Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Year Later..I'm Back! Here's Why I'm Back!

I have not posted for this site in roughly a year, September, 2017 when I posted about the player protests and the why, concentrating on players having a right to protest but not insulting their fans. Well, Kenny Stills and a few others are still protesting and still supporting Mr. I-love-Fidel-Castro, Colin Kaepernick. According to the Miami Herald (since they have a paywall I won't post the link...I read this on some ProFootballTalk post), Stills and others went to visit a veteran's home to let the vets know the protests are not about denouncing them, but police brutality against mostly blacks. Fine.

Now, onto why I am back. Because Ryan "Aggie Homeboy" Tannehill is back, and because he has pretty much picked up where he left off in December, 2016 before Calais Campbell took him out in the Cards game in Miami. Again, I don't blame Campbell who was just doing his job--I blame the OL, and I even blame Tannehill since he could have done something about it in the 2017 off-season, but didn't, so he tore the ACL in 2017 practice. And then they got the most disliked QB, IMHO, for me anyway, in Dolphins history--Jay Cutler. Folks, I was NOT going to root for a team I've been rooting for since the 70s with Cutler as their QB. In fact, I did NOT want them making the playoffs with Cutler! Their 6-10 record was fine with me. Because Cutler is a 6-10 QB, that's why! (And just to let you know, I was pleased the Bills made the playoffs last year--Bills fans are among the most loyal, so they deserved that their team finally made the playoffs for first time since the late 90s! I was also glad the Seahawks nissed the playoffs--can't stand Pete Carroll, who screwed Reggie Bush and others, and Michael Bennett, Richard Sherman, and other loudmouth divas that play for Seattle.)

That is, the Dolphins are worth rooting for again with RT17 back, and with a couple of other players that ought to do this team a lot of good--Frank Gore, Danny Amendola, Robert Quinn, Ted Larson (unfortunately, Josh Sitton tore his rotator cuff and is out for the year...same thing happened to Mike Pouncey a few years ago), TJ McDonald, and Albert Wilson, to go with savvy vets Stills, Wake, Reshad Jones, Kiko Alonso, and Spence (don't remember first name). Laremy Tunsil, who kinda sucked last year, is playing much better, and J'uan James is no longer a penalty machine. Raekwon McMillan will get his first year in, Xavien Howard should continue to do well, and Jordan Phillips is finally living up to his high draft status. Will DeVante Parker when he gets back on the field? (Note: that's the funny thing about first round drafted WRs--they have this weird tendency to go bust for the most part. But I suspect that while he played well with RT, he did not play well with Cutler, and maybe that affected his status some.). And how about that Kenyan Drake and Jakeem Grant?

Now for the players they lost--Jarvis Landry, Suh, Pouncey, and a few others, plus the trade of Ajayi. They simply could not adjust Suh's massive contract and try to get under the cap. Further, Suh had a lousy 2017, as did Pouncey, so these players were worth getting rid of. As for Landry...folks, a team simply wull NOT give a slot receiver 15 mil! No way! And then on top of that, he lambastes not only Adam Gase, Miami's best HC since Shula, but Tannehill as well. The same Tannehill that made him the most dangerous slot WR in the NFL and afforded him a chance to tie OBJ in receiving yards and catches, and a pro-bowl player. He didn't just get on Cutler, but also on my Aggie homeboy! Talk about DIVA RECEIVA! And to top that off, he praises the STINKIN" BROWNS, who have gone 1-31 in two years! 0-16 last year! The worst team in sports history is better than the Dolphins??? But Landry must have bribed ESPN over this, since ESPN rated the Dolphins to go 0-16 in 2018!

WRONG! The Dolphins are 2-0 after two weeks! So are the "next Super Bowl teams," the Rams and Jags. (Note: I DO see the Rams in Supe 53. The Jaguars? Not do much.). So are the Bucs--folks, for the last several years Florida teams pretty much sucked--not this year! So are the Bengals--no really! So are the Broncos--with Case Keenum...and yes, the Bronocs really sucked last year! So are the Chiefs, who everyone and his uncle are going nuts over what with Mahomes and Tyreek Hill (but their D, not so much). So are the Bears...with a big shout out to the Raiders who gave them Khalil Mack, right?

The standings so far: AFC East: Miami, New England (who lost to the Jags in Jax, would you believe Tannehill is rated higher than Brady?), NYJets, both at 1-1, and Buffalo 0-2 (I got something to say about the Bills giving away Tyrod Taylor below--bad move, Bills! And Vontae Davis being Vontae Davis.) AFC North: Cincy, Baltimore, Cleveland, Pittsburgh (yes, you read that right: both the Browns and Steelers are 0-1-1...they tied each other because the Browns FG kicker blew it in overtime, so I put the Brownies ahead of the supposedly mighty Steelers, who couldn't stop Mahomes and Co. even if Tomlin cast a spell on them). AFC South: Jax, Tennessee, Indy, Houston...kinda doing the NFC South flip-flop game this year. (But I guarantee it even if the Colts don't make the playoffs and Miami does, Andrew Luck will get Comeback Player of the Year over Tannehill--because, you know, Luck is "better" according to the consensus. Right.) AFC West: KC, Denver, LA, Oakland...who plays the Dolphins IN MIAMI week 3. NFC East: Philly, Dallas, and Washington are tied at 1-1 with the NY Giants at 0-2. Methinks Eli Manning's days are numbered. But that's what happens when you pay superstar money to an average DE, you know, Olivier Vernon. And you fire Tom Coughlin, who is managing the Jags into (maybe) powerhouse status... Hopefully my late dad isn't rolling over in his grave. NFC North: Chicago, Minny, GB (tied with 1-0-1) and Detroit (who let rookie Sam Darnold of the Jets skewer them in week 1) at 0-2. NFC South: Tampa Bay, with Carolina and Atlanta and New Orleans tied at 1-1. NFC West: LA at 2-0, SF at 1-1, and both Seattle and Arizona at 0-2. In fact, the Cards have only scored SIX POINTS TOTAL! Why are they not starting rookie QB Josh Rosen, who was as good as Sam Darnold in college?

Finally, let me discuss a few things I mentioned above:

1. Why oh why did the Bills, who made the playoffs in 2017 for the first time in ages, give away the QB who got them there, Tyrod Taylor? And in week 1, some guy I never heard of, Nathan Peterson, could only put 3 points in the board vs. the Ravens, losing 47-3!!! And then finally they put their first round QB Josh Allen in for week 2...and at half-time CB Vontae Davis--the same Vontae Davis Joe Philbin dumped in Miami in 2012 during Hard Knocks..one of Philbin's few good moves as a HC..the same Vontae Davis who never did much of anything on the field and was a diva of sorts--retires! Just like that--he retires, without telling the Bills, the coaches, the teammates... I got a funny feeling the Bills are going to be the new Browns this year...even if the Browns are the same ol' same ol'...but that's okay...Jarvis Landry thinks they're better than the Dolphins..

2. Why are the Steelers sucking all of a sudden? Because LeVeon Bell is all about himself, apparently, as is Antonio Brown, who decides he's not showing up for practices...after all, the great and glorious Antonio Brown, who handed the Dolphins a win in Pittsburgh in 2013 by running a kickoff return out-of-bounds in week 14, doesn't need to show up for practice, right? Maybe, just maybe, Mike Tomlin isn't the coach he was a few years ago? Because why is he letting these diva players get away with not supporting the team?

3. Why did the GOAT (Tom Brady) let the Jags beat up on his "dynastic" team week 2? Folks, in case you haven't noticed the last several years, it takes the Pats a few weeks to get their game on. In fact, in 2013 (I think) they started out 2-3? No big deal, folks, no big deal.

4. Why is everyone in the "consensus" stating no way will "FitzMagic" flatten out what with his amazing starts to the Buccaneers' season playing as if he's Peyton Manning...right. When Ryan Fitzpatrick played for the Bills and Jets, he ALWAYS started out super, and then (as with the Bills when he was given a contract extension and 57 mil) he crashed and burned. Not once, not twice, but three times or more. The man is in his late 30s! Does anyone really expect me to believe suddenly Fitz is the re-incarnation of Dan Marino? And what will the Bucs do when Jameis Winston comes back from a 4-game suspension? This dude was the first overall pick in 2015; do the Bucs really think this former starting QB is going to take going to the bench lightly?

5. When the Jets drafted THE best QB in the 2018 draft, Sam Darnold from USC (or was it UCLA?), two things popped into my head-one, remember the last QB they drafted from USC turned into Mr. Butt Fumble...you know, Mark Sanchez? 'Nough said. The other thing was that I had this funny feeling that if Darnold started out really well Jets fans--and if anyone has needed a decent QB since..uh...Joe Namath!...it's the Jets! (I know, I know...the Jets have had some decent QBs in that long time span...one being Chad Pennington, who flipped the Jets the bird in 2008 when they cut him loose and Miami claimed him off waivers after the Jets signed Brett Favre...and Boomer Eisaiessen (spelling? You know, a fine Bengals QB)...and Brett Favre...and maybe one or two others...and. oh yeah, Ryan Fitzpatrick...who crashed in 2016, or was it 2015?) Well, if Darnold started off well, Jets fans would "rock star" the guy! And that is what has happened, and ESPN's Jets reporter has pretty much claimed Darnold to the the "next Tom Brady" (just go to ESPN for this...I'm not joking!). So what happens is this...the Dolphins come to town week 2 and "the next Brady" throws 2 ints. and did some really bad throws, mostly throwing to Bilal Powell, one of the most underrated RBs in the NFL, and Quincy Enunwa, another underrated WR. Now Darnold is a rookie. But, really, Jets fans, don't go turning this guy into a rock star just yet. You did the same with Mark Sanchez, and we know how that turned out!

6. Both the Rams and the Jaguars prove that every now and then, drafting in the top five in the first round every year can pay off--but you need damned good management to do that. I don't know much  about the Rams' management, but Sean McVay is one helluva coach, and when you have Snoop Dog and God knows how many other Hollywood celebs, rap stars, etc. (and no, I'm not bringing in Hollywood's Satan worship here! Bwahahahahah!) rooting for you... As for the Jags, when you have your oringal HC Tom Coughlin managing you---folks, it only took the new expansion Jags three years to make the playoffs, same as the AFLs expansion Bengals run by Paul Brown--and Doug Marone--whom the Bills also screwed by not renewing him a couple of years ago...and then they sign Rex "10 men on the field" Ryan--coaching you, then drafting in the top 5 every year is bound to pay off eventually. Gee, it could even happen to the Browns?

7. Someone needs to clue in the Cardinals about this "management" thing. I mean, 6 total points in two games? Okay okay, they got shut out by the Rams who have maybe the best D ever...tell that to the '85 Bears...but they also got run over by the Redskins. We are talking about a Cardinals team that played Carson Palmer for several years and simply would not draft a decent QB (they did draft a QB or two, but I said DECENT ones, not crappy ones!) I guess their mindset runs like this...we sign Kurt Warner, who won a Supe for the Rams, then retires, so why not sign old man Carson Palmer and put him with Pat Peterson, Karlos Dansby and several other top defenders, and one helluva great WR, some Fitzgerald guy...who needs to draft a QB when you can just get one off the shelf. Gee, they coulda had Ryan Fitzpatrick...

Thursday, September 28, 2017

It's Not That Players Or Coaches Or Owners are Protesting. It's WHY They are Protesting, And Doing It WRONG!

One would think that protesting players--the majority of whom are MILLIONAIRES!--would at least have something to protest about!

Folks, now really, seriously, do you REALLY THINK THESE UBER-RICH CELEBRITIES ACTUALLY HAVE SOMETHING TO PROTEST ABOUT? Because that is what these protesters are! UBER-RICH CELEBRITIES! Gee you'd think they worked for Hollywood!


Gee, celebrity attention seekers like RAP STARS (black) and ROCK STARS (white) don't pull the CRAP these pampered athletes do!

Now it is not crap to protest the flag or even the anthem when what the flag and anthem now represent is GENOCIDE (Yemen--who do you think is funding the Saudis?), OPPRESSION BY DICTATORSHIP (the Saudis, for one), WASTING BILLIONS that could go to fix infrastructure, hurricane damage, wild fire damage, and other projects that just might "make America great again" by sending all this money to a nation that DOES NOT NEED IT-ISRAEL! Why in the blue blazes does a country WITH NUKES need American military funding? Because the leaders of this nation are afraid to be called "anti-Semitic" if they don't? So Israel is blackmailing the United States? And what do you expect from an "ally" that nearly destroys the USS Liberty KILLING 34 AMERICAN SAILORS in 1967 so that "we" would help them win the Six-Day War THEY WERE ALREADY WINNING on the pretext that "Egypt did it"??? And various war crimes of the disgusting "American Empire" and other worthy causes to protest. Not to mention police brutality, sex and human trafficking by the elites that actually run the US, the inability to actually follow the laws of the land because it isn't profitable to actually follow the laws of the land? Folks, there are many reasons folks could be protesting, whether kneeling for the flag or the anthem. Or other ways.

But the bogus "protests" of these FOLKS WHO THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN THE FOLKS WHO ACTUALLY PAY THEIR UBER-RICH SALARIES and for all I know consider us "useless eaters" the way the criminal psycho elites also consider us (and, I hate to break it to you, Kap, but the criminal psycho elites also see YOU that way! USEFUL FREAKIN' IDIOT!!!)--they are NOT protesting against US govt. oppression and genocide! NO! They are "protesting" JUST TO GET ATTENTION!

If they were truly protesting what they claimed to be protesting they wouldn't be doing it PRECISELY to piss off the fans who pay their ways by buying season tickets and PSLs to their games! Or purchase NFL GamePass (which I did not renew, but not because of "protests," but because my team's QB, Ryan Tannehill, is out for the year and Jay freakin' Cutler, who I do not like, has taken his place). Or buy jerseys. Or Sunday Ticket on DirecTV.

Folks, their so-called protests are being done PRECISELY in front of their fans who pay their salaries. In other words, they are protesting the supposed partiotism or whatever of their fans. They are NOT protesting oppression or police brutality or wasting tax dollars. They are protesting the fact that they think that their fans all voted for Trump and are thus "deplorables"! Right! THE FANS THAT PAY THEIR SALARIES ARE DEPLORABLES!

And now I will give one an example of just how stupid this behavior is because it makes no sense, and I will mention a few players on my fave team, the Miami Dolphins, who have done this. First was Kenny Stills--who is now a millionaire, right?--and now you have others, including Jay Ajayi (who's a Brit for goodness sakes!), Ju-Waun James, penalty machine, and fellow tackle Laremy Tunsil. What did these players do that makes no sense to me, and assuredly made no sense to the thousands of CUBAN-AMERICANS that inhabit Hard Rock Stadium on Sundays? This is what these folks did--they wore some kind of black t-shirt or something at their second away game of the year in New Jersey playing the Jets. And why did they wear this black t-shirt? To "protest" the fact that their buddy Colin Kaepernick is not playing in the NFL "because no team will sign him because he doth protest too much." Or something. And while this did not occur at Hard Rock Stadium, it still occurred, and here is why--Kap.

And here is why this protest makes no damned sense! Perhaps these players thought the Dolphins, upon losing Tannehill to a re-torn ACL for the year, should sign Kaepernick to replace him. And why does it make no sense for the Dolphins--WHO PLAY IN MIAMI!--to sign Kaepernick? Well, Kenny and the rest of you idiots, it makes no sense because--and you were playing in that game in Miami last year against Kap's 49ers, correct? I know Stills was since he caught a beauty of a pass from Tannehill--because the fans, upon seeing Kaepernick enter the field, BOO-ED THE CRAP OUT OF HIM! Why? Because Kaepernick wore a Castro t-shirt THE WEEK HE KNEW HE WAS PLAYING IN MIAMI. You know, home to many Cuban-Americans who escaped the Communist oppression of the Castro regime! So Kaepernick, knowing he was insulting Dolphins fans, who boo-ed the crap out of him, wore the damned t-shirt PRECISELY to insult Dolphins fans!!! And Dolphins fans knew it!!!
So now, dear Kenny and the rest of you useful idiots--do you get why Dolphins fans just might not like you supporting a man, Colin Kaepernick, who insulted them?

Kenny, Jay, etc.--did you really expect the Dolphins to sign Kaepernick? Really? Really??? Just how wet behind the ears are you people?

Now that brings me to the "protesting" by the Ravens players, etc. They, too, are protesting because the Ravens could have, possibly would have, since they were on board to do so at one point--and likely should have!--signed Kaepernick. If Flacco goes down, who replaces him? Kap would have been a good replacement. Further, seeing as how Baltimore (unlike Cuban-American Miami) is mostly black, the signing of Kap would have made sense (while it would have made NO SENSE for Miami to sign him! In fact, lib-tard NBC sports honcho Mike Florio even wrote that the ONLY team that made sense NOT to sign Kap was the Dolphins!). So it makes sense for Ravens players to protest not signing Kaepernick. BUT IT MAKES NO SENSE FOR THEM TO BE PROTESTING IN FRONT OF THEIR FANS! THEIR FANS DID NOT CAUSE RAVENS OWNER BISCOTTI TO NOT SIGN KAEPERNICK! Their fans did not screw over the Ravens--the Ravens owner did! So why are the players NOT protesting the owner, but their fans? Their owner pays them, right? WRONG! THEIR FANS PAY THEM!

Finally, let's head up to New England, to the team called PATRIOTS! You know, perennial Super Bowl contenders? So here are all these loyal (and most Pats fans ARE LOYAL, finally being rewarded after many years of mediocrity or worse with the GOAT, namely Tom Brady!), loyal Patriots fans standing at Gillette Stadium and having to put up with players with Super Bowl rings--and many with more than one!--"protesting" their "deplorable" fans because some guy named--er, George Soros maybe?--told these idiot players to protest in front of these god-awful Trump supporters---right! In Massachusetts? You know, a state that mostly voted Hillary? All I can say to these fans who were insulted is this--at least Tom Brady didn't insult you folks! And here is my message to these idiot Patriots players--if you want to protest something, protest that man that screwed you over last year by suspending your QB--Roger Goodell!

Now I will support ANY AND ALL PROTESTS AGAINST GOODELL, the WORST Commissioner in American sports!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Welcome to the New and Crazy 2017 NFL Season!

To heck with pre-season predictions! What with Tannehill being out for the year and Jay Cutler--a QB I do not like, period--now Miami's starting QB, no way am I making predictions as to whether Miami or anyone else is making the playoffs...and then they lose Raekwon McMillan, who was going to be their starting MLB, for the year with a torn ACL. And then they lose possible starting CB Tony Lippett as well! And starting OG Ted Larson! God knows who the starting guards will be!

And Pats fans are worried about losing Julian Edelman? Are they serious? (And if I spelled his name wrong, sorry.) Now, if they lose Tom Brady...

But anyway...and now the Fins have to worry about Hurricane Iram destroying Miami and their homes...

To any Dolphins fans living in South Florida--God keep you safe and sound, number one. In Jesus' Name, Amen. And for Heaven Sake, do not worry about your football team! Get safe, and get the heck outta South Florida! I know of what I speak--

Having a week or so ago, when visiting my son, daughter-in-law and grandson who live in a house SOUTH of HOUSTON! Between Houston and Galveston! My spouse and I got out of this city around 3 p.m. Saturday, just hours before Hurricane Harvey flooded the place! Had we waited until Sunday, we would have been stranded with a vehicle that might have been flooded! But here's the good news, we got of town just in time, and got back to our place in far west Texas Sunday; plus, our son's house was NOT FLOODED! Thank you, Father God, in Jesus' Holy Name, Amen!

Finally, while I hated the fact that the Dolphins' Week One game against the Bucs was moved to Week 11 what with the Bucs having the same Bye Week--now is that a co-incidence or what?--it is probably the best option, and, if you want to know why, visit The Phinsider SB Nation Miami Dolphins blog and click on the article about the History of Hurricane game postponements--it turns out in every season the Dolphins week one games were delayed/played later, or when they started the season o September 17, they not only made the playoffs, they also went to Super Bowls!

But enough about my fave team. Now the Pats could win another Supe, but what with no one messing with Brady, Brady does not have the "vendetta-minded-ness" that he needs to win Super Bowls. Further, if the so-called experts are right about the Raiders, it could be the team that will soon move to Vegas that gets the Supe nod, while in the NFC, if they finally get the Zeke Elliott biz right, the Cowboys might get there as well.

What with Cutler running the Fins, I am also going to root for a team that has lots of fans but hasn't deserved these loyal fans for years because they have been so bad, the Browns--because of Myles "Aggie boy" Garrett (who, you guessed it, was listed with an ankle injury!); a new and improved (we hope) QB, Dishone Kizer (spelling?) and maybe Cleveland's first serious franchise QB candidate in forever, and several new players who have played on winning teams in the past. Plus Hugh Jackson, IMHO a good NFL head coach. Plus the Steelers, Ravens and Bengals have all sorts of questions going into the season...will LeVeon Bell keep it up? Will Flacco recover? Will Vontaze Burfict ever grow up, and will their long-running head coach, Marv Lewis, ever learn how to control his players?

Will the Texans' stadium be ready and recovered from Harvey? Are the Titans for real? Will Andrew Luck ever recover? Will the Jags finally step up? God only knows who wins the AFC South. And the West division is also a "who knows?" proposition--just how good are the Raiders? And the Chiefs, who start out tonight with the Pats? And Denver, with a QB, Trevor Siemian, that still has things to prove, and the Chargers, moving to LA?

The NFC East will of course be highly competitive what with the Giants, Redskins, and Eagles seemingly improving a bit. In the North, I expect the Packers to win it again, but that division is always competitive, and good luck to the Bears with Tribusky, a good pick for them. As usual, the South will probably flip-flop, and either the Panthers or Bucs will win this thing...I do not see how the Falcons will ever recover from the ridiculous blowing of Super Bowl LI!!! And I just don't think the Saints have enough to overcome the improvements in the Bucs and Panthers. The NFC West will continue to be dominated by the Seahawks, but I hope the Cards can pull it out this year. The Niners look improved a bit, but the Rams do not.

The Pats will likely win the AFC East again--thank you, Tannehill re-tearing his ACL, and more ACL injuries, and Cutler's craziness, and Hurricane Irma! But as they say on the Phinsider, "in Gase we trust." (Note--I trust in God, okay?) The Jets are a mess almost comparable to what the Browns have been for years, and the Bills? This just might be the most unpredictable team in the NFL!

Happy 2017 season!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Premier League, YOU have a Problem!

Now I have spent months researching stats and info on the history of a league I really really have no serious interest in following, the English Premier League--I said in my previous post here that I have almost no interest in soccer, which they call "football" across the pond. But I wanted to make a comparison with the NFL anyway, since the NFL has been dominated by only a couple of teams since the beginning of the new millennium, and one of those, the New England Patriots, have been THE most dominant team during this time. The other dominant teams, throughout the 2000s and 2010s, have been the Packers, Steelers, Colts, and to a lesser extent, Seahawks and Cowboys--with a smattering of others during this time. That is, you have basically six teams, since 2001, owning the NFL. Almost no matter what happens--injuries, poor drafts, losing key free agents--these six teams, for the most part, continue to dominate.

There are three reasons for this:
1. QB. Brady, Roethlisberger, Romo (and now Prescott), Peyton Manning (and now Luck, who has been 'un-Luck-y' the last couple of years), Brett Favre and now Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson (yes, there was a down period in this area for the Seahawks)
2. Coaching. Belichick, Cower, and now Tomlin, Phillips, and now Garrett, Dungy, and now Pagano, McCarthey, Holmgren, and now Carroll.
3. GMs. I do not know all the names of the General Managers, but each of these teams have has strong and stable front offices, for the most part, and have drafted well, again for the most part. Too, they appear to have good owners who know when to stay out of the way, and when to get involved.

Of course, other teams have had a say (Giants, Eagles, 49ers, Chiefs, Ravens and others), but these teams aren't very consistent when it comes to competing in the playoffs. Yet, if the NFL standings were anything like the Premier League 'table' set up, with the "promotion-relegation" feature that is inherent in all soccer leagues world-wide, none of the teams listed in this paragraph would likely be relegated, that is, sent to the next lowest league. (And, oh, yeah, this IS no "next lower league"!)

Then you'd have most of the rest of the teams "fighting for safety" every year, that is, doing what they had to do to NOT be relegated. Then you have the really bad teams like the Browns that really would have no choice than to be relegated if such a system existed.

So I wanted to find out how the two leagues were similar, and how they were different. Well, when push comes to shove, the two leagues are very very similar, and, as for differences, I'll take the NFL any day over the Premier League (and not just because I don't like soccer much...folks, the Premier League is becoming more and more popular here in the US, and NBC Sports now has Premier League matches every Saturday on TV here (on NBC, or NBC Sports), and perhaps ESPN will follow suit. Why? Because you have more than a few Brits moving here, because Hispanics from Mexico and other places have always followed soccer, and because now the Major League Soccer league has lots of support in its cities--and MLS is sending more and more players to the Premier League (and, perhaps as well, the movie "Goal!" has something to do with it...actually, that movie was the lynchpin for me occasionally looking at Premier League standings, which led to this investigation in the first place.)

Because I found something that seemed odd--the fact that year after year since its formation in 1992-93, the Premier League has had for the most part the same four to six teams pretty much running the show--Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea. With occasional appearances for a few others: in the 1990s and early 2000s, Newcastle United and Aston Villa (which plays in Birmingham), and today, Everton (in or around Liverpool) and Manchester City. (Okay, okay, Liecester City won it in 2015-16).

Well, with Arsenal and Chelsea (and now we have to factor in Tottenham Hotspur, what with Harry Kane and all) being in London, and the rest mentioned above being in the other major cities in England (Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, and Newcastle), it leads me to conclude that a club MUST be in a major city to have lasting success (okay, okay, Liecester City won it in 2015-16, but still...it must be the exception that proves the rule, right?) So, being in a major city (that happen to have the largest stadiums, right? The largest stadiums in England are, top down, Old Trafford (Man United), Anfield (Liverpool), St. James Park (Newcastle), Emirates Stadium (Arsenal), and the place where Chelsea plays but I cannot remember the name. Plus, Tottenham is moving into a new stadium which will also be very large (they've played at White Heart Lane, which seats close to 50,000 but is being torn down).

But it isn't just major cities with large stadiums. As with the NFL, coaching/managers are also vital. As for players, since soccer has various players at positions I know little about (center forwards, center backs, strikers, wingers, midfielders, and of course keepers, aka "goalies" (which is used in hockey, right?)), there is no one vital position like the NFL Quarterback, so there is one difference and does not play into what makes the two leagues similar.

Now I don't know all the names of the various managers (who appear to be like managers in baseball--they're like NFL head coaches, but also have GM duties as well, so they basically take both slots here) of the upper crust of the Premier League, past and present. And I certainly do not know all of the owners (but I do know a few, such as Malcomb Glazer, who owns Man United--and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well...but as any Bucs fan might surmise, the man clearly cares more about Man United than the Bucs! Look at the results...the Bucs haven't made the playoffs since 2007! And then you have a man who, IMHO, has nearly singlehandedly screwed a once powerhouse club into constant relegation fighting since he took over in 2006, Mike Ashley, the man who bought Newcastle United in 2006 and has been trying to sell the club ever since. Ashley, you are the worst owner in the Premier League (and I could say more about what a scalawag this man is, but I don't have the time or space...I will say he treats his Sports Direct employees like Amazon treats their's. 3PLs, doncha know. If not for Rafa Benitez, this club would be down the tubes and in League 2 before you know it!) But anyway...

And then you have the money. Folks, it's almost always about the money. Now guess who has the most money to spend year after year in the Premier League (and there are several websites you can visit, starting with Wikipedia, to check out all the info I am bringing up.)? Right, the same four clubs I mentioned before that are year-after-year title contenders as well as participants in the Champions League or Europa League, which includes the top European teams (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris St. Germain (PSG), Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Inter Milan, and a few others). In fact these four clubs, as well as Everton, Man City, and Tottenham, have hundreds of millions to spend each year, for one thing, because being competitors in the European leagues gives them more money, and being at the top of the table in the Premier League every year also gives them more money--plus they have owners who like to spend (gee, why doesn't Glazer spend on the Bucs? But don't just blame Glazer for that!).

Well, why doesn't Glazer spend like cray on the Bucs? The SALARY CAP! That's why! The NFL has the most restrictive salary cap in all sports....there is a salary cap for the NBA, but it is a lot more than the salary cap for the NFL, plus NBA teams only have a starting five, whereas the NFL has a starting twenty-four--including FG kickers and punters, and includes a QB paid a king's ransom if he's any good. And guess what? There is no salary cap in the Premier League!

And then you have transfers and "players on loan." I'm not going to get into that but those configurations just might be the only way for a non-big-city club to break into the top of the top. And the club MUST manager their player and other resources well, and keep on doing it well. Just ask Leeds United or Aston Villa, two perennially top clubs that may or may not ever make it back into the Premier League because of poor management on all fronts (I will say this for Ashley--at least he had the foresight to hire Benitez, who has, a year after NUFC got relegated, gotten them back to the Prem League, and I do expect them to stay there...the man has never had anything but success, with Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Liverpool and Chelsea. In this way, Ashley is a lot like the Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross, who had the foresight to get Adam Gase last year.)

So, okay. What's the problem? Here's the problem--how does a club from a much smaller city--Burnley, Watford, Fulham, and newly promoted Brighton (Brighton and Hove Albion)--compete against the likes of Man United (Greater Manchester has over a million population) or Arsenal (you know how big London is!), which has the money and the resources for put forth a powerhouse every year? Though Leicester City did win the thing a couple of years ago, they fell back into mid-table this past season--they simply do not have the ever-present resources the 'big boys" do!

Now, since the Premier League, and the English Football League it is affiliated with (the Championship, where clubs get relegated to, as well as League One and League Two)--and all the other Europe and world leagues (La Liga, Bundesliga, Chinese Super League, etc) are part of FIFA--who sets the World Cup matches every four years (and, I suspect, the MLS is part of it)--and it is FIFA that runs the whole show, that a perhaps needed salary cap will never happen. But honestly, until the Premier League has a salary cap, the top four to six clubs will continue to stay there (unless they pull an Aston Villa. With the managers and owners they have, this is not likely.)

But, as with the NFL (I mean, how much longer will Brady play, and Belichick coach? BB is approaching 70, and Brady is already 40), there is always hope for the Prem League. Man City has already overtaken Man United, who barely managed to get into the Europa League. Tottenham Hotspur has already overtaken arch-rival Arsenal. Everton could take over from arch-rival Liverpool this year. Chelsea, who won the Premier League this past year, is always having some issue or other--now it's fans want manager Conte dismissed! (I don't like this club--they royally screwed Benitez!). If Ashley lets Benitez run things in 'Geordie Central,' NUFC might return to the top. But what I really hope is Brighton and Hove Albion--folks, I've spent time in the Brighton area, back in 1970--stays in the Premier League for as long as possible. So I will be rooting for them for sure this year.

But I'll take the NFL any day over the Premier League. I just think (despite Roger Goodell) it is run better and more competitive

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Football is Football: A Look at the Ways of Doing Business and Management in the Premier League Compared to the NFL, Part 1

This is just an introduction to a series of posts that I will be putting up for the rest of the NFL off-season that ends in August.

What caught my eye so-to-speak about checking out the ways of the Premier League in England, it's "soccer" aka "football" ways were a couple of things:

1. While I have no interest in the playing of soccer/football and strategies in the play of it, when I started checking out videos on YouTube of "Silly English Soccer/Football Chants" one night because I was bored, and heard some very interesting chants as well as funny ones (as well as stupid ones...folks I can only take some much cussing and especially "f" words!), I decided to check out what was happening in English football. Just for the heck of it, on Wikipedia.

2. What I found on Wikipedia was interesting. In the old days--60s and 70s and such--England had four divisions with the First Division on top, down to Fourth Division (and folks, that's just the beginning--nearly every town and village in England has a football club...there are loads of these in London and other big cities in what is called "non-league" football, but it is still Football Association (FA) and these non-league clubs DO compete for the FA Cup!). In 1966, England won the World Cup over what was then West Germany, and in the late 60s, a club called Leeds United went from the bottom to the top in very few years and was a dominant team in the early 70s as well. But structure changed in 1992 when the Premier League (also called "Premiership") was set up, and the rest of what is called the English Football League consisted of the Championship, League One and League Two.

3. Then you have the UEFA "Champions League" which is a configuration of all the top clubs in Europe such as Real Madrid, Barcalona, Juventus, AC Milan, Bayern Munich and others, which also includes the "top four" of the Premier League in any given season. Now, I have no interest in the "Champions League" other than the fact that it seems anyway that the only clubs that can get in there are those that have huge amounts of money to spend on players who generally won't play anywhere else but Champions League-level contenders (meaning, it's the NFL free agency on steroids!). And, would you believe it, fans get really pissed off if their perennial Champions League English team does not get back to the Champions League! (And these are the same folks who want Brexit?)

4. The Promotion-Relegation thing. In looking at the "tables" aka "standings" of the clubs in the various leagues mentioned above--what with the top three clubs in a lower league getting promoted to the next-up league and the bottom three clubs in an upper league getting sent down or relegated to the next lower league--since 1992 when the Premier League was instituted and the rest of the four groups set up likewise (Championship, League One, League Two), it is very rare for a club to get promoted or relegated, and the club staying in the higher or lower league. That is, there is much stability in the league-table set ups from season to season. For instance, clubs relegated from the Premiership to the Championship have a tendency to rise back up to the Premier League, usually in a short period of time.

There are exceptions of course. The Championship has many clubs that had once been in the Premier League or what had been the First Division, but have not been able to get back up--both Birmingham clubs (Aston Villa and Birmingham City), both Sheffield clubs (United and Wednesday), and others in smaller cities. And the Premier League has clubs that have not ever left the Premier League (the ones usually in the top four or five--Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United...these are the perennial powerhouses, the New England Patriots of Britain, right? The ones that nearly every year compete in the Champions League. But there are outliers, too, such as Leicester City, which won the Premier League a couple of years ago...and then dropped back to "mid-table".

And the "promotion-relegation" thing, plus the fact that  a few clubs can stay at the top no matter what, and free agency--which the NFL claims has brought about 'parity' but clearly there is very little 'parity' at the top to the point where fans are getting sick of seeing the Pats in the Super Bowl every year (and I blame Goodell for that! He never never should give Tom Brady an excuse for wearing that over-arching chip on his shoulder that causes him to play like a 20 year-old when he's nearly 40! But since Robert "GMO" Kraft owns Goodell...)...plus the fact that it is extremely hard for a small city club to stick around in the Premier League at the same time it is very easy for a large city team that has been relegated to get back into the Prem League (Newcastle United, and what a weird tale that is!)...folks there is a reason things happen the way they do in English football just like there are

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Are They Kidding Me? Picking Super Bowl Winners for 2017-18 Already?

Don't NFL.com writers have enough to worry about with the Super Bowl coming up?

Well, apparently not Gil Brandt, former Dallas Cowboys person--it's been so long I don't even remember what he did there! So he writes this article about 'Super Bowl' windows for winning or partaking in a Super Bowl over the next few years. And these are the teams he chose: Atlanta--which is playing in the Super Bowl! How hard is that one?, Dallas--well, naturally, he used to work for them and they have ol' Dak and ol' Zeke--what's not to love?, Oakland (or is it Vegas?)--after all Derek Carr, whom Joe Philbin idolizes to the point where he screwed Ryan Tannehill, and Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack are the three best young players not named Dak or Zeke in the NFL right? What could possibly go wrong?, Seattle--with a loud mouth defense--how does Kam Chancellor put up with this crap? Keep classy Kam! and no running game and Russell Wilson could have used that this year; Miami--really??? Gee is you read the comments you'd think they went 0-16 or something, but I get it, okay? With me, the Dolphins are in prove it mode, and that's it!; Green Bay--we all know Aaron Rodgers is the man, but when even he questions his coach most of the year...

I mean, I could pick the Bills, Ravens, Colts, Lions, Panthers, and Giants with the same amount of likelihood. Or the Bucs, Cardinals, Vikings, Chiefs, Titans, and Steelers. Or let's get real dark horse, and pick the Bengals, Texans, Broncos, Chargers, Saints, and Redskins, or the Eagles. The only teams one cannot pick are the Browns, Jets, Jags, Bears, Rams, and Niners. Bu then again...really, only the Browns have no chance, right?

But here is the real reason trying to pick Super Bowl participants for the next Super Bowl is ridiculous:

1. Did anyone pick the Falcons last year to be in it this year? Didn't every one have the Panthers--who finished in LAST PLACE?

2. The Jags had everyone fooled off of 2015 because Bortles had a great year, but, unlike the other overhyped team, the Raiders, the Jags actually suck. Now everyone is questioning the viability of Blake Bortles--one year after he had a great year! See how things can change?

3.  Everyone  thought the Texans did a great thing in signing Osweiler--well how did that work out? They made the playoffs off of good defense. They should thank their lucky stars Lamar Miller didn't think he'd get 20 or more carries in Miami and chose the Texans (and I think him as well--the Fins needed Ajayi more than Miller anyway!)

4. What's good for the Panthers is good for the Cardinals--they were 'legit' contenders as well. But at least they didn't finish last.

5. Injuries. They can never be predicted. Just ask Teddy Bridgewater, who may not be ready for 2017 either.

6. Coaching. Why is Marv Lewis--who can't discipline a Vontaze Burfict if his life depended on it--still coaching the Bengals? This team has blown it! Big time! (and the next time you play the Dolphins, I advise you folks to lose, okay? When you lose to Miami you make the playoffs!). There are a couple of good coaches who can be counted on to win (not counting BB here--but do great coaches have to cheat?)--Tomlin, Reid, Carroll, Harbaugh, Arians, Rivera, McCarthy, and a case can be made for O'Brien,Quinn, and Del Rio as well (too early to put Gase on here.) But without good coaching, teams generally can't sustain it for the long haul. But even good coaches have down years.

7. QB. Matt Ryan had a bad 2015, and a not so great 2014 or 2013 either--but look at how he turned it around in 2016. Cam Newton had great 2015, 2014, and even 2013--but he had a bad year. And you really can't pick a team for the Super Bowl unless you have consistent outstanding play--and only Brady, Rodgers, and Roethlesberger qualify here. Still waiting on Derek Carr, and I would not assume Andrew Luck would qualify now. When it comes to QB, there is too much uncertainty.

8. Defense. Though 'defense win championships', you have to know when to ramp it up--the teams that make the Super Bowl are teams that get hot (and healthy) on D at the right time.

9. Seeding. Playoff home field advantage has become crucial of late. It is no surprise that both Championship game home teams won--and clearly, the Pats learned from 2015 how important home field advantage is. And one cannot know the seeding until it happens.

10. The element of surprise. Supposedly. Big Ben is considering retirement. I don't think he will, but just the thought of that happening must be disconcerting for his team, which should be a legit contender for a few more years if he stays.

And let me add one more final ingredient--front office stability. And stability in general. The usual contenders are very stable organizations though they lose coaches all the time. Bu the thing is, you can't just keep incompetents to achieve stability-you must choose wisely, and everyone has to be in the right place at the right time. And this more than anything else is the biggest consideration for who is likely to win Super Bowls in the future.

Monday, January 2, 2017

An Addendum to My Year-Ago Post: Who Made the Playoffs?

Recall my screed on "why" the Miami Dolphins "would not make the playoffs":

Miami--Sorry, but until the Dolphins prove they can make the playoffs, I refuse to pick them to make the playoffs! Enough bogus optimism is enough!

So, I picked the Dolphins to miss the playoffs because they haven't been making the playoffs. Well guess what? THE DOLPHINS MADE THE PLAYOFFS! So now for 2017, I have no excuses for not picking them to make the playoffs...

Wildcard, but still. I did not watch or check out the outcome of the final Pats game, so I do not know if they are the 5th or 6th seed, but it doesn't matter. I would just assume that playing in Pittsburgh is better than in Houston--Lamar Miller can't pull his "revenge" crapola (like Rishard Matthews did with the Titans in week 5) if Miami is playing in Pittsburgh. And, let's not forget, Miami did defeat the Steelers this year. So it is possible Miami gets to the divisional round.

And I do not know what the others seedings are. In reality, seedings don't matter. Because Mr. Chip-on-Shoulder, Tom Brady, is winning his last Super Bowl anyway. Folks, now you know why ol' Goodell-owner Robert Kraft allowed Goodell to suspend Brady. It was a fix all along. (I wonder if Brian Touhy of The Fix Is In realizes this.) And they don't matter in the NFC either. The Seahawks don't suck, but they kinda do--they needed a last second play to beat Miami in Seattle? You can't beat a crappy Cards team in Seattle? What I suspected all along--Russell Wilson needing great D and great running game to win--is likely true and he is not the super QB the experts say he is (but at least he's better than Andrew Luck.)

But still, here are the seedings--Just checked the Sat. and Sun. TV schedule.
AFC: 1. Pats. 2. Chiefs 3. Steelers. 4. Texans. 5. Raiders. 6. Dolphins
NFC: 1. Cowboys  2. Falcons 3. Seahawks 4. Packers 5. Giants 6. Lions
(hopefully I didn't blow this one!)

So, these twelve teams made the playoffs despite any opinion I had as to why they wouldn't. And the new playoff teams are: Raiders, Dolphins, Cowboys, Falcons, Giants, Lions. As in 2008, the last year Miami made the playoffs, there were also six new playoff teams.

The Raiders made the playoffs because Derek Carr--Philbin was right about this guy--is the real deal, but you have to give Khalil Mack credit as well. Carr's terrible injury will likely mean the Raiders do not go any further, and was why they got the fifth seed, not the second seed they had much of the season.

The Dolphins made the playoffs--and it was Matt Moore, not Tannehill, who got them there--because Adam Gase knows football, knows what it takes, and what to do to do it...game adjustments, letting Tannehill or Moore run the offense, Ajayi, benching or cutting players who needed to be benched (like Byron Maxwell) or cut (like Dallas Thomas). Watch out, Pats, because this is one of the youngest teams in the NFL, and the similarities between the 2016 Fins and the 1970 Fins are amazing. I won't go into all that here.

The Cowboys made the playoffs because their 2016 draft was maybe once in a lifetime--Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot--proving it's okay to go 4-12 the year before sometimes! And Tony Romo will be one another team in 2017. I knew Prescott was good, but folks this guy is amazing!

The Falcons made the playoffs because Matt Ryan returned to being the Matt Ryan we all knew he was, and finally, the Falcons are a very good running team as well. Who needs a great defense?

The Giants made the playoffs because Eli also returned to form with old ODB (I still prefer Landry!) and also a good running game, but their defense improvement--yes, OV was definitely part of that, maybe he left his "penalty machine" mentality behind in Maimi--is really what go them into the playoffs.

The Lions made the playoffs because Matthew Stafford had a year I would never had expected--but because Riddick and Abdullah were hurt, the Packers got them out of the division title.

The rest of the teams--the Patriots, Seahawks, Steelers, Chiefs, Texans and Packers--had made the playoffs the year before and most expected them back (though I thought the Andrew Luck Colts would replace the Texans as division winner.)

So, onto why the rest of the league did not make the playoffs:

I had said the Bills wouldn't because of Rex Ryan. I was right--this is a defensive guru who, on Jay Ajayi's 57 yard run in OT to help the Fins seal that win, PUT TEN MEN ON THE FIELD! Rexy, you deserve to be fired! WTF would a defensive coach put only ten men on the field? And, oh yeah, Dan Carpenter is maybe finished as a kicker--had he made a basic chip shot in the first quarter, OT would not have been necessary! And then he missed another one!

I had said the Jets wouldn't make the playoffs because of cap space and signing Fitzpatrick. I was right about the cap space, but I was wrong about Fitz--who sucked as could be expected after getting that renewed contract. Back to the drawing board, Jets!

I had said the Ravens would not make the playoffs because Flacco would not be able to get back to his Super Bowl standard. Well, I was right, but they were close, just couldn't lock down Pittsburgh.

I had said the Bengals wouldn't make the playoffs because did it matter even if they did? I was right, and Marv Lewis still can't discipline players! How many times does Vontaze Burfict have to screw things up there (and, oh yeah, in beating Miami, they assured they wouldn't make the playoffs but Miami would! Thanks for the loss, Cincy!)

I had said the Browns wouldn't...and until they get themselves a decent QB, they won't.

I had said the Colts wouldn't make the playoffs because of Joe Philbin, and "good luck, Luck," and folks I may be right. But the thing is you can't just blame it on Pagano. Who coached that terrible OL again? Oh, yeah, Philbin. So, I guess I'll blame Philbin. (That's what you get for screwing Tannehill!)

I had said the Titans wouldn't make the playoffs because of Mike Mularkey. That may be true, but in Marcus Mariota, they have a very good young QB, and hope for the future. Just not under Mularkey.

I had said the Broncos wouldn't make the playoffs because of their QB situation, and I was right Denver's D is as good as always, though. Maybe next year.

I had said the Chargers wouldn't make the playoffs because they didn't play the Dolphins all year long in San Diego. They played the Dolphins once in San Diego, and still lost!

I had said the Eagles wouldn't make the playoffs because of Chip Kelly--gone to Frisco, or Sam Bradford--who went to Minnesota when Teddy boy got hurt. So I guess the Eagles can blame themselves. Because they can't blame Chip Kelly!

I had the Bears out of the playoffs because of no Gase and yes Cutler. Now I don't know what's wrong with John Fox, but can you blame it all on no Gase and yes Cutler?

I had the Vikings not making the playoffs because of a down year from Teddy Bridgewater. But it was worse than that, as Teddy, who got the Vikes to 5-0, went down on injured reserve. What would have happened if Teddy did not get hurt?

I had the Cards out of the playoffs because of Carson Palmer returning to form--mediocrity--an Arians coming back down to Earth. I mean, blaming the Dolphins for bad weather in Miami? Ever hear of GOD?

I had the Rams missing the playoffs because of Jeff Fisher. Well they finally fired the guy!

I had the Niners missing the playoffs because of Chip Kelly. I was right. And, while it's okay for Kaepernick to protest, what kind of idiot goes to play a game in Miami--home to countless Cuban exiles--wearing a Fidel Castro t-shirt????

So there you have it. And guess what? I am picking the Dolphins to make the playoffs next year (unless Tannehill gets into the playoffs and tears his ACL like he did his MCL).

Coach of the Year? Adam Gase. Of course!