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Archive for January, 2013|Monthly archive page

Los Angeles Lakers: Destined for the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery

In Sports on January 31, 2013 at 4:00 pm

NBA Draft Lottery

When the Los Angeles Lakers pulled off trades for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash during the off-season, they looked like a team that was built to make another run at an NBA title, at least on paper.  Unfortunately for the Lakers, the games are not played on paper; they are played on a court, where an all-star team of paper tigers has been proven to be too old and slow to compete at the highest level.  If this team had been assembled five years ago, the Lakers may very well have been favored to win it all, but time is not kind to professional athletes.  With more than half of the season completed, the only thing that the Lakers have to look forward to at this point is seeing how many ping pong balls they will have when the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery takes place on Tuesday, May 21st.

The trades that looked so brilliant in the off-season have backfired on the Lakers.  Both Howard and Nash have suffered through an injury-plagued season, and the team has yet to jell even when everyone is healthy.

When the Lakers got off to a 1-4 start, head coach, Mike Brown, took the fall and was fired.  Rumors abound that the “Zen Master,” Phil Jackson, would be brought back to fix what ailed the Lakers, but his return never came to fruition.  The basketball world was shocked when the Lakers chose to go with Mike D’Antoni instead of Jackson, but no one thought that the team would continue to falter so badly that they would miss the playoffs.

A three-game home winning streak this month gave Laker fans a glimmer of false hope that they could climb out of the early-season abyss that they created for themselves.  However, reality set in last night when the Lakers blew a 13-point, fourth quarter lead in Phoenix as the Suns extended the Lakers road losing streak to 7 games in Nash’s return to the city that he called home for most of his career.  This was the first time in franchise history that the Lakers have ended a calendar month with a road record of 0-7 or worse.  Their road record this season is now an appalling 5-16, and their overall record is 20-26.

The Western Conference does not reward mediocre teams with playoff berths the way that the Eastern Conference does, so the Lakers are facing an uphill battle.  Over the past decade, the eighth seed in the Western Conference has been at least four games over .500 every year except one, and even that team was two games over .500.

If recent history is any indication, the Lakers will have to finish the season with a record of 22-14 to even have a chance to sneak into the playoffs, and they still have 20 road games left on the schedule.  To make matters worse, Howard re-injured his shoulder again last night in the loss to the Suns, so his availability is in question.

Even if the Lakers are able to get on a roll and make it into the playoffs, their first round matchup is almost guaranteed to be against either the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder or the Los Angeles Clippers who are in the unfamiliar position of being LA’s glamour team.  All three teams are dominant at home.  And while a matchup against the Clippers wouldn’t require any travel, the Lakers simply cannot keep up with the younger and faster hometown rivals in a seven-game series.

There will be a lot of discussion in the coming weeks about whether the Lakers should deal Howard by the February 21st trading deadline, but it won’t matter either way.  The only question left to answer for the Lakers for the remainder of the season is…

How many ping pong balls will have their logo on it when the NBA Draft Lottery takes place in May?

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A-Rod’s Contract Should Serve as a Wake-Up Call to All MLB Owners

In Sports on January 30, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez has likely donned pinstripes for the last time because of his latest PED (performance enhancing drug) scandal, his over-inflated contract and his diminishing returns on the field.  The New York Yankees still owe Rodriguez $114 million over the next five years, but they are going to try and leverage Rodriguez’s PED usage to void the contract.  Unfortunately for the Yankees, all MLB contracts are fully guaranteed, and the player’s union is unlikely allow any contract to be voided without a fight.  Rodriguez’s contract should serve as a wake-up call to all MLB owners.

If Major League Baseball truly wants to fix what ails the game today, the owners must work with the player’s union to legislate performance enhancing drugs out of the game by making contracts voidable to those players who are found guilty of using PEDs.   At the very least, the penalties for getting caught using PEDs need to be made so strict that they serve as a true deterrent.

The PED problem in baseball has blighted a whole generation of players.  It is the sole reason that players with undisputable hall of fame careers are being kept from joining the ranks of other players who have already been enshrined in the hallowed halls in Cooperstown.

While PEDs are a serious problem, they are not the only problem that Major League Baseball is facing with regard to its guaranteed contracts.

In recent years, large market teams have thrown obscene amounts of money in long-term deals to free agents who are guaranteed to provide diminishing returns by the time the contract ends.  These over-inflated salaries will account for a large percentage of team payrolls years after the players’ most productive seasons.  Because the contracts are guaranteed, these players become virtually untradeable.

The Yankees simply have not gotten the production out of Rodriguez to justify his contract, and now they are going to try and use a PED scandal to save them from themselves.

Rodriguez will turn 38 in the middle of this season, so his age would already dictate a likely decline in production.  Coming off of his second major hip surgery, there was no guarantee that he was going to play this season anyway, even if he isn’t suspended for a good portion of the year.  His abysmal playoff performance last season had him riding the pine while the Yankees were fighting to keep their World Series dream alive.   That should speak volumes about what the Yankees think of him as a player.

If the Yankees fail to get Rodriguez’s contract voided if he is found guilty of this PED accusation, they are unlikely to find many options to get rid of him without paying a large sum of money.  Even if they were willing to absorb a good percentage of the money left in his contract, the Yankees are unlikely to find another team that would want to take on an injury-prone, former superstar with greatly diminished skills who is embroiled in a PED scandal.

The time has come for Major League Baseball to stop doling guaranteed contracts for players who are caught cheating, and over-inflated, long-term contracts for players who are beyond their prime.  Alex Rodriguez fits into both categories, and his situation should serve as a wake-up call to all MLB owners who need someone to save them from themselves.

Super Bowl XLVII Media Day: Randy Moss – Best Wide Receiver Ever?

In Sports on January 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Rice v Moss

Every year, Super Bowl Media Day brings out thousands of people with media credentials.  This year, there were over 5,000 credentials given out to reporters from 24 different countries.  With that many “reporters” present, it stands to reason that there will be a wide range of questions from the bizarre to the insightful to the controversial.  This year, there was a bit of controversy surrounding Ray Lewis and allegations that he has used a banned substance, but Randy Moss stating that he is the best wide receiver in NFL history is what has sports media and football fans buzzing.

Does Moss have a legitimate claim to be considered the best wide receiver in NFL history?  Among the best, absolutely, but the distinction of best ever still belongs to Jerry Rice.  According to Moss, statistics should not be the only factor that is used when determining the best ever.  For the record, Rice’s statistics are by far, the best ever for a wide receiver, but that is not the only reason that he is almost unanimously considered to be the best wide receiver ever.

Moss is correct that statistics should not be the only factor in determining the best ever, but the other factors only serve to distance Rice further from Moss.  Aside from being a more dangerous deep threat in the vertical passing game, Moss lags behind Rice in every other wide receiver category.

No one can argue that Moss is one of the most talented wide receivers of all time.  And if he had Rice’s work ethic, he may very well have elevated himself to the lofty status of best wide receiver in NFL history.  However, Moss was known for taking plays off, even during his peak years with the Minnesota Vikings.  Rice, on the other hand, gave the proverbial 110% on every play, even when the ball wasn’t coming his way.  Rice blocked, went across the middle and fought for yards after he caught the ball in addition to scoring touchdowns with regularity.  Moss, on the other hand, has always been more about scoring touchdowns and making highlight reel catches, but he has never been very interested in doing the dirty work that Rice took pride in doing.

The greatest players in every sport are the ones who lead by example and help elevate the play of their teammates.  Rice was a leader on one of the most prolific dynasties in NFL history.  His work ethic in practice set the tone for the rest of his team, and his game preparation was as thorough as any player to ever play the game.  He is largely responsible for the Super Bowls that the San Francisco Forty Niners won in the 1980’s.  Moss may very well win his first Super Bowl on Sunday while wearing the same Niner uniform that Rice once wore, but if he does, the hero of the game will more than likely to be one of Moss’s teammates.

Moss may truly believe that he is the best wide receiver in NFL history, but he will be hard-pressed to find many who agree with him.

Super Bowl XVLII: Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh in the “HarBowl”

In Family, Sports on January 21, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Super Bowl XLVII - The HarBowl

In January of 2012, in a basement in Mequon, Wisconsin, Jack Harbaugh and his wife, Jackie, watched both of their sons coach their respective teams to heartbreaking losses in the AFC and NFC Championship Games.  Both of their sons came up a field goal short from coaching in the Super Bowl.

A year later, the Harbaughs found themselves in the exact same basement watching their sons coaching their teams in the AFC and NFC Championship Games with another chance to go to the Super Bowl.  This year, both sons won their respective games.

While the Harbaughs are certainly happier this year than they were with last year’s results, there is still plenty of stress to deal with in this situation.

The proud Harbaugh parents are guaranteed a bittersweet moment in the coming weeks.  They are in the unique position of knowing with 100% certainty that their son is going to join the ranks of Super Bowl winning coaches on February 13, 2013 at the Superdome in New Orleans.  Unfortunately for the Harbaughs, that victory is going to come at the expense of their other son – the price they pay for having two sons achieving the highest level of coaching success in the NFL.

It would be an understatement to say that the road to the Super Bowl was challenging for both Harbaugh brothers.

Early in the day, Jim Harbaugh’s San Francisco Forty Niners came back from a 17-point deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta.  They did so by making halftime adjustments and shutting out the Falcons in the second half.

Last night, John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens defeated the New England Patriots in Foxboro, MA after trailing at halftime.  It was the first time – in 68 games – that Tom Brady had ever lost a home game when leading going into halftime.  The Ravens made halftime adjustments and shut out the Patriots in the second half.

Making adjustments is something that both Harbaugh brothers do with confidence.  Both made some gutsy mid-season changes during their journey to this historic Super Bowl matchup.

When Alex Smith was injured during the Niners game against the St. Louis Rams, Colin Kaepernick took over at quarterback and led San Francisco to a come-from-behind tie.  The following week, Kaepernick got the start again when Smith wasn’t medically cleared to play against the Chicago Bears, and led the Niners to victory in an impressive fashion.

It was assumed that Smith – who had led the Niners to a 6-2 record on the heels of last year’s NFC Championship Game appearance – would regain his starting role once he was cleared to play.  However, Jim Harbaugh chose to remain with Kaepernick as the starter, even though he had only started one game in his NFL career.

The Ravens got off to an impressive start this season, winning 9 of their first 11 games.  After a two-game losing streak, where the Ravens scored 20 points against the Pittsburgh Steelers and 28 points against the Washington Redskins, Offensive Coordinator, Cam Cameron, was fired.  With only three games remaining in the season, John Harbaugh elevated Jim Caldwell – a coach who had no previous play-calling experience – to Offensive Coordinator.

The Ravens lost two of their last three games, and never scored more than 17 points in the process.  However, the Ravens have not scored less than 24 points since the playoffs began, and the team has outscored Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in consecutive weeks.

It is abundantly clear that neither Harbaugh brother is influenced at all by the opinions of NFL analysts, sports reporters, fans or any other outside source.

If Kaepernick didn’t lead his team to the Super Bowl, Jim certainly would have been questioned for making such a drastic move in the middle of the year.  And though the Ravens playoff ascension was unexpected as the #4 seed in the AFC, the bottom line is that John would have been questioned for making the coordinator change if the Ravens offense continued to sputter after Cameron was fired.

After the Ravens game, John spoke about how proud he was of his little brother and his respect for the way the Niners play the game.  He said that the Niners and Ravens are very similar in their makeup and their approach.  Both teams play an extremely hard-hitting, physical style of football.

Throughout the season and the playoffs, both teams have shown incredible resolve in the face of adversity, so this should be a very close Super Bowl with both teams battling until the final snap.

Super Bowl XVLII has many interesting storylines, but the unique aspect of brothers facing each other as head coaches has given the game a whole new level of intrigue that certainly has football fans anxiously awaiting what many are calling the “HarBowl.”

Lance Armstrong: Interview with Oprah Winfrey – Part 2

In Life Lessons, Sports on January 19, 2013 at 3:24 am

armstrong part 2

The national reaction to part 1 of Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey was largely negative.  At no time during the interview did he exhibit any true contrition for the damage that he inflicted with his bullying ways to those who threatened to expose his lying and cheating.  Though he said some of the right words, the tone and arrogance with which they were delivered left viewers wondering if he agreed to the interview just so he could someday compete again in sanctioned events.

Armstrong’s stoic, tough exterior was still present during part 2 of his interview with Oprah, but he did show some signs of true emotion while discussing his son’s protection of him and his disassociation from the Livestrong cancer foundation that he created shortly after he was diagnosed with Stage III Testicular Cancer.

Since its inception, Livestrong has raised nearly $500 million for cancer research and support, due in large part to Armstrong sharing his personal story about defying the odds and beating the disease that gave him only a 50% chance of survival.  Not only did he win his battle with cancer, but he did so in an international spotlight while rising to the top of the cycling world with his seven Tour de France titles.

When the doping and cheating accusations against Armstrong started coming to light, he knew that his professional career would be in jeopardy and that he would eventually be stripped of all of his sponsorships.

For a man who was seemingly on top of the world, it was a humbling experience to receive one call after another from his sponsors as they informed him that he was being dropped.  It started on a Wednesday with Nike, and within a few days, Armstrong had lost $75 million worth of sponsorships.

While the loss of all of his sponsorships was humbling, Armstrong – with tears in his eyes – said that his most humbling moment came when he was encouraged to step down as Chairman from Livestrong.  At the time, his plan was to stay involved in a lesser capacity, but within a matter of weeks, he was asked to sever ties completely from the charity that he founded.  He said that stepping aside was the best thing for the foundation, but that it “hurt like hell” because it was like his “sixth child.”

Armstrong’s two youngest children are too young to understand what is going on with their father, but his other three children are fully aware of what he is going through, none more than his oldest son – Luke.  At 13, Luke took it upon himself to defend his father to the masses on social media sites.

Knowing that his son was lying to protect his name, Armstrong’s fatherly instincts finally kicked in, and he said to his son…“I want you to know that it’s true.  Don’t defend me anymore.”

It doesn’t matter how tough you are, or how tough your persona is, when it comes to disappointing your children, everyone is equally vulnerable.  And though Armstrong had become a villain to so many, his son – upon hearing his father’s admission – responded by saying “I love you…you’re my dad…this won’t change that.”

Armstrong’s teary eyes while talking about his son and his removal from Livestrong don’t change the fact that he hurt a lot of people, but it does show that there is a compassionate side buried deep within his gruff exterior.  He was also visibly shaken when discussing the impact that this whole situation has had on his mother.

Armstrong admitted that he has been in therapy over the years, but that he has never done it as consistently as he should because he has had a “messy life.”  He knows that he has wronged a lot of people, and reiterated his pledge to spend as much time as it takes to make amends with the people that he betrayed, lied to and bullied.  He knows full well that many of the people will never forgive him.  He also admits that his arrogance has not gone away, and that becoming less arrogant is not an overnight process.

After watching both parts of Armstrong’s interview with Oprah in its entirety, it is abundantly clear that Armstrong chose to do this interview because he has an agenda, which should come as no surprise.

Does he truly feel remorse for hurting so many people with his heavy-handed tactics to perpetuate his lie and protect his reputation and his career?  Perhaps, but making amends doesn’t seem to be as important as having the chance to compete once again in sanctioned events.

The tearful Armstrong was only present for a portion of part 2 of the interview.  The agenda-driven Armstrong was a bit subdued, but still made his case that he deserves to compete again because others who cheated only received a 6-month suspension.  As it stands today, Armstrong has been given the “death penalty,” which prohibits him from competing in any sanctioned events, cycling or otherwise.

Is Armstrong’s punishment much more severe than his fellow cheating cyclists?  Undoubtedly, yes.  However, Armstrong has only himself to blame for his severe punishment.  He did whatever it took to elevate himself into a stratosphere that no other cyclist ever came close to approaching.  He used his position of power to ruin the lives of many innocent people, and for that, he is paying a steeper price than those who merely participated in the cheating that was rampant in cycling at the time.

Many of the people that Armstrong hurt will never forgive him, which is something that he understands.  It remains to be seen whether he will truly spend the rest of his life trying to make amends with the people that he wronged.

The most important act of forgiveness has already been granted to Armstrong by his eldest son.  And though he is no longer a part of Livestrong for strategic reasons, it appears that he is in good standing with the people who have taken over the reins to continue doing the good work that Armstrong started.

When asked by Oprah if Livestrong could survive without his story, Armstrong simply replied…“I hope so.”

For the sake of all of those who are relying upon Livestrong to help them through their darkest hour, we should all hope that the foundation thrives without Armstrong, whether we like him as a person or not.

Lance Armstrong: Interview with Oprah Winfrey – Part 1

In Life Lessons, Sports on January 18, 2013 at 12:20 am

Lance Armstrong - Oprah Winfrey Interview - Part 1

After several years of living a lie and doing whatever it took to perpetuate the lie, Lance Armstrong finally admitted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he is guilty of doping and using performance-enhancing drugs throughout the peak years of his career.

Quite frankly, the details of the admission were not at all surprising.  The only surprising element was that Armstrong finally came clean after all these years.  If part 1 of the 2-part interview is any indication, this confession seems to be self-serving, and not the mea culpa that many had hoped to witness.

The truth of the matter is that most people don’t care too much about the doping and performance-enhancing drugs that Armstrong used to help propel him to the top of the cycling world.  Until Armstrong started dominating the Tour de France with regularity, most Americans didn’t pay any attention to the sport.  His cycling dominance combined with his testicular cancer battle made him a compelling media story.  If there is one thing that Americans love, it is a story about someone beating the odds, especially when it comes to sports.  Is there a sports fan out there who wasn’t totally inspired by the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team winning the gold medal?  Who among us can watch the movie Rudy and not get choked up, and perhaps even shed a tear?

Lance Armstrong made America stand up and take notice of a sport that very few Americans cared about.  If not for the fact that he destroyed innocent peoples’ lives while trying to perpetuate his lie, most people would have already forgiven him for cheating.  After all, the sport of cycling is rife with competitors doing the exact same thing.  If we as a society can appreciate Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire shattering Major League Baseball’s long-standing home run record, we can certainly accept someone cheating to win a bike race that most people ignore anyway.

If Armstrong didn’t make it his mission to destroy those who could expose him, all of the good that he has done for cancer support with his Livestrong charity would have allowed most people to dismiss his transgressions as nothing more than business as usual for people who participate in a sport filled with corruption.

By the time that part 1 of Armstrong’s interview with Oprah aired, the whole world already knew that he was going to admit to cheating.   What people wanted to see was remorse for trampling over anyone who got in his way or threatened to expose him.  But the remorse that he showed was lukewarm at best.

Armstrong admitted to being a control freak and a bully.  He admitted that he was wrong, and refused to point fingers at others or give names of others who cheated.  He confessed that he has always gone into attack-mode against those who have threatened his way of life, even when he was growing up.

Armstrong said that he was “deeply flawed” and “a jerk” and that he would go back in time and do things differently if he could.  He acknowledged that he had ruthless desire to win at all costs and that he was an “arrogant prick.”  And though his admissions and regret are what people wanted to hear, the bottom line is that Armstrong’s delivery and body language left you with the feeling that he is still an “arrogant prick.”

When Oprah pressed him on the damage that he caused in the lives of Frankie and Betsy Andreu, Armstrong couldn’t bring himself to say that they were telling the truth because there was at least one element of the story that he vehemently denies…calling Betsy “fat.”  However, he didn’t deny calling her a “crazy bitch.”  And though he recently had a 40-minute conversation with the Andreus, Armstrong said that his relationship with the couple has not been mended because they were too badly hurt by him.

Ultimately, part 1 of the interview with Oprah did very little, if anything, to redeem Armstrong in the eyes of those who were looking for a changed man filled with remorse for the way that he treated people close to him.

While he admitted to cheating, he also seemed to justify it as simply being part of a level playing field with other cheaters.  More importantly, Armstrong’s refusal to admit that the Andreus were telling the truth about him because of some minor inconsistencies in their story shows that he is not really willing to do what it takes to earn back the trust of the people that he hurt, unless of course, it is on his terms…just like it has always been.

Lance Armstrong Interview with Oprah Winfrey – Part 2

They Grow Up So Fast…Be Careful What You Wish For

In Family, Life, Life Lessons on January 12, 2013 at 9:42 am

They Grow Up So Fast

The holidays brought in an influx of toys for my little one, leaving her already cluttered room in more disarray than it was previously.  At some point, every kid must let go of some of the toys that they no longer use to make room for new ones.  When my wife had trouble finding a place for everything, we told our little one that she had to move some things out of her room.  In our minds, we imagined our daughter getting rid of all of the things that we considered to be well past their prime…things like old Happy Meal toys would have been a great start.  But our little one surprised us both.

First came the Dora the Explorer doll that she loved not so long ago.  Much to our chagrin, Dora no longer has a place in my daughter’s life.  She never watches the show anymore; she would rather flip through the channels endlessly, telling us that nothing is on, instead of popping in the Dora DVD’s that were once her favorites.

Then came a little stuffed Blue from Blue’s Clues.  While we weren’t surprised that she has outgrown the show, we were surprised that she was ready to part with any stuffed animal, especially a dog, because they are her latest obsession.  Undoubtedly, it won’t be long before the stuffed dogs lose their luster, and she’s on to the next thing.

When I saw the stuffed Berenstain Bears lying on the floor outside of my daughter’s room, I was surprised and saddened.  It seems like it was just yesterday that she was begging for them, and I was frantically searching everywhere to make sure that she got them as gifts just a few Christmases ago.  She used to watch the Berenstain Bears videos over and over again.  Truth be told, it was one of the few kids’ shows that I enjoyed watching.  I couldn’t “bear” to see them go, so I convinced her to find a place for them, even if she didn’t intend to play with them anymore.

Parents have always said that their kids grow up so fast, and that time passes by much faster than any of us would like.  It’s a harsh reality that most parents deal with at some point, but at this point in time, it is even more difficult because my daughter’s growth is happening on the heels of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.  It has really hit home for me with my daughter because the victims were all in the same grade as her.

I often wish that I could freeze this moment in time, but I know that isn’t reality.  The reality is that my little one is ready to move on to the next phase of her childhood regardless of whether we are ready for it or not.  It may make us a bit sad and nostalgic, but there is nothing that we can do to stop it from happening.

Even though I convinced my little one to let the Berenstain Bears stay for a little while longer, I know that they are in her room now more for us than they are for her.  And that’s alright with me.  At the very least, when I look at them, I will be reminded to cherish each phase in her life because there is no telling how long each one will last.

NFL Rookie Quarterback Trio: The Best Since 1983

In Sports on January 10, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Rookie QB's

Andrew Luck was considered such a “can’t-miss” quarterback prospect that the Indianapolis Colts were comfortable cutting ties with Peyton Manning (a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer) to make Luck their quarterback of the future.  Robert Griffin III (RG3) showed so much potential to be a dominant quarterback that the Washington Redskins gave up a second-round pick and two first-round picks to move up four spots to take him.  Russell Wilson wasn’t picked by the Seattle Seahawks until the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, but if he were four inches taller, these three quarterbacks would have been the top three picks in the draft.  There are other rookie quarterbacks from the class of 2012 who may still be very successful in the future, but this quarterback class will be defined by the careers of Luck, Griffin and Wilson.  The NFL hasn’t seen a rookie quarterback draft class this good since 1983 (John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino).

Even with the parity that exists in the NFL today, few, if any, expected three rookie quarterbacks to lead their respective teams to the playoffs.

The Colts were coming off a disastrous 2-14 season a year after going to the Super Bowl, which showed just how valuable Manning was to the franchise.  They jettisoned head coach, Jim Caldwell, who led the Colts to a Super Bowl the season before.  They parted ways with a number of veteran players to make room for young players to rebuild as quickly as possible.  When new head coach, Chuck Pagano, was diagnosed with leukemia four games into the season, offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians, took over as interim head coach for the majority of the season.  Needless to say, the odds were heavily stacked against the Colts.  With limited talent around him, Luck threw the ball 627 times (23 touchdowns and only 18 interceptions), and somehow led the Colts to an 11-5 record and an improbable playoff berth.

The Redskins had very high expectations for RG3, but even the fans in D.C. had to be surprised that he led them to an NFC East title in his rookie season.  After starting out the season 3-6, head coach, Mike Shanahan, was widely criticized for stating that the rest of the season would be about evaluating players for the future.  Given Shanahan’s statement, no one expected the Redskins to end the season with a seven-game winning streak.  With the division title on the line, the Cowboys had no answers for the hobbled RG3 in the final game of the season.  At full strength, there is no telling how good RG3 will be in the future.

The Seahawks signed free agent quarterback, Matt Flynn, to a three-year, $26 million contract before the 2012 NFL Draft.  When they used their third round pick on Wilson, it was certainly not with the intention of making him the opening day starter, but he won the job just the same with his pre-season performance.  At 5’11”, Wilson is far from the prototypical NFL quarterback, but what he lacks in stature, he more than makes up for in skill and intangibles.  Wilson didn’t receive the fanfare that Luck and Griffin enjoyed for most of the season, but when the Seahawks started dominating games late in the season, the world stood up and took notice of the “other” rookie quarterback.

If you watched this trio of rookie quarterbacks last weekend in the Wildcard games, you know full well that none of these quarterbacks looked like rookies.  None of them wilted under the playoff spotlight.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Each of these rookie quarterbacks shined in their playoff debuts.

The Colts were simply overmatched by the veteran Baltimore Ravens, but Luck proved that he will lead this team to many playoff games to come in the future.  The Redskins couldn’t stand toe-to-toe with the Seahawks, but then again, neither could most teams towards the end of the season.  If RG3 were healthy, this may have been a different game, but he showed flashes of brilliance before reinjuring his knee, which has now put his availability in jeopardy for next season.  Wilson was poised and determined in his first-ever playoff game, and many people believe that he and the Seahawks will upset the top-ranked Falcons this weekend.  Regardless of what happens with the Seahawks, Wilson has cemented himself as the quarterback of the future in Seattle, and has elevated himself into the conversation with Luck and Griffin for Rookie of the Year with his play this season.

Some will say that Luck deserves to be the Rookie of the Year.  Others will say it should go to RG3 or Wilson.  The bottom line is that all three are deserving of the award.

The quarterback class of 1983 went to 11 Super Bowls.  No one knows what will happen with this trio of rookie quarterbacks, but based on their performances this season, it wouldn’t be surprising if they enjoy similar success if they can remain healthy.

Testing the Resolve of New Year’s Resolutions

In Inspiration and Motivation, Life on January 7, 2013 at 12:59 pm

2013 Resolutions

It’s been nearly a week since the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve ringing in 2013.  Many people made New Year’s resolutions swearing that things would be different, and that they would see them through this year.  It happens every year.  Today begins the first full week of the New Year, where everyone starts getting back to normal, and the resolutions that seemed so important a week ago start to fade as life gets in the way.

By the time that February rolls around, most people will resume life as it was before getting wrapped up in the holiday season.  The chance for the fresh start that comes along each year as the calendar changes from December to January will be nothing more than a fading memory.  It’s the nature of the beast.

Today might as well be the first day of the New Year because things are finally back to normal.  The holiday decorations have been stored away, the kids are back to their regular school schedule and the working world will begin counting the days until the weekend, just like they did before the spirit of the season allowed them to embrace every day of the week.

As usual, I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions this year, at least not in the formal sense.  In my mind, I know that there are things that I want to accomplish in 2013, but I haven’t gone so far as to declare them “resolutions.”  Like most people, I would like to get into better shape and have a more successful year financially, but those are goals that should be pursued regardless of what the calendar says.

Today began with a healthy breakfast, exercise and getting caught up on phone calls that I fell behind on during the holidays.  I’d call that a good start, but it will only make a difference in my life if my good days are strung together to make good weeks, and my good weeks are strung together to make good months, which will ultimately lead to a successful year.  But, as the saying goes…“a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

When I launched Waldo’s Life on January 1, 2010, it was done with a specific goal in mind, inspired by a life-changing event to a friend.  Over the past three years, it has evolved into something entirely different.  I’m proud to say that Waldo’s Life is read in over 100 countries, and that some articles have stood the test of time beyond my wildest expectations with daily views long after they were originally posted.

The one regret that I have with Waldo’s Life is allowing life to get in the way of posting new articles from time to time.  But this year is going to be different!

So, for the first time in a very long time, I am going to make an actual New Year’s resolution and share it with the world so that I am accountable to seeing it through.

In 2013, I plan on posting at least 13 articles each month to Waldo’s Life, and I resolve to not let life get in the way of making it happen.  I decided not to post this on New Year’s Day because I knew that the real test for everyone’s resolutions begins today.

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