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

The Taunting Two-Step

December 2nd, 2015 | Comments Off on The Taunting Two-Step

When is a touchdown dance more than a dance? Cam Newton is only the latest example in the age-old dance of celebration vs. taunting.

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 18: Quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on October 18, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 570176333 ORIG FILE ID: 493267298

The Carolina Panthers are the last undefeated team still dancing and Cam Newton, the front runner for NFL MVP, is a big reason why. Over the last week Newton became the subject of scrutiny after a Music City mother sent a letter that the Charlotte Observer opportunistically published scolding Newton’s Elvis-esque gyrations.

Then came the response.

A response to the response.

And finally a response to the response of the response.

If you are trying to remember the steps to this media montage – it’s racism, the objectification of women, and celebratory limits of franchise players, cha, cha, cha.

The steps for settling the dance between celebrating and taunting are much simpler.

In hopes of creating clarity and not stifling the moves of our favorite sporting entertainers, here are some quick pointers for players and fans.

Celebrating…

… is brief during play.
… directed at teammates or your fans.
… is proportional to the value of the moment.
… is from the pure emotion of joy and satisfaction.
… is rarely misinterpreted by opposing players or penalized by the officials.

Taunting…

… is excessive in length during play.
… is directed at opponent or their fans.
… is disproportionate to the value of the moment.
… is from the raw emotion of arrogance and anger.
… is often interpreted by opposing players as disrespectful or penalized by officials.

This is hardly comprehensive or complete, but it could help in spotting some of the differences on any field of play in which you are watching or playing.

In the case of Cam Newton, dancing is no problem… unless an opposing player takes offense. Then attempt to defuse the situation, or just avoid directing an emphatic pelvic thrust in his direction.

Hit the Quan or even Whip / Nae Nae.

Just remember your mother, my mother, and apparently everyone else’ mother is watching – so when in doubt, make it about giving away footballs to kids and not all this other nonsense. That’s the most entertaining and rewarding celebration.

The Lead Block challenges players and fans to honor their opponents, on and off the court. To find out more about how you can become a part, click HERE.

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Weekly Block – Turkey Leg Bowl

November 16th, 2011 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – Turkey Leg Bowl

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

1. Tennessee Titans (5-4) (2nd in AFC South)

Chris Johnson needs another performance before I jump back on the bandwagon. The Damian Williams’ bandwagon on the other hand, needs to make room for me.

2. Nashville Predators (9-5-3, 21pts) (2nd in WC-Central)

The Predators were playing great hockey on the road before letting one slip away at home this weekend. But, a convincing win over a good Capitals team is a good sign.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (See You Next Year)

The NBA players turned down the owners proposal on Monday effectively cancelling games until December 15. It is time to face the reality of no basketball this season.

4. Chicago Cubs (New Boss)

Whether it is Pete Mackanin, Dale Sveum, Mike Maddux and Sandy Alomar Jr., one thing is for sure, they will have their work cut out for them with these departures.

5. Final Block (Turkey Leg Bowl)

The Lead Block is hosting a charity flag football tournament this Saturday, November 19 from 9:30am-3:30pm. All donations benefit the mentoring program.

For more information or to sign-up a team, check out www.TurkeyBowl.com or click on the ABOUT page to find out more about how you can take your Thanksgiving football tradition to the next level.

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Titan Thursday – Week 4 Predictions

September 29th, 2011 | 1 comment

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


Overall Record: 29-19

Week 3 (Record: 11-5)

Shame of the Week: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Michael Vick is right to cry out for relief. Because Andy Reid nor his offensive line seem interested in answering that call. And calm down Giant fans, for every one of these games from Eli in September there is the opposite lurking for December.

Pick ‘Em Again: Patriots over Bills
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: Buccaneers over Falcons
On any given Sunday… ah, this is the only way these games could ever end.


Week 4

Tennessee Titans over the Cleveland Browns
Okay, so the Titans have not dazzled in their two wins, Chris Johnson is depressingly bottled up, and Kenny Britt is lost for the season. But, Matt Hasselbeck and the stingiest defense in the NFL will maintain their winning ways for another week.

Detroit Lions over the Dallas Cowboys
I hate to pick against Tony Romo after he just willed his team to another tough win. But, expect this Cowboys secondary to struggle against a good quarterback (Matt Stafford). Something they have yet to see (i.e. Sanchez, Smith, and Grossman).

 

Steelers over Texans
Steelers are sloppy, but win this one close. The Texans just look like a .500 team.

Bears over Panthers
Cam Newton came back to earth last week. And the 1-2 Bears are no 1-2 Jaguars.

Vikings over Chiefs
It is sad to see recent division winners struggle so badly. The Vikes can’t lose this.

Bills over Bengals
Although I am impressed with the Bills, I feel a letdown coming on. Just not yet.

Rams over Redskins
Both looked bad in defeat last week, but the Rams have played better teams so far.

Eagles over 49ers
Vick’s overblown injury should go away quietly, just like the 49ers will in the 4th.

Saints over Jaguars
Not even a monsoon could help the Jags win this game. Drew Brees is too much.

Falcons over Seahawks
The Falcons are struggling, but it is nothing a visit to the Seahawks cannot fix.

Giants over Cardinals
An easy match-up for the Giants sure smells like a trap game. Cards can steal it.

Patriots over Raiders
There is no way Bill Belichick and Tom Brady lose back-to-back games. Is there?

Packers over Broncos
Attention Fantasy Owners, insert all Packer offensive players… put the D in, too!

Chargers over Dolphins
What if the Chargers and Dolphins actually played up to their potential? Hmm…

Ravens over Jets
Rex Ryan should really consider Joe Namath as an option against his old team.

Buccaneers over Colts
Being wrong about these two teams has cost me 4 games. Will they make it 5?

 

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Weekly Block – Winning Isn’t Everything

September 21st, 2011 | 1 comment

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

1. Scott Stallings (57th in FedEx Cup Points)(38th on the Money List)

Although, the BMW Championship was a disappointing tournament, Stallings is looking on closing out an extremely successful rookie season. Well done, Scott!

2. Chicago Cubs (68-86)(5th in NL Central)

Good news: The Cubs can pass a Pirates squad that led the NL Central early this year. Bad news: Cubs closer, Kerry Wood, might be done for good. Again.

3. Memphis Grizzlies (Rudy, Rudy, Rudy)

Finally, Rudy Gay is healthy and ready to get back on the court for the Memphis Grizzlies as they prepa… what’s that?  Oh, yea.  The NBA season is not going to happen.

4. Tennessee Titans (Calm Down)

First, Titan fans need to realize that single coverage (a.k.a. most of Kenny Britt’s receptions) and Chris Johnson’s carries are related. Secondly, it was the Ravens.

5. Final Block (Winning Isn’t Everything)

I admit it.

I did not expect Cam Newton to enjoy much early success (or any success, for that matter) in his rookie NFL season.  Especially as the Carolina Panthers’ quarterback.

But, with two of the best rookie performances ever under his belt in as many attempts, it is hard to refute what Newton has demonstrated on the field.

So, let’s compare Newton to quarterbacks around the NFL that are having similar starts to see if those quarterbacks are receiving a similar response.

                              QB Rating   Yards   TDs    INTs   Record
Rex Grossman            90.6         596      4         2        2-0
Cam Newton               89.1         854      3         4        0-2
Mark Sanchez             87.7         517      4         3        2-0

It is fascinating that Sanchez and Grossman are the passers that statistically most resemble Newton. Of the 3 passers, all have enormous potential and all have consistency issues, from quarter-to-quarter. And sometimes from throw-to-throw.

More interesting, are the expectations of NFL analysts and fans of the New York Jets and Washington Redskins. Grossman is currently highly received, as is Sanchez.  But, would the same be true if the Redskins and Jets were 0-2?

Probably not.

Neither are rookies and expectations elevate, especially in the ruthlessly competitive NFL market. So, is there a correlation between support and belief a player receives, and their development as a player (in this case as a young NFL quarterback)?

Expectations should elevate.

Competition and achievement are incredible motivators.

But, maybe growth is best nurtured in an atmosphere with lower expectations.

Peyton Manning still holds the record for most interceptions thrown in a rookie season (29). However, I doubt Manning nor the Indianapolis Colts (who finished 3-13) will ever regret that season of growth.

So, maybe winning isn’t everything. But rather, a reward worth growing into.

What if Panther fans found strange satisfaction in Newton’s growing interceptions, knowing each was teaching him something new. What if Charlotte celebrated a 3-13 record, content that this season was the payment for many great years to come…

 

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Titan Thursday – Week 1 Predictions

September 8th, 2011 | 3 comments

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

Green Bay Packers vs New Orleans Saints
Most defending Super Bowl Champs struggle the following season.  But, the Saints seem more likely to suffer a hangover following a humiliating first round exit that made Marshawn Lynch a football god overnight.  Whoever has the ball last will win.

Tennessee Titan at Jacksonville Jaguars
Despite the spin control and downplaying by both teams, David Garrard’s release is HUGE. The Titans can still lose this game, but look for a surprisingly dynamic Titan offense to pour it on the Jags at home.  Will Jerry Gray’s defense come ready to play?

Philadelphia Eagles at St. Louis Rams
The Rams will be tough this season. If Mike Vick finishes this game, the Eagles win.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
Each year the Ravens defense gets weaker, while the Steelers remain dominant.

Kansas City Chiefs vs Buffalo Bills
Matt Cassell’s health is a concern, and the Bills like to play close games.  But…

Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears
Look for the Falcons to get out in front and harass Jay Cutler all afternoon.

Detroit Lions at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Two up-and-coming teams should deliver a great game. Lions by a field goal.

Cleveland Browns vs Cincinnati Bengals
The AFC North Chumpionship game should give a clue who is in worse shape.

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
Kerry Collins is not Peyton Manning. But, neither is Matt Schaub. Calm down.

New York Giants at Washington Redskins
Rex Grossman and Eli Manning are equally likely to disappoint or dazzle.

San Diego Chargers vs Minnesota Vikings
My AFC Super Bowl pick should steam roll Donovan McNabb and the Vikes.

Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers
Kevin Kolb is more tested than Cam Newton and the Panthers are a mess.

Seattle Seahawks at San Fransisco 49ers
Tarvaris Jackson is on my fantasy team. A pick that may twice prove foolish.

Dallas Cowboys at New York Jets
Mark Sanchez is the worst quarterback on a good team. Tony Romo is better.

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are a dominant combination in the regular season.

Denver Broncos vs Oakland Raiders
Oakland’s off-season moves (or lack thereof) left them weaker on defense.

 

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