Category Archives: NFL

Tom Brady > Peyton Manning

By Johnny Green

(I wrote a column about Brady and Manning the other day, but before I posted it, I remembered that Bean wrote one a few months back. So this is his take on the “Best Quarterback of the Generation” debate.)

(AP Photo/ Charles Krupa)

The NFL is the best football league in the world, and it is made up of the best players in the world. Among these players there is one position that outshines the rest, and that position is quarterback. The quarterback is the player who takes the blame when the team loses and the credit when the team wins. They have a lot of control over the outcome of the game, and they are the teams’ leaders. There are a lot of great quarterbacks in the NFL today, but there are two main ones that stick out in everybody’s mind, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. There are countless numbers of debates on who is better out of these two. I am going to tell you why Tom Brady is better, and some of the reasons even go past football. Continue reading

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Reflection on 9/11 and the First Week of Football

Reflecting on 9/11/11 and the First Day of Football

When 9/11 happened I was in sixth grade. I was sitting in the back of Mrs. O’Brien’s class when my principal, Mr. Nardiello, walked in and told my class what happened. He said the World Trade Centers have just been attacked and since we were the oldest in the elementary school he felt that we should know.  After he told us what happened I raised my hand and asked if they were the Twin Towers because my dad took me past them a few months earlier.  That’s what he called them and the Twin Towers were about as much as I knew about New York at the time.  

Ten years later, after Saddam Hussein’s reign ended, the first black President was elected, Osama bin Laden had been killed, and the economy had been so disastrous that it was compared to the Great Depression, I sat with all my friends at a packed bar around noon on the anniversary.  The place was buzzing with breakfast and diner-goers on their way out and being replaced by those who have been waiting for this day since the Super Bowl ended.  Voices were loud, teams’ jerseys were worn, and drinks were being served while I continuously took my phone from my pocket to check the clock and waiting for 1:00.  Time wasn’t moving like I wanted to so instead of 12:30 it was 12:06 then 12:10 then 12:13 then 12:20 and so on.  After the eternity I waited, each of the 20-or-so TVs in the bar turned into the football paradise I have been waiting for.  It was then that the bar got silent.  The Bears, Steelers, Giants, Cowboys, 49ers, Patriots, and Eagles fans, active a moment earlier, fell silent as each TV played the same trumpet ballad. The images on each TV changed to 20 American flags stretched across the entire surface of the fields and each player from each team held a part of it. To say you could’ve heard a pin drop would be cliché, but true nonetheless.  To say we stopped being fans and started being Americans would be cliché, but true nonetheless. To say that all of our lives came into perspective, if only for a moment, would be cliché, but true nonetheless.  It was a moment you’ll remember where you were.

But, to get to the football side of it, I couldn’t wait to get to that bar.  I turned 21 in April and knowing that I would finally experience a “Sunday-Funday” had been on the top of my “I Can’t Wait for Another Reason to Hide the Fact That I May Be an Alcoholic” list.  I went to sleep early Saturday night (it was really 1:45, but who under the age of 30 has a respectable bedtime?) and woke up early on Sunday.  After calling multiple people I got a ride from a friend’s girlfriend. She said it was no problem because she “knows her place on a football Sunday,” her words, not mine (besides, that’s a whole different monster I don’t want to deal with).  Here are my observations on the first Sunday of the NFL weekend.

The Eagles Still Have Holes on Defense- That offense can score whenever it wants to.  Whether it’s Lesean McCoy running the ball or catching it out of the backfield or Michael Vick making plays with his feet or Desean Jackson exploding for an 80-yard touchdown (he dropped a guaranteed 90-yard touchdown pass that had the whole bar say OOOOOOOOOO-awwwwwwwww) or Jeremy Maclin scoring when Desean is double-covered or the other Steve Smith catching a pass across the middle. The offense is lethal.  Having said that (in my best Larry David voice), this team was awful against the run.  If Steven Jackson didn’t get hurt, he would’ve rushed for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns. My friend JJ said to me about 30 times that the Eagles should get Lofa Tatupu and after the third time I was agreeing with him.  Casey Matthews isn’t ready for that role yet. And PLEASE PAY DESEAN JACKSON.

Goddamn the Packers are Good- When you have videos like this, you’ve made it. Is there any question that the best team in the NFL at this moment is Green Bay? That offense is as explosive as the Eagles and they can score on any play. Aaron Rodgers, who stole his people’s champ from Freddie Mitchell (but we’ll let that slide, I guess), has become a legitimate MVP candidate and is threatening to take Peyton Manning’s spot as the second best QB in the league. They are the most solid team offensively and one of the most solid teams defensively.  Now with Randall Cobb as a potential special teams threat, they are virtually unbeatable.  It’s amazing how great of a job Mike McCarthy and Dom Capers have done in Green Bay. Favorites to repeat? They have to be.

The Steelers Looked Terrible- I don’t know how much more Big Ben could’ve embarrassed me.  I took him as my starting QB in two of my fantasy leagues and bet on the Steelers going into Baltimore and bet on the Steelers carrying me to an overall solid weekend. Basically what Big Ben and the Steelers did was the equivalent to a kid throwing a tantrum in the middle of a Shop-Rite after I stressed that “Oh, little Chazz is great, he has never once acted up in public.” Feeling embarrassed I would tell my Steelers child that, “When we get into the car, I’m beating seven shades of shit out of you.”  (To be honest, I didn’t lose that much money on the Steelers, but as a broke college student you have to add two zeroes to every number to find out how much it truly costs.)

Calvin Johnson is a Grown Man- The man has the best nickname in sports just continues to prove that no matter where, who, when, or how the ball is thrown, he’ll go up and catch it.  He’s been doing it since he’s broken into the league. The only way to stop him is to make up a rule about how catching a ball is a process and it doesn’t end with two feet hitting the ground followed by his entire body hitting the ground. Honestly, if he can have a solid quarterback, he will eclipse Andre Johnson as the best wide receiver in the league.  Matthew Stafford looks like he can do it if he can stay healthy. Here’s how a huddle between Stafford and Calvin Johnson sounds like.

Stafford:  Megatron I want you to do a 10-and-out, I’ll hit you on the back shoulder.

Johnson: How about I just go deep and make you look like a superstar?

Stafford: I was the number one overall pick, Calvin.

Johnson: I made Drew Stanton and Shaun Hill look decent.

Stafford: Okay, deep pass to Calvin on two.

Is There Any Doubt That Tom Brady is Great?-  I don’t know how much more I should continue on this subject, but here it goes.  He has done more with less than any other QB in history.  Think about it, Montana had Rice. Peyton Manning had Marvin Harrison.  John Elway had Terrelle Davis and Shannon Sharpe, the best tight-end ever.  Tom Brady’s receivers during his Super Bowl runs, Troy Brown, David Patten, and Deion Branch.  I’ll let his line from Monday Night Football talk for me; 32 for 48, 517 yards and 4 touchdowns.  And Peyton Manning can compete with him as best ever?

Tony Romo Does It Again- Nothing to say here, Tony Romo’s actions speak louder than my words.

Football is Baaaack

There has been a lot of action in the weeks since the lockout ended in July.  Starting with the absolute disrespect the league showed for its fans that further cemented the mantra that the NFL is “a business,” the league hasn’t mentioned its appreciation for its fans sticking through a lockout that was more senseless than Charlie Sheen’s comedy tour (Charlie Sheen reminds me of the friend who everyone thinks is funny and says that he could do stand up until they realize that without his friends he has just a bunch of inside jokes that get him booed off the stage.  I’m sure the Tiger Blood joke killed in between each snort of cocaine.).  Rosters were at 96 players and had to be trimmed down with no Organized Team Activities (OTA’s) and barely a training camp.  Free agents couldn’t be signed for days after the lockout ended and players on a team couldn’t be traded which had fans from different cities scrambling in confusion (the Eagles couldn’t trade Kevin Kolb right away and led to a slight worry that they would just keep him…again).  Or that when free agency had started there were mass and false reports where various free agents would end up. Adam Schefter, who should be called “The Weatherman Because He’s Right 30% of the Time,” speculated that the Eagles were the front-runners for defensive-end Ray Edwards and the Jets would land the prize of the off-season, Nnamdi Asomugha.  But Edwards went to the Falcons and Asomugha landed with the Eagles (who also got Jason Babin, the other Steve Smith, Ronnie Brown, Cullen Jenkins, and Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie). 

Then we had to endure the likes of Mark Schlereth, Merril Hoge, and Herm Edwards with their ass-kissing reviews of every team and every player they get questions about.  Then we had to hear about Tim Tebow and how much of a winner he was in college and “No matter how bad his mechanics are the man is a winner!” Bottom line, Tebow can’t play.  In the latter part of August, Fantasy Football drafts happened throughout the country reminding men that Sundays are about to get so much more enjoyable; that although birthdays are meaningless and Christmas is spent with your in-laws, at least you can hear Joe Buck every week (my favorite fantasy team name was from a guy who sells funeral plots. His team name was Grim-reaper, points for appropriateness.) For the final few days before the season, the NFL was dominated with Peyton Manning reports of whether or not he would play in week one. I watched SportsCenter multiple times today and Manning’s Neck competed with the KHL team plane crash (my prayers go out to the families of those lost) for most times it was preceded by “Developing Story” or “Breaking News” (it was 4-3 Peyton when I turned it off).  Peyton’s neck spread so far that it led to this conversation in my Sports Journalism class today.

New York Giants Fan: Is Peyton playing this week?

Me: I’m not sure, they said he’s doubtful.
New York Jets Fan: I don’t think he’ll play.

Me: *Nods in agreement*

NYGF: Damn, well I drafted him sixth overall in my one fantasy league.

Me: Yeah, I was thinki…wait, what? YOU PICKED HIM SIXTH OVERALL?!

NYJF: *Laughing*

NYGF: Yeah, Vick went one and Brady went five and I don’t like Aaron Rodgers.

Me: *Passes Out*

And still, with all of that, all I have to say is, it’s good to be back.

Glory Hallelujah! The Philadelphia Eagles ARE Contenders!

(Full analysis of the additions to the Eagles are upcoming, but they are so active right now, it would be silly to make one now.)

First, stop with the Miami Heat comparisons. If they were EL HEAT Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson, and Andre Johnson would’ve set up their contracts so they could’ve been free agents and taken their talents to South Philadelphia.  I also don’t like the whole “Dream Team” nickname because the Philadelphia Eagles still have holes they need to fill and problems they need to address (more on that in a bit). And as far as Rob Ryan’s comments on the Eagles, it’s just another reason for me to hate the Cowboys.  (Seriously, I hate them.  They’re like Yankees fans.  They live in Scranton, Pennsylvania and don’t like sports until they see how many championships the Cowboys won. Then they’re the biggest die-hard fans ever, but will never visit Cowboy Stadium.  Stop, you’re an embarrassment to your region and a front-running-fraudulent-counterfeit-fake-pseudo-false fan.) The only reason Ryan even got attention for that is his cooler and better coach brother Rex.  Did you know who Rob Ryan was until Rex stepped on the scene? Probably not. Let Cullen Jenkins’ tweet sum up everything about Rob Ryan. Thank you for letting me vent.

It’s been 60 years since the Eagles last championship and seven years since their last trip to the Super Bowl. You know the Super Bowl where Number 5 was caught throwing up in the huddle during the last minute drive against the New England Patriots.  The final score ended up being 24-21 and the Eagles didn’t sniff the Super Bowl for four years until they lost to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship game in 2008. Philadelphia has had to endure the yelling and pundit hatred towards the city because of their lack of love for McNabb and their demeanor overall.  Notice no matter how well the Eagles do in free agency, no one says anything nice about the city.  You’ll never hear Darryl “Moose” Johnston say how “Great of a city Philadelphia is to play in.”  Since that 2008 season, it’s been two first round knockouts, one to the Dallas Cowboys and the other to Green Bay Packers, a quarterback change that resurrected Michael Vick’s career, and a full revolution on the offensive and defensive side.  It’s the first year since the 2004 season that the Eagles are serious contenders for the Super Bowl. And in a weaker NFC, who can stop them?

If someone was to ask me five years ago that the Philadelphia Eagles were going to be major players in a free agency year and actually committed to their plan of going “all-in” I would’ve said you’re crazy.  Eagles owner, Jeffrey Lurie, who has overpaid free agents (Jason Peters), is notoriously cheap on players who are on the wrong side of 30.  However this year, their three biggest pick-ups (Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin, and Nnamdi Asomugha) are all over 30.  Those three signings fixed the defensive line and officially blocked off whatever side of the field Asomugha plays.  (Within in the next week I’ll have a post on why Asomugha is BETTER than Darrelle Revis.) They traded their best asset in Kevin Kolb for a second round pick and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, a younger and more physical coverage cornerback, a change from Asante Samuel who jumps routes, but gets beat by the double move a lot.  The reason for abandoning one of the best coverage corners in the NFL; to help out the defensive line.  The longer receivers are covered, the easier it makes it on the defensive line to break through and get to the quarterback. It’s going to be tough to matchup with the Eagles this year. However, it’s not all good.  Casey Matthews, a fourth-round pick out of Oregon, is their starting middle linebacker, but he’s not ready yet and the Eagles could use a safety.  But as active as the Eagles are in free agency, I have to wait to analyze how they’ll match up against other teams.

The Eagles offense is going to put up points. They put up a franchise record 27.4 points per game last year and only have improved their offense. They drafted an offensive guard in Danny Watkins and are on their way to fixing the problems that had them knocked out last year.  They have taken steps to improve their defense and on paper it looks like they have done a great job.  But there are still more holes to fill so Eagles fans don’t jump ahead yet. Just enjoy the ride for now. More to come later

 

Watching the Flyers, 76ers, and Phillies the Old Way

                In the age of being able to watch TV from an Ipad, a laptop, or the classic Picture-in-Picture, watching multiple shows and sporting events simultaneously have become more common than Jennifer Anniston’s romantic comedy roles (zing).  However, what happens when you don’t have the first two and your TV’s manual doesn’t come with instructions on how to set up PIP (trust me I went through the manual three times.)? One web logger found out the hard way and was forced to watch the Philadelphia Flyers, 76ers, and Phillies game with nothing but the old “Last” button.  So, while the Phillies blow it in the 12th inning, I give you my observations for the night.

                Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat Game 2- Final Score- 94-73, Heat.  The game was flipped to five times and stopped after the third quarter when the 76ers went down 23.

It comes as no surprise that the Heat are up 2-0 in a series against an overmatched 76ers team. LeBron James continues to pick them apart having scored 29 with seven rebounds and six assists as the 76ers “best player” Andre Iguodala finished with a solid five points, seven rebounds and seven assists.   Having said that, it’s hard not to notice how terribly the 76ers played. They shot 34 percent and their best player of the night was Evan Turner, who surprised everyone (even my friend Bean who texted me “It’s ridiculous man how bad they’re playing…all except Burner.” This is common practice that all Turners are known as Burner) with 15 and six. Unfortunately, that didn’t help them from getting blown out by 21, even with Dwyane Wade only scoring 14. The 76ers starters were outscored by 47.  Their only chance to win a game in this series is game 3 at home.  Don’t count on it, they’re getting swept.

                Philadelphia Phillies vs. Milwaukee Brewers – Final Score- 6-3, Brewers in 12.  This game was watched from Pete Orr’s pinch hit up until the 12th inning. Sorry, it’s playoff time, they take precedent.

Now before you grab your notebook and recite your latest fat joke towards Joe Blanton, just know he didn’t pitch that badly.  He only gave up two runs in seven innings, struck out four, and gave his team a chance to win (ugh, I hate that phrase).  However, their 3-4-5 hitters went 2-17 and Jimmy Rollins continues to disappoint as much as Jennifer Anniston’s romantic comedy roles (follow that link, look at her versatility or lack thereof.).  He continues to hit for home runs instead of playing “small ball” that was effective for the Phillies to start the season. The hitters can’t bear all the blame with Ryan Madson giving up his first run of the season and Kyle Kendrick walking three and giving up three runs, solidifying the Phillies loss.  The Phillies are still 10-5 and weren’t expected to win every game, but they also weren’t supposed to lose each game Blanton started so far.   The two biggest questions for the Phillies are now, “When will Rollins and Francisco click at the same time? And how long until Charlie Manuel realizes Kendrick can’t pitch in the MLB.”

                Philadelphia Flyers vs. Buffalo Sabres Game 2- Final Score 3-2, Flyers.  With a blowout happening in Miami and the Phillies only 15 games in, this game was on the most.

The Flyers are starting to look good again after taking a 2-1 series lead. Would I say that they’re scary good like they were in the beginning of the season? No, but Brian Boucher proved he still has a little game left in him. Besides overcommitting on a rebound in the second period that led to a Nathan Gerbe goal (my father, a goalie his whole life and whose stories include the likes of Bernie Parent, started screaming at the TV about how terribly Boucher played that shot.  That’s why Philly is the greatest sports city.), he stopped 35 out of 37 shots and has to give hope to panicking fans who were unsure about their goaltending situation.  The next most impressive thing was the Flyers’ penalty kill that went 7-8 tonight with them having another 5-on-3.  Although no team wants to give up eight power-plays a night, it’s reassuring knowing they play well on defense.  The next-next most impressive thing is James van Riemsdyk, who although didn’t record a point, is finally playing like the 6’3 200 pound “Ovechkin-build” force he should’ve been since he was drafted (to clear up that Ovechkin reference, he’s just physically similar, not in terms of talent.).  These are all good signs for the Flyers who are playing behind the consistent play of Claude Giroux and Danny Briere. Expect another win in Buffalo on Wednesday and the Flyers finishing the series in Philadelphia.

Seriously though, how exciting is it that during the month of May, there are three Philadelphia teams playing? “Friends” just came on TV, I can’t make this up; the Entertainment Gods are vengeful!

Canceled NFL Union Meeting is Not a Good Sign

We’ve all been thinking it.  What if there is no NFL season in 2011-12?  How will Sundays be spent?   How will this impact the markets where professional football dominates?    Will we have to resort to Fantasy “College” Football where all you need to do is draft players from the SEC?  What the hell does a lockout even mean?  (And my honorable mention, how dumb is Andrew Luck still?)

Unfortunately, the owners haven’t been thinking about those (except Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers who has the worst…Luck, corny I know).  Their only question, How can I make more money? It’s so stern that they walked out of a Union meeting yesterday and canceled a hearing today after hearing a 50-50 split proposal in all revenue by the players’ association (NFLPA) for the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).   The amount alotted to the players by the owners is called total revenue. Under the current CBA reports say that the total revenue is a 9 billion dollar gross that automatically subtracts 1 billion for owners (estimated).  The players then get 60% of that while the owners get the remaining 40%.  To break it down (these are estimates): Continue reading