Archive for December, 2011

Classic Team Logo of The Day

19 Dec

Logo of a football team that plays in the National Football League, the New Orleans Saints. The logo was used from the team’s inception in 1967 until 1984. Although they’ve won a championship in recent years and are currently among the league’s top teams, the Saints were a consistent loser for most of the years this logo was used. The team’s first coach was Hall of Famer Tom Fears, and among the players from the era of this logo are Jim Taylor, Archie Manning, Danny Abramowicz, John Gilliam, Tom Dempsey, Billy Kilmer, Dave Parks, Chuck Muncie, Wes Chandler and Ken Stabler.


Classic Sports Card of The Day

19 Dec

1979 Topps football card of former NFL running back Roland Hooks, who is best known for backing up Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson with the Buffalo Bills in the 1970s. He played 7 seasons for the Bills and scored 12 touchdowns in his career, with 4 of them coming in a single half, on his first 4 carries, in a 1979 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Hooks is currently a high school coach in Nevada.


NFL – Week Fifteen Predictions

15 Dec

Last week’s selections produced 11 correct picks out of the 16 games, pushing the season record to 131 correct picks and 77 incorrect. Here are my week 15 choices:

Jacksonville at Atlanta – this is an obvious mismatch pitting a down-and-out team that has already fired their coach against a team fighting for a playoff spot, played in the hungry team’s home stadium. This should be a lop-sided Falcon win.

Dallas at Tampa Bay – the Buccaneers have been a major disappointment this year, but you would hope they could muster up a good performance at home and play spoiler against a Cowboy team that has struggled to finish games. They haven’t shown the ability to muster up much of anything, so I say Dallas wins a game they absolutely need to win.

Miami at Buffalo – the Fish come to town having just fired their head coach, which means they’ll either be more motivated, or more disorganized. They beat the Bills soundly in Miami, but I believe Buffalo is not the type of team to mail in the rest of the season. They’ll rise up at home and break their 6 game losing streak by beating Miami.

Seattle at Chicago – this should be a low scoring game, and Seattle is on a roll, while the Bears have lost all their offensive weapons. The Seahawks win.

Carolina at Houston – the Texans wrapped up the first division title in their history last week, and I see this as a trap game for them. They’ll take the Panthers lightly and Cam Newton will lead a surprise upset win for Carolina.

Tennessee at Indianapolis – next season, and the expected return of Peyton Manning, can’t come soon enough for the Colts. They’ll stay winless as the Titans win to stay in the playoff race.

Green Bay at Kansas City – you have to wonder how the Packers can stay motivated for games like this, other than trying to stay unbeaten. It won’t be a total blowout, but the Pack wins again.

New Orleans at Minnesota – the Saints can only lose this game if they beat themselves, and they won’t. Drew Brees carves up a weak Viking defense and leads a New Orleans win.

Washington at New York Giants – the Redskins played New England tough last week, and division games are always struggles, but I have to believe the Giants, now in the driver’s seat in the NFC East race, will pull out a win here.

Cincinnati at St. Louis – the Bengals still have playoff hopes, even though they’ve lost ground playing a brutal schedule recently. They will ride a great effort by their defense to a hard-fought road win over the Rams.

Detroit at Oakland – the loser of this game takes a big hit to their playoff hopes. I’ll say that the proud Raiders rebound from being embarrassed in Green Bay last week and beat the Lions at home.

Cleveland at Arizona – the Browns have no chance of winning in the tough environment in Arizona. The Cardinals continue the roll they’re on with a big win.

New England at Denver – the Broncos are at home and have a much better defense than the Patriots, but this game boils down to Tom Brady vs. Tim Tebow. The magic ends here as there’s no way New England allows themselves to become the latest Tebow victim. The Pats rise to the occasion on defense and win.

New York Jets at Philadelphia – Michael Vick is back in the lineup and that makes the Eagles a different team. Although they’re out of the playoffs, the Eagles, under Andy Reid, will be prepared to play hard, especially at home in front of their critical fans. I’ll take Philly to win and throw a wrench into the Jets’ playoff hopes.

Baltimore at San Diego – the Ravens have had some major hiccups against bad teams this year, but still control their own fate in the AFC North race. Baltimore wins here to knock the Chargers out of playoff contention.

Pittsburgh at San Francisco – the defenses will control this game. Because they have much more experience under the Monday Night spotlight, I’ll take the Steelers to outlast the young 49ers.

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Classic Team Logo of The Day

15 Dec

Logo of the alma mater of the player featured on the sports card of the day, Troy Aikman – the UCLA Bruins. The Bruins have never been a dominant football program, usually playing second fiddle in their conference to USC, but they’ve been competent, winning a national title in 1954 and numerous bowl games. They also had a Heisman Trophy winner – QB Gary Beban in 1962. The school’s basketball program, on the other hand, was THE dominant force under coach John Wooden in the 1960s and ’70s, featuring such all time players as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor), Bill Walton, Gail Goodrich, Lucius Allen, Walt Hazzard, Henry Bibby, Marques Johnson, Curtis Rowe, Sidney Wicks and Reggie Miller. Bruins’ hoop teams have won an amazing 11 national championships over the years.


Classic Sports Card of The Day

15 Dec

1989 Topps football card of former Dallas Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman, who took a beating in his rookie year playing on a bad team, but eventually carved out a successful 12 year career. He was a 6-time Pro Bowler and led the ‘Boys to 3 Super Bowl titles, being named the MVP in one of them. Aikman was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006, and since retiring as a player has served as the lead football analyst on Fox NFL games. He once was co-owner, along with Roger Staubach, of a NASCAR racing team called Hall of Fame Racing, and is also a part owner of baseball’s San Diego Padres.


NFL – Bills’ Game Review

12 Dec

Well, if the slogan for the Buffalo Bills during their 5-2 start to the season was “UNBILLIEVABLE” then the new slogan for the second half of the year is “IN SHAMBILLS”. That’s where they are at this point in all 3 phases of the game. It’s like beating a dead horse, but once again the offense couldn’t get anything done, the defense allowed long scoring drives and the special teams made a negative play to help contribute to a loss, which this week was a demoralizing 37-10 blowout delivered by the San Diego Chargers. Just like in the Miami game a few weeks ago, the Bills ran into a lowly team that found its’ groove just in time to crush them. After a season full of poor play and turnovers, suddenly Phillip Rivers was nearly perfect, carving up the Buffalo defense all day. One play during the game summed up my biggest beef with the team’s defense all year long, and the TV analyst, Solomon Wilcots, described the replay perfectly afterwards. On the play, the Chargers ran a 2-man route, sending only 2 receivers out on patterns and leaving everybody else in to block. The Bills blitzed on the play, but still had 5 players back in coverage. The Bills’ blitz, of course, got zero pressure on Rivers, but amazingly, in the secondary, the replay showed that Rivers had his choice of either receiver, as both were wide open. So 5 players in coverage and not one of them is actually covering either receiver. The result of the play, predictably, was a big gain for a first down. But the scheme being played was maddening. I believe the problem is over-coaching. The players are caught in a robotic scheme that drains their natural athletic ability and turns them into chess pieces that react late to everything, rather than allowing them to trust their instincts and go make plays. The reason coaches play this way is because they don’t trust the players, who, if left to their own instincts, will wind up falling for play-action fakes and making themselves and the coaches look foolish, resulting in big plays. So the Bills’ defense doesn’t give up a lot of huge plays, but instead wind up losing games by giving up long, time-consuming touchdown drives. I’ve repeated this point often – at some point during games, a defense has to contest something, show SOME aggressiveness.

The Bills, as a whole, have shown a lack of fortitude also. When the defense did come up with a big play – Bryan Scott’s fumble recovery TD that basically was a Christmas gift from Rivers – then hold the Chargers to a 3-and-out and give fans hope that they’re still in the game, the special teams allow a fake punt to work for a first down. Again, predictably, the defense doesn’t stiffen, it gives up another long touchdown drive. Ryan Fitzpatrick immediately follows up with a terrible pick-six interception, and the game is over. It’s really unfortunate that the Bills couldn’t have played the whole season with all of the players they started the year so promisingly with. Having depth on the 53-man roster is becoming a key to any NFL team’s success these days, and the Bills now know how badly they are lacking in that department. The final 3 games, starting this week with a home rematch against the Dolphins, is a three game head start on next year’s exhibition season. Players will be getting their chances to make an impression on the coaches for jobs for next year, and some will be playing their way off the roster.

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Classic Team Logo of The Day

12 Dec

This is a classic logo of another college football powerhouse, the University of Miami Hurricanes. Over the years, the school has won 5 national championships and holds a couple of NFL draft distinctions – they had the most first round picks in a single draft, and the most consecutive drafts with at least one first round pick. Players from the school refer to it as “The U”, and the list of former Hurricanes includes Don Bosseler, Jim Kelly, Michael Irvin, Warren Sapp, Bennie Blades, Vinny Testaverde, Bernie Kosar, Russell Maryland and Gino Torretta.


Classic Sports Card of The Day

12 Dec

1963 Fleer football card of former Buffalo Bills’ tight end Ernie Warlick, who was another stalwart on the team’s back-to-back American Football League championship teams in the 1960s. Like a lot of players of his era, Warlick began his pro career in the Canadian League, playing 5 seasons with the Calgary Stampeders. He joined the Bills in 1962 and played 4 years with them, and was an AFL All Star all 4 of those seasons. After retiring, Warlick became the first African American sportscaster in the Buffalo market, and was elected to the Buffalo Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame in 1998. He is active in the Bills Alumni Association today.


NFL – Week Fourteen Predictions

07 Dec now has a season record of 120 correct predictions and 72 wrong after picking 10 winners out of the 16 games last week. Here are the week 14 picks:

Cleveland at Pittsburgh – these are 2 old division rivals, and over the years the Browns have pulled some upsets in the series, but it won’t happen here. The Steelers are on a roll and will win easily at home.

Indianapolis at Baltimore – there are a few games that appear to be mismatches on this week’s schedule, including this one. The Ravens’ defense is too much for the punchless Colts, and Baltimore can’t afford to slip up with the Steelers on their heels. The Ravens will win.

Atlanta at Carolina – the Falcons find themselves battling to at least stay alive for a wild card spot, and need this game badly. They’ll throttle rookie Cam Newton and sneak out a close win on the road.

Houston at Cincinnati – both of these teams are fighting for playoff position, and both have played good defense this year. I’ll give the Bengals the advantage and pick them to win at home with the Texans playing with their third string QB.

Minnesota at Detroit – the Lions have faltered after a great start but also have played a tough schedule. They’ll win this division battle at home to keep their wild card hopes alive.

Tampa Bay at Jacksonville – this hasn’t been a banner year for pro football in Florida, and both of these teams came apart at the seams. The Buccaneers have been extremely disappointing, but they still have a much more talented team than the Jaguars and should find a way to win this game.

Philadelphia at Miami – it’s all over for the self-proclaimed Dream Team in Philadelphia, and they’ll be beaten soundly by a Dolphin team that has righted itself and played great football over the last month.

Kansas City at New York Jets – the Chiefs have virtually no weapons left on offense due to injuries, but they’ve been keeping games close and battling. Still, the Jets need the win and will get it at home.

New Orleans at Tennessee – I can see the Titans’ Chris Johnson running wild against a poor-tackling Saint defense, but it won’t be enough to keep up with the Drew Brees passing show, and the Saints will win.

New England at Washington – the Patriots will put one of their non-flashy methodical beatdowns on an undermanned Redskin team, as they are peaking at the right time, like they always do.

Buffalo at San Diego – both teams have been mired in long losing streaks, but the Chargers broke out of their funk on Monday night and seem to have rediscovered their offense. That spells a blowout win for them over the struggling Bills.

San Francisco at Arizona – the 49ers have taken complete control over what was the NFL’s weakest division last year, and should win here in what will be a close game.

Chicago at Denver – the Bears were starting to come on, then lost QB Jay Cutler, and last week their top weapon, Matt Forte, also got hurt. The Broncos haven’t been an offensive powerhouse behind Tim Tebow, but they keep winning. They’ll keep their surge going with a big win at home.

Oakland at Green Bay – the Raiders, when they’re motivated, can be a tough out, and they still have playoff aspirations, but this is just too tough of a spot for them. The Packers thrill their home fans with another lopsided victory.

New York Giants at Dallas – these 2 NFC East rivals are fighting for the division lead and play twice in the last 4 weeks of the season. Round one goes to the Cowboys, who should get the win in Jerry’s Palace.

St. Louis at Seattle – could there be more of a dog matchup to show on Monday Night Football than this? The Seahawks have played more consistent football so far this year and should win at home.

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Classic Team Logo of The Day

07 Dec

We’ve featured the logos of some of the top college football programs recently, and the list wouldn’t be complete without including the Oklahoma Sooners. The program began in 1895 and has the best winning percentage (.763) of all major college teams since 1945. The team has featured legendary coaches like Bud Wilkinson, Barry Switzer and current coach Bob Stoops, and 5 Heisman Trophy winners (along with 6 players who were Heisman runnerups). The school has had 152 All American players over the years, including Tommy McDonald, Steve Owens, Billy Sims, Lee Roy Selmon, Brian Bosworth and Sam Bradford.