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WWE Mid-Year Review 2015 – WWE Network, Hulk Hogan, WWE Future – Part 1

2015 has been a strong year overall for WWE as a company. The WWE Network reached the 1 million subscribers mark & the company, overall, has been producing far better in-ring action on a consistent basis. Seems as though every week, WWE Raw has been putting on at least one match that could be a candidate for match of the year, or at least on the Best of Raw 2015 blu-ray set later on at the end of the year.

We have gone just past the halfway mark of 2015 & this is the time where we review the state of WWE, including all of the important aspects of the company, from the weekly television shows to the WWE Network to where we see the future of the business going towards the end of the year & going into Wrestlemania 32 season.

 Roman Reigns Was The Wrong Guy To Be The Face of WWE Early On.

Throughout the build-up & demise of the Shield, everyone wondered who was going to be the guy who was truly the main guy on top. The Shield was such an amazing stable during their run dating back to 2012, so much so that many wrestling fans thought that all three guys (Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins) are truly being groomed to be the future of the WWE.

Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns was supposed to be the WWE golden boy & gain the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 31, however, plans changed up.

Well, the fans were right in many ways. Seth Rollins is the WWE Champion (touch on that later), Dean Ambrose is getting great opportunities to grow in WWE & is right at the brink of being a main event guy consistently, but the company always thought that Roman Reigns was the main guy who was going to be the next Rock, Austin or even Hogan. Reigns has the look that WWE is looking for, is pretty good in the ring, but the problem was that, unlike Rollins & Ambrose, Reigns had absolutely zero mic skills & couldn’t get over with the fans .

That was very apparent in the weeks & months leading up to the 2015 WWE Royal Rumble. Reigns was preordained to be the guy who won the Rumble & beat Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31. However, when the WWE Universe got a hold of Reigns & got a chance to voice their displeasure in Philadelphia, the fans booed Roman Reigns completely out of the building. Even bringing in the Rock to admit that Reigns was his cousin did very little to help on that night.  The fans were not feeling Reigns as the WWE Champion because it didn’t feel like an organic build to the moment.

In comes Wrestlemania 31 & Brock Lesnar & Roman Reigns are going to go against each other for the WWE Championship. Lesnar couldn’t hold the belt because of his limited schedule & Reigns wasn’t going to be accepted by the fans & truly wasn’t ready, which allowed for Seth Rollins to come in, cash in Money In The Bank, & win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, a call that was made at some point during Wrestlemania 31.

The WWE made the right call not giving Roman Reigns the championship at that time, he wasn’t ready & Rollins was & is. Reigns will have his time, but he needs more seasoning in the ring first.

WWE Gave Divas a Chance.

Since the relaunch of NXT in 2014 when the WWE Network first premiered, the entire brand has flourished in ways that no one could have imagined. The matches were (& still are) top quality, the storylines were simple yet entertaining, & new stars continued to be developed but are used with some strong indy stars who have come over to the WWE NXT brand, a brand that is run by Triple H.

A great part of the NXT brand has also been the rise of women’s wrestling. From Sasha Banks to Charlotte to Becky Lynch, the women’s division constantly brings on amazing, main event level matches that can compare to, if not be better than, their male counterparts. The NXT Divas have brought women’s wrestling to a whole new level & with Triple H & Stephanie McMahon behind the Divas & believing they could truly be stars for their work as well as their looks.

Bella Twins

The Bella Twins have showed their skills in the ring & out of the ring this year on the WWE show, Total Divas.

However, that mindset wasn’t always going to the main roster as Vince continued to believe that the women are meant to be eye candy & be “bathroom breaks” for the audience while they had maybe 4 minute matches.

At one point, former WWE Diva’s champion A.J. Lee publicly criticized Stephanie about the role of WWE Divas & the fact that they were being disrespected in terms of pay & in-ring time, which began the Twitter hashtag #givedivasachance movement. WWE listened & now the main NXT divas have moved up to the main roster & are already paying huge dividends. The women’s division has become so much better to watch & just this past Monday night on Raw, Paige & Sasha Banks had a match that went almost 20 minutes, something that has been very rare in the WWE history.

While the in-ring action is getting stronger by the day, one of WWE’s flagship shows, Total Divas, has been a strong performer for the E! Network on Tuesday nights. The show comes on at 9:00 p.m., a premium time slot, & has been a launching point for many other shows on the E! Network. The fans still get the reality drama with the divas in the company & other divas who aren’t being used all the time, such as Eva Marie, are getting their time to shine.

 Hulk Hogan Is A Racist.

Terry Bollea, otherwise known to wrestling fans as Hulk Hogan, came out on a sex tape filmed 8 years ago that he was a racist & went on a racist & homophobic tirade against Brooke Hogan’s boyfriend at the time.

The tape was released by Gawker, on Friday night, a representative from a media company emailed WWE the audio & pertinent information about the situation & Hogan was fired from the WWE, removed from the WWE Hall of Fame (at least online), removed from WWE Tough Enough & the WWE has even taken some of the Hogan-centric material that was on the WWE Network & had it removed.

This simply can not be tolerated at any time, especially in 2015. Many have come to the defense of Hogan & fans of all races have quickly stepped up & have said that this isn’t the guy that they knew & that Hogan never showed signs of these beliefs & behavior.

Hogan has been very active on Twitter over the last few days since this scandal exploded, retweeting most of the fans support for him, but if he were smart, he would fade out a bit. In wrestling, its never say never & WWE could use him again down the line, but right now, everything is far too fresh & the company did the right thing, as a public company, to just move away from him for a bit.

Later today there will be part 2 of our WWE Mid-Year Review. Enjoy!

 

 

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2015 NFL Team Preview – Seattle Seahawks

One bad pass. One bad call. The Seattle Seahawks 2014 NFL season is going to be remembered for Pete Carroll calling the play for Russell Wilson throwing a pass into the end zone during SuperBowl 49, only to have it intercepted by the New England Patriots Malcolm Butler to clinch a championship.

Russell Wilson

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has proven that he is one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. He now has to prove it again, with having a new offensive weapon in Jimmy Graham.

Fast forward a year. The Seahawks are back to looking like a SuperBowl contender, especially in the NFC West, a division that looks surprisingly easy & with only one real contender in the whole division – the Arizona Cardinals. The San Francisco 49ers have just about broken up their whole team & the St. Louis Rams have so much unrest around them regarding the roster & the team moving to a new city that the focus has not been on football as much this offseason.

The Seahawks & Russell Wilson will be looking to get a long-term deal done, & if Wilson doesn’t get that money, he could be seeing his final years in Seattle. Wilson, while not putting up the flashiest numbers in the NFL, has led the Seahawks to two consecutive SuperBowl appearance, winning SuperBowl 48 & outdueling Peyton Manning & the Denver Broncos, & the last second loss to the Patriots last year.

Win or lose, getting to the game is still getting to the game. Wilson has been to the show two straight years, more than what most NFL quarterbacks can say. Wilson has been helped immensely by the running game of Marshawn Lynch & backup running back Robert Turbin. This season, Wilson gets some help with having Pro Bowl TE Jimmy Graham on the roster now. Graham can stretch the field better than any other player on the Seahawks roster & can be a matchup nightmare for secondaries around the league.

If Graham is 80% of the player that he was in New Orleans during his years with the Saints, the Seahawks will be right back to winning the SuperBowl. Jimmy Graham was the only major move that took place this season. The Legion of Boom defense is back in tact with all of the key pieces together again for 2015. Graham’s addition helps that group even more due to being able to put up some points that will take some pressure away from the Seattle defense to constantly become playmakers every snap.

 Marshawn Lynch’s Last MVP Level Season

Marshawn Lynch is the heart of the Seattle Seahawks. No one will really question that. However, his running style is one of the most violent in the league, right up there with Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson. Lynch has been running hard like that for many years now & this season, we predict that this could be the last year that Lynch (also known as “Beast Mode”) will be able to run at this pace & be effective without a big time slow down.

Marshawn Lynch

Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has been notoriously quiet during SuperBowl media days, but makes a big noise on the field, running for over 1,000 yards the last few seasons with the Seahawks & being a big reason the Seahawks have been to two straight SuperBowls.

Lynch should have clearly received the ball at the end of SuperBowl 49 & not getting the ball had Lynch a bit on the salty side early in the offseason. He eventually realized that his value will be more to the Seahawks than any other franchise in the league & he resigned for two years. This is the season, however, that Lynch will need to leave it all on the table if he wants to receive one more good run to the SuperBowl. Lynch will be going for a third straight SuperBowl & for a running back in today’s NFL, that feat is almost unheard of.

Lynch will go down as one of the best & most clutch running backs in NFL history, but at this point, it has to be now or never, simply due to his style of bruising play. This contract is likely Lynch’s last big one in the league & he has to make it worth it, which I do believe he will, as long as he can avoid the big hits & can get “skinny” when he needs to when going through the tackles & needing to bounce outside & getting out of bounds when he needs to.

Overall

I won’t talk about the Seattle Seahawks defense because we honestly know exactly what to expect from them each season. The unit remains mostly in tact & should be a force all over the field, making plays & frustrating teams, especially at Quest Field.

The Seahawks are looking like a 13-3 team & a team that is going to be a big factor in getting back into the SuperBowl. The Seahawks should have home field advantage, at least through the NFC Championship Game.

 

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NFL, Xbox One Sale at Sports Fan Playground

At the Sports Fan Playground, our store currently has many items available at some of the lowest prices online. These items are apparel pieces from the NFL, Major League Baseball & items from our video game store for the Xbox One & Playstation 4.

Here are the items that are currently on sale this week at the Sports Fan Playground.

Batman: Arkham Knight – Xbox One – $38.00

Batman Arkham Knight

The new Batman: Arkham Knight game on Xbox One is on sale for $38.00 at Sports Fan Playground.

Xbox One Console – 500GB Edition

Xbox One Console

The Xbox One 500GB console is on sale for $319.99 at the Sports Fan Playground Xbox One area.

Peyton Manning Denver Broncos NFL Youth Jersey

Peyton Manning Jersey

The orange Peyton Manning Denver Broncos NFL youth jersey starts at $59.99 at the Sports Fan Playground store.

Dallas Cowboys NFL Street Sign – $2.86

Dallas Cowboys Sign

Dallas Cowboys NFL plastic street signs are available for $2.86 here at Sports Fan Playground.

NFL Men’s Basic T-Shirt – Starting at $9.00

NFL t-shirts

NFL basic t-shirts for men are available for all 32 NFL teams & are available at low prices at Sports Fan Playground.

NFL New England Patriots Full Sheet Set

New England Patriots NFL Bedding

NFL New England Patriots sheet set for full-size beds are available at Sports Fan Playground for $52.95.

Xbox One Wireless Controller – $31.96

Xbox One wireless controller

Xbox One wireless controllers for the Xbox One console on sale for $31.96, down from $49.99 at Sports Fan Playground.

Tom Brady New England Patriots NFL Jersey – $56.95

Tom Brady Jersey

New England Patriots Tom Brady NFL jerseys are availale as low as $56.95 here at Sports Fan Playground.

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WWE Summerslam 2015 – First Preview

The biggest event of the summer is set & we are going to a tried & true matchup – Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar for the main event. The pieces were set in motion after WWE Battleground on Sunday night when Undertaker cost Lesnar the WWE World Heavyweight Championship during his match with Seth Rollins.

Many remember that Lesnar defeated the Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXX, thus ending Taker’s famed Wrestlemania streak, which was at 21-0. WWE is going back to the well & going back to the good money draw, which is always Lesnar & Taker. This is special for Undertaker especially because this will be the first Summerslam that Taker has participated in since Summerslam 2008 when he defeated WWE Hall-of-Famer Edge.

Brock Lesnar Undertaker Summerslam

Brock Lesnar will face The Undertaker in the main event of WWE Summerslam 2015.

WWE is clearly putting all of its chips on the table for this Summerslam weekend – having NXT Takeover: Brooklyn is the Saturday night before Summerslam with NXT being the hottest overall brand in the company because of the wrestling styles & having the top stars. Since Triple H has had much more of a say in the company in terms of booking & matches, he has been able to put his finger on what is clearly working.

Having Undertaker & Lesnar – while people may say that it shouldn’t be the main event because you are putting on part-time guys at the top of the card thus taking away from the up-and-coming stars, the idea is to push sales of the WWE Network & boost up subscriber numbers for the 3rd quarter, which will probably include a Stone Cold podcast special either right before or right after Summerslam on Monday night.

At this point, we know that Undertaker has only so many matches left in his WWE career & the fans realize this so it will be a real treat to have Undertaker at this event, especially since it looks as though he is going to work the heel to Lesnar’s face. It doesn’t sound like it would work, but if you watch how Undertaker was being so aggressive towards Lesnar when he interfered at Battleground, you realize that its a much different Taker than what was being seen at the past Wrestlemanias. Undertaker should avenge his loss to Lesnar here so that he looks strong in a potential match against Sting in Dallas at Wrestlemania 32, which WWE has been teasing as a big money match. Undertaker & Sting both have to look good going into Wrestlemania season, especially with trying to fill up at 100,000 seat stadium at AT&T Stadium, which looks to break the all-time indoor attendance record held by the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit for Wrestlemania III.

However, Undertaker/Lesnar won’t be the only big match on the card. For the first time in a long time, the WWE Divas are being heavily promoted as former NXT divas Charlotte, Becky Lynch & Sasha Banks all made their debuts in the last couple of weeks on Raw.  This is after the WWE Universe voices made themselves heard with the #givedivasachance campaign

Charlotte

NXT (now WWE) Diva Charlotte.

Becky Lynch

NXT (now WWE) diva Becky Lynch.

Sasha Banks

Sasha Banks, the NXT Women’s Champion.

Having the Divas so prominently focused in what will most likely be high-profile & well wrestled matches shows how far WWE has come in showing what these ladies can do inside the ring as well as outside. It shows that women can be beautiful but just as good performers as the male counterparts.

We will write more about Summerslam soon.

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2015 NFL Team Preview – Detroit Lions

The 2015 Detroit Lions are a team that is truly a mystery going in. The team lost their best DT in many years in Ndamakung Suh, who signed in the offseason with the Miami Dolphins. The team also lost Reggie Bush to the San Francisco 49ers. But through those big losses, much of the core of the team is still coming into 2015 intact & should be able to build on the playoff run from last season.

Detroit Lions Offense

The offensive unit of the Lions should be one of the best in the NFL yet again. Matthew Stafford at quarterback is still one of the best weapons in the entire league, no matter what the ratings or experts say. The guy has a cannon for an arm & can make throws that many other QBs can’t even fathom making, especially into tight traffic windows.

Matthew Stafford

ESPN.com rated Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford as a second-tier QB. It is time to put up or shut up for the former #1 overall pick out of Georgia.

The team drafted speedy, shifty running back Ameer Abdullah out of Nebraska, who will be asked to replace Reggie Bush with his pass-catching ability out of the backfield. Abdullah will pair up with power back Joique Bell to form a 1-2 punch & give defenses honest, especially during play-action sequences where Stafford can really do damage.

The Lions are the most stacked at WR in a long time. Pro Bowler Calvin Johnson is still the #1, but injuries & age are starting to catch up with him, especially in the knees. Johnson has been incredibly consistent over the years, but Detroit fans have to realize that the ride can’t last forever. #2 receiver Golden Tate III, who the Lions signed last year in a free agent deal from Seattle,  has become the every down receiver, as he had over 100 catches last season, a personal record for him in the league. We saw what he could really do when he was in a pass-happy offense that valued getting the ball vertical, as opposed to the power style that is featured in his old team, the Seattle Seahawks.

It will be imperative for Stafford to become more efficient in getting rid of the ball quicker in the pocket to make sure the line can give him the 3-4 seconds he needs to find the big play down the field. To take care of this situation, the Lions drafted Laken Tomlinson from Duke, a player who can run block very well, but also is able to pass block with the best in college football. He may have a big of a learning curve, but in time, Tomlinson will be a stud guard in the league. Having Tomlinson should help with Stafford having more protection in the pocket, especially with the improvement of Riley Reiff on the line.

Last year’s #1 pick, Eric Ebron, has to step up & take the starting TE job from Brandon Pettigrew. Pettigrew has been a solid player & can be a big play target & safely blanket for Stafford, but his drops are what kills the Lions at the most pivotal times of the game. Ebron didn’t show much in his first year, but he was able to show some athletic ability & make some plays  downfield. If that can continue, the Lions could have either two big tight end targets to help Stafford or Ebron will be the #1 guy by midseason.

The offense will be okay with a close to 50/50 balance in running & throwing the football.

Detroit Lions Defense

This is the area where the Lions may be lacking in big ways. Losing Suh in free agency to the Dolphins will be a huge blow to the running game & even the passing game. Suh was a guy that teams had to gameplan for & put a guard & center over to his side, opening up lanes for linebackers & safeties playing in the box to blitz more & cause more chaos.

To replace Suh or…..better yet……..soften the blow that losing Suh brings, the team traded for Baltimore Ravens former all-pro Haloti Ngata. Ngata is as big as Suh, not as young & as fast, but can be very disruptive in stopping the run & taking on multiple linemen to allow the linebackers to run free, particularly if the team goes into a 3-4 defense, as opposed to the 4-3 the team has been running for several years.

The linebacker group looks as strong as it has ever been going into a season. Kyle Van Noy will be back from his injury & is a solid LB against the run & can defend the pass relatively well. Deandre Levy had a breakout year in 2014, having 117 tackles & assisted on 34 extra, working on the weakside. Stephen Tulloch will be back in at middle linebacker & hopefully recovered from his torn ACL after a celebration of a sack took him out for the season early in the year.

The secondary is headlined by Glover Quin & James Ihedigbo, two players who played Pro Bowl level at safety last year. Both guys were playmakers all season & when the Lions needed a big sack, or turnover, you normally saw those guys right in on the action.

The Lions resigned Matt Prater, the kicker who became the go-to guy after the team went through so many different guys trying to prove themselves to be worthy replacements for Jason Hanson. Prater isn’t the best kicker in the league, but he should be enough to where the team wouldn’t be afraid to go to him late in games.

The Lions look like a 10-6 ball club, could be better if Stafford shows more consistency & the running combination of Bell & Abdullah are average over 160 yards per game combined. They are still a year away from truly competing for a championship, but can definitely make a deep run in the NFC.

 

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2015 NFL Team Preview – New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are coming off of another SuperBowl victory – their first since 2004. But this was a different championship to win. The team beat the Seattle Seahawks in SuperBowl 49 on one of the most talked about plays in the history of the NFL.

New England Patriots Tom Brady

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will be looking to make people pay for all of the talk about Deflategate this summer. I expect Brady to have a monster season, assuming that he doesn’t miss his full 4 games early in the year.

Even before that though, the Patriots were mired in controversy with what ended up becoming known as “deflategate,” the situation where it was alleged that Patriots QB & franchise player Tom Brady knew that footballs were being deflated by team staff in order to allow Brady to have a better grip on the football & be more accurate with passes.

As we write this, Brady is preparing to find out what is fate is in terms of a suspension or fine or both. The team opens the season on September 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the annual NFL Kickoff game to salute the SuperBowl champions from the past season. While we all wait to find out what “Tom Terrific” is going to do or not do, we have to look at the season as a whole for the team.

New England Patriots 2015 Offense

The Patriots are always going to be a contender with Brady at the helm, but if he has to miss any games early, backup Jimmy Garoppolo will take over as the starter. Garoppalo has 2 complete seasons in the Patriots offense & from all accounts, he seems to be comfortable in the pocket & confident with the offensive unit as a whole.

As always, his job will be much easier when he has the best tight end in the NFL, Rob Gronkowski, as one of the most amazing safety blankets in the league. Gronk played a whole season healthy last year, & was able to continue to show why he has revolutionized the TE position. He can split out at the WR position, he is a complete mismatch for all defenders……..to fast for linebackers & corners & safeties can’t cover him one on one down the field.

Gronk should see more one-on-one matchups this year, however. The receiving core for the Patriots returns in tact & with another year of maturing & learning how to become even better playmakers, the Patriots are going to have a strong vertical passing game. Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola & Aaron Dobson give the Patriots a great deep game & with Edelman & Amendola, they can catch the slot pass & take it to the house on almost any play or place on the field. A sleeper in the wide receiver core is Devin Gardner. Gardner was brought in to be a wide receiver, which he played a bit of during his time at Michigan. Gardner is 6’4″, with experience at the position, & has the speed to take the top of the defense & jump for the 50/50 balls.

With the offensive line returning back mostly in tact, the protection in the pocket should be great for Jimmy or Tommy when they are at the quarterback position. The running game will be done by committee, with LeGarrette Blount getting a slight bit more of the share of carries.  If Brady is healthy through the entire season from the beginning & not suspended, the Patriots will go 12-4 & host a playoff game in Foxboro, just on the offense alone.

The team came to terms with the best kicker in the NFL in Stephen Gostowski so the special teams should be a positive in 2015.

New England Patriots 2015 Defense

This is the area that could be a question mark for the Patriots. They lost two great cornerstones of their SuperBowl-level defense this offseason – Darrelle Revis (signed with New York Jets) & Vince Wilfork (signed with Houston Texans). Revis was a true lockdown cornerback & took away half of the field each week & was normally paired up on the #1 receiver on each team. Revis showed that he still has energy & can still cover with the best in the league.

The Patriots will be able to still hang with some of the better defenses in the league, though. The team drafted heavily on defense this year, bringing in DT Malcolm Brown from Texas & in the safety area, using a draft pick on strong safety Jordan Richards from Stanford.

The defense will be anchored by three players, however, that can make an impact this year immediately – DE Chandler Jones, LB Donta Hightower & CB Devin McCourty. All three of these guys are veterans now & will be looked upon to be the leaders on the defensive unit & make sure the offense has the opportunities to put up tons of points, as last year, which it looks as though they will be up to the challenge. The first game against the Pittsburgh Steelers & their pass-happy (so weird saying that about the Steelers) offense added with the scrambling ability of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger.

New England Patriots Record Prediction

The Patriots should go 12-4 this year. The AFC East is still not where it needs to be to truly knock them off of their throne. They will get tested for the first time in many years, but if Tom Brady is there, or even when he comes back from whatever suspension he may get, he is coming for revenge against any & every team in the NFL, particularly in division. The Patriots will still make a deep run in the playoffs & should be the true favorite to come out of the AFC yet again for SuperBowl 50.

 

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Hottest WAGS In Sports – Summer/Fall 2015 (NSFW)

It has been a while since Sports Fan Playground has had our WAGS list, but the hottest sports wives & girlfriends for summer & fall of 2015 list is here & it is our biggest list ever. We have worked to make sure that we included women from all sports & those from NFL, NHL, NCAA, NBA, WWE, UFC & other areas.

Some women may make the list again – but our staff worked to make sure that we include as many newcomers as absolutely possible. Also keep in mind that relationships come & go very often so some women may end up being former girlfriends or even mistresses of athletes. No matter whether a woman was on the list before or not, the goal is to get the hottest WAGS in all of sports as a whole & we feel as though we have accomplished this.

Without any more delay, let’s get to work on this fun & sexy list!

Jenna Renee Webb – Ex-Girlfriend of UFC Fighter Travis Browne

Jenna Renee Webb

Sexy blonde Jenna Renee Webb is the ex-girlfriend of UFC fighter Travis Browne.

Jenna Renee Webb

Jenna Renee Webb in blue.

Jenna Renee Webb Travis Browne

Jenna Renee Webb in a very, very skimpy bikini.

Jenna Jameson – Ex-wife of UFC Fighter Tito Ortiz

Jenna Jameson

Former adult porn star Jenna Jameson.

Jenna Jameson Tito Ortiz

Jenna Jameson is the ex-wife of UFC fighter & hall-of-famer Tito Ortiz.

Amanda Dufner – Ex-wife of golfer Jason Dufner; Reported Partner of Tiger Woods

Amanda Dufner

Amanda Dufner, ex-wife of golfer Jason Dufner.

Mindy Robinson – Randy Coulture’s Girlfriend

Mindy Robinson

Mindy Robinson is the girlfriend of UFC Hall-of-Famer Randy Coulture.

Brittney Palmer, Linked to UFC fighter Donald Cerrone; UFC Ring Girl

Brittney Palmer UFC

Brittney Palmer, UFC ring girl & at one time, dated UFC fighter Donald Cerrone.

Holly Madison – Ex-Girlfriend of UFC Fighter Josh Koscheck

Holly Madison

Former Playboy playmate Holly Madison once dated UFC fighter Josh Koscheck.

Amber Nichole Miller – Girlfriend of UFC Fighter Tito Ortiz

Amber Nichole Miller

Former UFC ring girl Amber Nichole Miller, current girlfriend of former UFC fighter Tito Ortiz.

Ariany Celeste – UFC Ring Girl; Girlfriend of Travis Barker

Ariany Celeste

Ariany Celeste, UFC ring girl & girlfriend of Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker.

Jayden James – Linked to UFC fighter Chuck Liddell

Jayden James

Porn star Jayden James was once linked to former UFC fighter & hall-of-famer Chuck Liddell.

Jayden James Chuck Liddell

Jayden James posing for a scene. In 2009, both James & Chuck Liddell both reportedly denied being linked together, despite other media reports.

Amy Schumer – Ex-girlfriend of WWE Superstar Dolph Ziggler

Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer, movie & comedy star, is the star of the new movie “Trainwreck,” & is also the ex-girlfriend of WWE superstar Dolph Ziggler.

Michelle McCool – Wife of WWE Legend The Undertaker

Michelle McCool

Michelle McCool is a former WWE Divas champion & is now the wife of WWE legend the Undertaker.

Ciara – Singer & Wife of Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

Ciara Russell Wilson

R&B singer Ciara is the girlfriend of former SuperBowl champion & quarterback Russell Wilson

Galina Becker – Wife of WWE Superstar Roman Reigns

Galina Becker Roman Reigns

Galina Becker is the wife of WWE Superstar Roman Reigns.

Renee Young – Girlfriend of WWE Superstar Dean Ambrose

Renee Young

The beautiful WWE announcer Renee Young. Young has confirmed that she is dating WWE superstar Dean Ambrose.

Kelly Kelly – Former WWE Diva & Girlfriend of NHL player Sheldon Souray

Kelly Kelly

Kelly Kelly, former WWE Diva & girlfriend of NHL player Sheldon Souray.

Khloe Kardashian – Girlfriend of Houston Rockets James Harden

Khloe Kardashian

Khloe Kardashian is the new girlfriend of Houston Rockets guard James Harden.

Savannah Brinson James – Wife of Cleveland Cavs LeBron James

Savannah Brinson

Savannah Brinson is the wife of NBA superstar & Cleveland Cavs star LeBron James.

Caroline Wozniacki – Girlfriend of Houston Texans J.J. Watt

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki is one of the best tennis players in the world & is now dating Houston Texans J.J. Watt.

Lisa Ann – Porn Star; Has Dated Many NBA Players

Lisa Ann

Former porn star Lisa Ann in her Sarah Palin look a-like apparel.

Lisa Ann XXX

More of Lisa Ann, who reportedly hooked up with Notre Dame WR Justin Brent earlier this season.

Lisa Ann Ass

Earlier this year, Lisa Ann posted an article about why she prefers to have sex with NBA players, which was one of the most revealing articles in recent memory in GQ.

Kim Kardashian (Married To NBA Player Kris Humphries & Dated NFL Player Reggie Bush)

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian had a relationship with former USC & New Orleans Saints standout Reggie Bush.

Kim Kardashian Bikini

Kim Kardashian hanging out in her bikini. She was linked to former Brooklyn Nets NBA player Kris Humphries. The two were married for a very short amount of time.

Hope Solo (USA Goalkeeper; Wife of Former NFL TE Jeramy Stevens)

Hope Solo

Team USA World Cup winning goalie Hope Solo is married to former NFL TE Jeramy Stevens.

Hope Solo USA

Hope Solo looking beautiful in white.

Updated 7/23/15 – New additions to the ultimate WAGs list for summer/fall 2015!!

Katherine Webb – Wife of Cincinnati Bengals QB & Former Alabama QB A.J. McCarron

Katherine Webb

Katherine Webb is the wife of Cincinnati Bengals backup quarterback A.J. McCarron. Webb was featured prominently during McCarron’s last two seasons at Alabama after Brent Musburger pointed her out in the crowd.

Katherine Webb

Katherine Webb turned her overnight fame into appearances with ABC, ESPN & other top outlets.

Kate Upton – Girlfriend of Detroit Tigers Pitcher Justin Verlander

Kate Upton

Kate Upton is one of the most beautiful models & actresses in the world. She has been featured in several movies with the likes of Cameron Diaz & Leslie Mann & has also been featured in Game of War ads.

Kate Upton Justin Verlander

Kate Upton has been dating Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander for the last several years, though if you ask Detroit Tigers fans…..she has possibly been the reason Verlander can’t focus.

Gabrielle Union – Wife of Miami Heat Guard Dwyane Wade

Gabrielle Union

Model & actress Gabrielle Union is one of the hottest women in the world. But sorry guys, the beautiful star is married to Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade.

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union is currently the star of the BET series, “Being Mary Jane.” She has appeared in major films such as Bad Boys II where she played Martin Lawrence’s sister.

Kim Dejesus – Wife of MLB Player David Dejesus

Kim DeJesus

Kim Dejesus is the wife of MLB player David Dejesus. She is a first-timer on our list.

Kim Dejesus

Kim Dejesus has come on the scene lately for her beautiful looks & sexy photos from Instagram.

Charissa Thompson – Girlfriend of Former Bulls Guard & ESPN Analyst Jay Williams

Charissa Thompson

Charissa Thompson is a reporter at Fox Sports 1 as well as Access Hollywood.

Charissa Thompson

That’s all for this list. If you would like to see some of our other lists, please click on the links above in the category “Hottest Women in Sports.”

We will see you later this year for our winter edition!

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NBA Free Agency Review 2015

The main part of the NBA Free Agency season for 2015 has come & gone & as usual, the NBA always gives us some fireworks during the free agency season. This year, the contracts were completely different. Mid-level guys who have no business making the money that they are are going to get $60 million just because they are just functional enough to look like an NBA player & not your typical 6th grader who can barely play defense or shoot a free throw…..but I digress.

The reason for the big salaries is the new TV deal that the league signed with ESPN & TNT that will kick in next season & will give teams millions of dollars of extra spending money & a higher cap ceiling. This spending didn’t necessarily help out all teams, however.

This piece, however, will break down the most important signings of the NBA free agency period.

The Mavericks were treated like that other woman who you want to kinda date but not really have a relationship with by DeAndre Jordan, who went back to his old love flame, the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers, a team who Jordan reportedly wanted to leave behind in the rear-view mirror because he didn’t like to play & get along with Chris Paul because Paul wants to do something that is obviously frowned upon in sports…….win. Paul held Jordan accountable for being a complete offensive liability & didn’t seem to want to have Jordan back in the middle & Jordan felt that he should see if the grass is really greener on the other side.

But alas………..he went to that other side, to that sexy woman – the Mavericks – who you think might be the one & is looking out for you in all ways & is going to show you how much love you really deserve. But wait……Jordan learned that there is some baggage in that potential relationship. The Mavericks really don’t have a lot of pieces there other than Dirk Nowitzki, who is barely hanging on at this point. Still a good player, but not on the level he was at even in 2013 & definitely not where he was when the Mavs won the NBA Championship in 2011.

Enough railing on DeAndre Jordan though…….I want to look at some of the other free agency deals around the league & break those down.

LeBron James Resigns With Cleveland Cavs

The top player/coach in NBA history – LeBron James – resigned with his hometown franchise (as if he had any type of choice whatsoever) Cleveland Cavaliers on a 2 year deal, which is really a one-year deal & a player option on the second year, where he could become a free agent yet again. LeBron is putting himself in position to be a $50 million a year player when the new TV money comes in next year & at this point in his career, LeBron wants to make sure the Cavs are putting together a winning roster & holding Dan Gilbert to the fire a bit after Gilbert completely disrespected him after James made his initial “decision” in 2010 to go play for the Miami Heat. Gilbert made sure to write that James wouldn’t get a championship before the Cavs did.

LeBron James

LeBron James is always the biggest free agent to resign with his team, even if we all knew it was going to happen. James always wants to make sure the Cavs are in the best position to win.

Fast forwards………Cavs were in last place after James left & LeBron went to the Finals all 4 years he was in Miami & won the NBA Championship in 2012 & 2013.

Not much to say about this move except that James is pretty much the entire franchise & that anytime the Cavs even think that James may leave, the Cavs organization needs to bend over completely backwards, forwards or any other position he would want them to bend in. James has made that franchise worth well over a billion dollars just with him signing back in Cleveland & when he wasn’t in Cleveland, the franchise was worth have of that.

Kevin Love Resigns With Cleveland Cavs.

The Cavs showed that they were determined to stay in the NBA Championship hunt early on in free agency when they found that Kevin Love was going to resign with the Cavs at the 5 year, $110 million dollar max contract. Love, who was injured much of last season & didn’t find his rhythm in the offense until late in the year, is going to be a key person in the Cavs getting back to the NBA Finals & actually winning the title.

Kevin Love

Power forward Kevin Love is looking to get back to the NBA Finals with the Cavs & finally win an NBA Championship to go along with a stellar career statistically so far.

In the NBA Finals, when Kyrie Irving went down with his foot injury, the team didn’t have another true scorer to help LeBron against the on-slaught of three’s & tough inside play from Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes & others. Love will give Cleveland that strong play on the inside & on the perimeter, he is dangerous from three-point range & his passing is the stuff of legends. A healthy Love can end up being major hate from the rest of the NBA in 2015-16.

LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan & Manu Ginobili All Resign With San Antonio Spurs.

The more that the league changes, the more that the Spurs increase their dominance in the NBA. When we last saw the Spurs, we saw them losing a heartbreaking game 7 to the Los Angeles Clippers on the night of Mayweather vs Pacquiao (May 2). The team looked as though the run was finally completed & possibly the era of the Spurs dominance would take a backseat to a rebuilding period.

LaMarcus Aldridge Spurs

NBA, get a great look at this picture. This is going to be the best duo in the league next season – Tim Duncan & newest Spur LaMarcus Aldridge.

Don’t tell that to Gregg Popovich or Spurs General Manager R.C Buford.

The Spurs go out & land the best big man available on the market in former Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge & sign him to a 4-year, $80 million deal. Days before, the team announced that future Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan is resigning with the Spurs for his 19th season. Duncan looked like he hadn’t lost a step last season & Popovich used him the perfect way in making sure he was fresh down the stretch & is ready to perform in the playoffs, which he did.

Having Duncan paired up with Aldridge in a twin towers scenario is similar to how David Robinson mentored Tim Duncan & taught him how to win. Duncan will do the same with Aldridge & will have an easier time working with him, especially because Aldridge has proven himself in the league but is coming into his own right now as a true elite player at the forward position in the NBA. Having that veteran leadership & that valuable teaching from Popovich, Duncan, Ginobili & others will only help Aldridge become the cornerstone of the Spurs to go along with Kawhi Leonard, who also received a max contract this offseason.

The Spurs are looking as though they will be the #1 team in the Western Conference this coming season & its not close. Golden State got stronger with bringing back Draymond Green, but no other team in the west truly got much better through adding talent more than the Spurs, who weren’t bad coming into free agency.

The return of Manu Ginobili will be helpful for Leonard & for the bench to be strong again, as Ginobili has become one of the best 6th men in all of the league. With his unorthodox European style of basketball play, Manu is looking to go out in his final NBA seasons in style & with more championships.

Los Angeles Clippers Sign Paul Pierce, Josh Smith & Lance Stephenson & DeAndre Jordan

While the Clippers did beat the Spurs in the first round of the NBA playoffs, the team still didn’t get past the second round, losing a 3-1 series lead to the Houston Rockets. That type of loss in a series shows a lack of leadership & no one to really stop the sinking ship.

(I promise I will not pick on DeAndre Jordan in this piece.)

Head coach Doc Rivers is one of the most respected coaches in the league & has strong superstars around him in Chris Paul & Blake Griffin, but the Clippers needed toughness & a bit of nasty with them. So the team signed Paul Pierce, who played under Rivers in Boston during their NBA Championship run in 2008 & their playoff runs through 2012. Pierce will give that championship leadership on the court & that tough defense & clutch shooting down the stretch in games. He isn’t there to give 20 points a night anymore but in the playoffs & in the 4th quarter, there are few players more dangerous than Pierce, especially now with all of the talent that will be around him to not always show that he is the main option.

In Lance Stephenson, the team gets a tough, rugged defender that isn’t afraid to mix it up & be a tough guy. Stephenson is a bit of a throwback to the 80s in the sense that he is not afraid to get in someone’s face & really make sure that he is shown & known to the offensive player that he won’t get any easy shots for 4 quarters.  Stephenson is an instant upgrade on a defense that has been considered very soft for many years now & with Jordan manning the middle & Stephenson on the perimeter & having Paul be an average to above-average defensive player, the Clippers have a strong, solid base to compete in a deep western conference & having those veterans who know how to play in clutch situations will be the Clippers best chance to overtake the NBA Champion Warriors & perennial contenders the Spurs.

In Josh Smith, the Clippers get another shooter to go along with J.J. Redick, which is important in the playoff run. At this point in his career, we all know what Smith is – a 6’10” three-point guy. He will not be a guy who is going to go down low & really try to get to the free throw line often, especially because he is terrible as a free throw shooter. Smith will be good in doses though, especially coming off the bench & with Jamal Crawford, giving the Clippers one of the most explosive bench units in the league.

 

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DeAndre Jordan Shows NBA Has Major Flaws

DeAndre Jordan is clearly one of the most dominant defensive players in the NBA, but over the last week, the dominant big man is being ripped for his punk move by backing out on his 4-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks & finally resigning with the Los Angeles Clippers.

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan is a Los Angeles Clipper forward/center for the next 4 years, after almost completely ruining his reputation after his botched near-signing with the Dallas Mavericks.

While it isn’t illegal to do what Jordan did because the NBA allows 8 days for teams & players to talk & give verbal agreements to teams, which most times, the players abide by. After the 8th day – July 9th, the teams can actually officially sign players. But Jordan bucked this trend. He met with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban & agreed to a deal, only to be swayed by Doc Rivers (coach of the Los Angeles Clippers), Blake Griffin, owner Steve Ballmer & other members of the Clippers brass when they basically barricaded themselves inside his house until he signed on the dotted line.

But wait, there’s more to this goofiness. Cuban drove around looking for Jordan to talk to him & Jordan told Cuban that he was on a date & couldn’t be bothered. That is the kind of action that makes people lose respect for anyone, let alone athletes. Jordan should have clearly made a phone call to Cuban for no other reason than just plain respect. In sports & in life, you are remembered by how you treat others & what Jordan did in not giving Cuban just the plain courtesy of a phone call or face to face meeting is very weak & disrespectful.

What is interesting though, is that it is completely legal in the NBA & could open up other issues in the NBA way of doing offseason contracts. It would be absolutely ridiculous to not think that players, owners, coaches & other team executives don’t talk to prospective free agents during the season & in the offseaon about possibly coming together on a team. With all of the functions that athletes can interact at, it would be insane to think that there isn’t backchannel negotiations going on.  Athletes are a fraternity & for the most part, all want to win & at the same time enjoy playing with each other, especially because many played together at the youth levels.

The NBA needs to just understand & commit to the idea that players are going to talk & DeAndre Jordan will not be the last player to have a handshake deal but go back on it days later, unless the league & commissioner Adam Silver make the players commit immediately & stop all of the silliness with these “conversations.” DeAndre Jordan didn’t make a decision that was illegal, he just did it wrong. Jordan & Cuban will mend fences over time, but teams won’t mend their roster moves & mistakes very easily over “handshakes.”

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SuperBowl XLIX Preview – New England Patriots vs Seattle Seahawks

We have gotten to the SuperBowl in a very auspicious way. The Seattle Seahawks will look to defend their SuperBowl championship against the New England Patriots in SuperBowl XLIX on February 1 @ 6:00 on NBC.

SuperBowl XLIX

SuperBowl XLIX will feature the Seattle Seahawks vs the New England Patriots on February 1.

The Patriots & Seahawks are not surprises to be in the game, however, how they got to this point is extremely surprising. For the Seahawks, they overcame a 16-0 deficit at halftime, Russell Wilson willing to look worse than armchair quarterbacks in that he threw 3 interceptions & was 2 for 9 for 8 yards with a quarterback rating of 0 in the first half, only to come back in the second half, have a perfect quarterback rating & lead the team to one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the NFL.

The Seahawks ran hard with Marshawn Lynch in the 4th quarter, had a fake field goal go for a touchdown & one of the best onside kick setups ever, especially after the bad coaching strategies of Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.

For the Patriots, it was business as usual. They beat up the Indianapolis Colts at the line of scrimmage & physically imposed their will on the Colts again & again, & by the time the middle of the third quarter came, school was out & the celebration was on to get to a championship.

And here we are. SuperBowl XLIX. The defending champions who feel disrespected against the long-time powers who are looking to get back to dominance in the NFL.

Coaching: Seattle Seahawks Pete Carroll vs New England Patriots Bill Belichick.

Pete Carroll was the last coach of the New England Patriots before Belichick was hired after one day with the New York Jets. Carroll has had success at USC & with the Seahawks for many reasons, but mainly because the players will run through a wall for him.

Carroll is a master motivator, no question about it. His positive thinking that he brings to his teams, evne though he is an older coach, is exceptional & contagious. He lets the Seahawks players be themselves, often using the us vs the world mentality as motivation for success.

Bill Belichick is far more calmer & is more deliberate as a coach. You won’t see him jumping around & such, but he is one of the most aggressive coaches in all of sports & will try all kinds of different tricks to get ahead, all the way to the idea that the NFL is investigating the Patriots for possibly deflating balls to have a better grip & advantage during gameplay in the AFC Championship game.

Belichick has 3 SuperBowl championships to his name & 8 appearances in the game – Carroll is a defending champion, but he is going up against basically the master. This match up is going to be a no-brainer.

Advantage: Patriots.

Seattle Seahawks Offense vs New England Patriots Offense

The Seahawks offense for the last two years, has not been one of the best in the NFL. The team has one of the best young quarterbacks in the game in Russell Wilson & one of the running backs in the game in Lynch, but the overall offense is not consistent enough to go up against a high power Patriots attack.

The team won against the Packers on Sunday because of the trick play on special teams & that Lynch couldn’t be stopped in the 4th quarter. Wilson completed the championship play to Jermaine Kearse but it was Kearse’s only catch of the game & 4 other times that Wilson targeted him, the plays led to interceptions & led to Wilson having a quarterback rating of 0.0 in the first half of the game. The Patriots gameplan will surely be to let Wilson beat them with his arm & while he is truly able to throw the ball downfield, the Seahawks don’t have the weapons to keep up with a B-level Patriots offense.

If the Seahawks offense is as bad as it showed in the NFC Championship Game, winning put aside, this game will not be competitive in the least. The Patriots are going to be what they are – a dominant offense led by one of the best field generals in history in Tom Brady.

Even though the Seattle defense is among the elite of all time, The Patriots will do their best to stay away from Richard Sherman & Earl Thomas. The team will work well in going with the intermediate passing game & will use the short passing game as an extension of the running game, so expect LeGarrette Blount to get quick a few screen passes thrown his way to go along with a bruising running game to bring the safeties into the box, opening up throwing lanes for Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman & Brandon LaFell.

This offensive battle will also go to the Patriots. The Seahawks gain timely points, but the Patriots are far more consistent.

Seattle Seahawks Defense vs New England Patriots Defense

This is a matchup that is completely in the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. If Sherman & Thomas are healthy from their injuries they suffered in the NFC Championship game, this team will be back to the top of the NFL in terms of making big plays.

No quarterback wants to throw at Sherman right now & the Legion of Boom is bringing major energy to the field against opposing quarterbacks. Kam Chancellor is one of the best safeties in all of the NFL right now & will be able to be one of the few safeties, along with the rest of the Seahawks secondary, that can read Brady’s eyes & watching his signals close enough to anticipate about 50% of where he is going to spread the ball.

An area where the Seahawks aren’t always given credit is in the front 7, which can get after a team’s offense quickly. In the NFC playoffs, the team faced two players in Cam Newton from the Carolina Panthers & Aaron Rodgers from the Packers who were quarterbacks that could move well in the pocket & took them down quickly. The team won’t have nearly as tough a time with Brady, who compared to the other two quarterbacks listed, is mostly immobile.

The Patriots defense has been greatly improved this season with the addition of shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis & along with Brandon Browner (former Seahawk) on the other side of the field, will be great shutdown players against Seahawks receivers who are average at best. The front seven has been solid all season long, but no matter what, the Seahawks are going to have the defensive advantage far and away. Belichick & Brady will have a challenge in learning how to shift guys around to confuse the Seahawks unit for a bit to get the midlevel passing game going.

SuperBowl Prediction

New England Patriots are looking to get back to the top of the mountain. Brady doesn’t have much time left in the league & probably neither does Belichick. The Seahawks aren’t going anywhere, especially with Russell Wilson & Pete Carroll at the helm. The SuperBowl is going to be a fun game, but it will go to the Patriots – 31-20.

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What To Look For On NFL Conference Championship Sunday

Quite possibly one of the most fun Sundays of the year will take place later today with the NFC & AFC Conference Championships taking place to determine who will go to the NFL SuperBowl 49 in 2 weeks in Phoenix. As if you didn’t know all of this already……..

What this post will be about is not an in-depth preview of each game because ESPN, NFL Network & other outlets will have extensive previews telling you all of that stuff anyway. What we will talk about are the big keys to victory for each team & a big idea or think to look for during the game.

The Seattle Seahawks Will Defeat The Green Bay Packers If Russell Wilson Can Become Elite.

Russell Wilson is on his way to becoming one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, if he isn’t there already. He has been able to make plays when he needs to & get the ball to the playmakers at all times.

But on Sunday afternoon, he needs to be equal with the man across the field from him in Aaron Rodgers. The Packers will most likely put 7 men in the box to load up against Seahawks beast running back Marshawn Lynch & try to watch his every move, probably even having spies on him for each play.

Russell Wilson

The Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has to be able to step his game up & go out & win it, as opposed to being a game manager as he has been for many of the Seahawks victories.

The Packers are going to make Wilson have to beat them with his arms, which he has shown in the past that he has been able to do. For the Seahawks to get to the SuperBowl, Wilson needs to be able to take some of the pressure off of the elite defense Seattle has by throwing for a stat line of around 300-350 yards, 2-3 touchdowns & no turnovers.

It’s time for Russell Wilson to not only be a game manager, but a game winner, & putting up big numbers will get the Seahawks to their second straight SuperBowl.

The Green Bay Packers Will Win Against The Seattle Seahawks If Eddie Lacy Can Establish Himself Early.

It’s absolutely clear that Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is injured, & I believe that he is far more injured than anyone really knows, especially because of his limited mobility last week against the Dallas Cowboys & going back to the last week of the NFL regular season against the Detroit Lions.

If Rodgers’ mobility is any kind of question, expect the Seahawks to come after him with a slew of blitzes & different packages that will be used to make Rodgers have to make the decision to try & run or make challenging passes against Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas & the rest of the vaunted defense.

Green Bay Packers Eddie Lacy

Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy may be the most important factor in determining if the Packers will get back to the SuperBowl for the first time since SuperBowl 45 in 2010.

Right now, the point of emphasis in the Packers gameplan needs to be to put the ball in Eddie Lacy’s hands & really working hard to establishing his presence early & often against the one area of the Seahawks defense that can actually be neutralized, their front four. If Lacy is able to get an average of about 3.5-4 yards per carry consistently, this will open up some of the play action passing & even with a bad calf, Rodgers is still going to be extremely dangerous in the pocket & will allow the receivers to take the top of the defense by going deep or sit down in zones & work the intermediate passing game.

The New England Patriots Will Beat The Indianapolis Colts By Allowing Rob Gronkowski To Run Wild On The Colts Secondary.

The New England Patriots already have a blueprint for beating the Indianapolis Colts & quarterback Andrew Luck – give them a lot of Rob Gronkowski.

Gronk has been the most dominant tight end in the NFL for the last several years, & was sorely missed the last 2 years when he was out with injuries. The Patriots were clearly a different franchise & even though Tom Brady made it work with the weapons that he had, many of those receivers weren’t ready for primetime due to not having enough field time.

New England Patriots Rob Gronkowski

Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is going to have to be the man on Sunday Night against the Indianapolis Colts by running free in the secondary & being punishing while making big time catches.

Well, fast forward a year. After the loss last year to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game, the Patriots are far more determined, Brady has weapons healthy & he has his protective blanket in Gronkowski. The Colts will most likely have safety Laron Landry keep their eye on Gronk & occasionally try to cover him, but the fact of the matter is that Gronk is the most uncoverable player in all of the NFL right now due to his speed & very large size moving down the field. Even with previous arm & back injuries, Gronk does not shy away from contact in the least – he welcomes it.

If Gronk is getting going & has confidence, this is going to open up the running game & will just give Brady more confidence throwing to Julian Edelman, Brandon Lafell & other receivers due to the double-teams that a healthy Gronk will absolutely draw from the Colts defense.

The Indianapolis Colts Will Defeat the New England Patriots If Andrew Luck Has Other Offensive Weapons To Lean On.

Its clear that the Indianapolis Colts offense starts, runs through & ends with Andrew Luck. Luck has put up massive numbers in his first 3 years in the NFL & has proven to be an elite quarterback. In order for the Colts to defeat the New England Patriots, however, Luck is going to have to put some of the other responsibility on another member of the offensive unit.

Preferably someone in the running game, most likely Donald Brown. RB Trent Richardson did not make the trip to New England for what the Colts are calling personal reasons. Luck is going to have to spread the ball around & while it would be very much on his head to do that, the Colts coaching staff is going to need to make sure that Luck can go to some more screens, which could be extensions of the running game & just make the Patriots pass rush a bit more pensive about rushing right in & getting to Luck.

Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck can’t have all of the pressure on him to win the game by himself on Sunday against New England.

If Luck can even get some kind of runs or extended runs out about 5-6 yards per touch, it will allow Reggie Wayne & T.Y. Hilton to not have to always be matched up against Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis & take their chances against Brandon Browner. Not that Browner is a much better option to go up against this season than Revis, but if the team is going to have to take chances, go against Browner & hope.

 

I’m Waiting For NBA Season To Get Interesting

No matter what the NBA TV people, ESPN, Fox or any other sports outlet says to you, this NBA season has been one of the most disappointing & boring ones in recent memory. Yet, its not actually the league’s fault.

This particular season has seen top players such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, & Carmelo Anthony sit out many games at once, making the star power – the main thing the NBA is built on – fade away & you realize that the league is full of very mediocre players.

While there have been some great stories such as the Atlanta Hawks & Golden State Warriors getting out to amazing starts & basically dominating the NBA Eastern & Western Conferences, they are not the superpowers that the fans are used to seeing on a regular basis. The Warriors are closer to being at that elite level by having Stephen Curry & Klay Thompson has emerging scorers & Curry is already considered one of the greatest shooters in the history of the NBA, but because the organization was down for so long & haven’t gone very far in the NBA playoffs consistently over the years, fans have a hard time really seeing them has an organization that is going to be a power for the long run.

For the Atlanta Hawks, the team has great young talent led by Al Horford, but from a viewer’s standpoint, you would think they were the worst team in the league. The city of Atlanta does not support its teams well, which is an absolute shame because the Hawks have been playing excellent basketball, but TV affiliates won’t put them on very often because the league is not visually appealing right now. Atlanta has shown over time that other than the Falcons, the city doesn’t do well with sports, including losing the Atlanta Thrashers in the NHL to Winnipeg, & the Atlanta Braves, one of the best teams in baseball history, are moving out to the suburbs in the next couple of years to hopefully bring more people into the ball park.

This is a situation working against one of the NBA’s top teams, everyone…………

The Los Angeles Lakers & Kobe Bryant are not helping matters.

This was the season when Kobe Bryant was supposed to be the main ticket to watch in Los Angeles at Lakers games. But injuries & just the fact that Kobe is probably pissed off that guys like “Swaggy P” Nick Young feel as though they are the main stars & shot makers & guys who are ready to take over from Bryant’s legacy.

That is not what fans pay big money to go to Staples Center to see. They may not see the Lakers win often, but they want to see the last two years, possibly, of Bryant’s HOF career not go to complete waste. No matter what anyone says, Bryant is not fully healthy from the ACL injury & initially came back too early & I thought that would have led to his retirement at that time, but he came back & has played pretty well, other injuries & bad team notwithstanding.

When the Lakers are bad though, its a tough situation all the way around. When Kobe is not around & not playing like his used to playing, its just exponentially awful & it hurts in one of the league’s marquee cities.

Phil Jackson, New York Knicks Have Become An Embarrassment.

When former Chicago Bulls & Los Angeles Lakers legendary coach Phil Jackson took over as President of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks before the end of last year, people were hoping for a magical change & a rise in a franchise that has been very dormant for the last 15 years since their last NBA Finals appearance in 1999.

We talked about the Lakers above, & the Bulls are living up to their end of being an elite team in the East, but the Knicks are just absolutely falling apart more & more by the day. The team is 5-34 & has a current 16-game losing streak & they are about as bad to watch as they were in that Whoopi Goldberg movie, “Eddie.”

Jackson’s triangle isn’t working, Carmelo is barely healthy & there is absolutely no help around him to make the situation better & probably won’t be for the rest of this year. So, the NBA is about to have the Knicks, Celtics & Lakers not be competitive for playoff spots this coming year yet again. Awesome.

The Cleveland Cavs are not the NBA darlings the league thought they would be.

The Cavs, going back to the summer, were the most interesting story in all of sports because of LeBron James returning, Kevin Love coming to town & a new head coach in David Blatt, who has never coached in the United States before.

Cavs fans were not expecting a 19-20 start, neither were regular viewers of the league as a whole. Now, with rumors that Kevin Love could be traded or may choose to opt out of his deal at the end of the season & the players possibly not liking coach David Blatt, this is not the NBA & Cavs fans have wanted to watch.

 

Yes, the NBA is wide open this year with young players & teams that we haven’t seen at the top of the mountain recently so it creates a new buzz, but the product is very difficult to take in right this second. Please, lets hope for some more fluidity as we go through the second half of this NBA season? Can we get the new faces of the NBA to step up since the old guards are literally playing like their……….well…………old?

NFL Divisional Playoff Preview – Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots

One of the better rivalries during the 2000s in the NFL has been the Baltimore Ravens vs New England Patriots. The Ravens are one of the tough teams the Patriots had to defeat during their 16-0 regular season in 2007. The Ravens have talked about the Patriots getting preferential treatment from the NFL over time.

This Saturday, they will meet up again at Gillette Stadium at 4:30 on NBC. For the Ravens, their offense has to be able to get going quickly & take the edge from an improved Patriots defensive unit that got upgraded in the offseason with the acquisition of former Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis. If the Ravens are going to be successful, Joe Flacco will have to challenge Revis & show no fear against him. Most likely, Revis will be locked down on veteran wide receiver Steve Smith for most of the day so Smith will have to work on separation on a regular basis.

If the Ravens can get the passing game going, Justin Forsett, the replacement for running back Ray Rice, is going to have to be able to get a physical running game going against the Patriots defensive line, led by big Vince Wilfork.

On the Patriots side of things, the offense goes through Tom Brady & Rob Gronkowski. Gronk is one of the most uncoverable tight ends in all of football & the Ravens will have to make sure that their linebacking group can make sure that one is constantly spying on Gronk consistently. If the Ravens can’t defend that combination, it will be a wrap, quickly. NO questions asked.

The Patriots are on a collision course & on a true mission to get back to the SuperBowl with Tom Brady having his career coming to an end. This is not the year for the Ravens to mess around with the hoodie & the pretty boy.

 

Patriots – 34, Ravens 21.

NFL, NBA, NCAA Apparel Sales – January 8, 2015

Today, the Sports Fan Playground has deals on many different items from the NFL, NBA, MLB & other top leagues around the world for January 8. Each day, the store will list 10 products on sale around the store, along with the opinions & stories that you are used to.

Today’s items consist of jerseys, t-shirts, hats & other apparel to prepare people for not only the rest of the pro seasons but also the NFL Playoffs & the College Football National Championship game between Oregon & Ohio State on Monday night.

Here are the sales of the day for January 8 –

NFL Green Bay Packers “Biggest Fan” Beanie Hat

Green Bay Packers Hat

This Green Bay Packers beanie hat is on sale at the Sports Fan Playground for $39.99.

NFL New England Patriots Women’s T-Shirt

New England Patriots Women's T-shirt

This New England Patriots women’s v-neck t-shirt is on sale for $28.00 at the Sports Fan Playground Patriots store.

Ohio State Buckeyes “We’re All In” 2015 College Football Playoff Hat

Ohio State Buckeyes Hat

Ohio State “We’re All In” hat commemorating the 2015 college football playoff championship game between Ohio State & Oregon is available for $24.99 at the Sports Fan Playground store.

Ohio State Buckeyes national championship sweatshirt

Ohio State Buckeyes 2015 College Football Playoff sweatshirt – $49.99 at the Sports Fan Playground store.

Oregon Ducks 2015 College Football Playoff Sweatshirt

Oregon Ducks College Football Playoff

Oregon Ducks 2015 College Football Playoff sweatshirt – $49.99

Asiacs Mens GEL-Kayano 20 Running Shoe

Asiacs Men's Kayano Running Shoe

The ASIACS Mens Kayano 20 running shoe is available for as low as $78.15 at the Sports Fan Playground shoe store.

Adidas Derrick Rose 4 Basketball Shoes

Derrick Rose basketball shoes

Adidas Performance Derrick Rose 4 basketball shoes are available for $60.99 at the Sports Fan Playground store.

Oregon Ducks Fiber HydroFX Mini Helmet

Oregon Ducks Helmet

Oregon Ducks Fiber HydroFX mini helmet, available at the Sports Fan Playground Oregon Ducks store for $27.00.

Detroit Pistons Mini Purse

Detroit Pistons Purse

Detroit Pistons mini purse available for $19.64 at the Sports Fan Playground store.

Stephen Curry NBA Golden State Warriors Replica Jersey

Stephen Curry Jersey

NBA Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry replica jersey is available for $69.95 at the Sports Fan Playground.

Detroit Lions Get Robbed By NFL Against Cowboys

Yesterday, the NFL, as per usual, dropped the ball in the officiating realm of things. During the Detroit Lions vs Dallas Cowboys NFL Wildcard Playoff game, the Lions were up at one point in the second half, 20-7.

Detroit Lions pass interference

Detroit Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew was clearly interfered with during this pass play & the NFL picked up the flag after several minutes & somehow decided this is not a pass interference call.

During a Lions drive in the 4th quarter, Matthew Stafford threw a pass to Brandon Pettigrew & the play was incomplete, however, there was absolutely a pass interference committed by the linebacker of the Dallas Cowboys where he didn’t turn his head back to the football & even grabbed Pettigrew, multiple penalties on the field, all across the board.

However, after about 5 minutes, the referees picked up the flag & announced that there wasn’t going to be a penalty on the play, killing the drive & momentum for the Lions, who eventually lost the game, 24-20, during a massive comeback by the Cowboys, aided by many, many penalty calls against the Lions at inopportune times, many that were ticky-tack calls that should honestly be let go due to the fact that it is professional football, not powderpuff.

Here is the video of the play, examine for yourself if this is a valid case or not.

If you go on any major NFL network today, they will all say that the Lions should have absolutely had a pass interference call or defensive holding at the least.  But, that is the kind of inconsistency we have come to expect from the NFL this year, on & off the field of play.

My question, though, is was there more to this situation that really meets the eye? Now typically I am all about a team winning & losing on the field. Every action on a playing surface leads to either a win or a loss, but in this situation, an exception should be made due to TMZ having video earlier this year of the NFL Head of Officiating being seen coming off of a Dallas Cowboys party bus in Los Angeles.

Now, when you see this video, how in the world can you not think that the NFL is in some kind of collusion with the Cowboys to get them back to the top of the league & back into prominence? The league, just as every sports league does, needs to have certain teams be at the top of the mountain on a regular basis, & the Cowboys, for as much as people like or hate them, move the TV ratings needle on any broadcast they are featured on & have to be able to be in contention to be among the best in the league.

They can do that with just their talent alone. Yesterday, it was clear that the Lions were the better team for over 3 quarters. Yes, they didn’t get defensive stops at the end of the game, I completely understand that, but the NFL playoffs are all about momentum & whomever has that momentum is the team that will have the major advantage in every game & the NFL referees clearly stole that away from the team & if the league & its owners were smart or cared about the fans’ perception of the integrity of the game & the people involved in it,

 

Now, even if you say that the pass interference isn’t called, later in the play, Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant ran on the field & debated with the referee, with his helmet off & should have absolutely received a 15-yard penalty, which would have also kept the drive going for the team. Who knows what would have happened after that, but its about the situation & opportunity available, especially in the NFL playoffs.

I hope that the NFL will show a bit of contrition & admit that at least the referees were wrong in the call. If nothing else, lets get some consistency through the rest of this NFL playoff run.

Yes, we know & are aware that the Cowboys are one of those teams that the NFL loves more than the brand itself, but can it not be so blatant against the teams that aren’t among the “elite” & the “royalty” of the league?

 

NFL Wildcard Playoff Preview – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens

One of the most passionate rivalries in the NFL gets restarted tonight when the PIttsburgh Steelers face their AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Wildcard Playoff matchup (8:00 p.m., NBC).

This rivalry has always been based on defensive intensity when players such as Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, James Farrior, Joey Porter & others a part of it. Now, both teams have had to rely on offensive outputs from Ben Roethlisberger from the Steelers & Joe Flacco from the Baltimore Ravens., but the fire is still there overall, no doubt about it.

Baltimore Ravens Offense vs Pittsburgh Steelers Defense

The Baltimore Ravens have always been an offensive unit that hasn’t always lived up to expectations of other NFL teams. They have been a running unit with a quarterback passing game that didn’t live up to the hype & would always throw to one or two receivers & the entire pressure would be on the defense.

Those days have changed now. Joe Flacco is having a big time year with just under 4,000 yards passing & 27 touchdowns, and he’s living up to the $100 million contract he signed in 2013 after the Ravens won the SuperBowl over the San Francisco 49ers.

When Ray Rice left earlier this season due to his domestic abuse situation, the team started to lean on Justin Forsett & Bernard Pierce to be the workhorses of the team. Forsett ran for 1,200 yards & Pierce for 366 yards & helped give the Ravens a true balance in the offensive unit, something the team has just started to grasp the concept of.

On the Pittsburgh Steelers side of things, the defense has gotten better with the re-addition of the recently retired James Harrison, who was one of the most dominant & feared linebackers in the history of the Steelers organization. Long-time safety Troy Polamalu is starting for the Steelers, giving them an extra boost of playmaking ability in the backfield. Having Troy being able to jump up & stop the run or watching Flacco’s eyes in pass coverage to assist guys like Lawrence Timmons & others can be a huge game changer for the Steelers sidelines.

Baltimore Ravens Defense vs Pittsburgh Steelers Offense

This matchup is going to be predicated strongly on the return of DT Haloti Ngata, who was serving a 4-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. Ngata will be key in plugging the hole for Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell to run through & to put more pressure on Roethlisberger to make perfect throws all day & have Antonio Brown get open consistently down the field.

Speaking of Brown, he is the Steelers one big deep threat, with TE Heath Miller being the main guy in the short to intermediate passing game. As of this writing, Bell has been announced out for the game, which now means that the entire offense is on Ben’s shoulders. If the Steelers have to throw on almost every down, the Baltimore pass rush will get major pressure on Ben after so long & the Steelers will be rendered one-dimensional, which absolutely can’t work against the Ravens.

Predictions: The Ravens are going to be looking to pull off the upset & without a consistent running game for the Steelers, the Ravens defense should feast on the Steelers. Final score – Ravens – 30, Steelers 17.

 

 

Hottest WAGS in Sports – Winter 2015 (NSFW)

The new WAGS list for the winter of 2015 is now here. As per usual, many ladies on the previous lists have started dating other people & many athletes from the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA & NBA have also started dating other people. Even in the WWE & TNA, the ladies of both of those companies have changed up their dating profiles, so its important to keep up with all of the happenings & goings on in the WAGS world.

As per usual, this will be a very comprehensive list for WAGS & we looked through all of the professional & college leagues in the United States & overseas in many of the soccer (football) groups to see who are the absolute best & hottest ladies in the sports dating world to start off 2015 the right way. We feel as though we won’t disappoint.

Without further or due, here is our list for winter 2015. This list may get updated if we get more in for the winter season.

Ann Kathrin Brommel – Girlfriend of Bayern Munich & Germany Soccer Star Mario Gutze

Ann Kathrin Brommel

Ann Kathrin Brommel is the girlfriend of Germany soccer star Mario Gotze, the man who had the game-winning goal for Germany to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup this past summer. From the looks of things, he is absolutely winning on & off the field.

Ann Kathrin Brummel German

Ann Kathrin Brummel looking very sultry.

Ann Kathrin Brommel

Ann Kathrin Brommel in a very…………suggestive shot.

Ann Kathrin Brommel

Ann Kathrin Brommel being the lady in red.

Nora Segura – Girlfriend of USA Soccer Player Tim Howard

Nora Segura

Nora Segura is the girlfriend (or ladyfriend as some say…) of USA goalkeeper Tim Howard. Sounds like Howard had some great time to just chill & have some hot sexy fun during his time in the World Cup.

Nora Segura

Nora Segura looking hot on the beach.

Nora Segura

Nora Segura giving us a bit of ass in this hot. Again, on the beach.

Nora Segura

Nora Segura doing some crazy acrobatics on the wall. Can you say just plain HOT??

Lisa Ann – Adult MILF Porn Star; Girlfriend of Notre Dame WR Justin Brent

Lisa Ann breasts

Lisa Ann chillin & showing off her……..well……….great breasts. Let’s just flat out say it.

Lisa Ann Porn

Lisa Ann just…………looking stunning. I just have no words for how awesome this is.

MILF Lisa Ann

MILF Lisa Ann in the yoga position. No one has ever made Yoga so sexy.

Alexis Randock – Girlfriend of Golfer Rickie Fowler

Alexis Randock

Alexis Randock, girlfriend of pro golfer Rickie Fowler.

Alexis Randock Rickie Fowler

Alexis Randock Model

Alexis Randock rocking the walkway during a modeling show.

Alexis Randock Model

Alexis Randock with a still pose in a modeling show.

Snow Phat – Girlfriend of Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

Snow Phat

Snow Phat, an Instagram model, has been linked to Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.

Snow Phat ass

Snow Phat showing why she has the “phat” in her Instagram name…..

Ashley Lillian Moss – Girlfriend of Seattle Seahawks Richard Sherman

Ashley Lillian Moss

Ashley Lillian Moss is the current girlfriend of Seattle Seahawks All-Pro CB Richard Sherman.

Ashley Lillian Moss

Ashley Lillian Moss in a beautiful headshot.

Ashley Lillian Moss

Ashley Lillian Moss getting classy as she goes into a limo.

Hannah Davis – Actress/DirecTV Genie; Girlfriend of Yankees Legend Derek Jeter

Hannah Davis

Hannah Davis is known to most as the DirecTV genie & is now better known as being the woman who could possibly be the one to marry Derek Jeter, recently retired New York Yankees legend.

Hannah Davis sexy

Hannah Davis looking gorgeous yet again…..

Hannah Davis Derek Jeter

Hannah Davis making Derek Jeter know that he is very smart for settling down with her.

Hannah Davis

Hannah Davis just sitting & chilling.

Elke “The Stallion” – Another Girlfriend of Notre Dame WR Justin Brent

Elke The Stallion

So, I guess Justin Brent has a thing for thick women, or all kinds, as he went to Elke the Stallion at some point before or after Lisa Ann….

Elke The Stallion Ass

Elke showing off the goods in a big way.

Elke The Stallion

Looking a bit on the classier side, im guessing……..

Elke The Stallion Tattoo

Elke The Stallion showing off her tattoos.

Nikki Sapp – Girlfriend of Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spolestra

NIkki Sapp

NIkki Sapp is a former Miami Heat dancer, a Magna Cum Laude Florida International University graduate & the girlfriend of Miami Heat head coach Erik Spolestra.

Nikki Sapp Miami Heat

Nikki Sapp is celebrating with the Miami Heat’s NBA Championship.

Nikki Sapp

Nikki Sapp in a sexy pose.

Nikki Sapp Bikini

Nikki Sapp looking beautiful in a yellow bikini.

2014 NFL Playoff Preview – WildCard Weekend – Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers

The 2014 NFL regular season has come to a sad end, & its time for the 2014 NFL playoffs. This is a playoff year that sees many teams in the tournament that we are used to seeing on a regular basis. The teams that many thought would be dominant (New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, defending SuperBowl Champion Seattle Seahawks) lived up to expectations, but there are many teams playing in the NFL Wildcard Weekend who have a great chance to make some headway & possibly shake up the road to SuperBowl 49, which will be held on the first Sunday of February in Phoenix.

But before we get to Phoenix, we start with this coming weekend, with 4 games that will get us to the divisional round in two weeks that will take place in the 4 cities listed above. Here is a preview of the games coming up this weekend.

Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers – Saturday, 4:40 ESPN

This game is a case of two teams who may be miscast in their roles in the NFC playoff standings this year. It can be argued that the Carolina Panthers have absolutely no business being in the NFL playoffs due to a 7-8-1 record & winning an absolutely terrible NFC South Division. Many expect the NFL to change this setup in the offseason, but for now, they are the 4th seed & the Arizona Cardinals, who dropped their big game to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16, a game that would have meant them getting the #1 overall seed in the NFC playoffs, ends up as the 5th seed, without a home game, even with a 11-5 record.

Cam Newton

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton is the team’s only hope if the Panthers have any chance of keeping their improbable 2014 NFL season alive past this Saturday against the Cardinals.

For the Cardinals, this team has been the walking wounded all year – the starting quarterback (Carson Palmer) has been out with a torn ACL, star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is banged up, & Tyrann “Honey Badger” Matthieu, Darnell Dockett & other key defensive players have missed significant time this year due to injury and/or suspension.

Nonetheless, head coach Bruce Arians has kept the Cardinals focused & has leaned completely on his defense, which has still been one of the best in the NFL all season long. That defense should be able to handle a Panthers team that is completely based on the quarterback play of Cam Newton & the big play ability of rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin.

The Panthers RB duo of DeAngelo Williams & Jonathan Dwyer have been inconsistent this year so it has been a struggle at times for the team to score points because of the fact that everything comes down to Newton & his overall playmaking ability with his ability to throw & run.  These offensive issues alone will most likely give the Cardinals the overall advantage & ability to move them into the next round.

However, the Panthers defense will have something to say as well. Luke Kuechly has become one of the most dominant linebackers in all of the NFL & their pass rush & sound fundamentals will keep Lindley off-balance for a majority of the afternoon & make him think a bit when trying to get Fitz & excellent big-play target Michael Floyd open down field.

The main question for the Cardinals goes back to the quarterback position. Ryan Lindley has replaced Palmer in the lineup & the results have been lackluster at best. In week 17, Lindley threw for 318 yards & 2 touchdowns, but also 3 interceptions against the San Francisco 49ers. If the quarterback play can become stable & Lindley can avoid the big mistake, the Cardinals should cruise to victory here in a low scoring fight.

Prediction – Cardinals 20, Panthers 13.

 

Jim Harbaugh to Michigan – Big Blue is Back

Jim Harbaugh is the new head coach at the University of Michigan. This is the “Michigan Man” that the school has wanted ever since Lloyd Carr retired from coaching at the school in 2007. Harbaugh has one more game left with the San Francisco 49ers today & will then have a press conference on Monday announcing he will be the new coach, per reports from various sources around the NFL.

Harbaugh is instantly going to restore Michigan’s cache back into prominence & vault the Wolverines back into the contention for the Big Ten championship next season, especially with the Michigan State Spartans possibly losing their most important piece to their championship defense in defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who will become the new head coach at Pitt.

Jim Harbaugh Michigan

San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh will become the new Michigan Wolverines coach on Tuesday with a news conference in Ann Arbor.

At Michigan, the expectation has always been to win the Big Ten championship, beat Ohio State & hope to do well in the Rose Bowl each season, ever since the years of Bo Schlembechler. That mantra carried through Gary Moeller, into Lloyd Carr, but has dropped off when Rich Rodriguez came along & really fell off after the last coach, Brady Hoke, consistently got worse during his tenure at Michigan, after winning the Sugar Bowl in 2011 in his first season in Ann Arbor.

Looking at Harbaugh’s coaching career, he has been one of the most celebrated in all of football, college or NFL. He took Stanford, got great recruiting classes year in & year out at one of the toughest places to recruit in all of college football, & made them into a title contender consistently, with a BCS berth in the Orange Bowl & never losing to the main rivals for Stanford – the USC Trojans – at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

In 2011, he signed a deal to coach the San Francisco 49ers, whom he has taken to become one of the elite teams in the NFC again, after the organization had been basically dormant for many years. He lost in SuperBowl 47 to his brother John & his Baltimore Ravens, but came back the next season to lead the 49ers back to the NFC Championship Game, falling to the eventual SuperBowl champion Seattle Seahawks in one of the most competitive conference championship games in years.

This season, the 49ers fell off a bit, but the biggest reason for the fall has been because of injuries to many key players across the roster & not having former Pro Bowl defensive end Aldon Smith for the majority of the season based on a suspension by the NFL.

That being said, Harbaugh is no doubt a great coach & can lead Michigan right back into the top of the Big Ten. But Harbaugh is going to have to get right on the recruiting trail quickly, as many recruits have decommitted from Michigan due to the instability of the program & not being completely sure if Hoke would be fired after the season was over. The Wolverines only have two three-star recruits & four four-star recruits with zero five-star recruits. The six recruits total  are a low number at this point of the recruiting game & only 3 are ranked in the ESPN top 300.

On top of all of that, the fans have lost faith in Michigan football. There were many situations throughout the 2014 season where the Wolverines most likely didn’t truly have 100,000 people in Michigan Stadium, a stat that the university has held very proud & in high regard for years. The fans were tired of the Hoke act, the boring offense & the sense that the team had absolutely little to no shot every Saturday when they took the field, something that is not accepted in Ann Arbor.

From a football perspective, Harbaugh will bring a tough style of coaching, but also bring the Wolverines back to a true smash mouth style of football that the fans have been used to for many years. The team will go back to running the football consistently & depending on how many new recruits Harbaugh can bring in just based on reputation alone, the Wolverines should be upgraded across the defense quickly, especially already having Jabril Peppers as the #1 cornerback going into camp next year.

If this situation works itself out the way everyone in the free world believes that it will, the Michigan Wolverines & the boosters & fans will all rejoice to finally have a guy who is proven, who is a winner, & who is truly a “Michigan Man.”

 

Hail to the Victors.

WWE Old School Review – Starrcade 1997

Recently, the Sports Fan Playground loaded up the WWE Network & of course, checked out for old school WCW stuff. This week it was Starrcade 1997, the big event that had Sting against Hollywood Hulk Hogan for the WCW title.

The entire event was based around this idea of Sting not wrestling for a year & coming down from the rafters all through 1997 & terrorizing the New World Order (NWO), the big wrestling group that was all the rage from 1996-1999. WCW did an angle that wrote Sting off TV where in the War Games the year before, WCW didn’t trust him to be on their team against the NWO in the match.

Sting gave the perverbial up yours to the “top guys” in the company & decided to go watch some Crow movies & come back as this crazy bad ass who would come down from the top of the rafters in all black & just whoop ass with a baseball bat in hand.

Starrcade 1997

Sting vs Hollywood Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Title at Starrcade 1997.

The event as a whole was kinda terrible, but the match itself was pretty entertaining, especially given that Sting hadn’t seen any in-ring action in over a year. It was very well worked & SPOILER…Sting wins the belt after Bret Hart, who had JUST come over from the WWE after the Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series 1997, was the main ref & showed his allegiance for the WCW after being a “free agent” coming into the company.

If you watch this event on WWE Network – here are the parts to watch:

– Sting vs Hogan

– Larry Zbyszko vs Eric Bischoff for control of WCW Monday Nitro……………yup….i know, but that really did happen.

– Eddie Guerrero vs Dean Malenko. Awesome match to start the show. Damn I wish the cruiserweights had more time to show their skills, but I digress.

The entire Sting/Hogan match is available below for your viewing.