How to Survive Super Bowl Week Part 3

So here we are, Super Bowl week Friday. Only two days until the big game. Let’s review a few things. You are still looking at the Super Bowl Box Pool “magic” paper copy on your desk. You are planning your outing Saturday morning to the big box store warehouse and you have your “cool” Super Bowl outfit picked out for Sunday. Remember you and Patrick’s sister-in-law can’t show up before 6pm. Now I know that means you might not get a prime seat on the couch in front of Pat’s 60 incher, but don’t worry,you’ll just slide over when all your former Sports Nerd friends leave at half-time. Here’s a new one for the list. Singles and five dollar bills. No, your not going to a strip joint during halftime (have you ever?). You need a few extra bucks in your pockets to make some fun “side” bets with your new found football friends.

We never really finished up learning about the SBBP from Part 1 so here goes. You will neatly fold up your “magic” paper copy that you highlighted in yellow and bring it with you on Sunday. Make sure you know your “magic” numbers. As an example you have Cardinals 7 and Steelers 3 for one of your THREE boxes you bought from Hank. You only need to look at your numbers near the end of each quarter. As a review you bought a $10 box in a 100 box pool so the entire pool is worth $1,000. Let’s play a little “what if” now. At the end of the first quarter Arizona leads Pittsburgh 7-3. You win that quarter. That’s $125 bucks in your right front pocket on Monday morning. At halftime it’s Pittsburgh 13 – Arizona 7. You win again. Remember there is no 13 on the SBBP so you look under the 3 for Pittsburgh. Another $250 for your right front pocket on Monday. By now Pat’s sister-in-law and his hot wife are really proud of you and they squeeze in real close to you to watch Bruce Springsteenbruce-springsteen at half-time. All the Sports Nerds are saying there good-byes and the Sports Fans want to know how your going to spend that $375. Cut to the end of the third quarter and the Cardinals are back in front 17-13. You are the luckiest guy at the party and another $125 will find it’s way into your right front pocket early Monday morning (Do you remember how to get to the mail room?). By this time Pat’s sister-in-law is all over you. You can’t remember the last time she was crawling all over you like this. You are the hit of the party. $500 is a nice way to start the week. But wait, the final score is worth another $500. The fourth quarter is really exciting (you think) and both teams score and the game is tied at 27-27 as the fourth quarter is coming to the end. Now you’re really bummed because Hank from the mail room has 7 and 7 in the SBBP and he’s going to win the $500 for the final score. Just then Pat’s neighbor, who everybody calls Chickie (you never asked why) announces that this will be the first Super Bowl ever to go into Overtime. You freak out a little as the Sports Nerd in you re-appears for a few seconds, but you calm down and remember that Overtime means they keep playing the game. During the 14th Bud Light commercial between the fourth quarter and Overtime you get the courage to go over to speak to Chickie and ask him what happens if the Cardinals score a touchdown in overtime. You figured out that a touchdown is worth 6 points and that would give the Cardinals 33 and the Steelers 27. Your really concerned and confused when Chickie tells you that the extra point is not kicked during overtime and based upon the scenario you laid out the 500 bucks for the final score would be awarded to you and not Hank on Monday morning. A clean sweep of all 4 payouts, a thousand dollars and the admiration of everyone at work. You can’t wait! Remember I played a little “what if”, so don’t get all that excited yet.

OK Sports Guru, what’s the deal with the extra money I need to bring on Sunday. I spent lot’s of money on Saturday buying all that artery clogging crap you wrote about in Part 2 (yes I know it was hard to pass on the bread bowl filled with vegetable dip). Why do I need to spend more money? Pat never asked me to pay to go to his party before. You need money to bet on the “Prop” bets with all your new football friends. As you know, EVERYBODY bets on the Super Bowl. What you might have not known is that you can bet on almost anything that happens before, during and after the game. You can bet on the coin-flipsuperbowl-coin-toss. You can bet on how long the National Anthem takes to be sung. You can bet on the commercials. You can bet on what the announcer says. You can bet on what color tie the TV announcer wears. Heck you can even bet which teams cheerleaders will be shown the most http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Super-Bowl-prop-bets-the-most-fun-way-to-give-V?urn=nfl,136235.

So that’s it. The Sports Guru 3 part plan to Surviving Super Bowl Week. Just remember to be careful when the Sports Fans start to talk all sorts of numbers and stats to not break out in a cold sweat and tip them off your not really one of them. You see, they will toss you in the back yard with Pat’s dog so fast you won’t have the time to bet the over/under on how long you will locked outside with the dog………. The Sports Guru is taking the Cardinals and the 7 points that your brother-in-law Pat is giving me.

Here is a little YouTube video to help you get ready for the game on Sunday.

Enjoy the game.

Your Friend in Sports,

Dave the Sports Guru

How to Survive Super Bowl Week

When I started this blog last spring the main goal was to help Sports Nerds become more comfortable with sports. I realize that Super Bowl week might just be the worst week of the year for Sports Nerds. But have no fear, the Sports Guru has devised a 3 part plan to get you from the thumb sucking prenatal position to being the hit of Super Bowl Sunday.

For years now, Mary from the IT department and Hank from the mail room have passed by your cubicle during Super Bowl week Monday with a strange looking piece of paper. fooball-squares1

Since you have never stopped them, they walk right past you and down the hall to visit your co-worker Stan (rhymes with Sports Fan). Have you ever wondered about that “magic” piece of paper EVERYBODY else on your floor talks about all of Super Bowl week? The “magic” piece of paper is called the Super Bowl Box Pool. It is really nothing to be afraid of. Here is all you really need to know about the SBBP.

The paper is diveded into 100 boxes. Ten on the x-axis and ten on the y-axis (you are a math nerd also, correct?). What Mary or Hank wants from you is your name or initials in those boxes. Not all of them, just a few. It will cost you money to put your name or initials on the SBBP.

Lets do some quick math now. Using $10 as a base, each SBBP when fully completed will be worth $1,000 (100 boxes times $10 each). Some SBBP are more and some could be less, but the concept is the same. Base bet times 100.

Now here’s the fun part. When Hank walks by your cubicle this week, you need to yell out really loud, “Hank give me 3 boxes this year”. Since Hank has never stopped by your cubicle before, you might have to chase him down the hall. Don’t worry about that. Just be real loud and proud when you yell, “Hank give me 3 boxes this year” and hand over your $30. Exact change will endear you to Hank for at least a year.

So now you have given Hank your 30 bucks and he has picked up his jaw that dropped to the ground and has stopped staring at you like you spoke to him in Mandarin. What’s next on the path from Sports Nerd to Sports Fan? You boldly take your pen and write your name or initials in your 3 boxes. Spread out your boxes around the “magic” paper if you can. Be very careful to keep your marking in your own boxes, it is SBBP etiquette to not run into someone else’s box. At this point Hank will thank you, he will walk away muttering to himself and you have taken step one in your Super Bowl transformation. When you make your way back towards you cubicle make sure to yell real loud again “Thanks for the 3 boxes Hank”. When you do make it back to your cubicle, sit back in your chair and stare blankly at your computer monitor because you really have no idea on what you have just done. Don’t worry, Sports Guru Dave will now tell you more about the “magic” piece of paper.

After an unproductive 90 minutes of work, Mary and Hank made it back to the offices with a fully filled out SBBP and a thousand dollars.

I know what your thinking, “that’s how Hank goes on that fishing trip with his brother-in-law Roscoe every spring”. No, Hank is not ripping off his co-workers. Hank calls over his supervisor Tom to help him with the next step of the SBBP. While Hank has been walking the halls collecting ten bucks a box, Tom has been secretly preparing the next step of the SBBP. He has carefully folded and cut another piece of paper (not magic) into 10 squares. He writes the numbers 0 through 9, one digit on each of the 10 carefully folded and cut squares. He then places those paper squares in a lunch bag or hat. Anything that will protect those squares from being seen by human eyes. Depending on how much free time Tom and Hank have, or how complicated they want to make the next steps, they basically will randomly choose a piece of paper from the hat and write that number over the very first column (x-axis) on the SBBP. They proceed until all 10 numbers have been filled in across the top of the SBBP. They will do the same on the y-axis rows. The next step is critical, they will flip a coin and decide which axis will represent the Arizona Cardinals and which the Pittsburgh Steelers (you did remember they are playing in Super Bowl XLIII this Sunday in Tampa). At this point the SBBP is complete and more fun can happen.

I know, I know. You still have no clue what is going on. Hank will come back down the hall to give you a copy of the completed SBBP. football_pool-1 Remember, he never really stopped in your cubicle so be on the lookout for him with your copy. Hold the “magic” paper copy tightly in your two hands and look for your bold signatures in your 3 boxes (I know you were cheap and only bought one). Now take a yellow high-lighter and mark off your 3 boxes. Notice the numbers along the tops of the columns and along the rows. Mark off these numbers also. As an example your coordinates might look like Pittsburgh 6, Arizona 3 for box one. Pittsburgh 1, Arizona 2 for box two and Pittsburgh 8, Arizona 6 for your third box. These are your “numbers” You will need them for Sunday.

I could tell you more about your “numbers“, but since this is a 3 part plan you will need to wait until part 3 to learn how your “numbers” on the “magic” piece of paper copy will fill your pants pockets with cash next Monday morning. Now go find Mary or Hank, NOW………..

A quick follow-up to last Fridays blog https://sportsnerds.wordpress.com/2009/01/23/losing-builds-character/.

Miss Indiana was named Miss America for 2009, extending Miss Georgia’s not winning streak to 56 years. Miss America And the basketball coach at Covenant high school in Dallas has been fired for letting his team beat the Dallas Academy 100-0. http://sports.espn.go.com/highschool/rise/basketball/girls/news/story?id=3859935

Your Friend in Sports,

Dave the Sports Guru

Losing Builds Character

churchsign_loserThere is no way the Sports Guru is going to make you believe that losing builds character. Somebody as least as famous as me is given credit (I could not find who the brain surgeon was) for those three little words. All losing is, is not winning. Now doesn’t that sound better. What ever you want to call it, losing or not winning is what the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s (NJIT) mens college basketball team has been doing since beating Longwood on February 19th, 2007. 51 straight losses. That is until Wednesday night when the Highlanders defeated Bryant University 61-51 in Newark, NJ.

Here’s the good news. The 51 game losing streak would have been a NCAA Division I record for futility but because NJIT is what they call a reclassifying school (not three seasons at this division) the record is still held by Sacramento State who lost only 34 straight games from 1997 to 1999. 51 games is a longtime to not win. Since NJIT moved from Division II to Division I during the 2006-2007 they are now 6-71. They posted a 5-24 record during their first season, they were winless last season and are now 1-18 this year. Only one player, junior Dan Stonkus has endured all 51 of those losses. 51 is nothing compared to the all-time NCAA losing streak at any level – 117 games by Division III Rutgers – Camden that did not win from January 22, 1992 until January 9, 1997. That was nearly five years without a win.1138822644t-shirt-for-sayings6

The Sports Guru did a little digging and found that futility happens a lot in sports. Just by coincidence Wednesday night Clemson University visited the University of North Carolina for a mens basketball game. North Carolina won 94-70. It was the 54th straight home win for North Carolina against Clemson. Clemson has NEVER beaten North Carolina when they were the road team.

Next weekend the Arizona Cardinals will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII. The Cardinals as a franchise started in 1898 and are the oldest continuously run professional football team. They can claim one NFL championship in 1947 when they played in Chicago. They left Chicago after the 1959 season moving to St. Louis the next season and then Arizona for the 1988 season. That’s 61 years without a championship. Since 1947 they have been to the playoffs only six times with a total of five victories. Three of those five have come in this post season.images

It’s now 101 seasons since the Chicago Cubs last won the World Series. The Chicago Blackhawks last won the Stanley Cup in 1961. hall_miller_and_neva_jane_langley1Miss Georgia was last named Miss America in 1953 (Neva Jane Langley), a Collie has not won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show since 1929 (poor Lassie). NJ has not elected a Republican Senator since Clifford P Pace in 1972 ( I don’t want to hear from any of you who doubt the Sports Guru mention Nicholas F Brady).

So what is it about not winning (using winning is always better than saying losing) that builds character. Take the girls basketball team at Dallas Academy. Last week they lost to Covenant, a private Christian school in Dallas 100-0. The score was 59-0 at half-time and the girls from Covenant opened up the second half by using a full-court press. Dallas Academy has eight girls on it’s varsity and about 20 girls in its high school. It is winless over the last four seasons. They specialize in teaching students struggling with “learning differences” such as short attention or dyslexia. At their next practice some of the players said they were frustrated during the game but felt it was a learning opportunity (not sure what you learn from losing by a 100 points). Freshman Shelby Hyatt was quoted as saying “Even if you are losing, you might as well keep playing.” “Keep trying, and it’s going to be OK”. A bright spot on not winning by 100 is that Mark Cuban who owns the Dallas Mavericks has invited the girls from the Dallas Academy to see a Mavericks game from the owners suite later in the season. The losers here are the girls from Covenant and the coaching staff that ran up the score. They are now trying to do the right thing by seeking a forfeit and apologizing for the margin of victory.

Which now brings me to what happens when you finally win. Last Friday night the boys basketball team from Palisades High School in Kintnersville PA snapped their 85 game not winning streak by defeating Palmerton 45-35. The 85 game streak was the third longest streak in Pennsylvania history (state record is 88 by Mifflinburg) and lasted over five seasons. When the game ended the Pirates celebration was somewhat muted and given the circumstances, perfectly appropriate. Their coach Mike Viglianti embraced his players and whispered a few things to several of them. The last time the Pirates won was the last game of the 2004-2005 season. Here’s the weird twist. 6 of the boys on the basketball team were on the roster on Palisades District 11 Class AA championship football team.

So whether you call it losing or my coach speak of “not winning”, it happens a lot in the world of Sports and in life. If you don’t win, get over it. The sun will come out tomorrow (no Annie video will ever appear in a Sports Guru blog), you will have bills to pay when you get home and I’m still better looking than you….

Here’s a little YouTube video that will help get you through an entire weekend without football.

Your Friend in Sports,

Dave the Sports Guru

Where did Nate Washington play college football?

I already know what you are thinking, who is Nate Washington? was587797I promise I will get back to Nate a little bit further down the page. This weekend the NFL (National Football League) will have their two conference championship games. The AFC (American Football Conference) game will be between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh on Sunday evening at 6:30 pm EST and the NFC (National Football Conference) game will be in Arizona at 3 pm EST where the Philadelphia Eagles will face the Arizona Cardinals. The two winners will face each other in Super Bowl XLIII (43 for those who can’t read Roman numerals) on February 1st in Tampa Florida.

So what about our friend Nate? Nate Washington is a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He wears number 85 and during the regular season he caught 40 passes for 631 yards and three touchdowns. Last week in the Divisional playoffs against the San Diego Chargers he caught three passes for 30 yards. For those of you who are not impressed by those numbers or for those who are still struggling with XLIII, Nate had a very nice season for Pittsburgh. Nothing really special, but a very solid season.

So why did the Sports Guru use Nate as the subject to this article? Back to Nate in a little while. I went to www.nfl.com and downloaded the rosters for the four teams that play this weekend. Each team in the NFL can have 53 players on their active roster. 45 can dress on game day. The other eight are on the practice squad. So with some quick math, 212 players are eligible to suit up this weekend. 190 will get that chance. Also on each roster are those players that are hurt and have been placed on the injured reserve list. They can not play the rest of the season. Between the four teams there are 34 such players. Again with some quick math, 212 plus 34 equals 246 players who are listed on the four rosters.

Now here’s the fun part. Those 246 players played their college football at 112 different colleges and universities. The real number is 245 players because the Eagles punter Sav Rocca (#7) came to play in the NFL after playing fourteen seasons in the Australian Football League (AFL). 200px-saverio_roccaFor those of you who have never seen an Australian rules football game you are missing out on a lot of great stuff.

Lot’s of these colleges are well known football schools. Ten players from the University of Michigan, nine from Florida State and at least five from Alabama, Auburn, Arizona St., Georgia, Illinois, Miami (Florida), Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon and USC. Also on the list are two players who played football at Ivy League schools – Jon Dekker who played at Princeton, is on the injured list for Pittsburgh and Sean Morey (#87) from Brown who is a wide receiver for Arizona.

Some of the other schools on the list include lots of programs who no one would consider football powerhouses. Reggie Wells (#74) of the Cardianls went to Clarion University in Pennslyvania, Todd Herremans from the Eagles (#79) attended Saginaw Valley State in Michigan and Antwan Barnes of the Ravens (#50) attended Florida International in Miami. FIU is currently offering online courses in The History of the Beatles and the History of Rock Music http://wordpress.fiu.edu/news/2009/01/05/you-can-rock-it-out/.

And our friend Nate Washington – he was a Tiffin Dragon. Playing football for Division II Tiffin University in Tiffin Ohio. For those of you who are not trivia buffs who know about the history of the State of Ohio, Tiffin University is named after the first governor of Ohio Edward Tiffin. stag-out-odu

So what’s the point Sports Guru? Even the little guy from the small college has a chance to be a millionaire playing on Sunday’s. For the record, Eagles and Ravens in the Super Bowl in Tampa.

Enjoy a little Aussie Rules Football from You Tube and have a great weekend.

Your friend in Sports,

Dave the Sports Guru

When is $10 Million Not Enough?

It’s not enough, according to New York Giant wide receiver Plexico Burress.  It seems that Burress is not thrilled with his six year contract that he signed three seasons ago – the one that paid him $15 million over the first three seasons and then only $10 million over the final three years of the deal.  The funny part about this is that I can’t blame the guy.  OK Guru, how are you going to justify this?

Burress caught the winning touchdown from Eli Manning in Super Bowl XLII (42 if you never learned Roman numerals) this past February.  He has played eight seasons in the NFL and led the Giants last year with a career best 12 touchdown receptions and 70 catches.  During the past three seasons, Manning and Burress have hooked up for 29 touchdown passes.  No other quarterback/receiver combo has more.

OK Guru, the guy has stats that sound good, but “where’s the beef” (80’s reference for older readers)?  The beef is that while Burress signed his deal in 2005, today’s top receivers in the NFL are getting paid more money.  Lot’s more.  Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Terrell Owens and New England Patriot Randy Moss recently signed 3 year contracts worth $27 million.  Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals inked a 4 year, $40 million deal with $30 million of it guaranteed.

Guaranteed.  Guaranteed.  Guaranteed.  That’s the key here.  Football, unlike the other pro sports we all love and know, does not do guaranteed contracts.  Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees ($28 million this season for those who are counting) signed a 10 year for $275 million this winter to stay a NY Yankee (that’s a story for another time).  If A-Rod gets hurt and has to retire or the Yankees decide his services are no longer needed (you’re old and now you suck), they are on the hook for what is left on the contract.  Yes there is insurance to cover these things, but the point is that A-Rod will continue to get a big check each month.

In the NFL, it is “what have you done for me lately?”  When Burress signed his contract in 2005 for 6 years it was worth $25 million.  Only a small piece of that was guaranteed up front.  If the Giants decide to part ways with Burress tomorrow, he no longer gets a check for the remaining years of the contract.  It’s a little more complicated than that (salary caps, CBA, DGR and cap hits, don’t worry, NOBODY understands this stuff).     

Today, the New Orleans Saints signed a contract extension with their Defensive End, Will Smith (not the movie guy).  The deal is being reported to be worth $70 million over the next six years.  $26 of the $70 million is guaranteed.  The McDonalds down the street from my house is paying $9.00 an hour to start.  Smith, who is listed at 6′ 3″, 285 lbs can now buy lots of Big Macs.

So the question is, is Burress wrong to want a new contract?  What will happen next is that Burress will not report to training camp next month until he gets a new contract.  It will make for great press and radio-show call-in material.  In the end, the Giants will give in (all the teams do) and Burress will be able to join Smith at the McDonalds. 

Voice your opinion on Burress, Smith, A-Rod or any athlete who makes as much money each season as the GNP of Botswana………….

Your Friend in Sports,

 

Dave the Sports Guru