Supreme Court of Sports Knowledge:

Steve O Speak

By Guest Blogger John Manuel & Friends:

I wanted to get some various opinions on the current Sports World. So I thought and thought. What if I put together a round table discussion on five topics with myself and four other outspoken sports fans I have known in my lifetime? 5 questions with 5 opinions.

Feel free to comment and give your thoughts on this week’s winner.

Here is a rundown of the court’s justices:

The Matzie: Popular victim of my past blogs. Matzie proclaims to be, “Tactfully robust and refreshing, yet surprisingly tasteful.” We will see about that. Fan of many teams.

Bob: Rabid Ravens fan, disappointed Terps fan, and an eternally optimistic Orioles fan.

Vic Vinegar: Simple said…”Firm But Fair”

Gib: Born and raised in PA, a Maryland alum who loves all sports – but loves football a little more.

John aka Stinger: guest blogger and Chief Justice

To the questions….

1 – Did Green Bay win the Super Bowl or did Pittsburgh lose it?

The Matzie – “Call me biased, call me predictable, call me a girl named Sue, but the Steelers lost the game. Down four points as the fourth quarter began, the Steelers were staring down 2nd and 2 at the Green Bay 33 yard line. That’s a very enviable position after a lack luster first half and two turnovers given and none gained. For what it’s worth Mendenhall had only 2 fumbles all season on 324 carries. I’ll take those stats any season at 4.5 yards per carry with 1,273 yards rushing and 13 TD’s. HOWEVER, you have to protect the football when you are carrying the football in a crowd and Mendenhall didn’t follow the standard operating practice for an elite NFL running back. Thus, momentum shifted and the Packers pushed the lead up to 28 – 17.”

Bob – Working a Super Bowl commercial front- Most similar commercial “Snickers Bar lumberjack commercial”- Pittsburgh lost the Superbowl. The snickers commercial from last year with Betty White and Abe Bigoda stole the show. It was such a classic that it deserved a repeat this year. See it worked because they used celebrities that we thought were dead, but glad to see alive, then ultimately shocked to see pounded in the mud. Instant classic. This year Snickers dug up Richard Lewis and Rosanna Barr! Huh? I not only do not care that they are alive, they are so irrelevant to the public eye, that it was almost sad to see them trying to make a quick buck on commercials. The Steelers in their 2nd Superbowl in 3 years found themselves down 6 points with 2:07 minutes, in almost the exact same situation two years ago. Yet, instead of marching down the field and ending the game on miraculous catch in the endzone by Randle El (thought to be dead), they stumbled with clock management, only got one first down, and ended the game after only 5 plays on an almost interception. The Steelers had failed to stand up and deliver on the biggest stage at the biggest moment. You had to feel sorry for not only them but their fans also. It was such a pathetic effort to try and duplicate an instant classic.”

Vic – “Green Bay won it. Sure, the fumble was huge, and the Ladies Man (allegedly of course) threw two big picks, but had it not been for a couple of big drops by the Packers, this game could have been over early. More importantly, and speaking of “losing it” how about Xtina and the national anthem? Although looking at her, the case could be made that she has certainly “gained” more than she has “lost”. Just saying.”

Gib – ”The reality is that nearly every football game is both won and lost. While the Steelers continued their post season trend of not playing quality football for 60 full minutes, I believe that the Packers won the game more than the Steelers lost it. Aaron Rodgers dictated the pace of the game right out of the gate and the Green Bay defense came up with big plays when they needed them. It’s unusual to look past a pick 6 as a team’s biggest defensive play – but it really seems to me that the Clay Matthews hit on Rashard Mendenhall on the first play of the 4th quarter was the biggest play of the game. Pittsburgh trailed 21-17, had scored the last 14 points, and were playing their game – running the ball downhill on the Packer defense. At that point it seemed like Green Bay was about to meet the same fate as the Ravens a few weeks earlier, squandering a double digit lead in the second half to the more experienced team. The Packers did not allow that to happen. Although Roethlisberger would get the ball in his hands one score down with about two minutes to play, the game was won when the ball violently left Mendenhall’s hands at the start of the final quarter.”

Stinger- “Green Bay won the game. Pittsburgh turnovers were caused by Green Bay making plays. As a Skins fan, we could have used Howard Green. Actually we could have used a lot of Green Bay’s backups. Actually we could use Green Bay’s interns as our decision makers. Why does this always go back to other teams being better than my team? As I said in my Super Bowl blog, this could be the start of three in a row for the Packers.”

2- Whose side on you on? NFL players or NFL owners?

Matzie aka Sue- ” There’s a claim that the NFL players get 60% of the revenues. The more accurate breakdown is that the players take approximately 50% of revenues and the players take 100% of the punishment. The 60% figure represents gross revenues that add up to nearly $1 billion in “expense credits”. All of this and the league, the richest and most popular in the United States, continues to deny insurance claims to NFL veterans in the most brutal contact sport aside from MMA or boxing. The league decided to opt out of the agreement in 2008. Drawing a hard line in negotiating three years ago, the league created the tensions felt today. Not such a smart move when the collective league stands to lose nearly $400 million per week during the regular season, which doesn’t even count lost revenues starting in March once the current agreement expires.”

Bob- Most similar commercial “The never aired Tim Tebow pro-life commercial.” Two things here. No one wins in this political argument. Both sides make piles of money for playing a game. Second, it is not our money at stake yet we end up paying for it. No matter what the outcome, fans are going to see increased ticket prices passed thru to them. If the Tim Tebow commercial would have aired, you’d make some bud light induced dumb comment and be subject to the ire of all the females and republicans in the room. Next thing you know, the crowd you had so wittingly impressed with your knowledge of all things football, commercials, and Black Eyed Peas, is now looking at you like you spit in the guacamole.”

Vic- ” I have to go with the players on this one. Unfortunately, they are paying the price for their union getting b-slapped by the owners for the past 25 years right now. Like the players, I don’t want an 18 game schedule. Like the players, I want quality healthcare after I retire. And, like the players, my body feels the equivalent of 18 minor car accidents every day that I go to work…wait. I’m typically a “pro big business” kind of guy, and it’s hard to sympathize with many of today’s players (playas), but in this one I find it hard to listen to a bunch of billionaires cry poor.”

Gib- ” I believe the credibility of the owners will suffer as the CBA process drags on. The proposal for an 18 game schedule and the crackdown on “illegal hits” (however that is defined) stand in direct conflict. Polls indicate that even the football-craved American public rejects the notion of the prolonged season. That is not because they don’t want to watch two extra games in the future, it is because they understand the toll the season takes on the players. They have seen the length of Green Bay’s injured reserve list. They recognize the hypocrisy the league shows the players when they say that they hold the player’s health as the highest priority. Don’t get me wrong, both sides are in it for the money – it’s just that one side is worse at hiding that reality. I side with the players.”

Stinger- “Players need to stick it to the owners. The 18 game schedule is crap. I would make them pay, especially that lawsuit happy owner in DC. Fanspeak, call the lawyers in case Danny reads this. I would understand if there is a delay in the 2011 football season if the players don’t give in. Then again the owners may need money after paying out the 400 victims who didn’t Super Bowl seats when they start taking the Commish to court. If they don’t have a season in 2011, I hope MTV gets all former Real World and Road Rules cast members and has one mega-challenge. They could show this on Sundays from 1-7 easily. Tired of Jersey Shore and Teen Mom re-runs.”

3- At the midway point who will win the NBA championship?

Matzie/Sue- ” I’m gonna go with Cleveland. Wait…. Lebron left? Ok, I’ll take Lebron’s prettier, sunnier, friendlier, and classier landing spot. Miami is 24 – 7 in the Eastern conference. They’ve had a 12 game win streak and they are an All Star team acting in synergy as each game clock expires. The only other competition, in my humble opinion, is Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio as Exhibit A, B, and C, respectively. Exhibit A is too old, Exhibit B is too young, and Exhibit C doesn’t face any competition to battle test them in the weak Western Conference. Don’t give me any arguments on that. LA is bLAh and Kobe lost two steps not one. Durant can only do so much by himself in Oklahoma City. Denver is about to lose Melo. Dallas has the pride of Pittsburgh in Mark Cuban but his aging star power is losing much of its luster.”

Bob – “Most similar commercial “Volkswagon Darth Vader”- The evil empire of the NBA, the Lakers will win the NBA championship. Their quiet yet forceful business-like approach to basketball still rules the galaxy even though teams consisting of young rebels are sprouting up all over to challenge their destiny. The biggest threat maybe the Miami Heat but they are akin to the Budweiser Wild West commercial, which for the first 25 seconds looked to have all the makings of a classic commercial, only to end with the guy from Fargo singing the most overplayed cliché college bar song of all time. Like the Heat, lots of production, great star power with sinister past, but didn’t deliver the goods. Lakers in 6. Over the Heat.”

Vic- ” I hadn’t realized the NBA season had started yet, but I looked it up this morning, and you are absolutely correct, its halfway over. Weird. Assuming they stay healthy, I guess I would have to say the Heat probably have the inside track. If it were one game, there are probably a handful of teams with a legit shot, but best 4 out of 7 is a different story.”

Gib- ” As much as it pains me to say it, I would say Miami has the best shot to win the championship at this point. Although, it is being reported that the Lakers and Nuggets might be working on a trade that sends Carmelo Anthony to Los Angeles. If that happens, that could be a game-changer.”

Stinger-“I like the Mavs for some reason. I think they are due. Dirk is too good not to win a title at some point and Jason Kidd is a legend. Plus, they always make a move before the trade deadline to get better. All can change depending on where Melo lands. Maybe Dallas? My pick gets better. We should revisit this question in March for sure. I can tell you who won’t win, Cleveland. That losing streak is getting out of control. Hope it goes until they host the Wizards and their road losing streak. Loser leaves the NBA match? Call in “Dangerous” Danny Davis and Earl Hebner to ref that one. Really don’t want to see the Heat win. Have a friend who is a Heat fan and is on a roll in 2011. His year is good enough already.

4- Can the Orioles or Nationals finish above .500 based on what they did in the off-season?

Matzie- “Two words…..Peter Angelos. This is the reason why the Orioles are and will continue to struggle to put a product worthy of competing in the AL East. In 1993, Peter Angelos issued this statement in taking over what was a highly competitive and historic ball club, “”Profit margins are secondary. The fans should be satisfied that they have a strong and vibrant organization pursuing a team that is absolutely and totally capable of reaching the top.” Nearly 18 years later, Angelos is nearly 80 years old and the Orioles struggle to get it up almost as much as their notorious owner. The Nationals….well they are at least trying. Did they overpay for Werth…Yes. However, they had to. They don’t have the championship pedigree to lure free agents. Instead, they dangle dollars. For that, I applaud them. Their pitching staff includes elite talent in Stephen Strasberg and Jordan Zimmerman. For my money, I’ll take Washington’s chances at an above .500 record in the less treacherous NL East.”

Bob- “Most similar commercial “Go Daddy Joan Rivers”. Like the commercial, we as viewers/fans became engrossed in the image of great legs, butt, and chest that came onto our high definition screen. We no longer hear our screaming kids hopped up on Coke, candy, and Doritos, only the image of sexiness and the thought of what the complete package will look like. Like Bryce Harper (chest), Strasburg(legs), Werth (butt) or in the case of the Orioles Guerrero (chest), Derrek Lee(butt), and Duchscherer(legs), we only see the anatomy of what appears to be a Class A franchise. But when the camera pans up to the face and gives you the whole image including the face, we are only see the same old Orioles and Nationals. Both can try to defy gravity and improve upon key parts, but in the end, gravity wins and we are both still Joan Rivers at a bar competing with Marissa Miller and Brooklyn Decker.”

Vic- ” I don’t see it. The O’s had a really nice finish to 2010, but the reality is that they have to play the Rays, Yanks and Sox in 54 games this year. They have a pretty tough inter league schedule to boot (Reds, Braves, and Cards among others). I’d love to see them keep up the momentum from the last few months of 2010, but their signings in the offseason carry a ton of risk (unknowns). The worst part is that .500 has become some sort of goal within the fan base, which is pretty lame. As for the Expos, no, they have no shot at finishing .500. Jayson Werth can’t pitch (at least not every day).”

Gib- “No and no. Still, I think the Orioles are on the right track – even though the Vlad Guerrero signing did not include a time machine. The AL East is not sympathetic bunch, however, and it will be difficult for the O’s to stack 82 wins in that company. I think the Nationals will miss Adam Dunn more than they currently realize and believe, like everyone else, that they probably could have gotten more bang for their buck than they did with Jayson Werth. 2012 may be the target date for the DC club, with Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg adding some much needed juice. Let’s hope the Mayans are wrong and we get to see how this turns out.”

Stinger- “O’s yes. Nats, not yet. Buck proved he can get them to play. They should hit the ball out of the park. Wieters hitting 8th? He could finally explode this season. Anyone down for opening day? May start pregame at 8am this year in anticipation. Once Buck took over and B Rob got back in the lineup, it was a different team. Others will bring up Angelos but I think he has changed some. Still would rather see another owner but this isn’t 1998-2007 with him. Nats in 2012 should look at over .500. I like what they are doing, but the Strasburg surgery will set them back. At least they hired a color guy for TV with a hot wife.”

5- Would you have attended Michael Vick‘s Super Bowl party if it happened and you received an invite?

Matzie– “This one’s easy. I wouldn’t attend Ron Mexico’s fiesta, though I believe every one deserves a second chance. However, the closest thing to a human being on this planet is a dog. The only rungs lower on the ladder are murders and child molesters. There’s a reason why dog’s are called man’s best friend. You have to be somewhat evil to make an animal, as loyal and smart as a dog, suffer and die. I personally would like to see Michael run a 40 yard dash against ten of the pit bulls he tortured. Hell, I’d love to put him in a room alone with my Olde English Bulldogge named Hogan. Did I own him in fantasy….Yes. However, I am giving myself a pass because it was my only way to compete in a league where NO ONE will trade. I tried to trade one owner Ocho Cinco and the Giants D for Pitt’s Defense. His response….No thanks. C’mon man!! You have to judge his football merit based on his team though….Jersey Meatball. I would’ve been more successful trading him a jumbo plate of baked ziti and a case of Pauly D’s hair gel.”

Bob- “Most similar commercial “Kim Kardashian Sketchers exercise shoes” – Yes, absolutely. Michael Vick was not even allowed to attend by the NFL. But the star power that showed up to that event may have been something I would have paid $200 to stand outside and watch on TV. At the party I was at, as soon as the Kardashian commercial was over a woman in the room announced that it was proven by some scientist that the Sketchers shoes don’t even work. A lot of others in the room nodded and agreed and quickly dismissed everything about the commercial. I did not even see the shoes in the commercial. And if I was at Michael Vicks party, I would not even have noticed him if he wore an oddly brown and oddly smooth coonskin hat. “

Vic- ” 1000% yes. I’m not just saying this as an Eagles fan, but as one who also appreciates the finer things in life. His now infamous 2010 bday party was held here… If a $12.99 all you can eat fajita Thursday doesn’t scream “come rub elbows with a bunch of millionaire athletes”, then I’m not sure what does. And to think that lil bro Marcus would probably help in promoting such an event through his mass Twitter following only emphasizes the exclusive opportunity at hand if I got such an invite.”

Gib- ” No. I think you need to have Mike’s speed and elusiveness to get out of his get-togethers in one piece. I’d be an easy target – so to speak.”

Stinger- “Would have attended in a Mean Machine Paul Krewe jersey. Joking, I would have probably passed. Not a fan of Ron Mexico, as many of my friends have had to listen to me talk about. He had a sick season but did get beat up. I hoped for his own sake he has changed. I am just not sold on it. I got nothing else positive to add.”

So what do you think, who wins the arguments this week?  Do you agree with the court’s decisions?

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