Wednesday, February 27, 2008

NFL Combine Talk

It seems to still be a little early for an NFL Draft Preview so I'm just going to talk about the combine for a little bit.

I've never been a huge fan of the combine. I always second guess what it really tells us. I've always felt like the combine can be manipulated. Players know the drills and there are proven ways to do really well in them. Obviously you have to be a great athlete to do well, but there's always been athletes who do really well in the combine who don't end up being good players at all (think of someone like Akili Smith). However there's also been a lot of great athletes to score well at the combine who end up being great players. Regardless of it all, it's fun to see what some of the best athletes in football's future can do, so let's check it out.

In my opinion this draft's strengths are definitely in its RBs, WR, D-Line, TEs, and CBs.

I'm going to offer my ranking and a few sidenotes.

1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas
2. Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois
3. Jonathan Stewart, Oregon
4. Chris Johnson, ECU
5. Felix Jones, Arkansas
6. Matt Forte, Tulane
7. Jamaal Charles, Texas
8. Steve Slaton, WVU
9. Kevin Smith, Central Florida
10. Ray Rice, Rutgers
11. Mike Hart, Michigan

- There are a lot of really good RBs in this draft with some impressive strength and speed.

- In case you didn't know, Arkansas has 2 great RBs in the draft this year in both Darren McFadden and his backup Felix Jones.

- McFadden is the standout back in this draft. He ran the 40 in 4.33 sec. His overall workouts have made him the unquestionable number 1 back in the draft.

- All Johnson did was lead the nation in all-purpose yards, gaining 1,423 on the ground, with 17 touchdowns, 528 receiving yards, with six scores, and 1,009 yards and a touchdown on kickoff returns, but that didn't get him much attention. Then he ran the 40. Johnson ran a 4.24, tying Eastern Kentucky's Rondel Melendez's 1999 time as the best electronically confirmed run in Combine history.

-Jonathan Stewart cranked out a defensive linemen-like 28 bench presses of 225 pounds, while Mendenhall put up 26 reps.

1. Chris Long, Virginia
2. Calais Campbell, Miami
3. Derrick Harvey, Florida
4. Phillip Merling, Clemson
5. Vernon Gholston, Ohio State
6. Quentin Groves, Auburn
7. Lawrence Jackson, USC
8. Tommy Blake, TCU
9. Darrell Robertson, Georgia Tech
10. Chris Ellis, Virginia Tech

-At 6-4 and 275 pounds, Chris Long ran a 4.75 40, which would've made him the fourth-fastest quarterback and eighth-fastest tight end, came up with a vertical of 34 inches, was second among defensive linemen in the broad jump (10 feet, 4 inches), was fourth in the three-cone drill (7.02 seconds), and led the way in the 20-yard shuttle (4.21). He solidified himself as probably the no. 2 overall pick.

-Vernon Gholston probably couldn't have done anything to surpass Long. But he put up a great workout and I think he looks great. I see him as a really versatile player like a DE/LB hybrid. The biggest knock on him was his strength and he put 225lbs up 37 times, so that's out of my mind now.

1. Fred Davis, USC
2. Dustin Keller, Purdue
3. Martellus Bennett, Texas A&M
4. John Carlson, Notre Dame
5. Brad Cottam, Tennessee

- Dustin Keller, Purdue, might have helped himself more than anyone in Indy by leading all the tight ends in the 40 (4.55), vertical (38 inches), broad jump (10-11, eight inches further than the No. 2 tight end), the three-cone (4.55) and the 20-yard shuttle (4.14), while he was second in the bench press (26 reps). He probably went from a non-first rounder to possibly the top overall TE pick.

- John Carlson out of Notre dame sure looked disappointing. Once considered a top 2 TE with Fred Davis out of USC, he was sick for the Senior Bowl and didn't play and now put up an extremely disappointing 4.9 40 and only 20 reps at the bench.

- Jermichael Finley left Texas with two years of eligibility remaining and was one of the prospects everyone was curious about. His hands were great and he showed good strength was ran a horrible 4.82 40 which is sloooooooooooooooow. Looks like he should have stayed in school like me.

1. Malcolm Kelley, OU
2. James Hardy, Indiana
3. DeSean Jackson, Cal
4. Mario Manningham, Michigan
5. Limas Sweed, Texas

- Class is a little thing but possibly talent loaded. Size and speed is the name of the game here.

1. Mike Jenkins, South Florida
2. Aqib Talib, Kansas
3. Leodis McKelvin, Troy
4. Brandon Flowers, Virginia Tech
5. Tracy Porter, Indiana
6. Antoine Cason, Arizona
7. Patrick Lee, Auburn
8. Terrence Wheatley, Colorado
9. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tennessee State

- Take your pick between Mike Jenkins, Aqib Talib and Leodis McKelvin for the top corner spot, while Brandon Flowers, Tracy Porter, Antoine Cason and sleeper Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are just a few of the prospects would could become a No. 1 cover man.

Do you think the combine is relevant? Do you like my rankings? What are your rankings?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Free Dilly Bars Blog

One of The Sports Flow's Guest Bloggers has started his own blog. Free Dilly Bars is the blog which is run by Bryan and his colleague Petey. It's a blog on sports and even politics and music. I suggest you should check out it out; I really enjoy their take on things and they're both great sports minds. So check on out Free Dilly Bars and welcome our good friends to the blogosphere.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Rex Grossman Isn't The Answer For The Bears

Lovie Smith must see something I don't see. How the Bears can give Rex Grossman a one year contract extension is beyond me because ever since he has been the starter for the Chicago Bears, Grossman has been extremely inconsistent. He will have days that he looks like an elite quarterback in the league throwing for 3 or 4 touchdowns with over a 100 point quarterback rating. Then there are other games that he only completes 3 or 4 passes while throwing a couple interceptions and has a quarterback rating under 10. Two years ago he somehow lead the Bears to Super Bowl, excuse me the Bears defense lead the Bears to the Super Bowl while it seemed like Grossman did everything he could to screw it up for the Bears. If the Bears have a reliable quarterback I almost would be willing to say the Bears would of won Super Bowl 41 over the Indianapolis Colts. This season he only started a handful of games before being benched by coach Smith. The move just doesn't make sense to me. Chicago should be trying to fix the problems from last years disappointing team that failed to make the playoffs. Quarterback is and always has been an issue for Chicago.

The Bears History of Bad Quarterbacks
Since the Bears won their only Super Bowl in 1985, Chicago has started 17 different quarterbacks trying to find the right fit. In the 90's the beloved Bears tried Jim Harbaugh, Shane Matthews, Erik Kramer, Rick Mirer, Steve Walsh, and Cade McNown. In the new milenium the Bears put the football in the hands of Jim Miller, Kordell Stewart, Brain Greise, Kyle Orton, Chad Hutchinson, Johnathan Quinn, Craig Krenzel, Henry Burris, and Grossman. Don't feel bad if you don't know half the guys I just mention because many only had one or two starts. Basically the Bears haven't had a decent quarterback in 20 years. I know historically the Bears have always been a defensive team but give me a break you would think they would find a quarterback they could use for more than 5 years, and can have them realistically fighting for the playoffs year in and year out right?

What's Next?

I still think you get a quarterback in this years draft. You don't have to get them in the first round, but you have to think about replacing Grossman in the near future. A couple good quarterbacks that should be on the board past the first round of the draft include: Joe Flacco, Colt Brennan, Andre Woodson, and Chad Henne. Bottom line, Grossman is not the answer and the sooner the Bears figure that out the sooner than can return to playoff form.

Nate Gonner is a guest writer for The Sports Flow. He writes his columns every Monday and Thursday for Gonners View. Check his site out here

Friday, February 22, 2008

Hockey and a Reunion on tap for the Weekend

This weekend TSF will be experiencing a reunion on the campus of the Universiy of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND. Here we will be celebrating a belated 1 year anniversary/birthday of the blog that you know and love.

Also, this weekend I will be spending considerable time at the Ralph Engelstadt Arena watching both the North Dakota State Hockey Tournament and my University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux hockey team riding the nation's longest unbeaten streak against the Bemidji State Beavers. The Sioux are ranked #2 in the nation (NCAA D1) and look to remain the hottest team in the land and extend their unbeaten streak from 11 games to 13 with a sweep this weekend. It's going to be a fun-filled hockey weekend.

here are some UND Fighting Sioux Hockey videos for you to feast your eyes on.

Evan Trupp Beats the Golden Chokers in OT (SC #1 Top Play)
Kyle Radke Kicked Some Ass Last Weekend
Littlest Big Hitter I've ever Seen...TJ Oshi

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Memphis and Tennessee Playing For Critics Respect On Saturday

In what could be the best game of this season to date, there is more on the line than just in state bragging rights for the Tigers and Vols. Memphis and Tennessee are the top two teams in both polls this week, but they are still looking for the respect that comes with being that high in the polls. Many people I have talked to see Memphis as the default #1 team because they are undefeated but others think they are overrated because they play in a "mid major" conference. As for Tennessee no on is complaining about the Vols at all. In fact, no one is talking about the Vols. Maybe its better to not to be talked about I really don't know but this team deserves some love and I don't feel they are getting any. I do know is this, the teams are a combine 50-2 this season, they haven't played each other in ten years, and tickets for this game are almost as popular, if not more popular, the Super Bowl tickets. Do you need any other reason to watch? Now lets see how both of these teams got to this point in the season.

The Tigers come into the game 26-0, the last undefeated team in the Division I basketball. While they do play one of the weaker conferences in college basketball, they also have played one of the toughest non conference schedules in the land. They have non conference wins over Oklahoma, UConn, USC, Arizona, Georgetown, and Gonzaga. One of the reasons why Memphis has had so much success this season is because of their depth. Memphis has eight players that are averaging 5 points or more this season. If Memphis are to get passed Tennessee this weekend, there is a very good chance the Tigers can go undefeated before the NCAA Tournament starts in mid March. Something also to note is that Memphis has made it to the Elite Eight the past two years.

Man has Bruce Pearl done a great job at the University of Tennessee. The Vols have played just as hard of a non conference schedule as Memphis has, picking up wins against Temple, West Virgina, Xavier, Ohio State, and Gonzaga. Add that with a 11-1 SEC record and you can see why Tennessee is ranked as high as they are. With a handful of Smiths and Chris Lofton running things for the Vols as they are ready to take down the Tigers. Things don't get easier for the Vols after Saturday as they have a trip to Vanderbuilt looming just three days after the battle with Memphis.

Who Wins?
I am gonna go with the home team in this game because I think Memphis is ready to scilence some critcs about being a default #1 in the polls and show everyone they deserve that #1 spot. It is going to be a great matchup and I am excited for Saturday night.

Adding to a Rivalry

We all know UNC-Duke basketball is one of the greatest rivalries in sports, and the greatest in College Basketball. UNC coach Roy Williams and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had a war of words on Monday, already adding to an intense rivalry.

Coach K had something to say (love the rhyme?) about the Tar Heels, taking an unnecessary jab at their injury problems, saying that Duke doesn't discuss injuries "unlike other schools."

Williams had something to say about that on his radio show Monday. "Well, it's not, and regardless of what somebody else says about them having injuries too, which is a bunch of bunk, so I don't give a [crap] what somebody else says. They can coach their own darn team and I'll coach my team — in case anyone had heard some statements about that."

Williams had more to say on Wednesday after being questioned by the media: "Well, it struck a nerve because I don't — if you guys would leave me alone, I wouldn't tell you anything," he said. "It's not like I'm getting a dadgum plane and flying it around and saying, Roy fell against a wall and banged his nose.' We have to do those things. And everybody's hurt, but there's different stages of being hurt. If you're hurt and missing games, I mean that's not exactly like having a hangnail. And so we do have some people that are getting hurt and missing games, and I don't think that somebody should say we're putting it in front of the public."

Whether you're a Duke or UNC lover or hater, we all love the rivalry and nothing is better than making it that much more intense, so I'd like to show some videos on this intense rivalry as we await their next meeting on March 8th.

"The Rivalry"

2005 Duke vs. UNC. UNC comeback

We all remember this one...

1998 Duke vs. UNC #1 vs. #2

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Projecting the Seeds

The NCAA Tournament is about a month away and I absolutely cannot wait. Here's our current projections of the top 4 seeds and conference winners.

1 Seeds
Memphis- Should easily be a 1 seed with the C-USA schedule
UNC- I think they'll prevail, once Lawson is back and to full strength they should just about win out and win the ACC Tourney
UCLA- they will win the Pac 10 tourney which should secure the 1 seed
Tennessee- the SEC is down this year and no one is really posing that much of a threat to them

2 Seeds
Kansas- should be a 1 seed, but Texas or A&M could easily knock them off in the Big XII tourney
Duke- I see them losing to UNC and possibly in the ACC Tourney
Georgetown- still have to play Louisville, Marquette, and UConn but two of them are at home. I see them at least making the Big East Tourney Final
Texas- playing as good as anyone now but tough schedule coming up

3 Seeds
Butler- Could easily win out but being a mid-major and easy schedule won't get them a 2 seed
Indiana- I have a feeling they will finish strong in the Big 10
Washington St.- I see them finishing strong and beating Stanford for a 3 seed
Michigan St.- they may not be ranked very high now but more teams will lose and I see them bouncing back and getting some good wins and finishing well in the conference tourney

4 Seeds
Stanford- still have to play Wazzou, USC, and UCLA
Xavier- Could falter 1 or 2 more times in a tough A10
Wisconsin- Still have to play OSU, MSU, Ill
Connecticut- fairly tough schedule left, plus conference tourney

Projected Conference Winners

America East: Hartford
Atlantic 10: Xavier
Atlantic Sun: Belmont
Big XII: Texas
Big East: Georgetown
Big Sky: Portland St.
Big South: Winthrop
Big Ten: Indiana
Big West: UCSB
C-USA: Memphis
Horizon: Butler
Ivy: Brown
MAAC: Niagara
MAC: Kent St.
MEAC: Hampton
MVC: Drake
NEC: Wagner
Ohio Valley: Austin Peay
Pac 10: UCLA
Patriot: American
SEC: Tennessee
Southern: Davidson
Southland: Stephen F. Austin
SWAC: Alabama St.
Summit: Oral Roberts
Sunbelt: South Alabama
WCC: Gonzaga
WAC: New Mexico St.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

2008 NBA Dunk Contest Preview/Prediction

I'm not a huge fan of the NBA and I don't particularly care for NBA All-Star weekend. I do however, frequently tune in for the dunk contest. I think this year's contest could be a lot of fun and I just wanted to chime in real quick on my thoughts on the contest and find out who everyone else thinks will be this year's champ.

This year's contest features a great field of defending champ Gerald Green, Rudy Gay, Dwight Howard, and Jamario Moon. All four contestants have used the internet to reach out to fans for suggestions, ideas, extensive sneak peaks, and practice previews leading up to the contest.

When looking at the videos i think the most impressive has to be Jamario Moon's dunk from beyond the freethrow line in this practice run (although someone bumps the camera and you can only see his feet and his reflection!).

Rudy Gay started all this YouTube craze by reaching out to fans and asking them to send him suggestions and videos of them dunking that they would like to see him replicate.

Last year's defending champion Gerald Green even responded to Gay by offering a suggestion of his own.

We all know that Dwight Howard has some sick dunks up his sleeve. In my opinion he should be the defending champ. I don't think there anything more original and impressive than his sticker dunk last year. Is there any doubt Howard is taking this far more serious that the rest? I mean he asked David Stern if he could have the rims raised to 12-feet. Unfortunately his request was denied. I feel like this legitimately hurts Howard. At 6 feet 11 inches it's really hard for him to look good dunking on a 10 foot rim. Here's a vid.

One thing is for sure. I will be watching. Who you got? I like Rudy Gay, but if Moon actually pulls out that dunk from beyond the freethrow line I think he could run away with it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

We Offer our Condolences to Northern Illinois

After the horrific tragedy that took place on Thursday, our thoughts and prayers here at The Sports Flow go out to the lives lost, students, families, faculty, and all of Northern Illinois University. We want you to know that we mourn for you along with the rest of the world and you are all in our prayers.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's Hard to Believe you Mr. Clemens

Yesterday morning was the first of the congressional hearings with Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee. As I look at it, both of these guys looked nervous when being questioned under oath. Neither of them could handle the truth or the pressure. But I would have to say I believe McNamee more than I do Clemens.

Andy Pettitie said under oath that Roger Clemens told him about using HGH, but Clemens still denies it. He claims Pettite "misremembers". How could Pettite "missremember" something like this? This is a big deal, steroids is a big deal. Something is just fishy here. After being questioned several times especially by Elijah Cummings (House of Rep. D-MD), Clemens looked nervous, he had a look in his face that made him look guilty. Clemens' stories are going to come back and hurt him because everything isn't matching up. I can't believe Mr. Clemens, I just can't.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hey Congress, Stay Out Of Sport's Problems

Now before I get started on this little rant I just want to say I really could care less about politics and the whole big brother concept it has with other countries. But when it comes to problems in sports and sports figures, Congress needs to keep their big nose out of sport's business. I really am sick and tired of turning on ESPN and now that football is done and over with it seems like the only two things on ESPN anymore are steroids in baseball and the spygate and how congress is "interested in getting to the bottom of this". On Wednesday Roger Clemens and a handful of baseball players, trainers, and representatives are heading to Capital hill to discuss the findings of steroids in baseball. It is a day I am simply going to call "Black Wednesday". This is something that is baseballs problem not the governments. So there is controversy in sports, there are more pressing issues in my mind then worrying about who did and who didn't take steroids in the last 90's and early 2000's. I know Bud Selig hired good old Senator George Mitchell to figure out who was taking what in baseball, but this is taking things a bit far if you ask me. Congress worry about getting us out of Iraq or stopping George Bush from making anymore idiotic decisions with our tax money. In the mean time let me tell you how I would go about fixing the steroids problem in baseball and the problem with spygate.

Steroids in Baseball
It a problem that Bud Selig should of dealt with many years ago. Instead he had Senator Mitchell do the investigation he should have been doing and now thanks to the Mitchell report baseball is now seen under a bad light. Look Selig made a big mistake and we know a bunch of players had at least tried steroids during the past 10 to 15 years, but do we really need to recover what happened in the past? You can't fully prove who took steroids or performance enhancing drugs from 5 to 10 years ago. How can prove it is credible? Instead of worrying about the past just let it go and focus on cleaning up the game for this season and seasons to come. Instead of random testing test everyone in the league for steroids. Because honestly how can you really make a test like steroids random? Now label the past 15 years as "The Steroid Era" and move on. Baseball is already a mess you don't need to make it worse by bringing congress into it.

Now since this has come out and I have heard more rumors about the Patriots using it in the Super Bowl and other games I think it is time to really crack down on this. I think the fine and the forfeit their first round pick was a good punishment but now there needs to be more of a punishment. Now I think you should forfeit games and maybe even more than that for being caught video taping now. Who knows if the footage they got of the Rams running their plays helped them in the Super Bowl against the Rams. Roger Goodell needs to enforce some type of punishment system for this. Maybe something like this. First offense: Forfeit of the game and a fine. Second Offense: Forfeit game plus some additional games on top of that. Third Offense: Forfeit entire season. It is at least something the league has to look into.

Congress is there to help punish people for doing real crimes like murders and other serious offenses. They should be more worried about terrorists attacks, how to fix this economic recession, and stop George Bush from cutting taxes on health care. They shouldn't be worried about Baseballs problems, they shouldn't be worried about the NFL's problems, they should be worried about any sports related problems period.

Nate Gonner is a guest writer for The Sports Flow. He writes his columns every Monday and Thursday for Gonners View. Check his site out here

Saturday, February 9, 2008

To Watch, or Not to Watch? The Pro Bowl Question.

I don't know about you readers but I've never really been much of a pro bowl guy. When I was younger I'd would tune in to watch my favorite players start and then I would quickly lose interest after about a quarter of unstrategic, minimal effort gameplay.

To celebrate today's game I'm going to give you a little taste of what I do like about the Pro Bowl. Here are some great Pro Bowl moments that stand out in my mind.

Larry Allen Bench Press Competition
When it comes to the Pro Bowl I've always enjoyed the little festivities and games and surround the game itself. I still remember the ranting and raving that followed Larry Allen winning the 2006 NFL Pro-bowl "Strongest Man" competition. Offensive guard Larry Allen, then a Dallas Cowboy, bench pressed a record 43 repetitions of 225lbs. He is big.
Fun with Mascots
Who doesn't love mascots? Whatever the game lacks in tenacity and physicality the mascots make up for in their pregame antics.
My Favorite Pro Bowl Play Ever
As you listen to the announcers hate on #21 (RIP) I couldn't disagree more. This is what I want to see out of the pro bowl and I will never forget my complete and utter amazement and awe in seeing this for the first time. I saw it on sportscenter and I almost didn't think that it was real. If it was promised to me that there would be a hit even half as hard as this I would tune if for the entire game today.
All this being said I'm not really sure if I'll watch the Pro Bowl. It's a great tradition with most of the best players in the game. Favre isn't going so I personally don't feel the need to watch, but if I do it will only be for a short amount of time. Let me know some of your favorite Pro Bowl moments and be sure to let me know why you are or aren't going to be watching the game today. Have a great Saturday!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

National Signing Day Recap

Alabama takes recruiting title with late additions

The Alabama Crimson Tide came into the day with one of the top recruiting classes and ended up surpassing the Florida Gators, who was predicted to finish with the top class for the 3rd straight year. The Tide added some big time uncommited players early, landing the top WR in the country in Julio Jones. Bama overall signed 3 five star players, 17 four players, and 10 three star players, and 6 top 100 players overall. Some key players that they signed from that could contribute from the get go could be: WR Julio Jones, LB Jerrell Harris, WR Chris Jackson, LB Mark Barron, OT Tyler Love, and DE Courtney Upshaw.

Alabama landed one of their best classes on paper in years. You'd have to think it's obviously because of Nick Saban. For any coach in their first year, this is a tremendous class. Saban did a great job of landing the top in-state recruits, which is something Alabama hasn't been able to do in recent years.

Meanwhile, the nations top prospect, QB Terrelle Pryor decided not to sign with anyone just yet. He has his list narrowed down to Ohio St., Michigan, Penn St., and Oregon. He is a spread option type QB. He is often compared to Tennessee Titans QB and Texas Longhorn Vince Young. Pryor mentioned he wants to play where he would make an immediate impact; if that's the case it looks like Ohio St. if off the list, they still have Jr. QB Todd Boeckman.

The Sports Flow's Top 5 Signing Day Team Rankings:
1. Alabama- landed some big time 5 star recruits and loaded up on the defensive side
2. Miami- signed 3 QB's which was a must and signed 5 of the best LBs in the nation
3. Florida- signed loads of talent for the depleted secondary and picked up some big-time WRs
4. Clemson- reloaded at RB and signed the top DE in the country
5. Notre Dame- Weis signed the top WR class and also signed some great defensive players that should make an immediate impact Top 5 Team Rankings:
1. Alabama
2. Notre Dame
3. Miami (FLA.)
4. Georgia
5. Florida St.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday: Get out and Vote

Everyone here at The Sports Flow is encouraging you to get out and vote at your states primary or caucus today. Exercise your right to vote, there is nothing more fundamental than our very own right to vote. This year, your vote matters more than ever. More and more people are turning out to vote, people want change. Our country is pretty divided right now, so your vote does indeed matter more than ever this year.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Superbowl Recap: What Does 18-1 Really Mean?

18-1. What does it mean? Sure, I was rooting for the Giants Sunday and sure I rooted against the Patriots almost any chance I got the entire season. However, what do we owe to 18-1? Is the season marked by the Superbowl loss?

Unfortunately for the Patriots, they will forever be remembered as the team to go undefeated and lose in the Superbowl. It took 35 years to have another undefeated team with a perfect record going into the superbowl and it might be another 35+ before we see it happen again. It is indeed very possible that they go down as the only NFL team to EVER go 18-0 and lose in the superbowl in the history of the world.

At a wide look, a Super Bowl loss looks bad for this Patriot dynasty. The '70s Steelers 4 for 4 in their Super Bowl appearances, as were the '80s 49ers. Thus I must say that Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana are always going to have something over Tom Brady. But during those Steeler and 49er dynasties, there were years when they lost in the playoffs before reaching the Super Bowl. We shouldn't discredit the Patriot dynasty because that in one of their non-championship years, they lost in the Super Bowl instead of earlier in the playoffs. If the Patriots go on to win another championship this decade, they're legacy will still match the '70s Steelers and '80s 49ers and most likely surpas. In the grand scheme of things, when looking at this dynasty 10+ years from now this superbowl loss could be almost an asset to the team's list of accomplishments. How good of a chance do they have of doing this? I think very good. Brady is most likely going to be a Patriot for life, they have the 7th pick in the draft and if they can get Moss to come back and recharge their LB corps with some youth, they could be as good if not maybe better than ever!

To be honest if I had to say who I thought has a better chance of winning the Superbowl next season, the Giants or the Patriots, I would probably say the Patriots. For now, I'm going to ignore all Spygate and Spygate 2 allegations and info just because we aren't really sure what it entails right now. That aside, I think that there's really no telling if this loss marking the infamous "perfect" season will mark the Patriots "dynasty". Only time will tell.

Aside from that I was really impressed with the play of Eli Manning and the Giants Defensive line. Truly I would have liked to give the MVP award to the Giants D-Line. They really won the game. The New York defensive line dominated the game. Individual players like Justin Tuck, Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, and Jay Alford kept making outstanding individual plays. Tom Brady had a record setting season mostly because the New England offensive line consistently gave him time to throw and when given a chance to scan the field, Tom Brady will pick apart any defense. But the Giant pass rush consistently got to Brady, sacking him, knocking him down, throwing him off rhythm. We haven't been used to seeing Brady knocked around, but that's what the Giants did. The Giants lines, both offensive and defensive (but mostly defensive), outplayed both of the Patriots' lines.

Since in the MVP award has to go to an individual player, I think, for the game as a whole, Eli Manning is a worthy choice. In the fourth quarter, the Giants had three real possessions. Manning twice threw go-ahead touchdown passes. He completed four of five passes on 3rd down, three of them converting to first down (on a 3rd and ten, he completed a nine yard pass that allowed a short 4th down run). In the fourth quarter, he made big play after big play. He's a deserving MVP.

I tip my hat to the Giants. I'm very happy for guys like Tom Coughlin and Michael Strahan. Although, hopefully skipping training camp doesn't become a popular trend! Amidst all the screaming and cheering towards the end of the game I couldn't help but think what Tiki Barber must have been thinking!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Johan Mania finally comes to an end

Hey Sportsflow readers, I am back again for another baseball personnel post. FINALLY, Johan Santana is officially not a member of the Minnesota Twins. I can’t believe the Red Sox finally gave up Lester and Ellsbury to get it done! Wait… I mean, I couldn’t believe it when I heard the Yankees gave up Melky, Hughes, AND Kennedy. Damnit… the Mariners gave up Adam Jones and Sherrill?

Nope. As it turns out, in the end it wasn’t the best offer that won the BINGO for Johan, but the most persistent. The New York Mets were in these talks from a bit after the get-go, but they were far and away the most persistent. The Yankees vs. Red Sox For-The-Best-Player-In-The-Game II (Last decision: NYY gets A-rod, BOS gets the 2 championships) turned out to be a dud. Not only was it a dud, but it was probably meant to be a dud from the beginning. Let’s face it, the REAL reason either of these teams were in this sweepstakes was so the other team wouldn’t get Johan. They were both really gung-ho about it from the start, but then this realization hit the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, and Mets all at the same time: Johan wanted a HUGE contract, biggest in history for a pitcher, on TOP of the whole selling the farm to get him thing. It wasn’t worth it, not the money PLUS the prospects, and the offers slowly dwindled to one A+ prospect and a few mediocres.

Except for one team: you got it, the Mets. The Mets took advantage of the new way of thinking, pulled Martinez from the table, and STILL got Johan. I read what they gave up (contrary to ANY report, and repeat after me: there was NOOOO way the Twins were getting Jose Reyes. No way… no how.) and it was just shocking. The most shocking thing about it? I am a firm believer than the Twins didn’t have to trade Johan. It wasn’t mandated by Carl Pohlad. Thanks to the revenue sharing now enjoyed by MLB teams, every team starts off with over $70 million per year. Carl Pohlad is the RICHEST owner in baseball. I do repeat clearly, there is no one in the MLB richer than Mr. Pohlad. But even Pohlad’s wealth is irrelevant, because it’s not about that. Slowly, the Twin’s payroll has been going up. It was simply a matter of choosing the way to go. They chose Morneau and a rebuilding effort over keeping Hunter, Johan, Morneau, Mauer and Liriano together to see what they really could do with a full year of Liriano as a starter. They CHOSE not to… Bill Smith wasn’t forced to. They had the money… they chose to save it and rebuild instead. Smart? Maybe… they probably weren’t going all the way with that group in this climate of a STACKED American League for the next few years (fyi: The Yankees have $80 million coming off the books next offseason… I hate New York teams.) However, I’m blaming this more on a poor strategy (Twins fans DESERVE to have a good team to cheer for consistently… not one every 5 years) rather than baseball economics.

So I’m sorry Twins fans… I know a LOT of them, and I really feel sorry for you. As a Tigers fan, I knew that feeling. Here’s a toast hoping that Phil Humber is going to be a stud…