Saturday, December 20, 2008

NFL Fan Code of Conduct = Big Brother Is Watching

Michael McCarthy of the USA Today recently authored up an excellent article that details the NFL's new Fan Code of Conduct policy.

After answering a survey, I was fortunate enough to be selected to offer up a few opinions for the piece. After reading the story, I tried to envision how this is going down, in the perfect world of the NFL.
I'm picturing NFL commish Roger Goodell RG) in an underground bunker with a bank of TV's and telephones with a direct line to each stadium.
Lots of crowd shots on the monitors as the fans in each location enjoy their Sunday afternoons, complete with newly installed "Applause" signs above each scoreboard so fans know when the league allows them to cheer for their team..
My guess is the conversations go something like this:
RG: Ummm, Buffalo, we have a problem. In Section 7, row 4, seats 5-9, there are five grotesque looking, 300-pound men with their shirts off. Let's see if we can get that covered up, shall we?
Buffalo Security: Mr. Commish, I'm not sure we can do that..
RG: Doesn't matter, I'm horrified! I dropped nacho cheese on my new Armani suit when I saw the gearth. Tell them they can cheer when the Bills score, maybe sometime in '09. At the least, make them paint an NFL logo on their chests, I'd hate to pass up an advertising opp.
Buffalo Security: Sir, are you sure you want to......????

RG: Hold on Buffalo, we have a bigger problem......Eli Manning just got sacked and his left sock is 1/8th of an inch below league code!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! New York, you there?

Giants Stadium Security: Yes, Mr. Goodell, we'll force a TV timeout, no problem. We have a bigger issue here.......your buddies Pacman and Plaxman both made the news last night. I'm sure you heard about it, Its in all the papers. How should we handle it?

RG: No biggie, I'll fine the players 1/100th of their salary, they'll learn the lesson once they are hit in the wallet. That'll teach 'em........Now, GET THOSE SOCKS UP TO CODE! I won't be able to sleep tonight.

RG: Hey Cleveland.....are those dawg bones that I see being eaten the ones endorsed by the league? If not, confiscate them. I'll lock them up in the vault with the Spygate evidence.

RG: Hey.....where is that Jets//Steeler matchup? My screen is blank. Better get Heinz Field on the horn. Heinz Field, you there?

Heinz Field: Yes sir, the game is going on. Pittsburgh is up 17-3 in the 2nd.

RG: Why do I not have it? I'm sure we paid the cable bill.

Heinz Field: Ummmm, sir? The game is on NFL Network. Are you with the vast majority of the country that doesn't get that channel?

RG: D'oh!!!!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Christmas Wish List

Dear Santa,

I've been reasonably good, as far as you know, this year.

I have so few needs and wants in life, this list should be pretty easy to accomodate so let's focus on me for a bit.

What I want for Christmas:

- Some pride in Oakland Raider football. Being the first team in history to lose 11 games (or more) in six straight seasons hurts more than the time I got kicked in the cookies during a pickup basketball game in my late-teens and had to go to the doctor with a bruised left testicle.

.Sadly, that is a true story.

.- A Stanley Cup championship for the Boston Bruins. We can put this one on lay-a-way until June, 2009, I'm good with that. This hasn't happened since before I knew about hockey so in my view, it hasn't happened. Cheering home Raymond Bourque in the 2001 final with the Avs was okay, but not quite the real thing.

- A national championship for Tyler Hansbrough. The dude deserves it.
-A 7-0 mark for the Big 12 in the college bowl season, it'll validate my talk thru the year that the Big 12 was far and away the best conference in college football this season.
- More radio guys like ESPN's Colin Cowherd. The best on the radio, this guy has game. Mixing brutal honesty with great humor, his show is a can't-miss to the point where it makes you want to sit in your car on your lunch hour and listen in, which I do.
- Spoiled athletes to respect their jobs and the opportunity afforded to them.
- Someone to explain to me how the Yankees could sign CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett and still have the intestinal fortitude to ask for increased public funds to build their version of the Taj Mahal.

- A Brett Favre Super Bowl berth - Hey Packer brass...........I told you so!

Besides, and it pains me to say this, the long-suffering J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets! fans deserve it. When a 9-7 season gives you joy, even the Jets fans should enjoy the spotlight not seen since Joe Willie White Shoes guaranteed Super Bowl III.
-The Dallas Cowboys to miss the playoffs.
- Terrell Owens to keep talking. It'll help with the above point and continue to make Jerry Jones look like a tool for enabling self-egrandising stars who put themselves over their teams.

- A BCS Playoff. It help rid the world of whiners like Texas coach Mack Brown, who seems to think he can still politic his way into the BCS title game.
Dude.....stop pointing to the head-to-head issue with Oklahoma. Texas Tech has the same record, in the same division, as you and the Sooners. That is what is called a 3-way tie and the Red Raiders beat you. 'Nuff said. Now, get ready for Ohio State as I'm taking the Longhorns high on my list in my college footbal bowl pool.
-Finally.......the obligatory peace on earth and goodwill to most of mankind and all that stuff.

There you go Santa......not toooooo unreasonable, don't ya think? Let's see if we can get to work and make these things happen.
After all, I deserve it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Colt McCoy For Heisman

I don't get a vote, but I do have an opinion.

I'd annoited McCoy the leading contender back in October and cannot come off of it. With all due respect to Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow, McCoy is the man this year.
McCoy was clearly the Most Valuable Player to his team throughout the season and had the Heisman all but wrapped up until the Longhorns lost 39-37 at Texas Tech.
His effort that night should not take away the Heisman.

McCoy, a junior, completed an astounding 77.6% of his passes this season in leading the Longhorns to an 11-1 record. McCoy tossed 32 touchdown passes with just seven picks during his spectacular season.

The stat that separates McCoy from Bradford and Tebow this season is that McCoy led the Longhorns in rushing yards.

Opposing defenses keyed on McCoy this season, and could not stop him. Without McCoy, Texas would have been a 9-3 or 8-4 team this season.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanks for the Memories, Mad Dog

Growing up, Jim "Catfish" Hunter was my favorite pitcher to watch as his Hall of Fame career unfolded for the Oakland Athletics and then the New York Yankees.

I was in the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum (I was nine) when Catfish returned to Oakland in 1975 with the Yankees and twirled a two-hit shutout against my A's.

The memories of Hunter's postseason success always stuck with me. As I've gotten older and now in my 40's, only one other pitcher has ever gained my appreciation to that level.

That pitcher is Greg Maddux.

In an age of high-powered offense and steroids, Maddux was a true artist on the mound. Never overpowering, the soft-spoken righthander was a master of location, movement, and changing speeds.

With respect to other greats of his generation, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez, Maddux is the top pitcher of this era and a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer.

His 1995 season of 19-2, 1.63 ERA, 0.81 WHIP with 181 K's for a finesse pitcher for the World Champion Braves was the best season by a pitcher that I've ever seen.

Greg Maddux is reportedly going to announce his retirement on Monday.

There will never be another like him.

Pond Scum

I hate to tarnish this column with the dregs of society, the news is the news and this cannot be ignored.

There is so many good things about sports and its impact on society.

Sports brought O.J. Simpson into the eye of society in the 1960's.

Now convicted, his criminal behavior will take him out of society of a number of years.

You had it all, Orenthal James Simpson, and you gave it all back.

Goodbye and good riddance....... now go away.

Upset Alert

Offense sells tickets but defense wins championships.

With or without Percy Harvin, I'd be picking Alabama in today's SEC title game.

Tim Tebow is great, but 'Bama wins games the old fashioned way. On the ground and in the trenches.

The unbeaten Crimson Tide gets in done today over the Gators.

Alabama 30, Florida 28

Chalk One Up to Tradition

Back in the day, when both USC and UCLA played their home games in the LA Coliseum, each team wore the home uniforms for the annual Battle of Los Angeles.
Kudos to Pete Caroll today for restoring that tradition when the Trojans take the field in their home uniforms.
It'll cost Coach Carroll a few timeouts as a penalty, I hope those timeouts do not come back to haunt his team in their efforts to clinch the Pac 10 title today.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shooting Youself in the Foot....errrr Leg

Life isn't fair sometimes.

That's the way it goes, deal with it.

Should athletes (or people in the public eye, in general) have to worry about being asked for autographs, pictures, or face harassment from over-served patrons in clubs?

The answer should be no.

But it isn't, and that is the reality of it all. It is part of the "deal" that you make with society.

In the case of pro athletes, they are paid gobs of cash to play a game. Along with the green comes a certain sacrifice of privacy. They are recognizable figures in the community in which they play.
It comes with the package that includes large salaries.

If I want to go out for a cold beverage, I can do that. Nobody knows me, nobody cares.

If a star NFL player wants to go out, he'll be a focus of where he is going. Sorry, welcome to reality.

Posses are nice, bodyguards are good too (except for Pacman Jones). Worried about a DUI charge? Get a limo (didn't help Darrent Williams). Ask Jacksonville Jaguar lineman Richard Collier what happens when you simply mind your own business.

Simply put, not a whole lot of good happens after midnight when you are out on the town. Not when your livelihood is at stake. That is the trade off, fame, adulation, more money, groupies, cars, and trouble.

For some, guns are included on that list. For most, guns are a form of protection, unless, reportedly, you are Plaxico Burress....we'll deal with the allegedly potential felony charges later.
For others, it is a magnet for trouble.

If you need a gun to go out and protect yourself, perhaps you should go somewhere else or simply stay home. Staying home cost Redskin safety Sean Taylor his life, but that is the exception to the rule.

Is it fair ? No, not even close.

But that is the way it is, deal with it.

Stop Whining

With a three-way tie in the Big 12 South now official, the division title will be left to the fifth tiebreaker which is BCS rank.

When the rankings come out later today, expect Oklahoma to jump Texas in the computer polls based on its 61-41 win over Oklahoma State. The strength of schedule matters in this case.

Texas fans are already groaning about the mere possibility of their beloved Longhorns being passed by Oklahoma.

True, Texas beat Oklahoma 45-35 on a neutral field in October. I'll give them that one.

However, this is a three team tie we are dealing with.

For Texas to cry fowl is ridiculous. Texas Tech beat Texas and they only have one loss. Why Texas fans, is your club more deserving than the team that beat you and has the same record?

I don't care that the game was in Lubbock and you lost on the final play. A loss is a loss. If the argument is that Texas is more deserving than OU, then finish the statement with the opinion that Texas Tech deserves it more than yourselves.

Then the discussion can turn to OU's beatdown of Texas Tech eight days ago. And around and around we go.
The eventual tiebreaker stinks, but so does the whole system.

Sorry, Charlie

Dude, you took a Ty Willingham-recruited team to within 10 seconds of upsetting a great USC team in 2005 and they were ready to nominate you for Pope.
Now, with the players you recruited and a much softer schedule, the Fighting Irish ain't getting it done. More importantly, the *****-star recruits aren't getting better under your watch.
Forget the USC loss, as ugly as it was. The Irish lost, at home, on senior day, to Syracuse. It doesn't get any lower than that - until you consider the players were pelted by snowballs from their own student body.
It is time for a change in South Bend

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Scrooge Comes Early

The holiday season is on the horizon, time for good tidings and warm thoughts to all.

Umm.....not here. Not yet.

The Raiders beat the Denver Broncos 31-10 today, in Denver. We may be 3-8, but this win is a beautiful thing and caps a very nice weekend for myself.

When it comes over Denver, their idiot fans who pelted me with snowballs in 2000, and the overrated, punk, coach Shanny, it is even sweeter.

I'm running through my head which teams - or in one case, player - do I actually hate the most. I know, the word hate is ugly, but in the world of sports, it fits. I couldn't stop at just 10, we'll make it a baker's dozen.

****Sorry for the lack of pictures in this blog. The thought of downloading any of these team's logos makes me want to hurl.*****

13 - New York Giants - The champs. Rooting for them in last year's Super Bowl (see below) but the thought of Randy Moss winning a Super Bowl was too much to take. Living in New York State, I am exposed to this team every week and it sucks. Being force-fed Giants football is typically like watching paint dry. They've gotten a little more exciting this year, but 30 years of boredom is enough to keep them on the list.

12- New England Patriots - Moss is a punk, Belichick is a cheater, and I work with Pats fans who are extremely obnoxious. was a fumble!

11- Kobe Bryant - I'm praying this definition of selfish never wins a title without Shaq. I think I became a Celtics fan last year when they turned away the spotlight seeking-ball hog in the finals last year. I'll never stop believing, that until he won the award last year, it was more important to Bryant to win the MVP than to win the NBA title.

10- Big 10 football - This garbage usually makes its way to the TV airwaves in the northeast all day on Saturday afternoons. A collection of average teams, playing boring, average football and a collection of fans who won't hesitate to tell you how good their teams are. That is, until the college bowl season commences and their teams get drilled in spotlight games (see-Ohio State).

9- Colorado Buffalo football - They aren't the rivals of Nebraska that they've been, mostly because they suck now. I'm looking forward to the day after Thanksgiving later this week when I'm digesting my leftovers while watching the Huskers kick CU's tail back to Boulder and deny them the chance to become bowl eligible.

8- Kansas City Chiefs/San Diego Chargers - Show me a fan of an AFC West team who doesn't abhor the other teams in the division. These rivalries go back to the 1960's. These teams can't lose enough to make me happy.

7- Boston Red Sox - I actually thought they'd be higher on this list but they aren't. The only team in MLB on here, the Sox ended the A's run of three straight World Series titles in the 1970's and I haven't forgotten it. There isn't a non-Met fan or non-Yankee fan that enjoyed Billy Bucker, Bucky F'n Dent and Aaron F'n Boone more than I.

6- Buffalo Sabres - Never has one organization done so little. This team has a loyal set of fans that deserve better. The fact that Lindy Ruff is still the coach after all these years of mediocrity makes me laugh. The Sabres are a natural rival to the Bruins and always seem to have a chip on their shoulder - even though they have no reason to. I think it is a Western New York insecurity thing. Oh yeah........Brett Hull's skate was not in the crease....hahahahhahahahaha

5-Miami Hurricanes - They used to be higher on this list, but I'm not sure they are still in 1-A football any more. Ever since the NCAA Probation Police caught up with this disgrace of a program, they haven't been relevant. I guess when someone starts monitoring the academic side of things, criminal programs fade to oblivion.

4- Dallas Cowboys - Have you ever gone out to watch football and run across Cowboys fans? It looks like they've spent three hours in front of the mirror - I'm talking about guys here - putting on the white turtlenecks under that annoying white jersey. If that isn't enough to make you sick, think of the self-anointed title of "America's team" in the 70's, Jimmy Johnson, Michael Irvin, Prime Time, Jerry Jones, Pacman Jones, and even T.O. I love it when they lose.

3- Duke Basketball - The good thing about Duke players is that they are so overrated that you don't have to watch them in the NBA 'cuz they never make it. Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, and the rest of stuffy snobs are easy to loathe. The scripted chants of the morons in Cameron Fieldhouse have gotten old. J.J. Redick losing his last home game against the Tar Heels was a highlight for me and Coach K's crying at the end of another second-round NCAA tournament loss is usually a highlight for me in the month of March.

2- Montreal Canadiens - I hate the team, the organization, and its fans. One of my personal lifetime highlights was during my one and only visit to the Montreal Forum, where I took the term, "Ugly American" to a new level. The Canadiens seem to have knocked the Bruins out of the playoffs every year of my life. The ripoff in '79 when Boston got called for too many men on the ice with two minutes to go in Game Seven while nursing a 4-3 lead was criminal. Boston lost 5-4 in overtime and I've never gotten over it.

1- Denver Broncos - John Elway is the most overrated player in NFL history. Period. He didn't win a thing until Terrell Davis arrived. The 1978 Denver team played (and got buried) in Super Bowl XII only because of a horrible call in the third quarter of the AFC title game when Willie Hall recovered Rob Lytle's fumble at the Raider 1-yard line. The idiot referee crew blew the play dead and gave the ball back to Denver, who scored on the next play on John Keyworth's touchdown run.

How do I remember that? Because it was another ripoff in Oakland Raider history, along with Franco Harris' illegal catch in the '72 playoffs and Tom Brady's fumble (see above).

Mike Shanahan hasn't won a thing in almost ten years. Thankfully, his arrogance in thinking that he is smarter than the rest of the NFL has kept his team back (did someone say Maurice Clarett - 3rd round draft choice) over the last decade.

The fans are jerks and the beer they serve at their games is flat.

Other than the Raider's three Super Bowl wins, my favorite Super Bowl moments are re-living Denver's four Super Bowl losses in the 70's and 80's.

The nice thing is that Denver is not anywhere near being good enough to have any success in the near future.

With that out of the way, we are just a few days from Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season.

I'll start by saying I'm thankful that the Raiders got a win in Denver today. Life is good.

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mussina was solid, but HOF'er ?

Word is circulating that Mike Mussina is set to retire from baseball. Mussina was always a solid, but not dominate pitcher during his years with the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees.

After struggling mightily in 2007, Mussina rebounded to win 20 games for the first time in his career for the Yankees in '08. Mussina has 270 wins in 18 years, during an era highlighted be offense and will finish with a career record of 270-153.

The Hall of Fame candidacy has already begun. I'd vote if I could, but nobody is knocking on my door with a ballot for me so I'm relegated to just an opinion.

Mussina was never considered to be one of the dominant pitchers of his era. That is something that should be taken under consideration when deciding the Hall of Fame legitimacy of a player.

Jack Morris was the winningest pitchers of the 1980's and is a post season legend for his performances with the '85 Tigers and '91 Twins. He isn't enshrined in Cooperstown. In 18 seasons, Morris was 254-186 and authored one of the greatest World Series performances with his 10-inning 1-0 shutout win in Game 7 of the 1991 series against Atlanta.

Until Morris gets to Cooperstown, Mussina's name shouldn't be discussed. Sorry, Moose

Pacman Returns

Serious ?

In defense of the Big 12

For those SEC fans who might be thinking the South has the best football, think again.

The Big 12 is the best conference this year, hands down.

I get a chuckle from those who bang on the Big 12 for its defensive stats. With a wide-open conference with QB's like Sam Bradford, Graham Harrell, Colt McCoy, Chase Daniel, Zac Robinson, and Joe Ganz, the defensive stats are bound to suffer.

This is the greatest collection of quarterbacks in one conference that has hit college football.

Look for the Big 12 to be a major player in the bowl season this year.

Prediction Time

Texas Tech has had the best season in school history. The Red Raiders have cleared all hurdles this year and erased all doubts as to their ability to win on the big stage. The Sooners are missing all-everything LB Ryan Reynolds and top DE Auston English.

I'm dying to pick the Red Raiders, but I can't. Oklahoma is playing as well as anyone in the country and are playing at home. Colt McCoy was the early leader for the Heisman Trophy, Graham Harrell of Texas Tech is the current front runner for the award. For now.

Oklahoma will win this game, 44-41. His performance Saturday night will be enough for OU quarterback Sam Bradford to hoist the Heisman Trophy next month in New York City.

Congrats to JJ

While I just can't grasp the allure to NASCAR, congrats to Jimmie Johnson on his third straight championship.

Each year, I try to drum up some interest in the sport but can't do it. Without the crashes, I just can't sit thru a race to care enough about it. I know there is a lot of strategy involved between the teams but there are too many left turns in this sport for me.

My lone enjoyment of NASCAR comes when I pump up the virtues of Jeff Gordon, who most NASCAR fans seem to hate. Not sure why, but it seems to get under the skin of those who detest the driver of the 2-4 car.

The only real positive I can put on NASCAR is that it isn't soccer.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Time To Squish the Fish

The Oakland Raiders will beat the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Yep....I believe.

Nope, nothing special in my Diet Soda right now.

So I'm thinking of all the possible cliches I can pull out this week.

I mean, why not? Life in the Raider Nation sucks right now, might as well be upbeat.

Cliche #1-"We have everything to gain and nothing to lose"

Truer words were never spoken. It can always get worse, but seriously....if the Raiders aren't at rock bottom, the landing has to be close.

JaMarcus and Darren McFadden are back from injury. McFadden has shown some electric stuff when he has been on the field.

If he is truly healthy, lots of running this week and work in the passing game with Russell and Zack Miller. The WR's are horrible, use them as decoys (if Miami bothers to cover them).

Cliche #2 - "Pull out all the stops"

With no real passing game, put in some wishbone with McFadden and Justin Fargas with Michael Bush up front.

Stupid idea? Probably.....but so is giving a bunch of cash to Javon Walker (worthless before getting hurt) and DeAngelo Hall (coach wants to see you and bring your playbook).

Cliche #3 - "Everyone is doing it"

Run that Wildcat formation a few times. Yes......its a fad and its effectiveness won't last forever.

But, Miami has success with Ronnie Brown running it and McFadden had big success running the Wild-Hog formation at Arkansas.

Cliche #4 - "It ain't illegal unless you get caught"

Now we're talking Raider Football.

Pennington showed up on the injured list with a bad foot.
We need a win,'d be a shame if that foot got roughed up a little bit in a pileup. Not sure which one?.........twist both of them. Just to be sure.

Hey, this is football. Not soccer - (Mike). We ain't choir boys, we're Raiders.

Cliche #5- "Desparate times call for desparate measures"

If all else fails, send a courier to see Ricky Williams the morning of the game. Entice the former Heisman Winner and free spirit (if you know what i mean) a little morning sunshine (wink, wink....).

He'll be worthless by game time.

Its a win-win scenario....Ricky is happy, we're happy. That is what life is all about.

In the end, is a win possible? Always.

Probable ? Go for it.

Raiders 21, Fish 13

Monday, November 10, 2008

My New Second-Favorite Team (For this week)

On behalf of college football fans everywhere, I'd like to take this time to give
a big shout-out to the Iowa Hawkeyes for sparing the nation the horror of watching another overrated Big 10 football team play in the BCS championship game.
For those who don't know, Iowa beat Penn State 24-23 Saturday, giving the Nittany Lions their first loss of the season and basically ensuring the Big 10 will not have a team in the BCS title game.
For years, the Big 10 has been the most overrated entitly in all of sports.
What you have is pretty simple....a bunch of evenly matched teams that can compete amongst themselves because they are incredibly average. Put the Big 10 boys on the national stage and they'd get buried.
Penn State is a nice football team that is having a fine season. I won't take that away from them. But, they'd have had zero chance of beating the SEC or Big 12 champion in the national title game. If they had to play the schedules of the SEC or Big 12, they'd be a 6-6 club.
People can rip on Texas Tech's non-conference schedule and be absolutely correct. Playing Eastern Washington, Nevada, SMU, and UMASS is a joke. However, if the Red Raiders run the table and head to Miami, they will have beaten Texas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Missour (Big 12 title game).
If you put any of those teams in the Big 10, they'd run the table and go unbeaten.
Penn State's non-conference schedule consisted of Coastal Carolina, Oregon State (home), Syracuse and Temple. That schedule is an insult to humanity. I could excuse it if they had a few decent opponents in their conference, but they don't.
Ohio State? One big game this year and they got gashed by USC.

Speaking of USC, they'll most likely be waiting in the Rose Bowl for Penn State - if JoePa's crew can rebound and win out to claim the conference title. If that happens, the Trojans will bury them.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Another Rant...I'm Upset This Time

Mark it down...Sunday, November 2, 2008.

Quite possibly, the worst day in the history of the Oakland Raiders.

At home - the boys in Silver & Black got buriedthe Atlanta Dog-Killers 24-0.
The Raiders were outgained 453-77 in total yards and allowed 30 first downs while amassing a whopping total of 3.
The first half was thrilling.......-2 yards of total offense and no first downs.

A total of 77 yards in 34 plays?????...c'mon, don't bother doing the math.... it sucks.

I think I'm going to hurl.

Is it a total wasted weekend? Well, the Huskers outscored Oklahoma to 28-27 points in the final 45 minutes of last night's game in Norman.

Now, if Big Red wasn't down 35-0 beforehand, it might have been a decent Saturday evening.
At least Texas Tech beat Texas, solidifying my upset pick on

Another silver least the Cowboys are getting kicked around today. The only downside to it is that the Giants are the ones doing it. Living in New York, I can't stand the fact I get the G-men shoved down my throat if I want to watch football every week. Toss in NY Jets and Buffalo Bills football, you can understand why I don't get too excited on game days anymore....At least I can track games on the internet.....

The Bruins are playing well, I'll have to hang my hat on the boys from Beantown....

The NASCAR season is coming to a close. And still, nobody with teeth cares.

Almost that time......

I won't try to sway anyone with my political views...BUT
please get out and vote. It is the right of every American.
It doesn't matter who you vote for, just voting is enough.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Rantings of a Madman

Lets see...the Raiders won this week. So did Nebraska.

Hockey is underway, the Broncos lost last night, the Cowboys are a mess, it's World Series time, and I have a three-day weekend.

Yes, life is good.

Time to get a few things off my chest.................

Why is it that the media buries Al Davis for being out of touch all the time but Jerry Jones is just NOW starting to take some heat for wrecking the Dallas Cowboys?

Seriously, that team is a mess. The way Jones hogs the spotlight makes Mr. Davis look saintly. Don't believe me? You don't see Al Davis mugging for microphones and cameras, ever - unless he is firing a coach for being a liar and a phony.

Jones has no regard for his coaches, which takes away the authority of those in "charge". Wade Phillips is a puppet, the players know who is in charge.

It is the reason Bill Parcells is in Miami, trust me. Jerrah forced Terrell Owens on Parcells and the Big Tuna took his ball and went home. It is a circus in Big D, and that act historically isn't conducive to winning the in NFL.

Write it down, T.O. is ready to explode, he'll cause more than a ripple sometime very soon. Pacman Jones is, well, Pacman Jones. Dallas was the perfect fit for him.

Jones has created a very talented group that acts like they've won a bunch of Super Bowls together. Truth is, the Cowboys haven't won a playoff game since 1996. At this rate, they won't qualify for the playoffs this year, let alone win a postseason game.

World Series Prediction

Not going to go too in depth with the analysis here.

This should be the best World Series that nobody is going to watch in quite sometime. I'm a baseball fanatic so I'll be riveted to the Series.

The young Cinderella Rays against the powerful Phillies. It isn't' Manny and Joe Torre against the Red Sox, but as the Stones once sang....."You can't always get what you want."

I have no ax to grind with either club. A win for either club will make a nice story, and I'm a sucker for those.

I'm rooting for the Phillies for the lone reason that a win will do more for the moral of the sports-crazy Philadelphia sports fan. The Tampa fans probably would be over a loss in a matter of hours.

That is what I'd like to see happen. But it won't.

Tampa in six. James Shields will be the MVP

Upset Alert - Colt McCoy will win the Heisman Trophy. He's been the best player this year in a season filled with great quarterbacks.

However, the Longhorns will bite it this week at home against Oklahoma State. I picked the Cowboys over Missouri two weeks ago on my blog - they changed my pick on me.

This time, its documented.....Oklahoma State 34, Texas 31.

Time to Drop the Puck

Please, please, please.........Let the Bruins win the Stanley Cup!

I've waited a lifetime. Forget everything else, I DESERVE IT.

The B's have lots of young talent up front and are as deep on the top three lines as they've ever been. The defensive corps is young and getting better and captained by massive Zdeno Chara.

The goaltending is good enough and Claude Julien is capable of guiding the team to the top.

Truth be told, this is probably the year that Sidney Crosby and the Penguins begin their mini-dynasty.

Anybody but Montreal.

The NBA starts next week. I don't care. Call me when the playoffs start, maybe I'll take a look at it then.

'Til next time

Monday, October 20, 2008

Raiders Win! And I'm going to gloat...

A Raider win is always a nice feeling.

However, this one is a little sweeter given that I live in New York and know a lot of Jets fans, who have no clue how to handle what little success their team gives them.

Sebastian Janikowski saved the day, filled with defensive offside penalties and an annoying attempt to freeze a kicker in the waning moments of regulation that nearly blew up in the face of INTERIM head coach Tom Cable.

First, the good stuff:

Janikowski's 57-yarder in OT is a Raider record. I'm one of the few who still likes the fact that the Raiders took him as a first-round pick way back when.

JaMarcus Russell played very well, especially in OT. There were a few down moments, but Russell stepped up and tossed more than a few lasers to his receivers. Javon Walker had a nice day as did TE Zack Miller. Russell was on par with future HOF'er Brett Favre.

Speaking of Favre, I can't remember the last time the Raider defense harassed and pounded on a QB like they did Sunday. The blitz schemes were well choreographed and Favre took a beating.
With Nnamdi Asomugha and Deangelo Hall on the corners, the Jets were conservative in the passing game, rarely challenging the pair. Most of New York's damage was done on short passes over the middle that Oakland - for the most part - contained and kept the gains short.

The running game was solid. Justin Fargas had some minus plays, but he ran hard as he always does. OC Greg Knapp is doing a good job and getting Darren McFadden the ball in space and the rookie is showing why he was so heavily hyped.

The Bad:

Four offsides penalties in the first quarter, three on the opening drive. I can't type the word STUPID enough here, so I'll leave it at one. We won the game so I'll get over it quickly.

PLEASE.....enough with calling the timeout just as the ball is being snapped on a field goal. Jay Feely's kick hit the upright and bounced out in what would have been a Raider win in regulation. Because of the timeout, Feely was able to gather himself and buried the 52-yard re-kick.
Don't give a professional time to gather his thoughts and possibly guage the wind in what is a practice kick. This trick fails as much as it works. Let it go.

Last thought - Welcome to the win column, Coach Cable.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Big 12 Observations

Just a few random thoughts on day after a great day of college football.

1-The Big 12 is the best conference in college football

Top to bottom, the Big 12 is the best and deepest conference in the country.

The SEC has been commonly referred to as the top conference for the last few years and does boast the last two national championship winners. In 2008, it’s all about the Big 12.

Half of the Big 12 teams are ranked in the top 16 teams in the national rankings, as of October, 12. Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State all are 6-0 while Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas are 5-1.

Nine of the Big 12 teams are averaging over 32 points a game. The level of quarterback play this year is what separates the Big 12 from the rest of the country.

Texas and Oklahoma State are battle tested while Texas Tech boasts the top passing offense in the country.

OU and Mizzou lost to Texas and Oklahoma State and Kansas’ blemish was a wild 37-34 road loss to South Florida in September.

The depth of the conference is shown in the lower tier. Nebraska, Kansas State, and Colorado have the ability to step up and pull an upset at any time and young QB’s Robert Griffin (Baylor) and Austen Arnaud (Iowa State) are giving a glimmer of hope the immediate future of their teams.

Texas A&M is the worst team in the conference so far but is in total rebuilding mode under first-year coach Mike Sherman.

2-A Big 12 quarterback will win the Heisman Trophy

Prediction – The quarterback on the Big 12 conference champion will win the Heisman Trophy.

Right now, the Heisman Trophy is Colt McCoy’s to lose.

The junior has been dominate all season and has played like the most valuable player in college football. McCoy has thrown the ball well and is capable of picking up big chunks of yards on the ground.

Graham Harrell (Texas Tech), Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), and Chase Daniel (Missouri) all have jaw-dropping stats that Heisman winners are made of.

Harrell leads the top passing attack in the country and if Tech is able to win the Big 12 South, Harrell will be the one leading the way.

For a player to drop from Heisman consideration, it typically takes a poor performance in a loss to do it. Bradford was sensational against Texas in the loss and definitely will take a backseat to McCoy unless the Longhorns stumble and McCoy plays poorly.
Daniel wasn’t great in the Oklahoma State loss and he threw three interceptions. He’ll drop from the contenders list for now but has time to move his way back up.

OSU’s Zac Robinson is the sleeper in the mix as is Kansas’ Todd Reesing. Both will have their opportunities to make a name for himself on the national stage.

3-The Big 12 won’t have any unbeaten teams, but it’ll have a team in the national title game.

The conference is just too tough and too deep to expect anyone team to run the gauntlet.

Because of the depth and balance of the Big 12, a one-loss conference champion will be rewarded with a spot in the national title game. The SEC champion has been afforded the same respect the last two seasons (LSU had two losses) so there is precedent.

Unbeatens Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State all still have to play each other. It is very possible they take turns knocking each other off. All are capable of beating the other two teams.

Oklahoma and Missouri still must win-out and get to the Big 12 title game. Missouri is in the better spot as the North Division isn’t as deep as the South. Mizzou still has this week’s road trip to Texas but the Tigers will be favored to win their remaining games.

Oklahoma was ranked number-one until the Texas loss. The Sooners are as good as any team in the country and have all the ingredients necessary to get back up in the polls.

Prediction – It is too early to project possible tiebreakers for a Big 12 South tie. There is an intense desire to pick Cinderella Oklahoma State…. but I’ll go with Oklahoma to beat Missouri in the Big 12 title game.

I picked Missouri at the start of the year but the Tigers showed they are not ready to be prime-time players with the loss to Oklahoma State. Missouri looked like a team not capable of embracing the lofty national status they had achieved.

Oklahoma will go on to play USC in the Orange Bowl for the national title.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Greatest Sports Movies of All Time

When I was informed that Paul Newman had passed away the other day, I, like a few others I'm sure, said to myself, "wow, self, Reg Dunlop died."

After pausing for a moment of sadness, I couldn't help but blurt out, "Trade me right (censored) now!"
***Sidebar....yeah, I know. The dialogue in verbatum form is much more effective, but I agreed to a clause with this blog that prohibits certain things. Swearing is one of them. Sorry, you'll have to fill in the blanks.***

So, the process began to swirl in my head and internally, the great debate began.

What is the greatest sports movie of all time?

I'm sure you have your own is mine

1 - Slap Shot
This classic never gets old.

The Hanson Brothers, Ogie Oglithorpe, "old time hockey", "putting on the foil", this movie is my favorite sports movie of all time.

The scene when the Hansons take the ice for the first time had me laughing so hard I felt like I'd done 100 situps (trust me, I've never done that).

From the whacky, cross-dressing GM Joe McGrath to Hanrahan the goalie to calling the pizza man with your one and only phone call from prison, this film is a laugh a minute.

It was fitting that in 1998, Maxim magazine voted "Slap Shot" as the number one greatest Guy movie of all time.
Great lines:
McGrath - "There's scouts, in the stands, with contracts...and you guys are playing like *(@)#&*@!"
McGrath - "Piss on Eddie Shore"
Dunlop to Hanrahan - "Your wife.......she's a lesbian. I know, I know, she told me."
Dunlop - "She's a terrific gal."
2 - Rocky

Yeah, they overdid it. But, Rocky I was an all timer.

The story of the true underdog was brilliant. Sly Stallone was awesome in his role as Rocky Balboa but the movie became a classic due to the supporting cast.

The storyline of Rocky and Adrian didn't mean anything to me, but he performances of Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed), the Penguin, Burgess Meredith (Mickey), and Burt Young (Paulie) is what made the movie special.

That Creed's character so closely mimicked Muhammad Ali in his heydey, made it easier for viewers to relate to the film.

Great Lines:
Paulie - "I don't sweat you."
Balboa - "Cut me, Mick."
Balboa - "Yo, Adrian"
3 - Bull Durham

There have been many great baseball films, but this is the best.

Crash Davis and Ebby Calvin "Nuke" Laloosh are a perfect pair in this minor league story.

For me, this is Kevin Costner's best performance ever. Tim Robbins was perfect as his young protoge as the hard-throwing, erratic pitcher with a million dollar arm and a ten-cent head. Toss in Susan Sarandon as Annie Savoy for the obligatory love triangle, and the plot is complete.

Played by Robert Wuhl, the pitching coach character is one that stands out for me. If I'm going to a wedding, I'm giving candlesticks. This movie was going on my list just so I could type the word "lollygaggers".

To sum it up, a great movie about life in the minor leagues of baseball.
Great Lines:
Davis - "Just throw it at the bull, trust me."
Laloosh - "Don't think, Meat, just give him the gas."
Davis - "You have fungus on your shower shoes. In the show, that makes you colorful. In the minors, that means you're a slob."
4. Caddyshack

Rodney, Bill Murray, Ted Knight with his Billy Barool putter, Chevy Chase, Mr. Wang and the rest.
If you don't like this film, get back in touch with your therapist 'cuz this is too funny not to enjoy, over and over.

The over/under on quoting this film when on the golf course is 18 times per 18 holes.
Great Lines:
Rodney - Look at that hat. What, do they give you a free bowl of soup with that hat?"
Murray as Carl the assistant greenskeeper during a driving rainstorm - "I don't think the heavy stuff has come down yet."
Rodney - "You scratched my anchor."
Knight as Judge Smails - "I never slice."
5. Hoosiers

If ever an actor was made for a role, Gene Hackman was perfect to play Coach Norman Dale.
This story, taken from a real Indiana high school basketball Cinderella story, is the stuff that storybook sports dreams are made of.
The Hickory Huskers with slick shooting Jimmy Chitwood win the Indiana State Basketball title in improbable fashion. Coach Dale is nearly excused early in the season (insert Al Davis joke here. Go ahead, kick me when I'm down) during a town vote but survives.
Dennis Hopper turned in a classic performance as his role as Shooter, the on-again, off-again assistant coach of the team. The sight of him jumping hysterically after the championship game win is enough to bring a tear into the corner of a grown man's eye.
Great lines:
Norman Dale to an unsuspecting ref - "What, do you have pigeon #^&$ in your eyes? Kick me out of the game."
Shooter - "I know everything there is to know about the greatest game ever played."
Shooter - "No school this small has ever won the Indiana State basketball championship."
The Best of the Rest:
6 - Bad News Bears I - Right in the middle of my little league career, minus the beer.

7 - Field of Dreams - Has to be on this list
8. Longest Yard I - Hated the remake, the original Mean Machine was much better.
9 - Raging Bull - DeNiro is my favorite actor, and neither Good Fellas or Midnight Run were sports movies.
10 - Brian's Song - The story of Brian Piccolo is a must-see.