Don’t Hate The Player….Or The Game

Cortland Lee

There’s an old urban saying, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game,” but I say don’t hate either.

Although Miami Heat Forward and reigning NBA MVP Lebron James didn’t make the latest Forbes Most Hated Athlete List, I am positive he is still in the subconscious hate file of those who have been temporarily distracted by Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o…but why?

Lebron is clearly the best basketball player in the world and I will not argue that point. If you disagree, you are simply wrong. Lebron is on his way to completing 10 seasons of averaging 28 pts-7 rebs-7 asts. He has earned 9 All-Star selections, 7 First-Team All NBA selections, 5 First-Team Defense NBA selections, NBA Rookie of the Year, 4 NBA MVP awards, 2 NBA All Star MVP awards,  and 1 NBA Championship in which he was named Finals MVP.

Usually players are liked and respected simply because of their performance; not the case with Lebron.

So was it “The Decision?”

Did a 75-min national television special where Lebron announced he would be making a job change effect the way fans perceive him? He didn’t refuse to play for Cleveland, he didn’t hold out, nor did he create an issue detrimental to the team.  He signed a contract with Cleveland; he fulfilled his obligations of the contract, and moved on.

How many of you would take a job in Miami, FL with better pay and better opportunities to succeed? You don’t have to answer that.

Job researchers estimate the average American will hold seven different jobs in his/her lifetime. That estimate does not include internal transfers, promotions and demotions either. Oh, you mad he had the decision televised? The show raised $7 million that was donated to various charities. How much money have you raised for charity lately?  

Oh , you say he ruined his legacy by teaming up with Dwayne Wade. Did Moses Malone ruin his legacy signing with the 76ers and winning a championship in Philadelphia with Dr. J? What about Clyde Drexler signing with Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston? Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joining forces with Paul Pierce? See what I did there?

What’s wrong with the to desire the win? Lebron even took a pay cut in order to play for the Miami Heat in hopes of winning championships.

I have read and heard every excuse under the sun. The truth is, unless he has personally done harm to you, there is really no reason to hate Lebron. I am personally not a fan of Lebron James, but he is a tremendous talent and I respect his game. I don’t cheer for him, but I don’t boo either. Turn off Sportscenter, ignore Nike’s advertising campaigns and think for yourself. You don’t have to be a “witness,” but there is no reason to hate such a great talent.

 

 

 

Urlacher Probably Head to the Hall, But Is He Overrated?

 Cortland Lee

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher has announced via Twitter that he will retire from the NFL after 13 seasons, all with Chicago. Urlacher comments, “I will miss my teammates, my coaches, and the great Bears fans. I’m proud to say that I gave all of you everything I had every time I took the field. I will miss this great game, but I leave it with no regret.” Urlacher became a free agent at the end of the 2012 season after failing to reach a deal to return Chicago. Urlacher was unwilling to play for a $2 million offer from the Bears.

Urlacher’s eight pro bowl selections, four all-pro selections, and franchise high 1,084 tackles will most likely get him into the Hall of Fame but I am not sure he is truly an elite player. On a team anchored by defense, Urlacher only appeared in the playoffs a hand full of times registering three wins, 32 tackles, four interceptions, and two sacks. Urlacher was very average against the run especially when ran on straight ahead. He also benefitted from good interior lineman who could stop the run and a Tampa 2 scheme; which had him dropping back in coverage a lot, masking his deficiencies. I would argue that Lance Briggs is just as good, if not a better player. Briggs in 10 seasons has amassed 884 tackles, 13 forced fumbles, 17 INTs, and 12 sacks compared to Urlacher’s 816 tackles, 8 forced fumbles, 17 INTs, and 37.5 sacks in his first 10 seasons*

What I am basically saying is that I believe Brian Urlacher is overrated.

He was voted the second most overrated player in the NFL in a Sport Illustrated poll in 2006 by other NFL players. Any decent player who plays middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears will always be revered by the fans and the media due to the history of the team and the success of the position. I simply believe he was put in a good situation with good teammates around him, a good defensive scheme, and good coaching. Simply put, when I think Dick Butkus, Jack Ham, Mike Singletary, and Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas…I don’t think Brian Urlacher.

 

*Statistics from ProFootballReference.com

 

San Francisco, Houston get Super Bowl bids: Who’s next for 2018?

Cortland Lee

The NFL has officially announced sites for Super Bowl 50 in 2016 and Super Bowl 51 in 2017. Super Bowl 50 will be held in San Francisco’s (or Santa Clara’s) Levi Stadium and Super Bowl 51 will be held at Houston’s Reliant Stadium. The city of Miami, FL, who has hosted 10 Super Bowls, was due for a bid but has been unable to secure financing for much needed stadium improvements. There are two huge characteristics the NFL likes in Super Bowl host sites: climate and facilities.

San Francisco averages high temperatures are around 60 degrees in February, and the city is building a new $1.2 billion, 1,850,000 square foot facility in Santa Clara. Houston averages highs are 65 degrees and they are expecting to add renovations to Reliant Stadium such as a digital scoreboard and video display that will top Jerry Jones’s Texas Stadium.

So here is our Super Bowl schedule:

Super Bowl XLVIII

Date: Feb. 2nd, 2014

New Meadowlands Stadium

Rutherford, NY.

Super Bowl XLIX

Date: Feb. 1st, 2015

University of Phoenix Stadium

Glendale, Az.

Super Bowl L

Levi’s Stadium

Santa Clara, CA

Super Bowl LI

Reliant Stadium

Houston, TX

Here are some of my ideas for 2018:

Indianapolis, IN (Lucas Oil Stadium)

This is a no brainer due the amount of success the city of Indianapolis had in 2012. Lucas Oil Stadium is a state of the art facility and the city is less than a day’s drive for more than half the continental U.S. Fans loved Indy’s convenient downtown setup and attractions including NFL Village and NFL Experience.

Minneapolis, MN (Metrodome Next)

After success in Indy, depending on how smoothly the Super Bowl in the Meadowlands runs, cold weather cities could begin to bid. The $975 million “Metrodome Next” could be attractive to the NFL Events Committee’s eye. Minneapolis last hosted the Super Bowl in 1992 at the Metrodome. The city has changed a lot since then with the addition of new hotels and shopping centers to the area.

Miami, FL (Sun Life Stadium)

Multibillionaire Dolphins owner Stephen Ross isn’t going down without a fight. He will eventually get his help from the city to upgrade Sun Life Stadium, and when those renovations get done, Miami will be back in the bidding. The city of Miami has hosted 10 Super Bowls, tied with New Orleans for the most of any city.

 

Hey, Michael Vick…Shut up & Play Ball

Cortland Lee

“Those people who are talking and saying that are just ignorant, and they know nothing about football. Unless they turn on the film and watch my game and see what goes on, then they’ll replace those comments with the right comments.”This was Michael Vick’s response on a Philadelphia radio station on last Saturday. His response was sparked from comments he has been receiving from critics regarding his poor play.

Vick and the Eagles have been victims of harsh criticism in the last few years and with good reason. After several winning seasons of football under, then head coach Andy Reid, the Eagles have had back to back losing seasons. In 2010, Vick took over as starting QB and led the team to an NFC East Division Championship and playoff berth. His exceptional play, after just being released from prison less than two years prior, won him 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year. A successful season combined with several free agent acquisitions in the summer of 2011, led to the self-declared “Dream Team” nickname that set very high expectations for the team.  The “Dream Team” turned out to be a nightmare after finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs entirely.  The next season was even worse; losing eight straight games and missing the playoffs for a second straight year finishing 4-12.

Vick’s performance during this two-year period hasn’t been exactly stellar either. He only appeared in 23 games due to multiple injuries; went 10-13; threw for 5665 yards; 30 TDs and 45 turnovers. Now, all 45 turnovers were not Vick’s fault, but many were due to poor throws and a lack of ball security.

It starts at the top.

As starting quarterback and leader, you are accountable for the success of the team. It’s time for Vick and the Eagles to put up or shut up. Mike, if you are tired of the critics’ comments, play better! It doesn’t take a football genius to notice that you are playing bad football. We all witnessed your elite level of play in 2010 and your performance the last two years was very far from it. Man up and take responsibility for your poor play and instead of lashing out at critics in the media, show them with your play on the field.

 

 

Don’t Be Dumbbell: My Tips on Public Gym Etiquette

Cortland Lee

For those of you who read this and don’t know me, I am a frequent gym attendee. I’m not giving out any names because they are not paying me to do so but this gym is a big name around the country. I am no profession body builder, but I do consider myself to have some advanced fitness knowledge and pretty decent work ethic. I just want to provide some helpful tips to enhance everyone’s gym experience.

Well…I call them tips; others may call them “pet peeves.”

Front Lobby

Quit standing around the front desk where I check-in because you want gripe about the lack of parking, or because you want to beg the receptionist to let you in and you will pay your past due fees Friday. Nine times out of ten, I have somewhere to be after this workout, and I don’t have time to wait in line behind you in order to check in.

Locker Room

This is my biggest nerve wrecker. YOU ARE NOT AT HOME. The locker room is a public place so please have some discretion and cover yourself when you are not dressing. Do not stand around butt naked carrying on conversations about your how your Roth IRA is tanking. I understand most gyms are set up so that you can shower after your workout and head to work, but when you walk to the shower, wrap that towel you are carrying over your shoulder around your hairy rear! No one wants to see you naked. It’s gross and frankly you aren’t in very good shape.

Workout Floor

I have several points here…

First…I have on headphones, my workout is timed, and I’m jacked up on pre-workout: Now is not a great time to converse.

I am asking you how many sets you have left, but what I really mean is: Hurry up so I can use this machine!

There is only one squat rack and I need to squat, please move your bicep workout to the curl machine.

Working out in jeans and a button-up cannot be comfortable for you and it sure isn’t comfortable for me.

Also, congratulations for pushing yourself, but your excessive grunting does not help the weight get lighter.

That’s all I have.

I hope these tips help you, help us. Leave comments below on tips I missed.

Garrard Retires; Now Starts The Clowney Sweepstakes

Cortland Lee

There are reports out from many media outlets that New York Jets quarterback David Garrard has called it quits and will retire from the NFL due to a nagging knee injury. Adam Schein from CBS Sports tweets a text he received from Garrard:

“Having to call it quits. My knee is not holding up. Continuing to swell after practices. Limiting what I can do.”

Garrard will finish his NFL career playing a respectable nine seasons throwing for 16,003 yards and 89 TDs.

Garrard will probably look to “retire as a Jag” and sign a one-day contract with Jacksonville. I must say, I hate these one day contract notions. Retire where you are! If you wanted to retire with the first you played for, you should have simply stay with that team. Signing a one day contract is not going to negate the two or three years you spend stinking up the place padding up you retirement account. It’s just annoying.

But back to the Jets….

Now I am definitely not here to fight for Garrard’s induction into the Hall of Fame. He is certainly not that caliber of a player. What is intriguing though is that Garrard’s retirement cuts down the Jet’s starting quarterback competition to Mark Sanchez, Greg McElroy, rookie Geno Smith, and Matt Simms, son of former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms. The Jets started with six quarterbacks on their roster after drafting Geno Smith in the second round of the NFL Draft last month. Just days later first year general manager John Idzik, who has made many bold moves since taking over for Mike Tannenbaum, cut quarterback Tim Tebow.

The Jets are going to be an awful football team this year but honestly they are headed in the right direction. They have cut down their payroll considerably by releasing overpriced veteran players, traded away their best player for good value in return, and drafted some great young players for the future. The next thing they need to do is get rid of Mark Sanchez but not yet. While I believe young Geno Smith is the future of this franchise, Sanchez is the best man to set them up for the Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes.

Jadeveon Clowney is the clear consensus number one pick in next year’s NFL Draft and will make an immediate impact on any team he plays for next year. The Jets need to let Sanchez do what he does best, stink up the place, and draft this once in a lifetime player.

No Seats On The Bandwagon in Dallas: Cowboys Are Still America’s Team

Cortland Lee

We are living in the age of the bandwagon fan. I have never seen so many Miami Heat fans in my life. Once Lebron James decided to take his talents to South Beach, he triggered the largest exodus since the Old Testament. I understand having favorite athletes in professional sports. I grew up a huge, huge Emmitt Smith fan and I still am to this day, but when he headed to desert I wasn’t magically a Cardinals fan. I don’t remember Michael Jordan fans shape-shifting into Chicago White Sox or Washington Wizard fans either.

Are there any loyal fans anymore? The answer is yes…Dallas Cowboys fans.

These fans have stood the test of time and held on this train-wreck of a franchise for years. After many decades of successful seasons, hall of fame players, and championship banners, the Dallas Cowboys are the epitome of mediocrity. The last 15 seasons: 123-124 (including playoffs), three division titles, 6 playoff appearances and only one playoff win. Dallas has been outscored 101-166 in the playoffs.

Still in their disastrous run, their fans have faithfully stood by cheering on.

The Cowboys were the most watched team in the NFL last year and have been for some time now. The top two most watch NFL games last season were Cowboys/Redskins….and Redskins/Cowboys. Week 17 Vs the Redskins was the most watched regular season game in NFL history with over 30 million viewers. Overall the Cowboys played in six of the top ten most watched NFL games last season.

Not only are people watching the Cowboys play on television, but they are attending games. The Cowboys were number one in attendance last year and they have led in attendance every year since the new Texas Stadium opened. Merchandise and apparel sales finished second only to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Oh and there’s more….

According to an ESPN Sports and Facebook fan poll, the Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s most popular team and the most popular team among women in all of sports. They have over five million fans on Facebook and over a half of million followers on Twitter which are both tops in the NFL.

Not sure why, but the Cowboys are still America’s Team.