Michael's Sports Blog

2011 NFL Draft First Round Results

Today was the first round of the NFL Draft.  Listed below are the players who were selected and what team they were selected by.

Player Pos. Team Grade
Cam Newton QB Panthers 93
Von Miller OLB Broncos 97
Marcell Dareus DT Bills 97
A.J. Green WR Bengals 97
Patrick Peterson DB Cardinals 97
Julio Jones WR Falcons 95
Aldon Smith DE 49ers 93
Jake Locker QB Titans 90
Tyron Smith OT Cowboys 95
10 Blaine Gabbert QB Jaguars 96
11 J.J. Watt DE Texans 93
12 Christian Ponder QB Vikings 85
13 Nick Fairley DT Lions 94
14 Robert Quinn DE Rams 96
15 Mike Pouncey C Dolphins 92
16 Ryan Kerrigan DE Redskins 92
17 Nate Solder OT Patriots 91
18 Corey Liuget DT Chargers 93
19 Prince Amukamara DB Giants 95
20 Adrian Clayborn DE Buccaneers 89
21 Phil Taylor DT Browns 90
22 Anthony Castonzo OT Colts 94
23 Danny Watkins OG Eagles 89
24 Cameron Jordan DE Saints 95
25 James Carpenter OG Seahawks 85
26 Jonathan Baldwin WR Chiefs 85
27 Jimmy Smith DB Ravens 92
28 Mark Ingram RB Saints 92
29 Gabe Carimi OT Bears 91
30 Muhammad Wilkerson DE Jets 91
31 Cameron Heyward DE Steelers 88
32 Derek Sherrod OT Packers 87

It was no surprise to me that Cam Newton, last year’s college football Heisman winner, was selected as the number one overall pick in the draft.  He is a duel threat quarterback, having the ability to run and throw, which not many quarterbacks are capable of doing.  He had too much talent to pass up as the number one pick.  Some people thought he was not good enough to be selected here, but I think he will be a great NFL quarterback.

One of the things that surprised me during the draft was that Mark Ingram, the Heisman winner two years ago, slipped until the end of the first round.  He is a very talented running back, which is why I would give the Saints credit for the best pick in the draft.  He was definitely the best value at that point in time.

There are a few players who were expected to go in the first round who weren’t selected, so it will be interesting to see when they are selected.  I feel bad for players who sit there waiting for their names to be called, especially those who came to the actual draf and wait as others get their phone calls and walk up to the podium.

As a Chargers fan, I was happy with our pick because we got a big defensive lineman that we were missing last year.  That was definitely a problem that was lacking with our defense last year.  I thought Cameron Jordan would have been a better pick than Corey Liuget, but I’m sure the coaches know better than I do about picking players.

Cleveland, Washington, Kansas City, and New England were four teams that were involved in trading their picks for later picks.  It was fascinating to see trades in this year’s draft because of the new rules.  In recent years, teams were allowed to trade players along with picks.  However, players weren’t allowed to be traded this year with the impending lockout.  So, trades only involved pick for pick deals.  This may have caused teams to give a little more than they wanted to be able to move up their picks.

There were a few interesting facts from the draft that I figured I’d share.  According to Chris Mortensen’s Twitter, this was the first time since 1999 that three quarterbacks were taken in the top ten in the draft.  Newton, Locker, and Gabbert were all selected in the top ten.  Twelve defensive lineman were taken in this year’s draft, the most ever.  This was also the latest a running back was picked in an NFL draft, at 28th.

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April 28, 2011 Posted by | NFL, Sports | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NFL Lockout Update after Judge’s Ruling

A judge in Minnesota ruled in favor of the players on Monday, ending the NFL Lockout.  The players had filed an injunction against the owners to end the lockout that began March 12, and this ruling was definitely a move in the right direction to possibly having a season next year.  Owners are trying to put a stay on the judge’s decision, and will appeal the decision if the stay is not upheld.  The owners still want the lockout to be in place because if there is no lockout, the owners have lost their main leverage against the players.

Players are allowed to report to their team’s facilities, but there is not much they will be able to do there.  An ESPN article said: “teams were told not to open their weight rooms nor engage in any contract discussions, but to let their players in the building.”
Even though this decision has been made, there are still no trades, no free agency, and there are still many other issues involving player-owner relationships.

It will be awkward between the players and owners for a while.  Owners are upset with the decision, and players are obviously happy, and so this puts a weird relationship between the two.

April 27, 2011 Posted by | NFL, Sports | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peyton Hillis on Madden NFL 2012 Cover

Peyton Hills on Madden Cover

SportsNation, a sports show on ESPN, unveiled today the person who will be on the cover of Madden NFL 2012.  Peyton Hillis was selected by the fans as this year’s choice, defeating Michael Vick.  Thirteen million fans participated in the voting, including one million in the final round.

The way the winner was selected was through a voting tournament playoff.  Each of the thirty-two teams had one person they selected for fans to vote on.  There were successive rounds, and each round fans voted for who they wanted to be on the cover, and those who lost were eliminated.  The final four seeds were Aaron Rodgers (the number one seed), Peyton Hillis (the number ten seed), Michael Vick (the number three seed), and Adrian Peterson (the number nine seed).  Peyton Hillis and Michael Vick advanced to the finals to determine who would be on the cover.

I was surprised that Peyton Hillis and Michael Vick were the finalists for the spot as the person on the cover.  Hillis was on a 5-11 Browns team, and although he did well, he was not the best player in the league.  I thought there were much better running backs than him who were in the running to be on the cover.  Vick had a spectacular season leading his team to a 10-6 record, and finished second in the MVP voting.  The problem I had with Vick is that it has still only been a few years since he was convicted of taking part in a dogfighting ring at his house, so it is a little too soon to have him on the cover.

I thought the person who should have been chosen to be on the cover was Aaron Rodgers.  He had an amazing year as the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, and led them to a Super Bowl victory.  Without his play, the team wouldn’t have been able to make the run they did in the playoffs.  It also makes sense to me that the person who helped his team win the Super Bowl would be given the spot on the cover of Madden.  However, the determining factor was the fans, and they thought otherwise.

One of the fascinating aspects of determining the Madden cover is the talk of the Madden curse.  The curse is that “several players have been injured or had down years the season immediately after being on the game’s cover — including Vick, who suffered a broken leg before the 2003 season (Vick was on the cover of Madden NFL 2004, which was released in August 2003).  Hopefully this doesn’t happen to Hillis because he seems like such a nice guy.

April 27, 2011 Posted by | NFL, Sports | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HGH Testing in the NFL

HGH

Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, has decided that the NFL needs to improve its drug testing program.  He believes he can do this by adding HGH testing to the list of drugs tested.  Although HGH is prohibited by the NFL, there is no testing done on players right now for this drug.

An Associated Press article talks about the drug: “The substance is hard to detect, and athletes are believed to choose HGH for a variety of benefits, whether they be real or only perceived — including increasing speed and improving vision.”  Who knows how many players are using this drug right now because of the lack of testing?  A Sporting News article said: “In a 2009 radio interview, Earnest Graham estimated nearly one-third of NFL players use human growth hormone — even though it is illegal.”

The only way to test for HGH use is by testing a player’s blood, unlike other drug tests in the NFL that are done through urine samples.  Some people think that this is invading a player’s privacy, but I believe blood testing for a banned substance should be allowed.  A blood test should not be that big of a deal to these players.  If nearly one -third of the NFL is using HGH, this blood test can suspend players for using the drug.

Players in the NFL (and in all sports) should play to their best of their ability, and not use illegal substances to try and improve their performance.  Using banned substances is like cheating on a test because the player is not using just his talent, he is using something else to help himself.  By using illegal drugs, how are kids supposed to look up to these players?

April 9, 2011 Posted by | NFL, Sports | , , , , | 4 Comments

NFL Players Taking on New Sports

With the threat of there potentially not being a 2011-2012 NFL season, some NFL athletes are picking up other sports.  They fear that they need to get income somehow, and have decided that the best way to do that is playing a sport they think they could be good at.  Two of the major cases of this so far are Bart Scott and Chad Ochocinco.

Bart Scott Wrestling

 

Bart Scott, a linebacker for New York Jets, has decided to get involved in wrestling, as shown in the picture above.  He had been a fan of wrestling and thought that he should try it out for himself.  However, Scott took part in wrestling even before the lockout had occurred, which technically was a breach of his contract.  I don’t know what will happen with that, but I’m looking forward to seeing him wrestle in the future.

Chad Ochocinco Soccer Tryout

 

Chad Ochocinco, a wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, has decided to try out for the Kansas City MLS team, Sporting Kansas City.  He claims that when he was younger he liked soccer better than football, and thinks that he has a legitimate shot of making the team.  “With the lockout here, this is something I always wanted to do. It was [my grandma’s] choice for me not to play soccer and now I have the opportunity to do it. It was always my No. 1 sport, my No. 1 love.”   He has now been asked to play in a reserve game so that the team can survey his talent.  Who knows, fans may be able to see #85 wearing a different jersey for a little while.

I think it will be fascinating to see if more athletes follow in these players footsteps and pursue their other sports passions.  As an athlete, you are clearly gifted with athletic ability, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see more NFL players try out for different sporting teams.

March 25, 2011 Posted by | NFL, Sports | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

NFL Lockout

March 6th Post:

The NFL and NFL Player’s Association (NFLPA) have been in talks for a while about a new collective bargaining agreement.  The current agreement was set to expire March 4th, but was postponed for another day.  After that day, it was postponed for another week.  The NFL and NFLPA seem to be stalling because of the stalemate that is ensuing between the two sides.  The owners and players cannot seem to come to an agreement on the terms.  Without an agreement so far, the 2011-2012 season is in jeopardy.

The reason for the problems are that the owners and players each have different things on their agenda.  The owners want to reduce the percent of revenue that goes to the players, limit the amount of money that is spent on rookies, and want an 18 game season.  The players want a decrease in offseason workouts, an increase in the number of roster spots, and don’t want to change the percent of revenue that goes to the players.  As you can see, these two sides don’t have that same interests.

It seems to me like the owners don’t really care about the players and only care about making money.  They want to first off, reduce the amount of money that goes to the players who potentially risk their lives playing football.  These players are the ones that make money for the owners from fans buying tickets to games and buying memorabilia.  Owners also want to make an 18 game season, which would ultimately increase the amount and percentage of players getting injured.  There is research out there to prove that.  You can see why the players are opposed to this.

The owners are selfish in their demands, and even agreed to a contract with networks that they would receive $5 billion even if a season is not played.  The NFLPA is going to make sure that the owners will not be able to use any of this money because this has got to be one of the shadiest deals I have ever seen.  They didn’t seem to have any interests of the players in their mind when they agreed to this deal did they?

In my opinion, these two extensions are just last ditch efforts to try and come to an agreement, but it will not happen- at least not right now.  The most likely scenario is that the NFLPA will decertify from the union so that players can sue the owners for violation of the antitrust law.  If the union does not decertify before the collective bargaining agreement expires, they would have to wait six months to decertify, so they will definitely do this before that occurs.  Once lawsuits start coming about, maybe the owners will become more reasonable in their demands.

I think an agreement will likely be reached  between the two nearer to when the actual football season is supposed to begin.  Once owners and players see that they are so close to not having a season, I think the talks between the two sides will heighten, and they will come to an agreement.  The NFL is an $8-9 billion industry and the most popular sport in the U.S- it can’t not happen.  The owners will realize that they want the revenue that the NFL season would bring them, and the players will realize that the sport they love playing is in jeopardy of not being played.

As a fan, I can’t envision there not being an NFL season.  What would I do all day Sunday or after my classes on Monday?  These are times when I enjoy watching my favorite sport.  I know college football will still be going on, but that only takes up my Saturdays.  I could see other sports trying to fill the NFL’s spot on Sunday, but it just wouldn’t be the same.

March 16th Updated Post:

It looks like I was correct in my statement that the NFLPA would decertify from the union.  The extension ended without a deal, so the NFLPA decided to decertify so that they would not have to wait 6 months before they could sue the owners.  Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Vincent Jackson, and a few others already have sued the owners.  I still think that both sides want to get a deal done before the “would be 2011-2012 season,” so I’m sticking with my feeling that a deal will get done in August.  In my poll, it was pretty even between voters thinking that there would be no season, and that a deal would be done after decertification, but before the season.  We’ll see how things turn out.

March 6, 2011 Posted by | NFL, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Rex Ryan Guarantees Super Bowl Win Again- Third Times a Charm?

For the third consecutive year, Rex Ryan has guaranteed that the New York Jets will win the Super Bowl.  I cannot believe that he has done it again; he has got to be the most arrogant coach in the NFL.  Although I like that he has a lot of faith in his team, he does not need to come out to the media every year and say that his team is going to win the Super Bowl.  Not only does he have no idea which of his key marquee free agents are going to be resigned, he hasn’t even drafted players in the upcoming NFL Draft either.  I don’t understand how he could actually think that the Jets are going to win the Super Bowl based on how the past two seasons went.  You could call Rex Ryan something like that of “the boy who cried wolf.”  He keeps calling that this will be the year for the Jets, but so far “the year” just hasn’t happened yet.

The last two years the team managed to make it to the NFL Conference Championship Game, yet did not make it to the Super Bowl game.  This past season the Jets were supposed to have one of the most talented teams in the league.  Now they have some key free agents that they may lose to other teams: Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Brad Smith, Shaun Ellis, Tony Richardson, and many others.  By losing some of these free agents, I don’t see how the team could possibly be better than it was when it wasn’t even able to make it to the big game.

A Jets fan responded to the news with this comment: “DOH! Rex Ryan has jinxed the Jets again. Does the Jets coach ever learn? As a Jets fan I want a Super Bowl, too, but I at least don’t go boasting that it’s a guarantee which it isn’t because it’s the JETS! Shut up Rex!”  He must have taken the last two years “guarantees” as jinxes because the team underperformed according to how Rex Ryan envisioned the season.

Along with the fact that free agents haven’t been signed, there is also a chance that there may not be an upcoming NFL season unless a labor agreement is figured out.  It will be hard to win the Super Bowl in 2011 without a league to play in.

February 25, 2011 Posted by | NFL, Sports | , , , , , | 5 Comments

More Isn’t Always Better (Long Form Blog Post #2)

The NFL is a $9 billion business, yet there is a lockout occurring right now which may cause the 2011-2012 season to be cancelled.  A lockout would be detrimental for both the players and owners.  Owners would not be able to make a profit off their team, and players would not be able to play the sport they love and continue their professional careers.  Greedy owners may cause there to be a lose-lose situation for everyone.

The lockout is “a management action resisting employee’s demands, [whereby] employees are barred from entering the workplace until they agree to terms.”  The two issues causing the lockout between the owners and the players are the fact that owners want to: 1) decrease player’s share of revenue, 2) have an eighteen game regular season instead of a sixteen game regular season.  Owners suggested the idea to the players for an 18-game season to offer a solution to the problems between the two sides.  This change would add two regular season games, and, in turn, get rid of two preseason games.  The NFL season would then have eighteen regular season games and two preseason games.  By increasing the amount of regular season games, owners would receive more revenue, and therefore, players would not have to take a salary reduction.

The NFL thought that fans would be happy with two more regular season games, however, this hypothesis was proven wrong in a recent survey.  An Associated Press-Knowledge Networks poll showed that “only 27 percent of the respondents strongly or somewhat favored an increase from 16 to 18 regular-season games… Only 18 percent of those identified specifically as NFL fans strongly favor an expanded regular season.”  This shows that there is a major flaw in the NFL’s argument for an 18-game season.

Increasing team revenue is the major factor in pursuing an 18-game season, not just from tickets, but also from concession items, parking, luxury seating, etc.  Teams would be able to sell out these two regular season games, unlike the two preseason games, which are rarely half full.  Television contract revenue would also increase because networks would be willing to pay more to cover these additional games.  Players and owners would benefit because each would get a cut of the revenue.  Owners would benefit immensely from the revenue increase because they could use the additional money to build new stadiums, thereby raising their team’s franchise value.

When I first heard about the possibility of NFL regular season expansion, I thought adding two games to the season was a great idea.  I am not a fan of preseason games and have never watched them before because they aren’t very interesting to me.  Many big-name players don’t participate in these games and you are then forced to watch second and third string players who will rarely play in the regular season. Who wants to watch that?  I began to realize, on the other hand, that although I’m not a fan of the preseason, having two more hard-fought games statistically increases player injuries.

Esquire Magazine recently featured an article regarding injuries to NFL players, “Not only are pro-football injuries and concussions at a nine-year high, but brain-related injuries are the most common specified type of injury in NFL games.  And, in what could amount to a powerful bargaining chip in the league’s looming labor showdown, internal data now reveals that head trauma and major injuries overall increase steadily as the season wears on.”  The statistics show that the more games players play, the greater the risk is for injury.  Brain injuries, otherwise known as head traumas, can have long term effects that affect the future quality of a player’s life.

A player said this about the addition of two regular season games: “the [league] want[s] to tack on two more games … which is just going to multiply the injuries and the ailments that we’re going to see after we go into our 40s, 50s, 60s — 70s, if we’re lucky.”  As the research shows in the Esquire article, adding two regular season games to the schedule can be very harmful to the athletes.  I think that it is too risky to the players to lengthen the season.  The average career of an NFL player is 3.5 years.  Adding seven more games over the span of that career increases the risk of injury, possibly shortening a player’s length of time in the NFL.

A USA Today article by Nate Davis suggested an alternative to the eighteen game season: “only allow players to play in sixteen of the eighteen games.”  Players would essentially have two bye weeks during the season, limiting the amount of games played to the sixteen games they currently play.  Davis’s  solution also creates two more exciting games to watch, as opposed to two relatively boring preseason games.  “This compromise would be popular with coaches and general managers who want a greater opportunity to develop younger players.  The NFL doesn’t have a minor league, and this compromise will force meaningful participation by younger players on the roster.”  Starting players would be satisfied because they would not have to play more games and risk injury.  Rookies would get more playing time against good competition, so coaches would be able to evaluate their talent and see them under real conditions.  Teams would also have the opportunity to bring back players who got injured earlier in the season because they would have a longer time to heal.

The option USA Today proposes seems like it could be a reasonable compromise, but it still appears that most players are against the addition of two regular season games.  Owners, on the other hand, continue to be in favor of adding two games because their concern revolves around money and not the players.  Do the owners really need more money at the risk of injuring their valuable players?  I don’t believe the owners need to be so selfish.  The players have provided the NFL with a multi-billion dollar business and have given fans hours of entertainment.  I hope this issue gets resolved in a timely manner because I’m sure many fans, including myself, could not imagine a football season without football.

February 11, 2011 Posted by | NFL, Sports | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Super Bowl 2011 Commercials

With the cost of commercials around $3 million for thirty second spots, the companies that shelled out this amount of money had to make sure that their commercials would have a lasting impression on the audience.  Many different companies had advertisements, but the ones I can remember vividly are Pepsi, Doritos, KIA, Verizon, Bud Light, and E*TRADE.  The reason I remember the Pepsi, Doritos, and the Bud Light commercials are because they made me almost fall on the floor laughing.  The other three I remember because I have an E*TRADE account, I did a project for a class on KIA, and I own a Verizon phone.  Although these three didn’t cause me to break out in laughter, since I was familiar with the subject, I was able to remember what the commercial was about.  Of those commercials, I would say my favorite two were those made by Pepsi.  Comment which ones you thought were the best.

First Date Pepsi Max Commercial

This commercial delves into a blind date between two people.  All the conversation takes place in the actor’s thoughts.  The woman thinks about the guy: how much money he makes, if he wants kids, if he’s the one.  The man has one thing on his mind- he wants to sleep with the woman.  Then a Pepsi Max is placed on the table, and they both want the Pepsi Max.

I found this commercial to be very entertaining.  You never know what a person is thinking when you are on a date, but this advertisement went into what they thought people may think about when on a date.

Love Hurts Pepsi Max Commercial

This commercial involves a husband and wife.  The wife always finds the husband trying to eat unhealthy food, and makes sure that he cannot eat the food.  At the end, they both drink a Pepsi Max, which is fine because it has zero calories.  Another women comes up to the husband near the end, and the wife gets jealous.

I really liked the ending of this commercial.  The man is caught staring at another women and his wife throws a can at him, but misses and hits the new girl.  I could only imagine how funny this would be if I saw this in real life.

Thoughts on All Commercials during the Super Bowl

I was actually disappointed with this years Super Bowl commercials.  I was expecting a lot more advertisements that made me laugh hysterically.  However, there were many car commercials, movie commercials, and other commercials that just didn’t capture my attention.  I know that some people just watch the game because of the commercials, but I feel like those who did, have to have been upset with what shown during the game.

February 6, 2011 Posted by | NFL, Sports | , , , , , | 3 Comments

NFL Pro Bowl 2011

On Sunday, the NFC defeated the AFC 55-41, yielding a total of ninety-six points in the game.  The final score was one of the highest in Pro Bowl history.  The AFC had a total of six turnovers in the game, five interceptions and one fumble.  At one point the NFC was winning 42-0, which for an All-Star game you would not expect.  The game began to get closer near the end, but I assume that was probably because the players didn’t want the fans to become bored with a blowout.  It was hard for the AFC to try and come back after all the turnovers, so the NFC won the game.

One of the things that I don’t find fascinating about the Pro Bowl is that players don’t even attempt to make hard tackles like they do in the regular season.  The players don’t want to hurt each other and I get that, but as a football fan, this causes the game to be less interesting to watch.  A running back will take a handoff and get hit by a few players before he is slowly dragged down.  Receivers catch passes across the middle and instead of getting lit up by a safety, the defender sits there and waits to tackle the player to the ground.  Although these are the best players in the game, no one is really playing to their full potential.  I’m not saying that I think players should go out there and try and injure each other, but I think that they should at least put in more effort to make a more exciting game to watch.

February 1, 2011 Posted by | NFL, Sports | , , , , , | 1 Comment