The 11 men who took the field against Ghana two weeks ago, fittingly they were dressed like firecracker popsicles. #Murica

Like many of you, I spent my Tuesday evening surrounded by sadness yet a sense of pride as I watched the US Men’s National Team lose to Belgium 2-1 in extra time. Even Tim Howard’s valiant effort with a World Cup record 16 saves, and one of the most intricate free kick routines you will ever see couldn’t secure a goal to force the Yanks into penalty kicks vs the Red Devils. There was one thing I did notice however: This team gained a far more devout following this World Cup than they had four years ago. It took all of thirty five seconds, and Clint Dempsey scored a goal that set the nation ablaze with red hot passion for this team. In a span of 16 days, much of this nation fell in love with the USMNT. Of course, in all likelihood many of the people gathering at pubs and other locations for watch parties will return to not watching that much soccer, however, the fundamental difference is this is a team that people wanted to watch and cheer for. A team that so many had written off before the tournament, especially after dropping Landon Donovan from the 23 man squad. This was a team that epitomized the American spirit that made this country great. With recognizable names like Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, new hair icons Kyle Beckerman and Mix Diskerud, and the leader of the motley crew, Tim Howard, there was someone for everyone to like. The first game against Ghana was a 2-1 win was redemption after the Black Stars had knocked the U.S out of the last two World Cups. Granted, the results only got worse as the tournament went on, but a run to the last 16 in a tournament where the eight squads that remain not only won their groups, but feature 6 of the best teams (Germany, France, Colombia, Brazil, Netherlands and Argentina) on the planet is impressive in it’s own right. This isn’t to serve as a plea to force people to watch soccer or adopt a team abroad or even attend an MLS game (I certainly have yet to). This is more focused on the idea that every World Cup can serve as a benchmark for the growth of soccer in America, and I would certainly say it has grown a lot since the 2010 World Cup.

 

Tim Howard’s performance against Belgium forever sealed him into U.S sports history

What helped make this last two weeks great were the support of the fans and the all encompassing efforts of the media in addition to the team that the U.S fielded

The Voices of #IBelieve

ESPN ramped up their coverage this year (compared to South Africa in 2010) considering it will be their last World Cup (FOX takes over next year with the 2015 Women’s World Cup and holds the rights through the 2022 FIFA World Cup). Four years ago, even ESPN itself didn’t focus all that much on soccer, club or international, but this year, not only have the games been great, the pregame, and post game, especially World Cup Tonight with the breakout stars the Men in Blazers, have been delightful and only added thought provoking analyses. ESPN also went all out getting former international stars like Ruud Van Nistelrooy (Netherlands) Michael Ballack (Germany) and Gilberto Silva (Brazil) to join as analysts. For the fans, one of the more impressive things I noticed this cup is how patriotism can overrule sport. Throughout watching the four games at two different pubs, I noticed friends of mine who could not even remotely be bothered about soccer outside the World Cup, were giddy at the prospect of watching the game with other USA fans. Not only were they intrigued, but they firmly entrenched themselves with the cheers and chants that broke out (mostly American Outlaws chants). Not only was it great to see, but it felt like in a society where people debate and disagree so often, everyone put that aside for ninety minutes to support our Yanks in Brazil.

The Team

When Jurgen Klinsmann was hired in 2011 and even to this day, some of the more skittish (and uninformed) soccer fans were wary of the German legend taking over the American team. This only continued when he decided to axe 2010 World Cup hero Landon Donovan from the side and bring along younger players like DeAndre Yedlin, John Brooks and Julian Green. In hindsight, his decision played dividends as Yedlin was an explosive presence off the bench and both Brooks and Green each netted a goal during the tournament, Brooks’ being a game winner and Green’s providing one final spark against Belgium. All credit is due to the team’s savvy tactician and technical director, he did his best to make chicken salad from chicken ****. While the USA were exposed to be lacking the proper technically skilled players to succeed, the team adapted and did what they could against some of the world’s best teams. They played hard and held their own, as the team never trailed by more than one goal at any point. The best part is looking forward to the 2018 World Cup (yes, I know it’s a full four years away) is the USMNT under Jurgen Klinsmann has some of the most promising youth players it has ever had. Not only this, but some of these players are currently contracted to big European clubs like Arsenal and Bayern Munich. The starting lineup for 2018 (if all these players continue to grow, develop, etc) is looking as follows

* denotes player was at the 2014 World Cup, (current club team and country) – age in 2018

4-3-3

GK – Brad Guzan* (Aston Villa – English Premier League) – age 33

After Jurgen Klinsmann was hired in 2011, even the most die hard of soccer fans realized Nothing Was The Same

After Jurgen Klinsmann was hired in 2011, even the most die hard of USMNT fans realized Nothing Was The Same

RB – DeAndre Yedlin* (Seattle Sounders – MLS) – age 24

CB – Omar Gonzalez* (LA Galaxy – MLS) – age 29

CB – Matt Besler* (Sporting KC – MLS) – age 31

LB – Fabian Johnson* (Borussia Monchengladbach – German Bundesliga)

RCM – Geoff Cameron* (Stoke City – EPL) – age 33

CM – Michael Bradley* (Toronto FC – MLS) – age 30

LCM – Mix Diskerud* (Rosenborg BK – Norway) age 28

RW – Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal – EPL) age 21

ST – Aron Johansson* (AZ – Dutch Eresdivise) – age 27

LW – Julian Green* (Bayern Munich – Bundesliga) – age 23

The above lineup may seem confusing to some, but in reality, that is the mix of ages and types of players needed to make a deep run into the FIFA World Cup. More importantly, 10 of those 11 players were at the World Cup in Brazil, prior experience can play a big role on the world’s greatest stage. Now of course this is speculative and tentative, but if the younger players develop as they should, this will be a team to be reckoned with in Russia.

With the World Cup over, it doesn’t mean you have to stop watching soccer! There are 3 fantastical ways that YOU, yes YOU! Can help soccer continue to gain a foothold in this great nation of ours.

 

1. If you know it already, don’t be elitist about it.

The New York Times style section (which makes for great toilet paper if you are short) wrote an editorial about how soccer was the new sport of the thinking class with it’s European roots and near hipster-esque following. This is load of nonsense, as soccer has working class roots from Britain. However, one thing that is a large problem in America is the elitist culture surrounding some soccer fans. When someone asks a question about the teams playing, or if Clint Dempsey is good, or what The Champions League is, the worst thing a person can do is raise their nose up and say “really, you don’t know?” THAT is what turns people off to soccer in America and will continue to do so. There is no reason or need for that level of attitude surrounding the beautiful game, that only will hurt soccer’s following as opposed to bringing new fans into the fold. The best thing to do is to inform people as much as possible, and yes, it may seem dumb for someone to ask who Clint Dempsey is, but cut them some slack.

2. It’s not replacing football (at least not yet) – It should only add to the fan’s experience

Certain people (read: people who I still don’t know why I’m friends with on Facebook) posted yesterday now that the U.S is out, America will go back to not caring about soccer. Full stop. That is about the most 1950’s, Pleasantville-esque xenophobic sounding viewpoint possible. Now it is true that some people will stop paying attention to the tournament, but lest we forget, the World Cup Final is the most watched sporting event on the planet, with an estimated 3.6 billion viewers expected to tune into the final on July 13. For the uninitiated, the best part about watching European soccer specifically is you can do so without spending a whole afternoon. – Premier League games air at 8 am and 10 am on Saturday/Sunday mornings and then the rest of your day is free, especially during the fall, to watch college or professional football. However, it is worth pointing out that with the current concussion crisis sweeping football at all age levels, the sport will not be the same as its current incarnation 40 years from now. Eventually, if current trajectories hold, we are facing a reality where by 2114, football will cease to exist, but in all likelihood, soccer will carry on. Current youth developments are showing this as more parents are keeping their kids away from Football and having them play soccer in the fall instead. With that, why not add one more sport to your plate? There’s no commercials, it wraps up in two hours, and it is genuinely exciting, even if there is no score (yesterday’s game being a brilliant example of that)

3. We don’t have to be European about it

In so many of the reports I have read about and seen, you know whose fans are having the most fun in Brazil? The Americans. European fans have been impressed about the wily antics of team USA fans in Rio De Janiero, Sao Paolo, and all over Brazil. This is where American Exceptionalism (read: why America is so different from everywhere else) comes into play. We are a country that is considered to be so backwards from the rest of the world at times, and that is what makes us great. Why not hold true with that for soccer? Last I checked, it was the American Outlaws organizing chants to a Wu Tang Clan song for the game vs Panama last year. It’s that same group that helps fill stadiums like University of Phoenix and CenturyLink Field with over 65,000 fans to watch this team qualify for the World Cup. More than anywhere, the United States is the country where people self-identify as being American first over their religion, over their job, over almost anything else. I saw this patriotism fly to levels of Bruce Springsteen and Kid Rock levels during the watch parties for the USMNT’s four games. If MLS can continue to build fan bases and continue to increase their quality of play, there could be a 30 team soccer league in these very United States with ravenous, almost college football like allegiances. The best thing the United States can do is NOT emulate European fandom with ultras, but treat watching soccer how we treat watching football, where the pomp and circumstance the crowd provides is just as big as the game itself.

 

You may think that the 1900 or so words are blathering from some kid who is overly infatuated with the beautiful game and is currently drunk on World Cup fever. That is true, but I have held soccer near and dear to my heart ever since I played it as a kid until my knees gave out. From not only my, but many others perspectives, this has been one of the best World Cups to watch in decades. There is excitement, and a genuine unpredictability about who will actually take the final. My advice: keep watching, adopt a second team for fun, and really get into the game the rest of the world is so crazy about, you wont regret it.

I can truly always refer to the Big House as HoMe

I graduate from the University of Michigan on Saturday. Without a doubt, it will be one of the proudest moments of my entire life.

I was born in, and for the most part raised in Ann Arbor (5 year stint in Hong Kong aside). This town has shaped me into the individual who I am, and with that, so has this University. My parents both attended Michigan for graduate school and met on campus. I remember from middle school going downtown for football Saturday’s and spending lots of time on the diag in the summers during high school. More than anything, I have lived and died by Michigan sports for a long time.

Some people come to U of M from all over the country because they remember watching the football team in the 90′s with their great, smashmouth football and unique helmets. Others remember seeing images of the Fab Five growing up, and some love the boys of Yost who won the 1996 and 1998 National Championships. Everyone has their own maize and blue ties that run deep, but growing up in Ann Arbor and around the university, I feel mine to be quite unique.

I hold the honor of being able to say the first ever Michigan football game I attended was the 1998 Rose Bowl with my family, the last time Michigan Football won a National Championship. I didn’t have the greatest understanding of the sport at the time, but attending the only National Championship and the last Rose Bowl Michigan won evokes feelings that still make me smile to this day.

My father and I at the 1998 Rose Bowl. I barely knew what football was at age 6, but I did love cheering on the Wolverines.

I’ll also always remember my first game at the Big House. It was November 2002 when I was in 6th grade, Michigan took on Iowa in a blowout that Iowa won 34-9. We sat at the top of the old Big House and dealt with blowing wind and snow. While the scoreboard and the weather both did their best to make the day miserable, I finally was able to label myself as a true college football fan (2002 was the first year I began watching Football on a weekly basis).

The next July, I had just come home from the pool when my dad surprised me with a golden envelope. I parsed my fingers over the shiny block M and carefully opened the seal. Out slipped a page full of colored tickets. My father had surprised me with season tickets. Section 20, Row 50, Seats 19 and 20. Right about the 10 yard line in the Southwest corner of the stadium. I hurriedly ran upstairs to mark my calendar, it was less than six weeks ’til Michigan opened the season at home against Central Michigan. I woke up that morning, put on my #1 Braylon Edwards jersey and block M cap, and my dad and I headed to the game. Michigan came out firing just as they had against Florida in the Outback Bowl that previous January and won in a blowout 45-7, I was hooked. One moment from that 2003 season that still resonates was before the Michigan vs Notre Dame game in 2003. As a 12 year old 7th grader, I obviously was somewhat sheltered from what college life was like, but I remember arriving at the stadium and hearing a loud chant from a group of about 20 guys in yellow student section t shirts screaming “F**K THE IRISH” at the top of their lungs. It was at this moment, I began to realize I had to come to U of M.

Over the years, I experienced the highest of highs, such as Michigan’s 3OT comeback win over Michigan State that only about 50,000 fans saw live in October 2004. Watching Mario Manningham’s touchdown catch from Chad Henne with one second left to give Penn State their only loss of the 2005 season. I also experienced the lowest of lows, like the loss at Ohio State in 2006 the day after Bo died that cost Michigan a chance at a National Championship game. There was also the next regular season game they played against Appalachian State, a game that actually drove 16 year old me to a state of shock and near tears. I learned to live and die by this team over the years, and it wasn’t just for football. I attended a few Michigan basketball games at dark, pre-renovation Crisler arena when the team could barely draw over 3,000 fans per night due to the sanctions relating to Chris Webber. I spent multiple weekend nights during high school at Yost Ice Arena, watching future NHL players like Jack Johnson, Max Pacioretty, Andrew Cogliano and Carl Hagelin dazzle fans on the ice with their skills and deft goalscoring. I was hooked on Michigan sports and it solidified that I wanted to attend no other university in the country.

Pre-renovation Yost and Crisler didn’t have the same allure they have today, but they house some of my best memories growing up with Michigan sports.

 

On a spring day in 2009, that was when the bad news came. I received a letter from Michigan but it was not a welcome packet, it was a single, white envelope with the school’s crest on it. I opened it to find one letter, reading I had been waitlisted at school of my dreams. This waitlist/deferral eventually turned into a rejection with Michigan inviting me to re-apply as a transfer sophomore. I knew what I had to do, I spent my freshman year at Kalamazoo College just down I-94 from Ann Arbor, but I knew the day I arrived there, I was heading back to Ann Arbor. I still attended every home game that fall to keep my consecutive games attended streak alive. Lo and behold, Feburary 18, 2010, I was accepted into the University of Michigan, and it was one of the happiest days of my life. I was going to be able to not only attend a world class institution mere miles from home, but be able to watch the sports I had grown up on with the kids I had grown up with (about 30 kids from my high school graduating class attend Michigan).

I arrived on campus in late August 2010, and what began was a four year journey I would never forget. Like with most of my life, sports here played a huge role in some of the best and worst times I had. Going to my first game in the student section against UConn was the day of the rededication, and was also QB Denard Robinson’s coming out party as starter. Robinson had 383 total yards on the ground in what would be a magical sophomore season for him. I soaked in the atmosphere like a sponge, the loud music, drunk people running all over the place, I felt like I was in my natural habitat, and it was a hell of a lot more fun than the tailgates I had gone to with my parents in years past.

Leaving Michigan means leaving all the memories I have made on game days behind, but I’ll forever remember my four years in the student section above all.

As the years went by, I had the joy of watching Michigan defeat Notre Dame under the lights TWICE, beat Ohio State at home for the first time in 8 years, win a BCS bowl game and so much more. In games I watched at Crisler, I watched the team win two big ten titles and reach the National Championship game in the most successful era for Michigan  basketball since the Fab Five days. It truly has been a magical four years watching these teams. In addition to my life here as a fan, I’ve also had the privilege of covering the lesser publicized sports like men’s and women’s soccer, basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball and lacrosse for the Big Ten Network. Not only did that increase my knowledge of all the different sports and athletes here, but it also upped my commitment to all things Michigan.

However, this wasn’t without a price either. Coinciding with my arrival on campus was the arrival of new athletic director Dave Brandon, who has done excellent work in getting new facilities for Michigan’s varsity athletes and has “built the brand” but I have also watched ticket prices sky rocket for games and students be misinformed by the athletic department while the on field performance (cough. football) suffers. This of course is just my personal opinion but it also shows how the nature of college sports is changing for both better and worse.

As I prepare to leave Ann Arbor for my first job, I know I will always be able to return home, but I also know that my teams are facing uncertain futures. Michigan Football has been treading water since the 2012 Sugar Bowl win and have major expectations on them in Brady Hoke’s fourth year as coach. John Beilein watched 3 of his best players from the 2012 “Fresh Five” recruiting class declare for the NBA draft and now faces down a daunting Big Ten with one of the youngest teams in the country (again). Red Berenson has a team that has missed the NCAA Tournament two years in a row after making it for 22 years straight. While there may be an uncharted path ahead, I will always remember the good times far more than the bad, and I will forever be grateful that this college provided me with some of the greatest times and memories I’ll have. All I can say is, For today, goodbye, tomorrow, good luck, and forever, Go Blue!

Image: Deadspin

Let’s get one thing straight, I f*****g hate Manchester United, but I certainly do respect the club and all they accomplished under legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson.  Manchester United’s 2013-14 campaign has been schadenfraude at it’s best for me as an Arsenal supporter, watching the club wallow in defeats to mid table Prem clubs eases the pain of watching my Gunners squander another title push due to lack of depth, injuries and other Wenger-ian things. The big question at Old Trafford is, was David Moyes in over his head taking over for Sir Alex Ferguson? Did the squad really lack that much quality? Perhaps it shows a bigger institutional problem in the red side of Manchester and Moyes is being scapegoated? Let’s examine the fall of the great red empire this year.

Mo Moyes, Mo Problems?

“I’m kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air” – was it Lorde or Moyes who said that?

What was the first thing David Moyes did when he was announced as the heir apparent to Sir Alex Ferguson’s post? He went on holiday to Spain. While his job did not begin until July 1, this was not the best way to endear himself to one of the biggest football clubs with one of the biggest fan bases in the world. Moyes was also under immense pressure stepping in for Ferguson after the most successful quarter century in the history of English Football. He did lead the club to some silveware before the season even began with a victory over Wigan in the FA Community Shield on August 11, but the good times ended there. What ensued after was the Red Devils’ worst ever start to a Premier League season: losses to Newcastle, West Brom, and archrival Manchester City led the heat to be turned up on him before Christmas. The dubious list of records under Moyes goes on:

compiled by Goal.com

Compiled by Goal.com

Plain and simple, Moyes was in over his head after succeeding Fergie. I know United fans, management, and the Glazer family are frustrated, but Moyes deserved more time than 9 months prior to being sacked by the club, as terrible as this season was.

The Team The Team! The Team?

The player’s expressions in this picture sum up United’s campaign well.

Looking at the transfer window from Summer 2013 and 2014, Man United made a push to defend their 2013 Prem title by purchasing the likes of Marouane Fellaini and 2o year old Guillermo Varela from Uruguay. They only lost reserve defender Scott Wootton and Right Back Fabio to transfers, and longtime midfield steward Paul Scholes retired (again). That means the core of that 2012-13 squad in Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, Nemanja Vidic, Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick and many others returned ready to defend their crown under new manager Moyes. Early in the year, young Belgian starlet Adnan Januzaj even broke out with a few standout performances. By the new year, things still seemed alright, the team had only lost 69 man games due to injury – 7th in the premier league and a far cry behind Arsenal’s league leading 102. However, these injuries included leading scorer Van Persie, starting defenders Patrice Evra and Vidic and many others. The immediate stop gap solution was to sign Juan Mata from Chelsea to play in the coveted “in the hole” role behind the strikers, previously occupied by Paul Scholes. Mata has worked to varying success, but the damage had already been done. The players seemed out of sorts under Moyes and did not perform as well as they did under Ferguson, further proving Ferguson’s status as a respected figure amongst his squad, compared to Moyes, who lost the respect of the dressing room within months of his arrival at Old Trafford.

Fergalicious

May of 2013 was arguably the last time any Man United player or fan was truly happy (like dancing to Pharrell “Happy”)

For the uninitiated, here is Ferguson’s impeccable CV as United boss:

13 league titles (including 7 of the first 9 Premier League seasons)

2 Champions League titles

5 FA Cups

4 League Cups

a staggering 38 trophies over 26 full seasons

Allow Deadspin’s Greg Howard to wax poetic about Sir Alex Ferguson quickly in words that I cannot:

“And he won with these players, all the time, because he’s a disciplinarian. He’s not cruel, but he is a mean fucker. He’s been a “frightening bastard” since his first managing gig 39 years ago at East Stirlingshire, in the third tier of the Scottish pyramid. Everyone loves the idea of a “player’s coach.” And even though Ferguson is renowned for spending every waking moment with his players, from the youngest to the most seasoned, Ferguson is not a player’s coach. He micromanages almost every aspect of his club, and benches or falls out with players who crossed him, no matter how talented.” – Greg Howard, May 16, 2013

The above paragraph is in response to how Ferguson balanced ill-tempered individuals like Eric Cantona, Wayne Rooney, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Jaap Staam, and Cristiano Ronaldo among others and had them play well enough together to lead them to glory.

A quick metaphor to summarize this transition: Moyes was handed the keys to a Ferrari, the problem was no one told him about the rust on the undercarriage, the faulty spark plugs, and the fact Moyes is at best qualified to be driving a BMW.

No man can ever match Sir Alex Ferguson’s 26+ years in charge at Old Trafford. No one can expect that level of success to be replicated, but it seems that club management, ownership and even the fans were expecting Moyes to pick up where SAF left off by expecting the club to win a Premier League title. Expecting that of Moyes is unfair and overzealous for a manager who never led a low budget club (Everton have FAR lower wages compared to United) to higher than fourth in the Premiership (back in 2004-05). David Moyes won PFA manager of the year three times with Everton, however, that was a brilliant accomplishment for a manager of a mid table club with limited funds and far lower expectations. Stepping into the United job requires a zeal that only men like Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Manuel Pellegrini can handle – they have all managed Real Madrid and bring a certain callous sense of a-hole-ishness to their jobs. Moyes did not possess that killer instinct that Ferguson did, and no one expected him to be Ferguson (Ok, nobody outside Manchester did).

Frankly, it looks like United may be going through a transitional period that was bound to happen, whether Ferguson stayed or left. Ferguson leaving  has made the situation/season resemble more of a tire fire than a quick rebuild that would end in a top 4 finish under Fergie. Whoever takes Moyes’ place must be given more time and lowered expectations by the fans, although the new boss will have a slightly easier task with no European competition for 2014/15 (The first time the club has missed the Champions League since 1995). This will provide a lighter schedule and a chance for players to be well rested for Premier League/Cup competitions. As of now, the bettors have the odds on Jurgen Klopp, the man who compared his Borrusia Dortmund team’s style of football to “heavy metal” music, as the leading man to take charge. Personally, I think it will be current Holland manager Louis Van Gaal, who is leaving his post at the end of the World Cup. Van Gaal has 7 league titles and multiple Champions Leagues under his belt during his tenures with Ajax, Barcelona (on two separate stints) AZ and Bayern Munich.

Will Louis Van Gaal redeem Man U?

The latest rumors say Van Gaal may be headed to Tottenham, but a manager of his caliber would surely turn down Spurs for a chance at redeeming United. He would undergo a heavy task, but having managed some of the world’s best clubs at the top level means he has the metal to reshape Man United into Van United (yes, I went there) and potentially bring them back into the Premier League’s summit alongside Liverpool, Chelsea, City and Arsenal. Be patient United fans, you’ll be back to losing in the Champions League final by 2017! (Yes, I also went there)

I know I have been very sporadic on here, but to be frankly honest, I took a bit of a hedonistic approach to this semester in terms of anything not relating to school or work. Now that I am done with college and graduating shortly, I plan to return to my weekly posts here on DTG. As the World Cup draws closer, I will be posting a lot of soccer related content as well as focusing on the NFL draft and Stanley Cup/NBA playoffs.

The Best things in Soccer you missed:

  • Lately, I have become a huge fan of the Grantland Men in Blazers podcast hosted by Roger Bennett and Michael Davies, I highly recommend you give it a listen if you have not before, it’s an entertaining must for any footy fan.
  • Not everyone in Manchester is upset with the job David Moyes is doing at United…

Man City fans showing love for David Moyes during the Citizens game against West Brom on April 21

  •  Benfica won their first league title since 2010 and Lisbon celebrated appropriately

Don’t worry, it’s just a wee bonfire (via @SBNationSoccer)

  • MLS club Portland Timbers have yet to win a match this season, and Real Salt Lake fans used a creative banner to remind them

Cheers to the genius who created this (via @SBNation)

  •  ESPN’s Taylor Twellman had some indirect fun with the telestrator during the USA v. Mexico match back on April 3rd to describe Mexico’s performance

Seems about right (via @KevinMcCauley)

Michael Sam is quick, a terror against quarterbacks, and just happens to be gay.

To be honest I hadn’t really heard of Michael Sam before his announcement last night. However I can say from now on I will be rooting for him his entire career. I’ve always been an advocate for gay rights because why do people care who someone loves? Man or woman it shouldn’t matter. Now this is also due to the fact I was raised in an interracial home in a very progressive city (Ann Arbor is about as upper class liberal as it gets). Now maybe it’s because of this that I find the non-stop coverage of this story to be tiresome. Michael Sam is making history by being the first openly gay NFL prospect, and will become the first openly gay NFL player. I respect his courage for this and his decision to tell the world himself instead of letting the word leak through another outlet. However, what I don’t understand is the 24 hour media cycle’s insistence of covering this non-stop. As I sat on the exercise bike at my gym this morning, the only things in Sportscenter’s sidebar rundown consisted of Michael Sam coming out, his draft stock, impact, and analysis. While this is historical, how much is too much coverage on him? It feels through all this analysis of his coming out and locker room impact, people are forgetting he was the co-defensive player of the year in the best conference in college football. Basically the thought from my personal view is “Ok, he’s gay, this is of historical significance, but how does this affect his play on the football field?” ESPN: The Magazine’s LZ Granderson published a piece today about how there have been many gay players in the NFL and it has never caused a rift before.

When Vince Lombardi found out he had a gay player in his locker room, this is what he reportedly told his assistants: “If I hear one of you people make reference to his manhood, you’ll be out of here before your ass hits the ground. – LZ Granderson, 2/10/14
Once drafted, Michael Sam will not be the only gay player on an NFL roster, he will be the only openly gay player, which for him is a landmark, I just wish the media circus surrounding him now would focus more on him as a football player, instead of him as a gay man. I have had gay coworkers before and it has never been any trouble, but I also will never understand other people’s fascination with being so against homosexuality.
Now another point worth showing is the darker side that the media hasn’t addressed as much, Sam told his Missouri teammates in August about his sexuality, and many of them received him with open arms. I have a friend who attends Missouri and knows a few players on the team, and this is what he told me earlier: “A friend on the team can confirm that teammates did talk shit about Sam behind his back and even during an in season fight with (redacted), redacted called Mike Sam a fag.” That last word sends shivers down my spine, I abhor it more than any other word in the English language. Sure, not everyone in Sam’s NFL team locker room will support his lifestyle, but I do hope that they will not shun him because of it. Just as I hope Sam will not fall in the draft due to his coming out, however, I fear that because of this, Sam will be labelled “a distraction” by some GMs and teams, which if that is the case, shame on them. There was already a rumor going around that former All Pro safety Kerry Rhodes was blackballed by NFL GM’s for sheer suspicion of him being gay. The fact this was an issue is another problem already, but Michael Sam being out in the open is him challenging the NFL to change, and for that, bravo sir, bravo.

What scares me about the situation right now is let’s say Mike Sam makes a big play in a road game later this year, I know some jagoff in the crowd will say “yeah, but he’s a f-g.” There is nothing that can change a culture that has so many intolerant people that have an outlet safely behind their computers in social media as well as not caring to censor themselves in public. This oddly relates to the Marcus Smart incident from over the weekend. He responded to comments a Texas Tech fan made to him, but the difference is in football, there is a lot more space separating fans and players. Having attended many NFL games, I can already imagine what horrible words will be hurled at Michael Sam next season, however, he seems to be a young man of such sharp character that he will not let these words get under his skin. In his interviews he was very certain of his decision, and as long as he can keep up a mentality of “I am a football player” over everything, that is all that matters. It will be interesting to see how this narrative is brought up again during the NFL Draft, training camp, and the start of the regular season, I just hope that the focus will be because Sam is an explosive, high motor guy who led the SEC in sacks and wants to make an NFL impact, not because he is a gay man.

Even watching at home from over 2000 miles away, I get fired up every time that 12th Man flag is raised.

It’s a funny story how I became a Seahawks fan.

Backyard Football was my first exposure to pro football in video game form.

It all started when I was a kid playing Backyard Football on Windows 98. I didn’t know a ton about the NFL besides the fact I always had Barry Sanders and Pablo Sanchez as my running back tandem. What I did know is when I had to pick my team, the Seahawks with their marine blue and bright green color scheme caught my seven year old eye as something cool, and I chose them as my team to draft my backyard squad. Coincidentally, I had Jerry Rice as a Seahawk 6 years before he was traded to the team.

Flash-forward two years to January 1, 2000. Michigan is taking on Alabama in an Orange Bowl for the ages. For Michigan, Tom Brady had 369 passing yards and 4 Touchdowns but on the other side was a senior running back by the name of Shaun Alexander who had 161 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in the Crimson Tide’s losing effort. Michigan won 35-34 but I did remember that running back. As the story goes, he got drafted by who else, but the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the 2000 NFL Draft.

Shaun Alexander caught my eye in that Orange Bowl but I didn’t see him again until I started watching the NFL full time in 2002

Two more years later and it is 2002. I was entering sixth grade and I finally started watching the NFL on a full time basis. I remember coming home from church that day with my parents and seeing Ricky Williams run all over the Lions in his debut for the Dolphins. I knew that day, it would be important to keep a second team in the back of my mind. I bought my first copy of Madden that year (Madden 2003) and as I listened to the awesomely 2000′s soundtrack consisting of Andrew W.K and Good Charlotte, I was deciding who to start my dynasty with. With a beautiful new stadium, cool new monochrome uniforms and moving into the newly re-formed NFC West, I picked the Seahawks.

Chad Eaton was one of the many Seahawks I turned into a pro bowler in Madden 2003 for Xbox.

Behind Shaun Alexander’s power running and a defense led by Shawn Springs and the always entertaining (and still very good in Madden) John Randle, I led that team to multiple Super Bowl wins in the fantasy land that is Madden. Playing fantasy GM became a passion of mine and in subsequent years I always chose the ‘Hawks in Madden as well as catching their late games when they were on Fox and local market picked them up. The Seahawks were a refuge for me away from the godforsaken Lions fandom I dealt with, but I still followed them with an intense passion. This only intensified when Shaun Alexander reemerged on my radar Sep 29, 2002. Vikings vs Seahawks on Sunday Night Football, Alexander scored FIVE first half touchdowns to set an NFL record as the Seahawks pounced Minnesota 48-23. I had a new favorite running back in the league.

When 2005 came around it was a match made in heaven. The Seahawks were playing the Super Bowl in my home town of Detroit. While I couldn’t attend the game, I went to the Super Bowl Experience with my dad at Cobo Hall in Detroit decked out in my Lofa Tatupu rookie jersey I begged my parents to get me for Christmas in 2005. The Monday after the Championship game I discovered I was most certainly in the minority at my high school in cheering for Seattle, but I held firm. When they lost in Super Bowl XL, I was sad, but I was still proud of my team for making it to the pinnacle of the pro football summit. Over the following years of ups and downs, I still cheered them on even harder than I did the Lions, because unlike the Lions, the Seahawks actually won games, and when they lost, it didn’t wretch my heart out.

In 2007, by virtue of luck, I was able to visit Qwest Field and take a tour of the loudest stadium in the NFL. In person the place is incredible, and unlike any other pro football stadium. Wandering around the stadium, seeing the 12th Man flag, it reaffirmed why I loved this team from the Pacific Northwest. I still have yet to return and attend a game but my goal is to go to CenturyLink within the next two years.

Although I was in Seattle only for a day, my trip to Qwest Field was the highlight

Things only got better for me when Russell Wilson, my favorite college QB of the late 2000′s with NC State and later Wisconsin, was drafted by the team and won the starting job. Watching him play has been an absolute delight. That along with the moves for players like Marshawn Lynch, Percy Harvin and Richard Sherman has led to a team that I not only idolize, but I enjoy because they are viewed by so many as the underdog. They barely get any media coverage being all the way up in Seattle, but when Sherman gave the interview heard round the world, the world listened.

I still am a pseudo lone-wolf as a Seahawks fan in Michigan, and tonight at the Super Bowl party I am going to, I will most likely be the only member of the 12th Man (and I even have a wager in place with my best friend who is a die-hard Broncos fan). However, I will wear my Richard Sherman jersey with pride, and while I respect Peyton Manning, tonight is the night the Seahawks will rise to the occasion and take their first Super Bowl title home in New Jersey. Even if they don’t, with the Lions latest pathetic coaching hire in Caldwell, I am just about ready to shift to Seattle full time. My college athletics professor John Bacon always said that you can change your pro team geographically because the ties don’t run as deep as personal ties to college sports. However, through a series of coincidences over the better part of 15 years, I became a Seahawks fan, and I am damn proud to be a member of the 12th Man. GO SEAHAWKS! LOB!

The NFC Title game was last night, the Seahawks defeated the 49ers 23-17 in an all out war between two teams that hate each other. Besides endless amounts of Harbaugh face, there were two pieces of controversy that caught this writers eye while watching the game.

The lasting image from the NFC title game, but what transpired after made more noise than the 12th man did last night

1. “Poetic Justice” for Navarro Bowman and announcers being unbiased

The fumble last night that Joe Buck described as “Poetic Justice” for the un-reviewable fumble recovery and NaVarro Bowman’s injury

I think NaVarro Bowman is one of the greatest linebackers in football right now. I loved watching him at Penn State and seeing him make big plays in the NFL. Watching him get injured on the 3rd and Goal play in the fourth quarter was absolutely awful. It looked worse than it was as it turns out he has a torn ACL, but most likely will be back in time for the start of the 2014 season. What I didn’t like was Joe Buck’s comment on the next play. Marshawn Lynch fumbled the handoff from Russell Wilson on 4th and Goal, and the 49ers recovered the ball. Buck commented how it was “poetic justice” in terms of the 49ers getting the ball back after the scrum, injury and Seahawks recovery on 3rd down. Mike Tirico did something similar during last year’s Outback Bowl on that monster Jadaveon Clowney hit. Michigan had just gotten a first down on a questionable spot by the officials, and then as you know, Clowney blew up Vincent Smith and used his big old bear paw to collect the fumble. Tirico proclaimed “South Carolina deserves to have it, and they do!” This is only the opinion of one fan and a fairly amateur play by play man, but it is not Buck and Tirico’s job to determine what is “right” and what is “wrong” in a game, their job is to tell the narrative of the game with zero bias. I hate it when commentators use this sort of language to almost take sides of one team. If the officials (which in both cases here) screw one team with a bad call, leave it at face value, don’t start discussing how the Seahawks and Michigan were both “wrong” due to the referee’s mistakes or judgement. The officials are part of the game, but it should never sound like a neutral tv announcer is supporting one team or the other during a game, and I got that vibe during both these incidents.

2. Richard Sherman knew exactly what he was doing: showing pure, unmitigated emotion

Let’s get one thing straight, Richard Sherman talks more trash than Macho Man Randy Savage did in the 1980′s. He is brash, he is arrogant, and best of all, he backs up his antics with on-field performance. The NFL’s loudest mouth is also a two time All-Pro and led the league in interceptions this year with 8. He talks the talk, but he also walks the walk. His words to Erin Andrews made me think back to all the WWE Attitude Era promos I watched as a kid. However, after an absolute firestorm on Twitter (including many disparaging, and sometimes, racist, remarks) Sherman explained himself in his column he has on TheMMQB.com. Before I dive into the bigger picture this paints, let’s break down the incident itself:

Sherman’s tip that lead to a Malcolm Smith interception sealed the Seahawks second Super Bowl berth in 8 years.

Sherman is the outspoken leader of “The Legion of Boom” as the Seahawks secondary is known. His hands last night made an incredible play that sealed his team a trip to New York for Super Bowl 48. Pure, raw emotion came out during that interview, but there are three things worth noticing after you re-watch the clip.

1. He is staring directly into the camera the whole time

2. He did not utter a single swear word.

3. This was part of the reason he called out Crabtree, along with an incident back in the summer at a charity event where Crabtree allegedly tried to fight Sherman

In turn, after so many tweets I saw calling Richard Sherman dumb, arrogant, and worst of all, racial epithets being directed at him. Lost in the ignorance is the fact that Sherman is a smart player, You don’t become the NFL’s best cover corner statistically by being dumb. This video from NFL.com goes over how he prepares for each opponent in a given week. Also, Sherman graduated second in his high school class in Compton, and graduated with honors from Stanford. Unlike so many college football programs, Stanford still requires that players capably fulfill the STUDENT in Student-Athlete. Being one of the best school’s in the nation, no matter how good the football team is, athletics takes a back seat to academia in Palo Alto. Richard Sherman utilized his communications degree in that speech, and if you watched his second interview with the NFL on Fox crew, he was calm and quite witty.

So many people question if Sherman’s speech was “classless” and if it violated decorum. Just because he wasn’t producing the same cliches that are heard in so many post game interviews, people immediately jumped on him for his words. It is worth pointing out that for every boring press conference that makes up 99% of so many interviews and press conferences, you get moments like this, or Dennis Green’s speech after losing on Monday Night Football and Jameis Winston’s post game interview two weeks ago. Most of us fans will never understand the joy and pride that comes with making that one play that leads your team to the pinnacle of your sport. I discussed yesterday with friends how Sherman is being attacked because we live in such a politically correct society, that drawing outside the lines is frowned upon. An interesting take on the race aspect came from Deadspin’s Greg Howard earlier today

“When you’re a public figure, there are rules. Here’s one: A public personality can be black, talented, or arrogant, but he can’t be any more than two of these traits at a time. It’s why antics and soundbites from guys like Brett Favre, Johnny Football and Bryce Harper seem almost hyper-American, capable of capturing the country’s imagination, but black superstars like Sherman, Floyd Mayweather, and Cam Newton are seen as polarizing, as selfish, as glory boys, as distasteful and perhaps offensive.” – Greg Howard, Deadspin.com, Jan 20, 2014

What I find absolutely deplorable are the attacks on twitter against Sherman that he pulled this stunt because of the color of his skin. All of a sudden, a black man talks trash on national TV, and people are editing wikipedia saying he set back the entire race 100 years. What I find worst though is that all this occurred the night before Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A day used to celebrate the most prominent leader of the black civil rights movement has been somewhat sullied by the ignorance of people on social media in response to a black athlete’s comments. This is all too similar to the response to Jameis Winston’s comments after the national title game. However, what I find hilarious, and disturbing at the same time, is I would bet the people talking negatively about Sherman are the same people that demanded A&E let Phil Robertson return to Duck Dynasty after his disparaging comments about blacks and gay people in an interview with GQ’s Drew Magary last month. If anyone thinks we truly live in a colorblind society in America, I say you are full of s–t. As I have seen in a joking manner so many times but I will say it completely seriously now, “Dr. King didn’t die for this.”

Racial issues aside, this also reflects the inherent problem with social media. Comment sections on websites, Twitter and Facebook all bring many benefits to the table, they also allow people to attack an individual from behind the safety of their computer screen in their own home. So much of what is said online would never be said in person, yet it has become the norm in the internet dominant age we reside in. Twitter last night gave people like myself who supported Sherman a chance to speak our minds, as well as people who disliked it to speak about it. However, for so many who harped on Sherman’s lack of decorum, I would like them to look at those tweets and talk about how Sherman is still in the wrong…

Finally, to address people calling Sherman a “thug” let’s get something straight. He is not a gang banger from Compton, he went to high school, then a great college and worked his tail off to become the best player at his position. If you want to see a thug, think about this, Richard Sherman was doing his job admirably yesterday, but a real thug, one Aaron Hernandez, was sitting in jail because he is linked to the murder of three people. THAT is a thug, not a guy who lets his emotions flow on national TV.

So at the end of the day: I’ll leave you with a quote from Sherman’s infamous 2007 email to his dorm during his freshman year at Stanford: “Quit your bitching and start adapting” in terms of athletes speaking their minds. That, and Richard Sherman could be one hell of a pro wrestler one day after he retires.

P.S: When the Super Bowl happens in 13 days, don’t just cheer for the Broncos because you want to see Sherman knocked back a few pegs, that is the definition of petty.

Jam of the Week: Ten Thousand Hours by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

To you Brady, it certainly is.

Saturday evening, I sat down getting ready to watch what could have been an ugly bowl game between Michigan and Kansas State. I did hold onto an inkling of hope, for reasons unknown, and my fears were confirmed. Shane Morris had a decent game as a fill in starter, but the rest of the Wolverines completely failed to show up. The defense looked like Swiss cheese and Michigan’s corner tandem of Blake Countess and Ray Taylor made Wildcat receiver Tyler Lockett look like the second coming of Jerry Rice. As I watched Michigan let K-State march out to a 31-6 lead, on their way to their first bowl win since the Holiday Bowl in December 2002, I realized something; Hope didn’t die on Saturday night, hope died the minute Michigan took the field against Alabama in Dallas in 2012. From a shaky 5-0 start to a 2-6 finish, this 2013 Michigan team smells just as bad as the 2010 7-6 team did.

I have oft-coined the terms on twitter of #FireTheFatGuys because while the players have not necessarily performed at the highest level all season, many of this seasons failures fall on the coaches. Having faulty game plans? Hoke and Borges. Having an Offensive Line that has made almost no noticeable improvements? O-Line Coach Darrell Funk’s issue. The Defense’s overall wishy-washiness? Some of the blame falls on beloved coordinator Greg Mattison. Overall nonsense and not being self-aware enough – Brady “Fred Flintstone” Hoke’s responsibility.

Back in the glory days of the season when Michigan beat Notre Dame, Hoke still seemed confused at times

When Hoke was hired to Michigan, I was among the skeptics. Sure, this guy brought back Ball State and San Diego State from the bottom of the MAC and the Mountain West respectively, and yes he was an assistant under former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, but there is a big difference here. Michigan fans got drunk on the Kool-Aid of “Hoke Speech” with the coach using terms like “Ohio” instead of Ohio State and referring to the Team as Team 133, Team 134, etc (which I find absolutely insufferable because it has spread to the university’s other varsity sports). They also liked that his goal was to win Big Ten titles above anything.

Three years after that hire, zero Big Ten title game appearances, and losses in key games that led to that fate. In 2011, Michigan lost to

The Sugar Bowl while an exciting win, was a hollow victory in hindsight.

Michigan State in East Lansing, handily, which led to Michigan on the outside looking in (they missed out on the Big Ten title game via tiebreakers), but based on pedigree alone, they reached the Sugar Bowl. A bowl against a Virginia Tech team that had no business playing in a BCS Bowl that year (They lost to ACC Champion Clemson twice by totals of 20 and 28 points.) Hoke earned himself a relaxing off season by getting Michigan to win that bowl game 23-20, Michigan’s first BCS bowl win since 2000 and a feeling that the sky was the limit. What everyone often forgets about that glorious 2011 campaign, is that those were RICH RODRIGUEZ’S PLAYERS. Hoke didn’t spend the last few years developing them, he arrived and did what he does best, he talked and got them fired up. Yes, a change in scheme by Greg Mattison on defense contributed to the monstrous turnaround, but in a parallel universe, who is to say that Rodriguez couldn’t have led that team to a strong record (at least 9 wins) and a bowl win? We may never know because Rodriguez was on such a short leash for two reasons -

1. He was hired under former athletic director Bill Martin in 2008 (Dave Brandon took the reigns in 2010). Whenever the new AD enters the fray, if the current coach isn’t meeting expectations, he is a dead man walking.

2. He said all the WRONG things prior to his 3-9 season in 2008, which led to fans disowning him almost immediately. The followup 5-7 campaign in 2009 after a 4-0 start did him no favors either.

Hoke was hired by Dave Brandon, Michigan’s business savvy athletic director who has put the focus on “building the brand” of Michigan Athletics. This has been great in some senses, but the on field results have sunk every single year under Hoke. From 11-2 to 8-5 to 7-6. I think this Michigan program has reached its ceiling under Hoke. He is nothing more than a motivator. He cannot develop talent, he makes no in game adjustments (he doesn’t wear a damn headset most of the game) and he is ignorant to when the fans are turning their back on the program (calling them fickle in terms of not attending the Ohio State game when the crowd was full of many droves of red). The coaches are not responsible for listening to fans or the media, but perhaps they should listen when the fans begin to turn away, because when the alumni donations stop flowing, that is when Brandon and the athletic department will become concerned about if Hoke is the right man for the job. Also, Hoke is praised as “a great recruiter” but cannot seem to turn these blue chip recruits into talented college football players, whereas Mark Dantonio in East Lansing is taking a team full of mostly 2 and 3 star recruits to the Rose Bowl. (I do think recruiting rankings are hog wash, but they do get brought up A LOT amongst the Michigan faithful)

Brady Hoke will be retained for 2014, I have no doubt in my mind, even though Michigan is no longer the winningest (by win %) program in college football (Notre Dame usurped that title Saturday by winning their bowl and Michigan losing.) What Hoke needs to realize is a sense of urgency for this team. He can quote Bo Schembechler all he wants, but Hoke is no Bo. At this point Hoke couldn’t even hold Bo’s leather helmet from his playing days at Miami. For 2014: here are what Hoke’s clear cut expectations should be:

1. Handily defeat non-conference opponents (vs Appalachian State, @ Notre Dame, vs Miami (Ohio) vs Utah)

Michigan under Hoke has lost only two non-conference games, both away from Ann Arbor, including this 2012 loss at Notre Dame

That non-conference schedule besides Notre Dame is quite weak. Worst of all, playing App State again only brings back terrible memories for the fans and the 2007 team that lost to an FCS team before it was trendy (App State is now an FBS squad). Any true Michigan team will have no trouble destroying that schedule, but with how the team faced Akron and UConn this year, Michigan could finish that slate at 2-2…

2. Finish undefeated at home (App State, Miami (OH), Utah, Minnesota, Penn State, Indiana, Maryland)

Look above, that is the worst home schedule Michigan has had in the last decade. Thanks to the Big Ten reshuffling its schedule with the addition of Rutgers and Maryland, Michigan got completely screwed in that their alternating “premier home rivalry match up” in Michigan State and Ohio State will now be played in the same season (starting in 2015). How this occurred to one of the Big Ten’s premier programs confuses me but it is set in stone for now. Michigan has no excuse to lose to a Big Ten doormat (Indiana) Two half-decent squads (Penn State, Maryland) and a team that Michigan has lost to a mere 5 times in the last 50 years (Minnesota). Hoke was undefeated at home until losing to Nebraska and Ohio State in 2013. There is no reason he shouldn’t be able to replicate his home success next season.

3. Defeat Michigan State and/or Ohio State on the road

These teams are Brady Hoke’s kryptonite. He has beaten neither of them on the road, but when they have at home it was due to luck more so than skill. Beating a downtrodden OSU squad in 2011 40-34 (The Bucks were reeling after the resignation of Jim Tressel and player suspensions) and beating MSU in a game of Anti-Football in 2012, 12-10 (yes that was 4 field goals). Beating both on the road would require an incredible amount of luck and skill, but a win against one on the road would help out Hoke’s support immensely. Thus far, he still has no signature road win in conference play on his resume in his 3 seasons. Losing in 2011 at Michigan State and Iowa, Losing in 2012 to “Bama (Neutral Site) ND, Nebraska, and Ohio State. The man simply cannot win against half-decent teams on the road, and that is a big problem for a program with national title expectations.

4. Appear in the Big Ten Title Game

Hoke has talked non-stop about Michigan making the Big Ten Championship and winning, but the results have been non-existent. Now this expectation is clearly too high for next year and I do not expect them to make it, but as John Malkovich once said, “Hope is what we cling to when reality has left us nothing else” and this is how Michigan fans are feeling right now. If Hoke wants an immediate vote of confidence, he needs to take this underachieving team full of blue chip recruits, returning a fifth year starter at QB, two talented running backs, a core of young receivers and a solid defense, to the promised land in Indianapolis. If Hoke does this, he will retain his job after 2014.

These four criteria aren’t a suggestion, they are what must happen for Hoke to keep his job at Michigan. With the proper coaching and recruiting, Michigan could return to its glory from the 1990′s and first half of the 2000′s – being a perrenial Big Ten contender as opposed to a sleeping giant of year’s past. Disappointed fans often talk about Michigan still having 11 National Titles and 43 Big Ten Championships from the days of yore. That is like the 40 year old burn out who brags about the hot girlfriends he had in college. Like any sport, College football is a business of “what have you done for me lately” and frankly speaking, Brady Hoke hasn’t done JACK SQUAT. Under the proper coaching, say that of John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens (my favorite candidate of the rumor mills) or perhaps a different figure with a coach like Lane Kiffin or Cam Cameron as offensive coordinator, Michigan can return itself to its proper days of glory, but until that happens, Michigan under Brady Hoke will remain an underachieving squad led by a coach who is woefully under-qualified for his position.

Hopefully Michigan fans won’t be subjected to more of Brady Hoke’s derp face in 2014.

Set Pieces

  • One of my favorite players, Tony Gonzalez played his final game yesterday for the Atlanta Falcons. After a 17 year career that leads him the NFL’s leading Tight End in catches and touchdowns for the position. Jeremy Schaap did a great piece for E:60 a few months back on Gonzalez and his legacy.
  • I will be attending the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on New Year’s Day, here is a cool time lapse from the NHL showing the construction of the rink
  • Speaking of the Winter Classic, if you haven’t seen this season of 24/7 on HBO, it has been very good thus far, especially this montage from the end of episode two showing the Leafs and Wings both losing and how they dealt with it.
  • 3rd Winter Classic note: as a life long Red Wings fan I am excited to be apart of the second hockey game at The Big House, I will have a full report on here later this week about how the NHL’s signature outdoor event is in person.
  • This excellent trailer mash up is quite a treat, someone took It’s A Wonderful Life and made a trailer in the style of The Wolf of Wall Street, which I must recommend is an excellent film.

Jam of the Week

In a film that was loaded with great music, this song stuck out to me the most. Enjoy, and have a happy new year everybody. See y’all in 2014- J