49ers, Controversy, Football, NFL, Panthers

Free Agent Frenzy

For two days straight, my phone has been blowin up.

A buzz here. A buzz there. A notification here. A notification there. A retweet here. A retweet there. Everywhere a tweet, tweet. It feels like my phone buzzes every other minute. Welcome to the frenzy that is NFL Free Agency.

Donte Whitner. His release HURT!! For real. DeMarcus Ware. Darrelle Revis. Antoine Bethea. Jared Allen. Julius Peppers. LaMarr Woodley. Aqib Talib. T.J. Ward. Karlos Dansby. This would make a nice Pro Bowl roster.

And then, the hammer dropped and everyone in North Carolina and South Carolina heard the news that they did not want to hear, the Carolina Panthers would start training camp in July without all-time leading receiver and arguably the franchise’s most famous cat, Steve Smith. The rumblings began at the NFL Combine when Panthers General Manager, Dave Gettleman, offered a noncommittal response when asked about Smith’s future with the team. Many were stunned by the response including Smith. In 2012, Smith signed a three year extension which many felt would guarantee that Smith would retire as a Panther. That was what Smith wanted and at the time it was what the Panthers wanted. Loyalty seemed to be at the root of the deal as everyone walked away from the table happy. Unfortunately, loyalty does not always rise up from its hole each year. And loyalty does not score touchdowns. And loyalty does not guarantee good seasons. And loyalty does not guarantee championships.

Buzz. 9:05am. Alert from SportsCenter. Panthers to cut WR Steve Smith Thursday, a league source told NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Once Schefter tweets it/says it, you can bank on it.

Wow. I was in Bank of America Stadium to witness Smitty’s last game as a Panther.

This part of the NFL just makes me go ugh. I have dissected this move from many angles. Smith is 34 years old. He is 5’9(not that his height has ever been an issue but short WR’s are becoming less common). He is coming off a knee injury. The Panthers would potentially have to pay him seven million in 2014. They need to get under the salary cap. Yada yada yada. Everyone will scream it is business and move on. To me, I do not believe this is JUST a business move. I think this was personal. Sure we do not know what kind of year Smith may have next year. He may have a horrible year. He may have a great year. He may have even decided to retire. That is just the nature of sports. You can make all the predictions you want but none of us know what will really happen during the year. Right? Or are you trying to tell me you picked Seattle to win the SuperBowl. Anywho, back to Smitty. Regardless of what is going to happen, the Panthers will be paying Smith three million dollars. It is part of the guaranteed money that he got for his extension. So, they essentially saved four million dollars which I hope they use to spend on another wide receiver because I am not sure that Tavarres King, Martin McNutt or R.J. Webb can step in and fill Smith’s void. Oh and did I mention that the four million saved does not really put a dent in the cap space needed.

Perhaps the most telling sign that this is a personal move is the fact that the Panthers never asked Smith to restructure his contract. Let that sink in. Business or personal? You be the judge.

The past two days have been a doozy. I am almost positive that there have never been so many big name players released at one time. For as much as I love the game, I absolutely hate this part of the “business” where feelings have to be separated from reality in order to save dollars. But I have learned to accept it. If the 9ers can trade football royalty in the form of Jerry Rice and Joe Montana then anything is possible. Here is to hoping today is not as hectic. I have work to do and I do not need any distractions!

Until next time…TOODELLS.

Follow me on Twitter @Kassienette

 

P.S. To Smitty….thank you for your dedication, loyalty and hardwork. As a Panthers fan, it has been a joy to watch you play the past 13 years for the blue and black. May GOD bless you abundantly in your next chapter.

 

Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey, MLB, NBA, NFL, Sports

The Mecca of Sports…Boston??

So on the real, I think we have all been sleeping on the greatness of Boston sports in the past decade. This region has been dominating all over the professional map. Did you realize that since 2004, the New England Patriots have won the Superbowl, the Boston Bruins have won the Stanley Cup(2011), the Boston Celtics have won the NBA Championship(2008) and the Boston Red Sox have won the Word Series twice(2004 & 2007) and can clinch their third in 10 years tonight??!! Crazyyyyyyyyy. Boston is one of those cities that seems to be real laid back. That is just me judging from afar since I have never been. It does not get the shine that cities like LA, New York, Atlanta and Miami do. It is not a flashy town but I do love, love, loooooove the city for giving me New Edition and New Kids on the Block. Oh and Mark Wahlberg. I cannot forget about Marky Mark. Let the Sox get this ring, you can betcha by golly wow that I will be getting me a Boston Strong shirt.

 

Until next time…TOODELLS.

49ers, Football, NFL, Sports

Still Forever Faithful…

Ugh. So close. Sooooooooooo close. I still can not believe it. Less than 10 yards away, maybe it was 15 from my team winning it all. Ugh.

This is not the blog I expected to write. I expected to come on here and tell you all about how much I screamed and hollered and lost my voice during my victory celebration. I expected to come on here and tell you all how I cried after my team hoisted the Lombardi trophy into the air. I expected to tell you all that I sprinted out of the house(ala Aldon Smith when he gets a sack) after the clock hit zero. However, it was not meant to be. Ugh.

My 9ers. My 9ers. My 9ers. Oh, my 9ers. They left me with a broken heart. They are making me avoid ESPN for the rest of the night. Um, I will also have to avoid ESPN at least another day. Tragic. They left me deleting posts off my Facebook page from people who wanted to rub it in. Some may call that being a sore loser and that is fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I call it being passionate about my team. In that moment I was sad and I did not want anyone adding to my sadness. Some losses sting. Some losses leave me shaking my head. And some losses just down right hurt. This was one of those hurtful losses. I was sad. Very sad. I think I even had a tear in my eye. To battle back the way that we did and still come up short is aaaah. I do not even have the word for it. Ugh.

I refuse to blame our loss on the refs, the secondary, the defense, the coaching staff, etc. Sure, there were some penalties I thought the refs missed. Sure, the secondary made huge mistakes., Sure, there was some questionable play calling but hey it is all a part of the game. How you react to those factors is what decides who wins and loses. Overall, I still think we had the better team on the field but the Baltimore Ravens refused to be denied. They are to be commended for their effort and for a great season. Although I am avoiding ESPN for another day or so, I am sure at some point I will search for the coverage of Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Torrey Smith and offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell all hoisting that trophy. Ok, probably not but it sounded good. I have great respect for those guys and that organization. Congrats to them and their fans. Look at me coming out of my sadness. I did not even end this paragraph with ugh. See :-}.

If there is one bright spot, it is the fact that we have a very young team that is only going to get better. I am pretty sure we have found our QB. I am pretty sure we still have the best O-line in the game. And I am pretty sure we will be drafting some secondary players this offseason. Once this team can consistently put together a complete game, I think you will see that 9ers dynasty rise, once again, from The Bay. Last year, we lost in the NFC Championship game. This year we lost in the Superbowl. If the trend continues, then this time next year I can scream with pride, Ladies & Gentlemen, the San FranSIXco 49ers!!! And this member of the Faithful still loves the sound of that!!!

Until next time….TOODELLS.

P.S. The 9er motto for the postseason was #QuestForSix. I think without a doubt, the motto for next season should be UNFINISHED BUSINESS. I think I will tweet them and let them know.

P.P.S. What am I going to do until August?! Ugh.

faithful

Football, NFL, Panthers, Sports, Uncategorized

Almost Jerry. Alllllllmost…..

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October 26, 1993. I still remember the breaking news from the sporting world that day. It was the day the Carolina Panthers were born and it was also the day I became a fan. In case you missed the memo, yes I am a 9ers and a Panthers fan regardless of what you say. You still can not question my fanhood!!! On this same day, I watched Jerry Richardson, owner of the Panthers, guarantee that the team would win a SuperBowl within their first 10 years of existence.

Fast forward to February 1, 2004, nine years after the Panthers first season(the Panthers started playing in 1995), SuperBowl XXXVIII(38). The Carolina Panthers vs. the New England Patriots. Could my Panthers really keep Jerry’s promise? After the way things had unfolded for my Panthers in the playoffs, anything was possible.

My Panthers easily dismissed the Dallas Cowboys in the first round to advance to a divisional playoff meeting with the St. Louis Rams. My Panthers were leading by 11 with three minutes to go when the improbable happened. The Rams tied the game!! In what will go down as one of the most exciting games I have ever watched, my Panthers managed to get the job done on the first play of the second overtime. QB Jake Delhomme hit WR Steve Smith in stride, the middle of the field for a 69 yard TD to send my Panthers to the NFC Championship. The clip of Delhomme celebrating that TD will never get old. Classic Jake :-}.

Next up was the opponent that stood between my Panthers and the SuperBowl, the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles would play without their workhorse RB, Brian Westbrook and would later lose QB Donovan McNabb during the game due to an injury. My Panthers won 14-3 to advance to the big game.

Besides the fact that my team was playing in the game, one of the main reasons that this game stands out is because I was in Charlotte to watch the game. A friend was invited down by another friend and my friend invited me to come as well. Keep in mind that I lived a little over two hours from Charlotte and I had to be at work at 8:30 the next morning but of course that was not going to stop me from going to Charlotte for the anticipated celebration. We ate. We laughed. We cheered. We covered our eyes when Janet played peek-a-boo. And with about three minutes to go and the game tied, we began to prepare for the trip to downtown Charlotte to celebrate Jerry’s promise. We had full confidence in our team. Then former Patriot Adam Vinatieri happened. With four seconds left, he shattered the dreams of Jerry and millions of Panthers fans along the East Coast with a swift kick that sent the ball through the uprights and sent the New England Patriots home with the Lombardi Trophy.

As I drove home that night, well morning, I began to laugh because I could only imagine what time I would have been leaving Charlotte if we had won. I wondered what I would have told my supervisor when he would have caught me sleeping at my desk. I decided I would have told him the truth. He knew I was a die hard and he was a great sport when he lost our bet during the NFC Championship game(he was an Eagles fan). If we had won, I surely would not have been productive that day but it would have been well worth it!!!

49ers, Football, NFL, Sports

The #QuestForSix continues….

Hi, my loyal Korner Kickers!! I hope you all are well. I want to apologize for my lack of posts last week. I have a lot going on!!! Good stuff though and I have not had time to write. This is another hectic week but once I get through it, I will be back to my usual writing schedule.

As you all know, IT IS SUPER BOWL WEEEEEEK!!!! I can hardly contain my excitement. Just wait until next Monday when I am posting about the San FranSIXco 49ers!!!!!

In honor of SuperBowl week, I have decided to blog about memorable Super Bowls. They may not be memorable to you but they are to me and in some instances it may not be because of the game.

My 9ers have appeared in five Super Bowls and have won all five. Although, I was a fan of the 9ers as a youngster, I did not really start developing my love for the game until I was in middle school. Therefore, the 9ers SuperBowl appearance that stands out most for me is SuperBowl XXIX(29). My 9ers vs the San Diego Chargers. Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Deion Sanders, Merton Hanks and the chicken dance, Ricky Watters, Bryant Young, Dana Stubblefield & Ken Norton, Jr. vs Junior Seau, Natrone Means, Stan Humphries and the other Chargers. My 9ers were 18.5 point favorite, rightfully so.

The game was deemed as a coming out party for Steve Young as he emerged, in the eyes of many, from Joe Montana’s shadow. On the opening drive, three paid into the game, Young found Rice in the endzone and just like that the route was on. Young threw for touchdowns on his way to MVP in a 49-26 win. Equally as impressive in the win was the fact that Rice had 29 catches for 149 yards and three touchdowns. Greatness.

As I celebrated loudly in my living room, I had no idea it would be another 18 years before we would grace the big stage again but we are back!!! That is what makes REAL FANS so special. They are there through the good and bad times. LETS GO NINERS!!!! BRING THE TROPHY BACK TO THE BAY!!!

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49ers, Baseball, Basketball, College football, Football, NFL, Sports, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

My all-time faves…

I present to you my 12 favorite athletes of ALL-TIME, in no particular order…

1. Ken Griffey, Jr~~I can admit, I was a little obsessed with Junior back in the day. I have a Griffey pennant on my wall(at my mom’s). The first pair of hi-tops I ever bought were the original Griffeys. I had a VHS tape full of his highlights and Home Run Derbys.  I would watch SportsCenter over and over just to see Junior. And I still stand by a statement I made a couple of weeks ago: the man has the prettiest swing. EVER.

2. Jerry Rice~~This should come as no surprise. When you think of the 9ers, you have to think of Jerry. The man holds bookoo(is that how you spell it?) records: most TDs scored with 208, most career TD receptions with 197, most career receptions with 1549, most career receiving yards with 22,895 and the list goes on. Add to that three Super Bowl rings, a Super Bowl MVP, Offensive player of the year honors, numerous pro bowl selections, a spot in Canton and you have the G.O.A.T.

3. David Thompson~~Man oh man. How I wish I was alive to see him play. Or how I wish he was playing when I was around :-}. The stories I have heard about Skywalker are just mind boggling. His athleticism, precision, vertical abilities and sheer domination are reasons enough to You Tube him. Need more convincing, Google David Thompson blocks Bill Walton. If you do not have Skywalker in your list when it comes to college basketball’s G.O.A.T. then you really do not know roundball at all. And if you have Michael Jordan on that list and not DT, then you have LACK credibility. It is that simple.  GO PACK!

4. Kristi Yamaguchi~~You would have thought I was dreaming of being a figure skater as much as I loved to watch Kristi skate. Her routines were flawless!! She was flawless! And her last name was flawless!

5. Michael Johnson~~I have been a track and field fan since I was a tiny tot. Loved participating. Loved watching. And I loooooooooved watching Michael Johnson obliterate the competition every chance he got especially in the ’96 Olympics. Other than Namath claiming a Super Bowl win, I have never seen a more bold proclamation than when Michael Johnson stepped onto the track in Atlanta in gold spikes. His then record-breaking 200m run is still my favorite Olympic moment.

6. Josh Hamilton~~If you have been around me the last few years then you know how I feel about Josh Hamilton. God-given extraordinary abilities, #1 pick out of high school, develops a bad drug habit, suspended from baseball numerous times, during a “high” moment stumbles into his grandmother’s house, she welcomes him in, he tries to go to sleep in her spare room, notices a Bible, flips through it until his eyes land on James 4:7, decides to dedicate his life to Christ, gets sober, gets back into baseball, finds a home with the Texas Rangers, sets a record in the 2008 HR Derby with 28 homers in the first round, 2010 AL MVP and is still adding to his resume. And his explanation for it all, “It’s a God thing.” Now do you understand why he’s one of my faves? Btw, if you have not read his book, Beyond Belief, do so!! Life changer.

7. Steve Young~~Yes, I love me some Joe Cool. However, Steve Young was my guy in the 90s. Dude was smooooooove, calm, cool and collected. Could scramble, throw on the run and was not afraid to talk a little trash. Plus he had that curly hair. My man.

8. Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway~~Talk about a throwback. Just like I was with Griffey, I was a little obsessed with Penny. I did not have highlight tapes but I did have his name plastered all over my wall and I used to record Lil Penny commercials. If only those injuries had not plagued him…

9. Gail Devers~~This was my girl!! That hair! That speed! Those nails!!

10. Russell Wilson~~Gamer. Baller. Professional. Hardworker. Resilient. Determined. Playmaker. Gamechanger. Anklebreaker. Humble. Kind. Leader. Wolfpacker for life.

11. Vince Carter~~I know. I know. Feelin a little bit like a traitor. He is a smerf but even I have to be honest when it comes to VC. Between ’99-’06, there was no baller player I enjoyed watching more than Vince. His athletic ability was like other worldly. Once he truly developed his game to go along with his athletic prowess, dude was nearly unstoppable. That 2000 dunk contest?! Best. Ever.

12. Peyton Manning~~Now normally, I would make the smerf LAST on my list but I can not let a smerf occupy my favorite number. I am sure ya’ll were wondering where #18 was. Do I even need to explain why he is on the list?

Until next time…TOODELLS.

49ers, College football, NFL, Sports

Ladies, klass is in session….Football 101, Lesson 3

Alright ladies, how are you feeling?? Feeling more confident about this football thing? Are you loving it yet? Or are you still lost? No need to fear, Kassie is herrrrre!! Today I am going to talk about different plays and coverages that you will see from the offense and the defense. Remember, this applies to both college and pro football.

Offensive terms

Play action-A pass play that is designed to look like a running play. The purpose of this play is to fool the defense into thinking it is a run so the QB has a chance to find an open receiver.

Shotgun-This is a passing play where the QB typically lines up about five yards behind the line of scrimmage. This formation allows the QB to see what the defense is doing and make any necessary changes before the ball is snapped.

Throwing it away-When the QB deliberately throws the ball out of bounds or over the head of one of his receivers. A QB will throw the ball away sometimes if he can not find an open receiver or if he is in danger of losing yardage because of pressure from the defense.

Intentional grounding-This is called sometimes as a result of the QB throwing it away. A referee can determine that either there was no receiver within the vicinity of where the ball was thrown or that the receiver had no realistic chance to catch the ball. The penalty results in a loss of 10 yard and the team will also lose a down.

Pump fake-When the QB fakes like he is throwing the ball in hopes of throwing off the defenders which will give his receivers more time to run their routes

Defensive terms

Man to man-A defense designed where a defender is assigned to cover a specific receiver

Blitz-My favorite defensive play! Remember there are five offensive linemen and there are typically three or four defensive linemen. During a blitz, the defense will rush the offensive linemen using additional defensive players in hopes of sacking the QB, tackling the runner behind the line of scrimmage or rushing the QB’s throw. I have dreams of one day blitzing a QB, preferably Tom Brady and his short helmet :-}.

Zone coverage-A defensive set up where defenders are assigned to cover certain areas of the field and the receivers that venture into those areas

Double coverage-Two defenders are assigned to cover one receiver. If you see two defenders for one receiver, then this automatically tells you that this receiver has the potential to change the game at any moment and the defense knows that.

Bump and run-A defender can bump the receiver within the first five yards past the line of scrimmage. By bumping, the defender hopes to disrupt the route the receiver is trying to run. However, if the defender is not successful at disrupting then the defender will have to match the receiver stride for stride in an effort to keep the receiver from catching the ball.

Bonus term

Audible-When the QB changes the play at the line of scrimmage….it is that simple.

NFL Tidbits

There are 32 team in the NFL. Learn at least half before the end of the year.

The NFL is divided into two conferences: The National Football Conference and the American Football Conference. Each conference has 16 teams, divided into four divisions.

The New York Giants are the reigning Super Bowl Champions.

SuperBowl XLVII(47) will be held in New Orleans on February 3, 2013. Yes ladies, your man and some of your girlfriends will be M.I.A. for another 4.25 months. Sorry!!

The Pittsburgh Steelers have won the most SuperBowls. They have six rings. The San Francsico 49ers(the only teams to win EVERY SuperBowl they have played in) and the Dallas Cowboys have won five.

Until next time…TOODELLS!!