Posted on: November 18, 2011 7:24 pm

Its the most wonderful time of the year.

This really is the most wonderful time of the year.  I love the holiday season, the bowls, the tournaments, basketball, hockey, football, golf.  The end of the year is shaping up to be really exceptional.  As for you that consider the absence of the NBA as ruining your holiday season please, the only thing that truly matters in the NBA is the playoffs.

Thursday night football was amazing as Tebow and the Denver Bronco defense brought us an unbelievable finish that for another week thrust the Broncos right in the heart of the playoff picture.  Who would have thought that 5 weeks ago?  Certainly not me.  Sooner or later people everywhere will have to admit there is a god and there is a good chance Tebow knows him.

Then there is the President's Cup and all that surrounds the presence of Tiger Woods.  Honestly he does seem to have much of his golf game back in order.  His near misses yesterday on the putting green where vintage Tiger except they did not go in.  What I am saying is he is reading the greens and controlling his shots.  Once the confidence returns, meaning he puts it all together and wins one tournament, others better look out.  I would expect that if I can get back to Augusta, I may see Tiger put on another green jacket in 2012.

While I am still on golf and everyone is coronating Yani Tseng (rightfully so), there is aother rising star and her name is Na Yeon Choi.  Here is another Korean golfer that has amazing talent. She trikes the ball well, is consistently in contention finishing in the top three of her last three events including a win just a month ago in the LPGA event Malaysia.  Incidently the leader in those events of course were Yani Tseng except in Malaysia where Choi held on to win.  These two are going to become the women's dynamic duo.  The win in Malaysia gave something to Choi she previously did not have, the confidence she could be a #1.

As you know for better or worse I am a Vanderbilt Commodore fan and Cincinnati fan.  My Commodores continue to take me throught the full gambit of emotions.  The loss in basketball to Cleveland State was the worst ever, but the football win over Kentucky was the other extreme.  A victory over Tennessee this week to become bowl eligible would make this one of the best football seasons ever.  My Bearcats appear to have it all together and this week was reverse fromthe Dores.  I hated the loss to Pittsburg in football and yet the basketball team is the real deal.

I believe the Bengals will knock off the Ravens this week, Tennessee will beat Atlanta, and the Colts will remain winless.  The Packers and the Bears will both win and Earl Bennett will make me a fantasy football genius for using in this week.

Posted on: August 7, 2010 11:44 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2010 11:47 pm

Tennessee Titan Preview

Not long ago, I wrote Chris Johnson is a Titan's Titan.  In the hearts of Titan fans, a single season made him a Titan's legend.  When he began his quest for a new contract and the threat to hold out until the management made a move the fan support began to divide.  CJ is in the prime of his life and the Titans decided to give in and sweeten the pot.  Now hopefully they can do what they could not do with Eddie George and Detroit couldn't do with Barry Sanders and win a Super Bowl.

The truth of the matter is other teams will prepare differently with a variety of schemes aimed at stopping Chris Johnson. Therefore he is not likely to duplicate his 2006 yards of last season.  The Titans will  need even more from Vince Young if they are going to go from 8-8 to 11-5 and having any shot at the playoffs and Super Bowl run.  If VY can show a balance of pass/run and the ability to stretch the field Johnson should be able to have over 1,000 yards.  The question is can anything less than 1,500 yards be considered a good year. 

As for the season, the weather in Tennessee was brutal with the heat index over 100 degrees last week.  The forecast calls for no rain all this week and Coach Fisher is not only concerned about the heat but the ability for his team to recover from the off season but having a balance of sufficient practices to be properly conditioned.   

Okay so where are the Titans?  The team also lost Keith Bullock so someone will have to step up in the linebacker corp. If last week is any indication linebacker Gerald McRath (51) has looked good so far and seems poised to make a substantial contribution.  Elsewhere on defense another standout is cornerback Jason McCourty.  You have to be impressed with this young man.  Tennessee seems to reload at the corner position better than just about any team in the NFL.

On the offensive side the ball neither Vince Young nor Kerry Collins has looked well.  It could be the heat, the timing, or perhaps it could be that this is the year of the big decline for Collins and unfortunately the Titans are on the hook for too much money to pay a backup and too steep to offload.  The Titans will need Kenny Britt not to have a sophomore slump and get more from Nate Washington.  This is a lot to ask but if these two do not perform this could be a tough year for Tennessee.

Coach Fisher is as always optimistic. No one is expecting the Colts to be as strong as last season and therefore the start of the season in the AFC South is one that anticipates at least two teams will be in the playoffs from this division.  Fisher is a coach on the hot seat.  Bud Adams is not getting any younger and while seniority by Fisher as the dean among NFL coaches has served him well, all bets are off. If Tennessee is not in the championship game this year, look for this to be Fisher’s last year.

Posted on: February 6, 2010 7:02 am

Super Bowl XLIV Who Has More To Lose


When you are standing around the water cooler or just jawing with co-workers the topic of the Super Bowl is always certain to come up Super Bowl week.  Who do you think will win? Will Peyton Manning get his second Super Bowl win or how about another MVP?  Is Drew Brees going to finally have the credentials to make the HOF?  Are the Saints just glad to be here?  Someone will have a response to all these.  The real question about this game to me is, who has more to lose?

I do not have a dog in the hunt.  My team is the Cincinnati Bengals or the Tennessee Titans.  Explaining that is a long story so I won’t try to explain.  My point is who wins really doesn’t matter to me.  I am rooting for Peyton Manning and the Colts.  There are several reasons for that, not to mention that the Colts are from the AFC but the real reason is because I think Peyton “Manning not Sean” stands to lose more by not winning this Super Bowl.

When you here the great QBs of all time the names you are going to here are Joe Montana and Tom Brady, and John Elway.  One of the big reasons you here their names mentioned is because they are linked to being not only in multiple Super Bowls but being multiple Super Bowl winners.  There is also the second tier of QBs and they are Bret Favre, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, and even the lovable QB from Pittsburg, what’s his name? Oh yea, Terry Bradshaw whom I happen to also like.  These guys have a combination of wins, Super Bowl Championships, Records, and so on.  With the exception of Terry, they don’t have multiple Super Bowl Championships and as a result while argued as being among the best, they lose ground to the multiple Super Bowl winners.

So if Peyton Manning is going to be considered as perhaps the greatest QB ever in the NFL he will need another Super Bowl win to his credit.

 He has one Super Bowl win and one MVP – his brother did that –that does not make you great.

He has made the Playoffs six times in his first eight years – Good but not great

This is his second Super Bowl appearance in four years – Could be the ticket with a win

Hasn’t missed a start since he entered the league – Brett Favre leads in that category

One-third of his career he has been considered the league MVP.  Four of twelve for those who need to know, which by the way, four MVPs is more than any other player.

If the measure of greatness is winning the Super Bowl, time may be running out on Peyton Manning’s chances.  He is no longer a kid and if he were to win and perhaps garner the MVP and be 2 for 2 in Super Bowl chances, well, I believe that makes him the greatest of all-time and his career is not over yet.  Indeed, Peyton Manning stands to lose more with a loss on Sunday.  

Posted on: January 23, 2010 1:19 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2010 2:45 pm

What Makes The NFL Championship Games Exciting?

What makes the championship games so exciting?  I have often asked myself that question because most of the time my team is not playing.  In fact I would suspect that most fans don’t have their team playing so what is it that continues to draw us to the TV, the radio, the parties, and to the disappointments of the games never reaching the hype?  The answers lie in a lot of reasons and let’s look at some for the games being played tomorrow.

AFC Championship

The AFC Championship game is a rematch of sorts of their regular season encounter in week 16.  The Indianapolis Colts came into the game 14-0.  Everyone was wondering if they could displace the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only team to go undefeated and capture the Super Bowl.  The challenge could not have appeared to be any easier.  After all, the NY Jets were a team ready for elimination; their coach had already publically said as much, "This is tough, because we're obviously out of the playoffs.  We thought we had a great chance to make it to the playoffs. This is hugely disappointing."

The problem was that first year Indy coach Jim Caldwell and their owner had resting were more intent on resting their players than extending their record to 15-0.  As a result the Colts pulled their players by the end of the first quarter while holding a slim lead.  A loss by the Jets would have ended any possible chance of them making the playoffs but a win left them mathematically still in the equation. Well, the decision by the Colts to pull their players leads to the Jets winning easily, 29-15 and guess what the rematch.

Rematches are almost always intriguing by the sheer amount of smack that is disseminated by fans on both sides and not to mention all the prognosticators. Now everyone wants to watch to see who is right.  Are the Jets and their defense really that good, could Indy and Manning easily have eliminated this team that by all rights should not be here with a rookie quarterback?

This brings us to the second intriguing reason for wanting to watch this game. Sunday is an opportunity to watch the brilliance of Peyton Manning and to see a rookie QB, Mark Sanchez, who has captured the imagination of Jet fans.  I have not seen as much excitement from the Jet faithful since Joe Namath was predicting an upset of the then Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, my senior junior year in high school.  Funny how we can look at the game this week and be mesmerized with thoughts of Colts vs. Jets, Sanchez vs. Manning, Namath vs. Johnny Unitas (fourth quarter), and the fact that once again the Colts are heavily favored.

Finally there is the plain fascination with is Peyton Manning the best NFL Quarterback ever.  He has only 1 Super Bowl appearance and he was the MVP.  The problem is that the Colts have made this ride before and more often than not they don’t make it to the Super Bowl.  Peyton Manning and the Colts lost to my Tennessee Titans 16-19 in Jan 2000 for the Divisional Championship.  A year later almost, actually Dec of 2000 they lost to Miami in a wild card game, 17-23.  The Jets may recall an embarrassing defeat they put on the Colts in 2003, 41-0.  Peyton threw two picks in that game.  A year later the Colts began the series of heartbreaks against the New England Patriots.  Manning threw four picks in the loss and since then people have been asking the question who is better Brady or Manning.  Manning in fact has thrown 18 picks in 16 playoff appearances. He has thrown as many as four has thrown three picks once, and two picks three times.  In other words despite his perfection sometimes he does look terrible.  In a way people are wondering which Manning people will see on Sunday, the MVP or the one that gets frustrated and implodes in the big game.

NFC Championship

This game features two picture perfect reasons for tuning in.  The first is the mention of Brett Favre and the second is “Who Dat?” The New Orleans Saints are returning the NFC Championship game for the second time in four years.  They are city that is still battling back from hurricane Katrina, they have never been to the Super Bowl, and they have a prolific offense.  They like the Colts were “Breesing” through the season when all of a sudden the wheels came off.  They are 14-3 right now but who can forget the way in which they quickly went from 13-0 to 13-3 losing their last three games of the season.  Still fans around the country are also captivated by Drew Brees.  Drew through for over 4,000 yards this season and finished with a 109 passer rating.  If he were playing for some team in New York, San Diego, Chicago instead of New Orleans he might be a household name, is however around my house because he has been my fantasy QB.   His 34 touchdowns and pass completion percentage of greater than 70 percent makes him daunting presence out there in the Super Dome where the Saints will play on Sunday. 

Then there is Reggie Bush.  Ever since Vince Young and Reggie Bush tangled in the Texas vs. USC BCS Championship game, fans have wanted to watch him perform on the pro level.  Reggie however has been sort of an anomaly. What he contributes is not easily recognizable and at times he gets lost. Still he brings about a certain fascination and to be hones last week he looked great.  Therefore, those of us who still believe he is a game-breaker wait and watch to see if this will be the game that we say, “I told you so.”   

Finally and make no mistake, the reason we are watching the game tomorrow is drama played out in 40 year old Brett Favre.  Can he lead the Vikings back to the Super Bowl? Favre’s passer rating is a not so shabby 107.2. Okay so it is a little worse than Drew Brees, the old man has thrown for 33 TDs, 7 interceptions and yes also over 4,000 yds.  This is Favre’s best year ever. If not for Manning getting his 4th MVP, Favre might have gotten his fourth.  I think you could say he almost equally deserves it.  Anyway, I will not dwell on the past in the words of Mark McGuire.  Favre is what the Vikings bet the ranch on and so far so good.  I believe that this game is the highlight because no matter who wins probably everyone will somehow feel good.  Favre will be considered to have had a great season and unquestionably the missing link to Minnesota’s return to the NFC Championship game.  On the other hand, who could not be happy for the Saints going to the Super Bowl for the first time?   In contrast in the AFC game Jets fans will be happy with a win or a loss because quite frankly they did not expect to be here this season. Colt fans and Peyton Manning fans will only be happy with a win. Despite all his stats, Peyton needs to get to a second Super Bowl and winning it would be even better if he is to go down in the annals of NFL Historians as the greatest QB ever. 





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