Thursday, February 28, 2008

My new car

I bought a new car this week, a 2008 Ford Fusion. I'm a little disappointed that I've established it's not a Transformer, but that was a longshot at best.

Like Semi Pro, only funny

The new trailer for Step Brothers is up, Will Ferrell's next movie after Semi-Pro, and it looks pretty funny. John C. Reilly needs to be in every Will Ferrell movie. It's directed by Adam McKay, who directed Ron Burgundy and Talladega Nights, Ferrell's two best movies, in my opinion.

This is why your mascot sucks

The Duke Blue Devils mascot was injured while surfing rolling Dookies or, more accurately, jumping off the surfboard. It's like a drop of a foot, a foot and a half max. What a wimp! The Suns Gorilla jumps like 20 feet in the air on dunks and he's like Cal Ripken.

The Cardinals are the Bengals of MLB

I almost didn't notice the Scott Spiezio situation in St. Louis. With all the steroids headlines, it's easy to miss when someone does something truly despicable. The Cardinals released Spiezio yesterday, after a variety of charges against him became public. From an O.C. D.A. press release:

Spiezio is accused of speeding, cutting across several lanes, crossing through the oncoming traffic lanes, driving over a curb, and crashing into a fence. The crash knocked down a fence pole and blew out the front two tires of the car. Spiezio is accused of getting out of the car and fleeing the scene on foot.

The defendant is accused of running to his Irvine condominium complex and going to a friend's condo, who lived in the same complex. While his friend attempted to clean up the defendant, Spiezio is accused of vomiting in his friend's room. When the friend made a comment about the vomit, Spiezio is accused of becoming angry and attacking his friend, punching him repeatedly and throwing him against a wall.

Now, out of all these offenses, I do confess to throwing up in a friend's room. More than one, in fact. But I didn't kick any of their asses for commenting on it. At least, I don't think I did, and if I tried I guarantee I was unsuccessful.

This is the third major alcohol related problem with the Cardinals in the last 12 months, starting with manager Tony La Russa's DUI arrest last March. Reliever Josh Hancock died in a car crash in April, somehow managing not to take anyone with him. There is talk that Spiezio had trouble coping with the loss of Hancock, but that is pretty much the opposite of an excuse. Regarding Spiezio's release, La Russa said "I think it's a consistent message about what the team represents." How about some penalty to the manager?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I hope Christian Bale never stops making awesome movies

When Christian Bale was tabbed for the role of Batman for Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, I was cautiously optimistic. I knew him best from American Psycho and Spielberg's Empire of the Sun, in which Bale was 13. American Psycho wasn't my type of movie, but Bale clearly had acting chops. Batman Begins was one of the great superhero movies of all time, and since then Bale has starred in one fantastic movie after another. The Prestige and 3:10 to Yuma in particular were as good as anything released the last two years. And I'm chomping at the bit for The Dark Knight.

His next three movies: Public Enemies, about John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, and other OGs; Killing Pablo, starring Javier Bardem as Pablo Escobar; and Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, a possible second trilogy for which he recently landed the role of John Connor. Bale lends instant credibility to the revitalized franchise, which hopefully can avoid comparisons to the Star Wars prequels.

Prince's parties do not suck

When I heard Kevin Frasier mention on the Dan Patrick Show that Prince had dancers in his wine cellar at his Oscar party, I just assumed I misheard (or perhaps Frasier misremembered). But apparently that's how Prince rolls. There were eight viewing stations set up for girls in various states of undress in various themes, such as strip club, motorcycle, and a changing room. This upstaged Michael Jackson's Oscar party sponsored by Toys 'R Us and Osh Kosh B'Gosh.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Stock watch

I watched a lot of the combine (all raw numbers available here) this weekend, just about all of it, and two guys stood out as having dramatically improved their draft stock. Rutgers OL Jeremy Zuttah ran a sub five second forty and 35 reps at 225, and Purdue TE Dustin Keller ran a 4.53 forty with a 38" vertical. Both emerged as likely first day picks. The biggest loser is probably Mario Manningham, who measured under 6' and ran a 4.59.

Darren McFadden and Joe Flacco also had strong combines, but they could only improve their stock so much. The guy who looks like this year's Warren Sapp/Randy Moss is LSU DT Glenn Dorsey. The consensus top seven is Dorsey, Sedrick Ellis, Vernon Gholston, Chris Long, Jake Long, Darren McFadden, and Matt Ryan. Every one of those guys had big weekends but Dorsey, who has to deal with questions about a broken leg from a year and a half ago.

If Dorsey gets past the Raiders at five, he could easily slide to nine. The Jets and Patriots have the next two picks, but run a 3-4, in which Dorsey wouldn't be an ideal fit. The Ravens have a history of taking the best player available, but defensive tackle is the strongest position on the team. There's no way he gets past the Bengals at nine. He was clearly the best player on the best team last year, and reportedly a high character guy as well.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Coach Jules Winfield

The real loser in the NBA trades

Some guy thought it was a good idea to purchase the domain, and now he's stuck. Sometimes life can be so unfair.

Number 23 in your programs, number 1 for dems

I just found this on Fanhouse and it may blow your mind. Pay special attention to number 23, our likely next President.

That's right, it's Barrack Obama from his days at Occidental.

Tis the season

Now that the draft order has been sorted out, it's time for a mock draft. I have to admit, my mock looks a lot like Todd McShay's, especially 2-10. Other mock drafts I looked to for guidance were Profootballtalk's, NFL Draft Countdown's, and Inside the Eagles'. Some picks I really want to see happen, like Mendenhall to the Bears, Campbell to the Skins, and Sweed to the Dolphins. On the other hand, I was able to resist putting Ryan on the Ravens and DeSean Jackson on the Texans.

1. Miami Dolphins - Chris Long DE Virginia
2. St. Louis Rams - Glenn Dorsey DT LSU
3. Atlanta Falcons - Matt Ryan QB Boston College
4. Oakland Raiders - Darren McFadden RB Arkansas
5. Kansas City Chiefs - Jake Long OT Michigan
6. New York Jets - Vernon Gholston DE Ohio State
7. New England Patriots - Leodis McKelvin CB Troy State
8. Baltimore Ravens - Sedrick Ellis DT USC
9. Cincinnati Bengals - Derrick Harvey DE Florida
10. New Orleans Saints - Mike Jenkins CB South Florida
11. Buffalo Bills - Aqib Talib CB Kansas
12. Denver Broncos - Ryan Clady OT Boise State
13. Carolina Panthers - Chris Williams OT Vanderbilt
14. Chicago Bears - Rashard Mendenhall RB Illinois
15. Detroit Lions - Jeff Otah OT Pitt
16. Arizona Cardinals - Phillip Merling DE Clemson
17. Minnesota Vikings - DeSean Jackson WR Cal
18. Houston Texans - Jonathan Stewart RB Oregon
19. Philadelphia Eagles - Kenny Phillips S Miami
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Brian Brohm QB Louisville
21. Washington Redskins - Calais Campbell DE Miami
22. Dallas Cowboys - Sam Baker OT USC
23. Pittsburgh Steelers - Malcolm Kelly WR Oklahoma
24. Tennessee Titans - Linas Sweed WR Texas
25. Seattle Seahawks - Kentwan Balmer DT UNC
26. Jacksonville Jaguars - Mario Manningham WR Michigan
27. San Diego Chargers - Branden Albert OG Virginia
28. Dallas Cowboys - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie CB Tennessee State
29. San Francisco 49ers - Early Doucet WR LSU
30. Green Bay Packers - Antoine Cason CB Arizona
31. New England Patriots - Walter Iooss, Jr. Cameraman SI
32. New York Giants - Keith Rivers OLB USC

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Death Star Radio

Kissing Suzy Kolber, probably the most significant sports blog on blogspot, has a mildly amusing mock segment on the Tony Kornheiser Show. My favorite part is their Feinstein interview.

Tony: Who do we have on the phone next. Is it you, Junior?

John Feinstein: Hey, Tony. Hey, do you know if I left a pair of brown suede gloves at your house the other night?

Tony: Hmm. I don’t recall seeing them.

John Feinstein: I think I left them on the table in entranceway. They were very simple brown suede gloves. Did you see them?

Tony: Oh, I think I may have! How do you want (clears throat) to arrange for picking them up?

John Feinstein: Well, if you could simply leave them by the door, somewhat off to the side, perhaps obscured by a bush, that would be fabulous. Oh, and did your wife get the cassoulet recipe from my wife?

Tony: I believe she did.

John Feinstein: Great, great. Did you still need help moving that desk at your house?

Tony: Well, let me explain what happened with the desk. I, (clears throat) as you know, CANNOT fix anything.

(everyone in the studio laughs for no reason)

Tony: Can’t fix anything at all. Anyway, (clears throat) we have this lovely desk that my wife found at a consignment shop. Very gorgeous, hand-crafted. Anyway, we had to move it (clears throat) so that the contractors could install the toilet. So anyway…

(cut to 90 minutes later)

Tony: …so the desk can’t be moved. Are we still on the air? You know, (clears throat) I completely forgot we were talking to some sort of audience. Anything else you want to add, Junior?

John Feinstein: Buy my new book, “Living on the Black”. I know Coach K. George Bush is a prick. I have several extremely liberal viewpoints. Army-Navy is an unmatched tradition in sports. Random golf anecdote. I wish Georgetown would play in my charity basketball tourney, but John Thompson is a dick. Bob Knight is an asshole. We need to get rid of guns in this country. Did you know I write books for children too? I think Gary Williams is exasperated about something.

Tony: Okay, thank you, Junior!

John Feinstein: I really wish you’d stop calling me that. It’s fucking annoying.

The greatest sports song ever?

The classic sports ballad by Goldfinger is making a comeback thanks to being on Juno's soundtrack. I think it's pretty damn catchy.

Wayne Gretzky, the only man I’d have sex with
Wayne Gretzky, I’d be intimate with
Wayne Gretzky, I think he’s kinda sexy
Wayne Gretzky, I wonder what he looks like naked

I wonder what it would be like
To have sex with the Great One
I wonder what it would be like
To have sex with the league’s leading scorer

Wayne Gretzky, I know he’s a married man
But maybe, he’d be attracted to me
Darrin Pfeiffer, stupid American boy
Wayne Gretzky, very handsome Canadian man

I wonder what it would be like
To have sex with the Great One
I wonder what it would be like
To have sex with the league’s leading scorer

Yeah, I wonder what it would be like?
Ah, it’ll never happen, it’s just a pipe dream.
Wait a minute — I’m not even gay, I’m married!
Pssh, whatever.

Wayne Gretzky
I love you Wayne Gretzky, yeah

Will Colt Brennan go undrafted?

A year ago, Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan was coming off a staggering 58 touchdown season and being touted as a possible first round pick. Since then, he led the Warriors to an undefeated regular season and a BCS bid, breaking Ty Detmer's career NCAA TD record midway through the season against last year's Cinderella BCS team Boise State. Against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl he threw three picks, was sacked eight times, and Hawaii lost 41-10. And it's been downhill since then. He had a conspicuous lack of arm strength at the Senior Bowl, where he weighed in at a slight 185 lb. And now he's reportedly "coming across like a jackass in interviews" at the combine.

When you consistently see pedigree guys like Brady Quinn and Aaron Rodgers slipping into the 20s, and small college guys or even BCS conference backups like Matt Cassell dominating later rounds, it's easy to envision Brennan going completely undrafted. It's far more likely than him going in the first four rounds.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Why so serious?

Great homemade Lego video from Youtube. I just hope Warner doesn't make them take it down.

Richard Simmons called, he wants you to tone it down a notch

Here's a clip of Mike and Mike getting beaten up by some old lady. I can't tell if it's from a documentary about gay sportscasters or if it's a clip from a soap opera because their thespian skills are just that sublime.

From Russia with love

I first heard reports of this over the weekend, but didn't completely believe it until I saw Alexander Ovechkin and his girlfriend at the Wizards game last night. Apparently, Ovy met this girl at a Russian dating site (Odnoklassniki), and the Capitals put her on the fast track for a Visa. They first started talking online in November, and they met face to face for the first time February 7. Since then the Caps are 2-1-2, and Ovy's 2-3-5.

Forget all the eHarmony commercials - this is the biggest endorsement for a dating website ever. Sign up now and maybe you'll meet a superstar athlete! I imagine getting a date with a professional athlete making eight figures on a Russian dating site would be the equivalent of me getting matched up with Scarlett Johansson on JDate.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

NBA trade are weird

To show how weird NBA trades are, let's go back and try to evaluate a draft day deal from June: Zach Randolph, Dan Dickau, Fred Jones, and a 2007 2nd rounder for Channing Frye, Steve Francis, and a 2008 2nd rounder. Portland promptly bought out Francis' contract for $30 million, in fear of his negative attitude rubbing off on Greg Oden and company, and let's cancel the 2nd rounders out, so the deal was more like Zach Randolph, Dan Dickau, Fred Jones, and $30 million for Channing Frye.

Randolph is averaging 17 and 10, Frye is averaging 6.6 and 4.5. The Knicks are on pace to win 24 games after winning 33 last year; the Blazers are on pace to win 44 after winning 32 last year. So Portland trades a perennial 20 and 10 guy, 2 decent contracts, and mid eight figures for a 6'11" pulse, and they win the trade. How the hell is anyone supposed to evaluate NBA trades, when this has to be considered a decent haul? You can argue other reasons for Portland's improvement and the Knicks' fall, but there were no other substantial changes in terms of personnel. The moral of the story is you don't want to have negative personalities on your team, no matter how productive they are.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Andy The Truth Pettitte

Many media outlets were questioning Andy Pettitte's absence from the Congressional Hearings Wednesday, and I've heard different reasons he didn't attend. The most solid one is that he didn't want to incriminate his father, or discuss his problems. Apparently, the second time he used steroids in 2004, he got them from his dad and not McNamee. His dad had shoulder surgery and bought the drugs from a shady character at a gym. And Pettitte had no desire to go into his father's problems in front of a national audience.

From page 101: Mr. Farrell. There was one thing Andy omitted about his dad besides all his physical problems or -- as you can expect, these physical problems caused him to be unable, to work to support his family, really pitched him into a deep depression; and he was suicidal for a while. And that was part of the reason he turned to using HGH. So it's on both the physical, emotional, psychological level a very sensitive subject for the family.

So again Pettitte really comes out of this thing as the cleanest steroid user in the history of professional sports. The moral to this story: truth will set you free!

Archuleta's chihuahua's killed by meatballs

Playmate Jennifer Walcott's chihuahuas were apparently poisoned while in the backyard of the mother former Redskins safety Adam Archuleta. Archuleta and his very attractive girlfriend were on Christmas vacation, leaving the Taco Bell loving pets in Scottsdale, where their corpses were found next to meatballs containing green pellets of strychnine.

Chandler police detective David Ramer said officers pursued several leads in the case but couldn’t identify any suspects.

I've got a suspect for you.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Truck? What truck?

The trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is now live. It is impossible not to smile while watching it. This is The Dark Knight's biggest competition at the box office in 2008, as both movies could end up being among the top ten grossers ever.

Follow the money

Inspired by The Big Lead, I tried to track down campaign contributions from Roger Clemens, thinking perhaps that influenced the partisan line of questioning by Congress yesterday. I found none, but did notice that Clemens' attorney Rusty Hardin twice contributed the maximum to John McCain. It's worth noting, especially considering how influential Hardin was in setting up these hearings.

The NBA hot stove league

First came the stunning fleecing of the Grizzlies by the Lakers, made all the more shocking because Mitch Kupchak was the one doing the fleecing. Then came the blockbuster Shaq for Shawn Marion deal, which seemed to be incredibly one sided in favor of Miami by everyone except Shaq and everyone Shaq was able to convince. Now Jason Kidd may or may not be going to the team the drafted him, which is on hold because the very mediocre Devean George and his "small" $2.4 million salary has blocked the deal. But he may be doing Dallas a favor.

Why did Phoenix felt the need to trade a 29 year old averaging 16 and 10 this year for a 35 year old averaging 14 and 8 this year? And throw in their backup point guard and go over into luxury tax territory to do it? When they were a couple suspensions away from the Championship last year? The reason I root for the Suns versus the rest of the NBA elite is because they play a nontraditional brand of basketball, and now they feel the need to trade one of their big three for a center with an unmovable contract.

In response, the Mavs overpay for a traditional point guard, trading all their roster flexibility and maybe their best young player (Devin Harris) for another unmovable contract. More and more I'm convinced this is the Lakers' year, thanks to the maturation of Andrew Bynum, and even more impressively, Mitch Kupchak.

Who cares?

I couldn't help but get caught up in the congressional hearings yesterday. It was the sports equivalent of seeing Lindsey Lohan throwing up on herself, watching Congressmen take Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee apart. Riveting television. With the ratings for these hearings off the charts, you'd think if their was an Under Armour logo between the drug dealer and the steroid user maybe people would stop complaining about the waste of taxpayers dollars, but I digress.

But I really don't care who can prove what or whether the feds are going after Clemens for perjury, although if they don't you can't help but question the motivation for going after Bonds and not Clemens. But I do care that Clemens thinks that anyone believes that his wife is a raging steroid user, that Andy Pettite apparently contracted Alzheimer's in the offseason, and that whether or not Congresspeople believe Clemens follows completely along party lines, with Republicans siding with Clemens and Democrats siding with McNamee.

The highlights yesterday were every time testimony from a new witness was introduced, such as Petitte's wife and Clemens' nanny. Representative Burton also provided some entertainment with his grandstanding "lie after lie after lie" speech, but the fact that he kept having to stop to talk to a page took away from its impact. In the same speech he questioned "Why in the world would you work for someone who was unethical?" which drew a chuckle from me coming from a politician.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Apocalypse is upon us

I've seen stats and I've seen stats, but I just saw a number that blew my mind. Sunday's Pro Bowl drew a 6.9 rating, the highest of any sporting event this weekend. Wow. That's better than the NBA Finals. I repeat: better than the NBA Finals.

Would you like some cheese with that whine?

Jim Fassel has been talking to every media outlet that will have him about how the Redskins' coaching search went down, blaming Snyder, Billick, and bloggers. He told Clark Judge of CBS Sportsline

"I heard someone say there are no more George Youngs or Jim Finks in this league, people who really know the game. And I think that happened here. I don't think Dan surrounded himself with enough football people."

If it were my interview, the obvious follow up question is "I don't think Dan has surrounded himself with any football people," or perhaps "You mean Vinny Cerrato isn't enough football people for you?"

Fassel has also been doing the radio show circuit, telling Mike & the Mad Dog

"My biggest mistake was going to Baltimore," Fassel said. "That was the biggest mistake. I don’t think I needed to do that and when I went there and it was such a mess and got caught up in all that stuff."

I'm a little biased, but I think it was better for him to be the assistant coach of a potential playoff team as opposed to unemployed, but maybe I'm wrong. In all seriousness, the thing you have to realize about fired head coaches is that is they immediately take another job they're working for free. For example, when the Redskins fired Marty Schottenheimer they were required to pay him the rest of his contract minus whatever he made in coaching during the duration of that contract. So when he immediately took the San Diego job, Snyder owed him the terms of his contract minus the terms of his contract with the Chargers. But Fassel had sat out a few years and had fallen out of the rotation of guys who came to mind when a spot opened up.

He also told the John Thompson Show (whose motto is "occasionally with John Thompson") that the bloggers are to blame.

"When I got the New York Giants job I remember telling my family that, 'You know, you cannot hold the lead in these jobs in major markets.' Because you've got bloggers, and they're saying, 'No, this isn't the right guy, and that ain't the right guy,' and you can't hold the lead, because you are going to take the hit. I mean, when you're the lead dog, you're going to take the hit. And I think the longer it went, the longer it went, the longer it went..."

Besides sounding like the end of The Aviator there, now he just sounds whiny. Every single coaching hire this season has come under scrutiny, and most teams don't have the luxury of buying the fan sites. But what I found most telling is his description of what was asked by Snyder and Cerrato in the same interview.

"Everything. From the standpoint of ok, When we travel, how do you want the plane to be? Who sits up front? Who sits here? How are you gonna do this? When we travel do you have bed checks? Do you put the team in a hotel Saturday night? Practice, what do you think about practicing and training camp and all that stuff? Sometimes one question leads to another. I will say this, they are very organized, VERY organized. Vinny basically asks the questions and he's got about five pages of questions."

When I picture these interviews with potential head coaches, I never imagine being asked asinine questions like seating plans on the airplane. I could imagine asking if you believe the players should wear suits on the airplane, but I can't picture Dan Rooney asking Bill Cowher if Rod Woodson would sit next to Greg Lloyd on team flights.

Monday, February 11, 2008

NHL player commits lame crime

While NFL and NBA players have histories of gun crimes, NHL players apparently commit the lamest crimes possible. Canadians defensemen Ryan O'Byrne was arrested for stealing a woman's purse last night. $20 was missing for the purse, which was presumably spent on virgin Shirley Temples.

Too good to be true?

After watching Adrian Peterson go for 129 yards and 2 TDs yesterday, give the proverbial game ball to Sean Taylor after receiving MVP, and immediately give a coherent interview to Rich Eisen and Marshall Faulk of the NFL Network, I just stared at Peterson and had trouble believing he was for real. He's like Ricky from Boyz n the Hood, like something horrible is inevitable. Besides his dad spending eight years in prison, his brother getting killed by a drunk driver at the age of 9, or his stepbrother getting shot and killed the day before the combine. Well, maybe the horrible things are out of the way.

Peterson averaged 5.6 yards per carry this, his only, season, a number that's off the charts. That's more than Emmitt Smith (15 seasons), Walter Payton (13), Marshall Faulk (12), or Earl Campbell (9) ever averaged. In fact, the only guys I could come up with who exceeded 5.6 ypc in a full season are Jim Brown (three times in 9 seasons), Barry Sanders (twice in 10), and O.J. Simpson (once in 11).

Every Joe's got his thorn

So the second most valuable sports franchise in the western hemisphere is left to decide between Jim Fassel and Jim Zorn for their next head coach. Such is the fate wrought by Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato. I had come to grips with Fassel. He'd had some success in the regular season, taking the Giants to the Super Bowl in 2000, been coach of the year, and, most impressively, been to the playoffs with Dave Brown. During the Super Bowl I was sure Steve Spagnuolo had vaulted to the top of whatever list the Redskins are using, and I'm sure they could have had him for the $15 million they spent on Zorn. But Washington surprisingly promoted Zorn from offensive coordinator to head coach Saturday night, after about two weeks with the team. And Gregg Williams thought they didn't promote from within.

Profootballtalk believes that Cerrato was the biggest reason for the surprise hire, as he would have felt threatened by any kind of big name. Another popular school of thought is that no one wanted the job, because having Snyder and Cerrato control the roster was putting the coach in a position to fail. I was trying to come up with a worse hire than Zorn, and the first two I came up with were the last two hires by the Raiders: Lane Kiffin, who had been a college OC for one season, and Art Shell, who had been out of coaching for more than a decade. So that's what the Redskins have become: the Raiders of the east coast. A high spending version of the Raiders.

Here are my biggest concerns with the hire:
  1. The Seahawks players and front office had seven years to get to know Zorn, and yet they still chose Jim Mora, Jr. over him as Holmgren's successor. Granted, the Redskins seemed to want Mora as well, but Washington had a relationship with neither coach. Seattle knew Zorn and went with Mora.
  2. During the press conference it was incredibly obvious that Zorn was overwhelmed. I'm willing to give him a pass on calling the Redskins' colors "maroon and black," but you couldn't help but get the impression that Zorn didn't believe he earned the job. "I was taken aback, but not quite speechless because the first words out of my mouth were 'Certainly, I'd like to do that.' It was a little bit shocking." Tony Sparano and John Harbaugh have also never been coordinators, but they both gave the impression that they believed they should be head coaches. I'm not getting that from Zorn.
  3. Zorn is expected to bring the West Coast Offense to D.C. It's not enough that Jason Campbell will be learning his seventh new offense in eight seasons going back to college. But the Redskins' personnel is suited to be a vertical offense as opposed to a diagonal offense. Their starters are both 5'10" and 200 lb or less, their top four wide receivers average 5'11" 197.5 lb. West coast receivers are expected to be larger, in order to shield the balls from defenders on slants.
  4. Zorn was hired based on his reputation for working with quarterbacks. As head coach he could still serve the duties of quarterbacks coach and work hands on with Campbell. As head coach he has to be a CEO, taking away his strength as a teacher working with QBs. And now he needs to hire an offensive coordinator and a quarterbacks coach, after the most sought after position coaches have been hired by more organized franchises. Basically, would a combination of Fassel as head coach and Zorn as OC be more desirable than Zorn as head coach and whoever they can hire (Titans assistant Sherman Smith is reported to be the target) as OC?
  5. Why did they feel the need to give him $3 million a year? The typical starting salary for a new head coach is $2-$2.3 million a year. The obvious answer is that the more Snyder spends on him, the more he can say "look how sure I am about my choice."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bitter much?

I noticed this on Kiss Me Suzy. Apparently some Patriots fans are starting a petition that last 1:40 of the Super Bowl should be replayed. Fans of the team that reportedly cheated their way to the second biggest upset in Super Bowl history. And you can view a powerpoint presentation (I shit you not) of the Giants' apparently rampant cheating. Seahawks fans were similarly bitter two years ago, but there were multiple questionable calls in that game.

Will David Shula ever recover?

Profootballtalk just posted a spectacular old school video of an interview with Brett Favre after he got his first regular season action in relief on Don "Magic Man" Majkowski in 1992. Favre has started every regular season and playoff game for the Packers since. And O.J.'s in it too.

Is Star Wars the next Catcher in the Rye?

A story making the rounds right now is how a guy from Tempe failed to get a liquor license for a bar he was hoping to open called "Drunkenstein's," and then planned to fire 200 rounds of ammo into the Super Bowl crowd. In his eight page manifesto (Do only crazy people write manifestos? Do sane people write mission statements instead?) he mentions his original target was the Desert Ridge Marketplace near Scottsdale, which contains too much "scum and villiany" and he wanted to shed "the blood of the innocent."

Now, as you probably know you will never find a more wretched hive of scum aand villiany than at the Mos Eisley spaceport, so it's safe to assume this guy has seen Star Wars at least ten times. Which begs the question, is Star Wars on the verge of becoming the official movie of crazy people? Catcher in the Rye was the book favored by crazies Mark David Chapman and John Hinkley, Jr. (Also a fan of Taxi Driver). Over 30 years after the release of Star Wars, people who grew up on that movie that become disenfranchised apparently can associate with Luke Skywalker more than Holden Caufield.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

You think your job is bad?

I mentioned a few months ago that I thought that Steven Colbert's funniest bit was about the pairs figure skating scandal. That's because I forgot about this one.

Of course the NFL is 1st, but the NHL is 5th?!?

Professional football still reins in the latest Harris Poll, but I was blown away by the fact that the NHL was fifth, ahead of professional and college basketball.

Oy vey Ovy

How great of a season is Alex Ovechkin having? How about the greatest goal scoring season of all time? He's on pace for 68.3 goals, with an average of 5.5 goals being scored per NHL game. When the Great One scored 92 in the 1981-82 season their were an average of 8.03 goals being scored per NHL games. If you adjust for the lower rate of scoring, Gretzky's 92 translates to 63 this season. James Mirtle concluded that Ovechkin's pace is 0.2 goals off Brett Hull's all time adjusted single season goal total. This is the equivalent of Greg Maddux in 1995 (the year after the strike) posting an ERA of 1.63 when the league ERA was 4.23. After Tom Brady and ARod, Ovechkin is the most dominant athlete in team sports right now.

Now he's rooting for Duke

You knew it was coming. Hitler is too big of a Patriots fan to take this loss lying down. This video isn't as funny, and I imagine there will be more Hitler clips coming out in the next week or two.

Reno 411

Sometimes when I see movies that take place in high school with Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, hell, even Jessica Lange, I wish I could have gone to that fictional school instead of my ghetto alma mater. But never have I wanted so much to attend another actual high school as last night, when the news broke that Kevin Hart had made up his recruiting story. Seriously, could you imagine walking down the hall and making eye contact with this guy? The dude is 6'5" 290 lb. and must feel about three feet tall right now.

Hopefully, Reno 911 will rip this from the headlines like Law & Order does and have Dangle and the boys try to chase down Kevin Riley, the guy Hart mentioned yesterday as his recruiter and also a redshirt QB for Cal.

In an unrelated story, I am currently deciding between marriage proposals from Jessica Alba and Jessica Biel, but I would consider Oprah if she would recruit me more heavily.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

R.I.P. Inside the NFL

Tonight marks the final episode of HBO's Inside the NFL, after 31 years of bringing postgame highlights and analysis. The problem is ESPN alone has at least five shows that follow the same template, and they're on basic cable. Bob Costas, Dan Marino, Cris Collinsworth, and Peter King can focus on their other television gigs. The loser here is Cris Carter, who missed out on the Hall of Fame and now has to hope for a studio gig to open up or roll up another barcalounger to The Best Damn Sports Show. But if there's any justice in this world the NFL Network will be looking for a replacement for Bryant Gumble, and perhaps Collinsworth can slide over to do the play-by-play and Carter can do the color.

This kid should pick a community college

A high school football player in Nevada picked Cal over Oregon yesterday, on National Signing Day Eve. Unfortunately, neither school offered him a scholarship and in fact had never heard of him. It may have been some elaborate prank or someone posing as a recruiter somehow trying to turn a buck on this. Everything surrounding recruiting is so difficult to watch; it's like Little Miss Sunshine right before the climax. These guys are too young and too lacking in any type of perspective to fuel an industry. Kenny Tate announced last week he was attending "Maryland University," just as Derrick Williams announced he has chosen "The University of Penn State" a few years back.

DeShawn Stevenson is bad at gambling

About a year ago, Gilbert Arenas bet DeShawn Stevenson $20,000 that he could make more one handed college three pointers out of 100 than Stevenson could make two handed three pointers. The video made it up on Youtube and it became somewhat of a national story. I know from experience if someone wants to make a bizarre bet like that (say, if they say they can beat you at pool with an axe handle that happens to be sitting by the pool table), you're not winning the bet. Naturally Arenas took Stevenson's money, despite making over ten times as much this season.

Stevenson's sucker bet this year involves a beard growing contest with Drew Gooden. Gooden is five inches bigger and has a history of mixing up his hair going back to Kansas, most notably with his Hare Krishna like patch from last season. It looks like Stevenson has a long way to go, because Gooden already looks like a black Santa.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Meow indeed

The Wizards Insider had some of the highlights of Kwame Brown's run with the Lakers, in particular the shots Phil Jackson took at him.

Two months into his Lakers tenure, Jackson questioned Brown's toughness and his inability to recover from a strained right hamstring. "I'm not putting pressure other than just call him (a sissy) every time I see him in the locker room," Jackson said. Jackson accented his assessment by making cat-like "meow" sounds as Brown walked past him. Later, Jackson walked into the locker room, pointed to a brown mink coat stashed on top of the coat rack and started laughing hysterically. "See that's Kwame's," he said.

After a triple-overtime loss to the Charlotte Bobcats in December of last season - in which Kobe Bryant scored 58 points - Jackson put the blame on Brown, who had three turnovers down the stretch. "We're going to feed him Butterfingers on the flight home just so he can feel the effects of it."

A few months later, when the Lakers visited Washington, Jackson skipped the morning shootaround and took his team on a tour of the monuments. He didn't waste the opportunity to take another dig at Brown. "I think we had other guys who'd never seen them, like Kwame Brown," Jackson said. "I hear he came here but I don't think he ever did that."

Yesterday, Jackson basically blamed most of Brown's struggles on injuries that have robbed him of his explosiveness and quickness. Then, he added, "Kwame still has an upside that people haven't seen. He's going to get better opportunities than he did here."

That might be news to Memphis General Manager Chris Wallace, who explained his reasoning for making the Pau Gasol deal by stating, "Brown was the largest expiring contact we could find." Ouch. He didn't even waste any time trying to make anyone believe that the Grizzlies expected anything from Brown, who might not be around long enough to get booed out of Memphis, like he did in Washington and Los Angeles.

I know Kwame has notoriously thin skin, but I'll give him enough credit that it wasn't Jackson's jokes that stunted his development to the point where he's averaging the fewest points since his rookie year.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The day in commercials

Two commercials stood out for me as being excellent, and one stood out for being awful. The Audi commercial spoofing The Godfather was brilliant. I've seen it at least 20 times, so as soon as they showed the establishing shot of Jack Wolfe's mansion I instantly said "The Godfather." But I do realize there are people who can't replay that movie in their head at will who may not find it as amusing. The other commercial that I'm still buzzing about is the trailer for Wanted, starring Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy, and directed by Timur Bekmambetov. That mouthful also directed the Night Watch trilogy, high octane vampire movies.

The worst commercial by far is the incredibly racist Salesgenie panda commercial. I mean, wow, how the hell did they let that on the air but GoDaddy has to tone their commercial down. The only thing that could have made it worse was if they ran a laundromat instead of a furniture store.

The Fluke

The Immaculate Reception. The Catch. The Drive. The Fumble. The Catch II. The Tackle. The most memorable plays of the Super Bowl era each have these iconic names, and so I have been working on a name for the amazing play where Eli Manning broke a gang tackle and threw up a prayer, underthrown into triple coverage, which David Tyree caught against his helmet. And so I give you: The Fluke.

The play could have been called dead when Manning was in the Patriots' grasp, and Eli isn't known as a scrambler, so the first part of the play was flukish. Tyree had only four receptions in the regular season, and anyone making a catch against their helmet is a rare highlight, so the second part of the play is flukish. And to paraphrase the ol' ball coach, The Fluke is short and available.

The Tuck Rule

I am still in disbelief. Somehow the Giants, the same Giants who allowed 80 points in the first two weeks of the season, held the most potent offense in the history of the NFL to two touchdowns. To 45 rushing yards on 16 carries. To under five yards a pass attempt. Unreal numbers.

In hindsight, the Giants learned more about the Patriots from their week 17 matchup than the Patriots learned about the Giants. Steve Spagnuolo must have seen some cracks in the Patriots offensive line, and Belichick never adjusted. Which is eerily reminiscent of the Patriots' monumental upset of the Rams, where Mike Martz never called any max protect. The Giants repeatedly pulled Fred Robbins outside and brought Justin Tuck (not a starter) up the middle, and rushed Tuck at the right guard almost every down after Stephen Neal left the game.

If the Redskins pull up the Brinks truck to Steve Spagnuolo's jersey estate today (rookie coaches typically make $2-$2.6 million for a 3 or 4 year deal, Snyder would probably pay him about $3 million) then they totally redeem themselves for their extended head coaching search. NFL rules penalize assistant coaches on Super Bowl teams, as the Redskins are the only opening left. Spagnuolo may turn Snyder down, with him not being able to choose his coaching staff or players, but it won't come down to money.

So where does this rank all time in terms of upsets? The Jets/Colts is from a different era in terms of media exposure of the AFL and NFL, so it really can't be compared. So that just leaves Patriots/Rams and Broncos/Packers. The Broncos upset was clearly the smallest upset of these three, in terms of point spread and revisionist history. Looking back it isn't that big of a surprise the Broncos undersized cut-blocking line were able to hold the aging, less athletic Packers defensive line in check. With the scandal emerging around the Patriots/Rams Super Bowl, revisionist history says of course the Patriots won because they did a better job cheating. Maybe in a few years we'll hear the Giants bugged Patriots practices, or they were all on HGH, but after this weekend it's hard not to call this the biggest NFL upset in 39 years.

From the start of the playoffs, the Giants are by far the most unlikely Super Bowl champ. They're the second wild card team to win the Super Bowl, but the 2005 Steelers were a year removed from going 15-1 and were just getting healthy in the playoffs. The Giants lost Tiki Barber to retirement and Jeremy Shockey to injury. The were blowed out, as Emmitt would say, by the Vikings Thanksgiving Day weekend. I believe the Giants were something like 25:1 to start the playoffs; Vegas Watch had them as the second longest odds in the playoffs.

Friday, February 1, 2008

How does Kwame keep getting traded for All Stars?

Mitch Kupchak was a slow starter, but he's come around as a GM. Today he landed Paul Gasol and a 2nd round pick for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, and 2008 and 2010 1st round picks. The 2008 1st rounder will certainly be in the 20s, so this a coup for the Lakers, who can put Andrew Bynum, Gasol, Lamar Odom, Kobe Bryant, and Derek Fisher on the floor when Bynum returns from his knee injury. They also fill a need without giving up Bynum, who they wouldn't include in a deal for Kidd.

An interesting sidenote to this trade is it unites two notable Michael Jordan draft picks - Kwame Brown and Juan Carlos Navarro. Memphis could be headed to a historically bad season because they'll have no choice but to play Kwame 40 minutes a game, with no other legitimate big men on Memphis. But with Kwame and Stromile Swift coming off the books Memphis may be in a position to make a run at Gilbert Arenas.

If you can't turn a profit on an NFL team...

Five teams lost money in 2006, according to Forbes. The Lions, Seahawks, and Falcons lost between $1.8 and $3.4 million, the Colts lost $17.3 million, and the Vikings lost $19.1 million. The Redskins were the top grossing team in the NFL by a mile, but the Raiders were number two! The unbelievably flawed Oakland Raiders! In a year where they went 2-14 with Bob Newhart as OC! Where if you go to a game you might get stabbed, but you'll definitely watch some crappy football.

He's got a new coach state of mind

There's a guy who does Weird Al style parodies on Youtube, who I would like a lot more if Mike & Mike didn't like him as much. A few of my previous favorites are Laser, Rocket Arm and Dogs in the Kennel. He takes on Daniel Snyder in his latest opus.

Emmitt's mix tape

Personally, Emmitt is my favorite analyst right now. I can't wait to hear his butcher the English language without saying anything remotely relevant. He cited "L. Cool J.J." recently in response to one of Sean Salisbury's catchphrases. I sincerely hope he'll be back with the worldwide leader next year.

Is Ovechkin the best athlete in the history of DC area sports?

The Capitals have never had anything close to a superstar. They've had some Hall of Fame caliber players, for the most part before (Larry Murphy, Mike Gartner) or after (Dino Ciccarelli) their primes. But Alexander Ovechkin is miles ahead of anyone they've ever had. He's the MVP of the league right now by a mile and leads the NHL in post-lockout goals by an increasing margin. He's got an absurd 29 goals in his last 30 games and leads the league in goals and points. Sidney Crosby is considered the face of the NHL, but I've heard questions about his attitude; keep in mind he's injured because he complained to a ref instead of bracing to hit the boards. Ovechkin has been a consensus top two player for the last two years, but now he seems to be making the jump to an all time great.

The Orioles have had some Hall of Fame players over the years, most notably Frank and Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, and Cal Ripken, Jr. The list of great Bullets begins with Wes Unseld and ends with Elvin Hayes. And the Redskins have won five championships going back to the days of Sammy Baugh, professional football's first superstar. The Terrapins' biggest star over the years was Len Bias, who won two ACC Player of the Year Awards but no Naismiths. Ray Lewis, the face of the Ravens, is maybe the most dominant defensive player in the NFL over the last decade.

Out of these, Baugh is the only consensus most dominant athlete in their sport at one time, although Lewis and Bias were in the argument. Lewis was overshadowed by the dominant skill position guys like Marshall Faulk, Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre, and Bias never made it past the Sweet 16. But every single one I mentioned played in front of bigger crowds than the 14,000 or so that are coming to see the Capitals, and their exploits consistently led local sports. Much like Ovechkin's game last night. If the Caps can make a run to at least the conference finals this year, you have to figure that the fans will come, the Caps will be above the fold in The Post, and Ovechkin will own this city.