Thursday, February 25, 2010

Out With The Old

One, a record setting future Hall Of Famer, the other, arguably the most versatile player this decade, and now both are unemployed. The parallels between newly released LaDanian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook are eerily similar, fitting that they both will arrive in new cities for the first time in their careers. At the beginning of the 2010 football season, Westbrook and Tomlinson will have recently celebrated their 31st birthdays, will no longer be the focal point of an NFL offense, and be looking to prove the tank isn't on E just yet.

As the San Diego Chargers have seen their future Hall of Famer decline for the third consecutive season since his mind numbing 2006 MVP season, the decision to seperate became more and more evident. As for LaDanian Tomlinson, his 9-year career in San Diego has literally been one for the record books. After nine seasons in the league, Tomlinson sits 3rd All-Time in career touchdowns (153) behind only Cowboy great Emmitt Smith (175), and legendary wideout Jerry Rice (208). The now former San Diego Charger whose career rushing total of 12,490 yards is good for 8th All-Time has recorded more rushing touchdowns (138) than any running back to play the game with the sole exception of Emmitt Smith (164). In Tomlinson's MVP year of 2006, he etched his name in the record books setting an NFL record with 28 rushing touchdowns in one season. However, that wasn't the first time Tomlinson was seen in historical fashion. Between 2004 and 2005, LaDanian Tomlinson recorded a rushing touchdown in 18 straight games, something no back had ever done previously. Throughout Tomlinson's time in SoCal, the Charger running back played in all 16 regular season games seven of nine seasons and rushed for over 1,000 yards in eight of those nine seasons, a true mark of consistency. Timeout: Back to that record setting 2006 season. LaDanian Tomlinson rushed for 1,815 yards, averaged 5.2 yards per carry, scored 28 rushing touchdowns, and that isn't all. LaDanian also hit the endzone with (3) three more receiving touchdowns to go with his 508 yards receiving. Impressed yet? With the emergence of the (2) running backs splitting carries on nearly every NFL franchise, LaDanian Tomlinson may just be the last Hall Of Fame back with numbers like this.

The emergence of rookie running back LeSean McCoy in Philadelphia, and a concussion plagued season from veteran Brian Westbrook, Andy Reid and the Eagle offense has decided to part ways with the backbone of their attack for the better part of the past eight seasons. Westbrook doesn't have the statistics of the previously mentioned, however he's been just as important to his team, if not more so. In 2003, Westbrook's second season in the league, the Eagles realized how dangerous a player they had on their hands. A season which saw Philadelphia reach their third consecutive NFC Championship game also saw Westbrook rack up 1,251 all-purpose yards, and I mean all purpose. 306 return yards, 332 receiving, and 613 rushing yards, the Eagles had their weapon and would begin to use him any way they could. The following season, Brian Westbrook would once again cross the 1,000 total yards mark, increasing his rushing total to 812 and his receiving to 703. That season the Eagles would break through and finally reach the Super Bowl for the first time in four consecutive NFC Championship trys and they have Westbrook to thank for that. Playing without an injured Terrell Owens, Westbrook racked up 96 yards on 16 carries and caught five balls for nearly 40 yards as the Eagles handled the Falcons 27-10 and punched their ticket to the big dance. For the last eight seasons, Brian Westbrook has been as reliable as they come in the NFL. With 1,308 carries in his NFL career, Brain Westbrook has fumbled the ball just three times, for you mathematicians, that's one fumble every 436 carries. In 2006 and 2007, Westbrook all but carried the Eagle offense. A two year stretch where he recorded over 1,200 rushing yards each season and close to 700 yards receiving in both seasons as well. Timeout: Here's a player who has missed more than twenty games due to injury over his career, including eight this season with concussions, yet still has recorded close to 10,000 all-purpose yards. While McNabb & Owens feuded, while Andy Reid turned over the offense, who was the constant glue? Brian Westbrook. Brian Westbrook's career has been one marked by toughness and the ability to make an impact from anywhere he's lined up on the field. I still remember Westbrook on a breakaway run against the Cowboys with nothing but the endzone in front of him sliding down within the five to keep the Cowboy offense off the field in a close fourth quarter game several years back, sacrificing personal stats for a victory. How many players would do that? That's Brian Westbrook.

We've seen Jerry Rice in a Raider uniform, we've seen Montana in a Chiefs uniform, Emmitt Smith in a Cardinal uniform, and now we'll see Brian Westbrook and LaDanian Tomlinson dawn new colors in 2010, but never forget what they've been. Two of the more dominating figures in the NFL over the past ten seasons, two players who've carried franchises, and brought home hardware. For Tomlinson and Westbrook, they're departures are tough to handle for they're now former fan bases, but in the NFL, it's out with the old, in with the who?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In The Weeds

The Denver Nuggets will win the '09-'10 NBA Championship, you can put that in the bank. Behind veteran point guard Chauncey Billups and basketballs most underrated talent, Carmelo Anthony, the Denver Nuggets are possibly the only team who can halt the coronation of King James and or the defending champion Lakers. Since the New Year, the Nuggets have won 17 of 24 games including victories at L.A., Utah, San Antonio, Cleveland, and Houston. If you've been sleeping on the Northwest Division leaders, it's about time to wake up.

Like many good NBA teams looking to make a championship run, it begins and ends with veteran leadership. Paul Pierce in Boston, Tim Duncan in San Antonio, Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles, and of course, 12-year veteran point guard Chauncey Billups in Denver. Mr. Big Shot in Detroit, Billups led the Pistons to a title in 2004 and another Finals appearance in 2005, you want a guard with championship pedigree, you got it. At 33, Billups is having a career year. Averaging 19.8 points a game, a career high, and shooting .425 from the three point line, another career high, Chauncey Billups has made the Nuggets a serious threat to contend. In a highly anticipated post-All Star matchup with the Celtics, Billups turned in one of his best performances of the season. Shooting 10-10 from the free throw line and drilling two clutch three pointers, Billups scored 26 points and dished out seven assists in the Nuggets 114-105 win over Boston. A former Finals MVP playing floor general on a conference contender spells trouble out West.

Their 'other' guys, can take over a game. Case and point, 24-year old two guard, J.R. Smith. December 23rd, Smith shoots 10 of 17 from behind the arc and puts 41 points on the board against a 35 win Atlanta Hawks team, the Nuggets win 124-104. February 5th, J.R. Smith nets twenty-seven points and shoots .647 from the floor, the Nuggets record a 126-113 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Of all the postseason contenders, does anyone else have a J.R. Smith averaging 15 points a night and shooting .405 from the field? Probably not. Inching closer and closer to a double/double a night, 9-year veteran Kenyon Martin is playing very well as of late. In the Nuggets big win at Cleveland last week, Martin poured in 18 points in the paint and ripped down 13 defensive rebounds in the midst of a 17 rebound night. Banging with the Shaquille O'Neal all night long, Kenyon Martin made his presence felt. Having his best year on the glass since 2006, Kenyon Martin is making a difference in the middle of the Nuggets defense. Lastly is Chris Anderson, the 6-10 bench man for the Nuggets. Anderson is coming off the bench playing just 22 minutes a game and pulling down nearly seven rebounds, playing exactly the role they need him to, he's a huge x factor. Eleven times this season, Anderson has come off the bench and grabbed double digit rebounds, playing center by committee in Denver seems to work and that has been in large part due to players like Anderson. Shhhh, starting center Nene Hilario is averaging 15 points and close to eight boards a game, just another example of tough Denver is inside. And we wonder how the Nuggets are able to beat up on big Cleveland L.A. squads.

NCAA National Championship. Check. Gold Medal. Check. Next up? The NBA Championship. For the 6th-year small forward from Syracuse, Carmelo Anthony is racking up quite the trophy case at only 25 years old. Averaging 29-points for Carmelo Anthony has never been the impressive part, going toe-to-toe with LeBron James in his house, that is impressive. Hanging a 40-point night on Cleveland woke me up, I've always known 'Melo was dangerous, now he's got that instinct that we saw in Syracuse. Nine times this season, Anthony has gone for 35 points or more. Having his best scoring season of his career, and following up his great run a season ago, Carmelo Anthony is going to head into the postseason leading a Nuggets team that has more fire power than they've had since he's been there. So long as Carmelo Anthony can stay healthy down the stretch, the Nuggets have a talent that changes history on their hands. Can play with Kobe, LeBron, and Dwyane, and I've always contended their isn't much difference. After playing alongside these players two summers ago and winning a Gold Medal, something has ticked inside Anthony, and it'll be the same thing we realize when he hoists that ugly gold ball.

With the recent news of George Karl's cancer diagnosis, the basketball gods may also be in play. All due respect, but it's these type of stories that we witness teams gather around and play for, these Nuggets have that in them. The Nuggets are doing it very quietly, but we're about to hear the buzz. As much as a 37-win division leader can, the Denver Nuggets are laying in the weeds and I'm sure that is exactly where they want to be.

Friday, February 19, 2010


After the near 14-minute public apology to everyone from his wife and children to his fans and sponsors, Tiger Woods is alive and well. . .

For those of us who wanted to hear him say 'it,' I believe "The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behavior. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated." should satisfy us.

For those of us who wanted to believe he 'gets it,' I believe " . .character and decency are what really count. Parents used to point to me as as a role model for their kids. I owe all of those families a special apology. I want to say to them that I am truly sorry." should satisfy us.

For those of you who want more tabloid material, I believe "I understand the press wants to ask me for the details and the times I was unfaithful. I understand people want to know whether Elin and I will remain together. Please know that as far as I'm concerned, every one of these questions and answers is a matter between Elin and me. These are issues between a husband and a wife." should satisfy us.

To be fair, Tiger really didn't need to say anything at all. For those of you who want more, those of you who want him to understand what he's done, and for those of you who needed an outright admission of guilt, move along! Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer on the planet, and spade a spade he's the greatest golfer of all time but that is where it ends. He isn't your son, your father, your husband, or your employee. You deserve nothing from him and be ashamed if you thought you did. He isn't better than you at life, just golf, a game. That is exactly where we went wrong. We put someone up on a pedestal who admittedly attempts to keep his life private from all and now, we are supposed to be stunned there is things we didn't know about him? That's our fault for thinking the cover was as good as the book, that we've never read. At some point we believed that Tiger Woods wasn't just a golfer, however that is precisely what he is. Tiger doesn't sign in legislation that impacts our lives, he doesn't teach in our schools to impact the lives of our children, he's a golfer.

What we witnessed on Friday morning wasn't a Mark McGwire(esque) or Alex Rodriguez(esque) pre-written speech, it included all the things that we wanted to hear but the things an athlete wanted to say as well. Tiger addressed his foundation, of which he was contrite for letting them down and vowed to continue his good work with them. Tiger addressed his employees and his employers, who would have much rathered never heard a peep about any of this. Tiger defended his wife, slamming those of us who claimed she attacked him on the night of his accident. Tiger took it to the paparazzi, whose spineless job of chasing his infant children to school and following his distraught wife around like scum has only made their situation more difficult. However, Tiger also continued to take responsibility for his actions, recognizing he was selfish, acting like he was above normal behavior, something very few athletes and celebrities would have done. For these acts we should applaud him, as a man. Yes, I said applaud him.

Tiger Woods shouldn't get our sympathy, it's inappropriate to offer it. He should however get our relief, now that Tiger has opened up verbally it's about time we leave this man alone. Allow the PGA Tour to lick their own wounds, and get back to focousing on your own lives, because believe it or not, they are much more important.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Green With Little Envy

If I bet on sports I wouldn't be sports betting too heavily on the '09-'10 Celtics, (that's a tip). With their three elder statesmen, and I mean elder, having logged over 3,000 regular season games, their short successful run may be over. Their pre-All Star performance shows more signs of aging than dementia.

Since Christmas Day the Boston Celtics have dropped 13 of their 25 games. The roughest stretch of their three-season run, Boston's big three is showing serious signs of slowing down. 34-year old, 13 year veteran Ray Allen is having his worst scoring season since his rookie year in 1996, even his free throw shooting is down to it's lowest since 2004. As for the Celtics Big Ticket, Kevin Garnett, the past two seasons have had to be the toughest for him and Boston GM, Danny Ainge. After missing 25 games and the postseason a season ago, Garnett has already been sidelined for 11 games this season. His 14-year career of averaging twenty points and nearly 11 rebounds a game is clearly winding down at the mercy of injured legs. For the 33 year old power forward, Garnett will play in his 1,100th regular season game this year, and this is the gamble Boston took in the summer of 2007. Finally, for the next to have his number raised to the rafters in Boston, Paul Pierce, games are beginning to take a toll. Averaging 75+ starts since his second year in the league in 1999, Pierce is going to have to rest his legs while trying to keep Boston in the Eastern Conference picture. Already missing 7 games this season and playing less minutes per game than he has since 2000, the signs of wear and tear are becoming less like signs and more like billboards.

The three most recent second half let downs are signs of a similar aging. Two weeks back when the Celtics were game in hand beating the defending champion Lakers, it was a 24-16 fourth quarter that did Boston in on their own court. After ending the third with a 7-point lead and holding L.A. to just 66 points through three quarters, the Celtics were handled in the 4th and unable to respond. Heavy legs began to set in as the Celtics watched Kobe and Co. take over. After three straight wins, Boston again suffered a similar fate. Tearing up the Orlando Magic in the first half, the Celtics were dominated in the third quarter being outscored 36-11, with no answer they'd yet again fall to a future playoff opponent, the same team which dispatched them last season. Finally it would be their final game of the first half of the season that proved the point, they're too old and too slow. Facing a Chris Paul-less Hornets team, the Celtics would watch a 12-point half time lead dwindle down and head into the fourth quarter losing by five. A 4-11 shooting performance from Paul Pierce, 16-27 from the free-throw line, and 1-8 from behind the arc, the Celtics slipped, stumbled, then fell.

An offseason of attempting to re-tool just hasn't panned out for Boston. After beginning the season injured, forward Glen Davis is averaging just 6 points and 4 rebounds in 22 games. Marquis Daniels suffered a thumb injury which has limited him to only 21 games this season. As for big offseason acquisition Rasheed Wallace, he's shooting just 40% from the field and averaging just 10 points and 4 rebounds a game. If the Celtic bench isn't able to hold leads and their starters continue to struggle in the second half, there is no way this team is going further than a first round exit. As point guard Rajon Rondo continues to impress (#1 in the league in steals per game, and #4 in assists per game) it's time Boston begin to think about rebuilding and that starts first with getting younger.

0-4 against Atlanta, and 1-3 vs. Orlando doesn't bode well for a team looking to make a playoff run. With a 4-game road trip beginning the second half, in Sacramento, in Los Angeles, at Portland and Denver, Boston has a tough road ahead of them. Like I said, If I bet on sports I'd be staying away from the Celtics.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


To think Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant wasn't the #1 selection overall just three years ago is simply ridiculous. At just 21-years old with only two full seasons in the league, Durant is quickly becoming one of the games most dominant scorers.

The Thunder are in the midst of a phenomenal stretch and have won 30 games before the break, more games than they've won in any full season since landing in Oklahoma City. This success can be directly linked to their young superstar who will represent the Thunder this weekend in the All-Star game. In 25 straight games the former Texas Longhorn has scored 25 points or more, a stretch which his Oklahoma City Thunder are 17-8. Hoping to reach the postseason, (currently 6th best record in the Western Conference), the Thunder will be largely leaning on the play of Kevin Durant whose yet to disappoint.

Sandwiched between such prolific scorers as LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant is just one of three players in the NBA averaging north of twenty-nine points. If Kevin Durant can continue his high-scoring season, it'll be a tight race down the stretch to capture his first scoring title and emphatically announce his presence to the NBA fans around the country. It isn't just Durant's scoring which has been impressive this season, it's his all around game. In 51 games, Durant is averaging more points, shooting a better percentage, and also pulling down more rebounds than he did a season ago. For the third season in a row, Durant's numbers are elevating at a much quicker rate than most. Following in the paths of the previously mentioned 'Melo and LeBron, Durant's rookie season jump to sophomore season saw at least a five points per game differential. Any doubt remaining on his ability to score has completely left the building.

To imagine we debated on whether or not to select oft-injured Trail Blazers center, Greg Oden or the phenom known as Kevin Durant, at this point, is absurd. A player whose missed just ten games in three seasons, Kevin Durant has not only become the franchise, he's become the most exciting player in the NBA this side of King James.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Five Stars: Saints Are World Champs

While you've digested nearly just about enough Super Bowl XLIV you can handle, we've got a little more for you. Congrats to the New Orleans Saints and the 'Bayou football faithful. LynchyRightNow is handing out it's five stars . . .

(*) Saints wide receivers Marques Colston & Devery Henderson. A combined 14 catches for 146 yards for the two receivers with just a handful of playoff experience heading into the 'Big Dance.' While Drew Brees will receive every bit of his deserved glory, Colston & Henderson showed up to play in Super Bowl XLIV as well. The measuring stick for how important their catches were can immediately be seen on the other side of the coin. Colts receiver Pierre Garcon made a huge drop in the first half halting a Indianapolis drive and turning the ball over to New Orleans, anyone else want to argue how crucial the hands of Henderson and Colston were? Throughout Super Bowl evening we saw how Drew Brees stretched the middle of the field hitting his targets for big chunks, Devery Henderson for 19-yards, Marques Colston for 27-yards, reaching big first downs for the New Orleans offense. You won't hear much about the Saints receivers, but they came up huge when it counted most.

(**) Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and tight end Jeremy Shockey. Both chased from The City That Never Sleeps, both former collegiate National Champions at The U, and now both can add Super Bowl Champ to their resume. An injured Jeremy Shockey had to witness his former team, the New York Giants, win a Super Bowl with him on the sideline and then landed in New Orleans in the following off season. His time in The Big Apple was one of controversy and disappointment, much like that of current and former teammate Jonathan Vilma. After a exciting start playing for the Jets, a rookie season which he was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2004, Vilma would find himself outcast to New Orleans following an injury plagued 4th season. For both banished stars, the a change of scenery to the Bayou was just what was needed. Jeremy Shockey came up big with a go ahead touchdown score on the largest of stages. Captain of the Saint defense, Jonathan Vilma, played phenomenal against a Colt offense that torments middle linebackers. Vilma is the anchor of a Gregg Williams lead defense that stopped Peyton Manning, and Jeremy Shockey is a huge, capable, aggressive target for Drew Brees. These two former Miami Hurricanes National Champs are now Super Bowl Champs, and leaving New York has been a dream come true.

(***) The Football Gods. It isn't said enough, winning that ring requires all the right cards to fall in the right places. For the '09-'10 Saints, Sunday night was proof of that. The Saints completed their run on an interception from the greatest quarterback in the game. They escaped the NFC Championship with Brett finally making that crucial mistake, he saved that moment in New Orleans for it. The huge comeback victory against the Dolphins, proved to get them home field throughout, without that ask yourself if they'd be the champs. Winning a championship takes amazing plays, takes gutsy calls that turn out in your favor, takes great opponents losing in dramatic fashion. The '01 Rams losing as big favorites, the '07 Patriots losing THE ONE and only one , and now the '09 Colts watching the coronation crumble. Give thanks to the football gods, who watched all the cards fall in the right places for the New Orleans Saints, they've made America's second favorite team Super Bowl Champs. They made us feel this coming for the better part of four years. Would we be feeling what we feel today if not for six doctors in Miami failing Drew Brees on his medical exam? The football gods granted fans what they wanted to see, the City of New Orleans finally celebrating in a way we've wanted them to for years. 1,000 Thank Yous to the football gods.

(****) Ball Coach, Sean Payton. You know what? I'll ignore the onside kick and 4th down calls. Sean Payton straight up feared nothing. Payton took on the best offense in the league and turned them on their head. Pushing Peyton Manning on the sideline and allowing his quarterback to chunk by chunk move down the field and put quality drives together. That was the game plan, take risks when you have to and refuse to trade shots with the Colts. Down 10-0 early, his plan wasn't to methodically come back and grind it out, it was to surprise Indianapolis, show them different looks and make them beat his team, they weren't going to beat themselves. My high water mark for head coach Sean Payton, when his first quarter reverse call halted a New Orleans drive, that was it, no more trickery we're going to march with the toughest QB in the game and beat this team. Here's a former assistant turned head coach who has done the improbable and put this team and this city back on the map in a positive manner. Payton's ability to realize a need and take a pay cut to bring on Gregg Williams to run his defense, a match made in Super Bowl heaven. One of the games most brilliant defensive coaches lining up next to easily one of the most talented offensive minds. Between Sean Payton's ability to coach with guile and intelligence and his toughness to make a seemingly tough decision in the coaching game, not many can compete.

(*****) The Fans of New Orleans Home field advantage seriously took on new meaning this postseason. From the opening around retirement party of Kurt Warner to the Super Bowl party on South Beach, the Saints fans were wired and wall to wall jacked up! You know how badly these fans deserve it? Next to the "cheeseheads" no fans are as connected to the city and to the team than the New Orleans faithful. I'll do you one better, they're possibly the new America's Team, and I'm a Cowboys fan! America's second favorite team played a virtual home game in Miami, fans chanting Who Dat?!?! Laced in gold and black beads and any costume they can find, the New Orleans Saints fans had their team and their city rocking like no other. Sure they were rocked by Hurricane Katrina, but that isn't the only we cheer for them. We cheer for players like Drew Brees who is the ultimate comeback player, and as of right now sits as the NFL's most popular player. Players like Scott Fujita who chose New Orleans because of it meant more to play there than just football. The Saints have a fan base that is rabid for this team to win, rabid for this team to do anything, and with that said, there is no one I'm more happy for than those fans. Five stars in my book!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Readers Respond

Before you bite into 10 hours of pre-Super Bowl coverage, LynchyRightNow is premiering a new column: The Readers Respond. This week we've polled the readers with a random question and got some great responses. That question was . . .

In your lifetime, who would you consider the most dominant NFL linebacker?

Monsters Of The Midway: (3) Legendary Chicago Bears linebackers received one vote. It's a well known fact, middle linebackers in the Windy City are in a class of their own.

Dick Butkus 1965-1973 The first of the Chicago Bears legendary linebackers. Butkus is widely thought of as one of the games toughest players of all time. A 6x All Pro, Butkus was a first ballot Hall Of Famer in 1979. However, it was his role as Coach Mike Katowinski in the semi-popular Saturday morning television show "Hang Time" that I'll remember Butkus for. An obvious choice, Butkus was the best linebacker of his generation, flat out.

Mike Singletary 1981-1992 Singletary was a 2x NFL Defensive Player Of The Year, most notably in the year leading the famed 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears. Singletary picked up right where Butkus left off, becoming the feared middle linebacker of the Bears throughout the 80's and into the 90's. Throughout his entire career Singletary missed just two games, a remarkable stat for a man who played as fast and hard as Singletary.

Brian Urlacher 2000-Present Following in the footsteps, Brian Urlacher is the most current in a line of historically good linebackers who've played in Chicago. In Urlacher's rookie year he took no time showing people what he had amassing 123 tackles including 97 solo tackles. Five seasons of 120+ tackles, five seasons with five sacks or more, and 17 career interceptions. As a NFL Defensive Player Of The Year in 1995, Notoriously leading one of the top defensive teams over the past 15 seasons, Brian Urlacher is closing in on a Hall Of Fame career.

The Original Lights Out & The Underrated: Nearly twenty years as a linebacker in this era? One of our next linebackers is defying career odds. The other had his career taken away far to early, but impressed none the less.

Junior Seau 1990-Present The current utility linebacker for the New England Patriots, few remember Seau for what he used to be. In 1994, Seau lead a San Diego Charger team to the Super Bowl, a year he amassed more than 150 tackles. Over his 19-year career Seau has amassed over 120 tackles six times and four more seasons of 90+ tackles, a true defensive field general. Now in his 4th season with the Patriots, trying to capture that elusive ring, Junior Seau earns respect from his legendary head coach Bill Belichick. Why else would a 20-year veteran continue to get playing time in this league?

Derrick Thomas 1989-1999 In a shortened career due to his passing, Derrick Thomas made more of an impact than most. The 9x Pro Bowler was a sack machine at the linebacker position. In seven of his eleven seasons, Derrick Thomas recorded 11+ sacks en route to a career in which he put the quarterback on his back 120+ times. Derrick Thomas is responsible for putting a Kansas City Chiefs defense on the map, helping them win three division titles in his career. Almost everybody who wrote in Derrick Thomas said the same thing "If I had seen him play longer, he'd be tops." That's how much of an impact Derrick Thomas made in his career, much respect.

The Argument: We may be too young to remember in large part the career of one, or at the very least watching the career of one. The other? Has dominated the NFL over the past 14 seasons.

Lawrence Taylor 1981-1993 LT one could argue, is the most feared defensive player of all time, maybe even the most feared man of all time. Lawrence Taylor lead a New York Giants defense to two Super Bowl victories over his 13-year career. Bone crushing hits, seven straight seasons of 10+ sacks, 3x Defensive Player Of The Year, LT is bar none the top dog among linebackers. Being named to the All-Pro first team for each of his first nine seasons gives you a hint at how big his impact on the Giants was. I could wax poetic about LT but I'll leave you with this, Lawrence Taylor is the only defensive player to win be the unanimous NFL MVP.

Ray Lewis 1996-Present As young people, Ray Lewis is the standout in the middle of any defense we can think of. Once you get over the 1985 Chicago Bears, you immediately turn to Ray Lewis and the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. The Super Bowl MVP of the Super Bowl winning Ravens, Ray Lewis is the unquestioned leader of one of the games most feared defenses. In his career he has taken home that Defensive NFL MVP twice, recorded almost 1,800 tackles, intercepted 28 passes, and put down 12 seasons in which he made 100 tackles or more. Even at age 34, Ray Lewis is still one of the games most dominant players having his best seasons since 2004 this year. We may be too young to remember the whole career of LT, but Ray Lewis shouldnt' be overlooked, he's THAT good.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Keep It Real Friday: Super Bowl Edition

South Beach is the spot. Why would you want to see the Super Bowl in New York, Indianapolis, Detroit, or Houston? Now South Florida on the other hand, that is the place to be. Ascetically (thank you spell check), I like an outdoor atmosphere as oppose to the dome. Miami is an exciting city which attracts everyone and has plenty of hotels, beaches, and nightlife. Current players and hall of famers are more likely to arrive on South Beach rather than Detroit, no need to explain. Now before you remind me of the likelihood of rain, I'll take sun and sand on the week leading up and sacrifice a rainy Super Bowl over spending a week in Indiana or Michigan. Now, for the city of New York don't blame the NFL for not wanting a Super Bowl in Gotham, blame the equator. As the Super Bowl approaches and the city of Miami becomes alive there is very little doubt, this is the perfect spot for all of the NFL and the sports world to ascend to every February. Keep It Real up north, we don't want a snow globe Super Bowl!

It isn't just Peyton whose got something to play for. Sure, notching his second Super Bowl victory would go a long way in cementing the legacy of a 4x NFL MVP. However, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees isn't just that. With a Super Bowl win Brees would cap off one of the most prolific passing runs in NFL history. In four straight seasons in The Bayou, Drew Brees has been outright dominating. Amassing four consecutive 4,000-yard passing seasons, back-to-back seasons of 30+ touchdown passes, and over 1,500 completions during this stretch. In 2008, Brees was passed over for NFL MVP by you guessed it, Peyton Manning. A season which the Austin, Texas native would throw for over 5,000 yards and 34 touchdowns. After a 13-3 finish in 2009, a season which saw the Saints take the NFL by storm in dominating fashion, Brees would once again be overshadowed by the Colts quarterback. As Drew Brees leads a once laughable franchise into the biggest game in franchise history, can this quarterback top "the" Peyton Manning, on the games biggest stage? Bringing a Lombardi back to 'Nawlins would make Drew Brees a legend in the state of Louisiana, that's something to play for. Keep It Real!

I'd have drafted Reggie as well, and I'd do it again. We were all in agreement that Reggie Bush had the ability to be the next big thing in the NFL upon entering the league in 2006. A couple Pro Bowl appearances from Vince Young and 39.5 sacks in four seasons from Texans standout Mario Williams, and somehow we've all splintered on the future of former Heisman winner Reggie Bush, not me. What's one thing which Vince Young and Mario Williams aren't doing on Sunday? Playing spoiler to the Peyton Manning coronation in Miami, that's what Reggie Bush will be doing. In possibly his least productive professional season, Reggie Bush is making a huge impact on the New Orleans offense. Averaging near seven yards a catch and close to 6 yards a carry, Bush has easily become one of the NFL's most versatile weapons with a head coach (Sean Payton) who knows how to use him. Without being the go-to back in New Orleans, Bush is allowed to share his time in the backfield and stay healthy and more importantly on the field. He's got game changing speed that makes him as dangerous a punt returner as the game has. He has great hands out of the backfield with field vision that strikes fear in defensive backs. If you think Reggie Bush won't be a factor in the Super Bowl, your in for a treat. Keep It Real! The man is a game breaker.

Vanilla is in. How different would these past two weeks have been if Brett Favre was in Miami? If Rex Ryan and Brad Childress had embarked on a war of pre-Super Bowl words? If Jets rookie quarterback, Mark Sanchez was starting in the biggest game in his first season? Unfortunately for newspapers and blogs, none of that is going on and not even a sniff of that exists. These past two weeks have been filled with "they're a very good team," "it'll be a tough game," "I've got a ton of respect for what they've accomplished." That's about all your going to get from the two top seeded franchises headed into the postseason. They don't let you know they're the best by saying it, they go out and show you. Two of the games best quarterbacks who don't make FavrESQUE throws, two head coaches who don't attend MMA events, no controversies, just football. You won't get edge and apologies from New Orleans and Indianapolis, that's not how they got here and that has never been more evident than these past two eventless weeks. Someone check the pulse on Jim Caldwell, vanilla is in and that's what your getting. Keep It Real!

The Answer. LynchyRightNow needs to have a dog in this fight, right? I want the following things to happen on Super Bowl Sunday: (1) See above, I want Reggie Bush to return a punt for six. (2) I want a two minute pre-halftime touchdown drive from Peyton Manning, it's fascinating. (3) I want Dwight Freeney to be a factor, and the injury controversy to be thrown out the window. (4) I want Saints TE & former Hurricane Jeremy Shockey to show up in a big way in crunch time. (5) I want Jim Caldwell to lose a challenge before being replaced by a scarecrow for the remainder of the game, per Peyton's orders. (6) I want Jonathan Vilma and Darren Sharper to contain the coronation for long enough to make this game exciting. (7) I want Colts receiver Pierre Garcon to have another monster game, and celebrate as he did in the AFC title game. (8) I want no rain, these are high powered offenses who don't need to be reduced so we can see some smash mouth football, that's a bad thing. (9) I want to leave the room when Tim Tebow's commercial about pro-life comes on, I don't mix sports and politics (10) I want the Colts money line at -250! Keep It Real, it's all about the money babbbbbyyy!!!!