Saturday, January 31, 2009

Nasty, Yet Strangely Enjoyable

There are few things in our modern society that are so disgusting, so abominable, so utterly foul than a competitive eating contest. Yet a collection of people in Philadelphia have shown us that few things are more entertaining either. Name me another way you can get a national headline that reads: "Gluttony and Strippers Reign at Philly Wing Bowl".

Take out the "Philly Wing Bowl" part and you can't really use that headline in a way that fits so wonderfully except maybe "Gluttony and Strippers Reign at Nate Newton's House".

The thing that makes the Wing Bowl so special to watch or even read about is that it has the perfect mix of characters, flair, and just plain nastiness. The only thing that comes close is the pie eating contest that Lard Ass wins in Stand By Me, but that was a movie so it gets disqualified due to the whole fiction part.

I've seen the hot dog eating contests in New York. They are fun, but they are too technical. Any time you get a skinny Japanese kid who has gained a competitive edge by dipping the buns into water, you have a sport that has lost its freak appeal. You can bet that Kobayashi isn't going to go all Money Ball scientific on the wing eating contest.

First, you can't get around those bones. Even if there were a way to get the meat off faster, chicken wings have that little space between the bones where you have to gnaw like a canine to get all the meat off. Kobayashi can just try and swallow one of those things whole.

Secondly, though hot dogs are pretty nasty, they don't back quite the stomach punch that fried chicken wings do. More than five of those things and they become the gift that keeps on giving (burp). Never have I had such little food feel like a brick in my belly.

Finally, it's the mess factor. You eat a dozen wings in sauce and you look like you just bathed in a Sloppy Joe. It has that awful orange tinge to it as well. A person almost looks nuclear. A walking three mile island of nastiness.

Throw in the ability to raise the spiciness of chicken wings to epic proportions, and you've got yourself a winner for an eating contest: a horribly, messy, greasy food that you can't swallow whole and that could be prepared in a way that melts your tongue off.

The Philadelphia Wing contest has all of those basics, and then adds the crazy costumes and strippers on top of it. Nothing like the juxtaposition of hot strippers in lingerie and atrocious eaters firing through wing after wing. It's all so....dirty. In a good way. Like mud wrestling is supposed to be.

So I must give a hearty congratulations to Jonathan Squibb (aka Super Squibb), who won the 2009 Wing Bowl by tearing through 203 wings. His efforts got him a new car and for some reason a new diamond ring. But more importantly, Mr. Squibb knows that he has tackled the ultimate food challenge and earned himself a title that will remain with him as he spends the next three weeks crying next to his toilet.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Beauty of Technology

I would love nothing more than to send a blog out today, but my internet is dead (at a public computer right now).

Oh well, I guess check back later and we'll see if I'm connected to the outside world again.

Can someone please e-mail me if something crazy happens like New York blows up or Jessica Simpson gains more weight?

Thank you for your time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Dose Of Reality From Telemundo

Yesterday, we got to witness the circus sideshow that has become Super Bowl media day. There was a time when this day represented a chance for serious journalists to pursue multiple storylines and get quotes from coaches and players to create 2 week's worth of articles.

Today it's more
of a chance for television and radio personalities to do their own jokes and use the players as a yielding part of the entertainment. What it has become is the media's own Super Bowl to see who can come up with the best shtick. And leading the charge are the media stations that pander to our Hispanic brethren.

Perhaps it's the fact that American football isn't a religious experience to the Spanish speaking crowd. Maybe American journalists would screw around more if they ever actually covered soccer. All I know is that stations like Telemundo and TV Azteca have turned the week leading up to the Super Bowl into a light-hearted affair. And to them I say buen trabajo.

In the past, the media had taken themselves WAY too seriously at the Super Bowl as they tried unearth some ground-shaking story that might win them an award or something. Media members were so tight that Ferris Bueller could do his whole turning a lump of coal into a diamond trick with them. And the questions still sucked, it's just that players didn't have as much fun.

Ask Doug Williams if he enjoyed being asked how long he had been a black quarterback. I'm sure he enjoyed the 205 questions he got about that. Players got ridiculous questions all the time, but they w
ere asked without a hint of humor.

Today we've got the same types of questions, but they are mixed in with stupid stunts and pranks. Players seem to enjoy themselves so much more now because they know half the of the questions asked to them don't mean a thing.

Last year, T
om Brady was treated to the Telemundo bride who kept asking him to marry her. This year, the players had fun with the Hispanic female host who simply went around measuring biceps and comparing them to her waist size. Then there was the Telemundo bride dressed in drag. I'm not sure what that was all about, but I guarantee you the coaches and players got a good chuckle out of it.

Though they seem to lead the charge, stations like Telemundo aren't the only ones having some fun on media day, there are plenty of honkies in on the action too. Entertainment Tonight had lineman participating in a dancing contest, there was the sports fiddler who wore overalls and played a fiddle every time he asked a question. Jay Leno sends some of his staff to do Super Bowl bits.
They aren't funny, but what can you expect from Jay Leno? Half the time, media members just interview each other for better sound bites and the players are left alone.

And people ENJOY it. It's a game. I'm sure Steelers kicker Jeff Reed would rather do a joke series about his bleached afro than answer how kicking in Tampa is different than kicking in Pittsburgh. Do you think Dominique Rodgers Cromartie had some fun with questions about who would win a fight between his allegedly mammoth johnson and Gary Coleman? I'm sure he'd rather joke about that than answer questions about the difference between covering small college receivers and Santonio Holmes (the answer is that the small college receivers can't carry as much pot with in their uniforms since they don't have the money to buy it.)

The Super Bowl media still has its resident grouches and arrogant ego-maniacs that think of themselves as the sports version of Woodward and Bernstein. But fewer people are listening to these people, especially when guys like Chris Mortensen keep screwing stories up in his desperate effort to be the first one with the scoop.

Super Bowl media day is changing and it's becoming more fun to deal with (now if they could only get rid of Deion Sanders...... ) For that I must think the Spanish speaking stations for giving us perspective before the big event. It’s just a game and we should remember that because in Nigeria, police are holding a goat because people claim it robbed a bank. You can bet the goat isn’t having nearly as much fun as they are at media day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thou Shalt Worship False Idols Apparently

Under most circumstances, logic prevails in the NFL. If a team wins the Super Bowl, fans know who all of the big name players are which means book deals, commercials, and (yikes) albums will follow. When a team sucks, people don't pay much attention. This cycle gives a bad team motivation to get good. They want the recognition for their hard work. It all makes sense.

And then you have the Dallas Cowboys.


In an 'i b
efore e' logical world, this team is the 'except after c' reservation. Forget the fact that the Cowboys haven't won a playoff game since Titanic came out. Forget that the team has a head coach who looks like he belongs on the Fishing Channel rather than an NFL sideline. Forget that the team lost its final game at Texas Stadium in brutal fashion while all the past Cowboys players looked on in disgust. And forget the fact that the Cowboys were victorious in just one of their final four games and lost an ugly finale in Philadelphia to miss the playoffs. Again.

Apparently the demand is still out there for an average NFL team and the Cowboys are taking full advantage. It's exactly how Jerry taught them. Ego over substance.


It all started simple enough: former Cowboy Tory Aikman warned Tony Romo that team leaders do not run off to Cabo with a pop singer during a playoff bye. Romo vows to be a better leader though he doesn't mention whether or not he will muzzle Jessica Simpson, who has decided to pollute both pop and country music with her nonsense.

Then
media whore Michael Irvin decided he needed to be on television again because who could go more than a week without hearing from him? Networks were happy to oblige and a new reality show springs up where marginal players try to make it to Dallas Cowboys training camp. I'm sure that won't affect off-season work at all.

Not to be outdone, Terrell Owens decided we needed to hear more from him, so he comes out with his own reality show....about him. Awesome.

Now, just to make things a little more fun, we get to hear from a backup tight end. Martellus Bennett has decided that the world has gone too long without hearing from him. Bennett treated us all to a wanton, profanity-laced rap. In defense of Bennett, the rap is on YouTube which means it's not a time consuming professional endeavor yet. Not in defense of Bennett is that he wrote those lyrics and he already showed what a nimrod diva he is on Hard Knocks last summer.

Throw in the Pac-Man saga, the Jason Garrett will-he-stay-or-will-he-go issue, the fact that
former Cowboys Deion Sanders won't shut up on the NFL Network, and the knowledge that we haven't heard from Jerry Jones yet concerning the opening of the gigantic new stadium, and we've got a full off-season.

I don't think the Cowboys are going to have time for pesky things like the draft. Good thing they already gave up a first rounder for WR Roy Williams. It's like Barry Switzer never left!

Does anyone have a fiddle? I'd like to play it while Valley Ranch burns.

Monday, January 26, 2009

This Just In: Life Can Be A Cruel Beotch

Have you ever felt that forces in your life just reared back and kicked you in the crotch over and over again for a period of time? Yeah, me too. It's one of life's wonderful learning experiences: things don't always work out the way they should.

It's something I learned as a child when I was the youngest of the neighborhood kids who played sports in my front yard. I was the one who would be victimized by the older, taller kids whenever we played a game
. One doesn't expect a first grader to be able to tackle a fifth grader in football. Yet there I was getting trucked across a sidewalk or beaten deep.

And I coped with it.

That stuff prepares you for a life where you might have a boss who hates you for no apparent reason or a co-worker who you swear finds a new way to piss you off every day.

Of course, helicopter parents today have this vacuous idea that their kids simply can not suffer any sort of injustice. This translates to the sports arena as well. Any sort of blowout is a travesty on the game and the work of Satan himself.

The latest uproar comes out of Dallas, where the Covenant School of Dallas girl's basketball team crushed Dallas Academy's girls 100-0.

That is an ass-kicking of the highest order. It is also one that got the Covenant coach fired for running up a score. And the Covenant school is seeking a forfeit because the school is embarrassed that its team won by so much.

This is where I have a problem. I realize 100-0 is a soul-crushing defeat and that Dallas Academy has a much smaller and less talented team than Covenant (duh).

It's one thing if Covenant was playing pressure defense and running the full playbook just to embarrass a lesser team or to brag that they got to 100 points, but the since fired Covenant coach says his team played with honor and was never intent on sticking it to Dallas Academy. They just kept playing.

What do you tell your players during a blowout victory?
Stop playing?
Don't make those shots?

There is nothing a coach should be required to do in these situations except put in the bench warmers and slow down the game so the clock runs faster. With no mercy rule, scores like 100-0 will sometimes happen (okay, maybe not quite this bad). That doesn't mean the winning team is a bunch of villains who punch little kittens on their way out the door.

There is no reason to ask for a forfeit. It won't make the Dallas Academy girls feel better. They don't want a game handed to them in the record books. They know what they saw on the court. Plus, no one will make fun of the Dallas Academy team for being on the ass-end of a blowout like that.

Why?

Because nearly everyone has been kicked around like that at some point in their life. We know what it's like to be frustrated and to feel helpless. We've all been the Dallas Academy girl's basketball team at some point in our life. Hell, with the recession, you may feel like them right now.

Yet, we cope.

If anything, the losing coach can use this unfortunate game as a lesson for his kids. Teach them to keep fighting even when things are terrible. At the very least, they will earn respect from the winning team. They'll also have the experience of trying to build on a bad moment, which is something we could all use work on.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Crazy Cuban Would Have Made it Fun

The Cubs are being sold to some billionaire family of Cubs fans headed by Tom Ricketts. No word if they made their money by discovering a cure for the disease that could now be named after them. Apparently one of the family members even met his wife at a Cubs game. Awwww.

You can bet baseball will try to sell that story to every fan in a P.R. attempt entitled "See, our blackened ash heart still beats occasionally." The problem is, the Cubs already had a billionaire baseball fan who was interested in the team. And the inflexible baseball owners refused to call Mark Cuban out from the bullpen. In fact, I'm pretty sure they cut the phone line, so Cuban couldn't even get a call from the dugout. And the Cubs fans will probably lose out yet again.

As a Dallas Maverick fan, I can tell you this with certainty: Mark Cuban is 4-alarm crazy nuts.

He's not in the Scarface realm of crazy Cubans, but he's definitely in desperate need of attention at all times. And he's exactly what baseball could have used for a team like the Chicago Cubs.

Even though his act has worn thin in Dallas, think how much media attention the Mavs have gotten because of their owner. For better or worse, the Mavs became an NBA storyline.

Then you have the Cubs, a baseball team whose fans consider themselves the most damned in sports despite a network dedicated to the team and enough merchandise to make a blip on the Yankee radar.


It was a perfect marriage: Cuban gets tons of the media attention he so desperately craves since he clearly wasn't shown enough love as a child, and the Cubs fans would get an owner that wanted to win as desperately as they supposedly do. They could even make up catchy nicknames for the team and new owner since the names are so similar.

But the b
aseball owners stepped up and proved yet again that they are scared to death of change and can't handle anyone who might actually think differently. It's like a giant pro-sports boarding school. Dead Owners Society.

He drives me bonkers sometimes, but before Cuban arrived to Reunion Arena, the Mavs were a joke. One of the worst franchises in all of sports who were lucky to make the local news let alone any kind of national sports story.

Then comes this giant Maverick fan who happened to make a gazillion dollars in the dot com boom. He purchased the franchise from joke
owner Ross Perot Jr. who was holding the team hostage for a real estate deal. He overpaid for a crap team. That's how much he wanted it.

Then he added video games and televisions to every locker. Suddenly, players were digging Dallas. Cuban copied the trick that old San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo used: treat players well and they will want to play well for you.

You know the rest, the Mavs went from the toilet to the top and were a Dwyane Wade from the NBA Championship. Not bad for a team without a sure-fire superstar draft pick leading them. Along the way Cuban was out on the floor yelling at refs and serving soft ice cream at a Dairy Queen. It was too much sometimes, but a Mavs game was never boring.

The Cubs have infinite more exposure than those Mavs did. They would be the premiere team to see in the National League with Cuban running the show. And Cuban would be right there in the front row screaming at umpires and doing somersaults on top of the dugout. You might love
him, you might hate him, but he would make the Cubs relevant.

I know nothing about Mr. Ricketts and his family, but I can guarantee you that he doesn't have a Mark Cuban personality or he wouldn't have been allowed to buy the team. If he helps the Cubs reach the Fall Classic, all will be wonderful. If he doesn't, he will just be another boring owner who couldn't help the Cubs.

At least Cuban would have gone down in a blaze of crazy.




Thursday, January 22, 2009

Deja Vu All Over Again?

By today, you are probably laughing out loud at the story lines being overly-discussed for the Super Bowl. We already know that:

-Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm coached at Pittsburgh and left after Mike Tomlin was given the head coaching job possibly giving the Cardinals some sort of advantage over the Steelers.

-Larry Fitzgerald's father is a sports writer who will be covering his son

-The Steelers are going for an unprecedented 6th Super Bowl victory

-The Cardinals are making their first ever Super Bowl appearance

-The game is being played in Tampa which means when Phoenix fans arrive, there will be enough elderly people in one place to make AARP salespeople have an aneurysm.

-Anquan Boldin and Hines Ward are similar wide receivers on the field.

Now that the obvious story lines are exhausted, ESPN types are trying to unearth any earth-shattering difference maker in the game or simply blurting out statements to get a rise o
ut of people.

Well, here's my random regurgitation of knowledge that sounds like it will have an effect in the outcome of the Super Bowl while in reality it indeed does not:

We've seen this Super Bowl before

It happened just two years ago. A big tough Midwestern team took on a "finesse" team that had no business being in the Super Bowl. The post-season marches between the Steelers/Cardinals of today and the Bears/Colts of then are eerily similar in a not really sort of way.

-The Bears and Steelers were both at home throughout the pl
ayoff run after a dominating regular season.
The Bears had home field sewn up throughout the post-season. The Steelers got home-field once Tennessee lost. Still, Pittsburgh never left Heinz Field during the playoffs.

-The Colts and Cardinals both had to play 3 games against teams that should beat them.
Remember when everyone said the Chiefs would give the Colts D more Larry Johnson than they could handle? The same thing was said about the Cardinals D versus Michael Turner and the Falcons.

-The Colts and Cardinals played one post-season game at home, had a tough game on the road, only to get the conference championship game at home by way of playoff upsets.
After the Colts beat Kansas City, they had to go into frigid Baltimore and beat the Ravens by playing ugly football and letting Adam Vinitieri field goal them to victory. The Cardinals had an easy game against the Panthers since Jake Delhomme forgot how to play football, but NOBODY gave the Cardinals a shot in that game. You had a nasty one-two punch at running back for Carolina and the game was on the east coast. The Cardinals were supposedly toast. Both the Colts and the Cardinals lucked into an extra home playoff game by way of upset, the Patriots beating the Chargers and the Eagles beating the Giants.

Both the Colts and Cardinals played in a classic conference championship game where the opponent and their own history would test the team's mettle
Everyone knows the trouble the Colts have had with the Patriots throughout this decade and then they fell behind New England by several scores in the first half. The Colts had a gut check when they battled back to win the game and exorcise the Patriot playoff demons.

The Cardinals don't have a history with the Eagles. In fact, the team has no post-season history which is exactly what Arizona was battling against. Instead of coming back, Arizona had to survive a second half Eagles run that forced the Cardinals to fight back and rip momentum back from Philly.

The Bears and Steelers had and have a nasty defense that dictates the game.
And b
oth are led by a middle of the field player that seems to be near the tackle on every play. The Bears had Urlacher, the Steelers have Polamalu. Of course, the Bears didn't also have the defensive player of the year to pair with Urlacher like the Steelers have in James Harrison. Lance Briggs was pretty good that year though.

The C
olts and Cardinals had to show they were tough enough on offense and defense to win the Super Bowl
For the Colts, it was fixing the gaping run defense and proving that wide receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne could handle physical coverage. For the Cardinals it was proving that the team could run the ball effectively enough to take pressure off of Kurt Warner t
o make the offense go. Plus, they could take time off of the clock and give the defense some rest.

The hea
d coaches for both Super Bowl teams are linked somehow
Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith were linked as the first black head coaches facing off in a Super Bowl. This year it's the Pittsburgh connection: Whisenhunt wanted the job, Tomlin got it. Not as feel good as the Dungy/Smith angle, but it is nice to know that both Tomlin and Whisenhunt have been successful so there were no losers in that decision.

The Super Bowl is in Florida just like it was two years ago
There is no significance about that. I just wanted to prove that I am uncovering every similarity.

So there you go, if we've learned anything from history, we know that the Cardinals will beat the Steelers in Super Bowl 43 despite a big return by Santonio Holmes. Of course, to believe this you'd have to assume that Big Ben will play as poorly as Rex Grossman did in that Super Bowl and I don't think any of us are ready go there.

So just consider this post to be like Chinese food: not much substance, but fun to consume.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

To Ray or not to Ray

There's no question that the Dallas Cowboys had a disaster of a season this year. It wasn't just their 9-7 record either. In fact, I'm of the opinion that this team isn't as good some people think it is.

What sealed the Cowboys' fate in the ass end of NFL history is the fact that it was unlovable. There
is little doubt that there was zero accountability and discipline on this year's Dallas team and even former Cowboys are disgusted. There were very few good things to say about this team, er, collection of well paid players. As a native Dallasite and Cowboy fan, I can think of two things I liked about the team this year:

1.) DeMarcus Ware collecting more sacks than a grocery helper, and...
2.) Jason Witten playing through a broken rib to try and help his team out.

Yet even Witten didn't escape the season unblemished as he was part of the whole bizarre love triangle with Romo and T.O.

Other than that, the album of the Cowboys season brought us such hits as:

"A play
er determined to ruin his chance at a better life" by Pac-Man Jones
"I'm gonna bitch while I sit here with an injured groin" by Terrance Newman
"Wh
y the hell did I sign here, I don't belong" by Zach Thomas
"Still can't cover, still gonna whine" by S Roy Williams

"You're not the only Roy Williams who can do nothing and still whine" by WR Roy Williams
"Too light in the britches to play in the trenches" by Jay Ratliff
"False start again" by Flozell Adams
"Hold
on....to the opposing defender" by Marc Colombo
"First round finesse linebacker" by Bobby Carpenter
"What was the snap count?" by Andre Gurode
"Not a
good NFL receiver, yet here I am" by Patrick Crayton
"Ouch" a duet by Marion Barber and Felix Jones

and everyone's favorite hit
"It's true that we love one another, if by 'love' you mean resent and argue with" by Tony Romo and T.O.

Thro
w in an owner who can't separate his need to be a publicity whore with the desire to build a good team and a lame duck head coach who looks like he should be fishing with a cane pole down by the creek rather than roaming an NFL sideline, and you've got yourself a first-rate NFL calamity.

After the Cowboys ended the season listening to the jeers of a delighted Eagles fans base during one final blowout loss, Jerry has suddenly gone all serious owner on us and has started talking about how the season was unacceptable and that changes will happen. He reminds me of Mr. Mom after he has the soap opera nightmare and decides to get his life back in order.

And yet there remains Jerry in charge of personnel and Wade as head coach. Huh.


Now Jerry is insinuating that he wants to bring in Ray Lewis
of the Baltimore Ravens. Because THAT's what a team needs to revamp it's image.

Everyone makes fun of the Cowboys for bringing in problem guys, so you want to bring in the linebacker known more for his famous stabbing trial than for his spectacular defensive abilities. Lewis has spent the past decade leading a Ravens team that is Public Enemy Number One because they are a bunch of thugs and bullies who attempt to injure and intimidate the opponent. They are the modern day Oakland Raiders. Without the multiple championships.

That being said, Ray Lewis is probably the most charismatic defender on the field today. He is a leader of men when he steps on the gridiron. He would not take any complaints from Roy Williams or Terrence Newman. If he's in charge of the huddle, he could unleash a DeMarcus Ware fury not yet seen. He might even turn Bobby Carpenter into a tough linebacker. Or he might eat Carpenter's heart as an example to others. Either way, he'd get a rise out of everyone.

So tha
t's the package. The Cowboys would get a great defensive leader who could raise the production of those around him. They would also get a total psychopath at the tail end of his career who could simply turn into a loud-mouthed side show who has lost the skills that back up his screeching and suck away any respect the Cowboys had left.

To Ray or not to Ray? That is just one of the questions.



Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I've Got Your Motivation Right Here...

As I watch the inauguration today, I realize that we will probably see the two most watched things on television within the first month of the new year. With Obama speaking to a world wide audience that may be just a tad smaller than the Super Bowl group in two weeks, the new President did not disappoint.

Sure, Obama could have just plagiarized Bill Pullman's speech from the movie Independence Day and everyone would have cheered like it was the Gettysburg address even if they didn't understand the whole "we're fighting against extermination" part of the speech.

Yet Obama used a wonderful collage of words and metaphors along with a commanding voice to whip everyone into a tear stained frenzy on a frozen Tuesday in January. That got me thinking like only a sports idiot like me could:

How awesome would Obama be at motivating your team before the big game?

You always hear about these great pre-game speeches that make players run screaming out of the locker room ready to shock the world. From the famous "win one for the Gipper" line in the history of Notre Dame, to Jimmy Johnson's "if you fight a 900 pound gorilla, you hit him with everything you've got" bit before the Cowboys beat an undefeated Redskins team, to Gene Hackman's genius move in Hoosiers when he made his team measure the basket to prove that it was the same size in the big arena as it was in the team's tiny town, fans love to hear about a genius motivational techniques that coaches use to help the boys.

Now I see Obama up there on the biggest inauguration stage ever and he delivers some zingers like:


"To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

" What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.This is the price and the promise of citizenship."

and

"
With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon
and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations."

Imagine the advantage a sports team could have when Obama comes in and drops one of those quotes on the players.

Now Obama would have to pick the right situations. He couldn't walk into his brother-in-law's locker room today and help the Oregon State team make the NCAA tournament. He is human.

But imagine if Obama could get T.O. to get along with Tony Romo...actually, T.O. to get along with any QB. If he could get Al Davis to relinquish control of the Raiders to someone who knows what the hell they're doing.

Imagine if Obama could get the Clippers organization to work together so that they may one day reach the NBA Finals.

Okay that last one was a joke, but our faith in cynicism has already been shaken now that the Cardinals are in the Super Bowl and the Rays were in the World Series.

Is the hope really that far fetched now-a-days?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ruining My Respect

So the Steelers are going to try and become the first franchise to get a Super Bowl ring for the other hand.

I hope they fail miserably.

I'm sure your first reaction to that statement is one of two things:

1.) I'm a Cardinals supporter who is just jealous of all the Steelers success
2.) Since I'm from Dallas, I can't stand the Steelers getting a 6th ring before the Cowboys do.


Wrong on both accounts.

I think the Steelers are THE best run franchise in the NFL. They make sound decisio
ns and they stick by them. There is a reason why the Steelers have only had 3 head coaches since 1970. The franchise takes it's time getting a new man and they make sure that it is a guy who fits in with the city and the Steelers way of playing football.

Have you noticed much of a difference between the Cowher Steelers and the Tomlin Steelers? The only thing I've seen are a few extra spread sets on offense. The defense is the same one because Tomlin knew enough not to get rid of mainstay D-coordinator Dick Lebeau.


The locker room is close knit and while the Steelers don't always re-sign guys I think they shoul
d, the team also gets rid of idiots (Plaxico Burress) or possible team dividers (Joey Porter) no matter how talented the player is.

The Steelers are everything I would want my hometown franchise to be: stable, honest, compromising if it's for the better of the team, and true to personality of the city. So how could I hate this franchise?


In a sentence: the really loud, obnoxious, paranoid, towel waving, solipsistic fans.

Congratulations Steelers fans, you've ruined a perfectly wonderful NFL franchise for me due to you insistence to bring all things Steelers right into my face. I have no choice but to shun you guys. Sorry, YOUZ GUYS.

First of all, let's get one thing out of the way. There are only so many times I can hear the term "Steeler Nation,"much like the Tomohawk Chop tune of the 90's. It seems every team
needs to use this term at some point, but the three biggest culprits are the Red Sox, Raiders, and Steelers. I think the Raiders started it, so they can use it. I have no proof of this, but Raider Nation was the first time I heard this term, so to me it's the truth.

I'm sure the Steeler Nation is in reference to all of the Steelers fans that "travel" to other stadiums. Okay, if you're a Steelers fan from Pennsylvania of surrounding area and you came out to a visiting stadium to support your team, congrats. You should enjoy your right to support the away team hopefully without having beer thrown at you.

I'm guessing, however, that the vast majority of Steelers fans that populate opposing stadiums are fans who live in this new city because they had to escape the burgh that indeed a pit. If you are no longer in the Pittsburgh area and haven't been for a while (or ever), time move on.

Now l
et's talk about the towels. It's a fun bit that is a staple of Heinz Field and it does look neat when everyone in the stadium is waving them. You don't need to bring the thing into a sports bar. It's not the same atmosphere and all you're doing is blocking out the television from other people. This isn't your personal bar so sit down, eat your greasy chicken wings and dream of the -13 degrees you could be in right now.

Finally, is it that hard to be gracious? You're lucky enough to support a great franchise. Please be gracious enough to talk about football without sounding
like a paranoid jackass who is angry that people don't recognize that Pittsburgh invented defense and running the football.

Want some examples? Here's two posts from ESPN this morning:

1.
morongo valley, calif.: I HAVE BEEN A STEELER FAN SNICE 1971 AND EVERY TIME I TALK TO ANY ONE ABOUT THE STEELER'S,THEY DON'T LIKE THEM BUT THEY ALWAYS SHINE AND PROVE THEM WRONG SO WHY IS THAT? I LOVE THAT BLACK AND GOLD TEAM AND I SAY "GO STEELERS".

Please don't type in all caps. Part of the joy of not talking to you is that I don't have to hear your obnoxious voice. Don't yell in writing. And move back east if you don't like the teams in California. Are you even from Pittsburgh?

2.
Joe (PA): Paul, everyone disrespected the Steelers at the beginning of the season. Remember when the Browns became the hip pick to win the AFC North after a lucky season? Remember when the line would never hold up? Remember when Willie Parker would never be the same? Remember when the offense was terrible?

First of all, Joe PA is a funny handle for someone from Pennsylvania. Secondly, how snotty are you to think that just because the Steelers aren't picked every year to win the Super Bowl, the team is being disrespected? Go check the betting lines at the beginning of the year. Steelers were probably a top team to bet on.

These are just a few examples of how Pittsburgh fans have ruined the Steelers for me. It is possible to be a passionate fan, but to actually have some manners. Try it sometime, you might have more friends that aren't your cousins.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

When Do you Root for the Home Team?

So the Cardinals are in the NFC Championship game for the first time since Germany stopped coaxing the world into wars.

Everyone here in Phoenix has their panties in a wad about it. The paper ran a gigantic middle section dedicated solely to Cardinals and the sports radio shows have been referring to the past 5 days as "Cardinals Championship Week".

I say good. It's about damn time locals got to experience the excitement of an NFL championship run. I don't blame people for not really investing in the team because it's been nothing but a miserable failure ever since it arrived in Phoenix in the late 1980's. There's only so many times you can subject yourself to disappointment as a fan before you just get surly.

But there is one thing I don't get: people who live in Phoenix that root AGAINST the Cardinals.

Yes, half of Phoenix is from somewhere else so there are very few people actually born here. Yes, I understand that if you grew up somewhere else, you proba
bly have that team ingrained in your fan psyche.

Isn't there a time, however, when you have to shrug your shoulders and realize that you are part of your new city? How long do you live somewhere before you become from there? I can't imagine someone who has lived in Phoenix for over a decade traveling abroad and introducing themselves as "Bill who was born in Boston but who currently lives in Phoenix." Dude, you're just Bill from Phoenix. If you don't like it move back to New England and stock up on snow boots.

So with that being said, I'd like to introduce a few guidelines for being a fan somewhere besides your home town:



You ca
n root for two teams: I know this makes some people cringe. Suck it up. You live in a new city now. You can like two teams. The only time this might pose a problem is if the two teams are in the same division. Then I give you a exception pass. I can't expect a Dallas fan to move to D.C. and suddenly start singing "Hail to the Redskins". So for all the fans that moved here to Phoenix from St. Louis, San Francisco, or Seattle...you're off the hook.

If you've been here for 10 years or more, you are no longer a member of your former city: "But Chicago is in my blood!" Get over it. You don't live in Chicago anymore. And you enjoy the mountains and sunshine here so it's time to give back. Unless you are forced to be here against your will by a job, spouse, or a kidnapping maniac, you need to accept the city and all of it's blemishes. Plus, see point #1.

The Cardinals suck: Yes they do. So why root against them? Are you a bully? Do you need to beat up on a team the will inevitably fail every single year? Go root against the Steelers or some other team that might actually win something every year. And if you're a Steelers fan here, please move the hell back to Pittsburgh and stop waving those dumbass towels in my face. Seriously, I'll give you a Roethlesberger with extra cheese if you leave.

Most people moved to Phoenix on their own accord for the weather and low housing costs. It's a growing city and should supply plenty of jobs once the idiots in charge here figure out that you can't base a city economy solely on tourism and snowbirds. If you bought a house her
e, you are growing roots in this city. You are now a Phoenician. Act like it.

Time to jump on the bandwagon for more than just one NFC Championship game. And you can go prove your loyalty to your new city by going out on Sunday and destroying one of the many fans who have jerseys that say Westbrook and license plates that say Grand Canyon State.

Thank you.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A-Rod Does Europe or Somesuch

There's a big deal going down in European soccer. A young stud player from AC Milan named Kaka (you should probably put the accent on the second "ka") has received a mind-numbing offer to switch teams.

Manchester City is offering up $145 million over 4 years in order to have Kaka's services. For those of you counting at home, that averages out to $37 million a season, which
easily doubles what Kaka makes right now.

This is an unprecedented deal. According to Sports Illustrated, the
next closest deal to compare it to is the $65 million deal Real Madrid gave to the butting head of Zinedine Zidane more than 7 years ago.

So why in name of Copa Mundials would Manchester City drop such a bucket load of cash for this guy? Apparently George Steinbrenner has gone Midd
le Eastern on us. Manchester City is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Excuse me, I need to rest my fingers after typing that name....

Sheikh is one of the wealthiest men in the world and money is no object for him to make his team successful. NOW. The teams hasn't won any sort of title since the 1970's so it's safe to say they don't have a winning atmosphere in the clubhouse. Manchester City officials also say that since Kaka is only 26 years old, he fits in to the long term plans with the team.

But mostly it's about winning. NOW.

This episode reminds me of a different time. It was a more innocent America. Most people thought Osama bin Laden was a drink size at Starbucks and Brittany Spears was the hot pop star with big boobs as opposed to the crazy chick with a shaved head and two kids.

New baseball owner Tom Hicks was going to take his Texas Rangers team to the World Series just like he had taken the Dallas Stars to the Stanley Cup. He had the money and he was going to show every other owner what he had in had pants.

But Hicks was not a patient man. There was to be no growing a solid farm system of young baseball players. Hicks did not have time for this crap! It was time to win! NOW!

General Manager Doug Melvin didn't agree with this and had the audacity to tell Hicks that the Rangers needed to stockpile young talent before they could make a run at any sort of championship. Damn it! Hicks didn't need to wait! He had money!

Out went Melvin and his vast baseball knowledge. In came John Hart and his lackluster commitment to the team. He told Hicks exactly what the owner wanted to hear. "Build a team? Hell, we can make a few big signings, trade away our farm system for names and we'll be in the World Series! Now excuse me, I'm going to go play some golf."

The Rangers needed some talent, so Hicks did the only thing a crazy and impatient owner could do: He went and signed the best young player in baseball to the single most retarded contract ever seen in the sport.

Alex Rodriguez got a 10 year $225 million contract. Jaws dropped. Pants were soiled. It got Hicks the media attention for his team and put a big target on his head for super agent and proclaimed baseball anti-Christ, Scott Boras.

Hicks explained that the contract given to A-Rod was an investment. Yes, the contract was by far bigger than anything else baseball had even sniffed, but A-Rod was young and would be good for a long time. He would bring media attention to the attention-starved Rangers and team would get that money back with championships and advertising.

Then Hicks discovered several things:

1.) A-Rod is an arrogant jackass who has every baseball measurable imaginable but very few intagibles such as leadership skills or honesty.

2.) John Hart had more interest in his bank account than studying up on players.

3.) Pitcher Chan Ho Park was a really, really, REALLY bad free agent signing. So was crack-head Ken Caminetti, so was 193 year old Andres Galarraga.

4.) The Rangers were not the up and coming winners Hicks and envisioned. In fact, they were becoming the laughingstock of the league thanks in most part to the gigantor contract handed to one Alex Rodriguez that netted the team several last place finishes.

So what does Hicks do? He trades away everyone at an extreme discount, refuses to ever deal with Scott Boras again and turns into a hermit tightwad who distrusts and lies to the media. The Rangers are still a laughingstock and are currently rebuilding plan number 9 and still have no pitching.

Meanwhile A-Rod has moved on to have statistic success with the New York Yankees but in the process has become the most despised player in the league. And you can trace it all back to the contract.

I'm not saying the Kaka signing will fail so spectacularly or that he will end up dating a crazy-ass aging pop-star who is twice his age while denying they are together the entire time.

I'm also not saying that if the signing doesn't work out, that the Sheikh...person will become an Obi Wan Kanobi like hermit who wanders the baseball desert like Tom Hicks does.

But it's always dangerous to pin the hopes of a franchise on one player. If it doesn't work out, we might end up removing that accent from the end of Kaka's name after all.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Comparing the Sweater Vests

I may wear the sports pants, but I'm not a big fan of the vest. It's fine if you're wearing a full suit, but a vest with a shirt underneath seems pointless to me. I don't understand the functionality of them and all I notice is that it makes you look fatter. I guess the purpose is to keep a person's chest warm on chilly days, but I've never really seen it work.

That being said, I understand how the sweater vest could be fashionable in the midwest. It can be used in the layering process that is so important to survival there since it's 65 degrees inside and -5 outside. Plus, the vest works perfectly with that midwestern sense of humility. You want to show off that new sweater, but not THAT much of it. This way you can still have the white oxford button up coming from underneath so that people know you aren't too artsy like that Mapother kid that moved to L.A. and came back with purple hair and a nipple ring.

Well, the midwest lost one of it's beloved sweater vest supporters when Tony Dungy retired. This leaves only Ohio State's Jim Tressel as a nationally recognized sweater vest supporter.


In honor of the great Tony Dungy and the sweater vest, let us compare the two coaches in a general unscientific way:

THE VESTS
Tony wore a blue one with a Colts symbol, Tressel wears a red one with an Ohio State symbol. The red vest is much more "look at me" than the elegantly understated blue one that Dungy sported, but we'll forgive Tressel since that happens to be one of the Ohio State colors.

THE COACHES
Dungy is a well respected NFL coach who consistently puts good teams on the field, but has only won the championship once. That championship did, however, go through the hated New England Patriots and their Prince of Grumpiness head coach. The Colts did get some ref help in the form of a pass interference call against the Patriots (face guarding is legal). Dungy was haunted throughout most of his career by the Patriots who constantly cut Dungy's dreams short. His players are hard working and generally stay out of trouble.


Tressel is a well respected college coach who consistently puts good teams on the field, but has only won the championship once. That championship did, however, go through an ar
rogant Miami Hurricanes team that the majority of the U.S. was rooting against. The Buckeyes did get some ref help in the form of a pass interference call against a Miami player at a key moment in the game. Tressel has been haunted throughout most of his career by the warm weather schools where speedier players constantly run circles around the plodding Buckeyes. His players are hard working and generally stay out of trouble.

Tony Dungy has proven, along with Colts GM Bill Polian, to be a good
drafter landing the likes of Dwight Freeny and Bob Sanders.

Jim Tressel has proven to be a good recruiter landing the likes of Beanie Wells and Terrelle Pryor.

Dungy had the pleasure of coaching Peyton Manning, one of the top NFL QB's of all time

Tressel has had the pleasure of coaching QBs Craig Krenzel, Justin Zwick, Troy Smith, Todd Boeckman...uuuhhhh....

Well, Krenzel won a title (and apparently is a brainiac in the classroom), Smith won a Hiesman, and Terrelle Pryor could end up being a great QB. We'll see.

So there you go. A semi ode to the sweater vest and the two men that have made the thing relevant in sports. May your day be more sweatery and vesty after reading this.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ah, the Wonderful Sports Fan Superstions

I'm a superstitious sports watcher.

I'm sure I drive my girlfriend crazy with all of my shenanigans on game day. In everyday life, I'm a fairly logical person. During a big game, I suddenly turn all OCD and begin repeating movements and mumbling to myself like Rainman.

I think most sports fans have some bizarre habits like this. If you're sitting in one chair and your team is losing...you move chairs. Simple. If you scratch your butt and there is a big play, you start scratching your butt before every big m
oment. Shirts are changed, plates of food are rotated, beer types are switched, the dog is let in or put outside, cats are shaved... it's really sick and fun to watch.

Now there is word out of South Carolina that a lady started a little tradition that s
he tried to bring to the masses of Panther country:

Julie Maloney is advocating "Pants off for the Panthers" which is her own personal pants off dance off. Julie discovered years ago (during the Panthers Super Bowl run of 2004
), that when she neglected to wear anything on the bottom half of her body, the ole boys from Charlotte won. The pants off mojo was confirmed when Maloney went to a friend's house to watch the Super Bowl. Being a lady, she wore jeans that night and the Panthers lost to the Patriots.

These days Maloney goes pantsless with every opportunity. She generally stays home to watch games which cuts down on the arrests, but even when she's out, Maloney tries to circumvent the pants rule by wearing skirts. It helped the Panthers achieve the 2nd best record in the NFC this season.

No word if Maloney was wearing pants by accident when the Panthers lost to the Cardinals. She can take solace in the fact that Jake Delhomme was also wearing pants which is no doubt why he threw 34 interceptions that game.

The Cardinals are a team of destiny my friends. They took out the Pants off tradition. Now it's time for them to take out the great Philly get incarcerated for being an obnoxious ass because I'm so miserable tradition.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Eva Sale en un Miembro (that's Spanish for Eva goes out on a limb)

I actually should translate that into French: Eva sort sur un membre.

Obviously if I'm talking in both Spanish and French, I'm talking about Eva Longoria Parker. The Desperate Housewife/NBA spouse.

Eva made some huge waves recently with her declaration to Glamour magazine. Apparently, E.L.P. doesn't like spouses who cheat.

According to the New York Daily News "If she discovered a pal’s man was unfaithful, “(I’d) tell her,” the Desperate Housewife declares in Glamour magazine’s February Man issue, adding that she’d even resort to sneaky tactics to expose the guy.
“I would probably take a picture with my camera phone first,” she says. “It’s tough, because sometimes people kill the messenger. But I think the truth always comes out, regardless of who tells us.”

A couple of things:

First of all, if you're out with your mistress, go ahead and cross the street if you see Longoria coming because she'll expose you. Though people probably can't see her coming. She's tiny and I bet she can move like a ninja.

Secondly, I'm glad Eva declared her feelings towards cheaters because all of the women I talk to LOVE it when their man cheats on them. It's like the 4th of July and Halloween all mixed into one moment. I haven't spoken to every female in the United States, but I'm going to guess that Eva's stance is fairly normal considering Alanis Morissette's debut album, the movie Fatal Attraction, and Lorena Bobbitt.

Of course Longoria did the smart thing for someone who hates unfaithful men: she married an NBA player. Those guys are synonymous with fidelity.

Maybe that's why Eva is doing this. Her little "declaration" may seem commonplace, but it's actually a thinly veiled threat at her husband. She's saying "Tony, even if you think you're avoiding me, my girls will be out hunting you down and they will cell phone camera your ass."

I'm not saying Tony is cheating, but NBA players have more illegitimate children than Thomas Jefferson. Eva could just be playing the averages.

All I can do is offer a world of advice to Tony: if you are cheating and you impregnate someone, tell your mistress to just blame Shawn Kemp or Travis Henry. They're used to it.