Sunday, January 16, 2011

Upset Special, How Significant was it?

The first sub-.500 team ever to be in the NFL playoffs, The Seattle Seahawks beat the defending Super Bowl Champions, The New Orlean Saints Sunday. Besides from this being yet another playoff upset in the NFL how big was this?

After 44 Super Bowl, and all 44 reigning Super Bowl champions' next season being completely determined, it is more likely that the reigning Super Bowl champion completely miss the playoffs then lose in the first round of next year's playoffs. 15 reigning Super Bowl champions have missed the playoffs completely, while only eight have lost in the first round they played in.
Remember, the wildcard was not invented until 1970, and some of these teams that lost in the first round of the playoffs lost in the divisional playoff round because they clinched a first round bye.
There have been eight repeat Super Bowl champions in NFL history, the Packers, the Dolphins, the Steelers, the Steelers again, the 49ers, the Cowboys, the Broncos, and the Patriots. This ties the amount of reigning champions to lose in the first playoff game they play in. So the reigning Super Bowl champion has the same chance at repeating a Super Bowl victory as losing in their first game of the playoffs.

Neither the Saints nor the Seahawks are new to beating a defending Super Bowl champion, they have both done it before this year, the Seahawks to the Raiders in 1985, and the Saints to the Rams in 2000.
Next, There have only been five wild card teams to win the Super Bowl, the Raiders, the Broncos, the Ravens, the Steelers, and the Giants. Three of those five teams have won in the past decade (2000, 2005, and 2007).
Also, The Seahawks are the worst team ever to make the NFL playoffs, with a final regular season record of 7-9. Today, they face the Chicago Bears, and they have a chance at becoming one step closer to a Super Bowl.
If the Seahawks win today, they will face the Packers, and they will have home field advantage in the NFC Championship.

So, will the Seahawks continue to make NFL history, or will they become just another banner in a stadium?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Browns fire Mangini... Really!?

For a franchise that has been around for 11 years (from 1999), the Cleveland Browns sure seem to go through coaches and owners like water. We've had 5 coaches in 11 years, they were Chris Palmer, Butch Davis, Terry Robiskie, Romeo Crennel, and Eric Mangini. Now, for the 12th year of this franchise, the Browns are going to have to find another new coach.

Whether you agree or disagree with the firing of Eric Mangini, you have to admit that with an average life expectancy of 2 years as a coach of this franchise, it's hard to turn the team into a winner. It's hard for players to switch coaching philosophies and head into a new coaching situation once let alone every other year.

So why don't the Browns give anyone a chance to coach the team? Are Cleveland residents just used to hearing "new coach" and "rebuilding year"?

Aside from Cleveland being one of the most hostile crowds in the NFL or any sports league for that matter (doing things such as attacking an 8-year-old who wore a Jets jersey to a game, I believe the rivalry between Cleveland and Pittsburgh plays a huge part in it. Since the franchise has come back, Cleveland is 4-21 against Pittsburgh, including a 12 game losing streak from 2003-2009.

After a 41-9 loss to Pittsburgh to end the season, Mangini was doomed. After having a 10-22 career record with the Browns, Mangini will be looking for a new job next year, and the Browns will be in the same position they have been since Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore, a rebuilding year.

Who are potential head coaches for the Cleveland Browns next year? Will Mike Holmgren move downstairs and coach the Browns?

Holmgren hasn't made any comments about whether or not he will coach next year or not, but I highly doubt he will coach. One option at the head coaching position is ex-Carolina coach John Fox who has a 73-71 career record. Other than this season in which Carolina finished 2-14, Fox never had a season where his team finished under 7-9. His record also tops any Brown's coaches records in win percentage since the return of the team. The highest win percentage of a new era Brown's coach is Butch Davis who was 24-34 (.414).

Whoever coaches the Browns next year hopefully he will lead the team to a successful season, or at least last longer than two years.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Miami Heating up and Cleveland slowing down since last match-up, the two face each other again wednesday

The infamous return to Cleveland for Lebron has proved significant for both The Heat and The Cavaliers. It was the second game of what is now an eight game losing streak for Cleveland, who were 7-9 at the beginning of that streak. It was also the third game of what is now a nine game win streak for Miami. Miami was 9-9 before that streak began.

So, why have these teams changed from middle of the pack teams to a bottom team and a top team after this match-up?  The Heat have won by an average of 16.9 points per game and The Cavs have lost by an average of 20 points per game since their streaks have started. Many have noticed that the Heat's Big Three have been playing a lot better recently, in the last four games averaging 75 points per game together, and turning the ball over a lot less. Before the Cavs game the big three had more turnovers than assists combined, now they are averaging 1.5 assists per turnover. Lebron has the highest efficiency rating with 1.97 assists per turnover, and Dwayne Wade has the lowest with 1.25 assists per turnover.

Meanwhile, The Cavaliers haven't been able to figure a lot out. Right now they are putting almost the entire team on the trade block, including Power Forward J.J Hickson, who Danny Ferry refused to trade at the trade deadline last year. Since the Heat game they have only ended the game within 10 points of their opponent once, and that was against The Chicago Bulls (88-83).

So, what does this all point to with The Cavaliers heading to Miami on Wednesday to play the Heat? It means that The Cavs need to correct everything that fell apart in their last game versus Miami on December 2. They need to move the ball, turnover less, and most importantly they need to shoot better. The Cavs have averaged .401% from the field and only 89.9 points per game in December, where they have yet to win a game (0-7). Before that they were averaging 94.1 points per game and .437% shooting from the field.

Not that Cleveland has to beat The Heat on Wednesday, but they should at least try to compete with the team and maybe show Lebron a bit of the cold shoulder instead of talking to him every time he's near our bench.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Browns Offense

The Last preseason game for the Browns is tonight against the Chicago Bears. The regular season will start next Sunday against the Tampa Bay Bucs. Many people in Cleveland are probably wondering about the Browns and how they will do this year.

This offseason showed many changes as the Cleveland fans grow more and more weary of losing seasons. The biggest headline changes were Phil Savage being replaced by Mike Holmgren and the trading away of both Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson and their replacements Jake Delomme and Senaca Wallace. Were these the changes the Browns needed to win? Were these the two areas we were struggling with the most?

Of course we needed to figure something out in the passing game, being ranked 32nd in the NFL with less pass yards than rush yards is unacceptable! Even if Delomme doesn't work out, it can't get any worse than last year. This next year can only be positive with no quarterback "Battle" and a new unit on offense.

 Last year, the team's lead passer was Brady Quinn with 1,339 passing yards and 8 touchdowns. Their leading runner was Jerome Harrison with 862 yards (4.4 yards per carry) and 5 touchdowns. Overall the Browns had 2,076 yards passing with 11 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Jake Delhomme had 2,015 yards with 8 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 11 games. This was Jake's worst season ever that he has played more than 5 games in.

Your first reaction to those stats was that Jake had the same amount of interceptions as the Browns and 2 more interceptions. While he would've thrown more touchdowns and interceptions if he played the remaining 5 games of the season, he would've also gotten more then 50 yards. The biggest problem with the Browns offense in the past few years is the lack of yards. They have not moved the ball, and when they do, they throw an interception.

So, was Delhomme a good choice at quarterback? If not, there's always the college superstar Colt Mccoy. Although he has a an extremely lackluster preseason, he's only a rookie. Is Jake supposed to be Colt's Brett Favre, as if he were Aaron Rodgers? Only Holmgren can answer that question.

In the rushing game, Lewis retired, and we kept all of our other runnning/full backs. We also acquired Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty. As far as the rushing game goes, towards the end of the season, Harrison showed a lot of potential, with the addition of Hardesty, these two could become a duo much like Tomlinson and Sproles, Barber and Choice, Johnson and White, or even Peterson and Taylor.

The only serious concern is Hardesty and his knee. He has injured it twice in his college career, and it seems to be a weak spot keeping him from being a top running back in the NFL.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A-Rod Part II

This guy is becoming one of the best statistical players in history, after just becoming the 7th player all time to hit 600 homers and now has stolen 300 bases, which is tied for 156th overall with Scott Podsednik (34) and Frank Taveras. He now is the 3rd player ever to hit for 600 home runs and steal 300 bases. The other 2 players are Willie Mays with 660 home runs and  338 stolen bases and Barry Bonds with 762 home runs and 514 stolen bases.

Although Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees is still 1,106 steals behind the all-time record holder for steals Ricky Henderson with 1,406 overall steals, Alex is one of the fast home run hitters of the last decade. After the start of the steroid era power has been a huge part of the game, which has added guys who are almost like linebackers in stature. These guys can hit home runs, but once they get on base they fail to move well because of their lack of speed. A-rod is one of the few huge power hitters to be extremely fast. In fact, other then Rodriguez, Bonds, and Mays, the next highest stolen base leader with over 600 home runs is Hank Aaron with 240. That's only 4/5 of what Rodriguez has.

So whether or not you think that A-Rod is the top player in the majors right now, you do have to admit that he is one of the top players in our history.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Significance of 600

As many of you may have already heard, Alex Rodriguez hit his 600th career home run yesterday in the bottom of the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays.  He became the youngest of the 7 players (Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Ken Griffey Jr., Sammy Sosa, Willie Mays, and A-Rod) in the 600 club. He has also played the 2nd least amount of games to get to this historic mark playing 2,267 games (Ruth did it in 2044). He is also the only admitted steroid user in the 600 club.

At 35 years and 8 days old A-Rod is over a year younger then the 2nd youngest player (Babe Ruth) to hit 600, and is 3 years and 8 days younger then Barry Bonds was when he hit the mark.

In the last 8 years 4 of the 7 players of the 600 club have hit their 600th home run, Bonds in 2002, Sosa in 2007, Griffey Jr. in 2008, and Rodriguez in 2010, which shows the controversy of the last 20 or 30 years really being years where pitching has been at an all-time worst.

Because A-Rod has hit this milestone at such a young age, many people believe that he will become the new home run champion in years to come and maybe even be the first player to break the 800 home run barrier. Even Barry Bonds, who posted on his website "Stay healthy and focused... Only 163 more to go." believes A-Rod will break his record in the future.

Someone who threatens to take over Alex Rodriguez's spot isn't much younger then A-Rod, 30 year old Albert Pujols had 366 home runs in his first 9 seasons, whereas Rodriguez only had 298. Pujols is in his 10th season and currently has 393 career home runs, when Rodriguez was finished with his 10th season he only had 345, 38 less then Pujols who still has 54 games left in his 10th season. If Pujols season were to end today, he would still be averaging 4.7 more home runs per season then Rodriguez.

This year Pujols is on pace to hit 36 home runs this year, which would give him 402 for his career, 57 more then Rodriguez.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lebron free agency

The big question of this free agency, or really the last month or two nationally is where will Lebron sign? If you are a Clevelander, then you have probably been wondering about this for the last season. For the last year there have been many teams that Lebron can supposedly go to other then the Cavaliers, including the Knicks, Nets, Bulls, Heat, and Clippers. Why would Lebron pick to go to any of these teams? Why would Lebron pick to stay in Cleveland?

At the beginning of the season many people believed Lebron was going to go to New York so he could make more money, although if he went to New York, the only thing that could possibly be bigger is the market size. Because he was previously on The Cavaliers he can make up to $20 million more then if he signed a maximum contract with any other team, and the Knicks offer of telling people to buy stock in The Madison Square Garden has been banned by NBA Commissioner David Stern. Even if the market is bigger Lebron has recently sent his brand international from Nike to China, which is expected to be a BILLION dollar investment. So why would Lebron need to go to New York?

The Nets and Clippers offered the same thing, a bigger contract and a bigger market, therefore they are both the same situation as New York, it will just delay Lebron's chances at a championship. The bigger teams that Lebron would want to stay with are Chicago and Miami. If Lebron goes to Chicago he gets to play along with Derrick Rose and one other superstar from the free agency. So their pitch is not more money, it's a better shot at a championship for Lebron. The possibilities range from Chris Bosh to Carlos Boozer to Dwayne Wade to Joe Johnson to Amare Stoudimare as the other new superstar to join Lebron in Chicago if he goes there.

I'm sure we've all heard about the big three Miami situation in the off season, Chris Bosh, Lebron, and Wade all on the same team. How likely is this to happen? It is impossible. First for this to happen one of these three players would have to take a salary cut at about $20 million. Next, they would have to acquire Chris Bosh for a sign and trade with Toronto. Why would Toronto trade their superstar to a team within their division? Even Bosh doubts that it'll happen in a recent interview with the Miami Herald saying "It sounds Pie in the Sky". Will this happen?

Finally, I've saved this team for last because this is the team I believe Lebron will resign with, The Cleveland Cavaliers. First reason why it is so big is because it is Lebron's hometown, this is huge, how many kids want to grow up and play a sport for a professional sporting team? Out of those how many pick to play for their hometown team? My point is that Lebron is basically living a childhood dream. All people that watch the NFL draft may remember when Brady Quinn was being drafted. Remember all the pictures of Quinn in his hometown Cleveland Brown's jersey and helmet? Next if people talk about the opportunity with the most money in it for Lebron, as discussed earlier Cleveland is that option. Finally many people may believe Cleveland to be championship cursed, but at the beginning of this years playoffs, The Cavaliers were actually the favorite to win the championship. Boston's upset of the Cavs doesn't change a lot for next year especially if Lebron resigns because Dan Gilbert has already pledged to help Lebron win a championship by bringing in another star by a sign and trade if he resigns.

After viewing all of this information, my prediction is that Lebron will resign with Cleveland for a 3 year maximum salary contract.