Kevin Lewis is a retired NFL linebacker.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Is Super Sunday all that?

The Patriots and the Giants have a score to settle and they will use Superbowl XLVI to do just that. But is the Super Bowl really an overhyped regular game. NO!NO! Did I already say heck NO! The Super Bowl is the most watched event in the WORLD. It’s the most valued and coveted trophy in all of sports. Don’t believe me, check your wallet. The average Stanley Cup seat prices are $1,518, the NBA Finals $924, and the World Series average is $572. These prices may look outrageous until you check the average price of a Super Bowl ticket…. $3,127. When else do companies pay 3.5 million for a .30 second spot?

This game is valuable, it’s a whole season summed up in 60 minutes. It’s the acumination of 32 teams seeking one goal and only one being able to fulfill it. Just ask your wife or your non athletic husband will they watch, they will. They may even have placed a secret bet on the game. It’s also the biggest day in Vegas. What other sporting event has been known to want to bet a figure that Vegas won’t accept. Birdman of Cash Money records has made it known that he wants to bet 5 million on the game and Vegas hasn’t stepped up to take it.

Unless you have been to a Super Bowl, you have no idea and should definitely add it to your bucket list. I was a part of Super Bowl XXXV. I didn’t understand the magnitude of the game until practice started the first week. Everyone was flying around as if we hadn’t just finished a rigorous regular season that included very difficult playoff games. The usually injured guys were even practicing. Right before we left to fly to Tampa, I noticed new, suits and jewelry begin to appear. It smelled like MONEY all around.

When we landed in Tampa, we felt like Presidential Rock Stars. There were crowds of people awaiting our arrival everywhere that we went. But the security around us was so tight that none could get within 50 feet of us. One example happened when one of my teammates got off the elevator to go to his room and there was a family that was walking in the other direction. The security made the family move against the wall while my teammate passed by.

The media was like TMZ paparazzi on steroids. There were cameras everywhere we looked and even teammates had cameras. The media were from all over the world. A lot of times reporters had to have translators because almost every country in the world was represented.

As for this year’s Super Bowl, the teams will have to put all of that behind them and focus and concentrate on the game. The Pats will have this advantage because most of their core guys have been here before. The Giants have Eli and some of the defensive guys but for the most part this will be new for most of them. This game will come down to how well Eli can play against a much improved New England defense. Look for Belichick to put together his best defensive scheme of the year that will confuse the Giants young receiving core, which won’t be able to recover. I believe in Eli, but I will stick with my preseason pick and go with the Brady Bunch. New England wins.

NCAA Basketball Already!!

Yes, in the middle of the NFL playoffs and right before the NBA All-Star break, OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH is back. The constant noise that you here when watching or going to a college basketball game like, Duke, UNC, Ohio State, or Michigan St. Preseason picks have long ago been made and non-surprisingly , the UNC starting five and their water boys have been deemed Naismith watch list worthy.

The current rankings have Syracuse, Kentucky, Baylor, Duke and Mizzou rounding out the top five, with most of the usual suspects rounding out the top twenty-five. So who will be around in March and better yet, who’ll be in the final four and eventual National Champs?

The NCAA is now are allowing a about around thousand teams in the tournament, so let’s just say if you’re at least decent, you’re in. The final four pictures is harder to decide. Teams are just beginning conference play and fans can really tell who their teams really are during this period.

Just like everyone else, I was ready to pick UNC as the National Champs but Roy Williams is underachieving again and just allowed an average FSU team to blow him out by thirty. So, they are out.

Kentucky is a very intriguing ball club because they or shall I say John Calipari always has NBA talent.

Another team we must take seriously is Syracuse. The shortest starter is 6’4 point guard Scoop Jardine. Cuse is long, aggressive and very athletic. Anyone of their starters may light you up for 25 points a night.

Ohio State is a team that you can’t overlook because of Sullinger and the consistent veteran play they receive from William Buford.

Georgetown will somehow sneak into the fray this year. They are a no name team that’s more reminiscent of the Princeton model John Thompson learned than that of his father.

Last but not least we have to believe that UNC will at some point overcome their own ineptitude and begin to play to their NBA abilities. Talent wins and that’s why they’ll be in the final four.

Okay, don’t trip, all of us are allowed to change our minds without being accused of “flip-flopping.” P.S. I know that’s 5 teams, I can count!

Where would MLK belong in today’s sports world?

Would it be in the NBA, where the Hip-Hop culture has produced CEO’s of their own brands who won’t be able to reap their benefits because of violence, drugs or plain stupidity? No one will step up and begin to mentor “Grown Men,” no one has a voice. Everyone just wants to, “do them.”

In the NFL where the same sort of hood mentality lives in the minds of some of our most talented athletes, it’s shameful that none of the guys speak up. Whether it’s been Dexter Manly or Lawrence Taylor who have just repetitively lived “crackhead” lifestyles, or Sam Hurd, Travis Henry, and our own Nate Newton who had grandiose visions of becoming a bigger King Pin than Pablo Escobar. The situation should just plain make us cringe with discuss. Where are the great motivators? Be like MLK motivate fellow players to win in the game of life.

Maybe the continued decline of black players in MLB should be a cause of concern to us and its players. In a league where only seven of the managers, General Managers and/or Presidents are black and Hispanic, someone needs to speak out. The MLB’s own commissioner Bud Selig has spoken out about it. Who else will?

Is there a MLK? In the NHL, where it’s easy to see next to the white blinding ice the lack of minority players that exist? The few that do and have played in the past, seem to always be able to recall banana’s being thrown at them shortly after racial slurs hitting them like bricks. Surely, MLK should be found here. But of course, these incidents are always overlooked and the larger problem of minority inclusion is never addressed. Funny thing is we seem to think of Hockey as a “white man’s” sport but, the North American Indians were the founders and a widely untold truth in history doesn’t but should give blacks credit for modern day hockey being a derivative of style and speed blacks played with in the early 19th century.

NASCAR seems to be moving in the right direction. The MLK here would be Max Seigel, who has developed a diversity (D4D) program which attempts to bring diversity to a white southern sport. Since its inception in 2008, NASCAR continues to develop promising young minority talent that we should see in the winner’s circle in the coming years.

Why don’t athletes be the Jackie Robinsons, Muhammad Ali’s or Jim Browns of our times. The issues still exist, so the fight is still needed. These earlier sports heroes were imperfect men who sa w a need and a way to effect change. I believe in staying in our own lanes, but if there is no one drives then that lane will remain empty. MLK believed in driving and we must all take that same initiative.

Offense Wins Championships

Clearly in the wake of this modern day NFL, the way to win the Super Bowl is with offense. In that case, the Super Bowl will be played by the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints.

In the AFC, the Texans will play the Bengals. This game will not resemble a playoff game at all. They’ll be two rookie quarterbacks competing against each other, not having any real clue of what’s at stake. The Texans just haven’t been the same since they found out they were division champs and were in the playoffs for the first time in history. The Bengals will beat the Texans because they are limping into the playoffs having already loss three games in a row.

The Bengals will win the right to lose to New England by a lot as the Patriots will wait for the right to play in the AFC championship game.

The Steelers have a first round bye. Okay, not really, let’s call it a practice against a tough scout team called the Denver Broncos. This unconventional offense just won’t and can’t work against a league leading and bruising Pittsburgh defense. If Tebow runs the ball ten times, we will find out if Brady Quinn his backup still cares about football.

The Steelers will then finally lose to their arch rival Baltimore Ravens squad. The Ravens have found the chink in the Steelers armor and will expose it for the third time this season.

The Raves won’t be able to keep up with Brady’s offense and will lose in the AFC Championship game.

In the NFC the Giants will beat up the Falcons and a still unproven Matt Ryan. The Giants will subsequently lose to the Packers because they can’t keep up with Aaron Rodgers explosive offense.

The Saints will completely run up the score against the Lions. The Lions secondary is awful and that’s not what you want against the QB with the most passing yards in a season.

This win will setup a matchup with the most complete team in the league, the San Francisco 49’ers. Alex Smith won’t be able to matchup against Drew Brees and the 49ers will lose.

Two of the most explosive offenses will meet in the NFC championship game. Both QB’s will cancel each other out. The edge on defense goes to the Saints, so they’ll win because of it.

Who cares about Bowl games anyway?

Bowl games have started and no one cares. Of course each individual alumnus and all who are associated with actual team do, but for football fans……Boring! Bowl games are competing with the uncertain playoff pic in the NFL. The NBA has just kicked off what could be its most anticipated and exciting season ever. And did we mention, Tim Tebow is in the NFL?

Games seem to be getting played every day, as I channel surf and mistakenly land on one. I will watch for about a few minutes just to learn who the great Mel Kiper says will be the next Ryan Leaf, sorry I meant Peyton Manning. After that brief stint, I move on to NBATV or NFL Network.

Too many meaningless games attack our televisions as we lie in wait for the next Laker, Bull, Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Clipper game. Did I just say a Clipper game? The Bowl season has starred Boise St, TCU, La Laffayette, SMU, FIU…….Okay you get my drift. Uninteresting and unexciting games for most sports fans, especially at a time when not knowing if America’s team (Dallas Cowboys) will miss the playoffs again this year.

Maybe these games will get a little better, the historic Notre Dame will play the great FSU this weekend. Only if it were the early 90’s, then this game would’ve been a great one. How about the Urban Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida vs Ohio St. This game will be one for the ages. As in how long it will take for Ohio St to be good again, and how many years Florida will be on probation once the real reason Urban left the school will come out in a few years.

And finally for the games that count, the Rose bowl will be won by a really fast Oregon team. The Fiesta bowl will be a high scoring lopsided event dominated by Oklahoma State. Andrew Luck will be credited with the few points scored by Stanford’s fluttering offense. Michigan, VTech, Clemson, WVU……How did these teams get in a BCS games. All of them are mediocre teams who play in conferences that have automatic bids into these games. Boise ST would beat them.

Okay, okay I do realize that the BCS National championship game is coming soon, however I feel like its deja vu. Haven’t we seen this game somewhere before? Didn’t LSU win? Well, I’m not much of a gambler but if I were, I would bet everything on Purple and Gold. LSU is the better team. They’re better on defense and special teams. Since Jefferson Jordan has been back as the starting QB, LSU has had one of the best offenses in the country. Sorry Bama faithful, but you won’t win this game.

Forget what you know, It’s all about Tim Tebow.

Tebow, throws a horrible ball. Tebow throwing motion stinks. Tebow can’t run a real pro-style offense…..Tebow just wins!! Tim Tebow has been the most widely discussed athlete in the NFL since his arrival in the 2010 draft. From the bewilderment of the Bronco faithful, to the unshakable belief in him from then head coach Josh Daniels, Tim Tebow has stayed in the mouths of analyst, writers, broadcasters, and even politicians alike. What is it about him? Is it his anchored faith in God, or his unbelievable morality and character? Like our President, do many want him to just fell? It’s his uncanny ability to get his team to believe in themselves. It’s his faith in God that gives him belief that he can achieve anything he puts his mind and work ethic to.

Tebow just gets it done. He is now 7-1 since he became a starter and continues to prove that he belongs in the NFL at Quarterback. He is redefining a position that says the only way to get it done is by being traditional. There has been many QB’s before him that have tried to do this, but the establishment either won them over (Michael Vick, Steve Young), or flushed them out of the league (Kordell Stewart, Doug Flutie). Right now, Tebow has made the establishment a believer as well. Head coach John Fox and President John Elway have come to terms with the way Tebow plays, or shall we say WINS, and has restructured the offense to his advantage.

This has made Denver the division leader and set them on course of being in charge of their own destiny. Denver is now 8-5 and arguably the hottest team in the NFL, even more so than the 13-0 Packers. Behind the rise of Tebow and their defense, don’t count them out of the Super Bowl just yet.