Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

It’s only Wednesday, but there has been enough big news in the past three days to fill a year’s worth of offseason headlines. Let’s quickly run through everything that’s happened and get up to speed.

Peyton Manning Signs with the NFL’s Other Horse-Themed Team

The free agent frenzy for Peyton Manning was suitably intense, but thankfully it was also brief. Even though it was reported that the Dolphins, Titans, 49ers and Cardinals were all interested in him, the future Hall of Famer ultimately chose to sign on the dotted line with the Denver Broncos. It was a shrewd move by Peyton, eschewing the idea of a warm homecoming in Tennessee to join a team that has a real chance to contend for a title right away. Last year Denver had the league’s most effective rushing attack, which will be worth its weight in gold when Manning runs his famed play action plays. Also, the Broncos’ defense kept them in a lot of games last year, and now that the team has a QB who can put points on the board in a hurry they should be feasting on opposing teams in a fairly weak AFC West. And hey, the air is thin in Denver, so maybe it doesn’t matter if Peyton has lost some arm strength. Obviously, now the question becomes what happens to Tim Tebow? Well it seems we know the answer to that as well…

The Tim Tebow Circus Sets Up Shop in the Media Capital of the World

News just broke this afternoon that the Broncos have traded Tebow to the NY Jets in exchange for a 4th round draft pick. From a football standpoint Tebow doesn’t offer a lot; aside from coming in for the occasional Wildcat play (remember when that was a thing?), he’s likely going to serve as a backup for made of glass Mark Sanchez. Of all the teams considering Tebow the Jets are the best fit, not because he can add to the team but because they’re about the only franchise that can deal with the ensuing media maelstrom and not really bat an eye. The Jets wanted the Tim Tebow brand, not necessarily the player, and now they can milk his Madison Avenue looks and intensely devoted fanbase for every penny they can.

Sean Payton Gets a Year to Work on His Golf Game 

The last bit of NFL craziness regards the “Bountygate” incident (god I hate it that we add “gate” to everything remotely scandalous), and the penalties are incredibly harsh. In addition to a loss of draft picks and fines Commissioner Roger Goodell has decreed that New Orleans head coach Sean Payton will be suspended for the entire 2012 season. Defensive coordinator Greg Williams, who served as the head of the bounty program, is out indefinitely and should probably start looking for another line of work. Payton previously admitted to knowing about the Williams-led bounty program and openly stated he didn’t do enough to stop it. His decision to take “full responsibility” for what happened meant Goodell had a pretty simple task in front of him, but banning Payton from the league for a full year is still a bit shocking. We’ll see what happens to the Saints when they lose their head coach and offensive play caller for a season.

Whew, crazy week. Isn’t there some sort of draft coming up soon too?

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First off, apologies for getting this post up so late in the week. It’s been very busy lately, so I’ve been hard-pressed to get this post done. Rest assured though that I am still in the challenge and have no intentions of stopping now!

Courtesy of Fox

Week 3 Day 1: Run 1.5 minutes, walk 1.5 minutes; run 3 minutes, walk 3 minutes x2

This week the program actually takes a bit of  a step back, as even though I’m running the same cumulative amount of time the workouts are actually a bit shorter due to the reduced reps. It’s too bad I didn’t realize this on the first run of the week, because I went back to the big lake and was done exercising after about 1.75 miles. That left me with another full mile to walk and then some, so I vastly overestimated the workout. Sadly the only other viable jogging option I have is running around my apartment complex, and that’s considerably less fun.

Week 3 Day 2: Same routine

Today was not going to be a fun day; Barbara had a sore knee and I slightly strained a hamstring so both of us are hurting. We opted to run around our apartment complex, and as I predicted it was not fun. Between the different route and the pain in my leg my mile splits were way off from the week before, and I’m not very happy with how the week is going so far. Barbara managed to complete the run but her knee wasn’t feeling great afterwards.

Week 3 Day 3: Same routine

It’s too bad we had such a bad jog around the apartment complex Thurs because we’re going to be forced to run it again today. The entire lake we’ve been running at was closed all weekend for a yachting regatta (the 1% ruin it for the rest of us yet again), so we were stuck. I had another slow day and even though Barbara’s knee is feeling a bit better it still wasn’t great. The important thing is we made it through the week, so that’s a win.

The takeaway here is I run like a girl.

Overall I have to admit that this was a rather disappointing week, but I suppose you’ll have that from time to time. The next batch of runs are a bit longer and feel more like actual distance training, so I’m looking forward to putting these short, slow runs behind me. Also, we can head back to the lake next week, which will help out quite a bit in terms of pacing and just generally keeping things interesting. If anyone else is out there participating in the program know that it’s ok to have a week where things feel a bit off, just keep after it and it’ll improve.

Last week the site didn’t get a whole lot of updates due to some pretty crazy stuff going on with my schedule. Even though I didn’t have time to write, I did have time to run, so here’s the Week 2 recap of the Couch to 5K Challenge.

Week 2, Day 1: 1.5 minutes running, 2 minutes walking x6

This week the program added 30 extra seconds of jogging time, but also tacked on an equal amount of walking. When it’s all said and done there was an additional minute of running time compared to last week, and I definitely felt it. I didn’t really change my pacing any from Week 1, and the three-day layoff (I’m not supposed to run Sun or Mon), coupled with the added time turned into a recipe for burning lungs. As I wrapped up the last run I was wiped out, but I’m hoping that it gets easier as the week progresses.

Week 2, Day 2: Same routine

I screwed up right out of the gate today. The wife and I were talking as we did the five-minute warmup walk and we both totally missed the cue to start running. At what should have been the 45 second mark the cheery English lady piped in for me to keep it up, and suddenly I broke into a somewhat ashamed trot. I tried to make up for lost time by running a little longer during the first leg and starting a bit earlier for the second, but I have no idea if I properly made up the missing time. Looking back I should have just restarted the program for the day, but I’m a little late with that solution. Also, a change of venue with more sharp turns led to a shorter than average run, so overall I’m kind of disappointed with how today went. Even though I finished, I could have done much better.

Week 2, Day 3: Same routine

It’s the last day of running this week and I’m determined to come out strong. Unfortunately, nature hates me and greets me with a stiff headwind that I’m going to have to run straight into for pretty much the duration of my jog. There’s really no way to avoid the wind, so I’m just going to make a game out of it. I’m determined to keep my normal mile pace while facing the wind, even though that means I’m going to have to push a little harder. I manage the first mile only one second off my pace, and I actually run the second mile a little faster than normal. I assume it’s because the breeze has slacked off but I haven’t really slowed down. The other big reason is because my wife, who typically drops behind after a couple legs of the run, managed to keep pace with me for the duration, so having her there right alongside pushed me to keep up the pace.

 

Next week things get a bit tougher, as the amount of time per run doubles even though the total overall running time stays the same. I’m going to have to set a more deliberate pace, which has always been one of my weakest points when jogging. Up to this point I’ve been able to have a short-term runner’s mentality, running fairly fast because I know the distance is short. Now I have to change my thinking and begin to plan for longer, sustained runs. It’s going to be tricky, but I won’t know if I can do it until I try.

Anyone else out there getting involved with the program? I’d love to hear how things are going for you.

Like most everyone, I struggle to get myself and shape and stick with a program once I get started. Every summer I train myself up for football season with jogging and some light weight training, but nearly every year once the offseason starts I slack off and do mostly nothing save a few fits and spurts when I feel particularly schlubby. I fully realized that I needed a program that I could stick to that would force me to exercise long-term, but could never find a program I liked and had no interest in paying a trainer to tell me that I need to workout more. In short, I was doomed to eternally chase my proverbial tail, but even that was more exercise than I was regularly getting.

Things have taken a nice turn though as last week I seized on a blog post from my good chum Pete Davison about how he was using a game he recently played to spur himself to attempt the Couch to 5K Challenge. The quick and dirty is that you basically build up from jogging a minute at a time to a full 30 minutes over a 9 week span. It won’t get me into a marathon, but if  you can keep a decent pace for 30 solid minutes you’ll burn quite a few calories indeed. I decided to join Pete in his endeavor, and recruited my wife to experience the fun as well. I realize that accountability is a big part of the program, so I’m going to provide a weekly post detailing my progress and hopefully serve as at least a small point of inspiration for anyone else who wants to try the challenge for themselves. And if you’re thinking about jumping in I strongly encourage it! Pete and I post all our runs on Twitter and are constantly shouting encouragement back and forth, so we’d love for anyone else who’s interested to be a part of our little runners’ camp.

Starting Weight: 202lbs

Week 1, Day 1 (Feb 14) – Eight 1 minute runs, with 1.5 minutes of walking between each.

I came into the program pretty confident, as I’m used to running a fair amount of distance for football and can usually still run around 2 miles without stopping during the offseason. Still, I was a bit nervous since it had been a few weeks since my last run, and I didn’t know how much cardio I had lost. The runs went well, I jogged around our apartment complex and for the most part felt pretty good. I started to wane on the last 2-3 runs, but I think that was more an issue of pacing than not having the ability. I’ll slow down a bit next time.

Week 1, Day 2  (Feb 16)- Same workout routine as before

The pace adjustment worked wonders, and even though I ended my run winded, I didn’t feel as exhausted as I did after the first day. I’m going to need a change of scenery soon, as running around the apartment is going to get old in a hurry.

Wait, this doesn't seem like the right kind of runner...

Week 1, Day 3 (Feb 18)- Same workout routine as before

Wife suggested we jog around the big lake downtown today, which is just the ticket to breaking out of looking at the same buildings and sidewalks every single day. Also, the lake has a paved running trail circling all the way around, so it’s an incredibly smooth run. The new surroundings worked wonders, as it felt like time just flew by and the workout was over before I even realized it. The only downside to the lake run is that there are a lot of other folks down there, most of them in much better shape and doing much more strenuous exercises. I feel a little self-conscious around them, but it passes quickly as I remind myself that they’re more concerned about their run than little ol’ me, and if I keep up the program I’ll eventually be running right alongside them anyway, and that gives me confidence.

All in all Week 1 wasn’t too bad, but later today I start Week 2 where the runs get a little longer and the distance grows a bit. Still, I’m looking forward to it and find myself actually enjoying running for the first time ever. If you’re thinking of joining in the Challenge and have a smartphone then I recommend this app, as it’s the one I’m using to track my progress. If you don’t like it then there are plenty of other options out there, just search “Couch to 5K” in iTunes and you’ll get plenty of results. Look forward to next week’s wrap-up, assuming of course I don’t keel over and die out there.

In my career I’ve had the privilege of working with the fine folks at WorthPlaying.com for a number of years. I’ve reviewed numerous games for the site and continue to do as much as possible to help them out. In return, they’ve graciously allowed me to post excerpts of my reviews on the blog. So, enjoy this snippet from my review of UFC Undisputed 3, and click here to see the full review.

“Even though THQ has been through a bit of turmoil recently, perhaps one of the smartest things the company did was snap up an exclusive UFC license just as the mixed martial arts (MMA) league was beginning to explode in popularity. Over the last few years, THQ has been hard at work trying to bring the excitement and unpredictability of the Octagon to consoles, and with Undisputed 3, it’s provided the closest recreation yet. While the game isn’t a huge leap forward in any particular area, it does represent baby steps of improvement for the series.

“The most significant addition to Undisputed 3 is the inclusion of the PRIDE Fighting Championships. Japan’s dominant kickboxing league was bought out by the UFC fairly recently, but until now, it has never appeared in a game. That’s all changed, as Undisputed 3 showcases PRIDE in all its glory, complete with the full fighter roster, outrageous entrances, original announcers and, of course, special rule sets. Fighting purists will cheer the inclusion of PRIDE’s more brutal rules, including series first such as face stomps, soccer kicks and knees to the head of a downed opponent. Also, whereas UFC fights often focus on grappling, wrestling and submissions, PRIDE has always primarily been a stand-up fighting organization, so punches and kicks come as the order of the day. Kudos to the development team for so thoroughly and seamlessly implementing an entire second league into this year’s game.”

 

Right this way to the full review!

Dear Mr. Manning and Mr. Irsay,

Throughout the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl and now basically every day in this young offseason a familiar refrain has been sounding from all corners of the media world…

The Colts are going to cut Peyton Manning.

I understand that no final decisions have been made and the two of you have much more to discuss before the March 8 roster bonus comes due, but let me cut straight to the heart of the issue and speak the words on the minds of every true blue Colts fan, do not do this.

We all understand that there are questions about Manning’s health, performance abilities and his salary, but it seems that rather than negotiating each side is starting to dig in their heels and prepare for a messy divorce. This is the worst possible outcome and one which will only serve to tarnish the image of the team, its owner and its star player. So let’s just slow down and think this through.

The most pressing issue seems to be the $26 million roster bonus due on March 8. The main issue here is that there’s really no way to know if Manning will be ready to play in time for the regular season by that date. Even though the recovery and rehab is going well, there are still a lot of unknowns on the road ahead. So, with that in mind why don’t the two of you work together to remove this artificial obstacle? What if the roster bonus is suspended with the provision that Manning receives every penny of it if he’s medically eligible to play come the regular season? And Peyton, before you get huffy about not getting the money owed to you, please remember the stack of cash you got last year to stand on the sidelines in a polo shirt while the team you built was falling all over themselves in failure out on the field. Please understand that you owe the fans and the team a little recompense for the debacle that was last year’s season.

Of course there’s also the issue of Andrew Luck and the Colts #1 overall draft pick. In this case the simplest solution really is best, as the Colts should go ahead and draft Luck as planned and sit him behind Manning for a few years as he learns the pro game. Regardless of how good Luck may be no one is ready to play in the NFL right out of college, and there’s absolutely no reason to believe Luck will be even an above average NFL quarterback. Remember how we were all supposed to be counting the rings guys like Matt Schaub, Vince Young and Matt Leinart had by now? Yeah, last I checked that number was the same for all of them and you didn’t even need any fingers to count that high. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and anoint Luck just yet, but if you let him learn from Manning, the greatest mind on the field of this generation, then imagine what he could be by the time Manning retires and Luck is truly ready to play.

Gentlemen, let’s be honest, you owe each other too much to let it end this way. Peyton, Irsay and the Colts drafted you with the #1 overall pick and there were boos because lesser minds thought they should have taken Ryan Leaf. Your rookie season didn’t prove anyone wrong, but the team stuck by you throughout and now look at the result. Jim, rather than being featured in magazines and becoming a minor Twitter celebrity without Manning you would probably be presiding over a perennial dud, and you might not even still be owner of a team the NFL would have moved to Los Angeles when Indy refused to build a new stadium for a bunch of bums.

Look, the truth of the matter is you two made each other, and now it’s time to show a little loyalty not just too yourselves, but to the fans who love this team more than words can express. Let’s go for one more ride and see if we can’t win another ring or two along the way, and when it’s all over Peyton can enter Canton with a horseshoe on his helmet and one team’s name on his bust. Then looking back we can all laugh about the offseason when we thought Peyton was leaving as we tune in to watch Andrew Luck lead the team in a whole new generation of success.

Sincerely,

The Colts Herd

In case you didn’t watch last nights Bulls – Hornets game (and there’s little chance you did), you missed out on a pretty hilarious moment. Will Ferrell showed up to do the starting lineups for both teams and the results are pure comedy gold. Have a look at the video and enjoy.