Saturday, September 29, 2012

(Almost) All of the Matches Dave Meltzer Has Given *****

I've seen a lot of these already and am very familiar with just about everyone that is on this list. There's plenty of repetition of names and the reason should be obvious. Now I don't agree with Meltzer all the time, but this is still well, well worth checking out because there are plenty and I mean plenty of classics here. Guaranteed.

Friday, September 28, 2012

From "Anatomy of a Touchdown" to "Will the Real Refs Please Stand Up?"

Yeah, it's been quite the week for the NFL after the infamous end to Monday Night Football.

For those who were under a rock this week or don't watch sports, The Seahawks were given a gift-victory in the form of a simultaneous possession call that was DEAD WRONG on the final play of their game against my home-state Green Bay Packers. I do love my Packers, so that made it that much more painful for me, but that doesn't mask my ability to tell what happened during a play, whether it benefits the team I'm rooting for or not.

If you were to watch the replay of Golden Tate and M.D. Jennings coming down with the football on Russell Wilson's Hail Mary throw, it's clear that both had the ball when they landed, but it's equally clear to me that Jennings had possession first and then Tate got a hand on the ball. This would mean Jennings should have been awarded the interception and the Packers should have won.

But to be honest, the part that gets me about the play isn't that the refs messed up the call and gave the Seahawks the game-winning touchdown on the game's final play, but that Tate's blatant and painfully obvious pass interference penalty wasn't called. This call would've ended the game regardless of what the refs believed happened at the end of the Hail Mary throw. And while Tate's initial denial of any wrongdoing in the end-zone was funny, what isn't funny is that the most obvious kind of pass interference was missed by these disgraceful, excuse me, replacement refs. That's what got under my skin about the whole thing.

Replacement refs not knowing about pass interference: I'm pretty sure I mentioned that once or twice already on this blog.

If nothing else, this fiasco provided the catalyst for the league and the real refs to finally get a deal done that would see the right zebras back on the football field. But to the real refs: don't expect the glee and joy for your presence to be long-lived. It won't.

What I found funny was how easy of a time a friend of mine had trolling on Facebook for Packer Backers overreacting after the game. It was very easy for him and he had a bit of fun.

But it was easy because this was another example of what I've already ranted about on here and is something that friend and I share hatred for: people who believe a game is decided by one play. Yes, Monday Night and plays similar to it can make it easy to trace the outcome of an entire game down to one play, but that doesn't make it any less silly an activity.

If Packer fans want to be pissed off about something constructive, be pissed at how your team played. Giving up 8 sacks in the first half is a good place to start. Eight sacks would be a bad total for a whole game, let alone a whole half. Eight sacks! It's mind-blowing. Or how about converting an important third down every now and again? The game was downright depressing for me to watch during that first half as I was forced to watch the Packer offensive line at its worst while the Packer defense had to bail them out, and that isn't something that's commonplace over the last few seasons.

The game itself was one of the most surreal football games I have seen in years. There was good defense on display, but also a whole lot of pitiful play from both offenses and general sloppiness all around.

Hopefully the 1-2 Pack can bounce back as both losses have been close, but have also demonstrated why the Packers are going to really have to work for it this year. No 15-1 or 14-2 or 13-3 in Green Bay's immediate future, but the season is far from DEFCON 4.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Thoughts About Football on Sunday

-An easy way to describe yesterday is that there was a whole lot of craziness in the NFL.

-Lions and Titans light up the scoreboard for 46 combined points in the fourth, including Shaun Hill (who I thought was done in football) coming off the bench for an injured Matthew Stafford and leading the Lions back. And how about that hail-mary at the end of regulation? It just goes to show that in that situation, you've gotta bat that ball to the ground, not in the air, no matter what. But the Lions managed to lose despite the gift because of some miscommunication when they ran a fourth & one QB sneak instead of going for the game-tying field-goal that would've continued the overtime period. Crazy.

-Houston Texans may be the best team in football after this week with a very convincing outing against Peyton and the Broncos.

-RG3 plays really good again and the Redskins' D can't keep up. Get ready D.C., this is going to be your season.

-Maurice Jones-Drew finally looked like himself for the first time this season.

-I see Greg Schiano pulled that bullshit of having his defense go full force on the kneel down as the Buccaneers lost again. At least he's consistent, but he'd better not cry when the same thing happens to his team the next time they win a game.

-49ers may have lost in Minnesota, but they are still one of the best in the game.

-Then again, maybe the Atlanta Falcons are the best team in football after they trounced San Diego in their own home.

-It looks like I'm going to be stuck with the Arizona Cardinals for at least a little longer as they brutalized Vick and the Eagles

-The now common strategy of trying to ice the kicker bit the Dolphins when they called timeout on a blocked field-goal and then lost when the game-winning kick went through on the second try. If it's not karma it's just the world straightening itself out after a pointless bit of strategy.

-The Ravens/Pats night game was a great back-and-forth football game while also showcasing a few more examples of how bad these replacement refs can be. But 24 penalties? That's a "wow!" kind of number in my opinion. And 13 of them resulted in first downs. Crazy.

-That kick from Justin Tucker that won the game for Baltimore was really, really close to missing. My friend (a huge Ravens fan) and I both thought it missed in real time, it was the replay that showed us it was good.

-Congrats and condolences to Torrey Smith. Congrats for his epic receiving performance last night and condolences for his loss.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Thoughts on Football from Saturday

-Hate Notre Dame, but have to respect their defense. They shut Shoelace down and made sure not to crack in the fourth. But don't get jumpy at the notion of the Irish running the table because if that offense plays like they did last night against tougher opponents like Oklahoma, Stanford, and USC that are still left on the schedule, they will be more likely to end up 8-4 than 12-0.

-I don't quite think FSU made me think they are for real with the win over Clemson. At least not national championship for real, but they definitely look like a team that can win the ACC.

-Clemson's defense will once again be their Achilles's heel and will continue to negate the great work their offense does as conference play continues. I actually wrote about that several times last year when I was at Inside Pulse and it still holds true.

-If only Arizona could've scored even once in the Oregon red-zone, maybe their game would have been mildly entertaining. Instead it was a wipeout and pissed me off because I was looking forward to it more than I care to admit now.

-Alright Kansas State! I've been a fan of Bill Snyder's work at that school since my younger years and it's been one of the joys of watching college football recently for me to see vindication that Bill Snyder seems to be the only reason this program can consistently win. All the years before he originally came to Kansas St. were marked with some horrifically bad seasons, then Snyder comes and they become a successful program, he leaves and they turn to shit again, he comes back and they're winning again. Coincidence? I think not.

-Montee Ball...damn. Hopefully his season ain't over, but it may have to be.

-The Big Ten has been thoroughly disappointing in their non-conference games. A losing record against the MAC, though a good conference, is an indication of how this conference has fallen in recent years.

-The Pac-12 is finally starting to deserve all of the talk of it being among the best conferences in college football. USC is still alive for a national title berth, Oregon is easily deserving of its position in the top three of the polls, Oregon St. appears to be better than anybody thought they were before the season, UCLA is still pretty good, Stanford has the USC win and is still somewhat under the radar, and if you're not aware that Arizona St. is 3-1, I don't blame you, but it's true.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Seems Even Vince McMahon Still Has Debts to Pay Off

Ah, deadbeat multimillionaires.

It is nice to see that even rich people have bills to pay. Of course, rich people (as evidenced here) can get out of paying those bills for decades without consequence. Remember, Vince started rolling in cash back in the late-80's, so yes it's been decades since those debuts could've been paid off.

The timing of this story is obvious with Linda running for Senate in Connecticut. Like last time she ran, I don't believe she'll win and hopefully she won't win. I am a big pro wrestling fan, but of many promotions in multiple countries, and I don't believe that this country needs a McMahon in government. I was cool with Jesse Ventura being governor of Minnesota because he had previous political experience in Minnesota before running for governor and was thus far more qualified for a high-ranking government position than Linda who has no previous experience in politics. But she is a McMahon, so....yeah.

I'll say this though: the attacks on her for being associated with The E (WWE) are pretty stupid considering all of the footage the people who attack her use are from a decade ago at the most recent, and it's not as if Linda ranked Vince at any time when it came to decisions over the product that they put on television.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I Can Hardly Wait for Jon Jones' Post-Fight Interview Saturday Night

I do like that one of the questions was a comparison to LeBron leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers because both men have one thing in common in regards to their respective situations and that is that neither did the one thing they should have done to tone down the PR nightmare they were going through: SHUT THE FUCK UP. That's it. All either man had to do was tone down the sound bites and not do as many interviews, and they wouldn't have unintentionally painted themselves as the villain of their respective sports.

I don't believe that Jon Jones should be considered a villain in MMA because I don't believe that sports is a place where there is need for participants to be characterized as good guys or bad guys unless they earn that distinction in competition. Jones earned the ire of MMA fans because of his general attitude and just about everything he has said in reference to the cancellation of UFC 151 earlier this month.

I also loved the part where he made light of it saying that it isn't real-life drama. Tell that to the guys who lost out on a paycheck for the show because of the cancellation. Oh and about those guys: I read in another interview with Jones that he believes those fighters should be more angry at Dana about the cancellation because it's a negative indication of their worth to the promotion and the sport that a whole card had to be cancelled because of one fight being called off. For a guy who thinks of himself as a businessman within the sport, he sure didn't exercise a lot of business smarts in making those comments. Of course the pay-per-view had to be cancelled after that match was called off because it was the main-event of the show and wasn't the first big fight on the card that had to be re-tooled due to injury to one of the participants. The rest of the card would've been fine entertainment for MMA fans and those who love the sport, but to the general public it wouldn't have been worth $45, and likely wouldn't have been worth the money to hardcore fans either. It's not just about the sport or about if the card is going to be good or not, if it was than every UFC card would be on pay-per-view. It's also about the names on the card, and since it's an individual sport, how could name value not be a component in selling the sport and selling a fight card? For a guy who went from nothing to main-eventing pay-per-views and getting a major endorsement deal from Nike, it's pretty funny that he has that little comprehension of the value of drawing power.

Yes, Dana deserves a lot of the blame for UFC 151 being cancelled. Dan Henderson deserves some too for not bringing his injury to light even a little sooner than he did. But so does Jon Jones, because there was an opportunity for him to still fight, and against a fighter similar to Hendo. And for those who still want to side completely with Jones on this one or believe that Sonnen is sooooo much different than Henderson, please check out an article I wrote for MMA6 earlier this month. And don't worry about the date, it was posted on the site later than intended.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Remember What I Said About Pacquiao/Mayweather Never Happening...?

Apparently the big hurdle from making this fight happen is gone. However, the whole matter of if the drug testing for the fight should be random testing or set times for testing could still derail negotiations (as they have before) even if Floyd will be making more money for the fight.

What this says to me is that Pacquiao wants Mayweather to be his final fight in the ring. Why else would Manny give up 5% to Mayweather when he had every right to ask for a 50/50 split? And don't even bother bringing up the farce known as Pacquiao/Bradley.

The ball is in your court now Money Mayweather.


So because Josh Morgan let his emotions get the better of him and made a stupid penalty that basically put an end to the Redskins' last comeback attempt in their 31-28 loss to the Rams this past weekend, he has to take the brunt of the abuse from angry fans, which included death threats and threats against Morgan's family. Yeah it was on Twitter so how much weight can it really carry, but still.

So the Redskins' defense who gave up the lead their offense had produced weren't to blame for the loss? So RG3 apparently worrying more about getting hit than winning the game wasn't to blame? So the Rams' offense in coming back and eventually winning the game weren't to blame either?

No, apparently not. Apparently it was all Josh Morgan's fault for one stupid mistake that I completely understand considering Cortland Finnegan is, in my opinion, one of the dirtiest football players walking the earth. Remember that dust-up between him and Andre Johnson when Finnegan was with the Titans? If Morgan was that pissed off about Finnegan pushing on his facemask, I'm gonna cut him some slack considering my own resentment for the player that was pushing on his facemask.

And as for those who are so fanatical about their love of a particular sports team or that big of an asshole to believe their only out after their teams loses is to threaten the life of a player on that team and his family, you are the worst examples of sports fandom. Period. End of discussion, end of debate. If you love your team so much that you feel the need to threaten the life of a player you would otherwise be cheering for, then there is something seriously wrong inside your brain. See a shrink, see a doctor, get a PET scan, do something because you are sick my friends.

This type of bullshit happens all the time because people are so thickheaded as to believe that a game in any sport is decided by one play. A football game typically sees each team run at least sixty plays, SIXTY!!! A baseball game requires there to be a minimum of 27 batters to step to the plate in a nine inning game, 27 BATTERS AND NINE INNINGS!!! A basketball game lasts forty-eight minutes and sees at least fifty shots attempted by each team, FORTY-EIGHT MINUTES AND FIFTY OR MORE SHOTS!!! Is the point I'm trying to make sinking in yet?

I know the stereotype is that sports fans are dumb, but this "one play can decide a game" notion is the main thing that's given the stereotype weight. I'll just throw some names out there from sports history: Bill Buckner, Scott Norwood, Mitch Williams, and most recently Kyle Williams. These men felt plenty of fan abuse after a team defeat that was not determined by their mistakes alone, but by the combination of events from players on both sides that transpires in any team sports contest.

It's never about one play or one man. It's about the totality of everything that took place on the playing field that day. If you were to look at the film from the Redskins/Rams game this past Sunday, I'll guarantee you could spot at least ten plays where somebody screwed up. Should we start threatening them and their families too? But because Morgan's mistake, like the mistakes from Buckner, Norwood, and both Williams' took place near or at the end of the game, their mistakes are apparently the only ones that matter.

Fans, calm yourselves because this whole threatening players with death thing is getting out of hand, and it's not good for any sport if their fans get a legitimate reputation for border-line psychotics who threaten players after cheering for them. Enough already, enough.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pacquiao & Mayweather Finally Fight...In Court

Well this is the closest these two are ever going to get to each other, because that boxing match sure as hell isn't ever going to happen. And the funniest part: the fine has nothing to do with the case, it's because Mayweather didn't show up to a court-ordered deposition.

Thinking about this just makes me want to watch that drunken vid that Mayweather posted a few years back just GOING OFF on Manny about his size, race, etc. That was funny ha-ha, not funny sad like this is.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Steve Sabol, 1942-2012

The man who was the face of NFL Films for my entire life died today.

It's an interesting death for me as a sports fan because Sabol wasn't a commentator on a major network for pro football, wasn't an on-the-field personality or anything like that, but his face and voice will be recognizable with me for his work with NFL Films.

I was an NFL Films junkie as a kid because it was on ESPN every day when I got home from school. This addiction always got worse when January rolled around and they began re-airing the NFL Films Super Bowl films. A tradition I did have as a child for many years was to wake up Super Sunday and watch the whole marathon. I believe the last time I did this was the day of Super Bowl XXXIV.

All those years falling in love with the history of the sport was done through NFL Films and with Steve Sabol more times than not providing the intro and exit to whatever it was that I was watching.

Brain Cancer isn't always a death sentence, but when it's combined with an inoperable tumor, it's one of those things that very likely is a death sentence. I realized this when I read the story about a year and a half ago about Sabol's condition and knew at that moment that he was going to die someday. Not if, but when. Nevertheless, I simply put it out of mind because of all the other things in my life and in sports, film, T.V., politics, the world, etc. that I watch, listen to, participate in, and think about.

But today my thoughts are back to Steve Sabol. He was never an iconic narrator of NFL Films' productions, but he will always be a voice and face that I associate with NFL Films as well as those incredibly nice childhood memories for the rest of my life.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Some Quickie Football Thoughts from Sunday

Here's some random thoughts and musings from pro football on Sunday and the Thursday game:

-The Jaguars, Raiders, and Titans are probably done for this season already.

-If Eli is going to need to throw for 500 yards every single week, the Giants won't make the playoffs this year. Period.

-The 49ers are the best team in pro football right now. Period.

-The Packers defense played spectacularly last Thursday, but it was against the Bears so it's not going to be a performance that is going to be replicated throughout the season. I am fully aware of that, but as a Packer fan I would love to see this kind of performance out of the defense weekly.

-Do I really need to group the Arizona Cardinals in with teams that have legitimate shots to go somewhere this season? Maybe.

-RG3 has fulfilled the hype so far. Too bad that Redskin defense has to be as bad as it is

-Andrew Luck is doing just fine, but don't expect him to be as flashy or productive as RG3 this year. They play for different teams with different problems in different conferences.

-If the Jets are only going to use Tebow for 5-10 snaps a game in wildcat plays primarily, then I can understand why they got him in the first place. Anything else and I'm still scratching my head in confusion.

-These replacement refs really need to go. Pass interference is apparently a rule to be interpreted as the game goes along because if there's one specific penalty that these guys have been fucking up through the pre-season and up to the present, it's pass interference. That and pointing the wrong way to signal which team has the ball.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jim Calhoun Retires

My brother has been a University of Connecticut basketball fan for nearly twenty years, so I know the last two days have been tough ones for him as a sports fan.

Jim Calhoun is retiring as head men's basketball coach for the school after 26 seasons during which time he won 618 games, seven Big East tournament titles, nine Big East regular season titles, one NIT title, made it to four final four's, and won three national titles--1999, 2004, 2011.

For me, it is just one more example of the closing of an era. That era that I'm referring to is the era of the Big East. The coaches have been among the best or most iconic in college basketball's history, the style of play was always fiercer than the other conferences', all of the players and games, and of course that yearly conference tournament of theirs in The Garden. So, so many memories for me as a sports fan.

But that era will be gone soon enough with the departures of Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and U Conn from the conference as well as Notre Dame's eventual departure.

Once the departures take place, the conference will never again be what it was for a great deal of its existence: the best conference in all of college basketball. And for the last twenty years, Jim Calhoun and the consistent success of U Conn was one of the big reasons why.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Notre Dame to the ACC in Every Sport...Except Football

There will come a day when college football's most beloved and despised (by fans) football team will end up in one of the major conferences. But they will continue to be independent for as long as humanly possible. Today's announcement said as much.

I'm a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE Michigan football fan so this shouldn't come as a surprise: I respect the Irish's football tradition and specifically the Irish football teams under Lou Holtz, but have always found myself cheering against them in almost every one of their rivalry games. Even against USC, and I'm never been a huge USC fan either. Even in the '06 Fiesta Bowl I cheered for Ohio St., AND I'M A MICHIGAN FAN!!!!

That being said, I don't think there's anything specifically wrong with the Irish remaining independent. But I am glad to see that it's finally starting to hurt them during seasons that are, let's say less than stellar.

The tightening of their at-large status and the fact that being a conference champion will weigh big on getting picked in the future playoff system (another topic for another day) provide the proof of this. They also send the message that Notre Dame is going to have to either make the absolute most with what they have and start to rebuild a winning image or become just another college football team.

This ACC move should guarantee that future Irish schedules will look as difficult or at least close to the difficulty of this year's schedule. The ACC has several teams that the Irish are familiar with and that are already on the schedule. Think Miami (Fla.) and Boston College. But now the reality could be any combination of three among teams like Florida St., Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and Clemson. I'm sure they'll throw themselves a Duke or North Carolina among one of the five ACC games that will be on future schedules, but if they schedule hard like they did this year, they deserve to be thrown a bone.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pacquiao/Marquez IV a Possibility for December 8

As a fight fan, I am ecstatic by this news. Bob Arum, head of Top Rank Boxing and someone I have my issues with, has made it known that the fighters are in the  negotiation stage of a potential fight. Pacquiao's next fight is scheduled for December 8 no matter the opponent.

Considering the backlash against the Bradley decision (and rightfully so!), the scheduled rematch appears to have been called off since it's unlikely (DUH!) as many people who bought Pacquiao/Bradley in June would come back and buy the sequel considering the twist ending they got.

So it appears as though the two great rivals may be going at it for a fourth time, something that is rare in boxing rivalries. At the same time, there isn't much out there for either fighter at this point in their respective careers.

For Marquez it's almost entirely a quest for a more profound respect than he currently possesses. It's likely just his need to break through a certain position in terms of popularity, in terms of drawing power, in terms of recognition for all that he has accomplished. I have been a Juan Manuel Marquez fan since the first time I saw him box on HBO, and if there is a name fighter who is underrated by people, it has been this guy for a number of years. It's always kind of baffled me because anyone who's watched the guy can see that he possesses the traits and characteristics that boxing purists as well as average fight fans would want to see.

For Pacquiao, this fight is probably the only thing keeping him in boxing. He's a fighter nearing the end of his road who has already figured out what he wants to do when his time in the ring is done. Manny's politics and religion have both begun to take over his life and when something like that happens, the fighter has to retire because their heart is no longer in it 100%. This is when a lot of fighters begin to get hurt unnecessarily.

And this would be a fight that would test both men considering the ferocity, punch output, and damage these two have inflicted on the other in three exciting, entertaining, back and forth, and close meetings in the ring.

Everyone has their opinion on who won each of the fights, so I'll put mine out:

Pacquiao won the first, Marquez won the second, Pacquiao won the third.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Welcome to the Blog

This is the beginning of something I've been thinking of doing for a long time and finally decided to do. This blog will feature links to my writing as well as anything that I like, hate, or am interested in enough to post a link and give my thoughts on. Quick note on my writing: I'll be linking you to the sites themselves or my archive at the site just so you don't get irritated with constant self-promoting links by yours truly.

Below is a set of links for where you can contact me and see my writing.


You can find me on Facebook and on Twitter

I write for a number of sites including MMA 101, Boxing 101, MMA6, and The Wrestling Press

I write college football for the newly modified Rant Sports

I also am a contributor for Yahoo!