Reads Listens Views 11/2/2012

Views – Part I

Although this one is obvious, Lance Zierlein knows his crawdads better than most. Photo by Hyperboreal.

Lance Zierlein has a gift.

The Sideline View blogger has Jon Gruden down cold (check out the final minutes of this episode). When he told Sigmund Bloom and me about his Crawfish Draft, I knew it was just the kind of nut-job humor that the football-obsessed would love. After you see this, you’ll never think of linemen “redirecting” the same way again. You’ll also learn what Kelechi Osemele and a crawdad have in common.

Fantasy Throwdown

You wanna throw-down? I’ll kick your ass at no charge at

Yeah, I said it. Now step up to the challenge and shut me up. It’s free, easy to play, and addictive. Suit up and draft against me in standard, IDP, or PPR formats. I’ll take you down regardless and I promise I won’t make your kid cry. And if you’re scared to play me, challenge a friend – all you need is their email address. Drafts take 10 minutes if you’re both online. Play as much as you like and (except when you face me) trash-talking is optional. Get started here.

Football Reads

I’m a big fan of the writers at While the Seahawks have become my favorite NFC team to follow, I enjoy the analysis Danny Kelly and Mike Chan provide. While the articles are Seattle-focused, the themes are universal to the game.

The Jason Jones Effect by Mike Chan of Field Gulls – Strong analysis from Chan on how good defensive tackle play can ruin the short passing game.

Jermaine Kearse’s possible role with the Seahawks – Ever wonder what a team sees in a player? This piece is a good example of “fit” as an important priority with personnel management.

Geno Smith’s Learning Process – Another excellent piece from Eric Stoner at Rotoworld.

Views Part II

I was weaned on two sports as a boy. You know the first one. The other was boxing. I was fortunate enough to see the final decades where the heavyweight division mattered in sport. The three boxers in these two videos – Earnie Shavers, Larry Holmes, and Ken Norton, Sr. – would have beaten the best heavyweights of the past 30 years when they were in their prime.

Earnie Shavers

Shavers never won the championship, but he was one of the most feared opponents during an era packed with great boxers. If I were to give you my football-obsessed equivalent, Shavers was the Frank Gore of fighters. Check out the 2:55 mark for this one particular knockout if you don’t have time for the full video. It’s a savagely beautiful combination of a counter punch.

Larry Holmes

Holmes was one of my favorite boxers because of his excellent chin and trip hammer of a left jab. One of the most memorable events of my sports childhood was this Holmes-Norton fight below. If you didn’t know, Norton’s son was a star linebacker at UCLA and the 49ers. He’s been a coach with Pete Carroll at USC and now Seattle.

JayeP does a great job of describing its significance in the sport:

“I would consider this the last great fight of the Golden Age of the Heavyweights. This last round pretty much sums up the heavyweight division in the 70’s. I remember seeing this fight on TV. I’m more impressed by it now. Two guys, no technique. Just a burning desire to win, willing to stand in the middle of the ring and trade punches that would kill most of us. By far the greatest 15th round in boxing history.”

I still remember that round because Holmes won the title but left the ring on a stretcher. That kind of effort won me over as a young fan. Here’s that final round (Holmes white trunks, Norton in blue) where they finish this war standing toe-to-toe, throwing and taking everything the other has left.

As much as I have concerns about the future of both sports there’s no denial that like most of us during the 1970s, I was raised with a keen appreciation for hitting.

Non-Football Reads

Sneak Attack: Voter ID Laws May Throttle Voting Rights. How big business wants to shrink the electorate

An Open Letter to Ann Coulter (Best letter ever)

Injection Wells: The Poison Beneath Us

How Companies Have Assembled Political Profiles for Millions of Internet Users

Thank You

I created this blog to promote my publication The Rookie Scouting Portfolio. If you haven’t checked out this tome of rookie skill player goodness, then I want you to imagine that unassuming little restaurant where the building has character, the service is great, and the food is not to be believed. You want to eat there every day, but you’re racked with ambivalence about sharing your find. You have the urge to tell everyone within earshot that you know who would appreciate the place and, as ridiculous as it sounds, you want to hide your find from everyone so it doesn’t get too big and it loses its charm.

The RSP is like that place to my readers. I get emails all the time from folks who thank me for a publication that exceeds their expectations and that the same time apologizing in advance for not being willing to share it among their friends. I get it. I also thank those of you who weren’t too reticent to share a good thing because it is people like you that help me continue to deliver a publication that takes months of focused work. It also provides me a greater opportunity to give back to Darkness to Light, an organization that provides sexual abuse prevention training to communities nationwide.

Thank you for supporting the RSP. If you haven’t taken that step yet, check out my past publications from 2006-2011 at a price of $9.95 apiece. Readers tell me all the time that the RSP has multiple years of value for fantasy football owners.

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