Thursday, December 3, 2009

Over a river and through the Woods...

I don't support infedelity. I want to make that clear right now. If you make a pledge of faithfulness to a person, you should keep it.

That having been said, as a realist, I can't expect any athlete who is married to remain faithful to his wife. There are so many thousands of really hot women out there who are so attracted to you and want to jump your bones, a man can only say no so many times. Some men have trouble avoiding cheating on their wife with the one or two women who make passes on them. Imagine one or two hot women every few hours.

Let's say you're an alcoholic, but have vowed to give up drinking. If you get your most favorite, delicious, expensive alcohol offered to you every day, how long could you go without giving in? Every man is by nature addicted to women, so if you're a married athlete, there's only 2 foolproof ways to avoid cheating on your wife.
1. "Fix" yourself
2. Get divorced and don't remarry.

Athletes honestly should never get married. They can have baby's mamas, but they really should never get married. Women who hold fidelity in high regard should never marry an athlete. It's really as simple as that.

Yes. I'm making it sound like men have no choice in the matter of staying faithful. Most don't. It's human nature.

I don't think any less of Tiger Woods than I did of Kobe Bryant after his scandal. In fact, I don't know how this wholesome image of Tiger was built up in the first place. For one, the man swears like a sailor when he screws up. Secondly, he is so competitive and such a perfectionist that if I had a child, I would point to Tiger Woods and tell my child, "Now him, Tiger Woods...that's too much. Don't be that crazy." Does being a winner automatically mean you're some perfect human being?

This shouldn't affect Tiger's endorsements, but really who cares? The man is already worth like a billion dollars. Literally. Even if he lost all of his endorsements and never made another penny for the rest of his life, I think he'll pull through.

I, like Tiger, can't wait for this whole thing to blow over so we don't have to talk about things that are neither interesting nor our business.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lookalike Friday

Sorry guys. I thought long and hard all week, but couldn't come up with anything good. There were a few that I thought of, but couldn't support. I pride myself on being able to come up with solid lookalikes. Hopefully Lookalike Friday will be back next week.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Gobble Gobble

Every Thanksgiving the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys each play a game, but not each other. A couple of years ago, the NFL started playing an additional night game on Thanksgiving.

The Lions have been awful for a few years now, so it begs the question: do you take their Thanksgiving game away from them?

I say absolutely not.

Thanksgiving is a busy day. Family members are running around, things need to be cooked, people talk, so chances are you're going to miss a good portion of the game. Why put a good game on TV if you're going to miss a bunch of it?

Detroit fans are used to losing. Losing isn't fun for them, but they know how to handle it. It won't ruin their Thanksgiving. If you're a Dolphins fan and you watch them lose to the Jets, it's probably going to make your Thanksgiving that much less enjoyable. Why spoil such a great holiday for a lot of fans? Also, if your team happens to be playing the Lions, then you're going to have one of the best Thanksgivings ever. Blowout games are still fun for the fans of the team that wins.

Plus, you never know when the Lions are going to be competitive again. When they do come back, it will be that much more satisfying that they can actually put on a good show.

Normally I'm highly opposed to Thursday football, but for Thanksgiving I don't mind because it's a holiday. Especially because they take the 3 games away from the 10am Sunday slot, not the 1pm, Sunday Night or Monday Night slots. There are too many 10am games on Sunday anyway.

The last thing I will say is this: There are very few pure fans of football anymore. By pure football fans I mean a fan who will watch any game just because they love watching football. Fantasy football has done a lot for the sport, and I contest that it is one of the biggest reasons the NFL is so profitable, but it has also created a primary culture of football fandom where you either root for your favorite team or your fantasy players. Because of this new attitude it honestly doesn't matter if the games are good on Thanksgiving because people will watch it for their fantasy players.

There are many meaningless traditions in sport, but not the Lions and Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lookalike Friday 25

Lookalike Friday!!!

Remember when I told you guys that I had no more lookalikes in reserve? Turns out it wasn't true. I have ONE in my back pocket and here it is.

This week we have Phoenix Suns center Robin Lopez. I thought to myself, boy...doesn't he look a lot like...

Sideshow Bob from the Simpsons?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Doesn't fall far from the tree

Bill Belichick is considered one of the best minds in football, and he has a large coaching tree. However, how much success do each of the branches of his tree enjoy? Recently, Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini haven't lived up to expectations and Chuck Weis is on the brink of getting fired. That got me wondering how the rest have done.

I would be remiss in talking about the Bill Belichick tree without mentioning that the entire Bill Belichick tree is actually part of what is now the Bill Parcells coaching forest.

Belichick Assistants Who Became Head Coaches:
Romeo Crennel: Cleveland Browns (24-40)
Eric Mangini: NY Jets, Cleveland Browns (24-33)
Josh McDaniels: Denver Broncos (6-3)
Jim Schwartz: Detroit Lions (1-8)

Al Groh: NY Jets (9-7), Virginia (59-51)
Nick Saban: Mich St, LSU, Alabama (111-48-1), Miami Dolphins (15-17)

Kirk Ferentz: Iowa (79-53)
Pat Hill: Fresno St. (92-61)
Charlie Weis: Notre Dame (35-25)

I don't know about you, but I'm not impressed by the NFL records of any of the coaches. In fact, they're all bad. College records on the other hand are good for most, exceptional for one.

I guess this begs the question: How much can a coach influence his assistants? Can you judge the teacher by the success or failure of his student?

I don't think you can, but it does tell you one thing: Bill Belichick's success in New England is most definitely NOT a product of having good assistants.


I've read a couple of articles that use statistics to defend the 4th down and 2 decision.

The articles are short and really interesting. There are actually more and more statistically based arguments for coaches to ignore "conventional wisdom" and go for it on 4th down much more often. Often, the field position gained by punting is not worth being able to get one more shot at a first down.

I wish one day there would be a coach who was bold enough to not punt unless it was absolutely necessary so we can see if it really results in more wins.

The only rebuttal I have is this: By going for it on 4th down, how many more points a game does that equate to? 2? How many more wins a season does that equate to? Half a win? 1? Can you blame a coach for looking out for his own job security for one more win over the course of one or two seasons?

"Conventional wisdom" is not so because it is completely logical. It is so because norms of culture have deemed it that way. Another tenet of conventional wisdom says that you don't jeopardize a high paying job you worked the better part of your life to get for what seems to be a small payoff. I agree with that.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Suggestion Box

Some things I was thinking about when I was thinking of ways to improve college football.

1. Have no preseason poll. Sure voters will have preconceptions about which teams they think are good, but at least it won't be official. In fact, no polls until week 4.

2. Reduce non-conference games to one - the first game of each team's season against the geographically closest Division III football team you can find. Mandate a true round robin format for each conference, and abolish conference championship games.

3. Keep the BCS methodology of ranking teams, but use it only for ranking purposes.

4. Make a playoff system. There are 11 conferences in college football. (Not including independents Navy and Notre Dame. They should get sent to the Big East) Each conference winner gets a seed in the playoffs. Of the teams that did not win their conference, the highest 7 teams in the BCS ranks are also in. Everyone is seeded by record. 16 teams and 4 weeks later, you have your winner. Since non-conference games were abolished, the season ends basically around the same time as before.

5. For the teams that did not make the playoffs, hold bowl games as usual.

Yes. This plan is both fool and bulletproof. Yes. I thought of it all by myself. and Yes. This will never happen in a million years. It's more likely I will find a way to grow wings and fly or get hot girls to want me than for my college football wishes to come true.

One can always dream, though.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lookalike Friday 24

Lookalike Friday time!!!

This week we have emerging Cowboys receiver Miles Austin, who some would argue is their #1 receiver, but not Roy E. Williams. I've always thought to myself, when wearing his helmet, Miles Austin sure looks a lot like...

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Yankee Doodle Dandy

In case you missed it, the Yankees won the World Series.

Before the World Series started, I had no strong urge to root for one team or the other. I thought about it, and I decided that I wanted the Yankees to win, because I think it would have been good for baseball. Allow me to explain.

If a league wants to be successful, they need a team that everyone hates except fans of that team. Typically these are the teams that do well more years than not. Modern examples are the New England Patriots, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees. However, the Yankees' membership in this club of nationwide hatred was starting to expire. Despite their bloated payroll, they weren't winning. That's when the Red Sox stepped in. Though many non-committed fans were behind the Red Sox at first, it was only a matter of time before their success became a turn-off to these temporary fans.

Major League Baseball needed the Yankee Dynasty to come back and take over the title of Public Enemy #1 because everyone can hate that the Yankees outspend everyone to get the best players, and the Yankees are the only team that has the means to outspend.

I also thought to myself that some teams needed to see that outspending everyone else works. As a fan of the Dodgers, I believe the Dodgers can do a better job spending its money, considering how much revenue the team makes from attendance and merchandise. Obviously you want to be wise about it, but I think you can justify almost any amount to win a championship. As bad as the Jason Schmidt signing was, I would rather my team make a bad signing than no signing at all. If the report is true that the McCourts vetoed a Dodger-Indians trade to bring in Cliff Lee because they didn't want to take on his salary, I will be extremely upset. Spending and championship needed to be more causation than correlation. The Yankees' championship this year reinforces that and hopefully will impact the way general managers and owners operate, even a little bit.

In a sense, I cheered for the Yankees this year so I could jeer them in the near future. Strange, but it makes sense.

Lookalike Friday 23

Wow. #23 already. I have to admit I didn't think I would get this par without missing a week. I didn't think I had enough lookalikes, but here we are, going strong. I no longer have a backlog of ones that I want to do, so it's a week-to-week effort from here on at the Toni Broxton blog and for those who pitch in suggestions, though I may not use it, I do appreciate it.

Here we go!

This week we have World Champion of Baseball, Yankees catcher Jorge Posada. I saw him this week and thought to myself, boy...doesn't he look a lot like...

Balki Bartokomous from Perfect Strangers (played by Bronson Pinchot)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

An eye for an eye

Some of you may have heard about or seen the eye gouging attempt by Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes on Georgia running back Washaun Ealey. Some of you may have heard of the first half suspension Florida coach Urban Meyer issued to Spikes, which the SEC actually said was good enough.

Today the suspension was increased to a full game after Spikes approached coach Meyer with the request to be suspended the full game to not be a distraction to teammates.

Let me start by saying the suspension was weak, to put it mildly, and I'm really glad it gained the media attention it did.

Shame on you Urban Meyer.

What was that suspension saying? Look at Chip Kelly. He went a full season on LeGarette Blount and you go for the first half??? Like it or not the Blount suspension will be the measuring stick by which all other college football suspensions will be measured in the next year or so, and for Urban Meyer to go so weakly was awful. It really shows where his values lie.

In fact, the more I think about it, how much worse was the Blount punch than the Spikes gouge? I don't know that it was more than twice as bad. Blount has been suspended 7 games so far. A Spikes suspension should have been a minimum of 3 games.

They say it was "in the heat of the moment" but really, I think it was pretty deliberate and premeditated. How long does Spikes try to poke Ealey's eyes out? There's your proof for deliberate. Spikes was reportedly poked in an earlier play, not that one, so there is your proof for premeditated.

The main and most important difference is that the Boise State player was knocked the eff out and Ealey was basically unharmed, no matter how hard Spikes tried. For that, these incidents do not carry the same weight and punishment.

The only good thing to come of this is that Spikes stepped up and took more responsibility for his actions than his head coach was willing to. He acted in a manner more mature and more wisely than a man more than double his age. Good for you Brandon Spikes. You lost my respect and then gained it back (and then some) all in the span of a few days. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the country who feels this way.

And again, shame on you Urban Meyer.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Building from the ground up

For full disclosure, I am personally a fan of Aaron Rodgers. I loved him at Cal and I think he is doing the best job he can in Green Bay, in a situation where the probability for success was very low.

I know that everyone says the Packers have a terrible offensive line, but the effect of not having a good offensive line is absolutely debilitating, as evidenced by the Packers this year. If Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre switched teams, the Aaron Rodgers-led team would have beaten the Brett Favre-led team. I was thinking:

If your offensive line can't block, you can't run the ball.
If you can't run the ball, you have to throw.

If your offensive line can't block, your quarterback gets sacked.

If your offensive line can't block, the defense can put more men into coverage
If the defense puts more men in coverage, your receivers can't get open.
If your receivers can't get open, your quarterback gets sacked.

In two of those three scenarios, the quarterback takes a sack.

It's always obvious to say that you need a good offensive line to have success, but I was curious to what extent this holds true.

If you look at the 3 teams that give up the most sacks per times attempting to pass for the past ten years, only 5 of them have made the playoffs. That's 5 of 30 teams. Just making the playoffs. None of them have won the Super Bowl, nor have they even made the Super Bowl.

If you look at the draft data between 02-08: (I picked 02 because that's when the NFL shifted to 32 teams, and 08 because that's the most recent data from

There were 1795 players drafted between 02-08.
48 were centers.
149 were tackles.
104 were guards.

That's 16.77% of all players drafted. I thought this was a lot, but then realized on any given offensive play, of the 22 players on the field, 5 are offensive linemen (22.7%), so they are being drafted at a lower rate than they are being retained.

If you look at the first round of the draft between 02-09 (because I did this manually) it's not much different:
15% of the first 10 picks were offensive linemen
14% of first round draft picks were offensive linemen

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the reason teams need multiple years to build offensive lines is because good offensive linemen don't come around too often, and when you have a good line, you need to do what you can to keep them healthy and on your team.

That's why it hurts even more if your "can't-miss" offensive lineman...misses. *cough* Robert Gallery *cough*

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lookalike Friday 22

Hey everyone,

Lookalike Friday time!

This one is courtesy of my friend Brian.

We have Lakers reserve guard Shannon Brown. Brian told me boy, doesn't he look a lot like...

Puss in Boots from Shrek?

And yes. He also looks like Chris Brown, but that would be too easy wouldn't it?

Monday, October 26, 2009

World Series Preview

So I was wondering what the experts were saying about the World Series.

9 of the 10 experts on have the Yankees in an average of 6.4 games.
The lone expert who has the Phillies (Karabell) has them winning in 6., which simulates 10,001 games predicts Yankees in 6.

Yahoo! Sports (which has secretly become a credible sports news source) has 3 experts picking the Yankees in 6,7,7 and one expert picking the Phillies in 7.

If I was an "expert" I would pick the Phillies in 6. Why?

If you're wrong, who will notice? If you're right, you're a sage of baseball wisdom.

However, I'm no expert. I'm just a dude who writes occasional entries on a sports blog. I say the Yankees take it in 7.

Game 1: Phillies - The Phillies will get late game hits against the Yankees bullpen and steal game one.
Game 2: Yankees - Pedro will get lit up. Yankees will cruise.
Game 3: Phillies - Hamels returns to his form of last year.
Game 4: Yankees - In basically a must-win the Yankees come up with just enough to win.
Game 5: Phillies - Burnett can have really bad games. This may be one.
Game 6: Yankees - They will win this game in the 8th or 9th.
Game 7: Yankees - CC got rocked versus the Phillies on short rest last year. Not this year. CC dominates and the Yankees win easy.

These predictions will probably be wrong, but who knows? Like I said earlier, if I'm wrong nobody will remember, but if I'm right I can always point back to my prediction. I think that's the luxury people who comment on sports have. Each analyst and expert on TV should have a scorecard on how accurate he/she is on his/her predictions and speculations.

Here are a few of my assorted thoughts on what I've observed while watching the MLB Playoffs so far.

- Charlie Manuel's tendency to bring in multiple relievers seemingly for no good reason may end up biting him because the Yankees have been more clutch than the Dodgers and Rockies have been.
- The Phillies eat up "good bullpens."
- The left handed batters of the Phillies will be able to turn on some balls to hit into the right field bleachers in New Yankee Stadium, if given the opportunity.
- Wasn't Phil Hughes supposed to be the-next-thing in New York?
- Pedro is supposed to not be comfortable pitching in the cold. No way to avoid that this series. That's why I think he'll struggle.
- Who pitches for the Phillies in Game 5? Blanton? It won't be Pedro on short rest.
- Cliff Lee has NEVER pitched on short rest. He will have to do it this series, possibly twice.
- A.J. Burnett for his career is 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA on 3 days rest. CC Sabathia is 3-1 with a 1.01 ERA for his career on 3 days rest. Not a huge sample size, but still inspires confidence.
- Have the Yankees ever had so much fun? They haven't won as many games in recent years as they have this year, so that probably adds to it, but they are a really loose, fun bunch to watch.
- Who will the Phillies use as DH?
Matt Stairs? Matt Stairs as a DH has a career .260 BA with 61 HRs in 1452 ABs.
Greg Dobbs? Greg Dobbs as a DH has a career .259 BA with 1 HR in 108 ABs.
Probably some combination of both, but the Yankees will have a clear edge at home with respect to the DH.
- The All-Star Game win for the AL has no bearing, as the Yankees would have had home-field advantage anyway. They really should do away with that. Call it a tie, who cares?

Whatever the case may be, I really am hopeful for some great, memorable games. I didn't think I would watch much of the World Series after the Dodgers were eliminated, but I think I just may.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lookalike Friday 21

Hey hey hey! Lookalike Friday!

This week we have Saints linebacker Scott Fujita (Cal alum, btw). I was watching his team destroy the Giants and I thought to myself, boy...doesn't he look a lot like...

John Krasinski, most notably Jim from the Office?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thicker than water

I came across this article today:

Basically it's about how Kobe is disloyal to Philadelphia by showing up to a Dodgers game and flashing an LA with his fingers.

Read it. It's short and absolutely ridiculous. This is perhaps the dumbest article I've ever read in my life.

Here are my issues with it.

- Why should Kobe have any loyalty to the Philadelphia Phillies?

He went to high school in Philadelphia, yes, but Kobe did NOT grow up in there in the sense that his major developmental years were not spent there. He was born in Philly, moved to Italy when he was 6, moved back for high school and then moved to LA. I'll spare you the math. Basically Kobe has lived in Philadelphia for 11 years and Italy for 7 years. The Philadelphia 11 years was a broken one. And besides he says in the article himself that Kobe grew up a Mets fan. Why would he change just because he was born in Philadelphia?

Not only that, let's say he has no rooting interest one way or another. What would he have to gain by rooting for Philadelphia at Dodger Stadium? He's probably going to live in LA the rest of his life. Making enemies with his community probably isn't high on his list of priorities.

- Why should Kobe have any loyalty to the city of Philadelphia as a whole?

Remember when Philly fans booed Kobe before, during, and after the All-Star game in Philadelphia? The one where he won the MVP? I don't have a problem with the boos, just don't expect love from someone you've treated that way.

From the article:
"It was like watching Zell Miller at the Republican National Convention or Arlen Specter cozy up to President Obama and the other Democrat fat cats - the defection was complete and the insult was obvious."

Okay drama king! How is that anything like Kobe cheering for the Dodgers? Philly has no pride for Kobe! They don't identify with him because 1. He doesn't play for the Sixers 2. He grew up in a posh SUBURB of Philadelphia, not in the inner city. Not to mention we're not even talking about Kobe's profession. We're talking about something totally unrelated. It would be like if we found out Allen Iverson likes to drink Swiss Miss instead of hot cocoa made with Hershey's Syrup. TOTALLY UNRELATED.

Are Philly fans THAT sensitive that one gesture by someone they don't even like, but linked to thim in the distant past can cause such backlash? I don't think so. I personally don't think anyone in Philadelphia cares if Kobe roots for the Dodgers or Mets or the New Britain Rock Cats. I think Philadelphia washed its hands of Kobe Bryant as soon as it was pretty certain he was never going to play for the Sixers.

Another quote from the article:
"Even though there's a lot of infighting and dysfunction, Philly has a family feel to it. You're either one of us or you're not."

Infighting and dysfunction is booing McNabb when he does poorly and calling for another QB, but cheering for him when he does well and buying his jersey. Philadelphia has never cheered Kobe since he turned pro. One of us or you're not? Judging from the way Philadelphians have treated Kobe in the past, they made the decision for him, haven't they?

John Gonzalez of the Philadelphia Inquirer, you are an idiot. Just because you were born somewhere and lived part of your childhood there doesn't make you obligated to root for every team in that city.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lookalike Friday 20

Oh yeah Lookalike Friday time!

Sorry this week was super busy so I didn't have too much time to update. But I will never forget to do a Lookalike Friday!

This week we have Philadelphia Eagles left guard Shawn Andrews. I thought to myself, boy...doesn't he look a lot like...

Rapper/producer Mannie Fresh?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pon de Replay

So this past weekend the left field line umpire clearly missed a seemingly easy fair/foul call that robbed Joe Mauer of a double. Instead, he got a single later on in the at bat. The next batter got a single, and one would assume Mauer would have scored. Instead, the Twins got no runs that half inning and eventually lost the game.

At the end of the day the Twins didn't really lose too much because they would have eventually lost the series to the Yankees anyway, and if you can't win the series, nothing matters, right?

This opened up the debate of expanding the parameters of instant replay. Purists claim if you allowed more things to be reviewed, a) the game's "rhythm" would be disrupted and b) there would be no end to what can be reviewed.

Though I don't agree with either of these arguments, I do believe there needs to be a change. The bottom line is that human error by an umpire should never factor into the outcome of a game.

So how do you do it? A typical baseball game has four umpires - one at each base. In the playoffs they add two more to left and right field on the fair/foul line. I propose that you have one more official at all times in a booth. He will watch the game as the fan at home sees it, with replays. At any time, at his discretion, he can stop play and overrule any review eligible call made on the field if he believes a wrong call was made. Obviously, he will be advised to err on the side of the call made on the field and to reverse only when there is clear visual evidence the call made on the field was wrong.

This solution addresses both arguments.

1. The game's rhythm is not disrupted. Changes will be made without prompting from the manager, so they can be made promptly. The fact of the matter is that play is stopped when there is a close play because one of the managers runs on to the field to talk to the umps. During this time the replay ump can watch the replay, and chances are he will have the correct ruling by the time the first words of the on-field conversation between ump and manager are even spoken.

2. Where do you draw the line? In the NFL there are plays that cannot be challenged. The same will be the case in this system. Any calls that are based on judgement (balls and strikes, interference, running outside the basepath) cannot be reversed by the replay umpire. Fair/foul, safe/out at a base, check swings all should be able to be reviewed and corrected by the replay official.

Major League Baseball needs a system like this. This will ensure that the "rhythm" of the game is not interrupted and it will also ensure that as many calls as possible are made correctly.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lookalike Friday 19

Hey everyone, Lookalike Friday time!

I have to admit I cannot take credit for this one, but I want to share it anyway because it is so good. I don't quite remember where I read it, but it was at least a year ago that I stumbled upon this lookalike. This week we have Chicago Bears tight end Greg Olsen. I once read someone say, "Boy...doesn't he look a lot like...


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thursday Picks

Totally forgot about Thursday Picks last week, but not this week!

This week, though is marked by three huge mismatches. If I could find a moneyline parlay for the Eagles, Steelers, and the Vikings, I would put as much money as I could possibly put on it. That is the definition of easy money.

Alternatively, if I could find a teaser that brought down the spreads of those games down to Eagles -8.5, Steelers -4, and Vikings -3.5 I would be tempted to do that as well.

To be honest, I don't particularly like any other matchup very much this week. They are all too close. If I made any of these bets myself, I wouldn't put too much on it. That having been said, here is what I like the most.

Steelers -11 at Lions.
The Steelers will cover the spread. The Lions will be down by too many points too early to go for field goals at any point in the second half, thereby opening the door for the Steelers to maintain a 2 TD or more lead.

Patriots -3.5 at Broncos.
Belichick does well vs former assistants, and I don't think this will be any different. The Cowboys lost last week's game with poor tackling on the Brandon Marshall touchdown, and poor decision making by Romo. The Patriots, though they have a shakier defense than the Cowboys, will score points and keep the pressure on Kyle Orton to perform. This is the week Broncos doubters will get to point and say, "I told you so."

Texans +5.5 at Cardinals.
The Texans have a much better defense than they get credit for. In terms of yards per game, they have the 9th best pass defense and the 9th best rush defense. The Cardinals, on the other hand, do a great job against the run (6th best) but do an awful job against the pass (2nd worst). Matt Schaub will keep the Texans in this game, at least enough to keep it close until the end.

Colts -4 at Titans.
The Titans continue to get the benefit of the doubt on lines because of the perception that a 13-win team can't go winless much longer. The fact of the matter is that the Titans pass defense went from being 9th best in 2008 to DEAD LAST this year. Yes. The worst pass defense in the NFL playing Peyton Manning. Enough said.

Bet wisely and good luck.

Let's Make a Deal

Michael Crabtree has finally ended his holdout with the San Francisco 49ers. They settled on a deal that seems to be a nice compromise.

Darrius Heyward-Bey got 5 years, guaranteed 23.5M. Eugene Monroe got 5 years 23M with 19M guaranteed. The Niners were offering 5 years, 20M with 16M guaranteed. What was settled on was a 6 year 32M deal with 17M guaranteed. The Niners give him more if he lasts the full six years, but were able to only add one million on the guaranteed money.

The thing about this was that you could make an argument for both sides in the impasse. Those who said Crabtree should take the money say that he should take what he can get because 16 million dollars is a crapload of money for anyone. Those saying Crabtree should get more counter by saying the Niners got lucky to get Crabtree, and had they had the 7th choice and taken Crabtree, they would have gladly given him the kind of money DHB got, so why should you not pay him just because he fell to 10th? Just be glad you have the chance and pay him the money. If you asked me, I would tell you I am on this side of the argument, but I could see both sides.

I wondered two things when I heard about the signing.

1. Did the Niners' hot start have anything to do with it? Was Crabtree more motivated to sign because the team was doing well? Or maybe were the Niners more motivated to sign because if the team had a strong wide receiver, it could put them over the top? If the team was 0-4, would anything have been different?

I'm inclined to say no. I don't think the Niners' record had much to do with the timing. I have a feeling that Crabtree and his agent knew that if they reached week 5 without a deal, they would go in and take the best they could get. I don't think Crabtree would have ever gone the whole season without signing. The only thing, though, is that I think the Niners would have been more likely to give him more if they were struggling. The fans would want it, and the Niners would need someone exciting to keep fans coming.

2. If Crabtree went the whole season without signing and then went back into the draft, would that be such a ridiculous situation that the NFL would create a definite rookie pay scale as soon as possible?

Yes. The NFL needs a rookie pay scale, and proponents for it (such as myself) lost a good opportunity for a much publicized situation to point to and say "THIS is why we need a rookie pay scale" However, I sure hope the new deal that WILL be reached between the players union and the NFL before the much dreaded 2011 lockout will include something that at least resembles a rookie pay scale.

The only question that is left to be answered is how much of an impact Crabtree will have this year on a surprisingly good 49ers team. We'll see soon enough.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stumbling to the Finish Line

The MLB Postseason starts on Wednesday. Many an expert has said that momentum heading into the playoffs is key to winning the World Series. I wondered just how legit that statement is, and what the norm of "hotness" is for teams that do win the World Series.

Here are the past 10 World Series winners and their record for the last 20 games heading into the postseason.

2008 Phillies: 14-6
2007 Red Sox: 10-10
2006 Cardinals: 8-12
2005 White Sox: 12-8
2004 Red Sox: 12-8
2003 Marlins: 14-6
2002 Angels: 11-9
2001 Diamonbacks: 12-8
2000 Yankees: 5-15
1999 Yankees: 13-7

The average W-L is 11.1-8.9
The mode W-L is 12-8
The median W-L is 12-8

This season's postseason contenders?
New York Yankees: 12-8
Boston Red Sox: 11-9
Anaheim Angels: 11-9
Detroit Tigers: 10-10
Minnesota Twins: 16-4

Los Angeles Dodgers: 11-9
Philadelphia Phillies: 11-9
Colorado Rockies: 10-10
St Louis Cardinals: 7-13

I don't know about you, but I'm surprised to see that 6 of the 9 teams are playing .500 or .550 ball. In fact, all of the teams except for the Twins have winning percentages that are less than their overall winning percentage. In a sense, almost all of the teams have been playing below par.

I posted postseason picks before, but here is an update:
Yankees over Tigers in 4
Angels over Red Sox in 4

Dodgers over Cardinals in 4
Rockies over Phillies in 3

Angels over Yankees in 6
Dodgers over Rockies in 5

Dodgers over Angels in 7


Friday, October 2, 2009

In the right reinstate of mind

So rumor has it that LeGarette Blount may be reinstated before the season is over by the University of Oregon. Though initially Chip Kelly said there would be no possibility for reinstatement, he seems to have changed his mind.

At first I thought, "Oh gosh. A chance to win the Pac-10 and now they're selling out to bring back their best running back."

I mean, how can you not?

And then I thought, "Well, the initial suspension was a bit much. I thought a few games max, but the whole season? If they had initially gone for a few weeks, then I wouldn't have had a problem with it, so why should I have a problem now?"

And I've read that LeGarrette Blount has very clearly shown, at least in words that he is contrite and that he does realize how big time he screwed himself and the University of Oregon program.

And I do believe that people deserve a second chance. If my punch could actually inflict pain, given those conditions and what had just happened, I think I may have clocked that crap talking pompous Boise State player also. The world is about second chances. LeGarette Blount did not do something so heinous as to not be able to show to the world (and more importantly the NFL) what he's got and how he's changed.

Steve Smith of the Panthers clocked teammate Ken Lucas last year in the preseason. Bill Romanowski punched some unknown tight end during practice a few years ago and ended that guy's career before it could start. Robbie Alomar, then of the Orioles, spit on an umpire, which I find just as offensive as punching. In fact, in mound-charging, bench clearing fights in baseball, punches get thrown all the time. The fact that nobody lands any clean shots shouldn't discount the fact that they're thrown, right?

My point is that LeGarette Blount didn't shoot someone or kidnap someone or intend to end someone's life or career. He was in a powder keg, and it got lit. The man deserves a second chance.

If the University of Oregon does in fact reinstate him, they will receive A LOT of crap for this, as they should, but it's absolutely the right move. And you better believe they will make doubly and triply sure that LeGarette Blount always has someone around him keeping him from losing his temper again because if Blount decides to go Holyfield on someone else, that's the end of the line for Kelly, Bellotti, and it wouldn't be too crazy to hear Phil Knight scale back some of his donations and involvement. The University of Oregon has to really trust this guy in order to reinstate him.

Will they? If I had to guess, I would say they wait until there's about 3 or 4 games left on the schedule, but I think they will eventually.

Lookalike Friday 18

Hey everybody! Lookalike Friday time!

This week we have newly slimmed down Timberwolves big man Al Jefferson. This guy lost 31 pounds in the offseason, apparently by eating Subway! His sandwich of choice? "Ham and turkey on wheat bread, footlongs; sometimes I eat two footlongs." GOOD GOD! Very well done, Mr. Jefferson. I saw his new svelte look and thought to myself, boy...doesn't he look a lot like...

Grammy Award nominated rapper Flo-Rida?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It is what it is

In the classic movie Bull Durham, there's a scene where Crash Davis teaches Ebby Calvin LaLoosh about interview cliches. I think that advice has never been more valuable than it is these days. In this age of accessibility, athletes need to watch what they say because there's always the possibility for it to be taken out of context and misconstrued. The media will do whatever it takes to get a story, and spin things however they want to.

Yesterday Terrell Owens said he's not going to be as open to the media.

"Over the years I've always kind of spoken openly about whatever is being asked with my answers, so the last four or five years I've kind of noticed that and tried taking some steps to prevent some of those things from happening."

Though I have not appreciated his craving for attention, I have always appreciated T.O.'s honesty and I do believe he gets mistreated in the media. The fact of the matter is that athletes get belted for hours by questions left and right, and the thing is most of the questions are the same. Every person has a breaking point, and if you have the slightest bit of desire to go into any detail and say what's on your mind, you are screwed.

T.O. and other athletes and coaches who seem to be vulnerable to this kind of quote manipulation are not without fault. I do understand that there is a fine line to be walked between giving insightful answers and setting yourself up to be misrepresented. The problem is that most people don't know how to walk that line, yet we expect them to.

The biggest problem in all of this is that for the sake of being provocative, and for the sake of reading ease, interview quotes are printed without the questions being asked. Therefore, you have no context, and you're left to your own imagination to fill in the blanks. A perfect case was during T.O.'s interview on Sunday.

ESPN reported:
"Just going with the plays that are called," Owens replied repeatedly to those questions. "Whether I like them or don't, I'm just going with the plays that are called."

The problem I have is that if you read, "Whether I like them or don't, I'm just going with the plays that are called." It makes it sound like he is frustrated and perhaps truly doesn't like the play selection. In actuality, he was asked, "Do you like the plays that are called?" In light of the question being asked, I think this is a more than acceptable answer that implies no frustration on his part. If you lose a football game and are asked that question, what the heck are you supposed to say?

This environment of journalists trying to goad athletes into saying things that can be spun around is a shame. It's a shame because it's given birth to absolutely insipid interview responses.

How many times do you hear a player say, "It is what it is." That phrase is the interviewee's best friend. For one, words come out of your mouth, giving the illusion of a response. Secondly, you don't actually say anything. You don't give any insight and you can't be misquoted. There is an inherent negative judgement given to the speaker when he responds, "No comment." On the other hand, "It is what it is" says effectively the same thing, but has a more positive connotation, which means everything in the forum of public perception. If I was an athlete, I would be really relaxed, which projects an image of honesty, and give the first sentence of what I would really like to say. Then I would pause and say, "but you know what, it is what it is."

Earlier this year, when asked about new teammate Owens, Trent Edwards pointed out that he won't make any judgements on Owens because he knows the media takes things that Owens says out of context, and that he can be misrepresented.

I think that's the thing that gets lost on us all. We can't take anything for face value, and the minute we make a judgement about something that is reported without doing some investigation about the context, we are also to blame.

A good case is that of Raul Ibanez. Earlier this year Ibanez was furious because there was reportedly a blogger who had suggested Ibanez's spike in power numbers suggest he is on performance enhancing drugs.

"Make them accountable. There should be more credibility than some 42-year-old blogger typing in his mother's basement. It demeans everything you've done with one stroke of the pen," said Ibanez.

However, if Ibanez had actually read the article, which I can't seem to find the link to, he would have known that the "blogger typing in his mother's basement" was responding to an email asking if Ibanez was on steroids, and that the blogger actually defended his spike in power, citing changes in factors such as ballparks played in and pitchers faced. The blogger does an excellent job forming a statistical basis for an explanation that says Ibanez is not juicing. When I read the article a few months back, I had no idea why it had created such a firestorm.

Now I know. It's because nobody bothers to check what was actually said, and just likes to go off and make things as crazy and sensational as possible. If we want to believe anything that is said in the media, this all needs to stop. Journalists and media outlets need to stop trying to make money at the expense of the reputations of others.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lookalike Friday 17

Hey everybody! Time for Lookalike Friday. This one comes courtesy of my friend and fan of the Toni Broxton Blog, Andrew.

Andrew said to me one day, "Hey I got a good lookalike for you. I was watching gamecast for the Dodgers game and I thought to myself, boy...doesn't Jon Garland look a lot like...

Professional choreographer Wade Robson?"

I didn't know who Robson was, but when I looked up his picture online, I knew it was legit. Thanks Andrew!

Remember, if you have questions, comments, suggestions or anything at all email me at

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday Picks

Slight modification to Thursday Picks. I won't keep track of how I did, nor will I analyze matchups I don't like. The post was getting too long.

Here we go:
Tennessee Titans +3 vs New York Jets
This game should be close and low scoring. Both teams would rather run and not pass unless forced to. I think mentally it's got to be tough for the Jets to keep up their pace and for the Titans to go 0-3. The Jets might win, but it'll be by less than 3. More likely I think Mark Sanchez has his first bad game as a pro and the Titans will pick up their first win.

Houston Texans -4 vs Jacksonville Jaguars
This Jaguars defense is going to give up big points to the Texans. It's going to be playing from behind all day, and though both teams will score a bunch, the Texans will dominate the entire game.

Detroit Lions +6.5 vs Washington Redskins
The Redskins are playing very poorly. Though the Lions aren't doing much better themselves, I think Detroit is going to be able to squeak out a win (or at least keep it close).

Indianapolis Colts +2.5 vs Arizona Cardinals
The Colts +anything and I'm taking it. I think the Colts will win this one easily. Peyton will get more help from his running game this week, be it Addai or Donald Brown.

Carolina Panthers +9 vs Dallas Cowboys
This is tricky because Tony Romo came off a rough week and should probably have extra motivation to play well. Also, the Panthers are absolutely awful when they play from behind. However, I think the Panthers will score early and run the ball into the ground. They may get beat at the end, but they will at least beat the spread.

Atlanta Falcons +4 vs New England Patriots
I probably wouldn't bet for the Falcons. Tom Brady will probably be able to pick apart the secondary, but I just have this feeling that the Patriots defense is not going to be able to stop Burner Turner. He's going to burn his way to 2 scores and 100+ yards. The only thing that keeps me from betting this one is that the Patriots might be able to outscore the Falcons.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

NFL Power Rankings Week 2

I thought it would be fun to do NFL Power Rankings, so here it is:

Toni Broxton Week 2 Power Rankings

1. Indianapolis Colts (2-0): Peyton Manning's ability to make receivers play above their normal ability is truly a gift to behold. This running game will come along soon, and the defense showed two weeks now it can get it done when the time comes.

2. Minnesota Vikings (2-0): As much as I dislike Brett Favre, this team is playing really well, and Brett Favre knows his role - behind Adrian Peterson, who is absolutely electric. Have yet to be tested, though.

3. New York Giants (2-0): Will Mario Manningham rise up to claim the throne of New York star wide receiver vacated by Plaxico Burress? We shall see soon, but he's off to a great start.

4. New Orleans Saints (2-0): Defense? Who cares! Drew Brees tore apart what was supposed to be one of the better defenses of the league. It remains to be seen if this Saints team will be able to sustain their pace the whole season and win a game where they turn the ball over a couple of times.

5. Atlanta Falcons (2-0): Giving Matty Ice a big time tight end has so far proven to be an amazing move.

6. New York Jets (2-0): This Jets defense is legit. Mark Sanchez has to be the 09 Joe Flacco and just not screw up.

7. Baltimore Ravens (2-0): Speaking of Joe Flacco, the Ravens offense is getting better each week. Ray Rice, Le'Ron McClain, and Willis McGahee provide the backfield depth and Todd Heap fell back on the face of the earth after having fallen off of it last year.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1): Titans and Bears the first two weeks? The defensive matchups have to get easier from this point on.

9. Dallas Cowboys (1-1): This team is one less Tony Romo mistake away from being 2-0. Will the injury to MB3 hamper him all season?

10. Buffalo Bills (1-1): The Bills have a dynamic running game that will only get better when Marshawn Lynch comes back, and if T.O. can get even more involved in the offense, this team could do some damage.

11. San Diego Chargers (1-1): Tough loss last week to Baltimore at home. Though Sproles puts up good numbers in LT's absence, it is always nice to split the workload.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1): Injuries are going to bag this team all year. McNabb and his now famous McRib, Westbrook's ankle, DeSean Jackson has a groin thing, Asante Samuel has a neck issue. The Eagles are lucky to have an early bye in week 4, but can't look past the Chiefs, awful as they are.

13. San Francisco 49ers (2-0): Usually great players don't make great coaches, but Mike Singletary is proving people wrong. This team will definitely put up a good fight for the NFC West. They were lucky to catch Arizona still on the Super Bowl hangover and Seattle with an injury to Hasselbeck.

14. Houston Texans (1-1): If Schaub and Andre Johnson can stay healthy, that's all this team needs. Steve Slaton has yet to show up, but will eventually.

15. Tennessee Titans (0-2): How can an 0-2 team be ranked so high? Bad matchups for the first couple of weeks. Plus they don't feed the LenWhale enough. Food and the ball. The dude needs his girth!

16. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1): This team is one fluke play away from being 2-0.

17. Green Bay Packers (1-1): This team has issues on the O-Line, can't run the ball for crap, and the defense is still trying to figure out how to play like it's 2007. That having been said, Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings will never EVER again have a game together where Jennings doesn't catch at least one ball.

18. Arizona Cardinals (1-1): The faster they can shake off the Super Bowl hangover, the better. They showed signs against Jacksonville this week.

19. New England Patriots (1-1): The fact of the matter is that this team is one Leodis McKelvin fumble away from being 0-2. Patriots teams of old would have torn the Jets apart for not worshipping the ground on which they stood. This Patriots team has no running game, critical injuries on defense, and their average age is higher than that of a community center bingo game.

20. Oakland Raiders (1-1): This team showed a lot of character coming back to beat the Chiefs in Kansas City. Why they would run Darren McFadden 12 times and throw 24 times with JaMarcus Russell is beyond me. It should have been the other way around, especially in a game the Raiders led most of the time.

21. Miami Dolphins (0-2): Had a rough first couple of weeks, but the running game looks good. The schedule can only get easier for them.

22. Chicago Bears (1-1): Cutler has nobody really to throw to outside of Greg Olsen and the defense lost their heart and brain. Not to mention Matt Forte hasn't showed up for the season yet.

23. Denver Broncos (2-0): They flat out got lucky vs the Bengals and they played the Browns. I'll rank this team higher when they impress me.

24. Seattle Seahwaks (1-1): Hasselbeck injury really hurts, as this team was looking alright. Surprised to see Edgerrin James not mixed into the play more. Maybe he will be going forward.

25. Washington Redskins (1-1): What an average team. There's nothing to say about them.

26. Carolina Panthers (0-2): You have to think this team will snap out of it eventually. Despite Jake Delhomme's ineptitude, this team is way too talented at other skill positions.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2): Maybe whatever Fred Taylor provided for this team was the difference?

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2): At least the offensive side can put up numbers. Defense has been terrible so far.

29. St. Louis Rams (0-2): I just don't get why this team is so awful. Bulger and Steven Jackson are legitmately good players. Spagnuolo should have improved the defense, but maybe they need a couple of years to get the right personnel.

30. Kansas City Chiefs (0-2): It's going to be tough for this team not to finish last in the AFC West.

31. Detroit Lions (0-2): The Browns and Lions are both pretty awful, but it came down to who is better at major positions: Stafford vs Quinn, Calvin Johnson vs Braylon Edwards, Jamal Lewis vs Kevin Jones. Lions win. Something they haven't done in a while.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-2): Mangini has his work cut out for him.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wildcat Dilemma

So let's say you are like Philadelphia and Miami, with 2 traditional QBs and 1 wildcat type QB. (Philadelphia - McNabb, Kolb, Vick; Miami - Pennington, Henne, Pat White)

You have a dilemma on your hands. What order do you list the QBs on the depth chart?

1. Traditional QB
2. Traditional QB2
3. Wildcat QB

If you do this, you can't use your Wildcat QB until the 4th quarter. Why? The NFL has a rule that says if you use your #3 QB before the 4th quarter, the #1 and #2 QBs on the depth chart can't play until the 4th quarter.

1. Traditional QB
2. Wildcat QB
3. Traditional QB2

If you do this and if your #1 QB gets hurt, then you HAVE to use your Wildcat QB (who is probably not better as a QB than your second best traditional QB) for the rest of the game until the 4th quarter.

So what do you do? The answer seems so simple to me:
List your wildcat QB as a wide receiver or running back. Then they can come and go as they please.

I thought maybe a player listed in the QB depth chart has to be on the field at all times for offensive plays, but that's not the case. Miami runs packages all the time without Pennington on the field.

Easy. Right?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thursday Picks update

Eagles, pick: $15 (wrong)
Panthers +6; $15 (wrong)
Vikings -10; $25 (correct)
Packers -9; $10 (wrong)
Raiders +3; $10 (correct)
49ers +2; $10 (correct)
Steelers -3; $15 (wrong)
Colts -3; $25 (correct)

$10 parlay to win about $900* (wrong)

$10 on a moneyline parlay on:
Vikings, Packers, Steelers, Colts (wrong)

$20 to win $70 on a 5 team teaser of 7 points on:
Patriots, Packers, Vikings, Steelers, Colts (wrong)

Risk: $165
Payout: $108.63
Net: -$56.37

It's a good thing this is all pretend haha.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Lookalike Friday 16

Booyeah! Time for Lookalike Friday.

This week we have Hall of Fame point guard for the Utah Jazz, John Stockton. I saw him at the ceremony and thought to myself, boy...doesn't he look a lot like...

Mr. Bean aka Rowan Atkinson?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I can't believe I used to worship this guy

I sure hate to kick a man when he's down, but the more and more I watch Michael Jordan's train wreck of a speech, the more and more I can't believe how self absorbed this guy is. I don't know which famous Chicagan thinks more people are out to get him: Michael Jordan or Steve Bartman. Honestly the best part of the speech was when he read off of a piece of paper at the end. That part was genuinely good. He should have done that for the entire speech. Jordan shooting from the hip killed not only his reputation, but also the evening as a whole.

He didn't say one genuinely nice thing about even his own family. He said his 5 foot 5 brother is an example of "small things coming in small packages." WTF?!?! The closest he came to a compliment:

"My mom, what else can I say about my mom?...She's a rock, she's unbelievable...she constantly keeps me focused on the good things about life..."
so far so good...
" you're perceived publicly, second thought, take a pause, think about things that you all came from my mom." thanking your mom for your tact in perhaps the most tactless speech of all time? Maybe you should have left that part out of the speech, Mike. Unless that was a jab at her too. It certainly would have fit the theme of the rest of the speech.

I was a huge fan of Michael Jordan as a child because of his amazing skills on the basketball court. I still definitely respect what he has done as a basketball player, but I'm glad I don't know him personally.

I just hope Kobe Bryant learns from this debacle because he and Jordan seem to have similar personalities. I hope when it comes time for the Kobe Bryant Hall of Fame induction speech, he is able to conduct himself with more class and dignity than Jordan.

Thursday Picks

A new special section for the Toni Broxton Blog.

I love betting on sports (only where legal, obviously). For the football season, every Thursday I will post what games I would bet on and how much, if I lived in Vegas. I very much wish sports betting was legal in all 50 states, and hope that will one day be the case. In the meantime, this will do.

Mostly my picks will be from the NFL because I neither feel incredibly confident in my college football knowledge nor do I enjoy non-Cal college football in general.

Ground rules: I will assume standard payouts (-110) when calculating how much I would have won or lost after the games. Moneyline parlays are stated, but may not have been possible if no moneyline bet is offered. Parlay and teaser winnings estimates provided by Lines are provided by

Without further ado...

Thursday Picks for NFL week 2

*lines as of Thursday, September 17

Saints at Eagles: even
Pick: Eagles, $15
You have no idea what Kevin Kolb brings to the table. The coaching staff seems to think he is capable, but I'm not sold. Who I am sold on is Sean McDermott, new defensive coordinator and Jeff Garcia. The defense will keep the Saints within reach, and if Kolb falters, Garcia will play well enough to get them the win. McNabb only passed for 79 yards last week. The weapons around him remain.

Panthers at Falcons: Falcons -6
Pick: Panthers +6, $15
The Falcons don't have the same pass rush the Eagles do and DeAngelo Williams will be used more often, as the Panthers will be able to get back to the way they like to play. They may lose, but by less than 6.

Vikings at Lions: Vikings -10
Pick: Vikings -10, $25
The Lions are definitely more than 10 points worse than the Vikings. The problem for the Lions is that even if the Vikings rest Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor can destory them also. The Vikings backups and defense can maintain a 10 point lead against the Lions.

Bengals at Packers: Packers -9
Pick: Packers -9, $10
Not a terribly confident pick here, just because I think beating anyone by 9 in the NFL takes one of the 5 best over one of the 5 worst. I don't think the Bengals are one of the 5 worst teams in the league just yet.

Texans at Titans: Titans -7
Pick: none
Both teams are capable of much more than they showed Week 1. I have a feeling the Texans might be a Jekyll and Hyde type of team this year. Will probably stay away from them unless against obviously weaker teams.

Raiders at Chiefs: Chiefs -3
Pick: Raiders +3, $10
Not a confident pick, but the Raiders can at least run the ball on the Chiefs. The Chiefs won't be able to be as productive in the air as on the ground, but Oakland did a much better job against the Chargers running backs than people expected.

Patriots at Jets: Patriots -4
Pick: none
Usually home underdogs are a good bet to take a chance on, but this one has too many unknowns. I don't know truly how much better the Jets defense is than last year. I don't know how Mark Sanchez is going to play. I don't know what impact Jerod Mayo's absence will have on the Patriots defense. Too many question marks.

Rams at Redskins: Redskins -10
Pick: none
I could see it definitely going either way.

Cardinals at Jaguars: Jaguars -3
Pick: none
The Jaguars will run all over the Cardinals, but the Jaguars secondary is nothing to write home about. It should come down to turnovers, and I don't feel confident enough to bet on it.

Seahawks at 49ers: Seahawks -2
Pick: 49ers +2; $10
The 49ers were able to keep Arizona's passing game in check, and they should have enough offense to pull it off. Plus they have good momentum from the win last week.

Buccaneers at Bills: Bills -5
Pick: none
Too much of a toss up.

Steelers at Bears: Steelers -3
Pick: Steelers -3; $15
The Bears just don't have enough talent at wide receiver to come back when they're down, and the Steelers should be able to gain and hold a lead with Urlacher out. The Steelers running game will get back on track this week.

Ravens at Chargers: Chargers -3
Pick: none
Should be a nice, close game with scores in the teens for both teams. Don't know which way it'll go, though.

Browns at Broncos: Broncos -3
Pick: none
This one is also too much of a toss up. Leaning toward the Broncos, but not confident.

Giants at Cowboys: Cowboys -3
Pick: none
NFC East matchups are always tough, and this one is no different. Though, if I had to bet, I would bet for the Giants.

Colts at Dolphins: Colts -3
Pick: Colts -3; $25
Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams will get their rushing yards, but I don't think the Dolphins have an answer for Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. They might also be so worried about the passing game that newly rejuvenated Jose Addai might be able to bust some big runs.

Eagles, pick: $15
Panthers +6; $15
Vikings -10; $25
Packers -9; $10
Raiders +3; $10
49ers +2; $10
Steelers -3; $15
Colts -3; $25

I'd put $10 to win about $900* on a parlay on all of those picks, just in case.

I'd also throw $10 on a moneyline parlay on:
Vikings, Packers, Steelers, Colts

I'd also risk $20 to win $70 on a 5 team teaser of 7 points on:
Patriots, Packers, Vikings, Steelers, Colts

Risk: $165

Remember, this is strictly a hypothetical scenario. If I lived in Las Vegas, it would not be, but since I don't, I can only pretend. If you win money in Vegas using my advice and you offer me a cut, I will most certainly not turn it down.

*Was unable to find Eagles pick. A 7 team parlay of the other games was 1:80 payout, so I figured adding in a pick would probably boost it to about 1:90.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Crystal Ball (nevermind)

One day some genius football coach will take advantage of this, and you can say that you read it first here on the Toni Broxton Blog:

Let's say your team is trailing and time is running out. They are trying to save time by running out of bounds after each play. You've seen plenty of games decided by the runner not being able to get out of bounds and the clock ticks down and the team either has no time left or not enough time.

I asked myself many years ago:
How come the runner doesn't just lateral the ball out of bounds? Once you've got the yardage you need, it's about preserving the clock. If you just toss it behind you out of bounds, it's considered a fumble and the clock stops until the next snap.

As far as I can tell from looking at the NFL rules page on their website, this would work.


The only risk you run is a defensive player getting in between the runner and the sideline and picking up the fumble, but honestly what kind of idiot can't toss the ball hard enough to get it out of bounds without it getting stolen.

Eventually someone will take advantage of this, and one day they will make a rule change for it.

According to NFL Rulebook Rule 4, Section 3, Article 10:

Article 10:
A team is not permitted to conserve time inside of one minute of either half by committing any of the following acts: fouls by either team that prevent the snap (i.e., false start, encroachment, etc.), intentional grounding, an illegal forward pass thrown from beyond the line of scrimmage with the intent to conserve time, throwing a backward pass out of bounds with the intent to conserve time, and any other intentional foul that causes the clock to stop.

Penalty: Loss of five yards unless a larger distance penalty is applicable. When actions referred to above are committed by the offensive team with the clock running, officials will run 10 seconds off the game clock before permitting the ball to be put in play on the ready for play signal. The clock will start on the ready for play signal. If the offensive team has timeouts remaining, it will have the option of using a timeout in lieu of a 10-second runoff. If the action is by the defense, the play clock will be reset to 40 seconds and the game clock will start on the ready signal. If the defense has time outs remaining, it will have theoption of using a time out in lieu of the game clock being started.

No wonder. It seemed so obvious to me to do that. I guess too obvious.

You could still do it before 1 min left, which could still be useful, and you could try it if you think you can sell that it's not an intentional fumble out of bounds. Intent is so hard to judge that I think if you have nothing to lose, why not give it a shot?

In either case, the rules outline on the NFL website sucks. It's so imcomplete. I had to find a .pdf version.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Are you serious?!?!

I'm sure by now you've seen the profanity laced tirade that Serena Williams delivered to the line judge who called a foot fault on her on her second serve during her match with Kim Clijsters. The verbal abuse led to a point penalty, which ended the match, giving Clijsters the win.

Who knows if Williams, down a set and pushing for a tiebreaker, would have won had she not been called for the foot fault. But I don't think that's the point.

I'm no tennis buff, but I don't think that foot faults in crucial match situations on a second serve are common. Especially when it doesn't seem to be an egregious foot fault, given the video evidence.

It doesn't matter. The way Serena Williams went off on the line judge is not the way a human being should treat another, regardless of the call made. This sets a terrible example for young people everywhere, and tarnishes the image that both Serena and Venus have strived to achieve. A stream of angry F-bombs by one of the most visible African-American tennis players in history probably isn't making the NAACP think of an award to give in her honor.

To further compound it, Serena Williams offers very little in the way of an apology. She cites her "passion" and "emotion" as reasons why she "handled the situation poorly." Passion and emotion make you celebrate a little classlessly. Passion and emotion make you tell the judge you disagree with him/her and maybe call them an idiot. Passion and emotion don't make you go ape shit on someone, think about it some more, and then go back for more, all when they are saying nothing.

Don't get me wrong, I think it was absolutely wrong of the line judge to make that call. I am on the side of the argument that sometimes judges and referees and umpires should abstain from making minor calls, given the particular situation of a competition. Let her get away with the foot fault, if the match goes on into the third set, then call it on her right away on a FIRST serve.

Some claim that arguing with the umpire is a part of the sport. Some point to John McEnroe's antics as proof of the acceptance of swearing and anger as part of the culture of tennis. I do agree that arguing is part of the sport. It's part of any sport that has a judge or ref. But swearing, throwing rackets, throwing tantrums, making threats, should be as much a part of tennis as beanballs in baseball and chop blocks in football.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lookalike Friday 15

Oh yeah, Lookalike Friday time!

This week we have Astros First Baseman Aaron Boone, who recently came back from heart surgery. Yankee fans remember him from blasting the game winning home run in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS over the Red Sox. I always thought to myself, boy...doesn't he look a lot like...

Johnny Knoxville?

For some reason, there aren't too many good pictures of Aaron Boone, and not too many pictures of Johnny Knoxville where he's not wearing sunglasses. Hence, this rather un-Jackass-ian pensive look from Mr. Knoxville.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

No Funds Left (for their fans)

I promised myself I wouldn't rant too much on my blog, but today is going to be a rare exception.

I have no problem with a business trying to protect its brand and optimizing its revenue, especially if its product is as hot as Allison Stokke.

So here we have the NFL. The NFL does perhaps the most things possible and goes to the greatest lengths to make people spend money. And it works.

1. DirecTV: If you want NFL Sunday Ticket, you have to get DirecTV. In 2009 they paid the NFL $4 billion to extend their contract to 2014. Who wants to get satellite TV? I don't. But I do for NFL Sunday Ticket, and I'm sure I'm not the only one out there. It sucks, but whan can you do?

2. Blackouts: If you have a local team and their game doesn't sell out, that game is blacked out on TV. So for example, let's say you like a team that sometimes doesn't sell out its games, like the Arizona Cardinals. If you live in Arizona and the Cardinals game doesn't sell out, you don't get to watch the game at home. It sucks BIG TIME. Also, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the two bay area teams (49ers or Raiders) will probably have a home game. That means you will almost never see a doubleheader on Sundays because if a local team is playing on a channel (let's say CBS) then the other channel (let's say FOX) can't carry ANY other football game. This is precisely why, as an Eagles fan living in Los Angeles, I do NOT want an LA football team. I don't want any football to get blacked out.

3. The NFL Network: If that wasn't enough, a few years ago the NFL created its own network and started putting games on it on Thursdays. So if you don't have the NFL Network, you won't get to watch the game. To make matters worse, not all cable carriers carry the NFL Network, so you couldn't even see it if you wanted to. Of course, the NFL Network is on DirecTV.

Would it really hurt the NFL to at least get rid of the blackout rules? The NFL Network and Sunday Ticket at least make business sense. The blackout rules are just mean. I don't think there are too many people who are borderline between "should I go to the game" and "should I watch it at home". Chances are people who are going to the game aren't going because they are scared it might get blacked out. They would go regardless. You're doing such a massive disservice to so many for such a seemingly minimal gain. A gain you couldn't even quantify if you wanted to!

But alas, what can you do? The NFL has its fans firmly by the gonads and won't let go. They won't even loosen up their grip.

Friday, September 4, 2009


I honestly don't know what was more painful, Oregon running back LeGarette Blount's punch of Boise State player Byron Hout or hearing that he was suspended the rest of the season.

I don't know all the details of what contributed to the decision to punish him for the entire rest of the season, but here's a few things I thought:

1. Hout gets no suspension? We're talking about sportsmanship being violated, and although Hout only verbally taunted Blount, it was a clear violation of sportsmanship nonetheless. Not suspending Hout sets an AWFUL precedent: Setting off an angry opponent is fine, but losing your temper is not. Hout is just as culpable as Blount and should be suspended a minimum of 3 games.

2. Whatever budding NFL career LeGarette Blount had, it's basically over. The only way LeGarette Blount plays in the NFL is if he loses some weight, plays in the UFL, signs a practice squad contract and works his way up. All while getting into less trouble than God's gift to the world Tim Tebow.

3. Chip Kelly and Mike Bellotti just saved LeGarette Blount's ass. Huh? Yeah. Do you think Idaho law enforcement can go after and convict a guy who has officially now lost everything he's worked for his entire life? LeGarette Blount may not play football ever again, but at least he won't be facing any criminal charges. At least now if he tries to make a career change, he won't have official criminal action hanging over his head. As it stands, five years from now less than 1% of the population will know who LeGarette Blount is.

4. I wonder if the Pac-10 would have suspended him further if Oregon only suspended him like 1 game. Can they do that? Has there ever been a situation where the school didn't sufficiently punish a player for bad behavior?

It's a sad situation all the way around, and it'll be interesting to see where the Ducks go from here. One thing I know is that if they ever play Boise St. ever again, it'll be too soon.

Lookalike Friday 14

Oh yeah, Lookalike Friday time!

This week we have Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge. I thought to myself, boy...doesn't he look a lot like...

Mac from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, played by Rob McElhenny?

*Bonus Brad Lidge picture!

1. Isn't it a coincidence that they are both associated with Philadelphia?
2. Does anyone enjoy It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia? My old co-workers all were crazy for it, so I started watching and I didn't think it was that great. I find it to be a more offensive, less funny version of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I wonder if it gets better as the seasons go on.

Have a great weekend and enjoy all the great college football games.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Safety First

Everyone knows David Wright got beaned in the head hardcore style a couple of weeks ago from Lookalike Friday Alum Matt Cain. Some may have heard about this new batting helmet that he said he would be willing to wear because it can withstand a 100mph pitch. By withstand, I'm guessing that means the helmet stays intact and the wearer suffers damage less than that necessary to cause a concussion.

I looked up what this legendary batting helmet looked like. Ladies and gentlemen the Rawlings S100.

I had read that players were reluctant to wear the hat because it made them look silly. Ryan Dempster said he felt like it was his "own bobblehead night" while he wore it. I saw the above picture of the batting helmet and thought, "OH God! Here comes the athlete invincibility complex. If I were a baseball player I would wear this thing in a heartbeat."

I watched some video from Rawlings executives outlining the safety features of the helmet and wondered why they never showed a picture with someone wearing it. I got my answer tonight.

Here is David Wright in his first game back from injury and immediately I thought, "OH God! No wonder they don't wanna wear that thing. It makes you look like the Great Gazoo."

After looking at the size of the helmet I was actually disappointed that it wouldn't protect you from something worse than a 100mph fastball. I would have expected something like that to protect you from a falling piano or a hand grenade. The fact that Jon Broxton could still hurt you despite wearing that helmet is a bit disappointing.

Would I still wear this helmet? Absolutely. I would rather look like a fool than risk my career. But I think I would swap out to the more traditional hard hat when on the basepaths.

I think they really need to consider making at least some kind of reinforced hat for pitchers to wear. I'm talking about less protection than the hats first and third base coaches wear, but more protection than a wool 5950 New Era cap.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The fourth most important World Series

1. MLB World Series
2. World Series of Poker
3. College World Series
4. Little League World Series

When I was a kid, I never played baseball. Truth be told, I've never played a game of actual baseball in my entire life. I think it's funny considering how much I love the game of baseball.

Maybe it's for that reason I don't really watch the Little League World Series. I can't relate to the kids playing. But then again, I played youth basketball and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't tune in for any sort of child basketball tournament.

I also don't really like college baseball. Other than Cal, I'm not a huge fan of college sports in general. Why? I don't like watching sports that don't feature the best. I don't care that they play harder. I don't care that they aren't "playing for money." I do care that the play is sloppier and that they make a lot of mistakes. Maybe that's why I don't like the Little Leagie World Series.

Maybe it's just because I'm not a huge fan of kids, as I've recently discovered. I don't like certain things kids do like jump up and down and hug each other and cry when they lose and overreact to everything. I don't like watching it because I used to be like that, and while that's endearing to some, it's painful and embarassing to me. Except for the crying thing. I honestly never did that. I was never a big enough contributor to any team to feel disappointed when we lost.

In any case, you could imagine my surprise when I stayed up until 1am watching the replay of Warner Robins, GA vs Chula Vista, CA on ESPN2. It was a pretty fun game to watch. Despite the wild pitches, despite the baserunning errors, despite the millions of timeouts called, I was captivated and enjoyed the game. Weird huh?

I figure there must be a reason they show the Little League World Series at all. Adults, for the most part, must really enjoy watching it. I thought it was interesting that as a kid you enjoy watching the adults, but as an adult you could enjoy watching the kids.

I probably enjoyed this specific game because of all the offense it provided, its close finish and also because California won. We'll see Saturday when I tune in for the semifinals.

Oh and by the way, the best part BY FAR was not hearing all the kids name Chipper Jones their favorite player. Now that player is Albert Pujols.

Lookalike Friday 13

Oh yeah, Lookalike Friday time! I LOVE IT!

This week we have Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Randy Wolf. I thought to myself, boy...doesn't he look a lot like...

Former child star and current train wreck Danny Bonaduce?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Takes a Lickin

You know what never fails to gross me out? When athletes lick their fingers. Athletes from all sports do it, and it's sick.

QB: I'm sure you've seen a quarterback who licks basically his entire four fingers before getting ready to get the snap from the center. Has he ever considered that the ball touches the ground half the time? Ground that gets sweated, bled, and spit on? Has he ever considered that before he gets the snap his hands get intimate with the center's nether regions?
notable finger lickers: All NFL QBs

basketball: Have you ever seen a point guard lick his fingers while dribbling the ball upcourt? I suppose a basketball court is the cleanest playing surface when compared to those of other sports, but still. Sick.
notable finger lickers: Steve Nash

baseball players: Pitchers can't lick their fingers too much or else they'll get called for a ball by the umpire, but some pitchers early in their pre-pitch routine go from the tongue over to the rosin bag and then to the ball. You've got to think that there is some rosin residue from the pitch before and that can't taste good. In fact, I'm pretty sure infield dirt which is probably all over the ball tastes like crap also. The oddest thing I've ever seen is Paul Konerko's routine when he plays first base. He licks his fingers, scrapes the dirt, and then gets ready for the pitch. Why in the world would a first baseman need to lick his fingers?!?!?!

David Wright and Barry Bonds: And then we have these two. One of the first things I think of when I think about Barry Bonds is how he was caught on camera licking his bat. Weird, right? Why would you do that? Did you spill some ketchup on it? Even if you did, just wipe it with a tissue. Or get another bat; Lord knows you have a hundred of them. I thought that was the worst thing about Barry Bonds. Forget steroids, that somewhat makes sense, but bat licking?!?!?! And then while attempting to find a picture of Barry Bond's bat lick I found this!

David, I used to be such a big fan of yours. You're an animal.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wag the Dog

Billy Wagner today OKed a trade from the Mets to the Red Sox. It was previously thought that he wouldn't accept the trade because even though the Red Sox were willing to decline their team option for next year, they wouldn't agree to not extend him arbitration.

Basically Waggles wanted to be a free agent as soon as possible so he can rack up as many saves as possible before he retires. Playing for the Mets or the Red Sox doesn't give him opportunities to close, so he'd rather this year end as soon as possible and become a free agent.

That was until today. He woke up this morning and decided he would like to play for a contender.

I was thinking, usually it's the other way around, isn't it? Guys say they don't care about personal accomplishments and would rather have the opportunity to play for a championship (Wagner has never been to the World Series)

Wagner was the other way around until today, but even if he hadn't accepted the trade to the Red Sox I wouldn't have blamed him.

Think about it. Just because you get traded to a team that hasn't been eliminated from postseason contention doesn't mean you're going to win a title. In fact, even if you get traded to a team that is IN the playoffs, that doesn't remotely mean you're going to win a title. Even if you're traded to one of the two World Series teams, there's no guarantee you're going to win the title.

If I was Billy Wagner, would I sacrifice the chance to get up the saves list for the outside chance of maybe winning a championship? Maybe not.

Billy Wagner is in a position to make a push for the Hall of Fame. If he can get 25 saves for three more years, he will be fourth on the all time saves list behind Trevor Hoffman, Mariano Rivera, and Lee Smith - two guys who will be in the HOF and one guy who somewhat has a case. Not to mention that he'll be the saves leader for lefties, which will bolster his chances that much more.

Sometimes you have to weigh the odds and set your priorities. In the case of Billy Wagner, winning a championship and racking up 70 or so more saves both help your chances of getting into the HOF, but if you have to pick one, I think it's a no-brainer.

Besides, the Red Sox aren't going to be playing mid-October baseball anyway.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Playing God-ell

Roger Goodell kicks ass and takes names. He meets with players who are in trouble, thinks about it for a couple of days, and then suspends their asses without blinking an eye.

Among others:
Adam Pacman Jones - 1 season and another 4 games
Donte' Stallworth - 1 season
Michael Vick - indefinitely
Plaxico Burress - indefinitely
Chris Henry - 8 games
Tank Johnson - 10 games

This strict enforcement of the conduct policy is refreshing. Athletes get babied their whole lives, so it's nice to see a normal looking dude classily tell them they effed up, and then tell them they can't play.

And it's even crazier how scared football players are of him. Why do punished players always say, "I respect Commissioner Goodell's decision"? because if they said anything else they would get suspended for the rest of their lives Pete Rose style.

This is all good, for now. One day soon it's going to grow old and people will all wonder if Goodell should drop an 'o' from his last name...and "ell"...and drops his entire first name while he's at it.

I just hope when it gets to that point, Commissioner Goodell eases up accordingly. Nobody likes an old white man who thinks he's better than everyone else. (See: Bill Belichick)

Speaking of which I forgot how annoying Belichick's press game conference answers are. Considering he's one of the greatest football minds ever, he says nothing insightful!!!

Reporter: Coach, can you comment on the play that put the other team ahead by 10 pts? Did you feel that you lost momentum?

Belichick (in monotone): Well...they gained a lot of yards on that one play...I mean, the qb can throw the football...and the receiver can mean...and they both have hair...and their shoes were tied, is what it is, you know?

Lookalike Friday 12

Oh yeah, Lookalike Friday time!

This week we have Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith. I thought to myself, boy...doesn't he look a lot like...

Rapper/actor LL Cool J?

btw, LL Cool J must really love sunglasses. When you do google image search, 90% of his pictures are of him wearing sunglasses.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Playoff push

Sorry for the lack of entries these days. There hasn't been too much to blog about recently. I don't want to talk about Brett Favre because the worst thing you can do for an attention whore is to talk about him, so I will not proceed any further.

Instead, let's take a look at October baseball in the horizon.

Here are the relevant MLB standings as of Wednesday, August 19, 2009:

WestEastCentralWild Card
Angels 73-45
Rangers 67-52 (-6.5)
Yankees 76-45
Red Sox 68-51 (-7)
Tigers 63-56
White Sox 62-59 (-2)
Twins 58-62 (-5.5)
Rangers (-1)
Rays (-3)
Mariners (-6.5)
White Sox (-7)

WestEastCentralWild Card
Dodgers 71-50
Rockies 67-53 (-3.5)
Giants 66-54 (-4.5)
Phillies 68-49
Marlins 64-56 (-5.5)
Braves 63-57 (-6.5)
Cardinals 69-53
Cubs 61-57 (-6)
Giants (-1)
Marlins (-3)
Braves (-4)
Cubs (-5)

My Predictions:
West: Angels
-Their lead is too big and they are such a complete team from top to bottom.
East: Yankees
-They are playing too well right now and they will keep it up enough to hold on
Central: White Sox
-I'm not sold on the Tigers' starting pitching outside of Edwin Jackson and Justin Verlander.
Wild Card: Rangers
-I really like the addition of Pudge. I think he's going to make their overachieving young starters that much better. Every team that makes a run to the World Series has an electric young player and Neftali Feliz fits the bill.

West: Dodgers
-Just barely. They win the division by a game and a half, tops.
East: Phillies
-Two words: Cliff. Lee.
Central: Cardinals
-The Cubs aren't going to end up coming anywhere close.
Wild Card: Giants
-The Rockies are hitting on all cylinders now, but can they keep it up? I don't think so. The Giants starting pitching is too good and they will score just enough runs to make it in.

Yankees vs Rangers: Yankees in 6
-I want to pick the Rangers because I think they have potential, but picking them against this Yankees team would be tomfoolery.
Angels vs White Sox: Angels in 5
-They'll all be close games, but the White Sox just don't have enough to get by the Angels.

Angels vs Yankees: Yankees in 7
-An epic battle. Yankees will simply come up with more clutch hits. The most clutch of all will be...yes...A-Rod.

Cardinals vs Giants: Giants in 6
-Carpenter vs Lincecum, Wainwright vs Cain...those will be matchups to look forward to if this series does end up happening. I think the Giants have a better bullpen...and the older Molina.
Dodgers vs Phillies: Dodgers in 6
-The Dodgers are better offensively than last year vs the Phillies. The Phillies have better starting pitching than last year vs the Dodgers. The Phillies bullpen got worse, namely Brad Lidge. He blows two saves in this series and the Dodgers take advantage.

Dodgers vs Giants: Dodgers in 5
-The Giants train runs out of gas at the NLCS.

World Series:
Dodgers vs Yankees: Dodgers in 6
-C'mon. In the off chance that all of this ends up happening and if I picked against the Dodgers and they actually won it, do you know what kind of crap I would get? Not worth it. Go Dodgers.