Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Post Super Bowl Wrap Up

If you paid attention on Friday you would have done like The Peoples Champ and given up the 3 points and taken the G-Men +130 on the money line and been counting your quickly devaluing Greenbacks today. You might also have taken the Giants winning between 4 and 6 points and gotten 5-1 odds on that. Yes, Vegas was giving away free money this weekend folks but beware.  Vegas doesn't have all those nice new buildings and shopping malls because they lose more than they win. In other words, be careful out there. It's gonna get ugly for the handicappers.

With that said, after contemplating the game and the post game reactions  (including Gisele's tirade) here is what we learned.

1. Eli Manning is officially "The Most Clutch QB in the NFL" right now and on the short list of Greatest Comeback QB'a of All Time. You want to still say silly things like "Eli isn't Elite" and that he turns the ball over too much, had only one very good statistical year, has great receivers, blah blah blah. Fine. There are some statistical proofs one might bring to back up those idiotic claims, but what one can't do is deny Eli's greatness with the game on line. A record 8 Game Winning comeback drives this season and now 2 comebacks on the last possession to win 2 Super Bowls (and MVP awards) affirms this claim. In 8 playoff wins, Eli has gone head to head with Brady twice, Farve and Rodgers on the road, Romo and Matt Ryan (both who just as recently as this preseason were ranked higher than Eli by more than a few talking heads).
The People's Champ has always held the position that Eli is a top flight NFL QB and  a great leader of men. Eli just keeps proving the point more and more each year.

2. Justin Tuck is the Eli of Giants defensive players. Before the 2007 Super Bowl, Tuck was considered a very good up and coming defensive lineman. In Super Bowl XLII, Tuck was arguably the MVP; playing one of the great defensive games in Super Bowl history and basically nailing the door shut on the Patriots last drive with a critical sack of Brady. Turn ahead the clock to this year, a very trying regular season for Tuck, who by all accounts had a very disappointing year(mostly due to injuries) until Week 15 when he got healthy and not coincidentally, the Giants D became a championship D. He also played his best game in 5 years in the Super Bowl with 2 sacks, one being the initial safety and the other a sack on Brady on 3rd down which put the Pats in Hail Mary mode.

3. To win a Super Bowl in the "new rules" NFL you need a great QB. I've heard a lot of talk out there that Baltimore and San Fran could have easily been here and were just as good as the Giants or Patriots. Well, you know what? They weren't and as good as Alex Smith was this year and as good as Flacco played the final 3 Quarters against the Patriots, the difference was Manning and Brady. Look at the last 11 years of Super Bowl winners and here's who the QB's are: Brady 3, Eli 2, Big Ben 2, Rodgers, Peyton and Brees 1. Only Brad Johnson and his win in 2002 doesn't belong. In other words, if you want to win a Super, get yourself an Elite QB and your chances go up astronomically. Personally, I thought San Francisco were the best coached and best defensive team I saw all year. Houston was the best all around team I saw in the AFC (I'll give them a pass because they sustained season ending injuries to their QB and best defensive player). The Patriots were mediocre at best sans Brady. They had an awful defense and a pedestrian running game but still Brady put up enough points to win 13 games. Same with the Giants. Their running game was awful. Besides their punter, their Special Teams was anything but special. Their defense was horrible all season until Week 15. Rex freakin Grossman shredded the Giants Defense twice. But they had Eli, who when given the ball 8 times (including the playoffs) losing in the 4th Quarter, he delivered.

4. Tom Brady is still Great. Another idiotic subject of yahoos out there is that Brady is overrated, not clutch and hasn't won anything since spy-gate. While the latter might be true, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SPYGATE. It has to do with the fact that Brady continues to do more with less than any QB in NFL history. The problem with Brady is that he's too good. If Brady was merely mortal and winning 8-10 games a year with this rag tag squad and keeping his untainted 3-0 Super Bowl record, no one would say a peep. The problem is Brady carries teams on his back with no running games, no defense and one good WR (this year he did have the two TE's though). He has carried 3 totally different offensive type teams to Super Bowls (name me one other QB who has come close to that challenge) and if not for a dropped ball made 99 out of 100 times  by Welker and The Tyree Catch (which could have been called back for 3 holding penalties and 2 in the grasps calls) he would be the only QB with 5 Super Bowls and Mr. Montana would be know as the Greatest QB who ever lived that wasn't named Tom Brady.

5. Belichek still has it.  The legend that is Bill Belichek really began the day the NE Patriots and an unknown QB named Tom Brady upset the Greatest Show on Turf- the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. It was then that Belichek became known as the Master Game Planner- the Genius. Up to that point he had been a great defensive Co-Coordinator and Assistant Coach for the NY Giants and an unsuccessful coach with the Cleveland Browns. What changed that day was Belichek devised a game plan to hit the Rams receivers at the line (negating their huge speed advantage in a timing offensive scheme) and take Marshall Faulk (at the time the greatest fantasy football player of all time and the top offensive player in the NFL) out of the game by having 2-3 guys follow him at all times. NE would go on to win 2 more Super Bowls in the next 3 years and now people were talking about Belichek in the same sentence as Lombardi, Noll, Parcells, etc. All the accolades were deserved. However a funny thing happened along the way. The NFL changed the rules to make it incredibly harder to play certain type of defenses, NE defensive personnel got weaker and Belichek's once great penchant for drafting quality players late in the draft and filling in needs through free agency was waning. Well, he's still got it. As outlined in the Super Bowl preview, the Giants had far more talent. They also have an explosive offense with 2 great WR's and one good one. NE has been the weakest team all year against the pass with the worst secondary in the NFL. So what does Belichek do? He figures out a way to basically take Victor Cruz out of the game, eliminates any big plays by the Giants (except for the unbelievable throw and catch from Eli to Manningham) and then has the cajones to let the Giants score a TD and give Brady a chance with a minute left in the game. I thought this season, from beginning to end was his best job yet.

In the end the Giants are Super Bowl Champions for the second time in five years because they were able to do something no one else can. They figured out how to beat the Patriots. In the two Super Bowl seasons the Patriots were 32-2 against the NFL and 1-3 including two Super Bowl losses to the Giants. Figure out how to beat the Pats and there's a good chance you'll be wearing the ring.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Back in Business- The People's Super Bowl Pick

After yesterdays heart wrenching post, I felt it best to go back to my roots and start bringing The People's Blog back to The People. No, this isn't a one day "guest appearance" ala The Return of the Ultimate Warrior, and it's a far cry from the Ferris Buehller shill sure to be one of the best Super Bowl commercials even though everyone saw it already (thank you Honda for that much needed bathroom break in advance. I'll always have you in mind over Toyota and Nissan). Will The Champ post every day? Come on.....Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Creativity doesn't come in a bottle you know. With that we proceed.

I'm not going to break the game down like all the talking heads. You've heard all the angles, you've seen video, broken down the game tapes, listened to the crazy interviews at media day and even read poor Giselle's prayer to the Lord Above. No, I will tell you what will happen how it will happen and how at the end of the day, the Super Bowl Champ will be ____________.

To start, Boston has been a royal pain in the rear for New York for way to long, and despite 2007, 2004 really sticks in our craw. We could care less about the historic Red Sox collapse this past September/October (ok, that's a lie. We enjoyed it very much...) or that the Giants beat The Pats earlier this year with the JV starting. No. We need to bury Boston. Stick a fork in them and send the Patriots and Red Sox back to being the cursed franchises they always were.

NE last Super Bowl team was a squad that had a throwback defense- was tough, a team that would smack receivers down at the line, that was led by guys like Teddy Bruschi, Asante Samuel, Richard Seymour, Rodney Harrison and Mike Vrable, a team that intimidated, a team that stood toe to toe with the Greatest Show on Turf and came out standing. A team that is remarkably similar to this New York Giant squad.
This years version? Yes, they have the possible GOAT in Brady (as I have discussed prior), they have Belichek, who even though I think is slightly overrated is still an All Time great coach, they have the great Gronk- Hernandez TE combo; but in the end they lack toughness. They get pushed around. They get scored on. Even the GOAT gets a little frazzled when he gets hit.The toughest guy they have will be far from 100% (in Gronk).

The Giants? They are New York tough to the bone. They have a QB who personifies toughness. A guy a few years ago was being run out of town in ways that would embarrass Mark Sanchez. A guy that despite throwing 59 times and getting hit on approximately half those throws by the NFL's toughest and most turnover driven defense, kept coming back like Rocky Balboa, not turning it over and throwing for over 300 yards and 3 TD's and led his team to another NFC Championship ("he's not human" in Drago voice). They were battle tested all season, barely getting into the playoffs and then taking the toughest road possible (after beating a soft Atlanta squad- on a separate topic has there ever been a tough Atlanta squad in any sport?) by beating the defending World Champs and All World QB on their home turf and then doing the same to the NFL's toughest defense.The Pats? The best QB they since October was Tebow.

Did the Giants under achieve all season? Of course they have. Yes, they had huge injuries to Tuck and Osi but still. Everyone has big injuries. This is the National Football League for crying out loud! It's my biggest knock on why Coughlin cant be considered in the class of Belichek, Walsh, Parcells, et al.  His teams go to war with him but they also quit on him. Remember in 2007, he was on the verge of being fired before their great run. Still, when he gets the troops going, they go. And despite their 9-7 regular season record they have far more talent on both sides of the ball than does NE. It's not even close. If they put all their players in a pool and had a draft today, here's how it might come out.

1. Brady 2. Manning 3. Pierre Paul 4/5 Nicks/Cruz 6. Tuck 7. Gronk 8. Mayo 9. Osi 10. Light

Maybe you switch a guy here or there but generally the talent lies on the NY side of the ball. The toughness lies on the NY side of the ball. Even the GOAT is ofter now that he's married to Giselle (ok, I don't really believe it but you gotta love the New England paranoia that does) Experience? Even. Only advantage the Pats have are on Special teams as the Giants are very weak and vulnerable there. That's it. And I think the Giants find a way to adjust there.

At the end of the day, after all the wings, the beer, the stupid prop bets you made when you were  drinking too much and throwing around way too much testosterone, the New York Football Giants will once again be Kings of the Football Road.

ED NOTE: I am a full fledged Oakland Raider fan so no bias except a singular pure hatred of New England sports went into this post.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ayelet Nation- The Most Inspiring Family I never Met

"It is the evening of the day
I sit and watch the children play
Smiling faces I can see
But not for me
I sit and watch
As tears go by

My riches can't buy everything
I want to hear the children sing
All I hear is the sound
Of rain falling on the ground
I sit and watch
As tears go by

It is the evening of the day
I sit and watch the children play
Doin things I used to do
They think are new
I sit and watch
As tears go by"

                 Mick and Keith

I'm still crying three days later......

I was perusing Facebook one day being asked by a friend of a friend of a friend to pray for a little girl, Ayelet Yakirah Galena, who was having complications from a bone marrow trasnplant a few months prior. Keep in mind that I probably get 5 emails and 10 Facebook updates a day from various friends or friends of friends to pray for a sick relative, friend, stranger, old or young,  doesn't matter.  We've all seen them and we say a few words (at best) and move on with our dispassionate lives. Same thing happened here except for some strange reason, I went back a few minutes later and clicked on the page of this little girls story for absloutely no apparent reason.  From then on I was no longer a stranger being asked to pray for another stranger. I became a family friend. Then a few days later I clicked the link to the family blog reading the most incredible story I have ever read, a story written by parents living through the stormy seas of hell but handling it like they were going to Sunday morning brunch (at least that's what I think Sunday morning brunch would be like if your into that type of thing), I became a relative. A close one at that. No, I never met them and they have no idea who I am but every morning I would check on MY Ayelet and every night before going to bed I went to see how My Ayelet was doing- me and 14,000+ other people who claimed her to be their own.

I thought she would make it because all Fairy Tales end that way.  Just read Seth and Hindy's words and you thought there's no way this ends any other way but good. Girl gets sick. The whole world unites. Girl gets better. She lives happily ever after.

And that's why it hurts so much.

Every day people die. Tragedies happen. Circle of life. You don't need to turn far to see it. We all get the phone calls of the young father who just died for no apparent reason and we get the email about the 35 year old mom who has just been diagnosed with cancer and we pray and we try to be better people and we hope they get better and we really do. But they never enter the inner soul of who we really are and never penetrate the depths of who we should be.

Ayelet did that and more. Her parents Seth and Hindy Galena showed us a strength and resolve we didn't think was possible and made us think of the potential of who we can and should be if we just stopped for a moment and appreciated what we have and how we have it. If we just cared about what's important and ignored what is not. They did it with honor and humor and humility and gracefulness  that should be the standard for us all. What we should be and how we can become what we should be.

Ayelet Nation. Jewish, Non Jewish. Religious. Secular. Black. White. Celebrity. Rabbi. Atheist. Didn't matter. We were all there hoping, praying, wishing, whatever it was we thought would help. We did. We became better. She aroused a cause most of us never heard of and in the meantime- to date- had 21 lives saved because of her.

For me- she touched something that has never been touched. I have lost Grandparents, relatives, good people I knew and knew well, yet I never cried like I have the last three days. I've been in Martial Arts my entire life but will never approach  the fighter she was nor the courage Seth and Hindy displayed.

I want to thank Seth and Hinday and Ayelet for making me cry again. For making me finally care about others they way I always should have. For making people I dont know and should never have known my family.
When Hillel- the Great Talmudic Scholar was asked by a potential convert to teach him the entire Torah on one leg, he brought the Biblical passage- "VeAhavta Leraicha Kamocha". Love Your Neigbhor (really friend)  as You love Yourself. The rest of the Torah is just commentary".

Ayelet and her parents made me fulfill that Commandment for the first time in my life. They taught us what the Rabbi's and teachers and secular critics couldn't. They taught us it doesn't matter where you sit on the bus or how long your skirt is or what certification you follow that we are all the same and the only way to be better the only to be great is to become like the Galena's.

And I'm still crying........

To make a donation in Ayelets name click here for the Gift of Life Foundation and under "fund allocation" drop down menu, click Ayelet Galena

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Clemens Indicted for Lying to Congress

Former Major league Star Roger Clemens is being indicted for being an ass. Actually he's just an ass for being an ass but is being indicted for lying to Congress about his use of Performance Enhancing Drugs.
I'm glad the federal judicial system has nothing else to do these days. It's not like the taxpayers could use that cash elsewhere.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Boss No More

Major Sports Media outlets are reporting Yankee Owner, George Steinbrenner has passed away at the age of 80.