49ers, Football, NFL, Panthers

I think it is ok for me to cheer for Russell Wilson, for now…

NFL Conference Championship Sunday I found myself in a struggle. Here I was, a die-hard San Francisco 49ers Faithful contemplating doing the unthinkable-cheering for the rival Seattle Seahawks.

Ok, let me back up. That particular Sunday, I was actually cheering for the Green Bay Packers. As a Faithful, there was no way I could cheer for our rival even if they had only recently become that. A rival is a rival and I draw the line deep in the dirt when rivalries are involved. I cheered against Seattle in the Superbowl last year and I have cheered against them all season. It was the right thing to do.

That Sunday, I left the house in confidence. I had been spending some time with my nephew and it was time to take him home. I know what you are thinking. She left during the game? Yes I did but any real football fan will have the NFL Mobile app on their phone so they always have access to the game. However, this particular time I did not even bother to turn the game on so I could listen. Green Bay had a 12 point lead with about five minutes left, I think. I was confident they were going to win and I could celebrate Seattle watching the big game at home, like us. You know payback for last year’s NFC Championship game. You still do not want to get me started on that.

I got out of my car at my brother’s, left my phone inside and got my nephew’s belongings. After chatting inside for about 15 minutes, it was back to the car to tune in to Green Bay’s celebration of their win and return trip to the Superbowl. WRONG!! Surely my eyes were deceiving me. They had to be! I know the score did not say Green Bay 19-Seattle 22. Ummm, what? What happened?? I was shocked, stunned and beffuddled. How could this have possibly happened??

Two words. Two words I am very familiar with. Russell. Wilson.

Early in the second half, in an ominous moment of foreshadowing, I sent out a tweet. It said, “Packers bet not let up. Never count out Russell Wilson! #GBvsSEA.” You see. I knew what Wilson was capable of. I saw his capabilities up close and personal when he was the starting quarterback of my beloved North Carolina State University Wolfpack. There were games where our wins could single handedly be contributed to Wilson’s uncanny nack for making things happen on the field. As long as he was behind center, we had a chance. Always. When his path to the NFL took him from Raleigh to Wisconsin, it was the same thing over and over. Wilson making things happen when it almost seemed impossible to get it done. So never count him out.

My return trip from my brother’s house included a stop at the grocery store. This is where NFL Mobile is clutch. The stop was necessary and me watching the game was definite. So there I was, in the grocery store, with a basket and my phone tuned into the game. Yes, the actual game. I pretty much got nothing accomplished. I should have just went straight home. I was by the salads when it happened. The legend of Russell Wilson grew by miles. Green Bay had tied the game right before the end of regulation to send the NFC Championship into overtime. Seattle won the coin toss and could punch their ticket to the Superbowl if they scored a TD on their first possession. Well, yep, that is exactly what they did. Wilson dropped one of the prettiest dimes I have seen him thrown perfectly into the waiting arms and hands of Jerome Kearse who then landed in the endzone to give Seattle a chance at being the first repeat champions since 2004.

Again, I was shocked, stunned and befuddled. How could this be? What happened? Oh, Russell Wilson happened. As I surprisingly rushed out of the store to get home and watch post-game coverage, all I could do was shake my head. Then it happened. En route, I found out that Wilson cried during his post game interview while giving God the credit. And everything over here changed.

I could no longer fight the love I have for my fellow Wolfpacker. Everyone who knows me well knows I am all the way loyal to my Wolfpack. However, when it comes to professional football, my loyalties lie with my teams first, Peyton Manning second then my Wolfpackers third. Sometimes, I will pull for my fellow Wolfpackers when they are playing against Peyton if the win is needed to help boost their possible playoff appearance. No matter what though, I pull for no one over my 9ers or Panthers. So imagine the disloyalty I felt to my 9ers when I begin to feel happy for Wilson. This was not suppose to happen or was it? Could I possibly be happy for Wilson without being happy for his team? Eh. Not really but you catch the drift.

Ever since he stepped foot onto the campus at North Carolina State, Wilson has exemplified what it means to be a champion. He has proven himself to be humble, a great role model, a leader, an inspiration and one of the top quarterbacks in the league. As a Wolfpacker and a person who just generally likes to see good guys win, it is almost impossible not to cheer for him and want to see him succeed.

With that said, Go Russell!!!! Go get that second ring! This 49er Faithful is rooting for you! For now….

49ers, NFL

#SalaryKap

{Source: Google Images}
{Source: Google Images}

 

Six years. $110 million dollars. $61 million dollars guaranteed. $12 million dollar signing bonus.

I will say it again, Kap got paid! Cha ching. Using a Quill pen yesterday, Colin Kaepernick solidified his claim as the franchise QB for my beloved San Francisco 49ers. The question is did he deserve that kind of money? My answer is no. First, I have to try and not get on my athletes make waaaay too much money soapbox. Second, he only has 29 starts under his belt. Frankly, over in Kassie’s world, the jury is still partially out on Kap. Now do not twist my words. I am glad Harbaugh pulled the infamous San Francisco Switcheroo in 2011. In two and a half years, Kap has already managed to take us to two straight NFC Championships and was a yard away from being a Super Bowl champion.

However, I just we had more time to evaluate Kap before we shelled out that kind of cash. I would like to see more consistency from him. We all know he can run. We all know he can throw. Now it is up to him to prove to us that he understands the game to the point where he knows when to run and when to throw. 29 starts is barely scratching the surface in the National Football League so he still has a lot to learn. Unfortunately for the franchise, it was a deal that needed to get done before the season so there would not be any “distractions.” Oh and it also forces ESPN to find a new 9ers story for the season.

The NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” (except for when we are talking about Tony Romo) and if you put Kap up against the other top QBs in the league then it is easy to make sense of why his pockets are now fully loaded. Based simply off of that, he deserves the money he got. Again, do not twist my words. What I just said does not contradict what I said earlier. Kap got his start at just the right time. Three years before his contract ends. With his resume, my 9ers had to pay him what they did or someone else would have. That is just the nature of the biz.

With the stroke of that pen, Kap and the 9ers also managed to create a mess for other teams. The struggle that is the salary kap just got extra real for some teams. I am not sure what some of their kap space is looking like but I can assure you that other top QBs who have contract negotiations coming up were taking notes yesterday. I wonder if Russell Wilson will thank Kap when he signs his new contract. He should. He already had his Super Bowl ring as leverage and Kap just added to his stash. Can you say cha cha ching?

So there you have it. Kap got paid. I wish we could have waited. And FOOTBALL SEASON is still months away. Sigh. Oh and this Niner Faithful is accepting nothing less than a Super Bowl win this year from Kap and the Niner Gang. It is time to complete the Quest for Six.

 

Until next time…TOODELLS.

 

P.S. But for real though, how many days until FOOTBALL SEASON?? Sista over here feenin. Bad.

Controversy, Football, NFL

Who woulda thunk???

As if anyone saw that coming.

Total domination. From start to finish. Despite what my beloved Peyton Manning says, that was indeed embarassing.

We all knew Seattle’s defense had the potential to cause some problems and disrupt the Broncos flow but what I saw last night went beyond anything I could have comprehended. If you would have told me at the beginning of the game, even after the ball was snapped over Manning’s head, even after Seattle went up 5-0, that Seattle would win 43-8, I would have laughed. Hard. If you would have told me that after Percy Harvin returned the second half kickoff for a touchdown, I would have left. I never thought I would see a Peyton Manning led team give up so easily. I give all credit to Seattle for their win. Their game plan exploited every weakness the Broncos have. From start to finish.

While the Pacific Northwest celebrates its first championship in a major sport, the rest of the sports world is left to sort out the details of “Manning’s Legacy.” I could go on all day spitting out numbers that solidify why he is still one of the greatest to ever line up behind center. However, there are only two stats people care about…11-12 in the playoffs, 1-2 in Super Bowls. Unfortunately, many will judge him on those numbers alone. They have every right to. The numbers are not astounding and you can argue that he cannot win the big game. However, I have always been a firm believer in football is a team sport. The quarterback just happens to be the face of the franchise. Therefore, he shoulders a lot of the blame. For years I have said if a QB’s greatness solely lies in how many rings he wins then Marino and Manning cannot enter into the conversation. They would be replaced by Terry Bradshaw and Troy Aikman. Are there really people out there who can honestly say they would choose Bradshaw to lead their team over Manning?

To me, a QB is only as strong as its weakest link. No matter how great your QB is, if you run up a team that can exploit your team weaknesses then you are doomed. All year, the Broncos defense has been their achilles heel. They finished 19th in the league. However, when you have an offense that is putting up numbers the way theirs did, your defense is often overlooked. All year, the offensive line for the Broncos had been challenged, very little. Statistically, Houston was the best defense they had faced all year and they are not even in the same room with Seattle’s defense. Recipe for disaster for the Broncos. They could not adjust. Their timing was off. The o-line collapsed on almost every play which left Manning hardly enough time to set his feet to throw the ball. It was just all around bad ball for a good football team.

Things happen. This team gave up long before the clock read 0:00. Things happen. To me, this does not diminish Manning’s legacy. Yes, he made some mistakes but he is not the reason they lost. You can say I am making excuses all you want and that still will not change my stance. I still think Manning is the best in the league and one of the greatest ever. Quote me on that.

 

CONGRATULATIONS to the WOLFPACK’S OWN Russell Wilson, J.R. Sweezy & Steven Hauschka!!!! You make us proud!!!!

Football, NFL, Sports

Peyton or Russell??

You all know how much I loooooooooooove Peyton Williams Manning. You all know how much I loooooooooooove Russell Carrington Wilson. So the question becomes, which QB am I pulling for in the Super Bowl???

Now the answer you all have been waiting for……

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{Source: CBS Sports}
{Source: CBS Sports}

Yep. I am pulling for #18.  I actually made the decision BEFORE the NFC Championship Game. As a loyal Faithful, it is impossible for me to cheer for the Seattle Seahawks, as a whole, to achieve such a major accomplishment. My Gold Blood just will not allow it. That is what happens when a rivalry gets very real. Everything shifts. I fully expect #18 to carve up one of the best defenses in the league. He may not hang 30 on them but I am looking for him to pass for at least 300. It is what he does. And then when he wins all the talking heads can finally stop talking about how he cannot get it done in the postseason. Who am I kidding?? The talking heads will still find something to yap about. Now if the Seahawks happen to pull off the upset, then I will definitely be happy for Russell as well as J.R. Sweezy and Steven Hauschka(WOLFPACK!!!) Shoutout to Nate Irving(WOLFPACK!) who plays for the Broncos. Only one school, Tennessee, has more players playing in the Super Bowl than we do.
 

Looking forward to a great game!! PEYTON BOUT TO PUT IN WORK!! HEEEEEEEEY!! PEYTON BOUT TO PUT IN WORK!! HEEEEEEY!!

49ers, Football, NFL, Panthers, Sports

Kassie’s NFL ReKap!!

I owe my friend Earl Crawford an apology. During a Twitter exchange yesterday, I made the statement that “the O(Carolina Panthers) looked about the same. D looked niiiice.” My exact words. Earl’s response, ” I don’t understand….yr 1 O was on fire .. running up and down the field .. yr 3 we struggling…” Now in my defense, I was late getting home from church and I had to make a run during the game for pizza and breadsticks so I did not get to watch the whole game. It was not until I took a good look at the box score that I truly understood where Earl was coming from. My bad Earl. You were absolutely right. Yesterday’s offense was dismal. Quarterback Cam Newton completed 16 of 23 passes for 125 yards and one touchdown. Huh? Wait. What? Third year QB Newton ONLY had 125 yards? I need that to be a typo. Unfortunately, it is not. Newton did do a good job of spreading the ball around to multiple receivers, completing passes to five different players. However, that is just not enough. Now in his defense, this dismal offense was crippled by some dismal, conservative play calling. It was apparent that in order to beat the Seahawks, the Panthers were going to need a balanced attack. Surprisingly, the numbers say this is exactly what happened. 23 passing plays to 26 rushing plays. Well plays that netted yardage. So something is terribly wrong here. I saw too many dropped passes. I saw too many fumbles. And while I try not to “armchair coach,” I saw too many questionable play calls.

In year three of the Cam Newton offense, there should definitely be improvement from last year. The offensive line looked better. Newton seemed to be more patient in the pocket. And Steve Smith is still the fiery, ball snatching firecracker that he has been for the past 13 years. I agree with Newton and Smith when they say ” Everybody, let’s not panic now” but hey, something has got to give or somebody is going to be giving up a job soon.

Switching gears and speaking of giving, how about we give Seahawks QB Russell Wilson a round of applause. *insert applause* What sophomore slump? Wilson finished the day 25 of 33 for 320 yards and one touchdown. Things started out a little rough for Russell as he was under constant pressure from the Panthers front seven. However, once he got settled in, he managed the game like only he can. Scrambling when he needed to. Dropping back when necessary. Making throws on the run including a beautiful pass receiver Doug Baldwin. And of course, completing a beautiful game winning drive that culminated in a 43 yard touchdown pass to receiver Jermaine Kearse in the fourth quarter. That is just Russell being Russell. The other 31 teams better get used to it.

Switch.

All summer I have been hyping myself up, it did not take much, for opening  Sunday. My San Francisco 49ers vs the Green Bay Packers. A rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional playoff game. You know the game where 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards. Yeah, that game.  Well all summer we heard about how the Packers were making adjustments so that they receive a repeat dose of what happened in January. Well, so much for that. Apparently the Packers thought Kaepernick could only beat them with his legs. Wrong. The arm proved to be just as lethal as Kaepernick lit up the Packers defense for 412 yards on 27 of 39 passes and three touchdowns. Huh? Wait. What? Looks like the Packers may need to go back to the drawing board once again. Ok, ok. Enough trash talk. For as much as I loved the way my 9ers looked yesterday, I am still extremely frustrated with our secondary. Too many missed tackles. Too many blow coverages. Too many missed assignments. Yesterday was essentially a shootout and it came down to which defense could hold. Thankfully, my 9ers defensive unit has been together for years and knows how to step up at just the right time. If it was not for that front seven then we might have had a different outcome. Fellow football fans have been telling me to calm down because Rodgers is a great QB who is going to torch secondaries constantly. Yeah, I know. However, I need to see some improvement out of our secondary and I am not seeing it. Remember, I was watching the 9ers when no one else was so that telling me that they are doing a good job will not work over here. If we are to, indeed, get ring number six then the secondary will have to step up in a major way. Teams will be looking to exploit that weakness. Now if everyone can get on the same page and play like rookie safety Eric Reid then it is curtains for everybody else! Bang! Bang! #NinerGang

Switch. My thoughts.

Speaking of curtains, the Pittsburgh Steel curtain may be closing. My goodness. They looked awful yesterday. So did those Jacksonville Jaguars. Sheesh.

Yeah Larry Fitzgerald! Snagged two touchdowns yesterday. Still top five in the WR department.

The New York Jets, with the assistance of a late hit penalty, won their opener. Yeah, I have seen this Lifetime movie before.

Speaking of Lifetime movies, the Dallas Cowboys one began last night with a win as well. We all know how this will play out. Maybe they will fool me. Eh, doubt it.

The New England Patriots needed late game heroics to beat the Buffalo Bills. I am not sure how to even interpret that. Any Given Sunday, I guess. Well almost.

The Chicago Bears beat the Cincinnati Bengals. Barely. That is a moot point though. As long as I get to sing “Bear Down.”

Miami beat the Browns, convincingly. However, they were not very impressive. Gotta love those Fins.

There was a Reggie Bush sighting in Detroit as the Lions beat the Minnesota Vikings. Bush racked up 191 yards of total offense and one touchdown. He has not produced that much offense since USC. Ok, Maybe he has but none of you would be surprised if I was right.  Adrian Peterson was sighted too.  Ran straight to paydirt on his first carry. From 78 yards away. Really dude?

Andrew Luck’s Colts allllllmost lost to the Oakland Raiders. Heard the Raiders looked good though.

And lastly, the New Orleans Saints worked that voodoo magic on the Atlanta Falcons, who were not able to #RiseUp for the occasion. Better luck next time birds.

Entertainment, Sports

Olbermann..

{Source: Google Images}
{Source: Google Images}

Tonight, one of my favorite former SportsCenter anchors, Keith Olbermann will return to the ESPN airwaves. His new show “Olbermann” will debut on ESPN2 at 11pm. To say I am excited is an understatement.

The format of the show reminds me of Leno/Letterman/Fallon/Kimmel/Ferguson. The show will open with Olbermann taking 10 to 15 minutes to review 10 events making headlines in the sporting world. That will be followed by an interview with a notable sports “player” that has something to do with one of the stories he reviewed previously. Lastly, there will be a highlight reel of the day’s events. Definitely sounds like my kind of show.

I have enjoyed Olbermann on ESPN. I enjoyed him on ‘Countdown’ on MSNBC. I fully expect to enjoy him in his role.

By the way, I heard in the first week he is going to have Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning as guests. You know I will be tuned in for those shows!!!

Until next time…TOODELLS.

49ers, Football, NFL, Sports

Divisional Weekend Roundup

Is anybody else tired besides me? This weekend of football wore me out. Sheesh. I need a nap. One of those good kindergarten naps. On a cot.

So where shall I start? I knooooow!!! Lets start with my team, the San Francisco 49ers!! Whoop whoooop!! We left shredded cheese all over The Stick. Green Bay started out hot but any chance they thought they had of winning quickly diminished when the legend of Colin Kaepernick was born. So did the hopes of Alex Smith getting his job back. In his first playoff game, Kaepernick completed 17 of 31 passes for 263 yards while throwing two touchdowns and one interception. That is not even the highlight of the game. He was the game’s leading rusher with 181 yards including a 56 yard touchdown run. Yeah, I know Green Bay’s defense is not the greatest but it held arguably the game’s best running back, Adrian Peterson, to 99 yards last week. Plus they have Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson. Serious ballers. None of that would matter as the 9ers pounded the Packers to advance to their second straight NFC Championship. Cheese for everyone!!!!

The game of the weekend had to be the Denver Broncos vs the Baltimore Ravens. The Broncos, led by future Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning duked it out with the Ravens, led by future Hall Of Famer, Ray Lewis. The game had everything you wanted. Lead changes. Ties. Hard hitting. -2 weather. Snow. A prayer in the form of a football thrown by Ravens QB Joe Flacco caught by Ravens WR Jacoby Jones in the closing seconds of regulation. Overtime. Double overtime. A bad throw by Manning that was intercepted. A game winning kick by a rookie kicker to send the Ravens to their second straight AFC Championship. After all that, I am tired again.

The first game on Sunday looked to most like it would be a snoozer but like I tell anyone, if you have Russell Wilson as your QB, you always have a chance. The Falcons soon found out as the Seahawks came back from a 20 point deficit to take the lead with less than a minute left in the game. Everyone including me assumed that the game was over and that San Fran would host the NFC Championship game for the second year on a row. Wrong. The Seahawks defense that had been so intimidating and in your face all year, allowed Matt Ryan to throw two passes that would give the Falcons enough yards to kick a game winning field goal. To make matters worse, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, calls a timeout that he claims he did not call but they have it on tape, just as Atlanta’s kicker misses the field goal, wide right. I guess you know what happens next. Matt Bryant drills the field goal. The Falcons win. And my 9ers have to travel across the country to pluck feathers next week.

The last game of the weekend…..boooooring! New England easily defeated Roland Martin’s Houston Texans. I do not think anyone was surprised.

As far as predictions, I have my 49ers finally getting back to the Super Bowl. Their opponent will be the Baltimore Ravens. Bring on the “Harbaugh Bowl.”