Wednesday… halfway to the weekend…

The Sports Nerd | The Incoherent Ramblings of a Die Hard Sports Fan

Been thinking all day what to write about, and for the record, I still have no idea.  but as a friend of mine once told me…  Who cares what you write about, just keep doing it, so here I am.  I have a lot of thoughts in my head about the sports world, including the current pennant and wild card races in the American League.  I keep waiting for the Twins to falter, but as we approach less than two weeks to the end of the season, my prediction that they will, eventually, be the Twins has not come to fruition, so here I sit looking at the Wild Card Race between the Indians, the Rays, and the A’s…  All I see for the future is the Indians sitting at home in October because both the Rays and A’s are playing really good baseball, and it is depressing.  The Indians are currently 5 games behind the Twins for first place in the AL Central, the Twins magic number hovers around 7 and the Indians hopes of overtaking them were dashed over the weekend when they lost 2 of 3 to the Twins in Cleveland.  As for the Wild Card, the Indians are a half-game behind the Rays in the Wild Card Race, and they have been sitting in that position for weeks.  Even after losing to the Dodgers last night, the Rays still hold that precarious lead over the Tribe…  The Indians are currently in a three-game series against the Tigers, then have a series against the Phillies on deck.  the Rays have one mo0re game against the Dodgers tonight, then face the Red Sox in a home series that begins Friday.  I don’t foresee the Indians overtaking the Twins in the division, so I have to continue to hope the A’s or Rays slip up and the Indians will take that second spot for the Wildcard.  The thing is… I am not a fan of the wildcard in MLB, because the two wildcard teams play a ONE game series to advance to face the team with the best record in the AL, and as of right now that’s the Yankees…  Not a pleasant possibility for me, but if they make it I will be happy, but as I am with the Browns, always have that feeling of dread in the back of my mind that it is all going to fall apart at some point and we will be disappointed once again.

As for the Aforementioned Cleveland Browns… After their victory Monday night I spewed about how disappointed I was in their offensive performance I was, and despite the win, and despite how good the defense looked, I look at their schedule and think to myself how it is so very likely they will be 1-6 after the next 5 games…  Sunday night they face the Rams in Cleveland, and after that follows games against Baltimore (away), the 49’ers (away on Monday night), the Seahawks (home), and then the final nail in the coffin will be a date in Foxboro against the Patriots.  The ONE thing these teams all have in common is currently, they are all undefeated.  This 5-game stretch will be the litmus test to see just how good they are, and I am nervous as hell and will be glued to my seat and watching without my rose-colored glasses each and every week.  I have been one of the few fans since the OBJ trade that has said on a consistent basis, don’t tell me how talented this team is, because the talent on paper doesn’t mean shit to me.  I have been disappointed for the last 50 years of Cleveland Browns futility, from Red-Right 88 to the Drive to the Fumble (look ‘em up, Google is your friend) that I refuse to buy into the hype.  Baker looked like a rookie in his first start Monday night and nothing I saw encouraged me to believe that this team has the offensive firepower to go up against the best teams in the league and be successful.  Not even a one-handed catch by Odell or the 89 yard TD convinced me because the remainder of the offensive production was abysmal and lethargic.  They could not move the ball in the red zone, and after scoring 6 points on their first two drives they went 0 for their next six drives Monday night.  This week and the next four weeks to follow will tell us EXACTLY where the Browns stand in the ranks of the NFL.  I am betting on mediocre at best, so I challenge Freddie and the rest of the team to prove me wrong.

HOCKEY!!!!  NHL preseason is in full swing and after last season, I am optimistic for the regular season for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but I look at what happened in the playoffs last year and I cringe with what regular-season success can do to a teams dedication, their fire, and their desperation for a run in the playoffs and if they can overcome adversity.  They didn’t have much adversity in the regular season last year and they didn’t have fire in their belly’s when the playoffs started last year.  They let a mediocre Columbus team beat them four straight, and became a meme for all top seeds that fail in the first round of the playoffs, no matter what sport.  I will root them on, I will cheer their success, but it is all about the cup, so when the playoffs come around this time, I hope they have the drive and the focus they need to succeed.  GO BOLTS!!

OK… if you have made it through this far into this post, you probably think I am a miserable old man who has no happiness in his life.  Well, that’s not true, because, despite my disappointment in the performance of my favorite pro sports teams, I do have some positive things going on.  The OSU Buckeyes are blowing opponents out in College Football, and for that I am thankful.  This team has a realistic chance to run the table and be in the College Playoff in January, I have watched both games thus far and true, their opponents have not been great, but the fact that they have a new head coach and lost a lot of key pieces to graduation and the NFL, they are a dominant team and I love watching college football on Saturdays.  I recently celebrated my 53rd birthday this past week and had the chance to spend a few hours of it with my favorite human on the planet.  She knows who she is, and if you are reading this, please know I am thankful and appreciative of how close we have remained after 12 years of knowing each other and how you have not only put up with me but how you have stood with me in good times and bad.  I love you and am thankful to have you in my life now and forever.  I am happy and content with my professional life, have a job I love, work with great people that I admire and respect, and would not want to be anywhere else than where I am at the moment. 

And with that… I will end this rambling of a die-hard sports fan…  have a good night everyone, and always remember, be kind to each other…  A lot of what is going on in the world sucks right now, but at least we have each other, and we can wake tomorrow with the rising of the sun to a new day, and a fresh start, and a positive outlook on what the future may bring…

Scott “The Sports Nerd”

Week Two in the NFL

The Sports Nerd | The Incoherent Ramblings of a Die Hard Sports Fan

So here we are…  Week 2…  NFL Season in full awing and there is plenty of drama to go around.  Pittsburgh and New Orleans losing their Quarterbacks… Miami trading a Pro bowl LB… NY Jet QB has Mono… Pro Bowl CB wants out of Jacksonville… Dak still hasn’t signed…  Miami is tanking…  Eli has been benched…  Buffalo is the best team in NY.. err.. scuse me..  Buffalo is the best team in the Tri-State area…  as my friend @jongolson would say, Buffalo is the ONLY team in NY…  The ranks of the undefeated include the aforementioned Buffalo and San Francisco…  Seattle, Green Bay, Dallas, Kansas City, and Baltimore…  OH and of course the Patriots…  Pittsburgh is 0-2 and without Big Ben for the remainder of the season… we had a tie in week one… and yet… with all of the drama going on all I can think about (surprise) is the Cleveland Browns and their performance in the first two weeks of the season…

After not being able to get out of their own way in week one, among several penalties, mistakes, no offense, they were spanked, owned and dominated by the Titans… Bakr threw 3 interceptions in the 4th quarter alone…   capping off a dismal, heartbreaking and depressing home/season opener…  They showed no energy, no explosiveness, and pretty much sloppy, undisciplined play, attracting 182 yards in penalty yardage.  They were horrible, and I was disgusted, because I know they are better than that…

After that week one debacle… we bring you to Monday Night Football…  September 16, 2019…  They were on the road… they faced a hostile crowd… they were shouldered with a ton of pressure after laying an egg the previous week…  OBJ was returning to the Meadowlands…  The Jets are a terrible team, the were starting their backup Trevor Siemian because Sam Darnold had MONO of all things…  Opening drive FG, due to amazing one-handed catch by Odell in nearly the exact same spot as the catch against the Cowboys that vaulted him into elite receiver status..  They managed one TD in the first half, a 19-yard TD by Nick Chub, and they lead going into the half 16-3…  the second half only saw ONE score… an 89 yard jewel to OBJ for a touchdown, sealing their first win of the season…

A win is a win as the saying goes, but despite the fact the Browns finally got off the schnide…  I have questions…  First…  When is Baker going to learn how to read a defense… When will the Offensive Line Gel to the point where Baker has time in the pocket…  When will Nick Chubb have a 100 yard rushing game… When will the Browns stop settling for Field Goals?  these are the issues I have with the current Cleveland Browns… the Offense was sluggish…  the Offense was Vanilla…  with the weapons at hand for this team they should NOT be settling for Field Goals when they have first down in the red zone…  Baker looked lost… he looked confused… he looked like he was pressing… He was tentative…  he held the ball too long…  the OL did not give him time… they did not provide decent run blocking…  Its a damn good thing they were playing the Jets… because if this was the Rams (week 3 opponent) Ravens, Seattle, Baltimore, or San Francisco, (Browns next 5 opponents) they would not have been so lucky. 

This offense has enough talent to be one of the most explosive in the NFL, yet Baker is playing like he is afraid…  Like he has no trust in either his decision making or the protection of his offensive line…  Until we see the Baker of 2018, this team is 8-8 at best and will not even SNIFF the playoffs…  Get your shit together Browns… or all of the  hype surrounding this team at the start of the season will simply be just that… HYPE…  with no connection to reality whatsoever…

Like I have been saying since the draft…  don’t tell me what this team can do…  SHOW ME…

Have a good night….

Scott – The Sports Nerd…

The Diva-In-Chief

The Sports Nerd | The Incoherent Ramblings of a Die Hard Sports Fan

So begins the 2019 NFL season.  I have a lot on my mind as we stand here a little over one hour from kickoff of the 100th season in the NFL.  There are plenty of stories, drama and predictions going on out there, and tonight we begin yet another season full of hope for 32 teams, but unfortunately, only one team will walk away with the Lombardi Trophy in February.  As you might expect, I love this time of year, because not only is the NFL season upon us, but College Football kicked off its season last week, and in about a month’s time the NHL season will begin – GO BOLTS – as well as the fall classic – Baseball Postseason will arrive.  But allow me to focus on those three latter events  on a future post, because tonight’s post is all about the NFL.

Tonight we kick it off with Chicago and Green Bay, a fitting way to start the NFL’s 100th season but with the longest standing rivalry between two of the most storied franchises in the history of the league.  “The Monsters of the Midway” vs “The Cheeseheads”, if you want to be corny, but in fact in reality, the 2019 version of these :”historic” teams are but mere shadows of what their franchises represent in the history of the NFL.  This isn’t Lombardi’s Packers nor are they even the Packers of the 90’s with Brett Favre or even the most recent championship team.  The Pack changed their head coach in the offseason, and Aaron Rogers is running a completely new offense, of which he has yet to see even one snap under game conditions (he didn’t play in preseason).  The Bears on the other hand are in year two of the Mitchell Trubisky era, as well as year two of Khalil Mack anchoring a dominant defense that overperformed last year but was unable to overcome the inexperience of their rookie QB and first-year head coach.  It’s a great headline to offer up these two teams for the opening night in the NFL, but as the season progresses, one or maybe even both of these teams will be average at best.

Ok, with all of that out of the way, let me get to the point of this post.  I am in a mood, especially after what I witnessed today in Oakland…  I wasn’t actually physically in Oakland, but I caught the highlights on “SportsCenter” after work today, as well as reading my Twitter feed and FB timeline as to what occurred in Oakland.  Seems the “Diva In Chief” has a problem with being fined for not participating in practice, in making himself not available, sitting at home taking a bath in his gold tub, counting his millions or whatever else he does when he isn’t on the field (thinking about coloring his hair or mustache again?).  After posting the letter sent to him by GM Mike Mayock advising him that he would be fined $54,000 for missing “team activities” he got into an altercation with said GM today at practice.  According to Adam Schefter, it did not turn physical, but witnesses stated that AB threatened to hit Mayock in the face.

It is no secret that I am not an AB fan, nor do I have any sympathy for him in regards to his current situation, simply put, as a life-long fan of the Cleveland Browns, all of the recent drama going on in Oakland warms my cold heart.  AB has brought this upon himself with off the field antics, and for once, the Oakland Raiders are not to blame for this fiasco.  From the frost-bitten feet, to the issues with his helmet to today’s fireworks, AB has only himself to blame, and I am more than happy to sit back and watch him implode and lose his chance at the Hall of Fame career that, up until today, he deserved.  I believe he will one day be knows as the most overrated WR in the history of the NFL, simply because he caused more drama than TO in his heyday.

I have a lot more to say about the 100th NFL season, but I will save that for the coming days leading up to Sunday…  Stay Tuned…  The Sports Nerd is coming out of hibernation…

Thanks for reading… and remember to be nice to each other…

Scott “The Sports Nerd”

The Games we love to watch… and the athletes that play them…

It has been a tumultuous week in the world of the NFL.  Andrew Luck has retired, citing nagging injury and the impact it has had on his mental fitness, his love of the game and the desire to play the game he loves as a career.  Luck has faced numerous injuries over his career, a sampling of those injuries are below.  Keep in mind, Luck was drafted #1 over all in the 2012 draft, and in the 7 years since he has been drafted, he has missed at least one full season (2017) and parts of others.  He has not come even close to a career that befits a player of his stature and ability:

  •   Torn cartilage in 2 ribs

  • partially torn abdomen

  • a lacerated kidney that left him peeing blood

  • at least 1 concussion

  • a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder

  • and this mysterious calf/ankle issue that led to his retirement

That’s just in 7 years as an active member of the NFL and as the franchise quarterback of the Colts.  The game is brutal, it is savage, and it is dangerous, yet it is the most popular game in the US, more so than baseball, basketball and yes, even “soccer”, the most popular game in the world.  Boys start playing football at young ages, some as young as six or seven years old in “pee wee” leagues sponsored by local towns and organizations.  WE love to go to the games, we love to watch them  on TV, and yes we love to play “fantasy football” each and every season (including me) to live vicariously through the lives and abilities of our “heroes” and “role models”.  I was raised on the NFL, being drawn to it as a young boy of the ’70’s, with idols such as Roger Staubach, Jack Youngblood, Franco Harris, Ken “The Snake” Stabler, and Jack Lambert.  I loved the history, the glory, the beauty, and yes, the violence of the game in its pure form, never realizing what these “idols” of mine went through on a weekly basis.

Over the years we have begun to peel back the layers of what the toll on these players is over the course of their careers, including but not limited to, migraines, physical disability, mental anguish, chronic pain, and short life spans for some, up to and including suicide in the most extreme cases.  Yet we still sit in front of our TV’s each week, go to the stadiums, go to sports bars, and tailgate with our friends to celebrate this sport and how much we love it.  One of my most fondest memories was going to a Cleveland Browns game in 1989 with my father at the old Municipal Stadium in Cleveland on a Monday Night to watch the Browns Play the Eric Dickerson-led Indianapolis Colts.  The Browns won that game and the stadium was electric with 80,000 screaming fans, and I was in heaven, it was one of the best times I had with my dad, and trust me, those times were few and far between, but we both shared a love for the Browns and rooted for them all of our lives. 

Fast-forward to Saturday night this past weekend.  I was watching the first college football game of the season – Miami Hurricanes vs Florida Gators from Orlando and it was a terrible game, lot of penalties, mistakes, turnovers, it was ugly, but I didn’t care, it was the first “real” game of the season and I was happy to watch it.  I always have my tweet deck up in the office when I am watching TV, and all of sudden I saw a tweet come across from Adam Schefter of ESPN that announced that Andrew Luck was retiring at 29 years old.  I immediately thought, this has to be the “fake” Shefter account and could not possibly be real, but sure enough, there was the blue check of authenticity telling me that this was a real tweet and not a parody account.  I was stunned…  I could not believe it…  But then as more information came across the wire I suddenly realized that it all made sense, because I had witnessed his entire career, and remember how much time he has spent on the sideline injured with one thing or another, and how much of toll it had to have had on his body, and as a result, his desire and love of the game. 

Then I see the ugly  side of professional sports, not from the side of the player or coach, but from the fans and the sports writers that cover the NFL and make their living off the NFL and its popularity.  The fans in Lucas Oil Stadium, the fans that Luck played for, bled for, and sacrificed his body for, BOOED him as he left the field Saturday night after the news broke that he was going to retire.  Doug Gottleib, a Fox Sports radio host said “Retiring because rehabbing is too hard is the most Millennial thing ever”, and despite the push-back from practically the entire Twitter universe, he doubled down on those comments saying they were nothing more than snark and decided to then complain about Millennial culture. 

See this is where you lose me, because those people that have never been in his shoes, never laced them up and played organized sports, whether it be football or any other sport, don’t get it.  the preparation that goes into getting your body ready week to week in order to be ready to play on Sunday’s is something they will never understand, because they have never had to do it.  If you want an idea of what these athletes go through on a typical week need only look as far as a 2017 segment Jason Witten did with Peter King on how he recovers from game day each and every week.  This is just one example of what it takes weekly to get ready to play the following week.  As I mentioned at the start of this post, football is a brutal sport and it is brutal on the body, no matter how good or bad you are at it, it takes a toll on your body and its ability to recover.

Not many players can go out on their own terms, and Luck may or not be going out on his own terms, but he wants to have quality of life, and who can blame him for that.  He has a new wife, and she is pregnant with their first child.  He wants to be there for them, and be able to enjoy them and live his life to the fullest, who can blame him.  The injuries have taken its toll, and he has lost his passion for the game he loves and has decided his desire for having a quality life outweighs his desire to play.  I respect him for that as should everyone respect him for that, but the haters will lament and call him soft, weak, and a quitter because they wont be able to draft him on their fantasy team. 

So as we prepare for yet another College Football and NFL Football season, let us not forget what these athletes go through, what they have decided to risk, and most of all, admire them for putting their bodies on the line each and every week to entertain us for 3 hours per week.  I will be in front of my TV watching, as will millions of other fans across the country, but for me, I will not take them for granted, nor will I criticize them for being human, because I know that their career could end on the very next play…  Thank you Andrew for what you brought to the NFL, and may you find happiness in whatever adventure you decide to go on in your next career…

Thank you for reading… 

Remember to be kind to each other… 

Scott “The Sports Nerd”

Distraction is the enemy of success…

There is plenty of news leading up to the 2019 NFL season to keep u occupied, from AB’s helmet, to Lucks, ankle, from Eli’s game count to whether or not Melvin Gordon and Ezekiel Eliot Deserve top-five contracts in the for mf $$$.  And while this may be driving the big networks bylines on a daily basis, to me, it is all just fluff.  the bottom line is the season starts in three weeks, who is going to be ready and who is not gonna compete.  To me, all of the story lines that are happening is going to interfere with what the goal is… A World Championship.

Antonio Brown may be in the news because he has frostbitten feet and he doesn’t like his helmet, and Eli may be in the hot seat in New York because a Rookie that had no business being drafted at #5 had ONE good series in the FIRST preseason game, and while the media converge on Indianapolis because Andrew Luck has yet another boo-boo that may keep him on the sidelines for week one to “whatever”, the distractions off the field will always distract from the goal, and that is to win a championship.

All of these issues have fascinated the masses and put the spotlight on stories that will, in the long run, determine who is playing in January and who will be sitting at home.  The Raiders, the Giants, and possibly even the Cowboys and Colts will not make the playoffs because of what is happening before the season even starts.  In the NFL distraction breeds mediocrity, while teams flying under the radar in the preseason end up being contenders in January and February.  With all that being said, in regards to all of these teams facing drama and issues before the season even starts, will not be in Miami come February…  None of them.

I’m just sayin…

Have a good night… and remember to be good to each other

Scott “The Sports Nerd”