Michael Sam and the Cleveland Browns

You all know my forte’ is the NFL, I don’t make any pretenses over it, nor to I pretend to be an expert at it, but the NFL is what I live, breath and bleed for.  So when two major stories break in the same week during the off season, my heart begins to pump, my blood begins to boil, and the adrenaline gives me a bitter taste in my mouth over the excitement.  The first story broke as I was doing my show Sunday night, most of my audience were like.. “ho hum, so what” but I knew this was big, and I knew it would be the topic of discussion for more than just one news cycle. 

Michael Sam, a 6’ 2” 260 pound senior from Missouri came out Sunday night as a gay man.  He is almost guaranteed to be drafted by an NFL team in May, making him the first openly gay man to ever be active in the NFL.  This is a big deal, whether you are a fan of the game or not, and the reason it is a big deal is because Michael Sam is about to enter a world where masculinity is a cornerstone of the game.  Manly men, doing manly things, knocking one another over, getting physical, using brute strength to gain a few yards here and there, showing off their physical attributes along with an overload of male testosterone.  Now that you have that visual, now enter a gay man into the locker room.  The stereotypes associated with being a gay man is the complete opposite of what an NFL locker room is, but Sam is about to blow the doors off any and all of those stereotypes come training camp in July.  The question of whether there has ever been an active gay NFL player has always been on our minds and the fact is that the numbers show that their probably has been, and in fact, NFL Network recently did a show on former Redskins Tight End Jerry Smith, who played 12 seasons as a closeted gay man, then there is DB Wade Davis, who came out as gay after retiring from the NFL after just a few short seasons with the Titans, Seahawks and Redskins.  But there has never been an openly gay man in the NFL.  I don’t have a controversial opinion to share, nor do I feel his sexual orientation should be a factor in where he is drafted, but the CBS draft board had him drop from the late second to third round to the bottom half of the draft the day after his announcement. 

There have been anonymous quotes made by GM’s in the press stating that they wont draft him cause of his sexuality, due to the “distraction” or because the NFL wasn’t “ready” for an openly gay player, but as I read and listen to these meatheads say and spit out the vile from their mouths, I wonder, who is going to the the GM that takes a chance on this kid, he is a decent player, he was the Defensive player of the year in the SEC last year, and an All-American, certainly he has skills, but some question his ability to adapt to the LB position in the 3-4, and some say he doesn’t have the size needed to play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme.  I don’t know if this is an excuse, or if it fact, as I haven’t watched tape on him, but one thing is for sure, Michael Sam is about to explode onto the NFL and whether he is welcome with open arms by team mates, or he is ostracized is yet to be seen.  The culture of an NFL locker room was exposed this past season with the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin saga as the type of environment that tends to look the other way when harassment or bullying is present, and in fact is accepted in some form or another.  How this kid handles this environment will go a long way to determine just how “ready” the NFL is for an openly gay player.  Good luck Michael, I wish you all the best.

 

The Cleveland Browns once again showed the NFL just how dysfunctional they are, when on Tuesday, owner Jimmy Haslam  fired GM Mike Lombardi and CEO Joe Banner will be stepping down in the next two months.  Haslam promoted Assistant GM Ray Farmer to GM, and once again the Browns are starting over, which seems to be the standard for this franchise.  I have been a Browns fan for over 40 years, and I have never seen such upheaval, turmoil, and dysfunction on this team in all of those years.  Haslam is a first time owner and I understand that there maybe a learning curve but this is just another example of how he has no clue what the hell he is doing.  I’m not saying that Lombardi and Banner were the answer, nor am I saying that they didn’t deserve to be let go, but the more stuff like this happens the more I get the feeling that Jimmy is either clueless, desperate for a winning combination, or just wants to get it “right”.  Since coming back to the NFL in 1999 the Browns have had 20 starting QB’s and 8 Head Coaches, and that’s in just 14 years, so turnover in Cleveland is the norm, and not the exception.  It is frustrating as a fan, and certainly I hope they get it right, but I am not holding out hope.  With off field issues regarding an FBI investigation of his Flying J convenience stores looming, jimmy needs to get it right, needs to let the football guys worry about football, so he can focus on the litigation.  I honestly don’t know what the future holds for this team, but one thing is for sure, I will still root for them, cheer them on, and hope that they can turn it around.  It has been 50 years since the Browns had a NFL championship, 12 years since they were in the playoffs, and the city is starved for a winner. 

The Sports Nerd Top 5 2/8/2014

The following Stories are what I feel are the most interesting stories of the past day, and in one case, the past week. These are my opinion and if you don’t feel that I have addressed a top story, well..  Get your own Blog..  These are the most interesting stories to ME in the last 24 hours..  err.. sans 1 story that I promised to write about cause…  well..  I’m an idiot…lol

 

A-Rod Drops Lawsuit against MLB, the MLBPA, and Bud Selig…

After getting his suspension reduced to 162 games from the original 211 handed down last season, Alex Rodriguez, the poster child for everything that’s wrong with baseball, he has decided to drop his lawsuits, take his medicine, and sit out the entire 2014 season.  Thank you Alex, you have just saved the entire world a plethora of nonsense, innuendo, false accusations, and not to mention, embarrassing yourself on the national stage… oh wait..  that’s what happens when you actually PLAY.  Now maybe we can all get back to enjoying the game, and not have A-Fraud distract us all with his silly antics.  Oh, right, that’s again when you actually play..  Dang..  I know there’s an analogy for this out there somewhere.. 

 

Sochi Olympics Begin.. Controversies Continue…

Well, let the games begin.  As of this writing the first Olympic Gold has gone to an American..  Sage Kotsenburg in the men’s snowboard slope style, whatever the heck that is..  The games are being hosted by Russia, a country that is still technologically lost in the 90’s and can’t seem to get their way out of it.  From their non-working urinals, spy cams in the showers, dreadful hotel conditions, the Olympic rings not lighting up correctly during the opening ceremonies, and their scary creepy bear mascot, these games are a clusterf*** waiting to happen.  I may watch a bit over the weekend, but it is plain to see that the Russians were not ready for the games, and we all wait with baited breath which will come first, an athlete getting hurt, or Bob Costas finally getting over his pink eye…

 

The NFL and Weed…

The Super Bowl was dubbed “The Stoner Bowl” by several media types, due to the fact both teams came from states that have legalized weed, and because of this, there has been an increasingly loud sentiment that the NFL, as well as the other major sports, should remove it fro the banned substance list for medicinal purposes.  Marijuana has a lot of medicinal properties, most of which have been proven with visible results, but to this day it is still an illegal substance on the federal level, and there is no end in sight to this law.  A lot of players are users, and go to great lengths to hide the fact that they smoke, but commissioner Goodell, in a statement prior to the Super Bowl, says that they will follow medicine and if changes do come they will take those changes into consideration.  Sports Illustrated has an in-depth article on the subject in this weeks magazine, I suggest you read it and come up with an opinion of your own.  The story is available online at SI.com and you only have to watch a short 30 second add to unlock it.  it’s a good read.

 

Steven Stamkos not cleared for Olympics, Yzerman replaces him with St Louis..

Tampa Bay Lighting and top scorer Steven Stamkos was not cleared by Doctors to play in the Olympics due to rehab on his broken leg suffered November 11, and was removed from the Canadian National team and will not travel to Sochi to play in the Olympics.  Steve Yzerman, the General Manager for Team Canada has found a brief moment of clarity and replaced him with Martin St Louis, Stamkos’ teammate on the Lightning and probably the best player in the NHL over 35 years of age.  “Marty” as he is fondly called here in Tampa, was shunned initially by Yzerman, who also happens to be the General Manager of the Lighting, and did not select Marty for the initial roster, something he did 4 years ago as well, but due to Stamkos’ injury, St Louis is now a member of Team Canada, something Yzerman should have done in the first place..  I almost wish Marty would have come out and told Yzerman to stick it, but it’s an honor to play for your country and Marty is a great addition to the team.  He has 25 goals and 54 points in 56 games this season and has bee on fire since the snub, scoring 7 goals and 15 points in 14 games.

 

The Cleveland Cavaliers are AWFUL!!   Yes I am discussing NBA….

I made the mistake of mentioning the following game on my Twitter feed Wednesday night and although I DON’T watch the NBA, I could not help but notice this game and the hilarity that ensued..  The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers played an NBA game in Cleveland, but what actually turned into a comedy of “now what do I do” and “Did that really just happen” was the epitome of what Cleveland basketball has been since oh…  forever..  The Lakers, already depleted by injury this season, traveled to Cleveland with just 8 players on the roster.  They lost two of them to injury during the game, and one more to cramps, leaving just five left.  Yes, there are supposed to be five players on the court at all times during a game, however, Robert Sacre committed his 6th foul with 3:32 left to play and actually had to stay in the game to make sure there were five players on the floor.  Had Sacre fouled again it would be a technical, as would each successive foul moving forward.  Despite all of this, the Lakers still managed to win the game, 119-108, proving once and for all, Cleveland is the place where Professional Sports Players go to die..  A bizarre ending to a bizarre game..  THIS is why I hate the NBA..  cause it’s a joke, the players are only after individual accomplishments, it isn’t a team game, it has become the league of showmanship, one upsmanship, and a contest to see who can make Sports Center with their ally oops and their dunks.  I played basketball in High School…  it was a team game back then, and for the most point, the NCAA still is.  but once they get the money, the fame, and the attention, it all of a sudden becomes a me me me sport.  I hate it, and until it becomes a team game again, I will not watch.  You can probably make the case that all pro sports have become like this, but you look at the NFL, the NHL, and MLB, those are sports where you HAVE to be part of the team, or else you will not succeed.  The NBA is not this way, as when one or two players can become the story or the reason a team is successful, there is a problem with that.  Some of you may disagree, and that’s fine, but I call em as I see em, and for this sports fan, I refuse to watch a bunch of egos playing a game that has become more about the individual and less about the team.

 

Those are my thoughts, feel free to comment and tell me what you think I missed or if you have something to add to these stories.

Super Bowl XLVIII

Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks for winning the Super Bowl, they were dominant, they never let Denver get into a rhythm and they shut down the best QB in the game.  In what was the most lopsided Super Bowl in recent memory, close to what we all experienced in the 80’s and 90’s when the NFC dominated for so long, Seattle stuck with what got them there, defense.  I stayed interested for the first half, and 12 seconds into the second half after Percy Harvin ran the second half kickoff back for a TD.  The key to the win?  A Smothering defense that never let up, knocking Denver’s receivers off their routes, pressure on Peyton, and of course, good play by their offense, a blueprint that all teams should follow in the future.  This is the future of the NFL, and although this has become a league of offense, Seattle proved that defense still wins championships.   The most impressive stat for me was that Seattle only blitzed 3 times all night.  They were able to get to Manning with 4 rushers for most of the game, the Denver offensive line had no answer for it, and could not keep them out of the  backfield.  The game was not the best, and of course the commercials were awful, as usual, but Seattle earned this win, and they will be champs for the next 12 months. 

With that being said, I have noticed a lot of commentators, pundits, friends of mine, and couch potato sports fans all say that this loss diminishes the career and the “legacy” of Peyton Manning.  Umm..  to put it bluntly..  Bullshit.  How do you tarnish the legacy of a future first ballot Hall of Famer, Super Bowl Champion, and probably the greatest regular season QB of all time?  No, this loss wont tarnish who this man is, it will be disappointing for him and he will look back on this game as one of his worst, but you cant take away what Denver did to get to the Super Bowl in the first place, the most potent offense of all time, a supposedly over the hill QB with neck issues having the best season in the history of the NFL and overcoming losing their head coach in the middle of the season to heart surgery.  No, this ONE game wont hurt his legacy, and in fact because of how he and the Broncos got there, it will go a long way to cement his legacy as one of the great QB’s in the history of the NFL.

Now with six months to go before preseason, I am sad, football season is over, and although I always feel this way after the Super Bowl, there is plenty to be excited about as a sports fan.  Daytona is right around the corner (Feb 23) the Olympics start next week, Pitchers and Catchers report this week, and of course march Madness, the draft in May, and one of my favorite events of the year, The Masters in April.  2014 is just getting started for sports fans and we have a lot to look forward to. 

This is the Time….

You know when I started this website a little over a year ago, I really didn’t know where I wanted to go with it.  over the last year I have tweaked, tinkered and fumbled my way across the site trying to look into its future, and it was cloudy.  Now, however I have a feel for it, I have goals for it, and it is all coming into focus.  The problem I have is that I am a procrastinator, and not just a mild one, but a big one.  So I have committed myself to focusing on this, my baby, and making it the best site I can make it.  Whether it be through my posts, or the content of the site itself.  It ill grow, it will evolve, and there will be more non-sports content in my posts and on the pages within going forward.  Since I am an aspiring “Internet entrepreneur” I will have more of that type of content in the future, some of it will be useful, some of it will be garbage I am sure, but either way, as they say nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I wont move away from my sports roots, and 75% of the content will in fact be sports related, but I am expanding my horizons a bit, and will provide more varied content, and the site will be content driven and not just some schmuck posting.  My posts will not be PC a lot of the time, and they will at times be controversial.  When I get passionate about a subject, I hold nothing back, so buckle up, its going to be a fun ride.

Media Day.. ERR.. Idiot Day

So here we are, 4 days (as of Wednesday) from the Super Bowl, the teams are set, the weather is gonna suck, the media is gonna hype it to death, the parties are planned, the food has been decided upon, and the greatest spectacle in sport is about to happen.  Well, I for one, don’t buy into the hype, could care less what color underwear the players are wearing on media day, and for what it’s worth, on a personal level, I could care less who wins the game, just that I hope it is a good game, and that no one gets hurt.  I am a fan of the game of Professional Football, and to make it clear, one of the questions asked on Media Day was actually this..  Shaun Phillips was asked by a reporter if he considered this game a “must win” game.  other questions thrown out there:  Would you rather see Andy Reid or Mar Mangino in a thong; (To Peyton Manning) will you be making an appearance on SNL this week; “Who has the smelliest farts in the locker room.  This is but a sampling of what was ACTUALLY asked at Media Day.  I’m not making this up, these are actual questions (look them up).  For fuck’s sake, shoot me now….

Here I sit in my one bedroom apartment, a fan of the game, wishing at some point I could actually be a sports journalist some day, wishing my writing was better, regretting I did not pursue it sooner in life, and some yahoo that actually is being PAID to be there asks a professional athlete their opinion on how someone’s FART smells?  Are you kidding me?  I swear when it comes to THIS game, they will give credentials to ANYONE.  No one can come up with a decent question?  “Excuse me Mr. Sherman, how will you approach this game knowing that Peyton Manning has burned nearly every defense he has faced this year?’’ Excuse me Mr. Manning, how will you approach this game knowing that this is the best secondary in the NFL?”  Coach Fox, how do you game plan against such an unpredictable QB as Russell Wilson?”  you know… NORMAL questions.  something to build an article on, create a story, you know..  actual journalism..

I’m so sick of it..  armatures, hacks, people that have never stepped foot on a football field or covered an NFL game in their entire career, this is what we get, and it seems that it gets worse each and every year.  The NFL allows his crap, the players allow this crap, and most of all, the MEDIA allows this crap.  What should be celebrated as the best and most exciting game of the year is reduced to a few sound bytes, spewed by comic numbskulls and flat out idiots.  By the way..  For anyone out there that cares..  I’m available for media day next year..  If you need a correspondent that wont make an ass out of themselves…  I’m your guy…  **sigh**