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What did we learn from The Pats Vs. The Tebows?

19 Dec

I think we learned that what everyone says is right and despite the fact that Bill Belichick has no Superbowl wins to his name after getting busted for cheating, he still is an excellent coach.

You could say that we learned that the Patriots are a better team and while I believe that is true, it’s not because player by player they are better than the Broncos.

Tebow looked about the same although did not have his brilliant finish.  If you watched the game, you’d be surprised that he did end up completing 50% of his passes for nearly 200 yards and rushed for another 100 yards and two touchdowns.  Most of what I saw were passes coming up short or sailing over the head of receivers as he tends to do until the last 9 minutes of the game.

We learned that the Broncos have a very good defense that put lots of pressure on Brady, but eventually wilted in the face of the continual pressure to stop that offense.

The Broncos need a healthy McGahee to win.  They held their own when he was in the game and healthy.  He limped off and the offense lost a significant step.

We learned that field goals never, ever, ever will beat this Patriots team.  The Chargers are very familiar with that fact.

We learned that despite the current “Gronk” love fest going on, there’s another stellar tight end in New England by the name of Aaron Hernandez.  Yeah, they have two who may both end up in the Pro Bowl.

Overall, the Patriots have amazing receivers.  How many bullet passes did Brady’s receivers (including tight ends) perfectly snatch out of the air?  There were several passes where I expected incompletions that resulted in first downs because of great hands.  Tebow would benefit from a few more quality receiving threats.

The Patriots learned from previous games it seems and decided to keep it simple versus Tebow early and then throw the playbook at him in the second half so he didn’t have time to adjust.  We may see more teams going that way in coming weeks.  Don’t show your defensive wrinkles until the second half and limit Tebow’s ability to adjust.

We learned a lot and very little at the same time.  For me, the biggest thing I took away from the game was the importance of a great leader and how One man believing they can overcome all odds doesn’t trump 53 men believing they can overcome all odds.  Tebow can have all the faith in the world in his ability and his team’s ability to win, but it doesn’t compare to Belichick instilling that belief into his entire team.

The Patriots believe that they will win.  Every single player on that team seems committed to victory and it was obvious that they relished the task of ending the Broncos recent run.  Did their complete trust in their coach, their team, their quarterback, and their system come from winning or do they win because of that trust?  It’s irrelevant now because they have it.  They do the little things on every play that helps them win.

I saw the Patriots fight for extra yards on every play and yet never risk losing the football.  They commit to winning.  Belichick seems to collect only the players that are going to buy into his plan and work toward the team goal in a kind of solidarity that you just don’t see anywhere else around the league.  I personally don’t like the Patriots, but you have to respect the team that he’s assembled and coaches every Sunday.

Perhaps Coach John Fox will mold these Broncos into that kind of winning program.  It certainly can’t hurt having Tebow on the roster since he already has that perfect determination within him, but there are some definite gaps in that philosophy on this Denver team.  That stout defense eventually lost heart it appeared and just couldn’t come up with the stops when they needed them.

The turnovers.  The Broncos made mistakes when the pressure was on and gave the Patriots offense and Brady extra chances to score.  Never a good thing.

And Tebow is young.  He still has a lot to learn.  If you’re a believer (in Tebow that is), the game didn’t change your belief.  You still see the escapability, the scramble with his eyes always downfield (a skill Vick didn’t develop until he got to Philly), and the relentless desire to make the play work (kind of hurt him on that last drive).  If you’re a Tebow critic, I’m sure the game made you believe he still can’t play in this league since you probably ignore his 193 yards passing and two rushing touchdowns.

Tebow is young.  He needs more work and a lot more polish to his game.  He is, however, playing his team out of any draft position for a quarterback next season that could challenge him so John Elway and John Fox should get ready for an offseason of teaching Tebow everything he can possibly learn about being a quarterback in the NFL.  He has the head.  He has the athletic ability.  He has the desire.  He’s proven he’s teachable.  Can they teach him?

The Math in Sam Hurd’s Drug World

16 Dec

As a lover of math, I couldn’t help but delve into the numbers involved in the Chicago Wide Receiver’s recent drug related arrest.  It’s like a fun little word problem you see in one of those movies where the teacher finally connects with the inner city youth by speaking in terms they can understand.  Nevermind that any of us can process the purchasing and selling of drugs for profit a lot easier than figuring out exactly where two trains traveling at different speeds will meet.

So, according to ProFootballTalk.com, Sam Hurd was arrested after trying to set up the routine purchase 5 to 10 kilograms of cocaine (@ $25,000 a kilo) and 1,000 lbs. of marijuana (@$450 lb.) a week for distribution.  So we can see that Sam had the cash on hand to pay $575,000 to $700,000 a week for drugs.  Seems like a lot of money, but break it down and you can certainly understand where Sam came up with the cash.

A quick internet search brought up that the average price of cocaine is somewhere in the $100 a gram range.  It’s probably higher, but lets keep the numbers simple for this exercise.  I also found an average price of medium quality marijuana to run about $100 an ounce, bringing the price per pound at about $1,600.  Let’s plug them into our equations.

$100 gram of coke X 1,000 grams per kilogram X a minimum of 5 kilograms a week = $500,000 revenue

$500,000 – ($25,000 a kilogram purchase price X 5 kilograms purchased) = $375,000 profit a week

$100 oz. marijuana X 16 oz. per pound X 1,000 pounds purchased = $1,600,000 revenue

$1,600,000 – ($450 a lb. purchase price X 1,000 lbs. purchased) = $1,150,000 profit a week

So, Sam Hurd’s side business was expecting to make him $1,525 million a week in TAX FREE profit.

Bringing in over $1.5 million a week in profit would seem to make the $575,000 layout practical.  You might wonder how someone works their way up to running this serious of a tab on drug buys?  Well, Sam just got a $1.35 million signing bonus this summer to play Wide Receiver for the Chicago Bears and his three-year contract would pay him $685,000 this season and more the following two seasons.

There, now we spent some time with Math for the day and we can forget about it until the cashier at the mall kiosk can’t process the appropriate change for a $20.

(PS…feel free to correct any math errors…if my brilliant math wiz wife has a minute, I’ll have her scrutinize my work too)

After this Sunday, will the Anti-Tebow Crowd Give In?

15 Dec

The short answer is no.  The Anti-Tebow crowd first said he couldn’t do it and “he wasn’t ready”.  A few wins in and it was, “it won’t last long.”  Then after beating the Bears and their great defense (thanks to a Marion Barber fumble), it was “in spite of Tebow”, they’re winning.

It’s hard to argue with the naysayers, because they’re right to a degree.  Anyone watching Tebow play quarterback would have to say he wasn’t ready.  He’s playing into the position, but every game you can find plenty of passes that just don’t look like they belong in an NFL game.

Of course, it won’t last long.  At least this winning streak won’t last long.  If you said the 2007 New England Patriots winning streak wouldn’t last long, you were right.  In less than a year, they lost a game.  Sad for them it was in the Super Bowl, but they did lose.  Eventually Tebow and the Broncos will lose and Tebow will be the reason for a loss.

Are they winning now “in spite of” Tim Tebow?  That’s a bit more difficult for me to agree with though there’s no doubt the great defense and running game the Broncos present have just as much to do with this string of victories.  Tebow, with the help of Coach John Fox are playing the game to win every single quarter of every game, but that doesn’t mean that their approach is the same in every quarter.

Why can’t Tebow duplicate his incredible 4th Quarter stats throughout the rest of the game?  Why does he put balls in the turf in the 1st Quarter and hit his receivers in stride in the 4th?  Why, if he’s this prolific in the 4th, doesn’t Fox open up the offense earlier?  Why are they winning if they’re aren’t taking all the national analysts’ advice?

Coach Fox and Tebow are winning because they are risk adverse and their defense and running game allows them to play that way.  In the first three quarters, if Tebow sees an open man, but isn’t 100% confident in the play, he shorts the ball.  He isn’t playing with the confidence in his ability to read defenses and deliver the pass that a five-year veteran with a couple trips to the Pro Bowl would. The defense and the running game keep it close.  In the 4th, when Denver needs points and the time for avoiding risk is over, the Broncos and Tebow open it up.  Look at Oakland.  Don’t you think the Raiders would rather have the Risk Adverse Jason Campbell back with his 6 TDs, 4 INTs and a 4-2 record over Carson Palmer and his 9 TDs, 13 INTs and 3-4 record?

I believe Tebow is a confident man throughout the game, but that confidence also comes with an understanding of his limitations currently.  He’s a young QB with less than a season of in-game experience.  Perhaps he’s reading the defenses for three quarters and finally feels he has a total grasp of what they’re doing in the 4th.  Perhaps he simply is the NFL’s answer to Big Shot Rob.  Robert Horry had a decent career if you eliminate the last few minutes of crucial playoff games.  If you include them, he’s legendary.  He simply performs better when the game is on the line.  It appears Tebow suffers from the same affliction.  He gets better when his team really needs him.  So is it just the 4th Quarter, or can Tebow perform well outside of the final minutes?

Take a look at the Broncos win over the Vikings.  Tebow passed for over 200 yards and actually had his best quarter in the 3rd.  His team was down and at risk of falling far behind.  Time to perform and time to err on the side of Reward rather than Risk.  He went 3 for 4, with 79 yards passing, and 2 touchdowns.  Those are amazing numbers, especially for a guy many say can’t play the position.

This game Sunday is one circled on my calendar for the last month, because when Tebow’s Broncos started this streak I compared them to the Patriots.  These two teams are direct opposites, but yet are functioning with similar philosophies.  The Patriots can’t run the ball.  They play attrocious defense.  They have one of the most dangerous passing games in the league.  The Broncos are a dominate running team.  They play stifling defense.  They have a questionable passing game throughout most of the game.  Both teams play to their strengths and focus and avoid risk for most of the game.  The Broncos keep it slow and low scoring if possible so they don’t have to rely on their offense and the Patriots try to blow out the other team so they don’t have to rely on their defense.

Pitting these two together is a dream come true for a football fan.  No matter what side of the Tebow argument you fall on, you have to wonder which strength prevails in this contest.  You also have to ponder, if the Broncos can limit the Patriots offense or if Tebow can lift the Broncos offense to keep pace with New England, who do you trust in crunch time?  You can never pick against Brady.  He’s near flawless in late game situations.  Of course, Tebow comes alive in those moments too and he’s got a running game that can keep the ball away from Brady.

No matter the outcome of the game on Sunday, the Anti-Tebow crowd is still going to predict failure and they’ll be right.  Of course, there’s nothing in Tebow’s personality that seems to say that he’ll accept losing and won’t bounce back.  If the Patriots get the win Sunday, my guess is they’ll see Tebow and his Broncos again in the playoffs.  And perhaps by then, he and Coach Fox will be leaning a little more on the Reward side of thing rather than Risk, but I doubt it.  Go with what got you here.  Avoid risk until the situation demands you grab the reward.

The RANGERS matter a lot in Dallas Tonight

28 Oct

As someone who spent the majority of his life in Dallas and grew up enamoured with our professional sports franchises, tonight means a lot.  The Texas Rangers are in the World Series again and they actually have a chance to win it.  Granted, it doesn’t look great after the meltdown last night, but they have a chance and that’s all we can ask for.

The thing is if the Rangers win, that gives us TWO of the THREE major championships this year and puts extra pressure on the Cowboys to complete the Trifecta.  The Mavericks shocked and delighted the world when Dirk led them to a Championship this summer over LeBron and the Dream Team in Miami.  And that’s why tonight’s game is important.  I’m not a Rangers fan and I really don’t care if the Rangers lose tonight.  I followed the “professional” franchises we had in Dallas when I was growing up and by that I mean the Cowboys and, occasionally, the Mavericks.  The Rangers eventually got a beautiful ballpark which meant that I went to plenty of games, but I never really cared if they won or lost.  Neither did most of the crowd.  We went for the atmosphere, the food, and the homeruns.  Oh, and to see Rusty Greer make a play.

Every season as July rolls around, those that are even remotely curious about the Rangers, change their focus to the behemoth that is the Cowboys.  They are our team.  The Rangers so rarely mattered past July 1st and the Cowboys were in training camp, that we had better things to do.  Like last night.  I had better things to do.  I was playing a new video game and flipped over to watch an inning here or there between matches.  I was hoping for a win and Josh Hamilton sure made it interesting in the 10th, but it was only because I’m passionate about the Cowboys.

If the Rangers win tonight, the heat is on the Cowboys.  Jerry Jones puts pressure on the ‘Boys daily.  That Star on the helmet puts pressure on the team daily.  The fans are always ready to apply pressure and worship winners, but the pressure to win from all sides is going to increase exponentially if the lowly Texas Rangers bring a Championship home to the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex.  If the Mavericks and Rangers both have 2011 rings and the Cowboys finish the 2011-2012 season without one, Jerry and the Team will hear the chanting loud and clear.  They’re the supposed Championship Team in town.  They have the pedigree.  They last won a Championship in 1996.  That’s 15 freaking years ago.  It’s about time for a turnaround.

That’s why this Rangers’ win couldn’t come at a better time.  A World Series Banner may just give the Cowboys the extra shot in the arm they need as they head to Philadelphia this weekend.  The Iggles.  Our rivals.  Nevermind all that national crap about the Cowboys and Redskins, it’s the Cowboys and the Iggles.  No other rivalry even comes close.  It’s not in the Win-Loss column as Dallas has a slight advantage there (56-44 according to Wikipedia).  It’s not the Championships between the two teams (Dallas with FIVE and I think Philly has a number north of Negative One).  It’s the attitude and the animosity.

It is strange that we have Buddy Ryan’s kid on the Cowboys sideline now.  Buddy’s defenses were scary good and we still hold a grudges for the Bounty Bowls.  It really is the defense that stands out when I think of the Eagles.  Sure, whoever is running the ball for the green always seems to get loose against the Cowboys, but their defense ended Michael Irvin’s career and certainly shortened Troy Aikman’s.  Great feeling is that now, like the early to mid-nineties, the Cowboys defense is better than the Iggles and intimidates opponents more.

Reflecting on recent Cowboys-Iggles History, I’m reminded of the ending to the 2009-2010 season.  The back to back Eagles losses that ended McNabb’s days in Philly.  I’m looking forward to DeMarcus Ware introducing himself to Michael Vick’s fragile and frail figure a few times Sunday night.  Perhaps a brutal body slam or two by the beast known as Anthony Spencer.  Those two alone should have Vick sleeping restless tonight.  Plus with Sean Lee roving the middle and a Secondary that’s finally healthy, Rob Ryan could bring pressure for almost anywhere.

I guess I could devote time to Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Miles Austin, and our possible emerging star in DeMarco Murray, but none of them really strike fear in the hearts of Iggles’ fans.  You know Romo can light it up, but he can also toss horrible interceptions.  Witten is a thorn in the side of any defense, but he rarely breaks a game open.  Miles Austin is a threat at any time to post a big score, but this season has not seen the kind of results we expect from the Pro Bowl receiver.  Murray could be a one hit wonder.  His game versus the Rams last week was brilliant, but it was the Rams.  No, the one guy that deserves a mention from the offense is Dez Bryant.  He is deserving of the honor of wearing 88 in Dallas.  He’s kind of like that little annoying receiver the Iggles have.

Dez Bryant is like DeSean Jackson in that he is a threat to score every time he touches the ball.  He has the moves and the breakaway speed that make defenses and special teams worry constantly.  The biggest difference between Jackson and Bryant is that Bryant can break any tackle.  Sometimes it works against him, because he takes more hits than he needs to, but he’s the player that makes the Cowboys offense look threatening.  He’s a young player and not consistent enough yet, but he’s going to have a breakout game this season and I think this weekend just might be it.

Go Rangers and put the pressure on My Cowboys for Sunday night!  It’s gonna be fun.

The Greatness of being a Daddy on the Weekend

24 Oct

My weekend was long.  Long in that it was exhausting.  I’m going to ache for days exhausting.  But it was good.

Being a Daddy changed my life considerably over the last few years.  At first it seemed that the change meant a lot of what I loved in life was going away.  Watching sports, playing video games, hanging out with the guys, and watching movies in the theater all had to suffer.  Truthfully,I sacrificed the movies in the theater almost completely.  Hanging out with the guys is less weekly now and more quarterly.  Sports are now on the DVR or via NFL Rewind.  The video games get played once or twice a week around midnight.  And yet my life is better.

You see, I get to do things that the single, childless me never got to do.  I get to completely embrace the kid in me.  Take Saturday night for instance.  My wife really wanted to take our girls to the Del Mar Pumpkin Patch and so off we went.  It wasn’t cheap, ($30 I think) but had a ton of rides and attractions for little kids.

There was the carousel that my daughter didn’t want to get off.  “I just want to ride the horsey Daddy!”

There was the rocket ship that went around and around and she slapped high-five with the operator every lap.

There was the tea-cup type ride that she loved spinning around and around in with Daddy on board.  Dizzy fun.

There was the little train that she road for about 10 minutes and smiled for the entire time (except when I was taking pictures.)

There was the bouncy house and little inflatable slide where she expended as much energy as possible and giggled non-stop.

And there was the petting zoo, which we never made it to.

Why, might you ask, did we miss the petting zoo?  A petting zoo is gold with little kids and she had asked to go, but something else grabbed a hold of her and would not let go.  The GIANT inflatable slide.  Huge.  At least two stories high and probably closer to three.  And she had to ride it.  Since it was a little high and all the kids on it made it a bit dangerous for a tiny two-year old toddler to get tossed around, Daddy had to go.  The steep climb to the top required me to carry her up over and over and over and over.  And over and over and over.

“Again Daddy!  Again!”

The upside to carrying her to the top time after time was that I got to ride the giant slide over and over.  My back was killing me afterwards, my legs burned, and I was totally exhausted, but I was a kid again.  I had the wonderful opportunity to slide as fast as I could, laughing aloud, because I had my toddler in my arms.  At almost 40 years old, I did something I’ve probably wanted to do every time I saw one of these giants slides over the last 30 years, but it just seemed socially unacceptable then.  Now, I’ve got a kid, so it’s okay and endearing when I play with children.  It was great.

To balance things out, there was Sunday’s slide.  Family photo day at the railroad park in Poway and of course, the two-year old getting some time in on the playground was a must.

“Daddy, will you go with me?”

“That’s okay Beautiful.  I’ll watch you.”

“Please Daddy.”

She knows how to get me to do almost anything and that simple elongated please does it every time.

So, I climbed up into very cramped quarters and a half covered slide gave birth to me.  Yep, it was a tight fit and I think that one ride down hurt more than the twenty the night before.  That’s a little lesson to first time parents.  Playgrounds are meant for people under 4 feet tall and 80 lbs.  How does the weight come into play?  Remember that the “M” means mass in E=mc squared and in this case the increased mass meets the low resistance of the slide and you gain speed.  Some serious speed on some slides.  Sunday I didn’t find myself airborne, but it has happened coming off a kiddie slide before.

By 5pm Sunday afternoon, with my eldest daughter’s weekend completed, she, my wife, and my baby girl all drifted off for a little nap.  Finally, I got some NFL action.  I love my DVR.  Without it I would’ve missed nearly every minute of my Mavericks winning their first ever championship this summer and I’d miss almost every minute of the Chargers’ every Sunday afternoon.  Then after 9pm, when I was folding clothes, I had the laptop propped up in front of me with NFL Rewind giving me the Cowboys’ game replay.  Granted I have to stay away from my phone, TV, and the internet all day on a Sunday to watch the games like that, but at least I get to watch them.

So, the weekend concluded with rocking the exhausted two-year old to sleep at 10pm.  She’d fought sleep after dinner for about 90 minutes and since my wife drifted off again, I got the “closer” opportunity.  There really is very little that’s more rewarding than being the closer at bed time.  You have a child tired beyond words and all you have to do is answer a few random two-year old questions, hold her, rock her slowly, and see her eyes flutter shut.  The over the top benefit last night was that when she closed her eyes, I got a simple, sweet, “I love you Daddy.”  And she snuggled in real close and was done.  So was I.  Heart melted.  I love being Daddy, especially on the weekends.

ESPN on the Xbox Doesn’t Make Any Sense

24 Oct

I get that Microsoft is trying to make the Xbox 360 and whatever the Next Generation Console will be, the center to our entertainment, but ESPN on the Xbox simply doesn’t make any sense.  The most glaring and obvious problem is that most people who have the ESPN feature activated on their Xbox already have ESPN via cable.  I have ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN News, and ESPNU, so do I really need more ESPN?

Secondly, though I know there are people out there without cable or satellite who just use Hulu, Netflix, and media streaming boxes like the Xbox for their video entertainment, but even there I think it fails.  Though I find the lack of 5.1 audio on the HD videos a real problem for Hulu Plus and Netflix, the Xbox is a worthwhile delivery system for that content.  Comparitively, the ESPN tool definitely ranks below Netflix and has about the same crappy level of interface that Hulu Plus does with significantly less content.

The interface is a big problem.  It’s so clunky and appears completely disorganized, that even if there is good content there, I haven’t found it.  I think that’s the biggest issue.  We have a desire to watch movies and tv shows on a larger screen than our laptop and to share the experience with family or friends.  Sports highlight, which is what it appears 99% of the content on ESPN on Xbox is, isn’t something I really need to share with anyone else or watch on my 50″ TV.  Besides, if you stream that “HD” content, you’ll possibly become nauseated by the jittery delivery of the video.  If I want to share it, I’m probably going to find the highlights online and post the link to Facebook or Twitter and therein lies the largest problem.

Sure, most of us have ESPN, but even if we don’t, we have the internet for seeking out highlights, scores, and news in a much more efficient manner that yields far better results.  GOOGLE beats my Xbox every time when trying to find something, unless it’s playing the video games loaded on the hard drive.

The day that ESPN starts streaming live games via the Xbox (maybe they already do, but I’ve never found any) and then gets the picture quality to look better than plugging my laptop into my TV, I’ll be interested.  Until then, I’ll stick with cable, my laptop, and my cell phone for my sports updates.  Thanks for trying though.

Revis Situation About Ego and Not Substance

22 Oct

Darrelle Revis, the Jets shutdown corner, is all the rage this week in New York for ending an interview.  Sports Talk Host Mike Francesca on WFAN pestered Revis continuously about his 100 yard interception return this past weekend and whether or not he was guilty of interference on the play.

You can read elsewhere about what happened in the interview in detail, but essentially, the host (Francesca) was enjoying getting Revis riled up and eventually the Jets PR man directed Revis to hang up.  Not surprisingly, Francesca doesn’t have a great relationship with the Jets, but his fan base was loving it.  Francesca knows that and kept pushing the agitated player to try to get more emotion out of him.

The problem, in my mind, with this is that Francesca was just feeding his ego and not pursuing substance.  As a radio producer and a host in my previous life, this is one of the types of circumstances that would most annoy me.  As entertained for the moment or the day Francesca’s fans were by the exchange, so much more could have come from a different approach.  Allowing Revis a more comfortable, non-combative environment, could provide an opportunity for him to share more about his insight on the upcoming game for the Jets and even better, a chance he could join the show again later in the season.

Granted most player and coach interviews don’t amount to anything and even some of the guys that give you their cell number and say, “call anytime” don’t really pan out, you always have the chance of developing a rapport with a player, coach, PR person, or other team insider that may give you more (on or off the record) than you could ever expect to get otherwise.  Or you could go for the moment of entertainment like Francesca did.

Yeah, I’ve made that choice too.  Anyone who knows my history knows that I personally killed any chance that Rick Sutcliffe will ever join Scott & BR again on XX 1090 in San Diego.  That being said, I hope I’ve learned some lessons over the years and though entertaining hosts are nice, I prefer mine to provide a little substance too and when you operate from all ego it’s hard to really give your listeners the information I think they really want.  Really want if they’re really fans of a particular team.  If they’re just listening for the entertainment, then you’re serving your clientele properly by focusing on the shallow end of the pool, but you probably won’t catch me tuning in anytime soon.