Posts Tagged ‘football’

Recipe for the Perfect Sunday Afternoon: Homemade Chili, Sam Adams and Your Favorite Team!

The calendar may only say October, but that didn’t stop Old Man Winter from paying an unwelcome visit to many parts of the US this weekend!  It was an unannounced, unofficial white out in Happy Valley today and the Nittany Lion faithful were not even wearing their white PSU garb.  Instead, snowfall fell throughout Beaver Stadium as JoePa reached his 409th victory!

So since the weather has turned cold and bone-chilling, it is time to break out the comfort food that warms the body and the spirit! This hearty recipe is a crowd pleasing favorite.  Wake up, throw it together and enjoy the mouthwatering aroma all day long as it simmers to perfection in your crock pot.  By kick off, you can enjoy a warm, delicious meal as you cheer on your favorite team!  What could be easier?

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed/drained
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, do not drain
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • ½ of a red pepper, diced
  • Diced jalapeno peppers, to taste
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • Dash (or 2 or 3 or 4) of hot sauce
  • Salt/pepper to taste

In a large skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink.  Just  before beef is finished cooking, add onion, red pepper jalapenos and garlic and sauté slightly and drain.  Transfer to a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours –  or on high for 4 hours. Garnish individual servings with shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.  Serve with warm cornbread, tortilla chips and some Samuel Adams Octoberfest for a perfect football watching experience!  

Super Bowl XLV – Let’s Get Ready!!!

After a few days recovering from last weekend’s Conference Championship games, we’re back!  Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that on February 6th, Super Bowl XLV will feature the AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the NFC Champion Green Bay Packers.  As the big day approaches, we will be bringing you all the latest player, coach and team news, as well as what we think the keys to the game are for both teams.  We will also include some features that look at some of the interesting and unique aspects of this year’s Super Bowl.

The Steelers are the oldest team in the AFC, having been established in 1933.  Pittsburgh has 6 Super Bowl championships – the most in the history of the NFL.  The Packers franchise was started in 1919 and they have the most league titles, twelve of which are prior to the establishment of the Super Bowl.  With two teams so rich in tradition, Super Bowl XLV is shaping up to be one of the greatest matchups in recent history. 

We hope you will join us over the next 10 days as we explore the on and off field storylines – like an in depth feature on Cowboy’s Stadium, a look at the very loyal and unique fan bases of both teams, a preview of the pre-game and half time entertainment, and of course, an in depth analysis of both teams!

As we prepare for next Sunday’s festivities, we want to share one of our very favorite tailgating recipes that will be a great addition to your Super Bowl party menu.  It is super easy and can be made the day before the big game.  Enjoy!

Touchdown Tortellini Skewers

Marinade: 

½ cup olive oil

4 Tbsp. sugar

4 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Salt, pepper, oregano, basil

Cook one package of fresh tortellini (cheese filled).  I use the multi-colored tortellini to make it look more interesting.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Add cubed Jarlsberg cheese.  I buy the pre-packaged wedge of Jarlsberg from the deli and use the entire thing, cubing them to approximately equal the amount of tortellini pieces I have cooked.  Add sliced pepperoni (use enough to approx. correspond to the number of tortellini and cubed cheese) and cherry tomatoes and place in marinade.  Refrigerate a few hours to overnight.

Place on wooden skewers or long football themed picks, alternating tortellini, cheese, and pepperoni.  I use just a small amount of the cherry tomatoes, usually one or two per skewer.  Place on tray and cover with plastic wrap.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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We will be providing real time updates on the Orange Bowl tonight, when #4 Stanford takes on #13 Virginia Tech.  We are a little biased, so bear with us as we cheer for our Hokies!!!  Go VT!!

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.

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.

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