Clear Some Seats On The Bandwagon Again

Move over and make some room for the pink hats, the footie pajamas and the bandwagon jumpers. The Patriots are currently 12-2 and one win or Jets, Steelers and Ravens loss away from clinching home field advantage for the playoffs with 2 games left in the regular season. The Red Sox just signed two of the biggest names on the market this off season with first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and Outfielder Carl Crawford. The Bruins have made the playoffs in two consecutive seasons and solidifying themselves as a post season player for this year, albeit in the lower eschelon of the 8 teams in the playoffs. The Boston Celtics have gotten of to another great start with their Big 3, Rondo and a veteran Shaq until Kendrick Perkins returns.

Get ready Boston, this is going to be a year where we very well could win a championship in all four major sports. This isn’t the first encounter that we’ve had with bandwagon jumpers, after the Patriots won 3 Super Bowls in four years at the beginning of the decade, the birth of Red Sox Nation in 2004, Green 18 and the “We want it as bad as you do” era of the Bruins.

There’s no need to get our boxers in knots, panties in bunches and start to get defensive. We know who we are and the fair-weather fans may never have the intensity that we do, but the more noise that’s made and the more support for our teams can’t be hurtful in any way. So with open arms, come aboard the bandwagon ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the ride that we’ve been waiting for our whole lives and have had the opportunity to enjoy over the past decade.

A Tale Of Two Goalies

The Boston Bruins are in the same situation as they were last season. We have two goalies that we can ride through the regular season and into the playoffs. There has been a tale of two goalies for the past two seasons and we began with Tim Thomas winning the Vezina Trophy in 2008.

After being named the best goalie in the NHL in 2008 and having the statistics and performances to back it up, Tim Thomas saw a huge decline in 2009. Without hesitation or setback, Tuukka Rask stepped in goal and continued to win games for the Bruins and bring Boston to the post season for another consecutive season. This season, Tim Thomas looks similar to his 2008 abilities and as of now has helped the Bruins win seven straight games and lead the league in GAA.

For a team that thought they were going to start Rask and have the highest paid backup in 2010, we now have a tandem of goalies that have both proven themselves in the regular and post season. Barring any major injuries, with Thomas playing at such a high level and Rask waiting to be given another shot, it looks as if the Bruins have found the formula to be a playoff contender every year and could possibly break through from last seasons semi-finals and make their way to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010.

Is it time for Theo Epstein to go?

The architect of the 2011 Boston Red Sox was general manager, Theo Epstein.

He became manager in 2003, one year before they won the title in 2004.  He has been praised with fanfare from fans, and owners.  After the debacle the last month (and first month) of the season, missing the post-season for the 2ndyear straight, fans are becoming more critical about his time with the Red Sox. Is his time up?  I think so.

It is the manager’s job to keep the players focused to succeed, which did not happen.  It is the general manager’s job to get players that are good, blend into the team, and sign them to an appropriate contract.  That was not accomplished as time has gone on, and showed since the 2007 World Series.

A general manager’s job is not viewed in a year.  It’s a multi-year mindset, and it is every evident the tam has declined every year since 2007.

The Red Sox have been notorious for signing free agents to outrageous contracts, since ownership has the money to do so.  The problem is most of them did not add up to a team that blended together, and probably caused the gradual entitlement mentality in the clubhouse.

2006

  • Alex Gonzalez – 3 years $14 mill
  • JD Drew – 5 years $70 mill
  • Julio Lugo – 4 years $36 mill
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka – 6 years $52 mill

2007

  • Matt Clement – 1 year $1.5 mill
  • Mike Lowell – 3 years $37.5 mill
  • Mike Timlin – 1 year $3 mill

2008

  • Brad Penny – 1 year $5 mill
  • John Smoltz – 1 year $5.5 mill
  • Jason Veritek – 1 year $5 mill

2009

  • Adrian Beltre – 1 year $10 mill
  • Mike Cameron – 2 years $15.5 mill
  • John Lackey – 5 years $82.5 mill
  • Marco Scutaro – 2 years $12.5 mill

2010

  • Adrian Beltre – 1 year $9 mill
  • Hideki Okajima – 1 year $1.75 mill
  • Carl Crawford – 7 years $142 mill
  • Bobby Jenks – 2 years $12 mill
  • Jason Vertiek – 1 year $2 mill

Theo has already stated the he wants to stay on as Red Sox general manager next year, the last year of his contract, to “clean up the mess.” Sorry Theo, you caused the mess, it will be someone else will clean it up.

Reports and rumors have been going around the Chicago Cubs have expressed interest on hiring him as the next general manager on Chicago’s north side.  If he is offered, and accepts the opportunity, I will not complain.

Inconsistency could doom aging Steelers

After two weeks of explosive, record-breaking offense, and defense that reminded football fans of the younger days of James Harrison and Brett Keisel, it appeared that the Pittsburgh Steelers were ready to reclaim their dynastic rule of the AFC North. Little did they know, an ambush awaited them.

In week 10, the Steelers entered MetLife Stadium as one of the hottest teams in football. Four turnovers and a measly 13 points later, however, things had become decidedly chilly for Pittsburgh’s postseason aspirations, as they fell to the 1-8 New York Jets by a misleadingly competitive score of 20-13. Thankfully, Pittsburgh bounced back with a victory against the Tennessee Titans, 27-24.

No descriptor more accurately applies to the 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers as the term “inconsistent.” There is no better word to describe a team that accounts for two of the three wins in the Jets’ and Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ combined 3-16 record, yet simultaneously has recorded dominant wins against Baltimore and Indianapolis—two playoff-caliber teams.

The loss to New York, in particular, is devastating for the Steelers. Pittsburgh had a prime opportunity to claim the division lead in a division that consists of four teams, each with winning records. Instead of improving to 7-3, though, Pittsburgh dropped to 6-4, putting them behind both Cleveland and Cincinnati in the AFC North race. Needless to say, the division is a dogfight, and winning it will be a hard-earned achievement for whichever team does. Even after their victory against the Titans the Steelers are still lying at the second spot of the Conference, now 7-4.

Going forward, it is extremely difficult to predict how Pittsburgh is going to play. One would expect them to beat teams like Atlanta and struggle against Kansas City and New Orleans, but with Pittsburgh’s inconsistency, who can say what the results will actually be?

There are only a few certain things regarding the Steelers. One, Pittsburgh has one of the best wide receivers in the NFL in Antonio Brown. He has been a juggernaut in the passing game all season, but cost the Steelers dearly in their most recent loss by fumbling twice. Two, Ben Roethlisberger is capable of catching fire in any given game. He may light it up against the Colts one week, only to throw multiple picks against sorry secondaries like Jacksonville and the New York Jets the next week, but as long as he is around, the Steelers are never really out of a game.

As for the defense, longtime leader Troy Polamalu is beginning to show his wear. He is a 12-season veteran in the midst of a stretch of absenteeism resulting from injury. Between Polamalu, and other key contributors Brett Keisel, James Harrison, Ike Taylor, and Will Allen, there are 59 years of NFL experience, making Pittsburgh’s defense one of the oldest in the league. Youngsters Ryan Shazier and Jarvis Jones can combine with Jason Worilds to be the Steelers’ linebacker corps of the future, but at other defensive positions, the Steelers are thin.

The Steelers still have a great shot at winning the AFC North. They trail just the Bengalsfor the division lead, and, arguably, have a more talented roster than any of their division rivals. It is not a matter of if Pittsburgh can win games, but rather, will they?

About The Author:

Ron is the lead editor of FantasyFotballOverdose.Com – prime source of NFL news and rumors. You can follow his NFL updates at this Facebook page.

Former Red Sox Manager Heart Still With Alma Mater

Former Red Sox manager and new ESPN Sunday Night Baseball commentator, Terry Francona, took sometime to give back to his alma mater, University of Arizona.

Since Red Sox Nation still think highly of him and been giving endless praise for what he did during his 8 years as manager, this video is appropriate to share.

He starts joking about no beer and wings in the locker room, then gave some life and college lessons.  He also shared a few stories about a few times he played at the Cats’ new home field, Hi Corbett Field.

English Premier League – A Climatic Ending

English Premier League Trophy - As seen June 2011 in Dorchester, MA

EPL Championship Trophy – As seen June 2011 in Dorchester, MA

The last day of the English Premier League season is Sunday morning, and for Queens Park Rangers, Bolton, Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle, it will determine where they will play next year.

Unlike American sports, there are no playoffs or draft position to be concerned about.

Five out of the 10 fixtures will still have major implications.

Who will be crowned champion?
Who will play in what European competitions next season?
Who will be relegated to the NPower Championship League?

The biggest game is Manchester City/Queens Park Rangers, and it has massive implications.

  • Queens Park Rangers win, they will avoid relegation… PLUS
  • Manchester United wins against Sunderland, United crowned champions.
  • Queens Park Rangers draw or loose, Manchester City crowned champions.
  • Manchester United and Manchester City loose or draw, Manchester City crowned champions.

The other team competing to avoid relegation is Bolton.

  • Queens Park Rangers win, Bolton relegated.
  • Bolton wins and Queens Park Rangers loose, Queens Park Rangers gets relegated.

Regardless what happens to Blackburn, and Wolverhampton, they will be relegated to the Championship League.

The top 4 play in the Champions League next year, while one will compete in the Europa League.

Regardless what Manchester City and Manchester United do, they will be in the UEFA Champions League next year, but Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle, will be competing for European bids.

  • Arsenal & Tottenham win; both go to the UEFA Champions League next year.
    Newcastle go to the Europa League
  • Arsenal & Tottenham loose, Newcastle wins, Newcastle & Arsenal go to the UEFA Champions League.
    Tottenham go to the Europa League
  • Arsenal & Newcastle win, Tottenham loose or draw; Arsenal & Newcastle go to the Champions League.
    Tottenham go to the Europa League
  • If all three loose or draw, Arsenal & Tottenham go to the Champions League.
    Newcastle go to the Europa League

No matter how you look at it, it has been a tremendous turnaround for Newcastle, who were in the Championship League only two years ago.

The good news is for the American European soccer fan.  FOX Sports will be showing every game on many of their networks, starting at 9:30am est.

Enjoy, because it will not be back till August!