Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Now or Never

Desperate times calls for desperate measures and for the Milwaukee Brewers this is desperation.  Trying to earn a playoff spot in the National League with only 12 games left on the schedule, the ownership committed one last desperate act to try and get them over the hump.  They fired manager Ned Yost with only 12 games left!  I can’t stress that enough; this is unheard of in baseball or any sports for that matter.  The Brewers haven’t made the playoffs since 1982 and it’s apparent that owner, Mark Attanasio, is not going to stand for another late season let down.  Last year they had an 8 and a half game lead in the NL Central division in late June only to slide out of playoff contention at the end of the year. 

I don’t agree with the decision to can Yost with only 12 games left in the season, but I can understand the reason.  After years of disappointment something had to be done, something drastic and ridding the club of Yost was exactly that.  This is a team that made all the right move during mid season trades; there is no excuse for them to not make the playoffs.  They brought in CY Young winner CC Sabathia  to try and get them over the hump and up until September it look like he was going to do just that, but then the late season slump and it looks like it’s going to be another early vacation again for them.  After this season Sabathia will be a free agent and there will be lots of teams with big wallets trying to sign the talented pitcher.  For the Brewer it might be now or never.

TO and The Cowboys Ride On

If there was a game to decide the NFC East title, then this would be it. Monday Night Football on ESPN, the Cowboys hosted the Eagles at Texas Stadium and came up victorious landing the final punch in the last half. The Eagles started the 1st quarter with a field goal leading the Cowboys 3-0, but Romo and Owens answered back with a 72 yard touchdown pass putting the Cowboys 7-3. Owens, being penalized for last week's touchdown celebration, simply flapped his arms in mockery of the eagles away from the end zone (the no fun league rule, i was hoping to see a lot more). The Eagles responded to Owen's TD with another field goal kick to shorten the lead from 7-6, but then the rookie, Felix Jones, ran a kickoff return for a 98 yard touchdown to put the Cowboys at 14-6.

The Cowboys simply took over and dominated the 1st quarter hands down. Things was looking good and it seems that the Cowboys will take an easy win, that is until Romo's pass was intercepted by Asante Samuel. With the interception, the Eagles quickly played Brian Westbrook for a 6 yard touchdown to close the gap on the lead to 14-13. Things fell apart even more for the Cowboys when Isaiah Stanback caused them to begin on their own 5 yard line on a kickoff return (due to his "mishandling"). To think being on the 5 yard line wasn't enough, the Cowboys was then called for a false start. After the call, Tony Romo snapped and fumbled the ball on his way to hand it off to Marion Barber causing a string of unneeded incidents that ended up with the safety Brian Dawkins of the Eagles picking up the loose ball in the end zone giving the Eagles their first lead of the night at 20-14.

What seemed to be a back and forth game, with 7 lead changes, the Cowboys came back to take the lead after Romo connected with Marion Barber for a 25 yard pass and then later with Jason Wittin for a 32 yard pass as well. The score is now 37-34 in favor of the Eagles. The last play to put the Cowboys on top again was a 1 yard run from Marion Barber for a TD with a little over 4 minutes left to play in the 4th quarter.

McNabb was playing like he did when he led the Eagles to the NFC titles and the Super Bowl back a few years ago. He was taking his time surveying the field while the Cowboys tried unsuccessfully to bring him down. Each time someone had their hands on him, he would slip through and allow for quick passes. But in the final moments of the game, McNabb seemed to have looked like he was tired out and eventually the Cowboys' linebackers, Greg Ellis & DeMarcus Ware, both sacked him.

The Eagles came out fighting and almost defeated the Cowboys but the fumble on their last possession caused their demise. The Cowboys seemed to have overcome the adversities in the game but their focus now is on the still undefeated, 2-0, Green Bay Packers. Even though they came out victorious with this win in Week 2, I'm pretty sure they're anxiously waiting for their next meet in Philly in December. This to me was one of the best Monday Night Football games I've seen, and to think, it's only Week 2 in the season.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Was the Chargers robbed?

It was the 4th Quarter, San Diego up 38-31, with a little over a minute left to play the Denver Broncos had the ball on the Chargers' 17 yard line..Cutler rolled right and lifted his arm to pass, what happened next is the topic of discussion amongst everybody watching the game this pass Sunday. The Chargers, challenged the play, but came up with an explanation that made them sick. Cutler rolled right and was ready to pass, but before he could even extend his arm back, the ball popped out of his hands and fell somewhere around the Chargers' 10 yrd line and San Diego recovered it.

That was the situation, here's the results:
For it to be a fumble - the QB must have his arm back and the ball is knocked out, or in this case, popped/slipped out of their hands before a passing emotion. We've all saw the replays from all angles and yes, it was a fumble. However, when the ball landed on the field, one of the referees (Hochuli) blew his whistle and just like that, the play is now dead. The play cannot be challenged and the call stands.

My knowledge of football isn't as deep as some other NFL fans, but if a QB loses a ball like this and the whistle is blown then the play is basically over, done for. Well, my questions is, why isn't it the same if this happens to a receiver or a running back??

But in conclusion, Denver had possession after the ruling, scored a touchdown and ended the game with a 2-point conversion. San Diego did try to come back but the pass was deflected in the end zone with no more time on the clock. The second game in the season where the Chargers fell short of a play.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Brady Out for Season

The New England Patriots' QB, Tom Brady, tore both the ACL and MCL in his left knee. The MCL typically needs at least 4-6 weeks to heal so Brady's ACL will not be reconstructed about a month later. After surgery, he will need about 9 months of rehabilitation and recovery, the Patriots' training camp for the 2009 season starts sometime in July, hopefully he can make that. So basically, Brady is out for the season.

With Brady out, Bill Belichick made some changes that he thought would be beneficial to the Patriots. Matt Gutierrez is now signed and could possibly be quarterbacking for New England this weekend against the Jets, plus punter Tom Malone is now joining the squad. Its only the 2nd week in the regular season so anything is possible in the upcoming games.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wie Going To School

It was only 5 years ago when Michelle Wie (then 13 years old) won her first big tournament playing against the pros. Ever since then, things just hasn't been the same. Wie had a lot of controversial issues that just seemed to increase throughout the years. Some find that Wie dressed inappropriately during the golf tournaments and the issue only increased even after she wore the Nike-provided clothing in 2006. From the use of exemptions to dropping out in the middle of a tournament, I think the best thing Wie can do is go back to School and hopefully that will help (save) her career.

As for me, I don't see nothing wrong with the way she is dressed on the course. Even if she is one of the youngest (the 11 yr old boy broke her record for being the youngest) to win in a tournament against the pros and rise to stardom, she still has a lot to learn about the sport. And about the caddie she fired (one of the many), he probably didn't see it coming because it's up to Wie to sign the scorecard not the caddie. Maybe after Wie is done getting schooled, she could get somewhere with golf, if not then there are options outside of golf.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Changing of the Guards

So the first week of the NFL season is almost done with only 2 games left this evening before the week is in the books. If this Sunday was any indications, there is a wind of change blowing across the AFC. The Indianapolis Colts looked like shadows of their former selves against the Chicago Bears, a team that they beat in the Super Bowl just 2 years ago. The New England Patriots lost their leader, their franchise player in a winning effort against the Kansas City Chiefs. Tom Brady is said to be out for the season with a torn ACL and going along with him is the Super Bowl hope for the Patriots nation. Two teams that have dominated the AFC for the last decade, now making the playoff doesn’t look like a given anymore. The Colts are sitting prettier than the Patriots are though, seeing as they still have Peyton Manning running their offense. This is the first time since the 2004 season that the Colts is going to start the season not going 7-0, a fantastic accomplishment in itself. The lost was not the worst news for Manning and the Colts, to add insult to injury, no pun intended; they lost both Joseph Addai and Dallas Clark in a losing effort. As for the Patriots, they were so desperate for a signal caller, that they brought in Chris Simms for a tryout. I guess they don’t have much faith in Matt Cassel who completed 13 of 18 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown, in the 7 points win. The irony here is Tom Brady was on the injured list all year last year and as soon as he was taken off the list, he goes out and gets a season ending injury.

The season is far from over and anything can happen between now and February. The Colts might just need some adjustments and the Patriots might get by with a game manager since the talent is still there. Cassel or Simms, they still have Randy Moss and Wes Welker to throw to. I don't have any doubts that Bill Belichick can formulate a decent season. They might just have to run the ball more often than they want to, but football is a game of adjustments. As for the Colts, Peyton is Peyton, he’ll find a way to win some games, but will it be enough this year? For years now, teams have been closing in on the Colts in the AFC South, and after their showing Sunday night, the conference looks to be wide open. The same can be said about the AFC East with Tom Brady going down and both the Jets and the Bills winning their respected games.

Who will finally de-throne the Colts and the Patriots? Who has what it takes to be crown AFC champion? The smart money would be on the Pittsburg Stealers now and after the showing they had against the up and coming Houston Texans, it’s hard to argue that. They have all the tools necessary to not only make it out of the AFC, but are also a Super Bowl favorite. They got the running back, the quarterback, the wide receiver, and the defense. The only team that might be able to stop the Stealers this year is the Stealers themselves. The Chargers is another team that’s been knocking on the door of the AFC championship and even with the lost to the Panthers, they have to be happy with the way Philip Rivers played. He’s really coming into his own and looks ready to take the next step, leading his team to the AFC crown. The Chargers are the most talented team in the NFL, but they are also the most inconsistent team as well. The biggest knock on this team was they can’t win in the playoffs, well last year they took it to the Patriots without their star running back LaDainian Tomlinson and an injured Philip Rivers in the AFC title game. So who will it be, who’s ready to take the mantel? I don’t know, but I sure am excited to find out. This might be a season for the ages, coming off of last year's historic season. To answer my co-blogger's question, yes I am ready for some football.

NFL = No Fun League??

If you watched the game over the weekend, then you probably saw the Cowboy's Tony Romo connecting with TO for a touchdown pass, with TO afterwards doing his "touchdown dance". There were no taunting, no props, not even a delay of game this time, but yet TO has been penalized for it. In all honesty, it hasn't been that long since the days of "prime time" doing his little hop dance across the end zone (OK, it has been a few years since then). I've seen more than a handful of NFL stars do their fair share of dancing and using the goal post to dunk the football through. I don't really understand why the NFL is starting to slowly (ban) and stop the players from doing their touchdown dances, but in my opinion (and my opinion only) the game would kind of suck without seeing some of the creative celebration acts in the end zone. There's a lot more that can be said about the NFL putting a stop to certain things, but I just wanted to quickly put in my 2 cents about this after hearing that TO was penalized for something so simple. The only thing he's trying to do is make the game a little bit more interesting, why be penalized for that??

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Are you ready for some Football..

Guys, it's that time of the year again..that's right, football season is here and we're heading into Week 1. With the NFL season kicking off this Thursday night as the Giants host the Redskins, I can't help but wonder what everyone's predictions will be for this upcoming season. I'm already trying to put out my predictions and say that the Patriots (with a healthy Tom Brady, who is not playing this Sunday) will go all the way to the Super Bowl once again. Even with this said, my prediction for this season's Super Bowl Champs will have to be San Diego (I think they're just a better team).

On that note, should Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman still play with two torn left knee ligaments? Merrimen (two Pro-Bowls and over 30 sacks in his 3 seaons) publicly aknowledged his injury and possibly putting his teammates at risk as well by ignoring his doctors' recommendation for surgery. I don't want to underestimate an injured player's abilities because we all know that Merriman will still be as dangerous on the field with an injured knee, but how long can he withstand it and will his short career come to an end when his knee finally gives out?

It's actually getting real late (or real early) at 2:30am, but I just wanted to say a few things about Brett Favre leaving his 16 seasons with the Packers and trying to start a new thing with the Jets. For some people, it's always at your best that you should possibly think of leaving the game, well like most retired sports icons/legends (for example, Jordan) they always tend to come back. (Jordan however came back and showed everyone why he is who he is.) I'm afraid that I'm going to have to say that I doubt Brett's abilities to accomplish anything major with the Jets. I'm not hating on him, but I do think that his time is over, and we'll definitely see this weekend when he faces the Dolphins, whose QB, Chad Pennington, is the one he replaced coming to the Jets.
While at work discussing this weekend's game, a buddy of mine stated that Tom Brady will be in fact playing this Sunday (discussed on sports talk radio this morning). Also, he is forcing me to pick a team from the NFC for the Super Bowl run so I decided to pick the Dallas Cowboys (for reasons that I will not share).
Photo courtesy of: Paul Spinelli/Getty Images