Jan 18 2012

Unlikely MVP

If you would have told me that the NFC Championship would come down to the 49ers and Giants, I would have thought you were either on drugs or you were Jim Harbaugh.  If you would have come to me and said that the Denver Broncos would win more playoff games than the Green Bay Packers, I would have thought I was on drugs, because it’s not every day I am approached by Tim Tebow or Miss Cleo, or some weird combination of the two.  Whoaaaa.

The 2011-2012 NFL playoffs have, to this point, been the only appropriate way for the wacky regular season to end.  I knew it was going to be a weird season when I wrote about the Buffalo Bills being one of the elite teams in football (That turned out to be more premature than…well, nevermind).  Since this season has been anything but predictable, I think we should keep it going.  Why stop here?  I say we take this madness all the way to award season.

The MVP award is always given to a player who puts up gaudy stats or helps his team to a dominant regular season.  Under these guidelines, most would argue that Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees should be given the hardware.  I disagree.  I think the award should be given to the player who truly proves to hold the most value to his organization and to the league.

My MVP candidate didn’t put up huge numbers this year or lead his team to the top of the standings.  My candidate didn’t engineer any game-winning drives or take his team from pretender to contender.  My top choice for MVP didn’t even play a game this season.

No matter how good Andrew Luck turns out to be, he will never be able to replace Peyton Manning in Indianapolis

By not dressing for a single game this season, Peyton Manning proved just how valuable he is to the Colts and to the NFL.  What was the main difference between the 2010 Colts and the 2011 Colts?  Other than eight wins, three spots in the standings, and Peyton Manning, not a whole lot.  Other than the quarterback position, the two teams were pretty similar, with the same core group taking the field every Sunday.  If the difference between a division title and a 13-game losing streak doesn’t spell out MVP, than what does?

Sure guys like Rodgers, Brees, Tom Brady, and even Peyton’s brother Eli might be deserving of the award, but I believe that No. 18 undoubtedly is the most valuable player in the league, even when he isn’t playing.

What other player in the NFL is that valuable?  Is there any other guy that single-handedly means the difference between first and last place?

…PLEASE…just don’t say Tim Tebow.



Jan 11 2012

Top 5 Hall Of Shame Moments

On Monday, Barry Larkin was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame.  Moving on…

You can’t have a Hall of Fame without a Hall of Shame, right?  Right.  Since a post about Barry Larkin and his great career with the Reds wouldn’t be as interesting as one about Metta World Peace, Happy Gilmore, and Yorvit Torrealba, I’ve decided to travel the path of the latter.  Without further ado, here is the Sports With Silverman Top 5 Hall of Shame Moments from the world of sports…


5. Kazaam…Kakrap!

I get three wishes? Ok...First, I wish I could get my $8.50 back...

Oh boy.  You know a movie is bad when it gets a Rotten Tomatoes rating lower than Shaq’s free throw percentage.  If that doesn’t drive the point home enough, think about it this way…When I was eight years old, I went to the movies to see a new release called The Stupids, starring Tom Arnold.  Even at eight, I realized that this was one of the worst movies ever produced.  On the Rotten Tomatoes site, this disaster of a movie was rated over five times higher than Kazaam was, 21% compared to 4%.  Translation: Add Shaquille O’Neal to a TNT set that already features Charles Barkley, and you get two guys who aren’t nearly as funny as they think they are.


4. Ump Punchers

I was going to limit this category to Yorvit Torrealba and his recent episode in the Venezuelan winter league until I remembered what former big-leaguer Jose Offerman did.  While coaching in the Dominican league a few years back, Offerman disagreed with a call and ended up throwing a punch at one of the umpires.  Even though it was an incredibly awkward punch, and it’s not really clear if he landed it, Offerman received a lifetime ban from the Dominican league for his actions (Not like his record was squeaky-clean…This IS the same Jose Offerman who was arrested and charged with assault after charging the mound with his bat during his stint with the Long Island Ducks.  Solid).  Yorvit Torrealba didn’t quite punch or take a bat to an umpire, but he did land a 66-game suspension from the Venezuelan league after violently pushing an umpire in the face after striking out.  It is not yet known what course of action MLB officials will take, but I think a season-long suspension would be appropriate.  Even though the episode happened in another country during the MLB offseason, there is no way Bud Selig and friends can ignore this.  No matter what the level of competition is, putting your hands on an official is one of the biggest no-no’s in sports.

Yorvit Torrealba won't be getting those borderline calls in his favor anytime soon


3. Someone Missed His Pre-Fight Meal

Come on, Mike.  I know you were a fierce competitor and wanted to win at all costs, but don’t you think you went a little far with this one?  When Mike Tyson bit a chunk out of Evander Holyfield’s ear during their heavyweight match back in 1997, the championship bout became famous for all the wrong reasons.  After not assaulting officials, what was the one thing that was stressed the most about being a good sport?  That’s correct.  A good sport does not bite his opponent anywhere above the neck.  Everyone knows the face is always off limits.  Personally, the thought of having a human ear in my mouth is absolutely disgusting, but I’m not a professional boxer.  You’re a strange man, Mike, but your cameos in The Hangover movies have made you the tiniest bit less scary.  Still, I pray to Tebow that we never cross paths.


2. When Will They Learn?

Cheating is one of the most shameful acts in sports.  What could be more humiliating than having the world find out that you have been hitting home runs because you put needles in your ass?  During the last 10+ years, almost all of the household names in baseball have been linked to cheating, in one form or another.  Guys like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, and Jose Canseco should have been locks for the Hall of Fame.  Instead, the incredible stats these guys put up mean far less because they cheated themselves, the fans, and the game.  All of these guys have either tested positive for or been linked to steroids, and have helped create the Asterisk Era in baseball.  Clearly these guys had endless levels of talent, but who really knows how much steroids affected their performance?  The record books will forever be tainted because of the shameful actions of these men.  There are undoubtedly other big-name athletes who have cheated and gotten away with it, but these guys got caught, and changed the game.  You always get the feeling that there are “good guys” in the league that help restore some of the credibility, but when a guy like Ryan Braun goes down, all bets are off.

I swear, that I am a terrible liar (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)


1. All Hell Breaks Loose

The event referred to as “The Malice in the Palace” will go down as one of the worst episodes in sports history.  How fitting is it that the guy in the middle of the brawl eventually changed his name to Metta World Peace?  After an on-court fight between the Pacers and the Pistons, Ron Artest laid down across the scorer’s table.  After a beer landed on him, he wasn’t lying down anymore.  Artest, along with a number of other players, charged into the crowd throwing punches, creating one of the craziest moments in the history of professional sports.  If you haven’t seen the video, you need to.  This was one of those videos that you watched 10 or 20 times, and every time you were left with the same reaction…”Wow”.  According to Wikipedia, the brawl led to nine players being suspended for a combined 146 games, five players being charged with assault, and five fans facing criminal charges.  As a result of the melee, security at games has since been increased and alcohol sales have been limited.  This was definitely a Hall of Shame moment that the NBA would like to forget.

No, that's not Rip Hamilton in the Pistons jersey, that's a fan

Honorable Mention: Happy Gilmore

No, not the movie itself!  I’m talking about Happy’s Hall of Shame actions on the ice!  To this day, Happy Gilmore is the only guy to ever take off his skate and try to stab somebody.



Jan 6 2012

What The Lakers Really Need

Let me preface this by saying that I am a huge Laker fan and am legitimately bummed when the team struggles.  The early stages of this season have shown that the Purple and Gold are desperately in need of a change, and there have been countless rumors about what they could do to improve.  What I’m about to suggest may make me one of the most unpopular Laker fans around…but I’m alright with that.

I know there are dozens of reasons why this would never even have a chance of happening, but I honestly think the best move the Lakers could make would be to trade…

…Kobe Bryant.

I know, I know.  Kobe has meant so much to this franchise, and I understand that most people would consider this kind of suggestion pure blasphemy.  I know the chances of Kobe getting traded are less than 0%, so we don’t even need to get into the unrealistic logistics of the situation.  My argument is purely theoretical.  Hear me out…

With the level of talent on the Lakers’ roster right now…just between Kobe, Pau, and Bynum…they should be beating just about every team in the league.  However, because of the selfish play of Kobe, the two extremely talented 7-footers are vastly underutilized.  The Black Mamba has finally started to defer to Bynum more, but only for short spurts.  After Bynum gets a few touches in a row, Kobe reverts back to the typical Bryant, dribbling, and spinning, and flopping, and complaining.  Kobe is undoubtedly one of the greatest players of all time, but personally, I’m getting tired of him.

Kobe ended the Christmas day collapse to the Bulls by trying to shoot over three defenders. Instead of finding the open Pau Gasol, he had his shot blocked as time expired (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Even if the Lakers did pull off a trade that landed them Dwight Howard or some other superstar, the newcomer’s value would take a tremendous hit, because like Andrew Bynum, they wouldn’t get enough looks.  If Dwight Howard was teamed with Bryant, he would have to do all of his scoring off of offensive rebounds.  Sure, that is one of the best parts of Howard’s game, but a guy like that needs to be fed the ball.  I can just see Kobe and Dwight on a two-on-one fastbreak, with Dwight pointing for Kobe to throw him an easy lob.  Instead of giving it up, Kobe tries to take it himself, gets fouled hard, lands on his wrist, and comes up grimacing.  Sound familiar?

And what if the Lakers traded for a top-notch point guard who needed the ball in his hands?  How long would it be before Kobe got tired of not leading the team in “Minutes with the ball in hand” per game?  They really should start keeping track of that stat.

Think about what the Lakers could do if some team in need of a legitimate scorer was willing to give up a couple younger pieces.  If the Lakers were able to pair Bynum and Gasol with a few other solid parts, they could be dangerous.  Maybe if the Lakers were able to convince some contender that Kobe could put them over the top, they could get back some serious talent to help lead them into the next era of Laker basketball.

I fully understand what Kobe means to Los Angeles and the Lakers, as well as the fans, but looking at the current situation, I really believe this would be the best move for the Lakers going forward.  Yes, Kobe is the ultimate Laker, has been the face of the franchise, and has led the team to multiple championships, but all good things must come to an end.  Unfortunately for the Lakers, the good times with Kobe Bryant in control might be a thing of the past.

This look is getting old in L.A.



Jan 6 2012

Tebow’s Final Hail Mary

Reports out of Denver are saying that the Broncos could bench the Holy Boy if he struggles against the Steelers in this weekend’s playoff matchup.  What exactly does that mean?  It means there is about a 70% chance that Brady Quinn is going to start the second half Sunday afternoon.  Denver is already looking for a reason to find a new quarterback to anchor the team into the future, and this move makes it obvious.  If Tim Tebow really was the guy the Broncos wanted to build around, they wouldn’t inject him with doubts before the biggest game of his life.

So, could this be the last time Tim Tebow puts on the blue and orange and runs for his life as the quarterback of the Broncos?  Fans in Denver cried, begged, and pleaded for John Fox to play Tebow, and now that they have seen what he can do, they might be on their knees praying for a new savior…One who can throw a spiral.

Tebow better pray for something miraculous to happen against the best defense in the NFL (Photo by Getty Images)

Jan 4 2012

Flynn-ishing The Season In Style

The Green Bay Packers may have a problem on their hands, but it has nothing to do with the upcoming playoffs.  After backup quarterback Matt Flynn’s record-setting performance on Sunday, resigning Aaron Rodgers Jr. might not be as easy as originally planned.  For the teams that strike out in the draft, Flynn may be the next best option.

Matt Flynn has shown tremendous potential in limited action with the Packers (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Ok, so calling it a problem may not be completely accurate, but at the very least, it’s a dilemma.  Matt Flynn may not be Dan Marino, but in limited time, he looks like the kind of backup Matt Schaub was in Atlanta before the Falcons dealt him to the Texans for a couple second-round picks.  Schaub didn’t put up record-setting numbers like Flynn has, but it was always believed that he could step in at any moment to lead Atlanta to victory.

Green Bay has to decide how strong of an insurance plan they want for Aaron Rodgers.  It can’t get too much better than having a backup who is capable of setting team records for passing yards and touchdowns, on a team that has featured some of the best passers in history.  I’m not saying that Matt Flynn is or will be one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but putting up numbers like that, even for one game, will get the attention of teams in need of a spark under center.  You can bet that teams like Washington, Cleveland, and Seattle would be willing to shell out some decent money to acquire the soon-to-be free agent, banking on the hope that his success as a backup will translate to wins as a starter.

So what should the Packers do?  Should they resign Flynn and hope they never have to play him?  Should they resign him and trade him for picks and/or players to help strengthen their defense?  Should they let him walk and pursue a cheaper veteran?

Green Bay will have to ask all of these questions in the offseason.  For now, they have more important things to deal with…Playoffs.

What uniform do you think Matt Flynn will be wearing when the 2012 season starts?

Jan 1 2012

It All Comes Down To This

For a lot of NFL teams (And me), Week 17 is about finishing the season on a high note.  I’m hoping I can finish the regular season off with a bang, boosting my momentum heading into next year.

Due to New Years celebrations, I’m lucky to get this in on time!  Here are the picks…


Lions 34 – Packers 21

49ers 21 – Rams 17

New York Jets 28 – Dolphins 24

Vikings 27 – Bears 14

Patriots 42 – Bills 21

We'll have to see just how much Kyle Orton hates Tim Tebow and the Broncos

Saints  38 – Panthers 28

Eagles 35 – Redskins 17

Colts 24 – Jaguars 21

Texans 21 – Titans 17

Falcons 31 – Buccaneers 10

Ravens 28 – Bengals 24

Steelers 33 – Browns 14

Chiefs 24 – Broncos 23

Chargers 17 – Raiders 14

Seahawks 28 – Cardinals 16

New York Giants 31 – Cowboys 28


I’ll be back for a wrap-up of the regular season.  Happy New Year!



Dec 29 2011

National Disaster

I have been following professional baseball for about 15 years now, and ever since I can remember, the Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos have stunk.  Not just like…Oh, if they come together and play well, they could make a nice little run.  With the Washington Nationals, it’s more like…Dude! Did you see that?  The Nats won three straight!

A lot of MLB teams suck (Not gonna bring the Dodgers into this…they have enough problems to deal with without a huge fan bringing them down), but the Nationals suck on a different level.  Here’s the thing about Washington…

The Washington Nationals’ front office operates like they are a team that is one piece away from winning the World Series.  Just about every year, the Nationals (Supposedly) kick the tires on the biggest, most expensive free agents on the market.  When they actually get a guy to commit to jumping on their crapwagon, it’s only because they have agreed to overpay him so drastically, that there’s no way the player could ever live up to their expectations (See Werth, Jayson).

After one season in Washington, the Jayson Werth signing has been another swing and a miss for the Nationals (Photo by Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press)

This past season, the Washington Gener…I mean Nationals were actually decent, finishing the season 80 up and 81 down (1 rainout never ended up getting played because the outcome was irrelevant, since both teams couldn’t even tell which direction the playoffs were.  Fittingly, the other team in that rainout was the Dodgers).  However, a “decent” finish wouldn’t typically warrant trading away FOUR prospects for a “decent” starting pitcher, which the Washington Nationals did just about a week ago.  Those four prospects might not be the most highly regarded prospects of all time, but who knows what they could turn into?

I get the fact that Gio Gonzalez is an above average starting pitcher, but what is he really going to bring to a team like the Nationals?  If I had to guess, I would say something similar to what he brought to Oakland…3rd place.  Oh yeah, the Nats already got that last year…

I’m not a baseball executive.  I don’t get paid to manage a team or make million-dollar decisions.  But as someone who follows the game closely and tries to make sense of everything that happens, I just don’t get it.  I understand how important it is to put together a quality team to get butts in the seats, but at what cost?  It seems like every year the Washington Nationals spend money and make moves like they are a team on the brink of greatness, when in reality they are only on the verge of mediocrity.

I'm sorry, Gio, you just aren't worth four guys with upside.

Dec 24 2011

Tis’ The Season

With the holiday season in full swing, the sports world is providing fans with gifts all weekend.  NFL teams are pushing for playoff spots Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, the NBA season tips off Sunday with a slew of marquee matchups, and crazy people are risking their lives for the new Air Jordan sneakers (Just search Youtube for ‘Jordan Concord fight’).

I don't even think the new Jordans are all that great, but that's irrelevant


10-6 last weekend meant I had to step off the pedestal and take a seat back in mediocre-ville.  145 – 79 through 15 weeks still puts me ahead of most of the high-profile experts, but then again, I don’t have to deal with the pressure of receiving death threats from some guy who lost $10,000 in Vegas because he bet the house on my predictions.


Game of the Week – Battle: New York

New York Giants at New York Jets

These two teams aren’t having the types of seasons they anticipated, but this game will be nothing less than must-see material.  The battle for New York supremacy has begun, with trash talk headlining the days leading up to the big game.  One coach loves to yap while the other refuses to partake in the war of the words.  Both of these teams know that no matter what tactics they choose to deploy, this matchup will go down as the most important game they play this season.  Despite not living up to their respective expectations, both the Giants and the Jets are still in the playoff hunt, and the loser will be facing an uphill battleWith the season on the line, expect a phenomenal game that won’t be decided until the final seconds.

My Pick: Giants 24 – Jets 23

Rex Ryan mid-sentence? Shocking (Photo by Ed Murray/The Star-Ledger)



Yup, he's still talking...










The rest of my Week 16 predictions:

Broncos 27 – Bills 21

Bengals 21 – Cardinals 10

Jaguars 17 – Titans 14

Raiders 24 – Chiefs 14

Patriots 38 – Dolphins 24

Steelers 27 – Rams 9

Vikings 17 – Redskins 14

Panthers 30 – Buccaneers 17

Ravens 28 – Browns 10

Lions 33 – Chargers 21

Eagles 35 – Cowboys 32

49ers 17 – Seahawks 13

Packers 28 – Bears 16

Saints 35 – Falcons 27

It's OK, Tom, you really are allowed to speak. I promise.Bonus NBA predictions:

Bonus NBA picks:

Knicks over Celtics, Heat over Mavericks, Lakers over Bulls (Yeah, yeah, I know), Thunder over Magic, and Clippers over Warriors.  The Clippers made some improvements or something this offseason?  That’s the word around town.

Dec 22 2011

Two In A Row?

Houston at Indianapolis

Can the Colts actually win back-to-back games?  To put it simply…No.  Indy’s magical “Run to One” will come to an end tonight, when the 1-13 Colts host the playoff-bound Texans.  Arian Foster continues to show that he is one of the best backs in the NFL, and this matchup shouldn’t slow him down.  Houston comes in averaging over 150 rushing yards per game, and the Colts give up nearly 140.  Translation: Big day for the Texans’ ground game.  Besides, with the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft well within reach, Indy has little to gain by winning this game.

With a much-improved Texans’ defense and an underwhelming Colts’ offense, this game really shouldn’t be close.  Then again, this IS the NFL…

My Pick: Texans 35 – Colts 10

If the Texans hope to make any noise in the postseason, they will have to ride Foster and, well, this guy...Quarterback TJ Yates (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Dec 21 2011

The Great One

No, I’m not talking about Tim Tebow.

My personalized Wayne Gretzky picture

See?  I was meant to be a hockey fan!