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Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 Bowl Season

2012 BOWL SEASON

Here is the scoreboard for the 2012 bowl season.  Below are my synopsis for each game.

Nevada Wolfpack 48
       vs.
Arizona Wildcats 49

Toledo Rockets 15
       vs.
Utah State Aggies 41

Brigham Young Cougars 23
       vs.
San Diego State Aztecs 6

Ball State Cardinals 17
       vs.
UCF Black Knights 38

2012 New Mexico Bowl


NEW MEXICO BOWL
Arizona Wildcats vs. Nevada Wolfpack
49       -       48




Recap: This was your classic game of swings between 2 teams who are both decidedly unbalanced teams.  Arizona came out flat, falling behind early after giving the ball away 3 times and falling behind 21-0.  They answered that with a 21-0 run of their own and from there we had a shootout for the last 3 quarters.  Ok, that's a slight exaggeration, it took them 19:37 to scored 42 points. 

After that , Nevada had a 17 point advantage built up by the 4th quarter behind their talented backfield of QB Cody Fajardo and RB Stefphon Jefferson.  From there is was the Matt Scott show as he threw 3 TD's in the final quarter, including 2 in the final 46 second of the game to steal a win to seal the first year of the Rich Rodriguez era.

Players of note:

Arizona:
QB Matt Scott: The senior quarterback showed his intelligence matched his natural ability this year by picking up a brand new offense and leading a rebuilding Wildcat squad to a bowl win with a clutch performance.

RB Ka'Deem Carey:  This is the best running back in the country, and he's a sophomore.  You can say what you want about him being a product of the system because he is in the system, and he is producing at a nation leading rate.

WR Austin Hill: 1364 yards receiving for this 6'3" 211 lb receiver.....who is also a sophomore.  RichRod was happy to find out that the cupboard was not entirely bare in the desert. 

Nevada:
QB Cody Fajardo: Fajardo is perceiving to be the future of the Wolfpack program, much as Colin Kaepernick is its past.  He is the engine that makes this offense go, and he dominated the Arizona defense early in this game.  Again, a sophomore.

RB: Stefphon Jefferson: He tore through the Arizona defense just like he did most every other team that the Wolfpack faced this season.  His 175 and 2 TD's finished up a season with 1883 yards and 25 rushing TD's, and he might be coming back.


Interesting Notes: This was one of the best matchups of running backs we are likely to see this season and thanks to 2 explosive offenses and porous defenses was likely the best example of a  shootout of the bowl season.  I recommend that you keep you eye on both of these teams over the next 2 years.  They are both led by young players and aren't likely to be any worse than they were this year, though both need to have drastic improvement on the defensive side of the ball to make big strides.

2012 Bowl Season Scoreboard.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Case for Cooperstown: Dale Murphy

With the release of the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot, Waiver Wire writer Greg Kaplan will explore the candidacy of numerous names on the ballot. Points for and against induction will be presented, and we’re forcing him to make a decision at the end of each post to decide if that player should be placed alongside the immortals that have played baseball throughout history.
Previous Cases – Jack Morris – Jeff Bagwell – Lee Smith – Tim Raines – Alan Trammell– Edgar Martinez – Fred McGriff – Larry Walker – Mark McGwire - Don Mattingly
Dale Murphy
Year(s) on ballot – 15th (received 14.5% of vote last year)
Credentials – 18 years in MLB (parts of 15 with Atlanta Braves), career .265/.346/.469, 398HRs, 1,266RBI, 2,111 hits, 1,197 runs, seven-time All-Star, five-time Gold Glove winner, four-time Silver Slugger, back-to-back National League MVP in 1982-83

The Case For:
In the early 1980?s, there were two players ruled the National League by playing at an absurd level both offensively and defensively. One was Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt with the Phillies, and the other was Dale Murphy.

At the apex of his career, Murphy drilled 29+ home runs in seven of eight seasons, led the National League in RBIs twice (both of his MVP seasons, ’82-’83), led the league in home runs twice (and hit a career-high 44 in ’87), four times scored 110+ runs and even notched a 30HR/30SB season in ’83.

Who is the King of the New York City jungle?

“Baby I’m from New York! Concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do now you’re in New York!”

As you probably remember, these are the lyrics of one of the biggest hit by Alicia Keys and Jay-Z. New York is a jungle of streets, businesses, people, ethnic groups and so on. From this season, the Big Apple, is also a NBA jungle with two teams from two different boroughs competing for glory. The two teams, of course, are the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets, respectively from Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Brooklyn and Manhattan; Manhattan and Brooklyn. Knicks and Nets; Nets and Knicks.

Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center. The prestige of one of the franchise never to change city and on the other hand the glamour and freshness of novelty.

Osi Umenyiora: If Giants Make Changes, It Has To Be Wholesale Changes


 The New York Giants short of a miracle will not make the playoffs this season after winning a Super Bowl in 2012.  Most teams when they miss the playoffs tend to try to reload.

Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora probably will not be back with the team after going through several different contract issues over the past four seasons.

Umenyiora understands their may be change, but according to the Star-Ledger, if they do make changes,

Umenyiora feels they should just totally start over.

‘Irate’ Tom Brady blasts teammates after lackluster win

At times, Tom Brady’s “California Cool” reputation escapes him. He morphs from calm and collected to angry and vocal, with harsh barbs flying every which way. It’s become such a notable occurrence that he’s even parodied his anger issues in comedic skits.

There was nothing jovial about his latest outburst, however.

Per the Boston Globe, Brady was “irate” following the Patriots’ lackluster 23-16 win over the Jaguars on Sunday, and ripped into his teammates using “several expletives.”

Afterward, presumably after a few woosah’s, Brady described the team’s effort — or lack thereof — to the media.

“We played pretty terrible out there,” said Brady. “It came down to the wire, and the defense made some plays. But that was a bad 60 minutes of football. We got outcompeted out there, outfought. We were lucky to win.”

Ex-NFL GM: I’d Draft Michigan QB Denard Robinson to Play Cornerback


Most of us had Michigan QB Denard Robinson pegged to be the NFL’s next “slash” player who could lineup at quarterback, running back, or wide receiver in the mold of Kordell Stewart or Antwaan Randle-El.  Ex-Dallas Cowboys general manager Gil Brandt has another opinion about Robinson’s NFL prospects (via CBSSports.com):
“I’d draft him to be a cornerback,” Brandt said. “A quarterback never wants to be told he’s going to have to play another position, but I don’t think he can play quarterback in the NFL. I do know teams are always looking for cornerbacks, and I think Robinson could do it because of his quickness and speed.  But he’d have to want to do it to make it work.”
Remember that scene in Any Given Sunday when Willie Beamon said that he had a coach who tried to make him play corner because he thought he had quick feet?  Unlike Willie B., I think Robinson will be amenable to playing another position in NFL.  However, running the ball and catching passes is one thing.  Tackling 230 lbs running backs in the open field is another.  We’ll see where Robinson chooses to play when he auditions for scouts at the combine this Spring.

Robet Littal

Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

Peyton Manning: Broncos Success Begins with Jacob TammePeyton Manning: Broncos Success Begins with Jacob Tamme

The Denver Broncos are on a 10 game winning streak and are riding high heading into the playoffs.

If you took a poll and asked what is the key to the Broncos success, I’m sure quarterback Peyton Manning would win in a landslide. Manning’s ability to command an offense is almost unmatched around the league, and it has translated to many wins for the Broncos.

However, if you ask Peyton Manning himself who the key to the Broncos is his answer may just surprise you.

Smitty makes right call in ‘playing to win’

Jay Adams of Atlanta Falcons.com wrote on Sunday about Falcons head coach Mike Smith’s comments following Saturday night’s win against the Detroit Lions. In those comments, Smith talked about the Falcons intention to “play to win” in their Week 17 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Smith said:
“We’re going to play the game to win. That’s how we’re going to approach it. It’s an important game because it’s a division game. All games, I think, are important. In terms of the importance of it, does it have no bearing? It really does, because we want to win every time we go out and play.”
The Falcons have already locked up the NFC’s top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and thus the result of next Sunday’s season finale is relatively meaningless. Leading many to think the Falcons should rest their starters in order to keep them healthy for their upcoming playoff game in two weeks. The Falcons receive a first-round bye, giving them an extra week of rest. That two-week lay-off certainly will be beneficial to get some players healthy, such as safety William Moore who has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury. It also should give players like wideout Roddy

White, who has had a lingering knee injury in recent weeks, a greater chance to get closer to 100% health before the playoffs.

While Smith’s comments don’t mean that some key players could still wind up sitting out or playing limited reps, it does mean that the Falcons won’t be treating this as nothing more than a preseason game.

Raiders Coach On Terrelle Pryor: He Still Hasn’t Grasped The Offense

Raiders starting quarterback Carson Palmer has cracked ribs and a bruised lung, so he will miss the season finale against the Chargers.

Raiders head coach Dennis Allen is now forced to decide between veteran Matt Leinart or 2nd year backup Terrelle Pryor.  Leinart has been in the NFL 5 years now, and you know what you get with him.

Pryor is the wildcard, because Oakland fans are clamoring to see him, and the Raiders have nothing to lose.  According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Allen is hesitant to start Pryor, because he says the young quarterback “still hasn’t grasped the offense.”
“He’s still a work in progress as far as that’s concerned.” Pryor doesn’t have full command of the offense, he said, but “I wouldn’t expect a lot different out of any other young quarterback.”
Pryor still needs to work on fundamentals, Allen said – “his footwork in the passing game, going through his reads, going through his progressions.”
Terrelle Pryor was asked about the possibility of starting Sunday.

Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick Will Start Against New York Giants

As disappointing as the New York Giants 2012 campaign has been to this point, it pales in comparison to the debacle that has taken place in Philadelphia this season. Although Big Blue still has a small chance to back into the playoffs, the Eagles have been playing meaningless football games for some time now.

Things have gotten so ugly in Philly that former Pro-Bowl quarterback Michael Vick did not even dress for the team's last game. However, that's going to change on Sunday against the Giants, as Vick will replace an injured Nick Foles.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Turnovers Are A Problem For The Dallas Mavericks

Somehow I feel like I’m in the middle of a “Where’s Waldo” cartoon when I’m watching the Dallas Mavericks as of late. I am and will always be a MFFL, but I have to agree with some of the critics here lately, that the Mavericks are in for a heap of trouble if they don’t clean up their game.

Dallas had gone on a three game winning streak, anxiously awaiting the return of their All-Star, Dirk Nowitzki, and holding their own, well most of the time, but then comes the last three games and even though the first one in Boston was close at the end and we came up just a little short, it should not have been that close. Dallas should have easily won that game.

Then we go to Toronto to face a Raptors team that is struggling as much as we are and dang, we made them look like a championship team. It was just as ugly as the game against Chicago the week before and then come down to Minnesota. Now the Timberwolves were coming off of a good game the night before, but there again, we made them look better than what they might be and we certainly help to fuel the crowd waiting for Ricky Rubio to hit the court since his injury last season.

What is the problem? Well one word can sum it up pretty much, turnovers; plain and simple, not taking care of the ball and the business at hand. We are trying to force things that are not there and trying to be fancy and fun with the ball when it’s not necessary.

Greg Jennings Doesn’t Think He’ll Be With Packers In 2013

The writing has been on the wall for a few weeks now.  Earlier this season we documented Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings inability to stay healthy and how he felt he wasn’t sure the numbers would be in his favor when it came time to get a new deal.

With Clay Matthews, Aaron Rodgers and B.J. Raji all in line to get new deals, Jennings stated that he wouldn’t be shocked if the Packers didn’t resign him. 

Today Jennings was on NFL AM’s “Double Coverage” with Steve Wyche and Mark Kriegel, when he hinted at the fact that he doesn’t think he’ll be with the Packers in 2013.
“An educated guess? … I’m gonna lean to the ‘no’ side of it,” Jennings said. “That’s my educated guess, my personal educated guess.”

What Virginia Tech is Saying About Rutgers Football

Chris Lang

When Khaseem Greene was growing up in the northern New Jersey city of Elizabeth, the local FBS program wasn’t exactly at the forefront of peoples’ minds, and understandably so. Rutgers was a non-factor, both in the Big East Conference and the local sports scene. In the early 2000s, the Scarlet Knights were simply put, awful.

From 1995-2004, the Knights endured 10 straight losing seasons, and Greene knew all about it.

“I had two cousins who played for Rutgers back in those days,” said Greene, a standout linebacker for this year’s Rutgers squad, which will face Virginia Tech on Dec. 28 in Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando.

“They used to come to our middle school and hand out tickets and stuff like that. It’s taken a big-time leap to where it is now.”

Undoubtedly. Virginia Tech and Rutgers shared the same conference home from 1992-2004, before Tech left for the ACC. Rutgers will spend one more season in the disintegrating conference before leaving for the Big Ten.

Most Tech fans will remember the Scarlet Knights as a benign punching bag, a respite on the schedule. The Hokies won 11 straight against the Knights after losing the first matchup between the teams as Big East rivals. The last nine victories were by no fewer than 16 points, and some came with embarrassing margins, like the back-to-back years where Tech won 49-0 and 50-0.

The lack of success made it difficult for the local talent in Jersey to take the Scarlet Knights seriously.

Michigan State basketball finishes off pesky BGSU squad

Anyone. Anywhere.

That has been somewhat of the motto of the Michigan State basketball program in recent years under Athletic Director Mark Hollis and Head Coach Tom Izzo.

This motto has taken the team countless places, from playing at Ford Field against Kentucky, to playing on an aircraft carrier against North Carolina, all the way to opening up this season on an air force base in Germany against Connecticut.

However, when one hears of this motto, they don’t always think of Michigan State traveling to take on a MAC school exactly one week before Christmas.

But with Michigan State nothing is ever out of the question. That’s because on Tuesday, they did exactly that by traveling down south a bit to take on a pesky Bowling Green squad.

It’s not the first time that Michigan State has traveled to play in Bowling Green though. The last time they met there was on December 1, 1990. In that game, the Spartans were coming in ranked 5th in the country coming off of a Big Ten Championship. They also had one of the best players in the country in Steve Smith on their side but all of this added up wasn’t enough as the unranked Falcons hung on to upset the Spartans 98-55.

This loss spurred long time Michigan State head coach Jud  Heathcote to say “we’re never coming back here again.”

The way we look at college coaches in the NFL may be changing

The following is an excerpt from today’s column on Examiner.com, taking a look at the success recent coaches from college have had in the NFL. Read the full story by clicking the image below or using the link at the bottom of this excerpt.

The San Francisco 49ers were the NFL’s Team of the 1980s, with Bill Walsh reinventing the way the game was played with NFL icons such as Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott and more winning four Super Bowls and always seeming to be in contention for another in most seasons.

Walsh joined the 49ers after two seasons as head coach of Stanford, where he put together a record of 17-7, with a couple of bowl victories to show off. Walsh’s success at Stanford was no small deal. Under Walsh in 1977 and 1978 Stanford finished each season ranked in the AP Top 25, a feat that had not been done in the five previous seasons. Stanford may not have been playing in the Rose Bowl as Pac 8 or Pac 10 champions, but Walsh found a winning formula to work with by pulling from his experience as an NFL assistant with the Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers. His quick success at Stanford caught the eye of the NFL and San Francisco hoped to see that string of success continue at the next level. Needless to say, it did.

Walsh’s success had NFL teams around the country scouring for the next big college coach to imitate the success but as the years went by it was rare to see that trend spread the way Walsh’s west coast offense did. For every Jimmy Johnson in the NFL it seems there were five Steve Spurriers.

Every off-season there are rumors upon rumors of college coaches being targeted by NFL teams and this year is no different. Oregon’s Chip Kelly is seen as a high-demand target for a few potential NFL vacancies, and Stanford’s John Shaw has been mentioned as well as Alabama’s Nick Saban and even LSU’s Les Miles despite just receiving a contract extension with the Tigers.

Free Agent Scott Hairston Tops New York Yankees' Wishlist

As the New York Yankees continue to slowly fill the remaining holes on their roster, they turn their attention to outfielder Scott Hairston, who tops their list of free agents they would like to sign, reports Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York.


With Brett Gardner in left field, Curtis Granderson in center field, and Ichiro Suzuki expected to return in right field, the Yankees have plenty of speed in their outfield, but lack a power-hitting right-handed hitter.

Hairston, who spent last season in New York with the Mets, is New York's first option to fill that role.

Though the Yankees have shown interest, Hairston is looking to return to the Mets next season. However, a quality contract offer and a better chance of winning in the Bronx could change Hairston's mind.

New York Red Bulls Sign Juninho Pernambucano


Interesting transfer news are out claiming that New York Red Bulls have signed Juninho Pernambucano from Brazilian side Vasco da Gama.

Capped nearly 50 times by Brazil, the 37 year old spent eight years in France with Lyon during a period in which he played under current Red Bulls’ global sporting director Gerard Houllier and won seven league titles.

Speaking to the club’s official website, sporting director Andy Roxburgh said: “Juninho is a world-class player who our global sporting director, Gerard Houllier, and I have known and admired for many years.

“Aside from being a top dead-ball specialist and a tremendous talent, Juninho is a fantastic professional both on and off the field. He is in great physical shape and we think he can make a positive impact for us in 2013.”

Moses Francis

Check out other great articles at Total Football Madness.

Ashton Whittington Suing Braylon Edwards For Child Support


I never met a girl named Ashton before, so at first I was like why is a guy asking Braylon Edwards for child support?

But as you can see Ms. Whittington is a very pretty young lady and a fashion blogger as well. 

According to the New York Post, she and Braylon got together around 2010 and now they have an 18 month old child since Braylon didn’t got to Walgreens and get an $8 box of condoms.



Vernon Davis: Kaepernick and I Don't Have Chemistry


Vernon Davis has 10 receptions for 112 yards in five games since Colin Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith under center. For the Pro Bowl tight end, that is simply not up to par.


Davis has flip-flopped in his stance over who he feels deserves to be the 49ers' quarterback -- Smith or Kaepernick -- but now with Kaepernick as the regular at the helm for San Francisco, Davis now must adjust to the new man throwing him the ball.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tragedy and sports: 60 years of memories

After the tragedy and shocking events of Friday, it was hard to think of sports this weekend. But we did, anyway. This will be my last column for the year…and the last one I will write as a 50-something. On Sunday, I turn 60 and I am not looking forward to it, but, to quote my late father, Robert, “It’s better than the alternative.” He was right.

Friday’s tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School was as bad as it gets. When and more importantly, how, will we stop this from happening again. Watching the President last night, I think he’s had enough. I don’t know that gun control is the answer. Maybe we need to have those TSA-type scanners at every public gathering place – schools, malls, movies, houses of worship. I will leave that question to those much smarter than myself. And if you don’t think things will change, I believe you are wrong.

To know that those twenty innocent kindergartners in Connecticut will not experience life is tragic. As it is for those teachers and the brave principal. While the adults lived a longer life, they too were taken way too early. For those beautiful children, however, this is what they will not experience: No graduations. No proms. No college acceptance (or rejection) letters. No lost (and found) loves. No weddings. No children of their own. Need I go on?

Eli Manning Passess Phil Simms as New York Giants' All-Time Completions Leader

While Eli Manning and the New York Giantswere being humiliated by Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon, Manning took one small record books step forward by passing Phil Simms as the Giants all-time completions leader.

Simms' 2,576 completions now looks up at Manning's 2,585, although Eli still has 2,293 yards to go before he tops Simms' mark in that category.

This small bit of record-keeping will perhaps get lost after Sunday's 34-0 loss to the Falcons, but it's nice to keep in perspective the kind of franchise quarterback Manning has become.
Also…
Dan Benton

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

Top 5 Seasons by a 20-Year-Old in MLB History

Regardless of your views on this year’s MVP race, the triple crown, or WAR, there’s no denying that Mike Trout’s season was absolutely one for the ages. But for a change of pace, let’s shift our focus from comparing him to his contemporaries this year, and let’s look at how Trout stacks up against every other 20-year-old in baseball history. Below is a list of the five best 20-year-old seasons in history:

5. Ted Williams (1939): As a 20-year-old, the Splendid Splinter led the league in RBI (145) and Total Bases (344) in his rookie season, as well as tallying 107 walks against 64 strikeouts. It’s also hard to believe that his line of .327/.436/.609 was substantially below his career average of .344/.482/.634 (of note, his career on-base percentage of .482 is the highest in baseball history). He finished 4th in the 1939 MVP voting behind Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, and a 20-year-old Bob Feller, who would have been #6 had this list continued (24 wins and 24 complete games; both league-leading marks).

4. Mel Ott (1929): Ott was practially a veteran by the time his Age-20 season rolled around; it was his fourth year in the league, and started with 35 games as a 17-year-old in 1926. Ott was a rare breed for the time: a power hitter with a great eye at the plate. As a 20-year-old, Ott hit 42 home runs (second in the NL), only struck out 38 times, and lead the league in walks with 113 (it wasn’t even close: he had a full 20 more than second place George Grantham). He placed 11th in NL MVP voting that year.




Win Sets Amir Khan Up For Possible Mayweather Jr Fight


Amir Khan displayed his new fighting style under trainer Virgil Hunter and it led to a 10th round stoppage against Carlos Molina in Los Angeles. With the victory Khan puts his name back into the championship conversation. The question now becomes which championship he decides to pursue…

Khan has said that he would love a November rematch with Danny Garcia, Garcia beat Khan last year to capture the WBC & WBA Junior Welterweight titles. Garcia has a February 9th fight against Zab Judah to worry about before he thinks about a rematch with Khan.

Even if Khan did land a chance at recapturing his titles in November it may not be the best move for his career. He showed the ability to avoid counter punches later in his fight against Molina and the added
emphasis towards defense could allow him to take a shot at the 147 lb Welterweight division.

New York Giants CB Jayron Hosley Targeted Early and Often by Falcons' Matt Ryan

New York Giants rookie cornerback Jayron Hosley made his first NFL start in yesterday's giant debacle, and might as well have had a bulls eye on his back. It became pretty clear early on that it was part of the Falcons' gameplan to look for whichever receiver Hosley was covering, and that's exactly what they did. Hosley was plain outmatched by the Falcons' large framed receivers all game.
Hosley admits he made several mistakes during the game, such as using a certain technique when he should've used another. For example, on one play Julio Jones ran a go route, getting behind Hosley, resulting in a forty yard touchdown reception.
"He just got behind me," Hosley said. "I could have played outside leverage more. He's a fast receiver who builds up his speed. I should have kept outside leverage, and he just made a big play."
The rookie admitted to another mistake on a screen and go route which appeared to be the same play the Falcons ran earlier. His mistake allowed for a 37 yard gain for Harry Douglas.
"They had run a screen before that, and they ran it again and I played a little too aggressive on it," Hosley said. "The guy that had blocked me before [Douglas] got behind me."
Hosl

New York Yankees' Legend Yogi Berra Will Be Honored at B.A.T Fundraiser

On Jan. 22 New York Yankees Hall of Famer Yogi Berra will be honored by The Baseball Assistance Team at their annual fundraiser dinner at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.
The 87 year old baseball icon will be honored at the 24th annual "Going to Bat for B.A.T Fundraising Dinner" which helps members of the baseball family in need.
"B.A.T. has helped many members of the baseball family over the years, and that makes this honor really special for me," said Berra to MLB.com. "I'm hoping to see a lot of old friends at the dinner, and if I can help encourage people to donate to this great cause, that's a great thing,too."
Berra has been helping the organization from it's inception, whether through donations or to raise money to help those who dedicated themselves to the National Pastime and have hit some rough patches after leaving the game.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chicago Bears' Brian Urlacher Says He Doesn't Care About the Fans


Ouch.
What more is there to say if you're a fan of the Chicago Bears. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher has been the face of the franchise for years, and after the team lost to the Green Bay Packers Sunday, he gives the fans a shot to the jaw.

"Two of the people I don't care about: fans or media," Urlacher said to sports anchor Lou Canellis on WFLD-Ch. 32.
Don't get us wrong, there are probably a number of players out there that don't agree with the fans and/or the media. But in case you hadn't noticed, not many of them go out and say it publicly.

Especially not after all the two sides have been through. Ask any Chicago Bears fan and they'd say they'd defend Urlacher to the death. There are countless Urlacher jerseys throughout Chicago. Him coming out and saying this, at this point of the year — when he isn't even on the field due to a hamstring injury — just doesn't seem right.

These remarks come following the loss to Green Bay, where rumors swirled that head coach Lovie Smith out be on his way out of Chicago at season's end.

Andy Reid responds to report that his son possessed steroids at his time of death

The Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Andy Reid has responded to the report that steroids were found in his son Garrett’s room at the time of his death.

County District Attorney John Morganelli said Monday that anabolic steroids were found in the room where Garrett Reid was staying when he overdosed on heroin on Aug. 5.

Garrett was working with the team as part of their staff during their training camp.

In a statement released to Players View from the team, Reid’s tone was as could be expected.

“As you all know, my son Garrett battled addiction for many years. While there were some victories along the way, it ultimately was a battle that he lost and that cost him his life. Our family feels the pain of that loss every day.

“Today’s report saddens me greatly, but only confirms the troubles Garrett encountered in the final years of his life. As parents, we were encouraged by his apparent progress but, like many addicts, he was able to conceal the signs of relapse.

Tom Brady talks almost pulling off the impossible and Sandy Hook

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots almost pulled off the impossible on Sunday when they rallied from a 28-point deficient in the second half to tie the San Francisco 49ers 31-31.
Just when it appeared that the Patriots had the game locked down, a Colin Kaepernick-led 49ers group shut down any hopes of a historic backbreaking comeback.

Brady told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan via the Boston Herald that he honestly felt that he and his group would pull off the win.

“When we were down 31-3, that was my thought,” Brady said. “I thought we were going to come back and win the game.

“Because I look around at the quality and character of the guys that we’ve got, and I have the confidence that we can do it,” Brady said.

“I’m really proud of the fact that our guys never blinked an eye to the best defense in the league.”

After pulling to a tie with plenty of meat left of the clock in the fourth, Brady says that the 49ers did not close the door on them. He feels that the Patriots closed the door on themselves.

“We kind of gave it them at that point,” Brady said. “We didn’t do anything on offense, and we didn’t put up the kind of fight that I wish we would have been able to.”

The contest was also ear-marked for the broadcast audience by President Obama’s address regarding the tragedy in Newtown, Conn.

The President’s remarks cut into approximately 20 minutes of the game’s total broadcast time touching off a shameful firestorm on various social media outlets.

Michael Vick opens up on his status and his future

Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick is the most notable back-up in the NFL.
He allegedly lost his spot due to a concussion but there have been conspiracy theorists that have stated that his injury just gave coach Andy Reid to pull the plug on a then-struggling Vick with dignity.
The following Q&A was provided to Players View by the Eagles and it shines a lot of light on where Vick’s head is at right now.

On how hard it was to sit out for an extended period of time with his concussion
“It’s been tough sitting out for this long. You want to be out there playing. You want to be out there helping your team, but it was a situation where we just wanted to take precaution and let me get as much rest as possible and it paid dividends for me. I’m back and I’m healthy and I’m fresh now.”

On how difficult it is coming back in a supporting role rather than as the starter
“It’s different, but that’s just the way things are right now and I have to roll with the punches and deal with it; make the most out of it, continue to work hard, continue to try to get better, continue to help [QB] Nick [Foles] out, continue to help [QB] Trent [Edwards], continue to help this football team. That’s my job as a leader, continuously, as the leader of this football team. Regardless of whether I’m the starter or the third-string quarterback, I’ll continue to [lead].”

On whether he agrees with the decision to start QB Nick Foles

Deron Williams explains decline in play

Brooklyn Nets’ guard Deron Williams has been something of an enigma since he was traded to the team from the Utah Jazz last season.

Since the trade injuries and decreasing percentages have become a staple of the player that was in many hearts considered to be on the road to a Hall of Fame career.

Williams stuck with the Nets after an intense albeit somewhat brief bidding war for his services erupted once free agency began.

Despite not being quite the player that he was in Utah, Williams believed in the new talent that was coming to town and more specifically what coach Avery Johnson is trying to get done.

His story will get even more unique after his recent comments made to ESPN break wide open.

Chauncey Billups: Pistons would Still Be Elite Team if they Didn’t Trade Me


If you don’t remember, a few years ago the Pistons were on the short list year end and year out for the NBA title. They were an elite team, fielding a squad that was built around defense and balanced scoring. Two concepts that might seem a tad foreign in today’s NBA.

Chauncey Billups was the leader and floor general for those Pistons teams, leading them to a NBA title in 2004 and leading them to another Finals appearance and numerous Conference Finals appearances.

All that success was broken up though the day the Pistons traded Billups to Denver for Allen Iverson.

Billups is on the Clippers now, but reflected on the past as his team is in town to face the Pistons today.
Per The Detroit News: “Honestly in my heart, I still feel like if they didn’t make that move and move me, we’d still be an elite team in the league,” Billups said. “Of course you have to make some changes, (adding) the young guys.”
I still had some great, great years left,” Billups said. “I never wanted to leave, even though I was home (Denver) and it was good to be home, I always wanted to be a Piston. I wanted to retire a Piston.”
It sounds like Billups still doesn’t understand why the trade happened, and even admitted so.
I’m still … Even though I’m over it, I still don’t get it,” said Billups with a slight chuckle. “It wasn’t like I was 36 or 37 and I couldn’t rock anymore. I was still rocking. I was still in my prime.”

Nick Swisher: An Overlooked Commodity


While we are all sitting here absorbing the shock of Josh Hamilton's new enormous contract with the Angels, a fellow free agent outfielder is making his 2013 plans, albeit at a much lower pricetag.

Since becoming a full time regular in 2005, Nick Swisher has been a model of consistency. Aside from his 35 home run outburst in 2006, he has hit between 21 and 29 home runs in every full season in his big league career. He has hit 30+ doubles each of the past 4 years, and has scored between 75 and 106 runs in 7 straight seasons. Swisher's OPS+ has also been 120+ in 6 of the past 7 years. And since 2006, his walk rate has only dipped below 12% once (2010). Since 2005, he has accumulated a 26.3 WAR (via Fangraphs), averaging 3.3 wins above replacement per season. 

The fact is, Swisher excels at parts of the game that traditionalists overlook, such as getting on base and position versatility. Swisher can play all 3 outfield positions as well as first base. And he can play all but center field at an adequate level. These factors alone make Swisher an extremely valuable player, and an underrated one as well.

Chris Johnson pays tribute to Sandy Hook victims

Chris Johnson pays tribute to Sandy Hook victims

During tonight’s game between the Jets and Titans, New York will be wearing a helmet decal, honoring the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting.

Chris Johnson decided to pay his own respects.

The Titans’ superstar running back will be wearing cleats that feature the names of every victim, along with the messages “R.I.P” and “S.H.E.S.”

Monday, December 17, 2012

Nonito Donaire knocks former world champ Jorge Arce into retirement with third-round KO

Nonito Donaire, also known as the Filipino Flash, successfully defended his WBO Super Bantamweight Championship at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on Dec. 15 with a third-round knockout over veteran Mexican and former world champion Jorge Arce. Donaire raised his record to 31-1 with 20 Kos with the victory while Arce’s record fell to 61-7-2 with 46 Kos. Arce also announced his retirement after the bout.

Arce said before the fight that he would retire if he lost and then the 33-year-old said after the KO that he’s a man of his word and he won’t box again. He started the bout way too cautiously in the first round and paid for it in the second stanza when Donaire dropped him with a right hand. Arce figured he might as well go out swinging if this was to be his last fight and started to throw punches in the third round. He connected to Donaire’s body with a couple of good shots, but then paid for it soon after.

Donaire nailed the challenger with a combination to the head and he went down. Arce made it up to his feet on shaky legs and a tremendous left hook sent him to the canvas again. The referee Laurence Cole called the fight off at the 2:59 mark of the round while Arce was still flat on his back. After the bout Donaire said he felt strong and his left hook was working for him. He added that Arce wasn’t afraid to throw punches and open up in the third round and that’s what gave him the opportunity to catch him.

The 30-year-old champion has one of the longest undefeated streaks going in boxing as he hasn’t lost a bout in over 11 years. Some fans saw Donaire’s win as a bit of revenge for last week’s Juan Manuel Marquez knockout over Manny Pacquiao in the sixth round. Marquez, like Arce, hails from Mexico while Pacquiao and Donaire are from the Philippines. There’s now a huge rivalry between Mexican and Filipino boxers which fans enjoy. Donaire said he respects Mexico, but hoped his win made the Philippines proud of him.

Leo Santa Cruz defends Bantamweight Crown with Unanimous Decision over Alberto Guevara

Leo Santa Cruz retained his IBF World Bantamweight title on Dec. 15 at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles with a hard-fought 12-round unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Alberto Guevara. The win saw Santa Cruz’s record rise to 23-0-1 with 13 Kos while Guevara dropped to 16-1 with 6 Kos. It was the fifth fight of the year for the 24-year-old Santa Cruz and third title defense in the past three months. The 22-year-old challenger made a name for himself in the fight and will likely get another title shot sometime in the future.

Guevara started off the bout by winning some of the earlier rounds, but since he had moved up in weight and had never gone 12 rounds before he started to tire as the fight went on. He lost by scores of 119-109, 118-110, and 116-112, with the latter score being the most realistic. The bout was shown live on the CBS network, which was its first live boxing event since 1997. The free exposure should help both boxers’ careers since it was an action-packed and exciting contest.

Santa Cruz had fought just 35 days earlier and it took him awhile to figure Guevara out and get going. It definitely wasn’t ring rust that caused the slow start. Instead, it was the movement and boxing skills of the challenger. If Guevara possessed more power than he does, the fight could have conceivably had an entirely different outcome. However, Santa Cruz of Mexico was able to stand up to his shots and then started to land many of his own while wearing Guevara down.

Former world champion Amir Khan stops Carlos Molina after 10 rounds

Former world junior welterweight champion Amir Khan of Britain halted a two-fight losing skid on Dec. 15 by stopping Carlos Molina at the end of the 10th round it the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Khan had lost a controversial split decision last December to Lamont Peterson of America and was then knocked out in the fourth round by Danny Garcia, another American, in the summer. Many fans thought he beat Peterson and it was later revealed that the American had failed his drug test. He was also ahead n points against Garcia until he got caught and dropped.

This was an important fight for the former Olympian as a third straight loss would have severely damaged his career, especially against a light puncher such as Molina. However, since Molina had an unbeaten record when he entered the ring it was seen as a decent tune-up fight for Khan to get back on track. It worked, and his record rose to 27-3, with 19 Kos with the win while Molina fell to 17-1 with 7 Kos.

Khan was simply too good for his opponent as he exhibited blazing hand speed, excellent foot movement, and a durable chin. In fact, the only thing keeping Khan from becoming an all-time great appears to be his questionable chin. He gained some confidence after beating Molina, but one wonders how he’ll stand up when hit flush on the button by a harder hitter.

College Football: Arizona overcomes Nevada 49-48 in New Mexico Bowl / Utah State routs Toledo 41-15 in Idaho Potato Bowl

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Matt Scott watched helplessly as Nevada kicked a field goal to pad its lead. The Arizona quarterback had already thrown two interceptions, and now needed two quick scores and some luck — in a hurry, too — to somehow win the New Mexico Bowl.
Scott even admitted he didn’t have “positive” thoughts before returning to the field.




But in the final 46 seconds, Scott threw two short touchdown passes and college football’s postseason started with a wild one as Arizona rallied past Nevada 49-48 Saturday.

Overcoming a slow start and three big turnovers, Arizona (8-5) recovered an onside kick in the last minute, setting up Scott’s 2-yard toss to Tyler Slavin with 19 seconds left for the winning score.

“It’s not easy to come back from that situation,” Scott said. “You’re not necessarily going to think the most positive thing at the time, but we went out there and took care of business. It was just a big drive. I still can’t believe it.”

Arizona trailed 21-0 in the first quarter and was down 45-28 entering the final period. Scott threw for 382 yards and marched his team back into the game despite those two earlier interceptions.

“I mean, it’s improbable,” first-year Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said.

“Certainly, I’ve had some games come down to that end,” he said. “But to have everything, the defense making the stop, to the field goal, Matt leading the quick drive down there, getting the onside kick … and then Matt leading down again. It just doesn’t happen very often.”

Titans May Cut Chris Johnson After Super Bowl To Avoid Cap Hit

ESPN.com is reporting that the Tennessee Titans have a 5 day window after the Super Bowl in which they need to decide if they will keep the explosive running back Chris Johnson or cut him without any cap penalty.

If Chris Johnson is a Titan after February 9, $9 million of his $10 million salary for 2013 would be guaranteed.  It reportedly will be one of the biggest decisions the franchise will have to make this offseason.

Johnson last week became just the eighth player in NFL history to run for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first five seasons.

The Titans must decide if Johnson is worth hanging onto with such a rebuilding job ahead of them.

Robert Littal

Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

Andrea Bargnani Says His Toronto Raptors Are The Worst Team In NBA

Andrea Bargnani was the #1 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft.  Bargnani is a 15 point per game scorer in his 6 years in the league, but he’s never been on a winning team, and he’s never actually played like the best player in the draft.

Bargnani was talking to an Italian newspaper recently when he was asked to describe the 5-19 Raptors.

According to Gazetta Dello Sport, Bargnani summed up his Raptors in one statement.

Bargnani feels the Raptors are the “worst team in the NBA.”
We pretty much the worst NBA team. The summer market was made to build a winning team, but we are not winning. We are below all expectations. Nobody is used to playing with anyone. We won 4 games: it’s a tragic thing, from whatever side you look at it is a desperate situation.

Dez Bryant: I’d Have Surgery if We Weren’t Fighting for Playoffs


The Dallas Cowboys are fighting for their playoff lives this Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cowboys reciever Dez Bryant has a broken finger, but has delayed surgery and plans to play to help his team attempt to reach the playoffs. A move so risky, that it is said Dez is risking permanent injury by playing with the finger.

A risk that Bryant is fully aware of but willing to take for the team.
The position that we are in, that makes me want to be out there,” Bryant said, via ESPNDallas.com. “If there was anything less than what we got a chance of, I would have went ahead and got surgery.”
It is a mental thing,” Bryant said. “I felt like if I go out there and am worrying about my finger, about catching the football, there is no need for me to be out there. I went out today in practice as if there wasn’t anything wrong with my finger. I feel like that’s my mindset about it.”

Report: Tyreke Evans And Brandon Jennings Could Be Traded Before Deadline


Two of the top young combo guards in the league were not given contract extensions by the teams that drafted them, and it has led to rampant speculation that both Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings could end up not being resigned.

The Bucks and Kings both like their guards, but really can’t see giving either a max deal at this time.
Rich Bucher of Comcast Sports Net Bay Area is reporting that both the Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings may pull the trigger and trade their young guards before the trade deadline.
Neither Tyreke Evans, nor Brandon Jennings, were given extensions this fall — so which one is more likely to be dealt before the February trade deadline or play somewhere else next season? Put your money on Jennings.
Several teams are already quietly assessing him to decide what he should be worth to them and the Bucks are aware of that. The Kings, according to a source, are simply waiting for someone else to set the value of Evans in restricted free agency next summer.
While no one can quite figure out how to best use Evans or what position he plays, he is a massive talent. The Kings know all that. They don’t want to see that talent harnessed elsewhere. They can’t afford to see that. Now, I have no one from the Bucks saying that they’re ready and willing to move Jennings, but a source indicated he’s more inclined to make his way elsewhere than Evans is.

Falcons squash Giants in shut-out victory

The Falcons laid a beatdown on the defending Super Bowl champions, routing the New York Giants by a score of 34-0. It marks the first regular season shutout of the Giants since 1996. It is also the first time the Falcons have shut out their opponent since a 24-0 win over the Oakland Raiders in 2008, and their first time doing so in the Georgia Dome since a 30-0 victory over the Carolina Panthers in 2002.

After a couple of lackluster performances, Matt Ryan bounced back with a strong effort completing 23 of 28 passes for 270 yards and 3 touchdowns. He started the game completing his first 8 passes. His efforts today give him 4,202 passing yards on the season, breaking the Falcons all-time season high of 4,177 he set a year ago. On the ground, Michael Turner led the Falcons with 52 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. Jacquizz Rodgers added 11 carries for 25 yards, while Jason Snelling closed out the game with 6 carries for 39 yards. Julio Jones had a pair of touchdown grabs, leading the team with 6 receptions for 74 yards. He passed the 1000-yard receiver mark for the first time in his burgeoning Falcon career.

Houston Texans clinch division title with win over Colts

For years, the Houston Texans strove to unseat the Indianapolis Colts who were the sole possessors of the AFC South title season after season in the early 2000s. Behind quarterback Peyton Manning and coach Tony Dungy, the Colts seemingly locked up their division midway through the season each year.

As irony would have it the roles have changed.

The Texans, now the perennial powerhouse of the AFC South and arguably one of the best teams in the NFL, are sitting on the throne of the division champion for the second-straight year and do not look to be surrendering that seat anytime soon.

Behind superstars Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and J.J. Watt, Houston has climbed the ranks and entered into elite status, much like the Colts of old.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Why the Royals Won This Trade

 

A few days ago, the Kansas City Royals acquired RHP James Shields and RHP Wade Davis from the Tampa Rays for uber prospect OF Wil Myers, RHP Jake Odorizzi, LHP Mike Montgomery and 3B Patrick Leonard. A lot of skepticism has come about from Royals fans as to why they had to do this deal. I have three reasons why this was the best deal General Manager Dayton Moore has done since coming to KC in 2006:

1. A legitimate ace. The average fan knows that starting pitching is huge in baseball. Not every team can say they have a guy that will take the ball every fifth day, go for over 200 innings, and keep an ERA below 4. The Royals now have that in James Shields. With a great offense and an even better defense, an ace-caliber pitcher is a huge boost.

College Football: Wash. State study finds no abuse on football team

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — An internal investigation into a former player’s allegations of abuse by Washington State football coaches didn’t turn up any evidence of abuse, athletic director Bill Moos said Wednesday.

A dozen players were interviewed by two members of Moos’ staff, and all reported they were having a positive experience at Washington State under head coach Mike Leach and his assistants, Moos said.

“The majority of the players stated that the player that walked out of practice let the team down and put them, their coach and WSU in a bad light,” Moos wrote in a memo to WSU President Elson Floyd that was released Wednesday.

“There is no signs of abuse or mistreatment of players,” Moos said in a conference call with reporters from Pullman. “Hopefully, we can get this behind us and go forward.”

Star receiver Marquess Wilson quit the team during a practice late in the season and later contended that players were suffering physical and mental abuse at the hands of coaches.

Penn State Scandal: Franco Harris confronts NCAA president at speech in L.A.


Former Penn State running back Franco Harris has the microphone taken away as he tries to ask questions during a public question and answer session before the Penn State Board of Trustees on Sept. 14.

(PhatzRadio / USA Today) —- NCAA president Mark Emmert was in Los Angeles Wednesday morning to give a speech on amateurism and academics in college sports at the city’s Chamber of Commerce. If you’re familiar with recent events, you won’t be surprised to hear that former Penn State running back Franco Harris and documentarian John Ziegler were right on Emmert’s heels.

Harris has been one of the most outspoken critics of the sanctions the NCAA levied upon Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal – a $60 million fine, for starters, as well as a four-year postseason ban. Ziegler, who is working on a documentary about how the university treated former coach Joe Paterno, was on hand to film the meeting.

Depending on who’s telling the story, the inevitable head-to-head between Emmert and Harris – and you knew it was coming – went one of two ways.

According to Ziegler, Harris “confronted” Emmert, police were called and Emmert “ran away.” Via his Twitter account, Ziegler writes:

“Just dropped Harris off at LAX after we confronted NCAA Pres about PSU sanctions. Police were called & Emmert ran away out back door.”

Cut and dry: Harris spoke, police were called, Emmert ran.

Lawmaker: NFL players ‘trying to back out’ on HGH


NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith disagreed with the NFL’s ruling on the Saints bounty case Tuesday

WASHINGTON (AP) — Accusing the NFL players’ union of “trying to back out” of an August 2011 agreement to start checking for human growth hormone, a congressman worried aloud Wednesday that the league will head into next season without a test for the banned drug.

“Hopefully as we move down the line, players will see how incredibly ridiculous it looks for them not to … straighten this thing out,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s ranking Democrat. “We’re now getting ready to go into a third season, and it does not look very good.”

The panel held a hearing to examine the science behind the testing, and heard from experts that it is reliable.

“No test is perfect … but there hasn’t been a single false positive,” U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Chief Science Officer Larry Bowers testified.

While the latest, 10-year labor contract paved the way for HGH testing in professional football once certain parameters were set, the NFL Players Association wants a new study before it will agree to the validity of a test used by Olympic sports and Major League Baseball. The sides haven’t been able to agree on a scientist to help resolve that impasse.

Randy Moss: Kaepernick Dislocated my Finger


Randy Moss has played over 14 seasons in the NFL and has caught balls from a lot of quarterbacks.

From the likes of Tom Brady to Brett Favre, apparently no one has ever thrown hard enough to dislocate one of Moss’ fingers.

Until now.

While playing the Chicago Bears on Monday night, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw a pass so hard that Moss dislocated his finger.

Bobby Petrino: Choice to take Western Kentucky Job was a Family Decision


Apparently the Western Kentucky job was not Bobby Petrino’s only second (or fourth if you ask fans from Louisville and Atlanta)  chance opportunity.  WKU’s new head man recently checked in with The Dan Patrick Show (via Sportsradiointerviews.com) and responded with this when asked about whether or not he was approached by any other schools besides Western Kentucky:
“There was a number of calls that came in. Some of them were about head jobs; some of them were about offensive coordinators. The thing that enticed me so much about this was Todd Stewart’s passion and aggressiveness. We made it happen in a very quick time.”

Georgia’s Aaron Murray Hasn’t Slept Since Bama’ Loss, Says Last Play Was a TD

Earlier this month, Georgia and Alabama played one of the most exciting SEC Championship games in recent memory.  The back and forth contest ended when the clock ran out on Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs at the Alabama 5-yard line, sealing a 32-28 Crimson Tide win that punched Bama’s ticket to the BCS National Championship Game.

Instead of going to Miami to face Notre Dame, UGA is now headed to Orlando where they will face Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.  Per ESPN.com, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is still not over the Bulldogs’ missed opportunity against Alabama:
 ”I can’t sleep at night,” Murray said Wednesday in his first interview since the 32-28 loss to Alabama on Dec. 1. “I literally replay the entire game pretty much every night before I go to bed. It’s stressful. It’s a game that will probably haunt me the rest of my life, honestly.”