Is youIs your team a Contender?
By: Michael A. Chase Jr.
8/7/17

One big question that is always thrown around in the realm of sports discussion is, “is my team a contender?” Seems like a simple answer because the philosophy is that if my team has a winning record, or has several really good players, or has a big payroll that they can contend. Though as we have seen in the world of sports those factors do not guarantee a team an opportunity to contend. So what is going to be presented is what the definition of a contender in a sport is? As well as what teams in each sport can be considered serious title contenders for their respective sports?
First to define what a contender is we must determine what components make up a contender. The factors that seem very apparent when it comes to classifying a team and franchise as a contender include; good front office and ownership, a good mix of talent on a roster, and a quality culture. When thinking about each of these factors they all relate not only to quality production on the field, but off the field as well.
Starting with a franchise having a quality front office and ownership deals with good leadership in your organization. Whenever you look at franchises that consistently compete they are usually one’s with good leadership at the top. From the Bob Craft’s and Rooney Family in the NFL, Ted Leonsis in the NBA and NHL, to Mike Rizzo, Jim Crane, Jeff Luhnow, and Theo Epstein of the MLB. All these owners, executives, and Gm’s lead franchises that have consistently won and built organizations that are the envy of their respective sports. They run their teams effectively by properly scouting and hiring employees in all facets of their franchises that will only aid goals to win and grow as a franchise. These higher up’s all do what is best for their organization whether it be popular or not amongst its social following. While always treating their fan-base well and making sure they put forth a quality product.
As for having talent on a roster this just comes down to drafting, developing, and signing players that can help your team win games and mesh well as a group. It not always about accumulating the most talent but finding the right mix of players that complement each other. Players productive on the field, as well as, are good people off the field. As we have seen over the years with teams like the San Antonio Spurs, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Blackhawks, and Green Bay Packers among others it is about doing your homework to find and sign the best players to fit your system. You must also draft foundational pieces to build your franchise with that you can develop to be faces of your franchises. These players form the pillars of your team. Followed by having quality role players, depth guys, and versatile contributors. All these types of players are key to putting together a roster that can successfully mesh and sustain a winning culture.
Finally the idea of having a good culture throughout your organization is as significant as any part of being a winning team. Having a good culture basically entails bringing in quality players and personnel to be a part of your organization that are also good people. As well as nurturing an environment conducive to properly running a business effectively, while limiting the amount of outside distractions and issue that could distract those within the organization from performing their jobs. Ultimately franchises who value these factors within their organization are in the end the ones who can sustain success on and off the field, court, or ice.
In each sport at the beginning of the year every team believes they are contenders, or “have a shot”. But reality usually sets in and about half way through the season, and the real contenders usually reveal themselves. Here what one could determine are the teams in each sport that are the real contenders in their respective league for their upcoming season.
NFL Contenders:
• AFC: New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs.
o Rationale- Patriots because of the solidity and greatness of their Organization, coach, and quarterback may be Super Bowl favorites. The Steelers and Raiders because of their prolific quarterbacks and offenses. The Texans, Chiefs, and Broncos because of their tremendous defenses, but need just serviceable quarterback play.

• NFC: Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings.
o Rationale- the Packers because of their great quarterback and improving defense. Seahawks, Giants, and Vikings because of their championship level defenses. Also the super bowl experience at the Quarterback position. The Cowboys and Falcons because of their great offenses and bevy of weapons on that side of the ball.

NBA Contenders:
• Eastern Conference: Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards
o Rationale- The Wizards because of the strength and consistency of their starting five, which is one of the best in the league Led by Superstar John Wall. Celtics because of their depth at every position on their roster with good players and strong defense. Cavaliers because of one man, LeBron James.

• Western Conference: Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder
o Rationale- the Warriors because they have the best collection of talent, have a championship pedigree, and strong unselfish team play on both ends. Spurs because of a quality front office, the best coach in the NBA Greg Popovich, and a good mix of players on their roster. The Rockets because of their new backcourt with Harden and Chris Paul and their great bench play. Then the Thunder because of the reigning MVP Russel Westbrook and addition of All Star Paul George to their talented core.

MLB Contenders:
• National League: Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals
o Rationale- the Dodgers because they have the best depth in Baseball. As well as the best Pitching staff (Starters, Bullpen), including the best pitcher Clayton Kershaw. The Chicago Cubs because they have the most talent of any contender and the pedigree of winning the most recent World Series. As well the Nationals who may have the most talented line up and one of the best rotation’s in the game.

• American League: Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees
o Rationale- the Red Sox’s because of their young talent and when healthy good starting rotation. The Yankees because of their offense and tremendous bullpen. The Houston Astros because of their lineup and quality depth. Then the Indians because they have the best rotation of anyone in the American league. As well as a good group of offensive players and bullpen. Maybe the most complete team of the four.

NHL Contenders:
• Eastern Conference: Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning
o Rationale- the Penguins because they have the best player in the league in Sidney Crosby. As well as having won 3 Stanley Cups during the 21st Century including the past season in 2016. The Rangers because of their quality system of play and Goaltender Henrik Lundquist one of the best goalies in the league. The Lightning because of their core group of players, as well as great goaltending. Then the Capitals who may have the most talent of all the teams including one the best goal scorers of this generation Alex Ovechkin.

• Western Conference: Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues
o Rationale- the Blackhawks because of their consistency and championship pedigree. As well as the great core of players led by Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Johnathan Toews. The Predators because of their Goaltending and recent Stanley Cup appearance. Kings because they won 3 of the last 7 Cups and their quality lineup of forwards and defensemen. Then finally the St. Louis Blues because of their strong defensive structure and great group of star players including, Vladimir Tarasenko.

These are ultimately teams who you can see as contenders because what makes them winners in their sports. Which correspond to what makes up a contending franchise.
r team a Contender?
By: Michael A. Chase Jr.
8/7/17Is your team a Contender?
By: Michael A. Chase Jr.
8/7/17

One big question that is always thrown around in the realm of sports discussion is, “is my team a contender?” Seems like a simple answer because the philosophy is that if my team has a winning record, or has several really good players, or has a big payroll that they can contend. Though as we have seen in the world of sports those factors do not guarantee a team an opportunity to contend. So what is going to be presented is what the definition of a contender in a sport is? As well as what teams in each sport can be considered serious title contenders for their respective sports?
First to define what a contender is we must determine what components make up a contender. The factors that seem very apparent when it comes to classifying a team and franchise as a contender include; good front office and ownership, a good mix of talent on a roster, and a quality culture. When thinking about each of these factors they all relate not only to quality production on the field, but off the field as well.
Starting with a franchise having a quality front office and ownership deals with good leadership in your organization. Whenever you look at franchises that consistently compete they are usually one’s with good leadership at the top. From the Bob Craft’s and Rooney Family in the NFL, Ted Leonsis in the NBA and NHL, to Mike Rizzo, Jim Crane, Jeff Luhnow, and Theo Epstein of the MLB. All these owners, executives, and Gm’s lead franchises that have consistently won and built organizations that are the envy of their respective sports. They run their teams effectively by properly scouting and hiring employees in all facets of their franchises that will only aid goals to win and grow as a franchise. These higher up’s all do what is best for their organization whether it be popular or not among its social following. While always treating their fan-base well and making sure they put forth a quality product.
As for having talent on a roster this just comes down to drafting, developing, and signing players that can help your team win games and mesh well as a group. It not always about accumulating the most talent but finding the right mix of players that complement each other. Players productive on the field, as well as, are good people off the field. As we have seen over the years with teams like the San Antonio Spurs, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Blackhawks, and Green Bay Packers among others it is about doing your homework to find and sign the best players to fit your system. You must also draft foundation pieces to build your franchise with that you can develop to be faces of your franchises. These players form the pillars of your team. Followed by having quality role players, depth guys, and versatile contributors. All these types of players are key to putting together a roster that can successfully mesh and sustain a winning culture.


Finally the idea of having a good culture throughout your organization is as significant as any part of being a winning team. Having a good culture basically entails bringing in quality players and personnel to be a part of your organization that are also good people. As well as nurturing an environment conducive to properly running a business effectively, while limiting the amount of outside distractions and issue that could distract those within the organization from performing their jobs. Ultimately franchises who value these factors within their organization are in the end the ones who can sustain success on and off the field, court, or ice.
In each sport at the beginning of the year every team believes they are contenders, or “have a shot”. But reality usually sets in and about half way through the season, and the real contenders usually reveal themselves. Here what one could determine are the teams in each sport that are the real contenders in their respective league for their upcoming season.
NFL Contenders:
• AFC: New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs.
o Rationale- Patriots because of the solidity and greatness of their Organization, coach, and quarterback may be Super Bowl favorites. The Steelers and Raiders because of their prolific quarterbacks and offenses. The Texans, Chiefs, and Broncos because of their tremendous defenses, but need just serviceable quarterback play.

• NFC: Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings.
o Rationale- the Packers because of their great quarterback and improving defense. Seahawks, Giants, and Vikings because of their championship level defenses. Also the super bowl experience at the Quarterback position. The Cowboys and Falcons because of their great offenses and bevy of weapons on that side of the ball.

NBA Contenders:
• Eastern Conference: Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards
o Rationale- The Wizards because of the strength and consistency of their starting five, which is one of the best in the league Led by Superstar John Wall. Celtics because of their depth at every position on their roster with good players and strong defense. Cavaliers because of one man, LeBron James.

• Western Conference: Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder
o Rationale- the Warriors because they have the best collection of talent, have a championship pedigree, and strong unselfish team play on both ends. Spurs because of a quality front office, the best coach in the NBA Greg Popovich, and a good mix of players on their roster. The Rockets because of their new backcourt with Harden and Chris Paul and their great bench play. Then the Thunder because of the reigning MVP Russel Westbrook and addition of All Star Paul George to their talented core.

MLB Contenders:
• National League: Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals
o Rationale- the Dodgers because they have the best depth in Baseball. As well as the best Pitching staff (Starters, Bullpen), including the best pitcher Clayton Kershaw. The Chicago Cubs because they have the most talent of any contender and the pedigree of winning the most recent World Series. As well the Nationals who may have the most talented line up and one of the best rotation’s in the game.

• American League: Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees
o Rationale- the Red Sox’s because of their young talent and when healthy good starting rotation. The Yankees because of their offense and tremendous bullpen. The Houston Astros because of their lineup and quality depth. Then the Indians because they have the best rotation of anyone in the American league. As well as a good group of offensive players and bullpen. Maybe the most complete team of the four.

NHL Contenders:
• Eastern Conference: Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning
o Rationale- the Penguins because they have the best player in the league in Sidney Crosby. As well as having won 3 Stanley Cups during the 21st Century including the past season in 2016. The Rangers because of their quality system of play and Goaltender Henrik Lundquist one of the best goalies in the league. The Lightning because of their core group of players, as well as great goal tending. Then the Capitals who may have the most talent of all the teams including one the best goal scorers of this generation Alex Ovechkin.

• Western Conference: Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues
o Rationale- the Blackhawks because of their consistency and championship pedigree. As well as the great core of players led by Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Johnathan Toews. The Predators because of their Goaltending and recent Stanley Cup appearance. Kings because they won 3 of the last 7 Cups and their quality lineup of forwards and defensemen. Then finally the St. Louis Blues because of their strong defensive structure and great group of star players including, Vladimir Tarasenko.

These are ultimately teams who you can see as contenders because what makes them winners in their sports. Which correspond to what makes up a contending franchise.

One big question that is always thrown around in the realm of sports discussion is, “is my team a contender?” Seems like a simple answer because the philosophy is that if my team has a winning record, or has several really good players, or has a big payroll that they can contend. Though as we have seen in the world of sports those factors do not guarantee a team an opportunity to contend. So what is going to be presented is what the definition of a contender in a sport is? As well as what teams in each sport can be considered serious title contenders for their respective sports?
First to define what a contender is we must determine what components make up a contender. The factors that seem very apparent when it comes to classifying a team and franchise as a contender include; good front office and ownership, a good mix of talent on a roster, and a quality culture. When thinking about each of these factors they all relate not only to quality production on the field, but off the field as well.
Starting with a franchise having a quality front office and ownership deals with good leadership in your organization. Whenever you look at franchises that consistently compete they are usually one’s with good leadership at the top. From the Bob Craft’s and Rooney Family in the NFL, Ted Leonsis in the NBA and NHL, to Mike Rizzo, Jim Crane, Jeff Luhnow, and Theo Epstein of the MLB. All these owners, executives, and Gm’s lead franchises that have consistently won and built organizations that are the envy of their respective sports. They run their teams effectively by properly scouting and hiring employees in all facets of their franchises that will only aid goals to win and grow as a franchise. These higher up’s all do what is best for their organization whether it be popular or not amongst its social following. While always treating their fan-base well and making sure they put forth a quality product.
As for having talent on a roster this just comes down to drafting, developing, and signing players that can help your team win games and mesh well as a group. It not always about accumulating the most talent but finding the right mix of players that complement each other. Players productive on the field, as well as, are good people off the field. As we have seen over the years with teams like the San Antonio Spurs, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Blackhawks, and Green Bay Packers among others it is about doing your homework to find and sign the best players to fit your system. You must also draft foundational pieces to build your franchise with that you can develop to be faces of your franchises. These players form the pillars of your team. Followed by having quality role players, depth guys, and versatile contributors. All these types of players are key to putting together a roster that can successfully mesh and sustain a winning culture.
Finally the idea of having a good culture throughout your organization is as significant as any part of being a winning team. Having a good culture basically entails bringing in quality players and personnel to be a part of your organization that are also good people. As well as nurturing an environment conducive to properly running a business effectively, while limiting the amount of outside distractions and issue that could distract those within the organization from performing their jobs. Ultimately franchises who value these factors within their organization are in the end the ones who can sustain success on and off the field, court, or ice.
In each sport at the beginning of the year every team believes they are contenders, or “have a shot”. But reality usually sets in and about half way through the season, and the real contenders usually reveal themselves. Here what one could determine are the teams in each sport that are the real contenders in their respective league for their upcoming season.
NFL Contenders:
• AFC: New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs.
o Rationale- Patriots because of the solidity and greatness of their Organization, coach, and quarterback may be Super Bowl favorites. The Steelers and Raiders because of their prolific quarterbacks and offenses. The Texans, Chiefs, and Broncos because of their tremendous defenses, but need just serviceable quarterback play.

• NFC: Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings.
o Rationale- the Packers because of their great quarterback and improving defense. Seahawks, Giants, and Vikings because of their championship level defenses. Also the super bowl experience at the Quarterback position. The Cowboys and Falcons because of their great offenses and bevy of weapons on that side of the ball.

NBA Contenders:
• Eastern Conference: Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards
o Rationale- The Wizards because of the strength and consistency of their starting five, which is one of the best in the league Led by Superstar John Wall. Celtics because of their depth at every position on their roster with good players and strong defense. Cavaliers because of one man, LeBron James.

• Western Conference: Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder
o Rationale- the Warriors because they have the best collection of talent, have a championship pedigree, and strong unselfish team play on both ends. Spurs because of a quality front office, the best coach in the NBA Greg Popovich, and a good mix of players on their roster. The Rockets because of their new backcourt with Harden and Chris Paul and their great bench play. Then the Thunder because of the reigning MVP Russel Westbrook and addition of All Star Paul George to their talented core.

MLB Contenders:
• National League: Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals
o Rationale- the Dodgers because they have the best depth in Baseball. As well as the best Pitching staff (Starters, Bullpen), including the best pitcher Clayton Kershaw. The Chicago Cubs because they have the most talent of any contender and the pedigree of winning the most recent World Series. As well the Nationals who may have the most talented line up and one of the best rotation’s in the game.

• American League: Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees
o Rationale- the Red Sox’s because of their young talent and when healthy good starting rotation. The Yankees because of their offense and tremendous bullpen. The Houston Astros because of their lineup and quality depth. Then the Indians because they have the best rotation of anyone in the American league. As well as a good group of offensive players and bullpen. Maybe the most complete team of the four.

NHL Contenders:
• Eastern Conference: Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning
o Rationale- the Penguins because they have the best player in the league in Sidney Crosby. As well as having won 3 Stanley Cups during the 21st Century including the past season in 2016. The Rangers because of their quality system of play and Goaltender Henrik Lundquist one of the best goalies in the league. The Lightning because of their core group of players, as well as great goaltending. Then the Capitals who may have the most talent of all the teams including one the best goal scorers of this generation Alex Ovechkin.

• Western Conference: Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues
o Rationale- the Blackhawks because of their consistency and championship pedigree. As well as the great core of players led by Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Johnathan Toews. The Predators because of their Goaltending and recent Stanley Cup appearance. Kings because they won 3 of the last 7 Cups and their quality lineup of forwards and defensemen. Then finally the St. Louis Blues because of their strong defensive structure and great group of star players including, Vladimir Tarasenko.

These are ultimately teams who you can see as contenders because what makes them winners in their sports. Which correspond to what makes up a contending franchise.