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The Finish Line

About this Blog

The CBN Sports blog, The Finish Line, is designed to generate dialogue on today's topical sports narratives in relation to the Christian faith. Shawn Brown is the main blog contributor with occasional contributions by other CBN Sports team members. We want to hear from you, so be sure to interact with us!

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Redskins Top Need in the NFL Draft?

by Shawn Brown

Okay, with the NFL draft just around the corner, I have to weigh in on what analysts  are saying the top needs are for teams. Being that I live in Virginia Beach and this is Washington Redskins country, they will be my main topic of discussion.  Here’s the question: WHAT IS THE TOP NEED FOR THE REDSKINS WITH THE NUMBER 10 OVERALL PICK IN THIS YEARS DRAFT? 

Quite honestly, I’m really tired of the charade the media plays when it comes to predicting what moves teams are going to make when their number is called in the draft. With the Redskins, I’ve heard they will choose a wide receiver, a linebacker, and also a nose tackle. I agree that all of those are needs, but here is where I have a problem. How can you pick any other position if you don’t have a franchise QB in place?

The Quarterback is the leader of the team. He is the franchise. If you are in a head coach position where you are trying to rebuild and you don’t have that position filled, that’s where you start in my opinion.  Why do so many beat writers, columnist, reporters and analysts parade around like that’s not what the Redskins need right now.

I know during this time of year organizations put out false statements and misinformation to disguise what their real intentions are in the draft, but come on. For the Redskins, its evident what they need…a franchise Quarterback! Lets face it they haven’t had a franchise quarterback that they wanted to keep in roughly eight seasons.

In this years draft I say they go after Jake Locker out of Washington or Florida State’s Christian Ponder. Of course, that is if Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton are off the board. These are just a few of my thoughts. Again, the Redskins need a QB in this draft in order to move forward. Agree or disagree? Thoughts anyone?

posted @ Thursday, April 14, 2011 9:00 PM | Feedback (1)

Monday, March 07, 2011

Christian Athletes and Contract Negotiations


Christian Athletes Under Contract Negotiations Hold Out for More Money - Greedy or Not?

by Shawn Brown

There’s a lot going on in professional sports these days. On one hand you’ve got a power struggle raging between NFL players and owners. On the other hand, you’ve got the opposite in the NBA. It seems as though there is a power shift between players and owners.  It started with LeBron leaving Cleveland and joining good friends, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade in Miami. Regardless of how anyone feels about it, that was a big power play that no one could do anything about.  

More recently Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups left Denver to go to New York.  It seems to me that players in the NBA are taking their futures in their own hands, and based on their own assessments are putting themselves in the best positions to win championships.  These transactions may or may not be about money, but in most cases they are.  Now here is the question. If an athlete wants more pay and his current franchise fails to meet his terms, can it be considered greed if he moves to another franchise?

Let’s look at the case of St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols. Recently a Huffington Post article (2/24/11) reported that Christians were asking what his hold out for more (potentially the biggest contract in the history of baseball) says about his faith testimony? With that in mind, I’d like to ask again, ‘Is a man wanting a raise greedy?’

I look at it like this, if he has a normal desk job, does the job well and is paid more than anyone else in his field, then that man is blessed. Why should we hold professional athletes to a different standard than everyone else? The only thing that separates them from the rest of us is the size of their bank accounts. 

Put your self in his shoes. You’ve been working for a company for a few years, the relationship is great, and your agent tells you, ‘Hey man, I think I can get you more money this year.’ What would you do? Say no? I refuse to believe Albert sat and thought, ‘Yes, I want to be paid more than everyone else.’ If you’ve ever met him, you’d know that he’s pretty humble. He does lots of community service through his charities. If you have goals you’d like to achieve (Orphanage in Africa, starting a charter school for under privileged children etc.) and had an opportunity to make enough to cover it all, what would you do? I’d like to know what you think about this. If he is indeed holding out, can that be considered greed?

Any opinions out there?       

posted @ Monday, March 07, 2011 6:20 PM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Players to Watch in Super Bowl XLV

by Shawn Brown

Media Day at Super Bowl XLV was a circus as usual, but a little milder than previous years. I had some great interviews with a laundry list of players on both teams. And as we wait out these last few hours before kickoff, if you’re still looking for a team to cheer for, I can argue a case for both sides just because of the number of Christians on each team.

I highlighted a few of these players in a feature story that aired on The 700 Club Thursday, February 3rd. Below is a more complete list of Packers and Steelers that you may want look out for in Sunday’s game.   

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Mike McCarthy (Head Coach)

#12 Aaron Rogers (QB)

#80 Donald Driver (WR)

#2 Mason Crosby (K)

#7 Graham Harrell (QB)

#98 C.J. Wilson (DE)

#44 James Starks (RB)

#74 Marshall Newhouse (G/T)

#79 Ryan Pickett (DE)

#87 Jordy Nelson (WR)

#89 James Jones (WR)

#85 Greg Jennings (WR)

#32 Brandon Jackson (RB)

Dom Capers (Defensive Coordinator)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Mike Tomlin (Head Coach)

#7 Ben Roethlisberger (QB)

#25 Ryan Clark (S)

#50 Larry Foote (LB)

#20 Bryant McFadden (CB)

#83 Heath Miller (TE)

#43 Troy Polamalu (SS)

#82 Antwaan Randle EL (WR)

#9 Daniel Sepulveda (P)

#91 Aaron Smith (DE)

#37 Anthony Madison (CB)

Now when choosing a team to cheer for if you haven’t already, you must remember that  God doesn’t play favorites. The team that shows up and reduces mistakes will win the game. With that in mind I’m going with the Steelers! Thoughts?

posted @ Thursday, February 03, 2011 8:09 PM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bears, Packers, Steelers, Jets: Who's Going to North Texas?

by Shawn Brown

Well,  after a weekend of surprises in the NFL Divisional Series the Packers are headed to Chicago, and the Jets are headed to Pittsburgh. Please allow me be the first to confess that I (along with several others) was very wrong about the outcome of the playoffs.

Most football analysts, reporters, and even fans base their opinions largely on stats. What did the particular player do while on the field? How did he perform against this team…that team etc? What did this team’s defense do against this style offense or that style offense and vice versa? The problem with analyzing like that is… this is football!

Whichever team makes the least amount of mistakes and capitalizes on opportunities presented during a given game, they win. Case closed. Such is the case with the Seattle Seahawks. Who would’ve thought they would have defeated the New Orleans Saints. They came up short against the Bears, but the point still holds true. Any team can win on any given Sunday, Monday, or Thursday.

With that in mind, I thought  I’d  take a jab at predicting the outcome of the AFC and NFC championship games this weekend.  For the NFC Championship I really would love to see Chicago Head Coach Lovie Smith get another shot at a Super Bowl Championship, but I can’t deny that Aaron Rogers and the rest of the Packers have been exceptionally impressive this season.

Though the Pack are ranked #3 in total offense this postseason behind the Bears who are at #2, I’m going with the Packers in this match up.  By the stats it would seem the Bears might have the edge. After all, they are ranked #3 in passing yards, and #1 in rushing this postseason. But the Packers defense is Ranked 3rd in total defense in front of the Bears. They are ranked 6th in pass defense and 3rd in rushing defense. While this match up would seem to be close, I’m going with my gut on this one simply because the Packers just defied the odds and did what many other teams could not…beat the Atlanta Falcons in their house! Based on that fact alone, again, I’m going with the Packers.

 Now the AFC Championship on the other hand, is a much tighter matchup. In this match up I’m going with…the Steelers! Why? Because this will be a defensive game. The Steelers are ranked #1 in total defense. Specifically, they are #1 in pass defense, and #2 in rushing defense. Though the Jets are ranked #2 in rushing and rushed for 106 yards the last time these two teams clashed, that was without the Troy Polamalu moving towards the line of scrimmage. He will be the key to stopping the Jets ground attack. 

The Jets air assault looks promising but again the Steelers are ranked #1 in pass defense this postseason. Now that’s just the stats. As I stated any team can win on any given day, but on experience alone. I’m still going with the Steelers. They’ve been here before and know how to get it done. The Jets were just here last year at this time but came up short against Peyton Manning and the Colts. Will their hunger be enough to handle Big Ben, Troy Polamalu and the rest of the Steelers crew? Well, it will all come down to Mark Sanchez whose confidence, I must admit, is at an all time high.

So who’s going to North Texas…. The Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers!                 

 

posted @ Thursday, January 20, 2011 2:06 PM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

NFL Post Season Shaping Up in the NFC

by Shawn Brown

Just as the New England Patriots are pulling away from the group in the AFC, the Atlanta Falcons are doing the same in the NFC. They are currently heading the NFC with a 12-2 record and refuse to lose at home. Only one NFC team has shown enough brawn to beat the Falcons and that was a road game in Philadelphia.

The other team to defeat Atlanta was the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1. But they won’t have to see them again this season unless it’s in Dallas in February, but not likely.

The Eagles on the other hand refuse to go away. At 10-4 after miraculously coming back and defeating the New York Giants on Sunday (week 14), they top the NFC East and are certainly a force to contend in the postseason.

Not to speak prematurely, but it’s not too farfetched to predict a NFC championship showdown between the Falcons and the Eagles. Yes, a battle of the birds of prey! Factually speaking, while the Falcon is faster, the Eagle is much bigger and stronger. Now if it comes to this match up for the NFC title, will that be the case? With the Falcons looking to clinch home field advantage, it’s going to be very difficult for any team, no matter how big and strong to clip their wings. But there are a few other teams to consider before we settle on that match-up, like the Chicago Bears and the defending Super Bowl Champs the New Orleans Saints.

The Bears at 10-4 won their division and clinched a playoff spot. But the Saints (also at 10-4) are just behind the Falcons. The last time the division rivals met, the Falcons came out on top with a field goal in overtime. So the Saints are certainly looking to get even and will get their chance on Sunday. But this time it’s in the Georgia Dome, enough said.

So at this point it would seem that the NFC is up for grabs and four teams are within its reach. Who will it be: Atlanta vs. Philly, Chicago vs. Atlanta, or will the Saints rise once again? Or will the New York Giants (9-5) work a miracle and pick up a wild card? If you ask me, no matter how you look at it, a bird is going to be represented in the NFC Championship. Thoughts?

posted @ Thursday, December 23, 2010 7:41 PM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

NFL Post Season Beginning To Take Shape (AFC)

By Shawn Brown

As week 15 of the regular season approaches, a few AFC teams emerge as heavy contenders in the post-season. In the AFC, the 11-2 New England Patriots have pulled away from the pack in their division, leading the conference. Just behind them are the New York Jets at 9-4. But after the last meeting between the two teams,  it’s hard to see the Jets coming out on top with QB Tom Brady at the top of his game.

Now in the AFC North division leaders the Pittsburgh Steelers are second in the conference behind the Patriots with a 10-3 record. Could this be the AFC Championship?

Wait a minute. Hold on to your coat tails.

There’s still a few of teams to consider before we put them on the slate. Also in the AFC North are the Baltimore Ravens with a 9-4 record, and to be quite honest, to deny the fact that the AFC North divisional will be between the Steelers and the Ravens this season would be absurd.

Then in the AFC South, the defending AFC champs the Indianapolis Colts at 7-6 and injury-plagued, just behind the Jacksonville Jaguars who are leading the division with a 8-5 record. At the very least one of those teams will make the post-season, but I’m not sure either of those teams will survive long enough to make it to the divisional. With number 18 at the helm for the Colts, who knows?

Now in the AFC West, the San Diego Chargers (7-6), though just behind the Kansas City Chiefs (8-5), will most likely win their division especially after they shocked the life out of the Chiefs in Week 14 with a 31-0 victory. The Chargers will certainly grab a wild card entrance into the post-season. The Oakland Raiders at 6-7 have shown signs of gaining momentum even defeating the Chargers in week 13. But inconsistency is a killer in the post-season. 

So which teams from the AFC will emerge and play for the AFC Championship? Can the Jets stop their two-game losing streak and stake their claim to play in their second consecutive AFC Championship game? Can the Ravens get pass the Steelers and survive until the next round? Will the Jaguars finally trump the Colts and win the division? Will a very hungry Philip Rivers lead his team from behind to an AFC Championship? Thoughts?

posted @ Wednesday, December 15, 2010 2:18 PM | Feedback (0)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Does Cam Newton Deserve 2010 Heisman Trophy?

by Shawn Brown

Since Auburn QB Cam Newton was announced the 2010 Heisman Trophy recipient, there has been much speculation as to whether or not he should have won college football's most prestigious award - an award that supposedly doesn't just go to the best player during a given season, but one with integrity and good character on and off the field. So, I pose the question: Should Cam Newton have been chosen? For those  who are not aware of the siutation, here is a snap shot over the past three years:

*    In 2007 as a freshman, Newton earns backup spot to Tim Tebow at
Florida. 
*    On November 21, 2008, Newton was arrested for allegedly
purchasing a stolen laptop from a student and was subsequently suspended
by the team.
*    All charges were dropped after he completed a court-approved
pre-trial diversion program.
*    Cam Newton withdraws from Florida after Fall 2008 semester.
*    In January 2009 Newton transferred to Blinn College in Texas
where he led his team to the 2009 NJCAA National Football Championship.
*    Newton starts first game at Auburn September 4, 2010, against
Arkansas
*    In October of 2010, the controversy around Cam's father begins.
Cecil Newton allegedly sought substantial sums of money from bigger NCAA
schools in exchange for Cam's transfer...all of this while Cam was
playing for Blinn College in 2009.
*    In November, officials with the Mississippi State University
charged that Cecil Newton said that it would take "more than a
scholarship" to secure his son's services.
*    Recruiter states Cecil Newton said it would take anywhere
between $100,000 to $180,000 to get his son to play at MSU.
*    On December 1, 2010, Auburn declared Cam Newton ineligible but
had him reinstated. NCAA also reinstated Newton, citing they found he
had no knowledge of his father's scheme.
*    On December 4, 2010,  Newton led Auburn to the SEC Championship
over South Carolina.
*    On December 12, 2010, Cam Newton wins Heisman Trophy.

 With all of that going on in the last three years, the only thing that
Cam might have done wrong might have been purchasing a stolen laptop in
which the charges were dropped.  Although this looks very much like the
Reggie Bush situation in which he (or his family) did take money, that
has yet to be proven. But there is the fear that like Bush, after a few
years in the National Football League, the verdict comes in and we find
out because of his father's actions, he actually did violate NCAA rules
in some way. What then? Keep in mind Auburn was not involved in any of
this. So I ask the question: Should the son pay for the sins of the
father?   

posted @ Tuesday, December 14, 2010 9:03 AM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

What’s Happening At Redskins Park?

by Shawn Brown
 
As the House of Representatives shifts hands, could the Quarterback position in Washington be headed in the same direction? On Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions with the Skins down 31-25, Head Coach Mike Shanahan pulled starting QB Donovan McNaab and replaced him with backup Rex Grossman with less than 2 minutes left in the game. A couple of days later the organization is trying out former QB’s Oakland Raiders Jamarcus Russell and Buffalo Bills J.P. Losman. Huh?
 
What’s happening here? Shanahan stated in a press conference that he pulled McNaab due to his lack of endurance. Okay, so does that mean he doesn’t trust him in a critical situation like a 2-minute drill?
 
I have a few more questions. Why pull you starter who’s kept you in the game up to this point with potential to win, and replace him with a backup that is cold on the sidelines? Did Rex Grossman really have a better chance to win the game than Donovan? What message does a move like that send to the team?
 
I am really puzzled about this move by Coach Shanahan. In press conferences both McNaab and Shanahan move forward as though there is no tension between them, but I must admit that I think something stinks in Ashburn. Maybe I’m just reading more into this than I should. But I honestly can’t recall the last time this happened where the outcome was a good one. Who knows, now with Randy Moss up for grabs, the Redskins may realize their receiver corps is a larger problem to solve and look to improve their receiver corps with a playmaker that is badly needed, instead of medaling with the quarterback position. Wisdom anyone?   

posted @ Wednesday, November 03, 2010 12:02 PM | Feedback (0)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Why are we still taking about LeBron James leaving Cleveland?

by Shawn Brown
 
Okay, LeBron “King” James announced on national television three months ago that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat without first talking with team management. Team ownership and fans alike were appalled at the way that it was done and rightfully so. I agree with the majority. It was not the most professional way to handle the situation, but GET OVER IT!  Why are we still sitting here trying to make this a story? It’s over. He’s in Miami. I think more time should be spent on where the Heat will place this season. Will they own the East or will it be Orlando or Boston? Okay, so what if he’s dancing around with his teammates on stage. If he was dancing around in Cleveland, would there be a problem? I honestly believe that if he handled things the way we say he should have handled them by meeting the Cavs management first, there would still be issues, they would just be different ones. As the season unwinds, we’ll know for certain if LeBron made the right decision. Until then, I say let the brother play and who knows, this might work out in the best interest for those three players (LeBron James Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade) whose lives will be affected by their decision to play together in Miami the first place. After all, it is their lives and their careers, right?        

posted @ Friday, October 22, 2010 11:59 AM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Are We Surprised?

by Aaron M. Little

Another male athlete is allegedly caught in the cross hairs of another sexual harassment scandal. This is not a shocker until we read the name, “Brett Favre,” attached to the headline. Did we see this coming? Last year, in the midst of one of Favre’s best seasons in a storied NFL career, did we think we’d be adding Favre to the list of tarnished names like Roethlisberger, Pitino, and Tiger? Like Tiger, Favre  had created quite a side job for himself doing commercials and pitching products. Has he texted all of that away?

And it’s becoming common for men to look at these cultural icons and think, “If  Tiger can cheat on his wife...if Favre can (allegedly) send sexually charged texts to an attractive younger woman – not his wife – can it really be that wrong? I’ve looked up to these guys for years, decades, and look at their success. Why not ‘enjoy’ life like they seem to?”

If nothing else, I think we’re also seeing the flipside as these situations play out. Roethlisberger was benched for four games this year as the result of his latest misconduct. Tiger has been publicly humiliated for a year and has lost his wife and family. Only time will tell how this affects Favre, who appeared to be a loving husband and great father, a model family man/athlete. Was that moment of temporary indiscretion worth it in any of these instances? I would venture to say probably not.

So when the question inevitably is asked, “how can men avoid temptations like this?” another current sports headline comes to mind. Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, no stranger to embarrassing bad personal decisions over his early baseball career, has straightened himself out with God’s help over the past several years. He has been open about his battle with drug and alcohol addiction so much so that when his team won the AL West pennant last month, he purposefully skirted the locker room celebration to avoid the champagne showers and alcohol friendly partying. It was too much of a temptation for him and he knew he didn’t want to be in that situation. Furthermore, his teammates so admire and respect his decision that when the Rangers advanced to the ALCS last night, the team intentionally held a ginger ale locker room celebration so that Josh could be included!

My point is, as men (and even as humans, so women too), we need to know what situations we are weak in and make an extra effort to put and keep our guard up. Josh knows he has addiction problems with drugs and alcohol, so he guards himself from being in tempting situations. If lust is a struggle, we should guard ourselves from being in situations that tempt us. We need to find a brother and confess those things which trip us up and tempt us so that we can then have some accountability. I bet Tiger, Roethlisberger and all the others now wish they had invested more time fostering that kind of relationship instead of chasing skirts. Proverbs 4:23 is the best advice I can think of: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” We have to be active about protecting ourselves – our spirits, our families, our hearts.

posted @ Wednesday, October 13, 2010 11:16 AM | Feedback (1)