peyton manning

It’s 4th Down, Bottom Of The 9th With The Goalie Pulled

When it comes to football, baseball and hockey, the blame game often lies on the Quarterback, Pitcher and the Goalie. Is it their fault the rest of their team blew their assignments to put all the pressure on these guys? Depends on who you ask I suppose. These three positions are quite similar in how the public views them and what is asked of them by their coach and team mates. Who has it worse? Who deserves the most blame? Even championships can’t save these guys.

It’s Sunday Night Football, Brady vs. Manning, Rodgers vs. Romo; the spotlight is shining brightest on the man behind center. The matchup is always QB vs QB, not team vs team. Quarterbacks are paid the big contracts and are the face of the franchise. Who starts on Sunday is the big discussion on talk radio and when the chips are down every throw, run and sack is scrutinized.

Baseball takes a different approach by employing the starting rotation. Every team has 5 guys they deem are worthy of leading their team to victory once every 5 days. The pitching duel isn’t as relevant but again they face the most scrutiny because they are the players that start every.single.play.

Goaltending in hockey shares the spotlight that the other two positions do; the flip is that they are the last guy to beat before a goal is awarded. Unfortunately, the goalie is the one often blamed for a team’s misplays. It doesn’t matter if the defense is brutally awful or the forwards can’t cross center ice without giving up the puck, if the puck goes in, cue the boo birds.

Every Sunday the best quarterbacks in the league can be hung out to dry by a stellar defense or an offensive line that has more holes than swiss cheese. The QB is commonly the one to blame and his performance is the lightning rod for why his team did so poorly. The amount of study that goes in to one game is mind numbing: option reads, deep plays, the run game and the unforeseen flag all go into how a team fairs when they have the ball. A poorly timed pass can result in an interception that could end the game.

Once the pitcher steps onto the mound it’s his game. All the preparation and game tape can change in an instant when the first pitch of the game goes deep over the left field wall. Thankfully, baseball is played a pitch at a time and even a badly executed pitch can be recovered by a well positioned fielder. Quarterbacks can relate to a degree, the game is in their hands until they let go, then it gets real.

Even though a goalie doesn’t have the puck to start the game, it takes seconds to have them involved. Goalies have it pretty rough. There is so much that has to happen before its their fault, however, one mistake by anyone on their team can be forgiven if the goalie does his job properly. Goalies can be asked to steal games when the guys up front aren’t necessarily equipped to get the job done on their end.

What links these 3 positions together?

Aside from the crazy hate, relentless criticism and the ability to lose their job because they don’t win EVERY SINGLE game; all of these people share a remarkable mental toughness and are celebrated for doing a job most players wouldn’t want to be responsible for. Putting a blatantly obvious interception in the rear view mirror when it puts his team behind takes a special type of athlete and even more special when he can engineer a game winning drive in the last 2 minutes.

Having a pitcher give up consecutive home runs or walking in the go ahead run to have the reliever come in and strikeout out the side to get his team back in is something most athletes don’t want to be responsible for. Or maybe its the flip side and the pitcher has a perfect game or a no hitter going; its the loneliest place in the world but you know your team will do whatever it takes to keep it alive and it doesn’t matter who you cheer for, you want to see it happen.

Behind the mask, the puck is the ultimate decider of fate. A quarterback can throw an interception but the game isn’t necessarily over, a pitcher can give up a hit, doesn’t mean the winning run comes in; with goaltending, when the puck crosses that line, you failed. Its final. So much can be put on the tender for what HE didn’t do to keep the puck out when a blown assignment by his defense gave the goalie no chance aside from a miracle. Its a cruel, cruel game.

As the great Uncle Ben from Spiderman once said “with great power, comes great responsibility”. Nothing rings truer than these 3 positions. Championships are won and lost on a bad pitch, an overthrown pass or a screened shot. ERA, WHIP, pass completion, QB ratings, touchdowns, interceptions, save percentage, GAA, shutouts, perfect games and no hitters; none of that matters unless there is a W attached to it.

The pressure to perform at each of these sport’s biggest positions is incredible but the rewards can turn an ordinary Joe into Joe Montana. If I had to pick, goaltending is the hardest. The split second decisions are so drastic that a teams downfall can happen quite quickly. I don’t envy any of those guys.

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Welcome Back NFL, We Missed You

Although, this play didn’t win the SuperBowl last season, it did set the Seattle Seahawks into hyperdrive to clinch their first ever Lombardi Trophy. It was a season filled with surprises and superstars but like only the NFL can, it made us tune in to see what else was next. Well, come Thursday, it all starts again. Welcome back NFL, we missed you.

The defending champ, Seahawks, are hosting the Green Bay Packers. There have been a few memorable matchups between these two teams, none really more memorable than the touchterception call by the replacement refs that forced the NFL to ante up and pay their normal referees to come back.

Hopefully nothing that awful occurs this year. There will however, be some big names to watch once we kickoff at Centurylink Field on Thursday. Is Peyton Manning still in the driver’s seat to get his Broncos back to the SuperBowl? Or is the sun setting on the future Hall of Famer? An obvious question, will the Seahawks repeat with their stellar team that absolutely demolished the Broncos last year? Tough to say.

I personally am excited to see a few stars own it this year:

Adrian Peterson – I just want this guy to crush the rushing record so bad. He is a phenomenal athlete and he makes that position look easy. He enjoys hitting people to prove his point and an overall nice guy. Good luck AP.

Percy Harvin – AP’s former teammate is going to get a full season to play in the Seahawks offense and it personally gets me a bit too excited. He has amazing speed, hybrid receiver/running back abilities and he’s big too! If anything happens to Lynch this year, I doubt anyone will worry with Harvin and Christine Michael holding down the backfield.

Jimmy Graham – Jimmy got paid. Jimmy’s gotta step up his game even more. Jimmy wants to be paid like a wideout? Put up a 2k season. That will get you that kind of money. Jimmy thinks he just called out Jimmy Graham. Bad idea.

Johnny Manziel – This man probably will only have one rival this year for hype and HE was drafted first overall. Johnny Football is a lifestyle it seems. He can party, he can be named the backup but all in all, JF will be a star in the NFL. He has everything to make him a star and he may just take Cleveland further than they ever have been. Josh Gordon gone? Who cares. Manziel will more than make up for it with his read option ability and his wealth of targets.

Jadeveon Clowney – Finally this guy. He is a monster. He is a wildebeest with a smile. Houston made a great pick with Clowney to join forces with JJ Watt. Offenses will have nightmares when they have to face these two. I would prefer to never even face these guys let alone tell you what type of grass is used once they bury my face in the ground. Check this clip:

Jacked up yet? There’s only one other thing that makes football even better: Fantasy Football. Yes it’s “fake football” time and everyone is geeked up. Hopefully both of my teams go all the way and life will be complete. Its entirely possible.

I have also put my hat in the ring for a chance to become part of NFL Canada‘s digital street team. It would truly be an honor to be officially associated with the NFL. I’ll let you know if it happens. In fact, I am sure you’ll hear a lot about it if I do.

So, get your popcorn ready, put on your favorite Brett Favre jersey (he played for a few teams) and plunk down on that old leather chair and get ready for the best NFL season ever.

One last thing.

You’re welcome.

Follow me on twitter @hankthetank10 and @always90four

Safety with numbers

There are moments in sports that transcend reality; what happened at Super Bowl XLVIII was beyond reality. Literally, from the opening snap of the game, the Denver Broncos were not only playing catchup but they were left scratching their heads all night. The Seattle Seahawks did it right, they played their game. They scored a safety and a whole lot more.

Lost in all the fanfare and the bright lights of the Super Bowl was a storyline that probably doesn’t get enough credit: the Seahawks were the underdog. What goes with the underdog status is the background story that is all too familiar in the Northwest sports scene. No matter how much success, how many awards or how many wins the Seahawks piled up, they were still an underdog.

Its such a striking name to have. Having everyone view you as essentially, the loser, and you haven’t even played the game yet. How many wins will it take to earn the respect of being the better team? Do you have to win it all before you get the respect you deserve? Tough call; the New England Patriots didn’t have to deal with the critics the way the Seahawks have had to. Once Tom Brady ushered in his era of dominance, and so early too, he was a winner and anything the Patriots accomplished was added to that success.

The Hawks had been to the Super Bowl only 8 seasons prior and were a threat that year too! But they weren’t favored to win. They were the underdog. Having a rushing leader in Shaun Alexander that season gave Seattle a legitimate shot at winning the big game that year. The Seahawks would lose to the Steelers and to this day it is still questioned on if the referees cost the Hawks the title.

When you live in British Columbia or Washington State or the surrounding areas, you have dealt with the rest of North America calling you less than worthy. The Seahawks in this case, have had success in a lot of ways and lay claim to a few Hall of Famers. One would think this would give some legitimacy to their franchise. How about making 2 Super Bowls in 8 years? Nope, still isn’t good enough. Sure, the Hawks have been contenders for many years, had some rough patches as well, but they are basically viewed as the team that still just isn’t at that elite level. Statistically, they deserve a lot more credit than they are getting but no one that matters is giving it to them.

If you cheer for the Vancouver Canucks, its a story all too familiar. So many years of dominance in the Northwest Division, awards, star players coming up through the ranks, and a few Stanley Cup appearances to their name. All of that, and they are still viewed as a team that doesn’t deserve to be a favorite. They aren’t the sexy Chicago Blackhawks or Pittsburgh Penguins. There is no credit where its due. Will winning a title change all that? Hopefully it will. The Canucks deserve to be thought of as elite and not just another team that didn’t win. Maybe not this season though.

Now that the Seahawks can call themselves Super Bowl Champions, maybe the rest of the NFL will finally see what us locals have seen for a long time: a team that deserves to be called Champion. There are no Tom Brady’s or Peyton Manning’s. No Jerry Rice Ok he did have a quick stint there, but lets not dwell on that. This is a team that was built from the ground up and bought into a family mentallity, not just a team. This is a team that had a defense that had less holes in it than a bowling ball.

The Seattle Seahawks are now part of an exclusive club and nothing can change that. No controversy to stain their win, no bad calls or non calls that could have cost the Denver Broncos the game. The Hawks just flat out annihilated the Broncos and they made it look easy. They made it look like just another game, just another opponent. They are now for real and will be taken seriously. It took a win to do it but they won’t be called underdog anymore.

It all started with a Safety. It started with Pete Carroll putting together a family. It started with the Seattle Seahawks not listening to the haters and showing them why they should be taken seriously.

Congratulations Seattle Seahawks! You are our heroes

Cover photo courtesy of yahoo.com

Why you gotta hate? Seahawks edition

A sequence seen too often, a west coast un respected team that finally wins and makes one move that the nation takes personally and all of a sudden they are public enemy #1. The Vancouver Canucks know this all too well after their rise to fame, heck even the Penguins saw a little flack when Sidney Crosby was labelled a whiner. Now, its Seattle’s turn.

Apparently its not supposed to happen this way. A good team from a small market isn’t supposed to win, isn’t supposed to beat their rival in a monstrous game, and definitely isn’t supposed to brag about it. Enter the Seattle Seahawks. They had a season that any NFL fan would be proud to say was their team. They did what so many teams failed to do, get to the Superbowl. And not just get there, they did it in dramatic fashion. They didn’t have a 4000 yard passer, they didn’t have the NFL’s leading rusher, they didn’t have the same group the whole season that fought through the trenches. The Hawks were constantly replacing offensive lineman game after game; which for a lot of teams might see the end of their good fortunes. They beat the 49ers in a game that seemed to be over after the Seahawks first play when Russell Wilson fumbled the ball and gave the Niners possesion.

For a Hawks team that man handled some of the top teams in the league this year, they looked ordinary and lifeless in the first half. So a local kid popped a few tags, got the crowd jacked and out came the 12th man in the second half, and boy did they ever. The Hawks would rally back and take the lead in the second half and eventually secure their berth to Superbowl XLVIII with a Richard Sherman tip to cause the game winning interception n the end zone over Michael Crabtree. Those two men were at each other this season and with the rivalry at the peak of its intensity, a play that ended the game brought on a ton of emotion. Crabtree was having a beauty of a day on the field which he usually does in the playoffs and the play that would most likely have sealed the deal fell short.

Here’s where most people will differ in opinion: Why was it such a big deal that Richard Sherman unleashed his WWE promo after causing the winning play in the game for his team? Have you not won a big game before? Have you ever beaten a buddy at Madden that was a bit more intense than it should have been? Did you not expect an outspoken Sherman to have SOMETHING to say when he was the first guy interviewed by Erin “eye candy” Andrews? She didn’t exactly hold her own in that interview. Did she not have a follow up question to maybe address why that play pushed the 12th man over the edge? NO, she didn’t. Richard Sherman did what ANY big player would have done in the same situation, he spoke up after totally owning his man in what would have most likely been a game winning touchdown. So forgive me if the “thug” had a bit of emotion on his chest when he sealed his teams berth into the Superbowl.

It seems like if you win you aren’t allowed to be excited about it….ITS THE FREAKING SUPERBOWL!!!! The fact that Sherman carried his rivalry with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh since college makes the play all that more amazing. The fact the Hawks beat the team they were predicted to play before the preseason even started is amazing. Add the fact that a 2nd year QB, a guy who literally stole the job away from a guy who inked a fat payday after subbing in for Mr. Discount Double Check for one game. This Seahawks team is way more special than the team that faced the Steelers in Superbowl XL. They have a more rounded team, a more unified team, and I am pretty sure that they have guys that won’t drop the ball in the end zone this time, ya I’m talking to you Jerramy Stevens.

I intercepted yo mouth breathin brother man, Imma pick you off too

I intercepted yo mouth breathin brother man, Imma pick you off too
Photo courtesy of si.com

Why is it that once a team gets popular because of their success, that the sports world turns on them. Because they beat YOUR TEAM? Because YOUR TEAM didn’t make it that far? Because YOUR TEAM didn’t have the talent to do what they did? The Redskins went through the same thing with RG3. As soon as there was a sign of weakness, all of a sudden RG3 is selfish and a “I” guy. The underdog is cool until they reach stardom and then everyone is waiting for the shoe to drop. So tell me why is it that the biggest play of the game wasn’t allowed to be talked about by the guy that MADE the play? This sheep sports society doesn’t like its wool straightened out, it doesn’t like anything out of the norm. It needs to have a hero and the hero always wins. Well what if the hero has a big mouth? Is that ok?

Sports is so weird. Everyone wants the league to be more exciting, more unpredictable. Well this post season has been anything BUT predictable and as soon as someone says anything about it, now its an issue. GET A GRIP! The NFL has been robbed of any ounce of fun and the fun is hitting major heights, so saddle up and enjoy.

The NFL is looking better than it ever did and it finally has an opportunity to max out on a small market team and get them back in the spotlight. Not only that, they are facing a soon to be hall of famer with an offense that shot to kill and didn’t look back. They are facing a man that doesn’t exactly lose a lot. Don’t hate on the guys that make the sport more exciting, has the NO FUN LEAGUE brainwashed the casual fan, or worse, the diehard?

It’s Peyton Manning vs. Russell Wilson, its the Denver Broncos vs. the Seattle Seahawks. Two #1 teams with a #1 defense on one side and a #1 offense on the other. It doesn’t get any better than that. So there won’t be any Kaepernicking this year, there won’t be any power outages and there will definitely be some history made on that fine Sunday.

There will also be a sick ton of Skittles.

Hit me up on twitter @hankthetank10

cover photo courtesy cbssports.com

Fantasy Football HATES you

From Thursday to Monday nights starting in September, most husbands, boyfriends, sons, and for you nerds out there, World of Warcraft; become zombies to the rest of the world. Football in all its glory returns and even more important, Fantasy Football, begins.

To be fair, there are some girls that play too, and for some of those unlucky leagues out there, they win. This is a hobby that creates billions in revenue each year across the world, and also loses billions I’m sure. If I put even HALF of the effort into my normal job as I did in fantasy football, well, I don’t want to even think about it. If I played fantasy football during college, I would STILL be in college. You get my point.

The unfair part of it is how much time and effort you have to put in to even try to win your league. I spent an hour on twitter this weekend trying to decide what Tight End to play and by Sunday afternoon, they were both out anyways. It sucks! I mean, who has three TE on their team? You can prepare all you want, get all the best info from the most knowledgable guys and it still comes down to what happens on the field. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady might be the best QB’s in the league, but even they suck sometimes.

Wanna know how nuts it is? When Aaron Hernandez was arrested, I GUARANTEE YOU, thousands of people were choked because NOW they have to find a new TE. He MURDERED 2, possibly 3 people, and Terrific Tom’s Touchdowns is scouring the league to see who will be available at the draft. The same reaction had to have happened when Mike Vick went to jail for his role in a dog fighting ring. How…..am I going to replace a QB like that? They’re just dogs right? Man I hope Vick doesn’t do too much time, maybe I’ll stash him on my bench for a year or so.

This epic funfest has put friendships in question, marriages on the rocks (no way?), work relationships in jeopardy, heck, jobs in jeopardy and all for a little bit of fun. Fantasy Football is so popular that FXX Network, a subsidiary of FOX, has a show called, The League. A group of friends that are in a fantasy league together and all the shenanigans that happen during their lives. Its a beauty and a must a watch.

It's ALL about the Shiva Bowl

It’s ALL about the Shiva Bowl

Sunday mornings haven’t been the same since Twitter joined fantasy sports either. There are loads of analysts that get PAID to give you advice on how to win your leagues every year, week in and week out. When you end up being the smartest guy in your league, odds are, there are a group of people online that are waaaay smarter than you. It would have been amazing to see how it was done even 10 years ago. “Dear Fantasy football guy, I have a big matchup this weekend, who do I start at QB: Rivers or Eli Manning? Thanks a lot, Ryan” “Dear Ryan, I just got your letter, I would start Rivers this week because Eli is on a bye week. Thanks for following us, Fantasy football guy. You can guess that would have been a blast getting snail mail a week or two later if you were lucky.

With Twitter now, you can have get real time answers the way call in shows have done, but way quicker and with more possibilities. See someone ask the same kind of question, just check your timeline and you can save yourself a question. Unless you are a real idiot and you ask the same question 100 times only to get nothing back. Or even better, ask a question that is brutally obvious and get ignored. “Who should I start at RB: Marshawn Lynch orrrrrr Trent Richardson? The only people that would find that funny though are the people in this special world.

If you hate this man, you love fantasy football.

Ya, I might be a mouth breather but I have 2 Super Bowls

Ya, I might be a mouth breather but I have 2 Super Bowls

Drafting is a big part of how your season will go and could even define your entire season early. If you haven’t done your homework or didn’t have a smart strategy, you could be 1-11 like a guy in my league is. The real thrill is finding a diamond in the rough after a week of games and he ends up being one of the NFL elite. You have to be a bit lucky or know what you think everyone else doesn’t know already.

Its sure amusing to think of what the hobby really is: a harsh, dark world of evil sorcery and old stabled hunks of meat used for the rich mans betting amusal. No one thinks of their favorite team anymore, its about numbers. Favorite team won? Who cares. Did the WR on the other team get 80 yards? HUGE playoff implications for division rivals? Great! I should totally get big points out of the RB in that game. Its like greyhounds; they are popular until they stop winning and then just tossed to the curb…or the glue farm while the next young stud is welcomed to Weeden Start the Fire’s PPR team.

Its a reason to get up in the morning…usually 7am on Tuesdays when the waiver wire opens, you gotta be first you know. Its even more fun when you screw over a guy you hate in your league, and take the guy he wanted knowing full well you don’t even need him and he’ll just rot away on your bench.

Oh fantasy football, the American dream, the Canadian nightmare and yet another reason the CFL still has a point for kicking the ball through the end zone. Seriously, stop that rule, its lame. The lacrosse league is starting to snicker at you.

And finally, the butt fumble again

follow me on twitter @hankthetank10

Winning is everything…except when you lose

I hate losing. I hate the idea of losing. Whats somewhat pathetic is that I personally did not lose. My decisions lost. By now it should be fairly obvious this is about fantasy football.

Building a dynasty isn’t easy and when you haven’t even won anything it makes it all that more difficult. This weekend, there was a chance to move ahead and cement my spot in elite club of winners. I was in the feeling that winning was going to take over this weekend and all would be good. Well going 0-3 changes all of that.

Sure doesn’t help when you play the undefeated guy with Peyton Freaking Manning on his team. Oh ya, I traded the guy Manning. Smart right? The word dynasty will come in handy in two years if Peyton takes over Papa Johns full time. So to start, that was bad decision #1.

#2 wasnt really a bad decision, it was my own cockiness. The winning I was planning on doing, didn’t happen in league #2. This is the league I am in with Roberto Luongo. Could have been in a tie for first place. Now i have to earn it. Boo.

The final league im in i just suck so really i don’t care on that one. Still sucks to lose.

To add one more thing, that Value Village commercial is THE BIGGEST HACK of a currently popular song. Macklemore, you might want to check into this.

Follow me on twitter and over on http://www.thefarmclub.net I write about the canucks.