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LeGarrette Blount could have been a great Super Bowl story

thesidelinesports.com
Meet the luckiest guy playing on Super Bowl Sunday, LeGarrette Blount.

Doubt there are many college and NFL football fans making an official first introduction, but for the sake of this entry let's pretend we don't know much about him.

Skipping to his most infamous incident against Boise St. September 3, 2009. Blount had to be restrained by coaches and stadium security after responding to a post game taunt with a jab to the face that sent Boise State defenseman Byron Hout down to the turf. The incident was severe enough to prompt Oregon head coach Chip Kelly to suspend his running back for the remainder of the season. A suitable warning for any collegiate athlete inclined to engage in illegal physical violence on the football field.

However, instead of ending his college football career there, Blount chose to be productive with his absence and show that this incident should not define him.


Blount showed a level of remorse for his actions that convinced coach Kelly to allow the running back to return November 14, 2009 against Arizona State. His maturity was demonstrated even further when agreeing to speak with at risk teenagers and educate them on the lessons learned which culminated such a positive comeback story. An uplifting tale if the story concluded here, but the stigma of this collegiate loose cannon followed Blount to his temporary home with the Tennessee Titians.

August, 2010. LeGarrette Blount ends practice during training camp with a punch to the helmet of defensive end Eric Bakhtiari. The type of conflict known all too well in the NFL after being documented heavily in HBO's Hardknocks and even condoned by a Super Bowl champion head coach. Point being, a training camp fight isn't deserving of press unless it involves an NFL Star or is coupled with video of the incident. An argument supported by simply Googling: Training Camp Fights.

As an undrafted running back Blount was far from a super star and didn't appear to have video circulating of his training camp scuffle, so why was it worth the coverage? It's likely that observers were waiting for a similar slip up from Blount, even if it was as mundane as a training camp fight that is commonly broken up and forgotten about. Nonetheless, Blount was not condemned for his actions nor should he have been. This was an example of one's reputation catching up to him and the exposure lasted about as long as it should have. No harm, no foul, life seemed fair enough in this case.

After a three year stint in Tampa Bay and a season with the New England Patriots, Blount found a position with the Pittsburgh Steelers. A job where his veteran status seemed to give him a competitive edge against his second year competition, especially after Blount came off a season where he matched his career high in yards per carry with 5.0 as a Patriot. However, few anticipated such an impressive break out year from Le'Veon Bell who netted over thirteen hundred yards on the ground becoming the league's second leading rusher of 2014.

As the number two in the Pittsburgh backfield, LeGarrette Blount could see the writing on the wall and chose Monday Night Football as the setting to vent his frustration. Following…forgive me, during the Steelers' victory over the Titans Blount demonstrated his displeasure by leaving the game early. Being dressed and ready to leave the city while his teammates were still in pads was enough for the Steelers to take swift action and release Blount the following day. A decision apparently more detrimental to the team than being charged with marijuana possession considering that incident wasn't enough to warrant being thrown off the team. A timeless tale of cause and effect that shows just how damaging selfishness can be when one puts personal emotions of anger ahead of the team. A great lesson if this is where the story ended.

Instead, a pouty, frustrated LeGarrette Blount was rewarded for his release by beginning his road to the Super Bowl when the Patriots signed him two days later. A signing that added 281 yards to Blount's 2014 season rushing total and put the back in the best position to be a dark horse for New England in this Sunday's Super Bowl.

What a terrible lesson for any young athlete faced with a similar decision to make when he is not getting the ball enough and feels the urge to quit. How would LaGarrette Blount be able to sell this message to the next group of at risk youths who want to be inspired by his story?


Well, from a distance the key would be to show enough contempt for your current team that they release you and wait for a Super Bowl bound squad to scoop you up because you happen to know their offense.

Quite the reprieve.
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Locations : New EnglandOregonPittsburg
People : Byron HoutChip KellyEric BakhtiariVeon Bell




 

Patriots Use Genius Game Plan To Escape Deflate Gate Scrutiny


Tom Brady Has No Idea What Could Have Happened
Photo via: CBS Sports


Congratulations New England! Your Patriots are DeflateGate I champions!

Despite being slight underdogs (Only slight considering owner Robert Kraft's relationship with Goodell), the Pats rolled, as they sometimes do on the actual football field. Huge plays from star quarterback Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, were dwarfed by the haymaker that was landed by Kraft on Monday afternoon.

It began, as it usually does, with the Belichick genius.

At his press conference last Thursday, Belichick did more than just deny the allegations, he actually shifted the blame to quarterback Tom Brady.

"Tom's personal preferences, on his footballs, are something he can talk about in much better detail and information, than I could possibly provide," said Belichick on Thursday.

Just like that, Bill threw the underinflated football in Tom Brady's court, but as he always does, trusted his quarterback to make something happen.

Tom Brady spoke at length with the media, over 30 minutes, and answered questions to the "best of his knowledge." He flippantly responded to questions with small chuckles, or incredulous smiles, flipping the respective bird to all who attended the press conference. As if to say, "Prove it."

And "prove it" Belichick did, with an offensive onslaught, starting with an impromptu press conference breaking down the science that goes into underinflated footballs in acclimate weather conditions. He failed to mention how the "science" only affected 11 of 12 New England footballs, and not the Indianapolis balls in anyway, but who cares about that?

"I'm embarrassed to talk about the amount of time that I've put into this relative to the other important challenge in front of us," said Belichick "We have a huge game, a huge challenge for our football team this is where that focus is going to go. I've spent more than enough time on this."

Wow. Now Belichick is a sympathetic figure in this ordeal. Using words like "embarrassed" and slamming the door on any more questions with the media.

Tom Brady added his own offensive production, appearing on WEEI's "Dennis & Callahan" program, telling them, "I personalized a lot of things and thought this was all about me and my feelings got hurt."

How dare we! Question Tom Brady's integrity?! He is a saint! One of the best quarterbacks in NFL history would never compromise the integrity of the game.

All the while, the NFL sat quietly, not even planning to interview Saint Tom until after the Super Bowl.

Enter owner Robert Kraft, during yesterday's press conference when the team landed in Glendale for Super Bowl XLIX.

"It bother me greatly, that [Tom and Bill's] reputations and integrity, and by association that of our team has been called into question this week," he said "If the Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure of the footballs, I would expect and hope the league would apologize to our entire team, and in particular, coach Belichick and Tom Brady for what they have had to endure this past week."

According to Sal Paolantonio, that statement was Robert Kraft reminding Roger Goodell who he works for.

According to me, that was the equivalent of a dagger in the DeflateGate investigation. With that, the attention now turns to the monster that is the NFL.

Sure, they have a video of a "rogue" ball boy taking the game balls into a room before taking them to the field. The room was bathroom, and he was in there for 90 seconds. There is no video in the bathroom, of course, so what can the NFL do now?

Prove it, or apologize.

I am not privy to what the NFL knows. I know only what I can read in the media, and from what I can read, the NFL has 11 underinflated footballs, an organization demanding an apology and a video of a guy taking 90 seconds in a trip to the bathroom.

I'm too young to make a strong MacGyver reference, but I know enough to know the NFL will need similar genius to make something out of what looks like nothing if they want to stick the deed to New England.

The trio of Kraft, Belichick and Brady have done some great things for New England.

Add a DeflateGate title to that list.

Congratulations New England, you win again.

Go Seahawks.

@meJVT
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People : Bill BelichickRobert KraftRoger GoodellTom Brady




 

Beat The Gridlock Week #20




Beat The Gridlock Week #20
GRIDLOCK Seat Williams / Patriots/Colts over 53.5 Mitch Moss / Patriots -6.5 Ed Graney / Packers +7

Andrew

Seahawks -7

Colts + 6.5

Seahawks/Packers over 46.5


Mel
Seahawks -7

Patriots -6.5

Colts/Patriots under 53.5


Lucas
Packers +7
Patriots -6.5
Seahawaks/Packers over 46.5
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Beat The Gridlock Week #19




Beat The Gridlock Week #18
GRIDLOCK Seat Williams / Cowboys/Packers under 52 Mitch Moss / Cowboys +6 Ed Graney / Ravens +7

Shawn


Cowboys +6


Patriots -7


Panthers/Seahawks under 39


Rich

Ravens +7
Cowboys over 52.5
Denver -7

Chris
Dallas/Packers under 52

Seahawks/Panthers under 39
Ravens +7
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Takeaways From New Mexico vs San Diego State


Winston Shepard's Second Half Leads Aztecs To Win
Photo via: Fox Sports


Let me tell you something folks: I am awful at picking games against the number. Couldn't do it to save my life.

Yesterday was a perfect example of my futility, as former Findlay Prep Pilot Winston Shepard led the Aztecs to a 14 point victory, easily covering the measly eight points I had taken with the Lobos. (I got the under right, does that count for anything?)

However, I did learn a few things from last night's disgusting Mountain West game (Yes, disgusting. SDSU shoots 39.2% from the floor and wins by 14. Enough said):
  1. Poor Shooting San Diego Really Struggles Against Zone
Calling me Captain Obvious? A poor shooting team being stifled by zone defense? Shocking, but last night I was amazed to see how much it disrupted San Diego. After an Aqeel Quinn jumper with 8:36 left in the first made it 17-7 San Diego, Craig Neal finally decided to call a timeout and do something. The next possession out, the Lobos came out in what looked like a 2-3 zone, held the Aztecs to just 5 points in the final eight minutes on just 2-for-10 from the floor while forcing three turnovers. However, the Winston Shepard Show in the second half, coupled with the Lobos offensive inefficiencies led the Aztecs to a gross 56-42 victory.
  1. The Mountain West Will Be Great To Follow This Season
Since 2009 New Mexico or San Diego State have won either the Regular Season or Tournament Mountain West titles. This season, despite SDSU being a preseason run-away favorite to win the league (I was one of those people who believed it would happen), it looks like both of these teams will have a tough time repeating their success of the last five years. As I stated in No. 1, the Aztecs are a terrible shooting team that struggles to find consistent offense, and Coach Fisher is still struggling to find a point guard. New Mexico? Please, Cullen Neal is lost for the season; Adam Hill thinks that is a good thing, but looking at the Lobos most recent game they seem to be missing his scoring ability, and the mental mistakes they commit are alarming (A shot clock violation out of a timeout, and defensive lapses). Teams like Wyoming, Colorado State and definitely UNLV have more than a chance to break these teams stranglehold on the Mountain West.

TONIGHT'S MOUNTAIN WEST SCHEDULE [ODDS VIA WESTGATE]

San Jose State at Air Force (-13.5) 6:00 p.m. NOT TELEVISED

Wyoming at Colorado State (-5) 6:00 p.m. NOT TELEVISED

UNR at UNLV (-10) 8:00 p.m. CBS Sports Network

Utah State at Fresno State (-3.5) 8:00 p.m. NOT TELEVISED

@meJVT
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Lakers Still Winners to Vegas Fans



New Year, Lakers Still Winners to Vegas Fans
by: Helen Yee @HelenYeeSports
Las Vegas is home to many fans in the city who support the Lakers and are proud of the purple and gold, regardless of a win or a loss. Prior to the game, many fans stared at the Staples Center with glistening eyes, anxious to get a glimpse of Lakers' superstar legend, Kobe Bryant. The fans were dressed from head to toe in the famous Lakers colors. They eagerly waited nearby for the game to start, whether it was sipping on a caramel latte at the Starbucks across the street, or walking to Yardhouse to have a drink before the game.
The Los Angeles Lakers went into the first game of 2015 by hosting the Memphis Grizzlies, who have been a dominant team in the western conference. The Grizzlies are currently ranked third in their conference with a 24-9 record, behind Portland Trailblazers and the leading Golden State Warriors. While the Lakers have had their struggles this season which they have not been shy about voicing, they went into the night looking to win their second straight game.Tip-off began to a full house of Lakers fans who cheered on their home team. The fans' cheers echoed throughout the Staples Center as the intensity was high throughout the close game.
"My husband and I are from Las Vegas and we always save up money to go to one game a year, and that's usually the first game of the new year." Theresa explained, as her husband grinned from ear to ear with pearly white teeth, like it was almost from a Colgate commercial.
"We brought our daughters with us," Lisa, another Lakers fan, said. "Usually we go alone but they wanted to take the road trip this time, from Las Vegas." The family of five were lightly sun-kissed and their daughters were all wearing the same Kobe Bryant jersey, which they chanted, "Go Kobe! We love Kobe!"
"This is her anniversary present. We come from Vegas and love coming to this game, this one especially because it's like a New Year celebration and anniversary at the same time. Go Jeremy!" Brian stated. He had his wife wrapped in his arms in the cold weather, protecting her from the slight breeze. Needless to say, he was representing Lakers gear as well.
"It was a great game, very close, and we had such a good time. It was our first experience, from Las Vegas." Mary was shaking because she was so happy she and her husband witnessed the couple's favorite team play.
"We came from Vegas, too!" which was a common response amongst fans throughout the night, whether it was pre-game to post-game. All fans smiled and were delighted to come experience the live atmosphere of the game from a city who hosts the preseason Lakers' game.
It came down to the wire, the very last second…so close where fans held their breath and did not blink their eye as Lakers' Ed Davis made one of two free throws at the line with 1:04 remaining. With their last possession of the game and 0.6 on the shot clock, it looked as if it was going to go into overtime. Then, what many fans from Las Vegas wanted to witness live occurred; Kobe Bryant taking the last shot. They valued the moment as goosebumps rolled down their spine. The ball hit the rim and just missed….109-106. Final score. Win went to the visiting team. Though the outcome was not what they had hoped, there was more to the game than a turnover, blocked shot, and the score; the fans' support, especially from Las Vegas.
Las Vegas fans love to make the drive to support their purple and gold, and are thrilled to do so. As one could describe, Lakers are still the Grand Marnier on a Cadillac margarita, the cream cheese frosting on a moist red velvet cupcake, and the fluffy whipped cream on a slice of pumpkin pie. Despite win or loss, they were all joyful to be at the Staples Center, watching their favorite players. With these loving fans, at the start of the new year, can Lakers really lose?
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People : BrianHelen YeeKobe Bryant




 

Beat The Gridlock Week #18




Beat The Gridlock Week #18
GRIDLOCK Seat Williams / Cardinals/Panthers under 37.5 Mitch Moss / Ravens +3 Ed Graney / Colts -3.5
matt
Cowboys -3.5
Ravens +3 Cowboys /lions over 48

Bob
Colts -3.5
Cardinals +6.5
Ravens +3


Charles
Cardinals +6.5.

Cardinals/Panthers uner 37.5
Ravens/Steelers under 45
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People : Mitch Moss




 
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