Twas the Night Before Super Bowl XLV

I realize its a little late, but I forgot to post this. Enjoy!

Twas the night before Super Bowl XLV

Twas the night before the Super Bowl

And sweeping the nation

Were feelings of excitement

And sweet anticipation.

The chili was set simmering

As it had been all night

In hopes that by morning

It would taste just right.

All the players were soundly sleeping

At undisclosed locations

While they dreamt of lifting the Lombardi trophy

Then taking long vacations.

Packers’ fans were in their Cheeseheads

While Steelers fans sported yellow and black

They had just returned from a night of parties

And long sessions of talking smack.

From outside the players hotels

There arose such a clatter

That Steelers coach Mike Tomlin awoke

To see what was the matter.

Coach McCarthy did the same

As he quickly opened the blinds

The source of the noisy ruckus

Was what he was trying to find.

Faintly made visible

By the light of the moon

Was an event that would cause

A media frenzy quite soon.

See, there had been much snow

On the roof of Jerry Jones’s creation

But it was the domes roof

That felt a sliding sensation.

Snow removal from the roof

Was being done with much haste

Freefalling snow would be

A problem they may face.

If they didn’t proceed in clearing

The luxurious stadium’s top

But in the process of clearing snow

They let too much drop.

So down came the ice and snow

In large, dangerous sheets

It made a bone shaking sound

As it struck the Dallas streets.

The streets had been empty

Of all stray fans

But there was someone present

Just one single man.

A man who had just awoken

From a dream riddled nap

And had donned a disguise

Of sweats and a cap.

He had needed some peace

So he snuck away

To take a look at the site

Where he would wage war the next day.

But at the moment

A man known to most as big Ben

Was stuck under ice and snow

Without the help of a friend.

While the weight of the ice

Would have crushed most guys

Ben began to move it

A look of determination in his eyes.

With two kicks of his leg

And a thrust of his arm

He swiftly removed

Himself from any harm.

Having just completed

This Herculean feat

Ben dusted himself off

And walked back down the street.

He got into a car

Back to his hotel he went

For now he was tired

His adrenaline spent.

“The snow was a sign”

He thought with some glee

“If I can escape snow and ice

I can evade B.J Raji”.

Now nothing could stop him

No tackle to rough

No coverage to tight

No defense to tough.

Ben got back into his bed

Wrapped in his sheets tight

He was ready for tomorrow

He was ready to fight.

But before Ben went to sleep

You could hear him say

“I’m going to win the Super Bowl

Cause I came to play”.

 -Shane

Does Major League Baseball Need A Salary Cap?

The Hot Stove has begun to sizzle with the recent signings and trades.  Adrian Gonzalez was dealt to the Red Sox, who then proceeded to sign Carl Crawford to a 7 year deal worth around $147 million dollars over that span.  They are also trying to negotiate a new deal for Gonzales that would pay him similar money to what they just gave Crawford.  The Yankees and Rangers are in a battle to see who will have the services of Cliff Lee for what seems to be the rest of his prime.  He is being offered deals that appear to for 6-7 years and in the range of $140-150 million in total over those years.  Let us not forget that the Nationals, a team who hasn’t reached the playoff since their move to the nation’s capital, just locked up Jayson Werth for seven years with a $126 million dollar contract.  All of these deals raise the question: Is it time that the MLB controls spending by creating a salary cap?

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the Yankees and Red Sox have established themselves as the super powers of the free agent market.  The two A.L East powerhouses go after the elite free agents, and usually get one of them.  With the two highest payrolls in Major League Baseball, some may argue that it isn’t fair that these two teams have all this money to spend on free agents, while other teams can’t even dream of competing with them because they don’t have to money to outbid the Sox and Yankees.  It is not only fair that they get to do this; it is the nature of the current free agent system in Major league baseball.  The teams with ownership groups that are willing to contribute large sums of money to free agents should absolutely buy every player they can get.  The ownership group of the Red Sox headed by John Henry is composed of multimillionaires didn’t buy a baseball team that will lose; they bought a team so they could own a winning franchise.  To own a winning franchise, you need a team composed of talented players, and talent isn’t cheap.  Still, they want the Red Sox to be a yearly contender, so they make an effort to bring in the best talent available, and are willing to take the hits in their wallets. The Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner is the same as the Red Sox’s group, always ready to pay whatever is necessary to win the services of the best players, and it was his father, the late George Steinbrenner who began the trend of contract inflation.  This willingness to spend big-time money on big-time players is why the Red Sox and Yankees (The MLB’s two highest payrolls) are always in the playoff picture, and teams like the Pirates (the MLB’s lowest payroll from 2009) are the laughing stock of the Majors.

So does the MLB need to create a salary cap, similar to what the NFL, NBA, and NHL have, to control the spending?  Why bother.  As we are witnessing with the Miami Heat, there is a loop hole in every rule, so let the teams spend money if they have money.  It isn’t the money that makes the team, and the biggest names don’t always win.  The Giants and Rangers showed us that with so homegrown talent, a lot of guts, and sheer determination, anything is possible.  Cause last time I checked, there is no $ in team, and teams win games, not players.

Offering Support for “Gasp!” the BCS, and your NBA preview

Offering Support for “Gasp!” the BCS, and your NBA preview

Hey sports fans everywhere,

It’s correspondent Kevin here with some support for the BCS. Yes, I am going to defend the BCS. I believe that the BCS is better than a playoff series. With the BCS, many teams get to play a game after the season. The way the conferences are set up now, almost every team in the SEC is better than almost every team in the WAC (except #3 Boise State, of course.) This would create major playoff problems. It would be comparable to having the Yankees, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, and Rangers in the same division, as that division would need 5 playoff berths. The BCS solves this problem a lot better than a playoff system.

While we are on the topic of college sports, March Madness is my favorite sporting event other than the Super Bowl. I love predicting brackets and I typically fill out 5 different ones each day before the tournament starts. When March rolls around I will be on top of your news, results, analysis and more! Look no further!

Ok now that we have discussed that, here is your NBA preview for this year with players that need to be on your fantasy basketball team in parentheses:

Atlantic Division:

  1. Boston Celtics- With the addition of the O’ Neal’s in the offseason (Jermaine and Shaquille) these guys will be hard to beat (Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen.)
  2. Philadelphia 76ers- These guys are looking better with Andre Iguodala and young Jrue Holliday. Without Allen Iverson, it will be rough (Andre Iguodala.)
  3. New York Knicks- Amar’e Stoudemire is an intimidating defender but he cannot play offense all by himself (Stoundemire, Raymond Felton.)
  4. New Jersey Nets- Brook Lopez is a top-5 center. The only problem with the Nets is he gets practically all their rebounds (Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, Troy Murphy.)
  5. Toronto Raptors- They will be in shambles without Chris Bosh  (Andrea Bargnani.)

Central Division-

  1. Chicago Bulls- When Carlos Boozer comes back, he will work with Joakim Noah to make these guys a force again (Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah.)
  2. Indiana Pacers- Comeback Team of the year is strong with Danny Granger, Darren Collison, and Roy Hibbert (those 3 players.)
  3. Milwaukee Bucks- Brandon Jennings needs one more year. Then playoffs (Jennings, Andrew Bogut, John Salmons?)
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers- Miserable without LeBron, but not last place-kind of miserable (Mo Williams.)
  5. Detroit Pistons- Rip Hamilton is no longer a force, and they have no more Wallaces (Hamilton.)

Southeast Division:

 Orlando Magic  1. Miami Heat- The “DUH!” pick of the year (Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Mike Miller.)

2. Orlando Magic- Dwight Howard can make any team good enough for second place. They will need other contributions to beat the Heat (Howard, Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson.)

3. Washington Wizards- John Wall is a dynamic PG. (Wall, Andray Blatche, Gilbert Arenas.)

4. Charlotte Bobcats- They will have a good shot at the playoffs with the guys they have (Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace.)

5. Atlanta Hawks- 50 point underdogs against the Heat (Joe Johnson, Josh Smith.)

Northwest Division-

  1. Utah Jazz- The year Deron Williams and Al Jefferson put it all together (Williams, Jefferson.)
  2. Portland Trail Blazers- If Greg Oden plays more than 10 games… (Oden, Brandon Roy.)
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder- Durant has a down year. Yes, it is possible (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green.)
  4. Denver Nuggets- Melo cannot run a team by himself(Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups.)
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves- Kevin Love keeps getting better. The rest of the team keeps getting worse (Love, Wesley Johnson.)

Pacific Division-

  1. Los Angeles Lakers-  Kobe’s team #1 in this division again (Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol,  Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest.)
  2. Golden State Warriors- Breakout year for David Lee and Monta Ellis (Lee, Ellis, Stephen Curry.)
  3. Sacramento Kings- Tyreke Evans and Omri Casspi work with rookie DeMarcus Cousins for an OK year in Sacramento (Evans, Cousins.)
  4. Phoenix Suns- Steve Nash and Jason Richardson still fantasy relevant (Nash, Richardson.)
  5. Los Angeles Clippers- Better but still worst. You know what I mean (Chris Kaman, Baron Davis.)

Southwest Division-

  1. San Antonio Spurs- Last year at the top for them. Too many old players (Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, George Hill?)
  2. Memphis Grizzlies- WHAT!!! Yes, they are a basketball team. And good, too (Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, MARC Gasol, O.J. Mayo.)
  3. Dallas Mavericks- Dirk Novitzki is a scorer and rebounder. Too bad when he rebounds it the only guy to pass it to is Jason Kidd (Novitzki, Kidd.)
  4. New Orleans Hornets- C3PO can hit shots from- Wait a sec. That is that droid from Star Wars. CP3 (Chris Paul) can hit shots from all over the floor (Paul, David West.)
  5. Houston Rockets- Rocketing to last place… (Linas Kleiza.)

 

Come On, Man!

This week’s Come on Man! goes to the New York Yankees team in the 1960 World Series. They outscored the Pirates 55-27 in that World Series and outhit them 91-60 and LOST. On a Walk Off Game 7 Home Run by Bill Mazeroski. Check this link for the video:

http://espn.go.com/mlb/feature/video/_/id/5662618/maz-moment

It happened 50 years ago (October 13th.)

Enjoy Sports as always,

Correspondent Kevin

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1960_WS

 

Boise State…

…is in line to compete for the National Championship. At least, after the first two polls were released. The standings are made up of the AP poll, the USA Today Coaches poll, and the Harris poll, which hasn’t yet been released. For the first time in the school’s history they are in the top two in the polls. Oregon took the top spot in the AP poll, as well as the USA Today. TCU on the other hand, remained in 4th. Apparently, the Horned Frogs aren’t yet ready to move up, and Oklahoma was put ahead of them at the #3 spot. Maybe another week, the Frogs will get their call. They now need a big lose from a top team to spring themselves into the top. I want to say that this will happen, but as long as the BCS’s corrupt system stays in place, the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs don’t appear to be able to make that final jump.

A quick note…The Wisconsin Badgers won the game against Ohio State this Saturday, but not the vote of the coaches. The Buckeyes were ahead of the Badgers in the USA Today Coaches poll.

Keeping you updated,
-Shane

Broncos and Horned Frogs: The Ultimate Rip-off

The new BCS rankings are set to come out.  With Ohio State getting upset this week by Wisconsin, and the upset of Alabama last week by South Carolina,  we will absolutly see some new teams atop the BCS rankings.  Oklahoma and Oregon appear to be set as the top 2, but what about the two teams that have been in the top 5 for most of this year: Boise State and TCU.  The Broncos and Horned Frogs crushed their opponents this week.   While San Jose State and BYU aren’t the hardest of opponents,  shouldn’t these small conference schools get some reconition for their dominence all season long?  Why is it that the teams that have been #3 and #4 always remain in their spots, while new teams come and go at #1.  In a just world,  Boise State and TCU would get some props and get considered for the elite spot in the rankings this week.  Unfortunatly for them, the system isn’t perfect, and come the end of this season, will most likley have to watch the title game from a couch, not the sidelines.

-Shane

The New England Patriots…time to start anew

Brady will have to rely more on Wes Welker going foreward without Randy Moss.

Last night we saw Randy Moss in his Vikings debut. It was good, but not good enough, as his new team lost to the Jets on Monday night football 29-20. So because I am a Patriots fan, I decided I will give you a look at the Patriots recieving core as it stands now.

– Wes Welker- The speedy slot reciever will continue to run the slot, but may begin to face #1 cornerbacks. He should be the undisputed best reciever on this team, but I am worried whether this will remain true. This week verses the Ravens will be a great chance to see if he is really the great wideout we think he is, or if he was the product of “the Moss affect”. This will be the first time he flys solo, as in his entire tenure here, Moss didn’t miss a game.
– Deion Branch- The Super Bowl XXXIX MVP is reunited with his former team after the Pats traded for him. They gave the Seahawks a 4th round pick, so time will tell who got the better end of this deal. Branch is 31, and has been hampered with injuries his entire career. He give the Patriots another veteren target, but I don’t think that there is anything left in his tank. He won’t even loosen the pressure off of Wes Welker. From a fans point of view, I sure hope that he proves me wrong.
– Brandon Tate- The true wild card in this situation. He has already shown his explosiveness with his two kick-off returns for touchdowns. If his ability can formualte into a solid reciever, the Moss deal makes slightly less an impact. I feel that the passing game will rely on whether Brady can find another target he like downfield, and Tate may be this guy.
– Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gonkowski- The Patriots may begin to convert to a 2 TE team, and these guys are certainly capable. The two rookies have different games, but complement each other. Hernandez already has a package designed for him, and has 18 catches this season. He is a matchup problem withhis great speed and quickness, and is becoming a favorite target of Brady’s in tight situations. Gronkowski is a big man at 6′ 6″, and is a great blocker and a solid red zone target. They loved what they got when they took him in the second round, and will look to utilize him more, esepcially around the goal line.
– Julian Edelman- A very similar player to Welker, will see a few more snaps, but not a huge boost in playing time, barring injury. He was a quaterback in college, so maybe a we will see a wildcat in the Patriots future?…
– Taylor Price…has not caught the ball yet this season. He will get a catch with Moss gone now, but don’t expect much.
I think that just about covers it. They certainly have depth,(I didn’t even mention Alge Crumpler and Matthew Slater) it is just a matter of who steps up.

So thus ends the Randy Moss era in New England. It brought plenty of excitment and records, but last time I checked, his fingers are bare. Good luck in Minnesota. Maybe Brett Farve will stop throwing games away with interceptions, and you can start a quest to get a ring. Haha, I just made a joke.

From an optimistic New England fan,
-Shane

C’mon Man!

Come on Man!

Many of you know of “Come on Man,” a part of ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown” show before MNF. Chris Berman, Keyshawn Johnson, Mike Ditka and the others detail their own performance of the week that was most embarrassing to watch. Well I would like to do mine each week and, by the way, please note that these may not be events that happened that recently. Here is mine this week.

September 20, 2010, Monday. On Monday Night Football, ironically, David Baas, the 49ers left guard (an offensive line position,) snapped the ball 20 feet over Alex Smith’s head. Come on Man!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBHJXqFPBIY

Well do not blame Baas right away. Notice I mentioned Baas is the left guard, and usually centers snap the ball. The ‘Niners starting center was injured and out this week and, as anyone who played a touch football game in their life knows, it is really hard to snap the ball 50-60 times a game accurately, especially if you have only one week to learn. This again shows how vital a center can be in the NFL. And while we are on the subject of offensive lines and centers, the best center in the NFL is Nick Mangold of the Jets.

That’s it for now. Good night and enjoy sports as always!

Weekly Correspondent Kevin

The Great Buffalo Gridiron Fiasco

The Buffalo Bills are the worst NFL team.  Period.  End of story.  No discussion.  Just accept it, if you didn’t already.   I think that some college teams could beat them.  They wouldn’t be good in the Canadian Football League.   So when they recently dealt Marshawn Lynch for only a 6th round pick and a conditional pick, they only got worse.  This is a team that can’t play offense, has no defense, and isn’t great on special teams.  Their best player is…well they really don’t have any truly good players.  Their first round draft choice C.J Spiller is explosive, but he has to stand against the test f time and durability before he can be counted as great.  There is too much about his game that to me suggests that he won’t be a 16 game player.  Lee Evans is considered to be one of their better players, but he wouldn’t be a number 1 receiver anywhere else.  When a team is that bad, there needs to be some change.  Chan Gailey should be on the hot seat, as should the G.M and other high ranking execs.  Hey, why not put owner Ralph Wilson on the hot seat.  Someone needs to go in there and do an overhaul.  New coach, new personnel, but what they really need is a new quarterback.  I will go down as saying this:  Jake Locker isn’t the answer.  Locker going into this season had scouts drooling with his versatility, and he was a Heisman favorite and a potential #1 pick in the upcoming draft.  I expect the Bills to have the worst record, therefore get the number one pick.    What the Bills shouldn’t do is go and use it on Jake Locker.  Or Andrew Luck.  Or Ryan Mallet.  I believe that they should get Cameron Hayward, defensive end from Ohio State.  A new coach (which hopefully they will get) and a new quarterback don’t usually end in success.  What the Bills need to start doing is developing an offensive line, and a defensive line (see Heyward, Cameron)   Games are on in the trenches, and right now, the Bills trenches look like a ditch, or something that a 5 year old would dig at the beach.  Build the defensive line and the offensive line.  Grab a quarterback in free agency that is respectable, and then draft someone to build as a project.  Even develop Ryan Fitzpatrick if you want.  If he got more accuracy, the current Bills quarterback wouldn’t be too shabby.  It doesn’t matter what they choose, they just need change some things.  A lot of things.

NHL Preview from a friend…

                 I would like to introduce Kevin, who is going to be a correspondent for this blog.  He is a huge Red Sox fan and hates New York teams as well but will try not to be biased about it. He knows his stuff, and will bring another opinion and more insight to this blog.  This is his NHL preview.  Make sure to check into Shane’s Sport Stop regularly to check for new posts from Kevin.

Atlantic Division-

  1. New Jersey Devils- Their top line is Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, Travis Zajac. It will be tough to beat them when they have some guy named Martin Brodeur in net, also known as the goalie with the one of the highest save totals ever.
  2. Pittsburgh Penguins- Sidney Crosby, Penguins superstar, will always get his team in the playoffs with Evgeni Malkin, excellent Penguins center. Over/ under 25 goals by Crosby assisted by Malkin?
  3. Philadelphia Flyers- If they have a goalie (goalie troubles in the playoffs last season), they will be a playoff team.
  4. New York Rangers- They have Henrik Lundqvist, who is a great goalie, but they will not make the playoffs in this division.
  5. New York Islanders- The afterthought in this division, but Mark Moulson, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo will be a great top line. Just not in the next 10 years as this crew is still very young.

East Division-

  1. Boston Bruins-My pick (and my favorite hockey columnist, Pierre LeBrun of ESPN’s pick) to win the Northeast Division, they will need Chara to score more than 7 goals this year. Also Marc Savard will need to return from injury soon and recovering from that terrible 4-3 series loss after up 3 games to zero.
  2. Buffalo Sabres-Ryan Miller, goalie, will give them a chance at the playoffs.
  3. Ottawa Senators- This team has some pop to their slapshots, but they won’t get a playoff berth until Pascal Leclaire acts like a real goalie (Hint, Pascal-Make a save!!)
  4. Montreal Canadiens- The history of this team means they will never finish last again. Oh yeah, and they have two guys named Andre and Sergei Kostitsyn who are really old and still great hockey players…
  5. Toronto Maple Leafs-I know several Bruins fans that live in Toronto. Just saying…

Southeast Division-

  1. Washington Capitals-They won’t be champions of the NHL, or even not in this division, but they do have Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin.
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning- Steven Stamkos is the 3rd best player ranked by the ESPN fantasy hockey rankings. After two guys named Crosby and Ovechkin. Stamkos will be excellent this year, maybe MVP .
  3. Florida Panthers- I think this team has breakout potential with David Booth and Stephen Weiss, but Thomas Vokoun, their goalie, will have to be the Vezina Trophy winner if this team makes any noise in the playoffs.
  4. Atlanta Thrashers- Lets do some math. Atlanta – star player Ilya Kovalchuk = No Atlanta in playoffs.
  5. Carolina Hurricanes- This squad has never been playoff worthy, Cam Ward, who is their goalie, will have to be a beast for these guys to make .500.

Central Division-

  1. Chicago Blackhawks- Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane will do a team wonders.
  2. Detroit Red Wings- If Johan Franzen plays for more than a week before getting hurt they will return to the playoffs, as a pose to last season when he missed four months with an injury.
  3. Nashville Predators- Long a favorite team of mine, I predict goalie Pekka Rinne has a breakout year and Nashville is so close to the playoffs. Next year, Tennessee hockey fans.
  4. Columbus Blue Jackets- Who? Most sports fans don’t know there is a hockey team in Columbus. The Blue Jackets won’t make the playoffs, but 40+ goals for Rick Nash.
  5. St. Louis Blues- See Blue Jackets, Columbus.

Northwest Division-

  1. Vancouver Canucks- My favorite hockey team is a division winner again this year. I bet you did not know the winner of the NHL MVP award last year was not Ovechkin or Crosby. It was Henrik Sedin of Vancouver.
  2. Edmonton Oilers- Surprise! Taylor Hall baby!
  3. Minnesota Wild- The other Nicklas Backstrom is a great goalie. Call me when Minnesota gets an offensive player.
  4. Colorado Avalanche- In the division of good goalies, Craig Anderson gets this team to .500? It’s possible.
  5. Calgary Flames- Jarome Iginla is not who he used to be, and Dion Phaneuf is no longer there.

Pacific Division-

  1. San Jose Sharks- Big year from Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley.
  2. Los Angeles Kings- Look up Anze Kopitar’s stats from last year.
  3. Dallas Stars- This team’s offense will surprise you. Several quality players have these guys labeled sleepers by several, but dominating top two teams in this division gives these guys 50% chance at playoffs at the best.
  4. Phoenix Coyotes- See Blues, St. Louis.
  5. Anaheim (Mighty) Ducks- I need to remove Mighty from their name, they are not worthy of their title.

Rays Woes

The Tampa Bay Rays have clinched a playoff spot and are competing for home field advantage in this  years playoffs.  Not that home field advantage will matter to them.  Tropicana Field, home of the Rays, is a pitiful excuse for a major league baseball field.  From its poor food stands to the catwalk that routinely robs  the home team and foes alike of easy outs,  Tropicana isn’t pretty.  So it should come as no surprise how low the Rays attendance has been.  This year  the Rays have averaged 23,024 fans per home game.  While this number may seem large,  it is only good for 22nd in the Majors,  behind teams like the Houston Astros and the Detroit Tigers,  teams whose playoffs hopes were over before they began.  So when some of Tampa’s premier players ( cough…Evan Longoria…cough) are publicly blasting the home folks for their apparent lack of support, I don’t think that this should be much of a surprise.  Being a Boston fan,  I am used to seeing Fenway sell-out nightly, and the Sox play in front of at least 35,000 a night. I would be embarrassed to be a Rays fan right now.  What will it take to get the fans through the gates?  Giving away free tickets aren’t going to be an option every night,  but that seemed to work.  The Rays gave away thousands of seats to the game where they clinched their playoff spot,  and some of those fans got a spray of the champagne.  But had those free tickets not be given away,  how anti-climatic would have it been when Even Longoria’s Rays punched their playoff ticket, only to find that less 20,000 “fans” showed up to share this accomplishment with them.  I know that there would be a lot more comments made about the players directed at their fans.  This whole situation would have gotten real messy, real fast.

From yours truly,

Shane, who is still not excepting the Red Sox elimination.