Super Bowl awarded to Atlanta, Miami, and Los Angeles

This is a bit of a sore subject for me.  The awarding of Super Bowls is one of the most political processes in the world of sports.  The hoops that cities have to jump through in order to host the most-watched sporting event in the world is mind blowing and frustrating.  Teams bring in city officials and representatives to promote their city and pitch why they should host the game.  The financial impact can be huge, and yet, the reality is that it isn’t much, in fact some cities actually LOSE money when they host the game, as the cost of putting on such an event is more than some city budgets can handle.  I remember living just across the street from Raymond James Stadium when Tampa hosted the Ravens and Giants in 2000.  The one memory that sticks in my head was during the week leading up to the game I was fortunate to shake the hand of Jim Brown outside the Stadium.  Now me being a life long Browns Fan, that was a surreal moment for me, and I will never forget it.  That was the highlight of the week for me, a resident of the host city, because the remainder of the week was a series of traffic nightmares, people being stupid, and the ever present factor of the fact that the Ravens were playing in the Super Bowl, a team that five years earlier were known as the Browns.  Art Model was there, a man that will be forever hated in Cleveland, and it pained me to know that they could end up being world champs.

But enough of my misery, this post is more about the fact that Tampa was snubbed once again from hosting a Super Bowl in the next 5 years.  The deciding factor in awarding Atlanta, Miami, and Los Angeles Super Bowls 49, 50 and 51 boiled down to the venue.  Atlanta and LA are building new stadiums, monuments of architecture that were too attractive to not  warrant getting the game. Miami is in the middle of renovating “Joe Robbie Stadium”, a building that has been the home of the Dolphins since the Mid 80’s, to the tune of $400 million.  Ray Jay here in Tampa, which has been in place just since 1998, is in the process of $100 million in upgrades, including new Video screens and a remodel of their luxury suites.  Tampa has hosted the Super Bowl 4 times, while this latest award for Miami will be it’s 11th hosting, the most in history. 

Raymond James Stadium seating capacity is 65,890, while the Stadium in Miami seats 76,100.  The major factor to me that Tampa was snubbed, in my usually wrong opinion, is because of the presence of a great big pirate ship in the north end zone, impacting what could be an extra 5-10K seats.  I feel the ship is a deterrent for the NFL, and it is also my firm belief it is too team-specific.  The game is supposed to be all about the two teams that will be playing in it, as well as the NFL putting on a spectacular show, and to have a great big ugly pirate ship on camera being shown to the world with a Buccaneers Logo on it, when the Bucs probably would not be in the game is a visual that the NFL doesn’t want the world to see.  The ship can not be removed for the game, it is a permanent piece of the stadium, and it would be impossible to remove it for one game.  This is my opinion, and it may in fact be a small reason in the grand scheme of things, but I feel it weighs more on the decision who will host than the NFL will lead on. 

Another factor is ownership.  The Glazers are arguably the worst owners in the NFL, and the reason I say this is due to the fact they are more focused on Manchester United than they are on the Bucs.  They own the most valuable Soccer team in the world, and they are all in on Man U and the Bucs are secondary and not their primary focus.  The primary reason for this is that Malcolm Glazer was all in on the Bucs when he was primary owner and in the grand scheme of things, he bought the Bucs to make them a perennial Super Bowl contender, but as he declined in health over the years, more control was given to his sons, and they are all about Man U.  They should sell the team to a more attentive ownership and move to London now that Malcolm has passed away.  Until serious changes occur in Tampa, they will not host another Super Bowl.  The only bright spot in Tampa’s future is the fact they will host the 2017 National Championship Game, and may be in the running for more in the next few years, but that will depend on how well this year’s game goes.  I am not calling for a new Stadium, because the city and the taxpayers are still paying for this one, but I am seriously calling for changes that would make the city a more attractive host for a Super Bowl in the future.

The NBA and NHL Conference Finals

So we have come to the time of year that to me, is both super exciting and “not so much” at the same time.  You all know I am not a fan of the NBA, in fact if you go back in the history of my posts you will discover that I barely mention the NBA unless I am saying how terrible it is.  I quit being a fan of the NBA once MJ (Michael Jordan for you kids out there) left the game.  I didn’t like the direction it was headed and I knew that the game I loved growing up was never to be seen again.  I am a fan of the college game, especially in March and April during the tournament, but the NBA is horrible to watch simply because it is a game that no longer puts its emphasis on team play, but on the individual and superstars getting the highlight on Sports Center.  it has become about ego, and it has become less about team goals. 

That being said, on the other side of the coin we have the NHL.  The NHL Playoffs provide some of the most exiting drama filled games in the history of sport.  Why it is the fourth or fifth most popular sport in the US is beyond me.  It is non-stop action, and the athletes are probably the most conditioned athletes in the world.  If you don’t believe me then you try and skate for 3-4 minutes at a time up and down an NHL rink and then place a big stick in your hands, a heavy uniform, and try and place a 3” piece of vulcanized rubber in a goal while 5 other guys are trying to prevent you from doing this by whacking you with their sticks and knocking you against the glass or the boards.  Hockey is by far a better sport because it is a team game, you cant be an individual on the ice, you have to work in conjunction with 4 other guys on the ice to not only try and score, but prevent the other five guys on the opposing team from scoring as well.

I love sports, I am a casual fan of the NBA, I don’t live and die with the Cavs, or the Magic, and I do follow them a little, and I would love to see the Cavs win the NBA Championship for the city of Cleveland, but if they lose..  MEH..  I could care less.  However, as for the NHL, I live and breathe this time of year with the Lightning.  Every game has me on the edge of my seat, and I am sure to have woken my upstairs neighbors on more than one occasion by my screaming at the TV when the game is on.  So for those of you that love the NBA, more power to you…  Ill take the NHL any day over the NBA.

Have a great Tuesday…

Friday Morning

Good morning Sports Fans!  A great night last night doing the draft live with Sports World Radio and Fantasy Football Maniax.   I was up late, I got very little sleep and today I still have to go to work and then do it all over again for rounds 2 & 3.  Im just going to post a quick note today to say that I will do a full recap on last night and tonight in a major blog post tomorrow morning.  don’t have time today to make an in depth post recap of the first round.  Enjoy your day and look for my recap tomorrow morning right here.  Have a great Friday all..  and join us tonight for rounds 2 & 3….

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Draft Day!!!

Well it’s finally here.  The NFL Draft, where players realize their dreams, fans boo their favorite team because they didn’t take who they wanted, and the talking head talk for hours upon hours until our ears bleed.  It is a, it is overblown, and it’s the only time of year where I have hope for the upcoming season.  I will be co-hosting a Live Draft broadcast tonight on Blab with my good friends at SportsWorldRadio and to be honest, I am really looking forward to it.  We will be joined by the guys from Fantasy Football Maniax Derek Lofland and Nick Lord along with other football guys to cover, discuss and provide the ramifications for all the picks in the first round.  We will follow that up with rounds 2 & 3 on Friday night with the same cast of characters breaking it all down.  Derek and Nick will provide the fantasy angle of the draft while Eliot “Big E” Lomba, Jeff Eskow, and myself will cover it from the football side of it.  Please join us tonight at 7:30 pm eastern and 6:30 pm Eastern tomorrow for full draft analysis and coverage from the first pick to the last.

With all of that being said, Who goes 1-2 tonight?  Obviously the favorite picks are Goff and Wentz.  The only question remains is which one will go first.  The “experts” all say Goff, but only the Rams know who they are going to take.  The problem I have with this whole circus is that in my humble opinion, based on being a fan of the game for over 45 years, neither one of these QB’s are WORTH an overall #1 and #2 pick.  Neither one of them are the next Peyton or Luck.  In fact neither one of these guys are of the same talent level as the 1 & 2 picks last year, Marcus Mariotta and Jameis Winston.  Both teams sacrificed so much and quite possibly gave up a lot of good draft picks just to get a franchise QB.  History says that when QB’s are the first two picks of the draft, only one will succeed and be the guy they want him to be (Ryan Leaf anyone?) .

The mystery begins at pick #3 with San Diego and that’s when the true excitement will begin.  I have no idea where the Chargers will go, Derek believes they will take Jalen Ramsey from FSU, since they have needs in that secondary, but I am not so sure.  Philip Rivers got the crap beat out of him last year and I have a hunch the Chargers may go Offensive Line to try and keep him healthy and that will be either Miles Jack or Laremy Tunsil. The fourth Pick has the most anticipation, because when Jerry Jones is involved, anything can happen.  This is where I think Ramsey should go, because the Cowboys need defensive help and Ramsey is the best FS in the draft, he is a hard hitter in the same mold as John Lynch, who SHOULD be in the HOF in the next couple of years.  They could also go with Joey Bosa from Ohio State, but either way they need to go defense.  Look for Jerry to possibly take Ezekiel Elliott, RB from OSU as he loves his offensive players.  Remember his son had to talk him off the ledge from taking Johnny Manziel two years ago.

I will stop my predictions there, simply because I never do a mock draft, I don’t get into it, because no matter who is making the predictions, they are most always wrong, and I refuse to continue that tradition.  I’ll rely mostly on my reaction when the picks happen and their impact to the team that picked them.  All in all it will be an interesting night, I will lose some sleep, the coffee will be flowing, but going into the weekend I really don’t care.  If you are tired of the big boys and their over analysis, their overblown egos, and the fact they have no clue what the hell they are talking about, you will enjoy the show tonight folks.  Please join us and be ready to provide your input and reactions as the draft progresses. 

NHL Playoffs

The big stories this time of year are the NFL Draft coming up tomorrow and the NBA Playoffs.  It never ceases to amaze me how the NHL Playoffs don’t get the amount of press as the NFL and the NBA.  If you have never been to an NHL game in person and if you haven’t been watching the first round of the playoffs this year, you are missing out.  There is no sport that keeps you on the edge of your seat more than the NHL during the playoffs.  I watched the Blues/Blackhawks game on Monday night, it was a game 7, so it was win or go home.  The Blues got on the board early and set the momentum for the entire game.  They end up winning 3-2 despite a furious effort by the Hawks at the end of the game, including an unbelievable shot that hit the left post, scooted along the goal line, hit the right post and stayed out of goal.  If you cant get excited about playoff hockey you don’t have a heartbeat.  Whether your team is in it or not, its fun to watch, offers the most sports drama and keeps you glued to the TV unlike any NBA game or waiting for the next pick in the draft could ever do.

The second round begins tonight with the Tampa Bay Lightning (GO BOLTS) facing the NY Islanders.  The Lightning are limping into this series with injuries and after effects of the flu ravaging the team.  Their leader Steven Stamkos is out recovering from surgery to remove a blood clot in his shoulder and defenseman Anton Stralman recovering from a broken leg, and it is unclear if either of these veterans will be available for this series.  The depth of the Bolts will be the key, as will the play of goalie Ben Bishop.  Tampa has had 5 days to rest after outing the Red Wings in the first round for the second year in a row (sorry, not sorry Scooter), while the Isles have had just 48 hours to prepare and rest for the opening game of this series.  The Islanders will lean on the play of John Tavares, who had 5 goals and 4 assists in the first round against the Panthers.  Goalie Thomas Greiss was stellar in the first round and will need to continue his solid play against a faster, more experienced Lighting team.  I feel this series goes the distance, with the Bolts winning game 7 at home to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year.

The other matchups in the second round are Pittsburgh vs Washington, St Louis vs Dallas and the final series in the second round has yet to be determined, but it will be San Jose vs either Anaheim or Nashville, who forced a game 7 Monday night with a Double OT thriller.  In the Penguins-Caps series I like the Capitals in 6, and the focus of this series will be the veterans Alex Ovechkyn of the Capitals and Sydney Crosby of the Penguins.  Both of these players are probably the biggest stars in the league, and this series may well be the best series of the second round.  I am looking forward to seeing these two teams beat the crap out of each other and then limp into the finals where they will be lambs to the slaughter for the Lightning (no bias there huh?).  The Western conference matchups are exciting, and I’ll take the Stars over the Blues and San Jose over either one of  the Preds or Ducks. 

If you love drama, if you enjoy intense action, and if you are a sports fan, then Playoff Hockey is the best.  I love this time of year because of the way these playoffs play out each year.  There is no shortage of excitement, and these athletes are probably the best conditioned athletes in pro sports.  If you doubt me, then put on a pair of skates, 15 pounds of padding, put a big long stick in your hand.. and work a 3 inch round piece of vulcanized rubber down a sheet of ice and try and put it in a 5ft wide by 4 ft high Goal with a guy bigger than an NFL linebacker standing in your way wearing 25 pounds of padding and holding an even BIGGER stick than you.