Crying Games: His Airness vs The King

20170531_221941.jpgSports debate is my guilty pleasure.  Some fans say they hate it, but I believe those detractors only hate the fact that they aren’t on camera giving their rebuttal to the Stephen As and Skips of the world.

On the eve of the NBA Finals there is one debate that has been ridiculously overplayed to the point that it is causing the talking heads to attempt to tear down an immortal legacy that was cemented a long time ago.

LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world.  He had the pressure of going pro right out of high school and exceeded the hype.  He has beaten iconic teams like the Big 3 Celtics, an All-Star packed Thunder team, the Spurs dynasty and the 73-win Warriors on path to championships.  He is a freak specimen.  LBJ is just one of the guys in the locker room.  You couldn’t ask for a better representative of the league on and off the court.

I have nothing negative to say about LBJ.  I’m not going to discredit his legacy, but I can’t believe I have to defend the one of the greatest athlete I have ever seen.   It seems like every other day I turn on FS1 and there is Shannon Sharpe, Nick Wright and Colin Cowherd just picking apart Michael Jordan’s accomplishments.  They start spitting out stats, crediting MJ’s teammates all of a sudden, suggesting he played weaker competition and after all these years finding holes in his game.

While I respect all these men’s careers they look utterly foolish on this one.  Jordan played in an era that was very physical, bigs still mattered and they didn’t have small ball.  Like LBJ, he made his teammates better.  He’s never really been given credit for helping to resurrect Dennis Rodman’s career.  If he needed to make a three he drained it.  Had to steal the ball or grab the board he did it.  The tape doesn’t lie.  Watch the games over again.  There is a reason 20 years removed from an NBA Finals his are still the highest rated to date.  Jordan was purely mythical.

The one criticism that bothers me the most is that Jordan didn’t face as tough of competition on the path to a title.  You can argue that it is even more disrespectful to those who played in his era.  Here is a list of notable players Jordan disposed of as he climbed to the top of Mount Olympus:

Patrick Ewing

Charles Barkley

Isiah Thomas*

Joe Dumars*

Dennis Rodman*

Magic Johnson*

James Worthy*

Clyde Drexler*

Dominique Wilkins

Alonzo Mourning*

Shaquille O’Neal*

Penny Hardaway

Shawn Kemp

Gary Payton*

Chris Webber

John Stockton

Karl Malone

Reggie Miller

bold = HOF   underlined = Member of the 1992 Dream Team   * = NBA Champion

 

LeBron has an opportunity to build on his legacy.  Why don’t we just enjoy the fact that we’ve had two once in a lifetime players in our lifetime?  Why do we have to anoint LBJ today when he still has a couple chapters left to finish?  He is going to have to do more to eclipse the basketball scripture that is the book of Jordan.  Let’s see if he can do it.  The King is the greatest on Earth.  If he is as borderline invincible as Sharpe, Wright and Cowherd claim that he is then he doesn’t need their pathetic attempts to take shots at the Airman’s legend in order to pad his own resume.

 

 

 

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Fan Q&A: Cowboys chances, how much longer for Brady and the Rock in 2020

Here are your questions answered by yours truly.  You may not always agree with my response, but I promise I will always respect your inquiry of my knowledge by giving you honest reasons and thorough explanation as to why I feel the way I do.  You can participate in the weekly Fan Q&A by emailing your questions to beastman757@gmail.com

Do you think Dallas will make it as far if not further this year?

I don’t think the Cowboys will win 13 games like they did last year.  They appear to have a tougher schedule and you can make the case the other teams in their division got better.  That doesn’t mean Big D won’t contend for a championship because they definitely have the offense to do it.  If the season were to start today I would pick Dallas to win 11 games and make it as far as the NFC Championship game.  Dak will make more big plays downfield and with a healthy Darren McFadden it will give them the options to limit Zeke’s carries and preserve him for a bigger load late in the season.  There are huge questions marks on the defensive side of the football.  Dallas drafted some talented players, but will they be able to make a contribution so early in their careers or will inexperience get the best of them?  Vegas has the Cowboys winning 9.5 games (over/under) and around 9-1 odds to win the Super Bowl behind the Patriots.

How much longer will Tom Brady play?

My answer may surprise you.  I think there is a good chance this is Brady’s last season.  Here are my reasons why:

  1. Gisele– Gisele Bundchen is the breadwinner in the Brady household.  The supermodel expressed that she wanted her husband to retire after this past Super Bowl and she has leaked to the media that Brady allegedly played with concussions.  Tom has made it clear he wants to play as long has he can, however his wife is a bigger influence on his decision to continue playing despite him dismissing her desire for No. 12 to hang it up publicly.  Remember Brady skipping out on the White House visit at the last minute?  That was because of Gisele.  Don’t under estimate the power of persuasion this woman’s beauty possesses on top of being the mother of Tom’s kids.
  2. Jimmy Garoppolo– The fact that the Patriots held onto Jimmy Garoppolo says a lot about the future of Tom Brady. If New England wanted to trade Garoppolo there were plenty of suitors who had the ammunition in draft picks to pull the trigger and make the deal.  The Pats opted not to meaning Jimmy G is going to get paid.  Garoppolo does not want to sit on the bench forever (he will be entering his fourth season) and while he is under contract he has expressed a strong interest in wanting to be a starter, yet he remains a good citizen (for now) in Foxboro which may allude to the fact he knows his time is coming.
  3. Bill Belichick– When we speak of the Patriots dynasty it will always be linked to Brady and Belichick. You can’t have one without the other….or can you?  Detractors of the New England franchise won’t label each as the G.O.A.T. because they will only give the edge to the quarterback play or the coaching, not both.  So this is where ego comes into play.  Belichick can launch himself into a new stratosphere if he could win a championship with another QB.  Belichick is more likely to achieve that scenario as opposed to Brady going the route of Peyton Manning and hoisting the Lombardi Trophy while riding off into the sunset in an unfamiliar uniform.  In my mind Brady was better than Manning, but Tom is not the plug and play quarterback that Peyton was.  I think it would drain Brady mentally and take the fun out of the game for him to go somewhere else, learn an entire new system and team culture after having the luxury of familiarity for two decades.

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Will Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson run for President in 2020?

This is not as outlandish as it sounds.  No matter how you feel about our current Commander in Chief you have to admit his election has forever changed the political landscape.  There have been quite a few celebrities that have been voted into office, but up until this year none went straight to the White House without having prior experience as a government official.  I think the Rock’s campaign would do well with voters.  It has been established that he is second to none when it comes to speaking into a microphone live in arenas at max capacity.  He could appeal to America’s youth because of his career in the WWE and action flicks.  Given his Samoan/African Canadian heritage he would have the opportunity to build a multi-cultural coalition.  Yes he is Hollywood, but also has some conservative views which might attract some people on the right.  Now will it actually happen?  I don’t think so….at least not next election cycle.  The Rock has won a national championship in college football, he’s been pro wrestling’s biggest superstar and is currently a leading man in Tinsel Town.  So why not add President to his resume?  The Rock announced his candidacy for the Oval Office on Saturday Night Live with Tom Hanks as his running mate.  Given the venue I doubt it has any real validity.  Rock is only 45; he is in the prime of his acting career.  Unless he truly has a patriotic itch it makes no sense for him to throw his hat into the ring for Decision 2020.  I view this as a publicity stunt (similar to what Hulk Hogan did in WCW after Jesse Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota) in order to suggest that he should be cast for a POTUS role like Martin Sheen or Kevin Spacey.  Click here to see Rock’s big announcement. Odds Shark currently has Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson at 100-1 odds to win the presidency in 2020.  Click here to see where he ranks among the other contenders.

LaVar Ball Exposed and Mike Golic Jr. gets Two Thumbs Down

lavar-ball-big-baller-brandClown Shoes

It is time to stop giving LaVar Ball a cookie for being a good parent or a risk-taking entrepreneur every time he says something outrageous.  The charade is over!  It’s not even about basketball anymore; it’s about grabbing the headlines at other people’s expense and trying to cash in on his children’s success.  Newsflash LaVar:  Your son is not Jesus in high-tops!  Lonzo Ball has the potential to be a great player in the NBA, but I’m willing to bet he won’t transcend the game of basketball at least not on the court.  Ludicrous shoe prices, internet memes and possibly reality TV is more likely to be the Ball family’s claim to fame. I’m not anti-capitalism so I have no problem with the Big Baller Brand trying to make some coin, but LaVar is selling hype and ridiculousness and this slow-footed white boy ain’t buying it!

Golic Jr. is a Tomato

Mike and Mike, a show that is a shell of its former shelf, caught my attention last week when Mike Golic Sr.  and his son Mike Golic Jr. got into a debate over the original Rocky.  The younger Golic argued that the Oscar winning film was an “overrated movie” much to his father’s dismay.  Now little Mikey is entitled to his opinion on the film, but he is wrong on a couple of points:

Golic Jr. stated that unlike the sequels the original tries to be something that it is not. In other words he suggests that it is an action film disguised as a drama with a bad love story.  He actually gave praise to the sequels because they never tried to deviate from the fact that they were strictly action films.

Rocky was written by Sylvester Stallone while he was an unknown and was filmed on somewhat of a low budget.  Stallone had trouble convincing the studios to let him play the part of Rocky and he wasn’t exactly a sculpture back then.  Now like Golic Jr., I was born after some sequels had been made, but if you go back and watch the original trailers you get a better idea of what the film is really about because you get to see how it was perceived back then without the preconceived notion of the Rocky franchise. The tagline was “his whole life was a million to one shot”.   The original had a unique and raw quality to it that its successors didn’t have because it never intended to be a story that spanned over 40 years told in a series of action flicks.  The love between Rocky and Adrian is about two people who don’t really fit in, but find comfort in one another.  Not everyone likes that part of the movie, but it at least it appears to be somewhat organic rather than a cheese fest.  Rocky never tried to trick anybody and evolved film by film into what Golic Jr. suggests the original was.

Golic Jr. says he hated Paulie, “he’s a loser”.

 Well duh!  Paulie is a loser that’s the whole point of his character.  They never tried to disguise that either.  He had to pay for a date to bring to Rocky’s fight for Pete’s sake!  The purpose of Paulie is to show the dark side of someone who grew up in Rocky’s world.  Rocky is usually upbeat and kind while Paulie is often negative, drunk and blaming others for his own failures.  He can be mean, yet he provides comic relief.  Burt Young’s role was vital to the film.

And your father played in Philadephia.  Good luck walking the streets of in the City of Brotherly Love.  A lot of Paulies walking around out there.

 

Hernandez’s Suicide, ESPN’s Bloodbath and the NFL’s Race Issue

20170426_232137Not Sorry for Your Loss (Not Happy Either)

Aaron Hernandez’s suicide was shocking and I found a lot of people’s reactions disturbing.

First, why did some people feel sorry for this guy?  Sure he had his demons, but he was given so many great opportunities because of football and what did he do?  He murdered another human being.  Had it been an addiction to drugs I could understand people being empathetic.  You know who I feel empathy for?  The slain Odin Lloyd’s family.  Hernandez’s loved ones who are forever affected by his actions.  If someone knew Hernandez personally I might give them a pass on feeling sorrow for the passing of a person they once had a positive relationship with.

Second, why are people thrilled about his death?  This isn’t like when Osama Bin Laden was killed and people were happy that they finally had closure when it came to September 11th.  Because Hernandez killed himself Lloyd’s family might never get true justice.  Are you happy now?

Bristol Massacre

ESPN just gutted a big fraction of on-air and writing talent.  Big names like Ed Werder, Jay Crawford, Jason Stark and Danny Kanell among others.

There are a lot of people that are taking pleasure in ESPN’s demise.   This includes former employees, people who work for competitors and fans that feel alienated by the network’s political views.  I will admit I have my criticisms of ESPN, but why root for their failure?  Why not instead wish for a better ESPN?  You know like the one you loved back in the day.  Despite its flaws the network still has value.  The 30 for 30 documentaries are something no other rival network is able to duplicate.  And speaking of rival networks what is wrong with competition?  The WWE was a lot better when they had WCW to battle ratings with.  Without the “Mothership”, as Dan Patrick calls it, who will be the new punching bag?  Deadspin?  Please.

ESPN opened so many new doors for sports media and they took the way we view athletics to new heights.  As more people decide to cut the cable chord, other sports networks will start to feels some of the pain that they are experiencing in Bristol.

Rough Draft

The 2017 NFL Draft hasn’t even started, but it is already making headlines and not for good reasons.  Two of the top prospects eligible to be selected have had some pretty big red flags pop up at the most inopportune time.

Jabrill Peppers of Michigan “failed” a drug test because his urine sample was diluted from drinking too much water.  I guess the only reason for him to hydrate himself like that would be to pass a drug test?  Why else would an athlete of Peppers’ caliber take in that many fluids?  Goodell logic at its finest.

Peppers isn’t the only one who may have his draft status altered due to a non-football issue.  Ohio State’s Gareon Conley faces much steeper allegations after being accused of rape from an alleged incident that took place in a Cleveland hotel earlier this month.  Conley has decided to change his original plans of attending the draft and it is even being predicted that he might not only miss out on being a first-round pick, but could end up not even being drafted at all.

If Conley is guilty shame on him and he doesn’t deserve a chance to play in the NFL, but for a moment and the sake of argument let’s try that old thing we used to believe in, you know innocent until proven guilty.  The NFL has a big problem.  They always assume the worst when it comes to young black men.  They know they have this problem.  It’s why Goodell went so hard after Tom Brady for something so petty as the PSI of a football.  But the league just can’t get out of their own way.  They totally mishandled Josh Brown’s domestic violence case and yet they left Ezekiel Elliot’s open so long it was like they were almost hoping they would find something.  And going back to the draft remember in 2015 when La’el Collins was being questioned by police for the murder of his ex-girlfriend even though he wasn’t a suspect?  That cost him a chance at being a first-round pick and he did nothing to warrant that.

I believe that if Colin Kaepernick isn’t picked up a week following the draft there will be a scenario where the league gets involved.  No matter how unpopular his protests were the last thing NFL needs is an unemployed black QB, who is easily better than all of the backups in this league (and a few starters), that never broke any rules on or off the field.

Romo’s Legacy will be just “Dandy”

1491964954690There once was a quarterback who played for the Dallas Cowboys.  He was a charismatic, fun-loving leader who often did not get the respect or credit he deserved.  This guy was tough, took a beating and played through injuries.  He took a losing franchise and made them relevant, yet when he performed on the biggest stage the final act was more symbolic of a Greek tragedy as opposed to happily ever after.  He hung it up while he still had something left in tank.  He took a job in broadcasting and finally earned the kudos he should of had during his playing days.  In retrospect the fans and organization appreciated the colorful playing career he had and he found his way into the Cowboys Ring of Honor.  While he didn’t earn a bust in Canton, he was honored with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award at the Enshrinee’s Dinner.

It sounds like the past, present and potential future for Tony Romo? Right? Take another guess.  That is a brief synopsis of  the late Don Meredith’s legacy in professional football on the field and in the booth.

Long before Romo and any other recognizable Cowboys quarterback, there was “Dandy” Don Meredith.  Meredith, who played his high school and collegiate ball (SMU) in the North Texas area, joined the hometown expansion Cowboys in 1960.  He never made it to the Super Bowl, but Meredith has to be given credit as the man who established playing quarterback in Dallas as a glamour position in professional sports.

Meredith did more for his legacy as one of the original broadcasters on Monday Night Football.  It made viewers recall what a very good quarterback he was and how his playing career was just inches from being legendary.

The epic of Dandy Don is one of my favorite football stories.  He was a character like no other.  So why aren’t there any movies or books about him?  Well there kind of is.  His former teammate and good friend Peter Gent wrote a novel titled North Dallas Forty in which fictional quarterback Seth Maxwell is based on Meredith.  The controversial and captivating read was later made into a movie.

Tony Romo’s ballad could be the inspiration for a paperback or a Hollywood script one day, however now that he heads to partner up with Jim Nantz he will have the opportunity to add to his legacy in a new fashion.  Many feel that Romo is receiving a shot at CBS that he doesn’t deserve considering he has no broadcast experience.  That may be true and it likely won’t be an easy transition, but I’m betting on Romo. The curiosity of Romo’s commentary will give the ratings a slight boost and younger fans will appreciate a familiar player that they grew up watching calling the action.  I predict he will surprise a lot of people with unique insight.  Meredith retired after the 1968 season before joining Monday Night Football in its debut in 1970.  That didn’t turn out too bad, did it?

But let’s go back to Tony Romo the player.  How should he be remembered?  Is he being shown too much love on his way out the door? What did he accomplish to receive this praise?  In sports there is room for a lot of different characters, novelties and myths.  Not everyone gets to be the knight who slayed the dragon and rode off on a white steed with a beautiful princess’s arms clutching his waist.  We might envy the ultimate hero, but we don’t always identify with him.

The role of Romo as the tragic hero is something that we are more able to relate to.  Many of us in life have had to work hard to conquer the odds and in doing so we were able to exceed expectations, but for whatever reason the big break never came and the grand milestone achievement eluded us.

Even though it didn’t have a fairy tale ending, it doesn’t take away the incredible plays Romo made on the field.  There are certain things he did at the quarterback position that only a sorcerer could duplicate.  He made football in Dallas fun again.  Whether you loved him or hated him you wanted to see him play because he seemed to add high drama to the game.  He teased you into thinking he might pull it off only to blow it in the final minutes or he fooled you that he would fold again while stealing another win.

Romo doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame, but he was just a couple plays away from greatness.  Take away a non-catch here, a bobbled snap there, a drive-killing penalty here or a fluke injury there and the narrative on Romo has changed significantly.

Unlike Meredith, Romo is receiving the accolades he deserves as he rides off into the sunset.  Just because he didn’t deliver hardware it doesn’t mean fans can’t appreciate the fact that he set team records, made some of the most memorable plays in franchise history and did it all while sacrificing his personal health.

What’s next for the undrafted kid out of Eastern Illinois?  Will he be as revered of a broadcaster as Dandy was?  Let’s not look that far ahead.  Joining Meredith in the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor would make the most sense for the near future.

 

Fears of Cheers: The Tebow Effect

20170405_205755I have been arguing for the last few weeks that Colin Kaepernick remains a free agent mainly due to his on-field performance combined with the fact that his market has yet to be determined just like a few other names in free agency who are still without a home.  I continue to make the point that the protest isn’t the reason, but it is a reason.  It might not be the reason you think.

It has nothing to do with being afraid of the President’s Twitter handle or the fact the NFL is mostly a club of older, white conservative owners.  These are the same owners that had no interest in Rush Limbaugh joining their fraternity after it was mentioned he was considering making a bid for the Rams several years ago.  Roger Goodell made the statement that someone like Limbaugh and his “divisive comments” were not welcome.  Goodell works for the owners.  He was simply their mouthpiece on this one.  There is fear, but outside of certain markets it has little to do with political ideology.

Kaepernick is not a “distraction”, but his following is.  Is Kaepernick’s potential upside worth the media sideshow that will follow?  It all looks too familiar.  By now Tebowmania seems like it was decades ago (unless you’re a fan of minor league baseball), but for similar reasons it is why some NFL GMs and coaches cringe at the thought of signing Kaepernick.

Teams don’t want extra persuasion from the press and fans in regards to who will be their starting QB.  This is what happened with Tim Tebow.  He wasn’t good enough to start for the long haul.  John Elway had to pull off the unthinkable and land Peyton Manning in order to satisfy the media and the fans who would’ve buried the Broncos otherwise.

Tebow went to the Jets via the owner’s decision (ironically Woody Johnson who has been outspokenly critical of Kaepernick) and it was a headache gang green didn’t need.  Tebow regressed as a passer (never started a game), Mark Sanchez continued to struggle (had his infamous butt-fumble), head coach Rex Ryan was heavily scrutinized for mishandling the quarterback situation and the Jets finished a disappointing 6-10.  Ryan, who never met a headline he didn’t love, loathed Tebowmania and immediately cut ties with the faithful fan favorite following the 2012 season.  Tebow would never play another regular season game in the NFL.

Let’s say Kaepernick is signed by a team that isn’t settled at quarterback.  If he doesn’t start his proponents will argue it is related to his kneeling from last season.  There are a lot of people that won’t buy the narrative that “he hasn’t grasped the offense” or “the other quarterback on the roster gives us the best chance to win” even though those could be legitimate scenarios.

Tebow fans and Kaepernick fans/haters are alike in the sense that they are ignorant when it comes to the football logistics on why these guys don’t have jobs in the NFL.  The good news for Kaepernick is he is a much better quarterback than Tim Tebow and should land a gig this fall.

Kaepernick would be wise to accept a backup role for less money in 2017.  An ideal landing spot for him would be a team that has an established starting quarterback with a solid coaching staff that will help him resurrect his career.  This will benefit Kaepernick down the road and should quiet a lot of the noise that will follow him.

Here are the best destinations for Kaepernick:

Seattle Seahawks- Kaepernick is familiar with the Seahawks and they are familiar with him.  He would be an excellent backup for Russell Wilson and he would mesh well with Pete Carroll’s culture in Seattle.  There would be no outcry to bench Wilson, one of the better starting quarterbacks in the league, in favor of Kaepernick who played for the rival Niners all those years.

Oakland Raiders- The Raiders were having a dream of a season until Derek Carr got hurt.  The Raiders already feature a talented supporting cast on offense and could use a better backup plan.  An organization historically known for sheltering castoffs and misfits seems like a match made in black hole heaven for Kaepernick.  If the fans in Oakland are upset about it who cares?  You’re moving to Vegas.

Carolina Panthers- Since Cam Newton takes a beating it would be wise for the Panthers to upgrade the second-string roster spot.  We saw what happened when Derek Anderson made an appearance last year.  Yikes!  Kaepernick would join an organization that has talent and stability.  It might not be popular with the fans in Charlotte.  Kaepernick knocked Newton and the Panthers out of the 2013 playoffs which probably upsets the Queen City citizens more than his kneeling.

Kansas City Chiefs- Hall of Famer and star of FS1’s Undisputed Shannon Sharpe believes the Chiefs are the best destination for Kaepernick.  Many feel that KC can only go so far with veteran Alex Smith and they might need to start looking at other options for seasons to come.  Andy Reid is a QB guru and who better to take on the Kaepernick reclamation project than the Kool-Aid Man himself?

Pittsburgh Steelers- Big Ben has taken his share of licks over the years and has hinted the end is near.  I’m not sure if the Steelers think Landry Jones is the future or even feel he is there best option at backup.  In Pittsburgh, Kaepernick would have a talented supporting cast around him if he had to play and if he did well who knows?  Maybe he could be the answer for life after Roethlisberger.  The only concern might be the circus-like atmosphere that the Pittsburgh locker room has been in recent years.  They might not need another non-football headline grabber.

New England Patriots- This is a long shot and it would depend on Jimmy Garoppolo being traded.  No one drowns out the echos like Bill Belichick and company.  If this were to happen Kaepernick would really have to prove himself worthy of making the roster.  Belichick likes to experiment and won’t hesitate to cut a proven veteran.  But if he were able to land a spot on the team what better place to turn his career around as Tom Brady’s understudy and working with an offensive mind like Josh McDaniels?  Given Robert Kraft, Belichick and Brady’s support of Trump could you imagine the head explosions it would cause?

LaVar Ball Says, Kaepernick Waits, NBA Solution and Wife of the Year

20170322_001600.pngMy Three Sons

LaVar Ball is the new “cash me ousside” girl.  I am not ragging on Ball as a parent so don’t get it twisted that I am calling him a bad dad.  The father of UCLA’s Lonzo Ball and two younger sons with a future beyond high school basketball, has become the latest poster child for sports memes on social media.  A man, who once averaged 2.2 points per game during his one season of college ball at Washington State, has been critical of NBA legends Michael Jordan, LeBron James and continues to have a war of words with Charles Barkley.  To sum it all up Ball is basically claiming that he and his sons can beat all these guys.  It doesn’t stop there.  He also went after their parenting skills.  The elder Ball has more in common with Danielle Bregoli than those basketball gods.  My news feed is full of hashtag “LaVar Ball says” just like it was with “how bout dat” a month ago.  The comparison to the troubled teen from Dr. Phil isn’t all negative.  Bregoli is cashing in on her unconventional path to fame.  Ball makes a lot of head turning statements, but is there a method to his madness?  Lonzo Ball is often considered to be the biggest star and top NBA prospect in college basketball. The longer UCLA stays in the tournament, the more headlines LaVar can grab, the larger the payout will be for a shoe contract.  15 minutes of fame is over in 5 minutes nowadays.  Anyone heard from the Jersey Shore kids lately?  Like Bregoli, Ball knows he has to strike while the iron is hot.

Checkout the LaVar Ball says Twitter page

Protesting to Play

Colin Kaepernick, once a promising young quarterback, has become a cautionary tale.  If you stink on the field you can’t afford non-football extras.  It is believed that Kaepernick, who remains a free agent, is still searching for a contract due to his kneeling during the national anthem last season. His protest plays a factor, but it is far from the main reason why he is currently unemployed.  Where is the guy who started in the Super Bowl and shredded the Packers in the playoffs?  Seems like a lifetime ago.  Since 2014, Kaepernick is 11-24 as a starter and has seen three of his head coaches canned in the process.  NFL front offices aren’t lining up to throw money at a potential coach-killer who was benched at the beginning of the year in favor of Blaine Gabbert and went 1-10 as a starter in 2016.  Sure the less accomplished Mike Glennon got a contract he probably doesn’t deserve because the Bears can sell his potential to their fan base while they figure out what they want to do long-term at QB (still looking for Sid Luckman’s replacement).  The whole social justice warrior thing is just baggage on top of Kaep’s poor play. It is no different than Tim Tebow, another man with good intentions, but draws too much attention to himself without the on-field production to compliment the media hype he’s receiving.  Kaepernick fans should be patient.  Jay Cutler, Robert Griffin III and in a sense Tony Romo are all in search of a new home.  If Sam Bradford keeps getting inked to big deals there is hope for Colin yet.

Sitting Not So Pretty

Last month a buddy and I attended a game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia between the Sixers and the Heat.  To say the game lacked star power was an understatement.  All the big names such as Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Ben Simmons and Chris Bosh did not display their talents on the hardwood that evening.  Despite the noticeable absentees it ended up being an exciting atmosphere with great game action and minimal sloppy play.  That is a rarity combined with Phildelphia’s uniqueness as a sports town.  Last year we went to Madison Square Garden and Kristaps Porzingis didn’t play.  The MSG experience was memorable, the basketball being played not so much.  Those games didn’t feature teams that would or will be competing for an NBA championship and the guys that didn’t suit up were truly injured.  If we were going to see the Cavaliers, the Spurs or the Warriors and all of the star players were healthy and sitting I can tell you right now I would ask for my money back because this is a players league and fans pay top-dollar to see All-NBA talent. For the league it not only hurts future attendance, but it also puts the networks in a crunch who televise these games.  The solution is simple and it is called reduced minutes.  If the purpose of sitting superior talent is to save their mileage for the postseason then why not let them make a cameo in the game (that they would otherwise sit out) before they call it a night.  There could be the risks of an unwanted injury or they might have to play more than expected if their team gets in foul trouble, but it could go a long way to prevent damage to a product whose revenue is primarily driven by the world’s best players presence on the court.  Even if it is just for half a quarter the fans still get to say they saw LeBron James or Steph Curry make a bucket or two, more folks tune in at home and the only people left unhappy are the odds makers.

March Madam

The Kentucky Wildcats controversially defeated the Wichita State Shockers this past weekend in the NCAA Tournament, but that’s not the story.  Lynn Marshall, the wife of Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall, was seen wearing a basketball jersey in the stands while she appeared to be passionately cheering on her husband’s team.  Her passion may have gotten the best of her since it has been reported that arena security had to confront Mrs. Marshall about her behavior in the stands multiple times during the game and was eventually escorted from her seat (after the game was over) because she was allegedly shouting obscenities.  I’m sure this has caused headaches for Coach Marshall and the athletic director at the university and Lynn is receiving her share of heat which is probably justified.  To me her tantrum is a breath of fresh air.  I’d like to believe Mrs. Marshall’s tirade was out of love.  In a country where nearly half of marriages end in divorce it’s great to see the occasional spouse go bonkers in full support of what her husband does for a living.  My wife has used a few choice words about my former employer after I lost my job.  I’m probably more like Gregg and will say all the politically correct things about where I used to work, however I saw my wife’s venting as love for me more than I did for hate of my old company.  I do appreciate the fact that my Mrs. didn’t use any kind of social media or public platform to say what she felt she needed to say.  For Gregg’s sake I hope Lynn will contain her future enthusiasm as necessary.

Click here to catch some of Lynn Marshall’s antics

64 Judges 1 Winner Part VI: Final Four, a Champion Crowned

Yesterday we saw No. 1 seed and defending champion Villanova fall to No. 8 Wisconsin.  Another No. 1 seed Gonzaga nearly suffered the same fate, but they were able to squeak by No. 8 Northwestern.

More brackets will be busted today.  The uncertainty of the tournament is what makes it so appealing and inviting to people who may just be casual fans.

But enough about the real tournament.  Many of you are here because you don’t feel like waiting until April to see a champion crowned.  Will Judge Judy take it all?  Can Reinhold do the unthinkable and go one better and win the whole thing?  Has Simon finally met his match in Thurgood Marshall?

We are about to find out.  If you are just joining us be sure to check out: 64 Judges 1 Winner Part I64 Judges 1 Winner Part II: Let the Tournament Begin!64 Judges 1 Winner Part III: On to the Second Round,64 Judges 1 Winner Part IV: Sweet 16, and 64 Judges 1 Winner Part V: Elite 8.

Here we go!

Semifinals20170317_170724

1 Thurgood Marshall vs 1 Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell has been destroying his opponents left and right, but at the end of the day he is just a TV star with no law degrees, no experience playing a legal figure and probably hasn’t sentenced anyone in a courtroom making him and his whole region irrelevant.  The British man is finally humbled in a blowout loss.

Thurgood Marshall defeats Simon Cowell

20170317_1708001 Judge Judy vs 6 Judge Reinhold

Judge Reinhold was ready for his match against the mighty Judith Sheindlin.  On his way to the courthouse to face his opponent, Reinhold saw a young legal assistant in the hallway that eerily resembled Phoebe Cates from years past.  He immediately ran into what he thought was a gender neutral restroom, but forgot he was in North Carolina.  The young legal assistant went into what was actually the women’s room where witnesses heard a scream and saw her quickly exit as she stormed down the hall.  Judge was last seen shortly after leaving the restroom with his head down making his way outside the building.  His whereabouts are still unknown to this day.

Judge Judy defeats Judge Reinhold

Championship

20170317_1710141 Thurgood Marshall vs 1 Judge Judy

Ol’ Judy has been the favorite since the start of this tournament.  She’s a no nonsense judge whose popularity is due to people wanting quick justice without any spin.  That’s exactly what she gives her audience.  Judge Judy is an American icon, but unfortunately for her the plaintiffs and defendants that frequent her courtroom are just a tier above Jerry Springer’s guests.  Judith Sheindlin changed American courtroom television forever.  Thurgood Marshall changed America forever.

Thurgood Marshall defeats Judge Judy

CHAMPION

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Thurgood Marshall

Without Thurgood Marshall there is no NCAA Tournament.  In 1954 he was chief counsel for young Linda Brown in the Brown vs Board of Education case and won the Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional.  13 years later, Marshall, a grandson of slaves, was appointed as the 96th justice and the first black justice of SCOTUS.  Marshall had a journey like no other, an impact that changed the course of history and gave people hope that not only could they go to the best schools, but they could also be in charge of upholding everyone’s rights and seeking justice for others.

Thank you everyone for joining us on this unusual adventure to celebrate March Madness.  I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did putting this together.  Good luck the rest of the way if your bracket is still in decent shape.

 

64 Judges 1 Winner Part V: Elite 8

20170317_100823And here we are, just moments away from finding out who will win their regions and move on to the Final Four.  All of the No. 1 seeds remain and will have to beat a No. 2 seed in order to advance with the exception of the Fictional Judges Region where surprising No. 6 seed Judge Reinhold is the only thing that stands in the way of Uncle Phil and a Final Four appearance.

Be sure to follow this wild and unconventional tournament from the beginning by referring to the following: 64 Judges 1 Winner Part I64 Judges 1 Winner Part II: Let the Tournament Begin!64 Judges 1 Winner Part III: On to the Second Round, and 64 Judges 1 Winner Part IV: Sweet 16.

Here we go!

Historical Judges

20170316_2120181 Thurgood Marshall vs 2 Lance Ito

Lance Ito, an unknown until the O.J. trial gave him everlasting fame, has taken out some heavy hitters in this tournament including two SCOTUS justices and arguably the greatest judge in the history of England.  Many believed after getting this far he would have a good shot to take down Thurgood Marshall, but it became apparent that he ran out of gas.

Thurgood Marshall defeats Lance Ito

Regional Update20170317_101738

Trial TV Show Region

20170316_2121031 Judge Judy vs 2 Judge Mathis

We got the matchup we wanted.  The two most popular judges of their kind who both have the longest tenure on a courtroom TV series.  Mathis may ultimately prove to be a champion one day, but it won’t be in this tournament.  The favorite to win it all advances to the Final Four.

Judge Judy defeats Judge Mathis

Regional Update20170317_101806.png

Fictional Judges Region

20170316_2121391 Philip Banks vs 6 Judge Reinhold

No one expected Judge Reinhold to make it this far.  There are those that argued his No. 6 seed was too high.  Uncle Phil is a juggernaut in this bracket so Reinhold’s strategy was to soften his opponent with the one way to Judge Banks’ heart….FOOD!  Reinhold threw All-American burgers at him, served him a late supper, lured him with an Oscar Meyer weenie whistle and eventually splashed his large opponent in the face with a pot of hot coffee.  UPSET!  Reinhold is going to the Final Four!

Judge Reinhold defeats Philip Banks

Regional Update20170317_101857

Competition TV Series Region

20170316_212225.jpg1 Simon Cowell vs 2 Blake Shelton

Simon has shamed his opponents the way he did to people on American Idol who thought they could sing .  Now it was up to good ol’ boy Blake Shelton to restore some USA pride and eliminate the British man who has ruined more dreams than Freddy Krueger. In a game that came down to psychological warfare the Oklahoman was no match for Simon who coldly reminded Shelton he was a coach and not a judge, giving him a big, fat “NO” when came to getting a gold ticket.

Simon Cowell defeats Blake Shelton

Regional Update20170317_101834

Below is the updated bracket and the bracket showing our regional champions.  Tomorrow will be the Final Four and Championship.  Thurgood Marshall will face off against Simon Cowell and Judge Judy will take on Judge Reinhold.20170317_10201920170317_153405

 

 

64 Judges 1 Winner Part IV: Sweet 16

20170315_233555By the end of this weekend there will be 16 teams left in the NCAA Tournament, but in this bizarre bracket of legends, celebrities, novelties and oddities you won’t have to wait for the Sweet 16.

There have been a few upsets a long the way, however the heavy favorites still remain as we have nothing lower than a No. 6 seed remaining.  Is it time for one of the No. 1 seeds to fall?  Who’s moving on to the Elite 8?  Let’s find out!

If you are just joining us on this unique journey, it’s not too late to see it from the beginning Check out: 64 Judges 1 Winner Part I64 Judges 1 Winner Part II: Let the Tournament Begin! and 64 Judges 1 Winner Part III: On to the Second Round

Here we go!

Historical Judges Region

20170315_2328321 Thurgood Marshall vs 4 John Marshall

A tale of two Marshalls. Bet your money on the guy who grew up in early 20th Century Baltimore.

Thurgood Marshall defeats John Marshall

20170315_2329123 Ruth Bader Ginsburg vs 2 Lance Ito

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was only the second female justice on SCOTUS after she was appointed in 1993.  By the mid nineties more people knew who Lance Ito was and maybe even still do to this day.  Sad, but true.

Lance Ito defeats Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Regional Update20170316_104846

Trial TV Show Region

20170315_2330161 Judge Judy vs 5 Mablean Ephraim

This was an all out brawl.  Mablean threw everything and the kitchen sink at her opponent.  How does one defeat Judith Sheindlin?

Judge Judy defeats Mablean Ephraim

20170315_233111.jpg6 Mills Lane vs 2 Judge Mathis

Mills yelled his famous phrase “let’s get it on”!

Judge Mathis replied, “okay”.

Judge Mathis defeats Mills Lane

Regional Update20170316_105029

Fictional Judges Region

20170315_2331551 Philip Banks vs 4 Elihu Smails

Judge Smails chose to stick to his strategy of anger and rage which has carried him through this tournament.  His inner-fire would come to a halt as he faced an opponent of grizzly proportions and an even more ferocious growl.

Philip Banks defeats Elihu Smails

20170315_2332426 Judge Reinhold vs 2 Chamberlain Haller

Many predicted Haller to take the whole thing.  After absorbing the antics of Vincent Gambini in his courtroom defeating Judge Reinhold should just be business as usual.  Instead Reinhold kicked 100 percent of his ass!

Judge Reinhold defeats Chamberlain Haller

Regional Update20170316_104954

Competition TV Series Region

20170315_2333311 Simon Cowell vs 4 Randy Jackson

Two opponents that know each other too well.  Only in America would the show “American Idol” be most remembered for a British man demoralizing it’s citizens who can’t sing.

Simon Cowell defeats Randy Jackson

20170315_233408.jpg3 Nigel Lythgoe vs 2 Blake Shelton

Nigel just couldn’t handle Blake’s Tennessee whiskey.

Blake Shelton defeats Nigel Lythgoe

Regional Update20170316_104913.png

Below is what the current bracket looks like.  Join us tomorrow to find out who will be going to the Final Four.20170316_105103