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Michael Vick: The Video Game God has Returned

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He's baaaccckk... Watching Michael Vick's resurgence has caused mixed feelings for a lot of people. My goal here is not to engage in a moral debate, but merely to focus on the on-field excitement that his return has caused. We often ask too much of our athletes; they get paid ridiculous amounts of money for their on-field talents and so we assess them the additional responsibility of being a role model (for the record, I am not saying that this is necessarily unfair).

However, while the role and expectations of athletes in America is something that maybe The Sage's first book will be on, I just want to address the excitement that having football's most electric playmaker back on the field has caused. In case you forgot I submit you this, and this, plus that as a quick refresher.

Now if you watched those videos you may notice that the third one is not real. But that is part of what made Michael Vick so intriguing; until him, many believed his combination of talents were unreal. Michael Vick may be the only NFL player ever capable of running of a sub 4.3 40 yard dash as well as throwing a 70+ yard ball. He played the game like a created video game character, and this was part of what made him so popular, especially amongst the younger gamer population. 

If you are not/have never been a Madden fan skip the next paragraph, but if you are not a fan please tell me which of the four categories you fall into:
  1. You are over the age 50 or under the age of 6.
  2. You and your friends could never afford it (aka the poor kid card).
  3. You are a girl. This makes sense because as a girl you are probably bad at video games and/or don't like football. This is not to say that all girls don't like Madden. Many do and are actually a damn lot better than me (I personally don't know any, but I assume there are at least four to six who are).
  4. You hate football (i.e. you're a foreigner) and/or hate video games. This does not include those who simply don't care about football or video games. Madden's greatness is so strong that even the apathetic are overwhelmed by the game's splendor and join the Madden bandwagon. A strong deep seated aversion to video games or football is necessary to override this law of video game nature.
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If you don't fit into one of these categories I am convinced that at least for one year, you had a fling with Madden and will be nodding along as I describe to you the glory of a fast quarterback. It is 3rd and 12 as you drop back to pass. Staying in the pocket is clearly not fun, so you roll out and search for a deep ball. Nothing is open and if you are Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, or Jake Delhomme you are sacked and forced to decide if it is really a good idea to go for it on 4th and 18 from your own 29 (for me the answer to this question was at least 50% yes). But with Vick, you just take off upfield and get what is often an easy first down. If you played Madden from 2002-2008, you no doubt thanked the lord for Vick's talent when you had him, cursed the devil when you played against him, and regardless, respected his abilities.

One thing that extends from Madden to reality is the difficulty in stopping a dual-threat quarterback in these situations. In Madden, a possible solution was to blitz from the edges, but even then Vick would be faster than the blitzers and simply run around them. Tragically for real NFL defensive coordinators, they struggle nearly as much as stoners on XBOX Live at 2:30 AM do when faced with running quarterbacks.

(READ THE REST AFTER THE JUMP!)

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Israel Idonije interview with Gowhere Hip Hop

 

In quite possibly the first ever tongue twister involving words that start with 'I', it's the Israel Idonije interview with Gowhere Hip Hop. I had the pleasure of talking with the humble Chicago Bears defensive lineman at the Enclave red carpet the other night. We first discussed the charitable contributions of Dwyane Wade's World Foundation before proceeding to discuss Israel Idonije's own foundation: the... wait for it... Israel Idonije Foundation. In all seriousness, Israel Idonije's foundation assists families around Chicago and globally who have suffered from the decline in the economy. With school already in session, Idonije details some plans his foundation has to get involved with the Chicagoland schools.

Of course, we also had to ask about the pigskin as Israel talks about what he has been doing individually to improve and help fill the void created by the departure of Alex Brown. And finally, we wrapped up on a fun question where Israel shares what artist he listens to to pump himself up before a game. Hint: He was the first black artist to have his video air on MTV. I'm sure then that Idonije will have a little "Jam" session before tonight's preseason home opener as DA BEARS host the Oakland Raiders tonight at 7:30. No pre-game moonwalking though, it seems. Enjoy!
 
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Lance Briggs interview with Gowhere Hip Hop



Last Saturday I got the opportunity to cover the Lance Briggs One Day Football Camp hosted by DTLR. The camp was open to 300 athletes entering grades 8-12.

When I first got there, the person in charge of the event, Sheri, was very nice and asked if I wanted to interview other NFL players that were in attendance. My first interview was with Copeland Bryan of the Detroit Lions, and he was definitely a nice guy. When the interview was over, I had some time to kill before Briggs was back from his break, so we played a little bit of catch with some of the students. Bryan thought that I wouldn't be able to catch a ball for my life, so he was throwing the football underhand because he didn't want to hurt me. Let's just say -- I proved all of them wrong (which you can see in the video). While we were playing I was calling him out: "Umm.. you're in the NFL, so throw it like that and stop throwing like a girl!" Then he actually did throw it, and I missed and it hit my stomach - embarrassing.

About 10 minutes later, I got to interview Briggs who was also a very nice guy. Anytime a student or someone at the event came up to him, he took the time to speak with them and it really showed good character.

I love what DTLR, Briggs, and the other individuals who participated did with this event. They are really trying to make a difference, and it's definitely having a positive impact on these students.

Check out the video and GO BEARS! And well, I have to say GO DETROIT! Only because Bryan was a real nice guy, and I will be rooting for him in the season as well.

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Lance Briggs & Jen DeLeon
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~ Jen DeLeon

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