Well, at least the Jets are undefeated. I hope that 44 becomes an 88.
Boldin Goes West
The excitement and speculation over the Percy Harvin deal was short lived as a new trade agreed upon late Monday afternoon sparked even greater eyebrow-raising around the NFL. Anquan Boldin, who was so instrumental during the Raven’s championship run, has been dealt to the team they defeated, San Francisco, in exchange for just a sixth round pick.
Are you surprised? In some ways, you shouldn’t be. The Ravens were fully prepared to live life beyond Boldin, making that perfectly clear with last week’s “Pay Cut or Be Cut” ultimatum. Anything the Ravens could have gotten for Boldin was better than nothing, and now Baltimore has made the most out of an awkward situation.
As for the Niners, well you just have to hate them right now. We talked about ways they could use their stockpile strategically to influence the draft, but we didn’t say they could use a third-day pick on a receiver with five 1,000 yard seasons under his belt. Boldin was fully prepared to retire as a Raven; so how will he respond to being traded? Boldin’s presence on an already loaded offense will be a major storyline in 2013.
Redskins Release Hall
As many teams struggle to find cap room expects the cuts and releases to keep coming. Today’s victim was DeAngelo Hall, who was released by Washington after five seasons. Hall, who is 29, has a few years left and will certainly end up overpaid by another team desperate for a lockdown corner. Hall has been known to be a liability at times, and a player who has difficulty controlling his emotions on the field.
The latest incident cost Hall 30 large for verbally abusing a ref during a game in October, but other than that he is a solid player. He posted a career-high in total tackles in 2012, and has played all 16 games for Washington for 3 straight years. While there seems to be a lot of talent at DB in this year’s draft, no doubt there will be a team that wants to pay DeAngelo.
Jets Add Another Arm to Compete
David Garrard has become the latest quarterback to officially compete for the Jets starting job. Numerous other veteran names were being tossed around but sadly no, Chad Pennington will not report to training camp this year. As of now it is Garrard, Sanchez, Matt Sims, Greg McElroy and Tim Tebow, although reports indicate Tebow is to be cut any day now.
Garrard was pretty effective as the Jaguars signal-caller, replacing Byron Leftwich and even leading the Jags to a playoff berth in 2007. He was even likable on Hard Knocks with the Miami Dolphins, but an off-field injury prevented from competing for the job.
Whether or not Tebow stays, this “open competition” in New York could prove very intriguing. Will the Jets draft a young arm to add to the mix? That would make six on the roster, but I think Tebow will be gone by spring and Sims is just for headlines. Make no mistake, all were competing before this move, but with Garrard in the mix, there are legitimate questions to be answered when training camps begin.
Why New Jersey is Undoubtedly the Best Place for Professional Sports Fans!
With no major cities, poor fan attendance, and the reputation of the Jersey Shore, I can’t blame the Nets for hightailing it to Brooklyn. Of the remaining 4 teams that play their home games in New Jersey, only the Devils give credit to this great state. Regardless of those teams trying to pass themselves off as New York, evidence suggest there is no better place to be a sports fan than the Garden State.
I guess I should start with my biases. Yes, I was born and raised into a sports family in North Jersey. To make matters worse, I have lived in New Jersey 22.5 of my 23 years alive. I currently live in Seattle where I have access to one of the greatest NFL fan bases, the 12th man, but this isn’t about fan dedication. This about the rivalries, the proximity, the allegiances, the anguish, the pride, and most of all, the championships.
New Jersey has an identity crisis. For sports fans, you are quickly launched into 2 options, each with their own set of sub-options, like a “Choose Your Adventure” book for a sports fan. First, a fan decides if he will be loyal to his local teams or idiotically support an out of town club based on nonsensical logic and a lack of mental clarity. Most fans choose the former. But the great part about New Jersey is plethora of choices. If you live in the south, choices are more limited, but they still need to be made. Southern Jersey calls Philadelphia their city, so it comes to no surprise that they like the Eagles and Phillies. Where it gets tricky is hockey. Do you support the Flyers? Or show pride in the one remaining New Jersey team there is, the Devils? As for the Northern folk, each sport has its decision. Giants or Jets? Knicks or Nets? Rangers or Devils? Heck, even the Islanders are in the mix! With these options come countless combinations of fans, creating quite a mix of loyalties amongst friends. Couple that with the closeness of the Philadelphia fans and you have yourself a sports war-zone.
The war-zone is what its all about. At any time in any part of the state, there are two people who are butting heads over the outcome of a game. Friendships can be divided during football season but come back together for baseball. Sure, Seattle has great football fans, but who can I talk trash to here? Who can I demean when there are no Jets or Eagles fans? I miss being close enough to hear my neighbors scream with despair as their precious Rangers drop in the Conference Finals to the Devils. I miss taunting Jets and Mets fans with the recent Championships of the Giants and Yankees. Sure, I have been on the losing side before, but those heckling calls and degrading banter is what makes sports more than sports. My teams here are my identity. Unlike 4 sport cities like Chicago, Detroit, and Boston, we don’t rally together around our teams. We don’t all share a pint over our loathing Red Sox and discuss our hatred for the Yankees. We are a state divided, shit talking our way to our friends and neighbors all the way to the title. And we like it that way.
Not only are there many teams in the area, but they all have extreme pressure to win. This means spending major bucks, even if it does still go to Bobby Bonilla. For the first time in my life I am living in a small sports market, and it surely is eye opening. The Seahawks make it to the playoffs and fans here act like they won the Super Bowl. The Mariners have no money to make any move than re-sign their one worthy asset, Felix Hernandez. This is something I can’t get used to. Where is the winning culture? Where is the money? As a Yankees fan, I am used to throwing money at anyone and anything who can help bring a 28th ring. As a Giants fan, anything short of a Super Bowl is a failure. This sentiment is shared across New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, making each year either glorious or heart breaking.
It has always bothered me when people think I can’t be a real Yankees or Giants fan because I live in New Jersey. As if some redneck living in upstate New York has more of a claim those teams. As if some Manhattan douche who arrives late and leaves early in his Ralph Lauren sweater vest can say he is more of a fan because he pays the Manhattan premium on everything. Well, when these people are hitting the tunnel traffic while getting to the Giants game, or getting herded like cattle into the public transit, just think of New Jersey and my relaxed, non-state-border-crossing ride home.
Is there anywhere else that comes close to New Jersey in Sports? Sure. But it’s just that. Close. Florida has many professional sports teams that could create a similar sporting paradise. But Florida teams have some of the worst attendance, their state demographic is split evenly between AARP members and swamp people, and their teams aren’t ever relevant except for the occasional fluky Marlins World Series. Shula and Marino still run that state, which says enough. Plus, more fans rather watch the Daytona 500 than any other professional sporting event. Tim Tebow, save your state!
What about California? With their major cities and abundance of sports teams they have major rivalries and some relevant teams. Well, good argument. However, wearing an opposing cities jersey in any Californian stadium is essentially throwing up a gang sign on someone else’s turf. California fans go past the drunken banter and occasional fight you’ll find in New Jersey. The media has extensively covered the post-game brawls that have left some severely injured or brain dead. Additionally, the only truly relevant teams lately are in the Bay Area. San Diego and Los Angeles have the beaches, but that does little in contributing to the professional success. Want to see an in state rivalry between San Francisco and Los Angeles? Have fun driving 9 hours. In New Jersey, the turnpike runs from Philadelphia to New York in a quick two hour drive (just keep your windows rolled up).
New Jersey has it all: a multitude of winning (or for some, at least the appearance of trying to win) teams, rivalries, convenience, and the hatred from everyone else in the country. You just can’t beat that.
Disagree? Please, try and argue a better place to be a pro sports fan.
On Thursday, the Jets made 5 cuts, the sum total saving them over $30 million next year. One of those players was Bart Scott, the outspoken leader for the Jets defense under the Rex Ryan regime. There were talks of a pay cut earlier this week, but alas Scott was shown the door. It’s a shame. He would’ve been a great addition to the Jets Harlem Shake video.
Scott, who followed Ryan to the Jets in 2009, never fulfilled his potential after a monster 2006 season filling in for an injured Ray Lewis in Baltimore. Scott’s 9.5 sacks in 2006 match his sum total in 4 seasons with Gang Green, and he longer has the quickness that made him such a formidable edge rusher.
But he did have the oratory skills to make himself an effective leader. Scott’s strong suits are reminiscent of his former teammate: great leadership skills and a non-stop motor. Growing up in a poor neighborhood on the East Side of Detroit, Scott played both ways in High School and never came off the field. He received little attention from scouts but signed on at Southern Illinois, where he exceled on the field, but his mouth got him into trouble with coaches.
Why is this important? This Video:
I want something to be known. Bart Scott worked his tail off to get to the NFL. The odds of his success in professional sports were incredibly slim, but everywhere he went he made the most of his opportunities.
5 years from now (probably less) this is going to be on a SportsCenter montage of “Wildest Post-Game Interviews”, but this is so much more than that. The Jets weren’t given a chance; much like Bart Scott wasn’t given much of a chance.
Bart is now an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with whatever team he pleases. Problem is, Scott is 32 and coming off off-season elbow surgery. Maybe he goes to Kansas City. Maybe he goes to Buffalo, to reunite with former Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine? Who knows, but either way, I hope he gets a shot. Because I know he’ll make the most of it. And I for one……..CAN’T WAIT (sorry).