Tag Archives: Roger Goodell

NFL Playoffs: Super Bowl LI Prediction!

Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show Press Conference

“I’ve got a hundred million reasons to walk awaaaaaaaaaaaaay….”

 

By: Elias McMillan

Conference Championships: 0-2

Playoffs: 4-6

Super Bowl 51 from NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas

New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, or Lady Gaga as you may know her, has had a long road to music super stardom. Early in her life, music was a huge part of who she was and who she eventually wanted to be. She began to play the piano at the young age of four and was playing open mics around NYC by the time she was 14. At 17, she was allowed early admission into the top school for the arts at NYU. Two years later, she dropped out of NYU to focus on finding her sound as a professional musician. After creating a cult like following in the NYC Underground music scene, she was signed and then quickly dropped from Def Jam. The experience was heartbreaking but it encouraged her to begin experimenting further with her sound as a performer and with her overall image. Soon after, she found herself on an imprint of Interscope Records where R&B superstar, Akon, recognized her abilities and featured her vocals on one of his albums. Akon then told Interscope executives that Gaga had the potential to be a “franchise player” and a year later, her debut album began production.

“The Fame” debuted in August of 2008 and included mega dance-pop hits like Just “Dance”, “Poker Face”, “LoveGame”, & “Paparazzi”. The debut was a monster success for Gaga who went on to win multiple awards at the Grammys. “The Fame” was named one of the 100 Greatest Debut Albums by Rolling Stone magazine. A year later, “The Fame” was reissued as “The Fame Monster” and included new hits like “Bad Romance” & “Telephone” featuring Beyoncé.

Gaga’s official second LP was “Born This Way” and it proved to be an excellent follow up to her debut. The electric rock & techno influenced record continued Gaga’s streak of massive hits with songs like the title single “Born This Way”, and “The Edge of Glory”.

Gaga’s third studio album “ArtPop” featured hits “Applause” and “Do What U Want” featuring R. Kelly but was considered lackluster by many music critics. Soon after that release, she left her long time manager and began a new chapter to her career. She collaborated with long time friend and music legend Tony Bennett and released “Cheek to Cheek”. The joint album reintroduced Bennett to a younger audience and was received well by critics, winning at the Grammys that year.

After exploring some ventures in front of the camera as an actress, Gaga returned with a brand new album last October. “Joanne” was released as a much softer version of Gaga’s previous’ works but still featured her incredible vocal ability and her unique sound that creates hit records. Singles “Perfect Illusion” and “Million Reasons” have already shot to the top of the charts and now, Gaga is preparing for her biggest and greatest stage yet, the Super Bowl 51 halftime show.

Prediction: Patriots 34 – Falcons 24

NFL 2014: Week 16 Predictions!

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The Kansas City Chiefs will be looking to play spoiler this Sunday at Heinz Field.

By: Elias McMillan

Last Week: 10-6

Season: 139-84-1

Big Five Games of the Week

Atlanta @ New Orleans – Someone has to win the NFC South and it could be one of these teams. New Orleans is still alive for a shot at the division and they are entering this home game vs. Atlanta with a lot of confidence. Atlanta might of loss last week at home but a big part of that might have been the decision to rest WR Julio Jones. Jones has been on a tear this month but he didn’t play last week due to a hip injury. Jones will definitely be healthy enough to participate in this week’s big showdown in New Orleans. Make no mistake about it, the Saints have a really bad defense. They are poor against the run and the secondary gives up a lot of big plays. Their saving grace is the pass rush that might be able to get after QB Matt Ryan this week. Ryan’s offensive line has struggled all season due to many injuries so I would expect New Orleans to dial up many blitzes on Sunday. I don’t think much of Atlanta’s defense either but they’ve started to show some improvement recently. It is also notable in this game that QB Dew Brees is having an “off” season especially based on his standards. I cant put a finger on what’s wrong with Brees this season but he hasn’t been as sharp this season compared to season’s past. New Orleans has struggled at home recently and I think that will continue this week. Atlanta will be able to control the clock with their balanced offensive attack and Ryan will find Julio Jones for some big plays down field. Prediction: Falcons 33 – Saints 24

Kansas City @ Pittsburgh – The Steelers have a lot going for them right now. They are playing well, they are beating teams that they are suppose to beat, and they’ll end the season with two games at home. Those last two games are against tough opponents but it isn’t out of the question that the Steelers can win out going into the post season. But you also can’t ignore that this Steelers team has showed some inconsistency this season. I’ve been waiting for a let down from this team and I thought it would be last week against a weaker opponent but I was wrong. Kansas City is a quality opponent and a loss to them really wouldn’t count as a “bad loss”. But it could be a huge loss considering that Pittsburgh could clinch a playoff berth with a win this Sunday. Kansas City matches up well with Pittsburgh defensively. The Chiefs have a lot of big bodied, quality players in that front seven on defense. The Chiefs have done a good job against some of the top running attacks they’ve faced this season so Le’Veon Bell will have his work cut out for him this Sunday. Kansas City also has one of the top passing defenses in the league. I think that stat is kind of overrated with them though because of all the injuries they’ve had in the secondary. I could definitely see Roethlisberger still having a big day passing but a lot will depend on his protection. The success of Kansas City’s pass rushers, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, has been well documented. Pittsburgh’s defense has struggled this season but QB Alex Smith isn’t built to take advantage of their poor secondary. Smith might be able to pull the trigger on some big plays down the field on Sunday but I wouldn’t necessarily count on it. RB Jamaal Charles is having another good year and he’ll give the Steeler defense fits. You also have to remember that the Chiefs are also fighting to stay alive for a playoff spot. Pittsburgh will have an opportunity to get in next week against Cincinnati. Prediction: Chiefs 31 – Steelers 27

Indianapolis @ Dallas – The Cowboys need this game a lot more than the Colts but that doesn’t mean that Indy wouldn’t love to play spoiler. The Colts clinched their division last week and I would guess that their motivation going forward would be to move up the standings in order to get a 1st week bye in the playoffs. But those chances are slim. Dallas has a win out. Period. Philadelphia could lose one of those last road games they have but Dallas can’t afford to count on that. In this matchup, both teams will have advantages on multiple fronts. The Colts struggle with stopping the run. Dallas has a banged up offensive line and the same goes with RB DeMarco Murray. Despite that, I think the philosophy on offense will remain the same and those banged up players will be able to gut out another great performance. Dallas will continue to pound the football. I don’t think much of Indy’s secondary either but that unit definitely plays better when CB Vonte Davis is in the line up. The matchup between him and Dez Bryant should be a good one. Andrew Luck and the Colts have the leagues best passing attack. This will mean big problems for the Cowboys defense. The way to get to Luck is that his offense line hasn’t been great this season but you could also say the same for the Cowboys’ pass rush. Something will have to give in that match up. For whatever reason, the Dallas secondary hasn’t been tested all that much this season. The bad thing is that when they are tested down the field, they usually give up big plays. I think Luck will be able to put up his usual numbers on Sunday. Indy also has aspirations to run the ball. They aren’t very good at it and Dallas’ rush defense did a decent job limiting LeSean McCoy last week. I think the motivation factor will matter in this game. The Colts have already rested many players this week in practice while the Cowboys have injured players still practicing. Dallas will need it more and it will show on Sunday. Prediction: Cowboys 34 – Colts 28

Seattle @ Arizona – Arizona is an anomaly. So many injuries, so many problems, but so many victories this season. That Cardinals defense is a force no matter who they line up as starters. They simply do a great job at limiting the offenses chances to score points. Seattle already doesn’t have a powerhouse offensively so I don’t see them scoring many points this Sunday night. The real matchup of this game will be between the Arizona offense and the Seattle defense. The Seahawks defense has turned up the intensity recently and has been the tone setters for their last couple of victories. The secondary is playing great and the pass rush is putting a lot of pressure on QBs. Arizona is now down to their third sting QB. Third sting. I mean, all those injuries at the QB position have to matter eventually right? And it isn’t like Arizona has been able to run the ball well either. I don’t know. That defense is going to have to find a way to really hold Seattle down offensively. But Arizona has done so all season. Why wouldn’t they be able to this Sunday night in the biggest home game of the regular season? Prediction: Cardinals 16 – Seahawks 10

Denver @ Cincinnati – I think last week’s blow out victory in Cleveland put Cincinnati in a disadvantage this week at home vs. Denver. I say this because they had it so easy against a guy who was making his first ever start in the NFL and the jump from that to Peyton Manning might be too great for this Bengals defense. That Cincy front seven just looked so dominant last week. It would be wishful thinking that they will be able to perform the same way against Denver but I honestly don’t see it. The same goes for the secondary. Denver’s offense will be able to “stretch out” this Cincinnati defense in ways that they weren’t last week. Another note from last week, rookie RB Jeremy Hill IS the Bengals offense. I mean, they still do have WR A.J. Green but QB Andy Dalton literally didn’t nothing last week and they were still able to win. Denver’s pass rush will get after Dalton on Sunday and the Bengals offense will have to lean more on that running game. Hill, the rookie, has all but taken the starting RB spot away from Giovanni Bernard but that isn’t a bad thing. The Bengals will continue to ride Hill if Dalton can’t get the passing game going. Denver might have already clinched their division but they are still playing for home field advantage in the AFC. I think Cincy will be in serious trouble at home this week. Prediction: Broncos 36 – Bengals 24

The Rest of Week 16

Jaguars over Titans – Who’s gonna watch this game? Seriously. There are some good college hoops on tonight though.

Eagles over Redskins – Washington would love to play spoiler but they are a tough bet with all the internal turmoil within the locker room. Philly still has a lot to play for.

Chargers over 49ers – San Diego still has a lot of play for. A home loss here would all but book a Jim Harbaugh flight from northern California to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Lions over Bears – At this point, Trestman is just begging to be fired. Benching Cutler will be a nice parting gift from him to the home crowd in Chicago.

Dolphins over Vikings – Minnesota has been over achieving lately. Bridgewater will face a tough Miami defense though.

Patriots over Jets – This game might be notable for the last post game handshake between Belichick and Rex Ryan.

Packers over Buccaneers – Hopefully, the Packers receivers will bring their hands to the game this week.

Panthers over Browns – Carolina needs this game to have a chance next week. Johnny Manziel will play better. I mean, there is no where for him to go but up.

Ravens over Texans – Baltimore cant take this Houston team lightly as they are too fighting for a chance to make the playoffs.

Rams over Giants – Not too confident on this pick because the St. Louis offense disappeared last week.

Bills over Raiders – Buffalo has historically struggled when traveling cross-country to California. But Oakland wants to lock up that top draft pick in April. Or May. Or when ever the draft is this year. Damn, Goodell.

Fantasy Football Players of the Week

QB: Matt Stafford (Lions) – Chicago’s secondary is really bad and they’ll play extended snaps this week depending on how the offense goes with a backup at QB. Stafford might be able to have a field day.

RB: Tre Mason (Rams) – The rookie might be able to have a bounce back week against New York’s rush defense.

WR: Julio Jones (Falcons) – With Jones healthy, Matt Ryan will look his way plenty of times against the Saints secondary.

TE: Antonio Gates (Chargers) – Its hard to imagine that the 49ers defense is starting slow down now that they are out on playoff contention. Phillip Rivers will attack them by going to Gates in the red zone.

DEF: Buffalo – The Bills have shut down Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers in constitutive weeks. I would guess that they will be able to handle rookie David Carr.

Top 10 things I would change about the NFL if I was the commissioner (I only got 8)

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“Mr. Commissioner, I have some suggestions….”

By: Elias McMillan

During the NFL season and even during the offseason, things happen on and off the field in a certain way that makes fans, players, and employees want a change. The NFL makes subtle and sometimes drastic changes from year to year. This offseason, a lot of people thought that even more changes were coming. Some would of been popular. Others, not so much. It seems like the two issues that have been brought up the most has been TD celebrations and the use of racial slurs. Based on that, I’m thinking that the decision makers are having a hard time thinking of other topics or that they are all too busy counting money (the NFL grosses about 9 Billion dollars annually, btw). But I guess its hard to think about what to change in the NFL so I attempted to make my own list of what I would change about the NFL if I was the commissioner. I originally started out with a Top Ten list but I didn’t like two of my ideas enough to include them in this list. So, here’s my top EIGHT changes that the NFL should consider.

8. A Minor League System? – There have been many different minor professional football leagues and they all usually end up failing. One football league has been able to achieve staying power without stepping on the toes of the NFL giant. I wouldn’t exactly call the Canadian Football League a “minor” league but it is compared to the NFL. The CFL doesn’t play the same style of football that the NFL plays but its still pretty close. And you watch their games during the summer (which I do), you would find out that it is actually a very entertaining league. The NFL doesn’t really have a need for a minor league system but a partnership with the NFL could provide a way to bring even more attention to the CFL and bring in some of the better talent from the college ranks that couldn’t either cut it in the NFL or that are trying to work their way up through the ranks. So maybe the NFL and the CFL could form a sort of partnership where certain divisions would be able to send players to an assigned team. This would mainly help NFL teams to keep the rights to players who don’t end up making the 53-man roster in early September. The scheduling of my idea would be tricky since the CFL season starts in June and the NFL roster cuts down happened til September. So, maybe this isn’t such a good idea. That’s okay. I’m just throwing out some stuff. Not everything is a million dollar idea.

7. Bring back Celebrations – The NFL began to crack down on celebrations once they became to be over done and outlandish. But now, I think it is safe to say that the era of the Terrell Owens’, Chad Johnson’s and Joe Horn’s of the league is over. Its time to revisit and change some the ridiculous sanctions on celebrations after plays. Football is an emotional game and yes, I agree that most professionals should be able to just move on to the next play without drawing attention to them selves. But unfortunately, people are not robots and it is refreshing to see these guys act out and re-generate their fans and the team by celebrating a job well done. So yes, spike the ball extra hard after scoring, dance after sacking the QB, and Jimmy Graham should be allowed to dunk the ball over the goal post after scoring. I want to see the St. Louis Rams bring back the “Bob N’ Weave” celebration. I am not saying that all celebrations should be allowed. Showing up the opponent should be deemed unnecessary (Looking at you, Richard Sherman). Anything with props should still be flagged. No Sharpies, cell phones, or pylons used as putters. Celebrating with your teammates and with the fans is something that shouldn’t be punished.

6. Bring Back Throwback Helmets – If you know me, you know that I am a nerd when it comes to uniforms and logos in sports. Last season, the decision was brought down from the NFL safety committee that teams would no longer be allowed to wear “throwback” helmet designs because it would mean they would have to change and wear a different helmet than the usually one. The change was made over concussion concerns that could arise when wearing a different helmet than what the player was already used to. I’m not sure if that is a legit reason for the rule because the “throwback” helmets have all the latest protection qualities that the regular helmets have. The “throwback” helmets and uniforms are just a way for teams to honor the past and for the fans to enjoy the nostalgia. But Goodell and the “No Fun League” struck again and have killed the throwback designs for now. Basically my plan would to be to bring back the throwback designs as long as the teams agreed to do so. I mean, how many college teams change helmets every other week in the NCAA. And where is the research that backs the NFL’s decision. This was just another dumb rule that needs to go away.

5. End the Boring Super Bowl Logos – For the most part, the official Super Bowl logos have been bright colorful and a reflection of the host city. Not really important but it was something that definitely added to pageantry of the Big Game. Since 2010, starting with Super Bowl XLV, the league started to adopt a bland silver and gray, cookie cutter logo package for each Super Bowl. It’s really boring and plus, it also looks horrible on the jerseys. Once again, I know that this might be a very minor issue to most but if I was the commissioner I would tell the marketing department behind designing these logos to bring back the host city inspired logos. Plus, you would probably be more likely to sell more Super Bowl related merchandise with the new logos than with the same old standardized logo.

4. End the NFL “Honors” Show – Sports award shows are stupid. Period. With a capital S. This all started with ESPN and the ESPYs awards show which airs on the one day on the sports calendar where there isn’t any games going on. For the NFL, back in the day they would just announce the post-season awards with little to no fan fare. Now, they have an entire production of the awards announcements called “NFL Honors”. It is a full on replica of the ESPYs complete with some awful comedian/actor attempting to make good on some football/sports related humor. It’s a giant waste of time that needs to be over and done with. Though I will admit that the event does make a lot of sense for the league. It creates another event that can be broadcasted and that would win in the ratings in a weekend where there is no football being played. But once I get rid of the awards show, that would open up some more possibilities for events to happen in between the time from the Conference Championship games and Super Bowl. I’ll exaggerate on this later.

3. Let’s Really make the Pro Bowl cool again – The way the league is currently doing the Pro Bowl is a total mess and if I was commissioner, I will make multiple changes to make Pro Bowl a lot more enjoyable and a weeklong event. Number one, I would switch up the end of season schedule a bit. I’ll keep the Super Bowl two weeks away from Conference Championship Sunday but I’ll have the Pro Bowl played after the Super Bowl; the way it was for years before recently. That makes the most sense to me. The Pro Bowl is supposed to have the best players in the league every year. But recently because the game is scheduled before the Super Bowl, the fans of Hawaii don’t really get to see the very best of the NFL and you end up with some players who really have no business calling them selves “All-Pros”. Also if you remember up until 2007, the Pro Bowl would have a weeklong event in Hawaii, which included a skills competition. This was probably as fun to watch as the actual game as many NFL stars competed in such events as the 40-yard dash, bench press, obstacle courses, kicking for distance and throwing for accuracy and distance. Having these events crowning the NFLs fastest and strongest would make Pro Bowl week better and plus, it would give the NFL victories in the ratings for the entire week. That’s another thing that bugs me. People complain about how the Pro Bowl doesn’t matter and no one cares about it but it still kills in the ratings every year. And the NFL is like, “Let’s make dramatic changes because the people are obviously NOT watching!” It’s ridiculous. But I digress. The Pro Bowl is ultimately for the players anyways. It a glorified league sponsored paid vacation.  The NFL shouldn’t have ever cared what critics said about it the first place. Because obviously, they are still all tuning in.

2. Let’s give more BUT see less of Pink October – I’ll start by saying this: I’m all for the NFL supporting Breast Cancer Awareness month. Susan B. Komen is an awesome charity that raises millions upon millions every year. In 2008, the NFL announced that they would start to support Breast Cancer Awareness month with a number of different activities. Most notably, all 32 teams would start wearing pick apparel along with their regular uniforms like gloves, socks, mouthpieces, ribbons, etc. Along with that, all 32 stadiums would have the pink breast cancer ribbon on the field. Of course the Pink NFL apparel was available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds going to Breast Cancer Research. The first couple of the seasons of this, I didn’t really mind at all. You don’t really see pink on a football field if ever at all but it was all for a great cause so most football fans were for all the awareness. However, the NFL’s Pink movement has gotten really, really old with a lot of fans recently. Overkill would be the best way to describe it as last season’s Pink October hit a boiling point when officials threw pink flags and the TV coverage of the games starting using pink first down markers on the field. Both of those things were scrapped after one week btw. But I think the real thing that made the NFL Pink movement go sour was once it was realized that the portion donated from the sales of the NFL Pink merchandise was really, really small. LINK. I mean, it was in the millions but you can do the math: the NFL makes about 9 Billion (with a b) annually while only about 5 Million has been donated to the cause SINCE (key word: since) 2009. I’m not looking to do away with Pink October totally. Here would be my suggestion to the commissioner: less on the field merchandise & just donate more money. No more pink gloves, towels, hats, whistles, shoes, etc. on the field. Pink ribbons painted on the field? Sure. On jerseys? Yes. Worn by the coaches? Absolutely. But all that other stuff has become really unnecessary. Asking to “just donate more money” is easier said than done, I know. But consider that the league has only donated about 5 million since 2009 and lets say if each team (32) donated a half a million. I’m just saying though it is mighty easy for me to talk about what to do with money that isn’t mine.

1. Keep Regular Season games in America – The NFL’s International Series has grown in a big way since its debut in 2007. But the league’s history of playing games outside of the USA actually started in the 1980s with the American Bowl which included a preseason match up in many different cities like Mexico City, Toronto, Vancouver, & Tokyo to just name a few. Currently, the International Series “takes” away a “home” game to the designated “home” team in the game. So in reality, it is a home game for one of the teams but its really being played in London. Season ticket holders are given the option to pay for the 9 home games now with the 1 other game being played in London. Even though they don’t have to pay for the ticket in London, this is still a pretty mess up for the NFL to make extra money at the expense of the ticket holders. I mean, if you were willing to pay for the 10 games but you had the option to lose one of those games, you would obviously be more willing to part with the pre season game. Right? Taking away a home REGULAR season game from fans that care more about the game and sport just for the sake of making a big payday is just ridiculous to me. Instead the league should take away a preseason game and play that overseas. Bring back the American Bowl. It’s not like the international crowd wont show up to the stadium. They will still be able to pack the stadiums overseas and the season ticket holders will be able to see 8 regular season games. Plus, the idea of placing a franchise overseas is just beyond stupid. I mean, I get that Goodell is trying to run a business and create new cash flow but good luck finding coaches and players who will be willing relocate so far away. It’s called “American football” for a reason.