Tony’s Troubles

Tony Stewart’s career and life changed forever when during a race at the Canandaigua Motorsports park in upstate New York last Saturday night. He was involved in an accident with a 20 year old driver named Kevin Ward JR. Ward was hit after he left his car after an on track dustup with Stewart. A few hours later Ward JR died from injuries, and the investigation is ongoing. Stewart could deal with criminal charges, or a civil suit from the Ward family. He missed last week race at Watkins Glen and this week race at the Michigan International Speedway. He has not made a public statement, and the accident could be a harbinger for some changes. New safety procedure for drivers in motorsports such as drivers staying in the car during an accident. Plus the end of NASCAR drivers racing on other tracks during the season. Tony Stewart may never drive for the rest of the NASCAR season, and may face an uncertain future as a driver and an owner.

Steelers Vs Bills

I attended the Steelers joint practice with the Buffalo Bills.  There was a stretching period and the Steelers were fielding punts via the Jugs machine.   The defensive line was working with the blocking sled.  The secondary was working on man to man coverage, and the quarterbacks were working on  passing drills.   The tight ends and the offensive line were working on blocking drills. Then when the teams started to practice it was wide receivers taking on the defensive backs.   For the Steelers Justin Brown and Lance Moore made some great catches.    Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton each made 2 great catches.   Bills first round pick Sammy Watkins made some great catches as well

When the team went to 11-11 drills LeGarrette Blount and Tauren Poole made some good runs.  C.J Goodwin made some good catches. Ben Roethlisberger made some good throws to Antonio Brown and David Paulson, but the Bills made some good plays on defense.   To close the practice there was some 7-7 drills with some passes complete to Heath Miller, Brown, and Wheaton.   Overall it was good practice and the game Saturday night will answer some questions for the upcoming season.  

Tebow Time

Tim Tebow has not taken an NFL snap since last pre season with the New England Patriots. Tebow is a person of high character, a strong religious faith and a polarizing figure. Tebow, who led the University of Florida to 2008 BCS title, and won the 2007 Heisman Trophy had great skills in college. However, those skills couldn’t translate in the NFL. He has some success in Denver, but when the Broncos signed Peyton Manning he was traded to the New York Jets. Tebow played on special teams and on goaline and short yard situations. His was not resigned by the Jets and was signed by the Patriots, but was cut at the end of the preseason. He will be covering College Football for the new SEC Network as well as other ESPN properties. Tebow still wants to play quarterback in the NFL, but some experts want him to play another position. Could Tebow make it as an NFL quarterback or another position it takes one team to give him a chance. To be honest I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

From the Sidelines

Erin Andrews will replace Pam Oliver as Fox Sports number one NFL sideline reporter starting this season. Andrews was covering the MLB All-Star Game and talking to Cardinals and National League starting pitcher Adam Wainwright. He was backtracking on his comments about grooving Derek Jeter pitches to hit. He is not a fan of social media and said so at the end of the interview.

The Dennis and Callahan show, weekday morning hosts of Boston’s sports radio station WEEI went off on Andrews calling her names, and the host had to apologize later on the same day. Sideline reporters have always been criticized because their job has been called useless. The reason is the NFL has placed limits on what they can or can’t report on. The NFL Broadcast Fact Book has explicit rules for what they are allowed to do and that prevents them for doing their job.

These limitations on the field and plus the networks habit of hiring young ladies to covering the NFL really hurts the overall coverage of the game. It is denying these women having a true voice covering the game. The paradox of being an sideline reporter is how many women breaking into sportscasting. Suzy Kolber and Andrea Kremer who were sideline reporters are doing their best work in studio and in depth interviews. I hope in the future that sideline reporters are able to do that without the NFL hindering their work.

Ricky

I could never understand why people like Ricky Williams. Some people think he is a free spirit who loved marijuana and never listen to authority figures. To be honest he had a gift and wasted it by getting into trouble with smoking marijuana that equals with being suspended by the NFL. He did rushed for over 10,000 yards over his NFL career, but his drug suspensions cost him a chance of being in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Williams was the 1998 Heisman Trophy winner out of the University of Texas, and the New Orleans Saints traded the whole draft for him. In 2002, he was traded to the Miami Dolphins and had two straight 1,000 yard seasons. The problem I had is that Williams was suspended for the first four games of the 2004 season for a violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Williams decided to retire from the NFL instead of accepting his punishment and taking responsibility for his actions. I watched an interview he did with the Campus Insiders Bonnie Bernstein, and Williams said he would not go into the NFL Draft, but instead traveling around the world. Williams didn’t want to be defined by being just a football player. However, when you have responsibilities to your teammates, coaches, and to the organization that pays you a lot of money to play. You don’t quit on them to do your own thing. How many coaches would put with Williams antics in my view not many.

Happy Valley

Bill O’Brien left Penn State after two seasons to become the new head coach of the Houston Texans. He was frustrated by the small minority of supporters of the late coach Joe Paterno. The search is on for a new head coach, and the favorite is Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin. The only thing that is in Franklin’s past is several former Commodores were charged with rape and the investigation is still going on. Larry Johnson Sr who is the interim head coach, and was a part of the coaching staff for the past 18 seasons. Mike Munchak, who was fired from the Tennessee Titans as their head coach could get an interview. Also being considered is former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach and Penn State assistant Greg Schiano. The problem I have is that Tom Bradley was not considered. Bradley who played and was long time assistant coach, plus was the interim head coach when Paterno was fired three years ago. How come Bradley is not getting a shot, but Johnson is an opportunity to become the head coach. They both worked with Jerry Sandusky and that is a big mystery to me.

Wild Card Weekend

The Wild Card Playoffs were some of the most exciting games in a long time. The Kansas City VS Indianapolis game was Andrew Luck’s time to shine, and despite throwing for 3 interceptions he threw for 443 yards and 3 touchdowns. Luck led the Colts back from a 28 point deficit to beat the Chiefs 45 to 44. The Chiefs were hit by major injuries to key players such as Jamaal Charles. The Philadelphia VS New Orleans also went down to the wire. The Saints didn’t rely on Drew Brees, but Mark Ingram rushing for 97 yards and at touchdown. Their defense held LeSean McCoy to 77 yards and held Nick Foles to 195 yards passing and sacking him twice. Kicker Shayne Graham who was signed late in the season kicked 4 field goals, including the game winning 32 yard with :00 to give the Saints their first ever road playoff win 26 to 23 over the Eagles.

The biggest surprise was San Diego taking care of the Cincinnati Bengals 27 to 10. Philip Rivers had a steady performance, and the Chargers relied on the running game rushing for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns. Their defense forced 4 turnovers and sacked Andy Dalton twice. The San Francisco VS Green Bay game was down to the wire finish. Colin Kaepernick had a good day throwing the football for 237 yards, but made big plays running the ball for 98 yards. Michael Crabtree had 8 catches for 132 yards, and made two big catches on the 49ers final drive that led to Phil Dawson 32 yard field goal with no time on the clock to beat the Packers 23 to 20.

Next Week’s Divisional Playoff games: Saturday New Orleans VS Seattle at 4:35 P.M.
Indianapolis VS New England at 8:15 P.M.

Sunday San Francisco VS Carolina 1:00 P.M.
San Diego VS Denver 4:40 P.M

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