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David Fangupo: The 350-Pound Running Back

Tyler Raborn —  Wednesday, February 13, 2013 — 6 Comments

Check out this video of David Fangupo, a 350-pound running back from Hawaii:

According to the Huffington Post, David has committed to the University of Hawaii, making him the first athletic 350-pounder not to commit to an SEC school in years…

Sports Illustrated will feature Michael Jordan on its cover for the 50th time in celebration of his 50th birthday on its February 18th issue:

SI 50th MJ

As the Chicago Tribune pointed out, Jordan declined to interview with SI:

Interestingly, SI notes that Jordan — now owner of the Charlotte Bobcats — again declined the magazine’s requests for an interview, as he has done ever since SI made light of his attempt to play baseball following his first retirement in 1993.

The article that “made light” of Jordan’s attempt to play baseball was published on March 14th, 1994. Steve Wulf’s account of Jordan’s spring training sarcastically described, as the article’s title pointed out, Jordan’s inability to become a serviceable baseball player…

The single most impressive thing Jordan has done on a baseball field occurred shortly before his first official spring training game, last Friday in Sarasota, Fla. He and some of the other White Sox were taking BP on an out-of-the-way diamond—Minnie Minoso Field, to be exact—when it came time to collect the baseballs and put them in a basket on the mound. Much to the delight of a small crowd, Jordan started shooting fallaway jumpers with the balls. For the sake of posterity and those basketball fans who miss him, it should be noted that Jordan was 5 for 7 from the field.

But to Wulf’s dismay, the magazine took his criticism a step further, with this cover:

Bag It, Michael

Wulf subsequently left Sports Illustrated, as this Deadspin article recounting the saga notes:

Wulf was so irked about SI‘s stubbornness that he up and left the magazine (he went on to become the founding editor of ESPN The Magazine).


Dear Michael,

Happy Birthday! And look, we made you this magazine cover to say, “Happy 50th!”


The guys you hate

U.S. Map of NFL Fandom

Tyler Raborn —  Tuesday, February 12, 2013 — 13 Comments

Check out this interesting map provided by Facebook’s Sean Taylor and shared by FlowingData:

NFL Fans on Facebook

As Sean Taylor explains:

The National Football League is one of the most popular sports in America with some incredibly devoted fans. At Facebook we have about 35 million account holders in the United States who have Liked a page for one of the 32 teams in the league, representing one of the most comprehensive samples of sports fanship ever collected. Put another way, more than 1 in 10 Americans have declared their support for an NFL team on Facebook.

So Facebook mapped out these likes by county, as Taylor explained here:

While winning seems to matter, NFL teams have local followings that are probably heavily influenced by family ties and/or where a person grew up,  so we were obviously curious to see where the fans for various teams live now. By considering the physical locations of NFL fans, we can construct a map of the top team for each county in the US. It tells an interesting story about the ways that football rivalries and allegiances alternately divide and unite the country, and sometimes even individual states.

But the most burning questions I have are:

What are all of those Steelers and Cowboys fans doing in the northwest? 

Why does Alaska love Green Bay?


What’s more difficult: “Where’s Waldo?” or “Where are the Jets?”

Rob Ryan— The Right Choice

Tyler Raborn —  Tuesday, February 12, 2013 — Leave a comment

The polarizing Rob Ryan is an excellent choice for the New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator position.

… you’re either slowly nodding your head agreeing with me, or throwing your laptop across the room in utter disgust. There’s no in-between.

During the 2012 season, the New Orleans Saints, under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnola ranked 32nd in defense, allowing a league record 7,042 yards. Following Sean Payton’s reinstatement, Steve Spagnola was relieved of his defensive coordinator responsibilities after only one year. Coach Payton cited a schematic change, from a 4-3 to a 3-4, as the determining factor in Spagnola’s firing.

Many Saints fans oppose the hiring of Rob Ryan due the brash personality he has displayed throughout his coaching career. Yet Ryan fits a mold that has proven to work with Payton in the past.

Gregg Williams’ fiery personality and aggressive play calling established a defensive identity in New Orleans, which helped the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV.

Similarly, Rob Ryan possess a well-documented fiery passion for the game as well as a blitz-heavy defensive mentality.

Further, Ryan is well versed in the 3-4 scheme. The Saints decision to move from a 4-3 to a 3-4 represents a personnel decision. The Saints’ front four got little pressure on opposing quarterbacks this year, ranking 25th in sacks in the league. An aggressive 3-4 should help the Saints confuse opposing offensive lines and get more pressure on the quarterback.

The ability to re-establish a fiery aggressive defense in New Orleans combined with a strong background in the 3-4 scheme Payton wants to implement makes Rob Ryan an excellent selection for the Saints defensive coordinator position.

Ryan will be highly scrutinized by a large contingency of the Who Dat Nation this year.

Fortunately for Ryan, the Saints defense has nowhere to go but up…


By: Tyler Raborn

Earlier this week I posted a short article on the 2012 NFL All-Pro team and how many stars they had from Scout and Rivals coming out of high school. It had such a positive response that I decided to do the same thing with the 2011 NFL All-Pro team and compare them to the 2012 All-Pro team.

So here’s the 2011 NFL All-Pro Team and how many stars (the star counts are now hyperlinked to their recruiting profiles) they had from Scout and Rivals coming out of high school (players that graduated high school before 2002 are not in the database):





QB Aaron Rodgers
RB Maurice Jones-Drew 4 4
RB LeSean McCoy 5 4
FB Vonta Leach
WR Calvin Johnson 5 4
WR Wes Welker
TE Rob Gronkowski 4 4
OT Jason Peters
OT Joe Thomas NR 4
G Carl Nicks
G Jahari Evans
C Maurkice Pouncey 4 4
DE Jared Allen
DE Jason Pierre-Paul 5 4
DT Haloti Ngata 5 5
DT Justin Smith
OLB Terrell Suggs
OLB DeMarcus Ware
ILB NaVorro Bowman 4 4
ILB Patrick Willis 2 3
ILB Derrick Johnson
CB Charles Woodson
CB Darrelle Revis 3 3
S Troy Polamalu
S Eric Weddle 2 2
KR Patrick Peterson 5 5

And here’s the All-Pro team’s broken down by star and year (Scout’s stars  and Rivals’ stars are averaged):




5 2 1
4.5 4 1
4 4 4
3.5 0 3
3 1 3
2.5 1 2
2 1 4
Total 13 18
Out of 26 25

While only 13 players from the 2011 All-Pro team were in the database, they still managed to produce 10 players 4-stars or higher. In contrast, the 2012 team had 18 players, but only managed 6 players 4-stars or higher.

But the real story in all of this? Rob Gronkowski.

Rob Gronkowski

Dumbfounded doesn’t even begin to describe whatever is going on up there. And keep in mind, that guy—yes, that guy—was just offered $3.75M to be in an “adult film.”


By: Tyler Raborn

Articles You Need to Read, Issue #1

Tyler Raborn —  Saturday, February 9, 2013 — 1 Comment

There are some extremely talented sports writers out there publishing incredible articles every day. In recognition of this, I’m going to post an “Articles You Need to Read” issue whenever I accumulate 4 to 6 articles that I feel are too good not to read. These articles will not break news nor will they be recaps of games. Rather, they will be characterized by interesting information, heart-warming stories, out-of-the-box analysis, etc.

Here are the four articles that I selected for Issue #1:


Former NFL QB Jon Kitna finds ‘gold mine’ at his troubled old high school

Jon Kitna prepares for an algebra class at Lincoln High School. (Yahoo! Sports)

Jon Kitna prepares for an algebra class at Lincoln High School. (Yahoo! Sports)

By: Les Carpenter

TACOMA, Wash. – Before he left the Dallas Cowboys to come home again, Jon Kitna had one request of the two principals who run Lincoln High School:

Give me your worst students.

The other teachers told him to stop. This was last February and it was going to be hard enough to teach three algebra classes in the middle of a semester. He was two months gone from an NFL career that went for 16 years, after all. Yes, this was his old high school, the one where he was a star quarterback in the early 1990s, but didn’t the new football coach understand what he was getting into? Continue Reading…


Texas high schooler turns away from lucrative modeling career to play college football


Myles Crosby (NBC Sports)

By: Rick Chandler

Myles Crosby, 18, is the 11th-ranked male model in the world, according to — having posed for Calvin Klein in magazines such as Esquire, GQ and Vanity Fair. The Colleyville, Texas senior could “easily make a six-figure salary” as an international model, said Gerald Frankowski of the Kim Dawson Agency. But he’s giving it all up to play college football. Continue Reading…


Derek Jeter Calls Grieving Mother Of Victoria Soto; MLB Observes Moment Of Silence For Sandy Hook Victims

A mourner displays a program for the funeral of slain teacher Victoria Soto on Dec. 19. (credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

A mourner displays a program for the funeral of slain teacher Victoria Soto on Dec. 19. (credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Yankees captain Derek Jeter personally offered his condolences this week to the mother of Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher Victoria Soto.

Soto, 27, has been hailed a hero for trying to shield her students from the gunfire when shooter Adam Lanza burst into her classroom Friday morning. She was among the 26 victims — 20 children, six school officials — at SHES. Continue Reading…


From Wall Street to the sidelines: Coastal Carolina’s Joe Moglia is delivering

Associated Press / Charles Statem

Associated Press / Charles Statem


Joe Moglia remembers the questions he was asked when he tried to transition from the coaching world to the corporate world nearly 30 years ago.

He’s had to answer the same questions since returning to coaching. Now at age 63 and in his first season as a college head coach, he has Coastal Carolina in the FCS playoffs.

The Chanticleers (7-4) will visit Bethune-Cookman (9-2) in a first-round playoff game at 2 p.m. Saturday at Municipal Stadium.

Moglia, the former CEO of TD Ameritrade, has become known as the “billionaire coach.” Cynics have said Coastal Carolina president David DeCenzo fired David Bennett — the only football coach the school had ever known — and hired Moglia last December more for what Moglia could deliver in financial support for the school than in developing a football program. Continue Reading…

RESULTS: Brash & Burn #1

Tyler Raborn —  Friday, February 8, 2013 — 1 Comment


Anything to say for yourselves?

Brash: Lesson learned: never underestimate a Harbaugh.

Burn: At least .200 is better than A-Rod in the playoffs…




#1: AFC Champion? Denver Broncos New England Patriots
#2: NFC Champion? Seattle Seahawks Green Bay Packers
#3: Super Bowl Champion? Denver Broncos New England Patriots
#4: NFL Rookie of the Year? Robert Griffin III Andrew Luck
#5: NFL Coach of the Year? Pete Carroll Bruce Arians/Chuck Pagano





Click here to view the Brash & Burn overall scoreboard.


By: Caleb Brasher & Tyler Raborn

In Ivan Hoffman’s “Leverage in Contract and Other Negotiations,” Hoffman defines “leverage” in the first line of the article:

The term “leverage” refers to the principle of using a small advantage (or in negotiating terms, even merely a perceived advantage) to gain a much larger benefit.

In Joe Flacco’s upcoming contract negotiations with the Baltimore Ravens, he has more than a “small” advantage. An impressive playoff run and a high-caliber Super Bowl performance has given Flacco more leverage than arguably any other player in the NFL this offseason. So what should the Ravens do with Joe Flacco? Well, here are their options:

  1. Sign him to a long-term contract
  2. Franchise tag him with an “exclusive” tag
  3. Franchise tag him with a “non-exclusive” tag
  4. Trade him
  5. Cut him

Okay— neither number 4 or 5 is an option so go ahead and throw them out. Realistically, the Ravens will either sign him to a long-term deal or tag him. But which option is the wisest for the Ravens?

The popular answer seems to be the long-term contract with a reluctant, “he deserves it.”

…does he?

The proponents of the Ravens giving Flacco a long-term deal consistently cite Flacco’s win-loss record, Super Bowl victory, and his impressive playoff run.

It astonishes me how often commentators, analysts, and writers refer to win-loss records as a quarterback’s record. During his contract negotiations with the Lions, I guarantee you never heard the Lions say, “Barry Sanders was 5-11 as a starter with the Lions last year, so we don’t think he’s worth that much.” I understand the quarterback position is the most valuable position on an NFL team, especially in today’s pass-happy league. But to attribute 100% of the credit to the quarterback is absurd. If you asked anyone citing Flacco’s win-loss record as a reason why he should receive a long-term deal if they believed he was 100% responsible for winning or losing every game, they’d all tell you no. Yet they’ll still cite it in a matter-of-fact tone as strong evidence as to why the Ravens should give him the contract?

Watch all of the Ravens’ playoff games again (I have with the NFL’s Game Rewind, which is a great deal by the way) and you’ll see how much happened out of Joe’s control that contributed his performance. Obviously this applies to every quarterback, but I’d say it happens for Joe Flacco more so than most quarterbacks. Flacco is the beneficiary of a lot of “high-point” grabs by the big receivers he has in Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin. He also benefits from great playmakers in the open field, such as Jacoby Jones and Ray Rice.

For instance, in week 12 the Ravens were down 10 to 13 to the Chargers, and on 4th and 29 with 1:50 left in the 4th quarter, Joe Flacco dumped the ball off to Ray Rice, and Ray did the rest. Hey diddle diddle, Ray Rice up the middle…

One isolated instance is nowhere near enough proof to make the statement that “Flacco gets more help than most,” but I can’t prove that statement without forcing you to watch all of Flacco’s game film.

What I can provide you with is applicable stats. Here’s Joe Flacco’s career stats:

Year Comp. % Yards TD INT
2008 60.0% 2,971 14 12
2009 63.1% 3,613 21 12
2010 62.6% 3,622 25 10
2011 57.6% 3,610 20 12
2012 59.7% 3,817 22 10

And here’s his Total QBR and where his QBR ranked in the league for each year:

Year Total QBR Rank
2008 43.2 27th
2009 55.0 15th
2010 60.4 12th
2011 59.7 14th
2012 46.8 25th

Flacco’s agent says Flacco deserves “to be the highest-paid quarterback in the game[.]” And why wouldn’t he? His guy just won the Super Bowl.

But the “highest-paid quarterback” in the game is a fleeting title. As the quarterback position has increasingly gained value, there has been a revolving door of blockbuster deals. Currently, Drew Brees holds the title with a 5 year, $100 million contract.

So let’s say the Ravens make Flacco the highest-paid quarterback in the league with a 5 year, $101 million contract. What does that mean? Well, if it’s structured like Drew Brees’ contract, it’d look something like this:

Year Salary Bonus Cap Hit
2013 $3.0M $7.6M $10.6M
2014 $9.75M $7.85M $17.6M
2015 $10.75M $7.85M $18.6M
2016 $18.75M $7.85M $26.6M
2017 $19.75M $7.85M $27.6M

Brees was 33 when he signed his deal, while Flacco is only 28, so Flacco’s agent may argue that he deserves more guaranteed because he’s younger.

Either way, in this scenario Flacco would have the Ravens on the hook for a lot of money. If they backload the deal, the contract could contain clauses relieving them of contractual obligations if they released him prior to a certain date.

The Ravens’ alternative to committing themselves to a long-term deal such as this one is the franchise tag. The non-exclusive tag would cost the Ravens $14.6M, while the exclusive tag would cost the Ravens between $20M and $21M.

The non-exclusive tag would give other teams the ability to negotiate a contract with Flacco. If another team made an offer, the Ravens would have to match the offer to keep him. Additionally, if the Ravens choose not to match the offer, the team that signed Flacco would have to give Baltimore two 1st round picks as compensation. Yet the Ravens would need to match because there will be no one better than Flacco in free agency or the draft.

If they choose to tag Flacco with the exclusive tag, they will take a $20M+ salary cap hit in 2013. A hit they may not be able to afford.

So here we stand—a long term deal, an exclusive franchise tag, or a non-exclusive franchise tag—a true predicament.

If I was the General Manager of the Baltimore Ravens, here’s the choice I’d make:

The $14.6M non-exclusive franchise tag. 

Here’s why:

I’d gamble on the fact that I don’t believe any team would be willing to pay more than a $21M a year and give up two 1st round picks for a quarterback that hasn’t ranked in the top 10 in total QBR in his career. I say $21M and not $14.6M because if a team offers more than $14.6M, I can still match their offer and keep Joe. The only way it becomes a bad decision is if they offer more than the exclusive tag would have cost me ($20M-$21M). In my mind, here’s the two realistic scenarios:

Worst Case Scenario: A team makes an offer surpassing the $14.6M tag. In response, we would match the offer and negotiate the long-term deal. (The NFL CBA allows a team to negotiate and come to terms with their non-exclusive tagged player until the Tuesday following the 10th week of the NFL season.)

Best Case Scenario: No team is willing to match the $14.6M tag and give up two 1st round picks, so we have Joe Flacco under a 1 year contract for $14.6M. While the cap hit would be $4M more than the cap hit taken in the hypothetical long-term contract, it’s a good trade off for two reasons: (1) it delays the team from having to make a giant financial commitment to Flacco, and (2) it gives Flacco a season where he could possibly, and most likely would, lose a lot of the leverage he had going into the 2013 season.

Joe Flacco will likely play the 2013 NFL season without the likes of Ed Reed, Anquan Boldin, and others (including future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis). If he has a phenomenal year individually, something he has never done, then he deserves the giant long-term deal. But, more than likely, he will lose some of the leverage he currently has over the next year, which would make the negotiation table much more palatable to the Ravens.

… unless they win another Super Bowl. In which case, you just pay up.

A few notes:

  1. In no way am I saying Joe Flacco is a bad quarterback. Joe Flacco is a very good quarterback, but he’s not a top 5 quarterback. Football is a business, and I’m trying to look at it from a business perspective. The less money you have to tie up in your quarterback, the more money you have to spend on other positions.
  2. I had a really tough time deciding between tags here. My eventual decision to choose the non-exclusive tag came down to the limited cap space the Ravens already have for this year. If they commit $20M+ to Joe Flacco, they’ll have to make some major moves, whether that’s restructuring contracts or cutting players.
  3. Salary information was provided by


By: Tyler Raborn