If packing groceries, like Kurt Warner once did, were a part of the NFL combine- I would’ve been a first round draft pick and well on my way to the Hall of Fame. Believe me, I’ve said “paper or plastic” more times than I care to remember while working my way through college. Yet the only thing it got me was a stupid blue apron that smelled like cheese.
Warner announced his retirement today and his story is one that after school specials dream about. He was a journeyman QB who once bounced from the Packers practice squad to the Arena League and then to NFL Europe. He would then return to the NFL where he became a Super Bowl champ and a two time league MVP with the St. Louis Rams. It was there that his Rams offense would be referred to as The Greatest Show on Turf as Warner shredded defenses with pinpoint accuracy and unmatched guts. After the Rams he went on to the Giants, gets benched because of Eli Manning, and then goes to the hopeless Cardinals to ride the bench behind Matt Leinhart. Only he doesn’t see it that way. Instead Warner goes on to push the USC hotshot to the bench and eventually takes Arizona to the big game where he came just seconds away from winning his second NFL title. The debate that I’ve heard on the radio today that Warner may not be a shoe-in for Canton is a joke. Did I mention that Warner started playing in the NFL when he was 28? Yes, 28!
Start carving his bust now. And if you think it’s still up for debate try this one on for size. I couldn’t believe it when I heard it by one radio listener and had to look it up myself.
-“Fourteen quarterbacks have been elected to the Hall of Fame in the last 25 years, and Warner has a better completion percentage, more net yards per pass attempt and more yards per game than all of them.”- Wikipedia
Congratulations Kurt Warner on an incredible career and I’ll be seeing you put on that ugly yellow coat in Canton very soon. Maybe I’ll bring my blue apron when I go and drape it over your bust in honor of a guy who truly embodied the never quit attitude that so many of us preach to our kids and wish to live ourselves. The blue apron may be more comfortable for you anyway. I’ll even try and get the smell of cheese out of it. -DM
What a week. I was swamped getting orders filled before the Super Bowl is upon us and then Pat and I spent the last 2 days in Las Vegas for the FSTA’s winter conference. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association has been instrumental in FantasyTrophies.com getting the word out about our trophies and I have no doubt that bigger and better things are on the horizon. I’d especially like to thank Alex and Randal of CFFinsider.com for agreeing to be our testing ground for our recently launched affiliation program. These guys have a great website and it’s always nice to link up with a quality product. Check them out.
I’d also like to mention the women, and in particular Dahlia, at Precision Color Digital Imaging in Vegas. While at JFK airport in New York, I ordered a coffee and then preceded to board the plane without the banner I had printed up specifically for the conference. The coffee seemed to be the perfect distraction and substitute for the cardboard tube the banner was packaged in. (Yes, I’m trying to make an excuse for my massive brain fart) Needless to say I wasn’t very pleased when I noticed, just as the plane was lifting off, what I had done. When Pat and I landed in Vegas we desperately called different printing companies, including Kinkos and Staples, but Dahlia was the only one who said she could come through and get the job done in less than three hours. It took a little over one. She was even going to drive it out to us at the Palms. I can’t thank her and her team enough and I can truly say that customer service and quality is what pcolordi.com is all about. I thought it was only fitting to give them a little extra cash for their great work and service. What did they turn around and do with some of the money? They went out and bought a few monstrous coffees. Fitting. The photo she sent me was also a nice touch. -DM
I’m sitting here watching the AFC championship game while getting things ready for my trip out to Vegas tomorrow. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association is holding it’s annual winter conference this year in sin city and FantasyTrophies will be there. It’s times like this that I think back to when I was sculpting trophies out of my parent’s garage. Yes, FantasyTrophies has come a long way since those days.
Back then I never really thought I’d be rubbing elbows with the heavyweights of fantasy sports. Companies like Rotoworld, CBS Sportsline, ESPN and Fanball to name a few. All of them will be there and once again see what we bring to the table–literally. We’ll have a table at the conference with our product set up on it. The Throwback, Armchair Quarterback, Armchair Ace, Ultimate Loser and the Armchair Mini will all be on display along with all of our other trophies.
The greatest part is that no matter how much of a “big shot” in the fantasy world someone may be, they all respond to our trophies the same way. They all have the same connection as that of the guys in a league out in Wichita, Kansas. The same as my buddies back in Cleveland, Ohio or the numerous leagues I’ve sold to around the country. It’s all the same. Our trophies, no doubt, connect with anyone who has ever sat through a 5 hour draft or known the feeling of getting bumped in the playoffs by their buddy’s crappy team. They also exemplify the overall dedication, strategy and luck it takes to be involved in fantasy sports. Yes, our trophies truly capture the essence of fantasy sports and it’s always a thrill to share them with the rest of the fantasy world. Vegas, here we come. -DM
I’ll be the first to admit that my picks throughout the playoffs have been pretty piss poor. However, I’ve listened to many of the “experts” on television and radio and quite honestly I wasn’t that far off from what they believed. That being said- let’s try this thing again.
The AFC Championship game: Jets at Colts-
I’ve been picking against the Jets every week and I’ve been burned each time. Their running attack has been incredible and the defense might be even better. Sanchez has limited his mistakes and looks to have matured at the most opportune time. Revis is a pure stud who can shut down the other teams #1 receiver and force an offense to throw to one side of the field. Rex Ryan has the entire team buying in to what he’s selling and the Jets have definitely peeked at the right time.
The Colts have Peyton Manning.
My pick Colts 24-13
The NFC Championship game: Vikings at Saints
This game is so tough to pick. Favre is playing the best football of his career and they still have Adrian Peterson in the backfield. Jared Allen and the defense is flying all over the place and prides itself on stuffing the run.
The Saints are also looking great and Drew Brees will be even more effective if Reggie Bush is the same player he was last weeek.
I’m leaning towards the Vikings because I don’t see Bush being that same impact player against a tough Vikings defense and I think Brees is going to have trouble with the pressure that will be coming from up the middle and from Allen.
Vikings 31- 28
I remember watching Dr. J play in some of his final all-star games and how the other players would talk about how much they appreciated the Doctor and what he meant to the game of basketball. Guys like Magic and Bird would comment on how he transformed the game and how he was a major reason why they had such a passion for playing. Dr. J was not only an incredible player on the court, but a great ambassador for the game off the hardwood as well. You never really questioned why Dr. J was in an All-Star game well after his prime.
That brings me to Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady. These two guys should not be mentioned in the same breath as Dr. J nor should they be in this year’s all-star game. Iverson, though an incredible talent, has never gotten rid of his me first attitude and will always be remembered for his “where talk’in bout practice” rant from years ago. It’s really a shame too, because he easily is one of the 10 best players over the last 15 years and was even a league MVP. He pretty much put the Sixers on his back and carried them to the NBA Championship where they eventually lost to the Lakers and Shaq and Kobe. That being said- he still does not belong in the all-star game. The fans continue to show their ineptitude when it comes to all-star voting and David Stern should finally take the fans out of the equation. I’d take some time to evaluate the possibility of McGrady being voted in as a starter, but his game recently doesn’t even justify me wasting my time. Plus, he’s barely played this year.
Yes, Dr. J played in many all-star games that he really had no business being in based solely on his talent at that time. However, he was the Doctor. It was understood that he was bigger than the game being played. Iverson and McGrady, on the other hand, will just be a pair of guys taking the place of more deserving players if the fans screw up again and vote these two washed up players into the game this year. -DM
I gotta say, I didn’t see the Jets beating the Chargers. San Diego was on an eleven game winning streak and playing at home. The Jets had come off, for the most part, an easy game against the Bengals and still had a rookie QB calling the shots. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought the Chargers were going to take it to the green and white.
Wow was I wrong. The Jets didn’t panic when they were down 7-0 continued to pound the football and kept Mark Sanchez upright most of the game. Sanchez knows he’s still the weakest link on the team and if he limits his mistakes the Jets have a chance to win. All he needs to do is look on the other side of the ball and watch his defense punish their opponents.
The Jets defense doesn’t remind of the Ravens when they won the Super Bowl, but Mark Sanchez’s play does bring back memories of Trent Dilfer. Dilfer was asked to hand the ball off, throw safe passes and no matter what- don’t make mistakes. The defense was the key to winning and Dilfer knew it. His main job was not to drive the bus off the road. Sanchez may not win a Super Bowl this year, but he sure has become one hell of a bus driver. -DM
I’ll admit that even though I didn’t post my predictions for last weeks games, I’m man enough to admit I bombed on the Bengals and Pats. I thought both teams would find a way to win close games at home. I was wrong.
I will say that I got the other games correct, including the Cardinals over the Packers. That was going to be my one “upset special”. I realize 2 out of 4 isn’t that great. I’ll do better this week.
Arizona at N.O.- I’m going with Arizona. Even though it looks like Boldin may not play, the Cardinals are hot at the right time while the Saints laid a huge egg at the end of the season. Kurt Warner played like a man possessed against the Packers and I think it’s going to carry over against the Saints. It’s going to be a shootout, but Arizona looks like they may be repeating their fortunes of last year. Cards 41- Saints 35
Baltimore at Indianapolis– This is a tough game to pick. Indy only beat Baltimore by 2 points during the regular season and the Ravens look like a much better team going into Saturday’s game. Ray Rice is the key for two reasons. He takes pressure off of Joe Flacco and he keeps Peyton Manning off the field. However, I think the Colts pull off a close one again because they have too much fire power and Flacco won’t be able to put up enough points through the air. The Colts are clearly going to have 8 man fronts and dare Flacco to beat them. He won’t. Balt. 17- Colts 24
Dallas at Minn.– Dallas may be playing their best football at the right time, but it still won’t be enough to beat the Vikes. Brett Favre will run a balanced attack with Adrian Peterson being able to slow the rush of the Dallas front four. The last thing Favre wants to see is the Dallas pass rush teeing off on him. Tony Romo on the other hand is going to be seeing Jared Allen and the rest of the Vikings D-line in his face all afternoon. Dallas 27- Minn. 31
N.Y. at S.D.– The Chargers are the furthest thing from the Bengals right now and the Jets will soon realize the difference. Philip Rivers is playing MVP type football and the running game will still need to be respected. L.T. is not the same guy he once was, but he’s still a threat out of the backfield and Darren Sproles can take it the distance any time he touches the ball. The problem the Jets are going to have is controlling Antionio Gates over the middle and relying on Mark Sanchez in the 4th quarter to try and keep them in it. I just don’t see the Jets having the fire power or the cover guys, outside of Revis, to control the Chargers receivers. N.Y. 17- S.D-35
If you were fortunate enough to see the press conference the Cleveland Browns held yesterday, you would’ve seen something more rare than Halley’s Comet. Leadership in Berea. To call Mike Holmgren a breathe of fresh air is the understatement of understatements. The man sweats confidence and bleeds football knowledge. He’s not afraid to say what he thinks and has already given the Browns something they haven’t had in a very, very long time. He’s brought a voice to a franchise that has been struggling to find one since they’ve come back into the league in ’99.
Holmgren has shown confidence in coach Eric Mangini, hired a GM in Tom Heckert and persuaded Bryan Wiedmeier to leave the Dolphins and become executive vice president of business operations. All of this while on the job for less than a week.
Browns fans, by nature, are a very cynical bunch. It’s hard not to be when your team has been on the losing end of everything from games played, to the draft, to coaching and GM hires. It’s now become a part of our make-up. It seems as though every time the Browns make a move or draft a player I’m always asking myself, at some level, how long it will take for this guy to fail. Holmgren seems different. He’s believable. He’s genuine. You trust the guy and want to jump on board and lead the charge.
Yes, it’s a different day in Cleveland and the sun seems to be peaking through the clouds. Clouds that have been hanging around for a very, very long time. -DM
The real losers in all of this steroid talk relating to current players are the players of yesteryear. Roger Maris lost hair, couldn’t sleep and had death threats against him because he was chasing the most hallowed record in all of sport. The fact that guys like A-Rod, Giambi, Bonds, McGuire, Sosa, Clemens and more have inflated numbers because they either took or have been accused of taking drugs to enhance performance is a true disgrace to the legends of the game. These guys give new definition to the term “fantasy baseball” and should have an asterisk by all of their names forever. I guess the sour grapes that Jose Canseco was supposedly crying over were really busy fermenting to become his own Cabernet Sauvignon. -DM
All good things must come to an end. Josh Cribbs has now ended his “keeping his mouth closed” philosophy and is now on the offensive. The problem is that it can become offensive in a very short period of time to football fans struggling to pay their mortgage or just buy groceries. Now don’t get me wrong. I believe Cribbs deserves a substantial pay increase and is easily the best player on the Browns. However, he is for the most part a punt/kick returner who also plays a little wide receiver. He’s not a guy you build an offense around. And with Mike Holmgren now the President of football operations you have to figure the Wildcat isn’t at the top of his priority list of offensive sets to fill.
Cribbs has decided going on ESPN radio and television along with other networks is the way to put pressure on the Browns to sign him. I’m not sure if this is the best strategy. Frustration has obviously won out over common sense. The latter tells you that Holmgren wants to get his new GM in place and get situated before dealing with Cribbs. It also tells you that since Cribbs is under contract, a deal is also not the end all be all for the Browns at this moment. Josh Cribbs has been the perfect example of work hard, keep you mouth closed and be an example on and off the field. His story is one that no doubt will be told on NFL films one day. A guy who was undrafted out of college, got an opportunity and took advantage of it, worked his ass off and is now in the Hall of Fame as the greatest returner ever. Sounds like a great story and one that I think is still possible. What is also possible is the situation souring and Holmgren deciding to play hardball- forcing Cribbs to say things he’s surely kept to himself. A dicey path to go down.
I just hope this isn’t the first step towards that dreaded cliff a lot of players find themselves at when money takes over reasoning. Hopefully Cribbs remains one of the rare good guys in football and has this situation taken care of–soon. -DM