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….

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And the people rejoiced, for the NFL is back!!!

OH HAPPY DAY!!!!!

I can hardly contain my excitement. The day I have waited for since February has finally arrived.

Since I am a writer and I love sports, I know you all are expecting me to issue some predictions. I have said over and over that I hate doing predictions. They hinge on so many things: who stays healthy, who performs the way that they should, which coach best utilizes its players, yada, yada, yada. However, without predictions, it would not give journalists much to talk about, huh?

So you are expecting a Super Bowl prediction. Oh boy. Can I pick two teams? Sure I can. It is my blog. I fully expect Denver to be in the Super Bowl again. Aaaaaaaand I expect their opponent to be an NFC team. Haha. Ok, for real because I do not think Seattle will repeat, I am going to go with New Orleans. Denver will win and Peyton can ride off into the sunset like Ray Ray.

I would have loved to have picked my beloved 49ers. Sadly, I think I window of opportunity may have closed. I do not even want to get into it. Even with the departures, suspensions and distractions, I still think we have tremendous talent and players in place to win it all. The question is, can they gel together to get it done? Only time will tell. I hope my prediction is wrong!

I think my beloved Panthers will be solid again this year but I do not expect them to have the same success as last year. I honestly cannot even tell you why. Just a gut feeling. I hope my prediction is wrong!

 

 

So here we go, my predictions for the week…

Seattle over GB
NO over ATL
STL over Minnesota
Cleveland over Pittsburgh
Philly over Jax
Jets over Oakland
Cincy over Baltimore
Buffalo over Chicago
Wash over Houston
KC over Tenn
NE over Miami
Panthers over Bucs
9ers over Dallas
Denver over Indy
Detroit over NYG
SD over AZ

We shall see what happens.

Enjoy the first weekend of the 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!!!!

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!!

Oh Sherman…

One week later and Richard Sherman is still headline news…

While in the gym this morning at FIVE AM, I caught of glimpse of Sherman on ESPN. Not surprisingly, he was the choice candidate for SportsCenter’s weekly Sunday Conversation. Since I was unable to listen to the conversation at the gym, I made it a point to watch it when I got home. I still love the fact that ESPN shows the same SportsCenter episode repeatedly for like eight hours during the night and into the next morning. You never have to miss a thing! Upon sitting down to watch the interview, I did not anticipate Sherman saying anything that I had not already heard him say in the past week. Boy was I wrong.

Sherman’s conversation was conducted by Kenny Mayne, one person I know never shies away from the tough questions and always creates an environment that allows his interviewee to feel comfortable being his or herself. When Mayne referenced Sherman’s comments about Michael Crabtree being mediocre, my ears perked up. If you will recall last week I made the claim that I do not believe Sherman really thinks Crabtree is a “sorry receiver”(click here if you missed that post…https://kassienetteskorner.com/2014/01/21/why-they-mad-bro/). Boy was I wrong.

Mayne: “Crabtree. You called him medicore. Do you really believe that cause I don’t think he’s mediocre, personally.”

Sherman: “I do, I do. I do…I really think that it’s one of those situations where I’ve watched the film, I’ve played him, I’ve done everything…”

Welp. Bloop! And there you have it. He was dead serious. I loved the fact that Sherman stood by his words. Again. As if this rivalry needed more fuel to be added to the fire. Crabtree, he called you out, again. Now how you gone respond, on the field?? Is it too early to start counting down the days to 9ers vs Seahawks 2014, Vol. 1??

 

P.S. I do NOT agree with Sherman’s assessment of Crabtree. He’s no Jerry Rice but he is far from being an Andre Holmes. Who? Exactly.

Why they mad, bro??

I knew it was coming.

From the time Richard Sherman opened his mouth after his Seattle Seahawks won the NFC Championship Sunday night, I knew it was coming. Yesterday, it dropped. The apology. Ugh.

I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, the unpredictable would happen. I was hoping that maybe this would be the one time an athlete seized his first amendment right with no apologies. I was hoping that maybe there would be an unequivocal silence that would speak for itself.

However, I get it. As a PR consultant, I totally get it. It had to be done because this story had become bigger than the result of the game. More than 36 hours later, Sherman is still the number one trending topic on Twitter. Some are praising him. Some are enjoying the moment. Some are calling him names. There are memes, spoofs and t-shirts popping up all over cyberpace. I have read articles of support, articles of condemnation and articles of indifference. I have shaken my head so many times

Thug. Bully. Uneducated. I have seen those words thrown around so many times I need an assistant to keep count. Thug. Bully. Uneducated. Maybe there is a different Richard Sherman people are referring to. Surely, none of the talking heads are referring to the Richard Sherman who graduated second in his high school class with a 4.2 GPA and holds a degree in Communication from Stanford. Oh, and he graduated from there with a 3.9 GPA. Surely, they are NOT referring to THAT Richard Sherman.

As I sit here, typing earnestly, at the computer, I am wondering when did sports become so watered down that everyone has to place nice in the sandbox at all times even in the midst of battle. I think a lot of people have forgotten that we all are different. Every player does not study the game the way Peyton Manning does. Every player does not display the fiery passion for the game that Ray Lewis did. Every player does celebrate their on-field accomplishments the way Deion Sanders did. However, is that not part of what makes sports so enjoyable for most? Men and women from all walks of life with different personalities competing for the same goal.

As I have stated previously, Sherman’s actions at the end of the game were less than desirable. However, I stand by my previous statement that I have no problem with his words and the more I think about it, I am beginning to think I do not have a huge problem with his actions. Was the pat on the behind and the “friendly” extension for a handshake from Michael Crabtree necessary? Absolutely not. That had potential fisticuffs written all over it. Things could have gone left really quick and no one in their right mind believes Sherman was thinking good sportsmanship in that moment. That is sports!! If he apologized for anything, it should have been for the that. Again, I get it. I really do. Sherman had just made the biggest play of his career, thus far, to send his team to the Super Bowl. Many of us would be excited in that moment, operating off pure adrenaline. Many of us would want to celebrate. Many of us would want to rub that in the face of the opposing player whom the play was made on. Yet, some have crucified him for being caught up in the moment as if we have never gotten “caught up” when someone cuts us off in traffic.

Bottom line is this: its football! A brutal sport that is not for the weak. It is rough, you have to be tough and trash talk happens, a lot. There are some players who passion oozes out through the way they approach the game. Then, there are players whose passion oozes out through their words in a way that scares some. At the rate things are going, soon players will not be able to express themselves at all for fear of being labeled everything they are not. Well, unless you are Tom Brady because then you can berate officials all you want and no one will say a thing.

Yeah, this San Francisco 49ers Faithful went there.

My Niners. My Niners. SMH.

They look like my team. They talk like my team. They don’t play like my team though. WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY NINERS???!!! I am not in panic mode but I am in concerned mode. I definitely thought last week was a fluke and that Seattle just got the best of us. However, if I am going to be honest, the red flags were raised during the first game of the season against Green Bay. The defense did not look very cohesive in that game but since it was the first game of the season I was not very concerned. Plus Aaron Rodgers was on the other side of the field and he can light up anyone’s defense.

We have looked horrible. Absolutely horrible the past two games.  I do not know what happened to my team. We are not aggressive. We do not seem very confident on either side of the ball. We are not blocking well. We are not tackling well. I really can not tell you anything we are doing well. Well wait, we ran the ball well yesterday, in the first half. Then we abandoned the run game. Sigh.

Like I said I am not panicking. Oh and we are going to be without Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis on Thursday night against the St. Louis Rams. I am crossing my fingers tight hoping my Niners can show up and remind me why I picked them to win the Super Bowl cause right now we are looking like we are going to be drinking from the punch bowl come January.

Until next time….SIGH.