Will social, sports activism lead to systemic change?

By kneeling during a celebrated custom in America's favorite sport, Colin Kaepernick has spear-headed a modern message of social activism.

By kneeling during the singing of the National Anthem, a routine custom to tip-off sports games in America, San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has spear-headed a modern method of social activism.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

One month after NFL reporter Steve Wyche brought San Francisco 49ers’ Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem protest to light, the conversation surrounding the motive and method of his actions continue to surge. While some are still debating whether the protest is offensive or not, many have joined the cause to highlight the disparity in the treatment of people of color, particularly unarmed black men, by the police.

After making his intentions clear, Kaepernick's profile increased enough to land him on the cover of October's Time magazine. His popularity has also grown as his soaring jersey sales clearly prove.

After making his intentions clear, Colin Kaepernick’s profile increased enough to land him on the cover of the Time magazine for the first week in October. His popularity has also grown and his g jersey sales continue to soar.

Kaepernick has been clear that the motive for his actions is to create dialogue and bring awareness to the issue of police brutality and misconduct, especially towards people of color. He also stated, “There’s a lot of people who don’t want to have this conversation. You know they’re scared they might lose their job or they might not get endorsements, they might not be treated the same way. And those are things I’m prepared to handle.”

There was no way to predict the reaction to Kaepernick’s stance, yet the amount of support he has received has to be encouraging to people who are tired of seeing people of color die at the hands of the police, who are paid to protect them. When police murder unarmed black and Latino civilians without facing any consequence they send a message that the lives that they take lack value due to their skin color.

Countless others have joined the cause to bring awareness to the unjust treatment of people of color.

Countless others have joined the cause to bring awareness to the unjust treatment of people of color.

Kaepernick has done what many who support the BlackLivesMatter movement have been trying to do for months, simplify the message with a simple, non-violent gesture of protest. His jersey has become a symbol, no longer celebrating the San Francisco 49ers and their rich NFL history, but of a person willing to face adversity to make a stand for the greater good. To date, over 50 NFL players have joined the protest by kneeling or raising a fist during the anthem. Countless athletes across other sports have also made the same gesture and the statement has been made in classrooms as well as political forums.

While the protest receives the headlines, there seems to be positive action resulting from the heightened attention. According to statistics revealed by reporters Ken Klippenstein and Paul Gottinger, “A Gallup poll conducted in July showed confidence in police is at a 22-year low.” The same publication highlights that the rate of police indictments have increased by 5 times over the last 5 plus months.

Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby (left) was indicted within a week of the shooting death of Terrence Crutcher (right).

Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby (left) was indicted within a week of the shooting death of Terrence Crutcher (right).

The swift indictment of Tulsa police officer Betty Jo Shelby after she killed Terrence Crutcher, an unarmed black man whose vehicle broke down in the middle of the street last week, instead of helping him get his vehicle towed so that he could go home to his family, shows an ebbing tide away from the days of simply taking the police’s word in these tragic events.

As Kaepernick and other social activists continue to shine the light on injustice in this area, it’s possible that sustained activism will result in enough positive change that will, in turn, help to address other major social issues that plague the nation.–OnPointPress.net

Russell Wilson’s quiet leadership is exemplary among black quarterbacks

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hopes to lead his team to consecutive championships.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hopes to lead his team to consecutive championships.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On  Sunday, February 1, 2015, Russell Wilson has a chance to become back-to-back Super Bowl champion. There are only a handful of quarterbacks that have that distinction on their resume, most recently his opponent on Sunday, Tom Brady. However, Russell Wilson has already achieved an historic accomplishment by being the first African-American quarterback to reach the Super Bowl in consecutive years.

Steve McNair had a great deal of success in his career, including his play in the wildly entertaining Super Bowl XXXIV.

Steve McNair had a great deal of success in his career, including his play in the wildly entertaining Super Bowl XXXIV.

Wilson is the fourth African-American quarterback to play in the Super Bowl. In 2004 Donovan McNabb led the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl and in 1999 Steve McNair also led the Tennessee Titans to the Super Bowl. McNair and McNabb fell short of leading their teams to victory and were ultimately unsuccessful in winning the Super Bowl.

McNabb fell short of Super Bowl victory in 2004, but led the Eagles to several NFC title games.

McNabb fell short of Super Bowl victory in 2004, but led the Eagles to several NFC title games.

In 2012, Colin Kaepernick surprised many by leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in just his 10th career start. He narrowly missed a second opportunity to appear in the Super Bowl last season, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. Wilson, Kaepernick, and Cam Newton are few of the young African-American quarterbacks who are changing perceptions about the position with their varied styles of winning.

Doug Williams put forth one of the best Super Bowl performances of any quarterback when he led the Redskins to victory in 1987.

Doug Williams put forth one of the best Super Bowl performances of any quarterback when he led the Redskins to victory in 1987.

In 1987 Doug Williams guided the Washington Redskins to the Super Bowl and was victorious over the Denver Broncos. Williams’ Super Bowl appearance is not only distinctive because he is African-American, but also because of his superb performance that day. Williams orchestrated a 42 -10 rout of the Denver Broncos with 340 passing yards and 4 touchdowns, en route to being named Super Bowl MVP. As successful as Williams and the Redskins were that day, they were unsuccessful in repeating the following year.

Marshawn Lynch (l) and Richard Sherman (r) have been the main attractions when discussing the Seahawks during this week's media sessions.

Marshawn Lynch (l) and Richard Sherman (r) have been the main attractions when discussing the Seahawks during this week’s media sessions.

Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks hope to add their names to the history books with repeat Super Bowl victories on Sunday against the New England Patriots. While many of Wilson’s teammates like Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman have become major headlines during media week, Wilson has flown under the radar. However, his importance to the game cannot be understated.

Wilson hopes this Super Bowl ends the same way the last one did, with the Seahawks victorious.

Wilson hopes this Super Bowl ends the same way the last one did, with the Seahawks victorious.

Wilson is the unquestioned leader on offense and will have to play a much better game than he did in the NFC championship game if the Seahawks are to prevail this Sunday. So far in his career Wilson has been successful in overcoming challenges, so there’s no reason to believe Super Bowl XLIX will be any different.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. Is a sports aficionado and a training/benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

Ranking the NFL job openings after Black Monday’s bloodbath

The core of the San Francisco 49ers (l-r) Navarro Bowman, Colin Kaepernick, and Patrick Willis remain intact for the next head coach.

The core of the San Francisco 49ers (l-r) Navarro Bowman, Colin Kaepernick, and Patrick Willis remain intact for the next head coach.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The NFL playoffs start on Saturday, January 3, but the week began with a range of changes on Black Monday. The Atlanta Falcons and San francisco 49ers parted ways with their head coach, while the New York Jets and Chicago Bears terminated their general manager and head coach. Jeff Fisher amazingly retains his head coaching job of the St. Louis Rams despite another mediocre season, but there are five current openings that need to filled.

The next Raiders head coach will have last season's 1st two picks in Khalil Mack (l) and Derek Carr (m) to do a better job than last year's head coach Dennis Allen (r).

The next Raiders head coach will have last season’s first two picks in Khalil Mack (l) and Derek Carr (m) to do a better job than last year’s head coach Dennis Allen (r).

6) The Oakland Raiders have been the model of consistency the last dozen NFL seasons, unfortunately they have been consistently dreadful. The Raiders will not bring back interim head coach Tony Sparano. Raiders rookies Khalil Mack, Derek Carr and second year running back Latavius Murray are some of the bright spots on a roster that needs major changes. The next head coach will not only have to contend with a losing culture but also another season of massive overhaul to the roster. They would be best served in hiring a head coach with plenty of NFL experience.

The Jets will have to decide whether Geno Smith (r) and Eric Decker (l) are part of the long-term solution as the team looks to improve quickly.

The Jets will have to decide whether Geno Smith (r) and Eric Decker (l) are part of the long-term solution as the team looks to improve quickly.

5) The New York Jets pulled the plug on the Rex Ryan/John Idzik era with much fanfare to long- suffering Jets fans. The next GM will have the #6 pick in this upcoming draft and a lot of cap space to try to address a myriad of needs. Second year quarterback Geno Smith and high-priced free agent wide receiver Eric Decker had career days in the last game of the season. The next head coach will have the daunting task of grooming a franchise quarterback, something that has escaped the Jets for quite some time.

The first step  for the turnaround for the Bills is to find a long-term answer at quarterback to throw the ball to last year's first round pick Sammy Watkins.

The first step for the turnaround for the Bills is to find a long-term answer at quarterback to throw the ball to last year’s first round pick Sammy Watkins.

4) The Buffalo Bills and head coach Doug Marrone decided to go their separate ways after two disappointing seasons. The Bills expected Marrone to help their offense grow, instead the defense has been much stronger. There are a number of veteran defensive players that are likely to remain on the roster next season but the team has to solve the issue at starting quarterback. The team started journeyman quarterback Kyle Orton for the majority of last season so it is imperative the Bills address that situation. Their next head coach will have to make the offense as good as the defense has been the past couple of years.

The next GM and head coach of the Bears will have to solve the riddle of how to win with Jay Cutler.

The next GM and head coach of the Bears will have to solve the riddle of how to win with Jay Cutler.

3) The Chicago Bears appear to have enough pieces in place to complete a quick turnaround. However, their defense will require a number of changes to improve, their lousy, hopeless, big money quarterback Jay Cutler seems to have regressed, and they play in one of the toughest divisions. The Bears will first have to find a GM who will determine whether they want an offensive or defensive minded head coach. Ultimately, the next head coach will have to do something that no previous head coach has been able to do, win consistently with Jay Cutler, who is a bust, regardless of his exorbitant contract.

The Falcons feel they have cornerstone players in Julio Jones (l) and Matt Ryan (r). The next head coach has to vastly improve their defense and make the offense more balanced.

The Falcons feel they have cornerstone players in Julio Jones (l) and Matt Ryan (r). The next head coach has to vastly improve their defense and make the offense more balanced.

2) The Atlanta Falcons have been trending backwards since making it to the NFC Championship in 2012. Mike Smith was relieved of his duties in part because the defensive oriented head coach has been unable to put a suitable defense on the field. The Falcons will not only have to make huge strides on defense to turn things around, but their offense is way too dependent on their passing attack. Julio Jones is extremely talented but injury prone and the next head coach is going to have to get more out of quarterback Matt Ryan.

The next 49ers head coach will have large shoes to fill as Jim Harbaugh (l) helped restore the franchise to it's winning ways by helping identify Colin Kaepernick as the next franchise quarterback.

The next 49ers head coach will have large shoes to fill as Jim Harbaugh (l) helped restore the franchise to its winning ways by helping identify Colin Kaepernick as the next franchise quarterback.

1) The San Francisco 49ers ended the season 8 – 8 after going to 3 consecutive NFC Championship games. Head coach Jim Harbaugh’s departure was not celebrated by 49ers fans but anticipated. The team has many positive components in place including quarterback Colin Kaepernick and an excellent defense. All-Pro linebackers Navarro Bowman and Patrick Willis should be healthy returns to the roster that will need to improve at cornerback and wide receiver. The main task for the next head coach is to vastly improve a predictable and largely unproductive offense. The 49ers have the best chance to turn things around next season and return to the playoffs.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a training and benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

Four bold predictions for the 2014 NFL season as the games begin

As the regular season  begins in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are among the favorites to win the Super Bowl this year.

As the regular season begins in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are among the favorites to win the Super Bowl this year.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

With the NFL season starting Thursday, September 4, optimism is at its height as every team hopes that all things work in their favor. The predictions for this upcoming NFL season from OnPointPress.net will be bold and based on the idea that the unexpected must always be considered when it comes to sports.

AFC Player Prediction: Joe Flacco will make the top three in MVP voting this season:

Flacco already has a Super Bowl MVP award. Could he add a regular season MVP to his award case?

Flacco already has a Super Bowl MVP award. Could he add a regular season MVP to his award case?

Flacco has proven to be a very good quarterback already as he has helped lead the Baltimore Ravens to the playoffs 5 times out of 6 years and win the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season. However, Flacco’s regular season statistics have been mostly average. Though Flacco is yet to miss a game in his career, he has not thrown for more than 4,000 yards or more than 25 touchdowns in any season of his 6 year career. This season, the prediction is that will Flacco throw for more than 4,500 yards and 35 touchdowns and lead the Ravens back to the playoffs with home field advantage. A revamped offensive line along with added healthy weapons will give Flacco a chance to put up big numbers on a winning team.

NFC Player Prediction:  Gerald McCoy will win defensive player of the year:

Defensive lineman Gerald McCoy will help bring wins and attention to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Defensive lineman Gerald McCoy will help bring wins and attention to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Gerald McCoy is already one of the best defensive players but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have struggled during his four-year career. McCoy has been selected to the 2012 and 2013 Pro Bowl and was an All Pro selection in 2013. This season McCoy will be under the tutelage of new Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith and his defensive expertise. This season, the prediction is that McCoy will have 13 sacks and cause six turnovers as he helps lead the Buccaneers to a winning record this season. Tampa Bay will have a chance to catch some teams by surprise early and build on that momentum during the season.

AFC Team Prediction: The Oakland Raiders will finish second in the AFC West:

The Oakland Raiders have a lot of new faces on their roster including rookie quarterback Derek Carr. Those changes will result for the first winning season in years for the Raiders.

The Oakland Raiders have a lot of new faces on their roster including rookie quarterback Derek Carr. Those changes will result for the first winning season in years for the Raiders.

The Oakland Raiders have been mired in mediocrity for more than a decade now with their last playoff appearance occurring in 2002. There has been a great deal of turnover on the roster and the Raiders have spent money on veteran players like Charles Woodson, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Justin Tuck between the last two years to try to change the culture. The addition of first round pick Khalil Mack and second round pick Derek Carr should provide enough blending of youth and experience to win a lot more games this year. This season the prediction is that the Oakland Raiders will win nine games and finish second in their division.

NFC Team Prediction: Only one team will make the playoffs from the NFC West:

Russell Wilson (l) and Colin Kaepernick (r) are expected to be better this season than last year but one of their teams may not make the playoffs this year.

Russell Wilson (l) and Colin Kaepernick (r) are expected to be better this season than last year but one of their teams may not make the playoffs this year.

The defending champion Seattle Seahawks have looked fantastic this preseason while the San Francisco 49ers have had to deal with a breadth of depletion to their roster due to injuries and suspensions. Both teams have a great deal of depth and numerous young talented players which is why they are expected to make the playoffs again this year. The Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams will be decent this year but both have major problems. The division will come down to the Seahawks and 49ers again. The 49ers will win the division if for no other reason than the gift presented by Seahawks’s defensive back Richard Sherman.

As a firm believer in the Madden Curse, OnPointPress.net is convinced that Sherman will singlehandedly destroy his team’s chances to advance out of a competitive division by choosing to grace the cover of Madden this year. It stands out that the Seahawks have been good early in the season. The biggest obstacle will be whether the Seahawks can maintain the level of defensive dominance to allow an evolving offense to lead a team on another championship run. Great defensive teams like the 85′ Bears, 86′ Giants, 00′ Ravens, and 02′ Buccaneers, all failed to repeat and the Seahawks will join that list, as the Madden Curse will triumph again.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

NFL, Roger Goodell, face crumbling, tarnished image

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be busy working on penalties for off-the-field indiscretions. There needs to be more emphasis in preventing those occurrences.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be busy working on penalties for off-the-field indiscretions while addressing the need for preventing those occurrences.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Thursday, July 24, National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell levied a two-game suspension on Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. Rice’s suspension stems from a domestic violence incident with his then fiancé, now wife, Janay Palmer. While the length of the suspension generated a great deal of criticism of Goodell’s judgement, the larger issue is the alarming number of NFL personnel facing criminal charges and the shaky NFL image that is presented to the public.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice received a 2 game suspension last week that many felt was  not enough.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was punished with a two-game suspension last week, causing national uproar from fans who felt the punishment was inadequate.

Part of the uproar about Rice’s suspension stemmed from the length of suspension for  legal issues and the discrepancy in penalties levied by the NFL for drug offenses. Some people believe the NFL commissioner is painting himself in a difficult corner when it comes to these inconsistent penalties. ESPN NFL Writer Jim Trotter was blunt:

“Once perceived as being too tough and inflexible, [Goodell] now comes across as being too soft on domestic violence — even at a time when the league is courting female fans.”

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslem is paying $92 million as penalty arising from a federal fraud investigation. However, he has not violated any NFL conduct policies.

Cleveland Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam is paying $92 million as penalty arising from a federal fraud investigation. However, he has not violated any NFL conduct policies.

The NFL has demonstrated that there is considerable difference between breaking specific NFL drug rules and vague NFL conduct rules. Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has agreed to pay a $92 million penalty as a result of a federal fraud investigation. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello issued a statement on Haslam’s case, which said: “There have been no allegations of any personal conduct that it is violation of NFL policy.”

There have been numerous personnel from different teams arrested this offseason, with the charges varying from Driving Under the Influence (DUI) to attempted murder. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has amended his initial inclination to suspend players immediately who are arrested and has repeatedly stated, “We have to let the [legal] process play out before we determine if any sanctions are necessary.” This change  in attitude has resulted in roughly two years passing without players being suspended under the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.

Greg Hardy, of the Carolina Panthers, has also received a conviction due to  domestic assault on a woman. Though his case is being appealed, Goodell could still levy a penalty.

Greg Hardy, of the Carolina Panthers, has also received a conviction due to domestic assault on a woman. Though his case is being appealed, Goodell could still levy a penalty.

Goodell will have plenty of cases to resolve over the next several weeks. Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy was found guilty on July 15 of assaulting and threatening a  female. However, Hardy and his defensive team have been granted an appeal and a jury trial for this case is expected to occur early next year. Hardy will be free until the trial is over, but that does not preclude the NFL from making a judgement in the interim.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has been in the news for months due to his arrest for DUI and drug possession. Goodell has yet to penalize Irsay but has stated that the possibility exists.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has been in the news for months due to his arrest for DUI and drug possession. Goodell has yet to penalize Irsay but has stated that the possibility exists.

Additionally, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has been in the news because of his arrest and DUI and drug charges. An owner having legal problems has brought extra attention to how the NFL is dealing with NFL personnel having legal problems. Many fans have voiced their displeasure with the process. The NFL also has the continued link to Aaron Hernandez and his ongoing murder trials as reminders of the legal problems facing different players in the league.

Browns wide receiver is facing a one-year suspension for failing another drug test. His appeal will be held on Aug. 1.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is facing a one-year suspension for failing another drug test. His appeal will be held on Aug. 1.

There is also the appeal hearing scheduled for August 1 in the case of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who has already received a year-long suspension for failing another drug test. Gordon was also arrested for DWI this summer after learning of the suspension and upcoming appeal. With the NFL regular season just six weeks away from starting, the NFL would like all of the emphasis to stay on the field of play. San Francisco 49ers defensive end Aldon Smith is also expected to face some sort of penalty after having a number of off-the-field issues last season that led to arrests.

 Ben Roethlisberger was among those who received 'swift justice' from the commissioner. Now it appears Goodell takes a more leisurely approach to punishment.


Ben Roethlisberger was among those who received ‘swift justice’ from the commissioner. Now it appears Goodell takes a more leisurely approach to punishment.

Goodell seems to have shifted in philosophy in evaluating matters for suspension and fines. Players like Adam “Pacman” Jones and Ben Roethlisberger received penalties before their legal processes had been completed. Terelle Pryor and coach Jim Tressel received punishment for NCAA violations. These types of premature sanctions have not occurred much recently but that has not made people forget they happened. In fact, they highlight an inconsistency in levying punishment, resulting in fans and members of the media view Goodell with suspicion and unease.

Whatever the penalties levied to the afore-mentioned NFL personnel, the bigger problem Goodell is facing is how to prevent scenarios that require punishment in the first place. The NFL has the largest workforce of the major sports in this country and is debatably the most lucrative and popular. Athletes may not be role models for their community but they tend to be idols for many fans. It is incumbent upon the NFL, Goddell and the NFL Players Association to be more diligent in working on preventing reasons for the commissioner to issue penalties under the NFL Personal Conduct Policy, while making an effort to clean up the NFL’s tarnished image through relevant, ongoing training of its personnel and representatives..–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

AFC or NFC, which championship game will be better?

Russell Wilson hopes to take the #1 seed Seahawks to the Super Bowl in his second year as a starter in the NFL.

Russell Wilson hopes to take the #1 seed Seahawks to the Super Bowl in his second year as a starter in the NFL.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Magic, Earvin Johnson versus Larry Bird or Lakers versus Celtics: Epic individual matchup or dynamic team rivalry? Which was better? Like the great games played by those two competitors, the National Football League (NFL) couldn’t have asked for a better championship weekend. The AFC championship will feature the two biggest stars in the NFL over the past decade as Tom Brady leads his New England Patriots to Denver to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Two all-time great quarterbacks facing each other with an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl has to be the best game of the weekend, doesn’t it?

Colin Kaepernick will have to be at his best to lead the 49ers to consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

Colin Kaepernick will have to be at his best to lead the 49ers to consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

Meanwhile, the NFC championship will feature the best rivalry in the NFL, the two best defenses remaining in the playoffs, and two of the best young quarterbacks, who are both African-American, in the game. Combine those factors with two head coaches who have a rivalry that goes back to their days coaching in college (Pete Carroll at USC and Jim Harbough at Stanford) and you have a recipe for a combustible contest. The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks will send a combined 16 players to the pro bowl and both teams play similar styles offensively and defensively. This will also be the third meeting of the season for these teams as both have won on their home field. Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are two of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the game and they have done nothing but win since they took over as starters in the league. The Seahawks can make it to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2005-06 season while the 49ers are trying to reach NFL title game for a second consecutive season.

Peyton Manning's last two trips to the AFC championship game were successful. He looks to add to that success this Sunday.

Peyton Manning’s last two trips to the AFC championship game were successful. He looks to add to that success this Sunday.

As intense as the NFC matchup will be, it will not have the historical impact of the AFC contest. Peyton Manning completed a regular season in which he set just about every single season passing record and led his team to the number one seed in consecutive seasons. Tom Brady helped his team overcome a litany of serious injuries as the Patriots continued to dominate the AFC east and reach the AFC title game for 8th time in the Belichek-Brady Era. Manning and Brady will face each other for the 15th time in their careers, with the Patriots beating the Broncos earlier this season. However, the last time they faced each other in the playoffs, Manning and the Colts defeated the Patriots en route to Manning’s only Super bowl win in 2006-07. A win for Manning would put him in the Super Bowl for the third time and allow him a chance at multiple championships. Meanwhile, Brady is trying to join a class with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, four time Super Bowl champion quarterbacks.

Tom Brady attempts to lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl for the 6th time.

Tom Brady attempts to lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl for the 6th time.

Both games should be entertaining, intense, and memorable. All the teams remaining won at least 12 games in the regular season and the winner of either matchup will provide NFL fans with something special to look forward to on Super Bowl Sunday. Will Manning cap off a record breaking season with a Super Bowl win? Will Brady get that elusive fourth title? Will the Seahawks get the first Super Bowl victory in franchise history? or, Will the 49ers tie the Pittsburgh Steelers with the most Super Bowl victories for a franchise with its sixth win? One thing is sure, the NFL championship round will be one for the ages.–OnPointPress.net–

 

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Sports memories of 2013

LeBron James continues to prove he is the best basketball player on the planet as he wins the NBA Championship and  Finals MVP in consecutive years.

LeBron James continues to prove he is the best basketball player on the planet as he wins the NBA Championship and Finals MVP in consecutive years.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Every year has a unique sports identity and 2013 had a number of trends that immediately come to mind. This year the sports world treated us to fantastic moments like a Super Bowl that was decided in the final minutes and thrilling plays throughout a seven-game series in the NBA Finals. Game 6 of the NBA Finals might be viewed as the game of the year as it provided us with scintillating plays all the way to the end.

Ray Allen (r) makes what might be the play of the year in 2013 as he drills a 3 pointer to tie Game 6 in the final seconds of regulation over Tony Parker (c) and Kawhi Leonard (l).

Ray Allen (r) makes what might be the play of the year in 2013 as he drills a 3-pointer to tie Game 6 in the final seconds of regulation over Tony Parker (c) and Kawhi Leonard (l).

We also witnessed serious tragedy in sports, headlined by the bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. While there was something memorable about the different sporting events throughout 2013, there were some trends that connected the various sports.

 

Derek Jeter (l) and Kobe Bryant (r) are hoping to fully recover from their injuries and have a much better 2014.

Derek Jeter (l) and Kobe Bryant (r) are hoping to fully recover from their injuries and have a much better 2014.

Superstar injuries: 2013 was a year in which some of the biggest names in sports spent a great deal of time on the injured list. Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Rob Gronkowski, Matt Harvey, Robert Griffin III, Matt Kemp, Rajon Rondo, Arian Foster and Russell Westbrook were just several of the many All-Star caliber players  who suffered lengthy injuries this calendar year. Adrian Peterson has altered the perception of the impact of some of these injuries as he returned in record time to win the 2012-13 National Football League (NFL) MVP award after tearing the ACL in his knee at the end of the 2011-12 season. It is becoming apparent that Peterson’s recovery was exceptional and that it seems unreasonable to expect any athlete to return to action and be better than they were before the injury.

 

Serena Williams raises her title as she continues her dominance at the U.S. Open.

Serena Williams raises her title as she continues her dominance at the U.S. Open.

Elite performances by the elite performers: The 2013 calendar year was tremendous for the best players in almost every sport. Peyton Manning set NFL records for quarterback in the 2013-14 season en route to a likely fifth MVP award. Miguel Cabrera proved to be the best offensive player in Major League Baseball (MLB), winning the American League (AL) MVP award for the second consecutive season. Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal each won two out of four Grand Slam titles this year on the tennis tour. Tiger Woods reclaimed his position as the number one ranked golfer in the world while winning five tournaments in 2013. Perhaps no performance stands out more than LeBron James capturing his second consecutive National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals MVP award and fourth league MVP award this year as he led the Miami Heat to back-to-back championships.

 

Mariano Rivera was classy as he watched the mess that is New York sports crumble around him,.

Mariano Rivera was classy as he watched the mess that is New York sports crumble around him.

Tough year in New York sports: The Yankees and Mets both faced numerous injuries to key players and failed to make the postseason this year. The Yankees had to watch their rivals the Boston Red Sox win another title. They also have to try to cope with the retirement of legend Mariano Rivera, the loss of their best offensive player Robinson Cano, the unavailability of currently suspended, scandal-plagued player Alex Rodriguez while hoping that Derek Jeter is going to be healthy and productive all season. The Giants and Jets both had mediocre seasons and will be watching the upcoming NFL playoffs from home, missing the chance to play in the Super Bowl which will be played in their hometown. Both football teams will likely make numerous player changes as they look to rebound next year. The Knicks and Nets are off to painfully slow starts to the 2013-14 NBA season. Any talk about NBA championship contention for either team seems extremely far-fetched as both teams have a long way to go just to make the playoffs this year.

 

2013 Boston Marathon participants are emotional wrecks as they witness copious innocent people injured on the street.

2013 Boston Marathon participants are emotional wrecks as they witness copious innocent people injured on the street.

Sporting world’s negative headlines: The two bombs that exploded during the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 may be the most unfortunately memorable event that took place in sports. With approximately 264 people injured and 3 spectators killed that day, the tragedy unfolded slowly over the next few days after the marathon as the manhunt, shootout with one alleged perpetrator and eventual capture of the other alleged perpetrators played out on television like harrowing scenes from the FOX Network show 24.

Many were surprised to witness Aaron Hernandez being arrested in connection with a murder shortly before the start of the NFL season.

Many were surprised to witness Aaron Hernandez being arrested in connection with a murder shortly before the start of the NFL season.

2013 was also witness to the arrest for murder and gun charges of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez is currently imprisoned as he awaits trial for the serious charges. The Miami Dolphins sparked greater debates about bullying in athletics as news surfaced about Jonathan Martin walking away from the team after alleging that he was bullied by teammates, specifically Richie Incognito. The NFL is still investigating this matter. Meanwhile, Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was able to perform on the field while being investigated by local Florida prosecutors after he was accused of sexually assaulting a female who also attends Florida State. The prosecutor’s decision to not pursue charges against Winston still raised questions about whether some athletes get special treatment from law enforcement as the attorney for the accuser remains adamant that her client was violated. At the same time, Winston consistently asserted that his encounter with the accuser was consensual and that he “did nothing wrong.”

The Louisville Cardinals honor injured teammate Kevin Ware as they celebrate winning the National Championship in college basketball.

The Louisville Cardinals honor injured teammate Kevin Ware as they celebrate winning the National Championship in college basketball.

2013 was quite an eventful and memorable sports year. Kevin Ware breaking his leg during the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament was a gruesome sight but provided the impetus to propel the Louisville Cardinals to the national title. College football’s Nick Saban, coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Women’s college basketball’s Geno Auriemma of the Connecticut Huskies proved to be the dominant coaches in their sports as they led their teams to another national title.

Ray Lewis' last game in the NFL ended with him holding the Lombardi Trophy as the Baltimore Ravens were victorious.

Ray Lewis’ last game in the NFL ended with him holding the Lombardi Trophy as the Baltimore Ravens were victorious.

The Minnesota Lynx (WNBA) and Miami Heat (NBA) won championships in 2013 and have been in the finals each of the last three years. “Big Papi” David Ortiz led the Boston Red Sox through the post season again to win the World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals. Meanwhile, Ray Lewis was able to retire on top as the Baltimore Ravens pulled out a narrow victory over the San Francisco 49ers. With the Winter Olympics in Russia and World Cup in Brazil (for which the U.S. team was placed in the Group of Death) on docket, 2014 seems poised to garner even more interest than 2013 did in the sports world.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.