Archive for October, 2010

Gore will be looking to slash the Broncos defensive line at Wembley

With two combined wins in their last 10 games, and only 3 wins in 14 contests between them, this is on paper the worst two teams to come and play in the NFL International Game, in the four year history of the contest.

Still, one mustn’t grumble we are under 5 little days away from the 4th consecutive regular season NFL game to be played at Wembley Stadium, and although it may rain, and whilst my wife will not exactly be beaming I can’t wait.

Whatever anyone says the real key to this game is how many touches that the talented 49ers running back Frank Gore (pictured above).

If Gore gets 30 touches then the 49ers win, if he gets under 20 this means they are passing and it spells doom and gloom.

I will take a small reporters notepad with me to Wembley on Sunday (along with a plastic bag to put my programme into) and I will be tooting up the Gore touches.

The 49ers opponents in England, the Denver Broncos, had their back sides handed to them in a hemp sack by the Oakland Raiders two days ago. 59 points conceded in three quarters by a team quarterbacked by Jason Campbell is simply to painful for words to describe.

Gore must be licking his lips more than a group of donut eaters at the world donut eating championships.

As much as I respect the heritage of the Denver Broncos I am a fully paid up member of the ‘Josh McDaniels is a prize loon fan club’ and I will be rooting for the Red and Gold on Sunday.

Only problem is I have just had a t-shirt delivered from the Next catalogue – and bizarrely its a Denver Broncos retro shirt with the white hose riding up through the big letter D.

I wonder what everyone else is wearing and if you actually are a fan of the other 30 teams who you will be supporting on Sunday?

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The fashion police finally granted Mike Singletary (bottom right) day release to come back to England

 

The last time San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary was at Wembley Stadium was back in the 80s, as Da Bearz faced the the Dallas Cowboys in the American Bowl ’86.

Back then it was cool to rap in full uniform (minus pads and helmets) whilst simultaneously trying to pull off an impression of News at Ten legend Trevor McDonald.

Speaking today after touching down in London, the former middle linebacker and now head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Mike Singletary said all the right things.

Asked about why he jetted the team to England one day after a tough loss to the Carolina Panthers, Coach Singletary said: ““I always believe that we want to give the guys a chance to get acclimated. If you’re going to come for just a couple of days – we know it’s a business trip and we know that we’re coming here to win a football game, but at the same time, we have a younger football team. I wanted our guys to be able to come and get a taste of the culture, and at the same time, get a feel for the environment. The weather and the whole nine yards, and just be settled by the time the game starts. I think it was a great decision.”

Asked about what this means to the Bears bank balance the steely eyed coach said: “I’m not sure, in terms of the financial gain one way or the other. I think more than anything, it’s the exposure. I think the NFL is a tremendous game. I think having a game here really gives the NFL a lot of exposure. I think it gives the people here – it’s a two-way street, the fans here have a chance to see the game. In what you call ‘futbol,’ I think there are some similarities. The fans could get very excited about it and want more of it. We’re hoping that is the case.”

Asked the inevitable question about the possibility of an NFL franchise permanently moving to London, England, the Super Bowl XX winner said: “It would depend on the team. That would be really interesting. It could be a good thing. It could be dependent on if the team is young. It depends on if it’s a mature team, if it’s a young team. I think if you had a mature team here, it could possibly work, and work to their advantage. I’m not trying to sell you on it, but I do believe it would have to be a veteran team, it couldn’t be a young team.”

So has Coach Mike been told something that everyone else is thinking? Moving an existing franchise from North America to Europe. I find it very interesting Coach Mike talks about a ‘mature team’ moving would be the only way it could work. That kind of says no to the likes of the Jacksonville Jaguars doing a Midnight Mayflower.

As my mind goes in all different directions I just want to say to all the San Francisco 49ers players, coaches and support staff – WELCOME TO ENGLAND. Few tips – stay away from the drink we call bitter, Jellied eels are NOT the English version of gummy bears and make sure if you do have some Fish and Chips you make sure you get cod and not that rubbish pollack.

 

 

 

The ginger prince rejected my questions

Had the rather disappointing email earlier today that informed me that I was not one of the 175 ‘random’ (yeah right) fans that would have the opportunity to ask NFL commissioner Roger Goodell some direct questions the day before the Broncos play the 49ers at Wembley on October 31.

This is the email I got from NFLUK

Dear Lawrence Vos

Unfortunately because of a huge flood of applications to meet NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and participate in a Q&A with him on Saturday October 30th we could not accommodate your request to attend at the present time.

The event was heavily oversubscribed, and we randomly chose 175 people to attend. We have asked that any of those that were picked that now cannot make it for any reason let us know as soon as possible so that we can invite some of you that missed out to take their place.

On Saturday afternoon there will be an opportunity to hear the Commissioner speak and answer some of the type of questions that you sent in, when he is interviewed at the NFL Fan Rally event in Trafalgar Square. The interview will take place within the first hour of the Fan Rally – which starts at 1pm – so come down early to see him along with NFL greats Jerry Rice, Roger Craig and current 49ers head coach Mike Singletary, as well as music and entertainment. Click here for further details.

We hope to see you at Trafalgar Square on Saturday October 30th and also at Wembley for the 2010 NFL International Series game between the 49ers and Broncos on Sunday.

Thank you again for your application to meet the Commissioner and please accept our sincere apology that we could not fit you in.

NFL UK”

Polite yes, the complete truth? Not sure about that.

Here are the questions I asked that will now remain unanswered;

1) What % of likelihood is there to move the Jacksonville Jaguars to England?
2) How far do you think you will cripple the global growth of the NFL if there is a player strike in 2011?
3) The World League failed, NFL Europe failed, what makes you think there is a future for the NFL in England?
4) Did you know you need to have TWO SEPARATE satellite television contracts to watch Sunday NFL games and Monday Night football?
5) Any plans to introduce the NFL Sunday ticket onto a European satellite audience?
6) Which player or players are in your eyes the ‘Face’ of the NFL in 2010?
7) Why do you give players who take drugs a second chance and why did you let someone who fought dogs to death back into the league? Just because he can effectively scramble does not make Michael Vick the comeback player of the year.
8) Are there any NFL team who refuse to come over to play in England?
9) How likely is it that we move to an 18 game regular season?
10) What was it like the first time you picked up an NFL football and saw YOUR signature on it?
Come on Roger – we want answers!

 

Because you're 'Gore'geous - the tickets arrived today !

Phew! They have arrived in our house, two pieces of thin card that bring a huge smile to my chubby face.

Yes my two tickets for the San Francisco 49ers v Denver Broncos are here and on my coffee table.

Despite both teams travelling to a different continent to play their week 8 game, it is billed as a 49ers home game.

With that in mind I was delighted to see 49ers workhorse running-back Frank Gore as the ticket star.

I had a bad feeling that 49ers quarterback, and the man that will cost Mike Singletary his job, Alex Smith would be on the tickets.

Gore is one of the hardest working running backs in the NFL, a player who plays with passion, guts and a nose for the endzone.

The former Miami Hurricane has only managed one season without injury since he was drafted in 2005, but despite that he has amassed 6,032 rushing yards (at an impressive 4.7 yards per run) and 2,115 receiving yards, resulting in 42 touchdowns.

In six games so far this season Gore has only managed three total touchdowns. This is not Frank’s fault, it is Alex ‘millstone’ Smith who has crippled the 49ers offensive production.

With under two weeks until I get to see Gore in the flesh, I only hope the man handing him the ball is not a former #1 pick in the NFL draft (and yes that includes you David Carr!).

 

Alex Smith is facing splinters quite soon

The second coming of 49ers QB Alex Smith has NFL fans around the world about as excited as opening a gas bill.

With just two weeks to go until the 49ers make the longest regular season road trip in their history I have to confess I am not exactly feeling like  ‘a six year old on Christmas Day’.

This was supposed to be a team that would ‘hit people in the mouth’ en-route to a division winning record of 11-5 or 12-4.

Instead we have a team that is falling apart at the seams, boasting a giant goose egg in the win column. The evidence for a wasted season is mounting up.

  • Head coach Mike Singletary has said in public that there is a ‘rat’ in the organisation
  • Veteran safety Mike Lewis asked for his release, and it was granted
  • Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye was sacked
  • After 5 weeks the team ranks 31st out of 32 in scoring offence, and 30th in rushing yards

Eight offensive touchdowns in five NFL games is hardly the stuff that Roger Goodell would have imagined when he signed off the agreement for the 49ers to come and play at Wembley on Halloween.

Unless the 49ers can somehow start a miracle run against their local rivals the Oakland Raiders on Sunday then all the fans coming to Wembley will witness a Halloween trick of the most ghoulish proportions.

Had the pleasure of picking up my weekly free copy of a ‘lads’ magazine called Shortlist just outside Birmingham New Street (UK) train station this afternoon.

I enjoy a good skim through it as I make my 20 minute train journey home, and to my delight today’s issue had an American Football article in it penned by none other than the singer Huey Lewis (found on page 58).

He was reminiscing  about the day the San Francisco 49ers beat the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII (23). As a Niners fan he went as far as to say “Still I’ll never forget this game.”

All seems quite straight forward so far, until you read in full the article he wrote. Lewis describes how 49ers quarterback Joe Monana ‘orchestrated a 92-yard drive, ending in a 10-yard pass to Roger Craig to win the game’.

Whooooah – ROGER CRAIG ? Every NFL fan in the world knows that it was wide receiver John Taylor who caught the winning score as the Bengals focussed their defensive efforts on man marking Jerry Rice.

Huey, I hate to say it but I think you have the early onset of dementia. Next you will start saying the Bengals won Super Bowl XXIII.

You stick to the music and leave the NFL punditry to the likes of Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.

Goodnight knuckle-heads – and especially for you Huey, below is what actually happened at the end of Super Bowl XXXII.

McNabb is playing at the Linc - this time without wings on his helmet

I have to admit its been a somewhat flat start to the season for me.

A week 1 win for the Skins (just – thanks Alex Barron – cheque is in the post!) followed by two collapses, has me thinking this will be another season of doom and gloom.

And then the juiciest matchup in the entire NFL in Week 4 lands on my lap, and praise the lord Sky Sports here in England have selected it as the 4.15pm EST (9.15pm here) live game.

Talk about great stories coming from this game;

  • Washington QB comes back to Philly for the first time in his professional career NOT wearing the green of the Eagles
  • Professional dog killer Michael Vick has cemented himself as the number one signal caller in Philly and will be looking to show off his silky running skills and big arm on Sunday.

What makes this games so special is not only the fact it is one of the fiercest divisional rivalries in the NFL, both teams have not been able to establish the run, so they will be looking to McNabb and Vick to grab the game by the scruff of its neck.

The Eagles for sure have faster, younger and more talented wide receivers, with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. In the Burgandy and Gold corner is a bunch of WR that excites me as much as a luke-warm cappuccino from a petrol garage.

My prediction – When he was traded earlier this year and asked about returning to Rocky Balboa’s home town McNabb said it ‘would just be another game’ – what a bunch of crap. McNabb will be fired up, but so will the Eagles fans, and so will Philly head coach Any Reid. This game has the potential to be a classic, but the Redskins are simply not worth the hype. Going 14-0 down early to the bottom feeding Rams last week was enough to convince me that Washington will be picking top 12 in the 2011 draft. Hate to say it but I have the Eagles by 10.

Prediction – Eagles 27-17 Redskins – Vick to pull off a few dizzying scrambles and Trent Cole to get to McNabb twice.