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Posted on: February 9, 2011 12:53 am
 

A Blog With Balls: The Gift of Life (Serious)

Welcome to another addition of A Blog With Balls. 

Now, I will do the usual such as talk about the Super Bowl, the ads, the music and all that jazz first, but keep reading, because I actually have a great story that I hope if you've been following sports lately, you have all heard about.  And not only that, but it is very near and dear to my heart in a lot of different ways.  So, this will actually be a little more serious than normal.  So, if you can handle that, then PROCEED.

Super Bowl XLV

It was an entertaining game, in the second half.  The Steelers just started out sluggish and couldn't get anything going.  I think for the most part, we all had a feeling that the Packers just looked better from the get go.  It took a few possessions for the scoreboard to finally rid itself of two zeroes but once the Packers got rolling, it was gravy for a while.

A lot of people have pointed to Rashard Mendenhall's fumble as the key play of the game.  While that is probably true, I think the more important play of the game was Nick Collins and his INT for a TD.  This was a complete momentum shifter.  Now granted, the INT can be attributed mostly to the pressure up front Ben Roethlisberger was receiving, but good ball-hawking by Collins to adjust to the pass and make a huge play.  Even more props for the run after the catch.  He  made a few moves and outstretched to make sure he crossed the pylon.  That was probably the best play of the game.  And it came in the first half.

The Steelers made a valiant effort out of it.  And when Big Ben had a shot at the end, it was the first time in a long time I truly thought he wasn't going to pull it out.  I wasn't even considering it.  He had just played poorly the whole game.  Those type of things stack themselves up like Tetris Blocks.  I just felt like it was the Packers time.  This wasn't the Cardinals defense of 2 years ago.  Even with Charles Woodson hurt, this team just has had the drive all year.  Why wouldn't they overcome one more injury?

And congrats to Aaron Rodgers.  He finally has silenced his critics, and has equated himself with Brett Favre in the Super Bowl ring category.  Not to say Green Bay should ever forget or disrespect the legacy that Brett Favre has, but now they can finally feel good ushering in a guy like Rodgers.  He is a class act (and wears title belts, man!) and deserves the recognition he has received this year and most importantly, this post-season.

The Ads

I've said this a few times now.  The ads were somewhat disappointing, but there were some gems.  I enjoyed the Budweiser rendition of Tiny Dancer probably the most.  It was just unique and totally out of left field.  The Dorito's commercial with the guy licking the fingers, while awkward, was another gem.  I wasn't sure where it was going, but they definitely got me on that one.

And finally, the VW Darth Vader and the awayhome.com TEST BABY commercials were the other 2 that really made the night.  I felt like Bud Light dropped the ball, the Pepsi Max commercials were okay and everything after that was just not funny or strange.

The Music

I don't know that anyone will ever forgive Christina Aguilera for flubbing the National Anthem.  However, I can't give her too much crap.  It's happened before on big stages, and will probably happen again.  It could have been Roseanne Barr or Carl Lewis.  At least we were treated to a genuine voice on stage.  Granted, she is over the top with her notes, but hey, like I said, there have been worse. 

The Black Eyed Peas.  Man, what a disappointment.  I have been clamoring for some good, new age music for a while now.  I respect Paul McCartney, Prince, Springsteen and all those guys, but I would like to see something a little more new age come to the forefront.  The problem is, they consider BEP to be this new age.  This group is just really all show.  Their talent is not quite as visible when they are performing live. 

New Age wise I'd love to see someone that not only is decent, but plays rock.  And I know a lot of you are begging for a lot of no-name bands, and while I too would love to see that, the NFL has to cater to everyone.  I think Green Day or Nickelback would be excellent choices for a live show.  I have never seen either live, but from what I understand, they are both amazing.  Being as it was in Texas this year, I was surprised not to see a country star like maybe a Toby Keith or Kenny Chesney.  Garth Brooks would be the way to go.

Oh well, better luck next year.

Story of the Week

I said before this was near and dear to my heart.  The baseball coach for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons showed why he is not only a good coach, but a good man as well.  There are a lot of people out there who question coaches when they come into a child's home and promise them they will be treated like family, they won't be abandoned for better opportunities, etc.  But Wake Forest coach Tom Walker, walks the walk. 

Kevin Jordan, a freshman at Wake was diagnosed with some form of Kidney Failure.  In an absolute amazing form of kindness, coach Tom Walter donated one of his kidneys on Monday Feb 7th to the young man in order to help him recover from the illness.  Nobody in Kevin's family was a match for him, and coach Walter stepped out to the front and got tested to see if he was a match.  It takes 5 weeks of testings to see if you are a match for someone, and when he did, he stepped in and helped out.

Folks, that is the kind of man you want your son to play for.  That is the kind of person this world lacks more of.  The worst part about it is that you barely will hear about this story.  Why?  Because William "The Fridge" Perry had a drunken fall, or LeBron helped the Heat comeback to beat the Pacers.

This is near and dear to my heart, because when I was Kevin's age (19), I too was diagnosed with kidney failure.  I spent 6 months on dialysis before given a transplant.  Now, mine was from a donor.  I too didn't have any matches, and not only that, did not want anyone to help me out.  Maybe I am prideful, but that's just the way it was. 

As sick as I was, when I received my transplant, it was almost like I was re-energized the next day.  It brings new life to your body.  And I truly understand what Kevin was going through, and am glad that he is going to be making a full recovery.  Yea, you take medication forever afterwards, but it's worth it. 

If you get a chance to look up the story for more detail, you should.  This is what life is all about.  The willingness to help and to give.  No matter where your religious beliefs stand, or what you think about the world around you, the facts still remain that there are many ways you can make a difference.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great day!
Category: BBD
Posted on: February 1, 2011 2:09 am
 

A Blog With Balls: Tribute to Wrestling! What?

Welcome to the third edition of A Blog With Balls.  Now, as I have one follower, but feel the need to write anyway because it passes the time, and really, my time isn't valuable, I am going to write about a topic that doesn't involve the "normal" sports we are accustomed to here. 

Later this week I will pay homage to the Super Bowl, as well as make my predictions.  Maybe I'll include some prop bets.  Maybe I'll include a video of me singing Enrique Iglesias.  Just stay tuned.  After all, this is what it's all about.  Unpredictability.

Instead, I am going to shift my focus away from sports and move into the industry of straight entertainment.  That's right, today I will talk about "the man's soap opera" professional wrestling.  Let's get started.

I am 25 now, and started watching wrestling in the late 90s mostly.  As a matter of factly, I started watching wrestling right around the time wrestling greats like Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash were forming the nWo.  Now, if any of you are wrestling fans, then you know what the hell I'm talking about.  Hell, it's even possible that if you aren't wrestling fans you know of the nWo.  For a long time, the brand of WCW and WWE were rivals.  They had competing shows every Monday night to see who was ultimately the supreme brand.

Now, fast forward 15 years later, and it's obvious who won.  If you are a follower of the "entertainment" known as WWE, then you know that Vince McMahon bought out the WCW, robbed them of their talent, and implemented essentially an unbeatable wrestling brand.  Nothing wrong with that.  It's just business. 

The reason why I am paying homage to probably my favorite thing to watch other than the NFL and The Office is because just here recently I started watching again.  I was a teenager when I watched it, then as I got a little older and started getting into boozing, ganja, sex, and boozing some more, I stopped.  Not only that, but the stars I watched as a kid were becoming older, retiring, and weren't watchable anymore.  Throw that in with the fact that there was no competition and it became bland.  When I was a kid, I lived for the flipping of the channels, the competing brands.  When you have no competition, you can cruise.  And for a long time, that's what happened.

Then when things changed and new brands started rivaling and bringing back some of the older stars, Vince McMahon was forced to make changes.  And he has. 

Now, if you watch wrestling, you know of the favorites like John Cena, Randy Orton, Edge, Undertaker, etc.  However, the WWE has taken great strides to put fresh young faces in the spotlight.  As recently as November, somewhat fresh newcomer, the Miz won the WWE title, ans as of last night, Alberto Del Rio (Mexican wrestling legend, btw) won the Royal Rumble match on PPV. 

I've said it before, and I'll defend it;  this sport is scripted, and yes the outcomes are pre-determined, but these are not slouches in the ring.  They are athletes.  True athletes.  Just look up John Morrison's manuever to avoid getting eliminated in last night's royal rumble.  It was crazy.  These guys truly are remarkable athletes.  Now, they may not throw touchdown passes or sack the QB (although some, like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who started in front of Warren Sapp at the University of Miami before a knee injury and UFC/former WWE superstar Brock Lesnar who did have a stint with the Vikings) but these guys are great athletes.  If you've seen some of the things they do to put their bodies at risk, then you'd understand.

Let me say this again:  I understand it is pre-determined and scripted, however, these guys put their bodies at risk every night.  Look no further than Chris Benoit.  After he became addicted to painkillers, he murdered his wife and child, then killed himself.  Autopsy's on his brain showed his brain was basically that of an Alzheimer's patient from all of the chair shots he took to the head.  Eventually, these things catch up to you. 

I think the sport has always been overlooked to some level because most people hate the idea of it being "fake."  Well, a lot of things are fake on television.  Sitcoms, movies, reality shows Wink.  Yet, people watch these all the time.  Maybe it's the idea of wresters wearing tights.  Maybe you've missed NBA players wearing wifebeaters and shorts, or football players and baseball players wearing what should be spandex pants for 3 hours every week.  To each their own, but it is just like a sitcom.  There are storylines that change on a continual basis, and they always throw curves.  It is actually compelling to watch in my opinion. 

So, if you've ever had that doubt about it, because you think it's fake, try turning it on sometime.  Look up high flying wrestling moves on youtube.  Do whatever you want.  You will see some pretty remarkable things.  Not to mention, there is some good comedy from time to time, and hot female wrestlers every week.  There is a little something for the entire family.  And it is rated PG, so even your little kids can watch.

There is a reason the WWE has been around as long as it has.  And it's because people expect quality when they watch television, and instead of the same old boring used up sitcom dramas (How many CSI sitcoms can there really be?), they have something new and fresh essentially every week.

That's all I've got.  If you don't like it or do like it, feel free to tell me about it in the comments.  I won't give two shits about your opinion anyway.  Laughing
Category: Fantasy
Posted on: January 25, 2011 4:22 am
 

A Blog With Balls: Cutler Mania!!

Welcome to the second edition of A Blog With Balls.  For those of you who read this blog (Manager17) I thought I would start by speaking about the balls of Jay Cutler.

First thing is first regarding this.  Jay Cutler is a good, confident QB.  He makes bone-head decisions sometimes, I will agree, however, when you see him throwing into double or triple coverage it isn't because he says "screw it" it's because he honestly thinks he can make those throws.  And sometimes, he is right.  I like the fact that he is a gun-slinger.  He reminds me of Brett Favre and Tony Romo in that he really does think he can make those plays.

His stats were a lot better this year, notably the low INT total.  He went from 26 in 2009 to 16 in 2010.  It is obvious that he has cut down on his bad decision making, and let's be honest, he is still a young guy, and he will continue to get better in my opinion.  Some people are questioning his intelligence on these boards.  You do realize he went to Vanderbilt?  Do you have any clue how hard it is to get into that college?  It is the only SEC school that actually cares about academic standards, and this is probably why they rarely succeed in their upper-echelon sports programs.  And Cutler actually got into the NFL playing at that school.  Quick, without any internet research, name me three players in the current NFL from Vandy?  Don't worry, I'll wait.

The issue here is whether or not he is a tough player.  Well, considering the extent of the injury, which was an MCL Sprain, I can see why he was pulled from the game.  He was already having a tough time behind that offensive line, and when you develop even less mobility than you already have, you can expect to be injured even worse.  If the guy gets behind that line, he risks tearing the ligament completely, and then we are talking a long road to recovery.  Do you really want to see the Bears playing football behind Todd Collins or Caleb Hanie?  I didn't think so.

Let's not forget, the guy got sacked NINE times in the first half of a regular season game against the Giants this season.  Count em, NINE times.  The fact that he lasted as long as he did in that game, to me, is a testament to his toughness.  When people like Brian Urlacher are calling the media out and telling them how hard he works, I personally believe them. 

I don't think the Bears get anywhere near where they got without the guy this year.  Consider they still won 12 games, and made an appearance in the NFC Championship, even though all season nobody thought they were for real.  The Bears were for real, and it's time to get off Cutler's ass about all of this.  He may not be the most likable guy in the NFL, but his teammates and coaching staff like him, and that's all that matters. 

Movie of the Week:  Adventureland

Before, I get going, the reason I even started doing this blog was because it is a time killer.  My wife is training right now on a Naval Ship (please refrain from jokes, I am actually very proud of her and respect what she is doing for our country) for a month and I'm pretty much stuck at home by myself every night unless I am working. 

This movie stars Jesse Eisenberg.  You might know him from Zombieland or perhaps the soon to be Oscar Nominated The Social Network.  Dude can act, and he is a young guy.  He reminds me of Michael Cera a little in that he talks super fast and is a little unsure of himself in most roles he plays.  Co-starring with him is the delicious Kristen Stewart.  Now, while she is in the Twilight Saga (which I refuse to watch), she actually plays a good character  here.

After our main character gets shafted into having his college paid for, he's stuck working at a theme park called Adventureland as a carny.  This movie is set in 1987 so there are a lot of old school songs being played in this one, to stick with the setting of the film of course.  He falls for Kristen and basically spends the summer with her, playing out the old tired "I'm a virgin" card. 

The whole while, our lovely lady is screwing around with the maintenance guy from the park, played by Ryan Reynolds.  It basically has that high school drama plotline, but the dialogue is really good and it kind of reminds you of what it was like for you in high school/college trying to get the chick you wanted yet running into some ridiculous problems along the way.  Parents beware:  This movie has language, drug use, and sexual content.  Which is exactly why it is rated R, but also why it's actually good.  Because high school kids drink, smoke, cuss and screw.  I know I did.  Don't act like you didn't.

Overall this movie gets 3 1/2 balls out of 5.  It is worth renting if you have an extra 90 minutes to kill.  Just don't be surprised how it ends.  All movies are predictable.

Game of the Week:  The Pro Bowl

Haha, just kidding. 

Did anyone see Antonio Cromartie's comments on the CBA, the owners, and the union.  He basically spoke from the platform of a "plan."  He said it wasn't about money (which is strange considering he has 36 kids to support), and instead of talking about how they would meet and greet that they should just do it.  He told the union and the owners to stop bitching and just get it done.

I usually don't agree with anything Cromartie says.  Hell, I can barely understand what he says half the time, but he is right on this one.  The NFL doesn't survive without its fans, and I promise you, fans aren't going to be happy with the league they love if they are going to keep fighting over money and not get anything done.  Time off from the NFL is going to be very detrimental not only to the league's owners and players, but to their financial situation.  Fans will boycott the NFL if these keeps up.  You are talking about players being in a tough spot, especially if they are free agents.  They basically have no idea where to start searching once they become a free agent because nothing is guaranteed.  It's time to get this done, and get it done before March hits.  That means about 45 days.  If not, we could be out of football, and forced to watch baseball and the NBA, and nobody wants that.

Well, that's about it for this blog.  Comment if you will (Manager17).  Take care of yourselves, and don't forget to troll on our message boards!
Category: NFL
Posted on: January 20, 2011 6:15 am
 

A Blog with Balls: First Entry

First, I'd just like to say welcome to anyone who will actually read this blog.  I have to say, this is the first time that I have actually blogged anything.  I've tried Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace and eventually gave up on them.  Expect more of the same here.  Blogging kind of makes me think of forced procrastination.  You make a blog, that you are supposed to update, yet for some reason or another, you don't necessarily find any significant value in the blog itself.  You end up going on unwarranted tangents (much like you are seeing right now), then eventually you just stop posting all together.

I myself go through phases on CBS Sports where I stop posting.  I mean let's be honest here.  Most of you post from work.  Well, I don't.  I only post from home.  I haven't used my BlackBerry or your girlfriends iPhone to post, not once.  I haven't used a work computer to post, not once.  I don't really see the point.  It's all recreational.  Besides, I don't get paid to post on this site, and I never will, but I do get paid to work at my job.  So it only makes sense that I wouldn't post at work. 

Word of the Day: Quarterback

A lot of fuss has been made over the past few weeks over the quarterbacks still left standing in the NFL playoffs.  And really, the only one who hasn't had enough of a beating is Mark Sanchez.  Think about it.  Ben Roethlisberger has broken his nose, been face-punched by Richard Seymour, and has been sacked enough this season to justify a decision like not standing.

Jay Cutler's offensive line might as well have sat on the sidelines on more than one occasion.  He got sacked so many times early in the season that I thought they would bury him, right there, in Soldier Field.

Aaron Rodgers has been concussed already this season.  Yet, he could be faking it.  I thought concussions were supposed to make you fuzzy for an extended amount of time.  Guess not.  Either that or the Falcons cornerbacks just had bricks on their feet trying to cover Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, and James Jones

But seriously, the word of the day is quarterback for one reason.  They won't be as relevant as you think this week.  These teams are mainly here because of their defense.  Yes, they are all talented in their own right, but are you really buying Mark Sanchez as a playoff QB if he is taking snaps in Arizona?  You see my point, I'm sure.  Tom Brady and Peyton Manning might be standing here today this week if they had the ability to make defenses not pressure them the entire game. 

I mean, in all honesty, who are you gonna take?  Brady or Sanchez?  Well, give Brady Sanchez's defense and Brady probably has double the production.  Then again, this is all irrelevant, because that scenario will never happen.  Like Brady would ever play on a team where someone thinks he is an asshole.  Antonio Cromartie ruined that trade possibility.

Speaking of which, when Brady was asked about what he thought of Cromartie's comments, he responded simply with "I've never even met the guy."  The interviewer replied with sharp wit by saying, "That sounds like how Cromartie is with his kids."  Trying to trap Brady doesn't work.  The elusive QB simply chuckled heartily.

Movie of the Day: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

No, seriously, check this out.  I was skeptical, for a few reasons.  One, I'm not much into video games like I used to be, and I knew going in that this movie had a video game feel.  2.  Other than Superbad, most comedies centering around teens and love and getting laid generally end up being pretty horrible.  Unless of course, there is an evil killer on the loose.  In which case, you know you are going to see some breasts and blood. 

But this movie is pretty damn cool.  It was created by Universal, who I pretty much trust in all things.  Instead of the normal Universal music you are accustomed to before the movie begins, we get a Mario Bros. sounding version.  I immediately was locked in, and it was all uphill after that.  Not to mention, Mary Elizabeth Winstead (the love interest) is pretty hot for a chick who changes her hair color almost every scene. 

The movie itself just has a flashiness to it.  And I'm not talking Brett Favre flashiness.  It moves fast, and keeps you tuned in with the quick scenes and flashy fight sequences in the movie.  It is actually 1 hour and 59 minutes long, but when it's over, you won't know it was that long.  Well, unless you own a watch, but you get the drift.

Check it out.  It's worth a rental.  I give this movie 4 Balls out of 5 possible Balls.

NFL Picks for the Week

I won't post these in accordance with me trying to cover the spread, as I normally do that  on the main boards, and I feel like it will generate more views that way if anyone wants to go crazy with my stupid generalizations and predictions.  I credit NFL - Solomon for this idea though, because he actually commended my weekly pick em' and gave me the idea to put them on a blog if I ever actually did start one.

Anyway, this week you'll see two re-matches again.  The Steelers will host the Jets and the Bears will host the Packers for the right to try and put a Lombardi Trophy in their office.  As I've said before, I feel like these four teams are brought here by one common factor: defense. And if you don't agree with me, well I don't really care.  So here we go.

NY Jets v. Pittsburgh Steelers

Both teams have great defenses, and the first time they met was at Heinz Field and the Jets pulled off the victory 22-17.  One key factor though: there was no Troy Polamalu.  I'm sure Rex Ryan knows this and he must help execute a game plan to keep Troy and his flowing Samoan hair out of his way if he hopes to reach the Super Bowl.  In the last meeting, the Jets were actually able to generate a decent running game.  Doing that again is absolutely important.  The Steelers give up less than 65 yards a game rushing, which is remarkable, and easily led the league.  In fact, it is one of the best marks in the history of the NFL for the course of a season.  But the Jets have two capable running backs in LaDainian Tomlinson, who has shown shades of his former self, and a downhill runner in Shonn Greene.  If they can sustain a fair amount of rushing yards, they will make Mark Sanchez's job a lot easier.  If not, they could be doomed.

When you look at Pittsburgh, you have to look at the play of QB Ben Roethlisberger.  Rape allegations aside, this guy is a gamer.  He has the mobility of Steve McNair, and the play-making ability of (insert random play making QB here).  The fact is, he comes up with big plays when it matters most.  Because of their lack of success running the ball, the Steelers will have to look to make some big throws in this one.  I don't foresee a good day for whoever Darrelle Revis is covering, and it should be Mike Wallace.  The Jets need to take away the down-field threat that Wallace possesses and take their chances with Hines Ward, Emmanuel Sanders, and Heath Miller.  The problem is, with Justin Leonard out at the safety position, I see a big game from Heath Miller as I don't think any LB or S on their roster will be able to contain him. 

When it comes down to it, I see a dominating performance from the Steelers defense leading to maybe a handful of FGs and one TD for the Jets offense.  The Jets are definitely going to be around for a while, but the playoffs are usually where the Steelers shine.

Steelers 23 Jets 16

Green Bay Packers v. Chicago Bears

Another game, another defensive struggle in the works.  Aaron Rodgers has looked unhuman in his first three career playoff games.  He has single handedly proven why the Packers are a force to be reckoned with.  His performance against the Falcons was MVP worthy, but keep in mind, this game is going to be played in the elements, not the confinements of astro-turf and an air conditioned dome.  That is going to make it a little more difficult.

The key to me is how Jay Cutler performs.  He burned the Seahawks last week to the tune of 2 passing TDs and 2 rushing TDs but this Packers defense is not the Seahawks.  Clay Matthews poses a major problem to a patchwork offensive line.  Mike Tice was able to get the offensive line playing better after the mid-way point of the season, which attributed to Cutler looking a lot better as the season progressed.  If Cutler plays smart football, I like the Bears to actually pull off the win.  They are underdogs at home, and that has got to give them some form of motivation, considering they are the 2 seed, they are at home, and they are expected to get beaten.

When it's all said and done, I foresee a good day for Cutler and the Bears offense, and enough stops by the defense for the Bears to shock the world, and take out the flavor of the week.

Bears 20 Packers 17

So there you have it.  I've blogged.  Maybe I will write another one sometime.  Maybe I won't.  But hey, enjoy your football this week, check out the movie I said to, and most importantly, be safe. 
Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com