undertaker-wrestlemania-concussion-wwe-1-665x385

Where has the Undertaker been? Since WrestleMania 30, the Undertaker’s status for WWE WrestleMania 31 has been in constant question. There seemed to be concern for Undertaker’s health following his first-ever loss at WrestleMania 30 against Brock Lesnar.

Lesnar and Paul Heyman were the two that Undertaker chose to end the illustrious streak. The looks and screams from the fans on that day can still be seen and heard from miles away. Ending the Streak wasn’t a popular idea, but now Lesnar is the hottest WWE superstar to date. He will be carrying the company for the next few months and the ratings are higher than ever before when he is on-screen.

Many WWE legends think Taker earned the right to retire with his streak intact. Stone Cold Steve Austin was just one of the wrestlers who thought the streak was so special that it should have remained unbroken.

Since WWE’s inclusion of Sting in their future plans, he has been very adamant on wrestling the Undertaker at WrestleMania 31. “Sting has been very vocal over the Summer Slam weekend that he wants to wrestle The Undertaker. “He’s pushed it hard in every interview,” states Dave Meltzer on wrestling observer radio.”

The unfortunate part about this whole scenario is that Undertaker looks to be in very bad health. In a recent picture on Twitter, two young girls got to meet the Dead-man and his appearance speaks for itself. To be personally honest, I think the last match was all the evidence we needed to see he was done. Something wasn’t right as his ring presence wasn’t as flawless as we are accustomed to it being. This is the same guy that carried matches and taught his students while in the ring. Unfortunately, it looked during that match the student was teaching the teacher.

Our memories of the Undertaker will not be the end of the streak, but instead the many vivid moments he has given us over the years. The years of constant punishment being sustained inside of the squared circle looks to have finally taken a toll on the Dead-man, leaving us to wonder if it is true. Is the Dead-man, finally dead?

 

Reported By:

Tony Cutillo (@TCutillo23)


 

 

football

 

Name an industry that brings in $1.2 billion in revenue each year, employs more than 4,000 people, and had a double-digit percentage of growth every year from 2007 to 2012, according to one research firm. Yes, you guessed correctly if your answer was Fantasy Football!

The game is a simple head to head matchup  based on statistical analysis of real-life games with those of your opponent, who, given the same option may have chosen alternative players. The concept, which rewards the most knowledgeable and passionate of participants, has proved a powerful draw to fans keen to participate in the greater drama of their sport in some small way.

It is estimated that at least 26 million Americans play some form of fantasy sports league, a fact that has created an industry worth close to $1 billion a year according to the U.S.-based Fantasy Sports Trade Association. “The average amount that each of these players spends on their hobby might be $500 per year or so, moreover, these figures appear to be growing — even in a down economy — at near-double-digit annual rates.”

What once started out as a simple game over head to head competition has now become a calculated game of chess full of many risks and rewards. It takes more preparation time than that of preparing for the SAT’s. Fantasy Football is a big business and the imagesIQYM1SEDNFL players have taken notice.

How much time do you spend on your fantasy preparation? Do you spend more time every year?
Either way fantasy football is here to stay and will continue to grow. Cheers to the game that gives us the best opportunity to be a part of the inner workings of a professional franchise. We all have dreams and it is nice to embellish in the glory of what could be every once in a while!

Reported By:
Tony Cutillo (@TCutillo23)


desean 2

Is the Desean Jackson saga finally coming to an end.? As the weeks have gone on in this situation, we have had more and more National sports Outlets elaborate on this story, which leads me to believe this is real. The Philadelphia Eagles usually do really well at keeping things under wraps, but this time the story has spun out of control.

Jackson signed a $48.5-million contract with $18 million in guarantees in March of 2012. The receiver said he’s proven that he should be paid as a top-shelf receiver. Jackson told Nfl.com in January of this year:

“I’m going into the third year of my deal. Just feel it’s deserving. So we’ll see,” Jackson said. “I feel like I’ve proved everything on the field. To do some of the things that top receivers in this league do, I think like I’m right there at the top. So we’ll see how it goes.”

I think desean3this is where the wheels began to come off on the Desean Jackson bus.  Jackson’s $9.7 million contract in 2014 puts him seventh in average salary among wide receivers, not extremely pocket change for a charismatic talent.  The wide receiver position is known to contain a “Diva Persona”, something it seems Chip Kelly is not willing to deal with. The news is filled with reports today of Desean being moved way before the draft. Sal Paolantonio, ESPN National Reporter, was quoted as saying, “Desean Jackson’s act is wearing thin with Chip Kelly.”

The question is what will the Eagles receive and who will be able to replace him? Furthermore, if there was any time to replace desean4a speedster like Jackson, the Eagle have picked the time to do it. National analysts have already said that this is the deepest draft for the Wide Receiver position that the league has seen in years.  Desean led the team last year with 82 catches and 1332 yards. I n my opinion, the move is inevitable, but I cannot see the offense being able to replace his presence in the lineup.

Reported By: Tony Cutillo

***As always I aprreciate all comments and feedback…Come follow me @TCutillo23………

 


phillies3phillies2phillies1

It’s that time of year again when the weather breaks and the boys of summer are back. This is the first year of the Ryne Sandberg regime and it looks to be lacking one thing so far, OFFENSE! Yes it’s early, but after an offseason of the Marlon Byrd phenomenon, we really didn’t come into this year with the greatest of expectations.  However, some of us thought that a healthy Ryan Howard would bolster this team to competition, but as of now his stat line ( .182 BA, 0 HR and 9 K’s) in 22 AB’s is far from stellar. This is just one of the many storylines listed below for which I am concerned:

**Cole Hamels – another mysterious arm injury and throwing fatigue definitely does not sound promising.

**Jimmy Rollins—batting .133 so far with 2 hits in 15 AB’s…shocking

**Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez—the mysterious million dollar Cuban sensation that has been rocked so far, showing as much control as “Wild Thing” Rick Vaughn before the glasses.

**Dominic Brown—outfield skills still in question, but after a diminished second half offensively, starting out the spring at .091 is not helping anyone’s confidence.

**John Mayberry Jr.—tell me why he is still on the team????

**Bobby Abreu—our signed Left handed hitting specialist is hitting a fantastic .150 so far and is moving around as well as John Kruk from 1st to 3rd.

phiilies4As you can see, there are a lot of issues with this, which have just culminated during the first week of spring training. Can they turn it around? Anything is possible. However, if past history is an indictment on how this season plays out, we are in for a long summer!

Reported By: Tony Cutillo

***As always, your comments and responses are welcomed and appreciated…you can also follow me @TCutillo23…


jenkins2

As the free agency period was approaching, there were many rumblings and opinions on who the Eagles would/should sign. I would say that 95% of the Philadelphia Eagles fan base was clamoring for T.J Ward or Jairus Byrd. These 2 players were thought to be rated the top at their position respectively, but the Eagles had other directions on their blueprint.jenkins1 Who was the guy whom they have been quoted as telling was their #1 target of the offseason? Well Eagles fans, meet your new starting Safety, former New Orleans Saint Malcolm Jenkins. Obviously, this isn’t the player everyone was hoping for when the clock struck 4:00ET, but this who the Eagles think can be their leader on defense, something they haven’t had since Brian Dawkins.

The Eagles were supposedly in contact with him on March 8 right after the non tampering had begun. Knowing all along that he was their guy, they signed him to a 3yr deal worth $16.5 million with $8.5 million guaranteed. Let’s take a look at what others around the NFL are saying:jenkins3

–good zone awareness to anticipate routes

–good range to get over the top in coverage

–tight in the hips which forced his move to safety

–tough tackler who gets his nose on the ball

–solid teammate, strong influence in the locker room

–defensive captain the last 2 years

As you can see, he has decent credentials and is definitely an upgrade from the departed Patrick Chung and Nate Allen. The only question I have is, “Why did the Saints let him go without any effort to resign him?” Also isn’t it ironic that they instead signed Byrd to a monster deal to be their leader, the guy Philly fans were begging for?

Reported By: Tony Cutillo

***As always, your comments and responses are welcomed and appreciated…you can also follow me @TCutillo23…


desean1

Can the Eagles be productive without Desean Jackson…? A few weeks ago when this rumor came out it was almost instantly dispelled, but now it seems like it has some legs. As we approach the NFL free agency period, the Philadelphia Eagles are exploring any and all options to upgrade their roster, including the ability to get players that buy into what Chip Kelly is preaching. This could be the very reason why Desean may be being shopped. Chip is on the record as saying, “he doesn’t like small bodied receivers who have a Me first attitude,” something we all know fits Desean like a tight glove.

Desean Jackson, after being drafted in the 2nd round in the 2008 draft, has propelled himself to star status by being selected to 2 Pro Bowls, one of them as 2 positions. This the first time a player has ever been selected at 2 positions, just showing how electric Desean can be. In his first year in Chip Kelly’s offense, Jackson turned in the bestdesean2 statistical year (82/1332/9) of his career. He was a spark plug in the Eagles attack, sometimes being used as a decoy to open up things for guys like Brent Celek and Riley Cooper. Unfortunately, after this stellar year, it came out in the newspapers that Desaen started to question his value and began chirping about a new contract. I think this is where the marriage started to become on edge as it brought back memories of Terrell Owens and what that situation did to the team.

While the trading of NFL receivers rarely happens, it sure seems like the Eagles are destined to make this move work. There have been talks as of yesterday about the Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs being serious suitors in the Desean Jackson sweepstakes. Let’s say this moves does happen and he gets traded. What happens next? Are the Eagles looking to make a splash in the draft by trying to move up and get a guy like Sammie Watkins or Mike Evans? Maybe they are thinking they can get by with Maclin, Cooper, Ertz, and a free agent signing like Julian Edleman or Hakeem Nicks. In my opinion, Desean was one of the main reason guys like Riley Cooperdesean3 had such a big year. He forces teams to play their safety over top, leaving a hole in the middle of the field and no help in the box against the running game. Neither one of the guys mentioned above give off the same presence and attracts the same attention.

The Eagles have some major holes to fill like Linebacker, Defensive Line and Safety. The money they save with trading Desean, could give them the flexibility to sign all 3, making the defense a significant upgraded unit from last year.  One thing is for sure, nobody knows what Chip Kelly is thinking, but he has proved that his offense works in the NFL.  The question is can it work without Desean Jackson? Thoughts?

Reported By: Tony Cutillo

*****As always, your comments and responses are welcomed and appreciated….you can also follow me @TCutillo23…


 

defense

As the day after the Super Bowl is upon us, it should definitely be a wakeup call for the Philadelphia Eagles organization and its defensive mindset. The Seattle Seahawks did what a lot of people said they would not be able to do, which is stop Peyton Manning and his arsenal of weapons. The Denver Broncos came into this game as the number one offense in the NFL, racking up records and milestones all throughout the year. Unfortunately, they stepped into a matchup with the number one defense in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks. There was a lot of talk that much of Seattle’s success was predicated by their home field crowds causing commotion and deafening collaboration, but after last night, it shows that they are just that darn good!

One of the biggest sound alerts that should be sent to the Eagles franchise from this game is that even though they may have a prolific offense, Defense wins championships. As I stated in my previous article, the priority in this offseason should start and end with the defense side of the ball. Just think for a second, how many more wins we could have had last year if we were able to stop the opposing teams at critical points of the game. How many 3rd and 1’s did we fail to stop? How many 2nd and 3’s went for 20+ yards? There are so many scenarios we can all play out in regards to our defense last year to show how much we need to improve. Obviously, we did play well with what we had in regards to talent, which is why we need to focus on playmakers this offseason, not just an average, mid tier, second stringer. In my opinion, we need a pass rusher who can be dominant, a safety who can make plays, and corner who can lock down the opposing teams’ number one receiver. I know that’s a wish list that many teams may have, but we have the financial flexibility and national likeness to get it done.

Looking at this game under a microscope, you can see how the plan of the Seahawks was to make Peyton rush, which would make his thought process unbalanced. This led to careless throws into forced coverage and timing issues that disrupts every phase of his game. It almost is equivalent to the game plan the Cowboys had on Nick Foles, which should serve as a compliment to Foles and a hint to how to unravel an offensive powerhouse, such as the Eagles. If you look at last year’s Super Bowl winner, the Baltimore Ravens, they too possessed the game changing defense that was needed to, not only stop important drives throughout the game, but to solidify the balanced game plan that had put into place. The Philadelphia Eagles are on a way to continued success, but they will constantly come up short if they do not take notice of the ever growing emphasis of assembling a defense that not only wins games, but has the ability to win Championships, something this town is craving for more than an earlier Spring!!!!

Reported By: Tony Cutillo

*****As always, your comments and responses are always appreciated…you can also follow me @TCutillo23……


 

TJ-Ward-CampThe ride of a relatively exciting season is over and the questions are starting to arise as to what direction the Eagles are headed in terms of upgrades or changes at certain positions. There are some glaring needs on this team that need to be addressed, but none greater than the Safety position. How ironic that we are talking about this position when one of the Eagles biggest mistakes was passing on Earl Thomas, who is playing in this weekends’ Super Bowl.  Thomas would have been the perfect heir apparent to the great Brian Dawkins, but instead we are stuck with another mediocre defensive lineman who always seems to be a half step away from sacking the opposing Quarterback. 220px-Earl_Thomas_(defensive_back)On a positive note, that regime is gone and a new regime started to make their presence felt last year, as they turned over almost the entire defensive roster. This is something the Philadelphia fans were clamoring for, and finally got their wish.

All of these prior season moves bring me to wonder as to what the front office is thinking when it approaches free agency on March 11, 2014. The Eagles have always shown in the past that they are willing to pay for premium free agents, as long as they fit into their scheme. I would have to think they know the Safety position is an integral part of this roster that needs to be upgraded, but it will be interesting to see by what means. In my opinion they have 3 options:

1)    Will they decide to use a high draft pick on someone who may take a year or two to develop?

2)     Will they try and make due with Nate Allen on one side and hope that Earl Wolff develops on the other?

3)    Will they put their efforts into signing a high priced free agent such as Jairus Byrd or T.J. Ward? Both of these guys have Oregon ties, which leads me to believe Chip Kelly will bring both of the guys in for a look.Philadelphia Eagles v Buffalo Bills

In my opinion, building off the success of last year, you pull up the Brinks truck and pay T.J. Ward whatever he wants to be the leader in the secondary and to set an example for the younger players, helping with their development along the way. Why Ward instead of Byrd you ask? If you look at both players by comparison, they are both 27 year old established players who have had great success, but Byrd comes with some risk has he had trouble staying on the field last year due to plantar fasciitis. All of us know how horrible of an injury this is because of its persistence and pain. If you are going to commit millions of dollars to a player, you need to be certain that they will be able to perform imagesCA8R904Nup to capabilities. On the other hand, T.J. Ward has been a consistent performer over the years and most recently in 2013 has started all 16 games, racking up 116 tackles in the process. He has shown the ability to play all over the field, including up in the box for the run game like Earl Thomas, which is why I think you make up for the previous regime’s mistake and make him apart of you plan going into the future.

Obviously, the Eagles showed last year that they are looking to build the core of this team predominately through the draft, while adding some mid-tier free agents to throw into the mix for stability. Howie Rosman has been on record numerous times this offseason saying that the team really does not want to hamstring themselves with high priced contracts, but I think he realizes this is an opportunity that rarely comes around and he needs to jump on it if he wants to build a contending team for years to come!!!!!!

Reported BY: Tony Cutillo

***As always I appreciate all feedback and responses..You can follow me on twitter @TCutillo23…..


philly 2

This is usually the time we as Phillies fans tend to get excited thinking about the prospects of what the season holds. As we all brace through this brutally cold and active winter, the sound of excitement for this upcoming training camp is nonexistent and the hopes of this fan base are lower than the amount of salt still left in the dunes at Penn dot. Usually in the month of February, we are predominately talking about if we will be a division winner or a wild card team come October, but this year we are already looking at 2015. There has been talk of when we will be able to trade Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee, if we paid Cole Hamels too much, and if we will ever have a farm system again. These are all legitimate concerns and the organization has not done anything to ease our minds going into the future.

The city of Philadelphia is said to be a bandwagon fan base, but it is extremely hard to stand behind a team who shows they have no direction. For Example, the Phillies have been shopping all offseason in the Five Below store, hoping to cash in on a gem because we all know how often that happens, right? I’m still astonished that they are extremely enthusiastic about the signing of Bobby Abreu philly3and how he will be able to help this year. Bobby Abreu, really?..really?…Also, not to be forgotten we resigned John Mayberry Jr. and infielder Ronny Cedeno to fill out our bench….While I’m not a huge fan of signing Marlon Byrd, I do think it could be a decent move and add a little pop to our lineup from the right side. The problem is this was the prize of the offseason instead of a piece, which is why I say it is unacceptable and a slap in the face of this well paying fan base. Obviously, I understand we won a World Series in 2008 and got back there in 2009, but once you establish yourself as a high market team it is your responsibility to remain cognizant of that status, making every effort possible to remain there as well.

The Phillies remain a popular ticket in this town, but nothing like they have through the span of 2008-2012, including a sellout streak of 257 straight games. Organizationally they have increased ticket prices and are far from hurting for money or revenue. As seen on http://www.forbes.com/teams/philadelphia-phillies/, the Phillies have the pockets to empty, but they seem like they are stuck in a mirage of 2005, where they constantly settled for less. If you were to break down the new Television deal they just signed, signing any player they clamor for should never be an issue. However, the Phillies always work under their own, self induced salary cap, but sometimes you have to spend more to gain more in return. For example, The New York Yankees (I know not my favorite either, but trying to prove a point), are a team who shows they need to remain primetime players to keep their fan base happy.  After an Idle October, the Yankees came back in full force by signing seven players for $319 million dollars. While I understand we are not the Yankees, I am merely trying to show the point of a franchise trying to win at all costs. They are not using excuses about the players they have being injured or not playing up to their contracts, instead they just sign newimagesCAQFEH57 ones and hope things turn around. In my opinion, when you have a hardcore fan base that you need to be successful, you cannot afford to put an inferior product on the field, without making a bona fide effort to turn things around.

I, for one, do not blame Ruben Amaro entirely for this downward spiral, as I still think the decisions are not entirely in his hands. The problem I do have with Ruben is he seems to hold onto the past for too long and when he decides to try and make his move, it’s too late. For example, last season would have been the perfect opportunity to turn this thing around by trading Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, and later in the season Chase Utley. Early into the season their values have never been higher and our farm system was in dire need for an overhaul. We all knew we weren’t going to contend, so why stay in this mired period any longer. It was possible, with the right moves, we could have contended again in 2 years. Instead we held onto them too long, as Papelbon imploded and we resigned Chase Utley to a contract to take him into the age of 40. Unfortunately, I feel like that was the chance to turn this thing around quickly, but instead it looks like we are in for a long 5 years of mediocrity and contending with the Marlins for 4th place. Boy have times changed!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reported By: Tony Cutillo

****As always I appreciate all comments and feedback….you can follow me @TCutillo23.


Tony Cutillo:

This goes along the same lines as my agruement for Mr. Bonds that I wrote about a few months in the article “Written Off so Fast.” This can be found in the archives of thebellsounds.me

Originally posted on The Strike Zone - SI.com:

Barry Bonds was a gifted -- and controversial -- star long before he was connected to steroids. (Ronald C. Modra/SI)

Barry Bonds was a gifted — and controversial — star long before he was connected to steroids. (Ronald C. Modra/SI)

The following article is part of my ongoing look at the candidates on the BBWAA 2014 Hall of Fame ballot. Originally written for the 2013 election, it has been updated to reflect last year’s voting results as well as additional research and changes in WAR. For a detailed introduction to JAWS, please see here. For the schedule and an explanation of how posts on holdover candidates will be presented, see here.

If Roger Clemens has a reasonable claim as the greatest pitcher of all time, then the same goes for Barry Bonds as a position player. Babe Ruth played in a time before integration, Ted Williams bridged the pre- and post-integration eras, and while both were dominant at the plate, neither was anything to write home about on…

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