Best and Worst of the Weekend

Best – Brayden has been going to bed and sleep really good the past few nights, thank God!  He’s been just laying down and I’ll come back later and he’ll be out cold, so for that I’m happy and I can sleep better too!  Other best is the Hawkeye Wrestling team beating #1 Penn State and Cael Sanderson.  Sorry Cael, you still can’t beat IOWA!

Worst – Well worst is going to be being in trouble yet for no reason or not being told what reason.  Really, seriously?  Did nothing to provoke being argued at or being upset at yet still I did something wrong?  Don’t know what it was or anything, and will never know.   LOVE IT!


Best and Worst of the Weekend

BEST – I’m struggling to find a best.  Saturday night we did get the chance to go out, but don’t know if that helped my cold.  So that was nice.  Well the Hawks won.  The handled Indiana easily.  Remember about 10-15 years ago when this game was one of the top games in the Big Ten?  That’s about it. 

WORST – Other than being sick with an ear infection and cold and 100+ fever and actually having to come to work in this condition.  The Bears loss in the NFC Championship Game sucked.  I was hopeful we’d play like we did last week but a 3rd stringer almost got us back there.  The play on 3rd down with the end around was a terrible call!  Martz or Lovie should slap themselves after that.  Give it to Forte, don’t do a trick play in that situation.


NFC Championship Game

Bears vs. Packers

Lomarbdi, Starr, Nitschke, Lambeau, Hutson, Favre vs. Halas, Butkus, Sayers, Ditka, Payton, and Singletary.

Cheese heads vs Super Fans.

The winner gets the Halas Trophy and the chance to play for the Lombardi Trophy.

Who you got?  Post your predictions as comments.

My pick: Bears 20 / Packers 17

The Dark Knight Rises

So it came across the website Dark Horizons this week that the villains for the third installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series were going to be Catwoman played by Anne Hathway, and Bane played by Tom Hardy.  For this more realistic version of Batman I love the selections.  Great villains to choose.  Penguin and Killer Croc and some of the other villains are harder to portray in the world that has been built by Nolan.  I love what Nolan has done.  He’s taken the Batman franchise to a whole new level.  The Dark Knight I thought was the film of the decade.  Heath Ledger’s Joker may be the best acting job I’ve ever seen, even it was a supporting role.  And I can’t wait for the new movie to hit next year.  My only hope is that Warner Brother’s throws enough money at Nolan and Bale to come back for a 4th movie.  Reason being, in this Gotham that Nolan has created, the Riddler needs to be involved.  That character seems like a great fit and would just need the right story.  I really hate to see this world end with a 3rd movie but really how can they top what they’ve already created.

Other movie tidbits.
  • Dark Horizons posted a bunch of new photos from the XMen: The First Class
  • New Spiderman pictures have also surfaced

  • There is talk of rebooting the Lethal Weapon franchise?  Um no, don’t do it.  Create something new! Leave Briggs and Murtoch alone in film history.
  • Captain America and Thor apparently have had rough drafts screened and got positive reviews
Thor is the first big movie (in my mind) to start the huge lineup this summer.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get to all the biggies that come out.  Looking forward to it.  Nothing really else is on my horizon to see but movies that are already out. 


2010 WROTC NFL Awards

There’s a lot of NFL Awards out there, and I thought since I’ve done some college football awards since 2001, but never NFL Awards, why not throw something together.  So with my buddy Quentin (@sportsfreak_qp on twitter and at Off the Crossbar) we’ve come up with the Wide Right Off the Crossbar or WROTC NFL Awards.  So here we go with our 10 categories and winners.  Let us know what you think!

Play of the Year
Matt – Moeki’s td Catch vs. San Francisco  – One handed catch by a rookie leaping toward the back end of the end zone and gets both feet in comfortably, and he’s a former Hawkeye, gotta give him some love!
Quentin  Dan Connolly's 71 yard kickoff return TD vs. Green Bay - A 313 pound lineman returns a kick 71 yards?  how does that happen?


Game of the Year
Matt - Philadelphia vs. NY Giants, The Comeback  – Down 31-10 with 7:30 left to play, the Eagles scored 28 unanswered points capped off by DeSeann Jackson’s punt return for a td as time expired.
Quentin  Philadelphia vs. NY Giants  – 28 4th quarter points for Philly - Down 21 points in the 4th only to score 28 in a row, capped by an amazing punt return for a TD by DeSeann Jackson as the clock struck 0:00.

Offensive Player of the Year
Matt – Mike Vick, Philadelphia – When he was playing, most the year he was Superman.  See the Washington game and The Comeback vs. New York.  Dude was amazing.
Quentin – Mike Vick, Philadelphia - After some time off he regained his pre-legal-issues self and took control of games.  He did it all with his arms and legs.

Defensive Player of the Year
Matt – Clay Matthews, Green Bay – Probably wouldn’t have the Offensive player of the year without the Defensive player of the year.  Clay knocked out Kevin Kolb and that allowed Mike Vick to emerge in Philly.  Clay is a force in the middle in Green Bay and wrecks havoc on opposing QBs.
Quentin – Clay Matthews, Green Bay - Dom Capers used Charles Woodson in many different ways in 2009 and did the same with Matthews in 2010.  Matthews worked hard during the off season to improve and it paid off.  He was the most disruptive pass rusher in the NFL.

Special Teams Player of the Year
Matt – Devin Hester, Chicago – Mr. Record Breaker….that is all.
Quentin – Devin Hester, Chicago - Definition of a 'game changer' (see week 3 vs Green bay).  Teams had to game plan around him, how many returners can that be said about?

Mr Record Breaker

Rookie of the Year
Matt – Sam Bradford, St. Louis – a year ago he was banged up a couple times vs. BYU and Texas.  The Rams made him the #1 pick, and if he doesn’t lose some receivers they probably win the division by a game or two.
Quentin – Sam Bradford, St. Louis - Thrown into the fire from the start and exceeded expectations.  Keep Mark Clayton healthy and St Louis is in the playoffs easily.  No other rookie had as much of an impact as Bradford, except maybe Bryan Bulaga in Green Bay.

Coach of the Year
Matt -Lovie Smith, Chicago – Lovie was on the hot seat coming into the season and made some questionable hires with Mike Martz and Mike Tice.  The Bears then went on to go 5-1 vs. division opponents and came out 2010 Division Champions and a #2 NFC Seed.
Quentin – Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay – 3-13 in 2009 to 10-6 in 2010.  Tampa Bay was left for dead after 2009.  No real expectations for 2010 and they missed the playoffs by 1 game.  Lots of unknown players that played at an elevated level.  The NFL version of Kirk Ferentz.

Best Replacement for an Injured Player
Matt – Mike Vick, Philadelphia for Kevin Kolb  – Easy pick here.  Kolb may have lost his starting gig in Philly.
Quentin – Mike Vick, Philadelphia for Kevin Kolb - Not only did Kolb lose the starting spot he may have also lost his roster spot in Philly. 
Kevin Kolb is the new Wally Pipp

Biggest Surprise
Matt – St. Louis Rams – #1 Pick in 2009 to almost being in the playoffs and in division championship contention up to the last game of the regular season
Quentin – Kansas City Chiefs – 4-12 in 2009 to 10-6 and AFC West champions in 2010.  Team looked almost inept in 2009 and then prolific in 2010.

Biggest Disappointment
Matt – Minnesota Vikings & Brett Favre  – Almost a Super Bowl last year and a perfect season for Favre to a total collapse and last place finish in the NFC North.  Oh and a collapsed roof at the Metrodome and a fired head coach and the Randy Moss fiasco.
Quentin – San Francisco 49ers - Huge expectations for the team and coach going into 2010 only to disappoint yet again.  Minnesota was close but I knew that Favre would have a down year, he has a 2 year cycle (up one, down next).

Let us know what you think and if you agree or not and what would you have chose?


The Rivalry now has a BIG Prize!

The oldest rivalry in the NFL is going to get a little bit more history added to it, this time the winner gets the NFC  Championship and ticket to Dallas and Super Bowl 45.

This feels a lot to me like 2006 when the Bears played host to the New Orleans Saints.  Brees and the Saints were the hot team in the NFC, then beating the Eagles down before coming to Chicago.  Everyone in the media picked the Saints to win and go on to then Miami and Super Bowl 41.  The game still had to be played though, and the Bears won and hoisted their 2nd George S. Halas trophy.         Now the Packers and the Saints are 2 different teams.  The Packers to win will have to go on the road for a 3rd time.  Aaron Rodgers is playing like a QB possesed and with a chip on his shoulder, maybe the comments by ESPN's Colin Cowherd helped.  I see now why Lovie played all his starters in week 17, to get the Packers out of the tournament.  Anyway it should be a hell of a game.  Like the other 2 have been so far this season.

Before the year started I picked the Packers to the Super Bowl, when the playoffs started I rebooted and picked the Bears, so either way I'm sitting pretty good.  But Go Bears!

Some fun stat tid bits.
  • This is the 182 meeting between the 2 rivals, 2nd only in the playoffs.  (Bears won the 1st playoff meeting on Dec 14, 1941.  )
  • Bears lead the series 92-83-6
  • This is Lovie's 2nd NFC Championship Game.  Ditka coached the Bears to 3, winning 1 and losing 2.
  • The Bears have won 3 straight home playoff games. (06-Seattle, 06-New Orleans, 10-Seattle)
For more here's 5 early questions from former Hawkeye Matt Bowen at National Football Post.com.

Best and Worst of the Weekend

Best - Well the best is I get an extra day this weekend!  Get to spend it with Addy at home while my buddy Rich is helping with Ryleigh's carpet in her room!  I have that going for me, which is nice.  But the best of the weekend is the football games we had.  By far the best being the Bears winning vs the Seahawks and advancing to the NFC Championship game.

Worst -Well I think the worst is the cold and snow.  My kids like the spring/summer/fall more than the winter (so do I) and the fact that they aren't able to burn off as much energy and it keeps them in sucks.  Can't wait for April to get them out side.  Another worst is well not really that bad but I wasn't able to get out to the game watch with the Des Moines Sports Freaks and @thewood31 Saturday night.  But there will be more chances.

So that's the weekend.  4 day week ahead and it's going to be a busy one and stressful one.


Hey EA Sports! This isn't in the game!

My generation has grown up with video games, started with Mario jumping around on an 8 bit Nintendo, to what we have now in Call of Duty:Black Ops and playing games online vs. someone across the world.  And the classics we have grown up on aren’t just one timers, they are franchises.  Mario, Call of Duty, and Madden.  And with each installment you get something new, new storylines, maps, villains, weapons, rosters and add-ons and graphic up grades. 

Mario's Evolution

Super Mario Brothers on NES

Super Mario Galaxy 2 on Wii

And football games have evolved too.
Ten Yard Fight on NES

NCAA Football '10 on Xbox 360

I’ve owned every version of EA Sports College Football, but 1, on many platforms, and also about 70% of the Madden’s.  Most of them include little upgrades year and year that add on to what it previously had.  Plus little graphic upgrades.  Along the way we got the dynasty, the online dynasty, and Superstar modes.  Now a few years ago on I think MySpace or some blog I had I posted how I would improve NCAA Football, we’ll I’m going try to recreate it here….and it will go for Madden also.

First off, on NCAA, get rid of the all mascot teams and the historical teams.  No one plays with a team full of Cy’s vs. a team full of Bevo’s.  It’s stupid.  Waste of memory.  The historical teams are cool but really, takes up space.  Madden has the historical teams, and yea keep it there, it’s cool to be the 85 Bears and roll everyone.

So EA added the super star mode where you get to go from HS player to being recruited and then work your way up the depth chart.  It’s a little too easy but hey, it works.  Now why not do that with coaching your dynasty? 

After your superstar you can either export to go to the NFL/Madden, or why not sign on with the school you just were at (or somewhere else) as a grad asst or a positions coach?  In the dynasty feature you jump right in and are a head coach, don’t have to work your way up.  Is that in the game?  No.  I would think it would be easy to code and create too. 

So your dynasty is over.  You go into coaching instead of the NFL.  You take over a position such as DL coach.  You control just your DL during the game play.  You schedule them game planning, practicing, film watching or so forth during the week.  When it comes to game time the D-Coordinator calls the plays, and like super star mode where you only control 1 player, you control that set of players, so typically like 4 DL. 

For recruiting purposes, a recruiting coordinator would need to be created that would help the complex and time consuming task that is recruiting, but when it would come to a position such as DL that is being recruited, you could decide what area’s to emphasize. 

Throughout the year, how your position performs, you would then get points(to be determined).  One would be for performance to move up to other coordinator positions, the other to buy roles similar to what were used in the brief NFL Coach game.  Help you at what you can coach up the most.  Strength, speed, and so forth.

To move up to the coordinator spot you would need to reach certain levels.  At the school your currently at would be the easiest to move up to.  Schools with a lesser star rating would have a slightly higher threshold and then schools with higher star rankings would require a higher point total.  The only way to move from position coach to head coach is to amass an extremely high amount of performance points and then move down to a lower ranked school.  For example, no being the DL coach at Arkansas State and then moving to the Head Coach at Alabama.  Not gonna happen.

Once you get the coordinator gig, you control that whole side of the ball.  You game plan during the week (or skip – but earn less points).  Help the recruiting coordinator out on all position players on your side of the ball.  You role has expanded, like it happens “IN THE GAME.” 

Again to move up to a head coach you need to amass a certain number of points, and to move up to a head coach to a big time BCS school ala what happens, IN THE GAME.  Urban Meyer just didn’t show up at Florida.  He had to work to get there from Bowling Green to Utah and then Florida. 

A 2K basketball game had a similar feel to it, I believe ESPN NCAA Hoops 2K5, when you had to coach at small schools and get offered jobs to move up.  Why hasn’t EA thought of this yet?  And if anyone from EA reads this, I can help with development of this!  (Shameless plug.)  I think this feature in the EA Sports games would be a great addition and it would tie in what they had in the short lived NFL Coach series that wasn’t given much of a chance.  And would breathe some fresh life into the football games at EA that have had little by little feature upgrades and graphic upgrades over the past decade. 


NFL's Best Rivalry

ESPN.com today had a poll of what is a better rivalry, the Jets-Patriots or the Steelers-Ravens.  I voted for the Steelers-Ravens and it produced the results of 51-49.  Really?  Has anyone paid attention to football and what good ole fashioned hate is in the NFL. 
The Steelers-Ravens is by far a long shot the best rivalry in the NFL, it’s the closest thing we have to what the Bears-Packers used to be.  With free agency, and coaches being fired rivalries now only exist amongst the fans really.  Especially when you see players go from like the Bears to the Packers, or Bears to Vikings or Eagles to Redskins.  It has really hurt those hatred rivalries.  Would Howie Long want to sign with Denver, Kansas City or San Diego.  Probably not.  Would Butkus or Singletary go to the Packers.  HELL NO. 
But the hatred that has come from the Steelers-Ravens and the smash mouth football, the hard hits, and just hate…it’s the best.  They play 2, maybe if we are lucky 3 times a year.  The AFC North has been won by either of the 2 teams 7 of the past 9 years.  The games they play are important. 
The Patriots and Jets has had buds in the past with the Parcells/Belichek tie in, Curtis Martin, and now Rex Ryan.  But how big have the games actually been?  The Patriots have won the division 8 of the last 10 years.  The Jets, once.  The games are blown up by the east coast media.  But it’s not the best.  I would say that the Patriots-Colts is a better rivalry than the Pats-Jets.  They have played more high profile games and are more marquee. 
So sorry Jets and Pats fans, enjoy the game this weekend.  But you aren’t the marquee game.  The other AFC game this weekend is. 


Final 2010 GFR College Football Rankings

Well this maybe a great reason for a playoff.  After the bowl games, we have 2 unbeaten teams left.

Congrats to the 2010 GFR National Champions.

1. TCU
2. Auburn
3. Boise State
4. Oregon
5. Stanford
6. Ohio State
7. Oklahoma
8. Oklahoma State
9. Nevada
10. LSU
11. Wisconsin
12. Alabama
13. Arkansas
14. Michigan State
15. Missouri
16. Virginia Tech
17. Northern Illinois
18. Utah
19. Florida State
20. Tulsa


Best and Worst of the Weekend

Brayden at Monster Jam
Best - Friday night after going out to eat with the family, Brady and I headed up to Wells Fargo Arena for MONSTER JAM and Monster Trucks!  I wish I could have video taped it and his eyes when he first saw the track and the Monster Trucks come out.  He loved it.  After the late night he crashed pretty good too!

Another was Saturday when mom and dad came down.  Dad and I ran another big load of crap to the dump and mom touched up paint.  Saturday Night after doing some more cleaning/sorting and stuff the house is almost back to normal.  Just need to finish up Ryleigh's room and will be ready for her arrival in 6 weeks.

Worst -Well Brady did throw a little fit again at the mall, but not as bad as last week at Jordan Creek.  Other than the the worst is that the weekend is so short.  I feel there is so much to do but not enough time.  Why does Monday - Friday and the work week have to get in the way?


Who's in your 5 - NFL Post Season Moments

So it's time for the NFL post season in a day.  My pick this year is Steelers over Bears.  Hopefully the next 5 weekends will produce some great memories like these next 5 have.

Honorable Mention - All the close Super Bowls we've had.  The closer the games, the better the games.  Keeps us as fans into it more and makes the memories last.  Sure if your a fan of a team that wins in a blow out, you'll keep that in your memory bank toward the top, but I'm sure you won't disagree with the following either.

#5 - The Fog Bowl - Bears vs Eagles - 1988 NFC Divisional Playoff Game
I remember this one like it was yesterday.  You could hardly see anything on TV and the announcers had trouble calling it, but some how, some way the players saw what was going on and the Bears won 20-12 to move on the NFC Championship game vs the 49ers.

#4- Don't kick it to Devin Hester!
How many times have you heard it.  Don't kick it to #23.  Tony Dungy did it once in Super Bowl 41 and well the rest is history.  Too bad the Bears couldn't pull this one out.  Bad Rex showed up and threw a pick, but Bears fans will always remember how this one started.

#3-The Greatest Comeback in NFL History
I remember this one more so for what I didn't see.  The Oilers were up big on the defending AFC Champion Bills and we went out to a family dinner.  I was cheering for the Oilers since I used them in Tecmo Bowl and just threw passes all the time with Warren Moon and the WRs they had.  When we got home after the meal, the Bills had won.  HOW?  They pulled off the greatest come back in NFL History.

#2-The Music City Miracle
One of the most shocking, amazing plays in NFL history.  In #3 the Oilers were stung by the Bills.  Here, the Titans (formerly the Oilers) got a little revenge on Buffalo.  Was it a lateral pass...ehh maybe, but it was an amazing play.  And we don't have the great Rams-Titans Super Bowl with out this play.

Like I said to open, you remember the great plays and great games but if your favorite team has a blow out win in the Super Bowl, that's your memory!  And that's mine!  Quite simply the best team ever for a single season.  15-1, 3-0 in the playoffs, only 10 points allowed in the post season.  The Super Bowl Shuffle.  Ditka.  How much better could it have got?  If only Sweetness could have scored a TD!

These are my moments, who's in your 5?

Playoff GridIron Challenge

Password: beer

Fantasy Football is over, come and play the Playoff Challenge!


2010 NFL Playoff Predictions

From my 2010 NFL Predictions, I got 7 of the 12 playoff teams correct, maybe not in the right order but got them at least in the post season.  My Super Bowl Pick then was Colts over Packers.  Not going to go with that this time, though it is the NFL and anything could happen.  But right now I'll go with this.

In the NFC I think the last game that Vick played vs the Vikings showed the league something and the Packers move on.  New Orleans wins in Seattle.  Sets up the Packers going to Atlanta.  As much as I like the Falcons, I think the Packers will be rolling and the week off will hurt the #1 seed.  Packers win.  The Bears then get the Saints back in Soldier again, and with the help of the the elements knock out the defending champion setting up an NFC North NFC Championship game.  Teams split in the regular season, home teams won, and home team wins again.  Bears go to Dallas!

In the AFC, I think the Jets and Ravens will both roll through the first round setting up a great second weekend of rivalry games.  In Foxboro Rex's fettish runs out and the Fighting Brady's put a big spot on the Jets again.  Then in another hard hitting contest the Steelers avoid another Broken nose and move on to the title game.  I think only 1 team can go in to Foxboro and win and that is the Steelers, and I think they control the clock and hit the Pats hard enough to win the AFC.

Super Bowl comes down to Pittsburgh and Chicago and the Steelers win title #7 after Cutler tosses two interceptions, one to Troy Palomalu who returns it to the house, 20-14.

Of course this will probably all be wrong after the first weekend....but that's what makes sports fun!

Green Bay
PhiladelphiaGreen Bay
AtlantaGreen Bay
New OrleansNew Orleans
NY Jets
IndianapolisNY Jets
New EnglandNew England
Kansas City


Best and Worst of the Weekend

Mom, Dad and the grand kids (-minus Missi's 4)
Best - By far this was going home and spending time with my mom and dad and brother and his family on the 1st for my side of the family's Christmas.  My parents moved out of the houses I grew up in 3 summers ago but still its home.  I got to hang out with dad and Mike and watch a little football with them and talk the Hawks, Big Ten and other stuff.  Then for the last time this holiday season I got to see my kids reactions to opening gifts.  Priceless.  Maybe better was seeing my dad's reactions to watching the joy on my kids face.  I do wish that Missi & Jason and their boys could have been there.

Worst - Well Sunday if you were in Jordan Creek, you heard.  We were heading home and my son threw the biggest tantrum he's thrown in a long time.