During this past weekend of football there were some fantastic games, and there was no game more interesting than the game between the undefeated Panthers and the Giants. The Giants were down by 28 points in the second half, and they managed to fight back to tie the game in the fourth quarter, ultimately to lose the game by three points. Aside from the action going on during the actual matchup, there was quite a brawl going on between two of the stars of the game. Odell Beckham Jr and Josh Norman seemed to be having their own personal battle, which led to multiple personal foul penalties and dozens of penalty yards. There is speculation about the events that caused all of this animosity and while no official report has been made available publicly, the outcome of the game’s extracurricular activities will be the one game suspension of Odell Beckham. The Giants will be missing their most explosive offensive weapon for a crucial Sunday night game, and I don’t think the NFL correctly assessed the situation before handing down the punishment. I understand that the league wants to show that they do not play favorites when it comes to punishing players, but they already failed in proving this point by allowing Odell to complete the game. Both Norman and Beckham should have been ejected from the game on Sunday, but since the NFL wanted to keep its stars on the field they allowed these players to literally fight each other throughout the game. Perhaps it is due to poor officiating, or a lack of control by coaches, but these players should have been dealt with before the league had a chance to step in. I know that I am speaking from the point of view of a Giants fan, and that I am personally upset with the fact that Beckham will miss a game, but I think the league should have at least punished both players for their roles in this scuffle if anyone at all. I don’t condone the actions of Beckham, but I do believe that it takes two to fight, and the fact that the league only punished one combatant is a bit alarming. The NFL needs to better instruct their officiating crews when it comes to fights on the field, if the league doesn’t want players in this already brutal sport to fight, then they must start ejecting them before the fights escalate. The NFL is a contact sport and players get emotionally heated, I don’t think a suspension is warranted in most cases, especially when two players are allowed to “duke it out” all game long. Hopefully Beckham will win his appeal this week, or else Sunday’s Giants game will be much less interesting and competitive.
The Heisman Memorial Trophy ceremony took place last night in New York City. The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding college football player of the season, based on the votes of qualified sports writers and former trophy winners. While there are thousands of players eligible for the trophy, finalists are chosen based on the number of votes they receive. The three finalists for this year’s trophy were Alabama’s Derrick Henry, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, all three of these players were outstanding all season. Early in the season it was almost certain than Leonard Fournette of LSU would be the runaway Heisman winner, but after his poor performance in a game at Alabama, Derrick Henry became the consensus favorite. Henry won the Heisman in a landslide, but I don’t think the voters got it right. While Henry’s play was tremendous, the Heisman is generally awarded to the best player who has the biggest impact on the best team, and that player in my eyes was Deshaun Watson. Watson lead the nation’s best team to an undefeated season, and he did everything you could ask a quarterback to do. Watson’s leadership was impeccable and his numbers were terrific, but he only managed to gain 148 first place votes to Henry’s 378. McCaffrey also played extremely well this season, but he suffered from the fact that most voters rarely get a chance to see the games played on the west coast live. Derrick Henry had a fantastic season and he definitely put up numbers deserving of the Heisman Trophy, I just think the voters should be required to pay closer attention to the players at the top of their list in order to make the best informed votes. Henry was great for most of the season, but Watson was perfect for the entire year. Now that the season has finally come to an end and the awards have been given out, Deshaun Watson will have a chance in the playoffs to prove that he should have had more Heisman votes, while Derrick Henry will be tasked with proving that he deserved the honor of raising this prestigious trophy.
The NFL is split into eight divisions, and every year each of these divisions is required to crown a champion. It is a given that the best team in the division will have earned the right to host a playoff game, but with the state of the NFC East, it is not only difficult, but also absurd to label any of the four teams a champion. The NFC East currently has three teams tied for first place, and the forth team is only one game back, that seems reasonable until you realize that all four of these teams have more losses than wins this season. The NFC East has been plagued with poor play and damaging injuries, and while some teams have managed to play relatively solid football, huge mistakes have cost this division many crucial games. I personally have a stake in the outcome of this division because my favorite team, the Giants, happens to be mired in the mess of “contenders” for the title. The Giants are quite possibly the most frustrating team in the NFL, as they have lost five games this season while holding a lead within the last 72 seconds. I understand that anything is possible when it comes to sports, but the NFC East has given football fans all over America a reason to shut off their televisions in disgust. The football season is winding down, and as this awful division fights feebly to decide a champion, all of the other NFL teams and fans will be left with the realization that a team with a losing record will be awarded with home field advantage for at least one game in the playoffs.
I was doing quite a bit of driving today, and as I found myself stuck in the annoyance that is traffic, I began to wonder if any situation could possibly be more annoying. In order to pass the time and keep my sanity, I decided to think of things that are more annoying than being stuck in New York City traffic, these are the top 10 things I could come up with.
1. Being stuck in Los Angeles traffic
2. Being stuck in India’s traffic
3. A Chalkboard being scratched.
4. Waiting in line at the DMV
5. Dropping a freshly made meal on the floor
6. Losing money
7. Getting into a car accident
8. Flights getting delayed
9. Cancelled plans
10. Sales Calls
The list could honestly go on forever, but I guess the basic gist is that an annoying moment can always be trumped by another. Whenever I find myself in an annoying or painful situation, I like to remember that these times are temporary and that no matter what it could be worse. I am glad to say that I am finally out of traffic, and while that moment felt like it would last forever, now that it is gone it is once again nothing more than a bullet on the list of annoying situations.
I was never one to get too excited over meeting a celebrity. I have found that I generally like to give people their space rather than to ask for a photo or an autograph, but I seem to be in the minority in that aspect. Today, I noticed that a former Major League Baseball player works out at the same gym as me, and instead of bothering him to sign my shoes or take a photo, I just allowed him to work out in peace. Living in New York I have had multiple run ins with people who would be considered famous, and while the level of fame of these individuals varies, I imagine they all value privacy as much as the rest of us. I am not trying to say I have never been “star struck,” but even when I was a child who was meeting his favorite athlete, I realized that they were just as human as myself. When I noticed the athletes who I regularly watched play on television or from the crowd were not much taller than my father, I started to see them differently. I realized that these people were not the larger than life figures that I once thought they were, and that they were just ordinary people with some extraordinary talents. It may seem strange, but I have actually seen some “famous” individuals who seemed to be expecting to be approached, but were shocked that everyone was busy with their own lives rather than fussing about them. I know that everybody is different, and that many of these celebrities may actually enjoy the attention, but I will continue to treat them the same way I expect to be treated when I am a stranger just trying to enjoy my day.
The Kansas City Royals are the 2015 Wold Series Champions. This scrappy bunch of players finally completed the goal they planned to accomplish in the 2014 season, and that was to bring home a world championship. It is rare these days for a team to make it to the World Series two years in a row, but the Royals defied the odds, and managed to not only make it once again, but to win it all. Last year, the Royals were eliminated in dramatic fashion during the final game of the World Series, so this year they managed to leave little room for the same outcome. The Royals won in five games and made sure each win showcased the strength of their late game bats. In my World Series preview post, I said the Royals must keep the Mets score low in order to allow for their usual late game heroics, and that is exactly how they managed to win the series. The Royals were trailing in every game played during this series, but their “never say die” attitude caused them to be able to defy the odds, and be crowned champions. I definitely want to congratulate the Royals on a stellar season, and as a Yankee fan, thank them for saving me from hearing the Mets fans of New York berating my team. The Royals are a very good team, and now they have a trophy to show for it. With the talent the Royals possess, I imagine that they will be playing in the championship series for many years to come.
The Major League Baseball World Series will finally begin tomorrow night. In this seven game series the two best teams in baseball will face off to see who is worthy of raising the championship trophy. The team that is representing the NL is the New York Mets, while the AL will have the Kansas City Royals as their representative. Both of these teams are very talented and they both seem to be on an unquenchable hot streak, but unfortunately one of these teams must lose. The Mets are coming into this match up with some of the best young pitching talent that has ever been seen in the playoffs, and along with the stellar batting performances of Daniel Murphy, they have been defeating teams before the game reaches its half way point. I expect the Mets to continue to pitch well, but I just can’t see Murphy keeping up this pace of hitting throughout the playoffs. The Royals have a couple of great pitchers, but their strength comes from their hitting. There have been countless times during the playoffs when the Royals have had their backs against the wall, only to be saved by the clutch bats in their lineup, and they will likely need a few clutch performances to defeat the Mets in the World Series. I can’t make a pick for this series since both teams are extremely talented, but what I can say is that in order for the Mets to win, they need to pitch well early and keep hitting late in the game. If the Royals want to win, they have to keep the score low, and force the Mets’ relief pitchers to try and contend with their generally hot late inning bats. Tuesday night marks the beginning of the end of the MLB season, it has definitely been an interesting one. I’m sure this World Series will be like sweet frosting on top of the already appealing MLB season.
Fantasy football is a fickle little game. I posted before about how fantasy football has gained a significant following in recent years, and along with that following has come the online gambling that is weekly fantasy games. Weekly fantasy football leagues are the heavily advertised and not at all regulated flavor of the week. If you have ever watched any sporting event or even turned on a television show that is geared towards millennials, you probably have seen the countless ads for Fanduel and Draftkings, which are the two competing fantasy for money websites. These companies advertise a chance to win millions for dollars, by simply picking your favorite players and enjoying the games you love, but this week both companies have come under fire for the actions of their employees. An employee of Draftkings won $350,000 from Fanduel after leaking sensitive information about player ratings, then using that data to his benefit. The knowledge this employee had on players and the similarity of the two companies gave this individual a distinct and unfair advantage over his competition. Both fantasy companies have since barred their employees from playing on either site, but there are more issues with these games than just “insider trading.” The problem with these fantasy sports betting sites is that they are completely unregulated. I am not the biggest fan of government regulation, but these companies are controlling way too much money to be able to freely share data with employees who have a chance to make a financial gain from it. Many people have called these websites the new stock market, I just hope this whole fantasy sports betting thing doesn’t get out of hand. Too many people have too much at stake when it comes to sports betting and this whole ordeal may run them the wrong way. I expect some sort of regulation to come out of this mess within the next few months, but until then, I would be wary of putting money into fantasy sports.
It has been a long time since I had some great barbecue, and today I decided to head to a nice Upstate New York “barbecue joint” called Holy Smoke BBQ. I was a bit apprehensive about going to this place, since barbecue restaurants are often “hit or miss,” but after learning about their large portions of St. Louis style ribs I had to give it a try. I went into the restaurant with the intention of just trying their signature ribs, and I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor and size of the meal. Most people go into a barbecue restaurant strictly for the meats, but I am one of those rare individuals who has to try all of the sides. The mac and cheese was probably the best I have ever eaten at a barbecue restaurant, and considering the amount of eateries I have patronized, that is definitely quite a feat. The service was excellent and the meat was extremely juicy and well seasoned. I generally am not much of a rib eater, but for these ribs I would gladly make the 45 minute trip from NYC again. If you are ever in the Mahopac, NY area, check out Holy Smoke BBQ you will not be disappointed.
I tried my luck at getting a perfect week, but unfortunately I went 11 for 15 on my week four picks. While 11 correct isn’t too bad, I’m sure I can manage to do better. Here is my shot at perfection. Week five is when teams begin to know who they are, and while every team is still technically in contention, this week is when we start to separate the “contenders” from the “pretenders.” In tonight’s game I have the weaker Texans defeating the heavily injured Colts. The Bills will bounce back and beat the Titans, the Ravens will defeat the Browns, and the Chiefs will win an easy one against the Bears. The Bengals offense will be too much for the strong defense of the Seahawks and they will manage to win, while the Packers will continue to roll in a win over the Rams. In the inter-Floridian matchup of two of the league’s weakest teams, the Buccaneers will defeat the Jaguars, and the Saints will stomp all over the hapless Eagles. The Falcons will beat the Redskins, the Cardinals will win over the Lions, and the Broncos will easily defeat the Raiders. I have chosen against the Cowboys every week, and with their current injury issues, and the fact that they are facing the league’s most impressive team, I would be a fool to choose them now. The Patriots will blow out the Cowboys this week. As for the prime time games the Giants, who have played extremely well over the past couple of weeks, will win against the 49ers in a very close game, and the Steelers will manage to get back to their roots of running the football in order to defeat the Chargers. Well there you have it for my week 5 picks, I am not 100 percent confident in my Thursday night pick but I think this has a great chance of being a perfect week.