Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ken Griffey Junior Mints

Ken Griffey Junior Mints

Monday, October 8, 2012

Homeless in the NFL

I'm homeless for the first time in my life.

 I'm without an NFL team.

 For most people, this wouldn't be the worst thing that's ever happened. It isn't for me either, but it's pretty close.

 I grew up loving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Warrick Dunn, Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, Keyshawn Johnson (for a brief time), John Lynch, Simeon Rice, Anthony McFarland, Mike Alstott, etc. made me happy every weekend because I knew they were going to come out and play harder than anyone else on the field for 60 minutes. Well, Keyshawn would take some plays off if he didn't get the ball enough, but that's neither here nor there. Alas, here we are: 2012. The Buccaneers are rebuilding, and I'm completely fine with that. I'm completely fine with the fact that they haven't really been competitive since they won the Super Bowl in 2002. I am not fine with the fact that they have hired a despicable human being in Greg Schiano. He isn't a good coach, and he just doesn't coach the game the right way. (See: New York Giants game.) Therefore, I renounce my fandom to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

 I was also a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals for an extended period of time. I always loved their jerseys when I was younger, and I vaguely remember a man named Ickey Woods. When you're young, that's all you need to be happy. A player with an awesome name, and probably the coolest helmet in pro football. In 2000, they drafted my favorite player out of Florida State: Peter Warrick. I was ecstatic. Warrick's career was derailed by injuries, so we never actually got to see his potential. Very sad. In 2004, the Bengals drafted my best friend, so I became even closer to the franchise. Unfortunately, he had to retire due to injuries in 2009, and since then the franchise has completely flipped their players and I find myself unattached to the franchise. While I'm happy they're successful, I just don't feel any connection to them anymore.

 So here we are.

 A grown man searching for a home.

 The purpose of this is to get out and find a place to call home. So, I'm going to let the very few of you join me in this search. You're welcome.

 Before we go any further, I have some guidelines. I will not root for a team who's best player went to the University of Oklahoma, or the University of Florida. I hate them. I also will not root for any team who I consider to be "too good." I'm not in this to become a front runner. Doesn't feel right. I also recognize that some teams aren't really trying to win, and they're just collecting revenue checks; so I won't be going that route either.

 I will be evaluating teams on some sets of criteria that are very important to me.

 1. History of the Franchise - Players, Success, Coaches

 2. Ownership - How dedicated are they to winning? Is the owner good for the franchise?

 3. Fanbase - I don't want to follow a team who's fans are complete tools.

 4. Current Players - This is tricky because players obviously leave, but you have to feel a connection to who you're supporting, and there are some players that I refuse to support.

 5. Coach - See Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I will not support terrible human beings. Also, since my career is coaching, I have to like what they're doing on the field.

 That should be it. But I do reserve the right to make additions to my list of requirements.  Here's hoping I can find a home.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

2011 NFL Preview - Part 1

Well, it's been a year, and I've been busy. I know all of you have been impatiently waiting for my 2011 NFL Preview, so I will now bless you with it. I just looked at my picks from last year, and I did OK. I completely whiffed on my AFC pick for the Super Bowl, but nailed the Packers winning it. All that being said, here we go.


1. New England Patriots

I don't think there's any question who wins the division this year. The Patriots are the best team in the division and have bolstered their offense. With the addition of Chad Ochocinco, I think the offense will be VERY good. They still aren't the best rushing team, but they don't have to be. My questions for this team's ability to make it far in the playoffs starts with the back 8 in the defense. They have a great defensive line, and the addition of Albert Haynesworth makes them even better. That being said, they have no one who can rush the quarterback, and they just released their Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather. Most people don't question anything Bill Belichick does, but I do. Anyway, I don't like the Patriots, so I'm done talking about them.

2. Miami Dolphins

I like a lot of the things the Dolphins have to offer. I'm probably losing my mind, but I think Reggie Bush will have a career year, Brandon Marshall is an absolute freak, and their offensive line can give Chad Henne some time. I'm just worried about Chad Henne. He's not good, but he still has NFL ability, and when you're given time and throwing to a guy like Marshall, you've got a chance. Defensively, Miami has a good secondary and Mike Nolan knows what he's doing. Along with that, they have a pretty deep defensive line with the ability to get pressure on any down. I can't believe I'm about to say this, but the Dolphins appear to be rising up the ranks of the AFC and I believe that starts in 2011.

3. New York Jets

Surprise, surprise. The Jets will finish third in their division, but talk about how great they are, and how they're going to the Super Bowl. Rex Ryan is apparently getting his severe narcissism from a new tattoo, has a foot fetish, and signed a 34 year old ex-convict to somehow make his below average quarterback look better. I haven't bought into this team yet, and this year changes nothing. LT is a year older, Shonn Greene is a year fatter, and Mark Sanchez is terrible. I'm going to make a guarantee about the Jets. They will not make the playoffs this year. Write that down.

4. Buffalo Bills

What can I say about the Bills? They have a couple of players I like. C.J. Spiller, and Marcell Dareus. Goodness, that's about it. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a smart QB, with no real ability. Stevie Johnson was a flash in the pan. I think they'll be a little better than last year on both sides of the ball, but that's not saying much.


1. Pittsburgh Steelers

I was wrong about them last year, thinking they would get an early boot in the playoffs. Roethlisberger is a winner and I think I just need to come to grips with that. They're the best team in the division, and probably the entire AFC. Most people believe this is the typical smash mouth Steelers team of years past, but not so fast my friend. Rashard Mendenhall plays second fiddle in the offensive gameplan to the passing attack, and it's working out well for Pittsburgh. Mendenhall is a talented back, but he likes to put the ball on the turf. I don't really need to say much about the defense, because it will be stellar as usual. If Polamalu can stay healthy, the Steelers will have the top ranked defense yet again. It won't hurt either that they get to play the Bengals and the Browns twice. It's hard to see this team losing in the playoffs.

2. Baltimore Ravens

Here's the problem with the Ravens: Age. They're too old on defense, and too young on offense. If you know me, you know my favorite player to watch on the defensive side of the ball is Ed Reed. Overall, he's been the best football player on the field for the past 8 years. You disagree? That's fine. I know more than you. But, the rest of the defense is just old. Ray Lewis is still a great football player, but he can't do what he used to, nor can Terrell Suggs. All that, and the rest of the secondary just isn't elite like it used to be. On offense, Joe Flacco and Ray Rice lead the attack, and while they're good, they don't have consistent results due to the passing game. Flacco hasn't had a good down field receiver since he's been in the league. Flacco needs to be Anquan Boldin's best friend this year. Boldin is the only receiver on the team with experience and results. The Ravens drafted Maryland WR Torrey Smith, who I believe will be a very good receiver in the NFL, but probably not this year. They traded for Lee Evans, but I don't have much faith in tiny receivers. This team just has too many questions. They make the playoffs, but I don't see a run.

3. Cleveland Browns

Oh the Browns. I like them, and it's all because of Colt McCoy. That being said, they're not good. Peyton Hillis is a tough runner, but defenses will slow him down this year. I promise you that. (I immediately regretted drafting him on one of my fantasy teams.) I think the Browns are about 3 years away from being a legitimate playoff contender, but they might not win 6 games this year. I do know they'll win two against the Bengals though. I expect Colt McCoy to have a breakout year throwing to Mohamed Massaquoi, Greg Little, and Benjamin Watson. If he does that, I don't see how anyone can say anything bad about the kid. I guarantee that 90% of America has no idea who those guys are. Without cheating, none of the 4 people who read this can name where they went to college. I think they'll be better on defense this year, especially rushing the quarterback. All I can say is, if Mike Holmgren can turn this team around, and I think he will, he deserves a Nobel Prize or something equivalent.

4. Cincinnati Bengals

I'm going to go off for a second. I love and hate this team. I'm a Bengals fan. That happened when I was a little kid and they had a blonde hair, left handed quarterback named Boomer Esiason. I wanted to be him. Then they drafted one of the best collegiate wide receivers ever, in Peter Warrick. The love became even stronger. Then, it was all solidified when my best friend/brother was drafted by them in 2004. I even said the Bengals would choose him in the 3rd round. Probably the greatest call I've ever made. Do I regret that for him? I absolutely do. So for that, I apologize. (Now picture me yelling.) THE BENGALS ARE THE WORST FRANCHISE IN ALL OF SPORTS. MIKE BROWN IS AN IDIOT. SHORT OF DONALD STERLING, HE IS THE SINGLE WORST PERSON IN THE HISTORY OF SPORTS! I AM 100% CONFIDENT THAT I COULD RUN THE TEAM BETTER THAN HIM! MIKE BROWN IS A DISGRACE TO HIS FATHER. I think I've calmed down now, and I may have gone a little too far with the last one, but I don't care. My goodness, I actually was mad while typing all of that. I like what the Bengals did with the additions of Andy Dalton, and A.J. Green, but they TRADED CHAD OCHOCINCO AND WON'T GIVE CARSON PALMER A TRADE??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? PALMER HAS BEEN THE CORNERSTONE OF THAT FRANCHISE SINCE THE DAY HE WALKED IN! TRADE THE MAN. YOU MORONS! HE HASN'T SAID ONE BAD WORD ABOUT THE AWFUL FRANCHISE, FINALLY SPEAKS UP, AND YOU SAY HE ISN'T A MAN? Wow. I'm done. I hate Mike Brown. Oh yeah, about this year. Marvin Lewis isn't a good head coach, and shouldn't be one, but oh wait, there's the Mike Brown thing again. The only good things about this team are Cedric Benson, and Mike Zimmer. That man somehow turns trash into treasure. I can't write anymore.


1. Indianapolis Colts

This team begins and ends with Peyton Manning. That is a blessing, and a curse. The Colts haven't been able to get him much help lately, and that showed with him throwing 679 times last year. That is not a typo, or a guess. The receiving corps is good, but that's mostly because of Manning. I really like this team though. I actually think they make it to the Super Bowl again. Only because of a man, that currently has an injured neck. They made some defensive moves this offseason, and I like them. Their linebackers are very fast, and playing in a zone defensive scheme, that's huge. Former Lions and Eagles LB, Ernie Sims, is a great addition. I know that I'll have plenty of people disagree with me on the choice of the Colts playing in the Super Bowl, and I completely understand, I just have faith in this team.

2. Houston Texans

Will this be the year? I think so! I've picked the Texans to go to the playoffs so many times, and so many times, they've disappointed. This offseason, they went out and grabbed a great corner in Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning, a serviceable safety. They're young, they're athletic, and will surprise some people, especially Indianapolis in week 1. Matt Schaub is probably the most underrated quarterback in the league, and has the second best wide receiver in Andre Johnson. (Larry Fitzgerald is number one.) I don't know how much I believe in Arian Foster though. He was great last year, but he's already slowed down by a hamstring injury. But it's time Texan fans! Rejoice! 2011 is the year you finally have a reason to watch the NFL playoffs!

3. Tennessee Titans

Matt Hasselbeck is still a decent QB. Chris Johnson can score every time he touches the ball. Kenny Britt is a good WR, but given his recent actions, may be mentally handicapped. I don't like a lot about this team, and I don't think they'll be very good. I especially don't like Cortland Finnegan.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

Dear Maurice Jones-Drew,

Don't play this year. There really is no point. David Garrard is your QB, and your front office allowed your best option at WR to go to the Rams. Teams are literally going to play 9 men in the box, and you're probably going to get hurt in week 3. So, save your legs for another year, or another team, and sit out this year. Trust me, you'll appreciate it later.

That's what I would tell him if I had the platform to make that happen. The Jaguars have a chance to be pretty solid in a couple years, but that's ONLY if MJD can stay healthy and not carry the ball 400 times a year. I don't see them winning more than 4 games.


1. San Diego Chargers

This team is loaded on offense. We all know that, we've all seen it. Philip Rivers is a top 5 QB, Vincent Jackson is an excellent downfield threat, Antonio Gates (when healthy) is the best TE in the league. Offensively, the only thing I'm not high on is the running game. Ryan Mathews doesn't appear to be the excellent RB they thought they were getting when they drafted him out of Fresno State, but he's young and that could change. They let Darren Sproles go to New Orleans in the offseason, and I'm not sure what the thought process was for that. I'm not sure what to think about hem on defense. They signed the 58 year old Takeo Spikes, and Eric Weddle is just a liability in the secondary. The defensive guru Ron Rivera now has his hands full in Carolina, and I think they'll see how much they miss him. All that being said, I think we'll see the typical Chargers team this year: Start off slow, finish strong, early playoff exit.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

I think they take a step back this year. I like them though, I think just with a tougher schedule this year, they won't make it to the playoffs again. But they're doing everything right with their franchise, and it will pay off over the next couple of years when the power in the AFC West goes to the Chiefs. Jamaal Charles will be a very good running back for the next 5-7 years and the defense will only get better in the years to come. Without being long winded, I really like them.

3. Oakland Raiders

Despite all of Al Davis' efforts, the Raiders are becoming a decent football team. Jason Campbell is decent and Darren McFadden is probably the second best RB in the league, ability wise. He's huge, strong, fast, elusive, and a great receiver out of the backfield. Now he just needs to stay healthy and show the world how great he is. The defense will obviously be worse without Nnamdi Asomugha, but they have a good front 7 and can really get to the quarterback. If the offensive line blocks well this year, I really expect them to upset a lot of teams this year.

4. Denver Broncos

They're awful. Kyle Orton can't throw over 20 yards, and their number "one" receiver is Brandon Lloyd. He's had a career full of highlights, but he's only had one consistent year, and that was last year. So, we'll see if he can pull it off again. The defense won't be any better than last year, even though Elvis Dumervil is back and supposedly healthy. Josh McDaniels left this team in quite disarray, and the poor Broncos fans have to live with this for the foreseeable future.

To summarize my predictions:

AFC East - New England Patriots
AFC North - Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC South - Indianapolis Colts
AFC West - San Diego Chargers
Wild Card - Baltimore Ravens
Wild Card - Houston Texans

Wildcard Round - Houston over New England, Baltimore over San Diego
Divisional Round - Pittsburgh over Houston, Indianapolis over Baltimore
AFC Championship - Indianapolis over Pittsburgh

I hope you've enjoyed my rants, I'll be posting my NFC predictions later this week. Thanks.

Friday, September 10, 2010

2010 NFL Preview - Part 2

Well this took a while. I've been struggling with my NFC picks a lot more than my AFC. There are many things up in the air about some of the better teams in the NFC. Anyway, here we go.


1. Dallas Cowboys

First things first, I'm not sold on this team. The offensive line is not that great after letting Flozell Adams walk. Doug Free is a hard worker, but this is the NFL and you don't see "Rudy" playing on any of these teams. Tony Romo puts up pretty good stats, but he is not an elite quarterback. He is a choke artist in the post season and that's that. Now, the things I like about this team. They have excellent wide receivers and a good stable of running backs, and their defense is one of the best in football. Their defensive questions are solely dependent on the play of safeties Alan Ball and Gerald Sensabaugh. If they play well, the defense will be what wins games. I think the Cowboys win the division this year, and that's about it. 10-6.

2. New York Giants

I could easily see the Giants winning the division this year. But something usually happens in New York that leaves the fans wanting more. They have a good offense led by Eli Manning, but this year the defense is going to be what keeps them from being a true contender. They don't have a pass rush, and they don't have a great secondary. The end. 9-7.

3. Washington Redskins

Most people think Donovan McNabb made the Redskins instantly better. I agree. Too bad better for them will be a 9-7 record and 3rd place in the NFC East. The Albert Haynesworth Saga continues to be detrimental to this team because Mike Shanahan seems to be concentrating on where Haynesworth is going to go instead of how his team is going to perform. I actually think the Skins are one year away from being atop this division.

4. Philadelphia Eagles

I think the Eagles are flat out stupid for trading Donovan McNabb. Kevin Kolb is unproven and not anywhere near the QB McNabb is. The defense as a whole is a shell of it's former self and everyone will realize that this year. LeSean McCoy is a good young runner but he has a few injury concerns. The Eagles fans will be throwing batteries again by Week 7. 6-10.


1. Green Bay Packers

This is the best team in the NFL. Their offense is balanced all across the board. They have a consistent running game and a prolific passing game. The defense is one of the best in the NFL when healthy, and that may be a concern. Al Harris is out for the season, and that puts Tramon Williams replacing him in what was the NFL's best cornerback tandem. I think this team has the chance to go undefeated this year, but they'll come up a little short of that going 13-3 and representing the NFC in the Super Bowl.

2. Minnesota Vikings

Way too many questions about this team. Brett Favre's health? Can they move the ball with efficiency without Sidney Rice? Disclaimer: Brett Favre is probably my favorite football player of all time, but he's literally a grandfather now. Would he have come back had Longwell, Allen, and Hutchinson not shown up at his house a few weeks ago? I don't believe so. I do know that he came back because he loves the game and wants another shot at glory, but I don't think it will happen this year. 11-5 and an early playoff exit.

3. Chicago Bears

Yes, they have Julius Peppers, yes, Mike Martz is running the offense, and yes, Jay Cutler is a serviceable quarterback. No, they will not make the playoffs, no, Brian Urlacher will not return to his old form, and no, Jay Cutler will not throw less than 20 INT's. On the upside, he could very well throw 30 TD's. 8-8 is the absolute best I see for this team.

4. Detroit Lions

I like the Lions. I think the offense will be very good this year, and the defense will be better than last year. The only problem is, they are still the Lions. Stafford, Johnson, Best, and Pettigrew will be fantastic players some day, but they're still a couple of years away. Drafting Ndamukong Suh was the best thing to happen for this team since Barry Sanders. He is an All-Pro caliber player as a rookie. Jim Schwartz is doing his best to turn this team around and it will show this year with an 8-8 record.


1. New Orleans Saints

The Saints are in a one horse race this year. I really don't have much to say about this team other than the fact that they're very good. The offensive line is the best in the league and that gives Brees enough time to pick apart almost every defense they will play this year. The secondary is a bit of a question mark for the first six weeks until Darren Sharper comes back. If he's healthy, they'll be good once again. They will easily win this division, but I feel they will come up short this season for the ultimate prize. The Saints will go 12-4, but lose in the divisional round of the playoffs.

2. Atlanta Falcons

Michael Turner is healthy again and the Falcons offense will be very good. Matt Ryan is in his third year, and has a great connection with Roddy White, the man I like to call T.O. Lite. The Falcons defense, however, will be the achilles heel yet again for this team. A lot of the experts are very high on this team, but I just can't find what they're seeing. 9-7

3. Carolina Panthers

They finally got rid of Jake "The Snake" Delhomme, but that leaves them with Matt "My Father Isn't Roger" Moore. I think that Moore will be a serviceable QB, but with Jimmy Clausen breathing down his neck all season, I'm thinking the pressure could get to him and cause a collapse. The running back tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart is second to none, but teams will be stacking the box all year against them. Steve Smith usually would be the one benefiting from this, but his QB's won't have much time to get him the ball. The pass defense was ranked 4th in the NFL last year, but that was with Julius Peppers putting pressure on the QB. I see the Panthers going 6-10 this year.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It hurts my heart to see this team in the state they're in. I've been a Bucs fan since the mid-90's and I just don't see them doing anything good this year. 3-13 was their record last year, and I see the same thing happening this year. The only difference is, you'll see a lot more fight in this team. They have a solid offensive line, Cadillac Williams is (finally) healthy, and Josh Freeman has several young stud WR's in Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams. Gerald McCoy has been impressing a whole lot of people during workouts and in the preseason as well. I can't wait for this team to get back to relevance, but it definitely won't be this year.


1. San Fransisco 49ers

Alex Smith is a good QB. I said it, and I'm proud of saying it. He's had 5 different offensive coordinators in his NFL tenure, but he's finally got the same one two years in a row. Frank Gore is a 1,500 yard back, and there are pretty good weapons on the outside as well. The defense is led by LB Supreme Patrick Willis and they move to the ball as well as any defense in the league. It also helps that every other team in the NFC West is garbage. 10-6.

2. Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals let Anquan Boldin walk in the off season and recently released their "starting" QB Matt Leinart. Defensively they lost Myron Rolle and Karlos Dansby. Oh, but they still have Larry Fitzgerald and up and coming Beanie Wells. They picked up Joey Porter, but I don't see him being enough for the defense. Just like the 49ers, they play in the NFC West which leaves them with a chance. 9-7 and Larry Fitzgerald will call Kurt Warner every day and beg him to come back.

3. Seattle Seahawks

Dear Seahawk fans,

We recently acquired Pete Carroll as your new head coach. We know that he has had no success in the NFL, but we promise you he's going to give it his best effort. Along with knowing he's had no success, we have given him full control on all personnel decisions. We regret to inform you that Mr. Carroll has not yet named a starting running back, and he also let go of T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Do not fret Seahawk fans, Matt Hasselbeck is STILL our starter even though he hasn't been healthy in 4 years. We want to show our players the same loyalty we show you. We did have one big signing in the offseason though. We traded for Charlie Whitehurst!!! He's our new starting backup quarterback. Thank you Seahawk fans. We promise you that if you stick with us for the next 4-7 years, we will be good again.

The Proud Owners of the 4-12 2010 Seattle Seahawks

4. St. Louis Rams

This is the last team I'm writing about, and I'm glad it's the Rams. They are terrible. They have a rookie QB, and not ONE wide receiver that would start on another NFL team. Maybe not even college programs. Their big move was to trade for the Cowboys 3rd string linebacker Bobby Carpenter. That will really make a difference. I truly feel sorry for Steven Jackson and the poor saps that purchase this team. Just because it's late and I think the Rams are that bad, I say they will go 0-16. The End.

I hope you all enjoy the posts, and let me know if you have any objections. I'm sure some of you Rams fans will. If there even are any. I don't know of one.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

2010 NFL Preview

It's that time of the year again. When the grass on Friday nights smells different from any other day. When Saturdays are spent glued to the TV, just waiting for that magical moment you want to tell your kids about. When Sundays are spent avoiding your significant other, just to get out of doing chores. IT'S FOOTBALL SEASON. It is definitely my favorite sport, and my favorite time of the year. I cannot be happier right now.

Every year, I write my season predictions for the NFL season. The only difference is, this year, I'll be publishing for the world to see. (Probably just the 4 people that might happen to read this.) Anyway, here are my picks! Let me know what you think.

American Football Conference


1. New England Patriots

Wes Welker is supposedly healthy. That makes me think the Patriots offense will be just fine. Although they have a pedestrian run game, at best, the passing game is very efficient. The defense is in a bit of a rebuilding mode, but that's what Belichick does best. His team will yet again be atop the AFC East. I see them finishing the year out at 11-5.

2. New York Jets

I feel like I am the only person on the planet who didn't buy into the Jets "success" last year. The only reason they were even in the playoffs were because the Colts and the Bengals rolled over and allowed them to win. Although I agree that their defense is second to none, I don't believe their offense will be able to win them enough games to be an elite team this year. Mark Sanchez looks to have improved this offseason, but that's not saying much after throwing for 12 TD's and 20 INT's last year. The recent signing of Darrelle Revis shored up the defensive unit for another chance, but I see them coming up just short of a division title. Look for the Jets to finish the year at 9-7 for the second straight year.

3. Miami Dolphins

Yes, they signed Brandon Marshall and Karlos Dansby. Brandon Marshall will be catching balls from a VERY unproven QB in Chad Henne, and Dansby is a good linebacker, not a great one. I believe the offense does improve with Marshall, I just don't see him being a huge offensive threat in such a run heavy offense and a QB that is in his 1st full season as a starter. The defense will be improved, with two young corners who I think will be very good this year. Dolphins finish the year at 9-7.

4. Buffalo Bills

I really don't even want to write about the Bills. They have no QB. They have no offensive line. Their defense isn't good. At all. The only bright spot on their roster is C.J. Spiller, and he won't be that successful due to the items previously mentioned. I say the Bills finish the year at 4-12. Jake Locker, welcome to Buffalo.


1. Cincinnati Bengals

Yes, I am drinking the Bengals Kool-Aid. They have a great running game and a combination of 2 fantastic receivers. Add rookie Jordan Shipley in the slot, and Jermaine Gresham at TE and you have what could easily be the most prolific offense in all of football. Cedric Benson had a coming out party last year and I don't see him going away anytime soon. The defense under Mike Zimmer was very good last year, and they have the best duo of corners in football as well. The only question marks for this team are their pass blocking, and their ability to get to the quarterback. Antwan Odom was very impressive early in the season last year until going out with an achilles injury. Roy Williams has slimmed down and appears to be ready to play football again for the first time in 5 years. All that being said, the Cincinnati Bengals are my pick to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. I see them going 12-4 on the season.

2. Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco. Ray Rice. Anquan Boldin. T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Those are the reasons to love the Ravens this year. However, I am not sold on their defense. I know that sounds absolutely insane, but the secondary is a shell of it's former self. If Ed Reed was healthy, I would be more inclined to have the Ravens go farther this year. The front 7 for the Ravens is still stellar, but getting very long in the tooth. Ray Lewis is in his 15th year, and Terrell Suggs looks like he's even older than Ray. I'm just not sold on this team like everyone else. Ravens go 10-6 purely off offensive firepower and earn a Wild Card birth.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger has screwed the Steelers. His 4 game suspension can have one of two effects on this team. They can either be so far behind in the division upon his return that they're done for the season, or his return will rejuvenate the team and they'll finish strong. I'm going with the former. The defense will be excellent, yet again, but it's very possible the run game won't be the Steelers strength once again, and with the loss of Santonio Holmes in the off-season the passing game won't be very strong. Steelers finish out 10-6, but miss the playoffs.

4. Cleveland Browns

Jake Delhomme is the answer Cleveland fans!!! Clearly no one buys that, so I don't understand why they're trying. Mike Holmgren has too good of a football mind to believe it either. We'll see Colt McCoy by Week 8. Joshua Cribbs is a waste in Cleveland and only has a real effect on special teams. Jerome Harrison is a flash in the pan in my opinion as well, so fantasy owners, I hope you didn't draft him. I don't know why you would consider drafting any Cleveland player except Jamal Lewis. He retired? Ok. Cleveland is irrelevant currently in the NFL. They will go 3-13.


1. Indianapolis Colts

They'll go 12-4 this year. Ho hum. Manning will throw for 4,500 yards and 40 TD's. Just another year in the Midwest. The real question here is whether or not Bob Sanders will play more than 4 games. If he does, the Colts will be in the AFC Championship, if not, they'll go to the Divisional round. Either way, no one in the division has the firepower to match up with the Colts.

2. Tennessee Titans

They're young on defense. Their QB is possibly bi-polar. They have Chris Johnson. The Titans are a threat in the AFC this year. Believe me. Jeff Fisher is also the most under-appreciated coach in all of football. His players seem to love him and they play hard for him. Vince Young brings a whole new dimension to the offense, and that was apparent last year. Chris Johnson will probably run for 2,000 yards again and the Titans will make the postseason. I admit, this is my "I can't explain it, I just see it happening" pick. Titans go 11-5 and win the Wild Card.

3. Houston Texans

Oh the Texans. They just can't seem to get over the hump. Matt Schaub is a good QB and they have the best receiver in all of football in Andre Johnson. They have a serviceable defense, but I feel like they're going to go 8-8. Again. I really don't know what it is about this team that keeps them from winning, it's just in their nature. I kind of hope they surprise me a little bit though.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

They're bad. Maurice Jones-Drew is hurt. I don't see him playing more than 4 games this year. They'll go 3-13. Maybe 5-11 if MJD is actually healthy. (Sorry, I just don't see the point of writing about this team. They're that bad.)


1. San Diego Chargers

The Chargers win by default. The whole team seems to be in disarray right now not having contracts with Marcus McNeill or Vincent Jackson. They let their leader of the past 10 years walk to New York and their offensive hopes ride on Ryan Mathews. Bad decision on their part. The defense will probably be a little better than last year, but lucky for them, they're in a terrible division. 10-6.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have weapons. I can't believe I said it either. Jamaal Charles looks to be a legit RB in the NFL and hopefully Thomas Jones can help the kid out. The o-line looks to be improved this year and Matt Cassel isn't that bad. Dwayne Bowe has shed some pounds, and Chris Chambers refuses to go away. I just have a sneaking suspicion about this team. If they get hot, they could overtake the Chargers. It's unlikely, but possible. 8-8 is my best guess for these guys.

3. Oakland Raiders

Jason Campbell is a decent quarterback. He was wrongfully treated in Washington and I hope he plays with a huge chip on his shoulders. Too bad he doesn't have a great receiving corp. Zach Miller will probably be his best friend by the 2nd half in Sunday's game. I'm partial to the guy, but I see Darren McFadden having a breakout year. The defense will be good with rookie Rolando McClain at linebacker. Nmadi Asomugha is probably the best overall defensive player in the league. 7-9. The end.

4. Denver Broncos

I despise Josh McDaniels. He is a simple carbon copy of Bill Belichick and none of his players seem to like him. The Broncos are a terrible football team and it will show. Kyle Orton is not a good quarterback. Tim Tebow is not going to be a good quarterback in the NFL. I know that if a lot of people read this, I would probably be burned alive for writing that. Broncos go 5-11. At best.

Tune in tomorrow for my NFC predictions.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Saying Bye to "The Kid"

One of my favorite athletes of all-time just retired. I've watched Ken Griffey Jr. play baseball since I was a small boy, so you can only imagine that when I heard the news last week, I was utterly in shock. It still hasn't hit me that "The Kid" just abruptly ended his 22-year career in the middle of a season. But that's Junior for you. He never was one to beg for the spotlight. He never took the big money in New York or Boston, but instead signed a long contract with the Cincinnati Reds, where he thought he would end his career.

Junior was one of a kind. When he came into the league in 1989, he took the world by storm. No one had seen the likes of him since the great Willie Mays, and he did not disappoint. Griffey was one of the few players who wasn't wrapped up in the Steroid Era in baseball during the 1990's, and I think that may have kept him from breaking a lot of records. I looked at his career games log and calculated that he missed over 600 games due to injury. That's over 3 seasons of baseball we didn't get to see from him.

His career numbers are as follows:
.284 AVG
2,781 Hits
630 HR's (4th all-time. I do not count Bonds' 762)
1,836 RBI
524 2B's
.907 OPS

Think about what he could do if he had played 3 more HEALTHY seasons at that pace. He easily gets 3,000 hits. He shatters Hank Aaron's home run record, and would finish with well over 2,000 RBI.

People don't give Ken Griffey Jr. the credit he truly deserves when looking at his career. He was one of the hardest workers on and off the field, which is most of the reason he was injured. He broke his ankle flying into a wall. He made diving catch, after diving catch on the Astroturf in Seattle for all those years. The man was the true definition of a "5 Tool Player".

It is my humble opinion that Ken Griffey Jr. was the greatest baseball player to ever step on the field, and sadly we didn't get to see all of what he was capable. No one will ever be able to change my mind of that.