Saturday, February 28, 2009
Well, then you probably want to avoid eastern Kansas/western Missouri over the next several years.
When new Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli was hired away from the Patriots, everyone assumed he'd build the Chiefs up the way he learned. I'm not sure if anyone realized that creating a team "the New England way" meant actually using the Patriots players.
First Mike Vrabel comes over, now the future of the Chiefs have been put the hands of one Matt Cassel. Now the Chiefs just need to scoop up Teddy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison whenever they get released, coax Willie McGinnest out of retirement, trade for Adam Vinatieri, and teach Todd Haley how to behave like a complete curmudgeon for the transformation to be complete.
Obviously there are worse teams to model yourself after, say Detroit (after drafting 12 wide receivers, you should sign a free-agent quarterback well past his productive years), but with most of the country thoroughly sick of all things Patriots, are you sure you want your team looking like a carbon copy of them?
I've already gotten texts from friends hoping for nothing but failure by Mike Vrabel. Cassel won't have that kind anger directed at him, but he still represents another link to New England.
These two first moves are actually good moves for Pioli, but I'm just hoping that he doesn't get too pedantesque with his teachings from New England. There is a point when it's your team and not the one in Foxboro.
I keep wondering how the Minnesota Vikings didn't get in on the Cassel sweepstakes since they are in such need of a quarterback. But I like the nice little circle-of-NFL-life this move has made:
-Jared Allen is traded from rebuilding Kansas City to Minnesota and makes the Vikings a legitimate, but quarterbackless Super Bowl contender
-The Chiefs grab Matt Cassel from New England to rebuild the team around while Minnesota is stuck with Sage Rosenfels
-Cassel is the big named quarterback on the market only because Tom Brady got hurt....while plalying against the Chiefs.
It's all a rich tapestry of NFL life. Now let's see of the Chiefs can cut the umbilical chord from their New England mommies and get on with football in Kansas City.
Friday, February 27, 2009
As midnight hit on the February 26 to 27th interchange, the free-agency period in the NFL officially opened for business. And all hell broke loose.
NFL owners apparently are recession proof since they began throwing around dollar bills like rappers at a strip club just as soon as the clock struck 12. I just get this image of owners dialing nine numbers into their phones as the clock begins chiming just waiting, as though they wanted by caller 10 for a radio station prize.
Meanwhile, moving companies have to have this day circled on their calendars, it's like a second Christmas for them.
Some of the free-agency highlights so far:
Fred Taylor to New England: Taylor, the ceramic one, will play football outside of Florida for the first time in his life, so we'll check back with him in November when he is huddled underneath his bed. There was no report whether he had to buy a second plane ticket for his 200 pound medical file when he flew north. Between Taylor and Laurence Maroney, the Pats may get eight healthy games out of the running backs. The Pats also signed TE Chris Baker away from the Jets which means he'll suddenly turn into an All-Pro next year.
Speaking of the Jets...
Bart Scott to New York Jets: Not a shocker considering the Jets head coach his Scott's defensive coordinator in Baltimore. Now Jets fans can look forward to Scott acting like a jackass every game. Should be fun when Scott starts woofing at Bill Belichick. The gutting of the Ravens won't stop there as the Jets have also brought in CB Corey Ivy for a look while Ray Lewis is still shopping around.
Kellen Winslow to Tampa Bay: This was a trade, but that's still a major player switching teams. Winslow pretended he enjoyed being in Cleveland, but he's got to be popping wheelies on his motorcycle now that he's back in Florida. I'm just looking forward to seeing how Winslow can sustain a season ending injury on a jet-ski.
Sage Rosenfels to Minnesota: Ha ha ha ha! Yes, that will solve the QB problems for the Vikings. Well, it will be interesting to see how Rosenfels handles being pointed out as the weak link on a team with a great defense, great offensive line, and Adrian Peterson. No word if Rosenfels has a picture of Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson in his locker to remind him that marginal QB's can win the Super Bowl.
On top of the above signings, the Colts parted ways with Marvin Harrison, Keith Brooking has left Atlanta, and a host of other free-agents such as Kurt Warner, T.J. Houshamazilli, and Nate Washington have yet to sign with a team, so all sorts of things are possible in the next few days.
Oh, did I forget something?
Of course! What free-agency period would be complete without the Washington Redskins making a ridiculously big deal?
Albert Haynesworth signs $100 million contract with Washington: What the hell? Do the Redskins not follow the same salary cap that other teams do? Not only does Haynesworth get a seven-year deal with the Redskins, he gets $41 million guaranteed money. During his first year of the contract, Haynesworth will earn an astounding $32 million.
I honestly don't see how the Redskins can afford this. The team seems to sign giant free-agents every year, yet never seems to be over the cap.
Let's just go over a few names that the Redskins have signed since Daniel Snyder bought the team: Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, Cornelius Griffin, Andre Carter, Adam Archuleta, Jeremiah Trotter, Jesse Armstead, Dana Stubblefield, Randy Thomas, Brandon Lloyd, Antwaan Randle El, and Jason Taylor just to name some.
That's a lot of major contracts to hand out, most of which the team overpays for. Yet not only do the Redskins not find themselves over the cap, the team offers one of the biggest free-agent contracts in memory. And if that contract wasn't enough, the Redskins also managed to drop $54 million on DeAngelo Hall. DeAngelo Hall! This is a corner who the freakin Raiders didn't want to deal with anymore. Yet not only does Washington take a chance on him, they give him $22.5 million in guaranteed money.
Is Daniel Snyder just mocking us now? He has seemingly acquired every major player available every single year. The Redskins have rarely made the playoffs because of it, but the hidebound Snyder refuses to go in another direction. He's convinced bank-breaking signings are the way to go. I'd say this philosophy would catch up with him, but it hasn't yet, so why expect that to change?
Oh well, another year, another group of players moving, and another astounding deal made by the Redskins that should haunt the team for years to come. And yet it never does. What's up reality, you taking a vacation?
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Enter Brendan Jones, an Australian golfer who just happened to get the wrong draw at the wrong time.
I'm sure Jones expected a tough day; he was a 16th seed in the Match Play Championship which means he was going to have to beat a top seed to advance. But there are top seeds and then there are gigantic, titanic top seeds.
Seeing your name on the MPC bracket sheet right next to the name Tiger Woods is like being invited to the Academy Awards only to find out you're up against Heath Ledger for best supporting actor.
But Jones handled it like a good sport. He didn't declaim his draw even though he admitted that his sleep habits may have suffered because "you're always thinking the worst when you're lying in bed." In other words, he did his best to put a brave face on as the Tiger tank came blitzkrieging towards him.
And to his credit, Jones didn't embarrass himself. It would have been easy for Jones to go into a downward spiral after he heard the roar of the crowd as Tiger was introduced and the following super fast start by Woods that included a birdie and eagle on the first two holes. It would have been simple to get into it with the obnoxious spectator that vocally anticipated a complete blowout.
Jones remained professional though and at the end of the day he had lost, but not by too terribly much. Jones even managed a joke afterward, saying "when he got four-up with four to play, I told people that's where I wanted him, but it didn't work out that way."
Sure, a loss is a loss. And Jones probably wasn't real happy with his draw, especially after seeing that half of the top seeds were actually upset in the first round. But he handled his role of lion to the Tiger gladiator with class. And even though he may have gotten a win had he played someone else, he can now be certain that his name will be printed on trivial pursuit cards for years.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Actually I just wanted to see if I could make a country and western fan slowly lower their confederate flag and sadly place it back in it's box before they realized I wasn't talking about the hick version of B&D. Maybe it worked. Probably not though.
Yes, the Tampa Bay Bucs have released both Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn along with Joey Galloway, Ike Hilliard, and Cato June. You can officially close the book on the Bucs you once knew. They no longer exist. No Warren Sapp, no Mike Alstott, no Jon Gruden...all gone from Tampa.
Who's left from the team we used to know: Ronde Barber? And I hear he's only staying in football because people finally have stopped calling him Tiki by accident. God forbid he retires and gets a job with NBC.
So the Super Bowl XXXVII champions are no longer hanging out near the pirate ships. Though I was first surprised by the releases, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.
The Bucs aren't going anywhere near the Super Bowl in next few years. The team has no QB now that fetus-looking Jeff Garcia has been booted. The defense has no Monte Kiffin directing it, so there's no telling what will happen on that side of the ball.
New coach Raheem Morris apparently decided he was going to start from scratch with these guys and frankly, I don't blame him. He doesn't need holdovers telling him how Chucky used to do it or how Monte made THAT substitution during a nickle defense.
I doubt Brooks or Dunn would ever say something like that since they're two of the most openhanded and professional acting players around, but Morris is a young coach and those old veterans could very well have more pull with the rookies than he does next year.
More importantly, Morris is sending a message to everyone that the Bucs won't be playing the same kind of football we've gotten used to. No Gruden-esque West Coast offense that rotates 42 running backs whenever the coach's butt itches. No more game plans that call for 17 points by the offense and then hope the defense holds the opponent to 13 points.
That might be when the team looks like under Morris, but it's up to him. The slate is wiped clean. It's time for Raheem to build his own version of pewter power.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I'm happy Eldrick is coming back, but I can't get over one major issue I have....
Tiger's absence only made us painfully aware of what golf is, which is a bunch of white guys wandering around on a meticulously manicured lawn while the spectators stand around in tents drinking vodka and hobnobbing while the women show off their jewelry and fake boobs.
I know the sport is popular and I've tried to give it a shot, but to no avail. Maybe I don't properly appreciate golf since I don't play it every day, but everything I enjoy about sports; the electricity of the crowd before a big game, team play, feats of athletic prowess that confound me, does not exist in golf.
So congratulations, golf. The king has returned. You'd better hope he doesn't leave again for a long time, or people might remember that golf is an activity for business moguls to participate in while either peculating investor money or brokering deals that will lead our country into the next big recession.
Tiger Woods y'all!
Monday, February 23, 2009
If you're very lucky, that career you want to do is in a high paying field.
If you're super very lucky, you are good enough at football to enter the high-paying life style of a top draft pick in the NFL.
And that's where we are today: Andre Smith is a super lucky giant who is blessed with being roughly the size of a Frigidaire (6'4" and 340 pounds) while still owning some athletic ability. He's on the short list of must haves for NFL teams: a bulldozer for the offensive line.
Most of us will never reach 340 pounds even if we dine solely on Krispy Kreme milkshakes. It's one of two traits football coaches can't teach: size and speed. In other words, Smith is one lucky large man.
He was so good in college that he didn't even need to stay for a senior year. He was slated to be a top pick in this year's NFL draft and ensuring him of economic stability at age 22. That's worth repeating: DURING ONE OF THE WORST RECESSIONS IN RECENT U.S. HISTORY, HE WILL BE A MILLIONAIRE AT AGE 22.
All he needed to do was stay in shape and show what he could do at the NFL combine.
That was apparently too much for Smith as he showed up to the NFL Combine way out of shape and decided not to take part in any drills. But that wasn't enough of a blow to his stock. He needed to completely scorch the earth at the NFL combine by just up and flying back to Alabama without telling anyone.
Anyone want a big strong lineman who may or may not make it to practice everyday?
I know the NFL is a soulless, pride crushing league. They parade new draftees around like cattle and point out every thing that might be wrong with them. You have to be mentally ready to go through that nonsense.
So why would Smith forgo a year of college to get there if he didn't want to deal with it? It doesn't take a genius to realize that there is nothing more nocuous to NFL Draft stock than flakiness. He had a free year left to screw around where he would literally be a big man on campus at Alabama. Is Nick Saban that bad?
The odds are Smith just cost himself about $20 million and a reputation by either listening to a greedy agent or by just following his wallet instead of his heart. That's a mistake that might make him do the Truffle Shuffle in anger when he realized what he's done to his draft stock.
He probably won't feel too bad though. He's still going to be a millionaire. Unless, of course, he goes AWOL again. The chicken fried steak is calling....
Friday, February 20, 2009
There were definitely some surprises on the list and I have to say that I disagree with some of it including how the list was laid out. Who the hell makes a top 10 list starting with number one? Does Forbes have no sense of drama? Meh, let's just take a look at the list:
10. St. Louis, MO- Apparently St. Louis was the only city to rank in the bottom half of all nine categories measured, the only city to do so. I have a lot of old college buddies that will be up in arms about this pick. Face it guys, your city sucks. At least they have a recent World Series win by the Cardinals to look back fondly upon.
9. Miami, FL- Fans of Miami will tell you how exciting the city is and how awesome it is to be near the beach. The rest of us will tell you that it is a dirty city with a violent crime rate through the sunny roof and far too many glitzy night clubs for any human being to handle. Doesn't anyone just sit at a bar and talk anymore?
8. Buffalo, NY- I know of a grand total of one person who likes Buffalo and he's fiercely loyal to the city. He can have it. That place sucks. It is home to the famous wing and is very close to Niagara Falls and Canada, but people don't want to live here because of the weather. I went to a Bills home game at Ralph Wilson Stadium last year. After wading through discarded beer cans up to my shins, we got to sit through a pathetic game while seeing no fewer than six brawls erupt around us. Still better than Philly, though.
7. Detroit, MI- 7th? Forbes is telling me that there are 7 worse cities to live in than Detroit? The city has lost it's entire economic base, the crime rate is legendary and no one even bothers to live near the city anymore. Every person from Detroit I talk to tells me it sucks. That's all you need to know. Someone should place it in a hermetic bubble so that people can gaze upon the wreckage. Or better yet, just light a fire throughout the city and then play a fiddle as that waste burns away for good. What city could possible be worse than Detroit?
6. Flint, MI- Oh.
5. Modesto, CA- Another city that I'd argue population with Forbes about. Not every city in California is gigantic. According to Forbes, Modesto is a place you probably don't want to drive to since it has the highest car theft rate in the nation. Things will apparently get worse since unemployment is supposed to average 16.7%. Ahnold, where are you?
4. Cleveland, OH- Is Cleveland worse than Detroit? I guess I can't really argue for the land of Cle. Like Detroit, every person I meet who hails from Cleveland says it sucks. And Denver is the only major city that gets more snow throughout the year, but Denver has the Rockey Mountains and a Pro-Bowl quarterback on the local football team (at least when he's not suffering from diabetic shock.) Cleveland has the Browns, Brady Quinn, and Kellen Winslow. Done.
3. Chicago, IL- Okay, now Forbes is doing a bit. Chicago is not the third most miserable city in the U.S. It's definitely not worse than Detroit and Cleveland and DEFINITELY not worse than Flint. Forbes cites long commute times and a high sales tax as the reasons for Chicago's rise to infamy. Shut up Forbes. Go spend some time in these cities and then remake your list. I'm not even a Chicago fan, but I won't stand for this publicity stunt. "Whoa, Forbes said Chicago is the third worst city! This is some big news, I'd better pass this along!" You're welcome, Forbes.
2. Memphis, TN- I'm not going to argue Memphis even though I'd rather be here than many of the cities listed above. Memphis is home to great BBQ, hot weather, Graceland, and fat people. Crime rates are much worse than what people imagine and Memphis is being torched by Nashville as the go to city in the state of Tennessee. And what does Memphis have? The Grizzlies. It's hard out there for a pimp.
1. Stockton, CA- Forbes goes with the old reliable route for number one: a random California city that may or may not have enough population to actually qualify for this list. Since it's in Cali, I'm sure Stockton was crushed by the decline in the housing market. Key number for Stockton is 15: as in 15% unemployment rate for the next two years and only 15% of residents have a college degree. So they are uneducated and jobless. Yeah, maybe this place is worse than Detroit. Still better than Kabul though.
So there you go. Forbes' list of the 10 most miserable U.S. cities. Now if only I had a show on ESPN....I could now call for two random guys on my station to discuss the findings in a really annoying way.
That's almost what happened at Texas Tech this week.
Coach Mike Leach needs seven more victories on the football field to become the school's all-time leader. The coach he's chasing, Spike Dykes, took 13 seasons to get his victories. Leach is in year nine. In other words, Leach wins a lot more than Dykes did (Leach wins 66% of his games while Dykes only won 54% of his).
Leach also plays much tougher games. Dykes coached Tech starting in 1986 when the Southwest Conference was dying off. All of the great Texas athletes were running out of state and all Dykes had to do every season was beat a down Texas Longhorns team and Texas A&M. Those teams would get blown away by the Longhorns and Sooners powerhouses that Leach faces every year.
So Leach is the best thing Texas Tech has going for it right now. He brings good athletes to a school that doesn't naturally recruit them. If you've ever been to Tech, you'd see why. Located in the west Texas hell-hole of Lubbock, the only honor Tech ever battles for is the nation's ugliest campus. It's miles away from the major population bases of Texas, doesn't have a great academic record, and it's not irregular to see dust storms and tumbleweeds around the campus. Sounds fun, huh?
Yet major recruits like Graham Harrel and Michael Crabtree choose to go there. Because of Mike Leach and his wild-ass offense. He's the reason Texas Tech is leading the way for the second tier of Big 12 teams behind the Longhorns and Sooners.
Plus, Leach is just fun. In a world of control freaks who say little to the media besides generic coach speak ("well, this is going to be a tough game, they're well-coached and athletic, blah blah blah"), Leach is good for a wacky sound bite or two. He's a man who thought his destiny was as a lawyer before he became a coach. He's obsessed with pirates, talks about his favorite Supreme Court justice, and proudly displays a copy of Geronimo's death certificate. If he were at an SEC school, he'd be hailed as a mad genius.
So naturally Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Meyers said this week that he might fire Leach.
I assume firing the most popular coach in school history (that includes Bob Knight) would be career suicide. But there was Meyers saying that he'd meet with top school officials to decide Leach's fate. And he was going to fire Leach because he was worried that Leach might leave.
Ah. Okay, that makes sense.
Apparently Leach has been speaking with numerous school over the past couple of years and Tech officials are worried that he might just up and leave one day. I understand that problem. Coaches rarely stick to contracts they sign anymore. You can lock a coach up for 15 years, but if a bigger fish comes calling, he's gone. That part sucks for athletic directors and the only thing they can do is make sure they don't give too much guaranteed money to a coach up front.
But Tech officials went off the deep end with Leach. They offered him an extension, but the contract was so full of caveats and ellipsis, that Leach would be crazy to sign it. Officials basically wanted Leach to suffer if he ever left them. It looked like the work of some crazed spouse.
Cooler heads did prevail and Leach got his contract extension, but only after Tech fans got involved and let Meyers know that if he fired Leach, he might want to go into hiding. All of that because officials were afraid Leach might leave eventually.
No one wants a successful coach to go, but I'm pretty sure the 'tying him up and putting him in the basement' approach doesn't really work. But at least it's in the past now. And every one can get ready to see Leach with his guns up on the Tech sideline next year. At least until another major job opens up.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
|Teenage birth rates by states (highest birth rate being at the top.) This proves to me that Bristol Palin was correct and that there really is nothing to do in New Hampshire.|
Birth rate per 1,000 women ages 15-19
Then one day the boss man walks in and tells you that you've been transferred. The company just doesn't have enough money to keep you. But your boss knows another company that can use you so you'll be doing the same job, just with a different organization, not as good as this one, but one that is still growing.
You say bye to your friends in the company and they're unhappy to see you go, but what can they do? You deal with all of the emotions for a day and finally get some closure to your move and arrive at your new company ready to work. Except the new company doesn't want you anymore. They send you back to the original company. So you're basically back at your original job, but with the knowledge that you were this close to leaving forever.
Do you think things might be a bit awkward with upper management? That's what the New Orleans Hornets are dealing with now as Tyson Chandler returns to the team after being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder this week. Apparently a trainer in OKC didn't like Tyson Chandler's toe and thought it could be a constant problem in the future. So, after a few tautological plane rides, Chandler ended up right back where he began his week.
The question is will anything ever be the same here? Sure, Chandler and the rest of the Hornets can say whatever they want about moving on, but I don't know if that can happen.
Chandler knows he was deemed expendable by the Hornets. Whose to say the same thing won't happen next year or in the off-season? If went through this experience, I would make sure I was only renting a place in the Bayou City. Chandler can talk about staying focused and doing his job, but it's a bit hard to commit to an organization that doesn't seem to be returning the favor. Playing because you're paid to do so is not the same as playing for a team you really want to be on.
Speaking of getting paid, I wonder what this does to the psyche of the Hornets. Chandler wasn't traded so that the Hornets would get better. He's a valuable center for the team albeit one who is not playing well this year. The Hornets made the trade purely to save some cash because they will have to pay a luxury tax since they're over the salary cap right now. No one likes to pay taxes, but fans do not want an owner whose primary goal is not winning a championship.
Hornets all-star point guard Chris Paul has to be wondering now if management will ever take that extra step to help win a title. He admitted to being stung (no pun intended Hornets fans....okay maybe a little) by the Chandler trade as did head coach Byron Scott. I'm sure both will now say that they're happy that Tyson is back and look forward to working with him as they make a push for the playoffs. But if push comes to shove, do Paul and Scott trust in support from management?
And what if the OKC trainer is right about Tyson's toe? Maybe he's damaged goods who is doomed to seasons on and off of the injury report. That will tarnish his standing in the organization and while he has a couple of years left on his contract, two more injury plagued seasons basically guarantees that Chandler will be gone from New Orleans.
Welcome back, Tyson. Don't get too chummy.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
So why am I disgusted with the A-Rod semi-apology? I know that he's a proud athlete with a gigantic ego who isn't used to saying sorry for anything. Yet I wasn't anywhere near placated yesterday when I heard him.
He did what he was supposed to do, he gave some extra details as to what happened in 2003 and who he was with (some nameless cousin). He called himself young and stupid and apologized for his mistake. Sort of.
Yet, as Jayson Stark points out, A-Rod made the situation even murkier with his apology. He contradicted himself in front of everyone and shot all sorts of holes in his earlier apology with Peter Gammons.
That's what makes me angry about this situation. A-Rod is either really stupid, or, more likely, he thinks we're really stupid. He said he was about five years younger than he really was when he used steroids. He said he was injected with some unknown substance from out of the country (even though he told Gammons he walked down to GNC to get his stuff), and then later said he know he wasn't "popping Tic-Tacs" which is why he was secretive about doing this.
First of all, am I to believe that a guy as aware of his body as A-Rod is would inject some unkown substance into his body for years without wondering what it was? Secondly, who the hell injects themselves with Tic-Tacs?
A-Rod clearly isn't telling truth and was hoping that the act of apologizing was enough without actually letting us know what he's sorry for. Kind of like a Jason Giambi special.
We shouldn't be surprised with A-Rod's insincerity. Of all the athlete apologies we've heard over the past decade, I can count on one hand how many athletes apologized sincerely. I can remember Andy Pettitte last year, Todd Bertuzzi when he nearly killed a guy on the ice, and I'll hold an open slot for whomever I forgot (feel free to add any in the comments section).
On the other hand you have baseball players who avoid saying they did anything wrong and you have guys like Ryan Leaf who apologize as though it's the media's fault for bringing it up.
I don't want an apology if you don't mean it. It's selfish spin-control, not remorse. I'd rather have Dominic Raiola, who would rather have people dislike them. At least you know where they're coming from.
Like most fans, I wish A-Rod would just admit what he did. It would have taken one minute and it would completely short-circuit any media follow up because there would be nothing else to uncover. Instead this issue will fester and A-Rod won't get what he wanted, which I assume is closure.
And he doesn't deserve closure because his apology was the equivalent of a player not running out a pop fly. He made a mistake back in 2003. Now he's made another one.
Welcome to club "sports apology without responsibility" A-Rod. Be careful, it's crowded in there.