Is Michael Vick Still an Elite NFL Player?

Philadelphia Eagles coach, Andy Reid, mentioned that Michael Vick’s role as the starter would be evaluated, and the media went crazy.  Reid can’t be blamed if he is considering benching Vick because his job is on the line, and Vick hasn’t gotten it done with the opportunity that he was given.  Michael Vick had a lot to say in the off-season on the interview circuit, while promoting his new book, but he hasn’t delivered on the field.  Reid can’t wait forever, and Vick doesn’t seem to get it.  He takes too many hits.  More hits equals more injuries.  Vick gets hit more than any other quarterback I ever saw, and many times it’s by unblocked rushers. He’s athletic, but his pocket presence still needs work.   It used to puzzle me why Vick always gets hit and gets hurt, but I think I have figured it out.

Vick admits that in Atlanta he didnt study film, but now he’s different.  I wonder if he is studying enough film because it seems that he can’t read a defense.  There are times when you don’t have enough blockers and a quarterback needs to get rid of the ball quick, but Vick doesn’t recognize those situations.  Also some of his interceptions are directly to the other team like he didn’t know a defender was there.  Did I mention that he leads the NFL with 9 turnovers? He deserves to have his spot in question because he hasn’t played well enough to deserve it.  It has been so bad that I question why we still think that he is great? He has given glimpses, but not with any consistency.  By now isn’t he who he is as a player? Can you really develop into a hard worker toward the end of your career?

 

 

Was the NFL Really Wrong in the Dispute with Officials??

Many seem to be under the notion that the NFL was in the wrong in the dispute with the officials, but an article by Ashley Fox on ESPN.com will change minds.  Supposedly one of the main sticking points that is holding up a deal is the fact that the referees want a pension.  For those that don’t know a pension is a contract to make payments usually at retirement.

There is no risk for whoever holds the pension because since it is a contract, whoever gave the pension is on the hook for the term of the contract.  The ENTIRE contract, and  in many cases the rights to payment are passed on to survivors.  Needless to say no one has pensions anymore because they are too expensive to the company.  Companies struggle with healthcare costs alone, so pensions are out of the question in most cases.  Most people have 401(k), where they invest funds and the company may give them funds to invest as well.  That option gives them a chance to grow their money assuming the risk, but the officials don’t want that.

These guys make on average $150,000 for a part-time job.  Let that sink in $150k for a PART TIME job.  Many referees have other careers, but they need a pension from the NFL? What they do all week isn’t going to do ANYTHING for them? The referees are sliding in under the bad PR that the NFL is getting from the New Orleans Saints Bounty Scandal.  Goodell is under fire for his handling of that, so many, me included, just assumed he was in the wrong in this case.  But when you look at the facts, the referees were asking too much.  The problem with these replacement officials was that they weren’t used to those size crowds, and the players and coaches were intimidating them on top of the crowd.

These guys came from Division 3 colleges, and in some cases even lesser situations.  So you can’t just go from that to refereeing an NFL game with everyone against you without any hiccups, but I think they could have gotten better if they had the chance.  The more important thing, in my opinion, is that the negotiations revealed a sentiment on how the referees were feeling, which can make the game even worse than the replacement officials in my opinion.

Referees are feeling themselves so much that they think they are as important as players, and that IS NOT the case in my opinion.  The way that this went down, I think people are over estimating regular referees true value.   They are NOT athletes.  Anyone with a desire could do it.  The regular referees aren’t special, they are lucky and that’s how I think they should look at it.  The replacement officials didn’t have a chance.  Referees are important to the game, but they are best when they are invisible.

When referees get noticed, it means they are making too many calls, and it means they are conscious of the fame, its human nature.  You can’t tell me they aren’t conscious of their face time, otherwise why did Ed Hochuli get so big? Why do they have designer uniforms? I’m not saying Hochuli took steroids, but it seemed like he got buff overnight.  I am glad that the regular officials are back, so everything can get back to normal, and teams won’t have excuses for losing.  I just hope that this victory doesn’t go to the referees heads, but I have a feeling there will be a lot of calls just to prove a point.

Lingerie Football League (LFL)…It’s a Serious Sport…No Joke

Since some of the replacement NFL referees come from the Lingerie Football League (LFL) they have been in the news, and I decided to do some research to see what the league was all about.  When you hear lingerie, you automatically assume that it’s a joke or only for perverts, but I watched and these women are really playing football.

There love for the game is apparent because I am sure they aren’t really getting paid, but they don’t cheat the game.  They definitely go hard.  It will be hard for them to break the stigma of the women playing in lingerie in the USA, but the league is successful overseas as they are planning a LFL Europe and  LFL Australia to go with LFL Canada and LFL USA.  The plan is to have the 4 league champions to compete for a world title, so this could be big.

People will argue that they are just selling sex, but who doesn’t.  I have female friends who know nothing about football, but look at the NFL just to look at the guys butts, so what is the difference? The lingerie is a gimmick, and gimmicks work to get people in the door, but there has to be some substance to sustain it.  I think the LFL has some substance.  The Arena Football League has been around for years, and I can see the LFL being way bigger than the arena league.  It will be interesting to see how the league develops, but I will be checking them out both literally and figuratively.

Lingerie Football League…It’s Not the Joke you Think

With the talk on some of the replacement NFL referees coming from the Lingerie Football League (LFL) and seeing a highlight on ESPN, I decided to do some research to see what the league was all about.  When you hear lingerie, you automatically assume that it’s a joke or only for perverts, but I watched and these women are really playing football.  There love for the game is apparent because I am sure they aren’t really getting paid, but they don’t cheat the game.  They definitely go hard.  It will be hard for them to break the stigma of the women playing in lingerie in the USA, but the league appears to be catching on overseas as they are planning a LFL Europe and  LFL Australia to go with LFL Canada and LFL USA.  The plan is to have the 4 league champions to compete for a world title, so this could be big.

People will argue that they are just selling sex, but who doesn’t.  I have female friends who know nothing about football, but look at the NFL just to look at the guys butts, so what is the difference? The lingerie is a gimmick, and gimmicks work to get people in the door, but there has to be some substance to sustain it.  I think the LFL has some substance.  The Arena Football League has been around for years, and I can see the LFL being way bigger than the arena league.  It will be interesting to see how the league develops, but I will be checking them out both literally and figuratively.

Red Bull Street Style Soccer Freestyle World Final 2012

Red Bull scoured the world to find the best 50 soccer free-stylers in the world to compete in the Soccer Freestyle World Finals 2012 in Italy.  It is amazing the ball control they have.  This shows the art of soccer that hasn’t really caught on in the States.

This soccer freestyle is the equivalent of USA’s AND 1 basketball, in my opinion, and we know AND 1 changed basketball, whether it was for the better still remains to be seen.  But the street level is what soccer in America needs because we have the technical aspect, but we lack the flair and feel of the game to truly excel.

Red Bull Soccer Freestyle World Final 2012

NFL Has a Problem…Replacement Refs Costing Sports Investors

Replacement officials must not be able to handle the spotlight of the NFL.  They are starting to cost teams games, and it’s not just an isolated incident, it’s becoming a trend.  I didn’t think much about the controversial made field goal in the Baltimore verses New England game, but when you factor in how the Monday Night game between Green Bay and Seattle, in which a controversial last second hail mary decided the game, it makes the outcome seem predetermined.  I’m not saying the fix was in,  but its starting to appear  plausible, which isn’t good for the NFL.

Both plays were the difference between winning and losing for investors.  The Patriots were getting 1.5 points at plus money.  Plus money means that if you win, you will win more than you initially invested.  The Patriots are never plus money, let alone plus money with points.  Then we had the same situation with the Packers on Monday.  The Packers were 3.5 point favorites again at plus money, and that was against a rookie quarterback, when a rookie quarterback had never won on Monday Night Football.  Something isn’t adding up.  Then when you factor in that both calls went the way of the home team and it gets even more suspicious.

There was a story on Outside the Lines about an official being a Saints fan and not being allowed to officiate their game, but it seems that some more may have slipped through the cracks.  The NFL thinks they can do whatever and people will still go to the games, but a match fixing scandal changes everything.  Ask the NBA,  they went through a similar situation with Tim Donaghy, and they went to extreme lengths to save their brand and prove that  it wasn’t a league wide thing with referees fixing games.  For the NFL they need to act quickly.  Players have already began questioning if the integrity of the game is being compromised, which is just a nice way of saying the games are fixed in my opinion.  Hopefully, they will get the regular officials back ASAP because even though this is still early in the season, when we look back, these questionable outcomes will affect the playoff race at the end of the year.

It’s Still Too Early to Judge NFL Rookies

After Week 1 of the NFL season many so called experts were declaring Robert Griffin III the best of the NFL rookies.  They thought that the New Orleans win was impressive, but it may have been a testament to how bad New Orleans was, instead of how good RG3 was.  Now after week 3 it is starting to look more and more like that is the case.  The New Orleans Saints are 0-3 and the Redskins are 1-2.  But that isn’t to say that RG3 won’t be great, but there is an adjustment period for NFL Rookies.

In college your talent could get you by, but in the NFL they will take away what you do best because everyone in supremely talented.  We hear people talk about the speed of the game, and that is something that you can’t comprehend until you play the game.   This is probably the first time in their life that these rookies have to go to plan B, so give them time to figure out how to adjust.  Don’t over react when Andrew Luck looks bad against the Chicago Bears, and also don’t over react when Russell Wilson leads the Seattle Seahawks over the Dallas Cowboys.

It is a long season and as we get to the end there will be peaks and valleys, but by the end we will have a better idea of how these rookies responded to adversity and what kind of players they can become.  After all, even though this is Cam Newton’s second year in the NFL, do we really know what kind of quarterback he will be? Everyone assumed that based off last year’s numbers, he was going to tear the league up this year, but that hasn’t been the case so far.  I like the mental make up of this crop of rookies, but I’m not going to go overboard and proclaim greatness for them.

Are the Replacement Refs That Bad?

Many think replacement refs are ruining the NFL game. They have missed calls, and the pace of the game is slower, but it’s not all bad in my opinion.  These new refs miss calls so that makes the defenses more effective, which is a good thing in my opinion.    Everyone talks about people want to see offense, but is that really the case? If so why isn’t arena league more popular? Or better yet if offense is that important then why doesn’t the NFL adopt Canadian rules? Even though today’s society doesn’t want to admit it, but we  crave the violence of the NFL.  People will remember a big hit forever.  The NFL still shows Lawrence Taylor breaking Joe Theisman’s leg even though it was before many current fans lifetime.   Why do we love SEC football? It sure ain’t for the offense.  In the NFL these new referees have put the D back in defense because the defensive players are more comfortable now that the game isn’t being called as  tight.

The game not being called as closely does raise some concerns over player safety, but players knew the game was physical when they started playing, so I don’t have sympathy.  Plus when players are thinking too much instead of reacting, then the quality of the game suffers, and that is when more injuries occur.   I think in a sense the replacement officials have been good for the game because the game was being skewed to the offensive side of the ball, and now it has been evened out.  But make no mistake, these officials have to get better, and I think they will.  They have been having so much trouble with the simple calls, such as where to spot the ball, that they are missing the major calls.  Much like players they are thinking too much, and therefore the quality of the officiating is suffering.

I think they will get better because they have to be awe struck of being in the NFL, and the longer they are there the more comfortable they will get.  Some of these new refs come from backgrounds where they referee for the love not money, so this has to be overwhelming.  There are reports that some of these referees come from the lingerie football league.  It’s a long way from the lingerie league to the NFL.  As they get more comfortable, the officiating will improve.  My only concern for these officials hasn’t been raised by the media.  I wonder how we can trust them not to fix games when they know this situation is temporary, so they will be tempted to take advantage  by making as much money as they can while they can by any means necessary, but who is to say that regular officials aren’t the same way.

The New England Patriots Ruin NFL Players Careers

The New England Patriots have the reputation as the NFL franchise, even though the Dallas Cowboys are America’s team.  Their reputation has survived the ‘Spygate’ scandal, and to those who think it was no big deal, I would like to point out that they haven’t beat a Manning in the playoffs since they stopped taping, including 2 Superbowl losses to Eli Manning and the New York Giants.   But this isn’t about ‘Spygate’.  Has anyone noticed how the Patriots destroy the careers of players they don’t want to pay?

Wes Welker is the latest victim.  He wanted a long-term deal in the offseason, but he didn’t get it and settled for the 1 year franchise tender for $9.5 million.  Welker reported to camp, although he hinted he wouldn’t, and by all accounts seemed to be his usual self getting ready for a big season in a contract year.  But there is a slight problem, the Patriots didn’t even start him in week 2.  Despite the fact that he had been the focal point of the offense on teams that made the Superbowl, it took an injury to Aaron Hernandez for him to get any targets.

The story is that Julian Edelman had a better week in practice than Welker, which is why he started over him, but if they thought that Edelman was comparable to Welker then why did they designate Welker with the franchise tag? They could have definitely used more money on their defense because they still need help on that side of the ball.  It seems that they kept him around to lower his value.  He isn’t going to be able to prove himself to another team if he isn’t getting to play and isn’t getting thrown the ball.  The irony is that the Patriots are a better team with Welker playing a big role, but that doesn’t matter because the Patriots have done this before.  This is beginning to be a trend,  people are taking notice now  because Welker has a reputation as a good team player, but it is eerily similar to how Randy Moss left New England.

Randy Moss had the greatest season ever by a receiver in New England.  The Patriots had an undefeated regular season but no Superbowl title.  It seemed like no one could stop the Brady to Moss deep ball, but all of a sudden the Patriots wanted to change their offense.  They began to faze Moss out of the offense, but he didn’t go quietly.  Moss got into an altercation with the offensive coordinator and he was eventually traded.  That set forth a chain of events that had Moss out of the league last year.

I am happy that Randy got back because he never really lost it.  Even at the end of his Patriots career he responded when Darrell Revis called him out, and he burned him one time on the deep ball to let him know what the business was.  But once he was labeled as an attitude, teams wanted to see him doing the little things, but that’s not Randy Moss.  Why should he have to go across the middle when no one could stop the deep ball? One of the greatest receivers of all time was relegated to a blocking decoy.  I wonder if he ever really lost it, or did the Patriots make us think that he lost it? It’s not far fetched to think that the Patriots are that vindictive.  Look at the stories that came out after they let Chad Johnson go.  He wasn’t smart enough to grasp the offense, but what makes their offense so complex? There has to be some level of intelligence to just play in the NFl, so I don’t buy that.  But you only need to look at their defense to see how vindictive the Patriots really are.

Bill Belichick is supposed to be a defensive genius, but you wouldn’t know it by the Patriots defense over the last few years.  The Patriots used to have stellar defenses, until they got rid of Richard Seymour.  Seymour began mentioning wanting more money and they traded him to the Raiders.  Seymour didn’t want to go, as there was a rumor he considered not reporting, but there was too much money at stake and he had to report.  The Patriots got draft picks, but they never replaced Seymour, which is why their defense struggles to this day.  Seymour has made the Raiders respectable, but they have no quarterback, so he is doing his thing in obscurity.   I know it has to be hard losing when you are accustomed to winning.  In my opinion, there is no doubt that the Patriots traded him there as punishment.  At the time Raiders owner, Al Davis, was aging and there was question whether he was even competent enough to run a NFL franchise, so it was a pretty safe bet that the Raiders would be bad with no hope of getting better.  It will be interesting to see how the Patriots deal with Tom Brady.  It may seem blasphemous now, but they drafted Ryan Mallet for a reason.  In the next few years it will be time for Brady to go and I wonder if they will try to defame him like they have with the other players who have been instrumental in their success.

 

 

Don’t Cross the New England Patriots…They Will Ruin Your Career

The New England Patriots are widely regarded as the flagship franchise of the NFL.  Their reputation has survived the ‘Spygate’ scandal, and to those who think it was no big deal, I would like to point out that they haven’t beat a Manning in the playoffs since they stopped taping, including 2 Superbowl losses to Eli Manning and the New York Giants.   But this isn’t about ‘Spygate’.  Has anyone noticed how the Patriots destroy the careers of players they don’t want to pay? Wes Welker is the latest victim.  He wanted a long-term deal in the offseason, but he didn’t get it and settled for the 1 year franchise tender for $9.5 million.  Welker reported to camp, although he hinted he wouldn’t, and by all accounts seemed to be his usual self getting ready for a big season in a contract year.  But there is a slight problem, the Patriots didn’t even start him in week 2.  Despite the fact that he had been the focal point of the offense on teams that made the Superbowl, it took an injury to Aaron Hernandez for him to get any targets.  The story is that Julian Edelman had a better week in practice than Welker, which is why he started over him, but if they thought that Edelman was comparable to Welker then why did they designate Welker with the franchise tag? They could have definitely used more money on their defense because they still need help on that side of the ball.  It seems that they kept him around to lower his value.  He isn’t going to be able to prove himself to another team if he isn’t getting to play and isn’t getting thrown the ball.  The irony is that the Patriots are a better team with Welker playing a big role, but that doesn’t matter because the Patriots have done this before.  This is beginning to be a trend,  people are taking notice now  because Welker has a reputation as a good team player, but it is eerily similar to how Randy Moss left New England.

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