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2010 NFL Forecast: Will the Ravens raise the Lombardi Trophy?

Posted on 08 September 2010 by Luke Jones

With the beginning of the 2010 NFL season only hours away, expectations have never been higher in Baltimore as the Ravens have their eyes fixed on their first Super Bowl title since the 2000 season.

Questions remain in the secondary and whether Joe Flacco can reach elite status with an abundance of new weapons in the Baltimore offense, but contenders and pretenders alike face some level of uncertainty on the eve of Week 1.

Easy schedules — and the unsophisticated attempts to predict a team’s fate week by week — in early September frequently transform into daunting slates in the unpredictable nature of the NFL. An injury to a key performer at the wrong position can derail even the strongest teams’ championship aspirations.

Inevitably, a sexy preseason contender or two will collapse under fatal flaws, and an anonymous outfit that no one is even pondering as a victor will find itself playing long into January.

We just never can tell.

And with that digression, I toss my hat into the futile, but enjoyable, pool of forecasting the 2010 season. If nothing else, predictions offer damning proof that most of us (all of us?) really don’t know what we’re talking about when the dust settles in early February.

AFC East
New England – The Jets will continue to steal the headlines, but the Patriots will happily take the division title.
New York – Rex Ryan speaks loudly and carries a big stick, but Mark Sanchez is not ready for the big stage yet.
Miami – No one is happier about Brandon Marshall’s arrival in South Beach than Chad Henne.
Buffalo – Did Chan Gailey really get another head coaching gig in the NFL?

AFC North
Baltimore – Can Joe Flacco keep three former Pro Bowl receivers happy in a potentially explosive passing game?
Cincinnati* – Coordinator Mike Zimmer and the defense will prove their No. 4 ranking in 2009 was no fluke.
Pittsburgh – An aging defense and a shaky offensive line will not be able to overcome Ben Roethlisberger’s four-game suspension and ensuing rust.
Cleveland – It’s rarely a good thing when all people want to talk about is the new front office.

AFC South
Indianapolis – Would the NFL have tweaked the umpire’s positioning if Peyton Manning had not been the one to complain the loudest?
Houston* – After being the chic pick for a couple seasons, Gary Kubiak and the Texans finally crack the postseason.
Tennessee – Does Chris Johnson hold up long enough to touch the ball over 400 times again?
Jacksonville – Three straight losing seasons could spell the end of Jack Del Rio’s eight-year stay with the Jaguars.

AFC West
San Diego – Ryan Mathews won’t make Chargers fans forget LaDainian Tomlinson, but the rookie back is poised for a dynamic rookie campaign.
Oakland – Picking the Raiders any place other than last seems foreign, but Tom Cable has some semblance of a football team if Al Davis doesn’t meddle too much. Good luck with that.
Denver – Kyle Orton is serviceable but not enough to make a difference in the Broncos’ fate.
Kansas City – Safety Eric Berry is a future star and one of several young players giving the Chiefs hope for the future.

NFC East
Dallas – No Cowboys coach has lasted longer than four seasons since Jimmy Johnson (1989-93), so Wade Phillips (entering his fourth year) needs a big season in Big D.
New York – The Giants’ Steve Smith (107 receptions in 2009) has officially turned the Carolina wideout into the “other” one.
Philadelphia – Kevin Kolb will seal Andy Reid’s fate as a genius or mark the beginning of the end for the coach in Philadelphia.
Washington – Donovan McNabb will limp through a hapless season without enough talent surrounding him.

NFC North
Green Bay – This might be the year that Aaron Rodgers exorcises the ghost of Favre by bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Titletown.
Minnesota* – The absence of Sidney Rice will hurt more than Brett Favre’s ankle, taking the Vikings down a small notch.
Chicago – A fortune was spent for Jay Cutler a year ago and Julius Peppers this offseason, but a small return this season will mark the end for Lovie Smith.
Detroit – Rookies Ndamukong Suh and Jahvid Best give Lions fans two reasons to be excited for the future.

NFC South
New Orleans – Drew Brees might be the one quarterback in the league you wouldn’t grow tired of seeing in the Super Bowl.
Atlanta* – Though he took a step back in his sophomore year, far too many people are overlooking Matt Ryan and the Falcons this season.
Carolina – Whether the Panthers surprise or wilt with Matt Moore at the helm, it looks like this is the final act in Charlotte for John Fox, whose contract expires after the season.
Tampa Bay – At least they have those “creamsicle” throwbacks to look forward to at some point this season, right?

NFC West
San Francisco – Alex Smith is no Joe Montana or Steve Young — or even Jeff Garcia — but the 49ers are the strongest team in a pedestrian division.
Arizona – Cardinals fans wish Kurt Warner would be more like Brett Favre in his retirement practices.
Seattle – As if his first two go-rounds in the NFL weren’t bad enough, the shadow of the sanctions at USC makes Pete Carroll an easy guy to root against.
St. Louis – Sam Bradford has 50 million reasons to smile while he takes a beating in his rookie season.

* = Wild-card berth

Wild-Card Round
New England over Cincinnati
Houston over San Diego
Minnesota over San Francisco
Atlanta over Dallas

Divisional Round
Indianapolis over Houston
Baltimore over New England
New Orleans over Atlanta
Green Bay over Minnesota

AFC Championship
Baltimore over Indianapolis

NFC Championship
Green Bay over New Orleans

Super Bowl XLV
Baltimore over Green Bay

MVP: Aaron Rodgers
Offensive Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson
Defensive Player of the Year: Patrick Willis
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ryan Mathews
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Ndamukong Suh
Coach of the Year: John Harbaugh

The exhilarating journey begins Thursday night.

Enjoy the ride.

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Best Of The Best: My Top 20 QB’s cont.

Posted on 19 August 2010 by Joe Giglio

10. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

Beltway Joe is my guy. We often talk about young QB’s gaining experience by repetitions in pressure packed games. I don’t believe any 25 or under QB in the league right now has had the kind of on the job training as Flacco. He has already won 3 road playoff games in two seasons under center, and has been at least among the final four in the AFC both times. His completion percentage, yards, and touchdowns all rose from his rookie to sophomore campaigns, while his INT’s remained the same despite significantly more attempts. He might have the biggest arm in the league- I dare you do find me someone who throws the out pattern better than him. With Boldin, Stallworth, and a pair of young pass catching TE’s in Pitta and Dickson, Flacco has the weapons to lead Baltimore even deeper in the postseason.

9. Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings

Why only 9th after the season he had last year and the weapons on the Minnesota offense? Health and desperation. Brett Favre is tough as nails, but at some point all of these surgeries and injuries are going to cost him valuable regular season starts, which could cost Minnesota a trip to January. Also, I think Favre’s urgency to win another title erodes his decision making abilities in big spots. Letting the game come to him was never a strong suit of his, but I’m less and less convinced he can win a title every day.

8. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

Say what you want about his style, backwards hat, and too cool for school smile…Tony Romo can play. The back to back wins over Philadelphia in Week 17 and Wild Card weekend took away the biggest bullet that anti-Romo guys had in their arsenal. “He chokes in the big spot” was erased by his play down the stretch in wins over New Orleans and Washington, along with his picking apart of the Philly defense. He has show over the years an uncanny ability to slide within the pocket, doesn’t need a “true” #1 WR to put up big numbers, and has matured in his decision making when the game is on the line. If Dallas is to play a home Super Bowl, it is because, not in spite, of Tony Romo.

7. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

It took a full season for Aaron and I to see eye to eye. I didn’t like the hype machine centered around him and the Packers big pre-season numbers, was embarrassed for him when he let Jared Allen abuse him on Monday Night Football, and was loving it when his INT to lose the game in Tampa put the Packers at 4-4. Things started to change after that. The yards, touchdowns, and wins started piling up week after week. His performance on Wild Card weekend in Arizona sealed it for me that this guy could play. Can Green Bay win a Super Bowl with that style playing in the cold, snow, and wind of Lambeau? I’ve always thought it was more conducive to dome and warm weather teams (St. Louis, New Orleans, Arizona), but Green Bay has a chance because Rodgers can go point for point with anyone if he gets time in the pocket.

6. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

I realize that the “numbers” are better on Phil’s resume than #5 or #4 on my list, but I’m beginning to wonder if all that regular season dominance will ever translate into a Super Bowl trip. There seems to be a new excuse every year in San Diego. Whether it be the incompetence of Norv Turner, injuries to Tomlinson and Gates, simply running into a better team like Pittsburgh or New England, or the hottest defense in NY…this team and QB can’t finish the job. I was convinced that Rivers would win the MVP last year and get San Diego to a Super Bowl, but the guy came up small in January. I know he is tough and plays through injures, but if he wants to be a Top 5 guy in the league and crack the Top 2 of the Class of ’04, he needs to play in the Big Game.

5. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Can’t stand the guy, but respect the player. If it wasn’t for one great drive vs. Arizona a few years ago he would be so many spots down this list. But that drive did happen and Ben does have two rings on his fingers. If the Steelers can get through his four game suspension at 2-2, plenty of fans will peg them as a sleeper in the AFC. More interesting to me than the team is how the city responds to him when he returns. Not many two time Super Bowl winning stars get booed in their home stadium, but Pittsburgh and Ben might be the exception to the rule. The relationship in Pittsburgh might be irreparable, but if I need to win a title, there aren’t many guys I’d rather have.

4. Eli Manning, New York Giants

Look at the talent levels, production, off the field issues, and past performances in the biggest games and tell me why you would put anyone else in this spot. Eli is no longer Peyton’s younger brother or the QB that got hot for a Super Bowl run. Lost in the Giants wretched finish to 2009 was Manning’s ascension to the top of the rung of NFL stars. Over 4,000 yards behind an aging offensive line, non-existent running game, and a slew of neophyte receivers was quite impressive. He had to come out of his play action comfort zone and operate out of the shotgun more than ever because of the opponent lighting the scoreboard up on his porous defense. Eli is now not just the leader of the Giants, he’s the best player on the field for them.

3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

His Super Bowl victory launched him into the #1 or #2 spots for some fans in our poll, but it simply inducted him into the club on my list. He’s no longer a distant third after the untouchable 1-2 of Manning-Brady (or Brady-Manning for some). I now look at the Big Three on this list as 1-2-3. They are all elite, can all lead a team to a championship, and all give defensive coordinators nightmares. Brees ability to release the ball quickly and keep seemingly every single WR on his roster involved in the offense is superb. He revived a fan base, helped revive a city, and is carving out a plaque in Canton as each game passes.

2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Don’t sleep on Brady. 28 TDs and nearly 4,400 yards the first year back from major knee reconstruction surgery is incredible. The Patriots have become flawed in almost every area outside of Brady. The shine has come off the pretty car the Pats had become prior to their Super Bowl loss to the Giants. Last year’s playoff beat down in their building at the hands of Baltimore was a shock to the football community, but Brady and New England shouldn’t be counted out. If knee injuries truly take two years to come back to full strength, watch out for Brady in 2010. If I need to win a Super Bowl I still want a guy that has more than anyone else on this list.

1. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts

The best I have ever seen. Over 4,000 yards in 10 of the last 11 seasons. Mark him down for 11-13 wins a season. I have never seen an athlete take over a game mentally they way Peyton does. He dissects defenses as if he is watching film of their previous games in his head as the play happens. I know his loss to Brees in the Super Bowl makes these Top 3 very close, but when I add in durability, making those around him better, smarts, will to win, work ethic, and consistency, there isn’t anyone better for my money. If I absolutely need to win, Peyton is my guy.

Agree with Flacco at 10? Who would you have put at #1? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Lets Hand Out Some Weekly Awards .....

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Lets Hand Out Some Weekly Awards …..

Posted on 06 August 2010 by Rex Snider

It’s Friday and another week is winding down to an end. With NFL Training Camps in full gear and the Orioles experiencing a miraculous short-term recovery, we’ve had plenty of subjects to discuss.

As always, there have been plenty of positive and negative-themed topics.

The good ….

The bad ….

The lucky ….

The insane ….

You get it, right? With the last five days in mind, lets recognize some of the week’s most recognizable personalities ….

Man Of The Week

Can it possibly be anyone OTHER than Buck Showalter? In just 3 days time, he has skippered the Orioles to as many wins as they achieved in the first 20 days following the All-Star Break. And, don’t tell me Adam Jones, Matt Wieters and Felix Pie aren’t acting differently. I think they’re scared to death of their new boss. If so …. GOOD !!!!

Can he maintain order and semblance beyond the short-term boost of a new culture? We shall see …..

By the way, have you looked at the above photo? What the HELL are these guys eating? McDonalds ??? Cactus Willies ??? Small Farm Animals ??? C’mon boys, shape up. I’ll go out on a limb and say Major League Baseball doesn’t have to worry about managers and umpires using Performance Enhancing Drugs.

Narcissist Of The Week

Another slam dunk? Thanks to our good friend and dependable drama queen, Brett Favre, the epicenters of this week’s American sports media culture have been New York, Los Angeles and HATTIESBORO, MISSISSIPPI. It’s August, did we expect anything less?

Just wait until he finally decides to report to Vikings Training Camp. You wanna bet on this year’s mode of transportation? I’m guessing it will be a Boeing-747, painted to resemble Air Force One? I wonder if Jen Sterger will be onboard?

Nobody Of The Week

Have you ever seen a 600th homerun occur with the relevance of a fat manager sighting at your local homeplate? Poor Alex Rodriguez, he’s been reduced to a mere mortal man – who is credited with hitting alot of homeruns while using steroids. At least it’s now over …..

For their part, the Yankees were set to ensure A’Rod got the homerun ball back from the lucky dude who caught it. If the ball did land in the hand of a fan, the team was going to offer a dinner date with A’Rod and Cameron Diaz, in exchange for the ball. Can you imagine being that fan? I can. Aside from making a complete obnoxious ass of myself, I would’ve asked Cameron if Alex really resembles that Centaur hanging on his wall.

Bimbo Of The Week

While Jen Sterger deserves some serious consideration (just google “Sterger Favre”), I’ve gotta bestow this award upon Gisele Bundchen. Indeed, Mrs. Tom Brady caused a wave of reaction when she suggested that a world-wide law requiring that “ALL WOMEN BREASTFEED” should exist.

I couldn’t really care one way or another about breastfeeding. But GOD BLESS HER, if Gisele Bundchen ever mentions breasts, she’s automatically the winner of this award – period.

Player Of The Week

While a variety of competitors could rightfully deserve this award, I’ve gotta hand it to Doug Dutch. The newest member of the Baltimore Ravens secondary probably never imagined that he would be traded for a former starting quarterback, in the NFL. Then again, this time last week, nobody in Baltimore ever heard of Doug Dutch.

Yeah, I know he’s probably not going to break camp with the team. But, this is probably his best chance of being named PLAYER OF THE WEEK. By the way, doesn’t his name just roll off your tongue?

Baby Of The Week

I know you probably thought I’d give this award to Tom Brady’s little boy, right? WRONG. He’s got enough stuff already ….

This week’s BABY was a unanimous choice. Come on down, Rick Dempsey, you’re getting the GOLDEN KLEENEX TROPHY. Good grief …. could he possibly piss and moan a little more about not getting the manager’s gig? If nothing else, the self imposed pity party can probably serve as an inspiration to Rick’s follow-up effort to his first CD, “Homerun Holiday.”

While I can only imagine what he might title the next record, I’ll assume it contains such remake classics as ….. Tears On My Pillow (Little Anthony), Heartbreaker (Pat Benatar), Here I Go Again (Whitesnake), Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey) and Tears Of A Clown (Smokey Robinson). Lets hope the new CD is available by Christmas.

Jackass Of The Week

Once again, plenty of souls are eligible for this distinction …. including ME. But, even I know better than to “bite the leg that’s attached to the butt I might need to kiss one day.”

That said, DeAngelo Hall evidently doesn’t have such a sense. After Commissioner Roger Goodell visited Redskins Training Camp, on Wednesday, Hall scoffed and termed the meeting a “TOTAL WASTE OF TIME.” It was certainly a ballsy gesture, but also pretty stupid.

Look, I’m not suggesting players should lather Mr. Goodell with faux compliments. But, I think showing some respect for the guy who might hold your future disciplinary outcome in his hands would be a smart idea. After all, its not like he’s a stranger to trouble. The funny thing? A week ago, I would’ve sworn the biggest jackass at Redskins Park would be Albert Haynesworth.

Blogger Of The Week

While I would like to cast this recognition for myself, I’ve gotta say Drew Forrester hit a homerun, this week. I usually enjoy all of his blogs, but Drew’s (pictured above with his best blogger award) piece on Rick Dempsey was such an accurate testament to a simple situation – that grew to an entangled abortion, due to both involved parties.

The Orioles, as an organization, are at fault. Andy MacPhail is at fault. Peter Angelos is at fault. And, Rick Dempsey is at fault. Can we possibly find a way to pin some blame on Nestor, too? He’s certainly accustomed to it ….

Great blog, Drew. Oh, and by the way, I’m pretty sure that David Lee Roth’s picture is found next to the term “lead singer” in Webster’s Dictionary.

Happy Weekend – I’ll chat with everybody at 2pm …..

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How Much Is The Fox Worth ?

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How Much Is The Fox Worth ?

Posted on 02 August 2010 by Rex Snider

On Friday morning, I packed up a week’s worth of wares and officially brought my vacation to an end, as I departed Dewey Beach. While driving north, thru Rehoboth, my Blackberry sounded with a message from the trusted WNST Text Service …..

“Ravens CB Domonique Foxworth tears ACL in his knee”

While I certainly expected the obvious medical diagnosis – GONE FOR THE YEAR – I did not expect the onslaught of doom and gloom, and occasional panic, that would ensue throughout the afternoon. As much as many Ravens fans have chosen to feast upon the pre-season hype, a proportionate number also greeted Foxworth’s injury with a feeling of insurmountable loss.


While I’ll agree he was the best cornerback on the active roster, as Friday’s full camp opened, I’ve never really considered Domonique Foxworth to be among the irreplacable realities of a Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, Michael Oher and Haloti Ngata. Indeed, if one of these players tears his ACL, you can push the PANIC BUTTON.

Let me start by saying I liked Foxworth’s play during the final stages of the 2009 season and he was certainly going to be relied upon for carrying a more significant role as a season opening matchup with the New York Jets neared. But, irreplacable? Sorry, I just don’t see it.

Some optimists might point out his perceived lackluster coverage in the early stages of last season. Indeed, Foxworth appeared to struggle against bigger, physical receivers. Does anyone recall the game in San Diego …..

However, in true fairness it’s also quite rightful to point out the Ravens’ surprisingly substandard pass rush, last season. In fact, it’s just an absolute truth. Domonique Foxworth had very little support from Terrell Suggs and company, when it came to pressuring the likes of Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, Brett Favre and Carson Palmer.

And, as we all know, pressuring the quarterback, consistently, can make ROCK STARS out of formidable cornerbacks. Conversely, failing to achieve that same attack can make the same cornerbacks look like they’re not doing their jobs.

Welcome to the NFL.

So, as we look back on 2009, did we really have so much of the upcoming season’s potential and promise vested upon the shoulders of Domonique Foxworth? Sure, the injuries to Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb have compounded and magnified the value regarding a player of Foxworth’s caliber.

But, can he be satisfactorily replaced? While Washington and Webb move closer to regained form, can someone step up and cover?

Is it Cary Williams or Travis Fisher? Will Chris Carr play even BIGGER? Who knows …. but a group of collective players have undoubtedly hungered for THAT CHANCE to prove themselves. And, this is that chance …..

After all, who was talking about the potential impact of Danelle Ellerbe, at the beginning of last season’s camp?

Does the Foxworth injury impact other facets of the Ravens defense? Sure. And, one particular name comes to mind …..

So long as Terrell Suggs doesn’t spend another season producing like a member of the Orioles, the pass rush is likely to improve. Given the increased vulnerability of the secondary, I’ll imagine Greg Mattison is already formulating a way to make his attack more dynamic.

The reality is the season-ending injury to Domonique Foxworth just sucks. He’s a damn good cornerback and obviously committed to the “team first” philosophy. But, his injury an ultimate loss is a defining factor of everyday life in the National Football League.

He won’t be the last member of the Ravens lost to injury. And, don’t worry about the bad luck abstaining from other franchises. Every NFL team gets a bite of this sandwich. It’s already hit the Steelers (Willie Colon), Cowboys (Dez Bryant) and Broncos (Knowshon Moreno). The Patriots, Colts, Jets and Chargers will suffer their losses, too.

Speaking of the Patriots and Colts, what will they do if faced with the loss of a vital player? We keep saying the Ravens must beat the great teams, if they’re going to rise to the next level. Well, those great teams lose FRANCHISE players, like Tom Brady and Bob Sanders to injury, yet, they still find a way to win.

And, that’s the challenge facing the Ravens.

There are no “silver linings” to the loss of Domonique Foxworth. Yet, his injury could’ve occured at a more inconvenient time. The Ravens have six weeks to address it. Last season, they had less than six days to address the loss of a starting cornerback …..

Injuries, while detrimental, also create opportunities ….. especially in training camp. I don’t think the value of such a competition can be overlooked. A handful of young, marginal players are going to be afforded the chance to prove they’re more talented than the depth chart suggests. And, some “old dogs” are out to prove they can still hunt.

I suppose Friday’s bad news really serves as a reminder that pre-season predictions aren’t worth a bag of rotten crab shells. Who could’ve guessed Domoniqe Foxworth would tear his ACL or Sergio Kindle would be in a Texas hospital, while recovering from a fractured skull? You can’t …..

Of course, every purple-blooded loyalist couldn’t resist the accolades. The Ravens have been lathered with a layering of “favorite” in the AFC-North. And, while this supposed indestructible Baltimore football machine has spent the past week proving there is no such distinction, a divisional rival has been stealing headlines, for positive reasons, since last Tuesday.

Meet the new AFC-North favorites …. the Cincinnati Bengals.

The good news is their hype is every bit as fragile as the Ravens. They, too, haven’t played a single game, yet. But, that hasn’t stopped the World Wide Leader and others from forecasting a lethal passing attack – especially with the addition of a soon-to-be 37 year old wide receiver.

As a sports community, we’re so damn fickle. On one hand, we wanted nothing to do with Terrell Owens, because he’s known to be a cancerous plague within a locker room – and he’s beyond his most productive years. On the other hand, we fear the addition of the GREAT T.O.’s arrival, in Cincinnati. Remember, he’s the same exact guy nobody wanted in a Ravens uniform.

Yet, we figure up the loss of Domonique Foxworth, coupled with the addition of Owens, in Cincinnati, and the result is DOOM & GLOOM.

The crippled Ravens secondary will never stop these guys …..

Don’t forget Antonio Bryant, Jermaine Gresham or Jordan Shipley. Heck, don’t forget Cedric Benson – who really bulldozed his way thru the Ravens defensive line, twice, last year.

Yet, it’s Owens that instills this uneasiness in Ravens fans, while also rallying those in media to annoint the Bengals as the team to beat. Don’t buy into it. There is a distinct reason why the Ravens didn’t want him, along with 30 other teams.

In fact, don’t get caught up in any of the extreme impressions, one way or another, caused by injuries, additions or anything else.

The Ravens lost Domonique Foxworth for the season. That’s a fact. If their aspirations and Super Bowl hopes were tied to one player of Foxworth’s caliber, then this 2010 team really isn’t as good as many people might think.


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Perhaps, Michael Vick Just Won't Get It ....

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Perhaps, Michael Vick Just Won’t Get It ….

Posted on 28 June 2010 by Rex Snider

While I’m not a passionate fan of Michael Vick’s play on the football field, I have been quietly rooting for him since last season’s return.

To be honest, my hope in seeing him overcome his past has no real tie to football or athletic achievements, at all. I’ve really hoped he would leave his sordid transgressions and the associated lifestyle in the rear view mirror, while proving to himself and others that he is indeed a “CHANGED MAN.”

Better yet, I thought Michael Vick could motivate a growing generation of adolescents who’ve made poor personal choices in their young lives. Maybe, just maybe, his story and ultimate rise from self-destruction would help others in an inspirational way.

There is just one “catch” ….. this anticipated story of a compassionate comeback needs to stay on track.

As recently as a couple weeks ago, things were looking very opimistic.

Today, I’m not so sure.

As the world now knows, Michael Vick celebrated his 30th birthday with a BIG BASH at a Virginia Beach nightclub, on Thursday night. It was promoted and advertised to the general public, via Facebook, Twitter and informal means.

While some people might think that hosting parties and momentous celebrations are an expressed inclusion of our freedoms, many of us also realize that such events are an invitation to more than just dancing, drinking and eating birthday cake.

And, discerning between these two considerations is probably where Michael Vick screwed up.

I don’t care that he’s a convicted felon and federal parolee; I don’t simply assume he’s done something illegal. He’s paid his debt to society – he has every right to attend charity functions at Martins West, movie premieres in Hollywood and parties thrown in his honor.

However, a clearly distinct line distinguishes the difference between the “RIGHT” to do something, and whether it’s “RIGHT” to do something. I’m certain celebrities employ such decision making methods when considering their presence and involvement at events – both public and private in nature.

It doesn’t matter if they organize or host the event, if a BIG NAME is in attendance and something goes wrong, they’ll be forever tied to it. Just ask TMZ’s Harvey Levin …..

When is the last time this guy did something DUMB or ill-advised in a social setting?

Good luck finding such an incident. You’ll likely search for days and still never find any smoking guns. And, there is a very plausible reason behind striking out on any quest in finding dirt on Peyton Manning – HE KNOWS BETTER.

Peyton Manning is aware of his image, reputation and obligation to an array of different people. The list includes …..
His Team

His Wife

His Business Partners

His Family’s Name

I’m sure you see my point – even if you disagree. But, the names go beyond Peyton Manning. I’m confident this list of guys will not be arrested, accused of criminal conduct or attending a party where another attendee is SHOT, in 2010 ….. Drew Brees, Derek Jeter, Steve Nash, Donovan McNabb, Andy Roddick, Albert Pujols, Hines Ward, Tim Duncan, Jeff Gordon, Tom Brady, Joe Flacco …..

How about this ….. I can think of a list of guys who have endured legal troubles, while making some very poor choices in their respectives pasts. But, they’ve given us every reason to believe we won’t be seeing their name associated with crime and punishment, by year’s end. For me, the list starts with Ray Lewis.

It’s been a decade since Ray ran afoul of the legal system or found himself in a public meltdown of poor judgement. He’s way beyond such indiscretions – he values his reputation and image. He has plenty of company among those who’ve had troubles and overcame them, like ….. Kobe Bryant, Ricky Williams, Josh Hamilton, Kurt Busch, Bernard Hopkins, Brett Favre and Jamal Lewis.

Of course, the final group is those who’ve committed multiple transgressions. Arrested? Yes. Stupid decisions? Yes. Numerous occurences of one or both? Yes. These are the guys you’re most likely going to be hearing about during a BREAKING NEWS segment, early in the morning. This is where you’ll find Brandon Marshall, Elijah Dukes, Sidney Ponson, Marshawn Lynch, Mike Tyson, John Daly, Jeremy Mayfield, Cedric Benson, Allen Iverson, Matt Jones, Delonte West and Michael Vick.

Hey, it’s accurate.

Michael Vick may very well have intended to celebrate an innocent occasion, last Thursday. In fact, I’d be willing to bet on it. He doesn’t want to screw up – he doesn’t want to be out of a job – he doesn’t want to go back to prison. I honestly believe these things.

However, I also believe Michael Vick lacks the sensibility to dissect a proposed action or decision, while considering the ramifications of the FALLOUT if something goes wrong. That’s exactly what he should’ve done when the idea of his birthday party being held at a nightclub, and open to the general public was tabled.


Well, there are a few reasons. Foremost, there is very little positive exposure to be gained in a nightclub environment. While nightclubs attract girls dressed in their sexiest wares, they also serve as a hotspot for people with checkered characters. Say what you will – Mike should be whoring himself to more “feel good” opportunities than President Obama, Tom Cruise and the CEO of BP, combined.

Another consideration is Michael Vick should not host, endorse or attach his likeness to ANY EVENT, unless he has direct control over it. I don’t care if a promoter really handled the party, its got the name MICHAEL VICK forever stamped to it. In the future (or in hindsight), he should celebrate his birthday with a party at home or in an establishment that can offer a respected reputation and a high degree of decorum.

If he wants to get CRAZEE and dance with some hotties, while fondling an expensive champagne bottle, he should have the party at home – and make all guests leave their cellphones at the door. Be assured, that’s what happens at Diddy’s house. And, he has much less to worry about than Mike does.

You don’t think Alex Rodriguez enjoyed the arrival of his 30th birthday? How about Ladanian Tomlinson? Dale Earnhardt Jr.? Shaq? They just make good decisions when it comes to enjoying themslves.

As we sit here today, Michael Vick has problems. He might not face any legal sanctions with his Probation Officer. But, I think that everything else is in limbo. I’d bet my HOUSE that a certain group of individuals are angry as HELL. They’ve attached themselves to Michael Vick and he has let them down. Of course, the most important one is obvious …..

However, you can also include Jeffrey Lurie, Andy Reid, Tony Dungy and Arthur Blank. Each of them went to bat for him, helped him or had a HUGE part in giving him this most recent chance to make a living as a member of the National Football League.

What could they do differently, specifically ask “Michael, will you be celebrating your 30th birthday in a nightclub” ??? They should’ve expected that he would exercise better judgement. No doubt, they rightfully expected it from him.

With each passing hour, more and more details regarding the NIGHTLIFE of Michael Vick are surfacing. Welcome to the age of Twitter, Facebook and online tabloids. We now know Vick hosted parties in May, as well as April.

I wonder if dog fighting co-defendant, Quanis Phillips, attended those events. Probably not. Why did he attend this one? Well, it was held near his home. But, most importantly, he attended last Thursday’s party, because he could.

NOBODY and/or NO PLAN was in place to stop such a situation. And, if they did plan for it, they failed …. which is even worse, if you really think about it.

Thursday’s incident is a loud, distinct message to one of Michael Vick’s former endorsers, as if they have really considered resurrecting his marketability …..

You can bet the folks in Beaverton, Oregon, are thinking one thing …. “MIKE AIN”T WORTH THE RISK.” And, if Nike is scared off, so is McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Visa and Under Armor. Like humans, corporations are known to forgive and reconcile, but they arguably take far less chances than people do.

Over the last few days, we’ve heard the typical “we will wait until all the facts are known before addressing the situation” line. It’s the SAFE thing to say …. and it may very well apply to the United States Justice Department’s role in the life of Michael Vick.

But, rest assured, NFL spokeman, Greg Aiello, was better off giving the politically correct statement, rather than saying “Roger is done with this experiment.”

As for the Eagles, did you expect them to say “Mr. Lurie is knee deep in trying to void Michael Vick’s contract.” Oh and “Jeff Garcia is visiting team headquarters, later this week.”

Perhaps, both Mr. Goodell and Mr. Lurie haven’t exercised such drastic measures. But, you can bet they’re not sitting on their hands while waiting for an outcome, either. Not a chance …..

They know what they need to know.

Michael Vick may never, EVER be involved in another incident of violence. He may never pose for another mugshot in his life.

But, he cannot be trusted to really think about a potential outcome to the hair-brained ideas of family, friends and cohorts. No doubt, he’s as spontaneously reactive to his cultural ideals as Paris Hilton is to shopping for shoes.

He’s evidently incapable of change. He is who he is …..

He just can’t be trusted to do the RIGHT thing.

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Wednesday's PM Crab Cakes and Light Beer

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Wednesday’s PM Crab Cakes and Light Beer

Posted on 31 March 2010 by Chris Bonetti

The Swinging Bunt

Eagles falling apart in Philly.  You know, I guess I can understand the Eagles’ hesitance in trading Donovan McNabb.  Over the last decade the Philadelphia Eagles have been, if nothing else, one of the most consistent franchises in the National Football League.  Coming off a 3-13 record in ’98, team owner Jeffrey Lurie finally put in place the integral pieces of a puzzle that would result in 5 NFC East Titles, and 8 Playoff births over the next 12 years.  He hired Andy Reid as Head Coach, who in turn hired Jim Johnson as Defensive Coordinator, and the organization selected Donovan McNabb with the #2 overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft.  By 2001 Brian Westbrook was an undrafted rookie making an impact and the Eagles were on their way to 5 NFC Championship Games.  On January 18th, 2008 it seems the Eagles franchise officially began their rebuilding faze.  They lost 32-25 to the Arizona Cardinals that day in the desert and a tumultuous two year time span has ensued.  In the summer of ’09 Jim Johnson, after 40 years of service to the game of football, passed away after a bout with cancer and Brian Westbrook, due to continuous concussion issues, was released by the team this off-season after 10,000 yards and 66 TD’s combined rushing and receiving.  Andy Reid is still the head coach; and yes, he and McNabb are still attached at the hip… for the moment.  But as rumors, speculation, and proposed ‘front’-runners’ for McNabb’s services continue to emerge, it seems all the more likely his football marriage with Philadelphia appears headed for divorce.  It’s a shame, too.  If Jeffrey Lurie hadn’t decided to bring Michael Vick back into the league as his third-string quarterback and paid his $1.5M roster bonus this off-season, McNabb might stand in a better position with the only team he’s ever played for.  But as it stands now, Jeffrey Lurie, the man who facilitated bringing in the foundation of Reid, Johnson, McNabb, and Westbrook in the first place, may now have to hammer home the last spoke to break apart the final two, all by trading the best QB in Eagles franchise history.  Must be a tough trade trigger to have to pull.

Suggested Reading

Pittsburgh Post Gazette: “Steelers are no better than the Bengals.” Strong headline from Ron Cook, who’s not talking about talent, or even winning games, on the field.

Deadspin: Editor Will Leitch takes a look at Baltimore’s very own Orioles in, “The Stacked Deck.” While the title gives the impression of a very positive, upbeat write-up, Leitch comes to this by the end, “Is this what this new plan is leading to? A 78-win season in 2013? That’ll sell some tickets.”  Haha.

SI.com:  Thirteen Sports Illustrated Baseball Experts give their predictions for the 2010 season in their very appropriately named, “2010 MLB Preseason Predictions.” In case you’re wondering, Matusz was named as A.L. ROY on 7 of 13 ballots.

New York Post:  More Tiger details from David K. Li in, “The naked truth on tomcat Tiger.” Apparently we’ll have a long ‘Vanity Fair’ cover story on Tiger’s mistresses coming up very soon.  The Post scoops in for a preview.

Deadspin: Barry Petchesky looks at, “The (other) Least Desireable Gig in College Basketball.” I gave St. John’s a hard time, but it seems they ended up doing decently for themselves with Lavin.  Who does DePaul turn to?

Video of the Day

Who doesn’t love ‘Ridiculous Shots That Don’t Count’ videos?  Here’s Flip Murray’s from last night… pretty incredible.

Tweets of the Day

WNST Comcast Morning Show Producer, Glenn Clark – WNST

GMC: #Ravens vs. #Carolina 8/12 on #ESPN; @ #Skins Aug. 20 or 21; vs. #Giants 8/27 or 8/28; @ #Rams 9/2 in preseason

WNST NFL Correspondent, Chris Pika – WNST

Chris Pika: Former #Maryland hoops player/asst. coach Dave Dickerson is out as #Tulane head coach after 5 seasons, according to media reports.

New York Times College Basketball Columnist, Pete Thamel – PeteThamelNYT

Theme song from Indy: “Its the end of the world as we know it.” Jim Delany (Big Ten Commissioner) tells USA Today that expanded tourney “probable.”

ESPN College Basketball Insider, Andy Katz – ESPNAndyKatz

News conference at Pitt this afternoon to announce coach Jamie Dixon — getting an extension. Not leaving for Oregon as expected.

D1scourse Blogger, Patrick Stevens – D1scourse

So, if Carolina wins tomorrow, will the banner in the Dean Dome read “NIT champion” or “A-10 semifinalist”?

Baltimore Sun National Baseball Writer, Dan Connolley – danconnollysun #Orioles getting clubbed in 5th inn by Red Sox, 9-1. Lester has allowed 2 hits. Maybe both clubs are ready for the season

ESPN NFL Insider, Chris Mortensen – mortreport

Next QB Class: Washington’s Jake Locker, Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett could all be top 5 picks in 2011.

ESPN NFL Insider, Adam Schefter – Adam_Schefter

Waiting on Donovan McNabb gives us something to do while we’re waiting on Brett Favre.

Sports Illustrated Soccer Columnist, Grant Wahl – GrantWahl

Wayne Rooney out 2-4 weeks w/ankle sprain. Could impact ManUtd in Prem/CL, but not England for WC. http://bit.ly/9sIbeJ

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My Thoughts On Tim Tebow .....

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My Thoughts On Tim Tebow …..

Posted on 19 March 2010 by Rex Snider

Ahh, I’m gonna vent today. That’s right, I’m using the WNST blogs for an opportunity to get a few things off my chest. Of course, it’s a rather meaningless topic – in the scope of REAL life. Nonetheless, this is the place to rant about it …..

I Wish The NFL Draft Was Held TODAY !!!!

Call me trite or petty, but I’m really starting to begrudge anything related to Tim Tebow. Have you ever seen a player who’s projected to get drafted somewhere between the 2nd and 5th rounds garner so much attention? And, it extends beyond the daily coverage and anecdotal information by ESPN.

Tim Tebow is being followed by TMZ, Deadspin and the New York Post, along with hundreds of additional media entities. The storylines and contrived scenarios are reaching an extraordinary status, in relation to the real American sports landscape. Heck, he gets as much coverage as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie – for the same stupid reasons.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame Tebow ….. and, I don’t think he’s purposely doing anything to orchestrate the mass amount of media coverage on his daily life. He appears to be a very decent dude, and I’ll imagine he’s a little embarrassed by the attention – like when THOUSANDS of fans attended his pro-day workout, on Wednesday …..

Have you ever witnessed so much specualtion on WHERE a non-1st round pick will end up? The list of standout college quarterbacks, who didn’t merit high NFL expectations is quite long – Jason White, Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Danny Wuerffel, Gino Toretta ….. you get the picture, right?

Think about it, handicapping Tim Tebow’s prospective NFL destination is not too hard, right? He’s not likely to end up with a team that REALLY needs a quarterback. And, he’s definitely not headed to a city where young quarterbacks – with tons of upside are standing under center.

So, while the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers, really need a quarterback, I just don’t see them mortgaging a few seasons on a highly potential BUST.

At the same time, teams with young, developing quarterbacks, like the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions are not drafting Tim Tebow. We all know the backup quarterback is the most POPULAR guy in town. And, as much as we love Joe Flacco, if he hits a skid, plenty of knotheads will be screaming for Tebow, if the kid is standing on the sideline.

Baltimore football fans are absolutely not immune to recklessly calling for a certain player to get a shot, regardless of what the team’s experts say. Remember last season?

EVERYBODY wanted Paul Kruger to play. I took the phone calls ….. he was ELVIS. And, his position isn’t nearly as scrutinized as a quarterback.

A handful of other NFL teams have veteran quarterbacks, with plenty of gas left in the tank. This list includes the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants, San Diego Chargers, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers. These teams are all competitive and they’re not going to create a quarterback controversy for the same reasons cited in the paragraph, above.

Thus, we have a handful of prospective suitors remaining …..

Pittsburgh Steelers : Call me CRAZY, but Mike Tomlin attended Tim Tebow’s pro day workout for a reason. And, is there a better way to motivate his talented, but ridiculously immature star quarterback? To date, Ben Roethlisberger has done as he wishes, while laughing at the backup threats in Charlie Batch, Brian St. Pierre and Dennis Dixon. Put a potential talent, such as Tebow on the Steelers sideline and if nothing else, #7 will probably take notice.

Jacksonville Jaguars : What can I say? David Garrard is an enigma, of sorts. He’s not really a future star, but he’s not a substandard quarterback, either. And, God knows the Jags would love to fill some of those ugly turquoise seats. Enter Tim Tebow. Think about it – Gators fans would only have a 60 mile drive, on Sundays. And, they could continue to hang Tebow’s picture next to this guy …..

Oakland Raiders : They’re an unpredictable mess. I can see them drafting Tebow and further complicating their quarterback situation, while also setting the team back ANOTHER STEP. By the way, can you imagine Tebow in a more ill-fitted uniform than the Raiders?
Minnesota Vikings : Yes, I can see this happening. If Tebow really is a “raw talent,” he’d probably benefit from standing around and watching Brett Favre for the next 2, 3 or 7 years, right? If he does possess the qualities of an NFL quarterback, Minnesota’s situation offers a good fit – Tebow’s not a threat to Favre, and he’ll likely adapt well to that community.
Indianapolis Colts & New England Patriots : These could be the best two landing spots for Tim Tebow. The quarterbacks are ENTRENCHED legends. Heck, Peyton Manning could throw 20 straight interceptions, with Tebow holding the clipboard and the Indy fans would’nt clamor for a change. The same applies with Tom Brady, in New England. These two locales definitely offer the best learning environment for Tebow.

Well, that’s the prospective list of destinations. I honestly think Tim Tebow will end up with one of the organizations I’ve mentioned. But, who knows ??? Crazier things have happened …..

As much as I’m truly ready to see the TEBOW CIRCUS come to a screeching halt, I do hope he doesn’t suffer any embarrassment as the NFL Draft approaches. I’m not certain he should’ve been invited to New York, unless Mr. Goodell has received some strong indication the Florida Gator will be drafted sometime Thursday night.

I distinctly recall seeing Brady Quinn as he waited in that Green Room, alone, during the final stretch of 2007’s 1st round. Regardless of who it is, that situation sucks.

Thus, I’m surprised the NFL invited Tebow – and I’m equally shocked that he accpeted the offer. He seems like a guy who makes good, calculated decisions. It seems like a pretty poor and contrived gesture. In fact, I suspect some sort of fiduciary reason is really at play.

I cannot be more affirming in my wish ….. I’m looking forward to moving beyond the daily Tim Tebow updates. That said, I think he’s an outstanding dude and pretty modest. I just wanna see him earn any future exposure.

And, yes, I hope he proves all the naysayers wrong.

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If Kurt Warner doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame, then they should just blow the whole building up and start over.

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No Debating: Warner Belongs in The Hall of Fame

Posted on 30 January 2010 by Thyrl Nelson

If Kurt Warner doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame, then they should just blow the whole building up and start over.

Although he’d probably never say such a thing, it’s not Kurt Warner’s fault that the football world never fully grasped his greatness. After all, the only reason that Warner’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame, now that his career has come to a close, is even debatable, is due to the failures of 32 NFL football teams to realize that Warner was the truth. Forget about the numbers, Warner’s back-story alone is Hall of Fame worthy.


We’ve all known that guy, the one holding on to his pro sports dream for far longer than reason or common sense should allow. You try to encourage them, and hope that when reality inevitably sets in for them, as it did for all of us sooner or later, they won’t have wasted too much of their life. You can imagine the reactions that Warner must’ve gotten from his co-workers at the Hy-Vee market, as he espoused on his NFL dreams.


In a story too sappy to have been written for a Disney movie, Kurt Warner achieved heights that likely even surpassed what once seemed like little more than delusions of grandeur. Scour the landscape of sports, or American history for that matter, and you’ll likely find no better spokesperson for the concept of chasing your dreams, regardless of what anyone else may believe. Eventually, what Warner proved to us all was simply that doubting him was never a good idea.


Even as Dick Vermeil was giving his teary eyed, now famous, press conference, trying to convince the world that the team had confidence in Warner, it seemed he was likewise trying to convince himself. What he failed to realize at that time, what none of us could have realized, was that Warner had enough confidence and conviction to overcome what his teammates or anyone else lacked in him.


From there the rest should have been history. Warner’s exclusion from the NFL had been corrected to the tune of a pair of Super Bowl appearances, with a win in one, a pair of league MVP awards and a Super Bowl MVP award to boot. One might look at this season’s Super Bowl participants and the overall change of the NFL toward that of a passing game, and declare Warner and his “greatest show on turf”, the forefathers of modern offense.


Instead, Mike Martz instead declared himself the mastermind behind the “G.S.O.T.”, and jettisoned Warner to make way for Marc Bulger. One rocky season in New York, and Warner’s fairy tale ride appeared over. Shiftless and benched a few times in Arizona, Warner almost began to give the appearance of a guy holding on for too long. And who could have blamed him? After all he had fought to overcome to gain entry to the league, no one would’ve expected him to go out willingly.


A Sunday afternoon in Baltimore in 2007 saw Warner get another chance. Taking over for an ineffective Matt Leinart late in a 23-6 Ravens’ blowout, Warner led a memorable comeback effort, which eventually saw his Cardinals lose 26-23 in overtime. In a way it’s kind of fitting that it happened against the Ravens, the team against whom he made his improbable debut in 1999.


Now after leading the Cardinals, as he did the Rams, through an unprecedented stretch of success for their history, Warner rides off into the sunset; having put the exclamation point on not just a hall of fame career, but also a hall of fame story, a hall of fame pursuit of a dream, and is generally regarded as an even better human being than football player.


It’s kind of ironic that Warner goes out without much suspense or fanfare, not looking to command the spotlight, simply going away on his own terms, after fighting for so long to justify his belief in himself and his own belief that he belonged. Meanwhile, we prepare as well for the inevitable opposite as Brett Favre will soon begin the public spectacle that is his retirement watch. Especially interesting since Warner’s first taste of the NFL was as a free agent invite to Packers camp, hoping only to back up Favre, as unseating him would have been out of the question.


Forget about the numbers, which also stack up pretty well against current hall of fame quarterbacks, what Warner accomplished goes far beyond numbers. If ever there was a deserving Hall of Famer, Kurt Warner is the one.





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I Can Save The Pro Bowl .....

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I Can Save The Pro Bowl …..

Posted on 29 January 2010 by Rex Snider

Question – Name the pro sports league that owns the distinction of hosting the most SIGNIFICANT and INSIGNIFICANT athletic events of the year ….. just a week apart?

Answer – That’s right, it’s the National Football League – proud owners of the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl games …..

In just nine days, the NFL is rolling out the red carpet and pagentry for the annual unveiling of its crowned jewel. The Super Bowl and it’s week-long events is a celebration likened to the coronation of a King or Queen. It’s more than a big deal …..

Yet, this Sunday – in the same stadium, Roger Goodell and his colleagues will do their best to dab some makeup and lipstick on the “ugly step sister” ….. or better yet, they’re opening the doors to the party nobody wants to attend.

And, it’s featuring a few guys nobody wants to see – because many REAL STARS backed out.

To be honest, this is an inherent problem for the NFL. Although, I’ve gotta dole out some credit; they’re trying to address the situation and improve the overall lure of the Pro Bowl for everyone involved. The league has made tangible changes.

And, the primary hurdle has been cleared by moving the game from a location that’s not exactly “convenient” to reach …..

Unless you had alot of disposable income, a week’s vacation and nothing better to do ….. OR you lived in Hawaii, the Pro Bowl just wasn’t in the offing in past years, right? Well, the NFL has corrected that problem.

As the football world knows, the game is being played at the site of the Super Bowl, in Miami, just a couple weeks earlier.

Problem solved, right? WRONG. Tickets are selling for as little as 20 bucks on the street, players are still backing out and subsequently, fans just don’t seem to care. It’s also worth mentioning that rules are still tightened and blitzing is not allowed. That matters – if you love the game of football.

I think it’s logical to say the NFL corrected the largest factor contributing to the disconnect between fans and the Pro Bowl. It’s being played on the mainland !!!!

But, the next biggest problem still exists. This guy isn’t attending …..

This guy’s bosses are BITCHINGLY complaining about him attending …..

This guy isn’t attending …..

This guy’s bosses are also complaining about him attending …..

You get the picture(s), right? It’s gonna be virtually impossible to attract fans and relevant attention to a showcase event, without the showcase quarterbacks participating in one way or another. God bless Vince Young, but football fans aren’t universally interested in dedicating a day to watching him play.

Let me be very clear about this ….. I have no qualms with ANY of the above guys pulling out of the Pro Bowl’s on-field commitments. Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have a BIGGER on-field obligation. Tom Brady is beaten and bruised. And, Brett Favre can barely run.

Their bodies have been punished for the last four months. But, are any of them exempt from attending the league’s GIVE BACK weekend? I suppose that’s debatable.

After all, the Pro Bowl is not really billed as being “For The Fans & About The Fans” which contradicts the missions of MLB, NBA and NHL endeavors. To be blunt, I’m not really certain about the appeal or desired result of the game.

However, if the NFL is intent on making it successful, they’ve gotta find an incentive for players to attend (even if they’re not playing), while actually displaying some enthusiasm and devotion to the people who support the game.

An initial consideration will likely regard MONEY. It always does. But, that won’t work – the amounts are likely not significant enough to gain the attention of the biggest stars. They’ve already got plenty of money. So, they’re off doing what they wanna do …..

A few dollars and a free trip to South Florida (a week earlier than desired) will not inspire these guys to make the journey – if they gotta practice and play football. Sure, some of them will pitch a product on radio row – NEXT WEEK – while working the room at a party or two. But, they’re not breaking a sweat.

Trust me, if the NFL really wants to salvage the Pro Bowl and make it a well publicized, worthwhile occasion, they need to read this blog.

Are you ready? Here goes …..

Upon determining the Super Bowl’s host city, the league needs to award the Pro Bowl to the nearest, neighboring NFL locale. For example, this year’s Pro Bowl would’ve been hosted by Tampa. I’ll agree, the folks in Tampa are accustomed to putting on the ritz for Super Bowl festivities, but they won’t reject the Pro Bowl – and they’re already hosting a HUGE PARTY, this weekend.

Have you heard of Gasparilla? It’s a “Pirate Themed Spring Break – for Adults.” In fact, it’s very much like Mardi Gras. It’s an awesome time – TRUST ME !!!!



The fine people of Tampa are already having the BIGGEST PARTY, in Florida, this weekend. The Pro Bowl would’ve been a natural and fun fit for the town. The Gasparilla event is on Saturday and the Pro Bowl could’ve been on Sunday.

Just take a look at where the next three Super Bowls are being played – and where the prospective Pro Bowls could be played …..

Indianapolis/Cincinnati (hey, they picked Indy – they’re stuck with Cincy)
New Orleans/Houston

Having the resounding support of the host municipality would be key and it would really be the only occasion for some cities, like Cincinnati, to ever host such a meaningful event. It could and would work from the local perspectives.

But, how do you get this guy (and his goat) to show up?

I’ll admit, a bunch of girls running around – scantilly clad in pirate outfits won’t do it. In fact, the Tampa situation is just a convenient one year deal. But, there is a group of people; a FAN BASE that would really put the players in an obligatory, selfless situation.

If the NFL wanted a full stadium and successful Pro Bowl event on their hands, they need to make their ALL STAR game about GIVING BACK to the people who are most deserving of such an event. And, they could coordinate it through one organization …..

That’s right, regardless of the host city, fill the Pro Bowl Stadium with America’s REAL HEROES. Distribute the tickets to enlisted personnel representing all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. Don’t sell the tickets – give them away. And, just require an accompanying Military ID at the gate.

Think about it ….. how much money is the NFL making on the Pro Bowl gate? It’s a drop in the proverbial bucket for them. And, the potential TV audience will not be tuned in for this Sunday’s game.

However, if the NFL truly GAVE BACK and made the event about these folks, the TV audience could skyrocket …..

I recognize the NFL has been instrumental in USO causes. In fact, John Harbaugh and a group of head coaches visited the troops, in Iraq, last year. And, if you attend a Ravens game, our military brethren are always recognized and remembered.

But, making the Pro Bowl “THEIR” event, on U.S. mainland soil would be a gigantic public relations win for the NFL – and citizens would care about the energy surrounding the game. It’s not about competition or providing better on-field production. It’s about hosting a game with a greater, selfless purpose.

My suggested format would not render Tom Brady healthy and willing to play in the game. But, I’d bet he wouldn’t blow it off. Neither would Brett Favre. Doing so, would be incredibly damaging to their public images.

They would show up and interact with FANS during pre-game festivities. They would take part in some facet of the game. They would have a REAL REASON to be there. In fact, the reasons OFF-FIELD are just as important as ON-FIELD …..

Oh, I’m sure one of the players would “dip his toe in the water” when considering the prospect of blowing off the game and resulting celebration. But, I’d sense their agent or PR guy would say, “Tom (Brett), you can’t dig this hole ….. you’ll never climb out of it.”

The NFL’s players would do the right thing.

Heck, maybe guys like Bill Polian would finally SHUT THEIR MOUTHS. The Colts President has been crying and complaining about his Pro Bowl players being obligated to travel to Miami, a little early, because they might “spend too much time on their feet.” Are you serious, Bill?

Have you considered how much time this kid spends on his feet?

Give me a break.

If the Pro Bowl becomes a celebration of the people who truly deserve a game to call their own, it would become a grand success – REGARDLESS OF WHO IS ON THE FIELD.

Give back, guys. It’s really that simple …..

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (1/20/10)

Posted on 20 January 2010 by Jack McManus


Chad Reuter is live in Orlando. He is covering the East-West Shrine Game. He states that many of the players in this game have great potential. Reuter discusses some of the wide receivers available. He explains that the underclassmen who declared early have boosted the class of pass-catchers. He calls Golden Tate a possible target for the Ravens in the draft. on the topic of quarterbacks, Reuter explains that after the second round, not much talent will be available. He also believes that Tim Tebow will drafted much higher than many people expect.



Dave Steckel of the Capitals is now on with Drew. Steckel scored the game winning goal last night against the Detroit Red Wings. He talks about the leadership Alexander Ovechkin provides as a captain. Next, Steckel talks about maintaining focus during a time where the team is running away with its division. Steckel also discusses the upcoming Olympic break. The players spend much of their time relxing before spending the latter part of the break to get back into shape.


Bob in Parkville calls in to talk about the earlier segment on Marvin Harrison. Bob believes that Harrison definitely shot the man in question. He goes on to say that this type of issue is far too common in the NFL. He states that nothing in any other sport compares to this.


Lomas Brown, of ESPN is next welcomed in. He begins by talking about the Colts-Jets game coming up this weekend. He is torn on which team he believes will win. As for the NFC Championship Game, Brown thinks the Vikings defense puts the team in a position to win. He states that Brett Favre came back to win a Super Bowl not just reach the NFC Championship. Finally, Brown talks about the CBA bargaining. The owners are asking for the players to assume a large loss in the percent of profits.


Merton is the next caller. Drew quickly jumps on Merton’s offer to take the Orioles from Baltimore too. He thinks Indy could turn the team in to a winner just like it did with the Colts. He makes sure to treat us with the Colts fight song before he leaves.


Art in Bel Air calls in. He wants to let Drew know he agrees that fans who no longer care for Matt Stover just because he played for Indy are wrong. He doesn’t care what team Stover chose to play for if it was the best situation for him.


Head coach of the Towson basketball team, Pat Kennedy is the next guest. Drew lets Kennedy know that whenever he accompanies a local team to Philly they lose. Therefore, Drew will stay away from the city for now. Kennedy admits that the losing hurts his team, but morale is still high. He states that the team is doing well in the paint right now. He is not upset about the team’s level of play despite the fact the team has not met expectations.


Jason Fagone of GQ joins Drew to talk about his story on Marvin Harrison. After publishing this story ESPN has revealed that the FBI is restarting investigations on Harrison. Fagone discusses with Drew how Harrison has returned to where he grew up despite his monetary success as a pro football player.


Miles from Owings Mills wants to make it clear that most Baltimore fans would welcome Stover back with open arms if he were to return next season.


Dan in Fallston is the next caller. He blames Stover for demanding a guaranteed contract from the Ravens when he knew the team did not give them out. Drew emphasizes that Ozzie Newsome made the decision on Stover and the idea of John Harbaugh not wanting Stover is false.


Lots of discussion on Matt Stover this morning. Bill in Essex talks about Matt has almost destroyed his legacy in Baltimore by going to play for the Colts. Drew points out that the Stovers are very sensitive to these types of issues becuase of their desire to be a part of the community.

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