Silent Archimedes

Posts Tagged ‘NFL’

Mad props to Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald – Leaping Larry’s amazing catches

Posted by silentarchimedes on January 11, 2009

Wow, another amazing leaping catch by Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals. Another amazing leaping catch between two close defenders.  There’s a reason they call him Leaping Larry. I’ve always been a fan of Fitzgerald because he played ball at Pitt. I usually root for Pitt because they are in the same city as the one I went to for college.  I don’t remember where but I saw some report about how Dennis Green, the Cardinals’ coach back in 2004 was a close friend of Fitzgerald because Larry was the Vikings’ ball boy back when Green was a coach in Minnesota. Green stated that he would probably draft him third in the first round. Well, that and the fact that Fitzgerald has a good head on his shoulders and is an amazing wide receiver. All he has done since coming into the NFL five years ago is have three years of 1400+ yards receiving. You never hear him complain, especially playing second fiddle to Anquan Boldin sometimes. You never hear him do stupid things. He is one of the reasons the Cardinals are doing well in the playoffs.

The two catches he has in this playoffs have been simply amazing.

TD catch against the Falcons – Wild Card Round, Jan 2009

TD catch against the Panthers – Divisional Round, Jan 2009

Well, Larry has been making unbelievable catches since he was a freshman at Pitt. Check some of these older catches by Fitzgerald:

Larry Fitzgerald insane catch – Insight Bowl, freshman year

Behind the head catch

And here’s a great compilation video that YouTube’s TheFreakShow81 made of Larry’s catches.

Larry Fitzgerald catch highlights

It’s amazing because most of the catches occur against multiple defenders in really tight coverage. This guy has crazy sticky hands, amazing body control and awesome speed. And you’ll never see him celebrate too much. When does he become a free agent so the Giants can sign him to replace Burress? (Larry signed a 4 year $40 million contract after the 2007 season, so looks like he won’t be a free-agent until after 2011. Oh well…)

Mad props…

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Point differential a telling statistic in the NFL

Posted by silentarchimedes on December 16, 2008

On November 3, I wrote a blog comment on ESPN‘s Matt Mosley’s NFC East blog article Rapid Reaction: Steelers 23 Redskins 6 :

“What this game has shown is that the Redskins have actually been very lucky with their six wins. Simply look at the point differential. They have scored 171 points but have given up 168! That 3 point differential usually means a .500 record. The Eagles even have a +76 pt diff. The division leading Giants have a +97. The Cowboys have a -3. Seems like the Redskins are closer to the Cowboys. I’d have to say the Eagles are 2nd best in East now. Both Eagles and Giants beat the Steelers, while Skins got destroyed.”

The Redskins were 6-2 before losing to the Steelers. Redskins fans attempted to deride my analysis as simply a Giants fan hating on the resurgent Skins. One fan even said “I think you’re crazy man.” However, ever since my comments, the Redskins proceeded to lose four of their next five games and now sit in last place in the NFC East with a 7-7 record. Their point differential is now a horrible -35. Let’s look quickly at the rest of the NFC East:

NFC EAST W L T PCT PF PA PT DIFF since Nov 3
z- NY Giants 11 3 0 .786 374 246 +128 +31
Dallas 9 5 0 .643 332 288 +44 +47
Philadelphia 8 5 1 .607 369 273 +96 +20
Washington 7 7 0 .500 231 266 -35 -32

Point differential is a very telling statistic of how good a football team is. Although the saying “A win is a win is a win” is true, how well you win or how bad you lose a game provide clues into the momentum of a team. Point differential captures the spread between the strength of the offense’s ability to score points and the defense’s ability to limit points. It also captures the ability of the special teams to do both as well. When a good team consistently maximizes this ratio, the point differential steadily increases and builds over the course of the season.

How telling is the statistic? In 6 of the 8 divisions in the NFL, the division leader has the best point differential. The AFC North, where the Ravens (+112) have a tiny edge on the division leading Steelers (+110) is basically a tie. The only division where this is  not true is the AFC West, where the Broncos -40 leads the Chargers +44. In 7 of 8 divisions, the cellar team has the worst point differential. Once again, in the AFC West, the Raiders -143 is worse than the cellar Chiefs at -132. It is the teams in the middle, where their inconsistency in winning give true meaning to “Any Given Sunday.” Division leaders and bottom feeders do not strongly abide by that saying because they consistently win or lose.

I am surprised that ESPN does not have point differential as a column statistic. The NFL website does. Since point differential is a derived statistic, (Points for – Points Against), ESPN’s thinking is that there does not need to be a column for it.

Patriots flying high

Patriots flying high

So, what team had the greatest point differential in a season since the16-game season was instituted in 1978? Yup, you guessed it. The 2007 16-0 New England Patriots, whose +315 was 127 more than that year’s second place Indianapolis Colts’ (+188) and 413 more than the AFC East’s second place Buffalo Bills (-102). The next team with the best point differential since 1978 were the 1999 St. Louis Rams, whose +284 led to a 13-3 record and a Super Bowl. Which team had the worst -274 point differential since 1978? The 1981 2-14 Baltimore Colts. The 1990 1-15 Patriots had the second worst point differential with -265.

Point differential is now used extensively in the NBA because of how telling it is. The amount of games in a season and points in a game in the NBA coupled with the consistency of the players and plays provides a more predictable environment. However, good teams and bad teams in the NFL also prove year in and year out that point differential is also a good indicator of the strength of a team.

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Baseball as America’s Pastime continues to fall further into the past

Posted by silentarchimedes on November 19, 2008

Baseball is not a sport built for parity. It is not like the NFL where parity in a 16-game season promotes excitement and competition. It’s not like the NFL where each team has a strong base of hardcore fans and where most fans are fans of watching football as a sport. Football is more exciting to watch than baseball. The biggest complaint from casual sports fans about watching baseball is that it’s boring. This is apparent when we look at the popularity of college football versus that of college baseball or even the MLB minor leagues. Baseball’s lengthy 162-game season and similarly lengthy best-of five or seven game playoffs series are not conducive to small market teams like the Tampa Rays and Florida Marlins capturing the attention and excitement of casual fans around the country.

Penalty - horsecollar tackle

Penalty in football - horse-collar tackle

The drama of baseball takes too long to unfold in this day and age of “keep me interested right nowmentality. Baseball is about rivalries and story lines and history. It is about statistics and tradition. It can be agonizingly slow and frustrating. It’s not like football where all it takes is three hours to resolve the pent up competitive juices. Words you hear about in football are war, in the trenches, cold, frozen tundra, swirling winds, etc etc. Penalties include grabbing the facemask, unsportsmanlike conduct, taunting and horse-collar tackles. Imagine if any of those words are ever used near baseball. Baseball is too slow for this new era of extreme sports. This is why mixed martial arts is gaining popularity over its more traditional and more boring sport, boxing. Since when is boxing considered boring? This is why a sport like soccer continues to have difficulty gaining popularity in America. The sport takes too long to achieve satisfaction. Even a violent sport like hockey has had to transform itself after a period of low scoring games due to the NJ Devils’ inspired zone trap defense. The game now requires faster, younger athletes with more room to show their speed and skills. It was a matter of survival for the NHL, and baseball might be headed that way as well.

MLB Commish - Bud Selig

MLB Commish - Bud Selig

To make matters worse, two factors have had very negative effects on baseball. The steroid era has pushed baseball into a precipitice decline in popularity. The skepticism surrounding the genuity of sacred baseball records being broken during the steroid era has removed two of the main attractions I mentioned earlier, history and statistics. It has removed the excitement of slow journeys toward hallowed records and the respect given to such players. Remember the awe and respect of Cal Ripken when he broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games streak or when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa battled to break Roger Maris’ single season home run record. Of course, the second record is now seen with skepticism and is considered one of the defining moments of the steroid era. The fact that players have seemed unwilling to address the problem of the past ten years is disturbing. The feeling that the players rather protect their cheating teammates than the integrity of the sport leaves many traditional baseball fans disgusted. The second factor is directly related to the steroid era. Bud Selig, the baseball commissioner, has been a  complete travesty to baseball. Although he is good for the owners, fans see him as boring, slow,  biased and ineffective. He continues to brush over the steroid era and had to be fully pushed by even Congress before taking action. His decision to leave the All-Star Game a tie was horrible. And although his decision to add interleague play initially seemed a huge success, it has proven to be a hassle and distraction to fans. He seems unwilling to confront the problems of baseball and his biased views are shown in a somewhat condescending tone when pushed by the media or fans.

So what is baseball to do? For one thing, it needs a new commissioner. One that is younger and understands that baseball requires changes that appeal to younger fans but keeps the traditionalists happy. One that realizes that the steroid era can potentially destroy baseball forever unless a level of happiness is reached among all groups involved, including but not limited to owners, players, former players, Congress, traditionalists and new generation of fans. However, there are things about baseball that are at the roots of its tradition and changing them would prove good and bad. The Rays-Phillies World Series was a disaster. Television ratings have never been lower. However, baseball cannot change the playoffs to one game takes all because the lengthy journey of 162 games culminating in one 9-inning game seems unfair. Although why not? I bet if the World Series was one game, more people would definitely tune in to see who wins. If I’m a Yankees fan, why would I tune in to a best of seven between the Rays and Phillies? Especially when football is on or I can watch DVDs or do something else. However, if it was a 3 hour event, like the Super Bowl, I’d be willing to watch it and even make a social event out of it. Baseball has to be willing to face the problem of why it is declining in popularity. It has to be open to innovation and the possibility of changing tradition for the better of the sport. It has to also lean on the teams that make it a popular sport, like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Cardinals. Just like the NBA, which always does much better when popular teams like the Knicks and Celtics do well. With the Knicks in a multi-year doom and gloom, NBA has lost a lot of its luster.

Kids and video games

Kids and video games

However, I believe it will be difficult for baseball to regain its name as America’s pastime. It’s a sport that has lost its appeal, most likely for good. Children have more interest playing football, basketball and even soccer than baseball. Inner city kids almost exclusively play basketball now. Nowhere is stickball or other variants of baseball being played in city streets and playgrounds. Additionally, there are too many other things to keep kids occupied nowadays. Video games, internet and hi-def television are far more intriguing options than watching baseball or even rounding up atleast 10 of his or her friends to play a game.

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Petition to get rid of ties in football

Posted by silentarchimedes on November 18, 2008

I just created an online petition to get rid of ties in football. Please sign it:

There should be no ties in football. Although it has only happened 17 times since the 1974 Overtime Period Rule, when it does happen, there’s a feeling of, “Why did I waste the past 3 hours watching or playing this game!” Imagine paying over $100+ to watch a tie? The NHL has removed ties as a possible outcome and the shootout period is now one of the most exciting sports events. The NFL needs to do something similar and at least get rid of ties. PLEASE!!!

-Concerned fans and oblivious football players (like Donovan McNabb)

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/NoTiesInFootball/index.html

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Giants literally running on all cylinders, crush Ravens 30-10

Posted by silentarchimedes on November 16, 2008

Brandon Jacobs hugs Ahmad Bradshaw

Brandon Jacobs hugs Ahmad Bradshaw

That was a very dominating win the New York Giants had over the Baltimore Ravens today. It is apparent that all this talk about the Giants having the most difficult remaining schedule in the NFL doesn’t matter to them. All the talk about the Giants having the easiest schedule in the first half and not justifying the high power ranking is out the window. The Giants have beaten the Ravens, Eagles, Cowboys and Pittsburgh the past four weeks. Their three-headed rushing attack continues to improve every week as they work Bradshaw more into the mix. They have gained 207, 219 and 200 the past three games. Overall, they have had five 200+ rushing games, and seven 150+ rushing games in the 10 games. Bradshaw was four yards shy today of reaching 100, which would have given each of the three running backs at least one 100+ yard game.

What makes the Giants RBs so dangerous is that none of them go down easily. Jacobs is famously known for his monster truck style of running. That run he had from around the 20 yard line to the 1 yard line were no one was able to tackle him was unbelievable. He also has the speed to run to the outside and push it up the sidelines. I still can’t believe Jacobs outweighs Ray Lewis, the formidable linebacker. However, Bradshaw seems to be the most difficult to tackle. The 77-yard scamper he showed today should have been a 3 yard gain, but the guy just knows how to break tackles. His only penchant has been fumbling, and that is partly due to his hard-to-bring-down style of rushing. If the Giants keep this up, all three RBs will be fresh and healthy come playoff time. They will pose a tremendous problem for defenses. After being pummeled by Jacobs and Ward in the first three quarters, the Giants bring in the fresh legs of shifty Bradshaw in the fourth. The result, a tired and beat-up defense just wants the game to end. Did you see the Raven’s Washington’s face and tiredness after desperately tackling Bradshaw at the end of that 77-yard run?

Derrick Ward

Derrick Ward

Manning has yet to pass for over 300 yards and the Giants have had only two 100+ yard receiving games, but does it really matter? The key for Manning now is to manage the clock, protect the ball, minimize interceptions and continue his signature third down passes and fourth quarter drives, if even necessary.

At this point, the Giants are definitely the best team in the NFL. They are deep on offense and defense. They are a team that is focused and has the ultimate team first mentality. No one has any big egos.  Jacobs has no problem sharing carries with Ward or Bradshaw, since he sees it as helping the length of his career. Bradshaw also has no problem not getting more carries and being the fourth quarter reliever. If the only problem they have is a clock-less Plaxico, that’s okay for now.  As bad as Plaxico has been, he is not like Tiki and his big mouth. Burress even went so far as to pseudo-apologize on FOX NFL. It would be nice to see Burress have a big game one of these days to show that the Giants can still pass.

It’ll be sad come offseason time because some key players, including Jacobs and Ward, will be free agents and it would be difficult for the Giants to keep all of them. If the Giants repeat as Super Bowl champions, forget it. There’s going to be a swarm of money thrown at Giants free agents. And that’ll be a good-bye to the amazing defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo as well.

Related links:

Newsday – Jacobs seeks to remain Giant as contract expires

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What’s going on with the NFL wide receivers brat group?

Posted by silentarchimedes on November 12, 2008

Chad Johnson

Chad Johnson

Hmm, it’s been an awfully quiet season statistically for the top four NFL wide receiver divas. The top ten receivers leading the NFL in yards include none of them. The top 20 receptions leaders include none of them. The top 20 average yards per catch leaders include none of the four. The top 10 receiving touchdowns include none of them. The top  15 receivers leading the league with receptions of 20+ yards or 40+ yards include none of them. These four divas consistently ranked near the top in these categories in years past.  It allowed them to become divas and have the “it’s all about me” attitude. However, it’s been awfully quiet this year. Let’s check it out.

TOP TEN IN RECEIVING YARDS

RNK NAME REC YDS
1 Andre Johnson WR, HOU 67 900
2 Greg Jennings WR, GNB 43 801
Roddy White WR, ATL 53 801
4 L. Fitzgerald WR, ARI 57 791
5 C. Johnson WR, DET 39 774
6 B. Marshall WR, DEN 57 714
7 Lee Evans WR, BUF 37 700
Reggie Wayne WR, IND 49 700
9 Santana Moss WR, WAS 44 672
10 Eddie Royal WR, DEN 52 625

There are some familiar leaders, such as Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne and Santana Moss. Don’t mix up Calvin Johnson of Detroit with Chad Johnson, aka Ocho Cinco. So where do Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Chad Johnson, and Plaxico Burress rank in yardage??

RNK NAME REC YDS
19 Randy Moss WR, NWE 43 589
39 Terrell Owens WR, DAL 35 467
47 Plaxico Burress WR, NYG 32 407
61 Chad Johnson WR, CIN 37 349
Randy Moss scoring a rare TD.

Randy Moss scoring a rare TD.

None of the four have lost playing time due to injury. Although Burress was suspended a game and a quarter, as per diva rules. Of the 36 games played by all four of them, they have combined for only four 100+ yard games (Moss 3, Burress 1)!! It’s easy to blame their lack of production on injuries to their quarterback. Brady is injured for the entire season, and both Romo and Palmer have been injured for a majority of the time. However, Moss has had three 100+ games with QB Matt Cassel, so it’s not just due to the Brady effect. Burress’ lack of production with a healthy Eli Manning definitely has to do with his diva distractions resulting from being suspended twice. Additionally, when you look at some of the top receivers now, they are getting their yards even from bo-bo and/or inexperienced QBs. Johnson from Matt Schaub in Houston, Jennings from Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, White from upstart Matt Ryan in Atlanta and Johnson from pathetic QBs in Detroit.

Their touchdown numbers are still respectable (they average 4.5 while the top 10 yardage receivers average 4.6). However, when you start looking at average yards per catch (YPC), the four divas’ performance starts to degrade. The four average 12.3 YPC while the top 10 average 15.4 YPC. Then, when you look at their total average receptions, 37.5, compared to the top 10’s 49.8 you start getting a better picture of what’s going on. That translates to an average of 4.16 receptions per diva per game while the top 10 receivers are averaging 5.08 receptions per game.

Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens

All four divas are playing far below their career performances. Moss’ four TDs are on pace to rank this year with his trouble years in Oakland (3 and eight) and that crazy year in Minnesota (7). His three fumbles so far are already the most he’s had in any season. He has only averaged 0.7 fumbles per season in his career. This shows a lack of concentration and motivation on Moss’ part. To give a little credit to Moss, he has remained quiet this year and has been a team member, although he has been known to shut down and be quiet at times.

T.O. on the other hand has continued to complain and even cried once about his close bond with his ‘boy’ Tony Romo. Today he made another selfish comment that this year’s Cowboys should follow the same blueprint as last year’s, an obvious jab that he should get the ball more often. Someone should remind him with some videos of how many balls he has dropped or how many times balls thrown his way have been defended.

Burress height advantage

Burress height advantage

The main troublemaker this year has been Plaxico Burress, having been suspended twice for lack of time management. At least, he doesn’t show the frustration towards Eli anymore when passes are badly thrown to him or aren’t thrown to him at all. Burress has yet to have a strong game since the first week of the season when he had 10 receptions of 133 yards. Burress at least understands the importance he plays in drawing double teams and does a respectable job blocking even in his off games. However, he knows if he steps too far out of bounds, the Super Bowl champs will make him a pariah.

Chad Johnson? Ever since his pre-season news of changing his name to Ocho-Cinco, there has been no national news about him. His highest yardage game so far has been 57. His 9.4 YPC is far below his career 15.0 YPC. He has had only one 20+ yard reception this year!! Compared with 27 last year. Ocho-Cinco has been reduced to Nacho-Cero.

These four receivers need to realize they need their QBs just as much as their God-given talent. Because of their selfish attitudes, they tend to give up and play non-chalantly when QBs they don’t respect take over. Imagine other position players doing that? Cornerbacks? Offensive linemen? Taking games off for cornerbacks and offensive linemen would prove detrimental to a team’s chances of winning that game. So why should wide receivers, especially the best ones, do that at times? The mind of the diva wide receiver.

Related Link:

Why NFL diva wide receivers and Olympic sprinters are the same breed

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Why NFL diva wide receivers and Olympic sprinters are the same breed

Posted by silentarchimedes on October 30, 2008

Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens

There has been all this talk about talented NFL receivers that are headcases for their team or the NFL. This year it has been about Chad Johnson and his Ocho Cinco name change, or Terrell Owens and his tears for Romo and complaints about playing time, or Plaxico Burress and his lack of time management and suspensions. In previous years, it has been about Randy Moss and his “I play when I want” or Joe Horn and his cell phone celebration or Michael Irvin and his complaints. The list goes on and on. Many people don’t understand this “me above the team” mentality. However, I think many times their outward confidence and look at me mentality is closely intertwined with their ability to succeed and make remarkable plays. To understand why, simply look at the  brethren of wide receivers, Olympic sprinters.

Both professions require an inner and outer confidence in order to succeed. Both require an almost cocky persona that transcends team sports. Sprinters are divas at a much greater scale than NFL receivers because they are the epitome of individual sport, the divaness can quickly reach an uncontrollable level. There are no constraints from team members or coaches to control their “me first” attitude. Look at Michael Johnson and his golden shoes. Look at Usain Bolt and his “staring at the cameras too early” or dancing. Look at Maurice Green or Donovan Bailey.

Usain Bolt - 100m world record holder

Usain Bolt - 100m world record holder

There is something about speed that is exhilarating, from car racing to supersonic jets to horse racing. But when the speed is the natural speed of humans, this brings a completely different feeling of freedom and power that person feels. The runner feels invincible and for that particular moment feels free from all that drags him down in the world. When he consistently runs faster than everyone he competes against, this invincibility and confidence increases in strength. When he breaks the world record, he is on a stratosphere that no other human has ever been on. He IS invincible. He is Superman.

Similarly with wide receivers, once they realize that they are playing among boys, the cockiness increases. Once they see themselves week after week being lauded on ESPN for their highlight catches or game changing plays, they start feeling that same invincibility. They feel that they are above the team; that the team needs them more than he needs the team. For most receivers, this invincibility has  been forming since the days of high school and college football. However, most of them also are greatly tested and humbled in their early NFL years. But to a few, like Moss, Chad Johnson and T.O., their natural talents quickly carried over to the NFL. The invincibility continued to grow without a hitch.

Faster than a speeding bullet

Faster than a speeding bullet

What one will notice is that the divaness in football and sprinting only exists at the cream of the crop. It is only at this level where the public and especially the team’s fans are willing to look the other way. This is especially true in sprinting, because it’s an individual sport. Although there is public pressure against divas at the mid-level talent of receivers and sprinters, the main reason that divas don’t exist at lower levels is more of a natural reason. The biggest fear of receivers and sprinters is failure.  Tyson Gay in the 2008 Olympics is a good example. His fear of failing in the 100m and 200m due to recovering from a  quad injury left him lacking in confidence and staring at defeat. He looked like a beaten man, even though the entire world still saw him as one of the elite sprinters. He had no confidence and no invincibility and therefore, the look at me attitude became a “don’t look at me” attitude. It is also this fear of failure that leads many sprinters to seek questionable methods to maintain or achieve that invincibility. The prevalence of performance enhancing drugs in sprinting was confirmed by the numerous convictions and suspensions of high profile sprinters, such as Tim Montgomery, Justin Gatlin, Ben Johnson, and Marion Jones. Similarly with receivers, if they have no confidence in beating a cornerback or making a catch, they prefer to stay quiet until they make some big plays.

Receivers and sprinters without the invincibility

Receivers and sprinters without the invincibility

Since we do not expect Olympic sprinters to change their “me, me, me” attitudes, it is somewhat unreasonable to think that just because that breed of athlete plays in a team sport, that the divaness will not exist. Many of the receivers were track stars in high school or even college and they have already tasted the feeling of invincibility from God-given speed. From a team first mentality, this attitude is obviously a distraction and curse. However, there will always be a breed of them. The fall from invincibility of wide receivers can be a very  humbling experience. Many successful diva college wide receivers become quiet support pieces in the NFL, if they even make it in the NFL. Even one time NFL divas can become humbled. Randy Moss without Tom Brady is a skeleton of his old self. He has lost his invincibility and desire to attract public attention. This is the key to controlling the divaness. The receivers need to know that unlike sprinters, their invincibility is highly contingent on someone else, their QB. If they do not recognize that, and they still cause a problem, then it’s time for the team to move on without them. One perfect example of this was T.O. and Donovan McNabb of the Eagles. The Eagles did the right thing by trading T.O. after his public disdain of his QB brewed over. Now that T.O. is in understanding that Tony Romo makes or breaks him, then his divaness and crying is at least acceptable, although a distraction, to his own team and Cowboys fans. As long as wide receivers and sprinters perform, the divaness can be somewhat acceptable. The difference is when they falter. When a sprinter falters, he solely takes the agony of defeat. However, when a wide receiver falls from grace, his teammates, his coaches, and the fans also feel strongly the agony of defeat.

On a quick note, just look back to the days of playground football when you were a kid. What were the two positions you always wanted to play? Either quarterback or receiver. If you have the speed, being a receiver and making amazing catches was a sense of invincibility, freedom and flying.

Update – December 01, 2008

It’s amazing what has happened in the few short weeks since I wrote this article. Chad Johnson was suspended by the Bengals for a game due to team policy (unspecified). T.O. finally complained to the media that in order for the Cowboys to be successful, they have to be more like the team of 2007. In other words, give him the ball more. And, how can we forget Burress “accidentally” shooting himself in the thigh at a nightclub and facing possible felony weapons charge. Unbelievable.

Update – December 12, 2008

Finally, T.O. and QB tension. I was wondering how long that honeymoon between Owens and Romo was going to last. Today, reports are surfacing that Owens is “jealous” of Romo’s close friendship with TE Jason Witten and that Romo passes to Witten even when Owens is open because of their friendship. Then Owens  proceeds to say that Romo and Witten secretly meet to plan extra plays! Hahaha! Make it 3 for 3 on Owens and his QBs.

High school background information:

Randy Moss – Won the West Virginia high school state championships for the 100m and 200m as a sophomore.

Plaxico Burress – Was a national semifinalist in the 400 intermediate hurdles at 52.6. Won the state 300 intermediate hurdles title at 37.6 as a senior.

Terrell Owens – Lettered four times in track in high school. Anchored the 4×100 sprint team his senior year at University of Tennessee – Chattanooga.

Related Link:

What’s going on with the NFL wide receivers brat group?

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Top 5 NFL teams most dependent on their quarterback

Posted by silentarchimedes on October 20, 2008

1. New England Patriots – This is the obvious choice. The Patriots have shown they are a very pedestrian team without Tom Brady.

2. Dallas Cowboys – Without Tony Romo’s heroics and leadership, the Cowboys are self-destructing

3. Indianapolis Colts – For years, Peyton Manning carried this team with his physical and decision making skills on the field. This year he has been somewhat off, and thus, so have the Colts.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers – When Ben Roethlisberger is healthy and manages the game with accuracy and leadership, the Steelers win. When he doesn’t they lose. Simple as that.

5. New York Giants – If Eli Manning doesn’t make bad decisions with interceptions or bad throws, the Giants are a dominant team. Otherwise, too much on the defense.

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NFL Week 7: What an interesting two weeks for the NFC East

Posted by silentarchimedes on October 19, 2008

The NFC East Teams

The NFC East Teams

When the New York Giants jumped out to a 4-0 record and was proclaimed the best team in the NFL, many Dallas, Redskins and even Eagles fans quickly screamed, “Woah, Nellie, hold the horses!”. After all, the only team they beat that was remotely any good was the Redskins. The defeats of the Rams, Bengals and Seahawks were expected and thus the Giants deserved no credit for the wins. The ‘Skins were 4-1 and hadn’t lost since the opening mess against the Giants. They were a different team now. They beat the Cowboys and Eagles. And the Cowboys, also 4-1,  claimed that they at least had beaten the Eagles. Even the  2-3 Eagles fans said they hung tough with the Cowboys to barely lose 41-37 and beat the Steelers 15-6. To the rest of the NFC East, they sounded as if the Giants, at 4-0, is the worst team in the division or at the very least hadn’t proven anything.

Rams beat two NFC East teams

The Rams beat two NFC East teams the last two weeks

Look what has happened in just the last two weeks. The Cowboys lost to both the Cardinals  (30-24, OT) and Rams (34-14). Teams they were expected to beat. The same Rams that had already been destroyed by both the Giants (44-6) and Eagles (38-3). What happened to giving the Giants no respect for beating them? The Rams game was most disappointing considering they were down 21-7 by the end of the first quarter and never really put up a fight. Although some fans might pin the loss on backup QB Brad Johnson and his 3 INTs, the truth of the matter is the rest of the team simply didn’t help him or put up a fight at all. With the Cowboys at 4-3 instead of a possible 6-1, there’s now rumblings of missing the playoffs! The same team that almost everyone picked to be in the Super Bowl this year!

The Redskins also didn’t fare much better the past two weeks. They also lost to the supposed horrible team, the Rams, 19-17 and then eked out a 14-11 win against the Browns. A last second 54 yard field goal  attempt by the Browns barely went wide or the game would have gone into overtime. This was the same 1-3 Browns team that exposed the Giants on Monday Night last week.

The Eagles were off this weekend, but they also almost lost to a bad team last weekend. They were down 26-17 at the end of the third quarter to the lowly 2-3 49ers, before piling on 23 points in the fourth quarter to win 40-26. The problem was it wasn’t really the Eagles that won it in the fourth, but the mistakes of 49ers’ QB JT O’Sullivan, who had two INTs and a lost fumble in the fourth quarter alone.

Not to be outdone by their NFC East counterparts, the Giants also have had a rough two weeks. After having a chance to go up two games on the loss column to their nearest competitor in the division if they’d only beat the 1-3 Browns on Monday night, they came out listless and confused in front of a national audience. They were exposed on both sides of the football and lost 35-14. After that loss, many division rival fans proclaimed victory that they were right, the Giants ARE horrible. What they failed to acknowledge was that the Browns are not the 1-3 team coming into Monday night. There were high expectations for them before the season began. Could it be that they were finally playing up to par? The fact that they also played the Redskins tough this weekend shows they are at least a decent team. However, the Giants also played a mistake-filled game against the 49ers today. Once again it was the 49ers penalties and mistakes by O’Sullivan that greatly helped the Giants win the game.

NFC East Standings (courtesy of ESPN)

NFC East standings after week 7 (courtesy of ESPN)

So what to make of the NFC East after seven weeks? After five weeks, the division was easily the best in the NFL. However, the division collectively went 3-4 the past two weeks, where the three wins were of the lucky and ugly varieties. This also proves something that I’ve been defending with the Giants all season to the other rival fans. The ease of a schedule makes no difference if you can’t beat the easy teams. The fact that the Giants did beat easy teams should not be held against them. A win is a win. In essence they were already giving the easy wins to their own teams even though those games hadn’t been played yet. Once some of them were played, we saw the Cowboys lose to the Rams, the Skins lose to the Rams, and the Eagles almost lose to the 49ers. Additionally, a team’s record after 5 weeks is not always indicative of how good a team really is. A 1-3 team can also mean the team is playing under its potential and could play to its ability on any given Sunday, a la the Browns. Another example is the 0-2 Giants last year who ended up winning the Super Bowl.

There is plenty of football left in the season. Any of the NFC East teams have the ability to go on a run to claim the division title. All we know at this point is that the Giants are in first at 5-1, the Skins in second at 5-2, the Cowboys at 4-3, and the Eagles bringing up the rear at 3-3. One game at a time.

By virtue of their records and points differential (+69 to +12), I give the edge to the Giants as the best team in the NFC East right now. However, with the Giants at tough Pittsburgh and the Redskins at Detroit the NFC East leaderboard could change after next weekend.

1. Giants (Steelers, 5-1, away)

2. Redskins (Lions, 0-6, away)

3. Eagles (Falcons, 4-2, home)

4. Dallas (Bucs, 4-2, home)

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Who is a better quarterback? Eli Manning or Tony Romo? Three words… Jeter versus A-Rod.

Posted by silentarchimedes on October 13, 2008

Tony Romo

Tony Romo

This whole debate about who is a better quarterback, Eli Manning or Tony Romo, can be summed up with three words, Jeter versus A-Rod. One is quieter, more professional, goes about business, and wins when it counts. The other is flashy, puts up big numbers, all over the gossip news for questionable reasons, and has issues with winning the big games. In the end, who do you want on your team? The former, the one that wins when it counts. All the other stuff is irrelevant if he cannot carry the team when it counts. That’s why Jeter will always be revered by Yankee fans, and A-Rod seen as an outsider. That’s why Eli will be loved by coaches more than Romo.

In essence, just like A-Rod, until he carries the Yankees to a World Series championship and he is named the MVP or he makes an amazing play that is the catalyst for a championship, he cannot be compared to Jeter. Similarly, until Romo can carry the Cowboys to a championship, something that the team historically is good at, then he cannot be compared to Eli. Who cares how good he is in the regular season. It is a wasted season for the Cowboys anytime they make the playoffs and cannot win. Look at John Elway and Michael Strahan. Their legacies were completely solidified when they finally won championships for their teams. They were both integral parts of those teams.

Eli Manning

Eli Manning

A championship win does tremendous things to the public perspective of the athlete and to the athlete himself. Before the Giants amazing playoff run last year, Eli was seen as a mediocre QB compared to Romo, and many others in the league. He was seen as someone who belonged in the NFL but would not be able to lay a finger on his much better QB brother, Peyton Manning. After Eli’s leadership and performance throughout the playoffs, and his 4-0 start to lead the Giants this season, many people now argue that Eli is a better QB than Peyton. What has changed so quickly? Well, for one thing that championship. For another, Eli is a much more confident player. Athletes need confidence. When they start doubting their ability to do well, it will show up on the field. The elephant will simply grow bigger and bigger.

One last thing. To say that the Giants easy schedule makes them undeserving of a 4-0 record and number 1 ranking is absurd. To say that Eli is doing well because he has played against horrible teams is absurd. Simple reasons. If it was that easy, then the Patriots should have gone undefeated last year at 19-0. If it was that easy, then the Cowboys should not have lost yesterday to the Cardinals. If it was that easy, the Redskins should not have lost to the Rams yesterday. The same team that Redskins and other NFC East fans ripped on the Giants for beating. If it was that easy, the Eagles should not have been so close against the 49ers until the end of the game. In the NFL, you have to beat the teams that you should be beat. Simple as that. Otherwise, you are making excuses.

Note: The poll below has been “compromised” by Tony Romo fans trying to justify that he is a better quarterback than Eli Manning. The count before the “compromise” was 9-1 in favor of Manning. After the compromise, the count was 1005-9, in favor of Romo. So simply subtract 1004 from the Romo number (until another compromise occurs). I think most of us agree that Romo is a better quarterback, but until he wins some playoff games, he won’t be in the same class as Roethlisberger and Manning. I don’t even think Romo was drafted in any of the first few rounds, unlike the other two who were drafted in the first round.

Note: Well, well, well, the Eli Manning fans strike back. His count was hacked on June 1, 2009. Please subtract 50 from his count. Eli has taken the lead though after Romo tied it up for a while.

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