Broncos Get Flacco, Ravens Roll With Jackson

Joe Flacco is now a Denver Bronco. Social media, and the internet in general, has lit up with opinions, insults, and an endless array of things that the internet does that often garners opinions from every corner of the world. Despite what the majority has voiced, I actually think this works out better for Denver than it does for Baltimore.

With the exception of the Peyton Manning signing, John Elway has made, simply put, bad choices in his quarterbacks. From Brock Osweiler to Paxton Lynch to Tim Tebow, the Broncos haven’t had a lot of confidence under center lately. I like Case Keenum, but he just needs to be with the right team. Denver wasn’t that team, apparently. Elway saw this too, so he went after Joe Flacco. Flacco is a seasoned quarterback, he has postseason experience, he has a ring. He’s not flashy, he’s not Tom Brady (who is?), but he’s a veteran that will hold down the fort while the Broncos draft their future QB and let him learn under Flacco. The second coming of Tom Brady wasn’t available, so they made the next best choice.

The Broncos offense is lacking weapons, that much is obvious. They now have a QB that won’t fold under pressure, a QB that will be patient and professional while the team builds around him. When the time comes to hand over the reins to someone else, the team should be on the rise. In this day of free agency and stars jumping from team to team, most people have forgotten that this is how teams are built. I’m not suggesting that Joe Flacco is going to lead the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl; he isn’t. But he will mentor all the pieces that they add over the next couple years to put the next guy in position to do so. This is a smart move by Elway.

On the Ravens side of this, they have put complete faith in Lamar Jackson, or so it seems. He had an impressive rookie campaign and they are banking on him improving over time. He’s not afraid to leave the pocket, but I’m sure the Ravens would like to see him check down a little better going forward. This is something that will come with time for a young QB. Jackson is a phenomenal athlete, as everyone has seen by now. How he holds up playing his style remains to be seen. If Baltimore plans to keep him in the pocket more, Lamar Jackson is going to have to prove that he can be that type of player. He’s been iffy in that department, but the Ravens have a great coaching staff to guide him along.

I’ve seen bad grades for Denver on this move and pretty good grades for Baltimore. I personally feel it’s fairly even, with an edge to Denver. The Ravens have made the decision to move forward with Jackson while the Broncos have opted for Flacco for a couple seasons. It works for both, if you ask me. Regardless of my opinion, or anybody else’s, Week 1 is when we will start to see if either of these plans comes to fruition. Until then, we have 9 more weeks of AAF to enjoy. Then we’ll start talking about the 2019 season, mock fantasy drafts, point spreads, etc. Isn’t football the best?

The Cleveland Browns Sign Kareem Hunt

Yesterday, the Cleveland Browns signed Kareem Hunt to a 1-year contract. When the contract is up, he will be a restricted free agent. This will give the Browns control of him at that point. The social justice warriors were out in full force yesterday when this news broke. Everyone had an opinion, a lot of people were mad (online), and no one could believe their opinion wasn’t being listened to by the Cleveland browns front office. In today’s clickbait society, this was a glorious day for news outlets, especially ESPN. You know they love this kind of story.

I’m not surprised Kareem Hunt was signed. I am surprised it was the Browns though, despite the relationship that Hunt has with John Dorsey. The Browns, for the first time in decades, are a team on the rise. Rookie RB Nick Chubb had a stellar season. The 2-back set with Chubb and Duke Johnson seemed to work well for them. So why bring in embattled Kareem Hunt? That’s the part that has me scratching my head.

A team with young future stars in key positions needs to have stability. Quite often, we see these guys in a different light because they’re bigger than life, both physically and figuratively. Because of this, we often forget that they’re still kids in the grand scheme of things. At that age, you can be adversely affected by the smallest outlier that finds its way into your comfort zone. With this in mind, how will the Hunt signing affect the locker room in Cleveland? Will Chubb lose confidence? Will Baker Mayfield have an opinion? If he does, will he voice it? This was a risky signing.

Kareem Hunt is a phenomenally talented player, there’s no doubt about that. What he did, what was captured on video, is inexcusable. Even if you take out the fact that it was a woman he hit, the brutality of it, as a stand alone action, is still inexcusable. SJWs all over Twitter were bringing up every player that had ever hit a woman and it turned into a circus of redundancy. Logging off last night was my best decision of 2019 so far.

Hunt has been seeking help for his issues and apparently the Browns were impressed with his progress, at least enough to sign him. This obviously doesn’t sit well with a lot of people, as evidenced on social media yesterday. So where does the line get drawn? If you hit a woman you never play in the league again? What if you hit a man? Is that acceptable in a society where men and women are considered equal? The double standards are through the roof on this issue right now. Browns fans who trashed the Bengals for drafting Joe Mixon are now faced with a similar issue. They’re on the other side of the fence now.

I don’t have the answer for any of this, nor will I attempt to offer a quick fix. This is in the league’s hands now. As far as the social media end of it, let’s face it, most of those people wake up looking for cause to cry about; a reason to complain. I can assure you that the NFL and the Cleveland Browns give exactly zero credence to them. You are completely free to have your own opinion of this entire fiasco. Just don’t pretend yours is better than the next guy’s. There will be some Browns fans that burn jerseys, make angry videos, or do some other crazy stunt to get views on their timeline. None of it will matter. This is between the Browns and the NFL now.

I hope Kareem Hunt becomes a better person through all of this. He has amends to make, he has trust to regain. One bad incident doesn’t make you a bad person, but you still have to deal with the repercussions, and deservedly so. In the meantime, I’m watching the AAF over the next 9 weeks to get my football fix. I won’t involve myself with opinions on Twitter or anywhere else over this issue. The anger among the SJWs will die down soon, like it always does.

MLB Win Totals 2019

In anticipation of the 2019 Major League Baseball season, I’ve been looking over win totals posted by various books in Las Vegas. What you’ll see is a half game difference here, a half game there. It all depends, obviously, on the money coming in at one book or another. For this blog, I’m going with the numbers posted by Caesar’s. Keep in mind that there are still some free agents that haven’t signed, including the 2 big ones, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Where they ultimately sign will move these numbers.

AL East

  • Yankees 97
  • Red Sox 96.5
  • Rays 84
  • Blue Jays 74
  • Orioles 59

AL Central

  • Indians 91.5
  • Twins 84
  • White Sox 76
  • Royals 69
  • Tigers 67.5

AL West

  • Astros 95.5
  • A’s 84.5
  • Angels 84
  • Mariners 71
  • Rangers 70.5

NL East

  • Nationals 88
  • Phillies 87
  • Braves 86
  • Mets 84.5
  • Marlins 65.5

NL Central

  • Cubs 92.5
  • Brewers 90.5
  • Cardinals 89
  • Pirates 77.5
  • Reds 76

NL West

  • Dodgers 94
  • Rockies 85
  • Giants 74.5
  • Diamondbacks 74
  • Padres 73.5

Again, free agency will move these numbers. If you have a hunch, bet accordingly before they sign. The Machado rumors have had him going to the White Sox, Padres, and Yankees. Harper has been linked to the Phillies, Yankees, and Dodgers. The initial drama has died down regarding these 2 players, but we should see something very soon with Spring Training right around the corner.

I’ve bet totals before and quite often you know by mid-August if you’re going to win or lose. A couple years ago, the Reds came down to the last game of the season. They lost, and so did I. It happens, and then we go back to the window to place another bet. A few of these stand out to me. The Phillies over looks really good. Even more so if they land Harper. With that said, the Dodgers under looks just as good unless they snag him. The NL Central will be a dogfight. Take the over on the Reds and the under on the Pirates. I feel Pittsburgh will land in the basement there. The teams in the 90s are always risky. One key injury can push the under. By association, any team 62 and under makes the over look good. The Orioles are the only ones in this category this season. They can’t be worse than last year.

Take a look at these if you’re interested in betting them. Watch free agency and see how they move before making your bets. Baseball is almost here, that’s the most important part of all of this. Bet wisely and responsibly, get the grill ready, and get ready for some baseball.

The Alliance of American Football

Last night we saw the first 2 games of the Alliance of American Football. The new league promises to show us a quality level of football, a few rule changes, and some familiar faces from the both the NFL and the NCAA. If last night was any indication, I’m already sold on the product. The game that was televised here was the San Antonio Commanders versus the San Diego Fleet. It was a very exciting game and the talent level was much higher than I was expecting.

There are 8 teams in the inaugural season:

  • Arizona Hotshots
  • Atlanta Legends
  • Birmingham Iron
  • Memphis Express
  • Orlando Apollos
  • Salt Lake Stallions
  • San Antonio Commanders
  • San Diego Fleet

Most of these teams are in cities that don’t currently have an NFL franchise. This is great for the fans in those cities. You could see the excitement in the crowd last night too. I am truly looking forward to seeing each of these teams play during the course of the season. As a matter of fact, a buddy and I last night were half joking, half not, about doing a fantasy league for AAF. I’m not sure if Las Vegas had spreads available, but some offshore accounts did. When I’m in West Virginia for March Madness, you can count on me looking for some gambling options.

Two things stood out that impressed me quite a bit. The first was the high level names involved in this league. Hines Ward, Steve Spurrier, Mike Martz, and a few more former NFL and NCAA names. With a seasoned crew like this, the league should be in very capable hands. The other thing that I absolutely loved was the Sky Judge. The Sky Judge can change any call on the field that was missed or change a call that was made in error. How badly do New Orleans Saints fans want this adopted in the NFL? This could be a pass interference call,  a ball spot, or a variety of other things that take place during the course of a football game. The world is watching, hopefully the NFL is as well.

I also love that the referees looked as though they were keeping the flags in their pockets, at least during the game I was watching. San Diego QB Mike Bercovici took a hard, but clean, hit early in the San Antonio vs San Diego game. His helmet went flying and he hit the ground hard. It was a clean hit, but rest assured the NFL would have had multiple flags flying around in the backfield. He was ok and came right back into the game. He just probably needs a few Advil this morning.

All in all it was a very successful debut for the Alliance. I’ll be checking out some rosters so I can decide who ‘my team’ is later on today. San Antonio has the early lead because I really liked Logan Woodside in college. They also have University of Cincinnati’s Mekale McKay at WR. However, I still have 6 more teams to check out. If you missed last night’s action, I highly recommend giving this league a shot. We have 2 more games today. Tune in and enjoy.

The NBA: How Do We Fix It?

For some, the NBA doesn’t need fixed. It obviously has it’s niche and there are those that love watching every minute of it. For a lot of sports fans though, it’s boring. You have contracts that are out of control, player drama on social media, and half ass defense that gives most games an exhibition feel. Sports fans want competition; we want games that matter, even in February.

If you look at the league right now, there are 4 teams that really have a decent chance at winning it all. And 3 of those are hoping the Warriors slip at some point. The other 26 teams are essentially a farm system for the big boys and the wannabes. The trade deadline is a salary dump and a last chance grab for teams on the cusp. This isn’t what most fans want. Granted, I don’t live in a city that has an NBA team, but this is the general consensus among some diehard sports fans friends of mine. The league simply doesn’t garner interest with us.

In the Eastern Conference, it will likely be the Milwaukee Bucks or the Toronto Raptors that make it to the Finals. A few other teams have an outside shot; Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Boston Celtics. Other than that, the teams in the East are going through the motions while collecting ridiculous paychecks. It will be interesting to see attendance numbers as we get closer to the end of the regular season, especially for the teams on the outside looking in.

In the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets will be the teams to beat. The Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Portland Trailblazers will make some noise, but I don’t see them as serious contenders for the title. Anything can happen, as we have seen in past years in all sports. Injuries could also play a part, but that’s the only hope some of these teams have.

Probably the most annoying aspect of the NBA, at least for me, is seeing the drama on social media. It borders on the “he called me a poo poo head so now I’m going to meet him at the flagpole at 3:00” nonsense of years gone by. Everyone grab your bookbags and head outside as soon as that final bell rings. It makes no sense and you very rarely see it in any other sport. It’s immaturity at its finest, or its worst, you make the call.

So how do we fix it? I’m not sure there’s an easy answer. As far as the social media nonsense, that’s up to the respective owners of the teams and whether or not they would want to put down some guidelines. When it comes to a top heavy league, well, the league created this mess. At some point, you would think the league would implode with these contracts. That remains to be seen. Something has to change though, one would think. And can we do something about the flopping? Good Lord, it’s horrible. My suggestion? Assess a technical foul for a flop; 2 shots and the ball. Then that player has to sit out the rest of the quarter, whether it’s 11 minutes or 37 seconds. Just stop flopping!!!

Despite all the things I don’t like about the NBA, I’m excited for the playoffs. That’s when you really see these guys play hard. Defense becomes key, clutch shots just mean more. It’s the basketball we love; the basketball we deserve. Can someone direct Adam Silver to these fixes I’ve addressed? No? Fine, I’ll just continue to hope that the league improves the first 82 games of its season.

Frank Robinson

Man, this is one I knew was coming, but knew it was going to hurt all the same. Frank Robinson passed away today. Major League Baseball lost one of its greats. Frank Robinson was an innovator, a legend, a hero, a role model. For those who were fortunate enough to see him play, we knew we were seeing one of the best to ever set foot on a field. His accomplishments almost look fictional when you look at them now.

  • .294/.389/.537/.926
  • 586 Home Runs
  • 2,943 hits
  • 1, 812 RBI
  • 1,829 runs
  • 204 stolen bases
  • NL ROY 1956
  • NL MVP 1961
  • AL MVP 1966
  • Triple Crown 1966, 49-122-.316
  • World Series MVP 1966
  • 2X World Series Champion
  • 14X All-Star

My initial introduction to baseball, sports for that matter, was as a 6 year old in 1970. My Reds, the Big Red machine, made it to the World Series that year. Keep in mind, this was long before the mass coverage we have today. So when the World Series rolled around, I was just then finding out who Frank Robinson was, with the exception of the Topps card that I had. And yes, I still have my 1970 Frank Robinson card. And no, you can’t have it. Baseball coverage was a little different then. Postseason games were played in the afternoon, even on weekdays. I’d get home from school and rush to the living room to turn on the TV. I had to cheer on my Reds. Something else happened too. I saw a few players that I hadn’t had the chance to watch because they were in the American League. Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell. And Frank Robinson.

My gosh, Frank Robinson was a treasure. That sweet swing, the raw power, the way he glided in the outfield. I was pulling for the Reds, of course, but I was also thoroughly enjoying watching Frank Robinson play baseball. I was astounded by how good he was. And this is coming from someone who got to see Pete Rose, Tony Perez, and Johnny Bench on a regular basis, quite often in person at Riverfront Stadium. Robinson just had something special about him; an ‘it factor’ that couldn’t be defined with one word or even one sentence. He just stood out, even among greats.

When his playing career was coming to an end, Frank Robinson became the first black manager in MLB history. I remember all the news coverage and the hubbub surrounding it. It seemed odd to me though, and here’s why. I was raised in a household that never mentioned race. It simply didn’t matter what the color of your skin was. Looking back at it years later, I realized how monumental it really was. It was a huge step for Robinson and for baseball in general. Like he had in so many other facets of his life, Frank Robinson became a positive influence. He became a beacon of hope for millions of African American kids. I never met Frank, but I would imagine it was just another day at the office for him. He never seemed like a ‘me first’ guy. Just play ball.

Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I haven’t been to Cooperstown yet. I’m suddenly inspired to make that happen, possibly this summer. The baseball heroes of our youth live on forever in those halls. I want to be there and relive those days. I’ll be sure to stop by and say hi to Frank while I’m there. RIP to one of the best.

NCAA Hoops

With the Super Bowl being a thing of the past, college basketball is now getting a lot more attention than it had over the first couple months of the season. We’ve already seen some great games, some shocking upsets, and some new faces emerging. The big boys, for the most part, are doing big boy things. These are the teams that are in the top 10 each year; the teams that other fan bases love to hate.

We have some new blood in the top 10 as it currently sits. Who saw Tennessee being the #1 team in the country? This team is solid in every facet of the game. They will be tough to beat in March. Marquette is sitting at #10 right now and look to give Villanova a run for their money in the Big East. Nevada is at #6, but they have looked shaky at times. They play with a lot of energy and just need to establish some consistency on the court.

The top 10 also has familiar faces among its ranks. Duke is Duke, we know what they bring to the court each season and this season is no different. They have had a few mental lapses this year so court discipline is the key to a run in March. Virginia is looking to make people forget about last March. They actually have an offense this year. This is what they were missing last season, so I see them making a strong run. Gonzaga is at #4, but I think Kentucky should be there. Over the last couple weeks, no team in the country is playing better. Even when they had an off game, they still beat Florida by 11 points.

Michigan and Michigan State are the big boys from the Big Ten. Sparty is struggling as of late, but Izzo will have these guys ready come tournament time. The Wolverines are one of the most athletic teams in the country. They play at a fast pace and can wear you down. They got in foul trouble early against Iowa and had their lack of depth exposed a bit. North Carolina hasn’t been dominant, but we all know they’ll be there when it matters.

Looking past the top 10 we have a nice mix of teams. Kansas and Villanova, usually at the top of the rankings, have struggled at times. Both of these teams need to fix some problems if they are to make a difference in March. The Big Ten is represented here as well with Wisconsin and Purdue making some noise. Ethan Happ gives the Badgers a strong inside advantage. Purdue has a scoring machine in Carsen Edwards. Iowa State has been very impressive this season. I feel a lot of people may be overlooking them. Watch out for them come tourney time.

We have 3 schools from mid-major conferences that are playing well. Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Houston have all been making splashes on the national scene. It’s hard to really get a feel for these teams as their schedules aren’t exactly stellar. If you look at how they have fared against major conference, it gives you a peek at what we can expect in March. Buffalo is 2-0, Houston is 3-0, and UC is 2-2. Again, weak conference strength makes it hard to put your finger on these teams, but they’re playing well right now. Jarron Cumberland has been carrying the Bearcats over the last few weeks, but he can’t do it alone once we get to the tournament. I think Houston and Buffalo are for real and can hang with some of the top teams.

The next 5 weeks of basketball will be exciting. As we get nearer to the conference tournaments and ultimately the NCAA tournament, the picture will become clearer. I’ve already got rooms booked in West Virginia where my buddies and I will be gambling. I haven’t thrown Vegas away and I never will. It’s just that this March trip is nothing but sitting in a sportsbook and gambling as opposed to seeing some of the sites. Why not save a grand or so? A three hour drive is nothing, so count on me going there for the Sweet 16 too. Bet wisely and enjoy the games.