Archive for the NFC Category

The Sportmeisters NFL Season Preview: NFC North

By Derek and Ryan of The Sportmeisters

With the NFL season fast approaching, Sportmeisters Derek and Ryan break out the crystal ball and forsee the future of all 32 NFL teams. Today, Derek and Ryan look at the NFC North, and discuss how they got to their respective decisions. What follows is a transcript of that discussion.


  • Chicago Bears: 13-3
  • Green Bay Packers: 9-7
  • Minnesota Vikings: 7-9
  • Detroit Lions: 5-11


  • Minnesota Vikings: 11-5
  • Green Bay Packers: 10-6
  • Chicago Bears: 10-6
  • Detroit Lions: 2-14

Ryan: Derek, we definitely have some big discrepancies here in the NFC North.

Derek: Ryan, the NFC North will be extra competitive this year, as all four teams have made major upgrades. Even though Detroit is in the league, there is a strong chance for three of the four teams to be over .500.

Ryan: I don’t think its going to shape out that way, and the Brett Favre experiment will backfire, while the Jay Cutler era starts shining in Chicago.

Derek: Chicago went out and traded for their first real ‘Franchise Quarterback’ in over 20 years. Jay Cutler and a revitalized Brian Urlacher will lead the Bears, and Greg Olsen, Matt Forte, and Devin Hester will have MONSTER years.

Ryan: Absolutely, I am completely sold on the Bears in 2009, making strides reminiscent of their 2006 team, with the most complete team since 1985.

Derek: I’m going to disagree. I think they will lose key divisional games to Green Bay and Minnesota, as well as games vs. Pittsburgh, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Arizona that may hold them out of the playoffs for a third straight season.

Ryan: I’ll agree on Pittsburgh taking down Chicago, but I expect victories over the rest except for Atlanta and Minnesota.

Derek: Speaking of Minnesota, they have now gone out and signed Brett Favre to run the offense and with him at the helm, RB Adrian Peterson may see a few less eight-man fronts, or it could be the other way around and because Peterson is so good, Favre may have his receivers one on one and be able to torch the defense.

Ryan: No way Derek! Favre is going to bust completely for the Vikings. He’s still hurt, he’s missed all of the preseason, he has no respect from his team right now, how can people call this team a Super Bowl contender?

Derek: Even the great Favre won’t be able to win them all, and losses to Pittsburgh, Arizona, Carolina, Green Bay, and Chicago will make this a close race at the end of the year.

Ryan: I feel an under-performing team falls to 7-9, punctuated by losses to Green Bay, Chicago, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and the New York Giants. Then, finally, the Brett Favre era will be over.

Derek: Let’s move on to Brett Favre’s old team, the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay went out and hired a new Defensive Coordinator and will go with the 3-4 this year, moving DE Aaron Kampman to OLB. They have looked sharp so far this preseason, but not as sharp as their offense has looked.

Ryan: I LOVE the 3-4 defense Derek, and Green Bay is adjusting amazingly to it, and I think that will be a huge factor in their 2009 season, helping load some of the work off of the offense.

Derek: Being led by QB Aaron Rodgers should lead them to wins over Chicago, Minnesota, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Cleveland, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, and Baltimore.

Ryan: I see one of those games as a loss, but they will still finish second in the division, fighting for the wild card.

Derek: Finally, Detroit will be at the very bottom again, but they won’t repeat their 0-16 season.

Ryan: The Lions have gone to great pains to remove the stench of last year, and behind a new Coach in Jim Schwartz, and a team filled with a lot of new blood, I think five victories is a realistic stretch.

Derek: At best, they get two wins, against St. Louis and San Francisco, as neither team has the secondary to stop Megatron, WR Calvin Johnson, and that’s better than 0-16.

Ryan: I have a little more confidence than you in Detroit, and possibly better success in picking the NFC North.


Vikings’ Favre Will Divide, Packers Will Conquer

It has started already.

The rumblings out of Minnesota. A team divided. A “schism” it’s being called.

In the words of one NFL source, Favre has “little support” in the locker room.

Ah, it’s music to my ears.

Like Napoleon Bonaparte, the self-proclaimed emperor of France that didn’t know when to stop, has Brett Favre gone too far and agitated his own Minnesota minions?

There are many players in the Viking locker room that don’t want Favre there. Some resent his riding in on his white horse to seemingly “rescue” the Vikings. “We didn’t need rescuing” is the sentiment.

Some resent the special treatment he has received from the Vikings organization and Brad Childress.

What self-respecting NFL coach drives to the airport to pick up a player? None. Except for Brad Childress.

Some are just buddies of Tarvaris Jackson and are incensed at the raw deal he has received. All T-Jack wanted was a fair fight between him and Sage Rosenfels. That scenario is officially dead.

And some are in Rosenfels’ corner. They felt he could bring the consistency that T-Jack lacks.

After all, the Vikings did pretty well when unspectacular, but steady Gus Frerotte was at the helm last year. Why not give Sage a chance? That possibility is also dead.

As Abe Lincoln said (borrowed from the new testament, I believe), “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Will Favre turn the Minnesota Vikings into “Team Turmoil?” It really only depends on one thing—how well he plays. If he is able to play at a high level and lead the Vikings to some wins, most likely all will be forgotten.

I happen to be one Packer fan that still believes he can play and if healthy, he will help the Vikings. But I  don’t regret the Packers’ decision to go with Aaron Rodgers. That decision is looking better every day.

But if Favre playing well doesn’t come to pass, resentment will linger, the “schism” will get larger, and the Vikings divided “house” and season will come tumbling down.

Like the egomaniacal emperor Napoleon, Brett Favre has recorded many victories and conquered many hardships. But will going to Minnesota be his Waterloo and mark the end of his reign as emperor of the NFL?

If so, then perhaps the Packers will conquer the NFC North. As a Packer fan, it’s what I have to hope for.


You can find more of Jersey Al Bracco’s articles on several sports websites: Jersey Al’s Blog, Packer Chatters , Packers Lounge, NFL Touchdown and of course,  Bleacher Report.

You can also follow Jersey Al on twitter.


Brett Favre To The Football World: GOTCHA!

(With apologies to the Grateful Dead)

Arrows of neon and flashing marquees out on main street.
Green Bay, New York, Minnesota and its all on the same street.
Your typical city involved in a typical daydream
Hang it up and see what tomorrow brings.

Brett Favre has done it again. In a unexpected turn of events, after a summer of surgery, workouts and much anticipation, Brett Favre has turned the NFL upside down once more. Like a Formula One race car driver, Brett has navigated us through the many twists and turns of the course, and we’ve all just been hanging on for the ride.

Brett Favre has notified the Vikings that he is going to stay retired.

In an interview with the Minnesota Star Tribune, Vikings coach Brad Childress said that Favre informed the team he has decided to remain retired. Childress cited the daily grind both mentally and physically as part of the reason why Favre remained retired.

“It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made,” Favre told ESPN’s Ed Werder. “I didn’t feel like physically I could play at a level that was acceptable. I had to be careful not to commit for the wrong reasons. They were telling me, ‘You went through all this, you had the surgery and you’ve got to finish it off.’ But I have legitimate reasons for my decision. I’m 39 with a lot of sacks to my name.”

Favre, who had shoulder surgery in May, experienced soreness in both ankles and his left knee during his private workouts in Mississippi. The pain would not subside and worsened as he continued to prepare for another season in the NFL.

He was concerned that the pain might never subside and could continue to worsen, and he understood that signing and reporting to camp and then leaving prematurely would result in criticism over his decision to play again.

So once again, just as we thought we had Brett Favre figured out, he throws us another curveball. Minnesota is left to put on their best “it doesn’t matter” face and act happy about having Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels to lead their offense.

And for Green Bay fans, a huge sigh of relief. Not because they feared Favre playing for the Vikings, but because they feared having to continue to deal with their beloved hero turning his back on them.

So Brett Favre is staying retired. As of today. As the song says, “Hang it up and see what tomorrow brings”.


You can find more of Jersey Al Bracco’s articles on several sports websites: Jersey Al’s Blog, Packer Chatters , Packers Lounge, NFL Touchdown and of course,  Bleacher Report.


Obama Asks Nation To Observe ‘Favre Friday’ (AKA ‘Favre’s Follies’)

Hold the presses (if there are any still left) biased print media because Heroic Leader Barrack Obama has announced “Favre Friday” tomorrow.

(More like the “Favre Follies” for those of us who are not yet brainwashed by our Grand Leader and his merry minions of mindless wonders.)

In doing so, The Oprah-Anointed One—who seeks to prove to us ignorant proletariats that he really is a common man—wants all his hordes of mainstream media sycophants to hold off on Favre mania before they print their morning doses of propaganda.

All so the Compulsive Liar In Chief—whose smoke-covered hole-in-ones are nearly as legendary as North Korea’s irradiated grand leader’s—can announce a day of national mourning or celebration.

All this for Brett Favre’s “Great Announcement” that is expected Friday.

I know, how could you forget the legendary tough, gritty future Hall of Fame quarterback whose tears have even been seen on 1930s-era TVs in North Korea?

Yeah, that guy.

While mainstream media ignore real stories—like world hunger, poverty and disease—in their quest to throw kisses to America’s wanna-be version of the grand ayatollah, there is one story they will all cover.

Brett Favre, ad nauseam.

You know, that embarrassing and lingering melodrama that has crossed over to non-sports news.

Yeah, that OTHER “One.”

However, as I interrupt my longing for what used to be the Land of Liberty (you know, the former United States of America that once was a representative republic), my worries turn to Favre.

While all kinds of other weird isms, such as Czarism, have now spread over our formerly free fruited plain like a cascading toxic brew, I realize that creeping isms may affect old folks like me and Favre.

After all, will NFL players be subject to the same authoritarian health rules as us common folk, or will they be protected like Congress and the Grand Leader (once known as president) who enjoy gold-plated insurance AND medical care, and who won’t have to wait in long lines like the rest of the proletariats over whom they will rule with a Play-Doh-covered iron fist?

If Favre retires again and then un-retires next year—after the Long Lines Health Bill is approved by Congressional nitwits, will he be subject to the president’s Goebbelsesque “choice” that will force common folk to “choose” THE ONLY THING OFFERED, The National Kill The Elderly Quickly Health Plan?

Assuming the Grand Leader’s dictatorial Orwellian desires to control the most-sensitive aspects of our lives actually are voted into law by the merry band of Congressional criminals, will Favre escape the collective called the National Pick A 10-Digit Number & Wait In Line Health Plan?

(By the way, the Abort As Many Babies As You Can Health Plan will also morph into sure-to-be-used political and social blackmail once government knows every one of your deep secrets and maladies, but not for the elites who will have a SEPARATE and UNEQUAL by what will then be a platinum-plated health plan when compared to the common folk.)

Favre is just too self-important to suffer the fate of the proletariat.

After all, the Congressional Criminals and Grand Leader will get single-digit numbers and will not have to wait in lines.

Why shouldn’t Favre get the same medical care fit for royalty? He’s special, too.

We wouldn’t want Favre to wait until the next season or the season after that—assuming we have Canadian- and/or British-style health care—to receive definitive treatment for old-age-induced arthritis like the rest of the proletariat, would we?

After all, we know how much the merry mindless minions who surround The Great One see senior citizens as nothing but money-sucking has-beens who, The Physician In Chief says, are better off taking a pain pill that will lead to a silent death rather than getting a pacemaker.

Oh, where are the Nazi eugenicists when you need them?

Well, the heck with all that mumbo-jumbo.

We’ll probably all perish under a hail of Taliban-fired Pakistani nukes anyway, so why worry?

Let’s get back to football and the Wanna-Be Dictator In Chief who shakes hands with, and definitely finds camaraderie with real murderous dictators throughout the world, such as the Iranian and Cuban crimes-against-humanity regimes, for instance.

He has asked all Americans to tune in to his sixth official mainstream media news pep rally—which will be more than all the official news conferences held by the previous president in his ENTIRE EIGHT YEARS—at which he will either celebrate Favre’s return or mourn Favre’s decision to go back to the farm.

Perhaps that’s where Favre belongs.

I, for one, will not be tuning in.

I’ve heard this drama before and I’m sick of the Grand Leader’s addiction to being televised reading speeches on teleprompters that he doesn’t write because he is a horrible writer.

But, hey, he’s a great reader and a Great Leader, huh?

(News Flash: The pep rally will be televised live on the Honduran Dictator-Worshipping Religious Channel—Channel 0 (Zero)—and covered in person by a journalist, err, I mean, sycophant-worshipper from Honduras’ underground newspaper and revolutionary army known as “How to Restore A Real Dictatorial Wanna-Be and Thief-in-Chief To Power,” otherwise known as “How A Dictator-Enraptured American ‘President’ Can Be On The Wrong Side of History So Often.”)


MinnPost Columnist Proffers Knee-Jerk, False Reaction

In a magnificently imbecilic response to one of my columns yesterday, columnist David Brauer left his journalistic integrity in the dust.

Titled “Oh my God! I insulted Brett Favre’s manhood!”, Brauer’s fingers are faster and far more developed than his reading comprehension.

Why is that?

I agreed with his characterization of Favre as “diva-like.”

Only he knows why his intellect short-circuited and created an impression that I took issue with his characterization of Favre.

He said my column made him laugh.

That’s good, because his knee-jerk response would be hilarious if it were not so misleading.

This court jester then attempted to justify his use of “diva-like” by citing “professional” sports writers who said the same thing, even though I agreed with him.

Only a coward cites other columnists to prove a point.

Court jester fits Brauer even more when you consider my history on Bleacher Report last summer and fall.

That’s when I was attacked for my anti-Favre columns that generated hundreds upon hundreds of comments.

Some Favre worshippers threatened to kick my butt!

And now I get criticized by an intellectually deficient weasel simply because I agreed with him?


Brauer might want to read my latest anti-Favre foray: Is Favre A Latter-Day Narcissus?

Well, then again, Brauer may be Narcissus, since his self-absorption led to such trite reasoning.

Perhaps this weak-kneed wonder will show some backbone and apologize.

A correction or clarification would be appropriate and decent.

However, I will not hold my breath. did publish a response I sent to this imbecile.

He was accurate when he said my column was not concise toward the end, which Bleacher Report member Peter Deusterman pointed out in a civil manner.

As a result, I added 50 words to clarify my point.

Brauer also criticized me because he has experience in sports.

However, I did not criticize him for a lack of such experience.

I simply said I did not know and that it was irrelevant.

I simply noted that when a current media critic and political commentator takes issue with Favre and calls him “diva-like,” it represents one of the worst insults a pro athlete can be hit with because it represents the fact that your emotional saga has now crossed from sports to regular news.

I was not insulting Brauer’s solid column, nor was I impugning any sports experience he may have.

I was simply noting a fact that had I written Brauer’s column, I would still feel the same way.

Brauer’s shooting from the hips and his inane response remind me of that T-shirt that says: “You Know What Your Problem Is? You’re Stupid!”

Such platitudinous commentary is not becoming of an “experienced” journalist.

Experience does not guarantee ethical, reasoned, and/or accurate commentary.

Brauer is proof-positive.

(The T-shirt graphic is a fair use. Without it, the reader would not appreciate the point made. sells the T-shirt. Use does not imply endorsement of this column.)


Preseason Picks for NFL All-Pro: NFC, Pt. 1 (Offense)

This is a slide show consisting of my preseason picks for the top players in the NFC for 2009. Instead of NFL All-Pro, this is the all NFC All-Conference Team, or a smaller version of the NFC Pro Bowl Team. The list will feature one or two players of each position on offense. There will be a follow-up for this slide, which will focus on the NFC’s defense and special teams.


Vinny Perretta In The Zone: Former Bronco Wide Out —The Interview

Vincent Perretta Interview

A little over a week ago Vinny Perretta answered questions for the Bronco Blue Review. Vinny was asked to share some moments from his early Bronco days to his newest venture that of free agent wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings. Here is what Vinny had to say about his time at Boise State University: 


Question #1. What was it like for you making the Boise State team?

Vinny’s Answer: It was an honor to get to play D-1 football. It had been my dream to get to play college football. To get to play at Boise State, a winning team, was awesome and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

Question #2. How has that moment defined who you are today?

Vinny’s Answer: I believe that God has a plan for everybody. He sent me to Boise State for a reason. During my time at Boise State, I got to play college football, which helped me get to where I am today, with the Vikings. I grew as a person and had the opportunity to meet a lot of nice people. My time at Boise State is something that I will never forget.

Question #3. I realize that you have had many memorable games as a Bronco – is there one or two that stand out and why?

Vinny’s Answer: The Fiesta Bowl is an obvious one for me. That day has been one of the greatest days in my life. I never thought that I would have thrown the winning touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl, but it happened (Vinny Laughs).

Question #4. No doubt you have taken many incredible hits over the years – is there one or two that you fondly recall and who was at the delivering end of it?

Vinny’s Answer: I really don’t remember any of the big hits that much, because that is something that I try to forget (Vinny Laughed). One play that was no fun for me was when my shoulder dislocated the first time of my career. It was my junior year at Washington, and my shoulder never was the same after that. I had to get surgery and sat out the rest of my junior year. 

Question #5. Is there any advise that you may have received that you would like to pass on to future Broncos?

Vinny’s Answer: Strong work ethic can get you very far in football. If you want to be one of the best, you have got to sacrifice a lot of things. Always give 110% in everything that you do.

Question #6. What do you feel was the difference in the one point? Was it failure to run the ball, failure to go deep, lack of game preparation? What may have made the difference? 

Vinny’s Answer: The Poinsettia bowl was a tough loss for us all, especially me since it was played in my backyard. I wanted to end my career on a high note, winning a bowl game in my hometown. TCU was a very solid team and they matched us on the offensive side of the ball. Our defense played lights out and held them for most of the game. We had a great game plan on offense, but we just couldn’t execute enough on the field.


Thats one thing Vinny has not had a lot of and thats tough losses. Vinny is a competitor, a proven winner, and a class guy – on and off the field.

Talking with Vinny is like talking to family. The Bronco Blue Review continues this interview with questions regarding his free agency with the Minnesota Vikings and that’s another story.



First published by Lace Banachek on 6/25/2009 at