Archive for January, 2010

Pro-life SuperBowl ad featuring Tebow’s Mom creates controversy

January 27, 2010

People seem to fear the unknown, or hate to be told what they are doing might be wrong.

What happened to America being the country that once declared freedom of speech and press. But it seems lately, that deems more a suggestion than a right. In case people have forgotten that first amendment in the Bill of Rights:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

A big issue is going on in advertisements for the Super Bowl. Those coveted and expensive as hell commercials during the Super Bowl are like a sironic song to draw even those who don’t have a sports bone in their body to watch the world’s biggest game at the end of the NFL season.

This year, Focus on the Family Christian organization paid out big bucks (and by that I mean $2.8 million…just a small chump of change..) to make an ad against abortion. Why is this a big deal? Not only because it is during the Super Bowl, but the focus is on Pam Tebow.

Tebow…sound familiar? For even those who don’t watch college football know this name….the name of one of the most well-known college kids in America right now, with good reason. Tim Tebow is the four-year winning QB of Florida U, a Heisman trophy winner and notorious waiting-for-marriage-to-have-sex Christian. His story is more than meets the eye, however.

Pam Tebow, while pregnant with Tim, got an infection and was told by her doctors to have an abortion so she could take the drugs that could save her life. She refused…and her refusal led her to giving birth to a baby boy who would, 22-years later, become a face and name that most would know.

Focus on that choice will be the center of this controversial commercial. And the National Organization for Women is outraged and demanding it be taken off the rundown.

Abortion has been and still is one of the biggest debatable topics in our country. I won’t lie; I am extremely pro-life with reasons that are beyond my religious background.

I have always been the type of person that will stand up for someone else before I stand up for myself, especially those who don’t have the strength or confidence to stand up for themselves. The same way, that unborn fetus has no voice. No love. No one else to protect it but hopefully my or someone else’s voice asking to please save him or her. I also have seen and know the affects abortion has on the women who get them.

But–saying that angers people. Suggesting that not aborting a baby will be the best thing you could ever do to a pregnant woman, or a couple who were not planning on a child, is sometimes the very worst thing you can do. My opinion is that you will never regret keeping the baby, but you can’t get back that baby that never had a chance to live.

In the end, it is not my or anyone else’s decision except for those two people. I have a few friends who have gotten abortions and yes, it breaks my heart, but it is not my life or choice, and the only thing I can do is hope someone else who unexpectedly gets pregnant decides to keep theirs and see who that child becomes…

…because those children could become amazing more than anyone knows. That is what this whole issue is about, isn’t it? That N.O.W. is so ‘GIRL POWER!’ that they are afraid that women will stop using Planned Parenthood, or birth control, or God forbid, that ad spot might take up another ad of big chested girls prancing around in bikinis drinking beer.

Because that is the typical Super Bowl commercial, right? See BudLight, Coors Light, etc. But thanks N.O.W., those years of breaking through the glass ceiling to attempt to be equal to men–ha this organization by their actions currently are making it seem that equality means degrading themselves and using a woman’s body to get what they want.

Personally, I would rather be respected and be considered equal because I earned that status due to my cunning, wit and knowledge in a particular field. But hey, thanks to N.O.W., they basically are saying, by fighting only this particular ad, that really, I should sleep my way to the top if I want to become anything. Susan B. and Lucrietia Mott would be proud.

The freedom of speech is a RIGHT, not an option. I have become sick of all these people and organization’s that force the words ‘under God’ out of the pledge of allegiance (you won’t ever hear me omit it, though), or the school bus driver who was fired after leading her bus in prayer when the Twin Towers were attacked on 911.

Is it a fear of not knowing what these words mean? That in actuality, some of these words and actions have more meaning that are beyond our control? Are people that bored that they have nothing else to do with their time then to change traditions and speeches and pledges and rules that have been established for years?

This ad is not showing those pictures of unborn fetus’. It is not lecturing or telling people who have had abortions they are going to hell or anything that viewers might find offensive. No, from what I have heard, it is simply Pam Tebow telling her story and showing people what can happen if you take that chance of giving life to that baby, and the possibility that could become of your child.

If I have to sit in a college class and be told I will fail if I leave because I could not stand that bashing of my religion and beliefs during a class discussion (yes, I know people this has happened to), or listen to offensive women jokes (even though I will admit, I have made a few myself), or I have to hear jokes about priests and children but am not allowed to do anything about it, then I am sure N.O.W. and other pro-choice people can sit through 30-seconds of this commercial.

After all, being pro-CHOICE means having a choice to have the child too, right? So why not show all the options and possibilities?

And remember, to all you people who are still objective to seeing this ad, it takes 30-seconds to walk to the fridge and grab a beer. So while you’re up, grab me one.

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Ravens start off-season with Dean Pees as new linebacker coach

January 25, 2010

When you think of the New England Patriots, most people automatically think of Tom Brady, and then Bill Belichick. For more avid fans there is Kevin Faulk.

 But what about their defense? When Brady failed to move the ball forward, their defense held tight to get them to the postseason.

The Patriots defense coordinator, Dean Pees, expired his contract this season and chose to not renew it with the Pats.

As of now, there are rumors on Pro Football Talk and other various sports medium sites that Pees will head south to become the new linebacker coach in Baltimore for what many consider an impeccable defense.

Pees was the head coach of Kent College from 1998-2003, where he then moved up to be the LB coach at NE in 2004 and 2005; he has been their defensive coordinator until the end of this season. Under his coaching, the Patriots this 2009 season were ranked 11th in the NFL after only allowing 320.2 yards per game.

 Some of the names recognizable under Pees at the Patriots are Tedy Bruschi, Ted Johnson and Willie McGinest. Pees also ironically was Baltimore’s John Harbaugh’s coach when Harbaugh was a Hurricane, where he played defensive back at Miami U.

What does this mean for current LB coach, Vic Fangio?

Ravens have yet to report on this and say it is definitely true and give the final word. But nonetheless, it is good to know Harbaugh and company aren’t taking a long rest for next season and are already preparing to move those chains and get Baltimore moving toward a winning season for 2010.

 What else do they have in store for Baltimore this offseason? Stay tuned.

My opinion on all this?

 What Baltimore fan doesn’t already think and know that Ray Lewis is the true heart and soul behind that defense, especially the linebackers.

 It is only a matter of time before good ol’ Ray Ray will retire as a player (unless he favre’s his retirement a few times and keeps coming back) and becomes a coach. The Ravens wouldn’t be the RAYvens without him…then again we thought the same of Stover and look where he is now…

But while some speculate that Pees might not be the best DC, he certainly was a strong LB coach at NE, and who knows, while acting as LB coach in Baltimore side by side with Ray Lewis, he could be the next big coach, like Marvin Lewis (Bengels), Rex Ryan (Jets), Jack Del Rio (49ers) and Mike Singletary (Jaguars), who all were defense coaches at Baltimore before becoming head coaches at other franchises.

Then again, he is also 60-years-old so who knows what the future may hold for Pees.

Now, we wait to hear the final word on this possible hiring and what is to become of Fangio. Keep the off-season alive, Bmore.

“Quarter’ for your thoughts–battle of the QBs

January 25, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV teams are set. Last night, two teams overcame their conference championship to advance to one of the biggest games in the world. Come February 7th, the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints will contend for that prized ring, trophy and glory.

What does this game mean for both teams? For the Colts, this is the 4th Super Bowl appearance in their franchise history (dagger to the heart of older Baltimore fans–two of those were as the Baltimore Colts–Super Bowl III and V, and where they won Super Bowl V). They have the MVP of the NFL, Peyton Manning, leading their team…who ironically is the son of Archie Manning, who was the starting QB of the New Orleans Saints for ten years in 1971-1981.

For the New Orleans Saints, this road to the big game was emotional one. This is the first time the Saints have made it this far in their history as a team…and after the devastating Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of the city and left it full of holes and under water…this city has been on most American’s minds and this was a huge win in the NFC championship game for the Saints for the first time for their city. Forget Mardi Gras…Bourbon Street was more alive last night then ever before.

Both championship games concentrated on each teams QB’s…Brett Favre for the Vikings, Mark Sanchez for the Jets, Peyton Manning for the Colts and Drew Brees for the Saints. Battle of the quarterbacks this time around showed what each was made of, and what they could produce with their offense to add points to the board. Manning is the MVP this season, and in my opinion one of the best QBs in the NFL and will be up there with Dan Marino, Joe Montana and John Elway. Can he get another ring to add to his career?

Brett Favre has been an iconic figure for many years in recent history for football fans. From 1992-2007, he was a Green Bay Packer before his first ‘attempt’ to retire, which was a hit and a miss. He came out of retirement, but the Packers decided to keep Aaron Rogers as their QB instead of snatching Favre back up. He then played for the Jets last season, retired– JUST KIDDING again! This past season, he joined and led the Minnesota Vikings to the championship game along with Jared Allen, Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. Repeat of history happened last night against the Saints: Favre’s last championship game (against the New York Giants in the NFC championship game 2007 season) with the Packers–he threw an interception as the Packers fell to New York. But as great a man and leader and athlete as Favre is, so many people are Favre’d out. Enough is enough…or is it? Should he and will he retire now that this season is over…and stay in retirement after this season?

Drew Brees went through rough personal losses as he lost his mother in the middle of the season. Despite that, he led this team that was once known as one of the worst teams in the NFL to get to that almost impossible odds of making it to the Super Bowl. Can he do it? The once comeback player of the year and offensive player of the year is a strong leader and you can tell he still loves the game…if he plays like the way he has always played, he will be giving Manning a run for his money come Super Bowl Sunday.

Saints or Colts? Right now, there is a 52 over/under for the Colts to win, with 5 1/2 point spread win over the Saints. Will that hold up February 7th? What are your predictions?

Plays from the heart

January 24, 2010

There has always been the bashing of professional sports players and coaches who stopped playing for the love of the game, and just showed up to make their millions. Not saying they don’t care, but…do they give it their all?

For our local football team, the Raven’s have started to play not only for themselves, but for a kid who would die to switch places with them for a day…and the sad thing is, he might.

Matthew Costello, a 14-year-old Loyola High School football and baseball player has been the guy behind the scenes for some of the end of the season offensive plays that ended well for Baltimore. The first play called by Costello was in the game against the Chicago Bears–a win that was needed to keep the playoff bid alive for the Ravens. A faked hand-off and throw to tight-end Todd Heap resulted in a 14-yard touchdown…later Baltimore would go on to win 31-7. A big noted play was that huge 83-yard rush touchdown by Ray Rice against the New England Patriots…a play set up by this local teen.

Who is Costello, and why is this 14-year-old kid taking the reigns for the offense in his hands? Baltimore’s offensive coodinator, Cam Cameron, has a son who goes to school with Costello at Loyola High School in Towson, MD. He informed his father of Costello’s inoperable brain tumor, and his courage and strength as he handles something incomprehensible to most of us. Cameron, for those who know, went through series of scares of cancer in previous years so he could relate, and wanted to do something for Costello, and asked him what the first play of the games should be.

Costello was a ‘secret weapon’ until last week, right before the Ravens played the Colts in the playoffs on Saturday night. After hearing a story like this, how can you not be a Raven’s fan? They are not only playing for love of the game, but are playing for Costello, to make his plays happen as we, as Baltimorians, should all pray and hope and believe not only in our team, but also this kid given a chance of a lifetime and a reason to keep a dream and hope of life stay afloat.

Next time you watch a game and think your favorite player is being lazy or not trying hard enough–think of Costello. None of us ever give 100% all the time at everything we do. These players are also at work every weekend as we cheer them on. If they miss a pass or fumble the ball, before screaming profanities at the screen,keep in mind that there is always something we don’t see behind the scenes. And our Ravens were playing for a kid who never gave up on his favorite football team, despite a quasi decent season and the hardships life is throwing his way at such a young age.

When I heard this story, it reminded me of a favorite quote when I was competing in a variety of sports in previous years: “Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who’ve pushed you, is the little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… Play for her…”

You started out either playing or watching a sport because you loved it…don’t give up on that passion.

Skipped out of town

January 20, 2010

For those who know me, I am and always will be an East Carolina University Pirate. It was my first college, my first choice school and the first place I moved to when I left home for the first time. A lot of firsts. That place was my second home and I miss it everyday. The people, the energy, the sports and their fans.

I had gone to an all-girls high school, so football and other sporting events were not really a big deal whole in high school because we did not have them. We had to go to other schools for high school football games and the like. For a girl obsessed with sports and especially football, it is easy to say my true obsession started in college–and I chose a college with a huge base for following football and other team sports. A whole new world was ahead of me, and I landed in Greenville, NC.

The pirates, needless to say, were not always a great team. For me, my freshman year at East Carolina was more getting used to the whole team support and being a fan of your own school then having big wins. But it got me into my love of sports. The face painting, the body painting, the signs, the town dedicating every business to PIRATES GAME DAY, Paint it Purple Fridays, getting decked out in all purple and gold gear and of course the massive tailgating. I had never seen anything like it, and still have not to this day. Maybe I am a little biased, but what true fan wouldn’t be?

A true fan is any fan of the ECU Pirates. The Pirates have always been known to media and online sites as one of the best fan groups around. And even though they were not always a team that made headlines or got bids to bowl games, the fans never stopped coming. They never stopped cheering, and the players never stopped committing to this school in Carolina that once was only known for its partying. That all was about to change.

The ECU football team has always had good players. Like most good teams, they needed even better leadership to have them work together–a good example of one of the most memorable sports teams in America is the US hockey team in 1980. Made up of amateur but good players, they won a huge infamous victory at the Olympics that year under the leadership of Herb Brooks. A leader-a coach-is sometimes all a team needs to stay afloat and not only survive, but also succeed–conquer and defeat.

A plethora of some pretty damn good players have come out of East Carolina. The most noteworthy currently is the Tennessee Titan’s running back, Chris Johnson. He is the 6th running back in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season. He started as a Pirate in 2004 and I remember him returning many kickoffs and adding many yards for our team. Davon Drew was drafted as a tight end for the Baltimore Ravens. Still at the school this past season are Dwayne Harris, the wide receiver who made top ten plays of the week on Sportscenter (how often does East Carolina get recognized on Sportscenter? Not often!). And of course Patrick Pinkney, the quarterback who led the team to four consecutive winning seasons (and also known for being a player with more eligibility in NCAA football than anyone else). There are also many other players on the team who are exceptional as well…

…But most importantly was the head coach. Skip Holtz came to Greenville the same year I did. “In Skip we trust” was a common locution seen and heard and understood only on the eastern shore of North Carolina. Our school had high hopes with this new head coach and he did not let us down–the first season under his regime, the Pirates won two more games in one season then they had during the career of previous head coach, John Thompson. Holtz’s era was a 38-27 record in five seasons at East Carolina, and he led the Pirates to consecutive winning seasons and to many bowl games, including the PapaJohns.com bowl, the Hawaii bowl, and for two years in a row, the Liberty Bowl. The team also beat Virgina Tech and WVU on national televsion during his reign as head coach. Not bad for a team that was on a losing streak for a few years before Skip came to town.

However, this icon for the Pirates last week deserted his ship and sailed to a new team; the University of South Florida Bulls. Ironically, this team is also the team that defeated the Pirates in their first bowl game under Holtz in 2006 at the PapaJohns.com Bowl. For those of you who don’t remember the controversy of USF, the former head coach Jim Leavitt was fired earlier in January because he was accused of striking a player during half time in a November game against Louisville; then, during the investigation it was found out he was interfering and telling witnesses to change their stories. He was fired January 8, 2010, and Skip Holtz left the Pirates less than a week later.

What does this mean for the East Carolina Pirates? As of now, there has been no word on who the 20th coach for this budding football franchise will be. Will they be anything like Skip? This may have been a stab in the back for many Pirates everywhere, but to look on the positive–our team can only continue to go up. And I think that the sports department down there in Greenville has seen the positive that a winning football team can bring to a school and town and will do everything they can to continue on with the foundation that good ol’ Skip left behind.

And when that happens, and when the Pirates play USF next, I want to hear the PURPLE! GOLD! chants all the way up here in Maryland. Skip, you will be missed.

Bad Fan-menship

January 11, 2010

Starting at the end of the season, but what better time to analyze and be a critic on a season after it is over? NFL finished its first postseason weekend and has four teams that are to move on to next weekends divisional championship games….do all of them deserve to move on? And do the four other teams that got first round byes belong as the best out of the 32 teams in the league?

That question is one that I think many people, despite who their team is, forget to remember. All those players on every team are the best of the best football players in the country. To downplay any teams efforts as say “they came out and played like s***today, that is the only reason the other team won” is ignorant. Even if a team is having a very bad losing season (in this season’s case, that would be the Lions or Browns)…people need to remember that these players still beat the ridiculous odds to get to where they are. The coaches are the crème of the crop. All this critiquing and downing teams is simply bad fan-menship, whether it is your own team or not.

I have noticed this all season, but once again today, after Baltimore’s big win in their first postseason game this year against the New England Patriots, all I saw and heard were comments about how the Pats didn’t play well and Tom Brady acted like he wanted to throw the game away, so that is the only reason the Ravens won. Yes, Brady looked like a Rookie QB, not the “comeback player of the year” (which I strongly disagree with…check for future blogs) or past MVP of the year. But those boys are one of the best teams in the league. Not only that, but they also beat Baltimore earlier in the season. For those who forgot about that…there was a lot of debate whether THAT game was fair due to outrageous penalties called against the Ravens favoring Brady. But the season still moved on, the Pats got the W and the Ravens got their first loss.

This time, the Ravens came out to prove who should have won that first game. But this game had more on the line. It wasn’t the beginning of the season. It was a win and stay in, or lose and pack your bags kind of game. The Ravens played great, didn’t commit as many penalties as was typical of them all season and they went out to win a game…and they did. This was one of their best games all season. But…don’t get too cocky Baltimore fans.

Rubbing this game in to Steelers fans is more than acceptable considering it is a mutual dislike rivalry between the two cities. No matter what time of the year, who is playing whom, or what sport is being played, I think Baltimore fans will always hate on Pittsburgh. And vice versus. But—be reasonable and fair and stick to facts. To state that “Shitsburgh is the worst team ever, which is why Baltimore beat them out to make playoffs” is simply making Charm City civilians seem Neanderthal and ignorant. The Steelers may be a team to ‘hate’ but give credit where credit is due. They have fought hard to get to where they are. They have the most Super Bowl rings out of any team in the NFL. Just because they fell short this season does not make them ‘the worst team ever.’ Just the most hated in Baltimore 🙂

Another bad fan-menship I have noticed today is basically the same as I mentioned before–the excuses of opposing players on the IR list or being benched is why the team lost. Again—how many players are on that team? They are all there and getting paid and were drafted to play professional football. Not everyone is going to run like Chris Johnson or throw like Peyton Manning, but there are players that are still good and ready to play backup and help their team get the W. For example: the Ravens and Steelers first match up in Baltimore. The Steelers backup QB for Ben Roethlisburger played one hell of a game. The Steelers played tough and took Baltimore to overtime and ultimately lost, but not without a fight. After the game, there were still the typical rivalry comments, but for the Steelers, instead of standing by their backup players, said they lost because they didn’t have Big Ben. That just rubs salt in the wounds for the players they are fans of in my opinion.

Today’s game was no different. The Baltimore Ravens went to Foxboro and brought a vigor and intensity that has been only slightly lit all season but was fully ignited the whole game through. It was obvious from the first five minutes of the game; Ray Rice’s 80+ yard run for a TD and then Suggs forced fumble and recovery of the ball for Baltimore which in turn led to McClain running in for TD numero dos; and later in the first half, Ed Reed’s interception and lateral pass leading to a third TD for the Ravens; it was obvious to whom the game belonged to. Maybe Brady could have, should have, would have played better. Maybe it was that new baby at home keeping him awake…or wait I thought he was the baby? Ether way, the Patriots have what NFL and ESPN have named one of the best QBs, they have Randy Moss who is no stranger to getting points on the board for his team. To say they did not go out and play to win is being a sore loser and disrespectful to New England and the effort they did put out to get as far as they did, and it is disrespectful to Baltimore who finally played like the team we, as fans, know they can be if they stopped making the stupid mistakes.

Baltimorians, we aren’t perfect either. Every Monday after a game, I listen to a radio station giving commentary on the previous day’s match ups, and the mood of the callers naturally matches whether the Ravens got a W or loss the day before. That is all fine and good. But when they lose you hear “we need a new coach;” or “we need a new offensive coordinator, even my blind 98-year-old grandmother knows Ray Rice is going to run the ball up the middle;” or “the refs hate us and cost us that game.” Well, maybe the comments about Ray Rice are true considering until tonight’s game; the offense highly relied on this record setting running back from Rutgers University. But come on Baltimore…whether the refs hate our team or not, if the Ravens would play the way a GREAT team should, the way we saw them play today, they would win despite the refs being ‘unfair.’ Not every push will be seen, not every penalty called will be rational. But that is the way of the game. You go out there hoping to get the best of your opponents; the refs are there to regulate. The truth was and is that Baltimore was a slightly above mediocre team this year. They could have been and should have been a lot better but they made a lot of stupid mistakes that resulted in a lot of penalties which of course cost them more yards lost in penalties than the Detroit Lions would gain in yards passing or running. (sorry for the low blow Motor City fans, but it is true!)

Be a fan. This bandwagon-only-positive-when-they-win attitude needs to go. Your team is representing you and giving you something to look forward to each Sunday day and Monday night, and every fall season. The fans in the stands get these boys going. I know I have noticed the Ravens react positively to cheers from their fans. Keep those positive cheers all week long. While our boys in purple practice hard every day to hope to do better in the next weekends game, every fan should practice on their fan-manship. Remember what we were all taught when we were younger by our parents: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all!” Critics, beware 🙂