The Harbaugh Super Bowl

February 4, 2013

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Super Bowl XLVII is now in the history books. It was the story of two halves. In the first half, the Baltimore Ravens simply out classed the San Francisco 49ers. It was 21-6 at half time and looked to be out of control. A half time of Beyoncé interrupted the action, but Baltimore followed up by returning the second half kick off 108 yards for a touch down, 28-6.

Then everything changed. First, the lights went out in Georgia, sorry, in the Super Dome. Actually just half of the lights went out. When the lights came back on, the 49ers came on, 17 un-answered points, 28-23. Baltimore got a field goal, but San Fran continued the come back with a touch down, but missed the 2 point conversion, 31-29. But that was all she wrote. Baltimore got another field goal and gave up a safety with only 4 seconds to go. Final score 34-31 with Baltimore winning their second Super Bowl.

Had San Francisco succeeded in their come back from 22 point behind, it would have been a super bowl record. No team has recovered from more than a 10 point deficit. The result was a very exciting game after an apparent blow out beginning.

The MVP of the game was Joe Flacco, the Baltimore Ravens quarterback. Although he played well, I would have bestowed the award on either Ed Reed, the Ravens Safety, or Jacoby Jones, the Ravens return specialist, who kept the Ravens in good field position and scored on his own. What is most important is that this win was an entire team effort by the Baltimore Ravens. Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens and all of their fans

Peyton Will Be Manning The Broncos

March 20, 2012

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Striking Down With Great Vengeance….

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 21:  Peyton Manning #18...

I saw a funny couple of posts on Facebook last night.

One went something along the lines of “Will the Wrath of God hit the Broncos now that his favorite Quarterback has lost the starting job?”

While this may be funny on the surface it really does hit an interesting point. There is Broncos Nation….and then there is Tebow Nation.

The Broncos fans were torn last year as Tebow became the quarterback. Many tried and true Tebow fans proclaimed him as their “football savior” Indicating his college record, his winning spirit, and that “IT” factor that no-one can quite put their finger on…but evidently Tim has “IT” .  “All he does is win” is what the Tebow camp proclaimed.

Naysayers would bring up the same couple of points over and over. He can’t throw the ball at all. He throws it terribly inaccurately and his throwing motion is horrid. With him as quarterback all teams do is load up to stop the run and make him throw the football.

Turns out both groups of fans were right. He really did not throw the ball worth a lick, but he did win games and had six fourth quarter come from behind victories and led the Broncos to the playoffs.

Enter Peyton Manning. He has had career neck problems. He has proven time and time again that he is arguably the best regular season quarterback of all time. He is the consummate field general, calling all the plays at the line of scrimmage and changing them on the fly based on what the defense if giving him. His accuracy over the years and arm strength are without question.

Let the Sound Clips Begin!

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 11:  Quarterback Tim Teb...

Already the arguments are starting with what will become of Tim Tebow? Why did the Broncos of all teams go get Manning after they stated last year Tebow was “their guy”

 

Current player Willis McGahee and stated on Sirius XM NFL Radio – “Basically, he can really take us to another level,” “We were young and I think those guys got the jitters out of them last year, even though we did go to the playoffs and represented the AFC West. It was a certain something that we were missing. We were missing that general to take charge in tough situations and I think he brings that to the table.”

 

Former Broncos player, Bill Romanowski told Yahoo Sports Radio – “I don’t see this as a huge positive for the Denver Broncos. I don’t think you can just throw in a Peyton Manning, who to me is still broken down, who is not healthy yet, and think that he is going to be the answer to getting you to a Super Bowl. To me, you had the answer. You just need more talent around a guy like Tim Tebow.”

These are the comments before any “official” announcement has been made. I am sure the comments will continue to roll out of Mile High City in the next few weeks.

Why Didn’t Peyton Go For the Gold?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22:  (L-R) Alex Sm...

I personally was thinking that Manning might have went to the west coast and landed with the 49ers. At the end of the day, I think the same thing that makes it appealing to Manning is ultimately the same thing that made it unattractive. Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh strikes me as a guy that is ultra-competitive. I get the feeling is very cerebral when it comes to being a tactician on the field. He is intense. He is a former Colts Quarterback. I have the sense likes to be in control.

To me this is a case where Manning and Harbaugh might be too much alike and would ultimately clash in the end game. There is no doubt the Niners would be a prohibitive favorite in the NFC to get to the Super Bowl with Peyton in charge of the huddle. In the end, maybe it was the perception that egos would get in the way.

Un-retiring the 18?

An interesting side note is that the Denver Broncos long ago retired the #18 jersey. It was worn by Frank Tripucka, who also was the first U.S. professional quarterback to throw for over 3000 yards in a season. Tripucka, who is now in his mid-Eighties, has indicated he would be happy to give permission to Manning to sport the long ago retired #18 for the Broncos. “A number is a number!” Frank said. “I’d be honored if he wants to use it. He’s a great quarterback.”

While the Tim Tebow Jersey was the 2nd bestselling NFL jersey last year, it will be interesting to see if the new number 18 in navy and orange will crack the top 10 in jersey sales in 2012. My guess is that he will be miles high up on the list.

Until next time– Stay Classy Toledo, Ohio
 

 

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Gisele Rips Patriots Receivers

February 7, 2012

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Tom Brady #12...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Keep Yo’ Mouth Shut!

The Super Bowl is over, and the only thing being talked about today is Tom Brady’s wife, Gisele, throwing fellow Patriot teams members under the bus.

There are a few different videos with audio (I am assuming they are taken on camera phones) of Gisele leaving her luxury box seats at the Super Bowl and waiting to get onto an elevator. In the background you can hear what to me sounds like an inebriated New York Giants fan yelling at her and bashing on the Patriots and her husband in particular.(wait, this is a news flash, an obnoxious Newww Yahkahhhh yelling at someone, no way this could possibly be happening!)

Gisele is heard firing back “You (have) to catch the ball when you’re supposed to catch the ball,” she takes a drink of bottled water. “My husband cannot [expletive] throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time. I can’t believe they dropped the ball so many times.”

Granted I think if someone was yelling at me about my spouse or my kid immediately following a sporting event, I would take it rather personal as well. I would likely not be very pleased about it and I would likely think pretty long and hard about firing back some verbal salvos of my own.

But….you are married to whom many claim to be the “greatest quarterback of all-time” You are a Super Model. You are constantly in the news, chased by paparazzi, and frankly, you know better.

This should make for some interesting locker room conversations between Brady, Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, and Deion Branch – – who it could be argued all did drop catchable passes late in the game.

I doubt this will go away quietly. Football season is over and the New York/New England Media has to have something sports related to talk about.

Greatest of All Time?

Last night, in the wake of another road loss at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers, Kobe Bryant passes Shaquille O’Neal on the NBA career scoring list and now sits all alone in 5th place all-time with 28,601 points. He trails just Wilt Chamberlin, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, although he sits nearly 10,000 points behind Jabbar at this point.

Kobe is 33 years old and had been able to achieve a lot of scoring success as he was drafted right out of high school by the Lakers. Last night on television, Earvin “Magic” Johnson proclaimed him the “Greatest Laker of All-Time” That is high praise coming from Johnson who many concede would be the current holder that title.

The fact is that Kobe will likely end up on top of the career scoring list, will have a fistful of NBA Championship rings, a myriad of All Star Game appearances and even an MVP title.

As with all sports some will argue he is the best ever, some naysayers will dispute that as a possibility.

If he stays healthy he is at least in the conversation of being considered the greatest player in the history of the NBA.

Until Next time….Stay classy Octagon, Alabama!
 

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The Super Bowl

January 31, 2012

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Super Bowl Media Day

An action packed week of sports as we are in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. The Giants and the Patriots are in Indianapolis where the main story still seems to be the future of Peyton Manning. Sadly this has overshadowed the Super Bowl in terms of media coverage. However, we are all in luck, today is Super Bowl Media day. Media day is the biggest train wreck of any media coverage in any sport at any venue. This might be pure marketing genius by the NFL as it is the closest thing to reality TV morphing with sports.

This year the NFL has handed out a little over 2000 press credentials as well as sold tickets to fans that want to come and watch the three ring circus.

In addition to what I would consider “legitimate” media from the networks, the sports channels, magazines etc., there will be folks there from late night talk shows, the entertainment industry, guys in dresses and people in costumes. You may even see a sasquatch or Batman.

I would say it is safe to surmise that the sportswriters and reporters resent the fact that this thing has turned more into an “event” than a true media setting.

Would love to see what the green jackets at Augusta would do if this happened at the Masters….

Super Bowl Wagering

No one expected the Giants to be here. Certainly not the Las Vegas sports books.

The Giants were as high as 250 to 1 on odds to win the Super Bowl this year after their four game slide. Even as they entered the playoffs they were still as high as 80 to 1 to win it all. There are a lot of casinos standing to lose a lot of money if the Giants win this game.

The other side of betting that is always interesting is the variety of proposition bets that take place for the Super Bowl. These are not wagers available on just any football game. You can bet on items such as who wins the coin toss, the first player to score, which team will score first, the number of catches, passing yards, penalties…..just about anything you can imagine.

There are also a bunch of wagers you would never imagine! The Color of Madonna’s hair at the halftime show, the length of the National Anthem sang by Kelly Clarkson, – even what color Gatorade the winning coach will be doused with. Vegas has way more action on these bets than they do on people just wagering on the game. The fun part is that ANYONE watching the game can place these bets and play along, there is really not much skill in most of these wagers and the luck factor is pretty high.

Ok, the Actual game itself

This game does not seem to be as hyped as in prior years. Maybe because the front running Packers were ousted early in the playoffs after going 15-1 during the regular season.
The New York Giants are arguably the hottest team right now, beating opponents who had a better regular season record in each of their three previous playoff games. The Patriots have quite possibly the worst statistical defense of a team to ever make the Super Bowl. They do however have 3 time winner in QB Tom Brady. The Giants have the hottest trio of young receivers in the league, a vaunted pass rush, and a solid running game, but a much worse record and are a big underdog.

The Patriots three losses this year came at the hands of teams with Top Tier Quarterbacks. They lost to the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger, they lost earlier in the year to the Giants and Eli Manning, and they lost to the Bills and Ryan Fitzpatrick when he was on an early season heater (ok, ok…two of the Quarterbacks are elite) Not sure I like the Giants to win, but I do like them to keep it close.

Now pass the little smokies and chips and salsa. I am looking forward to a great game this weekend.

Until Next Time, Stay Classy Indianapolis!
 

 

Are The Super Bowl Fans Getting Greedy?

February 9, 2011

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On Tuesday, I mentioned the plight of fans who were left without seats to the Super Bowl after temporary seating was not deemed safe in time for the game.  The fans were given the option of standing in standing-room-only sections or watching the game from TVs within the stadium.  Hardly the experience they expected when they paid a small fortune to buy tickets from scalpers and more money for airfare, lodging, and meals.

Almost immediately, the NFL said they would give $2400 refunds to the fans.  That’s three times the face value, but face value means very little when it comes to the actual cost of Super Bowl tickets.  Certainly a nice chunk of change, but the fans still wasted vacation time and the cost of the trip for a pretty lousy experience.

On Monday, the NFL increased the offer by including tickets to next year’s Super Bowl.  The tickets would be transferable, meaning that they could be sold.  Definitely a better offer.

On Tuesday, the NFL added an additional options.  The fans could choose to receive tickets to any future Super Bowl, plus airfare and accomodations.  The fans could wait until after the conference titles games to decide whether or not to attend – meaning that they would know whether or not their team would be in the game.  Fans taking this option would not get the $2400 cash (since they are getting airfare and accomodations), nor would the tickets be transferable.  I assume that if the original ticketholder died while waiting for their team to reach the Super Bowl, the experience would be transferrable to an heir – but I’m not sure the NFL has had the time to think through these types of scenarios yet.

I’m happy with that offer.  Presumably, these fans would get decent seats to the future game (to avoid negative publicity) and covering the cost of airfare and lodging would seem to offset costs to attend this year’s game.  If you’re a Packers or Steelers fan who really wanted a seat to this year’s Super Bowl, it’s not going to completely fix that problem – but what would?  Some things are priceless, and you can’t throw money at them to fix it.

While the league and the Cowboys certainly have some blame, the winter storm that smacked much of the country was a very large factor in wreaking havoc on the preparation for the Super Bowl.  As the proverb goes, “Man plans.  God laughs.”   (Note: next year’s game will be in balmy Indianapolis.)

Today, a lawsuit was filed against the league and the Cowboys (who hosted the game)  claiming breach of contract, deceptive sales practices, and fraud.  I’ll conceded that there was a breach of contract and even the possibility of deceptive sales practices – but outright fraud?  Does anyone actually believe the NFL intended to defraud these people?  I sincerely believe that the NFL would have loved for the temporary seating to be deemed safe and to have butts in those seats.

I suspect that the league may set a deadline for accepting its offer and make fans sign a release that prevents them from suing for further damages.  Fans who join the lawsuit might end up with more money … or they might lose the lawsuit and get nothing.  I’m certainly no legal scholar, but it appears that the NFL has made a good faith effort to rectify the wrong.  Will Lady Justice see the fans as victims … or as gold diggers?

A Random Bucket o’ Stuff

February 8, 2011

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My web consulting business, Sparks by Kosmo, is off to a solid start, buoyed by reviews on The Digerati Life and Out of Debt Again.  It’s throwing some chunks of revenue my way without consuming a huge amount of time.  That’s a win.  In celebration, I’ve launched a super-secret fiction coaching academy that will kick off with the first class in March.  The first class is already full, but I’ll be advertising spots in subsequent classes at a later time.

I’m going to make an attempt to push Mountains, Meadows, and Chasms into the world of literature.  The compiled edition of stories is now 80,000+ words – featuring more than 70 of your favorite stories (I’ve cut out some of the chaff).  I’m looking for a literary agent – I’ll keep you up to speed on things.

My baseball card book has been getting a bit of traction, and we’ll be ramping up publicity a bit in the coming months, including a media appearance.  ESPN?  Er, well, no.

I had a pretty lousy Super Bowl Sunday.  In my early years, I was a Bears fan.  In my early teens, I became a Vikings fan.  For the past two years, I’ve have been Favrecotting the NFL until my least favorite player (any guesses who he is?) resigns.  During that entire span of time – a quarter of a century – I have hated the Green Bay Packers.  Imagine my disgust when they won.  To make the spectacle even worse, the Fox “dream team” broadcasting the game was Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and the stupid robot (a/k/a/ nepotism, pretty boy former QB, and stupid robot).  Excuse me while I make my way to the vomitorium.

Four hundred fans with tickets to the game were left out in the cold when temporary seating could not be deemed safe prior to the game.  After being herded like cattle while a decision about their fate was made, they were eventually given the option of watching from standing room only areas or viewing on TVs within the stadium.  The fans will be given triple refunds (triple the face value, not triple what they paid to scalpers) and tickets to next year’s Super Bowl … but watching a Lions – Brown Super Bowl next year probably wouldn’t be as much fun to a Packers or Steelers fan as watching this game would have been – not to mention the expenses they incurred for travel and lodging to attend an event that they really didn’t “attend”.

The NFL announced the 2011 Hall of Fame class.  While all of the inductees are deserving, the complaint is that a lot of deserving players are not getting in.  Indeed, you could make a case for all fifteen of this year’s finalists.  However, no matter how great they are, only five of them were ging to be inducted, per the rules.  In other words, if the all time best quarterback, running back, receiver, linebacker, defensive end, and defensive back all retired at the same time, it would be an absolute certainty that one of them would not be a first ballot hall of famer.  Contrast this to baseball, where a writer can list as many players as they wish – the only issue is whether they are named on 75% of the ballots.

Longtime Texas Ranger Michael Young is on the trading block.  In recent years, the Rangers have bounced Young around the infield like a ping pong ball as they wedge other players (Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre) into the lineup.  Now they want Young to play DH.  One of the teams reportedly interested in Young – and his $16 million salary – are my Colorado Rockies.  Young slumped in the second half of 2010, and is in his mid 30s … but if he can put up number similar to what he had a few years back, he’d be an interesting guy to have in the lineup.

LeBron’s former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, recently lost their 25th consecutive game.  That’s very impressive to me.  Regardless of how bad a team is, you’d think at some point they’d have a night where luck went their way and every close shot went in.

Not About The Super Bowl

February 7, 2011

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This article is not about the Super Bowl, well at least not about the game.  As a Steelers fan it is just too painful to comment on the game right now.  I want to talk about the things that make the Super Bowl not a game, but an event.  Let’s start with the 24 hours of pre-game.  I know that Fox did not have 24 hours of pre-game by themselves, there was a hand off/overlap with ESPN.  We got to learn about every previous Super Bowl, all of the players, some of their wives.  There was the exceptional tribute to Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, even though they were not in the Super Bowl (I wonder how the other host teams feel about that).  We were pummeled with how great Pittsburgh and Green Bay have been in the past; lots of black and white film for Green Bay, not so much for Pittsburgh as they were rather atrocious before 1969.  All of these segments were separated by musical entertainment, primarily from Keith Urban.

The real pre-game was actually very nice.  There were tributes to our armed forces, including a reading of the Declaration of Independence featuring players, service men and women, retired general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the Commissioner of Football.  Then came the singing of God Bless America and the National Anthem.  I feel Sorry for Christina Aguilera.  She missed one line of the Anthem and the morning media have been all over her about that.  Her apology seems sincere and she seems embarrassed about it.  All in all, I think the pregame was classy.

Fast forward to the half time entertainment.  A lot of people think that the half time entertainment is important.  I guess if you spent $4500 you would want a first class ride for the entire 4 hours.  Ever since the Janet Jackson event, I have spent half time cleaning up the food and hunkering down for the second half.  I caught some of the act.  The special effects and music were what you would expect from the Black Eyed Peas.  If you like them, you like the show.  If not, well I am glad I was not with my father for this half time.  I do not think I could have explained it to him.

So what else is there to talk about other than the game?  The commercials, of course.  My personal favorite was the kid dressed as Darth Vader starting the car with the Jedi Powers of the Force.  Although watching Roseanne Barr get wacked with a log was pretty good, too.  There were other interesting ads, and I believe there will be a special on TV to go through them all, or you can look at them on-line at www.superbowl-commercials.org. I enjoyed the entire experience, especially since it was over by 9:45.  I hope the NFL continues to have the early start to the Super Bowl for those of us who have to work on Monday.

Super Bowl, NASCAR, Olympics, and Baseball

February 9, 2010

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Another Super Bowl is in the books. With a two year old and an infant in the house, I managed to catch a very small chunk of the game – including the critical interception. What a nice post-season by Tracy Porter, with the pick-6 in the Super Bowl as well as the pivotal interception against the Vikings. I was pulling slightly for the Colts, but didn’t mind having Drew Brees and the Saints nab the win.

Danica Patrick finished 6th in a stock car race over the weekend. Before getting too excited, it should be noted that this was not a NASCAR race, but an ARCA race. With absolutely no disrespect to the fine drivers in the ARCA series, ARCA is not at the same level as NASCAR. Having said that, it’s still a nice achievement for someone jumping from a light Indy car into a heavy stock car. That’s one factor that could work against Danica this year as she races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (the second highest series, not to be confused with the Sprint Cup Series). She will be running a full Indy season and a partial NASCAR seasons – jumping back and forth between Indy cars and stock cars. These are types of cars that handle very differently, and the end result could be disappointing seasons in both series as her muscle memory gets all wonked up. (The true NASCAR fans out there are going to realize that this is hardly a unique assessment on my part).

I’m definitely pulling for Danica to make a successful transition. Really, there is no reason why a woman can’t succeed in NASCAR. Women have had success in several other racing series. If we look across to NHRA, Shirley Muldowney and Angelle Sampey have won championships, and Melanie Troxel is a contender in the Funny Car series.

Jimmie Johnson is trying for his fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup title this year. I’m hoping that Tony Stewart – who led the points race for much of last year – is able to knock him down a notch. The Gatorade Duels (qualifying races) take place on Thursday and the flag drops on the Daytona 500 at noon Eastern time on Sunday.

The Olympics are very nearly upon us. Fire up your DVRs. Coverage will be available NBC, CNBC, USA, MSNBC, and C-Span (OK, maybe not that last one). Go to NBCOlympics.com for details. I’m very disappointed to see that women’s luge (featuring my favorite 2010 Olympian, Erin Hamlin) will be in the 11:30 PM to 1:00 AM time slot in my time zone. The current Sports Illustrated features a guide to the Olympics. USA Today also has a special edition on the new stands. The USA Today edition has some information that is a bit out of date, but it seems to be a good overall reference.

I got my new t-shirt from USALuge.org and will thus be stylin’ while watching the Olympics.

Next week, pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training. Expect to see a LOT of baseball coverage this year – even more than last year, since Kosmo will have MLB Extra Innings this year (w00t!). 2010 should be an interesting year. Players like Matt Holiday, Jason Bay, John Lackey, Zach Greinke, Felix Hernandex, and Justin Verlander will be out to provde that they are worthy of their new contracts. Seventeen year old JUCO baseball player Bryce Harper will look to make the leap into the professional ranks – perhaps as the #1 overall pick. Will the McCourt divorce tear apart the Dodgers? Will Sheets and Bedard rebound from injuries and return to their previous levels?  Will the National League finally administer a well-deserved beatdown to their little brothers in the Junior Circuit?