Traffic has been down recently and I am assuming it is because everything I write has been pretty boring lately, so I will try to do better. I like posting as much as humanly possible and with J.S. on a Bruce Wayne in "Batman Begins" type leave of absence, I have gotten in the habit of a schedule every week because I don't have as much time to search for articles as I used to. So, if anyone sees an article, feel free to send it to me and I will try to put it up or send me anything I may be interested in (sports related or at least music related) and I will look it over. I just have not had the time to search the Internet everyday for one article that is worth tearing apart at the seams, so I tend to stick to the same ones I know are going to be bad.
Let's start with the "Ten Things..."
1. Let's start with Jemele Hill stating the obvious for all of us. I think my favorite part about this article is the video of Drew Rosenhaus looking like he is 5 minutes from trying a T.O. type overdose.
Blowing up locker rooms is second nature to Owens, so it was only a matter of time before there was carnage in Dallas.
This column works a whole lot better if you pretend it is 2006 and Jemele Hill is writing this column pretending T.O. just got to Dallas. If you don't do this, then you will realize Jemele Hill is about three years too late on this issue.
But here's the real question: Why hasn't anyone in the Dallas locker room slapped the Sharpie out of him?
Because if you, as his teammate, do this T.O. will either (a) try to commit suicide and you will have to be asked about it for the next three weeks, (b) intentionally not catch passes thrown his way and then the media will ask you about that for the next three weeks, (c) pout to the point where the team will implode and have no chance at making the playoffs and the media will ask you about that for the next three weeks, or (d) something else entirely that is not productive, which will surely take the focus off the team on T.O.
The Cowboys have a real shot at the playoffs and have enough talent to get far in the playoffs. Pissing off T.O. will not win them the Super Bowl, while staying quiet very well could. If you have to ask why no one in Dallas has slapped him then you are not paying attention and should not be a sportswriter. Here is a one way ticket to Detroit, Mitch Albom is waiting for you with a job offer.
In strong locker rooms, certain things just aren't permitted, and it's clear that Dallas' locker room couldn't withstand T.O.'s latest assault because not one player seems willing to put an end to T.O.'s stupidity.
No team can withstand T.O. in the locker room, no matter how good they are or how strong the coach is.
The real questions should be directed towards Jerry Jones for signing T.O. and never putting his foot down when his players act like 8 year old children. That is where the real questions no one has the balls to ask should be directed.
At the very least, Romo needs to say this to his troublesome receiver: "I may not be the best quarterback in the league, but it's a lot harder to find one of me than one of you. Look at my age. Look at my contract. I will outlast you in Dallas. So let's just cut the (expletive), win some games and break some records."
The single worst idea Jemele Hill has ever thought of, has just been written down. In what world does stupid ass Jemele think this is going to work? What in T.O.'s history says to curse at him and establish dominance over him is the best idea to deal with him?
This is like taunting a rabid wolf with the fact your species is so much more culturally advanced than his/hers. Either way, it is not going to turn out well when you confront the problem like that. (Wolves are very sensitive to joke remarks about it's culture, I learned this on National Geographic.)
I'm not blaming Romo, but I'm not convinced he can win important games in Dallas as long as T.O. is his primary receiver.
Here goes Jemele confusing two completely different issues. This is not about T.O. as a receiver, this is about his attitude and personality in the locker room. Jemele Hill must be a bitch to have a conversation with. Her new name is JemeHill by the way.
(Person): "I am just saying the Patriots can not win the Super Bowl this year without Brady."
(JemeHill): "I'm not saying Matt Cassel can't win the Super Bowl, I just don't think the Patriots are drafting strong enough right now to give Brady the weapons he needs next year."
(Person slits wrists and bleeds on JemeHill's 1988 Detroit Piston Adrian Dantley jersey)
Oh, and by telling Romo to stand up to Owens, you are blaming Romo in a roundabout way.
Michael Irvin was the locker-room sheriff, and he made sure a certain level of commitment and togetherness existed among all the players.
When he wasn't too busy stabbing people in the neck with scissors, snorting cocaine, or spending days on end at brothels he was the sheriff dammit!
T.O. could never have pulled this in New England. Before he had to answer to Bill Belichick, he would have had to answer to Tom Brady, Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison or any of the team's other strong leaders.
I disagree with this. I think he would have caused the same problems no matter where he goes. By the way, Tom Brady is not with the team this year, he is injured, so T.O. would have pitched an uber-fit this year.
Strong leadership is why the Giants were never sunk by Jeremy Shockey, and even though they experienced a setback against the Eagles, I would be stunned if Plaxico Burress' legal troubles derail their quest for another Super Bowl.
Is she insane? She makes this bold prediction about Plaxico once the Giants have lost two games in a row without Burress. Has she paid no attention to current events? If she drops a Vinny Testaverde reference in here I will quit typing.
I need to be very careful with my Giants mocking this week...
2. Buster Olney says spending $250 million on two pitchers does not mean the Yankees are back to their free spending ways. He is wrong.
On the front end, both teams would have been required to surrender their top pitching prospects -- for the Red Sox, that was Jon Lester, and for the Yankees, that was Phil Hughes -- and then they would have to pay Santana like he was a free agent.
Oh yeah, refusing to trade Melky Cabrera and Phil Hughes for Santana was the brighest decision in the world. Hughes was at AAA at the end of the year and Cabrera almost got traded straight up for Mike Cameron. Meanwhile Santana used up the National League and was in the hunt for the Cy Young. It worked out for the Yankees though, because they bought two other pitchers, instead of getting Santana, LIKE THEY ALWAYS DO. Just because they kept their prospects does not mean they have changed.
The prospects are mostly shit anway.
In fact, the signings of Sabathia and A.J. Burnett are absolutely in keeping with the refocus on the farm system.
It is not. They have a focus on not trading players from the farm system, but the focus is now on letting those players stay in the farm system at the minor league level and pay for free agent pitchers. The refocus on the farm system would be if they actually developed the young players to play on the major league team, which they don't.
Burnett could very well be another Carl Pavano and Sabathia is a stud pitcher but also a stud pitcher that pitched a lot of innings in the past two years. These things concern me.
Marlins president David Samson ripped the Yankees this week for what he portrayed as wild spending, but apparently he doesn't realize that the team's payroll is going to go down by around 10 percent. The Yankees had about $85 million in expiring contracts, and for next season, so far they've spent $23 million on Sabathia and $15 million on Burnett, and they'll spend on another veteran pitcher and probably acquire Mike Cameron; it's possible the Yankees' payroll for next season will be about $180 million to $190 million.
The only reason they had all that money is because of the poor decisions they had made in the past and those contracts are finally coming off the books. This is still wild spending, regardless of how much money is coming off the books. The payroll will reach $200 million, so nothing has changed.
So to review: The Yankees will be younger, cheaper and deeper, and maybe better.
Every little bit of sunny, sunny joy Buster has just given us is completely relative to the Yankees. Compared to the rest of MLB they are still older, more expensive, and top heavy. It is incorrect to compare the Yankees to every other team, except Boston, in baseball. They are in a different world. Last year the Royals got murdered for signing Gil Meche to a 5 year $55 million deal and this year the Yankees are lauded for spending over $20 million per year on one pitcher. Compared to other teams, the Yankees' spending is still in the stratosphere.
In the fall of 2005, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman mapped out a course for the organization to begin building a powerhouse that combines player development and the power of the dollar, a model that looks an awful lot like what we've been seeing from the Red Sox over the past three seasons. The Yankees continue to move closer to achieving that goal.
Call me crazy but signing three free agent pitchers and trying to trade for a centerfielder does not scream "player development" to me. The farm system may be deeper than it has been in a while but these players are not playing in the major leagues right now, only the expensive free agents and players who got traded to the Yankees are playing. Nothing has changed.
3. Hiring Gene Chizik was the dumbest thing Auburn could have done with the coaching pool they had to choose from. There was Mike Leach, Turner Gill, or any freaking one who has coached a team to a .500 record, and they all would have been a better choice than Chizik. I am very glad I am not an Auburn fan. I give Chizik one year in Auburn.
4. Charles Barkley sticks his nose in the situation.
"I think race was the No. 1 factor," said Barkley, who played basketball for three seasons at Auburn during the early 1980s. "You can say it's not about race, but you can't compare the two resumes and say [Chizik] deserved the job. Out of all the coaches they interviewed, Chizik probably had the worst resume."
I don't know if race was a factor in the decision but it doesn't matter to me. It is like I have told people for a few years now. I have no problem with a team not hiring or interviewing minority coaches, and the reason I don't is that they are hurting their own selves by eliminating great coaches based on race.
If Auburn was too racist/stupid to hire Turner Gill, that is perfectly fine with me. Their punishment will be the fact they are most likely going to be looking for another coach this time next year and Turner Gill and many other quality coaches are not going to be available at that point. It's as simple as that to me. If you want to hurt your team/university, don't go get the most qualified coach for the position...which Auburn did.
Chizik certainly looks like a shit hire for Auburn and the price they are going to have to pay is mediocrity. If I am a minority coach, I would go somewhere that actually wants me and will give me a chance to prove I am a great coach. If a team is too stupid to even interview me and I am qualified, that is their problem, not mine.
5. Peter King has a massive hard on for the Atlanta Falcons.
Now for the Blalock story. I'm almost rooting for the Falcons to make it, just so Blalock gets his due.
The Falcons are third in the division right now. I want to clear that up. I wonder if Peter even knows who the division leader currently is?
Think back to overtime Sunday, Atlanta and Tampa Bay tied at 10, the Falcons driving. On second-and-eight from the Buc 43, Matt Ryan scrambled forward, and from behind Buc defensive end Kevin Carter dove on his back and stripped the ball from Ryan at the Buc 39. Tampa Bay linebacker linebacker Barrett Ruud dove on the ball, cradled it in his right arm as he attempted to curl his body over the ball, and within a millsecond was snowed under by Bucs and Falcons alike.
Six seconds later, as the officials pried bodies away from the pile, they signaled for the Falcons and yelled, "Atlanta ball!'' And Blalock emerged with the football.
Blalock somehow managed to recover a fumble, something apparently no other player on any other team has ever been able to do. Great recovery but about a 3 on a 1-10 "Amazingness scale" and possibly not even worth a mention for the second day straight day from Peter King.
• GOOD IDEA. From Steve Gillespie, of Houston: "Peter, isn't it about time that a chip is placed inside the NFL game ball that can signal upstairs when it crosses the goal line?''
If you read Fire Jay Mariotti at all, you will have seen Gregg Easterbrook in his TMQ brought this up and either a commentor or Larry B completely proved this idea is horrible. For example, what if the part of the ball without the chip goes over the goal line? I am sure Peter likes the idea though.
Excellent point; I'd love the see that technology used if it can be perfected.
Wouldn't it have been easier for the officials to just make the correct call?
• MATT CASSEL DESERVES MORE ATTENTION FOR WHAT HE DID THE OTHER DAY. From Scott, of Providence: "I'm amazed at how little attention Matt Cassel's performace in the wake of his father's passing received on a national level. When Brett Favre had a similiar performance in Oakland, albeit on Monday night, the national media went nuts, he was this great warrior, etc. Yet, today, Cassel gets a small note in the middle of a webpage. Not that Cassel's performance needs to be the lead story for the day, but the disparity is ridiculous. Another great day in the National Favre League.''
Excellent fucking point. Peter?
Now, as for this particular argument of Cassel versus Favre, there are a few differences. Favre was a legendary quarterback when his tragedy happened, Cassel a first-year starter.
A legend because you in the media made him a legend. At the heart of it, there are still two dead fathers and a quarterback has to play soon after it has happened.
Favre's father was a relatively known character; Big Irv coached him in high school and was around him for much of his pro life. Favre's father died 26 hours before the Packers took the field in Oakland, and there was some real question in coach Mike Sherman's mind if Favre would play in the game.
I follow football and I had never heard of Irv Favre prior to his death. The only reason anyone had ever even heard a mention of him was because Peter King would always talk about him while stalking Brett Favre.
In the Cassel case, the dad died six days before the game, Cassel flew to southern California to be with the family when it happened and returned to the team to practice, and we never saw Cassel struggling with the kind of emotion Favre struggled with either before or after the game.
I will sum it up easily: Here are the differences in the two situations:
-Brett Favre is more popular, so his father dying is more significant.
-Brett Favre's dad was more popular, while Matt Cassel's father did not try to be in the spotlight so it is a bigger story.
-Matt Cassel's father died way too early in the week for it to be significant, thereby making the story of a dead father so much more stale and really who wants to write about a dead father when it is almost a week old?
-Brett Favre, shockingly, could not make up his mind on whether he was going to play or not after his father died, leaving the world in limbo so he could get more attention, while Matt Cassel did not make a public spectacle of his father's death.
Now it makes sense how these two situations are different.
6. After losing out on an overly injured, expensive, overpaid pitcher, the Braves turn their attention to signing overly injured, expensive, overpaid middle infielders.
Signing Furcal could allow the Braves to move shortstop Yunel Escobar to second base or market him in a trade. Escobar had been part of discussions in a potential trade for San Diego Padres starter Jake Peavy.
That makes sense to sign an injured shortstop and not have a backup available when that player gets injured. I think each team in the league should have Frank Wren as their GM for one year just to see how much damage he can do to each team. He has already destroyed the Orioles and now it is on to the Braves.
7. I don't know why anyone would still support Mike Vick.
He was not a good quarterback, though he could run with the help of a few holding penalties that were never called, and he really brought nothing to a team except fan support...which I guess is the name of the game.
I will have to say I agree with Mike Freeman completely on this article and that does not happen often. I can't wait for Vick to get out of prison and see the mayhem that ensues followed by the Raiders signing him.
8. I do get tired of hearing all about the NFC East and how wonderful it is.
It is like a division consisting of a bunch of high school girls and gossip. That's why it gets all the attention. You have the Eagles who may get rid of their quarterback and the coach no one really likes, even though he is the best coach they have had in 25 years. There is Dallas where drama comes free with the yearly playoff choke job. Then there is Washington where the Offensive Coordinator who got named coach is losing his team, which everyone saw coming. Finally there is New York where the team that is a real T-E-A-M is having a hard time of it now after it's best receiver shot himself at a club.
I don't see how this division is so damn interesting, the Giants clinched the division two weeks ago and the rest of the above average teams are fighting for a wild card spot.
Compare that to my favorite team's division, where my favorite team could finish the year 11-5 and not make the playoffs. Now that is an interesting division.
9. Does anyone listen to the Bill Simmons podcasts? I listened to the first 10 minutes of one about three weeks ago and then turned it off. It is like an hour long session where Bill just talks and talks about nothing of substance while paying tribute to himself and his friends along the way. I had thought about grabbing some things off that to put on this here blog but I don't have the patience to sit through one hour of that voice. Maybe one day when I get more patient. I just wonder if anyone listens to them, because he does two of those a week now and only one column.
I wish there was a transcript I could read from, it would make my life less miserable.
10. Here's something from TMQ that is close to my heart.
The Panthers plod a lot on offense, then occasionally break a big play -- they lead the league in 40-plus-yard rushing plays and are second in 20-plus runs.
Does leading the league in 40 plus rushing plays and being second in 20 plus runs really count as "plodding along"? Though they play a boring game of football, I would have to say leading the league or being second in these categories is not plodding along.
TMQ likes Jeff Fisher not only because he's the NFL's longest-serving coach, he is among the few who consistently gives straightforward answers to media questions. Against the Texans, the deciding down came when Tennessee, trailing 13-12, faced fourth-and-3 at the Houston 32 at the two-minute warning. Rather than let Rob Bironas attempt a 49-yard field goal, Fisher went for it and the Titans failed. The Reliant Stadium roof was open, and Bironas would have kicked into a swirling wind; he'd failed on long kicks in that direction during warm-ups. After the game, Fisher, who at halftime had the choice of the wind in the third quarter or fourth quarter, explained that he'd chosen the wind in the third quarter "because I thought by then we'd have the game locked up," and should have made the conventional choice of saving the wind for the fourth quarter.
Few coaches would be honest enough to admit they underestimated their opponent --
Notice how Easterbrook does not mention THAT is what happens when you go for it on fourth down all the time, you end up screwing the pooch a few times a year. I like how Jeff Fisher is complimented here for admitting he underestimated his opponent and making a bad decision that cost his team the game, but a little later Easterbrook gets all over Jim Zorn for punting against Cincinnati in a game the Redskins could have come back and won.
Facing all-but-mathematical elimination at Cincinnati, Jim "Dan Snyder Hasn't Fired Me Quite Just Yet" Zorn ordered a punt on fourth-and-4 from midfield when trailing 17-0.
Jeff Fisher's decision essentially cost his team the game, but he is lauded for being frank with the media, while Jim Zorn played strategy against a team that had won 2 games and Easterbrook second guesses his decision.
I hate sportswriters.