What a boring week in sports, folks. It seems that there are points of the year that sports news takes a lull. Take February after the Super Bowl for example. I mean sure, if you are one of the 16 Americans who tune in to the NHL, you’re having a blast, but for the rest of us, it’s excruciating. While this week crawled down the road like your boy who can’t handle his liquor, there was still some interesting tidbits that went down. Onward to the wacky week that was!!!
The reason I started Wayniac Nation, for those that are still unaware, was my complete and utter disdain for ESPN. I think a majority of their anchors are hacks and that their programming has become complete fluff. As I have said before, they are the TMZ/ Enquirer of sports. I get way more from my daily dose of Chuck and Chernoff than I do from ten minutes of SportsCenter. The coverage of the LeBron James Decision Part Deux has only justified my remorse.
That said, the biggest sports news of the week comes from the NBA. First overall pick Andrew Wiggins completely outplayed second overall pick Jabari Parker in their first meeting Friday in the NBA rookie summer league from Las Vegas. Elsewhere, LeBron James, aka The King, aka The Chosen One, also returned home to Cleveland, the place he left four years ago to rise to amazing heights in Miami while Cleveland sunk into obscurity. Fans burned Bron’s jerseys when he left for the Heat, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said some harsh words about his character, and people across the nation deemed The Decision as the biggest egotistical piece of horse manure they ever had to endure. And now he is back. The Cavaliers went from 60-1 underdogs for the NBA title to the 3-1 overall favorites to win the whole dang thing. Here’s the thing: if this whole sign and trade with the Lakers and Bulls falls through for Pau Gasol and the Spurs wind up with Gasol, none of this matters. Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich will have one for the other hand.
This whole thing smells fishy to me. I feel like this was David Stern’s master plan, and if any league in the world would set something up simply for ratings, it is certainly the soap opera that the NBA is. No one cared when Bron was in Cleveland, so did the NBA ship him to Miami, a major market, to revive the fading NBA viewership? You can’t argue that it didn’t work. The NBA is back and now, LeBron can go home. Maybe I give to much credit to the Illuminati, but I feel like that this was all set up four years ago. And now poor Carmelo Anthony has resigned with New York. I guess this guy never wants to win a championship, but at least he got a chip with my boys up in ‘Cuse!
Moving on to futbol, today is the day we find out the kings of the world. The 2014World Cup concludes today with Agrentina facing off against Germany. Germany decimated host country Brazil, scoring more times in six minutes than seniors do on prom night. It was unreal and seemed entirely too easy. Four goals in six minutes and a nation was left crying. CRYING!!! Could you imagine if Jimmy Dugan was the coach?
Lionel Messi gets the chance to add the final piece to his ultimate trophy collection and prove that he truly is the best player in the world. Argentina advanced to the finals after a grueling 120 minutes of nothing. Seriously, that game was why it is so hard to get Americans to completely convert to futbol. Then, when nothing was decided, they turned to penalty kicks. I like the concept of penalty kicks, but I do have a problem with such a big game being decided by them. They are largely luck, either the goalie chooses correctly and dives in the right direction, or you lose. Regular season games, sure. Quarter final games, why not? But once you are in the semi finals, I think you play until someone scores. And if players start collapsing then so be it! Could you imaging Game 7 of the World Series tied after 10 innings and they go to a home run derby to decide the world champion? Wait a second, that actually sounds amazing!
Speaking of the MLB, Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum continue to do ridiculous things with the baseball. Kershaw’s scoreless innings streak was snapped at 41 yet he still hurled a complete game. His last seven starts are video game-esque: he has allowed a mere three runs while striking out 71 and walking six with a no hitter along the way. The Freak has been equally superb allowing just one run over his last four starts with a no hitter as well. Meanwhile, the Yankees have one, ONE, starting pitcher in their rotation that started the season with them. Looks like I picked the right year to start writing for my favorite team. Oooo, can I really line up that Jeff Francis interview now?
TheNHL free agency period continued this week.
Lastly, the Andre Johnson soap opera continues out of Houston in the NFL. Andre wants out, but John McClain, who knows more about the Texans than Gary Kubiak ever did, says Johnson isn’t going anywhere. Due to his hefty contract, the Texans won’t trade Johnson and eat all of that money, so the question remains whether he will hold out or play. Across the state in Dallas, Kyle Orton still hasn’t reported either, leaving Brandon Weeden the backup for Tony Romo. That is the worst sentence ever typed in the history of the NFL.
Another week of sports is in the books. We have a lot on deck here at Wayniac Nation this coming week, including a look into why minor league baseball is so much fun. When you are finally Bron-ed out, come on back and check out some quality sports insights! Till next time.. MESSI MESSI MESSI!!!!
Yet another week of sports has found its way into the books. (Incidentally, I always wondered what books stuff seems to find its way into, especially with the Internet and Wikipedia these days. But I digress…) It’s also the last day of my ten day road trip up and down the east coast. After taking in a lovely Single-A Hickory Crawdads baseball game last night, I am ready to head home. But not before one last week in review from the road!
The final four in the World Cup is set. The host nation of Brazil is set to take on Germany on Tuesday, while the upstart Netherlands club, who sent my beloved Ticans of Costa Rica home yesterday vi penalty kicks, is ready to play Argentina. The big news moving forward is that two of the biggest names in the world will be absent from the pitch for the remainder of the Cup. Sergio Aguero of Argentina remained sidelined but hopes to be prepared for the semi finals, although it looks bleak. Brazil lost Beats By Dre spokesperson Neymar for the remainder of the Cup. He broke a vertebra in his back on a controversial play against Colombia and would eventually be airlifted to a hospital. His absence could invoke them to play stronger to bring home the Cup for him, or it could be a devastating blow as he is their clear cut leader. This past Tuesday brought an end to the United States impressive run. Although many were happy and proud of this team, I saw it a little differently. In case you missed last Wednesday’s story, here are the three reasons you should not be happy with the USMNT performance in the World Cup. Also, as depicted in the picture above, the largest locust in the history of the world assisted in a goal for Colombia’s James Rodriguez. After the game, the locust tested positive for PEDs.
Does Josh Gordon simply not want to play in the NFL? Justin Blackmon Part Deux was arrested on Saturday morning for a DUI after blowing a 0.9. This of course comes after he was caught in May for marijuana. While Gordon seems like a blast to hang out with, his 2015 season and career are clearly in jeopardy. This would be a huge blow to the Browns and fantasy geeks nationwide. For those of you who don’t know Josh Gordon, he was the guy who made Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer, and Jason “Captain Checkdown” Campbell look like NFL quarterbacks last season. Johnny Manziel reportedly tweeted how angry he was at Gordon as Mr. Football felt he was the only Browns’ player allowed to hog the limelight. In other big NFL news, Jimmy Graham was declared a tight end and not a wide receiver as he had hoped in his franchise tag ruling. So if you get a chance, please tweet Jimmy (whose own Twitter account says he’s a tight end, Einstein) and tell him how sorry you are for him that he has to make ONLY a little over seven million this season while he negotiates what will most likely be the largest tight end contract of all time.
Queen James and the Big Three are still currently unsigned in the NBA. Early reports were that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh were negotiating amongst themselves to figure out a way to get all three back together on the Heat next season. Now, there are reports surfacing that James may indeed go his own way, with Phoenix being a potential suitor. I guess he figures Phoenix will be a shorter flight home from San Antonio when he loses to Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, aka The Real Big Three, again next season. In other NBA news, the 2014 draft picks have started play in the Orlando Summer League. Shabazz Napier and Marcus Smart had shaky debuts but finished out strong. Nerlens Noel impressed everyone, dropping 19 points while grabbing two boards, and adding three assists, four steals and one block in his first professional performance.
How do you describe the play of Clayton Kershaw of late? Gnarly? Sick? Silly? Whatever you choose, Kershaw has decimated MLB lineups and has now dealt 36 consecutive scoreless innings over 32 innings while allowing a mere 13 hits while striking out 44 and walking four! That’s insane. Kershaw is honing in on his second consecutive season with an ERA under 1.90 and back-to-back Cy Young Awards. That would give him three in four years at the age of 26. That’s right, folks, Kershaw is just hitting his pitching prime. Throw on top of it that he just got paid some serious loot and unlike other divas in the world of sports, he’s still actually performing! We are watching something truly special in LA and pretty soon everyone of his starts is going to be a prime time game. Across the country, this past July 4th marked the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s immortal farewell speech. The greatest first baseman of all-time gave a speech on July 4, 1939 that rivals any ever given. It evokes tears and gives chills to every sports fan to this day.
BONEHEAD OF THE WEEK AWARD: Finally some NHL news that is worthy to write about. Philadelphia Flyers’ captain and forward Claude Giroux was arrested on Canada Day in Ontario for repeatedly grabbing a male police officer’s rear end. Seriously. I didn’t even have to make any of that up, so I say thank you Claude. According to USA Today, Giroux said, “”I regret my actions on Canada Day and sincerely apologize to my fans, teammates and the Philadelphia Flyers organization for my misguided attempt at humor.” Don’t sell yourself short, pal, you’re the funniest hockey player to ever live. Well, next to these guys at least:
There you have it. An entire week in less than 1000 words. Hope everyone had a good Fourth of July Weekend and stay tuned for another wacky week of sports!!!
Happy Memorial Day, America. It’s a time for barbecues, heading to the beach, and enjoying a long weekend with family and friends. There is usually a ton of booze involved and maybe you sneak in a two minute glance of one of the most famous non-stop left turns ever in the 98th running of the Indy 500. It is also a time to remember… hence the clever MemorialDay tag.
The sports world has long been filled with athletes who remember that, although sports are entertaining and indeed a job, they are also just a game. Endless amounts of athletes have put their careers on hold to serve this country. While some of us spend this weekend celebrating relatives or friends who have served, lets take a look at some of the more memorable athletes to put America above their stats and illustrious careers.
Wayniac Nation is proud to introduce to you our newest edition. Tim “SaucyT” Mason is part of “The Thread”, the legendary group text message that started my wheels turning, my gears grinding, and provided a lot of the fodder that motivated me to create The Wayniac blog. Tim, a die hard Falcons’, was simply miserable this past NFL season. I know because I sat through several tough ones next to him. When the Falcons were 2-9 in November, Tim started talking about the draft. No lie, November. With not an inkling of a clue of how the last five games would turn out or what draft pick the Falcons would snag, this guy turned his attention to scouting what the Falcons needed with an early pick in the draft. He and Sperry would spit out different options at different draft picks on a weekly basis. Once I realized I didn’t know half the offensive lineman or tight ends or linebackers they were taking about, it only seemed right that I ask Saucy T to join Wayniac Nation as our Draft Expert. So, without further ado:
MASON’S MOCK 2014 NFL DRAFT:
When I started preparing for my 1st annual NFL mock draft, I started thinking about how amazing the NFL is. What other sport draws 7.7 MILLION viewers for the first round of its amateur draft… on a Thursday. In total, almost 20 million viewers tuned in to watch the 3-day event. I started to wonder what made the NFL Draft so great, and then it all clicked.
A rumor began to circulate about a possible Goonies’ sequel. Stay with me here and let me explain. Growing up I, like many children of the 80’s, loved The Goonies. The Truffle Shuffle hit the mainstream months before the famous Super Bowl Shuffle. When I heard that there might be a sequel I began to think of all the possibilities, and I was both anxious and filled with hope. They may never make a Goonies’ sequel, or they might make a terrible Goonies’ sequel, but there is a chance that they make something great. Richard Donner may just give us the perfect blend of humor, adventure and nostalgia to create another classic piece of cinema. Similarly, guys like Jadeveon Clowney, Mike Evans, and Johnny Manziel could end up as busts, but maybe, just maybe they are the perfect blend of size, speed, and heart that makes a great NFL player. The NFL Draft gives us a sense of hope. In a league filled with parity, one great draft could change any team’s fate. The Dog Pound in Cleveland, The Hoggettes in D.C., and The Flock in Atlanta all believe that their teams are just one great draft away from hoisting that Lombardi Trophy, and they all tune in anxiously waiting to see the next jersey they will buy. I’m sure my mock draft won’t be perfect (nobody is), but I’m trying to balance what I think each team’s needs are with the best available players and I’ve thrown in a few trades for fun. And just remember if this year’s draft doesn’t work out for your team, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are only a year away, and “GOONIES NEVER SAY DIE”.
1. Houston Texans – Jadeveon Clowney (DE/South Carolina)
12 years ago the Houston Texans were a newborn NFL franchise and had the number one overall pick in the NFL draft. They had to make a decision between a small school quarterback (David Carr) and a once in a generation talent at defensive end (Julius Peppers). Sound familiar? I think the Texans learn from their rookie mistake and take the best player in this draft. Trade… Minnesota Vikings trade pick 8, pick 40, and 2015 second round pick to St. Louis Rams for pick 2
2. Minnesota Vikings – Teddy Bridgewater (QB/Louisville)
Some quick facts about the Vikings:
1. They are only one year removed from being a playoff team.
2. They have a running back who is 29 years old (I know how great AP is, but LT was great, too, and his wheel’s still came off at the dreaded age of 29).
3. They need a quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater is the most NFL ready QB in this draft and can help the Vikings contend immediately.
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Sammy Watkins (WR/Clemson)
The Jaguars miss out on Teddy Bridgewater and will wait until round two to find their signal caller. Justin Blackmon will probably never put on the hideous Jaguars helmet again, which means Jacksonville will be looking for some playmakers to help whoever is under center. Sammy Watkins is the best receiver in this class, and will help give Jacksonville fans something exciting to watch when the games aren’t blacked out.
4. Cleveland Browns – Derek Carr (QB/Fresno State)
Many believe that the Browns will wait until pick 26 to take their next quarterback, but then they have to worry about those pesky teams trading back into round two to hop them. Although they may look at one of tackles, I think they decide to take “their guy” at the most important position in the NFL. (But they’ll probably change their mind next year and draft Mariota) Nothing will ever surprise me with the Browns.
5. Oakland Raiders – Khalil Mack (OLB/Buffalo)
Khalil Mack plays with a violence on the football field that I’m sure Raiders fans in the Black Hole will fall in love with, and playing in a division with guys like Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers you had better be able to get pressure on the QB. Khalil Mack will add some much needed youth to a newly signed veteran linebacking group.
6. Atlanta Falcons – Greg Robinson (OT/Auburn)
Atlanta was hoping to land one of the premier pass rushers in this draft (Clowney or Mack) but getting a true mauler like Greg Robinson will instantly help keep Arthur Blank’s $103 million investment, Matty Ice, off his back, and that’s a pretty nice consolation prize. Robinson can slide right in at RT and slide to LT after new O Line coach Mike Tice helps him with his pass blocking.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans (WR/Texas A&M)
After trading away Mike Williams and all of his off-field issues, the Buccaneers are left with Vincent Jackson at wide receiver and … Skye Dawson? Tommy Streeter? Exactly. The Buccaneers probably need to find two wide receivers in this draft and would do well to draft the first one here.
8. St. Louis Rams – Jake Matthews (OT/Texas A&M)
Back to back Aggies coming off the board. Although the Rams didn’t get an RGIII type of haul in their trade back, they still get a guy they may have considered at pick 2 plus a couple of second round picks. Jeff Fisher coached Jake’s dad, Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, with the Oilers/Titans organization and has seen Jake grow up from a small boy (if he was ever “small”) into possibly the most NFL ready tackle in this class.
9. Buffalo Bills – Taylor Lewan (OT/Michigan)
The Bills would love if Matthews slid one more spot to them, but since he is already gone they may reach slightly to take a player at a position of need. Last year the Bills shocked everyone by drafting E.J. Manuel extremely high due to his “lunchpail” mentality. Lewan has that same blue collar attitude and plays with a mean streak that will endear him to the diehard fans in Toronto, err… uh.. I mean Buffalo. The Toronto Bills won’t be on the clock until 2016.
10. Detroit Lions – Justin Gilbert (CB/Oklahoma St.)
There is a lot of chatter about the Lions moving up for Sammy Watkins, but Detroit has plenty of weapons. When you have to line up against Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery twice a year it will be nice to have a 6’0/202 lb CB with 4.37 speed like Gilbert.
Trade… St. Louis Rams trade pick 13 and pick 110 to Tennessee Titans for pick 11
11. St. Louis Rams – Ha’sean Clinton-Dix (S/Alabama)
The value of a great safety is increasing in the NFL. Look no further than the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. If you need to look further, just look at the contracts that guys like Jarius Byrd and TJ Ward got in free agency. That kind of money is no joke. Ha Ha will definitely provide the coaching staff in St. Louis with a defensive playmaker in the back half of their defense. 12. New York Giants – Aaron Donald (DT/Pitt)
After losing Linval Joseph in free agency the Giants are left looking for a DT in the draft and they get the best one here at twelve. Aaron Donald may be slightly undersized, but he plays much bigger than his 285 lbs. Donald will help the Giants defensive line get back to their Super Bowl winning ways when they wreaked havoc on quarterbacks throughout the NFL.
13. Tennessee Titans – Darqueze Dennard (CB/Michigan St.)
Darqueze Dennard will help the Titans ease the loss of Alterraun Verner to the Buccaneers. Many experts believe Dennard is the best CB in this class and he will be able to step in and start right away. Dennard will go through growing pains just like most rookie CBs, but he has all the tools to succeed in the long run.
14. Chicago Bears – C.J. Mosley (ILB/Alabama)
The Chicago Bears and middle linebackers go together like John Hughes’ movies and teen angst. The middle linebacker position has long been the anchor of great defenses in Chicago, and their defense last year was anything but great (ranked 31st in points allowed). Although they need help along the defensive line and in the secondary, Mosley is the best defensive player available here and will hope to patrol Soldier field as well as Butkus, Singletary, and Urlacher did before him.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Louis Nix III (NT/Notre Dame)
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the few teams that have been running the 3-4 defense longer than I can remember. They certainly understand that without a big body in the middle to eat up blockers, their playmaking linebackers will not be able to make plays. Louis Nix III definitely fills that void. At 6’2/331 lbs Nix will be able to anchor the middle of the defense and allow young guys like last years first round pick Jarvis Jones run free and make plays.
Trade… Green Bay Packers trade pick 21, pick 85, and pick 121 to Dallas Cowboys for pick 16 and pick 158.
16. Green Bay Packers – Calvin Pryor (S/Louisville)
The Packers need help in the back half of their defense. The fear that Baltimore will be looking for a safety at 17 will leave Green Bay no alternative to pay the price and jump in front of the Ravens to take Pryor. Pryor is a big hitter and will help the Packers bolster their 25th ranked rush defense.
17. Baltimore Ravens – Brandin Cooks (WR/Oregon St.)
Baltimore’s offense lacked playmakers last year as they went through a Super Bowl hangover season. They’ve brought in Steve Smith in free agency, but at 34 years old he isn’t the playmaker he once was. Brandin Cooks is only 5’10, but who better to help him develop into a true NFL weapon than Steve Smith, who is only 5’9 himself.
18. New York Jets – Eric Ebron (TE/UNC)
Eric Ebron fits the mold of the new pass catching tight end in the NFL. The Jets would love for him to slide all the way to 18 and be able to give Geno Smith a real weapon and security blanket to help him cut down on the 21 interceptions he threw in his rookie year.
19. Miami Dolphins – Zack Martin (G,T/Notre Dame)
The Miami Dolphins offensive line issues in 2013 extended far beyond play on the field. With Richie Incognito and Jonathon Martin gone from the team and the locker room, the Dolphins will look to rebuild their offensive line from the ground up. Martin gives them a tough, gritty player that can play all over the line. Definitely a luxury to have when rebuilding.
20. Arizona Cardinals – Ra’Shede Hageman (DT/Minnesota)
In order to compete with San Francisco and Seattle, the Cardinals look to strengthen their defense by bringing in what could turn out to be the steal of the first round. Hageman has the physical tools to be a top ten pick, but has never put it all together. If Bruce Arians and the Arizona coaching staff can find a way to keep Hageman motivated, it might just be enough to help the Cardinals leap frog the 49ers in the NFL’s new black and blue division.
Trade… San Francisco 49ers trade pick 30 and pick 61 to Dallas Cowboys for pick 21.
21. San Francisco 49ers- Anthony Barr (OLB/UCLA)
The 49ers have three picks in the first two rounds and a roster without many holes. These two things allow them the luxury of slightly overpaying to move up and get a pass rusher who was once considered to be a top ten pick. With Aldon Smith’s future in San Francisco in doubt, Barr will be able to help fill that void. Although Barr is very raw his ceiling is as high as any pass rusher in this class.
22. Philadelphia Eagles – Odell Beckham Jr. (WR/LSU)
The Philadelphia Eagles released Desean Jackson this offseason, and will look to add more weapons to Chip Kelly’s fast paced offense to replace him. Beckham Jr. will probably be third on the depth chart as a rookie, behind Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, but in that offense you can never have too many weapons.
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Marqise Lee (WR/USC)
Marqise Lee was once considered to be the top wide receiver in the 2014 draft class and a sure fire top ten pick. A down 2013 season for Lee and USC along with some of the other wideouts breaking out led to Lee sliding down most draft boards. The Chiefs will gladly end Lee’s slide as they look to strengthen an offense looking for more weapons beyond Jamal Charles and Dwayne Bowe.
Trade… New England Patriots trade pick 29, pick 130, and pick 198 to Cincinnati Bengals for pick 24.
24. New England Patriots – Cody Latimer (WR/Indiana)
With a run on wide recievers beginning, and a few wideout needy teams (Carolina, New Orleans) in front of them, the Patriots pull the trigger and move up to get Tom Brady the big outside target he has been lacking since Randy Moss left. At 6’3 and 215 lbs, Latimer will provide a big body on the outside to help give guys like Amendola and Edelman room to run free underneath. 25. San Diego Chargers – Bradley Roby (CB/Ohio State)
Roby is another player with all the physical tools to be a top 15-20 pick, but his off the field issues may be enough to make some teams shy away. Roby may start as a nickel back his rookie year, but having to go up against Peyton Manning twice, the Chargers will look to have a strong nickel defense.
Trade… Oakland Raiders trade pick 36 and pick 67 to Cleveland Browns for pick 26.
26. Oakland Raiders – Blake Bortles (QB/UCF)
The Oakland Raiders traded for Matt Schaub for their short term answer at QB, and move back into the first round to get their long term answer at the position. Many have Bortles going in the top ten picks, but once he makes it past the QB needy teams, his tumble down the board begins. Bortles will have time in Oakland to learn under Schaub for a year or two before he takes over.
27. New Orleans Saints – Kony Ealy (DE/Missouri)
Rob Ryan helped transform the Saints defense from a laughing stock into a serviceable unit in just one year. The front office gave him a new piece to help the secondary in Jarius Byrd, and now they will add another pass rusher to help the defense take the next step.
28. Carolina Panthers – Morgan Moses (OT/Virginia)
Jordan Gross chose to retire at age 33, leaving a hole on the Carolina Panthers offensive line. Morgan Moses is a raw athlete, but possesses all the physical tools to turn into a great tackle in the NFL.
29. Cincinnati Bengals – Ryan Shazier (OLB/Ohio State)
The Bengals don’t have many positions of need, but Shazier will be able to add depth to a great defense and can play inside and outside linebacker.
30. Dallas Cowboys – Timmy Jernigan (DT/FSU)
The Cowboys switch to a Tampa 2 defense last year didn’t quite go as planned. Monte Kiffin is out as defensive coordinator, but his replacement Rod Marinelli also runs the Tampa 2 and will be looking for a defensive tackle to play the Warren Sapp role in his defense and help apply pressure from the interior of the line. Jernigan would be a perfect fit in that role and will help make the Cowboys defense look a little more like those great Bucs and Bears teams running the Tampa 2.
31. Denver Broncos – Kyle Fuller (CB/Virginia Tech)
Adding Aqib Talib in free agency will help bolster the Denver secondary, but Talib has a history of not playing in all 16 games, so adding another CB in the draft will provide the Broncos with depth and insurance.
32. Seattle Seahawks – Kelvin Benjamin (WR/FSU)
The Seahawks will continue to be a team that wins by running the ball and playing great defense, but adding Kelvin Benjamin will help give them a true red zone threat at the receiver position that could take their offense to the next level.
For those of you that are unaware, this Sunday is Pooch’s birthday. He is one of my oldest friends, both in age (he’s one month older than me) and amount of time I have known him. What you are aware of, I’m sure, is that this Sunday is also Super Bowl XLVIII. The Peyton Manning led Broncos take on Richard Sherman’s Legion of Boom and the Seahawks for football supremacy. The question everyone wants to know the answer to is: Who will win?
The truth is, folks, I have no idea. No one does. When I was a kid and all the way throughout college, I remember the Super Bowl was terribly boring. Almost every time the team that was clearly better would not only win, but romp their opponent. Then, the millennium switched over, Tom Brady became a QB, the Patriots somehow beat the Rams, and the Super Bowls have been pretty great ever since. The Buccaneers have a ring. No one gave the 2007 Giants a chance, but they won. The Arizona Cardinals were mere seconds away from stealing a Super Bowl from the All-Time Winningest Super Bowl team. That’s the beauty of what the Super Bowl has become.
That being said, it sure is fun trying to predict the outcome. I invited the members of The Thread to chime in with their predictions to give you, dear reader, some variety. If you are unaware of whom The Thread is, scroll up top to my Shout Outs and read up. Go ahead, I will be right here waiting for you to get back.
Ok, so now that we are acquainted, let me give you the background. I wanted to have a few expert opinions to go along with mine. The easiest group to get, and get fast, was The Thread. The best part about these guys is knowing how to address a question, because if you ask the right question, the debate will last for three hours. So, once they all gave me their scores and MVPs, I asked them to tell me why they chose the outcomes they did in one sentence. Sure enough, hundreds of texts messages later, arguing about the weather, defenses, and Wes Welker, some interesting side bets were made. These side bets led to trash talking about our soccer teams, which led to more side bets. Then finally, I got the sentence I needed.
THE THREAD’S SUPER BOWL XLVIII SUPER BOWL PREDICTIONS
SperrySeahawks win 29-20
Why: “A “struggling” Seattle defense put up 23 points against a Top 5 defense in the 49ers. A record setting Denver offense put up 26 points against a mediocre Talib-less Patriots defense. Combine this with weather expectations that favor Seattle’s number one overall defense, and you have a recipe for another Manning let down. Records are great, but they don’t get you rings. Just ask Marino how nice his records look next to Flacco’s ring.”
MVPs: Marshawn Lynch and Earl Thomas III
Saucy TBroncos win 26-17
Why: “Wes Welker will be the difference maker in Peyton’s 2nd Super Bowl win.” Saucy T also mentioned he thinks Peyton grabbing the second trophy will cement him as the best ever.
MVP: Knowshown Moreno
Nomi the GreekSeahawks win 24-20
Why: “In this era of ultimate offenses, an extremely cold weather Super Bowl with a very good chance of frozen precipitation is why the Seattle defense will win this fairly low scoring game.”
MVP: Marshawn Lynch
The Englishman27-13 Broncos
Why: “It’s about timing, and Sunday is Peyton’s time.”
MVP: Peyton Manning
Kid RobotBroncos 35-27
Why: “The legion of doom has 13 members, the Legion of Boom only has 4 members. Seattle needs to start recruiting more players to the Legion of Boom because Peyton will shred them alive, regardless of the weather. P.S. Eli gave his brother some tips about playing in MetLife Stadium… Peyton’s experience > Seattle’s arrogant D.”
MVP: Peyton Manning, 320 yards and 4 TDs
So, if my guys picks are correct, there is a slight edge to the Broncos. I know what you’re wondering, folks. What does The Wayniac think? Thing is, I agree with pretty much all of what they have said. So who will win Super Bowl XLVIII?
Why the Seahawks can win: The Legion of Boom and Marshawn Lynch.
They are arrogant, they are cocky, and they have Richard Sherman as their clear cut leader. The Seahawks defense is the best at what they do and have earned the swagger with which they strut. Sherman and Earl Thomas were both First Team All-Pro defensive backs and Kam Chancellor snuck in on Second Team secondary. While the front seven puts intense pressure on the QB, the Legion of Boom will cause turnovers, as evidenced by their league leading 28 picks.
On the other side of the ball is Beast Mode. There is no other player in the NFL who wants one yard more than Marshawn Lynch. Gaining those first downs will keep the Seahawks on the field and Peyton Manning off of it.
Throw in the weather conditions (now projecting at 19 degrees at kickoff) and you have pretty good conditions for a defensive, run-oriented team to dominate. Why the Broncos can win: Peyton Manning.
Defense wins championships, and in this championship bout we get to see the #1 defense in the NFL. The problem is, they are not just squaring off against the #1 offense this season, but arguably the best offense of all time, at least statistically speaking: 4 wide receivers with double digit touchdowns, a running back with 10 more on the ground and three through the air, and then there is Peyton Manning. We know his numbers by now. It was historical. I think there is some extra motivation behind Manning’s season. Saucy T hit it on the head. If Manning wins this Super Bowl, he has two rings, and in the NFL to be the “greatest” you have to have the hardware. Until now, Manning always knew that if they should lose in the playoffs, then there was always next year. He always made the playoffs. Now he’s older, and he is going for that neck scope. There may not be a tomorrow for #18. Imagine playing against a Peyton Manning that needs to win, a Peyton Manning with his back against the wall, a Peyton Manning who fears that this is it? That’s a scary thought. I think it gives the Broncos the edge. Throw the cold weather career stats out the window because this is a different breed of team. The WayniacBroncos win 21-17 Peyton Manning takes home the MVP.
Well, folks, I don’t need to cool down this week. I’m snowed in and everything inside 285 in Atlanta is a parking lot. Please be safe out there my fellow ATLiens. Hoping we all safely get through this.
Well, folks, it’s Sunday and that means Super Bowl week is officially upon us. It’s a busy week for the sports media, even small bloggers like myself, in keeping up with the whirlwind that ensues. For many, it’s the most fun week of the year, coming to a climax with the world’s biggest game. For the NFL and Roger Goddell, it may become at nightmare.
If you haven’t heard, which means you’re living under a rock or are just too concerned with the collapse of Justin Bieber’s career, Super Bowl XLVIII is being played up north this year. I remember at the beginning of the season everyone I knew was saying What are they thinking? With the game a mere seven days away, people are now saying What WERE they thinking? Aside from the replacement refs and the current concussion debacle, this could end up being football’s biggest mistake yet.
There are several reasons The Meadowlands may have been the wrong choice for the Super Bowl. The weather is the clear and obvious choice for reason numero uno. However, the one decision that was the deciding factor is clear: the almighty dollar. The Super Bowl is the World’s Biggest Game, and New York is certainly the biggest stage to play it on. The money the NFL, New York and New Jersey can profit from a Super Bowl if, and only if, it goes well will probably be enough to build the Statue of Liberty a boyfriend. That money won’t be worth jack if you blow the greatest game on earth. Seriously, think about it. The only event that compares, and perhaps surpasses the Super Bowl, is the World Cup. The last World Cup Final in 2010 had 619.7 million viewers, whereas last years Super Bowl had 108.41 million. However, The World Cup involves every major country in the WORLD and it’s viewers wait four full years to watch it. The Super Bowl is solely an American game, yet is still broadcast in 232 countries. Corporations spend up to $4 million for a 30 second spot in between drives whereas a World Cup commercial caps out at about $450,000. The average pay day for the World Cup has been just north of $100 million. The Super Bowl? The big game has an average yield of $379 million. Every bar and restaurant, not just Irish and English pubs and sports bars, are going to have some sort of promotion going on. And the parties across the nation will seem endless.
So, why would you schedule a Super Bowl in winter time in New Jersey knowing that the weather will be the real 12th man? It is supposed to be cold with highs between 35-40 and the lows that may hit 20. If you have ever been in MetLife Stadium, you know that once the winds start swirling, 20 degrees feels like 0. There is a 30% chance of freezing rain or snow, and NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman has announced the Super Bowl may be played anywhere from Friday to Monday.
Huh? Did I just type that? Super Bowl Sunday may be Super Bowl Friday. IT DOESN’T EVEN SOUND RIGHT!!! Why would you put all this money, all these fans, all these schedules at risk?
Maybe one thought (and the word thought is used loosely here, because it doesn’t appear many brain cells were used in this decision) was that this is how the NFL Championships used to be played. The 1958 NFL Championship Game has earned the nickname “The Greatest Game Ever Played” and that was successfully played in Yankee Stadium, but that was an extremely different NFL. Those were the games that defenses controlled, where the hard-nosed players were allowed to hit, the era where the old adage Defense wins championships comes from.
Today’s NFL is different. We want offense. It’s a passing game these days, and if you are lucky enough to have a feature running back, you want to see him explode. Want proof? Let’s compare this Super Bowl’s elite to that 1958 game. The 1958 Championship pitted the Colts versus the Giants. The quarterback was a one Johnny Unitas, whom many consider one of the greatest to ever play the game. He threw for 2000 yards with 19 touchdowns that year and a 90 QB Rating. I know, the seasons were shorter, but if you take his averages and extend it to a 16 game season, he throws for 3200 yards and 27 touchdowns. Now, take the guy who had to live in Unitas’s shadow for all those years, Peyton Manning. This year he threw for a record 5,477 yards, a record 55 touchdowns, and a 115 QB Rating. Want more? (Of course you do, you thirst for it!) Frank Gifford was the Giants running back in that game, and he was considered one of the premier backs in the NFL. That year, Gifford ran for 468 yards and 8 touchdowns while tacking on 330 yards receiving and 2 more TDs. Marshawn Lynch, aka Beast Mode, aka Yum Yum Give Me Some Skittles, aka one of the top backs in the game, ran for 1257 yards and 12 TDs while adding on 316 yards through the air with 2 more TDs.
So why would you put these type of players in brutal weather conditions? The Super Bowl is being watched by thousands of people who don’t really care about football or are from other countries and want to see what all the hub bub is about. It is the ultimate billboard for the NFL. It is in my mind that we should then want to see the very best of what the NFL has to offer. I want to see Manning go off for 400 yards and 4 TDs on Sunday (or Friday, or Monday). So does everyone else except Seahawks fans. I also want to see Beast Mode rampage all 11 Bronco defenders all day long, and so does everyone else except Bronco fans. In the snow and cold, we won’t see that. We will see a lot of three and outs, and it will be a defensive stronghold, which is a huge advantage for Seattle because they are hands down the best in the business.
I get it the whole it’s football weather mindset, but that’s why we have the NFC North. That’s what makes Pittsburgh legendary. That’s why we watch the Patriots zamboni FGs for Vinatieri. But then, when those teams ravage through those tough conditions, they are rewarded by playing a Super Bowl in sunny San Diego or inside a dome where there is no weather at all.
Never mind the hypocrisy of the NFL preaching for player safety and then wanting an 18 game season. Forget about the fact that a league so concerned with the health of its players is possibly adding a team to the playoffs and prolonging their season (all because Jerry loses out on the playoffs in the last game of every season, but that’s another rant!). If you really want to go traditional like that 1958 Championship, if you really want to play in football weather, then you are truly putting our greatest players at injury risk and reversing every last thing the players union and lawsuits have been fighting. While there is no guarantee that injuries are less abundant in warmer weather than colder weather, it just seems that purposely placing the NFLs best in even the slightest possibility of treacherous conditions is a bit silly from a sport that is evolving into a player-safe league.
I need to cool off. We have a busy week in store. Keep an eye out for my Super Bowl predictions and a little bit more on Peyton’s greatness. And don’t forget to check in with my daily rants at @UofDWayne in the Twitterverse. Till next time, hopefully my internet won’t freeze over.