Posts Tagged ‘Michael Vick’

Vick Should be Named Eagles Starting QB NOW

After last season’s disastrous showing, Michael Vick was declared DOA by frustrated, angry Eagles fans, the ever-so-opinionated Philly media, and most NFL “experts” far and wide. It seemed as though Vick’s days in the City of Brotherly Love were numbered. Who could defend Vick when the Eagles ended the season 4-12 and Vick himself was the Titan of Turnovers? Then along came Chip Kelly.

Kelly’s decision to turn on the pressure cooker, toss in a couple of QBs and let them fight it out was brilliant. Vick has not only handled the pressure and heat, but is sizzling hot in his first two preseason games and in practices. The threat of losing his starting job to Nick Foles has literally lit a fire under him and he is showing – on and off the field – why he should be named the starter NOW.

Kelly’s quick tempo offense requires a QB with maturity, experience and the ability to handle the hypersonic pace Kelly used in Oregon. Vick still has the quickness both mentally and physically to keep up with an offense that frequently has no huddle and consistently has little time ticking off the play clock. Foles has proven to be an adequate QB – perfect for a backup position – but it’s doubtful that when faced with real game time situations he has yet gained the experience to handle such a demanding, blazing offense.

Off the field, Vick is showing he has matured. His response to the QB competition is the perfect example. Rather than lament about having to once again prove himself, #7 has graciously handled the media inquisition. He has also proven himself a more “Mature Michael” in his handling of teammate Riley Cooper’s recent racist rant. Vick stepped up as leader of the team and diffused a ticking bomb that could have easily exploded on the team early in the preseason.

On the field, Vick has shown that he has the confidence and the mental capacity to handle Kelly’s quick tempo, rhythm changing offense. Kelly has had success with mobile QBs at the collegiate level. Love him or hate him, no one can argue that Vick’s dual threat abilities make him a much better fit for Kelly’s game plan compared to Foles. He is a dynamic, game changer who seems to have learned a lesson in humility after last year’s woeful showing. Perhaps more importantly, Vick seems to have developed patience – a trait often lacking in his past – that will hopefully prevent some of the bad game time decisions that earned him a 78.1 QB rating last season.

The Eagles enter the season with a brand new coach and brand new game plan. Vick is part of that new reality and comes in with a brand new attitude. With Kelly at the helm, Vick won’t need to perform Superman feats in order to carry his team. Those Superman heroics often led to the fumbles and INTs (10 last season, with just 12 TDs) that defined him. Instead, Vick is part of a game plan that will give him better protection and keep the play calling fresh, effective and relevant.

Kelly is not the typical NFL coach so it is hard to predict when he will declare the winner of his pressure cooker-like QB competition, but given Vick’s experience, maturity, dual threat and pure athleticism, there is no doubt that Kelly should choose him as his starter. The Eagles – with Vick under center – may just be the sleeper team of the year. And yes, I am a completely biased Eagles fan. Deal with it! michael-vickFLY EAGLES FLY!

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

Despite our every intention to consistently write about the 2011 football season, life has a way of derailing even the most ardent blogger.  With a work schedule that demolishes every Saturday and Sunday, it is nearly impossible to enjoy the games AND write about them.  Choosing work over tailgates and games is a serious dilemma for a real football fan, but given the economy and the cost of shoes, what’s a Gridironglamourgirl to do?  So as we approach the half-way point of the NFL season, here are a few of our observations on what is good, bad and ugly thus far.

THE GOOD: 

The Packers, Saints, Patriots and THE 49ERS?!!

The Packers, Saints and Patriots continue to top the NFL power rankings.  But after many disappointing seasons, the 49ers are the surprise team of 2011, standing at 5-1 and first in the NFC West.  Much of the turnaround can be traced to the off season.   The road to success was paved last January when Trent Baalke was named GM and Stanford University Coach Jim Harbaugh was hired as Head Coach.  Their off season acquisitions have proved to be brilliant.  From their decision to re-sign a bewildered and beaten down Alex Smith at QB –  to their choice of linebacker Aldon Smith as 7th overall in the draft – to the addition of a slew of talented players during the draft and free-agency – the decisions made thus far have been masterful and show real insight and aptitude.  With a schedule over the next 4 weeks that includes the struggling Cardinals, Redskins and Browns, the 49ers look to solidify their place among the top teams in the league.

Is Cam Newton as Good as All the Hype?

The franchise QBs that never fail to disappoint – Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees –  are posting impressive stats.  Their numbers and performances are nothing out of the ordinary for QBs of their stature.  Perhaps the most unpredictable surprise amongst QBs this season is Cam Newton.  The Carolina Panthers QB has demonstrated that his number one spot in the draft last spring was deserved.  While the Panthers are struggling with a 2-5 record, Newton is proving he can make the transition from college to the NFL.  Newton had plenty of critics, including me.  But the guy has legitimate talent and is challenging defensive coordinators to recognize and address his dual threat capabilities.

His 7 rushing TDs tied Vince Young’s record for most in a QB’s rookie season and there are still 9 games remaining.  While he has more INTs than TDs, each week he is showing signs that he is capable of leading his team.  His confidence and ability to master a full array of play calling are impressive for a rookie.  It will be fascinating to watch Newton develop the rest of the season, but if his start is any indication, he may just find his name mentioned among the elites very soon.

THE BAD: 

The St. Louis Rams

Pre-season predictions had the Rams winning the NFC West.  They now stand winless at a pitiful 0-6 record.  As the Saints come marching in this weekend, could it be that the Rams end up 0-7?  It’s quite likely.  St. Louis is suffering from a multitude of injuries and has had 7 different cornerbacks this season.  QB Sam Bradford missed the last game and is questionable against the Saints.  The receiving corps is not performing and the defense is ranked 29th in the NFL, giving up and average of 410 yards per game.  The Rams may very well be the worst team in the NFL right now.  The only solace Rams’ fans can take is that their team will likely get some early draft picks as a result of their abysmal season.

Rex Grossman

Washington QB Rex Grossman is just plain BAD.  He has the highest interception percentage over the years since he was first drafted.  This season he threw 6 TDs and 9 INTs, but unlike Newton, shows no signs of improvement.  In fact, when questioned about his performances, he seems downright delusional.  We wouldn’t be so harsh if perhaps Grossman could recognize his mistakes, but he seems blissfully ignorant of his lack of fundamentals and poor decision making at game time.  For that reason, he gets our vote as just plain BAD!

THE UGLY:

Is Michael Vick the Cause of the Eagles’ Ugly Season?

Any devoted reader knows that no blog is complete without discussing our favorite player, Michael Vick.  But putting him under a heading with the title “ugly” is downright wrong!  Sure, the Eagles look ugly – as though their wings have been clipped by a hedge clipper – but our faith in Vick remains strong.  What looked like a dream team at the beginning of the season has now turned almost nightmarish.  With free agency acquisitions that had owners and managers throughout the league green with envy, the only green Vick has been experiencing is his body implanted in the turf.

So how did a much touted team with a roster full of talent find itself with a 1-4 start?  There’s no easy answer, but part of the failure is due to new coaches, young players on the O-line and games plagued with turnovers.  So far this season, Vick has thrown 8 INTs, been sacked 8 times and has committed 7 fumbles.  Compare that to the entire 2010 season, when he had a mere 6 INTs and 11 fumbles, and you can begin to discover at least PART of the reason the Eagles have stumbled and Vick has found himself running for his life against defenders.

Vick’s passing numbers are decent – 9 TDs and over 260 yards per game passing – but they do not compare to the phenomenal numbers he posted last year. The victory two weeks ago over Washington ended Philly’s losing streak and left them with a 2-4 record.  Combined with a bye last week and three home games ahead of them, the Eagles hope to keep the momentum going.  If Vick can work on making better reads and getting rid of the ball more quickly, he could salvage the remainder of the season.  The bottom line is this:  Vick is a scrapper AND a dual threat that makes defenses respect him in and out of the pocket.  Head Coach Andy Reid has an extraordinary record coming off a bye week – 12-0! – and he will use Vick to continue that winning streak.  With Vick’s leadership, unparalleled athleticism and grit, the Eagles will once again soar.  Vick can then be removed from the “ugly” category and return to his rightful place as a football fashionista’s favorite!  Let’s face it, only Vick can turn flip flops, shorts, and a jacket and tie into a good look!

Inside the Mind of a Football-Loving Female

Online Fantasy Football advice is as plentiful as Photoshopped pictures of Kim Kardashian’s wedding these days.  So if you’re looking for yet more expert guidance on the subject, you have clicked on the wrong link!  While I may not provide the same information that a seasoned sports writer or big time TV analyst can offer, my draft picks can give you a glimpse into the mind of an average football-loving female!  At the very least, my logic (and often unorthodox reasons) for drafting players will convince even the greenest FF player believe he or she is a draft day genius!

Pick #1 LeSean McCoy – Running Back – Philadelphia Eagles

For my first pick, I took a bit of a gamble.  I had the 8th pick in the first round, which gave me the 3rd pick in the 2nd round.  Despite conventional wisdom, I had decided weeks earlier to take Michael Vick as my #1 pick if he had not already been snagged.   As draft day adrenaline rushed through my body, I abruptly selected McCoy, counting on Vick still being available early in round 2.  My reasoning?   My fantasy team is comprised of players from Atlanta – aka Falcons fanatics/Vick haters.   I figured I would get two extremely elite picks – McCoy and Eagles – and be well on my way to winning the league.  My sly tactics failed me, though, when Vick was chosen as the 10th pick in the first round!

Despite my disappointment in not obtaining the most dynamic, athletic player in the NFL (Vick), I am thrilled with McCoy.  Like Vick, he is a dual threat.  Last year, he ran for over 1000 yards, had nearly 80 receptions and scored 9 TDs.  LeSean is the Real McCoy and I think he will give me a lot of value in my PPR league.

Pick#2 Darren McFadden – Running Back – Oakland Raiders

With my dreams of dominating my league via Vick smashed to smithereens, I decided to use my next pick on another hot RB.  McFadden seems to be a player on the rise.  In 2010, he rushed for nearly 1200 yards and scored 10 TDs, making him the #2 RB in PPR points per game.  The only downside to this pick is McFadden’s tendency to get injured.  The numbers he posted last season were incredible and he missed 3 games!  If he can stay somewhat healthy, he and I could be in for a winning season!

Pick#3 Ben Roethlisberger – Quarterback – Pittsburgh Steelers

By the time my round 3 pick came around, not only was Vick taken, but Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees were no longer on the board.  I felt the pressure to pick a QB, so I held my breath and chose Big Ben.  Sure, he has incredible numbers and is a wildly successful QB.  But I have a knee-jerk reaction to Roethlisberger that nearly caused me to pass on him.  Maybe it is because he very likely has treated young woman disrespectfully (putting it mildly) and has pretty much remained unscathed for his behavior.  So despite my instinct to choose a less effective QB on some high moral grounds, I chose Big Ben on the grounds of trying to win my fantasy league.

Pick#4 DeSean Jackson – Wide Receiver – Philadelphia Eagles 

Feeling pretty good about snatching up 2 elite RBs and a high caliber QB, I knew it was time to get a good receiver.  Luckily for me, Eagles wideout Jackson was still on the board.  I’ve heard all the naysayers spouting stats from last year that demonstrate his inconsistency.  But I believe Jackson and Vick are headed for some big time plays this season.  Jackson may hand me a few wins this year based on some single game performances.  Besides that, he has the speed and natural ability to shed defenders that makes him one of the most dynamic receivers in the game today – and he is just plain COOL!

Pick # 5 Beanie Wells – Running Back – Arizona Cardinals

Rookie RB Ryan Williams (a Hokie!) was headed for some big time carries this season with the Cardinals.  Sadly, Williams suffered a season ending injury a few weeks ago so teammate Beanie Wells will likely play a far greater role.  Beanie has a history of injuries and his numbers last year were unimpressive and forgettable.  I think at some point early in the season the Cardinals may make a trade or sign a free agent to replace Williams, thereby cutting Beanie’s playing time.  So while I think he may have been a decent choice and can give me some points early on, I expect that I too may replace Beanie as the season progresses.

Pick #6 Marques Colston – Wide Receiver – New Orleans Saints

Off season knee surgery dropped the value of Colston.  They say New Orleans is a place where you don’t follow the rules, so I threw out conventional wisdom and gambled that Colston will re-visit his stellar stats of last year.   It is fantasy football – not life or death – so what the heck?!!

Pick #7 Kevin Kolb – Quarterback – Arizona Cardinals

As an Eagles fan, I had the opportunity to watch Kevin Kolb last year before he was injured and ultimately lost his job to Michael Vick.  I think he’s a smart player who will surprise many gridiron gurus this season. He may not be a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning caliber player, but he is a solid choice for the #2 QB slot.

Pick#8 Mark Ingram – Running Back – New Orleans Saints

While a Heisman Trophy winner like Ingram defies the word “sleeper” in most senses, as an untested rookie in the NFL, he became my “sleeper” in this draft.  Is it a risk to pick a rookie?  Yes.  But at #8, I like my chances.  There’s no doubt Ingram is loaded with talent.  With Pierre Thomas on the team, he won’t be the “go to” back for the Saints, but he should get enough carries to justify my pick.  I think for someone with his potential, this pick was a steal!

Pick #9 Santana Moss – Wide Receiver – Washington Redskins

As 9 round approached, I decided it was time to stock up on another receiver.  I was surprised to see a consistent veteran like Moss available this late, so this was an easy-peasy pick!

Pick#10  Defense /Special Teams – Chicago Bears

Da Bears!  As the rounds quickly progressed, my fellow teammates were little by little choosing their defenses.  I planned on waiting to my 16th or 17th pick, but fell to peer pressure.

Pick#11 Dustin Keller – Tight End – New York Jets

I will admit that I have often neglected the TE position in my draft.  Frankly, this year was no different.  As I looked over my roster through 10 rounds, I realized I had not yet drafted a TE.  I am aware that sometimes a TE can give a fantasy owner some big points, but I have never truly paid the position the attention it most likely deserves.  For this pick, I basically used a FF cheat sheet to pick my first TE.  So much for planning…

Pick #12 Ben Tate – Running Back –  Houston Texans

Arian Foster was the #1 pick in countless fantasy drafts this year.  But with his hamstring injury plaguing him, little known Tate could see some extra carries.  As a late round pick, this seemed like a pretty good bet.  Should Foster improve quickly and Derrick Ward gets the bulk of the remaining carries, I could envision dropping Tate for another unforeseen need.  But a 12th round gamble like this seems like a no-brainer!

Pick#13 Aaron Hernandez – Tight End – New England Patriots

I am not a big fan of Tom Brady’s personality, but the guy has talent.  With a QB like Brady, Hernandez is a solid choice as my #2 TE.  As much as it pains me to admit it, any Brady receiver is a steal in the 13th round.

Pick#14 Jerome Simpson – Wide Receiver – Cincinnati Bengals

By all accounts, Simpson is a “sleeper” in this year’s draft.  He finished last season on an upswing and could be in for some big numbers this year.  He has a rookie QB to contend with, but this is definitely going to be an interesting choice.  As a 14th pick, I thought he would be a fun addition without a lot of risk.

Pick #15 Darren Sproles  – Running Back – New Orleans Saints

Competing for time with Mark Ingram will be tough for Sproles.  But the potential for some strong games is there, making him a fantastic find to join my RB corps.

Pick #16 Josh Brown – Kicker – St. Louis Rams

I don’t waste time and energy on picking my kicker.  In the last round or two, I pull up a list of available kickers and pick the highest ranked one.  Badda Bing, Badda Boom!!

Pick #17 Anthony Dixon – Running Back – San Francisco 49ers

For my last pick, I went for yet another RB.  Anthony Dixon’s rating was one of the best ones still available in the RB position by the end of the draft, so I made an easy decision and took him!

My team is set to go and I eagerly await the start of the season.  My roster will surely change many times throughout the season, but I am pleased with my picks, despite my Vick-less roster.  Many people spend months preparing for their draft.  That’s way too serious for me.  I like to select my players based on a dash of research, a pinch of “expert” advice, but a huge helping of instinct.  Will I be the ultimate fantasy football champion with this strategy?  Probably not, but I do think I will be a contender, and at the very least, have a lot of fun!

The Most Surprising and Disappointing Players of 2010

It has not even been two weeks since Super Bowl XLV and we are already feeling lost.  Sure, basketball is entertaining, but NOTHING beats the thrill and excitement of the gridiron.  As we look back, we are highlighting some of the players whom we personally found to be the biggest surprises and disappointments of the 2010 season.  Before long it will be time to move on and talk about the possible impending NFL lockout, the 2011 draft and other player, coach and team issues.  But for now, let us bask just a bit more in last season and some of its hot and not-so-hot players!

Biggest Player Surprises

Arian Foster

Houston RB Arian Foster ranked 1st in rushing in the NFL during the regular season, running for over 1600 yards and 16 TDs.  Foster also had over 600 receiving yards and 2 TDs, which ranked 1st for running backs in the NFL.  Foster has come a long way.  I remember being at the 2007 Outback Bowl in Tampa when Penn State played the Tennessee Volunteers.  Foster was playing for the Vols. and with the score tied in the fourth quarter, Foster fumbled the ball near the goal line.  A Nittany Lion returned it 88 yards for a TD and PSU ultimately went on to win 20-10.   That notorious fumble gave him a reputation for inconsistent ball handling, and in 2009, Foster entered the league as an undrafted rookie.  That season he started in just one game.  But he started off 2010 in a blaze of glory.  In the first game vs. the Colts, Foster had 231 yards rushing and 3 TDs.  It was the 2nd best rushing performance on opening day in NFL history, falling just 19 yards short of O.J. Simpson’s 1973 opening day performance.

T.O.

Terrell Owens ended his season early with the Cincinnati Bengals due to a torn meniscus.  T.O.’s season was a pleasant surprise.  He had 72 catches for almost 1000 yards and 9 TDs.  T.O’s supreme confidence and his constant desire to talk about himself and his athletic abilities have created a large number of haters and skeptics.  Like him or not, he had a surprising comeback season.  Unfortunately, the Bengals had an abysmal 4-12 season and failed to make the playoffs.  Since T.O. is a free agent, it is anyone’s guess what team he will end up on.

LaDainian Tomlinson

31 year old Tomlinson had a resurgent 2010 season with the NY Jets.  Many considered him past his prime and believed he would serve as the backup to Jets RB Shonn Greene.   But Tomlinson got more carries than Greene and rushed for over 900 yards and 6 TDs.  These may not be mind blowing stats.  But given the pre-season predictions regarding L.T., he certainly surprised many fans, critics and media members with his important contributions to the Jets.

Michael Vick

Ahhh..one last chance to talk about our favorite player!  You really didn’t think we would keep Michael Vick off this list, did you?!  If you’re a regular reader, you already know how deep our love for Vick runs.  We have always been believers, but many considered Vick a non-factor for the 2010 season.  Pundits predicted the Eagles would use him in limited “gimmick” plays for short yardage.  But when Kevin Kolb got injured, Vick seized the opportunity and showed he had not missed a step from his playing days before being incarcerated.  In fact, Vick’s hard work and off field preparations were evident and he played better than ever.  He rightfully earned the starting position and threw for over 3000 yards, 21 TDs and had a passer rating of 100.2.  He rushed for nearly 700 yards and 9 TDs.  At 30 years of age, Vick’s comeback was one best surprise of the season!

Biggest Player Disappointments

Chris Johnson

In 2009, Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson tore up the NFL as he rushed for 2006 yards.  Football enthusiasts had high hopes for Johnson this past season.  In fact, he was the number one draft pick in most fantasy football leagues.  Prior to the start of the season, Johnson himself predicted he would rush for 2500 yards.  It was a bold prediction to make and he fell considerably short.  Johnson rushed for over 1300 yards and 11 TDs, ranking 4th in rushing overall in the NFL for the regular season.  These are impressive numbers, but given pre-season hype and expectations, we can’t help but be a bit disappointed.

Brett Favre

We have always loved Brett Favre.  His place in NFL history can never be taken away.  This past season, though, was a difficult one to watch as Favre dealt with struggles both on and off the field.  His scandal with a former NY Jets employee, coupled with his injuries and on the field play – 11 TDs and 19 INTS – were unfortunate ways for the “gunslinger” to leave the NFL.  Favre’s streak for consecutive starts was ended this season as well.  After 297 consecutive starts over 19 seasons, the 41 year old legend finally succumbed to an injury to his throwing shoulder that he simply could not overcome.  We will forever love and respect Favre.  It seems jumping on the “anti-Favre” bandwagon has become fashionable.  But we refuse to ignore the incredible legacy he built both on and off the field, despite the way this particular season unfolded.

Randy Moss

Another player people love to hate is the never dull Randy Moss.  Sure, he may be brash and outspoken.  But Moss still possesses the raw athletic ability, speed and capacity to out jump even the most talented cornerbacks.  We contend that he can find success with an NFL team in the future, but it needs to be with a team that uses him correctly and can handle his personality.  But his selection to 7 Pro Bowls was not a fluke.  Moss has talent that cannot be denied.  This season, he was the center of a number of controversies and was traded by both the Patriots and the Vikings.  He played his remaining games with the Tennessee Titans, but they have announced that his future with them is uncertain.  Given the right circumstances, we believe Randy Moss can shine once again.  Unfortunately, he did not shine this season, which is quite sad for those of us who still believe in his talent.

Our list of surprises and disappointments is, of course, incomplete.  There were many players that, like a phoenix, seemingly emerged from the ashes and had brilliant seasons.  Others simply crashed and burned.  This unpredictability is what makes each season so captivating.  While players’ surprising and/or disappointing performances can frustrate our most carefully planned fantasy teams (we speak from personal experience!), we would not trade it for the world!

NFL 2010..One Roller Coaster of a Season!

The 2010 NFL Season had more ups and downs than all the roller coasters in Cedar Point combined!  We love roller coasters and since the NFL season had just as many thrills and chills, we thoroughly enjoyed these past months on the gridiron.  Here are just a few of our favorite highs and lows….

High Points:

Michael Vick’s comeback! 

This is no doubt the “feel good” story of the year.  Vick’s phenomenal performance after being incarcerated on dog fighting charges and being relegated to back up behind both Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb could truly be a movie script.  The perfect ending may have to wait, though.  Only a Super Bowl Championship seems like the larger than life finale fitting Vick, Andy Reid and the Eagles.

Ndamukong Suh PAT attempt 

In early November in a game vs. the NY Jets, 307 pound Ndamukong Suh, a rookie tackle for the Detroit Lions, lined up for the extra point attempt after the starting kicker got injured.  While he missed the extra point, the sight of Suh making the attempt was definitely a highlight of the 2010 season!

Celebration dance by B.J. Raji 

In the NFC title game vs. the Bears, Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji intercepted a Bears pass and “ran” 18 yards for a TD.  His hula hoop-like dance was one of the most amusing, fun moments of the playoffs!  Click below to see Raji in motion.

The Chicago Bears

The Bears made it to the NFC title game, despite the preseason prediction by most pundits who beleived they were a below average team with little hope.  In 2009, they went 7-9 and had failed to make the playoffs for the third consecutive year.  The Bears ended the 2010 season at 11-5.  Some people believe that luck was a big factor in their winning season, as they faced a number of back up QBs and a 7-9 Seattle Seahawks team in the playoffs.  In Week 1 against the Lions, a Detroit TD was overturned by a little known, controversial call with just a minute to play, giving the Bears the win.  Lucky or not, it was good to see the Bears return to the playoffs once again!

Aaron Rodgers 

The Packers’ QB finally emerged from Brett Favre’s shadow.   His stellar play this season earned the Packers a Super Bowl Championship, but nearly as important, gave Rodgers the recognition he deserved.  During the regular season, he earned a passer rating of 101.2 – the third best in the NFL.  He also ranked third in rushing yards by a QB.   In the post season, Rodgers had a passer rating of 109.8 and showed his composure and exceptional ability to read defenses.  What we love most about the Aaron Rodgers 2010 story is that in addition to being a great QB, he seems to be a genuinely good guy as well!

Low Points:

Mike Shanahan   

Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan started a streak of behavior in October that slowly spiraled into a complete lack of respect for veteran QB Donovan McNabb by the end of the season.  Trailing by 6 and with less than 2 minutes left in a game against Detroit, Shanahan benched McNabb and put in back up Rex Grossman.  On the next play, Grossman fumbled the ball, Detroit returned it for a TD.  After that fiasco, most coaches would have tried to apologize for their poor decision.  But Shanahan went in front of the media and awkwardly tried to explain his decision by first claiming he benched McNabb because he didn’t feel he could run the 2 minute offense.  His statement was perceived as a criticism of McNabb’s intellectual ability by many in the public, so Shanahan changed his reason, stating that he actually thought McNabb didn’t have the physical endurance to effectively run the two minute offense.  Later, he modified his statement once again and claimed McNabb was suffering from sore hamstrings.  The tension between Shanahan and McNabb was quite evident.  Later, with only 3 games left in the regular season,   Shanahan benched McNabb in favor of Rexman and actually publicly demoted him to 3rd string.  The Redskins had a myriad of problems this season.  But it appears that Shanahan chose to focus on McNabb rather than recognize other issues hurting the team, including the coaching staff and their poor decision making over the course of the season.

Peyton Manning’s streak of INTs

11 INTs over a three game span brought forth criticism about Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning.  Some questioned his age, while others questioned his ability.  Manning had to deal with a porous offensive line, a slew of injuries to his receiving corps and no running game all season.  Despite his 4700 yards of passing this year, Peyton could not carry the team alone.  But to question Manning’s ability is absurd and short sighted.  It was one of the low points in the season for us, but Manning himself seemed unscathed by his critics.  That focus and drive makes him one of the game’s all time greatest QBs!

Vince Young meltdown 

In a game vs. the Redskins, Young injured his hand.  When Titans coach Jeff Fisher put back up Kerry Collins in, Young became agitated and a childish tantrum ensued.  He paced the sidelines, swearing and mumbling to himself, and then tossed his shoulder pads and jersey into the stands as he stormed into the locker room at the end of the game.  That day was his last as the Titans’ starting QB.  Owner Bud Adams recently announced that Young will not be on the roster next season.  He will either be traded or released. 

Inconsistent fines by the NFL 

The NFL established a reactionary, subjective policy early in the season in response to a number of head injuries.  While we applaud their efforts to protect players, this policy fell short and needs to be revamped before next season.

Super Bowl XLV seat fiasco  

In the most technologically advanced and extravagant stadium in the history of football, Jerry Jones’ Cowboys Stadium came up short on the most important day for the NFL.  400 fans attending the Super Bowl were unable to be seated because their seating area was not completed in time.  The seats were valued at $800 and the NFL issued a refund of $2400 to each of those affected.  Fans had the option to watch the game in the $350 “Standing Room Only” section or on monitors in the North Field Club.  Despite these allowances by the NFL, fans were understandably upset.  There is no excuse for incomplete seating areas in a venue like the Super Bowl!

New York Jets Tripping 

The Jets Strength and Conditioning coach, Sal Alosi, admitted he intentionally tripped Miami’s Nolan Carroll as he raced down the sideline on punt coverage.  Alosi’s role in the NFL was to help players become physically stronger and healthier, yet he showed a complete lack of judgment when he tried to trip an opponent running at full speed.  Alosi was subsequently fined and suspended by the Jets.  Later, the NFL levied a $100,000 fine against the Jets.  Alosi announced his resignation from the team January 31st.

The NFL’s decision to postpone the Eagles vs. Vikings game 

In late December, the NFL postponed the Eagles/Vikings game because of a predicted winter storm expected to dump 18 inches of snow on the city.  Since when does FOOTBALL get postponed due to weather?  This isn’t soccer and the NFL set a bad precedent by postponing the game when both teams were in the city and capable of playing.  Vince Lombardi must have turned over in his grave!

We hope you have enjoyed our review of our favorite ups and downs of this past season.  It truly was an exhilarating ride, but like any good roller coaster, seemed much too short!

Post Season Awards! Brady Earned NFL MVP, But We Still Don’t Have to Like Him

The Super Bowl is over and it’s time to reflect upon the past season.  What were the highs and lows?  What player or team was the biggest surprise and who left fans feeling disappointed?  Which coaching and owner decisions were successful and which were foolish?  There’s plenty to discuss about the 2010 NFL season and playoffs, but before we delve into these issues, let’s take a look at a few of the major post-season honors recently awarded to some of the gridiron’s greatest players.

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady was named the NFL’s 2010 MVP.  The award is bestowed by the Associated Press and voters consist of 50 members of the media from throughout the U.S.  For the first time, the vote for MVP was unanimous, with Brady receiving all 50 votes.  In 2007, with a 16-0 record, Brady received the MVP award with 49 votes. 

This season Brady passed for over 3900 yards.  With 36 TDs and a mere 4 INTs, his TD:INT ratio of 9.0 set a record for the highest ratio in NFL history.  The previous record was set by Brady in 2007.  Brady also set another incredible record this season with 334 consecutive throws without an interception.  His pretty boy looks, coupled with his exceptional athletic ability, make him one of the most popular NFL players among women – just not us!  But we will concede that he truly did deserve this award.

The 33 year old Patriots QB was also named AP Offensive Player of the Year.  He led his team to a 14-2 regular season record, the best in the NFL.  Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick shared the spotlight as well.  He was named NFL Coach of the Year, receiving 30 of the 50 votes by members of the AP.  Since joining the Patriots in 2000, Belichick has led the Patriots to 3 Super Bowl Championships, 4 Conference Championships and 8 Division titles.  This is the 3rd time he has received Coach of the Year honors.

The NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year was a much closer vote, with Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu edging out Green Bay Packer linebacker Clay Matthews by just 2 votes.  Polamalu received 17 votes, Matthews earned 15 and fellow Steelers linebacker James Harrison received 8.  Polamalu had 63 tackles this season, along with 7 INTs in 14 games.  His game-changing play ability, coupled with his natural instincts, helped Pittsburgh earn its #2 defensive ranking and get them to the Super Bowl.  In the end, however, Clay Matthews earned the NFL’s most sought after award – a Super Bowl title.  His forced fumble in the 4th quarter was a MAJOR momentum changing play in the game and helped seal the Packers’ victory.

Speaking of the Super Bowl, another award was given out Sunday night.  Aaron Rodgers became Super Bowl XLV MVP after he and the Green Bay Packers defeated Pittsburgh 31-25.  Rodgers completed 24 of 39 passes for 304 yards.  He had 3 TDs and no interceptions.  The victory was the first Super Bowl title for the Packers since 1997.

Finally, we come to an award that is perhaps our very favorite this post-season – the Comeback Player of the Year.  Michael Vick was recently honored with this AP award, receiving 29.5 votes.  After limited play in 2009 as a back up to Donovan McNabb, the 30 year old Vick began the 2010 season as a back up to Eagles QB Kevin Kolb.  When Kolb became injured in the first game of the season, Vick stepped in and his exceptional performances earned him the starting position for the rest of the season.  This season, Vick threw for over 3000 yards, 21 TDs, 6 INTs and had an impressive QB rating of 100.2.  His spectacular scrambling and running ability earned him 9 rushing TDs and almost 700 yards on 100 attempts.  After his 18 month incarceration for dog fighting, his success both on and off the field this season deservedly earned him the Comeback Player of the Year honor.

Stay tuned for more post-season discussion!  Next up:  the highs and lows of the 2010 NFL season!  With more drama than a cat fight on an episode of “The Bachelor”, this past season had many thrilling ups and downs that are both entertaining and interesting to look back on.  The season may be over, but a true fan never tires of gabbing about the gridiron!

Eagles vs. Packers/Vick vs. Rodgers…Who Will Win the Final Wild Card Game of the Weekend?

As Wild Card Weekend winds down, we are gearing up for what should be a great contest between two high powered offenses!  The Ravens defense held strong in this afternoon’s game, in part due to the many mistakes by the Chiefs.  The Ravens join the Seahawks and Jets as winners of this weekend’s playoff games. Will it be the Packers or Eagles that joins them?

Get ready for the next game – Go Eagles!

NFC Wild Card Game – Packers vs. Eagles

It is no secret that we are BIG admirers of Michael Vick.  With that in mind, here is our view of today’s game.  It should be a wild wrap up to this Wild Card weekend!

The Packers and Eagles met in Week 1.  The Packers won that game 27-20 and starting Eagles QB Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion, allowing back up Michael Vick to take over.  Vick brought the Eagles back from a 17 point deficit that fateful day, throwing for 175 yards and rushing for over a hundred yards.  While he may not have been able to ultimately win that game, he did put himself in the position to win the starting QB position for the Eagles.  The rest is history.

Michael Vick is the key to an Eagles victory today.  The past few weeks, Vick has struggled against the blitz.  When the Eagles played the Vikings earlier this season, he was sacked 6 times.  Green Bay will likely use a similar strategy and throw some innovative blitz packages at the elusive QB.  It will be up to Vick to read them and adjust. 

In their first meeting, the Packers sacked Vick 3 times in only 19 attempted passes.  Look for Packers cornerback Charles Woodson and linebacker Clay Matthews to play big roles in disrupting Vick today.  The Philly offensive line will have to play better than they have in the last few weeks in order to protect him and give the Eagles a chance. 

Aaron Rodgers’ passing ability defines the Packers offense.  Rodgers has the third highest QB rating in the league and the Packers are ranked 5th overall in passing in the NFL.  Despite injuries to both his starting RB and TE, Rodgers has propelled the Packers into the post-season.  Greg Jennings and Donald Driver are Rodgers’ leading receivers on this pass-first team.  If the secondary cannot contain them, Rodgers could put up some serious points. 

With two high powered offenses facing each other in a “do or die” situation, this game is hard to predict.  But given our love for Michael Vick, we find ourselves inclined to pick the Eagles to win.  While the Eagles lost their last two games, we don’t see it as the beginning of a losing streak.  A healthy Michael Vick, with his dual threat ability, is hard to contain.  If the Packers blitz all day, LeSean McCoy’s blazing speed should be enough to win this one for the Eagles, even facing the NFC’s top ranked defense.

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!

Confessions of a Michael Vick-loving Giants Fan

I live in New Jersey.  Let the jokes begin.  Sure we are known for the “Jersey Shore” reality TV show, the Sopranos and other ridiculously exaggerated representations of our state.  But New Jersey also has many other features that make it truly “special”.  What other state has a 24 hour diner every few miles?  Where else can you learn to navigate a “jug handle” and do it with attitude?  If you’re not from New Jersey, you are probably scratching your head about the exact meaning of a jug handle.  Drive here some time and you will discover this creative traffic phenomenon.

Unlike New Hampshire or New Mexico, we are so unique that people often drop the “New” part of our name and simply call us “Jersey”.   Did you ever hear anyone refer to the home state of the Yankees as “York”?  So while we are used as a punch line for late night comedians, our many distinctive qualities at least keep us from being boring!

Unless you live here, you may not realize that we are also a state divided.  New Jersey is basically two giant suburbs.  Southern Jersey seems like one huge Philadelphia suburb, while the north is like a giant suburb of New York City.  For such a little state, we are quite defensive about our residency.  Ask a Jersey native where they grew up, and the answer will be North Jersey, Central Jersey, or South Jersey – never, ever merely NEW Jersey! 

 In the South, if you want to order some turkey and Swiss cheese in a long roll, it is called a hoagie.  In the North, it is called a sub.  Want some of those tiny multicolored candy bits on your ice cream?  South Jersey locals call them jimmies, while many in North Jersey call them sprinkles.  When it comes to sports, the division is even more palpable.  South Jersey residents root for the Eagles and Northerners cheer for the Giants.  What about the Jets, you ask?  They seem to have a following that defies boundaries.

As a resident of Northern NJ, I have been a faithful NY Giants fan for years.  Though they are the NEW YORK Giants, we host them here at the Meadowlands and I consider them our very own team.  I root for Big Blue week in and week out.  There are NY Giants football ornaments on my Christmas tree, a tiny neurotic Maltese who wears a Big Blue jersey every Sunday and a multitude of other Giants paraphernalia filling my house.  As a loyal Giants fan, I have despised two teams – the Eagles and the Cowboys – with a hatred that would make any Giants enthusiast proud.

But I have a deep, dark secret that I am slowly starting to reveal to others.  I LOVE Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick.  Despite years of perfecting my disdain for the Eagles, I now find myself a closet cheerleader for #7.  I sneak peeks at him on TV, while no one is looking.  Even more shocking, he is my starting QB on my fantasy team and when he plays against the Giants, I feel like a traitor cheering for both him AND Eli.

My Vick obsession was not born out of his recent NFL success.  I was a Vick fan way back when he was the thrilling QB for the Virginia Tech Hokies.  His pure, raw athleticism and ability to make defenders fall helplessly to the ground are magical to me.  Like Michigan’s Denard Robinson, Vick is simply fun and exciting to watch.

I cheered for Vick when he was an Atlanta Falcon and felt betrayed when he fell from grace after being involved in dog fighting.  As a dog owner, I was disgusted by Vick’s actions.  My heart broke as I watched this man of great promise crumble before my very eyes. 

When he went to prison, I never dreamed he would return as a better man.  But redemption is very real and Michael Vick made the decision to repent.  When he was released from incarceration, he truly tried to turn his life around.  He began speaking to young people about the evils of dog fighting and the consequences of making bad decisions.  As I watched and listened to him, I sensed a man with gratitude and with a brand new outlook on life.

Then the unexpected occurred.  He got picked up by my nemesis – the Philadelphia Eagles!  At first, I could hide in the shadows, just lurking around to watch Vick as he got in for an occasional play or two.  As time passed, my affection for Vick once again returned, until finally, last winter I crossed the line.  It was a few weeks before Christmas and my beloved Giants were hosting our arch enemy, the Eagles.  As Sunday approached, I heard more and more mumblings from fellow Giants fans about “Evil Michael Vick”.  There were crude jokes and all sorts of mean, derogatory statements about him.  I found myself feeling very defensive.   Before I knew it, I was making a gigantic poster to take to the game.  It read..

I am a Giants Fan

And a Dog Owner

And I STILL Love Michael Vick

Then, being the nerd that I am, I drew a Christmas tree and finished off my little art project with the phrase “Tis the Season for Forgiveness”.

Any teenage girl who has ever had a big crush can tell you that when it comes to things like this, reason goes out the window.  Therefore, without thinking about the consequences, I proudly carried my sign through the Meadowlands parking lot, dressed head to toe in Giants clothing.  The reaction was not pretty.  Sure, I was booed.  But since it was a night game and many fans had been tailgating for a few hours, I got lots of intoxicated rants that would make even Tony Soprano blush.  Before I reached the turnstiles, I crumbled my sign and cowardly threw it in the trash.  

By last spring, I was once again a full-blown Michael Vick fan, but wisely decided to keep my dark little secret to myself.  After all, I live in North Jersey and am a Giants fan.  After my Meadowlands melodrama, I didn’t want another confrontation. 

But when Vick became the starter for the Eagles, I could not contain my excitement.  I simply had to cheer for him.  He was playing like the Vick I first saw at Virginia Tech, but even better!  He no longer relied solely on his legs and pure athletic ability, but now he was reading defenses and using his arm to beat opponents as well.  Again, like a school girl with a crush, I found myself online ordering a Michael Vick Eagles jersey.

The Giants and Eagles face each other this Sunday.   The winner of this game will be in first place in the NFC East.  As I post this blog, I know my secret is out.  They say confession is good for the soul, but football (and a division rivalry game for 1st place) is as serious as it gets.  I am not sure my friends and family who are Giants fans will ever, ever forgive me.

On Sunday, I will proudly wear my Michael Vick jersey and still cheer for the Giants.  Unconventional?  Yes, I suppose it is.  But for this weekend, I will neither be from North Jersey nor from South Jersey.  Instead, I will simply be from Jersey and divide my loyalties between both the Eagles AND the Giants.  Wish me luck getting through the parking lot!

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