2013 Philly Fantasy Sports: Building a Better Sports Site

After dealing with family matters, this site will be rebuilt for the better. Fantasy news for football, baseball and hockey will be returning. Additionally, some Australian and European football news and views will be added. Stay tuned.

Advertisements

Letter to My Readers, Mission Statement and the Future of Philly Fantasy Sports

Dear Readers,

Due to tumultuous family affair, I apologize for the delay in updating content on this sports blog.  For those who followed me at eagleshomefan.wordpress.com, this is the new site for your news and content.  I will still cover Philadelphia and fantasy sports  with the statistics, analysis and quality you’ve come to expect.  When time permits, I will cover international and niche sports as well.

You will be glad to know that in the future, those who have followed me and will follow me, the future will hold a lot more for this website than expected.  In the future, there will be cosmetic overhauls to the website, as well the addition of five-minute podcasts, possible contests and swag.  Lastly, there will be a new banner and logo for this website to emphasize the mission statement below.

Passion. Phantasy. Philadelphia.

This is the mission statement of this website, and it will ring true in 2012.

With Sincerest Apologies and Thanks,
Tex, Your Fellow Sports Nut

The Shortened 8 Game NFL Regular Season: The Victors and the Spoils

With the NFL preparing for the shortening of the  regular season, reducing the season from a 16 or 18 game schedule down to 8 games, well, at least there is a very little sliver of hope of something coming to fruition at all. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell however still intends on playing a full season.  On the other hand, the owners of the teams are less than optimistic and more than silent regarding the subject.  The Super Bowl is still scheduled at Lucas Oil Field Stadium in Indianapolis on February 5, 2012 with contingencies for a reschedule on February 12, 2012, if need be. In light of this, a shortened season will benefit some and not benefit others.

The Victors

  • NFL Players.  Before you say that, they would be victims in a shortened season.  Although financially they wouldn’t receive as much money overall for fulfilling their seasonal contracts, they would risk less physical injury in a shortened season.  This would immediately benefit most quarterbacks and running backs, particularly those prone to injury, into the regular season realistically. Detroit Lions Javhid Best and Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick would be two that would benefit from a shortened season as both are prone to injury.
  • NFL Fans.  Although this would seem like a downfall for the fans, at this point, something is better than nothing in my opinion.  While a full schedule consisting of either 16 or 18 games would be great, an 8 game regular season schedule will do.  However, there is something amiss which I will discuss in the spoils.
  • Television Networks. Whether it’s the NFL Network, ESPN, Fox or any of the other television networks carrying the sport, any amount of playing time in football is better than nothing.  Without football, they bear a drastic loss in revenue from the television advertisers.  Additionally, it would mess up the fall television schedule for the standard television networks, and it could potentially spell disaster in ratings.  With less ratings come less advertising sponsorship, and with the way this economy is free-falling, anything is better than nothing.
  • Television Advertisers and Their Products.  Whether it’s beer, chips or aftershave, these advertisers would take a hit.  Although an eight-game season would help make up some of their losses, at this point, they should be grateful for any season whatsoever.  However, they should be able to recoup their losses in the Super Bowl.
  • Concession Owners and the Like. Those who work seasonal jobs in the stadiums and those who own concessions in the stand with their overpriced foodstuffs, they will have jobs in this economic recession.  Any employment is better than none with the 9% unemployment rate.
  • The Playoffs. It could potentially be a multiple-team horse race, even more than last season.  Even “bad” teams could potentially win the Super Bowl.
  • Standard  and Roto-Style Fantasy Football Players. Although these fantasy football players will be playing for a shorter season, if they play their cards right in their draft, they can still have a sufficient season for bragging rights. Those who play roto-style fantasy football will have more excitement in this shortened season, but the betting will be intense as their star player could be injured at any moment and cost them the season.

The Spoils

  • NFL Team Owners. This would be a lost season for profits in their billion dollar industry.  With less time, they would have deal with some frustrated NFL fans who would otherwise purchase memorabilia, jerseys and such if there was a full season.
  •  NFL Fans. Although some fans will still attend, there remains a question on the price of season tickets.  Will they be reduced pro rata since it is an eight-game season?  Or will they attempt to recoup their losses by still keeping it full price or at least close to it?
  • NFL Players. Some rookies and second and third year players will have their growth potentially stunted.  Also, they could remain bench material for an eight-game season despite their talent.
  • Super Bowl. As this relates to the team owners and the NFL in general, the Super Bowl itself could potentially be less of a spectacle (no more Black Eyed Peas!) than last year as the influx of money would be reduced.  With less money comes less draw potentially, and the Super Bowl halftime show could crash and burn even more than last season.
  • Standard and Dynasty Fantasy Football Players. With a shortened season, if someone had a bad draft in standard fantasy football, there would be insufficient time to pick the waiver wire and remain competitive.  Additionally, an early season injury or injuries could potentially ruin the season in one fell swoop. Additionally, dynasty fantasy football players would be hit as their players would have insufficient time to develop.

Although there hasn’t been any progress to date, at least, both sides are talking about the collective bargaining agreement and attempting to flesh things out.  However, blind optimism won’t work in this valley of legalities and courtrooms.  Realistically, we still have ways to go.

Brian Boucher and the Philadelphia Flyers Go to Round 2 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Is the Goalie Controversy Over?

With the Philadelphia Flyers defeating the Buffalo Sabres and continuing to round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, head coach Peter Laviolette and his Flyers fought hard and won last Tuesday, despite bending in the third period by Brian Boucher by allowing two points.  With the rotating goalies during these playoffs, it is a bit disconcerting since this is a vital position.

Of the three goalies, including Michael Leighton and Sergei Bobrovsky, Brian Boucher is currently the best goalie statistically.  He has played 34 games with 10 wins and 8 losses.  As a goalie, he has an admirable 2.4 GAA and a 91.6 save percentage currently.  Compared to his fellow goalie teammates, Michael Leighton presently has a 4.0 GAA and an 88.9 save percentage; and Sergei Bobrovsky has a  2.59 GAA and a 91.5 save percentage.

Into the Stanley Cup playoffs so far, Brian Boucher has been the best performer.  In the six games that he has played, he’s had four wins and one loss with a 2.10 GAA and a 93.4 save percentage.  Sergei Bobrovsky comes in second with a 3.38 GAA and a 87.5 save percentage.  And with Michael Leighton holding the rear, he has a 3.44 GAA and a 86.2 save percentage.

Brian Boucher has been performing better statistically than his career averages, and with Laviolette’s blessing, he should continue his goalie duties as he is the best of the trio currently.  Sergei Bobrovsky should remain as his backup.  The Stanley Cup playoffs aren’t easy and definitely more physical than the World Series and quite possibly the NFL playoffs.  The Flyers have a hard road ahead of them, and with goalies decided now, it will make the Flyers better as they can develop chemistry and formulate more effective gameplans against their opponents.

A Philadelphia Eagles Fan’s View About Michael Vick on Madden 12 Cover

So it’s down to two NFL players for this upcoming season’s Madden cover — Cleveland Browns power running back Peyton Hillis and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and Comeback Player of the Year Michael Vick.  Even with the simplification of this long-running and derivative football game by Electronic Arts, some Eagles fans are wholeheartedly rooting for Michael Vick to push his stardom onto the cover of Madden, like he was on 2003 with the Atlanta Falcons.  For those concerned about my perspective concerning his dogfighting, sponsorship by PETA or his prison sentence, those things have sat on the backburner quite a while back.  All I am concerned with is his behavior with his Philadelphia Eagles teammates on the field and his presence off the field currently.

Last season, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was stellar throughout most of the beginning of the season and embraced and wrestled the starter position from Kevin Kolb mid-season.  Despite Vick’s displays off the field at schools and such, Michael Vick hasn’t changed sociably much from 20– when he was the Atlanta Falcons.  He has developed a better arm and was far more accurate and productive early in the season than he was with the Atlanta Falcons. He had an astonishing 100.6 quarterback rating on 3,018 yards passing, 21 touchdowns and 6 interceptions for the 2010 season overall.  However, defenses caught on to his act, and his productivity fell as the season progressed. From his dominance against the Washington Redskins in week 10 with a 150.7 quarterback rating, by the time he faced the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card game, his quarterback rating fell to a 79.9, only slightly better than his last season with the Atlanta Falcons at 75.7 in 2006.  Unfortunately, on the sidelines, he distances himself from his teammates consistently, like he was with DeSean Jackson, or not even there to support them, like with Kevin Kolb.  With his success, Vick could not share it with his teammates, like Donovan McNabb used to.

On the other hand, the Cleveland Browns had difficulties late in the season, with their young quarterback Colt McCoy and the injuries of their power running back Peyton Hillis.  Peyton Hillis dominated the Carolina Panthers with 3 touchdowns and 131 yards rushing in week 12 of the past season. Then he couldn’t score at all afterwards and his productivity declined as he contended with injuries.  Despite the management problems of Eric Mangini as their head coach, Peyton Hillis remained by his quarterback’s side — and Eric Mangini’s side as well.

Peyton Hillis is the better overall athlete of the two in that he appreciates teamwork and much harsher position overall on the body.  However, with the popularity of Michael Vick in most of Philadelphia and nationwide, I believe that Michael Vick will be chosen for the cover of Madden.  This will be beneficial financially for the Eagles organization and Philadelphia in general, but in my opinion, he is the less deserving of the honor.  However, with the Madden Curse, it might get its comeuppance on Michael Vick once again, and with the Philadelphia Eagles quite possibly without Kevin Kolb as backup, the Eagles may have to rely on a rookie quarterback or dilapidated veteran.

Philadelphia Phillies Placido Polanco Injured: Another Bat Strikes Out

With third baseman Placido Polanco of the Philadelphia Phillies out due yet another injury, another significant batter for the Phillies offense will be sidelined temporarily.  Luckily, it’s not serious as it is a mere hyperextension of his elbow.  Wilson Valdez came in to replace him during  the pre-season game with the Toronto Blue Jays.  With closer Brad Lidge out as well for tendenitis, the roster for the Philadelphia Phillies is disappearing, even before the season begins. These injuries are seriously testing my patience, but there is a silver lining in these dark days. Fortunately for us fans, the MLB is not having a lockout as well.  Otherwise, sports fans would be in for a long season.

2011 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway: Post-Race Analysis

With the Daytona International Speedway track repaved into three-wide, the frequent use of the two-car tandem and with Dale Earnhard Jr. relying on his backup car, and Junior starting in the back despite qualifying for the pole position,  this race should be one of the best NASCAR races of this season. Dale Earnhardt, “The Intimidator,” will be remembered on the third lap of this race in commemoration of his death a decade previous, and this driver has not been forgotten nor ever will be.  After all the drama, festivities and tailgating, it’s time to go racing, boys, and this was one heck of a race.

Now to the post-race analysis:

  • Regan Smith pushed Kurt Busch for Busch’s lead in the first lap of the Great American Race.
  • Michael Waltrip incidently pushed Kyle Busch, and Busch slid out in lap 5.  Fortunately, for him and the rest of the field, he didn’t collide with anyone else.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s spotter could have possibly caused a collision after J.J. Yeley’s car brought out the caution flag in lap 11.  Typical Junior drama and karma, and it began again as he pushed into the head of the pack.
  • Kevin Harvick blew an engine in lap 22 and officially out of the race.  Bad luck for him after 152 races without a blown motor.
  • Michael Waltrip again pushed into David Reutimann and caused a train wreck on lap 29 into a 17-car train wreck.  Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Mark Martin, all Hendrick Motosports cars, were brought into the garage for repair of heavy damage to their cars.  Not good news for these Hendrick drivers or for Dale Earnhardt Jr. as he was without his teammates for a major portion of the race.
  • Robert Richardson, Jr. spun out into lap 47, and he officially got his ticket into the garage.
  • Brian Vickers out on lap 56, and his engine had officially stalled.  Barely into lap 60, nearly one-third of the field had disappeared.
  • Some cars returned in lap 92 that were involved in earlier wrecks. Brian Vickers, Jeff Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson were some of the notable drivers to make their return.
  • Kurt Busch led lap 92 with Regan Smith in their two-car tandem again.
  • And yet another Richard Childress engine blew with Jeff Burton in the garage on lap 94.  Childress Racing didn’t have much luck this race, as with Hendrick Motorsports.  However, theirs was an engineering problem which should be resolved by next week’s race and not created by the big one caused by Michael Waltrip.
  • Juan Pablo Montoya spun out in lap 107 with no disaster on the track.  The two-car tandems still remained the theme up to this point of the race.  Interestingly, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have paired together — for a short time only.
  • Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have paired up in lap 110.  This pairing should be beneficial to both of these veterans, but it was short-lived.
  • Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard tandem have maintained the lead for five laps since lap 127.  Matt Kenseth, who had fallen a  lap down, crashed into the outer wall in lap 134.
  • Juan Pablo Montoya spun out and collided with Greg Biffle on lap 143.  And now the 11th caution flag had been dropped.  This race hasn’t been without excitement.
  • Regan Smith and Dale Earnhardt Jr. hook up in lap 147 and pushed Junior to the lead.  This is one potent combination since Regan Smith established himself in the lead pack after the big wreck of lap 29.
  • Travis Kavapil wrecked on lap 158 and brought out the 12th caution flag, a race record. The final push begun for the drivers and their respective pit crews.
  • Brad Keselowski crashed into the wall on lap 167, and the 13th yellow flag was brought out.
  • Kasey Kahne blew a tire out in lap 182, and Jamie McMurray had to resign himself  out of the race with an engine issue.  Now this race had its 14th yellow flag…
  • Soon enough, another caution flag…Regan Smith got turned by Kurt Busch caused by Tony Stewart on lap 196.
  • On lap 204, A.J. Allmendinger spun into Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Newman clipped Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and another caution flag. Junior was taken out of the race, as his karma followed again.

Trevor Bayne of Wood Brothers won the Daytona 500.  He had one of the faster cars on the field, but nobody expected this win in NASCAR or their fantasy cohorts.  Overall, a very entertaining race — with bookend wrecks, but the big one caused by Michael Waltrip changed the field early in lap 29.  The average speed of the Daytona 500 was 132 mp, with the top speed of 201 mph. Most of the cars raced from 170 to 200 mph.  Perhaps, like in the football season beforehand, this may be a season of surprises.  Certainly, NASCAR began with one. Now onto Phoenix…

Mediation for the NFL and the NFLPA: Problem Resolution without a Resolution

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and their owners have decided upon outside mediation for their resolution of the collective bargaining agreement with the players union.  They have resorted to rely upon the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, an independent U.S. government agency, which will oversee the labor negotiations in Washington, D.C. Knowing that the lockout will occur in about two weeks from now, by the end of Thursday, March 3rd, this mediation may not resolve the collective bargaining agreement.

I agree with some that arbitration would have been a better way of settling this dispute.  But the money being thrown around in this dispute, as well as the extended regular season schedule, the tension between the NFL team owners and players won’t be reconciled easily, even with a government agency.  President Barack Obama may attempt to intervene on behalf of public and the government agency, but I’m afraid it would be nothing more than a public relations display. Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday, an executive member on the board of the NFLPA, said that this mediation could only assist in resolving the disagreements.  Jeff Saturday may be a bit optimistic, but having seven straight days of talks starting today certainly will help.

Again, personally, I would prefer arbitration, but that would mean both sides would have to rely on an external person or agency making the final decision for the collective bargaining agreement.  The downside of relying upon this mediation by the government agency is that if the talks fail, the NFL players, teams and fans will have less than a week before a lockout will occur.  Arbitration would cut the drama short, and a final decision would before the March 3rd deadline.

The Other Stuff: Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick Declined Interview With Oprah Winfrey

Apparently, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick declined his interview with Oprah Winfrey on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that was scheduled to air on Thursday, February 24th.  He declined because of personal issues, but the topics on-hand may have significantly to do with it — Vick’s time spent in prison, his work with the Humane Society and his triumphant comeback in the NFL.  However, the first topic may have influenced Michael Vick to turn a 180 on the interview.  With the discussion on his time in prison, one of the primary topics will be on what got him there in the first place — his illegal dogfighting ring.  He or Oprah may be able to spin it to lessen the emotional impact, but some of the public have not forgotten nor forgiven.

It’s been two years since his time in prison, and Michael Vick had earned Associated Press 2010 Comeback Player of the Year Award.  Lastly, he set many professional milestones in his career this past season ranging from his quarterback rating of 100.2 to his nine rushing touchdowns.

Indianapolis Colts Franchised Quarterback Peyton Manning

With the advent of the franchise tag on Michael Vick for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Indianapolis Colts have dropped the franchise tag on their stellar and intelligent quarterback Peyton Manning.  Even though the Colts were contending with injuries much of this previous season, Peyton Manning still found ways to win with his tight end Dallas Clark and running back Joseph Addai for most of the season on the sidelines.  Financially, Manning is expected to be awarded $23 million under current guidelines.

Although the Indianapolis Colts lost to the New York Jets in the AFC Wild Card playoffs, Peyton Manning still found ways to win the last four games of the regular season against the Tennessee Titans, the Oakland Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars.  This momentum nearly carried them against the New York Jets, but they lost 17-16 — a single, disheartening point.  With Peyton Manning at the helm, the Colts surprisingly ranked 1st in passing offense this past season still.  An amazing feat despite their roster of injuries.

Unfortunately, the writing may be on the wall for this intelligent quarterback unless he can find ways to rebound next season in his accuracy.  In 2004, he had a stunning 121.1 quarterback rating with 4,557 passing yards, 49 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.  However, since 2004, his quarterback rating has fallen from 121.1 to 91.9. This past season, with his 91.9 quarterback rating, Manning had 4,700 passing yards, 33 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He was ranked 10th in quarterback rating during the regular season compared to his 1st-place ranking in 2004.  He is still an elite quarterback, but Manning must realize that he must improve this upcoming season for his team to overcome the parity of the NFL.

The Indianapolis Colts made a brilliant decision in franchising their star quarterback Peyton Manning.  He is an invaluable player for the Colts and far more consistent and intelligent than the Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick.