Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Begrudgingly Hesitant

I love that T.O. is a Buffalo Bill! I feel like I just need to say that before I continue with the rest of this article.

However, as Lord Acton said, "absolute power corrupts absolutely." T.O. will literally be given the keys to the city of Buffalo this week. This week he was also a guest sports commentator on the local news.

There are a couple of things that make me nervous about the situation in Buffalo right now. First, I don't like the amount of hyping of T.O.'s eventual explosion coming from ESPN. I can only hope that this makes T.O. mad enough to prove them wrong. Second, I don't like that before he can even catch a pass T.O. is being treated as virtual royalty in Buffalo. It would be nice if he felt like he had something to prove. It would be nice if he felt like he had to prove to analysts that he hasn't lost a step. Is there anything that he could do wrong at this point? Say he does stink, certainly a narcissist of his level would never man up and take any blame.

My scariest moment of the T.O. show was his comments on leadership. He said that he would be a leader if asked to be. The scary part was that he said that there are clips of him barking at people on the sidelines, but that was just his leadership style. I'm not against tough love, but I am against yelling people on the sidelines as a leadership style. Is that really the most effective way to achieve your goal?

I would like nothing more then to look back on this post next February and say all of that worry was totally unnecessary. I would love it if T.O. proves all the haters wrong. I would love T.O. to earn his first ring this year with the Bills.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Put your money where your mouth is!

During the course of the past couple of seasons, I have lost some respect for Jason Taylor. Between "Dancing with the Stars", leaving the Dolphins because Parcells wasn't "respecting him", and a mediocre season with the Redskins (3.5 sacks) he dropped a couple of levels in my book.

However, he has regained all of my respect this off season. Jason has presented himself as a family man for the past couple of seasons. He has talked about taking off some time to be with his family and watch his kids grow up. I think that it is enormously respectable for an athlete to make public such a commitment to family. That being said, I think some people say this and then make decisions that seem completely contradictory to this commitment. Not Jason Taylor.

Apparently, Jason made an offer to the Miami front office that said what's a number that makes me coming back to the Dolphins financially sound for you. He put his pride and issues with Parcells aside and made being in the Miami area (for his family) a priority. The number that the Dolphins came back to Jason with was $1.5 million. This is quite possibly the best discount that anyone will get on a product in the whole country for the next five years (sorry bargain shoppers, you lose). Granted, Jason Taylor is 34, but he is still in good shape and will be able to contribute to a young Dolphins defense that will be switching between a 3-4 and 4-3 schemes as the year progresses. What are other DE's in the league making next year? Aaron Schobel (Bills), who is a little younger, and perhaps slightly less talented than Taylor will be looking at around $6 million for next year. As another point of reference, when Taylor left the Dolphins to go to the Redskins, he walked away from $7.5 million from the Dolphins. That's a six million dollar discount (almost all of T.O.'s salary for next year with the Bills)!!!

Hopefully, Jason's stats will improve next year along with the respect earned from putting his family first and returning to his home team in Miami.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Brett Favre

Dear America,

You love Brett Favre! I know that during the course of the past couple of seasons you keep saying that you wish Favre would stop with this flip-flopping on retirement. Let me tell you something though, you don’t wish that. You don’t wish that Brett would remain retired. You know that the first traces of a Minnesota deal made you salivate, if only a little bit.

Regardless of whether you have always hated Favre (Bears fans) or have always loved him, you are excited to see him play. If you hate him, you’re game to watch him get crushed as he loses another step of mobility. If you love him, you’re going to love watching the gun-slinger put together a couple more fourth quarter game-winning drives.

There are those out there that think one should retire with dignity. Those of you who think that, you didn’t win 3 NFL MVP awards. Favre has earned the right to do whatever the heck he wants. Not only has he earned this right; it’s an exciting process to watch as fans.

Right now NFL fans are desperately awaiting the beginning of mini-camps and pre-season football. The most exciting news story today (besides Favre) is: that the owners need to mend the fences with their quarterbacks who were snubbed either in free agency or during the draft (i.e. Campbell and McCown). Hearing about Favre coming back and how much of a difference that would potentially make to the Vikings is 100 times more exciting than hearing about a quarterback’s hurt feelings.

Then there is the excitement of thinking about all of the past games that Favre has been a part of! Knowing that next year, just as he did this past year with the Jets, there will be more of these exciting gun-slinger moments does make me want to watch football this very second!

America, stop hating on Brett for taking his time to decide on whether or not to stay retired. Don’t hate on him because he is changing his mind. In the end you know that you love it; you should admit that you love it and move on. You should be excited that there is even the chance that he might come back and that is part of the excitement that makes us love sports. Saying that you want this to stop is almost like saying that you want fourth quarter game-winning drives to stop as well.

Best regards,
Tim Deckman

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Character Issues

As the draft approaches and players’ draft stock rises and falls (measured in millions of dollars in potential first contracts) character issues have become more and more important in football. Character issues have even bigger implications than just players’ draft position though. The Bills have had to deal with character issues recently with incidents involving Marshawn Lynch, Dante Whitner, and Ko Simpson.

When Roger Goodell took office as commissioner of the NFL and started talking about how character issues would become stressed and players would be held to a higher standard I thought this might be a good thing. This higher standard was to be enforced with suspensions for misconduct. Since then though, I have done a 180 on this issue.

I’m not exactly sure what it was that made me change my mind. It could have been anything from Adam Jones, to Mike Vick, to Tank Johnson, to Cedric Benson, to the unfortunate shootings that have happened (Collier, Taylor, and Williams), to Plax shooting himself. I guess what it comes down to for me is… why football players?

Let’s think for a second what it would be like if others were suspended without pay from their positions were they to misbehave. You can apply this to whatever realm you want, it’s plain not fair. What if musicians were held to this same standard? When was the last time that you heard that a band’s tour was canceled because one of the band members got into an altercation outside of a strip club? When was the last time that a Hollywood actor was suspended from filming a blockbuster (i.e. Hugh Grant, Robert Downey Jr., Lindsay Lohan, etc.)?

It’s almost like we forget what these guys are doing out on a football field. Think in your head about Troy Polamalu literally flying through the air, head first at a quarterback. Players in the NFL get paid lots of money to play a very violent sport. Granted, lots of players are great human beings, serving and giving back to their communities, much like Polamalu. But, why are they held to such a higher standard than other sports figures in popular culture. When did the NFL become the Disney Channel?

Isn’t the reason that we have a legal system in this country to punish people if they break the law? Why do these players deserve to be punished a second time for these infractions? I’ve heard the argument it’s because football players are role models, which is true. But movie stars, rock stars, and baseball players are role models too, how come they don’t face the same consequences for their “bad” behavior? Maybe you think it’s because football players make so much money, in which case read the above sentence again and insert role models with big money makers.

This isn’t to say that I’m against rules and that the NFL should be a gladiatorial free-for-all. I guess I just see so many other ways to enforce “rules” and make the NFL safer, more exciting, and more realistic league. For example, by enforcing steroid use to the same level that the cycling world has.

This post is dedicated to Drewbins. You're my boy Blue, I mean Drew!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Why T.O. should return to Philly

T.O. will never return to Philadelphia. We've all hear this a million times. T.O. has too much bad blood with Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb and the Philly front office would never let it happen.

I'm here to tell you why it should happen.

The first and most important reason why it should happen is that the Eagles don't have and desperately need a true #1 receiver. T.O. was more productive than Reggie Brown, Kevin Curtis, and Jason Avant combined last year. T.O. had 69 catches for 1,052 yards, and 10 TDs. The combined Eagle receivers above mentioned had 83 receptions for 1,019 yards, and 5 TDs. Granted Kevin Curtis missed 6 games, Reggie Brown missed 6 games, and Avant missed one week. You may also argue that the Cowboys had a better supporting cast than the Eagles.

Those are all valid concerns. However, Having T.O. as your #1 and DeSean Jackson as your #2 receivers might rival last year's Fitzgerald/ Boldin tandem as the best in the league. T.O. is the most talented receiver in this year's free agency (including Housh).

Anyone remember Donovan reminiscing last year about the good old days when T.O. on the team? I'm confident that McNabb will bring it up as a possibility to the Philadelphia brass. McNabb is also big on bringing a big name to the Eagles receiving unit after last year's run in the playoffs. Especially with the loss of Dawkins on defense, this could be the jolt that the Eagles need to make another run next year. It would be a nice change if Westbrook didn't have the highest number or receptions for a change.

Andy Reid is a big boy and needs to put his personal relationship with T.O. aside so that he can clearly see how much better his team would be with T.O. He should also recognize how limited his options have become in the receiver market.

Fans in Philadelphia are ruthless. However, they're going to hate the front office of the Eagles just as much for not signing him as they will for re-signing him. Not to mention that the last time that Eagles fans saw their team in the Super Bowl T.O. was on the field. If T.O. comes back to Philadelphia and wins, fans will embrace him. If he comes back and loses, Philly fans will be pissed. If the Eagles don't sign him and don't make the playoffs Philly fans will also be pissed.

Also, Westbrook is getting older and the Eagles just lost Buckhalter. It would be nice if they could take a little pressure off of Westbrook's shoulders on offense. Not only that, it would make for a great story line. Donovan, T.O., and Westbrook are all reconnected to make one last run to win the Super Bowl!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Mike Vick

Michael Vick was released from prison this week and was approved to be under home confinement as there weren't enough spots for him at the half-way house (yea right). I can't help but love this story line. Michael Vick went from being the league's top paid player, to wearing an ankle bracelet in his own home in Virginia.

Will he be allowed to play this season? Does any team in the league want to take a chance on him?

I have to think that there might be some owners willing to pay him to start for their city. There are certainly some teams that seem just a QB away from the playoffs. In this new era of "character issues" in the NFL, it will be interesting if anyone is interested in such a flashy, exciting, but not always reliable QB as Vick is.

One has to ask themselves, what teams are in need of a (maybe) mobile QB? I have to think teams such as the: Jets, 49ers, Lions, Titans, Texans, and Chiefs might at least want to consider this possibility.

You may already have your Matt Stafford Lions jersey on pre-order, but I'd rather see Vick throwing to Calvin Johnson than Stafford. The Titans have Collins (for now), and Young on the bench, but if Collins goes elsewhere, maybe the Tennessee brass would consider Vick a good mentor for Young (ok, I don't even buy that scratch the Titans off the list).

Does Michael Vick have a place in the NFL, I think yes. Will any team roll the dice on him at this point and hope that he gets reinstated by emperor, I mean commissioner Goodell, is yet to be determined.