Saturday, June 17, 2017

DG168

For the most part dread gallery #168 is a continuation of what we saw in DG167 - that is, players who had dreads for the first time during the 2015-16 College Basketball season and players with dreads playing on Division 1 teams for the first time in 2015-16. In DG168 we'll focus mostly on the players who transferred to D-1 teams from junior colleges. But before we get to them, let's start with three more players just getting their dreads started for the first time. This trio of star players made major contributions on successful teams in 2016 and hope to some day be making their contributions on teams in the NBA.

These days anything goes when it comes to hairstyles for athletes; so when someone starts letting his hair grow longer, it doesn't necessarily mean he is planning on turning it into dreads. Maybe a couple of years ago it did; but not anymore. So whenever there is a player with short hair who begins to grow it out, I don't really keep track of him as closely as I used to. In the case of SMU F Ben Moore I can't honestly say I even noticed him at all during the first three months of the season; but even if I had, I wouldn't have expected him to suddenly convert his hair into dreads. So it definitely was a pleasant surprise when on Jan. 30 .....

















1. ..... he suddenly did convert his hair to dreads, debuting his beginner dreads during the Mustangs' home game against Memphis, and debuting them the right way, at that. It's nice to see someone start his dreads with dreads on the sides of his head too instead of having partial dreads like so many do now. Moore has a couple of close encounters with F Dedric Lawson in these two photos. The caption for the right photo said that Moore had his shot blocked by Lawson; but that doesn't show up anywhere in the official game play-by-play. More likely this is the play early in the 1st half where Lawson was called for a foul on Moore - even though it looks like Lawson has all ball and it's actually Shaq Goodwin who's hitting Moore's arm. On the left Moore goes to the floor trying to make sure SMU doesn't turn the ball over on a possession early in 2nd half. With Moore contributing 12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocked shots in 33 minutes in his first game with dreads, SMU improved to 19-1 with an 80-68 win over Memphis.

Monday, May 29, 2017

DG167

 OK. Let's see. Where were we? Oh, that's right, DG166 .....

After I finished DG166, it was the middle of last November, which meant another season in College Basketball was about to start. And since I never did a First Look post from the previous season (2015-16), I decided to start the new (2016-17) season with a look back at 2015-16 - just so you could get caught up with all of the new players with dreads. At the time it seemed like a good idea, but then .....

I blew it. Instead of being satisfied with the photos I already had saved, I decided to go back and save some more. Actually there were a lot of players I didn't have any photos of; so I needed to save some more. But instead of looking for photos of only those players, I decided to get more photos of everybody. Time passed - weeks. After finally saving enough pictures, I had to go through them all to see which ones were worth posting. Usually for me that doesn't take very long; but this time it took an eternity.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

My Brother's Sleeper

There's just something about twins - something different, something special. Without knowing (and not particularly wanting to know) the fine details of the rules of genetics, I still marvel at whatever it is that allows two babies born at virtually the same time to grow up and live their lives while looking exactly (or almost exactly) alike. Unlike those of us with older and younger siblings, it seems like twins are meant to always be together. They belong together. And their role in life seemingly should be to continually tease us, torment us, trick us, play games with us - always keeping us guessing as to which one is which.

Twins that are athletes usually remain teammates throughout their high school and college careers. It's their choice to. But on the rare occasions where both twins are talented enough to play sports for a living, they no longer control their destinations and usually have to go their separate ways. Leading off this year's preview of the NFL Draft, we have the stories of not one but two prospects who figure to be playing the 2017 season on Sundays, while leaving their twin brothers behind to finish up their college careers. And if you wanted to, you could consider both of them sleeper picks.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

DG166

DG166, the last of 6 dread galleries covering the 2015 NFL season, is "All About the Dreads" - meaning that most of the photos are shots of players with some of the best dreads, including many of whom were ranked in the countdown of the league's 30 players with the longest dreads that I did in my Week 22 report. Then to wrap things up we'll take a look at a few shots I saved of some of great dreads from college football.



















1. S Kendrick Lewis' dreads go flying as he sends WR Doug Baldwin flying after Baldwin crosses the goal line with a 22-yard TD reception, upping the Seahawks' lead to 21-6 over the Ravens during 3rd quarter in Week 14. Lewis had 3 tackles (1-2) and Baldwin scored 3 TD in Seattle's 35-6 road win.
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Sunday, October 30, 2016

DG165

Even though the number of players with dreads in the NFL keeps on increasing, there still by far are more players that don't have dreads than do. But be that as it may, on every given Sunday at some point players with dreads from opposing teams will oppose each other one-on-one. Several of these one-on-one duels are featured in dread gallery #165, which goes by the title of "Close Encounters of the Dread Kind." Every photo in DG165 will have at least two NFL players with dreads in action from the 2015 season.



1. In a preseason Week 2 duel of sick dreads, Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald and Chargers S Jahleel Addae were still on the field late in 1st quarter, with Fitzgerald making his only catch of the game and Addae getting the last of his 3 tackles (3-0) at the San Diego 30-yard line after a 5-yard gain on 4th and 4. The 16-play, 50-yard drive ended 10 plays later with a FG, giving the Cardinals a 9-0 lead in a game that the Chargers came back to win 22-19.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

DG164

The photos in dread gallery #164 don't fit one specific theme, so I guess "Anything Goes" is as good a title for it than any. It's kind of a smorgasbord of some of the interesting, eventful, painful, and unusual things involving some of the NFL's players with dreads during the 2015 season.


1. Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin runs after the catch past Bills CB Stephon Gilmore during Week 1 of the preseason. Benjamin had 3 catches for 36 yards, including a 2-yard TD, in the Panthers' 25-24 road win; but those would be his only stats for the 2015 season. 5 days later he suffered a torn ACL injury in a joint practice between the Panthers and Dolphins and missed the rest of the season. Thankfully he appears to be fully recovered and has caught 21 passes in the Panthers' first 5 games of 2016.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

DG163

"Before and After" is the theme for DG163. No, these aren't going to be photos of players before and after they've cut off their dreads. I'm talking about before and after the game. Since you really need to wear a helmet when you play football, it's difficult to get a good look at what the players look like while the game is underway. But when those helmets come off before and after the game, it gives photographers plenty of opportunities to get some clear, close-up shots. In dread gallery #163 here are some of those shots, as we look at what some of the NFL's players with dreads were up to before and after their games during the 2015 season.


1. As I mentioned in my dreads focus reports, there certainly was no shortage shortage of sick dreads in the Buffalo Bills' secondary in 2015. CBs Mario Butler (#39), Stephon Gilmore (#24), and Ron Brooks - three of the seven DBs with dreads on the Bills' roster - head to the field for warmups at Ralph Wilson Stadium before playing their season opener against the Colts.
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Monday, October 3, 2016

DG162

"Act like you've been there before" ..... "Just hand the ball to the ref" ..... "Don't do anything to draw attention to yourself" ..... I'm sure you've heard those words over and over - coming out of the mouths of the haters of fun in football. Don't worry; you're not likely to ever hear them coming out of my mouth. Football is a very tough and emotional game; and when you make a play that helps your team win, emotions should be expressed, not suppressed. I don't know about you, but I love watching football players celebrate (and occasionally making fools of themselves). Just as long as you don't do it up in the face of your opponent, because then it's taunting not celebrating.

When talking about the NFL, some people jokingly say that the letters "NFL" stand for "No Fun League"; and that's true in some instances. But for the most part in the NFL, if you want to celebrate, you can; and unless you go a bit too far over the top (talking about you, Antonio Brown), you won't get penalized for it. By now you've probably figured out the theme for dread gallery #162 is "Celebrate". Here's a look at how some of the NFL's players with dreads did it during the 2015 season.


1. RB Chris Johnson gives thanks after scoring his 1st TD in a Cardinals uniform on a 6-yard run, upping Arizona's lead to 21-0 over the 49ers on the first play of 2nd quarter during Week 3. After he scored a career low 2 TD with the N.Y. Jets in 2014 and was told not to bother to come back for the 2nd year of his 2-year contract with them, it looked like Johnson's streak of scoring at least one TD in 7 straight seasons might be over. But after signing with the Cardinals halfway through the preseason, he went on to have a productive season, scoring 3 TD, before going on IR after breaking a bone in his leg (the first serious injury of his career) in Week 12.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

DG161

My computer has computed that I saved more than 3,800 photos from the 2015 NFL regular season. Rather than have all those photos continuing to sit idly, I always had planned to include some of them in several dread galleries. I also had planned to finish those dread galleries before the 2016 season began. But, as usual, time doesn't wait for me; so, just like nearly everything else I do in this blog, I'll be doing these DGs much later than I hoped.Each one of the six dread galleries has its own theme, and the theme of the first one is "Sacks, Picks, and Sixes". I already have done a post devoted entirely to some of the house calls made by players with dreads during 2015. Here in DG161 we'll look at a few more of the touchdowns, along with some of the sacks and interceptions well done by the NFL's players with dreads last season. (FYI: So that I can finish these DGs before the 2017 season begins, I won't be bothering to try to figure out the game situations for many of the photos.)



















1. It did not take long for rookie CB Ronald Darby to get the 1st INT of his career. On the 4th play of the Colts' 3rd possession of the season opener late in 1st quarter Darby, the Bills' 2nd round draft pick, picks off an underthrown deep pass intended for WR T.Y. Hilton and returns it 27 yards. The Bills cashed in the turnover with a TD 5 plays later for their first points of the season, sending them on their way to a 27-14 home victory. Darby's INT was the first of 73 interceptions by players with dreads during the regular season.
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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Repeat After Me


There were moments of brilliance - specifically 2009, when it correctly predicted the New Orleans Saints, a team that had won only 2 playoff games in its entire franchise history to that point, would win their first Super Bowl; and again in 2012, when it correctly picked both the winner and loser of the Super Bowl (Ravens, 49ers). But those moments have been too few and far between. For the most part the annual forecasts by my crystal ball (CB) have been just a bit off the mark to say the least. Yes, I know, predicting the NFL isn't exactly easy. But that's why I have been so lenient with CB over the years, hoping it would get its act together more consistently. But after grading out at D+ for 2015 and averaging a C- for 8 years worth of forecasts (with no grade higher than the B- it earned in 2009), CB has come to the end of the line. I mean, if you had a 1.67 GPA after 8 years of college, would you be satisfied? Well, I ain't either; so it's out with the old .....

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Broncos Busters

Three years ago when my crystal ball (CB) predicted the Denver Broncos would win Super Bowl 48, I mentioned that their QB, Peyton Manning, wasn't about to retire having won fewer Super Bowl rings than his younger brother, N.Y. Giants QB Eli Manning. Having now evened the score with Eli (two years later than expected) at 2 rings apiece following the Broncos' 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers 7 months ago in Super Bowl 50, Peyton can retire in peace. And he can send a great big thank you note to the Broncos' defense, because it was only because of them that he was able to go out on top. I mean (and I know this sounds blasphemous, considering how great a career Peyton has had) it was almost as if the Broncos won the championship in spite of him. I say almost because the Broncos' offense wasn't totally inept; more often than not they got done what needed to get done - barely. But for the most part that offense - led by Manning in 12 of their 19 games - almost messed it up for one of the best defenses in NFL history.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

2015 College FB and NFL House Calls

They had the player that won the Heisman Trophy, and they took home the trophy after winning the 4-team playoff that supposedly determines the national champion; so I guess it's only right that the Alabama Crimson Tide would also take the 2015 crown for the team with the most touchdowns scored by players with dreads.

I have to apologize again for doing so very little on the 2015 College Football season. I never did get around to doing my all-America teams, but I feel obligated to at least do the house calls. After all, the main reason for this blog being named House of Dread is to recognize and celebrate the touchdowns by players with dreads. Thanks mostly to the 28 TD scored by College Football's best player (with or without dreads) (the last of the 28 in photo above, a 1-yard dive that upped Alabama's lead over Clemson to 45-33 with 1:07 remaining in the championship game) - Heisman winner Derrick Henry - Alabama, for the 2nd time in the 5 years I've done a feature on house calls, was the Division 1 team that had more TD scored by players with dreads than any other.

2015 was an up and down kind of season for TD by players with dreads - up, as in the NFL; and down, as in College Football. The 190 regular season touchdowns by the NFL's players with dreads were an increase of 11 over the previous season and just 3 short of the record high 193 scored in 2013. As for the colleges (I keep track of only Division 1), Alabama's nation-leading total of 29 marks the first time a team has taken the crown with less than 30 TD.