Topics for this week: Joe Flacco’s contract and the Baltimore Ravens trading Anquan Boldin, the television show “Revenge,” and the road to Wrestlemania
Flacco Screwed Up. May Now Be Screwed: After his impressive Super Bowl run, Joe Flacco got paid. I’m not going to hate on the guy for getting his money, but in the process of becoming the highest paid quarterback in the league, he hurt his team and possibly his future Super Bowl chances. Up against the cap, the Baltimore Ravens traded Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers for a sixth round pick.
You remember Boldin right? He’s the guy that had over 900 yards last season in the regular season, then exploded in the playoffs with 380 yards and four touchdowns in four games. He was Flacco’s number one target for years and now he’s gone. You remember the 49ers right? They’re the team that made it to the Super Bowl against the Ravens and nearly won. They’re bringing back almost all their core players and significantly upgrading their offense with Boldin.
A sixth round pick doesn’t seem like a terrible trade, until you look the history of wide receiver trades and notice that a guy like Deion Branch was re-acquired by the Patriots for a fourth round pick and Randy Moss was re-acquired by the Vikings for a third pick pick despite both being past their prime. Then there’s Javon Walker and Darrell Jackson, who were acquired for a second and fourth round pick respectively. Who are those guys you ask? Exactly. Furthermore, earlier in the day, the Seattle Seahawks acquired Percy Harvin for a first round pick. Harvin is a very talented receiver and he’s also a threat in the return game, but given his attitude problems and migraine history, is he worth a first round pick?
Boldin might be 32-years-old, but he’s still a very productive receiver. And considering that the 49er’s had 15 picks in the draft, giving up a sixth round pick for a proven receiver isn’t a big deal to them. At the very least, you know that Boldin will give the 49ers more than Randy Moss did, and the 49ers made the Super Bowl with Moss giving them next to nothing.
Now, because Flacco decided to take the most money, he has to prove he’s worth it. And the pressure is definitely on him. He can’t have less than 4,000 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions this year. Those are game manager numbers. You don’t pay a guy 120.6 million to manage a game. You pay, to win, the games. Don’t get me wrong, Flacco earned this contract with how he played in the playoffs. But that’s when everyone doubted him and still looked at him as a guy with a strong arm who benefitted from having good receivers and Ray Rice. Now he’s expected to take over games like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees. He’s expected to make average receivers look good. He still has weapons, including Rice, Daniel Pitta, and Torrey Smith, but he’s lost Boldin, which means Jacoby Jones will have to step up and I’m not talking about doing steps on the dance floor.
Flacco bet on himself by not signing a new contract after last year’s regular season. He won. He won big. But now he’s bankrupt the casino and they can’t afford to maintain or upgrade their current equipment.
Losing The Revenge Plot: I used to love the TV show “Revenge.” It was gripping television every week. It was so good in fact that ABC moved it from Wednesday’s to Sunday’s, which is a huge TV night, especially when football isn’t on. The first season received rave reviews, and with good reason. The plot was intense, the acting was strong, and Emily Van Camp was hot.
Then came the second season, which is where things unraveled faster than the Grayson family.
The plot became complicated, too many other characters were introduced with little purpose, and the acting seemed to become a little watered down, but at least Emily Van Camp is still looking out.
This past Sunday’s episode may have been my breaking point. Following the previous episode, which ended with a re-enactment of Leonardo Dicaprio’s death in “Titanic,” it looked like the show was going to get back to the root of things; Amanda/Emily taking out members of the Grayson’s one by one with nothing standing in her way. Then, at the end of the episode, some guy appeared behind Amanda/Emily while she was mourning the death of Emily/Amanda. The guy turned out to be the foster brother of Amanda/Emily, and, get this, HE’S BLACK!
I don’t care that the guy is black, other than it feels forced since there’s never been a black character on the show (at least not a memorable one), but just when it looked like the show was going to “get back to basics” (as said by Emily in the second to last scene), they come up with another wrench in the plans. I know that Emily can’t just pick off the Grayson’s one by one, but can she please stop getting so distracted with nonsense? She’s already dealing with Jack and his connection with Conrad plus losing his wife and now being a single. Then there’s Aiden, Nolan, and Padma, who are all caught up in some agency mess. Now she has her foster brother to worry about.
“Revenge” is still one of the better shows on television, mainly because there is so much on television that sucks, but they’re slowly losing me. I’m not going to give up on a show because to me, a TV show is like a sports team. As much as you may complain about how bad your team is after a loss or two, you always watch the next game and hope that they turn things around. Plus you’ve invested a lot of time in your team and you don’t want that time to go to waste if they do win. So even though I’m not happy in the direction that “Revenge” is going, I’ve seen every episode thus far, and I refuse to give up on the show now because I have hope that thing
Wrestlemania Build: We’re less than a month away from the biggest wrestling PPV of the year and all the top matches have been more or less official. In the top three matches, two are rematches and of the top six wrestlers, four are considered part-time guys. What does this mean? WWE doesn’t have a lot of top end talent right now and are relying on past stars to carry the biggest show of the year.
There’s nothing wrong with this as a lot of wrestling and casual fans order Wrestlemania and don’t pay attention to the sport the rest of year, so they’re perfectly happy to see The Rock, Triple H, The Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar on top. It just shows that the company hasn’t built up many stars over these past few years, and when guys like Rock, Triple H, Undertaker, and Lesnar can no longer perform at a top level, the company is going to be in trouble.
No one is concerned about that right now though. They’re concerned about everyone making it to April 7 healthy and putting on the best show of the year. So far the build up has been spot on, but it’s usually spot on in the early stages. The good thing about the top three matches is that they all feature guys who have a certain amount of pull in the company and understand the business.
The Rock vs. John Cena and Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar are both rematches, which are extremely simple to set up as long as the story is there. And for both matches, the story is there.
Cena is out for redemption following last year’s loss. He wants to prove that he’s still the top guy in the business and that some part-time can’t come into his ring and beat him. Rock wants to prove that last year was no fluke. That he’s still at the top of the game and one of the greatest of all-time.
Like Cena, Triple H is also out for redemption. Not only for himself following his Summerslam loss, but also for his family and friends, who Lesnar has destroyed in the past year. Lesnar just wants to keep beating people up, and even though he’s already beat up Triple H, he may as well continue given Triple H’s standing in the company.
Both stories are simple, effective, and given the main players, should easily capture the attention of the audience. WWE just can’t have things peak too early, which is something that seems to happen often during the Wrestlemania build given the time between PPV’s. So far it looks like they’re pacing themselves well as they kept Rock, Cena, and Triple H off of television this past week, limited but effectively used Lesnar, and put the attention of the feud with no prior history.
CM Punk vs. The Undertaker is the story with the most potential. As always with Undertaker at Wrestlemania, the basic premise is there. Everyone wants to end the streak and Punk is lucky enough to have the next chance. The difference between this year and past year’s though, is that this will be Punk’s first crack at the streak, while in the past four years Undertaker has dealt with the same two people who he’d already faced multiple times, including at Wrestlemania. Punk and Taker haven’t squared off since 2009, so this feud feels fresh. Not only that, but Punk has grown a lot as a character during that time and is by far the top heel in the company.
The untimely death of Paul Bearer has helped this feud as well, and, most shockingly of all, it’s been done without crossing the line. I’m always against using real life tragedies to advance a story, and while I would’ve rather them not bring up Bearer as a way to get more heat on Punk, at least they didn’t go overboard and it was done as tasteful as possible. Whether or not this trend continues is anyone’s guess, but considering the power Undertaker has backstage, if he doesn’t want to do something over the top, he can veto it without an argument.
WWE still has four weeks to screw things up, but given the talent involved and the simplicity of each angle, I’d be shocked if things didn’t peak at just the right time, getting everyone excited for Wrestlemania.