Tag 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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Bring on the Baseball — Sandlot Style

The Sandlot

By Thalia Bardell, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

I’m just going to go ahead and skip right over the Super Bowl. The Steelers lost so I have nothing to gloat about and the only thing that matters to Bostonians is that Big Ben Roethlisberger is still one ring behind Tom Brady. I think it’s safe to assume that I can speak for most Pittsburghians and New Englanders alike when I say, I’m over it. Honestly, I was over it last Thursday. If I saw that Clay Matthews vs. Troy Polamalu hair montage one more time on ESPN I was going to tear my own hair out. Time to move on to more important things – like baseball.

Our fair city has one week left to wait for Red Sox pitchers and catchers to report to Fort Myers, Florida for spring training. I’ll tell you the first thing that I’m going to do, plop right down on my couch and watch The Sandlot. Now, I may catch some flak for this statement but it is my opinion that The Sandlot is one of the greatest baseball movies of all time. Yeah ok, Field of Dreams, The Natural, Eight Men Out, they’re good, but seriously, can anything top the scene of buck-toothed and be-spectacled Squints faking a drowning at the pool so he can get mouth to mouth from hottie lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn? I think not.

The sandlot clan played some pretty sweet ball too. The team’s conglomeration of neighborhood misfits and scrappy style of play remind me of the 2004 Red Sox; Kenny DeNunez’s windup looks a whole lot like Pedro’s, Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez is cracking homers like Manny,and “Yeah-Yeah” – totally Kevin Millar. They even have jacket and jersey clad, expensive bike riding rivals — the  Tigers — who are, of course, the New York Yankees. The sandlot crew  blew those snobs out in a backyard brawl just like the Sox blew out the Yanks in 2004’s ALCS game 7. Proving that dirt, heart, and a little trash talking à la round-faced catcher Ham Porter – “Is that your sister out there in left field, naked? She’s naked?” – were more important than expensive jerseys and highly paid free agents. Maybe it’s because I’m tired of trudging through ankle-deep slush or I’m nostalgic for a time in my life when bike riding wasn’t just for hipsters, but this movie feels like just what I need to get me through the next week and into the start of the Boston Red Sox 2011 season. I can’t wait to play ball.

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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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Patriots Win, Manning Bros Lose — Week 10 Notes

Eli Manning Eagles Loss

This was a big weekend for the NFL, as the league’s best rivalry of the past decade (Patriots-Colts) were in action as were the NFC favorite New York Giants taking on the NFL’s new wonder boy, Michael Vick, and his Eagles. A few games to touch on, so we’ll break them down one by one.

1) Patriots beat Colts 31-28 — The latest game in the Brady-Manning rivalry, this one embodied the relationship these two quarterbacks have. Brady played near flawless football, completing 78% of his passes for 186 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Manning put up 396 yards on a zillion passing attempts, but ultimately threw a crippling interception after storming his Colts back from 17 points down in the 4th quarter. He had me shifting in my chair, for sure. That being said, I saw one major flaw with the Patriots — with a big lead in the 4th quarter they became complacent and began to play “contain” defense. This formula didn’t allow a big 50 yard play, but it allowed the Colts to gain 10 or 15 yards on practically every play. If you’re giving that to Peyton Manning, he’s going to score very quickly on you, as we saw. I think the Patriots would have been much better off staying aggressive and putting pressure on Manning. This is what ultimately led to the game losing interception, and this has been shown time and again as the only real strategy that works in flustering Peyton.

On another game note, I’d like to address my readers in New York who have been suggesting strongly lately that Tom Brady is soft, cocky, can’t back it up, and is generally viewed as an ass. Let me start by saying, you couldn’t be more wrong. As I was watching the pregame show, nearly every commentator on every national news station showered both Peyton and Brady with praise — both for their skill, their leadership, and what they do for the game. The words “class act” was used referring to Brady. Brady is unbelievably popular and seen in a very positive light by almost everybody, even those who are jealous of his success. Second of all, for all of you haters I’d suggest you listen to a Tom Brady news conference after a game. The man is incredibly poised, very frank, and showers praise on both his team and his opponents wherever it is due. He always, in particular, is kind with his words when speaking about Peyton’s game. Sure, on the field he gets fired up and talks. That’s cause the guy is a competitor — he wants to win as much as anybody in the league week in and week out. He’s confident in his ability, as he should be, but he always give opponents their due. Listen people.

2) Eagles beat Giants 27-17 — Eli being Eli, he made a bonehead play and fumbled the ball as he drove him team down the field at the end of the game. While Eli has improved most aspects of his game significantly, he still remains a turnover machine. Yes, many aren’t his fault, but no matter whose fault they are turnovers equal loses.  You’ve got to give the Giants’ defense credit, they did a pretty good job on Michael Vick. He still had a great game, but it was not the Michael Vick show ala last week. That said, I don’t think you can expect 6-10 touchdowns out of Vick every game as everybody seemed to expect after last week.  I think it’s hilarious how the Giants lost, especially with Eli coughing it up, but honestly I don’t think this is a big setback for the Giants. It’s a tough divisional loss, but they are still a good team and this won’t derail their season. They’ve got a pretty easy schedule the next three games before taking on the Eagles again.

3) Jets beat Texans 30-27. This one was wild. The Jets scored in the game’s closing moments to pull out another unlikely victory. It wasn’t dripping with good consistent play, but they pulled it out and that’s what matters. That’s what the Jets have been about as of late, and there is a lot to say about teams that just keep on finding ways to win. The Jets have so many talented players that somebody could always get open or make a big game-winning play, and that’s what’s happening. As a Patriots fan it’s incredibly frustrating, but you’ve got to give them credit. The AFC East will likely ride on the Patriots-Jets Monday Night Football game on December 6. I think after wins against the Ravens, Steelers, and Colts the Patriots are now officially the team to beat in the AFC — big surprise I’m picking the Pats to beat the Jets. They want revenge.

The Manning brothers blew it this week and the Patriots beat the Colts, so I could not be more happy in week 10. This is quickly turning into one of the best, most competitive NFL seasons in a long time. Let’s face it — no one has any idea who is going to be hoisting the Super Bowl trophy this year.
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The Patriots Loss My Skepticism has Been Hinting At

Peyton Hillis Cleveland Browns

Week after week, I have been writing Monday articles excited about a Patriots win, yet unable to rejoice after any sort of “telling” victory. My skepticism was confirmed yesterday, by a couple of young bucs on the Cleveland Browns — Peyton Hillis and Colt McCoy. The 38-14 loss was a terrible one for the Patriots, who needed a win to maintain their place in the division with their upcoming schedule — probably the most difficult in football from here on out. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to give the Browns credit — they played a great game.

While Colt McCoy is a bit undersized, everyone seems shocked to see him playing well in the NFL. Not I. To me, Colt has undergone the best possible training to be successful in the NFL. He set nearly every major college quarterbacking record while at Texas, but the haters note that only occurred because he was a 4-year starter. To me, that’s exactly the point — if you are a 4-year starter at a college like Texas, you are pretty damn good in the first place. Then you have 4 full years to develop, in a first class organization, and to learn to win. To draw from another sport, I see Colt’s path as the antithesis to Michelle Wie’s. Hailed as a phenom from age 12, Wie tried to jump to the LPGA tour as quickly as possible. While she’s had some success, ultimately she never learned to win at the various stages leading up to the LPGA tour. While Colt could have left Texas early, he became that much more mature, that much more of a winner for having stayed. And having a completion percentage over 70% three games into your NFL career is proof enough.

McCoy aside, this was Peyton Hillis’ game. I knew relatively little about this guy before this game, but he made be a fan. Sure, the Patriots made him look pretty damn good but he made himself look pretty damn good as well, en route to 184 yards and 2 touchdowns. This is a guy who never fully got to prove how good he was in college at Arkansas — after a great start to his college career he had to take a back seat to Darren McFadden. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make a name for himself in the NFL.

If I were a Browns fan, I’d be very excited about my team’s young quarterback and running back. As for the Patriots, they’re going to have to make up for this loss against a tougher team in the upcoming weeks.

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Tom Brady Versus Derek Jeter — Who is Superior?

Tom Brady New England Patriots

By Jimmy Cunningham, howiGit Contributing Writer

New York, NY

Mr. howiGit loves his comparisons, so here is one for him: a comparison of the two most iconic heroes in New York and Boston of the past generation — Derek Jeter versus Tom Brady. As with most comparisons on this blog, this one will dig deeper than just the numbers and performance on the field, but will examine the whole person — and in the end will determine the more iconic figure.

Winning – Both Jeter and Brady have won a lot in their careers. Both have been in the playoffs every year except one, with Brady missing one season while hurt in 2008. Jeter has played in seven World Series in 15 seasons; Brady has played in four Super Bowls in nine years. Jeter has won five World Series championships and Brady has won three Super Bowls. With those numbers being too close to close to call, this is a push.
Result: Push

Records – Currently, Jeter is the active leader in hits in the MLB, and looks to continue to move up the all-time list. I have a bet with Mr. howiGit Derek Jeter New York Yankees that he will break Pete Rose’s record for the most hits all-time, so we will see how that one ends up. That said, most of Jeter’s records are playoff records: leading in playoff hits, runs, and doubles. Along with that, he is third all-time in playoff home runs. Brady’s records come mostly from the 2007 18-1 season with Patriots, with his single season record-breaking 50 touchdowns being his crowning jewel. He also owns the record for most completions ever in a Super Bowl with 32 against Carolina in 2004. For both Brady and Jeter, career records have yet to be determined, but due to his touchdown record season the edge goes to Brady.
Result: Brady Wins

Clutchness – Mr. howiGit’s favorite intangible quality is clutchness. Both of these players seem to have ice water in their veins and step up when their teams need them most. Jeter’s batting average when his team is down is .317, which climbs to.322 when his team is down by one run. His career average climbs by nine points when his team is losing by any margin, from .308 to .317. His average also continues to grow on the games highest stage; the World Series, going from .308 to .321. With that, Jeter has a .400 on-base percentage in the 9th inning, to go along with a .333 batting average in extra innings as well as a .500 on base percentage in those extra innings. Brady has 30 4th quarter wins, in which his team is tied or down heading into that quarter. Along with that, he has engineered two last-minute Super Bowl winning drives and has been near perfect in overtime throughout his career. The edge here goes to Jeter. Looking at Brady’s career by quarter, the 4th has been his worst. He has his most interceptions, fumbles, and worst quarterback rating in the 4th quarter. According to quarterback rating, Brady plays his worst when his team is down, while Jeter elevates his play at crunch time.
Result: Jeter Wins

Women – Tom Brady has a gorgeous wife in Gisele Bundchen. I would question you to find anyone who would say that she is ugly. He also has dated Tara Reed, pre letting herself go, and also has a kid with Bridgette Moynahan who also is no slouch. But this one is not a contest. Derek Jeter has dated 6 women on Maxim’s top 100 lists; Jessica Alba, Vanessa Manillo, Scarlett Johansson, Gabriele Union, Mariah Carey, and Jessica
Biel. That is just the All-Star team which does not include a Miss Universe, singers, and actresses. Oh and he is engaged to Minka Kelly who was recently named sexiest woman alive by Esquire Magazine.
Result: Jeter Wins, by a landslide.

Endorsements – Jeter is endorsed and heavily featured by Gatorade and Jordan. He is also one of three athletic spokesmen for Gillette with Roger Federer and Tiger Woods, two of the best at their respective sports. Jeter makes over $10 million a year total in endorsements. He was recently in a movie, The Other Guys, staring Mark Wahlberg and Will Farrell. He also currently has the top-selling jersey in the MLB, coming in his 15th season. Brady, on the other hand, has endorsements with Smartwater and Movado watches, and makes about $4 million annually in endorsements. He also has the 14th highest selling NFL jersey, one behind Eli Manning.
Result: Jeter Wins

Personality- Derek Jeter seems to have the respect of his peers, media, and the public in general. The knock on Jeter is that his defense has declined. People that do not like him have the type of dislike that comes from respect. Brady gets much love from the media and seems to have a healthy rivalry with Peyton Manning. However ask the Baltimore Ravens or the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have both had issues with Brady on the field, what they think of Tom Terrific. I don’t think you would ever see Jeter get in the face of a back-up left fielder, a la Anthony Smith or question how many runs his team is going to score in the World Series, a la Plaxico Burress. Something I did not know existed before doing some research for this article is dickipedia.com. It is a Wikipedia type page devoted entirely to who the public thinks are “dicks”. Tom Brady has a page, Alex Rodriguez has a page, Derek Jeter does not. Jeter also doesn’t model his hair off of a 16-year-old Canadian punk.
Result: Jeter Wins

So in the end, Jeter is the winner, 4-1-1. The on the field was very close with Jeter winning one, Brady winning one, and a push. However Jeter really pulled away in the off the field aspects, proving himself the overall better man. If any topics were missed, let the debate begin.

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The Patriots Are 5-1, But I’m Still Not Convinced

Rob Gronkowski Patriots

The Gronk

I’m a bit under the weather today, so if this post seems short or my arguments weak, they probably are. That being said, the Patriots shakily moved to 5-1 yesterday, beating the Chargers 23-20 after a 50-yard field goal  attempt by San Diego’s Kris Brown (yes, this is funny) hit the uprights. Before this game I was  unsure of how San Diego’s #1 ranked offense and #1 ranked defense could lead them to a 2-4 record. Then they showed me precisely how that is possible. The Patriots, meanwhile, did quite the opposite. They are currently ranked 30th in the league in passing yards allowed per game, letting up 282 yards per contest — yet they are 5-1. They’ve got Minnesota next week, in a potentially Brett Favreless contest. You never know what you’re gonna get out of Minnesota.

In other news, this is my first season playing fantasy football. And today is a perfect example of why I’ve always trashed on fantasy sports. Going into the Cowboys-Giants Monday Night Football game tonight, I find my fantasy team 20 points behind my boss’ team. Except all of his players have played, and I have Brandon Jacobs and the Giants defense still to play. I don’t like the Cowboys by any means, but I’d still like the Giants to lose. Yet in order to beat my boss, I need the Giants defense to allow points and Brandon Jacobs to score some touchdowns. I’m stuck rooting for 15-14 Cowboys victory, with Brandon Jacobs having 2 touchdowns. How stupid is that?
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