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Sports | jonmower.com

Sports

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Detroit Tigers

Tigers.jpgI don't really pay attention to baseball, but who could ignore the Tiger's end-of-the-season collapse or their superb performance in the playoffs. Grampa B's interest sparked the same in Elliot, so we watched the games Friday and Saturday. I actually thought about trying to get World Series tickets. It would be fun but cold.

Fantasy Football Week 6

Tralfaz finally got back on track this week and evened our record at 3-3. Shockey, Steve Smith, and others came through big time and helped me upset the fantasy sports juggernaut that is GKB despite LT's amazing fantasy performance (GKB could have defeated me had he foreseen his optimum line-up...I had my optimum line-up by default because all of my bench players were either inactive, on a bye week, or facing the Chicago Bears defense on Monday night). Thankfully, I've already got my whipping by Woo Pig! (the elite of the Blogger Bowl league), but next week I get H-Town Hawgmollies who may be 5 and 1 by then. Elliot enjoys keeping track of the the fantasy results (yes, I paid for StatTracker). Today he said he wants a team of his own next year. And, of course, we thoroughly enjoyed the change in fortune for the Steelers this week, especially when viewed in HD at Grampa B's house!

Fantasy Football Week 5

The streak continued as I picked up my third consecutive loss this week, 68 to 63. It seems I'm whining every week about what could have been. I'm sure Scott F. can make his own list of many points that should have been (for example, Matt Jones-Drew scoring twice while he had him on the bench). It was kind of annoying, though, when I noticed that 3 of the 9 "Bad Breaks for Week 5" that Ladd Biro listed had happened to me:

  • Chester Taylor, RB, Vikings. Three carries from inside the Lions' 7 were stopped at the 1.
  • Steve Smith, WR, Panthers. Dropped a sure TD catch in the end zone, and later took a 20-yard reception to the 1.
  • L.J. Smith, TE, Eagles. Tackled at the 1 after a 60-yard completion. Then botched the next pass for a TD.

Any one of those could have given me the victory. I also achieved another new low. More than once I've had a player score zero (like the couple times I've started inactive players), but this week I actually had a player finish with negative points (-0.19, Kevin Faulk, -1 rushing yards, 15 return yards, 1 fumble lost). And my kicker (Jonathan Hall) scored a lousy 3 points while Scott's scored 19.

Quarterback

On Saturday Grandpa B, the boys, and I went to the Northwood Auto Show and also saw the end of the Northwood football game. Earlier in the week, Finn had received a letter from one of the Timberwolves' back-up quarterbacks (number 6, junior Eric Chrisinske) as part of the Timberwolves Kids Club. Finn was VERY excited to receive a letter from a quarterback. Well, after the game today, we went down on the field and met Eric. The boys had their picture taken with him. The later afternoon was spent watching the Tigers on TV with Grandpa B. The Tigers eliminated the Yankees! Tomorrow is the quarterly business meeting at church, so I spent a bunch of time today putting together the treasurer's report. Tonight, we watched the Vols whip the Bullodogs.

Here are some photos:

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Wheeler Road Soccer Showdown

Today was the big soccer game: Elliot's team played David's (a friend from church). Elliot's friend Justin was on the other team too. The Kickin' Chickens won 5-3, and Elliot scored twice. Several folks from Wheeler Road came to watch the game. Here are some photos:

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Kenny Perry

The recent news stories about the death of Byron Nelson reminded me of another coC/golf connection: Kenny Perry. I had heard a little bit about it from my brother-in-law who works at Lipscomb, so I did a bit of research (and edited my first Wikipedia entry). From Wikipedia:

Perry was born in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. He attended Western Kentucky University and turned professional in 1982. He failed in his first two attempts to qualify for the PGA Tour at Q-school (Qualifying school). He missed by 1 stroke one year and received word that his wife had gone into labor during the fourth round the next year. In 1985 a Franklin, Kentucky businessman and Lipscomb University graduate loaned him $5000 for a last shot at Q-school. Rather than repay the loan, he was asked to give a percentage of his tour earnings to Lipscomb University if he qualified. He tied for 40th at Q-school, earning his card with a two-shot cushion. Perry and his benefactor agreed on 5 percent, and he has maintained that commitment to the university ever since in the form of a scholarship for residents of Simpson County, Kentucky. In his first few seasons he found it a struggle to retain his qualified status, but he attained his first win in 1991 at the Memorial Tournament. Two more wins followed in the mid 1990s, another in 2001, and three victories in 2003. He was in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings for a short time. Perry won in 2005 at the Bay Hill Invitational and the Bank of America Colonial. In 2006 he became the tenth man to reach US$20 million in PGA Tour career earnings in addition to taking an 8-week break from the tour to recover from knee surgery.

He is a deacon in the Franklin, Kentucky, Church of Christ.

For N.F.L., Crowd Noise Is a Headache

From an article of the same title by John Branch in the NY Times:

The league has long had an uneasy relationship with crowd noise, and may soon embark on its latest quest to overcome it — not by hushing fans, but by allowing visiting players the benefit of a helmet-to-helmet wireless communication system...

With no reasonable way to curb enthusiasm without appearing stodgy, Roger Goodell, the new N.F.L. commissioner, is floating another idea: placing microphones in quarterbacks' helmets and speakers in the helmets of other offensive players, so that play calls and snap counts can be heard despite the din. Quarterbacks now have earpieces that allow them to hear coaches, but the transmission is cut with 15 seconds left on the play clock.

Goodell said he believed that noise should lift a defense, not interrupt an offense. He said he did not want to hush the crowd, just limit its impact.

"That's what our game is about: our athletes and coaches playing at the highest possible level and being able to execute their game plans," Goodell said Sept. 6, during his first news conference after succeeding Paul Tagliabue.

"To some extent right now, I think we are hindering that a little bit, because they come into an opposing stadium and they are not able to put the full offense in, they are not able to run plays in, they are not able to change the plays at the line of scrimmage."

Never Punting

From an article of the same title by Jason Scheib on Football Outsiders:

When a football team fails to convert on third down, it usually punts. And when it punts, it is turning the ball over to the other team. So why isn't a punt considered a turnover, just like an interception or fumble?

I started with this simple idea and began exploring it as far and in as many different directions as it would take me. Over time, it has grown into a theory that redefines a turnover and uses this new definition to see what a team can do to improve their net turnovers and win more games. This theory presents two significant implications:

  • A team would win more games if they never punted, and
  • A team that never punts would not just be employing a different strategy but would approach the game in a fundamentally different way, which would further add to their success.

This is not about taking more risks and punting less often. That could cost you games depending on when you decided to punt and when you decided not to. The key is to never punt. Never punting takes away the risk because it allows the averages to work in your favor. It also opens you up to different play calling opportunities, primarily on third down. The two go together and are dependent on each other in order to make this work...

Everybody knows that in football you have four downs to gain 10 yards or you lose control of the ball. But everybody approaches football as if you only have three downs to gain 10 yards or — most of the time — you punt. There may be exceptions to that when a team gets close to the end zone, but in general that is the primary approach. Think about that. Convention says that you are better off punting. And maybe that's true if you approach the game as if you only have three downs. The difference is mindset.

That's the difference between saying you should be more aggressive and punt less often, depending on the situation, and saying that you should not punt at all. The first statement is based upon still approaching the game with a three down mindset. The second statement is based on approaching the game with a four down mindset.

So what exactly is four down mindset? It means you look at EVERY first-and-10 as if you have four tries for a first down instead of three. After all, the rules of the game say you have four tries.

How does this affect strategy? Well, primarily it affects what you do on third down. On third down, instead of having the mindset that you need to convert or the punting unit comes in, you have the mindset that all you need to do is get closer to the first down marker so as to put you in a better position to convert on fourth down.

The article contains a ton of statistics and analysis and makes an interesting argument.

Soccer Week Four

Grandma and Grandpa Moore are in town this weekend, and Lisa is out of town at a church ladies' retreat. Elliot's soccer game this afternoon was in 50 deg F and rainy weather. After losing the first two games and tying the third, the Kickin' Chickens (in the rain today, they were known as the Ducks) finally won one today. 5 to 0. Elliot scored three goals!

Byron Nelson Dies

From an article titled "Legendary golfer Byron Nelson, a faithful church member, dies at 94" from The Christian Chronicle:

Legendary golfer Byron Nelson, a lifelong Church of Christ member known as much for his gentlemanly conduct as his 52 PGA Tour victories, died today at age 94.

Nelson died at his Roanoke, Texas, home early this afternoon, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner.

"We've lost a great man today," Abilene Christian University President Royce Money said of Nelson, a former ACU trustee who long supported the university's golf program. "Byron Nelson was a wonderful Christian example whose life had a profound and lasting impact on everyone he met."

Nicknamed "Lord Byron," Nelson established one of the most enduring records in sports when he won 11 straight tournaments — and a total of 18 — in his remarkable 1945 season.

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