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 – For Starters

March 21st, 2012 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – For Starters

The Weekly Block covers what matters in sports to me. And maybe you too.

1. Scott Stallings (8:45am Tee Time on Thursday – Arnold Palmer Invitational)

Stallings missed the cut last Friday at the tournament that started it all (Transitions) last year. But, he did finish each round and looks to be on the road to recovery.

2. Memphis Grizzlies (25-19) (2nd in WC Southwest)

In a surprising and potentially exciting free agency move, the Grizzlies signed talented and troubled scoring guard Gilbert Arenas to back up Mike Conley.

3. Nashville Predators (42-23-7, 92 pts) (2nd in WC-Central)

Copy and paste the Grizz move for the Predators, who are looking to give a fresh start to Alex Radulov, who walked away from Nashville in 2008 for the KHL.

4. Tennessee Titans (Late Start)

The Manning Sweepstakes cost the Titans shots at Mario Williams, John Abraham, and an opportunity to resign Jason Jones. Still, a late start is better than no start.

5. Chicago Cubs (Rough Start)

The Cubs preseason is off to a rough start. The pitching rotation and top of the batting order are both unsettled and in a state of flux. Looks like a rebuild year.

 

The Lead Block added a new player this week and is looking for new mentor sponsors to join. To find out more and how you can become a part, click HERE.

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Just Admit It

January 9th, 2012 | 1 comment

Our response to Tim Tebow’s season reveals the character of us all.

We have all been wrong.

I thought The Matrix was going to be a bad movie.

I thought the iPhone was too expensive for a phone.

I thought shrimp was a slimy and undesirable appetizer.

And I thought all of Tim Tebow’s critics had an axe to grind.

I was wrong.

His critics (who include former NFL quarterbacks, scouts, and current general managers) have legitimate concerns about his potential and future in the NFL.

Tim Tebow is not an elite NFL passer-sometimes missing open receivers, sometimes too slowly looking over his progressions, or occasionally winding up a little too long to throw downfield. He is not the next Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Drew Brees.

I admit it.

For comparison, here are two quarterbacks’ regular season statistics:

courtesy of www.pro-football-reference.com

Each young passer led their team to the playoffs. Each quarterback was supported by a solid defense. Each quarterback did more damage on the ground than in the air.

The 24-year old quarterback is Tim Tebow, this year.

The 26-year old is former NFL MVP Steve McNair, who led his 1999 Titan team to a Super Bowl appearance with the help of a far more miraculous game-winning play.

Both won their first playoff games in an unconventional way.

So, in the face of one of the more memorable Denver playoff victories against a favored Pittsburgh team, how will those same critics respond the day after?

NFL gurus and fans alike that doubted or touted Tebow have to admit it. Even if this is his only season as the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos, it is a season worth remembering. A humbling contrition that both sides can admit after Sunday.

Faced with the same criticism and fandemonium, Tim chose humility. Why can’t we?

Humility is a difficult, but powerful, demonstration of character.

For this reason, The Lead Block challenges its players to play with humility on the field and live in humility off it. To find out how to become a part and click ABOUT.

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Weekly Block – New Season

January 4th, 2012 | Comments Off on Weekly Block – New Season

The Weekly Block covers anything that matters in sports to me. And maybe you, too.

1. Memphis Grizzlies (2-3) (3rd in WC Southwest)

More scary than a slow start, is the prospect of losing Zach Randolph for the season. With Darrell Arthur already gone, the Grizz added Hamed Haddadi to fill the void.

2. Nashville Predators (21-14-4, 46pts) (4th in WC-Central)

The Preds are 7-3 in the last 10 games, including winners of 3 straight. The recent loss of defenseman Shea Weber has apparently boosted offensive performance.

3. Scott Stallings (Hyundai Tournament of Champions)

This weekend officially kicks-off the 2012 PGA season in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii. I am genuinely looking forward to seeing what Scott will accomplish this season on tour.

4. Tennessee Titans (9-7) (Finished 2nd in AFC South)

This season is disappointing for several reasons. No playoff berth despite a weakened division, only a 20th overall pick to show for it, and looming uncertainty.

5. Final Block (New Season, Same Goal)

Last season, The Lead Block established mentoring relationships with 5 players. And so far, has invested more than 100 hours in these players and their futures.

Those players have received tutoring, discovered personal values, narrowed college choices, and identified scholarships or grants to pursue a secondary-education.

This year, The Lead Block will impact twice as many students through adding a second school. Find out how you can become a part and join HERE.

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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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