New Blog - Please Follow

Dear loyal friends and followers of Caitlin Says,

I have decided to create a new blog "New York State of Sports." Please check it out here: http://newyorkstateofsports.wordpress.com/




Donald Sterling Has Gone Viral Because He's So Vile

The neat thing about having your own blog is that you can control what you write. And you can write what you want, whenever you want to. The problem is when you don't write as often as you like for reasons such as exhaustion, writer's block, lack of passion for your subject, etc.

Then, along comes a racist NBA owner, and BOOM! You're back in business.

I've decided to hold off 24 hours to let my opinions of Donald Sterling really fester and thought about what angle to take rather than just rant about how wrong the whole thing is. That's been done. I didn't want to write about what sort of actions players would take, because I knew that would be immediate and profound. I am curious to see what the NBA will do in response - especially since this has happened so early in Adam Silver's tenure. But this is being covered extensively.

So where do I start? How do I wrap my head around this story and put my thoughts down in words?

I look at the power of media here, and how the Internet, social media, and the rapid dissemination of knowledge and how this all came together to create this story. Donald Sterling has always been a racist. I took some time to look at his Wikipedia page, and my jaw dropped. I showed it to a coworker, and they had no idea either. Their reaction was the same as mine. Not a lot of people knew, and now they do.

We live in an age where everything goes viral. We watch videos of a dachshund on Vine, know what time Justin Beiber went to the carwash, and know about the death of Miley Cyrus' puppy. You have to be very careful about what you say or do because it is so easy to  make information public. We have a mentality to get the story out immediately and worry later about the repercussions. After all, once it is out there and people see it, the damage has already been done!

That is exactly what happened here. The authenticity of the tapes will do nothing to save Donald Sterling's reputation, or what was left of it anyway. With one conversation that was recorded, a share with TMZ, and a whole lot of people viewing it, the whole world heard this man and knows what he is. And with that, so many people have been affected.

The Clippers players, a star-studded roster who's top talent are black, the Clippers coach, Doc Rivers, who is also black are put in a very tough spot as they face a crucial playoff push. There is the entire front office who has to do damage control. Looking beyond the Clippers, about 80% of the entire league is black - and one of the 30 owners has said a lot of awesome things about this demographic. Then, there are former players, too. Then there is the NBA, with the spotlight on the league now to see what the can and will do to Donald Sterling. Then, there's the black population who has heard this, and how many of these people are Clippers fans? (Insert sarcastic joke, I know, because they were irrelevant for so long, but they have generated a lot of popularity recently.) Then, there are Clippers fans who are not black. Then, there are fans of the NBA and basketball fans in general. And people beyond basketball. Then there's the sponsors, who've decided to suspend their sponsorship with the team, which affects business.

Wow! Such a tangled web has been weaved. I am in awe and still dumbstruck at the whole thing. I am in shock that a man who owns an NBA team has these thoughts. I am not shocked, but continue to observe and study how quickly information circulates and how quickly opinions are formed, and how actions are taken just ask quickly in response. We heard from current and former players, coaches, NBA executives, the NBAPA, Sterling's estranged wife, and a partridge in a pear tree. The fat lady has not yet sung, so we do not know yet if it is over for Donald Sterling, but it doesn't look so good. He's really got some "splaining" to do:

My point in a nutshell: A) There is no room for racism. Anywhere. B) While I think that today's world of viral journalism, we tend to overreact a lot. This definitely deserves it.


How Sweet It Is!

This year has brought a whole new meaning to the word "madness" in terms of the 2014 NCAA tournament. First, let's start with the bad news:
  • If you did a bracket... chances are it's a mess.
  • If you wanted to win $1 billion... you won't. (Nobody's perfect, after all.)
Now, let's move onto the good news:
  • If you are Warren Buffett... you don't have to pay someone $1 billion.
  • If you are a fan of basketball... it's time for the Sweet 16 aka things are about to get REAL.
A lot of big name teams are out - Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Kansas, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Villanova, Cincinnati. Some smaller name teams are out, too. But these guys had high aspirations - Wichita State, Creighton, and VCU. 

Some teams just keep on winning - I'm looking at U... Dayton. (See what I did there?)

The most exciting part of the tournament from an upset perspective is the round of 64. You see those surprises such as Duke getting upset by Mercer or North Dakota State upsetting Oklahoma. And I must shout out my UAlbany Great Danes who gave Florida a run for it and did the America East proud! The cool thing about college basketball these days is the parity. What you have with a team like Mercer is a team of seniors who have been playing together now for four years, who have learned as a team, played as a team, and grown as a team. Take a starting five of 21-22 year-olds and pin them up against a few 18 year-olds, and what do you get? An upset. That's one of the reasons why this tournament is great. 

The Round of 32 brought more upsets. We saw Dayton continue it's run and defeat Syracuse, who turned in a pitiful offensive performance that was, for all intents and purposes... offensive. We saw Kansas go down to #10 Stanford, and did anyone have Baylor defeating Creighton? The most heralded upset of the weekend game when Kentucky defeated #1 Wichita State, who was previously 35-0, now 35-1. Wildcats' fans are echoing the Giants 18-1 with their upset of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII with their website 35and1.com/

So I've decided to provide my very own Power Rankings for the remaining 16 teams - in reverse order. 

16. Stanford
Stanford beat Kansas and was able to hold Andrew Wiggins to only 4 points. That's how you win a game! However, I saw a stat that said they were 0 for 9 from three. Shooting like that won't win you more games. They also struggle with guard play, and could prove to be turnover prone against some of the better defensive teams. 

15. Dayton
Two stunning upsets. I will refrain from any Cinderella puns, though it pains me to do so. They just don't have the same talent as everyone else, which is why they are down here. Period. Can they continue their run? Well, they are playing Stanford, so who knows? They will battle it out for a date with either UCLA or Florida. 

14. Baylor
Baylor shut down one of the top scorers in the country - Doug McDermott - who put up numbers that rivalled little known guys such as Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson. Isiah Austin is a monster in the lane that helps anchor the Bears defense. Streaking teams usually get a lot of love from me, but they Bears stay here at #14 because I think Wisconsin can take them. 

13. San Diego State
SDSU plays great defense. They have that in their favor, but they have to face Arizona, so that will definitely test that defense. 

12. UConn
The Huskies had an Old Big East rematch against Villanova and won it. Shabazz Napier is awesome, but is he healthy? I saw that he might have hurt his lower leg, and I feel like UConn goes as he goes. 

11. Tennessee
Tennesee was a "bubble team" that has proved that they belong. They have NBA talent in McRae, and he has some help with Stokes and Josh Richardson. Can they beat Michigan? If they play their defensive game, then I think so. They are a veteran team, which I think helps their cause a lot. 

10. Iowa State
ISU lost Georges Niang, but as I heard on Sports Center, ask Louisville about what happens after losing someone for the rest of the tournament... I think they will get passed UConn, but that's about it. 

9. Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a talented team, no doubt. They showed a lot of grit coming back to defeat Oregon. But, I look at Baylor as a team riding high off of an upset and wonder how they will do against Baylor. Their big men are good shooters, though, which creates problems for opposing defenses. 

8. Michigan
They have experience, after making the title game last year. I also think that with Duke losing, things look a little easier for Michigan. However, I also think that Tennessee could be a tough matchup for them because of their front court defense. Michigan looked good against Texas, though, and they are in the Top 10 because of their great shooting versus the Longhorns. 

7. UCLA 
I am putting UCLA this high because they are on a roll. I am a big proponent of streaking teams going far into tournaments. This applies to baseball and it applies to college hoops as well. The Bruins won the Pac 12, and they can score a lot of points and shoot a high percentage from the field. Have they met their match against Florida? We'll see. 

6. Virginia
Seems like there is no love for UVA. Virginia wants a low scoring game so that they can control the tempo and win. I couldn't ask for a better game than MSU vs. UVA in the Sweet 16. If the score is under 50 as the game nears the conclusion, then they have a shot. 

5. Kentucky
I love the fact that Kentucky and Louisville will face each other in the Sweet 16. The team was highly touted at the beginning of the season, but soon fell off. However, they looked good against Wichita State. Which Kentucky will show up - that team or the one that lost to South Carolina? Calipari has owned Pitino, winning 5 of their last 6 meetings. Who will win the 7th?

4. Louisville
Rick Pitino's team never lets me down in the tournament. Luke Hancock is showing that he is valuable in the clutch, like last year, and Russ Smith is still there too. Syracuse is a prime example of "It's not how you start, but how you finish." Louisville ended the season hot, and they can win pretty or they can win ugly. 

3. Arizona
Arizona lost Brandon Ashley earlier on, which they have bounced back from. I didn't think they were deserving of a #1, but they have proved me wrong.  It their game against SDSU turns into a track meet, then the game could get ugly. But SDSU is one of the better defensive teams left. 

2. Florida
Everybody's favorite, and the Gators are streaking. Billy Donovan has won a few titles recently, and the team is led by the SEC player of the year. What makes Florida good is that they can close games, as shown against Kentucky in the SEC Championship game. 

1. Michigan State
Tom Izzo has not won an NCAA title since 2000. His teams are always up there, but the difference this year, is that no one was talking about them. They should be, but I am sure that they like flying in under the radar. Sparty has been injured for most of this year, and now they are healthy. They are number one right now because they are playing at a high level. If they can get past UVA then look out!


On Michael Sam, Jason Collins, Brittney Griner and Courage

Nothing in life is ever easy, and a lot of times we are content with living our lives according to a status quo, just to get by. We don't want to ruffle any feathers. We don't want to burn any bridges. Sometimes, it is easier to shy away from the spotlight. This way of thinking is wrong.

One my my favorite quotes is by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter
Right now, in sports, there is one guy in the NBA who is trying to get a team to sign him for the rest of the season after signing a 10-day contract. There is another young man who just finished up the NFL combine and now has a lot to prove as a football player before the NFL draft in a few months. Two different sports, a big gap in age, but what do this two men have in common? They are both black, and they are both gay. They both came out, and are both courageous individuals.

I look at both Michael Sam and Jason Collins and can't help but feel admiration for them for not being afraid anymore. By admitting to the world who they love, and who they are, they are breaking the mold, and perhaps breaking down some mores that we have in our society. There is a long way to do, but I'd like to think of how far we've come.

I think of racial barriers broken in the twentieth century - Jackie Robinson, Jessie Owens, Arthur Ashe, and so many others. They helped earn black athletes the right to compete on the world stage. Now, decades later, their accomplishments have paved the way for people like Jason Collins and Michael Sam to help blaze another trail. I also bring in Brittney Griner, the number one pick last year's WNBA Draft, who came out before her draft. I do not want the courage of a female athlete to go unnoticed.

A lot of people have tried to downplay what this means. I am not comparing what these athletes are doing to other pioneers who have face enormous adversity in racial and gender discrimination, but I wanted to point out what a simple declaration can do. Just by being willing to make a personal announcement in an effort to end homophobic attitudes and stereotypes, these individuals have demonstrated bravery, something that we should all try to do a little bit more of.

We do not all need to make history - though technically our lives will soon all be a part of history, but we do all need to take a step back and think - could we be doing more? Could we take a stand? Are we okay with the way things are, and if we are not, what can we do to change it? Sitting back and doing nothing does not solve anything. Nor does spewing hate about what this declarations mean. We are where we are today because of pioneers, of people who decide that "the way things are" isn't the only way, and that change is good and essential for moving forward.


This Weekend's Biggest Winners and Losers in Sports - 2/24/2014

Forgive me bloggers, for I have sinned. It has been one month since my last posting. My fellow Catholics will get that joke, but in all honesty, my lack of posting has not been very funny. Call it lazy, call it writer's block, no excuses PLAY LIKE A CHAMPION. So here I am, back in full force, rocking like a hurricane, back in black, guess who's back, back again, Caitlin's back, tell a friend...

This Weekend's Losers
1. The Syracuse Orange
Hold my coat! I think we can all agree that Duke vs Syracuse is going to become one of the better rivalries in the ACC. A controversial call, Jim Boeheim going "Cameron crazy." It's going to be the start of sometime big, babyyyyyy (Dickie V voice)! However, the Orange were at the top of the list of losers this weekend after an unexpected loss to BC earlier on in the week, this loss to Duke cost them the #1 seed in the AP poll, and experts are saying that they won't even get the #1 overall seed in the tournament. What stunk about this game were the poor shooting performances by Tyler Ennis and Trevor Cooney, the stars of Syracuse's backcourt. This was the first time that Ennis looked, well, like a freshman. There's still a few weeks of ball yet to play, but it was definitely surprising to see Boeheim lose his cool like this:

2. US Men's Hockey Team
Revenge didn't have the chance to be sweet after a loss to Canada in the semifinals, 1-0. Then, to add insult to injury, it looked like Team USA gave up in the Bronze Medal game, with a 5-0 loss to Finland. Team USA had high expectations heading into Sochi, and they failed to me them. In fact, they looked deflated and seemed to give up. NHL players might not play in the next Olympics in South Korea in 2018, so things don't look good for USA Hockey!

3. The New York Knicks
How do you snap a losing streak? Simple - play the Knicks! Two losses this weekend, to the Magic and the Hawks, made February a more dismal month for the Knicks than all of the single people on Valentine's Day. The trade deadline passed, and the team failed to make any major moves to retool what is obviously a flawed roster. The Knicks have been perhaps the league's most disappointing team this season, and rumors continue to swirl about the future of Carmelo Anthony in Blue and Orange. The Knicks bought out Beno Udrih and Metta World Peace, giving them "Get Out of Jail Free" cards from this mess of a franchise. Raymond Felton wants people to stop commenting on his weight and conditioning. It's gotten so bad that a 19 year-old fan was arrested for tweeting some insane death threats to Knicks owner Jim Dolan. I pinky promise that this will be the last time this season that I put the Knicks on this list...

This Weekend's Winners
1. Russia
This Olympic games were definitely politically charged. In the lead up to the Opening Ceremonies, the actual games themselves were overshadowed by terrorist threats and protests of Russia's anti-gay legislation. Russia poured a lot of money into the Olympic games - the most spent ever - to revamp the resort town of Sochi and for security. There were no terrorist attacks over the course of the games, and Russia took home the most overall medals and the most gold medals - the best they'd done since "Back in the USSR."

2. Jason Collins
Jason Collins signed a 10-day contract with the Nets. This makes him the first, active, openly-gay athlete in the four major US sports. What Collins can do in these next few days are as follows: 1. Play basketball. Duh, but still. He needs to provide the Nets with what they need, and the reason why they signed him - depth in the frontcourt, especially with injuries. 2. Get signed another 10 days. Good play will lead to this, and will lead to another 10 day contract. From there, the Nets will have to decide to keep him on board for the rest of the season. The CBA states that. 3. Make a difference, which he's already done. In coming out last year, Collins blazed a trail. In continuing to play basketball, and not give up, he's done this.

3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
"Caitlin Says" history has been made - I am mentioning NASCAR and it has nothing to do with Danica Patrick. Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 on Sunday after a rain delay and a tornado warning. There were funny GIFs that came when Fox decided to show last year's race, and well, people thought it was this year's race... but the results were indeed different. Junior won his second ever Daytona and posted a Twitter selfie like a boss:


This Weekend's Winners and Losers in Sports - 1/20/2014

Two teams have their tickets punched to the Super Bowl... and a whole bunch of other stuff. After taking a week off, the ten biggest winners and losers in sports is making a comeback. At the rate that I am going, I will have more comebacks than Britney Spears. (Love you Brit!) So "hit me baby, one more time" with this list:.

This Weekend's Winners
1. Peyton Manning
Speaking of comebacks... (in reference to the neck injury) the Patriots had no answer for Peyton Manning. He did what he's done basically all year - spreading the ball to his different receivers - and demonstrating that hard work pays off. I really have nothing more to say except that Peyton Manning is a certified boss. 32 of 43 for over 400 yards with 2 TD passes. Numbers don't lie. Now, the Broncos are an early favorite, no doubt because of their QB. 

2. Russell Wilson
Wilson joins Big Ben as a QB who has achieved great success right away in his young NFL career. Like the 2004 QB Draft Class, the 2012 class was very solid. But it is Wilson, not the more-hyped Andrew Luck or RGIII who will reach the Super Bowl first. That fourth down conversion was extremely gutsy, and in the end, he made more smart decisions than Kaepernick down the stretch. 

3. Richard Sherman
Nearly 24 hours later and Richard Sherman is still trending. Whereas a lot of people were appalled initially by Sherman's postgame interview with Fox's Erin Andrews, one should look back and think "Hm, this guy really is passionate about the game of football." And also, he just made the game winning play to go to the Super Bowl... and he was interviewed right after this happened. He was emotional and fired up. To change your mind on Sherman, I recommend you read his article on The MMQB with Peter King. He also apologized. And also, follow him on Twitter. It's quite entertaining. Here is a favorite of mine...
Cockiness is not always a bad thing - if you can back it up. And well, he did. Is he the best cornerback in the NFL?

4. Pete Carroll
I came across this great article from the Seattle Times called "Seahawks coach Pete Carroll finds success, his way" and I recommend it. It talks about how Carroll has never changed his approach throughout the years from his early NFL days to his days at USC to Seattle, now. As a Notre Dame football fan, it was hard to like Carroll, mostly because he won. But you have to respect him for what he has done in Seattle, making the playoffs 3 out of 4 seasons, and taking them to the Super Bowl. 

5. Peyton Manning's Charity
Okay, Peyton Manning topped the list - but so does his charity, which raised $24,800 for at-risk youth, this weekend. He said "Omaha!" 31 times in the Bronco's victory over the Patriots. Why does Manning say Omaha? What is its meaning...
"Omaha is a run play, but it could be a pass play or a play-action pass, depending on a couple of things -- the wind, which way we're going, the quarter, and the jerseys we're wearing. It really varies, really, from play-to-play. So there's your answer for that."
6. Erin Andrews
You have to give it up to Erin Andrews as a professional. She asked that question - got that response - and laughed it off and didn't get too rattled. On Twitter, Andrews tweeted back at fans to say that she loved Sherman's emotion. Let's not forget - she is a professional. As a sideline reporter, she knows that approaching players after a game will capture some crazy moments and emotional ones as well. 
"I wasn't nervous; I wasn't scared," she said. "I have met with him three to four times. I actually really like him . . . He is smarter than probably all of us put together and he just went nuts -- in a good way.
7. Lolo Jones
Congratulations to Lolo Jones who gets another chance at the Olympics. Her and Lauren Williams will be the 9th and 10th Olympians respectively to compete in both the Summer and Winter games. I've always been a fan and supporter of Lolo Jones - not just because she is absolutely stunning, but because she grew up poor, was good at her sport, and worked hard. She came up short in the Olympics in 2008 and 2012 - which garnered some criticism from a lot of people. However, this example of going after the bobsled dream shows that she will not give up. She sticks to her faith and is very interactive and open with her fans on social media. She is someone to root for this year in Sochi.

8. Jamaica's Bobsled Team
Most of us have seen "Cool Runnings" - the film that brought attention to Jamaica's bobsled team, and has made it a pop culture staple. Twelve years after competing in Salt Lake City, the team now has the luxury of using social media sites like Reddit, Crowdtilt, and Indiegogo to raise the money needed for them to go to Sochi. The team has been able to capitalize on the success of the Disney moving, the #CoolRunnings, and the world wide web to go able to represent their country and fulfill their dream. Very "cool."

9. Syracuse Orange
The 'Cuse edged Pittsburgh at home to remain unbeaten. It's crazy that the ACC's newest members have come in there and showed everyone so far how it's done.  They are one of three unbeatens along with Arizona at #1 and Wichita State.

10. Kevin Durant
Durant, very deservedly so, was named NBA Player of the Week along with Paul George. What a week for the Thunder Star! Seven straight games with at least 30 points, including a career-high 54 versus the very talented Golden State Warriors. Could this be the year that he takes over and gets his first ring?

This Weekend's Losers
1. Colin Kaepernick
A lot of people will say that Kaep and the 49ers blew that game - and they are not wrong. Three turnovers in the 4th quarter is the top reason why the 49ers will not be facing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in two weeks. There will be so bicep affection occurring until next season. The weird thing is - people are ripping Kaepernick for the Beatz commercials - when has an athlete been ripped for doing endorsements, right?

2. Tom Brady
The Patriots lost yesterday. There is no doubt that Brady is one of the greatest ever. He has three Super Bowls. However, it is important to note he has lost his last two - and in both was outplayed by the opposing quarterback. Also, he is 4-6 in his last ten playoff games. This year, Brady did not have enough weapons, but the Patriots were flat-out outplayed. If Tom Brady led this team to the Super Bowl, I would, no doubt, label him as one of, if not THE greatest postseason quarterback. The one thing, though, that irked me this year about Brady was this - in regards to Richard Sherman, Brady said:
“I don’t know him at all. I’ve watched him play. He’s that kind of guy,” Brady said on the Dennis & Callahan Show on WEEI Radio in Boston on Monday. “So, you know. I approach the game and I have respect for my opponents. That’s the way our team always plays.
“We win with graciousness, and when we lose, we could do better. Some teams don’t always do that, or that’s not their program. The only way to counter that is to beat them. When you don’t win, it’s hard not to say — you just gotta shut your mouth and listen to it. Maybe when you get an opportunity down the road, maybe that’s a source of motivation. But they got a good team, they played well all year. They played well at home. And that’s why they advanced, too.”
Some might wonder if - though Brady and company might win with graciousness - they might not lose in the same manner. After the loss to the Broncos, all Brady could do was compliment Manning. However, his performance after the Panthers loss earlier this year was demonstrative of my point. To top it all off, Brady has been quoted as saying he has no interest in watching the Super Bowl this year. Not even for the commercials, Tom?

3. Bill Belichick
No one likes a sore loser. Belichick calls out his former receiver for a hit that took Aqib Talib out of the game.
"It was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open. I'll let the league handle the discipline on that play, whatever they decide. It's one of the worst plays I've seen. That's all I'll say about that."
Given Welker's pretty clean reputation and the fact that he's never played his game to hurt anyone, as well as the fact that he has battled injuries and concussions him make this statement seem a little ridiculous. It's also weird since Belichick is usually the opposite of quote worthy, and he seemed very quick to talk about his former player, unprovoked, in his postgame presser.

4. NaVorro Bowman - San Francisco 49ers
Torn ACL and MCL. That injury was one of the worst I've seen on live television. The injury was gruesome and horrific and insert random word for "big ouch." The play on which it occurred was also extremely controversial. It looked like he made a game-changing play - stripper a Seahawk's receiver to recover a fumble. The ruling was that Seattle recovered the fumble, though footage showed that Bowman had the ball. The call could not be reviewed, so Seattle kept the ball. We can debate over and over about the nature of the call - it is just plain confusing. Though Seattle turned it over on the next play, Bowman has a long road ahead to recover from the MCL and ACL injury. 

5. Khaki Pants
This is in reference to Coach Jim Harbaugh and his 8 dollar Wal-Mart khakis. He's on the list because he's one of 2 losing coaches. He almost made the winner's list because of what he's been able to do as a coach in his first few seasons. He's reached the NFC Championship game three times! And also for his quote from Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea:  "A man can be destroyed but not defeated."  Anyone whoever had to take a New York State Regents Exam in English is familiar with this classic and the story about never giving up. The 49ers will be a contender again next year. But I give you this GIF... See above

6. Pam Oliver's Hair
As a woman, I have to say, Pam Oliver's hair was not her best look. However, one bad hairdo and the Twitterverse compared her to Chewbacca. Not cool. Pam Oliver is a beautiful woman, a talented reporter, and someone who has worked her way through a tough industry to get where she is today, I remember when Gabby Douglas got backlash over her hairdo after winning the Olympics. I don't want to get into a race thing with African American female hair, so I won't. But I do not understand how a hairstyle can make people detract so much from what a person is saying or doing. Not to mention that the weather in Seattle isn't exactly placid! 

7. Serena Williams
Twenty-five watch win streak over. What is very noticeable about her last few losses was that she, meaning Serena, did not play well. In this loss, she flat out got beat by Ivanovic, making it a rare Grand Slam with Serena Williams in the quarterfinal. 

8. Wisconsin Badgers Basketball
They went into the weekend billed as the best story in college basketball. They were #3 in the country, but then were upset by Indiana. Then over the weekend, they were defeated by Michigan at home. Not a total loss for the Badgers though, overall. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is a Badger alum as is their offensive coordinator. Montee Ball is a running back for the Denver Broncos. They are just a few Badgers that will be playing in two weeks.

9. Brandon Weeden
Or should I say Cleveland Browns fans. The 2012 draft class provided a pretty good crop of quarterbacks. There was Andrew Luck taken at #1 and then RG3 taken at #2. Luck has two playoff berths. RG3 has 1. Then, there's Ryan Tannehill who was taken at #8 by the Dolphins who had a decent second season, keeping the Dolphins in contention almost until the end of the season. Russell Wilson was taken in Round 3 and he's going to the Super Bowl. The guy that is never really mentioned in a positive light is Brandon Weeden, taken by the Browns as pick #22 in the NFL Draft. Weeden, or the Browns, have not been relevant, yet Weeden took a shot from Richard Sherman in that same Peter King column this morning as Sherman used him to make his case against Michael Crabtree.

And That's A Wrap...


Divisional Round Procrastination Picks

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well."

Thanks Mark Twain for creating a mantra that has justified my procrastination throughout my entire life. I was going to make picks yesterday, but with a few hours to go before the kickoff of the divisional round, here we go...

Saturday, January 11, 2014
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks
4:15 pm
Good news for the Saints - last week they showed they can win on the road in the postseason. Bad news for the Saints - the Seattle Seahawks are a MUCH better team than the Philadelphia Eagles. I get that whole "avenging a blowout loss" thing as a cry for regular season revenge, but there are too many things working against the Saints - Russell Wilson, the Seahawks defense, the 12th man, rain in Seattle, Marshawn Lynch...
The Colston versus Sherman will be a good one to watch, and Saints still have Drew Brees. But, I don't think they can do it on the road. The Seahawks are just too good at home. 
Prediction: Seattle 27 - Saints 20 

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots
8:15 pm
Up and coming versus already there. That's the way I feel about this Andrew Luck versus Tom Brady matchup. Luck got his first playoff win in comeback fashion last week, and Brady has a boatland of playoff wins. The Patriots, who never really have a great running game, have a great running game this year, and this is a great complement to Brady. The key to the game is - how much pressure can the Colts defense put on Brady? Then, can Luck protect the ball, not turn it over, and not force anything? I think that the Patriots are too banged up, even with Brady, to win. The Colts over the Patriots are my upset of this round. 
Prediction: Colts 23 - Patriots 20

Sunday, January 12, 2014
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers
1:05 pm
Even though the Panthers are the higher seed, the 49ers are the favorite. The thing that I like about this game is that both teams are very similar. They both have young, mobile quarterbacks with comparable numbers all season. Their run game and pass defense are both ranked at the top of the league. This was evident in the 10-9 regular season contest where the Panthers pulled out a win in San Francisco. I expect another close one this time around. After going back and forth and forth and back, I decided that the 49ers will win this game, simply because they are the more experienced team who was one missed call away from a Super Bowl last year.
Prediction: 49ers 17 - Panthers 13

San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
4:40 pm
No shock here, the Broncos are heavily favored at home versus the Chargers, and for good reason: Peyton Manning. The Chargers are one of those teams that got hot at the right time, and went into the playoffs as one of the league's hottest teams. The interesting part of this was that the Chargers handed the Broncos their only home loss. The Broncos will win this game. I don't have any more analysis.
Prediction: Broncos 35 - Chargers - 24