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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Blake Griffin : The King of Dunking

Good morning everyone!

I'm sure you all must have seen or heard about the notorious dunk Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin threw down on Oklahoma City's center Kendrick Perkins. Let's have a look shall we?

I'm sure everyone is well aware of why this dunk has gone viral. Blake Griffin posterized Kendrick Perkins. The Miami Heat's two biggest play makers Lebron James and Dwyane Wade have been going on 2 on 1 fast breaks of late and coming up with some beautiful dunks. But nothing can beat this one at the moment. Definitely a dunk of the year contender, but we do have a lot of games left this season. There is certainly a reason why Blake Griffin won the NBA All Star Dunk Contest last season. Griffin is continuing to make a name for himself amongst the NBA's most elite dunkers.

In fact, Lebron James has even taken to Twitter to congratulate Griffin for his dunk.
'Dunk of the Year!!  Blake Griffin just dunked on Kendrick Perkins so hard!! Wow!! I guess I'm #2 now. Move over #6''

With that said, Perkins deserves some credit for trying to defend on the play. It's too bad it did not work in his favor though.

I will leave you all with Blake Griffin's highlights from the NBA All Star competition last year.

Have a great day everyone. I will be back with another post later today.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Let's Kick Racism Out Of Football

Hello again everyone. As you know I've been feeling guilty for neglecting my blog. But now that I have some free time off, I want to get my readers as many posts as I can. I'm sure everyone is well aware of the fact that I LOVE sports. American football being my absolute favourite. But I do enjoy watching just about everything else ranging from boxing, baseball, hockey and soccer. I admire all the hard work athletes put in to perfecting their craft and they do not get enough credit for it in my opinion.

As a soccer (as us Americans say) fan watching English Premier League games and other international competitions, I have always noticed the Let's Kick Racism Out Of Football signs along the pitch. This post is dedicated to this organisation because it is truly one of the few sporting organisations that works hard with the league and the community to allow equality and promote diversity on the pitch.

Let's Kick Racism Out of Football was established in 1993 and its body Kick It Out was created in 1997. Kick It Out works with the communities in terms of educating, challenging discrimination and promoting equality. This campaign has grown immensely over the years. The Premier League, Professional Footballers Association and The Football Association all support and fund Kick It Out. 

Also Kick It Out specialises in promoting women in soccer. The popularity of soccer has been growing amongst women. Not only has women's interest in sports been growing in soccer but it has been growing in almost every sport. Kick It Out works with numerous women's leagues to promote the equality of women in the soccer world. 

As a person of Asian descent, I have always wondered why aren't there more Asians playing in the professional leagues? Especially in England? I know that there is the stereotype that all of us are supposed to be doctors, lawyers, etc but I know that growing up sports was always one of my passions and although I do hope to go into a profession, it will be something that I could never get away from. With that being said, Kick It Out promotes diversity in soccer, especially amongst the Asian community. There are lots of talented football players playing in the community leagues but they are under represented in the professional leagues. 

Chelsea Football Club have created a program which searched for an Asian star. Chelsea had an open tryout for young ballers between the ages of 12-14 that were of Asian background (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan or Bengali descent). They played small sided games and were put up against a few tests. The best players of each age group where then invited to a three day trial at Chelsea's training ground. They were able to train with some of the best young talents from London and the South East. If the coaches and scouts decided that any of the finalists met the criteria, they would then be invited to join the academy system and build upon their game.

I commend Kick It Out's efforts for improving the racial diversity of soccer and promoting equality on all realms of the game. There should be more organisations that promote the same things with all sports. It is unfortunate that racism still exists.  Race does not make any athlete more superior to another. But with the 2012 Olympics around the corner, we will see the world's best athletes representing their countries and there is no bigger honour for an athlete than that.

My message to anyone that has a dream is: Never let anyone tell you that you can't do something. If you have a dream, chase it. You know where your abilities can take you, always believe in yourself and the sky is the limit.

You can find out more about the Kick It Out organisation here

Soccer Great David Beckham Wearing The Let's Kick Racism Out Of Football Top

Pro Bowl Day Has Arrived

Today the Pro Bowl will be played in the Aloha Stadium in Hawaii. For those that are not familiar with the Pro Bowl, it is basically the All Star game for the NFL. The players that play in the game are voted on by the fans throughout the regular season. The fan voting only accounts for 1/3 of the total vote. The other 2/3's of the vote are done by their fellow players and coaches.

However, it is important to note that the Pro Bowl used to be played after the Super Bowl. It was implemented two seasons ago that it would be now be played during week break between the AFC & NFC Championship games and the Super Bowl. This change has also effected the players that are on playing in the Super Bowl, they are replaced by players that would have made the team based on their votes. These players would have been considered reserves and would not start the game but would come on as substitutes later in the game. Therefore, the players that were voted from the New York Giants and the New England Patriots would not participate in this year's game.

Since the game is more for fun and entertaining the fans, the rules are not as strict as they are in a regular season game. This is particularly to ensure that the players do not get hurt during the game. For example, in the Pro Bowl game, there are no blitzes by the defense against the quarterback. The offense must have a tight end in all play formations. Intentional grounding by the quarterback is legal. The defense must always be in a 4-3 formation, meaning the defense must have four down linemen and three linebackers. 

Something interesting that the league is introducing this year at the Pro Bowl is tweeting. The NFL will have  a computer set up on each conference's sideline. Tweeting is voluntary by the players. The players will be tweeting using the hashtag #ProBowl. The players cannot bring their mobile phones onto the field but will be allowed to use them before the game and during half time if they wish.

A full line of the AFC and NFC Rosters can be found here

Each player on the winning team will take home $50,000 and each player on the losing team will earn $25,000.

With that being said, I hope everyone enjoys the game tonight!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

My Apologies & Big News

Hello everyone! First off, I want to apologise to all the readers for the lack of posts. I have been swamped with work at university. But I am now officially done. I do have research that needs to be done for my dissertation and an essay that's due at the end of April. But I'm giving myself two weeks of relaxation time , since my birthday is right around the corner ! So the timing is perfect.

I wanted to take the time out to thank each and every reader of this blog. I have been in fully operation for less than a month and I have over 1k views on the page. It has been expanding globally with readers as far the Middle East. I am very appreciative of this. I will continue writing for all my readers and the sports covered will now be expanded on.

Again, my apologies and gratitude for everyone supporting me with this blog.

Love each and everyone of you!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Championship Sunday Matchup

Photo Credit: ESPN

It's finally here! The last four teams standing. Today's AFC Championship matchup will feature the powerhouse offense New England Patriots taking on the defensively built Baltimore Ravens. This game is my pick of the day. Both teams match up against each other. The New England this season have not won against a team with a winning record and the Ravens are coming into today's game with a record of 12 wins and four losses. Last week both teams dominated and won their divisional match ups but the Patriots win overshadowed the Ravens win because of the large margin that they won by. Tom Brady and company scored 45 points while tying the NFL playoff record of passing for six touchdowns. Their defense however, has been questionable throughout the season but their offense makes up for this. So it will be interesting to see how Flacco and the Ravens offense will respond to this after last week's not so impressive win where the defense made all the difference. The Ravens defense matches up well against Tom Brady's offense in which his tight ends thrive. Brady has threats all over the field from his wide receivers, tight ends, full backs and running backs so the Ravens should be prepared to cover all over the field. Flacco should be prepared to pass against this Patriots defense who is vulnerable to the long passes. 

The NFC Championship game today features the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers. Both of these coming into this season were long shots to making the playoffs and now they are only one game away from the Super Bowl. The Giants entered the season banged up on all sides of the ball and the Niners were coming off a disappointing 6-10 season with their rookie quarterback shouldering the blame for not being able to produce. But this has turned around for both teams this season, the Giants finished the season off strong winning their last two games and clinching a wild card spot in the playoffs. Since then they have won all their games and are headed to San Francisco to take on the Niners who have already beat them in week 10 this season 27-10. But the Giants are a resilient team and the Niners haven't been to the playoffs since 1997 nor won a Super Bowl since their golden era in 1994. The Giants defense has been dominating throughout the playoffs and the Niners just snuck past the Saints in the divisional playoffs after clinching a first round playoff bye. Alex Smith's collectiveness should keep him calm in the pocket and if he's able to get the best protection from his offensive line and his tight end Vernon Davis can get free, look forward to that connection being made all day along with the powerful running from running back Frank Gore. Eli Manning and his wide receiving corp has made great connections all season long, look for Manning to pass to play maker Victor Cruz along the sideline and to his other receiver Hakeem Nicks who both combined for 239 receiving yards last week against defending Super Bowl champions, the Green Bay Packers.

I hope everyone enjoys the games today. It's crazy how fast the season goes by and how slow it takes to get back around. Either way, we are in for an incredible Super Bowl matchup on my birthday pending today's results. 

Monday, 16 January 2012

Giants Stun Green Bay

The New York 'Football' Giants went into Sunday's NFC divisional game as the underdog against last year's Super Bowl champions the Green Bay Packers. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was named the NFL's MVP and was on the verge of leading his team to an undefeated season until they were defeated in week 15 by the Kansas City Chiefs. Rodgers chose the wrong day and the wrong team to mess with. The Giants came in with a vengeance after their narrow loss to the Packers in week 13 at home. I would say the Jets created the beast that led the Giants into the playoffs after they defeated us and continued on to end the season with a two game win streak. This streak continued last week when they defeated the Atlanta Falcons 24-2 in the NFC wildcard game.

This game featured two Super Bowl MVP winning quarterbacks in Rodgers and Eli Manning. The game started off with a pair of field goals, one scored by each side. Until last in the first quarter Manning connected with wide receiver Hakeem Nicks for a 66 yard catch and run touchdown. Nicks had a big day against the Packers and is becoming a big time playmaker. Aaron Rodgers responded with a pass to Greg Jennings who then coughs up the ball and the referees ruled it down by contact. Giants coach Tom Coughlin challenged the play and the play remained as called. Rodgers then continued and connects with his fullback John Kuhn for a eight yard touchdown. The Packers decided to go with an onside kick at the start of the second quarter which worked against them with the Giants recovering the ball with great field advantage in Packers territory.

Manning was picked off and the Giants defense went straight to work on the next play by returning the favor and forcing a fumble by Kuhn that was recovered by Antrelle Rolle.  Eli drove his offense down the field but failed to capitalize off the the turnover and settled for a field goal to take the lead to 13-10. Rodgers failed to get anything going on offense and the Giants got the ball back with less than a minute left before half time. Manning worked his magic and with 06 seconds left, Manning connects with Nicks for a 37 yard hail mary touchdown pass to send the Giants into halftime with a 10 point lead. Nicks had more receiving yards than Packers quarterback Rodgers had passing.

The Giants defense came up with another forced fumble by defensive end Usi Umenyiora. The only scoring play of the third quarter was a field goal by the Packers which cut the lead down to 7. It was all Giants in the fourth quarter. They drove down the field holding the ball for over five minutes and scoring a field goal which brought the lead back up to 10. The Packers then fumbled the ball on their next possession on the four yard line which allowed Manning to pass to his receiver Mario Manningham and bring the game to a three possession lead. The Packers then put together a 8 play, 76 yard drive which culminated in a 16 yard touchdown pass by Rodgers to receiver Driver. Green Bay elects on the kickoff to go with an on side kick but again they do not recover the ball and the Giants marched down the field and running back Brandon Jacobs stamped the Giants tickets to San Francisco to the NFC Championship game with a 14 yard touchdown.

Photo Credit: NFL

Ravens Defense Holds Off Texans

The first game on Sunday featured the fierce defense of the Baltimore Ravens and the wild card winners Houston Texans. The Texans beat the Cincinnati Bengals last week 31-10 at home to secure their spot in the AFC Divisional round. The Texans were led by rookie quarterback T.J Yates who started the last six games after starting quarterback Matt Schaub went down in week 10 with a serious foot injury. Yates ended the season with a three game losing streak but the Texans won the wild card spot due to the scenarios which enabled them to continue on into the playoffs.

The Baltimore Ravens defense was fired up. They forced four turnovers and scored 14 points off of them. Quarterback Joe Flacco looked unimpressive in the victory. He coughed up the ball in the first quarter but no points scored by the Texans off of it. He completed 14 of 27 passes for 176 yards and 2 touchdowns meanwhile rookie quarterback TJ Yates finished off the game 17 of 35 for 184 yards and three interceptions.

Running back Arian Foster was the catalyst for the Texans. He made a tremendous one handed catch towards the end of the second quarter and broke a few good runs throughout the game. At times it was hard for the Baltimore defense to contain him but he had a great game. He had 27 rushes for 132 yards and one touchdown.

In the third quarter the Ravens went for a crucial fourth and goal where prior to the Ravens went with Ray Rice to run the ball into the end zone. They failed to get it in from the one yard line due to a great goal line stance by the Texans defense. The Texans got the ball back and Yates went to work with his offense. They began driving down the field until Yates got intercepted by Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb.

Flacco was able to get his team in field goal range to increase the lead to 7 points. The Texans were able to get the ball back with two minutes left in the fourth quarter but the third time was the charm for Ed Reed when he picked off Yates in the corner of the end zone. The Texans were able to get the ball one last time, with 20 seconds left on the clock, Yates threw it into the corner of the end zone but Reed broke up the pass thereby stamping the Ravens ticket to the AFC Championship to face their rivals the New England Patriots in Foxboro.

Photo Credit: NFL

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Good Luck Big Blue!

The Giants face last year's Super Bowl Champions the Green Bay Packers in Wisconsin today. I'm sure by now everyone is well aware that I am a Jets fan. Born and raised and I will always be! I guess you could say the Giants have been a big brother compared to the Jets because of all their previous Super Bowl rings and appearances. But that's not to say that I don't want to see New York do well and see the Jets cross town rivals, the New York "Football" Giants win today.

The Jets played the Giants on Christmas eve this past season and unfortunately the Giants won the bragging rights until we play them again in the regular season.

But a few of my good friends are Big Blue fans and I have to admit I want to see Eli do well. It's great to see him continue to grow into an elite quarterback. With that being said I want to wish all Giants fans, the best of luck today and hope to see you all representing New York in the NFC Championship game. Us Jets fans are giving you the opportunity now.

49ers Win Thriller At Home & The Patriots Continue Their Dominance

NFL divisional playoff weekend started at San Francisco with the 49ers taking on the New Orleans Saints. New Orleans beat the Detroit Lions last week in one of the two NFC Wildcard games to reach the second seeded 49ers. The game looked like it would be over early for the Saints who turned over the ball three times in the first quarter leading to 17 points scored off turnovers by the 49ers. But Saints quarterback Drew Brees was able to rally his team throughout the game and by the 4th quarter, the Saints had the game tied up at 29. Then the Saints were able to get into field goal range and took the lead at 32-29. Now it was Alex Smith's turn to take over and march his team down the field. With 14 seconds left, Smith completed a 14 yard touchdown pass to tight end Vernon Davis to seal the win for the 49ers with a final score of 36-32. The Saints have never won a road playoff game and their woes continue but they have had a great season especially with quarterback Drew Brees surpassing Dan Marino's record for the most passing yards at 6,404. Next up for the 49ers, they will face the winner of the second NFC divisional game between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants in the NFC Championship game.

The second game of the day was the first AFC divisional game featuring the New England Patriots taking on the Denver Broncos at home. Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has been a Cinderella story this season after taking the reins as starter in Denver after the Broncos started the season 1-4. Since then, Tebow's elusiveness and ability to close out games has helped the Broncos reach as far as they have. Last week, they won an overtime thriller in Pittsburgh against the Steelers where Tebow won the game with his first throw ending in an 80 yard touchdown to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to send Denver to New England for this game. The Patriots proved to be too much for Tebow and company. Tebow only completed 9 of 26 passes for 136 yards with his team only scoring 10 points against a typically weak Patriots defense. But where the defense lacks, Tom Brady and his high powered offense makes up for it. Tom Brady tied a NFL playoff record with his six touchdown passes. He finished the game completing 26 of 34 passes for 363 yards and one interception. It is a well known fact that once the Patriots get going on offense, they are the hardest team to comeback against and this proved true for the Broncos. Next up for the Patriots, they will host the winner of today's AFC divisional matchup featuring the Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game.

Photo Credit: San Francisco 49ers

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Peyton Manning On The Jets Radar

It has been reported since the end of the Jets regular season that it could be possible for Super Bowl winning quarterback to land in New York.

Peyton Manning did not play a single game this season with the Indianapolis Colts due to season ending neck surgery. He did however, prior to entering into this season sign a 5 year $90 million dollar contract with the Colts. He has been the face of the franchise especially with his Super Bowl XLI win along with winning the Most Valuable Player.

Yesterday, it was reported by New York Jets beat writer for the Daily News that numerous unnamed players were lashing out about Mark Sanchez's will to win. Players reportedly said that Sanchez doesn't make the right decisions, he doesn't feel the pressure in New York because his back up is not much of a threat to him. Additionally, players believe that with Manning under center, the goal of winning a Super Bowl is more likely to happen than with Sanchez as the starter.

There have also been players who have defended Sanchez, such as center Nick Mangold and ex-Jet Derrick Mason. Mangold tweeted that " If "unnamed sources" want to attack Mark, man up and put your name to it #JETS ". Mason was quoted as saying Sanchez is a quarterback he was honored to play with and his drive cannot be questioned as he is the first person to arrive at the team headquarters and the last to leave.

What does this mean for the Jets if Peyton is brought in? Would Sanchez be traded or would he be taken under Manning's wing to develop into an elite quarterback? Would there be competition for the starting position?

Manning is also the target of the Bengals and Dolphins. But it is believed that the Colts are not going to release Manning so maybe the Manning brothers in New York wouldn't happen.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Turbulence Felt In New York

The New York Jets coming into this season were favorites to get to the big game in Indianapolis on Sunday February 5, 2012 after going to the AFC Championship in each of the last two seasons. That all came to an end after the Jets ended their season with a 17-19 loss in Miami on New Years Day. Now the Jets are under scrutiny with the lack of leadership, team unity, and drama surrounding all aspects of the franchise.

Mark Sanchez and company controlled their own playoff destiny going into the week 15 matchup against the Philadephia Eagles. It was simply win the last three games of the season and get into the playoffs. But they all ended in defeat by the Eagles, Giants and Dolphins.

The season ended in uncertainty with so much expected of the Jets and quarterback Mark Sanchez shouldered the blame. His number were inconsistent of that of a starting quarterback, let alone the starting quarterback of the New York Jets. Sanchez finished the season with a 56.7 completion percentage for 3,474 yards with 26 touchdowns and the 18 interceptions. The interceptions and turnovers was one of the leading factors that led to the Jets missing the playoffs along with the conservative play calling by  offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

Today, big changes were made with Jets personnel. Brian Schottenheimer has been on the radar for numerous teams including the Jacksonville Jaguars to be the new head coach. Schottenheimer released a statement to the Jets in which he said “After much thought and consideration, I have decided not to return to the New York Jets in 2012. I am very proud of what we have accomplished in the six years I have been here. I am grateful for the relationships that I have with our players and coaches and appreciate the hard work and dedication that went into our success. My family and I would like to thank Rex Ryan and the entire Jets organization and wish them continued success. I look forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.” 

The Jets have revealed that they have signed ex Dolphin head coach Tony Sparano to take over as the new offensive coordinator. Ex Arizona Cardinal offensive coordinator Todd Haley also visited and was interviewed by the New York Jets but it seems as though that deal is off with the hiring of Sparano. 

Jets players have come out and said that locker room has been the topic of debate all season. Rookie backup quarterback Greg McElroy has said that there hasn't been any team unity all season. He said certain players have been selfish and that players didn't care if they won or not as long as they had good games individually. 

The Jets are in for a long off season. The necessary changes are being made early and with the controversy facing Mark Sanchez's faith with the Jets after rumours of Peyton Manning possibly coming to the Jets and the Heisman winner Robert Griffin III declaring he will enter the NFL Draft.