Sports and Religion: Tebowing and the ban of Iranian football players

3 11 2011

Tebowing 😉

Over the past week, a new phenomenon called Tebowing went viral. Tebowing is a gesture started by Denver Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow after leading the Broncos to an amazing comeback victory over the winless Miami Dolphins last week. The new fad that is making “planking” a thing of the past even caught the attention of Tebow’s opponents. On week 8, the Broncos faced a very disruptive Detroit Lions defense. In one play, Tim Tebow was sacked by LB Justin Durant. Guess, what happened next? Durant did a Tebowing on Tebow to celebrate his sack.

When ex-Broncos Tight End Tony Scheffler scored a touchdown later in the game, he did his own little version of Tebowing:

Well, what the the Lions players did garnered different reactions from NFL fans. Some got mad, some found it amusing, some even found it disrespectful. The league or the US Congress did not make it a serious issue though. If it were in the other part of the world, punishment could be harsh.

In Iran, a football player is facing suspension after doing an outrageous and inappropriate act during a football goal celebration. We are talking about real football here not the American version with helmets and pads. Mohammad Nosrati appeared to put his hands between the buttocks of his teammate when Persepolis scored a goal in their game this weekend.

The deed did not become “Nosrating” and go viral like Tebowing but it caught the attention of a cleric who happened to be a member of the Iran Parliament. He lambasted the “celebration” and called for some sanctions. Jalal Yahyazadeh even wanted that the country’s sports minister to be held accountable.

The incidents over the weekend could show that sports and religion cannot mix in strict sense. Nothing can easily escape the “world” in the age of video cameras and youtube. Little acts like these can be blown out of proportion and can even lead to irking some powerful people. The reactions in the east and west might be different, but for at least week, football (American or not) has some kind of political and religious flavor. 😉

NFL 2011: Packers is the lone team with perfect record after Week 6

17 10 2011
Green Bay Packers helmet

Image via Wikipedia

The 2 NFC North leading teams meet contrasting in Week 6 of the 2011 NFL Season. Defending champions, Green Bay Packers as expected won against a winless St. Louis Rams (0-5) while the surging Detroit Lion‘s winning streak was halted at 9 when they lost to the similarly surprising San Francisco 49ers (5-1).

Game Recaps

St. Louis Rams (0-5) 3 -24 Green Bay Packers (6-0)

The Packers just needed 30 minutes to defeat the winless St. Louis Rams who came off a bye week. The Packers 24 points all in the fist half to defeat the Rams whose only score came from a field goal at the end of the first half. With the win, the Packers became the 7th defending Super Bowl champs to start at 6-0 in the season following a Super Bowl victory. QB Aaron Rodgers set a career high pass TD when he connected with Jordy Nelson for 93 yards.

San Francisco 49ers (5-1) 24 – 19 Detroit Lions (5-1)

The Lions are perfect no more! RB Frank Gore run roughshod over the dreaded Detroit front 7. He rushed for 141 yards with 1 touchdown in 15 carries. He averaged 9.4 yards per game. The game was a see-saw battle and the Niners took the lead for good with 1:51 left when Alex Smith completed a pass to Delanie Walker on 4th down. Nate Burleson had his first TD of the season while Calvin Johnson had no TD reception for the first time this season.

What’s next for the unblemished Packers?

The Green Bay PAckers will visit Adrian Peterson and the slumping Minnesota Vikings (1-5). It will test their 3rd ranked run defense against the seemingly one-dimensional Vikings offense. A victory could bring them to 7-0 and remain the lone undefeated team entering Week 9 as they will have a Week 8 bye. A loss by the Vikings will mean that they will not contend for NFC North title as early as Week 7.

Caloy’s 2011 NFL Power Rankings (Week 5)

12 10 2011
The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.

Image via Wikipedia

The season so far has full of surprises and the blog would like to offer its first National Football League power rankings. If you wanna ask how did I come up with the ranks, the first thing I consider is the record. I do not care if a team is feasting on losing teams. Wins matter and with the season that is full of surprises, it is quite hard to differentiate between good teams and bad teams. So here are my rankings:

  1. Green Bay (5-0) – Unless defeated the defending champs are the No.1 team in the NFL. QB Aaron Rodgers has a league leading 122.9 QB Rating.
  2. Detroit (5-0) – The Lions has shown the viewing public that they can win on primetime.  Calvin Johnson has 9 receiving TDs in 5 games.
  3. San Francisco (4-1) – The only blemish to their record is their OT defeat to Dallas. Rookie LB Aldon Smith has 3.5 sacks in the last 2 games.
  4. New England (4-1) – The No.1 passing offense punished the Jets this week. Wes Welker has 45 receptions for 740 yards in 5 games.
  5. Buffalo (4-1) – Recovered after falling to the Bengals by a FG to win against the slumping Eagles in Week 5.  RB Fred Jackson has rushed 480 yards with 5 TDs.
  6. New Orleans (4-1) – Has won 4 straight after a loss to the Packers in the season opener. QB Drew Brees is 2nd in yards (1769) and completion percentage (69.4%).
  7. San Diego (4-1) – The Chargers won a close game against Broncos for their 3rd straight victory. The team is giving up just 179.6 passing yards a game (2nd in the league).
  8. Baltimore (3-1) – Had a bye week after routing the Rams and the Jets. The Ravens are just giving up 72.5 yards from the ground (2nd in the NFL).
  9. Washington (3-1) – The Redskins enjoyed a week 5 bye after escaping the winless Rams in Week 4. The team led by Brian Orakpo (3.5) and Adam Carriker has 15 sacks already in 4 games.
  10. Cincinnati (3-2) – The Bengals has won 2 straight games. A.J. Green-Andy Dalton rookie combo has connected for 3 TDs.

11.Pittsburgh (3-2) – The Steelers beat the Titans at home, 38-17, a week after losing to the Texans. The defense has only 1 INT but they are only giving up league-leading 174 yards a game from the air.

12. Tennessee (3-2) – The 3-game winning streak of the Titans was snapped by the Steelers. Matt Hasselbeck has thrown 9 TDs with only 4 interceptions.

13. NY Giants (3-2) – The Giant’s winning streak ended at 3 with a loss to the Seahawks. Eli Manning has 11 TDs with a 102.3 QB rating.

14. Oakland (3-2) – The Raiders have alternated wins and losses in the first 5 weeks of the season. Darren McFadden leads the league with 519 rushing yards.

15. Houston (3-2) – The Texans lost to an inspired Oakland Raiders in Week 5, 25-20. Ben Tate and Arian Forster have combined for 577 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.

16. Tampa Bay (3-2) – The Buccaneers had a horrendous effort in San Francisco in Week 5 as they lost 3-48 snapping a 3-game winning streak.  Josh Freeman has only 3 TDs with 6 picks.

17. Dallas (2-2) – The Cowboys had a bye week after an embarrassing loss to the Lions. They still lead the league in opposing rushing yards per game as they limit opponents to 61.8 rushing ypg.

18. Cleveland (2-2) – Colt McCoy and the Browns have so far split their 4 matches before their Week 5 bye. They are very effective against the pass as they only give up 195.5 passing yards a game (4th in the NFL),

19. NY Jets (2-3) – The Jets has lost 3 straight games after falling to the Patriots 21-30 in Week 5. The team has only given up 3 passing TDs and opposing QBs have a 66.6 rating against their defense.

20. Atlanta (2-3) – The Falcons has so far alternated losses and wins in 5 games this season. Rookie Julio Jones has 25 receptions for 358 yards but has zero touchdowns so far.

21. Seattle (2-3) – The Seahawks surprised the Giants in New York for their second win of the season. DE Chris Clemons has 4 sacks in the last 4 games.

22. Kansas City (2-3) – After starting the season with 3 losses, the Chiefs feasted on 2 winless teams to go 2-3 after week 5. All the 8 touchdowns of the team came from the air.

23. Chicago (2-3) – The Bears lost a Monday Night game against the Lions and have fallen 3 games behind the Lions and Packers in the NFC North standings. Their defense is ranked 28th against the run and 27th against the pass.

24. Minnesota (1-4) – The Vikings finally nailed its first win of the season after losing halftime leads in their other games. Adrian Peterson is still the Viking’s main man with 498 rushing yards along with 6 huge touchdowns.

25. Denver (1-4) – The Broncos is on a 3-game losing slide. 2011 2nd Pick overall LB Von Miller has 5 sacks already.

26. Philadelphia (1-4) – The preseason favorite Eagles lost its 4th straight game. They are the best rushing team but they have been intercepted 9 times and lost 6 fumbles to their opponents.

27. Carolina (1-4) – Cam Newton and Panthers lost 4 close games this season. The rookie QB Newton has 1,610 yards passing and 7 TDs so far.

28. Arizona (1-4) – The Cardinals have slumped to 4 straight loses after beating the Panthers in Week 1.  RB Beanie Wells has been a workhorse with 6 rushing TDs already.

29. Jacksonville (1-4) – The Jaguars have lost for the 4th straight time after winning their home opener against the Titans. The team has the league worst passing offense with only 150 yards a game.

30. Miami (0-4) –  The Dolphins are coming off a bye week and they will be facing a sliding NY Jets team. Miami has the 2nd worst passing defense as opposing QBs average 307 yards passing against them.

31. St. Louis (0-4) – The Rams are the only team left in the NFC without a win. Opposing running backs can run all day against their defense as they give up an NFL-worst 179.8 rushing yards a game.

32. Indianapolis (0-5) – The Colts have the league’s worst record after 5 straight loses in their Peyton-less season. They rank 30th in rushing offense while their rushing defense is 2nd worst in the league.

NFL 2011: 2 teams still undefeated after Week 5

11 10 2011
Jason Hanson

Image via Wikipedia

The division rivalry at the NFC North is heating up as the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions remained perfect after 5 weeks of NFL action. The defending Super Bowl champions looked sharp in rallying against playoff contender Atlanta Falcons while the Lions beat the defending NFC North winner in Monday Night Football.

Here are the game recaps for each undefeated team:

Green Bay (5-0) 25 – 14 Atlanta (2-3)

The last time the two teams met was last year’s playoffs where the Green Bay Packers routed the Falcons on their way to their way to winning the Super Bowl. The Packers won again after being down 0-14 at the start of the game. The Packers started tentative in the red zone as their first 3 scores were courtesy of K Mason Crosby. The offense started humming at the end of the third and early in the 4th as Rodgers connected with James Jones and Greg Jennings to pull away from the struggling Falcons. Crosby capped the scoring with another FG with one minute left in the game.

Chicago (2-3) 13 – 24 Detroit (5-0)

The game is the first Monday Night Football game for the Lions in a decade and they faced a Bears looking to keep up with the NFC North leaders. 67,861 fans went to Ford Field, the second biggest ever crowd at Detroit. The fans were indeed a factor as they forced the Bears to several false starts. The Lions struck first with a 73 yard TD pass from Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson. The Bears answered with 10 straight points to lead at halftime 10-7. The 3rd quarter though belonged to the Lions, as Stafford connected with TE Brandon Pettigrew for a TD. Jahvid Best added a TD with a career high 88 yard run, the longest run for a Lions player since 1950. The defense then took care of the rest as they just held Chicago’s offense to just one field goal and pressuring Jay Cutler the whole time. The Bear’s offensive line was constantly beaten by an energized Lion’s defensive line. Jason Hanson made 300th game as a Lion memorable by capping the scoring with a 31 yard FG late in the final quarter. Hanson now holds the record for most games played with one team in the NFL. He has been a Lions fixture for 20 years.

What’s next for the 5-0 teams?

Green Bay Packers – The Packers will host Sam Bradford and the winless Rams at Lambeau field. 6-0 is definitely reachable unless the bye week helped the Rams turn their fortunes this season. The 0-4 has never scored over 16 points this season and they have the worst run defense in the 2011 NFL. If the Rams win, I am sure those who bet for them in Vegas will be instantly rich.

Detroit Lions – the Lions will have a shorter break this week as they host a game against the equally surprising San Francisco 49ers (4-1) on Sunday. The Niner’s loss this season was against Lion’s victim Dallas Cowboys in Week 2. The 49ers routed another Detroit victim, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in Week 5. A lot of experts are saying that the 49ers-Lions match-up will be the game to watch next weekend. A win by Detroit will truly send a message to the NFC about being real title contenders.


NFL 2011: 2 undefeated teams left after Week 4

3 10 2011
Aaron Rodgers during introductions

Image by rburtzel via Flickr

After week 3, there were still 3 teams left that have not tasted defeat this season. The Buffalo Bills is the last team to go with a loss while in the NFC, 2 NFC North rivals are sharing lead. So what happened to them in Week 4?

Buffalo Bills (3-1) 20 – 23 Cincinnati Bengals (2-2)- The previously unbeaten Bills were leading 17-3 at the half before they allowed Andy Dalton and the Bengals to rally and win 23-20.

Denver Broncos (1-3) 23 – 49 Green Bay Packers (4-0)- Packers beat the Broncos once again at Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers accounted for 6 touchdowns (4 Passing; 2 Rushing).

Detroit Lions (4-0) 34 – 30 Dallas Cowboys (2-2) – The Lions rallied from 3-27 hole to beat Tony Romo and the Cowboys at the Cowboys Stadium. Calvin Johnson has 2 TD receptions for the 4th straight week.

What’s next for the undefeated teams?

Green Bay Packers – The defending Super Bowl champs will visit Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons (2-2). The Falcons have been alternating wins and losses this season but they have won their only home game so far.  Fans will definitely see a classic shootout between Rodgers and Ryan.

Detroit Lions – The streaking Lions will face division rivals Chicago Bears in a Monday Night Football game. Chicago prevented a 3-game losing streak by beating an exciting Carolina Panthers team. We will see how the No. 7 pass offense of Detroit will do against the No.29 pass defense of the Bears.

There is a big possibility that the two teams will stay undefeated in Week 5 but they will be facing stiff competition. Both Chicago and Atlanta are playoff teams last year and are expected to contend for playoff spots this year. These 2 games are most-sees.

NFL 2011: Lions, Packers still undefeated

3 10 2011 picked Calvin Johnson as one of the 5...

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The 2 undefeated NFC North teams retained their spotless records in contrasting fashion.

Detroit 34 Dallas 30

The Detroit Lions were down 3-20 at the half and 3-27 in the 3rd Quarter before waking up and rallying to win 34-30 at the Cowboys Stadium. The Lions came back from a 20 point deficit last week to beat the Vikings and they top that today as they rallied from behind by 24 points. The Lions picked off 3 Tony Romo passes and returned 2 for a TD to start the amazing comeback. Afterwards, it was the Stafford to Johnson show. Matthew Stafford, a Dallas native, made a memorable homecoming by issuing 2 TD passes to Calvin “Megatron” Johnson. Jason Hanson also contributed a 51 yard field goal in the comeback. The 2 TDs made Calvin Johnson the first receiver to start the season with 4 consecutive 2-touchdown games.

Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said earlier this week that Dallas have 2 better receivers than Johnson in their line-up. In the first quarter, Dez Bryant was backing up what Ryan was boasting about but when the game was on the line, Calvin Johnson made Ryan pay for making a silly remark. The win made the Lions 4-0. They have an 8-gmae winning streak for the first time since 1954. The game also marked the largest lead blown by a Dallas team in history.

Denver 23 Green Bay 49

QB Aaron Rodgers accounted for 6 touchdowns (4 passing 2 rushing) to lead the undefeated Green Bay Packers to a rout of the Denver Broncos. Rodgers finished with 408 passing yards. The game was never close as the defending Super Bowl champs scored 14 points each in the first 3 quarters. The Packers are now 4-0 and they ties Detroit for the best record in the NFL and the NFC North.

It would be fun to see the 2 remain undefeated before their Thanksgiving match-up.

NFL 2011: 3 undefeated teams left after Week 3

27 09 2011
Buffalo Bills helmet

Image via Wikipedia

Out of the seven undefeated teams after Week 2, only 3 managed to come out of Week 3 unscathed. The 3 are the surprising Buffalo Bills, the amazing defending Super Bowl Champs Green Bay Packers, and the streaking Detroit Lions.

Here are the game results of the previously unbeaten teams:

Washington Redskins (2-1) 16 – 18 Dallas Cowboys (2-1) – The Redskins lost for the first time this season. The Dallas Cowboys made 6 FGs  including the game winner by Dan Bailey with 1:47 left in the clock.

Green Bay Packers (3-0) 27 – 17 Chicago Bears (1-2) – Aaron Rodgers led the visiting Packers with 297 yards passing and 3 TDs in routing the Bears.

Detroit Lions (3-0) 26 – 23 OT Minnesota Vikings (0-3) – The Lions won for the first time in the Metrodome since 1997 after rallying from a 0-20 halftime deficit.

New England Patriots (2-1) 34 – 37 Buffalo Bills (3-0) – The battle of the undefeated went to the home team as the Bills intercepted 4 Tom Brady passes to win at the end of regulation with a Rian Lindell field goal.

New York Jets (2-1) 24 – 34 Oakland Raiders (2-1) – The Jets did not do well in their road opener as they allowed Darren McFadden to wreck havoc on the ground for 171 yards and 2 scores in a 34-24 victory by the Raiders.

Houston Texans (2-1) 33 – 40 New Orleans Saints (2-1) – The Texans allowed 3 Drew Brees TD passes and 2 2-point conversions in the 4th quarter, to allow the Saints to even up their records.

Here are what’s coming up for the remaining unbeaten teams:

Buffalo Bills – The Bills will visit the stingy Cincinnati Bengals (1-2). The Bengals who is ranked 5th in passing defense will try to stop QB Ryan Fitzpatrick who has thrown 9 TDs already this season.

Green Bay Packers – The Packers hosts a Broncos team that lost 2 games by just a field goal. The No.1 Rushing defense of the Packers will face the 27th ranked rushing attack of Denver.

Detroit Lions – The Lions will visit the Cowboys who recently gave the Redskins its first defeat of the season. The Cowboys Stadium will witness how QB Tony Romo try to handle the formidable front 4 of Detroit.

Only 1 AFC team is undefeated and there are 2 unbeaten teams in the NFC North. Let’s see who will remain perfect after week 4. Green Bay and Buffalo might have good chances to go to 4-0 but a Detroit victory in Dallas will mean a big shift of the balance of power in the NFC.