Archive for March, 2012

Breaking Down The Mario Deal

A week removed from one of the biggest deals in Buffalo Bills history and I am still just as excited as I was that thursday afternoon. Signing All-Pro Defensive End Mario Williams to a earth shattering six year, $100 million deal with a guaranteed $50 million for a small market, usually conservative team like Buffalo seemed like a laughable dream until the talks about Mario visiting Buffalo started brewing on Tuesday. The longer he stayed in Buffalo, the greater the chance something serious was happening. It may have taken almost three days but the deal eventually got done and Mario Williams became the richest defensive player in NFL history. This deal is huge for Buffalo on and off the field in so many ways wrangling in the prize defensive player on the market and one of the best to ever be on the free agent market.

The Combination Makes Football Sense

Even before the Bills made the move for Mario, defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt announced that the defense would switch to a 4-3 for the 2012 season. Now after the deal, Dave looks like a genius. Now Mario can fit into his proper position at defensive end unlike in Houston where he would play linebacker in their 3-4 defense and succeed in it. The move to the 4-3 will also move sophomore defensive lineman Marcell Dareus inside to defensive line with Pro Bowler Kyle Williams, both of whom should see spikes in production this year with the addition of Mario on one end. Throw in either Chris Kelsey or another end (Looks like Mark Anderson now) and the Bills now have one of the best looking defensive lines in the NFL. One of the Bills biggest problems was getting pressure on the quarter back and when you are in the same division as Tom Brady playing him twice a year, that is a huge problem. The Bills recorded only 29 sacks which ranked 29th in the NFL, gave up 30 passing touchdowns which ranked 30th in NFL, and opponents passer ratings against the Bills defense on the season was 90.4, ranking 26th. Expect all of those numbers to lean more in the Bills favor with the addition of Mario.

Changing Minds About Buffalo

The Bills for the past 15 plus years have been a afterthought in the NFL by just about everyone. Every year as free agents hit the market the Bills would sit with their hands in their laps and watch as big name players went to other teams and settle on overpaying for backups or washed up former stars. But with this one move, it has started to change the was a lot of people look at Buffalo. With the Bills picking up a big name, all pro type player who can take a shaky defense and make it one of the best in the league and empty their pockets to do so, it tells other free agents who are looking for new teams on the upswing to call home to give Buffalo a look when they in the past would have looked right past the Bills.

Moving Back In The Right Direction

As everyone knows the Bills have not been in the playoffs since 1999 and over time the drought just keeps getting more and more painful. But with the introduction of Mario wearing a Buffalo hat, there is a buzz around the team that normally screams playoff aspirations. And when this type of buzz is surrounding a team, the fans have reacted. Bills Chief Executive Officer Russ Brandon announced that over 1,400 new season tickets were purchased and over 4,000 season tickets were renewed since the signing of Mario Williams. And now if you go onto the Buffalo Bills website you can sign up to receive a email about when Mario’s new Bills jersey will be on sale. According to Russ Brandon, more than 6,000 people have already enquired about the new jerseys. The amount of national attention the Bills have gotten about the deal has been a breath of fresh air for all Bills fans. After not having any real primetime games on Sunday or Monday night, their chances of picking up at least one game on ESPN or NBC seems much more likely. The deal being broken down on ESPN by Adam Schefter and other analyst who normally wouldn’t be talking about Buffalo is always great to see and reinforces the impact of this deal. Adam Schefter even went as far as comparing this deal as close to the Reggie White to Green Bay deal. It makes looking forward to the 2012 season much more exciting for all Bills fans.

As many teams in the past have told us, winning in the offseason does not always guarantee results on the field but for the Buffalo Bills the signing of Mario Williams isn’t just a step in the right direction, its a giant leap.

by Andrew Isaac

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Plenty Of Fish In The Sea?

Derek Fisher, and Kobe Bryant joined the Los Angeles Lakers together during the 1996 NBA Draft. They’ve shared the same backcourt for the majority of their time spent in the NBA. Together these two have brought leadership to the organization that helped their team win 5 NBA Championships, and have made countless memories for every Lakers fan out there. The decision is understandable for basketball, and financial reasons but all in all it’s just a sad moment for Lakers fans who hoped to say goodbye to an old friend in a different way.

Fisher’s trade to the Houston Rockets yesterday at the NBA Trade Deadline marks the end to an era that will not be soon forgotten. Besides the greatness of stars such as Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and Pau Gasol, no other Laker has probably mattered more than Derek Fisher over this past decade. After 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers the only stats that’ll matter when mentioning Fisher’s name are the following: 7 NBA Finals appearances, 5 NBA Titles, and the uncountable amount of Lakers fans that’ll remember Derek’s character, and leadership as much as all his clutch moments.

One thing i’ll surely miss from D-Fish is his hard work, and contrubutions to the team. I know over time he’s slowed down considerably, but speed aside, he was always in the right place at the right time, he took charges to a whole new level, he hustled after every loose ball, he sacrificed his body game in, and game out just to help the team get a victory, and you cannot thank him enough for all the little things the man from Arkansas-Little Rock did for this organization.

One of the best parts about his 0.4 game-winning shot against San Antonio in the 2004 playoffs was the fact that he was likely the fourth option out there to shoot it. But as usual, he was ready when he got the ball, and the rest would eventually be history. Fisher’s made a living off big moment shots way before the 0.4 happened, and long after that too…He won Game 4 of the 2009 NBA Finals in Orlando with his two very timely three pointers, including one to force OT. His drive to win Game 3 of the 2010 NBA Finals capped an 11-point quarter in Boston. The man played with his heart on his sleeve, and he was always ready when called upon.

Seeing Fisher on the court in a Lakers jersey was a calming reminder that we’re in good hands. You knew he’d be a coach in the team’s huddle, a leader during practices, and a voice to be heard during meetings too. He cared about the team more than himself, treated everyone with the same amount of respect, and took pride in being a Los Angeles Laker. He’s been nothing but a first class act since the day he arrived in 1996, and I hope that the fans give him a standing ovation when he returns in April for all that he’s done for us. Derek Fisher may have never played in an NBA All-Star game, but that doesn’t mean you’re not a star, because in Hollywood we know a star when we see one, and Derek Fisher was, and always willl be a star to us Lakers fans. They say that there are plenty of fish in the sea. I disagree-you’ll never find another Fish (er) like Derek in the C (California).

By: Drew Kashmer

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The Real Winner Of The Peyton/Colts Divorce Is The NFL

March 7th will go down in NFL history as the day the landscape of the league changed.

Four time NFL MVP Peyton Manning was let go by the only team he ever suited up for in the NFL and is now free to sign to any team he wants. Now analysts are looking at who is going to be better off after this shake up between one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game and his now former team. Now the Colts can look towards the future with selecting their future leader to replace Peyton under center with the selection of Andrew Luck in this years NFL Draft. And now Peyton can move on to another team of his choosing, not having to look over his shoulder and see himself being replaced by a new, younger quarterback for the near future. But one group that has and will win from this divorce is the NFL.

A Distraction From “Bounty-Gate”

The only news about the NFL over the past week has been all about Greg Williams and “Bounty-Gate” and all of the negative press surrounding it. Constant news breaking about one team after the other that Williams had been a part of coming forward and admitting that the Defensive Coordinator would put up bounties on players and pay his defensive players who completed these bounties. Now after the announcement of Peyton and the Colts separating it has taken the spotlight almost completely off “Bounty-Gate”. Now rather that all of the talks about suspensions and fines there is reminiscing about the history in Indy and looking forward to Peytons and the Colts future. The timing of this announcement is so perfect for the NFL im a little suspicious that the NFL had something to do with the early announcement before the Thursday deadline.

A New Team Gets One Of The Greats

In 2012 Peyton Manning will wear a NFL helmet without a horseshoe on it. That is going to look really weird. The Colts loss will be one lucky teams big gain for several reasons. For one they will get one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever put on shoulder pads in the NFL. If he can remain healthy and regain his hall of fame type play he has put on display over his 14 year career. Having Manning on a team can put that team over the top and get to a Super Bowl. Having Peyton in your uniform on the field will make a team much better, but having Peyton in your uniform off the field can do just as much for a franchise. Everyone who follows sports even a little knows who Peyton Manning is and having him on your team will automatically bring attention to your franchise. More media coverage, more sponsorships, more excitement and buzz surrounding the team, and having such a dynamic piece as Peyton can make a team seem a lot more appealing to a free agent. Now as Peyton moves to another team it will make another team in the NFL much more relevant than they have been like Miami, Arizona, or Seattle which is always good for the NFL.

A New Rivalry

As soon as Peyton picks a team and signs up, everyone will be looking if and when that team will play the Colts. It will become one of the most hyped and looked forward to regular season games of the year. I can just imagine the sold out crown at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday Night Football on NBC as Peyton Manning wearing a road uniform jogs onto the field to a shower of cheers. He will have that mid field meeting with Andrew Luck and will catch up with Jim Irsay. The team that inherits Peyton will not only make the Indianapolis Colts their new rivals but will inherit Peyton’s other rivals like Tom Brady and the Patriots and his brother Eli and the Giants. Having more rivalries throughout the NFL makes for more exciting throughout the year making each matchup more and more exciting and pressure packed. It creates more memorable moments.

The departure of Peyton from Indy will make fans of the Colts unhappy and reflect on the successful past they had. But now both sides must look towards the future and the possibility of both of them having as much success next year. The team Peyton will join is still up in the air but one thing is certain. No matter where he goes, the NFL wins.

by: Andrew Isaac

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