Thoughts and prediction on the Super Bowl

With the 45th edition of the Super Bowl just a few days away, it is hard not to come across some expert from the media who is breaking down this game, bit by bit and offering their take, whether it be by newspaper or some analyst on ESPN.  But I am just your average sports fan who thinks they know it all,  so here is my 2 cents on the game ( in 5 paragraphs or less!!)

Both teams are very deserving of a spot in this game.  They have overcome a great of adversity with injuries during the regular season and it is hard to argue that the best team from each conference is playing in the Super Bowl. Forget about the records and seeding. If Green Bay had been healthy all year-long, they would have won a few more games and probably gotten one of the top seeds in a very weak NFC conference. Pittsburgh in my opinion was the best team in the AFC even though New England had the better record. They are probably the best all around and most balanced team in the NFL.

For Pittsburgh to win the game,  they must do a couple of things. First of all,  avoid the costly turnovers. Green Bay has feasted on the big defensive plays all year-long and that is a huge part of their success. A good example is last week’s game against the Bears.  They were able to get a couple of hug picks, one resulting in a touchdown and another late in the game to seal the win.  I also believe that they have to run the ball well, which they can, and keep the Packer’s lethal offense on the sideline.

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, Green Bay’s strength lies in their defensive play and quarterback Aaron Rodgers. If Rodgers has time to throw against the tough pressure of the Steelers,  the Packers should win the game. Otherwise it could be a long afternoon for the green and gold. I really doubt they will have much success running the ball against the defense of  the Steelers.

In the end, I like the Steelers to win 27-21. It should be a very entertaining game but let’s face it. Pittsburgh has simply the better team.  They play in a much tougher conference and have more experience playing in the bigger games. How the Packers are 2 1/2 point favorites is beyond me!! Good luck to both teams and to the fans of both teams.

The new season of American Idol

About a week ago,  the 10th season of American Idol kicked off like it does every year with plenty of bad singers showing off their talents or lack of before a set of new judges. I love the new judges.  It was time to change things up on the show and the addiction of Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez brings some much-needed freshness to the show. I will miss Simon though. His comments and remarks were one of the reasons I kept watching the show and he will be missed in the long-term.

To be honest with you, I will probably never buy a cd from any of the winners of the that show.  In the 9 previous years, how many have really made it big? just a few. If you are a really good singer and have a boat load of talent, I doubt you would have to go that route to get noticed. But it is very entertaining to see people get a chance to pursue their dreams, just average Americans getting their 15 minutes of fame in front of millions of people.

I would make a lousy judge on that show.  Judging singing and performing is such a relative thing.  Many times, the judges even disagree on whether to send the performer on to Hollywood. In my opinion, it takes a lot more to be a good singer.  The country has tons of thousands of outstanding singers who are just as talented as the winner will be. But you must have that certain level of charisma and charm that attracts people. For many, it comes down to sex appeal.  One of the contestants who was voted off said she did not make it because she was not skinny like the rest of the contestants.  That was her opinion and she probably has a valid point.

It seems like every year, somebody has a personal story to tell and that really touches people too.  I was really touched the other night while watching the contestant whose finance was just involved in an auto accident. Very touching story! How can you not root for that guy?

One of things that really struck me so far is the level of talent of many young singers. There are plenty of outstanding 15 and 16 years auditioning and there is a strong probability one of  those young singers will win.  It is hard to pass up someone who is young and talented. So stay tuned. Looks like another great season for one of the best shows on television.

Thoughts on the NFC, AFC championship games

My favorite sports day of the year might just be championship Sunday in the NFL when the Super Bowl participants are determined.  This Sunday looks like a fabulous day of football when the Bears and Packers play followed by the Jets and Steelers.

Being a Minnesota Vikings fan, the matchup between the Bears and the Packers is kind of a hard one to swallow.  Both teams have plenty of fans around this area of Minneapolis and St. Paul and I find most of them to be very obnoxious and smug.  A few are very classy, but it is hard to root for a team or teams with that kind of fan base.

Having listened to many Packer fans during the past week, you have to wonder why even play the rest of the games. Just give the Super Bowl trophy to the Pack! No doubt they played a whale of a game in Atlanta in beating a very overrated Falcons team but things will get much tougher.  Chicago matches up very well with the Packers and did beat them earlier this year. I expect a great classic game. If the Bears offensive line can protect Jay Cutler and he does not turn the ball over, I believe the Bears will win. To me,that is the key to the game.

Over in the AFC, don’t you just feel like the Jets are destined to go to the Super Bowl? Every single year, a hot, lower seeded team ends up going and the Jets appear to be that team. But I really have a hard time believing they will go into Pittsburgh and beat the Steelers again.  I just have a hard time betting against a team with that much big game experience as the Steelers have.  Both teams play superb defense but Pittsburgh is almost unbeatable when Troy Polamalu is healthy and in the lineup. They also have an advantage at quarterback in my opinion. How can you bet against Ben Rothlisberger  in a big game?

When all is said and done on Sunday night, I believe the Bears and Steelers will be playing in the Super Bowl. The Bears will win in overtime and the Steelers will win by about 10 points.


The horrors of winter driving

There are several things in life that cause me a great deal of stress such as public speaking, watching my favorite team in a tight game, meeting a tight deadline at work or walking down an alley at night. But driving in difficult winter conditions might beat them all. Sometimes I wonder if I will make it to my destination alive!!

With 49 of the 50 states reporting some type of snow this week, I am sure just about everyone with a license has experienced the treacherous conditions that winter weather brings us.  Here in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, we have experienced an unsually high amount of snow this winter and along with it, the usual headaches on the road, slow commutes and plenty of accidents to observe or witness. Believe me, I have had plenty of opportunities to sharpen my winter driving skills in the past few months.

I find it amazing how something like driving in the winter can bring out the stupidity in people. Is it such a small order to actually slow down or not tailgate the vehicle in front of you when the conditions are less than ideal? It really is mind-boggling to understand those folks who think they can drive as if it were August! I don’t care what vehicle you have.  Your reckless driving and  lack of a brain could kill somebody innocent out there.  I think many people do not understand what they are doing until maybe it is too late.

When I took drivers training many years ago, there was absolutely no training involved at all for winter driving.  I think it is an absolute joke not to teach people how to approach winter driving or what to do if you slide your vehicle and which way to steer your wheel.  Several states have winter like conditions for several months of the year and learning how to deal with those conditions are important to say the least! But mainly using common sense is something that I wish more motorists would use on the roads during the winter season. It may save your life or the life of someone else.

The Arizona Shootings

Yesterday, was one of the darkest days in Arizona history as six people were killed and several were wounded in a shooting spree. Included in the wounded was a Democratic representative from Arizona, Gabrielle Giffords.  Certainly my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims of this senseless, tragic act.

The gunman, according to reports, posted odd statements about a variety of things and if there every was a case for raising a red flag about a particular person, it was him. But even more alarming is the talk about whether this event has any political discourse to it and in my opinion that certainly could be the case. Combine a nut case like this punk kid along with his radical views on the government and you have a perfect ingredient for a mass killing. And you have to wonder how many more people like him are out there.

It seems to me that politics is creating a great division in this country and creating more than enough anger in people.  With today’s social medias and blog sites,  the political scene is turning into a civil war in this country that must be stopped!! If it does not stop, acts like yesterday will be a common occurrence. There is no reason for an elected official to fear for his or her own life when going out and greeting people. That is their job to go out and listen to the people, whether they agree or disagree with them. I respect a representative who will take time out to listen to my concerns. Hopefully, this will not stop other politicians from doing the same as what Rep. Giffords was doing.  That is what democracy is about.  In the future, I hope that a few punk thugs will not prevent the rest and majority of us sane people from meeting with our representatives in public places.

Like many people, I have strong political opinions and have many disagreements with others. But it is a healthy thing to have a nice debate or disagreement about a topic.  That is what democracy is all about. But when we have to resort to violence,  democracy is ruined and our country will soon go down the tube and become just another radical country. Nobody wants that!!

Thoughts and predictions on the NFL playoffs

In a few short hours from now,  the best playoff  system in professional sports will begin with wild card weekend.  I have always considered the NFL playoffs to be the best because it boils down to a one game, win or go home system. Every game is a game 7.  The other sports have a playoff series and usually, the better will end up winning a longer series.  That especially holds true in the NBA.  The suspense and chance for an upset is greatly diminished with a playoff series.

This year’s NFL playoffs have a great pool of teams and maybe 7 or 8 have a great chance at going to the Super Bowl.  Sorry Seattle Sea Chickens!! A sub 500 team does not even deserve to make the playoffs! In the past, many teams such as Pittsburgh and New England have made the playoffs as a wild card and gone on to win the Super Bowl. It would not shock me if this happens again this year.  Even a 6th seed like Green Bay has a legitimate shot at going to Dallas. All of this parity will make for some very entertaining football in the next few weeks.

As a fan, I would love to see the following matchups during the conference championships. Philadelphia at Atlanta in the NFC game and Pittsburgh at New England in the AFC game.  Having Michael Vick return to Atlanta with a chance to reach the Super Bowl is something Hollywood could not even make up! And a New England, Pittsburgh matchup would be a classic. However, I doubt this will happen. I believe the New Orleans Saints will be playing in Atlanta for the NFC title. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh and New England will meet in the AFC game.  When all is said and done, Pittsburgh and Atlanta will be playing in the Superbowl with the Steelers winning another title.

My New Year’s resolutions 2011

It’s hard to believe but 2011 has suddenly arrived. And with the start of the new year, many folks are making those resolutions for the upcoming year. Lose weight, quit smoking and start working out are among the most common goals that people want to achieve in the upcoming year. I have often wondered the percentage of goals that people really reach. Funny how the health clubs are packed with people at the start of the year only to die off come the end of February. But it certainly is a great thing to have a goal to shoot for.  A life without goals to reach for is a very dull life.  I would like to share a few of my goals and resolutions for the upcoming year.

1. Improved diet.   My nutritionist at the Mayo clinic convinced me that pizza is not a health food. Gosh! I thought it had a good blend of veggies, meat and dairy products! But with all the fat and sodium in a typical pizza, it is best to eat in moderation which I have a tough time doing. After all I’m a guy! Trying to balance a diet with enough calories and a minimum amount of sodium and fat will be a challenge for me in the upcoming year.

2. Watch less sports on television.  Like most guys, I am addicted to sports on television particularly football and basketball. Having a cable package with at least 8 all sports channels does not help.  In the upcoming year, I am looking at watching more movies and cutting my sports viewership down a bit.

3. Blog more.  I enjoy writing and sharing my experiences or opinions on many topics. By the end of this year,  My goal is to have at least 60 posts or at least one blog a week.

4. Learn how to play poker.  Every year, I try to find a new hobby and playing poker is something I am somewhat intrigued by.

5. Get back on the basketball court.  Every year, I have an objective to get into better shape. Playing pickup ball with the guys and sometimes gals is a great way to get in shape and it is fun. Injuries during the last few years have prevented me from playing a sport that I dearly love.