Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

VICK-TORY

Posted: August 30, 2011 in NFL

First off I must apologize to the faithful POS readers for the decreased frequency of my posts. I know that I started off like a bat out of hell with these blogs, however I try to write when something sparks my interest or opinions and there just hasn’t been that much controversy that I can write about.

However this morning I learned that Michael Vick is now at a 9/10 for his comeback story. The Philadelphia Eagles permanently tied their future to Vick yesterday by signing the dynamic double-threat quarterback to a 6-year, $100 million contract. The contract will pay $40 million in guarantees, with a $14.4 million salary cap hit (ESPN.com).

This struck me as interesting, because there are so many angles to look at this from, so let’s begin.

The first thing we can take from this is that Philadelphia is serious about making themselves a contender for the near future every year. They are not messing around and want to get their first title under Andy Reid and they want it now.

With their additions this summer, most notably Rodgers-Cromartie, Asomugha and Jenkins, they have made strides in the right direction on both sides of the ball. Not to mention adding Ronnie Brown for minimal money who is still on the good side of 30.

However the main cog in their resurgence last year, and perhaps one less interception from going to the divisional playoffs and maybe beyond, was Michael Vick.

Many reporters and analysts attribute Vick’s success to the simple fact that he had two years to prepare for this comeback. His body had two years outside of the game without training camps, regular seasons or optional team workouts to recover. During his time spent in prison he worked out, trimmed up and studied the game.

When he came back he was in shape and ready to play, not to mention Vick had special athletic gifts already that many do not have. When he sits in the pocket he looks poised and ready to throw, but if you blink he’s already past the line of scrimmage and darting around like the most elusive running back.

His ability to scramble and sprint is what makes his so dangerous. Couple that with his renewed throwing abilities and accuracy and you’ve got an unstoppable football machine.

The only knock on his game however is his recklessness for himself. When Vick is in the zone it is magical to watch him play. He has a cannon for an arm and can zip the ball between opposing defenders into the arms of his receiver on any given play, or launch a deep ball half the length of the field to a receiver in-stride.

It is when Vick removes himself from the pocket, and turns himself into a vulnerable running back in the open field, that makes fans and team officials hold their collective breaths.

Vick is trim, fit, and built like many wide receivers in the league but is still not that large. When you have 6’3 250lb linebackers running at you thinking about how big their hit is going to be, even a 6’0ft 215lb quarterback seems small.

Last year we saw that he is not invincible, when he suffered an injury to his rib cartilage while diving for towards the end zone against the Washington Redskins. Vick made his move and was sandwiched between two Washington defenders. Although he walked away from the hit on his own strength, the mentality that he will do anything for the score is both thrilling and nerve wracking.

A player like Michael Vick is so rare in football that with a capable defense and a few playmakers on offense you can say that he will take you to the promised land and deliver a championship. Clearly the Eagles front office feels this way, otherwise they would not invest their near future in him.

But on some level you have to question this move a little bit, is it too soon?

The Eagles will of course say they have done their due diligence and feel that Vick is changed for the good going forward and has learned his lesson. I for one hope that this is true, as enough animals have suffered at his hands, literally.

Now I will not turn this into a rant, as a dog lover I think it’s heinous what he did but I also believe in rehabilitation. I do not accept his excuses, however at what point do we stop hating on his past and start celebrating his present and future?

I read on an old ESPN article that Vick has attended and spoken at 23 humane society events or animal treatment events at the least. That is a strong commitment from anyone. The minimum would have been about 5, yet he continues his work with the humane society for the treatment of animals and speaks about the wrongs he has committed.

He embraced his evil doings, never hides from it and speaks up against it. It is easy to maintain the villain image in your head about Vick and continue to hate, but the most painful punishment is having to tell his young children why they can never own a dog of their own.

So let’s celebrate this slightly, mostly for the fact that Vick is almost completed one of the most spectacular comebacks in sports. He was brought down from the mountain top and tossed into the gutter. Then he was resurrected when people thought he had nothing left and now will get to pay off much of his debt and owed salary to the Falcons, and will still have a small lottery winnings worth to put away in the bank.

If Philadelphia wins the Super Bowl in the next 6 years with Vick under centre, it would truly be one of the great sports stories of all time and I will celebrate it. However no victory is complete without its losses, Vick has suffered enough of those for a few people, now we wait and see if he can get the one victory he has yet to win.

What’s the Hold Up?

Posted: August 11, 2011 in NFL

The hold up this time of year is all about the hold out, a common trend in the NFL that no matter how much people of my ilk detest does not seem to go away. I am referring to the contract hold outs of player’s who feel that they do not need to honour their contractual commitments they made years ago to their teams.

This year the two big names for a hold out were Philadelphia Eagle’s wide receiver DeSean Jackson, and arguably the second best running back in the league in Tennessee’s Chris Johnson.

Now my problem here stems from the principle that you signed a contract in order to play professional football, something you called your dream once. When you achieved this dream I bet you were ecstatic over the fact that you got to play football everyday for the rest of your life, no?

When a player’s name is called by the commissioner (currently Roger Goodell) it is supposed to be one of the best days of a college football player’s life. This past year almost every player embraced the commissioner with a bear hug, following the lead of Gerald McCoy last year when he almost crushed Goodell with a similar hug.

So then it begs the question, why so serious? Why must you always feel you’re entitled to more? If you’re playing worse the team is not allowed to restructure your deal so that you’re paid less. Now granted, I am aware that contracts can be terminated in the NFL, but the best players will have clauses that will protect them in some fashion. Also there is a guaranteed amount of money so you’re not cut loose with nothing. If you are playing great you can rest assured that you will be paid.

Adrian Peterson is the best back in the league, no questions no debate. The man is an athletic specimen, he continually runs for yards and TDs every year and he gets paid. He is clean cut, smiles and gets endorsement deals as well. Mr. Johnson has a golden grill, long dreads and always look like he’s about to hurt someone.

This is not profiling, this is merely suggesting that one avenue to get some more money is to clean yourself up, present yourself like a professional adult and get some outside the lines money.

Now back to this silly idea of the hold out. There are more drawbacks here than benefits from holding out, especially after months lost to training, team communication and conditioning with the trainers.

First off when you are holding out that means you’re holding out on your coaches, your player’s and yourself. You are denying yourself and your teammates the chance to practice offensive set ups, plays, schemes, anything to get yards and put points on the board. Why would you be so selfish as to prevent that? Isn’t football played on a field with 10 other offensive players? Are you not part of a “team” that wears the same jersey and plays on the same field?

Second, you are not bigger than the league or the system with which it works in. You decided to go to college to play football and pursue a career in it afterwards. Neither I nor anyone else prevented you from continuing on with your education and working in a field that does not have the same risks involved as football. You made a conscious choice to pursue fame and fortune and now you’re complaining about the road you’re driving on to reach that goal? Get over yourself.

I cannot stress how many times these acts of selfishness upset me as a fan, knowing full well I am nothing shy of jealous of every single one of these players, coaches, assistants, water boys, etc. They are all directly involved with teams, players, organizations. They are where I want to be and I will be there one day, I’m just not there right now. So to see the game taken for granted time and time again upsets me, as it should every fan.

This once again brings us to the business side of it, and understanding your role as the employee.

Sure I could hold out for more money from my company, but they would say go ahead and get work with another company/brand. Fine, but then I need to submit resumes and go to interviews to get that new job with a new organization.

You must understand this player’s, the NFL is the organization not the teams within it. You are playing within a CBA for the entire league, not just the team that will pay you. As a result, you have signed a contract to play in the NFL therefore honour that contract.

I do not care if you are over achieving in the first two or three years of your four year rookie deal. You know when you can expect to be paid and get a new deal? When this current contract is completed, by you the employee.

Over achieving happens everywhere in life and you are not always compensated the way you wish to be, it’s called life, deal with it. You think I get paid what I want? Or what I think I’m worth? My employer decides that not me. If I want to hold out, I can wait in the unemployment line.

You can do the same, I am sure the UFL would love to have a former 2,000 yard rusher in their programs on game day.

This is not to say that you should roll over and die on these issues, if anything continue to perform then you will get even more money when it comes to contract negotiation time. You might get more guaranteed money, more years, who knows.

That is the beauty of being the best, you prove your worth on the field then come contract time you have all the leverage. Holding out to me shows that you’re a whiny baby who does not want to play by the rules. This is not acceptable. Coaches don’t stop coaching if they think they’re underpaid. They make a note to the front office and move along with their business.

I do want to say that I support player’s being paid what they are worth, otherwise it’s a sweat shop on the field. However, as always there is something to be said about paying your dues. One great year followed by a good year is great but shouldn’t the team get this free money before they start paying out? Should they not be rewarded for the chance they took on an East Carolina standout?

It is not as if they drafted Peyton Manning type talent and are paying him peanuts. Johnson was a late first round draft pick from a smaller school who broke his leg in his senior year of high school and was a poor high school student. He did not come with a sparkly clean resume and Heisman Trophy stats to boot.

This is an example of a team taking a calculated risk and hitting the jackpot, are they not entitled to their winnings?

In sum, Mr. Johnson will get paid after this year I imagine with a contract that makes him close to, or actually being the highest paid running back in the game. However to do that he will have to have another year of production, that is the key to the vault in the NFL. Good luck Mr. Johnson, the path to cash is covered in grass and hash marks, I’m sure you’ll find your way.

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?

Posted: July 27, 2011 in NFL

Yes POS fans, you read the reports correct this week, NFL football will be back in full swing this year and I know everyone couldn’t be happier. Well except Roger Goodell, I’m sure he could be a lot happier. I for one am amazed that he has not fined James Harrison yet, if an employee of mine said half the things he did he would be fired instantly and never given the chance to reapply.

Remember when Paul Daley took a cheap shot at Koscheck after their number one contender fight? Dana White came out right away and said “Paul Daley has been let go and will never fight in the UFC again, never.” That’s the kind of firm hand from an employer I enjoy, you break the rules that badly and you clearly have no respect, as such you don’t deserve to be involved. There are no rights for employment in sports, you must earn and deserve those privileges.

Anyways enough about Harrison we all know he is a complete buffoon who feels he is some gift to someone, not sure who, but let’s move on.

The two sides, players vs. owners, have come out and said that they feel the deal is a win-win for both sides. I would agree mostly because everyone is still winning. As long as football is on everyone wins, the fans, owners and players. But more so the owners and the players as they are the ones making millions of dollars.

The main points of the new CBA are that the revenue sharing is more in favour of the owners this time around. In the new CBA the owner’s will now receive 53% of the $9 billion revenue pool that is generated each year, but there are more points that evens out this deal in my eyes.

The new CBA is 10 years long however this time there are no opt-out clauses for either side, which is probably why this took so long. I approve the no opt out situation in favour of the owner’s because they are just that, the owners.

This is their business, their league and without the owner’s involved we would not have these amazing teams, some of the amazing stadiums (as I am well aware that many have public money in them, but some have mostly private funds) and the job markets provided by these teams to their communities. I know they are the ones that opted out and initiated this lock out, but the player’s did not want to re negotiate the deal which I understand, so we had a lockout.

There are however a lot of player friendly additions into this clause. First off, according to ESPN, the player’s “persuaded teams to commit to spending nearly all of their salary.” This prohibits teams from pulling the junk that NBA owner’s were doing and hoarding extra money or dumping contracts to save on salaries. Money must be spent, and it already is.

The second big win for players comes in the practice area and rest. According to the same ESPN article player’s now have the right to five consecutive days off during a bye week. I would not have been happy about this as an owner or a coach. Bye week is for rest and healing absolutely, but what better war to secure a win after that bye then by training hard for 2 weeks and getting the edge on your opponent?

Free agency is another win, something that the player’s were concerned about. A big area of concern for player’s was that with the rookie deals being blown out of proportion to point of absurdity (see Matthew Stafford and Sam Bradford, combined $91.7 million guaranteed). In order to make this work the player’s needed the rookies to earn their big contract sooner, if they weren’t going to score on their rookie deal.

Now I look at this one way, if I was a veteran and Stafford came out of nowhere to be the #1 overall pick and then hits the jackpot with $41.7 million in guarantees and I’ve gotten maybe $15 million over my career I’m irate.

Although this league is the most violent to your body of any sport, yes MMA I know you’re tough but you don’t provide a car wreck worth of pain every week, you still have to pay your dues.

However you can look at it the sensible way also, underpay the rookies like crazy compared to what they used to get. $10 million guaranteed for the first overall would still be a lottery win, they can earn the rest. If say the star is a running back prodigy like Adrian Peterson they will get a monster deal after four years of continued production, no worries about that.

And that is what the mega deal is supposed to be, it is supposed to be a reward for years of high level production. It is not a right because you were the #1 overall pick and someone, somewhere, felt that your collegiate statistics were a true reflection of what you can do within a league of monster men.

That is the thing that player’s need to remember for these rookies. They may come out of university with amazing statistics, but their competition is not the calibre they will face in the NFL and as such they should not win the lottery without proving their true worth.

The New York Daily News provided the following additional highlights of the new CBA:

2011 salary cap set at $120.375 million per team with additional $22.025 million in benefits.
– First day of training camp limited to physicals and meetings; second and third day no pads or contact; only one padded practice per day, limited to three hours; second practice can only be a walkthrough
– Limit of 14 padded practices during the regular season, one padded practice per week in the postseason
– Five consecutive days off in bye week
– $620 million Legacy Fund to be paid to former players
– Rookie contracts mandatory four years plus fifth-year club option for first-round picks; four years mandatory contract for rounds two through seven
– As a QB, first overall pick in 2011 draft can earn $22.03 million over four years with $14.3M fifth-year club option. That would pertain to Carolina’s Cam Newton, first pick in draft this year. Last year, the Rams gave QB Sam Bradford, the first overall pick, a six-year, $78 million deal with $50 million guaranteed. There is no limit on the amount of the rookie contracts that can be guaranteed.
– Offseason workouts limited to nine weeks

So more or less the new CBA focuses a lot on the safety of the player’s and the continued life of the league, which is something we can all be thankful for I’m sure.

What about us though? What about the fans?

This was another example of professional athletes taking their lives and jobs for granted. I don’t buy that “oh we just want what is fair” yadda yadda junk. What is fair is showing that you care about your paying customers, the source of all this revenue.

Do you think for one minute that without us watching every Sunday the TV stations could pay those insane TV contracts? That jerseys would still miraculously fly off the shelves?

We make the league and you better apologize for real. We deserve something back from this CBA, what about a more controlled ticket price so that every fan can have a realistic chance to see his/her team just once?

I am an Indianapolis Colts fan, regardless of what you think of the team or your misinformed judgements of Manning’s rightful place amongst the greatest players of all time, tickets are not cheap. I would have over an eight hour drive then hotel and about $200 for Ok seats.

That’s just for one game, so we’re talking almost $2,0000 for only eight home games but they sell out that stadium like many others well before the pre season begins. That is how much fans care about these teams, their players and the organizations. Where is our new CBA? Do we not get rights as supporters of these franchises?

I may be ranting, as I’m quite good at that hence starting this blog, besides wanting to keep everyone informed of what’s going on. But the player’s seem more relieved that their money is intact than anything else.

The private suit that was raised against the NFL that included the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees is what irked me the most. That was totally unnecessary, you are all champions, stars beyond imagination in your cities and richer than anyone else in the league could hope to be minus the owners.

Do not stick your face in this mess, what you should be doing is setting the example and saying “Hey guys, I make a ton of money but these linemen? The one that make me look so great who make maybe $800,000 a year and might not be here next year let’s set them up with some better wages I can settle for $14 million instead of $18 million.”

Show some sincere and honest concern for your teammates that help make you look good. They are the unsung heroes that get their bodies demolished and few make a fraction of what their stars do. They open holes for the backs and keep the pressure off the QB’s while incurring all the injuries. Help them out first before you start suing for your own needs.

In the end football is back, at the very least for another 10 glorious years of bone chilling hits, edge of your seat thrills and countless Sundays of heartache. I know I’m ready for some football, I just hope the player’s are ready for the fans.

Calvillo’s Hall Pass

Posted: July 20, 2011 in NFL

A very wise friend of mine mentioned something very interesting to me the other day and it made me dive head first into my first real research based blog. He said to me over the conversation of football “Do you think Anthony Calvillo should be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (PFHOF)?”

What a thought, having one of, if not the best player in Canadian Football League history inducted into the hall of fame. This got me thinking two things; first off does he have the numbers? To be in the hall of fame you have to be a great in the sport, someone who set records, broke records and has an impact on the sport. The other thought was does the PFHOF recognize CFL players in their induction process? Let’s begin.

The first thought which was does he have the numbers, is a clear winner. When you look at his career passing yards, he has totalled so far 69,199 passing yards and 396 passing touchdowns and a career 62.8% pass completion percentage. Right there that tells me they should start moulding his head. Those numbers are staggering, considering he was considered not good enough for the NFL.

However he is not just a stat collector on paper, as he has played for the Montreal Alouettes for 14 straight seasons, been their starting QB for at least 12 of those years and has led them to three championships. Not to mention they are currently the reigning back to back Grey Cup Champions.

So that’s the first part, he has great career statistics. When I look at the list of the same stats of the NFL he is right up there with the best of them. If his stats were translated over into the NFL he would be second behind only Brett Favre who has 71,838 career passing yards. Which means that by the end of this current CFL season which Calvillo will be playing in, he could be the all time passing yards leader in professional football in North America.

When it comes to all time passing touchdowns in professional football Calvillo would rank fifth, trailing only Brett Favre, Dan Marino, Peyton Manning and Fran Tarkenton. Now Manning is still playing and is younger by about four years younger so he will most likely stay ahead of Calvillo in that department forever. Manning is also one of the best QB’s of all time and could very well soon hold the title of the best QB of all time, but that’s another story I can’t wait to write.

Now I know that the NFL happy readers will be thinking to themselves “POS, are you seriously trying to compare CFL stats to the NFL?! Are you mad?!”

My answer of course to that question is no, I may be overly patriotic and have an affinity for those things that make us unique, but I am certainly not mad. Consider on a level playing field those stats that I mentioned above, they demand your attention and later your respect.

Warren Moon is in the PFHOF for various reasons, all of which are completely justified and earned. Mostly for the fact that he had almost 50,000 yards in the NFL and while in the CFL won five consecutive Grey Cup titles with the Edmonton Eskimos.

However that is a special case in which a player is a first ballot inductee and you cannot even consider leaving him out of the shrine. Calvillo may be considered a bit of a homer pick, but he did attend Utah State, so it’s not like I’m pushing the home town vote here or anything.

After looking at the selection process, does no mention of inductees have to be NFL players, or mostly NFL products. Warren Moon made his name in the NFL, but not before taking the CFL by storm and then heading south to play in America.

The fact that Calvillo has either never left by choice, or simply because no team thought he was good enough does hold some merit. We all remember when Casey Printers of the BC Lions tried to go and play in the NFL. He later ended up on the practice squad of the Kansas City Chiefs only later to return to the CFL as his skills were not NFL calibre and he received no playing time.

I would argue that Calvillo never had to leave, why would he? He had a great team in Montreal, he loved the city, was having an amazing professional career albeit in a less popular league than the NFL. But does that truly devalue his talent?

Professional sport is professional sport, like I always say about these athletes we may think they suck for whatever reason but at the end of the day they’re paid to play the game. All we can do is criticise from what we see and think we know, but they’re the ones cashing in on their athletic ability.

Then of course we can add on the cancers he has survived during the twilight of his career while still putting up all time great numbers. In 2010 Calvillo was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. He was able to finish the year, but just weeks after winning his third, and second consecutive title, he underwent surgery to remove a growth on his thyroid. Combine this with his wife’s cancer in 2007 and I would say you have quite the survival story, but that’s just me.

Now I know that the PFHOF is not about sympathy votes, and feel good stories. But to be putting up the numbers he has put up, won championships, survived cancer to himself and his wife, doesn’t he deserve the honour and the recognition?

The football hall of fame states its motto as “to honor, preserve, educate and promote.” What better way to honour his legacy, preserve his drive, educate others on his survival and promote the game internationally then to induct a CFL great? I am not saying that all CFL players deserve to be in there, but when you talk about the best CFL player of all time doesn’t he deserve a statue? At the very least a head.

LOUD NOISES!

Posted: July 16, 2011 in NFL

Loud noises, that’s exactly what athletes sound like these days when I hear them complaining about their league, their coach, their GM, their owner, or essentially anyone who they owe their livelihood to.

Here’s a fresh thought, how about we treat you like every other employee on the planet and if you tell your boss to go screw himself, you can go find a new place of work?

This week in an incredibly ill-advised piece in Men’s Journal, Pittsburgh Steelers all-world linebacker James Harrison felt he was going to exercise his right to free speech. I have no problem with that, as a writer on this blog I exercise that right and responsibility
all the time.

However, the manner in which you exercise that right is the line that separates your freedom, and being a moronic ranting spoiled brat. Seriously, did anyone read those quotes and feel sorry for him in the slightest about his $100,000 in fines last year? It made me wish they were $1,000,000.

Now I am a fan of a different team than the Steelers, however I have no ill-will towards the organization. The Steelers are amongst the highest class organizations in professional sports. They pay their players, they don’t trade much and like to use the guys they drafted
as they draft incredibly well for their systems.

But this is a problem, no matter how you spell it. This rant reminds me of when someone has had too much to drink at a party and starts running their mouth off about all the things they are scared to say while sobre. Once the cats are let out of the bag, it’s very tough to get them back in.

That is exactly what I feel James Harrison has done, he has changed the dynamic of a very successful, and proud locker room.

Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall came out the other day and said that they have spoken with Harrison. Mendenhall earlier had tweeted on his account that that was just James being James, and followed it up with “”And lastly, I don’t have a problem with what @jharrison9292 said because I know him”

Really? You know him? Because if a friend or teammate of mine said that about me I would tear him apart. I don’t care if he got the AP defensive player of the year award in 2008 or has been in two super bowls, GOOD teammates don’t do that.

Mendenhall did have a costly fumble in the super bowl, agreed. However the completely fair and correct counter argument is why didn’t the defense bail him out and stop Green Bay from scoring more points?

It’s a see-saw battle that personally I do not see anyone winning. It benefits no one to bring these things up in an interview in the first place. Had James expressed feelings with Mendenhall

and said “Rashard, I love you like a brother but man you’re killing us with these fumbles!” He could reply back with “well you’re killing us by not getting tackles or sacks (1 TACK and 0 SACK in super bowl for Harrison) but we’ll get it done” then all would be fine.

Harrison addressed the issues in the worst manner possible, on a public stage for all to see and judge.

Now let’s address the issue of his apology where he tries to save himself by saying: “but the handful of words that were used and heavily publicized yesterday were pulled out of a long conversation and the context was lost.”

I’m not a journalist, nor am I a Pulitzer Prize award winner, but saying someone is a fumble machine, or that you wouldn’t urinate on your commissioner to save his life, or that he’s a crook and the devil, have zero context to begin with so how can they be taken out of it?

The fact that he is harbouring these ill thoughts and anger towards an employer is not a good situation for anyone involved. It shows an utter lack of respect for his boss who provides him with a source of great income, and it’s just a lack of respect for a person. I consider the commissioner a boss in the same breath as the onwer’s, because he works for and with the owner’s to help operate the league and keep it profitable. As such he deserves as much, if not more respect than the owner’s.

I am actually getting more outraged the more that I type, as I cannot believe that I’m commenting on such heinous statements. He must feel that he is above the law here, or that he is bigger than the NFL, which I can assure you Mr. Harrison, you are certainly
not.

You are an employee, remember when everyone says this is a business? Well you sir are an employee, below the owners, the GMs and way below the commissioner, so you better pick up a dictionary and memorize the definition of respect.

Mr. Harrison is free to speak his mind, but at what point will the fans and his teammates have enough? He’s a great charcater for TV, but I for one can wait to find his mute button.