Friday, July 1, 2016

2018 Russia WC Roster Prediction #3

Now that the Copa America is done, this is my third prediction for our WC 2018 roster.  Here's my first prediction and second prediction.

Goalkeepers:
Brad Guzan, Bill Hamid, Ethan Horvath
(Tim Howard, Cody Cropper, David Bingham, William Yarbrough, Zach Steffen, Sean Johnson)

Brad was Klinsmann's clear #1 at the Copa and looks to remain that way through Russia, unless he continues to get benched in England.  I've had Hamid in the top 3 since 2014 even though Klinsmann hasn't.  I'm predicting he finally becomes a regular call-up in the next 2 years, representing the MLS as its top keeper, even with Tim Howard's return.  Hamid beats out Yarbrough, Bingham and Johnson as the #2.  Ethan Horvath, as this year's Copa #3, appears to have the inside track for the keeper-in-waiting role over Cropper and Steffen.


Centerbacks:
John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler, Matt Miazga
(Omar Gonzalez, Steve Birnbaum, Michael Orozco, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Ventura Alvarado, Tim Ream)

Klinsmann's choices for CB at last year's Gold Cup essentially cost us that tournament, when he started a still-green Brooks and an over-matched Alvarado.  For me, Cameron and Besler should have been entrenched in those roles since 2014, until the emergence of Brooks.  Now Brooks and Cameron have proven to be the duo, while Besler brings experience and depth.  Miazga will have made a name for himself at Chelsea (we hope) and beats out US-20 partner, Carter-Vickers, who will only be 20 by Russia.  But whatever happens, here's hoping Klinsmann doesn't again take an inexplicable favorite of his, the hot-headed Orozco.


Outside backs:
DeAndre Yedlin, Fabian Johnson, Timothy Chandler, Jorge Villafana
(Edgar Castillo, Eric Lichaj, Greg Garza, Brek Shea, Kellyn Acosta)

Yedlin's progress in the Premier League is an encouraging sign for US fans.  Chandler will have to hope that he doesn't get a DNP for a 2nd WC in a row.  On the other side, our lack of a dependable and natural LB has plagued us for over a decade.  In the last 3 world cups, we've started winger Eddie Lewis, CB Bocanegra and winger Beasley there - serviceable players, but still just necessary stopgaps.  Without a solution that Klinsmann likes in sight, Fabian might still be at LB in 2 years time.  Think of this Copa, when Klinsmann brought in both Lichaj and Castillo into prelim camp, then opted to play Orozco(!) when Fabian was injured.  Shea and Garza have dropped out of favor and Acosta is playing central mid at his club (which hasn't stopped Klins before, I know).  Just for kicks, I'm putting in a new name at LB backup, Villafana, but my preference is still the speedy Shea.


Central mids:
Michael Bradley, Perry Kitchen, Alfredo Morales, Emerson Hyndman
(Jermaine Jones, Mix Diskerud, Danny Williams, Wil Trapp)

Even though his play this Copa was subpar, Bradley will return to form and captain the squad.  Jermaine Jones might be 36 in 2 years, but I will not be completely surprised if he continues his beastmode-ness until then to make Klinsmann's choice difficult.  Kitchen seems to be the def mid-in-waiting now that Beckerman should be ushered out.  Its amazing that Morales is starting in the Bundesliga but hasn't found much time under Klinsmann.  The young Premier leaguer, Hyndman, might be a future US captain.  Mix seems to have lost his way and Danny Williams seems to have lost Klinsmann's favor.


Outside/Attacking mids:
Gyasi Zardes, Alejandro Bedoya, Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic, Gedion Zelalem
(Graham Zusi, Lee Nguyen, Luis Gil, Joe Gyau, Ethan Finlay, Julian Green, Joe Corona)

Zardes's tireless work rate on both offense and defense offsets his infamously poor first touch.  Nagbe's playmaking role should grow over the next couple years.  Bedoya's experience and leadership will enable him to beat out Zusi for the veteran role.  All US fans have their fingers' crossed that Pulisic and Zelalem become the world-class players that have thus far evaded our country.


Forwards:
Bobby Wood, Jordan Morris, Aron Johannsson
(Clint Dempsey, Jozy AltidorePaul Arriola, Rubio Rubin, Juan Agudelo, Terrence Boyd)

If a 32 year old Landon was left off last time, a 35 year old Dempsey (when 2018 comes around) likely will have stood little chance to keep his place.  Perhaps Klinsmann will want him as the 18 yard box specialty poacher in the waning moments of a game, but I doubt it.  Dempsey's accomplishments have been earned more due to his unyielding will, and less because of any natural or physical talent that he was born with.  When father time catches up with him, his will shall go down fighting, but go down nevertheless.
Wood has emerged as the starter even over Jozy after this Copa.  The question will be whether he and Jozy can play together when Clint is out.  Jordan Morris, who was inexplicably left off this summer's Copa roster for a useless Wondolowski, will have made a move to Europe before WC 2018.  Johannsson recovers from injuries the last 2 years to excel in Germany and gets selected as Jozy pulls another hamstring in WC camp.

Monday, June 20, 2016

NBA Top 10 Players of All Time

Both ESPN and SI came out with their Top 50 NBA players of all time in February.  Here are their top 10 lists.  (These were before Lebron's 3rd title, but it doesn't change the players within the 10).

ESPN (expert panel): http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/nbarankalltime/greatest-players-ever
1) Michael Jordan
2) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3) Lebron James
4) Magic Johnson
5) Wilt Chamberlain
6) Larry Bird
7) Bill Russell
8) Tim Duncan
9) Shaquille O'Neal
10) Hakeem Olajuwon

SI (Jack McCallum): http://www.si.com/nba/2016/02/09/michael-jordan-lebron-james-stephen-curry-nba-greatest
1) Michael Jordan
2) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3) Wilt Chamberlain
4) Magic Johnson
5) Lebron James
6) Oscar Robertson
7) Larry Bird
8) Bill Russell
9) Jerry West
10) Tim Duncan



My Top 10

1) Jordan
5 MVPs, 6 Finals MVPs, 6 championships, 10 All-NBA First Teams, 9 All-NBA Defensive Teams
30.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.3 APG, 49.7 FG%
- Jordan never lost in the NBA Finals in 6 appearances.

2) Kareem
6 MVPs, 2 Finals MVPs, 6 championships, 10 All-NBA First Teams, 11 All-NBA Defensive Teams
24.6 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 2.6 BPG, 55.9 FG%
- The best big man of all time and was fortunate to play with Magic.

3) Lebron
4 MVPs, 3 Finals MVPs, 3 championships, 10 All-NBA First Teams, 6 All-NBA Defensive Teams
27.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 6.9 APG, 49.8 FG%
- Lebron has never had a big man star and never had a great coach.  He is possibly the most dominant player to ever play the game and can play every position.  5 Lebrons beats 5 of any other player. 

4) Russell
5 MVPs, N/A Finals MVPs, 11 championships, 3 All-NBA First Teams, 1 All-NBA Defensive Teams
15.1 PPG, 22.5 RPG, 4.3 APG, 44.0 FG%
- Russell never won a Finals MVP award even though he won 11 titles.  That's because they invented and named the award after him.  He played his best on the biggest stage.  Would have likely dominated defensive teams but they invented that award his last year.

5) Magic
3 MVPs, 3 Finals MVPs, 5 championships, 9 All-NBA First Teams, 0 All-NBA Defensive Teams
19.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 11.2 APG, 52.0 FG%
- Greatest point guard to ever play, and he could have played any position.

6) Duncan
2 MVPs, 3 Finals MVPs, 5 championships, 10 All-NBA First Teams, 15 All-NBA Defensive Teams
19.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 2.2 BPG, 50.6 FG%
- Duncan is the best PF in history and beats out Wilt because of his championships, leadership and sacrifice.  His 15 all-defense teams are the most of all-time (by 3).

7) Bird
3 MVPs, 2 Finals MVPs, 3 championships, 9 All-NBA First Teams, 3 All-NBA Defensive Teams
24.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 6.3 APG, 49.6 FG%
- Best player of the 80s Celtics dynasty.

The top 7 has separated themselves as the elite who have consistently carried their teams in the regular season and in the playoffs.

8) Wilt
4 MVPs, 1 Finals MVP, 2 championships, 7 All-NBA First Teams, 3 All-NBA Defensive Teams
30.1 PPG, 22.9 RPG, 4.4 APG, 54.0 FG%
- That Wilt only has 2 titles should be an embarrassment.  Wilt's lone Finals MVP is an indictment on his play on the biggest stage.

9) Shaq
1 MVP, 3 Finals MVPs, 4 championships, 8 All-NBA First Teams, 3 All-NBA Defensive Teams
23.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 2.3 BPG, 58.2 FG%
- Shaq's lone MVP is an indictment on a lack of season-long commitment.

10) Oscar
1 MVP, 0 Finals MVP, 1 championship, 9 All-NBA First Teams, 0 All-NBA Defensive Teams
 25.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 9.5 APG, 48.5 FG%
- The 2nd point guard in the top 10, Oscar squeezes himself into my 10th spot though his trophy achievements aren't as comparable.  But his numbers as the league's premier triple-double guy are impressive.  Aside from Lebron, he might be the league's greatest all-around player.


Random observations:

- The greatest basketball team of all time by position: Magic, Jordan, Lebron, Duncan, Kareem

- If Steph Curry can replicate the last 2 seasons for another few years and win another couple titles, he should lay claim to the 2nd best PG of all time.  He'll need to finish with 3 titles and 3 Finals MVPs (he was robbed in 2015), and 3 regular-season MVPs.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Lebron James, 3 Time Champion

Lebron won his 3rd NBA Championship in his seventh visit to the NBA Finals and brought the Cavaliers their first title in their 46 years of existence.  More importantly to the city of Cleveland, it was their first major championship in 52 years.

He did it against the reigning champions, the Golden State Warriors, who had also claimed the title of best regular season team ever with a historic 73-9 record (besting Jordan and the Bulls' 72-10 in '95-'96).  The Warriors were led by Steph Curry, statistically the greatest shooter ever and also the reigning and 2 time NBA MVP.  Curry was universally considered as the best player in the world.


Coming back from down 3-1
The 2016 Cavaliers are the first team to come back from 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals (0 for 32 until now).  Teams without home court advantage were 0 for 23.

Before the 2016 Finals, teams trailing 3-1 in any playoff series had only won 10 times in 230 tries, which is 5% of the time, (including the 2016 Warriors in the West Conf Finals).

Even more astounding is that teams trailing 3-1 in any playoff series and didn't have home court advantage (which means 2 of the last 3 games are on the road) have only come back to win 2 times in 153 tries (1.3%).


Winning Game 7 on the road
Before these Finals, there have been 125 game 7's in any playoff series and road teams were only successful 24 times, a 19% rate.

The Cavs are just the fourth team in 19 tries to win game 7 on the road in the NBA Finals and the first in 38 years.  The other 3 are 1978 Washington (at Seattle), 1974 Boston (at Milwaukee) and 1969 Boston (at Los Angeles).


Lebron Random Observations
He is the first player to be the NBA Finals series leader (for both teams) in points 29.7, rebounds 11.3, assists 8.9, blocks 2.3 and steals 2.6.

He is the first player (along with teammate James Jones) to make 6 successive NBA Finals in 50 years.  Bill Russell and 6 other Celtics teammates did it, last appearing in 1966.  Keep in mind that back in Russell's days, there were only 11 teams in the league and only 6 made the playoffs.


Lebron's Finals History
Lebron is now 3-4 in the NBA Finals.  He was swept out on his first trip in 2007 against the Spurs, though Duncan correctly predicted that the league would be Lebron's one day.  However, that year he had no chance against the Spurs dynasty, as the 2nd best player on the team was either Drew Gooden or Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

His second shot came after his move to South Beach in 2011.  He mistakenly ceded the alpha dog role to Dwyane Wade and only scored 17 points a game in their 4-2 loss to Dallas.  That series will always be a black mark on Lebron's resume when the greats are measured.

In 2012, Miami learned from their failure and Lebron lead them to a 4-1 rout over Oklahoma City for his first championship.  He repeated in 2013 in what was an all-time battle of greats between Lebron and Duncan, prevailing in 7 games.

Duncan and the Spurs however won the rubber match vs a Lebron team in their 2014 4-1 series win, having evolved to a ball-moving, quick-tempo, 3-ball offense that an aging Miami couldn't match.

Seeing the writing on the wall for the Heat, Lebron returned to Cleveland in 2015 but again fell to a ball-moving, quick-tempo, 3-ball offense in the surprise Warriors.  It didn't help that Irving and Love were both out, leaving the 2nd best player role to either Tristan Thompson or Timofey Mozgov.  Would that be the cruel full circle to Lebron's career?  Finishing right where he started?

Down 3-1 in the 2016 Finals, Lebron finally had enough.  He scored 41 points in both game 5 and game 6, then finished game 7 with a triple-double and a monster block on Iguodala (the 2015 Finals MVP), manifesting his championship resolve.

With this 3rd ring, Lebron now has 4 MVPs and 3 Finals MVPs on his claim to all-time greatness.  With really just that one black mark on his resume, I have him in the top 5 of all time.  He's somewhere behind Jordan and Kareem, but has pulled alongside Russell and Magic in my book.  Considering the fact that Jordan had only won 3 titles at age 32 (Lebron's current age), Lebron has time to move up.  I think if he gets another MVP and another title, he moves to 2nd all time.  The GOAT title is probably too far out of his reach, but if you can overcome 0.013% odds to win this year's title, who can really doubt him?

Friday, May 27, 2016

US Soccer Roster Comparison from last 3 major tournaments: 2014, 2015, 2016

With Klinsmann's roster announcement for this summer's Centennial Copa America, I thought I'd compile his rosters from the last two major tournaments - 2014 WC and 2015 Gold Cup - alongside so we can see the progression of our player pool.

2016 Copa America
GK:
Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Ethan Horvath (Molde IK)

Def:
Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Monterrey), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)

Mid:
Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)

For:
Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)


2015 Gold Cup
GK:
 Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)

Def:

Ventura Alvarado (Club America), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers)

Mid:

Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Joe Corona (Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

For:

Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)


2014 World Cup
GK:
Tim Howard (Everton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)


Def:
Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)


Mid:
Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Julian Green (Bayern Munich)


For:
Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)





Players who have made all 3 rosters:
GK: Brad Guzan
Def: John Brooks, Fabian Johnson, DeAndre Yedlin
Mid: Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Graham Zusi, Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya
For: Clint Dempsey, Chris Wondolowski

Notable missing names:
- Jozy would have been on this list but his annual summer hamstring injury this year occurred before the final roster announcement.
- Aron Johannsson had a good chance of making it this year were it not for his lingering hip issue. 
- Tim Howard obviously belongs among this group, but he took 2015 off.  He is now 2nd string.
- Timothy Chandler was a last minute injury scratch this year.  Castillo took his place.
- Geoff Cameron should probably have been a CB starter for the last 3 years however, he opted to honor his club's request and rest for the 2015 GC.
- Matt Besler was in Klinsmann's doghouse, but he really should have been a starter over Ventura.  Klinsmann can look back at his CB decision as one of the big reasons for our GC failure.  Notice that the only CB on all 3 rosters is John Brooks. 


Players in their first tournament this year:
GK: Ethan Horvath 
Def: Steve Birnbaum, Edgar Castillo, Michael Orozco 
Mid: Christian Pulisic, Darlington Nagbe, Perry Kitchen
For: Bobby Wood

- I don't have any major quibbles here.  I would have liked to see Ream and Lichaj here instead of Orozco and Castillo, but perhaps its of some benefit to have some backups who are more comfortable with futbol in the Americas than footie in England, given that its the Copa America.  Its worth mentioning that now without Chandler, we are missing a true RB backup.


Players who made the 2014 and 2015 rosters but are now left out:
GK: Nick Rimando
Def: Omar Gonzalez, DaMarcus Beasley, Timothy Chandler
Mid: Brad Davis, Mix Diskerud
For: Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson

- Omar and Mix still have a chance to be in the mix going forward should their play impress Klinsmann.
- Rimando and Davis should now be retired internationally.  We still miss Beasley at our revolving LB spot.
- As mentioned, Jozy, Aron and Chandler are injured.


Others conspicuously missing this year:
 - We had such high hopes for Julian Green in 2014, but haven't seen much progress in the 2 years since.
- Where are the goalkeepers-in-waiting for the next cycle after 2018?  Bill Hamid has either not progressed enough or Klinsmann just doesn't rate him.  Horvath is the front-runner now.
- Jordan Morris.  He's fast.  He's young.  He's the future.  And he's been left home for Wondo.  They say Wondo's been the best of the MLS, but he only has 1 more non-PK goal this year than Morris.  If neither is a starter, why not bring the young gun as a spark off the bench?  Wondo's just as likely to flub on the biggest stage.
- Lee Nguyen is one of the most creative playmakers in our pool but was edged out by Zusi, who is perhaps better at defense, but offers little upside.
- Alfredo Morales is a starter for a Bundesliga team.  Are we so deep that he can't even get on the bench?  Might he become a regular call-up once Beckerman is out?


Is this the last tournament for these veterans?
- Clint Dempsey - with so many young guns now in the fold, will Klinsmann keep calling him in after this year?  He's 8 goals short of Landon's record.
- Tim Howard - his skills have declined severely over the last couple years.
- Jermaine Jones - hasn't shown his age yet, so I think he has the best chance of remaining part of the core for another year or two.
- Beckerman, Zusi and Wondo - thank you for your service.  But if you guys are called in again for Gold Cup 2017, our player pool development is a massive failure.


My ideal Copa starting lineup:
------------Guzan-----------
Yedlin-Cameron-Brooks-FJ
Bedoya-Bradley-JJ - Nagbe
------Dempsey-Wood-------

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Quarterbacks taken 1st Round of last 20 drafts

With Jared Goff and Carson Wentz about to go #1 and #2 in the 2016 NFL Draft this week and Paxton Lynch and possibly even Connor Cook going in the 1st round, lets take a look at how often teams hit on franchise QBs with their first round pick in the last 20 years.

2 categories - Starter and BUST.
- Starter players are ones who've started 6 or more years for the team that drafted them or traded for them, or are clearly on track to do so.  (Yes, this is highly subjective).
- Busts are ones who became journeymen, merely backups or are just out of the league.  They were bad investments for the team that drafted them.

2015
#1 Jameis Winston - Tampa Bay - Too early to tell
#2 Marcus Mariota - Tennessee - Too early to tell

2014
#3 Blake Bortles - Jacksonville - Too early to tell
#22 Johnny Manziel - Cleveland (BUST)
#32 Terry Bridgewater - Minnesota - Too early to tell

2013
#16 EJ Manuel - Buffalo (BUST)

2012
#1 Andrew Luck - Indianapolis (Starter)
#2 Robert Griffin - Washington (BUST)
#8 Ryan Tannehill - Miami (Starter)
#22 Brandon Weeden - Cleveland (BUST)

2011
#1 Cam Newton - Carolina (Starter)
#8 Jake Locker - Tennessee (BUST)
#10 Blaine Gabbert - Jacksonville (BUST)
#12 Christian Ponder - Minnesota (BUST)

2010
#1 Sam Bradford - St. Louis (BUST)
#25 Tim Tebow - Denver (BUST)

2009
#1 Matt Stafford - Detroit (Starter)
#5 Mark Sanchez - NY Jets (BUST)
#17 Josh Freeman - Tampa Bay (BUST)

2008
#3 Matt Ryan - Atlanta (Starter)
#18 Joe Flacco - Baltimore (Starter)

2007
#1 JaMarcus Russell - Oakland (BUST)
#22 Brady Quinn - Cleveland (BUST)

2006
#3 Vince Young - Tennessee (BUST)
#10 Matt Leinart - Arizona (BUST)
#11 Jay Cutler - Denver (Starter - traded to Denver)

2005
#1 Alex Smith - San Francisco (Starter)
#24 Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay (Starter)
#25 Jason Campbell - Washington (BUST)

2004
#1 Eli Manning - NY Giants via trade (Starter)
#4 Philip Rivers - San Diego via trade (Starter)
#11 Ben Roethlisberger - Pittsburgh (Starter)
#22 JP Losman - Buffalo (BUST)

2003
#1 Carson Palmer - Cincinnati (Starter)
#7 Byron Leftwich - Jacksonville (BUST)
#19 Kyle Boller - Baltimore (BUST)
#22 Rex Grossman - Chicago (BUST)

2002
#1 David Carr - Houston (BUST)
#3 Joey Harrington - Detroit (BUST)
#32 Patrick Ramsey - Washington (BUST)

2001
#1 Michael Vick - Atlanta (Starter)

2000
#18 Chad Pennington - NY Jets (Starter)

1999
#1 Tim Couch - Cleveland (BUST)
#2 Donovan McNabb - Philadelphia (Starter)
#3 Akili Smith - Cincinnati (BUST)
#11 Daunte Culpepper - Minnesota (Starter)
#12 Cade McNown - Chicago (BUST)

1998
#1 Peyton Manning - Indianapolis (Starter)
#2 Ryan Leaf - San Diego (BUST)

1997
#26 Jim Druckenmiller - San Francisco (BUST)


- 50 total quarterbacks have been drafted in the 1st round of the last 20 drafts.  18 of them were Starters, 28 are BUSTS, and its too early to judge the 4 QBs from 2014-15 that are currently starting.  Of course there's no issue passing judgment on Manziel's BUST status.

- So of the 46 picks we have passed judgement on, there has been 18 successful picks.  That's a 39% success rate.

- Of the overall #1 picks in the last 20 years, 13 have been quarterbacks.  Excluding 2015's Winston, 8 of the 12 were successful (and I'm generously counting Alex Smith as a success, even though Rodgers was still on the board).  67% success rate ain't bad.

- That also means that only 10 other first round picks were successful, out of the other 34 non-#1 overall picks chosen.  A miserable 29.4% success rate.

- How about picks #2-#10?  4 of 14 were good picks - 28.5% success rate.

- Picks #11-#32?  6 of 20 were good picks - 30% success rate.

- What is the success rate of the 2nd QB taken? Again, only 4 out of 14 were successful.

Conclusion - If you need a QB, you better hope you have the #1 overall pick.

- Let's examine actual championship success: Superbowls.  How many first round draft picks in the last 20 years have won championships?

-Peyton Manning 2007 for the Colts, 2016 for the Broncos
-Eli Manning 2008, 2012
-Ben Roethlisberger 2006, 2009
-Aaron Rodgers 2011
-Joe Flacco 2013

Out of the 50 QB chosen in the last 20 years, just 5 players have won championships.  So the championship success return rate for a 1st round investment is really 10%.  Those 5 QBs won a total of 8 titles, though Peyton's 2nd title wasn't for the Colts, who drafted him.  Ignoring that, let's be generous and say that 1st round QBs have won 8 of the last 20 Superbowls - 40% of all the championships.  Yep, definitely worth it!

Monday, February 29, 2016

US Soccer Crest History

With the release of US Soccer's updated crest, here is a history of our crests.

2016

Pros: I like that they kept the shield concept.  I like the letters 'USA' in the crest.  I like the return to the dark blue color of our flag instead of the lighter blue in the 2014 edition of the last crest.  And I like the change to blue lettering and red stripes instead of the previous opposite color scheme.

Cons:  The font isn't patriotic or really symbolic of anything.  And why v-shape in the middle of the crest?  But my biggest gripe concerns the shape of the crest.  It is too narrow.  Secondly, why make the topline completely flat?  Those two decisions, as well as the strange font, have made the crest overtly modern, taking away any chance for it to ever become timeless.



1995, 2006, 2014



1993




1988



1980s



1970s




 1950


1913, 1934

Monday, February 8, 2016

Peyton Manning, 2nd GOAT

Peyton capped off the greatest statistical career of any QB in history with his 2nd Superbowl title.  Ultimately, his legacy is that he has changed how the QB position will ever be played.  (Brady, a system QB, has no such legacy).  The Broncos upset the 17-1 Panthers, though Carolina had the #1 offense in the league and were led by MVP, Heisman winner and BCS champion, Cam Newton.  En route to the SB, Peyton fittingly had to overcome his career nemesis, Brady in the AFC Championship (Peyton is 3-1 vs Brady in the AFC Championship).

A few more notable facts:

- Peyton is the only QB to win championships with 2 different teams.

- He has reached the SB 4 different times with 4 different coaches.

- He is also the oldest QB to win a SB at age 39.  Elway did it at 38.

- Peyton has become the only QB to get to 200 total regular season and playoff wins, besting Favre's 199 wins.

- With the SB win, Peyton finishes with a winning playoff record at 14-13.

- He is the 12th QB to win multiple championships.  Now only Montana (GOAT), Bradshaw, Brady and Aikman have more.

- In regular season stats, Peyton finishes first with all-time most MVPs, passing TDs, passing yards and wins.  He is by far the best regular season QB ever.

Peyton Manning
MVPs: 5 (1st)
Superbowls: 2
Career Passing TDs: 539 (1st)
Career Passing Yards: 71,940 (1st)
Wins: 186 Regular Season (1st), 14 Postseason
Single Season Passing TDs: 55 (1st)

Brett Favre
MVPs: 3
Superbowls: 1
Career Passing TDs: 508 (2nd)
Career Passing Yards: 71,848 (2nd)
Wins: 186, 13

Dan Marino
MVPs: 1
Superbowls: 0
Career Passing TDs: 420 (5th)
Career Passing Yards: 61,631 (3rd)
Wins: 147, 8

Drew Brees
MVPs: 0
Superbowls: 1
Career Passing TDs: 428 (T-3rd)
Career Passing Yards: 60,903 (4th)
Wins: 124, 6

Tom Brady
MVPs: 2
Superbowls: 4
Career Passing TDs: 428 (T-3rd)
Career Passing Yards: 58,028 (5th)
Wins: 172, 22


Superbowl Wins:
4 - Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady
3 - Troy Aikman
2 - Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Roger Staubach, Bart Starr, Jim Plunkett, John Elway, Bob Griese

Monday, January 25, 2016

Peyton Manning v Tom Brady in the Playoffs

Manning v Brady playoff matchups

January 18, 2004
AFC Championship
Gillette Stadium
Patriots 24 - Colts 14

January 16, 2005
Divisional Round
Gillette Stadium
Patriots 20 - Colts 3

January 21, 2007
AFC Championship
RCA Dome
Colts 38 - Patriots 34

January 19, 2014
AFC Championship
Mile High Stadium
Broncos 26 - Patriots 16

January 24, 2016
AFC Championship
Mile High Stadium
Broncos 20 - Patriots 18

Including the regular season, Brady holds a 11-6 game head to head advantage, due to a 6-0 start in the rivalry.  But since the 2005-06 season, Peyton holds a 6-5 advantage.

In the playoffs when it really counts, Peyton holds a 3-2 advantage, including the last 3 meetings.  In the AFC Championships, Peyton is 3-1.