Category Archives: Football

Success Without Honor: Everyone Loses

“Success with Honor is a daily, active goal, not an end result, and achieving that goal is defined not solely by how much you win, but moreover how you win.”

Before the recent events that unfolded over the past few weeks, the above statement in the Pennsylvania State University Strategic Plan for Intercollegiate Athletics was something the Nittany Lions built their reputation on. Now, those words are meaningless, and rather disgusting.

There is no honor in what Athletic Director Tim Curley did. Nor is there honor in what Vice President for Business and Finance Gary Schultz did. And there is nothing honorable about the actions legendary head coach Joe Paterno took when informed of the situation.

Joe Paterno at practice on Wednesday before being fired later that night. (Image via Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

I’m not here to argue about whether or not Paterno should’ve been allowed to stay. In my opinion, he needed to be fired. Even if Paterno did everything that he was “legally” required to do, Penn State couldn’t allow Paterno to be the face of their university after he turned a blind eye and allowed the things that happened to occur.

In fact, it only seems fitting that the man who could’ve stopped all of these atrocities from happening with a simple phone call, was fired over the phone late Wednesday night.

Obviously, Paterno is not the person most at fault, that would be Jerry Sandusky. However, Paterno had the power to stop and prevent Sandusky from doing any more harm, yet he failed to do so. Paterno isn’t the only person to blame – Mike McQueary, Tim Curley and plenty others deserve blame – but because of who Paterno is and who he represented in the public eye – right or wrong -he will receive the most scrutiny.

Before I go any further, I want to note that I have read the Grand Jury Report. Everything in this blog post is based on the findings of the grand jury. My eyes have traveled up and down all 23 pages of the report with each and every sentence adding to the nauseous feeling in my stomach. If you haven’t read the report, and you want to be as informed as possible, I suggest you do. Just a warning, the material is graphic.

In wake of everything that has happened, I found one tweet from Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) that stood out from the rest of the collective incoherent shouting of some of the Penn State student body.

“I saw a girl crying tonight. When I asked why she said: “Because everybody lost.”

First of all, and most importantly, the innocent victims of Jerry Sandusky’s heinous acts lost. I cannot express the sadness and sympathy I feel for them. I cannot express how infuriated I become when the focus drifts away from what these young, helpless boys had to endure. The victims of Sandusky’s crimes are the story, not whether or not the idiotic rioters in Happy Valley knew what they were rioting for.

Joe Paterno arriving home Wednesday after what would be his last practice as Penn State's head coach. (Image via Matt Rourke/ AP Photo)

Second, what Joe Paterno did was 100% legally correct, and 100% morally incorrect. He failed as a human being. Paterno was too busy drawing Xs and Os to dial 9-1-1 and he lost sight of the simple fact that there are bigger things than football. He put his football legacy before the lives of innocent children and that is inhuman.

Finally, we, as a collective whole lost. We lost everything that Penn State University stood for. Sadly, we lost the person that Joe Paterno was built up to be. The reputation of Penn State and the legacy of Joe Paterno will be tarnished for much longer than it would have been for any recruiting or improper benefits scandal. This is much, much worse.

Penn State was a university that people – myself included – admired because of its squeaky clean history and the success it was achieving with honor and integrity. Joe Paterno was a role model for all people to look up to. Paterno was a person that parents told their children to model their lives after. Paterno’s large effect on people’s lives should not go un-noted. He positively impacted so many people’s lives that they could probably stretch from East Lansing to Happy Valley. But in this instance, he failed to live up to the standards he established throughout his life’s history of simply being “JoePa.” On and off the field, the perception was that Paterno did it the right way, and that was something we should all strive towards.

We believed in them. We were lied to. And we were wrong.

“We are…”

No, you were Penn State. Now, you’re a program in limbo. You’re a program in crisis control that has a major rebuilding project ahead – not as a football powerhouse – as an academic institution, all because you lost sight of what is more important in life.

You have both lost your identity. And we have lost you.

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NFL Draft Rounds 2-7 and NBA Playoffs Round 2

The NFL Draft is officially over and there were multiple winners and losers in the draft.

The ultimate winner was us, the fans. The constant back-and-forth bickering between the NFL and the players is obnoxious. The state of the lockout changing what seems like every other day is frustrating. The fact that the NFL and the players can’t find a way to split 9 billion dollars is ridiculous.

With the state of the NFL season up in the air, the draft was a chance for fans to attempt to forget about the lockout. Whether your team drafted someone you loved or hated, it was nice to think about your team’s issues on the field football, rather than off the field. Here are some of my thoughts from Rounds 2-7:

  1. Detroit Lions: The Lions made a risky, but great pick in Nick Fairley. Fairley could be a bust or he could be terrifying for opposing offenses. In the second round, the Lions drafted WR Titus Young from Boise State and then traded up to select RB Mikel LeShoure from Illinois. Last year, the Lions struggled on defense, not so much offense. I  like the picks, just not where they were selected. If the Lions wanted to reach or take a chance on a player, it should have been on defense. Either Suh and Fairley along with the rest of the D-Line will have to get immediate pressure on the QB, or the secondary will struggle again.
  2. New England Patriots: Another team that made some interesting picks that surprised many people. They selected one cornerback and two running backs in the middle round. One of the many needs experts felt the Patriots needed to address was their inconsistent pass rush. Apparently, there wasn’t a player on the board the Patriots liked.  Once again, they compiled draft picks for the future and now have two picks in Round 1 and Round 2 in 2012.
  3. Ryan Mallet: If I was a QB, who had off-the-field issues, and wanted to make a smooth transition to the NFL, the one team I would want to be drafted by was the New England Patriots. Well, Ryan Mallet got Christmas in April. Mallet gets to go the Patriots, learn from Brady and Belichick. Whether Mallet is the successor the Brady is questionable, but whether he will learn and become a better QB is almost certain.
  4. Da’Quan Bowers: Bowers, who was once considered to be the #1 pick in the draft, fell all the way to the 51st overall pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers win with the pick but the fall for Bowers must’ve been disappointing. With health concerns surrounding Bowers, teams must have been scared to take a chance on his risky knees. Bowers will have a chance to succeed in Tampa, and it would not surprise me if he is beyond motivated in his rookie season. The rest of the NFC South better look out.

Today marks the start of the second round of the NBA Playoffs and there are some interesting match-ups. After going 6-2 in the first round, I was feeling pretty good about myself, but these series could go either way. Here are my picks:

Eastern Conference:

1 Bulls vs 5 Hawks

The Bulls beat the Pacers in 5 but did not look impressive while doing it. The Hawks were impressive in taking down the Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard but Kirk Hinrich sustained a knee injury at the end of the series. Hinrich-Rose was going to be a huge key for the series but now Rose will dominate. The Bulls got some needed postseason experience and will dominate the Hawks.

Bulls in 5

2 Miami Heat vs 3 Boston Celtics

Do I need to say more about these two teams? If you followed basketball this year, you know that these two teams hate each other. The Heat’s Big Three looked good in the first round against Philadelphia and will take on Boston’s Big Three + One that was just as impressive in the first round. The Celtics won the regular season series but lost the last time these two teams met. The Celtics aren’t as big as they were last year after the Perkins trade, but the Heat aren’t the team that will exploit their weakness.

Celtics in 7

Western Conference

2 Los Angeles Lakers vs 3 Dallas Mavericks

The Lakers gave everyone a scare when the Hornets tied the series up 2-2 heading back to L.A. The Lakers then turned the switch and dominated the Hornets to take the series in 6. The Mavericks beat the Blazers in 6 which came as a surprise to me. The Mavericks were a dangerous team throughout the year but tailed off heading into the playoffs. Kobe looks healthy after his foot injury and Bynum looks healthy after his knee injury. The Lakers won’t bow out this early and have the experience to come back if they happen to fall behind.

Lakers in 6

4 Oklahoma City Thunder vs 8 Memphis Grizzlies

The Thunder took down the Denver Nuggets, who many pegged as a dangerous team in the Western Conference. Kevin Durant looked mature and calm while leading his team to multiple close fourth-quarter wins. The Grizzlies knocked off the Spurs who were the #1 seed in the Western Conference. They were physical inside on defense and offense and got consistent play out of Zach Randolph. Shane Battier gives them another shutdown defender and a veteran presence in the locker room. The Thunder may be young, but they are big and talented. The Perkins trade was pure genius by the Thunder and it will pay dividends immediately.

Thunder in 6

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2011 NFL Draft Round 1

It’s been less than 6 hours after the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft and the evaluating has already begun.

Thirty-two players were selected Thursday night and nobody knows how their careers will turn out. Nobody knows whether Patrick Peterson is the next Deion Sanders or if Cam Newton is the next JaMarcus Russel, only time will tell. Until then, we can entertain ourselves by analyzing each draft pick under a microscope and give our own opinion.

Here are my thoughts on the first round of the NFL Draft, broken up into 4 different categories:

Charlie Sheen’s Winners:

The title is self explanatory isn’t it? These teams were the winners of Day 1 and look to build onto their draft in the coming days.

Detroit Lions: Before last year it had been a while since winning and the Detroit Lions were mentioned together, but the Lions look to be putting together another solid draft. The addition of Nick Fairley to the defensive line should strike fear in all NFL quarterbacks. The Lions need to address their linebacker and cornerback issues if they want to take the next step into the playoffs.

New Orleans Saints: The Saints weren’t the same last year following their Super Bowl victory. They were struck by injuries and their defense struggled throughout the year. The Saints stole two remarkable talents in Cameron Jordan and Mark Ingram. Jordan should help provide pressure on the opposing quarterback while Ingram will have an immediate impact in the ground game.

Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens addressed one of their weaknesses from last year with the drafting of DB Jimmy Smith. Smith’s talent and athletic ability has been compared to Nnamdi Asomugha but he has off-the-field issues that made teams hesitate on drafting him earlier. The Ravens have the perfect core group of guys to make sure Smith heads in the right direction.

The Royal Wedding Group:

I understand the Royal Wedding is a big deal. Although I think it is dumb, I can understand why some people want to get up in the morning to watch it. Most girls grow up wanting to become a princess and this is the closest that you will get to that fantasy. This group is picks that I don’t quite agree with, but I understand the logic.

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons traded everything and the kitchen sink to get up to the 6th spot in the draft. They drafted Julio Jones which gives them another stud wide receiver to play opposite Roddy White. The Falcons definitely got better on offense but is that what they needed? They could have used the draft picks they threw away to shore up their defense which was thrashed by the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs last year. I understand getting better on offense, just not sure the juice was worth the squeeze.

New England Patriots: With two picks in the first round, many expected the Patriots to address their pass rush struggles and build on a defense that was less than average last year. Instead, the Patriots drafted OT Nate Solder and traded away their other first round pick instead of drafting Mark Ingram. I know it’s not wise to disagree with the man in the hoodie, but I question whether these decisions will work out. I understand compiling draft picks, but Ingram could’ve helped them.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars seized the chance to draft Blaine Gabbert and traded up with the Washington Redskins to grab him. Gabbert is a highly regarded prospect but I don’t know if that’s what the Jaguars needed. David Garrard just came off one of his better seasons and the Jaguars have other holes that needed to be filled.

The Jump Over a Tennis Net Group:

This past weekend while playing tennis, I decided it would be a good idea to try to jump over a tennis net while trying to catch up to a ball that went out of bounds. At the time, it seemed like a good idea. After I failed to clear the net, ehhh not so much. This group is the picks that can make or break your franchise. You will either look like a genius by successfully hoping over the net, or look like a moron when you fall flat on your face. Good luck.

Carolina Panthers: With the first pick in the NFL Draft, the Panthers chose Cam Newton. I’ll admit, Newton is a rare talent and he could do great things in the NFL, but Newton could also be a huge bust. Adjusting to the NFL will be a huge learning process for Newton and I’m not sure he can succeed at this level.

Cleveland Browns: The Cleveland Browns had a chance to select a playmaker with the 6th pick but traded it to the Atlanta Falcons. The trade is beneficial to the Browns but only if the players they choose with those picks pan out. The move was a risky one and could burn the Browns, or it could turn the franchise around.

San Francisco 49ers: It is clear the 49ers had a massive brain freeze when they selected Alex Smith instead of Aaron Rodgers. A few years from now, will they be regretting this year’s draft as well? Instead of taking Blaine Gabbert or J.J. Watt, the 49ers chose DE Aldon Smith at 7th overall. Gabbert could’ve been their answer to a franchise quarterback. For now, the hopes of their season rest on the right arm of  Alex Smith, or tanking the season to draft Andrew Luck next year.

Matt Millen’s Losers:

This name should also be self explanatory but if not, this is BAD! These are picks that Matt Millen would make if he were trying to get your franchise to become the second team to go 0-16. Beware.

Tennessee Titans: The Titans drafting Jake Locker 8th overall was your first “WOW!” of the NFL Draft. After parting ways with Vince Young, it was obvious the Titans needed another franchise QB. Taking Locker at 8 was a stretch and it could backfire on the Titans.

Minnesota Vikings: Your second “WOW!” of the draft come only 4 picks after the first when the Vikings selected QB Christian Ponder 12th overall. Many experts gave Ponder a second round grade but the Vikings obviously felt extremely confident with him. With the talent still on the board at 12, Ponder needs to turn out to be an excellent franchise quarterback for the Vikings to avoid criticism.

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks offensive line is poor and the fact that they won a playoff game last year is a mini-miracle in itself. This team has a ton of needs and drafting OG James Carpenter fills one of those needs. The problem is, Carpenter didn’t need to be drafted there. Carpenter  received a grade of 85 by ESPN, the lowest of any of first round draft pick. There were other viable options for the Seahawks who look to be headed for another subpar season.

Tomorrow should be another exciting day of the NFL Draft as rounds 2-3 will completed starting at 6 p.m. It shall be interesting to see who teams pick after having time to discuss the results of the first round. Good luck to all of your favorite teams. Click here for full NFL Draft coverage and results.

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Hockey, Basketball and Football, Oh My!

What. A. Week.

We just crossed over the “hump” and I’m already physically and emotionally exhausted. I’m like a defensive lineman returning a fumble 60 yards for a touchdown. Find me the oxygen tanks! ASAP! I’m not saying I’m as big as a defensive lineman, but you get the analogy.

This week has been beyond intense: My blood pressure has definitely gone up. My ability to focus on anything other than sports has been disabled. There have been multiple occasions of cheering in jubilation or screaming in disbelief, which leaves me surprised my neighbors haven’t complained yet.

Speaking of cheering/screaming, I was almost 100 percent sure the police where going to show up at my house when Landon Donovan scored the game-winning goal against Algeria in the 91st minute. Absolutely incredible. The World Cup has  to be one of the most exciting things in the world of sports. Another dramatic and electrifying event in sports? Game 7.

In the first round of the 2011 NHL Playoffs, 4 out of the 8 series were decided by a Game 7. Two of the 4 series that went to a Game 7 also needed overtime to see who would be heading on to the next round.

The effort, heart, will, passion and never-give-up attitude on display during the first round of the NHL Playoffs was extraordinary. The teams not fortunate to make it out of the first round should keep their heads held high, their efforts were commendable.

Note to the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins: Better luck next year. Enjoy the golf courses, you will not be missed.

In an effort to have this blog post remain a blog post and not a 5-page essay, I will do my best to be clear, concise and correct.

After going 6-2 in the first round of the NHL Playoffs we move on to the second round:

(Remember, I’ll try to keep these short)

Western Conference

1 Vancouver Canucks vs 5 Nashville Predators

Vancouver needed 7 games plus OT to knock of the Blackhawks. They have to be feeling the effects of the long series physically and mentally. The Predators are underrated and play great defense, They may surprise some people.

Canucks in 7

2 San Jose Sharks vs 3 Detroit Red Wings

Yes, the Detroit Red Wings are still in the playoffs in case you forgot about them, everyone else seemed to. The Sharks needed 3 OT wins to beat the Kings and Niemi didn’t look too solid. The Wings get healthy and are well rested for a tough match-up with the Sharks. Jimmy Howard’s play will be crucial this series.

Wings in 6

Eastern Conference

1 Washington Capitals vs 5 Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning, meet the Pittsburgh Penguins 2.0. The Capitals can defend and rough you up, while having the ability to finesse their way to some truly beautiful goals. Ovechkin is healthy and Stamkos was largely absent in the Pittsburgh series.

Capitals in 6

2 Philadelphia Flyers vs 3 Boston Bruins

They meet again. Last year, the Flyers came back from down 3-0 to win a Game 7 against the Bruins. The Flyers looked like their old self in Game 7 against Buffalo. The Bruins special teams was pathetic the whole series against the Canadiens and they were undisciplined. The Flyers seem to be regaining their confidence again.

Flyers in 6

Now that I’ve covered the main source of my exhaustion, let’s move on to basically everything else happening excluding baseball because it’s a 162-game season and there is a lot of time left to discuss baseball.

The NBA Playoffs have been somewhat entertaining this year. The Thunder look dangerous. The Lakers look lackadaisical . The Heat look like they may have figured it out. The Magic look lost. The Celtics dismantled the Knicks and the Grizzlies look to become the second 8 seed to knock off a 1 seed while Derrick Rose continues to prove he’s the MVP  The first round of the playoffs hasn’t been close to matching the intensity of the NHL Playoffs but the second round should provide the match-ups we’ve been hoping for.

When news broke about Jim Tressel and the trouble he was in I could not hold back my smile. My smile then turned to laughter and then I was struck with a fearful thought: Urban Meyer. Now, thanks to Urban’s daughter Nicki Meyer, I don’t have to worry about that. Nicki said on twitter, “Stop txting me abt my dad. HE IS NOT repeat NOT, GOING TO OHIO STATE. thanks.” The more trouble Tressel gets himself into, the more I am not surprised. It was bound to happen. Now I just hope the NCAA doesn’t shy away from a harsh punishment.

Finally, today marks Day 1 of the NFL Draft. I debated making a mock draft but decided it was silly. I’m a 20-year-old college student who loves sports. I don’t have connections to people in the NFL or NCAA. I don’t know what teams are thinking and who they are leaning towards. Instead of playing “eni meeni mini mo” with 4 different mock drafts to compile my own, I decided you could do that yourself. Instead, I am going to give my winners and losers after the first round. Granted, I’m not sure how accurate that will be, but it should be entertaining.

Kick back, relax, and take pleasure in an action-packed Thursday with the NHL Playoffs, NBA Playoffs and NFL Draft all set to make my brain explode by 10PM.

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