“The Top 4 Candidates That the Raiders Should Hire For Head Coach”

ray horton

Years ago when I was on a few Raiders sites, we were all talking about the vacant coaching position.  Sean Payton had not been hired yet by New Orleans and I raved about the guy.  Many fans were in love with Al Saunders at the time, because Payton was too young and had no coaching experience.  We all know how that worked out.

What so many teams do wrong, is that they hire young assistants who have not paid their dues.  In reality they are still learning to lead.  The best coaches many times are those that have been assistants for a while with successes seen along the way.

Fast forward to today.  I think Tony Sparano should be the interim coach for the rest of the year.  I don’t think he’s a head coach in the NFL but he is a solid coach and football man.  At the end of the year though, the Raiders need to jump on one of these candidates.  These are my top 4 picks for the Raiders coaching position.

The coach I really love is Mike Zimmer who is now the head coach of the Vikings.  The Vikings have limited talent and have the nightmare scenario of the Adrian Peterson saga but the tough minded Zimmer has Minnesota excited again about the Vikings and their future.  For now, these are my hopes for the Raiders.

  1. Art Briles, Head Coach Baylor:

At 20 years old Art Briles lost his parents and his aunt in a terrible car accident while they were on their way to watch him play while he was at the University of Houston.  His present wife at the last minute didn’t go.  He used the memory of his family to fuel him to succeed.

Briles is a high school coaching legend in Texas.  For 21 years he rebuilt schools that were in terrible states into football powers.  He adapted to his personnel, sometimes running the wishbone and other times running the spread.  He eventually got a head coaching job at Houston where the Cougars had become the joke of college football.  Again in 4 years he created one of the best offenses in college football.

He was then hired at Baylor and every year they have been one of the top teams in the country with a dynamic offense.  Robert Griffin III thrived under Briles amazingly aggressive passing game.

The NFL has changed.  Seven of the top 10 passing seasons of all time have happened in the last 3 years, with Matt Stafford having two of those seasons.  Yes; Matt Stafford.  The rules are comically allowing wide receivers do whatever they want.  Instead of the power running game, many teams are realizing that with the present rules, a great passing game is near unstoppable.  Already college and pro coaches are rumored to talk to him about his theories on offense.

Briles is a great offensive mind and his offense would be hard to stop.  With strong armed quarterback Derek Carr, he could really transform the offense into a Rich Gannon type passing game but with the addition of the long ball.  The Raiders still need a true #1 wide receiver but I think Briles would thrive.  I would also make sure the defensive coordinator was an experienced NFL man with a good experienced cast of NFL assistants due to Briles lack of pro coaching experience.  There is a $5 million dollar buy out clause if the Raiders want him.  Is early in on a 10 year contract.

  1. Ray Horton, Defensive Coordinator, Tennessee Titans:

Ray Horton’s aggressive 3-4 defense has been successful everywhere he’s gone. He loves going after the quarterback and pressing wide receivers at the line.  The strength of the Raiders is their linebackers (when they are healthy) and he would be a perfect fit.  He created the foundation of the Cardinals defense, and then the Browns defense when he went there.  He thrives on turnovers and toughness.  Rushing the passer and stopping the run are important to him and that’s what makes great defenses.  Still in both places, Horton is thought about with respect by both fans and players.

He is an aggressive person who likes to make his defense do his talking.  His personality with the media is somewhat frosty and he’s not exactly the kiss butt type, but he can flat out coach and he’s paid his dues.  The fans of Tennessee are very excited to have him and he’s already paid dividends.

  1. Darrell Bevell: Offensive Coordinator, Seattle Seahawks:

When Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was drafted, people just smirked and shook their heads.  I remember the post draft grades ripped them apart.  When asked about drafting Russell, Head Coach Pete Carroll, said “Wilson’s Bevell’s project”.

Bevell was famous in Madison Wisconsin for being the quarterback that started the rise in Badgers football in the 90’s.  He knew a lot about Wilson and loved his talent.  Wilson raves about Bevell and Seattle is now one of the top rushing teams in the NFL, as well as being in the top 10 in other categories.  Seattle is a well rounded football team thanks to Bevell’s talents and he’d be amazing for Derek Carr to learn from.

 

  1. Jim Harbaugh: Head Coach San Francisco 49ers.

Oh the humanity.  Yes I said it.  He may end up coaching for the 49ers for years to come but most feel if the 49ers don’t win the Superbowl, he may be coaching elsewhere.  He’s never stayed at one place for a long time and he’s very talented.  San Francisco’s front office is so politically correct that they would make Bill Clinton shake his head. Not all is well in Niner land and I don’t mean the high prices of their new stadium, or the messed up wifi.  Harbaugh still doesn’t have control of player personnel moves and there is obvious tension in the front office.  The 49ers want a Super bowl and there was much criticism given to Harbaugh and quarterback Colin Kaepernick after each failure.

A Stanford official once told Gary Radnich of KNBR fame that Jim Harbaugh is the type of coach to build something special from scratch but he isn’t the type of coach that you want around for a long time.  Even Stanford seemed relieved to have laid back David Shaw over Jim Harbaugh.  After he left, some people told the media that Harbaugh was a pain in the butt and he rubbed many people the wrong way after a while.

Harbaugh’s personality is abrasive, and he borderlines on arrogant.  The one thing Harbaugh really is though is a great head coach.  Every team he’s coached at has greatly improved because he’s been there.  He is about accountability and winning.  He protects his players in the media whenever they make a mistake, like he did with Kapernick last Sunday when he kept forgetting about the play clock.

Harbaugh would instantly clean house like they did at San Francisco and get tough nosed players.  He would bring a toughness and a winning edge that has been missing for years in Oakland.

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“Why Money Ball & the Oakland A’s Fall Short in the Post Season; Again”

oakland as billy beane moneyball

First of all I like Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s fans are lucky to have him as GM.  With so many failures in the post season though, it’s time to look at the why’s and the how’s.

I remember when the A’s were flying high this year.  They had the best record in all of baseball and they had a run differential of over 100 more than any other team in the majors.  Yoenis Cespedes was throwing out runners from the Orange Highway to go with towering homers. Josh Donaldson looked like an MVP candidate and the starters looked like there was nothing to stop them from dominating hitters in the American league.  A funny thing happened on the way to the World Series.

The A’s had the worst second half record of ANY team in the history of Major League Baseball who made the playoffs.  Their collapse was hard to watch.  Billy Beane, looking to get to the next level, traded popular slugger Yoenis Cespedes to get rent a player post season pitching star Jon Lester.  Never before had I ever heard of a team trading their clean up hitter, let alone winning a world series after doing it.

He also traded one of the best prospects in baseball, and the Oakland A’s best prospect; shortstop phenom Addison Russell; for Jeff Smardzija and journeyman starter Jason Hammel, who was having a career year.  Beane was lauded as a conquering GM even though the A’s gave up the heart of their order, and their best minor league prospect.  Lester was a rent a player and Smardzija would be on the A’s for a year and a half which is the length of his contract.  Beane stated that they would not be able to resign Cespedes due to him wanting more money than the A’s wanted to pay.  It was obvious the future was now in Oakland.

The big thing that I’ve always hated about Billy Beane’s mentality in his money ball formula, is that it’s not what wins in the post season.  Even in his book Moneyball, he’s admitted as such.  The A’s have had solid teams in the playoffs and they always fall short.

MLB had the worst stat that explains the A’s post season fails.  Oakland was one of the worst teams hitting with runners in scoring position of any post season team since 2000.  It showed the kink in the armor of money ball.

Money ball’s whole mentality is based on sabermetrics; or using analytical in game statistics that show an alternative way of playing baseball.  It emphasizes on base percentage and home runs instead of batting averages.  It’s great during the regular season but fails during the post season.

The reason money ball fails is that it bases a lot of the teams’ success on walks and home runs.  It looks at on base percentage being one of the most important factors in baseball.  The problem with all that is that walks and homers are few and far between during the post season because the pitching is so much better in the playoffs.

In the regular season, you are seeing teams that are good, bad, and very bad.  In the post season you are seeing the best pitchers in baseball and you are not going to get walks and homers.  How many times in post season’s past did the A’s leave runners in scoring position against New York, Boston, and Detroit.  And the A’s were just awful if runners were on third with less than 2 outs.  You have to actually hit the players in.  Players batting .230 to .250 with 15-20 homers don’t knock in runners in the post season.  At times it was hard to watch.  The on base % of these lower average hitters plummet when you take away all the walks.

Billy Beane and the A’s love the .220 to .260 hitters who hit 15-25 homers while walking a lot.  In their defense with a low payroll sometimes that’s all they can get.  The problem is, these are the same players in the post season that can’t hit runners in.  Patience may help in the regular season, but the post season is about great base hits and not walks.

The A’s need to break the chain, and start getting actual .270 to .300 hitters in the fold and stop the .240 hitters that can hit a homer.  In the olden days anything under .250 was considered very average but now the A’s lineup is stacked with them.  On their regular season roster, the A’s have only 8 players hitting .250 and above.  The Kansas City Royals who beat the A’s last night have 15, and the Los Angeles Angels who won the A’s division also have 15 hitters hitting above .250.

I’m a HUGE Billy Beane fan though.  I think he’s not the greatest trader sometimes, (insert Carlos Gonzalez and Andre Ethier here) but NO ONE drafts and evaluates talent better.  Even with the A’s post season issues, they still find gems in the draft, and that’s all Billy Beane and his scouting team.  There are none better.

This year his payroll was 80 million; the highest in A’s history; but it’s still near the bottom of team payroll in baseball.  The San Francisco Giants are spending 140 million per year.  He has an owner in Lew Wolff that keeps cashing revenue sharing checks; (The A’s are one of the only teams in baseball that makes money every year mostly due to their low payroll) but does little to help his stadium position in baseball.  If Al Davis owned the A’s they would be finishing up building Google stadium in San Jose by now with Mr. Davis middle finger in the air pointing towards San Francisco.  Lew Wolf is about business though and profits are the most important thing to him, but that topic is for another day.

In conclusion the A’s will keep winning during the regular season.  They will also fall short in the post season in some way.  They will keep drafting good players and they will trade them when they are about to sign for big money.  If Beane can he will trade them for whatever he can get.  Most players are controlled by their teams for about 5-6 years before they become unrestricted free agents and sign for big money and Billy Beane every year sends these players packing.  The losers are always the fans who see the A’s change partners quicker than people in dance clubs.

The loyal A’s fans know not to get too attached to their stars.  From Jason Giambi to Miguel Tejada to Yoenis Cespedes, it’s better not to get too emotionally involved because eventually they know the players will leave.  It’s a cruel fate for both Beane and the Oakland fans.

Billy Beane has said in the past that he can’t have a 5 year plan.  His mentality is to look to the now to win.  You can’t blame him for doing that but his trades for 2014 will be epic fails.  Without their clean up hitter Cespedes and the protection he brought to Josh Donaldson and the rest of the lineup, the A’s had an epic hitting slump in the second half that they could not overcome.

A’s fans though were so excited with the A’s scoring 8 runs against the Kansas City Royals in the wild card game.  This time will be different they thought, but the cruel winds of the post season told otherwise.  The A’s put up the guy they wanted to pitch that big game in Jon Lester and all the stars were aligned.  Unfortunately the A’s had not one but two blown saves in the game to make it 23 on the year which was second to last in the majors.  The A’s found another way to fail in the post season and it will be a long wait until spring training for Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s; again.  And only God knows what players will be shipped out this off season.

“The reason the Oakland Raiders Stink from the Head Down”

jamarcus russell

This is an article that I wrote for a paid sports site last year after the NFL draft.  It showed the draft picks from 2000-2009.  At our draft parties we all pick for our own teams.  Not that I’m a genius but look at my picks (who many others picked at the time) and the Raiders picks.  Ask yourself Raider fans, all the time you wasted defending these bad picks.  I also take notes so I put them under the picks.  The notes were written right after the pick was made.

When you blame so many things on why the Raiders are so bad, look no further than the draft.

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I have always been fascinated by the NFL draft.  As a little kid I remember watching Dr. Z, Paul Zimmerman, use his dry humor to predict what each team was going to do.  He was funny and was the first to really break the draft down into what it is today.

Starting in 2000, I started to host a NFL draft party.  The first rule was no girlfriends or wives, and that each person had to draft for their own team.  We would keep our picks and our notes so the following years we could read what we wrote.  We give out awards every year to the best and worst picks of the prior 3 years.  I have kept a log full of notes and picks.

I don’t draft for need unless I feel the team is a player or two away from being good.  The Raiders have not been very close for the most part so I pick the best player possible.  I went to several schools, and I’ve been going to Stanford and California games for years.  I’m a huge Oklahoma Sooner fan from back in the day as well.  Below are my picks over the years compared to the Raiders.

2000 Raiders pick:  Sebastian Janikowski K Florida St.

Jim’s Pick:  Shaun Alexander RB Alabama

(Alexander is a beast at RB.  Kaufmann and Wheatley are good backs but Alexander can do it all.  Too much talent to pass up)

2001 Raiders pick:  Derrick Gibson DB Florida St. 

Jim’s Pick:  Kendrell Bell LB Georgia

(Raiders need LB help big time and Bell is solid.  Should be a really good player for 5-10 years)

2002 Raiders/Jim’s pick:  Phillip Buchanon CB Miami Fla.; Napoleon Harris LB Northwestern

(Harris is the best LB in the draft)

2003 Raiders pick:  Nnamdi Asomugha CB California; Tyler Brayton DE Colorado

Jim’s Pick:  Nnamdi Asomugha CB California; Boss Bailey LB Georgia

(Aso is a stud and Boss Bailey has potential.  These 2 could shore up defense)

2004 Raiders pick:  Robert Gallery T Iowa

Jim’s Pick:  Larry Fitzgerald WR Pittsburgh

(shocked; I watched Fitzgerald being triple teamed by some teams and he still dominated.  This guy is big, fast, tough and catches everything.  Can’t miss talent.  Gallery is another NFL pre draft darling.  I don’t get it)

2005 Raiders pick:  Fabian Washington S Nebraska

Jim’s Pick:  Aaron Rodgers QB California

(what?; even the draft announcers were shocked.  Rodgers fell in their lap and they pick up Washington who is an athletic safety who isn’t the greatest cover on a bad defense.  Wow; I’m lost)

2006 Raiders pick:  Michael Huff S Texas

Jim’s Pick:  Matt Leinart QB USC

(Leinart has talent but a bad work ethic and he’s a party boy.  I think he’ll do well in the pro’s if he grows up.  Huff played on a talented defense but as an OU fan I just don’t get this pick.  He had a lot of mop up hits and is semi soft for a safety)

2007 Raiders pick:  Jamarcus Russell QB LSU

Jim’s Pick:  Calvin Johnson WR Georgia Tech

(Raider fans are ripping me to pieces but mark my words; this is the wrong pick; this guy is making millions off of his game against Notre Dame; the 106th ranked defense.  He struggled mightily against Auburn and other teams who ran a pro style defense.  Calvin Johnson is huge and talented.  As an Oklahoma fan I’m sick of the ripping on Adrian Peterson.  He’s a stud and was kept out for his protection and his oft injury tag isn’t warranted. Wow)

2008 Raiders/Jim’s Pick:  Darren McFadden RB Arkansas

Jim’s Pick:  Darren McFadden RB Arkansas

(McFadden is a stud.  He was very physical in college and should adjust to the NFL quickly.  I like this pick.)

2009 Raiders Pick:  Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Maryland

Jim’s Pick:  Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech

(wow; another NFL combine pick; Heyward-Bey averaged 3 catches a game since high school and IS NOT a good WR.  Crabtree is 100 times more talented and is the best WR in the draft.  Please keep 40 times from Al Davis.  God help us.  What a terrible pick)

The main problem I’ve had with Mr. Davis draft picks is that he always felt the team was better than they really were.  He seemed to be in denial like some who felt this team was close to winning when they were obviously not.  When you lose 11 games in 7 straight seasons; and now haven’t had a winning season in 10 years; you lack talent in a big way.

I feel the NFL combines really ruined Mr. Davis.  He became obsessed with DB’s 40 times in gym shorts and loved weight room junkies like Robert Gallery.  Darius Heyward-Bey who was a ridiculous pick, gained his millions purely from his NFL combine 40 time.  He was a nice college player but no way did he warrant that high of a pick.  Gallery had a great college career but he became a legend due to his amazing NFL combine stats just like New York Jets bust Vernon Gholston.

I saw Larry Fitzgerald play several times and even with him being triple teamed, he still had huge games.  Calvin Johnson was a man among boys.  I would love them on the Raiders.  And if I heard how far Jamarcus Russell could throw on his knees at the NFL combines one more time, I was going to lose it.  They forget to show how he struggled mightily against pro style defenses like Auburn who made him look lost, as well as lacking accuracy.  He made his money in his last bowl game against the 106th ranked defense of Notre Dame.

I hated the way the Raiders were constantly picking DB’s too.  It failed miserably starting with Derrick Gibson.  Only Asomugha lived up to the hype.  Many feel to build a great defense, you have to have a great front seven.  The key is to stop the run, and to rush the passer.  The 49ers of today are built that way and so is Baltimore.  If you have great DB’s but no pass rush, then it doesn’t matter who is in the secondary because they will get beat eventually.  Champ Bailey was in an abyss of bad play by the front seven in Denver for five years.  Until the pass rush and run defense improved, Bailey wasn’t much of a factor.  DB’s are great, but the front 7 has to be the key to your defense.

I’m surely not perfect so let the jokes start here.  Yes I picked Matt Leinart.  I should have known the week after he was picked that he was a bust.  The internet was full of photos of him slobbering drunk in clubs with even party girls laughing at him.  His partying over his time in Arizona would make Marc Sanchez blush.  He never worked hard enough and never made it.  How though could my fellow Cal Bear Aaron Rodgers not be picked?  I remember jumping up and down so happy when the Raiders were picking and thought for sure Rodgers was a Raider but Mr. Davis chose the fastest DB at the combines in Fabian Washington.  A Nebraska CB who had great hands but had issues covering and was a part of a lackluster Cornhusker defense that struggled against the pass and gave up 70 points to Texas Tech his last year.

This year was no exception for me.  I wasn’t happy with picking a CB when the Raiders were 31st in defensive sacks.  I would rather get a pass rusher or at least shore up the defensive line or get an athletic LB.

Our draft parties have been so much fun.  Unfortunately it has also been a time where I can tell my fellow Raider fans I told you so on all of the terrible picks from the previous years.  I’m hoping with the new regime, that “I told you so” will be said over great draft pick decisions, and not head scratching mediocre to bad draft busts.

“The Suspension of Bill Simmons Shows That we Can’t Trust ESPN & the Media”

bill simmons

Jockocracy:  all announcers, analysts, and sports reporters will some day all be ex players and coaches and no one will be honest anymore.  They will say nothing controversial because they all will have connections and ties to the teams, players and leagues they report on. 

Howard Cosell

The suspension of Bill Simmons by ESPN for calling Roger Goodell a liar in the Ray Rice case, lets the cat out of the bag for the rest of America that doesn’t already know that we should never trust the media.

The tax free money machine called the NFL runs ESPN.  With the suspension of sports reporter Bill Simmons, THE sports leader made it clear to all of their reporters; whatever you think or whatever your opinion is, leave your brain at the door.  The shield of the NFL makes too much money for anyone to tell the truth.  Let’s face it, big business money runs everything including the media.

Yes it’s true; ESPN and sports television analyst Bill Simmons did the dirty.  He stated in a recording that he felt NFL commissioner Roger Goodell lied about not seeing the video in the Ray Rice saga.  It didn’t matter that the rest of the country pretty much thinks the same thing; Simmons was suspended.

When the video was first released on TMZ showing Ray Rice fighting with his present wife in the elevator, TMZ website founder Harvey Levin was angered when the NFL and Roger Goodell stated that they never had seen the video.  When asked by media outlets how TMZ got it, Levin said, “We asked for it”.

After the video was released to TMZ by the casino, the NFL stated that they were not allowed by police to see it.  Levin’s beady little eyes and smile looked like the Grinch getting ready to rip off the Who’s in Whoville.  He told media outlets that he was releasing a bombshell the next day on TMZ.

Sure enough, TMZ had proof that a video was sent to an NFL representative.  Roger Goodell and the NFL have been doing damage control ever since.

To all of you good people that aren’t as cynical as the rest of us; I hope you now get that you can’t trust ESPN or big time media.  Fox news caters to right wingers who see only good with Republicans and only bad with Democrats.  Other news outlets cater to liberals.  That isn’t news and information; that’s propaganda.

When it comes to sports, ESPN is the poster child for being biased and obsessed with certain players and teams.  For a while I thought ESPN was going to do stories on Lebron James views of the Ukraine or how many licks he thought it took to get to the center of a tootsie pop.  Johnny Manziel was the next love child with ESPN reporting on his eating and sleeping habits along with his view points on current events.  It got weird.

The NFL is the golden child for ESPN and it was greatly seen during the Ray Rice scandal.  All of the ex players and announcers said the same thing; “Roger Goodell is an honest person and I find it hard to believe he knew about or saw the elevator video”.

The problem is, ESPN’s bread is buttered by the hype of sports stars, and huge television contracts that are paid by the various sports, especially the cash cow NFL.  I remember the soft core reporting by ESPN during the NFL concussion hearings.

The NFL was so over the top arrogant about the whole proceedings that it was hard to watch.  Until Representative Maxine Waters threatened a criminal investigation into the NFL’s denial on the dangers of concussions, the NFL refuted every study.  After her threat, the NFL paid off the head NFL doctor and made him take the sword for the shield.  He was blamed for everything and he resigned.

When there are labor issues, rarely does an ex player or reporter on television side with a player trying to renegotiate a contract.  People love to say, “A player signed a contract so he should honor it”.  It’s funny though that 75% of the contracts in the NFL are NOT honored by the teams.  Many players are cut or told to take a pay cut or they will be let go.  I’ve yet to hear a fan, ex player or television analyst state that the team should honor that contract.

They can’t “afford” lifetime healthcare for their players, or minimum wage for cheerleaders or full time pay for referees but they can charge $150 to park a car at a Super Bowl.

I’m being honest when I don’t agree with Bill Simmons at times, and some times I think he’s out there.  But I also admit he makes you think and he’s entertaining.  He has a sort of a wiseguy quality at times.  He’s a smart guy and he has lots of opinions and that creates a following.  I love people that have opinions based on facts and I think he’s right on with the NFL story.

Howard Cosell years ago warned us.  He said that ex players would be the announcers and reporters and because of their ties to the networks, players and the NFL, rarely would real reporting ever be heard again.  He called it the “jockocracy” of sports.  Bill Simmons is a rare throwback that says what he feels and that is rare in today’s media.

The question unfortunately is, how can we find out the truth about sports stories and the people that are in them.  Many news outlets don’t rely on facts, they rely on being biased, or what side their bread is buttered on.  More than a few large news outlets don’t report anymore, but they are very good surfing TMZ, Deadspin, or BBC’s websites on the internet.

The answer to finding the truth unfortunately is not a pretty one.  With lawyers, money, political correctness and reaction to the public and social media being the main focus when a story is released, it’s impossible to really know what is actually happening or has actually happened.

As fan’s we must be responsible.  We must teach ourselves and the youth of America to respect and appreciate athletes talents on the field, but that’s mostly about it.  We still can love the game and the great things about sports that inspire us.  Fans need to be real though.  Many people in America sadly look up to people only because they are good looking, talented, or rich and famous.

In reality though we should not look up to them.  We need to look up to those that love us and who have good character that we know about and who touch our every day lives.  And sadly; when all else fails when searching for the truth about sports and news stories;  Deadspin or Harvey Levin at TMZ is just an internet search away.  Somewhere I hear Homer Simpson sadly saying doh.  Walter Cronkite and Howard Cosell where are you.

The Roger Goodell, Ray Rice & NFL Mess and How to Fix It:

Roger Goodell NFL Ray Rice

In the Mount Rushmore of evil sports entities, you will find 4 sports organizations; FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), the IOC (International Olympic Committee), the college sports titan NCAA, and the NFL.

For years the NFL has enjoyed cult status, always overcoming controversy due to fans loyalty to the sport.  Apple had nothing on the NFL.  Let’s look at just the short term history of the NFL and why Roger Goodell and the NFL needs to be taken to task by sponsors and fans.

The NFL is a Non-Profit; no Taxes.

I listened to Ann Killion during an interview on the radio the other day.  Ann is a local sports writer for the San Francisco Chronicle.  I like Ann a lot and I think she’s really good.  She said something though that bothered me.  She sheepishly said the NFL doesn’t pay taxes or they are exempt from it or something.  To this day it still blows me a away how many fans and sports writers still don’t know the status of the NFL.

Isn’t that important to know so you can understand some peoples outrage?  Yes, the NFL is a non-profit organization that is exempt from taxes.  On average they make 9-14 billion dollars a year.  They do not have to talk about their profits because they are not a public company and the only way most find out about their profits is that the Green Bay Packers are a public company.  People take the profits that are given to the Packers and times it by 32 to get the total.

The NFL ONLY reacts to Public Outcry & Loss of Corporate Sponsorship:

The NBA did the same thing with the Los Angeles Clippers ownership saga.  It didn’t matter that Donald Sterling had decades of racial remarks and slurs.  It didn’t matter that he was sued by the Department of Justice for housing discrimination and then had to pay the biggest housing discrimination fine in U.S. history.  What did him in?  It was a gold digging groupie who caught him on a cell phone during a jealous rant.

It would be funny to be honest if it wasn’t such a serious topic.  To watch the NFL now kissing the butt of the public as well as their sponsors makes a person laugh, or shake their head.  Now players that the NFL never dealt with like Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers (who severely beat his ex while putting a rifle to her head threatening to kill her) are now being suspended.

TMZ of all people made people realize that the NFL lied about not having the video and now Roger Goodell says they may have had it, but he didn’t see it.

That would be fine but people should also remember Roger Goodell’s words when he suspended Saints coach Sean Payton.  The Saints defense had put bounties out on opposing players.  Roger Goodell said that even though coach Payton didn’t know about the bounties, he was supposed to be in charge and should know everything that was going on in the organization.  He cited the year long suspension was a lack of organizational control.  It’s funny how Roger Goodell now wants a pass on his lack of control.  The Ray Rice case was the biggest story in the NFL in a long time so for him to say he did not see the video is shady at best.

The NFL’s treatment of Fan’s, Referee’s, Cheerleaders:

I always love to see the prices of the superbowl.  Parking this year was $150 per car!!!  Thanks NFL!!  That is comical.  What’s worse is that fans pay it just to be at the event.  If Roger Goodell told me that I was going to have to pay $150 to park, I’d slap him in the back of the head and say “hell to the no!”.  Many families have been out priced and can no longer afford to go to games.  It’s pure greed by the NFL.

Unfortunately though, some fan’s treatment of players, cheerleaders and referee’s mimic the NFL’s to be honest.  When a player is underpaid and wants to renegotiate a contract, fans lose their minds saying, “the player signed it so they need to honor it”.  Well that would be great, but 90% of contracts in the NFL are NOT honored by the owners or the teams!  When a player is cut or made to renegotiate their contracts or be let go, I’ve never once heard a fan say, “they signed the contract, and the owners now need to honor it!”.  Fans will turn on millionaires, but give passes to billionaires.

The NFL’s treatment of cheerleaders is ridiculous.  Teams make an average of 1 to 1.5 million a year off of the efforts of the cheerleaders.  Most NFL cheerleaders do not make minimum wage!  Many fans act like NFL cheerleaders are just airhead groupies but surprisingly many are much smarter than that.  Many are college students, looking for advanced degrees, and some are even mom’s!  Some are becoming doctors and one Eagles cheerleader is an officer in the National Guard.  They are made to go to fundraisers and PR events for free, and some get paid only when the season ends.  Many say they love going to children’s hospitals and do outreaches but the lack of pay makes it difficult.  The courts agreed.  The Oakland Raiders cheerleaders just won a 1.5 million dollar lawsuit due to their lack of pay and poor treatment.

The NFL and the owners said during the last referee’s strike that they could not afford to pay the ref’s full time.  Many of the NFL ref’s have secondary jobs such as selling insurance.  You can’t afford to pay them a six figure salary and train them year round so that there won’t be so many bad calls every year?  Even when the game is hurt by not having full time ref’s, the integrity of the game takes a back seat to NFL profits.

How the NFL has Handled Their Past Controversies:

The NFL congressional hearings on the investigation of how the NFL handled concussions is what changed my mind about the NFL.  I actually watched them so during that time no, I wasn’t a fun date.

Study after study was brought to the NFL from highly respected researchers showing the damage that prolonged concussions can have on the brain.  All the NFL did was say, “we don’t agree with those findings”.  The NFL brought out their own findings and they were contradicting, incomplete, and puzzling at best.

The NFL was ready to leave the hearings but Representative Maxine Waters finally had enough of their arrogant display.  She stated that if the NFL didn’t choose to act, that maybe the Anti Trust status that protected them wasn’t warranted.  She also stated that the issue may need to be criminally investigated.  Just like now, Roger Goodell and the NFL turned into Eddie Haskell and “saw the light”.  The NFL then accepted the findings and the head physician for the NFL, Dr. Ira Casson was paid off and took the sword for the NFL and resigned.  The NFL put their palms on their heads and claimed of being naive and unknowing and promised to implement concussion controls.

All of this domestic violence should have been dealt with over 10 years ago.  They had a problem with domestic violence but the worst case of all happened in 1999.  Rae Caruth was a wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers.  He was casually hooking up with different women but he ended up getting Cherica Adams pregnant.  He wanted her to abort the baby but she wouldn’t.  While 8 months pregnant, Caruth was driving in front of her.  He stopped his car and 2 people that he hired pulled up beside her and shot into the car several times.  Before she passed out she called 911 and told the operator what happened.  Adams died, but an emergency c-section saved the child.  Caruth was amazingly given bail and told if one of the people died, he’d have to turn himself in.  Of course he fled.  He was finally caught and has been in prison ever since.  He is getting out in 2018.

I remember specifically because ESPN covered it some but eventually it went away quick.  It was bad publicity and they wanted it to just go away.  The NFL rarely if ever talked about the case.  HBO Real Sports did a story on him.

Isn’t a hit on a woman enough to get some sort of a statement and/or guidelines in regards to violence to women?

Two years ago Kansas City Chiefs Javon Belcher, shot his 22 year old girlfriend 9 times at their house.  When Belcher’s mom ran into the room he kissed his girlfriend on the head and told his mom he was sorry.  He then went to the Chiefs facility and shot himself in the head in front of Chiefs officials.  Again, nothing was done by the NFL to address this problem.  The only thing to come out of it was the controversy of Bob Costas anti gun stance.

There have been countless arrests for assaults and instances of domestic violence in the NFL but the answers are always the same.  “Don’t look at the NFL; this is a societal problem.  Domestic violence happens everywhere but people just look at the NFL because it makes the press.  Mom, Billy did the same thing……”  Alright I added the last one, but do you see how stupid those arguments are?  Give the NFL a pass because it’s also seen in society or other people do worse things?  It’s unacceptable.

Why is the NFL getting away with it?:

First of all when a beer company like Budweiser is threatening to pull some sponsorship because you lack character and morals, then you know you have issues.  What has partially saved the NFL is the shallow nature of the social media society we live in.  Sometimes it’s hard to get people to read more than 3 lines in an email, so expecting people to do research or read articles is naive at best.  We live in a shallow society that we want our stories in 2-3 minute intervals, and we want it in high definition video.  People can do horrendous things but it seems that it doesn’t count unless it’s on Youtube.

Let’s also be real.  Morals and character in the U.S. are very lacking.  Statistics show 50% of married people are cheating on their spouses; white collar crime is almost a part of our U.S. business structure.  Americans also make excuses for the behavior of groups, products, celebrities and athletes that they like.  When Justin Beiber had photos of him in strip clubs, his fans said they were photoshopped because he was too good a person to do those things.  Cults are a weird thing and the NFL for some has cult status.

Another thing that has saved the NFL is society does NOT protect or respect women.  All over the world the atrocities women go through is criminal and tragic.  Rape in the U.S. has one of the lowest conviction rates of any felony.  Women are usually murdered by men they’ve had past or present relationships with.  When football players; especially college players; get arrested for rape or sexual crimes, the first thing fans do is say the woman is a slut and there isn’t enough evidence.  Why?; Because in a sick way they just care about their team and that they win, and they don’t care about right or wrong.  And even if the woman is a slut; you can’t rape them.

What Needs to Be Done:   

Roger Goodell needs to resign.  He has enough money to retire for 3 lifetimes.  Using his own words, “he lacked organizational control”.

Upon entering the NFL, there needs to be ongoing meetings by teams and the NFL about conduct and consequences.  I know they meet with them now but it’s not nearly enough and it isn’t working.  If someone is having issues in a relationship, they need to get into counseling.  Every team should have a counseling team and should be hooked up to 24 hour on call telephone support.  Some do this already, some don’t.

Former broke NFL players who have tons of kids with several women need to be paid to come and talk to the players.  They need to see what will happen if they act irresponsibly.  People forget these players are still very young and some aren’t very educated (thank you NCAA).  Some also haven’t had good parental guidance so I would also do sex education classes to teach them about STD’s, groupies, and being trapped by having kids.  What is being done now isn’t enough and every stone needs to be turned.  Education is key.

If a player is arrested for felony domestic violence, you are suspended WITH pay immediately until the facts come out.  You cannot participate with the team in any way and you cannot go to the media or social media and speak for the team.  If you are found guilty of a felony, you are out of the league for 2 years.  If it’s a misdemeanor you are out one year.  This can be tweaked in the future to be more severe but I think it’s a good start.

Many times the people that are abused are financially stuck in the relationship.  If the player is found guilty, the team and the NFL MUST pay $100k/year in damages for 4 years.  This will allow the abused to not have to stay in the relationship and to either get an education or further their education or to get a trade.

Some will disagree, but you are taking entities that make billions per year and they need to be made accountable.  The NFL likes to talk about “organizational control” well then be in control of your organization during good and bad times.  If employees do damage, companies have to pay for it.  The NFL should show just how serious their stance is on domestic violence by putting their money where their mouth is.  If money is at stake; even only $100k; greedy owners and the NFL will take notice.  It’s called accountability.

Personally I think the same punishment should be done for assaults but let’s take it a step at a time.  Obviously these things are not written in stone but I think this is a good foundation to work on.

What Does it All Mean?:

Fans and sponsors have power.  The NFL’s manic reaction to the negative publicity shows the good of social media.  If sponsors don’t react, then they need to be boycotted.  If you as a fan don’t want to root for certain teams or players because of their off the field actions, then make your voice be heard by not giving them your money.

I don’t watch the NFL with the passion that I used to.  I am still going to watch the NFL but as I have for years, I don’t look up to players or celebrities.  I love the game and I used to go to many games but now I rarely go.  I’m talking with my dollars.  I appreciate their talents on the field but many have skeletons in their closet that are pretty deep.

My hopes are that people continue to wake up to the NFL and Roger Goodell.  Their past is so dirty that it would make Ebenezer Scrooge and Monte Burns of the Simpsons cringe.  It’s unacceptable and the only way they will change is if they are made to.  For them, it’s still all about the Benjamin’s.

“Week 2 Preview: Houston Texans @ Oakland Raiders”

week 2 nfl texans at raiders

Week 2 Preview Houston Texans (1-0) @ Oakland Raiders (0-1)

Sunday, September 14, 1:25 PM on CBS; O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California

(betting line as of now: Raiders +3)

My Raiders betting Record:  1-0 (Raiders +5 ½ last week)

Prediction: Raiders 20 Texans 17

Bet:  Raiders +3

Houston had a nice defensive effort against Washington last week and dominated them at home with a 17-6 win.  They did lose Jadeveon Clowney for up to 6 weeks with an injury.

The Raiders was dominated at times giving up over 200 yards rushing to the NY Jets.  They only had 84 yards of total offense going into the fourth quarter.  The Jets defensive scheme was to take away the run and they did that.  The Raiders did not open up their offense and it limited what they could do.

The Raiders will win if:

The Raiders have to open up their offense and throw downfield.  They also have to re-establish the tight end in their offense.  The Jets often had 7 to 8 people up front but the Raiders did not adjust.  If the Raiders can throw downfield, this will open up the line of scrimmage and allow them to run the ball, thus taking the pressure off of Derek Carr.

The Raiders linebacker position will be thin this weekend with various injuries.  Miles Burris played well and so did Sio Moore.

The key defensively will be if Oakland can control the line of scrimmage.  Giving up 200 yards on the ground to a Geno Smith lead offense isn’t exactly stellar defense.  Even with them playing so much, there is no excuse for that against New York.  If they can stop the run, journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will eventually make a mistake.

The Texans will win if:

The Texans will win if they can run the ball.  They can’t win games where Fitzpatrick is throwing 50 times.  They have to establish the running game and control the line of scrimmage.  This will take the pressure off of Ryan from having to make lots of big plays.

On defense they must do what the Jets did; dare the Raiders to throw deep and take away the run running game.  This will allow their DL to pin back their ears and rush Carr at will on passing downs.  If they make the Raiders offense predictable, this will be a long day in Oakland.

Conclusion:

This should be a close, low scoring game.  The Raiders are already in a must win situation.  They have the most difficult schedule in the NFL and this is about as easy as games get for them.  They have to open it up and win this game.  If they use the same game plan as last week, they will lose.

Look for Carr to hit some balls downfield early and for them to get the crowd going.  This game can go either way but I would be shocked if the Raiders don’t open it up.  The Raiders have to take what the defense gives them.

Final Score:  Raiders 20     Texans 17

“Easy & Fast Mexican Wedding Cakes with a Chocolate Kiss”

mexican wedding cakes

Julia Child would love this cookie.  These delicate shortbread-style cookies are made with chopped, roasted pecans or walnuts, rolled in powdered sugar and are an elegant addition to any fiesta or party. They are also known with names and variations such as Pecan Balls, Russian Tea Cakes, Snowballs, Pecan Sandies, Swedish Tea Cakes.  This is my take on it.  The chocolate kiss brings it over the top. Add a cup of coffee on a cool crisp morning and it’s pick up!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped, roasted (see below) *I prefer walnuts
  • An additional 3/4 cup powdered sugar to roll cookies in
  • OPTIONAL: An additional 1/4 teaspoon kosher, rock or sea salt (or salt of your choice)
  • OPTIONAL: Package of your favorite Hershey chocolate kisses.

Preparation:

Add butter, powdered sugar and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. Mix at medium-high speed until completely mixed (you can do it by hand though). In a seperate bowl, mix flour and salt. Mix the flour into the butter about 1/2 cup at a time until well incorporated. Carefully fold in the nuts.

Take a small amount of dough and roll it into a one inch ball. Continue and place the balls on a lightly greased cookie sheeet, about 2 inches apart.  If you are using chocolate kisses, take enough dough to completely cover the chocolate kiss.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Mix additional powdered sugar. Roll the warm cookies in the powdered sugar mixture.  Wait a big until cool, and enjoy!

To Roast Pecans or Walnuts-
Place pecans on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

Variations and Tips:

If you like a little salt and sweet taste, put a little sea, rock or kosher salt in the powdered sugar mixture that you put the warm cookies in after they bake.  The crystals will be too big to melt and you get a unique flavor.  Don’t overdo it.  A lot goes a long way.

Instead of Hershey’s kisses,  you can use dried fruit like cranberry’s, apricots, cherries, prunes, dates, or anything else you like.

For the decadent and over the top treat, use Ferrero Rocher chocolates instead of Hershey Kisses and cover them with the cookie dough before baking.  The cookies will be large and beyond decadent.  Use your imagination and have fun!  They won’t last!

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