So there’s no possible way that what I’m going to say is going to come off as anything but pure, ignorant Patriots homerism to someone who isn’t a Patriots fan or to someone who hates the Patriots, but try to stay with me. Here’s my instant analysis of this situation.
So it leaked tonight that 11 of the 12 Patriots game balls the NFL confiscated and examined were up to two pounds below the legal weight. First of all, how did it take two days to weigh a football? Why didn’t we have this result Sunday night or Monday morning? The NFL referees do this weighing process between two and three hours before game time. Several days is ridiculous. How were those balls transported? Were they flown in a plane? Where did they go? We don’t think any natural (or unnatural) manipulation could have occurred due to differences in air pressure (especially in an air plane)?
Speaking of atmospheric pressure, um…hello?! It was POURING rain. Like a monsoon at Gillette. A huge storm went through that the national weather service sent out a warning about. What happens during rain? Low atmospheric pressure. Look, I’m not a scientist, but I know that there’s a thing called equilibrium to which all things scientifically like to maintain. When there’s a drastic change like that in atmospheric pressure, a ball naturally deflates faster in order to restore equilibrium. Doesn’t anyone remember leaving a basketball or kickball or football in the yard and overnight as you ran inside when it started to rain, only to go outside the next day and find it to be flat (or at least flatter and somewhat deflated)?! This is basic observational science.
Furthermore, an NFL spokesperson came out publicly Monday and said this wasn’t out of the ordinary. Balls regularly get taken out of play and examined, especially during stormy or outdoor conditions. This isn’t new or a surprise. In the NFL rule book, the league even goes so far acknowledging this as to require both home and away teams provide an additional 12 footballs each (so 24 each, total) for outdoor games. This happens ALL THE TIME.
Sixth year Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano even chimed in to these exact points and suggested that there is a problem with the NFL protocol.
Since the whole "deflated ball" story is a hot topic right now, here is a situation that we experienced this year…
For the NFL to allow this information – the report that 11 of the 12 balls were deflated – to leak without scope or context is utterly irresponsible, and to conduct the investigation with such limited facts is also irresponsible. Where are the Colts’ balls? Have they been inspected? Where are the other 24 backup footballs? What was their condition?
And by all means, does ANYONE on God’s green Earth outside of Indiana really believe Indy had a chance in this game? Andrew Luck has been blown out every time he’s faced the Patriots, his team had a mess of distractions heading into the game, and this happens to be the best Patriots team Andrew Luck has ever faced. They got hot, faced a banged up and injured Bengals team who has a QB who chokes in big moments, and a banged up Denver team without a run game (apologies to Mr. Anderson), receivers who didn’t finish routes and gave up, and a 38-year-old quarterback with a torn quadriceps who’s also had his neck repaired three times (and I’ve torn my quadriceps muscles before. It’s the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. I actually felt a little bad for Peyton Manning). The Colts were a good team, but they weren’t THAT good, and their opponents didn’t hurt their chances of reaching that game. The Patriots didn’t need to cheat in this game. The thought that they could lose never even crossed their minds. Even if you somehow threw out the science, logically this doesn’t add up.
Finally, the fact that the balls are deflated doesn’t mean the Patriots did it. OR, it could mean an idiot kid (or an adult) who works for the team and thought he was being clever screwed with the ball, which doesn’t place the onus of blame on Brady, Belichick, or anyone else on that field who worked their butts off to win. I’ve yet to see facts that prove that Brady, Belichick, or the Patriots had any involvement. Prove to me they did it. Prove to me it wasn’t the weather. Give me proof.
For God’s sake, one to two referees handle those same footballs before and after every single play. If they didn’t even notice, why would anyone else? This is a regular occurrence the league prepares for. Give me a break.
People see what they want to see. They believe what they want to believe. Roger Goodell “didn’t see” the Ray Rice videos because it looked bad if he had seen them and then subsequently acted in the manner in which he did. Then the NFL’s investigation of that issue, conducted by someone on their payroll, said the same thing Goodell did. Strange?
You see what you want to see; you believe what you want to believe.
I saw the Patriots play a damn good football game, and I believe they didn’t cheat by deflating footballs. Show me proof otherwise.
Dennehy: ULowell is like the Grand Canyon, Bushido, da Costa, Stollery, consistency, and more.
After a difficult first half that saw the Warriors go just 4-9-2, the team has started to bounce back, already with three wins under their belt through January. Of course, 3-4-1 isn’t exactly what the Warriors had hoped to accomplish. Taking a closer look shows that the team is showing positive signs for the remaining five weeks of the regular season and a still to be determined opening round series in the Hockey East playoffs.
After tying #4 Providence at Fenway, defeating #11 Clarkson on the road, and taking quality home wins against #5 Quinnipiac and Massachusetts, the Warriors have earned points in four straight weekends for the first time all season. Consistency is still an issue – Merrimack lost the Friday night game in the weekend series against Clarkson…
Adrian Peterson celebrates a touchdown. If you land him in your draft, you should celebrate too.
It’s that time of year again – Fantasy Football. For those who play, it’s a religion. For those who don’t, well I don’t really remember what it’s like, but it’s probably annoying being surrounded by people who do. Either way, I’ll be doing a series of Mock Drafts that are a little different than what you’ll see from your expert columns wherever you play. Instead of ranking players, I’m participating in random mock drafts and posting the results with my insight from round to round on whatever sticks out. Feel free to comment below with questions, comments, and insight of your own.
ESPN Standard League, 8-team draft.
I ended up with the 6th pick in this draft out of 8 teams, so near the bottom of the pack. Rough start, as most elite running backs figure to be off the board, but still good talent in the top 8. The plus side is that in a snake draft, like this one, there isn’t quite as large of a gap between picks. Note that my picks are bolded, and that I simply autopicked after the 7th round due to my internet crashing.
(1) Adrian Peterson RB
(2) Arian Foster RB
(3) Ray Rice RB
(4) Marshawn Lynch RB
(5) Jamaal Charles RB (6) C.J. Spiller RB
(7) Alfred Morris RB
(8) Doug Martin RB
-Whether you think Adrian Peterson repeats last year’s performance or not, he has to go number one overall here. Will he be the number one running back at the end of the year? I think so, but there’s no guaranteee. Either way, he’s a safe #1 and a star.
-Sort of surprised Arian Foster went #2. I mean, yes, it’s Arian Foster. But he’s injured and currently on the PUP list. The way I see it, the less you play in the preseason, the less you play in the regular season – he’s already hurt, and without preseason conditioning, he’ll aggravate the injuries in the first month or so of play. Take him late in the first or early in the second, but have a backup plan if you do. I’m not sold.
-WHERE is Calvin Johnson? If this were a PPR league, he’d surely go in the top 3 to 5, but either way I’m somewhat surprised. I didn’t take him because of the rate good RBs were flying off the board, but don’t take a chance in your league. If your top few RBs are gone, draft Johnson in the first, no matter the format. Remember, he broke Jerry Rice’s All-Time receiving yards record last season, and did so with broken fingers.
-I think Rice has lost a step, and unless this is a PPR league, I don’t take him so high. Just a risk for a #3 pick, in my opinion. I love Charles, but am wary of him. Was he a beast when he came back from injury last year? Yes. Do I think he’ll stay healthy? No. C.J. Spiller is primed for a HUGE year. Forget Fred Jackson. Spiller is the man in the new up tempo Buffalo offense. Not sold on Alfred Morris or Doug Martin, and think they’ll be prone to a down year now that teams had an offseason to figure them out. More of a second-round pick.
(9) Trent Richardson RB
(10) Aaron Rodgers QB (11) Calvin Johnson WR
(12) Drew Brees QB
(13) Stevan Ridley RB
(14) LeSean McCoy RB
(15) A.J. Green WR
(16) Steven Jackson RB
-Calvin Johnson at #11?! Robbery. Send me to jail.
– I think Richardson should be behind Morris and Martin, but I don’t think he should be ninth. Later in the second round.
-Never trust a Patriots’ RB this early, unless his name is Corey Dillon and the calendar says 2004. Maybe in a PPR, but Ridley isn’t a pass catcher. This is still Tom Brady’s offense, despite efforts (and successes) to balance the offense a bit.
-I’m biased towards McCoy. Take him higher in PPR, although beware of his concussion history coming back to note you.
– I’m tempted to put Brees ahead of Rodgers. After shattering Dan Marino’s old record of 5,084 yards with 5,476 yards in 2011, Brees followed up the campaign with 5,177 yards, which also would have broken the record, last season where the Saints weren’t very good and were without their head coach and a defense.
– Count me among those who think Steven Jackson has a career year as the #1 RB on a very good Atlanta team. Lets hope his knees can handle the carries. I think he scores at least 10 TDs
(17) Tom Brady QB
(18) Brandon Marshall WR
(19) Dez Bryant WR
(20) Demaryius Thomas WR
(21) Julio Jones WR (22) Peyton Manning QB
(23) Chris Johnson RB
(24) Andre Johnson WR
-Tom Brady easily goes in the second round, and in most leagues that are 10 teams, he would. Don’t read into the hysteria about Brady losing his top 5 pass catchers from last season; it’s true, but he’ll be fine. Amendola will fill the Welker role if healthy, Rob Gronkowski will be back in the second half of the season when you need Brady most, and rookie receiver Antoine Dobson has looked phenonenal in camp. Not to mention Shane Vereen is one of Brady’s favorite RB targets since the Kevin Faulk glory days. Brady is a safe pick, and could easily go much higher than 17.
-I have unjustifiable faith in Brandon Marshall, especially when Jay Cutler throws him the ball. I think I need therapy. I’m okay with him at 18 though (he’d be higher in PPR formats), but Julio Jones needs to be ahead of him. I don’t understand how Julio Jones was taken after Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas. Anyone?
-I took Manning over Jones for two reasons: A) he’s the last “Elite” Fantasy QB (Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Manning), although I’ll tough more on that later, and B) It’s standard format and God hates WRs in Standard Leagues.
-Does anyone really have faith in Chris Johnson? This is why I hate standard leagues that praise running backs. Chris Johnson? CJ<1K?! Ugh.
-Andre Johnson at 24: Sleeper-like steal, or over-paying bust? I’m not sold either way, but he should still be a top receiver.
(25) Roddy White WR
(26) Frank Gore RB
(27) Matt Forte RB
(28) David Wilson RB
(29) Cam Newton QB
(30) Jimmy Graham TE
(31) Maurice Jones-Drew RB
(32) Vincent Jackson WR
– The Falcons didn’t make Roddy White their #1 receiver, don’t make him yours either.
-Frank Gore, MJD, Matt Forte, David Wilson. I trust Forte the most, but again, more so in a PPR format. Why are people jumping on the David Wilson train for the Giants? Remember Roy Helu? Oh, you drafted him as a starter? And you lost your league? Oh, okay. Glad to hear you didn’t forget. Let someone else draft David Wilson. If HE wins your league, well I’ll be damned.
-I may be Cam Newton’s biggest supporter, but with Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford, and Andrew Luck on the board, I’m hesitaant taking him this early.
(33) Randall Cobb WR
(34) Matt Ryan QB
(35) Larry Fitzgerald WR
(36) Wes Welker WR
(37) Marques Colston WR (38) Victor Cruz WR
(39) Reggie Wayne WR
(40) Hakeem Nicks WR
-I don’t like Randall Cobb this high, despite what his numbers say. I’m probably wrong on this, but I’m personally not risking a pick in the 30s on one season of production. Greg Jennings is gone, but Cobb isn’t necessarily the answer.
-Remember when Larry Fitzgerald was a Top 10 pick? Remember when picking Larry FItzgerald in the Top 10 burned you every time? Sigh. So. Much. Talent. Wasted.
-Matt Ryan at 34 is the steal of the draft. I’m going on record right now saying he throws 4500+ yards, 35+ TDs, 10 or fewers picks.
-I love Welker, Colston, Cruz, Wayne, and Nicks, also think any of them could have gone higher, even in a standard league. Mix and match any 2 or 3, and you’ve got a solid WR core on your fantasy team. I’d take Cruz first, then Welker, Wayne, Nicks, and then Colston. Don’t agree? Yell at me in the comments and we can work this out.
(41) Colin Kaepernick QB
(42) Dwayne Bowe WR (43) Rob Gronkowski TE
(44) Robert Griffin III QB
(45) Darren Sproles RB
(46) DeMarco Murray RB
(47) Mike Wallace WR
(48) Reggie Bush RB
-I don’t trust Kaepernick (sue me), Sproles (too old, defenses know him/the Saints system too well), Demarco Murray (too injured) or Reggie Bush (sue me again, but he’s had one decent fantasy year ever. He’s not going to bust out now, and he’s virtually worthless outside of PPR).
-I think Mike Wallace could quickly become Ryan Tannehill’s favorite target. Everyone’s down on Wallace after years of being up on him. Now I’m up on Wallace after years of being down on him.
-Don’t take Gronk too early, but don’t let him pass you by. Get him when you can for when he comes back healthy and destroying small cities and “The Patriot Way” as we’ve grown accustomed to in recent years.
(49) Seahawks D/ST D/ST
(50) Jason Witten TE
(51) Matthew Stafford QB
(52) Darren McFadden RB
(53) Tony Gonzalez TE (54) Danny Amendola WR
(55) James Jones WR
(56) Eddie Lacy RB
-Don’t take Amendola too early in Standard Leagues. Hold your ground, and snipe when appropriate. Do I think he’s a Top 10 WR this year? Yes. Can you get him in the 5th-7th rounds of your drafts? Probably. Steal him here and reap the plenty.
-Tony Gonzalez is good for 70 catches, 800 yards and 8 touchdowns if he stays healthy. He’s a third option on a good team with a great QB. He can be your TE on a championship team.
-I want to call Stafford a steal here, I do. I can’t though. He’s not quite Elite, yet. But if you drafted Calvin Johnson, he’s not a bad guy to have as well. You won’t be hurt by Stafford
(57) Kyle Rudolph TE
(58) Vernon Davis TE
(59) Montee Ball RB
(60) Chris Ivory RB
(61) Steve Smith WR
(62) Ryan Mathews RB
(63) 49ers D/ST D/ST
(64) Cecil Shorts WR
SO at this point I lost internet connectivity and autodrafted. My comments will be limited going forward, but comment with questions on the late rounds and I’ll happily give my opinions.
PS – I don’t trust Chris Ivory. Backup? Sure. Not a starter, if you can manage it.
-Not a terrible idea taking your defense if there isn’t a standout producer left that you need. Rank them before so you know when to strike, like this guy did with the 49ers. Also, I’m all about the Seahawks Defense.
(65) Greg Olsen TE
(66) Eric Decker WR
(67) Andrew Luck QB
(68) Antonio Brown WR
(69) Lamar Miller RB 70) Jordy Nelson WR
(71) Torrey Smith WR
(72) BenJarvus Green-Ellis RB
-Luck down here is a value pick. If you still need a QB or are looking for a quality Bye Week starter/backup, take him.
-Torrey Smith is pretty much Joe Flacco’s #1 target…take that as you wish…
(73) Anquan Boldin WR
(74) Le’Veon Bell RB (75) Pierre Garcon WR
(76) Ahmad Bradshaw RB
(77) DeSean Jackson WR
(78) Texans D/ST D/ST
(79) Russell Wilson QB
(80) DeAngelo Williams RB
-if Garcon stays healthy (I think he will) and RGIII gets/stays healthy (I think he will), this is a steal. Potentially a Top 10 WR at 75? I’ll happily take it.
-Same kind of applies to DeSean Jackson, Michael Vick, and the Eagles, but I’m not sold on their offense or their team. That said, he could definitely be a Top 10-15 WR if all goes well.
-Russell Wilson: I’m sold on him being a good NFL QB. Fantasy? Not quite yet. Not a bad backup, though, especially if he breaks out.
(81) Greg Jennings WR
(82) Tavon Austin WR
(83) Rashard Mendenhall RB
(84) Owen Daniels TE
(85) Steve Johnson WR (86) Shane Vereen RB
(87) Miles Austin WR
(88) Antonio Gates TE
-Jennings: UBER Steal at 81 if he’s healthy. This is a Vikings team that made the Playoffs without a passing game. Now they’ve got a stud like Jennings? This only helps Peterson and Jennings. Don’t bank on him, but 81st is a steal, period.
-Shane Vereen…Patriots RB…Not a PPR League…clearly autodraft hates me
(89) Eli Manning QB
(90) Sidney Rice WR (91) Vick Ballard RB
(92) Tony Romo QB
(93) Andre Brown RB
(94) T.Y. Hilton WR
(95) Johnathan Franklin RB
(96) Ben Roethlisberger QB
-Draft Eli Manning if you want to rip your hair out over dumb interceptions and lose your fantasy league
-Tony Romo: See Manning, Eli.
Ben Roethlisburger: See Romo, Tony.
(97) Stephen Gostkowski K
(98) Mike Williams WR
(99) Lance Moore WR
(100) Giovani Bernard RB
(101) Ryan Williams RB (102) Kenny Britt WR
(103) Michael Vick QB
(104) Blair Walsh K
-Remember what I said about the Defense? Same goes for Kickers. Screw the “no kickers before the last round” rule. Get your guy.
-I’m not saying Michael Vick is going to “break out” but I’m also not saying Chip Kelly is going to fail. If I had actually been picking, he’d probably be my backup QB
(105) Justin Tucker K
(106) Brandon Myers TE (107) Mark Ingram RB
(108) Isaiah Pead RB
(109) Emmanuel Sanders WR
(110) Denarius Moore WR
(111) Mikel Leshoure RB
(112) Golden Tate WR
-I don’t see the Steelers D being draft worthy. Or the Bengals, for that matter. Patriots? I’ve avoided them at all costs in recent years due to their tendency to give up stupid late touchdowns in games they’ve already won. That could stop this season on an improved team with a better attitude.
(121) Packers D/ST D/ST
(122) Matt Bryant K (123) Matt Prater K
(124) Phil Dawson K
(125) Randy Bullock K
(126) Josh Brown K
(127) Sebastian Janikowski K
(128) Jared Cook TE
-Mr. Irrelevant: Jared Cook. Quick Story – one of my best friends took some no name TE as the last pick in our draft a few years ago because he needed a backup and took my advice from this column and took his kicker earlier. The guy he picked with the very last pick in our draft? Just a red-headed 6-foot-6 monster named Jimmy Graham. And yeah, it was the year he broke out as a star. Always run em out, kids.
Seriously, comment below. Argue with me, please. Tell me I’m wrong. It’ll make all of us better.
Never thought I’d be okay with anyone else but Nomar wearing #5 for the Red Sox. Enter Gomes.
This time last year, if I had told you the Red Sox would lead Major League Baseball in wins (tied with the Braves at 70) and would be there largely in part of Jonny Gomes, you’d have laughed at me. Most so-called “experts” wrote off the Red Sox in their MLB Preview columns (I’m looking at you, Sports Illustrated) and had them finishing 4th (Hey, ESPN) with no shot at the Wild Card, let alone the Division and the best record in the majors. Yet on August 8th, if the season ended today, the Red Sox would have home-field advantage throughout all three rounds of the playoffs, should they advance that far.
Tonight, trailing 5-2 in the 7th inning, Jonny Gomes came to the plate and smashed a 2-run homer to bring the Red Sox within 1 run. Stephen Drew would smash a 3-run bomb in the top of the ninth (right after Gomes patiently drew a walk off of Houston closer Josh Fields, a former Red Sox prospect taken by Houston in the Rule 5 Draft last season) to put the Red Sox on top for good before Koji Uehara would strike out the side in the bottom half of the inning for the win.
How huge has Jonny Gomes been for the Sox this season? He went beast mode last night, hitting his 4th pinch hit home run
It’s no coincidence that Gomes graced the cover of the Boston Strong edition of Sports Illustrated
of the season, two of which were walkoffs earlier in the season. He’s made several terrific plays in the outfield, including a few diving plays and an unassisted double play last week against the Diamondbacks. Probably most importantly though is what he brings to the clubhouse: a fun-loving, hard-working, gritty dirtdog. He’s a modern day Trot Nixon, in a reserve player’s role. You want fun, he brings it. Excitement? Watch the reactions of his teammates every time they’re shown in the dugout. Spark plug? See the picture above. Veteran Presence? How about 70 wins, 11 walkoffs, and 4 come-from-behind wins 8 days into August, including the last two against Houston and a thrilling 6-run rally in the ninth last week against Seattle? Gomes played a role in all of them.
When asked what it felt like to be the hero, he nearly rolled his eyes as the question rolled off his shoulder.
“I don’t think I’m a hero,” Gomes said. “It took 25 guys, tonight.”
The Red Sox are relevant again, and he’s a big reason why. While this is definitely Dustin Pedroia’s team and he wold wear the “C” were it played on ice, Jonny Gomes almost certainly deserves an “A” of his own.
The Celtics are reportedly signing Brazilian center Vitor Faverani, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
The 6-foot-11, 25-year-old averaged 9.3 points and 4.6 rebounds on 59% shooting in only 17 minutes of action for Valencia of the Spanish ACB, typically considered the second-best professional league in the world, in 2012-2013. Faverani doesn’t look particularly big – his muscles and arms don’t look particularly toned like most NBA players – but according to those who’ve seen him play, he’s a very strong, physical player whose athleticism drives his game. He’s rather raw in his skill set, but don’t let that mistake you: the dude can play. From my limited YouTube research, Favernani appears to be a quick finisher at the hoop, a decent ball-handler for a big man off the dribble, and sports a nifty hook shot from the left side. He also has the wherewithal to adjust his shot mid-jump and finish with both hands. In terms of defense, I’ve got nothing, though his rebounding numbers may tell the entire story. His offensive game is supposed to be his better quality. Either way, with increased minutes his numbers would, in theory, also increase.
Faverani has won a championship as professional, and also plays for the Brazilian national team. At 25, he is entering his ninth season of professional basketball.
My comparison: make a Brandon Bass/Jeff Green hybrid with a high basketball IQ, even more athleticism, and make him 7 feet tall.
“He’s very good,” said Nogueira. “He’s a defensive and offensive player, but I think he’s offensively better. He has a lot of moves in the post. He’s had a great season in Spain last year. He’s strong but can jump, can run. He’s a great player.”
Faverani is set to make $6 million over the next three season in Boston.
Something else that intrigues me about this deal is what it means for rising sophomore center Fab Melo. On one hand, the two could be a perfect compliment: Melo’s defense is terrific, anchoring the defense of one of the best teams in college basketball at Syracuse University before earning a First-Team All-Defense selection in his first season as a professional for the Celtics’ NBA D-League affiliate Maine Red Claws. Melo is a project, but a veteran like Faverani, who reigns from Melo’s home country of Brazil and has won championships overseas, may be very beneficial for the youngster.
On the other hand, Celtics brass loves Shavlik Randolph, whose option has to be picked up or revoked by August 1st. With the addition of promising rookie Kelly Olynyk, there may not be room (or money, presuming the Celtics don’t want to go over the luxury tax threshold with a rebuilding team) to keep Melo, let alone four centers, on the roster.
Danny Ainge definitely likes Melo, but he’s a project. With the addition of Faverani, it may just be time to cut him loose and let someone else reap his potential benefits.
Here’s some video of Faverani last season from Valencia:
Several current, former and future Warriors are taking part in NHL Development Camps across the country.
In Vancouver, former All-American turned Hobey Baker nominee Joe Cannata may well earn the backup job with the Canucks after former Boston College standout Cory Schneider was traded to the New Jersey Devils during this year’s NHL Draft.
His backup both in High School and College, Merrimack senior Sam Marotta, also received an invite.
In Chicago, Merrimack junior Quinn Gould is performing during his week with the club. After 9 points in limited play following an injury last season, Gould scored a goal to help his Team B defeat Team A in a scrimmage according to ESPN Chicago’s Scott Powers.
Future Warrior Mike Babcock, son of Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock, is taking part in Detroit’s Camp.
Babcock scored 42 points (18-24-42) in 30 games for Detroit Catholic Central High School this past season, and was recently traded to the Fargo Force of the USHL.
Via Mike McMahon at The Mack Report here’s a quote from Fargo assistant coach Jesse Davis.
“Michael is a defensive type of forward who may not put many points up on the board but he’s going to help keep a lot of pucks out of our net”, said Fargo assistant coach Jesse Davis. “He has great speed and we were searching for a player like him. When he became available, we traded for him right away to help fill some of the voids left from a lot of forwards from last year’s team moving on to college hockey.”
If 42 points in 30 games is coming from someone who “may not put many points up on the board,” Merrimack fans should be excited.
Senior Mike Collins and incoming freshman Chris LeBlanc are taking part in Minnesota and Ottawa’s camps, respectively.