Thoughts regarding sports and mentoring.
Caution: Severe Tennessee Titan, Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Cubs, and Scott Stallings bias.

Titan Thursday – Week 17 Predictions

December 30th, 2011 | Comments Off on Titan Thursday – Week 17 Predictions

This week, Titan Thursday Friday shares predictions of this week’s NFL match-ups.

Overall Record: 151-89

 

Week 16 (Record: 9-7)

Shame of the Week: Philadelphia Eagles over the Dallas Cowboys
Without Tony Romo, the Cowboys offense had no chance of keeping up with the Eagles finally explosive offensive. More importantly, the struggling Cowboys defense limited Vick and McCoy to only 6 points and 2 field goals in the second half.

Pick ‘Em Again: Texans over Colts, 49ers over Seahawks
If the NFL played these games again this weekend, under the same conditions, I would pick the exact same way.  And I genuinely believe I would be right this time.

Shoulda’ Known Better: Bengals over Cardinals
On any given Sunday… ah, this is the only way this game could ever end.

 

Week 17

Tennessee Titans over the Houston Texans
Okay, so maybe this is just the wishful thinking of a Titan fan. Especially if Texans DC Wade Phillips returns and the Titans do not establish an early lead. But, Houston could play it safe and not reveal anything to a potential first round playoff opponent.

Dallas Cowboys over the New York Giants
I will continue to ride with Tony Romo and the Boys in a game where precedent demands a different selection. Eli Manning’s elite status is once again at stake and although he is having a banner season, he is also still incredibly inconsistent.

 

Lions over Packers
It is hard to see the Pack risking injuries, while Detroit could still benefit from a win.

Jaguars over Colts
Maurice Jones-Drew’s pursuit of the rushing title will be enough to grind out a win.

Jets over Dolphins
The fight the Fins summoned seems to have fizzled and the Jets are a better team.

Saints over Panthers
Expect the Saints to do their part in ensuring the Super Dome gets a playoff game.

Bears over Vikings
Who would have predicted neither of these teams would be relevant this season?

Patriots over Bills
Home-field is at stake, while the Bills are fresh off a rare win and ripe for a letdown.

Eagles over Redskins
The Dream Team will again shine, begging the question, will they be back next year.

49ers over Rams
Home-field is at stake, who desperately need a win to outpace the New Orleans.

Falcons over Buccaneers
Raheem Morris’ job and Josh Freeman’s nightmare season will both come to a close.

Seahawks over Cardinals
Alright, alright. So maybe Pete Carroll and the Seahawks deserve a little more

Chargers over Raiders
The Bolts are eliminated and Oakland needs this, meaning both will fail to blow this.

Broncos over Chiefs
Tebow’s future and the fate of quarterbacks like Robert Griffin hang in the balance.

Steelers over Browns
With or without Big Ben this game is one Pittsburgh needs to close out the season.

Ravens over Bengals
A toss up. And were it not for Dallas vs. Giants, this would be the game of the week.

 

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Weekly Block – Tough Times

December 29th, 2011 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Tough Times

Every Wednesday, the Weekly Block covers everything that matters in the world of sports. To me. And maybe you, too.

1. Tennessee Titans (8-7) (2nd in AFC South)

The Titans are in a tough spot to make the playoffs and secure the last AFC playoff spot. And it appears, for now, that new head coach Mike Munchak is staying around.

2. Nashville Predators (19-14-4, 42pts) (4th in WC Central)

The indefinite injury to captain, defenseman, and Preds leader Shea Weber is a tough loss. The overwhelming amount of concussions in the NHL, demands league action.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (0-2) (5th in WC Southwest)

Playing at San Antonio followed by Oklahoma City was a tough way to start the year. Still, Gay looks healthy while Randolph and Gasol are picking up where they left off.

4. Chicago Cubs (Tough Off-Season)

The Cubbies are having a tough off-season thus far in 2011. And a recent Jimmy Kimmel segment piled on with a harsh take from a young baseball fan in Chicago.

5. Final Block (Tough Times)

Tough times are inevitable, especially for athletes whom are victims of unavoidable or unpredictable injuries, fraudulent athletic programs, changing schemes, and economic downsizing. So, what happens to players that fall through the cracks?

The Lead Block prepares athletes for a life after their sporting careers fall on tough times or inevitably end. Find out how you can become a part and click ABOUT.

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Titan Thursday – Week 16 Predictions

December 23rd, 2011 | 1 comment

Every week, Titan Thursday will share predictions of each week’s NFL match-ups.

Overall Record: 142-82

 Week 15 (Record: 8-8)

Shame of the Week: Carolina Panthers over the Houston Texans
T.J. Yates may not be as good as advertised, but Sunday is a perfect example of what the Texans defense looks like without the strategic prowess of Wade Phillips on the sidelines. Gary Kubiak should send more than a Christmas card to his new DC.

Pick ‘Em Again: Packers over Chiefs
If the NFL played these games again this weekend, under the same conditions, I would pick the exact same way.  And I genuinely believe I would be right this time.

Shoulda’ Known Better: Seahawks over Bears, Dolphins over Bills
On any given Sunday… ah, this is the only way this game could ever end.

 

Week 15

Tennessee Titans over the Jacksonville Jaguars
The annual trip to LP will not disappoint, as Chris Johnson will reach 1000 yards for his 4th consecutive season and the Titans use a ball control offense to smash a depleted Jags squad into submission. Jake Locker will also get some time to shine.

New Orleans Saints over the Atlanta Falcons
This battle for the AFC South is huge. If the Saints complete a sweep of the Falcons on Monday Night they will take their league leading winning streak to 7 games and will hold wins over playoff teams including the Falcons, Texans, and Lions.

 

Texans over Colts
Houston does not need this and is falling fast, but the Colts will come up short.

Cardinals over Bengals
Cannot sleep on the NFC’s version of Tim Tebow. The Cardiac Cards are back.

Giants over Jets
Eli Manning is such a tease. Still, its hard to see Sanchez outperforming anyone.

Patriots over Bills
Tom Terrific and the Pats have a humiliating loss to avenge. This will not be pretty.

Ravens over Browns
The Ravens typically follow-up bad losses with huge games. Cleveland is just a mess.

Raiders over Chiefs
Romeo Crennel and Kansas City will come crashing back down to earth this week.

Redskins over Vikings
Anyone else notice that Chris Johnson is not the only elite RB having a down year?

Panthers over Buccaneers
Earlier this season Newton and Carolina would find a way to lose. Not this time.

Broncos over Bills
No need for Tebow Time. The Bills and Broncos are two halves of the same coin.

Steelers over Rams
Look for Dennis Dixon or Charlie Batch to make this game a little more exciting.

49ers over Seahawks
Not even the opportunistic Seahawks can turn out the lights on this error-free squad.

Packers over Bears
Even if the Pack rested their starters, the Bears do not have the firepower to win.

Chargers over Lions
This is great postseason practice for Detroit. Youth and inexperience will ruin it late.

Cowboys over Eagles
Against all odds, history, and critical evaluations, the Cowboys and Romo get it done.

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Weekly Block – Moving On

December 21st, 2011 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Moving On

Every Wednesday, the Weekly Block will cover everything that matters in the world of sports. To me. And maybe you, too.

1. Tennessee Titans (7-7) (2nd in AFC South)

With the playoffs all but out of reach and Matt Hasselbeck’s underwhelming season, Mike Munchak must consider the possibility of making the move to Jake Locker.

2. Nashville Predators (17-12-4, 38pts) (4th in WC-Central)

The Predators were on the move until having their 5-game winning streak broken by Alexander Ovechkin. Nashville’s inconsistency is mirrored by goalie, Pekka Rinne.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (Moving Forward)

Shane Battier took his talents to South Beach and now the Grizzlies will need to move on without the services of forward Darrell Arthur. At least Marc Gasol was resigned.

4. Chicago Cubs (zzzz… Moves)

The new regime seems content to build slowly and from the inside out. Ian Stewart is hardly a replacement for Aramis Ramirez, but Carlos Zambrano might not move out.

5. Final Block (Moving On)

The Lead Block specializes in preparing players for life after school and after a sporting career at any level. Find out how you can become a part and click ABOUT.

 

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Perfectly Imperfect

December 19th, 2011 | Comments Off on Perfectly Imperfect

The Colts and Packers each had their pursuits of perfection halted on Sunday.

Indianapolis’ season has been a case study of a practice in futility, as the Manning-less Colts invented new ways to lose week after week, to the tune of 0-13.

When perfection is lost, a void remains to be filled.

On Sunday, the Colts hosted the playoff-hungry Tennessee Titans and provided yet another reminder that humility, heart, and hustle give any team a chance to win.

The result? The Colts handed the depleted Titans their worst defeat of the season and all but ended this young team’s lofty hopes of a playoff berth.

All season the Colts allowed the void to be filled by other teams and media experts. But not today. Today, they filled the void with big plays, confidence, and calm poise.

Character is not measure of a perfection, but of your handling of imperfection.

The Green Bay Packers’ season has been a case study in the practice of dominance, as Aaron Rodgers’ record-shattering performances led the Pack to a 13-0 start.

Perfection can motivate towards excellence.

The Packers traveled to Kansas City atop an undefeated season and fell prey to a team that brought plenty of heart and hustle to the field for their interim head coach.

The result? A humbling first loss of the season. Now Green Bay must regroup and battle for home field advantage in the final weeks against two division rivals.

All season the Pack used perfection to fuel their pursuit of excellence. Their first true test of the season is not the Chiefs, Bears, or Lions. It is their response to failing.

Character does not require perfection, but a humble appreciation of it.

Sometimes we chase perfection at the expense of character. And most of the time, we either fall short and justify our failure or succeed at the cost of our integrity.

It is rarely if ever perfect, but playing and living with character is the only attainable and meaningful victory worth achieving anyway.

The Lead Block values character in its players above perfection, so win or lose they are better prepared for life. Find out how you can become a part and click ABOUT.

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Titan Thursday – Week 15 Predictions

December 15th, 2011 | 1 comment

Every week, Titan Thursday will share predictions of each week’s NFL match-ups.

Overall Record: 134-74

Week 14 (Record: 11-5)

Shame of the Week: Houston Texans over the Cincinnati Bengals
T.J. Yates may be young and inexperienced, but he is succeeding in ways Matt Schaub could not in December. And the addition of Wade Phillips has been huge for the Texans defense. Both are huge reasons for the franchise’s first playofff berth.

Pick ‘Em Again: Buccaneers over Jaguars, 49ers over Cardinals
If the NFL played these games again this weekend, under the same conditions, I would pick the exact same way.  And I genuinely believe I would be right this time.

Shoulda’ Known Better: Giants over Cowboys, Eagles over Dolphins
On any given Sunday… ah, this is the only way this game could ever end.

 

Week 15

Tennessee Titans over the Indianapolis Colts
This is the biggest trap game of the year for the Titans. The Colts have done enough, or not enough depending how you look at it, to guarantee the first overall pick. If Jake Locker starts and the Titans cannot establish the run early, oh boy…

Denver Broncos over the New England Patriots
Tim Tebow and the Broncos are on a divine run into the playoffs and Belichick & Brady have struggled together in Mile High with an atrocious record of 1-5. Regardless the outcome, expect Tebowmania to hit critical mass on Sunday.

 

Falcons over Jaguars
Atlanta needs this game and Jacksonville has a huge letdown loaded and ready.

Cowboys over Buccaneers
Despite all evidence to the contrary, I believe Dallas will rise to the occasion.

Texans over Panthers
Yates has a believer in me. While Newton’s Offensive Rookie of the Year is at stake.

Bills over Dolphins
Miami is Fin-ished and no one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills at home.

Bengals over Rams
The young Bengals are injury-bitten, while the free-falling Rams have no excuse.

Bears over Seahawks
Chicago was bamboozled and Tebowed, but I believe will avoid tasting the rainbow.

Saints over Vikings
All fantasy owners looking to stay alive in the playoffs look no further than this gem.

Packers over Chiefs
Okay, so maybe fantasy owners can find some diamonds in the rough here, as well.

Giants over Redskins
Eli Manning may be rolling, but forgetting this would set the stage for a letdown.

Lions over Raiders
Detroit gets their roar back, while the Raiders are regressing to their old ways.

Cardinals over Browns
Yuck. Mike Holmgren’s legend is getting dragged through the mud in Cleveland.

Eagles over Jets
The Fins are no slouches. The Dream Team could actually be coming together.

Chargers over Ravens
Last time Baltimore flew cross country, this happened. I just do not trust Joe Flacco.

Steelers over 49ers
The 49ers overlooked the Cards last week because of this game. What a waste.

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Weekly Block – For Goodness Sake

December 14th, 2011 | 1 comment

Every Wednesday, the Weekly Block will cover everything that matters in the world of sports. To me. And maybe you, too.


1. Tennessee Titans (7-6) (2nd in AFC South)

In the twinkle of an eye the Titans could find themselves with the gift of the playoffs. Thanks to this year’s draft stocking-stuffers Locker, McCarthy, Klug, and Casey.

2. Nashville Predators (15-11-4, 34pts) (4th in WC-Central)

The Preds deserve a lump of coal for their lack of consistency. But, Tootoo’s scoring streak is a great present that is coming just in the nick of time to wrap up the year.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (Busy Little Elves)

The NBA released the regular season schedule and it promises to be busier than Santa’s workshop. The Grizz are fortunate, with only one back-to-back-to-back.

4. Chicago Cubs (Christmas List)

New Cubs GM Theo Epstein failed to bag Albert Pujols, despite having the Cards slugger on his list. Prince Fielder is really the only hitter left on the Nice List.

5. Final Block (Be Good for Goodness Sake)

Uh oh.

Add Ryan Braun to the Naughty List next to Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark McGwire.

Besides some backlash and reactions ranging from stripping Braun of the MVP trophy to a tweet-sized joke from Arizona senator John McCain, what’s the big deal?

“Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” -John Wooden

When a player cheats to win. He reveals he values winning over integrity.
When a player taunts an opponent. He reveals he values himself over others.
When a player quits on his team. He values the easy way more than the right way.

Sports are about more than winning or losing. In sports, we have an opportunity to see a teammate hit a sacrifice fly ball to drive home the winning run and selflessly block downfield for a game-changing run. Each a revelation of selfless character.

So when a player, coach, or team chooses winning, themselves, or the easy way over character, we are all robbed of victories with any meaning. [Insert BCS rant here]

A victory not earned, shared, or sacrificed for is hardly worth remembering.

Braun’s MVP trophy, like the 2005 Heisman, the All-time Home Run record, and 5 Golds from the 2000 Sydney Games are hollow victories destined to be forgotten.

The Lead Block values character in its players above all else, so they can reveal it on the field and in their life. Find out how you can become a part and click ABOUT.

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Everything You Hate About Pro Athletes

December 12th, 2011 | 1 comment

Athletes like many other identifiable groups are subject to generalizations and stereotypes. Sadly, those sentiments frequently create more evil than correct.

It is important to note, that any discussion regarding athletes must first address the differences between amateurs and professionals. Although both are driven by competition and money, amateurs’ issues are uniquely different than professionals.

This post will address common misconceptions about professional athletes.

In my experience, entitlement, a bad experience, or simple ignorance typically fuel assumptions that most professional athletes are lazy, overpaid, criminals.

Over the years, I have defended various pro athletes’ integrity, character, work ethic, attitude, and intelligence. Not because I knew these athletes personally, rather I believe these assumptions are damaging to everyone involved and need challenging.

1. Professional athletes are lazy.

False. This year I spent time with NFL player, Cortland Finnegan, and my favorite PGA player, Scott Stallings. And their workout regimes, commitments to excellence, professional responsibilities, and families leave precious little time for laying around.

Lazy athletes seldom have winning legacies or long professional careers.

Gone are the days of professional athletes spending all night at a club drinking or smoking a cigar while walking up to home plate. The level of competition and advances in training give hard working players an advantage previously not possible.

2. Professional athletes are overpaid.
False. Economies of scale complicate this matter more than the all the 0s. Simply put, the NFL generated $9 billion dollars last year and NFL players are entitled to $4 billion by contract. Giving the 1,700 players an average salary of $2.3 million.

Overpaid athletes’ contracts are NEVER realized, regardless of performance.

In 2010, a potential Hall of Fame NFL quarterback signed a contract extension with the Washington Redskins for $78 million. The quarterback was cut that same year and ultimately will only see 4% of that contract extension. Pro money is a mirage.

 

3. Professional athletes are criminals.
False. The American population arrest rate is 1 arrest per 22 people, while the NFL (statistically the professional sport with the most arrests) rate is 1 arrest per 47 players. In other words, pro players behave better than the average American.

Most arrests or crimes in pro sports are committed by the same few players.

In the NFL throughout the 2000s, <1% (12 players) accounted for nearly 8% (47 arrests) of league arrests. And of those 12 players, only 3 are still active in the NFL. Overall, all professional league crime rates are in decline in the last 10 years.

*-special thanks to Nate Barlow, DeepIntoSports.com, and the USA Today

The Lead Block challenges all players to break athletic stereotypes by demonstrating hustle, heart, and humility in the classroom, throughout the community, and on the field. Find out how you can become a part and click ABOUT.

Titan Thursday – Week 14 Predictions

December 8th, 2011 | 1 comment

Every week, Titan Thursday will share predictions of each week’s NFL match-ups.

Overall Record: 123-69

Week 13 (Record: 10-6)

Shame of the Week: Kansas City Chiefs over the Chicago Bears
The similarity in name of Tyler Palko and Shane Falco was hard enough to ignore. Then, the quarterback Kansas City team management brought in to “solve” the situation leaves the game and the replacement Chiefs win like this?! Classic.

Pick ‘Em Again: Falcons over Texans
If the NFL played these games again this weekend, under the same conditions, I would pick the exact same way.  And I genuinely believe I would be right this time.

Shoulda’ Known Better: Seahawks over Eagles, Dolphins over Raiders
On any given Sunday… ah, this is the only way this game could ever end.

 

Week 14

New Orleans Saints over the Tennessee Titans
The Titans are 0-4 when allowing more than 17 points this season. And since New Orleans has not been held to less than 21 points in any game, the Titans will have to score early and often. The Saints are a mere 3-3 away and in the elements this year.

Dallas Cowboys over the New York Giants
This is by far the biggest risk of a pick this week. Everything points to a predicatable Dallas December meltdown and Giant resurrection looking eerily similar to the 2007 Super Bowl squad. Regardless the outcome, this is hardly the NFC East clincher.

 

Steelers over Browns
Just when I thought recklessly capturing the Cleveland market was a memory.

Patriots over Redskins
Rex Grossman should have a great [fantasy] day, that inevitably will go up in flames.

Dolphins over Eagles
Who am I to argue with Karlos Dansby’s divine theory of Tebow-time transference?

Falcons over Panthers
This is the biggest game of Newton’s rookie season. Winning would send a message.

Buccaneers over Jaguars
This game is a toss up and not in the good way. Both teams are struggling right now.

Bengals over Texans
A.J. Yates received the benefit of one of Atlanta’s worst offensive games of the year.

Lions over Vikings
Christian Ponder will shred a defense on Sunday. Then again, so will Matt Stafford.

Jets over Chiefs
Fireman Ed hopes the Chief huddle looks something like this on Sunday afternoon.

Ravens over Colts
Baltimore has some history of losing these kinds of games and Orvlosky looks great.

Broncos over Bears
Look for another 4th quarter featuring Tebow-time. The Bears’ injuries are just sad.

49ers over Cardinals
With the division clinched, Jim Harbaugh and Co. are more vulnerable to letdowns.

Chargers over Bills
The Bolts playoff hopes are probably far-fetched, but hope floats for another week.

Packers over Raiders
Are there more disappointing teams than the Raiders, Bills, and Lions this season?

Seahawks over Rams
Underestimating the Seahawks and overestimating the Rams was my mistake.

 

 

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Weekly Block – Exceeding Expectations

December 7th, 2011 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Exceeding Expectations

Every Wednesday, the Weekly Block will cover everything that matters in the world of sports. To me. And maybe you, too.

1. Tennessee Titans (7-5) (2nd in AFC South)

As expected, a healthy Chris Johnson looks to finish as a top 10 rusher for the fourth straight season. Of the 13 rushers ahead of him, 2 are done for the season.

2. Nashville Predators (12-11-4, 28pts) (4th in WC-Central)

The Predators unexpected losing streak is troubling. Even with a significant home stand coming up, keeping pace in the West will be difficult from so far behind.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (Great Expectations)

No need to lower your expectations for the Grizzlies this season. The roster is better by default than last season, especially if Josh Selby is as good as advertised.

4. Chicago Cubs (What Did You Expect?!)

Expecting Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder to fall in your lap this offseason would be foolish. The Miami Marlins are making it rain in the free agent market, right now.

5. Final Block (Managing Expectations)

This year I had the pleasure of spending time on the sidelines of two playoff caliber football programs, Webb School of Knoxville and Oak Ridge High School. Each program has a rich tradition, quality coaching staffs, and talented young athletes.

Sadly, each team fell short of their goal to compete for a state title. So while the championship games were played this last weekend and the remaining teams battled for the right to hoist the golden football, they could only sit at home and watch.

They expected more.

One more week of practice. One more day. One more game. One more chance.

What happens when your expectations are not met?

Like in sports, life sometimes does not meet our expectations. Sometimes we lose. Our response in these moments defines our character, not the score or circumstance.

What happens when you fail? 

First, give your opponent the proper respect. Chances are you lost to a better foe or needed more preparation. Either way, humility will better prepare you for next time.

Next, develop a plan for improvement. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Have a destination in mind. Do not hustle in vain.

Finally, never expect failure. Managing expectations is like a surgical procedure that removes hope and dissects dreams. Always play and live with all your heart.

Expectations are not meant to be managed. They are meant to be exceeded.

The Lead Block challenges all players to exceed their expectations for life through hustle, heart, and humility. Find out how you can become a part and click ABOUT.

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