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Post NFL season prediction examination

February 11, 2011 Leave a comment

As the NFL season is now at an end, it’s time to see how pathetic my pre-season predictions were which you can see in this previous post from September – https://smegheaddave.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/nfl-predictions/

Well, here are how the standings actually finished, with my pre-season prediction in brackets:

AFC East

1. New England Patriots 14-2 (12-4 – 2 games out, not bad)

2. New York Jets 11-5 (9-7 – 2 games out, not bad but underestimated)

3. Miami Dolphins 7-9 (8-8 – 1 game out, pretty good)

4. Buffalo Bills 4-12 (5-11 – 1 game out, ok but a bit generous with the wins)

AFC North

1. Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4 (8-8 – 4 games out, what was I drinking?)

2. Baltimore Ravens 12-4 (13-3 – 1 game out)

3. Cleveland Browns 5-11 (3-13 – 2 games out, not bad)

4. Cincinnati Bengals 4-12 (8-8 – 4 games out, wow they were bad)

AFC South

1. Indianapolis Colts 10-6 (13-3 – 3 games out, can I blame injuries?)

2. Jacksonville Jaguars 8 -8 (7-9 – 1 game out, alright)

3. Houston Texans 6-10 (8-8 – 2 games out, not bad but I thought this was to conservative)

4. Tennessee Titans 6-10 (10-6 – 4 games out, a rusty like Smith prediction)

AFC West

1. Kansas City Chiefs 10-6 (4-12 – 6 games out, those Chiefs are fast…)

2. San Diego Chargers 9-7 (11-5 – 2 games out, not bad but I’ll blame injuries again)

3. Oakland Raiders 8-8 (5-11 – 3 games out, underestimated)

4. Denver Broncos 4-12 (6-10 – 2 games out, not bad but overestimated)

NFC East

1. Philadelphia Eagles 10-6 (8-8 – 2 games out, not bad, this was made when Kolb was the guy)

2. New York Giants 10-6 (7-9 – 3 games out, can’t remember my reasoning for this)

3. Dallas Cowboys 6-10 (11-5 – 5 games out, doubt I was alone with this poor judgement)

4. Washington Redskins 6-10 (6-10 – NAILED IT, I love a nice predictable franchise with no drama…)

NFC North

1. Chicago Bears 11-5 (4-12 – 7 games out, yeah I’m sorry Chicago)

2. Green Bay Packers 10-6 (13-3 – 3 games out, not the worst ‘3 games out’ ever)

3. Detroit Lions 6-10 (5-11 – 1 game out, pretty good)

4. Minnesota Vikings 6-10 (11-5 – 5 games out, bye bye Brett)

NFC South

1. Atlanta Falcons 13-3 (9-7 – 4 games out, poorly underestimated)

2. New Orleans Saints 11-5 (12-4 – 1 game out, pretty good)

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6 (3-13 – 7 games out, maybe worse than my Chicago prediction)

4. Carolina Panthers 2-14 (6-10 – 4 games out, massively overestimated)

NFC West

1. Seattle Seahawks 7-9 (9-7 – 2 games out, not bad and I didn’t know anyone else picking them for the division)

2. St Louis Rams 7-9 (5-11 – 2 games out, not bad but clearly a bit better than I thought)

3. San Francisco 49ers 6-10 (9-7 – 3 games out, not good)

4. Arizona Cardinals 5-11 (8-8 – 3 games out, ‘3 games out’ also the Cardinals quarterback philosophy)

In terms of the playoffs, I did predict the Packers to reach the Super Bowl but I had them losing to the Colts so I can’t really claim to much of a victory in that. Anyway, roll on the new season and lets sort this Collective Bargaining Agreement out and get back to the action.

Six degrees of Sports Separation

October 29, 2010 Leave a comment

This article will look at six major sports news stories that are in some way linked together beginning with Diego Maradon and ending with the second game of the Baseball World Series. So let’s begin the journey through today’s news.

Maradona would love to manage in the Premiership

The former Argentina coach and arguably greatest footballer of all time, has stated his desire to manage in the Premier League. After leading Argentina to the quarter finals of this year’s World Cup before his team lost to Germany, Maradona is now open to a new challenge and has expressed an interest in managing a team in the Premiership.

Maradona told Sky Sports News “I would like to manage in the Premier League. It has very good teams, an exceptional level and great players.” After being linked with the vacant Aston Villa position before Gerard Houllier was appointed, Maradona will now no doubt be in the mix when the next vacancy presents itself.

Maradona to coach in England?

Although he is looking ahead, Maradona is still disappointed in the manner of his parting with the Argentina national team. Maradona built up a good relationship with a number of the players in the national side and it was thought he would be kept in charge of the national team after the World Cup.

Maradona has a particularly strong friendship with Argentina and Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez.

Tevez injured and back in Argentina

Tevez the key man for City

After limping off in the 3-0 loss to Arsenal last weekend, Carlos Tevez has been ruled out of Manchester City’s next two matches against Wolves in the Premier League and an away trip to Poland to face Lech Poznan in the Europa League.

Tevez has been in typically good form so far this season and his absence will certainly be felt by City who will now have to look to Emmanuel Adebayor and Mario Balotelli to lead their attack. Tevez has now flown back to Argentina to recover from his dead leg and there has been speculation in the media that he is unsettled in England and missing Argentina.

City fans will be hoping this is not the case as Tevez has led by example since being appointed team captain and with the eagerly anticipated Manchester derby against United coming up, City will require Tevez to be fit and ready against his old club.

A former teammate of Tevez at Manchester United is goal keeper Edwin Van Der Sar.

Van Der Sar looks to continue after hitting 40

The veteran Dutch stopper has had a long and illustrious career with Ajax, Juventus, Fulham and now Manchester United and although he has today turned 40, he is keen to keep playing.

Van Der Sar still United number 1

Still the number one choice in goal at United, Van Der Sar’s current deal runs out at the end of this season and because of his age there is a question as to whether he will retire. However, there is now talk that Van Der Sar is looking to remain a Manchester United player for another season and continue to perform right at the top level regardless of his age.

Another sporting superstar still playing in his 40’s is Brett Favre.

Favre injury may end record run

41 year old Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre is at risk of ending his NFL record 291 consecutive starts. After deciding to come back for another season in the NFL rather than retiring, Favre has struggled in his 20th season with injuries to his ankle and elbow and after taking a hit to his ankle in the loss to the Green Bay Packers last week, Favre’s consecutive streak of games (he hasn’t missed a game since 1992) may well come to an end.

Favre has struggled with injury this season

The Vikings have had a less than impressive start to the season currently sitting third in the NFC North with a record of 2-4 and Favre himself has been mediocre at best. There has been talk about Favre being benched simply on form but that would seem unlikely with the efforts made by the Vikings to get him back for this season.

Favre managed to practice today with tape on his ankle, which has two fractures, and the decision on whether he will play against the New England Patriots this Sunday falls to head coach Brad Childress.

Favre holds pretty much every record that matters for quarterbacks in the NFL his name has been synonymous around the globe with the NFL.

NFL international series takes place in London this weekend.

Wembley prepares to welcome the NFL once again

After the success of the three regular season NFL games held in London at Wembley stadium, the next instalment of live action in the UK features the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos this Sunday.

Wembley Stadium welcomes the NFL once again

Regardless of the poor form of both teams, the 49ers 1-6 and the Broncos 2-5, Wembley will be nearly if not completely sold out for the game as UK

fans get their yearly dose of live NFL.

The game itself promises to be a close one although a potentially un-exciting encounter. San Francisco have been forced into a change at quarterback with the injury to starter Alex Smith and instead of David Carr, they have gone with former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith as the man for the game in London.

Both teams are in dire need of a positive result in an attempt to kick start their season and with all the divisions in the NFL extremely close at the minute, neither team will have given up on potential play-off hopes.

San Francisco is the designated home team in London and this week has been a good one for San Francisco sports teams at home.

San Francisco Giants go 2-0 up in World Series at home.

Giants shut out Rangers to take 2-0 lead

After a high scoring 11-7 win in the opening game of the best of seven series, the San Francisco Giants thrashed the Texas Rangers 9-0 to take a two game lead in the World Series to decide the MLB champion for this season.

Taking home field advantage in the series, the Giants have won their two home games before heading to Texas for the next three games and then returning to California for the final two games if needed.

Giants pitcher Matt Cain lead the team to a second win

The Giants crushed the Rangers thanks to an inspired performance from pitcher Matt Cain keeping the Rangers without a run before SanFrancisco sealed the win with a glut of runs in the eighth inning.

Texas’ pitchers failed miserably giving up seven runs to take the game from a potential 2 run difference going into the final inning to a 9 point blowout. The Series now moves onto game three in Arlington, Texas where the Rangers will look to rebound from these defeats and turn the series around.

NFL Celebration Hypocrisy

October 26, 2010 Leave a comment

This is something that has never made sense to me for a while and since Mike Carlson mentioned it this week during Sunday Night Football on Channel 4, it proves I am not the only one who has a problem with it. For those unaware who Mike Carlson is, he is the studio analyst on Channel 4 for Sunday Night Football as well as being the greatest football analyst/presenter/commentator/journalist, whatever you want to call him in the UK or the USA or anywhere else for that matter.

Anyway, the issue I am referring to is the NFL’s policy on over celebrating and how referees can hand out immediate 15 yard penalty’s to a team if players are deemed to have celebrated ‘over the top’. For the past few years, the league has been trying to curtail players’ celebrations after scoring a touchdown.

Chad Ochocinco one of a number of players renowned for his touchdown celebrations

There are a number of players who have made a name for ‘creative’ celebrations after scoring. Some of the most memorable in recent history include Terrell Owens signing a football, Chad Ochocinco giving CPR to the football, proposing to a cheerleader and playing a golf shot with an end zone pylon, Steve Smith (Panthers, not Giants) creating a snow angel and cradling the ball like a baby, Randy Moss mimicking mooning the Green Bay crowd after scoring for Minnesota and Joe Horn phoning his mum on a phone hidden in the padding of the goalpost.

Throughout the game there have been a lot of famous celebrations. Billy ‘White Shoes’ Johnson always performed the funky chicken dance after every score and for a period in the early 80’s the Washington Redskins team performed a group high-five after scoring. All of these celebrations have endeared the players to a lot of supporters providing an extra dose of entertainment to the games. There are of course those who find the celebrations far too excessive and egotistical as the game is all about the team and not the individual.

Players are no longer allowed to leave their feet or use props or have pre organised celebration routines. For example, this season we saw Dallas Cowboys’ offensive lineman Marc Colombo penalised 15 yards after Jason Witten’s touchdown. Witten gave the ball to his lineman to spike (spiking the ball is still allowed) before the two performed a jumping chest bump (also allowed even though they are jumping off the ground), however Colombo last his balance and stumbled to the ground, the referees then threw the flag and penalised the Cowboys 15 yards on the kick off for this.

This is not the most baffling thing I find about the rules however, if the league wants to ban excessive celebrations then that’s their choice and although I personally think it removes something from the game, plenty of others agree with the NFL. However, there is one GLARING omission that it is just beyond belief. The Lambeau Leap.

The famous Lambeau Leap

Any football fan knows what the Lambeau Leap is, for those who don’t it is a celebration performed by Green Bay Packers players at their home stadium, Lambeau Field. After scoring, the Packers player leaps into the crowd of celebrating Packers fans. Now, if Marc Colombo is being penalised for falling over as it breaks the rules of going to ground, how is sprinting over to the crowd and leaping into the stands after every score not against these rules!? Don’t misunderstand me here, I enjoy the Lambeau Leap and love to see it whenever watching the Packers, but why do players from every other team have to behave like robots after scoring like it means nothing to them when Packers players can display the emotion and delight of scoring in this manner!?

Those who support the lack of celebrations, but also support the Lambeau Leap will argue the usual point of it being ‘tradition’, well how is it any more of a special tradition to general celebrating? NFL players had been performing all sorts of celebrations before the Lambeau Leap was ever performed. It just seems that they should enforce the penalty on this along with other celebrations if they are serious about the rule

If I was suddenly appointed as the commissioner of the NFL, it’s a long shot I know; I’d simply remove this rule entirely and allow players to design and perform as elaborate a celebration as they want. This really is just another example of the NFL standing for the ‘No Fun League’.