First Gay Athlete

Jason Collins has come out to the public announcing just a few minutes ago that he is gay. He becomes the first active player in a major professional sport to announce this. As most know, the downloadCeltics had Collins on the roster this season before they traded him to the Wizards earlier in the year. Now, Collins is a free agent, and hopefully this will not deteriorate his value in any way.

He wrote the following for Sports Illustrated:

“Now I’m a free agent, literally and figuratively. I’ve reached that enviable state in life in which I can do pretty much what I want. And what I want is to continue to play basketball,” he wrote. “I still love the game, and I still have something to offer. My coaches and teammates recognize that. At the same time, I want to be genuine and authentic and truthful.”

It is great that he is the first major athlete to do so while still playing the game. I know there is going to be some bounce back from some players and organizations, but hopefully that is limited. It takes a lot of courage to do what Jason did. Congratulations

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UFC 159: Jon “Bones” Jones vs. Chael Sonnen

Tale of the Tape:

This Saturday (April 27th) at 10pm UFC 159 will feature Jon “Bones” Jones vs. Chael Sonnen at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.

“Bones” Jones is simply the best in the business right now when it to the light heavyweight division. Jones will be looking to stay on top of the UFC world with a decisive win over Sonnen.

Sonnen meanwhile, will be looking to save his UFC career against Jones, after he suffered two defeats at the hands, more or less knees, of Anderson “Spider” Silva in past Pay-Per-View events. Here’s a rundown of the fighters and what to expect from the Octagon:

“Bones” Jones: Country: USA Age: 25 Height: 6’4″ Weight: 205lbs Reach: 84.5 inches MMA Record: 17-1 TKO: 8 Submissions:Strength: Wrestling Stance: Unorthodox Striking Accuracy: 52% Takedown Defense: 100% Title Defenses: 5 Last 5 Fights: 5-0

Jones has become one of the dominate fighters in the UFC in just a few years time. “Bones” began his ascension to the top after defeating Mauricio “Shogun” Rua for the Light Heavyweight title in UFC 128 back in March of 2011.

That same year (2011) Jones would successfully defend his title against the likes of Quentin “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto Machida, both by way of submission. Then in 2012, Jones again defended his belt twice with wins against Rashad Evans by unanimous decision, and Vitor Belfort by way of submission.

Jones’ resume is no doubt impressive. When you combine his unmatched ground game and his hard hitting Muay Thai fighting style, Jones would appear to be an unstoppable force in the UFC.

Chael Sonnen: Country: USA Age: 36 Height: 6’1″ Weight: 205lbs Reach: 73.5 inches MMA Record: 27-12-1 TKO: 7 Submissions: 4 Strength: Vale tudo/Wrestling Stance: Southpaw Title Shots: 3 Title Results: 0-3 ( 0-2 UFC, 0-1 in the WEC) Last 5 Fights: 3-2

While Sonnen has had success in his MMA career, his shortcomings in two title bouts with Silva has left the fighters career a bit stale. Sonnen who is known for his brash comments towards opponents, has actually applauded Jones and believes he is the best fighter in the light heavyweight division.

Given Sonnen’ track record of trash talking and then taking a beating, he’s wise for respecting Jones. Also, Sonnen will have two major disadvantages playing against him in this championship bout. His age (36) and overall weight class experience, will pose problems for Sonnen. According to bleacherreport.com. This will be his first light heavyweight fight since 2005.

Octagon Outcome:

While Jon “Bones” Jones will be tested early by Chael Sonnen with a few hard jabs and combinations, ultimately Jones will overpower Sonnen and silence him with deadly spinning elbows and his overall ground game. I have “Bones” Jones winning this bout by way of TKO in the 3rd round, as he successfully defends his title for a sixth time.

Final Thoughts: This is going to be a heavy hitting fight and will be a lot of fun to watch. Also, this main event features a solid undercard. The middleweight bout between Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher, and the heavyweight fight featuring Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo will be sure to entertain fans before the main event. The event will take place this Saturday (April 27th) with fights beginning at 10pm.

Throwback Thursday: Patriots Draft Tom Brady

A Tribute to Tom Terrific: 13…the number of years that have passed since the New England Patriots drafted Michigan Quarterback Tom Brady in the sixth round pick number 199.

It’s hard to believe now that Brady was chosen so late in the draft, when you consider his body of work:

Three time Super Bowl champion (2001, 2003, 2004).

Two time Super Bowl MVP (2001, 2003).

Two time NFL MVP (2007, 2010).

Eight time pro bowler (2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012).

125 regular season wins and 17 post-season wins (2001-2012).

Helped the Patriots go undefeated (16-0) and broke the single-season record for touchdown passes in the same season with 50 (2007).

But before all the accolades, records, playoff appearances, and Super Bowl trips Brady was at the bottom of the barrel on Bill Belichick’ roster. Let’s recap how Brady began and review who went before him in that 2000 NFL Draft:

Brady began the 2000 NFL season ranked fourth on the depth chart and would only play in one game completing a lone pass for six yards.

But in 2001 Brady rose to second on the depth chart behind then starter Drew Bledsoe. Bledsoe would suffer internal bleeding in an injury from a week two contest against the New York Jets.

Brady took over the reigns and from there would lead New England to the post-season winning 11 of the 14 games in which he started.

The Pats would defeat the Oakland Raiders in the infamous “tuck rule” game, by way of an Adam Vinatieri field goal. Brady threw for 314 yards in the blistering cold and snow to bring New England back from a 10-point deficit.

Then New England would go on to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game and would be led once more by Brady on Super Bowl Sunday to defeat the St. Louis Rams.

Brady led the game winning drive and spiked the ball with seven seconds left on the clock to set up another clutch kick for Adam Vinatieri. Brady won SBMVP honors with 145 yards passing and one touchdown. At the time, Brady was the youngest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl. The rest is simply history.

Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the players who were chosen ahead of Brady in the 2000 NFL Draft:

Patriots Picks in 2000:

2nd round pick number 46 OT Adrian Klemm

3rd round pick number 76 RB J.R. Redmond

4th round pick number 127 OT Greg Robinson-Randall

5th round pick number 141 TE Dave Stachelski

5th round pick number 161 DT Jeff Marriot

6th round pick number 187 CB Antwan Harris

Can you recall how those guys panned out for the Pats? If so, you may want to apply for Mel Kiper’ job at ESPN whenever he retires.

QB’s taken higher than Brady:

1st round pick number 18 Chad Pennington

3rd round pick number 65 Giovanni Carmazzi

3rd round pick number 75 Chris Redman

5th round pick number 163 Tee Martin

6th round pick number 168 Marc Bulger

6th round pick number 183 Spergon Wynn

Of the six quarterbacks above only Pennington and Bulger went on to have semi-successful NFL careers. Pennington of course was plagued by re-occurring shoulder injuries, and Bulger failed to lead the rams anywhere in almost a decade.

Redman only played in 30 regular seasons games in an eight year NFL career. Then there’s Wynn (10 career games in 2000-2001) and Martin, whose careers were very, very short lived (three games from 2001-2003). As for Carmazzi, he never played a game in the NFL.

Notable Players taken ahead of Brady

1st round pick number two LB LaVar Arrington

1st round pick number five RB Jamal Lewis

1st round pick number seven RB Thomas Jones

1st round pick number nine LB Brian Urlacher

1st round pick number 12 DE Shaun Ellis

1st round pick number 13 DE John Abraham

1st round pick number 14 TE Bubba Franks

1st round pick number 15 CB Deltha O’Neal

1st round pick number 16 LB Julian Peterson

1st round pick number 17 K Sebastian Janikowski

1st round pick number 19 RB Sean Alexander

1st round pick number 30 LB Keith Bulluck

2nd round pick number 44 T Chad Clifton

3rd round pick number 76 WR Laveraneus Coles

5th round pick number 142 P Shane Lechler

5th round pick number 149 DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila

5th round pick number 153 WR Dante Hall

6th round pick number 169 K Neil Rackers

6th round pick number 186 LB Adalius Thomas

Among all of those notable NFL players, only Brian Urlacher and Jamal Lewis have came within Tom Brady’ range of success. Brady has been regarded by many experts as one of the greatest draft picks of all-time, and when you look at his career numbers it’s not hard to see why.

Brady by the Numbers:

Career Stats:

Passing Yards: 44,806 (9th all-time).

Passing Touchdowns: 334 (5th all-time).

Passer Rating: 96.6 (3rd all-time).

Passes Completed: 3,798 (8th all-time).

Completion Percentage: 63.7% (9th all-time).

(fun fact: Chad Pennington, 2000-2010, ranks 1st all-time in Career Completion Percentage at 66.0%)

Post-season:

Passing Yards: 5,949 (1st all-time).

Passing Touchdowns: 42 (3rd all-time).

Passer Rating: 87.4 (12th all-time).

Passes Completed: 553 (1st all-time).

Completion Percentage: 62.3% (24th all-time)

When you couple those numbers with his championships, Brady is one of the best NFL draft success stories of all-time.

Final Thoughts: Brady’ contract extension of three years will keep him in Foxborough for what will likely be the remainder of his career. Meaning Tom gets to finish what he started all those years ago, when he was just a back-up quarterback above suspicion. Brady’ time in New England has certainly been nothing short of terrific.

An Unlikely Fan

Neil Diamond is becoming a Boston Hero. First, he comes over to Fenway Park a few days after the Marathon Bombings to sing his “Sweet Caroline” song that we all know and love between innings at the park.  Yes, he was a little off key, but hey, he’s 72 years old. The thought was still there.  Don’t forget, he grew up in Brooklyn, NY. He is not a Red Sox fan.

Now, Neil Diamond is donating this week’s sales from this hit song to the victims. The track sold 19,000 times. Even the Yankees and Toronto Raptors played this song in honor of Beantown in recent days. It’s nice to see everyone loving Boston, and loving our country. Too bad it had to happen like this! Have a good Thursday everyone.

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The Looch Saga

The B’s have been taking a lot of heat for a team that’s sitting in first place of their division heading into the final week of the season. And I’ll be the first to say that I’ve been right there throwing stones with the rest of the angry mob. So why are we complaining? Besides our Bostonian expectation of win it all or bust, it’s obvious that the Bruins just aren’t playing to their full potential. Come playoff time, the fumes we’ve Lucic Scratchbeen running on aren’t going to be enough to make a legitimate run at the Cup.

The sense of urgency and our ability to score has just been lacking, among other things. One of which being Milan Lucic. I love Looch, but there’s no denying his metaphorical absence. The Looch of old has been nowhere to be found on the ice this year. Lucic used to be our enforcer. Would anyone call him that right now? No. A lot of people say he’s gone soft since becoming a father, but I’m not buying it. Regardless, the Lucic we’ve grown accustom to over the years needs to return if the B’s want to win the Cup. When Milan Lucic is playing Milan Lucic hockey, the Bruins are playing Boston Bruin’s Hockey, the kind of hockey that won us a Stanley Cup in 2011.

As much as we are all complaining, things aren’t all bad. Although we are in first place, the B’s just need to pick up some momentum heading down the home stretch. And I think that starts with Looch. So here are a few throwbacks that might help build some confidence in the Milan Lucic we all know and love, so Lord Stanley can be returned to its rightful home in Beantown.

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Odd European News

Liverpool Striker Luis Suarez, 26, has caused some outcry overseas. In their most recent match against Chelsea, Suarez is seen biting Defender Branislav Ivanovic on the arm. He has since apologized but not before everyone and their mother had something to say about it. As a former soccer player who always fought back against those who call Soccer a “sissy sport”, this sucks. As if there wasn’t enough diving and crying already in European Football, now there’s biting!

In completely related news, Mike Tyson is now following Suarez on Twitter. No, that’s not a joke. Tyson, who famously had his boxing license revoked after chewing off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear in 1997, is now a Tweet-Mate of the Uruguayan-born futbol star.

Metro.co.uk Picture Luis Suarez

Celtics Playoff Preview

The Celtics begin their playoff series against the New York Knicks on Saturday at 3 P.M. at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks were real hot at the end of the season, winning 16 out of their last 18 games and clinching the Atlantic Conference for the first time in a long time. The Celtics, however, only won 4 out of their last 10 games. But if last year tells us anything, it’s that this team is built for the playoffs.

The following stats were taken from ESPN.com:

  Knicks Celtics
PPG 100 96.5
RPG 40.6 39.3
APG 19.3 22.8
FG % 0.448 0.465
FT % 0.759 0.776
3P % 0.376 0.358

I do not want to count the Celtics out, even if the Knicks have been playing extremely well, but if the C’s want to take this one, I am willing to bet that it’s going to go 6 or 7 games. Is this team built for that? The Knicks have many dangerous weapons, especially the scoring 1champion of the regular season—Carmelo Anthony. He is averaging nearly 29 PPG. They also have 5 others that average in double-digits, including J.R. Smith who is averaging 18.1 PPG and hasn’t started a game all season. Tyson Chandler is their big defensive presence who can out rebound us consistently, and Amar’e and Felton who can put home 12-18 points on any given night.

The Celtics were led once again by Captain Paul Pierce. Pierce had another great season averaging 18.6 PPG and logging over 33 minutes per contest. Jeff Green has really stepped up ever since he dropped 43 against the Heat. He also put in 34 against the Pistons, and over 20 in many other games. KG is still solid with his mid-range jumper and if he can stay healthy, he should be able to help with his 7.8 Rebounds per game. Avery Bradley has been off for about a month, but still tenacious on defense, and we need him to keep that up. The Knicks can shoot so we need to make sure that we are pressuring the ball enough to make sure they don’t feel comfortable. Let’s go Celtics!I do not want to count the Celtics out, even if the Knicks have been playing extremely well, but if the C’s want to take this one, I am willing to bet that it’s going to go 6 or 7 games. Is this team built for that?

The Knicks have many dangerous weapons, especially the scoring champion of the regular season—Carmelo Anthony. He is averaging nearly 29 PPG. They also have 5 others that average in double-digits, including J.R. Smith who is averaging 18.1 PPG and hasn’t started a game all season. Tyson Chandler is their big defensive presence who can out rebound us consistently, and Amar’e and Felton who can put home 12-18 points on any given night.

NBA: Boston Celtics at New York Knicks

Class Act

Just one day after the attacks at the Boston Marathon finish line, the country was still hurting—and will be for some time. I do not want to get into details about all of the events that occurred on April 15th, because we all know what happened.  I would like to point out a Class Act last night. The New York Yankees played Fenway’s classic “Sweet Caroline” song in their third inning to honor those in Boston for what they had to go through. They also issued the following statement (ESPN):

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and the families who were affected by the bombings and our respect and admiration go out to the police, medical personnel and first responders who acted so heroically,We stand united with the participants, volunteers, staff and spectators of the Boston Marathon and the people of Boston.”

Also, before the game even started they were showing their support. Instead of just having their trademark logo on the big screens around the stadium, they had both their logo, and the Red Sox emblem on it with the words “United We Stand”. Even if you hate the Yankees, you have to respect this.

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A Sad Day

This is absolutely a sad time for all Bostonians as well as all Americans. Boston Sports Blog would like to send out our condolences to all of those who have been affected by this tragedy. We cannot put into words how badly we feel about this unspeakable, cowardly act that has shaken our city. Stand strong and stick together!

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