• Justin

To tie or not to tie? That is the question. The #NFL now has four teams with a tie on their record, and almost had five if Cleveland's kicker could make a kick. The #Browns were one or two made kick(s) away from overtime or a win but at least the possibility for another tie. It is a hot topic #Monday morning and it has begged further digging into for quite some time now. So many different things are affected by ties and so many reasons why ties should not exist in NFL.

Let's start with the nitty gritty. Every team is fighting for playoff spot. As of Week 1, every NFL team, no matter what their 2017-18 finish, every team has an equal chance at making the playoffs. The #Cleveland Browns have won one game in two seasons and somehow had everyone hyping them throughout the preseason. Aside from the fact that if they had a kicker in either game, they'd probably be 2-0 right now instead of 0-1-1, they (and the #Steelers) now have a seemingly benign blemish on their record, and a tough hill to climb after Week 2. Sure a tie is neither a win nor a loss, and teams with a tie on their record have just as much of a chance of the tie both hurting or helping them on paper, but let's take a second to look at it a little closer. A team's schedule dictates a lot as to whether that tie will end up costing them or saving them in the end. Typically, in the past few years, wild card teams have had a 9-7, 10-6 record with a few outliers when a division has two clear powerhouse teams and two clear cut losing teams. Rarely do you get a situation like last year where three teams from the same division get in. Sorry #Bucs. So let's take a look at the #Pittsburgh schedule and see how it might effect them.

Alright, if you look just at the first five weeks, it would seem that the "easy" portion of the Steelers' schedule in underway right now and 0-1-1 is not a good start going into a game against #TampaBay next Monday where they are currently a 2.5 point favorite in #Vegas. Not only that, but on a short week they'll have to play a tough #Baltimore team in an all important divisional game. The Steelers don't really seem to have a positive matchup (barring future injuries) until #Oakland in Week 14. Everything else is 50/50 pretty much and assuming that's true that would put them at somewhere near 8-7-1, probably missing the playoffs by one tie.

Before I get into how we change the rule (among other changes) I think they we should talk about the fans. Regardless of how the tie affects the #playoffs, let's discuss how the fans of both teams feel having sat through an entire game, (in the rain if we're talking about #CLEvsPIT in Week 1) and probably having to pay $100 at a minimum just to see the game. Does the NFL really feel that their fans want to see a tie? It's kind of like asking why the NFL feels a sudden death overtime, where a coin toss possibly determining the game, is a good idea. If the NFL is in the interest of making money, and keeping the game safe of course, why would they even keep ties or its current overtime rules in the game?

First of all, before we fix ties, let's acknowledge that ties are not possible without overtime, so if you aren't going to allow ties, you would have to change the NFL's terrible overtime that is already in place. I think the NFL should adopt the #NCAA college football way of handling overtime, with a few changes. The coin toss still determines who gets the ball first, and just like in college football, each team would get a chance to score. Instead of the 25-yard line, place the ball at the 20-yard line, so each team gets one first down. I also like that the NCAA forces teams to go for two points on the third go round if the teams are still tied. I think it would open up so much for the NFL. I believe you would see an uptick in trick plays which brings more excitement to the game and it also would make a game that ends in a low scoring tie (3-3 or 6-6) more exciting as well.

Lastly, I think the NFL needs to look at both #tennis and #soccer when it comes to ball over the goal line technology. #Fifa uses both camera and magnetic field technology to review possible goal reversal situations. The reason I feel the NFL should look into this is because I am tired of the goal line officials being the ones to determine (incorrectly) whether the ball broke the plane of the goal line. I don't ever blame the refs for getting it wrong when they do though. When 22 men all dog pile on top of each other and you have to determine if a small brown ball broke the plane of the goal line before the runner's knees or elbow went down from 20 yards away, that can't be easy to call. Even if a coach challenges, most of the time there "isn't not enough evidence" to overturn it. I think any goal line carry, or play in which the goal line may be called into question (like DeSean Jackson throwing the ball away before crossing it), should be determined by technology.

I think these rule changes would only affect the game for the better, and the NFL really should look at making these changes in order to help the game grow. Remember, football is fairly new the world of sports and these rules would make the game more clearcut and enjoyable for both the league and fans alike.

  • Justin

Hiking has always been a fun and leisurely activity for me. Ever since my Intro to Leisure Activities class at Radford University, I've found hiking/camping to be relaxing and "easy A" type of activity. Today, I graduated to the Intro to Strenuous Activities class. My instructor? A small, combative, and at most times, cute (almost) two-year-old that has a hankering for hiking himself.

We researched (which is to say we Google-searched) some of the likable, local trails for our first Colorado hike and found a handful of possibilities. We landed on Enchanted Mesa Trail, which is located in Chautauqua Park in Boulder, Colorado. It was highly rated and considered an easy trail with it being a two-mile loop and only a 400-foot elevation gain. It was a perfect trail for JJ to walk some and to test out our new, but slightly used, Chicco Smart Support Backpack. (Craigslist, $20) We were excited to get started. We packed a lunch, plenty of water, and two or three extra outfits for pee-happy JJ. We were so excited to get there and get hiking that it wasn't long before we realized that we were already heading back down the trail for the second half of our two-mile hike. It seemed that our grand adventure hike was going to be over before the sandwiches were even necessary. Heck, the drive up to Boulder took longer than it did for us to crush the first half of our hike. We decided to look at the wide-ranging options on the trail map and saw that there were other trails we could venture down (I mean up). Being the competitive, go hard or go home type of people we are, Shannon and I picked one of the hardest, longest trails possible. Royal Arch Trail.

Our easy, 2-mile leisure hike turned into a 5-mile climb to the top, that felt more like a CrossFit workout than easy-going Saturday stroll. The trail and scenery were beautiful with both its fair share of seclusion and crowdedness. Sometimes we were hiking with no one in site behind or in front while other times we were stuck waiting for a group to get through narrow path. Royal Arch Trail was nicely groomed and contained a plethora of natural stairs to climb. It sits at an elevation of 6,915 ft and has an overall elevation gain of about 1,400 ft. Feel free to check out all of the attributes of Royal Arch Trail here at ProTrails.com, but needless to say, Royal Arch was a hell of a first trail to hike in Colorado.

All in all, we had a great day! JJ was cheerful and talkative all day and was very involved with the hike, often requesting to stop and smell flowers or to touch a (every) tree or rock for inspection. Sometimes he even brought rocks back to his howdah to examine, as he rode further up the mountain (me being the elephant in this scenario). I can say that this trail was not easy for Shannon and I, but it was well worth the accomplishment of beautiful views we received from the gorgeous Colorado landscape. Pictures of our great, first Colorado hike are below and we look forward to many more! Welcome to Colorado, Cole Family!

~ Pictures Below ~

Third Flatiron behind Shannon

Stopping to smell the flowers!

JJ hiking a pretty steep hill!

Hiking Family

The infamous stairs!

Looking at the Flatirons

Take the path less traveled!

The view

  • Justin

And here we GO! Flight UA2418 from Richmond to Denver has landed and Shannon is officially "living in Colorado." Although those words have been said so many times, they've never felt like more than just words. We'll be living in Colorado. "Living in Colorado." Living...in Colorado. As a person who has never lived outside of Virginia, and has only lived outside of Richmond for college, I can say that the weight of those words has finally started to hit me. Soon, I'll be packing the family truck, hitching a U-Haul trailer, and driving 1,700 miles to our new home. Adventure awaits and we're excited to face it head on as a family.

As you look ahead, it's hard to not constantly think back about all the people, places and things

you'll miss about the place you've called "home" for so long. So many sports played and enjoyed; so many troublesome misadventures as kids; so many friends and treasured times that were shared ... and given ... and received. (F.R.I.E.N.D.S. reference) Denver can only hope to duplicate the great

memories that Richmond has provided us and we are so grateful for the family and friends that have helped us along our way. As we embark on this new journey we are pumped about the new climate and endless possibilities it will provide. I think my sister provided the best title for our new chapter, "Adventure Awaits" which she included on the going away present she made us. (shown below) Be sure to follow us @specksofcole on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. We'll be posting all about our move to Colorado and the adventures we get ourselves into. Thanks to everyone who helped us make this dream a reality and stay tuned for more!