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ST&N 2012 NFL Awards 0

Posted on January 03, 2013 by Andy Larmand

While the NFL won’t give out its real awards until Super Bowl time, I will make my predictions for who will be receiving said awards. Only one thing is certain as of right now: the best of 2012 have a lot to live up to next year. It’s time, for me at least, to tell everyone who will win the awards in February and why.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Luke Kuehly not only led the 10th-ranked defense of the Carolina Panthers in tackles as a rookie. He led the entire division. He led the entire NFC. And just for good measure, he led all of the NFL in tackles as a rookie fresh out of Boston College. Kuechly, a 6-foot-3-inch, 235-pound linebacker, finished the season with 164 tackles, 15 ahead of NaVorro Bowman of the 49ers who had 149 on the year. He’s begun to transform the defense of the Panthers, which just last year, was 28th in the league. Out of the 17 defenders drafted in the first round of this past year’s draft, Kuechly was far and away the most productive. The next most was Bucs‘ safety Mark Barron, who had 89 tackles on the year. Carolina gave up 22.7 points per game in 2012 after allowing 26.8 last season. Kuechly was instrumental in holding strong offensive opponents like the Giants, Seahawks, Cowboys and Chargers to seven, 12, 14 and seven points, respectively. My 2012 Defensive Rookie of the Year: Luke Kuechly.

2012 Defensive Rookie of the Year: Luke Kuechly.

2012 Defensive Rookie of the Year: Luke Kuechly.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: In a season that was definitely going to result in one of the first two picks in the draft winning this award, it just had to be determined whether it would be Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. So, with that being said, my offensive rookie of the year is Russell Wilson. Wilson is just as much of a two-way threat as the other two and threw more touchdown passes than his two fellow rookie quarterbacks. In fact, Wilson tied Peyton Manning’s 1998 record for the most touchdown passes by a rookie with 26 on the year. In the month of December, when the games mattered most, Wilson quarterbacked a Seattle team that put up 150 points in a three-game span. And he didn’t even enter training camp as the team’s starter. His 69.6 QBR was eighth in the league, just behind Griffin and just ahead of Luck, while his 100.0 passer rating was fourth in the league, just behind Griffin and well ahead of Luck. Neither the Seahawks, nor the Redskins or Colts would likely be in the playoffs without their rookie quarterback, so it kind of came down to stats in making this decision. My 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year: Russell Wilson.

2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year: Russell Wilson.

2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year: Russell Wilson.

Coach of the Year: What a year it was for the Colts. It takes a special coach to turn a 2-14 team into an 11-5 team and make the playoffs in the tough AFC South. It’s even more impressive that he did it in an interim role with all that must have been on his mind after head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia in October. Bruce Arians took over the team and, under his direction, they never lost focus and were able to win 11 games. They became just the seventh team ever to win at least nine more games than they did the previous year. Pagano has since returned and will coach the team in the playoffs, but they would not be there without the job that Arians did. To keep the team composed under those unbelievably difficult circumstances and to actually succeed on the field at the same time is so impressive and incredibly unique. Some season highlights for Indianapolis included wins against teams like the Texans, Vikings and Packers. My 2012 Coach of the Year: Bruce Arians.

2012 Coach of the Year: Bruce Arians.

2012 Coach of the Year: Bruce Arians.

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Memorable NCAA Tournament Runs – Part 1, 50-26 5

Posted on March 15, 2011 by A.J. Foss

The 1994 Boston College Eagles ended a string of 14 consecutive Sweet 16 appearances for the UNC Tar Heels.

One of the many reasons that fans love March Madness is an underdog team managing to pull together a series of unlikely victories to help ruin someone’s bracket.

With that in mind, I have created the 50 most memorable NCAA tournament runs in recent history.

Every single run that is represented in this list is from 1979 through the present, since seeding was first used back in the 1979 tournament.

A team did not have to make it to the Final Four or win the national championship just to get mentioned on this list.

The more surprising the run they made, the higher the team is.

So, let’s begin the 50 most memorable NCAA tournament runs starting with 50:

50. 1982 Houston
The “Phi Slamma Jamma” made three consecutive Final Fours from 1982 through 1984, but their appearance in 1982 was a surprise.

As a #6 seed in the Midwest Regional, the Cougars defeated Alcorn State, then higher seeds Tulsa and Missouri, and beat fellow Cinderella Boston College in the regional final.

The Cougars would lose in the Final Four to eventual national champion North Carolina.

49. 1988 Rhode Island
The Rams became the first Atlantic 10 team to reach the Sweet 16, as the East region’s #11 seed knocked off Missouri and Syracuse, thanks to guard Tom Garrick’s combined 57 points in the two victories.

Rhode Island narrowly missed advancing to the Elite Eight as they lost in the Sweet 16 to Duke, 73-72.

48. 1982 UAB
In just their fifth season of basketball, the Blazers made it all the way to the Elite Eight.

The tournament field had 48 teams from 1980 through 1984 and since they were a #4 seed, UAB got a first round bye, but had to face defending national champion Indiana in the second round.

Led by guard Oliver Robinson, the Blazers defeated the Hoosiers 80-70, then shocked #1 seed and player of the year Ralph Sampson 68-66, to advance to the regional final where their run came to an end at the hands of the Louisville Cardinals.
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Mark Herzlich Is What Athletics Should Be About 4

Posted on January 30, 2011 by Ray Thompson

Mark Herzlich at the 2011 Senior Bowl.

If you pay attention to College sports, then you would be hard pressed to remember a more turbulent year than 2010.

Cam Newton’s recruiting scandal was as big of a story in 2010 as his play on the field, in which he led the University of Auburn to the National Championship.

Ohio State’s scandal where five starters were involved in trading autographs for free tattoos resulting in a 5 game suspension that will begin with the first 5 games of the 2011 season.

Reggie Bush returned the Heisman for receiving improper benefits while he was a player at USC dominated the college sports headlines in the first half of 2010.

Meet Mark Herzlich, linebacker for Boston College, and the definition of what a College Athlete should represent.

At a time when many top tier college athletes are mired in recruiting scandals, Mark Herzlich stands out and not just for the reason you may think. Mark Herzlich is not just a top tier linebacker many experts feel will go in the early rounds of the NFL draft, but Mark is also a cancer survivor and his story has been an inspiration to many.

Mark was recruited by several top programs, including Johns Hopkins University to play Lacrosse, which Mark also excelled at while in High School. Lucky for the maroon and gold, after originally committed to play football for the University of Virginia, Mark later changed his mind and decided on Boston College.

As a freshman at Boston College, Mark made an immediate impact, starting all 13 games in 2006. In 2007, Mark finished second on the team in tackles, leading Boston College to the Champs Sports Bowl on defense. By the end of the 2008 season, Mark’s Junior year, Mark became the team leader in tackles, won the ACC defensive player of the year, was listed on many all American teams and was a finalist for the Butkus award, the award given for the nation’s top college linebacker. Mark had become one of the nation’s elite line backers, and was the top linebacker in the ACC, a BCS conference. The future was bright for Mark as he was heading into the end of his Junior year preparing for a much anticipated Senior campaign that would no doubt propel him into the first round of the NFL draft.

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Video is Worth a Thousand Words: Flutie Pass 25-Years Later 2

Posted on November 23, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Doug Flutie scrambled out of pressure before launching the game-winning pass against the University of Miami.

Doug Flutie scrambled out of pressure before launching the game-winning pass against the University of Miami.

Hard to believe that it has been 25 years since Doug Flutie captivated the sports world with a special performance that culminated in one of the most memorable endings in sports history.

In a nationally televised game on CBS the day after Thanksgiving, Flutie solidified his candidacy for the Heisman Trophy by dueling with Bernie Kosar throughout the high-scoring affair.

However, in the final seconds it appeared that Kosar and the defending national champion University of Miami would edge Flutie’s Boston College squad.

With just enough time for one final play and with the ball sitting on Miami’s 48-yard line, Flutie rolled out to his right and launched the ball from his own 36-yard line (64-yards from the end zone) into the waiting arms of receiver Gerard Phelan.

The ”Hail Mary” gave BC a shocking 47-45 victory and made Flutie a household name. He went on to receive the 1984 Heisman Trophy.

In honor of the 25th anniversary of this amazing moment in sports, below is a YouTube video recapping the game and Flutie’s amazing pass.

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    • Red Grange: The Galloping Ghost
      October 5, 2014 | 1:26 pm
      Red Grange

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      The October Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the NFL’s first superstar and marquee attraction.

      The NFL was less than five years old and struggling to gain a foothold in popularity when Red Grange put the league on the map during a 67-day, 19-game, barnstorming tour that is credited with legitimizing professional football and the NFL.

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