Super Bowl or bust for Green Bay in ’16?

The upcoming 2016 NFL Season will be the 6th year since the Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-21 in Super Bowl XLV (45) to win the franchises’ 4th Super Bowl. With five consecutive playoff berths and 4 NFC North titles since The Packs’ most recent super bowl victory, one has to start to wonder if it is super bowl or bust for the Green Bay Packers in 2016. I think it is and I’ll tell you why…..

Before I begin, let me tell you that I totally understand that the ultimate goal for all 32 NFL teams every year is to win the Super Bowl, so you could say “Duh, Steve. You’re an idiot, it is Super Bowl or bust for every team every year, It’s the only objective of professional sports.” Trust me, I get that. Let’s be real here, the Super Bowl is every team’s goal every year, but we all know that there isn’t expectations for the Jaguars, Browns, Titans, etc. to win the big one this year. So, let me tell you why I think the expectations are higher than ever for the Pack to bring home the Lombardi trophy this year.

As I stated in the opening the Packers have had a 5 year run that many teams would kill to have, but even after the 5 straight playoff berths, 4 NFC North titles, and a 56-23-1 combined regular season record over the last 5 years, Green Bay only has 3 combined playoff wins, and only 1 trip to the NFC Championship game where they lost to the Seattle Seahawks 28-22 in OT in one of the biggest football collapses of all time to suddenly end their 2014 season. This is a game that I am still pissed off about and will probably never completely get over. To rub salt in the wound I finally started to feel like the tide was turning during the Packers 2015 playoff run when Aaron Rodgers landed an incredible Hail Mary to Jeff Janis to force OT against the Arizona Cardinals, only to have my beating heart ripped out of my chest by future Hall of Fame member Larry Fitzgerald.

With the playoff woes of the last 5 seasons the time is now in Green Bay and the clock is ticking. Here are my 3 reasons (one for every playoff win over the last 5 years) why it’s Super Bowl or bust in titletown U.S.A.

One. Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger!

Aaron Rodgers born December 2nd, 1983 will turn 33 two days prior to Green Bay’s week 13 matchup at home against the Houston Texans. I know what you are thinking, “Big deal Steve, he’s going to be 33, he’s not a Running back. Peyton Manning just won a Super Bowl at the age of 39 after 18 seasons for Christ’s Sake!” I get it, but here’s why it is a big deal.

It pains me to say this, but Aaron isn’t Peyton. Aaron plays a different game. He moves more, his athleticism is a huge part of his game. Did you see what happened to Peyton when his offensive line started breaking down and he was taking all that abuse? He wasn’t the same Peyton. Aaron’s game has him take that similar type of abuse game in and game out, because he doesn’t just sit in the pocket, he moves. Now, Aaron did sit behind the Iron God of football in his first few years in the NFL, so I am confident that Brett Favre taught him a thing or two about longevity. From Super Bowl 25 to now the average age of the super bowl winning QB is 30.68 years. Aaron is over that mark and not getting younger!

Two. Jordy is back and the offense is loaded!!

Jordy Nelson is back, that has to increase expectations on its own. Not to mention the addition of an actual pass catching tight end in Jared Cook along with another off-season of experience for our young WRs. In the divisional round of the playoffs against Arizona Aaron was able to go 24/44 for 261, 2 td’s, and 1 pick with his top 3 targets being Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis, and Richard Rogers. Jeff and Jared caught a combined 11 passes in the regular season. Imagine how much more explosive this offense can be when those 3 are replaced with Nelson, Cobb, and Cook? Then to sub in you have a stock of WR’s in the aforementioned Janis, Abbrederis, along with Adams, Montgomery, and the rookie speedster Trevor Davis out of California, who clocked an impressive 4.41 in the 40 yard dash. Oh, you think you’ll just double Jordy? Well, now you take a defender away and the entire middle of the field is open for Cook and Cobb, plus you’ll have a thinned out, lean mean running machine with something to prove in Eddie Lacy. Eddie Lacy has been putting the time in this off-season, he was working out with the founder of p90x and has dropped a reported 20 pounds. It feels like it is super bowl or bust for this potentially unstoppable offense.

 

Three. Julius Peppers is dying for a ring and he deserves it!! 

Julius Peppers will turn 37 in the middle of the 2016 season’s playoffs and is entering the 15th season of his great NFL career. Peppers is in the twilight of his career and as he still produces on the field, nobody knows how much longer he’s going to keep playing this game. Peppers had a great season last year with 10 1/2 sacks, but with Matthews possibly going back to the OLB position nobody knows if Peppers will be getting the snaps this year, that he had last year. I certainly hope he does. Julius has been one of my favorite players ever since he was throwing down alley oops at UNC as a Tar Heel. I was ecstatic when the Pack was able to take him away from the rival Bears in free agency prior to the 2014 season. Peppers hasn’t seen a Super Bowl field ever since his Carolina Panthers fell short to the Patriots 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII. You know he wants a ring and the Packers want to give it to him. 

 

If you made it all the way through this article, thank you for taking the time to read my first ever sports blog post. Stay tuned for future posts and thanks for reading “The Press Conference with Steve”. I’d appreciate all feedback both positive and negative. Feel free to comment any suggestions that you’d like to hear my angle out. Steve out.

 

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My grade for the Dwight Howard trade and why I like the move

As basically anybody who slightly follows the NBA already knows, the Charlotte Hornets traded for Dwight Howard on Tuesday.

800px-Dwight_Howard

I might be in the minority here, but I’ll go ahead and say it, I’m very excited about this move!

Here’s a breakdown all of the personnel and picks associated with the trade along with their respective salaries:

Hornets Receive:

Dwight Howard (Center) $23.5mil/year, under contract through 2018-2019

31st pick in tomorrow night’s draft

Hawks Receive:

Miles Plumlee (F/C) $12.4mil/year, under contract through 2019-2020

Marco Belinelli (Guard) due $6.6mil this upcoming year and then becomes a free agent

41st pick in tomorrow night’s draft

 

In a nutshell, the Hornets gave up a 30 year old “3 point shooting specialist” that has averaged 9 PPG over his career while shooting 37% from downtown and a 28 year old big man that has only played in over 70 games twice in his 5 year career while proving nothing to anyone, hence the reason why this will be his 5th team already in his 6th year in the league. At least it has taken ol’ Dwight until his 14th season in the league to join his 5th team. So, they give those 2 guys up for Dwight and get to move up 10 spots in the 2nd round of the draft? If this was 2010 and you told me this, I’d lose my damn mind. Are you kidding me?? That’d be one of the most lopsided trades I’ve ever heard of!

Unfortunately it’s 2017 and a lot of things can change over the course of 7 years. Shit, just ask Tiger Woods how badly trains can derail over the course of 84 months.

With all that being said I still think Howard has some great basketball left in the tank and I think between Coach Clifford and MJ (if he comes around the players a bit more) they can get him back to playing at a very high level and maybe even back to all star material. I certainly hope so, but either way, this trade still makes sense. The Hornets are sending away a combined 12.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and .4 BPG while receiving a big man that can still be a force in the paint by bringing you 13.7 PPG (which was the lowest since his rookie year, so I see this going up a bit) 12.7 RPG (his most since his Orlando Magic days) and 1.2 BPG all while shooting 63.3% from the field. Plus, his salary is only $5mil more than what was invested into Plumlee and Belinelli. Not to mention, Howard should be an excellent piece in the pick n’ roll with Kemba Walker, I for one am very excited for the 2017-2018 Hornets season.

Overall, I give this trade a solid B with hopes of it turning it out as an A. I’m a bit concerned as to what kind of baggage that Dwight might be carrying seeing as Atlanta was willing to unload him for a warm beer and 3 bagel bites, but only time will tell!

 

 

 

references:

http://hoopshype.com/salaries/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwight_Howard (Picture)

 

 

Enough with the “LeBron legacy” or “who’s better” talk…….

The fact that I’m about to stand up for LeBron James should be enough to get your attention! 18 year old Steve would be so disappointed, but as we get older we learn to appreciate things more.

I’ve simply had enough of hearing about how every single shot the man takes or doesn’t take is going to impact his legacy……. it doesn’t really matter. The dude is averaging a triple double so far in these 2017 NBA Finals against arguably one of the best teams assembled (I don’t want to have that conversation right now either, obviously my 3 on 3 Gus Macker team is better than either of these teams in the finals).

Screenshot (2)

He’s averaging a damn triple double against a team that won 73 games last year and all they did to improve was trade Harrison Barnes for Kevin Durant.

 

What LeBron is doing in nuts. Is he Jordan? I don’t know. I grew up on Jordan, I’m probably incredibly biased, but at the end of the day, who cares?? They played in different eras. Let’s just all sit back and watch two fantastic basketball teams square off tonight.

Between Lebron averaging a triple double and 4 guys in this series (Curry, KD, Lebron, and Irving) averaging 25+ points per game (which has never been done), there’s a lot to watch.

Am I going to give a prediction on tonight’s game? No. Take a look at my track record on march madness predictions over the last few years and you’ll see my predictions would be a waste of time.

For tonight I simply suggest getting your popcorn ready, taking a seat, and enjoy watching some splendid basketball. I know I’m going to.

 

References:

http://www.espn.com/nba/player/gamelog/_/id/1966/lebron-james

 

 

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Remembering the Greatest Heroes of All.

 

As the clock moves past noon on the east coast and everyone’s Memorial Day afternoon festivities are well under way, I can’t help but think how today is one of the day’s that everyone takes for granted, including myself. It’s the end of May, the weather is beautiful, grills are smoking, families are together, and good times are had by all, especially when nobody has to go to work on a Monday! I think it is very important that everyone enjoys their day off and spends some quality time with their families, but I think it’s more important that we take at least a moment to realize why we have the day off to begin with. 

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service. (1).

As a current active military member myself, I think it is extremely important that Memorial Day is not confused with Veteran’s Day. I think 99% of all active military and veterans would agree with me when I say please don’t try to shake a veterans hand or honor someone who you currently know in the military today, save that for veteran’s day, because we all will just say thank you, but also let you know that today is about remembering and honoring those who gave their lives for this country. 

Because this is a sports centered (mainly NFL) blog, I’d like to remind the readers of two American heroes who went from the NFL to the armed forces and laid down their life for this country. I wish I could write something about every single man and woman who has died for this country and I’m I beyond grateful of the sacrifices that they made for this country that give me the freedom to write this blog. 

Donald Thomas Steinbrunner and James Robert “Bob” Kalsu were the only professional football players to lose their lives in the Vietnam War.

Bob Kalsu played tackle at the University of Oklahoma where he was an All-American and also a member of their ROTC program. Kalsu was drafted in the 8th round of the 1968 NFL Draft with the 199th overall selection by the Buffalo Bills. Kalsu started at guard for the Bills for in the 1968 season where he won the Bills rookie of the year award. After the 1968 season to fulfill his ROTC obligation, Kalsu joined the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant. In November of 1969 Kalsu arrived in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division. On July 21st, 1970 Kalsu was killed in action after his unit came under enemy mortar fire. Two days after his death Jan Kalsu gave birth to their son James Robert Kalsu Jr. James Robert “Bob” Kalsu is a true American hero and I encourage you to share his story with your friends and family.

Don Steinbrunner was the first NFL player to killed in Vietnam. Steinbrunner was the captain of his football and basketball team in college at Washington State College. Don was also a member of their ROTC program. Steinbrunner was drafted in the 6th round with the 71st overall pick of the 1953 draft by the Cleveland Browns as a tackle. In 1954 Don opted to leave his professional football career to fulfill his military obligation and join the U.S. Air Force. Don was a part of the Air Police, spent some time coaching football at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and was later a navigator. Steinbrunner was sent to Vietnam in 1966 where he was injured and offered a safer assignment to recover, but Don refused the safer assignment. On July 20th, 1967 Major Steinbrunner’s C-123 Provider plane was shot down. Major Steinbrunner’s plane was flying a defoliation mission spraying Agent Orange on the jungle forest canopy, killing all five crewmen aboard. Don was awarded a Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross, posthumously. Don Steinbrunner is another true American hero that I encourage you to tell people about.

There are more American heroes who went from living every childhood kids dream of playing professional sports to turning in their sports uniform and donning the greatest uniform of the U.S. Armed Forces where they eventually paid the ultimate price in defending our great nation, including the well-documented American hero Pat Tillman. I encourage you to take a minute and read about some of the great men and women who were killed defending our country.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this article on this beautiful Memorial Day. I hope that by reading this you were able to take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of today. Please share this article so more people can know of the real meaning of Memorial Day and know of some of our nation’s greatest heroes. Don’t share it for me but share it so that your friends and family can know what Memorial Day is all about. 

Enjoy this beautiful day and remember those who have fallen. Thank you to all of the American heroes who paid the ultimate price and may their families be comforted as today has to be a very hard day for their families. God Bless America.

All gave some. Some gave all. 

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day

 

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