Thursday, November 30, 2006

NBA News of the Day 11.30.2006: [David Stefanini]

- Lakers center, Chris Mihm, is likely out for the season. I guess it is time for Andrew Bynum to play at a high level every night. He is their center for the rest of the year, and probably years to come.
- Dirk Nowitzki left lasts night game with blurry vision. For the sake of the Mavs, he better get his vision back.
- The Nets got some good news today. Josh Boone and Eddie House should be able to return to the team in the next week. Eddie House is a spark plug who comes off the bench and Josh Boone should improve their rebounding.
- Quentin Richardson is turning himself into a defensive stopper. Last night against the Cavs he prevented LeBron from LeBron. If he can continue this the Knicks can actually win some games, granted they would be playing on the road.

Player of the Night:
Amare Stoudemire gets the award over Sean May, because Amare lead his team to victory. He had 22 points, 15 rebounds, 1 assist and a steal.

Game of the Night:
There are only two on tonight. The better rivalry is the Pistons vs Heat, but the better game is the Lakers vs Jazz. The Lakers and Jazz should be a close game that comes down to the end. The Pistons should run away with the win over the Heat.

NBA News of the Day 11.30.2006: [David Stefanini]

- Lakers center, Chris Mihm, is likely out for the season. I guess it is time for Andrew Bynum to play at a high level every night. He is their center for the rest of the year, and probably years to come.
- Dirk Nowitzki left lasts night game with blurry vision. For the sake of the Mavs, he better get his vision back.
- The Nets got some good news today. Josh Boone and Eddie House should be able to return to the team in the next week. Eddie House is a spark plug who comes off the bench and Josh Boone should improve their rebounding.
- Quentin Richardson is turning himself into a defensive stopper. Last night against the Cavs he prevented LeBron from LeBron. If he can continue this the Knicks can actually win some games, granted they would be playing on the road.

Player of the Night:
Amare Stoudemire gets the award over Sean May, because Amare lead his team to victory. He had 22 points, 15 rebounds, 1 assist and a steal.

Game of the Night:
There are only two on tonight. The better rivalry is the Pistons vs Heat, but the better game is the Lakers vs Jazz. The Lakers and Jazz should be a close game that comes down to the end. The Pistons should run away with the win over the Heat.

The Best of the Worst Quarterbacks [EdMcGon]

You are the owner of an expansion NFL team. The football gods have smiled on you, and said you can have any quarterback from any NFL team, with two important stipulations: the quarterback's passer rating must be below 80, and no rookie quarterbacks. That leaves you with the following choices:

1. Steve McNair - 79.9
2. Byron Leftwich - 79.0
3. Jake Delhomme - 78.7
4. Brett Favre - 78.1
5. Matt Hasselbeck - 77.7
6. Rex Grossman - 77.6
7. Brad Johnson - 77.3
8. Daunte Culpepper - 77.0
9. Eli Manning - 76.0
10. Ben Roethlisberger - 72.3
11. Michael Vick - 72.1
12. Joey Harrington - 71.6
13. Jake Plummer - 70.5
14. Charlie Frye - 69.5

Steve McNair would be the obvious choice for any team, EXCEPT an expansion team. For this scenario, you would want a young quarterback who can peak when the team peaks. McNair, in his 12th season, is on the downside of his career. If he is lucky, he may have 2-3 seasons left in him.

I certainly would not want anyone who is a statue in the pocket, like Byron Leftwich. Expansion teams are notorious for giving up a lot of sacks. Leftwich would get killed.

For the same reason, Daunte Culpepper gets excluded. Since his knee injury last year, his mobility has been missing. Until we can be sure he will get it back, he would be a bad choice for this team.

Age has to be considered also. Guys like Brett Favre and Brad Johnson won't be around much longer.

We can also exclude guys who have proven they cannot get it done: Charlie Frye, Jake Plummer, Joey Harrington, and Michael Vick.

As Clint Eastwood once said, "I know what you're thinking...". Vick gets excluded because he will NEVER win a championship in the NFL. Vick is a "me first" player. While I like confidence in quarterbacks, even arrogance sometimes, selfish quarterbacks never succeed. Jim Mora was right: Vick is a coach killer.

As for the other young quarterbacks, Roethlisberger makes me wonder if he has lost the fire in his belly. You can say the Steelers as a team got over-confident after the Super Bowl. However, a true team leader would have rallied them. I see Roethlisberger as a product of the system, not a quarterback who made the rest of the team better.

Eli Manning might be a good choice IF you have a good quarterback coach (Kevin Gilbride ain't it). Eli is not, nor will he ever be, Peyton.

Rex Grossman has too long an injury history to make me comfortable putting him on an expansion team.

That leaves us the two experienced quarterbacks with strong histories, Jake Delhomme and Matt Hasselbeck. I lean towards Hasselbeck only because he spreads the ball around more. Delhomme seems to need a lot of talent around him, while Hasselbeck can work with what you give him.

As an owner of an expansion franchise, take Matt Hasselbeck, but draft a good young quarterback to sit behind him and learn the game.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More on Strahan and the Giants [J. Mark English]

In the previous post about Strahan, I showed quotes from both Strahan and Burress. But what I failed to do was show that they were not really at was more of the media twisting their lines to put them at odds. Today when Strahan was confronted by a reporter about the non existing 'rift' he went on to say the following:

"We're 6-5. We've lost three games in a row. What do you want us to do? Put our heads down and go into a corner? We don't do that. We're men. We get back, we practice hard, we prepare for plays to win. We don't prepare to come in to have someone who wants to take a comment and try to divide teammates in a way that it just disrupts this team, because we don't have that divison here. So if you want to come here with the negative, you're coming to the wrong guy, because I'm not a negative guy. I don't kill my teammates. I'm a man, and I talk to my teammates."

If what he is saying is true, then it may be plausible to reconsider how what both Shockey and Barber have said in the past...and maybe their comments about Coach Coughlin were taken out of context. But no matter what...the Giants cannot blame the press for the loss' they have suffered of late. I mean the press was not on the field when the team blew a 21 point lead.

Also what else does the press have to talk about in New York? The Jets are 6-5, but they are the most boring team to have a winning record. Baseball is not in session, and the Mets & Yanks have hardly made any splashes in the free agent market. No one is paying attention to hockey. So any sort of clubhouse turmoil with the Giants will be big news in the New York market.

Strahan's comments from Monday only pour more fuel on to that fire. He really needs to get used to it, and instead of lecturing the press...lecture the Cowboys this weekend on what its like to lose.

Your Late Night Fix 11.29.06 [J. Mark English]

  • Feeling snubbed, Albert Pujols thinks that the MVP should be from a playoff team. (Thats great Pujols...but you had a supporting cast, and Howard didn't....he was much more happy with your WS ring.)
  • Cowboy's T.O. says that cutting Vanderjagt was a mistake. (So was the signing of T.O. in the first place...wanna join him T.O.?)
  • Joe Namath over the last days has been on Imus in the Morning, ESPN Radio, 60 Minutes, the YES Network, SNY, and MSG. He's really pushing for his book! If its not on the New York Times best selling list after all this he should feel like he wasted his time...
  • Speaking of books - a thirty five pound book has been released about the life of Pele: So how better to celebrate the man at 66 than with a silk-swaddled tome of 720 pages that is 2¾ inches thick, weighs 35 pounds and measures nearly 18 by 14 inches? It contains 1,700 images and 300,000 words by numerous sportswriters and interviews with some of Pelé’s teammates between covers in the green and yellow of Brazil’s national team....Of the 2,500, 2,100 will sell for $3,000 (thats all!!)....Another 250 are priced at $3,750 because the photographer Marvin Newman signed his 16-by-20-inch picture of Pelé in Central Park in 1975.
  • Moving on - Phil Taylor thinks that Mark McGwire does not belong in the hall.
  • Bill Cowher has not interest in the N.C. State head coaching job - and will stay put in Pittsburgh.
  • The Vikings are back in the news again: The Minnesota Vikings are dealing with another off-the-field incident this week after receiver Troy Williamson said he was struck in the face during a charity event sponsored by teammate Darren Sharper.
  • Bill Simmons with an amusing piece about the NBA's Eastern Conference: You couldn't even call the Eastern Conference an apocalypse -- it's more like a poopocalypse. Haha...
  • Finally the legendary Kronk Gym in Detroit has closed.

Michael Strahan vs. Plaxico Burress [J. Mark English]

"It's a shame, because Plaxico is a great player and a good guy to be around, but at the same time you're judged by your actions on the field and you can't give up, you can't quit, because you're not quitting on yourself, you're quitting on us. We work too hard all together to have that type of stuff happen, and Plaxico is one of the guys who works hard. I don't quite understand what his motivation is, or what his lack of motivation is in those type of situations. I'm pretty sure I'm going to try to see what it is and try to see if I can talk to him about it." - Michael Strahan

"I haven't had a conversation with him...if that's the way he feels, hey, I don't talk about my teammates. If that's the way he feels, then that's the way he feels. I know what my motivation is. If thats the way he feels, then that's sad." - Plaxico Burress

The comments made my Strahan on WFAN Monday, were brought up today by an ESPN reporter in the locker room at Giants Stadium. Strahan blasted the reported, Kelly Naqi and said the following:

"Come here, I want to see your face when you ask this question, the way you are going to ask it..I know you are going to ask it in a way there is more division and more of a negative way than it was, so come here, I want to see your face, please. You're a responsible journalist, look me in the eye and ask this question the way you want to ask it...look a man in the eye before you try to kill him or make up something."

I think its safe to say the team is giving the appearance of being in turmoil. On Monday they had a team only meeting. Usually a team only meeting spells doom for the team, and the coaching staff. If the team feels the need for a meeting...that will not involve the coaches...then there are things that they are saying that cannot tell the coaches. Which means there is a major communications problem, and everyone is not on the same page.

Should they lose this game, it may be only a matter of time before Coughlin loses his job. I think he's a good coach, but maybe his words aren't just getting through to this team.

Walt "Clyde" Frazier: Bust a Rhyme [J. M ark English]

The Knicks won a game tonight on the road against the Cavs - thanks largely to some sharp shooting from Quentin Richardson.

I watched the game on MSG...of course Walt "Clyde" Frazier provided the color commentary. He is what some might call an artist in using rhymes to describe what is happening on the court. I mean it can be a real hoot to hear what he says. I jotted some of them down:

- "Swishing and dishing along the baseline."
- "Swooping and hooping."
- "Hustle and muscle."
- "Curry with the matador D."
- "The Knicks are playing swiss cheese defense - the Cavs are finding all the holes."
- "Richardson with the good stuff"
- "The Knicks are showing some gusto."
- "The Knicks with the knack tonight."

In the past my favorite was "Ewing...doing."

As for the game, Curry for the second game in a row had over twenty points and over five rebounds. Wow! Not bad for a guy who's heart is sporatic, and for a player that did nothing but regress last year.

They are 5-5 on the road. And are 6-11. Can they perhaps win a few more games at home now?

Blaming Vick, Fair or Unfair?: [David stiffening]

It is at the point where all I hear about Michael Vick are bad things on top of bad things. We know he is not as accurate as Peyton Manning but he also has NO wide receivers. Forget a #1 receiver and not a #2, he has NONE. All he has is a tight-end, and to good corner can shut down any tight-end.

The man rushes for 166 yards as a QB and his team loses. He throws the ball on the money 5 times during the game at least, and they are dropped. They were not it hit his hands, it would have been a nice catch, NO the ball smacked off the chest of these people who claim they are WR's.

Take last year, Vick throws for 250 plus yards, a few touchdowns but they lose. Vick gets blamed for not using his legs. ARE YOU KIDDING?
The man is probably the most naturally gifted athlete to ever play football, or close to any other sport for that matter. Stop blaming him for a lack of talent around him. He not only single-handily carries this team, he is making Warrick Dunn look like an Pro-Bowler. Watch every time Warrick Dunn takes a hand-off. Two guys follow Vick in case he decides to run. That leaves 2 less people for their pathetic offensive line to try to block. Thus leaving huge holes for Dunn to run through. This leads me to my next point, if they had an offense line who could block something Vick MAY have more of a chance to actually throw the ball. Vick takes 2 steps back and he has 3 defenders in his face.

The point I am making is Vick is a unique quarterback; do not hate him for that. Just watch a few of the games and look at their pathetic offensive line try to block, then watch their pathetic receivers try to catch the ball.

NBA News of the Day 11.29.2006: [David Stefanini]

- The New Jersey Nets lost their sixth in a row last night. Luckily for them, their in a division where the staff here at American Legends could compete. The Nets are now a half game behind the Celtics; who they play tonight at Boston.
- Michael Redd put his team on his back and carried them past the Lakers last night. He has taken his game from All-Star form to MVP form.
- The Dallas Mavericks are looking for their 11th win in a row tonight.
Player of the Night:
Michael Redd was unstoppable last night. He had 45 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals.
Game of the Night:
The Houston Rockets play the Phoenix Suns, at Phoenix, on NBATV at 9:00et. I would look for Suns to use their run and gun offense to beat the Rockets. The Suns will be able to feed off their home crowd and run themselves to victory.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Red Sox Would Be Crazy To Trade Manny [Addison Quale]

Just for starters, it's great to be invited to contribute to the American Legends Sports blog. I hope to offer a fresh perspective from Boston--though I hail from NY myself, so alas the Sox are the only Boston team I truly root for.

That being said, Dan Shaughnessy thinks that it's time Boston moved Manny. And what's amazing is that in his latest column he seems to go to great lengths to try to encourage Red Sox Nation to turn on their favorite loopy leftfielder. (It actually sort of reminds me of how a number of Boston reporters tried to turn Sox Nation against Nomar when he was on his way out. Of course I must admit, that they WERE successful in convincing me.) But I digress. Here is a bit of his column. After dancing around the issue and telling us why he's great for a number of reasons, he gets to the heart of the matter:

Sorry, folks. It's time for Manny to go. Time and again, he's made it clear that he doesn't want to play in Boston. He quit at the end of last season, and everyone in the Sox clubhouse knows this. The manager knows Manny quit. David Ortiz knows Manny quit. Curt Schilling knows Manny quit.

First off, the Sox foundered at the end of August because their team was a paper-tiger much of the season--just waiting to fall apart with all those veteran and oft-injured arms. Second, Manny didn't give up first. It was the rest of his team--the pitching in particular--that really blew it in the Yankees' series. Shaughnessy notes that Manny was monstrous in that series. It wasn't his fault that they got swept in the Boston Massacre part II. Third, give him a break! Do you have any idea how stressful it's gotta be to be one of the most famous baseball players in the world for 10 straight years? And every year everyone expects you to throw in your 45 homers and 130 RBIs. I know it's his job. But it's just an incredibly stressful job. So my point is, who cares if he took September off? The Sox were out of contention and I'd rather have a rested and happy Manny in 2007 than one run down and more tired than usual. (By the way--I wonder if there's a correlation between the Cardinals' World Series win and the fact that they really rested (almost too much) at the end of the regular season.) The fact of the matter is that Manny Ramirez is one awesome ballplayer. You cannot replace his production in the outfield. And he's going to be there when you need him. When the Sox didn't need him (because the season had already been blown) he took a break. I don't think that's a big enough issue--even combined with his moodiness and Manny-ness to trade a future Hall of Famer in his prime.

NBA News of the Day 11.28.06: [David Stefanini]

- Reports are saying that Andrew Bynum will remain the Lakers starting center for the rest of the year.
- Once called the 'Next Jordan', Grant Hill is probably going to call it a career after this season. Brian Schmitz comments by saying, "retiring is a viable option at the end of the season when Hill's seven-year contract with the Magic expires.”
- Brian Windhorst claims as of right now; Damon Jones is the sixth man of the year.

Player of the Night:
Allen Iverson was simply amazing against the Heat last night. Recording 45 points, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Though the 76ers lost, it was no fault of Allen Iverson.

What to Watch Tonight:
Bucks @ Lakers; 10:30et. I would say the Lakers have the edge in this game. The way Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum are playing this team is tough to beat, especially at home.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Your Late Night Fix 11.27.06 [J. Mark English]

  • Despite 'fiasco' the Giants close ranks around Coach Tom Coughlin.
  • Peter King discusses the dilemma facing receivers - Irvin, Monk, Reed - in regards to their Hall of Fame status.
  • Switching to the baseball Hall of Fame, and Mark McGwire: The Associated Press surveyed about 20 percent of eligible voters, and only one in four who gave an opinion plan to vote for McGwire this year. That's far short of the 75 percent necessary to gain induction.
  • The Dallas Cowboys released kicker Vanderjagt (who was only a season a go the most accurate kicker in the game) and signed Martin Gramatica. If the game this week against the Giants comes down a field goal battle in the swirling Meadowlands...should be interesting.
  • Michael Vick apologizes for inappropriate gesture. Maybe he should apologize to Atlanta for his poor play.
  • Junior Seau had a clash with the Pat's linebacker coach in the parking lot. Would have loved to see that!
  • Looks like the BCS Championship will feature Ohio State vs. USC. Will Troy Smith do to USC what Vince Young did to them last year? We'll just have to wait till next year. (January 8, 2007). ESPN has the rest of the bowl predictions with their crystal ball.
  • Fabio Cannavaro, the Italian Soccer team's captain, has won the Golden Ball for being the most outstanding player in all of Europe. He is the first defender to win the award in ten years.
  • In college basketball, UCLA rises to number 1, and Florida drops down to number 4. But who really cares about the college polls? The only thing that counts is the slot you have in the tourney.

Brandon Jacobs Speaks Out: [David Stefanini]

When Brandon Jacobs, RB of the Giants, was asked to talk about the Giants loss to the Titans he responds with:

"It hurts, man," Jacobs said. "Any loss hurts, but this particular one to a team we should have beat the * out of -- this one hurts more."

And why should the Giants have beaten the (expletive) out of the Titans?

"Because they suck," he said. "That's why."

Wow, please tell us how you really feel about the Titans. If they are that bad of a team how can they can score 24 points against you guys in the last quarter and win? I think Brandon Jacobs should ask himself that before talking down upon the Titans and/or cursing them out.

NBA Hot Topics 11.27.06 [David Stefanini]

- John Schuhmann has the latest Rookie Rankings.

- Kobe Bryant leads the Lakers past the Nets 99-94. The Nets have now lost 5 in a row.

- Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony are named Players of the Week for their respected conference.

- Dallas is 9-4, after starting 0-4, look to make it 10 wins in a row tonight against the Minnesota.

- Allen Iverson takes on Dwyane Wade, in what promises to be a clash of two super-stars.

Performer of the Night:
With 33 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds; Carmelo Anthony is my performer of the night.

Pick the NFL Winners - Turkey Day Results [EdMcGon]

And the winner of the First Annual Turkey Day Picks award is...(ok, I made that up):

EdMcGon - 3
David Stefanini - 2
Tom - 2
Robert A. George - 2
J. Mark English - 1

I guess that makes me a true turkey among giblets!

I'm not sure if that's a good thing...

Giants Love Misery [J. Mark English]

"The party's over. Its time to call it a day. They've burst your pretty balloon and taken the moon away. Its time to wind up the masquerade. Just make your mind up, the piper must be paid.
"The party's over. The candles flicker and dim. You danced and reamed through the night, it seemed to be right just being with him. Now you must wake up, all dreams must end. Take off your make up, the party's over. It's all over, my friend." - Betty Comden & Adolph Green
“We will be sick about this one forever.” - Coach Coughlin
“....only in a nightmare. That is not how you want to finish a game. That’s a tough one to swallow.” - Shaun O'Hara
“We have to look at each other in the face and say we let each other down. Things like that should never happen.” - Plaxico Burress
“I think everybody in America knows that. That’s not how it’s supposed to go down. I have no excuses. We lost that game flat out.” - Antonio Pierce
“They made the plays and we didn’t. It’s frustrating. You’re at a loss for words because of the way it came down.” - Tiki Barber
Comments -
Since 1991, these words can be echoed by Giants no matter who they are. They seem to love misery.
Lets harken back to that 1991 season. With a season on the brink, following their Super Bowl title in 1990, they were up against the Eagles. They jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first half, and even knocked out the Eagles starting QB. In came Jeff Kemp (Jack Kemp's son) and he led the Eagles back to victory, crushing the Giants title defense.
In 1993, the Giants were riding a six game winning streak, and were 11-3. They had two games remaining. One against the lowly Cardinals on the road, and the next against the team right behind them in the division, the Cowboys. If they could beat the Cardinals, the Giants would have secured a division championship as well as possible homefield advantage through-out the playoffs. Instead they lost to the Cardinals, and then lost a heartbreaker to the Cowboys in overtime. This killed their dreams of homefield advantage through the playoffs, and they were blown out by the 49ers in the second round.
The Giants would not make the playoffs again until 1997. Playing a home game in the first round against the Vikings, the team enjoyed a nine point lead with two minutes left in the game. The Vikings scored a touchdown behind the arm of Randall Cunningham, and then got the ball back on a onside kick. The Vikings kicked the game winning field goal, and the Giants, who had been celebrating prematurely, just hung their heads and cried.
In 2002, the New York Giants were playing once again in the first round, this time on the road against the 49ers. They were up big, 38-14, and Jim Fassel's offense was clicking on all cylinders. And then the game slipped away. The Giants gave up a 24 point lead which they had in the 4th quarter. When the clock expired, the score read 49ers - 41, Giants - 38.
The Giants love misery. It is the only conclusion that makes sense. This team never wants to make it easy for themselves. Maybe they are cursed...who knows. Whatever it is though, they have a chance to still right the ship this week against Parcells and the Cowboys. If they can win, they will be back in first place, with an advantage over the Cowboys because of two victories against them. They can still make this a special year.
But for now, only misery...misery...misery...

Ranking the NFL - Week 12 [EdMcGon]

COLTS: Edgerrin who? Joseph Addai just showed how expendable James was in the Colts offensive scheme. Now if they only had a Peyton Manning on defense...

RAVENS: The Ravens are starting to look like a Super Bowl contender. What they did to Pittsburgh was just ugly. Right now, the Ravens might be better than the Colts.

CHARGERS: I personally consider it a good sign that the Chargers can take the Raiders lightly and still win.

BRONCOS: Paging Dr. Cutler...

PATRIOTS: The Pats are the snake in the grass in the AFC playoff picture.

BEARS: Rex Grossman is NOT the quarterback who is taking the Bears to a Super Bowl victory. If the Bears make it to the Super Bowl, they will probably get stomped.

SEAHAWKS: vs. Green Bay tonight.

BENGALS: Made the Browns black and blue.

SAINTS: The Saints brought their whole team. The Falcons brought Mike Vick. 11-1 odds seems kind of unfair, doesn't it? In the Falcons defense, they only lost 31-13. Pretty good with those odds.

CHIEFS: If the Chiefs had not lost to the Broncos earlier this year, I might read more into their win over Denver. Frankly, I was not impressed with the way the Chiefs played.

COWBOYS: Assuming they don't self-destruct, the Cowboys are poised to move up in the rankings. But they have to beat a team better than the Bucs to do it.

PANTHERS: The loss to the Skins is a head-scratcher. It looks like the Skins defense shut down the Panthers. Not a good sign for a potential playoff team.

GIANTS: The G-men aren't very good right now. Coughlin and Manning are both on the hot seat. While injuries have contributed, they really haven't beaten any great teams. The best team they beat was Dallas back in Tony Romo's premiere, a relief appearance. Next week, they get a full dose of Romo.

49ERS: Frank Gore will be a top 5 pick in fantasy leagues next year. He is THAT good.

STEELERS: It seems like years ago when this team won the Super Bowl. They certainly didn't look like a defending Super Bowl champ against the Ravens.

BROWNS: This team is sad to me, and I don't mean just their record. Just when they start to look like they might be turning a corner this year, they lay an egg against the Bengals. Now they are also starting to implode. Truly a shame.

JETS: Only bin Laden could think of a fate worse than holding millions of New Yorkers hostage to a Jets-Texans game.

FALCONS: Jim Mora's dad was right. Mike Vick IS a "coach killer".

BUCCANEERS: Rumor has it that Gruden is sending out job "feelers", much like he did when he was at Oakland. This is probably good, because the way the Bucs are playing, Gruden might not be there for long.

REDSKINS: To Jason Campbell's credit, he avoided most rookie mistakes and let the Redskins defense beat the Panthers. However, I hesitate to call this a turning point for the Skins.

RAMS: Splitting the series with the 49ers was nice. The five game losing streak they had prior to that was not so nice.

DOLPHINS: Joey Harrington, in his best Darth Vader voice: "Matt Millen, who's your daddy?"

TITANS: Vince Young already is what Mike Vick will NEVER be: a team leader. Granted, Young doesn't have Vick's shifty moves, but Young is no slouch running the ball. Plus Young has the leadership intangible that eludes Vick.

VIKINGS: Many years ago, they used to send people to Arizona for their allergies. Now, they send NFL teams like the Vikes there for wins.

JAGUARS: How do you beat the Giants one week, then lose to the Bills the next week?

EAGLES: Jeff Garcia did ok, but this team's lack of talent really shows without McNabb.

BILLS: After the Bills beat the Jags, you can almost imagine Jack del Rio screaming, "KHAAAAAN!". Seriously though, this team is improving, having won their last two games and three of their last four, with their only loss coming to Indy by one point.

PACKERS: vs. Seattle tonight.

TEXANS: I think the Texans went into "maybe next year" mode about two minutes after the last NFL draft.

RAIDERS: Even though they lost, the Raiders looked half decent against the Chargers. On the bright side, they get Houston next week.

CARDINALS: Beating the Cardinals is like having a job at McDonald's on your resume. It may not hurt you, but it doesn't exactly enhance your resume either.

LIONS: How many Fords does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. They keep waiting in the dark for Matt Millen to do it.

Videos: All Time Coaching Rants [J. Mark English]

Due to my head being stuck in the sand after my two football teams lost in disgrace this past weekend...the New York Giants taking the cake, I will with hold comments till tomorrow. Instead I am posting some of the all time coach rants to help funnel my frustrations:

Coach Jim Mora belongs in a league of his own:

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thankful for Thanksgiving [Justin Doom]

From Justin Doom of Sports Illustrated:

Certain things have long confounded me -- post-algebraic math, U.S. tax codes, people who actually buy poodles -- but right near the top of that list is how little respect is given to arguably the best holiday all year: Thanksgiving.

Think about it: It's an entire day devoted to eating and watching football. When I was a kid my two favorite holidays easily were Christmas (free presents) and Halloween (free candy), but the older I get the more I appreciate eating plateful after plateful of food, none of which I'm actually responsible for preparing, while watching back-to-back -- and this year back-to-back-to-back -- football games. Sure, I still enjoy buying and receiving Christmas gifts, and I totally dig those bite-sized -- at least for me -- mini-Snickers, but it's mystifying why the day after people toss out their jack-o'-lanterns they put up Christmas lights. As much as I enjoy the irony of this ostensible link between a traditionally pagan holiday and an obviously Christian holiday, what's with totally disregarding the time between? When did it become OK to overlook Thanksgiving just because it's the middle child on our calendars?

I still remember how when I was 13 everyone at my Thanksgiving dinner table was asked to say at least one thing for which they were thankful. I said that I was thankful that the Bears beat the Lions 10-6 that day. I wasn't kidding. (I also was thankful that because, having grown up in public schools, I'd been trained to eat entire meals in approximately 37 seconds and cleaned my plate in plenty of time to sneak off and catch that night's Simpsons Thanksgiving Special.)

Maybe this year's games aren't the best -- Miami at Detroit, Tampa Bay at Dallas and Denver at Kansas City -- but think of it this way: You're getting paid to sit at home, eat, and watch NFL games on a Thursday. Is there any other typical work week when that wouldn't be your No. 1 choice of things to do that day? Really?

Thanksgiving Day football, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Web site, actually used to be more popular among high schools and colleges. Lots of families band together and play touch football or flag football on Thanksgiving afternoon, which I'm assuming is gaining in popularity now that more people own TiVo.

Technically, the NFL tradition began in 1920, but it didn't really take off until an epic 1934 matchup between the Lions and Bears. The Lions were 10-1 and hadn't allowed a touchdown until their eighth game. The Bears were 11-0. The game was played at University of Detroit Stadium and the 26,000 tickets were sold out two weeks in advance. The Bears won, 19-16, and beat the Lions again three days later, 10-7, to clinch the NFL Western Division title. Detroit won the NFL Championship in 1935 after a 14-2 Thanksgiving win over Chicago. Except for a six-year gap (1939-44), Detroit has hosted a game every year since. And the Cowboys, except for in 1975 and 1977, have hosted every year since 1966. There's probably an interesting story behind why Dallas became part of the Thanksgiving Day tradition, but it wasn't mentioned on the Hall of Fame Web site. And I hate the Cowboys, so I'm not looking it up.

That's not to say I don't enjoy some Dallas Cowboys history. In fact, it also was on Thanksgiving Day in 1993 when Leon Lett was responsible for probably the single dumbest play in NFL history. After Dallas, leading 14-13, blocked the Dolphins' 41-yard field goal attempt in the game's final minute, Lett needlessly tried to pick up the ball and slipped in the snow and fumbled it away. Miami recovered the ball at Dallas' 1-yard line and kicked a field goal to win 16-14. (All of this coming the season after Don Beebe -- whatever happened to that guy? -- chased down Lett in the Super Bowl and knocked the ball out of his hands before he could cross the goal line and snatch away from San Francisco the single-game scoring record.)

Everyone who saw Lett's ridiculous fumble remembers exactly where they were when it happened, just as years from now I'll remember where I was this Thursday when Jon Gruden's head explodes or a wide-open T.O. doesn't drop an important pass or the Dolphins and Lions combine for as many as three total touchdowns: On my cousin's couch with a face full of pumpkin pie.

Happy Thanksgiving! And Enjoy Your Football [J. Mark English]

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pick the NFL Winners - Week 11 Results & Turkey Day Picks [EdMcGon]

I guess I ought to announce last week's winner, aye? Drumroll please...

David Stefanini - 11
J. Mark English - 10 (and Mark kicks himself for forgetting to pick the Dallas-Indy winner)
Tom - 9
Robert A. George - 9
EdMcGon - 7

Since I got my butt handed to me, we are going to try a simple exercise this week: Pick the winners of the three Thanksgiving Day games. My picks are in red:

Miami at Detroit: "The Revenge of Joey Harrington".
Tampa Bay at Dallas: Wouldn't you really like to see a movie with cowboys against pirates? Of course, it might be kind of lopsided, since the cowboys would just shoot the pirates. Therefore, take the Cowboys. How is that for in-depth football analysis?
Denver at Kansas City: One of these days, Jake Plummer's interceptions are going to kill the Broncos. Oh wait, that was last week against the Chargers. Well, take the Chiefs anyway.

NFL Jokes of the day [EdMcGon]

How many Cincinnati Bengals does it take to screw in a light bulb?
One to steal it, one to screw it in, and Chad Johnson to say, "Why didn't you let me do it?"

How many Oakland Raiders does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A LOT! Randy Moss keeps dropping them.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

NFL Top 10 11.21.06 [David Stefanini]

Thank you:

Dallas, for allowing me to take the Colts off the top of the list. The Jets for allowing me to put the Bears where they belong. LT, for being the most amazing player I think I ever have seen play (I am only 19). Tony Romo, for allowing me to put the Cowboys near the top. And finally the Bengals, for starting to play like the Bengals.

On this post LT will be called MVP, as I think he deserves it.

1) Bears- Say what you want about them. They are dominating, beat a RED-HOT Giants team on the ROAD. Beat a Jets team that was coming off a high on the ROAD. To much talent, to good a team. They will be in the SuperBowl playing.....

2) SUPERChargers- This team is down right scary. Considering thier entire defense has been carted off the field and they still win is amazing. I say this every week. MVP is the best player in the league. Every week he puts distance between him and second place.

3) Ravens- Great all-around defense and the offense is clicking.

4) Colts- They are the least impressive 9-1 team in history. If they played the Ravens, Chargers, or the Patriots again, they would lose. As long as the real Tom Brady shows up.

5) Cowboys- Tony Romo has lifted this team to new heights. Look for them to soar as he gets more and more comfortable.

6) Patriots- They looked good against Green Bay. That's why they don't move anywhere, they played Green Bay.

7) Broncos- They got beat at home, but they lost to MVP. They still can be a top team in the AFC, but I doubt they can get through the Chargers.

8) Panthers- The NFC South looks to have it's champion. Their defense is finally clicking, which makes them a tough team to beat.

9) Jaguars- They are similar to the Falcons. At times they look great, at times they look horrible. Luckily for them, they are much better than the Falcons.

10) Seahawks- I'm sorry but is that the 49ers closing the division lead? Yes it is...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Ryan Howard Declared NL MVP [J. Mark English]

From Major League Baseball:

The sheer force of Ryan Howard's gargantuan home runs cannot accurately be measured in speed or total distance, only by the gasps from those watching such a spectacle.

The Baseball Writers Association of America collectively gasped, then stood and applauded on Monday, selecting the Phillies first baseman as the National League's Most Valuable Player.

With 20 first-place votes and 12 second-place votes, Howard defeated last year's NL MVP, the Cardinals' Albert Pujols, by a total of 388 to 347. The Astros' Lance Berkman (230) and the Mets' Carlos Beltran (211) finished third and fourth, respectively.

Howard becomes the second player in Major League Baseball history to win the Rookie of the Year and MVP Awards in consecutive seasons, following Cal Ripken in 1982 and 1983. Fred Lynn (1975) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001) have the even sweeter distinction of winning both awards in their first seasons.

Comment -

It seems appropriate that Howard should win this award. A friend of mine who is a Phillies fan once remarked that Howard must be seeing a chriopractor because he was carrying the full weight of the team on his back.

The Phillies are very lucky to have such a young stud like Howard. Hopefully MVP's, and HR titles are all he will win. Otherwise, the Mets may be looking up at the Phillies in the NL East for a long time to come.

Past Weekend in Photos [J. Mark English]

Your Daily Fix 11.20.06 [J. Mark English]

  • Reports suggest that the Mets are close to locking up Moises Alou. Hoo-ray! We're bringing an over the hill outfielder. Why not just resign Cliff Floyd?
  • Meanwhile, the player the Mets should have gone after, Alfonso Soriano, is close to locking up at least an 8 year, $136 million deal with the Cubs.
  • Howie Long thinks that the Cowboys are ready to take over the NFC East. But first the Giants must lose to the Jags tonight, before that reality can take shape.
  • Drew Brees throws for over 500 yards, and the Saints only score 16 points, and lose to the Bengals. Okie dokie...I guess stats aren't everything.
  • Clark Judge things that the Chargers are the new team to beat in the NFL. Over the last two weeks they have done some pretty amazing things. All they need though is to play some more solid defense and they can beat anyone in the playoffs.
  • Michigan holds on to no. 2 slot despite loss to Ohio State this weekend. Remember in 1996 when Florida State beat Florida to finish out the regular season? They met again for the championship, and Florida blew them out to capture the national title. Could we see a repeat of this scenario again?
  • Congrats to Jimmie Johnson: After having the Nextel Cup elude his grasp for four consecutive years, Johnson won stock car racing's biggest title Sunday -- and its $6.2 million prize -- by overcoming early setbacks and finishing ninth at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Video: The Jagrmeister [J. Mark English]

Last night:
It was a very special night for two Rangers players. Early in the game, Jaromir Jagr became the 16th NHL player to score 600 goals in his career, notching what nearly stood up as the game-winner. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was sensational at the other end of the ice, stopping 27 shots and coming within three minutes of his first shutout of the season.
And so in honor of Jagr, here are some highlights from his fabulous career:

Only One Person Loves the BCS... [J. Mark English]

...and that person would be J. Mark English.
The new BCS standings for week 13 came out yesterday and to no one's surprise, Ohio State is sitting pretty at the top, with a ticket already punched in for the national championship game.
In the number two slot, Michigan still remains, with U.S.C. narrowly closing in from the third spot. Behind U.S.C. sits Flordia who will play Florida State next week. And rounding out the top five, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, prepare for battle against the U.S.C. Trojans next week.
Can your nerves stand it much longer? Talk about some great football this BCS system is providing. People who are clamoring for a playoff system seem to disregard the excitement of the regular season. Every top ranked team is playing in what seems like a playoff game every weekend. This past weekend it was Ohio State vs. Michigan. Before that it was Flordia again South Carolina, or Texas vs. Kansas State, or Louisville vs. Rutgers.
Even games that are otherwise meaningless have plenty of implications in the BCS system. If Notre Dame beats Army 20-9, as opposed to 41-9, that hurts their BCS standings. So that game becomes a must watch for a Notre Dame fan.
Now that Rutgers has lost to Cincinnati, now every game in the Big East has huge implications for Louisville, West Virginia, and Rutgers as they all fight to win the Big East crown and have an automatic bid in to the BCS.
The playoffs in the BCS are alive and well, and they exist in the regular season. The BCS generates tons of discussion, debate, and great theater.
If College football went to a playoff system, it would soften the impact of the regular season. Lets face it, in college basketball, I really don't start paying attention to the games until championship week, and then of course the tournament. I mostly write off the season all together.
But in football, every game is so important that one must watch it all the time to keep up! Why get rid of system that allows for a season-long playoff atmosphere?

Ranking the NFL - Week 11 [EdMcGon]

With the short week upon us, and all the upsets yesterday, I thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and do my rankings today.

Due to the Colts' loss yesterday, there will be no "almost elite" category.

COLTS: For the Colts, I have to consider the loss to Dallas a fluke. Does anyone honestly think Peyton Manning will look like that two weeks in a row?

CHARGERS: The Chargers should be called "Team 1A" among the "elite". Beating the Broncos IN Denver is a monster win. Anyone up for a Chargers-Colts AFC Championship?

BRONCOS: Which of the following three quarterbacks has the best chance to win the AFC Championship: Peyton Manning, Phil Rivers, or Jake Plummer? If you said Plummer, you lose, just like the Broncos will.

RAVENS: The Ravens simply out-classed the Falcons. Even without Ray Lewis, the Baltimore defense was just too much. Did I mention their offense isn't too bad either?

BEARS: Looking back, I have to wonder if their loss to the Dolphins was a fluke. But only scoring 10 points on the Jets doesn't exactly restore my faith in this team.

SEAHAWKS: Last week, I called this team the strongest contender in the NFC. I just want to know who spiked my coffee? Better yet, who spiked their Gatorade?

GIANTS: Tonight vs. the Jaguars.

PATRIOTS: If the Packers played the Patriots every week, there would be no talk of Favre coming back next year. There might even be some comments about him retiring immediately.

BENGALS: The Cincinnati World-Beaters showed up against the Saints, as opposed to the Cincinnati Wife-Beaters, that normally show up...

PANTHERS: Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, and Chad Johnson might get all the headlines, but Steve Smith is actually the best wide receiver in the NFL. Smith is the only one I look at and say that guy actually makes his team better than they are.

SAINTS: The Saints must have thought Chad Johnson had lost a step. 190 yards and 3 touchdowns later, the Saints realized they were wrong.

CHIEFS: The Chiefs get a real test this week at home against the Broncos on Thursday night. If you have watched the NFL Network at all over the last 6 months, then I am sure you know about this game. They have run ads for it every chance they had.

COWBOYS: HUGE win for Dallas. This is quite a different team with Tony Romo at quarterback. Playoffs? Super Bowl? Not out of the question in the weak NFC.

49ERS: They beat SEATTLE? I knew they were getting better, but still...

STEELERS: Even though the Steelers have been playing the Browns regularly for what seems like the past half century, how many of their matches have been classic? It always seems like one or the other of them is dominant at the same time the other one is mired in a slump. Yesterday's game was as close to classic as these two teams usually get, and it wasn't classic.

BROWNS: Over the last 7 weeks, the Browns have a pattern: Lose one, win one. They lost yesterday, so that means they will beat Cincinnati next week. Riiiiight.

JETS: They held the Bears to 10 points! Which was 10 more than the Jets scored...

FALCONS: The only "birds" here are swans, as in the "swan song" of Jim Mora. For a team that looked innovative earlier this year, they just look flat now.

BUCCANEERS: In spite of the numbers, I like Bruce Gradkowski. As rookie quarterbacks go, one touchdown and two interceptions against a solid Carolina defense is not bad at all.

JAGUARS: Tonight vs. the Giants.

EAGLES: Anyone see the irony of Donovan McNabb going down with an injury and being replaced by Jeff Garcia? (think Terrell Owens)

RAMS: Ram Fans, don't feel bad. Yes, you were shutout by Carolina. But consider the alternative: What if you kept Mike Martz? Look at Detroit, with only 185 points scored this season, vs. the Rams with 202. Just call me a little ray of sunshine today...

REDSKINS: Welcome to the NFL Jason Campbell. By the way, you won't have Clinton Portis to hand off to for the rest of the season. Have fun!

DOLPHINS: Joey Harrington, the next Dan Marino. You can stop laughing now. Really. The Dolphins are 3-0 with Harrington under center since their bye week, having beaten Chicago, Kansas City, and Minnesota. The Dolphins almost have their heads above water...

VIKINGS: Since their loss to the Patriots 4 weeks ago, the Vikes can't seem to get a break.

TITANS: If the Titans let Jeff Fisher go after this season, they are idiots. Their win over the Eagles shows this team is starting to come around. Fisher has done a world-class job of coaching a team with limited talent.

PACKERS: This is the Packer team I have come to expect. Nothing like a New England reality check of 35-0.

BILLS: You can almost hear the Bills fans chanting, "WE'RE BETTER THAN HOUSTON!".

TEXANS: Just when I think the Texans are starting to play a little better, they lose to the Bills. So how is that Mario Williams pick coming along? Two tackles against the Bills. So THAT'S why they had the first pick in the draft!

RAIDERS: Who could the Raiders trade Randy Moss to? Hello, Matt Millen...

CARDINALS: Do you think Dennis Green is feeling the job security after they beat Detroit?

LIONS: Let the Matt Millen job watch begin. Or is that continue?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

NBA Releases All-Star Ballot ALREADY? [David Stefanini]

That's right we are 8 games into the NBA season, some teams aren't even that far into the season, and the All-Star Ballots are released. Forgive me for seeing something wrong in this but since when does one hot week crown an All-Star? Can we let them play for let's say oh... a month or two. I think we should chalk this up to another thing the NBA has done wrong this season.
I am one of the biggest fans the NBA has. I have the League Pass so I can watch every game. Games that I can't watch, I TiVo. However I think with the switch to the new ball, calling technical fouls to quick, the dress code, and now the WAY TO SOON All-Star Ballot; the NBA is making decisions that should be challenged and should cause somebody their job.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bo Schembechler: Dead at 77 - Rest in Peace [J. Mark English]

Tired of Experts NOT Picking Winners: [David Stefanini]

Last night I was at home watching ESPN like a good little sports nut. As I am watching it SportsCenter brings in two 'college football experts' to break down the game. I think to myself, "Good they are going to predict a winner and tell me who is the better all around team." But what I get is them disagreeing on every single topic saying Michigan has a better defense, no Ohio does. I watch this show to be given facts on who is better. If I want a debate about who is a better team I could ask Mark English and just disagree with him. One of the 'experts' picks Michigan to be better in every aspect of the game expect Quarterback position. He says they have a better running game, better receivers, better defense, and the intangibles. Then the 'expert' goes out and says Ohio will win the game by at least a touchdown! I am sorry did I miss something. He spent 15 minutes telling me how much better Michigan was only to pick Ohio State and his reason? Look for Ohio to win. THANK YOU CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!

Pick the NFL Winners - Week 11 [EdMcGon]

Time to pick the winners again in this week's NFL games. Feel free to post your picks in the comments. No money, just bragging rights. My picks are in red:

Atlanta at Baltimore: Quoth the Raven, "Not in my house!".

Buffalo at Houston: An intriguing matchup, even if neither of them is any good.

Chicago at N.Y. Jets: A Bear trap.

Cincinnati at New Orleans: If I have to pick a winner, I will take the Saints, but this one is a toss-up.

Minnesota at Miami: Time for the Dolphins to come back to Earth.

New England at Green Bay: If Green Bay wins, I will eat cheese. Not that I wouldn't eat cheese anyway...

Oakland at Kansas City: At least the Chiefs won't have to worry about covering Randy Moss, since he is depressed. Not that the Chiefs have a whole lot to worry about going into this game.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland: The Brownies prove their true value in this game. The Brownies ARE the better team here.

St. Louis at Carolina: The Rams cannot beat the Seahawks. You don't think they have a chance against the Panthers, do you?

Tennessee at Philadelphia: Gotta love the Titans in this trap game.

Washington at Tampa Bay: Welcome to the NFL Jason Campbell. Unfortunately for you, the rookie quarterback on the other side will get the win.

Detroit at Arizona: The question here is who will NOT lose? Both of these teams would lose against nearly anyone else. I will take the Lions to look past this game to their annual Turkey Day game. Of course, when the Lions are playing, EVERY day is Turkey Day!

Seattle at San Francisco: Not even close.

Indianapolis at Dallas: If Indy gets surprised by anyone, it will NOT be Dallas.

San Diego at Denver: The game of the week. I have to go with Denver at home, especially with Shawne Merriman still out on suspension.

N.Y. Giants at Jacksonville: A loooooong night for the Jags.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Your Daily Fix 11.16.06 [J. Mark English]

  • MLB Managers of the Year: Jim Leyland wins the AL Manager of the year for his work with the Detroit Tigers. He'll be back next year with the team. Joe Girardi wins NL Manager of the year for his miraculous work with the Flordia Marlins. His ultimate reward? He was fired by the team. Go figure.
  • O.J. Simpson: Remember when that name had meaning in the world of sports? When you thought O.J., he reminded you of this superb back in a USC uniform, or with the Bills running against the Jets at Shea in the snow. Now he is just a sad and tragic fool. His new book should make waves of new fans. (That was sarcasm, folks.)
  • China will use mice to test the safety of their Olympic foods. I'm sure the PETA folks will find reason to protest this decision. Maybe they can focus on China's one child policy?
  • Greg Garber goes into the mind-set of an NFL kicker.
  • Mike Tanier says much is at stake for the Chargers, Broncos this weekend.
  • Stewart Mandel has problems with OSU vs. Michigan rematch talks.
  • Doth my eye deceive me, but the Knicks won a game last night!
  • But the Rangers fell to the Stanley Cup champs.

Ranking the NFL - Week 10 [EdMcGon]

COLTS: Squeaking by Buffalo is a bit worrisome. But a win is a win is a win. And the Colts have won all of them.

BRONCOS: Here come the Chargers.

CHARGERS: Watch Phil Rivers. He is slowly moving into the Peyton Manning/Tom Brady class of NFL quarterbacks. He is THAT good.

RAVENS: The Ravens, without Ray Lewis, slipped by the Titans. Now they have to go against the Falcons with Lewis listed as questionable again. If Mike Vick shows up, this could be an interesting game to watch.

SEAHAWKS: Welcome back Shaun Alexander (and maybe Matt Hasselbeck). While you were out, the Hawks built up a two-game division lead. At this point, the Birdies are clearly the strongest contender in the NFC.

BEARS: I admit it: I was too rough on the Bears last week, knocking them down to "average". They did a number on the G-men.

GIANTS: No Toomer. No Strahan. No win.

PATRIOTS: Someone complained that I had the Patriots rated below the Saints. Does the loss to the Jets explain why? Regardless, I have to rate them above the Saints this week.

BENGALS: I still like the Bengals, but I am completely confused as to what is wrong with this team. It could be all the parole officers interfering with practices.

PANTHERS: If Steve Smith is on the field, healthy or not, the Panthers are dangerous.

SAINTS: After losing to Pittsburgh, it is clear the Saints ain't. Their loss to the Panthers drops them to here.

CHIEFS: Will the real Chiefs please stand up? They beat the Chargers and Seahawks, but lose to the Dolphins. Do you think that loss could be why Trent Green is coming back this week?

BROWNS: The MOST underrated team in the NFL. Romeo Crennel has this team playing as a unit now, not unlike the Patriots. However, the Browns still don't have the talent of a team like the Patriots. But at least they are moving in the right direction. Definitely a team to watch for next year.

JETS: Splitting the Patriots series is a good sign, but not enough to push them beyond the "average" category.

FALCONS: The Dirty Birds are still too inconsistent to be a contender, as they proved against Cleveland.

EAGLES: The Eagles better not look past the Titans this week. Even though the Eagles have the Colts next week, the Titans could easily beat the Eagles if they take the Titans lightly.

COWBOYS: Speaking of Indianapolis, Dallas will have their hands full this week. Even in Dallas, I cannot see the Cowboys beating the Colts.

BUCCANEERS: In spite of the numbers, I like Bruce Gradkowski. As rookie quarterbacks go, one touchdown and two interceptions against a solid Carolina defense is not bad at all.

JAGUARS: Is it just me, or does it look like the Jags are practicing for next year? How do they lose to Houston twice?

STEELERS: Their win over the Saints was more of a commentary on how overrated the Saints were. Granted the Steelers played a good game, but they still have not won two games in a row yet this year. Do I even need to remind anyone that the Raiders beat the Steelers?

RAMS: At least they made a game of it against the Seahawks. They are slowly dropping into "wait until next year" mode.

VIKINGS: The Vikes are another head-scratching team. They beat the Panthers and Seahawks, but lose to the Bills, 49ers, and Packers.

REDSKINS: Welcome to the NFL Jason Campbell. By the way, you won't have Clinton Portis to hand off to for the rest of the season. Have fun!

DOLPHINS: Who lit a fire under this team? In two weeks, they beat both the Bears and the Chiefs. Before that, the best team they could beat was the Titans. Look at these losses: Bills, Texans, and Packers.

49ERS: For you fantasy footballers out there, get Frank Gore. He is the next Marshall Faulk. Even on a bad team like the 49ers, Gore rocks.

LIONS: Ouch! A loss to the 49ers last week. If they cannot beat the Cardinals this week, they need to just go ahead and fire Matt Millen.

PACKERS: Please tell me the Packers are NOT serious about bringing Brett Favre back next year? Granted, Favre is playing better this year than last year. But he is still NOT the old Favre. He is just old.

TEXANS: Beating the Jags shows this team is starting to come around...sort of.

BILLS: You didn't honestly expect them to beat the Colts, did you?

TITANS: Does anyone really care about Albert Haynesworth coming back? What he did was wrong, but it is hard for me to get up much ire over a second rate defensive lineman. He did his suspension. If he does it again, the NFL should ban him for life. Period.

RAIDERS: Boo hoo. Randy Moss isn't happy, so he's dropping passes. The Raiders need to drop him.

CARDINALS: The Cardinals are the one reason I can feel good about being a Raider fan. There IS a worse team, with a worse owner, than the Raiders. Al Davis could be in a coma and still run the Raiders better than Bill Bidwill.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

NFL & Time Warner: Get off our Backs! [J. Mark English]

This comes from Les Carpenter of the Washington Post:

Just days before the NFL Network broadcasts its first game on Thanksgiving, one of the league's top executives sat in a Senate hearing room yesterday trying to explain its decision to put games on a channel that many cable subscribers won't be able to see.
Jeffrey Pash, the NFL's executive vice president and legal counsel, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the cable systems should not have to charge viewers extra to carry the NFL Network on its main tier of service even as it is embroiled in disputes with Time Warner, Cablevision and others over that very subject....
...The hearing was part of a larger inquiry by the committee into the 1961 Sports Broadcasting Act, which allows joint broadcasting agreements between networks and sports leagues to exist despite antitrust laws. The committee is looking into whether the legislation is outdated, and next month it will examine cross-ownership between sports teams and cable systems.
And this comes from Steven Zeitchik of
Legislators questioned not just the disagreement, but whether the league violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by essentially selling itself a package of eight late-season games in the first place...
...Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who reps a state with two NFL teams and called the relatively last-minute meeting, flogged the antitrust issue hardest...
...Specter also questioned the agreement that allows DirecTV the exclusive right to offer all out-of-market games via its Sunday Ticket Package.
No offense to the honorable senator from Pennsylvania, but aren't there more important things to attend to then the business of football on TV?
Both parties involved in the hearing had this to say:
"The government should leave the solutions to the marketplace..." - Landell Hobbs, executive with Time Warner.
"These disputes are generally resolved because one or both parties reassess and modify their positions. They do not raise antitrust issues and do not require intervention of the Congress." - Jeffrey Pash, NFL executive veep.
The two sides that are against each other in this dispute both agree that the goverment should focus on more important matters such as war...then on overstepping their authority with respect to the open market place. I couldn't agree more.
Also, I think that the Senator should consider the following. The National Football League is the only league that allows all of its games to be seen for free by the fans. For every local team, the fans are allowed free access to the team on TV. If the game is either on ESPN or the NFL Network, a local broadcasting network must air the game. The MLB, NBA, and the NHL do not allow for this to occur. Back in 1994 I had to listen to the New York Rangers win the cup over the radio since I did not have cable TV. Was this a violation of the broadcasting laws? Should that have necessitated an investigation of Congress?
Of course not...

NBA Rich Boys: Grow Up [J. Mark English]

Imagine your at work and you make a mistake on say a...TPS report. When you confronted by the higher ups do you get to stand up and complain and take off your shirt and wine like a baby? If you had this reaction chances are you'll either be disciplined or possibly fired.

This is common logic, and for some reason it fails to work in the NBA, or in the NFL for that matter. If you score a touchdown, just put the ball on the ground and move on. Why not save your celebration for the ultimate prize...The Super Bowl.

If you get called for a foul in a basketball game, take it like a man, not like a little boy. The refs are only doing their job, why make it more difficult for them?

Greg Couch of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote a recent article which states clearly my point:

Admittedly, I'm not an expert on this stuff. But I'm looking up the Wagner Act from the Depression. I've read The Jungle, visited the old stockyards. And a quick look at an Employee Relations Law Journal says the Fair Labor Standards Act was for the plight of the ''low-wage, long-working-hour industrial workers, who are helpless victims of their own bargaining weakness.''

So when thinking about unfair labor practices, the visions are of meat-packing plants, coal mines, steelworkers forming unions for safe working conditions, legitimate hours, fair pay.

But I guess there's no reason it couldn't be for multimillionaires who are treated like kings, too. If you haven't heard, Billy Hunter, chief of the NBA players union, has threatened to ''bring an unfair labor practice action, or something'' against the league if the players' working conditions aren't improved.

The issue is the NBA's new crackdown on player whining. Players aren't worried about losing fingers or working too many hours, but instead these rich guys want some of your government tax dollars to preserve their right to whine at officials after fouls are called against them. Really.

Know this: Basketball players are the world's biggest whiners, and not just in the adult world.

But this season, when officials call a foul on a player, if that player complains about it or laughs or raises his arms in dismay or any of those other annoying, whining habits, then the player also will be called for a technical foul. Technicals are up 100 percent. And players are also fined for these technicals, $1,000 apiece for the first several violations.

The players union is outraged!

''They've already taken the fun out of the game with these rules and now this no-tolerance law,'' Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace, who had four technicals in his first four games, told reporters. ''It definitely wears down on your psyche. It's almost to the point where I'm like, ''Well, I don't want to go too hard because I'm going to get psyched up and get a tech.'''

Oh, boohoo. Wallace said he believes they put the rule in specifically because of him.

Do a Nexis search on recent news articles and search ''unfair labor practices.'' You'll see stuff about 450 janitors in Houston walking the streets in protest, pushing mop buckets and garbage barrels on wheels.

Once there was a time when players, from a much different generation reacted differently. When presidential candidate Bob Dole gave his convention speech he spoke of the generations of the past vs. the generations of today:

Let me be the bridge to an America than only the unknowing call myth. Let me be the bridge to a time of tranquility, faith and confidence in action.

Amen Senator Dole. Perhaps when a player can play with certitude instead of foolish recklessness, then the ratings for the NBA will start to go up again. The NBA ratings have been going steadily down in surburban American ever since Michael Jordan exited the stage. Perhaps these players can learn from the greats like Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing, and yes, Michael Jordan. These players were men, not little boys. Its about time someone became the bridge to the past and played with "tranquility, faith, and confidence in action" a silent, and dignified matter.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Top 10 NFL Teams [David Stefanini]

The Colts have become the only team in NFL history to start 9-0 in back-to-back seasons. They have continued to win close games, no matter who the opponents are. I don't see them going undefeated this season because of their run-defense. I also don't see them winning the AFC either for the simple fact; if they play the Chargers LT is going to break every rushing record there is for a single game. However the facts are the facts, they are 9-0 and the only team left with a 0 in the loss column, thus they stay at #1.

1) Colts- At 9-0 I doubt anyone will argue with them at #1.

2) Bears- I picked them to win the Super Bowl and that pick looks good after beating the Giants on the road.

3) SUPERChargers- LaDainian Tomlinson is simply amazing. He rushed for over 100 again and has set a new record by scoring his 15th touchdown in a 5 week span. I don't know what else to say, he is the best player in the league. By the way, this Phillip Rivers guy, is a pretty good QB.

4) Broncos- I think the discussion about Jay Cutler can wait until next year. 9 games into the season making a switch could cause this team their shot at a Super Bowl run.

5) Ravens- They have total control over their division and now with Brian Billick calling the offense rather than Jim Fassel, this team looks great.

6) Patriots- Back-to-back loses? That hasn't happened to this team in over 50 weeks. They still lead their division but they better be careful, the Jets have an easy schedule so don't expect the Jets to just start losing, the Pats need to start winning.

7) Seahawks- Without their two main weapons they have looked great. Imagine when those two come back...

8) Giants- To many injuries for this team. They should win their division but they need to get healthy quick.

9) Saints- Drew Brees is having an amazing season. BehindPeyton and LT I would say he is the MVP.

10) Cowboys- There are many teams who could be here. The Cowboys have new life in Tony Romo, and T.O just finds the end-zone. Look for them to turn it on in the second-half of the season.

VINNY IS BACK! [David Stefanini]

I just heard that the New England Patriots have re-signed Vinny Testaverde. This was the last thing I expected to hear this week, or for the rest of my life. Obviously there is no controversy over who is the starting quarter back, but this does raise one question; is Brady healthy? His performance over the past two weeks has been anything but Brady-like. For more on this story click below:

Patriots sign 43-year-old Testaverde.

Problem With NBA Calling Technical Fouls [David Stefanini]

I have watched at least one NBA game every night since the beginning of the season. The games are being played with much more disciplined, and overall I would say the level of competition has is up since last season. My only problem has been the way the officials are calling technical fouls to quickly.

I understand the NBA wishes to cut down on it's 'Bad Boy' image; however they are taking it to far. This new rule is taking the emotion out of the game. As a fan, I like to see players such as LeBron, McGrady, and other all-star players get into the game emotionally. When a player is called for a foul, or any call he thinks is not correct it is human nature to be upset at the call. When a player throws his arms up and says, "that's a bad call 'ref'", the officials are calling it a technical foul this season. I think this is bad for the game. We can't ask the players of the NBA to not react to a call and act like robots. Simply put, it is taking a good aspect of the game, out of the game.

Your Daily Fix 11.14.06 [J. Mark English]

  • Mets say good bye to Manny Acta, and he says hello to the Washington Nationals, as he will be their new skipper. (I wonder how much his living in the same buidling that Cory Lidle's plane crashed into went into his wanting to get out of NYC.)
  • Brandon Webb of the Arizona Diamondbacks edges out Hoffman for the NL Cy Young Award.
  • The Diamonbacks may not be the only MLB team in Arizona if the reports are true that the Los Angeles Dodgers may cross over the boarder, and say so long to Dodgertown.
  • The Oakland A's are looking to move to Fremont, and Cisco will be help cover the bills.
  • The Mets re-signs El Duque.
  • Bobby Knight: "I'm sure there were some cases where I have been wrong but [Monday night] wasn't one of them," Knight said Tuesday. "I was trying to help a kid and I think I did." - - As long as the school's team is doing well, nothing should come of this...Why get rid of the guy who is the only reason why your school's team is doing well.
  • Bowden resigned from FSU. Nope, not Bobby Bowden, but his son (how many does he have?) Jeff Bowden.
  • The Miami Hurricanes, and family say a tearful goodbye to the slain Bryan Pata.
  • The Redskins have finally abandoned Brunell, in will start Campbell in his place.
  • Steelers' Polamalu may play despite suffering from a sixth concussion. You'd think the hair would protect his head...
  • Don't look now, but could the New York Jets be post season bound?
  • Buffalo Sabres are a perfect 10-0 on the road this season.
  • Greg Norman says that the Australian Open could be his last.
  • Finally, ever hear of "Duck on a Rock"? This could be the childhood version of basketball: Such are the revelations contained in a newly unearthed trove of personal documents, photographs and mementos from basketball's founder, James Naismith.

Videos: The Simpsons & Sports [J. Mark English]

In honor of the new trailer for The Simpsons Movie finally being shown last night, I've pulled together some videos of the Simpsons world and sports. Enjoy!

Photos: Mets Break Ground for Citi Field [J. Mark English]

Monday, November 13, 2006

Phillip "Should Have Been Drafted First" Rivers: [David Stefanini]

What can you say about Phillip Rivers? Well I can start by saying he is a very good quarterback. If you don't count Tony Romo, Phillip Rivers is one of two QB's with a passer rating above 100; the other? It's some guy named Peyton. Rivers ranks 9th in total passing yards, and 8th in touchdowns. Take into account he has only thrown 3 INT's all year and you have the making of the next big thing.
Phillip Rivers is making the Chargers' fans forget about the Eli Manning situation. For them it may have been a blessing in disguise. We are not one or two games into the season where you can say, "oh he can't keep up this pace." We are more than half-way through and he is progressing with every passing game.
Phillip Rivers also may look this good because he has the best running back in the league since Barry Sanders (yes I said it): LaDainian Tomlinson. Tomlinson lets Rivers throw when he knows his WR's are in single coverage. This always seems to help a QB out.
Still, Rivers will have to show he can do it on the big stage when he gets into the playoffs. Stars are born during the regular season. But legends are born in the playoffs.

Eli "Inconsistent" Manning: [David Stefanini]

Last night against the Bears, Eli Manning looked... well... like Eli Manning. Throughout his career he has had some games where he completes a lot of passes for a lot of yards. Coming into this week he was in the Top 10 in passer rating, but there is a catch. If you watch Eli throw the ball, he leaves his WR's out to dry. They are forced to make very good catches and are therefore forced to give up their bodies. This season it has caught up with them: Plaxico Burress has had an injured back and Amani Toomer is out for the season. The next time the Giants play a game, watch where Eli's passes end up. I am willing to say 8 out of 10 times, his pass is not on the mark. Now, I am not saying these passes are going to get picked off, because if Burress doesn't go up and get it, chances are a CB can't either. However I am saying that Eli is nowhere near the fantastic quarterback that people make him out to be. Sometimes a WR can make a QB look good. Eli should be counting his lucky stars he has great talent around him.

Pick the NFL Winners - Week 10 Results

The early results are in, and they are decisive (especially because tonight's game is irrelevant, since we all picked Carolina). Mark English romped!

J. Mark English - 13
EdMcGon - 7
David Stefanini - 7

Even though Mark's Giants got chewed up by "Da Bears", Mark can take consolation that he at least picked that game correctly, along with a whole lot more.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The BCS Top Ten Weekend Massacre [J. Mark English]

Forgive me Warner Wolf, but I am going to abuse your signature line:
  • If you had the 4th ranked 9-1 Texas Long Horns over the Kansas State lost!
  • If you had the 5th ranked 9-1 Auburn Tigers over the Georgia lost!
  • If you had the 8th ranked 8-1 California Golden Bears over the Arizona lost!
This was a glorious weekend for Rutgers University, who got all the help they could get yesterday. Next week #1 Ohio State vs. #2 Michigan. Does it get any better than that?