Monday, August 31, 2009

2009 NFL Preview: New Orleans Saints

Here are our previous installments.

By JFein:

I have good news and bad news to report. The good news is is that 49er16 is currently on an airplane flying to Philadelphia. The bad news is is that 49er16 is currently on an airplane flying to Philadelphia (wow, that joke is so much more funnier with voice and tone involved). Anyway, I'm therefore doing the NFL preview for today.

Today is the New Orleans Saints day to get looked at. They come in this season after falling short of the playoffs last year. Passing yard wise, Drew Brees had one of the best seasons that a QB ever had, but as mentioned above they failed to make the playoffs that year. Brees is good, hell, he's very good, but the Saints as a whole are not and that is going to drag this team down.

Breesy Like Sunday Afternoon Let's face facts: Drew Brees is a beast. Drew Brees was 15 yards away from breaking Dan Marino's all time record for passing yards in a season, a record that for the longest time no one thought would ever be close to being touched. And to be 15 yards away from it definitley says something about the talent of Drew Brees. If this team does not make the playoffs, chances are it's not Brees' fault. This guy can throw and play quarterback.

Reggie "Oh Please Dear God Don't Call Me George" Bush: I'll say it here and to some it's obvious and to some it might be utter blasphemy. Reggie Bush is not a starting running back. As a change of pace to someone like now ex-Saint Deuce McAllister, yeah, he's really good, but not as an every down starting running back. It just does not seem to work, and really for reasons that I can't explain. Maybe it's the fact that there was so much hype surrounding him out of college that he was the next huge name running back and now it turns out he only transitioned to the pros as an average back that there is disppointment and we are seeing disappointment in hype than anything else, but Reggie Bush, to me, at least, does not work as a starting back in the NFL. It also does not help him and the Saints that he is injured a lot.

Who Are The Saints' Receivers Again?: Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem, Lance More, Adrian Arrington, D'Juan Woods. Yeah. Further proof of the talent of Drew Brees.

Shock Value: Jeremy Shockey is a New Orleans Saint. Wait, what's that you say? When did that happen? Well, it happened last year. Only injuries caused him to have career lows in several statistics and his memory was greatly erased from the minds of several people. Shockey is going to have to become a bigtime threat if the Saints are going to accomphish anything this year.

Defense: One of the big off-season moves for the Saints this year was the signing of Jonathan Vilma. While I don't watch too many Jets games, from what I've seen, Vilma's got the right tools and his being in New Orleans will only improve that defense, a defense that is by no means a bad defense. They have some very credible names on that roster and Vilma should improve that as well.

Video: I still get jacked up and scream "YEAH!" after watching this hit.

Prediction: 9-7, 2nd NFC South. The Saints, I believe, could make a legit run at the playoffs this year. But just like last year, there is a chance that it could fizzle into nothing. Do they have what it takes to be a playoff team? Absolutely. Will they be able to put those pieces together? Well, we'll just have to see.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Philadelphia Eagles Have Named A Starting Linebacker

And I'm not too happy about it. Yep, you guessed it, Omar Gaither got the starting job. Ugh. From Philly's CBS affiliate, CBS3

The Philadelphia Eagles are changing their starting middle linebacker two weeks before the start of the regular season.

Omar Gaither is taking over for Joe Mays. Mays had replaced Stewart Bradley, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. Gaither was the starter in 2007.

Gaither had been bothered by a sore knee throughout training camp, but returned to practice on a limited basis last week and was out with the starting unit at practice Sunday. He will remain in that role leading up to the season opener Sept. 13 at Carolina.
While he's an all right pass defender, he is horrible against the run. And guess what is one of the main primary functions of the middle linebacker? Stopping the run! Ugh. Here's hoping he has improved big time over the past couple years.

Little League World Series Day 9 Championship Game Live Blog

Will we see another classic LLWS championship moment today? Last year we had a blowout for a title game, but the past few years before that were all classics. Some of the most iconic images that ESPN/ABC uses have come from this event. So let's get to it!

World Series Championship: Chinese Taipei vs. Chula Vista, CA 3:00 (Lamade Stadium - ABC - Brent Musburger and Orel Hershiser)

And with a huge hat tip to the ESPN Little League World Series Facebook page, your starting pitchers for tonight's game are.....

Chinese Taipei: Chin Ou
Chula Vista, CA: Isaiah Armenta

Enjoy the game and leave comments!

P.S. Any comments that are political in nature or are attacking Keith Olbermann, Bill O'Reilly, complimenting me for that post alone, or attacking me for that post alone will not be allowed and you will be banned from commenting. This is a LLWS live blog, let's keep it at that!

LLWS Day 9 Consolation Game Open Thread

On the off chance that you are bored this morning and have nothing else to watch....

Consolation Game: Mexico vs. San Antonio, TX 12:00 (Volunteer Stadium - ESPN - Karl Ravech and Orestes Destrade)

Enjoy the game and leave comments! I am hopeful, though not positive, that there will be a live blog up later today!

This Day Just Keeps Getting Better And Better

Aside from the fact that the Phils and Cliff Lee got hammered and the 2 LLWS games were blowouts, this really has been a great day. I mean, after all, it's not everyday that you become an overnight pseudo blogging celebrity, now does it? Add that to the fact that I just found out that the new Three Days Grace album will be avaiable on September 22, and it's a win-win day. Three Days grace is one of my favorite bands (next to Shinedown, Linkin Park, Staind, Seether, and Nickelback) so suffice to say, I am giddy!

Possible LLWS championship game live blog tomorrow, and I promise you, if I do it, I'll be better. My apologies for the constant tooting of my own horn at the beginning of the blog (and throughout) but I had launched that live blog 5 or 10 minutes after I received an email from Johnny Dollar requesting the link to my Olbermann rant once at The O Files, now down below. And I'll also try being better on picking up when a new comment comes in. There was no tech. problem, Yopper and 49er16, I was busy with other things including meeting my new roommate (who luckily does not bare much of a resemblence to Basketbawful's roommate), commenting about my Olbermann post, and watching baseball.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Little League World Series Day 8 Live Blog

Let's get to it! Like I said below, I've got a rommate moving in later this afternoon at around 3 ET, so I don't know how much I'll be posting once that happens, but until then, let's do this thing!

Fire Keith Olbermann Now!

Due to popular demand, I have re-posted this Keith Olbermann rant over here, a blog for which I am admin. for. The reason for the deletion of the post was because the admin. for The O Files is a Keith Olbermann fan and was not happy. That admin. deleted it, not me. The rant is now here to stay for good.

I'll cut right to the chase. Watch this segment and tell me if you hear anything completely and utterly abnormal, wrong, and downright insulting and embarrassing.

Did you catch it? I'll even zero in on it even more in case you missed one of the most embarrassing, unnecesary, and hurtful things that Olbermann has ever said.

"In his nightly round of self-applause last night, designed to drown out the echo of daddy hitting him…" - Keith Olbermann about Bill O'Reilly

What the fuck Olbermann, you fat, arrogant, snide, obnoxious, Bill O'Reilly-Fox News obsessed douche bag? At what point is enough enough? It's not the criticizing of another TV personality or company that's the problem, like it or not it is part of the business and I'm fine with it, it's the lengths that he goes to do it. First of all, is it really necessary to correct O'Reilly for saying "Double-A" instead of "Triple-A". For all we know, he could have meant to say "Triple-A" and "Double-A" inadvertently came out instead. But when you start it out by joking about a matter that is so serious (child abuse), you crossed the line with me and I have absolutely had it with him. It's wrong, it's DAMN WRONG! You don't make that kind of reference, no matter how much you can't stand someone. And the sad part is, there is not a damn person at MSNBC willing to do something about it. If MSNBC wants to go liberal, that's fine, but bring in a credible liberal to host the 8 PM show. There's Rachel Maddow, who is a much better alternative to those that a fan of Fox News. She has people on her show that she disagrees with (something Olbermann never does), is actually funny (Keith Olbermann's schtick has gotten so old with me that I just can't laugh at anything he says), and is an all-round better program for a liberal like me to enjoy.

I have morals and values that I am proud of and I feel as if I can no longer keep them by being affiliated, even in the smallest way possible with this phony Edward R. Murrow wanna-be and The O Files blog that is filled with Bush Administration comparisons to the Nazi Administration that are downright wrong, not funny, insulting, and unwarranted. I don't believe that Bush was a great president at all (I strongly disliked him), but that comparison is wrong. I know you probably think that I have zero credibility, JC, because I bash Olbermann so much nowadays and strongly disagree with your views on Vick, but you have to believe me when I say that by comparing Bush to the Hitler and the Nazis, you only make yourself look like a fool. Even when I was an Olbermann fanboy when you first started this thing, I did not think those were warranted and not once did I laugh at them. And if my future employers ever find out about any affiliation I have with them, I may not get a job.

Oh, and as far as that mysterious under 35 demo (a demo only brought up by Olbermann), it turns out that Keith Olbermann completely lied about it. He even loses to FNC in that demo! From Mediaite

Well besides the fact that “35 and younger” isn’t exactly a usual demographic, according to Nielsen, this doesn’t appear to be accurate. The lowest age level would be the 18-34 demo, which O’Reilly still beat Olbermann in during July (140,000 to 124,000). The FNC host is winning by that same percentage in August so far.
The sad part is that that lie is about as unsurprising as a Washington Nationals loss and/or a New York Mets injury this year.

Fire Keith Olbermann Now!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Commenting Guidelines

With the recent influx of hits that I have been getting (the hits for this blog have totaled over 200 respectively for a couple of days this week, a number I could not imagine having when I started this blog and a number I never thought I'd get when I started tracking hits per day in June) I guess it's time to lay down some commenting guidelines. Besides, as mentioned below, I'm completely bored right now with nothing to do and this gives me somthing to do.

In general, I'm pretty laid back when it comes to commenting and that's not going to change, however, I would like to make it clear what is and what is not acceptable.

1. I am one of the few blogs, I believe, that still allow annonymous commenting. And I plan on keeping it this way as it allows those that want to protect any and all identity to do so and still have their opinions heard.

2. I bring that up, because the majority of anonymous comments I get are in my "RIP" posts in which they mock the dead. Any post that mocks and/or makes fun of a recently departed person will be deleted on the spot. I have always done so, but I want it spelled out. The comment section of the eulogies on my blog are not the time or the place to make fun of recently dead people, no matter how controversial they are or how much you hate them. Take those elsewhere, please.

3. I do not mind if you disagree with anything that I say, but keep your disagreements knowledgeable and make sense in doing so. I am not a complete idiot who knows nothing just because you disagree with my opinions. I will respect your views if you respect mine. I do not mind debating, au contraire, I encourage it, but let's keep any and all debate civil and about the subject on hand and not an insult fest.

4. I do not mind cursing at all, however there are some words that I would prefer not to see on this blog. In other words, DON'T USE THEM AT ALL! These words include

The R-word used to refer to those that are intellectually disabled. Sadly, this word is used way too much in everyday language and no one even stops to think twice as to what it actually means. I'm an education major and even though my life has not been directly impacted by mental retardation in the form of family and friends, I take this matter very seriously and I take great offense to any use of the word other than it's original intended purpose, as used earlier in this sentence. Even then, I'd prefer "intellectually disabled".

The N-word. 'Nuff said.

The F-word used in reference of homosexuals. You can say "fuck" all you want and I won't give a fuck, but type the f-word that is a synonym for "gay" and "homosexual", and I won't be happy.

Any other derogatory word used to demean someone's race, ethnicity, and sexuality, whether using it in that context or are just using that word as people use the aforementioned R-word is not allowed.

I would be shocked if this needs to be said, but all of the above go for any and all forms of the word, and not just the base word itself.

5. Seeing as I do occasional political and cable news posts, any comparing of any political or cable news personality to Nazi Germany is prohibited. Then again, making such an outlandish, ludicrous comparison only makes yourself to look like a complete, misinformed moron.

6. Any and all spamming is prohibited. I get enough of it in my GMail inbox (I am already a daily recipient of a million British pounds, I don't need anymore, thank you), I don't need it in the comments section of my blog. Also, I am not interested in any of your "business deals". I do this blog as a hobby just for fun. I want nothing more or less out of it. So whether you are a spammer or are indeed serious in your offer (at which point, I laugh at you and your patheticness) the answer is no.

7. As amusing as these can be, telling glorious stories about how your dick fought off a crocidile and how wonderful it is to have cum on your tummy is not allowed. However, do realize that if you're any good at these, you would have gotten me to laugh before your comment goes bye-bye.

8. Any and all links to pornography will at first be checked out in full by yours truly. But seeing as no one can stack up to what I have to offer, I will walk away from your site disappointed and your comment will suffer a fate written out below.

Failure to adhere to any or all of the above will result in immediate deletion of your comment. Yes, even the porn. Thank you for your patronage and continue to enjoy the blog!

Ratings For The Little League World Series Are Way Up

Well, it's official, I have gone from being pulled in 25 different directions at once a few days ago to being bored out of my mind with nothing to do and putting up endless blog posts tonight. The latest one has to deal with the ratings of the Little League World Series. Good news Little League fans, ratings are up! From The Canadian Press

ESPN, which owns the broadcast rights, has said viewership for its opening weekend coverage was up about 60 per cent from last year's opening weekend. ESPN2 telecasts are up 137 per cent.

The increase could be in part due to the tournament not having to compete with the Summer Olympics, as it did last year. Still, viewership is up from 2007, especially on ESPN2.

The 2009 tournament has been aided by some big-market teams making big splashes: the run to the U.S. semifinals by a team from the borough of Staten Island drew a big New York City media contingent.

Teams from San Antonio and Chula Vista, Calif., a suburb of San Diego, are playing for the U.S. title.

Mercer Island, Wash., is a suburb of Seattle. Plus, Warner Robins, Ga., was back in Pennsylvania two years after winning the title.

Keener also theorized the increased attention may be in part due to the economy.

"People are probably at home more than at the beach," he said. "Maybe it's the economy that has forced people to something that they might not otherwise do - watching more television."

The estimated attendance through 28 games in the 2009 tournament is 299,634, already exceeding last year's total by about 10,000 fans with three more games still to be played this year.
This Little League World Series has been exciting as any, especially seeing as this year we have seen 2 of the best Little League games in quite some time (Japan-Curacao and Warner Robins, GA-Chula Vista, CA last night, despite the less than satisfying ending). The only concern that Little League will have, and it might be a big one, is the weather. There is rain in the forecast tomorrow for Williamsport, but it appears as if the later it gets to be, the less rain there will be. If there is a substantial delay, there might be a hit.

Also, I am thinking of possibly live blogging the games tomorrow, however, my roommate is moving in at around the time the games are on and that might greatly hinder my ability to live blog. I might start something up and just stop when he moves in or the updates will have to be less frequent. We'll see when the time rolls around, I guess.

Lou Holtz Explains Why They Call Him Dr. Lou; Makes No Sense In The Process

We all know that Lou Holtz is picking Notre Dame to make it to the championship game, but now, seconds after Sean Hannity declared that he would think about running for office, Lou Holtz decides that that is the best time in the world to talk about being called an "idiot" and why he is called Dr. Lou. From TV Newser

Ah, good times! I do not quite understand why Sean Hannity insists on having Lou Holtz on his show (this is not the first time Holtz has been on), but whenever he does, it's pure comedy gold. Forget Sean Hannity, what if Lou Holtz decided to run for Congress or the Presidency? You know, Holtz for public office might be the single force that systematically destroys this great nation.......

Husky Barks: Bloomsburg 10, Ashland 7

Last night the Bloomsburg Huskies opened up their 2009 campaign in a historic way as for the first time ever, Bloomsburg played a home game at night (a game I would have gone to had I not been such a diehard Eagles fan). Not only that, but it was a battle of nationally ranked foes as #11 Bloomsburg (as ranked by took on #13 Ashland, Ohio. Here are your highlights courtesy of BU's new YouTube page.

Good game BU, and I must say, I dig Redman Stadium under the lights at night. I'm probably way biased, but I can't imagine many other D2 stadiums being that nice, considering the artificial turf, the nice lights, and the mountains in the background. We're now 1-0 and we beat another really good team. Dan Latorre is a almost a lesser version of Tim Tebow with the way he runs the football out of the spread offense. Go Huskies!!!

Jerry Jones Will Not Lower The Scoreboard This Year

We all know the controversy surrounding the Dallas Cowboys after Trepasso (Most. Talked about punter in the pre-season. Ever) punted the ball and hit the giant scoreboard. Well, it appears as if the NFL will not force to Jones to raise the scoreboard this year (even though he is doing it for a U2 contest anyway) for football games. Keywords: this year. From the Associated Press

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday clarified rules on punts that ricochet off the high-definition monitors hanging over most of the field at the new Cowboys Stadium. Perhaps the key part of his announcement is that the guidelines cover only this season, an indication the league may force Jones to raise the boards before the 2010 season, which ends with the Super Bowl in his building.

The league clearly wouldn't want even the remote possibility of a championship decided by a ball hitting a TV screen within a punter's reach.

"We will continue to address the particular circumstances in Dallas, giving full consideration to the competitive, safety and fan experience issues involved," Goodell said in a statement. "The Cowboys have been fully cooperative as we have addressed this subject, and we will continue to work closely with the club on a longer term resolution."

Long-term changes can be made only at the annual rules meeting. However, Goodell noted that Rule 3, Section 1 of the league rule book allows for changes new policy to be enacted for the current season only.

Jones was not immediately available for comment.

The video boards are the signature item of the $1.15 billion stadium because of their clarity and size: 60 yards long, stretching from 20-yard line to 20-yard line. The problem is they are 90 feet above the field.

While that is 5 feet above the league's standard, the ease Tennessee punters had kicking balls into the boards before — and once during — last Saturday night's debut game indicates that standard might need revision.

It happens that Titans coach Jeff Fisher is head of the NFL's competition committee, which is the group that worked with the league office to figure out how to handle balls conking off the boards.

Fisher's complaint went beyond the height. He realized officials didn't even see the ball hitting the boards because they were all watching the action on the field; he threw his challenge flag to make sure they realized what had happened. The ruling was a do-over, but time was not put back on the clock.

The new rules — which apply to all stadiums even though it's only an issue at this one — address those concerns.

Downs will still be replayed "if a ball in play strikes a video board, guide wire, sky cam, or any other object," but now the game clock will be reset to the time when the first play was snapped. Any penalties during the wiped-out play won't count, except for personal fouls.

Also, if officials on the field don't see the ball hitting the board, the replay assistant can now initiate a booth review at any time. If the replay assistant doesn't ask for a review, coaches can challenge under normal challenge rules.
Well that would suck to waste a challenge because Jerry Jones is a complete moron who must realize that several punts would go 5 feet above the minimum height allowed for a scoreboard (Jones' justification is that all punts should be kicked to the corners). And while Jerry Jones is a complete douche bag for putting the NFL in this predicament to begin with, at least the NFL is doing the right thing by calling a resetting the clock and calling a redo on such a play. If the ball hits the scoreboard a lot this year, I would not be surprised if the NFL tells Jerry to raise that thing pronto in the off-season.

2009 NFL Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

By 49er16:

Tampa Bay under went some serious changes in the offseason. The Buccaneers front office waited for a while, until they finally fired Jon Gruden and General Manager Bruce Allen. This came after longtime defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin left to coach with his son at Tennessee. The Buccaneers lifted 32-year-old Raheem Morris to head coach.

Morris' name had come up for other head coaching jobs around the league and many people said that Morris would likely become a head coach in the next year or two. But the Buccaneers didn't want to see Morris leave, so they fired Gruden and elevated him to head coach.

That isn't the only place where Tampa Bay has made changes. They let go veteran players like Derrick Brooks, Kevin Carter, and Warrick Dunn. They also let go Jeff Garcia and drafted Josh Freeman. A lot of change will affect this season for the Buccaneers. I really don't expect much from them this season.

Coaching Staff: Morris was smart and brought in a veteran coaching staff to support him. He brought in veteran coach Jim Bates to run the defense. Bates will likely move away from the Cover-2 scheme that Tampa has used since Tony Dungy arrived in the mid-90's.

Morris also brought in Jeff Jagodzinski to run the offense. Jagodzinski if you remember, was the guy who was fired from Boston College for interviewing for the New York Jets job. Jagodzinski will use a more run-oriented offense, moving away from the pass-happy attack that Gruden favored.

Who's the Quarterback?: Tampa Bay drafted Freeman to be the future quarterback. Right now though, Freeman is too green to start right away. That's one of the reasons why Tampa Bay brought in Byron Leftwich to compete for the starting job. Leftwich will compete with Luke McCown right now for the starters job. McCown is known to make some poor decisions under center, but he has some impressive athleticism. Leftwich has the arm to be the starter, but he isn't athletic at all. Who will be the starting quarterback by week one will be any one's guess.

Running Attack: The Buccaneer's could have one of the best backfield's in the NFL this season. Ernest Graham returns from an ankle injury. Graham is one of the best inside rusher's in the league who has the knack to break off long runs. The Buccaneers also picked up Derrick Ward from the Giants. Ward rushed for over a 1,000 yards last season and is a reliable receiving option. Also Cadillac Williams will also return this season. Williams has been hampered by knee injuries ever since winning the rookie of the year in 2005. If everyone can stay healthy, then the Bucs should have one of the best backfield's in the NFL.

Questions on Defense?: This is the first time in about 15 years that the Buccaneers have more questions on defense than offense. The defense will have to get used to a new coordinator in Jim Bates. Monte Kiffin left for Tennessee in the offseason, so Tampa Bay will be without their defensive leader for the first time in about 15 years. They will also have to get used to a new defensive scheme. Bates will move the defense away from the Tampa-2 into a heavy blitz scheme that will focus on press coverage. Tampa Bay will also have to replace five starters including veteran linebacker Derrick Brooks. They will struggle this year on defense.

Schedule: Their schedule is brutal this year. They have to travel to Buffalo, Philadelphia, Seattle, and London to face New England. Not exactly a schedule that favors a first time coach looking for a quarterback while the defense rebuilds.

Video: Since Tampa Bay is using their throwback uniforms this season, lets celebrate the early years of Tampa Bay. That's when they were really bad.

Prediction: 5-11, 4th NFC South. There is just too many factors that are not in the Buccaneers favor. New coach, new coordinator's, new quarterback, new schemes, tough schedule, and a rebuilding defense. The more I think about it, the Buccaneers could compete with the Raiders for the worst record in the NFL this season.

Uniforms: Oh yeah, the Buccaneers will play a game in their old uniforms. I still don't know what's worse, the color or the pirate on the helmet.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Jaguars @ Eagles Live Blog And Stream

I've really been enjoying my job, but man, to have the freshmen at general university orientation (which tonight includes a pep rally and BU's 1st ever home night football game; only there is rain in the forecast), I finally have some time for myself to chill, relax, and blog. Michael Vick and Brian Westbrook will play in the 1st quarter today. I can't tell you what to expect, but this will definitley be a good show. Enjoy the game and leave comments and FYI, once game time rolls around, I'll try to embed a stream for you all.

Watch live video from wutitdo_kid on

2009 NFL Preview: Atlanta Falcons

By JFein:

Last year, the Atlanta Falcons were a big surprise team, qualifying for the playoffs when nobody thought that they had a chance only to be surprised themselves in the first round of the playoffs when they lost to the future NFC Champion, Arizona Cardinals. This year, the Falcons look to repeat as NFC South champions and make a return trip to the post-season. and if you ask me, I say they have a darn good chance of that happening.

The Return of Matty Ice: Matt Ryan is returning for his 2nd NFL year and 2nd year as the QB for the Atlanta Falcons. Essentially the replacement for Michael Vick, Matt Ryan showed his stuff last year and went from being booed at the draft by Falcon fans to being one of the faces of the franchise that everyone loved in Hot-lanta. This year, assuming he stays away from injury, it is thought that he can only be better than last year. But at the same time, one has to beware of the sophomore slump....

Michael Turner The Burner: Michael Turner has been exactly that for the Falcons, putting up career numbers last season. And while we are talking about a different situation, for the Falcons sake, they are certainly hopeful that he does not come down with Ryan Grant Syndrome. But like I said, it was a different situation and he showed what he can do in San Diego, so we should not be surprised that he did so well last year for the Dirty Birds.

Falcon Wideouts: Troy Bergeron of the Georgia Force is an Atlanta Falcon? Holy cow. Onto the more meaningful receivers for this team, while they do not have one huge name, last year they were really solid as a unit, from Roddy White to Michael Jenkins to Brian Finneran. The Falcons are a dangerous team all around offensively, and with a defense that can get the job done, this team can be tough to beat.

Schedule: Even though they have a rather easy division, the Atlanta Falcons are not getting cut any breaks by playing both the NFC East and AFC East this year, as well as the improved Bears and 49ers. Oh, and you might want to mark the date on December 6. Michael Vick returns to the Georgia Dome.

Video: Matt Ryan highlights to the song "Leave The Memories Alone" by Fuel

Prediction: 11-5, 1st place NFC South. 49er16 and I disagree on this one. Even at 11-5, I think that this race is even going to be close. Jake Delhomme is way too much of a hindrance for the Panthers (I don't even have them in 2nd), the Saints are too one dimensional with Brees (not to mention Reggie Bush is pretty much a bust), and the Bucs, well, they'll completely suck this year.

Little League World Series Day 7 Open Thread

For some reason I thought the game started at 4:30.....Regardless, we have the final 2 quarterfinal games tonight!

Curacao vs. Chinese Taipei 4:00 (Lamade Stadium - ESPN - Gary Thorne and Orestes Destrade)

Warner Robins, GA vs. Chula Vista, CA 8:00 (Lamade Stadium - ESPN - Brent Musburger and Orel Hershiser)

Enjoy the games and leave comments!

Michael Vick And Brian Westbrook To Play Tonight

If there was ever such a thing as a pre-season game being must see TV, the game tonight between the Eagles and the Falcons is certainly that. Not only do we have the return of Michael Vick to the football field, but Brian Westbrook seeing his first action as an Eagle since last season's NFC Championsihp game. Via CSN Philly

It’s Michael Vick Night at Lincoln Financial Field. It is also – and, really, more importantly – probably the only night Brian Westbrook will see any game action this preseason.

Vick and Westbrook are the two primary reasons to watch the Eagles-Jaguars game.

But there are others.

The Eagles’ starters are expected to play three quarters. Joe Mays has to prove he deserves to be the starting middle linebacker. First-round pick Jeremy Maclin has to hold on to the ball and second-round pick LeSean McCoy has to hit the hole.

Kevin Kolb will have the fourth quarter to show how much he’s progressed since last season. Kolb, because of a sprained knee, has yet to play this preseason.
I for one have never been as psyched for a random pre-season game as I am for this one. Heck, I'm just curious to see the reaction to Vick now that the dust has settled down a bit and Brett Favre has signed with the Vikings. I'd still expect missed, but maybe 60-40 in favor of Vick.

In all likelihood (and by that, I mean 95% chance) I will be live blogging the game tonight using CiL. In the interest of full disclosure, I had picked this game to live blog to try out CiL with football a month or so ago, before Vick was an Eagle and before I knew that Westbrook would be playing tonight (I knew about Vick tonight, but I just found about Westbrook today; damn I've been out of the loop these past couple days). It should be good times, and even though as far as I know, it's only a local broadcast, I will be inviting everyone anyway (and all are invited to participate). I might even find a or UStream stream of the game and embed it here so even if you're out of market, you can watch the game and comment anyway. Aspeaking of site announcements, you can expect to see the Atlanta Falcons preview in a couple hours. I'm gonna get out and exercise a bit as it is my kind of nice day outside, and then I'll be back with the Falcons.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Michael Vick Has A Very Important Question For Donovan McNabb

My apologies again for not being around too much the past few days. That being said, I have one more day of this (and by that, I mean just 3 hours in the afternoon) and I should be good. As for now, I just have to share with you this hilarious tweet from Donovan McNabb.
I do have a bit of sad news to inform you guys of, though: The Bark In The Park that the Eagles were planning this year has sadly been cancelled.

2009 NFL Preview: Carolina Panthers

By 49er16:

The Carolina Panthers seem to be at a crossroads. Despite the fact the Panthers had the 2nd best record in the NFC last year, they were embarrassed at home in the playoffs against the Arizona Cardinals. Jake Delhomme was especially embarrassed by the Cardinals defense.

So here we are today. The Panthers will have to look at this season as their barometer for their future. John Fox is back for his eighth season as the head coach. Delhomme is back for 10th season. Steve Smith and Julius Peppers are also both back. So the talent is there for the Panthers. And that's how they look at the situation. The Panthers spent a lot of money in the off season to keep their players and they also traded away their 2010 first round pick to San Francisco to make this team competitive. But if everything falls apart during the season, I think there will be some drastic changes made in 2010 for the Panthers.

Coaching Staff: After last year's debacle against the Cardinals in the playoffs, John Fox and defensive coordinator Mike Trgovac parted ways. In comes former Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks. Fox has also made the point that he will be more involved with the defense this season. The offense will probably not change from it's ground-and-pound attack.

What About Julius Peppers?: Peppers bitch and complained that he wanted to be traded from away in the off season. Unlike the Denver Broncos, the Panthers didn't give in to his demands and eventually placed the franchise tag on him. Since all of this happened, Peppers has struggled early in the pre season. And then he angered a lot of people by saying the pre season doesn't mean anything. Needless to say, he's unhappy playing for the Panthers and could become a distraction as the season moves on.

Can Delhomme recover?: Delhomme completely fell apart against the Cardinals in the playoffs last season. Delhomme committed six turnovers in the game. So can he recover from that game? He should be able to because he is a veteran who has been down before. Plus the Panthers showed faith in him by giving him a contract extension.

The Best Offense in the League?: The Panthers actually have a shot at being one of the best offenses in the league this season, despite Delhomme's implosion in the playoffs. The Panthers return all 11 starters on offense, including all-world receiver Steve Smith. Also the running tandem of Jonathon Stewart and DeAngelo Williams will continue to improve. The Panthers averaged 25.9 points a game last season, and they could have a greater average this season.

Breaking Tradition?: It's been a tradition for a long time for NFL teams to hold their training camps in small towns at small colleges. I remember when the 49ers used to hold their training camp at a Junior College that I used to attend in Rocklin, California. But that tradition has started to change over the years. More and more teams are starting to hold their training camps at their regular facilities. And the Panthers could be next.

For 15 years the Panthers have held their training camp at Wofford College in South Carolina. Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is a graduate of that school and was very prideful that the Panthers represented both Carolina's. But that might all come to a change. Their contract with Wofford has expired and with the recent economic troubles, the Panthers might leave Wofford. I personally think it's sad that NFL teams are leaving the small towns and holding their training camp at their regular facilities.

Schedule: Well the Panthers get three early tests before their bye week. They play Philadelphia at home then travel to Atlanta and Dallas for the opening of Taj MaJerry. And their schedule doesn't get easier. They have to play AFC East teams including a trip to New England. And they have to play NFC East teams which means a late trip to New York. The Panthers definitely have one of the tougher schedules in the league.

Video: Steve Smith is one of my favorite NFL players. And this video is evidence as to why.

Prediction, 11-5, 1st NFC South: Thankfully for them Tampa Bay is rebuilding, New Orleans is inconsistent, and Atlanta is still playing with a young quarterback. They could realistically go 5-1 against division opponents. It won't matter if Delhomme is inconsistent or that they have a tough schedule, they are playing in one of the weaker divisions this season.

Little League World Series Day 6 Open Thread

Let the knockout round begin!

Mexico vs. Japan 4:00 (Lamade Stadium - ESPN - Brent Musburger and Orestes Destrade)

San Antonio, TX vs. Staten Island, NY 8:00 (Lamade Stadium - ESPN - Gary
Thorne and Orel Hershiser)

Enjoy the games and leave comments!

A Quick Heads Up And RIP Ted Kennedy

First of all, my apologies for the dearth of posts the past couple of days. This has been a real hectic time for me as this job is definitley much more than what I expected when I first signed onto it last spring. I am hoping that by late tomorrow afternoon, I'll finally have some time to relax, chill, and blog and what not. In a perfect world, I will have a live blog up for tomorrow's Eagles pre-season game to test out how CiL works with football, but BU has their first football game as well and if I decide to get together with a couple friends or what not, the Eagles will just have to wait (I get NFL-N up here so I can catch a reair if I miss it) but I have not forgotten about you guys or Andy Reid. I'm also hopeful that I will get around to typing up the next NFL preview sometime this afternoon.

And lastly a very sad RIP to Ted Kennedy, the last remaining and oldest of the 3 Kennedy brothers. Democrats and liberals have lost a strong and powerful voice today. At least we can all take solace in the fact that he was able to live out his life to the fullest and it was not abruptly ended like JFK and RFK.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

2009 NFL Preview: Cleveland Browns

By 49er16:

Well the Cleveland Browns dumped a former New England defensive coordinator in favor of another former New England defensive coordinator. The Browns fired Romeo Crennel and their GM Phil Savage after the Browns fell apart last season after starting out with huge expectations. In comes Eric Mangini who the New York Jets fired because his team fell apart after starting the season with huge expectations.

It still baffles my mind that the Browns hired Mangini after firing a coach who is just like Mangini. Both Crennel and Mangini were the Patriots defensive coordinator's. Both have the same type of personality. And both had the same type of coaching record. The hiring to me just made no sense at all, but it's the Browns. There hoping Mangini can find the success he had with New York in his first season, when he lead the Jets to the playoffs. Needless to say Cleveland is once again starting over.

Coaching Staff: Besides Mangini being named the new head coach, there is an entire new coaching staff. The defense will remain the same, but with Rob Ryan leading. Ryan was Oakland's defensive coordinator the past two seasons, and was the main culprit as to why Lane Kiffin was fired. Ryan will continue to run the 3-4 defense that Mangini prefers and his main goal for the defense is to stop the run and don't give up big plays.

The Browns will employ a west coast offense that wants to stretch the field. The Browns can't go anywhere but up on offense after going six straight games last season with a touchdown.

Quarterback Battle: Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn have continued to battle for the starting quarterback spot. Obviously the Browns want Quinn to win the starting job after spending money and time developing him. Anderson though is a better deep passer and he might fit the offensive philosophy better than Quinn. That is when Quinn isn't giving the defense the offensive hand signals. As of this moment, neither one has been named the starter.

Receiving depth: One of the area's the Browns will not have much depth in, is at receiver. With Sgt. Winslow in Tampa and Donte Stallworth suspended, Braylon Edwards is the only threat the Browns have at this moment at receiver. Edwards struggled mightily last season. He lead the league in drop passes. The Browns will try and use Joshua Cribbs at receiver, but that experiment has failed before.

An Improved Offensive Line: The Browns did improve their offensive line in the off season. They drafted Alex Mack and signed John St. Clair and Floyd Womack to give the team depth on the line. The Browns will need a strong offensive line to take pressure off of the quarterback and to open up lanes for old man Jamal Lewis.

Schedule: The Browns caught a break with their schedule. Their toughest road games are divisional games and they only have to play four playoff teams. Their toughest opponents have to travel to the dog pound this season. Plus they also catch a break in the fact that they play AFC West and NFC North opponents. Mangini caught a huge break in the scheduling department for his first season in Cleveland.

Video: Here's a video of the great and depressing history of the Cleveland Browns.

Prediction: 8-8, 3rd AFC North. The quarterback battle and the lack of depth at receiver will hurt this team in the long run. Their schedule will help them out finish the season off with a respectable record, but their division is too tough for them to reach the playoffs.

Little League World Series Day 5 Open Thread

Not much going on today other than battles for seeding and pride, which while a bad thing for the drama that I love on the last day of LLWS pool play, is a good thing because I'm not going to be around at all today. Enjoy the games and leave comments and unless I somehow end up with a spare minute or 2, the next time you'll see me will be late tomorrow night or Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia vs. Venezuela 12:00 (Lamade Stadium - ESPN2 - Gary Thorne and Orel Hershiser)

Germany vs. Canada 2:00 (Volunteer Stadium - ESPN2 - Sean McDonough and Orestes Destrade)

Russellville, KY vs. Peabody, MA 4:00 (Lamade Stadium - ESPN - Gary Thorne and Orel Hershiser)

Mexico vs. Chinese Taipei 6:00 (Volunteer Stadium - ESPN2 - Sean McDonough and Orestes Destrade)

San Antonio, TX vs. Chula Vista, CA 8:00 (Lamade Stadium - ESPN2 - Brent Musburger and Orel Hershiser)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Poking Fun At The New York Mets Is Fun

I got nothing better to do right now, so why not put up a post where I further mock a team that has somehow, someway jumped ahead of the Nationals in the category of Baseball's Biggest Laughing Stock.

The fact that the Mets are 16.5 games behind the Phillies and only 13 games ahead of the Nationals flat out hysterical.

This was obviously written by a Mets fan before this season started......(via The Fightins
Can't disagree with that definition, now can we? I know I can't disagree with that logic.

But let's turn the tables and find out what the Mets are really like. Here is your definition of the New York Mets from Urban Dictionary

1. A baseball team with annoying hot dogs like Jose Reyes that takes over 1st place late in the season and then gives it up to the Phillies in the last week of the season

2. A team that managed to lose a game it had won when their idiot second baseman Luis Castillo dropped a pop up with two outs against the Yankees.
Not as funny as the Phillies definition. But alas, those statements are quite true. Change that second definition to "A team that is managed to lose games in every way possible" and you've got the New York Mets in a nutshell. No need to get all douchey and homophobic like the Phils definition, just straight facts is all that needed when describing this team. The fact that Manual has been promised to keep his job really should not come as a surprise at all. After all, they are managed to lose.

The Mets went head to head with the Phillies this past weekend, let's take a look at the highlights of that series, which include the new Phillies catchphrase and flat out bearded awesomeness.

If the Mets were any unluckier, they would surpass The Bad News Bears. Oh wait, too late, according to
Okay, so it's just some lame photo shopping job (hell, I just did it using screenshots and the default Microsoft picture editor) by yours truly, but you gotta admit, that's hilarious.

The funniest part about this video is that the maker of it truly believes that these are reasons to like the Mets. Most of America would use this same logic and stats and conclude the opposite....

Oh, about those uniforms and colors, Mets fans.......

I'm now nauseous.

In the end, however, only one word can truly describe the New York Mets....

The rest of America could not agree more.

(big time thanks go out for The Fightins who indirectly and perhaps unknowningly supplied a lot of the photos and videos used in this post)

2009 NFL Preview: Cincinnati Bengals

By JFein:

The Cincinnati Bengals are quite an enigma. They have a really good QB, one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, and yet, no one is thinking that this team has a chance in hell of coming close to competing in the AFC North. And even though they are my 3rd favorite NFL team (Eagles #1, Chargers #2), I agree with those critics. So without further ado, here is your 2009 NFL Preview of the Cincinnati Bengals!

Heeeerrrrrre's Carson: Carson Palmer used to be one of the best QBs in the NFL. But then he played a playoff game against Pittsburgh. Since then, his entire career has gone straight down hill. Whether it's his inconsistency, the Bengals as a team relying too much on the pass due to a lack of running game, or injuries, since that ill-fated home playoff game, it seems like everything has unraveled for the Bengals and Palmer and if one of those problems was not present, you can be sure that another one of them was. It also does not help that the Bengals have no defense whatsoever to rely on when Palmer is struggling or injured, but that's another story.

Chad OchoCinco: Next to T.O., perhaps the most controversial wide receiver is none other than Chad OchoCinco (seriously, which is it? Ochocinco, OchoCinco, or Ocho Cinco?) of the Cincinnati Bengals. Make no mistake about it, the man is talented, but his ego is just way too big for him to ever be a great receiver. The constant unnecessary celebration penalties that he gets is enough to bury a team for when you kickoff at your own 15 yard line, the opposing team gets great field position and is more likely than not to come away with points on the following drive especially taking into the fact of the Bengals defense (more on that below). And just as an aside, "ocho cinco" does not mean "eighty-five" but rather "eight five". Eighty-five in Spanish is "ochenta y cinco". You can thank online translators for that one....

The Bengals defense: Oy ve. What good is it when you're offense scores 45 points only to see the defense give up 48 points. That is the Bengals defense in a nutshell. You have to give credit where credit is due, though. They did try to remedy that by drafting Ray Maualuga out of USC. And they also now have Roy Williams the Safety. But will that be enough for the Bengals? To be frank, I would be shocked if it was. Then again, anything is an improvement over what they had.

Schedule: While the Bengals are one of the 13 lucky ones to play the Detroit Lions this year, the rest of their schedule is not so glamorous, including back-to-back-to-back games against Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Baltimore Weeks 3-5 with the latter 2 being on the road. They have some winnable games this year, but the division that they compete in is way too much for them. If they were in a weaker division, I'd give them a fighters chance at possibly making the playoffs, but not in one of the best divisions in football. No way.

Video: A look at the Bengals rookies this year with Disturbed in the background.

Prediction 6-10, 4th place AFC North. I said it before, if their division was different, then maybe, just maybe, they would have an outside chance of making it this year. But 2 games against the Ravens, Steelers, and Browns is just too much for this team. I only say the Browns because let's just say that the style of games that they play absolutely works against the Bengals defense.

Little League World Series Day 4 Open Thread

After yesterday's classic, who knows what we will see today. Japan will try to salvage their run against Venezuela in what will be an extremely important game for them. I never recall Japan going 1-2 in pool play. Saudi Arabia will try to save themselves as well as they will look to upset Curacao. and then in prime time we have the big one. 1-1 Staten Island, NY will take on 1-1 Urbandale, IA in what will be a win or go home game. The winner will join Warner Robins, GA in advancing out of Pool B while the other will be spending a lot more time in the Grove. If I'm around I will try to throw up a live blog of that game, although no guarantees can be made as I do have someplace I have to be early tomorrow evening.

Germany vs. Mexico 12:00 (Lamade Stadium - ESPN2 - Gary Thorne and Orel Hershiser)

Venezuela vs. Japan 2:00 (Volunteer Stadium - ESPN2 - Sean McDonough and Orestes Destrade)

Warner Robins, GA vs. Mercer Island, WA 4:00 (Lamade Stadium - ESPN - Gary Thorne and Orel Hershiser)

Curacao vs. Saudi Arabia 6:00 (Volunteer Stadium - ESPN2 - Sean McDonough and Orestes Destrade)

Staten Island, NY vs. Urbandale, IA 8:00 (Lamade Stadium - ESPN - Gary Thorne and Orel Hershiser)

Enjoy the games and leave comments!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"23 Runs, 20 Hits, 9 Errors, 23 Strikeouts, 7 Walks, 5 Stolen Bases, 7 Wild Pitches, 4 Hit Batters, 2 Passed Balls, 12-11 Curacao"

Simply an unbelieveable game.

For those in a hurry and just want to see the end of the classic (and subsequent great screaming call from Gary Thorne), drag the cursor to the 2 hour, 25 minute, 30 second mark. Otherwise, if you have the time, sit back, relax, and enjoy one of the most wildly entertaining baseball games, that you will ever see, regardless of the age of the players. This was phenomenal.

Update: ESPN LLWS Facebook: "In case you missed any of the action or if you want to watch the game again ESPN will be re-airing the game in it's entirety at 3am EST on ESPN2 and again at 8am EST on ESPNU! Don't miss out on this "instant classic"!"


You probably already know what happened, but if you don't, I won't spoil it for you. All I'll say is this may be one of the most unbelieveable endings to a Phillies game I have ever seen (thanks to 49er16 for the updated video via The Fightins

Seeing as this video will most likely be deleted, I am providing you the link to the video. And I have no idea why everyone else is using the footage from the Mets broadcast (thank goodness for The Fightins). Simply a once in a lifetime unbelieveable play and finish to a ball game.

FYI, LLWS live blog below.

Update: I'm sure you have seen the new video by now courtesy of 49er16, but the radio call from Scott Franzke and Larry Anderson of the Phillies radio network may top everything. You will soon find out why I want Franzke on TV so bad. Click on this link, then click "proceed to this site", and download the audio file. Don't worry, all is safe for you (triple play comes in at 55 seconds into the audio).

(Hat tip to Sarge's Twitter account on the Franzke/Anderson audio!)

Little League World Series Day 3 Open Thread/Live Blog

Nobody caught the typo in yesterday's thread title and the tag I had below of "Little Leage World Series". I'm slightly embarrassed.

Anyways, it looks my family might want to stay for dinner tomorrow (they're helping me move) so in that case, the only live blog would be the 8:00 game. Here's your entire schedule for today.

Urbandale, IA vs. Mercer Island, WA 12:00 (Volunteer Stadium - ESPN - Sean McDonough and Orestes Destrade)

Russellville, KY vs. San Antonio, TX 2:00 (Lamade Stadium - ABC - Gary Thorne and Orel Hershiser)

Chinese Taipei vs. Canada 3:00 (Volunteer Stadium - ESPN - Sean McDonough and Orestes Destrade)

Chula Vista, CA vs. Peabody, MA 6:00 (Volunteer Stadium - ESPN2 - Sean McDonough and Orestes Destrade)

Curacao vs. Japan 8:00 (Lamade Stadium - ESPN2 - Gary Thorne and Orel Hershiser)

Enjoy the games and leave comments!

And now, a nighttime live blog! I'll be with you from 6:00 to end of the Curacao-Japan game. Feel free to leave comments (unless you're a troll who just so happens to have an alias of "Nathan Brice").

It's Moving Day!

Today's the big day! I am moving back to Bloomsburg for the Fall semester of my sophomore year today, August 23, 2009. While I don't start classes to the 31, the job I have on campus requires to get up there this early.

With that being said, I don't have anything I have to do until tomorrow so if I feel like it after a 2-hour drive and unpacking all of my stuff, I might put up a LLWS live blog or 2. The open thread will be up at 11:30 AM ET (1st game starts at noon ET) and depending on what time I finish unpacking and all, I might live blog the game 6:00 Chula Vista, CA-Peabody, MA game and/or the 8:00 Curacao-Japan game (for those that don't know, Curacao and Japan as of recent history have been the 2 best international games).

Let me tell you what, summer goes by so fast....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fights Between Phillies And Mets Fans Surprise Sarge

I was saying in the LLWS open thread how Sarge was classic after My PHL 17 showed something it really should not have. Well the YouTube gods have obeyed my callings and I've got video. Keep in mind, this is immediately after Tom McCarthy and Gary "Sarge" Matthews, Sr. were touting how nice Citi Field was and such when all of a sudden this came on their screen.

Too funny! Now I'm not condoning the Phillies fan punching out the Mets fan or what not, but Sarge's "Oh my!" was simply priceless. I wonder what the producers were even thinking as that was clearly pre-taped footage. Good times at Citi Field!

Little Leage World Series Day 2 Open Thread

After a day of blowouts, here's hoping that today's games will be more exciting. We've got a Pool A showdown on ABC at 3 ET between Staten Island, NY and Warner Robins, GA and in we've also got the first game of the United States favorite Chula Vista, CA as they will be in action in primetime against Russellville, KY. Here's the rest of your schedule for the day.

Canada vs. Mexico 11:00 (Lamade Stadium - ESPN - Gary Thorne and Orel Hershiser)

Curacao vs. Venezuela 1:00 (Volunteer Stadium - ESPN - Sean McDonough and Orestes Destrade)

Warner Robins, GA vs. Staten Island, NY 3:00 (Lamade Stadium - ABC - Gary Thorne and Orel Hershiser)

Saudi Arabia vs. Japan 6:00 (Volunteer Stadium - ESPN2 - Sean McDonough and Orestes Destrade)

Russellville, KY vs. Chula Vista, CA 8:00 (Lamade Stadium - ESPN2 - Gary Thorne and Orel Hershiser)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Little League World Series Day 1 Open Thread

OMFG! I totally forgot about the start of the LLWS today! Damn college packing. Regardless, here is your line-up of games today along with announcers. Enjoy them and leave comments.

Staten Island, NY vs. Mercer Island, WA 1:00 (Volunteer Stadium - ESPN - Sean McDonough and Orestes Destrade)

Chinese Taipei vs. Germany 3:00 (Lamade Stadium - ESPN - Gary Thorne and Orel Hershiser)

Urbandale, IA vs. Warner Robins, GA 5:00 (Volunteer Stadium - ESPN - Sean McDonough and Orestes Destrade)

Peabody, MA vs. San Antonio, TX 8:00 (Lamade Stadium - ESPN - Gary Thorne and Orel Hershiser)

Only The New York Mets Could Come Up With Such A Great Giveaway

The only thing worse in life than winning the 1969 World Series is coming up with this giveaway for the 1st 25,000 fans to the game on August 22.

Oy ve. I can't......I can't even.....oy ve. All I have to say is that this is the most exciting thing the Mets have done all season...

Why the Mets are still the laughingstock of all baseball (The O Files)

2009 NFL Preview: Baltimore Ravens

By 49er16:

They had quite a year in Baltimore. A new coach and a new quarterback and the Ravens were right back in the AFC Championship Game. Now can they do it again?

The Ravens though have been inconsistent throughout the years. One year they make the playoffs, the next they are mediocre. It was one of the biggest reasons why the Ravens let go former coach Brian Billick. The Ravens though finally have a franchise quarterback in Joe Flacco and a no-nonsense coach in John Harbaugh. One of the steps the Ravens have to take is beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. Half of the Ravens six loses came against the Steelers. This season will be the barometer for the futures of both Harbaugh and Flacco.

Thorn In The Ravens Side: Three of the Ravens six loses last season came at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

- A three-point loss in Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football.

- In week 14 the referee's stole a victory from the Ravens. The refs ruled that Santonio Holmes crossed the goal line for a touchdown with 43 seconds left.

- Then the Ravens were crushed by the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. Flacco struggled in the game throwing three interceptions and no touchdowns.

So you can see why the Ravens would be focused on the Steelers. The biggest thing the Ravens have to do is put more pressure on Ben Roethlisberger. Terrell Suggs, Trevor Pryce, and the returning Kelly Gregg must put more pressure on Roethlisberger. During Training Camp the Ravens defense has been working on ways to put more pressure on quarterbacks for the upcoming season.

The Rex Ryan Factor: Ryan was the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens for the past four years. He continued the success of the Ravens defense and even added a more aggressive schemes. Well Ryan left for the head coaching job with the New York Jets and he hasn't mind throwing jabs towards the Ravens since his departure. Let's just say, Ryan thought he was more deserving of the Ravens head coaching job then Harbaugh. The Ravens play the Jets in a pre season game on Monday.

"I throw it out there because I'm just being real. Of course, I alwaysthink it's BS. I always thought I was the right guy for the job. ...Hey, I want (the Ravens) to know my guys are playing like Jets.We're to be taken seriously. Our guys are going to play hard....
He also doesn't like the fact that the Ravens gave the jersey number 99 to a rookie in Pual Kruger.

"I'm disappointed they gave his jersey to some rookie who hasn'tproven sh--, excuse my language," said Ryan.
Bitter at all? If the Ravens have proven anything at all, is that the defensive coordinator doesn't matter. Marvin Lewis, Mike Nolan, and Ryan have all been the Ravens defensive coordinator's and they have all left for head coaching positions. And guess what? The Ravens defense has continued their success. And I'm sure they will continue their success with new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.

Rushing Attack: One of the biggest reasons the Ravens were a success last year is because of the running backs. The Le'Ron McClain, Ray Rice, and Willis McGahee trio were fourth in the league last year in rushing, and they helped Flacco transition into the starting quarterback position. The biggest mystery surrounding this team though is McGahee. Injuries last season derailed his performance and it also seems like he is in Harbaugh's dog house. The Ravens need a big year out of McGahee if they want to look for continued improvement.

Schedule: From the look on paper, the Ravens seem to have a easy schedule. They play eight games against AFC West and NFC North opponents. But then you see where they have to travel. They have to go to San Diego, New England, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, and Minnesota. Those are five potential games the Ravens could possibly lose.

Video: Remember the name!

Prediction: 11-5, 2nd AFC North. The Ravens will once again make the playoffs. Their running attack and defense can carry this team. Joe Flacco will continue to improve with a new and improved offensive line in front of him. But I don't think this team is better than Pittsburgh.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Meet The Bengals Newest Field Goal Kicker

Oh man. We're never gonna hear the end of this one, now are we. With Shane Graham out with an injury, the Bengals needed someone to kick field goals and extra points. The good news is that this service was only needed once. The bad news is that this service was needed once. So who was Shane Graham's replacement in the pre-season game against the Patriots worthy of all this fuss. In case you have not heard, it was Chad OchoCinco, of course! Here's the video and all I'll say is that the results are......surprising.

Damn. He made it. And not only did he make it, he killed that one. OchoCinco is never going to let himself or anyone else forget this one, now is he?

Philly Is One-Step Closer To Hosting Some World Cup Matches

If you'll remember a couple of months ago, I posted a long list of cities that could potentially host a World Cup in the U.S. Well, the United States cut down the cities on the list to potentially host a 2018 or a 2022 to 27 and Philadelphia is still on the list. Then again, the only remaining cities that do not host an NFL team are Los Angeles and Orlando. But anyway, here is your list of 27 possible cities that could potentially host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. From the Orlando Business Journal.

Along with Orlando, the other cities on the U.S. short list are: Los Angeles; Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Cleveland; Dallas; Denver; Detroit; Houston; Kansas City; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Fla.; Miami; Nashville, Tenn.; New York City; Oakland; Philadelphia; Glendale-Phoenix, Ariz.; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; St. Louis; Tampa, Fla.; and Washington.
If by San Francisco they mean The Stadium Formerly Known As Candlestick Park, then surely the Linc would be in the top 12 or so, wouldn't it? I guess in the end, it's all a toss-up as to what FIFA is looking for. While some may say that Philadelphia should definitley be in it, I'm sure there are many others who would say "no way in Hell". The bad news is that we'll have to wait until December 2010 for FIFA to make a decision on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

2009 NFL Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers

By JFein:

After a thrilling win in Super Bowl XLIII, the Pittsburgh Steelers are not only the 1st NFL team to win 6 Super Bowls, but they are hoping to be the first team since the New England Patriots to repeat as champions. Something that is a whole lot easier said than done. Now before you discredit anything I say because I'm an Eagles fan, I do have a great deal of respect for the Pittsburgh Steelers and what they have been able to accomplish this decade at first with Coach Cowher and now Mike Tomlin all with Ben Roethlisberger at QB. That was a thrilling Super Bowl and a great win for the Steelers, but the keyword there is "was". This is a new year, a new season, and everyone is starting from scratch at 0-0 and the Steelers are no different (face it, this kind of insight is quite hard to come by). That being said, the Pittsburgh Steelers might just be one of the favorites to win the AFC and make it back to Florida and the Super Bowl. Here's a look at some of the keys to this season for the Steelers.

Willie Parker: Ben Roethlisberger may be the quarterback of the Steelers, but Willie Parker is the engine that gets it going. When he does well, the Steelers do well, but when he does not have a good game, chances are the Steelers as a whole are not having a good game as well. If Willie Parker stays healthy through the year and is as productive as he has been in past years, I have a hard time visualizing this team NOT making the AFC Championship game again.

The Steel Curtain: Last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense was the best in the NFL. This year, they retain the core group of that defense and even added to it by drafting Ziggy Hood in the 1st round of the draft. As a franchise as a whole, the Pittsburgh Steelers have always been known for their defense (except for a few years in the early 2000s with Tommy Maddox as QB). This era of Steelers is no different. And this year will be no different.

Big Ben Roethlisberger: Some Super Bowl teams would not have gotten there if it was not for superb QB play. Just look at the Colts in Super Bowl XLI and the Patriots in every Super Bowl they made this decade. And that's just naming the recent ones. And then there are the teams that all they need is an average passer to get the job done. Just look at the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV. The Steelers under Roethlisberger are one of those teams. Despite leading a Super Bowl team, Big Ben only completed 59.9% of his passes last season. And while that is certainly not piss poor, you would expect different from a QB who has won 2 Super Bowls in 5 seasons. The trait that makes Big Ben special is his leadership ability, but perhaps more importantly, his performance in the clutch. All you need to do is watch the game-winning drive of Super Bowl XLIII for an example of that.

Video: Aspeaking of Super Bowl XLIII

Prediction: 13-3, 1st place AFC North. Bottom line: this is the team to beat in the AFC.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

2009 NFL Preview: Detroit Lions

By 49er16:

The 2008 Detroit Lions made a lot of people happy, sad, and depressed. If you ever listen to the Jim Rome Show, you will know it has been Jim's dream to see a team run the tables backwards. And that is exactly what happened. The Lions went 0-16 last season to become the first team in history to go 0-16. And the Lions want their fans to relive that experience.

The Ford Family finally made the right decision and dumped Matt Millen as their general manager and then they dumped Rod Marinelli as their head coach. In related news, the Detroit News finally dumped Rob Parker after this awkward question he asked Marinelli. It was that kind of season in Detroit.

But like the other NFL teams, the Lions get to start all over again. This year though their is an entire new coaching staff and a new quarterback and a new beginning for the Detroit Lions. But there has been a new beginning in Detroit since the team traded Bobby Layne. The Lions though keep plugging away and maybe this is their year.

Coaching Staff: I remember hearing a long time ago that offensive or defensive line coaches don't make great head coaches. And guess what Rod Marinelli was? Yep he was a defensive line coach. He's a great line coach, but he lacked the vision to be a great head coach and it showed in Detroit. Well he's out and Jim Schwartz is in.

Schwartz comes from Tennessee where he was the defensive coordinator for the past ten years. It's not known yet if he has the vision to be a head coach, but that hasn't stopped him from bringing in a great coaching staff. One of the complaints about Marinelli was his coaching staff, specifically his choice for defensive coordinator his son-in-law. Schwartz though seems to be different and he brought in a top coaching staff. Schwartz brought in Scott Linehan as the offensive coordinator. While Linehan was a disaster as the Rams head coach, but he was an accomplished offensive coordinator before. He also brought in Gunther Cunningham to run the defense. Cunningham brings experience and intensity to the Lions defense. Schwartz has definitely impressed with his coaching hirings.

Who will Quarterback?: Right now Daunte Culpepper will most likely be the starting quarterback at the beginning of the season. Culpepper has lost weight and he reunites with his former offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. Culpepper's best years in Minnesota was when Linehan was the offensive coordinator. So while they look to recapture their past glory, the team can ease Matthew Stafford into the starting lineup.

Will Jeff Backus Ever Step up?: Backus was drafted out of Michigan in the first round of the 2001 draft. While Backus has played every game and rarely complains. But he has been a below-average left tackle who has never came close to a Pro Bowl. Backus signed a long-term deal in 2006(thanks Millen) but he has never played up to the contract. The Lions will need him to step up to protect Culpepper's and Stafford's blindside. But he hasn't been able to step up in eight years and probably won't step up this season.

The Draft: You'd would think the Lions would use the draft to improve their offensive and defensive line's. Instead the Lions drafted a quarterback, tight end, and safety with the first three picks. The Lions eventually drafted a defensive and offensive lineman, but in a draft with depth at those positions and Detroit needing help in that area of the field, they swung and missed at the opportunity. You could tell Matt Millen doesn't work in Detroit anymore, by the Lions not choosing a receiver in the first round.

Schedule: The Lions drew an easy schedule, the only problem though is the Lions don't play an easy game until week eight. They play Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Green Bay in the first eight weeks. By the end of the season Detroit has to play in San Francisco, Cincinnati, and Baltimore. So the schedule might not be as easy as they thought.

Video: Here's a tribute to the 0-16 Lions.

Prediction: 4-12, 4th NFC North. While I do expect the Lions to improve, I don't see them winning more than four games. Their schedule is tougher than expected and they have to break in a new coaching staff and eventually a new quarterback. The Lions will improve, but there is no where to go but up from a 0-16 record.

Week 2 Pre-Season National TV Announce Schedule

It's only Week 2 of the pre-season and already the Eagles are going to be in the same building as Tony Siragusa. On the plus side, at least if there are any more offensive line injuries, the Eagles can get Siragusa to come in on a moment's notice. (all times eastern)

Thursday August 20
Philadelphia Eagles @ Indianapolis Colts 8:00 (Fox - Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa, SR: Curt Menefee)

Friday August 21
Tennessee Titans @ Dallas Cowboys 8:00 (Fox - Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, SR: Pam Oliver)

Saturday August 22
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Washington Redskins 7:30 (NFL Network - local feeds)
Denver Broncos @ Seattle Seahawks 10:30 (NFL Network - local feeds)

Monday August 24
New York Jets @ Baltimore Ravens 8:00 (ESPN - Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Jon Gruden)

Thanks to the506 for putting this together. I'm sorry I missed last week as I was not really thinking about this as the time, but this is something that I will try to put up every week for you. And yes, assuming I do not get yelled at by anyone, I will be putting up the506 maps (along with announcers) during the regular season.

Just When You Thought The Phillies Starting Pitcher Controversies Were Over.....

....Jamie Moyer comes in in relief of Pedro Martinez after a long rain delay and pitches the last 6 innings of the game, giving up only 2 hits in the process and no runs. And that's not to say that Martinez was necessarily bad, as he allowed 1 run and 2 hits in 3 innings, a pace that if kept, the Phillies would be giddy if he kept through 9 innings of play, but Moyer tore the house down. Now in all likelihood, Jamie Moyer won't get called back to the starting rotation unless there is an injury to a starting pitcher, but regardless, even though he is now a member of The Pen, tonight was Old Man (or GrandPaPa as we call him in the JFein household, even though he is not actually a grandfather) Jamie Moyer's night as the Phils won 5-1, in large part thanks to Moyer.

Moyer relieves Pedro in rainy Phils win (

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

2009 NFL Preview: Chicago Bears

By 49er16:

The Bears had an hell of an off season. They dumped the neck beard and pickup the whiner. The Bears did give up a lot though to pick up Cutler. They gave up the neck beard and two number one draft picks. So the Bears front office is on their hands and knees praying the move doesn't backfire.

The Bears have the easiest NFL schedule and finally have their best quarterback in many years. Also they return their great defense, Matt Forte at running back, and Devin Hester is improving at receiver. The Bears have all the pieces together and it's up to Cutler to take the Bears to the next level.

Previous Year: The Bears had the same look that they have had in the past five years. Crappy offense + great defense and special teams = NFC North title. But in 08, the defense became old and the special teams were hurt from Hester doubling as a receiver. The Bears need more from their front four who struggled throughout the last year. And specifically they need more from Alex Brown who had only six sacks and that lead the team.

Off season Moves: Besides trading for Cutler, the Bears improved their offensive line to protect Cutler. The Bears also paid the corpse of Orlando Pace to protect Cutler's blindside. The Bears also signed Frank Omiyale and Kevin Shaffer to improve the line. The Bears in the off season decided to not resign safety Mike Brown. Despite being constantly injured, Brown is a great leader for the defense and he will be missed.

Coaching: The Bears have struggled considerably since relieving defensive coordinator Ron Rivera from the position. Head coach Lovie Smith has vowed to be more involved in the defense in the season. The Bears also brought in Rod Marinelli to help the defensive line. Marinelli may have been a disaster as the Lions head coach, but he is considered to be one of the best defensive line coaches in the league. And the Bears defensive line definitely needs help.

Hester!: Last year the Bears finally wised up, and moved Devin Hester to wide receiver. Hester was already the best returner in the league and it was only a matter of time before he transitioned to receiver. Hester last season had 51 catches, 665 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Hester is still trying to learn the position and it's well known that he still drops a lot of balls. Right now he is penciled in as a starter, and Hester must improve his skills to give Cutler a weapon.

Cutler's Mouth: The Bears may have finally got their star quarterback, but his loud mouth comes with him. When the Broncos drafted him, he said that he as a better arm than John Elway. Then there's his little showdown between Phillip Rivers, a quarterback who has actually been to the playoffs. Well I guess Cutler's mouth is starting to run wild all over Chicago. And Cutler didn't mine chiming in on an interception he threw and blaming Devin Hester for not breaking it up.

"Devin is more of a go-get it guy, he is not really a back shoulder orjump up and get it [guy],'' Cutler said. "You learn from it. Wemade some mistakes. It's the first preseason game. Luckilyenough, we have some time to correct them and keep going."
If the Bears don't make the playoffs, they might regret trading for Cutler.

Schedule: Like I said at the top, the Bears have the easiest schedule in all of football. They play the AFC North and the NFC West for eight games. The Bears will not have a better look at the playoffs, then they do with this schedule. And their tough games against Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are both at home.

Video: Da' Bears never gets old

Blog of Choice: I would go to Windy City Gridiron for all my Bears news.

Prediction 12-4: 1st NFC North. With the rest of the NFC North rebuilding and the easy schedule, it's the Bears year to make the playoffs. All their toughest games are at home and they still return a great defense. And with the addition of Cutler and a rebuilt offensive line, the Bears should actually be one of the best teams to watch this season.

It's Done: Brett Favre Has Signed With The Minnesota Vikings

Holy Hell. What in the name of Davy Jones' Locker is going on this week?

Let's reset here. On Thursday at 7:30 PM ET, the big story in the NFL was that Tom Brady was making his NFL return after suffering a season-ending knee injury Week 1 of the regular season. Everyone knew about it. By the end of that night, if you told them that Brady returned that night most people would have been like, "What?? Tom Brady returned as well? Damn, what a night!"

The story that was alluded to above was the fact that Vick joined the Eagles. Well now, by the end of the night, I think when told of the fact that Vick is now an Eagle, people will be like "What??? Vick joined the Eagles????? When???? I need to protest!" (that last line pertains to animal lovers and PETA members, and angry Eagles fans only). So what story is it? As 49er16 talked about below, Brett Favre was flying to Minnesota to sign with the contracts, well now it is done and Brett Favre is now once again out of retirement. Who saw this one coming? Oh, wait, I, and I think every other person who has been watching the end of Favre's career over the past few years. Via

The Minnesota Vikings have signed three-time NFL MVP Brett Favre, the team announced on its website Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sporting a red No. 4 practice jersey, Favre joined his new teammates on the field. John David Booty, who formerly wore No. 4 for the Vikings, had changed to jersey No. 9.

"We believe adding a player such as Brett Favre to our mix will be a strong positive for this football team," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "As we have conveyed before, his unique knowledge of our system, the NFC North and his innate skills make this a rare opportunity. We felt there was a brief window to reconsider the possibility and we owed it to the organization to evaluate our options. After thorough discussion, the same variables that made this a unique and positive situation previously, still exist. Now, our attention turns to getting to work as a team, our next practice and preparing for the season."

Entering his 19th year in the NFL, Favre has started 269 consecutive games (291 including playoffs) for the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets, the longest stretch ever by an NFL quarterback and the second-longest streak in NFL history, behind only former Minnesota Viking Jim Marshall (270). The 10-time Pro Bowler is the league's all-time leader in touchdown passes (464), completions (5,720), attempts (9,280), yards (65,127) and victories as a starting QB (169).

"I am excited about the opportunity to join this football team," Favre said. "From ownership, to coaching to the players, it is evident that everyone in the Vikings organization is committed to bringing the fans of Minnesota a Championship. I am eager to join my new teammates and get to work towards that goal."
Ugh. Just ugh. I actually have a unique perspective of this as my brother is pretty much a die-hard Vikings fan (I have yet to figure out to this day how that came about). Back when Favre was a Packer, and even last year as a Jet, he HATED him more than any NFL player. But now that he has signed with the Vikings, although he is not happy about all of his contradictions and the way it went down, he is happy that Favre is with the Vikings. And I think the same can be said for most Viking fans out there. 3 years ago, who would have thought that this would have been the case. To sum my thoughts up best: Despite the retirement announcement a few weeks ago, I still knew that this day was coming, but at the same time, I never thought I would see the day when Brett Favre would put on a Vikings helmet and jersey.

The circus has just left Philadelphia and is currently stationed right outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Update: Holy crap! It just dawned on me that Week 1 will now feature a match-up between Brett Favre and Eric Mangini. Seeing as Brennaman/Billick is the highest team on the depth chart to not have a game assigned, they would seem like a lock to call that game over Rosen/Ryan unless there is a line-up shuffling. I'll keep you posted when more is revealed.