Celtics March Towards Greatness

December 23rd, 2008 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

The Boston Celtics are off to one of the best starts in NBA history at a record of 27-2. While it is still very early in the season, the Celtics can see a glimpse of history in the making. The Celtics are on pace to challenge the 1996 Chicago Bulls for the best record ever in a season. The 1996 Bulls finished their brilliant campaign with a final record of 72-10 and capped it off with an NBA Championship as well. Boston is off to a mind blowing pace through the early half of the season. The Celtics have 53 games remaining this season and the competition will likely pick up. However, if Boston could keep up similar pace they could quite possibly achieve the best season ever in the history of the NBA.

Boston is one of the most historical franchises in NBA history. The Celtics have an amazing 17 NBA Championships that is by far more than any other franchise in NBA history. Boston has established the best start in NBA history at a mark of 27-2. Only two other teams can compare to that kind of start. Both the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers and 1969-70 New York Knicks started their seasons 26-2. They also both went on to win NBA Championships. With last nights 110-91 victory over the 76ers, the Celtics have now won 19 straight games which equals a team record. Boston is making their claim as one of the best teams to ever take the floor in professional basketball.

Celtics’ coach Doc Rivers has done a fabulous job getting his guys to play premier defense. Despite all the offensive weapons, the Boston defensive schemes have been major reason for their success. This season the Celtics are only allowing 91.4 points per game which ranks them as the 2nd best scoring defense in the NBA. Boston also ranks first in the NBA in defensive field goal percentage. The Celtics are only allowing opposing teams to shoot 41% from the floor on average which is by far the best in the league. The Celtics have only allowed teams to score over 100 points 7 times this season in the 30 games played. That statistic alone is pretty remarkable considering how high scoring the entire NBA has become. However, Boston has stayed with an old school type of basketball that focuses on defense first and it has paid off big time.

Offensively the Celtics are as talented as any team in the league. Unlike the Los Angeles Lakers or Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston seldom has one player stand out game in and game out. Unlike other top teams that are led by star players such as Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, the Celtics can have any of their starting five post a big night. Other teams have the stress of worrying how their start performer will play every night. When those players are off a lot of times the entire team struggles. The Celtics do not have those worries because they have a number of players who can pick up the slack on any given night. Boston is led by a trio of stars in Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett. The Celtics average 50 points per game just between those 3 standouts. Boston benefits from having this type of talent considering when one player is off his game others will pick it up. Many teams can not afford there star players to struggle. However, Boston can play at a top level every night despite individual performances. This reason alone is why they are the most consistent team in the NBA.

Boston is on their way to accomplishing probably one of the most prestigious records a team could capture in the regular season. Boston remaining schedule will most certainly wear down the players and they are likely to lose this blistering early season pace. However, if the Celtics do stay on path they could legitimately challenge the 76’ Bulls for the best record of all-time. Boston has a huge match-up with the Los Angeles Lakers on the horizon to take place on Christmas Day. The game will mark a battle between powerhouses in effort to gain NBA supremacy. Each team will be trying to prove they are the best in the NBA and a win will go along way for each team’s confidence about where they stand in the league. If the Celtics could escape Los Angeles with a victory, the momentum could definitely last the rest of the season.

The Celtics simply have to keep similar pace in tact. Even if Boston were to lose twice as many games in their next 29 games, they would still be on pace to end the season with around 9 losses. This means that every game could be one loss or one win away from breaking the record at season’s end. So far this season Boston has faired well against the best competition in the NBA. Orlando, Cleveland, and Los Angeles have the best records in the NBA behind Boston by 5 games or more. Boston is 2-0 against these teams this season with convincing wins in both games against Orlando and Cleveland. The Celtics will get the Lakers next up the Thursday night and will try to stay perfect against the elite teams in the NBA. The Celtics appear to be headed for a probable chance at history. Unless some drastic things change, Boston will get their chance to stake claim as the best team in the history of professional basketball. Record or no record, for now sit back and watch one of the best teams to ever take the floor and applaud their strive at greatness.

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Dallas Cowboys December Woes

December 22nd, 2008 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

The Big D in Dallas may stand for many things in the month of December. Drama, downfall, doom, deterioration, and others come to mind. The Cowboys have been anything but stellar in the closing months of the football season in the last decade and their troubles continued this week with a loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Dallas needed another big win in the month of December and failed for the 2nd time in 3 weeks. Luckily for the Cowboys the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles lost paving the way to a week 17 showdown with the Eagles that could still land Dallas in the playoffs. However with the trend of late season success the Cowboys have taken, one must ask has “America’s” team lost their star status?

The Dallas Cowboys are the most popular franchise in professional football. With the spotlight, come big anticipations for the team loved by so many. The Cowboys were perhaps the best team of the 90s winning 3 Super Bowls that tied them for the most Super Bowl victories in NFL history. However, since 1996 the Cowboys have not posted one postseason victory. Dallas has performed well at times, but like recent years has fallen apart at the end of seasons. Since 2002, Dallas has won 11 times in 28 games in the month of December equaling a 39% winning percentage. Outside the month of December since 2002, the Cowboys are 50-35 equaling a 70% winning percentage. That is a huge difference at a time when you need to be playing your best football. Perhaps now you may understand why the Cowboys have not won a playoff game in over a decade. The reasons for the Cowboys constant late season downfalls may not be known, but here a few possible reasons.

Especially over the last few years Dallas entire team has been based around the performance of the offense. Many times the defense simply showed up hoping that the offense would score more than they would allow. Last year, the Cowboys averaged 33 points per game heading into the month of December. However in the month of December, Dallas only averaged 15 points per game. The reason may be that when you have a high power offense a lot of times they fade off towards the end of the season. The defenses get better, teams have seen the films more, and the offensive players wear out down the stretch. Even the New England Patriots of last season who were perfect during the regular season slowed down a little on scoring in the latter part of the year. Dallas best years of scoring in the months of December have been based around teams that performed well defensively as opposed to offensively. However, if this was the sole reason owner Jerry Jones would be stacking up the defensive side of the ball rather than signing star after star players on offense.

Another reason that the Cowboys may have late season trouble is the weather. Despite many people beliefs, the weather plays an important factor in the closing months of the season. Face it, Dallas is almost as good as a Desert town when it comes to warm temperatures. Could the guys in blue simply not play as well in the cold? Perhaps that reason can not be proven, but it must be considered. Coaching has been discussed as a problem for the Cowboys late in the season as well. Good coaches are known for changing up schemes and designs so teams will not be able to plan for their game style. Dallas plays in the NFC East meaning they get to play the Redskins, Giants, and Eagles twice every season. In the month of December since 2002, the Cowboys are 2-10 against these opponents in their 2nd match-up of the season. That number may surprise even those who despise the Cowboys. Can part of the blame be on the coaching staffs of the past few years? I mean after all you should be able to have a better winning percentage when facing teams for the 2nd time around. Before their victory over the Giants two weeks ago, Dallas had not won a NFC East game in December since 2004 against the Redskins. The Cowboys simply have to be better than that in their own division so late in the year to have any kind of success.

Big D could possibly stand for the biggest disappointment year in and year out for the most popular team in football. However, Dallas still has a chance this season to right the ship. The Cowboys will clinch a playoff spot next weekend if they can pull off the win against NFC East nemesis the Philadelphia Eagles. If the Boys can pull off the victory, they will get another shot to grab their first postseason victory in 12 years. However, America’s team will get a #1 or #2 seeded NFC team in the playoffs. Meaning the Dallas would likely play New York or Carolina. While Dallas may have beat New York two weeks ago, I imagine the Giants would be the favorites this time around and Carolina would be big favorites with their superior running game. Dallas may very well have to wait another year to attempt to end the disappointment streak. Still the Cowboys will get their chance to prove their league’s status. Will the Cowboys finally overcome the troubles of December and January, or will the Big Disappointment continue?

NBA Coaching – A Tough Road

December 20th, 2008 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

The NBA basketball season is in full swing and we can start to expect which teams will be strong and which teams will struggle this season. Highlighting the new NBA season are some very familiar face a top the standings. The reigning NBA Champions the Boston Celtics own the best record in the NBA at 25-2 making them look again like the team to beat this year. Other teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and the L.A Lakers are both off to 21-4 starts and staging themselves to be postseason factors despite how early we are in the season. On the other hand, there are also some familiar faces on the bottom side of success. Teams that have been failing to succeed have found their coaches feeling the pressure of job security and a total of 6 coaches have already lost their job in the NBA this season.

The previous record for NBA firing before the Christmas holidays was three. However, franchises desire to win are at an all-time high and they are not willing to wait for success. The 6 NBA coaches result in 20% of the NBA coaches being fired. Did they all really expect to be World Champions? The majority of these coaches were from teams that had absolutely no chance at competing anyway, but yet the decisions have still been made and change amongst the coaching ranks seems to have been the only option. Oklahoma City started off the trend back in late mid November firing coach P.J. Carlesimo. The Oklahoma City Thunder had gotten off to a league worse 1-12 start and was failing to compete with anyone. Assistant coach Scott Brooks was named interim coach with the intentions to finish the season. However, since the coaching change the Thunder are only 2-13 in their last 15 games and seem to be the exact same team no matter who is in charge thus raising the question is the problem coaching or talent?

Next in the firing line was the man leading the Washington Wizards. Head Coach Eddie Jordan was fired within 3 days of Carlesimo’s announcement after the Wizards started the season 1-10. Stepping up to the challenge was the former Director of Player Development Ed Tapscott. Jordan had led the Wizards to 4 straight playoff appearances and was 3rd on the all-time Washington win list with 197 wins. After Jordan’s departure, there were similar results behind the new man in charge. Since the coaching change, the Wizards are 3-10 and have lost 5 straight games. Again is the coaching really the problem?

The Toronto Raptors stepped up next to deliver the disappointing news to another NBA coach. On December 3rd, the Toronto Raptors became the 3rd NBA team to fire their head coach when they released Sam Mitchell. Mitchell led the Raptors to an 8-9 start. Despite having made the playoffs the past two seasons and also winning the NBA Coach of the Year for the 2006-2007 season, Mitchell ran out of time to improve the team’s performance. Mitchell was perhaps the most surprising firing considering Toronto was still in position to save their season barring the need of a few wins in a row. Mitchell and the Raptor suffered a huge loss to the Denver Nuggets in the night prior to the firing where they were defeated 132-93 and that loss was the Mitchell’s last opportunity. Jay Triano took over the reigns in Toronto becoming the first ever Canadian coach in the NBA. Triano and the Raptors are now 2-7 since the change and yet another example of a change that has not worked out.

Five days later the Minnesota Timberwolves fired Coach Randy Wittman becoming the 4th coach to be fired in two weeks. Wittman and the Timberwolves were off to an embarrassing 4-15 start and they team had lost 5 games in a row by an average of 15 points. Kevin Mchale the former Vice President of basketball operations stepped in to try to turn the young team around. Again the coaching change has done nothing for yet another franchise. The Timberwolves have lost 6 straight games since the coaching change and the troubles have gotten way worse. Again was there any change necessary?

Nearly a week later the Philadelphia 76ers would jump into the coaching trend. The 76ers fired Coach Maurice Cheeks after a sluggish 9-14 start. The firing placed Cheeks as the 5th coach that had been fired in the first few weeks of the season. Cheeks was another coach that had made the playoffs last season and still had time to turn his team in the right direction except he would not get the chance. Assistant general manager Tony DiLeo was appointed coach for rest of the season. DiLeo. Philadelphia may be the only team to have truly benefited from the coaching change. DiLeo has led the 76ers to 3 straight wins. While it may be early in DiLeo’s coaching debut, he definitely seems to have Philadelphia on the right path and hopefully this coaching change will be one that pays off.

A mere two days later Sacramento Kings’ Coach Reggie Theus would be the final coach thrown into the fire. Theus had led the Kings to a 6-18 start and dropped 10 of his last 11 games. At the time of Theus’s firing, the Kings had not won a game in nearly a month of basketball and a coaching seemed like the only logical explanation. After all, everyone else in the NBA is doing it. Assistant Coach Kenny Natt took over the head coaching position after the Theus departure. Since that final coaching change Natt is 1-2 in three games with the Kings. Natt does not to seem to be on the start that would suggest the Kings made the right decision, but it is very early in the change. The NBA has just not faired well this season with coaching changes.

Theus was officially the 6th coach to lose their job in the NBA this season which is twice as many ever fired before Christmas in NBA history. Despite the lack of success of coaching changes there is still a good possibility a few more coaches may be released in the upcoming weeks. Memphis Grizzlies Coach Marc Iavaroni has reportedly been on the hot seat for a few weeks and could be the next coach to be fired in the NBA. The Grizzlies are off to a 9-17 start and do not appear to be heading in the right direction. Another possibility is Mike Dunleavy of the L.A. Clippers. The Clippers are underachieving at an 8-18 record on the season and Dunleavy is taking much of the blame. The chances of some other teams losing coaches by the end of the year are certain. The real question is when these coaches will be let go. However, only one of the six teams that have fired coaches this season has seen a benefit from their change. Still the fact remains that in the NBA many times you can be one loss away from losing your job.

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2009 College Football Recruiting Update

December 17th, 2008 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

The College Football regular season is over and coaches are hard at work on the recruiting trail pitching their best efforts in trying to per sway the best talent to come to their schools. National signing day is vastly approaching and teams are trying to pull out all stops to sign some big players. Recruiting is very important as year after the year the top schools in recruiting shine through in August when their talent steps on the field.

According to rivals.com which keeps up with recruiting year round, the LSU Tigers currently have the best class in the nation with a month to go before signing day. The Tigers have signed the #1 rated quarterback coming out of high school in Russell Shepard. Shepard could come in and be an immediate impact for LSU. The Florida Gators have had a top 3 recruiting class the last 3 years and that has shown to carry onto the field considering the Gators will be making their 2nd National Championship appearance in 3 years. However, the Gators surprisingly only rank 15th in recruiting and have some work to do to close out the year. The Southern California Trojans are currently 2nd with only 16 signees. The Trojans will more than likely jump to the top spot after a few more signatures before signing day. USC has an amazing 8 players in the top 100 players coming out of high school nearly twice as many as any other team.

The Ohio State Buckeyes nearly have a full roster of 25 players to commit and they rank 3rd out of all Division I teams. Two teams that barely missed National Championship appearances in Texas and Alabama make up the 4th and 5th place teams in recruiting. Both schools have 19 commitments and a lot of time to improve their overall class. Alabama signed one of the most elusive backs of the 2009 class in Pensacola, Florida native Trent Richardson. Richardson rushed for 1,340 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior and promises to be one of the most elusive backs in America. Texas signed a stud in defensive end Alex Okafor. Okafor has a rare combination of size and speed that has a future Sunday ticket written all over his resume. The North Carolina Tarheels have perhaps been the biggest surprise in the 2009 recruiting class. Head Coach Butch Davis is doing an awesome job down in Raleigh turning the basketball school into a football force. The Tarheels rank 6th right now in the nation and are one commitment shy of a full class.

There are a number of surprises and disappointments involving the recruiting front. The South Carolina Gamecocks are ranked 8th in the nation with a few top 100 prospects on their list. The Ole Ball Coach seems to still be bringing in a lot of talent and perhaps one day he will do the unthinkable and win a SEC Championship at South Carolina a task Spurrier has claimed he will achieve. Former ACC powerhouses Florida State and Miami have both quietly climbed the rankings in attempt to return to their former dominance. The Seminoles rank 9th while Miami ranks 11th. Both schools only have 17 commitments and still have a lot of room to climber even higher in the recruiting polls. Another mild surprise in the recruiting trail is the success reached by Rich Rodriguez of Michigan. Rodriguez was the mastermind behind that explosive offense at West Virginia and was brought to Michigan to turn the program around. Rodriguez has the Wolverines listed right now to bring in the 7th most talented class of 2009 and that would definitely help get Michigan pointed in the right direction.

A few disappointments in the recruiting department hold the names of two of the most prestigious programs in college football. Penn State is currently ranked 21st for the class of 2009 with nearly a full class of commitments and not much room for improvement. The Nittany Lions have got the guys they want, but rivals.com has the talent ranked lower than the majority of teams with that commits. Another team that has not lived up to their high expectations is that of the Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners had a breakout year on the field and are scheduled to meet Florida in the National Championship game. Usually that kind of exposure, leads to the most elite recruiting classes. However, Oklahoma is slightly further down the rankings than many would expect at #12. While the #12 ranking is nothing to be ashamed of, many thought Oklahoma would have assembled a most definite top 5 recruiting class. Interesting enough there were also a number of notable teams that did not even make the top 25 at this point in the recruiting process. Virginia Tech, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Clemson, and West Virginia all still have a lot of work to go in the final month of recruiting.

There are a number of reasons to keep your eye on the recruiting process in college football. Will the former ACC powerhouses Florida State and Miami make a return as one of the nations most elite programs as they were for so many years? Will South or North Carolina provide some program turn arounds that lead to the entering the National spotlight? Or will something happen like one of the current college football powerhouses like Penn State start to dwindle away. One thing recruiting has proven year in and year out is that recruiting success is parallel to wins. Keep your eye on the recruiting news as we enter the final month before every high school player signs their letter of intent to their school of choice on National Signing Day.

NFL Week 15 review and playoff outlook…

December 15th, 2008 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

With only two weeks to go in the regular football season there are still a bunch of teams battling for playoff positions and games to watch going into week 16 in the NFL. Looking back it was definitely a wild week in professional football with a number of huge plays and unlikely winners. The Dallas Cowboys had a full week of controversy surrounding their offensive standouts. Star wide receiver Terrell Owens accused QB Tony Romo of throwing the ball to tight end Jason Witten too often and it lead to a media field day. However, the Cowboys dominated the New York Giants Sunday night to win 20-8. The Giants were a team many thought clearly to be the best in the NFC. The win put the Cowboys who seemed like a long shot for the playoffs back in the captain’s seat for a wildcard spot. The Giants on the other hand dropped two in a row and now will play in a huge game next week against the Carolina Panthers to determine who has home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Carolina Panthers on the other hand continue to prove why many are considering them favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. The Panthers trampled the Broncos 30-10 and improved their home record this season to 8-0. A win next week would make the Panthers very difficult to beat considering they would get the rest of their games at Bank of America Stadium. The Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings both got wins in their quest to win the NFC North. Both teams records are likely not good enough to earn a wildcard position and they are battling it out to try and win the division. The Vikings need one more win to clinch the division, but they will take on two of the better teams in the NFC in the New York Giants and the Atlanta Falcons. The Bears must run the table against the Packers and Texans because a single loss would end their postseason hopes.

The Washington Redskins troubles continued as they fell victim to the Cincinnati Bengals 20-13. The Redskins have just been torn apart in recent weeks losing 5 of their last 6 games. Sunday’s loss to the Bengals officially eliminated Washington from the playoff picture. The Philadelphia Eagles are set to collide with the Cleveland Browns primetime on Monday night. The Eagles still have an outside shot at making the playoffs and must win their last 3 games. A single loss will eliminate the Eagles from contention. The Eagles have been playing well and if they could pull of the 3 wins, they still could quite possibly need some help to still make the playoffs. However, with absolutely nothing to lose you can expect Philadelphia to keep up their stellar of recent weeks.

One of the more anticipated match-ups heading into last week showcased the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons desperately needed a win and that is exactly what they got as they edged the Bucs out by a field goal in overtime 13-10. Both teams now stand at a season record of 9-5 with the Cowboys. The Buccaneers hold the tie-breaker over the Falcons, but with two games to go anything can happen. Especially considering how well the Falcons are playing and the Buccaneers have now lost two straight. The Falcons really need to win their last two games because one loss simply does not look like it will get the job done. The Arizona Cardinals have already clinched the NFC West, but have now lost 3 of their last 4 games including a blowout loss to the Vikings Sunday 35-14. The Cardinals must get the offense back to playing as they did early in the season. The Cardinals looked like a team that could possibly surprise a few teams a few weeks ago and now look like they could be a cake walk in the first round.

In the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers held a classic grudge match between their two stellar defenses. The Ravens lead nearly the entire game, but the Steelers would stage a comeback in the 4th quarter for the 2nd time in two weeks to clinch the AFC North. Pittsburgh now has the opportunity in a big game against the Tennessee Titans this week to earn the chance at home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Titans and the Steelers both have already earned first round byes, but are now fighting for the home field and whoever wins this weekend will claim the home turf. On the other hand, the Ravens are now in a 4 way tie for the final wildcard spot and cannot afford a single loss. The AFC is as tough this year as it has been in the last decade and if a quality caliber team like the Ravens misses the playoffs this season that will say a lot for how strong the AFC has played this season.

The Indianapolis Colts held off a valiant effort from the winless Detroit Lions this week to win 31-21. The Colts now have a record of 10-4 and are one win away from clinching a wildcard position because they would win all tie-breakers due to the fact they only have two losses in the AFC. The AFC East division is wild horse race with 3 teams tied at 9-5 including the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots. The Jets hold the tie-breaker as of now, but every team will need to win out. New York received a gift on one of the wildest plays of the weekend. Down by 3 points to the Bills with under 2 ½ minutes to go in the game, QB J.P Losman fumbled the football that led to a Jets recovery for a touchdown. The play was huge in keeping the Jets in playoff contention and an absolute nightmare for the Bills. Buffalo should have been running the ball, but tried to get fancy and it cost them big time. That single play had huge consequences for a number of team’s playoff chances and hopes.

The Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots both picked up wins this weekend keeping pace with the New York Jets. The Patriots may have a slight advantage considering Miami and New York will meet in the last game of the season. The Patriots blew out the Raiders 49-26 and will get two struggling teams in Arizona and Buffalo to close out the season. Miami held on to a defensive battle to beat the 49ers 14-9 as well Sunday. The Dolphins victory kept things on the right path and they will need two more wins for a chance at the playoffs. Baltimore, Miami, New England, and New York all stand at the 9-5 mark and one loss would be devastating for any of those teams. The Ravens have perhaps been the strongest of the 4 this season, but they will take on the Dallas Cowboys in what appears to be a tough game next week. Week 16 in the NFL season promises to be as exciting as this past week as these playoff contenders leave everything on the field in their quest to make the postseason.

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No Recession for the Yankees…

December 12th, 2008 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

The New York Yankees proved once again they are the wealthiest team in Major League Baseball. The Yankees signed superstar C.C Sabathia to a 7 year contract worth a mind boggling 161 million dollars. The huge deal equals the highest paying contract ever for a Major League pitcher. The deal is also the 4th highest paid contract in the history of Major League Baseball. For the Yankees to spend this type of money on a pitcher, represents the desperate attempt the New York franchise has pulled to get their team back to winning World Championship for the first time since 2000.

While many teams have been slow to dish out big money contracts or deals due to the slumping economy, the Yankees have flexed the financially charged muscle. New York just moved across the Bronx, to their brand new 1.6 billion dollar place that is the New Yankee Stadium. The new stadium is the most luxurious among all Major League Baseball stadiums today. Tickets for the new ballpark are in the $2,500 range where people can watch the game from bars and clubhouses containing swimming pools, hot tubs, and anything else you can imagine. Yep, it’s safe to say the Yankees are not struggling when it comes to money despite the majority of teams who have cut back on franchise spending in fear of losing tons of money due to the economy.

The new contract with pitcher C.C Sabathia is simply another prime example of what New York has done for years. The Yankees have simply made an effort to buy World Championships. The New York Yankees franchise is estimated at an incredible 950 million dollars. The value equals twice the amount of 27 out of 29 franchises in Major League Baseball and nearly 300 million ahead of the 2nd most wealthy team in the MLB the Boston Red Sox. Considering that there is no salary cap in baseball, the Yankees have the opportunity to spend basically whatever they choose. New York has the ability to sign and spend money that no other team in baseball can even compare. The Yankees however have still not been able to produce a World Championship in 8 years. The Steinbrenner’s, who own the franchise, are willing to fork out money that seems unfair to ensure the Yankees have success no matter the cost.

The Yankees have been quoted as being “the best team money can buy.” The Sabathia deal is just another event that displays the financial monopoly that is the New York Yankees. Despite the argument that C.C Sabathia most likely is not worth the amount of the lucrative contract, the Yanks have enough money to sign these types of deals with no worries. New York over the past 8 years since their last World Championship has amassed a level of talent that is similar to that of an all-star team. Any team that has the money to accumulate the best two players in their sport has too much power. The Yankees have just that in superstars Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

Simply look at the New York roster and you can see the level of financial superiority. The Yankees have a roster of all-star and future Hall of Fame players. You do not even have to be familiar with baseball to know the names Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Hideki Matsui, and now C.C Sabathia. If it were possible, New York would simply buy World Championship rings every year and claim the Championship rather than winning it with the unlimited amount of revenue that flows through the program. However, New York has to settle for buying a team that others could only dream of buying. Still the World Championships have yet to come. If New York fails to capture a Championship in the next few years, can you imagine how much more desperate and lucrative financial movements that will be made to ensure success. New York definitely benefits from a professional league without a salary cap. I mean can you really blame the Yankees for spending more money than any other team since they have that option. Surely the sporting world must admire the Yankee’s determination and ‘whatever it takes’ attitude to win despite how much you love or hate them.

NFC Playoff Scenarios (After Week 14)

December 10th, 2008 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor)

Early this week we broke down the entire AFC playoff race. Now we take a look at the NFC playoff picture and where each playoff contender stands. Who possibly could be the best team and which teams could make a deep run in the postseason.

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New York Giants (11-2) – The Giants own the best record in the NFC and the 2nd best record in the NFL. They have officially clinched the NFC East and are one game away from a first round bye. New York took a blow from the Philadelphia Eagles last week in a 20-14 defeat. Star WR Plexico Burress is out for the year after the gunshot wound and weapons charges he is currently facing. Will the distraction be enough to derail one of the NFL’s hottest teams? The former Super Bowl Champions have backed up last year’s season well and are favorites to win the NFC. However, one must wonder if New York may have peaked too soon?

Dallas Cowboys (8-5) – The Cowboys looked in good position last week to score a huge victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Then the Steelers routed 17 straight points in the final 7 minutes of the game to beat Dallas. The loss really hurt the Cowboys chances at making the postseason given they have a really tough schedule the rest of the way. Many believe Dallas has to win out to make the playoffs, but I believe they still have a good shot if they win at least two of their last 3 games. The Cowboys will hold the tie-breaker over Tampa Bay and Atlanta if those teams were to end with the same record. Still Dallas has to play New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Two wins may be asking enough much less three.

Washington Redskins (7-6) – The Redskins are mathematically still in the hunt even though their chances do not look good. Washington is in dire need to win out or the playoff hopes will be gone. Even if the Redskins do win out they could still need some help from other teams to advance. Washington has a fairly soft schedule the rest of the way but they have a classic NFC East battle with Philadelphia in a few weeks. The Redskins have lost 4 of their last 5 games and the offense has been missing in action. The Redskins have a tall mountain to climb in this one and will most likely not being playing after the regular season.

Philadelphia Eagles (7-5-1) – Ironically a tie is better than a loss. Philadelphia stands much better chance to make the playoffs with that tie and they are playing well right now. The Eagles defeated the Giants last week and blew out Arizona the week before. Their last 3 games are against Cleveland, Washington, and Dallas. The Eagles will be favored to win the first two and the battle with Dallas could very well decide which one of those teams earns the final wildcard spot. The Eagles really need to run the table because a loss would most likely eliminate all chances they have.

Minnesota Vikings (8-5) – The Vikings had a slow start to the regular season losing 3 out of their first 4 games. However, Minnesota rebound nicely and now has won 5 of their last 6 games led by running back Adrian Peterson. The Vikings benefit from a weaker conference and hold a one game advantage of the Chicago Bears. Minnesota has a tough road ahead taking on teams like New York Giants, Arizona, and Atlanta to close out the season. The best option for the Vikings is to hope the Bears can not close the gap in the NFC North.

Chicago Bears (7-6) – Despite having a record barely over .500 the Bears still have a good chance to win the NFC North. Chicago has struggled to post the necessary points to keep up with a few teams and they need to catch on surge on the offensive side of the ball. While they definitely have the softer schedule compared to the Vikings, the Bears will have to win at the very least two games to have a chance. If there happen to be a tie with Minnesota, the Bears would lose to the tie-breaker making their chances even dimmer.

Carolina Panthers (10-3) – The Panthers captured their biggest win of the season last Monday night manhandling the Buccaneers 38-23 in route to nearly 300 yards on the ground. The Panthers have emerged out of the NFC South and are playing very well. Carolina has the tools similar to Tennessee in the AFC in a very dangerous ground attack and a superb defense. Notice how the Titans are doing in the AFC, this type of football works. Despite the strong record the Panthers still can not afford to slip as Tampa could hold the tie-breaker by the end of the season with a better in conference record. Still, Carolina will most likely be in the playoffs and will probably find a way to win the division. The Panthers have the ingredients to beat anybody in the NFL and primed for a deep run in the postseason. If the Panthers manage to win out, they will get home field advantage throughout the playoffs which would be huge considering they have not lost at home all season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-4) – The Buccaneers could have really helped themselves with a victory over Carolina last week. Now they will take on the Atlanta Falcons in a game of equal importance. The Bucs had won 4 in a row prior to last week’s loss and they need to rebound and score a victory. The Buccaneers last 3 games involve two AFC opponents. This could really help because even if they loss it would be an out of conference loss which would help in tie-breaking scenarios. Tampa Bay will be favorites to win two of those games convincingly and a win over Atlanta would pretty much seal the deal. The Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta game could be an elimination game for both teams.

Atlanta Falcons (8-5) – The Falcons suffered a disappointing loss last week 29-24 from the New Orleans Saints. Atlanta still has a reasonable chance to make the playoff, but absolutely must beat Tampa Bay this weekend. Rookie QB Matt Ryan is a superstar in the making and is getting better week by week. Atlanta has a legitimate chance to win out and they may just have to because two wins may not be enough. Since week 4 every loss the Falcons faced, they have bounced back with two straight wins. Well this time they will need to bounce back with 3 straight wins. A loss to Tampa Bay however will end all hopes.

Arizona Cardinals (8-5) – Arizona clinched the NFC West last week with a win over the St. Louis Rams. Kurt Warner has led the Cardinal offense that has become one of the best in the NFL. Arizona offense can give any opposing defense nightmares. The Cardinals are another team that benefits from a weak conference, but they can be a legitimate threat. The Arizona defense has in return struggled this season giving up 25 points per game. If the defense could come on strong and catch a late season surge, this could be a very dangerous football team.

The following teams are completely eliminated from the NFC playoff picture: Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams

The following teams aren’t eliminated but have absolutley no chance: New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins

The following teams are not even worthy of mentioning: “The Winless Detroit Lions”