Category: NFL

Selfish Seahawks

Selfish Seahawks

The 2016 Seattle Seahawks are proving me does exist in team.

Here we sit with the final week of the National Football League’s regular season upon us. The Seattle Seahawks are the NFC West Champions. The Seattle Seahawks have clinched a spot in the playoffs. The Seattle Seahawks have a chance to be the number two seed in the NFC. But that isn’t what people are talking about.

The past month has been littered with individuals creating divide. In week 13, the Hawks waylaid  the Panthers 40-7. The win came at a price, as safety Earl Thomas broke his leg when he collided with teammate Kam Chancellor. While the game was going on, Thomas was moved to tweet during the game.

“This game has been so good to me no regrets,” Thomas wrote. “A lot is running through my mind including retirement thanks for all the prayers.”

In what should have been a boring week, Thomas turned the attention to himself. There is no reason the 27-year-old should retire. No surgery was needed to repair his leg. He’s made five pro bowls in seven years. Thomas has a couple good, productive years left in his body. All the tweet did was take attention away from the team and transfer it to Earl Thomas.

After a disappointing loss in Green Bay, the Seahawks returned home to face the Rams. The Rams headed to Seattle with an interim head coach on a short week. The Hawks were expected to roll and they did. Seattle beat Los Angeles 24-3 on Thursday Night Football. It should have been another boring week for northwest football fans.

Richard Sherman served as the pot-stirrer on this occasion. With 4:03 left in the third quarter, the Seahawks attempted a pass from the one yard line. Russell Wilson targeted Jimmy Graham, but the play nearly resulted in a interception. Richard Sherman exploded on the sideline, becoming visibly upset head coach Pete Carroll.

“I’m upset about us throwing from the 1,” Sherman said.”I was letting [Carroll] know. We’ve already seen how that goes.”

Sherman pathetically poked at old wounds. The cornerback was referring to the interception thrown by Wilson at the one yard line in Super Bowl 48. Sherman chose to disregard the play made by Malcolm Butler, and shift it towards his own teammates and coaches.

The play call made total sense. Sherman shifted the attention on himself with unnecessary and unprofessional behavior during and after a blowout win.

Last weekend, the Seahawks hosted the Arizona Cardinals. The two teams tied in Arizona in October. The Cardinals came into Seattle and beat the home team 34-31. The loss moved the Seahawks from the number two seed and a first round bye in the NFC playoffs, to the four seed. It was a terrible loss at this point in the season. On top of all that, wide receiver Tyler Lockett broke his leg catching a touchdown pass.

In steps Earl Thomas to make the save tweeting this after the game.

“I’ll def be back next year..”

Oh. Suddenly, nobody was talking about the loss the Hawks had suffered earlier in the day.   It’s tiresome to watch athletes put themselves over the team. Pete Carroll allows his players to be themselves, and this is the backlash from it.

It could be a masterfully crafted attempt to build personal brands. It could be a pair of aging players trying to stay relevant. Regardless both players are taking attention away from on-field activity and placing it on themselves. There is no I in team, but the Seattle Seahawks are proving there is a me.

 

 

 

 

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Football is Here, but Don’t Forget About Baseball

Football is Here, but Don’t Forget About Baseball

Football is back. The Seattle Seahawks play their first preseason game of the year this afternoon. So many questions surround the team. How will the Seahawks perform without Marshawn Lynch? Is Jimmy Graham healthy? Will they remain a run-first offense, or will Russell Wilson be allowed to throw the ball often?  In a month from now, the games in the Seattle will count for real. But games in Seattle already count, and haven’t been more important than right now. Football is exciting, but please don’t forget about baseball.

On July 31, the M’s were 52-51, good enough for third in the American League West, eight and a half games away from first place in the division and five games out of a wild card spot. Momentum swung as the team had one of the best home stands all season. The Mariners went 8-2, while sweeping both the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Detroit Tigers. Manager Scott Servais credited Ken Griffey Jr. weekend, and the message he sent to the 2016 team.

“Keep fighting,” Junior said. “because we’re all rooting for you.”

Fight is what they did. On August second, the M’s trailed the Red Sox 4-0 with their Win Expectancy at a mere 3.2 percent in the eighth. Robinson Cano capped a five-run bottom of the eighth with a three-run home run, proving to be the game winner. The team won 5-4, and a tone was set from the Mariners superstar.

On August fifth, Felix Hernandez gave up a three run homer to Mike Trout in the top of the first inning (W.E. 21.6%). The M’s answered with six runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. With the game tied at three, Mike Zunino smashed a three-run dinger over the left field wall to give his team the lead. A couple days later, Seattle saw another comeback win, as the M’s won 6-4.

August sixth was Ken Griffey Jr. night, as the number 24 was officially retired in the Mariners organization. That game saw the exact same start as the previous night. Trout hit another three-run home run, putting the Mariners in an early 3-0 hole. Win Expectancy sat at 8.7 percent after four innings. The Mariners chipped away at the lead until the bottom of the seventh. Shawn O’Malley smacked a go-ahead three-run home run to put the team up 8-6. Another gritty, come from behind win.

August ninth was the middle game of the three-game series with the Tigers. The M’s trailed 4-1 entering the bottom of the eighth (W.E. 4.7%). Kyle Seager hit a clutch, three-run home run to the tie game. The two teams put up zero’s until the 15th inning, when Victor Martinez hit a home run putting the tigers up 5-4 (W.E. 10%). Seager answered with an RBI single. Runners took advantage of a fielding error, moving to second and third with one out. Zunino supplied a sacrifice fly to win the marathon of a game. The M’s won again.

August 10 saw a classic pitchers duel between Justin Verlander and King Felix. The aces kept their opponents to just one run as the score was knotted at one entering the bottom of the eighth. Nelson Cruz hit a solo blast over the center field wall, giving his team the lead. Six straight for the M’s.

The Mariners lost the first game of a three game set with the Athletics. As of today, the team has moved into second place in the AL west. As the Mariners were streaking, the Rangers were too, winning five straight games. The M’s are seven and a half games out of the division lead. The Wild Card race is where Seattle should be focused. Five games out at the beginning of August, now the M’s are two games out of the second wild card spot.

The team took Juniors words to heart. A majority of the wins that came on this remarkable home stand were made in come from behind fashion. Junior also had words for the city of Seattle.

“To the fans, keep supporting these guys,” Griffey said. “They’re trying to support this city. When you have a friendly face in the stands, that means everything. When you’re going through a bad spell and some guy says, ‘Hey, keep your head up,’ that goes a long way. We’re out here playing, but we’re playing for this city.”

Football is exciting. The Seahawks have recently won a Super Bowl, and have been a good team since Pete Carroll’s arrival. Baseball has been here for a while in 2016, but it has never been more intense, or exciting as it is right now. One of the greatest athletes that has ever worn a uniform that belongs to Seattle, is asking fans not to forget about baseball. The M’s have a great shot at making the playoffs for the first time in fifteen years.  Seattle, please don’t forget about the Mariners.

W.E. – Win Expectancy

Paying for Points

Paying for Points

If you’re a quarterback in the National Football League, you get paid. Quarterbacks average 3,840,017 dollars, 1.2 million more than the next closest position. Teams are paying for points, even if they overpay their comodity. On Wednesday, the New York Jets proved that mediocre play can still lead to excellent pay.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was laughing all the way to the bank on Wednesday. The Journeyman is making 12 million dollars next season. Eight of that 12 million dollars can be credited to his beard. Fitzpatrick has been on six teams in 10 years. Fitz has played in 112 games, throwing for 154 touchdowns, but giving up 116 interceptions.

Fitzpatrick is coming off of his best season in his career. The Jets quarterback passed for 3,905 yards, with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The team also had no leverage in the situation, not having a better option in the organization. All the ingredients were there for Fitzpatrick to have a nice payday.

Michael Bennett has championed the campaign against the pay disparity. Not with Fitzpatrick in particular, but quarterbacks in general. What Bennett says makes more sense with every quarterback contract signed.

“Quarterback is the only position in the NFL where you could be mediocre and get paid. At every other position, you can’t be mediocre,” Bennett said. “If I was Ryan Tannehill and the most games I ever won was seven, how could you get a $100 million for that? I guess that’s the value of the position.”

Why is that position so valued? The Houston Texans made the playoffs in 2015 with Brian Hoyer taking snaps. The Texans feature a defense that ranked third in the NFL last season in total yards allowed. The super bowl champion Denver Broncos top that list. The 2014 champion Seattle Seahawks led the league in total yards allowed the season they won the super bowl.

Several NFL quarterbacks make too much money for not doing too much. Matt Ryan makes $20,750,000 a year, and is 1-4 in the playoffs. Tony Romo makes $18,000,000 a year, and is 2-4 in post season play. At $16,000,000 a year, Andy Dalton is 0-4 after the regular season.

Defense can be linked hand in hand with successful teams. A team could focus their money on the opposite side of the ball and make average quarterbacks on opposing teams even worse. Every team is going to have flaws. It’s a shame that half of the NFL is over paying theirs.  Quarterbacks dont have to play well, but well enoguh to get paid well.

Buy or Sell… Try Now or Later

Buy or Sell… Try Now or Later

With a couple weeks left in July, the sports world is focused on the Major League Baseball trade deadline. At this point in the 162 game season, teams determine whether they are in a playoff race, or if they are completely out of it. The labels teams are given are buyers, or sellers. Buyers are acquiring valuable assets from losing teams. Sellers are trading assets for prospects. Personally, I can’t buy into the terms buy or sell.

There are returns on both sides of any trade. Throughout history, we have seen trades where the seller gets a better return than the team that bought. In 2008, the Mariners bought Erik Bedard for Adam Jones, Chris Tillman and three other minor league players. Bedard had an earned run average that was just over three in 2007 and finished in the top five in cy young voting. In Seattle, Bedard never piched more than 83 innings in two short seasons. Adam Jones has blossomed into an all-star outfielder, batting .277 on his career while hitting double-digit home runs in all but one of his nine years of Baltimore. Chris Tillman was the Mariners minor league pitcher of the year in 07, before turning into an all-star with the Orioles.

In this example, the Mariner’s bought, but lost everything. The Orioles sold, and it could be one of the greatest trades in their franchises history with what they got in return. Connotatively, buy and sell promotes the idea that the team that is buying will always win the trade.

Teams are facing the decision to play for right now, or for the future. Similar to a draft, you can’t truly tell how a trade will affect a franchise until two or three years after the fact. The only way of knowing is if the instant gratification of a championship is won by the team playing for now.

If your team is selling this trade deadline, it isn’t a reason to be down on the franchise. Those getting rid of valuable assets, may be doing what is best long term. The MLB trade deadline is usually the most exciting of the four major sports in the United States. I’m not buying into buyers and sellers. I am excited to see who will be wearing a different uniform in August.

All-star Importance, Lack-Luster Presentation

All-star Importance, Lack-Luster Presentation

The Minnesota Twins secured home field advantage in the World Series last night. A pair of Kansas City Royals each drove in two runs, giving the American League the win in the Major League Baseball All-star game. The problem with the all-star game is not that the winning league receives home field advantage in the World Series, it’s the presentation.

The MLB All-star game has consequences even though it is an exhibition. The National Football League and National Basketball Association all-star games are hardly worth watching. No part of the game resembles and actual contest between the best players from each league. Robinson Cano got one at bat in last nights all-star game. Cano worked a full count, eventually drawing a walk. That approach and effort was no different from any regular season game.

The image of the all-star game has yet to evolve with the significance of the game. During the regular season, players talk to each other while they are on  the field. However players may cover their mouth with their glove, or cameras cut away from the conversation. During an all-star game broadcast, the on field banter between players is glorified, making it feel less intense than a regular season game. If players weren’t mic’d up, or the playful nature wasn’t glorified, this game would feel like any other.

The pageantry that comes with an all-star game is to be expected. The players in the game are the best in the world at what they do. Events such as fan fest, as well as the red carpet do not take away from the game being played. Moving forward, the hoopla should take place the night before during the home run derby.

The Twins are 32-56, 20 games back in their division, and 17.5 games back of the second wild card spot. If the Twins can turn their season around, game one of the World Series will be in Minnesota. Opposed to popular opinion, I have no problem with the all-star game deciding where game one of the World Series takes place. However, the presentation of the event should match the magnitude of the outcome.

Playing vs. Playin’: Super Bowl 50’s Quarterback Matchup

Playing vs. Playin’: Super Bowl 50’s Quarterback Matchup

What is the difference between playing and playin’. Denotatively, nothing at all. Connotatively, the two are black and white. As we enter Super Bowl week, the first focus looks directly to the quarterback matchup. Two players who play the same position, couldn’t do it any more differently from one another. One has spent his whole life playing, the other is just playin’ the game and having fun.

Peyton Manning is already being argued for as the greatest quarterback of all time. Manning has thrown 539 career touchdown passes, thrown for 71,940 yards and has averaged 270.5 passing yards per game. Manning gets it done in a way that is methodical. Home stadiums sit in silence as the 18 year veteran decides what his offense will do after seeing the opposing defense. He is cerebral in his attack. Manning has been as good with his mind, as he has been with his arm. Late in his career, the mind has out done the body. Manning will compete in Super Bowl 50, after being bench during the 2015 regular season. He has experience career lows in passing yards, (2,249) yard per pass (6.8) and touchdowns (9). His body has deteriorated, yet Peyton Manning’s football wisdom has taken him further than his body. Throughout his career, Manning has perfected the art of playing football.

Cam Newton has played at an MVP caliber during the 2015 regular season. Through his first five seasons, Newton has thrown 117 touchdowns, 18,263 yards, averaging 234.1 per game. Cam Newton has the ability to get away from defenses with his legs. Newton stands in at 6 feet, 5 inches tall, weighs 245 pounds and runs a 4.5 40-yard dash. Newton has rushed for more than 3,000 yards in his NFL career, scoring 43 touchdowns on the ground. Plays are not designed for a quarterback’s to evade tacklers. Newton creates plays on the fly. Cam Newton competes at an NFL level, like he is with the kids, playin’ football.

Two quarterbacks enter the 50th Super Bowl with two different perspectives on what an NFL career is like. On February 7, Manning will be competing in the big game for the fourth time in his career. The Broncos quarterback is taking a business as usual approach to what could be his last NFL Game. For Newton, this Super Bowl will be his first. Cam Newton won a national championship with the Auburn Tiger in 2011. The stage will not be too big for the Panthers quarterback.

From a personality perspective, these two players couldn’t be more different. Manning comes off as the next door neighbor. His ‘awe shucks’ sense of humor has landed him endorsements with Gatorade, Nationwide Insurance and Papa Johns Pizza. His lovable character has earned the respect of both fans and peers alike. Newton is brought a new attitude on what’s excepted from a quarterback. Newton “Dab’s” as often has he steps in the end zone. Most critics aren’t accepting of Newton’s end zone antics. Newton’s rebuttal to this critics did not earn any new fans.

“I’m a firm believe that if you don’t like it, keep me out (of the end zone),” Newton said.

The way these two players dress, talk, behave and play do not match each other. The similarities between the two stop at the quarterback position. Peyton Manning has been cerebral in his approach to playing football. Cam Newton has been playin’ at a MVP clip in 2015. Two different playing styles, personalities and people have proven successful in the same sport. Super Bowl 5o will be a match up of two different players, competing for one championship.

Robot Referees Won’t Make Mistakes

Robot Referees Won’t Make Mistakes

I am so frustrated with authority figures making mistakes while officiating sporting events. Umpires, referee’s, line judges it makes no difference. We have the technology, why not make machines to enforce rules? Human error would finally be erased from sports. Could you imagine how much better the games would be? I can, and they would be much, much worse.

The University of Miami pulled off a miracle, 8 lateral pass, kick return for a touchdown to beat Duke on Oct. 31. At first, the world was in awe. Later the world realized the touchdown was awful. Referee’s made four total errors on the final play of the game, which would have taken the game winning points off of the board. In response the NCAA has banned the officiating crew for two games without pay.

That doesn’t change the the bogus fact, that the Blue Devils lost to the Hurricanes.

On Nov. 1, the Seahawks got away with something that could have altered the outcome of the one point game. Pete Carroll made the mistake of calling a second straight time out. This should have resulted in a penalty, giving the Dallas Cowboys a first down. Instead the referee’s told the world they made a mistake, and the game continued on.

Major League Baseball umpires never catch a break. Networks use pitch tracking technology to show if a pitch truly should have been a strike or not. Based off of that technology, those home plate umpires are the worst officials in all of sports.

Basketball referees turn to a monitor to decide if a players foot was on a line, to judge intent on a hard foul and to see if a game changing shot left a players hand before time had expired. It’s 2015, shouldn’t technology have been developed to where the court itself can alert the teams if a player is out of bounds, or on the three point line?

Every major sport uses reply to review crucial points in a contest. It seems that when authority figures go to the replay booth, is the only time they get a call right. I don’t even see the need for human referee’s anymore. Maybe we should get rid of them.

While we are at it, I am tired of seeing base running mistakes, fumbled snaps and turnovers. Let’s build machines that play the sports for us. I would be intrigued to see a Super Bowl match up between Tom Bradybot, and Arron Robo. Two perfect teams, with perfect officiating seems like the perfect sporting experience.

Perfection in sports would take away everything we love about them. I love seeing a hitter take advantage of a mistake pitch, and follow it by unleashing a bat flip that disgraces the pitchers entire family. The internet explodes every time Steph Curry puts a defender on roller skates. Stories of persevering over adversity wouldn’t exist. Even the mistakes made by referee’s get the attention of the viewing audience.

Mistakes lead to emotion. Frustration with referee’s, heartbreak for those affected, elation if your team benefits. As a sports fan, I want the events to be full of errors. Sports are unlike anything else, the imperfections are what makes them perfect.

NFL: National Fugitive League

I’ll admit, I was a little worried that it would come to an end. One of the most impressionable professional sports streaks was on the line. It was one day away from ending, but a player came up clutch. Doral Green-Beckham made sure that the now 80 month long streak of an NFL player getting arrested stayed in tacked. A hero walks among us.

The extent of NFL players arrest do vary. Green-Beckham kept the streak alive by failing to pay a parking ticket. Joseph Randle was arrested for shoplifting. Randle makes nearly 30,000 dollars a game, but couldn’t pay for the underwear and cologne that left the mall in his possession. Several players are linked to domestic violence cases. A handful of players have murders on their record. Animals appear to be the only living beings safe from NFL players. Wait…

The NFL continues to be the most popular league in American sports. It’s mind blowing that the average American can continue to support a league full of people who think they are above the law. I guess it doesn’t matter, as long as I win my fantasy league.

Call it what you want, 80 months or 6 years, is a long time. We can always rely on the NFL to make headlines. Don’t worry fans, in the next 20 days we should know who the next player will be added to the NFL Arrest Database.