Friday, February 15, 2013

Want Darryl Dawkins at your Bar Mitzvah? Heck yeah!

Who wouldn't want Chocolate Thunder at their bar mitzvah, birthday party or wedding?  ESPN's Grantland recently posted an article on the website Thuzio.  Click here to see the article.  The bottom line is Thuzio allows anyone to hire athletes, the majority of whom are retired, to attend the aforementioned events, tutor you in their particular skill, talk on the phone, or play a round of golf with you.  Wow.

At first this just didn't seem right.  I can hire Rick Barry, Eric Dickerson or even Fred, THE CRIME DOG, McGriff.  How is that?  And isn't it sad that these athletes are reduced to being pimped out to fan boys?  Then I started thinking.  I can have Fred, THE CRIME DOG, McGriff attend a game with me for only $1500.  I love it.  My wife is shaking her head at me while I type.  She doesn't get it and I'm sure many folks don't.  I think this is awesome.  Can you imagine you and all the other managers are sitting around getting ready for your football fantasy draft when Todd Christenson walks in?  Youngins may not remember him but Raider fans will and they'd love it.  I'd love to spend some time with Dickerson or McGriff.  Would I pay the money they are asking?  I doubt it but I love the idea.  No matter what side you fall on I think it is a great idea.  Players get to make some money post playing days while fans get to geek out by meeting players whom they'd never have the opportunity to meet outside of an autograph signing session.  Great stuff.

You won't find Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, or Randy Johnson on Thuzio but there are still plenty of name players who true fans will remember.  You'll also find athletes who don't play the big three sports.  Not every player offers all the services.  Some are very limited, and expensive, like Dickerson while others are pretty open to anything assuming you are paying.  Each athlete also has a geographical area to where they'll go. I assume the area is near their current home. 

No matter what you think of the concept you have to check out the site which you can do by clicking here.  I just enjoyed seeing which athletes were on the site and what they cost.  The biographies can be funny as well.  The Grantland article points this out pretty well.  So at the very least check out the site and don't forget to look up Kavita Channe, ranked in the top 5 hottest sportscasters of 2012 by BR5's Daily Show.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Super Bowl XLVII - Raven Win Thriller

The Baltimore Ravens won a great game over the San Francisco to win Super Bowl XLVII.  I thought this was a great game.  Yes it looked like a blowout before the 34 minute power outage which came after Jacoby Jones ran back the kickoff to begin the second half for 108 yards and a touchdown.  San Francisco had other ideas and roared back looking unstoppable.  In the end they couldn't overcome the hole they dug themselves into. 
Joe Flacco looked great.  I thought he was poised throughout and deserved the MVP trophy.  He hit 22 of 33 passes adding three touchdown passes.  It is good that he was on because the running game was averaging only 2.7 yards per carry.  The defense was good early before the 80's 49ers offense showed up in the second half.  There was a huge difference in their run stopping ability when Haloti Ngata went out of the game.  He wasn't the reason for the defense's collapse but it definitely made a difference.  Still the defense stiffened when it counted and kept Baltimore out of the end zone on San Francisco's final drive.  Ray Lewis was a non factor and as highlighted by a few replays did not look good at all. 
Frisco looked horrible in the first half and I was ready to toot my own horn for predicting the possibility of Kaepernick not being able to live up to the moment.  He was having none of it.  He ended up playing a great game.  I know announcers Phil Sims and Jim Nance gushed over some of the throws he made but I will have to admit Kaepernick did make some very good throws.  He also caused issues when the Baltimore coverage bottled up the receivers and he was able to make runs to turn the tide.  Those are killers when you are on defense.  In the end he came up short due to that aforementioned hole the 49ers were in at the start of the second half.   Frank Gore had a great game with 110 yards averaging 5.8 yards per carry.  Would have liked to see him get the ball down near the goal line more.  I know San Francisco was playing from behind but his running was a huge part of their offense.  The defense played well but just didn't get enough pressure on Flacco to disrupt his play.  Even in the second half when the tide turned he was able to throw the ball if not always connecting. 
Many will point to the disputed "no call" on Frisco's 4th and goal play to Michael Crabtree with under two minutes to play the game as the reason why the 49ers lost.  I have to agree that pass interference should have been called.  Still you don't lose a game because of one play.  Does it make a big difference and maybe cost San Francisco 7 points?  Yes, no doubt.  But in any football game there are way too many calls that could go either way that could mean just as much as that call.  The key is to not be in that position at the end of the game.  I know football doesn't always work that way but it is true.  By being in a position to where your season comes down to one play you are forced to deal with the outcome of that one play. 
I really enjoyed this game.  I'm glad I'm not a fan of either team because that ending would have killed me but that is the way these games should go.  A team going for the win in the final minutes of the game.  Not sure Jim Harbaugh will ever stop hearing people question his play calling in the final two minutes.  I, too, thought a Kaepernick designed roll out or run could have been a game winner.  But as Mike Ditka said this morning you can't question these guys.  Both teams played a great game and that is a reflection of their coaches.  Wish more Super Bowls were this good.  Guess we'll see in 12 more months...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

2013 NFL Hall of Fame Inductees

The NFL Hall of Fame class of 2013 includes head coach Bill Parcels, guard Larry Allen, wide receiver Cris Carter, tackle Jonathan Ogden and defensive tackle Warren Sapp. Seniors candidates Curley Culp and Dave Robinson will also be inducted.  I love the Hall of Fame for the different sports as well as the debate the election process brings up each year. 
The NFL is the one of big three sports in which I rarely have issues.  The process itself isn't perfect but I do like it.  A bunch of smart football guys in a room hashing out who will be inducted.  That is the way it should be.  Folks in the know making the case for different players and being able to argue it out when there are disagreements.  Compared to the very flawed drive by voting process of Major League Baseball football has something I can at least feel content with.
When it comes to players in any sport I have two critiria for making the respective hall of fame.    1)When you watched them play during their career did you think they were a hall of famer?  Some players become hall of famers after their career.  For those players I think sentimentality tends to weigh more heavily as time goes by.  I won't say time doesn't shed a different light on eras or players but it should be obvious in the day.     2)The stats must be there.  The numbers have to back up the arguments to some extent but there are of course those exceptions due to injuries or eras.    If those two factors pass the test then the other arguments should fall in line. 
To this year's NFL class I won't argue against any of them.  They are all deserving (though I can't speak to Culp and Robinson) and I'm happy for each.  I was just wetting my feet with this post.  I'm much more passionate in my MLB Hall of Fame discussions which I hope to have up soon. 

Super Bowl XLVII Thoughts

Alas my Falcons fell to the 49ers in a tough game.  I really thought Atlanta was going to take that game at the end.  The 49ers played the better game while Atlanta once again fell asleep at halftime and had to battle at the end of the game.  New England played Baltimore tough for a half but the Ravens showed they truly are the better team. 
I think this is a great match up.  Two teams with good offenses but defenses which will probably be the difference in the end.  I won't make you wait.  I'm going with Baltimore.  Joe Flacco has caught some flack in the past but this guy has won a playoff game every year for his five year career and has been to the conference championship three times finally getting over the hump this year to reach the Super Bowl.  How many quarterbacks can say they've done that?  A quick look shows he didn't play great in every game but he outplayed Tom Brady in the Championship game last year and if Lee Evans doesn't drop that touchdown his reputation has a different look to it.  I like what Kaepernick has done for the 49ers but I'm leery of a quarterback starting the ninth game of his career in the Super Bowl.  He has been on a great run but I just don't have the confidence that he can do again on the biggest stage of all. 
The rushing games are about a push for me though I'd say Frank Gore is the better runner while Ray Rice is more dynamic in the passing game.  I think Baltimore's receivers are better but it isn't a big edge.  The 49ers' defense is slightly better but again not a big edge there.  I'm not worried about either punter but kicker David Akers has to be a concern for San Francisco.  He only hit 69% during the regular season and missed again in the playoffs.  Ravens' kicker Justin Tucker is a rookie and has had a great year but again this is the big stage so you never know.  I like both coaches but I tend to think John Harbaugh's experience against the big boys of the AFC may be an advantage.  Jim is no slouch but again the resume just isn't the same. 
So not much of a edge for Baltimore overall in my mind.  I like that they are hot at the right time.  The change of offensive coordinators has breathed new life into that offense and I think they'll see the dividends tomorrow.  I think it will be a close game but to be honest if Baltimore can get a lead and make Kaepernick play from behind they could pull away in the second half.  I'll say Baltimore over San Francisco 27-26.