Friday, February 26, 2010
"I'm sure I could fit a little more weight onto my 6'2'' frame, but why mess with success?" Miller commented. "I just hope someone else can carry the load before the match against Finland. Maybe an offensive player. Just saying."
USA Head Coach Ron Wilson commented on his star player. "After the 6th guy turned down the USA coaching gig, I jumped right on it. To coach a player that is as talented as Miller is a dream come true. I haven't seen this kind of talent in Toronto unless we play the Wings, Caps or Pens."
Some people are not as big of fans. Canadian Hockey Legend Don "Grapes" Cherry is not as sold. "Well I'll tell you what Ron (obviously confusing me with his Hockey Night In Canada sidekick Ron McClain) Miller is a solid goaltender don't get me wrong, but I'd rather have a good Canadian boy like Roberto Luongo in net for me. He isn't afraid to let up 7 goals in an elimination playoff game. That is what makes him great."
Miller leads his surprising USA team today against the tough Finnish team. He has confidence but says "they could go all Mighty Ducks 2 on us and come out of nowhere to beat us, like the Norwegians." On a side note, the Norwegian national team finished 14 out of 12 teams this Olympics.
Zach Parise says "we practice the flying V all the time, I just hope we can successfully execute it."
The USA takes on Finland today with a trip to the Gold Medal game on the line. On a side note, Ron Wilson has hired former WMU Head Coach Jim Culhane as a special assistant. Culhane's job is to make the US offense even more pitiful, to keep the games close and help NBC's ratings.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
1. USA Hockey: In a stunning upset over the heavily talented and hometown Canadians, America showed the world they aren't the pushovers everybody thought they would be. Next up for the Americans is Switzerland (a tough team to beat with Jonas Hiller, but we beat them before) then the winner of Canada vs Russia. The path does get tougher but with All-Universe Goaltender Ryan Miller the US can steal any game. The best part of these Olympics so far has been the quality hockey we have seen. Hopefully Bettman will keep the NHLers in the games.
2. The NCAA: This isn't my signature Michigan bashing. The NCAA has really clamped down on its rules lately, with Oregon, USC and Michigan all getting in trouble recently. I would hate to see college football turn into a league where the best break the rules to dominate everybody else. Michigan practiced way too much (and it didn't help) and could lose scholarships and practice time for a few years. Its a serious offense, but not anything that will kill the program. It will just be harder to win for the next few years. Oregon has had 4 players arrested recently and the whole Boise State incident last season. USC has been accused of being an NFL and paying its players. Reggie Bush is the central figure in this investigation. Pete Carroll has a bad season and then this comes out and he skips out to the NFL again. He must know how bad it could get.
3. Kevin Durant: This guy does not get enough credit. He is one of the best players and the league and is leading the charge in Oklahoma City (if you don't count Rumble). They are even trying to get a nickname started (Durantula). He is going to lead the Thunder to a first round playoff series win and could be the building block for that team well into the next decade.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Last night the Americans pulled together and beat a superior Canadian team on their home ice, largely being outplayed. The Canadians played the high skilled game we expected and the Americans played to their strengths, which is Ryan Miller. I am happy with the win, but I am not sure how far we can go. The fluke goals we scored early and often are not going to be there when we take on the top teams later in the tournament. Being out shot 45-22 doesn't give me much hope. I was disappointed in the play of Patrick Kane, whose skill was not on display. Our offense only played well in spurts or on the power play. I am surprised we got to 4 goals before the empty netter.
I don't like our chances against an offensive team like Russia, or Canada again (they really outplayed us) or a team that can out-grit us. Yes, out-grit is a word. Miller can't be expected to stop 40+ shots every night. I don't have confidence that 3 goals allowed will get the job done. We need to use our speed better and get on the attack. Canada made us look pretty slow last night. We have put ourselves in a great position to medal (winner of Switzerland and Belarus) and need to turn it on with this young team. We are lucky enough to have little pressure on us and need to play some carefree US hockey the rest of the way.
Friday, February 19, 2010
And Seniors around the World are taking notice. The USA's population is getting older, and their tastes in sports have started to lean towards curling. "When I saw my favorite past time combined with brooms and ice, I knew I found my calling, after 88 years on this Earth" says Ernie Johnson. "I haven't been this excited since they invented television, or talking-glow boxes as we called them back in the day." Mr. Johnson has been training in his back yard every winter since he saw the sport in the Salt Lake City Olympics. The sport, which consists of bowling a huge rock down a sheet of ice and then "brooming" the ice to try and land the rock near a bull's eye, knocking other rocks out of the way. Traditional powers include America, Canada, Russia, Brazil and Germany.
Hall of Fame player Jimmy "Slider" Murphy has been in the sport for over 20 years. "I have earned dozens of dollars in this sport. I get recognized in public once every few years even. I am living the American dream!" He even comments on its growing popularity in this year's Olympics. "To see the 400-500 people lining up to fill the arena up to quarter capacity is a dream come true, I just hope to see it become just as popular as baseball or football." The curling tournament is on sometime on either USA Network, NBC, Versus, or online this week.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
In other news, Jim Culhane has been "relieved of his duties" (and I am relieved of watching his stupid brand of hockey being played) effective at the end of the year. So come out this weekend Bronco fans if you want to see him behind the bench. There is nowhere to go but up for this program, who had a miracle year last season. I really hope we realize our potential as a hockey program very soon.
If you follow my Twitter account you know that I think we should have signed Donte Stallworth and hate to see so much made about nothing. We need talent, but I guess we are still in the "lets make the best PR possible right now" phase. Despite there not being a salary cap next year, the Lions will stick to a budget according to team President Tom Lewand (Stallworth signed a 900k contract). I am glad to see a true commitment to solid rebuilding. Not the quick fixes we see in sports. If you are going to buy up some season tickets, now is the time as the Lions lowered prices again. Forward down the field!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
1. Big Ten- Expansion Fever has hit hard in the Midwest (vaccines will be available after the pandemic is over) and the Big Ten presented by Ro-Tel is looking to expand to 12, 14 or 34 teams within the next 16 months. But I love the especially gutsy move by asking Texas would join the Big Ten. That's like asking out the prettiest girl in school to the prom. She will probably say no, but if not, you'll be the coolest kid in town and at least you tried. Other candidates are Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Pitt and Missouri. This could really make the Big Ten a power conference with a large TV Network. People could stop ripping on them and see how good the football (and basketball) is. Great job Big Ten!
2. NBA- Your All-Star Weekend was great and fun besides one obvious event (rhymes with Slam Dunk Contest) and the Jerry-Dome looked as good as ever. I would watch anything in that Stadium/Crown Jewel of America and this event was well done. Sure a lot of people didn't play, and Zach Randolph played too hard but it was an enjoyable weekend. Nice job guys. Special shout out to Charles "5 Dollar Box" Barkley for asking tough questions at inappropriate times.
3. Landon Donovan- Has done an amazing job while in England on loan to Everton. He has played both wings (left and right) and has added talent and scoring for the Toffees. He is getting valuable experience and exposure leading up to this summer's World Cup. Although Team USA needs to get healthy, but they definitely have their leader playing the best soccer of his life.
Monday, February 15, 2010
The NFL has a looming collective bargaining agreement set to expire very soon. With our country's economy not as strong as many would wish, people obviously do not want to hear about millionaire's arguing about who gets what slice of the pie. But to look at it this way is unfair, and ignoring the bigger picture of the future of the league. So I will put aside that these players make eight digits a year and even more in benefits and sponsorships. I will look past a league in the NFL that made over eight billion dollars last year and still cut jobs. I will put what the league needs to do in order to keep the success growing in the world's best sports league.
1. Rookie Salary Cap: The Salary Cap is a great idea for the NFL. It allows almost every team a chance at the playoffs every three years, if not more often. If you draft well and are smart with your players, you can still build dynasties. But the playing field has been leveled to make the game far more enjoyable to watch every Sunday, Monday, Thursday and sometimes Saturday. Almost any team can win every game. This year is a poor example of NFL parity, but that is because of ridiculous coaching turnover than on the players. One thing seems very strange to me though. Why don't rookies have salary caps. You give the worst teams the highest picks then tell them, "Pay this player twelve million dollars a year, but be sure to assemble talent that doesn't go over X amount. By the way you better do well and sell out your games, or we will move you to Los Angeles." You put a few bad years together and three of your players are eating up thirty percent of your total allowed payroll. Matthew Stafford signed a six year $42.7 million dollar (guaranteed, he could make up to $72 million with bonuses) putting the Lions in a boom or bust situation. This year's first overall pick (if a QB expect more, if a DT expect a little less) could really put the Rams in a hole that isn't fair to anyone. Bottom line, make a salary cap for rookies to help teams rebuild and pick whoever they think will make the team better, not who will sign the lowest contract. After the first round, the problems go down a little bit. But the first round is really getting out of hand. This should not be too hard to do since, college players do not belong to the player's union. For a league that prides itself in giving every team a chance to win every year, they have neglected this aspect for far too long.
2. Invest money in helping former players pay health care costs, and invest in concussion prevention and treatment for current and former players: Some of these players are so crippled that they can't pay their medical bills. That is so tragic to see the people who laid the foundation for this league's success. The league would do itself a PR favor to pull this off.
3. Mandate stadium sponsorship, split the cost evenly among teams with sponsorship. Those that do not have sponsorship do not get the revenue: It isn't fair for the Dolphins to get money from it's "Stadium Sponsor of the Week" and have to split the profits with Cincinnati, Green Bay, Chicago and other teams that have no interest in corporate sponsors. So kick those teams out and split it between the teams with sponsors.
3B. Also, employ this system to teams and playoff revenue. Teams should be rewarded for doing well more than whatever the payday is for the players nowadays. This goes against what I said about evening the playing field, but only at first. Teams will try harder to obtain money and win. Look at franchises like Detroit, Jacksonville, New Orleans (until recently), Arizona (also until recently, and their time may be done), St. Louis and Cleveland. You can not convince me that those Owners do not need as much incentive as they can to win. My plan will try and push those owners to succeed more on the field instead of hiring Matt Millen as your GM and be all right with losing because you still sell out and make a profit.
4. Add games, make the preseason shorter or non existent, and figure out the Pro Bowl: Extra games means extra money, so its going to happen. I've accepted that. Old WFL players used to play 18 games a season, current CFL players still play 20 games a season. Plus, the games would mean a shorter preseason, which is best case for the NFL. Start the season a little earlier and nothing radical would happen to the schedule. Plus, if someone goes 0-18, I'm off the hook. For the Pro Bowl, try and keep this year's model. It was fairly successful. The Pro Bowl won't ever matter. Just try and make it as relevant as possible.
5. Keep the salary cap the way it is, keep the game like it is now: We are in the second Golden Age of Pro Football. Don't ruin it for us by taking away the cap or anything that has made the NFL so great since I can remember.
6. Put a team in Los Angeles: This is about money too, and what team could bring more glamour to the NFL than a team in Hollywood. Candidates: Jacksonville, St. Louis, Minnesota, San Diego. Minnesota is a good team and they aren't going to get another stadium anytime soon and I am sick of watching teams play in the Humpty Dump. They almost don't sell out playoff games. St. Louis could go back, as could San Diego. The Chargers aren't going to get a new stadium. Any team that moves their will see their revenues and franchise value double.
7. Outlaw any talk of a pay per view Super Bowl or regular season: This could really kill the NFL. Taking away average fans and viewers and making people pay to watch the games. Look what it did to boxing. Sure, optional season packages are fun and I enjoy the free preview enough (I live in my favorite team's market) but they should stay strictly optional.
This system, the "Corbitt Plan" will help the NFL maintain a strong economic stand point through almost economy. This will increase revenue and keep the level of competition strong. If this passes we can just sit back and watch the sport thrive well into the 21st century.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Texas to the Big Ten?: In a deal that would be a home run for the Big Ten and makes no sense for Texas. The Big Ten would bring in a huge amount of money and viewers for its network. Texas would lose some tradition and make them invest on more jets to get around to play its new conference foes. It would make the Big Ten the most powerful conference in College Football and maybe have us catch less crap from the media. I don't think it will happen. Missouri and Pitt seems like more realistic options for next year's expansion. But good job to the Big Ten for exploring all options.
Damon to the Tigers?: Not a good idea. When your trying to play youngsters, eat salary and cut spending, why would you sign a 36 year old Damon to play Center field? It would mean Austin Jackson would be in Toledo and the Tigers are paying Damon for 2 years, probably close to 14 million dollars. Sure the fan base would be happy, but its not a good move. He could fall apart at any time. Why not just bring back Sheffield at this point?
Culhane out at WMU?: Hooray! We lose a coach who's winning percentage is less than 40%. He came into the program when it needed some time off from scandal and was a young coach with NHL and WMU experience. Now, after failing to build on from last season, it looks like he is out. Let the courting of Ken Hitchcock begin!
Stallworth to the Lions?: Why not? He has paid his debts to society and seems genuinely sad about what he did. He had an accident. It was a very stupid decision sure, but what Mike Vick did was worse because it was done repeatedly. On the football side of things, he would be a nice comeback story and solid option at WR to replace Northcutt and Bryant Johnson if either are released (Bryant looked solid sometimes last year). Also, the Lions would get him on the cheap. Something will probably go down the next few days.
Bengals work out Pacman, maybe sign TO?: Both would be typical Bengal moves. Could TO take a backseat to OchoCinco? Could Pacman continue the "scrapheap" success the Bengals have had the last few seasons? This is a team that needs to keep their foot on the pedal if they expect to make the playoffs consistently.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
1. New Orleans Saints- This was an easy one. The Saints won their first Super Bowl with an inspired effort. With how bad the Saints have been (probably up there with the Lions over the past 40+ years) they give hope to less successful franchises (and me) and New Orleans is loving it. To see a city and team rebound like they have is awesome. I love that Drew Brees got the MVP and played so well. He is a real comeback story. They gave the world a huge You're Welcome Sunday Night.
2. Illinois Fightin' Illini Basketball- Bruce Weber is a very good and underrated coach. He has his scrappy team playing so well that they have won three games in a row and now are in a tie for the Big Ten regular season title. They won a prime time game against the talented Spartans and beat the Badgers on the road. No ranked team has ever beaten Bo Ryan at home. Before last night. Trust me, the Illini will be ranked next week.
3. Washington Capitals- They just keep winning! Ovechkin is my choice for league MVP, and his Caps are playing better than anyone could have imagined. The core of talent (Semin, Green) is supporting Alexander the Great. I have a real hunch they will top the all time wins in a row record for the NHL and continue this success in the playoffs. Them and the new look Devils (Kovalchuck! Now they have offense!) are the best chance the Eastern Conference has of winning the Cup. These playoffs should be great this year, building on last year's success.
Monday, February 8, 2010
First I'll be a killjoy. CBS did a great job. Jim Nantz and Phil Sims do a great job and could be the best duo in the business. But why was everybody so kind to owner Tom Benson? He almost kicked the team out of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, yet they treated him like a long suffering hero. I don't get it. If the Lions ever win a Super Bowl (I almost typed "when" then laughed and put if) and anybody is nice to the Old Man (William Clay Ford III, aka the life ruiner) afterwards I will throw my TV out the window and burn it. Luckily, my TV is safe at home as we type.
Good: Drew Brees and the shot of his son. It was very heartwarming. He also played amazing and shook off early game miscues to do very well. He earned that MVP award.
Sean Payton: Onside kick, great game plan, and your team brought it. Best coaching job in the Super Bowl this decade.
Saint's Defense: Really brought the heat and kept Peyton Manning off rhythm.
Joseph Addai: This guy always shows up on the Super Bowl
Snickers Commercial: Very funny, and who knew Abe Vigoda is still around?
E-Trade: Slowly but surely becoming a Super Bowl titan. Those babies are great actors.
Bud Light: Of course, they make excellent stuff.
Megan Fox: Ooooooooh yeah. What was she selling?
Dorito's Commercials: All of them were very good, especially the little kid. They have really delivered the last few years.
Bad: The Who absolutely sucked. They used to be so good. But now at the AARP Super Bowl Halftime Show Presented by Poligrip is getting bad. The Boss, Tom Petty, Prince and Paul McCartney did an awesome job. I don't think its very good to have half an old band play at the biggest half time of the year. I don't know who will play next year but I hope they actually show up.
Coca Cola's Commercials: The Sleepwalker was cool for about 12 seconds then I didn't care. The Simpsons one wasn't funny.
The Colts: Scored 10 points, then disappeared. Really disappointing from a sure fire winner. Peyton Manning played well, but not well enough and that interception was awful. Tony Dungy must work for DiGiorno's because he didn't deliver either.
Queen Latifah: Lame version of a great song. Poor America, The Beautiful.
Danica Patrick: She makes two many commercials which are basically the same thing every time. And she has one more Indycar win than me.
Pretty solid night overall, I went home and enjoyed my mother's cooking (her homemade hot wings are the best in the world) and enjoyed the game. After we have been spoiled the last few years, we get a two touchdown victory.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Now here are my Mom’s picks and her way of predicting who will win the Big Game later today. They are a little different than what you may see on some sports blogs, but she does have a better winning percentage than me. Happy Super Sunday!!!
I don't know why Weston asked me to write on his blog, but while we were waiting at the orthopedic surgeon's office we compared percentages. He had to pick more games than me, but he was at 12.6% winning percentage and I was at 50%. So I figured what the heck. I know absolutely nothing about the stats for any team or player. Weston remembers every stat for every team, player and sport since the Northside Nordic Vikings played the South Central Crusaders, but he can't remember to pick up his socks.
I feel some of my best memories were around horses. Watching the races on the Wide World of Sports and when my Uncle Bill would saddle up a horse and put me up and walk up and down the driveway. And I grew up in the era of the westerns. The Mannings seem like such a nice family as I said before which is refreshing in these times. Indianapolis is probably a nice city but I am definitely a small town girl.
I still don't know anyone on the Saints team except Drew Brees. I heard on TV he is very nice. The only information I have on New Orleans is what I've seen on cops. Women raising their shirts to get some cheap plastic beads, and guys using the streets as a restroom. Seeing how much you can drink and how many fights you can have. You only get one chance to make a first impression.
Colts 42 Saints 38
Friday, February 5, 2010
I had my mom pick the two championship games and she went 1-1 equally my win total for the playoffs. Now I will have her pick the Super Bowl as well, but this time I will go head to head to see who does better. I will also add my insight into the game. Also, I will start my video blog a little later. My knee injury has set my back in school and I need to catch up and get stuff together before I start because I want it to be good, not something thrown together.
We know the teams coming in to this game, two offense juggernauts with underrated defenses playing in the big game. They were the best teams in the regular season, undefeated for 14 games (Colts) and 13 games (Saints) and dominant in most of those wins. Peyton Manning has been the best Quarterback in the league over the last decade, and Drew Brees has put up ridiculous numbers for the last few years in New Orleans in Sean Payton's video game offense. This year the Saints added a running game to balance stuff out, and Darren Sharper has been a great leader and playmaker for a defense that was awful last year. Colt's rookie head coach Jim Caldwell has led the team to a remarkable season and hasn't missed a beat from Tony Dungy.
The Colts must avoid letting up too many big plays. Accept that you will give up some big plays to the Saints on offense and defense and go from there. Manning is smart and will prepare well. If the Colts can find any running game (similar to when it came alive against the Bears in the last Colts Super Bowl) it will help keep Brees on the sidelines. With Dwight Freeney either out or severely limited it means the Colts must sit back and play coverage, because I don't think they will be able to hit home on any pass rush.
The Saints must keep their foot on the pedal and don't let up the aggression on offense, defense or special teams. They need to use the emotion of being here and play loose. They looked vulnerable to a couple of bad teams and need to get off to a quick start. They have to hit hard and try to get to Manning and get him off his rhythm. Someone will have to step up on offense besides Brees to be a leader and help get this team a win.
Despite the Cinderella story Saints winning and beating Favre and Warner in the playoffs, I don't see them winning. The Colts are too well rounded and prepared for this. They have experience and smarts and should take home the Lombardi trophy.
Colts 28 Saints 21
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
1. Jimmy Howard- When I said that the Red Wings had to give this kid a chance in a put up or shut up opportunity, I didn't think he would play this well. But he is putting up big time save numbers on a regular basis and keeping the Wings in games they should have lost. He may not be the long term solution, but he is at least keeping the Wings in the playoff race, keeping the goaltending position warm for Ozzie in April.
2. The NFL- Not only did you sell out the Pro Bowl this year (doesn't happen very often) it got the highest ratings ever for the Pro Bowl. I think we can account that to having it the week before the Super Bowl. Having it be in Miami helped too. I don't see why a city with no NFL (and is never going to get one) should have the Super Bowl. The NHL wouldn't put an All Star game in Kansas City and the NBA wouldn't put one in Baltimore, so why does the NFL? Although some of the best players didn't play people still watched. Now I think it should go one step further, and have the game the Saturday before the Super Bowl. How would that weekend look?
3. Wisconsin Badger Basketball- The Kohl Center is one of the toughest places to play in the nation. Tom Izzo has never beaten Bo Ryan there. They don't even have a very good student section and they still keep winning at home. The Badger 1950's style of offense can give any team a hard time and they play so fundamentally sound that it is hard for any team to win. The Spartans still are a top 5 team (hopefully Kalin's ankle is ok) but the Badgers are the second best team in the Big Ten.
Monday, February 1, 2010
I saw the Lions run this offense for two years, and although it kept us competitive in a lot of games, it helped us lose many more. We had zero running game and Kitna was repeatedly sacked and pressured into make terrible throws. The turnovers were too much for most teams to overcome and the Lions lost often. The Bears have more talent overall, but with an aging defense and offensive line, can they afford to expose their weaknesses so much? The answer is no. With rumors of Rod Marinelli being the Bear's new defensive coordinator it is obvious Chicago wasn't paying attention when the Lions lost all those games.
The NFC North has a nasty habit recycling players and coaches. This is just a prime example of it. Bernard Berrien played with the Bears, then the Vikings. Culpepper with the Vikings then the Lions. Favre with Green Bay then Minnesota. Kevin Jones was released by the Lions, then picked up by Chicago. There are more examples that will prove my point further. In the division that refuses to change, I suppose borrowing players from one another is a good way to keep your systems intact.