Tuesday, January 31, 2017

MOTHERS PROMOTES OTHERS

ORANGE COUNTY ORGANICS -

BSC, CA – A long time ago, in a county far away, a group some might judge hippies, started a market that sold nothing but natural [organic] food called Mother's. At the time it seemed a novel California concept in a country caught up in out-producing other countries with food grown by Big Ag. Flash forward several decades and along comes my friend John Diaz, Prop 37 [to label GMOs], and Orange County moms, Kathleen and Zen, discovering organic food brought their children back from auto-immune distresses.

The ongoing mission statement of Mother's also called for days to showcase various vendors and promote their products so customers could try samples and get mfrs coupons to save some green. As the store grew from one location to the current number of seven the practice continued. Each location boasts a Vendor Day independently and this past weekend I rolled up to the Laguna Woods location for their 10-1PM event.


As always, and in keeping with Mother's original credo, we were there to foster awareness and make friends. Amazingly enough, the blustery cold and strong driving winds of late ceased that day. But then, why wouldn't Mother Nature cooperate? Everyone knows God couldn't be everywhere, so He made Mothers*. Make the jump and see things from the BSC POV.
The day would become a rousing success.


The morning started off bright and sunny.


 Of course the store had already opened for business at 7AM.


So the inside was hopping,



Vendors were setting up,



And prizes to be raffled off [free] put on display.


Smiling faces were everywhere,


As were interesting products specifically,



And the usual suspects, of course.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch,


The face painters opened for business,


And the day began.













The event closed to smiles all around.




(All photos - BSC, CA;*- from the Hallmark Mother's Day I gave my mother once.)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

New Music Night on February 24 2017 in Murrieta Ca

New Music Night, produced by Full Value Entertainment, featuring many original compositions by the area's top songwriters. 

Special one night only performances by:

Valiant
Jasmine Seek
Alex and Esther
Keenwild
Alison Bailey

A portion of proceeds from this event goes to benefit Broadway Starz, a local 501c3 non profit theater group
This is an intimate all ages venue, with limited seating. We suggest buying a VIP table for the best seats in the house. 

VIP tables seat 4-6 people and are $100, include great seating near the stage - with pizza and drinks. 
General admission tickets are standing room only and $5 (no food or drink).

Tickets can be bought in advance, online at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2855695
Visit the event on facebook and share with friends: https://www.facebook.com/events/761241180701053/ 
One Night Only!!

Friday, January 27, 2017

FOOTBALL NEWS NFL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES

FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER

Hello Football Fans,

The Super Bowl participants have been determined.

The home team favorites have dominated this year's playoffs.


Is Brady the GOAT???

Enjoy,

The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL

NFL

After three weeks of the 2016 NFL playoffs, the favorites (all home teams) have now won 8 of 10 games (both straight up and against the spread).
Sunday’s games were two blowouts by the favored home teams.

And, the running games for each of the four teams was paltry; no running back rushed for even 50 yards from scrimmage. Collectively, 68% of all plays were designed to be passing plays, and 81% of all yards gained from scrimmage were from pass plays. Three of the four QB’s passed for over 300 yards.

CONFERENCE TITLE GAMES
Sunday, January 22nd

NFC
Green Bay +5 at Atlanta
PREGAME: Back in Week #8 Atlanta beat visiting Green Bay, 33-32.
The GB Packers have a specific injury problem; three WR’s are “questionable”: Jordy Nelson-broken ribs, Davante Adams-ankle, and Geronimo Allison-hamstring.

THE GAME
GB Packers’ WR’s Nelson and Adams were both activated for the game. The ATL Falcons got the ball first and scored a TD on a 6½ minute drive to take a 7-0 lead. Green Bay responded with a drive into Atlanta territory and FG range, but the 41-yard try was “no good” (kicker Mason Crosby’s streak of 23 straight was snapped). Atlanta came back with a FG to take a 10-0 lead after the first quarter.


The Pack came back and drove down the field, but fumbled at the Falcons’ 5-yard line and the Atlanta defense recovered it in the end zone. Another long Falcons’ drive netted another TD and then they tacked on yet another TD just before halftime to take a commanding 24-0 lead, a real back-breaker for the Packers. Atlanta got every “break” in the first half: outgaining the Pack 325-127 and winning the critical turnover battle 2-0.
Early in the 2nd half, Atlanta scored again to extend the lead to 31-0 and the game was virtually over.

Green Bay lost three offensive lineman to injury during the game and had to convert NT Letroy Guion over to the offensive line to fill in. And the secondary was just outmatched on this day. ATL Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan threw 4 TD passes (and rushed for another); in two playoff games this year, he has thrown for 586 yards and 5 TD’s with no interceptions (including 40 of 47 completions from the shotgun formation).
FINAL: ATL 44, GB 21

Atlanta now has a 6-game winning streak.
Green Bay had its 8-game winning streak snapped.

Did you know?
Atlanta’s defense starts three rookies: SS Keanu Neal (1st rounder), LB De’Vondre Campbell (4th), and MLB Deion Jones (2nd). Plus, the young Falcons’ defense starts four second-year players. And they are built for speed!

Quiz Question:
In NFL history there has only been one other team starting 3 rookies on defense as a Super Bowl participant. Can you name this team?
Answer:
The 1981 San Francisco 49’ers: Ronnie Lott (1st rounder), Eric Wright (2nd), and Charlton Williamson (3rd).

FAREWELL
This NFC Championship Game was the last game to be played in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. In the future the Falcons will be playing their home games next door at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

AFC
Pittsburgh +6 at New England
PREGAME: Back in Week #7 New England won at Pittsburgh, 27-16, a game in which the Steelers were missing QB Ben Roethlisberger.
Patriots’ QB Tom Brady has thrown 19 TD passes and zero interceptions in six games (and averaged 314.8 passing yards per game) when facing Mike Tomlin as the Steelers’ head coach.
Tomlin is 2-5 vs. New England as a head coach; however, this is the first postseason meeting.
New England HC Bill Belichick will be going for his 25th playoff game victory (he had one in 1994 as the HC of the old Cleveland Browns from 1991-1995).
New England is playing in the AFC Championship Game for the sixth consecutive year, an all-time NFL record.

THE GAME
New England won the coin flip and elected to receive the opening kickoff, after which the Patriots marched deep into Steelers’ territory but had to settle for a 31-yard FG two minutes into the game. The NE Patriots scored again at the end of the 1st quarter to lead 10-0. Pittsburgh responded with a TD early in the 2nd quarter, but missed the extra point kick and during the 13-play, 84-yard TD drive lost RB Le’Veon Bell for the game (groin injury). The NE Pats responded by driving to the PIT 34-yard line on eight plays, and then the ninth play was a well-designed flea-flicker for a TD to take a 17-6 lead. But Pittsburgh fought back with a 15-play drive – after the 2-minute warning in the 1st half, the Steelers scored a TD … no, wait … the call was reversed by replay and PIT instead got 1st-and-goal only ½ yard from the end zone. Two stuffed running plays later, the Steelers had lost five yards and faced 3rd-and-6 and were unable to convert; they settled for a short FG to trail at halftime 17-9. This was not a good sign for Steelers’ fans; the Patriots’ defense had controlled the line of scrimmage to send a message.

To cut to the chase, New England scored 16 unanswered points in the 3rd quarter to lead 33-9 heading into the final period and then coasted to victory.
FINAL: NE 36, PIT 17

Pittsburgh’s 9-game winning streak was snapped.

New England only has one first-round draft pick in its offense’s starting lineup – OT Nate Solder, a first round pick in 2011 out of Colorado.

Patriots’ QB Tom Brady now has 22 TD passes and 0 interceptions against HC Mike Tomlin. The Steelers’ defense did not seem to appropriately adjust their pass coverage schemes during the game and the veteran Brady picked them apart (32 of 42 for 384 yards). Many of the pundits are now anointing Brady as the G.O.A.T. (“greatest of all time”).

SUPER BOWL LI
February 5, 2017   6:30PM Eastern
Houston, TX
New England -3 vs. Atlanta +3
Over/under: 59½ (the biggest # in Super Bowl history, I’m told)

PREGAME:
This game matches up the immovable object and the irresistible force. The NE Patriots have the #1-ranked scoring defense and the ATL Falcons have the #1-ranked scoring offense. Historically in the Super Bowl, the great defense has won out over the great offense in four of five such matchups.


New England and Atlanta had the least number of turnovers of all 32 teams during the regular season.

Atlanta made the Super Bowl for the second time in their history; the Falcons’ first appearance was after the 1998 season in SB XXXIII. Denver won its second consecutive title with a victory over Atlanta, 34-19.
ATL Falcons’ head coach Dan Quinn will be making his third appearance in the last four Super Bowls; he was the DC for the Super Bowl participant Seattle Seahawks in 2013 and 2014.
In his career, QB Matt Ryan has beaten 30 of the 32 NFL teams; he has yet to beat New England and Pittsburgh.

New England is making its NFL-record 9th Super Bowl appearance (4-4 record in previous title games). Three other teams have participated in eight Super Bowls:
Pittsburgh (6-2 record), Dallas (5-3), and Denver (3-5).

The Patriots have not trailed at any time in any game since Week #12 of the regular season.

OTHER FOOTBALL NEWS
2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT

On January 19th Draftnik Mel Kiper Jr. came out with his first mock draft (Version 1.0). Following are his 1st round projections for the 2017 NFL Draft to be held on April 27th through April 29th.

#1 CLE     DE        Myles Garrett              TX A&M
#2 SF        QB        Mitch Trubisky            UNC
#3 CHI      DL        Jonathan Allen             ALA
#4 JAX      S          Jamal Adams               LSU
#5 TEN     WR      Mike Williams              CLEM
#6 NYJ      CB       Marshon Lattimore      OH ST
#7 SD/LA  OT       Cam Robinson             ALA
#8 CAR     RB       Leonard Fournette        LSU
#9 CIN      DE       Solomon Thomas         STAN
#10 BUF   QB       Deshaun Watson          CLEM
#11 NOR   LB       Reuben Foster             ALA
#12 CLE   RB       Dalvin Cook                FSU
#13 AZ     CB       Teez Tabor                  FL
#14 PHI    CB       Quincy Wilson             FL
#15 IND    LB      Takkarist McKinley      UCLA
#16 BAL   S         Jabrill Peppers             MICH
#17 WSH  S         Malik Hooker              OH ST
#18 TEN   CB      Marlon Humphrey       ALA
#19 TB     DE      Taco Charlton             MICH
#20 DEN   OT     Garett Bolles               UTAH
#21 DET   LB     Tim Williams                ALA
#22 MIA   LB      Jarrad Davis                FL
#23 NYG  OT     Ryan Ramczyk            WISC
#24 OAK  DT     Malik McDowell          Mich St
#25 HOU  S        Budda Baker              Washington
#26 SEA   CB     Cordrea Tankersley     CLEM
#27 KC    WR    Corey Davis                W.MICH
#28 DAL  CB     Sidney Jones              Washington
#29 GB    RB     Christian McCaffrey    STAN
#30 PIT   LB     Charles Harris             MISSOURI
#31 ATL  DE     Derek Barnett             TENN
#32 NE   TE      O.J. Howard               ALA

NFL COACHING CHANGES

Only one team still needs to fill its head coaching position for next year – the SF 49’ers. The Niners are waiting for Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to finish up his
season at the Super Bowl, and then he will be hired as the next HC. The team is still looking for a new GM (it appears nobody credible wants the job).

The Los Angeles Chargers have picked up former JAX Jaguars’ HC Gus Bradley to be their new defensive coordinator.

The IND Colts have fired their General Manager, Ryan Grigson, but will keep HC Chuck Pagano for at least the 2017 season.

NFL TEAM UPDATE
On January 19th the OAK Raiders filed with the NFL for relocation. Owner Mark Davis intends to move to Las Vegas and a 65,000-seat domed stadium is being planned.

PRO BOWL
Is anyone interested?
The game will be played in Orlando, FL (previously in Hawaii) on Sunday, January 29, 2017. The players cannot be liking this change; many guys selected for the team have bailed out (or are playing in the Super Bowl) and replacements seemingly are coming from the “middle of the pack”.
After three years of a "drafted" format with former-player captains, the NFL announced that it would return to the "conference" format previously used for 42 years. The coaches will be Cowboys’ HC Jason Garrett for the NFC and Chiefs’ HC Andy Reid for the AFC.

FFHL LOP-SIDED and CONTESTED PICKS AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS)
Listed below is a breakdown of all of our picks for FFHL WEEK #18C (Conference Finals).

                                            ATS Picks
Team                                   For-Against                Result / Unsolicited comments
NE Patriots -6 vs. PIT               6-3                       WIN, New England wins 36-17 to cover by 13
ATL Falcons -5 vs. GB              5-2                       WIN, Atlanta wins 44-21 to cover by 18


FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTION
QUESTION #1: QB Ben Roethlisberger started his 20th career playoff game at New England last weekend. There are five other quarterbacks in NFL history that have started more playoff games in their careers. Name them.

QUESTION #2: The combination of head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady will be making their seventh Super Bowl appearance together. Three other HC/QB combinations have been to four Super Bowls. Name those three elite runner-up combos.

BONUS: Belichick will be making his 7th appearance as a head coach, breaking the previous record of six. Name the head coach that was previously tied with Belichick for the all-time record.

BONUS: Brady will be playing in his 7th Super Bowl as a player, breaking the previous record of six. Name the player that was previously tied with Brady for the all-time record.

ANSWER #1:
                               Games (# of wins)
Tom Brady                   33 (24)             The CHI Bears only have 19 playoff wins in the
                                                           franchise’s existence (1st playoff win in 1932)
Peyton Manning            27 (14)
Brett Favre                   24 (13)
Joe Montana                 23 (16)
John Elway                   21 (14)
Ben Roethlisberger        20 (13)
NOT QUITE:
Terry Bradshaw            19 (14)
Dan Marino                  18 (8)
Jim Kelly                      17 (9)
Roger Staubach             17 (11)
Donovan McNabb         16 (9)
Aaron Rodgers              16 (9)
Troy Aikman                15 (11)
Joe Flacco                    15 (10)

The old-timers didn’t have much of a chance in this category, since there were fewer playoff games each year prior to the Super Bowl Era. Still, Staubach did quite well.
Some other old-timers:
Bart Starr                     10 (9)
Johnny Unitas                8 (6)
Otto Graham                 7 (4)
Sid Luckman                 6 (5)
Sammy Baugh               6 (3)
Bobby Layne                4 (3)

ANSWER #2:

HC Tom Landry and QB Roger Staubach                   Dallas (2-2 record)
HC Chuck Noll and QB Terry Bradshaw                    Pittsburgh (4-0 record in six-year stretch)
HC Marv Levy and QB Jim Kelly                              Buffalo (0-4 record; four years in a row)

The Belichick/Brady combo has a 4-2 record in their previous Super Bowls.

BONUS:
Belichick by himself, as a head coach, will be breaking the tie (of six Super Bowl appearances) previously held with HC Don Shula (1 loss with Baltimore Colts, 2-3 record with Miami Dolphins).

BONUS:
Mike Lodich, defensive lineman for the BUF Bills and DEN Broncos out of UCLA.
WR Don Beebe’s team was in the Super Bowl six times, but he only played in three of those six games.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

FOOTBALL NEWS NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF GAMES

FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER

Hello Football Fans,

There were four NFL playoff games last weekend, and the underdogs finally woke up.


I've got some minutia and one quiz question for you this week.

Enjoy,

The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL


NFL

DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF WEEKEND
On Saturday the domination by the home team favorites continued, making it six straight betting favorites to win with ease and all of them covered against the spread.
On Sunday, there were two entertaining and close games, with the underdogs not only covering the spread but also winning outright to advance to their respective conference title games.

AFC
#4 Houston +16 at #1 New England -16
PREGAME:
The NE Pats beat visiting HOU back in Week #3 without QB Tom Brady, 27-0.

THE GAME:
In the first half Houston took advantage of two NE Patriots’ turnovers that generated 10 points and the Texans only trailed by one point until New England kicked a FG just prior to intermission to lead 17-13. The HOU Texans threw three interceptions (only one by NE) in the 2nd half and the Patriots walked away with an “easy” win.
FINAL: NE 34, HOU 16


ATS: New England kicked an “insurance” FG and then stopped a HOU Texans drive with an interception in the 4th quarter just to make sure they covered the spread by 2 points.

NFL Record: The NE Patriots’ RB Dion Lewis became the first player in NFL history to score rushing, receiving and kickoff return TD’s in a playoff game, helping New England defeat Houston.

#3 Pittsburgh +1h at #2 Kansas City -1h
PREGAME:
Due to an ice storm, the game was postponed seven hours and became a Sunday night game.
KC Chiefs’ HC Andy Reid had posted a 16-2 regular season record after a “bye” week. In the playoffs after a bye week, he had been 3-0 (all as HC in Philadelphia).

THE GAME:
The PIT Steelers dominated the game from scrimmage, but were unable to find the end zone and had to settle for an NFL playoff record six FG’s by Chris Boswell to win at Kansas City. The KC Chiefs scored a TD with only 2:43 remaining in regulation play to trail only by 2 points…the
PAT conversion attempt to tie the game is….GOOD, but wait... Chiefs’ holding penalty…KC had to retry from the 12-yard line and the pass was incomplete, 2-point attempt failed. On the ensuing drive, Pittsburgh was able to run out the clock.
FINAL: PIT 18, KC 16

STATS:
Pittsburgh outgained the Chiefs 389-227, including 170 yards rushing by Steelers’ RB Le’Veon Bell on 30 carries. KC lost the turnover battle, 2-1.

NFC
#3 Seattle +4h at #2 Atlanta -4h
PREGAME:
The SEA Seahawks beat visiting ATL, 26-24, back in Week #6.
Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan had been 1-4 as a starter in the postseason; his only win was against Seattle.


THE GAME:
The visiting SEA Seahawks opened the game with a long 8½ minute TD drive, but on the ensuing possession Atlanta responded with a 7+ minute TD drive to tie the game in the 1st quarter. On the ensuing possession Seattle marched again but had to settle for a FG to take the lead, 10-7. On the ensuing possession Atlanta was forced to punt, and Seattle’s recently signed aging veteran Devin Hester clicked off a 79-yard punt return….oh no, a penalty, line of scrimmage was brought all the way back to the Seattle 7-yard line. On first down a running play was stuffed for a loss of three yards. On 2nd down, an offensive lineman stepped on QB Russell Wilson’s foot and he stumbled back into the endzone for a Falcons’ safety. After the ensuing safety kickoff, Atlanta marched and took its first lead of the game on a FG, ahead 12-10, in mid-2nd quarter (it seemed like there was a subtle momentum shift after the safety). Later, the ATL Falcons scored a TD just before halftime to lead 19-10 at intermission and Atlanta never looked back in the 2nd half.
FINAL: ATL 36, SEA 20

#4 Green Bay +4h at #1 Dallas -4h
PREGAME:
The DAL Cowboys won at Green Bay back in Week #6, 30-16.
After starting the season with a 4-6 record, the GB Packers are now a different team; they have won seven games in a row.

THE GAME:
Cutting to the chase, Green Bay scored a TD early in the 2nd half to take a commanding 28-13 lead that held up until Dallas scored a TD early in the 4th quarter to cut the lead to 28-20. The DAL Cowboys scored another TD 6½ minutes later, and with a successful 2-point conversion had tied the game at 28-28 with 4:08 remaining in regulation play. On the ensuing possession the GB Packers’ 8-play drive stalled at the Dallas 38-yard line, but kicker Mason Crosby booted a 56-yard FG (somehow eked over the crossbar and through the uprights) to give his team the lead with only 1:33 showing on the clock.
Not to be outdone, the host Cowboys responded quickly and drove down to the Green Bay 33-yard line on six plays, spiking the ball to stop the clock on one play and trying to conserve time. After an incomplete pass to stop the clock again on 3rd down, the Cowboys “settled” for a 52-yard FG to tie the game at 31-31. However, Dallas had left 35 seconds on the clock – oops! That gave QB Aaron Rodgers and the Pack just enough time to get into FG range again to kick the game-winner from 51 yards. WOW!!
FINAL: GB 34, DAL 31

HISTORY GB Packers’ kicker Mason Crosby’s hit a pair of 50-plus-yard field goals in the final two minutes of their win over the DAL Cowboys. He became the first kicker to do that in postseason history.
Previously Crosby had never made a potential game-tying or go-ahead kick of 50 yards or longer in the 4th quarter or overtime; he had been 0-for-4 on such attempts. And, he had only made one 50+ yard FG this season; in his career, he’s only 28-of-54 on the long attempts.
But his 56-yarder with 1:33 left was the third-longest kick in postseason history, and his 51-yard game-winner had to be kicked twice, after the Cowboys used their final timeout to ice him. He hadn’t made two 50+ yarders in a single game in his NFL career, so converting successfully on what amounted to three FG’s in such a short span was impressive.
Crosby now has hit 23 straight field goals in the postseason.

UPCOMING CONFERENCE TITLE GAMES


Sunday, January 22nd
NFC
Green Bay +4h at Atlanta                  12:05PM Pacific

AFC
Pittsburgh +6 at New England             3:40PM Pacific

Winners advance to the Super Bowl !!!

FFHL LOP-SIDED and CONTESTED PICKS AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS)

Listed below is a breakdown of all of our picks for FFHL WEEK #18B (Divisional Weekend).

                                             ATS Picks
Team                                    For-Against         Result / Unsolicited comments

SEA Seahawks +5 at ATL           5-4                LOSS, Atlanta wins big, 36-20
NE Patriots -16 vs. HOU            6-1                WIN, New England kicks FG to cover in 34-16 win


GB Packers +4h at DAL             5-4                WIN, Green Bay wins outright, 34-31
KC Chiefs -1h vs. PIT +1h         3-3                PITTSBURGH wins outright 18-16 to cover ATS

OTHER FOOTBALL NEWS

NFL COACHING CHANGES

Only ONE team still needs to fill its head coaching position for next year – the SF 49’ers. And the team is still looking for a new GM as well.

The DEN Broncos hired Vance Joseph, age 44, as their new HC. He had been the DC with the MIA Dolphins. Denver also hired former SD Chargers’ HC Mike McCoy to be its new OC.

The BUF Bills hired Sean McDermott, age 42, as their new HC. He had previously been the DC with the CAR Panthers for six years. Buffalo’s new DC will be Leslie Frazier, former HC for the MIN Vikings (2011-2013).

The Los Angeles (formerly SD) Chargers hired Anthony Lynn, age 48, as their new HC. He had been the OC for the BUF Bills for the last two years.

The LA Rams hired Sean McVay, age 30 (will turn a mature age 31 in one week), to be their new HC. He had been the OC with the WSH ‘Skins for three years. The Rams also hired 69-year old Wade Phillips (former Denver DC) to be their new DC.

YOUNGEST HEAD COACHING HIRES
Prior to the LA Rams’ hiring of 30-year old Sean McVay as their next head coach last week, following is a list of the previous 10 youngest NFL head coaching hires in the “modern era” (age at time of hire):

Lane Kiffin, OAK Raiders (31 years, 8 months):
He had a miserable and short tenure in Oakland characterized by major disagreements with Al Davis about QB JaMarcus Russell.
Harland Svare, LA Rams (31 years, 11 months):
He took over in the middle of the 1962 season and surprising kept his job despite mediocre results. Svare resigned from his second HC job with the SD Chargers in the middle of the 1973 season, even though he had signed a five-year contract extension just a year earlier.
John Michelosen, PIT Steelers (32 years, 2 months):
He never took his team to the playoffs in four years with the Steelers, finishing with a 20-26-2 record from 1948 to 1951.
Raheem Morris, TB Buccaneers (32 years, 4 months):
He got fired after three seasons and a 17-31 record from 2009 to 2011; he is currently the assistant HC and WR coach for the ATL Falcons, but didn’t draw a lot of interest for HC vacancies this offseason.
David Shula, CIN Bengals (32 years, 7 months):
He has one of the worst coaching records in NFL history, 19-52. After the CIN Bengals fired him, he left coaching to work in his father’s steakhouse business.
Josh McDaniels, DEN Broncos (32 years, 8 months):
He was fired during his second season after compiling an 11-17 record, and is now a well-regarded assistant with the NE Patriots who is seen as a likely future HC.
John Madden, OAK Raiders (32 years, 10 months): A Hall of Famer with the highest winning percentage of any coach in modern NFL history, Madden retired to become the NFL’s most popular TV broadcaster, a hugely successful commercial endorser and the front man for a video game that has generated billions of dollars in revenues.
Don Shula, BAL Colts (33 years, 4 days):
He led the Colts to the playoffs three times, then jumped over to the MIA Dolphins, where he became the winningest HC in NFL history.
Al Davis, OAK Raiders (33 years, 6 months):
Prior to hiring youngsters Madden and Kiffin as head coaches in Oakland, Davis coached the team himself. He was the 1963 AFL coach of the year, his first year coaching the Raiders.

BEFORE San Francisco’s NEW HIRE
With eight minority head coaches — the LA Chargers’ Anthony Lynn, DEN Vance Joseph, CIN Marvin Lewis, PIT Mike Tomlin, DET Jim Caldwell, CLE Hue Jackson, NYJ Todd Bowles and CAR Ron Rivera — the league in 2017 will tie the record for the most minority head coaches at the start of any season. There were also eight minority HC’s in the NFL in 2011.
The 49ers still have an opening, so it’s possible a ninth minority head coach could be hired. That seems unlikely, however, as the only minorities the 49ers interviewed — Lynn and Joseph — have already been hired elsewhere. It’s looking as if Kyle Shanahan (Atlanta OC) will get the job; Josh McDaniels (New England OC) has removed himself from consideration.
FYI
For the 2016 season the NFL had six minority head coaches.

NFL STADIUM & TEAM RELOCATION UPDATE

SAN DIEGO
The Chargers made their decision and have announced that they will become the SECOND Los Angeles team. For the 2017 and 2018 NFL seasons, the LA Chargers will be playing their home games at the StubHub Center, a multi-purpose 30,000-seat stadium on the campus of California State University-Dominguez Hills in Carson, CA (about 10 miles south of Downtown LA), where the LA Galaxy professional soccer team plays its home games.
History:
The Chargers started their professional football existence in the AFL as the Los Angeles Chargers in 1960. With Sid Gilman as their head coach, the Chargers won the Western Division of the AFL with a 10-4 record. The team moved to San Diego in 1961.


Quiz Question: Where did the LA Chargers play their home games in 1960?
Answer: The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

OAKLAND
With no viable stadium proposal in Oakland, owner Mark Davis clearly wants to move the team to Las Vegas. He may or may not get a deal that includes the financial support of Sands casino owner Sheldon Adelson, who is driving a hard bargain. If no compromise can be reached, Davis will look for another source for funding a $2 billion Vegas stadium complex. There is $750 million of public funding available to help the Las Vegas “Let’s Make a Deal” project.
The Raiders have a series of one-year leases in Oakland and will still staying in the Bay Area for the 2017 and 2018 seasons (and maybe the 2019 season if the proposed new stadium in Las Vegas is not completed in time).
History
The Oakland Raiders relocated to Los Angeles for the 1982 through 1994 seasons, and then moved back to Oakland for the 1995 season.

NFL RECORD
Well, this isn’t really a record. Nonetheless, the 2016 season was the “best ever” for punters in the NFL. According to statistics posted by JAX Jaguars’ Senior VP Tony Khan, the 2016 season was the best since at least 2000 in a wide variety of categories.
The average of 40.1 net yards per punt was the best ever. The percentage of punts landed inside both the 20-yard line (38.8%) and inside the 10-yard line (13.8%) was the best ever. The average post-punt field position -- the 25-yard line -- was the worst ever. And there were more punts of 70 yards or more than ever before.
For what it’s worth.

FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTION

QUESTION #1: The quarterback of the winning team in the AFC Championship Game has been only one of three QB’s for 14 of the last 16 years – namely Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Ben Roethlisberger. Who were the other two AFC quarterbacks to lead their team to the Super Bowl in this century (since 2001)?


ANSWER #1:
Rich Gannon             OAK Raiders   2002
Joe Flacco                 BAL Ravens    2012
Tom Brady               NE Patriots      Six times, and a 2016 win over PIT would make it seven
Peyton Manning        IND Colts       Two times
                                DEN Broncos Two times
Ben Roethlisberger    PIT Steelers    Three times, and a win over NE Sunday would add another


Friday, January 13, 2017

FOOTBALL NEWS AFTER NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS

FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER

Hello Football Fans,

The college FB season is officially over, and the champion has been crowned.


The NFL playoffs continue with four games this weekend (the top four seeds in each conference face each other).

Enjoy,

The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF (CFP) CHAMPIONSHIP

FBS TITLE GAME
CFP#1 Alabama (-6h) vs. CFP#2 Clemson
Alabama jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the 2nd quarter and the potential blowout was in progress. But Clemson fought back and trailed only 14-7 at halftime. The ALA Crimson Tide appeared to be in control and scored a TD on a 68-yard pass with 2 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter to take a 24-14 lead. However, stellar RB Bo Scarborough broke his leg on that drive and was out for the rest of the game. The CLEM Tigers responded immediately with a 3-minute TD of their own, trailing only 24-21 early in the 4th quarter and then the teams exchanged five punts in a field position battle. Finally, Clemson drove 88 yards in six plays for a TD to take its first lead of the game, 28-24, with 4:38 on the clock. ‘Bama responded immediately with a TD of its own to retake the lead, 31-28, with only 2 minutes remaining in regulation play. Clemson needed a field goal to send the game into overtime.

On the ensuing possession, Clemson appeared to be flitting away the time, although the Tigers were matriculating down the field and got into short FG range with a 17-yard pass completion for a first down at the Alabama 9-yard line with 14 seconds to go. Incomplete pass…another incomplete pass…but the yellow flag came out --’Bama committed a pass interference penalty and Clemson had 1st-and-goal from the 2-yard line with only six precious seconds left. Decision: kick the tying FG now, or try to score the game-winner but risk having the clock run out on a failed play from scrimmage? Clemson would run one more play; QB Deshaun Watson rolled out and quickly snapped a throw into the end zone – touchdown, with one second to spare and the game was over.


FINAL: CLEM 35, ALA 31

FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SUBDIVISION (FCS)

FCS TITLE GAME
#4 seed James Madison (-7h) vs unseeded Youngstown State
[FCS Coaches’ Poll rankings: #5 JMU vs. #12 YSU]
The Purple Reign of James Madison blocked a Youngstown punt early in the game that led to their first TD and then extended the lead to 21-0 by mid-2nd quarter and the Dukes were not seriously threatened after that. JMU won the turnover battle, 2-0.
FINAL: JMU 28, YSU 14 (Youngstown scored with 10 seconds to go to make it look close)
James Madison’s only loss on the year was at FBS North Carolina on September 17th.

NFL

WILD CARD WEEKEND
Ho-hum. Last weekend the four home team favorites all won handily and “easily” covered the spread.

AFC
#5 Oakland +3h at #4 Houston -3h
Pregame:
OAK: The Raiders were missing their top two QB’s: Derek Carr and Matt McGloin. The starter was rookie Connor Cook, the first start of his short NFL career.
HOU: QB Tom Savage was out (concussion); Brock Osweiler started.
The HOU Texans were ahead 10-0 early and 20-7 at halftime and scored a TD early in the 4th quarter to lead 27-7 and then coasted to victory.


Houston won the turnover battle 3-0 (three INT’s by rookie QB Cook) and outgained Oakland 291-203 from scrimmage.
FINAL: HOU 27, OAK 14

#6 Miami +10 at #3 Pittsburgh -10
Pregame:
PIT: For the first time ever, the PIT Steelers lined up in a playoff game with all three of QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le’Veon Bell, and WR Antonio Brown in the lineup (hard to believe).
MIA: This was the Dolphins’ first playoff appearance since 2009.


Pittsburgh’s RB Le’Veon Bell rushed for 167 yards and 2 TD’s on 29 carries and the Dolphins never seriously threatened to win the game.
FINAL: PIT 30, MIA 12

NFC
#6 Detroit +8 at #3 Seattle -8
SEA: The Seahawks had won 9 straight home playoff games.
DET: The Lions had not won a road playoff game since 1957 (whoa!), and hadn’t won any playoff game in 25 years.
The game was actually close, with Seattle leading only 10-6 until scoring sixteen unanswered points in the final quarter to prevail.
FINAL: SEA 26, DET 6

#5 NY Giants +4h at #4 Green Bay -4h
The Giants dominated the game between the 10-yard lines in the first half, but led only 6-0 and then allowed Green Bay to score a TD with two minutes remaining in the 2nd quarter and then gave up another TD on an Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary to close out the half with Green Bay ahead 14-6. New York responded with a TD in mid-3rd quarter to trail only 14-13, but the GB Pack took over and dominated to win easily.


Green Bay won the turnover battle 2-0 and outgained NYG from scrimmage 406-365.
GB WR Randall Cobb scored 3 TD’s on 5 receptions for 116 yards in the winning effort, including the Hail Mary touchdown.
FINAL: GB 38, NYG 13

UPCOMING DIVISIONAL CONFERENCE GAMES

Saturday, January 14th
#3 Seattle +4h at #2 Atlanta -4h 1:35PM Pacific
PREGAME:
The SEA Seahawks beat visiting ATL 26-24 back in Week #6, 26-24.


Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan is 1-4 as a starter in the postseason; his only win was against Seattle.

#4 Houston +16 at #1 New England -16 5:15PM Pacific
PREGAME:
The NE Pats beat visiting HOU back in Week #3 without QB Tom Brady, 27-0.

Sunday, January 15th
#3 Pittsburgh +1h at #2 Kansas City -1h 10:05AM Pacific
PREGAME:
KC Chiefs’ HC Andy Reid has posted a 16-2 regular season record after a “bye” week. In the playoffs after a bye week, he’s 3-0 (all as HC in Philadelphia).

#4 Green Bay +4h at #1 Dallas -4h 1:40PM Pacific
PREGAME:
The DAL Cowboys won at Green Bay back in Week #6, 30-16.
The GB Packers are now a different team; they have won seven games in a row.

FFHL – THE PLAYOFFS
FANTASTIC BOWL
Hawkeye vs. Filter King for the FFHL Championship

DEUCE “POINTS” COMPETITION (one week to go):
HAWKEYE 173.0
MOORE MONEY 167.0
KRAUT 161.0 (non-playoff team, but 75% ATS on #1 Picks)
FILTER KING 158.5

Fighting to get into the “money” spots:
YO MAMA 149.0
MIGHTY DUCK 143.0
WILD MAN 134.0
THE FUGITIVE 132.5 (non-playoff team, but 2nd best on #1 picks)
KID RUST 130.5

The other three teams struggled most of the year, although Tommy Boy was leading Division B until late in the season; he collapsed and missed the playoffs (sorry, dude).

FFHL LOP-SIDED and CONTESTED PICKS AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS)

Listed below is a breakdown of all of our picks for FFHL WEEK #18A (Wild Card Weekend).
ATS Picks
Team                                 For-Against         Result / Unsolicited comments
WILD CARD
Green Bay -4h vs. NYG           5-3             WIN, blowout Packers’ victory, 38-13
Detroit +8 at SEA                    4-1             LOSS, blowout ‘Hawks victory, 26-6


Miami +10 at PIT                     3-1                  LOSS, blowout Steelers victory, 30-12
Houston -3h vs. OAK +3h         3-3                  HOU Texans blow out Raiders, 27-14

COLLEGE TITLE GAME
ALA -6h vs. Clemson +6h         4-4                  CLEMSON the ‘dog won outright 35-31
                                                                      and covered the spread by 10+ points

OTHER FOOTBALL NEWS

COLLEGE FINAL ASSOCIATED PRESS (AP) POLL – AFTER BOWL GAMES

#1 Clemson              Unanimous
#2 Alabama
#3 USC                    Coaches’ Poll #5
#4 Washington
#5 Oklahoma            Coaches’ Poll #3
#6 Ohio State
#7 Penn State
#8 Florida State
#9 Wisconsin
#10 Michigan
#11 Oklahoma State
#12 Stanford

PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME (HOF) FINALISTS
The 15 “modern era” finalists for election into the 2017 HOF were announced last week. A maximum of five modern era players will get inducted this year, and the final vote will be announced the day before the Super Bowl (February 4th).
Following is the list of candidates:

FIRST-TIME ELIGIBLES:
           RB Ladainian Tomlinson
           DE Jason Taylor
           S Brian Dawkins

LAST YEAR’S TOP 10 WHO GOT ELIMINATED FOR 2016:
          Coach Don “Air” Coryell
          RB Terrell Davis
          OT Joe Jacoby
          S John Lynch
          QB Kurt Warner

LAST YEAR’S TOP 15 WHO GOT ELIMINATED FOR 2016:
         WR Terrell Owens
         K Morten Andersen
         OG Alan Faneca

FIRST-TIME TOP 15 FINALISTS (in addition to first-time eligibles):
        OT Tony Boselli
        WR Isaac Bruce
        CB Ty Law
        OG Kevin Mawae

“SENIOR” FINALISTS:
       SS Kenny Easley
       Commissioner Paul Tagliabue
       Owner Jerry Jones
(all three “seniors” could gain induction; each needs 80% of the vote)

MISSING THE CUT (partial list of players not making the Final 15 this year):
      S Steve Atwater
      RB Edgerrin James
      WR Hines Ward
      RB Roger Craig
      OT Chris Hinton
      WR Torry Holt
      Coach Jimmy Johnson
      OT Mike Kenn
      LB Clay Matthews Sr.
      LB Karl Mecklenburg
      S Darren Woodson

NFL COACHING CHANGES
There are still six head coaching positions to be filled for next year.
Jim Caldwell – DET Lions: Is a playoff appearance good enough? YES – he’s back in 2017 to finish out the last year of his 4-year contract (and will probably be looking for an extension).
The JAX Jaguars have brought in former HC Tom Coughlin to be Executive VP of Football Operations and hired Doug Marrone as their next HC.
The IND Colts are going to retain both their HC and GM to start the 2017 season.
The DEN Broncos appear to be leaning toward the hire of MIA DC Vance Joseph to be their next head coach.

Stay tuned.

COLLEGE COACHING CHANGES
The University of Minnesota fired HC Tracy Claeys.
The new Gophers’ HC will be P.J. Fleck, age 36, former HC at Western Michigan, where he posted a 30-22 record in four years including this year’s stellar 13-1 season.

The University of California-Berkeley has fired HC Sonny Dykes, who posted a 19-30 record in 4 years including a 5-7 record this season. His overall NCAA HC record is 41-45 (Louisiana Tech). OC/QB Coach Jake Spavital will be the interim HC. It seems as though the school has already targeted Chip Kelly to be the next permanent HC, but we’ll see how that develops.

NFL STADIUM & TEAM RELOCATION UPDATE

San Diego
Correction: I mentioned several weeks ago that the City of San Diego had offered a 99-year lease on Qualcomm Stadium to the Chargers. The actual cost offered: $1 per year (not $1MM); thanks to Butcher Bob for spotting my error. Of course, that amount is insignificant anyway, since the required costs of renovation, upgrades, and repairs would be astronomical and would have to be borne by the SD Chargers’ team under the proposed deal.


Update: The decision has been made. The Chargers are moving to Los Angeles. Meanwhile the new logo is lending itself to the ex-fans' anguish.

Oakland
The owners have a meeting this week and will be discussing a possible move by the Raiders to Las Vegas.

NFL RECORD
MIN Vikings’ QB Sam Bradford set a new NFL record for completion percentage this season, completing 71.6% of his passes.
How meaningful is this stat?
The problem with completion percentage is that it treats all completions equally, which is obviously ridiculous: A completion for zero yards doesn’t help a team any more than an incompletion. A completion short of the line to gain on third down doesn’t help much more than an incompletion, either. And Bradford had a lot of those short completions that didn’t pick up first downs.
How many?
While setting the NFL record for completion percentage, Bradford finished 17th in the NFL in first down percentage, among the 33 quarterbacks who threw at least 200 passes.
Bradford completed so many passes short of the line to gain that he got a first down on just 35.7% of his passes. Half the QB’s in the league picked up a first down on a higher percentage of their passes, even though none completed as high of a percentage of his passes. Example: ATL Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan completed 22 fewer passes than Bradford this season, but he picked up 41 more first downs than Bradford. There were eight quarterbacks in the NFL who threw for more first downs while completing fewer passes than Bradford.
Nevertheless, the record is broken and Bradford had a productive year after being thrown into a most difficult situation (and lost three offensive linemen and RB Adrian Peterson to injury early in the season).

FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTION

QUESTION #1: For the first time in NFL history, two rookie running backs finished as the overall rushing leaders for the 2016 regular season. Name both of them.



ANSWER #1:
Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) easily won the rushing title with 1,631 yards. He was the #4 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Ohio State U.
Runner-up was Jordan Howard (CHI Bears) with 1,313 yards. He was the #150 overall pick (5th round) in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Indiana University.
It’s a young man’s game (except at QB).

HISTORY:
Thirteen rookies had led the NFL in rushing in prior years, but in those years the runner-up rushing leader had never been a rookie.
Rookies did finish #1-#2 twice in the AFL back in 1960 and 1968.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hello 2017

My first picture of the year. My friend Rio posted about talking a picture a day for the entire year. I felt inspired to to the same (or at least try). 

This is the view from my back yard today. I liked the contrast between the dormant trees and the foreboding clouds. 

Shot through the standard Samsung S6 camera app, no filters.