This weekend at the NHL All-Star game in Ottawa, commissioner Gary Bettman gave his annual state of the league address with the media. In his address he mentioned that there is a 3rd bidder that is now involved in buying and keeping the Coyotes in Phoenix. The 3rd bidder’s name is undisclosed, but rumored to be a serious buyer. The other people involved are Jerry Reinsdorf who is the owner of the Chicago White Sox. Reinsdorf has a home in the valley and the White Sox spring training facility is right across the street from Jobing.com arena. The other potential buyer is former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jaimson. THe NHL did not set a deadline for a deal to be reached, but Bettman did indicate that time is starting to run out. He has called multiple cities that are interested in a team to be ready when or if he opens the sale of the Coyotes to people who want to relocate them.
My opinion is that the Coyotes can survive one more year without an owner. The reason….the NHL may be heading towards another lockout during the next season. That means that the NHL would not want to move a team during a strike-shortened year giving the Coyotes more time for a buyer. The NHL also already moved the Atlanta Thrashers back to Canada last season. Moving another team would be more embarrassing to Bettman who brought all of these teams to the southern states. If the city of Glendale is willing to pay another 25 million to run the team I think the Coyotes can last another season.
People who say that the Coyotes or hockey can’t work in Arizona are wrong. When the Coyotes had stars like Keith Tkachuck and Jeremy Roenick and making playoff appearances every season they were selling out nightly and the hottest ticket in town. The city of Phoenix is a frontrunners city. Now that the Phoenix Suns are awful watch how bad their attendance starts to plummet. If you win people will come and the Coyotes have been winning with the threat of relocation and with the competitive disadvantage of not being able to spend as much money on players as the rest of the NHL. As soon as the Coyotes can get an owner and the threat of leaving is over, fans will come back. Don Maloney, who is one of the better GMS in the sport, and Dave Tippet, one of the best coaches in hockey, will finally be able to get the players they want and the Coyotes can finally be the winners that they have the potential to be. Until then the Coyotes will continue to scratch and claw their way to victories, which quite frankly is more exciting than anything that the Phoenix Suns have been giving us to watch.
Yesterday on the CBS pregame show, insider and former NFL GM Charlie Casserly named the Arizona Cardinals as a darkhorse for Peyton Manning if the Colts should be dumb enough to let him go. This idea has motivated me to breakdown the most likely destinations for Peyton Manning this offseason. The Colts have until March 8th to pay Manning a 28 million dollar roster bonus or be forced to let him be a free agent. Also remember the Colts will be taking Andrew Luck in the draft so there is a possibility of this happening. Will Peyton Manning be coming to a city near you? Lets find out!!
I am automatically eliminating Green Bay, New England, Philadelphia, New York Giants, Detroit, Chicago. Carolina, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Buffalo, Houston, San Diego and Oakland. These teams either have established quarterbacks or have already committed long-term to their current quarterbacks. This leaves us with 12 teams to choose from. I will go by alphabetical order of the teams and say “Why he would” and “Why he Wouldnt.” Let the fun begin!
Why he would: The Cardinals have everything that you could possibly offer to Peyton Manning. This is a team that managed to win 8 games with the dynamic duo of John Skeleton and Kevin Kolb. He will be throwing to the best wide receiver in football and has a very good running back. He would be in a dome with a coach who likes to throw instead of pass. This option actually makes a ton of sense for both parties. The Cardinals could also release Kevin Kolb by not paying his roster bonus and be out of his lucrative contract to give them room to offer the house to Manning. I would have to think that this situation would highly appeal to Manning and I am now hoping the Colts make the stupid decision to let Manning walk.
Why he would not: He wants to win a Super Bowl now and finds a team in an even better spot than the Cardinals or he gets offered more money elsewhere.
Why he would: Ummmm it is a close drive to the football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He could drive down there every week and visualize where his bust will be and put one on reserve.
Why he would not: In all honesty, Manning would probably retire than play for the Cleveland Browns. They have talent at the skill positions and even with the upgrade of Manning they would hardly be a borderline playoff team in a division with Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Cincinnati. Less than 0% for the Browns.
Why he would: He would be offered the most money, play in a dome and have the greatest overall talent on offense of any team that would be in the running for him. Jerry Jones would give Manning the keys to the city, his yachts, his mansion and probably even the stadium. He will be inside for 8 games a year and be throwing to Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Laurent Robinson and Jason Witten. There is just one problem.
Why he would not: The Cowboys already have Tony Romo. You are probably wondering why I put them on the possible destination list right? Well, their owner is Jerry Jones and he wants to win now and will upgrade at any position at any cost if it will win him a few more games and Manning is an upgrade over Romo. This is a major wildcard team for Manning should he be free and they would have to be in the frontrunning if Jones is interested.
Why he would: This is a playoff team with Tim Tebow. With Manning they would be Super Bowl contenders. (Obligatory opinion time on Tim Tebow) I do not get why it is a miracle the Broncos won this game or when Tebow wins any game. He has his strengths and weaknesses like every athlete to play any sport. Yesterday the Steelers played a defense that suited Tebow’s strengths, which is throwing the ball down the field. The Steelers were keeping their safeties in to stop the run and by doing that they left their corners out to dry. The Steelers defense was also depleted by the time the game was over. There was no way the Broncos should have lost yesterday. I think it would have been more of a miracle if the Steelers won rather the Broncos.
Why he would not: He does not want to deal with the craziness of the media and Tebow disciples when they go crazy to start Tebow again when he throws his first interception.
Why he would: He would stay in the Colts division with the chance to stick it to his old team twice a year and be the face of a new era of Jaguars football.
Why he would not: He has no one to throw the ball to and he wants to play for a contender, which the Jaguars are not.
Why he would: Their owner Stpehen Ross would pay him whatever he wants and he would be able to play in South Beach. He could also bring over former Miami start Reggie Wayne with him to team up with Brandon Marshall and compete with Tom Brady twice a year.
Why he would not: I do not know why he would not jump at that possibility actually.
Why he would: He would stay indoors and play for a team with Adrian Peterson has it’s running back with a possible wide receiver tandem of Percy Harvin and Justin Blackman if they select him with their 3rd pick in the draft.
Why he would not: This is a 3-13 team. Remember the theme of wanting to contend for Super Bowls??
New York Jets
Why he would: He would play in the biggest market in sports and get to play Tom Brady twice. I am curious… Have Jets fans come to the realization that Mark Sanchez is not good yet??
Why he would not: Rex Ryan still believes in Mark Sanchez and Manning does not want to play outdoors in cold weather for half the year.
San Francisco 49ers
Why he would: He would be contending for Super Bowls and play for one of the hottest coaches in football with the chance to revive a great football market even more.
Why he would not: The Niners would not be able to offer him as much money as other teams and he would not want to deal with the weather conditions in San Francisco.
Why he would: I am not really sure there is any good reason for him to come here.
Why he would not: Bad weather conditions, limited offensive talent, not enough money…etc etc
Why he would: He would stay in his division and face the Colts twice a year and get to play with CJ2k and Kenny Britt.
Why he would not: Will not be winning championships here.
Why he would: Money….Money….Money…. There could be a money shootout in the NFC East between Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones this coming spring.
Why he would not: Redskins do not have much talent on offense to make any threat at a Super Bowl.
There you have it. To recap I think the Cardinals, Cowboys, Dolphins, 49ers, and Vikings would be the most intriguing to Peyton Manning. This is all fictional talk of course until the Colts decide what they will end up doing. The Colts would make the worst decision in the history of the NFL if they let Manning walk, but if they do, they would make one city and one organization’s dreams come true this coming spring. Until then all 12 teams I mentioned can dream happy thoughts.
There is something going on with this Cardinals team that is beginning to reach the point of having no explanations for anything anymore. Very much like what is going on in Denver with Tim Tebow and the Broncos. Both teams lead the NFL with 10 games finishing at 7 points or less. Only difference is the Broncos are 7-3 in those games and the Cardinals are 6-4. The other difference is the Broncos have a reason for their wordless ways of winning. That is Tim Tebow. The Cardinals recent stretch of turning a 1-6 record into a 6-7 record has no such explanation. Let’s see if I can find the Tebow belief that the Cardinals now seem to have on their team.
The Tebow belief is a term I just made up right now. My definition of it is having a certain mindset that something will happen, usually out of the ordinary but can also be very ordinary, in a game that will lead to a victory. Pretty much the opposite of the Lebron James effect of having the mindset that something will go wrong to lose the game. That is reserved for the Dallas Cowboys right now. Anyways, What is the Cardinals “Tebow Belief” right now that is leading them to all of these improbable victories? Let’s see if I can figure it out!
Patrick Peterson Belief
Patrick Peterson won two games this year by taking a punt back for a touchdown. The first game of the year and the unforgettable 99 yard return against St. Louis to start this stretch of success. He also had a touchdown that broke open the second Rams game a few weeks ago. The only negative with this theory is he had a return against Baltimore, a game the Cards blew a 24-3 lead. He also had minimal impact as a returner in the Philly, Dallas, and Frisco game. You can’t have a belief system made after you if you’re not as consistent as Tim is up in Denver.
To the average fan this belief as ALOT of hope, until you break things down a lot farther. He is 4-1 as a starter this year (im counting the game yesterday as a start since he played all but 3 snaps.) The formula for how he is getting there is a formula Derek Anderson should have taken last year to be successful. That formula has mostly been throw the ball around Larry Fitzgerald and hope for good things. Skeleton is REALLY hoping on some of his throws….and the thing is they are somehow working. Many of his throws could go either way, a catch by fitz or the defender, but since Larry Fitzgerald is a top 3 wide receiver in the game, he makes the catch to bail out the Skeletor every time. In both of his wins against St. Louis Skeleton was bad for the majority of the game. Even against San Fransisco he made many bad throws and was bailed out by two great catches to Larry and the busted the throw to Doucet for the touchdown. He definite has the luck factor going and even some of the Tebow belief factors working, but he is not the reason the Cardinals have been winning.
Defense is believing
The Arizona Cardinals defense is almost = to Tim Tebow in Denver. Take out the 1-6 start and hear me out before you call me crazy on this. In their last 6 games including their one loss to San Fransisco in the stretch, (which was due to AWFUL play by Skeleton) the defense has played with a sense of almost knowing something good will happen to get that stop they need. Lets start with the first St. Louis game, the Cardinals defense held the Rams to 9 points, other 4 coming due to safeties, and not once, not twice, but 3 times kept the Rams from winning the game. They stopped them on a 4th and short late, then BLOCKED a field goal to send it to overtime. Before the unbelievable 99 yard punt return by Peterson the defense forced a 3 and out to let that happen. Against Philly they broke Vick’s ribs and forced him to have the worst game in his career. Against the Rams again the defense stepped up and pretty much won that game with some help of 228 rushing yards by Beanie Wells. We all know the magic that happened against the Cowboys of their OWN coach icing his OWN kicker. Not to take out the fact the defense played dominant against the Cowboys high-powered offense. Their only touchdown was due great field position starting at their own 33. Then yesterday, holding the Niners repeatedly to field goals then stopping them 3 times after they took the lead by two points. They held the Niners to 2 first downs in the entire second half yesterday. If the defense played like this to start the year the Cardinals would not have lost those games to Washington, Seattle, and New York to begin the year.
During the last 6 games the defense has only given up 6 touchdowns with some of those due to turnovers by the offense. This unit, ever since that St.Louis game back on November 6th has had that same belief that is going on up in Denver and it is starting to trickle down throughout the entire organization. Does this mean they are going to the playoffs…no, but it does mean quite a lot. It means that they have a great chance to turn a 1-6 start into at least a 8-8 season. It gives GREAT hope going into next season and it gives us that X factor that anything can happen. We all know what can happen once a team has that Tebow Belief and it sets us up for what could be a crazy next couple of weeks for these Cardiac Cards where, for now, anything is possible.
Yesterday at the Cardinals game I was a part of what makes the city of Phoenix a mediocre sports town at best and why we will never be considered a great sports town even though we have the 5th biggest television market and all four professional sports. The crowd at University of Phoenix stadium yesterday was 60 percent for the Steelers and that is being generous because if I was betting I would say it was more than that for Pittsburgh. According to the U.S. census of 2010, Pittsburgh ranks 59th in population compared to Phoenix which is 6th on that same list. Based on that math alone how is it possible that 60% of a stadium in Glendale, Arizona can turn into Steelers country? The reason for that is people do not know how to be a fan or the meaning of rooting for the hometown team. I am not here to bash on the city of Pittsburgh or any of the Steelers TRUE fans. This is about all the Steelers “fans” that also happen to like the Yankees for baseball and the Lakers for basketball. These fans are called frontrunners and has inspired me to come up with my “Rules and Loyalties for a Sports Fan.”
Rule #1: You must always support the team of the town that you grew up in
There is really not much lee-way around this rule. If you grow up in Phoenix then you are a Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Suns, and Coyotes fan. If you grow up in Dallas then you like the Cowboys, Mavericks, Rangers, and Stars. It is as simple as that. In the NFL I would say the five biggest fan bases in no particular order are the Packers, Steelers, Bears, Cowboys, and whoever the “hot” team is in the league. When these teams travel to losing team’s stadiums or frontrunning cities their fans overtake the stadium and turn it into a “home game” for their team. Unless you have lived and grown up in that city then you have no excuses to not wear your cities colors and support the home team. The Arizona Cardinals for example came to Arizona in 1988 which means they don’t have much history here. It also does not help that they were bad for most of the 23 years they have been here save for 3 or 4 seasons. With that being said you hear many of these types of excuses “Well, when I was growing up Arizona I did not have a team so I grew up watching the Cowboys, Steelers, 49ers.” (Teams that all won multiple Super Bowls if you did not already notice that trend.) Ok that is great and there is many people in Los Angeles right now who are saying the same thing. The second your city gets a professional team those allegiances go out the window and you become a fan of that team. You are a part of the city that you live in and to wear the colors of another team is unacceptable and all you are doing is giving your own city a bad reputation. You think the Steelers care about anyone who lives outside of Pittsburgh or the Yankees outside of New York? They care about their own city and fans not the average Joe in Phoenix who thinks he is “gangster” for throwing on a Polamalu jersey and googling the meaning of the Terrible Towel.
The ONLY exception you are given to this rule is if your entire family is from lets say Chicago living in Arizona and they are all Chicago sports fans then of course you will side with your families teams as you grow up. Under that exception you must still support the home team when they are not playing your team
Rule #2: Once you choose a team you are stuck with that team for life
You must stick with your team through thick and thin. There is no “Well the Cardinals stink now without Kurt Warner so since I have a friend whose best friend happens to be from Green Bay I like the Packers now. It works Vice Versa as well….there is no hopping on a bandwagon as soon as the home team starts winning if you were not there for them in the first place. The Miami Dolphins fan base is about to explode come April when they select Andrew Luck so if you’re not wearing Dolphins colors now you are not allowed to in 20 years when Luck is inducted into Canton either. There are a couple “out” clauses to this rule that I may be experiencing myself here in Phoenix very shortly.
Exception 1: If your team moves cities. The cities of Seattle, Atlanta, Montreal, and Charlotte have experienced this recently and Phoenix is next in line. If your team moves in the way that Seattle lost the Sonics, Atlanta lost the Thrashers, Montreal lost the Expos, or Charlotte lost the Hornets then all bets are off and you become a fan free agent of that sport meaning you can pick any team you would like. As a Phoenix Coyotes fan I am preparing myself with three options should the Coyotes move. Option one is still follow the team wherever they move. Option two follow the team closest to my city which would be the Anaheim Ducks or L.A. Kings. Option three root for the Boston Bruins and that is because I happened to be in Boston at the time they won the Stanley Cup and during the championship parade, so I kind of walked into a rooting interest. I have grown into a big hockey fan with no NBA this season and it would be tough on me and the other 50 people who watch Coyotes hockey should they move. Speaking of the NBA….that leads me into my next exception.
Exception 2: If your team has an owner who is constantly trying to lose over a long period of time and cares more about saving money then winning and after a nice decade long window of winning a championship, the window closes and you are looking at a very bleak future. (Phoenix Suns fans are nodding their heads right now) There have been numerous more owners in sports who have constantly agitated their fan base to the point of no return and Robert Sarver has about done that in Phoenix. If you are looking at this scenario and still want to be a fan of the sport you can choose the root for individual players until the team is sold to a competent owner scenario. More than likely that means root for the 4 different teams that feature all-stars of former players that wore your teams colors. I will now open up a petition to the NBA to oust Robert Sarver of his position as owner of the Suns.
Rule 3: You can not have two favorite teams
I can admit myself I fell victim to this rule myself with the Suns and Cavaliers during the Lebron era. My family is from Cleveland and Lebron James WAS my favorite player so I used that as my excuse to follow the Cavs. Liking two favorite teams though is like choosing red and black on the roulette table. There is no real winning in that. You need to pick a team and stick with that team. No switching bandwagons when one is winning and one is losing that is just cheating the system and your sports fanhood goes out the window.
You gain nothing by rooting for a team in a city that you have no personal connections to. Yes, by liking the Steelers, Lakers, and Yankees you will win most sports arguments. Yes you are guaranteeing yourself multiple playoff runs and championship appearances every decade but you are losing out on so much more than what you are gaining, You are losing out on the pride and passion of a city when that team is successful and winning. There is nothing like the hometown team being successful and playing for championships and being in that city to witness it all happening. Sports teams that are successful make your city a destination spot and a place where people want to be. The best example of pride and passion came as I was leaving the Cardinals Steelers game yesterday. In the bathroom after the game a Cardinals fan came into the bathroom unprovoked and started shouting “This is my city, my team, my state…go home pittsburgh…go back home this is my city.” With many unprintable words thrown in there. Of course that brought mocking and a “here we go” Steelers chant by people who live in his city of Phoenix making fun of another Phoenician. As this guy was almost in tears from the pride he was letting out I went up to him and gave him a huge high-five and a shout of “GO CARDS!” as loud as I could yell. He was as worn out as I was from people in Phoenix thinking it was OK to root for the PITTSBURGH Steelers. That fan symbolized what is right about sports and the meaning of sports and for every person in that bathroom who laughed or mocked that person should only be laughing at how truly pathetic of a sports fan they really are.
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Welcome everyone to my blog called the Sports Zone. I will be making multiple posts a week with my opinion on all major sports news both locally here in Phoenix, Arizona and nationally. I love all sports from the NFL to the NHL and I follow all the local teams daily and I am always up to date on all activity in the local sports scene. I have been reading and following sports for as long as I can remember and I will give you the best that my knowledge has to offer. My next post will be my weekly section during football season, which I will give you my NFL picks for the coming week along with a summary for every game. I will publish that post every Friday, so make sure everyone checks back in on Friday with my picks for Week 5 of the NFL. Thank you for taking the time to read my post and I will keep working on getting better.