Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Football Versus Soccer | My Take On "Futbol" After The World Cup

Soccer versus Football
Well this post will be a little different, in fact, I am going to come right out and say it, this post has nothing to do with American football at all. But it is all about what the rest of the world refers to as “futbol” and is what we call soccer.

The World Cup just completed last weekend, and it was Germany defeating Argentina 1-0 in double extra time to win. It was midfielder and Bayern Munich player Mario Gotze who found the back of the net for Germany with eight minutes to go in the second extra time to win the game. Gotze will never have to pay for another meal in his home country of Germany for the rest of his life.

I spend much time discussing soccer with an older male friend of mine who is from Brazil. Before we go any further, let me say that this man is on the wrong side of 60, and he has never been more embarrassed or ashamed of his Brazilian soccer team than he is right now, and to tell you the truth, he has every right to be. That was a shameful display for the Brazilians in their last two games of the World Cup conceding ten goals. The only player for Brazil who was even trying in the second half of the game against The Netherlands was Oscar. Everyone else had packed it in already.

But back to my original point I was going to make. This friend of mine and I spent much time discussing soccer during this World Cup, and we both agree that the sport is in need of some serious upgrades. In fact, he wrote a letter to FIFA telling them “the beautiful game is being hijacked by whoever has the dirtiest tricks”. I agree, so if I had full control, here is how I would change the rules.

Number of players per team- instead of going 10 on 10 in the field, we will go 8 on 8. This would make the game more about playing in space, and less about being clumped up together.

Corner kicks- During a corner attempt, only three players per team are allowed to be in the penalty box, and nobody else can enter until secondary contact is made by the possessing team or the defensive backs clear the ball out of the area.

Offsides- Getting rid of offsides completely would destroy the game is it would turn it into a cherry-picking contest, but the offsides rule needs to be relaxed. Give the possessing team a three yard window to work with.

Red Cards- One of the worst rules in sports is the red card rule. If a player gets a red card, that team must play a man down for the rest of the match. That is dumb, don’t penalize a team for the stupid actions of one player. The rule should be that a team is okay after the first red card, but the second red card would result in the team having to play a man down.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Johnn Manziel: The Worst Part Of American Sports

Think about the following statement. “Johnny Manziel is everything that is wrong with American sports.”In a more expanded version it goes like this. “Johnny Manziel, from the media coverage, to he fans who like him, to the player he is himself, is everything that is wrong with American sports, wrapped up into one player”.

So who made this statement? I did, and I stand by every word of it. Now I am going to explain it. Let’s start with the media coverage.

Johnny Manziel is a product of the modern ESPN generation, the generation that only cares about the biggest and flashiest names. For example, right at this moment, unless your name is Johnny Manziel, Tiger Woods, one of the big three men’s tennis players, one of the Williams sisters, Jimmie Johnson, Lionel Messi, Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Peyton Manning, Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Kobi Bryant, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, David Ortiz, Derek Jeter, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, or Landon Donovan, you won’t get much coverage from ESPN, if any. Unless your favorite team is in Dallas, New York, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Detroit, you won’t get much coverage either. Case in point example? The San Antonio Spurs just won the NBA title, and all ESPN can talk about the future of Miami’s “big three”.

Let’s move onto his fans next. I have an acquaintance family from my childhood days. Three of the boys absolutely adore Manziel. Just like they like Tiger Woods, and Lebron James, or whatever the current big name athlete is. It is the people like this that ESPN caters to. Problem is, because they are ESPN, this group has become quite large and annoying. The kind of people who could not name half the roster of their hometown team but rather spend all of their time drooling over punks like Manziel and Lebron James.

Now we will address the kind of player he is. According to a leaked scouting report from the New England Patriots, Manziel only knew about 60% of the Texas A&M playbook last season and refused to study film. After the draft, Manziel went out and got drunk according to a TMZ report while other rookies prepared for their introduction to their new teams. Manziel is perhaps the poster boy in a modern generation of athletes that like the idea of winning, but don’t want to do the work to win. The previous generations didn’t like the idea of winning. They wanted it, an they wanted it so darn bad they sacrificed the rest of their lives in order to achieve it. My late Uncle had a saying, “when it comes to sports, Immortality has a price”. They great ones we have seen over the years- Jordan, Woods, Gretzky, Favre, Jeter, Magic Johnson, Bird, they were all willing to pay that price to win. It appears as if the modern generation is not willing to do that.

What am I getting at here with Manziel? Well, it’s not one particular trait that makes him everything that is wrong with American sports. It is all of the things we do not like about modern athletes rolled up into one that makes him just that.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Clinton Dix Is No Nick Collins | Will Clinton Dix Bring The Heat In The Packers Secondary?

Ha Ha Clinton Dix
Ha’Sean “Ha Ha” Clinton-Dix, drafted in the first round by the Green Bay Packers with the 21st selection overall in the 2014 NFL draft finds himself penciled in as the week one starter opposite Morgan Burnett. This will be the first time since the start of the 2011 season the Packers had two good starters at safety. So if you think about it, Clinton-Dix is essentially replacing you know who.

The you know who I am talking about is a player that most Packers fans miss. In fact, he is a player that many analysts say his absence is the reason for the Packers woes on defense since winning the Super Bowl in Dallas three years ago. The you know who was a once in a generation talent, and the defensive scheme of Dom Capers blew up in his face when you know who broke his neck in week two of the 2011 season. You know who made everything work within that defensive scheme of Capers in 2010 that was so awesome. In case some of you may still be wondering who is you know who? Well you know who is former Packers all-pro safety Nick Collins, who broke his neck in Carolina in week two of the 2011 season, therefore ending his playing career.

But what does this have to do with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix? Well Ha Ha is essentially replacing Nick Collins at safety for the Packers. So what is the point then? Well, I want everyone to realize that Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is not Nick Collins. Let’s put this in a different perspective so you may understand better.

Who remembers the hit show from the 1990’s “The Nanny” starring Fran Drescher as “Nanny Fran Fine”? Well, I am sure you all do. Well here is a quick sum up of the plot line for the few of you who have never seen that show. A Broadway Producer named Maxwell Sheffield has three children. Maxwell’s first wife Sara dies and for a few years, the whole house is depressed. In fact, they don’t even mention Mother’s Day anymore. But then, out of nowhere, into their lives walks this beautiful young woman, Fran Fine. Now Fran and Sara are completely different opposites of the female spectrum and are nothing alike. Well Fran makes this family happy again for the first time since before Sara died. She makes it easier for them to remember Sara as well. Fran ends up marrying Maxwell and they all live happily ever after. Does this make Fran any better than Sara? No. Does not being the children’s real mother make Fran any worse than Sara? No. What this means is that they are different? Not better, not worse, just different, and they both at the end of the day make everyone happy.

So what does this have to do with Nick Collins and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix? Well, Clinton-Dix is not Nick Collins. Nick Collins was special. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix does not need to be Nick Collins though in order to do his job and make this defense work again. He just needs to be Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and that will be more than enough for everybody. Does this mean his is better than Collins? No. Does this mean he is worse than Collins? No. This just means that the two of them are different players, and the each have their own way to get the job done. In fact, I would say that if Clinton-Dix does his job, he will make it easier for Packers fans to remember Nick Collins with joy, instead of with pain and agony. Does that make sense now? 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Packers 2014 53 Man Roster | Green Bay Has Talent At Nearly Every Position

Packers 53 Man Roster
It is June, so for us writers, that means it’s time to come up with some early seasonal projections. This week, let’s take a look at the Packers 53 man roster on the offensive side of the ball. This is my best guess as to which players will make the cut in Green Bay.  Things could certainly change, but here is my best guess.

Quarterback- Starter: Aaron Rodgers (Don’t laugh). Backup quarterbacks: Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzien

Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback the game of football has ever seen, and he has the most comfortable job security in sports. They do however need a nice backup plan. Matt Flynn actually would be plan B. What the Packers would really want, is for the more talented Scott Tolzien to beat out Flynn. However, he needs to win the job; the Packers are not going to give it to him. Not just win the job either, but WIN IT comfortably.

Running Backs- Starter: Eddie Lacy, Backups: James Starks, Jon Franklin. On the bubble: Dejaun Harris

Eddie Lacy is a 260 pound dump truck that fits the cold weather of Green Bay, Wisconsin perfectly. James Starks has found a career as a good backup and Franklin has too much talent to bail on this early. Harris is one the bubble, and makes the roster if they decide to carry four running backs.

Fullback: John Kuhn.

Wide Receivers- No. 1: Jordy Nelson, No. 2: Randall Cobb, No. 3: Jarret Boykin, No. 4: Davonte Adams, No. 5: Jared Abbrederis

This unit is all set to go. We know who the five will be. The only question is who will be the third receiver and who will be the fourth receiver. My bet is Boykin is the number three, as the coaches just adore him. Adams has more talent though, and could win it out at the end of the day.

Tight Ends: Starter: Richard Rodgers. Backups: Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick, Colt Lyeria

This is the most puzzling unit on this team and is the hardest to predict. Any of these guys could be the starter, and any of them with the exception of Rodgers could be left off the roster.  Lyeria has loads of talent, and could potentially be the next Antonio Gates, as long as he keeps his off the field problems in check.

Offensive Lineman- Starters: David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, J.C. Tretter, T.J. Lang, Brian Bulaga. Backups: Don Barclay, Derek Sherrod, Corey Linsley.

This unit improved last year. The only question is can Bulaga come back from two major surgeries and win the right tackle job. Most believe he can, and I will join them.  Bulaga has the drive and heart required to make it back to the position.