Tag Archive | "cameron"

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A YEAR LATER: What really happened with Cam Cameron firing?

Posted on 10 December 2013 by Nestor Aparicio

On December 10, 2012, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh fired Cam Cameron. Eight weeks later, Joe Flacco led a winning offense to a Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers. What really happened? What caused that fateful decision?

Do you want to know everything?

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 15 of the definitive book on the Ravens’ Super Bowl XLVII victory in New Orleans, Purple Reign 2: Faith, Family & Football – A Baltimore Love Story.

If you enjoy it, please consider buying the books for the holidays as gifts for anyone who loves the Baltimore Ravens.

You can purchase both Purple Reign books by clicking here:

You can read an excerpt from Chapter 9 here where Joe Flacco and Steve Bisciotti talk about the risk of $100 million:

You can read an excerpt from Chapter 7 here on all things Joe Flacco and why the Baltimore Ravens fell in love with him:

 

15. Dancing on The Edge of Chaos?

“People are going to believe what they want to believe. It’s what I believe is best going forward for our offense and for our football team. That’s not to say anybody can’t do the job or didn’t do the job. Cam was doing a heck of a job here – doing a heck of a job here for a long time. Nobody knows that better than me, and nobody has stated that more times. I believe that. I also believe that right now at this time, the timing says this is the best thing, and this is what we’re going to do.”
John Harbaugh (December 10, 2012)

 

THE SHORT RIDE HOME FROM Fed Ex Field after an excruciating loss was particularly disturbing for John Harbaugh. On the bus he started thinking about where the Baltimore Ravens would be in the coming weeks if things remained the same and this team continued to perform inconsistently. He’d been thinking about the end of this season since the end of last season. Harbaugh was a big picture guy with all of his assistant coaches. It’s the NFL – Not For Long. Change is inevitable.

But when exactly is the right time to make a glacial movement in philosophy? When, exactly, do you decide to decide to make a change in personnel? And how do you know if it’s the right decision?

“I was on the bus back from the Redskins game, and I just did it,” Harbaugh said. “I just decided this is what we needed to do.”

Twelve hours later, head coach John Harbaugh brought his longtime friend, former boss and current offensive coordinator Cam Cameron into his office in Owings Mills and fired him. Later in the afternoon, Harbaugh did his usual Monday press conference.

“We’ve replaced Cam [Cameron] with Jim Caldwell,” he began. “It’s been something that we went through last night and this morning and had a conversation with Cam real early this morning and then with Jim. And I just want to say that Cam Cameron has done an excellent job here over the last, almost, five years as our offensive coordinator. The record proves that. When you take a look at what’s been accomplished on offense for the last four years – the games that have been won, the points that have been scored, and really, by every measurement – Cam is a very good football coach. He is a loyal, hard-working guy. He’s a great friend. Obviously, it’s a difficult thing, personally, to do something and make a move like that with any coach, especially guys that you’ve been battling with for all these years, and Cam has been right in there battling. He has been a member of this team, and I’m proud of what he has accomplished here. At this time, the move is made to give us a chance to be the best that we can be. And that’s not saying anybody can’t do it, but it’s just an opportunity to try to get this thing going and become the best offense and the best team we can be, and we feel like it’s what is best for the team at this time. And, that’s why we made the move. There’s no more to it than that. We’ll go forward with that. So, Jim will take over. That started this morning. He’s working on the game plan with the rest of the staff. The rest of the staff is on board, and we’ll go to work like we always do and see how it plays out.”

In trying to piece together the story of how it had gotten to this point, this desperate place where Harbaugh felt he had no other option but to fire Cameron on the bus ride home from Fed Ex Field in Week 14 of the season, you have to go back to the biggest of big picture philosophies in Owings Mills.

“What gives us the best chance to win the Super Bowl?”

Much like when Bisciotti fired Billick nearly five years earlier, or when Billick fired his pal and offensive coordinator Jim Fassel during a bye week in 2006, this was as much about the team as it was any one or two issues, disagreements, or personal relationships.

The truth? It was hard to find anyone in the building who truly trusted, fully understood or had an ideal two-way communication with Cam Cameron. Relationships change. People change. But sometimes philosophies remain stagnant and grow stale.

Since Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti pre-dates Harbaugh, it begins with a vision even larger

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Rice says Cameron firing is “wake up call for everybody” with Ravens

Posted on 12 December 2012 by WNSTV

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Flacco “stunned” by abrupt firing of Cam Cameron

Posted on 12 December 2012 by WNSTV

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Bisciotti vs. Angelos — Oh, those meddling owners of Baltimore sports teams…

Posted on 12 December 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

Unlike most sportswriters and “journalists” around Baltimore, when you begin one of my masterpieces on sports ownership and civic expectations, at least you know where I stand. As a lifelong fan of the Colts, Orioles, Bullets/Wizards, Capitals and Ravens, it’s been my experience that nothing affects my fan experience more than who currently owns these franchises.

I have made it my life’s work via owning WNST.net to study these sports owners and how these local teams operate, function, thrive and compete.

And oft-times, checking their sobriety level and true intentions, goals and desires for their ownership becomes a guiding force for their popularity, success and profit. Somewhere deep inside of every Bob Irsay, Abe Pollin or Edward Bennett Williams, there’s a hunger for something intangible that their millions of dollars of U.S. currency can’t really buy – not that feeding their egos and wallets simultaneously would be turned down by any of these men.

But they want to be heroes. They want to be winners in a way that no court case or big sale or transaction can be felt in the traditional business world. They’re sportsmen. They want to save the city. They want to have that “one moment in time” feeling of watching the confetti drop while they toast a championship and host a ticker tape parade. Billy Joel once sang about them in a song called “Big Shot.”

No one associated with big-league sports ever lost money owning a team in Baltimore, with or without championships or competitive teams. The Colts, Orioles, Ravens all sold for more than their original purchase price. So, making money comes with the territory, even if you wreck the franchise for the fanbase, as has been witnessed here with Peter Angelos since 1993.

But I’ll also say this much: I also personally know some very good, civic-minded people who lost hundreds of thousands – if not MILLIONS of dollars – trying to run minor-leagues sports franchises in Baltimore since 1968, when I entered the planet and the local sports scene. The losses of Skipjacks, Clippers, Bandits, Lightning, Spirit, Claws, Blades, et. al. means there were some nice guys like Bill Stealey, Tom Ebright or Mike Caggiano losing a helluva lotta money on a hobby and sports dream gone wrong.

These are businesses. And as a business owner who has taken on immense risk buying and operating WNST over the years, I respect and honor the amount of work it takes to make a profit and keep customers and the community at-large happy.

I respect that Peter Angelos once bought the Baltimore Orioles to win championships and be the local hero owner. I also have watched him humiliate and degrade a whole generation of passionate Orioles fans and piss on the brand for better part of two decades with equal parts wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

This week, Steve Bisciotti, the owner of the Baltimore Ravens maneuvered quite heavy-handedly behind the scenes to oust offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, while head coach John Harbaugh took the podium to make an announcement that it was pretty clear he was uncomfortable with in just about every way.

As a fan, all I’ve ever asked for is accountability and knowing what the intentions of the owner are so I can tell Baltimore sports fans what’s really happening.

It really speaks volumes when you watch the way the two franchises in Baltimore weave through a sports calendar with incredibly expensive, risky and “no turning back” decisions.

And let’s make this really clear: Steve Bisciotti and Peter Angelos run their franchises and make the last call on virtually every decision. They’ve earned that right because they took the

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Dear John: Why is now the right time to fire Cam Cameron?

Posted on 10 December 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

At some point this morning all hell broke loose in Owings Mills. It’s not often – or I’m not sure it’s ever been done before successfully – that an offensive coordinator of a 9-4 football team that produced 21 points of road offense in the first 21 minutes of a game is fired less than 21 hours later.

But it happened this morning. Tony Dungy got a leak from Jim Caldwell and gave it to Dan Patrick, who then gave it to Mike Florio. And then we learned that Cam Cameron was fired and told his friend Jamie Costello at ABC2.

Word is that there were some rather harsh words exchanged, feelings hurt and that Cameron was shocked by everything about the decision, which wasn’t made solely by John Harbaugh. WNST has also learned that Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti was directly involved in the decision as well.

The Baltimore Ravens were 53-24 & 5-4 in playoffs during his tenure as offensive coordinator. He also inherited a rookie QB, RB & first offense without Jon Ogden at left tackle in 2008.

WNST.net monitored it minute to minute on Twitter and we’re all still sorting through everything but what’s obvious – the Baltimore Ravens are struggling in lots of ways right now to win a game and Cam Cameron obviously worked his way through the doghouse of John Harbaugh and was shown the door this morning.

It might never be reported what happened last night in the mind of Harbaugh and/or Bisciotti or how long this change has been brewing – and don’t expect him to be forthcoming in his press conference when questioned about the change – but it’s now done, and veteran offensive mind and QB guru Jim Caldwell will take over a sputtering offense that he’s had almost a calendar year to dissect and learn with Joe Flacco at the helm.

What will really change this Sunday vs. the Denver Broncos?

Who knows?

But Cam Cameron didn’t have false starts. Cam Cameron didn’t put the offense in 1st & 23s, 2nd & 17s and 3rd & 11s. Cam Cameron didn’t miss blocks and assignments. Cam Cameron didn’t throw high and long or short and low to Torrey Smith. Cam Cameron didn’t have separation issues or troubles finding holes in the running attack. Cam Cameron didn’t let Ben Grubbs walk away last offseason.

Cam Cameron calls plays. Now Jim Caldwell will probably call a lot of the same plays.

This Broncos game can now be deemed a “must-win” game given the Ravens’ stated desire to have a first-round bye that was looking so likely eight mornings ago when they were 9-2 and coming off a heady, miraculous win in San Diego.

Perhaps Caldwell was headed to the open market in a few weeks to become an offensive coordinator or even a head coach in the coming weeks? Maybe Cameron and Harbaugh had a falling out? How involved did Steve Bisciotti get last night after an embarrassing loss in D.C.?

Feel free to speculate away because you will anyway…

But however you slice it, it’s a very radical move this morning by John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens organization.

Sometimes these things take root and championships are won.

And sometimes, it’s the first chair off the Titanic..

Harbaugh will be asked a lot of questions. He will wish Cam Cameron well. And in six days the Denver Broncos are coming to town to play a team that clearly hit the panic button this morning.

Harbaugh won’t call it the panic button and would berate me if I asked him that question but I’m not sure that under any circumstance that this is the desired pathway for a Super Bowl team.

His brother Jim Harbaugh endured heavy media and fan heat three weeks ago for changing starting quarterbacks while in first place. Now, in the midst of December with a 9-4 team flailing in many phases of the game and after the defense and special teams floundered in D.C. with the game (and a lead) in the balance, John Harbaugh has guillotined his offensive coordinator with three games left on the 2012 calendar.

I always laugh when the fans scream to fire the coach or bench the QB in the middle of any season.

It looks like John Harbaugh has finally succumbed after hearing the chants of the radicals and fired his O.C. on a Monday morning.

Some of you finally got what you wanted – heads to roll when the team is 9-4.

 

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Ravens fans vs. Orioles fans – are we two birds of a different feather?

Posted on 16 August 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

It goes without saying that Baltimore isn’t quite yet embracing this 2012 version of Baltimore Orioles pennant fever. No matter how dramatic the victories or how unlikely this late August run for postseason glory seems, nothing about The Birds has moved the sports fans of Maryland.

Even into the great beyond via the long reach of MASN – not to mention the reach into your pockets every month like a public utility – for whatever reason people aren’t coming back in droves to give King Peter Angelos their money to watch the likes of Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis and even boy wonder Manny Machado, who has been worth the price of admission alone this week.

Oh, I know I’m being “Negative Nestor” by even writing this blog when the Orioles are winning baseball games and on the verge of a sweep of the hated Boston Red Sox. But every time the TV cameras pan the more than half-empty stadium, I can’t help but thinking the same thing you’re thinking: “I wonder why people aren’t going to Camden Yards to support this winning team?”

Yeah, we all thought Camden Yards would be packed once the Orioles started winning. And as the team closes a 10-game homestand tonight in full control of a wild card berth and still within striking distance of the New York Yankees, a true “pennant fever” atmosphere has yet to emerge in Baltimore.

It seems that a few months of prosperity hasn’t wiped out 14 years of bad vibes, bad baseball, steroid needles, lies from the owner and the emergence of the Washington Nationals as the regional team with marketing legs and, dare we say, “Natitude.”

And here’s where we’ll piss off both side of the Baltimore fence.

I have one question for you: “Are you excited about the Baltimore Ravens’ upcoming season?”

My gut is that you just yelled, “YES!”

My gut also says that your neighbor is excited, your cousins, your co-workers, the folks in your social group – wherever your friends and loved ones reside — they’re ready to don purple and are counting down the minutes until the 7 p.m. kickoff on Monday, Sept. 10 vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.

I’m not sure when it became sort of fashionable to only support one of the two teams in Baltimore and perhaps for the younger generation there has never been a good time to embrace the Orioles. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m ready for Ravens’ season and that my love for the purple guys has superseded my spirit and energy for the Orioles. But I do love them both. And I will support them both equally for what it means for Baltimore to have a winning sports team and a chance to hang red, white and blue bunting here in October.

And, somehow during this emergence of the purple birds of Baltimore since 1996, this weird kind of divide has occurred here in the Charm City where some folks only have enough “love” – if not dollars and time and energy – for one of the two teams.

Do you know people who love the Orioles and have no use for football or the Ravens? Almost to the point where they root against the purple birds in football season?

I do.

And, conversely, from what I can tell there are a myriad of people everywhere around town who are fervent Baltimore Ravens fans and have long-since given up following the Orioles on a nightly basis, even now that the team on the field is representative of the community’s desire for hard work, overachieving and beating the Yankees and Red Sox.

I know many, many people who have purple “Man Caves” – an entire kingdom and closets dedicated to all things Baltimore Ravens. There are whole stores like The Raven Zone dedicated to selling merchandise year-round.

I don’t know anyone who has a basement that is an homage to the Orioles these days, despite the fact that you get 162 chances to enjoy games vs. just 16 that count.

I also admit that the amount of hours necessary to follow the Orioles is extraordinary. It’s a lifestyle commitment to watch four hours of baseball six nights a week for six months. It’s almost like a full-time job if you’re going to vest into MLB fandom.

And certainly this isn’t a new phenomenon for sports teams anywhere in America. It seems that there’s plenty of love for all four sports teams in places like Boston, Philadelphia, etc. where the seasons and the reasons all seem to blur together into a full calendar of activity and passion.

But it might be time to ask, “Where’s the emotional investment for Baltimore fans?”

Is it possible that you only have room in your heart — or wallet — for one successful local team?

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Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens

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Flacco says week makes big difference for style of Ravens offense

Posted on 20 November 2011 by WNST Staff

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Want Some reasons to be Sleepless in Seattle?

Posted on 13 November 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

Based solely on the Ravens’ Jeckyl and Hyde performances all season long, I’m of the opinion that no one should be perceived as overconfident today as the purple warriors awaken in Seattle with a chance to end the day as the unquestioned leader of the pack in the AFC home-field advantage race.

Oh sure, there are plenty of reasons to feel confidence brimming now the Ravens have swept the dreaded Pittsburgh Steelers and are in control of their own destiny as the Bengals will next try to vanquish the black and gold demons in the early game today as Baltimore awaits the Seahawks at 4 p.m.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t smell a difficult task in Seattle, where the legendary “12th Man” will be appearing soon after kickoff to welcome Joe Flacco and Cam Cameron’s crew to the Pacific Northwest.

Afterall, I was in attendance in Nashville and Jacksonville where the locals all but guaranteed us a happy trip into the deep South and almost-home-cooking that resulted in two of the most dreadful and disappointing outcomes in recent years – especially considering the desperate talent on  both sides of the ball. The Titans and Jaguars are headed toward nowheresville in January but for one afternoon they defended their home turf and thwarted every effort of Flacco and the Ravens’ offense.

The Seahawks appear to be short on the offensive side of the ball — is there any way they can really lose to Tarvaris Jackson? — and many have asked how they’re going to score points today at Century Link Field against a stout Baltimore defense but I will remain at best “cautiously enthusiastic” about the Ravens’ offense until I some semblance of consistency.

That begins today at 4 p.m.

Can Joe Flacco find open receivers downfield? Will the running game with Ray Rice and Ricky Williams be established early to quiet the mounting green and blue cacophony of sounds? Will the offensive line be off cadence all day and create bad down and distances?

Will the defense keep Marshawn Lynch at bay in the running game and can the defense force its usual array of turnovers and pressures on a young, inexperience Seahawks’ offense?

All good questions.

We’ll have answers at 4 p.m.

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Ray Lewis tells Nestor he respects fans who boo Ravens for poor play

Posted on 30 October 2011 by WNST Staff

Ray Lewis has heard every cheer — and jeer — in Ravens history. Today’s boos were the loudest and today’s comeback was the greatest in purple history. Here’s what Ray told Nestor about the sounds of displeasure of Baltimore fans:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjEuP3a9KuE[/youtube]

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Ravens, Rants and Ratings

Posted on 15 September 2009 by WNST Interns

Ravens, Rants and Ratings – week 1

Ravens 38 – Chiefs 24. Good win, weird game!!
First of all, thanks for covering, I have gotten beat more times then I care to count on back door covers. Glad to see it works the other way on occasion. My check book thanks you, Ravens!!
The game was a lot closer then the stats would dictate…or then it should have been. The Chiefs made some big plays and took advantage of the Ravens putting it in cruise control after they scored a quick ten points. Remember boys and girls, everybody gets paid in the NFL; if you let the underdog hang around, that can come back to bite you in the rear end.
On the positive side I really like the pseudo “no huddle” offense they came out in and also employed late in the game. It gave the Ravens a crisp pace and jump started the Raven’s offensive game. The offense carried the day. The defense should thank them.

Joe Flacco, 26 of 43 for 307yds an 3 TD’s. Read that stat line again and remember we are talking about a Baltimore Ravens quarterback. Yes he threw an interception, and he was high on a few throws, but this isn’t your father’s Raven’s quarterback. This kid is special. The first touchdown throw to McGahee was a terrific play, moving in the pocket to extend the play and keeping his eyes down field to find the open receiver. Dare I say it was very “Roethlisberger like”? He is going to be the type of game changer that makes your team a viable contender year after year…FINALLY!!!

The Ravens threw the ball the first 6 plays of the game and a total of 43 times. I LOVE the fact that they have that faith in QB 5; but I think it is important that while Harbaugh and Cameron want to increase the production from the passing game, that they not forget our smash mouth roots. You don’t beat Pittsburgh by being “cute-sy”…I’m just saying.

I thought it was interesting that Chris Chester got the start over Marshall Yanda. It will be curious to see if Chester has beat out Yanda or if the Ravens are just being cautious because of Yanda coming back from the knee injury. Chester played better then I have expected over the last year, but I still like the toughness that Yanda brings. This offensive line is going to be something else. Flacco had a ton of time to throw and in the second half the backs had room to run.

Someone send out a search party for Demetrius Williams. When the Ravens went 4 wide, Todd Heap and Troy Smith were split out more frequently then Demetrius Williams. It appeared that Williams was healthy at the end of training camp. I wonder why he is not playing all of a sudden. Wasn’t it Harbaugh that was saying what a great pre-season Demetrius had? Kelley Washington is going to prove to be a valuable edition to the receiving core. Mark Clayton, after being out all of training camp, was a force at receiver. He looked more in sync with Flacco then did Mason, who uncharacteristically struggled. He bobbled balls all day and had problems with his footwork. By the way, the first long ball that Mason juggled at the back of the end zone early in the game, was a ball that maybe only 5 or 6 quarterbacks in this league can throw.

First an inept defense, then constant clock management issues, now putrid special teams play. Please fix the special teams now!! I just want to see a game where we are not penalized repeatedly in the return game. For a team whose head coach is a formal special team’s ace and with a separate special teams coordinator/assistant head coach our special teams are atrocious. Please stop trying to be cute. Just line up and play football. Max protect, make sure tackles, kick the ball and catch the ball and I will be happy. Steve Hauschka, good luck! When he missed that field goal there was a palpable angst all thru the purple palace. Hauschka seems like a good guy and his kick offs were strong. There is definitely a difference when the other team starts inside the 25 yard line instead of starting at the 35 yard line. Here is hoping that he goes on a long streak of making field goals so the ghost of Matt Stover fades away. I think everyone in the stadium yesterday was praying that the game did not come down to a field goal chance. I still think this team ought to burn a roster spot for automatic Matt.

Defensively, we played fine but there were some definite bumps in the road. I am not convinced that our corners can hold up over the course of the entire season. Also I don’t think they have the ability to play physical bump and run, nor do I like their abilities in run support. The Chiefs did not challenger Foxworth much all day, but Fabian Washington had some serious lapses in coverage. The other thing about Washington is even when he has the opportunity to make a play, he fails to do so. The defense also had trouble getting to the QB unless they blitzed. Jarrett Johnson is a great football player that no one talks about. Great game JJ. It is really nice to see Kelly Gregg back on the football field. No turnovers by the Ravens defense that is definitely not Raven football.

RANTS

1. I really am over the Colts to Indianapolis thing, really I am. But the broadcasting that Peyton Manning just tied Johnny Unitas in wins for the Colts franchise still pissed me off. Just make a delineation between the two teams. Nothing against Peyton Manning, he is a great football player, but I don’t want to see continuous comparisons between the Baltimore Colts and the Indianapolis Colts. Leave my memories alone dammit!

2. Serena Williams, lose some weight girl, you are a professional athlete. In all seriousness that tirade she threw at the US Open looked very calculated to me. The Williams sisters long had a heated rivalry with the Belgian players, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne. I think she was looking for a way out without actually losing. Williams is known to only play the major tournaments, because she detests the tour life, and to her credit she usually does very well. But I think the fact that she could not just will herself to a win over one of her most hated opponents in a tournament she sees as her own, got to her. The fact the Kim Clijsters is coming out of retirement after giving birth and was assumed not to be in tip top shape had to wear on Serena. Turn about is fair play Serena. How do you think all the other players, who take their profession seriously and play week in and week out, feel after they lose to you after you show up in questionable shape and only when you feel like it?
3. How about a Maryland football player who actually has some success. Shaun Hill was 18 for 31 for 209 yards for the SF 49ers. On the game winning drive he was 9 for 13 for 57 yards. Shaun Hill harkens back to the glory days of the Friedgen era at Maryland. Way to go Shaun Hill.

4. Fat men can’t coach. How can anybody associated with the Maryland football team be happy about beating James Madison University in overtime? The university of Maryland supposedly a major Division I college program has 2 walk-ons starting on the offensive line. Charlie Weis is cost his team the game on Saturday against Michigan. The University Of Notre Dame does not have the ability to make adjustments in the game plan. They were flat out coached at Michigan and shoddy coaching decisions late put the last nails in the coffin. The winds of change cannot come fast enough.

5. The Seattle Seahawks are a solid yet stunning unspectacular football team. They have a strong running game, they upgraded their receivers and the defense is fast and aggressive. If Matt Hasselback stays healthy they will win the NFC West in a walk. Mark that one down.

6. How bad must it stink to be a Cincinnati Bengal’s fan? Neither Cincinnati nor the Denver Broncos will factor in the playoffs this year, but Cincinnati seems to invent new ways to lose. Losing a game like they did, on that tipped miracle catch and run, may destroy that team for the rest of the year. I would not want to be Marvin Lewis right now.

7. What the hell was Kanye West thinking? He absolutely ruined a magical moment for the girl, Taylor Swift. If I was Ms. Swift I would have wound up and kicked him right in the 5 hole. At least Beyonce tried to save the night with a class move at the end of the Music Awards, raising Taylor Swift’s arm in triumph. Kanye West is a punk, the clock is ticking, and your 15 minutes is almost up Kanye.

8. Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player I have ever seen. For years, everyone always chided Michael Jordan for not speaking out, for not expressing his opinion. Now that he opens up at his Hall of Fame induction, maybe he was right for keeping quiet all those years. On a night of celebration, Mr. Jordan could not resist taking one more stab at all those people he battled and feuded with throughout his career. He couched his venom by saying that is what drove his competitive passion. He could have made his point without throwing a bunch of well respected people under the bus. David Robinson and John Stockton were the epitome of class.

9. Did anyone catch Brian Matusz against the Yankees this past Saturday afternoon? I actually turned off college football to watch him pitch. The kid was terrific and has been off the charts for his last 4 starts. He is going to be a real, real good one. Just stay healthy Brian. Now Andy McPhail, go get me John Lackey and Chone Figgins and maybe we are onto something.

RANKINGS

1. Pittsburgh Steelers – …”to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man…Woooo!!” Truer words were never spoken.
2. Philadelphia Eagles – very tenuous ranking here with McNabb’s rib injury, but they were still very impressive Sunday.
3. New Orleans Saints – Still not sure about the running game or the defense, but Drew Brees, WOW!! MVP!!
4. New York Giants – Workman like win over a decent team. No flash here just a lot of substance.
5. New York Jets – A shout out to Rex Ryan. Man he looks good in a wet t-shirt. Way to go coach. Nice line for the rookie QB, 18-32 for 272 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception. Sanchez has got star written all over him.
6. Seattle Seahawks – I like the way this team played on Sunday. Good offensive line, workman like backs, speedy defense, capable QB and receivers and a lousy division.
7. Baltimore Ravens – Probably a bit high here; I am just giddy we have an offense.
8. Green Bay Packers – Showed great offense in the preseason, but defense may be the story here.
9. New England Patriots – Is there a crack in the foundation? They looked lost and slow against the Bills, until the last 5 minutes of course.
10. Minnesota Vikings – This great defense gave up 20 points to a bad offense. Adrian Petersen is a beast, 25 carries for 180 yards and 3 TD’s.
11. Atlanta Falcons – “Matty-Ice” good QB, lousy nickname.
12. Indianapolis Colts – Peyton Manning, yada, yada, yada…
13. San Francisco 49ers – I am rooting for the 49ers, lots of young talent here, Singletary is a psycho. Go Shaun Hill Go.
14. Dallas Cowboys – They haven’t had any heart in Dallas for over 3 years. When the going gets tough, the Cowboys lose.
15. San Diego Chargers – LT was very quiet, the Oakland Raiders took them to the brink, and Norv Turner is still the coach. Always lots of talent, but I am not feeling it.
16. Tennessee Titans – Funny this team is more like the Baltimore Ravens, then the Baltimore Ravens are. Defend, run the ball and make sure you don’t turn the ball over.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars – Still a rough tough defense with a superior back. Is David Garrard enough to win in the NFL?
18. Arizona Cardinals – I am on the fence about this team. Immensely talented, but I think they just caught lightning in a bottle last year.
19. Washington Redskins – Defense is really tough, Haynesworth will make them better. It is put up or shut up time for Jason Campbell.
20. Chicago Bears – That might have been the most disappointing opening night I have seen in a long time. Add that to losing Brian Urlacher for the entire year, it might be a long season in the Windy City.
21. Miami Dolphins – Last season the stars were aligned for this team. I think they played a good team on Sunday so let’s keep an eye on the Fish.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Defense is not close to what it once was, but running attack was very good and Byron Leftwich had some good numbers.
23. Oakland Raiders – There is a pulse. Defense has been sturdy for a couple years and the offensive line was greatly improved. The passing game showed some life.
24. Denver Broncos – This team is in trouble and needed a miracle to beat the Bengals. This might get ugly in Denver.
25. Kansas City Chiefs – I like Todd Haley, he has a fire and passion. The Chiefs should some spunk when the Ravens gave them a gift to get back in the game. Let’s see what happens when Matt Cassel gets playing.
26. Buffalo Bills – First wide right, then the Music City Miracle, now the Foxboro faux pas.
27. Detroit Lions – Matt Stafford showed some flashes. Kevin Smith is going to be a star and Calvin Johnson already is. Keep an eye on this team they will get better.
28. Cincinnati Bengals – Who dat, Who dat going to beat dem Bengals? Everybody, YUK!!! Can you say C-U-R-S-E?
29. Carolina Panthers – Easily the most disappointing team of opening weekend. They definitely spit the bit. Last 2 games for Jake Delhomme, 10 turnovers, 9 interceptions.
30. Cleveland Browns – This team is bad, but I love watch Josh Cribbs play football.
31. St. Louis Rams – they offered no challenge whatsoever to the Seahawks. It was pathetic to watch.
32. Houston Texans – Has there ever been a more over rated team. Year after year they are touted and fall flat on their face.

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