Category Archives: Give Me a Break

The Seattle Seahawks: Top of the League or Overrated?

On Sunday the Seattle Seahawks improved to 4-2 by beating the New England Patriots 24-23. After the game, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman made the following comment to Yahoo! Sports:

“Any time you run a gimmick offense, you’re a little bit afraid — you’re not sound in what you’re doing in your base stuff. You’re running this hurry-up stuff, and there’s a reason it’s not effective, because there are great defenses out there who will stuff it. We figured out early in the game what the calls were, what they were doing, and what the adjustments were. We started executing better, and that’s why they got only six points in the second half.”

Sherman jawed back and forth with New England quarterback Tom Brady throughout the game, and following it, he and Seahawk safety Earl Thomas confronted Brady. As Sherman told the Tacoma News Tribune, the two Seattle defenders communicated to Brady, “We’re greater than you. We’re better than you. You’re just a man — we’re a team.”

Here’s a photo of Sherman approaching Brady following the game.

Classy and respectable approach to one of the game’s greatest players, huh?

Lil Jon Richard Sherman also asserts that Seattle has the best defense in the league. He tweeted about the game and the two teams as well: “Patriots fans mad lol… Talking bout Super Bowl rings…. What have u done lately? Oh ur 3-3 lol”.

The guy does a whole lot of talking, especially for only being a second year player. Richard, the Patriots offense has been one of the league’s best over the past six or seven seasons. It’s not a “gimmick.” Tom Brady was schooling the league while you were still a little freshman in high school. You should also know that you didn’t ‘stuff’ the Pats no huddle offense. In fact, go back and look at your game tape. They ran a no huddle for 25% of their plays or less.

Also, learn some respect. Brady’s a first ballot Hall of Famer. You’ve done nothing in your short career thus far. You’ve won four three eh, we’ll say three and a half games. Brady is a legend with three Super Bowl rings. Were you looking for respect with your comments and actions after that game? I hope not. All you really did was show your immaturity and intelligence. Or actually lack thereof. Typically Stanford people present themselves much better. You really need some perspective (this was ONE game against a non-division opponent) and some self restraint.

But now, Lil Jon Richard, let’s go back to your tweet about the Pats only winning three games. How many games have you and your Seahawks won and lost? And what’s the real strength of that record?

You’ve beaten a Dallas team that’s struggled heavily on offense and on the road this year. You beat Carolina, a team that’s having difficulties in Cam Newton’s second year and coached by Ron Rivera (we’re now seeing why he never got any of those head coaching jobs he had been interviewing for when he was the Bears defensive coordinator). Then you beat New England in a game where they really seemed to beat themselves more than you beat them. You lost on the road to an Arizona team that doesn’t look quite as good now as it did after the first three weeks of the season. You also lost on the road to St. Louis, which I would say is an average team. They have a solid defense, but no playmakers on offense. You also of course had a loss win loss against the Packers. Some people put an asterisk next to that “win.” I’m one of those people since it led me to write a letter to Roger Goodell that resulted in the reinstatement of the NFL’s official referees.

I looked into the Seahawks defensive stats and had planned on listing them in this post to analyze. But then I realized, why bother? Look at these teams – Dallas, Carolina, Arizona, St. Louis. Those are some poor, poor playing offensive teams. Seattle played the Packers when Green Bay was struggling to really figure out what it was doing. Packers coach Mike McCarthy actually put a game plan together that seemed to be better suited for Seattle’s defense than Green Bay’s offense. Russell Wilson earned a win for throwing an interception, maybe the NFL should give McCarthy a win for the brilliant game plan he devised…for Seattle.

The only team Seattle has played that has a good offense is New England. Sherman and his teammates on the Seahawks D gave up 475 yard of offense to Brady and the Patriots in that game. That’s a top tier defense? I don’t think we’d see the Niners, Vikings or Bears doing that. The Ravens only gave up 396 yards to New England in week three.

I feel like the media has greatly exaggerated how “great” Seattle’s defense is because they’re looking at stats against sub-par opponents. They’re also looking too heavily at that eight sack first half against Green Bay where McCarthy and the Packer offensive line did everything short of rolling out a red carpet leading to an already prone Aaron Rodgers.

Look at the broader picture here, mainstream media. What would you say is the strength of this defense? Pass rushing is what I think most would respond with, citing Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin. I think many forget, or don’t even realize, that Irvin isn’t a starter. Red Bryant is the starting defensive end opposite Clemons. Why? Because Irvin is undersized. He’s a liability against the run. Irvin is closer to the size of an outside linebacker in a 3-4, but Seattle plays a base 4-3 with Irvin on the line as an end. The problem is he’s smaller than nearly all defensive ends in a 4-3. He’s also smaller than a number of outside linebackers in a 3-4. He’s a tweener and Seattle is essentially playing him as a one down defensive end in more obvious passing situations. Bryant is the regular end because he’s bigger and stronger and can stop the run.

So if pass rushing isn’t Seattle’s real strength, maybe it’s stopping the run. They haven’t allowed a 100 yard game yet after all. The most they’ve allowed is 87, which came on Sunday against new England. Look again at who they’ve played though. None of those teams is a strong running team. We’ll see how their run defense stands up against San Francisco this coming Sunday.

So it has to be pass defense. That’s their strength. I guess by default, you’d call it their strength right now since no one besides Brady lit them up. But then again, none of those other quarterbacks have really lit it up against anyone this year, minus Rodgers this past Sunday against Houston. That one doesn’t count though since McCarthy developed his first half game plan from the Seattle point of view rather than Green Bay’s.

Seattle has had a fairly favorable schedule through the first six weeks and to their credit, they’ve made the most of it. However, looking at the rest of the schedule, I see an 8-8 team. The Seahawks play much better at home than on the road (see: struggles against Carolina, Arizona and St. Louis) and they have some tough road games remaining.

The team lacks leadership and I have a feeling Sherman’s comments may be the tipping point into that becoming more obvious. They don’t seem to have veteran leadership. A team like the Ravens would never allow Sherman or any other rookie to get away with that kind of criticism of Tom Brady. Pete Carroll has never been a good leader of professionals. It’s why he largely failed in previous NFL stints. He’s a college guy. Ra! Ra! Ra! That works in college. He’s comfortable with it. Why do you think he’s surrounded himself with a lot of young players. Because older veterans may not buy into the philosophy as much. But we’re seeing the kinks in the armor. A team that’s really strong at home, but struggles on the road with inferior opponents? That’s the making of a college football team.

Seattle is 4-2, yes, but let’s not make them into world beaters just yet. Talk to me when they’ve won something. Like a playoff spot or even better, a playoff game. Until then, Lil Jon Richard Sherman, Seattle fans and the short sighted media…give me a break.

Photo Credit: Elaine Thompson, AP

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york

The Overabundance of Superman in American Sports

“Superheroes fill a gap in the pop culture psyche, similar to the role of Greek mythology. There isn’t really anything else that does the job in modern terms. For me, Batman is the one that can most clearly be taken seriously. He’s not from another planet, or filled with radioactive gunk. I mean, Superman is essentially a god, but Batman is more like Hercules: he’s a human being, very flawed, and bridges the divide.”Christopher Nolan

Everyone needs a hero, some would even say a superhero. Despite their fictional nature, as a culture we worship these characters. We try to emulate their ideals and what they represent, we dress up in their outfits at Halloween, and we make movies about them. All of those things are fine in my book because they represent good things – admiration, imitation, etc.

What has become a problem that is quickly getting out of control is the modern day athlete’s mental image of themselves and what they represent and to whom.

We glorify our modern day athletes as if they, too, are superheros. For the greatest collection of egomaniacs and self-promoters we, the fans, are responsible for the influx in inflated egos and unrealistic self-images the athletes of today have. As if winning the genetic lottery wasn’t enough …

What I would give to be a 6’4″, 230lb., strong-armed, 4.3 40, multimillionaire quarterback, let me tell you. Unfortunately, I’m a 30-something, 5’10” 190(ish)lb., athletically deteriorating father of two. It’s quite the contrast, isn’t it?

It’s what chaps my ass whenever I watch sports these days. While I’m busy hanging on to my glory days when I would hit a home run in baseball and the newspaper would write about how “Ryan Jack cranked one out in the 7th to give his team the lead,” the spoiled rotten “professional” athletes are making millions for playing the same games we did as kids and setting poor examples for young fans worldwide. The “I’m not a role model” thing has been talked about for years, but we all know you don’t volunteer for that job, you’re bestowed the honor of being looked up to by being in the public eye and being at the top of your sport. It’s not something you can refute or run away from.

That’s why when I see some of today’s most popular  athletes and their obnoxious and often ridiculous celebrations whenever they do something even remotely good or noteworthy, I just want to punch them in the face. The “look at me” attitude is very, very tired, but it seems with each passing season it becomes more prevalent. I like to call it the “Superman Complex.”

What is the “Superman Complex”? It’s a complex that is prevalent most in each sports’ very best players and has led to an overabundance of Superman in modern American sports. There are a few examples:

Cam Newton:

As Scott Van Pelt said, “Cam Newton loves him some him.”

Yes, you were a prized recruit coming out of high school. Yes, you stole a laptop and got caught while in college. Yes, your father tried to sell you to the highest bidder. Yes, you won a national championship, player of the year, and Heisman. And yeah, you were the number one overall pick in the NFL draft. Oh, and the rookie of the year and a pro bowl selection. It’s not at all surprising you think so highly of yourself; we’ve all only fawned all over you for the entirety of your life. God forbid we expect you to have some humility. Despite that, you especially haven’t yet earned the right to speak in the third person. “Cam is going to tell you again. It all comes down to execution.”

Well, Cam. If that really is true, someone needs to review with you how to execute the creation of a persona or alter-ego because this bullshit Superman non-sense is waaaaay played out. You’re not the first CURRENT athlete to try their hand at the Man of Steel shtick. No one likes you, just your ability. You’re the last thing we need in sports – an arrogant, self-absorbed guy that thinks he’s Superman. Sorry, bro. You don’t compare, though we all know your kryptonite is defense. Yeah, just defense. Any defense. If it’s D-II quality, chances are you’re going to have a hard time with it.

Your Superman leaves a lot to be desired, especially when you consider those that have come before you. Give up the act and just be the Supertalent not the Superhero.

Dwight Howard:

You thought you fit the mold perfectly. You wear those pretentious black-rimmed glasses (Do they even have lenses in them?), you wore a cape and cute little outfit during the dunk contest, and generally dress up like Superman whenever you can (Just look at your Twitter background). It’s a little … uncomfortable to watch. The worst part of your Superman over that of your football-playing compadre is the lengths you go to making it known you think you’re Superman. I mean, really, these shoes are a disgrace. “The Man Child”? Really? Superman was a man, bud. And he didn’t wear Adidas.

After the display we saw from you in this offseason “The Child” is the only catch-all you need. You showed the maturity of my three-year-old daughter and you dress the part. Maybe it’s more appropriate than we all thought.

And well …

Dwight, Superman doesn’t dump.

Shaquille O’Neal

Ahhhh yeah, Shaq Diesel. Hack-a-Shaq. Shaq Fu. Shaqtus. The Big Shamrock. The Big Aristotle. Superman.

If there ever were a guy I’d be ok with messing around with the Superman act it’s Shaq. For the most part, he waited until later in his career to toy with it, after he’d been established as a great player that was well respected and a clown. We all accepted him as a clown and as a result never really took his Superman tendencies very seriously. I like that. He got tattoos, wore the logo and all that but it never seemed to be perceived as ego-driven. It was just Shaq being Shaq. That’s where the difference lies between these three. Shaq had the public on his side. He wasn’t viewed as this arrogant piece of crap that, as Nolan said, views themselves not only as Superman but as a God.

What all this really boils down to is an individual’s ability to read the coverage, so to speak. They need to be able to see themselves as the public sees them otherwise no amount of effort to seem cool is going to save you from people thinking you’re a dumbs*it.

What each of these guys should have realized early on is what Christopher Nolan points out – Superman isn’t even human or of this planet, really. He’s mythological, unrelatable and unrealistic. Batman is where it is. He has no real superpowers except his will to win, to defeat the bad and elevate the good. His outfit is way cooler, Catwoman is way hotter than Lois Lane, and he’s rich.

Or, you could just forget all of that and follow the guy with the real celebration: Aaron Rodgers. Give me that discount double-check, Rodgers!

You’d all make excellent heels in the WWE because, really, no one likes you. At all. Especially you, Cammy.

And for good measure …

Sigh … Give me a break.

By Ryan Lack
Follow Ryan on Twitter at @ryanlack