new game plan or go out and sign someone. However it plays out, the 49ers front office has to work its magic once again.

With no clear in house replacement for Colin Kaepernick's favorite target, the 49ers must look to the remaining available free agents. Three names come to my mind, each with positives and negatives. First up is Brandon Lloyd. He is a former 49er, and might sign for less for the chance to finish out his career with a contender. He has the ability to be a down field threat and has proven to be a tough player. His biggest downside is his reputation as a locker room cancer. He has become unwelcome is New England and Denver. Next is Devery Henderson. He isn't as accomplished as Lloyd, but he is another proven down field threat. He has the speed to stretch the defense, and that is huge for a team that relies so much on the run. His biggest perceived problem is that almost 10 years in the league, he has never stepped up as the main guy for his team. Lastly, and most unlikely, is the return of Randy Moss. Everyone knows the future hall of famer can still play and is the most dangerous deep threat ever to play the game. His problem is similar to Lloyd's, in that both have a reputation for speaking their minds regardless of what the team or coaches think. I am not sure the team would be willing to bring him back after some less than stellar remarks last year.

If I was GM Trent Balke, I would take a long look at Brandon Lloyd. He is younger than Moss and has done more in the league than Henderson. I would try to sell him on the prospect of ending his career the right way. He can be a major contributor on a team who has their sights set on a Super Bowl victory. Then, I would take to coach Harbaugh. I would make sure he was OK with bringing on a perceived locker room threat. I don't think Harbaugh would have a problem because his locker room is very tight and would not allow an outsider to tarnish what they have built. The likes of Patrick Willis, Navarro Bowman and Justin Smith will not allow dissent. While losing Crabtree is not the end of the season, what the team does to replace him could be.

The NBA and NHL Playoffs are WAYYY Too Long

In professional sports, the first goal of any team is to make the playoffs. Making the playoffs ensures the right to play for the ultimate prize, a championship. However, there are some sports that take advantage of the playoffs to maximize profits and stretch things out. The most prominent culprits are the NBA and the NHL. Both organizations use roughly the same system for their playoffs, and I think it cheapens each league as a whole.

The biggest problem with their playoffs is the number of teams allowed to participate. Both allow 16 teams to make the postseason. By contrast, the NFL and MLB allow a total of 12 teams to compete. The problem is that too often, average teams at best a granted playoff spots. In recent years, there have been teams who finished with a below average record but still qualified for the playoffs. This is absurd and a complete was of the viewers time. Who wants to waste time to see a number 1 seed take on an 8 seed who couldn't even finish at .500? Basically, it appears to me to be a money grab by the owners. They know that people will fill the stadiums and buy the merchandise, so who cares if the first round product is of a sub par nature.

The next biggest problem is the length of these two playoffs. Both starts their playoffs in April, and conclude towards the end of June. That is almost two months of playoffs, certainly way too long. Each round has become a best of seven, making each series last over a week, easily. Not only does this prolong the playoffs, it also increases the chances the best team may get knocked off due to an unforeseen injury. Once again, the owners realize the profit potential of having these extra games, so it is hard to see them going away. It may take a serious injury or two before the leagues realize the lengthy toll playoffs take after an insane amount of games.

The are a few obvious changes that should be made, but probably will not be made because it will cost both the league and owners money. First, the leagues need to restrict the number of teams that qualify. There is not a valid argument as to why half the league should make playoffs. It is a privilege to play for a championship, not a right. It also cheapens the regular season because teams can clinch a spot weeks ahead of time, choosing to rest their players for the last few weeks, and it is the fans who suffer. Second, the first round should be shortened to a best of five series. This would drastically shorten the playoffs, and bring some much needed excitement to often boring first round games. Lastly, the leagues needs to find a better medium when it comes to mass viewership. People on the East Coast are regularly subjected to late night games coming from the West Coast. There are countless games that start at 10pm or later on the East Coast, and I am sure the ratings drop dramatically.

There is no quick solution, but something must be done. The NBA and NHL are at best the 3rd and 4th biggest sports organizations in the United States. They a niche sports at best, so they need to find a way to appeal more to the masses. Hockey is a very expensive sport to play, as well as being a cold weather sport. Unless you are tall, you probably only played basketball in pickup style games. These are reasons why these sports are not as big as football and baseball. So, its time to adapt or recognize your place in the sports stratosphere.

Friday, May 17, 2013

It's time for American Idol to Go

Season 12 of American Idol wrapped up last night, and does anyone even really care? The show seems to have gone on way too long. Out of the 12 winners, not even a handful have remained relevant after their season ended. I think the main reason for this is that shows like this are glorified karaoke competitions. There are literally thousands of people with great singing voices. What separates successful singers and the winners from American Idol is ability to write their own songs. Being able to write music that is catchy, inspiring or just interesting is what allows an artist to sustain over the years. I believe most of the winners are not accomplished song writers, and that is why they need to go on a reality TV show instead of getting a deal based on their own merits.

The best part of the show left a few seasons ago. Acid tongued Simon Cowell was the most entertaining part of the show. His no frills assessments of the acts made for great television. Even the goofball antics of Paula Abdul was worth watching. Now, Randy Jackson has left the show, leaving no original judges. We are left with someone like Nicki Minaj, who 5 years ago was not even relevant in a national sense. Also, she is classified as a rapper. How is a rapper supposed to accurately asses and mentor future pop stars? It just does not add up.

The best part of American Idol is the first episode or two of the season. Watching the train wreck of potential contestants is the only part worth watching. That is because America loves a train wreck. If they changed the theme of the show to find America's worst singer, the ratings I'm sure would return. As it were now, people are tired of watching people win a seemingly prestigious competition only to go on to do nothing.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

6 Early Favorites for the Super Bowl

For a real fan, football season is pretty much a year round event. After a few weeks off from the Super Bowl, fans get into the scouting combine, trying to figure out who their team is going to draft. From there we have the actual draft, than off season team activities and final real training camp. Since we are roughly four months away from the regular season kickoff, anything can happen. Here are three teams from the NFC and AFC who I think have the early lead to play for the Lombardi trophy in February. These are in no particular order.

1) San Francisco 49ers - The team that represented the NFC last February brings back pretty much the entire team. Young quarterback Colin Kaepernick gets a full off season as the starter and the coaches can develop game plans suited to his strengths. The signing of wide receiver Anquan Boldin helps improve the 49ers weakest element on offense. The running game and defense should both be top 5 units, and perhaps even better with the return of running back Kendall Hunter, who went down last season with an injury. The kicking game should be better as well, with the addition of veteran kicker Phil Dawson, signed to replace the shaky David Akers. The 49ers have all the pieces to go all the way, its just a matter of how Coach Harbaugh chooses to use these pieces.
2) Green Bay Packers - This team is not far removed from hoisting the Lombardi trophy, and they feature arguably the best player in the entire league, Aaron Rogers. While they may not be the most balanced team, the offense can more than carry the team. The receiving corps is probably the best in football, even with the loss of Greg Jennings. Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones can match up with any secondary, and Rogers can strike from anywhere on the field. The addition of running back Eddie Lacy via the draft gives the offense another dimension that was missing for most of last year. If Lacy can command attention, this offense is going to be historically good.

3) Seattle Seahwaks - It is not too often that you get two teams from the same divison in a top 3 list, but the Seahwaks are loaded on both sides of the ball. Second year quarterback Russell Wilson should be more involved in the offense, and running back Marshawn Lynch remains one of the best runners in the league. Add to that the addition of game changing wide receiver Percy Harvin in a trade from Minnesota and the offense is going to be fun to watch. But the real story of the Seahawks is the defense. Boasting arguably the leagues best secondary, they got stronger with the free agent signings of Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. The Seahawks and 49ers should be going head to head for division supremacy for the next few years.


1) Denver Broncos - The Broncos were upset at home by the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Coming into his second year with the team, Peyton Manning and company are poised for a serious run. They signed free agent wide receiver Wes Welker away from New England, and now have given Peyton Manning his best corps of receivers ever. The addition of running back Montee Ball should give the Broncos more balance on offense. It is going to be fun watching the break neck pace these guys will set on offense.

2) Houston Texans - The Houston Texans finally arrived last year as an elite team. Although one of their best defensive players was out for most of the year, they still had an intimidating defense. Led by all pro defensive end J.J. Watt, the defense will get back linebacker Brian Cushing and should get a boost from newly signed safety, future hall of famer Ed Reed. The offense boasts one of the best overall running backs in the league in Arian Foster. Perennial Pro Bowl wider receiver Andre Johnson finally got his wish when the team used their first round draft pick of receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Although Johnson will probably still see double teams, the addition of Hopkins could pay huge dividends. 

3) New England Patriots - Tom Brady does nothing but win games. While the Pats haven't made any huge additions, they boast one of the most disciplined teams in the game. Plus, they play in one of the worst divisions in football. Since winning the division is almost a foregone conclusion, that means they will get at least one home playoff game. Brady is almost perfect at home in January, so one win would put them in the AFC title game. Tom Brady usually shines brightest on the biggest stages, so it is unwise to ever count them out until they are mathematically eliminated.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mom, A Boy's First Love

As Mother's Day approaches, one cannot help but think of the Mother in their lives. Sometimes the person we call Mom is not our biological Mother. It could be an Aunt or Grandmother, or any influential women in a person’s life. Regardless of the relationship, Mother's Day is about celebrating the most important women in our lives. I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful Mother who would do anything to make sure I was happy and safe. While not all family relationships are as easy, it is important to at least remember the most basic of things. Without our Mothers, none of us would be here today. So, if nothing else, your Mother deserves love and respect for that. For me, the love for my Mother is unmatched and undying. It has been that way for as long as I can remember, and I think most men can relate to a special bond with their Mothers. There is some truth behind the phrases Mama's boy and Daddy's little girl.

The bond between Mother and child is forged even before birth. There is no comparison to having a living being growing inside you. When born, it is almost as if their animal instincts take over. From that point on, their child comes first, their own needs second. As a child, your Mother is there for you 24/7. From cooking to cleaning, to being a chauffeur and personal shopper, our moms do just about everything for us. Whenever there is a problem, Mom is the one who solves it. If you skin your knee, no medicine could compare to a Mother's touch. When you were sick, did anything feel better than having your Mom by your side? It was almost as if she felt your pain, and in many ways, I'm sure she did. Mom was the one you always wanted to make proud, and whose disappointment you felt the most.

As a teenager, things changed only slightly, at least for me. I was never the wild and rebellious type, so my Mother and I still got along. For some, the teen years can be a time where your parents are just the most embarrassing people on the planet. Everything they do seems to be to humiliate you, even when you know that is not the case. I know these years are about discovering you and forming an identity, but luckily for me I was never embarrassed by my Mother. The worst thing is probably the adjustment period for Mothers; going from doing everything for their kids to the kids wanting to be independent. That must take a mental toll on Mothers, seeing their kids go from dependent to independent. Fortunately, the teenage years are just a brief period.

Once you become an adult, you realize the importance of being yourself, even at the expense of what your peers may think. This is often a time of mutual respect between parent and child. You can now legally drink in front of your parents, and they do not have as much influence over our daily decisions. In a good relationship, they are still sought out for advice and encouragement. Your Mother truly knows you like no one else, and can always be counted on to tell you things straight. She has no secondary motive, so you know you can trust her words. While your Mother will always consider you her child, adulthood is when you can become more like friends; sometimes even the opposite is true.

No child and parent relationship is the same, or perfect for that matter. That is probably the most important thing to realize. There is no standard one should be trying to reach or attain. Just treat your Mother with love and respect. The sacrifices she made may never fully be recognized until we have children of our own. Then we may finally know just what it means to be a parent. I am truly blessed to have a Mother whom I like, love and respect. I treat her as if every day is Mother's Day. I know not everyone has the same relationship with their Mother, but I think in a perfect world they would. I love you Mom, forever and always.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Parents......Your kids need Sports

Bay Area radio personality Damon Bruce ends his show each night with the line, "Sports don't build character, they reveal it." In many ways, he is right; A lot about a person can be found out by how they deal with obstacles and adversity. While sports is not the corporate world, it offers situations that can both teach and reveal. I think it is important that kids be introduced to sports at a young age. There are many benefits, both long and short term. Aside from the physical benefits, they offer kids a chance to learn how to work as a team, overcome adversity, and the chance to experience the thrill of victory and defeat.

The most popular acronym for TEAM is together everyone achieves more; I am not sure there is a better life lesson than that. Being a productive part of a team is something that should be learned at an early age. It will certainly benefit the child later in life, because almost every job in America will require some form of teamwork. The sooner that children learn about teamwork, the more likely the will be willing to work with others and even ask for help when needed. Knowing that you have people around you who support and care for you can be a very positive influence for a child. Confidence can be gained knowing everything does not have to be done by themselves. Consequently, a child will be more willing to both help and ask for help in the future.

As an adult, adversity is almost a daily occurrence. Between work, friends and family, curve balls are always being thrown into the puzzle of life. Learning how to overcome such problems can be learned as early as childhood. Sports almost always offers various opportunities to work through adversity. Whether an opponent is bigger, faster, or stronger, there is almost certainly a way to conquer them. Learning how to identify and solve problems is a tool that will serve a child well throughout their entire life. From finding a job to paying bills, life offers plenty of problems for an adult to figure out. With the proper background, they can be addressed and dealt with in a timely manner.

To experience the thrill of victory, one does not always have to be the hero. Sports teaches us that there many roles to play, not just the starring role. All parts are important to the outcome, so all are equal when it comes to the team concept. Furthermore, learning how to accept defeat is another important life lesson. We have all seen the little kid who cries, kicks and screams whenever things do not go as planned. Humility is a valuable lesson that should be instilled as early as possible.

In conclusion, sports are a very important tool for a young child. While there are certain risks associated with sports, that can also be a valuable lesson. Learning how to asses risk and act on them will serve your child well. Nothing was scarier as a child than the first time facing another child pitching from a mound. You did not know where is was going to go; if it was going to be a strike, a ball or if it was going to hit you. Much like life, you can either hold your ground or bail out. The ones who decide to stand there ground are off to a much faster start in life.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Congrats to Jason Collins, it was a long time coming

You should never be afraid to be yourself. After all, is a life spent living a lie truly a life at all? With the recent coming out of active NBA player Jason Collins, many questions have been brought up throughout the country. Is it the right time for someone to come out of the closet while still playing? Is he going to be shunned by teams based on him being truthful to who he is? Are his teammates going to accept him into the locker room? All these are valid and important questions, but perhaps the most important question has yet to be broached. Should sexuality, or a hetero or homosexual nature, have any place in sports? To me, this answer is no. Sports are sports, you can either play or you cannot. What you do off the field should have little effect on how you are perceived on it. However, things are not always as easy as they should be; a team’s locker room, front office personnel, and fan base can all play a part in how players are treated.
Enter into any professional locker room, and it plays like a scene in a badly written movie. Testosterone fills the air, along with the smell of the blood and sweat that put these men in a position to make a living playing a game. They are modern day gladiators, putting on a show for a public that pays to see them at their top form. Players don’t think twice about playing through pain or injuries; some just shoot themselves up to numb themselves to the pain, all for the greater good of the team. These men’s livelihood depends on the cohesiveness of the team, knowing that your teammates will sacrifice their personal glory for the greater good, because together everyone achieves more. However, when trust becomes an issue, everyone can suffer. I would say it would be better to be open and honest from the start, rather than living a lie and having to endure locker room talk that would probably be offensive. But, thinking everyone is heterosexual, could you blame them for speaking in an archaic way? I think everyone is guilty of speaking a little wildly when in the company of friends. Being accepted in a locker room is probably easier than we give a team credit for. In today’s day and age, I would argue almost everyone knows a gay person. The next hurdle for a player coming out is dealing with the team’s front office personnel, which has to deal with more than just winning games.

When a player prepares to come out, inevitably they will tell their coach, general manager and owner first. From there, the team has to formulate a plan to get ahead of the soon to come media wave. A good owner will stand with and for that player, because that is the right thing to do. Sometimes, things do not go as smoothly. For example, Giants manager Dusty Baker recently told a story about a teammate he had back in the day that he sure was gay. His name was Glenn Burke and many people credit him and Dusty for inventing the high five celebration. He never formally came out, was traded, and was eventually retired by the age of 27. Unfortunately, there are still some owners who would just rather get rid of a suspected problem than deal with it head on. Also, they have to deal with the headaches their players can cause them. When Collins came out, Mike Wallace of the Miami Dolphins tweeted about how he could not understand the decision to be with a man with so many beautiful women in the world. Even though Wallace did his best to try and back pedal, the team was forced to make a statement to the media about how they did not agree with Wallace’s statement. While it is refreshing to see organizations standing behind their players, the worst part of coming out in a professional sense may be the interactions with fans.                                                                             

Buying a ticket to a sporting event affords the ticket holder certain opportunities. You may see your team win, you may see history being made, or you might even catch a foul ball. Too bad for the players, it also gives you a right to heckle, and fans can be merciless. Part of the fun of going to a live event is the feeling of being a part of a controlled mob. Everyone rooting for the home team, and cursing the opposing team. However, there are always going to be people who take things way too far. I would not be surprised if Jason Collins receives taunts that would make a sailor blush. Just having to endure that night after night is reason enough to keep it a secret. The only way unruly fans will change, is if fans start policing themselves. I know we have some protection under the first amendment, but there is such a thing as common decency. For the most part, fans are respectful of one another. The best example of that came in the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon. During a game at Yankee Stadium, the fans sang along to the song Sweet Caroline, which is notoriously sung at every Boston Red Sox home game. While this would have been considered blasphemy just a year ago, it paints a bigger picture of how sports can unite any group under a common goal.
In a perfect world, sexuality would be taken out of sports. The scantily clad cheerleaders would be gone from sidelines, as well as the ring card girls who serve no other purpose than to be objectified. Some might claim that these are traditions, and have been going on for over a century. To that, I would say traditions are meant to be broken. Not that long ago, it was tradition not to have anyone of color play baseball. It used to be tradition that Women could not vote. The thing that makes this country great is our willingness to adapt, to admit things are not wrong and change them. With that, I see no reason that, in time, sexuality will be a non-topic in terms of sports.              

The NFL might really stand for "Not for Long"

As much as it pains me to say, football has overtaken baseball as America’s past time. As a nation, we have moved to a sport that suits our society at the given time. A few decades ago, life went at a much slower, simpler pace. Baseball was king, and it captivated a nation. Men wore suits and ties to games, and big leaguers mingled amongst the fan base. Arguably, college football was even bigger than the NFL at the time. However, as times have gotten fast and more complicated, the NFL has risen to power. Now, after a few decades of dominance, the NFL is facing a crisis that could spell the long term death of the league. While both short term and long term safety is important, it is ultimately weakening the game and will eventually spell the demise of the league.

One of the reasons football has overtaken baseball is the speed of the game. While both games usually last in the three hour range, the pace at which a football games plays out is unmatched. Every 40 seconds, a new play happens and you get to see someone get hit. Add to the fact that these men colliding are some of the biggest and fastest humans on Earth, and you have a recipe to hold an audience’s attention. Much like a roller coaster or scary movie, the danger is fun when you know you actually cannot get hurt. But as the game grew bigger, so did the athletes. Today, players are bigger and faster than ever before, leading to a tense situation that could destroy the game from within.

The NFL players’ union has the task of protecting not only current players, but players who have since retired. Since player safety has come under scrutiny recently, the union and the league has taken steps to help quell the high rate of concussions. There are no more two a day practices allowed anymore, something that was a mainstay of football teams dating back to high school. Also, if players are having concussion symptoms during a game, they are not permitted back in the game. From there, they must be cleared by an independent medical professional before they are allowed to resume their football activities.

The NFL is trying to take the violence out of a violent sport. That is their first mistake; turning the game into a version of flag football is not going to keep people in the stadiums. Furthermore, how are they going to justify the rising cost of player’s salaries and tickets when the product is becoming poorer in quality? Personally, I think that being paid millions of dollars is worth the sacrifice. These players know the consequences of playing the game from a young age. They continue to do so because it is a passion, as well as a way of making a great amount of money if they are good enough. Now you have older players suing the league claiming they did not know about the effects of running full speed into another human being hundreds of times. That’s funny, because when I was four years old I ran into a wall. It hurt, and from then on I made the correlation between running into something and pain. Any instance after that was of my own doing, no blame to spread around.

Perhaps it is the flow of society that has the game at a critical point. Now that society has become a vastly PC place, there might not be room for such a barbaric sport. Then again, with billions and billions to be made from television deals and advertising, there is reason to believe a medium will be reached. This fan would rather the game die and be remembered for being great than to continue on as a shell of its former self.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Crazy Times in America......and Cleveland

As much as we like to think the incident in Cleveland is a rarity, it is more common than it should be. From Jaycee Dugard to Amy Smart, there have been multiple instances over the years. It is truly a scary thought for any parent raising children in this country. While there are many things that can be done to help prevent kidnappings, it is impossible to stop them all together. For better or worse, there are some people in this country who are just wired differently. To better help prevent danger, there are a few things I think that can be done to help foresee things before they go wrong.

I feel that communication can really be the biggest deterrent in kidnappings. When I say that, I am talking about communication throughout the community. Way back when, everyone knew their neighbors, talked with each other, and basically we're all a close knit extended family. Today, people and families mostly keep to themselves, not wanting to bother anyone or be bothered. My suggestion is that we get back into the old school way of thinking. Everyone should know everyone in their community. Through block parties and the like, getting to know those around you could help prevent disaster in the future. The more you know those around you, the more likely you are to realize when something is amiss. It is not perfect, but it is a start. The next phase would be more parent involvement.

Parenting over the last 25 years has changed dramatically. With a spike in single parent households or households with 2 working parents, it is the children who are often neglected. Rather than spending time with their parents, kids are either sent to a day care or left at home by themselves. Also, when kids and parents are together, technology has become a new barrier. From cell phones to tablets, it is much easier to have your kid play a game on their phone than play a real game in person. It is leading to a disconnect amongst parents and children. Unfortunately, until there is a shift in culture, it does not look as if this problem will be going away soon.

All in all, danger always has and always will be present in our society. The true calling card of a society is how they choose to deal with these problems. They can either be neglected, which will inevitably lead to tragedy; or they can be addressed head on. While this is not always the most comfortable way of approaching a problem, it is by far the most effective. Although it seems like not doing much, just being more aware of your surroundings can have a positive impact on your local community and the people that make it up.

Monday, May 6, 2013

It's time for Tebow to be real

After a horrendous year, the New York Jets mercifully cut quarterback Tim Tebow from their roster. With Mark Sanchez, David Garrard, Matt Sims and Geno Smith on the roster, Tebow became expendable. Many thought the Jets would try to trade Tebow during the draft, but apparently no one came calling. Some would think that would be impossible with the way the NFL has been trending. The read option has become a staple of some dominant teams, and the option is perfect for Tebow. The question becomes, "Why would a team, desperate to contend, not take a flier on a young, mobile QB with a history of being an excellent runner?"As it turns out, there were a few teams to inquire about his services, it is just their truth and his reality have not seen eye to eye.

Reportedly, there were several teams who called the Jets and Tim Tebow to gauge interest in a trade. After no trade was done, people started to wonder if the Jets had asked for too much or were offered to little. As it turns out, compensation was not the biggest hurdle in a trade. Teams wondered if Tebow was willing to change positions, from quarterback to tight end. He declined a change in position, stating he wants to be a quarterback. The only problem with Tebow's logic, is that he may be the only who thinks he can still be a legitimate NFL quarterback. While he did lead his team to a playoff victory in his first year, something Peyton Manning couldn't do last year as his replacement, Tebow lacks a few basic fundamentals needed by a quarterback.

The first problem Tebow has, he has had since his days at Florida. The mechanics of his throwing motion simply do not translate into the NFL. In a game where every millisecond counts, Tebow has a windup that telegraphs his throws to defenses, which can be very dangerous and lead to turnovers. He has gone to camps, hired trainers, and worked indiviually with coaches. There have been some tweaks, but nothing major has changed, so the perceptions of NFL administartors has not. Add to that the fact the Tebow is setup to run a certain offense, can leave teams wondering if they dare put all their eggs into one basket. He will never be a classic drop back passer, nor will he be able to throw the ball with success 50 times in a game if needed. All these things, including the clock, are working against the man.

In the end, Tebow needs to decide what he wants out of his career. If he wants to hold a clip board and get in the game for a handful of snaps each week, he should stay on his current path. But if he wants to make the same kind of impact on the field the way he does off, he needs to embrace a position change. He is a natural with the ball in his hands; a powerful, elusive runner capable of being a game changing piece on an offense. However, he is simply not an NFL quarterback.

Like Him or Not, Floyd Mayweather is MONEY

This past weekend, Floyd  "Money" Mayweather did something he has done 43 times before. Robert Guerrero was given the task of handing Floyd his first loss as a professional. Like all the men before him, Guerrero came up short. Well, came up short may be an understatement. Guerrero was dominated throughout the entire fight, ending in a unanimous decision loss for the Bay Area native. As a fan of boxing for over 20 years, this outcome was about as easy to predict as the sun rising in the East. Although he does not make many fans with his style or attitude, Floyd Mayweather remains one of the greatest boxers of all time. He simply holds himself to a higher standard.

When most people think of boxing, they picture two guys standing in front of each other throwing punches until someone gets knocked out. When you watch a Mayweather fight, you may be bored with the way he chooses to win fights. His game plan is so easy, yet no one has figured out how to beat him. All he does, is hit people without getting hit. He does not go for knockouts, because those generally require him to be left susceptible to damage of his own. That he does not allow. Gifted with great defense and perhaps greater speed, Mayweather has ignored Father Time and continues to dominate well into his 30's.

What is perhaps his greatest weapon, is his intelligence in the ring. There is not another boxer on the planet who can stick to and execute a game plan the way Mayweather can. Most of his game planing is done with his father, Floyd Sr. and his Uncle Roger. The funny thing is that these 3 have had such a volatile in the past, it is almost a shock to see them all back together. But then again, it goes to show the intelligence of Floyd. After absorbing a ton of punishment in his previous fight against Miguel Cotto, Floyd knew he has to recommit to his defensive training. Since his Uncle was going through some health problems, he called his father to come back and be his trainer. Floyd Sr. had taught his son the shoulder roll defense that had made his son a legend. After the Cotto fight, he knew he had to work with his son on his footwork. Sure enough, the move paid off as Guerrero rarely ever landed a bunch that could do any significant damage.

Mayweather has 5 fights left on a new 6 fight deal he signed with Showtime. Never in a bind financially, many believe these will be the final fights of his career. While you can, you should pay to watch this man fight. He may not have the style that makes an exciting fight, but when you get the chance to see Picasso paint, you take it. Floyd Mayweather is easily one of the greatest pound for pound fighters of all time, and that is not up for debate. The real debate will come if he retires at 49-0. Then people will have to legitimately ask if he is the greatest boxer of all time.

A Quick Introduction

Hello everyone,

My name is Joe Guttenbeil and this is the start of a little blog I will be trying to maintain. For better or worse, I've always had opinions on many a wide subject. Usually, I would just keep my opinions to myself, or annoy one of my friends with my ramblings. Now, I thought it would be better to write these things down. While this will be predominantly about sports, every now and again I will change subjects and write about current events. Before we start, I thought I would give everyone a quick run down of the author.

I am a Bay Area resident, born and raised. While I do root for the 49ers and Giants, my sporting interests go beyond the local scene. I am a die hard Cleveland Indians fan, as well as a huge fan of boxing. While it can be easy to keep the blog about the local teams, I do not want to limit the content to one specific set of teams. I have been playing sports all my life, starting with T-Ball and soccer at the age of 5. Since becoming an adult, it has been mostly softball and basketball. Mix in a little hiking and fishing, and I try to do a little bit of everything.

While I may not have the credentials of a long time writer, I feel I bring a different perspective to the genre. Sometimes the average perspective can be more insightful than someone who appears to have all the inside sources. Also, not being affiliated with any team or website allows me to speak openly without having to worry about stepping on peoples toes. I welcome all readers and comments, as sports is a passion of mine and I could talk all day on the subject.

Thanks and Happy Reading!

Joe G