March 17, 2019
In London yesterday, the UFC had another round of fights headlined by the main event, Jorge Masvidal vs. Darren Till and as Masvidal scored a vicious knockout his behavior following the fight ruined his entire accomplishments in his victory.
In an interview shortly after his victory, Masvidal noticed Leon Roberts also a victor in London backstage talking smack towards him. Masvidal made that ill fated decision to approach Roberts and the next thing you know punches were flying and Roberts got hit on the cheekbone breaking skin and drawing blood.
In his interview inside the Octagon immediately following his win over Till, Masvidal spoke highly of his beaten opponent and was very respectful of the fans and other matters. So to then go and assault Roberts afterwards presented an entirely different image on the winning fighter.
While Khabib Nurmagamedov got slapped with a suspension for leaving the Octagon following his fight with Conor McGregor as he went after Dillon Dennis, why is Masvidal not subject to any penalties as he actually put the hurt on someone else? Maybe that is yet to come but in the meantime he received two bonuses for his efforts in London with “Fight of the Night” and “Knockout of the Night.”
Speaking of McGregor, here is a fighter that despite winning two titles simultaneously without defending either hasn’t accomplished little of anything else is making a whirlwind tour of other sports facilities and their respective teams like he is some sort of sport god.
This was on display in Boston yesterday as he gave a pep talk to the Bruins prior to their overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Is everyone blind or just ignoring the fact that McGregor is oddly making tons of appearances world wide despite numerous arrests and all the while not even participating in the sport he represents outside getting spanked by Khabib last year?
Very curious and suspect.
March 15, 2019
Now a Pittsburgh Steeler, wide receiver Donte Moncrief has made his father Spencer a very happy football fan.
That’s because Donte’s father is a life long Black and Gold fan. That’s right…the universe has brought the Steelers a very good wideout and at the same time, Moncrief’s pops can root for the Steelers while not having to root for his son in another city. How cool is that? Said Donte:
“My dad is happy. He is super happy. All he talks about is the Steelers. Even when I was in Indy and we played the Steelers, he said he would still root for me, but he was going for the Steelers to win. I am a Steeler now. Now we can get on the same boat. He’s always been a Steelers fan. He liked Hines Ward and Jerome Bettis and all those guys. It’s crazy. Four weeks before I even signed he told me I was coming. When I got the call and they told me it was Pittsburgh, I knew he was going to be like, I told you so.”
What will Moncrief bring to the Steelers’ offense? In speaking to the press yesterday, he offered this forecast:
“I’m going to play pretty much all the positions. Come in and do whatever it takes…X, Z, F, whatever they want to put me at. Just come out and make plays and gain trust from Ben Roethlisberger. Wherever they use me, they’ll put me, and I’ll learn the offense quick and everything will go from there.”
Naturally, the comparisons to Antonio Brown and can he replace A.B. arose. Moncrief handled it like a consummate pro:
“I’d just say Donte is going to be Donte. AB, like anybody knows, is one of the best or is the best to ever play this game, and you can’t try to be what he was, you can only be what you are. I’m going to come in and play the role that I can play and make the plays that I can make and do what it takes to make this team better.”
Oddly enough, Moncrief comes in to Pittsburgh and will enter the Steelers locker room as the most tenured receiver among the group. He addressed that as well:
“It’s kind of weird. I have to be the mentor guy, the guy who can push guys and make sure guys do things right. Like coach said already, it’s a great room. You have guys like JuJu Smith-Schuster who is doing things a lot of young guys can’t do. You have a lot of other guys who are hard-working young guys who are going to push me and motivate me and make me go fast every day. It’s going to be a fun room, a fun time. I am ready to get with those guys and show them what I can do.”
Antonio Brown would have NEVER said such a thing. So Moncrief will get to catch passes from a future hall of famer in Ben Roethlisberger. He loves that idea:
“I’m looking forward to playing with Ben, a Hall of Fame guy. Get a chance to play some years with him and catch a lot of balls. Having a quarterback like Ben, it’s always been a dream to play with a guy like that and come to the Pittsburgh Steelers. I talked to Ben earlier. He texted me. He called first. I couldn’t answer. I was in the doctor’s office. Then he texted me. That was exciting getting a message from Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback. He said he is ready to get going, get some chemistry going and lock in on the plays and get ready. He was telling me he is ready to get going, ready to make some plays, get some throws in and meet up in the offseason and get some chemistry going, get some chemistry going early so it rolls over into the season.”
Believe you me folks, this Steelers offense will be JUST as dangerous if not more than they were a season ago. Defensively, the Steelers also added another solid weapon in cornerback Steve Nelson, signing the cornerback away from the Kansas City Chiefs. Nelson could become an instant starter as he was the starting CB in K.C. We already know Joe Haden is at one corner so it remains to be seen if the other side will be Nelson, Mike Hilton, Cameron Sutton, or if Artie Burns can return to form, then possibly he would start again.
Also on the roster at cornerback is Brian Allen and Herb Waters, two players with just a couple of years in the NFL. As for Nelson, he loves the idea of playing in Black and Gold:
“I am fired up to play for Steelers Nation. You guys have some good football here. It’s a lot to look forward to. I have heard great things about this organization, and Coach Tomlin and how the vibe is here. It’s like a family. I have heard great things already. It’s been amazing. It’s been awesome. A lot of phone calls. A lot of happy people. A lot of emotions. It’s been all over the place, but I am happy to be here with you guys.”
Like Donte Moncrief before him, Nelson analyzed how he will be used and where he will play:
“My first three years I played corner and nickel. I started on the outside and in sub-packages I would play nickel. I just split. This past year I played primarily just outside cornerback. That is where my skillset is. Just being on the outside you are going to get more targets. The ball is going to be coming your way. You just have more opportunities. You are a playmaker and have a knack for the ball, you are going to be able to make more plays on the ball that way. My skillset. My toughness. My relentlessness. My work ethic. I think that is what attracted them. I know this year will be different. We are going to do some great things with our team. We are going to change that around this year.”
See that Steelers Nation…the attitude and selfishness of a Bell and Brown are quickly becoming a distant memory. Without the distractions Mike Tomlin can focus better on coaching football and not babysitting ego maniacs like Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Donte Moncrief was nothing but highly professional in his introductory press conference as was Steve Nelson unlike the idiot A.B. who showed up by some accounts 25 minutes late for his initial presser.
So while many think the Steelers got a raw deal in the Brown to Oakland trade and not finding a way to bring Le’Veon Bell back, it might very well be based on facts and numbers that BELL got the raw deal in signing with the New York Jets. Check this out from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer:
“Since the numbers are in, let's compare the Steelers offer vs. the Jets deal. Through Year 1: Steelers $19.5M, Jets $14.5M. Through Year 2: Steelers $33.0M, Jets $26M. Through Year 3: Steelers $45.0M, Jets $39.5M ... Not much to argue here. Pittsburgh's offer was better.”
WOW. Can you say ignorant and stupid? Bell sits out an entire year, losing millions of dollars…crying about not being paid as the highest paid running back in the NFL, and slams the Steelers over and over again? Here’s more proof that Le’Veon Bell is either that dumb or his agent is the worst in history from Joe Banner who used to be the team president of both the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns:
“In Steelers proposal to Bell at the end of 2019 season he would’ve pocketed $33M. In the deal he got from the Jets he will be at $14.5M. Behind by almost $20M. This may be the worst contract decision we have ever seen a player make, and it should’ve been obvious to him and his agent.”
As a Steelers fan you can only laugh at the situations of Bell and Brown. As Moncrief, Nelson, and A.B. introduced themselves to their new teams in press conferences, Le’Veon Bell did his share in a conference call on the phone. How typical. Some of the things he said:
“The Jets were kind of the team I had in the back of my mind where I wanted to go. So, you know, once the numbers made sense to me, it wasn’t really a hard decision. I made the decision, and I’m happy with the decision I made. Today, I woke up feeling amazing. So I’m happy with where I stand. The decision I made is the decision I would do all over again. I don’t regret anything that happened.
Everything has happened for a reason up until this point. Who’s to say if I played last year, if I do go out there and play on a one-year franchise tag and I do get hurt, do I end up in this position today, being with the New York Jets on a beautiful deal? Even on the other side of it, if I go out there and play on the franchise tag and I get another 400 carries … and I come out of the season healthy, who’s to say what team is going to take me after another 400 carries? So, like I said, I’ve contemplated everything I’ve done. … I don’t regret one thing. I’m happy where I’m at and the decision I made and I’m glad I’m here.”
OK…let me pick apart a few things he said…
Who’s to say if I played last year, if I do go out there and play on a one-year franchise tag and I do get hurt, do I end up in this position today, being with the New York Jets
This is downright idiotic. Let’s say the Steelers did not franchise Bell either of the last two seasons. Who’s to say he suits up under a normal contract and gets injured? What’s the difference between getting hurt as a franchise player or a player under a normal contract? EVERY player takes that chance of suffering an injury and it has nothing to do with contract status.
Even on the other side of it, if I go out there and play on the franchise tag and I get another 400 carries … and I come out of the season healthy, who’s to say what team is going to take me after another 400 carries?
Yo dude…THAT’S YOUR JOB! You were counted on to carry the ball and be the workhorse in Pittsburgh. Ezekiel Elliott made it through the entire 2018 campaign and he carried the ball 350 times. You don’t hear him complaining about the number of carries he had. Bell should consider this…Larry Johnson, a fine running back with the Kansas City Chiefs years ago once carried the ball 416 times, an NFL record. Jamal Anderson another solid back toted the ball 410 times in 1998. James Wilder carried the rock 407 times in 1984 and one of the best running backs ever, Eric Dickerson is in the top five in history with 404 carries in 1986. Eddie George is the only other player with 400+ carries when he did it 403 times in 2000.
So, Le’Veon Bell, the so-called rapper as well, are you going to tell the Jets not to give you the ball anywhere near 400 carries? Bell’s last touch came on January 14, 2018 when the Steelers lost for a second time to Jacksonville in the playoffs. That was 19 months ago. Bell says he has stayed in shape, but then came this curious comment from Bell:
“I’ve been playing football my whole life, so it’s something that kind of comes natural to me, but obviously not having done it at a full competitive level for over a year, so it’s going to take minicamp and OTAs and practices to get right, but I’ve got plenty of time until the regular season starts.”
Minicamp, OTAs, and practices? That’s IF HE SHOWS UP. Remember, Le’Veon Bell had made it a practice of skipping those team functions and even waited until the season began to start playing. Let’s see if he does the same in New York. Jets fans WILL NOT go for that and if he decides to skip out of training camp, fans that attend the Jets camp will not like his absence and he will certainly get off on the wrong foot.
So I mentioned Bell the rapper. He has released yet another album and on it is a song called “Free at Last” which points toward his situation that arose when he was a Steeler. The album is called “Life’s a Gamble” and whether you are a fan of rap or not, one thing is obvious about Bell’s talents as a rapper…HE SUCKS! Take a listen to the Free at Last rap that includes the lyrics:
“They don't want you at the table. They gonna put you through some bulls--- if they able. They gonna work you and work you and underpay you. I told them f--- it, I'm outtie, just like a naval.”
REALLY? I mean REALLY?
Let’s move to Antonio Brown…
As indicated, he showed up late for his press conference in Oakland two days ago. Watching Jon Gruden get giddy about his new star was laughable and if the Raiders think they are in a good position out west, they better reconsider. This is a team coming off a horrible season, a team that is not even sure where they are playing in 2019, and a team that is set to move to Las Vegas, Nevada in 2020 which many are deeming a disaster waiting to happen.
So with Brown now as a Raider, he has publicly declared what he would like to accomplish:
“My goal really is to catch Jerry Rice. Playing with a guy like coach Jon Gruden, obviously, he knows what it takes to keep me upright and fresh. Keep me out there for a long time so it's a challenge every year to prove my love for the game. I'm just taking it one year at a time. Obviously, my goal in the back of my mind is to catch Jerry Rice. Every year, I have to prove my love. This year I'm out here to prove my love.”
Yea right. If he had stayed in the ‘Burgh, perhaps he could catch Jerry Rice. This is so incredibly hilarious, Brown thinking he’ll catch Rice on the all-time list. Jerry Rice in 20 years of pro football finished with 1,549 receptions. There is NO active player in the top 10. Brown? He’s in the 28th position and needs another 712 receptions to catch Rice. Averaging 93 receptions per season throughout his career, using that average Antonio Brown would have to play another eight seasons to catch Rice.
Brown also has these active players ahead of him still:
Like I said, had he stayed with the Steelers, perhaps he could have caught Rice. But he now has Derek Carr as a quarterack and he is no Big Ben. Let’s just take a quick comparison to last year:
Roethlisberger: 16 games, 5,129 yards passing, 34 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, 67% completion percentage, 96.5 QB rating, 9-6-1 w/l record
Carr: 16 games, 4,049 yards passing, 19 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 68.9% completion percentage, 93.9 QB rating, 4-12 record
So you tell me, who would you rather have as the quarterback throwing to you? A.B. had 15 touchdowns in 2018 which means Ben Roethlisberger threw scores to 19 other receivers which equals Carr’s season total. Does that mean if Carr can repeat that total ALL of his touchdown passes will go to Antonio Brown? Brown made the next very laughable comment on Wednesday:
“My plan is to get around here, get in the room, start holding guys accountable, let them know it's a certain type of standard here now that we got to uphold. Receivers, we need an accountability system - drops, being late, fines, missed routes, missed sights. We're going to hold each other accountable; and if you don't fall in that accountability, you get fined. And so when Derek Carr walks in the room, he sees all the receivers - this guy owes this, this guy owes this - so everyone has that accountability factor. Because if everyone's held accountable, we've got to be at a certain standard. So I'm just here to set certain standards, hold guys accountable, and just uplift the tradition of - it's unacceptable to accept not our best.”
SAY WHAT? Antonio Brown was not even close to being that kind of teammate in Pittsburgh and I HIGHLY doubt he’s ready to become what he said above in Oakland. He’s a joke and a fake. Those are just words. Now he MUST prove those words right.
Consider this for today…the NHL is winding down their season and inching closer to playoff time; Major League Baseball is closing in on opening day; the NBA is following along with hockey as far as their schedules go; YET the National Football League headlines till dominate sports news. That says a lot about the popularity of pro football.
With that said, in Pittsburgh, Tim Benz who writes for the Tribune-Review recently wrote, “What to make of the AFC North right now?” Here are his early predictions:
Cleveland 10-6 (wins on tie breaker)
Ravens 10-6 (wild card)
Steelers 7-9 (may upgrade this after draft-week or the end of camp)
Benz says he may upgrade the Steelers record and he WILL need to do that. Even before they make their draft selections and go through this summer’s training camp, I’m very confident they will be winning more than seven games. As we know, they will play Baltimore, Cleveland, and Cincinnati twice. At worst case scenario that’s probably four wins in six games there (assuming they just might lose to the Browns once, and Baltimore once), then the Pittsburgh must also play at Heinz Field:
Buffalo (a win), Indianapolis (home field gets them a victory), Miami (a sure win), the Rams (hmmm), Seattle (tough game but winnable at home)
On the road:
Arizona (VICTORY!), Chargers (probably a loss), Patriots (they have our number), Jets (hello Le’Veon Bell! You lose to your old team and the Steelers OWN the New York Jets), and the 49ers (win).
So by my count, best case scenario puts the Steelers with 11 wins and worst case scenario, nine wins. No way will it be 7-9. To read Benz’s entire article you can find it here:
A few final football notes…the Steelers’ L.J. Fort won’t be returning as he is reportedly signing a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Denver Broncos and Hall of Famer John Elway, Denver G.M. are excited about Joe Flacco as their quarterback. Why? I have no idea but here’s Elway on that topic:
“We really feel like Joe has a lot of football left in him. Gary(Kubiak was with him three or four years in Baltimore in his system and was very successful with that. So we thought that with the availability and what the compensation was, a 2019 fourth-round pick, that Joe was going to be a very good fit for us. He's played under the center, his arm strength is still great, he can still throw the ball downfield, a he's a guy who's won. He's proven he can win in this league and has a tremendous amount of experience. So at 34 years old, we thought he was just going into his prime, so we're excited that Joe is here.”
I think they are going to be very disappointed with Flacco. One team not disappointed with one of their free agency signings are the Cleveland Browns. After inking Odell Beckham Jr. to a contract this week, one Brownies fan became over excited. So thrilled his actions prompted a 911 call:
The call came from one Coria Jackson who upon arriving home found 17 year old Robert Stewart, her neighbor across the street screaming like something was wrong and throwing his arms all over the place. She must have thought he was having some sort of breakdown or meltdown so she called 911. The police showed up only to find out that Stewart claims he was simply celebrating the acquisition of Beckham Jr. YOI.
Oh yes…there is hockey taking place right now. The Pittsburgh Penguins are rolling again with a convincing 5-0 shutout last night of the Buffalo Sabres. Tomorrow it is the St. Louis Blues in Pittsburgh and the Pens have now won three in a row and seven of their last 10 with two ties. Pittsburgh is in third in the Metropolitan Division but just two points behind second place New York (Islanders) and only four back from first place Washington.
In addition, the Penguins are in sixth for the Eastern Conference standings and are just behind the Islanders and only two back from the Toronto Maple Leafs where sit in third.
What would my column be today without mention of the UFC? First we had Conor McGregor in trouble earlier this week when he grabbed a cell phone out of a man’s hands because his picture was being taken then stomped the phone damaging it and McGregor gets arrested. Now we have Tony Ferguson having a restraining order filed against him by his wife accusing him of domestic disturbances. There have been several such reported incidences at Ferguson’s residence since January of last year.
So I ask, where is Dana White in all this mess and fiascos? In other professional leagues, such behavior would warrant huge fines, suspensions, and perhaps banishment from the league. Not so in the UFC. White runs a rag tag operation and plays favorites BIG TIME. Get on White’s good side and you can get away with ANYTHING. The UFC is a mess. A big time WWE-like disaster.
The UFC is successful and the sport goes on no matter what, but these situations that give the sport a black eye are not concerning if you look the other way. If you pay attention, what is taking place within the sport is VERY disturbing. Anyone that thinks Conor McGregor is even an inkling of a consummate pro better start researching this dude. There are headlines and stories on the internet about him that provide the truth about this former champion…he’s a scumbag. To the highest degree. BUT, Dana White just ignores these facts. Go check it out…Google Conor McGregor and use the word domestic violence and assault. You WON’T like what you find.
For the record, there is a big fight card in London tomorrow…by the way. It’s UFC on ESPN-Till vs. Masvidal. I like Till to win the main event, I’ll say by TKO. Leon Edwards should lose to Gunnar Nelson. I’ll take Dominick Reyes over Volkan Oezdemir. The rest of the card you can find on my MMA/Boxing page.
March 14, 2019
The beat down of the Pittsburgh Steelers regarding the trade of Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders and allowing Le’Veon Bell to walk continues.
It appears the consensus around water colors, among fans, inside professional writer’s articles is that the Steelers got ripped off in this trade and it was a bad deal that will alter Pittsburgh’s chances of success next season. I whole heartedly DISAGREE. My opinion is that the Steelers without B&B (Brown and Bell) will be a MUCH better team than what they were in 2018 and 2017 when Bell was last active.
Sure, A.B. had phenomenal numbers as did Bell, but the two were a distraction and, EVERYONE is replaceable I don’t care who you are. You might not get as much production with the guy next up, but you can win with the loss of superior talent. Not just that, but Pittsburgh is making up for the holes left in the offense by making some significant moves.
Let’s begin with the fact that yesterday the Steelers agreed to a contract with Donte Moncrief. This is a SOLID receiver. Moncrief has size to boot. He’s 6’2” and plays around 220 pounds. Secondly, in four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, he caught 152 passes for 1,875 yards and 18 touchdowns. In a year that was awful for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season, Moncrief had joined that team prior the season opener and as Jacksonville suffered through a dismal season, Moncrief still caught 48 passes for 668 yards.
In 2018 Moncrief only had three scores, but think about where he is headed now. He will have Ben Roethlisberger as a quarterback; be on a team that has a fine runner in James Conner; and joins JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Eli Rogers, and Ryan Switzer not to mention whomever the Steelers draft in April.
Speaking of Eli Rogers, he signed a one year deal yesterday so he will be back and he can be a very good receiver. So while anyone and everyone wants to criticize the Steelers front office for dealing Antonio Brown away and not working out a contract with Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers are not worse off for it.
Another pondering thought…because of the Oakland trade, the Steelers have gone from five draft picks to 10. That will help build this team tremendously. If you think getting a third round, fifth round and sixth round pick from Oakland is small beans, think again. Just peruse through Pittsburgh’s draft history and take a gander at the talent they found in late rounds. Additionally, because of the Marcus Gilbert trade, the Steelers now have a third pick in the sixth round and because of a trade for picks in the final round, Tampa has moved to Pittsburgh’s spot in round seven and the Steelers now own pick number 219 in the final round.
So once training camp arrives, the Pittsburgh Steelers should be fully equipped to make another run to the Super Bowl and that is if they or any other team can keep New England on the sidelines. As for Le’Veon Bell going to the Jets, that’s all well and good for him, but I think some Jets fans may be forgetting that New York shares a division with the Super Bowl champion Patriots. If Bell thinks the Green and White are going to overtake New England because he is in their backfield now, he’s in for a HUGE disappointment.
The same can be said for Antonio Brown as he schmoozed it up with Derek Carr at his house yesterday in what is an obvious STAGED event…
What a joke. That video makes me want to puke. Brown will do no better and probably worse in Oakland and it won’t take long at all for him to carry on the same way he did in Pittsburgh…like a schmuck. In fact, he was late for his opening press conference yesterday to announce his trade and welcome him to the Raiders by some accounts 25 MINUTES LATE. Surprise…surprise.
We continue with the downpour of negativity about the Steelers offseason thus far with this zinger calling the Black and Gold LOSERS:
Winners and losers from the early stages of NFL free agency
By Michael McClymont, theScore.com
The beginning of the NFL's new league year once again featured blockbuster trades and splashy signings.
After sorting through all the madness leading up to and through the official start of free agency Wednesday afternoon, theScore's football staff teamed up to identify a few winners and losers.
The Steelers saw two generational offensive talents leave in the span of four days. The front office and die-hard fans can try to justify losing All-Pros Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell, but it's tough to envision a better short-term future without them.
Take into account the return for both players (one third-round pick, one fifth-round pick, and potentially a compensatory pick for Bell), the offensive machine the Cleveland Browns are assembling within the division and the additions of Earl Thomas and Mark Ingram to the hated Baltimore Ravens - indeed, the Steel City had a truly awful week.
That’s a joke and hopefully the Steelers will get the last laugh. Brown’s FINAL parting words? A billboard thanking Steelers fans and these words:
“Pittsburgh will always be my family. Those guys gave me a chance when I was a 21-year-old kid. People listen to the things that are being said and written. At the end of the day, it’s all about how you make people feel. I think I made people feel really great and really inspired the way they watched me go to work, the way they watched me play. … I know Steeler Nation is having a bad day today, but it’s always love.”
I don’t buy that for a minute. I think he’s full of shit and he’s already praising his new QB:
“It’s refreshing. I think he’s hungry for success, hungry to turn the organization around, hungry to get on the winning side of things. I’m just hungry for the same things.”
So Joe Flacco is a Bronco and that leaves Lamar Jackson to continue being “the guy” in Baltimore. Yesterday’s news didn’t help his cause. Jackson posted a video on his Instagram page as he drove his car 105 miles-per-hour. That’s intelligent…and mature. Oh boy in Raven land. He tried to apologize by posting this explanation:
“I made a bad decision and will set a better example going forward. #Myapologies.”
Finally, the Steelers refuse for another year to rid themselves of nose tackle Dan McCullers who inked a new two year deal despite yet to have lived up to expectations.
March 11, 2019
If I had to guess, most Steelers fans are glad to see Antonio Brown in another uniform. However, writers and on-air sports personalities are busy ripping the Pittsburgh Steelers for either trading Antonio Brown or not getting enough in return.
The Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s official web site known as “Trib Live” has several of their writer posting columns today with headlines that just seem a little overboard:
Come on now…Antonio Brown ABSOLUTELY made a fool of himself! Taking a term from my wife’s vocabulary, Brown is an “ass clown.” He’s a fool. He may be a great football player but he is far far from being a team player and a model professional athlete. The fallout of his trade to Oakland is ridiculous.
Ridding themselves of Antonio Brown is hardly the end of the world for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’ve lost great players in the past and still remained winners on the field. This is utterly silly to think that the Black and Gold is all the sudden going to become losers because they don’t have A.B. on the field.
ESPN’s Stephen A Smith is a well known huge Steelers fan but today he is all over the front office for dealing Brown and not getting a lot in return. Said Smith via Twitter:
“I am absolutely, positively disgusted with the Steelers! You trying to tell me all they could get for ANTONIO Brown was a freakin 3rd and 5th round pick? That’s it! Not even a 2nd-round pick for a WR this elite? Oh, come on! This is total BS. I’m so disgusted right now.”
Yo Stephen A…lighten up. Good gracious. That reaction is downright stupid. Look back into the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers and their draft selections and you will find some really great players that lasted well into the third and fifth rounds and sometimes even deeper in. The Steelers will not only have their own picks in this year’s draft but now they have two additional. I believe they got their money’s worth in this deal.
So as you will see in today’s videos, Brown is already celebrating joining his new team and damn if this video by A.B. is not obnoxious and arrogant enough to make you happy he’s gone. You watch this and at least for me, you go away saying what a dick. Antonio Brown might be the greatest receiving talent in the history of the Steelers and one of the best in the league right now but if you prefer character over talent, then Antonio Brown is not your guy.
How far will the Oakland Raiders go now to rebuild their team? How about getting a Le’Veon Bell? According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Silver and Black just might go after Bell as he is a free agent.
Now for the most ridiculous accusation I have heard in years…Josh Harris who was a Pittsburgh Steeler for a very short time and played running back for the team, has Tweeted out that there was a certain game in which he was involved where Ben Roethlisberger so says Harris, fumbled the ball on purpose.
Yes, that is correct. Harris is saying Big Ben purposely fumbled the ball and that reflected on the type of person Roethlisberger is. The tweet and video are below.
"2014 week 17 we were playing the bengals. Todd Haley called a run play with very little time left in the game. Ben wanted to kneel. He rolled his eyes in the huddle. He then purposely fumbles the ball. I had to recover it. At that moment I knew what kinda person he was."
This is so freaking silly...it's obvious it was a bad hand off and nothing more. It sounds like "sour grapes" to me coming from Harris. In reality, from what I see, Will Johnson muffed the hand off even more and then appears to forget he was even supposed to get the ball! This was NOT on Big Ben and he ABSOLUTELY did not fumble on purpose.
For the record, the only reason Harris was playing was because of an injury to Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers had cut LeGarrett Blount just a few weeks earlier.
Congrats to the Pittsburgh Penguins as they continue to drive towards the playoffs. On home ice last night, the Pens defeated the Boston Bruins 4-2 snapping the Bruins’ 19 game unbeaten streak that saw them post a record of 15-0-4. Matt Murray sparkled in the nets with 39 saves and for Boston it is the first time they’ve tasted defeat in regulation time since January 19. It was the Bruins’ longest streak of scoring points in the standings since the 1940-41 season.
My final word today is regarding the UFC action from last Saturday night. I meant to add to my column the other day in wrapping up UFC Fight Night 146 that big winner Junior dos Santos not only came up huge in his TKO of Derrick Lewis, you simply can’t help but like dos Santos as an athlete, human being, and consummate pro. Watching him win and then sing happy birthday to his son afterwards was a real joy.
March 10, 2019
It’s done…Antonio Brown is a Steeler no more as he was traded yesterday to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for a third and fifth round pick in this year’s draft.
Everyone knew this was not an IF but a WHEN and the when is now. Most Steelers fan will say “good riddance.” Will Brown be missed in the Steelers offense? Absolutely. But will the locker room cancers he created be missed? NOT AT ALL. The Steelers environment has always been family in the locker room, a group of 53 men who were close on the field and off.
The combination of Le’Veon Bell and A.B. ruined that last season so now, Mike Tomlin and what remains can regroup and build that family type atmosphere again. While Tomlin has been accused in the past of not being stern enough with his squad, he must be feeling relief this morning knowing he won’t have the egos of an Antonio Brown and Bell to deal with next season.
Are the Raiders ready for this joke called Antonio Brown? Right now they are all excited about getting what might be the best receiver in football, but some tigers do not change their stripes and if you think Brown’s ego or attitude is going to suddenly change because he is switching colors you are dead wrong.
Brown is going to report to Oakland’s training camp thinking he is the main star and how will that sit with Derek Carr and the rest of the Raiders? One thing is for sure, among the receiving group that currently sits on Oakland’s roster, Antonio Brown instantly becomes the most talented of the group above and beyond. He won’t get much competition from the tight ends (Paul Butler, Derek Carrier, Jared Cooke, Lee Smith and Darren Waller), nor the current receivers (Marcelo Ateman, Keon Hatcher, Jordy Nelson, Seth Roberts, and Dwayne Harris).
So the problem for Antonio Brown looking to the start of the season is simple. He WILL BE double teamed almost every game. From experience and past history, A.B. hates double coverage and he gets frustrated by it easily. So Derek Carr, prepare yourself for a get-in-your-face from Antonio Brown. He will get frustrated, he will throw his little tantrums when he is not getting the ball, and he will continue to conduct himself in a free wheeling manner that is NOT team conducive.
Another fact to keep in mind about football is that if you are a great player you still must have the talent around you to succeed. With that said, both Brown and Bell have gone from a Super Bowl contending team with a hall of fame quarterback, hall of fame offensive linemen, and one of the best receiving corps in the league and for at least thus far, Brown goes to a team coming off a horrible season where their offensive line pales in comparison to what exists in Pittsburgh.
So if Antonio Brown thinks he is going into Oakland to light things up, think again. If Derek Carr does not get a solid running game established with his current backfield of Doug Martin, Jalen Richard, and DeAndre Washington as well has being well protected by the line in front of him, Antonio Brown’s talents will be rendered meaningless.
Marshawn Lynch is still on the bubble as to whether he returns or not and Martin is a free agent yet to be re-signed. CLEARLY the Oakland Raiders even with their fluke victory over Pittsburgh last season is not close to being in the same neighborhood as the Steelers in talent. Whether I am out of touch with the news or I just missed it, today I was surprised to learn that the Raiders hired a new general manager and it is Mike Mayock. Yes, the same football analyst that was on ESPN and a football guru of knowledge. So his first big move may become Oakland’s worst nightmare. For the record, Brown gets a contract for $50.125 million that includes another $4 million in incentives and he is guaranteed $30.125 million something he never received with the Steelers…guaranteed money.
So money bags, “Big Chest” Antonio Brown should be a very happy man today knowing how wealthy he remains and with bigger riches to come to him with the ensuing season. He WILL NOT be missed in Pittsburgh. The history of the Steelers always shows that despite losing some very valuable talent to other teams, they always recover and always remain winners. Check it out but from my recall, MANY players that left the Steelers either by trade or free agency found it very difficult to find success elsewhere.
There is NO WAY Antonio Brown is going to repeat the numbers he put up with the Steelers in Oakland. While Derek is a talented quarterback, he is in no way a Ben Roethlisberger. As much as JuJu Smith-Schuster wanted A.B. back on the team, in the end believe you me, he will appreciate Brown’s absence much more as he will become the #1 receiver and there will be no distractions in the locker room.
The Pittsburgh Steelers need to get their reputation back as a solid, well put together and united franchise especially in the locker room and this is an excellent start in getting back there. While Mike Tomlin was criticized last season for making in game decisions that went awry, credit to Coach T. for having to deal with the distractions and still try to maintain focus.
Mike Tomlin is a great coach no doubt and I for one was critical of him last year for dumb decisions and not dealing with the Bell/Brown situation stern enough. But the proof is in the pudding with his record and that speaks for itself. He is a winner. He might be a player’s coach and perhaps he is too lenient, but if his team sticks together like glue, plays as a unit, and refuses to permit distractions, then Tomlin’s coaching talents will shine through and he can certainly get us back to another Super Bowl and win it.
Some quick comments about UFC Fight Night 146 dos Santos vs. Lewis. It’s interesting that when the UFC stages cards without a lot of big names, often those fights result in much more competitive and exciting bouts. That’s what happened on Saturday night with a main card that was very entertaining.
Here are some quick thoughts about the fights that stood out.
Beneil Dariush defeated Drew Dober by submission (triangle arm bar)
Dariush was very impressive with his grappling and submission skills and while Dober came out strong, Dariush showed off some outstanding MMA skills.
Blagoy Ivanov by decision over Ben Rothwell
The bad decision by the judges of the night, Rothwell returned to the Octagon for the first time in nearly three years and appeared to be the winner beating up the face of Ivanov but loses the decision by a single point.
Niko Price knocks out Tim Means
Means was rocking Price for most of the first round nearly getting KOd himself but Means made the crucial mistake of thinking he had Price where he wanted him then BANG…Price throw one big strike that knocks Means to the canvas then adds a few more bonus punches before the referee stopped the fight. Kudos to Price for showing an extremely durable chin.
Eliseu Zaleski dos Santos submits by rear naked choke Curtis Millender
The first of two dos Santos fighters both from Brazil, yet another outstanding Brazilian martial artist with crazy jujitsu and submission skills, Millender made a big mistake of turning the wrong way in this bout giving up his back to someone who knows exactly what to do in that position.
Junior dos Santos TKO over Derrick Lewis
Lewis came out looking faster than before and surprisingly throwing some nice leg kicks high and low, but dos Santos appears to be reborn and in my opinion is the most dangerous heavyweight out there right now. dos Santos showed excellent defense, great kicking, and outstanding striking as he always has. His kick to the body nearly crippled Lewis and that was the beginning of the end. I believe no heavyweight out there right now beats Junior dos Santos.
March 7, 2019
If you are 55 years of age or older and are a Summer Olympics fan, then you probably remember the 1972 Summer Olympics gold medal basketball game.
That final game between Russia and the United States was easily the most controversial event in the history of the Summer Olympic Games. The date was September 9, 1972 and the issue was not with the U.S.A. losing in the Olympics for the first time in history but rather HOW they lost.
The only thing worth remembering about that game that saw the Americans lose to the Russians 51-50 is the final second of that game. That’s where one of the biggest thefts in sports history took place. Russia had control for most of this game and with just 10 minutes left in regulation, they actually held a 10-point lead.
But the United States started whittling down that advantage eventually getting it to just a one point deficit. When Doug Collins stole the ball with less than one minute to go, he was fouled sending him to the free throw line. The game clock had gone down to three seconds remaining and Collins had two foul shots to put the Americans out front. That’s when the worst screw up in Olympics history began.
After Collins had made his first free throw, he began his second when the referee was distracted by what later was believed to be an attempt by Russia to call a time out. Collins made his second attempt giving the Americans the lead. The problem was that by rules, a timeout could not be called on the second free throw was made. But Russia insisted they had done so before the shot was made.
On the ensuing inbounds play, Russia was still arguing about the time out and after bringing the ball in bounds, play was stopped due to the argument with just one second left. More arguing continued and the game clock was set back to an incorrect 50 seconds left. Another inbounds play resulted in no basket for Russia and it appeared by all accounts that the United States had retained their perfect Olympic unbeaten record.
But with the clock mishap, Russia had insisted time had to be put back on the clock and they won that argument as three seconds were put back on despite the U.S. celebrating what seemed to be a victory on their behalf. With a third inbounds play for Russia about to take place; their Ivan Edeshko threw a long pass down court to Aleksandr Belov who caught the ball despite being defended by Americans Kevin Joyce and Jim Forbes. Joyce in leaping had fallen out of bounds and Forbes’ jump had caused him to fall to the floor leaving Belov all alone and able to make a very easy layup.
Now Russia was the winner and the U.S. argued tooth and nail but that led to no reversal of the end result. The clock was the culprit, the referees failing to get the situation under control and apply proper rules was another factor, and it turns out that Edeshko may have also stepped out of bounds which would have nullified the play. I watched this game and it appeared to me that the fix was in and that Russia was to win this game no matter what.
Consider this, the men’s basketball team at that time had NEVER lost an Olympic basketball game and was 63-0 heading into this game. With men’s Olympic basketball getting its start in the 1936 Olympic Games, the United States had NEVER lost.
To protest the game, the Americans failed to show up the next day for their silver medal and to this day have never accepted the medals despite the IOC attempting to serve them to these men and they have all refused.
Here is the entire gold medal round of Olympic basketball history by year with the gold and silver medalists in parentheses:
Some of you may remember that 1992 United States team that became known as the “Dream Team” after the 1988 Olympic team disappointingly finished with a bronze medal and so the U.S. wanted to ensure victory four years later. That ’88 bronze team had on it:
But in 1992, the U.S. sent to Barcelona one of the most amazing group of basketball players ever assembled on one court playing together. They were:
There was NO WAY they could lose and in fact, in the five preliminary games, the Americans averaged 115 points per game while allowing just 70 points to their opponents with an average margin of victory of an incredible 45 points. In the quarterfinals, the U.S. beat Puerto Rico by 38 points, Lithuania by 51 points, and in the final, they defeated Croatia 117-85 to win by 32.
Four years later they cruised again on home turf in Atlanta winning another gold with this roster:
In Athens in 2004, the Americans would once again win only a bronze when the team of the following lost out to Argentina (gold) and Italy (silver).
March 5, 2019
Any sports fan knows in today’s professional sports markets, high salaries are as common as the sun rising every day. But with the recent free agent signing in Major League Baseball of Bryce Harper to the Philadelphia Phillies for a cool $330 million for 15 years that will pay him an average seasonal salary of $25,384,615, it raises eyebrows and questions how much is too much?
The bigger problem I have with these astronomical salaries is whether the athletes getting paid all these millions are even worth that value in regards to their performance on the fields of play? Seeing Harper and Manny Machado getting these recent ridiculous contracts made me wonder how guys like these two actually compare to others that ended up in their respective sport’s halls of fame?
While I love sports, think about this…Harper is an outfielder. He will be making $25 million plus to man the outfield each game and swing a bat 4-5 times each outing. When his pitching staff is on the mound and having a very good game, chances are Harper could actually not even make a play in the outfield. In other words, he gets paid millions and millions of dollars to possibly stand in the outfield for nine innings and take a few chucks at a pitched ball, and with the very good odds he won’t suffer an injury.
Unlike the NFL, NHL, NBA, and especially MMA, Major League Baseball is the one sport with the lowest amount of physical contact. Again, I love sports but when you put things into perspective, especially with baseball, these guys are just playing a game! They might be the best at it in the world, but in the end, how hard are baseball players really working and how much risk are they putting on their bodies say the same as a pro football player, or a hockey player who is getting roughed up on the boards, or and NBA player who is pushing and shoving under the basket and sometimes having to watch for flying elbows?
What about MMA? These guys may be the toughest athletes on the planet having their legs and body kicked at repeatedly let alone taking punches to the head? MMA fighters probably make the fewest amount of dollars than any other pro sport on an average. So that brings me back to the point of this article.
While today’s market and because of inflation and the economy, naturally today’s athletes will make tons more than the great players of yesteryear. However, are their talent levels being taken for granted and are sports at a point that you only have to be good to a degree that you stand out amongst your peers and then you get paid for that level of talent?
Let’s take the current richest two baseball free agents into consideration for this discussion. That would be Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Now, let’s bring two baseball Hall of Fame members into the picture, two of the greatest hitters ever. That would be Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. In comparing stats over a 162 game schedule (and the two legendary players never played such a schedule but their numbers are averaged over that span), we find that for his career, the great Ted Williams batted an impressive .344.
Thus far, Harper’s career batting average is just .279. That’s 65 points less than Williams. Machado is not much better at .282. While Harper is known to slug home runs, his 32 per season average is comparable to DiMaggio’s 34 and Williams’ 37. But runs batted in? DiMaggio knocked in a season average of 143 and Williams 130. Harper’s clip is at 91 and Machado 90. So are our two current big money makers earning their money?
Based on the talent level of the day, perhaps. But it’s been my belief for years that baseball players today are NOWHERE near as talented as the greatest players of all time. The money being paid out to these men is sickening. How much money does one man need? To put it into perspective, some will say if the money is there it’s not an issue. But morally and socially speaking, with so many problems in the world, pro sports might be a distraction from that, but the greed level of today’s professional athletes is absolutely ridiculous.
To pay a man over $25 million for one season of baseball where he may not even help his team win (the Phillies have loaded up their roster and anything but a World Series appearance would be a waste of the free agent money spent), it’s just ridiculous. But, if you are an avid sports fan like I have been my entire life, you simply can’t turn a blind eye to a sport because of the greed and willingness of owners to throw money around because it’s available and they have not problem with it.
National Football League Players might be the next highest paid players in pro sports and if you are a quarterback in the NFL and a great one at that, then you would find yourself with the biggest contracts for money. In fact, the top seven of the top 10 highest paid players are all quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers owns the richest deal worth $66.9 million in salary. Add another $9 million for endorsements and once he retires from football, Rodgers will never have to work another day in his life.
Matt Ryan earns $57.5 million with his contract in Atlanta. The rest of the list of top 10 with total earnings (in millions minus endorsements) of their contract included shows Khalil Mack ($41.8 million), Jimmy Garoppolo ($43.1), Aaron Donald ($41.1), Alex Smith ($41), Drew Brees ($40), Tom Brady ($29), Odell Beckham Jr. ($28), and Kirk Cousins ($27.5).
So how do a few of these players rate against the all-time greats? Let’s take a sampling of just quarterback since they typically make the most money. Joe Montana and before him Johnny Unitas only wish they could have had the salaries of today’s players. Using Tom Brady (who is considered the greatest ever by some) and Aaron Rodgers, let’s match up the stats against Montana and Unitas.
With Rodgers having played in 165 games and Brady in 269, which is far more than Montana’s 192 or Unitas’s 211, we’ll average out per-game performances. For completions, Rodgers averages almost 22 a game. Brady? About the same. One incredible stat that Brady owns however is that in 269 appearances, he has started 267 of those games. That’s incredible.
Joe Montana averaged nearly 18 completions a game whereas Unitas comes up with only 13. Attempts per game? Rodgers (33), Brady (35), Montana (28), and Unitas (25). A stat that means more is passing yardage. Per game it looks like this:
Then there are the touchdown passes. Per game Rodgers has thrown about two. Brady is just a shade under two. Montana almost 1 ½. Unitas falls in last with a mark of 1.37. How about picked off passes? Rodgers has had 80 passes picked. That is one for every 68.65 attempts. Very solid number. Brady? One for every 55 passes thrown. Montana got his passes intercepted on the average every 39th throw. And for Unitas, every 20 passes. That’s a terrible number for him.
So unlike baseball, NFL players today at least for the above mentioned, are if not much better, at least equal to the men who played long ago. Finally we have hockey.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews has the largest NHL contract playing him $10,500,000 this season. Then there is Patrick Kane also in Chicago with the same contract.
How do they match up against the two greatest players ever, Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky? Howe played in 1687 games and scored 786 times. Gretzky laced up the skates for 1,487 and scored 894 times. Toews in 12 seasons have played in 855 games and scored just 419 goals. For Kane, also 12 years in the league, 885 games, 352 goals. Howe averaged about two goals a game whereas the great Gretzky was scoring at a clip of about 1.66 per game. Toews’ mark is 2.66 which is actually better than Howe’s. As for Kane, he comes in with a mark of 2.51.
As for points per season, Howe averaged 72.36, Gretzky 142.85, Toews 61.66, and Kane 76.8. But aside from statistics, would anyone in their right mind ever take either of today’s top two money earners over a Gretzky or Howe? Definitely not.
The bottom line in all this is are today’s athletes overpaid and worth the money they earn? Sure, the economy plays a part in dictating the richest salaries, but how much is too much? Are fans getting their money’s worth? I think not. I’ll take watching the athletes I grew up with and before my time 10 times out of 10 in comparison to what we are fed today.
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