161 Days Until Football

Some of the past week(s) news around the NFL

  • Brady last player from 2000 draft class still on same team.

With 39 year old kicker Sebastian Janikowski release from the Raiders, Tom Brady remains the only player drafted in 2000, on his original team the Patriots. Janikowski has enjoyed 18 years on the Raiders in oakland having a fruitful career, and now will seek a challenge elsewhere. Brady looks to win his sixth super bowl in history, still with the Patriots.

  • AJ McCarron will become a free agent.

Once one greatest college QBs of all time is now an NFL backup. Having thrown for less than 1000 yards and been on the Bengals for three seasons, he now wants to seek a challenge elsewhere, most likely in a starting role. He won 2 national titles at Alabama, threw for over 9000 yards and 70+ TDs. He is expected to leave to only backup another quarterback elsewhere, with only Cleveland looking like they will give him the starting role.

  • Aqib Talib will be leaving Denver.

Talib used to be one of the best corner backs in the game. He still is good do not get me wrong, but he is far from the greatest. After four years on Denver which brought him a Lombardi Trophy, he is ready to leave and free up a chunk of salary cap for the Broncos. During his time in Denver he averaged a PD (pass deflection) per game and racked up 11 interceptions, returning SIX of them for TDs! He will be missed but the Broncos do have the depth to back him up as they already have Chris Harris Jr., Bradley Roby, and Michael Hunter.

  • Can the Steelers tie down Le’Veon Bell

Bell is one of the best running backs in the NFL currently, and the Pittsburgh Steelers will need him in the future. Le’Veon will not resign with Pittsburgh and is showing a few signs that he wants to leave. Another option would be a franchise tag, where they pay him an average of the top 5 players at his position, which would be a lot BUT he would be forced to accept it. If Big Ben is to retire soon, the front office should attempt to keep him for life after Rothlisberger.

Image result for football

A Season In Review

The internet blew up last week when fans discovered the new Google search results of “New England Patriots Owner”. Yes, the top result was Nick Foles, though only momentarily. It seems the majority of National Football League followers are dancing in glee at the Super Bowl shortcomings of Brady and Belichick. Well, I guess waiting this long for retribution, albeit indirect, is the new quintessence of wisdom. Of course I’m joking. It’s pathetic. The New England Patriots are the coverboys of dynastic achievement in American sports; they’ve qualified for three Super Bowls in the last four years, not to mention eight out of the last 17. Brady and Belichick are 5-3 in Super Bowls, which isn’t perfection, but it’s the closest thing to perennial preeminence we’ve seen since Ali. I enjoyed rooting for the Seattle Seahawks all season, through euphoria and heartache. But in retrospect, what the hell was I doing supporting the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Conference Championship? Yes, I know how good Sacksonville’s defense was; it was pretty darn outstanding. But to put Blake Bortles in the Super Bowl is to drive millions of Americans to the mental asylum. In a country with unprecedented levels of anguish and anxiety, we don’t need any more. We need competence. And if Bortles strikes anyone as remotely competent then we’re all living in an episode of The Twilight Zone. So I could go through all the major turning points in the regular season, I could even pause at the most thrilling games. But that, in the grand scheme, is futile. The New England Patriots will face off against a mighty NFC opponent, hopefully the Seahawks, and nearly everyone outside of the Northeast corridor will unite against Brady, as they always do.

 

 

One for the Ages

I still remember the day I watched my first Super Bowl. It was 13 years ago, on a cozy winter afternoon. The New England Patriots against the Philadelphia Eagles. Tom Brady versus Donovan McNabb. Bill Belichick and Andy Reid. The game ended 24-21, spawning the enduring dynasty of the 21st Century. Five Super Bowls later, the same two teams faced off in a rematch for the ages.

4. That’s how old I was the first time they met in the big game. Barely. That’s how much football I understood at the time.

But last night, I experienced the most exhilarating Super Bowl I can remember. From the opening kickoff until the zero-second hail mary, I could feel myself trembling in uncertainty of the victor. I’m sure Eagles and Patriots felt the same, only more amplified.

Nick Foles played the game of his life, throwing three touchdowns and catching a TD as well. But Brady wasn’t too shabby either, with over 500 yards passing.

Brady and Belichick, in the middle of all their greatness, are now 5-3 in the Super Bowl. Losing to the Giants twice, and the Eagles once. Qualifying for the ship for three out of the last four years. Is the dynasty over? 31 teams and fanbases wait patiently for the answer to that question to become yes. But in all likelihood, we will have to wait a little longer. Brady’s committed to coming back next year, and that means we might as well declare them division champs.

Will the Seahawks make Super Bowl 53? Let us wait and see.

Super Bowl 52

Umm, okay then. Just like that, the NFL playoffs have been reduced to two teams. The Philadelphia Eagles will be representing the National Football Conference in the Super Bowl. (Hold for applause). And they accomplished all this while embracing their underdog role. Minnesota was favored, though the game was played in Philadelphia. Remember when the Vikings pulled off the Minneapolis Miracle last week? Time and time again, the teams that win in unprecedented fashion fall flat the game after. It happened to the Packers last year, when they got annihilated by the Falcons after scraping by the Cowboys the week before. It happened to the Seahawks in 2016, when Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard-kick to send Seattle to Carolina, where they underperformed.

On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles triumphed in commanding fashion. So now they must face the Patriots in Minneapolis, as the underdog once again. Ever since Wentz went down, the NFL universe considered Philly a lost cause. They had so much promise, seemingly all squandered by the unprecedented injury of their star player. Remember when the Hawks took Wentz and company out to lunch at CenturyLink a few months ago? That’s right, no one remembers. Frankly, no one cares about the Seahawks anymore. We don’t deserve the attention.

The perennial favorite. The home of the most dominant player-coach combination in NFL history. Of course, I’m talking about the New England Patriots, in again for the third time in four years.  Super Bowl 52 will feature a tale of two opposites: Mr. Inevitable and Mr. Underdog. As always, the two weeks of waiting could not feel any longer.

 

What now?

Okay, now what? The Seahawks aren’t in the playoffs. Even the Rams, with all the unexpected regular season success, were knocked out immediately. As a loyal Hawks fan, you may be thinking: who should we root for? Who do we root against?

Wild Card Weekend was, shall we say, an eventful several days. But admittedly, I couldn’t less about what happens in the AFC. The Bills, Jaguars, Chiefs, and Titans never for one second struck me as Super Bowl contenders. But for the sake of analysis, I’ll say a few words about my thoughts on the two AFC games. It’s amazing to have seen the Kansas City Chiefs, once a 5-0 team that thumped the Patriots on opening night, sink so low. Sad. Marcus Mariota’s performance last Saturday, on the other hand, may very well end up in the history books. Now, he must duplicate the same performance in Foxborough, all while hoping the Patriots self-destruct amid the flaming rumors coming from their front office.

Jaguars vs. Bills, a matchup between two of the regular season’s biggest surprises, was perhaps the most mundane playoff game I’ve watched in years.

In the NFC, things were more interesting. The Rams, probably due to their several inexperience, stunk. Despite being the highest scoring regular season team, the Falcons held them to a meager 13 points. For the Saints, Kamara and Ingram did not disappoint. But even with all their efforts, the Panthers were 20 yards from a game-winning touchdown. The Saints did not control that game by any stretch.

I will be rooting for the Minnesota Vikings from here on out. This Sunday will be a tough test for them against the Saints, but if they win, they may become the first team to host the Super Bowl. What a story that would be.

A Season of Surprises

What a turbulent season. Injuries to the once-vaunted secondary, embarrassing offensive struggles, missed field-goals at the last second. These are the marks of a 9-7 team. For the first time in six years, the Seattle Seahawks will miss the postseason.

However disappointing the result, Seahawks fans should not regret the “ending of an era.” This team needs a major shake-up if we wish to see Pete Carroll coach in the Super Bowl again. Otherwise, mediocrity will become the norm.

Clearly, the Seahawks defense wasn’t the impenetrable wall we fell in love with. The Legion of Boom, despite their consistent dominance in the five years before this season, are certainly not our future. It is possible, perhaps probable, that Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, and Earl Thomas have all played their last games in Seattle uniforms. And don’t forget to add Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril to the list of names, all forever enshrined in Seattle Seahawks glory.

No one knows what our roster will look like next year. However, a few things remain certain. Surely, Carroll and Schneider will feel a powerful urgency to fix up the offensive line. The team will be reshaped, with Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner becoming the permanent core to build around. And needless to say, Blair Walsh’s services will no longer be needed.

The NFC West is only growing stronger. Both Los Angeles and San Francisco boast plenty of cap space to add to their promising young quarterbacks, and Arizona won’t just disappear. Pete Carroll and the Seahawks must have their best offseason yet.

Pummelled by Rams, Hawks’ playoff chances look dim

What a loss. Absolute annihilation, to put it mildly. Yes, I know what the score was—but don’t ask me to mention it. On Sunday, the Seahawks sucker punched the most energetic fan base in sports. No one knew we could play so atrociously. Seattle got outplayed in virtually every facet of football.

But hawks bashing aside, let’s take a moment to quiver about how scary the Rams look. Make no mistake of it. To be the bully, you have to beat the bully. The Los Angeles Rams have become the bully of the west. Their fans have every reason to feel excited heading into the playoffs.

Sure, I’m disappointed. Just several months ago I was writing about how promising the Seahawks looked this season. In my eyes, I could already see our beloved players and coaches hoisting the Lombardi trophy. I was optimistic. And now hindsight reveals how blind my optimism truly was. But strangely enough, I would do it all over again. I would express, in my words, the same outlandishly unwavering confidence that makes me so excited to wake up every Sunday morning. I haven’t doubted the Seahawks for one nanosecond, and I never will. Not even if the rest of the world thinks I’ve lost my sanity. Writing these blogs, it is simply my way of communicating my hope in my favorite team. That’s all there is to it. And it’s enough to keep my writing, even if they don’t make the playoffs this season. But they better make it next year.

Playoff Paranoia

With the regular season winding down, the sports universe prepares its annual revolution around NFL playoffs. Yes, the month of January will surely be an exciting one. What troubles me, however, is the double-digit percentage chance of the Seahawks not making the cut, a number that flew north after last week’s loss to Jacksonville. Seattle’s playoff campaign was also not helped by unexpected victories by both Atlanta and Carolina, formidable teams that would earn a wild-card spot if the season ended today. Of course, the Hawks probably don’t need to worry about those teams at all if they beat Los Angeles this weekend, as a home victory against the 9-3 Rams would likely give us the NFC West division crown. I say likely because I am not confident the final two games of the season–against Dallas and Arizona–are guaranteed wins. In fact, the Cowboys will almost certainly be favored when we play them in Dallas. Especially with Ezekiel Elliot on the field.

Simply put, this Sunday’s game is a must-win for Seattle. An 8-6 record is not a good place to be in mid-December for teams with serious playoff aspirations. It’s also not a place that Seattle is particularly familiar with. In the last five seasons, the Hawks have consistently clinched playoff berths early, sometimes long before Christmas. Oh well. This year’s different. But hopefully not too different.

We can still win our division for the fourth time in five years. To realize that perennial goal of ours, our defense must step up. And the running game must improve. And Jimmy Graham needs to show up. Sure, this is a lot to fix in such a short period of time. But I do believe in miracles. This belief was introduced to me when I became a Seahawks fan. Since then, my faith in my favorite team has only grown stronger.

 

A Spark in Seattle

Sunday’s resounding victory ignited a spark in Seattle when we needed it most. Despite how the NFL analytics confidently pointed to an Eagles victory, the Seahawks defied the noise, standing triumphant at perhaps the most critical time. Now, the Hawks are 8-4, ahead of other wild-card contenders and poised to make a powerful playoff push. And recent history suggests a favorable record for the Seahawks in December. There are only four games left–the Jaguars, Rams, Cowboys, and the Cardinals. Can we run the table? I say maybe, and some may even say probably. But there is one thing that supersedes a donut in the loss column. The NFL pundits are correct: the Seahawks must establish a reliable running game before it’s too late.

As it stands right now, Russell Wilson is the Seahawk’s leading rusher. Wilson is also accounting for over 82% of our offense’s total yardage. This stunning statistic speaks to the appreciating value of our quarterback. However, by examining the last 50 years in NFL history, we won’t find a super bowl team with so much depending on one player. That is why we must use the last quarter of the regular season to develop a more multifaceted attack. After constantly shuffling through a list of erratic running backs–Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise, and J.D. McKissic–Coach Carroll may have finally struck silver. Against a formidable Eagle rush defense, Mike Davis rushed for 64 yards on 16 carries. And, Davis caught four passes for 37 yards, showcasing his dual-threat ability. Let’s see how he performs this Sunday against the Jaguars number-one ranked defense. After beating the Eagles, the Seahawks point in a promising direction.

 

Sounders Shock FC Dallas

Hey everyone,

This past Sunday, Sounders played their first of two games against FC Dallas in the second round of the playoffs. The game was in Seattle, so it was important that Sounders could get a good result. Dallas came in with a game plan of playing defensively and keeping the Sounders to zero goals, so they could have the advantage when they play in Dallas next week. However, from the 45th minute to the 55th minute, the Sounders scored three goals. The score ended at 3-0, which gives Sounders a huge advantage going into the second leg. Dallas looked nothing like the dominant force that they were in the regular season, but Sounders need to keep focused, because Dallas does have the potential to turn it around.

In the best game this weekend, the two top Italian league teams faced off. Juventus got the best of Napoli with the final result being 2-1. Gonzalo Higuain scored the game winner for Juventus against his former club. The win was important as Juventus now created some separation between them and Napoli.

blog-photo-6

This weekend there are some fantastic matches. The Sounders will play Dallas on Sunday as the Sounders look to secure their place in the next round of playoffs. The North London Derby is also on Sunday where rivals Arsenal and Tottenham will face off in an always exciting match up. Lastly, Chelsea plays Everton on Saturday in a very important game for Everton to try to make some ground on the top teams.

Full 90 Reporter

NFL Week 5

The story of this week was the return of Tom Brady. After facing a 4 game suspension, Brady returned to the field to take on the winless Cleveland Browns. He went off for 406 yards in the air and 3 touchdowns. I was playing against him in fantasy football and he pretty much single-handedly beat me.

tom-brady

Brady pumps his fist after throwing 1 of his 3 TD’s against the Browns in his return from suspension.

Sammie Coates decided to have a breakout game for the Steelers. He had 139 yards and 2 Touchdowns. Not very many people expected that from the rookie out of Auburn. Martellus Bennett had 3 Touchdown receptions. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 4 touchdowns in a big victory against the New York Jets. Ezekiel Elliott and David Johnson continued dominance as the top 2 rushers in the league, leading both of their teams to wins with 2 TD’s each. The Carolina Panthers continue their struggles, playing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football. The Panthers were 1-3 heading into the game. Their MVP Quarterback Cam Newton is out with a concussion so it was Derek Anderson to start. They lost on a last second field goal after Cameron Artis-Payne’s 2 TD’s on the ground and Greg Olsen’s 181 yards in the air were not enough. The Broncos lost their first game of the season to the red-hot Atlanta Falcons. Backup QB Paxton Lynch started his first game replacing the injured Trevor Siemien. The Minnesota Vikings get a big win over the struggling Houston Texans to keep their perfect record. Brock Osweiler has not lived up to expectations for the Texans after a big contract in the off season.

Super Bowl 50 Here We Come

01 29

As the notification came across my phone my face turned into a smile. Excitement filled my mind as I read that the Denver Broncos beat the New England Patriots, and became AFC champions once again. This is the eighth time the Broncos have been AFC champs.

Later that Sunday afternoon, my phone showed that the Arizona Cardinals had lost to the Carolina Panthers, making Carolina the new NFC champions.

The Broncos won by two points, 20 – 18 while the Panthers destroyed the Cardinals 49 – 15.

Which now means that the Broncos and the Panthers will face off in Super Bowl 50.

The Broncos have won the Super Bowl twice compared to the Panthers who have never won a Bowl.

The game will be held at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Sunday, February 2 at 3:30pm. This will be your time to cheer on your team and watch some American football.

I will be cheering for the Denver Broncos, because Peyton Manning is the quarterback. I have been a fan of him for years, and believe he can pull out the win.

I think this game will be a nail biter as both teams have shown that they have what it takes to be Super Bowl champions.

Broncos have a record of 12 – 4 and are led by their amazing quarterback, Peyton Manning.

The Panthers have a record of 15 – 1. So, they have a better record than Denver, however, that does not mean that Denver won’t be a good competitor. Cam Newton, the Panthers’ quarterback is very talented and can put up a good fight.

So, I guess we’ll see who can take it all the way when Sunday comes around.

 

First Female Full-Time Coach in NFL

Kathryn Smith was hired on Wednesday as an assistant coach for the Buffalo Bills. She was hired as the organized quality control-special teams coach.

01 25

Smith has been on the sidelines ever since high school helping her dad by keeping stats of the game. When college came around she served with St. John’s for four years as the teams manager. However, it didn’t stop there. Smith went on to get an internship with the New York Jets in 2003.

After 12 years of working with the Jets and head coach Rex Ryan, Smith followed Ryan to the Bills last year. She worked as an administrative assistant to the head coach. Just after a year working with the Bills, Smith was promoted.

Ryan says in a quote: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/21/463787891/kathryn-smith-makes-history-as-nfls-first-female-full-time-coach

“Kathryn Smith has done an outstanding job in the seven years that she has worked with our staff,” said Bills Head Coach Rex Ryan. “She certainly deserves this promotion based on her knowledge and strong commitment, just to name a couple of her outstanding qualities, and I just know she’s going to do a great job serving in the role of Quality Control-Special Teams.”

So there it is, Smith was hired onto the coaching staff for the Bills because she deserved it. She is the right one for the job. She is a person who goes after what they want and works hard for it.

Some say that a women should not be in the NFL, however, Smith is more than quilified and can handle anything thrown at her. She has been around football for years, and knows what she is doing. During Smith’s internship with the Jets she scouted for college athletes amongst other things. She has been in a wide variety of positions for the teams she’s worked for and has never dissappiont. Smith was the right choice for the Bills, no matter what anyone says.

Calvin Johnson Retiring!?

Quarterback, Matthew Stafford takes the consideration of Calvin Johnson’s (Megatron) retirement seriously. Stafford knows that what ever comes out of the mouth of Johnson that it is not fluffy stuff, and that Johnson thinks about what he puts out for the public.

A quote from Stafford is featured here  http://www.freep.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2016/01/14/detroit-lions-calvin-johnson-retire/78782044/

“I think, anytime Calvin says something, it’s not for show, it’s something serious,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said on “The Mitch Albom Show” on WJR-AM (760) this week. “I think you guys have covered him long enough to know that he’s a pretty measured person, and everything that he says to the public is a thought-out thing. So in that regard, I’m sure it’s thought-out.”

01 19

As of right now Johnson is resting his body and is considering what to do next. Nothing is for certain yet, but what if he actually did retire. What would happen to the Detroit Lions? The team has improved since he has been on the team. He has contributed a lot, and I just wonder what would be next for the the Lions. Of course they would have to replace him, but with who? Who has the skill and heart like Megatron does?

01 19 2

Johnson is 30 years-old and can run a 40 yard dash in 4.35 seconds. He’s 6′ 5″ and weighs about 236 lbs. He has made a difference for the team and for the city of Detroit. Being drafted by the Lions in 2007 was probably one of the best things for the Lions.

Each year the team grows better, and if Johnson leaves I am curious for what will happen.