Friday, June 28, 2013

The NFL's Top 100

While still over two months remain between now and Week 1 of the NFL regular season, there are always fabricated story lines for the rabid football fan base to discuss. This week's hot topic came in the form of the NFL Network's ranking of the top 100 players of 2013.
Perusing the list, there's a few quick things that stand out: the appearance of retired players such as Brian Urlacher (ranked 90th by the fans) as well as an appearance by of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez (voted 70th), who may very well likely never see an NFL field, much less a day of non-incarcerated bliss for the rest of his life.
While the number of players from the NFC North in the top 100 players (12) is on pace with where it should be with the other seven divisions, the division is undeniably top-heavy, with three players within the top six players in the league.
Here's a look at the NFC North's representation in the NFL Top 100 Players of 2013 list:
Chicago Bears
The Bears have the most players within the top 100 of the four teams in the division with five, and have two additional players that cracked the fans' list but not the NFL Network's.
-Brandon Marshall, WR (voted 27th by NFLN, 29th by the fans)
The top-ranked Bear falls within the top 30 players in the league, but is only the seventh-ranked wide receiver on the board, after Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Larry Fitzgerald and Reggie Wayne. You could certainly make a case that Marshall could be higher than one or two of that group, especially coming off a season where he tallied a career-best 118 receptions and 1,508 yards.
-Charles Tillman, CB (34th, 59th)
Tim Jennings, left, and Charles Tillman form one of the top cornerback duos in the NFL.
The second-highest cornerback on the board (after Arizona's Patrick Peterson) and the ninth-highest defensive player in the rankings, Peanut likely vaulted up the list after a breakout 2012. Not only was he named to the Pro Bowl, but he earned first-team All-Pro honors and led the league with 10 fumbles forced.

-Julius Peppers, DE (54th, 51st)
With 11 full seasons under his belt, Peppers is still one of the top pass rushers in the league. He's put up double-digit sack totals in eight of his 11 seasons in the pros, and continued that trend in 2012 with 11.5 quarterback sacks.
-Tim Jennings, CB (68th, 92nd)
Jennings pairs with Tillman to form one of, if not the best, cornerback tandem in the league. While Tillman may get a bit more of the fanfare, Jennings is a remarkable defensive player in his own right and began to earn the individual accolades for himself in 2012 as he was named to the Pro-Bowl and earned second-team All-Pro honors.
-Lance Briggs, LB (83rd, 100th)
Briggs has played his entire career with the team that drafted him, and has rewarded Chicago with seven consecutive Pro Bowl appearances from 2005 through 2011. He was named to the 2012 Pro Bowl, but sat out with an ankle injury. In the storied history of the Bears, Briggs ranks second all-time in tackles with 848, trailing only Brian Urlacher.
Running back Matt Forte was named the 75th best player by the fans, while retired linebacker Urlacher was named 90th.
Detroit Lions
While the Lions have had plenty of high draft picks turn out to be busts over the years, the players that represent Detroit on the top 100 list are a 1st overall  and two No. 2 picks from recent drafts that more than panned out.
-Calvin Johnson, WR (3rd, 2nd)
Calvin Johnson is the top wide receiver and the third-highest rated player overall on the NFL Network's Top 100 list.
At just 27, Megatron is not only one of the most physically gifted athletes in the entire league, but he's a player that's fully living up to the hype. While he scored only five touchdowns, he finished 2012 with an impressive 122 catches and 1,964 yards receiving, tops in the league in both categories.
-Ndamukong Suh, DT (40th, 76th)
While the sheer numbers may not do him justice, Suh is undoubtedly one of the most feared defensive players in the league. He's the second-ranked defensive tackle on the list, behind only the Patriots' Vince Wilfork, and the sixth-rated defensive lineman overall.
-Matthew Stafford, QB (76th, 60th)
While not many people will argue that Stafford has cracked the top tier of quarterbacks in the league, the 2009 No. 1 overall pick has helped the Lions' offense be one of the best in the league in his four seasons at the helm. The 11th quarterback on the list led the league in both completions and attempts in 2012, a reason why it's no surprise that he approached 5,000 yards once again.
Recent acquisition Reggie Bush was voted the 93rd best player by the fans.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers hold down two very high slots on the list, and the third member of the group isn't actually a member of the team anymore. Charles Woodson signed with the Oakland Raiders in the off-season, but was a member of the Packers when the list was compiled
-Aaron Rodgers, QB (6th, 5th)
Had this list been compiled after the Packers' Super Bowl season in 2010 or Rodgers' MVP season in 2011, it's easily conceivable that Rodgers could have been at the very least the top quarterback on the list, if not the first player overall. Ranking behind both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the NFL Network's list, Rodgers led the league in quarterback rating (108.0) for the second straight season.
-Clay Matthews III, LB (31st, 20th)
Clay Matthews has averaged over 10 sacks per season in his four short years in the NFL.
At times, Matthews can be the most dominating defensive force in the league, and the numbers he's put up in his four seasons as a pro show it. In his All-Pro and Super Bowl-winning 2010 season, as well as the 2012 season, Matthews ranked inside the top-five sack totals in the league, with 13.5 and 13.0 sacks, respectively. With an upgraded defensive line in 2013, Matthews could equal if not surpass those totals in 2013.
-Charles Woodson, CB (85th, 72nd)
Even though the Packers released Woodson back in February, he helped to cement his Hall of Fame candidacy with 38 interceptions in his seven years with Green Bay. The 2009 AP Defensive Player of the Year signed a one-year contract to return to the Oakland Raiders in May.
Green Bay also has two young wide receivers that cracked the fans' top 100, with Jordy Nelson being voted 78th and Randall Cobb holding down the 94th slot.
Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have the least number of players represented on the list of the four teams in the division, but have what both the NFL Network and the fans consider to be the best player in football today.
-Adrian Peterson, RB (1st, 1st)
With the 2012 season that MVP Adrian Peterson had, both the fans and the NFL Network agree who the league's top player is.
There's not much that can be written that can do justice to the incredible numbers that Peterson racked up in 2012: 2,097 yards on 348 carries for an average of 131.1 yards per game - all of which came after major reconstructive surgery. He absolutely deserved the MVP award in 2012 and will be a front-runner for the award in 2013, especially if he cracks 2,000 yards again.
Defensive end Jared Allen was voted 35th by the fans but did not crack the NFLN's list, while new acquisition Greg Jennings was voted 64th by the fans.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Advertising for Obamacare

Come October 1, there's going to be a change for many Americans, when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, goes into effect. It's that date when people can begin signing up for coverage changes that will go into effect on January 1, 2014.

I normally don't like to get too political, but I think this is an interesting topic with two pretty distinct sides.

It's not the easiest system to understand, so the government is taking steps to advertise the changes and features of the health care plan, specifically working to target a young male audience, whose enrollment is critical in the success and affordability of the whole program.

The best way to reach said audience from October 1 through January 1? The government thinks that answer is the NFL.

Here's a snippet from an NPR report I found:

"The NFL," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius  said, "in the conversations I've had, has been very actively and enthusiastically engaged, because they see health promotion as one of the things that's good for them and good for the country."
Getting young people, particularly young men, to sign up for coverage under the health care law is not just something that's good for them, however. It's critical to the entire success of the new insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. If only the older and sicker sign up, premiums will quickly become unaffordable.

On the surface, it makes sense. It's targeting the demographic they are looking for in a time period where they are going to be engaged with the medium they will be using. That's like Marketing 101.

The question that I know will irk more than a few people is the source of funding for the advertising campaign:  taxes and fees. The implementation of Obamacare is going to be pricy, with the price tag approaching $1 trillion dollars (I saw an estimate of $940 billion dollars.)

The other part is, people just wanting to get away and watch football aren't going to be too thrilled with political advertising, because it's going to come from both sides. According to a Business Insider report, "Ads mentioning the health care law that were “overwhelmingly negative” — coming in at $400 million, as compared to $75 million spent portraying the law positively."

That's a lot of commercials that won't be for beer, potato chips, fast food and prostate medicine.

Sides are very much divided on the Obamacare issue, and this provides another hot button issue. Do you see the money spent on advertising as a justified expenditure to help inform the public? Also, are you going to like what might be your few hours of peace and quiet for the week interrupted by political advertisements?

Monday, June 24, 2013


I got home from my busy day yesterday just in time to flip on the Discovery Channel, where daredevil/idiot Nik Wallenda was attempting to traverse the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. Apparently, he had no safety equipment whatsoever and he was doing this on live television. (Good thing he had Joel Osteen waiting for him.) He had what appeared to be the most uncomfortable pair of shoes on as he traversed the 2-inch steel wire for 1,400 feet while he was 150 stories up in the air. Talk about some serious huevos. It took him just shy of 23 minutes to cross the FREAKING GRAND CANYON, but did so successfully. He held his gigantic pole while traversing, which apparently helps you stay balanced? Doesn't make sense to me but then again I can't run around the top level of the YMCA with out getting a pit in my stomach so I won't question the science. I can get behind the fact that he was thanking Jesus and everything, but the one part I don't get is...Why was he wearing jeans? Is that really the most comfortable pair of pants he had? There's a reason people don't work out in jeans. Maybe we should just start calling him the Denim Daredevil.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pop Fly Hero

It's like a scene straight out of a movie. Cristina Torre, whose only claim to fame is that her father Joe is a MLB legend, caught a baby falling out out of a second story window, not unlike an outfielder catching a pop fly. Here's a snippet from the New York Post (who buried the lead, but I found the nuts and bolts.)

Dylan, the little child Torre saved from serious injury or worse, had pushed a cardboard barrier out a second-floor window, and then crawled onto the fire escape, a source said.
He then tumbled onto the awning and through the hole for the ladder before landing in Cristina’s arms, sources said.

Like an outfielder judging a fly ball, Torre said she picked a spot on the sidewalk where Dylan seemed to be headed.

"I just was positioning myself where I thought he might fall. I feel fortunate that he landed right in my arms,” she said of the precious pop fly she snagged.

“It was effortless to catch him. Once it was happening, he was landing."

Craziness. It feels like it's straight out of the movies. Good on Cristina for being alert and becoming quite the hero in the process.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Leaving Games Early

Call me a weird sports fan, but when I buy a ticket to event, I like to be in my seat by the start of the game and I leave after the final whistle/buzzer/out. I paid for the tickets (well, at least most of the time), and I want to see all of the action. Now there have been a few Brewers games in my life where I may have not made it in to the game in time for the first pitch due to extenuating circumstances (aka tailgating), but I sure as hell am not going to leave early. Strange things happen on a routine basis in sports, so I'm not going to skip even the remote chance that I might miss something like that.

That is why I feel absolutely no sympathy for the Miami Heat fans that started leaving the arena last night when the Heat were ONLY DOWN BY FIVE POINTS. That's a two possession game people. That can be made up in a matter of seconds. The fact that there was a near riot outside the arena of fans trying to get back in is hilarious to me. It's bandwagon fans of a team that people really only started caring about two years ago. There are signs plastered everywhere saying NO RE-ENTRY, and what do you think that means? You cross the threshold to leave the arena, and you ain't getting back in without a ticket.

That's a great picture from sportswriter Bomani Jones. The Heat should take down the names of all the fans that left and not let them into the arena ever again. Except for the guy in the Ray Allen Bucks jersey. He's legit.

Read more about this awesome situation here:

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Wolf of Wall Street

Yes. Please. I love me some Leo. And Jonah Hill is getting pretty versatile these days. Throw in some Matthew McConaughey and Kyle Chandler and you've got yourself a movie. Oh, and Martin Scorcese is directing.


Looking back on Sunday, I'm moderately embarrassed about the amount of time I spent on the couch watching golf. But there's something about the final round of a major that's appealing to me. It was a classic 4th round at a US Open, with players struggling to break par with their overall scores. Whereas during the Masters you might be looking for someone to make birdie after birdie on the back nine, the course at Merion was about who avoided mistakes. I was hoping that Wisconsin native Steve Stricker was going to be in contention over the course of the day, he was out of it early after a disastrously awful start. While a guy like Phil Mickelson eagled the 10th hole with one of his many wedges from about 75 yards out, he also missed numerous putts within 10 feet, the kind of putts you need to make if you want to win a major. Jason Day had a chance to make things interesting late, but again missed his chance. It was Justin Rose that played the most consistent on the final day, playing from fairway to green for an even par 70. It still made for good television, because nobody pulled away at any juncture and was compelling to the very last hole. The TV networks (namely NBC) had to love it, as the second-biggest draw in the game still had a chance to force a playoff down to the final hole. It would have taken a small miracle for Phil to chip in on 18, and when he missed, there was still time for the narrative to switch to Justin Rose, and rightfully so. Rose played the most balanced golf throughout Sunday, and he had to feel good sitting in the clubhouse with the lead. He was a gracious winner who the fans took a liking to, and I wasn't upset to see him capture his first major.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dream Foursome

So the US Open is this week in Pennsylvania, and whether you're a golf fan or not, I've got a question for you. Who would be your "dream foursome" - that is, to say, what three people would be the most enjoyable to spend a few hours out on the golf course with? No cameras, no people watching, just a foursome hanging out on the golf course. I'm going with people that are still alive, and here's my list.

1. Bill Murray - Pure comedy. There's the obvious Caddyshack connection, but he seems like one of the most naturally hilarious people to ever walk the face of the earth. And he wears ridiculous outfits.

2. Aaron Rodgers - I think the reasons are pretty easy to see. I just want to be in the aura of greatness for a few hours. And he seems like the kind of guy who would be fun to crack a beer and BS with.

3. Phil Mickelson - Reportedly one of the nicest guys on tour, and it wouldn't hurt to get a few golf tips along the way, right?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Athletes and the Internet

Every day, the presence of athletes is growing more and more on the internet. Whether it's on Facebook,  twitter or on a personal blog of some point, athletes are out there online. While many of them may read everything that are written about them, very rarely do you find athletes responding to critics. Fans? Sure, they'll interact with the people that like them. But seeing someone call out a critic is not something we see everyday.
So when RedEye Chicago posted about how they felt that David Terrell is one of the most overrated players in Bears history and a "bust" - which he is - Terrell personally responded. Here's my favorite clip from the interaction:

RedEye: What would you have given to play with a quarterback like a Jay Cutler?

Terrell: (Laughs, for a long time) I would have cut off both my balls. I’d give those up, no problem. You could have neutered me. I woulda been neutered with a smile.

Apparently he wasn't a big fan of the quarterback carousel in Chicago - Rex Grossman, Chad Hutchinson, Kordell Stewart, Craig Krenzel and Jonathan Quinn, just to name a few.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


The scene in California last night, as the Arizona Diamonbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers found themselves in a bit of a tussle, is one that I enjoy seeing in professional sports. It's not something that should happen every day, but when division rivals get testy with one another, it's good to see them defend their honor in front of the fans. I understand how throwing at players can make a team upset, especially when it's near the head, as Yasiel Puig and Zack Greinke found out yesterday. But the idea that grown men will take out their frustration on the middle of the playing field, and settle it "like men" is amusing to me. Now, it absolutely should not escalate to the "Malice at the Palace" brawl that took place with Ron Artest and the Pacers when they played the Pistons, but keeping the other team honest is fine by me. It's allowed in hockey (if not encouraged?), and acceptable, to an extent, in football. Basketball has clamped down after the aforementioned incident, and you still see it crop up to an extent in baseball. I like the idea of players policing each other for breaches of the rules, so I wasn't horrified, by any means, at what took place at last night's Dodgers game.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow has a place in the NFL. That I'm sure of. Exactly what that place is? Still to be determined. But his landing in New England yesterday was a very savvy move by a smart franchise. Of course, he is of absolutely no threat to Tom Brady's starting job, but it's still a good landing spot for Tebow. Unlike Denver and with the Jets, there is no illusion that he is going to be the starter, and he can spend time getting NFL reps in practice with little pressure. It wouldn't be very much, but it wouldn't surprise me if Bill Belichick found a way to work him into the offense in some way. Brady should still be taking 100% of the reps during the game, but leave it to the Patriots to work up a scheme or gadget play to get a talent like Tebow involved. He's 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, athletic and mobile. Brady is the master of the 1-yard QB sneaks (seriously, look it up), so that wouldn't be the move. But something that got Tebow moving left with the option to throw? It would work, and the combination of Belichick and Josh McDaniels will figure out exactly how.

Monday, June 10, 2013


I've been breathalyzed before. Luckily, it was just a big misunderstanding because I blew 0.00. (I'm responsible!) I remember not worrying when the cop asked me if I would submit to one, because I knew I hadn't had anything to drink and would be just fine. I imagine that's kind of the feeling that Jesse Thornton had last week when he was pulled over. It wasn't the greatest situation (he veered out of his lane a bit), but it wasn't going to be made worse by a DUI. Or so he thought.
After he was pulled over, he answered the officers' questions, but they were not satisfied. He was placed in handcuffs and led to the station for a test where he registered 0.00 on the breathalyzer.

The DUI has been dropped, but Thornton, who is black, is threatening other legal action.

According to ABC15 in Arizona:
Thornton now claims this wasn't DUI.
"It was driving while black," said Thornton.
"This is a case of D-W-B, driving while black," said Thornton's attorney Marc Victor.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Favre admitting fault?

The whole Aaron Rodgers-Brett Favre-Ted Thompson saga is played out to me, but there is something that Favre said yesterday that did catch my eye:

"I was at fault."


Many of the Favre-backers laid the blame on Thompson for the way the tail end of Favre's career played out, from Lambeau to the Jets to the rival Vikings.

But in an interview with the Buffalo Bills' beat reporter (not sure how he was able to get the quote out of him, but you can read more here), Favre said this:

“It is what it is. It's over and done with. I was at fault,” Favre told the show’s host Joe Buscaglia. “I feel that both sides had a part in it. If you can go back would I or them have done things differently? I'm sure both sides would have, but you can't.”
That's a change of pace from 2007, don't you think? I've always been in the pro-Rodgers camp, and I can say that I've been that way since day one. The wounds are starting to heal, and Favre is rightfully working his way (and being allowed) back into the fold. It's a great step for one of the most important figures in franchise history, and hopefully some day this will all just be a side note on an illustrious hall of fame career.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ryan Braun

Over the past decade, it has been admirable the way that the Milwaukee Brewers achieved a balance between turning prospects into stars and adding veterans along the way to become competitive in the National League.

Ryan Braun became the pinnacle of that success. He went from the fifth overall pick in the 2005 draft, to the National League MVP in 2011. Not only did he help lead the Brewers to the playoffs in both 2008 and 2011, but he became extremely invested in the Milwaukee community, becoming the spokesperson for different organizations and opening local restaurants along the way.

He took a hometown deal in signing an extension with the small-market team that had invested so much in him. He’s helped revitalize a fanbase in Milwaukee that could now cheer for a respectable team with a golden boy in left field.

This week’s news out of the Biogenesis clinic in South Florida is threatening to tarnish all of that.

Ryan Braun got out of one suspension, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to repeat that feat this time around.

With Braun now facing the very real possibility of a 100-game suspension, a cloud is cast not only over his MVP and individual awards and accolades, but it tarnishes the successes – however mild in comparison to other clubs – the Brewers have attained in recent years.

Read more of my take here:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Iron Man 3

Having finally caught up with a refresher course on the first two Iron Man movies (and thankfully having seen The Avengers), I took advantage of a rainy night to go see Iron Man 3 while still in theaters. To make my recap short: It was entertaining, and wrapped up the trilogy well. Was the whole plot line believable? Not really, but when you get to a third part of a series, you have to start getting a little creative. There were a lot of special effects and explosions and what not, but that's likely because the director had a huge budget and you can't NOT not spend that money, right? Iron Man 3 is the fifth-highest grossing movie of all time, and wraps up what is probably my second-favorite superhero franchise (na na na na na na na na BATMAN!). SPOILER: Tony and Pepper live happily ever after. Not as good as the first two movies, but worthwhile if you're invested in the franchise.
Iron Man 3 Now The Fifth-Highest-Grossing Movie Of All Time image

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

One Wipe Charlies

Ever have issues after going Number 2? You don't? Well than this video probably isn't for you. Apparently there is a product out there that is called "One Wipe Charlies" and well, it's pretty self-explanatory. Need an explanation? Watch below.

Monday, June 3, 2013


I found myself in an awkward situation yesterday, as I received a text from a number that looked vaguely familiar, but I ultimately could not figure out who it was. The text was a compliment that was clearly intended for me, and I felt terrible that I didn't have the number saved in my phone. I let it linger for a little bit before responding "Thanks! And I'm really sorry but I don't have this number saved...who am I thanking?" I eventually got the response of who the individual was and felt like an idiot for not having his number saved. (Sorry Josh! It wasn't intentional.) It was mildly amusing that with all the technology out there and the amazingness that is smart phones, I still found myself in this pickle. I have the room in the phone book, so from now on I'm gonna save every number I possible can.