Get back to what made you great

A few days late getting to this but I was on vacation last week.  By vacation I mean I was working on my NFL previews.  Division by division, team by team, in depth trying to cover as many aspects of each team as I could in approximately 500 words all to give YOU, the soups on sports Taliban (no good?) the information that you need to know heading into this NFL season so you will know SOME of the players names and that is IT because the information will be no good come week 4!  So, with that being said how about Dana White cancelling UFC 151 hey?!…

For those of you that didn’t know Dan Henderson (remember when his nickname was Hollywood…the guy couldn’t be any LESS Hollywood but I digress) partially tore his MCL with just over a week to go before the fight so obviously he was unable to go.  The UFC went to different fighters asking them if they wanted to take the fight on short notice, they declined.  Chael Sonnen, playing the role of Lex Luger there for making Jon Jones the Yokozuna on the U.S.S. Intrepid, stepped up and said that he would take on Jones….in which Jones declined.

Jon Jones is now naturally taking a boat load of heat over this, and I absolutely understand why.  But how about this…how about instead of letting Dana White pass the blame on to other people, we all chip in and buy Dana White a mirror so he can own up to what the big issue is here.  White has been taking after guys for not stepping in an attempt to take the attention off the fact that he had to cancel an entire PPV card because 1…that’s right 1 freaking fight couldn’t go!

I have said it before and I will say it again, they are watering down all of the cards for a total cash grab.  I understand it, but it’s short term thinking and long term I’m not certain this is a good path for the UFC to travel down.  I know among my group of friends we definitely aren’t buying the PPV’s the way we used to.  It used to be (5-6 years ago) that we wouldn’t miss one, they were a huge event, and there were at least 3 fights on every card that you were amped to see.  Now, as much as I enjoy seeing Clay Guida fight, there is no way in the world that he should be headlining a PPV card.  I’m not even sure he should be headlining a UFC on FOX card.  Actually scratch that, I know he shouldn’t be headlining a UFC on FOX card.

Yet this is what it’s come to.  Cards just about every week, a PPV card at least once a month and in some cases more, with just about every card completely watered down.  If there is a big fight it’s just like a big boxing PPV now.  For years White has talked about how he is doing the opposite of what boxing promoters have done and learned from their mistakes yet all of a sudden here we are.  UFC 148 in Calgary headlined by Urijah Faber was a total embarrassment for the organization, even White acknowledged it.

It’s all about supply and demand.  Again, I understand the logic behind them pumping out card after card and spreading the talent around as thin as they can.  The sport is hot and there for the large majority of the fans won’t be like me.  They will continue to watch every single card.  Prices for the events will continue to be through the roof and they will continue to sell out.  That’s all well and good.  But eventually if they keep it up, the sport will start to lose its fans.  More and more people will see it for what it has become and lose interest.  In my opinion they need to get back to doing a big PPV card once every 2 months or so, and obviously still maintain the cards on FOX and FX.

MMA doesn’t have a long history, it’s not one of the big 3 major sports in the United States.  The NHL has been relatively hot down there at times and NASCAR’s popularity spiked for a while to in the early to mid 2000’s.  But kids for the most part don’t grow up with NASCAR, they don’t grow up with hockey, and they haven’t grown up with MMA.  If you water down the cards to where they are either atrocious like UFC 148 was, or have 1 big fight carrying the mail like UFC 151 was slated to do, kids won’t have an urge to buy the PPV’s when they come of age and the sport could slowly die off.

I still consider myself a big MMA fan and as of right now the UFC is the only game in town.  But they better get their act together and address the issue at hand here.  Dana White is a smart enough guy that I would think he be on it, but sometimes even visionary’s can get distracted by the Brink’s truck backing up to their door.

5 good bets

 

Every year prior to the season Vegas sets lines on how many games each team will win.  Now you can never predict injuries obviously, but in the NFL you can look at certain things like strength of schedule and get a better feel for how a team may perform.  So I have done a bit of research, and by bit I mean none at all.  I’m flat out winging this and telling you in the process to bet big money on these bets.  These lines are from sportsinteraction.com.  I wish I got money for that plug, I get nothing.  But if you like these and like to bet a bit of money on sports then head over there and don’t bet what you don’t have, do it to have some fun.

 

Denver Broncos over 9.5 wins

Timmy is gone, and an ACTUAL QUARTERBACK is running the show now.  And in case nobody noticed it’s not just a new QB, it’s one of the greatest of all time.  I thought Manning looked real good in his 1st pre season game.  I realize he was picked but if you watched the game it was because the pass was deflected right off Brandon Stokley.  He hit his man, his man didn’t make the catch.  So I believe that Peyton will be some what back to start this season.  Now it’s not an easy schedule by any means.  But that offense led by Peyton will be great, that defense proved last season just how good it was, they play in a weak division, and they have a great coach in John Fox.  This is at least a 10 win team despite the difficult schedule.

 

Dallas Cowboys over 8.5 wins

Everyone always looks at the Cowboys and says they’re overrated.  They don’t like Romo, they don’t like the o-line, they don’t like the defense, they don’t like Jerry Jones.  If you don’t love the Cowboys you HATE the Cowboys.  But I’m here to tell you they will get 9 wins this season.  That secondary is VASTLY improved which was disgusting last season.  To me the 0-line will be better this season simply because Tyron Smith has a year under his belt, he has apparently been great so far in camp.  Dez Bryant has the talent to be the best WR in football, but his off field issues are beyond ridiculous.  Jerry has now laid down the law for him and while I don’t think it will last, Bryant will step up for the majority of the season.  Also keep in mind all the tight loses this team suffered last season.  This team EASILY could have been…check that, should have been 11-5 and NFC East champs.  I don’t see where this team has downgraded so that means at least 9 wins.

 

Miami Dolphins under 7.5 wins

Are they serious?!  7.5 for the Dolphins?  It’s one of the most disfunctional franchises in football right now! (sorry Robb)  They have no clue what they’re doing this season at QB, just released Chad Johnson who hasn’t been good for 3 seasons yet was their top guy, the defense is only ok and the running game should be good but if Reggie Bush has injury issues again then it all of a sudden doesn’t look that good.  I loved the hire of Joe Philbin as head coach, and while the QB situation is a mess Ryan Tannehill has looked great so far in camp.  But it won’t be enough to over come all the issues that face this team.  Remember, the AFC East will be one of the toughest divisions in the NFL this season.  No way the Dolphins go over 7 wins.

 

Indianapolis Colts over 5.5 wins

For the record I was going to say this before Sunday, but Sunday didn’t hurt my strong feeling about the Colts surprising this season.  They have 3 big hold over’s from what will now be known as the “Manning era” that will help greatly with such a young team.  I love what they did in the draft, obviously Luck at 1 but taking the 2 TE’s Fleener and Allen in rounds 2 and 3 could be very much like when the Pats took Gronk and Hernandez in the 2010 draft.  Andrew Luck is one of the best QB’s to come along in a very long time and with the way rookie QB’s are able to step right in and produce these days I wouldn’t be shocked if he broke some of the records that Dan Marino set in 1983, he is that good.  Add to this, it’s not a very difficult division to deal with.  Colts will win 6 for sure, and I wouldn’t be shocked at all by 8 or 9.  Little side note for this bet, it is currently paying out better than double.

 

Chicago Bears over 8.5 wins

The Bears were looking like big time Super Bowl contenders last year after a win vs the Chargers.  Then everything came crashing down.  Cutler got hurt for the season, Forte went down for the season, and their offense went from good to horrific in no time.  Cutler is back, Forte is back, Brandon Marshall is in at WR, they drafted Alshon Jeffrey in the 2nd round who apparently looks great so far in training camp, the offense should be greatly improved.  They do have a new OC in former Vikings head coach Mike Tice, but I wouldn’t expect a lot to change.  They may run the ball more seeing as how Tice is a former o-lineman and may prefer a ball control offense, but there is no way with Cutler’s arm and those weapons on the outside that they won’t throw it around.  The defense is getting long in the tooth, but they’re still going to be one of the better D’s in the NFL.  The big question is how healthy will Brian Urlacher be.  As long as he stays healthy, they’ll be fine.  9 wins should be a lock for this team as long as they don’t have they health problems they encoured last season.

 

FINALLY!

 

What an incredible move in the NBA.  But it just goes to show you how valuable centers in the league are and to land one like this is amazing.  We’ve all been waiting on it, when will it happen?  What is taking so long?  Then the news finally broke yesterday…Joel Pryzbilla signed with the Bucks!  Fear-the-deer!  Fear-the-deer!

What?  Another move for a center in the NBA?  Not a chance.  Pryz, it’s all been about Pryz!  Ok, so sources close to me (my other personality) are telling me that last night multiple outlets reported that the Dwight Howard deal was done.  He’s not Pryz, but he’s ok.  On a serious note can I say for everyone ABOUT FREAKIN TIME!!!  That was the longest more tedious soap opera in sports!  But it’s finally done.

The Sixers did good in this deal landing Andrew Bynum.  The Magic I thought did OK, they didn’t want Bynum if he didn’t sign an extension and while I write this it’s not clear as to what the Magic got other than a protected 1st round pick from the other 3 teams.  I’m kind of lost as to why the Nuggets were in this but they got Andre Iguodala who is a solid player but has a bad contract.  The appeal could have been that his contract is done in 2 years but I won’t question the Nuggets they’re a pretty well run organization.

But obviously the big piece is Howard.  This puts the Lakers officially right there with the Heat.  I would be flat out shocked if that isn’t your 2013 NBA finals.  In the West the Thunder will be somewhat close but I think the Lakers have passed them now with Nash and Howard this offseason, and the Spurs are always there but are just getting too old.

As for a Heat/Lakers final, I think the Lakers would take them if the Heat don’t improve much over what they currently have.  The Lakers would own the Heat in the paint with Howard and Gasol, could somewhat keep James and Wade in check with World-Peace (can’t believe I said that and not Artest) and Bryant, and Nash could abuse Mario Chalmers at the point.

It will be interesting to see how Howard and Kobe gel though.  It’s without a doubt Kobe’s team and Kobe’s town.  Howard isn’t used to playing 2nd fiddle and I don’t think there was much question this season that this man LOVES the attention.  He will get attention in L.A., but he won’t be “the guy”.  Easily the most intriguing story to watch during the upcoming season.

Unfortunately for all of us it has come out that Howard will not sign an extension with the Lakers and will go to free agency next summer so the soap opera will somewhat remain.  But for now, at least it’s moved on from one lover dying to a former one coming back to life thanks to aliens.  See, soap opera’s are usually good like that and here Dwight Howard has given them a bad name.

 

Follow me on twitter @TJ_Soups or the website @Soups_on_Sports

Do or Doan’t already

 

No need to sing my praises…I’m already WELL aware that I deserve a pat on the back and congratulations for the greatest pun title of all time.  In fact, I don’t even have anything to say on this matter.  I just wanted to use this title, look amazing, and split.  So this is it, that’s the blog.  George Costanza (Cooo-Stanza) went out on high notes, and so should I.

Well, I guess while I’m hear I will talk about the matter at hand.  You see since there isn’t much going on in the hockey world right now Shane Doan is getting all the focus.  The 35 year old power forward is a UFA and he is waiting to see what will happen with the Yotes ownership situation.  I got news for Shane, the deal will fall through. 

I have absolutely zero inside knowledge on this matter, but every other deal has done so in Phoenix so I don’t see why this one would be any different.  Especially when the guy heading the operation isn’t a guy with a ton of money, he’s just a guy who is well connected to people with money.  It’s a pretty steep hill to climb for Greg Jamison.

But Shane is willing to wait and I can’t see the big deal, yet many are getting annoyed with him doing so.  Look, he is trying to give the only team he knows and loves every chance he possibly can to re-sign him.  Until he is told “we can’t” then he will assume “they can”. 

Someone in the East (likely the Islanders because it would be very “Islanders” of them to do so) offered him 4 years/30 million.  That’s ridiculous.  While Doan is a rare breed of size, good offensively, good in his own zone and all the intangibles all teams crave, he is still 35.  He has 2, MAYBE 3 good years of hockey left.  So that contract would just kill whoever (probably the Islanders) signed him to it.  Consider yourself lucky mystery team (probably the Islanders).

If I’m Doan at this point I could care less as to what teams are offering me.  I understand he did check out some places like NY (not for the Islanders), and I believe Philly as well.  Those are 2 teams that will be in the hunt for the Cup this season.  I would think Doan would want to stay in the West and if that was the case I can’t think of a better fit for both parties than the Canucks.  They need a guy like Doan to help change their culture, he would be in a great city with a legit shot at winning a Cup all the while being relatively close to home.

In the end I don’t expect Doan to leave Phoenix, I just don’t think he can bring himself to do it at this point and time.  I expect a 1 year deal in the 4-5 million range.  But if the deal does fall apart and he does decide it’s finally time, I would say the candidates would be Vancouver, Detroit, NY Rangers, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and a darkhorse being the Dallas Stars because of his relationship with owner Tom Gaglardi.  The head likely says leave, the heart likely says stay.  It’s a tough choice, he will make it when is ready and until then just chill about it.

 

Follow me on twitter @TJ_Soups or the website @Soups_on_Sports

Big Brother has nothing on these guys

 

Some people have asked me lately why I haven’t talked about the summer games as of yet.  Well the fact of the matter is I believe it’s unfair of me to run my mouth about sports and athletes that I literally know nothing about.  I likely will do a summary piece on them next Monday, but for now I’m going to stick to my Jets….

See what I did there?  You see the saying is stick to my guns, but I said stick to my Jets because I’m talking about the Jets.  Pretty incredible writing yet again wouldn’t you say?  But then again that is what you’ve come to expect from your 47th favorite blog.  Ahhhh the NY Jets, the greatest circus on the planet right now.  The latest?  A brawl during a scrimmage at training camp.  PERFECT.  So add that to Rex Ryan and his antics, the heat between Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes, Tim Tebow and his own side circus, Antonio Cromartie running his mouth about being the 2nd best WR on the team, and the spotlight that will be on controversial 1st round pick Quinton Coples.

DAMN!  The Cowboys of the 90’s don’t have a thing on this team!  It’s hard to believe that just 18 months ago this team was in the AFC title game for the 2nd straight year with a 2nd year QB.  Now here we are and that QB might not have a job by seasons end.  In fact on May 7th I predicted on twitter that Tebow would be the starter by week 7.  Their schedule to start the season is flat out brutal and there for could make Sanchez look brutal. 

I can’t help but think some of what is going on here isn’t to steal the back pages on the NY newspapers from the Giants.  I don’t get that line of thinking at all, they had a good thing going.  But when it comes to ownership Woody Johnson is a guy that obviously loves getting the attention.  Sure he would like to win, but he is more about the spotlight.  This is the owner that went out and got Brett Favre when he first left Green Bay.  Then he hired Rex Ryan who was an attention getter right from the start.  Bart Scott, LT, Plaxico, going on “Hard Knocks”, Woody Johnson likes the sexy names and he likes the spotlight.

The amazing thing out of all this is that as much as they are a circus, they have the pieces to contend in the AFC.  As much as Ryan runs his mouth and can be more of a distraction than anything, nobody has ever said he can’t coach.  The company line with Tebow is that he isn’t there to challenge Sanchez for his starting job but to run the wildcat which we all know new OC Tony Sparano loves to use.  Nobody used the wildcat better than the Dolphins did, and Tebow should be the perfect guy to run it. 

Meanwhile Sanchez and Holmes have been playing nice with Holmes recently putting the blame on the late season problems all on himself.  If they can keep that up, they’re potentially a great duo.  Dustin Keller is a solid TE, 2nd round pick Stephen Hill will need time to develop but could have some impact towards the end of the season, so the offense has some good potential.

As for Quinton Coples, it’s not like anyone is saying the kid doesn’t have great talent.  He was expected to be a top 5 pick at this time last year.  But he had a horrific 2011 season, some of that was because he was playing out of position.  If Coples can play up to his potential then the pick will be more than justifiable.  They need it too.  While the D is still very good, they’re getting old in a hurry and could really use the young blood.

If I was a betting man….which I very much so am it’s just that I can’t really bet on this…I would say the Jets are more likely to implode than to play up to their potential this season.  But man, either way it is DAMN fun to watch play out!

MLB trade deadline, kinda, sorta, not really

 

I’m a few days late on getting to this piece, but while part of that is busy with other things part of it is because it’s not a real deadline.  I don’t write a lot on baseball and it’s not because I don’t like the sport, it’s because I find the season to lack drama and many intriguing storylines.  But if there is one thing that really sours me on at least MLB it’s simply how screwed up the entire system is.  The trade deadline was July 31st, 4 PM EST.  But it’s not really.

So while I wanted to do a piece on how the Angels did great getting Zack Greinke, and the Rangers did great by countering that punch and getting Ryan Dempster, how I liked what the Dodgers did in landing Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino….I kind of can’t because it’s not done!

This isn’t new, it’s been like this as far back as I can at least remember that July 31 is the “non-waiver” deadline and August 31 is the “waiver” deadline.  How they have never addressed this I will never know.  Is it really THAT difficult to put the deadline for everything on August 15th or 16th?!  But I guess its typical baseball.  Why fix what’s been broken forever?  They’re that clock that isn’t set at the right time but you know how far ahead or behind it is so you just kind of roll with it. 

So here we are with the trade deadline in MLB come and gone and only another 29 days left to make moves….I know I know it’s different you can’t deal just anyone, they have to clear waivers or else the trade can’t go through.  Thanks hardcore baseball fan for clearing that up for me.

Still, some pretty large names being tossed around post July 31.  Cliff Lee, Josh Johnson (no, not DJ Josh Johnson who tears it up on the weekends in E-town at places like Mercer Tavern…), Josh Beckett and Alfonso Soriano.  I know, they’re overpaid and either past their prime or injury prone.  Still stars that can really improve a team come October.

So with all that said I guess I will go ahead and say I think the arms race in the AL and NL West is not only great but a breathe of fresh air that the league needs.  Forever it’s been the Yanks and the Sox, and as great as that rivalry has been the league needs a hell of a lot more than that.  The Dodgers and Giants rivalry is getting real good again, and while there isn’t a traditional rivalry between the Rangers and Angels make no mistake it is building.  Both teams went blow for blow at this deadline and it’s great to see.

I won’t be shocked if there is actually quite a bit of movement still to come before the 31st.  If last season showed GM’s anything it was that a lot can change in a month, and with the extra wild card spot this season more teams will be more clear weather they’re in or out by the end of the month.  It could get intriguing, but it sure would be nice if they would finally get their act together and fix these ridiculous little glitches.  I won’t hold my breath.