Saturday, January 31, 2015

Super Bowl XLIX: Seattle Seahawks vs New England Patriots

Great matchup in the Super Bowl this year and I can't wait.  My wife called this matchup before the season.  Don't ask what I predicted.  I just hope the game lives up to the expectations.  I think Seattle wins the Super Bowl in a close game.  I am very surprised Seattle isn't favored in more forums.  True they barely beat Green Bay but I look at that as their offense playing horribly for 43 minutes, turned the ball over five times and they still won.  How many times does that happen?  I thought the Seattle's defense was excellent giving up only 22 points and allowing the offense to finally get on track sending the Seahawks to their second straight Super Bowl.  New England should make this a good game.  Their offense was the fourth best scoring offense in the league this year but like the rest of the NFL should struggle against the Seattle defense.  The other issue I see is New England dealing with the Seattle run option.  They haven't seen it much this year and I worry about how they can defend it.  Marshawn could have a big day. 
All that said I'm rooting for the Patriots.  I want to see Brady (my man crush) and the Patriots get their fourth Super Bowl ring and join the all-time greats in rarified air.  I just think it will be tough.  Seattle can always shoot themselves in the foot again like they did in the Green Bay game but I think that is too much to ask for.  New England is great at game planning their offense but I doubt Seattle really has to do much different no matter what is thrown at them.  Their corners allow them to just play their game without much concern on the outside.  Hopefully Gronkowski can be the disruptive force New England will want him to be and maybe make Seattle do things they don't want to.  Again I think Seattle wins this but I don't see a blowout - 23-17 Seahawks.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

2010 Panini Football Classics

Found these at a local Casey's General Store for $1.69.  The 2010 Panini Football Classics pack contained five cards.  I'd never seen these before and thought I'd take a chance.  Hard to make a definitive determination on the set with only five cards but I think I can still say I'm only mildly impressed.  The back of the cards I do like.  The fronts tend to show a lot of dead space that has no real color or pizzazz while the backs are more colorful than many I see in different sets.  I did pull a Tony Romo Sunday's Best card.  It is ok but nothing special.  There is a jersey relic version of this card which I did not get.  I don't want to scare anyone off this set but for me I'd like to see a little more on the front from a set before I go back for more.   

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Book Review: Sylvie by Stacy Galloway

Sylvie is the first book from author Stacy Galloway.  This is a fast paced book that really kept me wanting to read more.  I don't want to give away too much but the premise starts with Sylvie as a horrible person who enjoys doing terrible things.  Once she is faced with a life taking disease she'll go one step further to save herself.  You are then drawn into her plan to save her life as it affects a young married couple who don't even know Sylvie. 

Despite the despicable things Sylvie does this book is a great read and I found myself continually rooting for the poor couple caught up in her twisted doings.  Again the thing that caught my attention was the fact that I didn't want to stop reading - always a good sign.  There are elements of different genres in Sylvie which should help it appeal to the majority of those considering reading it.  I highly recommend this book to everyone. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

2014 Panini Absolute Football

I picked up a pack of the 2014 Panini Absolute Football at Wal-Mart some time ago.   Finally got around to paying some attention to the 40 cards that came at a price of $4.99.  The base cards are die cut so there are jagged edges on each side.  Hard to tell from the photos but there is one on the left and two on the right.  This is not something I normally care for.  I like my cards to be the standard rectangle.  On these it is ok.  The more I look at these cards the more they grow on me.  I like the bold team colors as well as the big team logos on the front.   The pictures dominate the card as well which is something I really like.  The player's name and team are at the bottom with the background colors of the team.  The back of the card looks pretty nice with the standard info you seem to find nowadays but with a  good blend of team colors, team logo, and a portion of the picture from the front in black and white.  You'll find the player information, a write up, 2013 stats and career totals as well. 

So overall I like these cards.  If you at all like what you've seen in the pictures pick them up.  The base set isn't huge so you'll get a great lot of stars and rookies.  I only received one insert, a retail red T.J Carrie (Raiders) rookie card.  From looking at the description online there are plenty of inserts available in this set.  I just wasn't luck enough to grab one of the more sought after offerings.  Again, a good set which has a sharp design that I recommend to everyone. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

BOOK: My Charmed Tormented Life by Jerry West

I never saw Jerry West play in the NBA.  I became familiar with him when he was an executive with the Los Angeles Lakers and through my love for the history of the NBA I've seen how great a player he truly was.  So I was excited when his book was released and I've finally had a chance to read it.  Boy was I in for a surprise.  I've read biographies and NBA books before and this was nothing like anything I'd seen before.  A quote from Jonathan Coleman who collaborated with West on the book says it best - "...Jerry emphatically did not want to write a sports book glorifying his accomplishments in a transparently self-serving way.  What he wanted was the opposite: a book that would illuminate and reveal what a very flawed, extremely hard on himself, humble individual, that would take the reader deep into his life while he explored his demons and hopefully succeeded in making sense of the difficult, improbable road he had traveled...". 

That is a long quote but probably sums up the book better than I ever could.  In his book My Charmed Tormented Life Jerry West doesn't dwell into his life on the court, the NBA front offices, or the rest of the world for that matter.  Much of this book is spent on his mental state or how certain events or situations affected him.  I don't think I'm overstating that.  While he speaks of some of his exploits on the court and off it will all come back to how he deals with everything in life.  All I'll say is the word "tormented" is in the title for a reason.  This is not to say this isn't a good book because it is. 

But it may not be for the casual NBA fan.  As I said every page is not far from where Jerry West was mentally at that given point in his life.  The book is chronological for the most part but the book can jump here to there and back without warning.  Also you probably won't find it with as much basketball information as you might expect from a man whose life revolved around the sport.  Again this is a good book.  I think if I'd known going in about West's fight with his own self I would have been better prepared going in.  Here is a review that may do a better job of dissecting some of what I've tried to explain.  There is plenty of basketball talk here.  It is just normally wrapped in how it affected Jerry West.  If you are a fan of Jerry West aka "The Logo" or the Lakers I highly recommend the book.  Casual fans may want to flip through the book some to see if this is the read for them. 

2014 Topps Football Valor

Picked this up some time ago and didn't want to forget to comment on the 2014 Topps Valor football cards.  Purchased a pack of 18 cards at the local Wal-Mart.  They are a little pricey as they ran $5.99.  The base set is only 200 cards which allow for a good pull of stars.  I received Sammy Watkins, DeMarco Murray, J.J. Watts, Matthew Stafford, Matt Forte, Patrick Willis, and RG III to name a few.  Rookies were also a big part of the pack with Kelvin Benjamin and Watkins among the six rookie cards.  I also received Marshall Faulk from days gone by.  I love the retro cards and that is no different here.  The insert I pulled was a Storm Johnson (RC) GLORY card numbered 185/199.

The fronts have an action shot of the player set in front of a large team logo.  The rest of the front of the card is colored in team colors/dark tone with a smoky bottom half of the card.  The Valor logo is at the top left, RC is at the top right of rookie cards, and the players name, position and team logo appear at the bottom of the card.  I like this though it isn't the traditional photo you normally see.  Here you only see the players photo with quite a bit of coloring and the team logo.  It just looks sharp to me.  I also like the big team logo and the coloring.  These fronts do it for me visually. 
 The back of the cards has the players information (name, team, position, ht, wt, college, draft position), stats (last year's and career totals), and a write up.  A small team logo is in the middle of the back while a larger version of the logo is recessed in the background which has a charcoal coloring.  My only knock is some of the lettering is in black and is harder to read.  Those in white stand out against the dark background and are easier to read.  Overall these are really nice cards that I like.  Not sure I'll pick anymore up unless I can find a little better price point.  Still I really liked them, got some good cards, and highly recommend them to everyone.