The 2010 Michael Vick for MVP Debate… Too Quick For Vick

November 28, 2010

Read the opposing argument from Babe Rutless.

I’ve certainly been captivated by Michael Vick’s remarkable return to glory. The whole football-watching nation has, in fact. His game against the New York Giants two Sundays ago drew big ratings. It really is an amazing story, and I commend Vick for paying his debt to society and coming back as a better quarterback than he was in his tenure in Atlanta. I find myself somewhat rooting for the guy, and that’s something I said that I would never do again once he essentially left the Falcons out to dry. But, unlike Babe Ruthless and much of America, I’m not going to say that his performance to this point earns him consideration for the MVP award.

With yesterday’s loss, the Eagles still remain tied for the lead in the NFC East at 7-4. In games the artist formerly known as Ron Mexico has started, the Eagles are 5-1. That’s just six games out of a possible 11. I’m pulling out my Texas Instruments calculator and telling you that he has only finished less than 55 percent of his team’s games to this point in the season. Looking solely at that statistic, it’s hard for me to put him into the discussion for MVP at this point.

Yesterday also presented arguably the toughest test for Vick. Chicago traditionally proved to be quite the challenge for Vick. I recall the Bears often providing confusing defensive looks for number seven during his time wearing the red and black. I thought yesterday’s game would be a big test for him, and while he threw for over 300 yards he did much of that when the game was out of hand, and he did in fact throw his first interception of the season. It was a big test was because, despite the resurgence, his games had come against Detroit, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Washington, and the New York Giants. A couple of those are playoff-caliber teams, but he needed a chance to go against another top-notch defense. Chicago entered play yesterday third overall in total defense.

Lost amongst the hoopla over Vick’s “feel good story” are outstanding seasons by other players. Yes, believe it or not, other players really are having great seasons. Philip Rivers, whose Chargers got off to yet another horrible start this season, have been on fire all season as he is on pace to set the record for passing yards in a season, and now his team is coming on strong. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are also having outstanding seasons. Manning is playing with receivers who aren’t recognizable to most fantasy football players. Brady is playing with a guy whose last name is Woodhead who has relied on Brady to help Patriot nation quickly fell in love with him.

I think we all appreciate how far Vick has come… except maybe PETA. But no, he hasn’t played enough to warrant MVP consideration just yet. If you want to give him an award, I have absolutely no problem giving him the Comeback Player of the Year Award. But to give him consideration when he won’t play a full season is too much.

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The 2010 MLB First Half Surprise Debate… Rangers Shine Amid Uncertainty

July 12, 2010

Read the opposing arguments from Babe Ruthless and Sports Geek.

For me it has been a fun first half of the season in Major League Baseball. The Braves are in first place in the N.L East (which is surprising) and there have been five four no-hitters, including perfect games by Armando Galarraga, Roy Halladay and Ubaldo Jiminez. If you take a look at the standings, there are some real shockers – both in a positive way as well as a negative way. Two of those will be highlighted by my colleagues today. I don’t know if anyone expected the Phillies to be in third in the N.L. East, and I’m pretty sure hardly anyone expected the Angels to be 4.5 games back at the All Star-break. But the team I have my eye on for the biggest surprise in the first half of the season is the Texas Rangers.

The Rangers, despite the turmoil involving ownership (including a rumored bid by a group that includes Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban), the team currently leads the A.L. West by 4.5 games. I must say I am shocked. I know Nolan Ryan was saying all the right things in the off-season about how he expected the Rangers to be right there in contention for the division title, but I chalked that up to the usual run of the mill off-season optimism. I know the team won 87 games in 2009. But, not only have the Rangers been in contention, the team has dominated the division for much of the season – even after a recent stretch when they dropped seven of ten. The record still currently stands at 50-38.

Remember when it was reported in the off-season that manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine during the 2009 season. I actually thought he could be one of the first managers to go if the Rangers started out the season poorly. Now, I think he’s one of the favorites to be the American League Manager of the Year.

It’s relatively easy to have a good offense at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The ball jumps out of the park, and the batter’s eye is very hitter friendly. That has led to outstanding seasons by Josh Hamilton and Vladamir Guerrero, who are two of the Rangers’ five All-Stars (six counting recent acquisition Cliff Lee). Hamilton, who is currently hitting .346 with 22 HR and 64 RBI, hit an amazing .454 in the month of June, causing him to be named the A.L. player of the month. Guerrero, who was discarded by the Angels at the end of last season, returned to the Vlad of old and is currently second in the majors in RBI with 75. The middle of the infield features two All-Stars in Ian Kinsler and the exciting youngster Elvis Andrus.

The Rangers knew the hitting would be good, but the pitching staff has been a nice surprise with the team currently posting an ERA under four, at 3.97. It’s a number that will probably improve with the Lee acquisition. So far the rotation has been led by Colby Lewis and C.J. Wilson (Go ahead and say it… who?). The bullpen, led by All-Star Neftali Perez, has provided more closure than fictional Texas Ranger Cordell Walker. The bullpen has posted an ERA of 3.39 to this point.

It’s going to be tough to catch the Rangers in the West. The Angels may make a run, but if Hamilton and Guerrero stay hot then the rest of the American League – including Babe Ruthless’ beloved Yankees – better watch out.

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The Best Game of THIS Weekend Debate – Colts Should Beware the Titans

December 4, 2009

Read the other arguments from Bleacher Fan and Sports Geek.

It is a sad weekend to some extent, as the end of the regular season in college football is upon us. However, we still have five more weeks in the regular season for the NFL, and then of course there is the long college football bowl season approaching. This week I am once again focusing on the NFL. The game I have my eye on is Tennessee traveling to Indianapolis to take on the undefeated Colts.

Now I know what you are saying, “What in the name of Bud Adams’ middle finger are you thinking, Loyal Homer? This is a total mismatch! The Colts haven’t lost and the Titans have a losing record!” The Colts are also around a seven point favorite. But, let’s take a closer look at the game.

The Colts are obviously established as the team to beat in the AFC. I can nitpick all I want, but 11-0 is 11-0. Being the guy I am, however, I want to play devil’s advocate not because I have anything against the Colts. I don’t. Peyton Manning is one of the more likable guys in all of sports today. But the Colts have really been skating by the past few weeks with five-consecutive fourth quarter comebacks. Are the comebacks a sign of a resilient team or a team that is not as dominant as its record indicates?

Perhaps this is the week the Colts go down. I keep thinking to myself that the lack of a running game is going to catch up to the Colts. That lack of a running game is why Manning has had to shoulder much of the load with in an inexperienced group of receivers who have really stepped up. The missing running game is one of the reasons Manning is one of the favorites to win a fourth MVP award in 2009, along with two other quarterbacks who are having outstanding seasons – Drew Brees and that Favre fella!

But, here come the Titans, winners of five in a row. I threw the whole team under the bus back in October. But as Bleacher Fan pointed out in Monday’s debate, the Titans are right in the thick of the AFC wild card hunt, as they currently sit just one game back. Vince Young is managing the game effectively, which is something Kerry Collins was not doing the first six games of the season. The real stud on this team, however, is running back Chris Johnson, who has quickly become one of “my boys” with his ability to carry my fantasy team. He is on pace to have one of the greatest seasons ever.

These two teams played back in October in Nashville, with the Colts winning easily 31-9. I remember watching the game and thinking, “What has happened to Tennessee?” Well, the December Titans are a different Titans team fully capable of knocking off the Colts from the ranks of the unbeaten. Laugh now, but be prepared to hear from me if it happens!!

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