Thursday, January 31, 2008
Beasley and last year's historic freshman Kevin Durant have a couple things in common: both were born in Washington, DC, both played high school ball in Maryland. Beasley was dominant at Riverdale Baptist and National Christian Academy in Prince George's County; Durant starred at Montrose Christian School in Rockville. The last dominant freshman before these two, Carmelo Anthony, was born in Brooklyn but also played high school ball at Towson Catholic High School in Baltimore. These are maybe the three most dominant freshman in the history of college basketball, and the University of Maryland gets none of them. They at least got a sniff of Anthony, neither Durant nor Beasley, listed Maryland as a school of interest.
The collectively bargained rule that forces prospective NBA players to spend at least a year in college has been a boon to the college games, in my opinion. The two best players in the country last year were freshman, and you could argue that Beasley, Kevin Love, and Eric Gordon are the three best players in the country right now (sorry Derrick Rose, you're not there yet). So what if we can only watch them for a year? I'd rather see these guys playing 35 minutes a game in college than 15 minutes in the pros.
"We're only going to score 17 points?" Brady said before chuckling about it. "OK. Is Plax playing defense? I wish he had said 45-42 and gave us a little credit for scoring more points."
The perfect response. Zero bulletin board material, even a kind of a tip of the hat to Burress, and he makes an excellent point. How are the Giants possibly going to hold the Patriots under 40? The Patriots have one of the best receiving corps in the history of the NFL, the Giants weakest position is defensive back. The Giants have the league's best set of defensive ends, but the Patriots have perhaps the league's best set of offensive tackles. I don't see New England punting more than once.
My prediction: Patriots 41. Giants 24.
Part of me sees the Patriots winning by three, just like their other three Super Bowls, but this is by far the most talented Patriots Super Bowl squad, and probably the weakest team they've played. In fact, it's arguably the weakest team New England has played in this year's playoffs.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
1. Johnny Unitas
2. Joe Montana
3. Tom Brady
4. Dan Marino
5. Peyton Manning
6. John Elway
7. Terry Bradshaw
8. Brett Favre
9. Otto Graham
10. Dan Fouts
I don't consider myself knowledgeable enough about the NFL prior to the 80s to disagree with any of the old school picks, and my modern era picks are pretty close to what they have. I am ranking them based on many games I think they could win over time on a bad team with cap room, and they are exclusively guys I've seen play.
1. Tom Brady
2. Dan Marino
3. Joe Montana
4. Peyton Manning
5. Brett Favre
6. John Elway
7. Steve Young
8. Troy Aikman
9. Warren Moon
10. Donovan McNabb
Pretty bold of me to put McNabb ahead of Jim Kelly, but I view McNabb as a more complete player. My argument for Brady is simple: Marino/Favre/Manning have the stats, Montana/Bradshaw/Aikman have three or more championships, Brady has both (Elway has neither).
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
That trade, culminated a few days before the Mitchell Report was released, did seem to indicate that president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail was calling the shots. But the dragging out of the potential Eric Bedard trade reveals Angelos still needs to mull over any moves the Orioles make, handcuffing MacPhail, since Baltimore can only move at a glacial pace even by MLB standards. Why would any other team want to trade with Baltimore when they are so prone to backing out of trades, and are so hesitant to consummate a deal?
Monday, January 28, 2008
According to Adam Schefter, the Skins recently kicked the tires of Peter Carroll. It's likely that Carroll would want final say on personnel decisions (as would Bill Cowher, who the Redskins reportedly have also interviewed) and unknown whether Snyder would put that in writing. Schefter says the Redskins are deciding between Jim Fassel and Steve Spagnuolo, and that the performance of the Giants' defense in the Super Bowl will weigh heavily. Jason La Canfora thinks Steve Mariucci could be a candidate, but that's pure speculation at this point. Finally, Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks, the lone minority candidate interviewed, was brought back for a second interview.
Out of these choices, I could imagine Spagnuolo and Mariucci turning down the job. I'd tab Fassel the favorite at something like 3:1, Spagnuolo at 4:1, Meeks at 8:1, Mariucci at 10:1, Josh McDaniels at 20:1, and the field at 5:1.
Friday, January 25, 2008
It appears Gregg Williams won't be on the Washington staff in any capacity. I've heard whispers that he delivered a Vinny or me ultimatum to Snyder, and whether or not it's true, the mere existence of the rumor could elevate Williams to folk hero status. I find it hard to believe that the Redskins are looking to replace Al Saunders, one of the highest paid assistant coaches in the NFL, but the Redskins have already interviewed two possible replacements before they've hired a head coach.
The big winner in all this? The Atlanta Falcons. They reportedly hired the general manager without an interview, and their choice for head coach as already been criticized by one of his former players. That has to be alarming, because typically you hear nothing but praise from players when their position coaches or coordinators get promotions.
With Senior Bowl practices going on and the pool of coordinators drying up, it's less than ideal to go into February without a head coach in place. But that eliminates the possibility of hiring an assistant coach in the Super Bowl. The only way the Redskins can spin this in a quasi-positive light is if they go after Josh McDaniels or, more likely, Steve Spagnuolo, a disciple of Jim Johnson. McDaniels has indicated he doesn't believe he is ready for a head coaching job, but money talks. Spagnuolo deserves a ton of credit for turning around a Giants defense that looked like a sieve the first two and a half games of the season. But the fact that the Giants' defense is completely based on getting a pass rusher from four down lineman does give me pause about his creativity. For example, if you look at a Gregg Williams, Rex Ryan, or, for that matter, Jim Johnson defense, blitzes show creativity and can come from anywhere. The Giants don't blitz as much because their ends are so explosive and their linebackers are decent in coverage.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
If you work 52 weeks, 40 hours a week, 39,000 hits works out to once every three minutes twelve seconds. These guys definitely don't know how to use pornography.
It's difficult to watch Sportscenter or NFL Total Access zoom in Tom Brady's shoes or Jessica Simpson stills when there are these huge stories that affect multiple teams that go completely unnoticed by the mainstream media. It isn't as if the Cowboys and Dolphins are small market teams, and it isn't as if this story is without intrigue. Is it because Parcells still has friends at the worldwide leader? Or is the NFL putting the squeeze on media outlets? Or is it because the Dolphins new front office is no where near as good looking as Giselle and Jessica Simpson?
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The Crow would be a forgettable movie, were it not for the accidental gunshot death of it's lead actor, Brandon Lee, son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee. It would have to be considered a box office success, though, as well as in terms of rentals. Other movies associated with tragedy on set are Twilight Zone: The Movie and Apocalypse Now. Apocalypse Now managed to be of enough quality for the production issues to be a footnote, but Twilight Zone is primarily known for the three actors who died during production.
Apocalypse Now is a great movie, despite the difficulties encountered during filming. The Dark Knight hasn't really run into any apparent problems during filming, so Ledger's death shouldn't have an effect on the quality of the film. It will certainly have an effect on the way it is marketed, however. Although Warner would never come out and say it, but it's possible that there will be overtones of "the role that killed Heath Ledger" in advertising, no matter the autopsy findings. Or they could deemphasize Ledger in trailers and print, much like Miramax did in promoting Bad Santa with John Ritter. Ritter played a sizable role in the black comedy, although certainly not a lead like Ledger, but wasn't featured in trailers.
But the billion dollar question is whether or not this movie will gross a billion dollars. This movie was receiving the best promotion money can buy, and just received promotion you can't buy. When the Super Bowl ads roll, and you see however much of an unhinged Ledger that Warner decides to show, there is going to be an atmosphere around this movie that no one has ever seen. It isn't unreasonable to think The Dark Knight beats out Titanic ($600 million domestic). I'll guarantee it beats out Spider-Man for the all time comic book box office haul ($404 million). I will go so far as set the over/under for where it ranks all time in the all time box office at third.
But he'd have to be a better choice than Jim Mora, Jr., who seems to follow in Larry Brown's wanderlust footsteps more than his father's. Mora got the pink slip from Atlanta for his musings about the UW job, and may have leveraged the Redskins' interest into becoming Holmgren's successor. And at this point it's safe to say Gregg Williams will be elsewhere next season, and (this is pure conjecture) a Gregg Williams/Rex Ryan swap isn't out of the question, based on what's transpired in their respective interviews.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
"I want a fair, true portrait of the man. How did Bush go from an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world? It's like Frank Capra territory on one hand, but I'll also cover the demons in his private life, his bouts with his dad and his conversion to Christianity, which explains a lot of where he is coming from. It includes his belief that God personally chose him to be president of the United States, and his coming into his own with the stunning, preemptive attack on Iraq. It will contain surprises for Bush supporters and his detractors."
There are two possibly explanations for this shift: the head coaches are getting younger or the coordinators are getting older. Look at the Colts - offensive coordinator Tom Moore is over 16 years older than Caldwell. Likewise Seahawks defensive coordinator John Marshall and Jim Mora, Jr. Monte Kiffin and Jim Johnson are maybe the two most respected defensive coordinators of the last decade, and they are 67 and 66, respectively. Meanwhile it seems that coaches over 50 need not apply, as Jim Fassel seems to be the first coach half a hundred or more to be seriously interviewed for any of the openings, Marty rumors and Rooney Rule fodder notwithstanding.
Friday, January 18, 2008
|Williams named DC in 1999|
|Williams named HC in 2001|
|Williams named DC in 2004|
|Garrett named OC in 2007|
Thursday, January 17, 2008
When Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome returns from the East-West Shrine Game (6 PM EST Saturday 1/19 on ESPN2) Baltimore is expected to reach an agreement with Eagles defensive backs coach John Harbaugh, Jim's brother. A few hours ago, it seemed Atlanta was down to Rex Ryan from their finalists, but the Baltimore Sun is reporting he's "no longer a top candidate." The Colts will be coached by Tony Dungy or Jim Caldwell next year. After Gregg Williams' fourth (!) interview, it looks safe to say the he'll be coaching the Redskins next year. Tony Sparano, the latest hand picked Parcells disciple to get a head coaching gig (Bill Belichick and Al Groh were the first two) has no where to go but up in Miami.
The other spot in flux is Seattle. Peter King got a little excited about the possibility of Mike Holmgren opening a coffee house in Seattle, which of course would fill a gaping hole in the community (Seriously. How about opening a chicken and waffle house? They only exist in West Virginia and should be everywhere). Seahawks defensive backs coach Jim Mora looks like the smartest guy in sports right now. He was fired in Atlanta for on air musings about the University of Washington job. Since then the Falcons franchise has completely imploded, there's a distinct possibility he'll succeed Holmgren as Seahawks coach, and he even interviewed for the Redskins job yesterday.
You can compare the Ravens, Redskins, Falcons, Dolphins, Seahawks, and even the Cowboys jobs right now, but the Colts job, in my opinion, is the most desirable job in the NFL right now. You've got Peyton Manning at a high level for at least another six seasons, an extremely capable general manager, a hands off owner, and reasonable expectations (as opposed to an unreachable standard in New England). The Steelers job is also among the most desirable, with a history of job security, but also a history of losing key players through free agency. The identity of the coach of the Colts next season is biggest off field story in the NFL right now.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
His most famous non-Native American role is in the phenomenal heist flick Heat, directed by Michael Mann. My favorite Studi role would have to be Magua from Last of the Mohicans, also directed by Mann. Magua really, really hated the Grey Hair.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
The NBA is down with Obama, NASCAR digs Giuliani, owners like McCain and Hillary, and Mormons are devoted to Romney
"I am trying to enjoy it because this could be my last game in Green Bay. For the first time in three years, I haven't thought this could be my last game. I would like to continue longer."
I would have liked to see him hang them up after this season, because being runner up in MVP voting would be a pretty nice swan song. But there is a reasonable chance of the Packers being competitive next season, whether or not Favre comes back. They've got a number of impact players on defense, they're almost $20 million under the cap for next season, everyone besides Favre and their cornerbacks are just hitting their primes, and Aaron Rodgers is the best backup quarterback in the league (now that Kyle Boller and Kellen Clemens are starting).
There was really only one contender for Woman of the Year. Lauren Caitlin Upton became the most famous beauty pageant contestant since Vanessa Williams since her inability to string together a coherent sentence became the second most memorable quote of 2007 ("Don't tase me bro" finished first).
Congratulations winners, you've provided countless hours of entertainment for millions of Americans, and now you can ring in 2008 with the first Skinnies.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Rich Rodriguez's mother, son, and daughter have received insults and death threats in the three weeks since he took the Michigan job, and his house has been vandalized. He turned down the Alabama job last year in the 11th hour and was a game away from playing in the National Championship Game this year, where they probably would have been at least a slight favorite over Ohio State.
People think the Notre Dame job is tough. Notre Dame goes 3-9 and Charlie Weis doesn't have to deal with death threats, except maybe from those who run the buffets he frequents. The Michigan job is tough, but Lloyd Carr lost to a D1-AA team this season and could have come back for another year if he wanted. Rich Rodriguez goes 11-2 and is hung in effigy.
Counting playoff appearances, the Redskins went 31-36 under his stewardship, five games under the break-even point. His winning percentage of .463 was roughly one-third below the .683 standard Gibbs set during his earlier 11-year reign... He was, simply, too old to handle his players, to understand their perspectives, to push their buttons in this era of salary-cap football (remember, Gibbs didn't have to worry about the salary cap during his first stint). And the wear and tear of a season is hard on any coach, much less one who qualifies for senior citizen discounts at your neighborhood cafeteria.
At no point does he mention that the Redskins made the playoffs twice in his four year stint. He also fails to mention that with Vinny Cerrato and Dan Snyder the de facto general managers, the Redskins have the most fundamentally flawed front office in the NFL. Although most teams would find making the playoffs half the time acceptable, it's harder to accomplish in Washington than in Baltimore, Philadelphia, or Pittsburgh, who have successful front offices. In Washington it's Herculean.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
After Washington finished 6-10 in Gibbs' first season (they had gone 5-11 the season before under Steve Spurrier) it seemed inevitable that the Hall of Fame coach would tarnish his legacy by coming back. But late season runs in 2005 (five wins in a row to close out the season) and 2007 (four in a row) locked up two wild card spots and may have added to his legacy. He retires with the Redskins in better shape than they were when he got there, even after losing their most talented player in the middle of the season.
This is why it's not surprising that Gibbs opted not to finish out the five year deal he signed in 2004. This was the kind of season that can take months or years off of your life as a head coach, with Sean Taylor, Ron Springs' coma, the agonizing loss to Buffalo, the 45 point loss to New England, and a glut of injuries on offense, including 40% of the line for most of the season. Also, as close as Gibbs is to his players, he probably doesn't want to have to make the tough roster decisions that Washington will have to make to get under the salary cap.
After all the denials and the qualified admissions it's great to see Roger Clemens finally admit to a massive amount of steroid and HGH use. Now, maybe we can move forward from this pointless 60 Minutes interview and start talking about a fantastic slate of playoff games this weekend, or even the NFL Draft. Or whatever new rules there will be next year for the kickers' balls, or pretty much anything NFL, or the writers' strike, or pretty much any topic besides this analysis of Clemens naive interviews and press conferences.
The Big Ten has a huge advantage in reaching the Championship Game, not having to play a conference championship. And without a playoff, they only have to win one game to become champs. James Carville said of the Big Ten on the Dan Patrick Show "The Big Ten can send a three loss team to the Rose Bowl and make a fortune... The Big Ten is the most villanous, backward looking sports league in the world." (Click on on interviews, scroll to image of James Carville 12.24.07) No one has more to lose by having a college football playoff than Ohio State and the Big Ten. Ohio State President Gordon Gee recently said "As far as a playoff system, there will not be one. They'll have to wrench a playoff system out of my cold, dead hands."
It's been easy to love college football this regular season. Starting with Appalachian State winning at Michigan, the regular season was full of upsets and thrillers. But an anticlimactic month of bowls capping off the season, it's easier to fixate on everything that's wrong with the sport. There was one great bowl game this year (Purdue/Central Michigan), a couple of good ones, and a bunch of snoozers. If we had Georgia playing USC and LSU playing Kansas next week, this season wouldn't have ended on such a downer.
Monday, January 7, 2008
On one hand, I just bought a 2nd HD DVD player about two months ago - a Toshiba HD A3 for about $104 shipped. On the other hand, I just sold my 1st HD DVD player, an XBox 360 Add On Drive, for $135 last month. If you can get a dedicated HD DVD player (i.e. not the Add On drive) for under $150, it's a decent value as a DVD upconverter and occasional player of HD DVDs.
If you want to know the difference in the formats beside support, it basically comes down to this: HD DVDs are capable of displaying picture-in-picture (Or PiP, clips from featurettes can be shown in a picture in the corner during movie playback), while Blu Rays are larger and scratch resistant. The larger size of the Blu Rays, in some cases, has led studios to put a second cut of certain movies on the discs with the PiP commentary.
Amani Toomer's touchdown in the back of the end zone December 13, 1998 to beat the 13-0 Denver Broncos might be the most famous play in Giants history. The Giants' record that year: 8-8. Sometimes it isn't about how many wins you get, it's about when you get them.
Friday, January 4, 2008
Fulbright invited the man to her apartment, then excused herself to shower, said police spokesman Sgt. Fabian Pacheco. Then two men showed up and bound him with plastic ties and duct tape, accused him of taking the jewelry, and threatened to shoot him with pistols, Pacheco said..."He has some bite marks on him, evident and consistent with his account, and his hands were red and swollen, consistent with someone who had been tied up," Pacheco said.
A police complaint said the suspects stole the victim's wallet, money clip with $500 to $600, and his cell phone and briefcase.300, though.