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Flacco & The Ravens Hang On

February 7, 2013

Though most of the post-game talk was on Baltimore Ravens quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, a goal line stand ended up being the difference in a thrilling 34-31 victory for the Ravens over San Francisco. It is somewhat ironic that a defensive stand, in a game that featured 65 points, ended up being the difference. But it was.

The game came down to four plays during the final two minutes. The 49ers, trailing by five, had a first and goal from the seven yard line with just over two minutes showing on the game clock. LaMichael James made it second and goal from the five yard line following a two yard run. The next three plays had to frustrate 49ers fans. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick sprinted right on second down, with no room to run, and fired an incompletion. He then sat in the pocket on third down for another incompletion and attempted a difficult and unsuccessful fade to Michael Crabtree on fourth. Not once did Kaepernick turn and give the ball to 100-yard rusher, Frank Gore.

There is something special about the Baltimore season coming down to making three defensive stops from the 5-yard line, with Ray Lewis on the field for the last time and Ed Reed likely on the field for the last time as a Raven, and Baltimore coming up with a stop. It is rare when a future hall of famer retires earning a Super Bowl ring in his final game. Pretty cool.

Ravens’ Morgan Cox relishes their Super Bowl win

Back to Flacco. In four playoff games this season, Flacco threw 11 touchdown passes to no interceptions, capped off by Sunday’s three-TD, no-interception performance. Time and time again, Flacco came up with big and timely plays. He was especially adept in scrambling out of the pocket to keep plays alive, especially third down plays.

Flacco had a lot of help. Anquon Boldin easily could have been the game’s MVP. The veteran wide receiver had three touchdowns and 16 catches over Baltimore’s first three playoff wins. He topped those numbers on Sunday by hauling in six balls for 104 yards and a TD. And what about Jacoby Jones. All he did was end the first half with a 56 yard touchdown reception from Flacco before starting the second half with an amazing 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. I would have no issue if either would have been voted as the game’s MVP.

Kaepernick held up his end of the quarterback battle. Playing in just his 10th game as a starter, he completed 16 for 28 passes for 302 yards. Kaepernick also ran the ball seven times for 62 yards and a score. The hole the Niners dug themselves was not at all his fault, and he very nearly brought them all the way back. There can be no second-guessing Jim Harbaugh’s decision to replace Alex Smith with Kaepernick. Look for San Francisco to return to this setting in the very near future.

Let me close with this. Did you know that the last three Super Bowl champions were between fourth and sixth seeds? Green Bay was a sixth seed in 2011, New York Giants were a four seed in 2012, and Baltimore was a four seed this year. This just proves that it is better to be playing your best football late in the year compared to the regular season. And the Ravens did just that. All they did was win at Denver and at New England before upending favored San Francisco in the Super Bowl.

A-Rod Is Back In The News

We could not even get back to spring training (it starts in a few weeks) and Alex Rodriguez is back in the news. As has been the case in recent years, A-Rod is making more headlines with his performance-enhancing drug usage. There are more allegations of recent PED usage with Rodriguez again issuing denials. Just like he did last time before eventually admitting guilt.

However, there is new twist to these allegations. A-Rod is now making statements that he feels there is a conspiracy out there to end his playing days. His statements are coming out of Miami where he has been meeting with multiple lawyers and PR experts. He has spoken of there being bigger forces are at work in an attempt to discredit him and end his career. Reports coming out of Miami have Rodriguez wondering out loud if the New York Yankees or Major League Baseball are behind the latest allegations.

So, even though A-Rod will not likely see the field prior to the All-Star break in July due to his hip injury, it looks like he will remain in the news. Stay tuned.

A Taxing Win For Phil

Phil Mickelson earned $1,116,000 for his four-stroke victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on last weekend. Too bad Mickelson had to go back home to California, which voted last November to dramatically increase its top tax rate. For the privilege of living there as opposed to one of the seven states with no state income tax, or Arizona, the San Diego native will see his check reduced by nearly an extra $100,000.

The reason this is newsworthy is because Mickelson recently, after being asked about and subsequently complaining of the new tax, spoke of possibly moving out of California in the near future. His comments were not well received even though virtually every professional golfer from California, including Tiger Woods, have left the state.

Mickelson eyes his tax bill

Mickelson later apologized but has made it clear that he will make a decision on where he will reside at the end of this calendar year.

Let’s take a look why Phil, or anyone, would think about making a move.

After paying taxes and his caddie Mickelson will keep an estimated 37 percent of the $1,116,000 he won on Sunday—about $410,000. Where does the rest of it go you ask? The following is a rough estimate I read from a golf business column. While reading this, keep asking yourself how fair this is.

Forty percent ($446,400) goes to the Federal Government.....13.3 percent to state of California.....10 percent to his caddy....five percent to state of Arizona.

I am all for the caddy getting his 10 percent. I am also for Phil taking a stand against high taxes.





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