Archive for March, 2012

The weather is getting warmer, and the smells of summer are lingering in the air…that can only mean one thing: the 2012 MLB season is almost here! This season is sure to bring tons of excitement, especially with some new elements that will re-shape the landscape of MLB. Here are some of the new and refreshing factors roaring to a baseball diamond near you:

New faces in new places: Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder have definitely changed the way we look at a baseball franchise. It’s all about money, money, money! With both players signing contracts worth over $200 million each, the question is, who will have the bigger impact on their new team? I think Pujols is expected to make a bigger impact with the Angels, and you know what? That’s exactly what we’ll see. I think Pujols is going to give the Angels a serious lift; he has a presence about him and he’s ready to play his best baseball we’ve seen yet. Also, with Fielder’s arrival in Detroit, one thing is certain: both the Cardinals and the Brewers are going to be worse off without their two sluggers anchoring their respective teams this season.

October – The wildest month of the season: Now with FOUR wild-card teams in the mix, predicting what’s to come in September/October will never be the same. For one, teams won’t be able to just cruise through September, content to be a wild card. This new rule makes finishing first seem oh-so refreshing. Also, this won’t help teams who are trying to fix what may be afflicting them at the trade deadline. The most vital part of this new wild-card rule: it is more imperative than ever to win your division this season; simply winning the Wild Card just isn’t good enough anymore.

It’s a “Magical” time in L.A.: Can Magic Johnson run a baseball team? For a cool $2 billion, a group led by Magic Johnson and former Braves/Nationals president Stan Kasten is about to become the proud owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. I think most people in Southern California will be happy that Frank McCourt is gone. So what does this mean in the short run? Not much, but this will probably mean more in the long run, and we can expect to see money in the baseball budget again. Watch out for the Dodgers to have their eye back in Latin America and scouting for international talent. The Dodgers ranked last in international signings last year, at only $177,000. Expect that to change in the coming years. Also, expect Dodger Stadium to get a huge makeover, since it plummeted to shameful depths under McCourt.

Finally! Expect more than 300 people to attend a Marlins game! No more nightly rain delays, folks. Get ready for Marlins Park; this is a modern, trendy, and tropical ballpark unlike any other; it will even feature a retractable roof — every Floridian’s dream! So what will the new ballpark bring to the Marlins and their fan base? For one, the Marlins think they can average 30,000 fans per game — this would be 11,000 more than it averaged officially last year. The Marlins believe they won’t just sell out on Opening Night, but sell all 36,000 seats multiple times before the end of April. Last year, they sold out ZERO games after the opener. However, whether the roof is open or closed, the success of the Marlins will not be judged on the quality of their brand new stadium, but on the quality of the 2012 team.

So with all these changes. It’s tough to predict exactly what’s going to happen on the baseball diamond this season. But one thing is certain, the 2012 MLB season is going to be a season like no other, and I can’t wait for it to get started!

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Although the Red Sox missed the playoffs in 2011, there are plenty of reasons for Sox fans to remain positive for 2012. One reason is the production they got out of their young centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury had a 2011 campaign worthy of an MVP Award. Although de didn’t win the award, he instead was rewarded the AL Comeback Player of the Year. So looking forward to 2012 we ask ourselves, “Who’s next on deck?”

Unlike our NL Comeback Player of the Year candidates for 2012, there are not many big name AL players coming back from injuries. Three players to keep an eye on this season are Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins, Colby Rasmus of the Toronto Blue Jays, and Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees. While Morneau is a player coming back from an inury, Rasmus and Rodriguez both had down years in 2011 but will come back big in 2012.

Justin Morneau

After winning the 2006 AL MVP Award, the city of Minnesota had high hopes for rising star Justin Morneau. He had very productive seasons after winning the MVP and nearly won the award again in 2008. In 2010 and 2011 Morneau suffered a some big injuries and had concussion problems as well as surgery in both his neck and left wrist. In 2010 he was putting up first-half numbers that could have made him MVP again. He hit .345 with 18 HRs and 56 RBIs, but he was stopped short by injury. He came back in 2011 but failed to recover completely as his numbers weren’t up to his standards.

Now in 2012, Morneau claims that he is feeling much better and isn’t having any problems with his wrist or neck. He has participated in all practices during Spring Training and is preparing to return to MVP form once the season starts. While concussions always put an asterisk on a player’s health, Morneau could be a high-risk player to bet on. But I say put your money on him to come back strong with a full season for the Twins. If he starts hitting the lights out again, it could help ignite teammate Joe Mauer to also have a strong season and bring the Twins back to the playoffs.

Colby Rasmus

Power hitting centerfielders are not easy to come by in the Majors. Colby Rasmus is a player with a ton of potential to be one of the better centerfielders in the Majors. As a member of the Cardinals in 2010, Rasmus hit .276 with 23 homeruns. However, problems with manager Tony LaRussa forced the Cardinals to trade the unhappy centerfielder to Toronto in 2011. Toronto was a step back in Rasmus’ career as he hit .225 and struck out 116 times. He hit a measly .117 as a member of the Jays in 35 games before he suffered a wrist injury. Some claim that he needs to improve his hitting when thrown breaking pitches as he has hit only .211 in his career against breaking balls.

However, there are plenty of things in Rasmus’ favor as he goes forward into the 2012 season. First, he is only 25 years old and could make major adjustments heading into his fourth season in the Majors. The Blue Jays hitting coach is happy with the adjustments that Colby made over the offseason. Second, he will be playing a full season hitting behind players like Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie. Also, he will be playing a full, and healthy season at the Rogers Centre, a place known as a hitter-friendly park, and should see his homerun numbers increase and hover around 20-30 this season. Rasmus does not have the speed like Jacoby Ellsbury but has a very good bat that could help him win the 2012 AL Comeback Player of the Year.

Alex Rodriguez

There are few players in the Majors right now that have a shot at breaking Barry Bonds’ all-time homerun record. Alex Rodriguez, along with Albert Pujols, are probably the only two who have a legitimate chance at breaking it. Only twice in the past 16 years has A-Rod ever hit fewer than 30 homeruns and 100 RBIs in a season. Both times he failed to play more than 100 games. Last year he struggled with leg injuries, and he was only healthy enough to play 99 games hitting .276 with 16 homeruns and 62 RBIs. As he gets older, Rodriguez’s batting average has been going down recently as he no longer posseses the speed to beat out the short-grounders that he once did.

To help get healthier, A-Rod took a page out of Kobe Bryant’s book. How? Well, Kobe recommended that the 26 year-old Rodriguez have the same treatment that Bryant got in Germany. So, A-Rod went to Germany to get a blood spinning treatment, called Orthokine, and said he could see his game improve as a result of his legs being much healthier. The procedure worked for Kobe, who is averaging over 28 points per game. (A stat he hasn’t achieved since his ’07-’08 campaign). Other than signing Raul Ibañez, the Yankees didn’t do much to improve their offense this offseason, but a healthy A-Rod coming back to MVP form could be more valuable to New York than any free agent in the market this offseason.


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Stephen Strasburg

Lance Berkman of the St. Louis Cardinals was the NL Comeback Player of the Year for 2011 as he had a near-MVP type of season for his new team. The Cards took an $8 million chance on a player who had a down year in 2010 and he proved worth the investment as he helped carry them to the World Series Title. So who’s up next?

This year is interesting because there are some players that are coming back from season-ending injuries in the National League. Players to watch for this year are Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals, Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants, and Berkman’s teammate Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals. All three of these players suffered devastating injuries that kept them from playing for most of the 2011 season. However, each of these three will bounce back big in 2012.

Stephen Strasburg

Few pitchers taken in the MLB Draft have had as much hype as Stephen Strasburg, a San Diego State phenom, but this kid had huge expectations and lived up to them. In 2010, he got his first win in his MLB debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates throwing 7 innings, allowing 2 runs, and striking out 14 batters. Talk about baffling! He continued his success in the rest of his 11 starts as he finished his rookie season with 92 K’s and a 2.91 ERA. Unfortunately, in his last start of that season he tore a ligament in his throwing arm and needed Tommy John Surgery that shut him down for over a year. People were afraid he might lose his blazing fastball that he was known to hurl over 98mph. In 2011, he came back to prove them wrong with five strong starts to give fans a preview for what is to come in 2012. In his final start, he left all baseball fans hungry as he threw 6 innings, got greedy and gave up one hit, no runs, and racking up 10 K’s against the Florida Marlins.

He will be a player to watch closely and a player that can bring 40,000 fans to their feet, and he can dominate a lineup on any given day. With an overpowering fastball, nasty curve, and his injury a thing of the past, look for Strasburg to once again regain the magic that he had in his rookie season.

Buster Posey

It’s hard to believe that a team can rely so much on a rookie as the Nationals did with Strasburg. If you think they relied on a rookie so heavily, then Buster Posey was the MVP of the Giants last year. The Giants won the World Series in 2010 and were thought to be a strong playoff contender with the pitching staff they brought back for the 2011 season. In his rookie year, Posey took over as the Giants starting catcher as well as cleanup hitter in the batting order. He helped them win their 2010 WS Championship and they relied on his ability to handle the bat and more importantly handle their talented pitching staff. However, on May 25th of last year, the Giants suffered a knock-out blow. If you don’t believe me, ask Giants fans about Scott Cousins. Posey broke his ankle trying to block Cousins from scoring and ended up sitting out the entire season. Without Posey, and a plethora of other injured players, the Giants offense was abysmal and their pitching staff was unable to carry the load as they missed the playoffs entirely.

The Giants are excited to have Posey back and I’m sure they would be happy if he does even half as well as when he won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2010. Watch out for the Giants to bounce back this season, with Posey leading the charge.

Adam Wainwright

After winning the World Series last season, The Cards suffered a huge blow this off-season. Albert Pujols couldn’t play the “first-team” loyalty card as he left the Cardinals after getting his second World Series ring. He signed with the Angels and the Cardinals went out to sign Carlos Beltran to try and replace the huge hole that Pujols left in their offense. Their pitching staff is going to have a heavier load to handle if they want to have a chance at even making the playoffs again without Pujols in the lineup. Yes, they do have good players in their lineup with Berkman and Beltran back together; as well as Matt Holliday and rising star David Freese, but Adam Wainwright’s return is the most crucial in their quest to return to October baseball. Wainwright missed all of the 2011 season, as he needed reconstructive surgery for an elbow injury that he suffered while throwing batting practice in the 2011 off-season. Before that he was considered a Cy Young Award candidate, going 20-11 with 213 K’s and a 2.42 ERA in 2010.

If he returns to 2010 form, the Cardinals may have back-to-back NL Comeback Players of the Year in their roster as he can reinvigorate fans in St. Louis and help propel them into the playoffs again. Will Cards fans be asking ‘who needs Pujols anyway?’ Maybe, but one thing is certain, they will not miss him if they win another World Series soon and Wainwright could be a huge X Factor as he’s a lights out type of pitcher when he’s on his game.

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The world of the NFL offseason has gone crazy once again…Tim Tebow has been traded to the Jets. The Jets sent two picks — a fourth-rounder and sixth-rounder in 2012 — to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a seventh-round selection. It was expected that Tebow would be sent to the trading block when Peyton waltzed into the Mile High City, signing a five-year, $96 million contract. Some thought Tebow would return to Jacksonville as the hometown hero, surely helping the Jaguars with more ticket sales, but the Jets were really the sleeper team here. The first question that comes to mind is why? Some players didn’t even want Tebow to join the organization in the first place. Antonio Cromartie even posted on his Twitter account, “Y bring Tebow in when we need to bring in more Weapons for @Mark Sanchez let’s build the team around him. We already signed to 3 year ext.”

Tebow will be joining a cast of backups behind Mark Sanchez, and I’m betting we see some big QB controversy here. Tebow will either emerge as a change-of-pace QB who doesn’t threaten Sanchez, while excelling in a role that truly shows off his talents, or he could add another dimension of craziness to the Jets drive. I am more excited to see how Tebow fits in with the Jets and New York. We’ve got an outspoken Christian here, playing in a city known for it’s outrageous nightlife, the bachelor lifestyle of Joe Namath — who made the Jets franchise famous, and a coach known for his outspoken attitude and profane speeches. Tebow seems like a humble guy, so we’ll have to wait and see how he handles everything in New York. Another fascinating prospect of this could be the way Tebow is incorporated into the Jets run-oriented offense, which is now being spearheaded by Tony Sparano.

The bottom line here? Get ready to witness an unorthodox quarterback with a sparkling resume, who is about to join a team that loves it’s time in the media spotlight…oh yeah, and a GQ photo-shoot featuring both Sanchez and Tebow can’t be that far behind either.

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Well, now we know why it’s taken so long. Cross him and he will destroy you. Roger Goodell will do everything in his power to maintain the integrity and image of the NFL. He has done so with his iron fist ruling heard worldwide on the infamous Bounty Gate. Like a gangster in the night, Goodell puts a bullet to the heart of the Saints organization, handing suspensions and fines to coaches and front office staff. Let’s take a look at the damage:

– $500,000 Fine. In addition, Saints forfeit their second-round picks in the 2012 and 2013 NFL drafts.

– Head Coach Sean Payton is suspended without pay for the 2012 season, effective April 1.

– General manager Mickey Loomis is suspended without pay for the first eight regular-season games of the 2012 season. $500,000 fine.

– Former Saints (and current St. Louis Rams) defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended indefinitely from the NFL. Commissioner Goodell will review Williams’ status at the conclusion of the 2012 season and consider whether to reinstate him.

– Assistant coach Joe Vitt suspended without pay for the first six regular-season games of the 2012 season. $100,000 fine.

The two worst being Head Coach Sean Payton’s year long suspension, and no eight million dollar salary for the year. The other being former Saints Defensive coordinator and bounty gate mastermind Gregg Williams being suspended indefinitely. I think it’s safe to say he will never be a coach in the NFL again.

Who knew Roger Goodell had it in him? Supposedly he had known about the Saints bounty program in the past and gave fair warning for them to stop. With Goodell being fairly new as NFL commish, the Saints didn’t take him seriously and continued to run “business as usual.” Don’t try to undermine the commissioner, in his statements about the ruling, Goodell said, “No one is above the game or the rules that govern it.” Were these suspensions harsh? Absolutely not. The time fits the crime.

The message has been sent to every team in the NFL and they better listen. Don’t cross the boss. If there were any plans for teams to continue their bounty programs, they better take a hard look at themselves, or they better start posting their resumes on Because the punishments will be equal if not harsher. He’s trying to bring justice and integrity to a game that is taking over as America’s pastime. One message the other 31 teams should take away from this: Roger Goodell may not be the guy with the biggest arms, or the man with the greatest charm, but mess with him and he will cause you a lot of harm. Roger Goodell is Batman, and justice will be served.

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With Peyton Manning signing with the Denver Broncos earlier today, we asked our “Expert” panel of bloggers to give us their take on what this means for the Mile High City in a new segment we call, “The Nickel Blitz”

Were the Broncos the best destination for Peyton to land?

Jeff Morgan: Probably not. The 49ers or Texans made the most sense from a pure football standpoint. You put a healthy Peyton on either of those two teams and they have to be considered instant frontrunners for the Super Bowl. However, there are far worse places Peyton could have ended up. The Broncos have a young, strong core on defense, and a few solid weapons in the passing game. Signing with the Broncos may not make them instant favorites, but they are definitely in the conversation when it comes to potential Super Bowl teams.

Dave Vinluan: From a team perspective San Francisco would have been the best spot for Peyton. But from a Peyton Manning standpoint, Denver was the best fit. Miami will be running the offensive system Green Bay runs with Joe Philbin as the new Head Coach. Tennessee and San Francisco are more run first teams that don’t give too much control to the quarterback. There’s no way Jim Harbaugh gives complete control to Manning. And this leaves Denver, with John Elway doing everything he can to solidify his ridding of Tebow, I believe in John Elway’s mind he is doing a public service to Denver by getting rid of Tim Tebow. Elway would give complete control to Peyton, making it a perfect fit for him.

Taylor Benson: I honestly thought Peyton would end up with the Titans; it really seemed like the best fit for him. With the 49ers in the final race this week, things got exciting. All the talk about Peyton joining the recent offensive additions the 49ers just made, while also working under Jim Harbaugh sounded like a surefire trip to the Super Bowl. Maybe the Broncos is what Peyton really wanted. We’ll have to wait and find out what he says…

Evan Rowley: No, The Browns are dying in the AFC north, and since I’m an Ohio native I don’t like the two consequences that came from this move: One, the Browns still need a QB. And Two, the Broncos have another good one.

Jason Fawcett: I don’t believe so. I think they have one of the best offensive lines in the game, a great defense and a team filled with some young stars in the making. However, I still think the best place Peyton could have landed was San Francisco with the 49ers. Their team is built to win a championship right now. While Denver has a nice defense, the 49ers have the best defense in the NFL. Peyton has never been a great outdoors quarterback, and while the 49ers also play outdoors, I think they’re weather is much more suitable for Peyton. Furthermore, the Broncos have an absolutely brutal schedule this year. While the AFC West is a pretty weak division, the NFC West is the weakest division in football. Two years ago a team made the playoffs with a 7-9 record and last year the 49ers had basically wrapped up the division by Thanksgiving. On the other hand, the Broncos have the 2nd hardest schedule in the NFL and the only game they play indoors this year will be in Atlanta, which isn’t an easy place to play. Outside of the division, they also have to play the Houston Texans, Pittsburg Steelers, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, the New England Patriots, and a Cam Newton improved Carolina Panthers. That is just plain scary.

Does Manning still have the “it” factor?

Jeff Morgan: That’s the $100,000 question isn’t it? The fact remains that everyone, included the Broncos will have to be in wait and see mode. We just don’t know how fully recovered Peyton is from his neck injury. Let’s not forget that he hasn’t played contact football in well over a year. How he responds to that first big hit might be the most important question in determining if Peyton still has “It.”

Dave Vinluan: As far as I’m concerned, Peyton hadn’t lost it prior to surgery, and I don’t expect him to lose “it” anytime soon. Manning is a great football mind, always studying, and finding out weak areas in opposing defenses. What needs to be seen is if his surgery affects the way he throws or how he reacts after being hit. I haven’t heard of any problems with his throwing mechanics so far, so I don’t expect there to be dramatic changes in his deliver or velocity. The timing with new receivers may take time, but I’m sure Peyton will make adjustments just like he always does. I still believe Peyton has what it takes to compete at the highest levels.

Taylor Benson: Only time will tell. We’ve heard reports that he’s rehabbing great, while others say that his throwing motion is just not the same and his strength is nowhere near 100%. If Peyton really spent the last few weeks making the best decision for himself, then we could very well see him back and looking as fresh as ever. As long as that Broncos’ defense does their job, we won’t be seeing “Manning Face” down on the field.

Evan Rowley: Yes. Next question

Jason Fawcett: Peyton definitely still has the “it” factor. The Peyton Manning sweepstakes has dominated the news cycle for the last couple of weeks. He’s a sure fire future hall of famer and could possibly be the greatest quarterback of all time. Even with March Madness in full swing and crazy upsets happening over the weekend, Manning was still the top story. He’s a meticulous worker and will no doubt do everything in his power to be as successful as possible. With the severity of his neck injury, I’m always worried that he might be one hit away from retirement. However, I don’t think Elway would have signed off on acquiring him if he wasn’t given the assurances from his doctors on his overall health. He also personally witnessed Peyton throw at Duke and I believe he can assess a quarterback’s arm with the best of them. Peyton still has to have “it” if he was willing to make such an aggressive push for him.

Is it Super bowl or bust in order for this move to be considered a successful one?

Jeff Morgan: This one will depend of the terms of his contract, but I have a feeling the Broncos are going to give him a pretty massive deal here. If that’s the case, you got to think that the Broncos will have to win the “big one” in the next 3 years or so for this signing to be considered a true success. Anything short of a Super Bowl title, and you can look back at this move as a failed experiment

Dave Vinluan: Yes, after what Denver accomplished in a very weak AFC West division and being one game away from the AFC Conference Championship, expectations should be high. Although every team’s mindset should be Super bowl or bust, after this move I wouldn’t be surprised if the front office and fans in Denver are thinking Super bowl(s) or bust.

Taylor Benson: For this move to be considered successful, The Broncos would have advance to the Super Bowl. Will it actually happen? Who knows. It’s too early to tell, and die-hard Bronco fans are probably trying to order their Super Bowl apparel already. It could be the year for the Broncos though, and we’ll have to stay tuned to see how Peyton does in the Mile High City.

Evan Rowley: Absolutely. I can’t help but notice the underlying similarity between the Bronco’s new GM (Elway) and Manning’s current situation. Much like Manning, Elway was at the end of his career in Denver and hadn’t been to the Super Bowl in years when he won back-to-back Championships before retiring. I’m sure Elway made this a well-known fact in courting Manning to come take the reigns from Tebow. (Who Elway loves to hate). If Manning doesn’t make the Super Bowl AND win it….this move was unsuccessful.

Jason Fawcett: That all still depends on the final numbers of the contract. I know they had a lot of cap room, so as long as they don’t completely limit their future’s financial abilities I think this can be considered a successful move without a super bowl. With Tim Tebow playing the quarterback position, I don’t think that they were going to win many more playoff games, much less the Super Bowl. Tebow was a great leader, who inspired his teammates greatly last year and did some amazing things. With that being said, I think teams were going to be ready for Tebow with a full off-season to prepare for him. The same thing happened with Michael Vick last year and the Dolphin’s Wildcat offense a few years ago. If Manning can provide stability at the position and make the Broncos a contender in the AFC West and playoffs I think this will be a successful move. He’ll bring excitement to Denver, and as long as the Bronco’s don’t sacrifice their future by giving him too crazy of a contract this will be remembered as a great day in the Denver Bronco’s history.

How will the Bronco fan base react? Embrace him? Or boo him because Tim Tebow is likely out the door?

Jeff Morgan: This will be an interesting scenario that plays out. Remember, Bronco fans will turn on you in a second, just ask Kyle Orton. And they didn’t just like Tebow, they practically worshiped they guy. It will NOT be an easy feat for Peyton to step in and be beloved by Bronco fans, especially if he struggles in the early going. Ultimately though, while Peyton may not bring the kind of excitement and pizzazz that Tebow did, he will bring more of one thing…wins. And at the end of the day, that’s all any fan base needs to cheer for.

Dave Vinluan: I truly believe winning cures everything, and if Peyton is winning they won’t care that Tebow is gone. But if that’s not the case there will be those fans in Denver showing up with their #15 “Jesus” jerseys saying “I told you so”. I’m sure fans are stoked to have a proven all time great quarterback under center after so long. But there will be no shortage of Peyton Manning Denver Bronco Jerseys at Mile High Stadium this season.

Taylor Benson: Bronco fans seem ecstatic…I mean any team would be lucky to get Peyton. Where does Tebow go now? He was the Broncos’ savior last season, so will we see Bronco fans wishing him a fond farewell, or mourning his departure? I think any true Bronco fan would be faithful to Tebow, who carried their team so far last season. Even in the post-season, all the talk about Tebow being the starting QB got everyone fired up. However, we’ll see Bronco fans embrace Peyton, as they want a Super Bowl ring.

Evan Rowley: Hopefully by watching a season of Tebow, the fans now realize that Tebow’s best attributes are a will to win and a competitive spirit. Neither of these need to be done from the QB position to help the team out, and neither of them beat out Peyton Manning for a starting position.

Jason Fawcett: The fan base will definitely embrace him. Peyton is one of the few quarterbacks that could go to Denver and supplant Tebow without enraging the fan base. The true Broncos fans will be thrilled to have a future Hall of Famer “prototypical” quarterback. Tebow was a great story and is an overall great guy. He was great for the Denver community, but Manning is also a stand up guy. The Tebow fans will definitely be upset, but they will also follow Tebow wherever he goes…

What happens to Tim Tebow? Where does he land?

Jeff Morgan: I know the popular answer here is Jacksonville given Tebow’s Florida ties, but I’d be real surprised if he ends up in North Florida again. I think he would actually fit great in Miami, who could get two guys that would run the “wildcat” to it’s full potential (Bush and Tebow). But he probably ends up in a backup role on a team that isn’t quite content with their starting QB’s. Look for him to be wined and dined by teams like Cleveland, Tennessee, and Kansas City. Tebowmania however, is probably dead for good.

Dave Vinluan: Now the curious case of Tim Tebow is a tough one. There are still teams on the hunt for a QB, one that sticks out is Miami after losing out on both Manning and Matt Flynn. There was only one head coach who loved what they saw out of Tebow when they drafted him and that was Josh McDaniels who is now with the New England Patriots. Maybe a draft day deal could be done with New England having a plethora of high draft picks once again. With Tebow struggling to move an offense that was dumbed down to his ability, the interest other teams have in him could be very minimal. But with the McDaniels connection, I could see him in Foxboro.

Taylor Benson: Two weeks ago, I didn’t even envision Peyton joining the Broncos and Tim Tebow being on the trading block! I guess when you get a chance at Peyton, you better take it. Tebow won the hearts of Denver fans last year and was on his way to becoming the starter for the Broncos next season. One thing I know for sure is wherever Tebow ends up, he will not be a starter week one of the 2012 season. I see Jacksonville and Miami as the top 2 front runners for Tebow. Both of these organizations want to win championships and they each need to sell tickets; they need Tebow in order to sell tickets. These two teams should be drooling over the possibility of what could come if Tebow comes to town. Since the Broncos still retain the ability to do whatever they want with Tebow, I would expect them to place Tebow with the team and city that works best for him and the league’s best interests.

Evan Rowley: Tight End for the Dallas Cowboys. Or possibly even Fullback for somebody. I mean it’s perfect! He’ll run most of the time, and every ONCE in awhile he could throw the ball! It’s really perfect for him. I don’t think he will stay in Denver…Wait I got it, fullback for the New England Patriots. Write that down.

Jason Fawcett: Tim Tebow will land in the AFC East. The Miami Dolphins have had a horrendous offseason. Not only did they strike out on the Manning sweepstakes, but they also whiffed on the much lesser Matt Flynn sweepstakes. They also traded away their best offensive weapon in Brandon Marshall. There are rumblings that this once proud franchise is just a joke now and being ruined by its owner and GM. One way the Dolphins could excite their restless and disappointed fan base is to bring back hometown hero Tim Tebow. The Tebow folklore developed from his time at Florida when he was winning two national championships. They love him in that state and Miami has been a team that is willing to change up their offensive philosophy in the past to help tailor to their strengths. If he doesn’t end up in Miami then I could see Tebow landing in New England. Josh McDaniels is their offensive coordinator and was the man who drafted Tim Tebow. Tebow could sit behind Brady and try to learn the quarterback position. Bill Belichick is also a genius at working with players and could plug him into all of the right packages. Bringing Tebow in 3 TE wildcat formation would be awfully tough to defend in the red zone. If he doesn’t end up with either of those team, both the Jets and Bills could also use a creative backup that brings a change of style to the game. Both teams could use some competition for their incumbent starters.

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“Vincent Jackson, will you accept this rose?” No, it’s not some new reality television show, It’s NFL free agency time! But, if you think about it, doesn’t it really remind you of an episode of The Bachelor? Teams vying to impress and sweep free agents off their feet, while players are working out trying to find the right team for them. Is it the right connection? Will it be a match made in football heaven? What is really outrageous are the millions of dollars these players will be paid. Whether it’s an extension, long-term contract, or just a one-year deal, does all the money really reflect the performance of these players each Sunday? It really makes you wonder if every match made in football heaven will really go the distance. With each rose given, teams are wondering if their selection will bloom into a long lasting relationship, or wilt and die like a bad reality television finale. Let’s take a look at the potential brides-to-be:

Vincent Jackson

San Diego’s beloved VJ just signed a 5 year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for $55.55 million. We all knew he wouldn’t come cheap, but I won’t forget the inconsistencies he had last season with San Diego. With VJ on my fantasy team, he either gave me 30 points one week, or a measly 3 the next. Make no mistake about it though, Jackson is a beast, and he will absolutely provide a deep threat for Josh Freeman, whose hasn’t ever had one considering his other receivers Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn are more short-range targets.

Final Verdict: Good Move

Marques Colston

Marques Colston has re-signed a 5-year contract with the Saints for $40 million. He was one of the top three free agents that the Saints wanted to try and bring back for the 2012 season. This was an important move, and Colston expressed his feelings about really wanting to stay with the team, and not chase his free agency. Colston accepting the rose from the Saints definitely looks like a match made to last, IF of course, they can finally see the light and sign Drew Brees to a long-term deal. This move was especially essential for the Saints, with Robert Meachem’s recent departure to the Chargers.

Final Verdict: Good Move

Randy Moss

Welcome aboard Randy Moss? Moss fits the profile of the “crazy, mean girl” everyone loves to trash from The Bachelor. It seems laughable that Moss is trying to become Mr. Comeback, but he did something to impress the 49ers, and they signed him to a one-year deal. Will Moss be worth it? This is really something we’ll all need to stay tuned for. Moss is saying he can still bring it and he’s ready for a fresh start, but that’s yet to be seen. If anyone can keep him in line however, it will be Jim Harbaugh.

Final Verdict: To Be Determined

Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson a.k.a. Megatron just got a record-breaking deal with the Detroit Lions. The Lions signed Johnson to a seven-year contract extension that is the richest deal ever given a wide receiver. The $132 million contract, which will keep Johnson in Detroit through the 2019 season, includes $60 million guaranteed and tops the $120 million deal the Arizona Cardinals gave Larry Fitzgerald last year. Is this too outrageous? Or does Johnson deserve every cent? As long as he plays consistently and doesn’t get injured, Megatron is a nightmare match up for every corner in the league; no one can cover him 1-on-1. This looks like a great move from the Lions, and I think we will see many more career-best seasons from Megatron.

Final Verdict: Great Move

So who will really make it to the end, left standing for that final rose? Which teams and which players will last the test of time? With twists and turns along the way, it’s safe to say that the NFL offseason can be just as exciting as the regular season…or at least as exciting as a popular reality show.

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Ever wonder what the reflection of perfection looked like? With his performance against Bayer Leverkusen, Lionel Messi has proven why he stands alone as the best pound for pound soccer player in the world. “Leo,” as he is known all over Barcelona, is the kind of player you have nightmares about trying to defend. No matter how good you are, he is going to dismantle you, and that’s on a bad day when he has a calf strain…and he’s partially blind in one eye. Messi’s recent masterpiece came during a UEFA Champions League match against Bayer Leverkusen in which the Messiah humiliated opposing defenders with 5 goals. The most impressive part of the highlight was that he wasn’t even breaking a sweat.

In this day of age where every sport adopts the mantra, “bigger, stronger, faster,” Messi tortures defenders who at times may be a clear foot taller than him, while he stands a diminutive 5’6”, weighing around 150 lbs. Being this size doesn’t bother Messi, as a child he was always the smallest kid, so he focused on control and agility as he believed he was built for that style of play. He may not look like the typical athlete but watching him is like poetry in motion when it comes to controlling and scoring with a soccer ball. With a focus on technique and speed, his brilliance is seen with his disregard towards a defense’s game plan to stop him. Clearly it’s working. He has help won multiple championships with Barcelona over the years, and he looks to add another UEFA Championship to the mantle this season.

Even with all of his success, some doubt Messi will ever reach ‘Legend’ status. Former Brazil striker Ronaldo agrees that Messi is an excellent player, but will only become a legend once he can claim a FIFA World Cup, a la Zidane and Maradona. What may be the most impressive stat for Messi is at 24 years old he has only just begun his campaign to be the best there ever was. So for the moment he is simply the best there is with milestone after milestone of achievements; ranging from the Ballon d’Or to FIFA World Player of the Year. And in this moment, when you’re the greatest soccer player in the world today your name transcends the sport. You become synonymous with greatness. So now, when an up and coming player has a great game. They don’t call you great, they call you “Lionel Messi.”

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The anointing of Breesus came after one of New Orleans darkest moments as his stellar play captivated a culture and brought glory to a city that had been down on their luck BB. (Before Breesus). Yet after all of his accomplishments and the winning tradition he has instilled into the new generations of Saints fans, apparently he’s not good enough for the New Orleans Saints. Well that’s the message they are sending him anyways. After days of negotiating, the Saints and Brees couldn’t agree to terms on a new contract and he was hit with the dreaded franchise tag.

Are you serious? This guy has been the crème de la crème when it comes to Quarterbacks. Defenders are aware of the dangers when they line up across from him; Warning: Playing defense against Drew Brees may be hazardous to your health. The single-season passing record holder, and Superbowl XLIV MVP, can’t seem to get his team to pay him. With all the accomplishments Brees has attained, and the community service hours he puts in, he is clearly a role model for the youth not to mention a top 5, TOP 5, fantasy draft pick every year, but this is not being acknowledged by the Saints organization. However far apart they are on money shouldn’t matter to a player like Drew Brees. With the franchise tag he is scheduled to make $14.4 million, if he signs it. Reports from many sports personalities say he won’t sign his tender. And why should he? The problem with the tag is that it doesn’t provide guaranteed years, money, or a signing bonus. He has done nothing, but lead the Saints from the bottom of the NFL barrel to one of the elite powerhouses.

Year in, year out he puts up gaudy statistics and has his team in playoff contention. His long ball is considered to be the best in the game, he is as accurate as it gets and shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 33. There have been many excuses made for why Drew Brees isn’t highly valued; coming out of college he was seen as too short. The San Diego Chargers refused to bring him back because he wasn’t supposed to recover from shoulder surgery. And now the New Orleans Saints have the honor of coming up with the latest excuse for why he is under valued…whatever that is. If anybody hasn’t figured out yet, Drew Brees thrives on adversity. To the general public he would just look like a regular guy, Oprah had mistaken his signature mole for lipstick, but to the NFL’s diehard fans, he’s the gold standard, the best in the world. For years FOX has been telling people they have the American Idol, and they do, except he’s been on every Sunday since 2006.

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Yeah it’s crazy to think Peyton Manning will be wearing another NFL team’s jersey. To many experts, he’s arguable the greatest QB of all time. Last year he showed why he’s a 4-time MVP winner. Without Peyton on the field the Colts were an embarrassing 2 – 14 and they were painful to watch with their QB by committee approach. Bringing Collins off the couch and out of retirement to play for the team was a desperation hail mary that wobbled out the Colts hands and fell about 30 yards short of the nearest receiver…it never had a chance of being complete.

Even with all that said I still don’t blame Jim Irsay for not resigning him at all. Remember people, the NFL is a business first and foremost! It’s a business that happens to play a sport not a sport that happens to be a business. The NFL is more then a just an ordinary flourishing business it’s an exploding sports oligopoly, yeah look up oligopoly it’s like a legal cash cow monopoly. I pulled that one out of a spelling bee I watched on ESPN! Okay back to my point. Imagine you were the owner of the Colts and you had to commit $XX million dollars and likely a multi-year contract with XX millions guaranteed to a XX year old player that’s had 3 serious neck surgeries (to manage his degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine) in the last 16 months and your team is about to draft the first can’t miss quarterback prospect since John Elway.

From a pure numbers game, this is as smart a business decision as it gets. This is a QB league with superstar rookie QB’s making more of an impact then ever before (Cam Newton, Andy Dalton) and players like Andrew Luck only come around every 10 or 20 years. Heck, even the Colts fans have been quietly wishing for the next Peyton behind the scenes and that might just be how their Luck goes come April!

You get the point! C’mon what would you do?

I know you might be saying “If I was the owner” I would sign Peyton for two years and have him groom Luck like the Favre-Rogers scenario in Green Bay. Yeah in an ideal world where money didn’t matter and Peyton wasn’t dealing with a potentially career ending disease of the spine and Andrew Luck actually needed two years of learning and purple horseshoes and green leprechauns existed that would all make sense.

That’s not the case here. So I’m 100% in support of the Colts decision and I hope Peyton returns, is 100% healthy and has a hell of year for a new team. I’ll leave you with one final picture to think about. Can you see it now…Peyton playing for the Redskins with Shannahan; or with Rex running the D and Peyton running the O with Jets; or how bout with Regis Philbin…er, Joe Philbin with the Dolphins.

Wherever Peyton ends up, one thing is for sure. Stories and drama like this is why we love the NFL; the storylines never take an off-season!

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