Category Archives: NFL

Tiki Barber — What Are You Up To?

Tiki Barber retirement

By Jimmy Cunningham, howiGit New York Writer, Manhattan, NY

This week Tiki Barber filed papers to reinstate himself into the NFL and announced that he was going to attempt to make a comeback. My question is; what is Tiki up to? Tiki has not played football since 2006 and if he comes back he will be the oldest running back in the league. Tiki says he has seen his twin brother, Ronde, still having fun out there and when he recently began working out again he saw that he still had some strength. To me something smells funny. I’ve narrowed it down to three possibilities:

1. Tiki loves attention more than “The Situation”– Tiki likes to hear himself talk and likes to be in front of the camera. He likes being the center of attention and maybe he saw the spotlight fading and decided he had to do something to keep his name in the news. His contract was not renewed by NBC and he has been working for Yahoo video. I am sure there will be some sort of reality show following Tiki around as he attempts to get back into the NFL.

2. Tiki needs money– Yahoo is probably not paying Tiki as much as NBC was and Tiki is going through a divorce after leaving his pregnant wife (a la the always classy Tom Brady). Between losing a network TV contract and probably paying a good chunk to his scorned wife, maybe he simply needs a pay check.

3. Tiki knows something we don’t– It is possible that Tiki knows something about the on going labor negotiations that we do not. Maybe something will work out favorably for veteran players in the new deal. Maybe the decertification of the union can work favorably for Tiki. Maybe Tiki just wants to be involved because he pokes his shiny head in everything.

What I do know is that Tiki will not be back with the Giants, which I am happy for. I appreciate everything Tiki did for the Giants and he is an all-time Giant great. But he burned that bridge. Does Tiki have anything left in the tank? Who knows, but I am happy to let the Bucs, Steelers, Redskins, or Saints figure that one out.

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NFL Lockout Looms — Will America Crumble?

NFL Lockout

By Thalia Bardell, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

Thursday is fast approaching and at the rate the two sides are moving it looks like an NFL lockout is impending. The likelihood that a deal will get done in the next two days is about as likely as Kendrick Perkins returning to the Celtics (too soon for the Perk jokes?). As a Pittsburgh Steelers fan an extended off-season makes me a little nervous. Extra time for Ben Roethlisberger to act like a total goon? I need that like a hole in my head. However, I have to admit that it has been fascinating watching this drama unfold. The last time that the NFL had a work stoppage was 1987 and I was … not even born yet.

When baseball players went on strike during the 1994 season I was seven years old, not yet a Sox fan, and more concerned with getting the training wheels off of my bike. I feel, oddly, like I’m witnessing a piece of history right now. If the owners and players union can’t come to an agreement then I will be in the midst of events that have the opportunity to change the NFL as I know it. To get a tiny glimpse into the inner workings of a sport that I only see from the glamorous outside of televised games, TV endorsements, and Sports Illustrated covers reminds me that sports are a business like everything else. Sure, guys like Ochocinco, Peyton Manning, and Darrelle Revis make the big money – and honestly I don’t really care how they fare in this decision, but it’s the second stringers, the no names, no covers, and no Campbell’s Chunky Soup commercial, “little” guys that interest me the most. These men are simply out there trying to make a buck doing something they love, just as we are, and they don’thave the same amount of time as most of us to do it in. The average length of an NFL player’s career is about three and a half years (perhaps Brett Favre was not included in that calculation) — that’s approximately 56 games. For these guys, to lose even one paycheck is a pay cut they can’t afford.

For the sake of the back-up benchwarmers I hope that the NFL resumes play on schedule next year. But for my self-interest I almost hope that they don’t. I can’t imagine what September will feel like without football (although it would open up more time to watch the Red Sox), but to witness an exercise of worker rights that I actually care about would be interesting to say the least. I’m curious to see the reaction of the players, the fans, and the media if the lockout extends through the summer and threatens the fall. Maybe it’s my age, but I’m history star-struck and, for me, the lack of football might be more exciting than the football itself.

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5 SportsCenter Storylines That Need To Go Away

Sportscenter

By Thalia Bardell, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

I’ve probably brought this on myself – I should really change the channel, read a book, or download some new music – but instead, I watch a lot of SportsCenter. I watch it at the gym, if my roommate isn’t home for dinner; sometimes I just leave it on for background noise when I’m alone in my apartment. This is a regrettable thing to admit but, I can’t tell you anything about the Obama administration at the moment, but I can tell you what Kobe said after the NBA All-Star game, that Manny Ramirez worked out with a new trainer this off-season, and that the NFL Players Association and the NFL owners have been able to meet for five days in a row now. Make of this what you will. Like I said, I know I should really change the channel, maybe flip over to NBC once in a while, but as of right now I’m stuck on Channel 15 so naturally I have started to hear the same stories over, and over, and over again. howiGit’s blog has a long-standing tradition of lists and I thought, as the new kid, it’s time I threw one down. So here it is: The Five SportsCenter Storylines that I Hope I’ll Never Hear Again But Will Probably Hear Tomorrow. In no order of importance:

1) Duke — The Duke University Blue Devils are back in the top spot of the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Big surprise. If SportsCenter wants to get off on Duke that’s fine with me, but I say call me back when you’re in the Big East Conference and we’ll talk. North Carolina and Florida State are competitors, but Boston College? Great at hockey, mediocre at basketball. The 12 – 1 record loses a little of it’s clout when your schedule includes such stellar teams as the Elon Phoenix – the only reason I know that Elon exists is because my best friend goes to school there. You see my point?

2) Mel Kiper Jr. — There is truly no rest for the college football weary. It was straight from the Cam Newton, sorry, BCS National Championship to the NFL Draft. Whose stock is rising? Whose stock is falling? How many different mock drafts can one make?! Maybe I find this uninteresting because I attend a school with no football team, but Mel Kiper Jr. sure isn’t helping the situation. First, his head just freaks me out. Second, all the yelling and pointing – not effective. If I must hear about the draft I prefer to hear it from calm and composed Todd McShay. Seriously, I’m surprised I have yet to have a nightmare involving Mel Kiper Jr.’s disembodied head.

3) Blake Griffin — This is by no means a dig at Griffin’s ability on the court. This guy has more basketball talent in his left pinkie fingernail than I do in my entire body; I think he’s a player with talent and athleticism. But lately Blake has become that song that gets overplayed on the radio. For the first couple of weeks you’re all about it, you blast it in the car with the windows down, but then it starts to get old, then annoying, then you just want to turn it off all together. Blake Griffin has been overplayed by ESPN; he’s the Sex on Fire of sports right now.

4) Anything Involving the Word “Union” — The talks between the NFL Owners and the Players Union is important stuff, I get it. But walking out of meetings? C’mon guys let’s be mature about this. Strikes are supposed to be about fighting real horrendous working conditions; I’m talking mines, railroads, and sweatshops. The head trauma thing is serious and more and more medical research points to the fact that concussions are permanently life altering, but let’s get some perspective and hammer this deal out. What I want is some football in 2011. What I don’t want is to see another tweet, article, or story involving the names Peter King and Roger Goodell.

5) Carmelo Anthony — Finally. Finally. You chose. I don’t care, you’re still that kid who took forever in the lunch line deliberating between chocolate and strawberry milk. Now, instead of the rumors, it’s going to be two weeks worth of content on Carmelo’s version of “the decision.” Bring on the Chris Broussard!

I’m going to go read now. Oh wait, no I’m not. Where’s the remote?

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howiGit Reacts to the Super Bowl

Aaron Rodgers Super Bowl MVP

The Packers won the Super Bowl, and the Universe remained in order. Brady 3, Roethlisberger 2, Peyton Manning 1. Thank God. I even went so far as to bet on the Steelers to win, so that if they actually did I’d have some extra cash as consolation. I’m very happy to have paid a price for the Steelers’ loss. In fact, I think it worked out perfectly.

With 2:07 left in the game, I turned to my roommate and said, “This is everything I wanted this game to be.” Aaron Rodgers had already played great, and Ben Roethlisberger had his shot — a 2-minute drill to win the Super Bowl and tie Tom Brady with 3 Super Bowl victories. It was his shot to step up, to secure his legacy, to take himself to that next level. He failed, and I know that nobody feels bad for him. Give Aaron Rodgers credit, the guy played a hell of a game. Of all the quarterbacks in the league, he reminds me the most of a young Brady (although he’s much more mobile). Which is the highest compliment I could pay him — if the Packers continue to build around him they could be a contender for a long time.

In other news, Tom Brady became the NFL’s first ever unanimous MVP, receiving all 50 first place votes. This provides further validation of Brady’s regular season as possibly the best ever, and once again baffles me with the fact that Brady gets so much criticism on this blog.

At least Brady’s MVP and Ben’s loss provided some sort of consolation prize for an otherwise disappointing Patriots season. I can’t wait for next year.

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Ben Roethlisberger — Champion or Chump?

Ben Roethlisberger

By Thalia Bardell, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

Well the man certainly hasn’t made any friends over the past few days. Not that he had many before, at least in light of the last couple of off-seasons. Yeah, you know whom I’m talking about. Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Now I’m going to come clean right here – I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, have been since the Kordell Stewart days and boy, were those days awful. But that is beside the point. As a Steeler fan it is impossible for me to forget what happened this past March – Big Ben allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in the seedy bathroom of a Milledgeville, Georgia bar. I must admit, however, that in the excitement of this winning season Ben’s actions had fallen to the back of my mind.

But in the two-week holding period between the championship games and the Super Bowl the media needs something to talk about. Big Ben’s bad behavior – it’s right at the top of the list. No one can get enough of Roethlisberger and for all the wrong reasons; the pot has been stirred and the rumors and questions are swirling again. Did he really assault her? Did he deserve to have his suspension shortened? How many players did NFL commissioner Roger Goodell really talk to? I’ve got Jets fans all over my Facebook wall making underage chick comments. For the record guys, the woman was 20 and last I checked that was over the age of consent — quit being sore losers. But as much as I hate the flak that I take for being a Steeler fan whenever Roethlisberger comes up I think that his behavior deserves to be dissected and that the man needs to take some heat. I’ll be the first person to tell you that as much as I love Roethlisberger on the field for his toughness, strength, and scrambling ability, off the field I think he has behaved like an irresponsible idiot. Frankly, I think the man should be placed on “gym arrest” for the entire off-season, either that or Steelers’ owner Dan Rooney needs to hire a full-time babysitter for him – just make sure she’s really unattractive – and I don’t think he’s willing to do that.

What does Big Ben have to say about all of this? Apparently, he’s a reformed sinner. He’s found out “Just how awesome having an inner peace in life can be.” Really? I haven’t found inner peace and I’ve been practicing yoga for six years and don’t even have a speeding ticket on my record. It’s unbelievable and disingenuous. Nobody in Boston believes the guy; in fact ,people seem even more incensed than when the incident originally happened because of the way Roethlisberger is handling the media. The man shows no remorse, no regret, not a single “I’m sorry for the way I acted” or “it is something that has weighed heavily on my mind.” The fact that he barely faced any consequences doesn’t help his case either – he was not criminally charged and I’m not sure a  four game suspension was enough to teach him a lesson.

So what does Roethlisberger have to do to be redeemed in the eyes of the public? Does he simply need to apologize? Act like he feels at least a little badly about what happened? Or does he need to fall even further – hit rock bottom before fans will begin to redeem him? Look at Michael Vick, he’s not loved for sure, but he served jail time, seemed genuinely repentant over what he’d done, had a great season this year with the Philadelphia Eagles and he’s receiving positive and supportive attention from both media and fans. Dante Stallworth of the Baltimore Ravens served jail time when he struck and killed a construction worker while driving drunk in Miami – and the sports world has seemingly all but forgotten about that. Does Roethlisberger need to get locked up before fans say, yeah, ok, that’s enough. Perhaps he needs to pull a Tiger Woods, go to rehab and then come back and well … suck. Have a losing season; get destroyed up and down the field. There are people who like Tiger better now that he’s showed a little humanity, a little flaw.

As of right now no one is forgiving Roethlisberger because he hasn’t fallen hard enough. He’s committed wrongful actions and suffered no penalty. He’s winning Super Bowl rings and putting up Tom Brady-esque numbers but it’s only making people hate him more. The truth is that Roethlisberger, despite his on field achievements, will never be a Tom Brady, he’ll never be a truly great quarterback – he blew that in a bathroom stall. He wants to be a “role model” he says, wants young kids to wear his jersey. It’s not going to happen Ben; if I ever have a kid he’s getting a number 43 Troy Polamalu jersey and if you make an appearance it’ll be in some lecture about “learning the consequences of one’s actions.”

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Tom Brady — For All You Haters

Tom Brady GQ 25 Coolest Athletes

For Tom Brady, the accolades just keep on coming. And for all of you Brady haters out there who insist that Brady is hated by everyone outside of New England (such a NY thing to say — you think us Boston folks are Boston-centric, yet you’re the ones who refer to NYC as “the city” — talk about obnoxious) here’s proof that you couldn’t be more wrong.

The most recent GQ magazine put together what is honestly an excellent list of The 25 Coolest Athletes of All-Time. You know it! Tom Brady made the list.  I was lucky enough to read the entire article, including a write-up of each athlete on the list. While all of these athletes are pretty damn cool, Brady’s write-up was hysterical. I wanted to include a link to the article, but it’s not available online. The gist of the article was:

Tom brady is too good-looking. Tom Brady is too good at football. That said, he has had a messy swap between an actress and a super model, and he did lose a Super Bowl so he’s not perfect and you can’t hate him. But even when he does mess up, he goes home to a too perfect Brazilian super model who consoles him and gives him massages. He’s too cool, he really is. Just embrace him for being everything you wish you were, and don’t hate.

It’s really is a hysterical article, and it makes a pretty good point. Now I know GQ magazine won’t sell all of you, so you can instead check out this article on ESPN. Brady just won his 2nd AP Offensive Player of the Year award, making him the only quarterback in NFL history to win the award twice. He’s also the only active player to win the award twice. Also, note the statistic showing the highest touchdown to interception ratio in NFL history. Just another statistic where he dominates Peyton Manning, not to mention every other QB in NFL history. You can’t blame Peyton for this one though — interceptions run in the family.

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Athletes on Twitter = Tweetletes

Athletes on Twitter

By Thalia Bardell, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

Twitter. I’ve resisted it for a long time – perhaps because the first time it was described to me was as a constant series of Facebook stati. Good God. I block most people’s Facebook stati because I just don’t care if you’re out at the mall wit the girlz or at band practice ‘till 5 and then getting pizza with the boys and probably hitting the bars after that – please, spare me. Before I sound too pompous I am aware that not many people care when I update my status, which is why Twitter didn’t appeal to me. What do I have to Tweet about – just ate a turkey sandwich! Just got out of the shower! Doing laundry! Everyone reading just got a sneak peek into my sweet life. Boring. However, I acknowledge that social media has become a huge part of our modern lives and that Twitter is something I’ll need to get on board with just like everyone else has – including athletes.

First, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew takes a jab at Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler on Twitter. Then, Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck wants to know if Jet cornerback Antonio Cromartie knows what CBA (collective bargaining agreement) stands for. Cromartie then needs to defend his turf by telling Hasselbeck that he’ll “smash his face in.” All on Twitter, all in the public domain. Seriously, what happened to simply calling up your best friend and bitching to them over the phone where no one else can hear? Haven’t any of these guys heard the expression “save the drama for your mamma?” Then my SportsCenter broadcasts would not be crowded with all this he said, she said, they said back, so we said nonsense and I could get my Top Plays in peace.

Lately it’s the Green Bay Packers. You would think that a team that has been well respected all year, a Cinderella story from game one, would want to keep a foolishness-free record going into Super Bowl week. But no, injured linebacker Nick Barnett and tight end Jermichael Finely decide that Twitter would be the appropriate place to complain about not being included in the team Super Bowl photo. This is not the seventh grade, which is what irks me so much about all the comments that these players have been making. If you’re upset about not being in the team photo don’t put a snarky and passive aggressive comment on Twitter, tell your coach that you think that players on the Injury Reserve deserve a place in the picture. This is not hard. As a professional athlete you are supposed to be an adult and moreover you are an adult that is constantly in the public eye. Stop calling each other out over Twitter like fourteen-year-old girls over AIM. Then we can move on to more important things like, oh yeah, playing sports.

I guess the complaint I have with athletes is the same complaint I have with everyone else. If you’re going to use Twitter use it right. Like Shaq, who recently tweeted, “daaaang everyone is tryn to lose weight n look good. u could train wit my people n keep ur new years shaqalution.” Now that’s a Tweet I can get behind.

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