Monday, August 20, 2012

Predictions for the 2012 NFL Season

It is almost that time of year again.  Time for the NFL season to get cranked up.  This is my 5 time predicting at the start of the year for the season.  You know how many times I'm right?  Not that often.  But that's the fun of predicting is you never know.  So here's my predictions for the upcoming season (and yes I'm a homer)...

NFC East
NY Giants

NFC North
Green Bay

NFC South
New Orleans
Tampa Bay

NFC West
San Francisco
St. Louis

Wild Card:  Seattle, Chicago

AFC East
New England
NY Jets

AFC North

AFC South

AFC West
Kansas City
San Diego

Wild Card:  Houston, Cincinnati

Super Bowl:  Tennessee over Seattle

Monday, August 13, 2012

Reflections on the 2012 Summer Olympics

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London have come to a close.  Here are some reflections looking back at the XXX Summer Olympics.

*Like I said before, Michael Phelps was dominant.  He will go down probably as the best Olympian of this generation.  It will be a long time (if ever) that someone will match his medal total.

*Along the lines of dominant, Usain Bolt would qualify as well.  To repeat gold in sprinting is very impressive.  Definitely when you think speed, Bolt comes to mind.  It will be interesting to see if he will compete in Rio in 4 years.  I haven't heard otherwise.  So we could have the first man to three-peat winning the gold in the 100m....which would put him in line for best Olympian of this generation with Phelps.

*It was great to see an All-American final in women's beach volleyball.  Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh Jennings won their 3rd gold in a row.  They were impressive in that they only lost 1 set in their Olympic career together.  I admit that I was rooting for Jennifer Kessy and April Ross to win but in the end was happy for Misty and Kerri.  What's interesting is that Misty is retiring but Kerri is continuing on to Rio.  So she could be going for her 4th gold medal in 4 Olympics.  Something to watch for...

*The women's basketball team won their 5th consecutive Gold medal dating back to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.  It is the longest Gold medal streak in any women's sport in the Olympics.  It seemed that in this Olympics a lot of talk went to the women's soccer team and not so much to the basketball team.  But regardless, what the basketball team did was impressive and they will strive for a 6th straight Gold medal in Rio.

*On the men's side, they did their job in winning another Gold medal.  They had a tough finals against Spain and won by only 7.  A lot was made about this year's team in comparison to the '92 Dream Team but in an of themselves they were a good team.  I still don't think this year's team could beat the '08 Redeem Team, but they did win the Gold so props to them.  I hope that the pros continue to play in the Olympics because it makes it mean more.  I don't think there will be changes in 4 years but after that who knows.

*This Olympics was definitely the "Social Media" Olympics.  Twitter was still in it's infancy in '08 and was picking up steam in '10 in Vancouver but this year it was everywhere.  Coupled that with smart phones and online coverage and it seemed that everyone was talking about the Olympics in those mediums.  That coupled with the disdain for tape delay (a tradition in Olympic coverage) made for a lot of frustrating times when it came to the "primetime" events.  Part of that I said before was the '08 games had more of the "primetime" events live & not on tape delay given it was halfway around the world.  With it only being about 5 hours from East Coast to London it was just rough.  However, the next Winter & Summer games could be less of that.  I do think NBC will tweak their coverage and improve it based on the "social media" response that was given.

*Overall, London did a great job and should be commended.  It'll be interesting how Rio does in 4 years.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Reflections on Terrell Owens

On Monday, a 38 year old WR was working out for a team trying to earn a chance to get on an NFL team.  He had been out of the league for a year and was trying to get one more shot.  His workout was impressive enough that the team agreed to terms to sign him to a 1 year deal.  That team was the Seattle Seahawks.  That player was Terrell Owens.

When I heard that T.O. was working out for the Seahawks, I didn't know what to think.  Owens, for all intents and purposes, had hit rock bottom.  He was out of the league last year after coming off of knee surgery.  He tried to do a workout last October and no teams took a flyer on him.  He ended up signing with the Allen Wranglers, an Indoor Football League team (which is a rung lower that Arena Football) and didn't even finish the season before booted off.  He's had financial & personal problems involving bad investments & child support.  And this was only a few months ago.  So needless to say, I was somewhat surprised that head coach Pete Carroll was giving T.O. a tryout after all that.

Then word came out after the tryout, Owens ran a sub 4.5 40yds.  That's fast no matter how old or young you are.  They said he looked "ridiculous" (in the good sense of the word).  Because of this, that is why they signed him to a 1 year, 1 million dollar contract.

Much has been said about Owens, how he's narcassistic.  How he disrupts the locker room.  How he's bad for the chemistry of a team.  And given his recent history with the indoor football team, it's hard to argue against it.  However, he is a great talent.  He is gifted athletically.  He has a high "football" I.Q.  Even at 38, he's probably in the top 10 WR in the league if he truly is 100%.  And given the need for WR in Seattle and the contract that they signed here, it's a low risk/medium to high reward.

Personally, I do hope that Owens turns his life around.  I do think this will be his last shot in the NFL and I think he understands that.  Time will tell if he truly has changed.  But if he has & he's playing at a level that he can, then things just got more interesting at CenturyLink Field.  As some have been saying on Twitter, get your lattes ready.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

More Reflections on the London Olympics

*Michael Phelps ended up with 22 medals with 18 of them gold medals.  That is ridiculous.  He medaled in 22 of 24 Olympic finals.  That is a pretty good percentage right there.  Some compared his finish to that of Michael Jordan retiring (the 1998 retirement).  The crazy thing is that Ryan Lochte is older than Phelps and will be at the Rio Olympics in 2016.  So honestly, if Phelps wanted to, he could add to that total.  But given his comments, I don't think he'll go back on saying he's retiring.  There are Olympic athletes that dominate a generation.  Phelps is definitely one of those athletes.

*Usain Bolt is fast.  Anyone who watched the final of the 100m race can attest to that.  And that final had some big time names in it:  besides Bolt, there was his teammate and fellow countryman Yohan Blake, who beat Bolt at the Jamaican Olympic qualifiers and also is the reigning World Champion at 100m, Justin Gatlin, USA runner who won the gold back 2004 & was coming off of suspension, Tyson Gay another USA runner who won the World Championships in 2007.  So it was a big time race.  And Bolt came through with an Olympic record time & 2nd fastest time in the world only to himself.  It was one of those blink and you'll miss it.

A cool side story.  After the race, Bolt was being interviewed by a Spanish network.  The reporter was trying to ask questions just as the national anthem was being played for the medal ceremony for the winner of the women's 400m, American Sanya Richards-Ross.  Bolt politely stopped the interview and pointed to the medal podium and paused while the American anthem was played.  Afterwards, he finished the interview with the reporter.  Classy move and one that deserves props.

*On the flip side of that, the USA women's soccer team.  This tournament has seen them win every match so far (though there were some scares against France & recently in their semifinal matchup against Canada).  Along with that, there has been some antics they've done which has been disappointing.  After some of their goals (particularly against New Zealand) there were over the top in their celebrations.  Now I'm all for celebrations, in the heat of the moment, excited spontaneous celebrations are great.  But if you're choreographing them (especially the worm one) that's a bit too much, especially in the Olympics.  I haven't seen the women's basketball team do things like that (and they're the best in the world), neither has the women's volleyball team either (and they're undefeated so far in these games as well).  I think the soccer team should take a page from those teams and win without losing respect of other teams.

*Speaking of the USA volleyball teams (both men's and women's) both sides look dominating.  They both won their groups and are in line for a chance to both get gold.  Beach volleyball could have a USA gold medal final on the women's side with Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh Jennings vs. Jen Kessy & April Ross.  Unfortunately, on the men's side both US teams got bounced so no medals there.  That'll have to be rectified in 4 years in Rio.

*Hopefully in 4 years as well, NBC will have better coverage of the games.  This has been a bad summer games for the network as they have gotten a lot of things wrong.  Part of it I think is not updating with the times & part of it is having London be a 5 hour time difference from the East Coast.  Next summer games, it will be in Rio, which is only a 1 hour time difference.  So hopefully more live prime time events will help out.  They can get a jump start on this in 2 years with the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, which is an 8 hour time difference.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Reflections on Michael Phelps

Yesterday Michael Phelps, swimmer for Team USA, became the winningest Olympian with 19 medals.  He tied the mark for most at 18 with a silver in the 200 fly .  He broke the record with a gold in the 4x200 IM relay.  Starting in the 2004 Athens games up to this point, Phelps has 15 gold medals, 2 silver and 2 bronze (he also raced in the 2000 Sydney games but did not medal).  He still has a few more races left in London so he could add to his medal count.

The record that he broke had stood since 1964 with Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina.  I will admit, as much of a Olympic geek as I am, I hadn't heard of her prior to Phelps being on the brink of breaking the record.  Latynina won 9 gold medals (still the only woman to hold that honor) and competed until she was 30, which is unheard of today in gymnastics.  She was on hand to watch Phelps break the record and was happy for him.

These London Olympics haven't been the best swan song for Phelps (finishing 4th in one final, not getting gold in his best event) but he has accomplished something that no Olympian has ever accomplished.  He broke a record that stood for 48 years.  It's moments like that which make sports so great to watch.  So congrats Michael Phelps, arguably the best swimmer and one of the greatest Olympic athletes of all time.