Post 100

By Steve Samek

Hard to believe, but Hammer Down has reached 100 posts. This post has a bit more of the celebratory than the informative. Taking a look at our best posts and any of significance so far.
Starting off of course with the first post ever written. This was my post on Mitch Keller as a top Pirates prospect. It was a fun post to write and has enjoyed some success as far as being viewed. Check it out here. https://hammerdownsportsblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/22/after-strong-season-mitch-keller-is-a-top-three-pirates-prospect/
Next let’s keep with milestones and hit up post 99. It’s a piece on UBA expansion into Los Vegas. It’s based off the relative success on my post talking about the league may do well with an expansion in Portland, Maine. Read them here.
Moving on let do some editor’s choice. This would be my all-star team of some of the best posts we have to offer so far.
Our first pick is a couple options on Jose Fernandez. Both were incredibly well written by two excellent classmates and writers. Give them some love here. https://hammerdownsportsblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/live-life-like-jose-lived-life/
And here https://hammerdownsportsblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/21/in-close-race-for-nl-cy-young-jose-fernandez-should-come-out-on-top/.

Next would be the most popular post by views on the blog. Talking about rank Pirates closers here. A good read worth seeing why it’s so popular. https://hammerdownsportsblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/30/ranking-the-top-five-pirates-closers-since-2000/.
Another favorite of mine was one from a couple weeks ago. I never thought I would cover something as wild as snail racing. Here it is though, good for a laugh, or two. http://bit.ly/2tHvJZO.
This is one I just feel really proud of. A bit disappointed it hasn’t been viewed much. http://bit.ly/2p6qTmk. Support it there if you please.
While it has been a great run it would not have been possible without a lot of people. A lot of great classmates of mine contributed to the foundation of this blog. It would be missing a lot if it wasn’t for them. So many thanks to them, they know who they are.
I also want to than the fans and followers. It’s always so rewording to know someone appreciates the time and effort spent on these posts. Thank you fans.
What’s next you ask? Well here’s to another 100 posts I hope. I really was surprised to get this far. It almost was a done for blog in December. Though I made it through a tough couple of months and have done a decent job so far. I’m happy with the consistent up-ward direction of the blog. Looking to keep it that way and keep expanding best I can. Thanks again to all for your continued support.

Football POP

By Steve Samek

This may Seem like it belongs on the social blog, but its work here.

Today Funko announced NFL Hall of Famers would become POP figures. 11 players and two coaches receive the Funko treatment.

For players you have Brett Favre, Terry Bradshaw, Deion Sanders, Lawrence Taylor, Dan Marino, Bo Jackson and more. The Coaches are Mike Ditka and Tom Landry. Sander’s also comes with exclusive options only found at Toys r us.

I like how these look a lot. I also like how it extends the NFL line and works well with the current players already in the line.

What I don’t like is how hard these things seem to find. I may find an NFL pop if I’m lucky, but it’s never a Pittsburgh Steeler. I have looked at multiple stores and can’t come away with Antonio Brown, or Big Ben.  Only Can Newton and a couple Seahawks to be seen.

I think from the line I’ll pick up Bradshaw and Mike Ditka for the Pittsburgh connection.

The Funko sports line seems to be neglected a bit and this should help. Between this addition and the new NFL wave set to come out it looks like the sports line is starting to return again.  Hopefully this leds to more NBA, NHL and MLB pops returning to the line.

Check out the new line here. https://funko.com/blogs/news/coming-soon-nfl-legends-pop-s.

 

Best Black and Gold QB

By Steve Samek

Quarterbacks are the main position for any football team. Both on and off the field the quarterback can be the face of the franchise. ESPN has taken to naming the best Qb’s for each team. http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/19649516/the-franchise-qbs-final-all-rankings-all-32-teams.

 I will be looking at my vote for the Pittsburgh Steelers best signal caller.

The fans voted and Ben Roethlisberger was number one over Terry Bradshaw. The NFL Nation vote had Bradshaw as the winner. http://www.espn.com/sportsnation/story/_/id/19684083/the-franchise-qbs-final-rankings-top-signal-callers-pittsburgh-steelers-history.

Roethlisberger is a winner of two super bowls. He has thrown for 46,814 yards and has 301 touchdown passes with 3,804 completions. All of these are top marks in the history of the Steelers.  Add in five Pro Bowl invites and an AP Offensive rookie of the year and you have a true talent. http://www.espn.com/sportsnation/story/_/id/19684083/the-franchise-qbs-final-rankings-top-signal-callers-pittsburgh-steelers-history.

Bradshaw is a three-time Pro Bowl selection. He led the Steelers to the playoffs from 1972 to 1979. During the 1978 season He was named AP Most Valuable player. Only Steeler to ever do so. Bradshaw has thrown 212 touchdowns and competed 2025 passes for 27,989 yards in 13 NFL seasons. http://www.profootballhof.com/players/terry-bradshaw/stats/.

The key stat though, four super bowl wins against Roethlisberger’s two. Championship wins matter a lot in these debates and do here. The 1989 Hall of Famer is the best QB to wear the black and gold. Roethlisberger can be in the conversation, as he has the edge over Bradshaw by stats, but doesn’t have the big wins. Big Ben should join Bradshaw in Canton when his career is done though.

Steel City Football

By Steve Samek

Texas is a football state. Even at the youngest levels the sport is dominant. Pennsylvania is another upper tier football state. Western Pennsylvania and the WPIAL highlights this list.

Texas young football player got national exposure on Esquire Networks Friday Night Tykes show. It has lasted four seasons, and can be further reviewed here. http://bit.ly/2mZ3Hq2

Pennsylvania son followed with a season one based in Beaver County and the Beaver County Youth Football League, or BCYFL. Season one thoughts can be chronicled here. https://sameksportsblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/steel-country.

The main difference between the first and second season of Steel Country was the move to USA from Esquire and the elimination of Monica and Ambridge being covered and replaced with Sto-Rox and more emphasis on Beaver Falls. Central Valley, Aliquippa, and Blackhawk return to the field as well. The age bracket went up to the highest age too.

Blackhawk was a decent team this season after playing in last season’s finals. The Cougars created a team in the highest division to end with a championship and play with each other one more time. Best of intentions, not the best season.

Sto-Rox was the worst team on the show. The newcomers were more into fighting and goofing off than playing football. It showed on the field as the season ended short of the title. Though it was pretty cool to see the players get to do a bit of firefighter training as a team bonding activity.

Beaver Falls impressed me a lot. They clearly knew what they were doing this season. Though a host of star power still couldn’t get them the prize. Also, a plus for their big rivalry with Aliquippa.

Central Valley was the champs from last season. They looked to keep winning this season. A surprise entrant in the finals after playing one of the best games of the season, can CV win it all?

Aliquippa is the defending champ, but in this seasons age bracket. They are going for the undefeated title win this year. Off the field issues in the community threaten the season. Can this team keep it together and rally the community with another championship?

The main action of the show was on the field. Games were close and rivalries are highlighted. Teams play for community pride. It gives it a dimension that the Texas edition doesn’t. In Texas, it’s the organization more than the town that matters. In Pennsylvania, it’s often times the best thing to happen to a town is to play football with all the violence and negativity.  Granted it doesn’t make for a lot of creativity in storyline, but it is real and true. I would say the second season improved a lot on the first season of Steel Country. I recommend checking it out if you’re a local football fan, or fan of the original show.

Challenge One

Issued By Steve Samek

Deciding to change it up with content. Below are some links to YouTube videos from a channel called TPS, or total pro sports. In these videos, there is a different naming challenge to conquer. I ran through the challenges below and recorded the following scores. I am passing on the challenge to Hammer Down readers and fans. Can you best the Hammer Down Sports Blog Staff?

Here are the rules I followed during the challenge. You have one view per video to attempt the challenge. You can start naming during the commercial break before a video should one occur. The challenge ends when the video has run out. The challenge should occur in writing. The goal is to gain the points by naming the correct teams before they are said in the video. If you get an answer from the video the point will not count. Gather the most points possible. No googling, internet, or phone help allowed either.  Teams of friend are allowed to brainstorm, but are still subject to the same above rules. Some videos also are broken down into segments by league. If you get other team names while working on a different league they count, but after all the leagues teams have been named in the video you can’t count those for points. Again, name the teams before they are mentioned in the video to score the points.

After attempting the challenge post your results by commenting on the post in WordPress, or via Facebook, or Twitter. Good luck on the challenge.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51Rt2m_me3U. 2 of 6

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyoGgHICZGk 10 of 11

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-1z8g4lj2k 9 of 15

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GelG2m6LTjc 10 of 12

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TKeSQACff8 10 of 12

Total score 41 of 56 73%

Country or Football


Should the Service academies allow players to go pro without serving obligation.

By Steve Samek

The Army- Navy game is one football fans always look forward to. The game is played by teams that hate each other on the field, but play for the same team off the field.

Though when the game is over most of these players go on to serve in the respected branch of the military for a certain number of years which can be outlined here. http://dopma-ropma.rand.org/military-service-obligation.html

Though last year Navy Quarterback Keenan Reynolds was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round of the NFL draft. This made the Naval academy take a second look at its policy about deferring obligations until after pursuing a pro career. Reynolds was free to play in the NFL and pursue the obligation in the off season. https://www.fanragsports.com/news/ravens-wr-keenan-reynolds-not-impacted-dod-policy-change/

Now the order from 2016 was rescinded by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.  Now requiring two years of active duty military service before being allowed to turn pro. Enter Air Force wideout Jalen Robinette. The wide receiver was looking at going pro, being projected as a mid to late round pick. Though after the policy was announced Robinette went undrafted. He currently hasn’t gotten any offers. Robinette also has received an initial duty assignment for after graduation. https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/draft/2017/05/01/department-defense-policy-athletes-air-force-jalen-robinette/101177766/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=usatodaycomsports-topstories

The NFL does have a list for military service. https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/draft/2017/05/01/department-defense-policy-athletes-air-force-jalen-robinette/101177766/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=usatodaycomsports-topstories

Ben Garland of the Falcons out of Air Force is currently under this protocol. Reynolds and two other players Garrett Graham and Chris Swain are both on practice squads after the 2016 ruling. Though Graham has orders for his assignment. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/07/12/military-academy-athletes-can-now-go-straight-to-the-pros/?utm_term=.fb800b6b26d9

To me country comes first. Especially over sports. They signed up to go to these schools knowing the commitment. The know full well that the service academies aren’t sports destinations. Only 84 NFL players have come from military schools and the rest of pro sports aren’t much higher. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/07/12/military-academy-athletes-can-now-go-straight-to-the-pros/?utm_term=.fb800b6b26d9.

Plus, its only two years and there is NFL protocol in place. Though I think there are ways that they can play in the NFL while serving a commitment to the military. Having a pro sports career after the military is possible. Rodger Staubauch and David “The Admiral” Robinson each served the required two years before successful pro careers. So it isn’t not impossible for Robinette to turn pro,but he should wait after the two years are up.

Shutout to the NFL for going along with the decision also. By having him undrafted they made a statement about following the rules  and obligations.

 

 

 

QB1:Beyond the Lights

By Steve Samek

Ran across a new show on a website called go90.com. The show goes by the title QB1: Beyond the Light. The show highlights three quarterbacks during their senior year of high school on their way to major universities. My review of the show is as follows.

The first is Tate Martell of Bishop Gorman High School. Martell is on his way to Ohio State. Martell is a good quarterback and led his team to many wins over nationally ranked teams during the show. However, he bugged me. He’s the standard rich entitled QB that gives more time to his appreances than his football it seems. Several instances in the show demonstrate this. Interesting to see if he does live up the hype at Ohio State next year.

The second QB is Tayvon Bowers of Harrisburg’s Bishop McDevitt. Bowers is a Wake Forrest commit. Bowers showed a lot of promise, but didn’t quite have the weapons needed to excel this season. An injury also limited his time in the playoffs. Bower’s isn’t stuck up like Martell is and it was refreshing to see. Though Bowers may not quite have the skill set of Martell.

The third and final QB is Jake Fromm from Georgia. Fromm is going to the University of Georgia in the fall. Fromm is a tough quarterback that dealt with some tough losses this season, while chasing individual records and glory. Though the neat thing was he had his brother as his backup QB. Fromm does have swagger, but is also humble and is a mix of the two other QBs in the series.

Three unique story lines was a strength of the show. However, I don’t feel like the stories went more than surface deep. I don’t feel like I really knew the QBs and what was going on in their lives as much as I could have.

The on the field action was good. The matchups seem to be high level ones with frequent rival battles and ranking teams going head to head.

Though the action wasn’t enough to save the show. It just seems forgettable at times and not a must watch every week. It’s a good series if you’re interested in up and coming backs or football. Though I would say skip if you’re looking for a deeper story line. I would probably give it barley a three out of five-star review. I just wish it had the deeper connection sense it was only covering three QBs.

Check out the show here. https://www.go90.com/videos/6ojP02SeKJK