Thursday, July 28, 2016

2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalists Brace for Immortality

In just a few weeks, Pro Football Hall of Fame voters will meet in Indianapolis, Indiana and decide who will be inducted into Canton this year. There were many reasonable and dubious characters for the voters to sift through, yet there were several of the dubious choices that made it as finalists instead of glaring omissions.

Wide receivers Tim Brown, Cris Carter and Andre Reed, running backs Jerome Bettis and Curtis Martin and guard Will Shields made the cut, as did the two senior nominees of defensive back Jack Butler and guard Dick Stanfel. Defensive back Aeneas Williams and defensive ends Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene and Charles Haley and defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy and center Dermontti Dawson and offensive tackle Willie Roaf and former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. also got into the final stage of the process

A finalist must receive 80 percent of the vote to be selected. Somewhere between four and seven enshrinees are typically announced annually, which will happen the day before the Super Bowl on February 5th, then inducted in August in the Hall’s 50th class.

Parcells and Shields were the only two candidates to make the list of finalists in their first year of eligibility. What will happen next is anyone’s guess, because it is next to impossible to read the mind of the voters after seeing this list of finalists.

First let’s get the obvious choices out of the way. These are players who belong in so much that they shouldn’t have to wait, even if there are a ton of worthy candidates who fit that description and have been buried for decades in the senior voters pool.

Jack Butler
Cornerback
Pittsburgh Steelers
9 Seasons
5 Pro Bowls
3 First Team All-Pro Honors
52 Interceptions
10 Fumble Recoveries
9 Touchdowns

He is the last person to play in the NFL from Saint Bonaventure University because the school dropped their football program after 1951. Butler joined the Bonnies football team at the request of Bonnie athletic director, Father Dan Rooney, the brother of Steelers owner Art Rooney. Butler then joined Pittsburgh as an undrafted free agent rookie.

He retired early because of an injury, but his 52 interceptions in nine seasons were second most in NFL history at the time. He still ranks second in the Steelers history in total interceptions.

When he retired from playing, Butler became an NFL scout. He was the director of BLESTO for over 40 years until he retired at 80 years old in 2007. Butler has helped start the career of innumerable scouts, player personnel directors, and general managers in the NFL.

Butler was one of the hardest hitting cornerbacks to have ever played the game. Yet, he also had shut down ability, which is shown with his 52 thefts. Personally, I think his contributions off the field make him worthy two different ways.

But, sticking to just his play on the gridiron, there is no question that is is truly a disgrace that Jack Butler has not yet been inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame already. He goes into Canton if I voted, no question.

Dermontti Dawson
Center
Pittsburgh Steelers
13 Seasons
7 Pro Bowls
6 First Team All-Pro Honors

Dawson first started out as a guard before switching the center and became one of the very best in the business. He has been a semi-finalist three times and and finalist twice. It is time he gets inducted.

Curtis Martin
Running Back
New York Jets
11 Seasons
5 Pro Bowls
2 First Team All-Pro Honors
14,101 Yards Rushing
484 Receptions
100 Touchdowns

One of the more underrated running backs of his era, Martin rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of the first 10 seasons of his career. Reliable and durable, he led the NFL in carries and rushing yards in his tenth season.

Martin was much more than a guy who carried the ball. He was an effective receiver and fumbled just 29 times in his career. He is easily the most worthy running back in the 2012 class and surely gets my vote.

Willie Roaf
Offensive Tackle
New Orleans Saints
13 Seasons
11 Pro Bowls
3 First Team All-Pro Honors

Roaf deserves induction this year. Plain and simple. I think there are a ton of blockers who belong, but the offensive line is usually overlooked.

Even though he missed 17 games because of injuries, Roaf started in every one of the 189 games he played in his career. A cerebral player with immense strength and incredible dexterity, the nimble tackle was rarely beat whether run blocking or protecting the blind side of the quarterback.

Willie Shields
Guard
Kansas City Chiefs
14 Seasons
12 Pro Bowls
2 First Team All-Pro Honors

Shields better go in immediately. He missed one start, but played in all 224 games in his career. He was always one guards in the AFC annually. He deserves induction now, but I have been saying this about Chiefs legends Jim Tyrer, Johnny Robinson and Ed Budde for years and years as well.

Aeneas Williams
Cornerback
Arizona Cardinals
14 Seasons
8 Pro Bowls
3 First Team All-Pro Honors
55 Interceptions
23 Fumble Recoveries
12 Touchdowns

Williams is one of many cornerbacks who belong in Canton, joining greats like Lemar Parrish, Pat Fischer, Louis Wright and more, but he may beat them in the race for induction. Like them, he was a premier defender.

One fact easily seen is that Williams made opponents pay when they tried to move the ball in his direction. I believe he is worthy of immediate induction, but I been saying that about Parrish and others for years.

That is six guys right there ready to get inducted. If there is a seventh person to go into Canton in 2012, there is a tough choice to be made. The Hall of Fame has inducted eight or more men three times, yet not have done so since 1967. The voters have frequently gone with just four inductees inducted, an inexcusable amount, and have even inducted just three in 1973 and 1976.

Who will make that seventh selection is a mystery, but two candidates are members of the media and that may give them an extra nudge since they rub elbows with the voters both in social circles and the workplace. It would be better if the induction classes extended to eight again, after allowing the senior voters to nominate four players annually, because there is such a backlog of worthy players being slapped in the face with disrespect as they watch lesser players inducted instead.

If I were a voter who had just walked in and had to vote from this current group of finalists, I would be torn between two players. While both are certainly worthy, one played over twice as long in his career. While the rules that player participated in helped immensely, where the other played in an era would you could feed your family better by not playing football.

My pick would be :

Cris Carter
Wide Receiver
Minnesota Vikings
16 Seasons
8 Pro Bowls
2 First Team All-Pro Honors
1,101 Receptions
130 Touchdowns

Carter got to enjoy rules friendly to the offense in an obscene fashion. He had a gift, however, of making catches in the end zone.

That gift had him once released by the Philadelphia Eagles, where head coach Buddy Ryan the reason was that all Carter did for the Eagles was “catch touchdown passes”. The truth was that Carter was abusing drugs and the wide receiver credits his being cut as the wake up call that saved his life.

The Minnesota Vikings claimed him off the waiver wire right away, where he eventually started and would hold that spot the remainder of his Vikings career. One of Carter’s strengths was his conditioning and durability. Though he missed four games because if injury in one season, he played every other game possible for Minnesota.

He led the NFL in receptions once and in touchdown catches three times. Seven different quarterbacks were the primary starter in his 12 seasons with the team. Despite all the lunacy and confusion, Carter was a beacon of steady leadership and consistent production.

Carter accumulated double figures in touchdown receptions in five of his Pro Bowl years. What also made his production even more special is the fact he had to share receptions with future Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss, Pro Bowl wide receivers Jake Reed and Anthony Carter, and Pro Bowl tight end Steve Jordan.

Carter has been a finalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame four times so far. He ranks third in NFL history in career receptions, fourth in career touchdowns catches and eighth in career receiving yards and total touchdowns.

Then there are the old school fans who point to the obvious fact Carter never dealt with the ten-yard chuck rule, which makes it much harder to excel as a receiver, as opposed to the offensive-friendly rules he participated in. Rules that greatly inflate statistics and can help make a player look better than players who did not benefit from the rule changes. This fact has made modern statistics dwarf the numbers from the ten-yard chuck era.

Men like Mac Speedie, Lionel Taylor, Charlie Hennigan, Harold Carmichael, Drew Pearson, Gino Cappelletti, Sonny Randle, Cliff Branch, Harold Jackson, Pete Retzlaff, and LaVern Dilweg are just a few great receivers on par with Carter and are also awaiting their inductions. Men who dealt with a much rougher game, let alone the ten-yard chuck.

Carter has a feel-good story attached to his career, one that has now extended to where he provides analysis on television. With his career on the ropes because of drugs, he rebounded and became a leader and won the Bart Starr Man of the Year Award, the Bryan “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year Award and the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

Besides the 17 NFL records he either owns or shares, he is a member of the NFL’s 1990s All-Decade Team. He is one of the 50 Greatest Minnesota Vikings as well as being a member of their 40th Anniversary Team.

The Vikings have retired his jersey and have had a huge amount of great receivers to play for them. Cris Carter may be the best ever for this franchise and certainly deserves to move on to being more than a finalist this year.

Again, I want EIGHT in the 2012 class. It doesn’t have to be just seven going in, and this unwritten rule basically screws players because some paperclip pusher may think seven looks prettier on paper.

If the voters got it right and put in eight, I’d put in a guy who has waited forever and may never get this close again.

Dick Stanfel
Guard
Detroit Lions
7 Seasons
5 Pro Bowls
5 First Team All-Pro Honors

Stanfel lasted only seven years, but he was amazing in his time. His rookie year was the only season he did not earn an accolade. After four seasons with the Lions, he joined the Washington Redskins and suddenly retired at just 31 years old.

He played in an era where the pay scale was so minimal, players usually made more money working other jobs. Stanfel left the game so he could feed his family at a higher-paying job. There were just three starting offensive lineman in the NFL older than Stanfel when he left the game.

Yet many historians agree there were few guards better to play the game. Despite his limited years, Stanfel is a member of the 1950s All-Decade Team. I’d put him in Canton, so hopefully he gets inducted.

That leaves a group of finalists who will have to wait another year hoping that get this close again. There are a few worthy, then are a few I personally would not vote in simply because there are a ton of better candidates seemingly forgotten by the voters and they remain buried in the senior voters pool of candidates.

Here are the most worthy candidates we should one day see inducted into Canton :

Jerome Bettis
Running Back
Pittsburgh Steelers
13 Seasons
6 Pro Bowls
2 First Team All-Pro Honors
13,662 Yards Rushing
94 Total Touchdowns

Bettis was involved in one of the biggest steals ever, when the Steelers got him from the Saint Louis Rams in a trade. He ran for over 1,000 yards in eight of his first nine seasons, showing remarkable durability because his game was running between the tackles.

Not much of a receiver, he could be depended on once handed the ball. He fumbled 41 times, but he usually rewarded his teams with a pounding style that wore out opponents while chewing up the clock.

There is no question that Bettis is worthy of induction into Canton.

Chris Doleman
Defensive End
Minnesota Vikings
15 Seasons
8 Pro Bowls
3 First Team All-Pro Honors
150.5 Quarterback Sacks Yards Rushing
8 Interceptions
2 Touchdowns
2 Safeties

Defensive end is a position stacked with worthy candidates who are not amongst the current semi-finalists. Men like Claude Humphrey, Jim Marshall, Coy Bacon, L.C. Greenwood and many others head a list of men at this position worthy of induction.

Doleman’s numbers do not lie. He was a play-making machine. But he was more than a pass rush specialist at defensive end, which is shown by the fact he exceeded 100 tackles twice in his career. Doleman did get more than 10 sacks eight season and led the league once.

There is no doubt Doleman is worthy of induction, and it would be a shame if he had to wait as long as other past greats like Humphrey or Bacon. Yet I can’t say he deserves to go into ahead of them too.

The remaining finalists is yet another demonstration many voters are clueless glad-handers who need to be replaced by the men who actually played the game and certainly know best on who and who doesn’t belong within the hallowed walls of Canton.

Eddie DeBartolo Jr.
Owner
San Francisco 49ers
23 Seasons

This guy is a finalist instead of a ton of worthy players? What a waste of space! I hope he never reaches these heights again. As just owners go, I could name a huge handful more worthy than a guy who left the game in disgrace.

Charles Haley
Linebacker
San Francisco 49ers
13 Seasons
5 Pro Bowls
2 First Team All-Pro Honors
100.5 Quarterback Sacks

The only reason Haley has been a semi-finalist three times and finalist once before is because he played on five teams that won Super Bowls. Strictly a pass rush specialist, he never had more than 69 tackles in a season.

Honestly, Charles Haley does not belong in Canton. He never led the league in any category, though he did have the good fortune to play on good teams and was able to line up at defensive end as well. There are way too many candidates more richly deserving of induction over him.

Andre Reed
Wide Receiver
Buffalo Bills
16 Seasons
7 Pro Bowls
951 Receptions
88 Touchdowns

Reed was a precise route runner who was more good than great. He never led the league in any category and exceeded 1,000 yards receiving just four times despite playing in a era that caters to offensive production.

What gets him this far is the fact he played on four teams that reached the Super Bowl. He had a Hall of Fame quarterback and running back helping him as well a set of rules that made him look better than he was. I classify Reed as a very good player, but I’d put a ton of wide receivers into Canton ahead of him.

The rest of the finalists were basically a group of guys where one could look back in NFL history and see a long line of better players still awaiting induction. Many becoming unknown and forgotten as time steadily moves forward, and one suspects a few of these finalists will soon join them in that classification.

Tim Brown
Wide Receiver
Oakland Raiders
17 Seasons
9 Pro Bowls
1,094 Receptions
105 Touchdowns

Brown certainly is a product of the rule changes that allows receivers to roam untouched after five yards, but he was more than just a pass catcher. Brown also made an impressive mark on special teams

My issue with his being inducted is the fact he was never selected First Team All-Pro and led the league in receiving just once. Brown did lead the NFL in punt and kickoff return yards once.

But is that worthy of induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame? I say no and chalk him up as a good and reliable player who lasted a long time.

Kevin Greene
Linebacker
Los Angeles Rams
15 Seasons
5 Pro Bowls
2 First Team All-Pro Honors
160 Quarterback Sacks
26 Fumble Recoveries
3 Safeties

A hired gun as a pass rush specialist, Greene played for five different teams in his career. While getting to a quarterback was his main focus, he did get 87 tackles one year. He had 10 or more sacks in 10 different seasons.

Greene was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year once and led the league in sacks twice. He is a lot like Charles Haley in that he did just one thing really well, but the fiery player was versatile enough to create turnovers defending the pass on occasion.

He is worthy of being a finalist, but there are a ton of other outside linebackers I’d put into Canton ahead of him.

Cortez Kennedy
Defensive Tackle
Seattle Seahawks
11 Seasons
8 Pro Bowls
3 First Team All-Pro Honors
58 Quarterback Sacks
3 Interceptions

Kennedy is a bit of a conundrum for me, as far as being worthy of Canton. He was a playmaker who sacked the quarterback pretty often for a defensive tackle. He did enjoy three excellent seasons where he piled up 242 tackles over that time.

Yet he recovered a measly six fumbles in his career and he had four mediocre season. I can’t say he is worthy, just because there are many defensive tackles, like Curly Culp, I consider superior. Yet it wouldn’t be that frustrating if he went in either.

Seeing how great general managers like George Young and Ron Wolf did not make the cut, while Ed DeBartolo did, brings to mind there should be another adjustment to the voting process for induction. Young and Wolf certainly belong, just like NFL Films creator Ed Sabol did a few years ago, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of the players.

The voters should separate coaches, general managers and contributors, giving them there own platform. Still have them require 80 percent of the vote, but add their induction to the ceremony instead of subtracting a player from the process.

Assistant coaches need to be included too. Great coaches like Bud Carson, Joe Bugel, Jim Hanifan and others had careers worthy of Canton, but the assistant coach basically is shunned by voters as inconsequential to their determination on who belongs.

This would bring enlarged classes some years, but there is nothing wrong with eight people inducted. There should be no limit on how many people can be voted in each year. The reason for this statement is because there of a former head coach and general manager amongst the finalists.

While he won two titles in a fish bowl like New York City, he got both too much attention because the area is literally saturated with members of the media and even houses the league’s headquarters. Many people have
buckled under the pressure, yet this man survived and even went on to coach another team that gets too much media attention.

Now a member of the same media that use to follow him around like lost puppies who hung off every utterance he put forth, there is a very good chance yet another deserving player will have a slot stolen from them in the 2012 class.

Bill Parcells
Coach/ General Manager
31 Seasons
172 Victories
2 Super Bowl Wins

Parcells is here because he coached the New York Giants, a team flooded with media attention. While a good coach who has 42 more victories than defeats, he also had some limited successes with the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots.

Known as the “Big Tuna”, he was named NFL Coach of the Year three different seasons and is a member of the NFL’s 1990s All-Decade Team. He then went on to become a general manager and had mixed results.

Does Parcells belong in ahead of such legendary coaches like Buddy Parker, Chuck Knox, Tom Flores, Dick Vermeil and others? He doesn’t belong in ahead of Don Coryell, but the New York City factor might push him in. I think he fairly worthy, but I think that of a few others as well.

Then there is the man who should have been a finalist and inductee. He died last year without witnessing his deserved respect, but got to see the league cash in on his creation annually. The NFL offense of today still relies on his genius, despite the voters obtuse knowledge of football preventing him the rightful immortality earned years ago while still echoing to this very moment.

Don Coryell
Saint Louis Cardinals
San Diego Chargers
14 Seasons
111 Victories
First Coach With 100 Wins In Pro And College Football
Only Coach To Lead NFL In Passing 6 Straight Seasons
5 Division Titles

The biggest no-brainer of the semi-finalists. It is disgusting he hasn’t been inducted already, and even more revolting he passed away last year and will never get to enjoy his deserved respect from a game that still leans heavily on his genius to this very day.

Coryell played college football at the before getting into coaching. He succeeded George Allen, who later became a Pro Football Hall Of Fame coach.

He also showed his innate ability to develop players, especially on offense. He had 54 players go to the NFL from his college teams, including five players drafted in the first round. Nine of his players were First Team All-Americans. In 1967, he had eight players drafted, and five went in the first two rounds.

The Coryell coaching tree from his collegiate era is very impressive as well.

Joe Gibbs was a player on Coryell’s team at first and won the team’s Most Inspirational Player Award once. Gibbs later became a graduate assistant, then assistant coach at San Diego State.

He also was an assistant under Coryell with both the Cardinals and Chargers before becoming head coach of the Washington Redskins. Gibbs is a member of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

Another Pro Football Hall Of Fame coach who coached under Coryell at San Diego State was John Madden. Madden would join the Oakland Raiders and then become the youngest head coach of the league the next season at 32 years old.

Legendary men like Jim Hanifan, Ernie Zampese, and Rod Dowhower also coached under Coryell at San Diego State. Coryell’s 104 victories and .840 winning percentage are the best in Aztec history, and he is a member of the College Football Hall Of Fame.

He then moved to the NFL to lead the Saint Louis Cardinals. His 42 wins are the most by any coach in the Cardinals franchise’s history, and his five years as head coach with the team is the second longest tenure ever.

The San Diego Chargers would later hire Coryell. This was when “Air Coryell” was born as a common term, even though Coryell’s years in Saint Louis also featured high-powered offenses running under much of the same schemes also used in San Diego.

When Coryell retired from the NFL with 111 wins in 195 games overall, he is the first head coach with 100 victories in both professional and collegiate football.

To try and sum up this man’s career or impact on football is nearly impossible. Virtually every offense today, on all levels of the game, is a variation of his system. In his 14 seasons as a coach, his offenses led the NFL in net yards gained per passing attempt five times. They finished in the top-five of the NFL six more times.

His teams led the NFL in passing yards seven times and none of his teams finished lower than seventh. They led the NFL in passing touchdowns three times and finished in the top ten nine other times.

Many Hall Of Fame players and Pro Bowlers were coached by Coryell in the NFL. The list of players inducted into Canton includes Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow, Charlie Joiner, Dan Dierdorf, Jackie Smith, Fred Dean and Roger Wehrli.

Coryell changed the way football was played. It is still being played the way Coryell invented to this very day. The now all-to-common sight on multiple receiver sets was first started by Coryell, as are many versions of offenses being run these days.

They are all spawns of his genius.

Winslow stated it best when he said, “For Don Coryell to not be in the Hall of Fame is a lack of knowledge of the voters. That’s the nicest way that I can put that. A lack of understanding of the legacy of the game.”

An ignorance that has wrongly kept Don Coryell from taking his rightful place in Canton.

Tags:2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalists Brace for Immortality

2012 Presidential Race for Dummies

Welcome to the 2012 presidential race for dummies. There’s more happening in 2012 than US citizens watching their clocks on December 21st. But what is this thing called the 2012 presidential race you ask? Why, it is going to be the most important race America has ever seen.

Every four years American citizens vote for their US president. In return, the president moves inside of the White House (if he is not already living there) to embark on a new journey to lead America towards his promised direction. A land mass of promises not to be confused with the Promise Land.

The White House, paid for by you and I, is a large home with a fenced in lawn and multiple rooms occupied by the President and his first family. Americans call them the First Family. Like a revolving door, one family moves in and another moves out each time a new president is chosen by the people, for the people.

The duties of a president elect includes jetting to foreign locations to meet with leaders, creating programs beneficial to the American public, trying to figure out America’s financial woes and to keep unemployment at bay. The president, in a nutshell, is America’s spokesperson and boss. But these are not the only things asked of a president.

Other presidential duties include looking cool in public, sharing your favorite basketball pick in the Final Four, holding the most colorful Easter egg hunt of the year, traveling in bulletproof limos, receiving a hair cut the cost of multiple Casio watches, wearing shiny shoes, opening and closing doors on foreign trade. The list continues but let us get back on that 2012 presidential racetrack.

Remember to never pick a president who has a record of raising taxes or supporting the issues or programs you have no use for. Again, he would have to match the characteristics fitting to your taste as to how YOU would run the country. That is key!

Each president has the chance of running for president – a second time. This is called re-election. Dubbed by the opposing side during multiple campaigns as re-infection. Which brings us to name calling and insults.

How tough is your skin? Remember, sticks and stones may break your bones but names just remind you of a Jersey bar.

Americans have the right to free speech. No matter how ugly the words come out. Free speech is the central nerve to America’s freedom and independence. Without it we would all be silent and staring at each other. The US Constitution allows these freedoms to be valued rather than hidden. And that is why it is good to be American. But there is also another perk. A glorious perk.

US born citizens without a rap sheet can try, at least, to enter this race if they at first qualify. That means you can’t legally run for US president if you were born in, say, Kenya (an example). And those with criminal rap sheets cannot enter the presidential race. This includes forgery, gun running, and so on. You have to be a good US born citizen to even consider entering the race.

Debates happen multiple times. Most candidates will be mean to each other in front of a camera but behind closed doors they are more civil and rational with each other. Like leaving the ballgame on the diamond as both teams walk off the field asking how each other is doing. Try not to get lost in all of that negative glamour.

At a debate each candidate answers questions. Questions usually begin with if you were president, as president would you support, or would you change (fill in) and how.

Promises are made by each candidate during the presidential race. It happens each campaign. It is up to you to decide whether you believe the promises by doing some research about each candidate.

Warning flag! Remember, promises can get a candidate into the White House. Promises! Promises! There are those times when potential US candidates do not carry out their promises. Remember, again, Promise Land.

After you witness campaign commercials cluttering up your television screen for an entire year and each candidate ends their run with a somewhat closing final thought, on November 6, always the first Tuesday after the 1st of November, America votes.

Remember, remember, the 6th of November!

Dead men can’t vote. So if you are thinking of using your dead father’s voters registration to slip in an extra vote for your candidate, forget about it! If you are reading this from the prison computer room, don’t think about it! Don’t ask, just don’t do it!

To register to vote, meaning sign up to vote, simply contact your local Board of Elections and they will assist. Once you have been registered it is time to wait for that card! And how long does it take? If you do not receive a voters registry card two weeks after registering then contact the Board of Elections again for a status update. This is why you need to register through the Board of Elections by October of 2012.

You will not have to personally go into the Board of Elections. You can register online or by mail as well.

Feels good to be included, doesn’t it? Everyone wants a chance to make a difference. It is your turn to participate. When your card comes in the mail it will share the location where you are expected to vote. It could be a school, the fire station or another building. Now, for the ballot box.

The Ballot Box

One of the earliest ballot boxes ever used was made out of cardboard. But technology and a couple of electronic welders (computer programmers) made it possible to vote with a box that is tamper proof [for most cases]. When entering a location to vote walk up to the ballot box when it is your turn to vote.. If the scary box hasn’t shocked anybody yet it will not shock you. Fill in the holes on the paper of choices with your pencil. You may even feel as if you are in school against taking a multiple choice test. Stick your paper inside of the machine slot and hope for the best!

The location may offer you a sticker which states that you have voted. Take the sticker home. Google these words; November 8 election freebies. And see what hidden benefits come from just one sticker. Benefits such as free coffee, free meals and other surprises.

Now, what’s next?

A political invasion unleashes on your television screen during the evening and into the night on November 6, 2012. As polls gather the information on how many votes are received and spits out numbers. And the man with biggest number wins!

America’s adrenaline subsides into awe for the next 24 hours as voters digest the long road leading up to their new or re-elected president. It may come in a headache form or a mere brush of low energy. Don’t worry, this usually happens a day after most highly energized events.

What is happening now?

US President Barack Obama is running for re-election in 2012. He has been sworn in as US president following his 2008 presidential win. Obama hit opposition in the first election of 2008 and is expected to experience the same this time around – but worse.

Why? There are those who support Obama. However, there are non-supporters as well. Remember, it is America. Americans are not forced to choose.

Before even thinking about re-electing Barack Obama take the time to educate yourself on his issues based on performance. As with any other president running for re-election write a list of all of his promises and figure out how many promises were broken to weigh against how many were kept. Consider viewing other presidential candidate(s) reasoning involving Obama’s policies.

A good vote comes from a good researcher. You will find the good, the bad, and the ugly when researching. But this goes for all presidential candidates, including Ron Paul.

12-term US congressman and libertarian grassroots Republican Ron Paul is running for the same presidential seat. Therefore, Barack Obama has competition.

When you hear, or read, of Ron Paul being 75-years-old you may picture him walking slowly with a cane. Not the case. Ron Paul moves faster than most healthy 75-year-old Americans.

Ron Paul is a doctor. Hence, Dr. Ron Paul. Now Ron tossed his hat, figuratively speaking, into the 2012 presidential primary this past Tuesday in confirming, by press conference (announcement), that he has formed an exploratory committee.

In order to run for US president in 2012 each Republican candidate must either confirm by exploratory or formal announcement by April 29, 2011 [today].

Republican or Democrat? A Republican elephant and Democrat donkey walks into a bar. Then they argued all day long until someone removed the steel rod. It is wiser to listen to a candidate before even noticing whether they are Republican or Democrat. Why? Because a label shouldn’t change your best fitted choice.

First debate?

On May 5 in Greenville, South Carolina at the Peace Center the first SC (South Carolina) GOP debate takes off. Fox News sponsors the event. View the debate to get an idea as to what these presidential primaries may offer in taking back the White House. A phrase you will hear quite often in the year coming up. They do not literally mean they will storm into the White House with pitchforks and torches and take it back. It is a calm process – Democracy.

So there you have it. A path sure to lead you on the wildest ride you may have ever experienced. These words do not justify how truly challenging the 2012 presidential race will actually become. Just pay attention to all sides, do your best in research and make sure your choice best shares what you consider great traditional American values.

2012 Presidential Race “No-No” List:

Do not obsess over the 2012 election, or re-election, before completing your own tasks and duties. It is easy to get lost in it. Fully understand. However, when junior has been sitting on his highchair with dinner on his face at midnight [debate night] you must reorganize your priorities. An election should never take the place of what is expected from you.

Do not quit your job because someone in the office is giving you a hard time over your choice. The old fashioned way of doing things is not telling anyone who you voted for to begin with. That takes care of the other. Count to 10 if you feel overwhelmed at a moment you do not agree with someone.

Do not stalk your political choice. That means you cannot call them countless times after hearing them state “hey, didn’t I talk to you 5 times today?” That also means you can’t invite yourself to their home nor hang out at their office 24/7. Do not contact their family members.

This includes the opposing side. You can’t sit in their driveway waiting to throw eggs. You can’t dig through their trash seeking something dirty against them. You can’t, by law, invade their privacy. Just take it to the poll!

Do not think the world is coming to an end if your choice does not win. Better luck next time! Every game and every race deserves good sportsmanship.

Do not panic the day after. Usually the “day after” feels like an 18-wheeler ran over your head. Especially when your candidate loses. Your brain had gone through much. Between the anticipation and hopes that lead towards the moment, you are finally coming down. It is natural and doesn’t mean you are a manic depressive. Unless you don’t move from your bed for days and tell everyone to stuff it – if you talk at all. You did your best are the only four words that should cross your mind the day after your candidate lost.

Do not run your vehicle into the political opponent. Do not shoot the political opponent. Do not kidnap, cut, spit, slap, kick or kill the political opponent. Unless you are planning on a lifetime of fearing the sound of your soap dropping in the shower room of a highly populated prison. If you are not sure about the laws then Google; Ten Commandments. That should get you started.

Do not beat anyone up if they do not support your candidate. Do not text, call, e-mail or write threats to your candidate’s opposition or anyone for that matter.

Do not throw bottles on stage at any 2012 presidential race debate. The debate is not a Justin Beiber concert.

Do not, repeat, do not forget to vote! You count and don’t let anyone tell you any differently. Good luck with your 2012 presidential choice and happy voting on November 6, 2012.

Happy voting!

Source: Lori Lane, Associated Content 4/29/11

This article is not affiliated with the series of Dummies.

Tags:2012 Presidential Race for Dummies

2012 New Year Resolutions: My Three Personal Resolutions for 2012 and Why

Making New Year Resolutions are pretty common among folks, but I admit I haven’t made a lot of them in the past, thinking that I may not keep them, and I don’t like to experience failure which is how I would feel if I didn’t keep them. However, this 2012 is different for me somehow and I feel an urgency to make and keep three resolutions beginning January 1, 2012. I would like to share them with you, as I believe by doing so I will feel more accountable and more likely to succeed. I feel also putting my resolutions in writing will solidify the importance of them in my psyche.

So here goes, below are my three New Year Resolutions for 2012, and why I felt the need to make them.

My First Resolution for 2012 – Focus on God

My first resolution for 2012 is to focus more on God in every area of my life. Though I have been born again and Christ is my Savior, I don’t depend on and trust God enough in my life. I tend to try to handle every problem or worry on my own and rarely take my cares to the Lord. This year I was given a devotional book entitled “Jesus Calling; Enjoying Peace in His Presence” written by Sarah Young by a friend upon my retirement this past June. This devotional book has encouraged me more than any I have read in the past.

Since the time I’ve been reading each day’s devotional, it seems each one was written for me personally. I live in the past and the future more than I live in the present and that is contradictory to what God yearns for from us. He wants us (his children) to NOT be burdened down with our circumstances and worries in life. God wants me and all of us to spend time with him daily just “focusing” on and listening to him. If we will do that He will provide us with peace, understanding, and strength to turn all of our worries and problems over to him. God is in control of our lives and we tend not to realize that reality if we never think about or sit in his Presence or take time to listen to his voice. I intend to live closer to God this next year like He wants us all to do. If we stay in communication with God and live close to Him daily, He will not leave us circling in deeply rutted paths, but will lead us along fresh trails of adventure, revealing to us things we do not know. I want to let God be in control and trust that He is working in my life with my best interest at heart because he loves me!

My Second Resolution for 2012- Exercise more

I’m sure exercising more is on most people’s list of New Year Resolutions, but I have a specific reason why it is crucial for me to make it a priority in my life. Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2009, everything I’ve read on the subject, and my doctors have stressed it to me also is that exercise is key to managing the symptoms of this disease which affects movement in my body. Exercising will allow me to stay mobile longer. If I don’t exercise, eventually I will experience times of my body ” freezing or locking up” and I won’t be able to move at all for periods of time, causing me to have to take more meds to unlock my body. This is not what I want to happen, yet I haven’t been exercising as advised. I must make exercising a priority in 2012 and forever.

My Third Resolution for 2012Living Life to the Fullest

Being newly retired and living with Parkinson’s, I have many interests I want to pursue while I am still independent and able to do so. Interests such as honing my writing skills, learning to draw, volunteering more in my church and community, and taking better care of my health are all things I long to do. In the last couple of years I worked with Parkinson’s I found myself unable to do anything extracurricular. It was all I could do to work 8 hours. I was having problems multi-tasking, focusing, solving problems and dealing with the stress of the job, which were all requirements of my position as a school accountant. Fatigue also became a big problem as is common in Parkinson’s patients. I will have to pace myself while pursuing my interests while getting the rest my body needs, but enjoying my life for a change and doing some of the things I love will go a long way in helping me keep a positive attitude with the increasing challenges I will no doubt be facing as the Parkinson’s progresses.

I believe all of these resolutions are reasonable and doable with God’s help and determination on my part.

Thank you for reading this and I hope you have a blessed New Year and are successful with any resolutions you make!

Tags:2012 New Year Resolutions: My Three Personal Resolutions for 2012 and Why

2012 Week 11 NFL Picks

Banged up quarterbacks stole headlines following last week’s NFL games, and three backup QBs could be featured in the two 2012 Week 11 prime time contests. In other news around the league, the Jets and Eagles are trying to outdo each other in their attempts to be the biggest train wreck in the NFL, the once 0-4 Saints are a win away from being at .500, and the Chargers have probably committed a turnover while you’ve been reading this paragraph. Perhaps my worst pick of the season is featured below, when I allow myself to be burned by the Lions one final time. I just never learn.

2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

A team that was manhandled by the Tennessee Titans at home last week now has to travel to face division rivals who may have the worst defense in the NFL, and both of those squads played just four days ago. These weekly Thursday night games may be the worst idea the NFL has ever come up with. While Buffalo will be without Fred Jackson for tonight’s game, the Miami defense has been nothing short of awful against the run over the past month. C.J. Spiller’s shoulder is fine and thus I expect him to have a big night, but I still wouldn’t go out of my way to follow this game unless you’re a fan of one of these two teams. There’s plenty of college basketball on TV this evening.

Winner: Bills

2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons

I actually feel a little sorry for Arizona. They lost five straight after winning their first four, and they now come off the Bye week having to play at Atlanta where the Falcons almost never lose. To make matters worse, Atlanta will be looking to rally back from their first defeat of the season. The wheels have completely fallen off the Arizona bus, and Matty Ice and company are sure to be fired up. The Cards are 10 point underdogs as of the typing of this sentence. Atlanta covers that and then some.

Winner: Falcons

2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys

They’ve got a division title well within their reach and they’re hosting a bad team, so this is the exact type of game Dallas would go and lose. The problem with that way of thinking is that I have no faith in the Browns, nor should anybody. Cleveland has done well to hang with good teams throughout the season, which is why I think the nine point spread is a bit much. The Browns are going to win multiple games over the next two months. This just isn’t one of them.

Winner: Cowboys

2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

Detroit has let me down throughout 2012, so what’s more one time? Aaron Rodgers has a history of disproving his doubters after losing several teammates to injury, but Bryan Bulaga going down for the season (hip) could prove to be a big blow. Besides, Matt Stafford and the Detroit pass rush have to have at least one great game in them between now and January, right? Right?

Winner: Lions

2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs

“We lost to freakin’ Cleveland,” was what Cincy WR A.J. Green had to say about he and the Bengals possibly looking past the “will somebody just pull the plug already?” Chiefs. I’ll be blunt here. You’re either a major homer or you’re just looking to pick an upset if you go with KC. That team is going to look very different in a lot of ways come next August.

Winner: Bengals

2012 Week 11 NFL picks: New York Jets at St. Louis Rams

The 2012 Jets continue to be the gift that keeps on giving; unless, of course, you root for them. Some analysts are actually saying that Tim Tebow should get a start, if for no other reason that the Jets cannot possibly play any worse than they have as of late. St. Louis is far from a great team, but I want no part of Gang Green right now. They’re just a special kind of mess at this point. It’s unfathomable to me that the Jets were a game away from the Super Bowl just a few years back. How the mighty have fallen.

Winner: Rams

2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins

As a Giants fan, I’m actually a bit scared of the ‘Skins right now. They have back-to-back-to-back divisional games following the Bye, and I could absolutely see them being 6-6 after their December 3 contest against New York. Philly has been Jets-esque in this latest meltdown, one that’s likely going to end with Andy Reid and Michael Vick searching for new jobs.

Winner: Redskins

2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers

I know they’ve won three straight and four of their last five, but I still can’t yet buy into the Bucs. One thing I have less faith in than TB, however, is the ability of the Carolina offensive line to adequately protect Cam Newton. The Panthers have largely looked like a lost and sometimes even miserable bunch outside of the win at Washington, and Newton’s inconsistent play leaves me too scared to go with the home team.

Winner: Buccaneers

2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans

Perhaps never before has a 15-point spread looked so tiny. I can’t imagine anybody on earth believes what may be the worst Jacksonville team in franchise history is going into Houston and earning a win.

Winner: Texans

2012 Week 11 NFL picks: New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders

The 2012 Saints are alive and well, and they could, all things considered, be the most dangerous team in the league heading into this weekend. Oakland’s defense is actually managing to get worse as the weeks go on, which is impressive since it wasn’t all that good of a unit at the start of the season. Drew Brees currently leads the league in total passing yards, and the Raiders are giving up over 255 yards in the air per game. I love the Saints minus five in Oakland.

Winner: Saints

2012 Week 11 NFL picks: San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos

The recent San Diego backslide began with that epic collapse against the Broncos one month ago. This game might not be as entertaining as was that Monday night encounter. Philip Rivers seemingly can’t help but give the ball away at least once per half, while Peyton Manning could earn himself MVP honors by the time everything is said and done. Denver’s defense causes three turnovers, and the Broncos win in a rout.

Winner: Broncos

2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots

Those predicting a blowout could be in for quite the surprise. Andrew Luck is undeniably the real deal, and the Patriots have one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Every great quarterback has that one moment or one game where he announces to the football world that his time is now. For Luck, that game could be played at Foxboro on Sunday. The Colts are one of the best stories in all of North American pro sports, and Luck is capable of winning a shootout, even when facing a future Hall of Famer. I’m going with my gut and I’m going with the upset.

Why not?

Winner: Colts

2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

I probably would have picked the Steelers to win this contest a week ago from the posting of this piece. Pittsburgh may be undefeated at home this season, but they’re a very different team without Big Ben out on the field. The Steelers have gone 0-4 against the Ravens without Roethlisberger since they drafted the QB in 2004, and Byron Leftwich may have to be more than a game-manager if Pittsburgh is going to beat one of the best teams in the AFC. If Joe Flacco can avoid entering the gunslinger mode that often gets him into trouble, the Ravens should leave Pittsburgh with a solid road win.

Winner: Ravens

2012 Week 11 NFL picks: Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers

This is the hardest game to pick during this midweek because we don’t yet know if Alex Smith and/or Jay Cutler will be able to play. Concussions could make one or both QBs spectators on Monday night, meaning those of us at home may be treated to a showdown between Colin Kaepernick and Jason Campbell. Since we don’t yet know who all is playing and I trust the Niners with Kaepernick more than I do the Bears with Campbell, I’m going with the hosts.

Winner: 49ers

Tags:2012 Week 11 NFL Picks

2012 Parenting Resolutions

Many of us make our New Year’s resolutions, and my wife and I are no different. As I sat down to make my own list, I broke down my resolutions into categories. For one category, I chose resolutions that relate to raising my son. He will turn 12 early in the year, which means the teenage years will follow soon after. Peer pressure grows during this time, and I want to prepare all three of us for these years. We vow to make ourselves available for our son in a number of ways.

Spend more time with my wife and son

Working multiple jobs made me miserable and irritable as my wife would attest. Since giving up the extra work, I have become happier, and I do not get upset quite as easily. I have spent more time with my wife and son, and nothing can replace that. We have learned to manage our money well, so we do just fine without the extra income. This leaves us all with more free time to enjoy together. We play games at home, play at Dave and Busters, or enjoy other activities. We eat out some just to get out of the house and share our daily news with each other. In addition, we take advantage of our vacation club to travel as much as we can. We have already booked four trips throughout the year, and we will book a few more as the times approach.

Talk more about serious matters

As our son approaches his teens, the peer pressure will soon begin to mount. He will learn things about drugs, alcohol, and girls that we do not want him to learn. Therefore, it is our job to make sure that he learns the right things about these topics. We have him in a Christian school and keep him active in youth ministry, but we do not depend solely on the pastors and teachers to do our job for us.

As these topics become more and more real to our son, we will have to talk to him about the dangers of each. We have already discussed alcohol in detail with him, and I have mentioned a little about drugs. I know that I will have to discuss drugs with him much more in-depth before long. The talk about girls and sex will also soon arise – faster than I might think. I have to start preparing and praying now for the right words to say.

Keep our son physically active

We have discussed the physical benefits of staying active and not spending all of his time on the couch or the computer. We constantly look for ways to keep him active so he can have fun, exercise, stay in shape, and build memories. We have a rule that our son must play sports. We let him decide which ones, but he must play something. We also have him play outside with the neighborhood kids or help out with the yard work. Doing some of these things with him keeps him motivated to stay active and gives us the needed physical exercise as well. It also reverts to spending more time with each other.

Available to talk about his troubles

Our son does not like to speak up to us about things that bother him, but when he does, we both need to make sure that we listen – not just hear but actively listen to him. For example, he will tell me about some things that may happen at school but not give much detail. One day in early 2011, though, as we pulled out to drive home, I could tell that something bothered him. It took a while to get it out of him, but he finally told me. Some older kids had attacked him and a friend on the playground, so he got into a fight and was worried that he would get into trouble at school and with us. I turned the car around and drove back to school to discuss the matter with the principal. My son turned out fine in the matter. My wife and I can now use this example to let him know that we can help him only when he talks to us and that we will do what we can for his benefit.

In preparation

We both know that as our son grown into and through his teen years, many more discussions will arise. We want to prepare for them while we can so we can reduce the surprises. Beginning with these resolutions, we can look ahead and prepare as much as we can.

More from this contributor:

Setting Strong Positive Examples for Our Son

Teaching Our Son to Eat Healthy

Letting Our Son Help Make Some Family Decisions

Tags:2012 Parenting Resolutions

2012 Summer Blockbuster Review

While our calendars are technically set to usher autumn in later this week, the summer movie season has been over for a few weeks. In what was one of the most anticipated summers in recent memory, 2012 saw an endless parade of genre and geek movies. Some hit the spot, while some missed the mark; meanwhile, other films served as pleasant surprises.

With fall upon us, let’s look back at the summer that was with a completely arbitrary set of awards in this year’s summer blockbuster review.

Best use of a neuralizer – “Men in Black III”

The third entry in this now long-running series was unexpectedly decent and was fun enough to completely wipe away the sour memories of the second film.

Most gratuitous use of Liam Neeson – “Battleship”

This was a heated battle between Peter Berg’s board game adaptation and “The Dark Knight Rises,” but Neeson actually acted as if he wanted to be in the latter. On the other hand, he spends most of “Battleship” glowering and wondering if the check’s cleared yet.

Pointless remake – “Total Recall”

There’s one (or three) every summer, but Len Wiseman’s wholesale and sanitized repackaging of Paul Verhoeven’s camp cult classic was thoroughly misguided. I totally recalled this movie being better 22 years ago.

Remake worth seeing – “The Amazing Spider-Man”

Technically, this was a reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, but, for most of its running time, it might as well be a remake of Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man.” Surprisingly, it worked out pretty well thanks to the charisma of a terrific cast.

Best animated movie – “ParaNorman”

Considering this summer saw the release of a Pixar film (“Brave”), this might be seen as a bit of an upset. Nevertheless, Laika’s family zom-com offering is a sweet, loving tribute to the horror genre, and a poignant, wonderfully progressive look at bullying.

Disappointment of the summer – “Prometheus”

Remember how excited we all were for Ridley Scott’s return to the “Alien” franchise? Seems like it was just three months ago. While I can’t exactly raise torches at “Prometheus,” there’s a thudding sense of disappointment about it; however, just about any disappointment would kill to be as fascinating and gorgeous as this misfire. I’m actually looking forward to seeing it again.

Best use of Taylor Kitsch – “Savages”

It’s been a rough year for Kitsch; between twin bombs “John Carter” and “Battleship,” his leading man status is in serious jeopardy. “Savages” didn’t do a whole lot to alleviate matters, but it’s still the best movie he was in this summer by sheer virtue of being better than “Battleship.”

Best horror movie – “The Possession”

For a while, it looked like I was going to have to give 2012 an incomplete in this genre, but “The Possession” snuck in just under the wire. However, when a serviceable Jewish riff on “The Exorcist” is the best horror movie of the season, it’s a little disconcerting.

Best franchise on life-support: “The Bourne Legacy”

Universal didn’t let a lack of Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass stop them from continuing the Jason Bourne franchise, so they tapped Jeremy Renner to keep the seat warm for a while. It mostly worked, even if the film sometimes borders on feeling like a glorified television pilot about a guy who’s desperately in need of his medication.

Best superhero movie of the summer – “The Avengers”

Superheroes were the big story going into the summer, and, now that we’ve emerged on the other end, it’s clear that Marvel’s cross-over towered over the competition all summer, not only in terms of moneymaking, but also in quality. A miraculous film in many respects, “The Avengers” is a breath of fresh air that takes us back to old-fashioned, unencumbered, and spirited blockbuster movie-making.

Best stuck-landing of the summer – “The Dark Knight Rises”

While “The Avengers” stole the headlines early, there’s little doubt that Chris Nolan’s final Batman film was the summer’s most anticipated film. Even though he stubbed his toe on the way down a bit, the director delivered a satisfying conclusion to his trilogy, which was no small feat considering how badly previous superhero attempts were botched (looking at you, “X-Men: The Last Stand”).

Best marketing campaign of the summer – “Magic Mike”

Warner Brothers wisely marketed this as a cinematic equivalent of a male revue stage show, and they were summarily rewarded when women packed theaters. More importantly, those viewers were rewarded with another great film from Stephen Soderbergh, who released this, “Haywire,” and “Contagion” within the span of about ten months.

Best dwarf ensemble – “Snow White and the Huntsman”

This crown was all but prepped and ready to go to Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” (by sheer default), but this grim and gritty re-telling of the Snow White myth might give his crew a run for his money. Comprised of the likes of Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Ian McShane, Johnny Harris, Ray Winstone, Eddie Marsan, and Nick Frost, this ensemble provided one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dour movie.

Most improved sequel – “The Expendables 2”

The second outing for The Geriatric Bunch was everything we wanted from the first one: a no-frills, excessive, and knowingly dumb shot of cinematic adrenaline. Speaking of films coasting on the charisma of its leads, “The Expendables 2” is practically running on the fumes of that charisma and the legacy of its cast members. If part three manages to move beyond that, audiences might finally get a true return to the days of Cannon Films.

Sequel nobody wants anymore – “Ghostbusters 3”
There was once a time when “Ghostbusters 3” would be among the most anticipated films during a summer movie season. Now, I think everyone would just breathe a sigh of relief if Dan Aykroyd would channel his inner Walter Peck and just pull the plug on this one.

Best movie of the summer – “Moonrise Kingdom”

Superheroes might have been the big story going in, but I think kids really dominated this summer. Between “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” and “Paranorman,” the summer was at its best when it was exploring the milieu of childhood. Wes Anderson’s latest proved to be the best of the bunch, and it just might be his masterpiece.

Tags:2012 Summer Blockbuster Review

2012 Oscars – Who Should Win?

With the release of the nominations for the 2012 Academy Awards there is a lot of speculation about who is going to take home one of the most coveted trophies in the entertainment industry. The annual awards show airs February, 26, 2012, giving us plenty of time to see the movies we missed.

Not surprisingly, Martin Scorcese’s “Hugo” led all films in nominations, with eleven. Right there behind it was the black-and-white movie embracing the era of silent films “The Artist,” with ten nominations. The summer comedy hit “Bridesmaids” even got a couple of nods, one for supporting actress Melissa McCarthy and one for original screenplay.

It was great to see Jonah Hill get recognized for his performance in “Moneyball,” which was a gigantic step away from his usual comedy roles. For a guy who really just broke onto the scene in the past few years, this best supporting actor nomination could open the door for many more dramatic roles for the young actor.

When it comes to best picture, all the nominees have what it takes to win. Personally, I would like to see “Hugo” win this year, rather than “The Artist.” Instead of going backwards in the evolution of film, “Hugo” did just the opposite, taking the medium to a whole new level. Not only was the 3D the most incredible to date, but the story telling was top-notch from beginning to end.

Among the others I would really like to see win are Viola Davis for her role in “The Help.” One of the all-time great performances, she deserves to have her work go down in history and be remembered for years to come. Nothing against Kristen Wiig from Saturday Night Live, but Woody Allen should win best original screenplay for “Midnight in Paris.” This film definitely stands up there with Allen’s best of his entire career, and a lot of it had to do with his unique style of writing and quirky sense of humor.

We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but at least this year we won’t be bored by a bad host for the event. After several years of fans being disappointed, the Academy brought back Billy Crystal, who always did a great job of entertaining between presentations and I’m sure he will this year as well.

Tags:2012 Oscars – Who Should Win?

2013 National League Preview

This year, opening day is April 1. Final cuts are made, spring homes are left, and the boys of summer return home to clash on the diamond. Few things scream summer more than baseball, and few things create the nostalgia of the national pastime.

The 2012 Major League Baseball season brought us expanded wild cards, a season starting in Japan, the longest opening-day game ever (Toronto Blue Jays-Cleveland Indians), and the sixth franchise to reach 10,000 wins (Cincinnati Reds). It brought us a Triple Crown Winner, three perfect games, four no-hitters and two of the hottest rookies in baseball.

It was also a year of home run milestones. Ryan Braun hit his 200th home run; Ryan Howard his 300th; David Ortiz and Paul Konerko their 400th; Albert Pujols his 450th home run; and Alex Rodriguez moved into fifth place all-time, hitting his 631st home run.

The 2013 season brings hope for all teams not named the Cubs, and a new beginning for all teams not named the Marlins.

NL East:

1. Washington Nationals – Packed with youth, power, defense and great pitching, the 2013 Washington Nationals lead the National League in potential and preseason rankings. With a pitching staff that was already among the best, Dan Haren will join in as a possible fifth starter in a rotation that includes Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler. The bullpen will get a healthy Drew Storen and the offense will get a boost in center field with Denard Span. All of this without mentioning phenom Bryce Harper… whoops.

2. Atlanta Braves – Packed with youth, power, defense and great pitching, the 2013 Atlanta Braves are still stuck in a division with the younger, more powerful, better pitching Washington Nationals. This won’t stop Atlanta from snagging a Wild Card and wreaking havoc in the playoffs. The addition of the Upton brothers makes this a fearsome hitting outfield that may see Justin and B.J. Upton finally live up to their potential. Closer extraordinaire, Craig Kimbrel, returns to anchor a remarkable bullpen. The Braves stocked up in all the right places and look to push Washington hard this season.

3. Philadelphia Phillies – Older and past their prime, the Philadelphia Phillies are at least healthy… sorta. Roy Halladay won’t be starting on opening day, but that won’t hurt an aging but sharp pitching staff; the Atlanta Braves will do that. Getting back an able Ryan Howard and Chase Utley is a good thing, but how much more mileage can the Phillies get out of Halladay and Cliff Lee? Philadelphia could surprise some people, but they’re playing a tough division.

4. New York Mets – The Mets aren’t ready to compete because they aren’t sure what they have. If Ike Davis returns to form… if new addition, John Buck lives up to potential… if Shaun Marcum plays like 2011 Marcum… if David Wright can duplicate an MVP like season and if they don’t need to rely on the once great, Johan Santana… the Mets may surprise people with a third place finish. My great grandmother used to say, “If ifs were fifths we’d all be drunk.”

5. Miami Marlins – My condolences to Giancarlo Stanton and the city of Miami. I’m not allowed to type what I’d like to say to owner Jeffrey Loria.

NL Central:

1. Cincinnati Reds – Everyone seems to forget that this team won 97 games last year and had the second best record in baseball. Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman didn’t go anywhere. This team should dominate the Central Division and, given they play in the weakest division in baseball, they should rack up a good position in the playoffs. The Cincinnati Reds are for real.

2. St. Louis Cardinals – Can you ever really count the St. Louis Cardinals out? This division is up for grabs and though the Cardinals aren’t as solid as years past, they’ve got a better lineup than the following three teams. The loss of Chris Carpenter is huge, but if Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina can stay healthy, they are your number two team in the division. If not, it will fall to Milwaukee or Pittsburgh.

3. Milwaukee Brewers – Is Ryan Braun cheating? Will Corey Hart make it back from cartilage damage early enough to make an impact? Should I wear my sunglasses at night? Milwaukee has dropped off considerably since winning the division just two years ago. Age and a weak farm system have put the Brew Crew in a world of serious hurt. With bad press swirling around their superstar, the media attention won’t be good if Milwaukee slips into an early hole. Braun is still Braun, Jonathan Lucroy deserves more praise behind the plate, and the offense could potentially still put runs on the board. It all depends which Milwaukee team shows up.

4. Pittsburgh Pirates – The Pittsburgh Pirates could sneak up another couple spots in the Central division if they play the Cards right. With a very talented outfield led by Andrew McCutchen, some solid pitching, and ownership that wants to win, the Pirates made a run of it for half a season last year. This year they may land in second or third place if St. Louis or Milwaukee finally breaks down.

5. Chicago Cubs – Nobody will miss the Houston Astros more than Chicago. The Cubs are on the right track and accumulating more talent, but they’re nowhere near good enough to compete in the National League. Cubs fans will say maybe next year, but realistically, we’re about three years away from ending a 105 year rebuild.

NL West:

1. Los Angeles Dodgers – Can you buy a World Series title? Many Yankee-haters think it’s possible. The ownership for the Los Angeles Dodgers bought everything they could get their hands on and now they’re equipped with one of the greatest teams on paper. Don Mattingly’s job is clearly on the line as he has been put to the test to make the paper team for real. Zack Greinke as a number two starter is impressive, but it has also failed on two other teams. Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are as impressive of an outfield as there has been, except this trio sees the disabled list more than Amanda Bynes sees a bar. They could be the best team in the National League, but they also could come in third in their own division.

2. San Francisco Giants – Yes, they are the World Champions. Yes, the 2012 Most Valuable player was Buster Posey, who is both healthy and adorable. Yes, their pitching staff looks as impressive as Sam Elliott’s moustache. Yes, they are going to have to play their hearts out just to make the playoffs again. If every team in the National League were to stay healthy, San Francisco would lose out because of more talented rosters. The linchpin may very well be the performance of the once great Tim Lincecum. The Giants/Dodgers rivalry this year will be one to watch.

3. Arizona Diamondbacks – Arizona had their share of puzzling moves this offseason, but everyone should note that it actually made the team better. The acquisition of Martin Prado was huge, and an outfield made up of Jason Kubel, Adam Eaton and Cody Ross will provide the Diamondbacks with something to cheer for. It was just two years ago that Arizona slid into the playoffs and Kirk Gibson won NL Manager of the Year. Kirk Gibson is still there.

4. San Diego Padres – I have no doubt that the mothers of the San Diego Padres players have very nice things to say about them. I, however, do not. This team finds ways to be sneaky good, but they’re still waiting on those players to develop. Chase Headly and Carlos Quentin will once again anchor a team of players that are better than the Colorado Rockies.

5. Colorado Rockies – The Colorado Rockies are better than the other two #5 teams on this preview. The Rockies’ only problem is simply the fact that they aren’t good. The pitching is a complete joke, which is a shame because a full season with Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki could be a very fun season. Keep an eye out for catcher Wilin Rosario. He is MUCH better than you are.

Tags:2013 National League Preview

2013 Fantasy Baseball – Second Base (2B) Keeper Rankings

2013 Fantasy Baseball Keeper Rankings are based on a 3 year outlook for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 fantasy baseball seasons. 2013 keeper rankings are established for a standard fantasy baseball scoring system in mixed AL/NL leagues. For additional fantasy baseball information, follow me Hawk Michaels at Hawk Fantasy Sports.

Rankings Updated: March 10, 2013


1. Robinson Cano – nyy

Entering his age 30 season in 2013, Cano is leaps and bounds above the rest of the 2B fantasy players. Still in the prime of his career, Cano should continue to be good for 30 home runs, 100 RBI, and a .300 plus batting average.


2. Dustin Pedroia – bos

Even through an injury riddled 2012 season, Pedroia still managed to tally 15 home runs, 20 stolen bases, and a .290 batting average. At age 29, Pedroia should have a couple excellent fantasy seasons left in his tank.


3. Jason Kipnis – cle

Playing his first full season in the majors least year, Kipnis will be looking to build on his 31 stolen bases and 14 home runs that he tallied as a rookie in 2012. A 20 home run and 30 stolen base season is definitely within reach for the Kipnis during his age 26 season in 2013.


4. Ian Kinsler – tex

After a significant decrease in home runs and stolen bases last season, the soon to be 31 year old Kinsler is seemingly on the beginning of the decline. He should still be very good this year and likely in 2014 as well, but after that things could get iffy.


5. Danny Espinosa – was

A soon to be 26 year old, Espinosa is coming off of back to back solid seasons. Having posted 21 home runs and 17 stolen bases in 2011, followed up 17 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 2012, Espinosa seems like a fairly safe 2B bet on fantasy baseball teams in 2013.


6. Jose Altuve – hou

The 22 year old Altuve made a huge impact in fantasy baseball leagues during the 2012 season, while posting 33 stolen bases and a .290 batting average. Even though he plays in a weak Houston lineup, Altuve is easily one of the bright young up and coming fantasy baseball 2B entering the 2013 season.


7. Brandon Phillips – cin

With the 2013 season bringing up Phillips age to 32, his duel power and stolen base ability could take a drastic hit any year now. However with Cincinnati boasting an excellent run scoring offense, and a hitter friendly park, Phillips should continue to tally close to 20 home runs while also reeling in a fantasy baseball friendly batting average.


8. Howie Kendrick – laa

In the prime of his career at age 29, Kendrick has not lived up to his prospect hype, but he is an excellent hitter in a very hitter friendly lineup. A career year could be in store, as 20 home run ability is knocking at the door in 2013.


9. Rickie Weeks – mil

At age 30, Weeks is another one of the aging 30 year old 2B’s in fantasy baseball. His power and home run ability should continue to show up in the box score, but his stolen base ability has declined significantly.


10. Dan Uggla – atl

Uggla’s age 32 season in 2012 was very unkind to him, as he net a career lows across the board with 19 home runs, 78 RBI, and .220 batting average. Playing the 2013 season at 33 could be equally challenging for Uggla in the stats department.


Best of the Rest

Aaron Hill – ari

Dustin Ackley – sea

Ben Zobrist – tb

Chase Utley – phi

Trevor Plouffe – min

Kyle Seager – sea

Jedd Gyorko – sd

Josh Rutledge – col

Neil Walker – pit

Jemile Weeks – oak

Kolten Wong – stl

Johnny Giavotella – kc

Emilio Bonifacio – tor

Logan Forsythe – sd

Michael Young – phi

Tyler Greene – hou

Gordon Beckham – cws

Steve Lombardozzi – was

Darwin Barney – chc

Chris Getz – kc

Omar Infante – det

Daniel Murphy – nym

Mike Aviles – cle

Kelly Johnson – tb

Marco Scutaro -sf

Brian Roberts – bal

Sean Rodriguez – tb

Ruben Tejada – nym

Everth Cabrera – sd

Donovan Solano – mia

Jordany Valdespin – nym

DJ LeMahieu – col

Scott Moore – hou

Freddy Galvis – phi

Alexi Amarista – sd

Ryan Roberts – tb

Eric Young – col

Cory Spangenberg – sd

Chris Nelson – col

Pedro Ciriaco – bos

Ryan Theriot – fa

Tags:2013 Fantasy Baseball – Second Base (2B) Keeper Rankings

2013 Movie Predictions: Were They Correct?

I predicted ten movies would be the most successful this year, but was I right? If I wasn’t, what was the most successful? I have measured the success based on their gross balanced against its budget.

Honorable mention: Ender’s Game
This movie was not put on the list fully because I did not feel the casting was strong enough to support it. Ender’s Game was popular in the 70s, but that was not strong enough. I didn’t expect it to be this big of a financial fail, but I didn’t think it would have the success intended.

10: The Lone Ranger
This movie was a financial flop. I did not anticipate this, as there were some major factors in favor of this film, including the casting. After seeing the movie, I do understand. It was not as good as I or apparently critics had anticipated. The biggest issue is that it had a large budget to recoup and it didn’t even come close.

9: Beautiful Creatures
Many, myself included, thought that this movie would take the void left by the completion of the Twilight Saga but the failure of this movie is an indicator from audiences that the supernatural romance category may not a staying force.

8: Oz the Great and Powerful
This movie was the first off of my predicted list that had any success, though it was minor. This movie only profited approximate $20,000,000, but at least it was in the black. It is interesting that the presenceof Mila Kunis among the cast did not boost the profits.

7: Warm Bodies
This movie was a success and that is not up for debate. It was a low budget film with limited casting strengths at least in terms of clout. The actors names did not blow up like others from supernatural movies have in the past, but it made nearly double its budget in profit and the critics have accepted it. This movie was an interesting and subtle update on Romeo and Juliet. Congratulations Summit.

6: The Host
I, like many other, bought too much into the fact that young girl would clamor to theaters to see this latest adaptation from Stephanie Meyer. This movie was a serious flop. It did not come close making back its budget and so far it has the worst ratings of any I’ve seen from this year.

5: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
This movie had everything it needed to succeed but it didn’t. Why? There are several possibilities including perhaps crowding of the genre. Essentially, everyone wanting a piece of the Twilight gravy train. This movie was certainly proof that just because a book series is successful doesn’t mean a movie will be. We will have to wait and see if they will attempt the next book in the series.

4: Monsters University
It is very refreshing to be able to type that this is so far the biggest success on the list. It earned more than double its budget and the critics loved it. It certainly helped that Monsters Inc was released to theaters temporarily prior to the release of this movie.

3: The Wolverine
This movie did turn a profit, but as I was suspicious the audiences were confused by the continuity issues of this movie in relation to the rest of the Xmen series. Hugh Jackman was considered fine in the role, and loyalty won out, but if it had been a better movie, I’m positive The Wolverine would have made much more money.

2: Man of Steel
Man of Steel proved that a summer blockbuster at the right time will do it. This movie certainly turned a profit and has brought its star, Henry Cavill, partially to the public eye. I expect we will be seeing him again in the future.

1: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
There is no prize for me for guessing this one right. I’d be shocked if anyone bet against it. Just to give you the stats this movie made approximately 300 million dollars in profit. Jennifer Lawrence is, as well she should be, Hollywood’s darling right now, and I’m sure will continue to be.

Other Successful Movies: That I didn’t Predict
American Hustle
Frozen
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Butler
Saving Mr. Banks
Dallas Buyers Club
Thor: The Dark World

Some of these could easily have been predicted, such as The Hobbit, but others, such as Dallas Buyers Club were definitely going to be good, but who knew they would be a financial success?

Tags:2013 Movie Predictions: Were They Correct?

2013 Hair Color Ideas: Hot Blondes, Reds, and Cool Techniques

2013 hair color ideas and techniques are so hip and edgy. The shades are vibrant and definitely going to raise an eyebrow or two. From streaks to chunks to rainbow ends it’s all in. Here is what to look for in the upcoming months. These color techniques and shade ideas will continue to be hot until the end of the summer.

Huge Sections Of Color

Pop the color of your base shade, or just add boldness to your existing style. To do this coloring technique choose a hot light to medium shade base color. Then on the sides take a 2-4 inch wide section of hair and apply the chosen bright color. For example: White blonde with bright turquoise, copper red with black, golden blonde with hot pink. Make the color pop out.

Intense Reds

While lighter reds and reddish blondes will still be in, the deeper and brighter reds such as crimson, bright scarlet, cherry, and flame will take over. The intensity of the hair color is the key this year.

White As Ice

Icy blonde is huge for the upcoming months. The whiter the hair the hotter it is. Now I’m not talking platinum, the color is more like a nordic shade like This . Just make sure you have no brassiness or orange in it. And always freshen the color up using shampoo and conditioner for blonde hair in-between.

Hidden Color

This technique is not really new. However a new name for it called hair veiling is. This is where you wear a base color, and then a second color hidden underneath the sides, back, and crown area. So when you wear your hair up or to a different side the color will show and give you a totally new look. Great example is blonde with hidden pink.

Pastel Or Rainbow

For the rainbow many are going with huge streaks or sections, and for the pastel many are coloring the whole head baby pink, lavender, baby blue or soft yellow. Make the hair simple or drastic. You can dye just the bangs and the very tips of the length, do half of the head, or just picks area that need some lift.

Jet Black

The deeper the black the hotter it is. No more soft black. Now it’s time for the harsh vibrant and intense black shade. Many are wearing this color without any highlights.

The final hot color or technique for 2013 is neon hair. I am talking 80’s hot pink, neon green, electric blue, and bright neon yellow.

Tags:2013 Hair Color Ideas: Hot Blondes, Reds, and Cool Techniques

2013 Fantasy Football Preview: Wide Receivers

COMMENTARY| Over the past two decades, the NFL has evolved beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. The game has undoubtedly become a passing league and there are no signs of that trend receding any time in the near future. Passing records are routinely re-written year in and year out and the league seems to love every minute of it. In fact, they are doing all they can to encourage it. Each year, new rules are created to protect offensive players from unnecessary injuries. Defensive players across the league then collectively roll their eyes in response. It is no secret that the league uses concussions as leverage to get these rules passed (concussions being the most recent hot-button topic in contact sports).

The fantasy football landscape has been drastically altered as a direct result of these rule changes. Defensive backs are no longer allowed to put their hands on wide receivers past 5 yards from the line of scrimmage. This alone has allowed more wide receivers to become true game changers. As a side effect, it also allows average quarterbacks to occasionally look like Dan Marino. Regardless of your feelings on the NFL’s rulebook, it is clear that wide receivers are more valuable than ever in fantasy football. They are consistently working their way into the 1st and 2nd rounds of every fantasy draft as more and more people are realizing that an elite receiver can be just as valuable as an elite running back. With that in mind, this is my projection of the top 10 fantasy wide receivers for the 2013 season.

  • 1. Calvin Johnson DET 2012- 122 receptions 1,964 yards 5 TD- Megatron is not only the best wide receiver in the game right now, he may very well be the most dominant player in all of football. He is the only receiver worthy of a 1st round pick in your fantasy football draft. Though teams were able to bottle him up a bit in the red zone last season (only 5 TD’s), don’t expect that to last.

ADVICE: If you are picking at the end of the first round, you may feel like you missed out on the run of “elite” fantasy players. Don’t fret though, because Calvin Johnson is far better than any consolation prize. He has the potential to go pound for pound fantasy-wise with most “elite” running backs on a week to week basis and is a major reason why the value of fantasy receivers are on the rise.

  • 2. AJ Green CIN 2012- 97 receptions 1,350 yards 11 TD- AJ Green has quickly established himself as a superstar in the NFL. In his two years in the league, teams have yet to find an answer for the explosive receiver out of the University of Georgia. Green has dominated defensive backs with his perfect blend of size, speed, and hands. This young man will soon draw 1st round consideration in fantasy drafts and is closing the gap on Calvin Johnson in terms of talent and ability.

ADVICE: AJ Green is a solid mid to late 2nd round fantasy draft pick. Count your blessings if you get him in the 3rd or beyond because this kid is only getting better.

  • 3. Brandon Marshall CHI 2012- 118 receptions 1,508 yards 11 TD- Brandon Marshall does everything well…except keeping his mouth shut. Lucky for him he seems to have found a locker room that embraces his eccentric personality. Once again reunited with quarterback Jay Cutler, Marshall immediately hit his stride with the Bears last season posting stellar numbers for a team that fell just shy of a playoff berth. Though former 2nd round draft pick Alshon Jeffrey should steal some targets from Marshall in theory, it seems Jay Cutler has an uncanny ability to ignore all receivers on the field without the name Marshall on their jersey. Who would’ve thought that was the best way to keep him happy?

ADVICE: You don’t have to have faith in the Bear’s offensive line or their new coaching staff to draft Marshall. All you need to know is that he is consistently at the top of the league in targets due to the fact that Jay Cutler would rather throw an interception in Marshall’s direction than throw the ball away. Force feed him enough and he will succeed…at least in fantasy.

  • 4. Julio Jones ATL 2012- 79 receptions 1,198 yards 10 TD- Julio Jones is the first receiver on this list with the benefit of having a playmaker across the field from him. This forces defenses to give him single coverage far more often than they would like. Though Jones has clearly displaced Roddy White as the number one receiver in Atlanta, there are more than enough targets to go around with Matt Ryan at the helm. Expect Julio Jones to continue his meteoric rise as one of the NFL’s elite playmakers.

ADVICE: For some reason, people are scared of drafting Julio Jones as high as his stats call for. The common complaint seems to be, there are too many playmakers on Atlanta’s offense for Jones to be considered a true #1 fantasy receiver. While he does have to compete with Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez for targets, the Falcons invested too much in Jones for him to not be their featured receiver. Don’t let Julio Jones out of the third round…you will regret it.

  • 5. Dez Bryant DAL 2012- 92 receptions 1,382 yards 12 TD- Dez Bryant has the physical ability to be absolutely dominant in the NFL. The only concern people have had is his mental ability. Grasping an NFL playbook along with the finer intricacies of route running and run blocking is a difficult task even for the most talented football players. In 2012, it finally seemed that Bryant was putting it all together as he looked like one of the best players in football over the last half of the season. His numbers could get absolutely scary if he can keep it together over a 16 game span; all signs point to that happening this season.

ADVICE- Though the Cowboys title as “America’s Team” is debatable at this point, there is no debating the production from the passing game in Dallas. It is not out of the realm of possibility for Dez Bryant to lead the league in receiving this year. Draft with confidence and consider him a solid #1 fantasy receiver.

  • 6. Percy Harvin SEA 2012- 62 receptions 677 yards 3 TD/22 carries 96 yards 1 TD- Don’t be fooled by Harvin’s meager stat line from 2012 as he was injured in his ninth game of the season (playing against his new team ironically enough). Prior to that, he was a legitimate MVP candidate for the Vikings; quite the feat for a team which also featured NFL leading rusher Adrian Peterson. Minnesota did however lack additional playmakers at the receiver position to help pull coverage away from Harvin. This makes his numbers all the more impressive considering the amount of double-teams he saw every week. With Harvin now playing in Seattle, a team with far more playmakers on offense, his abilities as a running back and receiver should make him a major focal point despite the fact the Seahawks were generally a run-heavy offense in 2012.

ADVICE- Don’t be surprised to see Percy Harvin lined up all over the field as he is reunited with former Vikings Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell. He will see time as a running back, split out wide, and in the slot and should become a major contributor for the Seahawks right out the gate. Harvin’s versatility should lead to significant fantasy contributions and his value is only increased in PPR leagues or leagues that allot points for returns.

  • 7. Demaryius Thomas DEN 2012- 94 receptions 1,434 yards 10 TD- When you have Peyton Manning as your quarterback, you will have every opportunity to impact games as a receiver. Demaryius Thomas is blessed with the size and physicality to shield defenders from the ball and be effective as a run blocker. As if that isn’t enough, he also has the speed to get behind defensive backs seemingly at will. With Peyton Manning having an entire season under his belt since his neck injury, and all reports indicating that his arm is stronger than ever, the deep ball should be utilized far more often in 2013.

ADVICE- Demaryius Thomas is a budding superstar with one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time under center for his team. Draft Thomas with confidence as a solid number one wide receiver option.

  • 8. Randall Cobb GB 2012- 80 receptions 954 yards 8 TD/10 carries 132 yards 0 TD- Randall Cobb may stand just 5’10” tall, but he is as dangerous as any receiver in the NFL with the ball in his hands. Though he might not be a household name yet, he is a big play waiting to happen and his rise to fantasy relevance proves it. It also doesn’t hurt that he has the best quarterback in the NFL throwing him passes. Randall Cobb is a Percy Harvin-style weapon and will be utilized accordingly in Green Bay. He will line up as a running back, wide out, and in the slot to help create mismatches.

ADVICE- The Packers showed their faith in Cobb when they let Greg Jennings walk via free agency. That means more targets and a bigger role for the Packers Swiss Army Knife which equals increased fantasy production and happier owners.

  • 9. Dwayne Bowe KC 2012- 59 receptions 801 yards 3 TD- No, this is not a typo. Dwayne Bowe will make his return to the top of the fantasy totem pole in 2013. The Chiefs have finally halted the rotating door at quarterback by landing Pro Bowler Alex Smith as well as premier offensive-minded head coach Andy Reid this offseason. Bowe has always had elite talent but immaturity issues plagued him early in his career. With those problems seemingly behind him, coupled with the fact that he is playing on one of the youngest and most talented rosters in the league, Bowe and the Kansas City Chiefs are finally primed for a solid year.

ADVICE- Dwayne Bowe is sure to be under-drafted in nearly every fantasy draft this year as fans are finally getting sick of his inconsistencies week to week. As a result, you should be able to land Bowe as the #2 receivers start coming off your draft board. The truth is, however, he will produce like a true #1 in 2013.

  • 10. Mike Wallace MIA 2012- 64 receptions 836 yards 8 TD- Mike Wallace may be the most explosive deep-threat receiver in all of fantasy football. He spurned Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason when he decided to take his talents to South Beach. The Dolphins were a team in flux until the arrival of head coach Joe Philbin, the former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator. In just over a year, Philbin managed to completely rebuild Miami into a legitimate contender starting with quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins invested heavily in Tannehill’s development by acquiring Wallace in free agency and he figures to be the playmaker and deep threat that Tannehill and the Dolphins were missing last year.

ADVICE- Mike Wallace will undoubtedly be heavily featured in Miami’s offense. The Dolphins spent a pretty penny to acquire him and Joe Philbin knows how to get the best out of his receivers. Plus, if Philbin and Ryan Tannehill can get 1,000+ yards out of Brian Hartline, just imagine the impact Mike Wallace will have.

Jarrod Patterson is a freelance sports writer for the Yahoo Contributing Network at http://ift.tt/1XCRXJk as well as Seattle Seahawks fan page Field Gulls at http://ift.tt/us974U

Tags:2013 Fantasy Football Preview: Wide Receivers

2013 Fantasy Football Instant Debate: Brandon Marshall Vs Julio Jones

On paper Brandon Marshall and Julio Jones are very similar, both stand at six foot plus. Marshall comes in at 6’4″ 230 lbs, while Jones is listed as 6’3″ and 230 lbs. Both receivers have arguably the strongest hands in the league and have come down with as many spectacular catches that one can imagine.

Last season Brandon Marshall was the focal point of the Bears passing offense, he finished with a very impressive 118/1508/11 stat line. A knock on Marshall in recent years before last was that he didn’t get into the end zone, but that was mainly due to the Miami Dolphins offense that he was part of. Scoring 11 touchdowns last season, Marshall proved to us that he can find his way into pay dirt when in the right situation.

Julio Jones took a big step in his career last season as he finished with career highs in all the categories that count, finishing with a 79/1198/10 campaign. Jones is also coming into the magical “third year” for wide receivers as this has been a big deal. Only time will tell who will be better of these two this season. Lets take a step back and really evaluate them and their current situation.

QB Play: Bears: Jay Cutler has always loved throwing the ball to Brandon Marshall from their time in Denver where he targeted Marshall 170 times in 2007, then 183 times in 2008. Cutler was the happiest man in the NFL last season when he found out that he would be reunited with Marshall again in Chicago and he did not shy away from throwing him the ball by any means as he targeted him 194 times. Cutler clearly trusts Marshall as a pass catcher and that should not change this year. Look for Marshall and Cutler to continue to be the dynamite duo they have been all along.

Falcons: Matt Ryan is becoming one of the elite QB in the league and has plenty of weapons at his disposal with his top option possibly being the young and ultra-talented Julio Jones. The Falcons became a pass-heavy offense last season and Jones was targeted 129 times which was second on the team behind Roddy White (143) and just ahead of Tony Gonzalez (124). Those numbers are somewhat inflated as the Falcons lacked any sort of rushing attack last season, which they addressed this off-season by adding Steven Jackson.

Other targets: As you can see the Atlanta Falcons are loaded with options other than Julio Jones which can lead to some inconsistent weeks from Jones. We all know that inconsistency is not welcome in fantasy land. Still, with Roddy and the gang all on the roster those games will still be there.

On the other hand, Marshall has Alshon Jeffery, Earl Bennett and occasionally Devin Hester in the passing attack with him. Sure they added Martellius Bennett but Cutler has never looked to his tight-ends for much. The bottom line is that Marshall is the No. 1 option there in Chicago and barring anything crazy, he will remain that option.

There is no denying the talent that both of these players have. In terms of fantasy football purposes you are looking for opportunities, especially when drafting your WR1. The proof is there, Brandon Marshall is going to see plenty more opportunities than Julio Jones. So when it comes down to your pick and these two players are staring you in the face, it would be best to take that guy from Chicago before that guy from Atlanta.

Good luck and game on!

Tags:2013 Fantasy Football Instant Debate: Brandon Marshall Vs Julio Jones

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