Category Archives: The Game

Why Throw?

shhhnotears_0_0Heartbreak at it’s worst.

If you go back about a year in time, the question surrounding Superbowl XLVIII was “What Happened to Peyton Manning?”. This year, the question is “Pete Carroll, what the fuck are you doing?” or “Why would you throw the ball on the goal line with the best running back in the league and under a minute of game left?”. This question has been asked so much in the past 10 hours, that it’s almost cliché, but yet, still perplexing. Regardless of Pete Carroll’s accolades and achievements to be, this question will be the anchor that weighs his legacy down. The call he made will live in infamy, being the undercurrent of every conversation regarding his coaching career. People around the NFL or those involved with sports journalism will more than likely keep it politically correct and say something to the effect of “You’re not a coach, you don’t understand how defenses line up or what calling a play in that situation entails“, whatever. The fact of the matter is, 9 out of 10 coaches are banging that shit in with Marshawn Lynch (Pause) for six, for the lead and most likely for the ring. It seemed like all the stars were aligned for the Seahawks to make it two in a row, especially after Jermaine Kearse made a catch that will forever live on Superbowl history highlight reels. With everyone in anticipation of an explanation, Carroll said:

“We sent in our personnel, they sent in the goal line; it’s not the right match up

for us to run the football…So on second down we throw the ball really to kind of

waste the play…”

I get it, at that point you’re trying to avoid Tom Brady getting the opportunity to win the game with any time on the clock. That’s the equivalent of seeing Derek Jeter, in his prime, bottom of the ninth with a man on second and a chance to win the game, or a determined Michael Jordan with the ball in his hands in the 4th Quarter. Despite that level of understanding, even if you are going to pass it, why call that play? why not a little screen pass?. Either way, you can’t take anything from the rookie, Malcolm Butler, who made his first interception at the best time he possibly could.

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Despite the drama, this was one of the most competitive Superbowls to date. Tom Brady performed in his normal fashion when it mattered most. He was moving down field with rhythm, connecting with Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman on multiple occasions. Edelman & Brady looked like long time partners in crime, with 9 of 12 passes completed and 109 yards as a duo. Russell Wilson came to play a good game as well, regardless of the call-heard-round-the-world & his struggle to get a completion early on, he finished with an impressive 110.6 passer rating. The pleasant surprise that was Seahawks wide-out Chris Matthews is a bittersweet story. Coming into the game, the man who was a footlocker employee when the season started, had never caught an NFL pass but ended up with some of the biggest completions, as well as a game tying touchdown at the end of the first half. Unfortunately, it was all in a losing effort, due to another Tom Brady happening and Pete Carroll cementing himself as the Bill Buckner of play-calling.

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It’s a shame that this play inevitably overshadows how great Superbowl XLIX really was. This game only furthered the legacies of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick (Still don’t like that prick). Aside from that, it represented two eras overlapping, with the Patriots being the dynasty of the past 15 years (Though the Pats don’t seem to be done yet) and The Seahawks more than likely being the dynasty of the future. Seattle still has a bright future for years to come, as long as all the key elements of this young and vicious team stay in place & in sync.

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Sidebar: Stop complaining about The Seahawks defense starting a brawl at the end of the game, that’s what defines them as a team, and if you’re being honest with yourself, you know that’s what makes shit entertaining. Any form of entertainment needs a bad guy, whether it’s sports or movies.

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A Proposition & A Prayer from a Knick fan.

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The New York Knicks have seen some dark times, but this season is certainly making it’s case for that top spot. Aside from being nearly 20 games under .500 (21-40), and how they look on the court (27th in the NBA for defense, J.R. Smith going trigger happy, practicing his freedom of shot, and Bargnani absolutely failing to dunk against the sixers), they are having off the court problems as well. As of recently, Amare Stoudemire and J.R. Smith have traded shots back and forth, in front of the media. Anyone who knows sports and the history, you know the end is near when your own players start showing internal conflict, externally. J.R. Smith, questioned the heart of his team, which he had reason to do, and Stoudemire responded in an interview saying “You have to look yourself in the mirror before you make statements”, which he also had reason to do. This subtle war of words exposes a way bigger picture than intended. Just the same way as when you look at the Knicks playing and it looks like 5 guys playing for 5 different teams, against one whole team. The chemistry is just not there, in any walk of life for the Knicks players. But why?, on paper, the Knicks have a playoff worthy squad, but they can’t seem to get it together. It doesn’t help when your starting point guard, Ray Felton (Get it together fam), is pulling guns out on females, either. To add insult to injury, on March 19th Knicks fans are planning a protest in front of the Garden in opposition to Owner James Dolan, who has been fucking the Knicks up for years. It’s about time. But when the fan’s start opposing their own team, you know it’s just an ugly time for a franchise, a time that will be locked away in history if we could ever escape it. The Knicks may not have the worst record, but they’re still the most embarrassing team in the NBA, for their on-court play and off the court conduct. So the question is, where do we go from here? How does this franchise get on its feet again?

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In recent years, Knicks ownership has bought or traded for big players, rather than actually putting together a team. They don’t build around anyone. The Knicks franchise hasn’t had someone that they really built their team around since the days of Patrick Ewing. As good of players as they’ve had since then, they really never attempted to make a team out of them. They need to focus on one player and build a team with people who compliment their star, so there is chemistry and a more established leader. Carmelo Anthony is the closest thing to a leader, but he’s in charge of a monster that is bigger than him at this point (too many chiefs, not enough indians). Melo wants to stay in New York, but he wants to win a championship, and more importantly he deserves it. Carmelo Anthony is the man to build the team around, but he’s likely to explore free agency after this season, so the Knicks ownership has their work cut out for them. Melo, like most star players, likes to experience their period of free agency, because who doesn’t like to get their ass kissed and ball’s licked at the same time by nearly every organization who has the necessity and cap space for them?. The Knicks need to make a promising case for Anthony, with evidence that things will look up. A lot of it, will have to require patience from Anthony until the summer of 2015, when the team can really start shedding some dead weight. The Knicks will have some money to flex this offseason, in which they should use to start their rebuilding process. This process begins with looking to max out on a deal for Melo, and to look at not only star players, but players who would fit in a team around Melo. In all great teams, there were the sidekicks, the two players that served as the Batman and Robin role. Worthy and Magic, Pippen and Jordan, Stockton and Malone, Kobe and Shaq, you get the point. These guys set the tone and attitude, while the rest of the team knew their role and were humble enough to accept who the captains were. An essential part of the revival is trying to find a team desperate enough to trade for J.R. Smith, whose the obvious favorite to get shipped next day air out of town. Hardaway Jr. can easily take Smith’s place for way less of a cost and headache. That’s the most you can do until next year, in which they’ll be able to free up a lot of space. But as of the immediate future that’s all the Knicks can do. Us Knick fans pray, that Melo just has the patience and sees what we see, if he works through one more season with us. By next summer, the Knicks can let go of Felton, Shumpert, Prigioni and the overall free agency pool blossoms. There’s an all-star cast of free agents next July, with everyone from Kevin Love to Roy Hibbert. But one player that stands out, to fit the New York Knick puzzle, would be Rajon Rondo. If the Knicks could sign a play maker at point, such as Rondo, it would be a huge gain and something a Knicks team hasn’t had in some time. With Melo being a monster scorer and Rondo being one of the best at setting up, making things happen, they could work. The next piece would be establishing depth on the bench and some type of presence in the paint. Luckily, this day in age, the big man’s role has slightly diminished and there has been a changing of the guards (pardon the play on words) to a more fast paced game, so the Knicks could get by with a slightly above average center. I mean, just look at Chris Bosh. He’s the “big man” on the dynasty of this era in basketball, you think he would’ve lasted in the era of Hakeem Alajuwon and Shaq in their prime?. The game has changed.

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This scenario presented, is of course assuming that Melo can see the vision through, and that Rondo is even considering coming to New York, and That the Ownership of the Knicks smartens up enough to build around a player again. But this is James Dolan and the same office that opted to get Bargnani, instead of Marcus Aldrige. The same office that pushed some of the greatest coaches in Knicks history out, so I’m not counting on their alarm clock to go off. As much as I’d love to see Melo stay in New York, from the standpoint of a Knick fan, I also believe a player of his stature would short himself not going somewhere that presents a real possibility of a championship. Nobody deserves to be a Dominique Wilkins. A player who was great, but played on a team that was so lackluster it overshadowed their talent. Melo isn’t getting any younger, primes don’t last that long and he has to eat while the food is still hot, I can’t blame the man if he takes his talents elsewhere. As Knick fans, some of us are idealist, hopeless romantics, while other’s have developed into pessimists as a product of years of disappointment. I’m trying to represent the middle man, the realist, the guy who accepts the reality at it’s worst, but prays for the best.

knicks-fans-next-year(We’re still waiting on that “Next Year”)

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What Happened, Peyton?

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Last night, I watched one of the most epic fails in sports I’ve ever witnessed. The underdog Seattle Seahawks fucked the Denver Broncos all the way up, with a final score of 43 to 8, also putting a dent in the legacy of Peyton Manning. This was the SuperBowl that was supposed to solidify Peyton’s legacy as arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, after having the greatest regular season a Quarterback could have. Manning completed 68.3 percent of his passes this year, throwing for 5,477 yards (Jesus), 55 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. Not to mention he led the Broncos to a 13 and 3 season, that’s a year and half, only to be rivaled by the greats.

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Instead of Peyton’s legacy being defined by his skill, the elephant in the room is how Peyton has shit the bed in the big game multiple times. Sure, mechanically he may still have the best skill set in NFL history, but the talk of Peyton performing in the big games has been questioned since his days with the Colts. Peyton is now one for three in his trips to the SuperBowl, recieving his one ring from  SuperBowl XLI when the Colts beat the Chicago Bears 29-17, losing SuperBowl XLIV to the Saints (31-17), and being treated like a child by the Seahawks defense last night. Peyton as a quarterback has usually performed in the playoffs, but the argument was, he never had the right team around him. He has a losing record in the playoffs, at 12-13, which puts a question mark or a dim lighting on his greatness. The Colt’s defense was nothing to brag about, which is probably the reason why Peyton’s and the Colt’s offense have  the record for the biggest comeback in a conference championship game when they beat the Patriots in 2007 and came back from an 18 point deficit.

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This year was supposed to be the year. All week I was haunted by friends and co-workers with the phrase “Defense wins championships”, which is something that has held very true, and I do agree with. But nah, Peyton was on a mission from a God this year, you can’t have a season this great and lose (what a theory, right?). In the back of my mind I was thinking of that front eight of the Seahawks defense, like a group of fucking monsters and quietly doubting myself, but confidently defended my argument on the surface. Then the first play of the game, the snap goes over Peyton’s head and it becomes the first safety to start off a SuperBowl, uh oh. From 2-0, to 5-0, 8-0…eventually to 22-0 at the half. But us Peyton hopefuls, felt like “c’mon, this is Peyton’s offense, he could comeback”. But he couldn’t. The opening play of the second half was Percy Harvin running it down the field for 6. It was just ugly. Manning was responsible for 3 turnovers, throwing 2 picks and fumbling once. His second pick was returned for a 69 yard touchdown courtesy of Superbowl MVP, Seahawk’s beast linebacker, Malcolm Smith. He threw one touchdown, their only score of the game, and 280 yards in total.

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You have to give credit where its due, though. The Seahawks defense knew exactly what to do with one of the greatest offenses in NFL history. Rattling Peyton and putting pressure on him the whole game, never letting him get comfortable. The seahawks secondary, including everybody’s-favorite-to-hate Sherman, made the Broncos recievers pin-drop quiet. This won’t be the last we see of that team on this level, the Seahawks average age is 26. Being this young and this good is dangerous. 25 year old Russel Wilson, played like a veteran Quarterback last night. Wilson threw for two touchdowns and 206 yards (with poise). He may never be the most dominating quarterback, but he’s got a knack for winning and that’s what its all about at the end of the day. However, a lot of coverage won’t be about the Seahawks, it won’t even be all about the Bronco’s losing this bad (It’s happened before, when Elway’s Bronco’s lost to the 49ers 55-10), it will be about Peyton. Why does a quarterback this great, only have one ring to show for it?, not to shun one ring, because some great players never even get that (Shout out Bronco’s corner, Champ Bailey). But for Peyton, he’s mentioned with the elite league of slingers, the league of Montana,Brady, Elway, which is a club you have to have more than one ring to be in (sidebar: Dan Marino, another great quarterback, never got a ring, which is the grim reaper to his storied career). But the saying stands, “A Great Defense beats (the shit out of) a great offense”…

photo(I had to, my apologies)

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