Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Playoffs!


As a long-time Cardinals season ticket holder, I am annoyed by all the pundits. Virtually all of them are picking the Falcons over the Cardinals. I agree that the Cardinals' biggest problem will be containing Michael Turner. If (a big if) the Cardinals can somewhat contain the run, I see them pulling this game out.
Branch has been a big DL disappointment but he made a few good plays last week and may rise above his current "semi-bust" status.

Warner has been woeful the last month, but last week he put together a great game after an awful first quarter and set the Cardinals team record for TDs in a season (30). Edgerrin James is well-rested and coming off an impressive 100 yard game last week. While this isn't monumental, I think the Cardinals running game could be at least adequate. If so, the Cardinals will be in a great position to win as Warner throws to his THREE 1,000 yard receivers (Fitz, Boldin, and Breaston). Arrington has found his niche as a good, speedy third down back and KR. I don't think you'll see much of Hightower. Also, insiders have told me to expect to see Leinart for certain play packages --as a wrinkle. If so, that could be fun. All in all, as a homer, I'll take the Cardinals to win (plus the points, thank you very much).


Other games:
Eagles come off their impressive win over the Cowgirls to beat the Vikings.
Colts dominate the Chargers.
I'll take the Ravens over the Dolphins, though I really think the Dolphins are a solid team that could win by playing havoc with rookie boy Flacco.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Poor Mark Cuban


Flamboyant Dallas Mavericks Owner/ Dot.com Billionaire Mark Cuban was recently indicted by the Feds (SEC) on charges of insider trading. Read SI's take on the charges HERE. The SEC thinks Cuban used some "insider knowledge" to dump some stock before in order to avoid a $750k hit.

Amazingly a large segment of sports talk radio has Cuban's back. Seems they feel that poor Markie is being "picked on" or "targeted" by the SEC because he is a high profile guy. That the SEC is trying to make an "example" of Cuban. I'm not sure why the SEC's motivations are relevant here, but let's assume sports talk radio is correct. My response? So what!?!? Cuban (allegedly) cheated and is (allegedly) guilty. The fact that he is so rich that he didn't need to cheat makes it all that much worse. Why shouldn't the rules apply to Cuban? They should and good for the SEC. To those who defend Cuban: I just don't get you.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

9 1/2 Points



Well Arizona, your Cardinals have arrived. With a three game lead in the NFC West, they head into an MNF showdown at home with the 49'ers. The spread: Cardinals by 9 1/2. However this game turns out -- and, let's face it, we could easily lose by 9 1/2 points or more -- the boys in Vegas and their mob backers are finally starting to show the respect that a faithful cadre at the stadium have shown all along. Let's hope for another sellout crowd in red on Monday.

Are you ready for some football?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Minor Struggles


I attended a minor league hockey game with my son this week and the good news is that he enjoyed it. The bad news is that I didn't. We watched the home game between "our" Phoenix Roadrunners and the visiting Victoria Salmon Kings of the ECHL at USAirlines Arena (or as I still call it, "America West"). The game was not well-played and though our Roadrunners had plenty of shots, they didn't seem particularly powerful or well placed (many went right off the middle of the goalies chest pads). Worse was the crowd. We're talking tiny. Like maybe 1000 people. I have no idea how the Roadrunners are making this work financially but I wish them well. With Coyotes tickets so expensive, its nice to have a lower cost alternative. But if quality of play is your priority, then the Coyotes are a must. I do like the Roadrunners logo so they have that going for them. I hope I just came on a bad night. Go Roadrunners!

The Arena Football Arizona Rattlers have also been struggling the past few years. They used to sell out and the atmosphere at "America West" was outstanding. But since the Dbacks came to town, season ticket numbers have dwindled. The team has also struggled on the field the last few years as well. The good news is that team owner Brett Bouchy took over last year and has already started turning the franchise around under coach Kevin Guy. Last year was a largely new roster and the team showed potential amidst the growing pains. The crowds have increased just a bit as well (though they'll probably never get back to the pre-DBacks days).

This off-season the Rattlers signed former Rattler QB Joe Germaine (yes, the same guy who led Ohio State to a victory over ASU in the Rose Bowl back in '97) of Glendale and they just announced they've hired former coach Danny White as the offensive coordinator. Read the story HERE. This is great news for Rattlers fans, but I wonder what Coach Guy thinks about having White looking over his shoulder?

Perhaps more interesting is what the Arena Football League itself is doing to stay competitive. After 22 years of surprising success, the league is now moving to a "single entity ownership" structure in order to combine marketing and sales strategies. Read more about that move HERE in the Sports Business Journal. $100 million should provide some much-needed cashflow in these tough economic times.

Phoenix is full of professional sports options, and perhaps too many. I mean TWO hockey teams in the desert?! We've also had pro indoor soccer, pro indoor lacrosse, USFL football, minor league basketball (and all signs are we'll have it again with the Phoenix Fury at the Fairgrounds Arena) and all kinds of minor league baseball. Hopefully our "good" minor league franchises (the Roadrunners and the Rattlers) will find away to get the attention of the ticket buying public and keep their franchises moving forward.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Silly French


S.I. reports HERE that France is threatening to cancel French National Team Soccer matches if fans of opposing teams boo or whistle during the French National Anthem.

Of course this is an idiotic idea, based on politics and race. Seems that France has a huge population of folks from its former colony in Tunisia. There are repeated ethnic/racial clashes in France and the people of Tunisian origin are often targeted. Those folks still have some nationalistic pride for their former homeland and on occasion they misbehave by making derisive noise during the anthem. Are they rude and inappropriate? Of course.

But French Soccer Hero Michael Platini is advocating for reason. He calls the threats to cancel "absurd" and points out that many of the folks who whistle and boo probably root for the French side when it is playing other European teams. Platini is correct on all counts. Politics does not belong in soccer or any other sport, and calls to cancel the games is unworkable (can you imagine sending home 80,000 people who travelled from all over to attend --not to mention the TV backlash and demind for rights fees refunds and damages) and is the worst sort of Pandering.

Welcome Back Bruce


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have announced that they will start a "Ring of Honor" next year and that they are going to wear their throwback orange uniforms at least once. Story HERE. I think it is a great idea. The world is a better place with good ol' Bucco Bruce. Tampa didn't win much, but those unis were certainly unique.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

WTF?!


My fantasy football team is in trouble, in part because Fast Willie Parker (RB Steelers) has been injured. Word was that he would be playing this weekend against the Bengals. But not so fast my friend! The latest update (read HERE) is that he is injured again.

"How?" you ask. At practice he stepped in a hole and reinjured his ankle. Now we have all probably twisted our ankle by stepping in a hole or an indentation while hiking or working in the yard. But Parker wasn't out hiking. He was practicing with his pro-team on a multi-million dollar practice field designed specifically for football. Is it really that hard to avoid HOLES that might injure a million dollar player? What kind of clowns do the Steelers have running their lawn and garden program, Carl Spackler?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Another Black Eye for John Dowd


As I watched the latest Youtube thriller, I couldn't help but notice John Dowd's involvement in the Keating scandal. Dowd, you remember, came to prominence when he served as a lapdog to management in banning the alltime Hit King from baseball. More recently he served a businessman-turned-politician (Fife Symington) and a bimbo (disgraced DOJ employee Monica Goodling). Who could remember, though, that he also represented John McCain during the Keating Five scandals? Let me get this straight: he bans one of baseball's greats for off-field activities; and he defends a sneaky politician for his on-court deals on the Senate floor.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Not Even Close

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that they will not receive a roster exemption for kicker Matt Bryant. Instead they will have to cut a player, sign a one-week kicker in order to accomodate Bryant's absence. This is outragious. Why? Because Matt Bryant's INFANT SON DIED this week. The NFL will not make an exception for him despite the obvious tragedy. Absolutely stupid. This is one that easy regardless of your team affiliation, party affiliation, gender affiliation, race affiliation, etc.

The NFL blew it and I hope they change course right now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Olympic Sports That Aren't "Olympian"



You can read today's story that the USA Olympic Dressage team was stripped of its fourth place finish HERE. The story got me to thinking. There are some olympic sports that just plain suck. Here's my list of the top 10 non-olympian Olympic "sports."

Numbers 10 through 7- These sports have some merit, but they just aren't working out.

#10 Baseball. "What!?" you ask. "Baseball is the greatest!" "Its America's Game!" Well, sure. Call me a commie or whatever, but facts is facts. There's only about 5 countries that are any good at baseball and the rest of the world sucks. Did you watch China's baseball team? Plus team USA was a bunch of college kids. I mean who the hell cares? I'd rather watch spring training than this garbage. Nice try baseball, but stick to MLB and don't foist this borefest on us.

#9 Shooting. Any of the shooting sports, including skeet, biathlon (which is just silly), and rifle and pistol games. Yes I know the "military purpose" of the original games. But that doesn't hold water these days. The olympics is about sport and making cash for the sponsors. We don't measure military preparedness by Olympic shooting performance. Target shooting is a fine pastime. But that don't make it "Olympian."

#8- Curling. Sorry Canada. Look, I enjoy the old game of shuffleboard is much as the next guy. Especially when they have those cool wooden tables with metal disks at the bar with a few beers. But Curling takes it too far. Its basically shuffleboard on ice. The worst part though is the silly guy who runs ahead of the rock with that broom and sweeps it like he's a madman. That is just plain dumb. It looks like one of those sports you made up as a kid with whatever you could find.

#7 Equestrian. Horse jumping may be a jolly good show, but it just isn't olympian. Now if they had swords and shields or were pulling carriages in the Circus Maximus, then you might be on to something cool. Horse battles would be good. Horse jumping --not so much. Perhaps they could make JOUST an olympic event? That would be good if they used real lances and not that balsa wood garbage they use for the cheesy Vegas shows and geeky renaissance fairs.

Numbers 6 through 3 -The sports for the kids who weren't good enough to make the team.
These are all events that look somewhat like real sports. But when you get down to brass tacks, these are all variants of the real sports designed to give the second-rate athletes something to feel good about. Next time just give them a participation ribbon and we'll save a lot of time and money.

#6 Trampoline - Actually kind of fun to watch, in a Man Show kind of way. These are talented folks who do get way up in the air, but they're just not good enough to make the real gymnastics team. Of course, they could be used as the feeder system for made-for-TV "sport" Slamball. And that's something I suppose. Sorry Trampoliners, you're good, but you're just not olympian.

#5 Rhythmic Gymnastics - Hoops and ribbons just ain't olympic! This Ballet-meets-gymnastics thingy is interesting on occasion but usually is just a bore. Plus it suffers from random judging. To continue the theme, it would be good if two competitors went at the same time and they could throw their toys...err..equipment at each other. Make the balls spiked and I think we have a winner here.

#4 Synchronized Diving - Pretty impressive to watch. But then you remember, these are the guys who couldn't dive well enough to make the team, so they just try to dive exactly like their partner. Interesting in some artistic way I suppose. But a sport of mimicry for the guys who couldn't make the team just doesn't cut it. Plus the judging appears to be made up on the spot. When you watch it they all look pretty good.

#3 Synchronized Swimming --Sure you have to be a good swimmer to do this. But so what? Plus the makeup and outfits basically render these women water clowns. And no way can "Water Clown Performance" be considered olympian.

Numbers 1 and 2 are the kind of sports that if your brother won a medal, you wouldn't tell anyone. Not even your shrink.

#2 Race Walking. I mean, come on. Is this a SNL skit? These guys walk really fast. That's it. Utter boredom combined with uber-geek factor = ugh. Plus most of these guys have Magnum P.I. mustaches. My question is, what makes a person interested in race walking in the first place? Is it some arcane tradition passed down from goofy father to nerdy son? Bob Costas should be asking this question during Olympic TV coverage.

The NUMBER ONE worst sport of all time: Dressage.
As noted above, Yahoo and others are reporting that the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team is being stripped of its 4th place finish in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Frankly I think this is a good thing. Because Dressage sucks. There is no way around it. What a dumb sport. It makes synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics look awesome. I watched for about 15 minutes when coverage of the "event" came on during my fantasy football draft.

Dressage is simply guys (and gals) in stupid equestrian riding gear trotting around a ring at relatively slow speeds while meeting specific technical requirements. They don't jump anything, they don't lasso anything, and they don't race anything. This is a "sport" for folks with no coordination or skills, but with tons of money to buy outstanding horses, equipment and coaching. Plus they need to be trust-fund babies so that they can "work" at this full time with no need for a job. In other words, Charles III and Mitzi are the only ones who have the money and interest to pursue this crap.

This "sport" must be removed from the olympics. It is an utter disgrace. Plus its name is French.


So, what do you think? Did I miss one? Did I slam your favorite? Comment away!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

12 Guys in Teal



Finally, someone who looks worse than Phil Mickelson in a polo shirt. Actually, 12 someones. 12 pretty feeble-looking Euro lads.
For a change the Americans are playing good, solid match play golf, and have a good chance of finally taking home the Ryder Cup for the first time since Payne Stewart's airplane crashed nearly a decade ago. And phat Phil is playing like a leader. So Go Team USA.
And since you're all thinking it, maybe Team USA plays better without its most famous player. There is no "i" in team, but there sure is one in "Tiger".


[Post Deleted]


This space had been reserved for DRage's trash talk after UCLA's "big win" over Arizona.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What's missing from the "dirty dozen" list?


Is it any wonder that print newspapers keep losing subscribers? The Arizona Fish wrap…err Republic is a classic example of a local paper that just doesn’t get it when it comes to covering the local (i.e., Arizona State) university football team. Putting aside that the fish wrap devotes too much coverage on weekly basis to the team from down south in Tucson, the latest example comes from a column this week about the “toughest teams to face the Sun Devils in Tempe.” http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/BobYoung/33179
The list includes a game against unranked Notre Dame in 1998 but fails to mention the classic game pitting a top-ten ranked ASU versus rival UofA (ranked #11 at the time) for the WAC championship in 1975. Game highlights included ASU overcoming a double-digit deficit and featured “the catch” in the back of the end zone by John Jefferson. Also missing were various Fiesta Bowl matchups, including an ASU victory over #12 Oklahoma in 1983 and a loss to top-ten ranked Penn State in 1977.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Defending Vince Young


The Sport-o-sphere portion of the internets is going boffo over the plight/performance of former "can't miss" superstar and Heisman trophy winn... err... runner-up QB-from-Texas stud, Vince Young. Seems the pressure is getting to him and it looks like he tried to quit on the Titans this past weekend vs. the Jags --before head coach Jeff Fisher persuaded Young to get back on the horse and go back into the game. Luckily for all involved, Young was injured on the next series and has an excuse to sit out a few games while he nurses his wounds and gets his act together.

It has been so bad that Young's mother spoke out on his behalf. Read about it HERE. The Titans were so worried about him Sunday night that they called the police to hunt him down when they couldn't reach him by phone.

Meanwhile AM Sports Radio hacks and football bloggers of all stripes (example HERE) have been criticizing Young, calling him a "baby", "quitter", and telling him to basically "sack up." In a sense they're right. He needs to get over it and get on his feet. When they point out that all NFL players face pressure --particularly QBs, they're also right on the mark. Young is making amazing money to play a game and there is a ton of pressure on him to perform well.

The problem is that Young has never had to face adversity or criticism in his entire life. He had lazy habits in college, but his astounding athleticism carried him through --to the Heisman trophy and a national championship. But the NFL is full of outstanding athletes and his half-hearted work habits aren't cutting it.

Though all top NFL players are under pressure, they aren't all wired the same. Some find the pressure inspiring, but others (Ricky Williams anyone? --he made it back only after a long trek through drugs, suspension, and the CFL) find it overwhelming. These folks aren't necessarily weak, but they face a much harder time dealing with anxiety because their bodies and minds are simply different. It seems clear that Young is going through an emotional crisis the likes of which many of us have not had to face. He is facing absolute failure on a national stage --and he doesn't have the tools to cope with it or bounce back. He may have a bigger need to please or super ego than others in his situation; his body chemistry may go haywire by over-reacting to anxiety --so much so that he can't function well. It sure appears that way. So to label him a loser or quitter may make you feel better, but it is overly simplistic and doesn't do much to solve the problem.

What Young needs is a few months off (preferably the whole season) to watch Kerry Collins and/or Chris Simms (both of whom have had their share of challenges) and to learn the offense and the fundamentals of the QB position. He also needs to see a real shrink and probably get some serious anti-anxiety medication. Young has the physical tools to succeed in the NFL. What he needs now are new mental skills to deal with stress and adversity. Telling him to "buck up" is a joke. Its time to get him some real help --so that we can all benefit from watching him perform at a top level and learning from his story about how to deal with anxiety and failure. Here' hoping Vince Young can make it back to the top.

Teams I Don't Like - Peace Offering to Buckeye Fans

On the eve of the BIGGEST GAME OF THE CENTURY per ESPN, I thought I would offer a peace offering to the Buckeye faithful - a team that both PAC 10 and BIG 10 fans can revile and make fun of – University of Texas. If I am not mistaken, Texas dashed OSU national championship hopes this decade in addition to denying USC and the Pac 10 their glory (in addition to beating SC, UT beat ASU last year ruining the program’s return). We have gone back and forth making fun of Leinart’s partying and Reggie Bush’s wuss factor and of course I have had more than my fair share of fun at the expense of Maurice Clarrett – Texas offers something for everyone. Does any school have this run of overhyped wusses and losers?

1) Vince Young

Yes, Matt Leinart used some bad judgment, but at least he partied with the right male female ratio. Beer bong with coeds or straight from the bottle patron with a bunch of sweaty dudes, hmmm – I’ll take A. Add to his judgment issues, now his Mom is making public pleas to give her baby boy a break and stop booing him. His team is calling the cops when he forgets his cell phone – what do they know? The SC/UT championship game might set the record for most wasted talent (or overhyped) superstars in a single game (add SC’s Dwayne Jarrett who joins the list of wookie SC WR’s who are too slow for the pros). Norm Chow, Vince's first offensive coordinator at Tennessee allegedly told his wife to pack her bags when Tenn drafted Young 'cause he knew he would be fired within two years – Young does get credit for driving college’s best OC to UCLA with the Titans footing the bill - excellent. This summer the three year veteran contemplated "retiring" - begs question of defintion of retiring v. just plain quitting.

2) Cedric Benson

Benson broke all of UT rushing records, 1st round pick who was outright released within two years and has yet to be resigned. Was so hated by teammates that by training camp of his rookie year, veterans openly supported Thomas Jones over him as the starting back and gloated when they got to stick him in practice.
.
.

3) Leonard Davis

– a true love of all Cardinals fan – supervaluable can’t miss first round T prospect, 6’7” and 330 lbs. of bulldozing weakside protection who signed for like a decade and a kabillion dollars. Within three years had killed multiple Cardinals qb’s with his matador pass protection while lacking any meanstreak or apparent run blocking ability as Cardinal running games ranked dead last in the NFL during his tenure. So bad they had to move him to guard despite his cap killing salary until not resigning him.

4) Ricky Williams

– all time college leading rusher and can't miss prospect, Mike Ditka traded entire Saints draft for his rights and dressed like a woman to court him. Using Master P as his agent, signed maybe the worst incentive based contract in league history. Lasted three or so years before admitting he had some acute shyness disorder (not bad for the face of a franchise). Now trying to make a comeback after decision to move to India or something and retire from football - or was the numerous NFL drug policy violations?

5) Phil Simms Jr. (or is it Chris)

– FU’ed the entire state of Tennessee after agreeing to sign at the other UT there as top ranked qb out of high school only to go prima donna and chose Texas and their historic line of qbs so he could get more "exposure". Wonderboy took three years to become starter after being unable to beat out the legendary 5’3” walk-on Major Applewhite (who?). Career highlight getting his ass kicked and crying mercy in annual beatdowns at the hands of Oklahoma which ultimately led to Oklahoma beatdown at hands of SC . Distinguished pro career as back up in Tampa Bay behind 40 year old qb whose sexuality called into question by TO.

I am not sure why the legacy of whiners, wussies and washouts – it’s like Earl Campbell used up the school’s entire allotment of testicular fortitude. That and these reasons to hate them:

1) They have red and white jerseys (sorry burnt orange) – check
2) Sanctimonious bandwagon fans – “Don’t Mess with Texas”– check
3) Questionable academic credibility (for the athletics at least) – check
4) Annoying redneck gang hand sign – “Hook Em Horns” – check
5) Annoying celebrity fan – Matthew McCoughnehey – Maybe that’s where Vince learned the party shirtless look. Hanging out on the side line at UT games eeirly similar to his Wooderson role in Dazed and Confused -"That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age." - check.

Only mitigating factor is that Bevo the longhorn might be one of college football’s best mascots although name has loser history. Apparently after a loss to A&M, this being cowboy country, Aggie fans branded the longhorn with the score of the game 13-0. Texas fans added to the brand to name him BEVO (13 = B, - made into an E, add a V). Kind of like SC naming their team after the idiot losers of the Trojan war who couldn’t figure out the horse thing then make their mascot a dude on a horse. Other mitigating factor – UCLA owned UT back in the Cade McNown era – pre handicapped parking scandal).

Anyway, best wishes to Buckeye fans this weekend, my prediction SC 24 – OSU 13. Fight On!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

IAI College Top 25 Rankings Week 1

No politics here! Just pure love of football guides our picks. Here are the week 1 rankings. All teams in this initial list are 1-0.

1. Ohio State
2. USC
3. Georgia
4. Missouri
5. LSU
6. Oklahoma
7. Florida
8. West Virginia
9. Auburn
10. Kansas
11. Arizona State
12. Texas
13. Wisconsin
14. Alabama
15. UCLA
16. Utah
17. South Carolina
18. Fresno State
19. Penn State
20. Texas Tech
21. Oregon
22. South Florida
23. BYU
24. California
25. Bowling Green

There you go. For the AP Rankings, click HERE.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

College Football


Ah yes, the smell of leaves and the crisp cool winds of autumn. Well, okay... who am I kidding? It is August in Arizona and its still crazy-hot here. Anyway college football is upon us and that means good times. I'll be attending the Arizona State- Northern Arizona "rivalry" game this Saturday and I hope it stays within 14pts at least 'til halftime. I'm going courtesy of Justwinbaby, and so I plan to enjoy the free grub provided for his fancy loge seats.

Time for a quiz!

Ohio State is occasionally derided by Pac-10 fanboys for playing a weak in-state schedule before the Big 10 portion of the season kicks in. But Ohio State does occasionally lose those in-state games. Name the last Ohio school to beat the Buckeyes. Click HERE for the answer.

John 3:16


"For [Ken Whisenhunt] so loved the world [of Cardinals fans] that he gave his only begotten [quarterback], that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life [as a sportsfan]."

Well, Ken, count me in as an apostate. I have lost my faith in your chosen one, the eternally-juvenile Matt Leinart. And as the prophets preach this morning that Leinart still has the starting job, I look to you for guidance. And your wisdom? "It was unfortunate that Matt has to see those [rumors of his demotion]."

Unfortunate? Let me suggest some other things Matt should see and learn:

-- Dude, you have the arm strength of a young tyrannosaur.
-- You are dumber than Jake Plummer -- when Jake was still in high school.
-- Hot tubs are skeevy places -- better check for cooties and other STDs.
-- There is a 40 second clock running between most plays; it's pretty important to start your plays before it ticks down.
-- "USC Alum" -- oxymoron or just moronic?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Deadspin is Dead On


Deadspin counts down the "Top 10 Reasons the Little League World Series Sucks" HERE.

They are right on the mark. The whole thing is just crazy. 10 year old kids playing year around; the finals televised on ESPN; the playoffs televised on ESPN. Can you say "Way too much exposure at a young age"? Plus, the baseball isn't very good. They're KIDS. I know some love it because it brings baseball to its roots-- kids having fun. But this is SERIOUS BUSINESS and it doesn't look like much fun at all. It needs to end.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

No QB Controversy Here


After tonight's debacle against the Oakland Raiders, are there any Cardinals fans who really think Matt Leinart should be the starting QB? Anyone? Leinart showed that his summer of beer-bongs with underage girls did not prepare him for the "tough" Oakland Defense. Three Interceptions in the first half is no way to inspire confidence Matt. Worse, his passes just looked terrible. They fluttered and floated and he really seemed to be just throwing the ball up for grabs. "Go Long!" may work in backyard football, but it clearly doesn't cut it in the NFL.

Kurt Warner is an experienced pro who proved last year that he "still has it." He may not be the "QB of the future," but he is the QB of now because he is the one who has demonstrated he can lead the Arizona Cardinals to a win.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Medal Count*








And the question remains, who will "win" the Olympics. Oh, I know, guys like Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, believed that "the important thing is not to win, but to take part." But in more recent years the Olympics have been led by swell fellas like Juan Antonio Samaranch, the falangist apologist for the Franco regime in Spain. He was all about Olympic glory, and it's all due to him that this year we need an asterisk in the standings.
As a jingoistic American, I question China's lead in the gold medal standings and likely top finish in the overall count. And I'm not talking about the nine-year-old gymnasts, either. Rather, I'm talking about those entertainment set pieces that Samaranch put in the Games, things like rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming and diving. (Click here for a link to the medal winners by year, with year of introduction of the event.) Now, I grant you that those events (and, dare we say it during Beijing 2008, beer, er, ping pong) take skill and fitness, but they lack the sustained endurance necessary to qualify, from the perspective of my armchair, as a true sport worthy of a medal, such as the marquee events like track and field and individual swimming and diving as well as more sparsely-attended events like rowing and the sweet science of boxing. And it's not just areas where the Chinese may rack up the score. The keirin track cycling race is fun to watch, and those crazy European dudes spin like mad, but when your whole race comes down to 6.5 seconds of energy, that's show biz not sport.

UFL for Justice


There have been some interesting columns in the past year about the high-profile failures of certain quarterbacks in the NFL. In particular, Byron Leftwich, Duante Culpepper, and other black quarterbacks met with huge success, but then when injured or less effective were quickly demoted and then cut. Now they stuggle to find jobs as back up QBs. Their plight was contrasted with the plight of oft-injured, weak-armed, but likable white guy Chad Pennington. As soon as he was cut by the Jets (after they landed Brett Favre) Chad was quickly snapped up by the Miami Dolphins.

So some are wondering "what gives?" Read the column by the National Sports Review HERE. It raises a number of valid points. Though Culpepper hasn't looked that great since he came back from his knee injury.

The UFL suddenly emerges as not only an alternative to the NFL, but a new opportunity for black quarterbacks who find themselves on the outside looking in. NFL Hall of Fame QB Warren Moon had to start his career with Edmonton of the CFL. It was only after he had stellar success there that he was able to play QB in the NFL. UFLAccess.com posits that perhaps the UFL will provide the same opportunity to guys like Leftwich. Read the UFL column HERE.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Two Cheers for Kobe


Although the jury never even went out, we can now concede that Kobe Bryant is, at the very least, an elegant rapist.
For starters, he is leading the American basketballers in just being plain old sports fans, parading with the other athletes and cheering for Michael Phelps, even going so far as to pose with Phelps' mom and to lead the swim team in cheers. (This is a far cry from one of the early Dream Teams, when Hakeem Olajuwon had to elbow Gary Payton on the medal stand to get him to stop his jawing.)
He is also, let's remember, a tri-lingual American [seriously, there can't be more than about 75 tri-lingual Americans in the entire country], giving interviews to the world press in Italian, Spanish and English. (Even better, he refuses to speak French). This is a remarkable skill, and makes Kobe a remarkably well-rounded athlete who can at least attempt to fend off the perception of American insularity and nativism.
There remains, of course, that weekend on the slopes in Aspen. Whatever happened there (he raped her), he certainly forgot the Cassanova creed of leaving his women contented and wanting more. Perhaps Aspen was truly an aberration for an otherwise good guy; to be on the safe side, Kobe, stay away from the wanna-be ski bunnies while in China.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hammer Time

The Spanish Olympic Basketball Team is pretty good. In fact the team has several NBA players. Here's their team picture (no joke):



Don't worry, there's a reason for the team "slant-eyes" picture.
"It was something like supposed to be funny or something but never offensive in any way," Spain's Pau Gasol, center for the Los Angeles Lakers, said. "I'm sorry if anybody thought or took it the wrong way and thought that it was offensive." The photographer asked them to pose like that, according to Jose Manuel Calderon, a Raptors point guard.

Wait, Gosol is sorry if anyone thought it was offensive. I'm sorry Pau, but that is no apology. You don't get to qualify your apologees. Either you're sorry or you're not. The photo is offensive. Not to mention, stupid, juvenile, etc.

Time for David Stern to tell the NBA players on the Spanish team to apologize. Then he should order them to sensitivity classes or suspension if they don't go. The NBA needs to send a message that that crap don't fly here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Who Invited the EuroTrash?





Ahh, monsieur Bernard, the fastest swimmer in the world, non? No.

Check out our boys who crushed the Frenchies in the 100 meter freestyle relay. Big words from the Frenchies, non? Well, we've heard those before, haven't we, Monsieur Maginot?

I'm not really even sure why France is still a country. I mean, come on: since the advent of democracy in America, France has had one Nazi puppet, two emperors, three kings and five separate Republiques.

Maybe France should start to compete on some unified team of all their allies: the Rwandan genocidaires; their Libyan frère, whom they protected from the U.S. strike in '86; and the other assorted Mobutus and Papa Docs out there.

And I'm really starting to get annoyed that French remains an official language of the Olympics. Some of the participants even use French for their official names year-round. Timor-Leste hardly seems like a tough-guy nation respected by its peers; sounds more like the little guy that wandered around with the warthog in The Lion King.

So, Bernard. Get your surrender hand ready. And shut your bouche.

Editor's Note #1: Bernard did indeed win the 100 free. Even mouthy guys have their day.

Editor's Note #2: Russia steamrolled right past Sarkozy's cease-fire, so I hope he at least taught the Georgians how to surrender.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tiananmen was a "crackdown"?

Nice to see that the National Broadcasting Company has become China's b****. During the Opening Ceremonies Jim Lampley, Bob Costas and even Tom Brokaw chose to highlight the perseverance of China in the face of protests rather than the underlying reasons for the protests themselves. And when they did talk about the "occupation" of Tibet or "genocide" in Darfur, those fighting words were mysteriously blurred out of the broadcast. Take a gander below.

Listen, I'm all for recognizing the glorious inventions of China, like the Great Wall, calligraphy, fireworks and pasta. I can even appreciate on a theoretical level the land reform efforts in Yenan after the Long March -- the only time land reform has ever been accomplished in an equitable manner with regard for due process -- but NBC needs to take the good with the bad.

Bob Costas at one point referred to Tiananmen as a "crackdown". Don't you think "massacre" would be a better word for the killing of protesters? The only remotely analogous American violence against peaceful protesters is Bull Connor's dogs and hoses in Birmingham, and Connor has now been reviled by three generations of Americans. The U.S. press would never permit a whitewashing of the violence in Birmingham, and should not sugarcoat the execution of students in China.

And finally, let's talk about the little kid walking in with Yao, the tiny earthquake survivor. Hey, that's a great story. But I swear to you, Bob Costas actually seemed to believe that nonsense that China is spinning about how that teeny little boy crawled his way out of the rubble and then went back to help dig out his classmates. C'mon, reporters and commentators, you know a load of crap when you see it. That's like supporting the Cuban line that Elian Gonzalez is a student leader, or the American military's contention that Jessica Lynch went down with guns ablazing. Let the little kid have his day, but don't perpetuate a myth.

Still, the Games are pretty cool and the Chinese fans are real sportsmen and -women. I'm going back to watch the swimming.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Spitz is a baby


Yahoo is reporting (HERE) that Olympic Legend Mark Spitz feels hurt and snubbed because he wasn't invited to be there in person if his swimming records are broken in Beijing.

Spitz whines:
"I never got invited. You don't go to the Olympics just to say, I am going to go. Especially because of who I am," Spitz told AFP in Hong Kong.
"I am going to sit there and watch Michael Phelps break my record anonymously? That's almost demeaning to me. It is not almost—it is."


The article continues:
Spitz, whose brief stint in show business in the 1970s never quite matched his success in the pool, said he attended the Athens Olympics four years ago—when Phelps also tried to break the record.
"They did not once put my face on television," he recalled. "But as soon as the swimming was over, and Michael Phelps didn't break my record, every time I went to beach volley, they put my face on the volleyballs."


My God, what a egomaniac. He's bitter because HE isn't the star of this olympics? Damn, Mark, if you want to go, then go. But don't get all worked up because they didn't give you the key to the city or "put your face on television." Jeez, what a baby.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Woo Hoo!



The NFL Season is upon us (finally!)

I'll be attending the Cardinals-Saints game tomorrow (inexplicably set for a Thursday night) along with a bunch of Cowboys fans who were forced to buy this pre-season ticket to get their precious Cowboys tickets. I'm the guy who will be cheering for Warner to beat out Leinart. Regardless, it should be fun.

Other NFL Stuff-

My take on Favre? I understand he changed his mind. That's fine. But how can he think that the Packers would or should let him go to Minnesota. What a prima-dona. Let them trade you to Tampa and be done with it!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Olympics 2008 -China



As you can see anytime you try to watch sports on TV, the Olympics is about to start in China. I love the Olympics. Nothing better than some good old fashioned Nationalism.

But remember: China sucks. Boycott the shows and the advertisers who support China's actions in Tibet by paying money to be seen on the telecast.

More on the boycott HERE.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Great Game!


Congratulations to the Philadelphia Soul --the Jon Bon Jovi owned 2008 Arenabowl 22 (!) Champion. A great, close 59-56 victory over San Jose wrapped up a nice season.

Here are my final 2008 Arenafootball Rankings:

1. Philadelphia Soul. The Champs
2. San Jose Sabercats. Nice comeback.
3. Cleveland Gladiators. Great Playoff Run.
4. Dallas Desperados. Window of opportunity is closing.
5. Chicago Rush. Disappointing fade at end of season.
6. Georgia Force.
7. New York Dragons. Nice 2nd half of season.
8. Grand Rapids Rampage. Moving to Minnesota rumors?
9. Arizona Rattlers. Need to build on this rebuilding year.
10. Orlando Predators. Has Gruden lost his edge?
11. Tampa Bay Storm.
12. New Orleans Voo Doo.
13. Utah Blaze. Why did Danny White quit?
14. Columbus Destroyers. Already signing players for 2009.
15. Los Angeles Avengers
16. Colorado Crush. Time for Elway to clean house.
17. Kansas City Brigade. Need to find a QB solution.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

An All-Star Game Worth Watching


Some facts are well-established. Like, All-Star games suck. The NFL Pro Bowl is a half-speed farce. Major League Baseball tried to put some life in its all-star game by awarding the winning league home field advantage in the World Series. It didn't work. Perhaps the worst all-star game of all is the NBA's version of a super-star scrimmage. The NBA version feature absolutely no attempt by players to play hard. The games suck.

But Major League Soccer has stumbled onto a system that works. The games are exciting, well-played, and perhaps most important, it is clear that the players are going all out. Tonight's MLS All-Star game (at shiny new Sold-Out BMO Field in Toronto) was a perfect example. MLS prevailed 3-2 over West Ham United of the English Premiere League in a close, exciting game full of excellent play, great shots, and hotly contested possession. For five years now, MLS has pitted its All-stars against top professional teams from the world's top leagues. For 5 years MLS has won those games, and for the most part the games have been quite good. Regardless, they are worth watching --which automatically makes them better games than the all-star shows put on by NFL, MLB, and NBA. The NHL occasionally tweaks its all-star format, and its North America v. Europe version of its all-star game improves the product. But this "us vs. them" set up used by MLS is clearly superior. The players really care about the result. League pride is on the line.

Such a set-up obviously will not work for baseball or the NFL. But the NBA should consider an NBA all-=star team v. a world team or the olympic champs or something similar. As a kid I remember watching with interest when the super bowl champs (Pittsburgh in 1979) took on a college all-star team. Now that was fun. Too bad the NFL would never try something that interesting now.

Regardless, skip the current all-star formats and make sure you tune in for next year's MLS All-star game. You won't be disappointed.