Friday, September 12, 2008

Free Kicks

Okay, blogging has been slow, but we just want to match the pace of Maryland sports these days. Some of us east of Tennessee are still recovering from last Saturday (especially our neighbors in West Virginia who get to watch their program collapse under Bill “Nice Guy” Stewart). In fact, with Cal massively favored against our lowly Terps and Navy tossing one last week against Ball State, I imagine our home teams are even nervous to line up for the kick...

The “Young” and the Restless

Vince Young may (or may not) be an emotionally fragile young quarterback. Much of the national media has had a field day with his late-night wandering about Nashville with an unloaded gun after storming out of his house, resulting eventually in his mother making a plea to Titans fans to be easier on her poor boy. Who has not stormed out of their house to be alone after a bad performance, let alone one when you get injured? Remember, last year this hamstring nagged him throughout the season and into the postseason. This is only an issue of the media getting a lot more information than they would normally get- I am sure every young quarterback questions his abilities at times, especially when he has no one to throw to and yet is judged by his passing performance. Before last year he was the next great quarterback, this season he is the next great bust. Relax, everyone. Vince Young is just like any other quarterback who has an entire fan base on his shoulders- he is going to have a lot of sleepless nights.

General Hospital

Like most of us in the AFC, my guilty heart was given a slight boost when Tom Brady went down, making the AFC East suddenly interesting. Then Maryland star and Chargers All-Pro Shawne Merriman finally elected to undergo season-ending surgery (after every doctor in the lower 48 states tells you not to play you might want to take their advice). Peyton Manning looks rusty after recovering from knee surgery over the offseason, and we needn’t forget Alex Smith’s disappointing career in San Francisco likely coming to an end much like Kyle Boller’s will in Baltimore. Marques Colston will be out for at least 6 weeks, and Vince Young will sit out at least 4. It seems as though stars on every team are going down… and I am now more excited than ever to watch football.

Will Kerry Collins return to the form he had with the New York Giants? Will Matt Cassel rise up and be like Tom Brady was back in 2001, coming into his own when the starter goes down for the year? Will Manning’s slow start open the door for Jacksonville or Tennessee to win the AFC South? Injuries are a terrible thing, and I never root for someone to go down hurt. However, it does not hurt the league when the superstars go down- it gives the next guy the chance to become a star. It adds drama to every game, an air of uncertainty that makes even the most casual fan want to tune in.

One Life to Live

When Brett Favre comeback rumors first came out back in June, I was one of those who didn’t believe them. I was the faithful fan who believed in what the NFL icon had said back in April. Well, I guess I don’t learn very well, because I didn’t believe the Lance Armstrong rumors either. Again, I was wrong- Lance Armstrong is going back to cycling. With Favre I understood it- it was his first year gone, he was just getting used to being retired and not ready to leave the game, but Lance Armstrong has been out of it for a while. He is the closest thing to Charles Lindbergh we have in this century- an American who became an international icon, beloved by the nation.

Since he left the sport, the cycling community has been ravaged even more by steroids and the Tour de France appears to be at its lowest point since, well, before Lance. Why get back into that at age 36? Unlike Brett, Lance has a million projects going on with business and philanthropic ventures all over the globe. There are better ways to spend your time then trying to get back in the Tour (and possibly lose). Go out on top- you won the Super Bowl of cycling 7 times in a row, pull a Steve Yzerman and go out a legend (I could have said John Elway, but… yea).

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