Thursday, November 17, 2005

NFL Busts Part II

On the heels of my lasts post on NFL Draft Busts, I want to talk about someone that people might not group into the "busts category." David Boston has been an NFL bust, he had all the makings of a hall of famer, and constant all-pro...but on news that his disappointing season is over after an injury, and rumors circulating that his career might be over at the age of 27, it's apparent that his career will be looked at as a disappointment.
David Boston was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 1999 draft #8 overall out of the Ohio State University. He was poised to be a star in the league...he was going to be the savior of the Cardinal organization. 6-2, 228 pounds, great hands and body control...he was T.O. before T.O. became what we know today. He was the original freak of nature, His rookie year he had a solid 40 catches, 473 yards, and a couple of TDs. He only got better his next to season, having his breakout year in 2000 with 98 grabs, 1,598 yards, and 8 TDs. 2002 was the year where everything started going down for Boston...he was traded to the San Diego Chargers after an injury shortened '01 season (Boston hadn't missed a game in his three year career before '01, when he played in only 8 games). After a decent season with the bolts, where he missed two more games, he signed as a free agent with the Dolphins. In his first year with the dolphins he suffered a knee injury in training camp and was put on the IR. Now after only 5 games and 4 catches in the current season, he's done for the year again.
It's sad to see that a player of this caliber not make it...but not make it because of injuries. Yes, he did have some problems with steroids when he was rehabing (probably throughout his career...I mean just look at him!). But this is a player that had all the talent in the world...he just caught a string of bad luck.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

NFL Busts Part I

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the Draft isn’t always an exact science, and yes I know that there have been draft busts and there will continue to be busts in the future. Before we continue I’d like to give you my Top NFL Draft busts of all time…just to give you an idea of who we’re talking about.

7. Penn State Running Backs (excluding Larry Johnson) - various positions over the years - For some reason Joe Papa's RB just don't translate to the pro game (see Ki-Jana Carter & Curtis Enius)

6. Aundray Bruce – LB drafted #1 1988 Atlanta Falcons – The falcons have made a lot of bad picks, this is the worst…recorded just 4 sacks in only 4 season with Atlanta

5. Tony Mandarich - OL drafted #2 1989 Green Bay Packers - Hailed as the greatest offensive line prospect in history...he never lived up to the hype that sports publications made. Why he's not higher? He wasn't bad, he just wasn't as good as everyone was told he was. He could have been a servicable NFL Offensive lineman. by the way, the next three picks in the 1989 draft...Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas, and Deion Sanders.

4. Todd Marinovich - QB drafted #24 overall Oakland Raiders - From birth Marinovich was breed to be an NFL QB. His dad tied his right arm behind his back when he was an infant so he would be a lefty! He couldn't handle the mental strains of an NFL QB...and he wasn't that good either.

3. Akili Smith - QB drafted #3 overall Cincinnati Bangals - Doomed from the start, he almost went ahead of Tim Couch and Donovan McNabb, there was no chance for him. Not only was he drafted by the Bengals, where until recently, has been where college stars go to die...but he was coached by Jeff Tedford...nuff said.

2. Brian "The Boz" Bosworth - LB supplmental draft 1987 Seattle Seahawks - The Boz was a master a self promotion...he knew how to sell himself...with his haircut, his mannerisms, he tried to be the second coming of Muhammad Ali, he wasn't. He's now trying to make it as an actor (most recently in the remake of The Longest Yard) but he will forever be haunted by images of Bo know what i'm talking about.

1. Ryan Leaf - QB drafted #2 overall 1998 San Diego Chargers - Leaf defined the term draft bust...can you believe there was a time when people had serious discussions on who was better Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf?
Congratulations Ryan...You're #1!

Monday, November 7, 2005

Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen

This one goes out to Green Bay...say it with me Packer fans...1-7. That's right, the Green Bay Packers, the perennial powerhouse of the NFC north and yearly contender for the Super Bowl, have one win. It's not even a good win, it was over the Saints. Cementing their downward spiral was yesterday's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field.
Think about that for a second...the frozen tundra has always been a source of power for the packers...You weren't going to beat Green Bay at home...It just wasn't done. However, looking back on the 2004 season and this season, the Pack are 5-7 in their last 12 home games. Good teams win at home. Good teams don't let the Tennessee Titans beat them 48-27 on their own field.
I know many of you who are drinking the green and gold Kool-Aid are going to write me saying, "but look how close they've been when they lose" and "if we just make one more play a game we'd be 5-3." Good teams find a way to make plays and good teams find a way to win close games.
If you haven't picked up on it yet, The Green Bay Packers are Not a good team.
So kick back Packer Backers, grab a miller, and pull your cheese hats over your eyes...I'm going to give you a peek into the future...

Chris Berman - "And now commissioner Tagliabue is coming to the podium with the #1 pick in the 2006 NFL Draft"
Commissioner Tagliabue - "With the first pick in the 2006 NFL Draft...The Green Bay Packers select....."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's been a while...for both these teams

No more guessing, the fall classic is ready. This Saturday two teams that have been waiting a long time, will finally get their shot at the world series, the Chicago White sox and the Houston Astros. The south-siders are in for the first time since 1959 and the Astros are in for the first time in their 43 year history (dating all the way back to when they were the Houston Colt .45s).

Roy Oswalt earned NLCS MVP after an incredible game 6 start, taking a no hitter deep into the 4th. As I watched Oswalt in game 2 of this series…I realized something. With the possible exception of Chicago’s ‘El Duque’, Oswalt has the nasty stuff in the league! Do you remember that scene in Bad News Bears when Tatum O’Neal claims her curveball is breaking “3 feet”, that’s not far from the truth with Oswalt.

This series is going to be all about Pitching, these two staffs are the arguably the two best in the league, look at the two rotations and you have the proven and hall of fame Astros staff (Clemens, Pettitte, and if he keeps this up Oswalt), and the White Sox staff that's finally putting everything together (Buehrle, Garland, and Garcia) . Some are going to argue that the Astros have a huge momentum advantage going into game one…but remember in baseball “momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher.”

In terms of offense, both of these teams have the ability to hang double digit runs on the board, but they also have the ability to be shut out, So the pitching is going to be the most important factor in this series. My pick…if I go with my head, I’ll take White Sox in 6…if I go with my heart, Astros in 7.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

New rules open the flood gates for NHL

And let the scoring begin

The NHL has tried almost everything to up its status as the #4 sport in the United States, nothing has really worked. And this isn't like when baseball went on strike in 1994, because baseball had a solid fan base before they went on strike, the NHL has been struggling for years before the debacle that was last year's labor lockout. The big idea that NHL brass thought would change the game for the better this year are the rule changes to make the game faster and more higher scoring.

what new rules?
  • Red Line is removed and the two-line pass is legal
  • Goaltender leg pads, blockers, catching gloves and jerseys are all cut down in size
  • Goaltenders cannot handle the puck behind the goal line, except in a restricted area
  • Tie games are decided by a shootout
While all these rules favor higher scoring, the one that all fans were clamoring for was the shootout. While ties are not allowed in international play, the NHL has always had ties. The idea that there will be a definitive winner every game, will help the league.

But as baseball learned in '95, the casual fan won't come back to the league simple because they're on the ice again. Hockey needs something, they need a Sosa vs. McGwire, a Peyton Manning 49 touchdown season, a Chicago Bulls three-peat. As of right now, all of this is left on the shoulders of #1 draft pick...dubed "The Next One"...Sidney Crosby.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

If you were alive this past Saturday, consider yourself lucky

As long as you weren't born after about 6 pm CST this past Saturday, the 15th, consider yourself lucky. You were alive during arguably one of the greatest college football games of all time. USC was able to pull out a win against rival Notre Dame in South Bend. If you need to understand how much this game meant to both of these teams, consider this. USC QB Matt Leinart spent extra hours in the film room studying not only Notre Dame film, but also some New England Patriot film, Coach Charlie Weis' former team. As far as Notre Dame, all you need to know is that they busted out the Green Jerseys! Two things about this game. First, you may have heard that there were some possible errors in the last two plays of the game...
  1. After Leinart was hit and lost the ball out of bounds, there were :03 seconds on the clock when the ball went out. When the ball was spotted for the last play of the game, the clock had been reset to :07 seconds.
  2. During that same play, the ball was knocked away from Leinart and went out of bounds at the 3 yard line, but was spotted at the 1...Where Leinart was hit when he lost it. The ball should have been spotted where it went out of bounds, as it was a fumble.
  3. The most important error (one that even Regis Philbin couldn't let go unnoticed) was that RB Reggie Bush (#5 pictured) pushed Leinart (#11) over the goal line! It wasn't as if he may have pushed him over, Bush said in the locker room after the game, "I was pushing as hard as I could." For those of you who don't know what I'm getting at, let me educate you. Section 3, Article 2, sub point b of the Official 2005 NCAA Football Rules and Interpretations guide says, "The runner shall not grasp a teammate; and no other player of his team shall grasp, push, lift or charge into him to assist him in forward progress." it can't be stated any clearer then that.
And second, regardless of all the errors that was still one of the greatest college football games ever played. It's not every week that we get to see 2 top 10 teams play each other, let alone 2 top 10 teams who are part of the most storied out of conference rivalry of all time, dating back to 1926. So like I said at the beginning, be lucky you were alive to see it.

p.s. Gene Wojciechowski of wrote a great article on this game and its place in history check it out.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The White Sox will take 'em any way they can get 'em

While we avoided another double-header without a break (18 inning NLDS Game 5 ), I'm sure the Angels would have liked a different ending. After a swinging strike three in the bottom of the 9th, White Sox Catcher A.J. Pierzynski started walking towards the Chicago dugout, as the Angels ran towards theirs to get ready for extra innings. Pierzynski noticed that he had not yet been called out because home plate ump Doug Eddings said the pitch from Angels reliever Kelvim Escobar had bounced before entering his catcher's glove. So Pierzynski hustles down to first base, running past Angels players on their way to the dugout, and is ruled safe. The Umpires got into their little pow-wow to talk it over, and ruled Pierzynski safe at 1st. Pablo Ozuna pitch runs for Pierzynski, Ozuna steals second, then Joe Crede doubles him home, "a White Sox Winner", and the ALCS is tied up 1-1.

This got me thinking about the human errors that play a part in every sporting event and the idea of instant replay. The NHL, NFL, MLS, and NCAA Football use instant replay technology and the question is how much is too much? Would you not care if they stopped the game for 5 minutes to make sure they got a call right? Or would you say that it took away from the flow of the contest, and that human error is and always has been part of the game?

When done correctly, I don't think that instant replay is a bad thing. The flow of the game isn't jeopardized for more than about 5 minutes and getting the right call on the field is what matters the most. Look at how important the NFL's replay system has been, and how the right play has originally been missed, but upon further review the correct calls were made. No matter how much of a purist you may be, you have to admit that replay technology can be a help to the game if executed properly. And if you don't believe that...The L.A. Angels of Anaheim are on the phone for you...and they seem a bit angry.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Be Careful...You Might Get Hurt!

So far this year in the NFL, injuries have been the name of the game; and few teams know this better then the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots. Both these teams have lost Key members of either their offense or defense…or both! The injury bug hasn’t been limited to these two teams; every team has been hit with injuries (NFL Injury Report). Now, before we get an uproar saying that every year teams have injured players, when is the last time we’ve seen this many injuries in one year by week 6? Some injuries were expected (Mike Vick I’m talking to you!) others weren’t (who had Champ Bailey and Rodney Harrison going down in the same season?).

Some teams like the New York Jets were sexy Super Bowl picks. Now, with the ageless wonder Vinny Testaverde at the helm, he’s the sexiest part of the team. What about the Steelers, while we await word on QB Ben Roethlisberger, we look to their back up situation and see that #2 QB Tommy Maddox is out 3-4 weeks with a calf injury. So if Big Ben can't go Sunday against Jacksonville, the Steelers will have journey man Charlie Batch behind center. As if the Saints didn't have enough trouble scoring points already, their main offensive threat, RB Duce McAllister, is done for the year with a torn ACL. They've gone so far as to trade a draft pick to the Dolphins for their 4th string RB Jesse Chatman. Let me repeat that, they traded a DRAFT PICK for a RB that wouldn't have made the team in Miami had it not been for Ricky Williams' suspension.

While you may be ripping your hair out because your team is done because of injury, remember major players that have gotten their jobs because of injuries, Tom Brady coming in for Drew Bledsoe in 2001, Marc Bulger for Kurt Warner in 2002, and *gasp* Brett Favre for Don Majkowski in 1992, and that's just naming a few. It just goes to show, you never know when you’ll find a diamond in the rough. That being said, I still don’t think Packer fans want to see Tony Fisher as the starting tailback…do you?

~Sports Boy Zak