Buffalo Sabres (14-31-3) at Edmonton Oilers (12-27-9)

9:30PM

TV: MSG-B, BELL-E

The 2 worst teams in the NHL meet for the 2nd and final time this season tonight in Edmonton. You guessed it, the Oilers host the Buffalo Sabres and although we still have almost half a season to play, it appears these two franchises are all in on tanking for the right to draft Connor McDavid. Edmonton beat Buffalo 3-2 back in November and although the Sabres would like to even the season series, they are currently caught up in a 12 game losing streak. They could care less who the opponent is right now, they just need a win.

Recently Brian Gionta returned to the lineup after missing significant time with an upper-body injury. Michal Neuvirth is out after hurting himself during the all-star break. So Jhonas Enroth will start in goal for Buffalo. One thing the Sabres have going for them is a 4 game win streak at Rexall place and haven’t lost in Edmonton since 2003.

Nikita Zadorov is still being punished by the Sabres for arriving late for a team practice in Buffalo on Monday. He sat out Tuesday’s loss in Calgary.

Edmonton could be without Taylor Hall who was injured Monday during a team practice. He will be a game time decision. Oilers Head Coach Todd Nelson was not the bench boss when the Oilers visited in Buffalo in November, he took over for Dallas Eakins on December 15, 2014. The Oilers have been playing better since the Eakins firing and also picked up former Sabres centerman Derek Roy.

Cody Hodgson’s last goal came on December 13th, 2014. He has 2 goals on the season and bags full of money. Roll it up and smoke it Cody.

The NBA season is coming up on their all- star break. The NBA has become so popular over the past ten years because, small market teams are now dominating the league, just like in the NFL. The New York Knicks, Boston Celtics and LA Lakers, all big market teams have a combined record of 36-98. That Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors, small market teams, have a combined record of 103-30. The Western Conference has 8 teams that can legitimately compete for an NBA title. The Eastern conference has two teams, the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers. I look at the Toronto Raptors and the Atlanta Hawks like I looked at the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL. All three teams are well coached, play hard every game and are great regular season teams. But, stars win championships, in the NBA and NFL, and I don’t look at the Raptors or the Hawks at legitimate contenders to play for an NBA Title. Here are my 5 MVP Candidates going into the second half of the season.

 

5) Anthony Davis- F/C 6’11 250lbs, Davis’ numbers have improved every year he has been in the NBA. He is clearly a star on the rise, in just his 3rd year in the NBA, he’s already averaging 24.5 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. He is first in the NBA with 2.8 blocks per game as well.  Just two years ago in his rookie campaign, he averaged 13.5 points and 8.2rebounds per game. He has adjusted to the NBA game and is now thriving. davisMany NBA experts are already touting him as the next great big man in the league. I love his game, his work ethic and desire to improve. His only downfall is that he plays for the New Orleans Hornets. The Hornets are battling for the 8th spot in the playoffs. But in the brutal Western Conference, I don’t give them a realistic shot. It will be interesting to see if the Hornets can build a team around Davis or will he leave in free agency.

4) John Wall- PG 6’4 195lbs John Wall has led the Washington Wizards to one of their best starts in the last decade. The Wizards are 31-15 and are making noise in the Eastern Conference. Wall is averaging 17.2 points per game and his 10.2 assists per game ranks first in the NBA. He is one of the fastest guards in the league with the ball when going coast to coast. He still turns the ball wallover at crucial times (He is averaging 3.7 turnover per game) but anyone who has watched him play this year will see his growth and maturity. He has really taken leadership of this talented Wizards rosters. Wall and Bradley Beal are one of the best backcourts in the NBA. The Wizards have a bright future and Wall is one of the mail reasons.

3) James Harden SG 6’5 225lbs after years of inconsistent play James Harden has become a legitimate MVP candidate. Harden is doing hardeneverything he can to help the Houston Rockets win. He is averaging 27.6 points, 6.8 assists, and 5.6 rebounds per game. That is up from his career average of 19 points, 4.2 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game. Harden is 1st in the league in scoring and if you foul him late in the game he will make you pay. He is shooting 88% from the free throw line this season. Harden is doing it on the defensive end as well, he is 5th in the NBA averaging 1.9 steals per game. It is obviously that head coach Kevin McHale has had a tremendous influence on Harden and his game has taken a huge step forward. He will be in the “MVP Talk” as long as he stays healthy.

2) Russell Westbrook PG 6’3 200lbs- Russell Westbrook is the most underappreciated over scrutinized guard in maybe, the history of the NBA. When the Oklahoma City Thunder win, it is because of Kevin Durant. When they lose, it is because Westbrook didn’t give Durant the ball enough. All Westbrook does is put up monster number night in and night out. He is one of the hardest players in the NBA to guard and is an absolute freight train coming down the lane on a fast break. They may never have been a guard in the NBA with his athleticism and explosiveness. He is an absolute stat stuffer. Almost all of his offenses numbers are up from a year ago. Westbrook is averaging 24.7 points, 7.6 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. He has one of the quickest first steps in the league and gets to the foul line at will. He is averaging 8.4 free throws a game. I am going to compare Westbrook’s stats this year, to Hall of Fame Point Guard Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

westbrook

Russell Westbook: 24.7 pts, 7.6 assists, 6.0 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 80% free throws.

Magic career:          19.5 pts, 11.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 84% free throws.

More fans should appreciate what Westbrook brings to the court every night. Even when he has a bad scoring night, which is rare, he can still beat you in so many other ways. Just because OKC has one great player, Durant, it doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate what a great player Westbrook is. He will get a ton of MVP votes this year and has a great chance to win it.

  1. Stephen Curry PG 6’3 190lbs- If I was starting an NBA Franchise there are only two other players I would take before Stephen Curry, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Curry would be my 3rd pick every time. He is the best three point shooter in the history of the NBA and he is the best point guard in the NBA. When we think of the great NBA pure shooters, we think of players like Ray Allen, Reggie Miller and Curry’s coach, Steve Kerr. None of those three could ever take a defender off the dribble and shoot the three. For the most part, they all needed screens or plays to get open. Because Curry is a point guard, he doesn’t need anyone to get him open. He is deadly from all spots on the floor. In the rough and tough Western Conference, Curry continues to be one of the best players on the court every night. Curry has helped lead the Golden State Warriors to a 36-7 record. Curry is averaging. curry

The Sports Whisperer ~ Monte Perez ~ @montetjwitter11

Well, out of my nine predictions for the Eclipse Award winners of 2014 I hit on seven of them.  As I stated time and time again California Chrome was the Horse of the Year for 2014.  California Chrome won both awards he was eligible for; Horse of the Year for 2014 and Three Year Old Male horse of 2014.

My five other winning predictions included:  American Pharoah as the Two Year Old Male, Take Charge Brandi as the Two Year Old Female, Untapable as the Three Year Old Female, Main Sequence as the Older Male, and Judy the Beauty as the Female Sprinter.

The two Eclipse Awards I did not predict were: Close Hatches as the Older Female who beat out my selection Dayatthespa.  Dayatthespa did win the Female Turf award which is why I believe voters may not have voted for her in this category.  Work All Week was the other horse I did not select who won the Male Sprinter award over my selection Goldencents.  Looking back I think it is a toss-up but what it came down to is the category, “Sprinter”, and Work All Week won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint while Goldencents choose to run in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and won that race.  It would have been great to see them run in the Sprint together.  Overall, I still think Goldencents is a better horse but I’ll tip my hat to Work All Week for getting this award.

@catager

 

 

Welcome to Fromthe300level’s NFL Draft coverage. Derek Kramer will look into the 2015 Draft class, with a top 5 for each position, as well as a player on the rise and a player falling out of favor. At the end, Derek will put a Bills spin on the position, and suggest who the Bills should look into and who to avoid.

Today, it’s the:

Quarterbacks:

  1. Marcus Mariota,  Oregon- Mariota is a mobile QB with a sandlot style of play that mirrors Dallas QB Tony Romo’s early career. More accurate on the move, Mariota needs to become polished as a pocket passer. Mariota makes solid decisions with the ball, as evidenced by his low INT totals, and has a powerful arm. However, Mariota will need to learn how to play under center, so he may not be an immediate starter. PROJECTED: TOP 5 PICK
  2. Jameis Winston, Florida State- Winston has experience in a pro-style offense and is more polished and accurate as a pocket passer than Mariota. He also can move well and escape the pocket to avoid the rush. However, his off-field troubles have made several NFL teams take him off of their boards and give him a bad public image. If he can show maturity during the draft process, all it takes is one team to believe in him, the on-field talent is there. PROJECTED: TOP 5 PICK
  3. Brett Hundley, UCLA- Hundley has athletic upside as a passer who is very mobile. However, for a mobile QB, Hundley takes a lot of sacks. Hundley did work with a pro-style attack under Jim Mora, but still has yet to really bring it all together and be a consistent success as a passer. It speaks to the rest of the QB class that Hundley is at #3, as this crop is not very strong. PROJECTED: ROUNDS 2-3
  4. Garrett Grayson, Colorado State- A solid arm talent, Grayson is the best senior QB of the class, but that is not saying too much. The best QB at during Senior Bowl week, Grayson has a big arm that can make every throw needed. But he also has accuracy issues at times and is not the most mobile of players. He is a “sleeper”, but we’ve seen the likes of Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib (2013) and Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage (2014) go from “sleepers” to 4th round picks in an instant. PROJECTED: ROUNDS 3-5
  5. Sean Mannion, Oregon State- Mannion is a pocket passer who gets uncomfortable in the face of the rush or is forced out of the pocket. Mannion also has small hands (9”) for an NFL QB prospect. But Mannion is strong armed, which will allow him to get looks from NFL teams. If he can clean up his footwork, his accuracy will improve as well. PROJECTED: ROUNDS 4-5

Worth a Look: Shane Carden, East Carolina- Carden has a keen sense in recognizing pressure, and is consistently accurate with short to deep passes, despite a lack of superior arm strength. Carden can move around in the pocket when needed as well. He does have issues with the intermediate passing game, and has some learning to do in a pro-style offense. PROJECTED: ROUNDS 4-5

Falling Fast- Bryce Petty, Baylor- Petty went from possible first rounder in 2014 to a developmental project in one horribly inconsistent and injury riddled year. With accuracy issues on NFL-type throws, Petty clearly has arm talent when he’s on his game, as well as better-than-decent arm strength. Petty doesn’t do well in deciphering defenses, and rarely goes through progressions very well. He seems like a system QB who benefitted from Art Briles’ offense. PROJECTED: ROUNDS 4-6

 

Outlook for the Bills fan: Buffalo has a major question mark for 2015, “Who is the Bills starting QB?” With a free agent class that is horribly weak, fans naturally turn to the draft for an answer. However, the only QBs in this class the Bills could get start at Hundley and lower. While Carden and Grayson give some potential, Hundley, Mannion and Petty clearly are developmental projects that won’t be competing for the job in Buffalo in 2015 if drafted there. In the end, expect EJ Manuel’s competition for the starting gig to hail from the free agent pool.

Suggested: Grayson or Carden, round 4 or 5

Avoid: Hundley (round 2/3 prospect) and Petty (round 4-6 prospect)

 

kobe

Kobe Bryant has a torn rotator cuff and it looks like he will miss the rest of the 2014-15 season. Bryant is making $23 million this season and will earn $25 million next season. The Lakers signed Bryant to a two year contract extension over the summer. Making Kobe, the highest paid player in the NBA. When this contract was announced, I wrote in an article that the Lakers were making a colossal mistake.

I gave numerous reasons as to why, but here are three:

  1. Coming off two injuries, at the age of 36, why would you make a player on the downside of their careers, the highest paid player on your team and in the NBA?
  2. In a salary cap league, you overpaid for Bryant’s services. Here are some other aging players, and their salaries. Tim Duncan $10 million per year (Age 38). Dirk Nowitzki $7.9 million per year (Age 36).
  3. Making Kobe the highest paid player in the league hinders free agents signing with the Lakers. Financially, Kobe wants to be paid the most. With his skill set declining, why would a player like Kevin Durant sign with the Lakers when he will be paid less and do more.

Here is what the NBA’s highest paid player, Kobe Bryant has done this year statistically:

  • He is 9th in the NBA in scoring, averaging 22.3 points per game. That is down from his career average of 25.4 points per game.
  • He is 118th in the NBA in field goal percentage, shooting 37.7% from the field. That is down from his career average of 45.1%
  • He is 19th in the NBA in assists, averaging 5.7 assists per game. That is up from his career average of 4.8 assists per game.
  • He is 37th in the NBA in steals, averaging 1.37 steals per game. That is down from his career average of 1.51 steals per game.
  • He is 88th in the NBA in 3- point field goal percentage, shooting .293 from behind the line. That is down from his career average of .334%

This is not a “knock” on Kobe Bryant, his skills have diminished, like most players over 35. I want all athletes to make as much money as they can during their playing careers. But, the Lakers have failed miserably with this contract. Bryant is ranked in the top 10 in one offensive category, yet he is the highest paid player in the league. This contract doesn’t make any sense. The Lakers paid Bryant for what he was, not what he is. Statistically the Lakers are more efficient without Bryant on the floor. They are averaging 14 more points, per 100 possessions when Kobe is on the bench. Bryant is going to miss the rest of the season. The Lakers gave him $23 million to play in 35 games. That is not getting a return on your investment. If I was a Lakers fan, I would have absolutely no confidence in the Lakers management. Since Phil Jackson left the Lakers, their record is 182-174. The once might Lakers are now an afterthought in the NBA.

Kobe Bryant will go down as one of the NBA’s all-time greatest players. I have him ranked anywhere from 9-15. But, what made him so great, his ego, his competitive nature, and will to succeed is also his greatest downfall. Kobe refuses to take a step back and be the second or 3rd option on the Lakers. When Dwight Howard signed with the Lakers, Kobe went out of his way in numerous press conferences to say, “This is still my team!.” He doesn’t share the spotlight well and always wants to be the “Alpha Male” He should take a page out of Dwayne Wade’s or Dirk Nowitzki’s book and maybe he will have one more great playoff run in him. I hope so for Lakers fans…They deserve better.

The Sports Whisperer ~ Monte Perez ~ @montetjwitter11

 

 

arod

It looks as if the New York Yankees have finally reached the breaking point with multiple time PED “bustee” Alex Rodriguez. Numerous media outlets have reported that the club rejected Rodriguez’ offer to meet so he could apologize for his role in the Bio-Genesis scandal, which earned him the longest non-lifetime ban the MLB has ever issued.

Rodriguez met with newly inaugurated Commissioner Rob Manfred last week Wednesday to clear the air over the wrong-doings of his past. It has been speculated that Manfred may have urged Rodriguez to meet with the Yankees. However, the latter wanted nothing to do with the former MVP, essentially telling him it can wait until spring training (as Yahoo! Sports Mark Townsend reported).

In addition to this, the Yankees are reportedly trying to free themselves from honoring bonuses that A-Rod could receive depending on his “record breaking”. In 2007 A-Rod agreed to a “Milestone HR” marketing agreement that would earn him an estimated $30 million bonus if he ties Willie Mays at 660 on the All-Time HR list. The Yankees claim is that Rodriguez’ usage of steroids nullifies the validity of the agreement, according to ESPN.

With all of this litigation coming out of the blue, it appears that the Yankees are done with A-Rod, a man who has brought the team no end of negative publicity since he signed with them in February 2004. Though he is still under contract until the end of 2017, A-Rod’s future with the New York Yankees is looking highly questionable at the present time.

@Flat_Manigen74

 

2013 AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer will be a Washington National in 2015.

2013 AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer will be a Washington National in 2015.

The teams that were considered fore-runners in the Max Scherzer Sweepstakes were the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Yankees. None of these teams succeeded in their goal, however, as the Washington Nationals announced Wednesday the signing of Scherzer to a 7 year, $210 million deal the second largest in MLB history for a pitcher.

The 2013 AL Cy Young Award winning Scherzer will return to the National League after spending five seasons in Detroit from 2010 to 2014. Before then, Scherzer was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks for his rookie and sophomore seasons (2008 & 2009). After two relatively sub-par years in the desert he was packaged to Detroit, where he became one of the best pitchers in baseball. After thriving in the batting dominated AL, returning to the more pitching friendly NL should prove an easy transition for the 30 year old right-hander.

Now the Nationals suddenly have quite a formidable rotation, Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister, and of course Jordan Zimmerman. The Nationals won the NL East in 2012 and 2014 and could easily do even more this season with the new addition.

Matt Morris ~ @Flat_Manigen74

 

rwilson

Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks are going to back-to-back Super Bowls. It is the first time an NFL team will be playing in the Super Bowl, two years in a row, since the 2003-04 New England Patriots. Wilson is the first quarterback in NFL History to appear in two straight Super Bowls in his first three seasons. Before Wilson arrived in Seattle, Pete Carroll had a record of 14-18 as their head coach. Since Wilson’s arrival, Carroll and Seahawks are 36-12 in the regular season. Wilson has proven to not only be a game manager but a playmaker. In his first two seasons, Wilson had 52 touchdown passes and 19 interceptions in 800 passing attempts. Andrew Luck in his first two seasons had 46 touchdown passes 27 interceptions in 1,197 passing attempts. There is no doubt in my mind, Wilson is a top 5 quarterback in the NFL. He is the ultimate dual threat, rushing for over 800 yards this year. When I write my articles, it is based on my eye tests. But it is also based on stats and facts. The two quarterbacks I can compare Wilson’s Seahawks to at this stage of his career would be Ben Roethlisberger’s Pittsburgh Steelers and Tom Brady’s Patriots. So, without wasting any more time. Here are Wilson’s stats (in his first three years) compared to previous Super Bowl winners and there first three seasons.

 

1st Three years in the NFL, regular season, combined Stats:

Russell Wilson – 48 games started, 63.4% completions, 83 total touchdowns, 26 interceptions, and 1,187 rushing yards.

Ben Roethlisberger- 41 games started, 62.9% completions, 58 total touchdowns, 43 interceptions and 363 rushing yards.

Tom Brady- 47 games started, 62% completions, 71 total touchdowns, 34 interceptions and 120 rushing yards.

Eli Manning- 41 games started, 52.9% completions, 53 total touchdowns, 44 interceptions and 136 rushing yards.

Peyton Manning-48 games started, 60.4% completions, 88 total touchdowns, 58 interceptions and 251 rushing yards.

 

Wilson has played every game as a starter, he has never been injured. In his first three years, he has the highest completion percentage, second in total touchdowns, more rushing yards than these 4 quarterbacks combined and the least amount of interceptions. Fans want to criticize him because he has a running game and a great defense. So did Terry Bradshaw, Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco. Wilson puts up numbers. He has more regular season wins (36) than any quarterback in the history of the NFL. In 3 years as a starter Wilson has never lost a game by double digits. The biggest loss of his career came this season when San Diego defeated the Seahawks 31-20. Even in college Wilson kept his teams in every game. At Wisconsin, Wilson lost games by 6, 4 and 7 points. The last time he lost a game by double digits, 2009.

Fans who know football, appreciate what Wilson is. He doesn’t make many mistakes (The NFC championship game was the first time since his rookie year that he had more than two interceptions in a game) and he can beat you with his feet or his arm. I expect Wilson to have a great game in the Super Bowl and be amongst the elite quarterbacks for years to come. As you can see by the stats I included above. He is better statistically in his first three years than quarterbacks who have been to multiple Super Bowls.

The Sports Whisperer ~ Monte Perez ~ @montetjwitter11

At the beginning of the season I did a preview on ECIC IV and how each team would stack up this season. Since we are nearing the half way point of the high school basketball season, we’ll take a look at how each team is doing:

Cleveland Hill (8-3 overall, 4-0 in ECIC IV)

No surprise the Golden Eagles are on top in ECIC IV. After starting the season off 1-2, Cleveland Hill has regained their confidence and are looking to sweep the division. The Eagles currently have three players with 100+ points. Seniors Anthony Sullivan, 121 (12.1 PPG in 10 games, and Jermaine Hairston, 116 (11.6 PPG in 10 games) lead Cleve Hill, while junior Daytwon Burney has 100 points (9.1 PPG in 11 games). The Eagles have yet to face Holland and Tonawanda. If I were to choose the team that may give Cleve Hill their first loss inside ECIC IV, I’d have to choose between Lackawanna, who lost 58-50 on December 16th. The other team that could give Cleveland Hill their first loss is JFK, who lost 56-49 on January 13th. Those two teams have seemed to compete with the athletic ability of Cleveland Hill better than any team yet and could make the games at their gyms very close.

Lackawanna (3-5 overall, 3-1 in ECIC IV)

The Steelers who started the season off 0-4, has gotten on a hot streak winning 3 out of their last 4 games. Lackawanna, like Cleveland Hill are filled with athletic talent and are a very fast and physical team. Senior Larry Fields leads the Steelers in points, 100, in 8 games (12.5 PPG), while guards Jeremiah Jones, 84 points in 6 games (14.0 PPG), and Darius Cleveland, 86 points in 8 games (10.8 PPG), are the cream of the crop for the Steelers. Except the first game for the Steelers against, St. Francis, in which they lost 61-49, the Steelers have lost by a total of 14 points. The past two games, vs. Tonawanda and Eden have shown how well they can play as a team, as they’ve outscored their opponents by a total score of 137-72. This team is getting better as the season progresses and that’s a very good thing.

JFK (5-4 overall, 3-2 in ECIC IV)

JFK has been a streaky team when it comes to their wins and losses. They’ve been over .500 four times this season already, but their upcoming schedule looks quite promising that they could be there for some time. The Bears have been relying heavily on senior forward Joe Braniecki to get points as he currently has 172 points in the team’s 9 games, (19.1 PPG), Cale Byczkowski is the second highest scorer on the team, who currently averages 8.2 points in 8 games (66 points). The team is quite athletic and can get up and down the floor quickly, which is one of many positives this team possesses. Ironically, the Bears’ losses have been by either 6 or 7 point margins. Those losses have come against West Seneca East, Lackawanna, Olmsted, and Cleveland Hill.

Holland (3-6 overall, 2-2 in ECIC IV)

Holland started the year off on a 5 game losing streak, but have now won their 3 out of their last 4 games. One key thing with the Dutchmen to consider is point guard J.R. Kline has quit the team. At first, this was not a good thing for the southern-most team in ECIC IV, but they have relied on the duties of 1,000 point scorer, Clay Lewis to get the job done. Lewis currently averages 20.5 points a game (164 points in 8 games), while the player with the second most points is forward EJ Staniszewski, 43 points in 8 games (5.4 PPG). If team’s can eliminate Lewis’s presence on the court, teams will be successful.

Tonawanda (6-5 overall, 2-2 in ECIC IV)

The Warriors are a lot better of a team than their record both overall and in their division dictates. Senior guard Tristan Boling leads ECIC IV with points per game with 22.6 (226 points in 10 games). Boling is a dynamic guard who is able to bring the ball up, while he can shoot the lights out. The one negative with Tonawanda is that their forwards aren’t really responsible for points inside the paint. Lorenz Jefferson leads the team in points for forwards with 75 (7.5 PPG in 10 games). It would not surprise me if this team upsets either Lackawanna or Cleveland Hill towards the end of the year.

Alden (2-8 overall, 1-3 in ECIC IV)

                There have been three players on the Bulldogs that have helped their team come close to decent opponents. Freshman guard Christian Snell leads the team in points, 106 in all of the team’s games (10.6 points per game average), while senior Austin Zelasko is right behind him with 99 (9.9 PPG) and junior Jordan Stockweather has 98 (9.8 PPG). Their non-league losses have all been blowouts, except when they lost to Akron, 52-50, and Royalton-Hartland, 51-48. Their lone non-league win came against Riverside, 58-53.

Eden (2-7 overall, 0-5 in ECIC IV)

                Eden has been relying on Louis Bartus most of the time to get their points, but they haven’t been able to muster that many of them. Through their nine games, the team is averaging only 39 points a game. They need to be getting more than that to be able to compete with the teams in ECIC IV. Stats are not available for Eden, but when seeing them play, they need to be able to reduce the turnovers and shoot the ball more effectively. There is definitely potential there for the Raiders, but they need to be able to dig deep for that potential and practice effectively to get there.

BEFORE SEASON PREDICTION

  1. Cleveland Hill
  2. Lackawanna
  3. Holland
  4. JFK
  5. Alden
  6. Tonawanda
  7. Eden 

MID SEASON PREDICTION

  1. Cleveland Hill
  2. Lackawanna
  3. JFK
  4. Tonawanda
  5. Holland
  6. Alden
  7. Eden

Marshall Haim ~ mhaim1934

Ladies and gentlemen thank you for joining me today. I am back in the courtroom to present yet another case. So far my record as a pretend attorney, is a perfect 2-0. The first two were open and shut cases

  1. Does LeBron James deserve to be on the NBA’s Mount Rushmore?
  2. The Curious Case of Stephen Curry, Is he the NBA’s best Point Guard?

If you would like to read these cases, my court clerk will make them available to you (or just email me.)

I only do about 3 cases per year because they become very draining physically and mentally for me. Like Rocky IV, I seclude myself in a cabin and train. I also become so obsessed with collecting data, stats, and do a ton of interviews, I literally became like Russell Crowe, in the movie “A Beautiful Mind.”

beaut

 

This case was extremely difficult to prepare for because I am going up against the most dominant product in television today…. The NFL. If this was a movie, the NFL would be the “Evil Empire” from Star Wars.

My case is a simple one when you break it down, “Change the Super Bowl game to Saturday Night.”

Before I present the evidence before you, I must share with you how my thought process to changing the game came about. In a recent podcast, I brought up changing the day of the Super Bowl, you would have thought that I brought up changing Christmas Day. Fans were outraged on Twitter and during the show. Amazingly, though I presented simple ideas, they couldn’t comprehend them. The only argument they all had was, “You can’t change the Super Bowl because I grew up with it being on Sunday and it is tradition.” Well, when you break it down, that is a “YOU” problem not MY problem. Tradition was their only argument against me. As you will see below, you can’t use tradition as an argument.

The “Evil Empire” known as the NFL is constantly changing, and adapting. The NFL doesn’t care about tradition, so why do their fans? If you are a Raiders, Broncos, Steelers, Ravens, Giants, or Packers fan, you can’t use the argument of the Super Bowl on Sunday being tradition. All of these teams mentioned above, have won the Super Bowl as a “Wild Card.” The NFL was the first sports league to implement the wildcard in 1970.  If it wasn’t for the NFL breaking away from tradition, those 6 teams would not have the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

The Dallas Cowboys would have played the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC championship this year.  But, in 1999, The NFL implemented instant replay or “challenge” on-field calls of plays. The Dez Bryant catch was overturned and Dallas lost the game thereafter. So, the Green Bay Packers fans can’t use the “tradition” argument either.

The Seattle Seahawks came back in the NFC Championship to defeat the Green Bay Packers 28-22. Seattle scored on a 2 -point conversion to go up by three points late in the 4th quarter. The Packers, came back and kicked a field goal to send the game in overtime. If the NFL didn’t implement the 2-point conversion rule in 1994, Seattle would have lost the game by 1 point. So Seahawk fans, can’t use the “tradition argument” either.

Below you will find a list of rule changes or the NFL breaking away from tradition, to make the game more exciting for the fans. (Taken from…Evolution of the rules: from hash-marks to crack-back blocks)

  • 1994-Defensive players are prohibited from blocking low during a punt, field goal, or extra point attempt (kick), except those defensive players at the snap that are lined up on or inside the normal tight end position. Previously, all players on the defensive team could block low during the field goal or extra point attempt.
  • 1995 -Protection for defenseless players is clarified and expanded. Since 1982, a defensive player was prohibited from using the crown or top of his helmet against a passer, a receiver in the act of catching a pass, or a runner who is in the grasp of a tackling.
  • 1996- On running plays, a chop block is prohibited by an offensive player who is aligned more than one position away from the engaged defender when the block occurs away from the flow of the play.
  • 2005- It is illegal to grab the inside collar of the shoulder pads to tackle a runner (“horse-collar tackle”).
  • 2006- Low hits on the quarterback are prohibited when a rushing defender has an opportunity to avoid such contact.
  • 2009- Teams are not permitted to intentionally form a wedge of more than two players on a kickoff return in an attempt to block for the runner. Penalty: 15 yards.
  • 2010-A player who has just completed a catch is protected from blows to the head or neck by an opponent who launches.
  • 2012-• The list of “defenseless players” is expanded to include defensive players on crack-back blocks, making it illegal to hit them in the head or neck area.
  • •Players are required to wear protective knee and thigh pads beginning with the 2013 season.

 

As you can see by these rule changes, The NFL Keeps evolving.

Here are 5 Reasons why the NFL should play the Super Bowl on Saturday Night.

  1. On the day after the Super Bowl last year, 1.5 million Americans called out to work and another 4.4 million were late to their jobs. Employees would show up for work on Monday because they had all of Sunday to recover and relax.
  2. The Super Bowl starts at 6:30, which means with the extended halftime, the game doesn’t end until 10:30-11:00 on the East Coast. If you have young kids, most of them are in bed before the end of the game.
  3. If the game was played on Saturday, you could have a recap of the game on Sunday. Call it the Super Bowl rewind. The NFL could edit the game to an hour and you can watch all the interviews and have live guests of the winning/losing team the following day.
  4. The post-game coverage would not be an afterthought. Because most people don’t work on Sunday, fans would watch most of the after game coverage on ESPN and other channels.
  5. There have been several articles printed and petitions signed to make the day after the Super Bowl a national holiday. Why have employees miss work when you can just play the game on a different day?

It makes all the sense in the world to play the game on Saturday Night. The NFL has been the most progressive sports league in adapting and making their games more fun to watch. This is the next step in the evolution. It makes absolutely no sense to have the most watched game ever year in our country played on a Sunday. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury I rest my case.

The Sports Whisperer ~ Monte Perez ~ @montetjwitter11