Tag Archives: Football

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

Back to the BCS: LSU and College Football’s Potential Nightmare

 

 

The worst possible scenario that could happen next Saturday: Georgia upsetting LSU in the SEC Championship game. Why? Because it could potentially leave the unanimous best team in the country out in the dust, making way for a lesser Oklahoma State to finish number two in the BCS. This is a problem for two reasons: It shows that it’s not about HOW many games a team loses, but WHEN and relying on a computer system is absurd as Tim Robbins fitting into the Warden’s suit in Shawshank.

 

Of the top-five teams in the BCS, only LSU remains undefeated. Analysts are saying that barring a blowout, LSU will make the BCS title game even if they lose to Georgia because of the difficulty of their schedule (they beat eight top 25 teams). But the fact that there’s still a possibility of LSU not making it should be worrying the hell out of college football. LSU is a 14-point favorite against the Bulldogs and they’re expected to win. They will most likely win and by a large margin. But, what if they don’t?

 

Take it back to my point about it’s not how many games a team loses but when. Then take it a few weeks when Alabama lost to LSU, 9-6, in a more exciting game than most people give it credit for (it was the top two defenses in the league, no one should’ve expected a 35-34 finish). Alabama dropped to three in the polls and then climbed back to two, ending their season in a rout of rival Auburn. They sit at 11-1 and guaranteed themselves a spot in the BCS championship game. If LSU loses to Georgia, Alabama would jump LSU as the highest ranked team in the country, regardless of their loss against them. AND, overrated Oklahoma State may possibly jump in the two spot. Basically, the BCS said (in their best Office Space voice), “LSU we know you won 12 games already, but you lost too late in the season and we’re going to have to drop you from the title game. Yeaaah, sorry.”

 

Why is that a problem? Beause it goes to show that the timing of the loss is everything. When a team loses early in the year, they have weeks to make up for that loss and get back into the higher part of the rankings. Plus, a team ahead of them has a better chance of losing one game if there are six left, rather than if there is one. LSU should not be punished because it took them 12 games to lose when it only took Alabama and Oklahoma State to lose nine and 20 respectively. The computers don’t measure wins overall, but losses.

 

How can the BCS be fixed? Brent Musberger said to add a playoff system, which is a solid idea. Take the conference champions and have them play in an eight team playoff to determine the champion. It would create new conference rivalries and create a “March Madness” feel to it. Or add a plus-one to the end of the season if two teams end up undefeated. I love the latter because I want a team like TCU or Boise State to finish undefeated again so they can go up against an LSU or Alabama and get destroyed so we can stop hearing, “But they finished 13-0, they deserve a shot!” (And I am a fan of Boise State, but they do play a dreadfully weak schedule.)

 

Although next Saturday isn’t for certain, one thing is, the BCS needs a change. If LSU drops out of the BCS title game because their loss came at the last week of the season, riots should happen in Baton Rouge.

 

Why Sports are So Important

On Saturday night, I attended a wedding between two good friends of mine. It was a nice ceremony and I cut a rug for the majority of the time.  I ran into my friend Shawn and immediately said, “Yeah, I’m gonna miss the [Eagles] game Sunday because I have work all day.”  His response, “Dude me too.” Then both of our minds clicked and we said at the same time, “We should just record the game and watch it later.” We devised an entire plan. With a time window from 9-11 pm I would patiently wait for Shawn to walk into my house and tell me he’s done work.  We would then wait for our friend, Steve (who also had work), to call us so we could all watch the game. My phone and laptop would be off all day and I wouldn’t turn it on until the next day.  To help reinforce our plan I set up signs at work outside of my area that read in bold blue ink, “NO Talk About the Eagles Game” “I DVR-d It.”  I didn’t talk to my boy BC because we argue football every time we see each other and I couldn’t risk it. (He yelled to me that the Cowboys would win the Super Bowl and Tony Romo would win the MVP. I honestly was left speechless because it was so irrational my brain couldn’t grasp it, I had to sit down.)    I put my Ipod on shuffle and trudged through my nine hour shift.

When I left at 9:00 I came home and immediately yelled as quickly as I could, “Don’t tell me anything about the game. I know nothing, justleavemealoneanddon’ttellmeanything!” Shawn arrived around 9:30 and I said was to meet him in 10 minutes at his house.  The plan became such a mission that we didn’t watch the Phillies because they might reveal the score of the Eagles game which happened a few hours earlier.  I didn’t put on my Michael Vick jersey because we were getting food and I didn’t want someone saying, “So how about that game today?” To say we were paranoid, determined, anxious, and excited would all be appropriate and it made me think, “Is there anything else that evokes this much emotion?”

Look at it this way.  Does anyone record the State of the Union address or America’s Got Talent or American Idol or any other event with that much vigor and determination to have it viewed without any biased or prior knowledge?  I tried making a list or at least an idea on why sports are such an integral part of our lives and why we go to the ends of the Earth or to the brink of insanity to keep the purity of something that only last a few hours.

It is a representation of your region- If you think about it; it’s the least logical, but strongest reason for why sports are so important to us.  Does the fact that Milwaukee has a good baseball team make it a good city? No, I visited that city in August and it was fun, if you enjoy empty streets by 11 and empty bars that have drunken Brewers fans talking about how much better Yovani Gallardo is than Roy Halladay (it really was fun though).  But sports fans don’t take it that way.  If your team is bad, then you have a self-conscious perception of yourself that the entire world judges you as a part of that team. If the Phillies blow it against the St. Louis Cardinals then people nationally will call people from Philadelphia “choke artists” because sports are the microscope that American cities are looked through. It makes us invested in the game because if the team is the best, then the CITY is the best.  Do you know anything about people from Seattle? No, but you know that the Seahawks stink so why would visiting Seattle be on your list of “West Coast Cities I’d Like to Visit?” It’s the reason that BOSTON got its own issue of ESPN the Magazine; not just the Patriots or Celtics or Bruins or Red Sox.

It’s a loooooooong season- Every sports season has a range of about four months.  Exposure to something over four months a year eventually leads to a liking if not a respect for whatever the viewer is seeing. For example, I listened to “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” for about nine months every morning from 10-12. I hated Colin Cowherd. I couldn’t stand him.  From his stupid rant on John Wall (who he called J-Wow) to his whiny and high pitched voice I couldn’t understand why he had a radio show.  But hearing him every day I started to calm down and out of sheer saturation and exposure he started to grow on me.  I started to strive away from what I didn’t like and began to focus on what I DID like.  It took a long time, but I have respect for Cowherd and I don’t think he’s that bad.  He actually makes some good points and his analogies are creative and solid.  He’s educated and keen to what goes on around the world.  It’s the same with sports franchises.  The Phillies play from April-October which is more than enough time to “expose” a non-fan to the sport, to the players, to the front-office, and to the fans.  For example, the Four Aces being on the Phillies gave the team so much publicity that people now enter their own little “Four Aces Cliques” based off which one of the four they like they most.  The long season allows for the ability of gradual exposure making it simpler to ease into fandom instead of it being thrust down your throat. 

Winning is an addicting feeling- I grew up in a dismal time in Philadelphia sports. The Sixers stunk (except 2001), the Eagles stunk (up until 1999 when the Andy Reid era started), and the Phillies stunk (up until 2007). The Flyers were good but in the hierarchy of the Philadelphia sports market they’re fourth by a large margin.  Regardless, up until about 10 years ago, all Philly knew was losing.  All my generation knew was bad team after bad team after bad team.  But Philly’s new generation got its first taste of winning in 2001 when Allen Iverson led the Sixers to the Finals.  Dubbed the worst Finals team in NBA history, Iverson scored 30 of his game-high 48 in the first half and the Sixers stole game one from the Lakers. Although the Sixers lost the series 4-1 (it was the only game the Lakers lost in the playoffs that year), Philadelphia was hooked on a drug called Winning. And around the same time the Eagles became contenders with the Phillies following suit. Soon enough, Philadelphia was a winning sports town. 

But why is it so addicting? Because it’s so simple. In a world where nothing is clear-cut or simplistic, sports are.  You either win or you lose.  That’s it. There is no “well we lost out on our mutual fund, but our Sirius satellite stocks are doing well!” You either won 28-27, get to celebrate with a parade, or you lost 28-27 and you get to think about what could’ve been for the next six months.  Winning equates to accomplishment and succeeding at a task is a coveted emotion.

It’s our childhoods- Every kid grew up playing a sport. Whether it was baseball, basketball, football, hockey, swimming, lacrosse, soccer, wrestling, or track and field, we all personally had a stake in a sport.  The knowledge of the game and thrill of the competition stays with us for our entire lives.   Turn on sports talk radio and listen to how many callers say, “I used to play college baseball” or “I’ve coached football for years.” It represents the best times of our childhoods. It represents a time of purity when all you had to look forward to on Fridays and Saturdays was your next football or baseball game.   They were games that could be played with minimum resources.  All that’s needed to play basketball is a ball and a net, football needs a ball, baseball needs a bat, a ball, and a glove. All of which could be found for more than affordable prices. Today, kids spend the majority of their time playing video games which cost 300$ for the system alone. And unless they create some professional video game league, they’ll miss out on an important aspect of being kids; and that’s going outside and playing.

It’s about companionship- Some of the longest stints of my social life come during a sporting event.  I’ll go the bar during playoff basketball or a UFC title fight more often than I do just to get some drinks.  It’s a guaranteed conversation topic and it allows for people to gather for a single reason.  Without sports the bar would be a metaphorical wasteland of socialite drifters trying to find common ground with other socialite drifters that they’ve never met nor are they likely to ever see again.  With sports it creates an identity and sense of being a part of something.  Regular people now become fans and now have a common ground to start conversations.  “Hey my name is John,” becomes “So what do the Phillies do in the bottom of the inning here? Do you keep Halladay in?” I’ll be at a bar sitting next to a stranger.  Now on a regular night I wouldn’t really say anything to the stranger because there’s nothing to say.  But if I look up at the screen and Vick throws a dart to Desean Jackson I can look at him and say, “Did you ever think Michael Vick would be able to throw a pass like that?” And then take off from there.  It’s the reason that at parties, when all the guys meet in the corner, they don’t talk about the drapes that they just bought, but did Halladay pick up his 20th win or did the Eagles beat the Cowboys.  Regardless if the person is wearing a rival team’s jersey, a little hazing and heated conversation makes for a time that you can’t achieve if you’re talking about Democrats and Republicans.

After we got food and arrived at Shawn’s house it was 11:00.  I thought to myself, “I’m about 15 minutes away from seeing this game.”  At the same time, Shawn’s little brother, Mikey, walked past us.  Shawn and I both got out and yelled, “Don’t say anything, DON’T SAY ANYTHING!”  He said, “Dude…the Eagles are terrible.” My world crashed. He later told us that he thought we didn’t want to talk about it because they lost to the 49ers.  It was eleven hours and a great amount of energy for nothing.  I turned on my phone and saw that the Eagles blew a 20-3 lead and lost 24-23.

Working on Sunday and Having to Watch the Eagles via Texts and Phone Apps

I got my first job when I was 16. I worked at Chuck E. Cheese as a game-room technician where I mostly slacked off, talked about how much I hated it there, and I even said the classic “this isn’t even going to be my career, so why take it seriously?” line. I did the same thing at Sears when I was 17 and 18.  I worked the majority of my weekends so I missed every football Sunday from 2006-2009.  It was then I got a job at a dialysis center and where I finally had Sundays off.  It was like a new world being introduced to me. To me the flowers petals were brighter on Sundays. My mom’s cooking smelled that much better and football was that much more enjoyable.  For the next two years I never missed a game, I was content and my mind’s highlight reel was full of plays and great moments during the season.  So why am I telling you all of this? Because all of that ended three weeks ago, I’m working weekends again.  It’s the reason I wasn’t able to give a post about week 2. I couldn’t get enough video to properly give an opinion. 

“Are you seeing what I’m seeing?” That’s the text I got from my friend John. It was 2:00 pm on Sunday afternoon and I was on my break. The Eagles were playing the Giants. I started getting frantic; I opened up one of my sports apps to check the score, it was 14-0. The eagles were losing. I was so confused; Michael Vick had about 80 yards and an interception. That’s as in-depth as I could get. I called my cousin Mario to see what was going on, but he didn’t answer. I texted John back and sat at the break table doing the “I-have-to-go-pee-but-I’ll-wait-until-the-last-minute” dance impatiently waiting for John to text me back.

“The Eagles playing that badly or is it a misleading 14-0?” I asked. Experience taught me how to ask questions in that sense.  I wanted to see if the Eagles were playing that terribly (which they’re good for about once or twice a year) or did a few bad bounces go against them (like a tipped pass that was intercepted).  John eased me for a little and told me that the Eagles were moving the ball against the Giants, but they just couldn’t get score when they got into the red-zone.  Besides the offensive line the red zone offense was an area of concern because they had no big wide receiver to just throw the ball up to which was why Plaxico was such a hot commodity in the off-season.

“Misleading, they are moving the ball, they just can’t score.”  My break ended and I looked at my phone for one last time before my break ended and would take secret trips to the back room to check the score.  I picked up and put down the same screwdriver five or six times before I said to myself that I had to switch up what I was doing. It was terrible too because in the back you were alone, but there wasn’t much service so sites that would take seconds to load were now taking minutes.  I was in limbo and I didn’t like it.  It’s like going out and forgetting your phone at home and the whole day you’re disconnected from the world.  That if there was a disaster happening outside you wouldn’t know about because you didn’t get a text saying to panic. “Score Mobile” opened finally and the score was 14-13, the Eagles were making a comeback and they were in the red zone.  I perched up behind a stack of boxes and kept hitting refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh.

Around 3:00 the Eagles took the lead 16-14 off of a field goal by Alex Henery.  I was excited because the offense was finally going and I thought this would be a turn-around even though it was still early in the season.  In one of the toughest divisions in football, a 2-1 start with a 1-0 division record three weeks into the season would be big.  But I didn’t know Vick was out with a broken right hand and that Mike Kafka was playing for the second straight week. I didn’t know that the Eagles were getting lit up through the middle of the field because their linebackers and safeties are horrible. I didn’t know that the Eagles changed the positions of their linebackers two weeks into the season; completely reshuffling the positions which could explain why Brandon Jacobs was so wide open on that touchdown. (I didn’t know that Brandon Jacobs was that wide open) I didn’t know that the other touchdown was a display of terrible tackling. I didn’t know that play made it look like Asante Samuel’s mantra of, “I don’t get paid to make tackles” was spreading throughout the locker room.  Nnamdi Asomugha played like his name was Dmitri Patterson and the stellar talent gene in the Matthews’ gene pool must’ve skipped Casey. 

The Eagles lost the game 29-16, sending shockwaves through my day and had my Cowboys-fan-friend BC talking about “how bout them Eagles?” Is this what happens when your offensive line coach becomes your defensive coordinator? You panic and reshuffle the defense?  The Eagles need to play man-coverage because they have the best cornerback core in the league, but Castillo played zone.  The tight end still kills the Eagles and it is so blatant and so common that if you closed your eyes and listen to the announcer say, it’s a pass, 85% of the time you can guess that it’s going to be thrown to the tight end.  Castillo looked desperate with changing the defense around like that and someone could argue that the pressure is getting to him.  Something needs to be done as soon as possible because there will be a lot of answers needed if the Eagles don’t make the playoffs this year.

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.

Mike Blackiston is Named Deptford Football Head Coach

 

Since the day we are born we have a dream job.  Regardless if the specificity of the job changes, we all want to achieve a certain level of happiness by recognizing the dream we’ve had our entire lives.  It doesn’t matter the status of the job, like if you’re a fireman for the NYFD or work at your town’s local fire house, as long as there’s an ambition and love.  Because the beauty of our dreams is that they are ours and, therefore, can only to be judged by such.  For Mike Blackiston, his dream job is no longer a dream.

In a town like Deptford, high school football games are more important than town issues. “Coach Black” was the defensive coordinator at Deptford High School for nine years.  After being forced out, he spent the last two season at Cherry Hill West High School under the same title.  However, he  has just been named the head coach at Deptford High two weeks ago. His passion and resolve carried him into the new title and anyone in the area will say no one deserves it more. He, along with others members of the community, are responsible for Deptford High’s receiving of lights, allowing for night-time games to finally be played. (There’s something great about high school football under the lights).  From his undying devotion to his undying love for his players and students alike, Coach Black’s train finally came. 

How Sports Made a Friendship Beautiful

  It is said that to “honor the dead, one must live.”  A statement I will continue to live by because today marks the third anniversary of the death of my best friend, Lex Coller. The same Lex Coller whose name will forever be pronounced “Collar,” something I’ll never understand.  The same Lex who I could describe with every cliché in the world (lights up the room for example) and it would do no justice. It’s the same Lex who broke me out of my social shell and drove me to be the best.   It’s the same Lex that I am forever indebted to.

It’s strange the things you remember about people.  For example, when I first became friends with Lex, he wore khakis and a gray polo with the collar popped (that’s about 10 years before the Jersey Shore movement).  I also remember how I got in trouble in fifth grade for cheating on a library assignment and the first one to make fun of me for it was him. “Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time,” which had us rolling because it’s usually him getting in trouble. Or the times he would come over and ask me to come to a party with him, my countless answers of “no” never discouraged him.  He bothered me until I finally said “Alright, FINE” and I haven’t looked back since.  Every friend I have since 11th grade, I owe to Lex Coller.  But, the things that will forever be in my heart, what will never push me as far, are the rivalries we had when it came to sports.  That no matter how much better one of us were than the other, you knew damn well we were practicing until we could finally win. 

 Name it: Air hockey, X-box, real hockey (where it all started), basketball, Around the World, baseball, pool, poker, crazy 8’s, horseshoes (where we had Ali-Frazier battles), jailbreak, football, and beer pong. We even had a period of competitive darts.  Continue reading