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

Respectworthy

January 21st, 2014 | Comments Off on Respectworthy

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman ruffled a few feathers with the post game press conference screamed round the world.

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Is there anything wrong with Sherman’s passion?

Not really. Players that make big plays on big stages in big moments should be allowed to celebrate those moments appropriately with their teammates and fans.

Still, it would be wise for the NFL and every sporting league to consider adding a buffering time after competition for players and coaches to reflect before responding to questions. Fans and media alike can still drink in the raw emotions, after the adrenaline is drained.

Is Sherman ‘classless’, ‘a thug’, or ‘a human piece of garbage’?

Not exactly. Hardly. And obviously not, although I do enjoy the quite ironic description.

Apparently, the high road is closed in more places than just Seattle.

Did Sherman miss an opportunity?

Sure.

It is clear after watching, reading, and observing Sherman on the football field that respect is a hot button issue for him. Respect for his game, his character, his education, his accomplishments. Disrespect him and be prepared for the business end of his bravado.

For the record, I do respect all of the above. He is a first team Pro Bowl talent who passionately volunteers and generously gives to charities in his community, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Stanford University, and is what I consider a genuine success story.

Still, Richard missed an opportunity to demonstrate transcendent character on Sunday. Showing others the respect they have refused you is both noble and inspiring. Any observer would recognize that posture of humility and grace as a position held by someone of power, worthy of emulation and respect.

The fundamental misunderstanding of respect is its origins. The giver creates respect, as the result of observing someone worthy of the gift.

Unlike a Kaepernick pass fluttering back to earth, respect is not something to be snatched out of air in a show of superior strength, intelligence, or chest thumping.

Respect can only be given.

So, the real question is…

Is Sherman worthy? And are you?

Encouraging coaches and players to give and earn respect is what The Lead Block is all about. To find out more about how you can become a part, click HERE.

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#100 – Manning vs. Tebow

March 14th, 2012 | Comments Off on #100 – Manning vs. Tebow

After ten months, The Lead Block mentoring movement is impacting the lives of players at the high school and college level with  6 athletic programs.

Here are the readers’ top picks from the 100 blog posts along the way.

10. More than a Handshake
The Lions and 49ers each had great seasons, but the most interesting occurrence for each team was this post-game exchange between their young head coaches.

9. Everything You Hate About Pro Athletes
Athletic stereotypes are difficult to overcome, especially for professional athletes. One of The Lead Block‘s goals is to help players overcome these misconceptions.

8. Sure Bet
Arian Foster (@ArianFoster) demonstrates good humor during the NFL Lockout, EA delivers a top-notch commercial, and Michael Jordan wins a golf bet with a fan.

7. Field of Dreams 2
Another Best Red in the Top 10 (should bring this back), complete with the most clutch golf shot I have ever seen, the human homerun, and the sports video of 2011.

6. Pursuit of Perfection
Nobody is perfect. However, one NFL quarterback achieved perfection in his career. Tom Brady’s career is a testimony to the rewards of a commitment to excellence.

5. Join The Lead Block
The Lead Block would not be possible without a community of supporters and partners. By the way, becoming a partner might be easier than you think.

4. Putter Slinging
Scott Stallings trot around the 18th hole at the Greenbrier Classic, leading to his putter fling in jubilation is one of the best live sports moments of 2011.

3. Lead Blocking
This updated and in-depth description of the personal mentoring offered by The Lead Block is the best page to share with friends and family who are interested.

2. Scott Stallings is a Champ
One of the best final round comebacks of 2011, Scott forever stamped his name on the Greenbrier Trophy. I am already looking forward to seeing him at The Masters.

1. The Thing About Tim Tebow
Tebow-mania may be so 2011, if John Elway and the Denver Broncos mange to land the biggest free agent signing in my lifetime. Only Peyton could unseat Tebow.

 

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Always Bittersweet

February 9th, 2012 | Comments Off on Always Bittersweet

How do you deal with a bitter loss suffered by you or your favorite team?

Quickly I brought the ball past half court and checked the clock one last time. Down a point with 10 seconds left, the time was now. Ducking into the lane, I scanned for an open teammate underneath the basket. No luck, only the lane was open.

The final shot of the game would be mine to make or miss.

As I jumped and released the ball, a nearby defender swept my arms down and the ball fell helplessly short as the buzzer and an official’s whistle sounded simultaneously. Clearly a foul occurred, but what happened next changed everything.

The foul was ruled a non-shooting foul.

So while our team was in the bonus, now I would only get a 1-and-1 instead of 2 guaranteed free throws. Despite my coach’s protestations, the official sent both teams to their respective benches and called for me to shoot my untimed free throw.

The fate of an entire game was my burden.

As I started my pre-shot routine, my mind filled with the 3 possible outcomes.
1. Make the first free throw, get a second free throw, make it and be the hero.
2. Make the first free throw, miss the second, and play overtime.
3. Miss the first free throw and be the goat.

As I released the ball, I knew the moment it left my hand that I had missed it and could only watch as it hit the left edge of the rim and ricocheted to the right.

Game over.

Watching the other team (our arch rivals) celebrate, I turned to face my teammates and felt shame. It is the only time in my entire sporting career that my emotions got the better of me. And to this day it is the most vivid loss I can remember.

Like death is a part of life.
Losing is a part of winning.
One cannot exist without the other.

So, how do you deal with a bitter loss?

Do you blame the officials for a missed call or two?
Second-guess the coach’s game plan or decisions?
Verbally berate or assault an opposing fan?

Our passions tempt us to forget that every loss is bittersweet.

In victory, no one struggles with this paradox. We celebrate together unashamedly, in the full knowledge that half the people present just experienced a crushing defeat.

No one needs a helpful guide in how to celebrate a championship or hallowed rivalry victory. We already know how to do that. What players, coaches, and fans need is a simple guide in how to handle a difficult loss. And it is easier than you might think.

The key to mourning a loss is the same as celebrating a victory.

You weep, embrace your teammates, and fans. And eventually, you move on.

Like winning, losing is always bittersweet…

The Lead Block encourages players, coaches, and fans to mourn losses like they celebrate wins. To find out how you can become an encourager, click ABOUT.

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Bucking Bronco

January 16th, 2012 | Comments Off on Bucking Bronco

Maintaining composure and playing hard in a losing effort shows toughness.

The Denver Broncos were already off the map. Few expected them to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers the previous week, and even fewer considered them much of a threat to the seemingly invincible New England Patriots, led by Tom Brady.

After a quick start for the Pats, the Broncos appeared to weather Brady’s opening salvo in a game that again looked poised to live up to all the pregame hype.

One quarter and 28 unanswered points later, this rematch (like the first game) was once again out of reach for any Tebow Time heroics. Spurring tweets like…


and…

To be fair, no team needs to explain building a large lead in the first half of a playoff game. And to quote Herm Edwards… the Patriots were playing to win the game.

Winning and losing are guaranteed in competitive sports.

Fortunately, winning and losing has nothing to do with character or toughness.

But, what happens when the losses are by large margins?

This week I witnessed first hand a high school basketball team beating a rival by more than 50 points. It was an uncomfortable situation to experience as a fan.

Both coaches struggled to manage the passions of their players. The winning coach demanded humility – the losing coach, hustle and heart. The final minute of the game awkwardly ran down with a player standing with the ball on his hip unguarded.

At least football has the kneel down.

Unfortunately, the aggressiveness and passion required to play competitive sports with heart and hustle sometimes overwhelm humility and result in ugly displays.

On Saturday, rookie linebacker Von Miller allowed frustration to get the best him.

Come on, Von. You are the Defensive Rookie of the Year and already demand the respect of peers, experts, and fans with your toughness and quality of play.

Losing with humility shows toughness.

Don’t be that guy.

The Lead Block challenges players to play with humility, heart, and hustle regardless the score. To find out how you or your organization can become a part, click ABOUT.

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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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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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Titan Thursday – Week 10 Predictions

November 11th, 2011 | 1 comment

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

Overall Record: 81-47

Week 9 (Record: 6-8)

Shame of the Week: Cincinnati Bengals over the Tennessee Titans
This is a disappointing loss for the Titans who were soundly beating a young and talented team. Andy Dalton is for real, but the Titans secondary must be more consistent in coverage to win. Finally, Chris Johnson is almost back to his old self.

Pick ‘Em Again: Patriots over Giants, Steelers over Ravens
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: Packers over Chargers, Jets over Bills
On any given Sunday… ah, this is the only way this game could ever end.


Week 10

Tennessee Titans over the Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton could have a field day against this Titans secondary and it is not difficult to see the Panthers running away with this game, but I think this is a game the Titans pull out another commanding performance (i.e. Ravens and Browns).

New York Giants over the San Francisco 49ers
Alright Mr. Manning, you have my attention. The 49ers are a team that an elite quarterback with a defense in support should defeat, even on the road. This is the biggest test for 49ers this season, who also have something to prove.

Chargers over Raiders
Is this the beginning of the end for the Bolts? Rivers vs. Palmer should be great.

Colts over Jaguars
This will probably be the last time I pick the Colts all season. Unless they win…

Saints over Falcons
First place and control of the NFC South is at stake. Are the Falcons back to form?

Buccaneers over Texans
The sneaky Bucs are playing good enough to sneak up on the coasting Texans.

Steelers over Bengals
Pittsburgh’s momentum came to a screeching halt. The Bengals are in trouble.

Eagles over Cardinals
Which defeat was more crushing? The Eagles NFC Wild Card chances or this?

Chiefs over Broncos
Tim Tebow fans need to brace themselves for more Tebow-Hater nation taunts.

Cowboys over Bills
The Bills are reeling and the Cowboys playoff hopes are at stake. It’s still a pick’em.

Rams over Browns
Sam Bradford and the Rams look eerily similar to Matt Stafford and the 2010 Lions.

Dolphins over Redskins
Yuck. Picking a tie would be the right move, but one will inevitably give this away.

Ravens over Seahawks
Joe Flacco is not an elite quarterback. Good thing it will not matter against Seattle.

Lions over Bears
Come on, this is easy Detroit. Hint: Build an early lead and punt out of bounds.

Patriots over Jets
Brady is playing the worst football of his life… which is still better than the Pats D.

Packers over Vikings
Catch up on your sleep cycle. Mercy Night Football should be over before halftime.

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Titan Thursday – Week 8 Predictions

October 27th, 2011 | 1 comment

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

Overall Record: 66-37

Week 7 (Record: 8-5)

Shame of the Week: Kansas City Chiefs over the Oakland Raiders
Okay, so I believed last Wednesday night when I wrote Titan Thursday that the Raiders would have no choice but to start Carson Palmer. I was wrong. Still, I stand by Carson Palmer, who was without Darren McFadden and down 21 points.

Pick ‘Em Again: Ravens over Jaguars
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: Texans over Titans, Jets over Chargers
On any given Sunday… ah, this is the only way this game could ever end.


Week 8

Tennessee Titans over the Indianapolis Colts
Something will give for two teams heading the wrong direction in the win / loss columns. The Colts are better than the 62-7 beat down they received courtesy of the Saints. But, are the Titans better than their 41-7 humiliation? I sure hope so…

Dallas Cowboys over the Philadelphia Eagles
Yes, Tony Romo is in the news for celebrity reasons and the Eagles are playing at home. But, Michael Vick has 8 interceptions in the last 5 games and the Eagles are not immune to the run. Not sure why, but I will ride with Romo and the ‘Boys.

 

Giants over Dolphins
If any team could lose to the Dolphins, it is Eli and the Giants. Home field is enough.

Texans over Jaguars
No outcome in this game would surprise me, but not buying into Blaine-ia just yet.

Ravens over Cardinals
The Ravens are just like that sometimes. Expect a big rebound this week at home.

Saints over Rams
Seriously?! What did New Orleans do to deserve this favorable schedule? Oh yea…

Vikings over Panthers
Newton may be better than Ponder, but Peterson should slowly wear down Carolina.

Lions over Broncos
Even powered by the winning machine that is Tim Tebow, the Lions get it done.

Bills over Redskins
The Redskins are who we thought they were. Will the Bills let them off the hook?

Bengals over Seahawks
The Red Rifle and this young Cincinnati defense have made a believer out of me.

49ers over Browns
Do you think Pat Shurmur is preparing a gracious midfield handshake, right now?

Patriots over Steelers
Belichick and Brady after a regular season bye week is a lock regardless the opponent.

Chargers over Chiefs
The Bolts need this game as injuries mount and the Packers await them next week.

 

Byes: Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Titan Thursday – Week 6 Predictions

October 13th, 2011 | 1 comment

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


Overall Record: 48-29

Week 5 (Record: 8-5)

Shame of the Week: Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants
Are you kidding me, Eli Manning?! First you say that you are in the class of Tom Brady, then you start the season head of the class with Tom Brady, and now you lose to the Seahawks?! Unbelievable.

Pick ‘Em Again: Eagles 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: Raiders over Texans, Steelers over Titans
On any given Sunday… ah, this is the only way these games could ever end.


Week 6

Detroit Lions over the San Francisco 49ers
The Lion bandwagon is crowded, which means a letdown is imminent. And if any team can sneak up on the Lions, its Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers. This has all the makings of a trap game, but the Lions will extend their winning streak to 10 games.

Philadelphia Eagles over the Washington Redskins
What is wrong with the Eagles, right now? Exactly. There really is no explanation for the underachievement of this squad. The NFC Chargers are off to a slow start, but I still do not trust the Redskins and this game is very intriguing…

 

Packers over Rams
Ahem, fantasy owners. Should the NFL institute a mercy rule just for this game?

Bengals over Colts
I am buying the conspiracy theorists. “Suck for Luck” is in full effect for Indy.

Bills over Giants
Does this count as a trap game for the Bills? It should. Manning is the wildcard.

Falcons over Panthers
Could Atlanta really be 4th in the NFC South after this week? Surely not.

Steelers over Jaguars
Ben Roethlisberger woke up last week. Ironically, this game will put you to sleep.

Raiders over Browns
A tribute season for Al Davis just launched this team into overdrive. Lookout.

Ravens over Texans
Houston is not ready to win the AFC South. In this season, how is that possible?

Saints over Buccaneers
The Saints are vulnerable, but the Bucs have much bigger problems to sort out.

Patriots over Cowboys
I would love to pick the Cowboys here, but I have absolutely no faith in Romo.

Bears over Vikings
The Bears will play angry and might just launch Ponder-time in Minnesota early.

Jets over Dolphins
Against all odds, Mark Sanchez will not be the worst QB on the field next Monday.

Byes: Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks

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Titan Thursday – Week 5 Predictions

October 6th, 2011 | 2 comments

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


Overall Record: 40-24

Week 4 (Record: 11-5)

Shame of the Week: Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texans
Pittsburgh is old, Houston still lacks a killer instinct, and it is difficult to determine which unit is more of a disaster, the Steelers’ offensive line or the Texans’ secondary.

Pick ‘Em Again: Eagles over 49ers
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: Redskins over Rams
On any given Sunday… ah, this is the only way these games could ever end.


Week 5

Tennessee Titans over the Pittsburgh Steelers
Matt Hasselbeck will avoid big mistakes and Chris Johnson will unleash his longest run of the year. Even though the Titan defense will be more than a match for the front five of Pittsburgh, this game will be a close until late in the 4th quarter.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the San Francisco 49ers
Each young squad is looking to make a statement about who belongs in the NFL elite and atop their respective division. After picking against Josh Freeman and losing twice this season, I will roll with the new King of Comebacks again this week.

 

Saints over Panthers
Amazingly, Cam Newton might be the worst quarterback in the NFC South.

Texans over Raiders
I don’t know how, but the Texans will make me pay for this vote of confidence.

Eagles over Bills
This game has all the makings of a shootout. The Eagles have to fly or die trying.

Giants over Seahawks
Eli Manning is quietly off to a great start and the Giants are only getting stronger.

Vikings over Cardinals
Donovan McNabb will play just well enough to keep Christian Ponder on the bench.

Chiefs over Colts
The Colts look more interested in Andrew Luck than the Chiefs do… for right now.

Bengals over Jaguars
Battle of the “other” rookie QBs should be interesting. I like the Red Rifle in this one.

Chargers over Broncos
The Tim Tebow Experiment should start courtesy of the Chargers, this Sunday.

Patriots over Jets
Fact: Tom Brady > Ryan Fitzpatrick > Injured Chad Henne > Mark Sanchez

Packers over Falcons
Can the Falcons forget what happened in the playoffs last season? I doubt it.

Lions over Bears
I think the Lions have had this game circled for two weeks and will come out firing.

 

Byes: Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens

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