“Survive the Ground”

Survive The Ground Rule

In this life, you have to survive the ground. In order to survive the ground, you first have to learn how to survive the ground. Learning isn’t always quick and easy or fun and pleasant. Learning comes with bumps and bruises and scratches and scrapes. Just ask the Pittsburg Steelers. And that’s why Jessie James, Ben Roethlisberger, and Coach Mike Tomlin, who looks just like Mike Epps, are licking their wounds and bidding their time until they meet the New England Patriots again, perhaps in the 2018 AFC Championship game?

In Sunday’s clash with the vaunted Patriots, Pittsburgh Steeler’s tight end Jesse James absolutely, positively seemed like he caught the ball seconds before the end of regulation at the goal line. In fact, Jesse James did not catch the game-winning touchdown against the New England Patriots. “The catch rule, as we all know and hate it, declares clearly that a player going to the ground while making a catch must maintain control of the ball throughout the process of going to the ground.

When you watch the play, you see James diving for the ball. As he lunged across the goal line, the ball fell to the ground. Before James could gain possession, Patriots defensive back Duron Harmon dove on his back to render him down and the play over.

Very clearly and simply, James did not maintain control of the ball throughout the process. In other words, the catch did not survive the ground. Here’s how it appears in the NFL rulebook:

“A player who goes to the ground in the process of attempting to secure possession of a loose ball (with or without contact by an opponent) must maintain control of the ball until after his initial contact with the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, there is no possession.” http://www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/262186/the-nfl-catch-rule-has-issues-but-steelers-survive-the-ground-call-was-right

And that’s what we’ve all got to learn. We’ve got to learn how to survive the ground. Sometimes we get knocked down and pushed down and even thrown down, but we’ve got to survive the ground. We can’t let a fall or a push or a shove hamper our hopes or dislodge our dreams. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but we can’t let names or slurs or insults or false accusations hurt us to the point that we lose a firm hold on what Heaven has promised us. Maintain possession.  Lay hold to your hopes and don’t let go of your dreams.

So survive the ground. Get back up and get back going. Don’t let a little slip or a trifle trip endanger your destiny.

All Things Are Possible; a.k.a., Tom Brady is 40!

Brady after loss to Chiefs

If you read my blog, https://godandsports.net/2017/09/07/can-anybody-beat-brady/ that question has now been asked and answered.  The Chiefs took the mantle as the AFC favorite from the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots by winning at Gillette Stadium 42-27 on Thursday night. The Chiefs accomplished the improbable by beating Brady and Bill Belichick  at their own game in their own back yard.

All things seem possible now for the Chiefs after their most impressive victory in four seasons with Andy Reid as their coach. Thursday night’s win came at the expense of the defending Super Bowl champions in FOXBORO! Meaning, the Chiefs pulled a big early season win on the road against the presumptive AFC favorite.

The Chiefs tried to downplay the significance of their victory.

“It’s a win,’’ quarterback Alex Smith said. “It’s a big win. But you’ve got to be able to handle it the right way. We’ve got to be resilient and turn our attention to next week. “You can’t forget that it’s one of 16. You’ve got to keep that same mentality, that same week-in, week-out, attention-to-detail mentality.’’

Now, The Chiefs are out of excuses if they don’t maintain inside position for the AFC’s Super Bowl berth. For a team that for several seasons has been on the cusp but not quite elite, that’s a decidedly comfortable place to be.

Smith outplayed Patriots counterpart Tom Brady in every way, throwing four touchdown passes, including a 75-yarder to Tyreek Hill in the third quarter and a 78-yarder to rookie running back Kareem Hunt early in the fourth. Smith was 28-of-35 for 368 yards and four touchdowns, without an interception. Brady was only 16-of-36 for 267 yards, without a TD or interception.

The Chiefs also got a big game from Hunt, who became only the third player since 1970 with 150 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in his NFL debut, joining Marshall Faulk (1994) and Billy Sims (1980). The Chiefs made the interesting decision to try to disrupt Brady with coverage rather than pressure. The Chiefs frequently dropped eight players into coverage and rushed Brady with three.

http://www.espn.com/blog/kansas-city-chiefs/post/_/id/22219/all-things-are-possible-for-the-chiefs-after-their-win-over-patriots

 

But it’s only one game, right?

Aaron Hernandez: Triumph and Tragedy

Aaron HernandezTalk about a modern day, made for reality TV soap opera. This just in: another athlete has given us yet another harrowing, heartbreaking homily on the hazards of mixing giftedness with recklessness. The dramatic, meteoric rise of the footfall career of Aaron Hernandez met an equally speedy fall and sudden stall.

In actuality, the life and death of Aaron Hernandez was a sad, sobering, shocking yarn full of knots and kinks leading to a tattered and torn, threadbare end. The life of this famous yet infamous professional football player was both sewn tightly and frayed badly, full of high drama and sordid saga that finally all unraveled in a lonely Massachusetts jail cell.

Aaron Josef Hernandez, the 27 year old, 6’-1’’, 245 pound, once and future rising New England Patriots star tight end took his own life this past week. It’s as sad a tale that has ever been told. His is a rags to riches back to rags story that seems like it didn’t have to be. It’s so sad and seemingly so senseless.

Hernandez worked his way up to the top of the sports world. He was NFL divinity; he played in a Super Bowl and played on the best team in the league and was an All Pro selection. But he also simultaneously wormed his way down to the bottom of the general population of humanity; Hernandez was convicted of murder and was serving a life sentence at the time of his death.

Hernandez grew up on the “other side of the tracks” and rose to prominence seemingly overnight. Hernandez attended Bristol Central High School and played as a wide receiver until becoming a tight end, and also played defensive end. As a senior, he was Connecticut’s Gatorade Football Player of the Year.

And his star kept rising.

Hernandez caught passes from Tim Tebow when he played college football at the University of Florida. He was a member of the 2008 BCS National Championship team and was voted a first-team All-American. He was widely recognized as a key contributor to that team’s national championship success. Hernandez then became the first Gator to win the John Mackey Award, given annually to the NCAA’s best tight end.

And his star kept rising.

Hernandez was drafted by the NFL’s New England Patriots as the 15th pick in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft even though he was dogged by allegations of failed drug tests. Still, with future Hall of Famer Tom Brady throwing to him, Hernandez shined for New England. He played on the 2011 Super Bowl team that lost to the New York Giants 21-17. On August 27, 2012, the Patriots signed Hernandez to a five-year, $40 million contract extension, running through 2018. The $12.5 million signing bonus was the largest ever given to an NFL tight end.

But it all began to unravel when he was released by the Patriots in June 2013 immediately after his arrest for the murder of Odin Lloyd. We may never know the whole story, but what was once a bright triumph turned into a dark tragedy.

Sports are like life and life is like sports. There are wins and losses and victories and defeats and ups and downs and twists and turns all the way from start to finish. Aaron Hernandez is just another example of how a good run can all come crashing down with a bad decision here and a misstep there. In all, Hernandez spent more time in prison than on the field with the Patriots. In spite of the tragedy, in life and in death, Hernandez taught us that we don’t have to have a dead end.

Reports say that Hernandez etched John 3:16 on his forehead before taking his life. John 3:16, the hallmark scripture of our faith, coupled with the Easter message, proves that God loves us and is concerned about us. Jesus conquered death so that we don’t have to use death as an out or an option. We may fall but we don’t have to fail or give in or give up if we put our trust in Him.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/aaron-hernandez-ex-nfl-star-kills-prison-cell-article-1.3073294

The Greatest Comeback in Super Bowl History

tom_brady_sports_illustrated

What Happened to Atlanta?

What happened to Atlanta? Tom Brady happened to Atlanta, that’s what.

What happened? Thirty-One unanswered points happened. Overtime happened. And most of all, momentum happened. Atlanta was winning by double digits, but Atlanta lost momentum as they gave the game away. They had the Patriots down 21-3 at the half and 28-9 after three quarters. But it didn’t matter after they lost momentum.

Once Atlanta lost momentum, you had that sinking feeling that they were going to lose the game. The Atlanta Falcons and the NFL’s newly crowned MVP Matt Ryan LOST an epic Super Bowl to the greatest franchise in the NFL, simply because they lost momentum.

Brady and the Patriots won 34-28, in OT, and in the second half and in the extra period, the Pats outscored and outplayed the Falcons 31-0. MAN! Said Brady, “We all brought each other back. We never thought we were out of it.” How’s that for confidence?

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman called the game for Fox Sports.  After it was all over, they said that New England redefined the word Momentum. Atlanta had the game in the bag, up nineteen points, 28-9,  after three. But Lady Gaga laid a mojo on the Dirty Birds. Ryan and the Falcons went into the locker room and didn’t score enough again after Lady Gaga dove into NRG Stadium and danced away the hopes and dreams of the Falcons faithful. Those rooting for Atlanta watched in horror as Brady did his thing and came back to win a thrilling, exhilarating, breathtaking Super Bowl.

It was the greatest of comebacks. It was the grandest of turnarounds. And it’s everything every Brady hater had hoped not to see. You’ve gotta’ be so sorry for Matt Ryan, and you’ve gotta’ be so enthralled by Tom Brady. Like him or lump him, you gotta’ respect him.

And so the lesson is clear: don’t lose momentum. Do all you can to steal it and snatch it and grab it and get it anyway you can. But most of all, when you have it, keep it. Because a change in momentum is all you need to turn the tide and stem the flood. And momentum will carry you over and past and through anything; past a huge deficit and past a hot quarterback and past a great defense.

And past an almost sure loss to an even greater and ultimate win.

So never give up. Brady didn’t. And Brady did it. He overcame and overpowered and overawed the Football world. He’s a five-time Super Bowl winner and a four time MVP.

Well done, Tom Brady.

Don’t Bet Against Brady

  tom-brady

I’m not a Tom Brady fan. I’m not. And I don’t like the New England Patriots. I don’t. But something tells me to tell you not to bet against Brady and the Pats in Super Bowl LI. Don’t do it. As much as I don’t want them to win, I think they just might pull off and turn in another super, Super Bowl.

 Some say that sports and life are polar opposites. In fact, sports and life are actually opposite sides of the same coin.  In both sports and life, there are some things that you thought would never happen and yet happen they do. In sports and in life, there are the improbable, implausible, almost impossible occurrences and incidents that no one, and I mean no one, could even dream up in a thousand years and yet “Voila!” – they appear and emerge and transpire right in before our very eyes.

 Such is the case with Tom Brady. He is headed for yet another Super Bowl, after a season of suspension and turmoil, and perhaps the only thing that stands between him and another Super Bowl ring is a favorable coin flip or two.

 This year, Matt Ryan may be the sentimental favorite. But Brady is still Brady. He’s still coached by Belichick and he is the only member of the Patriots roster left from the 2005 Super Bowl Team. If there’s one constant in the Patriots puzzle, it’s Brady.

“Since the first week of the season, it has seemed inevitable that it would end this way, with Tom Brady in his seventh Super Bowl and two years of drama finally winding down to one final scene.

 From the moment the New England Patriots beat the Arizona Cardinals in the one game they seemed most likely to lose without Brady — on the road, in prime time, in the first start of Jimmy Garoppolo’s career — the trajectory of the Patriots’ season was set. That first month certified Bill Belichick’s ability to adapt to his circumstances, without Brady and then, incredibly, without Garoppolo, too, shutting out the Houston Texans with rookie third-stringer Jacoby Brissett under center.

But everything after — the 13-1 record since Brady came off his suspension, the nearly flawless regular-season statistics, the relentlessness of the Patriots’ offense even after Rob Gronkowski was hurt — was testament to Brady’s own ability to compartmentalize and carry on.” By Judy Battist, NFL Media reporter

Sports science stipulates cohesion and consistency and comrade on any and every team. And yet, with all of the shuffling and shifting, the one constant with the Brady Bunch is, you guessed it, Brady. The Patriot Way is the Brady Way. Brady has won more than most. So it’s difficult, nay pert near impossible, to bet against Brady. So don’t do it. Don’t bet against Brady. Just don’t do it. You’ll thank me later.

Brady, the University of Michigan stud, was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round (THE SIXTH ROUND!) of the 2000 NFL draft. In Brady’s 13 full seasons as a starter (he missed nearly all of 2008 with a torn ACL), the Patriots have earned six trips to the Super Bowl, winning four. Brady has won three Super Bowl MVP awards, two league MVP awards (2007, 2010), has been selected to eleven Pro Bowls, and has led the Patriots to more division titles than any other quarterback in NFL history, with thirteen. Brady is fifth on the all-time list for career passing yards and third for career touchdown passes. His career postseason record is 22–8; his playoff win total is the most in NFL history. Unbelievable.

 Some players aren’t pegged or don’t seem to have the potential to pan out and prosper. Yet someway somehow, they seemingly, consistently and continuously find a way to win. We might not like them but we sure do respect them. They give us patterns and paradigms to follow. Whatever happens, and in spite of who comes and despite who goes, there stand players like Tom Brady, like a stone wall. He’s endured derision and disdain from everyone from Roger Goodell to me in this blog. But like the Bible says, Brady is steadfast and unmovable.

 So, like him or lump him, just don’t bet against him.

Word To The Wise: Don’t Bet Against Brady

Brady SI Cover

Could we see this Sports Illustrated cover again this year? Don’t bet against it.

Some say that sports and life are polar opposites. In fact, sports and life are actually opposite sides of the same coin.  In both sports and life, there are some things that you thought would never happen and yet happen they do. In sports and in life, there are the improbable, implausible, almost impossible occurrences and incidents that no one, and I mean no one, could even dream up in a thousand years and yet “Voila!” – they appear and emerge and transpire right in front of our very eyes.

Such is the case with Tom Brady. He is headed for yet another AFC Championship Game, against his rival Peyton Manning, and perhaps the only thing that stands between him and another Super Bowl ring is a favorable coin flip or two.

Yes, Peyton Manning is the sentimental favorite. No, the New England Patriots aren’t as feared nor as favored as they used to be. Yes, Manning is playing at home in front of friendly fans. No, Brady isn’t superman or super human, but yet and still . . .

Brady has been protected by a stunning 37 different offensive line combinations this season. That’s unheard of. They have a patchwork lineup and a lot of unnamed and unheralded players, except for Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski, considered to be the best tight end in the game. And here’s another one for the books: Brady is the only member of the Patriots roster left from the 2005 Super Bowl Team. If there’s one constant in the Patriots puzzle, it’s Brady.

Sports science stipulates cohesion and consistency and comrade on any and every team. And yet, with all of the shuffling and shifting, the one constant with the Brady Bunch is, you guessed it, Brady. The Patriot Way is the Brady Way. Brady has won more than most. So it’s difficult, nay pert near impossible, to bet against Brady. So don’t do it. Don’t bet against Brady. Just don’t do it. You’ll thank me later.

Brady, the University of Michigan stud, was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round (THE SIXTH ROUND!) of the 2000 NFL draft. In Brady’s 13 full seasons as a starter (he missed nearly all of 2008 with a torn ACL), the Patriots have earned six trips to the Super Bowl, winning four. Brady has won three Super Bowl MVP awards, two league MVP awards (2007, 2010), has been selected to eleven Pro Bowls, and has led the Patriots to more division titles than any other quarterback in NFL history, with thirteen. Brady is fifth on the all-time list for career passing yards and third for career touchdown passes. His career postseason record is 22–8; his playoff win total is the most in NFL history. Unbelievable.

Some players aren’t pegged or don’t seem to have the potential to pan out and prosper. Yet someway somehow, they seemingly, consistently and continuously find a way to win. We might not like them but we sure do respect them. They give us patterns and paradigms to follow. Whatever happens, and in spite of who comes and despite who goes, there stand players like Tom Brady, like a stone wall. He’s endured derision and disdain from everyone from Roger Goodell to me in this blog. But like the Bible says, Brady is steadfast and unmovable. So, like him or lump him, just don’t bet against him.

So, like it or not, Brady gives us our Bible lesson for today:

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV

Philly Cheesesteaks: Simply The Best

GenosLast night I  ate a Philly Cheesesteak and I was stuffed like a pig. Every time I’m in town I try to get a  hoagie or a cheesesteak and I’ve never been disappointed. As always, it was really good grub. And this is not a plug for Pat’s or Geno’s Steaks in South Philly. Growing up I NEVER went to either place, not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t have to. I could get a good steak from Pagonos or a dozen other places in my hood, if you get my drift. Now where were we?

Simply The Best. Philly Cheesesteaks  are simply the best. Period. Case closed.  End of discussion. There is no steak sandwich better. It doesn’t matter where in Philly I get my steak, it’s always good. Always. And that’s how we should live our lives. Especially if you profess to be a Christian.  Because Christ taught us that the best is what he expects of us.  And nothning less.

No one, and I mean no one outside of Philly, can make a hoagie or cheesesteak  like we make ’em here in the City of Brotherly Love.  So if you haven’t made the trip, do yourself a favor and plan the trek.

And speaking of the best, the Brady Bunch just did it again. Tom Brady and his favorite receivers, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, put in a very Patriot-like performance as they kicked KC clear out of the playoffs, 27-20, in a game that the Chiefs could’ve taken but the Pats just weren’t going to give away.

And that’s today’s lesson: there’s a nexus between God and sports and cheesesteaks. Philly cheesesteaks. It’s the same lesson that we learn in life day after day and in sports play after play. Give your best and nothing less.  And don’t make mistakes. At least not stupid ones. But if you do make a mistake or commit an error or get called for a foul you must overcome it, just like Martin Luther King, Jr.  taught us. We shall overcome – not necessarily overnight – but ostensibly overtime.

So come to Philly (you’ll thank me later).  Get yourself a real cheesesteak or hoagie and don’t settle for anything less than the best.