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 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.”
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.