People Are Crazy

The world is coming to an end in 2012. The Mayans were right and I have the evidence to prove it.

Matt Barkley has chosen to return to USC to play quarterback for one more season. He has decided that the NFL and the millions of dollars that go along with it can wait. This is the 3rd year in a row that a top quarterback prospect has put the NFL on hold for the opportunity to immortalize themselves in their respective school’s history. First it was Jake Locker and then it was can’t miss prospect Andrew Luck. Oh, and how can we forget about Matt Leinart all the way back in 2004.

This year’s April fool happens to be Matt Barkley.

What is this world coming to? Where’s the greed? Actually, never mind that, where’s the common sense? The end of the world must be upon us. There is no other way to explain the topsy-turvy nature of these potentially life-altering choices. Men in their early 20’s are willingly turning down the chance to join the exclusive 1%. Delayed gratification at its finest. Matt Barkley’s family may be closer to the 1% than most of us but the point is still valid.

In all seriousness though, I feel sorry for these guys. The people they are surrounded by must be feeding them some grade A bologna.

The coaches who tell them it is in their best interests to get another year’s experience under their belt only have their own selfish interests in mind. The family members and friends who tell them that going back for a national championship to, in Barkley’s own words, “finish what [they] started, don’t understand the possible implications that returning for another year of school could have. The people who tell them to look into their hearts to find the answer don’t realize the follies that accompany decisions made emotionally.

Matt Barkley thinks he has unfinished business at USC. He doesn’t want to leave his national championship calibre team hanging out to dry. It’s good that Matt Barkley experienced those feelings because that’s what a leader is supposed to feel. Those are the qualities that bode well for his NFL career.

Of course, every sentence containing Matt Barkley and the NFL will, once again, be preceded by the word ‘if.’ By choosing to go back to USC there is no guarantee that he will even become an NFL quarterback. I already went through all the ‘if’s’ for Andrew Luck in early January prior to his similarly foolish decision to postpone his NFL career: The risk of a career-ending injury, losing lifetime financial security, exposing previously undiscovered flaws and, most importantly, being unable to fulfill the childhood dream of playing quarterback in the NFL.

The chances of any of those things happening are indeed quite low but the risk is still there. It hurts me to see young men time after time follow in the footsteps of their peers’ illogical decisions. It will hurt Matt Barkley a whole lot more if something tragic should happen to him in the next year.

Heck, after the Indianapolis Colts’ dramatic victory last night against the Texans, it is possible that Andrew Luck could end up falling from his seemingly locked up first overall slot in the 2012 draft. The Rams and Vikings are stuck at 2 wins but both teams believe they have their franchise quarterback already on their roster. It is unlikely that either would take Luck. The dream of being a 1st overall pick, which no doubt played a part in Barkley’s decision, could stay a dream for Andrew Luck.

The chances of a 0-13 team winning their final 3 games to finish out the season can’t be very high but it is becoming all too real for Andrew Luck who appeared destined for Indianapolis less than 2 weeks ago. If a 0-13 team can win 3 consecutive games, there’s no reason that something just as improbable could happen in the next calendar year that negatively affects Barkley’s NFL career.

Now, Matt Barkley’s puzzling choice may not signal the end of the world but it’s very possible that the only thing to stop these quarterbacks from continually choosing to play an unnecessary season of College football is an apocalypse.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

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The Magic of Tim Tebow

There’s the magic of Tim Tebow. Mike Mayock said it and everyone else watching Thursday night’s game against the Jets was thinking it.

Tim Tebow did his thing in the final 5 minutes of the game. His team needed a field goal but in typical Tebow fashion, he drove down the field for a go-ahead touchdown. With 58 seconds left to play, Tebow put his team up by 4 points and for another week has silenced the critics.

OK, partially silenced.

Tim Tebow’s magic isn’t real. I’m still not buying it. His comebacks amaze me but it’s all smoke and mirrors. Tebow is giving America a great show. Maybe Las Vegas will give him a call soon. He could have one of those high-priced, fancy shows with all the extravagant lights and sounds.

The thing about all magic shows is that they are illusions. A good magic show will put you in awe, make you ask how in the name of Tebow did he do that but in the end you know you’re just getting fooled.

Tim Tebow has two things going for him: He has great feel for the game and he knows how to come through in the clutch.

I keep hearing that winning is the bottom line. Winning is not the bottom line. At least, winning the way Tim Tebow has is not the bottom line.

The bottom line is that Tim Tebow can’t play quarterback and win in the NFL.

He marched his team down the field for a game winning drive but he should never have had the opportunity to do so in the first place. Tim Tebow has taken advantage of his opportunities but the way he is playing, those opportunities shouldn’t be coming around as often as they have.

At some point, Tim Tebow’s luck is going to run out.

Mark Sanchez isn’t always going to be there to throw an unnecessary pick six. Matt Cassel won’t always be around to run a hapless offence. A matchup against the miserable Miami Dolphins squad that can’t recover an onside kick doesn’t come standard in the NFL.

If the Denver Broncos were any good offensively they would have blown those 3 teams out of the water.

His one decent outing against the Oakland Raiders came with a side of 3 interceptions courtesy of Carson Palmer.

I don’t care that Tim Tebow doesn’t have a group of good NFL receivers. If you can’t throw a 10 yard out on target then it doesn’t matter who you’re throwing the ball to. Tim Tebow was getting all day to throw against the Jets yet he was still having more trouble hitting his man than an out of football, overweight Jamarcus Russell.

I feel for John Elway. John Elway was clapping when Tebow scored the go-ahead touchdown but his eyes were filled with disappointment. He wants the Tebow experiment to fail and I don’t blame him. The way Tebow plays isn’t sustainable. He knows it.

John Elway knows that you can’t teach accuracy.

Related: What to Make of Mr. Tebow’s Wild Ride?

Cartoon steam comes out of John Elway’s ears whenever he sees Tebow throw the ball. His elongated motion is disgusting. It’s as if Tebow is throwing in epic movie hero slow motion. The problem for Timmy T is that the blitz doesn’t also come in slow motion.

With the Broncos next two games featuring the Chargers and Vikings, it’s entirely plausible that Denver could be sitting at 7-5 atop the AFC West going into their Week 14 game versus the Bears.

However, a 7-5 record still shouldn’t mean Bronco fans can be too optimistic. This unsustainable style of play is only stalling the inevitable realization they will either have to go in another direction or that Jesus…err Tebow needs to drastically improve. Emphasis on the drastically.

The 4-1 Broncos with Tebow as their starter simply means the Broncos most likely won’t be looking at Matt Barkley or Landry Jones come the 2012 draft.

4-1 doesn’t say anything about the Broncos ability to win playoff games, which, by the way, is something they won’t be able to do with Tebow. Squeaking out tight victories against weak teams, that does nothing more than put another notch in the legendary Tebow belt, doesn’t win Super Bowls.

There is no doubt a lot of magical talent within Tim Tebow. Unfortunately, Tebow’s weekly magic gig will soon run its course and it will be time for another act to take his place in the mile high city.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

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What Else Should We Expect?

Joe Paterno is 84. His brain doesn’t work the same way it used to. Too bad that’s not a worthy excuse for his, once again, selfish decision today. The previously beloved coach announced that at the end of the season he would step down as the head coach of Penn State.

What a joke.

If it wasn’t certain that Joe Paterno doesn’t have anyone else’s interest in mind but his own already, then this announcement surely did it. JoePa does what is best for JoePa. It’s always been this way, except before the world never really knew it.

At his press conference, Paterno said that he wanted to finish his final season with “dignity and determination.” In case he didn’t know, that ship has sailed. It left the moment we found out all JoePa did when he was informed of the accusations toward Sandusky was to report it to the proper authority.

It’s hard to believe that Paterno could even think about finishing a football season at this point in time. Clearly, he still doesn’t have any remorse or regret for what he has done, or rather what he didn’t do. Penn State is 8-1 this season. JoePa wants to go out on a high note. In the grand scheme of things, football has become insignificant in the context of this devastating story for most of us.

Not JoePa though.

JoePa can’t even pretend like he cares. His best teary eyed bluff could have been detected by my 6-year-old cousin. Paterno said that “With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.” Yet, with the benefit of hindsight and those thick, horn-rimmed glasses, Paterno doesn’t see what he has done wrong. If he understood the magnitude of his inaction in this issue then he wouldn’t wait until the end of the season to step down.

It really doesn’t matter if Paterno steps down now but it’s the principle of the matter. To retire after a few more inconsequential football games instead of immediately stepping down, tells the rest of the world that JoePa probably hasn’t lost much sleep over the scandal.

JoePa only lost sleep because he was thinking about his tarnished legacy. JoePa only wishes he could have done more to make sure that this whole story never came out to ruin his beloved reputation. The only thing that’s a tragedy in this matter to JoePa is the fact that he can never go out on top of the College Football world.

409 meaningless freaking wins.

It’s like the old adage for criminals. They’re sorry, but sorry simply because they were caught.

Joe Paterno was caught for who he really is. He’s another iconic sports figure who is not made in the beautiful image that the fans and media have created. Brett Favre sexted and whined, Tiger Woods cheated several times, Lebron James is not the Chosen1 and Walter Payton wasn’t quite so sweet.

Joe Paterno had and still has no interest in the children he could have saved. This is the person that he is and, at 84, I guess there’s no reason we should expect him to give in to what everyone else not only thinks but knows he should do.

Joe Paterno isn’t retiring immediately and that’s just JoePa being JoePa.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

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Don’t Suck For Me…Or Else

Andrew Luck is worried.

Well, at least he should be.

“Suck for Luck” is sweeping the nation. According to Luck, this doesn’t concern him too much. He is just going to go out each week, play his game and continue striving for a national championship.

In theory, the Heisman candidate shouldn’t be wasting his time and energy on which city could be his new zip code for the next 15 years. In theory, he is going to be drafted onto an awful team. Too bad for Andrew Luck the Indianapolis Colts are screwing with the nature of the NFL draft.

Luck is saying all the right things but we know all too well that the Colts would be a devastating landing spot for the Stanford product. To Luck, going to Indianapolis would make him feel like he was kicked in the groin by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Brian Robinson. He can ask T.J. Lang how that feels.

With 6 teams – the Dolphins, Jaguars, Vikings, Rams, Cardinals and Colts – still firmly entrenched in the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes, you would have to put Colts as one of the frontrunners after 7 weeks.

The Dolphins and Colts are the two favourite heavyweights in the ‘suckiest be luckiest’ division. But after the thorough beat down the Colts took at the hand of the New Orleans Saints, 62-7 on Sunday night, the Colts might have Vegas giving them the best imaginary odds to take it all.

I don’t think I can remember an instance in my lifetime where Peyton Manning and quarterback controversy was used in the same sentence.

Andrew Luck got into Stanford. He’s smart enough to know that he doesn’t want to be part of one of those. He can ask Aaron Rodgers how that feels.

However, it would be ironic if the first player touted a once-in-a-decade talent since Peyton Manning ended up fighting it out with him for the starting job.

Nevertheless, an ironic situation isn’t topping Andrew Luck’s NFL aspirations bucket list. For his own sake, Luck must make sure he doesn’t ever have to face that ironic situation. He has the power to prevent it but his personality might stop him from doing so.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, there is no doubt that Andrew Luck will be ready to start week 1 of the 2012 season. Heck, he would have been ready to start week 1 of the 2011 season. I still believe he should have come out last year. Maybe he didn’t want to go to Carolina but it has got to hurt a little bit to see Cam Newton have such a successful first half of the season.

The thing is, Cam Newton is exactly the reason that Andrew Luck can’t let himself end up in Indianapolis. Consider this, 4 quarterbacks drafted in 2011 and 8 quarterbacks drafted since 2010 are currently starting in the NFL. It would be crazy if Luck wasn’t starting week 1 of 2012.

No one knows how many years Peyton Manning has left, especially following 3 neck surgeries. Although, if we have learned anything about Peyton we know that he wants Brett Favre longevity, which doesn’t bode well for Andrew Luck.

Luck foolishly proved that he is a selfless individual by returning to Stanford for another unnecessary year. He doesn’t need to prove it again.

Related: Make the Right Decision Andrew Luck

At some point, but not yet, he is going to have to speak up and tell the world that he will not sign with the Indianapolis Colts if Peyton Manning is there. A selfish ultimatum from a selfless individual. Yeah, he might be criticized by some for a move like that but it would be worth it in the long run.

The other Manning wouldn’t sign with the Chargers. His reputation wasn’t tarnished by his refusal to sign. He won a Super Bowl.

Even if the Colts ended up taking Luck, fully intending to trade him, is there really a guarantee that some team is willing to pay the inevitably mammoth price to get him? The 2012 draft is projected to be one saturated with quarterback talent. Well known prospects Matt Barkley out of USC and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones round out the top 3 quarterbacks.

Is the price for Luck really worth it when other potential stars are available in Jones and Barkley?

What about the possibility of stepping into Peyton Manning’s shoes following a trade of the Colts legend?

If Peyton Manning were traded to allow Andrew Luck to start in his rookie year, the expectations and animosity surrounding Luck among Colts fans would be tremendous. While I’m sure Luck would be able to handle the increased stress, the conditions are certainly not ideal for a quarterback with so much already on his shoulders.

Playing in a Miami or Jacksonville type city would allow for a certain degree of patience that wouldn’t be accepted in Indianapolis.

It could be argued that learning behind one of the great minds in NFL history would be beneficial to Andrew Luck. Much like playing behind Brett Favre seems to have been most helpful to Aaron Rodgers.

Despite the possible advantage sitting out 2-4 years could have for Andrew Luck, his situation is far from similar to Rodgers. People tend to forget that Aaron Rodgers slipped all the way down to 24th overall in the year he was drafted. For some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on, I don’t see Luck slipping to 24th overall. Rodgers was not touted as a once-in-a-generation talent, he didn’t have the power to demand better circumstances and are we seriously supposed to believe Rodgers wouldn’t be the quarterback he is today if not for those years riding the pine.

If Luck is as great as they say he is, he can, should and will be able to learn on the job.

Andrew Luck doesn’t have to cost himself precious years of a football career that could potentially be one of the best in history.

All he has to do is speak up.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

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Al Davis Managing from the Grave?

So, Al Davis is at it again. That’s my only explanation. Who else could have orchestrated this sorry excuse for a trade?

Even from the grave a continually senile Al Davis is still finding ways to derail his Oakland Raiders who have finally started to get things back on track. Giving up a 2012 first round and a 2013 conditional pick, which could end up as high as a first rounder depending on Carson Palmer’s play, sums up everything we have been taught at the Oakland Raider school of General Managing for the past decade.

Just win baby!

With Jason Campbell on the shelf for at least several weeks, the Oakland Raiders obviously felt they had to make a move to stay in the playoff race. Jason Campbell has been about as good as his ol’ game managing self can be. It has been enough to put his Raiders at 4-2 after 7 weeks of the season.

Related: Jason Campbell the Solution? Don’t Think So.

However, the goal in any professional sports league is to build a perennial winner. The Oakland Raiders haven’t been able to build a once in a decade winner. This trade sure isn’t putting them in the right direction.

It is 1 step forward and 2 steps back playing on repeat.

The Raiders have now spent 3 picks (1st, 3rd and 4th rounder) in 2011 on three separate quarterbacks. Yes, 3.

This trade was not necessary and vital for a team that, at best, was bound for a first round playoff exit. This was not their final shot at glory à la Brett Favre. This was a team at last giving their faithful fan base a legitimate reason to get rowdy every Sunday.

The draft, on the other hand, is necessary and vital for a team attempting to build a competitive team on a yearly basis in the NFL. In no other league is the draft more vital than the NFL. With so much talent from around the country and so many roster spots to go around, talent can be found anywhere from round 1 through 7.

It’s a travesty when teams fail to understand the value of the draft and the Raiders have excelled at this. Think Richard Seymour.

I would have expected a trade like this from a 14-year-old fantasy football player reminiscing back to his elementary school days when Carson Palmer was his favourite player. I wouldn’t have expected the Bengals to get this sort of value for a pseudo-retired past his prime pro bowler. Not even from the Oakland Raiders.

But give credit where credit is due. Owner Mike Brown of the Cincinnati Bengals refused to give in to Carson Palmer’s ridiculous demands and he was rewarded for it. With a little luck from Jason Campbell’s injury, Brown was able to receive tremendous value for his former franchise quarterback.

What can you say though about a man who went all Chad Ochocinco eccentric on us? Carson Palmer is going to be 32 in December and hasn’t given any reason for us to believe that he will play anywhere close to his former self. He also hasn’t played a down of football for quite a while now.

What do the Oakland Raiders expect?

They would be lucky if Carson Palmer could put up some vintage Trent Dilfer numbers.

The Raiders are set to pay the full amount of Carson Palmer’s $11.5 million 2011 contract. In addition, Palmer’s contract runs through 2014 season so it is quite possible, as SI’s Chris Burke points out, that Jason Campbell has “played his last down in Oakland.”

In an attempt to salvage a season that was inevitably lost after Jason Campbell’s injury, the Raiders have compromised the future of their franchise…yet again.

I guess “just win baby” is still at all costs necessary for this much maligned franchise.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

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