Saturday, May 16, 2015

Helmet Sensors

There's an interesting article at Yahoo about the NFL and helmet sensors. The technology hasn't been perfected yet but it can yield useful data. The main sticking point? The union. Basically, they want the players to have access to the data for health purposes, but they still want to be able to sue the NFL even after they've been shown they might be damaging their health.

SVP & Russillo Ending

My day took an awful turn earlier in the week when I heard that SVP & Russillo will be ending at some unspecified point in the future as Van Pelt is going to be the host of a midnight Sportscenter that will apparently be something like a late night show. Now if that idea has any chance of working I think SVP is the one to pull it off, but I'm probably not going to be able to watch it and it won't make up for missing out on what has often been the best three hours of my weekdays. Where else can you get gold like this?

The other problem is that Russillo's contract is ending soon to so it's a question as to whether he will be continuing on the show or at ESPN at all. Russillo has become my favorite ESPN personality so if he sticks around I think a new show would still be good (though I'm not crazy about the suggestions I've seen for co-hosts) but if he leaves there's going to be a giant hole in my afternoons and it's going to be a lot tougher to get through those spreadsheets.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

College Football Post-Season

With more talk about the Power 5 and the College Football Playoffs, I wanted to add my opinion on helping decide the "Final 4." I think conferences should actually go away from divisions. Just go back to how it used to be and at the end of the 8 or 9 game conference schedule, the top 2 teams play for the Conference Championship. If it's a repeat game, so be it.

For example, this year, OSU and MSU were clearly the two best teams in the conference. But instead, Wisconsin was the team from the West Division that qualified for the Title game. It was a blow out.

In the SEC, Alabama and Missouri played for the Title. In both conferences, the winner was going to automatically be in the Final 4 and deservedly so...but that's assuming OSU and Alabama win. What if Wisconsin and/or Missouri would have won? Disaster. If Missouri or Wisconsin would have won, would either team have been in the Final 4? No way. In that case, a team from those conferences (MSU or Miss St.) could have been selected for the Final 4...and neither would have played in a Conference Title game.

Shouldn't a championship game be the top 2 teams? Having divisions does not ever guarantee a balanced conference. So why do something so flawed? The B1G East and the SEC West were top heavy. Eliminating divisions allows more flexibility to send the top 2 teams.

If you want disaster, then allow a weaker division to send it's #1 team to the Title game to screw things up.

"If it don't fit, acquit."

I'm not sure the punishment fits the crime. Wait, no, I'm sure it does not and we all know this will be appealed and probably knocked down to 2 games.

Brady is going to drop Tecmo Super Bowl-like numbers on the Colts when he returns Week 6 at the Colts. You can imagine Al Michaels is going crazy right now because he knows it will be the SNF game of the week on NBC. HUGE ratings. Unfortunately for him, it will not mark Brady's return because he'll be back sooner than 4 games.  Nice knowing you Indy.

I believe Brady is guilty and lied. I'm still wondering why the equipment managers seemed to be jerks about deflating the balls. I read something about exchanged text messages requesting favors from Brady for doing this for him. Like signed footballs, cleats, etc. Really? It's that big of a deal he has to give you signed merchandise? My goodness. Do you work for the Patriots or the CIA? Aren't you all on the same team? Don't you all have the same goal, TO WIN?!? Why are you equipment managers being so uptight? Your star player wants a little air let out of the ball. JUST DO IT! Who do you think you are? Isn't your job to help prepare and get your team whatever it takes to win a game? It's the freakin' AFC Championship! Now, I do realize these texts may have actually taken place in October or November, which is obviously far from the AFC Title game, and was probably going on all year, especially cold weather games, not just the AFC Title game.

But, just so I'm clear, tell me what Tom Brady actually DID to the balls. Was Tom Brady the one who deflated the footballs? If he's not...

Monday, May 11, 2015

Crime and Punishment

It should go without saying that I'm not a fan of Tom Brady or the Patriots. I absolutely think he was involved in breaking the rules and then he lied about it. If he had come clean back before the Super Bowl I probably would have been satisfied with a "small" fine, maybe $50,000 or so? Since he lied about it I think a one-game suspension and a fine would have been reasonable. But a $1 million fine, a four-game suspension, a first-round draft pick, and a fourth-round draft pick? That's harsh. It doesn't bother me, and after listening to ex-players talk about this story over the past few months I'm convinced they're all a bunch of dirty cheaters and it is satisfying to see a major penalty for even a minor infraction, but it's still harsh.

Saturday, May 09, 2015


Did Michigan fans actually get angry at this statement by Mark Dantonio?
"Hey, we just work at it. Right now, we’re selling results. I’ve said this over and over. We’re selling results. Other people are selling hope."

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Captain America: Civil War

Marvel announced today that principal photography has begun on Captain America: Civil War. In the announcement they listed the cast:

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier
Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon
Paul Bettany as The Vision
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye
Don Cheadle as Jim Rhodes/War Machine
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man
Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther
Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter/Agent 13
Daniel Brühl (character not named, reportedly Baron Zemo)
Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow/Crossbones
William Hurt as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross
Martin Freeman

So, yes, Avengers 2.5 would seem to be an apt description.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

What does a total lack of self-awareness look like?

It looks like this:

Looking back: 2010 NFL Draft

People like to grade the NFL draft the moment it happens, but I rarely see much follow-up in the 3-5 year window where we actually have a pretty good idea how things worked out. So in that spirit here's a link to the results of the 2010 draft. How did Detroit do? The Lions drafted six players. None of them are still on the roster. Three of them are still in the league. Suh obviously had his issues but is considered one of, if not the best, to play his position. Jahvid best showed promise but multiple concussions at a time when the league started freaking out about such things ended his career. Jason Fox is a backup tackle and Willie Young is a decent DE for the Bears now. I'm not sure how you would end up grading that. One Hall-of-Famer for five years and not much else, is that maybe a C?

'15 Lions Draft

I don't have the issues I did last year with the Lions draft picks but there are two that leave me scratching my heard: RB Ameer Abdullah and FB Michael Burton. Abdullah was a great college RB, but he has a propensity to fumble and when I saw him play against a great college defense he disappeared. Obviously I would have preferred they wait and take Langford later, but Spartan bias aside I was also hoping for Coleman out of Indiana. The problem with Burton is simple: Who drafts a fullback in 2015?

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Thoughts on Age of Ultron

Some thoughts on Age of Ultron, I'll add to it after a second viewing as I was doing a lot of analyzing and not enough watching the first time around:

-I didn't stay all the way to the end to confirm, but everything I've read says there is no post-credits scene, only a mid-credit scene, so no need to hang around through everything. After the purple guy you're good to go.

-It will be a bit before I'm sure on my ranking, but as of right now I'd put this slightly below my top tier of Marvel films (GotG, Winter Soldier, Avengers). I might revise that up. The main challenge for this movie are giant expectations; even if it's great it can still fall short.

-I like Ultron and think he's the best MCU villain since Loki. They went to great lengths to make his robot face expressive which works well considering he has much more personality than you might expect from a robot. I just wish there was more of him, which is a common complaint for the movie as a whole.

-The dynamic of the team together makes the movie. They come across as seasoned pros who are completely confident in one another and comfortable together. I could probably watch an entire movie of Avengers down time.

-Hawkeye is great in the movie and makes up for his lack of time in Avengers. There are some revelations about him that are surprising.

-There's a Banner-Romanoff thing going on that I'm not sure about. As dumb as it sounds, I think it mostly bugs me because she was wearing a Hawkeye necklace in Winter Soldier.

-Vision is terrific, though it is weird to hear the voice coming from an actual actor. The scene that convinces the Avengers to trust him is really clever and got a great reaction from the crowd.

-I didn't expect the guy who refused to launch the helicarriers in Winter Soldier to show up again, but there he is. Good for him.

-I thought the music let the movie down a bit. There were a few scenes that I thought really called for the Avengers theme to be strong and loud and it wasn't really there.

-Hulk vs. Hulkbuster is cool, though some of the impact is taken away because so much of the fight has been in trailers. That true of a lot of the cool scenes.

-I've seen some people complain about too much CG in this movie. I'm not sure how you do it without a lot of CG, but there are a few issues. There's definitely some dodgy CG in the opening scene. The action is probably the least clear of any of the MCU movies so many times you don't get to really appreciate what's going on.

-No one likes change, but the last scene of the movie did get me excited for whatever happens next.

A few more thoughts after a second viewing:

-The action seemed a little bit clearer than the first time, though the theater was so full I practically had my nose pressed to the screen so I guess some small details were bigger.

-Again, I really love Hawkeye in this movie. "No one would know..." is one of my favorite bits of the whole film. I do wish he had a dog at the farm though, as in the current comic:

-I think the humor in this movie is just about right, maybe overdone slightly.

-Nice to see a green tractor in the movie.

-I often don't care much for the audience at a movie but the one today was pretty good. The audible gasp in the theater during the scene with the Vision that I mentioned earlier was cool.

-Now I can say the film goes in the top tier of Marvel films for me. It's not quite at the top, but it does feel like the arrow is pointing upwards.

Becoming Captain America

Esquire has an interesting article up about Chris Evans and how playing Captain America has altered the course of his career. I think that's especially notable because I remember reading (can't find the article at the moment) that Evans really struggled with the decision to take the role, fearing that he wouldn't be up to the pressure of expectations and the extra notoriety. Needless to say, I think he's managed it and now it's really difficult to imagine anyone else playing the role.