Friday, January 20, 2012

NFL - Conference Championships

Is this the season where we return to sanity?

The traditional rules to winning a Superbowl are the following:

1. Have a smart, accurate quarterback who performs under pressure.  Quarterbacks who double as running backs need not apply.

2. Have a featured running back who rushed for over 1,000 yards but did not lead the league or even the conference in rushing.  Teams that are mostly about the running game don't belong here.

3. Have a strong defense.

For decades, having all three of the above has been the formula.  There have been a few exceptions, such as the 2000 Ravens, but year by year, this has been almost always the case.

However, each of the last two years has featured teams that don't quite fit this formula.  Two years ago, the New Orleans Saints won with hardly any running game to speak of.  They, in fact, barely beat the Indianapolis Colts, another team without a strong running game or even that good of a defense.  Both these teams featured complex, dynamic passing games that seemed to overcome their other deficiencies.  Then last year, it happened again with the Green Bay Packers.  This leads to the question - has the formula been changed?

This year, the Packers went 15-1 with a weak running game and a suspect defense.  They seemed to be on a collision course with the Saints, who had similar strengths and weaknesses.  This weekend was supposed to be the big shootout between these two pass-happy teams.  As we know now, it wasn't to be.  In fact, the two teams in the NFC that won last week follow the traditional formula.

Now, of the four teams left, only the Patriots depend almost solely on their passing game with their weak running game and suspect defense.  However, I'm not sure if the Ravens fit the formula either as we'll see if Joe Flacco is poised and accurate enough.

The way I see it, this is a very good thing.  Just like the steroid-era of baseball showed, too much offense is not necessarily a good thing.  In baseball, home runs were supposed to be special and exciting.  When there's 10 home runs in a game, the luster wears off and it just becomes expected.  In football, stuffed runs, quarterback sacks, and knocked-down passes are as exciting as touchdowns.  A 10-3 game can be as entertaining as a 35-31 game.

Here I go:

Giants over 49ers
Ravens over Patriots

Friday, January 13, 2012


Saints over 49ers
Patriots over Broncos
Ravens over Texans
Giants over Packers

The Candidates

Alright, it's time to chime in on the 2012 Presidential candidates.

I've seen many debates, watched the candidates on news shows, listened to interviews, and examined their records.  I also want to add I've watched and listened to the left's take on these candidates to get an additional perspective.  After all, I am a firm believer that 2008's John McCain was a product of the left-leaning media that relentlessly and successfully convinced Americans that he was the most electable Republican candidate.

This is not 2008.  It seemed, at first, that the left-wing media (you know, those "mainstream" outfits like CBS, NBC, ABC, NPR, CNN, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and pretty much any major city newspaper) decided that the best way to get Barack Obama re-elected was to promote Mitt Romney.  Romney, after all, initiated "RomneyCare", the basis for "ObamaCare", so he wasn't conservative enough to rally the conservatives of the Tea Party ilk.  The problem with that idea was Romney is also a successful businessman and just might come across as someone who could actually fix the economy and get elected.   The media, for a while, just seemed content to let the debates go without saying much.  When Herman Cain started repeatedly getting accused of sexual harassment,  the story was so juicy that the media made sure it got plenty of airtime.  I'm sure the media was happy they didn't have to deal with a black Republican candidate.  After all, any criticism of him would be condemned as racism by the right.  No wait!  That's what the left does.  Now, the media is promoting Jon Huntsman.  He has virtually no chance of winning but I'm sure the media is promoting his leftish platform as a model of how the eventual Republican winner should run his campaign against Obama.

Here is my take on the candidates:

Jon Huntsman:  This man is irrelevant.  The only person who thinks he can be President is him.

Herman Cain:  While I would have relished the thought of the left squirming about a right-leaning black man running against Barack Obama, it just wasn't to be.  Cain lost me with his insistence on his "9-9-9" plan.  I'm all for radical tax reform but Cain's plan seemed too convenient.  Are we really supposed to believe that after careful analysis of the tax system, the optimal tax rates for personal income, business income, and national sales tax just happens to be 9%, 9%, and 9% giving Cain a handy catchphrase to state over and over again?  Good thing it wasn't the 8.75-9.34-7.73 plan.  Nobody would have remembered it.  The tax plan was also the only thing Cain seemed to be armed with.  He stumbled badly when handling questions about foreign policy or positions on abortion.  I like Cain as a person but he frankly was not ready to be President.  By the way, whatever happened to all the sexual harassment suits that were popping up until he cancelled his run?

Michele Bachmann:  Every time I heard Bachmann speak, she always said all the right things.  She comes across as very smart and very conservative.  However, Bachmann's got some baggage with her husband and there are indications that she doesn't always "walk the walk".  Also, Tim Pawlenty accused her of not accomplishing anything in Congress and she wasn't able to respond well to that.  Sorry Michele, not this year.  Stay in Congress, stay conservative, and we'll see next time.  I haven't given up on you but this 2012 election is not for you.  I still wonder what the "Queen of Rage" cover of Newsweek was about.  She never seemed angry to me.  Oh yeah!, it's the media, never mind.

Rick Santorum:  I like him a lot.  He may be the best conservative candidate.  He comes across as a hard-working, very knowledgeable family man.  If this election was based strictly on integrity and principles, Santorum would be my guy.

Rick Perry:  Perry comes across to me as weak.  He seems to have been a pretty good governor but I have no idea where he is on foreign policy.  He shows up at debates unprepared which is pretty unacceptable.  He reminds me of George W. Bush when he speaks and that won't get him elected.

Ron Paul:  I wish this guy was as irrelevant as Huntsman because in my opinion, he has no business being a Presidential candidate.  The utopia of a teeny, tiny, government would fail within weeks when Iranian-sponsored terrorists attack us and we aren't able to do anything about it because we'll have such a small military.  Paul is weaker than Obama on foreign policy and frankly scares the hell out of me.  I would honestly vote for Obama if Paul became the Republican candidate.  (Which is very unlikely.)

Newt Gingrich:  When Gingrich put his hat in the ring, I was very uncomfortable and I wasn't sure why.  I kept hearing from supporters how intelligent he is and how he was the one primarily responsible for the "budget surplus" that everyone gives Clinton credit for. (Not really a surplus but that's not important right now.)  Once I heard Gingrich in a debate speak favorably of the federal government aiding people in buying a home.  He is always talking about a "government policy" for this and a "government policy" for that.  Gingrich has shown himself as a big-government Republican.  Yet, he has the gumption of calling himself "conservative".  Hey Newt, know thyself and stop attacking Romney with your leftish, anti-capitalist views.  Why don't you just become Obama's campaign manager and be done with the charade?

Mitt Romney:  This election is about A. Who is going to fix the economy? and B. Who is going to guide the U.S. and the free world through what is going to be a very dangerous time for the world?  The President is going to have to deal with a new leader in North Korea, Iran about to become a nuclear power, a very nervous Israel,  potentially hostile new regimes in Egypt and Libya, and all sorts of instability in Europe.  On this basis, I am convinced that Mitt Romney is that candidate who is best suited to deal with this by far.  Really, my fellow Americans, this is not the time to fret over positions on abortion or gay marriage.  We need to have Americans working and producing again.  This is the best way to stay strong and be in position to confront those who would destroy us. 

If you believe I am wrong about this.  Please let me know.  I'd love to read it.