Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Thoughts On The Personal Conduct Issues Facing The NFL

NFL Discipline Issues
Most football fans know that the NFL has three current cases regarding personal player conduct on its hands. All three cases have gotten a lot of national attention. I’m talking about Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Greg Hardy. I have had a lot of people tell me that my stance keeps changing and that my issue with Peterson is due to my being a Packers fan. Well neither is true, so I decided to take time out in my weekly blog to let the public know exactly where I stand.
As anyone with a brain knows, Major League Baseball had a growing problem with cheating, specifically performance-enhancing drugs, for years that started in the 1980's with the likes of Mark McGuire, Jose Canseco, and others. At first glance, they ignored it, and moved along with their business and as the years went by, the problem got bigger and bigger. They tried little things along the way such as the original 10 game suspension which was a complete joke. At the end of the day, nothing really seemed to work, and the problem got bigger and bigger.
In April of 2013 the Biogenesis story broke, and Major League Baseball found itself facing its moment of truth regarding “PED's”. A list of notable players were on that caught up in the scandal, including two of the biggest names in baseball, Ryan Braun, and Alex Rodriguez. In fact, prior to the beginning of last season, the argument could be made that Ryan Braun was baseball's best player. Their moment of truth came, and Major League Baseball decided that they were going to make their stand right there, right then. They took two of their biggest names, Braun and Rodriguez, and made an example out of both of them.

Now a few questions should be asked here. 1) Did Major League Baseball act unethically in their gathering of the information they needed? One could certainly make that argument.
2) Compared to prior punishments for similar crimes, did Braun and Rodriguez get a fair deal? No they did not.
3) Did their punishments align with the current bargained agreement in the CBA? Absolutely not!  

But, at the end of the day, when facing one of its darkest moments ever, Major League Baseball rose above the law, above the CBA, and in the process, basically rose to the occasion, sending a message to the players that “enough is enough,” and “we will not tolerate your actions regarding PED usage anymore.” Then, after the suspensions were handed out over the Biogenesis “scandal,” the league turned around and toughened up on the currently bargained for agreement. The current agreement stated that first offense was 50 games, second was 150, and third was lifetime ban. Now punishment system for PED's is first offense is an entire season, and second offense is a lifetime ban.
These actions by Major League Baseball scared the hell out of the players and since then, they drug problem has gone quiet. Numbers are down in all facets of the game. Giancarlo Stanton led the National League in home runs this season with 37, a very small number for a league leader, and missed the final two weeks of the season due to an injury. Fastball velocities are down, breaking ball snap is down, and other various offensive numbers are down as well.

So how does this apply to the NFL?
Well for years now, the NFL has had a growing character problem. The players seem to think they can do whatever they want on their own time and still play football in this league. The problem has gotten worse over the years, and back in September, the NFL faced its moment of truth. Playing the roles of Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez were Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Greg Hardy. The NFL should have risen above the CBA, above the law, and handed out suspensions for the rest of the season to Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice. Greg Hardy should have gotten the remainder of 2014, plus all of 2015 as well. Then the NFL should have toughened up on their personal conduct policy regarding the players and the punishments for violating it. So as you can see, this has nothing to do with me being a Packers fan. This is all about the fact that I believe the NFL should have followed in the footsteps of Major League Baseball and rose to the occasion in their moment of truth, and it so happens to be that Peterson, Rice, and Hardy are on the wrong side of history.

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Whip Around The NFL at Mid Season

NFL Mid Season 2014
For the first time in a long time, I have nothing to say about the Packers. So let’s take a whip around the rest of the NFL, and see what some of the “lesser known” teams are up to.

NFC East- The Cowboys got things started this season with a bang when they jumped out 6-1 start, with a signature win in the dreaded 12th man up in Seattle. However, back to back losses and problems with Tony Zero, ahem, I mean Romo’s back have dropped the Cowboys back to 6-3. The Eagles currently sit at 6-2 on the season and lead that division by a half a game. How in the world is this team 6-2? The offense has been inconsistent, the defense has stunk at times, and their have been special teams issues as well. Add into that now the fact that Nick Foles has a broken collarbone, and this division is far from over. The Giants, who have been inconsistent or bad all season, could sneak back in and win this sucker at the buzzer as they have so many times in the past.

NFC South- Does anyone want to win this division? New Orleans, who was written off after the first month of the season, now finds themselves in first place at 4-4 after back to back wins. Carolina is fading as well. Atlanta is being showed why you do not go all in on one player in the draft, as they are really missing that depth that the draft provides right now.

NFC West- This was supposed to be the King Kong versus Godzilla in a grudge match of titans to the bitter, bitter end. Well Winnie the Pooh as taken over and has been the biggest, baddest dude on the block in the NFL this season, just think about that one for a minute. The Cardinals are the only team with just one loss left. I think hell just froze over, although the Vikings haven’t won a Super Bowl yet, so maybe hell is still frozen, I don’t know. All I know is I may have to ignore every natural instinct in my body and take the Cardinals seriously.

AFC West- The San Diego Chargers got off to a 5-1 and one start because Phillip Rivers and Antonio Gates discovered the fountain of youth. However, they forgot where it was already as they have lost three straight games and have looked really bad in the process, especially last Sunday against the Dolphins in which Rivers played the worst game of his NFL career. The Chiefs, who I wrote off and told everyone not take seriously, have climbed back into contention at 5-3. The Denver “Peyton Mannings” still lead this division at 7-1 though. I have got to give Oakland credit for trying, although that is as far as the credit goes with them. Maybe it wasn’t all Al Davis.

AFC North- The players have changed in the NFL’s best rivalry, but the trash talking hasn’t. The Steelers and Ravens are still chirpy as ever. Although neither one of them lead this division. That title goes to the mighty Bengals of Cincinnati, as they have built quite a solid team over the last few years under the cover of the Steelers and Ravens being obsessed with trying to kill each other. Cleveland is 5-4, and is very much alive. How long until Manziel madness begins. When it does, just what I’ve always wanted- 24/7 Browns coverage. Lucky us.

AFC South- The 2015 Super Bowl Champions, no that is not a misprint, are off to a 6-3 start and have been rather impressive along the way. Andrew Luck has become the Derek Jeter of this next generation of athletes- the bigger the game, the brighter the lights, the better he plays, and the tougher he becomes. This man would and will sacrifice his body to win a game, much like Jeter did his whole career. The Texans have been a surprise at 4-6, although it will cost them Marcus Mariota in next year’s draft.

AFC East- New season, different players, same old story. The Patriots sit at 7-2,. Whenever everybody wrote them off after four weeks. They keep getting it done despite one injury after another, and one must ask whether or not they have the greatest quarterback in NFL history playing for them. Kyle Orton is a smart man. He may become the first quarterback ever to play in the postseason without taking part in any training camp or offseason activities for any team. Miami is also 5-3 despite the arguing going on down on South Beach and the Jets are just bad. Rex Ryan won’t last the rest of the season.     

Friday, October 31, 2014

Packers Bye Week 2014 | NFL Mid Season Picks For Top Honors

Packers Mid Season Review
Well my dear and faithful readers, since the Packers are at their bye this week and we have reached the halfway point of this season, I thought it would be a good time to do an NFL Mid-season review league-wide and include some awards. 

MVP: 1. Demarco Murray/RB/Cowboys 2. Phillip Rivers/QB/Chargers 3. Aaron Rodgers/QB/Packers 4. Peyton Manning/QB/Broncos 5. Ben Roethlisberger/QB/Steelers

To this point in the season, Demarco Murray is the MVP of the National Football League. Yes, you heard that right, and yes, you can also stop laughing now. Murray became the first running back in NFL history to begin the season with seven straight 100 yard rushing performances. Murray has been the reason why the Dallas Cowboys are 6-2 and were the best team in the league until Tony Romo got knocked out of the game on Monday against the Redskins. Phillip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers were having career years until they took steps back last week, but they still sit at two and three on my list. Peyton Manning broke the career touchdown pass record of "he-whose-name-shall-not-be-mentioned-on-any-Packers-site-on-the-internet-ever-again" earlier this season, but he is not having the career year like he had a year ago. Last Sunday, Ben turned into the best game I have ever seen a quarterback play when he went 40-49 for 522 yards and 6 touchdowns, therefore knocking Vince Young off his throne that he held for almost nine years.

Defensive Player Of The Year- 1. J.J. Watt/DE/Texans 2. Luke Kuechly/LB/Panthers 3. Von Miller/DE/Broncos 4. Everson Griffin/DE/Vikings 5. Sam Shields/CB/Packers

There are players who are big, players who are really big, players who are huge, and players who have very rare size and skill. Then there are players who are freaking monsters and are the all time winners of the gene pool lottery. That would be where J.J. Watt falls into. Watt has been the best player in the NFL to this point in the season so that means he is the runaway favorite to win this award right now. Luke Kuechly is doing the same thing in the NFL that he did in college, and this is pile up the tackles number. He leads the league with 89, and is the NFL’s best interior linebacker. Von Miller leads the league in sacks with 10, but at the same time, has also disappeared at certain moments, which is why he is number three on this list. Everson Griffin has stepped in nicely for the future hall of famer Jared Allen and is third in the league with 8 sacks. Sam Shields has been the best defensive back in the NFL so far this season and has made huge plays in the secondary when the Packers have needed it the most.

Offensive Rookie Of The Year- 1. Sammy Watkins/WR/Bills 2. Jerick McKinnon/RB/Vikings 3. Kelvin Benjamin/WR/Panthers 4. Allen Robinson/WR/Jaguars 5. Mike Evans/WR/Buccaneers

Sammy Watkins has already become one of the most trusted guys in the Bills locker room and has caught the game winner in the final moments to beat the Vikings at home a couple of weeks ago. Jerick Mckinnon has been excellent under stressful circumstances with everything that has happened in Minnesota this season. Kelvin Benjamin has been the deep threat the Panthers were looking for. Allen Robinson has given the Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles a nice target to develop some chemistry with. Mike Evans has been decent as well.

Defensive Rookie Of the Year- C.J. Mosley/LB/Ravens 2. Anthony Barr/LB/Vikings 3. Kyle Fuller/CB/Bears 4. Khalil Mack/LB/Raiders 5. Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix/S/Packers

C.J. Mosley has been so good at times this season he has been called the second coming of Ray Lewis. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves now. But still, he is the defensive rookie of the year to this point. Anthony Barr has been so good for the Vikings they have given him the play calling duties on defense. Kyle Fuller has had to step in for the injured Charles Tillman nad has done very well. Khalil Mack has been decent and Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix has been getting more playing time each week.

Coach Of The Year- 1. Jason Garrett/Cowboys 2. Bruce Arians/Cardinals 3. Mike McCoy/Chargers 4. Jim Caldwell/Lions 5. Mike McCarthy/Packers

Jason Garrett wins this award because the Cowboys have finally established an identity as a team and have stuck to it. Bruce Arians has done marvelous things since taking over in Arizona. Mike McCoy pushed a button somehow that led to Phillip Rivers an Antonio Gates capturing the fountain of youth. The Lions wanted more structure, and they got it with Jim Caldwell. Mike McCarthy fills out this list at number five.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

NFL Power Rankings Week 8 | Packers Head To New Orleans

NFL Power Rankings
Hello my faithful readers. Here is an updated look at my power rankings. Yes, I said that my Green Bay Packers were not to be trusted, but it sure looks like they are finding their way. Will the win streak continue?  More important to some Packers fans goes something like this: "Can Seattle lose another game please?" With that, here is my Week 8 NFL Power Rankings

  1.Cowboys- The Cowboys have the best resume in the league
  2.Broncos- Congratulations to Peyton Manning on breaking the all time touchdown pass record.
  3.Eagles- Very quietly 5-1.
  4.Colts- The best two loss team in the league right now. Their last four opponents are a combined 4-41 on third down.
  5.Chargers- Slipped up this weekend against Kansas City.
  6.Ravens- Don’t sleep on the Ravens.
  7.Patriots- Yeah, Tom Brady can’t play anymore. Yeah right.
  8.Lions- The scary part is that they are doing this without Calvin Johnson.
  9.Packers- I still don’t trust this bunch.
10.Cardinals- I expect a hard fall from this team.
11.Seahawks- The champs look very beatable.
12.49ers- This team should be 2-5 right now.
13.Bengals- Boy, are they crashing and burning.
14.Steelers- Don’t forget about Pittsburgh.
15.Bills- No-one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.
16.Panthers- Overrated.
17.Dolphins- The true middle of the road team in the NFL right now.
18.Texans- All this winning will cost them Marcus Mariota next Spring.
19.Bears- Big fight in the locker room after the embarrassing loss at home against Miami last Sunday.
20.Giants- Always the unpredictable bunch, aren’t they?
21.Chiefs- The luckiest team in the league a year ago. This team simply isn’t that good.
22.Browns- Haha.
23.Saints- This is going to be a cranky bunch Sunday night in Superdome against the Packers.
24.Titans- I think the Titans are ready to wash their hands of Jake Locker and move on.
25.Vikings- They’re trying. However Vikings fans, this team is simply not that good right now, so don’t expect results in terms of wins at this point in time.
26.Rams- They are fighting hard for Jeff Fischer. I wouldn’t expect anything else.
27.Falcons- What happened to these Falcons?
28.Redskins- This team sucks, there is no other way to put it.
29.Buccaneers- They need a quarterback next Spring.
30.Jaguars- Congratulations on the win. Too bad the city of Jacksonville will not see the end of this rebuild.
31.Jets- The circus is up and running again. The feature act will now be Percy Harvin whining about not getting the ball every other play.
32.Raiders- The place where all good players go to die.