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2008 Ravens tribute: “Harmony Reigns”

Posted on 23 December 2008 by Drew Forrester

With only one week remaining in the regular season, the Ravens are on target to return to post-season play for the second time in three seasons.  The only thing standing in their way: a visit from downtrodden Jacksonville this Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Get ready to celebrate.  There’s no way the Jags come here and beat the Ravens with everything on the line for Baltimore and nothing at stake for J’ville.  If, somehow, Jacksonville does win on Sunday, it goes down as the most disappointing defeat in Ravens history.  Period.  That Indy home playoff loss was a downer, but it WAS a playoff game and the team that beat the Ravens on January 13, 2007 went on to win the Super Bowl.  It wasn’t like a 5-10 team came limping in here ready to mail it in and suddenly found a win to pull the upset of all upsets to keep us out of the playoffs.  That’s the scenario the Jags face on Sunday.  I don’t see it happening.

So, when the Ravens win this Sunday and scoot in as the surprising 6th seed in the AFC, the reflective question of the day will be this: “How’d we do it?”

How did the Ravens go from 5-11 a year ago, with a locker room in complete disarray and a group of mouthy, disgruntled players, to an 11-5 team just 12 months later?

There are some easy answers and some complicated ones, but they all fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

First off, last year’s team might have finished 5-11, but they weren’t really a 5-11 club.  They lost three games in memorable, completely unexpected (some would say “fluky”) fashion.  One of the losses came at home when Cleveland’s kicker booted a game-tying field goal that hit the goal-post and bounded onto the back stantion, where it promptly bounced forward and was ruled no good.  A review (of sorts) of the play resulted in a change of the call (rightfully) to “good” and the Browns went on to win in overtime.  A few weeks later, Baltimore beat then-undefeated New England except Rex Ryan called a time-out in the game’s final minute…just as the Ravens were stopping the Patriots and their winning streak on 4th down.  Moments later, after New England capitalized on 4th down opportunity #2, Tom Brady threw the game-winning TD and the Pats won a game they had already lost.  And in week #14, ultra-reliable Matt Stover missed a 43-yard field goal in overtime that would have given Baltimore a win at Miami.  

So, a 5-11 team really played more like an 8-8 team.  But 5-11 it was.

Also last year, injuries played havoc with Baltimore’s starting 22 and the depth of the team was fully exposed in the latter stages of the season.  At one point in 2007, 8 of their best players missed at least 20% of the campaign, some even more.  McAlister (knee), Ogden (toe), McNair (everything), Lewis (hand), Rolle (health), Heap (ankle), Pryce (hand) and Wilcox (toe) were all sidelined and their replacements were not only inadequate, but in some cases, liabilities.  Who can ever forget that Indianapolis home game?  Peyton Manning torched the Ravens’ depth-less secondary so much the Baltimore City fire marshal showed up at halftime and issued #18 a citation for outdoor burning.

This year’s team battled injuries early on, but their BEST players, with the exception of Rolle, McAlister and Kelly Gregg, have all played the entire schedule to date: Ray, Flacco, Ngata, Suggs, Reed, Mason (banged up but playing every game somehow…what a warrior), Gaither, Brown, Grubbs, Scott, Pryce…none of those guys have missed extensive time.  It helps when your best players are playing. This year, for the most part, the Ravens best players have been available.

And it also helps when the organization learns from its mistakes.  Depth (lack thereof) was a major reason for last year’s failure, but depth is a big reason why the ’08 version is winning.  When Dawan Landry went down in week #2 with a season ending spinal injury, safety Jim Leonhard stepped in and did the job and then some, earning the respect of everyone with his week-in, week-out hard-nosed style of play.  And when Rolle and McAlister both missed time, newcomer Fabian Washington stepped in admirably at cornerback and even the oft-criticized Frank Walker has been decent enough to warrant a respectful tip of the cap.  Kelly Gregg’s absence hasn’t been felt at all, thanks to a monster year from Ngata and a breakthrough campaign for erstwhile back-up Justin Bannan.  And the triple-threat at running back has given the team different looks and different strengths all season long.  

“Players play, coaches coach” – that’s the old adage.  And it’s true.  But, when dissecting this year’s success, you’d be unfair if you didn’t mention the off-season front office work of George Kokinis, Eric DeCosta and, of course, Ozzie Newsome.  Via the draft and free agency, those three added depth in the secondary and on the offensive and defensive lines.  

John Harbaugh came in a with no-nonsense style that ruffled a feathers at the outset, but as he settled down, so did the discontent.  Coodinators Cameron and Ryan are well respected by the players and they quietly mirror Harbaugh’s confidence that this roster of players is capable of winning big games right away – even with a first-year quarterback at the helm.

But the two main components that contribute to the ’08 Ravens success are the complicated pieces that complete the puzzle.  I’ll call them “Peace and Quiet” for lack of a better term. 

First, and most obviously, it’s at quarterback, where Joe Flacco (“Peace”) has done the unthinkable. He’s gone from leading a Division 1AA school to its post-season to leading an NFL team to the brink of its post-season — all within 12 months.  And he’s done it with a quiet, reserved, hardly-a-pulse manner that has made his teammates believe in him almost from day one in Westminster last summer. Kyle Boller NEVER had the faith of his entire team in five seasons.  Joe Flacco gained it all in about five weeks. 

And without that distraction at quarterback and with the team in harmony both on and off the field, this year’s Ravens have been able to focus on playing football.  And good football, at that.

It’s been awfully “Quiet” this season.  Have you noticed how much bickering has gone on this year? Even when the team stumbled in October and dropped three straight, do you remember any public whining and moaning?  McAlister was involved in a fortnight of controversy with the coach over some misbehaving in Miami, but he suddenly suffered a season ending knee injury (*ahem*) that saved Harbaugh a tough mid-season talk.  And, other than Ed Reed dropping a “we don’t like the way Harbaugh talks down to us…” hint at mid-season, you heard no other negative whispers from the locker room.

No more complaints about the quarterback.  No crying about playing time.  No public campaigning for new contracts, extensions, etc.  No controversies, even on the occasion when results and fortune could have allowed for it.  

When the Ravens got pounded by the Giants in New York, they simply said, “we got beat by a better team today…” – Early in the year they lost a heartbreaker at home to the Titans when Tennessee orchestrated a late drive that was aided in large part by a phantom “blow to the head” call against Terrell Suggs…”we shouldn’t have been in that position…can’t let a good team like that stay in the game” was what the players said afterwards. – And last Sunday after losing to Pittsburgh in dramatic fashion with a goal-line TD call leaving everyone in America wondering about the effectiveness of instant-replay, the Ravens refused to bite: “we just have to go to Dallas and win a football game…we didn’t do the job on that last drive…can’t win many games if you don’t score touchdowns.”  No complaining this year.  No bellyaching about the referees, bad luck, bad coaching, etc.  

This team stayed positive all season long.

Looking for the BEST example of all?  Willis McGahee.  Essentially benched in the late stages of the season for lack of production, #23 took the chance to support his coach by saying, “If I were the coach, I’d bench me too…I’ve played like dog doo-doo.”  Gone are the days of hearing a guy chastising the coaching staff for not getting enough touches on the ball — McGahee took his demotion like a pro and put the team first. It’s been a while since I felt better about a player scoring a touchdown than I did on Saturday night when Willis broke off that 77-yard TD run.  He deserved that more than anyone else on the team.

The topper, though, has to be the unwavering championship play of Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Bart Scott. All three are seeking a new deal and all three are – for the most part – competing with one another for that big cash cow at season’s end.  If Ray gets all the money, Suggs and Scott might not. If Suggs cashes in, Ray and Scott might be looking at giving a purple discount or moving on to another team. Yet, there hasn’t been one – not one – moment where any of those three took the opportunity to bellow about a new deal either here or elsewhere.

It’s a happy house in Owings Mills these days.

The team has won.

The players have played hard.  Injured players have been replaced by guys performing at unexpected levels. And certain players have battled ailments to the extent that it almost looks unhealthy for them to be out there in the first place.

The Ravens have come together as men and played for one goal.

And their focus has been on winning football games.  Nothing else.

Playing time, personal friendships, money, feelings about the coach and his staff…it’s all been put on the side in exchange for trying to win.

It’s been their ’08 success formula.

Let’s hope it carries over for just one more Sunday.

Then everyone starts at 0-0 again and it’s suddenly a 4-game season.

And, based on what I’ve seen over the last four months, I like the Ravens chances in January.

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Strange, nostalgic day to be in Dallas

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Strange, nostalgic day to be in Dallas

Posted on 20 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s a crazy day to be in Dallas. They’re shutting their stadium tonight amidst a potential season-wrecker if Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis and the Ravens come in a steal a victory. It’s the Ravens’ first-ever trip into Dallas, the final city they’ve never played in over the 13-year history of the franchise (not counting the Minnesota preseason game two years ago). And the civic pressure is on here in “Big D.” You can almost feel the anticipation for this game if you just drive around town and hear people talking.

If the 2008 Dallas Cowboys lose their final game in Texas Stadium to get essentially bumped from a playoff spot, they’ll be all-time chumps. Especially on the backend of Tony Romo’s January meltdowns and T.O.’s loudmouthed nonsense. This game is significant here — the lead story on every TV channel and the headline of every newspaper.

A big giant “love in” is scheduled for the pre-game and the in-game. The pageantry they’re putting on – and you do know that EVERYTHING is bigger in Texas – will rival what we did for the Orioles in Baltimore on 33rd Street back in 1991. If you really want to vomit and hate the Cowboys more than you already do, just flip NFL Network on today. The pre-game show starts at 5 p.m. and that goof Rich Eisen has already promised to get “every breathing Cowboy legend possible” onto the show. Just hearing Deion Sanders wax on (and off) with every Dallas legend from Roger Staubach and Tony Dorsett to Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith is enough to make you hit the “mute” button.

I’ve hated the Cowboys since Clint Longley…

But here’s the reality: the WHOLE THING is set up for the Ravens to get their asses kicked on national “house TV” of the NFL with the star at the 50-yard line and a team and a stadium that helped build the foundational greatness of the shield is going down. (A little different than imploding the Hoosier Dome, as was done earlier to day in Indianapolis…)

Not that the game doesn’t have enough interesting subplots already – with both teams fighting for their January lives and a crucial win tonight – but the stadium closing combined with the constant drama of Terrell Owens and the matchup issues (still no word on whether Fabian Washington will suit up…join the FREE text service and we’ll keep you in the loop) on both sides of the ball, this figures to be a great and memorable night either way.

The Ravens need this game. The city kinda needs this game. I don’t want to wake up on Christmas Day on the outside looking in after all of the fun this team has given us this year. I want a playoff game in New England or New York or Miami two weeks from now. I don’t want the season to end. Tonight could be kinda ugly, as the Ravens enter the game as 4 ½ point underdogs. As big of a home game as the Pittsburgh fiasco was the other night, this might as big of a December road game as the Ravens have played in their history.

It’s always fun when the Ravens play in big games. You can feel the weight of this one here in Dallas for sure.

The weather report shows that the temperature will be dropping like a rock during the game. It was 78 degrees here yesterday when we landed. We walked in short sleeves after dark last night amidst the holiday lights. This morning it’s 60 degrees, damp and kinda chilly. It’s supposed to be 55 at 6 p.m. and 45 at 9 p.m. and 32 by midnight. Tomorrow, it’ll be 35 degrees when we leave Dallas.

I’ll continue to check in from Dallas.

We found a lady bug on the window sill and thought it might be good luck…Ladybug

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A win today paints Baltimore purple for the holidays

Posted on 13 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

The next 24 hours are yet another example of how great it is to have the NFL in Baltimore. Every watercooler and chat room and bar conversation in the city is buzzing with talk of Ravens vs. Steelers. There are Ravens hats and jackets and flags out all over the place. Indeed, as the holiday music plays, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

The anticipation, the buildup has truly been a lot of fun for anyone who loves Baltimore. It’s the most significant regular season game that’s been played in Baltimore since the Toni Linhart fog game against the Dolphins on 33rd Street.

It’s the biggest game of the NFL weekend and the rivalry is starting to get some true national heat for the first time since Baltimore got back into the league in 1996. We’ve ALWAYS hated the Steelers, but now they kinda hate us as much. It’s a legit “Hatfields” and “McCoys”! And at 4:15, it’s all on the line. The season, in some ways, comes down to the next 60 minutes of football against the team we all love to hate! It’s almost perfect!

So, you know what happens if we win? A piece of first place, a short work week and another huge Saturday night nationally televised game against Terrell Owens and the Cowboys in Dallas. And the families and friends and co-workers and Facebook and Twitter all talk of playoffs and home games and byes. The Ravens become the primary theme of the Christmas season of 2008. My purple Santa hat will come back out as a daily reminder of how much fun it is to have the Ravens in Baltimore.

But my favorite part happens when they replace every light bulb in the city with the purple gels. And the city starts to glow an odd shade of purple. It’s really kind of amazing when you think about, the spirit our city gets for this football team. (BTW: We are EXTENDING the deadline for the Miller Lite Purple Palace contest through Dec. 21st to allow everyone to play. As you can see here, we’re getting some awesome pics and videos! Keep them coming and let us know if someone you know has a purple palace worthy of entry.)

With a victory on Sunday afternoon against the Steelers, this city will literally become a giant purple sea of enthusiasm.

It’s been a rough year financially for virtually everyone I know. Business throughout the city is off. Everyone I talk to who owns a business has felt the impact. Business at our radio station is off. Business at EVERY radio station is off. The Baltimore Sun’s parent company filed for bankruptcy last week. Sometimes just putting on the television in the mornings is depressing. I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t been affected in some way by the international economy collapse but one thing that can make times at least a little better — here in Baltimore anyway — is having this football team win and watching the community come together and cheer a little. It’s like a civic tonic.

Do you remember the Colts game from 100 weeks ago? All of the same emotions that we’ve seen this week – minus the Irsay talk – were present. The buildup, the constant chatter and “can’t wait until Sunday” feeling we’ve all had this week. A win today would kind of blow the roof off of the city and we could embrace the 2008 Ravens as true “contenders” to win a Super Bowl.

A win over the Steelers and the real fun of the holidays and Festivus begins in Baltimore. A loss, and well…well, it would be one helluva hangover if this goes the wrong way. (I don’t even want to think about it. I’m still shaking off the Colts loss and it’s been two years!)

I predict a Ravens victory, 27-13. They must win. The city needs it.

Let the games begin…

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THE COMPLETE ART MODELL PRIMER & FAQ REGARDING HIS HOF CANDIDACY

Posted on 03 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Here is a primer on all things Canton, Pro Football Hall of Fame voting, the politics, the rules, the history and most importantly “Where Art Modell stands” in his lifelong quest to be bronzed and rightfully enshrined amongst the greats of the NFL game. You can also listen to Tuesday’s interviews with Peter King and Len Shapiro in our audio vault for more discussion about the reality of Art’s bid. Shapiro wrote a huge piece yesterday in The Washington Post pimping Modell’s candidacy and calling it a “travesty” that he’s not in Canton. It’s a must read!

(Incidentally, I’d love to link to a story in The Baltimore Sun regarding Modell’s candidacy, but once again our friends on Calvert Street are asleep at the wheel. Nice job of sticking up for your own, boys!)

This getting into the Hall of Fame business is more about politics and less about achievements these days if my research and the people I’ve chatted with who are in the room are really being honest.

The “clear cut” guys – this year it figures to a slam dunk for Rod Woodson, Shannon Sharpe and Bruce Smith as inductees – are mere formalities in many ways. Wide receiver Cris Carter is a bit of a holdover from last year, and figures to be a major factor with his gaudy stats. So, for the sake of argument, let’s just make them automatic and play for the bottom of the card, which appears to be the remaining one or two inductees. No one needs to make any strong argument for the non-bubble guys. It’s always the fringe people or the overlooked people who create the emotional stirs and long, heated debates in the minds of the voting committee.

There are 43 men and 1 woman who vote for the inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. There are 12 at-large members plus one representative from each of the 32 NFL cities/teams on the committee. Scott Garceau is Baltimore’s local rep. Mike Preston was formerly on the committee until 2004, when the Tribune Company decided to make it “against company policy” to vote on such committees because of “conflict of interest” concerns.

The 2009 list of 25 candidates will be pared down to 15 before Dec. 17th, when all 44 members must have their ballots and recommendations received. On Jan. 31, 2009 – the day before the Super Bowl – this group of 44 will enter the same room in Tampa and arguments will be given for all 15 candidates, plus the two senior committee nominees (this year it’s Claude Humphreys and Bob Hayes up for induction).

Let’s be straight: Virtually none of the candidates have anything left to “give the game” outside of Art Modell and Ralph Wilson, whose legacies and franchises live on in Baltimore, Cleveland and Buffalo. Paul Tagliabue is the only other “non player” on the current ballot of 25 names. All 22 of the others will be judged by their play on the field over the years, and virtually everyone on the HOF committee of 44 feels that “players” trump “contributors” when it comes time for voting. So, at best, Modell’s candidacy could be derailed by most anyone who actually stepped between the lines and played the game.

For the record, Tagliabue has many supporters among the 44, who all came in direct contact with His Commissionership many times over the last 20 years as he was the ultimate power broker in the sport for nearly a generation.

SO, HOW DOES ART MODELL GET INTO THE HALL OF FAME?

Good question. At this point, I believe it’s simply a matter of someone in our community (us?) making a stir and making it a viable, public outcry of support for Modell. Trust me, no one in Cleveland and not many amongst the 44 people in the room feel inclined to “jump on the table” for Art Modell. Other than Garceau, who is a staunch supporter of Modell (but who admits that having worked for the club as a play-by-play voice for a decade appears as a conflict of interest in that room), only Len Shapiro of The Washington Post has shown any partiality or inclination to grandstand on behalf of Modell. Another retired former voter and proponent of Modell is former USA Today columnist Gordon Forbes, who sends information to the current panel each year on behalf of Modell.

Here is the official “selection process” from the Pro Football Hall of Fame site.

I don’t think it’s as much about the facts of Modell’s contributions since 1961 to the NFL at this point. I think there’s some clear politicking – or lack thereof – going on. I’ve been told there are two major factors at play:

1. The move from Cleveland has created a “he’ll never get in because of that” mentality amongst some in the room and all of his other accomplishments have been diminished like Pete Rose’s sin of gambling on the game in baseball or Mark McGwire’s “not here to talk about the past” confession. For some, Modell is a lifelong pariah never to be recognized after “kicking the dog” on the cover of Sports Illustrated in Nov. 1995.

2. Over the years, some of Modell’s detractors have minimized his role and the legend of his involvement in the basic tenet of the merit of his candidacy: his role in the television negotiations and growth of the game with the networks and revenue. Time and the death of his contemporaries has definitely hindered Modell’s bid for Canton as much as anything because the very people who knew, felt, respected and lived through his many contributions are not the ones making a case for him at this point. Pete Rozelle, Wellington Mara, George Preston Marshall and Lamar Hunt are not here to be involved in the discussion although all of them no doubt believed in Modell’s Hall “worthiness.”

It’s now in the hands of the storytellers and some on the committee have heard conflicting reports as to whether Rozelle was the “smart one” and Modell was simply a guy who was the “No. 2” and simply got the credit of associating with the league. Of course, the mere fact that Modell came from a background of New York television in the late 1950’s would tell you that his network expertise was a key factor in the exponential growth of the league and its revenue during his tenure on the “television committee” for nearly 30 years.

From the Thanksgiving doubleheader to Monday Night Football, from winning an NFL Championship in Cleveland to winning a Super Bowl in Baltimore, from being involved at the game’s highest level since 1961 and being a massive part of shaping the sport for longer than most of us have been on the planet, Modell certainly deserves a better fate in Canton during the September of his life.

Certainly, most on the committee must believe that if Art is going to live long enough to see his own induction, the time is NOW for some action here in Baltimore.

We plan on creating some noise this week and hope that you’ll join our Facebook effort to help Art and raise awareness in Baltimore this week in anticipation of having a national audience here on Sunday night for the Redskins game.

WHO ARE THESE 44 GUYS ANYWAY AND HOW DID THEY GET ON SOMETHING AS IMPORTANT AS THE HALL OF FAME VOTING COMMITTEE?

Below is the list of the Hall of Fame voting committee, as selected by a board at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio:

Bernie Miklasz, Bob Gretz, Bob Oates, Charean Williams, Charles Chandler, Chick Ludwig, Clare Farnsworth, Cliff Christl, Dan Pompei, Dave Goldberg, David Climer, David Elfin, Don Pierson, Ed Bouchette, Edwin Pope, Frank Cooney, Howard Balzer, Ira Kaufman, Ira Miller, Jarrett Bell, Jeff Legwold, Jerry Green, Jerry Magee, Jim Trotter, John Clayton, John Czarnecki, John McClain, Kent Somers, Len Pasquarelli, Leonard Shapiro, Mark Gaughan, Mike Chappell, Mike O’Hara, Nancy Gay, Paul Domowitch, Paul Zimmerman, Peter Finney, Peter King, Rick Gosselin, Ron Borges, Sam Kouvaris,  Scott Garceau, Sid Hartman, Tony Grossi, Vinny DiTrani and Vito Stellino are the list of people.

Obviously, some of these names are more familiar than others. Some are frequent contributors to WNST. Some of them you know from television. And two of them – Miklasz and Stellino – were journalists here in Baltimore and covered the Colts leaving for Indianapolis. So, there’s plenty of perspective here on the NFL and plenty of expertise.

WHO ARE THE 25 NOMINEES ON THE CURRENT BALLOT?

Cris Carter Wide Receiver 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins

Roger Craig Running Back 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings

Terrell Davis Running Back 1995-2001 Denver Broncos

Dermontti Dawson Center 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers

Richard Dent Defensive End 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles

Chris Doleman, Defensive End-Linebacker 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers

Kevin Greene, Linebacker-Defensive End 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers

Russ Grimm Guard 1981-1991 Washington Redskins

Ray Guy Punter 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Charles Haley, Defensive End-Linebacker 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys

Lester Hayes, Cornerback 1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Cortez Kennedy, Defensive Tackle 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks

Bob Kuechenberg Guard 1970-1984 Miami Dolphins

Randall McDaniel Guard 1988-1999 Minnesota Vikings, 2000-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Art Modell, Owner 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-2003 Baltimore Ravens

John Randle, Defensive Tackle 1990-2000 Minnesota Vikings, 2001-03 Seattle Seahawks

Andre Reed Wide Receiver 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins

Shannon Sharpe, Tight End 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens

Bruce Smith, Defensive End 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000-03 Washington Redskins

Ken Stabler, Quarterback 1970-79 Oakland Raiders, 1980-81 Houston Oilers, 1982-84 New Orleans Saints

Paul Tagliabue Commissioner 1989-2006 National Football League

Steve Tasker, Special Teams-Wide Receiver 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills

Derrick Thomas Linebacker 1989-1999 Kansas City Chiefs

Ralph Wilson, Owner 1960-current Buffalo Bills

Rod Woodson, Cornerback-Saftey 1987-1996 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers, 1998-2001 Baltimore Ravens, 2002-03 Oakland Raiders

HOW SIGNIFICANT IS TONY GROSSI OF THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER?

Six years ago, when Modell’s candidacy had its best chance – while Art still owned the team and was fresh off of the Super Bowl XXXV victory – it was shot down in a legendary way when Tony Grossi, Cleveland’s representative and outspoken hater of all things Modell on behalf of the greater Cuyahoga and Northern Ohio area, gave an impassioned speech about how what Modell did to his hometown should forever forbid his enshrinement to Canton. This much is public record.

Now, what influence that actually had on the other committee members is debatable. My sources tell me that there are “anti” candidate guys all over the room. As an example, I have a feeling Scott Garceau, who was the reporter told by Tagliabue to “build a museum,” won’t be voting the former Sun King commish into bronzeness anytime soon on behalf of Baltimore’s  shoddy treatment in 1993.

Over the years, my mentor John Steadman lobbied against John Mackey’s induction. It’s just the way these things go. Some people have an axe to grind. Some just legitimately look at a candidate like punter Ray Guy and say: “I’m not putting a punter in the Hall of Fame.”

In the case of inducting Modell, there is obviously plenty of precedent given Al Davis and Lamar Hunt and other contemporaries have long been inside the walls of Canton. There are also several owners in the Hall of Fame who have moved franchises from one city to the next.

If these 44 people entrusted to “get this right” are going to hold a business decision (and one that many of them couldn’t possibly understand) against inducting Modell into the Hall of Fame when that business move made a community like ours whole is preposterous.

I will be writing more later in the week about Art’s specific contributions here in Baltimore since 1996.

Feel free to comment and please spread the word about our plans for Sunday night and the Baltimore fans’ ability to affect this vote and get Art rightfully inducted into Canton.

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 14 WRs

Posted on 03 December 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

Despite a rough patch for the Cardinals, their vaunted receivers remain ranked #1 and #2 in the power rankings, as well as this week’s start rankings. The veterans have started to reclaim the receiver rankings over the last few weeks, as many of the rookies appear to be hitting that proverbial wall. We’ll be back tomorrow with your tight end, kicker and defense rankings, so check back then too.

 

Keep in mind that the power rankings, listed here, are based on year to date performance and not a reflection of your best options for week 14. Just below the power rankings are match up previews advising who should be better or worse than usual this week, based on their opponents. At the bottom, are the week 14 start rankings, that’s where you should look for help with your week 14 lineup decisions.

 

Week 14 Fantasy Wide Receiver Power Rankings

 

WR Power Rankings Archive34567 - 8 - 9 - 10- 11 - 12 - 13

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. Anquan Boldin (1) – AZ – 942 yds 11 TD

 

2. Larry Fitzgerald (3) – AZ – 1075 yds 8 TD

 

3. Greg Jennings (5) – GB – 1057 yds 7 TD

 

4. Calvin Johnson (2) – DET – 971 yds 8 TD

 

5. Steve Smith (4) – CAR – 958 yds 4 TD

 

6. Roddy White (6) – ATL – 1085 yds 6 TD

 

7. Bernard Berrian (13) – MIN – 795 yds 5 TD

 

8. Santana Moss (7) – WAS – 828 yds 5 TD

 

9. Andre Johnson (8) – HOU – 1146 yds 4 TD

 

10. Terrell Owens (12) – DAL – 816 yds 8 TD

 

11. Brandon Marshall (9) – DEN – 942 yds 4 TD

 

12. Randy Moss (11) – NE – 785 yds 8 TD

 

13. Lance Moore (14) – NO – 739 yds 8 TD

 

14. Eddie Royal (20) – DEN – 757 yds 5 TD

 

15. Reggie Wayne (10) – IND – 870 yds 5 TD

 

16. Vincent Jackson (16) – SD – 703 yds 5 TD

 

17. Kevin Walter (15) – HOU – 705 yds 7 TD

 

18. Lee Evans (NR) – BUF – 890 yds 3 TD

 

19. Hines Ward (18) – PIT – 755 yds 6 TD

 

20. DeSean Jackson (NR) – PHI – 775 yds 2 TD & 1 TYD rush

 

Dropped From Rankings: DeWayne Bowe – KC; Justin Gage – TEN

 

WRs Who Should Be Better Than Usual In Week 14: Lee Evans vs. MIA; Randy Moss & Wes Welker @ SEA; Laverneus Coles & Jehrrico Cotchery @ SF; Tory Holt & Donnie Avery @ AZ; Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison & Anthony Gonzalez vs. CIN; Roddy White @ NO; DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis & Hank Baskett @ NYG

 

WRs Who Could Be Sleepers Based On Week 14 Match Ups: Roscoe Parrish & Josh Reed vs. MIA; Jabar Gaffney @ SEA; Chansi Stuckey @ SF; Derrick Stanley & Dane Looker @ AZ; Koren Robinson, Deion Branch & Bobby Engram vs. NE; Harry Douglass & Michael Jenkins @ NO; Matt Jones, Reggie Williams & Jerry Porter @ CHI; Justin Gage, Justin McCairens & Brandon Jones vs. CLE

 

WRs With Tough Week 14 Match Ups: Chad Johnson & TJ Houshmandzadeh @ IND; Braylon Edwards @ TEN; Terrell Owens & Roy Williams @ PIT; Santana Moss & Antoine Randle-El @ BAL; Andre Johnson & Kevin Walter @ GB; Chris Chambers & Vincent Jackson vs. OAK; Derrick Mason & Mark Clayton vs. WAS; Antonio Bryant & Ike Hilliard @ CAR; Steve Smith & Mushin Muhammad vs. TB; DeWayne Bowe & Mark Bradley @ DEN

 

 

And here are the week 14 Fantasy WR start rankings; it’s my top 75 WRs in the order that you should consider them this week. They were gotten using the Fantasy Flavor secret formula, and have their formulary numbers in parentheses, the lower the better. We’ll get all of the positional rankings out to you in time for Thursday’s game, so keep checking back for the rest.

 

1. Anquan Boldin (15)

2. Larry Fitzgerald (17)

3. Roddy White (19)

4. Greg Jennings (25)

5. Bernard Berrian (25)

6. Randy Moss (26)

7. Calvin Johnson (28)

8. Steve Smith (34)

9. Reggie Wayne (35)

10. Lee Evans (37)

11. Brandon Marshall (44)

12. Lance Moore (44)

13. Santana Moss (45)

14. Andre Johnson (46)

15. Terrell Owens (50)

16. Eddie Royal (50)

17. DeSean Jackson (50)

18. Hines Ward (52)

19. Justin Gage (55)

20. Vincent Jackson (59)

21. Laverneus Coles (59)

22. Kevin Walter (62)

23. Wes Welker (62)

24. DeWayne Bowe (65)

25. Issac Bruce (67)

26. Antonio Bryant (69)

27. Marques Colston (72)

28. Matt Jones (74)

29. Steve Breaston (75)

30. Jehrrico Cotchery (75)

31. Derrick Mason (78)

32. TJ Houshmandzadeh (80)

33. Mark Clayton (81)

34. Donald Driver (83)

35. Braylon Edwards (89)

36. Santonio Holmes (90)

37. Donnie Avery (90)

38. Chris Chambers (95)

39. Anthony Gonzalez (95)

40. Mark Bradley (97)

41. DeVery Henderson (98)

42. Michael Jenkins (99)

43. Ted Ginn Jr. (100)

44. Malcolm Floyd (105)

45. Mushin Muhammad (106)

46. Nate Washington (108)

47. Kevin Curtis (108)

48. Amani Toomer (109)

49. Marvin Harrison (109)

50. Tory Holt (110)

51. Devin Hester (115)

52. Koren Robinson (118)

53. Hank Baskett (120)

54. Chad Johnson (128)

55. Jabar Gaffney (128)

56. Brandon Stokley (130)

57. Reggie Brown (130)

58. Antoine Randle-El (131)

59. Josh Reed (131)

60. Rasheid Davis (133)

61. Ashley Lelie (136)

62. Bryant Johnson (139)

63. Dane Looker (144)

64. Roy Williams (146)

65. Reggie Williams (146)

66. Brandon Lloyd (147)

67. Chansi Stuckey (147)

68. Mary Booker (149)

69. Ike Hilliard (153)

70. Bobby Wade (157)

71. Brandon Jones (159)

72. Harry Douglass (159)

73. Josh Morgan (159)

74. James Hardy (159)

75. Miles Austin (166)

 

All of the rankings will be up in time for you to get your Thursday lineups in, so check back tomorrow for the rest. And use the links below to check all of the other positions; they’ll be activated as they become available.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

 

Week 14 QB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 RB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 TE Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 K Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 D/ST Rankings & Previews

 

 

 

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NFL Power Rankings – Week 14

Posted on 02 December 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

The top eleven teams in last week’s power rankings all remained in the top 11 this week, as all still seem to be pretty clearly in control of their own playoff destinies. The 12th spot, for now, goes to the Vikings who are on an impressive run, and now find themselves in the driver’s seat for the NFC North.

 

There may be a few noteworthy suspensions handed down in the next week or so, which could have a dramatic impact on the playoff races as the final quarter of the season unfolds. Also, because of the relative assuredness of the playoff picture at this early stage in the season, how teams are able to manage staying focused and staying healthy in the teams’ final meaningless games should have a lot of impact of the playoff picture, even after the pairings are locked in early.

 

Admittedly, Atlanta should probably be at 12 in this week’s rankings instead of 10, with both Denver and Minnesota holding on to stronger playoff hopes at this time. For Atlanta, it seems that the division is out of the question, and it’s wildcard or bust, with the Cowboys still very much on their heels. I just didn’t have the heart to drop Atlanta 2 spots after an impressive road win on the left coast. They’ve definitely been the toughest team to grade out over the course of the season so far. They deserve their respect, there’s no questioning that, but their playoff hopes are still very fragile at this point.

 

NFL Power Rankings Archive3- 4567 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13

 

Week 14 NFL Power Rankings (last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. New York Giants (1) – 11-1 – The Giants have easily been the most impressive team in the league so far, and appear to be without weakness. Even with the uncertain future of Plaxico Burress in New York, experts seem reluctant to concede that this will even be an issue for the Giants. Their schedule is full of tough teams from here out, but the Giants already enjoy a 2 game lead for the #1 seed in the NFC, a 3 game lead in their division, and a four game lead over Minnesota and Arizona for a first round bye. Next Week: vs. PHI

 

2. Tennessee Titans (2) – 11-1 – A Thanksgiving Day chance to feast on the Lions was probably the perfect remedy for Tennessee team that had lost it’s first game of the season the week before, and who had struggled to run for the last 3 weeks. The Browns and Texans in the next 2 games will probably either wrap up home field for the Titans, or make their week 16 match up with Pittsburgh for potential home field advantage. Also depending on what the rest of the AFC does in the meantime, Tennessee could have a chance to ruin Indy’s playoff hopes before they get started in week 17. Next Week: vs. CLE

 

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (3) – 9-3 – At 9-3, the Steelers have been a tough draw for everyone that they’ve played. You may not be able to say that about any other team in the league this season. The Steelers have positioned themselves for a chance at a bye in the playoffs, and with a game remaining against the Titans, they’re still in striking distance for the #1 seed, if the Titans should stumble, or let up down the stretch. Next Week: vs. DAL

 

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5) – 9-3 – They’ve had a revolving door at quarterback and running back, and they’re playing a first place schedule, in the toughest division in the NFC, possibly the toughest in the NFL. The Bucs though, still find themselves in the driver’s seat for not only the NFC South title, but also a first round bye. They may not enjoy the cushion in the standings that they probably should at 9-3, and still have 2 tough divisional games on the road. But for now at least, the road to the NFC South title goes through Tampa. Next Week: @ CAR

 

5. Carolina Panthers (7) – 9-3 – If the Buccaneers are feeling salty about their relatively unsecured playoff hopes, despite their 9-3 record, than the Panthers have to feel outright frustrated with their standing in the playoff hunt, despite their strong performance thus far. A chance to beat Tampa head to head this week still leaves the Panthers somewhat in control of their own playoff destiny, but they’ll likely have to win out to have a chance at staying home for a playoff game. Next Week: vs. TB

 

6. Arizona Cardinals (6) – 8-4 – I’ve been feeling the need to justify ranking these Cards so highly all season, but even as the losers of 2 straight, the Cardinals are not a team that you want to sleep on. They’re still just an eyelash away from clinching the NFC West and at least one home playoff game. They’re also just one game behind Tampa and Carolina for a first round bye. In the playoffs, the Cards at home could be dangerous, especially if an east coast team has to travel to Arizona. Keep in mind that 3 of the Cards’ 4 losses came on trips to the east coast, the other was at home to the Giants. They’re front 7 is grossly underrated by most, and their running game still has a chance to get in gear. They’re unlikely to go across the country and beat anyone, but traveling to Arizona for a playoff game could be a lot tougher than it sounds. Next Week: vs. ST.L

 

7. New York Jets (4) – 8-4 – Success appeared to get to the Jets’ heads a bit last week, and they looked about as bad as they possibly could, just a week after dismantling the undefeated Titans. Brett Favre has been a rousing success for the Jets this season; clearly their playoff hopes would have been slim without him. But once the playoffs get here, I think that the Jets will have trouble finding their identity, a game manager would probably fit their formula a little better than a game breaker. Still, when the playoffs come around, there are few who can bring more experience to the table than Favre. The AFC East is still a dogfight, and with 2 west coast trips remaining, the Jets still have their work cut out for them in just getting to the playoffs. Next Week: @ SF

 

8. Indianapolis Colts (8) – 8-4 – If you took a poll among the AFC contenders and asked which team they’d most like to eliminate before the playoffs begin, my guess is that the Colts would be the team that’d be out. With that said, it appears that the rest of the AFC has missed their chance to bury these Colts when they were on the ropes early on. It’s still tough to imagine the Colts making a long run in this year’s playoffs, primarily because of their inability to stop the run. They can however, stop the run with their offense, in a manner of speaking, by jumping on opponents early in games and forcing them to play catch-up. The schedule looks like it could be pretty easy for the Colts from here, but don’t overlook their week 17 match up against Tennessee just yet. If Tennessee slips up and Pittsburgh keeps rolling, the Titans may need that one for the top seed. And if the Colts slip, just a bit in the meantime, the Titans may have a chance to send them home before the playoffs begin. I’m not so sure the Titans take that one off like everyone seems to think. Next Week: vs. CIN

 

9. Baltimore Ravens (9) – 8-4 – They’ve certainly been a great story so far, and the Ravens are starting to look more and more dangerous with each passing week. Their defense has adjusted to a lack of star power in the secondary, and despite the dominance of the run defense, the Ravens aren’t letting much go through the air either. Losses to Indianapolis and the Giants have shown that this team isn’t built for playing catch up, but with new wrinkles and guys stepping up every week, this team still appears to be growing into their prowess. The playoffs are by no means assured just yet, but they’re in sight. And the AFC North title could still be in the fold too. Next Week: vs. WAS

 

10. Atlanta Falcons (10) – 8-4 – The Falcons have taken the NFL by storm, but when it comes to their own division, not so much. There’s no shortage of storylines surrounding the Falcons this season. From moving forward without their jailed franchise quarterback, to finding a diamond in the rough in Matt Ryan; from being stepped out on by Bobby Petrino, to the meteoric rise of rookie head coach Mike Smith; this team is full of great stories. If they aren’t able to hold serve in their final four games however, the story will be about this miraculous rebound falling short of the post season. Someone with 10 or even 11 wins is likely to be left home in the NFC this season; Falcons fans are hoping that it’s not them. Next Week: @ NO

 

11. Denver Broncos (11) – 7-5 – The Broncos went a long way to locking up a playoff berth in week 13, and are quietly building a little head of steam too. If things keep going the way that they are, the Broncos could be looking at a first round match up with Indianapolis. They’ve had a couple of embarrassing post season blowouts at the hands of the Colts in recent years, but may be better equipped to go up and down the field with them this time around. Unless they can figure out how to play consistent defense, the Broncos will likely be short for the playoffs, but as long as their offense remains explosive, they should make it exciting while they’re in there. Next Week: vs. KC

 

12. Minnesota Vikings (16) – 7-5 – In yet another division where no one seems to be able to step up and grab hold of a playoff spot, the Vikings may be peaking at just the right time. Their two-headed backfield and stout defense could prove to be a formula for success once the post season rolls around too. The Vikings still have a very deep interest in pending suspensions of a number of key players, but are in good position for the playoffs despite a number of early season mishaps. Next Week: @ DET

 

13. New England Patriots (14) – 7-5 – The Patriots playoff hopes took a major shot on Sunday with their loss to the Steelers. They’re still very much in the hunt, and because of their experience and coaching have to be considered dangerous, but the Patriots have their work cut out for them too. Next up for the Pats are 2 straight games on the west coast, which has confounded a number of teams. The Jets did them a favor though by not taking advantage of a chance to bury them a little further in the AFC East last week too. Next Week: @ SEA

 

14. Dallas Cowboys (15) – 8-4 – The Cowboys look like they’re back in stride, the question now is, whether they’ll have enough time to make themselves a factor in the race for the playoffs. Their midseason stumble allowed a number of teams to pick up positions on them, but they’re not out of it quite yet. Games against playoff contenders in 3 of their remaining 4 will make the road bumpy, and the fact that two of them are from the AFC means that winning them doesn’t necessarily guarantee the reward of moving up in the standings. Next Week: @ PIT

 

15. Miami Dolphins (17) – 7-5 – I’m still not sure that people have started taking the Dolphins seriously just yet, and with the difficulty that they had in dealing with St. Louis on Sunday, I can understand why. One thing’s for sure though, opponents who’ve gone against Miami and given less than their best have paid the price this season. The Dolphins are more than flash and gimmick, they’re a pretty good football team, and they’re getting better too. They’ll need some help to get into the playoff hunt, but they still look like a factor at this point. Next Week: @ BUF *in Toronto

 

16. Washington Redskins (12) – 7-5 – It looks like the Redskins may have taken a couple of teams by surprise, especially with their improved offense early in the season. In recent weeks however, teams look less apt to let down for Washington, and they also appear to have adjusted to the Redskins new look on offense. Losing 3 of their last 4 has given a serious blow to the Redskins playoff hopes, and the schedule won’t make it any easier finishing up. They’re still in the hunt it seems, but fading fast. Next Week: @ BAL

 

17. Chicago Bears (13) – 6-6 – On one hand, you could say that the Bears let a golden opportunity pass them by against the Vikings in week 13. On the other hand however, you could say that the Bears never really looked like they belonged in the game in the first place. After playing everyone tough through the first 9 weeks of the season, the Bears have been blown out twice by divisional foes in recent weeks. Matt Forte has probably been too much of the offense this season, and looks to be hitting the rookie wall. Next Week: vs. JAX

 

18. New Orleans Saints (20) – 6-6 – Given the number of injuries that the Saints have been forced to deal with, and the tough games that they allowed to get away in weeks 2 and 3, they could consider themselves lucky to be at .500 with 4 games to go. When you look at the rest of the division staring squarely down at them in the rankings however, these Saints look like they’ll be playing for Dan Marino’s passing record, and something positive to carry into next season. The playoffs are pretty much out of the question for this bunch, but they could still affect the race. Next Week: vs. ATL

 

19. San Diego Chargers (19) – 4-8 – The Chargers playoff hopes are alive by the slimmest of margins, and fading quickly. It seems that week after week we look at the Chargers as a team with the potential of getting on a roll. The luxury of playing in the AFC West has kept them in the hunt for much longer than they probably deserve, and technically they could still get in. But the Broncos appear to be on somewhat of a roll lately, and the Chargers still haven’t been able to get things going. Next Week: vs. OAK

 

20. Buffalo Bills (18) – 6-6 – This season for the Bills will be one for the history books for sure. In addition to breaking new ground with a regular season game in Toronto, the Bills have gone from cruising to control of the AFC East early on, to a tail spinning mess of a team that has fallen into last place in the division that they controlled just a few weeks ago. It’ll take a miracle to rescue the Bills season, and  their playoff hopes with just 4 games remaining. Based on the way that they’ve played lately, simply holding up their own end of the bargain and winning out would be a minor miracle. Next Week: vs. MIA *in Toronto

 

21. Philadelphia Eagles (22) – 6-5-1 – Donavan McNabb responded to his benching in a big way with a Thanksgiving Day rally last week. Or maybe he just responded to a chance to play against a pretty bad Cardinals pass defense, traveling across the country in a short week. The Eagles are doing what they can to salvage a respectable record this season, but aside from a one-week infusion of confidence from beating the Steelers, the Eagles have never really presented themselves as a team that could be a factor in the playoff race. Next Week: @ NYG

 

22. Green Bay Packers (21) – 5-7 – Much like the Dow-Jones, the Packers have been either alarmingly good, or alarmingly bad from game to game, without any real warning. You truly never know which Packers team is going to show up from game to game, or as they proved last week, from quarter to quarter or even drive to drive. If the Jets make a sustained run into the playoffs, while the Packers are sitting home this post season, Ted Thompson may need to hire private security. (That is if he hasn’t already.) Next Week: vs. HOU

 

23. Houston Texans (23) – 5-7 – Media and PR types will try to come up with lots of reasons to make you believe that a lot of teams have the potential to be good really soon. When it comes to the Texans, they might be right. They’ve dealt with a considerable amount of adversity this season off of the field, and have had to struggle with injuries and a difficult schedule on the field too. Still, this week showcased a number of teams who look like they’ve already mailed in their seasons, and the Texans aren’t one of them. In fact they exposed one on Monday night against the Jags. Next Week: @ GB

 

24. San Francisco 49ers (27) – 4-8 – Mike Singletary has certainly made his impression on the Niners’ locker room, they’ve won 2 of their last 4, and showed well in a Monday night loss to Arizona. Clearly this team needs a pretty drastic overhaul in order to be competitive, but they’ve got some of the pieces in place already, Singletary looks like he may be one of them. Let’s not forget that they’re in the NFC West too, they could be closer than it seems to making a run at that division. Next Week: vs. NYJ

 

25. Cleveland Browns (26) – 4-8 – The Browns’ season may have been over before it began. Braylon Edwards was never able to establish a rhythm in the offense, Kellen Winslow Jr. has struggled to stay in the lineup, and Donte Stallworth was probably never really a good fit for this team, especially without Joe Jureviscius. The monumental letdown that the Browns have been overall, will probably steal some attention from the fact that their defense is vastly improved over last season. Their season is over now, but don’t sleep on these Browns for next year, they look like they have something that they can build on. Next Week: @ TEN

 

26. Jacksonville Jaguars (24) – 4-8 – The Jags are easily the most disappointing story of the season so far. There have been other teams that have failed to live up to high expectations, but few seem to have been as relatively healthy as Jacksonville. It looks like a slow start to the season derailed the Jags playoff hopes, and their hearts as well. They’re much too talented to be playing the way that they are, this team and its coaches should be outright embarrassed, on Monday night, they were. Next Week: @ CHI

 

27. Kansas City Chiefs (30) – 2-10 – Despite their 2-10 record, it’s not like these Chiefs are wasting a ton of young talent. To their credit, they have proven to be a handful for most opponents, but are simply overmatched on most Sundays. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they don’t appear to have a lot of pieces in place to build around at this point either. At least they continue to play determined football. That at least, is a testament to Herm Edwards and the veterans on this team. Next Week: @ DEN

 

28. Oakland Raiders (25) – 3-9 – Fresh off of a stunning victory against Denver in week 12, the Raiders appeared to be set up for a mini win streak with the Chiefs on tap last week. Things didn’t work out that way however, and despite the flashes of talent that the Raiders youngsters have shown, they can’t seem to keep it together consistently at this point. Given the coaching carousel in Oakland in recent years, it’s no wonder consistency is an issue. Next Week: @ SD

 

29. Seattle Seahawks (28) – 2-10 – It seems that Mike Holmgren’s decision to take a year away from football may have inspired the Seahawks in an unexpected way. The team it seems has decided to take this season off, and Jim Mora may be wondering just what it is that he signed on for. Next week: vs. NE

 

30. St. Louis Rams (31) – 2-10 – Without their once vaunted offensive attack, the Rams leave a lot to be desired all the way around. They have some offensive talent, but can’t seem to keep them healthy, or to find a rhythm when they are healthy. It appears that the head coach wasn’t all that was wrong with the Rams this season, but it is the NFC West; so next year is still bright. Next Week: @ AZ

 

31. Cincinnati Bengals (29) – 1-9-1 – They found a pulse momentarily this season, but the Bengals look like another team that simply cashed it in when the odds stacked up against them early on. The Bengals, at this point appear to be in need of a major overhaul, both on and off of the field. Whether they’ll finally figure that out or not is another question altogether though. Unfortunately for the fans in Cincinnati, much like those in Oakland, you can’t fire the owner. Next Week: @ IND

 

32. Detroit Lions (32) – 0-12 – Even if they wind up winless, the Lions may be better off for the future than a lot of teams in the bottom third of this list. They have Calvin Johnson and Kevin Smith to build around on offense. Their defense is actually much better than it’s been in recent years, which still leaves lots of room to grow, but is progress none the less. They’re poised to walk away with the number one pick in the draft, and could trade that back for more picks if they’d like. The boatload of picks that they got from the Cowboys, plus whatever they do with their own picks could make the rebuilding effort a lot quicker than you’d expect. And these are no longer Matt Millen’s Lions. Next Week: vs. MIN

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 13 WRs

Posted on 26 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

The wide receiver rankings, like most of the rest of the positional rankings didn’t see a lot of change in week 13, aside from the return of a couple of old familiar names to the list. There have been a number of nice surprises at wide receiver this year, as there typically are, but as of now Lance Moore has officially unseated Eddie Royal as the out of nowhere superstar. We’ll see if he’s able to maintain that status as both Jeremy Shockey and Marques Colston look to be returning to form for the Saints.

 

Keep in mind that the power rankings, listed here, are based on year to date performance and not a reflection of your best options for week 13. Just below the power rankings are match up previews advising who should be better or worse than usual this week, based on their opponents. At the bottom, are the week 13 start rankings, that’s where you should look for help with your week 13 lineup decisions.

 

Week 13 Fantasy Wide Receiver Power Rankings

 

WR Power Rankings Archive34567 - 8 - 9 - 10- 11 - 12

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. Anquan Boldin (1) – AZ – 879 yds 11 TD

 

2. Calvin Johnson (4) – DET – 905 yds 8 TD

 

3. Larry Fitzgerald (2) – AZ – 1010 yds 6 TD

 

4. Steve Smith (7) – CAR – 853 yds 4 TD

 

5. Greg Jennings (6) – GB – 966 yds 6 TD

 

6. Roddy White (6) – ATL – 973 yds 6 TD

 

7. Santana Moss (5) – WAS – 773 yds 5 TD

 

8. Andre Johnson (9) – HOU – 1071 yds 3 TD

 

9. Brandon Marshall (11) – DEN – 887 yds 4 TD

 

10. Reggie Wayne (10) – IND – 824 yds 5 TD

 

11. Randy Moss (NR) – NE – 770 yds 8 TD

 

12. Terrell Owens (NR) – DAL – 718 yds 7 TD

 

13. Bernard Berrian (8) – MIN – 673 yds 4 TD

 

14. Lance Moore (19) – NO – 724 yds 7 TD

 

15. Kevin Walter (17) – HOU – 667 yds 7 TD

 

16. Vincent Jackson (18) – SD – 703 yds 5 TD

 

17. DeWayne Bowe (16) – KC – 724 yds 6 TD

 

18. Hines Ward (14) – PIT – 718 yds 5 TD

 

19. Justin Gage (13) – TEN – 413 yds 4 TD

 

20. Eddie Royal (12) – DEN – 673 yds 4 TD

 

Dropped From Rankings: TJ Houshmandzadeh – CIN; Lee Evans – BUF

 

WRs Who Should Be Better Than In Week 13: Donnie Avery & Tory Holt vs. MIA; Lee Evans vs. SF; Terrell Owens & Roy Williams vs. SEA; Antonio Bryant & Ike Hilliard vs. NO; Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison & Anthony Gonzalez @ CLE; Bernard Berrian vs. CHI; Hines Ward & Santonio Holmes @ NE; Santana Moss & Antoine Randle-El vs. NYG; Justin Gage @ DET

 

WRs Who Could Be Sleepers Based On Week 13 Match Ups: Derrick Stanley vs. MIA; Roscoe Parrish & Josh Reed vs. SF; Patrick Crayton vs. SEA; Kevin Curtis, DeSean Jackson & Hank Baskett vs. AZ; Sidney Rice & Bobby Wade vs. CHI; Nate Washington @ NE; Brandon Jones & Justin McCairens @ DET

 

WRs With Tough Week 13 Match Ups: Braylon Edwards vs. IND; Calvin Johnson vs. TEN; Randy Moss & Wes Welker vs. PIT; Steve Smith & Mushin Muhammad @ GB; Greg Jennings & Donald Driver vs. CAR; TJ Houshmandzadeh & Chad Johnson vs. BAL; Plaxico Burress & Amani Toomer @ WAS; Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald & Steve Breaston @ PHI; Lance Moore, DeVery Handerson & Marques Colston @ TB; DeWayne Bowe & Mark Bradley @ OAK

 

WRs You Might Want To Avoid In Week 13: Donte Stallworth vs. IND; Mike Furrey & Shaun MacDonald vs. TEN

 

And here are the week 13 Fantasy WR start rankings; it’s the top 75 wide receivers in the order that you should consider them this week. They were gotten using the Fantasy Flavor secret formula, and have their formulary numbers in parentheses, the lower the better. We’ll get all of the positional rankings out to you in time for Thursday’s games, so keep checking back for the rest.

 

1. Roddy White (23)

2. Santana Moss (23)

3. Reggie Wayne (25)

4. Anquan Boldin (27)

5. Terrell Owens (27)

6. Larry Fitzgerald (31)

7. Andre Johnson (31)

8. Bernard Berrian (33)

9. Calvin Johnson (35)

10. Steve Smith (37)

11. Greg Jennings (38)

12. Brandon Marshall (39)

13. Hines Ward (44)

14. Lee Evans (44)

15. Vincent Jackson (45)

16. Kevin Walter (46)

17. Justin Gage (48)

18. Randy Moss (52)

19. Lance Moore (52)

20. DeSean Jackson (52)

21. DeWayne Bowe (57)

22. Eddie Royal (61)

23. Antonio Bryant (64)

24. Laverneus Coles (67)

25. Issac Bruce (68)

26. TJ Houshmandzadeh (71)

27. Chris Chambers (71)

28. Donnie Avery (73)

29. Jerricho Cotchery (75)

30. Derrick Mason (76)

31. Wes Welker (82)

32. Braylon Edwards (86)

33. Marques Colston (90)

34. Mushin Muhammad (91)

35. Anthony Gonzalez (91)

36. Plaxico Burress *keep an eye on his injury status

37. Santonio Holmes (96)

38. Mark Bradley (97) *keep an eye on his injury status

39. Ted Ginn Jr. (97)

40. Malcolm Floyd (97)

41. Donald Driver (98)

42. Steve Breaston (101)

43. DeVery Henderson (102)

44. Matt Jones (102)

45. Marvin Harrison (109)

46. Michael Jenkins (113)

47. Nate Washington (114)

48. Greg Camarillo (115)

49. Tory Holt (123)

50. Kevin Curtis (124)

51. Antoine Randle-El (125)

52. Patrick Crayton (127)

53. Brandon Lloyd (132)

54. Chad Johnson (132)

55. Hank Baskett (132)

56. Bryant Johnson (135)

57. Jabar Gafney (140)

58. Mark Clayton (142)

59. Reggie Brown (142)

60. Harry Douglas (143)

61. Amani Toomer (146) *bump 5 or 6 spots if Burress is inactive

62. Ike Hilliard (146)

63. Roy Williams (147)

64. Rasheid Davis (148)

65. Koren Robinson (148)

66. Josh Reed (152)

67. Ashley Lelie (157)

68. Sinorice Moss (158) *bump 3 or 4 spots of Burress is inactive

69. Devin Hester (158)

70. Bobby Wade (159)

71. Sidney Rice (161)

72. Marty Booker (166)

73. Brandon Jones (168)

74. Brandon Stokley (169)

75. Chansi Stuckey (171)

 

All of the rankings will be up in time for you to get your Thursday lineups in, so check back tomorrow for the rest. And use the links below to check all of the other positions; they’ll be activated as they become available.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

 

Week 13 QB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 RB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 TE Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 K Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 D/ST Rankings & Previews

 

 

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Obama’s lucky Flacco didn’t run

Posted on 25 November 2008 by Drew Forrester

There’s a lot of football left and anything can happen.

Five games is an eternity in the NFL.  

Injuries…a missed call by the zebras…a bad match-up or two.

In the NFL, you can win three in a row in a heartbeat and lose three in a row just as quickly.

But this is a Ravens team that looks different than in years past.  Record wise, this team is clearly much better than last year’s squad that was beset with injuries and dictated a mini-coaching-mutiny from within when it was apparent by Thanksgiving that the season was a lost cause.  

I think this team is better than the one that went 13-3 in 2006, truth be told.

Reason?

They have a quarterback.

Steve McNair wasn’t chopped liver when he showed up here for the ’06 campaign but he became chopped something shortly thereafter.  Even when he was healthy, he looked like he was on his last legs.  Players would openly marvel at how McNair could literally sleep for 20 minutes an hour before kick-off.  And, while the players knew McNair was better than Kyle Boller, they also knew his stay in Baltimore would probably be short-lived. 

That’s not the case now.  Joe Flacco’s going to be here for a long time.  And the players know it.

Flacco’s meteoric rise hasn’t come as a total shock to the Ravens.  Even back in training camp, players watched him and remarked at how he *looked* like a pro quarterback.  Samari Rolle showed up a week or so into camp after the death of his father and was standing on the sidelines on his first day in Westminster. He watched Flacco play for about 10 minutes and looked around to a Ravens’ staffer and said, “#5, the rookie. We’re gonna play him, right?  I mean, we’re trying to win aren’t we?”  A very telling statement from a Pro Bowl defensive back who knows a thing or two about quarterbacks and their abilities.

It might have taken some players (and fans) longer than 10 minutes to buy into Flacco, but one thing for sure by now.  Everyone wants to invest him.

The standard line at Owings Mills these days is this:  ”Buy stock in Joe Flacco.”

Flacco’s emergence is reflected in the team’s 7-4 record and their rise in the ranks of the AFC, but his play has done much more than just put points on the board for the Ravens.  He’s all but squashed any thoughts – private or public – from players who think Troy Smith would be a better fit than Flacco for this Ravens team.  He’s also quieted a locker room that was well-known for hosting a group moaning session on regular occasions when the Quarterback Du Jour wasn’t getting the job done.  There are no more cryptic radio show comments from Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs or Willis McGahee.  Flacco has shut everyone up, critics and teammates alike.  As we all know, it’s not easy to shut up the Ravens.  But Flacco has done just that.

And a quiet locker room can make a lot of noise on the field, where those sounds best belong.

#5 has made life pleasant again in Baltimore.  He’s a viable candidate for NFL Rookie of the Year and could very well lead his team to the playoffs in his inaugural campaign in the league — something few people expected, much less demanded.  And his play has also brought harmony to the locker room.  No more bickering, no more mid-season finger pointing and no more concerns about having to win games with a quarterback who is a liability.

For years, the Ravens have belonged to Ray Lewis.  

And, in perpetuity, #52 will always be the guy who built the Ravens’ house.

But it’s looking more and more like Joe Flacco is going to build an addition on to that house.

And when you build an addition, the first thing people say is, “Wow, your house sure looks better.”

That’s the story of the Ravens in 2008.  No matter what happens from here on in, their house looks a lot better with Joe Flacco at work. In fact, the house hasn’t looked this good in a long, long time.

I hope that new addition has room for a certain trophy named after a Hall of Fame NFL coach.

I think we’ll need the room one of these days in the not so distant future.

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NFL Power Rankings – Week 13

Posted on 25 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

There were no major shakeups in the power rankings this week, especially at the top, unless you consider the Titans slipping out of the top spot to #2 to be a major shakeup that is. With each passing week we seem to gain a little more clarity into the likely playoff picture, and possible seeding scenarios.

 

There’s still a lot of football left to be played, and certainly a surprise or two still around the corner in the season’s closing weeks, but by now I think we have a pretty good idea of which teams are contenders and which ones are pretenders. What’s still very much up for grabs though, is which of those contenders will position themselves to walk away with the hardware at the end. After all, there’s no trophy for being the best team after 11 games, or even 16 for that matter. It’s all about the playoffs, but until they begin, here’s how I see things so far.

 

NFL Power Rankings Archive3- 4567 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12

 

Week 13 NFL Power Rankings

 

1. New York Giants (2) – 10-1 – Most, myself included, probably felt that they were deserving of the top spot a few weeks ago, but the Titans simply kept rolling along. At this point, I think the consensus is that the Giants are probably the team to beat. We’ll see how they are able to maintain their focus and health down the stretch. Next Week: @ WAS

 

2. Tennessee Titans (1) – 10-1 – The Titans have struggled to run the ball in recent weeks, and this time it came back to bite them. Expect Jeff Fischer to use this as an opportunity to rally his troops. Having something left to work on at this point in the season isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Next Week: @ DET (Thanksgiving)

 

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (5) – 8-3 – The Steelers have quietly been doing what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from them. A strong effective defense, complimented by a conservative yet efficient offense has been the formula that’s kept the Steelers rolling along, and mostly staying under the radar while doing it. Next Week: @ NE

 

4. New York Jets (6) – 8-3 – Although the AFC East is still very much up for grabs, the Jets have gone a long way to cementing their position in control of the race. It appears that Brett Favre was right when he said that he thought he might have a little more football left in him. It looks like the Jets do too. Next Week: vs. DEN

 

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8) – 8-3 – It seems that Jon Gruden has taken his once complex offense and made it plug and play. Despite the rash of injuries to skill position players, the Bucs keep getting it done with a revolving cast of characters on offense, and the defense that the Bucs have been known for. Next Week: vs. NO

 

6. Arizona Cardinals (4) – 7-4 – They held their own with the mighty Giants for just over a half, but clearly still have work to do if they hope to contend with the NFC’s elite. Perhaps the Cards were a bit hasty in phasing Edgerin James out of their game plan altogether. Next Week: @ PHI (Thanksgiving)

 

7. Carolina Panthers (3) – 8-3 – Maybe they were simply due for a letdown. Or maybe, like a lot of us they underestimated the upstart Atlanta Falcons. Whatever the reason for Sunday’s debacle, the NFC South doesn’t allow much margin for error. Even if they can’t get past Tampa though, the Panthers still find themselves in the best position of all of the potential wild cards. Next Week: @ GB

 

8. Indianapolis Colts (9) – 7-4 – Reports of the Colts’ demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated. The Colts are still very much in the thick of the hunt in the AFC, if not the AFC South, and may be proving that they’re even more dangerous with their backs to the wall. Next Week: @ CLE

 

9. Baltimore Ravens (10) – 7-4 – After a few early season stumbles late in games, the Ravens now appear to have the endgame mastered. Keeping teams from getting wide open early may be the key to the Ravens being able to string together a run that leads them to an improbable playoff berth. The Ravens are playing a cold weather style, we’ll see if it plays to their favor now that the weather’s turning. Next Week: @ CIN

 

10. Atlanta Falcons (18) – 7-4 – Consider me sold; these Falcons are for real. They still have their work cut out for them though sitting at 3rd in their division will certainly make the road to a potential playoff berth a bumpy one. Next Week: @ SD

 

11. Denver Broncos (7) – 6-5 – Nothing should surprise you when it comes to this team. Nothing that is, except for the few moments when they actually look like a playoff caliber team. Maybe the Broncos are having trouble focusing because no one in the division looks capable of keeping them from the playoffs anyway. If they limp into the postseason like they’ve played lately though, they could be in for another unforgettable postseason embarrassment. Next Week: @ NYJ

 

12. Washington Redskins (12) – 6-5 – They got a win on Sunday, but I don’t think they did much to dispel concerns surrounding the offense in recent weeks. Wild card spots in the NFC look like they could be awfully tough to come by, and the Giants appear unlikely to let anyone back into the NFC East race. We’ll see if Washington is able to turn up the sense of urgency in the next few weeks. Next Week: vs. NYG

 

13. Chicago Bears (13) – 6-5 – The Bears got back on track last week after back to back losses, and still find themselves in the driver’s seat for the NFC North. If they intend to get into the playoffs and beyond however, they’ll have to find a way to take some of the load off of rookie Matt Forte. Next Week: @ MIN

 

14. New England Patriots (15) – 7-4 – The Patriots look to have found a rhythm, and Matt Cassel has grown from high school quarterback to competent NFL starter in just a few weeks time. Something tells me that the rest of the AFC may be sorry that they didn’t put these Pats away when they had the chance. Next Week: vs. PIT

 

15. Dallas Cowboys (16) – 7-4 – Tony Romo has returned to form, and brought TO back with him to boot. For now it seems that all is well in Cowboy land. We’ll see if they can keep it going now that they all seem to be on the same page once again. Next Week: vs. SEA (Thanksgiving)

 

16. Minnesota Vikings (17) – 6-5 – The Vikings may be hitting their stride, and just in the nick of time. Luckily for them, the rest of the division may have waited for them to get ready to make themselves a factor in this race. The Vikes could be a tough draw in the playoffs, even on the road, with their strong run defense and ridiculous two-headed backfield. Next Week: vs. CHI

 

17. Miami Dolphins (14) – 6-5 – Fool Bellichick once, as the Dolphins did with the advent of the wildcat offense, and credit is due. Try it a second time, and shame on you. Tony Sparano and his Dolphins will have to figure out how to compliment their trickery by simply imposing their will on teams occasionally too. They have the weapons in their arsenal, now they just have to put them to the right use. Next Week: @ ST.L

 

18. Buffalo Bills (25) – 6-5 – Trent Edwards and the Bills certainly made a statement in KC on Sunday. In doing so they have also declared themselves back in the race for the AFC East. We’ll have to wait and see if it’s more than a one-week explosion. Next Week: vs. SF

 

19. San Diego Chargers (19) – 4-7 – I can’t help but feel like these Chargers still have some semblance of a run left in the tank, but with each passing week, it appears less and less likely. As long as the Broncos continue to stumble though, a playoff run will still remain a possibility for this team. Next Week: vs. ATL

 

20. New Orleans Saints (21) – 6-5 – Despite the rash of offensive injuries, this team has still been a major disappointment this season. Especially since, at times, they have played at an elite level. Still inconsistency and the success of the rest of this division will probably be too much for the Saints to overcome this season. Next Week: @ TB

 

21. Green Bay Packers (11) – 5-6 – Forget about the fact that Brett Favre is lighting it up for the Jets in the AFC, the Packers had to see what they had in Aaron Rodgers in this, his 4th season. With that said, they way that Rodgers and these Packers have played at times is the reason why Ted Thompson knew that having Favre around on the bench was not an option. Next Week: vs. CAR

 

22. Philadelphia Eagles (20) – 5-5-1 – The Eagles and Andy Reid appear to be their own worst enemy at this point. With a banged up Brian Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter injured early in the game on Sunday, it’s feasible that Reid benched Donavan McNabb to simply keep him from being killed in the second half against the Ravens. Next Week: vs. AZ (Thanksgiving)

 

23. Houston Texans (24) – 4-7 – They’re clearly playing for the future at this point, but offensively at least, that future looks like it could be pretty bright. If they could put together a consistent defense, they might hope to contend in the talent laden AFC South. Next Week: vs. JAX

 

24. Jacksonville Jaguars (23) – 4-7 – The Jags are easily the most talented team in the bottom third of the rankings, on both sides of the ball it would seem. Something however keeps this team from being able to believe in themselves enough to play a game from start to finish. I suspect there will be big changes in Jacksonville this off-season. Next Week: @ HOU

 

25. Oakland Raiders (31) – 3-8 – The Raiders and Tom Cable are doing the best that they can with what they’ve got, and are scaring some teams in the process. In the big picture, they’re probably overmatched talent wise in most weeks, but they do have a few exciting young players to build around. Next Week: vs. KC

 

26. Cleveland Browns (22) – 4-7 – New quarterback, same old problems. Now they’re back to the old quarterback it seems, but the Browns need a lot more than a new QB to ignite this offense. They might need a defibrillator to get their collective heart going again. Next Week: vs. IND

 

27. San Francisco 49ers (26) – 3-8 – They’ve shuffled coaches, coordinators, quarterbacks and systems, but the Niners still appear no closer to getting to the playoffs any time soon. In fact they may be headed in the opposite direction altogether. Next Week: @ BUF

 

28. Seattle Seahawks (27) – 2-9 – They’ve put up much more of a fight it would seem in recent weeks, but still the Seahawks are nowhere close to where they expected to be at this point in the season. It looks like it’s safe to say that 2008 in Seattle may be the worst sports season any city has ever seen. Next Week: @ DAL (Thanksgiving)

 

29. Cincinnati Bengals (28) – 1-9-1 – It’d be nice to say that the Bengals have played better than their 1-9-1 record would indicate, but it’s probably not true. The Bengals still have enough firepower to be a handful for just about anyone, but a sustained period of success is highly unlikely. Next Week: vs. BAL

 

30. Kansas City Chiefs (28) – 1-10 – They seemed to have found an offensive rhythm of late, but simply can’t stop the run against anyone. The Cheifs should provide us with plenty of good highlights, both their own and their opponents, this season, but probably won’t be much of a factor in most games. Next Week: @ OAK

 

31. St. Louis Rams (30) – 2-9 – The Rams went from freefall, to seemingly righting their ship, and back to freefall in a few short weeks. The good news is that in the NFC West, they can still reasonably hope to come back next year with a chance to be competitive again. Next Week: vs. MIA

 

32. Detroit Lions (32) – 0-11 – Now that the Titans have gotten a blemish on their perfect record, I suppose the attention will shift to Detroit, and their record of perfect ineptitude so far. Some say it’s harder to go winless than undefeated in today’s NFL, for what it’s worth I never understood that logic, but the Lions are doing it and making it look easy too. Next Week: vs. TEN

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

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A rare matchup of cheesesteak vs. crab cake

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

It doesn’t happen often when the mean streets of the City of Brotherly Love and the quaint “Wire” world of Charm City get together in a meaningful sports contest. Four years ago, we had the infamous Halloween matchup where Terrell Owens – at that point still en vogue in fickle Filthy – danced over Ray Lewis in the north end zone of The Linc.

Twenty five years ago we saw the Orioles take down the Phillies in Game 5 at The Vet to bring Baltimore its final sniff of a World Title in the great game of baseball. Of course, that was “B.A.” – before Angelos.

But I can’t think of another time when Baltimore vs. Philly meant much of anything. And that’s a shame, really.

So as a guy who travels to Philadelphia regularly for concerts, culture and rock and roll (BTW: Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers are reuniting next Wednesday night for a one-time only show at the Electric Factory) it’s always interesting when a sports battle actually involves Baltimore vs. Philly.

As much as there is a “rivalry” of some kind – and let’s be honest, the Phillies are the World Champions and I see their gear all over our town these days so there isn’t much to discuss on the baseball side thanks to Angelos and company – Sunday should be a lot of fun if the violent drunk Philadelphia fans don’t overdo it.

It’s an all-too-rare 90-mile turf war.

Philadelphia – or Filthy, as I lovingly refer to it – has cheesesteaks, decent doughy pretzels, Rocky Balboa, the Flyers, Tastykakes and plenty of grit.

Baltimore has a purple love affair with our football team, Ray Lewis, the Eagles former special teams coach with John Harbaugh and I’ll still take crab cakes over Tastykakes or cheesesteaks.

I suppose it’s unfortunate in some ways that when Art Modell brought the Ravens to town that we didn’t somehow wind up in a division where we could play the Redskins, Giants and Eagles a little more frequently than every four years – or in this case, every EIGHT years in our home market.

Sure, I dig hating on Cleveland and Pittsburgh (as well as feeling empathy for the poor people of Cincinnati), but it’d be a lot more fun to talk about the Eagles and Philadelphia in some sort of “rivalry” way more than every four years.

Of course, ask me again after the game on Sunday once we all spend a day with our “well-behaved” neighbors from the north and I might feel differently.

It all depends on how many picks Donovan McNabb throws us on Sunday.

The Eagles fans are second only to the Browns fans to admire when their team is losing.

Bring on Gang Green…

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