FishDuck.com Feature Writer Mike Ostrom sits down with Former Duck Will Tukuafo of the Seattle Seahawks at Super Bowl Media Day: It’s a good thing Oregon Duck Will Tukuafo played so much fullback at Oregon. Look at him now, a...
On June 27th, 2011 future Seattle Seahawks QB and Super Bowl 48 Champion Russell Wilson, with then head coach Bret Bielema announced he was transferring to Big 10 powerhouse Wisconsin. Most Oregon Duck fans remember Wilson from the Rose Bowl...
For former Oregon Ducks Running LeGarrette Blount it has been another successful season in the National Football League. Several weeks ago he walked out on the Pittsburgh Steelers who cut him. He then turned and signed with the New England Patriots who put him to work. He not only helped the team to maneuver through the remainder of the regular season, but also to the Playoffs and now to the Super Bowl.
Blount helped to torch the Indianapolis Defense to the tune of over one-hundred eighty yards and three touchdowns in a blowout win on Sunday evening in Foxboro. Now, Blount and his teammates will face Seattle in the Super Bowl in a few weeks time. In looking at the Statistics both the Seahawks and Patriots at one/two in the Rushing category. Unlike New England the ride on Sunday did not go as smooth for the Seattle Seahawks who were given the task of playing from behind for pretty much the entire game.
Quarterback Russell Wilson did not have a solid start throwing three interceptions and giving the Packers the ball which they only found a way to get field goals over touchdowns. Green Bay took a 16-0 lead into halftime, but Wilson was able to bring back Seattle with only minutes remaining in the game. A key two point conversion and an onside kick that fell the Seahawks way set up quite the Super Bowl fro 2015.
It will likely be Wilson’s passing against the New England Rushing attack.
Following the game in New England came word that the Patriots were under inflating footballs for their benefit. It was found that nine of the ten footballs used in the game were in fact under-inflated. The repercussions of this possible issue have yet to be determined. It is not known if any action s will be taken against the home team. If it was an issue the NFL will be sure they hire a ball checker for the Super Bowl so it will not be an issue in a few weeks.
Super Bowl XLIX will kickoff on Sunday, February 1st from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (3:30pm PT, NBC)
Posing for pictures and sporting the Mickey Mouse ears, a very special Oregon DB was on a whirlwind adventure with his friend and fellow Duck Marcus Mariota. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, the senior DB for the University of Oregon, was in attendance...
The one thing that’s constant in this world is… change. That holds for sports as well as it does for shopping habits (goodbye corner grocery, hello WalMart) or the cost of gasoline. So it should come as no surprise that there’s...
It was a rough weekend for fans of the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers in the National Football League and both teams appeared to be ready for their respective opponents only to fall totally flat when the clock hit all zeros. Both teams fell apart thanks to their defense who gave up big plays in the final minutes.
When it comes to the game of NFL football, you have to play it out on the field. Apaprently one player who did not come prepared this past weekend was NFL Star Cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks Richard Sherman. Seattle lost to San Diego by nine points 30-21 and questions surrounding Sherman not being a ‘shutdown’ corner, in my opinion, were not defined in the loss – however some may disagree.
Antonio Gates had three touchdown catches in the game on Saturday afternoon leading to a Chargers victory. Meanwhile in San Francisco the game took a similar turn. The 49ers were hosting the Chicago Bears with a Quarterback who has been known for not always coming through in big games of late. Jake Cutler signed an extension in the offseason and apparently found his game on Sunday, as well as Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall who caught two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to lead the comeback for the road team.
At halftime it seemed that San Francisco was right at home in their new stadium, but it was not to be as the Bears erased a thirteen point deficit as Cutler reeled off two scores in a twenty seven second span in the final quarter of play against a depleted San Francisco secondary.
It is early in the NFL season, but right now wins are more important when it comes to lining yourself up for the playoffs and a potential Super Bowl run. This week San Francisco travels to Arizona to take on the Cardinals(1:05pm PT, FOX) and Seattle will have their hands full hosting Denver in a Super Bowl rematch(1:25p PT, CBS)
CHIP KELLY & THE EAGLES
I’ll never forget the date: Oct. 10, 2011. I remember feeling completely lost, staring into my computer screen for literally hours. You see, I had my first post due for something called “FishDuck.com” at 3 a.m. the next morning. And, while I had been able to come up with a topic and the basis of what I wanted to say in a rough draft, it was proving to be way more difficult than I ever imagined to put an idea into words worth reading.
For one, the only real direction I was given was to write something informative or otherwise interesting about the Oregon Ducks [Ed. note: seriously?]. I managed to come up with at least SOMETHING by about 2:59 a.m., though its literary merits — like virtually everything I’ve posted here — were limited. I sleepwalked through the next day at work and remember thinking, “Is this really worth it?,” and, “What exactly did I sign up for with this?”
Now, 114 posts later, I can say that all the late nights in the early days and crazy personal schedule-juggling required to hit even an every-two-week deadline for an entirely volunteer “side-project-website-thing”– have been completely worth it in every sense of the word.
I have seen parts of the University of Oregon’s facilities that, as a fan in the stands all those years, I had always wanted to see. And not just behind the curtain of Autzen Stadium — the Casanova Center and Matthew Knight Arena, too. I got to watch games in the press boxes in old Husky Stadium and inside the Seahawks’ CenturyLink Field, and caught a Civil War from Reser Stadium in Corvallis (all big-time Duck wins, and all great memories too, by the way).
I always felt that, while I never received a single dime for my writing efforts over the years, I was given the opportunity to see and do things I would have never experienced otherwise. As a longtime and passionate Duck fan, I always felt like I was getting the better end of the deal. For my final FishDuck.com story (for the foreseeable future) I wanted to share what I consider to be my most memorable FishDuck story of all.
In 2012, I traveled to Seattle for the Oregon-Washington State game played at CenturyLink Field. I arrived with the same group of friends I had seen many Duck games with over the seasons, but this pregame tailgate was different.
After arriving at our parking spot and setting up, my friends all began to open up the pregame beers (for ‘good luck’, of course) and firing up grills, while I headed into the stadium in neutral business casual attire, carrying a laptop bag. I made my way to the media entrance, rode the elevator up to the press box and found my assigned seat on about the 40-yard line.
Shortly after settling in, a staff member informed us that “all media would need to be off the field by five minutes prior to kick off.” Quickly realizing this included me, I giddily made my way back to the elevator and asked the attendant for field level.
Excited and eagerly anticipating the opening of the elevator doors, I realized, barely, I was riding down with Kevin Gemmell (he of ESPN Pac-12 Blog fame) until he asked, “Who do you write for?” “FishDuck.com” was my reply. He told me he had both seen and was a huge fan of the site and the concept of basically a bunch of die-hard fans writing about and analyzing the Ducks.
I pulled up a pant leg to show him that even while sporting “business casual,” I had still managed to wear bright yellow Oregon socks under my slacks. He laughed, and we made our way out the Seahawks’ tunnel onto the field.
I watched as the players warmed up, and found a place to stand a few feet away from Chip Kelly and a group of coaches orchestrating drills. It was a tightly-contested game in the first half, before Kenjon Barner got on track for 195 yards and three touchdowns, and the No. 2-ranked Ducks ended up winning 51-26.
The game turned in the third quarter when Avery Patterson jumped Connor Halliday’s pass for a 34-yard pick-6. I remember instinctively popping up out of my chair and standing up as Patterson raced into the end zone, only to then awkwardly realize that I was in the press box, and “rooting” for one team, up there, is a clear rookie mistake.
But, like I said, it’s an instinct. When an Oregon Duck jumps a route or is otherwise running with a wide open field in front, an unseen yet powerful force always compels me to stand up. Two of my favorite words are “Touchdown, Oregon!” (credit Jerry Allen).
What else can I say, I love the Oregon Ducks. After the game, and after watching player and coach interviews, I started writing my game story in the press box. I wrote as fast as I could, but by the time I finished, I realized not only was I the last media member to leave, but that I was one of the only people left in the stadium, period.
So, naturally, I decided to take a “short cut” to the other side of the stadium. It seemed if I cut through the corporate suite corridor, I would be able to easily exit the stadium on the side closest to where I was going, as I was staying at a friend’s place with incredible views on Queen Anne Hill, near the Space Needle.
As I walked through the suite corridor, I passed name plates on the suites, reading company names such as “Microsoft” and “Alaska Airlines.” I was clearly in the uber-exclusive area of the stadium.
It was now close to 2 a.m., and I was the only one around. It was great. And that’s when things got interesting. I made my way out the side of the stadium I had targeted and began to walk out across the massive parking lot.
“I’ll get out to the main street, figure out what intersection I’m at, and call a cab,” I thought. However, a few hundred feet outside the perimeter of the stadium, with each step, a temporary chain link fence began to come into focus. I was gated in!
I looked as far as I could see in both directions, but could not find an end to the fence. So, I started walking in one direction, thinking I would find a way out eventually. I was wrong!
I walked half-way around the stadium. No way out. And now, there was no way back into the stadium, as the doors had locked behind me. With a laptop backpack on, I did what I felt I had to do and scrambled over the fence, managing to land safely.
I was finally free, or so I thought. I was now all turned around, having exited the stadium on a different side (in what appeared to be a loading dock area), but I could see the Space Needle just beyond some high-rises, and decided to make my way in that direction.
As I approached the downtown area, I pulled out my smart phone and opened Google maps, and started to search for a taxi service phone number online as I made my way through the unfamiliar skyscrapers.
I found a number and placed the call, holding the phone to my ear as I turned the next corner. Looking around, I realized that I was suddenly right in the middle of the largest group of homeless people I had ever seen. I quickly hung up the phone and put it back in my pocket, but it was too late.
Calls and yells of, “You got any change?” “Hey look at this guy!” “Nice shoes!” “Hey, he’s got a computer!” were directed at me. I had to find the fastest way out of there, immediately. Survival mode took over for me, and I decided to not respond or look at anyone, instead keep moving no matter what, even as groups of them tried to block or impede my path. Finally, I was able to turn a corner down a dark alley.
I could see a few hunched-over figures about half-way down. I took a deep breath, snapped a nervous photo (maybe, my last?), and decided to take my chances. I remember thinking and maybe even saying vocally, “How in the hell did I get here?”
I have never walked so fast in my life. As soon as I reached the next corner, I turned sharply and ran at a full sprint for at least four full blocks, again in a random direction – but one that would keep me away from the WalMart-sized bum camp I had stumbled across, known it as “Pioneer Square.”
I kept walking at a fast pace and decided it was finally safe to pull the phone back out to figure out where I was and call a cab. I saw a street sign up ahead that read “6th Street” and knew eventually that would take me back toward the Space Needle and Queen Anne Hill. I was about to call a cab but something came over me (whether confidence or stupidity); I felt that I had made it this far, and honestly didn’t want to stop moving to wait for a cab. I walked the rest of the nearly four miles between the stadium and my friends’ house, getting in the door just before 4 a.m.
I woke up a friend and began to tell him what had happened. He replied groggily, “D-u-u-u-de, that was really dumb. You could have died; I had a friend get mugged downtown last weekend!” Then he went back to sleep.
I lay there thinking about the game, my impromptu adventure and how much my feet hurt after walking so far in black leather dress shoes. I knew right away I would never forget that night, as I would have never have aimlessly wandered through downtown Seattle at 3 a.m. – if it wasn’t for FishDuck.com.
I have so many more memories — most are less life-threatening – made possible by my involvement with FishDuck, and for that I am forever thankful. However, my time with the site has also coincided with a major growth curve in my business as a Realtor, going on my seventh year of experience in Eugene and Springfield area Real Estate markets.
As much as I have enjoyed writing, it is time for me to dedicate all of my time to my business and family for now. I want to say thank you to everyone who has read my stuff over the years.
I will continue to follow FishDuck.com and watch from a distance as the site continues to grow. And after recently locking in 2014 season football tickets and my trusty tailgate parking spot of 11 years, I am as eager as ever to watch this upcoming season unfold for the Ducks – again, as just another fan. If you head to Autzen for a game this year, maybe I’ll see you in the stands or outside tailgating with family and friends. We’re right under “the” big cedar tree.
Top photo by Josh White
On Wednesday evening NFL Football fans across the country got a solid look at the who, what and finally the when of the 2014 NFL Season. Following months of waiting Seattle Seahawks fans should be excited and also somewhat disappointed in how things fell into place with the 2014 NFL Schedule. On the other hand if your are a Chip Kelly/Philadelphia Eagles fan there is a new Thanksgiving tradition this season and it involves a team in Dallas. More on that in a bit, first the Seahawks.
Seattle starts the season at home, in fact it’s the first game of the year against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on Thursday, September 4th. It is one of four nationally televised games in the schedule. The Seahawks will face Washington on the road(ESPN Monday Night), and Conference foes Arizona and San Francisco on the road(NBC Sunday Night). So essentially, outside of a ‘flexed’ game which this season can happen as early as Week 5, Pete Carroll and Company will see the primetime lights at home in the Great Northwest – just once to start the season.
According to a report the NFL does not seem too keen on Seattle and games in Primetime in 2014. The regular season comes to a close with Seattle playing their division foes, but two of the three games are at Qwest Field according to the 2014 NFL Schedule.
Outside of the Primetime window the Seahawks have a tough opening stretch of the season seeing the Packers, visiting San Diego and returning home for a Super Bowl rematch with the Denver Broncos. They also travel to Kansas City and Carolina before returning home for a ‘gimmie’ against the St Louis Rams. Not a bad schedule, but a rough start could bring a quick end to the hopes of many for the Seattle Seahawks in 2014. The other team of note, Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles have plenty of opportunities in the spotlight if we look at their schedule.
The 2014 NFL Schedule was kinder to Philadelphia who have five games in the Primetime spotlight(I am including Thanksgiving Day in there). The first is away at Indianapolis, followed by hosting the New York Giants(NBC Sunday Night), Carolina(ESPN Monday Night) and Dallas(NBC Sunday Night) all in the friendly confines of Lincoln Financial Field. The game with the Seahawks in Philly is slated for December 7th at 1:25 PT on FOX. Simiar to Seattle, Nick Foles and Company close the season against their division opponents, two of them on the road.
I will be interested in watching the referees in the first game to see if there is a repeat of the debacle of 2012 between Seattle and Green Bay. Will Cornerback Richard Sherman have anything to say if Seattle beats Green Bay? How about if they loose? We all now have some time to digest what is to come for both Philadelphia and Seattle.
The season officially begins on September 4th and Qwest Field will be rockin’.
On Wednesday night all was revealed with the ‘when’ for every NFL team, including two I will focus on – the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles. (If you are a fan of the former Oregon Ducks head coach your in the right place). It looks that the NFL was far kinder to one team over the other when it came to Primetime appearances. Seattle will begin the season on aThursday hosting Green Bay. Aside from that all of their primetime matchups are on the road. In looking East, Chip Kelly’s team in Philadelphia is primed for a supercharged slate including three primetime home games, two against divisional foes AND a Thanksgiving Day feast with the Dallas Cowboys in Big D. There is no question between the two teams who came away with the short stick. For those that would prefer to go back to Tuesday, read on.
Let’s start with what we already know about the 2014 NFL Schedule. Both teams will face their respective division opponents a total of six times, three home and three away. For Seattle this includes San Francisco(rumored to be the season opener for both teams), as well as Arizona and St. Louis. Across the country in the City of Brotherly Love the story is similar with games against Washington, the New York Giants(who now have former Oregon Duck Cornerback Walter Thurmond as a weapon- he also had some interesting thoughts on the start of off season workouts on Tuesday), and the hated Dallas Cowboys.
After that it can get a little shady with a wide gray area. Inner Conference Division Rivalries are sometimes setup years in advance and there are games that come down to a point or two of being a ‘home’ game or an ‘away’ game depending on who finished with the better record. Luckily for Oregon fans this season the Seahawks draw for the cross conference is the NFC East.
Philadelphia and Seattle will meet this season. The game will be played in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field. This also means that the team from the Northwest will also see Washington, New York and Dallas. The Giants and Cowboys will visit Qwest Field while the Redskins will host Seattle. There are several bigger matchups for Pete Carroll’s team this season.
The Cross Conference setup in the 2014 NFL Schedule for the Seahawks is the AFC West.
Seattle will see the Denver Broncos again, this time in Seattle. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers will also visit the Seahawks, as well as the Oakland Raiders. Other road games for the upcoming season include Kansas City, San Diego, and Carolina.
In Philadelphia, former Oregon Ducks Head Coach Chip Kelly is entering his second year, following a successful season which ended in with the Philadelphia Eagles losing in the first round of the Playoffs to New Orleans. This year the schedule is again chocked full of challenges with already mentioned Seattle coming to town and a divisional schedule that includes the New York Giants, Washington and Dallas.
The Inter-Divisional setup for Philadelphia is the NFC West hosting the Seahawks and St. Louis Rams while visiting San Francisco and Arizona. Kelly and the Linc will also play host to Luke Kuechy and the Carolina Panthers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Tennessee Titans in 2014.
The Cross-Divisional lineup for Philly in the 2014 NFL Schedule is the AFC South.
Away games for the Eagles include a visit to Indianapolis, Houston to take on new coach Bill O’Brien(formerly the head coach at Penn State), and a trip to Lambeau to visit the Green Bay Packers.
Now that we know the who and the where, on Wednesday we will find out the when. For many today is a National holiday(or should be) as we find out how important the big matchups are and what weeks we will circle on the calendar from September through December. Of course in the next few weeks the NFL Draft will follow the schedule release.
The 2014 NFL Season begins officially Wednesday with the 2014 NFL Schedule release at 8pm PT.
For a different angle on the Oregon Ducks, visit take a moment to checkout my other site on Fansided, AutzenZoo.com
Two of the signature days on the football calendar brought the season to a close last week. The first was last Sunday in the form of the Super Bowl, sport’s biggest spectacle, but also one of the truest meritocracies; the team that executes better on the field wins, and does so by presumably having the best combination of player talent and production possible from them.
The second overlapped the spoils of the first: On the same day the Seattle Seahawks held a parade celebrating their accomplishment on pro football’s biggest day, college football held its signature event: National Letter of Intent Signing Day.
It makes sense that the Super Bowl and Signing Day are the most noteworthy days on the calendar for their respective levels of the sport, because those are the days that are the most symbolic of how success is measured in each. Success in pro football is determined entirely on the field with all participants having an equal opportunity to win, while college football is still largely determined by a series of academic arguments, where reputation and speculation matter as much as production. It is only fitting that the most celebrated day in college football would be the one celebrating the most speculative portion of the sport: recruiting.
On that same day, perhaps mindful of the day’s significance in talent-evaluation circles and how he and many of his teammates had been “perceived” during their signing days, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson posted this on his Twitter:
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) February 5, 2014
The “F” grade Wilson is referring to came from this article , a hilarious re-read that includes pointed criticisms of the selections of Ryan Tannehill and Alshon Jeffery. When you examine the players in Wilson’s picture, it’s no surprise why they their class wasn’t more highly regarded in NFL circles on draft day.
Of all the players featured in that picture, none were ranked higher than three stars coming out of high school, which may explain why only five of them (Wilson, Bruce Irvin, Derrick Coleman, Jermaine Kearse, and J.R. Sweezy) even played for schools in BCS AQ conferences. They were all players who got used to being overlooked, yet all of them became NFL players who contributed to a Super Bowl-winning team.
Not seen in the picture but a player who began his career with that Seahawks’ 2012 class is former Oregon receiver Lavasier Tuinei. Tuinei fits the mold of other players from that draft class, a two-star wide receiver who started at a junior college before finishing his career at Oregon. He is fondly remembered by Oregon fans as the team’s leading receiver in 2011, punctuating his career by winning Rose Bowl Offensive Player of the Game with an eight-catch, 155-yard performance that helped the Ducks win their first Rose Bowl in 95 years.
I mention Tuinei and the Seahawks because the majority of the discussion surrounding Oregon’s recruiting class last week focused on the players the other teams didn’t get, rather than focusing on who they did.
Maybe it was the early commitment of its most highly-regarded recruits in this class, or the lack of a marquee name changing their commitment to Oregon on Signing Day like the de-commitment of players such as Budda Baker, or how players such as Juju Smith or Trey Lealaimatafao chose to sign elsewhere, rather than focusing on the gains of the players who have committed; playing the what-if game before we even know what the productivity of those players, who will play elsewhere, will be.
If you want an example of why it is premature to evaluate recruiting classes based on high school rankings, look no further than a class like the one Texas had in 2009. Coming off a 12-1 season where they won the Fiesta Bowl, and because they are Texas, the Longhorns were able to bring a class that featured three five-stars (including one at quarterback) and eleven four-stars, with not a single player lower than a three star.
I understand the fascination with Signing Day because it gives fans hope. There is the belief that landing a huge talent will be a game-changer for a program. However, that hope shouldn’t turn to despair just because players don’t sign with Oregon. Fans want to treat players as interchangeable commodities, that any of these players could (or should) play for the Ducks.
Yet any entry-level staffing manager could tell you that the greatest key to success isn’t if he has talent, it’s if he can fit. If a player doesn’t feel he belongs at a certain school, there’s no reason to have them go there. Concentrating energy on players who want to be in Eugene rather than leveraging those who are unsure about going there will have a far greater long-term payoff. This is where Oregon’s coaches have done a tremendous job in recent seasons, finding guys who fit their program rather than chasing star rankings.
Bill Parcells once said, in reference to his desire to be involved in personnel decisions, “If they want you to cook the dinner; at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.” Evaluating a recruiting class on Signing Day is a lot like evaluating a meal by looking at the ingredients. Sure, we can all see what quality cuts of meat and fresh produce looks like, but if it’s not prepared in a competent way, it doesn’t matter what ingredients you start with.
This is why Oregon’s recruiting classes need to be evaluated strictly on wins and losses, the finished product of recruiting. If the results don’t measure up, and evidence of such failings can be traced back to recruiting, by all means take up the necessary pitchforks and torches and storm the complex. But evaluating recruiting classes now is nothing more than determining who did the best job of shopping for groceries. There’s still a meal to be made, and the quality of that meal is the criteria by which fans should use to judge programs.
Top photo courtesy of Craig Strobeck