Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

The No Fun League is at it yet again trying to ruin Americas Game. The powers that be have created a new rule in an attempt to protect the players. This new rule in effect will fine and suspend players for flagrant hits. It is my understanding this is; but not limited to helmet to helmet tackles, and the big hits safeties deliver over the middle. These types of hits are a staple of the NFL. When a receiver is going over the middle he should expect to get drilled by a safety, cornerback or linebacker. This is what separates the men from the boys. Players like Cris Carter made a name for himself being fearless over the middle. He knew he was going to get jacked, yet he still caught the ball. He was deaf to the footprints over the middle, and focused solely on catching the ball. He was a warrior who put his team before his own body. He was a football player.

There are a countless amount of football players who have made a name for themselves as fierce hitters. These gladiators waited over the middle licking their chops waiting to unleash unimaginable amounts of pain on whoever touched the ball. They were the enforcers of the team, and were respected and feared by the competition.  The one enforcer that comes to my mind first is Ronnie Lott. The opposing offense knew when they came in to play the San Francisco 49ers the receivers needed to be aware of Lott patrolling the middle of the field. The receivers knew if they wanted to go over the middle Lott would be waiting there for them to deliver a mighty hit. This fear factor changed the way teams played against the 49ers. This one man was able to change the course of a game, and how opposing offensive coordinators game planned.

Football is a mans game. Lott for example chose to have one of his fingers cut off so he wouldn’t miss any games. Jack Youngblood played with a broken leg so he could help his team in the playoffs. Brett Favre kept getting up after brutal hit by brutal hit in last years NFC Championship game. His ankle was completely destroyed. It takes a tough son of a bitch to put on those pads and strap on a helmet every Sunday. These men enter into battle every weekend with the goal of victory. This is why we love and admire these players. Limiting players like Ed Reed from being brutal and ruthless on the field is in effect taking him off the field. The NFL needs to realize they are taking away one of the greatest weapons of a defense. If a defense is able to get into the quarterbacks and wide receivers heads and alter their mindset; then the defense has already won. 

Over the years the National Football League has created new rule after new rule to help protect the players. The “Brady rule” for example was conceived when the New England Quarterback Tom Brady was injured the first game of the season and was lost for the year. This was after the New England Patriots undefeated regular season. The NFL had to create a rule to protect its big named quarterbacks. I can somewhat understand this, but these quarterbacks need to realize they are playing professional football, and in playing football you are going to get hit, and you are going to get hit hard. The true test of a football player is getting up off the ground and playing another set of downs. What’s next changing the game into flag football?

Changing this rule, and tacking on a punishment as stiff as suspension and losing a game check is going to cause the big hitters of today to not run full force like they should. The fear of accidently causing a helmet to helmet tackle will cause them to let up on the gas a bit. This will be a disadvantage to the defense, and a shame to the fans. This is going to rob the fans of one of the greatest elements of professional football the big hits. We tune in every Sunday to watch a war between two opposing teams. This is our version of the Roman Coliseum; these are our warriors. Why must we ruin the purity of the game? Injuries happen, and people get hurt. This is all part of the game. The owners know this, the players know this, and the fans know this. Taking away the raw violence of the game is to water down the greatest sport ever. I turn the television on every Saturday and Sunday to watch men battle men. To see the unscripted violence in full HD, I do not want to see timid defenders holding back because they are afraid of suspension. Let the gladiators’ loose and let them battle.

We all remember the greatness of Michael Jordan, the homerun power of Hank Aaron, or the finesse of Gail Sayers. I was having a conversation with a friend awhile ago about how Lebron James, and Kobe Bryant are far superior to Michael Jordan. He strongly disagreed with me, and so the debate went on. He is a hard headed sports nut so we ended up agreeing to disagree. Ever since this discussing two months ago this idea has been in my brain trying to come to my own personal resolution. In all of my reflections I have come to the conclusion the athletes today are superior to the athletes we idolized as kids.

I placed the athletes of old and tried to imagine what would happen if they played their sport today. I did a similar examination and placed the current athletes and placed them in the past. The only area where athletes of old surpassed our current athletes is in the toughness of the football players during the sixties to mid eighties. This is still up for debate; would they be able to take the punishment our current players endure? Here is my breakdown. 

  • Baseball: Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron are considered some of the greatest homerun hitters of all-time. Even though their records were broken, many people demand an * be used behind the name of Barry Bonds who took over as the single season homerun, and career homerun leader due to his steroid use. If Hank Aaron were to face the pitchers of today I would imagine he wouldn’t even hit half of his career homerun totals. Babe Ruth would not even hit five homeruns in a season facing the starters we have currently. These pitchers throw a variety of pitchers which were not even known then. The pitches have more speed, and more movement. On the flip side hitters like Joe Mauer would amass an unbelievable amount of hits and homeruns were he to face the pitchers of old. Our current players are far superior to the athletes of old.
  • Basketball: The greatest of all-time is said to be Michael Jordan, and the players of his time like Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird are considered the greats. I can guarantee you if you were to thrust Jordan into today’s game even in his prime he would not have won six championships. If you were to place Kobe Bryant or Lebron James the success they would have would be indescribable. To take this a step further if you were to throw a mid-level player from today such as Richard Jefferson he would have been Michael Jordan. I do not think the mid-level players of old such as Horace Grant or Steve Kerr would have even been drafted by an NBA team today.
  • Football: There was a defensive end Jack Youngblood who played for the Rams. He broke his leg during a playoff game and continues to play with a broken leg the rest of the playoffs. In the late eighties early nineties Emmit Smith played an entire game with a broken arm. I cannot see players today staying in games with such injuries. These guys were tough SOB’s, but they were also not playing against players who are faster, bigger, and stronger. I look at Youngblood and wonder would he have made the Hall of Fame if he had to try and get to the quarterback playing against linemen like Joe Thomas, or Steve Hutchinson? Would Jerry Rice be a legend if he was covered by players like Charles Woodson? I think the answer to these questions is no.

The athletes of today are bred to be stars from the moment they show any level of talent. In basketball they have camps and leagues where the best of the best play to hone their craft. Lebron James was being covered by the likes of Sports Illustrated when he was only 13 years old. If you were to have a college football team of today play one of the great teams of old the college team would probably come out with a victory. I think we want to remember the athletes we grew up idolizing are the greatest of all time. The problem is the game has changed and involved in so many ways the greats just wouldn’t even stand out.

I have noticed some youth sports do not keep score; telling the kids every game ends in a tie. This is one of many examples on why we are breeding weak willed generations susceptible to being controlled. We are coddling our youth by such demonstrations of falsehood. In sports there should always be a clear cut winner or loser (NFL and BCS excluded but even that is flawed). This is as simple as black and white; no room for grey; you either win or lose. Children should strive for victory and graciously accept defeat, motivated to practice more, try harder, and strive for victory. If we deny them of this at a young age they may not be prepared for the inevitable reality of failure.

I just recently was in a debate about this very subject at my daughters softball game a few weeks ago. I made a comment how last year every game ended in a tie, and this year they kept score but were not using it as a motivational tool. Her response to me was “the score doesn’t matter they should just be having fun and learning,” against my better judgment I did not end the conversation.

I went on to outline the issues I brought up above. She engaged me for about two minutes then completely stopped talking to me. I figured one of two things happened; either I painted her into a box, or she hated what I was saying.

All three of my kids are active in sports; through these years of sports I have noticed their coaches are far too passive. They will allow their kids to underperform, not confronting their shityness. If my son is not aggressive enough or blows an assignment I want the coaches in his face pointing out where he fucked up each and every time. I want him to instruct him of the proper way until he gets it. I do not want my daughters’ coaches to allow her to pitch if she can’t catch the ball when the catcher throws it back to her. My youngest one is five and in tee-ball, but I still want them to be honest if he is underperforming for his age he deserves honesty and motivation to do better. I was coaching my daughters’ basketball; we reached the championship game and I benched her for two extra rotations.

Kids deserve honesty not coddling. They deserve to learn about winning and losing, success and failure. We should not be afraid to tell them how it is, without fearing we will somehow emotionally damage them. Our kids deserve better then this.

What do you think?

It has been 13 hours since the Minnesota Vikings lost the NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints. I am sitting here at work trying to find the words to describe how devastated I am, and muster the strength to get working on my never-ending”to do” list. I am simply far too heartbroken to do anything but sit in utter despair.. I cannot remember the last time I was this shook up over a sporting event… oh yea 1998.

It has been 12 years, since the Vikings lost to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game. My hopes were shattered by poor game management, and a missed field goal that to this day still haunts me. Our kicker made every field goal he attempted during the season, but had to miss the game winning kick. I was totally fine with the ass kicking we took by the New York Giants in 2000, because I knew early that we were done. The utter disappointment and grief I am feeling today, is far more painful.

The Minnesota Vikings have been to nine championship games losing every single one of them. In 1975 it was the “Hail Mary.” In 1998 it was the missed field goal. In 2000 it was the beat down, and in 2010 it was the 12 men penalty. I honestly feel there is a curse on my favorite team.

This was supposed to be our year; we finally obtained the missing piece to the puzzle. By signing Brett Favre, the Minnesota Vikings possessed the game changing quarterback we have needed the last few years. It made it all the more exciting that it was Brett Favre our arch nemesis for fifteen years with the Green Bay Packers. It seemed like destiny, the Hall of Fame quarterback, seeking redemption, and the chance to end his career on top. I am sure that he did not want to be known for the interception he threw in overtime in the 2008 NFC Championship Game, or last year, when he completely broke down mid-season.

The season started out great. We were winning, and Brett Favre was not looking like a 40-year-old quarterback. I was skeptical at first, until the 49ers game, and that great drive and fantastic touchdown pass. I was completely hooked. I was a believer. As the season moved on, the pain from the 1998 loss was slowly shedding. We hit a wall towards the end of the season, but finished positive by destroying the New York Giants. The Minnesota Vikings sealed up the second seed, earning us a first round bye.

In the divisional round of the playoffs, the Vikings humiliated the Dallas Cowboys, earning us a spot in the NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints. My stomach was in knots on the day and hours leading up to the game. I was worried, yet had complete faith that we were going to the Super Bowl.

In my 25 years of watching football I have never been a part of such an emotionally draining game. Words cannot describe the intense feelings that were going on inside of me. The game was close; and gut wrenching to watch. When Reggie Bush muffed the punt near the end of the second quarter, I was ecstatic. I knew we were going to get a touchdown to end the first half. What happened next was anything but, we fumbled the ball in the red zone missing the opportunity to get ahead. This was a pre cursor to a series of events that would inevitable crush my heart and soul.

Fumble, after fumble, an interception, and a complete breakdown of our offensive line was hard to watch, yet thanks to our defense we were still in the game. The Vikings were driving down the field with less than a minute to go. It looked like I was finally going to see my favorite team in the Super Bowl. The drive slowed down, and it appeared we would need to rely on a kick to take us to the promise land. Fears of 1998 were dancing in my head. Then came the flag for 12 men in the huddle. We were sent back 5 yards, decreasing our chance of success on a field goal. The next play Brett Favre was chased out of the pocket, and had six yards of daylight in front of him, unfortunately he did not take those six yards. Instead he forced the ball into coverage resulting in an interception. The game was tied and heading into overtime.

The Vikings lost the coin toss in overtime, and was unable to stop the Saints, resulting in a game winning field goal. I sat in shock for twenty minutes, unaware of how to process my feelings. My hopes and dreams of the story book ending were shattered. Trying to describe my feelings today is tough. I felt like I had been betrayed… not harsh enough, perhaps shit on… no-no I could take a shower to shed that sorrow, and humiliation… it felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest and pissed on by a cheating whore who  just slept with my best friend.