Baltimore Ravens

Ravens LB Elvis Dumervil eyes sack record, trip to Super Bowl 

Baltimore linebacker Elvis Dumervil believes if he finishes the season with 23 sacks, the Ravens will go to the Super Bowl.

That’s the number of sacks he needs to break the NFL’s single-season sack record of 22 ½, set by Michael Strahan in 2001.

Strahan set the record during the final game of the 2001 season when he sacked Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre to finish with 22 ½ and top Mark Gastineau’s old mark.

“If I can hit that number, that’ll mean we’ll be in the Super Bowl for sure,” Dumervil said via the Baltimore Sun. “You try to win games, you try to win championships. To me, there’s nothing more important, because you can have the stats and accolades, but if you’re sitting home, it really doesn’t do any justice.”

Dumervil finished the 2014 season by tying a career high with 17 sacks. He finished third in the NFL in sacks behind Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (22) and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (201/2).

Dumervil also broke Peter Boulware’s single-season Ravens franchise record (15).

With 90 career sacks, Dumervil is within striking distance of reaching 100 this season. He ranks ninth among active players and has averaged more than 11 sacks over his eight seasons played (he missed the 2010 season with a torn pectoral muscle). Thirty-one former and current players have reached the century mark for sacks.

“I think that’s a great achievement to try to reach,” Dumervil said. “So, the opportunity is there and that’s not always the case with everybody. I’m grateful for that. It just shows the consistency, and I don’t take that lightly.”

Winning a Super Bowl is something that consumes Dumervil.

“You’ve got to take advantage of every moment,” Dumervil said. “You never know when the next time [will be]. So, I do consider it sacred. That’s why every offseason you train as hard as you can, go into minicamps and training camp and you just try to be your best you. And then, hopefully, that can help the team get to where we all want to get to.”

Theirs is also financial reward for Dumervil’s success as a pass rusher, too.

His contract is worth $30 million over five years and would reach a maximum value of $33 million if he has 12 sacks in 2015.

Just the other week, Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel co-published a paper in the Journal of Computational Mathematics. The paper “A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians” can be found on arXiv.

In an article for the Player’s Tribune, Urschel says, “I am a mathematical researcher in my spare time, continuing to do research in the areas of numerical linear algebra, multigrid methods, spectral graph theory and machine learning. I’m also an avid chess player, and I have aspirations of eventually being a titled player one day.”

This reminded me of this tumblr post by classidiot I saw the other day that describes how it’s common to see mathematicians that are proficient in some non-mathematical hobby (playing an instrument, dancing, hiking, so on…), but often not the other way around. I think it’s really fantastic that John Urschel does mathematics just on the side as something he truly enjoys.

4

President Obama calls James Franco ‘James Flacco’

During Friday’s year-end White House news conference, President Barack Obama mistakenly used the last name of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco when referring to actor James Franco in a speech Friday.

Lashing out at Sony Pictures for its decision to halt the release of the movie “The Interview,” Obama said, “It says something interesting about North Korea that they decided to have the state come out with an all-out attack because of a satirical movie starring Seth Rogen and James Flacco.”

The President went on to say, “I love Seth and James.”

The movie stars Franco, but Flacco had some fun as he corrected the Presidents miscue on Twitter.

Joe went on to welcome James to the Flacco family.

And of course someone went on to Twitter and created a “James Flacco” account that they could have some fun with.

Now the big questions are, “Do you consider James Flacco an elite quarterback and is worth using first-round pick on in your fantasy league?” - 

This was the one. The win the New England Patriots so desperately needed and absolutely had to have. Yes, to advance. But not only to survive, but to prove something to themselves, too. This was the kind of test that tells the Patriots they’re ready to chase, and finally claim, that elusive fourth Super Bowl ring.