My Fearless League Predictions

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It is time again for my fearless attempt (note:  no dart boards were injured during this exercise) to predict the outcome of the 2011 NFL Season.  I know that some of you will doubt my crystal ball but it seldom fails me (except when it needs repair which happens around this time every year).

AFC East

  1. Pats –
    This team has struggled in the playoffs but always has a great regular
    season.  This year it will get to the AFC
    Championship game.
  2. Jets – I wonder how good the O will be because I
    am not sold on QB Sanchez.
  3. Dolphins – This team is without a QB and it will
    show.  Daboll is the OC which is good
    news for the TE’s.
  4. Bills – This team is going to be in the running
    for the 1st pick QB Luck.  But
    will they be willing to pay enough to sign him if they get the 1st
    pick.

AFC North

  1. Steelers – They have a D older than the “over
    the hill gang” of Redskin fame and the window to winning is closing because of
    it.
  2. Ravens – They just can’t seem to find a way beat
    the Steelers and they will not this year.
  3. Browns – They can be 8-8 or better IF they can
    keep QB McCoy healthy.  Otherwise 3-13.
  4. Bengals – This team is in serious trouble with a
    new QB and questions about their D.

AFC South

  1. Texans – The team has a great running game to go
    with an outstanding passing attack.  The
    only question is their D.  Williams as
    OLB?
  2. Colts – The latest on QB Manning is that he will
    be out for a couple of months.  They
    could end up with a top 5 draft pick in 2012 without him.
  3. Titans – RB Johnson is the key.  The O line has to give him just a step and he
    can go all the way.  The D and passing
    attacks keep them from contending.
  4. Jags – Look for this team to be the first choice
    to move to LA.  The city is in a
    financial hole and the team is bereft of talent.

AFC West

  1. Chargers – This team can not possibly get off to
    as bad a start as they have for the last couple of years.  Any improvement in their start will vault
    them into the playoffs.
  2. Chiefs – QB Cassel is hurt and the running game
    alone can not make up for a porous D.
  3. Raiders – I am the only one they did not call to
    play QB.  Key losses cannot be overcome.
  4. Broncos – This team has a long way to go to
    become competitive.

 

NFC East

  1. Eagles – The team has gone all out to win this
    year.  QB Vick will not have as good a
    year as 2010 but the D is better and this is the year.  If not, HC Reid is gone.
  2. Giants – QB Manning is not as good as most think
    and that again prevents them from getting far in the post season.
  3. Cowboys – Owner Jones is still looking for a HC
    that can win.  The problem is JJ is the
    GM and this team is not that good.
  4. Redskins – Another team without a QB.  McNabb was not the answer.  If HC Shanahan doesn’t find the answer soon
    he will be gone as well.

 

NFC North

  1. Packers – Despite a flurry of injuries last year
    the team made the playoffs and won it all.
    Those wounded players are back and the team is better than last year.
  2. Lions – No one is going to want to face the D
    front this season.  If QB Stafford stays
    healthy this team can get into the playoffs.
  3. Bears – HC Smith will likely be replaced if they
    slip below the Lions.  Bye Lovie.
  4. Vikings – The window is now closed on this team
    contending.

 

NFC South

  1. Saints – They will lose game 1 vs the Pack but
    still win the division.  Sproles will
    help this team.
  2. Falcons – Their time will come next year but
    they still have some issues on D.
  3. Bucs – This is the best 3rd place
    team in the league.  They will challenge
    the Falcons next season.
  4. Panthers – They had the top pick and I am not
    sure they used it wisely.  While QB Newton
    will improve this year will he ever be willing to pay the price to become a top
    QB?

 

NFC West

  1. Rams – The D is much better and the O behind QB
    Bradford will flourish.
  2. Cardinals – QB Kolb will make this team better
    but not enough to overtake the Rams.
  3. 49ers – QB Smith is a white flag indicating this
    team might be looking to bring Stanford QB Luck to the team next year.
  4. Seahawks – This is a bad team without a QB.  Jackson couldn’t make it in MN with the best
    RB in the league so how will he do here?
    It won’t be pretty.

That’s what I think.  Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent.

He is a senior writer for http://NFLDraftDog.comand edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits .
Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear his sports show Monday-Friday 6-8 PM EST on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ or http://mooheadradio.com/2.0/.

Formula 1200 Is The Racing League For The Rest Of Us

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Emerson Fittipaldi dominated the 1994 Indianap...

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Race car driving is challenging, fun and expensive. Many people who have the talent to become a competitive driver and appear on television in the Indy 500 or on the streets of Monaco in a Formula One car never get the chance. The sport is simply too expensive for most young talents to give it a try.

Harry O’Neal believes that just isn’t fair and knows an affordable way for boys and girls to test their talent on the track. Harry is the president of the Ontario chapter of the Formula 1200 Driver’s Association. If you aren’t familiar with Formula 1200, perhaps you have heard of Formula Vee. They are the same international racing league.

A decent Formula 1200 car costs between $10,000 and $12,000. Fees and expenses for a race weekend run from $350 to $500. Expenses will be higher if the car gets damaged, but not significantly. O’Neal points out that rebuilding the front end costs about $500 for a Formula 1200 car compared to $2000 for a Formula Ford.

O’Neal is quick to point out that the key to success in Formula 1200 is the driver’s skill. The rules dictate that every car in the field has nearly identical performance. Stock Volkswagen 4 cylinder, 1200 cc, air-cooled engines are in every Formula 1200 car. They cannot weigh less than 464 kilograms and the wheels, brakes and transaxle are all VW stock.

Even though the engines only produce 55 to 60 horsepower, the cars can reach 200 km/h on a long straight. Because these are small cars, with a low center of gravity, it feels much faster to the driver. Formula 1200 is an exciting racing league and a great way for young drivers to experience the sport of open wheel racing. Best of all, this is a league that doesn’t require a huge budget to compete.

Make no mistake, however, if you have the talent in Formula 1200, there is every possibility you could pilot a car in one of the major racing leagues down the road. Nikki Lauda, Emerson Fittipaldi and Bobby Rahal all proved themselves in Formula 1200. This is a growing sport in Canada and around the world. If you know a youngster with a passion for racing but lacking the budget to compete in Formula Atlantic or Formula Ford, introduce them to Formula 1200. There is no telling how far they might go.

 

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Will the NHL build on the US interest in Olympic Hockey? No.

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A great salesman can sell ice to an Eskimo. A bad one couldn’t give 20 dollar bills away. Which one is the NHL–the second unfortunately.

The NHL has a perfect opportunity to build on the fan interest in hockey generated by the US vs. Canada gold metal game. It could but it won’t.

The league has the worst record for marketing of any major sport. The NHL marketing guys make those that work for MLB look bright and that isn’t easy. So what will these pinheads do to build on the Olympics? Probably nothing. They will go back to the Verses network and go back to sleep without one thought about what could be done. So what can they do?

First, focus promotion on the individual heroes of the Olympics. The league has some nice young stars but needs to take a lesson from the NBA on how to take advantage of them. They need their stars like Nash and Crosby to become the face of the league. The league needs to get these guys on TV talk shows and that would involve time off which the league did not plan into the schedule.

The coverage of the final game got huge numbers which were double or triple most NHL playoff games. The league should give the game of the week to one of the major broadcast TV networks at no charge. The numbers of most shows on network TV particularly NBC are lousy so the network would have nothing to lose and something to gain. The deal must include a deal for a contract for next season if the numbers reach an agreed upon level. That game should be between top teams and highlight the Olympic players.

The league should work with the agents of the players to develop spokesman deals for them. The more the stars of the league get face time on TV the more likely it is that the league will catch the attention of the US.

The league should spend money on ESPN and broadcast networks promoting their game. They don’t have much advertising now. They need to let non-hockey fans know when teams are playing and where they can see the games.

The individual teams that are not filling their areas need to get help promoting their local team. Having been a marketing consultant for 40 years I volunteered to help our local team and was told they are doing fine. Less than 3 months later the team was talking about moving because they are losing money and can’t sell all their tickets. The league needs to provide more marketing help and should get seasoned professionals to do it.

But as we know from experience, the NHL will do nothing and let the opportunity go to waste. That is what they do best.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

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Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: US vs. Canada gold metal game,Olympic Hockey,Winter Oympics,NHL,marketing,NBC,Crosby,Miller,Nash

What does the Williams' case mean for the NFL's drug policy and the future of the league?

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Six events have put the entire drug policy of NFL and every other sports league’s policy in serious jeopardy.

Event 1—The state courts of Minnesota prohibiting Comm. Goodell from suspending Pat and Kevin Williams (DT, Vikings) for having tested positive for banned substances. When the league first announced the suspensions of several players including both all pro DTs of the Vikes, the Williams took the issue to the Minnesota state courts. The state courts found for the Williams.

Event 2—The NFL took the issue to the Federal court system. The League claimed that since it is a national organization, only the Federal system could decide the issue. A lower federal court used the state decision in part to decide in favor of the players. The league appealed and the Minnesota federal court of Appeals heard the case.

Event 3—The NFLPA joined the fray. When the case was moved to the federal courts, the Union filed suit on behalf of both the Vikings players and three Saints players that were also suspended by the league. The NBA, MLB and the NHL filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the NFL’s position.

Event 4—Last week, that court announced the verdict—no suspensions now or in the future for the failed tests. The decision to cancel the suspensions only affects the Williams because they were the ones that brought the initial suit. The suit by the NFLPA was dismissed. However, there was something more in their decision. The Federal Court sent part of the case back to the Minnesota state court for determination.

Event 5—NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said on ESPN Radio that one of the issues he was interested in negotiating in the next collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was a way to take the power of suspensions including those for failed drug tests out of the hands of the NFL Commissioner. He said that there should be an independent arbiter or panel that would decide on who would be suspended for how long.

Event 6—New Orleans plays Minnesota in week 2. This is important because 2 of the Saint’s D linemen were also suspended for failing the same test. Both DE Will Smith and Charles Grant had been suspended along with Deuce McAllister who has since been cut. However, the Commissioner reinstated both Smith and Grant earlier this week sighting the need for competitive balance as the reason.

So what does all this mean?

The League’s control of the drug policy is subject to both state and federal courts. The fact that the Federal court saw the state court as having jurisdiction is particularly troubling for the League. There are several suits against the league. The chances for success in these cases will depend upon the league being able to maintain its status as one from many. The right of the league for example to grant a license to EA Sports for the sole use of the names and likenesses of players for its video game depend on the courts seeing the league as one unit.

The NFLPA’s nosing into the issue is also a sign of trouble for a new CBA. The league is not going to give up the right to suspend players willingly. This could be the single issue that prevents an agreement in time to avoid a work stoppage.

The only good news for the NFL in the court’s decision was that the NFLPA’s suit was rejected. But it was rejected only because the union had agreed to the terms that the NFL had the power to suspend.

Look for the league to lose more suits due to the court’s decision. This decision sets a bad precedent because it breaks what had been a continuous run of the courts seeing the league as one unit. It also reestablishes the right of the courts over the CBA and league rules.

I see the reinstatement of the Saints as the league accepting this new reality. I cannot see a resolution to the CBA before the start of the 2010 season. That means 10 will be an uncapped year. The likelihood of the NFLPA agreeing to a new cap after an uncapped year is remote at best. The probability is also that the union will win some type of guarantee for contracts. It’s too early to tell exactly which deals or how much of contracts will become guaranteed. But these two changes will destroy the competitive balance of the league as we have known it. And those of us that love the game will remember the old CBA fondly.

This will be a major sticking point over which a strike/work stoppage could well result.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: nfl,nflpa,collective bargaining agreement,CBA,Goodell,Smith,Williams,Federal Court,ESPN Radio,steroids,drug policy,Grant,law suit
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  • Published: Sep 10th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The Jets have some explaining to do.

The Jets have some explaining to do.

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The Jets staff under then coach Mangini failed to put QB Bret Favre on the injury list as required by NFL rules. Favre had a shoulder problem that would have prevented the average man from playing. According to a recent statement by Favre, he offered to sit out the final few games of the Jets 2008 season because he felt he was hurting the team. His offer was in spite of the fact that it would have ended his consecutive game streak.

Even though the culprit is now with the Browns, the Jets will likely be fined 25-50K by the league. The rule requiring injuries to be reported shows a level of hypocrisy of the NFL that is usually limited to politicians.

The league has said in the past that they require all teams to list their injuries because it levels the playing field by letting the opposition know who is likely to play and who is not. That is an outright lie. The real reason that the reports are required by rule is that the league wants to make that information available to the average joe that bets on games. The wise guys know the inside scoop on injuries. This rule levels the betting odds for the rest of us.

The league has filed suit against the state of Rhode Island to prevent single game betting in that state. But this too is hypocrisy. The league knows that betting on the games is one of the driving factors that generates interest in the games and the results. They do whatever is necessary to increase interest in the game.

But there is another issue here. The fans deserve better communications from teams than Bill Belichick and his clones give us. We are the ones that buy the products that are advertised during the games. Those of us that are Browns fans tend to buy a lot of anything that contains alcohol so that we are mellow enough to watch the games. We deserve to know more about the game and our favorite teams.

One example is that Mangini thought he could keep the name of his starting QB secret. Welcome to the real world. Nothing stays secret for long in Washington or the NFL. We all found out that Quinn is the guy. The league needs to crack down on both the Jets and the coach that suppressed the information. And while Comm. Goodell is at it, how about cracking down on Belichick as well.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,Jets,Browns,Patroits,Favre,Mangini,Belichick,Goodell,betting,Los Vegas,Rhode Island

The Pats hope Brady is Brady.

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QB Tom Brady had the most replayed and discussed injury in the recent history of the NFL in game 1 last year. All Coach Bill Belichick wants is his QB back to where he was before the injury. All reports are positive and it looks like Brady is back at close to 100%. The Pats have added some key veterans that make the team better. That’s all very bad news for the rest of the AFC.

Over the last few years, the Pats have been plugging in younger players. Last year, they went 11-5 without the best QB in the league. Now they have him back and the team will be much better than 07 or 08. There is no experience behind him.

The running game is a lot more solid that it looks from the outside. It is deep and talented. Starter Laurence Maroney has underachieved and has been injury prone but help has arrived in the form of vet Fred Taylor. Maroney will have to improve or Taylor will get the majority of carries. Vets Sammy “the versatile” Morris and Kevin Faulk the 3rd down back are joined by rookie BenJarvus Green-Ellis in reserve.

As if the receiver corps didn’t have enough speed, the Pats added the aged but still fast Joey Galloway to Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Welker should be totally uncovered with so much D attention having to be given to Moss and Galloway. Greg Lewis and Brandon Tate are capable backups. TE remains a trouble spot.

The offensive line is back intact and is solid but unknown. That is just the way Belichick likes it. T Matt Light and G Logan Mankins hold down the blind side while the much improved G Stephen Neal and T Nick Kaczur are on the right. C Dan Koppen is as good as any in the league and has the advantage of working against one of the best NTs in the league Vince Wilfork everyday in practice. The reserves may change but the starters are mostly young and all solid.

The key to the NE D is the front three and there is more than a little tension there. While Es Richard Seymour and Ty Warren are quiet, Wilfork is unhappy and clamoring for a new deal. But he will be there deal or not. The front three have been outstanding at defending both the pass and the run. They work seamlessly with the backers to provide more different looks than there are snowflakes in New England in the winter. Key reserves are T Titus Adams and E Jarvis Green and swing man Le Kevin Smith.

Grizzled vet IB Tedy Bruschi gets a second year to work with running mate in Jerod Mayo. Mayo had an outstanding rookie year after learning to do his job rather than freelancing. Brushi and Belichick will keep him under control and continue to get the maximum out of his unique athletic ability. OB Adalius Thomas is outstanding and Pierre Woods finally gets a shot at starting because of the retirement of Junior Seau (we think). Reserve Shawn Crable would start for most NFL teams.

The youth movement has hit the D backfield as well. The new starters at safety will be James Sanders and Brandon Meriweather who ended up playing a lot last year due to injury. Rookie Patrick Chung looked very good in OTAs and is challenging for a starting spot. CB Shawn Springs will start on one side but the other CB is totally up in the air. The leader going into training camp is Terrence Wheatley who had the job last year but is returning from injury. Vets Leigh Bodden and Darius Butler will both challenge Wheatley for his job. Bodden was signed as a FA and just a couple of years ago was considered one of the better CBs in the league and still has some skills.

OVERALL: The Pat haters will not like this but look for NE to get back to the AFC Championship game and perhaps the Super Bowl. They are the most likely to win it all.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Patroits,Belichick,Wilfork,Brady,Maroney,Taylor,Galloway,Moss,Light,Bruschi,Springs,Sanders,Super Bowl,AFC

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