Friday, December 28, 2007

Which teams were this year's biggest surprises?

Cleaning my desk yesterday, I came across a piece of paper where I had written the over/under for wins for every NFL team, as mentioned on The Dan Patrick Show in the preseason. Here's how they match up after 16 weeks of football.

Team o/u for wins actual wins difference
Dallas Cowboys 9 13 4
Philadelphia Eagles 9 7 -2
New York Giants 8 10 2
Washington Redskins 7.5 8 0.5

Chicago Bears 10 6 -4
Green Bay Packers 7.5 12 4.5
Minnesota Vikings 6.5 8 1.5
Detroit Lions 6 7 1

Carolina Panthers 9 6 -3
New Orleans Saints 9 7 -2
Atlanta Falcons 7.5 3 -4.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7 9 2

Seattle Seahawks 9 10 1
San Francisco 49ers 7.5 5 -2.5
St. Louis Rams 7.5 3 -4.5
Arizona Cardinals 7 7 0

New England Patriots 11.5 15 3.5
New York Jets 8 3 -5
Miami Dolphins 7 1 -6
Buffalo Bills 6 7 1

Baltimore Ravens 9 4 -5
Cincinnati Bengals 9 6 -3
Pittsburgh Steelers 9 10 1
Cleveland Browns 5.5 9 3.5

Indianapolis Colts 10.5 13 2.5
Jacksonville Jaguars 9 11 2
Tennessee Titans 7 9 2
Houston Texans 6.5 7 0.5

San Diego Chargers 10.5 10 -0.5
Denver Broncos 9.5 6 -3.5
Kansas City Chiefs 7.5 4 -3.5
Oakland Raiders 5 4 -1

Granted, the season isn't over yet, but the Packers and Dolphins have clinched at least a tie for the most pleasantly surprising and disappointing teams, respectively.

Collins should start until the Skins lose

Jason Whitlock made a tremendous point about the quarterback situation in Washington. With Al Saunders as offensive coordinator, in 1997 the Chiefs were 6-2 when Elvis Grbac got hurt in week 10. Rich Gannon came in, went 5 for 5 to beat the Steelers, lost his next start, then won the next five. The Chiefs started Grbac in the last game of the season, then lost 14-10 to Denver in their first playoff game after going 13-3. Gannon played one more season in Kansas City before signing with Oakland, making them a legitimate Super Bowl contender for the only time in the last 15 season. The moral is you want continuity going into the playoffs, and you frequently see NFL quarterbacks turning their career around after the age of 30.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Time to flush the turd

The NHL can't catch a break. Every story with any staying power about the NHL is negative, such as the gambling ring involving Rick Tocchet and Wayne Gretzky's wife, or the various acts of violence that draw suspensions of 20 games or more. Raging alcoholic and power forward Chris Simon has Beamoned his own record of longest suspension (25 games) with a 30 game suspension for trying to slice Jarkko Ruutu's Achilles with his skate. I don't care how silly that guy's name looks in print, trying to cut him with a blade is absolutely the cheapest shot I've ever seen in my 20 years of following hockey (and I've seen many), and Chris Simon should immediately be banned by the NHL.

Thirty games? Who gives a shit? That's the equivalent of six games in the NFL. That's a steroid suspension and a half. I'm glad that American sports have cracked down on performance enhancers, but going after someone on the ice with a deadly weapon is far more damaging to the sport. If the NHL gave him a lifetime suspension it would be at least somewhat positive press, because they would be showing some backbone. It's like politics - no one has ever lost votes for being too tough on crime. Last year Albert Haynesworth dragged his cleat over the exposed face of Andre Gurode, earning a five game suspension. Granted, this was a more lenient penalty that what Simon received, but it was a less egregious crime. There's attempting to hurt and then there's attempting to disable.

Want to know why Parcells took the Miami job?

The Dolphins and Falcons have similar teams. Ronnie Brown, Jason Taylor, and Zach Thomas equate to Roddy White, John Abraham, and Keith Brooking. Miami will be picking a little higher in the draft, but with salary cap ramifications there's not much difference between picking 1st and 4th. But there's one staggering difference between the two teams' outlooks for next season:

Team Signed Players 2008 cap room
1. Tennessee 39 $40.85 million
2. San Diego 44 $33.03 million
3. Jacksonville 43 $32.69 million
4. Buffalo 49 $32.05 million
5. New Orleans 39 $31.69 million
6. Cincinnati 48 $31.45 million
7. San Francisco 48 $30.91 million
8. Cleveland 42 $30.31 million
9. Arizona 34 $30.27 million
10.N.Y. Jets 45 $27.72 million
11.Oakland 40 $25.98 million
12.Tampa Bay 48 $25.90 million
13.Miami 48 $25.56 million
14.N.Y. Giants 49 $24.47 million
15.Detroit 42 $23.50 million
16.Houston 43 $22.91 million
17.Dallas 40 $20.61 million
18.Kansas City 44 $20.27 million
19.Chicago 52 $19.80 million
20.Pittsburgh 43 $18.61 million
21.Green Bay 48 $18.37 million
22.Philadelphia 49 $17.17 million
23.Denver 49 $16.77 million
24.Minnesota 49 $14.88 million
25.New England 41 $10.93 million
26.St. Louis 45 $9.61 million
27.Seattle 44 $9.55 million
28.Indianapolis 48 $8.49 million
29.Carolina 35 $6.05 million
30.Atlanta 52 $5.79 million
31.Baltimore 42 $5.00 million
32.Washington 45 -$20.72 million

The Falcons have the third least cap room of any team for next season, the Dolphins have the 13th most. (Salary cap information from Peter King's 12/10 MMQB Column) Atlanta will get some cap relief from Michael Vick's contract, possibly an enormous amount of relief, but he knows he'll have $25 in cap room to sign free agents and draft picks in Miami.

Other conclusions to draw from teams' cap room situations: Albert Haynesworth will definitely be franchised and the Redskins roster could look a lot different next season.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Oh how I hate the Big 10

If you know me well, you know that I hate the Big 10 with a passion. Especially Big 10 football. No one in the conference ever plays anyone of significance out of conference, and when they do it's generally at home. In both sports they have some of the greatest regular season upsets of all time: North Dakota State over Wisconsin in basketball, Appalachian State over Michigan at the big house in football. But this latest flap is absolutely the worst thing since Woody Hayes punched a player Bobby Knight choked a player Michigan had to vacate their back to back finals appearances with the Fab Five Maurice Clarett filed a false police report. Big 10 referee Stephen Pamon, who was the side judge for the biggest game of the year, Illinois at Ohio State, filed for bankruptcy in 2002 after piling up $492,407 in debt, much of which was owed to casinos. The rest of his rapsheet:
These facts came to light after Purdue coach Joe Tiller complained about some calls from Pamon's crew during a November 3 game at Penn State. The Big 10 suspended the crew for the last week of the regular season, but they still refereed Ohio State's only loss, along with the biggest reason Illinois is in a BCS Bowl.

I can walk into any major chain electronics store in the United States right now and find at least 10 guys who can referee a football game. How can they not be a little more choosy in the Big 10? It absurdly easy to check if someone has filed for bankruptcy; it would seem to me that not owing six figures to casinos would be a desirable quality for someone who can easily determine the outcome of a game.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Dead Ringer

Watch this now!

The opening scene of The Dark Knight is still up at Gizmodo.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The list is life

It's been flying around the internet today, here it is, the infamous list of performance enhancement users from the Mitchell Report. Props to Deadspin.

Lenny Dykstra
David Segui
Larry Bigbie
Brian Roberts
Jack Cust
Tim Laker
Josias Manzanillo
Todd Hundley
Mark Carreon
Hal Morris
Matt Franco
Rondell White
Roger Clemens
Andy Pettitte
Chuck Knoblauch
Jason Grimsley
Gregg Zaun
David Justice
F.P. Santangelo
Glenallen Hill
Mo Vaughn
Denny Neagle
Ron Villone
Ryan Franklin
Chris Donnels
Todd Williams
Phil Hiatt
Todd Pratt
Kevin Young
Mike Lansing
Cody McKay
Kent Mercker
Adam Piatt
Miguel Tejada
Jason Christiansen
Mike Stanton
Stephen Randolph
Jerry Hairston
Paul Lo Duca
Adam Riggs
Bart Miadich
Fernando Vina
Kevin Brown
Eric Gagne
Mike Bell
Matt Herges
Gary Bennett, Jr.
Jim Parque
Brendan Donnelly
Chad Allen
Jeff Williams
Howie Clark
Nook Logan

And here are the performance enhancement buyers
Rick Ankiel
Paul Byrd
Jay Gibbons
Troy Glaus
Jose Guillen
Jerry Hairston, Jr.
Gary Matthews, Jr.
Scott Schoeneweis
David Bell
Jose Canseco
Jason Grimsley
Darren Holmes
John Rocker
Ismael Valdez
Matt Williams
Steve Woodard

I had planned on bolding the names that surprised me, but there aren't any. Editions of the list that was floating around earlier in the day had some names that surprised me: Wally Joyner, Kerry Wood, and Mike Cameron.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My favorite clip ever


Seventeen months ago tomorrow, Bobby Petrino signed a 10 year, $25.5 million deal to stay at Louisville. The university thought they could move past Petrino's constant flirtations with other jobs, but within six months he signed a five year deal to coach Michael Vick and the Atlanta Falcons. Since then canine corpses were found on Vick's property, Atlanta reached on DE Jamaal Anderson (sackless on the year) 7th overall, signed Byron Leftwich two weeks into the season, and the Falcons have sputtered to a 3-10 record. So yesterday, 24 hours after dropping to 0-3 in primetime, losing by an average of 20 points, Petrino signed his third contract in 18 months, a five year deal to coach Arkansas.

Peter King had an excellent piece this week on why teams shouldn't go after high priced coaches, college or otherwise. I've always been a proponent of choosing an up and coming assistant over a Bill Cowher/Marty Schottenheimer/Bill Parcells, or Steve Spurrier/Bobby Petrino/Nick Saban. The cream of the crop this year is Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. Their schemes are both varied and attacking, and will both jump into a job full bore, as opposed to a retired or college guy who have to be convinced to go to the pros.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The 25 Greatest Players in College Football

ESPN has been counting down their top 25 college football players (presented by IBM) all year, and now although ESPN hasn't officially revealed the top two, I've been able to find the results.

1 Red Grange
2 Barry Sanders
3 Hershel Walker
4 Doak Walker
5 Sammy Baugh
6 Jim Thorpe
7 Tony Dorsett
8 Bo Jackson
9 Roger Staubach
10 Vince Young
11 Charles Woodson
12 Earl Campbell
13 Glenn Davis
14 Hugh Green
15 John Elway
16 Tom Harmon
17 Bronco Nagurski
18 Jim Brown
19 Dick Butkus
20 Charley Trippi
21 Archie Griffin
22 George Gipp
23 Johnny Rodgers
24 Reggie Bush
25 Ernie Nevers

This is a tough list to put together. In Heisman voting, you're comparing players across conferences, because no two teams play the same schedule, or even close to it. But you're also comparing players across eras, with different emphasis on the running or passing games, preparing for the NFL, or even (gasp!) education. At first blush, I'm most surprised about the omissions of, in order, Matt Leinart (finished 6th, 1st, and 3rd in Heisman voting in three seasons, 37-2 as starter), Ricky Williams (left Texas as all time D 1-A leader in rushing yards and TDs), and Marcus Allen (first college player over 2,000 yards rushing in season, with 2,342 in 1981). Less surprising is O.J. Simpson being left off the list, although he still holds the record for largest margin of victory in Heisman voting.

When ranking these guys, it seems like people were penalized for staying four years. Vince Young has one National Championship and zero Heismans in two seasons (although he may end up taking Reggie Bush's), and Leinart has one championship and one Heisman in three seasons. Young is 10th and Leinart is unranked. Barry Sanders was phenomenal, but he really only started for one season while Herschel Walker started for three, finishing in the top 3 in Heisman voting each season. Yet Sanders is ahead of Walker.

Man on Fire

Houston is just going to miss the playoffs this year, but they've got to be feeling positive about their young talent, having hit on Andre Johnson, Amobi Okoye, and, yes, Mario Williams. The much maligned former number one pick is now tied for 10th in the NFL in sacks with 9.5, 5.5 of which have come in his last four games.

Back in April I said if the 2006 NFL Draft were redone, Vince Young and Marcus McNeil would be the top two picks. McNeil's play has slipped this year, and Haloti Ngata is playing like an All Pro, so I'd say the top two picks would be Young and Ngata if the draft were redone right now. But I'd lean toward Mario Williams with the third pick ahead of Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and even teammate DeMeco Ryans.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Week 13 Power Rankings

At the top and the bottom there's not a lot of movement this week, but in the middle there's chaos! The Vikings move up 6 spots on the strength of their 3 wins in a row, vaulting ahead of the sliding Lions, who dropped 4 spots, same as the Texans.

1. New England Patriots (12-0) (Last week: 1) AFC East
2. Dallas Cowboys (11-1) (2) NFC East
3. Indianapolis Colts (10-2) (3) AFC South
4. Green Bay Packers (10-2) (4) NFC North
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3) (5) AFC North
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4) (6) AFC South
7. Seattle Seahawks (8-4) (8) NFC West
8. Cleveland Browns (7-5) (7) AFC North
9. San Diego Chargers (7-5) (10) AFC West
10. New York Giants (8-4) (9) NFC East
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-4) (11) NFC South
12. Tennessee Titans (7-5) (15) AFC South
13. Minnesota Vikings (6-6) (19) NFC North
14. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7) (12) NFC East
15. Buffalo Bills (6-6) (16) AFC East
16. Arizona Cardinals (6-6) (21) NFC West
17. Detroit Lions (6-6) (13) NFC North
18. Houston Texans (5-7) (14) AFC South
19. New Orleans Saints (5-7) (18) NFC South
20. Baltimore Ravens (4-8) (24) AFC North
21. Denver Broncos (5-7) (17) AFC West
22. Chicago Bears (5-7) (20) NFC North
23. Washington Redskins (5-7) (23) NFC East
24. Carolina Panthers (5-7) (26) NFC South
25. Oakland Raiders (4-8) (27) AFC West
26. Cincinnati Bengals (4-8) (22) AFC North
27. Kansas City Chiefs (4-8) (25) AFC West
28. St. Louis Rams (3-9) (30) NFC West
29. Atlanta Falcons (3-8) (28) NFC South
30. New York Jets (3-9) (31) AFC East
31. San Francisco 49ers (3-9) (29) NFC West
32. Miami Dolphins (0-12) (32) AFC East

Division Power Rankings (by sum of team rankings)
AFC South - 40 (+2 from last week)
NFC East - 49 (+3)
NFC North - 56 (no change)
AFC North - 59 (+1)
AFC East - 78 (-2)
AFC West - 82 (+3)
NFC West - 82 (-6)
NFC South - 82 (-1)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I got sued 5 times and it was niiiiiiiice

This guy, made into a star by Borat, is suing Sacha Baron Cohen for $400,000 for being duped. It's at least the fifth lawsuit emanating from the movie, which is maybe the best comedy of the last decade. Of all the people in the movie to sue S.B.C., I thought this guy was the least likely. Maybe the couple at the bed & breakfast. He came across as a decent guy; he had some genuinely funny lines. But this should erase any doubt that every encounter Borat was legit.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Supposedly, Al Saunders calls the plays for the Redskins. Historically, Joe Gibbs has stayed away from the defense. Joe Gibbs' record on replay challenges and managing timeouts is atrocious. Gibbs reportedly ignored and had fired the replay official the Redskins hired during his first year back. But this latest gaffe is inexcusable. How the hell does a Hall of Fame coach not know simple NFL rules, when it seems like managing timeouts is his largest responsibility?

Many would cite the enormous distraction of Sean Taylor's passing as an excuse for Gibbs' confusion. I accept that the Redskins preparation for the game was affected, but I don't see how that forgives any bad in-game decisions. Calling timeouts on top of timeouts, challenging spots and other bad challenges, and calling the same play two or three times in a row from inside the opponents' five are the hallmarks or Gibbs second tour of duty with Washington.

It's time for Gregg Williams to steer this ship next year. Gibbs being in the dark about the Skins starting 10 on defense is a pretty good indicator that it will and should happen. Gibbs is either out of touch with the team or Williams is maneuvering to get the job. And Williams clearly earned a lot of points with the team for the move. The Redskins could compete next year with a decent draft and a change at the top. They've had to endure an unthinkable tragedy involving their best player and the hardest schedule in the NFL this year. Next year has to be better than this.

The Dark Knight will be awesome

A New York audience was treated to a preview of the most anticipated movie in the history of me, The Dark Knight. If you want to read an encapsulation, click here. I tried not to, to wait until I see the movie or at least the footage, but I'm just a man. It really sounds like Christopher Nolan walks the line of violence and humor that defines the Joker.


The Ravens stopped the Patriots last night 3 times on 4th down on the game winning drive, and none counted. The first time, on a 4th and 1, Tom Brady was stuffed in the backfield on a quarterback keeper. But the referees allowed defensive coordinator Rex Ryan to signal timeout, even though the only person on the sidelines allowed to call a timeout is the head coach. Then the Ravens stuffed fullback Heath Evans on a fullback dive, but the Patriots were whistled for a false start. Finally, Brady through an incomplete pass on 4th and 5. But the Jermaine Winbourne was whistled for defensive holding on the tight end, a ticky tack foul that occurred within five yards of the line of scrimmage. On the one 4th down the Patriots did convert, after the false start, Samari Rolle was called for illegal contact, even though from my angle it looked like Randy Moss tackled Rolle in front of the ref. This likely led to one of the incidents of the head linesman calling Rolle "boy."

On the bright side for Baltimore, in a game that featured three sure fire Hall of Famers (Tom Brady, Ray Lewis, Jon Ogden), Haloti Ngata was the best player on the field. The Patriots averaged 4.4 yards a play when Ngata was in the game, 6.2 yards when he wasn't, a staggering difference. Ngata is 9th in the NFL in tackles among defensive lineman, ridiculous for a 340 pounder whose primary responsibility is to occupy blockers. He looks like a great choice for my 25 or Under team, and deserves a spot in the Pro Bowl this year.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Week 12 Power Rankings

It was tough to do the ratings this week, but it's been tough to write about all things football since Sean Taylor's murder. Dallas finally moved into the 2 spot after win more impressive than the final score. Three teams moved dramatically this week in some nutty results: the Eagles moved up 8 spots in an impressive loss to the Patriots, the Vikings moved up 6 spots in an impressive win against the Giants, and the Chiefs dropped 7 spots in essentially a season ending loss to the Raiders.

1. New England Patriots (11-0) (Last week: 1) AFC East
2. Dallas Cowboys (11-1) (3) NFC East
3. Indianapolis Colts (9-2) (2) AFC South
4. Green Bay Packers (10-2) (4) NFC North
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) (5) AFC North
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-3) (6) AFC South
7. Cleveland Browns (7-4) (8) AFC North
8. Seattle Seahawks (7-4) (11) NFC West
9. New York Giants (7-4) (7) NFC East
10. San Diego Chargers (6-5) (13) AFC West
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4) (12) NFC South
12. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) (20) NFC East
13. Detroit Lions (6-5) (10) NFC North
14. Houston Texans (5-6) (15) AFC South
15. Tennessee Titans (6-5) (9) AFC South
16. Buffalo Bills (5-6) (16) AFC East
17. Denver Broncos (5-6) (14) AFC West
18. New Orleans Saints (5-6) (21) NFC South
19. Minnesota Vikings (5-6) (25) NFC North
20. Chicago Bears (5-6) (23) NFC North
21. Arizona Cardinals (5-6) (17) NFC West
22. Cincinnati Bengals (4-7) (26) AFC North
23. Washington Redskins (5-6) (19) NFC East
24. Baltimore Ravens (4-7) (22) AFC North
25. Kansas City Chiefs (4-7) (18) AFC West
26. Carolina Panthers (4-7) (24) NFC South
27. Oakland Raiders (3-8) (28) AFC West
28. Atlanta Falcons (3-8) (27) NFC South
29. San Francisco 49ers (3-8) (31) NFC West
30. St. Louis Rams (2-9) (29) NFC West
31. New York Jets (2-9) (30) AFC East
32. Miami Dolphins (0-11) (32) AFC East

Division Power Rankings (by sum of team rankings)
AFC South - 38 (+6 from last week)
NFC East - 46 (-3)
NFC North - 56 (-6)
AFC North - 58 (-3)
AFC West - 79 (+6)
AFC East - 80 (+1)
NFC South - 83 (-1)
NFC West - 88 (no change)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"Taylor clinging to life, now to Sal Paolantonio for more on the Heinz turf"

ESPN spent the ten or so hours after news broke of Sean Taylor's shooting feverishly promoting their turd of a Monday Night Football game - an unwatchable 3-0 Steelers victory. Profootballtalk notes that as much time was spent discussing the state of the Heinz Field turf as perhaps the shooting of a Pro Bowl player. Leonard Shapiro estimates that 45 seconds per half hour were devoted to Taylor on ESPNews.

It was already at the point where Pardon the Interruption was the only show I could watch on ESPN. Now that Tony Kornheiser is paid to promote the NFL and Michael Wilbon is paid to promote the NBA, PTI has lost all objectivity. All Wilbon does now is bash blogs for speculating and then speculates. Kornheiser seems intent on promoting this dirty old man image.

One of the most researched things in the history of sports

Sean Taylor, dead at 24, will be remembered as one of the fiercest hitters the NFL has ever seen. Coming out of Miami, he was maybe the greatest position prospect I've ever seen. Showing elite recognition in the passing game and a rare ability to deliver the open field kill shot, it was like he was a combination of Ed Reed and LaRon Landry, other elite safety prospects.

Mel Kiper's scouting report, rating Taylor as the #2 prospect behind Larry Fitzgerald, dated January 28, 2004.
2. Sean Taylor (jr.), S, Miami-Florida (6-2¼, 225) | previous ranking: 6 Taylor is to the safety spot at Miami what Ray Lewis was to the middle linebacker position. He follows in the footsteps of former Miami safeties Bennie Blades, Darryl Williams and Ed Reed (all were first-round picks). I expect Taylor to be even better. In fact, he could be the best safety in the NFL early in his career. Taylor is the prototypical Pro Bowl safety: tremendous speed, a nose for the ball, aggressive, a great tackler and terrific in coverage (team-leading nine interceptions). He has such tremendous instincts and awareness. Worthy of being a top-five pick.

Taylor held Fitzgerald to 3 catches for 27 yards in a 2003 matchup and led the country with 10 picks as a junior.

Joe Gibbs called the Redskins decision to draft Sean Taylor over Kellen Winslow, Jr. and Ben Roethlisberger "one of the most researched things in the history of sports." This was in response to what was previously his most serious of a myriad of off the field issues - his armed assault charge for pointing a handgun at someone he suspected of stealing two all terrain vehicles in June 2005. The charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement in June 2006, and Taylor went on to make his first Pro Bowl as an alternate, where he memorably annihilated Bills punter Brian Moorman on a fake punt. Taylor was playing like an All Pro in 2007, leading the league in interceptions before missing the last two games with a knee injury.

Monday, November 26, 2007

15 yards, the old school way

ACC referee Ron Cherry is old school.


My sources tell me that it's pretty bleak for Sean Taylor. What I've been told is that in the second attempt to mend his femoral artery, he needed 50 units of blood when 6 or 7 are typical. Doctors don't expect him to make it through.

It's been reported that there have been multiple robberies or attempted robberies at Taylor's house, 18050 Old Cutler Road, Palmetto Bay, Florida, in the past few weeks. I'm hearing twice in the last eight days, with a knife being left on Taylor's pillow in one of those incidents. Taylor apparently was brandishing a machete when he was shot in the groin and or leg; he cannot own a firearm due to the ATV incident from a few years ago.

It's possible this was just a random act of violence, but the fact is if you asked 1000 NFL fans which Redskins player was most likely to be shot, at least 950 are going to say Sean Taylor. Somewhat ironic is the fact that the Redskins' other starting safety, LaRon Landry, was shot in the groin by a paintball gun in a training camp team activity.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Week 11 Power Rankings

The power rankings are starting to stabilize. Besides the manic Chargers, who tie the Bills for the biggest move of the week dropping 4 spots, most teams are able to maintain a consistent level of play. The Ravens and Redskins both played some of their best ball of the season in losses. The Giants had the biggest leap, moving up 3 spots.

1. New England Patriots (10-0) (Last week: 1) AFC East
2. Indianapolis Colts (8-2) (2) AFC South
3. Dallas Cowboys (9-1) (3) NFC East
4. Green Bay Packers (9-1) (5) NFC North
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3) (4) AFC North
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3) (6) AFC South
7. New York Giants (7-3) (10) NFC East
8. Cleveland Browns (6-4) (8) AFC North
9. Tennessee Titans (6-4) (7) AFC South
10. Detroit Lions (6-4) (13) NFC North
11. Seattle Seahawks (6-4) (11) NFC West
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4) (14) NFC South
13. San Diego Chargers (5-5) (9) AFC West
14. Denver Broncos (5-5) (16) AFC West
15. Houston Texans (5-5) (15) AFC South
16. Buffalo Bills (5-5) (12) AFC East
17. Arizona Cardinals (5-5) (19) NFC West
18. Kansas City Chiefs (4-6) (20) AFC West
19. Washington Redskins (5-5) (17) NFC East
20. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) (21) NFC East
21. New Orleans Saints (4-6) (18) NFC South
22. Baltimore Ravens (4-6) (22) AFC North
23. Chicago Bears (4-6) (24) NFC North
24. Carolina Panthers (4-6) (23) NFC South
25. Minnesota Vikings (4-6) (27) NFC North
26. Cincinnati Bengals (3-7) (25) AFC North
27. Atlanta Falcons (3-7) (26) NFC South
28. Oakland Raiders (2-8) (28) AFC West
29. St. Louis Rams (2-8) (31) NFC West
30. New York Jets (2-8) (29) AFC East
31. San Francisco 49ers (2-8) (30) NFC West
32. Miami Dolphins (0-10) (32) AFC East

Division Power Rankings (by sum of team rankings)
AFC South - 32 (+2 from last week)
NFC East - 49 (-2)
AFC North - 61 (+2)
NFC North - 62 (-7)
AFC West - 73 (no change)
AFC East - 79 (+5)
NFC South - 84 (+3)
NFC West - 88 (-3)

Gil's Island

This went up on Fanhouse this morning, and it's maybe the most bizarre two minutes or anything ever brought to film. There's three more at Wizznuttz and

Sunday Bloody Sunday Night Football

In NBC's handpicked Sunday Night Game this week, the Patriots are a shocking 23 1/2 point favorite over the McNabb-less Eagles, the largest in the NFL since 1976 and the largest in the history of the NFL in a game not involving an expansion team. New England is 9-1 against the spread this year, barely failing to cover a 5 1/2 point spread against the Colts. The fact that the Patriots run up the score is the reason for the huge number.

"Nowadays, you don't see too many spreads over 16 or 17 points," said Sean Van Patten, an oddsmaker at Sports Consultants in Las Vegas. "That's because most teams take their starters out in the fourth quarter of a lopsided game. The Patriots don't. I call this phenomenon The [Bill] Belichick Factor."

The Eagles are 5-5 and have won 3 out of 4. Bill Belichick probably doesn't hate them and might respect Andy Reid, but you never know. Imagine when the Patriots play the 2-8 Jets, who touched off this scorched earth offense with Spygate, at home. A 40 point spread is absolutely unheard of in the NFL, but it's not out of the question. Or the 0-10 Dolphins, whose ex-players and coaches have been making their typical inane comments about how great they were?

I just can't believe that NBC is choosing to air these mismatches. They've got to be losing at least 80% of their audience at halftime, at least based on the people I've talked to, and they're people who don't tend to give up on an NFL game. If you look at Sunday's slate, the three games featuring two playoff contenders are Buffalo at Jacksonville (-7.5), Houston at Cleveland (-3.5), and Washington at Tampa Bay (-3). Philadelphia at New England also is a matchup between playoff contenders, but it's obviously more of a mismatch. The problem is the the NFL has become a purely quarterback driven league, and the only games that get any play are the ones with marquee quarterbacks. So this is what we get in primetime.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My how you've grown!

This was brought to my attention by Washington Post Live, a pretty decent sports show I might have to start watching. Hardly looks like the same guy.

Monday, November 19, 2007

You wouldn't like me when I'm angry

These startling before and after steroid suspension pictures of Shawne Merriman were just posted on Profootballtalk. The above picture was taken May 5, 2005; the bottom May 30, 2007. In 2005 and 2006 Merriman had 27 sacks in 27 games; in 2007 he has 5.5 sacks in 10 games.

Now sacks are a somewhat flukish statistic - a player's sack total can suffer even if he's still playing at the same level. But after watching the Chargers this year it's obvious Merriman isn't the same disruptive force he was the last two seasons. It's also obvious his neck is half as big.

The Evil Empire of the NFL

The Patriots were at it again yesterday, going for it on fourth down yesterday in the second half twice, once up 35-7 and once up 42-10. The Bills have only scored more than 24 points in a game once this year, and that was against the Bengals and their 30th ranked defense. And of course they've had a player nearly paralyzed and put eight guys on injured reserve this season.

Brady came out in the fourth quarter up 56-10, from which point the Patriots passed three times and ran seven times. And then starter Adalius Thomas, playing on the punt coverage team with 3:56 remaining, was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness. At this point if you're not rooting for Tom Brady to blow out his ACL tripping over a supermodel then you don't believe in karma.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Bonds conspiracy theory

Greg Anderson was released from prison yesterday, where he's spent the majority of the last 2 years. He was first sent to prison for refusing to testify against Barry Bonds way back on July 5, 2006. The only plausible explanation for Anderson staying in jail when all he had to do was say what everyone knew - that Bonds willingly and knowingly took performance enhancing drugs - is that Bonds was paying him a good deal of money.

The only alternatives is that he did it out the kindness of his heart or that Bonds was threatening to do something he found more repugnant than jail. Now I've got some good friends, but I don't know if I would spend more than an hour in jail for any of them. And Bonds is a bad guy, but I doubt he was going to kill Anderson's mother is he ratted him out. It's pretty safe to assume that he was paid off, especially in light of the fact that Bonds was indicted on obstruction charges. If you connect the dots it's pretty clear he got to Anderson.

Now Bonds signed a one year, $15.8 million deal in February, which there's no way he could have gotten after being indicted, so it would worth giving Anderson as much as low eight figures for his silence. To say nothing of the fact that Bonds broke the career home run record, maybe the most hallowed record in sports, in the time that Anderson was in jail. Which begs the question - did Bonds pay off Anderson specifically to put off the indictment until after he broke the career home run record?

Is this really so far fetched? You'd have to figure if the grand jury could have indicted before he broke the record, they would have. So it's likely some new piece of evidence became available, and it's likely that evidence is the testimony of Anderson. So what recent event could have set off this change of heart by Anderson? How about the completion of the 2007 Major League Baseball season two weeks ago? We'll see how this plays out, but don't be surprised if this further devalues the already cheapened mark of 762 home runs.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My top 10 comic book movies

I've been working on this for a while, trying to come up with criteria. If I count Sin City, then I have to count Road to Perdition, but do I have to count Oldboy, which is based on a manga? And if I count mangas, then do I have to count animes? So I decided to count movies based on graphic novels, but not mangas. I'm a big fan of comic book movies and incredibly qualified to put this list together. Just missing the cut was History of Violence, Ghost World, TMNT (2007), and Batman (1991).

1. Sin City (2005). 8.4 on imdb, 77% on Rotten Tomatoes. Featuring an all star cast, this masterpiece stayed incredibly faithful to Frank Miller's graphic novels.

2. Batman Begins (2005). 8.3 on imdb, 84% on RT. Nominated for an Oscar for Cinematography, this grounded in reality loose adaptation of Frank Miller's Batman: Year One has set the tone for a new generation of superhero films.

3. X2: X-Men United (2003). 7.9 on imdb, 87% on RT. Closely based on the transcendent X-Men graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills this sequel featured fantastic action sequences and a relatively coherent story arc, even if the ending feels unnecessary.

4. Road to Perdition (2002). 7.7 on imdb, 82% on RT. Won an Oscar for Cinematography and receiving five other nominations, Sam Mendes's follow up to Best Picture American Beauty features fantastic performances by Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, and Jude Law. Based on a series of graphic novels.

5. Spider-Man 2 (2004). 7.8 on imdb, 93% on RT. The reverse Empire Strikes Back of the Spider-man franchise, because part 1 ends on a downer and part 2 ends on a happy note. Didn't falling into the trap of every other superhero franchise which brings in multiple villians for the sequel (see Superman II, Batman Returns, X2, The Dark Knight, TMNT 2, ...).

6. American Splendor (2003). 7.7 on imdb, 94% on RT. This beats out Ghost World for the most unconventional comic book movie, but the Harvey Pekar biopic starring Paul Giamatti is a great watch.

7. 300 (2006). 8.0 on imdb, 60% on RT. The third movie on this list based on a Frank Miller graphic novel, the mechanisms on the home front were added so this wasn't 117 minutes of gore, but I would have preferred it that way.

8. V for Vendetta (2005). 8.2 on imdb, 72% on RT. The third movie based on the work of Alan Moore (From Hell, LXG) and the first one that is good, this Orwellian look at a future UK is an underrated adaptation.

9. Spider-man (2002). 7.4 on imdb, 90% on RT. This origin movie hit all the right notes. Many scenes feature shots incredibly similar to comic book panels in composition, making by far the best directed comic book movie at the time of it's release.

10. Superman: the Movie (1978). 7.3 on imdb, 93% on RT. There are so many points in this movie that get your blood pumping: the opening rift of John Williams' theme, when he bumps into the cat burgler, when he opens Lex's safe, when he throws the crystal. Christopher Reeve is one of the best casting choices ever, and Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando are as good as it gets as actors.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Best Emmitt quote yet

"The NFC West is probably one of the weakest conferences in the whole NFC." Wow. I refuse to believe that this gig is harder than it looks, and that Emmitt is just 16,000 rushing yards away from being retarded.

Funniest award show segment ever?

In honor of the Spider-man Ultimate Collection being released on DVD, here's a blast from the past.

Introducing, Lord and Lady Douche Bag

The Principality of Sealand is offering buy 1 get 1 free on Lord and Ladyships. It will run you £19.99 + £3.95 S/H, so about $50, but there is a 10% off coupon code wintershopcodes. Sealand is 550 square meters, basically just a platform built for World War II.

My dad loves to say "Lord and Lady Douche Bag" when he enters the room, so this might be the ideal Christmas gift for him. I don't know if my mom will acknowledge their sovereignty, though.

Suspended NFL players start getting real

Here's a funny Married... With Children parody involving Bengals receiver Chris Henry, Titans back Chris Henry, and Broncos back Travis Henry called Suspended... With Henrys!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Maybe this offseason they can pick up Bonds

Aubrey Huff gave the Orioles' PR staff heart attack while on Bubba the Love Sponge on Sirius Radio. He waxed poetic on his conquests ("I'd say between 2 and 300"), the lack of nightlife in Baltimore ("horsesh*t town"), how he spends mornings ("you wake up from a hangover about 1 o'clock"), and preparing for games ("All this studying? Honestly, you're gonna look at a piece of, a TV? And say this guy, this guy is going to throw me this way? No, he might throw you a different way! Who cares?").

Prior to the 2004 season the Orioles big signing was Rafael Palmeiro, who had his worst two seasons as a regular before wrecking the team by accusing Miguel Tejada of giving him steroids. In the 2004 offseason the Orioles traded for a washed up Sammy Sosa in an effort to add some buzz. Sosa had by far his worst season. Two years ago the Orioles big acquisition was Kris Benson. He had career lows or close to it in every category and had Tommy John surgery in the offseason. In that same offseason the Orioles big pickup was Huff, who set career lows in every category. Their other big signing was Denys Baez, who had career worst numbers and is already out for 2008. So the good news is the Orioles' streak of horrible personnel moves in intact.

Your BCS bowl is in another castle

Cal has lost four out of five, but the one win did have possibly the greatest halftime show of all time.

Week 10 Power Rankings

In last week's power rankings, one of my valued readers questioned my reasoning for putting the Seahawks ahead of the Saints. Bottom line - they have better players. Still, the Saints are still very much alive in the NFC South, but next week at Houston looks like a huge game for both teams. The Jaguars made the biggest move up, jumping 7 spots, and the Chiefs made the biggest move down, falling 10 spots.

1. New England Patriots (9-0) (Last week: 1) AFC East - 2 1/2 lead on the Colts with 7 to play, just give them homefield
2. Indianapolis Colts (7-2) (2) AFC South - should have beat Chargers, but injuries hay have caught up with them
3. Dallas Cowboys (8-1) (4) NFC East - did have a 2nd half lead against New England
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2) (3) AFC North - besides at New England, their 2nd half schedule is favorable
5. Green Bay Packers (8-1) (6) NFC North - Ryan Grant has run for 100+ in 2 out of 3, starting to become a complete team
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (6-3) (13) AFC South - take away loss to Colts and they've won 6 out of 7
7. Tennessee Titans (6-3) (5) AFC South - 3-2 in games decided by 4 points or less
8. Cleveland Browns (5-4) (8) AFC North - Thomas, Winslow, Edwards, and Cribbs are cinch Pro Bowlers; they've had only 1 since 1999
9. San Diego Chargers (5-4) (12) AFC West - get blown out by Vikings one week, beat the Colts the next?
10. New York Giants (6-3) (10) NFC East - their most impressive win is at Washington, could be staring at another 2nd half slide
11. Seattle Seahawks (5-4) (11) NFC West - could easily run the table in the second half
12. Buffalo Bills (5-4) (15) AFC East - Dick Jauron, 2 time Coach of the Year?!?
13. Detroit Lions (6-3) (9) NFC North - they play Green Bay in 2 weeks in their biggest Thanksgiving day game ever
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) (17) NFC South - if they drafted Peterson they'd be the NFC favorite
15. Houston Texans (4-5) (18) AFC South - they're getting Andre Johnson back and could make a run
16. Denver Broncos (4-5) (21) AFC West - play 4 out of the next 6 on the road
17. Washington Redskins (5-4) (16) NFC East - still have to play Dallas twice and Giants in New York, probably not making playoffs
18. New Orleans Saints (4-5) (14) NFC South - Bush had no chance on 4th and 1, exactly why he can't be a #1 back
19. Arizona Cardinals (4-5) (24) NFC West - have lost 3 games in the last 30 seconds
20. Kansas City Chiefs (4-5) (10) AFC West - LJ injury was huge, could easily lose out
21. Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) (25) NFC East - they have 2 flukish losses, but 2 flukish wins as well
22. Baltimore Ravens (4-5) (19) AFC North - 0-4 against AFC North, 3-0 against NFC West
23. Carolina Panthers (4-5) (20) NFC South - are you surprised Testaverde turned into a pumpkin?
24. Chicago Bears (4-5) (27) NFC North - is Grossman the starter now? Who cares?
25. Cincinnati Bengals (3-6) (26) AFC North - 1-6 against teams not named the Ravens
26. Atlanta Falcons (3-6) (28) NFC South - 2-0 coming out of their bye
27. Minnesota Vikings (3-6) (23) NFC North - without Peterson this is generous
28. Oakland Raiders (2-7) (22) AFC West - JaMarcus Russell is too well paid to be 3rd string
29. New York Jets (1-8) (29) AFC East - time to see what they have in Clemens
30. San Francisco 49ers (2-7) (30) NFC West - time to cut the cord on Nolan and Alex Smith
31. St. Louis Rams (1-8) (32) NFC West - their schedule was too weak to go winless, will target Jake Long in draft
32. Miami Dolphins (0-9) (31) AFC East - at home against Buffalo coming off a bye was their best shot at a win

Division Power Rankings (by sum of team rankings)
AFC South - 30 (-8 from last week)
NFC East - 51 (-1)
AFC North - 59 (+3)
NFC North - 69 (+4)
AFC West - 73 (+8)
AFC East - 74 (-2)
NFC South - 81 (+2)
NFC West - 91 (-6)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Best. Booking error. Ever.

I saw this in Dave Barry's blog. For her son's 16th birthday, a British woman booked a guy in a gorilla suit to surprise her son in drama class.

"But - thanks to what has been put down as a booking error - a female stripper turned up in place of the gorilla-suited man the unnamed mother had apparently asked for.

The stripper, who arrived on cue halfway through the lesson, first walked the birthday boy around the classroom on all fours.

Then, gyrating to the sounds of Britney Spears, she spanked him before stripping down to her bra and knickers and insisting the "naughty" schoolboy rub cream all over her body."

That kind of reminds me of the time my parents meant to take me out to Cheesecake Factory for my birthday, but instead I accidentally spent $200 on lap dances and $9 Heinekens at Night Shift. Allegedly.

It's on like Donkey Kong's biannual 20% off sale began yesterday and goes on until the 25th. Deepdiscount offers free shipping, no minimum, and typically their prices are below Amazon, Circuit City, and Best Buy to start. Coupon codes for 20% include:


Each coupon can be used once per account, so theoretically you could place 15 separate orders. Please shop through my affiliate link, which I put all over this post along with in the left column under stores.

I ordered NFL America's Game Super Bowls I-XL for $62.96 - 40 discs of NFL films goodness spotlighting each each of the first 40 Super Bowl winners. I've only seen the episode with the 2001 New England Patriots and it was spectacular. The players and coaches were surprisingly candid, and if the Patriots weren't speaking in cliche I can only imagine what straight shooters like Buddy Ryan and Shannon Sharpe have to offer. There are also deals to be had on Ratatouille ($13.50) and Planet Earth ($43.12).

I thought Mike Greenberg was supposed to be a journalist

Apparently a few days ago Mike Golic admitted to steroid use on the Mike & Mike Show on ESPN Radio, and Mike Greenberg quickly changed the subject, failing to ask any follow up questions.

Greenberg: You were a player in the National Football League for nine years.
Golic: Yep.
Greenberg: And you were clean. You didn't use steroids.
Golic: No, no. I did try steroids. For about six weeks in an off-season. Yeah. When I had blown my shoulder out. I actually didn't do it for six weeks. I did it for a few weeks and stopped because it had kind of a bad effect as I was lifting.
Greenberg: Okay. Let's say for the sake of this discussion you did not.

Maybe he should have asked about the bad effects, like any reasonable person might do. According to Profootballtalk, a caller today asked Golic about steroid use, slipping it in among Troy Williamson questions. Greenberg cut the caller off, going back to talking about Williamson. Just another example of the sorry state of ESPN's reporting.

Why are you still following baseball?

One common theme in my blog is the evilness of Major League Baseball and the MLBPA. So when I saw this story on Deadspin, I couldn't wait to blog about it. Apparently, used to sell downloads of classic games for $3.95. You burned the games onto CDs, and then could watch them on your computer. But before they'd play, they would check for your license on So changed their servers, and now if you try to play a game that you purchased the it can't find the license. You can buy the games again for $1.99, but if you do so you're a complete moron because they can change servers whenever they can find a cheaper supplier. Honestly, at no point in the last 15 years have I seen one piece of evidence that Major League Baseball cares one iota about their fans.

The Forrest Gump of the NFL

Great observation by Adam Schefter this week: Chester Taylor was the backup for Jamal Lewis when he ran for 295 yards against Cleveland in 2003, breaking the single game rushing record, and for Adrian Peterson last week when he broke Lewis's record with 296 yards rushing against San Diego.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Testudo to finally become a man

The D.C. Sports Bog (and Withleather) reports that the University of Maryland mascot Testudo will be Bar Mitzvahed next month. "Services will be held at Hillel Celebration Party in the Colony Ballroom" according to the Maryland Hillel homepage. Apparently Testudo would be the third Jewish mascot in the ACC, joining UNC's Ramses and Miami's Sebastian the Ibis. This would also make the ACC the first conference to have more Jewish mascots than Jewish athletes. L'Chaim!

The All 25 or Under Team

In the preseason Peter King did an All Future team, and a few days ago I saw Bill James's top baseball players under the age of 25 list. This, along with my entry on the phenoms in the NFC North and a comment I posted regarding up and coming players in the NFC East, motivated me to make my All 25 or Under Team. My criteria: these are the guys I'd most want on my team right now, so I take potential over accomplishment, and their current level of play over potential. I went with a three receiver, single back offense because I'd rather have a stud receiver than a fullback, and a 4-3 defense. If you want to run a 3-4, replace Haloti Ngata with DeMeco Ryans.

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger (March 2, 1982, 4th year). This came down to Big Ben or Vince Young. Take away the fact that Roethlisberger has won a Super Bowl and played through a massive head injury, appendicitis, and concussion, all in the same season. He's got a career QB rating of 91.9, while Young's is 65.2.

Running back: Adrian Peterson (March 21, 1985, 1st year). If Peterson wasn't takng the league by storm, this would have been a tough call between Stephen Jackson and Joseph Addai.

Wide receiver: Roy Williams (December 20, 1981, 4th year), Larry Fitzgerald (August 31, 1983, 4th year), Braylon Edwards (February 21, 1983, 3rd year). It was easy picking these three; I'm not ready to anoint Calvin Johnson just yet. This is the order I'd take them, because Williams is the most dangerous of the three after the catch and Fitzgerald might have the NFL's best hands, but I'd love to have any of these three. Marques Colston would be my fourth wideout.

Tight end: Kellen Winslow, Jr. (July 21, 1983, 4th year). KW2 may have come back from microfracture surgery with more explosiveness than he had before. Jason Witten finishes a distant second.

Offensive tackles: Marcus McNeil (November 16, 1983, 2nd year), Joe Thomas (December 4, 1984, 1st year). McNeil should have been Rookie of the Year last year, and if it weren't for Peterson Thomas might get my vote this year. If I had to pick a right tackle I'd probably take Willie Colon, but I'd be crazy to take Colon over Joe Thomas.

Offensive guards: Logan Mankins (March 10, 1982, 3rd year), Shawn Andrews (December 25, 1982, 4th year). Chris Snee also received some consideration, but these are two of the league's best.

Center: Nick Mangold (January 13, 1984, 2nd year). The former 1st round pick is an easy choice for the pivot.

Defensive ends: Osi Umenyiora (November 16, 1981, 5th year), Jared Allen (April 3, 1982, 4th year). Both of these guys are a little old for this squad, but they're also two of the top ends in the league. Allen is a free agent after this season and is likely to be franchised.

Defensive tackles: Tommie Harris (April 29, 1983, 4th year), Haloti Ngata (January 21, 1984, 2nd year). Harris is probably the best DT in the league, and Ngata is probably the league's strongest player. Ngata's upside gave him the nod over Luis Castillo.

Outside linebackers: Shawne Merriman (May 25, 1984, 3rd year), DeMarcus Ware (July 31, 1982, 3rd year). As the league's two best linebackers, these picks were easy. Kamerion Wimbley would probably be a distant third.

Inside linebacker: Patrick Willis (January 25, 1985, 1st year). My preseason pick for R.O.Y. and the likely winner, Willis gets the nod over a stacked field with DeMeco Ryans, Jonathan Vilma, Ernie Sims, Lofa Tatupu, and A.J. Hawk. Willis is the one mike I've seen this year that consistently moves the pile backward.

Cornerbacks: Dunta Robinson (April 11, 1982, 4th year), DeAngelo Hall (November 19, 1983, 4th year). Hall has played well this year but has been a constant distraction; he'll likely be on the market in the offseason. Robinson stands out over Nathan Vasher and Ellis Hobbs, who both might be products of their system.

Safeties: Sean Taylor (April 1, 1983, 4th year), LaRon Landry (October 14, 1984, 1st year). Taylor is an obvious choice. At first I was deciding between Donte Whitner and Kerry Rhodes for the other spot, but if you were picking teams and were looking and Landry, Whitner, and Rhodes without pads, you'd take Landry in a second.

Kicker: Stephen Gostowski (January 28, 1984, 2nd year). Gostowski gets the nod over Nick Folk on the strength of his kickoffs: sixth in the league in touchback percentage.

Punter: Daniel Sepulveda (January 12, 1984, 1st year). The rookie is dropping punts inside the 20 at a league leading 51.5%, an absurd number.

Return specialist: Devin Hester (November 4, 1982, 2nd year). Another slam dunk.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Star-Telegram unloads on Emmitt

It's pretty damning when the paper in the where you're a demigod says "to call him inept insults inept people." Ouch. Here's the four Emmitt Smith lines the Fort Worth Star-Telegram points out.

About Green Bay's Donald Driver, Smith said: "Tonight he's looking to get back to paydirt so he can right size the ship right now."

About the Cowboys' quarterback, Smith said: "Tony Romo has the mentality to have the sense to make the play."

When asked to summarize his thoughts in two words, he once said, "Cowboys lose big-time."

And about this season's grand possibilities, Smith said, "If you want to stay perfect, you can not go undefeated with a blemish on your record."

It's one thing when Profootballtalk and SI unload on you, but when a Dallas newspaper says "Smith has dispelled most of the belief and trust he started with," it starts to affect endorsement opportunities and possibly his businesses. ESPN needs to man up and pull the plug on this experiment.

Worth the trip to Hyattsville

I started playing Call of Duty 4 today and it might be the best first person shooter I've played - either it or Halo 3. It won Best of E3 2007 from G4, which is a pretty big deal. How good are the graphics? Check out this video starting at the 1:15 (-4:10) mark.

People in the crowd actually gasped.

The Call of Duty franchise has consistently delivered over the years, but has been limited to World War II combat. COD4 Modern Warfare is based in the present and makes the outstanding Tom Clancy franchises, which are also set in the present, look archaic. I played some COD4 and watched some of this week's episode of The Unit at lunch, and I honestly got the storylines and setting confused. That's high praise.

Your next Heisman trophy winner is...

Vince Young. NCAA officials met with Lloyd Lake yesterday for nearly six hours. Lake alleges he gave Reggie Bush and his family $291,600 while at USC, much of which in the form of a rent free mansion where Bush's parents stayed. Bush could allege that he has no control or knowledge over what his parents do, but that doesn't fly. When he went to his parents' house for Thanksgiving and found that they lived in a mansion, maybe he thought to ask his surrogate dad if he got a new job, or whether this real estate could impact his eligibility at all. But the NCAA might not want to listen to Bush at all; Bush has steadfastly refused to give his side of the story to NCAA officials, except to accuse Lake and Michael Michaels of extortion, involving the FBI for about five minutes.

The likely outcome of this is that Reggie Bush will have to give up his Heisman trophy to Vince Young, although Bush has indicated that he wouldn't willingly give up the physical trophy. The worst case scenario is that USC will have to vacate their 1.5 National Championships won with Bush.

As for this year's Heisman, Dennis Dixon is the clear winner. Two weeks ago, after throwing five touchdowns against Florida, Andre Woodson had my vote, but Dixon's four TDs against ASU clinched it. If you take away his 1 TD, 2 interception game against Cal, Dixon has 19 TDs and 1 pick on the year. He also has a rushing TD in every game except against ASU.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Week 9 Power Rankings

Another wild week of NFL football, but not a lot of changes besides kicking the Chargers out of the top 10 (dropping 7 spots to 12th, tied with Denver for the biggest drop), and showing some love for the Saints 4 game win streak (who move up 7 spots). I moved up Seattle despite the overtime loss to a good team and dropped the Redskins despite the overtime win against a bad team. The AFC West dropped 17 spots as a division, I'm pretty sure the biggest drop this year for a division, balanced out by the NFC North moving up 10 spots and the NFC South moving up 9 spots.

1. New England Patriots (9-0) (Last week: 1) AFC East
2. Indianapolis Colts (7-1) (2) AFC South
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) (3) AFC North
4. Dallas Cowboys (7-1) (4) NFC East
5. Tennessee Titans (6-2) (6) AFC South
6. Green Bay Packers (7-1) (7) NFC North
7. New York Giants (6-2) (10) NFC East
8. Cleveland Browns (5-3) (11) AFC North
9. Detroit Lions (6-2) (15) NFC North
10. Kansas City Chiefs (4-4) (9) AFC West
11. Seattle Seahawks (4-4) (12) NFC West
12. San Diego Chargers (4-4) (5) AFC West
13. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-3) (8) AFC South
14. New Orleans Saints (4-4) (21) NFC South
15. Buffalo Bills (4-4) (17) AFC East
16. Washington Redskins (5-3) (13) NFC East
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) (19) NFC South
18. Houston Texans (4-5) (23) AFC South
19. Baltimore Ravens (4-4) (16) AFC North
20. Carolina Panthers (4-4) (18) NFC South
21. Denver Broncos (3-5) (14) AFC West
22. Oakland Raiders (2-6) (20) AFC West
23. Minnesota Vikings (3-5) (27) NFC North
24. Arizona Cardinals (3-5) (22) NFC West
25. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) (24) NFC East
26. Cincinnati Bengals (2-6) (25) AFC North
27. Chicago Bears (3-5) (26) NFC North
28. Atlanta Falcons (2-6) (30) NFC South
29. New York Jets (1-8) (29) AFC East
30. San Francisco 49ers (2-6) (28) NFC West
31. Miami Dolphins (0-8) (31) AFC East
32. St. Louis Rams (0-8) (32) NFC West

Division Power Rankings (by sum of team rankings)
AFC South - 38 (-1 from last week)
NFC East - 52 (+1)
AFC North - 56 (+1)
NFC North - 65 (-10)
AFC West - 65 (+17)
AFC East - 76 (-2)
NFC South - 79 (-9)
NFC West - 97 (+3)