Annabella’s Epiphanies Resurrected From the Dead


Yes, it’s true. Annabella’s Epiphanies has been resurrected- for now.

Before I get to the goods, thanks is in order- to all of you who have supported me and my blog, Annabella’s Epiphanies, a big thank you. I would not be where I am today had it not been for this blog and all who have followed my work. Some of you may be wondering where I’ve been, others know. This is, for the most part, for those who followed until I disappeared, and for those who continue to find my blog on search engines world-wide.

When I started this blog, the technical aspect of my writing was hideous to say the least. (Trust me, I’ve looked back.) Perhaps it was because I started this blog as an experiment.

On the other hand, the content seemed to strike a chord with an insane amount of people. In short, Annabella’s Epiphanies circumstantially became a platform for my writing career.

A few months into Annabella’s Epiphanies and a lot of research later, I got an opportunity to write an opinion editorial (op-ed)  for the Daily News Journal. That op-ed morphed into a year-long gig. A few more op-ed’s and I was off to the sports section, where I became a regular guest NFL columnist. (Thank you, Greg Pogue.)

During this time, I was doing triple duty dabbling in some side projects; to be specific, I was volunteer blogging for a cause near and dear to my heart. I also spent a short time with a “start-up” NFL website. (Which turned out to be an epic fail and shall remain nameless.) Nonetheless, I was able to maintain some kind of consistency with Annabella’s Epiphanies.

February 2010 changed all that.

Almost simultaneously, I received two semi-permanent job offers. The first was from a man who had found me through my various articles and blogs floating around the internet. His company, iTrip, was looking for a person to write three blogs a week pertaining to the vacation rental industry. I knew nothing of vacation rentals and very little about travel, so I was quite enthralled that he was asking me to be the face of their blog. I learned quickly and soon picked up the title of  social media marketer as well. (I should add that the pay was not bad either, but I didn’t like that I was made to look like a ghost writer over half of the time.)

The Murfreesboro Post, a local, independent newspaper came next. With a human interest piece under my belt and pro football still in season, the editor decided to throw me back on the NFL wagon. (Good choice. No, really, the editor said so herself.)

All Things Must Come to an End

Sometimes things happen that are out of our control, as was the case with iTrip. I had to resign due to an unexpected obstacle, but I’m not one to believe in coincidence. Even before the aforementioned obstacle, I was beginning to feel weary. I wanted to get back to writing about my true passions-  football, sports entertainment, (WWE and TNA) entertainment, op-ed’s, and of course, my personal memoir. Now, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

I will be blogging on Annabella’s Epiphanies as often as possible, if even only to update you all on my freelance writing adventures.

Again, thank you all so much for making writing worth doing.

See you soon!

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Annabella’s M.I.A.


Much to my chagrin, I have lagged behind in terms of production content for my blog. For this, I owe you all an apology, as well as an explanation.

The holidays are always a bit on the disorderly side of things-tis the season. But the addition of personal change, inner chaos, and the demands involved with becoming a regular NFL columnist are mostly to blame for my lack of production.

Every new writer has their ups and downs. Scratch that. Every writer has ups and downs. More specifically, new writers often have to work a typical “day job” while writing their way up the publishing latter rungs. And if we’re being honest here,  the current state of the economy in America has made the transition even more trying. Throw in the newspaper death debate and you’ve got all the makings for a “made for tv” movie.

Take the writing and the search for a day job out of the equation and you’ve still got personal change and inner chaos. I’ll save the intricate details for a future memoir- but I will say this- most of the kinks have been ameliorated.

My blog’s column, “This Writer’s Life,” is still in development, albeit delayed. Be sure to look for it soon, and I’ll be sure to keep you posted. Also, look for a survey soon. I would love to hear from my readers about what they most look forward to reading when they come to “Annabella’s Epiphanies.”

More importantly however, I would like to thank you all for your continued support-even when I’m not on my game.

Love and Respect-

Annabella

The NFL’s Top 3 Best Losing Teams


Every year the NFL seems to become more and more like a soap opera-ish reality t.v. show- and it’s not just the “off field” antics I’m talking about here.

The plot begins to take shape in the pre-season and rapidly thickens as the regular season progresses.

Here’s where things get odd-

These two forms of entertainment are most interchangeable in the way that they are extremely unpredictable. There once was a time when the NFL was vaguely predictable. The 2009 season is proof that there is no longer a case for predictability in the NFL.  Both fans and sports analysts have been scratching their heads for months now. Why? Because several of the NFL’s best teams are on the losing side of the fence.

This has prompted a list for the NFL’s Top 3 Best Losing Teams.

1. The Pittsburgh Steelers- The defending Super Bowl champs currently have a record of 6-7 after losing their fifth straight game. In all but three of the games they’ve played this season, the Steelers have won or lost by ten points or less. It wouldn’t seem so abnormal if the Steelers had played these games against notably competitive teams, but they were playing against teams like the Titans, the lowly Detroit Lions, the disappointing Chicago Bears, and the constantly struggling Cleveland Browns. I’m not trying to sound redundant, but they were the 2008 Super Bowl champs-nothing more needs to be said.

2. The Tennessee Titans– In 2008 the Titans exploded onto the scene with an impressive 10-0 start. By the end of the season they had three players from their secondary at the Pro Bowl. The Titans have been far from explosive this season, starting 0-6 before getting their first win against the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 6. Funny thing is, the only gash the Titans took to their roster during the off-season was the loss of big number 92, Albert Haynesworth- the majority of their starters found their way back onto the roster. If it weren’t for the Steelers being the defending Super Bowl champs, the Titans would have easily taken number one on this list. Any sports analyst would agree- they are the best team on the losing side. There is no logical explanation for the Titans 0-6 start. Although, there is one bright spot- VY may still have a future among the NFL elite.

3. The Chicago Bears- The saga between ex Bronco’s QB Jay Cutler and their new head coach, Josh McDaniel’s, ended with the trade of Cutler to the Chicago Bears. This dissension was the center piece of the NFL soap opera during the offseason. Many people, myself included, believed Cutler was the Bears ticket back into the Super Bowl. Cutler’s rocket arm and his ability to scramble around in and outside of the pocket won the Bronco’s many a game. You can’t consciously place the blame on Cutler for the way the Bears season has turned out, however. The Bears offensive line is severely inadequate when it comes to protecting their QB, and there is only so much the lead man can do when his receivers are incompetent. Here’s another unforseen fiasco- I guarantee you the Bears didn’t plan on seeing LB Brian Urlacher back on IR again.

Oh well, there’s always next season for these hapless teams.

Article:”Titans Back to Old Selves”


Hargrove: Titans back to old selves

 

BY ANNABELLA HARGROVE • SPECIAL TO THE DNJ • November 18, 2009

In the words of former pro wrestling superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Finally the Titans have come back to domination alley.”

Indeed, the Titans are back to their winning ways, and they look more like last season’s 10-0 team than the 0-6 team we were exposed to at the start of this season. No one, including a plethora of expert analysts, expected the Titans to be an 0-6 team, not with the majority of their starters returning to the roster.

With a 41-17 win over the pitiable Buffalo Bills last Sunday, the Titans are riding the waves of a 3-0 winning streak. But cynics may challenge just how successful those wins really were.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills are three teams that have been less than impressive this season. The Bills (five) and 49ers (seven) are among two of three NFL teams with the least amount of 10-plus play drives, while the Titans rank second among all NFL teams in rushing yards per game with an average of 161.8.

This is where the argument could bear merit — if the roles were reversed, and the Titans had lost their last three games rather than winning them— trouble would have been a sobering understatement. On the other hand, Titans connoisseurs everywhere have noticed the subtle differences that have contributed to the radical change of pace on the field.

The Titans’ secondary has taken the bulk of the blame in terms of the defense’s poor playing this season. But when you don’t have a good pass rush, it leaves the secondary vulnerable and overworked. Since returning from his injury, defensive tackle Jason Jones has proven to be an invaluable asset in the defenses 4-3 scheme.

In each of the last three games, Jones has created havoc for opposing team quarterbacks by putting his big paw up and deflecting potentially dangerous passes down field. Against the Bills this past Sunday, several passes were deflected by the rotating front four in Tennessee.

There is an air of confidence that was lacking during the first six weeks. And with help from the front four, the secondary has once again found their swagger, recording seven interceptions in the last three games after just four in the first six.

The addition of free agent Roderick Hood at cornerback has certainly created a boost in the secondary. He has played in only four games since being signed by the Titans, but has at least one interception in three of the four games he’s appeared.

The remainder of their schedule isn’t going to be an easy one, traveling to face AFC South rivals Houston Texans on Monday and the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 6. This is where we find out what the mighty Titans are truly made. But for now, we can lay back, hands behind our heads, hovering above cloud nine.

Pro football enthusiast Annabella Hargrove resides in Murfreesboro. E-mail her at AnnabellaHargrove@gmail.com

The Titans Dilemma: Should They or Shouldn’t They?


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Fans and NFL analysts alike are still rubbing their eyes and shaking their heads after last week’s AFC South showdown between the Titans and Colts, a game in which the Colts stonewalled any preconceived notion the Titans may have had about ending their current losing streak. Today the Titans face the notorious New England Patriots and their louche coach, Bill Belichick– Today won’t be the day the Titans end their surprising losing streak.

During last Sunday night’s nationally televised game, and on display in front of roughly 69,000 fans at LP field, the Colts humiliated the Titans by pummeling them 31-9. But- this isn’t what all the rubbing of eyes and shaking of heads is about.

Watching a team that went 13-3 in the previous season start 0-5 the next, is like witnessing a medical anomaly, it rarely happens, specifically when the aforementioned team brings back a vast majority of their starters. It’s no wonder there has been finger pointing in every direction imaginable.

One thing is very clear; you know there is trouble when you’re beaten by teams like the Houston Texans, who have remained at the bottom of the AFC South nearly every year since becoming a franchise in 2002, and the Jacksonville Jaguars, who were shut out by the Seattle Seahawks 41-0 last Sunday at Qwest Field. Both teams hold 2-2 records this season.

The blame game has now come full circle. First it was the secondary, and then it was QB Kerry Collins, next was the coaching of new defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil, and finally, the D-line with their lackluster pass rushing abilities. I echo Coach Fisher’s sentiments when I say this is obviously not a group or position issue, but rather, a team losing effort. Where there is dissent, is in the criticism of defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil. Coach Fisher is either in serious denial, or he’s practicing the art of tactfulness- I’d like to think it’s the latter.

Under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz last season, the Titans had only given up 56 points in five games. In five games this season, the Titans have already given up 139 points.

Are you sure this is the same defense from the 2008 season? Just checking.

THE TITAN’S DILEMMAS

It’s becoming blatantly evident that the Titans may have underestimated the value of big number 92, Albert Haynesworth. Although the Titans rank number three against the run, allowing only 75 yards per game against opponents, they have had a difficult time rushing the passer. Opposing quarterbacks have had all day to sit back in the pocket and choose which receiver to throw to. That’s not helping the struggling secondary.

oph9-47406.JPGTaking Kerry Collins out as the starter in favor of Vince Young after only five games is not the answer either, it’s far too early in the season to make that kind of decision. Collins is only in the first year of a two year 15 million dollar contract, and while it is true he’s been inconsistent throughout his career, he’s a proven veteran who knows how to manage games and make informative decisions.

I understand all the questioning behind the QB controversy, and by all means, if Collins continues to play poorly, put VY in the game. The Titans need to find out if he’s the future or if they need to go another route in the upcoming draft, but this shouldn’t be done until around week 10. This still gives VY six more games to prove his worth, and also ensures the Titans make use of the money they spent on Collins during the offseason.

Besides, there are always the games (example- today’s game against the Patriots) that “get out of hand.”