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January 2010

Al Groh’s Return to the ACC Near?

Published on: 10th January, 2010

Al Groh's Return to the ACC Near?  | read this item

It appears Al Groh will not go quietly into the night.

The Virginia alum and former football coach of the Cavaliers has been linked by the Atlanta Journal Constitution to the defensive coordinator position at Georgia Tech.

Yes, despite being 65-years-old, it appears that Groh is not ready for charity golf tournaments and sitting back in the suite with Bill Parcells to reminisce about old times.  He is far from calling it a career.

No surprise when you consider how things ended between Groh and his alma mater.

Groh never took the easy way out in this shaky relationship.  The former New York Jets coach was willing to jettison his own son as offensive coordinator and throw others under the bus to save his job for one more year.

He was willing to burn redshirts for cheap wins and made more than a few enemies on the recruiting trials, all of which hurt the program in both the short and long term.

It was clear that Groh made no apologies for how things ended at Virginia, either.  In his final press conference, he recited a poem called “The Man in the Glass.”  It was a poem that solidified his image in the minds of many jaded Virginia fans—a self-absorbed egomaniac.

Granted, Virginia did not exactly treat Groh well either.  The boos and the empty seats helped make the decision for athletic director Craig Littlepage rather simple.  The administration took less than 24 hours to drop the hammer on their coach of nine seasons.

Suffice it to say, there are fences that need mending.

Nevertheless, this new development is certainly surprising.  I knew Groh would want a return to football eventually, but this is less than two months after his buyout. 

It might do the man some good to sit back and ponder some of things that went wrong at his last stop.  He probably needs a chance to recharge his batteries before the grind of another football season.

That may not happen now.

It is also surprising for Groh not to wait and see if an NFL job opens up.  Let’s be clear, the NFL is where Groh belongs.  In the NFL, personalities do not matter.  He does not need to worry about making friends or trying to recruit players.

Groh still has ties to NFL colleagues, and he has shown a great ability to shut down star players when given time to prepare.  He constantly used anecdotes about his NFL days in interviews and press conferences, clearly showing his love of the game. 

It would not be far-fetched to see that, with the right talent, Groh could take an NFL team and put their defense near the top of the heap rather quickly.  He is a tireless worker and a tough-minded leader.

The college game is different though, and despite his credentials, Groh has never found much success in the ACC.  His career record at Wake Forest and Virginia is 85-93.

Of course, perhaps the most surprising thing about all of this talk is the destination.

The Yellow Jackets are coming off an ACC Championship and certainly appear primed to make a run next year as well.  Last year showed that, with a few breaks, Georgia Tech could go undefeated and bring respect back to the conference.

However, no matter how poorly things ended at Virginia, is he really going to take a job at a rival school in the same division of the ACC?

I know Tom O’Brien is famous for ditching the Boston College Eagles to coach the North Carolina State Wolfpack, but this is different.  Groh played for Virginia, his son was the star quarterback on the 1995 ACC Championship team, he coached nine years at this program, and has constantly pledged his loyalty to the Cavaliers.

If Groh takes this job, the message he is sending seems crystal clear.  He wants to show everyone that they were wrong in judging him as a failure.  He will be hell bent on proving that he can create a championship-level defense with the right talent around him.  

He could probably do this at a few places, but by picking Georgia Tech, he wants to rub it in the face of the entire conference.  Of course, if he takes the job, then he actually has to do that—the last thing Groh’s legacy needs is another mediocre stint.

If I were a Georgia Tech fan, I would be excited.  Groh may not be a head coach, but he knows how to run defenses and his initial gameplans are pretty solid.  You would be hard pressed to find many more coordinators out there with as much experience or familiarity with the conference.

Still, I cannot help but feel this could make an ugly situation even worse.  Time may heal all wounds, but it seems clear that Virginia and Al Groh will not get over there divorce easily. 

Groh will return to football, if not in Atlanta than somewhere.  However, when he enters that new facility with a severance check and bitter memories in hand, I wonder if his new dream will be worth the price?

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ravens-Patriots: One Way Drought in Foxboro as Baltimore Beats New England

Published on: 10th January, 2010

Ravens-Patriots: One Way Drought in Foxboro as Baltimore Beats New England  | read this item

The road to the Super Bowl for the Baltimore Ravens began in Foxboro, to take on a Patriots team that has never lost at home in a playoff game during the Belicheck era.

However, that streak ended today as the Ravens defeated New England 33-14 in a game that was all Baltimore.

Two keys to the victory were the running attack showing up, along with the defense playing to form in years past.

The offensive attack was solely on the run, as the passing game only had 34 yards on four completions. The 221 yards rushing was led by Ray Rice, who on 22 carries had 159 yards and two touchdowns, one of them being the first play of the game.

Though the defense had them contained at a time in the second quarter, the dominance of the offensive line prevailed in this match up. It was very impressive to see the offense begin its explosiveness such so early in the game, and how they never looked back was a good sign to see in the rest of the playoffs.

The Ravens offense completed what they felt was needed to be accomplished in order to win, which was to run the ball down the Patriots throat and to create balance when needed.

Yet, the tipping of the hat must go to the Baltimore Ravens defense, which held this Patriots offense to only 14 total points, and under 200 yards total offense. Heading into the week, mounts of criticism was on the Ravens secondary, which has been depleted with injuries for the course of the year.

All of the doubters were silenced after the performance. Dominique Foxworth has stepped up his game after struggling most of the season, and shut down Randy Moss single-handedly, as number 81 had five catches for 48 yards.

Chris Carr and Frank Walker, who were playing for jobs in 2010, certainly gained confidence by putting up their best effort of the season. Even though two touchdowns were allowed, there was only one penalty (illegal contact), along with no pass interference calls.

The overall group had three interceptions, the most for Brady in nearly three seasons. Ed Reed seemed like his own self with one interception, while Dawan Landry and Chris Carr had one each.

Harassment of Tom Brady was questioned coming in, amid the penalties that were believed to be in favor of Brady. That was not an issue today however, with mounts of pressure on number 12, which included three sacks.

The true colors on the Baltimore Ravens defense showed today. Ray Lewis, the heart and soul since the beginning of the franchise, seemed up to speed like he always has, with 13 tackles.

Terrell Suggs, who had a disappointed season after his off season payday, came to play as well.

The post season continues for Baltimore as they head to rival Indianapolis next Saturday night. They have not defeated Peyton Manning in recent memory, which will need to change in the run continues for Baltimore.

Certainly a statement was made today in the defeat of Tom Brady and Bill Belicheck in the postseason, and if this wasn’t a momentum boost for this team, I sure don’t know what is.

 

Matt Miselis is a Featured Columnist for the Baltimore Ravens on BleacherReport.com. Feel free to email him at miselism29@hotmail.com .

 

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Why Tim Brown Is a Hall Of Famer, Not Andre Reed Or Cris Carter

Published on: 10th January, 2010

Why Tim Brown Is a Hall Of Famer, Not Andre Reed Or Cris Carter  | read this item

I must agree with the analytical sentiments of a writer on sports-reference.com who determined that Tim Brown had the most consistent Hall of Fame credentials between him, Cris Carter, and Andre Reed.

The Hall of Fame has released its list of 17 finalists for the Hall of Fame, including four wide receivers. Jerry Rice tops the list as a shoo-in, while Tim Brown, Andre Reed, and Cris Carter round out the other three.

In the case of Reed from the Buffalo Bills, Reed benefited from a pass-orientated offense, was on a team that has six Hall of Famers, and generally didn’t dominate despite the famous K-Gun offense.

Between Carter and Brown, Brown had more receiving yards and ranked in the top five of the NFL in four different years in an era of the NFL where the statistics of receivers have skyrocketed. Meaning that, amongst tough competition, Brown excelled, despite having little offensive support for most of his career with the Raiders.

Carter had more receiving touchdowns, but played on a more complete offense with a better running game, offensive line and quarterback. Yet Carter was beat on his team in receiving yards by Jake Reed and Randy Moss, meaning that the Vikings’ offense put Carter in position for the touchdown.

Brown meanwhile spent much of his career opposite James Jett; hardly comparable to having Randy Moss detract attention from the defense. 

Yet, you could argue that Brown often put the Raiders in position to score touchdowns by other players such as James Jett who scored 12 touchdowns in 1997 and Rickey Dudley who scored seven, and both had less 1,000 receiving yards, while Brown led the league in receptions and topped 1,400 receiving yards in 1997.

Thus, in comparison with Reed and Carter, Brown excelled with less support.

On the flip side, you could say that Brown benefited from the fact that he was the only target for the Raiders until Jeff George (1997) and Rich Gannon (1999-2002). 

I added George because, despite the record of 4-12 that year, he led the NFL in passing yards; largely thanks to Brown.

But to ascribe all credit to Brown’s success to the lack of another option would negate the basic question of whether a player is independently great and therefore a Hall of Famer. The fact that Brown excelled with less support is the proof that Brown was independently great.

Moreover, Brown was also a ProBowler as a return specialist, unlike Carter and Reed.  Brown’s versatility should (but that doesn’t mean that it will) factor into the question of Brown’s candidacy.

With Rice as a shoo-in for the Hall, the question has been whether Brown, Carter, or Reed will also be inducted, and if so, who?

In my personal opinion as a Raider fan, I would love to see Brown and Rice inducted in the same year after what they did for the Raiders in 2001 and 2002. To the casual observer, that only appears as two seasons, and probably can’t conceptually grasp the meaning of that period to Raider fans.

“Raider Haters” just look at it as a blip.

The fact is that despite the 2002 Super Bowl, Brown and eventually Rice were the duo that powered a prolific offense in the twilight of their careers, and one in which Rich Gannon would win the MVP Award in 2002 and set the record for 300-yard passing games in a single season.

Raider Nation meanwhile will remember it for a lifetime.

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One Alabama Fan’s Thank You To Mike Shula For Helping Us Get No. 13

Published on: 10th January, 2010

One Alabama Fan's Thank You To Mike Shula For Helping Us Get No. 13  | read this item

On May 3, 2003, Dr. Robert Witt, just two months into his job as President of the University of Alabama, fired Coach Mike Price who had not even coached his first game yet and was still trying to put together his first recruiting class.

Witt, with hard resolve that the institution shed the party school image, gave no second chance to its head coach caught drinking and carousing with topless dancers and apparently taking one of them to go, all while on university business.

With January being late coming to the party with a coaching decision, imagine the uproar in the Alabama athletic department on that May day. That was a fitting time alright, mayday!

The football team had just been gut punched when Dennis Franchione left them standing by the curb with a rope in their hand that he was going to hold with them. Then came Price and his aw shucks, humorous grandfatherly ways quickly getting a fragile team to trust him and even start spring practice with him.

Now apparently, he was gone too. And so were the apparent fortunes of a team left twice within mere months by two coaches they trusted. This team was perilously close to breaking. Many wondered who would stay and who would go.

Mal Moore had little time and few choices and turned inward to “family” and called the Miami Dolphin’s quarterback coach Mike Shula and asked him to “come home” and help us fix this problem.

Being a former Alabama player himself and son of a coaching legend Don Shula, Mike knew both the problems and glory he was walking into.

The first thing he did was stop the leaking. He met with the team and said that under these conditions the NCAA granted transfers. He said this was the time to do something for Alabama, not for themselves but understood if you wanted to go. He asked anyone who couldn’t bear this time with him to leave and there would be no questions asked.

Not a man left the room. The connection with Shula was quick and strongly forged. Here was a man who had worn the same uniform, gone through the same turmoils and like them signed up to play for one man, Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, but ended up as the starting quarterback under Coach Ray Perkins.

With crippling NCAA sanctions upon them, that 2003 team went a dismal 4-9 with so many late game collapses and overtime losses. Many thought Shula was in over his head. But he had kept the team together, put together some good recruits despite limitations and all those close losses gave many hope.

In 2004, the Tide jumped out to out to a 3-0 mark then the wheels fell off. Starting QB Brodie Cryole was injured for the year and one by one Alabama was having as many starters in the hospital as the playing field. By the end of the season they were 6-6 and did get a bowl appearance that they lost to Minnesota.

By the last game Alabama was starting a freshman at tight end, a fourth string running back, a third string quarterback, and two true freshmen receivers Shula brought in. But once again there were so many close losses that the team knew they were close.

In 2005 Shula found had two breaks, one to the leg of his most gifted recruit, Tyronne Prothro, and one from the football Gods who finally let Alabama win some of those close games they had been losing. They finished up the season 10-3 with a big Cotton Bowl win over Mike Leach and Texas Tech.

Alabama was back in the news and headlines were now reporting things like Alabama’s leading the nation in 10 game winning season and the Cotton Bowl win added to its lead of bowls played in winning.

In 2006 Alabama jumped out to another 3-0 start, but just like 2004 stumbled hard after that. They continued to lose the close games yet again and after losing their last three games of the year including yet another loss to Auburn the forth in a row.

Alabama felt it was too far a step backward and dismissed Shula with a $4 million buyout clause in his pocket.

That opened the door for Alabama athletic director Mal Moore to snag lighting and convince Nick Saban to come to Alabama. The rest of course is history.

No coach could have managed much better with those NCAA restrictions or crippling lists of injuries that piled up year after year. However, now is the time to look back upon those day and not look at the things that went badly for Shula, but the things that went right.

He held the team together in its darkest period ever. He kept the program clean of major violations, and he recognized and brought in some talent that escaped other coaches around the league.

These were players like Javier Arenas, Greg McElroy, Baron Huber, Michael Johnson, Cory Reamer, Chris Rogers, Marquis Johnson, Justin Woodall, Mike McCoy, and Lorenzo Washington.

All these men had roles to fill in helping this team of today win Alabama’s 13th national title. They they will all be gone soon, Mike Shula fingerprints will always be on the team.

He held them together in their darkest moments, and helped us have the quick comeback from the brink that we did.

Each Alabama team builds on the success and slumps from the failures of their predecessors and now in basking from the mirrored colored sunlight streaming through that crystal ball in the Mal Moore Athletic Facility, it’s a nice time to pause and say once again, “Thanks Mike!”

You will always be a beloved son.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Playoff Mainstays New England and Philadelphia Dominated in First Round

Published on: 10th January, 2010

Playoff Mainstays New England and Philadelphia Dominated in First Round  | read this item

Two near constants in late postseason play this decade, the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, lost dramatically in the first round to close out their seasons.

The pair of mainstays lost by a combined 67-28.

The similarities don’t end with near identical final scores (a 34-14 win for Dallas, 33-14 for Baltimore):  The teams both won with power running games steamrolling their opposition. 

For Dallas, Felix Jones led the way with 148 yards for a team with 198 net yards on the ground.  Baltimore was powered by Ray Rice’s 159 yards to lead their 235 yard rushing performance.

Added to similar ground success was a capacity to force turnovers.

Tom Brady was harassed into coughing up the ball four times, tossing three interceptions along with losing a fumble.  Philadelphia spread the turnover wealth around, losing three fumbles by three different players (Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick, and Leonard Weaver) along with one McNabb interception.

The swarming defenses and power rushing games fly in the face of a regular season that was in many ways the year of the pass. 

Neither team appeared completely up for the game.

The Philadelphia Eagles looked just as flat and confused in the Wild Card Round as they had in their Week 17 loss to those same Dallas Cowboys to give up the NFC East division lead.  When the game had ended, Dallas virtually doubled Philadelphia’s time of possession (39:34 to 20:36). 

The seasoned New England Patriots were still reeling from the unexpected injury to Wes Welker in Week 17.  They were pounded early as Baltimore jumped out to a 24-0 lead to close the first quarter.  In the middle stages of the game they threatened to make it closer than their NFC counterparts by closing the gap to 27-14.

Baltimore held strong and shut New England down in the fourth quarter with a clock chewing running game.  The final time of possession favored Baltimore modestly (32:21 to 27:39), but felt like it weighed far more to the Ravens.

With second round matchups upcoming, the relieved Cowboys and fired-up Ravens now look to be genuine threats.  Both are playing their best football of the year at the right time in the midst of several teams suffering late-season stumbles.

Baltimore played Indianapolis close in a 17-15 loss to the Colts.  They also stuffed San Diego 31-26 early in the year.

Both wins give the team confidence that they can face any AFC opponent, though they will likely need more out of quarterback Joe Flacco across the rest of the playoffs after the Ravens running game allowed him to win on a mere four of ten passing for 34 yards and an interception. 

Dallas also has seen some success against a top seed in their own conference.  The Cowboys played New Orleans in Week 15, dealing the Saints their first loss of the year while starting a three game winning streak to close the regular season.

Whether or not they can translate this success into even deeper playoff runs remains to be seen.  What is certain, however, is that in the opening round, Dallas and Baltimore emerged as dominant victors in embarrassing their veteran opponents.

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Philadelphia Eagles’ Jeremy Maclin Delusional After Loss

Published on: 10th January, 2010

Philadelphia Eagles' Jeremy Maclin Delusional After Loss  | read this item

What is it about the Eagles and their speedy young wideouts that makes them chirping buffoons?

Is there something in the chemically enhanced beef they use in the cheese steaks?

Last week we had DeSean Jackson’s untimely posturing “we gonna sting they a** next week lil buddy…” coming fresh off a 24-0 drubbing at the hands of the Cowboys in Week 17.

Now, we’ve been given this gem from out of the mouth of Jeremy Maclin .

“I’m still not going say they are better than us. They did a good job of coming out and playing football. But I’ll still take my guys over anybody else in the league…They came up with some good things to throw us off-guard. If you look at personnel, I’m not going to say they are better than us.”

Really?

What exactly would it take for you to admit the Cowboys are the better team Jeremy? 

Do the Cowboys need to beat the Eagles in the preseason too?

I mean seriously, you’ve been leveled three convincing defeats all during the same season, to the same team and your final conclusion is that your team (Eagles) is better?

Chalk it up to rookie exuberance, but Maclin should know better.

By the way Jeremy, the Cowboys will be glad to hear that you’ll take your “guys” over theirs.  Why?  Because it will just be more of the same rookie.

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Broncos’ Rick Dennison to Interview with Houston Texans

Published on: 10th January, 2010

Broncos' Rick Dennison to Interview with Houston Texans  | read this item

Denver’s offensive line coach Rick Dennison is set to interview for the Texans’ offensive coordinator position Monday. If hired, he would be replacing Kyle Shanahan, who left for Washington earlier this week to work under his father, Mike Shanahan.

Dennison has served with the Broncos in an offensive capacity since 1995.

The interview between Dennison and head coach Gary Kubiak won’t be much of an interview as it will be an orientation. They are very good friends, a by-product of their history in Denver. 

There are other candidates for the job, including Atlanta Falcons quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave and former Kansas City offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, but the relationship between Kubiak and Dennison make it difficult to believe that any other combination is possible.

If history is any indication of the way these events will unfold, the move makes sense. Both the Texans’ General Manager and head coach have been acquired out of Denver, so it seems fitting their offensive coordinator should also be of Denver descent. 

Dennison will most likely bring a different offensive philosophy than the zone blocking scheme Houston currently runs when he comes. However, this being Kubiak’s last year of his contract, he will most likely retain the playcalling responsibilities.

Dennison’s arrival will also mean a greater emphasis on the run game, something the Texans need in order to establish balance with their explosive passing game. And, with Houston most likely going in the direction of a running back in April, Houston has the opportunity to become a serious contender in the AFC.  

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San Diego Chargers’ Opponent Set: Will Face New York Jets

Published on: 10th January, 2010

San Diego Chargers' Opponent Set: Will Face New York Jets  | read this item

The second round of the AFC playoffs are now set. Midseason monster Cincinnati Bengals and perennial powerhouse New England Patriots have both been upset by their wild-card opponents. The fifth-seeded New York Jets are now the team San Diego will face in the divisional round.

New York beat the Bengals 24-14 in Cincinnati to advance to the second round of the playoffs. The Jets nearly missed the postseason, as they were 4-6 in Week 11, suffering a major skid after looking strong in the 3-0 start to the year.

The Jets closed the year 5-1, including a win against Indianapolis where the Colts lead the game but pulled major starters en route to a New York comeback.  The victory stemmed a 9-7 record where the Jets took the tie-breaker advantage over the other four AFC teams with same records. 

So what do the Chargers face in going up against the New York Jets?  A big physical team led by a boisterous coach and rookie quarterback.

The strength of the New York Jets is defense. They excelled in all aspects, going No. 1 overall in total yards allowed across the regular season.  They were great against both the pass (first overall) and rush (eighth).

Led by team MVP corner back Darrelle Revis, one of the most effective shutdown corners in the league this year, the Jets’ pass defense will be keying on the strong aerial assault of the San Diego Chargers. 

With that matchup, Vincent Jackson figures to have a tough game trying to find space.

The Chargers’ best opportunity in the passing game will be focusing on Antonio Gates slightly deeper on the field.  Safety Kerry Rhodes temporarily lost his starting job due to poor play and figures to be the most exploitable point. 

Spreading Darren Sproles wide and utilizing the utility of Legedu Naanee (assuming his status of “questionable” improves into being active come game day).

One potential key to San Diego’s success could be an improved running game.  The team was not at all dominant running the football across the year, but spent the second half much improved from their league-worst start running the football.  

Running back Cedric Benson managed to gouge New York in Cincinnati’s losing effort, gaining 169 on a mere 21 carries.  Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer did not fare as well, going 18-for-36 with 146 yards a touchdown and an interception.

Cincinnati had been a power running team with a mediocre passing attack all year, however. They were already the absolute worst scoring team in the playoffs, ranking 22nd in the league with a scant 308 points.

With the tragic loss of deep threat Chris Henry and a slowed Chad Johnson, the team was further hampered. Despite that stale passing game, the Bengals did manage to accrue 30 yards over the Jets’ average of 252 yards allowed per game.

The Jets offense is a little bit different matter. The imposing defense kept the Jets alive, despite a sub-par offensive attack that ranked 17th with 348 points scored.  The only playoff team that put up fewer points across the year was the team they just defeated.

The Jets are highly effective running the football, leading the league with 172.2 yards a game. 

Starting running back Thomas Jones was effectively bottled up by Cincinnati, managing only 34 yards on 15 carries (a 2.3 yard per carry clip).  No. 2 back Shonn Greene augmented Jones’ game dramatically, however, gaining 135 yards against a strong Bengals defense.

San Diego will need to put either Eric Weddle or Kevin Ellison up in the box the bulk of the game to slow the power game of New York. They will also likely see hard-hitting middle linebacker Brandon Siler getting extra snaps over Kevin Burnett, signed primarily for his skills in pass defense.

Against the pass, San Diego can afford to sacrifice a safety to help the run defense.  New York is helmed by rookie Mark Sanchez, who ranked second-highest in the league with 20 interceptions but worst among starters in interceptions per attempt (one per 18.2 pass attempts, well below interception leader Jay Cutler’s one per 21.8).

Sanchez showed reasonably effective game-management against Cincinnati, putting up 182 yards on 12-of-15 passing. The key factor for Sanchez was eliminating mistakes. 

During the middle of the year, Sanchez tossed 18 interceptions across 10 games.  Including the Bengals game, he has now gone three straight without throwing a pick.

San Diego will need to force the Jets to win by way of Sanchez’ arm to achieve success. One of the more notable contributors to his three-turnover, three-game stretch was because he only averaged 16.7 attempts during the stretch. His 50 passes in that span have been attempted by some quarterbacks in single games.

With some troubles against power rushing games in the Jamal Williams-less season, and a solid pass defense, San Diego’s efforts will need to be doubled against stuffing the middle of the Jets line and letting defensive backs prove themselves in single coverage.

San Diego should have the power to overwhelm New York. The Jets’ defense is a great shutdown team, but the difference between the first and second games against New England speak volumes to how effective a team can be when multiple weapons are in place. 

Like New Orleans (handing the Jets their first loss), New England with a healthy Wes Welker (putting 31 on New York), and Indianapolis (putting quick points en route to a five-point lead while starters were in place), San Diego’s strength will be their host of options. 

They are not reliant on Vincent Jackson or Antonio Gates, proving able to check down to any number of players to be the big receiver on the day or spreading the passing game into no true leading receiver.

The Chargers should be able to come away with the win. They have the pieces to defeat New York, and now it comes down to execution. 

San Diego has spent the regular season getting hot and catching people’s eyes.  They have become a trendy pick to make it to the Super Bowl, yet now they have to prove that the late-year praise is warranted.  

The first step in that process­ topping the Jets in San Diego on divisional weekend.

 

For a look at San Diego’s overall playoff chances:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/322597-boltbits-why-the-san-diego-chargers-can-win-the-super-bowl

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College Football’s Top Five Uncommitted Recruits: Where Will They Sign?

Published on: 10th January, 2010

College Football's Top Five Uncommitted Recruits: Where Will They Sign?  | read this item

As the home stretch approaches of the 2010 recruiting season, the next month will be full of excitement, happiness, disappointment, and head-scratching.

For some teams, closing out a class is a strength which leads to a feeling of freshness and excitement to see how good their team has improved with the addition of a late-stud signee.

For others, it is a glaring weakness that results in let-down feelings year after year after their most highly-sought out prospect signs with a rival team.

This year, it will be no different.

After the recent news of Urban Meyer’s uncertainty in Gainesville and Pete Carroll’s new job, this year may be on the craziest yet with recruits thinking twice about where they want to spend the next three or four years of their lives.

With plenty of the top recruits still undecided about where they will play their college football, take a look at who has the best shot in order to come away with a last-minute surprise on National Signing Day.

Begin Slideshow

Is the Rooney Rule Helping Minority Candidates Become NFL Head Coaches?

Published on: 10th January, 2010

Is the Rooney Rule Helping Minority Candidates Become NFL Head Coaches?  | read this item

It was quite a surprise when the Seattle Seahawks fired Jim Mora after one season as head coach. Soon thereafter, stories emerged that USC’s Pete Carroll would become the next head coach of Seattle.

Oh, and by the way, Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier was offered the chance to interview for the position, but declined.

Was he really offered the chance to interview?

The Rooney Rule was established in 2003 to ensure that NFL teams give minority coaches the opportunity to interview or be considered for head coaching and senior football operations positions.

Does the Rooney Rule serve its purpose, or is it a hurdle NFL owners must jump before making a hiring decision?

Leslie Frazier chose to not have any part of it. I’m guessing that he didn’t want to waste his time interviewing for a job he knew he wasn’t going to get. Clearly, the Seahawks already made their choice on who will be their next head coach.

The intention of the Rooney Rule is clear, and named after Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and chairman of the league’s diversity committee. The Rooney family is well known for their long history of giving African-Americans opportunities with their team and organization.

It is the NFL’s version of affirmative action.

One wonders if the Rooney Rule is the NFL’s attempt to address equal opportunity or a way to appease liberal groups and factions inside and outside of the NFL.

There are legal scholars who are petitioning to have the Rooney Rule enforced in college football, as well.

Currently, six percent of all college coaches are minorities, which is the same percentage the NFL realized prior to the implementation of the Rooney Rule. Now the NFL has increased to 22 percent since implementation.

However, some teams have claimed the Rooney Rule had nothing to do with their decision to hire a minority head coach. Oddly, the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of those teams. When they hired current head coach Mike Tomlin in 2007, they had interviewed Ron Riviera prior to making their decision.

Clearly, opportunity still remains for minorities in top leadership positions in both the NFL and college football. Moreover, opportunity remains in all facets of our society.

The question remains if mandates like the Rooney Rule serve the purpose they are created. Some may argue they cause more harm than good by creating animosity and increased racism.

Perhaps stricter adherence and compliance of the Rooney Rule is necessary. I am not suggesting that hiring quotas or requirements be implemented to ensure minorities are hired, but I think it is prudent that the NFL ensure owners are not just giving face time to satisfy the rule.

Should NFL owners have be forced to proactively seek out minorities to apply for job openings? I say not. 

However, if someone applies for an open position, then they should be afforded the same opportunity regardless of their ethnic background.

That’s what the Rooney Rule should guarantee. By forcing teams to interview minorities just to say they did it is doing nothing to address a serious situation. 

Guarantee that minorities who are interested in a position that they will be given the same opportunity to be hired is what the “Rule” should do.

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