Posts Tagged ‘Devin Hester’

Athletes we love

October 14, 2011

This post and our next post will be all about the athletes who play the game. And whether or not we love or hate those athletes. Up first are the athletes we love (not all the athletes, just some of our favorites).

Michael Jordan: The greatest basketball player ever has to go top on this list. You knew exactly what you were getting from MJ. Every time on the court he gave his all. It’s not even possible to put a highlight reel of Air Jordan together (some people try), because it would be too long. Six-time NBA champ, five-time MVP (should have been more), six-time NBA Finals MVP, 14-time All Star, ten-time scoring champ, three time steals leader…OK I’ll stop there. There may never be someone as clutch as Michael again. And it wasn’t just his athleticism. He redefined his game as he got older and still dominated the league. Just remember he was not only the best offensive player in the league at the time, but also the best defensive player—an improbable combination that created one of the greatest careers in sports.

Derrick Rose: There isn’t any Bulls bias here…Rose is just the most fun player in the NBA to watch right now. That’s not to say he’s the best in the league, but he can get there. The jump he made last year was incredible. Rose truly cares about the game and wants to get better. You cannot say that for everyone in the league. While some people are out at clubs getting drunk, PBSB pictures Rose at home just hanging out. It’s perfectly fine either way (party or not) but we want the star of our team to care more about basketball than the hoochies at the bar. Rose extended his range, got even stronger and worked on his defense last offseason (some Derrick Rose in HD!); we can’t wait to see how he improves this year (get the season going!).

Richard Gasquet: This man has the prettiest backhand in the world. That isn’t a euphemism, he’s a tennis player. Gasquet hasn’t won a major yet, but he had some great tournaments last year. He also got off of a suspension for drugs, by claiming that he kissed a girl at a club who had cocaine on her lips. So whichever way that story goes, I’d like to hear more. We can even overlook the fact that he’s French and say we love him.

Ken Griffey Jr: The number one thing we can say about him is that he did it the right way. Nothing points to illegal substances and the shape of Junior’s career is the natural shape that it’s supposed to take. Great when he was younger and decayed with age. He always had a smile on his face and seemed like the most approachable guy in the world. He would be the all time home run had he not put his body on the line so much in centerfield…and had so many other players not used steroids.

Maria Kirilenko and Ana Ivanovic: Only a picture is needed to let you know why we love these ladies, so click on the links. We’ll wait…you done? How about now? OK. So, are they the best tennis players ever? No, but Ivanovic has a major win and Kirilenko is an up-and-coming 24-year-old. We don’t always have to watch sports for the talent, sometimes we watch for other things.

Andre Johnson: Johnson just does what he is supposed to. He catches balls and makes plays, but doesn’t have to bring attention to himself. And also he beat the crap out of Cortland Finnegan, which PBSB is OK with. And he has a really sweet voice. Sultry smooth.

Ed Reed: PBSB loves a guy who does anything to get into the endzone. And that is Ed Reed. He will pitch it, or even steal it from his teammate to score points. Reed interceptions are the most second exciting things in the NFL (only losing to Devin Hester returns…and speaking of Hester)

Devin Hester: Sports are about excitement and nobody brings more excitement when he touches the ball than Devin Hester. Anytime Devin has his mitts on the pigskin, it could go for six (or he could fumble it, but that’s exciting too). Here are the best from college and the pros.

Kevin Durant: Just like Andre Johnson, there is something to be said for guys that just do their job, and do it extremely well. KD is the best scorer in the league and a blast to watch, it only helps him that he is on a fun team like the Thunder. The only thing he is missing is a good nickname. And an MVP trophy.

Kyle Farnsworth: Not for his pitching…no we don’t care about that. It’s for this. Dude is a fighter. Just like Nolan Ryan, Farnsworth isn’t afraid to
beat the crap out of someone who he just threw inside on.

Mark Titus: Perhaps we see ourselves in Titus. We never peaked at the athletic level we wished. But PBSB did combine for one of the greatest plays in sixth grade basketball history. Sadly no film of this play exists, but just trust us, it was awesome. Any, Titus was the basketball walk-on at Ohio State that created the Club Trillion blog. Titus can laugh about himself, but he can still ball. A guy who knows his limits and can entertain us is a combination we can get on board with.

Charles Barkley: Chuck is just a fun loving guy. He was fun to watch as a player, and he may be just as fun to watch now as a personality. Charles was just 6-6, but averaged 11.7 rebound a game. In his post-basketball career Barley isn’t afraid to tell it how it is—or more accurately how he sees it—on any topic. It’s refreshing to find a guy that doesn’t care what others think and just speaks his mind, with humor as well.

Shaquille O’Neal: What’s not to love about Shaq? He was dominant on and off the court, winning 4 NBA titles, rookie of the year in 1993 and MVP in 2000 amongst many other accolades. Shaq was not only born for the basketball court, but also the stage. Shaq is both a versatile actor and rapper.

Jim Thorpe: An Olympic Gold Medalist in 1912 in the pentathlon and decathlon, played collegiate and pro football, baseball and basketball. And do you have a town named after you?

Orenthal James “O.J.” Simpson (as an athlete, relax): Orenthal started turning heads while at USC where he won the Walter Camp Award twice, theMaxwell Award and the Heisman Trophy in a landslide. Juice was a gifted runner who was the first NFL back to rush for over 2,000 yards (in a 14 game season) with the Buffalo Bills. He also acted and did some commentating before you know the whole murder case thing.

Jim Brown: He is considered by many to be the best football player of all time. 9 Pro Bowls, 3 MVPs, 9 All Pro Team selections, over 12,000 yards, 120 TDs and much more, all with the Cleveland Browns. He dabbled in acting and is also a member of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame. The scariest thing about Brown? People say he was better at lacrosse than football.

Young Brett Favre: Young Favre (1992-2006ish) was the poster child for the blue collar, tough nosed, selfless athlete. He holds virtually every NFL passing record including TDs (508), yards (71,838) and consecutive starts (297). Favre was named MVP three consecutive seasons (1995-97), was a Super Bowl Champion in 1996 and simply had fun out there making a name for himself as a gunslinger.

Jackie Robinson: Not much needs to be said about the man that bravely broke down the color barrier in professional baseball all while putting up some great stats including a .311 BA, .409 OBP and over 1,500 hits.

Wilt Chamerberlain: A Harlem Globetrotter, the only player to drop 100 pts in a game and the dude also had game off the court.

Barry Sanders: Watching Barry Sanders run was beautiful, even if it was against your favorite team. No one should be able to change directions that fast. Speed, vision, quickness Sanders had it all. He didn’t need to run through people, because he could just run around them. One of the greatest people to make a highlight reel of, there will never be another Barry Sanders.

Bo Jackson: Bo Knows that there’s a trend here with these multi-sport athletes. Jackson was an all-star in the NFL and MLB. He was drafted by the Yankees, but chose to play college football on scholarship at Auburn where he went on to win the Heisman.

Rivalry Renewed: The Greatest Sports Rivalry

September 25, 2011

We here at PBSB love the rivalry aspect of athletics. Rivalries tend to evoke different levels of emotion from all those participating, from the players on the field to the rest of us losers off the field.  This Sunday will bring us another chapter in the quintessential rivalry that is the Chicago Bears vs. the Green Bay Packers.

Just two dudes dressing up to watch other men tackle each other.

Two of the oldest teams in American sports, they’ve been going at it (sorry I had to, for those who clicked the link) since 1921 (Chicago leads the series 92-84, with 6 ties).  The division rivals have been both champions and chumps at some point in their histories, but mainly champions. The two teams have combined for 22 NFL Championships. And yes at PBSB we count ALL titles, the teams earned them (except when it comes to the Eagles, they still haven’t won anything). And for you traditionalists, the Chicago Bears had won one (1985) Super Bowl and Green Bay four (1966, 1967, 1996 and 2010). Most recently, they played for the NFC Title last season. Green Bay would go on to win the game and the Super Bowl. Even if one team is having a stellar year and the other is not, the game is always hard fought. Fans are in for a real treat with the greatest rivalry in sports. Don’t give us the Yankees-Red Sox, they play about 60 times per season, and that isn’t a rivalry at that point, it’s like an intra-squad scrimmage. The next best rivalry is UConn-Tennessee in women’s basketball…just kidding it is probably Duke-UNC. But back to the upcoming game: This Sunday is sure to be another good one. Here’s how they match up:

Sweetness was just too perfect of a word to fit across a headband headband.

After posting his first winning season since high school, Jay Cutler leads a revamped Bears offense. The front office seems to believe in Cutler and decided to give him some more weapons on offense, always nice for a QB who always seems to be drawing criticism even when he doesn’t rightly deserve it, in Marion Barber III and Longhorn Roy Williams (basically Chicago signed all of the Cowboys back-ups for each skill position…except Jon Kitna, Dallas wasn’t giving him up). This is all part of the never ending effort in Chicago to bring the offense up to par with the defense—the effort that has failed since Walter Payton retired.The thing is though, Chicago’s defense is so good that they really don’t need an offense that badly, they’d just appreciate it if the offense didn’t blow the game. The defense is led by linebacker-extraordinaire Brian Urlacher and dual threat athlete Julius Peppers. The secondary took a hit losing Daniel Manning and they are still reeling in the loss of Mike Brown. They did however pick up another former U standout in Brandon Meriweather. Although this Chicago secondary isn’t filled with household names like Charles Woodson, they always tend to be a solid unit. The front seven can be considered one of the league’s best with Urlacher, Peppers, and Lance Briggs. Almost as consistent as the defensive play of the Bears is their special teams. And if there ever was a man worthy of the “special teams ace” title, that man is the U’s own Devin Hester. Some of the things Hester can do are not possible in mere mortals. Add in Robbie Gould and the Bears may have the best special teams both ways.

Green Bay on the other hand has one of the top quarterbacks in the league, and the championship belt owner. The Packers managed to win the title last year even though they were faced with a bunch of injuries. Stud tight end Jermichael Finley went down after only two games. The same goes for starting running back Ryan Grant, who went down in the same game. John Kuhn is the best small college fullback in the league…a possibly small group (we don’t research) but still something to be proud of. But seriously he is actually one of the best fullbacks in the league. Jordy Nelson might not be the flashiest receiver but he gets the job done, Donald Driver is older than the coaches but can still ball and Greg Jennings is a top five receiver in the league. So they have a great quarterback, great receivers and backs—the exact combo you need to score points and win games. On the defensive side of the ball, Clay Matthews is the best football playing Fabio look-alike.

Locks of hair.

Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams pair up to be the best cornerback tandem in the league. And they only get better with that front seven we just talked about. The loss of Nick Collins will hurt, but the Pack has more than enough talent to cover for his vacancy. And Green Bay could have just as good of a special teams returner as Chicago does. Packers’ rookie Randall Cobb is tied for the longest return touchdown (in which he could only be tackled by his own teammate in the endzone).

Q&A:

  1. With the new targets of Roy Williams and rookie Dane Sanzenbacher, will Jay Cutler be the third straight QB to throw for 400+ yards against this Packers secondary, which just lost Pro Bowler Nick “The Pick” Collins?

Let’s look back to the first two games of the season for Chicago. Jay Culter has thrown for 556 yards in the two previous games this season. That isn’t very good. Especially when you consider that Matt Forte has only ran the ball 26 times (for 117 yards). As we stated above, the Bears offense isn’t their strong suit, but it takes just one play for Chicago to gain a bunch of yards. Forte had a 56 yard reception against Atlanta, Devin Hester caught a screen pass and turned it into a 53 yarder. Johnny Knox has 30 and 25 yarders. The Bears can move the ball in big chunks, which will be the key for Jay getting 400 yards. The Packers’ defense won’t give Chicago many chances so they’ll have to make the ones they do get count.

2. How does the GB special teams unit plan to contain the always dangerous, Devin Hester?

Well, Green Bay gets help from the new 35-yard line kickoff…which is the dumbest rule since my parents made me go to bed at 8:30 (it’s not safer because returners are now taking more risks coming out of the endzone. If you want safe, start at the 20 yard line. But they won’t do that because they they’ll lose guaranteed commercial breaks). Anyway, Hester hasn’t been great returning this year, but he is always due for a TD, and an amazing one at that. He has two punt returns for 10 yards and 5 kick returns for 100 yards (29 long). That isn’t anything special. The best way for the Pack to contain Devin is to keep it away from him. Kick it out of the endzone on kickoffs and directionally punt it so he can’t get a good return. That is easier said than done, right Matt Dodge?

3. The loss of Cullen Jenkins in the offseason to the “dream team” was a big hit to the defensive line. Now with the heir apparent to his starting role, Mike Neal down with an injury, how will GB stop the CHI run game?

This may not be a problem for the Packers. The Bears have run the ball only 39 times in the two games, less than 20 per contest. Mike Martz normally has a great offensive game plan, but he will have to mix it up to keep the Packers defense guessing. But perhaps the fact that they threw the ball 77 times will work in the running games favor. Another thing working in the favor of Green Bay, and possibly a reason Martz has been less willing to run, is Chicago’s horrid offensive line. Their line sucks…I’ll say it—especially when Gabe Carimi and Lance Louis are out (that’s the right side of their o-line).

4. Will the Bears offensive line, which has allowed a league high in sacks, be able to slow down Green Bay’s rushing defense, one of the best in the league?

My initial thought is no. As stated above, the Bears are missing the starting right side of their line—a line that wasn’t great to begin with. Olin Kreutz left after being with the team from their inception in 1919. He was a big loss, as he kept people in the right position and was a coach on the field. Now it is Jay Cutler coaching from his back. B.J. Raji is a like two men in the middle of that line, and when you add the secondary into the equation it is probably going to be a long day for Cutler.  I fully expect Clay Matthews to have eight sacks by the end of this game, and Kristin Cavallari’s phone number.