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Monday, January 28, 2013

Unforgettable Super Bowl Moments

                        One Yard Short

     After being down 16-0 to the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl 34, the Tennessee Titans would score 16 unanswered points of their own to tie the game. However, the score would not stay that way for long. On the very first play of the next possession, Rams Quarterback Kurt Warner found Issac Bruce for a 73 yard TD Pass. Giving the Rams the lead once again at 23-16. Titans would get another chance to march the ball down the field and extend the game, in what would be the first overtime in Super Bowl history. With six seconds remaining, and the ball on the Rams 10, the Titans called their final timeout to set up one last play. Steve McNair would snap the ball, step back, and find Kevin Dyson on a slant route. Dyson looked to be heading for the end zone. Before Dyson could cross the goal line however, Rams Linebacker Mike Jones would make a desperation tackle by grabbing Dyson's legs. As Jones held on, Dyson would attempt to stretch the ball across the goal line, but Jones would prevent him from doing so, causing him to fall one yard short of the end zone. Immediately ending any hope for the Titans to extend this game into overtime. The Rams would claim victory and capture the franchises first Super Bowl.



     The Super Bowl itself is not the only reason millions across the country tune in to watch. Viewers tune in to anticipate and watch for the special commercials and the traditional halftime performances each year. One halftime show in particular has a special and historical impact than any other to date. Super Bowl 38 featured special performances which included, Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson. Nearing the end of their duet, right as Timberlake said his final line, "I'm going to have you naked by the end of this song." he pulled off a part of Jackson's wardrobe accidentally revealing part of her right breast! The incident created much backlash. With the FCC cracking down on perceived indecency in broadcasting


                   18 Wins 1 'Giant' Loss

     The New England Patriots were 2:42 away from a perfect 19-0 record after a Randy Moss TD Reception gave them a 14-10 lead over the New York Giants. New York would have one last chance to respond. On 3rd & 5 from their own 44 yard line, Eli Manning, who was almost picked off on the previous play, escaped disaster again when he managed to avoid getting sacked by Adalius Thomas and broke free from the grasps of Jarvis Green and Richard Seymour. Now free from the Patriot tacklers, Manning stepped up and threw the ball down the middle of the field. David Tyree(who scored the Giants first TD) made a catch that is probably the most memorable play of this game when he hauled in the pass with one hand before securing the ball against his helmet. All while doing this fighting off Patriots safety Rodney Harrison. The catch would help keep the drive alive and four plays later, Eli Manning would find a wide-open Plaxico Burress for a score to give the Giants a 17-14 lead with 35 seconds remaining. New England would get one last opportunity. Despite having three timeouts remaining however, the Patriots would not manage to gain a single yard and on 4th and 20 Tom Brady threw a pass that was knocked down, effectively ruining their perfect season finishing 18-1. The Giants would go on to win the Super Bowl in the biggest upset in its(Super Bowl) history.

 Here are submissions by my fellow sports fans!

                           John Elway "Helicopter"
       My favorite Super Bowl memory and the first one that came to my mind right away was the John Elway "helicopter". With less than two minutes to go in a tied Super Bowl XXXII the Broncos faced a 3rd and 6 from the Packers 13 yd line. Elway took the shotgun snap and immediately the Packers got a heavy rush up the middle. Elway had just enough blocking to escape and then scrambled down field where he was met by three Packers defenders. The collision resulted in Elway being spun around like the blades of a helicopter through the air and he landed at the Packers 3 and a half yard line for a crucial first down. This allowed the Broncos to run more time off the clock as they went on to score the go ahead touchdown on 2nd & goal to upset heavily favored Green Bay.


                The "Bus" Wins At His Final Stop

                Super Bowl Extra Large
     It all started the year before. The Steelers lost in the playoffs in Ben Roethlisberger’s rookie season. At the conclusion of the game he promised Jerome Bettis that if he stayed one more year they would win that Super Bowl for him. The next year they indeed did. To start I just want everyone to remember that Antwaan Randle El was a dual threat QB at Indiana while in college and upon entering the NFL he was immediately converted to a deadly wide receiver. The moment I remember most was Antwan Randle El’s TD throw to Hines Ward. It was a wide receiver reverse pass for Randle El and he dropped that pass right into Ward’s hands for a 45 yard TD score that sealed the victory for the Steelers. It was at this moment that Jerome Bettis knew that Big Ben would make good on his promise. They were going to win the Superbowl over the Seattle Seahawks 21-10. It was a great moment in Steelers History. I believe this is a fitting memory for this years Superbowl because with this victory Big Ben and the Steelers tied the 49ers in Super Bowl victories. The Steelers have since passed the 49ers with 6 Super Bowl victories. This year Colin Kaepernick (A second year QB that took over for the starter mid season) has a chance to tie the Steelers in Super Bowl wins. I personally will always remember this victory though because of Jerome Bettis. He was and will remain one of my favorite players all time. He was a great person and he really was a “Bus” when it came to running the football.

Picture's sources: 1.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Honoring Joe Paterno One Year Later After His Passing

     One year ago today, my life as I knew it changed. A man I admired and loved passed away, but not before he touched the lives of many and inspired countless numbers of people for over half a century! Joe Paterno was born on December 21, 1926. In 1950, Paterno became an assistant coach under then head coach Rip Engle. Paterno then took over the helm of the school's football program in 1966 and during that time up until his undeserved firing, he made Penn State into a national powerhouse and regardless of what the NCAA may say, complied a winning record of 409-136-3 and a record 24 bowl game victories. Paterno also coached five undefeated teams, led Penn State to two national championships, and three Big Ten titles. Try as they may, nobody can take away what Paterno did for a school and community (not to mention he is one of the few who actually did do the right thing regarding the handling of the situation regarding the reporting of Jerry Sandusky. He reported what was told to him to his superiors that was more than Centre County Children & Youth and Department of Public Welfare and the proper Law Enforcement Agencies acted on. For as much as Paterno will be remembered for being a great coach, he was much more than that.

      Paterno was a father figure to over thousands of players over the years. Not only did he make these kids better football players, but he helped them grow to become better men. Many are very successful with outstanding careers and strong standings enhanced by Paterno instilling his fine beliefs in them. Paterno was strict on his players, he was an educator who impressed upon them that their education was really the most important thing football was second Though, the media claims the only care was football, his character obviously contradicted those claims by his actions. Many stories from people have been shared of Paterno over the years that demonstrate his strong character and true beliefs. Paterno was financially secure, yet you would not know that by looking at the house he lived in. Paterno did not care about the money or fame, what he did care about was the PSU he so dearly cared for and loved! Over the years he donated millions of dollars to the university to improve the schools facilities and learning environment along with his wife Sue. This was not just for his players, but for the thousands and thousands of students that attend PSU as well! He left this earth leaving behind a legacy that money could never buy!

     Thus it came to no surprise that Penn State always ranked at the top of students athletes with the highest graduation rates year in and year out. Despite whatever the media may try to say, Paterno
 was a humble man who did not care about records, championships, or football in general. His main course of business at hand was about making sure the the students would first and foremost get a good education and help guide them for a better future and life outside of football. This he accomplished by his "Success With Honor".

       I unfortunately never got the opportunity to meet Joe Paterno, he still had a tremendous impact on my life. Joe made sure to live by those words "Success with honor." so even I am touched by these words and try to live my life in this fashion. As much as the media and the general public try to ruin Paterno's legacy fills me with anger and frustration, I know Paterno would not want us, Penn State, to act in an irrational matter by stooping to their levels. Rather he would want us to band and come together as one like a family, and do what it is right by seeking the truth and making others around us better people.

     Over the past year since Paterno's death, I have come across many people who have said ill things towards Paterno and Penn State with in my opinion defamatory comments, as they took part of their character assassination, saying that we live in a "bubble", and we are "delusional". The real truth is, that WE ARE NOT living in a bubble. WE ARE NOT delusional. WE ARE seeking the truth and due process for a man who was about doing things the right way. WE ARE because JOE WAS. WE ARE.............PENN STATE!

                                                                   R.I.P. Joe Paterno!

I would once again like to thank my Editor Marilyn! :) You're awesome and I really appreciate that you are able to take time out of your busy day to help me with my blogs!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Calling Out Stephen A. Smith; Bashes Joe Paterno But Praises Ray Lewis

     I usually have been quiet and kept to myself in regards to the media chastising Joe Paterno. (Just for the record, before you decide to jump down my throat and calling me a blind supporter of Paterno, I took the time to look at everything and kept an open mind on his situation regarding Jerry Sandusky. But as time went on I realized that that is not the Joe Paterno I knew and followed for almost two decades of my life.

     Enter Stephen A. Smith.

     Smith was one of the many from ESPN who was ready to condemn Paterno from the beginning. He was quick to say Paterno failed morally and legally as well as saying the Penn State football program deserved the death penalty. Smith even said about the surviving members of the Paterno family (and I paraphrase) 'That he understands they will stick up for him because he was their father, or husband. But that they need to shut up and that Paterno was a disgrace for allowing Sandusky continuing to prey on young children.'

     Smith is saying all of this based on very weak evidence that was provided to the public courtesy of former Director of the Federal Bureau Investigation, Louis Freeh (Who by the way lest we forget has quite a few of his own skeletons in his closet during his time as the Director of the FBI and noted for many coverups during said time!)

     Smith came off as nothing more than a mere ignorant bystander in the whole ordeal regarding Penn State and Sandusky. I knew like any other talking head out there that Smith would continue to spew misinformation and their narrative to fit their agenda so that they could dictate what people would and should think. So I really made nothing of it.

     That all changed when Ray Lewis announced his retirement.

     Smith went on ESPN's show "First Take" and talked about the legacy of Ray Lewis with Skip Bayless. Obviously one of the topics to come up in the conversation regarding Lewis was the incident involving him back in '2000' where he was involved with the stabbing death of two men. Instead of offering criticism, Smith praised Lewis saying that he was the "greatest leader in sports" and is a "coaches dream". Meanwhile saying all of this, Smith actually took the time to be objective about the issue and tried to look for a gray area in it instead of black and white. (Watch full segment below)

     To be fair, I'll say it's nice to see someone look at things with an open mind. But when someone will look at one thing the other way but completely different with another, such as Smith did with Paterno and Lewis, then you deserved to be called out on your standpoints! Stephen A. Smith displayed his level of hypocrisy when he defended Lewis' character by praising his legacy even with his connection to a murder (which by the way the suit Lewis was wearing that night that had a trail of blood on it has just so conveniently has never been found) yet was quick to throw the book at Paterno and say he tarnished his legacy because of weak evidence that has already been refuted that he covered up for what Sandusky did.

     Whether one wants to argue that whether Lewis or Paterno's legacies are tarnished that's a debut for another time. One thing for certain is that Stephen A. Smith's tainted his own "legacy" by portraying such hypocrisy in giving one man due process but not another. What is worse is that in Paterno's case is that he is not here to defend himself unlike Lewis was. So as far as I am concerned, Smith really never had any real legacy of his own to tarnish to begin with.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

NFL Playoffs: Memorable Playoff Moments These Players Would Like To Forget

                                                                                 By Matt Kryger, The Indianapolis Star
                                   Mike Vanderjagt throws down his helmet after missing Field Goal in a 2006 NFL Playoff against the Pittsburgh Steelers that would have tied the game

     The NFL Playoffs are a time where players can become saviors and be remembered for their heroic actions. Unfortunately for some, they are remembered for all the wrong reasons. On top of that, it may end up being the most defining moment of their careers. Lets take a look at some moments that certain players wish they could have back and get another chance for their blunders.

       Matt Hasselback "We want the ball, and we're going to score"

     There is nothing worse than making a fool out of yourself. For Matt Hasselback, he did it in front of thousands of people and millions around the country watching. Hasselback and the Seattle Seahawks were facing the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the 2003-04 Playoffs in a game that would go to overtime. After winning the coin toss Hasselback had said a bold and daring statement "We want the ball, and we're going to score" After initial three and outs by both teams, Seattle would get the ball back. After driving down to their own 45, Seattle was facing a 3rd & 10. Hasselback would throw a pass intended for his receiver that would ultimately get picked off by Packers defensive back Al Harris who would return the interception for a touchdown, giving the
Packers the win and move on to the next round. As for Hasselback, not only would he like to have that pass back, but surely he would like to take his words back as well.

         Insanity in Indy: Mike Vanderjagt Misses Kick at End of Regulation In Wild Finish

     This could have been remembered for a different reason had the Indianapolis Colts been able to return a fumble by Pittsburgh Steelers Jerome Bettis, (first he had all season) and score a touchdown. After the Colts had turned the ball over on downs on their own 2 yard line, the Steelers had a chance to ice the game. As Bettis was heading toward the goal line, Colts linebacker Gary Brackett popped the ball loose and Colts Nick Harper would scoop up the ball on his way to what seemed like a sure game winning touchdown. But thanks in large part to Ben Roethlisberger's game saving tackle, the Colts would ultimately have to settle for sending the game into overtime for the time being. Colts called on their ever reliable kicker Mike Vanderjagt to tie the game up. Unfortunately, Vanderjagt missed the 46 yd. field goal, immediately ending any hope the Colts had had. The Steelers would go on to win the game and the Super Bowl along the way. As for Vanderjagt, things were never the same again. The Colts would let him go following the conclusion of the season. He would then be picked up by the Dallas Cowboys in the offseason before leaving the NFL for good.

       Norwood is No Good

     Fans sometimes may not realize that just because placekickers do not see much contact, more often than not they are put in a vulnerable position that can make or break themselves along with their team. Buffalo Bills Scott Norwood had the chance to be the hero in all of Buffalo, as they were set up to kick the game winning field goal at the end of regulation in Superbowl XXV against the New York Giants. Norwood would indeed go on to be remembered. Unfortunately for him it would be at his own expense as he missed the 47yd. kick to the right. This would be the first of a string of four consecutive Super Bowls the Bills would lose. For Norwood, he would be replaced by Steve Christie and would quit football and stay hidden from the public eye for a period of time. If it is any consultation, Norwood would go on to become the inspiration for the character "Ray Finkle" in "Ace Ventura Pet Detective"

     So many memorable moments have occurred over the years in the NFL playoffs that have come at a cost for a number of players. So what do you think of this list? Would you agree, disagree? What are some moments that you think a player would like to have back and one more shot at? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know!

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, A True Class Act

     One of the most privileged experiences to happen to me was when I got a chance to meet Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The previous day in school, a friend of mine, Nik, who also went to the same gym as I did, were talking and "The Rock" actually came up as a subject during our conversation. Nik then mentioned to me that he in fact saw him in the gym just the other day, and I had a puzzled look on my face as if I were saying "What in the hell have you been smoking?" He said, "yeah man, he's in town filming a movie" (Mysterious Island 2).  I decided that I would take my camera the next time I went to the gym. (And this is the God's honest truth, I would normally take my camera anyways to record my training sessions) So I figured, what do I have to lose? The next day when I went to the gym, sure enough, "The Rock" was in fact working out in the same gym that I lifted in. I remember saying to my friend Nik something along the lines of "Holy Shit! You weren't joking!"

     Now I was a pretty big guy myself. I am about  5 foot 8 and a half inches, but I weighed between 240-250lbs. since I powerlifted competitively. When I finally approached "The Rock" I was shocked at how much he dwarfed me! He was almost a good foot taller than I was! I made sure to cautiously approach him because I did not want to appear as some autograph hound, he turned around and saw me and I nervously replied "Mr. Johnson"(It is in my nature to be formal) would you mind taking a picture with me? (I felt bad about asking because here I am pestering him, when he is just trying to get through another busy day) He replied "Could you wait until after I'm done working out? I don't like to take pictures while I'm working out. But catch me when I'm done and I'll be happy to!" He then followed up asking me what my name was. I told him "Layton" He thought that that was a pretty neat name as he never heard it before.

     I did not want to tie him up any longer than I had to, so I told him I would catch him after both of us were done working out. He smiled and said "Definitely man!" Now keep in mind, he did not have to do this. He could have been easily like "Sorry, but no" or "Yeah, but it will cost you 10 bucks." Instead he treated me respectfully as a human being as I did too him. It was not until later when I read his autobiography "The Rock Says" and in it he stated:

     "I try to accommodate as many people as I possibly can. It's become increasingly difficult, because the character 'The Rock' has become so popular in the past year, but I try to remember that the fans are not an annoyance. They're the only reason we're here. All I ask is that when I'm in a restaurant, eating dinner, please wait until I've finished eating. Then I'll be happy to sign. It's my nature to be courteous. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm very accommodating when it comes to signing autographs, especially for little kids. I love seeing the looks on their faces, the smiles. Why anyone would want to avoid that response or ignore it, I don't know. How anyone could insult the people who admire them the most is a mystery to me. And quite frankly, I find it sickening."

     After reading that, I finally felt less guilty about asking him if he would take a picture with me. I still feel bad about it, because I was still interrupting his routine and taking up his time. But that's just me I guess.

     Mr. Johnson was a man of his word and took the picture with me as he said he would. We started talking, chatting up a conversation. I mentioned I remembered watching him when I was this little (I put my hand at the level of my midsection to give the mental image in a way to explain that I have been a fan of his for a long time.) He appreciated and was humbled at the simple fact I admired him for his work and entertainment he was able to provide me (and many others) over the years. For which, I thank him for. He then asked me if I went to Penn State (I was wearing a Penn State sweatshirt) I told him, "Oh no. But I am originally from Pennsylvania and I was always a Penn State fan. He asked from what part of Pennsylvania I was from and I told him "Williamsport. Home of the Little League World Series" Quickly he replied, "Oh okay, I know where you're talking about." He then mentioned to me about his high school football playing days when he lived in Bethlehem, just 2 hours away from where I lived ( I had never realized he played high school ball in the same state I grew up in)  We continued to talk, and I remember asking him right before I left, "By any chance, will we see you back in the squared circle anytime" He looked at me, smiled, and simply said "Maybe" (Sure enough a week later he appeared on WWE Raw as he was announced as the special guest host for Wrestlemania that year.)

     A couple of days later, I was back in the gym doing tricep cable pushdowns, and Mr. Johnson was back again as well. I did not want to bother him, so I just minded my own business. I was surprised and in awe with what happened next. Mr. Johnson actually came up to me this time, and proceeded to give me a fist bump. (As if to say "Hey man how's it going?) I do not know if it was because he saw me back in there training hard and in fact, was not there to actually be annoyance. But whatever the case, I felt honored as this rather larger than life person such as "The Rock", accepted me as if to say "Hey kid, you're alright! :] ) Before leaving that day, I went up to him one last time, extended my arm out to him and say "Hey it was good seeing you again Mr. Johnson." With a firm grip, Mr. Johnson replied by saying "Hey man it was good seeing you again too." I look back now and realize that even though he may be looked at as a "larger than life" person, all he really asks of people is that he be treated as a regular person, and not as this big time celebrity. Mr. Johnson, even though you most likely may never read this (but then again, I never in my lifetime thought our paths would cross) I just wanted to tell you thanks for what you have done for ALL of your fans! You are one hell of a guy, and a true class act!