Tag Archive | "Football"

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NFL reports more concussions in 2015, which may not be bad thing

Posted on 29 January 2016 by Luke Jones

With head injuries continuing to be such a serious topic of discussion, the NFL revealing on Friday that reported concussions rose to the highest level of the last four seasons doesn’t sound like good news.

After the league previously praised the way many players had adapted their style of play as the reason for a decrease in concussions in each of the previous two seasons, we’re now left wondering why there was a 54-percent increase in reported concussions from 2014 (123) to 2015 (190) in regular-season practices and games. The number of concussions in preseason practices and games went largely unchanged (83 in 2014 to 81 this past year).

Perhaps something did change that resulted in decreased safety in 2015 or maybe all involved parties — medical staff, officials, coaches, teammates, and even the concussed players themselves — are becoming more effective and responsible in recognizing and reporting concussion-related symptoms.

In other words, do these numbers represent an increase in actual concussions or is the league merely identifying more of them than it did in the past? According to NFL senior vice president of health and safety policy Jeff Miller, the number of players screened for possible concussions doubled from last year.

Ultimately, do we want concussion numbers that make us feel better or do we want to move closer to the truth and improving player safety?

Considering how skeptical most have been about the NFL’s handling of concussions over the years — and rightfully so — a higher number of reported concussions could reasonably lead us to believe that initiatives such as an independent trainer being stationed in the press box to watch for injuries and the 2015 introduction of the medical timeout rule are working — if even to remind everyone that this is a serious issue that can no longer be overlooked in the heat of competition.

Even if we haven’t solved the concussion problem, awareness has never been higher.

Errors are still being made as we saw with the concussion suffered by St. Louis quarterback Case Keenum in Baltimore in late November, but Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger self-reported symptoms in a game a week later, an act that likely would have been viewed as out of the question even a few years ago. You can only hope that more players take his lead as an example of not trying to play through a possible concussion.

The Ravens came under some scrutiny for the way they handled a situation in Miami on Dec. 6 when quarterback Matt Schaub slammed his head on the ground and immediately clutched his helmet with his hands, a sign of a potential head injury. The veteran wasn’t formally checked until a timeout was called a play later, but he remained in the game after passing concussion testing and the league cleared the organization of any wrongdoing the next day.

“I think whatever they do for safety — whatever they feel they need to do — is great,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said the day after the Dolphins game. “To me, you have one here that worked. We have experts who went out there and went through the process, and they’re very diligent and very conscious of concussions right now. That’s something that everybody is thinking about.

“I know mistakes have been made — I understand that — but I think you trust professionals to do their job and respect the fact that they know what they’re doing.”

It’s clear that the perception of head injuries in the NFL has changed dramatically as we no longer glorify “kill” shots that used to be featured on weekly highlight shows. Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict’s penalized hit on Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown in the final moments of a tight playoff game earlier this month wouldn’t have drawn near the same outrage six or seven years ago.

To be clear, concussions will never be eliminated entirely unless we entirely eliminate football — as well as a number of other contact sports — but we can all invest in making the game as safe as possible at every level, which includes teaching proper tackling technique and recognizing and treating concussions effectively. Ultimately, players should know the risks now more than ever — even if we still have a long way to go in continuing to research concussions and the human brain — but we’re seeing longer recovery times than in the past, which is a positive with the NFL’s more-extensive concussion protocol.

This must also come with an understanding that recovering from a concussion has nothing to do with someone’s toughness or manhood, an antiquated notion that needs to be removed from the football culture entirely.

All of us — media and fans included — need to be smarter than that in 2016.

Concussions are an unfortunate part of the game that will not go away altogether, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do all we can to avoid and minimize their impact.

Unfortunately, it’s just difficult to know what to make of the numbers released by the NFL on Friday.

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Todd Helmick

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Todd Helmick breaks down Week 3 in CFB

Posted on 22 September 2015 by WNST Staff

Todd Helmick

 

 

 

 

 

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Cory Bonini

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Cory Bonini’s strategy on Fantasy Football

Posted on 22 September 2015 by WNST Staff

 

 

 

 

Cory Bonini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kevin Johnson

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Baltimore Ravens 7 round mock draft 4.0 version

Posted on 25 March 2015 by Dennis Koulatsos

Kevin JohnsonThe Baltimore Ravens were awarded 3 compensatory picks in the 2015 NFL Draft, giving them a total of ten. Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and company can – as usual – go in several directions depending on how the board plays out.  In years past they’ve traded up and down, depending if a player they were targeting had been selected, or if there’s one that they rated higher and is dropping and within reach.  So without further ado, here’s a list of the players I see in a Ravens uniform at the conclusion of this year’s draft. It includes 3 – yes 3 – wide receivers, 2 defensive backs, 1 defensive tackle, 1 running back, 1 tight end, 1 offensive guard, and 1 defensive end:

Round 1: No. 26  – Kevin Johnson, CB Wake Forest He’ll start out as the third corner for the Ravens, but has starting potential down the road.  Ozzie at some point has to get Joe Flacco some “toys”, but this draft is deep at receiver and he’ll go get some (2 or 3) in the not too later rounds. He just cannot afford to be caught with not enough defensive back in this pass happy league again. That potentially cost the Ravens a Super Bowl appearance this past season, and Newsome will make sure it does not happen again.

Round 2: No. 58 – Devin Smith, WR  Ohio State Still sticking with him at this slot. I looked at a lot of receivers at this slot, and Smith was easily the most polished guy. Ran a 4.42 40 with a 39″ vertical. I can’t get the visual out of my head of him blowing up a kick returner in the Senior Bowl, as he came down the flank in the role of a gunner. He’s a football player, and no receiver at the combine tracked the deep ball better.

Round 3: No. 90 – Marcus Hardison, DT Arizona State 6’3″ 307 pounds.  With the loss of Haloti Ngata, the Ravens must draft another young defensive lineman to rotate with Brandon Williams and Tim Jernigan.  Hardison is built more along the lines of a defensive end, but he got to the QB 10 times last season.  That’s a pretty impressive stat for an interior lineman. He also had a good Senior Bowl and Pro Day.

Round 4: No. 122 – Eric Rowe, CB Utah At 6’1 205 pounds, he can play either corner or safety.  He’s been clocked at 4.39 in the 40, and he’s also come in for a visit.  Plus the Ravens love players from Utah.

No. 125 Javorius Allen, RB USC 6’0″ 221 running back from a big time program with big times hands to boot. “Buck”Allen rushed for 1,489 yards averaging 5.39 yards per carry while sharing the backfield with Justin Davis. He finished third on the team with 41 grabs for 458 yards, plus he is a reliable blocker.  His hands and blocking ability will serve him well in the Marc Trestman offense.

No. 136 (compensatory) – Ben Koyack, TE Notre Dame 6’5 255  Still convinced that the Ravens are going to take a TE in this spot. The only question remains as to which one they’re going to pick. I’m a bigger fan of the Penn State TE Jesse James, but I believe his combine #s moved him up to the 3rd round. The Ravens will also consider FSU’s O’Leary, Rutgers’ Kroft (they interviewed him at the combine), and OSU’s Heuerman. It’s also noteworthy that the Ravens also interviewed Koyack, which is the basis as to why I’m slotting him here.

Round 5: No. 158 – Darren Waller, WR Georgia Tech  He is 6’6″ 238 pounds – no folks, that’s not a typo.  Waller didn’t had the best receiving stats as he was primarily used as a blocker in Tech’s run heavy Flex-bone offense.  Still, with his immense dimensions, he is a very intriguing prospect.

No. 171 (compensatory) – Robert Myers, OG Tennessee I’d be surprised if Myers doesn’t end up in a Ravens uniform.  One publication described him as being ideally drafted with a developmental year in mind, which actually fits the Ravens m.o., particularly with Yanda’s and Osemele’s contracts coming up. At 6’5″ 326, he is very much the road grader that the Ravens like at the guard position.

No. 175 (compensatory) – Stefon Diggs, WR Maryland Injury concerns drop the speedy hometown receiver, as the Ravens pick him and triple down at the receiver position, in an attempt to give QB Joe Flacco the aformentioned “toys.” If Diggs – and that’s a big if – can stay healthy, along with Devin Smith he has a shot at replacing the production the Ravens got out of Torrey Smith.

Round 6: No. 203 – Ryan Delaire, DE Towson He is 6’4″ 250 pounds. Pulled a groin running the 40, but still got an interview by the Ravens. Long arms, and very productive career from this UMass transfer. He has a shot at making the roster as a developmental player behind Dumervil and Suggs.

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Why I’m happy Gary Kubiak took the Broncos job

Posted on 20 January 2015 by Dennis Koulatsos

We heard all the talk the past 10 days or so.  Gary Kubiak isn’t leaving the Ravens. He is very happy being their offensive coordinator. He’s not an administrator, but an X’s and O’s oriented type of a guy. He is a teacher, and has health concerns to boot. He is building a house in Owings Mills. Obviously working for your old roommate whom you were the back up QB to for 9 years up in Denver does have a tendency to change one’s mind. That and the nice contract a head coach would expect, are enough to sway anyone to change their mind.

The Ravens are better off for it, and I’ll tell you why. Gary Kubiak is a good man, a likable man. However, as a head coach, his record stands at 61-64, and he is 2-2 in the post season. He is Norv Turner in a different shell – both much more effective offensive coordinators than head coaches. That bodes well for the Ravens, as they face the Broncos in the future. That is, if the Broncos make the playoffs with the consistency that the Ravens have been making it for the past 7 years. If Peyton Manning doesn’t play in 2015 (he and the Broncos have until March 9 to decide) then Kubiak will start Brock Osweiler at quarterback. I don’t know that either one of these QBs are a good fit for Kubiak’s offense.

There are quite a few people in Denver that feel Elway’s hiring of Kubiak is an attempt to push Manning out the door, since he is owed $19 million on March 9, and he had a dismal outing against the Colts in the divisional round of the playoffs. Manning said he had a thigh injury that contributed to his performance, but to my untrained eye it was obvious he had lost quite a bit of steam off of his fastball.

The Ravens are a top notch organization, and will attract the best talent that is out there. They have a history of doing that. Baltimore is an attractive destination for coaches, because due to their consistent success, they frequently spawn head coaches in the NFL. Kubiak, Caldwell, Del Rio & Del Rio (2nd time), Pagano, just to name a few of the most recent one’s. They have a plan in place and will be methodical in their search for an offensive coordinator, but they will not cast as wide a net as they did a year ago. Joe Flacco had his best season in Kubiak’s scheme, and the Ravens are actively looking for a Kubiak clone so to speak.

The word on the street is that the best fit for the Ravens is Denver QB coach Greg Knapp. He is a better fit than Adam Gase, who was Denver’s offensive coordinator. Knapp has been described in some NFL circles as a Rick Dennison clone, and that the two are very similar in their philosophy, approach and execution regarding offensive football. Knapp comes directly from the Mike Shanahan-Gary Kubiak coaching tree, and is very well versed in the zone blocking scheme. Broncos fans are quick to point out that Knapp has been instrumental in Osweiler’s development, and feel that the 6’8″ third year pro out of Arizona State could capably replace the legendary Manning.

The 51 year old Knapp has an impressive body of work in the NFL. He was the Atlanta Falcon’s offensive coordinator and helped Michael Vick develop into a 2-way threat. He was Matt Schaub’s quarterback coach in Houston when Schaub was making the playoffs and Pro Bowls. And he was also the offensive coordinator in Oakland, where he installed the zone blocking scheme. The result was that it launched the career of running back Darren McFadden, who prior to Knapp’s arrival had not lived up to his pre-draft expectations.

The Ravens need to move relatively fast if they want to land the best candidate for their vacant offensive coordinator position, as the demand is heavy for the top coaches that are still available.

 

 

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Harbs

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Post game thoughts – Ravens vs Patriots

Posted on 12 January 2015 by Dennis Koulatsos

Had a great show Sunday morning, with relative predictable reaction by the Baltimore Ravens’ fan base. The scale was truly A – Z, from fans who were extremely upset, to moderately happy. The biggest issue that came up time and again was the decision that Joe Flacco made to throw the ball deep to Torrey Smith with just under 2 minutes left in the game.

Lots of Ravens fans second guessed that decision, and they wanted Flacco to continue to patiently work the ball downfield. In fact, on that play he had a wide open Marlon Brown streaking across the middle of the field.

It is my opinion that Flacco did in fact make the right call. The Patriots were in a single high safety formation, and Flacco knew that Torrey Smith was singled up by the DB on the left sideline. Smith got a couple of steps on his man, but the ball was under thrown and the safety came over and made a great play. It’s a simple as that. You take points when you can get them, and then you rely on your defense to make a stop, and win the game for you. Had the Ravens scored on that play, there’s no question it would have left the Patriots plenty of time to go down field and either tie the game with a field goal, or win it with a touchdown.

But first things first. I’ve seen too many games where offenses try to methodically go downfield in an attempt to score with seconds left, in order to leave the opposing offense with no time to move the ball. I’ve also seen turnovers happen in the form of fumbles and interceptions, mishandled handoffs and snaps. The ball is oblong, pointy, and bounces funny.  Oftentimes anything and everything that can go wrong…does. That is precisely why you take the points when you can get them.

The Ravens play aggressive football, and they have an aggressive nature about them. They are by and large well coached and relatively disciplined. No one complained when they went for it on 4th and 6th. When you live by the sword, you die by the sword. That’s how this team rolls, and that philosophy has played a big part as to why under John Harbaugh’s tenure, they’ve been in the playoffs 6 times in the past 7 years.

Speaking of Flacco, for 58 minutes he played a great game. He had two critical interceptions, but he also threw for 4 touchdowns. He should have had 5, but one of his throws bounced off of the hands of Owen Daniels. That was a huge play in and of itself, as it did factor in to the outcome. Flacco set a new NFL record with two touchdowns in eight straight postseason games, passing Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana and Drew Brees. That’s pretty good company if you ask me. The other question is this: if not Flacco – Ravens fans – then who? He didn’t let up a two touchdown lead, twice in the game. That was on the defense. Scoring 31 points in the NFL should be good enough for a win on any given Sunday. That was on the Ravens’ defense and their patched up secondary. Rob Gronkowski, some trickery, and Patriots’ half time adjustments were enough to pull out a win on their home turf.

There was criticism of Torrey Smith on the play that Flacco threw the pick on. Some fans felt that he didn’t do enough to break up the play. I’ve looked at the replays and he never had a chance to make a play on the ball. The safety was in good position, and got there at the ball’s high point. Smith is good, solid football player, but he doesn’t have the instincts to go up there and fight for the ball. It was not a lack of effort, and I’m not even sure that he saw the safety until the last second, so he didn’t have much time to react. I hope that he and the Ravens can come to a contractual agreement, as I believe he is a solid #2 receiver in this league, and adds value to the team.

Jacoby Jones looked tentative in the last two games, particularly on kickoff returns. He was not hitting the lanes hard, and maybe was putting too much emphasis on protecting the ball. He slipped on the opening kickoff versus the Steelers, and did not look good after that. I was hoping he would unleash himself in the manner that he did two years ago in the playoffs, but he was nowhere the difference maker this post season that he was then. I was disappointed with his performance, as I expected more.

The personal foul calls were troublesome, particularly on Torrey Smith. Coach Harbaugh should have also used a time out versus running on the field to get the refs’ attention. Not to mention he was wrong about the “deceptive practices” he alleged Bill Belichick was using. I under stand coach was frustrated after the bitter loss, but watching his presser brought to mind the phrase “never blame, complain or explain. I think Harbaugh is a solid coach, but hey coach, you got beat. Simple as that. Your defense blew a two TD lead – twice! Daniels didn’t come up with a catch – that Pitta would have probably held on to – in the end zone. Sending out 4 offensive linemen is nothing new. Alabama coach Nick Saban used it this season in overtime, in a 20-13 victory over LSU. I don’t recall LSU coach Les Miles complaining about the tactic at his press conference.

Bottom line is that the Ravens should head in to the off season with their heads held high. They battled through major off field distractions, 19 players on injured reserve, a late season suspension to a key player and still scratched and clawed their way to the divisional round of the AFC playoffs. They went toe to toe with a team that features a certain Hall of Fame first ballot quarterback and head coach, and gave them all that they could handle on their home turf.

Looks like offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak is coming back, and with a strong draft and some health, the Ravens are poised to make a deep run in to the playoffs next season for sure. Hopefully they’ll win enough regular season games to get some home games in the playoffs, which will make the road to where they’re ultimately trying to get to a bit easier.

 

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Big Ten Map B

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TERPS MOVE TO BIG TEN – FAIRLY QUIET

Posted on 08 July 2014 by Tom Federline

It’s official. As of July 1, 2014 the University Maryland Terrapins are a part of the B1G Ten Athletic Conference. If you didn’t catch the 60 second clip on the evening news that night or the 30 second blurb on sports radio that day, you missed it. I understand there was a “celebration” at Under Armour headquarters for supposedly an afternoon and official announcement on campus the following day for about an hour. Of course, WNST was on this in early June. But did you hear anything more about this from any other local media as the date approached? I do not spend $75+ for a shirt that breathes or $100+ for tennis shoes (UA apparel) and I also do not contribute thousands of dollars to the Terrapin Club – so I guess that’s why I wasn’t invited.

Initial announcement – “Terps are moving to the Big Ten, good-bye ACC. All lifetime Terp fans, if you don’t like it – to bad. Its’ a done deal.” Official move date – “Terps headed west, mid-summer, prior to 4th of July Holiday. It’s a done deal. Tune in Terp fans at the beginning of September to follow the mens football and mens/womens soccer teams hitch hiking on Routes 76 and 80, trying to locate Cedar Rapids, Iowa.” I have heard half the teams will be heading to Raleigh-Durham area, the other half will be attempting to dodge tornado’s on their first road trip to the Midwest.

Wait-a-minute, they won’t be hitch hiking, they’ll be riding in luxury motor coaches. Five players to an RV, equipped with all the luxuries of their dorm rooms for their 3 month road trip. I understand the university is supplying each motor coach with IT personnel that were fired from the “Identity Theft Scandal” last year. They are to help keep up the kids academic obligations, with remote access to their classes and to Facebook. In addition, I believe the University is also providing traveling “tutors” (from the basketball team),  to assist in providing guidance to the youngsters for those “remote access” classes. The motor coaches are part of the “financial stability package” the university will be receiving as part of this transfer to the midwest.

Remember the words from UMCP’s current athletic director, (not verbatim) – The move to the B1G Ten will help the University of Maryland academically, as well as financially. Really Kevin Anderson? Academically? Please provide those fabricated “academically enhanced” documents in order to safe face. What I read was – “Maryland is set to make $100 million dollars more in the next 6 years by joining the B1G Ten as opposed to if they had stayed in the ACC.” Really Kevin Anderson and President Loh? Does that include the $52 million dollar penalty for transferring out of the ACC and joining the B1G Ten? Does that include re-instating the sports programs that were dropped because of “misappropriation” of funds within the Athletic Department? Good ahead blame it on Debbie Yow – she’s gone. Does that include paying off Turgeon when he blows another basketball season? It’s all about the money and only about the money. Isn’t it Mr. AD and Mr. Pres.? Academics? Really? Maryland established itself as a top notch academic college many moons ago. Don’t embarrass yourselves, keep the athletics and academics totally separate. Ya ain’t foolin’ no one, no mo’.

College athletics are a changing. Traditions – gone. Rivalries – gone. Geographical accommodation – gone. Student athletes –  gone. Fan base – diminishing and/or transitional. “Show Me the Money” – IN. The re-arrangement of college conferences apparently are a necessary evil. As you know by now – I’m old school and that I believe – “Its All Fixed.” It does pain me when the almighty dollar wins out. I can accept there will be new traditions, new rivalries new fan bases. It’s just gonna take awhile. “O” and it’s going to take more gas money for the RV when we are picking up the kids hitch hiking across the country. FYI – here’s a look at the new B1G Fourteen:

This whole Terp transfer from the ACC to the B1G Ten has been like one huge “Firework” – (Katy Perry). One right after the other. We got blasted on the initial announcement over a weekend in the Fall. Blasted again, when the official move was done a couple of days before the 4th of July pyrotechnics. I know, I know – “It will work out in the end…….and if it doesn’t……. it’s not the end.” Or someone could just introduce the university on another scam to get some mo’ money and BAM – more fireworks.

Good luck Terps, we’ll be watching you on the B1G Ten Network (that is a plus). Good luck Terps, with local fan support during the second year of your Midwest run. The faithful will probably stay with you this initial year -it’s a novelty. Then watch the numbers dwindle. Let’s hope for the best. Go Terps – see you up in Madison. BTW -that is a cool college town. “Time to face the strange.”

D.I.Y.

FEDMAN

 

 

 

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Johnny Manziel should be the first player taken in the draft. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

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Houston, there’s no problem: Johnny Manziel is the No. 1 pick

Posted on 06 May 2014 by johngallo

I really wanted to dismiss Johnny Manziel as the top pick.

I wanted to justify knocking him down a few rungs on the board because he’s a “running quarterback,” and you know what running quarterbacks don’t do? Win Super Bowls. I heard Manziel’s name, and I thought of Michael Vick – a guy who will get your team on ESPN’s top plays but not a Lombardi Trophy.

I thought it was just too risky to take Manziel No. 1 because that’s what history told me. Since 1990, 14 quarterbacks have been taken first overall, yet just two – Peyton and Eli Manning – have won the Super Bowl. But what’s even more glaring is that eight – Tim Couch, David Carr, Carson Palmer, Alex Smith, JaMarcus Russell, Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford and Cam Newton – haven’t won a playoff game. That leaves Drew Bledsoe, Vick and Jeff George and Andrew Luck as top picks who have won at least one playoff game, though in fairness, Luck likely won’t be on this list long.

Super Bowl winners Joe Flacco (18th), Ben Roethlisberger (11th) and Trent Dilfer (sixth) weren’t even the first quarterbacks taken in the first round in 2008, 2004 and 1994, respectively. Aaron Rodgers was picked 24th overall in 2005. Drew Brees was picked in the second round in 2001. Tom Brady went in the sixth round, after 198 players had been selected. Hell, Kurt Warner wasn’t even drafted and would have taken $6 an hour if a team offered, which would have been 50 cents more than he was making an hour stocking shelves at the Hy-Vee grocery store in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

I read about Manziel’s celebrity lifestyle and thought he’s too busy being the man off the field to be the man off it, much like I did when Mark Sanchez thought he was the biggest thing to hit New York since King Kong.

But then I did some research, looking past Manziel’s highlight-reel plays and ability to hang with so many hot chicks that he’d make Hugh Hefner envious.

Manziel’s running fuels his passing. Without his legs, Johnny Football would be just plain ol’ Johnny.

There’s a difference between being a “running quarterback” and one who uses his speed to extend plays.

Consider: Manziel had 521 more rushing yards and 27 more first downs on scrambles more yardage than any quarterback from a BCS automatic qualifying conference – ACC, American Athletic, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 – in the past two years. He had 29 rushes for at least 20 yards, which led the SEC, the nation’s best league, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

“I don’t know really who you would compare Jonny Manziel too,” George Whitfield, Manziel’s personal quarterback coach, told ESPN during an interview on May 6.

Try Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. As a senior at Wisconsin in 2011, he led all BCS automatic qualifying conference quarterbacks with 416 rushing yards on scrambles, including 18 that went for at least 10 yards.

All Wilson has done since entering the NFL as a third-round pick is win a Super Bowl and more games than any other quarterback the past two seasons combined.

Maybe Manziel is really Wilson’s long lost twin who just lives a vastly more public lifestyle? It’s scary because the statistical comparison is there.

“I don’t see them as an exact match, but I definitely do get it,” Whitfield told ESPN. “Russell Wilson came into the league seasoned, mature and played an awful lot of football and played a lot of baseball and Johnny looks up to him. I just don’t know if those two are carbon copies.”

Maybe not carbon copies, but very, very close, according to measurements.

Height: Manziel: 5-11¾; Wilson: 5-11

Weight: Manziel: 207; Wilson: 204

Hand size: Manziel: 9 7/8; Wilson: 10¼

Arm length: Manziel: 31 3/8; Wilson: 31

40-yard dash: Manziel: 4.68; Wilson: 4.55

Broad jump: Manziel: 113 inches; Wilson: 118

Vertical jump: Manziel: 31.5; Wilson: 34

Three cone drill: Manziel: 6.75; Wilson: 6.97

I wasn’t too high on Russell entering the 2012 draft. Maybe it was because I thought – and still do – the Big Ten is inferior to the SEC. Or maybe, it was because I never saw him win a big game since the Badgers lost to Michigan State, Ohio State and Oregon. And maybe, it was because Wilson didn’t carry the Badgers.

Regardless, I was wrong.

But I’m right about Manziel.

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Flacco hoisting trophy

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RAVENS ROLLER COASTER RIDE

Posted on 12 February 2013 by Tom Federline

It has been a week. What just happened Baltimore? I’ll tell you what happened, the Baltimore Ravens losers of their last 4 out of 5 regular season games put on an inspirational run to win the NFL Lombardi Trophy. Is it time to get off the ride? Heck no, the city and surrounding area actually has claim to another National championship in a major sport. It has been 12 years and you don’t know when it will happen again – no you don’t get off the ride. Now, does the roller coaster level out? I sure hope so. That was one heckuva January run. I am not a fan of the roller coaster, not at this stage of the game. I’m to old, my heart can’t take it. Now, back in the day…………….different story, maybe that’s why my heart and blood pressure tells me,” cool out middle aged guy – just sit back and let the chips fall where they may.” Yeah right – not happenin’.

The Baltimore football Ravens took their fans on a ride of a lifetime. All the while catching the eye of sports fans around the country. Underdogs over-achieving, was story line enough. Then add on the Ray Lewis’ retirement. Then add on Ray-Rays religious dramatizations (and the Saturday Night Live skit http://www.myspace.com/video/saturday-night-live/weekend-update-ray-lewis/109174459 ). You go Keenan Thompson. Then to top it off, add on the sibling rivalry of the Harbaugh Brothers coaching against each other in the Super Bowl. “O” and don’t forget the Denver Classic and the dis-mantling of pretty boy Brady and his troll coach Bill Belichek.

The run, I mean the ride. I was lucky enough to be offered a ticket to the Colt game. The Ravens were not going to lose that game. Ray-Ray had announced his retirement during the week and it was going to be his last home game – the Ravens were not losing that game. Las Vegas money, Steve Bisciotti’s money and the NFL’s money was not going to end Ray-Rays run on that game. It was not going to be his last dance. It was an ugly game but they won. Denver game – wow, then wow, then wow again. Definitely one of the top 3 Ravens games of all time. New England game – sweet payback and no retirement party for Ray. San Francisco in New Orleans – hold the phone.

The ride had a couple more heart stoppers left in it. Heck at one point, it even felt like somebody had turned off the lights and play had to be stopped. Ravens up 28 – 6, the tide was a crestin’, 3rd and 14 for the bad guys and “Boom, Boom, Out Go the Lights – Pat Travers Band. Ok gang, I actually have a little experience with this one – Rule #1, Electrical Engineering for Stadiums 101 – “You don’t lose power to the venue – unless there is a major city grid outage.” Two separate hot feeds to the venue with transfer and generator back-up for life safety. I do not know the history or infrastructure of the Super(?)dome, but somebody screwed up big time. Or a 49er’s fan, got access to the Substation or the Service Level and knew what switch to hit.

It almost changed the outcome of the game. I think the astronauts in the space station orbiting the earth could feel the tension emanating into the atmosphere directly above the east coast mid-atlantic region. It was not a pleasant evening there for about 1-1/2 hours there during the 3rd and 4th quarters, now was it. Still on the roller coaster, still hanging on, still hoping for a safe, happy ending. The power outage changed the momentum of the game. I don’t care what Roger Goodell said, I don’t care what Steve Bisciotti said, I don’t care what the Superdome Facility guys said, the power outage changed the game, but not the outcome. The Superdome and city of New Orleans should not host another Super Bowl until a new properly designed facility is in it’s place. The power outage was a nice final hairpin turn on the ride – it did not help the blood pressure.

Ravens Won.

Ravens Won.

A new generation now knows what it feels like for a local sports franchise to win a National Championship. The city needed it. The State of Maryland and surrounding area needed it. The Baltimore Ravens needed it and Ray Lewis deserved it. You Go Ravens!

Pitchers and cathers reported to Spring Training. Are we ready for another ride? Your darn right we are. GO O’s and Thank You – Ravens. Baltimore Sports Pride is front and center.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Terps to the Big Ten

Posted on 29 November 2012 by Tom Federline

It just ain’t right. The University of Maryland is leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference to join the Big Ten (or is it 12, or 14, or eventually 24?), to “ensure the financial stability” of the sports department (possibly save 7 sports) and receive “academic benefits.” Pa-lease Wallace Loh and Kevin Anderson, we are not buying it. Just like the Iowa and Army alumni (respectively) that did not buy the oceanfront property in Kansas you tried selling them at your previous jobs.  It’s all about setting the University up for the conversion into the Five (5) Super-Conferences. It’s all about excuses to raise tuition. It’s all about the money. It’s all about football and basketball.

Nice Thanksgiving Week surprise, huh? Stuff this, U of M. Yeah, yeah, yeah……….financially it may help dig the powers at large out of the hole they dug and an attempt to save face from the ridicule and embarasssment of losing 7 athletic programs. I liked the Lefthanders quotes – “What is the matter? Why are they so broke?” How can a major state university mis-appropriates monies and drop 7 sports? I still can’t get over that one. With all the successes of mens/womens basketball teams, mens/womens soccer, mens/womens lacrosse, womens filed hockey, etc. I just don’t buy it.

The Atlantic Coast Conference to me: Clemson, Duke, NC, NC State, Vigina, Wake Forest, maybe Georgia Tech (1978) and of course the Terps. That’s what I grew up with. That is what I will always remember. I didn’t buy Florida State coming in (1991) and my goodness when the Big East started invading, I basically boycotted those games. My most memorable ACC basketball coaches: the Lefthander, Gary, Coack K., Dean Smith, Norm Sloan, Jimmy V., Terry Holland, Dave Odom (the otter) and Bobby Cremins. Those days are gone, but oh the memories.

So, who did you root for this past week in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge? I was all over Michigan – “Go Wolverines beat State! and “How ’bout them Stinkin’ Badgers – beat those Wahoos!” I don’ think so……..but it was (as always) “Anybody but Duke. Go Buckeyes!”  Basketball is going to be interesting. Football……….Terps don’t have a chance.

Brace yourself for the five (5) Super-Conferences. That is where Collegiate sports is heading. Throw out the traditional geographically correct conference locations. Some rivalries will remain, some will start anew, some will become a distant past memory. It’s all about the money and bragging rights. Not that any of this is “fixed” or there has been some mis/re-allocation of funds, because that would just absolutely crush me. Gosh darn, I sure hope greed hasn’t entered into the picture.

The student-athlete? I guess it depends on the sport and the individual. The athlete (how much money can you bring in) – student (which is questionable with the football/basketball programs), is more like it.  Will this move “fix” the supposed struggling U of M Athletics? Only time will tell. Maybe the powers at be needed NEW money? Not that any of this is “fixed” or there has been some mis-allocation of funds, because that would just absolutely crush me. Gosh darn, I sure hope greed hasn’t entered into the picture.

The Big Ten? Currently most of those schools are in the mid-west and north right? So, when are we going to Minnesoda on a road trip. Terrapin Nation be travelin’ well to Nebraska or how about Iowa? Those destinations on your “bucket list”? I wonder how easy it will be to get a football ticket in Ann Arbor, for Terps / Michigan? Ok, going to that stadium with a full house might be cool. But I’m doing it in September!

Bottom line – the “Times They are a Changin'” – (Bob Dylan). Accept and roll or divert your energies. As an “old schooler” and traditionalist – it just ain’t right. As a realist – bring it on. It’s all a little heavy to digest at the moment. On a positive, no more Carolina refs on a consistent basis. I have heard gossip about those corrupt Michigan refs though. You kiddin’ me? GO TERPS!

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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