Monday, December 31, 2007
I can't say the same for the Minnesota Vikings unfortunately.
Last weekend they needed to beat Washington Redskins team who has gone through more emotions than a 14 year old girl at her first NSYNC concert. The Vikings had been on a hot streak and were at home so it seemed simple. Except the Redskins showed up with the memory of their slain friend Sean Taylor and handed the Vikings a crushing blow to their playoff chances.
So because of that poor display of athletic ability by the Vikings, and pretty darn good play by the Redskins, the Vikings went from controlling their own destiny to hoping the Redskins had a meltdown and that the Broncos wouldn't really show up.
The most troubling thing about yesterday was watching guys who were on a 5 game win streak and were talking about how the team had changed so much, come out to Denver with absolutely NO sense of urgency. They were sulking around the sidelines and had no intensity. It was embarassing.
Jackson showed good signs in the last two drives to tie the game but once again, his lack of ball control and general common sense killed the Vikings. Was I the only one wondering what he was planning on doing with the ball as he was getting sacked? How hard is it to tuck that ball? I obviously have never played NFL football...or any football past 5th grade, but when someone is pulling you down usually you just hold on to the ball. Except "Superman" Jackson who thinks that he can do anything with the ball. Either way, it ended up costing the Vikings the game.
So now everyone is looking to the offseason. Many questions have arisen around the sports community. Will Brad Childress around next year? Will the Vikings go find a veteran QB to start next year or just mentor Tarvaris Jackson? Can they go an entire offseason without an arrest? Okay, maybe that last question is all me but regardless it is still a pressing question.
I'll get into answering these questions later down the road. Right now, I think that we all need to take a break from the Vikings and move on.
Other happenings this weekend :
- Patriots are challenged greatly by the New York Giants but come away as the 4th undefeated team in NFL history and the first to go 16-0 in the regular season. Success seems to follow Randy Moss right? Best part of the whole deal was watching Moss at the postgame news conference telling everyone that he was most excited about breaking Jerry Rice's season touchdown record because it would shut up his critics. The man has done many good things in his life to some mediocre bad things and is one of the best players in the game. I've always been a fan, good for you Randy. Also worht noting, the Pats get the 7th pick in the draft next year because they received it from San Francisco earlier this year. Awesome, 16-0 and they get the 7th pick!? Unreal.
- Redskins defy all emotional odds and make the playoffs with a QB who makes Mark Brunell look like '95 Mark Brunell. It's a touching story and I wouldn't be surprised if they run the table in the NFC and make it to the Superbowl. You watch, it very well could happen.
- Blazers continue their streak to 13 straight games with a win. They are the youngest team in the NBA and aren't playing like it. Travis Outlaw posterizes 76ers Rodney Carney in the Blazers win over the Sixers on a huge dunk and brings pride to the Outlaw family.
- The Wild come back from being down 4-1 to Edmonton and win 5-4 in overtime. It was the biggest comeback in Wild history and put the team back into first place. This team needs to get consistent and start beating the good teams in the West or else they are going to get embarassed in the playoffs again.
That's it for the Monday round-up. Make sure that you catch the "Let's suspend our team's and hope we can still play the game" Bowl today between Kentucky and Florida State. 26 Florida State players will not be playing in the game due to an online test cheating scandal. I did find out today that it was a music test AND it was open book. Wow, congratulations Florida State football players. That could knock you down a few notches in the educational prestige category in next years NCAA football game.
Have a great New Years and we'll see you in 2008!
Friday, December 28, 2007
Usually this space is reserved for our Land O’ Links, but I feel a certain calling for today’s entry.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Quick note: Bowl season is here! After last year's Boise State/Oklahoma game, I have vowed to not miss any bowl games this year.
2007-08 Bowl season got started with a great game last night between Navy and Utah. Utah was up 35-32 with :48 seconds left and Navy needed to recover an onside kick to have a chance to win the game. They recovered the kick and things looked good for the option offense of Navy. Unfortunately, Navy's quarterback threw an interception when his intended receiver slipped for the 8th time that night and Utah regained possession.
Without further ado, here are your links for the day:
- December 15th....one of the greatest nights in recent memory. WWE Monday Night Raw celebrated 15 years and many of the greatest wrestlers came back. Stone Cold, Undertaker, Sgt. Slaughter etc. This clip is easily the highlight of the whole night.
- Nothing brings more joy to people than watching others get hurt. This really isn't that bad, but needless to say this kid ATE this big green ball.
- This was the best buzzer beater that I've ever seen. I can only imagine being one of the 15 people attending this game. Why didn't we see this kid on Letterman?
- I probably should say that this was the best buzzer beater that I've ever seen. Unfortunately, I don't really care much for Hopkins (bad sports experiences). On the positive side, the kid who made the shot is now playing for the Gophers and doing quite well actually. He won ESPN play of the year at the ESPY's over Tiger Woods and just about every other guy who is a pro athlete.
- HY-LARIOUS. Best of luck to this child in his most certain psychological recovery. I am glad that I wasn't at this game, because I would certainly be laughing. Don't think for a second that you wouldn't either.
- It is about 3 weeks after the fact, but it still doesn't feel real. If you watched Sean Taylor's pastor talk, I am sure that you were moved. Sean was turning his life around and becoming the mature man that he needed to be. I don't know his true religious status, but I can only hope that he is in a better place. He will be missed dearly. It's a 7 minute video but it's well worth it to watch him smash T.O. repeatedly. Here is his official website as well.
- Am I the only one that wouldn't mind a 4th one?
- There are a lot of things wrong with this article. Mainly the part about "pitchers who can go late into games" and "at the top of my list". Isn't this the same guy who took himself out of a game in the 6th inning because he didn't feel like he had "it"? Congratulations Seattle, you spent $44 million on a 6 innings a game sinker-baller.
- I have a friend who is from Kentucky and is a huge Wildcats fan. He was extremely negative towards Tubby and was SURE that Billy Gillespie would get it done this year. Well, 4 losses in a row later, Kentucky fans are still pointing the finger at Tubby. After watching Kentucky get handled by Houston the other night, it is CLEARLY Gillespie's lack of coaching and the players lack of skill that is keeping Kentucky down.
Big Vikings game this weekend at the Dome. With a win and a New Orleans loss, the Vikings are in the playoffs. So let's hope the Giants lose to the Bills and the Vikings beat the 'Skins.
Have a great weekend. Check back Monday for the Weekend Wrap-up.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Today marks the return of Land O’ Links! So to honor this return, I have a slew of links for you all to enjoy. Some you may have seen recently and some I would like to assume are my own gems.
Please send us some links if you find something that you would like to share with us here at Court’s Sports. E-mail us at : firstname.lastname@example.org.
Without further ado, here are your batch of links!
This one has a little Holiday spirit. This just brings back great memories of a show that was once the successful black sheep of Saturday late-night TV. Now, it is just depressing. Part of me just laughs at the "I'm holding it for the Easter Bunny" and the other part of me thinks that he has to deal with the effects of global warming on the North Pole.
The Canadian Press is all over Brett Favre this year. Maybe I am just out of the journalism loop, but should the Canadian Press have better stories than ANY of the Wisconsin papers? Maybe Brett feels a little more candid out of the country. Either way, the Packers are playing pretty good football and I hope that Brett announces that he will be coming back shortly. I can’t stand another summer of “Will he?” or “Won’t he?”
After the big unveiling of the storied Mitchell Report yesterday, some big names were included. Some surprising (Brian Roberts, Rondell White) and some not so surprising (Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire). Somewhere in the middle lies Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte. I mean, the guy’s 42 years old and still throwing better than 36% of players under the age of 30?! Well, now his lawyer is releasing a statement based on Clemens being named in the report. As much as I do not like Roger Clemens…well…I’ve got nothing. Let’s take his Cy Young as well as maybe spend some time in jail? That would be a good holiday to me.
A great piece here by Stick and Ball guy rating Major League shortstops. For those of you who maybe think that the Twins wasted a 1-year contract on Adam Everett, check this out. Maybe it will give you some closure or it will give you cramps…not sure.
Kendrick Perkins…don’t let the bed [bugs] bite.
Adrian Peterson embarrassed the Bears. Oh wait, I know what you are thinking. I mean OUR Adrian Peterson. The Bears are looking for redemption and something tells me that they may not get it.
This may have something to do with that premonition. (quick note: this guy is a tank. You may not want him as your quarterback, but good golly…you want him at your party)
My friend Peter sent this to me. Actually, I lost the original link but found this one in slow motion so that you could understand what she is saying. If you have trouble understanding in this clip, imagine what the original is like. This girl needs bootcamp…or Oprah. Not sure yet…
Really? I think these guys should wait until after the Sugar Bowl to do this. Lord knows it worked out real well for the last early birds. (see: Maurice Clarett & Ted Gin Jr.)
Kobe happy? ESPN’s crack reporting includes the groundbreaking news that he is happy while the Lakers have been winning lately. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s start working towards a cure for those nasty paper cuts and ESPNews shows with different news every hour. Let's see where Kobe is when they start losing.
Even though some of you may disagree with his actions, you’ve got to admit…he’s a heck of a player. Any way you cut it, you’ll miss him. Go ahead, admit it. It doesn’t mean that you condone dog fighting, it means that you enjoy being entertained…we all do. See you in ’09 Mike.
And finally…enjoy this clip of Presidential hopeful Barack Obama at our school on December 5th. Great speech and you can see me the whole time while he talks ( black sweater, glasses…stunning good looks).
Please don’t hesitate to send us some links, comment on our articles or just send an email for fun. We’re here to get a good voice out on the net and continue to grow!
Curl up next to the fire this weekend with some hot cocoa and a copy of the Mitchell report. Enjoy!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
The past few years, we have seen the Vikings struggle on the road against any team. Whether it was the lowly Dolphins or the suddenly talented Texans, the Vikings were never a sure thing on the road. Even at home, the Vikings were not a sure thing. Since the 34-0 thrashing the Packers put on the Vikings in week 10, the Vikings could have imploded like they usually do and ended this season with all of us thinking “Really?...REALLY?” After a while, that gets incredibly frustrating for the fan base as well as the players and coaches. Brad Childress went out of his way to make sure that the team responded positively and even challenged his players to look within themselves to find the resolve to finish the season strong. So far, they have responded greatly.
Since that Packer game, the Vikings are 4-0 and winning their games by an average of 20 points while we may be witnessing the maturation of Tarvaris Jackson into a NFL ready quarterback. We, as Vikings fans, have been quick to judge Brad Childress. The first move he made as head coach was getting rid of the franchise quarterback for…well…no one. We seemed to critique him at every corner. As fans, that is our job but sometimes we fall into the trap of seeking out only the negative things that happen. I believe that now is the time to start paying attention to the good things that are happening with this team.
For the past four games we’ve seen Jackson continually make good decisions (although he needs to work on that time in the pocket to avoid sacks), Chester Taylor has reminded us that we actually DO have two running backs instead of one and the defense has been pressuring quarterbacks into making decisions that would make Lindsey Lohan blush. They have been getting out to quick starts and play at a continuously high level of intensity through the final seconds of the game. If this team continues to play like this, why couldn’t they beat anyone in the league? Let’s take a look at their 6 losses:
Week 2 at Detroit: Jackson throws 4 INT’s and Bollinger fumbles in OT which leads to a Jason Hanson game-winning FG. Bollinger should have never fumbled that ball and the Vikings should have walked away with a W in this game.
Week 3 at Kansas City: Vikings stuff the Chiefs run game and Adrian Peterson breaks out with a 102 yard, 1 td performance. The Vikings offense stalls and the Chiefs are able to squeak out a win. Again, Vikings offense doesn’t stall…they walk away with a win.
Week 4 vs. Green Bay: Favre dominates the Vikings defense but the lack of education of the referee’s hurts the Vikings chances of winning the game. A botched fumble call and a blown Pass Interference call turn the tide of the game. This is right before the bye week and the Vikings record was 1-3. Should have been 4-0 or 3-1 at least.
Week 7 at Dallas: Vikings are tied 14-14 with 2:52 left in the 3rd quarter before Ryan Longwell’s field goal is blocked by Pat Watkins and returned for 68 yards for a Touchdown. The offense again failed to mobilize and the Cowboys held on for a win. Kevin Williams had a fumble return for a touchdown that was called back for bogus holding. Things again do not go the Vikings way.
Week 8 vs. Philadelphia: Donovan McNabb torches the Vikings secondary for 333 yards and one touchdown while two Vikings quarterbacks struggled to get to 150 yards passing total. Adrian Peterson was held in check and the offense couldn’t get anywhere.
That brings us back full circle to the 34-0 thrashing by the Packers. If you look back through the losses, what is the common theme? You’re right, it was the incompetence of the referees but even more than that it was the inability of the offense to get anything started. They depended too much on Adrian Peterson and Jackson struggled to make smart throws.
Interestingly enough, during their current 4 game win streak, the Vikings have finally been able to move the ball through the air. Jackson is making much better decisions which has opened the field even more for Peterson and Taylor. They had already opened the field for Jackson, he just needed to take advantage of it.
He finally is and the Vikings are starting to look like a serious playoff team.
Next week is another big game at the Dome. A struggling Bears team comes to town to face a defense that is playing at their highest level all year and an offense who is clicking on all cylinders.
Since the Vikings are the hottest team in Minnesota right now (with exception maybe being the Gopher Men’s Basketball team who is currently 6-1) some of us have forgotten that there are other sports currently playing.
The Timberwolves got a HUGE win on Saturday night at the Target Center. They stymied a Suns team that has been averaging 111.3 points a game and a team that is much better than they are.
The Wolves held the Suns to 93 points and 29% shooting in the 3rd quarter. Al Jefferson became only the second player in Wolves history to score 30 points and have 20 rebounds as well. Who was the other player you ask? The man that Jefferson was traded for this past summer, Kevin Garnett.
This is a young team who has struggled all year to close out games and just plain score. They are 3-15 right now and are at the bottom of the NBA. I went to two games over Thanksgiving break and they did not look good at all. We’ve got to keep this season in perspective though. This is a team that has an average age of 23 and little or no playoff or experience in winning. It is easy to be critical of the team but keep in mind that there are teams right now who started like this and are playing at great levels right now (Orlando, Cleveland, Toronto, Chicago etc.). I ask you to continue to support this team through Antione Walker and Mary Kate Olsen (“thick and thin”…bad joke I know but it had to be said).
Check back mid-week for a Johan Santana update and a look at the upcoming conference play in College basketball.
Have a great Monday!
Friday, December 7, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
Prediction 1: Al Jefferson averages a solid double-double. Jefferson will be one of the West leaders in rebounding, and will average upwards of 20 points. I don't expect an average of more than 20 points a game just because the Wolves will be able to spread the ball around a lot, to Foye, McCants, Gomes, Smith, and Walker.
Prediction 2: The Wolves will have no problems with Antoine Walker. Walker reportedly was overweight for the Heat, and had fallen out of favor with Heat coach Pat Riley. I think as a veteran presence on this roster, he will help a lot of the players, and eventually average upwards of 10 points a game once he learns the offense.
Prediction 3: The Wolves will stop talking about KG around the All-Star game, once Jefferson makes it. This is more hopeful than anything. They need to celebrate these new guys, and move on from KG. These new guys look pretty damn good.
Prediction 4: Theo Ratliff will have his best season in 5 years. The guy looks rejuvenated this year, playing hard both on offense and defense. I think he could play his way into a new contract with the Wolves if he does well this season as their starting center, especially after considering their lack of talent there in the past. I think in general they will try to keep this team together for a while.
Prediction 5: The Wolves will contend for the last playoff spot. Yes, I realize this is a big prediction, but I honestly feel that without Blount and Davis, this roster will flourish. These guys will learn to love playing with each other, and it will be like a playground game out there. They don't have the immediate talent of other teams, but these guys are hungry to prove something. I expect them to surpass their 32 wins from last season and be in the hunt for the last spot for a while, and there is a possibility they could win that 8th spot. No one expects it from them, and that almost makes it easier for them, since no one will take them seriously. Honestly, there has never been a team much like them in this or any other professional league, a team with nearly all unproven players. Just because they are unproven, doesn't mean they aren't good.
Well there they are, my season predictions. I won't be the least bit disappointed if they don't make the playoffs, but if they do, you heard it here first. I also want to say that Foye will average over 15 points a game and 5 assists, and McCants will average nearly as many points per game as Foye. Again, just a prediction.
Either way, you need to watch these teams. There is an excitement to these games that hasn't been seen since 2004, and I know that I've been convinced just in these first 3 quarters.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sorry, I might be getting ahead of myself a little bit here. But any of you who caught the Vikings vs. Bears yesterday afternoon saw something special.
You saw the emergence of the next great running back in the NFL not named LaDanian Tomlinson.
I’m tired of hearing that the Bears defense was lacking some of it’s firepower. I must have been watching the wrong game, but I remember seeing Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, Adewale Ogunleye, Adam Archuleta and Alex Brown. But yes, you’re right…the Bears were clearly missing their Defense.
Adrian Peterson rushed for 224 yards on 20 carries and even had a 53 yard kick return to set up Ryan Longwell’s 55 yard field goal to beat the Bears as time ran out. The rookie from the University of Oklahoma, also the first running-back taken in the 2007 draft, has arrived in the NFL and he brought the snacks.
"I just got comfortable, more comfortable with the speed of the game, I knew anything was possible," Peterson said
He got comfortable alright. He made himself at home at Soldier Field. Rumor has it that the maintenance crew put up a locker in the Bears locker room with Peterson’s name on it. Since only the home running back is supposed to run like Peterson did.
He broke Chuck Foreman’s team record of 200 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles in 1976 and Ricky Williams’ record of 216 at Soldier Field in 2002. In other words, he had a day.
As for the rest of the team, yes…Adrian Peterson did not play every position today, the Vikings looked like an NFL team. Tarvaris Jackson did not turn over the ball, 9-23 with 136 yds and 1 td to Troy Williamson. The defense shut down the Bears rushing attack and made Brian Griese toss the football 45 times. If Rex Grossman had been starting today, the Vikings might have won this game by 35+.
Coming out of the bye week, the Vikings looked like they were on a mission. They looked crisp and not very sluggish for a team that hadn’t played for a week.
They’ve got another test next week down in Dallas against a Cowboys team that was subsequently crushed by the Patriots today 48-27. Other than that, the Vikings have a favorable schedule ahead of them.
10/21 @ Dallas
11/4 San Diego
11/11 @ Green Bay
The Vikings have a chance to win all of those games, but I say they go 3-2 in that stretch. That would bring them to 5-5 and still in the playoff hunt in the wide open NFC.
My interest in the Vikings has been revived. I nearly went hoarse and nearly had an aneurism at the end of that game.
As always, your comments are welcome and have a great Monday!
Thursday, October 4, 2007
This season saw the most historical achievements than any other previous year. Three players, Alex Rodriguez, Frank Thomas, and Jim Thome, joined the 500 home run club, along with slugger Sammy Sosa joing the 600 home run club. Also, the hallowed all-time home run record of 755 home runs, set by Henry Aaron, was eclipsed by Barry Bonds. Other milestones reached this year included a 300 win pitcher (Tom Glavine) and 3,000 hits (
So much happened just in personal milestones, it almost hides the fact that young hitters came up from the minors for one of the best rookie classes since, well, last year. But these past two seasons have produced some of the best rookies in a LONG time, with many either already or on the verge of becoming all-stars (Hanley Ramirez, Prince Fielder, David Wright). Here are my predictions for A.L and N.L. Rookie of the Year:
A.L. Rookie of the Year – Dustin Pedroia (2B, Boston Red Sox): Pedroia held down the second base position the entire season, and finished the season with a .317 batting average, good enough for tenth in the American League. Considering that he also helped
N.L Rookie of the Year– Troy Tulowitzki (SS, Colorado Rockies): Tulowitzki literally won this award at the last possible moment in my mind. Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Ryan Braun had this locked up, but in the end baseball is about offense AND defense. Braun, when called up from the minors, went on to hit 34 home runs with a .324 average, but his defense was terrible. He ended the season with 26 errors, and a .895 fielding percentage, both good enough for worst in the league. Insert Tulowitzki. He finished the season with a .291 average, 24 home runs, and had some spectacular defense down the stretch, leading the Rockies to win 13 of their last 14 games. He also went four for seven in the one game playoff for the wildcard, and scored the game tying run in the bottom of the thirteenth inning. To me, offensive and defensive stats, combined with a team’s performance, are what make a rookie of the year, and Tulowitzki had it all.
With that look at the year’s best rookies, all that is left are the Cy Young and MVP predictions. Two of the four have been decided since midseason, and the other two may have been decided in the last week of the season.
A.L. Cy Young – C.C. Sabathia (SP, Cleveland Indians): Sabathia finished well down the stretch, winning his final five decisions. Throw in the fact that he led the Indians to the playoffs and out dueled 2006 Cy Young winner Johan Santana three times this season, and he is the easy choice for the award.
N.L. Cy Young – Jake Peavy (SP, San Diego Padres): Peavy won the N.L. pitching triple crown (wins, strikeouts, and earned run average), much like Johan Santana last year. Peavy is a shoo-in.
A.L. MVP – Alex Rodriguez (3B, New York Yankees): It seems like A-Rod has had this award since the first day of the season. He has simply been the best offensive threat in the A.L. all season long. Combine the fact that he eclipsed 500 career home runs this year, and A-Rod is also a lock to win the award.
N.L. MVP – Matt Holliday (OF, Colorado Rockies): This award really could go to Holliday or any of the deserving Philadelphia Phillies (Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, or reigning MVP Ryan Howard), but Holliday I feel deserves this award because he is the only MVP candidate on his team. When you have a team like the Phillies that have that many players producing, you expect to win. Holliday took the Rockies on his back, and took them headfirst into the playoffs. Plus, he literally took them into the playoffs by scoring the winning run of their one-game playoff by diving head first into home plate, leaving a nice scrape right on his chin in the process. Holliday deserves this award this year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes elsewhere.
That about does it for the 2007 season recap. Baseball fans across the nation tuned in this year to witness one of the best seasons ever, with seemingly new stories every night. It’s hard to imagine that the season could get any better, but remember this – there are still the playoffs. As Dane Cook puts it SO delicately in those postseason commercials, there is only one October! Go Rockies!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
(I started writing this at 11:40 pm and since it was before midnight, the post says Wednesday...it really is meant for Thursday...but let's get on with it)
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Friday, September 7, 2007
Well, any of you who watched last night would know that wishes sometimes just don't happen. Sounds sad, but nothing is more sad than coming in with high expectations for your team and having every single person on your team underacheive. Even the water boy spilled Deuce McAllister's Gatorade during the 3rd quarter.
Reggie Bush, considered by many to be one of the most explosive players in the NFL, gained a grand total of 47 yards last night...47 YARDS!? For a player with high expectations, that better be the last time that happens or else Fantasy owners across America will revolt.
Drew Brees threw for about 180 yards and 2 INT's. They weren't tipped INT's, they were the "what were you thinking when you threw that?!" INT's. He looked sharp on the first drive but past that he looked like me in Intramural football last year, erratic and blaming everyone else for my bad passes.
The consolation, as said by Sean Salisbury, is that they are in the NFC. Barring anymore games against the Colts, the Saints could go 15-1 this year. Most likely they won't, but that's what wishes are all about.
Peyton & CO. looked rough on their first drive. 3 and out on the first drive makes it hard to gain momentum for the rest of the game but on the next drive, Peyton found Marvin Harrison on the left side of the field for the first time in 10 years and they continue to build on their NFL record of QB to WR Td's (now sitting at 683).
Reggie Wayne and Joe Addai stole the show last night though. Addai, after getting torn apart by Mike McKenzie (who else was surprised that he actually made a tackle?), went on to rush for over 100 yards and a TD while Wayne had 7 - 125-2 for the night.
The Colts look like nothing has changed and that spells trouble for the rest of the AFC.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
The day that men all across America have been waiting a year for…
At 7:30 pm Central Standard time, The Colts and Saints will kick off the 2007-08 NFL season from the hidden gem of the Upper East-Midwest, also known as Indianapolis, IN.
Some interesting storylines surround this game:
Can Peyton Manning repeat his past seasons of QB dominance? As well as, Can the Colts repeat as Super Bowl champs or will they fall prey to the dismal seasons the Buccaneers and Ravens had after they won Super Bowls?
Will Reggie Bush repeat his 1,300 all purpose yardage again for the Saints this year?
Can Joe Addai be the feature back that everyone thinks he can be?
Can Drew Brees, Marques Colston and Devery Henderson have a season like they did last year?
My answers to all of these questions?
Peyton Manning is about as consistent as the sun rising and setting. He not only will have a great year, but he will also be the AFC Offensive player of the year barely beating out LaDanian Tomlinson. The Colts will also be the team to beat in the AFC. Even though Tom Brady got some huge help this offseason, the Colts are still the team to beat. Plus, compare the three teams involved in that question. Colts, Bucs and Ravens? Come on, when was the last time you heard Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer and Peyton Manning in the same sentence when it didn’t end with, “Are you kidding?”
Not only will Reggie Bush repeat his season numbers from last year, he’ll do better. I imagine Reggie getting near 1,000 yards rushing and 700 receiving. He will be HUGE this year for the Saints. He is my early leader for NFC Offensive player of the year. If that doesn’t sell it for you, remember this : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwS5x920i8A
Joseph Addai will be good for the Colts this year. One of the most ridiculous things that I ever heard this offseason was, “Hey, the Colts are going to be a running team this year, you watch!” There are a lot of reasons why that is stupid but the main reason is that if anyone remembers that the Colts have one of the best QB’s since…well…ever, WHY WOULD THEY TURN INTO A RUNNING TEAM?! Addai is simply a nice distraction for any defense that faces the Colts. Look for 1,100 yards maybe.
Drew Brees and Marques Colston will have great years. When you have a running game that includes Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush, you can’t help but think, “hey, my job is pretty easy” (Brees and Colston speaking). Devery Henderson was very streaky last year and I wouldn’t expect much from him this year.
Like the “experts” at ESPN and every other media outlet around the world, here are my “expert” picks.
NFC North : Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers
NFC South: Saints, Panthers, Falcons and Bucs. (Falcons and Panthers in second place is a wash in my mind)
NFC East: Giants, Cowboys, Eagles and Redskins (you watch, Eli will come up big this year. If not, well then so be it.)
NFC West : Rams, Seahawks, 49ers and Cardinals (this, for the first time since the Korean War, was incredibly tough. The Rams and Seahawks are very similar in their styles and skill and so are the 49ers and Cards. I can see this going any which way. Now that Denny Green is gone, the Cards have an honest shot at winning more than 6 games.
AFC North : Bengals, Steelers, Ravens, Browns.
AFC South : Colts, Jags, Texans, Titans (this is the “Mid-90’s NL East” of the NFL. One dominant team surrounded by other teams that just fight each other to not look that bad)
AFC East : Patriots, Bills, Dolphins, Jets
AFC West : Chargers, Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders
Superbowl prediction : Bears vs. Colts (Yes, again. I see this turning into the new “Cowboys/Steelers” superbowls of the 90’s. )
A disclaimer on predictions like this should ALWAYS go on websites that put up their predictions. The only thing that separates me from Sean Salisbury right now is a college education and a steady job (your pick on that one). So please, as always, leave your comments on what you think of my predictions and enjoy the game tonight!
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
-Smooth (Santana featuring Rob Thomas)
Every superhero has their theme music...Every professional wrestler has their entrance song…and Every baseball player has their song when they bat, pitch or come in from the bullpen.
So why does a collaboration by Rob Thomas and super guitarist Santana have a special meaning to me?
Two reasons…a left arm and charisma that could bring peace to the Middle-East.
The Metrodome is a teflon covered toilet. Since 1982, it has brought nightmares to players as well as fans. Balls get lost in the off-white ceiling, hit speakers and ricochet 20 feet away from where it was going to land. None of the seats really face home plate (watch or go to a game sometime and notice how the section by the left field foul pole is ALWAYS empty).
All is forgotten on the special days when Santana pitches…
There is a different feeling when you walk into the dome. A confidence, because Johan won’t let the other team sniff home plate. The song “Smooth” is played during Santana’s warm up pitches before the game starts. It’s like associating a pro-wrestler or superhero with their theme music. You hear it and automatically think of that person before you think of who actually wrote the song.
Now, I may be biased on my thoughts on Johan Santana (being from Minnesota myself) but I feel that he may be one of the most dominant left-handed pitchers in Major League history. This is a big statement when considering other lefties that have graced the dirt mounds across America. These players range from Sandy Koufax to Steve Carlton to Tom Glavine to Randy Johnson and to the man who has the award for “Best Left-Handed pitcher”, Warren Spahn. There is no doubt that Santana is the best lefty pitcher currently but why not go a little further and compare him as one of the best lefties ever to play the game.
Let’s look at three categories : Strikeouts, Wins and ERA as well as comparing where each pitcher was with each category at Santana’s age (28) and years in the league (8). Future projections are based on whether Santana stays healthy and pitches at the same rate continually.
Spahn – 2,583 strikeouts
Koufax – 2,936 strikeouts
Carlton – 4,136 strikeouts
Glavine – 2,556 strikeouts (and counting)
Johnson – 4,616 strikeouts (and counting?)
Santana – 1,344 strikeouts (and counting)
Johnson has the most strikeouts for lefty pitchers in MLB history. If we base greatness on strikeouts alone, then Randy Johnson wins. He’s been pitching since 1988 and is getting close to the end of his career. His size alone puts fear into opposing batters, plus his 96 MPH fastball helps as well. Right now, Johnson could arguably be the best lefty pitcher in MLB history. Johnson needs 16 more wins to reach 300 and 484 strikeouts to reach 5,000. Neither of which are within much reach for Johnson unfortunately because of injuries. But let’s compare where Santana is at this point in his career.
By the age of 28, Randy Johnson had 948 career strikeouts after 5 years in the league. If you use age as a comparison, Santana leads Johnson by 396 strike outs. On the other hand, if you use the years in the league as a comparison, Johnson leads by 285 strike outs. If Santana keeps on pace with his strike outs and plays the same length as Johnson (assuming this is his last year) he will accumulate 3,360 strike outs. This, of course, is hypothetical. Injuries, among many other things, can change these numbers. Assuming that Santana stays healthy, he could make a run at Johnson’s numbers, especially with Johnson’s career coming to an end soon.
To many, wins probably make the most difference between pitchers. A pitcher could strike out 2,500 batters in his career but what does it say if he only had 96 wins? The true sign of a dominating pitcher comes with how many wins he had in his career.
Spahn – 363 wins, 65 by age 28, 122 by 8 years in the league (gaps in years played due to World War 2)
Koufax – 165 wins, 112 by age 28 and 68 by 8 years. (began at age 19 in the league and didn’t put up big numbers until after age 28)
Carlton – 326 wins, 117 by age 28 and 104 by 8 years in the league
Glavine – 301 wins (and counting), 108 by age 28 and 108 by 8th year in the league (most correlative to Santana by age and numbers at this point)
Johnson – 284 wins (and counting?), 56 by age 28, 106 by 8th year in the league.
Santana – 92 wins (and counting), 92 by age 28 and 92 by 8th year in the league.
Even with World War 2, Spahn destroys the win record for lefties. He won games at such amazing rates that it will be hard for any lefty to ever catch him. Glavine is the closest for active players with his 301 wins but he is also 41 years old. He still is behind Carlton who finished with 326 wins. Who knows how many wins Sandy Koufax would have accumulated had Tommy John surgery been around when he was a player. Johnson is close but his degenerative back problems will most likely keep him from ever reaching that goal. Assuming that Santana pitches at the same rate of wins for the next 12 years, Santana would finish with 273 wins. This would put him in good standing in terms of career wins.
A pitcher’s Earned Run Average is something that many look at when comparing stats. Typically, a career ERA under 3.50 is considered pretty special. There are few players in MLB history that have been in the league for more than ten minutes that have a career ERA under maybe 3.05. Let’s look at our lefties again :
Spahn : 3.09 for a 21 year career
Koufax : 2.76 for a 12 year career
Carlton : 3.22 for a 24 year career
Glavine : 3.49 (active statistic)
Johnson : 3.22 (active statistic)
Santana : 3.15 (active statistic)
Koufax’s ERA stands out in this group of pitchers. He only pitched for 12 years, but had he not had elbow problems he may have had many more years of low ERA’s. Over the last 5 years of his career, his ERA averaged 2.38. For a pitcher in any era, those numbers are staggering. Santana at this rate would finish 3rd and possibly 2nd in this list of lefties for career ERA. Santana’s ERA has fluctuated the last 4 years but has been under 2.88 each year.
So let’s get a final look at Santana’s career stats as far as Strikeouts, Wins and ERA:
K’s – 3,360 W’s – 273 ERA – 3.10
With stats like that and not being a concrete starter until 2004, Johan Santana has a great shot at not only Cooperstown but a shot at being considered the most dominant lefty to ever play the game.