Football

The End of Oregon’s Golden Era

“Success comprises in itself the seeds of its own decline and sport is not spared by this law” Pierre de Coubertin

Oregon Football use to be the toast of the college football universe. The program had great facilities, incredible boosters, and an avid fan base. With Nike’s backing, the team had unlimited uniform combinations and tons of media coverage.

However, success is fueled by wins, and when losses mount…well…college football can be a fickle lover.

Following a disastrous Alamo Bowl loss, in which Oregon once lead by more than 30-points, and a 2016 campaign that finished with an abysmal four wins. The once proud program finished at the bottom of its conference and division.

Something needed to be done, so the University of Oregon’s Athletic Department made a drastic move. A maneuver that hadn’t been done since the 1970s. Fire its head coach.

The last firing of an Oregon Football Head Coach occurred in 1976, when Don Reid was dismissed. During the last 40-years, the program has hired head coaches from within its system. A strategy that’s created a continuity unrivaled in college football; however, that streak ended in 2016 with the termination of Mark Helfrich.

Why? Coach Helfrich took over a program that was souring. His tenure as head coach saw a decline in recruiting, a breakdown in discipline, and slippage in fan enthusiasm.

The decline in Oregon’s play prompted an interesting piece by AlmostDailyBrett, which attempts to explain ” The End of Oregon’s Golden Era.”

Oregon alumni and fans can only hope that Oregon’s decline is short lived. Perhaps, the UO’s Athletic Department has taken a step in the right direction by hiring its new head coach: Willie Taggart.

Duck Nation will soon see if Coach Taggart and his new coaching staff corrects Oregon’s woes. Just maybe, he is the shot in the arm that is needed to right the ship and return the Ducks to their Golden Era.

 

 

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Mariota Wins The Heisman!

A new day dawned for fans of the Oregon Ducks. A decade and a half of building a winning program culminated in the schools first Heisman trophy winner.

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Marcus Mariota’s talent has been no secret at Oregon, and now the world knows just how talented the Hawaiian native is. This year’s Heisman winner received the second highest vote totals (90.9%) in the trophy’s 80-year history.

Another first for Mariota is that he is the first man from Hawaii, and the first Polynesian, to win the Heisman trophy.

The next step in Oregon’s history will be to bring home a national championship, but for now. Duck fans should all be celebrating this historic moment because years of hard work and sacrifice have paid off.

Congratulations to Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks.

More information on the vote and the trophy’s history can be found at the official Heisman website:

http://heisman.com/index.aspx

http://www.heismancentral.com/#!the-vote/c2b1

Media Blitz: NFL’s Ray Rice Conundrum

There will always be hope for our country as long as more people watch Monday Night Football than…[sitcoms]––Michael Logsdon

Lately the sports media’s attention has been dominated by reports about domestic abuse in the NFL, with the Ray Rice scandal getting a lion’s share of the coverage. The video of Rice knocking out his then fiancé is utterly repulsive. The fact that Rice is a world-class athlete (a strapping alpha male to boot) makes the attack even more reprehensible. However, with all the media attention on this issue, is the NFL missing an opportunity?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s mishandling of the initial response towards this issue was a huge blunder, then when a video emerged showing the attack, Goodell and the NFL took a knee-jerk reaction of throwing Rice out of the NFL. This reactionary response is evidence of a lack of direction and a clear strategy on how to best address this issue.

It is the opinion of A Crow’s View that the steps the NFL took do not help Rice’s wife or others. In fact, absolutely nothing the NFL did to address this situation is going to stop this type of event from happening again. Even worse, the steps taken by the NFL place a hardship on Rice and his wife, while putting pressure on other players’ and their spouses to keep silent, so they don’t face a similar situation.

It is clear the suspension is a move designed to placate the NFL’s critics and to bolster its weak stance on domestic abuse. Based on the continued media coverage and calls for impeachment of Goodell, this approach isn’t working because society sees this tactic for what it is: nothing more than a quick-fix PR attempt.

Appeasing critics or having a zero tolerance policy will not solve this problem. This issue requires the NFL to take a different approach. One that will prevent future occurrences from happening and ensures the safety of players’ spouses and others.

First, the league needs to be upfront about what it knew and when, regarding the Rice video.

Second, bring Rice and his wife into NFL headquarters and address the discipline issues with them.

Third, all fines leveled against Rice by the NFL should be waived, if donations of equal value are made to domestic violence organizations.

Fourth, put in place an option that will allow Rice to salvage his career if he meets strict requirements set by the NFL. This option must be stressed that it is available only if he meets all requirements; however, the team owners will have the option of keeping Rice on their roster.

Fifth, be open about the disciplinary steps and effectively explain how these steps will help victims and the abuser from repeat behavior.

With all the resources at the NFL’s disposal, it should not be taking a reactionary response to domestic violence. It should be dealt with in a manner that will not force those who are trapped in this toxic environment into silence, or force abusers to use their resources to prevent such incidences from becoming public simple to keep their jobs. Helping people should be the goal, not just cleaning up the NFL’s image.

The reasons the NFL should follow these five steps are clear. They immediately help to improve the situation of all women associated with the NFL. First, they remove the fear of losing their financial situation if they are in an abusive relationship, by taking away the need to keep silent or further hide the abuse. Second, these steps will show that the NFL is engaged on the issue of domestic abuse and actively seeking to protect the victims of violence. Moreover, following these steps will demonstrate that the NFL is working with Ray and Janay Rice to safeguard her safety and actively trying to ensure that no future incidences of abuse occurs.

The NFL is missing a golden opportunity. If they use these steps, a situation is created which will prompt a great storyline of redemption and second chance that society eats up. More importantly, they don’t cast a veil of silence over the abused or abuser to hide their faults; in stead, they will create an environment that seeks to improve lives. This is the best way to ensure the safety of Janay and other women of the NFL.

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Rice

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_tolerance

Super Bowl XLVIII: The Super Bust

I believe that a bad Super Bowl halftime show is still better than a soccer game–Ron White

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 10.51.34 AMAs an average red-blooded American, I love to watch the Super Bowl. The event is highly anticipated and hyped. And when Super Sunday arrives, the entire viewing experience usually makes for a great afternoon. All aspects of the Super Bowl’s programming are worth watching. The pre-game show, the commercials, halftime show, and the game are all entertaining. However, this year’s Super Bowl event fell flat on all fronts.

Unless you’re a diehard Seahawks fan, the game was boring. The teams seemed deflated and unable to compete at a high level. Seattle’s defense is the lone exception. The two offensives were incompetent and lacking clarity. The Seahawks failed to put the game away early by settling for field goals inside the red zone. If their offense was firing on all cylinders, they would have scored 60-points.

The Denver Broncos were offensively inept, which made the Seahawks’ performance look even more dominate than it was. I will admit that much of the incompetence on Denver’s side was due to Seattle’s play, but the Broncos made no adjustments. Their team seemed out sync from the opening snap. Ultimately, a tip-of-the-hat goes to Seattle for showing up and taking advantage of the situation. It was nice to see a team that has never won a Super Bowl come out victorious.

Since the game was a bust, I figured the halftime show and the commercials would take up the slack. The problem was the halftime show and the commercials were lackluster as well. The Entertainment was just a rehash of past shows. All it did was cart out a big name performer or two, and then sing a medley of hits. This show wasn’t any different than the last ten-halftime performances. It was a huge waste of time. I would rather watch game highlights, interviews, or anything other than the entertainment the NFL has dredged up for the Super Bowl in recent years.

My last gasp for enjoying this year’s game rested with the commercials. That is usually a safe bet. In many cases, people who don’t care about the NFL will tune into the game just for the Super Bowl ads. Unfortunately, this year they missed the mark too. I can only recall one or two that were decent. In years past, I bet, those commercials would have been below average by Super Bowl standards.

It’s hard to believe a Super Bowl match up that had the makings to be a truly great championship game fell flat. I can’t blame the blowout because that happens regularly in sports, so does poor halftime performances and bad commercial programming. But rarely does all three happen during one Super Bowl. Each phase of this year’s Super Bowl event was ensnared in mediocrity. The NFL needs to address its formula for success because if this occurs again. Soccer may take a huge step towards overtaking the NFL’s limelight.

Leah Shafer: Paula Abdul She Is Not!

A really great talent finds its happiness in execution – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

ImageLike most people, I spent my Sunday watching the NFL Playoffs. After all the great plays and the wild interviews, the most memorable event was the singing of the national anthem at the AFC Championship game.

The singer who performed the national anthem at the Denver / New England game did an incedible job. I was blown away by the performer’s range. Her rendition was respectful and powerfully delivered. While she was singing, I mistook her as Paula Abdul. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to make that mistake; an Instagram post by David Spade attributed the singing to Ms. Abdul too. We were both wrong. Image

Following the game, I had a nagging feeling that I was incorrect about the singer’s identity. She really impressed me, and there was something about how she carried herself that set her apart from Abdul. Her performance radiated charm and projected style; furthermore, she had a wholesomeness that is missing from so many celebrities. Since I missed her introduction, I had to do some research to find out who this singer was.

I managed to locate a YouTube clip that gave me her name, but it took a little extra time to find out more information about her. As of this writing, the mystery singer has no Wikipedia entry, but she does have a Facebook Fan Page (only 228 followers), a Twitter feed (200 followers), and a website. She’s a devoted Christian, wife, and mother. Her name is Leah Shafer.

Shafer is a talented individual with an interesting background. Her website states, “In High School, she was chosen as ‘Best Alto’ for the California All-State Choir.” She has traveled internationally as the “main soloist of ‘The Young Americans’”; a non-profit organization and performing group based in Southern California. She’s a three-time winner of “Destination Stardom” (A PAX-TV version of Star Search) and was featured on NBC’s “The Singing Bee”.

Despite her accomplishments, she is virtually unknown to the general pubic. This is sure to change given her performance at the AFC Championship game. All things considered, I’m guessing her obscurity will not last due to her stunning recital of the national anthem. It was nice to see a decent hardworking artist get some well-deserved attention. A Crow’s View wishes her and her family the best.

http://www.leahshafermusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Leah-Shafer/455402694551853

http://www.youngamericans.org/

http://instagram.com/davidspade

BCS: Out In Style

Sports do not build character. They reveal it.– Heywood Broun

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 1.44.11 PMDuring its much-aligned existence, the BCS always had its critics. In its 16-year run there were countless tweaks to how it operated. Despite the fixes the system was far from perfect, but in its final year the BCS era ends with a bang.

This year’s bowls (Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, Orange) were by far the best series of games the BCS has presented. The Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio (#5 Stanford vs. #4 Michigan State) was a back and forth game that ended with a brutal defensive stand, which handed the victory to the Michigan State Spartans. Until that last play the game was in doubt.

The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (#15 UCF vs. #6 Baylor) didn’t have the dramatic alternating lead changes like the Stanford/Michigan State game did, but it featured a huge upset when the BCS buster UCF Knights beat the high-octane offense the Baylor Bears.

Following the New Year’s Day BCS games, the Allstate Sugar Bowl featured the #3, two-time national champion, Alabama Crimson Tide battling the #11 Oklahoma Sooners. This skirmish had four lead changes. Alabama had a chance to tie the game with a touchdown drive during the final 47-seconds; their hopes were dashed when A.J. McCarron coughed up the ball and Geneo Grissom returned the fumble for an eight-yard touchdown. If that wasn’t enough, a botched kickoff recovered by Oklahoma ended any chance for a miracle for the Crimson Tide.

On January 3rd the Discover Orange Bowl hosted the #7 Ohio State Buckeyes verses the #12 Clemson Tigers. This game featured more than a 1000-yards of offense and four lead changes. The game was sealed when Stephone Anthony intercepted Braxton Miller’s pass at Clemson’s 39-yard line with 87-seconds remaining in the game.

The BCS Championship Game couldn’t have been scripted any better. #1 Florida State Seminoles and #2 Auburn Tigers colliding for the ultimate prize: The NCAA Coaches Trophy. This game had it all. One team takes a commanding 21-3 lead early in the game, a valiant come from behind challenge (featuring a 100-yard kickoff return to take the lead), and a championship drive to win the game with only 13-seconds remaining. The heroics of the athletes on both sides were stellar examples of what makes college football special.

These final BCS era games are examples of what college football post-season should be. In many respects, this year’s bowl games raised the bar for what the new playoff system should strive to deliver every year. I believe it’s possible if the new playoff system doesn’t implode under the weight of bias and conference tie-ins that plagued the BCS during its run.

The BCS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowl_Championship_Series

BCS Championship

Orange Bowl

Fiesta Bowl

Rose Bowl

Sugar Bowl

CFB Playoffs: A Quagmire In The Making

Football is an incredible game. Sometimes it’s so incredible, it’s unbelievable­–Tom Landry

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 1.57.25 PMCollege football’s new playoff system is only a year away. I was excited to see this development finally come to about, until I read about the framework that is in place to decide the teams. Now I’m hesitant because the structure that is in place will undoubtedly bring chaos, perplexity, and disenchantment.

During the BCS era, controversy was the rule, not the exception, when it came to the BCS championship. I give the BCS some credit because it was a huge step in the right direction compared to the old system. Under the pre-BCS system sport’s writers and pundits would vote for a national champion following the bowl season. This format obviously left a lot to be desired because the best teams may never play one another. In fact, in many cases this system left the championship in dispute.

The BCS promised to fix this major oversight by giving college football fans an undisputed national champion, and for a little bit it did provide a nice alternative to the old system. However, it did not take long for the BCS system’s subjectivity and bias to rear it ugly head. As stated above, “during the BCS era controversy was the rule, not the exception….” This is seen in a number of championship selection controversies that ran throughout the 16-year existence of the BCS.

Now, a playoff is set to debut in 2014. Oddly enough, the executive director of the college football playoff committee is Bill Hancock; a man who happens to chair the BCS and was a long time critic of a collegiate playoff. This raises a huge red flag, to me. A man who spent years disparaging a playoff is now set to run the entire system. It seems to me that the establishment really doesn’t want a playoff.

Evidence of the establishment’s aversion to a playoff is apparent in how teams get into the postseason and the number of teams included. First, teams don’t go to the playoffs by winning conference titles or attaining a high ranking. Instead a committee will select the teams. Second, only a field of four will make the playoffs, not a collection of six or eight elite teams. It’s a sure bet that some great teams will be overlooked by the selection committee.

There is a myriad of ways a playoff system could have been set up. I would wager that a group of fans from “Any Bar, USA” could have came up with a more compelling playoff structure than what the establishment “experts” did.

The system announced by Mr. Hancock doesn’t let the gridiron decided which teams are in the playoffs. It turns the decision over to “powerbrokers”. This makes no sense; it would have been easier, and wiser, to build upon what is in place. Design a playoff that allows teams to control their own destiny. If teams win their respective conferences; then they will go to a BCS bowl based on existing tie-ins. For non-automatic qualifying conferences, there are BCS at-large berths available that allows those teams from weaker conference a shot at reaching the BCS ( or the new playoff system).

Simply put, reach a BCS bowl and you play for a playoff spot. Win your bowl game, plus one, and earn an opportunity to play for the Coaches’ Trophy. What Bill Hancock and the NCAA gave us is a system that will cause problems and unquestionably shutout viable teams.

I foresee this system being a fiasco that will spiral to a dilemma. Instead of consistently having a clear and incontrovertible champion, we will have teams crowned in the miasma of controversy because the selection committee overlooked a top-notch contender. It’s clear the “powers-that-be” missed a golden opportunity to–once and for all–terminate any dispute surrounding a college football national champion. The new playoff system is a quagmire in the making.

http://www.collegefootballplayoff.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowl_Championship_Series

http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2013/4/24/4259874/college-football-playoff-bill-hancock-quotes