Category: Sports

Phillip Lindsay’s case for Rookie of the Year

Phillip Lindsay has made a strong case for Rookie of the Year and deserves your vote. But the media probably doesn’t see it that way.

Anybody who knows me knows that I am a big fan of the Denver Broncos. I don’t have much claim to the fandom, other than the fact that I was born in Colorado, and they were the first team I chose to be a fan of for that very reason. Part of why I like the Denver Broncos so much is that they have a lot of history with low-drafted or undrafted players finding great success. They’re constantly underrated, and some of their greatest players are snubbed for Hall of Fame consideration year after year.

The Orange Crush defense of the 80s. Rod Smith. Terrell Davis. Shannon Sharpe. Chris Harris Jr. Now running back Philip Lindsay is just yet another snub waiting to happen.

With Terrell Davis’s blessing, the former CU Buff wears #30 as he currently leads the NFL in yardage per carry at 6.1 yards despite running behind a banged up offensive line. He’s established the Broncos as a potent rushing team and posted 8 touchdowns to help the Broncos to an even 6-6 record. Lindsay has helped put points on the board for a team without a consistently elite passing attack. Not only is his 154 carries for 937 yards good for #4 in the league, he’s doing it with almost 40 fewer touches than New York Giants rookie, Saquon Barkley. And its happening because Lindsay is consistently breaking off huge plays that lead to scores.

https://twitter.com/Broncos/status/1069325312431808512

Yet, the league favorite remains the 2018 second overall draft  pick, Saquon Barkley, who is in the middle of an impressive debut season himself.

Barkley is obviously a very talented football player, but there is question for his value to the franchise this year. He was drafted high, expected to do well, and pretty much meets the expectations of a running back taken with the second overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft by the Giants. He’s an athletic beast.

But at 4-8, I’m asking: where is the rest of his team? Is Barkley the reason that they are winning the games they do? How absolutely valuable has Saquon Barkley been to the Giants 2018-2019 NFL campaign thus far? The numbers don’t exactly favor Barkley. In my head, the Giants could be 4-8 right now with almost any other RB in their backfield.

To put it another way: Saquon Barkley has not picked up the slack of others to help the Giants win more, despite his statistical success.

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Phillip Lindsay (#30) running past Michael Johnson #90 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The numbers support Phillip Lindsay; the Denver Broncos are winning BECAUSE of Lindsay. If the Rookie of the Year award weren’t a popularity contest driven by the narrative the NFL wants to push, Phillip Lindsay would be winning this award 9/10 times. He is picking up that slack for an injured offensive line, a journeyman quarterback in Case Keenum, and a beleaguered defense also struggling with injuries. First down after first down, #30 and co. have been draining clocks and single-handedly changing the perception of the Denver Broncos as a ground-and-pound team ready to slug it out for 4 quarters.

In that vein, #30 Phillip Lindsay deserves your vote for NFL Rookie of the Year.

matt doesn’t have all the numbers because he honestly cannot be bothered to look that deep into the stats. But by the eye test, Saquon Barkley probably actually contributed meaningful yardage and touchdowns during like, 1 win. Against the Bucs.

Just pay student athletes already

You’d think with the hundreds of millions the NCAA and affiliated colleges are raking in, they could afford to give some kind of compensation to their players. You’d be wrong, apparently.

They’re referred to as part-time athletes, full-time students, but the physical and mental reality of it all is that you’re working two full time jobs in order to excel at collegiate athletics AND collegiate academics. I’m told that having money would be a distraction to the athletes, like it is to Susan and Xu Wei as they walk to their 9am class decked out in Raf and Gucci.

It’s true that student athletes should be students first, athletes second. I’d be impressed by this rhetoric if the top NCAA schools actually bothered to follow this model instead of having virtual slaves play their sports to secure profit for their institutions.

Grayson Allen and Duke will be one of the big TV draws in the 2018 NCAA college basketball tournament. Getty Images (from Metro US)

The best athletes are making tons of money for their schools while earning chump change back in the form of athletic scholarships – the middle-of-the-road athletes put everything in and get nothing back. All of these students are putting in effort for a full-time job and getting nothing from it beyond fond college memories. To be blunt, many collegiate athletes come from struggling, poor backgrounds. They will struggle with things that many other families never had to worry about: will I be able to afford new cleats, can I eat tomorrow, can I afford that textbook, that online resource, will I be able to travel there?, etc.

Professional sports are hardly helping, as they are still mandating players go to college for a minimum number of years before qualifying for professional league play. Again, I’d be totally behind this if it weren’t so painfully obvious this was only done to make that much more money for schools. Imagine if all the superstar talent bypassed collegiate level sports and entered professional play immediately – all that profit is lost from colleges!

Continue reading “Just pay student athletes already” »

Post-midnight thoughts 9.17.2017: Night Train Lane

A legendary footballer. Really just a baller. And an unrelated story about a really stupid professor. These are the things matt thinks about past midnight.

Night Train Lane

It’s football season again. I’ve been getting into that football mood – I’m reading everything about every team, I’m watching and re-watching Gifs of great plays from over the weekend, my day is ruined because I stop to pause for 3 hours watching the Tennessee-Florida game (what a finish huh?!), and I’m up late looking up facts about the late Night Train Lane.

This isn’t a train that you ride on tracks that go “choo! choo!” across the countryside. But he’ll hit like one, and take you for a ride – straight into the turf! Night. Night. Welcome to one of the most ferocious and feared footballers in American history.

Night Train Lane picks a pass off in a game (1952)

Richard Lane (April 16, 1928 – January 29, 2002), commonly known as Dick “Night Train” Lane, was an American football player who played cornerback for the Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Cardinals (now Arizona), and Detroit Lions, and Pro Football Hall of Famer (1974).

“MY OBJECT IS TO STOP THE GUY BEFORE HE GAINS ANOTHER INCH. I’M USUALLY DEALING WITH ENDS WHO ARE TRYING TO CATCH PASSES, AND IF I HIT THEM IN THE LEGS THEY MAY FALL FORWARD FOR A FIRST DOWN. THERE IS NOTHING I HATE WORSE THAN A FIRST DOWN.” – Dick “Night Train” Lane

At the end of 14 seasons, Night Train Lane had amassed 68 career INTs, 1207 return yards, 6 All-NFL selections of 7 Pro-Bowls to boot. But outside of numbers, Night Train Lane’s most iconic aspect is his tackling, the ferociousness, the sheer primal violence that exudes from the force of his hits. He absolutely loved to hit.

Continue reading “Post-midnight thoughts 9.17.2017: Night Train Lane” »

I refuse to write about the new LA Chargers starting Kicker from South Korea, Younghoe Koo.

Because the new LA Chargers starting Kicker from South Korea, Younghoe Koo, is a FOB. Plus he’s a kicker – what’s there to talk about? What, just because I’m Asian I gotta talk about the Asian American players in the NFL?

Kicker Younghoe Koo tosses a ball during the Los Angeles Chargers’ training camp at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa, CA on Wednesday, August 2, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The new LA Chargers starting Kicker from South Korea, Younghoe Koo, is certainly not the first Asian-American in the league. And teams have actually been really cool about drafting/signing foreign players – the Denver Broncos have like 3 foreign born guys right now. It’s not uncommon for first generation immigrant talent to get into the league. Hines Ward was Korean too, you know.

There’s really just not much to talk about with this guy, the new LA Chargers starting Kicker from South Korea, Younghoe Koo. Don’t need to mention that he’ll only be the fourth NFL player with Korean heritage playing – ever.

So this isn’t a big deal. I refuse to write about the new LA Chargers starting Kicker from South Korea, Younghoe Koo, and how he played defensive back well enough to earn All-County honors or earned a scholarship for his football ability. Or how he went undrafted, got signed by the LA Chargers, and beat out incumbent kicker Josh Lambo to become  the new LA Chargers starting Kicker from South Korea, Younghoe Koo.

Not gonna do it.

matt refuses to write about the new LA Chargers starting Kicker from South Korea, Younghoe Koo. Mostly because he thinks this kind of thing should already be common, and that Asian Americans should naturally enter the NFL more in the future. So if we act like it’s not a big deal, maybe people will just see it as another thing and more Asians will get into the league that way. It’d be really cool to have more AA representation in the NFL. But also because he’s a total FOB. Follow matt @brapachinensis on Twitter.

Post-midnight thoughts 8.17.2017

A random assortment of thoughts spilled out stream-of-consciousness style. I touch on controversial subjects tonight. Opinions in no way represent FactsB or other affiliated authors.

On Charlottesville, news media:
The damage being dealt to the left-wing and left-biased media outlets by the ultraconservative agenda almost seems intentional in how, as a collective, news outlets and entertainment figures are acting about and reacting to Donald Trump and various current events. Nobody seems to think before they speak, and speaking in hyperbole has become the norm. Diction matters for a reason, and consistently the staunchest critics of Donald Trump sidestep the right points by over-exaggerating certain issues that many White Americans simply don’t care about or cannot relate to yet (Except Charlottesville, that’s quite clearly a white supremacist rally and I think most people are at least concerned about it).

White nationalists march in Charlottesville. Alejandro Alvarez/News2Share/Via Reuters

They consistently give Donald Trump fuel to use in order to sway his very vocal supporters, who in turn give the news MORE fuel to exaggerate. When you make conservative pundits and outlets seem relatively sane in comparison, you might be doing something wrong. I don’t think they’re necessarily wrong nor do I feel like they should have to change. The truth of the matter is that Americans have to become smarter media consumers or else no amount of changing our tone will get through to people.

There needs to be a culture change. A popular myth states that Americans will take one year to build a bridge that lasts 10 years, but the Germans will take 10 years to build a bridge that lasts forever (one version I’ve heard). We’ve got to change our minds and the way we consume our media (and our food).
We’ve turned into a country of extremes, and I hope we can find that middle ground again.

That being said, nobody is the winner here when the US government clearly has an agenda to run this country into the ground by continuing to sabotage our education, overspend on defense, diminish healthcare, and halt social progress. But that’s just me.

On sports:
Football preseason has started, and that means everybody is out making wild assumptions about their teams record this year. Me? I predict the Broncos will have a more outstanding season than last, hopefully with a rejuvenated offense with some juice behind it. A 10-6 record would be their best record this season, I think, and they’ll probably one and done it in the post-season. Look how far ahead I am predicting this unpredictable game. Super Bowl winners? Probably the Steelers or Patriots versus the Giants or the Packers. Safe bets!

It’s going to be a good season of football as parity in the league has been restored for the most part (at first glance) with only a few outliers remaining. The Patriots dynasty is probably one of the most dominant in the history of the league, and I doubt it gets challenged by someone in the near future. The stranglehold they’ve kept on the AFC will continue to hold as Tom Brady reaches his 40th birthday while still paying in the NFL. For reference, he’s only the 33rd player to play after 40.

Tom Brady looks on as an errant pass is taken to the house for 6. The Patriots would end up winning the Super Bowl, overcoming the score of 28-3 against the Atlanta Falcons. (Getty Images via SportingNews)

 

My favorite draft pick this year is probably Mitch Trubisky. I think the Bears caught people by surprise with this one (because they either traded up too much or didn’t? i forget and i’m too lazy to look it up now!), and based on one preseason game I’ve seen him in I can say that I think he’ll do well in the NFL. Granted it was against 2nd and 3rd stringers, but give the guy credit where its due, yeah? That Mike Glennon looks as awful as the former starter of the Tampa Bay Bucs should, by the way.

Continue reading “Post-midnight thoughts 8.17.2017” »

Bill Belichick met his match last night then promptly destroyed him.

The first overtime game in Super Bowl history. A first half of dominant defense, a miraculous comeback in the second half. A fifth ring for the Patriots. The NFL and the world really learned Sunday you can never count Tom Brady and the Hoodie out.

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Patriots QB Tom Brady (12) looks on as Falcons CB Robert Alford (23) takes an errant pass to the house for 6. (Getty Images via SportingNews)

The first half was all the Atlanta Falcons, cruising to what felt like their first Super Bowl victory in just two appearances.Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was laser-accurate, rocketing long and intermediate passes over and over against a porous Patriots secondary. Running backs Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman, with the Falcons offensive line, created an 11 yards-per-carry attack during the first half and averaged 5.8 yards-per-carry for the whole thing. On one route, Falcons wideout Taylor Gabriel made Malcolm Butler’s knees knock together on one of the most disgusting jukes I’ve ever seen. The Patriots defense looked disheveled and disorganized, an uncommon sight for a squad coached by Bill Belichick.

The Falcons defense almost resembled the Seattle Seahawks defense under Dan Quinn. Atlanta’s front seven smothered New England quarterback Tom Brady and gave him no time at all in the pocket to cleanly find a receiver, while the secondary forced a LeGarrette Blount fumble and snatched a pick six from Tom Brady – his first ever in the playoffs. Tom Brady looked shook.

None of the Patriots running backs could seem to gain any yards on the ground and gave NE head coach Bill Belichick fits on the sideline as they impeded the Patriots at every line of scrimmage. They swarmed to receivers to knock the ball out or deflect the pass. They stopped a Patriots two-minute drill toward the end of the first half, an incredible defensive showing to hold New England to just 3 points after two quarters. A half of strong defense in what looked to be a repeat of Super Bowl 48’s defensive dominance.

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Lady Gaga performs the Super Bowl half time show with her stage dancers at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images).

Then Lady Gaga gave us an incredible half time show with drone lights and football shaped dancing, ending with a football catch while jumping off a roof. One of the most acrobatic shows in recent history. A quick look at the score reminds the viewers: the Falcons won this already, it’s 21-3!

But the second half was all Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.Continue reading “Bill Belichick met his match last night then promptly destroyed him.” »

Brock Osweiler played like doodoo on Monday.

(Editor’s Note: This article had a much ruder headline before, but has since been changed to not deride the female gender or their genitalia. Thank you.)

Dude showed up to his old stadium and played like the tallest stack of doodoo this side of the Mississippi. That’s a lot of ground to cover, and I’m sure Osweiler’s shadow reaches that much ground when the sun starts to set on his candy ass. In any case, the Denver Broncos defense talked big like they would bring it and they did bring it, though Brock Osweiler managed to escape without a sack. Reportedly, he offered a “Good hit” to Broncos safety TJ Ward at some point, who did not respond because he didn’t want to lose the Terminator vibe (his words!).

brock-fumble
Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) loses the ball just before his hand moving forward. This was ruled a fumble, recovered by Denver Broncos’ cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (Sports Illustrated 2016)

Pretty sure Brock Osweiler is the first QB to “throw a fumble.” Honestly I was perplexed by the calling, but the refs saw what the refs saw I guess. It was a bad throw, nonetheless. I mean, this is your old team dude. Play with some fire, be stubborn, stick in the pocket! Yeah, I wanted to see his ass crumble like soggy onion ring towers and that’s surely what happened this Monday. But give people a show! Dazzle us with that  magic you conjured up against the Indianapolis Colts.

Know this: Brock Osweiler is not elite. At least, not yet. Can he still turn into an elite QB? The answer is a solid maybe. Says who? Says me.

Okay, let’s give credit where credit is due. The Houston Texans brought it to the Denver Broncos as best they could, and for what it’s worth gashed the Broncos weak defensive interior to the tune of 124 rushing yards. They gave Osweiler the best chances they could, setting him up with great field position at times. Again and again, Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue kept the drive going, only for Osweiler’s passing to ruin things.

Continue reading “Brock Osweiler played like doodoo on Monday.” »

Cam Newton is SHOOK

Last night the Broncos eked out a win against the Carolina Panthers in a 21-20 victory sealed by a field goal wide left. Various narratives were opened and closed after this game’s conclusion, and one of them will probably be Newton’s great performance… and his biggest downfalls (both pictured below).

shook
This is the expression of a broken man who’s still seeing ghosts.

Cam was shook. There’s no other way to phrase that that carries as much meaning or punch to it. Newton was shook after DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller found him again, and stayed shook while his offensive line was getting tired. They were being beaten down. And that’s exactly what the Denver Broncos said they’d do on opening night of the NFL’s 2016-2017 regular season.

The thing is, the Panthers team didn’t play poorly – they played very well against a defense that had its number all throughout Super Bowl 50. By all measurements, with three takeaways and an explosive offense the Broncos couldn’t control, they should have won this game. That they didn’t may be more of a testament to the tenacity and resilience of the Broncos team that practices regularly at the mile high altitude of Denver. Despite an excellent game, Cam Newton couldn’t secure the victory for his team after a fourth quarter interception and a missed field goal (which isn’t his fault).

All night, Newton was getting rocked. He took several hits to the head without a called penalty, a fact many have taken chagrin to. But Newton was also rocking the Broncos defense. Through the big hits, Newton passed accurately at the right time. Newton orchestrated an 18-play drive that lasted over 9 minutes – the Broncos did not allow a single drive to last that long all 16 games of the regular season last year. He went 5 for 5 on passes and converted several crucial 3rd-and-longs to bring up the Panther’s lead to 17-7.

Personally, I say Newton is lowering his head here like a runningback. Bradley Roby is leading with his shoulder and his head wouldn't make contact with Newton's until Newton lowers his head.
Personally, I say Newton (1) is lowering his head here like a runningback away from DeMarcus Ware (94). Bradley Roby (29) is leading with his shoulder and his head wouldn’t make contact with Newton’s until Newton lowers his head.

In the second half, the rocking resumed for Newton. It lessened considerably for the Broncos defense.

Continue reading “Cam Newton is SHOOK” »

The 2016 Denver Broncos secondary is the scariest in the league.

04 October 2015: Denver Broncos Cornerback Chris Harris (25) [15952], Denver Broncos Safety Darian Stewart (26) [10133], and Denver Broncos Cornerback Aqib Talib (21) [10394] in action during a game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, CO. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)
04 October 2015: Denver Broncos Cornerback Chris Harris (25), Denver Broncos Safety Darian Stewart (26), and Denver Broncos Cornerback Aqib Talib (21) in action during a game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, CO. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)
The Denver Broncos GM John Elway has put together a tremendous corps of cornerbacks and safeties through the draft and precision bomb free agent signings. An introduction to the 2016 Broncos secondary, in case you haven’t already met them.

Perhaps no other team possesses the depth that the Denver Broncos do at cornerback – and in an ever pass-heavy league, an elite secondary is make or break for an elite defense. Broncos GM John Elway has constructed an embarrassment of riches for his defensive backfield, and, more importantly AND impressively, he’s done it mostly through the draft in the past three years. Elway has given defensive coordinator Wade Philips all the pieces he needs to make this defense work and unleash the pass rush, to create the Orange Crush 2.0.

Cornerbacks #1 and #2 of the Broncos’ vaunted “No Fly Zone” are fellow University of Kansas Jayhawks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. – the numbers are no indicator of skill, these two are the best CB tandem in the league right now and they are a unit to be reckoned with. Harris, an undrafted free agent, did not allow a single touchdown for two years, a streak that ended in the week 15 loss to Pittsburgh when Antonio Brown scored 2 TDs on Harris. Harris is the backbone of this secondary, and very much a shutdown corner in his own right. Talib, part of Elway’s key FA acquisitions in 2014, is another shutdown corner that can challenge receivers larger than he is and isn’t afraid to get physical. He’s got a presence on the field and really gets in the faces of wide receivers, a curse and a gift to the Broncos at times. Talib leads the Broncos secondary in tandem with Harris, on the field and in the locker room.

Chris Harris Jr (25) intercepts a pass intended for a Raiders receiver by Raiders QB Derek Carr (4), takes it to the house. A display of great awareness and knowing where to be, when.
Chris Harris Jr (25) intercepts a pass intended for a Raiders receiver by Raiders QB Derek Carr (4), takes it to the house. A display of great awareness and knowing where to be, when.

Continue reading “The 2016 Denver Broncos secondary is the scariest in the league.” »

Brandon Jennings is the perfect complement to Derrick Rose and the Knicks

What an offseason the New York Knicks are having. Without any picks in the draft at all, it was absolutely necessary for the 17-65 Knicks to make some changes to the lineup via trades and free agent signings. While the Knicks acquiring former MVP Derrick Rose from the Bulls has been the biggest news making the headlines, the signing of Brandon Jennings for just 5 million might be just as important.

The 2014-2015 Pistons were a success story in the makings before Jennings injured his Achilles in early 2015. He was averaging 15.4 points, 6.6 assists, and 1.1 steals while playing 28.6 minutes per game. They had gone on a 12-6 stretch before losing Jennings, finishing 32-50 without him. Jennings did make a comeback with the Magic last year, and was still highly productive in limited minutes. While Derrick Rose might never be the same with ACL injuries hampering his hyper-athletic playstyle, Jennings suffered from a much less severe achilles injury. He will be able to pass and shoot just as capably as he was before. And more importantly, significantly better than Jose Calderon or Langston Galloway ever could.

But the most important part of the signing is that he is the perfect guard to complement Derrick Rose. Jennings is starting caliber, and even from the bench will still be able to log significant minutes to reduce the stress on Derrick Rose’s knees. Sharing minutes between the two means that the Knicks should always have a capable point guard on the court. Especially exciting to see since the Knicks have gone seasons without having any sort of true point guard at all.

Some could even argue that Jennings will be able to take the starting spot from Rose. I don’t think it matters who starts. Having both Rose and Jennings means the Knicks don’t necessarily need Derrick Rose to play like his MVP season, or Jennings to drop 55 again. The offensive onslaught will be relentless anyway.  Perhaps it could even be interesting to see both of them on the floor at the same time, but I think they’d be better off splitting minutes so a playmaker will always be on the floor.

Nobody was sold on Derrick Rose going out there logging 40+ minutes a night like Russell Westbrook. With the addition of Jennings, there’s no reason he has to. It will certainly be exciting to see how the two point guards play with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis in the upcoming season.