Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps admitted at the The Kennedy Forum in Chicago last week that he had battled depression for years and contemplated suicide. With his multiple decade athletic career, the most decorated in history, how could an Olympian find life so unlivable?
Other decorated athletes have suffered from depression as well: Terry Bradshaw, Darryl Strawberry, Larry Sanders, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Oscar de la Hoya to name a few.
Post-athletic activity depression (PADD) may ensue when the high levels of exercise aren’t maintained and the mind isn’t prepared for losing or being surpassed by another athlete. As you will see biology as well as psychology play huge factors in the mental health of an athlete.
Michael Phelps admitted to going into a depression after each Olympics. His workouts leading up to each of the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics were illustrated by Arizona State coach Bob Bowman at the American Swimming Coaches Association, and demonstrated thousands of hours and yards swum each week.
Multiple studies have proven that exercise wards off depression. This is in part due to multiple mood enhancing hormones being released during athletic activity such as:
So if after a meet, marathon, playoff or Olympic race ends, does the average athlete keep their rigorous training schedule? Probably not. Hence these hormones that the body has become accustomed to seeing aren’t there at their previous levels, inducing a depression. If someone is at risk for depression, the drop in these hormone levels could, in theory, depress one to the point that they contemplate suicide.
They say winning is addictive and from a psychological standpoint, that’s correct. Once you win you reform a new identity. Those psychologically mature and stable will not find their win their only identifying factor and additionally will understand that you “win some, lose some”. However those who struggled for years to win, especially if the prize is an Olympic medal, may not deal with “lose some” so easily.
Once you own that Superbowl ring, first place blue ribbon or gold medal others look at you as “one of the best”. How much higher can you go? Usually an athlete only has two choices. Maintain their “top” status, difficult to do with aging and younger up and comers vying for their spot, or start losing. Most athletes aren’t preparing for how to lose. They can’t. They use all their waking hours preparing on how to win. So when the loss does come, they’re unprepared.
I believe so. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degeneration of brain tissue and function from multiple hits to the head. Many who suffer from CTE have mood changes, anxiety, anger and impulsivity. CTE tau protein build up in the brain contributes to this but hormones can play a role as well.
What needs to be studied are the mood changes incurred by athletes after each season or race to see if a “funk” sets in because their exercise regimen is not being maintained.
Moreover all athletes should have access to counseling to thwart depression and suicidality because losing is inevitable for everyone.
You could say the Minnesota Vikings had no business playing in the NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia after needing a Minneapolis Miracle to get there. But they entered play as the NFL’s best defense in points and yardage allowed and were three-point favorites on the road. They left Philly 31-point losers.
Eagles’ offensive coordinator Frank Reich picked apart the best third-down defense in football -- getting first downs on 10 of 14 third-down tries. Shutdown cornerback Xavier Rhodes summed it up succinctly, saying the Vikings’ defense played like “trash.”
The defense wasn’t the only problem on Sunday, though. Quarterback Case Keenum finally turned into the pumpkin everyone expected this Cinderella season, and Vikings’ general manager Rick Spielman should not ignore the result when addressing the Vikings’ roster at quarterback -- or lack thereof.
With 23-year-old Kyle Sloter out of Northern Colorado the only quarterback on the roster going into next season, the Vikings will once again have to answer the quarterback question this offseason. Some would say Keenum has earned the starting job, but given his latest performance, the Vikings should let him test the free agent market.
Upon throwing a pick-six after his arm was hit by Cameron Graham, who beat right tackle Rashod Hill on just about every play, Keenum fell apart. Before the pick-six, Keenum completed four of six passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. Afterward, he completed just 57.1 percent of his 42 passes, gaining just five yards per attempt on average, with no more touchdowns and another interception. That is not the performance of a quarterback worth $21.3 million per year. That was the franchise tag salary for quarterbacks in 2017, and the least the Vikings could pay Keenum to return next season.
With Sam Bradford’s $18 million coming off the books along with 13 other players entering free agency, the Vikings have a little over $60 million in cap space next season. That’s enough to do more than just retain two of their three quarterbacks, and with Kirk Cousins and Drew Brees potentially available in free agency, the answer to the quarterback question is even more difficult.
The Vikings should be pretty confident in allowing Keenum, Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater to test free agency. Bradford and Bridgewater haven’t proven they can stay healthy as starters, and while there are plenty of NFL teams who would love to have either, Bradford and Bridgwater couldn’t be entering free agency at a worse time for them.
Keenum, on the other hand, will be considerably over-valued on the free agent market, and will likely be overpaid by a desperate team. The Vikings would be smart to let him go elsewhere and pay the undervalued Bradford and Bridgewater to return. But if Spielman does intend to bring back Bradford to start and Bridgewater to back him up, he best protect his injury-prone investments.
The additions of tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers vastly improved the offensive line play of the Vikings. As of Week 5, Pro Football Focus ranked the healthy Vikings’ O-line 20th overall and 15th in pass-blocking, after finishing last season ranked 23rd in pass-blocking. But the Vikings’ offensive line wasn’t healthy going into the NFC Championship Game, and the Eagles showed the value of having the league’s top offensive line, keeping Nick Foles upright and, at times, allowing him seven seconds to throw the football against the Vikings’ four-man, pass rush.
While the Vikings offensive line improved in pass protection, run blocking was still an issue, which isn’t something Spielman must address with running back Dalvin Cook coming back from injury. But if Bradford and Bridgewater are his quarterbacks, he’ll want to add some depth to the offensive line if he hopes to keep either of them healthy. Playing Remmers out of position at left guard in the NFC Championship Game and forcing backup Sharod Hill to take on the Eagles’ sacks leader probably wasn’t how Spielman drew it up prior to the season.
Spielman will likely have another hole to fill on the offensive line, too. Right guard Joe Berger has hinted that he intends to retire. With a lack of interior, offensive lineman available through free agency, it’s likely Spielman and the Vikings will address the offensive line through the draft. R.J. White and Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports think Spielman will target the former college teammate of Pat Elflein, Billy Price. But if Spielman can save some money by retaining the undervalued Bradford and Bridgewater, he could potentially sign the best guard in football.
Carolina’s Andrew Norwell, 26, is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and lining him up next to the second-year center Elflein and the veteran Reiff (or Remmers) would certainly increase the chances of Bradford and Bridgewater staying healthy and effective. Spielman could then address the issue of depth through the draft, even selecting Price and easing him into a starting role so he’s ready when Nick Easton becomes an unrestricted free agent after next season.
It’s time to let the soon-to-be-40 Terrance Newman ride off into the sunset, while 33-year-old run-stuffer Tom Johnson should probably be retained given the lack of availability at his position in free agency. There’s no one on the depth chart behind him at left defensive tackle, and he could be retained at a reasonable price.
Marcus Sherels made $2 million to catch kicks this season, and at 30, averaged just 9.5 yards per punt return -- down from a career high of 13.9 yards per return last season. That position is better filled by a young draftee and likely will be.
Jerick McKinnon wants a bigger role running the ball and has likely played his last game in purple and gold, while kicker Kai Forbath probably earned a raise with his play in the Divisional Playoff Game against New Orleans.
The Vikings are so close to contending for a championship, and adding a guy like Norwell should put their offensive line in the top third of the league and protect the brittle Bradford and Bridgewater. Depth is the biggest concern, and given Spielman's success using the draft to add talent, the Vikings should enter next season even better than this season.
If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: View From The Couch
A California couple has been busted for torture, abuse, child neglect and false imprisonment against their 12 children. On Sunday, one of the teenage daughter captives scrambled to freedom by crawling out of a home window and dialing 911.
It was an escape plan, two years in the making.
After receiving the distress call, two deputies and a supervisor arrived on the scene and found a filthy house in unlivable conditions, a bewildered mother who just couldn’t understand why the police where at her house, and twelve neglected and abused children - some of which were still chained to their beds.
Police wasted no time arresting the two soulless ghouls responsible - the parents - David Turpin, 56, and Louise Turpin, 49. Now both are facing charges of torture, abuse and false imprisonment. Two parents who were, by admission, homeschooling Christians.
On January 18th the married couple pled not guilty to:
And those are just the crimes they committed. And it doesn’t even mention that their “homeschooling” was ludicrously lacking as the children, when rescued and questioned, didn’t have a basic understanding of things. They didn’t know what a police officer was. They didn’t understand what medication was.
It just goes on and on.
Now, I didn’t bother added the word, “allegedly” even though the law presumes the Turpin’s are innocent until the state proves them to be guilty.
But I’m not part of their legal trial so I will go out on a limb and say these two fuckers are guilty, guilty, guilty as sin. And I want them to pay.
Lock them up. Throw away the key.
Or as Rust Cohle says to a child molester in season one of True Detective, “The newspapers are going to be tough on you. And prison is very, very hard on people who hurt kids. If you get the opportunity -- you should kill yourself.”
That being said, I hope those kids are now surrounded with care, love and support. They have their entire free lives ahead of them now and I hope they can recover from their trauma and go on to accomplish great things.
White House Physician, Navy Rear Adm. Dr. Ronny Jackson, performed President Donald Trump’s annual physical last week are released the following results:
President Donald J. Trump has completed his first periodic physical examination as President of the United States. I performed and supervised the examination with appropriate specialty consultations and diagnostic testing. The exam was conducted January 12, 2018 at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
The purpose of this exam was to provide the public with an update of the President’s current health status and to ensure the President continues to enjoy all the benefits of good health. This examination focused on evidence-based health screening and disease prevention.
With President Trump's consent, I release the following health information:
Age: 71 years, 7 months
Height: 75 inches
Weight: 239 pounds
Resting heart rate: 68 bpm
Blood pressure: 122/74 mm
Hg Pulse-oximetry: 99% room air
Temperature: 98.4 degrees F
Physical Examination by System (to include studies)
Eyes: Uncorrected visual acuity was 20/30 bilaterally, with corrected visual acuity of 20/20 bilaterally. Visual fields were normal. Fundoscopic exam was normal bilaterally. Intraocular pressures were normal bilaterally. No ocular pathology was discovered.
Head/Ears/Nose/Throat: Normal exam of the head, ears, nose, mouth, and throat.
Dental: Healthy teeth and gums.
Neck: Normal thyroid exam. No noted lymphadenopathy. Auscultation of the carotid arteries normal.
Pulmonary: Lungs clear to auscultation. A screening Low Dose CT of the chest demonstrated no pulmonary pathology.
Cardiac: Heart exam normal. Regular rhythm. No murmurs or other abnormal heart sounds noted. ECG with normal sinus rhythm, rate of 71, normal axis, and no other significant findings. Transthoracic Echocardiogram demonstrated normal LV systolic function, EF 60-65%, normal LV chamber size and wall thickness, no wall motion abnormalities. RV normal, atria grossly normal, all valves normal. Exercise Stress Echocardiogram demonstrated above average exercise capacity based on age and sex, and normal heart rate, blood pressure, and cardiac output response to exercise. No evidence of ischemia noted and wall motion was normal in all images.
Gastrointestinal: Normal exam. No masses, hepatomegaly or splenomegaly noted. Normal optical colonoscopy with no polyps or abnormal findings completed June 2013. Repeat colonoscopy not indicated and was deferred until next periodic physical exam.
Genitourinary: Normal exam.
Extremities/Musculoskeletal: Normal throughout. Full range of motion in all joints. Strong distal pulses and good capillary refill in all extremities. No swelling or edema noted.
Neurological: Examination of cranial nerves, cerebellar function, deep tendon reflexes, motor function, and sensory system all normal. Cognitive Screening Exam using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment was normal with a score of 30/30.
Dermatologic: Normal exam. No evidence of melanoma , basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or any other significant dermatologic disease.
Total cholesterol: 223 (mg/dL)
Triglycerides: 129 (mg/dL)
HDL cholesterol: 67 (mg/dL)
LDL cholesterol: 143 (mg/dL)
Cholesterol to HDL ratio: 3.3\
Complete Blood Count:
WBC: 5.5 (K/UL)
HGB: 16.1 (g/dL)
HCT: 48.7 (%)
PLT: 241 (K/UL)
Extended Metabolic Panel:
Fasting Blood Glucose: 89 (mg/dL)
BUN: 19.0 (mg/dL)
CREAT: 0.98 (mg/dL)
ALT: 27 (U/L)
AST: 19 (U/L)
Hemoglobin AlC: 5.0 (%)
Vitamin D: 20.0 (ng/ml)
PSA: 0.12 (ng/ml)
TSH: 1.76 (ulU/ml)
Past Medical History
Past Surgical History
Appendectomy (age 11)
• No past or present use of alcohol.
• No past or present use of tobacco.
Rosuvastatin (Crestor), 10 mg daily to lower cholesterol.
Acetylsalicylic Acid (Aspirin), 81mg daily for cardiac health.
Finasteride (Propecia), 1 mg daily for prevention of male pattern hair loss.
Ivermectin Cream (Soolantra), As needed for treatment of Rosacea
Multivitamin (Centrum Silver), Daily for overall health maintenance.
The President’s overall health is excellent. His cardiac performance during his physical exam was very good. He continues to enjoy the significant long term cardiac and overall health benefits that come from a lifetime of abstinence from tobacco and alcohol. We discussed diet, exercise and weight loss. He would benefit from a diet that is lower in fat and carbohydrates and from a routine exercise regimen. He has a history of elevated cholesterol and is currently on a low dose of Rosuvastatin. In order to further reduce his cholesterol level and further decrease his cardiac risk, we will increase the dose of this particular medication. The President is currently up to date on all recommended preventive medicine screening tests and exams.
All clinical data indicates that the President is currently very healthy and that he will remain so for the duration of his Presidency.
At the above height and weight, Donald Trump’s BMI is 29.9 placing him in the overweight category just shy of the 30 BMI cut off for obesity.
His blood pressure and heart rate are excellent for his age, especially in the absence of a blood pressure medication.
His pulse oximetry demonstrating the oxygenation of his blood is excellent as well.
An uncorrected vision test of 20/30 means that without glasses, the president has near perfect vision.
A low dose CT of the chest is not routine during annual physicals in non-smokers, but is reassuring that he most likely doesn’t suffer from lung cancer, the number one cancer killer in America.
His EKG, which evaluates electrical abnormalities of the heart secondary to disease or heart attack, confirmed the ideal heart rate.
His echocardiogram, and ultrasound evaluating heart structures and pump activity, demonstrated no heart failure or issues with the filling or pumping of blood, as well as confirming normal anatomy (valves, wall thickness, etc).
A stress test evaluates for cardiac ischemia, or loss of blood flow to heart muscle during rest and exercise, and was normal as well.
A normal colonoscopy in 2013 suggests his next screening colonoscopy wouldn’t be performed until 2023 unless he had pain, rectal bleed, changes in his stool, or any risk factors for colon cancer.
The Montreal Cognitive Assessment was given to evaluate cognitive function and is not routinely done during annual physicals. This was performed and passed with a 30/30 score. The test evaluates memory, orientation, visuospatial and executive brain function, recall, concentration and language fluency. An example is shown here.
His cholesterol is elevated but his good cholesterol is strong and his ratio of cholesterol to HDL is well within goal.
The remaining blood tests looked very good, especially his HBA1C and blood glucose evaluating for diabetes.
Of note is his Vitamin D level which appears low-normal and could put him at risk for osteoporosis. It does not appear a bone density test, Dexa scan, was performed.
A PSA of 0.12 is reassuring as well although is not recommended as a screening test for prostate cancer.
It's been suggested that President Trump loses 10-15 lbs and increases his exercise activity.
My opinion, for a 71-year-old man with high cholesterol, President Trump is way ahead of the curve. I’m a fan of Crestor, his cholesterol lowering medication, and credit his lipid profile numbers to his use of the statin. His weight is an issue but I think the White House has a bowling alley, chefs who could make asparagus taste like meat, and secret service who wear fitbits. I think he’ll be just fine.
This is a developing story.
Using a baseball analogy, counting your pounds of body weight is like counting runs batted in (RBI). The old-school baseball statistic is dependent on a multitude of factors, like whether your teammates get on base in front of you. It's outdated, just like body weight. So if body weight is RBI, body fat percentage is wins above replacement (WAR), which is how many wins a player contributes to his team above the replacement-level player at his position.
RBI isn’t indicative of a player’s performance like WAR, and your weight isn’t truly indicative of your health. But your body fat percentage is. If you’re a man, a body fat percentage between six and 13 percent is on par with athletes. For women, that range is 14 to 20 percent. A fit body fat percentage for men would be between 14 and 17 percent, and for women, between 21 and 24 percent. Average body fat percentages for men range from 18 to 24 percent and 25 to 31 percent for women.
Your body weight can fluctuate between one and five pounds everyday. I have personally seen my weight fluctuate by eight pounds in one day over the holidays. And now I have a new scale that estimates my body fat percentage, body mass index, water weight and even the percentages of my weight that is muscle and bone. (The company that produces it also donates a part of profits to end child trafficking and provide support services for victims.)
Using a scale isn’t as simple as stepping onto it, and determining our health isn’t as easy as reading the number on the scale. Knowing when to weigh yourself is the first step to ensuring the data you’re collecting is accurate.
First of all, you don’t need to weigh yourself everyday. Since your weight fluctuates so much in a single day, collecting that data daily can actually be detrimental to your health. If you weigh yourself daily and find you’re not losing weight, it could affect you psychologically. You could lose interest in managing your diet before it even goes to work on your body. Dr. Daliah Wachs explains:
“Your body likes everything really rhythmic and predictable, and when it gets out of rhythm your metabolism slows as a protective defense...It will relearn what your new norm is, but that could take weeks.”
Wachs suggests you weigh yourself weekly, and my research supports that suggestion. But there is research out there supporting daily weigh-ins. If you struggle to remain dedicated to your weight loss goals, weigh yourself everyday to hold yourself accountable. It resulted in more weight loss amongst women in the study cited above.
I weigh myself daily out of curiosity, but I only log my weight in the MyPlate app by Livestrong every five days. But how often you weigh yourself isn’t the only factor to consider when collecting your weight data. When you weigh yourself during the day will also skew your data.
My research indicates you should weigh yourself upon waking and after using the bathroom for the first time. You don’t necessarily have to poop, but if you do, your weight data will be a pound on the light side on average. After my movement this morning, I weighed 161.6 pounds, but I’m probably closer to 162.6 pounds.
As stated earlier, weighing yourself daily can get you down, especially when you’re starting a new diet that doesn’t seem to be working. But you need not worry if your weight doesn’t go down for a few weeks.
“Most diets include a lot of water, which also keeps your appetite down,” Wachs said, adding later that “you will notice an increase in water weight gain...by the couple-week mark you’ll start to notice it go down.”
Water makes up between 57 and 60 percent of your body weight on average, and if you make a point of drinking more water as a part of your diet, your weight will increase due to water retained. You can find out exactly how much of your weight is water by using a scale that measures body fat by sending a harmless electric current through your body. So don’t get down if your weight goes unchanged or even increases in the first few weeks of your new diet. And if you’re using a scale that measures body fat, don’t try to lower your weight by drinking less water. That’s just dangerous.
So how to weigh yourself properly starts with weighing yourself at the proper time of day and at the right interval for you, but ends with you not reading your weight at all and reading your body fat percentage instead.
If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: America’s Healthcare Advocate, The Bright Side, The Dr. Daliah Show, Dr. Asa On Call, Dr. Coldwell Opinion Radio, Good Day Health, Health Hunters, Herb Talk, Free Talk Live
When Hawaii residents Saturday morning received this alert (later retracted):
the rest of the country asked themselves, “What would I have done if I received this alert?”
So I think we can all agree we’re unprepared. Some scoff by saying, “Well we wouldn’t survive anyway!” Actually, you can survive a nuclear attack. Here’s how…
Firstly, know your shelters. There are two types:
Blast shelters offer some protection against the blast, heat, fire and initial radiation.
Fallout shelters offer some protection against the radiation from the fallout products.
Many public buildings in your city can act as fallout shelters. These may be schools, hotels, subway tunnels, or below ground pubs. However if your city doesn’t post or have either, you are more likely to be urged to “Shelter in Place”, which we’ll discuss later.
Secondly, make an “Emergency Kit” that has all your important papers, passports, medications, first aid, pet supplies, food and water.
Ready.gov suggests the following:
Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:
It’s best to get to a building that has a basement. Below ground is obviously safer than above ground. Moreover being surrounded by concrete or even brick is better than stucco.
Mic.com also suggests that the center of a building offers more protection than other rooms as illustrated below:
The farther away you are from the blast the safer, however, you do not want to be in your car in bumper to bumper traffic during an attack either.
If you don’t know where to go, than bunker down. If you have a basement go there. If not find an interior room with no windows and start praying.
There is always the possibility that someone may be in the middle of a picnic when a nuclear attack hits. If that’s the case, and you can’t get indoors, Ready.gov suggests the following:Do not look at the flash or fireball – it can blind you.
These tablets help protect your thyroid from taking up radioactive iodine, as they saturate the organ. It’s an inexpensive pill that will protect one against thyroid cancer but not the other medical sequelae of nuclear exposure such as bone marrow injury and skin irritation.
The false nuclear attack alert Hawaii residents received enlightened the rest of the country on how unprepared the average American is. It’s about time we have a game plan and cities educate their citizens on where and how to protect themselves.
For the first time in a long time, the Minnesota Vikings gave fans joy instead of pain in January. Immediately dubbed the “Minneapolis Miracle” by KFAN play-by-play broadcaster Paul Allen, Stefon Diggs soared for Case Keenum’s Hail Mary pass on a play called “Seven Heaven” and ran it in for a 61-yard touchdown with no time left on the clock to beat New Orleans and advance to the NFC Championship Game. But the Vikings weren’t the only team in Minnesota playing big games in January. Both the Wild and Timberwolves were in action on Sunday, and both are in contention.
Minnesotans aren’t used to their professional sports teams being competitive. Hell, they aren’t used to their professional sports teams staying in Minnesota. Minnesota has never had a football, hockey and basketball team (and baseball team, technically) in contention this far into their respective seasons as it has in 2018. With the Wild on a five-day bye and the Wolves just a half game behind San Antonio for third place in the Western Conference, Minnesota will be making history every day the Vikings survive. For the first time ever, Minnesota has championship caliber teams contending in all four major, American sports.
Minnesota had two sports teams in contention in January of 2005, and if it weren’t for the NHL strike that cost us all the 2004-05 season, Minnesota would have likely had three contenders at once. The Vikings advanced out of the Wild Card round by winning in Green Bay, but lost in Philadelphia in the Divisional Round on Jan. 16. The Timberwolves entered that day 18-17 and second in the Northwest Division. The Wild were 30-29-20-3 the previous season and then 38-36-8 in 2005-06.
On the same day the Vikings were shutout by the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game in 2001, and the Timberwolves were running fifth in the Midwest Division with a record of 21-17. The Wild, however, entered Jan. 14, 2001 with a record of 14-19-8-2 -- last in the Northwest Division and tied for second to last in the Western Conference. The Timberwolves went onto the playoffs; the Wild did not.
In January of 1988, the North Stars were bringing up the rear in the Norris Division and sitting second to last in the Clarence Campbell Conference while the Vikings were going into the NFC Championship Game they’d lose to Washington. The Timberwolves didn’t exist.
On Jan. 11, 1970, the Minnesota Vikings were blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl while the North Stars entered play with a record of 9-15-13, good for third in the West Division but worse than every East team. The Minneapolis Lakers, though, had already been the Los Angeles Lakers for a decade. They were 21-22 at that point in the season, en route to the playoffs.
The last time any local fan base had contenders in all four major, American, professional sports in January was just last year. As the New England Patriots marched toward another Super Bowl win, the Boston Celtics were running third in the Eastern Conference and the Bruins were second in the Atlantic Division. Both the Celtics and Bruins went onto the playoffs. The Red Sox went on to the playoffs, too, and as of April 23, Boston still had a chance to win all four major, American, professional sports championships in the same calendar year.
Before that, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins won their respective championships in 2009, but didn’t and still don’t have a professional basketball team to continue the Steel City’s dominance.
All four of Philadelphia's major professional sports teams played in a championship game or series in their respective sports, but not in a calendar year. The 1980 Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series in October, but the Philadelphia Eagles lost Super Bowl XV in 1981. The 1979-80 Philadelphia 76ers lost the NBA Finals, and the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers lost the Stanley Cup Finals.
The last and only time a local fan base enjoyed winning championships in three of the major, American, professional sports was in 1935, when the Detroit Lions, Red Wings and Tigers all won their respective championships. The Detroit Pistons didn’t exist.
No local fan base has enjoyed winning championships in all four of the major, American, professional sports in the same calendar year. But things are lining up well for Minnesota, as Minneapolis hosts the Super Bowl this year, and the Vikings opened as 3.5-point favorites on the road at Philadelphia in the NFC Championship Game.
If the Timberwolves can secure the three seed in the Western Conference, they could avoid playing Oklahoma City and Golden State in the NBA Playoffs, increasing their chances of winning an NBA Championship against a less competitive Eastern Conference.
The Minnesota Wild aren’t even in a bad position with the top Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. They’d visit nearby Winnipeg in the first round of the playoffs and just beat them 4-1 on Saturday.
The Twins are also gearing up for a run at a championship by bolstering their bullpen. The addition of Fernando Rodney and, surprisingly, Addison Reed, to the backend of the bullpen will push guys like Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey and Ryan Pressly into lower leverage situations. If they can land the top free agent starter on the market, Yu Darvish, to go along with Jose Berrios and Ervin Santana, they’d be legitimate contenders, regardless of Miguel Sano’s status given sexual assault allegations against him.
As it stands, Minnesotans are enjoying the best days in the history of Minnesota sports and will continue doing so for as long as the Vikings allow.
If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: View From The Couch
As if there weren’t enough political fireworks occurring in Washington, you can bet that Apple will find itself involved, somehow. It all started with what I’ve been calling Throttlegate, the faux scandal that erupted when it was discovered that older iPhones, with failing batteries, were running a lot slower.
It was easy to attach a conspiratorial angle to this development, the theory that Apple deliberately reduced performance on older iPhones to trick you into buying a new one. But it was also discovered that the mere act of replacing the battery fixed the problem.
Apple admitted that it was doing this to regulate power utilization, and thus prevent a possible sudden shut down problem. Supposedly this was done to allow for smoother performance, though it’s obvious that customers should have been alerted as to what was really going on. It’s also curious why iOS doesn’t present an interface to check battery health.
The follow-up message was more detailed, with references to support documents that explained battery technology and its limitations in a consumer-friendly way. Apple dropped the price of replacement batteries from $79 to $29 until the end of 2018, but that evidently wasn’t good enough for some. There are a number of pending class action lawsuits against Apple.
I don’t think that Apple should be giving away free batteries with normal wear and tear. That should only be done for defective product, though I can still see where Apple wanted to be generous with customers to compensate for not fully explaining what it was doing and why.
On the other hand, anyone who replaced the battery in the month or two ahead of the announcement ought to get a rebate. If someone can demonstrate that they went ahead and bought a new iPhone because they wrongly believed the old one was broken, perhaps they should get a refund. But I can’t see how that could be proven. Perhaps just allow people a few extra weeks to return their devices for a refund.
But you know that the powers that be in Washington, D.C. are poised to make political hay of the situation.
So there’s a published report that Senator John Thune of South Dakota, who is chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, wrote a letter to Apple demanding an explanation.
In a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Senator Thune stated, “…even if Apple’s actions were indeed only intended to avoid unexpected shutdowns on older phones, the large volume of consumer criticism leveled against the company in light of its admission suggests that there should have been better transparency with respect to these practices.”
All right, they are being attacked for not properly communicating with customers. Apple isn’t the first tech company to be guilty of not providing adequate support information about a maintenance update. The letter also asks that Apple explain whether models previous to the iPhone 6, or the newest models, will be similarly throttled. And why not give the battery away free?
To me, this is little more than political posturing. Apple has already apologized for failing to provide sufficient information, and has promised to do better. There will reportedly be an iOS update this year that will allow you to check battery health on your iPhone and iPad, so you’ll know when it needs to be replaced.
But I understand where one might try to gain brownie points, or believe they might, by putting Apple on the carpet. All Senator Thune is doing, however, is just repeating what’s already been written on the subject, including Apple’s promises to do better.
Maybe he should be writing to Microsoft and asking why they released a patch for the CPU bug, fixing the Spectre flaw, which bricked some older PCs with AMD chips in them. We’re talking there about computers that were rendered inoperable. Whatever you say about what Apple did, all the affected iPhones continued to work. What about Samsung’s handling of the battery flaws that resulted in overheated and smoking batteries in the now-discontinued Galaxy Note 7? They were recalled twice before the company pulled the plug. Is it because Samsung is a foreign company? Well, its hardware still had to receive FCC certification to be sold in the U.S.
Again, I understand why customers who bought batteries at full price from Apple, or a third-party reseller, should get a partial rebate. But it makes no sense to give them away free unless they are defective and the unit is under warranty, and that’s not what is being claimed. Besides, if there were batches of defective batteries that failed even after the original warranty expired, Apple would no doubt make some accommodation to be certain they were replaced at no charge.
I suppose one can suggest that Apple needs to be punished for allegedly misleading customers, although the real “crime” was failing to explain the workaround to deal with the problem of sudden iPhone shutdowns. But it’s not as if the U.S. Congress expects to force a company to give away free smartphone batteries. Maybe call on the Federal Trade Commission next and squander the public’s money on a probe?
In any case, I suspect that Cook will probably write to the Senator, make appropriate assurances of good behavior, there will be some headlines and that, as they say, will be that.
“Just because you’re not using N word, harboring Ill will toward black doesn’t mean you’re not racist.” –Oprah Winfrey
If you remember right, it was one month ago that I had stated on my radio program, “You can mark my words. They will attempt to put Oprah Winfrey in the people's’ White House in some capacity.”
And now, we are here.
Before we begin, I need to make one quick point before going into detail. From coast to coast, from city to city, from state to state, and from first-hand experience, I do not see what the CIA-controlled media is continuously spewing out when it comes to racial issues which, for the most part, are a thing of the past.
This is an issue that is water under the bridge and does not belong to the up and comings of the last 6 decades. Yet, there is an all-out attempt to use people of a revengeful nature, who have never experienced what they decry, in an attempt to bring about more division.
They found this is one such person, Oprah Winfrey.
First, I would like to make you aware of what President Roosevelt said back in the 1930’s.
“In Politics, nothing happens by accident, if it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”
He is also known for saying:
“Presidents are selected, not elected.” (Jeremiah 11:9)
Let me show you how this works. Do you not remember when Oprah Winfrey did a show with Donald Trump while planting the seeds back in 1988 concerning the possibility of a run for the presidency?
Apparently, the favor had been returned when Donald Trump was asked by Larry King, "Do you have a vice presidential candidate in mind?"
"Oprah, I love Oprah,” Trump replied. “Oprah would always be my first choice."
People need to understand that Oprah has been groomed over the past decades and has been placed in this position for reasons that are now unfolding before your very eyes (Matthew 4:9).
Let me ask you, how do you know who Oprah Winfrey is? Did you come to know her via the aisle at the grocery store, where her magazines are placed right before your eyes, or was it the 25 years of exposure on her television program, which aired from September 8, 1986 to May 25, 2011? Or is it Oprah’s new position as a correspondent for 60 Minutes?
If television was not the source that she was exposed to you on, maybe it was the movies?
The Hundred Foot Journey (Movie) 2014
Selma (Movie) 2014
The Great Debaters (Movie) 2007
Oprah Winfrey Presents: Their Eyes Were Watching God (TV Show)
Their Eyes Were Watching God (TV Show) Beloved (Movie) 1998
Somehow, Oprah is now dominating the Golden Globes. Where she is being pushed as a candidate for the 2020 presidential run.
Everyone, for the most part, knows who Oprah Winfrey is. The CIA-controlled media would have you know who she is. After all, they have labeled Oprah as the “most influential woman in the world!”
Do not forget that these are the same people that have given her the exposure needed, as well as the opportunities that have been taken advantage of by getting her into the position that she now enjoys (Mark 8:36).
Do you see where this is going? Good, let’s now talk of her possible run for the people’s White House.
Do an internet search on her run for the presidency and you will find the major networks are reporting in a supportive and favorable manner for a run in 2020.
NBC honors Oprah Winfrey as “our future president.”
When looking to Oprah Winfrey, that is when she is not paling around with Harvey Weinstein or George Soros, one must consider her overwhelming support for the most corrupt administration in the history of America, criminal and “race baiting” Barack Hussein Obama (Proverbs 26:8).
Remember, “Birds of a feather, flock together.”
Also, we can see that the apple does not fall too far from the tree when they all have the same divisive talking points: Oprah Winfrey, Barack Hussein Obama, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Colin Kaepernick. What is the difference?
Pay close attention to what Oprah has been spewing out over the years leading up to the present?
The Washington Examiner reported:
A correspondent for the BBC asked her if she felt that racism was the reason some Americans opposed Obama and his policies. Oprah, the one person responsible, more than any other, for Obama being president, of course said yes.
But she said much more than that. Specifically, she said this when asked if the problem of racism in America had been solved:
“Of course the problem [of racism] is not solved. ... As long as there are people who still— there’s a whole generation — I say this, you know, I said this, you know, for apartheid, South Africa, I said this for my own, you know, for my own community in the South — there are still generations of people, older people, who were born and bred and marinated in it, in that prejudice and racism, and they just have to die.”
In one quick, thoughtless breath, Oprah added another tenant to Libthink: Not only are all racists white, but they also need to “just die,” every last one of them.
It is of interest to note that the media promotes Oprah as the “voice for the people.”
Apparently, she means to be the voice for the people of color as she attempts to drive the wedge of division among all people (Acts 17:26; Matthew 12:25).
These revengeful people are in a struggle for power, what they fail to realize is, black power is just as dangerous as white power. BEWARE Americans.
Finally, let me be clear that there is nothing wrong with success. Oprah Winfrey’s net worth of $3.2 billion, I’m sure, was hard-earned. I understand that one does not get to the top of the mountain by falling there, but the fact of the matter is that you have anti-American forces in place that support her every move and position, and those forces are aimed at “fundamentally transforming” this country (Isaiah 5:20).
I don’t normally write a sports column, but a few words would seem appropriate after Alabama’s startling victory this past Monday night in the College Football Championship game. Simply put, love him or hate him, Alabama head coach Nick Saban is the best college coach in football today, and maybe the best college coach ever.
Now, many LSU football fans don’t want to hear this and seem to be consumed by an abhorrence of the former Tiger coach who took LSU to a national championship back in 2003. Saban left the Bayou State for what he considered greener pastures in the NFL, then returned to the Southeast Conference to take the head coaching job at Alabama. Many LSU fans consider Saban a traitor for taking on the post coaching the Tiger’s archrival.
But the proof is in the pudding, and Saban has now won six national titles, tying former Alabama coach Bear Bryant’s all time record. So what’s the reason for Saban’s success? Simply put, he is unquenchable in his approach and commitment to coaching. And losing, in Saban’s mind, is never an option. In fact, one can argue that he hates losing more than he loves winning.
His entire focus is preparation for the next game or next season. I know one of his assistant coaches here in Baton Rouge who told me he felt embarrassed taking off Christmas Day or any other holiday, knowing full well that Coach Saban would be in the football office that day at LSU. His only hobby is coaching football.
A story I heard from a close friend of Saban is an example of his insatiable commitment to coaching. Both Saban and his friend were out to dinner on a Saturday evening with their wives. About 10:30 pm, Saban’s cell phone rang. The coach excused himself from the table and stepped outside the restaurant, staying on the phone for almost 30 minutes.
Later, as they were leaving the restaurant, Saban’s friend asked him was there any problem because of long phone call. No, Saban responded. It was just one of his recruits who was calling to talk about a personal problem. Saban said he gave all his recruits his private cell number and told them he was always available to talk about football or any personal matter. Now how many coaches at major college programs will give out their personal cell phone number to a high school recruit? Simple. A coach like Nick Saban who wants to be number one.
In 2012, Alabama played LSU for the College National Championship at the Superdome in New Orleans. Our family had booked early rooms at the Hilton hotel, which was also the team hotel for LSU. Many of the players were on our same floor, and the night before the game, they were hanging out with girlfriends and cruising throughout the hotel. Nothing rambunctious, but just “hanging out” before the game. One of the players told me they had no team meetings scheduled the night before kick off.
Coach Saban had bused the Alabama team to a movie theater outside of town that was owned by my father-in-law. Saban’s office had called to arrange for a private showing of the World War II movie, “Red Tails,” about a black flying squadron who faced long odds fighting German air attacks. After the movie, Coach Saban went up on the stage and repeated word for word the movie’s rallying cry.
“From the last plane, to the last bullet, to the last minute, to the last man, we fight!”
Last Monday night, Coach Saban’s Alabama team was behind the entire game until the last second of the overtime. They fought and fought as Saban’s intense energy and coaching momentum urged his players on. In Nick Saban’s words, “to the last minute, to the last man, we fight!”
His team did just that, and Alabama continues its reign as America’s premier college football program. These are the reasons why Coach Saban is simply the best college coach today, and perhaps the best there ever was.
“I always ask myself the question, do you like to win or do you hate to lose?" -- Nick Saban
Peace and Justice
With agents of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement raiding 7-Elevens across the country intent on deporting illegal immigrants and punishing the companies that employ them, immigration reform is taking center stage this week in Washington, D.C.
Democrats have long hoped to provide a path to citizenship for immigrants temporarily allowed in the country under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which allows children brought to America by family members illegally to remain in the country temporarily and acquire work visas. As of this writing, a federal injunction has blocked the Trump Administration from rescinding the work permits of these undocumented immigrants. But that's not a permanent solution.
A bipartisan group of Senators has come to an agreement on an immigration deal, but Donald Trump has not offered his support of the bill. The bill reportedly includes a path for DACA recipients to become citizens and changes to the State Department's diversity visa lottery program and family-based immigration policies while also providing a border security funding package.
Whatever the bipartisan deal looks like now, it’s going change drastically as negotiations take place to please the President become passable in the Senate and the House of Representatives. So what can we expect from the immigration negotiations?
Trump was asked if he would support a DACA bill that did not include money for the border wall he has proposed in a news conference, Wednesday at the White House. “No, no, no,” was his answer.
Trump won’t approve immigration legislation if it doesn’t approve funding for a border wall. It was his biggest campaign promise -- and that Mexico would pay for it. Mexico isn’t paying for it, and Senate Democrats won’t likely allow tax dollars to be spent on a border wall. But there’s still Ted Cruz’s bill to make El Chapo (Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán Loera) and profits secured from other drug lords to pay for the wall.
The Department of Homeland Security estimated in February 2017 that Trump’s border wall would cost roughly $21.6 billion. U.S. authorities are seeking the forfeiture of roughly $14 billion in profits from illicit drug trafficking by El Chapo.
U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions gave Republicans leverage in negotiations by ending protections for states with legal marijuana, so Republicans could very well demand funding for a border wall in exchange for protections of medical and recreational marijuana providers and users.
That doesn’t mean Trump will be able to fund his border wall exclusively with taxpayer dollars, though. Congressional Democrats are already frustrated by a tax plan that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says will add $1.4 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade. Even if Trump’s tax plan will raise America’s gross-domestic product by .5 percent annually, it still increases the federal deficit by $1.252 trillion. And now Congressional Republicans have their sights set on cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits.
Congressional Democrats will have to find some solace in fulfilling the dreams of Dreamers currently residing in America under DACA, because immigrants residing in the country under the State Department's diversity visa lottery program and family-based immigration policies will be deported en masse.
The ICE raids of 7-Elevens throughout the country are just the beginning. Refugees residing in America with Temporary Protected Status will likely have their statuses terminated and be forced to return to their home countries, which aren’t likely ready to receive them. Most of these refugees escaped natural disasters or war. It was announced Monday that nearly 200,000 TPS migrants from El Salvador must leave the country, and there are another 125,000 TPS migrants residing in American who could be next.
To give you a sense of who these TPS migrants are, 81 to 88 percent of them are employed, which is a considerably higher rate than the 63 percent of American-born citizens who are employed. They do work many Americans wouldn’t do if the jobs were available to them -- 51,700 work construction, 32,400 in food service, 15,800 are landscapers, 10,000 more take care of your kids in daycares and 9,200 work in grocery stores. Almost a third of all TPS migrants are paying mortgages, too.
Trump will chalk these deportations up as jobs created for Americans, but it won’t necessarily result in a strengthened U.S. economy. The Center for American Progress estimates "a policy of mass deportation would immediately reduce the nation's GDP by 1.4 percent, and ultimately by 2.6 percent, and reduce cumulative GDP over 10 years by $4.7 trillion."
Agriculture and construction industries are expected to be the industries hardest hit by mass deportations, so housing shortages will worsen as will agriculture exports due to a lack of a sufficient labor force. Americans aren’t suddenly going to flock to farms and ranches in search of jobs vacated by immigrants.
It’s also estimated that illegal immigrants and their employers pay between $7 and $12 billion into Social Security, which would further devastate the program if Congressional Republicans indeed cut funding for it.
So what we can expect from the immigration reform negotiations is: 1) some sort of border wall being built on the U.S.-Mexico border, 2) possible marijuana protections for states with legal and medical marijuana legislation in effect, 3) more deportations, and 4) a worse U.S. economy.
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The Minnesota Timberwolves dominated the Cleveland Cavaliers at Target Center on Monday night with local product Tyus Jones starting at point guard in place of the injured Jeff Teague. The Wolves led by as many as 41 points, as Jimmy Butler shut down LeBron James for his seventh straight win against James’s teams. It resulted in James’s worst plus-minus of his career (-39) and lowest-scoring game in a decade. Not a single Cavs starter had a positive plus-minus in the game.
Meanwhile, every Wolves starter finished with a plus-minus over 30, and Jones finished behind only Butler for the game high. While he had just six points in 28 minutes, Jones added eight assists, two steals and only one turnover. On the season, Jones sits behind Karl-Anthony Towns with the 23rd-best real plus-minus in basketball at 3.45. Teague, on the other hand, is 163rd with a real plus-minus of -.29 -- right behind former Timberwolf Kris Dunn. So is Tyus Jones making Jeff Teague expendable?
Over the last 15 games, the Timberwolves have the best offense, best net rating and the eighth-best defense in the league. Teague has missed seven of those games, but prior to going down with an MCL sprain, the Wolves were riding a five-game winning streak.
There’s been a drastic change in the number of points allowed in Teague’s absence, though. The Wolves have allowed more than 100 points just once since Teague’s been out, and that was at Milwaukee in the first game Teague missed. Minnesota is averaging 96.29 points allowed per game over the seven-game stretch without Teague, which is nine points better than their 13th-ranked season average and better than Boston’s league-best 97.6 average points allowed per game this season.
The Wolves are clearly benefiting more from Jones’s defense than Teague’s offense. Teague is a game-time decision on Wednesday when the Wolves host the Thunder, so if he doesn’t play we’ll get a chance to see how Jones fares against one of the best point guards in the world in Russell Westbrook.
Regardless of who plays, Wednesday’s matchup with OKC will be a better test for the Wolves than the Cavs were, and give us all a sense of who would win a potential playoff series between the two. Minnesota would have home-court advantage against the Thunder in the playoffs if the season ended today, and with two wins over OKC already, a win on Wednesday would improve Minnesota’s tiebreaker advantage, too.
Tom Thibodeau has put the Wolves in a tight salary cap situation. ESPN NBA front-office expert Bobby Marks crunched the numbers and found the Wolves will have just $6 million to spend on four roster spots next season if nothing else changes. So dumping Teague’s salary would put the Wolves in a better place financially, but who would take him?
My NBA front-office expert and cousin said he’d work with Phoenix to acquire Tyler Ulis to backup Jones because Towns called Ulis the best passer with whom he’s played. But no acceptable trades between the Wolves and Suns involving Teague has the Wolves improving their win total according to ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine. (Trading Aaron Brooks for Ulis was an acceptable trade that resulted in no change in wins for either team.)
Minnesota’s trade chips are just making too much money, so a third team would likely be required to make a trade of Teague possible. That said, it just doesn’t look like the Timberwolves are in a position to improve the roster through a trade of Teague – at least not at this time.
But if the Bulls intend to shop Nikola Mirotic after Jan. 14, you have to believe Thibodeau would be happy to acquire his services. Mirotic is 14th amongst power forwards in real plus-minus. He’s Taj Gibson’s complete opposite, so when the Wolves struggle on offense, Thibodeau could substitute Mirotic for Gibson to get a bucket. If it takes Teague to get him, so be it, but whether the Bulls would be willing to part with Mirotic for anything but youth and cap space is the real question. The Bulls aren’t that far away from competing now that Zach LaVine is close to returning from injury, and Lauri Markkanen seems to be working out, so don’t be surprised if the Bulls covet a veteran point guard to mentor Dunn.
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Late November I wrote my snotty predictions for the playoffs and, to be honest, I was pretty accurate. But so were most sports pundits. It wasn't too hard to predict by then.
Then: the four major players in the NFL were the Eagles, the Patriots, the Steelers and the Vikings with the Saints as the number one wild card team.
Now: The four major players have proven to be: the Patriots, the Saints, the Steelers and the Vikings.
Sorry, Philly fans, as soon as your QB1 went down in week 15 your fate as a one and done playoff team was sealed.
On the other hand I think every football fan was shocked to see the Tennessee Titans snatch a victory away from KC with their 18 unanswered points. KC fans were probably sick about that.
And speaking of the Chiefs - what idiot breaks news that you are open to trading your star quarterback hours before your playoff game? You know, your star QB that led the fucking NFL in passer rating, averaged almost 6 yards per rush and wins your division for you?
Yeah, let’s get rid of that guy. And let’s tell the world about it a few hours before he plays for us in the Wild Card playoff match.
But I digress. We have eight teams left in the playoffs:
NFC (National Football Conference)
Atlanta (11-6) vs. Philadelphia (13-3) and New Orleans (12-5) vs Minnesota (13-3)
AFC (American Football Conference)
Tennessee (10-7) vs. New England (13-3) and Jacksonville (11-6) vs. Pittsburg (13-3)
Tennessee Titans vs. the New England Patriots
Let’s get the easy one out of the way. The Tennessee Titans are worst team in the line up. Through sheer determination, luck and the “Chief’s can’t win a fucking playoff game to save their lives” curse - the Titans barely squeaked into the Divisional round but that’s where their season ends.
Prediction: New England will crush the overwhelmed Titans.
Atlanta Falcons vs. The Philadelphia Eagles
The second easy one. With Carson Wentz injured the Eagles are no longer a Super Bowl contender with QB2 Nick Foles leading the team. Foles has had a long decent, though inconsistent career. He’s a fine QB. He is not the man that will beat the Falcons.
Prediction: Atlanta Falcons -- but the game will be a closer than most suspect.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. The Pittsburgh Steelers
This is little more difficult to predict. “Big Ben” Roethlisberger is on fire and the Steelers put up the number three offense in the league behind only the Patriots and the Saints. But Jacksonville put together the most uncanny defense the league has seen in a while. Seriously. My roommate had Jacksonville for defense on his Fantasy Football team and he told me about it every week for the entire season:
“The Jaguars got me another fifty points on defense! Fifty points! That’s more than Tom Brady!”
By comparison the Steelers have the 5th ranked Defense and Jacksonville has the 6th ranked offense. Though, that #6 rank for Jacksonville has mainly been because of the Jag’s excellent running game. In fact, Jacksonville’s QB1 - Blake Bortles had a rather mediocre year being ranked 17th in passing offense - 3,687 yards, 7 yards per throw, 230 yards per game, 21 TD / 13 INT.
I just don’t see Bortles cutting up the Steelers defense and I expect Pittsburgh’s pass rush to keep Bortles on the ground. A lot.
BUT - if Jacksonville’s crazy, madman defense shows up healthy, I can see Jags eeking out a win over the Steelers.
I think this game could go either way but I’m giving the edge to the Steelers.
Prediction: The Steelers in a moderate to low scoring game.
New Orleans Saints vs. The Minnesota Vikings
Finally. The game of the week. Maybe the most evenly matched game the playoffs will see this year.
Hey, remember up above when I talk about that crazy awesome defense the Jag’s put up? Well, the Jag’s ended up with number two defense of the year. The best defense of the year belongs to the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings are first in per game points allowed (15.8), first in per game yards allowed (275.9), second in per game pass yards allowed (192.4) and second in per game rush yards allowed (83.6). The Vikings are crushing opponents on critical third down plays. Case Keenum is having the season of his career. Adam Thielen is a wide receiving super star. The front line is healthy and the running game is solid.
The Vikings are a solid football team.
Of course, the Saints have Drew Brees. They also have Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara - the duo backs who have crushed defenders this year and became the first ever combo to surpass 1,500 yards from scrimmage in the same season.
The Saints are also, a solid football team.
On the other hand, the MN Vikings have Harrison Smith. Now, even if you’re a casual fan of the NFL you’ve probably heard of him. And you’ve probably heard he’s good. Or maybe you even think he’s really good.
And so did I. But someone recently convinced me he might be the best current player in the NFL. And that’s not hyperbole either.
Well, I mean - I’ve always thought Smith was an elite player and believe he was a total snub for the Pro Bowl this year. But, I mean - best player in the NFL? Come on!
And then someone went and put together Smith’s numbers for the year and posted, “No matter how good you think Harrison Smith is, he’s better than you think he is.”
From the article:
“Harrison Smith had a passer rating allowed of just 22.0 this season … Just to be clear, that’s not normal. Earl Thomas, arguably the best coverage safety in the NFL, had a passer rating allowed of 80.9 this season. Smith was four-times better than that. Throwing the ball into the dirt on every snap would grant a quarterback a passer rating of 39.6. And yet that would still be nearly twice as good as throwing the ball at Harrison Smith.”
“Smith didn’t give up a touchdown in coverage all season, and he had five interceptions and 17 pass deflections. Smith was targeted 42 times on the season, giving up just 23 receptions for 140 yards. For comparison, Earl Thomas gave up more yards (160) on less than half the amount of targets. Smith’s 0.25 yards allowed per coverage snap is among the lowest of any player at any position in the NFL, and his passer rating allowed is absolutely unprecedented.”
Bloody hell! That can’t be right! Right? Let me Google some more Harrison Smith information and see if that above information is accurate.
Google. Google. Google.
Dear God! It is! A QB could throw the ball into the dirt and have a better passing rating than throwing the ball to a receiver covered by Harrison Smith! Holy, insane!
Here is what the Pro Football Focus (PFF) has to say about Harrison Smith:
“There has been no better player across all positions than Minnesota’s Harrison Smith, who has been the field general for the league’s best defense over the course of the year. Smith’s overall PFF grade of 98.8 was the best mark in the league not only among safeties, but at any position, and is the highest mark we have ever given a safety in over 10 years of grading. His ability to play all over the defense for the Vikings – lining up at both free and strong safety on more than a third of his defensive snaps and even covering the slot against both tight ends and receivers – allows that defense to scheme up virtually anything they want, knowing that they have the moveable chess piece to make it happen and get the right players in the right spots.”
Fair enough. I’m sold. (Read the above ”No matter…” link for even more unreal Harrison Smith statistics).
Which brings us to:
Drew Brees. I’ll go out on a limb and say the Vikings are the more rounded, better team but the Saints have Drew Brees. You know what I’m talking about.
It’s like being a fan of a team that has to go against Joe Montana, or Dan Marino, or Tom Brady, or Brett Favre, or Aaron Rodgers. And sometimes you have to go against those QB’s twice per year!
And that’s what brings us to the game of the playoffs. The Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints met in week one with the Vikings taking that game 29-19 but that was seventeen weeks ago. Both teams are radically changed and more mature.
If this were a pure numbers game I would say the Vikings have the edge. But there’s that ol’ “clutch” word that gets thrown around the NFL basically meaning, “when it really, really matters - you come through in the clutch.”
Drew Brees is serious clutch.
But then again, so is Harrison Smith.
Prediction: The Vikings in much too close game for my nerves to handle. But, I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Saints win. I’ll be disappointed, but not surprised because - Drew Brees.
Second prediction: Whoever wins the Viking / Saints matchup will win the Super Bowl.
A recent study out of Denmark finds frequent and prolonged use of ibuprofen to affect men’s fertility and sex drive.
Researchers out of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark found 600 mg of ibuprofen (three 200mg over the counter tablets) twice a day for 6 weeks could have an anti-androgenic effect, meaning decrease the effect of man’s testosterone.
The “compensated hypogonadism” reported, caused by a depletion of sex hormones, was seen within two weeks of the ibuprofen use. This can result in loss of libido and a decrease in sperm production. Long term sequelae could include hair loss and decrease in muscle mass.
Fortunately, this effect was reversible once medication use ceased.
According to the study of 31 males between the ages of 18 and 35, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the following was reported:
In the men, luteinizing hormone (LH) and ibuprofen plasma levels were positively correlated, and the testosterone/LH ratio decreased. Using adult testis explants exposed or not exposed to ibuprofen, we demonstrate that the endocrine capabilities from testicular Leydig and Sertoli cells, including testosterone production, were suppressed through transcriptional repression. This effect was also observed in a human steroidogenic cell line. Our data demonstrate that ibuprofen alters the endocrine system via selective transcriptional repression in the human testes, thereby inducing compensated hypogonadism.
LH stimulates the testicles to secrete testosterone. Since LH is a hormone produced by the pituitary, low testosterone levels mean the inhibitory effect of the ibuprofen occurred at the testicular level.
Ibuprofen is a medication known as an NSAID (non steroidal anti-inflammatory), used as an analgesic, antipyretic (fever reducer) and anti inflammatory and used for a variety of conditions. If an athlete suffers a sprain or fracture, for example, he may take 800 mg of ibuprofen three times a day for weeks at a time.
With the rising opioid epidemic and restrictive prescribing rules many states are implementing, many medical providers are switching to NSAIDS for pain control of their patients.
Other risks associated with NSAIDS include GI bleed, renal and liver issues and heart disease.
For more on this study read here.