31 July 2011

Old Faces in New Places

"Chad, can you teach me to twitter?"

Hello New York, I'm back!
With the NFL training camps rushing to start, teams courting prospective players on the free agency market, and veteran players showing whether they still got it or not, fans can only sit back and enjoy.  I know I am personally waiting to see the Detroit Lions take the field, as I think they are the team this season to watch, but that’s another story.  So far there’s been a few notable changes of address that stand out and could be key- of those I am going to pick on the wide receivers; Chad Ochocinco, Plaxico Burress, and AJ Green.  Yes, I’m aware AJ Green is only a rookie, but for this discussion we’re including him.

I learned this move on "Dancing with the Stars"
                Since 2001 when he was drafted out of Oregon State University, we’ve only seen Chad Ochocino lace it up for the Cincinnati Bengals, at times making us all stand up and shout “Oh no he didn’t!”  From his stylish antics, his blonde hair, and his twitter lifestyle, we have come to either love or hate Ocho.  So, let’s take a look at him a little deeper- He’s only played 2 full seasons in the last 4 seasons, his best receiving year for yards being 4 years ago with 1440 yards.  His most touchdowns came in 2003 with 10, and last season only had 4 touchdowns and 831 yards in 14 games played.  Ocho is moving on to New England to play with the Patriots and superstar, Super Bowl MVP Quarterback Tom Brady.  Tom is known for his ability to extend the field and make the plays to help his team win.  Will the addition of Ocho help Tom to get back to the Super Bowl?  Will Ocho buy in to the Bill Belichick system and just play football?  Or, will we hear Ocho on tv saying “Kiss the baby?”

"I just want to say, Mark has better hair than Eli"
                Plaxico Burress, the one time hero of a Super Bowl.  Out of Michigan State and spreading his time between Pittsburgh and the Giants, Plax stays in the New York area but joining the charging Jets and their Hollywood model to be, QB, Mark Sanchez.  It might be some people’s opinion that Mark would rather run around in his Calvin Kleins posing for pictures rather than he would playing football.  Will the addition of Plaxico help the Jets to get over the hurdle and reach the Super Bowl?  Plaxico last played in 2008, where he played in 10 games pulling down 4 touchdowns.  Prior to that in 2007 he pulled in 12 touchdowns and 70 catches for 1025 yards.  In his final two years on the field Plaxico did not commit a single fumble either.  Plaxico is coming back from a two-year hiatus due to being in prison.  Will Plaxico come back with the same hunger and desire as Mike Vick?

Hey Andy, don't get me killed with your passes
                Lastly AJ Green will be replacing the above mentioned Ochocinco in Cincinnati.  AJ is joining a hurting Bengals team who is currently without their once Pro Bowl Quarterback Carson Palmer.  AJ will be pulling in passes from TCU Rookie Andy Dalton, and we’re just not sure how this will go as of yet, but one can speculate.  AJ Green missed four games in his final season at Georgia, but was able to pull in 57 catches for 848 yards and 9 touchdowns.  His second highest receiving total in college and most touchdowns.  AJ is without question one of the most exciting young wideouts in the game, but with a rookie quarterback, will his talents be enough to make Bengals fans glad to see Ocho not on the field?  In 2010, against rival SEC Schools, AJ Green pulled in 6 catches for 96 yards against Tennessee, 9 catches for 184 against would-be National Champion Auburn Tigers (and 2 touchdowns).

                Looking forward to the upcoming season one can only be excited to see these three wide receivers lined up on the field, digging the routes, and cutting to the goal line as they pull down amazing touch down grabs.  Here’s my predictions on how these three will perform this season:

1)      Chad Ochocinco – 14 games played, 88 receptions, 1082 yards, 14 touchdowns
2)      Plaxico Burress – 16 games played, 93 receptions, 1001 yards, 9 touchdowns
3)      AJ Green, 16 games played, 79 receptions, 884 yards, 10 touchdowns
The future of the Bengals rest on a couple of rookies.

Look Chad, I got my first twitter stalker

Ocho will have the luxury of Tom Brady throwing him perfect passes, Plax will have 2 years of rest to pull energy from, and AJ will show us the future looks bright in Cincinnati for fans.  In the end though, it’s all about Wins and Losses, so:

 PREDICTION: Plaxico Burress will be the Comeback Player of the Year, starting a trend for ex-cons, and following Mike Vick.

 New England -- 14-2 (First Round Bye in Playoffs)
 New York Jets – 12-4 (Home-field advantage in First Round of Playoffs)
 Cincinnati – 9-7 (misses the playoffs).

2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year

2011 NFL Comeback Player of the Year?

30 July 2011

When is leading by example a positive action?


Answer:  When you are the historic Bungles- I mean, Bengals.

For years I’ve always said that when it comes down to it, players in professional sports are spoiled.  I have felt they forget sometimes that are in fact paid to live a flashy, elegant lifestyle, to play a kid’s game.  Do you remember the chilly Friday nights, crowded in the bleachers of your high school football field to cheer on your classmates?  You’re a junior, and the quarterback under center is the sophomore kid in your AP Biology class that doesn’t talk a lot?  Remember seeing him make that pump fake to draw the DB in just so he could throw over the top to the cutting wideout for the 62 yard touchdown pass to win the game?  We all have stories of the “good ole days” when football was just a game, a game we loved to watch, we loved to play, and at the end of the night when the lights were out, we didn’t get paid to play it.  Now, fast forward to today, we’re grown up and for most of us, we have a job where we count hours, record our time, and at the end of the month look at our pay checks and wonder where it all goes?  There are a few that are more fortunate than those of us, they are professional athletes- the men (and women) who are paid to play a game they we love.  Whether it’s Kobe Bryant from the Lakers, Albert Pujols from the Cardinals, or Peyton Manning from the Colts these athletes are the names we cheer for every time they are on the television.  These athletes who, truth be told, have never had to work a single day in their entire lives, get paid millions of dollars to work, err- play a game for what?  Football- 16 Sundays.  That’s 16 hours of work and they millions of dollar.  Basketball 82 games.  65.5 hours of work.  Wow- almost three full days out of a whole year.

Will we see Palmer throwing to AJ Green?
Seriously though, for years I’ve always wished someone would stand up to these prima donnas and put them in their places.  Does it ever happen?  No, cause at the end of the day it comes down to money for the owners as much as it does the players.  Well, enter Mike Brown, Owner and GM of the Cincinnati Bengals.  He grew up cutting his teeth on pro Football, son of the legendary Paul Brown.  He’s quickly becoming, what I like to call the outlaw, of the NFL.  Four years ago when Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson wanted to be traded and demanded it, he didn’t give in.  He simply said to the fans that Chad had a contract and would fulfill it.  Now, here we are again, familiar script with his once Pro Bowl Quarterback Carson Palmer- a QB I might add that I actually like to watch play.  Carson makes the demand to be traded or he will retire, forcing the hand of owner Mike Brown.  Well, we all know, any owner in his right mind would trade the QB rather than risk losing everything if he did in fact retire.  What does Mike Brown do?  Tells Carson to enjoy retirement!  How can you not applaud this?

Now, I understand- “IT’S A BUSINESS JOEY, AND THE PLAYERS ARE LOOKING OUT FOR THEMSELVES.”  Yeah?  You think so?  OK, go play in a pool of acid if you think that.  Carson is set to make 11.5 million dollars this season for 16 hours of work!  Tell me it’s about business now.  I’ll clean toilets for 11.5 million dollars.  Personally, I stand up and cheer for Mike Brown of the Bengals.  I understand that in the end, a team can cut a player who is under contract, voiding the contract and essentially leaving the player without a job.  SO?  How much money did that player make last season?  11.5 million dollars?  I’m sorry- I feel no sympathy for him.  I bust my tail, 40 hours a week getting up early and working long hours so be able to help support my family, while this spoiled superstar drives around in luxury cars, wearing designer clothes, and still has no idea what hard times are?  Forget it- I’ll never feel sorry for an athlete who loses their job when they whine and cry about things like this.  Won’t happen.  Let him get a real job, where he has to work 2080 hours a year, punching a time sheet.

Anyways, moving on- I think owners do need to start holding players to their contracts.  If a player wants more leverage, work an “early-out” clause in the contract.  Players are catered to so much anyways, that it’s crazy at the end of the day they get to hold out for more money, trades, or whatever else they want.  These guys needs to be grateful for the lavish lifestyle they have, and remember the game might be a “kid’s game,” but they don’t have to act like kids.
They say the Captain goes down with the ship?  Not this one.

Carson Palmer, shut up and play football.  Honor your contract or enjoy the retired life.  Kudos to Mr. Mike Brown for showing us that there still needs to be a little honor in your word.