Archive for December, 2010

2011 New Year’s Resolutions Around the Gridiron

We have been gone for a few days, squeezing out the last of the holiday festivities before getting back to reality.  As we head into 2011, we have made our list of resolutions, hoping to accomplish at least a few of the things we long to do this coming year! 

In that spirit, we offer the following New Year’s resolutions for some of our favorite (and not so favorite) football-related individuals and others from 2010.

Mike Shanahan

I resolve to faithfully read the “Miss Manners” advice column so I can learn the meaning of respect and apply it to those around me, particularly legendary quarterbacks who have earned it. 

I resolve to go to my local Barnes & Noble to purchase “Coaching Football for Dummies” in hopes that I can learn SOMETHING useful to salvage my professional career.

The New York Jets

We resolve to hire Strength and Conditioning coaches who work on OUR players and not the other team’s players.

We resolve to recognize that women are more than just Barbie Dolls and can actually contribute to sports.

Brett Favre

I resolve to get rid of my cell phone.

I resolve to take the hint from the injuries Gods and finally retire for REAL.

Randy Moss

I resolve to keep all thoughts about the superb abilities of former coaches and teammates tucked away securely in my head, especially during post-game press conferences.

I resolve to keep all comments regarding catered foods and canines to myself.

Roger Goodell

I resolve to keep Vince Lombardi from turning in his grave by never postponing games due to snow and wind.

I resolve to keep the word “Wussie” from ever being associated with the NFL again.

I resolve to keep the NFL from turning into the National Flag League by concentrating on REAL player safety issues instead of legitimate hard hits.

Cam Newton

I resolve to never listen to my father’s advice.

I resolve to take lots of pics with my Heisman, since I will undoubtedly be returning it within the next few years.

Ohio State

We resolve to stop being an NFL player factory and at least APPEAR to provide an education.

We resolve to duct tape our President’s mouth whenever he attempts to discuss football.

Eli Manning

I resolve to stop giving the camera that Gomer Pyle  “Gaaw-aawl-ly” look when I throw an interception.

I resolve to call my big brother and get advice on how to transform my naïve country boy persona into one fitting a New York quarterback.

NCAA

We resolve to fairly enforce our rules and not allow players from big football programs (read Auburn and Ohio State) to get off the hook.

Tucker Carlson

I resolve to actually practice the Christianity I profess and learn that forgiveness is one of its tenets.

I resolve to never speak about football, or any other sport, again.

I resolve to loosen my bow tie, in hopes that it sends oxygen to my brain so that I think before I speak.

Michael Vick

I resolve to finish my story book-like comeback with a fairy tale ending and take my team to the Super Bowl.

I resolve to continue to be THE most exciting player in the NFL while showing the world that redemption is truly possible.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

We here at gridironglamourgirl would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas!  For the next day or so, we will be enjoying the festivities, but will be back soon to bring you the latest from the gridiron.

Happy Holidays!  Eat, drink and be merry!

-Your Gridironglamourgirl Team

Things That Make You Go “Hmmmm”…

Well, the NCAA once again has us scratching our heads and saying, “huh?”.  After ruling earlier this month that Heisman winner Cam Newton’s father was involved in a “pay to play” scheme, the NCAA ruled that the Auburn QB was unaware of the scheme and therefore eligible to play.  It is hard to believe that Cam did not know about his father’s actions, but that is indeed what the NCAA ruled at the time.

Now, just weeks later, the NCAA announced that 6 Ohio State University players committed NCAA bylaw violations by selling memorabilia.  The players sold their Big Ten Championship rings, personal and team awards, jerseys and cleats.  Several of the players also received tattoos at discounted rates in exchange for their personal autographs.

Tradition is an integral part of college football, especially in a high powered program like OSU.  It is disheartening that these players have such little regard for what the memorabilia they sold represents.  Selling a championship ring or the “gold pants” charm that OSU players receive if they beat rival Michigan smacks of irreverence.  Even if the players were unaware that selling such items violated NCAA rules (which is quite hard to believe), didn’t it feel just plain WRONG??!

The NCAA announced that quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Daniel Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, offensive lineman Mike Adams and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas will be suspended for the first 5 games of the 2011 season.  A sixth player, Jordan Whiting, will miss the first game.  In addition, the players will have to repay the University for the Items they sold and for the free or discounted benefits they received. 

At first glance, these penalties seem fair.  But the NCAA also ruled that these same players can play in the January 4th Sugar Bowl versus Arkansas!  If there is enough evidence to suspend the players for 5 games next season, what possible justification is there for playing in a bowl game in just a few weeks?  The NCAA provided an “explanation” about their ruling, saying in part that the players “did not receive adequate rules education during the time period the violations occurred.”  Are we really supposed to believe that, given the stringent NCAA  rules and guidelines that they were certainly made aware of as student-athletes, that they did not think selling their OSU jerseys was a violation?!

Pryor and Posey have been discussed as potential early round draft selections following next season.  Rather than miss a large portion of their collegiate season and have their draft value decline, it is likely they would simply enter the draft this year.  Now they can play in the Sugar Bowl, enter the draft and basically avoid the NCAA’s punishment.   Perhaps if the Buckeyes defeat Arkansas they can earn a championship ring to sell once they enter the draft in the next few months.   Like the decision regarding Cam Newton’s eligibility, this NCAA ruling defies common sense.

T.O. May G-O???

If the rumors are true, the Cincinnati Bengals may say goodbye to wide receiver Terrell Owens at the end of this season.  T.O. was placed on Injured Reserve after undergoing knee surgery on Monday, ending his 2010 season. 

T.O. signed a one year, 2 million dollar contract with the Bengals.  He has had one of his best seasons in years, with 9 touchdowns and 72 receptions for nearly 1000 yards.  But despite Owens playing well, the Bengals have had a miserable 3-11 season. 

It is likely that Owens’ public criticism of the coaching staff is what may ultimately keep him from returning to the Bengals.  Recently, on his T. Ocho Show, Owens said

“I think there’s underachieving from the top down.  You start with the owner, you start with the coaches. And obviously we as players, we are a product of what the coaches are coaching us throughout the course of the week.  Of course, we have to go out there and play the game. But in order for us to do what we’re allowed to do at the best of our abilities, the coaches have to put the players in the best position.”

Earlier in the season T.O. also criticized the play calling.  But with the Bengals abysmal performance this season, the points he is making are valid.  While T.O. may not have chosen the most appropriate way to express his views, I think most Bengals fans agree with him.

Owens is one of the few bright spots in what has been a very dark season.  Dismissing him seems like a foolish decision and is quite indicative of the turmoil that is present in the Bengals organization.  Sure, Owens can be outspoken and a bit too blunt at times, but since he is personally performing well, it seems quite ludicrous to release him simply because he had said what everyone else already believes.

Just as I was about to buy a #81 Bengals jersey, it looks as though I should wait to see where T.O. ends up next season.  Since my closet already has Owens’ jerseys from the Eagles, Cowboys and Bills, adding a Bengals jersey seems frivolous.  Perhaps next season I can get yet another T.O. jersey – maybe one from the Rams?

“Fa la la la” Lemon Bars Make a Sweet Holiday Treat!

These final days leading to Christmas are hectic!   If you are like us, you are busy shopping, baking, cooking and cleaning.  Geez – this leaves so little time for football!  So, if you are looking for a super easy recipe, we have the perfect one for a sweet treat!  It is a nice departure from the traditional holiday cookie.  These lemon bars are luscious and one of our very favorite things to make this time of year.  We often create gift baskets or dessert trays for close family and friends and these mouth-watering bars are always a big hit!  The recipe uses simple ingredients that you most likely have on hand, so there is no need for an extra trip to the grocery store!

Ingredients:

Crust:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 cup butter

Topping:

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Sift together the flour and confectioner’s sugar. Next, cut in the butter until the mixture clings together.  Press into a 13”x9” pan and bake 20-25 minutes (or until VERY lightly browned) in a preheated 350 degree oven.  As the crust is baking, assemble the topping by beating eggs together with the sugar and lemon juice.  Sift the ¼ cup of flour and baking powder together and stir into the egg mixture.  When crust is done, pour topping over baked crust and bake for an additional 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle top with additional confectioner’s sugar.  Cool thoroughly before cutting into 24 squares.

These make a refreshing, yummy addition to your holiday dessert trays!  Enjoy!

Who Is This Year’s NFL MVP?

My love for Michael Vick is not a secret.  Despite being a Giants fan, Vick is one of my very favorite players, second only to Peyton Manning.  It is also not a secret that I am not a big fan of Tom Brady.  Is there a particular reason for my aversion towards Brady?  Not really.  It is just one of those irrational sports opinions that is inexplicable.  But to be fair, he is having one amazing season.

Yesterday’s unbelievable comeback by Vick and the Eagles against the Giants was one of the most exciting moments in the NFL this season.  After being pressured and sacked all game, Vick simply took charge and refused to be denied.  With just over 8 minutes to play in the game, he orchestrated a 28 point scoring frenzy that gave the Eagles a 38-31 victory. 

Vick has been such a dynamic force for the Eagles and is quickly becoming a fan favorite.  Last week, NFL.com announced Vick was in first place in Pro Bowl voting by fans.  Fan voting ends tonight, after Monday Night Football, and it will be interesting to see if Vick can maintain his top position, or if Tom Brady, who was in 2nd place, will overtake him.  Fan votes count for 1/3 of the total vote that will determine which players go to the Pro Bowl, while coaches and players each account for the additional 2/3. 

For the NFL’s MVP, the voting is done by 50 members of the Associated Press.  So who is likely to win this prestigious honor?  At this moment, it seems clear that Vick and Brady are the top contenders.  While I would love to see Vick win the award, I believe Brady will once again become the NFL’s MVP, just as he did in 2007.

Brady is the quintessential QB who plays with order and precision in a conventional way.  His quarterback rating is the highest in the league – an impressive 109.9.  This season, he’s thrown for over 3500 yards, 31 TDs and just 4 interceptions.  He helped the Patriots clinch a playoff spot and with home-field advantage, the Patriots have a good chance of making it to the Super Bowl.  If he wins the MVP award, no one can claim he did not earn it.

Vick, by contrast, makes the impossible happen with his unconventional, pure, raw talent.  Like Brady, his stats are impressive.  He holds a 103.6 QB rating and has thrown for over 2700 yards, 20 TDs and 5 INTs.   But what makes Vick a compelling candidate for MVP is the dual threat he poses for opponents.  There is simply no other QB with the ability to throw AND run as effectively.

Brady has the statistical edge this season, but for me, Vick is certainly much more fun to watch!  While I truly couldn’t argue with Brady winning the MVP this season, I do think Michael Vick and his comeback story make for a much more interesting choice.  Will voters look at Vick’s storybook-like season and give him the perfect ending by voting for him?  Or will some voters consider Vick’s off-field history and vote based more on morality than performance?  The more likely scenario will be that voters simply choose Tom Brady since his numbers do surpass Vick’s.  It would be the easy, predictable choice.

There have been 2 times when the NFL MVP award was shared.  In 1997, Brett Favre and Barry Sanders were co-MVPs and in 2003 Peyton Manning and Steve McNair shared the honor.  This year, with two high performing, yet totally different players vying for the MVP award, it seems to be a perfect solution to the dilemma that may be facing voters.  The preppy, All-American Tom Brady and the rough and tumble Michael Vick, who against all odds turned his life around.   Who would have ever thought they could have anything in common?  But this year, if voters do the right thing, perhaps they will share something in common – the NFL MVP award!

Twas the Weekend Before Christmas…

Twas the weekend before Christmas, when all through the teams

Not a creature was stirring, but some QBs were it seems!

There was quarterback drama hanging in the air

With some players wondering how they got there!

 Indeed some quarterbacks are quite stirred up at this time of the season.   Here is a glimpse of some of the hustle and bustle this weekend among a few of our favorite QBs.

Rookie QB Tim Tebow will make his first start today against Oakland.  Starter Kyle Orton has bruised ribs, so Tebow will head the Denver offense and try to turn around the 3-10 Broncos.  For Tebow, this opportunity is a reason to feel quite jolly this holiday season!

Donovan McNabb feels like he just got a visit from the Grinch.  Benched by Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan, McNabb has not only been told he is the 2nd string QB behind Rex Grossman, but that for the remaining two games he will be 3rd string.  If there was ever a “Grinch Who Stole Christmas” in the NFL, it is Shanahan and his Bah, Humbug disrespect he has shown the veteran QB.

For Brett Favre, his streak of consecutive starts is over.  Last week his 297 straight starts (321, if playoffs are included) ended because of his sprained shoulder.  Once again he will miss this weekend’s game and it seems as though this may be his final year in the NFL.

Another QB is also having a “Blue Christmas”.  Aaron Rogers is sitting out today’s game due to injury.  Like Favre, his streak as a starter is over.  He had started every game since taking over from Favre early in 2008.

Peyton Manning finds himself under pressure to keep the Colts’ playoff hopes alive.  If the Colts lose to the Jaguars, Jacksonville will clinch the AFC South.  The Colts would be at 7-7 and have to hope other teams lose in order to have any shot at the playoffs.  Peyton’s uncharacteristic streak of interceptions seems to have ended last week against the Titans. Will he be able to maintain that momentum and carry the Colts to the playoffs?

In this last weekend before Christmas, these quarterbacks find themselves in a season of transition.  As the playoffs approach, will they overcome their challenges and be able to deliver a great gift to their teams?  Stay tuned…the drama has just begun!

The Nightmare Before Christmas – Starring Donovan McNabb

The Washington Redskins threw a lump of coal in Donovan McNabb’s Christmas stocking yesterday.  Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan announced that McNabb will be the 2nd string QB on Sunday when they face the Cowboys.  Rex Grossman will be the starter.

Oh, but the insult didn’t end there.  Shanahan continued piling on by saying that McNabb would become the 3rd string QB for the last two games of the season, behind John Beck.  John who???

McNabb’s performance this season has been inconsistent.  No one can argue that.  At 34, McNabb is showing some signs of an aging QB.  He does not have the mobility of a younger player and with a weak offensive line, he has been sacked 37 times.  He has thrown 15 interceptions this season, which has not helped the struggling team who is now 5-8.

Benching McNabb for Rex Grossman epitomizes the total turmoil the Redskin organization is in.  Say what you will about McNabb’s numbers this season, he is still a far better choice than Grossman or John who??  McNabb’s QB rating is 77.1, certainly not the rating he has had for most of his NFL career.  But Grossman’s rating is 75.9.  So does this give the Redskins a BETTER chance of success? 

McNabb is a veteran QB who has been to 5 NFC Championship games, 6 Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl.  He has over a decade of experience as an offensive leader in the NFL.  That kind of game know-how and instinct is immeasurable and should not be so easily dismissed.  When a team is in such overall disarray, a veteran QB and his leadership abilities are vital.  Does Shanahan thinks that Grossman or John who?? are better choices?     

The last time Donovan was benched by Shanahan didn’t work out so well for Washington.  Trailing by 6 points with less than 2 minutes left in the game, Shanahan inexplicably took Donovan out and put Grossman in.  On his first play, Grossman fumbled the ball and it was returned by Detroit to seal the win.  Apparently this remarkable performance was enough to earn him the starting job this week!

At the time of that initial benching, Shanahan claimed he did it because he didn’t feel McNabb had the ability to effectively run the two minute drill.  This was perceived by many to be an insult to McNabb’s ability to understand the offense.  In other words, it appeared as though Shanahan was questioning whether or not McNabb had the intellectual ability to run the plays.  After great media attention, Shanahan modified his statement and said McNabb did not have the physical endurance necessary for the two minute offense, despite McNabb showing no signs of physical problems during the game.  Finally, Shanahan offered a third and final explanation.  He claimed Donovan had sore hamstrings.  These conflicting statements were the first signs of the strained relationship between McNabb and Shanahan.

Yesterday’s announcement by Shanahan showed a complete lack of respect towards McNabb.  Instead of looking at the other major troubles on the Redskins – weak offensive line, weak defense and weak special teams – Shanahan has decided to focus on McNabb.  Certainly Washington’s abysmal season cannot be blamed entirely on Donovan.   But Shanahan seems determined to put the spotlight on the veteran QB, perhaps to keep the spotlight off of his own shortcomings.

The Cowboys were happy to hear of Donovan’s benching.  They would rather face Grossman, who was 15 for 32, with three interceptions, the last time he played against them.  When told the news, Cowboys players smiled and laughed at the prospect.  But for Donovan McNabb, his benching is truly a “Nightmare Before Christmas” and an incredibly undeserved lump of coal in his stocking.

A Flock of Chicks for Christmas?

The week has flown by and we suddenly find it is Friday!  With the holidays coming towards us like Michael Vick on a quarterback sneak, there’s just a few shopping days left.  To make things simple, we have discovered a great organization we would like to highlight on this “Feel Good Friday”.  You can visit their website, purchase one of the most unique presents around, and know that your gift is truly helping others.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

Heifer International began in 1944 when Dan West, a mid-west farmer and  relief worker in the Spanish Civil War, was serving milk to starving children.  When he realized that his rations of milk could not possibly feed all the hungry mouths before him, an idea hit him.  He realized that rather than cups of milk, the children needed a cow.  He returned home and started “Heifers for Relief” with the idea of providing livestock and training to the needy as a means of permanently ending hunger.

By providing a food source, rather than short-term relief, West’s organization has allowed those in need to gain independence.  In the more than 65 years since it was founded, Heifer International has helped over 62 million people.  You can help change a life, too.  There are a number of “gifts” you can purchase for someone and then create a printable or electronic card to tell them what has been purchased in their honor. 

Some of the gifts include:

A Flock of Chicks for $20.00

Families receive a flock of chicks (10-50) and get training on how to properly raise them.  The protein in eggs is itself a great source of nourishment for needy families.  But families can also share and sell their excess eggs.  Recipients of the chicks also must make a commitment to pass on the offspring from their initial flock to others in their community and to share the knowledge they learned in training.  Thus the gift continues to grow and give back even more!

A Goat for $120.00

One goat can provide families with a few quarts of milk each day.  Families often sell the excess by operating their own small dairies and making cheese, butter, or yogurt.  Goats can also have 2 or 3 offspring each year, making it the perfect choice for a community, where these offspring can be passed on to other needy families.

Check out Heifer International’s website by clicking below.  This season, give a gift that truly does keep on giving and one you and the recipient can feel oh-so-good about!

Heifer International

Don’t Be a Gridiron Grinch

This weekend marks the beginning of the college football bowl game season.  On Saturday there are 3 bowl games –the New Mexico Bowl, uDrove Humanitarian Bowl and R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.  If these eccentrically named bowls are not familiar to you, don’t worry.  With 35 games, many of which have silly sounding names, it is easy to lose track. 

There has been a lot of debate about the hefty number of bowl games.  Critics say that 35 games allow too many mediocre teams into post season play, which in turn undermines the integrity of bowl games in general.  These critics want to preserve the prestige of post season collegiate football and go back to the time when there were only a handful of championship games.

Bowl games originated in the 1920s with the Rose Bowl.  By the 1950s, the classics – Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl and Sun Bowl were part of the college football landscape.  Bowl games were almost always exclusively on New Year’s Day and became an American tradition.  Over the years the number of bowls has grown and they are now played from mid-December through early January.  With 35 games this season, it means 70 of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams, or a whopping 58%, will play in a bowl game this year.

I love tradition and can appreciate why some people long for the more exclusive and nostalgic bowl games of long ago.  Of course when there were fewer games, only top level teams were invited to play.  Now teams with 6 wins are eligible, which certainly does “water down” the level of play.  This is one of the major complaints with the current system.

I acknowledge the fact that getting a bowl bid in today’s college football climate is not the same achievement as it was years ago.  But who cares?  In the end, fans understand which teams are the best and the BCS still has its “premiere” games that receive the most hype, money and prestige.   No one is going to equate the teams playing in the New Era Pinstripe bowl on December 30th (Kansas State vs. Syracuse) with the January 10th Tostitos BCS National Championship game between Auburn and Oregon.

So rather than jump on the popular “Bah Humbug, There are Too Many Bowl Games” bandwagon, look at the post season from a different point of view.  If you are a student-athlete going to one of the lesser known bowls, it is still an exciting opportunity.  Fans and alumni also enjoy these games, even if they don’t have national appeal.  For the football programs, bowl games can also be a great recruiting tool.

College football is big business and obviously the fact that so many bowls exist today is money driven.  Critics like to point out that many schools actually lose money from attending a bowl game.  The expense of getting the team and its coaches, trainers, band and so forth to the venue can be tremendous.  In addition, schools are often obligated to buy a certain number of tickets.  If the school cannot sell their allotment, they lose that money.  Since the enormous payouts from bowl games go to the conferences, rather than just the school playing in the game, it is easy to see that schools can find themselves in the red.   

But, it is clear, given the desire colleges have to receive a bowl bid that they benefit in other ways.  For most schools, it is the national exposure that makes college bowl game participation so valuable.  Having a team in the national spotlight can help increase the university’s enrollment and truly help its image.  These are intangible benefits that are hard to measure, but universities believe that bowl games are worth the costs involved.

Less than one in 50 student athletes go on to play at the professional level.  For these students their bowl game is, in a sense, their own little title game.  Of course they understand they are not actually playing in the big title game, but it is one last hurrah as they leave football behind.

What is so wrong about allowing other teams to experience the tradition of a college bowl game, even if it on a smaller, less grand scale?  It seems silly to grumble over the large number of bowl games since, in the end, it doesn’t change the fact about which teams are truly championship-level programs.  If you are not interested in a bowl game, simply don’t watch it!  This season, don’t’ be a gridiron Grinch!

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