Archive for July, 2009

It's crunch time in the celebrity cereal stakes now that TO has joined in !

It's crunch time in the celebrity cereal stakes now that TO has joined in !

I’m not sure what they put in the milk in Buffalo but we now have another Bill launching a breakfast time bowl filler.

It had to happen – not content with most of the NFL training camp spotlight now that Brett Favre has decided to stay retired (thank god!) Terrell ‘TO’ Owens has decided to give Doug Flutie a run for his money by launching his own cereal.

Terrell Owens TO’s – Honey Nut Toasted Oats (TO’s) will no doubt become THE cereal of choice for NFL fans across the United States of America (with the exception of his former team’s home cities of Dallas, Philadelphia and San Francisco).

It was former CFL and NFL quarterback Doug Flutie who started the relationship between breakfast goodness and NFL celebrity when he launched Flutie Flakes in 1998.

The pint-sized Flutie created his Flutie Flakes (frosted corn flakes) in order to raise money for the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism- established because Flutie’s son is Autistic.

I’m not convinced that the rationale behind the creation of Terrell Owens TO’s are quite as moral, but I am convinced they will sell by the shed-load.

As a rather bizarre fan of cereal packaging whenever I am anywhere in the world I like to visit supermarkets, whether in Mexico, Egypt, Thailand or the United States, much to the bemusement of my wife.

In previous visits to the States I have never quite managed to get hold of a box of the fabled Flutie Flakes, although in 2007 I did get a box of limited edition (yeah right!) Florida Gators Football Flakes.

The Gator Flakes now reside in my loft – and I welcome any bidders !

I am hoping to go to the States again in the Autumn so the crusade for Flutie Flakes will continue.

If that mission fails it looks like I will grab some Terrell Owens TO’s.

Here are some other considerations for marketing wizards and NFL agents:

 – Vick’s Vicious Dog Biscuits (All profits go to PETA)

– OchoCinco Helium Canisters – “Non stop hot air whenever you want it”

– Josh McDaniel’s Bird Repellent – “Removes all birds including JAY’s”

– Troy Polamalu’s Head and Shoulders – “The shampoo that hits the spot”

Anyone else got any ideas……………..

THE original Buffalo Bill cereal box cover pin-up

THE original Buffalo Bill cereal box cover pin-up

The Audible - my favourite NFL podcast
The Audible – my favourite NFL podcast

Everyone wants an edge when it comes to fantasy NFL, whether you are a rookie fan via a free Yahoo.com or NFL.com league or like me a hardcore fan owning teams with 55 players in a dynasty type league.

Some people pay for access to websites that claim to have ‘insider’ knowledge about the NFL, others buy magazines or even ring these crazy phone lines.

I on the other hand find nothing more pleasurable than hooking up my Ipod to Itunes and downloading a smorgasbord of fantasy NFL related podcasts.

Here are my two favourites……….

1) ESPN Football Today Podcast

ESPN have an excellent NFL podcast that is certainly satisfying my appetite for NFL gossip as from the start of this week (27 July 2009) they have gone daily.

The podcast is hosted by Jeremy Green, the son of former Vikings and Cardinals head coach Dennis ‘we were who they thought we were’ Green.

I couldn’t resist the clip below ! Dennis is the head coach of a team at present – only problem is that it is in the new american football league the UFL.

The content of this podcast is great, ranging from regular guest contributor and NFL writer Len Pasquirelli to the likes of special guests as big as Hall of Fame head coach Joe Gibbs.

Lots of fantasy team advice is dispensed each episode, and aside from Jeremy reminding listeners every week that his pop was an NFL signal caller it’s a superb way to spend your lunchtime or commuting time listening to these 40 minute broadcasts.

2) Football Guys – The Audible Podcast

This is my favourite – a pure hardcore blast of wall to wall fantasy NFL talk, only for those who know what phrases such as PPR (points per reception) and IDP (individual defensive players) mean.

The presenters Cecil Lammey and Sigmund Bloom may have ridiculous names that sound like some sort of underground alternative comedy act, but thankfully they are extremely knowledgeable and live and breathe NFL fantasy football.

Each show is an epic two full hours of NFL talk, no music and only minimal time spent plugging the http://www.footballguys.comwebsite subscription element.

If you want to know if you should ‘handcuff’ the likes of LeSean McCoy if you grab Brian Westbrook or want to discover if Beanie Wells will outproduce Donald Brown in 2009 then these guys are the people with some strong thoughts that could help you win your NFL fantasy league.

For no cost these are spectacular. The old saying that nothing in life is free is clearly not true here – these two podcasts are free and they are jam packed with NFL fantasy gossip.

It’s still only July, but I must say a big thankyou to Mr Green, Mr Lammy and Mr Bloom for making the arduous off-season gloom turn into a much sunnier time.

Do you download NFL fantasy podcasts? Let me know your thoughts on the ones you like and why…………..

My new Twitter homie Superbowl stud WR Larry Fitzgerald

My new Twitter homie Superbowl stud WR Larry Fitzgerald

This Twitter lark is getting crazier by the day.

On Friday I fired off a series of questions to Adam Schefter, the soon to be ESPN NFL top dawg reporter.

On Sunday just gone I went one better, and after various attempts with a range of NFL players to get them to respond to my direct Twitter messages I finally got a superstar response.

And when I say superstar I mean MEGA superstar. Yep I managed to fire off 10 questions that were ALL answered by none other than the best wide receiver in the NFL – Arizona Cardinals #11 Larry Fitzgerald.

To say I was excited when Mr F agreed to answer my questions would be an understatement, and it was only my wife going ‘who is he?’ that kept me from having a full on keg party in our living room.

From his answers I determined that Mr Fitzgerald is quietly confident for the Cardinals again in 2009 and if his worst sin is Vitamin Water then anyone who has (or plans to) draft Mr Fitzgerald in an NFL fantasy team draft has absolutely nothing to worry about.

By sheer coincidence after doing my Twitter interview with Larry Fitzgerald I had an NFL.com fantasy draft.

Yep you guessed it I picked Mr Fitzgerald in the first round (pick #7), I then went on to get Tom Brady in round 2 – so all good.

Here is the twitterview (my new idea where you ask a superstar on Twitter 10 questions and have 10 Twitter responses). I know this is not perfect as you are very limited to short answers but it was a real buzz seeing my Twitter account fill up with responses from a man who scored in the Superbowl under six months ago. 

How else could I be in contact with such an NFL mega star !

Lawrence Vos (LV): NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 How is training camp going? Are the Cards gonna win it all this time? I hope you have 30 secs to reply it would be superbLarry Fitzgerald

(LF): Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLAND we will be good again

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11Thanks Mr F – Can I interview you for my blog when you are available please http://nflfaninengland.word… NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11Would you be willing to do a twitterview with me (I created this idea – 10 questions asked and replied to on twitter) !!!!!

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLAND ask away

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 1) Do you think Santonio Holmes was actually in bounds for that late Superbowl touchdown?

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLAND I don’t talk about the superbowl anymore.sorry man.I look past that game

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@ Lfitzgerald11 2) Can you break any single season season receiving records in 2009? If so which ones are you targetting?

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLAND I’m just targeting making my team better & staying healthy 

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 3) How different is your life after you had that incredible playoff run in 2008-2009? Do you now get more endorsement deals?

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLAND yes I have more opportunities that were thrown my way after the run

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 4) What food or drink are your kryptonite? I know u train hard but what do you treat yourself to?Larry Fitzgerald’s kryptonite !

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLAND I’m a huge fan of vitamin water.love it

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 5) Regarding Anquan is he 100% staying with you in the desert? How much better does he make you as an NFL receiver?
 
LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLANDplaying with anquan really helps my game a ton.hes such a threat 2 opposing teams.I dont wanna play without him
 
LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 6) What is the hardest part of training camp and do you have any special trainers helping you?
 
LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLANDhardest part of camp is the 3 week gruel of running,cutting,& body aching.u have 2b able 2 give ur all in tough conditions

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 7) Are you for or against 18 regular season games? and why?

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLANDhaven’t really thought of it yet.im fine with the 16 games for now

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 8) Would you be excited or not if the Cardinals were selected to play an NFL game in London in 2010?

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLANDI wouldn’t mind it.but im also not gonna jump for joy if we were selected to play there

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 9) How much better has Kurt Warner made you? His experience and faith is huge in my estimation

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLANDkurt Is one of the smartest qb in the game.he makes me a better player everyday

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11 10) Final question in mt twitterview – Which Cardinals rookies are showing that they are ready to get gametime in 2009?

LF: WhiteLfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLANDbeanie is goin 2b a beast.he is so talented plus hes dropping weight.expect big things from him this year.

LV: NFLFANINENGLAND@Lfitzgerald11Mr F you are a superstar and a class act. Thankyou for taking the time out. I hope to get you now in my nfl.com fantasy draft

LF: Lfitzgerald11@NFLFANINENGLANDno doubt brotha.take care

Anything YOU would have asked Mr Fitzgerald?
Ramsey Dardar's shirt in 1984 - his uniform is a bit different now !

Ramsey Dardar's shirt in 1984 - his uniform is a bit different now !

And no I’m not talking Micheal Vick. It was another appalling night of nonsense television here in England last night, with Big Brother limping along like a wounded deer.

My wife and I scanned through our Sky TV channels hoping for some sort of entertainment and stumbled across ‘Behind Bars – America’s Toughest Prisons’ on Bravo 2.

We both love watching shows about prisons, and as part of her studies my wife has in fact been to a UK prison and spoken to murderers serving life sentences.

We settled down to watch this show and to my surprise a brief trailer of what was to come in the next hour included a group of prisoners in rag-tag American football uniforms (looking more like the Jamaican bobsled team at the pushcart championships in the movie Cool Runnings).

When it came to the American football section of the prison show the narrator described the most famous inmate at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Centre in Louisiana as  former NFL defensive tackle Ramsey Dardar.

I have to confess I have never heard of Ramsey Dardar, but I listened with interest to the interview with Ramsey who said he played on the same Houston Oilers team as Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon.

I paused the show to look up Ramsey Dardar on the web and found out the following

1) Ramsey played for the LSU (Louisiana State University) Tigers as a starting defensive tackle in the late 70s and early 1980s

2) He was voted the 1982 SEC Defensive Lineman of the Year by the Atlanta Touchdown Club

3) He played in the 83 Orange Bowl – a 21-20 loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers (led by running back Mike Rozier)

4) He was drafted #71 overall (3rd round) of the 1983 NFL Draft by the St Louis Cardinals  – but as a rookie went on injured reserve before the season started

5) He was ALSO drafted #27 (3rd round) in the 1983 USFL Draft by the New Jersey Generals but never played for them. The Generals 1983 roster included future NFL stars Herschel Walker who ran for 1,812 yards on a mind blowing 412 carries that year.

5) He played one season in the NFL – 1984 for the St Louis Cardinals

6) He hung around the NFL throughout the mid 80’s and that included being released in August 1986 from the New York Giants, and being released from the Houston Oilers on September 1 1987

7) Dardar played on the same LSU team as Leonard Marshall. Marshall was drafted also in 1983 (#37 overall) by the New York Giants. Marshall went on to play 177 games in the NFL including winning two Superbowl rings for the Giants, in 1986 and 1990)

8) Dardar was drafted ahead of the following former NFL stars in 1983 – Charles Mann DE Redskins, Greg Townsed DE Raiders, Superbowl XX MVP Richard Dent DE Bears, and Karl Mecklenberg DE Broncos

It has been difficult to find the exact story that has led Ramsey Dardar from trying to find a job on an NFL roster in the 80s to becoming a prisoner at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Centre in Louisiana, but it seems he is serving numerous sentences for robbery (including armed robbery) to feed a drug addiction.

One of his former LSU Tiger team mates John Ed Bradley wrote a book that descibes his time at Tiger Stadium in the 70s, called ‘It never rains in Tiger Stadium’. Even though Bradley was a senior in 1979 he devotes a chapter to meeting and talking to Ramsey Dardar in prison in more recent times, describing his meeting with his former team mate. I must get hold of that book the next time I visit the stars and stripes.

We may think that NFL players going to prison (e.g Vick) is a recent phenomenon, or something that is a job requirement of the Bengals in the 21st Century, but it seems NFL players have been breaking the law for many many years.

Ramsey Dardar is living proof that it can all go wrong in the blink of an eyelid. He seems very approachable now as a prison inmate and coaches the ‘inmate football team’ in a ‘Longest Yard’ style.

Only problem for Ramsey Dardar is that when the film crew pack up and go home he does not get to go for a few cold brews in the local diner with Burt Reynolds or Adam Sandler, he instead gets prison food served in a plastic tray.

Fascinating stuff eh? What do you guys think?

A few months ago I was introduced to the rather bizarre world of Twitter. Twittering it seems is the new My Space, Bebo and Facebook all stripped down and made simple.

Everyone is now twittering, from Elizabeth Taylor snubbing Michael Jackson’s funeral on Twitter to Chad ‘mad as a box of frogs’ OchoCinco announcing that he wants to Twitter during an NFL game. Thinking about it what are the odds on OchoCinco twittering in the end-zone in the 2009 season. I wouldn’t give more than about 3-1 odds.

To tweet or not to tweet that is the question? The answer I gave is that I have started twittering, and I now have great fun wading through people’s followers that are real NFL players or people associated with the NFL.

Up until yesterday I had sent around 20 or so direct messages to NFL players, and apart from Chris Cooley’s twitter manager saying ‘go to Chris’s shop’  to BUY an autograph, I had not had any replies.

Then last night my white knight of the realm came thundering through the forest and from across the pond I had an NFL associated response. The transcript is below, with a screen grab showing the response….

White@Adam_Schefter Adam what was it like when you were drafted #1 overall in the smug faced reporter draft of 2000? Did you expect an early call (sent about 14 hours ago)

My new best mate - the perfectly groomed Adam Schefter

My new best mate - the perfectly groomed Adam Schefter

My first famous person direct message on Twitter has come from none other than NFL Network reporter and NFL.com blog writer Adam Schefter.

For some reason I thought of Schefter as a cheshire cat like grin machine, but now as he responded to me directly he has become my new best friend.

I am now attempting to conduct an email interview with Mr Schefter for my blog.

Ill keep you all updated.

McNair in the Superbowl - how he should be remembered
McNair in the Superbowl – how he should be remembered

I spent the last week on holiday in Cyprus, floating in a swimming pool listening to a whole raft of NFL pod-casts, some good, some poor and some that ITunes should have simply blocked from being uploaded.

In that time I did not access the Internet, and the only English speaking tv channels in the hotel were Sky News and BBC News.

Neither found the death of Steve McNair to be worthy of any sort of coverage, so when I switched my laptop on last night to discover McNair had been shot in the head and body I was taken aback.

McNair was the dictionary definition of a warhorse, a player who had guts, guile, great feet and above all the ability to lead a team.

One co-NFL MVP award, three Pro Bowl appearances, one All-Pro nod, an AFC Championship ring and a start in Superbowl XXXIV does not really go anywhere near justifying Steve McNair the NFL quarterback.

He earned every one of his 31, 304 regular season passing yards and deserved credit for every blade of grass and yard of AstroTurf he ran over to gain 3,590 regular season rushing yards (an incredible 5.4 yards a carry career average).

McNair was a warrior who finished 20th All Time in the NFL for pass completions and 12th All Time for career low interception percentage.

Having been drafted 3rd overall by the Houston Oilers in 1995, only Kerry Collins has surpassed him in passing yards for the Class of ’95, he did however out rush TWO 1995 first round running backs in his career (Ki-Jana Carter selected number 1 overall and Rashaan Salaam selected 21 overall) – this from a QUARTERBACK.

The gruesome nature of McNair’s death is something that I nor any Oilers, Titans or Ravens fan will want to dwell on for long I am sure.

Instead it is best to remember Steve as #9 a warrior, a gladiator who stood toe to toe with foes for 11 NFL seasons, never backing down a challenge, always ready to scramble that extra yard for a first down and always willing to inspire his team mates to move down the field for a score.

Time famously ran out for McNair in Superbowl XXXIV when his pass to Kevin Dyson failed to reach the endzone, now time has permanently run out for Steve McNair.

I’m sure the big man upstairs has room for a quarterback like Steve McNair on his roster.

R.I.P Steve McNair – a true NFL warhorse.