SportsNet - April 2012
Suspension! Suspension!! Suspension!!!
The European Champions League Final is here at last, but there will be a number of players who will sit out due to suspension.
Why do we have as many as seven player missing in this year's final? (Four from Chelsea and three from Bayern Munich). Aside from John Terry, who admitted his stupidity when he kicked Alexis Sanchez of Barcelona in the back, all the other suspensions (David Alaba, Luis Gustavo, Ramires, Holger Badstuber, Raul Meireles and Branislav Ivanovic) were harsh.
Referees are making the game less physical and less attractive.
UEFA should reconsider their stance on these suspensions, except for Terry, which came via a red card. The case for Alaba to be in the Final is the most notable, as his yellow card in the semi-final was not deliberate. He did not handle the ball deliberately. Rather, the ball hit his hand as he was falling to the ground, and Bayern Munich was punished with a penalty that led to a Real Madrid goal.
In my opinion, the yellow card was undeserved, and the suspension is unnecessary.
We have few details.
It's all speculation.
But, of course, the 24-hour sports cycle can't stop debating over the potential advantages of eavesdropping on opposing coaches' conversations during the course of the game.
Mickey Loomis, the GM of the New Orleans Saints, a team already embattled with scandal, disruption, and the failure to sign the franchise's most important player, Drew Brees, is embroiled in yet another scandal.
An ESPN "Outside the Lines" report and the U.S. Attorney's Office have implicated Loomis in a multi-year wiretapping scheme that allowed him to listen in on opposing coaches from his seat in a box high above the field. The original purpose was to listen to his own coaches, using a toggle to switch between offensive and defensive signals, but according to the source, this was switched to receive the visiting teams signals instead.
I listened to countless "experts" argue over the potential benefits of being able to hear these conversations. Consistently, the argument was that a GM, who had never been a coach or player, could not decipher another team's proprietary play calls beyond possibly run or pass.
All Chelsea supporters around the world have something to cheer about.
Being champions of Europe is just a victory away, as the Blues overcame some of the early-season problems by defeating defending Barcelona on aggregate in the semi-finals.
It was a truly emotional night for every player in the Chelsea squad, and especially for Fernando Torres, who scored the goal that sealed the victory for Chelsea after being brought in for Didier Drogba.
Even a red card to the captain John Terry and an early injury to Gary Cahill did not stop Chelsea from holding off Barcelona. Lionel Messi could not find the back of the net even from the penalty spot.
Coming back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Barcelona was an extraordinary feat in the books of Chelsea. The widely regarded favorites, Barcelona were all ready and up for the fight -- until they realized that luck and fate were not on their side.
The goal post acted as a savior once again while Petr Cech and every player in the Blues camp had given every bit of their lives to something that one entire Roman Abrahamovic era has been waiting for.
The 2012 NFL Draft takes place on Thursday, Apri. 26, and though the first two selections shouldn't come as much of a surprise, the rest of the first round should have plenty of interesting picks.
Here's a look at how the first round might look:
* 1 Colts * Luck, Andrew
*2 Redskins * Griffin III, Robert
* 3 Vikings * Kalil, Matt
* 4 Browns * Richardson, Trent
* 5 Buccaneers * Clailborne, Morris
* 6 Rams * Blackmon, Justin
* 7 Jaguars * Ingram, Melvin
* 8 Dolphins * Tannehill, Ryan
* 9 Panthers * Jenkins, Janoris
* 10 Bills * Reiff, Riley
* 11 Chiefs * Kuechly, Luke
* 12 Seahawks * Coples, Quinton
* 13 Cardinals * Decastro, David
* 14 Cowboys * Barron, Mark
* 15 Eagles * Brockers, Michael
* 16 Jets * Floyd, Michael
* 17 Bengals * Glenn, Cordy
* 18 Chargers * Branch, Andre
* 19 Bears * Wright, Kendall
* 20 Titans * Kirkpatrick, Dre
* 21 Bengals * Miller, Lamar
* 22 Browns * Martin, Jonathan
* 23 Lions * Adams, Mike
* 24 Steelers * Poe, Dontari
* 25 Broncos * Cox, Fletcher
In the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft, there are many candidates who are thought to be overlooked, or sleepers. Some because they are over-or-under rated, while others are considered a "big fish in a small pond" or could it be a big fish in a overlooked, untapped pond?
I had the opportunity to interview an incoming NFL Draft prospect that is just that, coming from an overlooked pond.
What is an overlooked pond? Any Division II or III school. Let me remind you of the talent that has come from these ranks: Jerry Rice, Larry Allen, Jacoby Jones, Brian Urlacher, Daniel Manning, Jahri Evans.
OK, you get the point that there are plenty of big names, Hall of Famers and Pro Bowlers that have come from the lower division schools. To the same effect, there also some great players who get overlooked completely that play in Division I like undrafted player Arian Foster or Victor Cruz.
Now that I have clarified that there are great players who are easily overlooked, it's time to get down to the 2012 NFL Draft prospect Donterrious Porter, defensive back and return specialist from Luther College.