In Football Stuff on May 21, 2014 at 3:37 am
This week at the NFL owners meeting in Atlanta the heads of the franchises decided to hold off the vote to expand the playoff. They instead will take up this discussion at the fall meetings. It’s an idea that is gaining popularity and one that Commissioner Roger Goodell is heavily trying to make happen. They would like to take the current format of 12 teams and expand it to 14. That would provide an extra playoff game in each conference and give another team a shot at the postseason.
This makes sense from a business side if we are looking strictly at the bottom line. One more playoff game would provide extra revenue for league and maybe would allow them to squeeze a few more dollars out of their current TV contracts. That being said as a fan I would hope that they leave what is the best playoff in professional sports as is. The current format lets 12 teams in and leaves 20 teams sitting outside wanting to get better. Unlike the NBA or NHL where over half the teams make it to the postseason.
The NFL is the king of all professional sports but this maybe one of the first steps in flirting with over exposure. One step was the insistence on having a Thursday night game that has turned out to be a less than stellar representation of the product. The playoffs did not need an extra team and the AFC would have had to push a 2nd team with an 8-8 record into the playoffs if these rules would have been in effect at the end of last season.
More than likely the owners will vote to expand the playoff because they all think that there is one more chance for them to get their team in. This would be the first expansion of the playoffs since 1990 and some people in the NFL feel its overdue. Owners are salivating at the idea a possible extra home game of revenue. I just hope that is the last playoff expansion for a while.
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr
In Football Stuff on January 24, 2014 at 3:19 pm
This week Richard Sherman apologized for his post game outburst during his interview with Fox’s Erin Andrews. Still it appears to be a hot topic in the world of sports reporting. To me it wasn’t that big of a deal and I didn’t have an issue with Sherman. The person I had the biggest problem with after Sunday’s championship games Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s assertion that Broncos wide receiver intentionally tried to take out Aqib Talib of the Patriots. I felt that was a pretty low for a coach to make that kind of accusation against a player.
Pick plays or “rub routes” are not that uncommon in football and are used more often by the Broncos and weird enough the Patriots. There was no call by the officials on the field and the play did not appear malicious. But according to Belichick “I think it was a deliberate play by the receiver to take out Aqib. No attempt to get open….” and he followed up with “I’ll let the league handle discipline on that play. … That’s one of the worst plays I’ve seen.” Well the league officials made their ruling and decided that there was no ill intent on the play.
There is a history between Welker and Belichick as Welker was a Patriot for six seasons prior to playing in Denver this year. His departure from New England was due some problems with negotiating his new contract. In a lot football fans minds it appeared to be sour grapes after a game against one of his former standout players. Maybe Bill was just being a sore loser or maybe he legitimately thought that Welker was being dirty. With almost a week gone by and a chance for the league to rule and him to see the tape, it’s time for Belichick to be classy and apologize to his former player.
Keith B. Holt
Follow On Twitter @Kholtjr
In Basketball Stuff on December 30, 2013 at 12:28 am
The NBA is almost 30 games deep into their season. At this point in the season we get a good picture of who these teams are. The Eastern Conference has clearly become a two team race. It’s the Heat and the Pacers and everybody else are just hanging around. The currently third place team in the East is the Atlanta Hawks with a 16-13 record. No other team in the conference has a winning record.
Now in the West things seem to be a lot more competitive. The number 9 team in the West which happens to be the Denver Nuggets at 14-13 would be the 4th seed in the current Eastern Conference. The left coast seems to be up for grabs with few teams who could challenge for a spot in the finals. There a few teams in both conferences that I find interesting and will follow throughout the rest of the season. Of course I am going to share them right here.
The Hawks came into this season a different team than they were last season. They have a new coach and star Josh Smith has taken his talents to the Motor City. The team appears to be competitive in a down conference. The NBA doesn’t really reward you for being a middle of the road team. Either you need to be competing for Championships or building with high round draft picks. The Hawks seem like they are far away from a championship. They have a few good pieces but no star. In this current time in the league that is usually not a recipe for success. Now with major injury to Al Horford the Hawks will have to some shuffling. We will see if GM Danny Ferry can make some big moves and take this team to the next level.
After a few years of losing the Pistons might have something going. They are only 14-16 but that’s good enough for 7th in the East right now and only a game or 2 out of 4th place. They could actually host a playoff series in the 1st round if they play their cards right. As the East plays each other more I expect the records to gain some more balance. Their frontcourt of the newly acquired Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond seems to be posing matchup problems for the rest of the league. Brandon Jennings appears to be a positive acquisition but he started off really well in Milwaukee also before he wasn’t that welcome anymore. Right now the team appears to have a few parts that could be moved. Greg Monroe could be attractive to a team that may want a solid big man. With the emergence of Drummond and them having Smith makes him expendable. Maybe pick a good wing player who can defend.
The Suns are 17-10 and seems to play teams tough every night. Behind current coach and former Suns player Jeff Hornacek this team seems to be on the right track. Not a team loaded with mega stars but there is a lot of potential on this roster. Getting Eric Bledsoe from the Clippers has been a nice addition. They are a well balanced team that has 7 players that average double digit points per game. One of my favorite stories of this season comes from the both of the Morris twins being on the team and doing well. I will definitely be watching to see what happens with this team for the rest of the season.
San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs appear to be ageless. Here are after a long emotionally draining NBA Finals and the Gregg Popovich still has his team clicking on all cylinders. At 23-7 and 3rd in the West the question is can they hold up? Duncan and company are all getting on in years but they still keep coming back. Pop is of course pulling off one of his great coaching jobs where he is just plugging in people you probably never heard of and making them contributors. Whetehr it is reviving the career of Boris Diaw or finding guys like Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard, Popovich keeps plugging them in. Can’t wait to see how they keep moving through this season.
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr
In Football Stuff on December 27, 2013 at 6:58 am
The NFL playoffs do not officially start until next weekend but this Sunday the playoffs start early with 2 win or go home games. The Cowboys versus the Eagles and the Bears versus the Packers will determine division champions and who goes to the official postseason.
Eagles vs Cowboys: This game is interesting as the status of star Cowboys quarterback is still up in the air. If he does not play back-up Kyle Orton will have to take the reins for Dallas. The Cowboys even signed Jon Kitna to back-up Orton if an emergency happens. I guess Jeff George and Jeff Garcia were busy. Philadelphia is on a roll playing some really good offense with Nick Foles under center. That bodes well for them going against one of the worst defenses in the league. That being said not only are we fighting for the playoffs but these are division rivals. So anything can happen.
Bears vs Packers: The NFC North Championship and a trip to the playoffs will on the line in Chicago on Sunday. The Bears will try to defeat the Packers for the second time this season on their home field. The Pack will not be an easy out as their star quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be back after missing 7 weeks with a collarbone injury. He may not be 100% but even if he is at 75 that will be way better than Matt Flynn. The Packers will have to go into this game without All Pro linebacker Clay Matthews. In their 188th meeting and the playoffs on the line Green Bay will head down to Soldier Field to lay it all on the line.
There are also a few teams that still have a chance to punch their ticket with a win and some help from some other teams.
The Arizona Cardinals are the most interesting team on the brink of getting in. This team could possibly win 11 games and not make the playoffs. The Cardinals are the most intriguing because this team could either not make the postseason or possibly make a run at the Superbowl. The odds are stacked against them. To get in they have to defeat the San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints have to lose to a struggling Tampa Bay team.
The AFC is even more interesting with 4 teams fighting for the final spot. Right now the 8-7 Miami Dolphins hold the spot. All they have to do is win their game and all their problems are solved. For the other teams it is a little more complicated.
Baltimore: The defending Superbowl Champs could be on the outside looking in this year. For them to get into the tournament this season they have to knock off division rival Cincinnati. Unfortunately for them the Bengals are looking to improve the playoff seating so they will not be laying down this week. Also with beating the Bengals they then have to hope that the Dolphins can’t get by the Jets.
San Diego: Phillip Rivers and the Chargers are hoping that the Geno Smith works some magic against Miami also. The Chargers also need the Raven to lose too in order for them to have a shot at the postseason. Not to mention the bolts have to handle their own business the Kansas City Chiefs. Now it may be possible that the Andy Reid may rest some of his players since it seems like the Chiefs are kind of already locked in that 5 spot in the playoffs.
Pittsburgh: After starting the season 0-4, Mike Tomlin has the Steelers still alive here in the final week of season. At 7-8 they will need the most help to continue their season beyond this weekend. First they have to take care of themselves and beat the Cleveland Browns. That will not be an easy task as they have been playing teams tough this season and Josh Gordon is emerging as one of the best receivers in the league. Then if that happens then the Dolphins, Ravens and Chargers have to lose on Sunday. Not likely but in this wacky NFL season its worth seeing if it can happen.
This NFL season has been kind of wild and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Keith B. Holt
Follow on Twitter @Kholtjr