A Rainy Boston Sports Weekend

Tell me about a strange, wacky, yet fall-like weekend and I am alluding to this past one. While it was freezing cold on Friday, raining off and on Saturday, as well as sunny and rainy today… I couldn’t think of a better name than to call this past weekend … a typical New England Wacky Weather Weekend!

Lester and the Sox were damp, wet and unhappy this weekend!

Those Damp Sox: Does anyone else agree that this years Boston Red Sox team is going to possibly be the laughing stock of Major League Baseball? Two World Series Championships in the first decade of the new millennium kept myself and other Sox supports intrigued, but now in our second decade of the 2000’s I have come to an early conclusion that the 2010 Sox look horrendous, awful and incredibly pathetic.

Count me in for some Legion High School/College baseball this summer because those games should and possibly be more enjoyable. Yet, I did believe from the beginning of April, even March and February too of this past calendar year that the Sox would have an extremely off year. They have great pitching, but terrible hitting and run support.

My girlfriend told me the Chicago Cubs are terrible, (being from the Chicago area), but how about the Boston Red Sox? They look downright AWFUL!! I would bet that the Cubs have a better chance of winning more games than the Sox or possibly finishing second compared to the local nine.

All in all, this past weekend against the Tampa Bay “Devil” Rays, (fine me that $1 Florida), exhibited that the Sox will not be competitors this entire season, but a bunch of fakers.

Claude Julien and the Bruins return 1-1 against Buffalo Monday

All Tied Up: In case you didn’t read the Boston Globe this morning, it reported that the Boston Bruins have tied up their first round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Buffalo Sabres, 1-1.

Didn’t this “Big-Bad” Bruins team struggle all year? Couldn’t put points in the board or find someone that knew how to place the puck in some twine? Was attacked by the injury bug? Just seemed not worthy of skating in the NHL? Acted incredibly lazy?

The Bruins looked amazing people, amazing! I couldn’t re-call seeing them so energized this entire 2009-2010 season, excluding the Fenway Walk-Off, but wow … JUST WOW… I think the Bruins may actually prove me wrong and win this series!

That’s right, I called it everyone, the Bruins will win this series in Boston on April 26, 2010. Mark it down; good old Noontime has predicted the Bruins to skate onward to round 2!

Grumpy Old Men: All season, everyone has doubted the Green and White. They have repeatedly stated that Doc River’s bunch of rag tag old school basketball legends cannot and will not win their 18th NBA Championship this season.

Excuse me, but allow me to introduce you to the fifth member of the “New Big 5,” Tony Allen. Mr. Allen, not Ray Allen, played exceptionally well last night, as well as Glenn Davis too, (Big Baby). The Celtics looked similar to the Boston Bruins, rejuvenated and confident bunch against Miami’s finest.

I think there were some bad calls, even stupid ones too, but they pulled out the “W” and have to win three more before they face the winner of Chicago/Cleveland, which obviously will be Cleveland. As long as the Celtics win Game 2, I am picking them to close out the series at T.D. Bank Garden in Game 5.

Well that was my weekend. Quite an interesting one through the Boston Sports Scene, but I am hopeful that I will see more wins than loses this week, but you never know, especially as a Boston fan!

Andy Lindberg's Thoughts about Eli Manning

It’s easy to put the “you suck” label on professional athletes, especially those we as fans love to hate.  Our well-crafted arguments based on bias and team preference thoroughly solve any issue within sports.

Eli Manning fits the bill here.  I am a Patriots fan and have been since 1992 when I moved to Connecticut from Alabama.  I promptly watched them as a coy 7-year-old march to a 2-14 record.  Naturally, it was not the Patriots who “sucked” to me.  It was everyone who beat them.  That was the way it was.  I would get mad and if my team was beaten, the victor was the team who sucked.  Looking back, the Patriots most assuredly sucked that season.

So when Eli Manning marched his Giants to the Super Bowl by winning three games on the road, he sucked to me, even at the age of 22.

Andy did not like Eli at Ole Miss being a Bama fan!I hated Eli before he ever thought about entering the NFL.  Coming from Alabama, I was raised a huge Alabama Crimson Tide fan.  Manning went to Ole Miss and his older brother Peyton Manning went to Tennessee.  I have a long history of hating Mannings.  Eli was no different.  Eli was great, phenomenal and magnificent in the SEC, the hardest conference to excel on offense.  In three years as a starter Manning threw 81 touchdown passes and only 31 interceptions.  He did not suck.

In the NFL, he started shaky as all young quarterbacks do and in the 2007 season he threw 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.  Yes, 20 interceptions suck.  However, being the Manning that he is, he entered the playoffs and decided to dominate.  His first playoff game at Tampa Bay he threw two touchdowns and 185 yards.  His second at hated rival Dallas he threw for 163 yards and again two touchdowns in a 21-17 victory.  In the NFC Championship at Green Bay, one of the hardest places to win in the playoffs, Manning did not throw a touchdown, but threw for 251 yards.  So in three playoff games on the road Eli Manning threw four touchdowns with no interceptions and over 500 yards.  That doesn’t suck.  In fact, when you throw NO interceptions in the playoffs, that’s not luck.  That’s absolute talent and focus.  Then came the Super Bowl.

I was SURE the Patriots would crush the Giants.  Manning wouldn’t do a thing against a Patriots defense ranked fourth in the NFL.  Manning’s Giants were ranked 17th in points allowed and seventh in yards allowed.  They had no chance.

Yes, after watching the game, the Giants defense was brilliant to allow only 14 New England points.  But statistically all year, the Patriots’ defense was light years better than New York’s was.  So what happened?  Eli Manning happened.  Manning threw for 255 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on his way to a rightly deserved Super Bowl MVP award and eluded sack after sack to give his receivers a chance to get open, something David Tyree did to set up the winning touchdown.  Manning was the epitome of a leader during the playoffs and the Super Bowl.

Since the 2007 season, Eli Manning has drastically cut down on his interceptions.  He threw only 10 in 2008 (while tossing 21 TD’s) and threw 27 TD’s and 14 picks in 2009.  It is more than safe to say Giants fans saw the beginning of a franchise QB during the Tampa Bay playoffs game after the 2007 season.

Looking back and looking at him now, Eli Manning does not suck.  In fact, he is far from sucking.  I do not consider him elite, but he is a top-15 quarterback to be sure.

Who is the BEST Quarterback in the NFC East?

Some would make the argument that Manning is the worst QB in the NFC East.  McNabb statistically is better, but has been around much longer.  Tony Romo has had very good regular seasons, but in four career playoff games he holds a record of 1-3 with four touchdowns, two interceptions and let’s not forget the fumbled snap against the Seahawks in 2006.  In seven playoff games Manning has eight touchdowns to seven interceptions but holds a 4-3 record and has a ring.  Great?  No.  Good, yes.  Especially considering he has a ring and has performed in the playoffs in New York, an extremely tough market in which to perform.

Romo has not gotten the job done and as the most important player on offense, it ultimately falls on him as the quarterback to lead.  Remember Emmitt Smith called out Romo for not being a leader.  Giants’ alumni everywhere have said Manning is a leader.  That matters.  Leaders find ways to win.  Romo has not done so.  Manning has.

Some would say Manning just got hot therefore he is not good.  News flash.  When you get hot, that mean’s you’re good at that point in time.  And ever since game 1 of the playoffs of the 2007 season, Manning has been very, very good.

So does Eli Manning suck?  No.  Far from it.  And unfortunately for me and other Patriot fans, we will have to watch Manning be good for a few more years to come.

Andy Lindberg’s Thoughts about Eli Manning

It’s easy to put the “you suck” label on professional athletes, especially those we as fans love to hate.  Our well-crafted arguments based on bias and team preference thoroughly solve any issue within sports.

Eli Manning fits the bill here.  I am a Patriots fan and have been since 1992 when I moved to Connecticut from Alabama.  I promptly watched them as a coy 7-year-old march to a 2-14 record.  Naturally, it was not the Patriots who “sucked” to me.  It was everyone who beat them.  That was the way it was.  I would get mad and if my team was beaten, the victor was the team who sucked.  Looking back, the Patriots most assuredly sucked that season.

So when Eli Manning marched his Giants to the Super Bowl by winning three games on the road, he sucked to me, even at the age of 22.

Andy did not like Eli at Ole Miss being a Bama fan!I hated Eli before he ever thought about entering the NFL.  Coming from Alabama, I was raised a huge Alabama Crimson Tide fan.  Manning went to Ole Miss and his older brother Peyton Manning went to Tennessee.  I have a long history of hating Mannings.  Eli was no different.  Eli was great, phenomenal and magnificent in the SEC, the hardest conference to excel on offense.  In three years as a starter Manning threw 81 touchdown passes and only 31 interceptions.  He did not suck.

In the NFL, he started shaky as all young quarterbacks do and in the 2007 season he threw 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.  Yes, 20 interceptions suck.  However, being the Manning that he is, he entered the playoffs and decided to dominate.  His first playoff game at Tampa Bay he threw two touchdowns and 185 yards.  His second at hated rival Dallas he threw for 163 yards and again two touchdowns in a 21-17 victory.  In the NFC Championship at Green Bay, one of the hardest places to win in the playoffs, Manning did not throw a touchdown, but threw for 251 yards.  So in three playoff games on the road Eli Manning threw four touchdowns with no interceptions and over 500 yards.  That doesn’t suck.  In fact, when you throw NO interceptions in the playoffs, that’s not luck.  That’s absolute talent and focus.  Then came the Super Bowl.

I was SURE the Patriots would crush the Giants.  Manning wouldn’t do a thing against a Patriots defense ranked fourth in the NFL.  Manning’s Giants were ranked 17th in points allowed and seventh in yards allowed.  They had no chance.

Yes, after watching the game, the Giants defense was brilliant to allow only 14 New England points.  But statistically all year, the Patriots’ defense was light years better than New York’s was.  So what happened?  Eli Manning happened.  Manning threw for 255 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on his way to a rightly deserved Super Bowl MVP award and eluded sack after sack to give his receivers a chance to get open, something David Tyree did to set up the winning touchdown.  Manning was the epitome of a leader during the playoffs and the Super Bowl.

Since the 2007 season, Eli Manning has drastically cut down on his interceptions.  He threw only 10 in 2008 (while tossing 21 TD’s) and threw 27 TD’s and 14 picks in 2009.  It is more than safe to say Giants fans saw the beginning of a franchise QB during the Tampa Bay playoffs game after the 2007 season.

Looking back and looking at him now, Eli Manning does not suck.  In fact, he is far from sucking.  I do not consider him elite, but he is a top-15 quarterback to be sure.

Who is the BEST Quarterback in the NFC East?

Some would make the argument that Manning is the worst QB in the NFC East.  McNabb statistically is better, but has been around much longer.  Tony Romo has had very good regular seasons, but in four career playoff games he holds a record of 1-3 with four touchdowns, two interceptions and let’s not forget the fumbled snap against the Seahawks in 2006.  In seven playoff games Manning has eight touchdowns to seven interceptions but holds a 4-3 record and has a ring.  Great?  No.  Good, yes.  Especially considering he has a ring and has performed in the playoffs in New York, an extremely tough market in which to perform.

Romo has not gotten the job done and as the most important player on offense, it ultimately falls on him as the quarterback to lead.  Remember Emmitt Smith called out Romo for not being a leader.  Giants’ alumni everywhere have said Manning is a leader.  That matters.  Leaders find ways to win.  Romo has not done so.  Manning has.

Some would say Manning just got hot therefore he is not good.  News flash.  When you get hot, that mean’s you’re good at that point in time.  And ever since game 1 of the playoffs of the 2007 season, Manning has been very, very good.

So does Eli Manning suck?  No.  Far from it.  And unfortunately for me and other Patriot fans, we will have to watch Manning be good for a few more years to come.

Eli Manning is Just Not That Good!

An Unhappy Eli Manning on NFL Draft Day 2004

In case you have been living under a rock or too cool enough to listen to my weekly podcast, Noontime Sports the Podcast, then you missed an interesting ending segment from this past week. Andy Lindberg and myself decided to debate the topic of how talented and gifted Eli Manning is in the NFL and if he is a true stud or a possible Hall of Famer.

Allow me to list a few reasons that make him not that good of a quarterback/player in my book and how he is just an ordinary scrub that will always remain in his father and brother’s shadow for the rest of his career and life.

1.) Draft Day Meltdown: We all have to remember the speculation leading up to the 2004 NFL Draft. I remember where I was, what I was doing and who surrounded me when the first pick of the San Diego Chargers was Eli Manning. Walking on stage, how did one not notice Manning holding back tears? Hey Eli, you were drafted into the NFL … can’t you be somewhat happy?

Luckily for young Eli, Daddy was around to help. Eli cried, complained and asked for a bottle from Mrs. Manning, but by the end of the day, Manning had gotten his wish, to be shipped from the Chargers to the New York Giants.

From this particular first day on the job, I made a vow that I would not respect Manning for acting completely childish on national television or be a fan of him.

2.) 2004 Regular Season: The Giants were terrible in 2004, 6-10 overall, but luckily Manning did earn some playing time and captured one win against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17, (GROAN!!).

The victory, not the prettiest, especially how he only beat the Lone Star State Cowboys, 28-24, but Manning earned some confidence after losing 6 games beforehand.

Sure, Manning received so much attention for having Peyton’s same last name on the back of his jersey, but a rocky seven games proved to the New York Media, Eli was just an ordinary rookie who would live in his brother’s shadow for the remainder of his NFL years.

Eli Manning seems to always struggle and never succeed

3.) Inconsistency: Manning showed the world that unlike his brother, he was pretty inconsistent. Throwing the same amount of touchdowns as interceptions against a stingy 2005 Arizona Cardinals defense didn’t prove to me that Eli was going to be amazing in his first official season as the man who called the shots under center.

Eli continued to struggle and show that he would never be that good of a quarterback, but also continue to display inconsistency every Sunday.

See, even after a total of 8 games and two seasons with the New York Giants under his belt, Eli looked like one of those rookies that didn’t even know what sport he was participating in or the object of the game. Can someone please name me a game where Manning was consistent? He never seems to impress and always seems to make costly mistakes or errors, as well as falls apart often.

4.) Peyton Manning’s First Super Bowl: After so many early playoff losses, the Indianapolis Colts had made it to their first title against the Chicago Bears. All week, everyone kept praising Peyton and how great he was in the NFL and if he were to win, which Hall of Famer should he be compared to. Manning received all the attention, but again, similar to other years, kept Eli in his shadow.

Once the Colts had secured the victory in Super Bowl XLI, Manning had acquired his first ring in his professional career. It had taken quite a great deal of time to earn his first Lombardi trophy and a Super Bowl ring, but after this game, it was assured by many analysts, Peyton was so much better than Eli, hands down.

5.) Brother vs. Brother: Okay, so I have given a few reasons about Eli, but what about Peyton, isn’t he pretty good? Lets face it, we all, even as Patriots fan, know that Peyton is better than Eli. Peyton has broken records, led his team to divisional crowns, and knows what he needs to secure a victory for the Colts every Sunday.

This past season, (2009), Peyton truly did show how he has more leadership than Eli. Although we do see both brothers constantly yelling at the large men who protect them throughout each contest, Peyton just knows how to pick apart defenses and Eli … well he does not.

It bothers me, even when I play the various Madden video games that Peyton has to march up to the line of scrimmage and call about 10 plays until he has chosen the correct one against the specific defensive formation he sees, but the reason is because he is a true student of this game. Eli is clearly not a student or even serious half the time when he plays. I mean, who would win in a screaming match? My guess … Peyton.

6.) Super Bowl XLII: Lets face it, Andy Lindberg loved explaining how Super Bowl XLII possibly made him decide what a great player Eli Manning was from watching this horrific contest as a Patriots fan.

The only reason Tom Brady and the rest of the New England Patriots lost was because of the New York Giants front seven! End of story!

Putting pressure on Brady and that entire offensive line was clearly what allowed the Giants to win this game. The Giants defense wanted this one so much more than the Patriots did, but the various plays, such as an Eli Manning floating touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress, which took the lead for good or escaping the rush in the pocket doesn’t make a certain player Canton bound.

Heck, I can scramble like that too when I play backyard football and Cowboys fans, remember when Tony Romo avoided a 20-yard loss following a terrible snap and ran 30-yards to pick up a first down against the St. Louis Rams? Does that mean he is Hall of Fame bound for his spectacular run?

Andy, just because one play may have convinced you that Eli Manning is a great or decent quarterback is complete hogwash!

All in all, I hope these ideas help prove my theory that Eli Manning is simply just an ordinary quarterback that makes bad decisions, throws a good amount of interceptions, as well as someone that will always be third in line to Peyton and Archie.

Sorry Andy Lindberg, but it just seems from my evidence above, Eli is not that great of a quarterback.

MLB 2010 Season Preview: National League

NL East:

1.) Philadelphia Phillies: Two World Series appearances in the past year, as well as a team that is a lock for a third appearance come October 2010. The acquisition for Halladay is awesome. The Phillies are incredibly well rounded and will be the team to watch this entire season in the National League.

Halladay will be a GIGANTIC spark plug for the Phillies

2.) Atlanta Braves: The Braves have talent, as well as a team that will give some of the top-gun squads problems. They aren’t the powerhouse that they were in the 90’s, but a young squad that will keep A-Town rocking all season.

3.) Florida Marlins: Deep down, I am slowly becoming more of a fan of this team. Not just because I make sure I draft second basemen Dan Uggla every year in fantasy, but the fact that Florida has some hidden gems. They will compete, but I do not seeing them win more than 65-70 games this season.

4.) New York Mets: The Mets will always be second best to the Bronx Bombers, but with Jason Bay joining the team, I wonder how good they actually will be. Doesn’t Bay have knee problems?

5.) Washington Nationals: The Nation’s Capital has more problems besides health-care these days, which is a team that is awful and probably the laughing stock of baseball. I am super excited to see Stephen Strasburg pitch, but that will only be the exciting thing about this club.

NL Central:

1.) St. Louis Cardinals: Best player in baseball, (Albert Pujols), a great manager, (Tony LaRussa) and the best in the NL Central. Hands down, this will be one team that will rebound from their awful 2009 NLDS playoff performances and make a run toward being crowned champions.

2.) Cincinnati Reds: Believe it or not, more crazy and wild-picks! The Reds are a possible contender for the Wild Card and may even challenge St. Louis for the division, but time will tell. The Reds will make this division fun and exciting, but also allow us the fans to see if a dark horse can actually finish second or first.

Big Lou better do something for Cubs fans, they want to win NOW!!

3.) Chicago Cubs: This again will not be their year, unless some major trade occurs and the whole world turns upside down. Chicago has made some interesting moves this off-season, but only time will tell if Soriano, Lee and Ramirez can carry the grunt of the load.

4.) Milwaukee Brewers: Solid team, great players and possibly a bad season are to come. Again, I don’t see the Brewers trading or making any moves that would impact their chances in winning this division. Fielder will have another career year, but that will be the high point for Wisconsin. Better hope the Green Bay Packers keep your city interested for the next few months!

5.) Pittsburgh Pirates: One of the weaker squads in this so-called JV conference, (the National League), but possibly a team with some potential. Could the Pirates star to build for the future, we shall see.

6.) Houston Astros: The Astros are terrible and should receive an award for being as bad as the Blue Jays, Indians, A’s and Nationals. Luckily, the Texans are starting to become a legit team, so root for them Houston!

NL West:

Will Manny and the Dodgers be a Contender?

1.) Los Angles Dodgers: Possibly the last year for “Manny-Wood,” so why don’t they just go out and win. Dodgers will be competitive, but will have competition. Look for the offense to lead this team all season.

2.) San Francisco Giants: I like this Giants team. A clear sleeper or dark horse, choose your wording, but with some good pitching and hitting that will occur, consider thinking of sporting some orange and black for now on fans, it will be Halloween in San Francisco ever day.

3.) Colorado Rockies: There is a lot of hype in the Rocky Mountains these days, especially in Denver. The Rockies are solid all around and look very competitive on paper, yet, I am not buying this early excitement. An injury or two could derail the Rockies for the 2010 season.

4.) Arizona Diamondbacks: Talented pitching and some great young-guns that will make life interesting in the desert. Although, a terrible bullpen will be their Achilles heel this season.

5.) San Diego Padres: The Padres are a terrible team. Youth and inexperienced with haunt them again this season, as well as if they decide to wear their ugly throwbacks or camouflage uniforms. Also, Adrian Gonzalez will be traded, which will mean less tickets will be sold and possibly fewer fans each game. Don’t expect any fireworks this season Padres fans.