Super Bowl Predictions: No Logic Allowed

Odds are you have been watching a ton of Super Bowl coverage the last two weeks; watching talking heads deliver information about what they think are the keys to the game. By now you’ve probably got your bets, if you’re the type, in, but if you’re stuck on some decisions, have no fear for I am here. Without further ado and wasted words here are my musings on some of the available bets. 

Disclaimer: I am in no way an expert and I am going to use no logic to make these decisions, so listen to me and I guarantee you’ll win.**

**Not a real guarantee. 

Will the national anthem be over/under 2:10? We live in a country that bets absurd amounts of money on our National Anthem. Seriously, we’re all degenerates. We bet $94,000,000 on last years game and that only includes legal sports books. Three countries had lower GDP’s in 2011. Just wanted to point that out. Take the under. 

Will the coin flip be heads or tails? I couldn’t figure out what I could do to make a prediction here, so I flipped a coin. It was heads.

Which team will win the coin flip? Joe Flacco will be standing in the vicinity of the flip, so even if Baltimore wins, they really lose. 

Which team will score first? The team who scores first wins a certain percentage of the time, so you can see how important scoring first is. Colin Kaepernick has a pet turtle, and if there’s one thing turtles are known for it’s starting fast. Sounds like money in the bank to me. Go with San Francisco here.

Which player will score the first touchdown? Uhhh somehow the dummies over at Bovada have Ray Lewis listed at 50-1, and don’t even act like there is a chance somebody else is scoring that first TD.

Which player will record the first reception of the game? Not sure how this happened, but Ray Lewis got left of this list. They must mean besides him. If that is the case then you would be dumb to not take the greatest receiver to ever to play the 49ers. Delanie Walker. That guy has to kick so much ass when he is bored.

How many yards will Joe Flacco throw for? The number on this one is 250 yards. It doesn’t really say whether or not this number includes yards thrown for by his eyebrow, so I’m going to assume it does. Definitely going to be over.

How many touchdowns will Colin Kaepernick throw? The number is 1.5 touchdowns, but you have to remember this guy has a huge pet turtle AND half sleeve tattoos. Total badass. Over.

How many total tackles and assists will Ray Lewis have? I wasn’t sure which way to go on this one and then I realized the number was 11.5 and not 111.5. We’re going to win so much money, you guys.

How long will Frank Gore’s longest rush be? Well the number is 17.5 and I’m pretty sure Frank Gore can’t run that far without getting really tired, so I’d definitely take the under.

Will Randy Moss score a touchdown? Yes, Randy Moss will score a touchdown. Randy Moss will score a hundred touchdowns. Yup, a hundred.

How long will the post game handshake last between the Harbaugh brothers? It didn’t say anything about the bare knuckle boxing match those two are going to have after the game, but I think they are using the common knowledge that Harbaughs shake hands by fighting each other. I’ve got John in a slugfest that lasts way longer then the six seconds Bovada thinks it will last. 

Will Jay-Z be shown on television during the game? My inside sources are telling me that Jay-Z is going to kick the first PAT of the game for Baltimore, so yeah I’d say he’s going to get shown on TV.

Will any player get an excessive celebration penalty? Help us all if Ray Lewis actually gets his hands on the football during this game. There aren’t enough flags in the world to stop that man from dancing his deer antler infused heart out. But yeah, this will happen.

What color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning team’s coach? Yeah, like the Harbaughs let their players drink anything but water. C’mon Vegas, give me a challenge here.

How many times will Ray Lewis say God/Lord during his post game interview? The number here is 3. lol.

How many total points will be scored? I don’t even need to look up the number for this one. Under.

Who will win the game? Here were are. The most important prediction of the evening! Who is it gonna be? San Francisco is currently favored by four right now and what this game is really going to come down to is which team scores more points. That’s how you win and that’s football. Take the Ravens to win and Ray Lewis to win the MVP, because that’s just how these things work.

Enjoy all of your winnings!

 

 

 

Titus Young: I Can’t Believe I Just Wrote This.

Welp, my re-arrival to the 1-3-1 Sports team has come a day early. Lucky you.

I was just working on some Super Bowl musings (Was my original plan of re-arriving) when I stumbled across the quote, “Titus Young can’t be traded,” or something like that. Don’t quote me. It was a tweet from Dave Birkett, go look it up for yourself if you need all of the facts. (@davebirkett) Man, I am a journalistic integrity machine.

Anyways, I read that and thought, “Hm. I’ve been hearing this a lot lately, and I don’t think I agree with it.” So, I decided to sort of analyze this statement from a statistical standpoint. (I get it, it’s the off field stuff. I’ll get there.)

The theory was simple enough, a 7th round draft pick is presumably the least valuable player (or soon to be player) that Titus Young could be traded for. An average 7th round pick is worth about nine points according to the NFL Draft Point Value Chart. (Pictured below) I realize no-name practice players could be considered less valuable than 7th round picks, and there could be an argument there, but it would be arguing over semantics at that point.

Image

(neat point chart!)

So, the common thought about Titus Young is that he is untradeable and any value he had was squashed to bits when he went on his Twitter and dared the Lions to cut him. (I wish I could link to this, but I can’t figure it out on this fancy new system we’re using.) By saying this (Young is untradeable) people are saying they would rather draft a player in the 7th round than have Titus Young on their team. It is a fair statement to make, and most people probably agree with it because nobody wants a diva receiver who seems to make more trouble than plays. I, (again) lucky for you, am here to argue that point.

To start I went back and looked at the 7th round (including all compensatory picks) of the last two drafts and I picked out all of the receivers that were taken and what their career stats were.  Next, I looked up Titus Young’s career stats and I compared them. The results for this were as follows.

2012 NFL Draft – Five receivers taken in the 7th round. 15 catches for 195 yards.

2011 NFL Draft – Four receivers taken in the 7th round. 19 catches for 215 yards and one touchdown.

7th round receivers total – 34 catches for 410 yards and one touchdown.

Titus Young Sr. (lol…sr.) – 81 catches for 990 yards and ten touchdowns.

Obviously, the numbers aren’t even close, and I didn’t expect them to be. I also don’t think this a totally fair data set either. Young was a 2nd round pick so a pretty high level of production is expected. To counter this I added another draft.

2010 NFL draft – Three receivers taken in the 7th round. 20 catches for 208 yards. I must also note that Marc Mariani was taken in the 7th round of this draft and has three career return touchdowns for Tennessee.

New 7th rounders total – 54 catches 618 yards and four total touchdowns, three of which came from one guy on punt/kick returns.

Young’s unchanged totals – 81 catches for 990 yards and ten touchdowns

Still. Not. Close.

I then decided I would do this until the 7th round players actually passed Young’s numbers. It didn’t take long, because next up was the 2009 NFL draft, which I am now declaring the greatest 7th round for receivers ever. Eight receivers were taken in the round, highlighted by Julian Edelman and Sammie Stroughter (Don’t google him, he’s on Tampa Bay). Edelman’s career numbers (four seasons) are 69 catches for 714 yards and four touchdowns. He also does a good bit of returning and has three career return touchdowns. Stroughter came in with a 60-639-1 line, which, you know, isn’t really awful. The other six receivers combined for 39 catches for about 500 yards and two touchdowns. This has all been done over four seasons, mind you.

So, it’s pretty safe to say that Edelman is the best 7th round receiver in this group and in four seasons he isn’t really close to the numbers Young put up in a season and a half. Outside of Edelman only Stroughter and Mariani have provided much of anything to their teams. Three total players out of the twenty that were picked. 15%.

We’re almost there.

“Okay, so Young has better numbers than a bumbling group of 7th rounders, what about the off the field stuff? That is the root of all of this.”

Yes, he is a diva and a child, there’s no denying that. But he can (and for his sake, hopefully will) grow up. An organization with a “good locker room” and strong veteran presence could be really great for Young (Think of what Ray Lewis and Anquan Boldin would have done to him this season). Obviously this would be an ideal situation for Young to land in.

Let’s say he doesn’t go to a good place and he continues on the same path he has for his first two seasons. Even with all of his off field issues, Young played in 26 of his first 32 games, or 81%. So he was unavailable and useless 19% of the time. Remember that group of 7th round guys? Well seven of those 20 had/have zero career offensive statistics. 35%. Titus got you nothing 19% of the time, 7th round receivers got you nothing 35% of the time and that’s not including the large chunk of players with super minimal production (one career catch, three career catches, etc.) Even with all of his off the field issues, he is way more reliable than your average 7th round receiver.

So, what’s the point of all this? Titus Young smashes the 7th rounders in stats, and while I expected their to be a very sizable gap between the two, I didn’t realize quite how big it would be. Three full rounds of receivers didn’t come close to Young’s numbers, so from that standpoint it would make sense to give up three seventh round picks for Titus Young. Hardly “untradeable”.

His off the field issues make him a tough sell, but the numbers (they never lie right?) show that he is almost two times more reliable to be on the field producing than a 7th round receiver is. If you would have a problem paying 2nd round money for a risk, then I totally understand, but he could be worth the risk for a bold GM out there.

Well I was going to wrap everything up and make a final point, but I just realized I researched and wrote a way too long piece for the sole purpose of arguing that Titus Young has no value as trade bait, because I got annoyed by a few quotes by irresponsible commenters. I let the words of others get to me and I’m truly disappointed in myself. I don’t even like Titus Young. What the hell?

Here’s my new final point. Titus Young + change of scenery = good. 7th round draft pick = bad. I would give up a 7th round pick for him and I would have done it yesterday.

Bye.

___________________________________________________________________

Author: Burt Reynolds, or something

Joe’s Weekly NFL Picks (Week 3)

I had a rough go of it with last week’s picks, including my mortal lock that the Pats would win. In case you missed it, they were stunned by the Cardinals after a last-second field goal attempt by Stephen Gostkowski sailed wide. Here’s hoping I can turn it around this week!

WEEK 2 RECORD: 9-7
SEASON RECORD: 20-12

WEEK 3

THU, SEP 20

8:20 PM ET, NY Giants @ Carolina – Eli Manning threw for enough passing yards to cover two games last week, and it might take a near-repeat performance to go into Carolina and snag a win. It will be interesting to see how the Giants handle the backfield with Ahmad Bradshaw’s mysterious neck injury.
PICK: Giants, 28-21.
CONFIDENCE: 6

SUN, SEP 23

1:00 PM ET, St. Louis @ Chicago – Chicago as a team isn’t nearly as bad as they played in last week’s Thursday night debacle at Green Bay. I expect Jay Cutler and company to bounce back against a mediocre St. Louis team.
PICK: Bears, 27-23.
CONFIDENCE: 10

1:00 PM ET, Tampa Bay @ Dallas – I really have no idea what to make of either of these teams. Tampa Bay should be 2-0, but their secondary went from glory to goat in the 4th quarter last week. Dallas managed to do what Tampa Bay couldn’t by beating the Giants, and I like how Dallas plays at home.
PICK: Cowboys, 24-20.
CONFIDENCE: 4

1:00 PM ET, San Francisco @ Minnesota – Some people say to hide your mistakes and sweep them under the rug as a writer, but I REFUSE! Last week, my 16-point confidence pick was the Patriots to take care of business against the Cardinals. As I brought up in my open, I was WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. There is just no way it happens two weeks in a row with this lopsided matchup on the slate of games, right?
PICK: 49ers, 24-14.
CONFIDENCE: 16

1:00 PM ET, Detroit @ Tennessee – Jake Locker looks like a confused little boy out on the field, and I feel bad for him and CJ2K in their futile attempts to play behind that atrocity of an offensive line. Detroit should be able to handle their business on the road here if they think they’re a playoff team.
PICK: Lions, 31-20.
CONFIDENCE: 11

1:00 PM ET, Cincinnati @ Washington – Through two games, RGIII looks like the real deal; however, it’s only 2 games. That being said, Brandon Weeden looked like Dan Marino last week when he torched the Bengals’ defense for 300+ yards and two scores. Expect the man who refuses to display the Nike logo to have a field day this week.
PICK: Redskins, 27-24.
CONFIDENCE: 5

1:00 PM ET, NY Jets @ Miami – I don’t think Reggie Bush can maintain his current pace the entire season, and I haven’t seen anything from Ryan Tannehill that leads me to believe he can beat a solid team. This leads me to my next point: victories over the Raiders should only be worth ¾ of a win this year.
PICK: Jets, 20-17.
CONFIDENCE: 7

1:00 PM ET, Kansas City @ New Orleans – Both these teams are 0-2, but only one of them is really as bad as their record indicates. Hint: It’s NOT the Saints. I expect to see a lot of passing yards in what should be a very high-scoring affair.
PICK: Saints, 34-24.
CONFIDENCE: 14

1:00 PM ET, Buffalo @ Cleveland – C.J. Spiller…and that’s all I have to say about that.
PICK: Bills, 27-13.
CONFIDENCE: 9

1:00 PM ET, Jacksonville @ Indianapolis – Back in the mid-2000’s, you’d expect a classic battle for the AFC South division lead when these two rivals squared off. Nowadays, you have a mediocre team led by a rookie quarterback playing at home against an awful team led by a second-year signal-caller. Go ahead and give me the mediocre home team.
PICK: Colts, 24-21.
CONFIDENCE: 8

4:05 PM ET, Philadelphia @ Arizona – The Cardinals are SERIOUSLY 2-0? You serious Clark? The Eagles are also 2-0, and have managed to win not one, but BOTH of their games by exactly 1 point. I think the Eagles are for real, and I think the Cardinals are frauds.
PICK: Eagles, 24-17.
CONFIDENCE: 12

4:05 PM ET, Atlanta @ San Diego – Another matchup of undefeated teams, although in this case, I believe both these teams are playoff-caliber. The Chargers have looked great, but they’ve played Tennessee and Oakland, so it’s hard to put a ton of stock into those victories. Atlanta has looked great as well, and they actually have a victory over a legitimate opponent in Denver. I think the Falcons make the long trip out West and snag a close victory.
PICK: Falcons, 24-23.
CONFIDENCE: 2

4:25 PM ET, Houston @ Denver – Until either team proves me wrong, I’m sticking to my preseason Super Bowl picks of Houston and San Francisco. That doesn’t mean I think either team is infallible, and I think this week the Texans show it, as Peyton Manning orchestrates a come-from-behind, game-winning drive in the final minutes at home.
PICK: Broncos, 27-24.
CONFIDENCE: 1

4:25 PM ET, Pittsburgh @ Oakland – The Raiders are the worst team in the NFL, and they don’t really have a reasonable chance to win a game until they play Jacksonville in week 7.
PICK: Steelers, 27-17.
CONFIDENCE: 15

8:3 0 PM ET, New England @ Baltimore – Both these teams have to be severely disappointed in their 1-1 records, but they have no one to blame but themselves. Baltimore is a better team this year, and in my opinion, the only serious threat to the Texans in the AFC.
PICK: Ravens, 27-24.
CONFIDENCE: 3

MON, SEP 24

8:35 PM ET Green Bay @ Seattle – I know Russell Wilson is a great playmaker, but I also believe that Seattle expects him to be more of a “game manager” than a “game changer”. I think his attempts to keep up with A-Rod and the Packers offense will cause him to force some throws, resulting in a couple costly interceptions and a Seattle defeat.
PICK: Packers, 31-17.
CONFIDENCE: 13

Joe’s Weekly NFL Picks (Week 2)

This week, I’ve added a confidence level I have in making each pick. The confidence levels range from 1 to 16, where 16 is the pick I have the most confidence in, and 1 is the pick I have the least confidence in.

WEEK 1 RECORD: 11-5
SEASON RECORD: 11-5

WEEK 2

THU, SEP 13

8:20 PM ET, Chicago @ Green Bay – A lot of weapons on offense for both teams should make this an exciting game to watch. In the end, I think there is no way Aaron Rodgers starts the season out 0-2 at home.
PICK: Packers, 28-24.
CONFIDENCE: 11

SUN, SEP 16

1:00 PM ET, Tampa Bay @ NY Giants – The Giants are looking to bounce back from that embarrassing loss to the Cowboys in Week 1, and I have very little doubt that Eli and Co. will be successful.
PICK: Giants, 24-17.
CONFIDENCE: 14

1:00 PM ET, Oakland @ Miami – Reggie Bush versus Darren McFadden. Go ahead and give me McFadden.
PICK: Raiders, 20-16.
CONFIDENCE: 7

1:00 PM ET, Houston @ Jacksonville – Houston rolled over the Dolphins in week 1 as expected, while Jacksonville suffered a deflating loss in overtime. I think the hangover from that game trickles over into this week.
PICK: Texans, 28-17.
CONFIDENCE: 15

1:00 PM ET, Cleveland @ Cincinnati – Tim Couch. Ty Detmer. Doug Pederson. Kelly Holcomb. Jeff Garcia. Trent Dilfer. Charlie Frye. Derek Anderson. Brady Quinn. Colt McCoy…ANDDDDD Brandon Weeden. WOW. Just wow.
PICK: Bengals, 21-17.
CONFIDENCE: 13

1:00 PM ET, Kansas City @ Buffalo – Both these teams allowed 40+ points in blowout losses last week, so I’m going to pick the Chiefs, because they actually played against a legitimately good team.
PICK: Chiefs, 24-21.
CONFIDENCE: 5

1:00 PM ET, Baltimore @ Philadelphia – This is probably an extremely dumb pick, considering how GOOD the Ravens new high-flying offense looked week 1, and how BAD Mike Vick looked on his way to four week 1 interceptions. Something tells me Vick rights the ship this week in another close victory.
PICK: Eagles, 28-27.
CONFIDENCE: 2

1:00 PM ET, New Orleans @ Carolina – This should be a game filled with a lot of fireworks of the offensive variety. If I’m not mistaken, I believe the laws regarding fireworks are a little more lax in Louisiana.
PICK: Saints, 35-24.
CONFIDENCE: 8

1:00 PM ET, Arizona @ New England – One word: Bloodbath.
PICK: Patriots, 34-17.
CONFIDENCE: 16

1:00 PM ET, Minnesota @ Indianapolis – Andrew Luck struggled throwing the deep ball in week 1, while Christian Ponder looked surprisingly efficient and effective. I think Luck will have a better game this week, but I think the Vikings do just enough to squeak out a victory.
PICK: Vikings, 20-17.
CONFIDENCE: 1

4:05 PM ET, Washington @ St. Louis – The Rams secondary had Matt Stafford’s number last week, picking off the Lions quarterback 3 times, and they still managed to lose. RGIII looked NFL-ready versus the Saints, and I think he leads the Skins to another W this week.
PICK: Redskins, 24-21.
CONFIDENCE: 4

4:05 PM ET, Dallas @ Seattle – Seattle had no business losing to Arizona in week 1 and they should come out pretty fired up this week. However, I think Dallas is the better team, and I believe they show it by going on the road and snagging a win in a nail-biter.
PICK: Cowboys, 21-20.
CONFIDENCE: 6

4:25 PM ET, NY Jets @ Pittsburgh – Peyton Manning picked apart the vaunted Steelers defense in week 1, but Mark Sanchez most certainly IS NOT Peyton Manning. I expect Mike Wallace to be a bigger part of the offense for Pittsburgh this week, now that he got paid and is back in game shape.
PICK: Steelers, 24-20.
CONFIDENCE: 9

4:25 PM ET, Tennessee @ San Diego – Chris Johnson had 11 carries for a whopping 4 yards in week 1. It’s hard for me to pick a team that can’t move the ball to save their lives on the ground, so give me the Bolts.
PICK: Chargers, 27-21.
CONFIDENCE: 10

8:20 PM ET, Detroit @ San Francisco – The oh-so-hyped handshake-gate rematch is finally upon us. If it was being played in Detroit, I’d probably flip a coin. However, it’s on the West coast, and Candlestick is a tough place to go in to and get a victory these days.
PICK: 49ers, 27-21.
CONFIDENCE: 12

MON, SEP 17

8:30 PM ET Denver @ Atlanta – This Monday-night matchup is just as even as last week’s, but features two much better teams. Peyton Manning is a better quarterback than Matt Ryan, but Ryan’s supporting cast is so good that it’s almost unfair.
PICK: Falcons, 28-24.
CONFIDENCE: 3

Joe’s Weekly NFL Picks (Week 1)

WED, SEP 5

Dallas @ NY Giants – Too many injuries for the Cowboys to knock off the defending Super Bowl champs on the road.
PICK: Giants, 24-21.

SUN, SEP 9

Indianapolis @ Chicago – Will Peyton Manning’s protege, rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, go into Soldier Field and win his first NFL game against this defensive unit? Short answer: Nope.
PICK: Bears, 27-14.

Philadelphia @ Cleveland – All of Philadelphia’s offensive weapons are finally healthy, Vick included. The Cleveland QB carousel continues, with Weeden being thrown to the dogs against Philly’s tough pass rush.
PICK: Eagles, 31-7.

New England @ Tennessee – It will be interesting to see how Tom Brady and off-season acquisition Brandon Lloyd gel. I am also interested to see how much Josh McDaniels uses Stevan Ridley.
PICK: Patriots, 31-20.

Atlanta @ Kansas City – Arrowhead is always a tough place to play, but something tells me that offense wins out against defense in this match-up; Ryan is efficient, and the Falcons have weapons all over the place.
PICK: Falcons, 24-14.

Jacksonville @ Minnesota – I don’t expect either of these teams to do much this season with second-year quarterbacks at the helm. I guess that means I should probably take the home team.
PICK: Vikings, 20-17.

Washington @ New Orleans – Something tells me that even with the suspensions across the board, the Saints won’t lose their home opener against a rookie signal caller.
PICK: Saints, 35-17.

Buffalo @ NY Jets – I can’t wait to watch this offensive thrill-ride! And by offensive thrill-ride, I mean offensive debacle of course. You know what that means? I believe the Jets will actually finally score an offensive touchdown…OR EVEN TWO!
PICK: Jets, 16-13.

St. Louis @ Detroit – St. Louis loves to pound the rock on the ground with S-Jax, and the Lions have one hell of an aerial attack. In the modern-day NFL, with the rules they have in place, the edge in these two contrasting styles ALMOST always goes to the team that can pass.
PICK: Lions, 31-21.

Miami @ Houston – With Schaub back at the helm, I expect the Texans to be a Super Bowl contender this year. With Tannehill at the helm, I expect the Dolphins to be a first-pick-in-the-NFL-Draft contender this year.
PICK: Texans, 35-13.

San Francisco @ Green Bay – NFC Championship preview in week 1…let me snag some popcorn and soda for this one. It is my humble opinion (and the correct opinion) that Aaron Rodgers is the best offensive player in the NFL, and Patrick Willis is the best defensive player in the NFL. I give the cheeseheads the edge because this one is at Lambeau.
PICK: Packers, 24-23.

Seattle @ Arizona – I’m glad the 49ers/Packers game is one of the late afternoon games, because I wouldn’t want to be stuck watching this mess. I’m sorry if I can’t get excited about the Skelton vs. Wilson match-up behind center. I think the Seahawks defense ends up being the difference.
PICK: Seahawks, 20-17.

Carolina @ Tampa Bay – Can Josh Freeman bounce back to the 2010 version of himself? Can Cam Newton recreate the year he had in 2011? Is Vincent Jackson still a soft diva afraid to go over the middle? The answers to all these questions should start to unfold in week 1. I’m saying the answers are no, sorta, and indubitably, respectively.
PICK: Panthers, 27-20.

Pittsburgh @ Denver – Let the Peyton Manning era begin in Denver, and may the odds ever be in his favor. Seriously though, I wonder if he has nightmares of idiot-kicker Mike Vanderjagt’s kick sailing wide every time he plays against the Steelers. It may only be the regular season, but he gets semi-vicarious revenge through the leg of Matt Prater.
PICK: Broncos, 23-21.

MON, SEP 10

Cincinnati @ Baltimore – I think this year is the last go-round for Ed Reed and Ray-Ray, and I think the Baltimore defense is still good enough to compete for a Super Bowl. If Flacco can avoid mistakes and Ray Rice can stay healthy, I expect a great year; I expect it to start week 1.
PICK: Ravens, 24-14.

San Diego @ Oakland – This one is a coin flip, and it should be a great cap to week 1 action in the NFL. I expect Philip Rivers to throw for 300+ yards, and McFadden to run for 125+ yards. Remember what I said earlier about teams that can pass versus teams that can run? Well, I don’t want to be a hypocrite…so I won’t be a hypocrite.
PICK: Chargers, 27-24.

Its Time to Quit

It’s time to leave them alone, we’re not in there shoes and haven’t lived the life that they have, so who are we to criticize? Have I done this before, you bet your sweet ass I have. I do it all the time, especially with a select few athletes. Sure its easy to sit behind a computer screen or a TV, and bitch about how players don’t do this or don’t do that, or how they handled a certain situation. What people need to do, not only in sports but in everyday life, is look at the positive things they do.

Was the way LeBron James handled his free agency departure from the Cavs wrong? In a way yes and no. People forget about the fact that he raised 2.5 million dollars for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Anytime this is brought up I am quick to respond with that fact. Being a huge LeBron fan this is always something that I love debating. Why? Because I am able to see both sides. I do not agree with how he handled it and it completely changed his game for a entire season. He could’ve handled the situation differently,  but in the end he raised a ton of money for a great organization.

The most talked about pro athlete in all of sports, a crazed trend is named after him and numerous rumors off the field criticizing his lifestyle. If you haven’t guessed who it is, it is none other than Timothy Richard Tebow. Do I think he is a great quarterback. Hell no. Do I think he is a great football player? Yes. The guy knows the game, he knows how to play it and he knows how to win football games. He is one of the best athletes to have as a role model. He puts his heart and soul into every down, every quarter, every game. Sure, he isn’t the best quarterback in the NFL and the stats prove it, however, the guy wins football games and is a tremendous human being. Just because the man states his religion and how he talks about God pisses people off but he should not draw criticism because of them. Everyone is entitled to the right guaranteed by the first amendment, free speech that is. Next time you want to criticize him or his lifestyle think about this, would you rather have a guy like Tebow on your team and the face of your franchise or a guy like Charles Rogers. I’m pretty sure everyone would take Tebow. Its not a great comparison, but it gets the point a crossed.

The situation that has pissed me off the most in recently in sports is really one that hits hard and brings out the ugliness that is still around in 2012. I’m a little late in response to the situation, but it goes hand in hand with this. When Joel Ward scored the game winning goal for the Capitals in game 7 against Boston, Twitter absolutely erupted with racial tweets directed at him. Ward being one of the select few African-American hockey players in the NHL, I think made that goal that much more special. I mean think about it, hockey is a sport predominately played by white athletes and only a handful of African-Americans. This is one of those situations where kids can look at Ward and think, “Hey, if he can play in the NHL. Why can’t I do it too”. The fact that Twitter erupted like that really made me realize that people are so accustomed the status quo, that one minor change can have a huge impact. Think about it, if a white player scored that goal, its just another game winning goal, but when a African-American scores, its like it’s the end of the world. There is no room for this in sports or the world. Period.

Finally, probably the most scrutinized athlete in recent years, Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods. By no means am I condoning what he did, but I mean come on, he made a mistake, and he admitted it. Now leave the man alone and let him get back to living a “normal” life. Everyone is quick to judge, especially when it comes to him. Sure, his golf game hasn’t been the same since the incident happened, but let me ask this: Have you ever played golf? Do you know what it takes to actually get out on the course and shoot what he shoots? I can tell you one thing, I sure as hell can’t. I love the game of golf and I root for Tiger in any tournament that he plays in, but I will never criticize anything he does on the course. Unless you are a swing coach or a golf pro, no one has any room to talk. He made a mistake, a big mistake, but he is human just like the rest of us. People forget that when looking at any celebrity or athlete. Also, if you are an avid golf fan and hate Tiger, think about this: Where would golf be without Tiger Woods? I can answer that for you, it sure as hell wouldn’t be as popular as it is today.

In closing, I will leave all you fantastic readers with one last thing. If you were in any athletes shoes, do you think that you would be able to handle all the baggage that comes along with it? If the answer is yes, well then I applaud you. If you are on the fence or say no, well then think about this the next time you criticize a professional athlete.

You stay classy……………..readers.

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Author: Zachary Tanton

Grading the Lions’ Draft.

1st round – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa – Although the pick is “boring” I was quite happy with it. Reiff was projected in the top 15 of most drafts and getting him at 23 was a very good value. Expect him to play at  right tackle next year and be an upgrade of Gosder Cherilus. He is a physical run blocker and was durable in his two years starting at Iowa. Grade: A-

2nd round – Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma – The most controversial pick of the Lions’ draft; without a doubt. Broyles was extremely productive, when healthy, at Oklahoma, but wide receiver isn’t a need, as far as any of us know. I was mad at first when the Lion’s made this pick, but the rest of their draft changed my mind about it (see explanation below). When Broyles is healthy he will be another talented piece to the Lions’ offensive puzzle and can help in the return game. Grade: C

3rd round – Dwight “Bill” Bently, CB, Louisiana Lafayette – Although I have been unable to read Mel Kiper and Todd Mcshay’s mock drafts for day 2 (I need to get ESPN Insider) I have been told they BOTH had the Lions draft Bently in the 2nd round. We got him in the 3rd. He is a 4.4 guy who has good ball skills. Although undersized, he has the potential to be a playmaker in the secondary. This pick alone made the Broyles pick OK in my book. If we took Bently in the 2nd round, like the “experts” thought, and Broyles in the 3rd round nobody would be upset about it. Grade: A-

4th round – Ronnell Lewis, DE/OLB, Oklahoma – Lewis has the potential to be the best value the Lions got in this draft. He is a fast and physical edge rusher who can provide a jump for the defense. He is a smaller guy, but I’m sure the Lions will have a few blitz packages drawn up specifically for him. If he adds some more pounds to his frame he could be a full time DE with his hand in the ground every game.  I expect him to remain similar to the size he is now and be used mainly as a hybrid type player that is moved all over the place. Injury problems and a history of poor performance in the classroom caused him to fall to the 4th round. Grade: B

Late Rounds – 5 -Tahir Whitehead, OLB, Temple, 5 – Chris Greenwood, CB, Albion, 6 – Jonte Green, CB, New Mexico State, 7 – Travis Lewis, ILB, Oklahoma. Like most late round picks, none of these guys are close to a sure thing. Whitehead will be a strong special teams player this year and could possibly develop into a good linebacker in his career. Greenwood is an athletic freak at corner and dominated Division III this past season. Who knows how he will handle the adjustment to the NFL. Jonte Green will be another special teamer who can possibly develop into a 3rd coner, or a nickel corner. Travis Lewis left Oklahoma as the 3rd leading tackler in school history. A broken toe early in his senior season caused his draft stock to fall from mid rounds to his 7th round pick. He too could contribute on special teams early. With fifth, sixth and seventh round picks it is more about quantity as opposed to quality. The Lions got a good group in the late rounds and if they hit on one it will be a success. Grade : B-

Final grade: B. Overall it was a good draft. Not great. Not bad, but good. When reviewing the draft it is important to react to ALL of the picks as a whole, not individually. The Broyles pick looked a lot better after the third round pick of Bently and the six straight defensive picks to end the draft. While it may have been a reach at the time, it worked out. I expect the top four picks to contribute this year and perhaps one or two of the late round guys can make an impact as well.

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Author: Wil Hunter

NFL’s Decision on Sean Payton

Mr. Goodell in all his glory

In a breaking news bulletin exclusively obtained by the CEO of Put Away the Whistle Sports Blog and home-shopping website, our sources indicate that Roger Goodell has handed down a new ruling in the Sean Payton bounty-program scandal. Commissioner Goodell has decided to eliminate the year-long suspension of Payton if Sean agrees to allow the league to place a bounty of $1,000,000 for the first person to punch Payton in the face. Sources close to Goodell refused to confirm or deny this report, though Payton has reportedly said that his face is worth “well upwards of $2,000,000.”

Haha! Good morning sports fans! In order to get “with it,” as the kids are saying these days, and to boost site views (8 in the last 48 hours? Come on loyal readership!) I decided to engage in a little April Fool’s Day slight-of-hand. It turns out that the above paragraph is what we in the sports writing business refer to as “the ole switch-eroo.” I wrote something that was only 87% true in order to “joke” with the loyal readers of this sports blog. Man, did my editors love that idea!

The truth of the matter is, I received dozens of letters from adoring fans asking if I would engage in any April Fool’s Day hi-jinx. Take the following letter I received from alert reader Dave Goostofian from Kennebunkport, Maine:

“Dan, love the blog! Will you be giving the readers of Put Away the Whistle any sort of April 1st treat?” – Dave Goostofian

Great question Dave! I considered pulling some sort of hilarious prank on the unsuspecting blog-o-sphere, which would ultimately lead to millions of laughs and a television deal for me to produce a show with Ashton Kutcher. However, after giving it several seconds of intense thought, I realized that practical jokes are a way of life. I don’t need a specific day to fool everyone with a fake Sean Payton article to boost readership, I can do that every single day of the year. That is why I am writing this article not on April Fool’s Day, but the day after (not because I forgot yesterday was April Fool’s Day, panicked, and decided to write my column a day late). I live everyday like it is April Fool’s Day – as difficult and challenging as that may seem.

So in response to Dave and the millions of letters I received begging for an epic prank via Put Away the Whistle, I have to politely decline. Yet do not lose hope, for you never know when I might write something completely ridiculous.

In other, much more exciting news, Put Away the Whistle is currently the FIRST (that’s right – FIRST!!!) item that comes up when you Google “put away the whistle.” Take that Omar! In a close second is … Put Away the Whistle! That’s correct loyal readership, we currently own the top two spots in a Google Search! Please uncork your champagne and place the pigs-in-a-blanket in the oven (as we all have done here at PATW headquarters). Below you will see a snapshot of our triumph:

Woot-woot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I realize that you are all extremely alert and dedicated readers of Put Away the Whistle, and the news that we own the top two spots in a Google search is likely old lunch meat as far as you’re concerned (I’m literally giddy! ESPN here we come!). I thought it may be worth congratulating the writer whose article appears in both of the Google items. Let’s find out who that is by taking a gander at the above snapshot. Take the aforementioned gander now …

Welcome back. It appears that the articles were written by a “Dan Etz,” who appears to be … me! Congratulations Dan! I don’t want to blow this out of proportion, but you appear to be following in the footsteps of Woody Paige (I can’t wait to stick it to Tony Reali)! Now I would never want to “toot” my own “horn” (at least not in public), but it appears that my quick wit and cutting-edge journalism have lifted Put Away the Whistle from the 18th item in a Google Search to the top two items combined. Don’t look now editors, but someone may be in line for a handsome raise (and a company car – I’m just sayin).

Anywho, since you loyal readers obviously cannot get enough of me, I have decided to quench your thirst by providing live updates from my Fantasy Baseball Draft that occurs today at 12:30 pm. That’s right, in roughly 45 minutes, you will be treated to the finest up-to-the-minute commentary on a fantasy draft that no one in America cares about except for the 10 losers who have time to hold a draft at 12:30 on a Monday. If you are wondering what the heck I am talking about, please see my first-ever emmy-nominated column on Put Away the Whistle: “Welcoming myself to the blog-o-sphere.”

My team, the “Miguel Cabreras,” currently owns the 7th pick in the draft and I have absolutely no idea who to take. All I have is a gut that is telling me Adam Dunn is gonna have a monster year! Read all about the draft in my next post – till then loyal readership.

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Dan “I-own-the-top-two-spots-in-a-google-search” Etz

The Not so Saintly Saints

As we look forward to another season of NFL football, we’re in the most unpredictable time in recent NFL history. The Saints, in 2006, were a team that was looking for a new identity, and they were trying to find that identity during a time of chaos and uncertainty. Hurricane Katrina had just devastated the city of New Orleans, and some were looking to the Saints to be a bright spot in an otherwise hopeless environment. During that time, the Saints acquired new head coach Sean Payton, and became exactly that. The Saints looked promising, with their high octane offense that featured the electric Drew Brees. However, despite their explosive offense, the Saints were unable to solidify their reputation as an elite team, largely due to their struggling, “soft,” defense. To fix those negative defensive perceptions, the Saints decided they needed a new Defensive Coordinator, one that would bring an attitude of toughness to the team, and that man was Gregg Williams.

Sean Payton wanted Williams so badly that he actually paid for part of Williams’s contract out of pocket. Good thing too, because the fit was perfect. The Saints became a blitzing machine and were soon 2nd in the league in turnovers. This new, aggressive defense, accompanied by the already explosive offense, led the Saints to a Super Bowl Championship over the Colts in 2009. The future of the Saints looked bright and Gregg Williams seemed to be the man that could finally pull the Saints defense together.

But then, rumblings of a bounty system came to the media’s attention, and the Saints’ world would never be the same.

The Saints were accused of having a system that encouraged players to intentionally injure some of the NFL’s top players, through monetary rewards. They even had a reward for a “cart off,” which is when a player is so badly hurt that they can’t leave the field under their own power, and thus have to be taken off in a cart. This gives you an idea of how committed Williams was to changing the perception that the Saints had a “soft” defense. When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell first heard about these allegations, he was quick to try to find answers. He met countless times with the Saints, and warned Sean Payton that there can be no more reward system. Unfortunately, Sean Payton did not heed the Commissioner’s advice, and as a result, the Saints were hit with penalties that were among the harshest in NFL history.

Roger Goodell made it clear to the Saints and other NFL teams that they were not to “cross the boss,” and he struck with an iron fist. Saints Head Coach Sean Payton was given with a 1 year suspension and would lose out on around $5 million dollars. The team was fined half a million dollars, and their two second round picks for the next two seasons were revoked. The General Manager Mickey Loomis was also suspended for 8 games. As for Gregg Williams, the man who is considered responsible for the Saints bounty system, he faced most severe punishment of all. Williams was suspended indefinitely, and there is the possibility that he may never again work in the NFL.

The Saints were the ultimate underdogs, they came from a city of dispair and rose above it to become 2009 Super Bowl Champions, and a beacon of hope for New Orleans. Now, the future of the Saints looks uncertain, at best. It will be interesting see how the Saints handle the absence of their leader on the field, Head Coach Sean Payton, and the absence of their leader off the field, General Manager Mickey Loomis. There are rumors of former coaching legend Bill Parcells, who coached teams such as the Giants, Jets, Patriots, and Cowboys, coming in for a year to help the Saints. I believe this would be a good fit because of the friendly relationship and experiences that Sean Payton and Bill Parcells have together.  As an NFL legend, Bill Parcells would bring stability to a team that right now is anything but stable. However, even a coach like Parcells would have a hard time finding success considering the harsh environment that is surrounding the Saints organization. Also, things could get a whole lot worse if the talked about suspensions of players who had a hand in the system end up being carried out. The Saints seem to know that something big is coming with the signing of former Atlanta MLB Curtis Lofton as a potential replacement for Jonathan Vilma if he ends up getting suspended.

There is no question that the NFL is a physical league and I am sure that the Saints weren’t the first team to have a bounty system in place, but that doesn’t make it ok, and the NFL needed to make an example out of them as a warning to other teams. I applaud the NFL’s aggressive approach and feel like they did what was necessary  in order to send a message that they will not tolerate lying and intentionally trying injure players. With all the research on concussions and the lasting effects football injuries can have, we’re in an era where safety needs to be a priority in order to ensure the longevity of the National Football League.

Shocking audio from Gregg Williams, likely crushing their chances at any appeal:

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Author: Dan Stone

My First Mock Draft (It’s Great)

This is a terribly boring sports day and I feel like writing, so here is my first NFL mock draft. I’ll probably do another right before the first round. I need to grow out my hair and do something dumb with it first. I hear this is the best way to correctly speculate on the NFL draft. I feel like correctly speculate is a contradiction. Anyways…

1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck QB Stanford- Will challenge Eli for most times drooled on one’s self this year.

2. Washington Redskins – RGIII QB Baylor – Poor guy.

3. Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil OT USC – Christian Ponder’s prayers have been answered. Well sort of. He’s still in Minnesota.

4. Cleveland Browns – Trent Richardson RB Alabama – Does anybody even want to get drafted by Cleveland anymore?

5. Tampa Bay Bucs – Morris Claiborne CB LSU – Ronde Barber is old. Claiborne isn’t.

6. St. Louis Ram’s – Justin Blackmon WR Ok. State – Best offseason ever in St. Louis? Yeah.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Melvin Ingram DE South. Car. – Perhaps a weapon for Chad Henne? No. There’s a reason the Jags aren’t very good.

8. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Tannehill QB – Again…Poor guy.

9. Carolina Panthers – Dontari Poe DT Memphis –  A video of Poe running his 40. (skip to 3:10)

10. Buffalo Bills – Quinton Coples DE UNC – Bills correct themselves after first trying to draft Harrison Barnes.

11. Kansas City Chiefs – Michael Brockers Dt LSU- Kansas City becomes convinced after Brockers bench presses whole team.

12. Seattle Seahawks – David Decastro G Standford – I have nothing funny for this one.

13. Arizona Cardinals – Reiley Reiff OT Iowa – You need all the o-line help you can get when John Skelton looks to be your best option at QB.

14. Dallas Cowboys – Mark Barron SS Alabama – I owned this defense for part of my fantasy football season. They need help.

15. Philadelphia Eagles – Fletcher Cox DT Miss St. – Great name. Should help fill that giant hole the Eagles called their defense.

16. New York Jets – Andre Branch DE Clemson – Solid rusher. Rex Ryan thinks he has great feet.

17. Cincinnati Bengals – Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama – Lol. Pacman Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick. Word.

18. San Diego Chargers – Jonathan Martin OT Stanford – I can never think of jokes for Stanford linemen. They’re perfect. Norv Turner.

19. Chicago Bears – Whitney Mercilus DE Illinois – (Insert Ron Zook punting joke here)

20. Tennessee Titans – Chandler Jones DE Syracuse – Titans had 6.5 sacks last year. I’ll pause so you can think about that.

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama – The Bengals might will be pretty good.

22. Cleveland Browns – Michael Floyd WR Notre Dame – Yay! More weapons that won’t get used!

23. Detroit Lions – Janoris Jenkins CB North Alabama – The lions? Red flags? Character questions? Pshhhhhhh

24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Mike Adams OT Ohio St. – Anyone else feel like the Steelers always get this pick right?

25. Denver Broncos – Jerel Worthy DT – Since Tebow is no longer leading the defense, a big tackle should help.

26. Houston Texans – Kendall Wright WR Baylor – I’m not a fan, but it’s better then (checks roster) Kevin Walter.

27. New England Patriots – Stephon Gilmore CB South Car. – Julian Edelman likes this pick.

28. Green Bay Packers – Peter Konz C Wisconsin- He’s bigger then anyone they have on their line now.

29. Baltimore Ravens – Luke Kuechly ILB Boston College – The slide ends here. I wouldn’t mind learning from Ray Lewis though.

30. San Francisco 49ers – Brock Osweiler QB Arizona St. – Probably won’t happen, but boy would I laugh.

31. New England Patriots – David Wilson RB Va Tech – Patriots like that he occasionally runs for -20 yards on plays. I don’t know why.

32. New York Giants – Dont’a Hightower ILB Alabama – I misspelled his name like 6 times. Should enjoy his life behind that D line.

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Author: Wil Hunter