NFL Store Sales at Sports Fan Playground During Week 17

As we get ready for the Christmas holiday, the Sports Fan Playground is preparing for deals across the NFL store during week 17, the last week of the 2014 NFL regular season. There are many games around the league with playoff implications, particularly NFL division championships across the board.

Find items on sale up to 80% off on products for the NFC North contenders Detroit Lions & Green Bay Packers, AFC North contenders Pittsburgh Steelers & Cincinnati Bengals, & NFC South contenders Atlanta Falcons & Carolina Panthers.

Green Bay Packers Adjustable Hat

Green Bay Packers Hat

Green Bay Packers Adjustable Hat on sale for $13.71 at the Sports Fan Playground during Week 17.

NFL Green Bay Packers Cheesehead

Green Bay Packers Cheesehead Hat

NFL Green Bay Packers cheesehead hat on sale for $19.99 at the Sports Fan Playground store.

Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers Women’s T-Shirt

Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers Shirt

This Aaron Rodgers #12 Green Bay Packers women’s t-shirt is available for $29.99 at the Sports Fan Playground NFL store.

Detroit Lions Hooded Blue Sweatshirt

Detroit Lions Sweatshirt

Detroit Lions NFL blue hooded sweatshirt available for $49.95 at the Sports Fan Playground Detroit Lions store.

Detroit Lions Women’s Go For Two T-Shirt

Detroit Lions women's t-shirt

This Detroit Lions women’s t-shirt is on sale for $24.99 at the Sports Fan Playground Detroit Lions store.

Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson Youth NFL Jersey

Calvin Johnson Jersey

Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson NFL Youth Jersey on sale for $39.99 at the Sports Fan Playground Lions store.

Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan NFL Game Jersey

Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons Jersey

Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan NFL game jersey available for $109.99 at the Sports Fan Playground store.

Atlanta Falcons Julio Jones NFL Game Jersey

Julio Jones Jersey

Atlanta Falcons NFL Game Jersey for Julio Jones available for $99 at the Sports Fan Playground store.

Atlanta Falcons Men’s Zip Up Pro Team Jacket

Atlanta Falcons Jacket

The Atlanta Falcons Men’s Zip Up athletic jacket is on sale for $59.99 down from $104.99 at the Sports Fan Playground store.

Carolina Panthers Clean Up Adjustable Hat

NFL Carolina Panthers Hat

Carolina Panthers NFL Clean Up Adjustable Hat on sale for $13.25 at the Sports Fan Playground Carolina Panthers store.

Carolina Panthers Cam Newton Youth Replica NFL Jersey

Cam Newton Carolina Panthers Jersey

Carolina Panthers Cam Newton Replica Youth Jersey on sale at the Sports Fan Playground for $49.95.

CM Punk Goes To UFC; Shuns WWE

CM Punk calls himself the best in the world in the WWE, now he can try to apply that to the UFC. At UFC 181, Punk & UFC President Dana White announced that Punk had signed a new contract to compete at the 185 middleweight division in the UFC, beginning in 2015.

CM Punk UFC

CM Punk (real name Phil Brooks) is now a competitor in the UFC after his big announcement on December 6 at UFC 181.

When this came out, the MMA & pro wrestling world absolutely went insane. Punk is undoubtedly the most controversial name in professional wrestling due to his leaving WWE abruptly after the Royal Rumble in January. Punk cited that he was burned out & absolutely sick of the industry, along with not getting the opportunity to have some of the perks that top guys receive such as John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Triple H & others.

Punk also wanted to headline Wrestlemania at some point in his career, & even though he has been in many high profile matches at the biggest event in pro wrestling against the likes of Chris Jericho & the Undertaker, every WWE star wants to be the guy to close the show at a Mania event, which Punk never received.

Punk had one of the most telling interviews of all time on the Art of Wrestling podcast, hosted by his good friend, Colt Cabana, in which Punk truly opened up about all of his issues & frustrations in the WWE & such & just where his mind is at & his body.

 

Here is part 2 of the CM Punk interview on the Art of Wrestling –

Before I go too deep into CM Punk the UFC fighter, Id like to talk a bit more about the CM Punk who was one of the greatest WWE performers of all time.

Punk was huge on the independent wrestling circuit, especially in promotions such as Ring of Honor. Unfortunately, he came up during a time when WWE Chairman Vince McMahon still wanted the bigger guys who were “more marketable” & looked better. He wasn’t ready to embrace a performer of Punk’s caliber, until he showed up in 2006 during the weird version of ECW that was on SyFy for a long period of time.

Punk became a mainstay on there & eventually became a two-time winner of the Money In The Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania in 2007 & 2008, cashing in each time to win the WWE Championship. Even during those times, Punk was not always at the top of the card. He was near the top but in the wrestling industry, if you aren’t closing the show, the WWE isn’t really worried about you, even though you may be the guy who is the true “face of the company.”

Punk would have a great run in WWE in terms of having exciting matches, but rumors started going around that Punk was hard to deal with, a malcontent & a guy who was really a loner most days. When Punk got to 2011, his contract was legitimately up with WWE & he resigned right before the Money In The Bank PPV event in his hometown of Chicago, where his true push really came & after his amazing championship win against Cena in that event, Punk was the highlight of the card & the fans let the WWE know that they wanted to see much more of him.

But he still wasn’t getting all of the respect that he felt that he deserved. He got much better as a competitor & was still putting on phenomenal matches against all of the top guys in the company on a consistent basis. Punk was upset however, that he wasn’t getting the opportunity to main event Wrestlemania events over matches such as the John Cena vs Rock series that headlined Wrestlemania 28 & Wrestlemania 29 in 2012 & 2013 respectively.

Punk knew that the time was ticking & after the 2014 Royal Rumble, where he was eliminated very quietly, when many people felt that a situation was happening where he would face Triple H at Wrestlemania 30, Punk left the building before the next night’s Monday Night Raw episode was to air. That would be the last time Punk would ever be seen in the WWE outside of the WWE Network.

All through 2014, fans have cheered for Punk, especially when his girlfriend, now wife, A.J. Lee would be on the show. The fans hoped many days that Punk would magically show up & all would be forgotten, especially when we live in an era where guys like Hulk Hogan & the Ultimate Warrior was forgiven for many bad issues that had happened in the past in WWE. That would not be the case as we started to see Punk on TV shows such as Talking Dead & then announcing that he would do some writing for Marvel Comics & now this seals the deal with Punk taking the UFC deal.

A.J. Lee

A.J. Lee, the wife of CM Punk & WWE Superstar.

Recently, on the Stone Cold Steve Austin podcast, McMahon mentioned that he would be open to doing business with Punk in the future, but Punk does look as though he may actually be one of the guys who says they are finished with professional wrestling & actually mean it.

As far as Punk goes in the UFC, it has been very well noted that Punk has martial arts training with the famed Gracie family & has worked with some of the best training partners in the world, but the UFC is a whole different animal of fighter. There is no way that Punk can be ready for an actual fight before 2015 due to a variety of circumstances, not to mention just being able to have a competitive fight. Yes, Brock Lesnar was able to make the transition, but Lesnar was an NCAA wrestling champion at Minnesota, Punk was not. Punk has not been involved in any other actual fight techniques professionally or in amateur ranks outside of wrestling ever, which will make this situation all the more unique.

Competitors such as Matt Brown & Michael Bisping have already said they would like a shot at Punk, & many of the fighters probably believe that Punk only got the contract because of his name & what he can do for the UFC as a brand, as the company is not as hot as it used to be just a couple of years ago. Ronda Rousey is starting to go more into Hollywood. Anderson Silva is getting older, & after this coming weekend, will either Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier be able to be the faces of the company? Having Punk (and possibly Lesnar in 2015) back in the UFC fold gets the company back to the front of people’s minds & will help to replenish some of the possible star power that could leave the company in the next few months.

My prediction is that we could see Punk in the octagon in the UFC possibly around May or early fall, around the times when another PPV attraction – Floyd Mayweather – may be fighting his biggest fights of his career against Manny Pacquiao. If the UFC doesn’t have anything that is going to even cut a small dent into the Mayweather/Pacquiao buyrate, it could be a rough 2015 for the company, so it makes sense to bring in big, credible names like Punk & Lesnar into the fold, simply for just the buyrates & make people think twice about where they are going to spend their cash this summer & fall of 2015.

Review of 2014 NFL Regular Season Part 1

The Sports Fan Playground is finally back, & the NFL season is just about come to an end, with another great season having been played. The league has had a great season on the field, but unfortunately, has had a very rough season off of the field & has been taken through the mud with their PR & their overall image after the issues with domestic violence & the other situations that have made people wonder if the league is really taking care of its players.

Ray Rice Sheds Terrible Light on NFL After Domestic Abuse Incident.

The 2014 NFL season will be remembered for being talked about in the living rooms & bedrooms of millions of Americans after the Ray Rice/Janay Rice incident in which the former Baltimore Ravens running back Rice hit his then girlfriend & NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, for some reason, decided not to suspend Rice initially for his actions outside of a 2-game suspension. That did not sit well with the rest of society & for the first time, the society was able to strong arm the NFL into making the right decision.  But, in a weird way, it was a great situation from a nation standpoint because it was one of the first high profile situations that helped spark the conversation about this issue with families & children, thus figuring out ways to end this & to educate people early on the factors & risks that lead to these violent outbursts.

 

As for the Rice situation, the league ended up botching the situation even worse when Roger Goodell told the world that he didn’t see any of the tapes & that Rice was telling the truth about what information he told Goodell before he was suspended with the measly two games. An independent arbitrator eventually reinstated Rice into the league, but he has yet to be picked up by a team, & with being into his 30s now, his career could be ready to quickly fade away, as does many running backs with the physical style that Rice brings on a game in, game out basis.

It was at this point that we saw the first real breaks in the normally impenetrable armor of the NFL, but there was going to be more though.

Adrian Peterson Is Suspended For “Whooping” His Son

While the Ray Rice incident was getting hot & heavy, the next big story involved Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who was suspended & arrested for beating his son with a “switch”, leaving marks in various areas of his body. This incident, compared to the other situations, went virtually untouched as many parents defended Peterson’s actions, simply because many parents have disciplined their children the same way & were disciplined themselves the same way growing up.

Adrian Peterson

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson was suspended during the 2014 NFL season due to being charged & arrested due to beating his son with a tree switch.

Peterson was suspended for the season, with pay, & again, the NFL shows to be botching this situation up as Peterson & the NFL Players Union are appealing the ruling that Peterson can’t be reinstated into the league until April 15, well after many of the top players are already signed with teams & because Peterson is a running back, his value will continue to go down if he is not retained by the Vikings. Peterson’s punishment would include a longer suspension later in the regular season, this time without pay, after he & his representatives came to an agreement that would have left him out of jail, which in the NFL’s eyes, meant that he wasn’t deemed innocent & he would be out of action.

However, new audio came out that showed that NFL executive Troy Vincent basically promised that if Peterson would comply with the league’s rules & advice on the matter, that he would only have a two game suspension & would be back on the field. Oh…….NFL…….

There was some great action ON the Field…..Then There Was Johnny Manziel.

On the NFL fields, the league talked all season about the Cleveland Browns & who would get the starts at quarterback, Brian Hoyer or rookie Johnny Manziel. Hoyer kept the Browns in playoff contention late into the season for the first time in many years, but the first time that Hoyer showed signs of slipping, the team went with Manziel, the first round pick, & that proved to be an unmitigated disaster.

Johnny Manziel

Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel has been one of the most talked about rookies to come into the NFL in many years. Unfortunately, this season showed that he has much to learn about being an NFL quarterback.

Manziel went 10-18 for 80 yards & 2 interceptions in his first start against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 15 & then showed that he was a bit better against the Carolina Panthers, before we saw the end of Johnny Football for the season due to his bad hamstring that he suffered in the second quarter of the game.

Manziel vs Hoyer will be a storyline that will go into the 2015 NFL season due to the fact that the Browns essentially threw away an opportunity to make the NFL playoffs this year & the question will be whether the team tries to trade Hoyer or Manziel or go with the two quarterback system in 2015.

Personally, Brian Hoyer truly gave the Browns the best chance to win games. Manziel even said himself that he has to take the NFL more seriously. If the first round quarterback pick wasn’t taking the lead seriously from the start, why in the world would a team draft him? Yes, he moves merchandise but he is losing the faith of the team with each bad outing.

He has had some brief moments of greatness this season, but that was typically because the teams didn’t gameplan for his skills. When there is time to learn how to get pressure on him & make him go outside of his comfort zone as a passer, we learned quickly that Manziel is nowhere near ready to be a franchise quarterback for any NFL team, let alone the Browns.

Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers Still The Elite.

At various points of the season, many different pundits on the different NFL shows all season talked about how Manning, Brady & Rodgers were all falling off, not being as good anymore & couldn’t lead their teams to victories the way they used to during their “hey day.”

Rodgers told people to relax, Brady just got mad & starting cussing people out & Manning calmed down, fizzled a bit during the end of the season, but all of these future Hall of Fame players have led their teams into the playoffs & possibly all into home field advantages.

Before people start writing off the elite & the proven players in the league & get ready to proclaim Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel & others ready for the throne, lets sit back & realize why these guys are some of the greatest to ever play the position……consistency & excellence under the pressure.

Part 2 coming on Sunday Night.

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2014 Black Friday Sale at Sports Fan Playground – Part 3 – Xbox One

As you have seen, the Sports Fan Playground has had a variety of Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales that we have been promoting over the last few weeks & today is part 3 of that set up.

Today, we will talk about how the store has celebrated its expansion into the Xbox One gaming area & our deals on the Xbox One games, consoles & accessories going into next week here at the Sports Fan Playground store.

These deals are currently taking place now & will hold through next week. We present the Xbox One 2014 Black Friday Guide at the Sports Fan Playground.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity – $38.99

Assassin's Creed Unity Xbox One

Assassin’s Creed: Unity is available at the Sports Fan Playground store for $38.99, down from the retail price of $59.99.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection – $48.80

Halo Xbox One

The new Halo: Master Chief Collection is available for $48.80, on sale from $59.99 at the Sports Fan Playground Xbox One store.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – $48.00

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Xbox One

The new Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare video game is on sale for $48.00, down from $59.99 at the Sports Fan Playground store.

Xbox One Console – $348.00

Xbox One Black Friday

The Xbox One console is on sale at the Sports Fan Playground for $348.00, down from $399 for Black Friday.

FIFA 15 – $43.49

FIFA 15 Xbox One

The FIFA 15 game is on sale for $43.49, down from the regular price of $59.99, at the Sports Fan Playground store.

The Sports Fan Playground will have many more games on sale from the Xbox One store over the next few days so definitely visit during your Black Friday shopping time

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2014 WWE Survivor Series Preview – At Least Its Free

This weekend, the WWE is going to present to us the 2014 WWE Survivor Series on the WWE Network, which is completely free this month. When you see the card on this show, you probably realize why.

The WWE Survivor Series is very indicative of the current day WWE product – stale, boring & doing the exact same things again & again. The Survivor Series match itself tells quite a bit about the company – you have John Cena & his team against The Authority & WWE completely tipped its hand by saying that if Cena’s team loses, the team would be fired.

Well, considering that they can’t live without Cena & especially Dolph Ziggler on TV, this pretty much guarantees Cena’s team should win rather easily. Plus, with the rumors of Stephanie McMahon being pregnant, it would perfectly give she & her husband, Triple H, time to be off of television with Brock Lesnar scheduled to come back to TV soon & remind us all that he is the WWE World Champion, despite having not defended the championship since the Night of Champions event in September.

Stephanie McMahon

Could Survivor Series be the last time we see a lot of Stephanie McMahon for a while? Rumor has it she may be pregnant.

As for the rest of the card, there are 4 other matches that are really ways to just get guys on television & a check for being on PPV.

The Divas championship match between Nikki Bella & A.J. Lee should be interesting as Nikki should be the one who goes over & further her storyline with Brie Bella with the whole servant deal, which still has a few days left on the stipulation.

Nikki Bella

Nikki Bella should go over at WWE Survivor Series as the new WWE Divas Champion.

A.J. Lee

Should WWE DIvas Champion A.J. Lee leave WWE after Survivor Series, there will be a massive void of true female competitors in the company.

As it is shaping up, A.J. Lee could be leaving the WWE after the Survivor Series to be around more with her husband, former WWE Superstar C.M. Punk. If Lee does leave, a big void will need to be filled in the Divas division, which could be happening soon with some of the great NXT Divas that are doing great work down in Orlando.

The only other big event on the card that is worth really talking about is Dean Ambrose vs Bray Wyatt. From a character standpoint, this should be a phenomenal contest, but oddly enough, its Wyatt that needs a fresh boost. His promos are still excellent, but all we have heard about is how he saved Luke Harper & Erick Rowan, which is fine & all, but there needs to be an evolution to his character in some drastic way.

Ambrose is the future of the WWE right now. He has the mic skills & has shown the ability to evolve his character much more. Ambrose will have many other opportunities to go big in the company, Wyatt absolutely needs to go over to reestablish himself in the ring, not just on the mic.

But right now, its very hard to get excited about the current WWE product. With so much emphasis on the WWE Network & making it the best that it can be, there has been a major disconnect with the audience & the programming, which the ratings have reflected. Its as if the WWE is telling everyone to forget watching what’s on right now & just go strictly to the WWE Network exclusively, which, admittedly, I have done much more of over the last few months because the Network has been absolutely outstanding & has constantly gotten better over time.

WWE NXT has been amazing; the show is arguably the #1 show in all of WWE right now, the vault content has been strong & the Monday Night War, WWE Rivalries, WWE Wrestlemania Rewind & the other random specials that end up on the Network have been absolutely remarkable.

But because WWE has put so much emphasis on the Network, which is the smart business move, WWE has let some of the current go away. Survivor Series is one of the major events of the fall & winter & essentially the “end of the year” show that helps get people ready for the next year & the Royal Rumble & road to Wrestlemania. This doesn’t feel like a major event – it feels like an event that I wouldn’t pay a lot of money to watch anyway, & that is a shame.

When you have many of your top stars – Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar – not advertised for the card, that hurts the bottom line & the event loses much of its luster. Somehow WWE is going to have to circumvent this issue – but it may be too late to save this event card. If you want to see the rest of the Survivor Series card, check out Bleacher Report here.

At least its only $9.99 per month.

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2014 Sportsfan1984.com Black Friday Sales Guide Part 2

Earlier this week, we, at the Sports Fan Playground released our initial guide to various Black Friday sales in our store for the upcoming season. Today, we will have several items that are marked down that you will find out here at sportsfan1984.com & also on our WordPress page, which will feature different items that are on sale for the upcoming holiday season.

As mentioned in the first piece, items on sale include memorabilia & current day items from the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA & NBA, along with new products in the world of appliances, unlocked cell phones, apparel, jewelry, video games including products for the Xbox One & Playstation 4, & much more.

Enough with the waiting, here are the next few items that are currently marked down for the Black Friday sale at the Sports Fan Playground.

Nike Men’s Air Max 90 Essential Running Shoe

Nike Air Max 90

The Nike Air Max 90 shoe is available for as low as $72.00 at the Sports Fan Playground during the current Black Friday sale.

San Francisco Giants World Series 2014 Championship T-Shirt

San Francisco Giants 2014 World Series T-Shirt

The new San Francisco Giants World Series championship t-shirt is available for $19.95 at the Sports Fan Playground store. The store has a large amount of Giants World Series apparel available for sale.

Ohio State Buckeyes Man Cave Flag

Ohio State Buckeyes

The Ohio State Buckeyes man cave flag on sale for $14.69, down from $21.99 at the Sports Fan Playground Black Friday Sale.

Philadelphia Eagles Stop Sign

Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles stop sign available for 80% off – $4.00, down from $22.50 during the Black Friday sale at the Sports Fan Playground.

Storm Crux Bowling Ball

Storm Bowling Balls

The Storm Crux bowling ball is on sale for $164.99, down from $289.99, at the Sports Fan Playground bowling store.

MagicBullet NutriBullet Pro 900 Series Blender

Magic Bullet

The MagicBullet 900 series blender is available for 28% off – $92.99 – down from $129.99, at the Sports Fan Playground Black Friday Sale.

NBA Dirk Nowitzki Dallas Mavericks Home Jersey

Dirk Nowitzki Jersey

The Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki home youth jersey is on sale for as low as $24.98 at the Sports Fan Playground.

Callaway Strata Plus Men’s Complete 18-Piece Golf Set w/Bag

Callaway Golf

Callaway Strata Complete 18-piece golf set for men, along with the golf bag, is on sale for $299.99, down from $375.00, at the Sports Fan Playground.

LG 50LB6300 50-Inch 1080p 120Hz Smart LED TV

LG LED TV

This LG 50LB6300 OED LED TV is on sale for 40% off, at $665.00, down from $1,099.00 during the Sports Fan Playground Black Friday sale.

Sharp LC-48LE551U 48-inch Aquos HD 1080p 60Hz LED TV

Sharp Aquos TV

The Sharp LC-48LE551U 48-inch Aquos LED TV is on sale for $447.00, down from $599.00, at the Sports Fan Playground Black Friday Sale.

 

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Sports Fan Playground 2014-15 NBA Preview – Cleveland Cavs

Wow, how things have changed in one city in the span of a year. This time last year, the Cleveland Cavaliers were thought to possibly be a playoff team if all of the right pieces fell in place. Well, with the team hampered by injuries to star point guard Kyrie Irving & big man Anderson Varejao & not having any real big time scorers in their lineup with the exception of Dion Waiters, who isn’t a consistent 30 points per game guy, the Cavs suffered – to the point where they gained the #1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

LeBron James Cleveland Cavs

LeBron James returned back to the Cleveland Cavs on July 11 after leading the Miami Heat to their 4th straight NBA Finals. When LeBron signed, Kevin Love also resigned along with other top role players Mike Miller, Ray Allen & others.

Well, fast forward to July 2014. LeBron James has decided to take meetings in Las Vegas with the Miami Heat organization as well as the Cleveland Cavs (the latter we didn’t know about), & the people feel as though there is big support that LeBron is going to return home to his home state & to the area where he truly became a star initially.

Over the next several days, people are starting to speculate over what is really going on, then the reports start to come out that LeBron is moving his stuff from Florida up to his home in Akron & the moving trucks are being followed by all kinds of media, all the way to his home.

Then, its time for the decision & Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated had the scoop the whole time that LeBron was going to come home, even pinning the actual story as said by LeBron in LeBron’s own words.

Then it happened. James was shown back in a Cleveland uniform & all of a sudden, Kevin Love comes over from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Love, who was very disgruntled in Minnesota because of being a big time talent that the organization wasn’t putting enough great players around to get him into the playoffs, immediately stated that he wanted to play with LeBron as soon as possible. So the Cavs traded their #1 pick, Andrew Wiggins & last year’s top pick in Anthony Bennett back to Minnesota for Love.

Along with role players such as Mike Miller & Shawn Marion, the roster was basically set. The Cavs were & are ready to win an NBA Championship this year, which I truly believe that they will. Let’s break down the Cavs by position.

Small Forward

Obviously, LeBron is going to be the #1 option for the small forward position, & probably any other position he chooses! But when LeBron goes for the rest, Love has the quickness & ability to get into the small forward position & can be a mismatch offensively for most players who aren’t used to having to go out to the perimeter to match up with a guy who is 6″10″ who can drive to the basket as well as shoot the jumper consistently.

The combination of Miller & Marion will be great complements to keep LeBron fresh during those second quarter & third quarter breaks & are also able to knock down the 3s on a consistent basis. In the case of Marion, he also brings a veteran defensive presence who has the ability to play long & annoy small forwards & some shooting guards.

For the playoff run, James Jones, formerly of the Miami Heat, will be available to be that consistent threat off of the bench. Don’t expect Jones to see much PT during the season, he honestly isn’t going to be needed at all. His value is not going to be noticed during regular season games. The Cavs will be able to coast to a high seed in the NBA Eastern Conference without him. But in those matchups in the conference semifinals & further, having that veteran leadership & more championship experience is going to be vital to helping some of the younger Cavs who haven’t had the chance to taste winning will be important to have on the court & in the locker room.

 Power Forward

Love & Tristan Thompson will make for a great combination at the power forward position. Love will be the starter, but with all that will be on his shoulders to deliver after LeBron most likely sets him up, Thompson can come in & has developed into a strong rebounder & solid defensive presence down in the post, an area where Love isn’t the best right now.

Brendan Haywood could be used at the power forward position at times, but don’t expect it too much. Love & Thompson should absolutely flourish in this area & with being able to play off of Anderson Varejao’s defensive ability & Love’s ability to stretch the bigs around the league to the perimeter, an area where most power forwards don’t like to guard because of their general slow play, the Cavs will provide formidable opposition down in the post.

Center

Anderson Varejao will continue to be the dominant player in the middle for the Cavs & is there solely for defense. With his great defensive ability & his ability to get in the middle of a scuffle & be the muscle & attitude for the team, he will be the protector for the Big 3 & will be able to enjoy the fruits of rebounds & offensive chances that will be set up from the double-teams & intense attention to Love, LeBron & Irving.

Haywood is going to be the back up & if he can bring in around 12 points and 6 rebounds per game backing up Varejao, he will be a success. With Haywood being a big body in the low post, it will allow for him to draw fouls & pick up on the lack of offensive firepower that Varejao brings to the table.

Point Guard

Kyrie Irving is clearly the future of the NBA & of the Cavs franchise. He will be the man who will be charged with keeping the team together on the court & the addition of LeBron probably doesn’t mean more to anyone else outside of Irving.

Irving has been a great player in the league, but has had some inconsistencies at times & if healthy, he can be one of the best, if not the best, point guard in the entire NBA. Irving is part of the new wave of great point guards who are making a statement in the NBA, along with Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors & Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. Derrick Rose would be included in that conversation but he has to stay healthy.

James will teach Irving how to be a great leader on & off the court & while many haven’t questioned Irving much, his ability to replace LeBron was questioned for the first 3 years of his career. That is no longer a question now that the Cleveland fans have both together on the same team.

Irving’s backup, A.J. Price from Connecticut, can be a wildcard in the rotation. Price has decent quickness & can score nicely. Price & Irving will be spoiled with so much talent around them that they should have no problem distributing the ball all across the court. Price is clearly not the defensive threat with his hands that Irving is, but he will learn quickly & while he may not see a ton of time this year, he could be a crucial piece come playoff time when bench play is going to be essential. If you are playing in fantasy basketball, take a strong look at A.J. Price.

Shooting Guard

The Cavaliers are very long at the 2-guard position, with all of the shooting guards listed on their roster at 6-4 or taller. Dion Waiters will be the starter at the 2 & has to show off early in the season & show that he can be consistent throughout the entire year.

Many people thought that Waiters was going to be one of the players dealt to Minnesota for Kevin Love because he hasn’t fully fit into the Cavs system as many had hoped, even though he is a great driver to the basket & knock down the 3. Having the new Cavs setup should make Waiters one of the most dangerous shooters in the league with the wide open shots he will see on a nightly basis.

Joe Harris from Virginia showed off great skills in the NCAA Tournament against Michigan State last year & proved that he can be a strong backup scorer with little pressure on him. He will not be asked to contribute much this year as I expect Harris to be “redshirted” & learn from the veterans for most of the season. Towards the end of the year, we could see more of Harris spelling some veterans, but I won’t hold my breath.

 

Overall, the Cavs are a loaded lineup & even though everyone is a fan of the Chicago Bulls right now, the Cavs should be able to lock down many teams around the league, similar to the Bulls style & if they can show that they can get past the Bulls in the playoffs, the West doesn’t have a team, in my opinion, that can match up against the Cavs for a 7-game series, hence why I will again predict that the curse of no championships in Cleveland will end this season.

 

 

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2014 Black Friday Deals at Sports Fan Playground – Part 1

This is the 2014 Sports Fan Playground Black Friday guide. This is the second consecutive year of doing the Black Friday guide, which will include items from the sports apparel world in the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA & the NBA.

While the Sports Fan Playground was & is primarily built on those categories, recently, we have added many items that help to make those products better, including shoes, nutrition supplements, sports equipment, sports accessories & much more – all available at low prices.

One of the biggest phenomenons in all of exercise & sports for that matter, are workout videos including the P90X & the entire Beachbody collection, the new Tapout XT system that focuses on MMA training, which is a very popular style of training right now with the popularity of the UFC & the overall culture of mixed martial arts.

Another big component of any great workout is nutrition & the Sports Fan Playground has taken care of that area by having some of the strongest collections of nutritional supplements available for testosterone boosting, multivitamins, muscle boosting, weight gaining, pre & post-workout recovery items, endurance & energy items as well as items for fat burning & weight loss.

If that wasn’t enough, for the first time, the store has brought back top quality electronics products including TVs, video games for the Xbox One, Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 & other popular gaming consoles, unlocked cell phones including the iPhone 6 & home appliances including refrigerators, air conditioners, heating units & power tools.

With all of that said, here is part 1 the 2014 Sports Fan Playground Black Friday Guide.

Alabama Crimson Tide Hooded Sweatshirt

Alabama Crimson Tide sweatshirt

Alabama Crimson Tide hooded sweatshirt available at the Sports Fan Playground for $26.98. Alabama is ranked in the top 5 of the college football polls right now as they fight for a spot in the new college football playoff, which debuts this season.

NoXplode Pre-Workout Fruit Punch

BSN NoXplode Fruit Punch

The BSN NoXplode Fruit Punch allows for users to gain lean muscle mass to prepare for the their workout by taking the supplement prior to working out at the gym or at home.

Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein Gold Standard – 5 Pound

Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein

The Optimum Nutrition whey protein powder is available at the Sports Fan Playground for $49.99, on sale from $82.45. Whey protein is crucial for gaining & obtaining lean muscle mass during a workout period.

UFC Train Fight Repeat Hooded Sweatshirt

UFC Sweatshirt

UFC train, fight, repeat sweatshirts are available for as low as $25.99 .

San Francisco 49ers Queen Bedding Set

San Francisco 49ers bedding

The San Francisco 49ers queen bedding set is available for $125.29 at the Sports Fan Playground store. The set comes with two pillowcases, two pairs of sheets, and a comforter.

Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford Game Jersey

Matthew Stafford Jersey

Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford game authentic jersey is available for $104.99 at the Sports Fan Playground. Stafford has led the Lions to a 6-2 record at the halfway point of the season . Even with injuries around him, Stafford has become one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL this season, lowering his interception totals & becoming a stronger leader on the field for the Lions.

Detroit Lions Authentic Football Helmet

Detroit Lions Helmet

This Detroit Lions authentic helmet is on sale for $205.00, down from $366.00 at the Sports Fan Playground store.

Chicago Bears NFL Knit Beanie Hat

Chicago Bears Hat

Chicago Bears knit one-size beanie hat is available at the Sports Fan Playground for $6.99, down from $15.00.

New York Rangers Hockey Fleece Crewneck Sweatshirt

New York Rangers Sweatshirt

The New York Rangers crewneck sweatshirt is available for $39.95, on sale from $60.00 at the Sports Fan Playground store during the current Black Friday sale.

New York Rangers Parking Sign

New York Rangers Parking Sign

The New York Rangers NHL parking sign is available for $5.50 during the Black Friday sale at the Sports Fan Playground.

Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk Jersey

Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk Jersey

Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk Premier Jersey is on sale for as low as $69.99 at the Sports Fan Playground Detroit Red Wings store.

Denver Broncos Peyton Manning Jersey

Denver Broncos Peyton Manning Jersey

Denver Broncos Peyton Manning Jersey available for $59.99 during the Black Friday sale at Sports Fan Playground. Peyton Manning recently broke the all-time career touchdown mark earlier this season against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football.

Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo Premier Jersey

Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo Jersey

Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo premier jersey is available for $49.98, down from $119.00. The Cowboys quarterback has been playing some of the best football of his career, leading the Cowboys to a 6-1 record.

Cleveland Browns Johnny Manziel NFL Jersey

Cleveland Browns Johnny Manziel Jersey

The Cleveland Browns Johnny Manziel NFL jersey is available as low as $58.00 at the Sports Fan Playground. Johnny Manziel is one of the first-round draft picks for the Browns in 2014. Along with Brian Hoyer, the Browns have been able to get their team back on the path to the playoffs.

Detroit Red Wings 50 x 60 Fleece Blanket

Detroit Red Wings Blanket

The Detroit Red Wings fleece blanket measures 50 x 60 & is on sale at the Sports Fan Playground for $12.73, down from $42.94.

Los Angeles Dodgers Yasiel Puig Women’s Jersey

Yasiel Puig Dodgers Jersey

Los Angeles Dodgers Yasiel Puig women’s home jersey is available for $89.90, 10% off of the retail price, at the Sports Fan Playground. Puig has become one of the most exciting players in Major League Baseball with his brash, aggressive style & his unlimited potential to be one of the best players in the history of the Dodgers franchise.

Madden NFL 15 – Xbox One

Madden NFL 15 Xbox One

Madden NFL 15 on the Xbox One system is on sale for $34.92, down from $59.99, at the Sports Fan Playground store.

NHL 15 – Xbox One

NHL 15 Xbox One

NHL 15 for the Xbox One is available for 25% off – $45.19, down from $59.99, at the Sports Fan Playground store.

LeBron James Youth Road Cleveland Cavs NBA Jersey

LeBron James Youth Jersey

LeBron james Youth Cleveland Cavs Jersey available for $49.99 at the Sports Fan Playground during the Black Friday sale.

Kobe Bryant NBA Los Angeles Lakers Replica Jersey

Kobe Bryant Jersey

Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers replica jersey is available as low as $39.99 at the Sports Fan Playground Black Friday sale. Bryant is coming back from an ACL injury to lead the Lakers this coming season.

Alabama Crimson Tide Fan Cave Wood Sign

Alabama Crimson Tide Sign

Support the Alabama Crimson Tide with the fan cave wood sign for the home, on sale for Black Friday at $10.28 at the Sports Fan Playground store.

USC Trojans T-Shirt

USC Trojans t-shirt

USC Trojans t-shirt available for $21.99 at the Sports Fan Playground store.

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Detroit Tigers NEED To Sign Joe Maddon

News is just coming down that former Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon has opted out of his contract with the Rays for next season & is now a complete free agent to sign wherever he may choose.

Quite possibly, the best situation could be with the Detroit Tigers.

Maddon has been beloved in Tampa Ray for the years he was down there. He took a franchise that was basically seen as useless & couldn’t draw any interest whatsoever into a team who was a playoff contender on a consistent basis & got to the World Series in 2008 before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies. Maddon keeps a fun clubhouse & players absolutely love playing for him because he understands the players & understands that baseball is not more important than having fun & enjoying life.

Joe Maddon

Former Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon opted out of his contract with the team today. Could he possibly be headed to the Detroit Tigers?

At the same time, however, he knows how to manage with the best in the game & his situational managing is some of the best in all of baseball. Maddon is clearly the biggest free agent manager on the market & let’s be honest, most Tigers fans are just not sold on the idea that Brad Ausmus could be the long-term solution as the leader of the Tigers organization.

Ausmus was learning on the fly throughout the entire season, & while he did have to deal with star players recovering from major injuries in Justin Verlander & Miguel Cabrera, many Tigers fans were hard on Ausmus for how he didn’t always make the right decisions with the bullpen, particularly when Detroit Tigers closer Joe Nathan was struggling throughout the season until the end when he got his game back together.

Maddon could have those same issues, but with Verlander & Cabrera expected to be back to their usual forms & the fact that Maddon has the overall experience in winning & getting to the big series, the Detroit Tigers – particularly GM Dave Dombrowski – would be absolutely insane to not call up Maddon & gauge interest in a possible signing here.

Maddon has been rumored to not be heading to the Los Angeles Dodgers, where the new GM in Los Angeles came from the Rays organization. If Maddon isn’t making the trip to Los Angeles, which could be a tough situation with the big egos & some of the unrest that reportedly was taking place there, along with the craziness of managing in one of the biggest sports markets in the country, Detroit could be a great destination for Maddon, especially since he will have the chance to manage David Price this coming season.

Price, who played under Maddon in Tampa Bay before he was dealt to the Tigers during midseason, could possibly be persuaded into signing long-term with the Tigers organization after he becomes a free agent after the 2015 season if Maddon is here & is leading the team in a strong direction.

This is only going to get hotter as time goes on & as a devoted Tigers fan, I am very well aware that the window for this group of Tigers players is closing & closing fast. If this team doesn’t win a World Series in the next 2-3 years, the window could be closed & the idea of rebuilding could come into play with an older Verlander, Cabrera & Victor Martinez.

Keep your eye out.

 

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Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State SEC apparel on sale at the Sports Fan Playground

This season, the SEC West division has been absolutely dominant in the pantheon of college football & the Sports Fan Playground has new stores up for the top teams in the SEC West, including the Alabama Crimson Tide, Ole Miss Runnin Rebels & the current #1 team in the country, the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

This past weekend, Alabama absolutely destroyed Texas A&M, 59-0, on the back of future NFL #1 pick Amari Cooper & T.J. Yeldon running through the A&M defense. This was Alabama’s bounce back game after barely winning against Arkansas & losing to Ole Miss two weeks ago.

Ole Miss & Mississippi State are on a major collision course to slug it out in the Egg Bowl in November, a game that could decide the winner of the SEC & to possibly get into the new college football playoff, which debuts this year.

Alabama Crimson Tide Store

The new Alabama Crimson Tide store has now launched at the SEC store at store.sportsfan1984.com.

For more information, check out the Sports Fan Playground special items & other areas on the internet where you can learn more about the website as well as other opinions in sports –

Hottest WAGS in Sports 2013

Hottest WAGS in Sports 2014

Hottest WWE, TNA Divas in History

Learn about the Sports Fan Playground at Dell, Amazon & Forbes