Wednesday, 23 October 2013 08:38

Bullying In High School Football. Really?

[caption id="attachment_9072" align="alignright" width="300"]bullying - football - texas - high school Aledo High School Coach Accused Of Bullying
Source:[/caption] Bullying is a topic that has gained a lot, but not enough, attention in this country.  Unfortunately, it is being brought up this week because of a parent sending an email accusing a football coach of bullying.  I first heard about this on my local news because this game took place between Aledo High School and Western Hills High School of Fort Worth.  This is very close to home so the coverage has been near constant and every moment of hearing this news drives my blood pressure higher and higher. If you do not know the background on the story let me fill you in a bit.  High School football in Texas is huge.  Football in Texas is huge, bigger than I ever could have imagined before moving down here.  There is a very big feel for community and people defend their communities to the point of fault in some instances.  This past weekend the Aledo football team beat Western Hills 91-0.  On the surface that sounds like a team running up the score to embarrass another team.  As a matter of fact the first thing I did was laugh and thought:  Man, somebody got their ass handed to them.  That was it.  Nothing about bullying or running up the score.  Just a good old-fashioned ass kicking. As it turns out that wasn't just what it was.  A parent sent an email in to complain that the Aledo High School football coach was bullying.  My next reaction:  REALLY!?!?!  Bullying?  Give me a break.  Then it got even worse.  The Aledo coach played his starters for less than 2 dozen plays.  He took his starting running back out after 6 carries, 4 of which went for touchdowns.  He told his punt team to fair catch every punt after the first two punts were returned for touchdowns.  More evidence to the fact that he was not running up the score and certainly not bullying was that he had the third string players in the game playing positions for which they were not accustomed to.  For example, he may have played his 3rd string guard as a cornerback.  When I heard that I thought that was worse than actually scoring 91-0 because now you were just beating them no matter what they did. So this bullying thing got me going and then Kevin sent Jeff and I an email about it and my blood pressure began climbing again.  This parent decided to send an email rather than teach his son.  He chose to place blame on somebody else, as is what occurs in this country on a second by second basis, rather than speak to the coach of his son's team about how to get better.  It is always somebody else's fault.  Now let us go one step further and think about what this parent has done.  He is now taking up the resources of the school to investigate because of the formal complaint, even as ridiculous as this is. [caption id="attachment_9073" align="alignright" width="300"]bullying - football - texas - high school Can A Score of 91-0 Indicate That Bullying Occurred?
Source: WFTV[/caption] His son has to now live with the knowledge that his father sent this email and essentially made his son a wimp in front of the rest of the team and the school.  We all now how high school can be and being singled out for anything can make a kid uncomfortable.  As a matter of fact in an indirect way the father may have set his son up for actual bullying when the other students start calling him names because of this. I have a 7-year-old step-son and I take advantage of every moment, successful or unsuccessful, to teach.  Life is hard and you have to work even harder to be successful.  That is the lesson this father should have taught his son instead of the rallying cry of bullying.  Working in a sales position I understand getting your ass kicked on a daily basis and losing more than winning.  I could lose an account because I do not pitch well and do not match up with the client's needs.  I could lose an account because the person I was up against was better prepared than I was and sold his/her product better than I did.  This happens.  Happens daily, but instead of running into the General Manager that I lost the account because the client was this or the other person was that I let them know that I was not prepared as well as I needed to be or that I pitched the wrong solution to their problem. It happens and I learn from it.  I take this same approach to triathlon.  I am not the fastest but every training session and every race teaches a lesson so that I can continue to get better and better.  I think this is called responsibility, but maybe I'm wrong. Bullying is a very serious topic and as serious as football is in this country it is not on the same level as bullying and as a matter of fact it is a game.  A game that parents and coaches could use as a way to teach but to liken it to bullying is absurd.  There are kids in this country that commit suicide because of bullying and while 91-0 is an ass kicking I highly doubt that the kid on the losing team was thinking to themselves that it was bullying to the extent that we have heard about.

Do You Put This 91-0 Football Game On The Same Level As Bullying?

Published in Uncategorized
  [caption id="attachment_9009" align="alignright" width="259"]the system - college football - review - book The System covers college football from rape to boosters and everything in between,[/caption] The System came to my knowledge while reading the MMQB on Sports Illustrated by Peter King.  From the moment I read the brief description I knew this book was going to be purchased and that I would gobble it up in days not months like some books.  I could not have been more correct about my assumption.  At one point I tweeted that I could not stop reading the book and would not have if driving and working didn't get in the way.  I could be found eating my dinner with one hand and flipping the pages on the Kindle app on my iPhone with the other.  This book was that good. What makes The System so good?  It boils down to one simple thing.  This is not a sugar coat and apologize for the sport of college football.  There are plenty of people who will question why college sports, in particular football, get so much attention and have budgets that are skewed and this book answers those questions.  College football helps drive revenue that funds all sorts of different departments and teams at institutions of higher education.  In America we are consumed with all things football and it is not just professional football, and in Texas it doesn't even end at the college level but goes as far back as middle school.  It seems out of control but in the grand scheme of things football unites a community even more than people think. Under these assumptions I dove into the book and was not disappointed.  The book, written by Armen Keteyian and Jeff Benedict, takes you from the process of Mike Leach getting fired at Texas Tech to his hiring at Washington State University.  It cover the process of The Process, better known as the way the University of Alabama and Nick Saban run their football program. When the authors delve into the dollars of college footballs the numbers are astronomical and seem as if they should be discussing the lottery winnings as opposed to the cost of updating a stadium.  For example, the cost of refurbishing the stadium in Pullman, WA (you read that right Pullman, WA) was $65 Million (you read that right too.)  Why?  In order to lure top high school prospects and field a competitive team in the Pac-12 the AD made a decision that updated facilities along with a top notch coach (Mike Leach) would bring in the top recruits. Now, the book is not all unicorns and rainbows about college football.  The authors approach the topic of off the field incidents like professionals and do not sweep it under the rug.  There are chapters devoted to football players at BYU and rape.  How the story evolves and how it is told is gripping.  How the coach and the faculty at BYU deal with these issues and how that leads to the hiring of Bronco Mendenhall as their head coach.  There are pages dedicated to Nick Saban dealing with athletes who are found to have been participating in criminal acts. One might believe that the coaches, ADs and other faculty members turn a blind eye to this type of thing and while that may be true, at the institutions covered by these authors that is certainly not the case. Ever hear of Ezekiel (not the bread) Ansah?  Neither did I before the NFL Draft of 2013.  During that draft we heard little bits and pieces of his life but the books tells how he went from Ghana to being drafted by the Detroit Lions.  His story is not a straight line and has plenty of turns in it, one of which is he did not become a full-time college football player at BYU until his final year.  He also happened to room with a linebacker by the name of Kyle Van Noy who went from a kid that broke a promise to the head coach to making the decision to stay at BYU despite the fact that he could have left and made millions of dollars by being drafted early. If you are a fan of college football or even just a person interested in reading real stories about how decisions are made that go beyond sports then The System is a book for you to purchase.  There may be surprises in this book as you read it but it does more than shock you.  The book opens up your eyes to the BUSINESS that is college football and it certainly goes past the tailgating and Bowl Championship Series (although those negotiations between the BCS and ESPN are covered in this book too.)
Published in Product Reviews
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 11:44

Buffalo Tempeh Potstickers Recipe

Buffalo tempeh potstickers were one of two items I had on my mind for dinner a few days ago, with the other being the savory greek waffles I posted about yesterday.  On Facebook I posted a question about which to make but I knew deep down I was making the waffles first and the buffalo tempeh potstickers on New Year's Day.  It felt like a good way to ring in the New Year with a spicy kickstart. I have long been a fan of buffalo wings and when I decided to become a vegetarian it was the one thing I thought I would miss the most.  In actuality it was because every time I would smell that spicy aroma waft around me my glands would salivate.  Throw in the idea of that creamy blue cheese dressing and it was like a fireworks display in my mouth and I missed that.  That was until I found a buffalo tempeh recipe and the rest is history. Whenever a big football game is on I can be found preparing buffalo tempeh so the notion of buffalo tempeh potstickers was just a way to incorporate them in a different manner.  The beauty of cooking is the ability to be innovative in the kitchen and this combines the all-american buffalo wing with asian influence into a meal that satisfies my vegetarian ways. Next time you have the idea of having buffalo wings (say on Super Bowl Sunday) please remember this post and make some buffalo tempeh potstickers or just keep the tempeh whole (cut it into 8 triangles instead) and make them as buffalo tempeh 'wings.' Here is the recipe:

Buffalo Tempeh Potstickers

Ingredients: 1/3 block (76g) of tempeh (crumbled), 1 tbsp tamari sauce, 1 tbsp Frank's Hot Sauce (or your favorite hot sauce) + 2 Tbsp, 8 Wonton wrappers, 100g Carrots, 100g Celery, 1 Tbsp So Delicious Coconut Milk, 1 tsp Hidden Valley Ranch Dry Mix Servings: 1 Nutritional Information: 432 calories, 60g Carbs, 9g Fat, 26g Protein Direction:

  1. Marinade the crumbled tempeh in the tamari sauce, 1 Tbsp hot sauce and enough water to cover for 2-3 hours.
  2. Start your steamer before you prepare anything.
  3. Remove the tempeh from the refrigerator and pour all the liquid into a pre-heated pan.
  4. As the tempeh cooks cut up a portion of your carrots and celery into a small dice.  Set aside the rest for garnish.
  5. As the liquid reduces add in the remaining 2 Tbsp of hot sauce and allow to reduce fully.
  6. Remove the tempeh from the pan and place in a bowl with the chopped carrots and celery and allow to cool.  Approximately 5 minutes.
  7. Once the tempeh mixture has cooled spoon 1/2 tbsp into each wonton wrapper and seal.  To seal the wonton rub water along the edges and fold in half then press.
  8. Place the buffalo tempeh potstickers into the basket of your steamer.
  9. Once all are made (I ended up with 13 potstickers but the nutritional information is for 8) steam for 5-10 minutes to allow the wrappers to soften.
  10. While the wrappers are softening pre-heat a pan with a little bit of cooking spray and then place the wrappers in after they are done steaming.
  11. The buffalo tempeh potstickers will cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes or until a golden crust is formed.
  12. Serve the potstickers with the yogurt ranch side and extra hot sauce if needed.

These are the perfect finger food for game day or dinner mid-week.  The buffalo tempeh potstickers will provide a nice hint of heat in a small package so make sure to watch how much hot sauce you put on them if you are sensitive to spice. Thank you for reading! [gallery link="file" orderby="rand"]

Published in Lunch Recipes
Monday, 12 November 2012 16:47

Fed Up!

I am fed up with the things I see around me.  Maybe they have been going on for some time now and I'm just noticing because I am not training 20 hours per week or maybe they are just becoming so blatant that it is impossible to ignore anymore.  There were a few things I have read or seen over the past week that have really taken my blood pressure to another level. 1- Let's start out with Lance Armstrong.  I don't hide my feelings toward him and his downfall because I do not believe that there is a place in sport, or outside of sport, for cheaters.  If you cannot do it with your own ability find something else and make every attempt to excel at that but don't resort to cheating.  The uproar over the USADA and UCI decision had somewhat died down and I suppose that Mr. Armstrong felt it appropriate to send out a picture of him laying on his couch with the 7 Yellow jersey's hanging above him. Here is what has me up in arms.  He did not earn those titles cleanly and it feels like he is sticking up his middle finger to USADA/UCI with the jerseys.  As if to say 'hey I have 500 tests and 0 positive results so I'm going to hang onto these here yellow jerseys'  Instead of just walking away and leaving it alone.  What is the point of the picture?  Why send that out?  Why not have that private moment to yourself to reflect on the next step in your life instead of putting it out there for ridicule because that is what is going to come from a picture like this. [caption id="attachment_6723" align="aligncenter" width="300"]lancearmstrong_tourdefrance_yellowjersey_doping Source: Click the link and read the comments[/caption] of course somebody would make up another picture and it may be more appropriate [caption id="attachment_6724" align="aligncenter" width="300"]lancearmstrong_tourdefrance_yellowjersey_doping Source: 9Gag. Just For Fun[/caption] Then today this article came out that says that he has ended his ties to the LiveStrong foundation and resigned from the board. 2- Professional athletes thumping their chest as if they did something spectacular.  These guys get paid to do this stuff so I don't get the look at me now celebrations. There are some good ones out there and I think that you should celebrate the things that you do but do it when it is appropriate.  What is appropriate? A sack in a close game that stops the other team from getting a first down or a touchdown but NOT on every tackle.  You made the tackle....congrats but isn't that what you are getting paid for? Defensive backs waiving their arms after a receiver doesn't make a catch even if they had nothing to do with it.  The ball could be 5 feet over the intended  targets head and these guys are acting as if they just batted down a ball that was destined to be caught.  Give me a break.  That is your job.  That is what the paycheck that comes on a weekly basis is for.  You didn't do anything spectacular and so stop acting like it. This past weekend an offensive player finally put a defensive player  in his place.  The Baltimore Ravens WR Anquan Bolden did the right thing when he pointed to the scoreboard after the Oakland Raiders DB started waiving his arms and talking as if he stopped a play that was determined to change the course of the game.  The score was 48-20 at the time.  What is this guy jawing about?  That he stopped them from scoring 50+ at that point in time?  Seriously? Take a look at this pic and after you are done laughing watch the video: [caption id="attachment_6725" align="aligncenter" width="300"]anquanboldin_baltimoreravens_oaklandraiders_scoreboard Source: Baltimore Sports Report[/caption]
3- And finally, the Christmas stuff.  Can we please eat a little bit of Turkey (or Tofu for us vegetarians) and enjoy the one holiday where we are to give thanks instead of giving a list of items we want to be given to us?  The one holiday that lasts a few hours rather than the birthday celebrations that last weekends.  The one day where it is ok to actually want to celebrate somebody else and thank them for all that they have done? I made a vow to not shop at stores until January 1st, 2013 if I saw a commercial on TV from them celebrating or promoting Christmas.  So far I have seen on from Target and one from Kay Jewelers.  Guess who will not be getting any money from me until then.  I may have only my voice but I will stand by my convictions and not step foot in either of these places, nor am I buying a Lexus (not that this was happening anyway.) So there you have it.  The three things that have gotten me fired up this past weekend and I'm sure there will be plenty more as my triathlon season comes to an end and I will have more time to actually see the things going on around me.

What Has You Fed Up?

Published in Uncategorized
Monday, 05 November 2012 14:52

Luck O' The Rican?

[caption id="attachment_6679" align="alignright" width="276"]notredame_football_fightingirish_southbend Source: iSports Web[/caption] Just WTF does that mean you are saying before you delve into this post......aren't you?  It means that I had the absolute best weekend a person closer to 40 than to 30 can have and have lived a childhood dream. Still haven't the foggiest clue as to what I'm talking about?  Let me fill you in on a weekend that I will never forget and here is my recap of it all. Friday morning I got up early and went to the gym to do some strength and core work before heading to the lake for my usual Friday morning open water swim.  All the while in the gym I am calculating travel time to lake, swim time, travel time to breakfast and then the most important part of it time to airport.  I was heading to Grand Rapids to hang out with Kevin and Jennie and travel to South Bend, Indiana to watch Notre Dame play Pitt.  This was a boyhood dream come true. Let me take you back to when I was a kid living in New York.  Back then, and even today, the Northeast didn't have a big time college football program to follow.  It was desolate and probably how I became a Clemson football fan, but the TV coverage then for me was Big Ten.  Every Saturday on ABC there was the Big Ten playing football with Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and eventually Penn State.  Watching Michigan play Ohio State at the end of the season was always must see TV for me.  Along with those teams I always saw Notre Dame playing because they always had games scheduled against Big Ten opponents.  Watching the sunset over the stadium and having their gold helmets illuminated by the lights left a profound impression on me. When you couple that fact with movies like Rudy and the mystique that was/is Notre Dame then you can understand how going to a game became a lifelong dream of mine.  Attending a game in South Bend is on a list with seeing games played at Cameron Indoor Stadium (Duke University Basketball), Wrigley Field (Cubs Baseball), Mile High Stadium on a Monday night (Denver Broncos Football), Arrowhead Stadium with a late afternoon start (Kansas City Chiefs Football), and Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox baseball) and old Yankee Stadium (New York Yankee baseball.)  I have been to Fenway and old Yankee Stadium so those can be crossed off the list and now was my chance to see Notre Dame football in South Bend with a late afternoon start. I honestly don't recall how Kevin and I began talking about this but once we did and the ball was set in motion there was no stopping it.  I quickly purchased a single seat ticket along with booking a flight.  At that point Notre Dame was only 3-0 and we had no clue that they would end up beating the like of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma and be ranked in the Top 5 nationally along with being in contention for the National Championship.  Once game day drew closer and I knew I was not only going to see a game but see a Top 5 team my excitement was through the roof.  I was fired up and couldn't wait to board that plane. The flight(s) out to Grand Rapids were uneventful and I landed at 5pm.  Kevin, Jennie and I went for pizza that night and headed to bed at a somewhat decent hour as we were going to get up early for the nearly 2 hour drive and pre-game tailgating.  When the alarm went off the next morning I was ready to roll.  A quick shower some breakfast on the road we were.  For those of you that live in the North it was a relatively mild day for you but for me I was freezing.  I had put on compression pants and socks.  A fleece lined running shirt, t-shirt, sweatshirt and jacket to go to the game.  Not to mention my gloves and wool hat. [caption id="attachment_6681" align="alignright" width="300"]notredame_football_fightingirish_southbend Source: Waterford Estate Lodge[/caption] When we got to the tailgate we parked and met Kevin's friends and hung out for a bit.  We decided to go to campus and walk around so that I can get some gifts for Karen and Chico and myself.  The campus was gorgeous and you could feel the buzz in the air that only game day brings.  The students were milling around, getting their tailgating setup and the parents were walking around with their kids and everybody had a smile on their face.  After sometime in the bookstore and getting away with spending barely $100 we headed back to the tailgate.  When game time neared we walked back to campus and that is when it all started. We were walking by right when the marching band was heading into the stadium and the crowd was cheering for them and going nuts.  I was getting swept up in it all but my hands were frozen and I couldn't clap much.  Once inside the stadium we decided that I would try to sit with Kevin and Jennie even though my ticket was in another section (yes, I was one of those.)  With about 5 minutes to go until kick-off everything was great.  Then the owners of the seats showed up and after a little bit of maneuvering we were settled in. Kick-off happened and the first 3 quarters of the game were a disappointment as I could feel Notre Dame losing this game and their opportunity for a National Championship.  That is when it all turned around.  Notre Dame's defense got stingy while their offense decided to start playing.  Pitt's coach/players were not up to the task of beating a top ranked opponent and it all fell apart for them.  So much so that Notre Dame tied the game at 20 and sent it to overtime and this is where the magic happened. Neither team scored on their first possession of OT.  On the second possession, Notre Dame fumbled and Pitt had the chance to win the game.  The Luck O' The Irish stepped in and the Pitt kicker missed and easy field goal attempt that would have won the game.  Onto the third OT the game went.  Pitt got the ball first and did not score. The Irish took over and plodded their way down to the goal line when they finally punched it in and won the game 26-20 in front of 80,000+ fans going berserk.  The stadium was rocking.  The fans were high-fiving and jumping up and down.  It was a miracle win for a storied franchise, but it was more than that. It was an adult living out a childhood dream.  The sunset over the stadium just like I had seen so many times as a kid.  The helmets sparkled in the light of the sun and the bright lights of the evening.  The Notre Dame fight song played all night and in the end the Irish won a game they should have lost.  The fulfillment of a lifetime dream was done and the Irish stood strong at the end. I can't thank Kevin and Jennie enough for letting me crash at their place this weekend and allowing me to go back to my childhood for one afternoon/evening.  It is truly something I will never forget.  Now onto finding when the Broncos play on a Monday night.

What Are Some Of Your Childhood Dreams?

Have You Lived Out A Childhood Dream And Was It Everything You Thought It Would Be?

Published in Uncategorized
Thursday, 19 January 2012 11:44

NFL Championship Sunday Predictions

The NFL Championship games are this weekend and I am on pins and needles.  Outside of triathlon, football is my favorite sport to watch.  There is something about the competition and the investment you make as a fan that gets me fired up. Last week I made my predictions based on food that best represented each time.  I picked 2 games right and picked 2 games wrong.  Pizza won over Bratwurst and Crab Cakes won over Bar-B-Que.  On the other hand Clam Chowder pummeled the omelet and Cioppino had a major comeback over Jambalaya.  What does all this mean?  It means the Baltimore Ravens (Crab Cakes) are playing the New England Patriots (Clam Chowder) and that the New York Giants (Pizza) are playing the San Francisco 49ers (Cioppino.) I wanted to take my predictions away from gut reactions again but go away from the food.  This week I am going into this with defense in mind.  Three of the four teams are known for their defenses, whether this year or in their history.  And I took it one step further and decided to pick one player from the history of the franchise that best represented the defense. Let's jump right into the predictions now that you know how I made my choices but before that here are the games, times, stations and spread for both games. Game 1 at 3pm EST on CBS: New England Patriots (-9) v Baltimore Ravens Game 2 at 6:30pm EST on FOX: San Francisco 49ers (-3) v New York Giants

 New England Patriots v Baltimore Ravens

[caption id="attachment_5114" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="AFC Championship"]afc_championship_2012_nfl[/caption]

When I thought about this matchup two defensive players came to mind very quickly.  For Baltimore nobody represents the short history of the franchise better than Ray Lewis.  I will go so far as to say that nobody for the next 30 years will be able to represent the Baltimore Ravens better than Ray Lewis.  When you think defense and Ravens you immediately think of Ray Lewis.

For New England, the name that jumped out at me very quickly was Andre Tippet.  If you did not follow football in the 1980s then this name is foreign to you but to me he is the epitome of New England Patriot defense.  He wore the #56 of outside linebackers and terrorized Quarterbacks with reckless abandon.

So how do we break these two players down?  Easy, we go to their careers and their stats: [caption id="attachment_5115" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Ray Lewis"]ray_lewis_nfl[/caption]

Ray Lewis #52 - Baltimore Ravens:

  • Drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 1st round (26th overall) of the 1996 NFL Draft.
  • 13-time Pro Bowler & 7-time First-Team All-Pro
  • 2000 NFLAP Defensive Player of the Year
  • 2000 NFLSuper Bowl MVP
  • 2003 NFLAP Defensive Player of the Year
  • 1,531 career tackles with a one season high of 156
  • Won the 2000 Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens
[caption id="attachment_5110" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Andre Tippett"]andre_tippet_nfl[/caption] Andre Tippett #56 - New England Patriots:
  • Drafted by the New England Patriots in the 2nd round (41st overall) of the 1982 NFL Draft.
  • 5-time Pro Bowler & 2-time First-Team All-Pro
  • Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2008
  • 100 career sacks with a one season high of 18.5
  • Played in the 1985 Super Bowl
As much as I respect Andre Tippet this was an easy choice for me.  I believe that when people talk about the NFL and Defense 20-30 years from now they will be talking about Ray Lewis the same way we talk about Dick Butkus today.  Just a complete menace to offenses and somebody you have to scheme around when deciding how you are going to attack the Ravens. My Pick: Baltimore Ravens 23 New England Patriots 19

San Francisco 49ers v New York Giants

[caption id="attachment_5113" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="NFC Championship"]nfc_championship_2012_nfl[/caption]

As a football fan, and in particular a New York Giants fan, my whole life I can recall these two teams playing against each other in the mid-1980s and I can say that I'm very happy to have the opportunity to watch this matchup again.  The games they played in the mid-80s and early-90s were classics.

I can recall vividly Matt Bahr kicking the game winning field goal to send the Giants to the 1991 Super Bowl and me running out of my house after that kick went through the uprights and into my car.  I drove to watch my buddies play in a high school ice hockey game and on my way there I ran over a rabbit.  I did not stop immediately but did go back and shovel the poor rabbit out of the middle of the road after the game.

Just like in the Ravens/Patriots match-up picking the two defensive players to represent these teams was easy.  No two players stood out for their respective franchises then and are still talked about today in NFL conversations because of the way they changed the game.

[caption id="attachment_5109" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Lawrence Taylor"]lawrence_taylor_nfl[/caption]

Lawrence Taylor #56 - New York Giants:

  • Drafted by the New York Giants in the 1st round (2nd overall) of the 1981 NFL Draft
  • 10-time Pro Bowler & 8-time First-Team All-Pro
  • Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1999
  • 1981 NFLAP Defensive Player of the Year
  • 1981 NFLAP Defensive Rookie of the Year
  • 1982 NFLAP Defensive Player of the Year
  • 1986 NFLAP MVP
  • 1986 NFLPFWA MVP
  • 1986 NFLBert Bell Award (Player of the Year)
  • 1986 NFLAP Defensive Player of the Year
  • 132.5 career sacks with a one season high of 20.5
  • Won 2 Super Bowls with the New York Giants (1986, 1991)
[caption id="attachment_5111" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Ronnie Lott"]ronnie_lott_nfl[/caption] Ronnie Lott  #42 - San Francisco 49ers:
  • Drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1st round (8th overall) of the 1981 NFL Draft
  • 10-time Pro Bowler & 6-time First-Team All-Pro
  • Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2000
  • 1,113 tackles and 63 interceptions with season highs of 123 tackles and 10 interceptions
  • Won 4 Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers (1982, 1985, 1989, 1990)
This was a tough choice to make because while Lawrence Taylor has a lot of individual accolades Ronnie Lott has the edge in Championships and after all this is a team game.  What it boiled down to is who changed the game not only when they were playing but today.  Who did you game plan against and then who did offenses have to game plan against that position.  In the end it came down to the fact that Lawrence Taylor transformed the way the game was played.  Outside rushers were not a big part of the game of the NFL until Taylor came into the league. My Pick: New York Giants 31 San Francisco 49ers 20 If I am correct and both the Giants and the Ravens win I will be over .500 for the playoffs guaranteed. Not only that but we will get to see a matchup of the 2000 Super Bowl and the iconic figures of Lewis and Taylor will be there in my mind. Plus you will have the opportunity to see these videos:
Lawrence Taylor
Ray Lewis

Who Are You Going With In The NFL Championship Sunday Games?

Published in Uncategorized
The playoffs are heading into the Divisional Championship this weekend and being a huge fan of the NFL I wanted to let you all in on who I think will win this weekend.  I will also let you know that when I chose teams this year or players for Fantasy Football purposes they were hit with the Curse of Baha 2012.  None of the players on my fantasy team made it through the season unscathed.  Just ask Big Ben, Stephen Jackson, Peyton Hillis or  Roddy White. Last week I went with my gut on the games and chose:  NY Giants, Cincinnati, New Orleans and Pittsburgh.  I came away from the weekend 2 for 2 but I know that I can do better with my picks so this week I am going away from my gut on the teams and going with the food of the city....this is after a 'foodie' blog right?  It says so in the banner on the right hand side. The games this weekend in chronological order are (Home Team Bold - Spreads by, not that I condone gambling even with offshore accounts):
  • Saturday 4:30p EST San Francisco v New Orleans (-4)
  • Saturday 8:00p EST New England (-14) v Denver
  • Sunday 1:00p EST Baltimore (-9) v Houston
  • Sunday 4:30p EST Green Bay (-9) v New York Giants
Game 1 - San Francisco v New Orleans San Francisco is home to a seafood dish called cioppino.  This is a stew/soup that is tomato based and has all kinds of seafood in it.  Can you go wrong with a bowl of steaming seafood in a tomato based stew on a cold day in San Fran?  You probably couldn't but can you go wrong with a bowl of Jambalaya?  I mean you can't go wrong with either can you? For me this choice boils down to substitution.  In the cioppino I cannot readily substitute for the seafood to appeal to my vegetarian diet but with jambalaya I can.  Instead of putting chicken and sausage in I can add in mushrooms which have a meaty texture and even crumble tempeh to give that sausage like consistency. My Pick:  New Orleans Game 2 - New England v Denver Denver has Tim Tebow going for it, and I'm not sure that the team needs more than that right now but when it comes to food Denver is famous for its omelet.  The Denver omelet is filled with diced ham, green peppers, onions and cheese.  New England (or Boston) is known for a couple of items with one being the Boston Baked Bean but the other would be the New England Clam Chowder.  Since the Patriots don't actually play in Boston we will use the New England Clam Chowder dish as their representative. Again, this choice comes down to substitution and with the clam chowder there really is no substitute for clams.  Plus the cream based soup just doesn't have the same pull as the omelet.  I mean when you think about eating breakfast or brunch the omelet is a staple.  Filled to the brim with vegetables, and again substitute mushrooms for the ham, and you are golden.  Serve the omelet with a side of sweet potato hash and this is an easy pick. My Pick: Denver (Plus Denver has Tebow.  Nuff Said.) Game 3 - Baltimore v Houston Baltimore is another town known for seafood.  You have the crab cake or the clam bake.  Either one is a staple in the Baltimore area and can be chosen to represent the city.  Houston is a Texas town and Texas is known for its BBQ.  That BBQ could be brisket or it can be as simple as steak on the grill.  In this game I am torn.  I don't eat either food and neither has a simple substitute.  I could exchange crumbled tempeh seasoned and pan fried to resemble a crab cake, as long as I put a lot of Old Bay seasoning in the bread crumb mixture I think it would come out excellent.  For a steak I could grill a Portabello mushroom or again marinate a block of tempeh and then grill it to resemble a steak. Tough choice here but in the end I think that the pan frying of a tempeh crab cake would come out better than a grilled tempeh steak.  I have made tempeh steak before and it was very good but the consistency is not like that of steak, where as if you crumble the tempeh it would resemble the texture and consistency of jumbo lump crab. My Pick: Baltimore Game 4 - Green Bay v New York Giants You may know that I'm originally from New York as I have mentioned it once or 1,000,000 times but I will not let that affect my pick here.  I am taking all gut and thought from this game picking challenge.  New York is famous for a variety of foods from pastrami sandwiches at Katz's Deli to Ice Cream at Serendipity, but I am going with pizza.  The arguments between Chicago and New York are always over the pizza and never about smoked meat sandwiches.  In Green Bay, people will jump on the cheese bandwagon immediately but that is too broad.  Let's instead focus on the boiled in beer bratwurst.  When you think of sausage being boiled in beer then served on a soft bun with a side of french fries your mouth should water. For me this was a very simple choice.  Again, I could substitute tempeh or tofu or even seitan for the bratwurst and serve it with onions and mustard.  The problem is that with pizza I don't have to substitute and can actually ADD to it instead of subtract.  Add mushrooms, spinach and onions to a slice and you are golden or just eat it plain. My Pick: New York Giants So come Sunday night we will be looking at Championship Sunday knowing that the Denver Broncos will be traveling to Baltimore where T-Suggs and Ray Lewis will try to make Tim Tebow cry.  The other game will feature the New York Giants visiting the Big Easy and playing the New Orleans Saints. [flagallery gid=2 name="NFL Picks"]

Do You Agree With My Picks?

Who Do You Think Will Be Playing On Championship Sunday?

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