Monday, November 24, 2014

Patriots Roll, Raiola Cries

The Patriots continued rolling Sunday with a commanding 34-9 win over the Detroit Lions.  The Lions came into Foxboro with a 7-3 record that had them sitting atop the NFC North.  With Green Bay breathing down their necks, fresh off back-to-back blowouts in which they put up over 50 points, this was set to be a big game for Detroit.

Coming into Sunday's matchup, Lions and Patriots fans alike were both curious to see how the high-octane Patriots offense would fare against the NFL’s best defense.  The matchup of Calvin Johnson against the New England secondary was also something to watch out for.

An emerging storyline now, however, is the dirty shot that Lions center Dominic Raiola took at Patriots tackle Zach Moore on the final play of the game.  Detroit was lined up in the defeat formation, ready to take a knee and put this game behind them.  But Railoa had other plans.  After snapping the ball to Stafford, Raiola immediately lunged forward at the knees of Moore.

While it was technically a legal cut block, it was clearly done with malicious intent.  As if the act itself wasn’t disgraceful enough, Raiola wasn't about to apologize when asked about the play postgame by the Detroit Free Press.

“I cut him. We took a knee, so I cut the nose [tackle].  They went for a touchdown at 2 minutes.  They could have took three knees and the game could have been over.  It’s football. He wants to keep playing football, let’s play football.  Not a big deal. It’s football.”

If this isn’t the whiniest, sore-loser comment of the season so far, I don’t know what is. Instead of thinking about how he and his offense could have taken some pressure off the Lions defense by scoring at least a single touchdown, Raiola was busy pointing the finger across the line.  Apparently, since the Lions defense could not stop the Patriots offense, the Patriots offense was supposed to stop themselves.

The problem with Raiola’s running up the score defense is that the Patriots had run the ball all but one play on that drive.  They were actually lined up to kick a field goal until Detroit linebacker CJ Mosley decided he was going to dive head first at the Patriots long-snapper on the play.   That drew a personal foul call, giving New England a first down and putting the ball back in Brady’s hands.

Maybe Raiola should have run over and dove at Mosley’s legs for that move.  Or perhaps he should have attempted to cut down his head coach Jim Caldwell for calling two timeouts that only served to extend New England’s final drive.

This was just a dirty, classless move by a team and a player that have reputations for plays like this.

The Patriots will now turn their focus to their marquee matchup against the Packers next Sunday, while the Bears and their defense should be careful not to hurt Raiola’s feelings next weekend.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The End of an Era

We’ve seen championship after championship since the Patriots were the first team to bring a trophy back to New England since the '86 Celtics.

There have been so many iconic wins; so many games that will go down in Boston sports history. We saw the rise of Tom Brady and the “Homeland Defense.” We watched Curt Schilling pitch with the bloody sock. We found out that anything was possible with the Big Three and our hearts raced through three game sevens on the path to the cup.

Within each and every one of these championship seasons, there lived endless story lines that brought a passionate fan base even closer to their teams.  These events will forever live on in the rafters and in the tales told to future generations.

However, it is time for us to accept the fact that the end is in sight, if not already upon us. Boston’s reign as “Title Town” is inevitably coming to an end.

It has become very clear over their most recent seasons, that the Red Sox and Celtics have headed back to, and have already arrived at, the drawing board.  It would be hard for even the most optimistic of fans to picture either of these teams winning a championship, or even being serious title contenders, in the next few years.

Now, while it would be totally unfair to put the Patriots and the Bruins in the same category as their fellow Boston teams, it’s hard to deny they too are trending in the wrong direction.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying the Patriots have no chance this year because with Belichick and Brady, anything is possible.  But who knows what will happen to the Patriots in the post-Brady era.  Let’s be honest, the chances of Jimmy Garoppolo becoming the next Tom Brady are very slim, which is by no means a knock on Garoppolo.

The Bruins seem to be in the best shape of Boston’s big four sports teams but even they aren’t the dominant team they were four years ago.  Their biggest problem is not the aging Zedeno Chara but the lack of top six talent. The fate of the Bruins depends on how quickly their talented young guys can come out of Providence and contribute in Boston.

So here we are, on the back nine of sporting supremacy, left to wonder if there will ever exist a greater time to be a Boston sports fan.  While it’s likely there will not be, it is important to approach the current situation with the right mindset.  Do not be sad that Boston’s reign of sporting dominance is coming to a close, but rejoice, for we have experienced something most fans will never be so fortunate to experience.

In thirteen years, we saw our beloved Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins win a combined EIGHT championships.  That’s eight more championship parades than some fans will ever get a chance see in their lifetime. So while it’s true that no one team can be at the top of the league forever, the cycle will continue.  I’m confident that it won’t be long before Boston plays host to another championship season, and yet the question remains...  

Will Boston ever again witness an era as dominant as this? 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Holy $%@&, He Missed It!

The only thing Philipp Hoffmann of 2. Bundesliga's Kaiserslautern made was the worst miss of all time. Standing just about two yards from the goal, the ball took an unlucky bounce, went off Hoffmann's foot and over the crossbar.

For the record, a soccer goal is 24 feet wide and eight feet tall.Over the course of six feet, the ball rose over eight and a half, even clearing the five-inch crossbar. And just from estimating, it looks like Hoffmann easily had seven feet of cushion to his right, meaning roughly 17 feet to "miss" to his left and the ball still would've rolled in.

He could have laid down and let the ball bounce off the side of his face and roll in. He could've trapped the ball between his legs and hopped like a kangaroo across the goal line. Literally anything other than what he did would've put the ball in the goal.

Fortunately, Kaiserslautern came out with a 1-0 victory, taking the sting out of this harrowing attempt.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Hot 100: Billboard's 100th Best Song of the Week

Is it me or did Usher completely disappear for a little bit, there?  In any case, this song has spent 19 weeks on the chart, and falling from 93 to 100 this week, it looks like this will be the last go around for the man who gave birth to Justin Bieber.

September, Week 4:
Artist: Usher
Song: Good Kisser
Peak: 65

My rating:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

After 1,095 Games, Guilder Rodriguez Gets His First Major League Hit

Nobody had ever played more games in the minor leagues with zero MLB experience than Guilder Rodriguez. Rodriguez has played professional baseball in the U.S. for 13 years. Originally from Venezuela, the now 31-year-old has spent time with 10 different teams in the minors playing every field position except catcher, and has made two pitching appearances.

Rodriguez made his MLB debut with the Texas Rangers on Sept 9th, and in his sixth game (seventh at-bat), he knocked an opposite field single off Nick Tropeano. Seeing a guy get his first major league hit is always awesome, but when that guy has played nearly 1,100 games in the minor leagues, it makes the moment that much sweeter.

Then toss in his family being there and Guilder giving his dad a big hug after the game? Doesn't get better than that.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Legend of Shameless Jameis

Florida State was able to eek out a win Saturday, beating Clemson 23-17 in OT, without their Heisman winning quarterback, Jameis Winston. Redshirt sophomore Sean Maguire was at the helm as Winston served a one game suspension for what is best described as being a complete moron.

After standing up on a table in the FSU Student Union building and a vulgar, currently internet-famous phrase (NSFW!), Winston was suspended for the first half of their game against Clemson.  

Then this happened:

But Winston wouldn’t let the now full game suspension let him down!  He made sure the focus was still on him, running onto the field before the game in full pads to take warm-ups. Coach Jimbo Fisher was not pleased, sending Winston back to the locker room to change.  Fisher would later describe the incident as a mistake on the equipment workers’ part.  Yeah…sure.

This latest episode isn’t the only notable trouble Winston has gotten into during his time at Florida State. compiled a complete timeline of Winston’s incidents, including the alleged sexual assault in December of 2012.  Each incident concluded without any serious punishment being administered.   

It’s pretty clear that Jameis Winston thinks he’s above the rules and the law.  Still, it’s impossible to ignore the role his university and the justice system in general have played in providing him with this sense of entitlement.  If you were reminded time after time that your standing as the university’s star quarterback would guarantee leniency on the part of the administration and the law, wouldn’t you feel the same sense of entitlement?  Except Winston really can’t use this as an excuse, seeing as so many other college athletes in similar positions handle themselves much more responsibly.  

You would think that someone in such a prominent position on campus and in the college football landscape would realize no good could possibly come from screaming such a vulgar, sexual phrase from atop a table in the student union.  And yet, Winston continues to try his best to ruin an opportunity that other players across the nation would kill for.

It’s obvious he doesn’t think of the consequences of his actions because the consequences themselves are so few and insignificant.  He is living within a culture that values what he does on the football field far more than what he does away from it.  “Don’t worry about the damages, the crab legs or the sexual assault Jameis, just get out there, win games and continue to make us money!”

And then people wonder why so many NFL players feel as though they can drive drunk, beat their wives, kill people, etc. and still get paid millions of dollars to play a game.

Stephen Tulloch Does the 'Discount Double Check,' Injures Himself for Rest of Season

The Lions beat down the Packers 19-7 on Sunday to take the temporary lead in the NFC North. The only highlight really worth watching is one that could be devastating for Detroit.

Their starting middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch will finish the season with two sacks and 15 tackles as a knee injury has him sidelined for the remainder of the year. The injury was sustained after sacking Aaron Rodgers and performing the "Discount Double Check" move. Hope it was worth it.

Hurting yourself celebrating has to be the worst way to go down. The highest of high to the lowest of lows in a heartbeat. And this was just a sack in a game that Green Bay didn't look like they had a shot in anyway. There have been some classic mishaps in the past during celebrations, some resulting in pretty graphic injuries, but there may be no better fail than Kerwin Bell's from a 1999 CFL game.