Watch & Learn, Boys!

I came across the story of Sam Gordon recently, and just had to share. This 9-year old GIRL has already compiled an impressive highlight reel, while playing in a nearly all-boys tackle football league.

My favorite quote from this story?

“Some kids, right before the contact, they stop,” her father said she told him. “I don’t. I just hit ‘em.”

My kinda girl.

Basically, Sam is living the dream. Seriously. I’ve had dreams like this. Of course my dreams have included back-to-back pick 6’s and crying men, but still… pretty close.

Sigh.

Anyway, I think Samantha is incredible and I love that she’s not only holding her own with the boys, she’s showing them up! Kudos to Mom & Dad for supporting their little girl in her not-so-girly sport. You rock, Sam! 🙂

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The Substitutes

I caught a little bit of the Patriots – Ravens game tonight. The unnecessary shoving and slapping I witnessed in such a short time may actually rival that of the Jersey Shore crew. However, these football players didn’t require absurd amounts of alcohol to get hype…  JUST replacement refs.

I agree, the officiating has been just plain bad, and wildly inconsistent. The delays, poor calls, missed calls, and flat-out confusion that has occurred since the replacement refs were handed the reigns is frustrating. Clearly, “frustrating” is understatement for what it’s been for players and coaches. However, I’m pretty sure of one thing: there’s no excuse for the fighting and/or harassing and demeaning of these officials.

As I watched the game unfold, I couldn’t help but notice the mounting horror on the faces of these poor blokes. They are, after all, in charge of keeping order amongst very large men who have now resorted to physical violence against one another. Not good.

Then it struck me. I’ve dealt with this before. This is what I like to call, Substitute Hysteria. If you’ve ever had a substitute teacher, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Remember that stickler of a teacher you had, whose class you dreaded? Remember the joy you felt when you walked into his or her room and saw an unfamiliar face behind the desk? Yesssss, we’ve got a sub!

Whether you were a good kid (like me ;)), or the one that made that substitute hate their life for a solid 50 minutes, you’ve experienced Substitute Hysteria. There is a certain sort of madness or frenzy that can occur when a group of kids outnumber a naive and unsuspecting substitute teacher. Spit wads, slapping people (friends or enemies), and other random acts of craziness occur. Most of which would never happen if the “real” teacher was in.

That same hysteria has taken over what used to be an orderly classroom, headed by Ed Hochuli and his biceps. Unfortunately, Mr. Hochuli & Co will be absent for at least two more weeks even if a deal to end the lockout is reached soon. Meanwhile, these poor subs have completely lost control of their classroom.

Now it only takes a few bad “kids” to evoke madness in a classroom. Likewise, there are always a few unruly parents as well. Parents who think they know better than the teacher and think they can call the shots, rather than teaching their kids to be respectful.

I mention this because there are now two coaches, Denver Broncos head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who are reportedly being fined $20,000 each for publicly criticizing the replacement refs. Then there is Bill Belichick, who made the not-so-smooth move of grabbing a replacement official by the arm while running off the field tonight. Get your checkbook out, Bill. That’s gonna cost you, too. The point is, just like parents can make jerks out their kids, coaches can do the same to their players.

OR, they can be like good mommies and daddies and teach their kids that despite the second-hand officiating they’ve had thus far, they must still carry themselves with class and act like role models.

To wrap it up, I want to explain why I’ve been so empathetic to the replacements. have been a substitute teacher. You do the best with what you’ve been given, and hope that your students aren’t heathens. For those that are heathens, a little dodgeball to the head during gym class will shut them up rather quickly, or so I’ve heard. Whoops! 😉 For the replacement officials, your little yellow flag (when used correctly) should help you maintain order as well.

Bottom line is this: These players may not respect the current officials, but they still have to answer to their coaches. Coaches, be the example for your players. These replacements are doing the best with what they’ve got. Mr. Hochuli and crew will be back before you know it. Hopefully. 🙂

Never Underestimate a Leprechaun Scorned

I’ve been looking forward to this week for a whole year. I know, opening weekend was three weeks ago already (I was excited for that too!), but this week holds a whole different level of intensity for me. Why, you ask? In one word: Michigan. Two more words, Denard Robinson. ONE more word, and the most important, I might add… REVENGE!!!

Now before I go all William Wallace on here, let me explain what fellow Notre Dame fans already know: we owe them a loss. Or better yet, they owe us a win, as we’ve coughed up the W to them in the final seconds our last three meetings.

2009: ND leads 34-31 with 2:19 left on the game clock. Tate Forcier goes 5 for 6 in a drive downfield that results in a 5-yard touchdown pass to Greg Mathews with 11 seconds remaining. Kick is good, blah, blah, blah, Notre Dame loses.

*Side note for this game: Head coaches were Charlie Weis and Rich Rodriguez for this one. Cringe.

2010: The Irish overcome a 21-7 halftime deficit, while holding the Wolverines scoreless in the second half… until Denard Robinson scores from 2 yards out with 27 seconds left to play. Michigan wins 28-24.

*Note: Robinson accounts for 502 total yards and three touchdowns in this, just his second-career start. My I-respect-you-but-loathe-you relationship with him begins.

2011: Notre Dame enters the 4th quarter leading 24-7. I had already sent out some taunting text messages to a few Michigan fans at this point. Of course, Michigan comes roaring back, eventually leading 28-24. That score rings a bell, right? Well, the Irish have time to answer back this time, scoring a go-ahead TD with 1:22 remaining. What do I do? I go crazy. I pick up my daughter, swing her around, scream, cheer, and pose for the following picture (which I have never shared until this day, due to shame).

I thought we finally had this one in the bag. But no. Robinson drives 80 yards to score with TWO seconds remaining. I am stunned. I am angry. My husband is scared.

*Note: Two things in reference to the picture. 1) My daughter, Ava, was clearly not as excited as I was, and 2) I am guilty of one of my own pet peeves… holding up the #1 sign when we obviously weren’t #1. We were 0-2 entering the game. Geesh, Alexis. Alas, I digress.

Now, I’ve never been a math whiz, but let me see….

948 (Denard’s total yards vs. ND) × 7 (touchdowns he’s scored vs. ND) – 4 (the number of points ND has lost by each of the past three match-ups) × 42 (the combined number of seconds it’s taken for Michigan to score THREE game-winning touchdowns in the past three years) = ONE incredibly fired up and vengeful Irish squad this Saturday.

Mark my words. Led by Manti Te-o, an inspired Irish defense is going to do something no group has ever done to Denard Robinson: tie his shoe laces so tight he loses feeling in his feet and can’t run at all.

Just kidding, but they are going to get some stops. Robinson doesn’t have the protection up front he’s had in recent years. Plus, the Irish frontmen appear to be the best they’ve been in a while. I believe that this go-round is going to be very different.

The old saying goes, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Well, I am a woman scorned by Robinson & the Wolverines. I hope the Fighting Irish have the same mentality come 7:30pm this Saturday. Better yet, I hope Brian Kelly is drilling it into their brains all week long!

In closing, I want to know who YOU are rooting for in this matchup. This question applies to EVERYONE. I’m always curious about which team outsiders (especially fans of Big Ten teams) tend to root for in this long-standing rivalry. Or in other words, which team you hate less. 😉

Tim Tebow: Love Him or Hate Him?

It’s kind of hard to escape the Tebow-mania these days. I’m okay with it because I like the guy. However those who don’t, have basically been left with nowhere to hide from the Tebow tidal wave.

It’s pretty easy to see why people like him. Not only is he an underdog who continues to prove his critics wrong, but he’s a class act.   After each “miraculous” victory the Broncos have pulled off this season, Tebow is quick to pass the accolades he receives on to his teammates, as he should. ONE man surely cannot win a football game by himself. That being said, one man can make a football team believe in itself. Tim Tebow has a knack for that. Not only have his teammates bought in, so has his city, organization (Buh-bye, Orton!), football fans across the country, and even people who aren’t typically football fans at all.

So yes, we all understand why he’s well-liked. The thing I struggle with, however, is why so many people hate him. Just last night I walked up to a conversation in which the first comment heard was, “I hope Tim Tebow dies in his sleep.”

My ticket to enter the conversation. Really?

Through the ensuing dialogue, I learned some of their (yes, multiple people) reasons for the hatred for the Broncos quarterback were as follows:

“He’s too much of a Jesus Freak.”

“He’s a virgin”

“He talked a bunch of crap about Ohio State when they played in the National Championship.”

Another statement was that Tebow acts like God loves him more and that’s why he wins, like he’s just praying to win the game. That’s funny, I didn’t know there was an app that deciphers Tim Tebow’s prayers! (Darn that, Apple. They think of EVERYTHING!)

When it comes to the status of Tebow’s V-Card, I don’t know or care to know. However, I have to wonder if he has chosen abstinence, is that reason to hate him? Would people prefer him to be like Kobe, Tiger, Magic, Michael, and the rest of the professional athletes that sleep with countless numbers of women, despite the fact that in most cases they are married?

How about the argument that Tebow is shoving his religion down everyone’s throats because he’s constantly praying, aka “Tebowing.”

I totally get this one. I feel the same way about dancing. Dancing, as in victory dances in the end zone. Those jerks need to stop shoving their dancing down my throat!! Especially those Atlanta Falcons, they’ve been doing The Dirty Bird for well over a decade and every time I see it I feel a tremendous amount of pressure to get up and do it myself. It makes me feel uncomfortable.

End sarcasm. Point taken?

Speaking of Falcons, their ex comes to mind… Michael Vick. We all know what he did. He’s disgusting. Yet, through his whole dog-fighting controversy, prison stay, and return to the league, everyone seems to be tolerating him quite nicely. It’s one of those “his transgressions off-the-field aside” deals. We can put something like that aside but not what Tebow does? Instead, he’s hated for it. Which leads me to ask, why are we more tolerant of a man like Michael Vick, who has illustrated quite vividly his lack of care or compassion for living things? Yet some people are outraged at the sight of Tim Tebow praying? I’m sorry, I didn’t know praying ever hurt anyone or anything!

As far as his religion goes, he’s entitled to his own beliefs. Typically Tebow is seen pointing toward Heaven after finishing a prayer or celebrating a big play or win, not to the camera/viewers. He’s not telling anyone else they have to pray with him or believe what he believes. Although you have to admit, it sure seems to be working! 🙂

Here’s the thing, whether or not you’re a Christian, can you not respect a disciplined man who believes strongly in something and lives his life according to that belief?

Now, I’m not even going to get into it with all of those who still claim Tebow “sucks” as a player. He wins. Football is a team sport and last time I checked, success in competitive sports was determined by wins and losses, not stats, throwing motion, or style. Capiche?

So now I’m curious. How do you feel about Tim Tebow? We’re talking as a person. Steelers fans, I know he’s probably not your favorite player at the moment, but that’s a different discussion for a different day (orrrr never 😉 ).

Do you love Tim Tebow? Do you hate him? Why?

One thing’s for sure, it seems that just about everyone has an opinion of him. Another fact? More people were interested in watching Tebow & the Broncos take on Big Ben & the Steelers in the opening round of playoffs (nearly 42 million) than watching the BCS National Championship game this year (24.2 million). 

Mama Ain’t Rolling with the Tide

The top safety coming out of high school this year made his verbal commitment live this week after the Under Armour All-America game. His top choices: Alabama and LSU.

Well, a decision he did make… and it was not to the liking of his mother.

Not that my opinion matters here… but WHAT ARE YOU THINKING, KID?! Hasn’t anyone ever told you? IF MAMA AIN’T HAPPY, AIN’T NOBODY HAPPY!

But seriously, she is SERIOUSLY not happy. I kind of feel bad for this poor soul because here’s the thing, there’s no escaping your own mother. The genetic code is one of the few bonds that can never be broken (though many wish it could, I’m sure). Does he realize that he’s not only going to have to deal with an angry WOMAN for the next two years at least, but worse yet, an angry MOTHER?! I could be wrong, but it doesn’t seem to me that she’ll be cheering “Roll Tide, Roll” any time soon.

Landon Collins, you’ve officially put yourself in a lose-lose situation. Congratulations.

The way I see it, Mr. Collins has two options. This was only a VERBAL commitment. Verbal commitments mean about as much as an apology from Jerry Sandusky. Just ask Urban Meyer’s first recruiting class at Ohio State. Therefore, Collins could always change his mind and go the way of the Tiger. Of course, if he were to do so he might as well wear a shirt saying, “She wipes for me too” during the announcement. He would never hear the end of it!

The other option is clearly to stick with his original decision of Alabama, which would entail the wrath of Mama Collins for an undetermined amount of time. Sounds painful.

Either way, the damage has been done. Landon Collins has made his bed, and his mother ain’t tucking him in no more!

I’m interested in seeing how this decision unfolds for this young man. Did he make a mistake? I can hear “I told you so” and “You should have listened to me” coming from New Orleans already. Call me crazy, but I don’t think Landon’s mother is finished trying to persuade her son just yet.

But let’s be honest, ladies. The men in our life may beg to differ, but WE know that behind every smart and successful man, there’s usually a woman directing the calls, mothers included. No? 😉

Tim vs. Tom: A Mile-High Holiday Treat

Somewhere in the North Pole, there is a bum with a white beard and a dirty red suit that is out of a job. The Claus-man has lost his sweet gig to a large man wearing blue and orange. The eight tiny reindeer have been replaced as well, by ten big dudes wearing tight pants and helmets.

Sorry, Santa. Tim Tebow has stolen your thunder this holiday season and he’s spreading football cheer to just about everyone these days. Even some of us ill-fated Browns fans have (hopefully) found an underdog to latch onto this-coming postseason in Tebow and the Broncos. Whether you’re tired of hearing the Tebow-hoopla or not, I just can’t get enough of a good thing. Of course I wrote that story a month ago, so I’ll cool my Tebow jets for a few minutes.

Besides, before Tim can hit the lucky number seven (straight victories) and bring his Broncos one step closer to a playoff berth, he must slap a big “L” in the New England Patriots’ column; or rather, the loss column of proven-veteran Tom Brady.

Now let me just get this out there. Brady’s hair is a huge distraction for me. Even his sparkling blue eyes and stellar bone structure are rendered powerless to this female due to his terrible tresses. Let alone the words that come out of his mouth during a press conference. It’s like he’s on mute while I watch him speak because all I can think is, “Wow, that’s some bad hair.” (View evidence below)

Okay, I know the last couple aren’t him, but one has to wonder who his style icons have been over the years. Moving on…

Bad mop or not, Brady is a pretty sick quarterback, and he’s still not as big of a tool as the yeti in Pittsburgh. With the heated exchange between himself and his offensive coordinator last week aside, news of Tom and the Patriots has been fairly skim this season, despite their solid 10-3 record (hard to believe now that one of those losses was to Buffalo!). Brady is second in the league in passing yards and New England is third in the NFL in points scored per game with 30.5.

No wonder nearly everyone besides Patriots fans dislike the guy. Some even use the word hate. See the video below.

When you have haters under the age of 10, you know you’ve made it. 🙂

Well, Tom Brady and the Pats are hoping to make some grown men cry in Denver this weekend, just like they did to the scorned little fella above.

However, it won’t be easy. Denver is 7-1 with #15 at the reigns, and although Tebow’s game is sometimes hard to watch for the first three and a half quarters, I’d argue that there is not a better final-drive player in the league currently.

But will the Bronco’s mid-level defense keep it close enough for Tebow to take over in the fourth? Denver has not faced an offense like New England’s yet. Brady and the Patriots have been posting and average of 424 total yards per game, with 75% of those yards coming compliments of the six-time Pro-Bowler’s arm.

Of course the Patriots’ D is nothing more than average either, and they face a unique (to the NFL) Broncos’ offense which leads the league in rushing. Tebow makes the option work, and more importantly, Tebow makes his teammates believe they can win.

Yes, the New England name may be intimidating, and that reputation is deserved in my opinion. But one’s got to wonder… who should be more afraid heading into Sunday’s game? If I’m a Patriot… I’m a bit concerned about this Tebow character. Not to mention the rest of the Broncos, who have won five of the last seven meetings with NE, and the city of Denver that will no-doubt be going CRAZY for this game. There is something scary about a team that believes in itself as much as the Tebow-led Broncos do. You never know what they’re capable of.

There is also something refreshing about a football player who is clearly not out to make any fashion statements with his hairstyles. 

In closing, I’d like to leave you with a little jingle compliments of the man who was formally one of the Tebow’s biggest critics. Yes, Merril Hoge has been reformed. This is the same guy who called Tebow starting for Denver this season “absurd,” while stating, “It’s embarrassing to think the Broncos could win with Tebow!”

Open mouth, insert foot, Hoge!

If this can happen, just about anything is possible come Sunday!

***Play Video Below***

THE Ohio State University has THE Urban Meyer… WE GET IT.

Urban Meyer….urban meyer…..URBAN MEYER….uRbAn MeYeR…..

Nabru Reyem.

No matter how it’s spelled out it still sounds the same to me: like that of nails across a chalkboard; the screech of my alarm clock; Jim Carrey’s “most annoying sound in the world” from Dumb & Dumber. Or maybe it’s more like the less intense, but equally-aggravating sound of my dog loudly lapping water out of his dish, or the click-click-click I’ve heard when trying to start a car with a dead battery. Let’s just say it’s something like any of the above.

It hasn’t been easy growing up in Ohio while being anti-Ohio State. Just when I thought things were looking up, URBAN MEYER enters the scene.

The worst part about it is that I can’t get away from it. The television, the radio, passers-by in the grocery store, and FACEBOOK. Facebook is the worst! I’m not going to go count, but there have easily been hundreds of posts by my friends in the past few days about this man. Of course that includes a couple multiple offenders with 10+ posts about him (calm down, please). Even a relaxing trip to the dry sauna after a recent workout was interrupted by Urb’ Talk. I can’t even sweat in peace!

I know, I know. I live in OHIO…. COLUMBUS, OHIO…. what do I expect, right? Well, let me tell you… I’ve recently come to the conclusion that all the rain we’ve had here in Columbus the past few days is not rainwater. It’s actually the Urban Meyer-induced saliva of the collective Buckeye Nation pouring down upon us all… and it’s disgusting. I did not expect this.

Now to all of you Buckeyes fans whom I’ve offended and are now muttering,”she’s just jealous” to yourselves, I say this: Darn right, I’m jealous! I wanted Urban Meyer for Notre Dame back in the 2005 when the Irish kicked Ty Willingham to the curb! Meyer is fantastic. He’s a winner, and a heck of a recruiter. Meyer was recruiting talent in Florida long before he actually coached there. He’ll be drawing that Floridian talent to Ohio faster than his hiring made Buckeyes fans forget they just lost to Michigan. Meyer’s resume speaks volumes about what he can do to a program. Let alone a program like Ohio State’s that is typically top-ten anyway.

That being said, I’m curious about how long all my neighbors here in the cap city will be able to enjoy the fruits of Urban’s labor. While his résumé definitely has the goods in terms of wins, it also shows that Meyer might be a bit fickle. Not to be confused with Luke Fickell, who has invested over 14 years in the OSU program, yet most fans couldn’t care less about.

Urban Meyer’s first head coaching position was at Bowling Green State University (my alma mater!). Meyer, who is also known as “Urban Legend” around Bowling Green, went 17-6 for the Falcons. After assuring BG fans he wasn’t going anywhere, he was off to Utah. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. Bigger school, more money, another rung higher on the coaching ladder. Still, don’t say something and go back on your word (not to be salty or anything ;)). However, back to Utah. Meyer posted a 22-2 record over two seasons for the Utes. Yet, even with the perfect 12-0 tally he posted in his second season there, he didn’t have a shot at a national championship.  That’s probably why there was a clause placed in his contract extension with Utah after his first season. The clause allowed Meyer to leave Utah without penalty if he were hired at either Michigan, Ohio State, or Notre Dame. Well, he went to Florida anyway. At UF, Meyer won two Southeastern Conference championships and two national championships. Following a dismal 8 -5 2010 season with the Gators, Meyer resigned citing health concerns and the desire to spend more time with his family.

This season Meyer took on a role at ESPN as a college football analyst. As with most things he does, Urban did a great job. In a statement released early in November, Meyer said, “I am very happy with my role at ESPN. I have no plans to return to coaching at this time.” He followed that up with a statement late last week in which he insisted, ‎”I have not been offered any job nor is there a deal in place. I plan on spending Thanksgiving with my family and will not comment on this any further.”

I know coaches lie. Not just to the media, but to fans, players, recruits, and pretty much just about everyone else at that level. One would think, however, that if Ohio State was trying to restore its image in college football it might go with a coach with a little more credibility behind his words. I’m sure Meyer’s speech after he accepted the position and his reference to Ohio State being his “dream job” gave Buckeyes fans warm fuzzies and a sense of security. Unfortunately, this is not the only destination he’s referred to with that term. In 2008, Urban told a Florida radio show that Notre Dame is “still my dream job; that hasn’t changed.” He’s said that of Notre Dame multiple times. All I’m saying is that I don’t want to see any tears or melt downs due to disbelief if Meyer scoots out of Columbus before you all expect him to. Expecting him to stay here and be that storied coach of the next decade or so that you all are imagining is about as logical as expecting Kim Kardashian’s next marriage to last just as long. Especially when you know that he’s already mentioned other dream destinations.

Now about all those pesky Buckeyes making headlines for breaking laws and violating NCAA rules. Will Urban Meyer fix that scene too? According to The Orlando Sentinel, 25 of Meyer’s players were arrested a total of 31 times during his six years with the Gators. You be the judge.

Of course, if this relationship is short-lived, I know Ohio State fans will be okay. These fans have shown they have a short memory; or selective, rather. “What loss to Michigan?” one might ask. I forgot, only the seven Buckeye victories before this season actually count, right? Nevermind the fact that in this rivalry it is Michigan that owns the longest win streak (9), or that Michigan also holds the largest margin of victory (86-0), and Michigan also leads the series by 15 victories.

Remember that Jim Tressel guy? Wonder where he is these days, not that anyone cares. I bet the people of Columbus could make a record-breaking donation to a second-hand sweatervest store, if one existed. It’s not like anyone would be caught dead in one of those here. They are SO 2002.

Oh wait, I have an even better one! Remember Maurice Clarett? If I had a dollar for every time an Ohio State fan gloated about Clarett in 2002… I would have a lot of dollars! Urban Meyer is clearly on a completely different plane than Clarett, but Buckeyes fans, learn a lesson from this one. Don’t become that fan that buys into a figure so much you’d sell your grandma if you knew it meant keeping him around. Chances are he wouldn’t do the same for you, or your school.

Now that Negative Nancy and Jealous Janet have said what they needed to say, I will be the bigger person here ;). Team loyalties aside and simply as a football fan, I’m excited for this. The addition of Meyer to the Big Ten is exactly what it needed. He’s raising the bar higher for the conference. He raises the bar for coaches in college football, period. But let’s be honest, I’m not the only one tired of the SEC running the show!

As far as the NCAA violations and players in trouble are concerned, again, as a football fan, I HOPE that Urban puts an end to it. College football has been muddied by scandals and drama, especially this season. It takes away from the sport and it takes the attention away from the players and coaches who deserve it. I’m also tired of hearing “we didn’t have so-and-so” as an excuse for losing. If you recruit a stud you get all the things that come with him. If you recruit a thug you get everything that comes with him too. Own it both ways.

Soon enough, we will all see what kind of players Urban Meyer brings to Columbus. I’m as interested as the next person. Intrigued, even. Good job, Ohio State. You certainly have our attention.

For the rest of us football fans outside the Ohio State bubble, we must remember, a little competition never hurt anybody! After all, you’ve got to beat the best to be the best.

In closing, I’d like to give a shout out to some scarlet and gray Bucks whom I will ALWAYS cheer for (just to clarify, these Bucks are the kind with antlers). My high school, Buckeye Central, will play for a state championship this weekend!! GO GET ‘EM BOYS!! 🙂

Poultry, Pigskin, and Good Ol’ Sibling Rivalry… Yes, Please!

Ah, Thanksgiving. A day for family and food. Toss in a competitive board game or a pick-up game of backyard football and you have all the makings of a great American holiday.

Oh, if it were only that simple. After catching up and reflecting on the year passed, the games begin… and out come the horns. Backyard football was never a favorite option among my family, my sisters in particular. We used to play Sequence, a strategic board-and-card game. Combating a relentless turkey hangover, we’d sit, and we’d battle. Dignity, pride and bragging rights on the line. Intense. Well, it was for us! But not compared to the Thanksgiving Day competition that one particular family has planned this year. Their backyard Turkey Bowl will include over 70,000 screaming fans, grown men chasing each other like hungry neanderthals, and a spot in the history books.

The subjects of this Turkey-Day extravaganza: John and Jim Harbaugh, the first brothers to be NFL head coaches. Sons of long-time college football coach, Jack Harbaugh, these two have continued the football bloodline. While John and Jim were growing up, the Harbaugh family moved 12 times as Jack took new coaching jobs. As you can imagine, the brothers grew very close. Of course with that statistic, they didn’t have much of a choice BUT to be friends! After high school both Harbaugh boys played college ball, John as a defensive back at Miami University (Ohio), and Jim as a quarterback at the University of Michigan. Jim continued playing in the NFL where his career spanned from 1987-2001.

With football resumes like that, the competition has probably been simmering between these two turkeys since their births (just one year and three months apart)! I should point out, I use the term “turkey” here with no disrespect :). I am certain, however, that both men have made each other better at both playing and coaching football throughout the years. John was very supportive of Jim’s decision to take the San Fran job. “He loves competing at the highest level, and the NFL’s the highest level of football. […] he’s built for the job and I think he’s the right guy for the job,” the eldest Harbaugh said of his brother earlier this year.

The other brothers who can closest relate to the Harbaughs’ situation today are Rex and Rob Ryan. Rex, the head coach of the New York Jets, and twin Rob, a defensive coordinator now with the Dallas Cowboys, tend to handle their sibling rivalry a little less gracefully. Basically, they (especially Rex) use press conferences to bicker with each other like two elementary-age girls who have unfortunately been given microphones. Their nit-picking knows no boundaries. Rex has even gone far enough to dress up as Rob for a press conference before the Jets took on Rob’s then-team, the Browns. Maybe that’s why Rob felt it acceptable to openly address Rex’s foot fetish with the media? Hard telling.

Fortunately, the Harbaughs have steered clear of the Ryan brothers’ path of mutual humiliation thus far. Of course, they haven’t played each other just yet. When asked of a face-off with Jim shortly after he was hired in January, John said, “It’ll be fun (to face each other). It’s not going to be new for us. We’ve been doing it for quite a long time. We shared the same bedroom for 18 years, so we’ve been wrestling around for quite a long time. It’ll be fun to get back at it in this way, whenever that comes up.”

Well, it’s finally come up. Jim’s squad made the three-time zone leap to Baltimore yesterday, which makes for a quick game-day turn around in this short week. Jim has this to say on the long trek to the east coast,”I definitely think it was very considerate of the NFL to reunite the brothers on Thanksgiving. I think that’s going to be very difficult for our team. There’s no question that we drew the short end of the straw on this one.”

Sibling translation: “NOT FAIR!” 😉

“Harbowl” aside, I’m loving this matchup. The Ravens are perched atop the AFC North with a 7-3 record, while the rookie, Harbaugh, has led his 49ers to a 9-1 tally. That’s impressive, as is. It’s even more impressive considering that they haven’t had a winning season in 8 years!

My guess is that this will be close and low-scoring. Both squads boast impressive defensive units, with the Ravens holding a slight edge. Turnovers will prove costly and I wouldn’t be surprised if this comes down to special teams play.

My pick? I’m going to go with Jim & the Niners!! While John has the coaching experience in the NFL, Jim has 15 years as a player, which definitely helps. Jim is a little more animated, and I love his energy and intensity. I think the 49ers will play with the same urgency shown by their coach. San Francisco gets the victory and evens up the head-to-head record with Baltimore at 2-2!

Another interesting tidbit to this story line is that Jim and John’s parents, Jack and Jackie, will mark their 50th wedding anniversary on Friday. How’s that for two major milestones in two days?! Not too shabby, Harbaugh Family!

Tebow: The Newest Hunk/Hero (and those that came before him)!

Last week, I ended my post with a series of questions concerning Joe Paterno, including whether the Penn State staple would be absent from the sidelines this past Saturday. The answer? Yes. And believe it or not, the sun rose again on Sunday. I admit, I was as intrigued as the next person by the scandal (obviously). However, I must be honest when I say I would rather discuss a possible collaboration of Justin Bieber and the Jonas Brothers before having one more conversation that includes “Paterno”, “Penn State”, or “Jerry Sandusky”. Thank you, ESPN, and every other news outlet (including myself) for covering this earth-shattering story around the clock. Curtains on this subject.

Moving on… I would like to steer away from the hard news and seriousness of last week’s post and focus on something a little more intriguing. This week’s story will be what the folks in the news industry refer to as fluff. In other words, we’re going to talk about the hunks of football because it makes us feel good. 🙂

(Men who follow this blog, I will not be offended if you veer away now.)

Today’s entry will not only be about the hotties, per se, but also the other just-plain-nice-guys that we find ourselves rooting for simply because they’re so darn sweet.

Let’s start with the most-talked about quarterback in the league, Mr. Tim Tebow. Tonight, Tebow had the perfect stage to continue his turn-around of the Bronco’s season, and another opportunity to shake his critics. Denver had posted a 1-4 record when Tebow was finally given the reigns against Miami in week 7. Now? They are 5-5, only a half-game back in their division, and basically they’re the hottest thing since leg warmers and knee-high boots. Didn’t know that was hot? Well, it is. Anyway, Tebow has continued to make things happen HIS way. Although, I will concede that his throwing motion doesn’t look half as good as his physical appearance. He entered this game with a 44.8 completion percentage while averaging 86.4 passing yards per game. That’s awful. However, if a quarterback can rush for the amount of yards that he’s able to each game, while winning four out of five outings, I don’t care if he passes the football underhand… I’d take it!

Next we’ll move on to the Tebow critics. Merril Hoge, aka Scrooge, and a number of other ESPN and NFL analysts can BACK OFF! Whether they like it or not, this not-so-tiny Tim is writing his own holiday story. Tebow is finding a way to win, albeit ugly at times. But that’s better than losing ugly. Ahem… BROWNS! And I bet you Colts fans would prefer ten ugly wins to the even uglier goose egg you have in your win column at the moment. Am I right?

Tebow

Bottom line is this: I’ve never cared about Tim Tebow’s career any more than I cared about the calorie content in the peanut butter pie I ate last night (which is not at all if you were wondering – it was worth it!). Now that his college-stud days are over, I find myself rooting for the guy just because I feel like people want to see him fail. Even when he wins he gets criticized more than most losing quarterbacks of the week! He’s a good guy. He stands up for what he believes in. Shouldn’t we want and will a guy like him to succeed? Well, thanks to all of his nay-sayers, Tebow has a new fan in me. The phrase, “keep hating, you’re making me famous” isn’t reserved just for teenage girls on Facebook anymore, right Tim?

Next hottie? Kurt Warner. THIS one goes out to my mother :). Of course she would say she likes him because he’s such a nice guy, but let’s be honest, Mom, he’s not too hard on the eyes either. My mom watched a special on Warner a couple of years ago and heard his story. Let me just say, she was pretty taken by the guy! Click here to hear his story for yourself. There have been SEVERAL different occasions since then in which she has referenced her “favorite” quarterback. Each of those times (at least the discussions she has had around me), she’s asked,

Warner

“What’s his name again? You know, the quarterback that Annette (her friend) and I like?”

“Kurt Warner?” I offer.

“Yeah, that’s it! Kurt Warner! ”

So, she may not know his name, but he IS her favorite! I can already tell you that if he were still playing, she would be rooting for him, no questions asked…. as soon as she’d realize he’s the one on the field.

Quinn

The next stud on the list just can’t go without mentioning. Yes, I have already discussed him on here, and yes, I already receive crap about this guy too: Brady Quinn. You may have gathered from previous posts that I’m a Notre Dame fan. During my college days Quinn led the Irish to some of the best seasons I can remember. He holds 36 records at Notre Dame and won the Maxwell Award his senior year. The Maxwell Trophy, though not as prestigious as the Heisman Trophy, is given to the best player in the country according to a panel of NCAA head coaches and members of the sports media. In other words, he is not terrible, and no, I do not like him just because of his looks… although they surely don’t hurt. 🙂

Notice how I’m already defending my bias for this quarterback. Let me tell you exactly why, and exactly why I will admit, yes, the guy also wins points with me because he’s incredibly good-looking. It’s because with most of the men out there, he LOSES points because he’s incredibly good-looking! In other words, they’re jealous. The same goes for Tim Tebow. He’s an attractive, positive, and faith-driven man yet sadly enough, a lot of negative people out there don’t like that. You know what they say… misery loves company!

Ultimately ladies, in your own football world you can like (or dislike) anyone for whatever reason you choose. If you don’t have one already, your assignment is to select your favorite player. Have no shame. Think he looks good in his tight pants? Perfect! Think he’s a nice guy and deserves some support? That works too! Try to make it a point to either watch him play this weekend, or at least see how he did afterwards.

In closing, we’re going to take a poll. Who’s the most attractive guy in the football? If your favorite is not listed, add him in the “other” line. Yes, coaches are allowed too. However, as mentioned before, I’d appreciate it if you could all show some restraint and leave Joe Paterno out of this.

😉

Joe Pa’s Faux Pas

Well, Kim Kardashian, you’ve had a full week in the headlines, compliments of your divorce drama. Fortunately (or unfortunately?) for you, there’s a new household name in the limelight this week: Joe Paterno. No, he doesn’t have his own fragrance, clothing line, or…. ahem…. tape…. but he does have a few other things that are kind of a big deal: the most wins (409) of any coach in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-A college football), a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame, and most importantly, the respect and love of thousands of people across the country. At least he did up until this week.

Amidst recent allegations concerning a former staff member of Paterno, Jerry Sandusky, good ol’ Joe Pa has found himself in a situation that makes Kim K’s latest news seem EVEN less important (is it possible?!). Even Jim Tressel’s “you should have known better”-moment fades instantaneously in the shadow of this doozie. Yes, it’s that bad.

Sandusky, a former player of Paterno, served as an assistant coach at Penn State from 1969 until his retirement in 1999 (defensive coordinator from ’77-’99). He was indicted on 40 counts of sexual abuse involving eight boys over a span of 15 years. What does this have to do with Paterno? According to reports, allegations of sexual abuse date back to as early as 1994. However in 2002, current assistant coach Mike McQueary (who was a graduate assistant at the time) witnessed Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in the team’s locker room shower. I’m still wondering why McQueary didn’t do something to stop it in that very moment? He, did however, tell Paterno about it the next day. The head coach apparently fulfilled his “legal requirement” by reporting the incident to university administrators, despite not relaying the information he had to law enforcement.

Hold up. 2002?….. 2002?! This happened almost a decade ago, and according to ESPN.com, Sandusky still had access to Penn State facilities, including the weight room, as recently as last week! SO many people dropped the ball here it’s hard to know exactly where to start. Bottom line is, these ADULTS had an obligation to the poor children that have been victimized by this Sandusky creep. Not to mention, hundreds of other young children who have been left in the same danger since Penn State officials chose to turn a blind eye to Sandusky’s actions. They knowingly allowed a sexual predator to walk free and even continued allowing him access to the facilities where these crimes took place. Yeah, yeah…. I know these are just allegations at this point, but COME ON! Joe Paterno is just one of many competent adults that should have done more. Believe me, I think the others are just as much to blame, if not more. But Joe? He’s the FACE of the University. He is Penn State! You would think a man in his position, who has walked a straight line all these years (only one minor NCAA violation in 62 seasons at Penn State), would recognize the magnitude of this situation.

Then again, maybe he did. Maybe he knew precisely the impact a scandal like this could have on his beloved University.

A few years ago I spent three days in State College, Pennsylvania (home to Penn State University), while playing in a volleyball tournament there. My teammates and our families explored the quaint little college town as much as our schedule allowed during our visit. I loved it. When I heard the news of this story however, I thought back to a conversation my parents had with a State College local about Joe Paterno during our trip. The man said every once in a while, he’d see Paterno cruising around town in his “old” car. He said that Paterno, a very modest man, (whom we know makes over half a million dollars a year, a modest salary for a coach of his stature) “pours” his money right back into the University and the community. This man was clearly proud of his coach, as he should have been. Joe Paterno’s loyalty to Penn State University is without question.

He has proven his loyalty for decades. In 1969, he turned down the head coach position for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He turned down the New York Giants multiple times. Add to the list the University of Michigan. He actually accepted an offer by the New England Patriots at one point, only to back out of it three weeks later to return to Penn State. He’s never been about the money. He’s always been about Penn State.

That considered, was it his loyalty to the University that held Joe back from sharing his knowledge with law enforcement? Could he not bear the thought of his word, his decision to step forward, bringing shame to his darling, Penn State? I really don’t think it was his loyalty to Sandusky. One can only imagine the moral dilemma this man has been faced with, and probably burdened by all these years.

Ultimately, Joe decided to protect his school and his program rather than the children involved. He had a responsibility as an adult and a role model to do the right thing. In this case, it was the head coach (along with other school administrators) that fumbled.

Still, Penn State students and fans stand behind their coach. The video below was taken last night as Joe Pa leaned out his front door to thank the hundreds of supporters who had gathered at his residence.

This whole situation is incredibly sad. My heart hurts for the victims and their families, first and foremost. That being said, it’s a sad time for the State College community, and the sports community in general. Another one of the greats now has a tarnished story. It’s always a sad realization when you learn that someone you’ve held up so high isn’t as admirable as you once thought he or she was.

The Nittany Lions will take the field some time before noon this Saturday, hosting the newest member of the Big Ten, No. 19 Nebraska. For the first time since 1950, will Paterno be absent?

What do you think about this situation? Is the heat Paterno is under jusitfied? If so, what consequences should he face?