A couple of house keeping issues first. Happy New Year to everyone who takes this time to read my blog. I’m sorry that I don’t update it as often as I’d like, but real life all to often gets in the way. That said there are two “stories” that are constantly in the sports news and peoples’ reactions to both make me crazy.
My opinion on him as a quarterback isn’t very different from that of Mark Sanchez. I don’t think he is a viable long term starting option in the NFL. A quarterback that cannot throw a timing pass or complete more than 55% of his attempts will not have long term success in today’s NFL. It is really that simple. As I’ve stated countless times, Sanchez has been the benefit of playing with a great defense, having each bounce go its way and pulling off close victories once the team got to the playoffs. I’ve said also countless times that eventually the defense wouldn’t be able to consistently carry them in today’s NFL and the bounces would balance out as is the law of averages. This argument that all that matters is winning, is simply asinine. They weren’t winning because of Sanchez, but despite him. Well, this season the defense took a step back and the bounces didn’t go their way and guess what happened. The “Super Bowl” Jets didn’t make the playoffs and Sanchez led the league in turnovers as he was forced to throw more and thereby excused.
Teebow is in a similar situation which is different in two respects. 1) He is contributing a lot more toDenver’s wins than Sanchez did to the Jets. 2) Teebow is likable and polarizing in ways that Sanchez simply is not.
It seems that every Denver game (aside from this weeks playoff game) has been won in like fashion, defense dominates, running game eats the clock, game is close in the 4<sup>th</sup> quarter and then Teebow does just enough to lead them to a win in the 4<sup>th</sup> quarter. Now while he is getting the credit for #winning, I’d contend Broncos are winning despite him not because of him. In games where the defense didn’t show up and he was relied upon to make plays (NE andBuffalo come to mind), he was exposed in the same manner as Sanchez. In the long run, players who go 10 for 21 passing in a playoff game, simply don’t win.
This brings me to the second point, while I always take great pleasure in pointing out the ridiculousness of the notion that Mark Sanchez is a franchise quarterback, it pains me to call out Teebow for the same flaws, because unlike Sanchez who demonstrated he is a jackass on the show “Hard Knocks”, Teebow handles himself with nothing but class on and off the field. (Before you get all huffy puffy and accuse me of hating on Sanchez only because he is a Jet, keep in mind that I’m a Nole through and through and hate the Gators at full capacity.) This is the part of the Teebow story that drives me nuts. Everyone has an opinion of him, even if they don’t watch football or have never listened to him speak. “He is crazy to think that god is willing his team to win.” “There is no place on a football field for religion.”
First, I remember watching the Miami Dolphins in 1993 and 1994 season. During those two years they had one of the most “religious” teams I’ve ever seen, led by Irving Fryer and Keith Jackson. After every touchdown, they would kneel down in the endzone and say a prayer. As the season progressed and they had more of an influence on their teammates, it seemed like the entire offense would gather in the endzone for a post touchdown celebration prayer meeting. Well, eventually those guys started getting vilified.
More recently, the in the late 90s and early 00s, Kurt Warner was the topic of conversation as he began and ended each interview thanking his “lord and savior”. I’m sure there were also a ton of other examples along the way. Here is the thing about Teebow and the “religious zealots” who came before him. One, they never claim that god is involved in the outcome of the football game and they are usually giving him thanks for the talents they feel he has bestowed upon them. Two, the people tearing them down are usually the ones insecure in their own beliefs and its human nature to ridicule those that think different. Three, I’d rather see my kids grow up respecting and helping others in the same manner as Teebow, than getting into trouble like so many of our other athletes.
The real story is whether a guy whose career passing percentage is close to 50% can ever develop into a real passer and succeed in the NFL.
Mayweather v. Pacman
The fight we all want to see but probably never will. The debate amongst sports writers for the past three years has become all to predictable. “Who is to blame for this fight not taking place?” First, it was Mayweather. The excuses were as many as they were laughable, “he is scared”, “he won’t risk his undefeated record”, “he only fights shot fighters”, “this drug testing nonsense proves all of the above!”
Then something interesting happened. Pac started taking fights with “shot” fighters that Mayweather had already dominated, and he struggled. Then something else happened, Pacman’s promoter, Bob Arum realized why should he co-promote fights when he could keep everything in house and keep 100% of the profits. So, what happened? Pacman fought: Miguel Cotto (who had almost been killed in the ring in his previous fight); Joshua Clottey (who stood in the ring for 12 rounds without throwing a punch); Antonio Margarrito (who fought one unimpressive fight against a nobody in the previous 18 months); Shane Mosley (38 and who did nothing against Mayweather the previous year and also fought Sergio Mora to a draw); and JMM (a much smaller fighter who he previously beat twice and struggled to a third controversial draw). Each one of those fights put 100% of the money into Top Rank’s coffers.
No one could blame him though. Pacman had earned the paydays. Everyone was patient, after all it was Mayweather’s fault the fight wasn’t happening. But then, something else happened. Mayweather announced plans for a May 5<sup>th</sup> 2012 fight and he announced his intentions to fight Pacman. Bob Arum quickly put out a statement, dismissing the assertion, Pacman couldn’t risk that fight with Mayweather’s looming legal troubles. If Mayweather went to jail Arum contended, Pacman would lose the chance to fight on that date. Then, sentencing in the Mayweather case came in and he was given a 90 day sentence scheduled to start this past Friday. Arum was right, or was he? Arum quickly announced that Manny would fight one of four potential opponents (all Top Rank guys) and that the fight would take place May 5.
But fate had other plans and decided to intervene and expose Arum for the fraud I’ve been saying he is for almost three years now. The judge in the Mayweather case decided to extend his reporting date until June, so that his planned May 5<sup>th</sup> fight could take place. Boxing fans thought the stars and moon had aligned and they would get the most coveted fight in boxing in two or three decades. Nope, Arum said, this changed nothing, Pac would fight in June as he wouldn’t be healed from his previous fight until then. And, that was it. Arum was exposed and the blame has now fallen onto him and shifted from Mayweather.
You know what though neither is to blame (and neither is Pacman who if he wanted to could demand Arum to make the fight). You know who is to blame. Boxing fans, and boxing fans alone. Boxing is a business first and foremost and if you have an investment that keeps on paying, why would you ever put that investment at risk. Top Rank can keep cashing in on the Pacman cash cow until both fighters are in their late 30s and no longer in their primes. Why can they do this? Because when a Pacman/Clottey fight is doing 800k PPV buys at $49.95 a pop they have no incentive to do otherwise.
If fans got sick and tired of this nonsense and simply rallied together to boycott what amounts to these boxing exhibitions, Top Rank and Golden Boy would be left with no other option than to get together and make this fight happen. It would generate over 2 million buys and probably gross 200 millions dollars with each fighter receiving 50 million a piece. And unless the result was lopsided (which after watching Manny’s last several fights, I’m not so sure Mayweather wouldn’t “reconfigure his beautiful face”), they would be set up for a rematch.
But why take the road less traveled? Fans don’t demand it and therefore they will never get it. So before you go huffing and puffing about who is to blame…you might want to first take a look in the mirror.