The blog posts listed here do not reflect the ideas of The Bell, it's editors, advisors, or other staff, as well as anyone else in the world but me, myself, and I.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Brett Favre: Legend - Part One

Most people grow up watching superstars right before their very eyes. Right now, children across the country stand back and watch as Drew Brees passes his way to the Play-offs, watch as Jamal Lewis flirts with the best rushing season ever, watch as Ty Law wrecks passer after passer with skillful picks. As great as each of these players are now, they don’t begin to grasp the stuff of legend.

Legend is a term thrown around too often, it should be a term used for the truly iconic, the players who changed not just every game they played in, but the game as a whole. As great as Hall-of-Famers like Art Monk or Emmitt Thomas once were, there’s a reason their names aren’t recognized except by the greatest of sports fans. They aren’t legends, legend is the word for the men among men. What Michael Jordan was for basketball, and Wayne Gretzky for hockey, and Babe Ruth for baseball…

And what Brett Favre was to football.

If I know anything about sports, it is that the legacy of Brett Favre is unheralded, likely to never be compared to another again. Favre’s reputation in the NFL is quite simply too unique. He’s the improvisation master, with a cannon for an arm, and the uncanny ability to put the game on his back, making sure he was the man for whom fame or blame would be placed upon game’s end. As the Packers quarterback for the decade and three quarters, Favre lived or died as each game was won or lost, either throwing the key touchdown, or the crucial interception. And though Favre will always be judged by those mistake-filled moments (and there are many) his legend will live as a man whom defenses feared, and everyone respected.

Friday, February 8, 2008

ACC Supremacy

Man, I should have kept my prediction-making ways going, because I totally called this one too.

Sure North Carolina didn't have Ty Lawson, but past that, everyone knew UNC had the edge. Home court advantage was theirs, and most people thought that despite the inferior ranking, the Heels were the team to beat in the ACC, and Duke's lack of a big man would ultimately hurt them.

It hasn't caught up with them yet.

Duke's assault was varied. In the first half, the Devils forced turnover after turnover and made them count with a shower of three pointers. Second half, Duke attacks the inside after UNC guards the perimeter and then dominates the boards on defense. For a team with no big man, Lance Thomas and Kyle Single sure did a bang-up job of bringing the ball down when North Carolina missed (a lot of) shots.

Greg Paulus was a monster. His 18 points led the team and every last one of them came from his 6-8 three point shooting, a career high. The play when Paulus swished it while falling down was one of the defining plays of the game.

You always had a feeling the game was going to get closer, simply because that's what happens when these two teams play. It wasn't the case this time. Duke had an answer for everything UNC had, and ultimately won the game by 11, a huge number for this rivalry. Say what you will Heels supporters, but Duke is the ACC's top dog, and they've got a good chance to prove it again against these same Tarheels in March, with or without Ty Lawson.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Wrap It Up

"the Giants will win" - Me, Friday, February 1st, 2008

Remember this little day last week when everyone started calling me insane? Who's laughing now world?

Three short days after this fateful prediction, I, and the New York Giants, stand atop the world as the kings of I-Told-You-So Mountain. And they did it exactly as I predicted it would be. The Giants debilitating pass rush brought Tom Brady to his knees, forced him to make the worst throws of the season, and reveal his status as a mortal man. The Giants stepped it up when it mattered on offense. Manning played the drive of his life with two minutes to go, hitting David Tyree with the play of the decade, and then Plaxico Burress for the go-ahead touchdown with half a minute left.

Sure, the Pats had time left, we'd seen it before, with 35 seconds left, it was Tom Brady's to lose. Not this time New England faithful. The second Manning found Burress in the end zone this one was over, and the Giants defense let them know it.

First down - Deep pass broken up
Second down - Sacked for loss of ten
Third down - Deep pass broken up
Fourth down - Deep pass broken up

The biggest upset of the season? Undoubtedly. Biggest upset of the past 10 or 15 years? Definitely. Biggest upset in NFL history? Probably. That's just how great this was, and the game was just good enough to make it absolutely amazing.

New York Giants are the Super Bowl Champions.

The New England Patriots are 18-1.

Believe it.

Friday, February 1, 2008


That's right gents, the greatest spectacle in all of sports is but TWO DAYS AWAY. I know what you're thinking, "Gee golly, I sure do like those commercials, but I really wanna cheer for a team this year. Who's the right call Andrew?" Fear not friends, I am here for you.

This year the biggest stage in football features the dynastic New England Patriots, striving for the untouchable 19-0 record, will engage in vicious concussion-inducing fanfare with the underdog, suddenly unbeatable New York Giants. Though there really is nothing new about either of these teams making a title appearance considering each has been in the play-off mix consistently for the past few years, the game is made intriguing by the storylines behind it. Has Eli Manning finally evolved into one of the game's elite passers? Will Brady be hindered by his ankle? Is this the biggest upset in the history of the game yet to happen?

Yes, no, and maybe. Let's dive deeper.

Obviously, the Patriots passing game is the fuel that runs the fire, though they have been running the ball nicely the past few weeks. Expect neither to result in great success against a Giants D that's seen more than it's share of trials the last few weeks. Stopping Brett Favre and Tony Romo isn't an easy task. The Giants defense is ready for the biggest offensive weapon in the history of the game, bank on it.

But can the offense keep up with the points the Patriots do score? Again, I say to you, yes. Eli Manning has been flawless in recent weeks and it seems silly to think that the Patriots will keep him in check when they had trouble doing that just one month ago. Plaxico Burress has never been hotter and he smoked one of the best corners in the game last week. Cap it with a bruising running game, and suddenly the Patty Cakes are in for a bigger fight than most anticipate.

Here's how I see it, the Giants are underdogs for a reason. They already lost to the Pats once, have lost six more games than them, and haven't got the record-breaking credentials. But in football, it all comes down to the expression made famous by Chris Berman. "That's why they play the games." It's why the Giants beat the Packers, it's why the Chargers beat the Colts, and it's why upsets happen every single day of NFL action.

Most importantly, it's why the Giants will win, 35-31.

*Dramatic Ending*

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


(Aw man, he's talking about football again?)

This past week, the rumors have been flying that Al Davis has gone crazy (surprise, surprise) and is contemplating giving the boot to Raiders coach of one year, Lane Kiffin. Should this madman get his wish, Kiffin would not only become the second coach this year fired after his first season, but also become the third straight Raiders coach to lose his job after one year.


See, Art Shell, I understand. Under his regime, the Raiders went from bad, to terrible, making this year's Dolphins look like champions (not record-wise as the Raiders went 2-14 in comparison to Miami's 1-15). But Kiffin? No excuses Al Davis, you just don't want a guy who doesn't eagerly fetch your paper and morning coffee. Kiffin is no man's lapdog, but it turns out, he's a heck of a coach.

Kiffin may not have improved Oakland's record much, but the team WAS better. The rushing attack was outstanding, because Kiffin fixed the offensive line. The passing game was mediocre, but hopefully JaMarcus Russell will fix that problem right up. The defense, though down in production from the best pass D in 2006, was still good enough to make for a lot of close games. The Raiders lost 7 of their 12 losses by a touchdown or less. This team can fight.

Kiffin's on the right track with the team known year in and year out as the NFL's punching bag. There are some positive changes in Oakland for the first time since their Super Bowl appearance, but firing the coach isn't going to help anything. Not everyone is going to be your manservant Al Davis, and you will lose a great coach if you don't figure that out soon.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Price of Your Soul


Got your attention? Good. It's time once more for the magical Sunday we all call, The Super Bowl. Sure as always, the Patriots are making their annual appearance, and there's a feel good story involved in the Giants (as long as you aren't a Cowboy or Packer fan), but past that, we just want the glitz, the glamor, and the really, totally awesome commercials.

Or maybe, you're insane, and actually want to go to the game. A noble thought, if not one for idiots. Still, I admire the courage, and your deep pockets. Super Bowl tickets are running for a very affordable $19,000 a seat. Not including the ten dollar hot dog of course.

Honestly, the Super Bowl is nothing short of a corporate event at this point. No one who goes is a fan of either team, they're there for the public exposure and because they work for Microsoft. I don't care how much you love your Patriots, you're not gonna pay 20 grand just watch your team win again.

Short and simple, if you want to go to the Super Bowl, I suggest taking a nap. It's the only place that'll ever happen. Short of being caller number 27 or streaking down the street for a weird contest of some sort.

Or you could just, sell your soul.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday Quick Hits - Edition 1

Expect this to become a weekly tradition 'round these parts, where I just hit with some thoughts that don't deserve a full-on blog, and just run down a couple of points I'd like to make regarding each major sport.

-Bootgate? Are we that desperate for a story that Tom Brady with a slight limp is causing all the hubbub? Brady'll play, and he'll be fine.

-Lawrence Tynes is a lucky, lucky man. If Brett Favre had worked the magic instead of the pick he threw, Tynes would have been in the unemployment line the next day. Now he's practically a hero.

-If the Twins don't deal Santana soon, they'll find themselves in quite a pickle. The best prospects have already been pulled from all good offers, and if he has a mediocre 2008 and no one trades for him, he'll be lost to free agency, and the Twinkies won't get a thing.

-Expect the Royals and Rays (no more Devil) to show a bit more fight this year. Neither will win their division or make the play-offs, but I can see third place for both of them, with plus .500 records.

-Boston has become mortal really quick, there's no way they're touching that magical Bulls season. They'll be lucky to get within 10 wins. They'll still be the number one seed in the east though.

-Sacramento is suddenly potent when K-Mart, Bibby, and Artest all play. If they were in the East, they might be able to make a play-off run. Too bad they won't get close in the west.

-The All-Star game was a real treat this year. Eric Staal played a heck of a game.

-Midseason pick for the Stanley Cup? Red Wings, no question.

-Not much of anyone paying attention to that 17-1 Duke team that's ranked third in the country. Maybe they'll start turning heads if they can best the Tarheels next Wednesday in Chapel Hill.

-Pitt's injuries continue to kill it. I'm shocked this team is still clutching a top 25 spot.

That's it for this Monday chaps. I swear you'll get more details (and yes, a Super Bowl prediction) as the week progresses.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Let The Kid Play!

Anyone who's followed college basketball for the last few years knows the name J.J. Redick. The famous Duke point guard who shot balls into the hoop with pinpoint accuracy from any point on the court, the highest scorer in ACC history, and the most prolific three-point shooter in the history of college ball.

If someone wrote a "Where Are They Now?" book now, J.J. would have to be the front page. Redick was drafted 10th by the Orlando Magic two years back after his leave from Duke, and despite a back injury that kept him out of summer play, was dressed and ready to go opening day.

So where is he?

J.J. Redick is warming the bench in Orlando, a sudden contender in a weak Eastern Conference. Unwilling to take a major chance playing a kid with no pro experience and one thought to have a bad pro transition, he plays but one or two minutes a game, not given the time of day. Currently, Redick has shown to be explosive off the bench, scoring 7 points in 3 minutes last night against Memphis, and last week, scoring 10 in 8 minutes. His defense still lacks, but the intensity he brings and the spark he gives the offense could help the struggling Magic.

So why not give him more of a chance? Redick was absolutly jaw-dropping in college and can likely do the same in the NBA given more playing time. Kevin Durant is starting for the Sonics, Al Horford as well. So let J.J. play for more than 5 minutes next time Orlando. Give him a quarter or two.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Survival of the Flightless

So imagine you're a Penguins fan for a second (ok, first imagine you're a hockey fan). You just found out that Sidney Crosby, the best player in all of hockey, is lost for roughly two months. I know I know, fight back the tears and hear me out. Here's the plan for these Penguins to make it through the rough patch of the season down one superstar.

1. Evgeni Malkin needs to step up. Everyone knows it by now. Malkin, 2nd overall pick back in 2004 (behind only the $124,000,000 man), has played great hockey behind Sidney Crosby for the last year and a half. Now it's time to see if he can elevate his game to be the star center on the team while Sid The Kid takes his leave. If he can, the Pens won't miss Crosby as much as you'd think.

2. Defense Defense Defense. The Pens defense and goaltending, thanks in part to journeyman Ty Conklin, has been outstanding of late, allowing no more than 1 or 2 goals a game. This needs to continue if Sidney is gone, which it likely will. Sid's a fine defender when he's down there, but has little impact on the defensive aspect of the game as it is. The Pens will likely experience a bit of an offensive drop-off with the best scorer out, but if the D can hold, they'll just settle for winning games 2-1.

3. Key Injury Returns. Despite a Crosby-esque scare against the Canadians, Colby Armstrong coming back from injury will be a nice boost to the Pens as a team. Add in the return of Marc-Andre Fleury in a few weeks time, and the recent comeback of Maxime Talbot, the Pens should be able to survive this key injury with these non-injured players back in the line-up.

Crosby will return with roughly a month before the play-offs begin. This is enough time for him to give the Pens a late surge if they can stay competitive in his absence. Follow these steps, and I can assure you, these birds will fly into the postseason.

With Crosby, of course.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Who's Number One?

No, this isn't that show on ESPN Classic that counts down all of our favoritest sports moments. It's about Memphis....and KU....and Duke, North Carolina, UCLA, Georgetown, Washington State, Indiana....well you get my point. Who's number one?

Well, according to the latest AP and Coaches Poll, it's Memphis. But is this is a justified pick? Let's do a quick elimination process. First off, who's lost a game? Wait, that knocks out everyone but Memphis and KU. Well, this will be easy.

Memphis IS the number one team in the country, no doubt in my mind. Maybe not talent-wise, they may not have quite the superstar roster of North Carolina, Duke, and Kansas, but they have the best credentials as of now.

Memphis has beaten Arizona, Georgetown, Oklahoma, UConn, Cincinnati, and USC, only one of which is even in their conference. It's hard to pin a poor conference on Memphis' schedule because of their very strong out of conference schedule. KU on the other hand, is just now treading into difficult territory. Despite common wins with Memphis over Oklahoma, USC, and Arizona, the Jayhawks haven't played the calibur of foes the Tigers have and likely won't until a date with Baylor on February 9th.

The two have just about drawn even in every other statistical category, meaning you really just have to go by the strength of schedule. I apologize Jayhawk fans (Actually I don't), but it seems to me you've been outgunned. For now, anyway.

Besides what's wrong with number two?