The Art of A Winning Franchise

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By Stefan Anderson

Over the past decade, we have witnessed two franchises that epitomize the art of professional sports, winning. Although the Spurs and Patriots play in different sports, their success rates, ideal and class are parallel.

Starting with arguably the best coaches in either profession, Bill Bellichick and Greg Popovich are the standards for coaching in professional sports.

Whether it’s Belicheck’s infamous grey sweatshirt or its Pop’s choice of words for the media, regardless of the situation these leaders continue to motivate their teams throughout the years.

The job of coach is to get the maximum potential out all of all your talent, and these do that that most, making players like Deion Branch, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, Mike Vrabel, and even Tom Brady. Although Brady and Duncan remain superstars, they never seem bigger than their respective teams. If your stars and the team buy into the concept of all for one and one for all it will bring you the numbers these coaches have.

Belichick: During his 15 years with Patriots, the team has won 174 that include 14 winning seasons and 3 Super Bowls in 5 different appearances.

Popovich: During Pop’s 18 year tenure, he has accounted for 984 Wins, 3 Coach of The Year awards and 5 NBA Titles in 6 appearances.

Not only do the teams win, they win consistently, the Spurs have won more than 50 games every year since 1997, with one year cut short due to the NBA lockout. The Patriots have shown the consistency winning 10 + games each season except in 2002 following their Super Bowl Win in the year previous.

Providing the blueprint for many franchises to follow, the Spurs and Pats have maintained the same integrity throughout the years.

Its similar to an old cliché “Like wine its gets better with time”

New England has changed their style relying on their defense to control the NFL’s offenses and switched to a game which showcases the irreplaceable talent of Tom Brady, which has shown to be effective but has not gotten them a Super Bowl since 2004. Now you see the franchise leaning back to their basics and bringing a great defensive attack, which is currently holding teams to less than 20 points per game, and look to be the top contender in the AFC looking to earn their 4th championship in team history.

San Antonio on the other hand from the beginning was known to play a slow pace which ran through the offensive superiors of 2-time MVP Tim Duncan, but as the years went on Pop decided to add something different to their offense. The Spurs changed their style of play running a faster pace game that gave guards like Ginobli and Parker the ability to have to the reigns of the offense as Duncan began to age.  The change of pace worked for a while and was a key component for the Spurs and they have seen the NBA Finals for the past two season after missing it for over 6 years. Duncan is still has a big role in the offense but the tweaking it shows the brilliance of the team and its brass.

The ways these teams continue to show superiority in their leagues is simply amazing to watch and is the reason have remained successful throughout the years. They are truly the blueprint to having a successful franchise in professional sports.

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College Football Playoff… Did They Get It Right ?

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By Stefan Anderson

Since the creation of BCS Championships, fans and teams have been fighting the current system that rewards teams for winning styles over winning, major conferences over mid majors and all the fine statistics that make teeth cringe. The BCS system has been denounced and now the College Football playoff has now begun…

Facing off in the inaugural football playoff will be

  1. Alabama vs. Ohio State
  2. Oregon vs. Florida State

The two matchups will be intriguing but the same issues are at place that were issues in years previous, someone who deserves in always left out the picture.

As some might suggest if a team loses one game that their chances are already flawed but with the current system but it’s all about who you play right ?

Oregon for example lost to Arizona early in the season but turned around their season and earned their revenge in the Pac-12 championship, defeating the Wildcats 51-13.

Ohio State jumped their way into the final four after their impressive win over Wisconsin with their 3rd string quarterback. But what happens to a TCU or Baylor, who posted their same record as the Buckeyes but failed to reach the playoff.

This case presents the same problem as with the BCS system.

Although Baylor lost to what would consider a weak West Virginia team, they beat TCU who made it to the weak West Virginia team, and they beat TCU who made it to the top 4 in the week previous. And what about TCU, who completed their season flawlessly over Iowa State and only had a loss, which was to a quality opponent, Baylor. But Ohio State loses to a mediocre Virginia Tech team and is rewarded with the birth in the playoff.

The system still shows a biased opinion.

Ohio State, Florida State, Oregon and Alabama have been featured in the National Championship 10 out of the last 15 contests and continue to show the favoritism of College Football’s point system.  One thing I do give credit for is that we did not witness 2 of 4 teams represented by the “premier “conference, the SEC.

All the questions and different variations are always going to lead to the arguments that are going to sparked until the point system is corrected and they allow more teams to join the playoff. This is history in the making and is going to be something we will not forget.

Who’s Hot ? Whose Not ?

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By Greg Hudson

The 2014/15 Barclay’s Premier League season is one-third complete, and some clubs are emerging as potential contenders while others falter in the hunt for supremacy. Here’s a list of who’s hot, who’s not, and which side remains a mystery:

WHO’S HOT:

Chelsea: Jose Mourinho’s men have gotten off to one of the hottest starts in Premier League history, winning ten of their first 13 contests and going unbeaten. Their free-flowing and creative attack has belied Mourinho’s reputation as a defensive-minded manager, but the defense has been almost unbreakable all season. They sit atop the league by six points over champions Manchester City and frankly don’t look like they can be caught at this point. It’s a foolish thing to say at such an early point in the season, with so much time remaining for players to lose their form or suffer the injury bug, but all signs point to a reality that anyone wanting to win the title this season will have to do so over Chelsea’s dead bodies.

Southampton: The Saints were almost everyone’s – including my own – favorites for relegation after Liverpool and other top clubs raided the club of its best talent during the summer transfer window. But Southampton have not only replaced them, they look like an improved side for it, with new striker Graziano Pelle benefitting from excellent link-up play from new winger Susan Tadiç. Saints currently sit third in the table and based on current form, could put up a good fight for a spot in the Champions’ League next year.

WHO’S NOT

Manchester City: Last year’s champions won’t be pleased with their performance so far this season. It’s almost unfair to say that the team which sits second isn’t hot but they simply haven’t lived up to expectations as the most talented group of players in England. They’ve been too reliant on Sergio Agüero for goals and their once-solid defense has at times looked porous. They’re only six points behind Chelsea but based on current form they might as well be 12 points back because they have their work cut out.

Liverpool: Like City, the Reds came down hard off a great season. They lost superstar striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona and invested in several good players but they simply haven’t meshed yet, and with star striker Daniel Sturbridge out since the end of August, things have looked dire for Liverpool who have just 17 points and sit 11th. It is very reminiscent of Tottenham Hotspur last season, when they lost Gareth Bale and struggled to find chemistry with the seven new players they signed. The good news for the Reds is that Spurs look strong a year later, and so while this season isn’t set to amount to much, improved form next season could see them again return to a fight at the top.

MYSTERY:

Manchester United: I say United are a mystery because they are a very inconsistent and unbalanced side with four world class attackers but a defense which remains a shambles. Somehow they sit in fourth but how they’ve gotten there is indeed quite a mystery. A team which loses 5-3 to bottom side Leicester but beats Arsenal 2-0 away from home is without question an unknown quantity which we’ll need to watch more closely to learn more about, to see if they’re contenders or pretenders

Welcome Back ?

By Stefan Anderson

After facing all the turmoil and adversity that one can have, Ray Rice has finally reached his decision. Following an indefinite suspension and being released by his home for over six seasons, the Rutgers standout received his justice his suspension was appealed and Rice was reinstated into the National Football League.

Now that the 3 time pro bowler has been reinstated in the league, which NFL team is willing to let by bygones be bygones and add an exceptional running back to their roster. Rolling the dice on Ray Rice could cost franchise lots of money or fans depending on the location of the organization. But it always takes that one dedicated teams that doesn’t worry about outside factors and could use a premier running back to help make their roster better.

Teams willing to take on Rice following his domestic abuse incident is not completely over. Among the teams that are willing to sign former 1,000 yard rusher, include the Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons and The New Orleans Saints, who are all on the cusp of the playoff race and could use the talents of Ray Rice.

Some teams that have not been mentioned that could Ray Rice include:

Buffalo Bills: The Bills are currently knocking on the door for the AFC Wild Card and could certainly use Rice’s expertise and rushing attack after losing their premier rushers Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.

Detroit Lions: Ranking 30th in rushing yards in the league, the Lions could propel themselves to a NFC North division title with the added rush of Ray Rice. The 3-time pro bowler could give the Lions an added dimension, Rice could catch passes out the backfield along with providing rushing between the tackles what they have been searching for with Bush and Bell.

Arizona Cardinals: Second to last in rushing this season , the Cards still maintain the NFL’s best record, but if the Cards were to add Rice to their roster they can become a real contender for the Lombardi Trophy. Rice could help the Cards control the clock and game as they continue to air it out and control offenses with their stingy defense. Taking some pressure of the inexperienced Drew Stanton would be a tremendous addition and the best fit in my opinion.

Ultimately, Ray Rice would have to get back in NFL shape in a short amount of time, but his talent alone will enhance his chances to get back on the field. Would love to see him back on the field before seasons end looking forward to seeing how this plays out.