September 16, 2013
Top-ranked Alabama tops #6 Texas A&M – Johnny Manziel knocked off the Crimson Tide last season, but this year, it wasn’t meant to be. Top-ranked Alabama defeated the Aggies on the road 49-42 behind 334 passing yards and four touchdowns from quarterback A.J. McCarron. After the big win, the Crimson Tide retained their No. 1 ranking in the college football polls that were released on Sunday.
Vladimir Guerrero and Todd Helton to retire from baseball – Former All-Stars Vladimir Guerrero and Todd Helton will both be stepping away from baseball this year. Guerrero has been out of the majors since 2011 and without a team, has decided to officially call it quits. Helton is still playing for the Colorado Rockies but will reportedly be retiring at the end of the season. Both have had remarkable careers and will warrant consideration for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Guerrero finishes his career with 449 home runs and a .318 batting average. After spending all 17 of his major league seasons in Colorado, Helton slugged 367 home runs and currently has a .317 career average. Neither are locks for the Hall of Fame, but Guerrero likely has the better shot. His numbers were slightly more impressive and there will surely be the questions about Helton’s stats put up in the Colorado air while playing in Coors Field.
Miami Heat bring back Michael Beasley – Troubled NBA forward Michael Beasley will get another shot in the NBA with the team that drafted him – the Miami Heat. Beasley was let go by the Phoenix Suns after some offseason drug troubles and The Heat decided to roll the dice by bringing him back. The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft has never quite lived up to expectations. Even when he averaged career-highs in points per game (19.2) after being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2010, he regressed after being sent back to the bench the following season. On the surface, the Beasley addition seems to make little sense with all of his off-court issues. But Miami’s frontcourt was the team’s weakness last season and even if Beasley provides some depth on the bench, the move will have been worth it if he can stay out of trouble.
Manning Bowl 28 – Okay, Peyton and Eli Manning may not have actually squared off 28 times – it just seems that way. The Manning boys were back at it again on Sunday and Peyton got the upper hand as his Denver Broncos defeated Eli’s New York Giants, 41-23. Eli had more passing yards (362), but his four interceptions were extremely costly in the rout.
Injury bug bites Yankees … again – The New York Yankees have been hit with injuries to a slew of players this season including Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, and many others. You can add one more to that list as centerfielder Brett Gardner went down with an oblique injury last week. This late in the season, he could be lost for the rest of the year. Gardner’s loss is a big one as New York has still found a way to compete for the postseason despite all of the setbacks.
August 23, 2012
One year ago, I went three-for-four picking NFL division champs and my Super Bowl team was a last-second missed field goal away from sending the AFC Championship game to overtime. What will happen this season? Only time and reading the rest of this article will tell.
Is it just me or does it feel like there is a changing of the guard happening here? It has been a two-horse race with New England on top with the Jets right behind in the wild card race for the last few seasons. That changes in 2012 because the Buffalo Bills have come to crash the party. Buffalo went on a major spending spree during the offseason and built what could be the best defensive line in the league. If they get a solid season from Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills will be in the playoff conversation in December. The Jets will be the most talked about team in the league. But not for the right reasons. Tebowmania has come to New York and already chased one quarterback out of town. This is still Tom Brady’s division but now it will be the Bills trying to keep pace.
Division winner: New England
Three AFC North teams went to the playoffs in 2011 with just the Browns staying home. That won’t happen again. Cleveland had a franchise-altering offseason though, drafting stud running back Trent Richardson and bringing in rookie Brandon Weeden to be the quarterback of the future. There is too much drama already going on in Pittsburgh. Some important players are still banged up. Mike Wallace is still holding out and the team can’t go more than a day or two without a fight at camp. Suddenly, the Bengals look like the team of the future in the North with new quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green leading the way. But this year it will go through Baltimore. The Ravens have several veterans looking for one more shot at a ring after falling just short of the Super Bowl last year.
Division winner: Baltimore
Things can change a lot in a year. The Colts have relinquished their stranglehold on the South and put their future in the hands of Andrew Luck. That leaves the South as Houston’s division to lose. The Texans finally made the jump to division champs last year and may have gone to the Super Bowl if Matt Schaub could have played in the playoffs. If he and Andre Johnson can stay on the field all year, there will be at least one playoff game in Texas in January. The Jaguars and Titans have given the keys to sophomore quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker. This could be a real interesting division for years to come with three young quarterbacks going at it. Not much drama in 2012 though.
Division winner: Houston
It’s not very often that a division champion wins a playoff game and then trades its starting quarterback. It’s also not very often that one of the best quarterbacks to ever play becomes available. Peyton Manning replaces Tim Tebow in Denver and will be the story of the West in 2012. It will be the most competitive division in 2012 just like it was in 2011 when everyone but the Chiefs went 8-8 and Kansas City was 7-9. It could come down to Peyton Manning, Darren McFadden, Jamal Charles and Antonio Gates. Who stays healthy? Who has a down year? Who regains their form and has a monster season? We won’t have a winner until week 17 when Oakland goes to San Diego and Kansas City visits Denver.
Division winner: Denver
Wild Card winners: Kansas City, Cincinnati
AFC champion: Houston
June 13, 2012
NFL teams are starting to get back in the swing of mandatory mini-camps and practices, bringing joy to their fans at the sign of football season nearing. At the same time, some fan bases are worried about key players missing camp and when, or more importantly if, they will return. Here are five players making their fans, and even some teams, nervous.
With all that has happened with the New Orleans Saints this off-season, this is the last thing the city needs. Brees was franchised and has yet to be offered a long-term deal that he finds suitable. While everyone knows that Drew Brees knows the Saints’ offense like he created it himself, he needs this time to work with new head coach Joe Vitt before the season starts. Even though this is more a question of “when” rather than “if”, it just adds to a couple of months Saints fans would love to forget.
Matt Forte is upset at being franchised and doesn’t seem too happy that they tied up money signing RB Michael Bush in free agency. The Chicago Bears are supposed to contend for the playoffs this season, and even with Bush and WR Brandon Marshall added this off-season, you have to assume Forte will be a major cog in that offense. Forte will eventually be back and I don’t think many Bears fans are truly worried about his return. However, they may have to worry about his attitude once he is back.
This is a situation the Baltimore Ravens need to handle carefully. With most of these players it is a foregone conclusion they will play sometime this season. That isn’t necessarily the case with Ed Reed. Reed is almost 34, and with several nagging injuries and complaints about respect, Reed could easily call it quits. All of that aside, I don’t think he will and if it weren’t for his comments about being unhappy I would say his missing camp is the least worrisome. If anyone knows the Ravens defense and how to be ready come Sunday it is Ed Reed. Until he returns to the team though, I would be nervous as a Ravens fan.
Maurice Jones Drew
For a franchise that has had little to celebrate recently, this is just more bad news to hear. Maurice Jones-Drew was the Jacksonville Jaguars offense this past season and now would like to be paid like it. He is currently the 8th highest paid RB and only has two years left on that deal. Jones-Drew is making a statement that could cost him $60,000 by missing camp, but if he holds out during the season, it could cost the Jaguars a lot more than that.
Along the same lines as everyone on this list, Mike Wallace wants a long term contract. Wallace broke out last season with almost 1200 yards receiving and has a bright future as a go to wide receiver. At the same time, the Pittsburgh Steelers have plenty of high-profile players who need to be paid, and with other receivers such as Antonio Brown on the roster, they may not want to spend as much as Wallace would like. Luckily for them, the franchise tag will make sure Wallace gets into camp before losing too much money, but it doesn’t mean he has to be happy about it. Even if Wallace was a distraction, the Steelers are a veteran team that would put a stop to that before it effected the season. I wouldn’t be too concerned as a Steelers fan.
February 17, 2011
The NFL just crowned another champion in Green Bay. If you’re anything like me, your team didn’t make it all the way. For some fans, not winning titles is more of a tradition than bringing home trophies. In cities like Detroit, Cleveland, Jacksonville and Houston, fans have never experienced a Super Bowl—let alone a world championship. (Somewhere in the distance, Bret Michaels is singing, “Give Me Something to Believe In.”) But fear not, fans of lovable losers everywhere: your days of salvation are coming soon in the form of the NFL draft.
It happens for a few days each April at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Fans from every NFL city gather to cheer, boo, jeer and chant as their favorite teams sort through the best college talent in America. From college student athlete to instant millionaire, the draftees enter the world of professional football with the weight of fans’ expectations on their shoulders.
There’s a saying in football, “Everybody’s favorite player is the backup quarterback.” On draft day, a city’s favorite player and the fans’ franchise savior is the guy just drafted. Reality on the football field rarely meets the hype and hope of the draft room. But for three days in April, the 31 NFL franchises that didn’t win the Super Bowl all find something to believe in— without the bandana.
September 10, 2008
By Ignacio Salazar
A 38-17 beat down by the Pittsburgh Steelers wasn’t the way the Texans planned to start the season. The further the clock ticked away from the coin toss, the more the Texans troubles seemed to mount.
On the opening drive, Coach Gary Kubiak elected to go for a fourth and one in Steelers territory. After an official review, the Texans came up short. The team – and their game – never bounced back.
Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, and his offense had a field day with the Texans defense, who seemed to mimic a scout team defense. Roethlisberger nearly had a perfect day going 13-for-14 with 137 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, the Steelers had their way and then some as Willie Parker rushed 25 times for 138 yards and three touchdowns – more than he had ALL of last year.
The Texan’s offense appeared woeful as well. Matt Schaub, 1-7 on the road as a starter, had two interceptions. His offense didn’t score until the fourth quarter when the game was well out of reach.
Starting running back Ahman Green had five rushes for 28 yards and rookie Steve Slaton had 13 rushes for 43 yards. Still, the Texans are desperately seeking relief for their running game.
The only bright spot for the Texans was Mario Williams, who had two sacks and a forced fumble.
Next Sunday, the Texans return home to face the Baltimore Ravens, a big game believe it or not. An 0-2 start isn’t going to sit pretty with the Houston crowd, especially since every fan is well aware of the team’s opponents for the next three games - the Titans, Colts and Jaguars. All playoff teams from last year.