Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Race for the Bottom

It's the last week of the NFL season and along with games with playoff implications, let's not forget the importance of this week to the lowly Raiders and Lions, who are jostling for the #1 pick in the draft. They're both tied at 2-13, and if they both lose, the Lions get the #1 pick.

But there's not nearly as much hype associated with losing the final game to secure the top pick as there was last year, when the "Bush Bowl" between the 49ers and Texans was actually an eagerly anticipated game for that very reason. And that's for good reason. Last year's draft was incredibly strong, as it was both top-heavy and had plenty of depth. You had your future stars selected in the top 15 - Reggie Bush, Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Jay Cutler - but you also had a ton of great talents that have emerged picked after the first round: Devin Hester, Marcus McNeill, Maurice Jones-Drew, Marques Colston, Demeco Ryans, etc.

This year's draft doesn't appear to be as strong as last year's and even the presumed top pick (though it's way early in the game and this could change in a heartbeat), Brady Quinn of Notre Dame, appears to have more question marks surrounding him than the top picks from last year did.

Again, much too early to say anything with a hint of certainty, but if it ends up being Lions #1 and Raiders #2, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Lions pick Brady Quinn first and the Raiders go with Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson second. The Lions need a star QB, and the incumbent, Jon Kitna, has been through this situation before in Cincinnati with Carson Palmer. He'd be a pro at handling the transition. And Johnson, with his deep threat and acrobatic catch ability, might be too much for the Raiders and their eternal dreams of a vertical passing game to pass up. (Even though it might make more sense to draft a QB - perhaps JaMarcus Russell of LSU? - given the abysmal play they've gotten out of the position this year.)

In any case, don't expect the commissioner to need to watch those two games too closely to make sure the teams aren't tanking it.

Packers Need the Miracle of the Century to Make the Playoffs

So the Giants' 34-28 win against the Redskins tonight ended the seasons of the Panthers, Falcons, and Rams. Good. That puts those pretenders out of their misery - but it keeps another pretender, the Giants, in the #6 slot in the playoffs. That means that the only games that mean anything in the NFC tomorrow are Cowboys-Lions and Falcons-Eagles, to determine the NFC East champ.

Oh yeah, the Packers are still mathematically alive. But they need a miracle of epic proportions to surpass the Giants now. They need a whole lot of games to turn out a certain way, and barring the aforementioned miracle, they will also be playing for nothing by the time they suit up against the Bears for the Sunday nighter. CBS Sportsline does a good job highlighting what needs to happen for the Packers tomorrow.

As usual, the AFC gives you a reason to watch, as the 2 wild card spots and home field jostling among the division winners is still at stake. In total, 10 of the 16 AFC teams have something to play for tomorrow. Just hand the conference the Lombardi trophy now.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Men Everywhere Prepare to Make Lame Excuses to Their Wives

Yeah, New Year's Eve and its parties come only once a year.

But this December 31st, football fans will have an event that has happened....well, never.

For the first time, if your local team isn't at home, you will get to see both games of a double-header on both FOX and CBS. (Tough luck if your local team is at home though, as you don't get the game opposite the local game during the same timeslot.)

When you combine that with the NFL Network game on Saturday (though some - me included - would prefer to watch that game with the sound off to avoid the nails-on-a-chalkboard NFL Network commentary) and the NBC Sunday night game, you have the possibility of 6 NFL games in two days. Pretty sweet indeed.

And by the time all that watching is done, there'll hardly be time to go out for New Year's. But hey, that's a sacrifice a true fan of the NFL has got to make, especially on a day like Sunday.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Barry Zito, the Final Domino, Falls to the Giants

Is it just me, or did it seem to anyone else that the primary reason for the many bold moves in free agency this year, with cash being thrown at players like it was monopoly money, were to serve the purposes of Barry Zito?

Zito, the big free agent prize this year on the pitching side, is the last big name to sign this off-season, and it seemed like with every pitcher that signed a big contract, all you heard was that this would drive up the price for Zito. So Barry should thank Jeff Suppan, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and especially Gil Meche, for driving up his price tag to the $126 million mark that the Giants signed him to yesterday. Because of course, they weren't signing for their own good, they were just doing it to get Zito a big payday.

Of course I'm kidding, but a few things did pop out at me with this signing:

1. When the Royals can sign Gil Meche to a $55 million contract, it's clear that players no longer have to go to one of the New York teams to get a fat payday. To me, this was made abundantly clear with the Zito signing - if any player was destined for New York, be it with the Mets or the Yankees, it was him. But as it turned out, he could and did get his money somewhere else, San Francisco. It seems the off-season bidding wars are getting more competitive.

2. The Yanks' failure to get Zito may hasten their pursuit of Roger Clemens. The writing seems to be on the wall for fading star Randy Johnson in the Bronx, and New York will likely look to fill the hole in their rotation with Clemens with the failure to land Zito. The Red Sox, who are thought of as the other major player in the Clemens sweepstakes, do not have the need for him that the Yankees do with their signing of Matsuzaka, and may not push for him as hard as the Yankees will.

3. The NL West might have the best collection of starters of any division in baseball. Here are the presumed top 1-3 starters for the NL West teams excepting the Rockies:

Brandon Webb
Livan Hernandez
Doug Davis

Los Angeles:
Jason Schmidt
Brad Penny
Derek Lowe

San Diego:
Jake Peavy
Chris Young
Greg Maddux

San Francisco:
Barry Zito
Matt Morris
Matt Cain

That's an impressive group - should mean a good race in that division next season.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

OK, Maybe the Eastern Conference isn't That Bad

But the Atlantic Division still sucks.

Who would've thunk it? There is a pulse among the collective bodies of Eastern Conference teams. Unlike several weeks ago, when you could count the number of East teams with .500 records on one hand, we now have 7 better than .500 squads, which would make a legitmate playoff grouping.

Actually, the Central Division is the most balanced division in the NBA, with 3 bona fide conference champion contenders in the mix (Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago), along with a couple of solid playoff-caliber teams (Indiana, Milwaukee).

And you've got perhaps the hottest player (borderline pyromaniac based on his Hibachi comments) in the NBA in Gilbert Arenas. Very astute observation on making the comparison that the Wiz are the Eastern Conference's version of the Phoenix Suns - mile-a-minute offense, no defense.

The Western Conference on the whole is still obviously superior to anyone with a pair of eyes, but the East has suprised us before (see Detroit's upset of the Lakers in the 2004 Finals), maybe it could happen again.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

NFL MVP: Brees or LT?

The debate has been simmering for a couple weeks now, since Week 14 when LaDainian Tomlinson set the single-season touchdown record and Drew Brees orchestrated a thorough and ruthless demolition of the Dallas Cowboys in front of a national audience. The debate is fierce, and whichever of the two former Charger teammates wins (and this is only a two-horse race) will be well-deserving of NFL MVP. But who is more deserving?

The case for Tomlinson:
- He has always been an elite runner, but he has taken his game to an other-worldly level this year. After averaging 3.9 and 4.3 yds/carry in the last two seasons respectively, Tomlinson has bumped the figure up to a hefty 5.3 yds/carry this season. And of course the touchdowns - there was a reason he was in every fantasy draft's top 3 this year, but even the most knowing experts wouldn't have expected 31 touchdowns, a league record by 3, with a game still to play.

- Tomlinson has gotten better as the year has gone along. After starting the season well, he became downright dominant in November, when the Chargers took control of the AFC West after the struggles of the Broncos. His yards per carry average and touchdown tally spiked in that month, at 6.2 yds/carry and 12 TDs respectively.

- His imposing presence has helped to ease the burden on first-time starter at QB, Philip Rivers, who blossomed into a Pro Bowl selection. The loss of Brees to free agency didn't hurt as much as it might have because there remained a consistent source of offense in Tomlinson.

- LT will be productive anytime and anywhere. He is a model of high-level consistency, the likes of which the NFL has rarely seen. He can get his yards anywhere, behind the left side, right side, or middle of the offensive line, making it difficult for defenses to overplay to any one area. (Not to mention his superior receiving skills for which you have to account.) He gets his touchdowns in equal doses at home and on the road, with a remarkable 14 rushing TDs apiece. And most importantly, you know he's going to get the ball in the red zone and defenses still can't stop him. That is domination.

The case for Brees:
- The leadership qualities he brings to a team that was perhaps in more need of them than any other franchise after last season's Katrina-driven nightmare. Fellow players and coaches are unanimous in saying that he brought an identity and a confidence that were sorely lacking before he arrived. The Saints would follow him anywhere, and that can't be underestimated in the team's rise this season.

- He played big in crucial games. In three wins that looking back, were integral to the Saints getting to this point, against Atlanta (the first Superdome game since Katrina), and Philadelphia and Dallas (wins that gave them the tiebreak advantage they parlayed into a first-round playoff bye) he has a combined 850 yds, 8 TDs, and 71% completion percentage.

- In a league in which a steady hand at quarterback has been hard to come by, Brees has been the rare exception - a free agent acquisition who has not only met, but exceeded expectations. Compared against a lot of uneven play at the quarterback position this year, his play has stood out even more than it would have already.

Who gets the vote?
Tomlinson is commonly referred to as the best player in the game today, but that's selling him short. This season he's also the most valuable. He is the surest thing there is the NFL, and his play has made a good Chargers team great in the regular season - a step up that is arguably harder to achieve that going from bad to good, as the Saints have done.

Brees has been terrific this year, but you can argue that coach Sean Payton has actually been the team's most valuable addition. When you factor in the addition of super-rookies Reggie Bush and Marques Colston, a healthy Deuce McAllister, and a true slate of home games, the Saints improved in a lot of areas from last season to this. The Chargers' main personnel upgrade has been the Pro Bowl-caliber play of OT Marcus McNeill, which is not to be diminished, but the franchise hasn't had the overall upheaval that the Saints have experienced. Tomlinson is the main difference in turning the Chargers into the Super Bowl favorite, and for that he deserves MVP.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Best of Funky in Sports

In honor of James Brown, the funk legend who passed away early this morning, I've decided to put together a list of the funkiest, most colorful individuals, items, and institutions in sports history. I'm bound to forget somebody or something, so let me know if you think there are any glaring omissions. The following however, are my favorites:

Funkiest Player: Walt "Clyde" Frazier. One of the most stylish players in NBA history earned his nickname due to the movie Bonnie and Clyde in honor of the outlaw Clyde Barrow. Add the combination of an elegant but timeless style of play with his untamed 70's facial hair, and you've got funky.

Funkiest Name: World B. Free. Originally named Lloyd, you couldn't get a more perfect stage name for a man with his surname and career during the NBA's most colorful period, the 1970's. With his flashy playing style and his flamboyant dress off the court, he has always seemed to live up to his name.

Funkiest Owner: Al Davis. You want to talk about an outlaw, a non-conformist, a man who flies in the face of seeming logic, here's your man. He's had both successes and failures during his tenure as face of the Raiders, but no matter what, he'll stay true to his philosophy - a commitment to the vertical
passing game and an intense hatred for the Denver Broncos. The silver and black leisure suits he wears are just the cherry on top.

Funkiest Stadium: Fenway Park. Yeah, you don't usually put funky and Boston in the same sentence, but you can't deny the quirks that make Fenway one-of-a-kind. Whether it be the Green Monster turning a sure home run into a long single or double turning into a triple because the visiting outfielder can't handle the the angles of the outfield barriers, the park is something of a 10th man, playing a role in the outcome of the game.

Funkiest Uniform: Houston Astros' Rainbow Uniforms. You look at this uniform and you do one of two things: Either you puke with disgust, or you visit your local retro uniform retailer and make plans to get one of your own. There is no middle ground on a uni like this.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

NFL Week 16 Observations

Another week, and the playoff picture in the NFL is just as muddled as ever. Here are some observations with the two Christmas day games still left in Week 16.

- It is conceivable, (and maybe more than just conceivable considering the state of the conference these days) that the NFC could have 3 playoff participants at .500 or worse.
  • Seattle (8-7), which wouldn't have a shot if it played in any other division, will be the favorites against Tampa Bay next week, but they have virtually nothing to play for, locked into the #4 playoff seed- add to that the fact that the Bucs have been playing well of late, and you may be looking at an 8-8 division winner.

  • In the mess that is the race for the final playoff spot, whichever team backs into the #6 seed can have no better than an 8-8 record.

  • Philadelphia, 8-6 at the moment, will likely throw a wrench in this comedy of errors with its quality play of late, but in this season, anything is possible.

- Count me among the growing legions of football fans who are rooting for the Titans to make it into the AFC playoffs. If Tennessee does make it, I will clear my calendar to watch Vince Young do his thing. If it does happen, they'd likely play the Colts, a team they've already beaten this season, way back when it was improbable to even mention playoffs in the same sentence as Titans.

- Speaking of the Titans, their late season run reminds me a little bit of the Jaguars' streak in 1997, their second season of existence. The Jags were 4-7 before winning their last 5 to close the season, sneak into the playoffs, and somehow, advanced all the way to the AFC Championship Game. This Titans team was at 2-7, and now has won 6 in a row. The Titans need help to get in, even if they win, but so did the Jags back in '96, when they needed a rare missed field goal from Morten Andersen to win their final game. It could happen....

- I have a feeling that the Colts, now in the #3 slot in the AFC, will win their first playoff game at home, silencing doubters....for one week before they go out and lose to either the Ravens or Chargers on the road. It's hard for me to even say that this adversity will galvanize the team toward a deep playoff run, because united or not, the defense still can't stop the run. It's just a weakness they can't get over this late in the game.

- Baltimore may be on its way to one of the quietest 13-3 campaigns in NFL history. If they win next week and the Chargers lose, they believe it or not, will gain home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. I wasn't a believer earlier in the season, but they just keep winning, with a formula made for a deep playoff run - great defense and a steady offense. And this isn't the weak sister Trent Dilfer offense of the 2000 Super Bowl run. With Steve McNair at QB, weapons like Todd Heap and Mark Clayton to catch the ball, and - perhaps most importantly - head coach Brian Billick calling the plays, the Ravens can air it out too. I wouldn't be surprised if this team makes it all the way to Miami.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Arenas Goes Wild in Hideous Uniform

In case you missed it, Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas went for 60 in an overtime victory against the Lakers last night, a franchise record. That's the good news. The bad news is that the performance was marred by the atrocious uniform he had to do it in:

Oh man, that's like looking at the sun - if you stare at it for more than a few seconds, you might go blind.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Who's the Favorite in the NFC?

Another football Sunday has almost come and gone, and the ever-changing perception of who is the best team in the NFC is as muddled as ever. The Bears seemed to have a strangehold on that title through the first half of the season. Then the Tony Romo-led Cowboys took the NFL by storm for a few weeks, being "annonted" (to the dismay of Bill Parcells) best team in the conference. But as soon as you could say, "How bout them Cowboys," the Saints dismantled Dallas last week in a dominating 42-17 win on the road.

So after this week's games, who's in the driver's seat in the NFC? I'll rank the six teams that currently hold playoff positioning in order of worst chance to advance to the Super Bowl to best:

6. New York Giants: They're currently in the sixth slot in the conference after losing to the Eagles moments ago. If Michael Strahan is able to come back from his injury, it'll be huge for this team, but in the end, the fate of the Giants rests with Eli Manning, and he has yet to inspire any confidence in his late-season play over his three-year career.

5. Seattle Seahawks: Though it's a long-shot, the 'Hawks may yet be left out of the playoffs entirely and lose the division title if they lose their final two games and the 49ers win out. Seattle's been hit hard with injuries to key players this year and currently have no momentum on their side. At this point, this looks like a one-and-done team in the playoffs.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Speaking of momentum, Philly has a lot of it right now, having won three consecutive games with Jeff Garcia at the helm. Their defense, led by their ferocious secondary, is still as aggressive and opportunistic as ever, and offense has gotten into a real groove recently. The Eagles right now look like a darkhorse that could make a run in the playoffs.

3. New Orleans Saints: The Saints have the advantage of having the best QB in the NFC in Drew Brees, and a multitude of weapons on offense including Reggie Bush, but their run defense remains iffy. They're capable of going all the way, but I have a feeling that the Dallas game might have been the best game they'll play all season, and if they play the Cowboys in the playoffs, you can bet Parcells and company will be ready and angry.

2. Chicago Bears: Based on record, (12-2) you can argue that the Bears actually deserve the mantle of favorites. However, it's been much more of a roller coaster ride than the record indicates. Their biggest wins have come against overrated Seahawks and Giants teams, and they've had to sneak out wins against some of the dregs of the league in Arizona and today against Tampa Bay. Homefield advantage throught will help, but is no guarantee of a Super Bowl berth.

1. Dallas Cowboys: I'm hating myself as I type this, but rationally, I still think that the Cowboys are the most dangerous and most balanced team in the conference. They're as explosive as anyone on offense, and have the ability to get it done on defense. But even they are a flawed team. Their last two opponents, the Falcons and Saints, have hung 28 and 42 points on the defense respectively, and the secondary is prone to getting beat deep. On offense, you never know what you're going to get from Terrell Owens, who could drop an easy pass as easily as he could break a long one for a touchdown. Even so, they're less flawed then their competitors in my opinion, and may have re-established themselves as the NFC favorite with their win over Atlanta last night.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

NFL Network Needs to Get its Act Together

Tonight was the first time I watched an NFL Network game in a setting where I could hear the play-by-play, and the criticism it has been receiving for its broadcast is warranted. To tick them off:

-Bryant Gumbel is the biggest problem. He's obviously a very knowledgable individual, but that doesn't mean that he knows how to call a football game. There is an air of arrogance to the tone of his voice, a no-no for any play-by-play man, but especially for one who does not have much credibility in the sports world. Adding to that, I lost count of how many times he interrupted the commentators, especially poor Dick Vermeil, who could barely get a couple of thoughts out from his hoarse voice.

-Speaking of Vermeil, why would NFL Network trot him out there to do the game knowing full well that he could barely speak? When it was obvious that his inability to speak was taking away from the quality of the broadcast, he was replaced in the second half by Deion Sanders. What an embarrassing gaffe.

-The halftime show left a lot to be desired. In terms of the physical setup of the halftime commentators, why was Adam Schefter smack in the middle, while former NFL coach Steve Mariucci on the side? Who is Adam Schefter?? Why are you making him the center of attention when you have a former coach who is a lot more recognizable to football fans than Schefter, who comes off as very smug. And did they really need to carry around those big honking microphones with the NFL logo emblazoned on them? It was very distracting, and does the mighty NFL really need more brand reinforcement than it already has?

-Aside from that, the content of the halftime show was weak too - too much empty analysis of the first half with no real insight. If you have that much time to fill, at least have a feature to show, like an interview, or something. Change it up a little!

The one bright spot I have to say was Deion Sanders. While he's not the next John Madden, he provided some real thoughtful insight during the second half, particularly when talking about how Marion Barber should be getting more carries than Julius Jones. And when the commentators (Rich Eisen, Mariucci, and Sanders) interviewed Terrell Owens in the post-game show, Sanders wasn't afraid to confront T.O. about his spitting into DeAngelo Hall's face during the game. Owens tried to brush off the initial question from Sanders and treat the incident like it was nothing, but Deion pressed on, essentially scolding him for his actions. Good for him - Deion's probably one of the few people with the credibility to get into T.O.'s face like that on national TV, and he took advantage of it.

Next time, I'll turn the sound down and just listen to the radio.

Jim Mora and Allen Iverson Have a Chat

Speaking of Jim Mora, and Allen Iverson, who you made have heard is on the trading block, here's a brilliant YouTube video combining two of the best press conference sound bites ever.

Just Keep Your Mouth Shut

Jim Mora Jr. made some headlines yeseterday when he said in a radio interview that he would leave the Falcons head coaching job in a second if the University of Washington spot became open, even if it was during the course of the playoffs. Mora, a Huskies alum, then had to go back in an official press conference, and clarify that he was kidding, apologizing to and reassuring those who might have questioned his desire to the club.

It seems pretty clear to me that Mora was indeed joking when he made the statement - logic dictates that because:

-Current U-Dub coach Ty Willingham isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
-He has already turned down the Huskies position once before.
-No NFL coach in his right mind would play with his job security like that (and not to mention his chances of ever getting another NFL head coaching job if there were actually legitimate doubts about his commitment).

Nontheless, it was an error in judgment for Mora, who forgot one of the cardinal rules of sports PR: if you say something ambiguous that can be construed the wrong way, it probably will be. An NFL head coach is in the public eye unlike 99% of people in this country, and the fans hang on his every word. Whether that's right or wrong, that's a fact of life in today's NFL, and Mora should have thought it through a little more before he opened his mouth.

I guess the foot-in-mouth tendencies run in the family though, as Jim Mora Sr, his father, made headlines a few weeks ago, when he called Falcons QB Michael Vick a "coach killer." Mora resigned from his job at Fox Sports Radio shortly thereafter, presumably due to the media firestorm that ensued.

On Tonight's Radio Show...

Tonight on, I'll be doing my weekly radio show at 6pm. Here's what I'll be talking about:

  • Who's the favorite in the NFC now?
  • In an amazing year for rookies, who's been the best in the NFL this season?
  • Jim Mora Jr.'s U. of Washington gaffe
  • The troubled case of Tank Johnson and what it means to the Bears
  • Allen Iverson waits..and waits...and waits some more to be traded
  • Feel-good, under-the-radar stories from the year in college football

Go to the English language page of to listen at 6 - you can chime in during the show by emailing me at or IM me at sghazi0184.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Matsuzaka Signing a Watershed Moment for Major League Baseball

After weeks of speculation and posturing that comes with any Scott Boras negotiation, the Red Sox finally signed (apparent) all-world Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka to a 6 year, $52 million deal today.

With the $51 million posting fee that Boston paid Matsuzaka's Japanese team, the Seibu Lions, just for exclusive negotiating rights, the Red Sox are betting over $100 million that Matsuzaka not only works out, but pitches like the ace pitcher that he's getting paid to be.

His success or failure is crucial because it may very well affect the way teams throughout Major League Baseball approach Japanese players. If he's a Cy Young contender, the pitching equivalent of Ichiro Suzuki, the Red Sox's risk in a fairly unknown quantity will be rewarded, and it may embolden other teams to look to the East in scouting players. The posting business (detailed wonderfully in this New York Times article by Richard Sandomir) will become a high-stakes competition. Meaning that for Japanese clubs like Seibu, Matsuzaka's success could result in a huge financial windfall. Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell says it well:

As for the Lions, they're swimming in sake now. Seibu, with a dinky $17 million payroll, gets a $51.1 million windfall because it "owns" the rights to Matsuzaka. For doing nothing, Seibu will get a check for three times its annual team payroll. That would be like a league from outer space offering the Red Sox $350 million -- three times their payroll -- so a team from Mars could try to sign Jonathan Papelbon.

The question now becomes: are the Japanese clubs willing to "sell their souls" and serve as the springboard for their stars, a pseudo farm system for Major League Baseball? If the answer is yes, then free agency in baseball has entered a new era where high revenue teams like the Red Sox and Yankees can now fight it out on two sides of the world. And with Major League teams showing an increased willingness to throw gobs of money at anyone with a pulse (Gil Meche anyone?), it seems likely that the cash will be too much for teams like Seibu and company to resist.

Here's a quick video of Matsuzaka's mysterious "gyroball."

Monday, December 11, 2006

LaDainian Tomlinson: King among Men

What's been a considered a formality for the last few weeks has officially become reality. LaDainian Tomlinson, the dominant tailback of his era, has broken the record for touchdowns in a single season with 29. And that's in just 13 games! If he were playing back in 1972 with 14 game seasons, that would have held up. Now with a 16 game season, that means he has 3 more games to add to his record and put it out of reach maybe for all time. Currently, he's averaging a little more than 2 TDs per game; if he just stays on the track he's on, he'll have 35 touchdowns by the end of the year, an improbable figure when you consider that just 6 years ago, Marshall Faulk broke the record with his 26 TDs.

The question now is, how much will he be allowed to play with the Chargers rolling toward the top spot in the AFC playoffs? Well, he'll likely get at least 2 weeks of normal action, as San Diego is only a game up on the Colts and Ravens in the race for home field advantage. If he can get it up to 35 or above, it seems like a record that's out of reach for a long time. The only person who might be able to break it is the indomitable Tomlinson himself.

Best of all, Tomlinson is a great athlete that fans and especially children can look up to. Great article here by's Arash Markazi highlighting LT's good deeds, selflessness, and joy for the game. Here's hoping he'll be able to keep it up in the playoffs and showcase himself as a player and person to the nation.
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