Saturday, November 29, 2008

0 comments Peter King Followup

Remember in his MMQB on Monday Peter King said he had written an article in Sports Illustrated about Derrick Brooks and how to defend Adrian Peterson?

I'll have a story in Sports Illustrated this week, delving into the mind of one of the game's smartest players, Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks. He let me into his study sessions before Bucs-Vikes, and his video analysis postgame last Monday. It's a cool look -- with the deconstruction of one very important play from the game -- as Brooks and the Bucs try to stop the most electric player in football.

I won't give you any real spoilers here, but I will say Brooks and the Bucs did a good job on Peterson, and when I called Peterson Wednesday to explain the Tampa Bay defensive plan for stopping him, he was pretty forthcoming.

The article focused on one play and how Derrick Brooks chased down a pass to Adrian Peterson, not a running play, on fourth-and-one in the 3rd quarter. Peter King described this as the play of the game. The Tampa Bay defensive plan to stop Peterson overall was to stay in there gaps and tackle his outside leg, which seems logical because Peterson likes to bounce it to the outside. On this one play though, the play of the game, King describes how Brooks chased down Peterson when he was going out for a pass and managed to prevent Peterson from getting the ball using a technique Brooks had learned as a veteran linebacker. That technique?

Pass interference.

Brooks grabbed Peterson's left arm a split second before he caught the ball and managed to break up the pass from there. Yes, there was a whole article about how to pass interfere correctly and also how to get away with it, by Derrick Brooks. The tip? Don't look at the ref after you have pass interfered. There are even pictures of this play to prove the pass interference. Committing penalties and getting away with them is now considered a "veteran move." This stuff goes on all the time but I am not sure we should be writing articles crediting those who get away with it.

Next week maybe we can focus on how to hold defensive players without getting caught or how Mike Vick seemed to be able to run all over the field without a holding penalty or ineligible receiver called downfield on his offensive lineman. I would like to know how the Falcons always did that.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

2 comments Gene Wojciechowski Thinks Charlie Weis Should Not Be Fired Because Notre Dame Is Like Every Other School

Sorry for the confusing title but I just wanted to get you ready for a confusing article. I am still in disbelief at the conclusion Gene W has reached about Charlie Weis and whether he should be fired or not. I don't want to ruin it so just try and read along. He may be competing with Jemele Hill for the worst reasoning on ESPN's Page 2. It is a tight race. I have never met two people who can read facts that point one way and then come to a bizarrely different conclusion. It has me talking not of sense right now.

Charlie Weis sucks...but let's keep him.

I personally don't care if Weis gets fired, but you can't list reasons why he sucks as a coach and then say Notre Dame should keep him because of some vague and stupid reason. You will all see.

Charlie Weis and his football program are under siege, which is as much Notre Dame's fault as it is his.

Good strong introduction sentence. I love it. It is Notre Dame's fault for hiring Charlie Weis, I completely agree. What usually happens then? The coach gets fired and Notre Dame would then fix their mistake by hiring a good coach. Pretty standard in the real world.

Not in Gene's world though. Gene's world consists of lollipops, poor reasoning, and a cuddly panda bear that hands out fruit to young children and takes grown ups in hot air balloon rides around the sun.

Charlie Weis can't fire Notre Dame and he certainly is not going to quit, so to fix this mistake, there is but one conclusion. Fire Weis. There is a problem, the coach is the problem, Notre Dame needs its "mystique" back, the coach will not do that, so we fire the coach. Seems easy to me.

If Notre Dame football were a blood-pressure reading, the nurse would jot down 40 over 20 -- barely a pulse.

If you have to explain the joke at the end...the joke bombed/never should have been included. Gene is trying to appeal to the all important RN/Doctor market with his jokes now.

"Sounds to me like Notre Dame is circling the drain."

The recent defeat to eight-loss Syracuse (a Notre Dame first) only intensifies the scrutiny of Weis, whose record during the past two seasons is the worst in Notre Dame history.

I am not a Notre Dame fan but this all seems to head to the same conclusion. Can the coach. Or in Charlie Weis' case, barrel the coach...see, because he is fat and can't fit in a can, you would have to use a barrel...because he is fat.

It won't get any better this Saturday, when the Fighting Irish lose their seventh consecutive game against longtime rival USC and finish the regular season at a forgettable 6-6.

6-6 is better than last year and everyone loses to USC, these are not very relevant points in a discussion as to why Weis should be fired. For Notre Dame 6-6 does stink though.

That's another thing. Notre Dame followers are now conditioned to lose to USC. They expect the annual beatdown, which makes sense, I guess. Since Weis' arrival in 2005, the USC margin of victory has grown from three points to 20 to 38 to who knows how much this time as the Trojans try to earn style points for the ridiculous BCS beauty pageant.

I am currently conditioned to have my favorite teams lose to some other teams. It doesn't make it right and it does piss me off but there is not a whole lot you can do about it until the team that is getting its ass kicked decides this is going to stop. Notre Dame sort of decided to have the ass kicking continue by keeping Charlie Weis.

It also happens Notre Dame's downfall has come at the same time as the rise of USC football, so I would expect the margin of victory to get bigger and bigger...until Notre Dame gets a better team/coach.

The sense of doom reveals much about the state of Weis' program. But mostly it reveals why Notre Dame is no different than other football factories.

If this column was a car, Gene was currently driving 65mph on the highway until this point and just now threw the car in reverse. In other words, this was a rapid change of subject.

In a bizarre bit of symmetry, the very reason for Weis' hiring -- Tyrone Willingham's firing after just three seasons -- is why Fighting Irish fans, boosters, power brokers and maybe even school officials now feel empowered to call for Weis' dismissal.

Only symmetry in the fact both coaches had bad records as the head coach of Notre Dame's football team. It is actually a very similar situation when two coaches suck at a different school, in most cases the university would feel the need to fire both coaches for the same reasons. It actually makes sense, even if that sentence I just wrote sort of did not.

It's why Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick had to recently issue a vote of confidence for a head coach he didn't hire.

What the hell is he going to do? Call up the old athletic director and ask him his opinion on Charlie Weis and whether he should get a vote of confidence?

(Jack Swarbrick) "Hey Bob, it's Jack here at Notre Dame, the guy who replaced you as AD. Can you give me a vote of confidence for Charlie Weis?"

(Bob- fictional ex-Notre Dame AD) "You backstabbed me and got hired for the position. Go fuck yourself. I am glad I got you in a shit position."

(Jack) "Traditionally, Notre Dame people don't act like this. Just give him a vote of confidence."

(Bob hanging up the phone)

(Jack) "I guess I will give the vote of confidence, but I don't want to confuse Gene Wojciechowski."

By ridding themselves of Willingham, who just happened to be the school's first African-American head coach, Jenkins & Co. ended the very thing that differentiated Notre Dame from everyone else: a five-year commitment to its coach.

This "commitment" is pretty short sighted. If you have a crappy coach what is the point of wasting everyone's time, money, and college eligibility keeping that coach around? This "commitment" is pretty easy to commit to you when you have a coach that is actually good at his job. When you find a shitty coach, lose the commitment, and change the direction of the program.

That commitment represented the very best of Notre Dame.

It also represented the fact it is easy to do this when the pre-Daffy Duck Lou Holtz is your coach.

It was a mistake to fire him then, just as it would be a mistake to fire Weis now.

Why is it a mistake if both coaches were not meeting the Notre Dame standard and getting their ass kicked by USC? Gene just spent the first half of the column indicating Weis had to go because of all the trouble the program was having with winning. Now he is saying don't fire Weis because of some stupid ass "commitment" to a five year contract.

Good journalism meet Gene Wojciechowski. (Gene pushes good journalism out of the cuddly panda's hot air balloon into the sun.)

Money isn't the issue.

Then fire Weis.

And if they did, the school would soon have its fifth different coach (Bob Davie, O'Leary, Willingham, Weis, the new guy) in the past nine years. You expect that out of Alabama, not Notre Dame.

Gosh, changing coaches a lot seemed to work out really well for Alabama, huh? They are the #1 ranked team in the country and barring an upset-ish game in the SEC Championship, will be playing for the National Championship. Sure it is embarrassing to change coaches every few years but when your team is suddenly good again, it is pretty easy to get over this embarrassment.

Weis is responsible for much of his own discomfort. Those nine losses last season were the most in Notre Dame history. His record after his first three years was almost exactly the same as Willingham's. His celebrated recruiting classes haven't translated to the field yet.

I fucking give up. This is like staying with your girlfriend who is a real pain in the ass because it is embarrassing to be single. Gene lists three great reasons to fire Charlie Weis here but does not want to because of some mythical standard Notre Dame held when they were actually good at football.

So it's amusing to hear the criticism four years later. What made Weis endearing in 2005 makes him unbearable in 2008? Funny how that works.

This happens with everyone and everything. It all depends on the result. When Lou Pinella's teams are winning and he is throwing bases and acting like a five year old, he is just firing up the team. When the team is losing, he is acting like a child.

When Marvin Harrison is quiet and reserved it is because he is a private person who just wants to play football. When Marvin Harrison is quiet and reserved, but has allegedly shot someone, he is secretive and manipulative.

When my favorite football team runs the ball three straight downs and gets first downs, I don't want to have the scattershot QB throw the ball, when they don't get first downs running the ball, I call the coach too conservative and start texting the two friends I have in the world to complain.

People can handle other people's shit when things are going well, but not when things are bad. Consider this a life lesson for Gene.

The worst thing a school can do to a coach is hang him on the clothesline and let him flap in the wind. Vote of confidence or no vote, that's what has happened to Weis.

If they go ahead and fire him, they would have no one to coach this week's game and the bowl game they will be invited to participate in. This will create more instability, it is better to have candidates in mind and fire Weis once the year is over once there are no more football games to be played.

Weis has alienated his share of people at and outside Notre Dame.

So why should he not be fired for this?

He deserves much of the criticism leveled against him, but he doesn't deserve to be fired. Not for this.

Here is a list of things Gene W thinks Charlie Weis should not be fired for:

1. Having a bad football team every year.
2. Losing to USC every year.
3. The team has gotten worse since he started coaching.
4. Having the same record as the coach before him had...who got fired.
5. Recruiting Top 10 recruiting classes and still losing games.
6. Being an asshole to the people at Notre Dame.
7. Being an asshole to the people not at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame lost its football DNA and its inner self when it dismissed Willingham four years ago. It compromised a belief.

Here is a reasons why Gene W thinks Charlie Weis should not be fired:

1. Notre Dame made a mistake in firing its last coach before he could coach one more year, which at that point they probably would have fired they should not repeat this "mistake" and let Weis coach one more year and then fire him.

Win or lose Saturday, it's time for Jenkins and Swarbrick to end the speculation and say Weis will return in 2009 for his fifth season.

How can Gene make a list of great legitimate reasons why Charlie Weis should be fired and then say Weis should not be fired because Notre Dame has traditionally given coaches five years to get a good team? Sure, give someone five years if there is continued progress by the team, but Weis' Notre Dame team has gone from great to horrible back to average with great recruiting classes. What's to stop them from going back to horrible?

Good Catholic people are throwing snowballs at the team for God's sake. Can it get worse?

You say it because it's not only the right thing to do, but because it used to be the Notre Dame thing to do.

Incorrect. You can't do it because it is something Notre Dame used to do when they actually had good coaches. If the Oklahoma offense starts struggling you don't go back to the wishbone offense because that is what used to work back when Barry Switzer coached the team.

So Notre Dame should keep Weis for one more year and then fire him because it is the "Notre Dame thing to do?" You know what else used to be the "Notre Dame thing to do?" WIN FUCKING FOOTBALL GAMES.

Maybe they should fire Charlie Weis and start doing that.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2 comments Ten Things I Think I Think Peter King Has Not Thought Of: Tuesday Edition

Maybe I have just lost my touch, but I can't find a single article on the Al Gore invented Internet to mock. Work is also insane around the holidays and there is just a lot going on, but unlike Fire Joe Morgan, I am not going to quit. I guess we will have to stick to some quick hits.

I did not mean for that to rhyme.

1. Peter King continues to worship at the feet of Northeast teams.

There were six actual questions this week Peter picked to answer:

The beginning of the article was about the Redskins, who are located in the Northeast part of the United States then:

• SUDDENLY, IT'S A QUESTION ON A LOT OF MINDS. From Scott Zabinsky, of Elkridge, Md.: "What will the NFL do if both the Giants and Jets host the conference championship games?''

• CHAD'S CERTAINLY A GLASS-HALF-FULL GUY. From Chad, of Honolulu: "Did anybody lose with the Brett Favre trade? Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay are doing well. Favre and the Jets are doing well. Chad Pennington and Miami are doing well. This might be remembered as the most mutually beneficial trade of all time.''

• WHO KNOWS? From Adam Allred, of San Jose, Calif.: "Looking ahead to 2009, you mentioned that Josh McDaniels will be a head coach next year. Isn't the most likely scenario for him to end up in San Francisco and to take Matt Cassel with him? I can't think of a better fit for both of them anywhere else. And since we're talking reunions, could you see Donovan McNabb signing with Minnesota to reunite with Brad Childress? I don't think any other team would bring him in to be the starter.''

• NOW HERE'S A STUNNING DEVELOPMENT: I WAS WRONG ABOUT SOMETHING. From David Smith, of Coral Springs, Fla.: "Peter, In the offseason you mentioned that the Bears should pursue Donovan McNabb. Are you willing to say that they are better off having stayed put with Kyle Orton?''

I realize I am being very, very nitpicky here but he answers two questions about Donovan McNabb playing for another team next year, which is not even relevant right now. I know the Northeast teams are "where it is at" right now, but I find it hard to believe there were not questions about the Cardinals or any other team in the NFL that plays anywhere else in the country other than the Northeast. I find it hard to believe people ask him questions based completely on what he wrote in his MMQB as well. There have to be some questions that are about a team/topic not mentioned in MMQB.

There is only so much Matt Cassel, Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb, Jets/Giants/Patriots talk I can handle and I am beyond my breaking point.

2. Gregg Easterbrook brings up a similar point to me in his TMQ. The end of the world is nigh'.

Although Cassel is playing well, the New England rebound isn't about him. What's happening is the resurgence of a team and its system. Considering how rapidly Cassel has become effective, in retrospect, maybe it was never about Tom Brady, either.

I will never argue Matt Cassel is better than Tom Brady but I do find it is similar to the Broncos running back situation where it seems as if they always can find someone who will be successful at the position. Or they have done it twice, it could be a coincidence.

But unless Matt Cassel is one of the most gifted athletic prodigies of all time (and probabilities say he is not), the system he's in is causing him to succeed, rather than it being the other way around. How quickly we forget that just nine months ago, the New England Patriots were 35 seconds away from perfection! Then Brady got hurt and the New England system hiccupped. Now that's over, and the Patriots have adjusted, allowing their previously stellar performance level to return. From the start of the 2003 season until the first game of this season, when Brady was injured, the Patriots were 78-17 with two Super Bowl rings and a third title oh so close. This doesn't happen without excellent team players, top coaches and a well-run system.

I have vowed never to agree with anything Gregg Easterbrook says. So I will not agree with this...I will merely leave it there for you to read.

Brady is a superb athlete, but right now he may be at some supermodel's Mediterranean seaside villa wincing, because Cassel is demonstrating that Brady was not essential for the Patriots to win.

I am not jumping off the Brady bandwagon because I was never on the Tom Brady bandwagon. Every year some sportswriters act as if it is new and wonderful information to learn a superior offensive line, defense (above average), and great receivers in conjunction with a quarterback who knows the offense can help a team win games.

This is not shocking but you will continue to read articles by Peter King and others describing how great Matt Cassel is. Last year Tom Brady could have eaten lunch in the pocket or perhaps even done some online shopping for Gisele a Christmas present, he was so well protected. Why does everyone think he could throw long bombs to Moss or wait for Welker to cross the middle? He had all the time in the world. You rarely see Brady having to scramble around in the pocket and make a play out of nothing because no one ever got near him. Then the Giants get pressure on Brady and everyone acts like they are geniuses for doing this and sportswriters are writing how important defensive lineman are again. Even though they never went away and have always been important.

3. This is the first line of Woody Paige's article for The Denver Post.

Mike Shanahan lost to The Cable Guy.

He is referring to Tom Cable, the Raiders head coach. I did not have the energy or patience to read the rest of the column closely. Ok, one comment about Woody's idiocy.

The former Colorado assistant and career offensive line coach had announced he, not his coordinator, would call the plays against the Broncos. His calls were superior to the Broncos' calls.

The play calls of Oakland were superior to the Broncos' calls? Incorrect. How about the Raiders execution of the play calls were superior to the Broncos' execution of their play calls. That makes a lot of sense. It is not like there is an official who hears each team's play call, decides which coach called a better play and then awards yardage based on how the play would have done theoretically.

4. Jemele Hill thinks Congress needs to bail out car companies because of its impact on sports.

Her columns usually start with a wrong premise, then she goes into misunderstanding the cause and effect of the fake problem she has just created and ends with her refuting her own argument. Let's see how this goes:

With so many people having lost their jobs because of the Big Three's mismanagement and financial problems, I know it doesn't seem like an appropriate time to worry about sports.

A correct premise! What to do now?

But no matter what Rich Rodriguez may think, sports still matter during crises.

Ba-da-boom. Not funny. So now she is going to ignore a correct premise so she can shit out a horrible article. Good for her.

Let's see if she understands cause and effect. The problem is that there is a lack of fan support for Michigan teams. Jemele thinks the cause is the lack of corporate support, let's see what we think.

Besides, in Detroit, the major sports teams already are at the mercy of the economy.

In every city, the major sports teams are at the mercy of the economy, but that is not necessarily why fans are staying away and this has NOTHING to do with a bailout for the car companies.

The Lions will be blacked out for the third straight home game on Sunday. Detroit's 0-10 record doesn't help, but given the economic climate, it seems unlikely that any of the Lions' three remaining home games will be viewed locally.

No, no, no. The economic climate has nothing to do with the games being blacked out. Neither does the cooling of the earth, climate changes, or anything else that has anything to do with the words climate or bailout. The Lions are 0-10...I have sat in the crowd in 2001 when a team was 1-13. There was no one at these games. It was December 2001, so Bush had not had a chance to fuck the economy up yet and the nation had a ton of pride after 9/11. The economy was in good shape considering...There was NO ONE at the game because the team was 1-13, not because of anything with the economy. Same thing with the Lions. Shut up.

The Tigers were a hot pick to go to the World Series in 2008, but finished last in their division. They were third in attendance in the American League, but with lowered expectations in 2009, who could blame the fans for not eagerly returning to the ballpark?

The Tigers have an underachieving, expensive team, and as Jemele said, expectations are lowered, so what does this have to do with the bailout of car companies again? You can't explain current attendance problems on future events that may/may not happen.

Some people argue the automakers deserve this fate. But the city and its sports fans don't deserve to be dragged down with them.

Lower ticket prices then. That's not going to happen, of course, but if a team is successful then people will attend games. This is a fact. (Based on nothing, but I think it is an understood fact)

Detroit hosted Super Bowl XL in 2006, the NCAA regionals last season and the 2009 Final Four will be played at Ford Field. That would be the same Ford family that built automobiles for 105 years.

And the same Ford family that has mismanaged the Lions for 40 years now. They deserve to suffer for that maybe? Counterpoint bitch!

5. Bill Simmons is pussy footing around whether he quit the B.S. Report or not. He gives passive aggressive a bad name. I actually hope Simmons quits ESPN and strikes out on his own. I wonder if his columns would be any worse? He probably would include profanity and use references that would make him seem cooler to the kids. He is almost 40 by the way. If he went out on his own, I would probably never have to write anything about any other writer, I would have enough to write about him.

6. I am going to be honest, all expensive free agents scare the shit out of me. Even trading for one does as well. I am not for trading another huge package of prospects for Jake Peavy. The Cubs and the Braves are being smart by making Kevin Towers sweat it out. They are asking way too much for a pitcher who has recently gotten injured and has a fucked up looking delivery. The Padres have to get rid of Peavy, and yet they still want a king's ransom in return. I know one of these teams will cave, I just wonder how much they will give up.

7. The Angels will do anything to not upgrade their offense.

I mentioned above I am not for trading prospects for players but the Angels have hung on to Edwin Santana, Brandon Wood, and every other top prospect so long, they almost have no value now. I have read those names in trade rumors for years now.

The Angels appear reluctant to guarantee more than seven years in a contract for Teixeira, said a source familiar with the club's thinking. They appear more likely at this time to pursue Sabathia, with an offer in the range of Johan Santana's six-year, $137.5-million contract with the New York Mets.

They won't give Tex more than seven years but are willing to give an overweight pitcher whose arm is going to fall off soon six years? Even with Sabathia the Angels still have to find some offense. They have been coasting in the AL West for the past couple of years and I think this may be a year the A's try and catch up with them a little bit. How many first round exits does one team have to endure without actually figuring out they need more offense?

8. The Red Sox need to find a way to make Jason Varitek disappear.

Isn't what made the Red Sox so successful, and put them in the position they are in today with having good young players, is the fact they were able to separate their emotions from players? Derek Lowe, Pedro, Johnny Damon, and Mark Bellhorn were all let go. Why can't they do this with Jason Varitek? It's not like they don't have the players to trade for an above average catcher. That's all they need...especially if they sign Tex.

Of course handling a pitching staff is also important, but Varitek can't do that forever.

9. Gregg Doyel thinks Myron Rolle should win the Heisman.

He and his sexual predator picture need to really, really think about what they write. I agree Rolle is what we want all student-athletes to be, and it is great he was up for the Rhodes Scholarship, but this is not even close to a reason he should get the Heisman. I think Doyel just picks fights with his readers.

Your Turn: Reader Rip

suitntie: I agree that this is what we hope our youth aspire to, but the Heisman is not meant to award the scholar part of college football. For you to imply that this outatanding acheivement has been overlooked just goes to show that you live in your own self important world.

Writer Retort

Gregg Doyel: Until I came along, only the eggheads knew about this award. Congratulations, egghead. But now that I've opened the doors of Cool to this thing, the rest of society -- the hip among us -- can celebrate Myron Rolle along with geeks such as yourself, suitntie.

This is journalism? Again, I say bloggers are doing nothing to destroy the spirit of journalism, the mainstream media, like Gregg, have already beaten us to the punch. This is awful.

10. I am serious, Kansas is going to be better in college basketball than people think. Granted, they have not played anyone yet but there is a good team out there. UCLA is Duke East in that they have no established center presence, but I think they will still make the Sweet Sixteen this year. I know people are freaking out about the loss to Michigan.

I love UNC fans. I had a gentleman who is a "big" UNC fan come in my office yesterday and tell me how injuries were hurting the team. (Typical UNC excuses are injuries, the other team was hitting everything they shot, or officiating was lopsided...they just rotate them for each loss). Then he started complaining they lost Ty Zeller for the year to a broken hand. Except, he said this, "Losing that Tyrone---Taylor, or what's his name, the tall guy, that really is going to hurt us now."

Yes, that guy you don't even know his name, that sounds like a real big loss. UNC fans don't even need to know what they are making excuses about to make excuses. Plus, they have the best team in the nation so they have no reason to complain. No UNC bashing this year I promise...just that one.

Monday, November 24, 2008

1 comments MMQB Review: Following All of Peter's Loves

There are certain days I hate reading about the NFL and today is one of those days. I am going to take all my rage and put it into pointing out what a repetitive dumbass Peter King is though and it will hopefully feel good. This week is pretty much just a wrapping up of all Peter's loves. Matty Icccccccccccccce 1, 2, Brett "God" Favre, and everything else he writes about every single week between eating pasta and sniffing Brett Favre's ass.


It's a quarterback weekend.

A quarterback weekend for Peter King is like a 15 year old getting to go to a nude beach for the first time. Very, very exciting.

Ben Roethlisberger, leader.

Ben Roethlisberger, poor motorcycle driver.

One by one, as the offensive linemen left the locker room after the Steelers dumped the Bengals 27-10 on a pre-winter night, Roethlisberger said to them: "Ten o'clock tomorrow. Don't be late.'' One of the linemen said he didn't know if he'd be up on time and wondered if Ben could give him a wakeup call, to which Roethlisberger told him to be on time and he'd see him there.

This unnamed lineman is clearly fucking with Roethlisberger and his intentions of becoming a "leader" in the locker room. He wants a wake up call? He is making fun of Big Ben, how can Peter not see this?

Roethlisberger is growing into a hard-shelled guy who can play hurt and be the kind of player his teammates want to follow.

It seems like everything is going well now that Big Ben has gotten those taller receivers he wanted. This is like the ending of a tv movie, where finally everyone understands each other and they all become friends.

Rub dirt on it, spit on it, whatever. That shoulder has the hopes of the Steelers riding on it.

Might want to rub dirt, spit or whatever you want to do to the defense of the Steelers because that is really where the team's hopes lie. Roethlisberger helps out a lot but the Steelers defense is the true star. Peter loves a man in charge though, so this is where he gives credit.

On the charter home from Nashville on Sunday night, before takeoff, old friend Bubba Franks walked by Brett Favre's seat on the plane.

Favre then threw a bottle of beer to Franks, who promptly dropped it.

But it's the kind of win that means something, where there's a lot of hooting and hollering in the locker room after the game, and you say to yourself, This is fun. This is why I came back."

Brett Favre never fucking left. You have to leave to come back. You did not leave, you just hung out in Mississippi and whined and cried all summer, but you were definitely here.

The media, coming off a 4-12 season, learning a new offense, the high expectations ... Did I really want to go through that?

Maybe you should not have fake retired and then un-retired then. I wish Peter King would say that, but he never would. He doesn't have the cojones.

"A change like that would have been tough on a 22-year-old.

It is tough on 22 year old players, but they do it every single year in the draft. Wonderful analogy. Brett compares the situation he put himself into to the hundreds of players who are eligible for the draft every single year trying to make it in the NFL so they can make a living. Meanwhile Brett is a millionaire trying to determine if he still wants to play.

But then [wife] Deanna said something to me that made sense. She said, 'Hey, whether you're here one year, two years, or five weeks, whatever, you've got to be committed.'

5 weeks????? Considering the NFL season is 17 weeks long plus the playoffs, that doesn't sound like he is very committed. We all love Brett Favre but how can everyone think he is not an asshole? I left out the part where he said he wanted revenge on the Packers, so that is why he wanted to be traded to the Vikings...except he of course denied this the entire time the retirement fiasco was going on. I am going to have a hernia.

Now this stat is eerie: After Tom Brady's first 11 starts in the NFL, his completion percentage was 66.3. After Matt Cassel's 11 NFL games this season, his completion percentage is ... well, 66.3.

You know Bill Simmons seems to think Tom Brady is a better QB than Peyton Manning. He seems to think the head to head matchups and Super Bowl victories prove this. I think I have made my decision. Take Peyton Manning off the Colts and take Tom Brady off the Patriots. I know we only have data for this year but it seems like the Colts would struggle a lot more than the Patriots have. This year the Colts would tank completely while the Patriots are still thriving. It's just one year but why hasn't there been more written about this? Granted the Patriots were perfect last year but there is not a whole lot of overall fall off with Matt Cassel as the quarterback.

Seems like Brady needs to hurry back.

2. New York Jets (8-3). Biggest day in the history of New Jersey sports: The Jets vs. the Giants in Tampa ... WITH SPRINGSTEEN AT HALFTIME.

3. Tennessee (10-1). Let's not go overboard because the Titans lost one game.

Says the man who ranks Tennessee behind the only team they have lost to in his rankings of the best teams in football and ranks them as the third best team in the NFL.

11. Dallas (7-4). I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like for Tony Romo, having to pacify Terrell Owens for about two hours out of every workday.

There is a Brett Favre joke in here regarding he and Peter behind the bleachers.

Stat of the Week

Barring another marquee quarterback signing a long-term deal before 2009 free-agency begins, the franchise number for a quarterback next offseason will be $14.28 million. With one asterisk.

The asterisk: If Favre retires by February 2009, the day franchise designations must be made, that number goes down by $220,000, to $14.06 million.

Hahahahahahhahahahahahahaha!!!!!! Brett Favre make a decision by February 2009? Does this mean "really retire" or "cry at a press conference until I can make a decision about what team I want to leverage myself into playing for next year" retire? I am sure when you are talking $14 million dollars, $220,000 is not that much for team's to worry about the franchise QB tag changing by. Of course, this was a convenient way for Peter to mention Brett Favre again.

So the Patriots, in the unlikely event that they franchise Cassel when the franchise designations have to be made in February, will have two good reasons to root for Favre to retire. One, it would save them money. Two, it would save them on-field headaches next fall.

Whew...thank God Peter ran down the Matt Cassel franchise tag situation AGAIN with us, I had not remembered since the page before this one, when he mentioned it, that Cassel was a free agent and I certainly did not know what would happen to the Patriots if they franchise Cassel. Maybe this is a new running thing with Peter, he will talk about what happens if each team franchises a player on their team...or maybe he just does this with his favorite teams.

Special Teams Players of the Week

Peter mentioned five people in this part. He left out Harry Douglas though who caught a 69 yard reception, ran for a touchdown and returned a punt for a kick return. Maybe when he watches the Falcons games he could stop staring at Matt Ryan's ass and pay attention to the fact they have great players on that team, they just lacked a QB until this year.

But when you have Peyton Manning on your team, you can gamble more than most coaches, and it looked as though offensive coordinator Tom Moore and coach Tony Dungy wanted Manning to take a shot, a safe shot, downfield to try to get into field goal range right away. He play-actioned, then found Marvin Harrison on a 14-yard cross to the San Diego 34.

Someone alert Gregg Doyel! Marvin Harrison ran a crossing pattern over the middle, did not drop it or alligator arm it but actually caught the pass? Still a fraud?

There is zero accountability in journalism. This is what irritates me. Writers can just write whatever they want and nobody remembers. Woody Paige tells the Rockies to trade Matt Holliday, then he says don't trade him, while mocking the owners for even thinking about it. Gregg Doyel calls Marvin Harrison a fraud, which is incorrect, and he just keeps on writing. Bloggers have more accountability for the shit they write than national columnists, as long as columnists just stick to false information and misleading facts, but don't offend anyone, no one says anything.

What I Learned About Football This Week That I Didn't Know Last Week

I'll have a story in Sports Illustrated this week, delving into the mind of one of the game's smartest players, Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks. He let me into his study sessions before Bucs-Vikes, and his video analysis postgame last Monday. It's a cool look -- with the deconstruction of one very important play from the game -- as Brooks and the Bucs try to stop the most electric player in football.

I just love it when Peter pimps out his shitty SI articles. I read SI and never even know who writes the articles, I just read them, but I always make sure to read his articles because he has pimped them for me, so I know they will be bad.

I won't give you any real spoilers here, but I will say Brooks and the Bucs did a good job on Peterson, and when I called Peterson Wednesday to explain the Tampa Bay defensive plan for stopping him, he was pretty forthcoming.

I will go ahead and spoil it. The way to stop Peterson or any running back is to not let there be running lanes he can get through, which means stay in your assigned gaps and be sure you tackle him every chance you get. Sorry to spoil it.

The Bad: Marriotts simply have to change their shampoo. On overnight trips I often don't bring my full toiletry kit, so I can skate through security and not check a bag. So I find myself using whatever shampoo is in the hotel. Marriotts have been using some Bath and Body Works girly shampoo for the past year or so, and when I get out of the shower, the perfume smell is revolting. Shampooing with soap is the only option -- a grotesque one, but a necessary evil now -- to avoid smelling like a woman.

Can't you put no-smell or low-smell shampoo in the rooms, Mr. Marriott? I know you'll scoff at the toiletries in Hampton Inns, but the freebie Purity shampoo there, relatively scentless, is the way to go.

Or Peter could do this, but this would not give him a chance to bitch and complain, he could bring his own fucking shampoo since he makes a shitload of money every year, I think he can afford some Pantene Pro V.

This is a sportswriter who travels constantly, who makes a ton of money covering sports, complaining about the fact he doesn't like the FREE shampoo in a hotel. I am not going to call him out of touch, I am just going to say he is a prick.

I kept a tally -- 33 work calls on the round-trip. What's the difference between calling from the home office and calling from the car, other than the notes I couldn't take?

Maybe the fact, even with a headset, you are more likely to be involved in a collision where a fatality is involved. That's it, but I am sure you will be fine, you are fat and can absord a hit, I am sure.

4. Gas at the Sideling Hill rest area on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, late July, on my training-camp trip: $4.29 per gallon. Gas at the same station Friday morning: $2.19 per gallon.

It's because of the new Clinton White Hou---I mean the new Obama White House. He did this! Yes, he can hire everyone who was in the Clinton White House! Isn't that the change we all voted for? The change back to 1996?

I apologize for going political for a second, I voted for Obama and I was really hoping we would see some change in the United States, and now I am getting nervous.

g. Brady Quinn tells me his problem is not just a broken bone near the top of the index finger on his throwing hand. It's a damaged tendon, which makes it doubly difficult to spin the ball with the kind of rotation he usually has coming out of his right hand. You saw that against Houston Sunday, in his eight-of-18 performance before getting yanked for Derek Anderson.

I am sure Brady Quinn's 8 for 18 performance is attributed completely to his damaged finger and not the fact he was starting his third game as a pro. Remember when the Browns had two good choices at QB? Whatever happened to that? They are about a week away from picking up Chris Weinke off the waiver wire and letting Jamal Lewis run the single wing offense.

b. Sammy Morris plays better than Laurence Maroney did.

That has to be the biggest indictment of the Laurence Maroney era in New England. This is not something to brag about.

a. If I read one more story about where LeBron James might play two years from now, I'm going to puke.

Remember won't have to wait long.

c. It's everywhere -- on talk radio, on "SportsCenter,'' in columns, endlessly in every New York paper and Web site. I keep reading how smart and prescient the Knicks were for decimating their current team (playing with seven players Friday and Saturday night) and clearing out enough cap space for this great player, LeBron James.

I like how he says he never wants to read a story about it again, so then he writes a story about it. I also like how Peter says, "this great player, LeBron James," as if the Knicks are insane for even trying to get him for their team and LeBron is no good. Clearly, Peter does not understand how guaranteed contracts work and how the NBA works overall. It takes like 5 years to make up for your mistakes because you can't just get rid of your shitty players, you have to buy them out or trade them.

d. Red Sox traded Coco Crisp the other day.

Thank God we finally get a Red Sox update. No one EVER talks about them in the off season.

"For Cap'n Crunch?'' a good friend asked.

If Bill Simmons had friends I would ask if this "good friend" was him because this seems like a horrible joke he would make.

But I do appreciate the heck of what a good team player and superb defensive center fielder Crisp was, even if he never delivered 60 percent of the offense his past promised.

If you remember when Coco Crisp was a great player, you are lying, it never happened.

Another example, with Julio Lugo, Matt Clement, Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown, Randy Johnson, Andrew Jones, and Juan Pierre, how certain teams who spend ass loads of money are able to make mistakes that never actually affect the team payroll negatively, except they have to pay to find someone else to take the other player's roster spot. Meanwhile the Rockies won't sign any big free agents because they are still scared by Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle and the Royals got lambasted last year for giving Gil Meche 11 million per year.

I am not saying there should be salary cap in baseball, I am saying it pays to be able to make mistakes and know you can find other players to fill that hole.

e. Coffeenerdness: At a Starbucks on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Friday morning, a loud but precise woman walked up to the register and said: "Grande skim gingerbread latte, 145 degrees, half-foam, double-cupped, keep the lid off, and instead of the regular gingerbread topping you put on, please put the pumpkin spice latte topping on there.'' Poor register-guy had no idea what to write on the side of the cup. He went and explained to the barista, taking about 20 seconds. Maybe if it takes 33 words to order your coffee, you're getting a little too adventurous.

Says the man who writes about coffee and its different flavors and tastes every week in a national column.

Let's just hope this is a better week for shitty journalism.

Friday, November 21, 2008

4 comments Bill Simmons Bores Us With Facts

It's been a tough week for crappy articles this week. There has not been all that much out there to pick on. Simmons has two articles up this week...sort of. One is a long drawn out explanation for how he gambles and the other is his NFL picks.

Here is why Bill is so successful at gambling this year.

For the first 11 weeks of the regular season, home-field advantage has not mattered like it once did.

Normally I would rip Simmons for not backing this up with information that supports his claim, but not this time. He gives the next 2,000 words to support his claim. Does it support his claim? I did not read hard enough to find out because I don't care about gambling and the reasons why his picks are correct. Now I know why he never attempts to use facts to support his random blanket statements...and that reason is that when he does this it is boring...really, really boring. I never thought he could go from annoying and pissing me off to absolutely boring me to death, but he does it quite successfully.

Ok, his facts actually sort of back up his claim, except the reason is not because of new stadiums but because of parity in the NFL. Bill will later admit this. It is still boring though.

I realized this during the Bears-Colts game in Week 1, when Kyle Orton waltzed into Indy and ruined the grand opening of Lucas Oil Stadium, the latest state-of-the-art football venue that seems much more interested in looking cool and making money over, you know, actually helping its home team win games.

Bill of course realized this Week 1 of the season before everyone else realized this. He in no way was wondering why he was actually making good picks this year and then went back and got help searching for this information.

(At the end of the column it says this: NOTE: ESPN researchers Mark Simon and Matthew Willis, as well as the Las Vegas Sports Consultants, contributed with research for this column.)

Of course someone helped him. He is not that familiar with the use of factual information.

Also, a stadium is not supposed to help a team win games, it is supposed to allow it's occupants a chance to go see the team play and make noise to affect the other team. In a way a stadium could help a team win a game, but that is not its sole purpose.

I remembered a conversation between me and my buddy Bug right before the season.

What follows is an almost 10 paragraph story about how much "Bug" liked to go games and blah, blah, blah. Is there anything more interesting in this world than reading a story where you know none of the parties involved? I have had two root canals and they were shorter and more fun than this conversation. By not relating it, I have saved you. It proves Bill's point from hyperbolic perspective and...that is about it.

Through 11-plus weeks (including Thursday night's Pittsburgh cover), the 14 teams that built SOTAS since 1999 (including Washington) are 29-44 against the spread.

SOTAS are "state of the art stadiums" and this "fact" Bill just pointed out is proven for 11 weeks of one year. You may not find these facts at any other point in the past 10 years but for 11 weeks of this year, it is the case. If this is not enough proof for you, then you clearly have a mind of your own and are not suspectible to small sample sizes and outliers. Good for you.

Week after week, those teams keep getting toppled at home or fail to cover big spreads, typified by three Week 10 games

Is it possible, and I don't want to burst anyone's bubble, this could be the result of parity in football this year? I could see his point if the home team in a SOTAS was not winning games in their home field, but we are talking about covering the spread. I don't see how a stadium can help a team cover the spread better. I think this is all a result of parity in football. Of course I don't have all the neat facts Bill has.

Hmmmmmmmmm. Could it just be a fluky season? Let's look at the past six years of SOTAS teams at home against the spread:

2002: 30-41 (13-26 as faves)
2003: 51-33 (37-24 as faves)
2004: 42-49 (28-32 as faves)
2005: 47-48 (37-28 as faves)
2006: 49-52 (27-41 as faves)
2007: 55-42 (41-35 as faves)
2008: 29-44 (19-34 as faves)

So this theory seems to waver from year to year. It also doesn't explain why Bill has absolutely sucked at picking games the past 6 years before this year. Regardless, if he had not just this day randomly created this theory to kill space in a column, you would have thought he would have noticed this six years ago.

I still think it is a sign of parity.

Bill, explain the reason the numbers fluctuate please:

Quick follow-up to those numbers: Your typical NFL season goes one of two ways, either predictable or unpredictable. Predictable seasons play out like the '03 or '07 seasons did, with a clear separation between high-end teams, middle-class teams and the lower class.

Remember those are the ONLY ways a season can play out. Bill just made this up. He can't even get through a fact based article without covering it in some bullshit theory that has no factual basis.

Would you call a "predictable" season a season with less parity in the NFL? I think I would. So the solution is not stadiums or any black magic, it is when the NFL has parity, the home team does not cover the spread as often. This has nothing to do with stadiums but the talent level on each team being very close to equal. Bill just admitted this. I am glad to be right.

We can usually determine by late September if we're headed for an unpredictable season -- remember, I predicted goofiness in 2008 after three weeks -- and those are the times you HAVE to think, "Road teams! Road teams!"

"Unpredictable" meaning, "teams are equal in talent which means teams will play games with scores closer to each other...meaning parity, which has nothing to do with a stadium."

So that's the bad news. The good news is that we can keep profiting from home-field disadvantage during those first 11-12 weeks before Vegas finally catches on. And they haven't.

How can Bill say this is an unpredictable year where you don't know what is going to happen because the teams are so equal and not chalk home teams unable to cover the spread up to the actual game of football being played, but rather to a new stadium being built. Only in Bill's world.

Now on to his picks.

Jets (+5.5) over TITANS

Bold prediction No. 1: Jets 30, Titans 17. It's time. The Titans haven't had one of those "everything is going wrong" games yet. And Jets fans aren't hysterical enough yet about how they don't believe in this Jets team despite mounting evidence that it's a playoff contender; an upset in Tennessee would turn them into Little Bill during the driveway scene in "Boogie Nights."

I don't care if Bill is trying to win some stupid contest to see how many times he can pigeonhole Boogie Nights into a column, please, please, please think of a new reference.

Niners (+10) over COWBOYS

Yet another rule for my Sports Czar platform: Mike Singletary will be miked up with cameras following him 24 hours a day.

This Sports Czar thing is not going away. Bill enjoys the attention way too much. It is neither funny nor engaging for his readers to hear about. Remember how I told you Bill takes causes and manages to make them all about him? Try to remember why he is going to be the Sports Czar and then think it has been a week or two since he started his platform and it is already all about him. The reason he started the platform is hard to remember under all the "me, me, me" talk in Bill's columns.

Remember my predicting who Bill was going to fall in love with in the college basketball game this year? Well both USC and UCLA choked last night so knock out DeMar Dozian and Jrue Holiday, and Bill has to be in love with a winner, so I am sticking with B.J. Mullens of Ohio State unless they lose and then all bets are off.

Anyway, with Troy Aikman calling this Cowboys game, I'd like to introduce a new running character for this column: "Cliff's Notes Troy."

Nobody likes Troy Aikman but can we stop with the Pantheon Faces, the running character's and the fake platforms for positions that don't exist? Just write a fucking column that is funny, engaging, and is not all about you. That is all I ask.

Because of this e-mail from D. Unsdorfer in Columbus, Ohio: "Am I the only one who thinks that Romeo Crennel's playbook consists of pictures of different pizzas? Can't you just see him flipping through as he's thinking, 'Hmm ... third-and-1, huh? There's pepperoni ... mushroom and onion ... supreme! Yes, that's it -- supreme! Run me that now!'"

Yes, you and Bill are the only ones that think that. You are also both the only ones that laugh at such a lame joke. Just wait for knock-knock jokes from Bill. They are coming. He wrote for a "comedy" show and now he is making jokes about obese coaches looking at pictures of pizzas instead of football plays. If there was any doubt he was fired from the Jimmy Kimmel show instead of quit, those doubts should be erased now.

CHIEFS (+3.5) over Bills From this week's USA Today Sports Weekly:

"Facing a fourth-and-2, late against New Orleans, coach Herm Edwards elected to punt rather than gamble, hoping that his 32nd-ranked defense could stop the league's No. 1 offense. It didn't happen." The good news? WE CAN BUILD ON THIS! I love Herm Edwards. He's got a ton of uncommon sense.

What happens when Gregg Easterbrook and Bill Simmons combine forces to form the worst columns ever read? You get hyperbolic column filled with second guesses of decisions with analogies to movies from the 1980's. It would be hell.

(Another newbie for my Sports Czar platform: No announcing crew can bring up the words "Scott Norwood," "wide right" or "47 yards, the same distance as the Norwood Kick!" right before the biggest kick of a Bills game.

He is about 3 more mentions away from a Sports Czar assassination attempt. Is there any doubt at this point Bill is running out of material quickly or he is just mailing it in now?

Again, I implore any of his faithful readers who love to hear the same jokes over and over and the same references constantly to seek medical attention. The sad part is that he has readers who email him shit constantly, as well as a staff at ESPN who can help him with column ideas and we still get the same thing over and over. Yet he claims ESPN is strangling him creatively because he could not be in a porn star fantasy league.

I wish I had the heart to write a "Goodbye to Fantasy Football" letter like when Joey wrote his "Goodbye to Drugs" letter on the "Real World: Hollywood."

Yes, that would be the same Real World: Hollywood that Bill once referred to as merely a tax write off for MTV. He is now quoting it.

(Funniest e-mail of the week, from a Philly fan calling himself "Andy Reid": "So, I pulled into my local drive-thru. After analyzing the menu for 25 minutes I quickly placed my order. As I pulled to the first window I was shocked to see Donovan McNabb working the register. Unfortunately, I pulled a foot away from the window. I had no idea how to get my money in there. Do I hand it in or try and throw it? I decided it would be better to waste five minutes backing out and pulling back in. After I handed Donovan my money, he threw my change five feet over my car. After receiving my food, I double-checked to make sure I had the right order. I checked for three minutes and knew they messed it up. I pulled back to the window to complain. After giving the employee a stare of mild confusion, he informed me that I had received what I ordered. I pulled away stunned.")

Maybe his readers don't provide him with that many good ideas, because if that was the funniest email of the week, I don't want to see second place. Maybe you have to watch Eagles football to get it...or not have a sense of humor.

The good news: Jake Delhomme definitely has more zip on his passes, thanks to Tommy John surgery. The bad news: He's still Jake Delhomme.

How can Bill tell if Delhomme has more zip on his passes? That would involve watching another NFL team...and the fact most of Delhomme's throws now zip to the other team or out of bounds may tip him off. The good news: the Panthers are 8-2. The bad news: they are about to hit a three game losing streak.

Anyway, I was thinking about Michael Vick recently. How many teams will try to sign him? Will he still have his fastball?

I am an admitted Mike Vick hater. I never thought he was any good as a QB and I never thought he wanted to be any good as a QB. A career completion percentage somewhere in the 55% range just never did it for me and his ability to scramble never made up for it in my mind. He was exciting to watch and it was also exciting to watch when the Falcons O-Line would be able to hold defenders at will whenever Vick started running.

All right, it's finally time to discuss last week's "Troy Polamalu Game" and its ranking on the "Alcoa's Greatest Football Gambling Moments" list. I batted it around with an eight-man committee of buddies, and we came up with the following top seven moments from the past 25 years:

Do you really think Bill's friends hate him? I really believe they do.

2. The Polamalu Game: At least 700 readers e-mailed me Sunday after the Miracle Cover That Wasn't to say either, "I thought of you as soon as it happened!" or "You have to write about this!" Apparently, I am the go-to columnist for any watershed gambling event.

Probably because you are the only national columnist that is allowed to talk about gambling in your columns and allowed to talk about it to such a great extent. The rest of the national columnists are covering sports and trying to think of insightful and creative articles to write. You are the guy who "entertains" the audience while the real work is going on backstage.

7. The Tamarick Vanover Game: A Monday night game from '95 that … well, allow one of my friends to explain. Here's his unedited memory of the Vanover Game:

"I lost a ton of money. Called my bookie (who had paid me seven weeks in a row) and told him that I would pay him on Thursday. Wednesday, Oct, 11, I am on a plane to boot camp.
"I had signed up for the Navy in May of that year, things were way out of control gambling, credit card fraud, casino, credit card fraud, drugs, credit card fraud and I knew at some point I would need to disappear. Then the O.J. trial started and I sat home everyday and watched it. I had avoided the Navy recruiter for months. Minutes before the verdict was read there was a knock on my door and it was him. He told me he came by then because it was the one time he knew exactly where I would be. Since I was winning at gambling, I told him to screw off. Not long after I was knocking on his door explaining that I had a sudden burst of patriotism and got on a plane."

Does it scare anyone that this may be a friend Bill asks sports opinions of at any point? This guy seems like a Grade A loser. I don't mean to offend any of the readers of this blog who are into fraud, drugs, and joining the military to get out of their commitments in the world. Hopefully there are none, but who knew Bill had friends that were so overly shady?

I have no way of ending this column appropriately after that.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

5 comments Random Thoughts

I realize no one gives a shit what I think, and for fear I am slowly turning this spot into The Big Lead, I really don't want to make a habit of this but there is nothing out there that has deeply offended me right now. Rather than write a whole write up about five lines in a column that offended me, I would rather do some quick hit random thoughts from around the Internet. I promise if Simmons is worth being snarky about tomorrow, I will post him or something else tomorrow which is snarky that involves cursing and smart ass comments.

I like to number things so...

1. The most obvious story in the world is happening. The Red Sox and the Yankees are in a bidding war for Mark Teixeira, or at least are planning on being in a bidding war.

By the time this is over, win or lose, the Red Sox effectively will have made Mark Teixeira the largest contract offer in the history of your storied franchise.

Boston or New York are actually two places Mark Teixeira could work well, as long as the spotlight is not on him all too much. As long as he has other players deflecting some of the expectations for the team away from him, he should do fine. I guess this is why you hire Scott Boras. For the Red Sox this makes sense because they could move "Youk" back to 3B and play Tex at 1B, and the Red Sox would be incredibly tough next year defensively and offensively. They could swallow paying someone paying a lot of money for production that does not always equal what they pay.

I am not down on Mark Teixeira, I think he is one of the top hitters in Major League Baseball. I don't believe he is worth the amount of money he will be paid. I was very excited when my favorite team acquired him and I just think I was a little disappointed in that he wasn't the franchise changer I was expecting. I am not sure he can be that at his next stop either.

The Yankees could do it in a big way, too, giving Teixeira the kind of money that would put him in the clouds with Alex Rodriguez.

The Yankees are a horrible location for Tex and he does not deserve the kind of money A Rod makes. I am too lazy to look up stats but I don't think Tex is worth this type of money. The Yankees are insane to give him anything close to A Rod's pay scale when they have massive holes in their starting rotation. I don't see how having a great 1B is going to help the Yankees when they have to outscore every team in the league again.

Whatever happened to both these teams starting to build through their farm system and staying away from big purchases like Tex? I think the best thing for the Yankees is to go find good pitching and Tex will end up in Boston with a huge contract and Bill Simmons can love Scott Boras again. Don't get me wrong, he is a great player and one of the best at the 1B position but I just wonder what will happen when he has to get a 2 run double in a close game and not a 7-2 game.

2. Hello New York Jets, welcome to Hell. Brett Favre has not made up his mind about playing in 2009. There is a shocker.

"I haven't even thought about it," Favre said when the prospect of playing in 2009 came up.

I would not be shocked if Brett Favre retired in mid season this year and then wanted to come back as a free agent and be signed by another team. So him not thinking about whether he wants to play next year doesn't surprise me either. This story is not going away any time soon.

"I have people - friends, family - who ask me all the time about next year.

Probably because you never make a decision or when you do make a decision, you take it back a few months later. Hopefully Brett can see how this is very confusing for everyone.

When the Jets made the deal for Favre this summer it was understood that it might be a one-year marriage,

If/When the Jets make the playoffs, because they are going to, the Jets are going to want Brett Favre back as their quarterback for another year because of this. So we are going to have a chance to look forward to will he/will he not retire through the whole offseason. I think the least Brett owes the Jets is to tell them before the NFL Draft occurs. There is no way Jets fans are happy with Kellen Clemens as the QB the year after they have made the playoffs, so really Brett has them right where he wants them.

3. Mike Mussina retired. The question now is whether he will be elected to the Hall of Fame. I am horrible with this Hall of Fame question stuff because I don't think John Smoltz, Jack Morris, or Omar Vizquel should be in, but Bert Blyleven should be. You can discount my opinion if you would like. I would put Mussina in the dreaded "Hall of Very Good."

4. Peter Gammons wants to know why Hanley Ramirez got so few votes for MVP.

It's not as if the Marlins existed in another universe; their 84-77 record was a half-game better than the Dodgers', and they did it in the best division in the National League -- the division with the world champions.

If only Hanley had gotten traded to the American League and tore up the league for 1/4 of a season, then maybe someone would consider him the MVP. Right Manny?

The real reason Hanley Ramirez did not get any more votes than he did is because the MVP award is useless and pointless like every other postseason award. It is voted on by sportswriters, who as far as I can tell, don't really pay attention to that many teams. Woody Paige did not know who Huston Street was and every other voter seems intent on ignoring statistics from the new millenium to determine which player is more valuable. Not exactly geniuses voting for the award.

But Hanley Ramirez 11th? Only Pujols and Berkman had more runs created. His OPS of .940 was the best of any NL middle infielder, better than Utley's .915.

I love it when sportswriters use cherry picked statistics when it helps their point but ignore the stats when it is not convenient.

Ramirez's job wasn't to drive in runs -- it was to create them. He reached base 40 percent of the time, hit 33 homers, stole 35 bases and led the league with 125 runs.
And he did it with average defensive skills at a critical defensive position.

I have no idea how Ramirez's "job" with the Marlins is supposed to support his case for more MVP votes or how he is just average defensively is even relevant to the MVP discussion in a positive fashion. If someone knows, please tell me. The fact he is average defensively seems to hurt his cause a little bit I would think.

5. Buster Olney says a fifth year on a contract could land A.J. Burnett. I say giving him three years is risky.

In other words, at the end of the '08 season, he was throwing better than he has for any extended period in his career.

This screams "contract year performance" to me. Burnett has been offered 4 years $54 million by the Jays. I don't think a small sample size at the end of a contract year should motivate someone to give Burnett insane amounts of money to sit on the bench injured.

Burnett, who turns 32 in January, made 34 starts and 35 appearances and threw 221 1/3 innings, all career highs.

I can't figure out if it is impressive Burnett hit career highs at the age of 32 or whether this is a reason to stay away from signing him. Leave it to the Yankees to offer a 32 year old with a consistent injury history a five year deal that lands him on the team.

He has had three seasons in his career in which he pitched more than 173 innings.

Three seasons in eight seasons he has pitched 173 innings, which at 6 innings per start comes to an average of 28 appearances. That's not bad, but more than half the time he never makes it to this many appearances.

He has had five seasons in which he has thrown fewer than 173 innings.

Including, since 2001, seasons of 23, 120, 135, and 166 innings. If I were looking for an injured pitcher to start for me, I would look at Ben Sheets before A.J. Burnett. To no one's surprise, the Yankees disagree. Apparently Carl Pavano never happened to them.

The Yankees are so intent on adding pitching that in the end, the guess here is that they will do what it takes to separate themselves from the other bidders

If the Yankees were so intent on adding pitching wouldn't you think they would actually draft some decent pitching rather than gamble on free agents?

6. Let's get some Woody Paige mailbag action going...

Hey, Woody. Rumors of a Matt Holliday trade had been circulating for a while, but they always included a prospective ace (Ben Sheets, CC Sabathia, Cole Hamels, etc.).

I am sure someone can provide me with a link, but other than Woody proposing it in his column, I have never heard a single rumor of Matt Holliday for CC Sabathia or Ben Sheets. I have never heard nor will I ever hear of the Phillies trading Cole Hamels for Matt Holliday. Clearly, this is why Woody is able to work in Colorado and be a success, he can just make shit up and his loyal readers believe him.

What I don't understand in the Carlos Gonzalez part is the Rockies already have been talking about Dexter Fowler as the next sure-thing center fielder, and now they get another young center fielder.

Woody in his exhaustive research fails to see that Gonzalez also plays right field and he actually played this position more in the minors than center field.

I'll even add this. When the Rockies went to Tucson in the beginning of the franchise, I wrote that they were making a big mistake because I had gone to spring training in Arizona for years, and I knew that the players in Phoenix wouldn't make the trip over to Tucson. So the Rockies' spring training fans got shortchanged in Tucson. They never saw Barry Bonds (uh) and the other stars because they wouldn't ride the bus to Tucson, and I think it hurt the Rockies having to make all those bus trips to the Phoenix area.

Now, the Rockies are thinking about moving spring training to Phoenix because of their lousy facilities (which they were when the Rockies went there in the first place) and because they "don't want to make all those bus trips from Tucson to Phoenix." Hello!

Now Woody is criticizing the team's choice of Spring Training facility, using this to prove what a poorly run organization it is. He is insane. How the hell does a bus trip hurt the team anyway?

The Rockies should change their name to Colorado Toast.

(Bengoodfella grabs his keyboard and bangs it against his head repeated--dkk2902920202411502565613121```47n,cmxc,dad.d;dd1d2)

This neither makes sense nor is funny. He gets paid for this. I am done...not forever, but with Woody Paige...for today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

10 comments Ten Things I Think I Think Peter King Has Not Thought Of

The middle of every week is always difficult for me because I am awaiting anything by Bill Simmons to come out to see if it is worthy of being mentioned in this space. I am a bit weary of looking for articles...or nothing has piqued my interest. Regardless, let's do some random tidbits:

1. Jemele Hill seems to think athletes should have a larger voice when it comes to politics and should be encouraged to give their opinion. I am not opposed to anyone having a voice when it comes to politics, but like celebrities, I can't help but think athletes/celebrities are not the most qualified people for anyone to listen to when it comes to candidates. I know they use their fame to sell products all the time and I have no problem with that, it just seems a bit different to me when the athlete/celebrity is selling a candidate to the public.

At least with the product, there is an outside chance the athlete has some type of in depth knowledge on the subject. I don't think Curt Schilling or Chad Johnson have enough knowledge of the candidate's positions where their opinion should really mean anything to me. How am I supposed to be trusting Donovan McNabb when he endorses Obama, yet doesn't know the rules of the sport he gets paid millions to play? It may sound stupid but I would just prefer athletes/celebrities shut up and just do what they paid to do, and that is entertain me. If they want to voice their opinion that is fine but someone would be ignorant to listen to them completely.

2. I may be beating a dead horse on this issue but Mark Teixeira is not going to be worth the money he will receive. Keith Law disagrees. I have seen him play numerous times and he is a great complimentary player. He is a Scottie Pippen that requires a Michael Jordan type player on his team, but can not and will not be able to carry a team to the World Series. He is going to get a ton of money in free agency and he will be a great addition to a team but he won't carry that team. Basically the Orioles are looking to sign him and this is a mistake.

3. More in the beating a dead horse department. Why do players sign with Scott Boras? Other than money, of course. Teams put his clients on the amateur draft board in different colors so they know what they are getting into and 80% of the league stays away from his clients like they have SARS. Other than any Red Sox clients who Boras may have (Lowe, Ramirez, Varitek...yet Bill Simmons still hates him), what has Boras ever done for his players but make them rich? Signing with Boras pretty much guarantees more teams are going to ignore you, rather than make offers to you, and it also guarantees that you have proven you are always out for the money. Everyone wants to be rich but how can Mark Teixeira look at himself in the mirror and say he wants to play for a winning team and then accept offers from Baltimore and ignore Atlanta/Anaheim/Texas when they make offers that are viewed below his "market value"?

4. We need to change these NFL overtime rules very, very soon. If Dallas loses the coin toss and never gets a chance to score a touchdown and lose a football game, I think the league would immediately change the rules. New England was strike one.

5. Dustin Pedroia won the AL MVP. He may have deserved it but this makes me want to vomit because I want to punch him in the face. Just because he seems like such a prick. He seems like the type of guy who will bait you into throwing a punch, then back away with his hands up like he can't believe what you did.

6. Simmons posted a column. He is remembering his favorite moment from 1976. The title says "Why Is a Classic A Classic? Because It Never Gets Old." I think that pretty much sums up everything that anyone would ever need to know about Bill Simmons perfectly. It may never get old to him, but his readers who like to see progress and don't enjoy reading the same column every week, suffer because of this.

7. Reilly massages Kerry Collins' ego. As a survivor of the "Kerry Collins was my starting QB and spent most of his time making racial slurs and drinking" era, I am really glad he does not make excuses and "tells it like it is," but that doesn't excuse his past behavior. I remember him playing like total ass in the 1996 NFC Championship game and then being a drunk for two years after that. I am glad he has taken the time to grow up and does not make excuses, I think Reilly should use a little bit of the millions of dollars ESPN gave him to do a little research though.

Here is what Collins said after using a racial slur to one of his offensive lineman in 1997, "His excuse was that that in his intoxicated state he thought the use of the racial epithet would help him and his teammates bond."

That is the Kerry Collins I remember, the one who made excuses at one time and now is "redeeming" himself. This isn't directed towards Collins because he does seem like a good guy now, but Rick Reilly needs to do a little research and read the litany of excuses Collins at one time made before making him seem like an angel. This is bad, bad journalism because he does not even mention Collins' past excuses in his column. It is a puff piece at best and he gets paid handsomely to do this. Very sad.

8. Am I the only one who thinks Eli Manning is going to start throwing the ball to the other team again? I feel like it could be any day now. It's Eli Manning, that is what he does best. I miss this.

9. It looks like Davidson and Duke are over ranked again. Not shocking, Duke always gets ranked high and then sweats out close games until they get shown up by a good team, while Davidson is officially a one man show now that Jason Richards is gone. UNC and Kansas somehow managed to get under ranked. I know UNC is #1 in the country but they are going to be way better than anyone thinks and Kansas is going to take some time but will make their mark in the NCAA Tournament I believe. This means the Sweet Sixteen. I really don't know what to think about Georgetown right now. I think my opinion will be based on what Greg Monroe looks against real competition.

10. Which college basketball player is Bill Simmons going to jump on the bandwagon of this year and claim no one thought this guy was any good? I have my money on either B.J. Mullens, Jrue Holiday, or DeMar DeRozan. Oh yes, those are three of the top 5 recruits in the country, but that is the type of bandwagon Bill likes. If I had to pick I would say it will be DeRozan.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

2 comments Woody Paiges Makes Bad Puns

I have never really liked the way the NFL did overtime and expressed this displeasure in a post here. Gene W of ESPN hated the way homefield advantage was decided for the World Series and I repeatedly attempted to point out games in the NFL were decided by a coin flip, which is stupid and much worse than using the All Star Game to decide who had homefield advantage in the World Series. Gregg Doyel helped pick up this fight for me today, though it is not a great article. Doyel and I are on the same side on this issue. That scares me.

Woody Paige actually has a great argument he could make in wondering why the Rockies are selling off half of their team. I hate it when teams sell away good players to save money, so I am naturally on his side on this one. He of course butchers it with bad puns and silly logic.

He calls the Holliday trade the "Sleaziana Purchase" despite the fact neither party actually purchased anything and it was not a real sleazy trade, just not a great one from the Rockies point of view.

Then, I read the article's headline: "O'Dowd applauds Holliday deal." Dealin' Dan O'Dowd apparently had just torn his rotator cuff while patting himself on the back

Even if it was a shitty deal is any GM in the world going to say, "man that was a shitty trade we just made, I am surprised I still have a job?" I think not. It's like when a NFL coach drafts a player no one knew that team was interested in and the team acts as if that is the player they had wanted all along.

"Sure, we were hoping all the defensive tackles would be taken at that point, we actually wanted to draft a punter in the first round and he just fell in our lap."

for the trade involving Matt Holliday and three fellows several hundred thousand of you (and I) had never heard of.

Woody Paige has never heard of Huston Street? If this is serious, then this is worse than Donovan McNabb not knowing there was OT in football. How can you cover sports and not know who popular players are, even if they are not popular players for the team you cover? Woody Paige has even talked about how Brian Fuentes was going to not get re-signed and the Rockies need a closer AND mentioned the Oakland A's as a possible trade partner for the Rockies with Holliday. Apparently Woody just picked a random team he thought the Rockies should trade with and did not check out the roster to see who the Rockies could use in return.

I digress. If you haven't heard of Huston Street, you should have heard of Carlos Gonzalez and Greg Smith simply because they were a part of that huge Dan Haren deal last year. You have to pay attention to sports if you are going to cover them. It's part of the job requirement...I would hope.

Too bad Dealin' Dan wasn't the general manager of the Red Sox in 1920 — "O'Dowd applauds Ruth deal"; or general manager of France in 1803 — "O'Dowd likes sale of 828,800 square miles to U.S."

France does not have a General Manager. They are a country.

In the Rockies' home opener April 10 against the world champions, the starting lineup could be:

Pitcher Greg Smith, catcher Chris Iannetta, first baseman Todd Helton, second baseman Clint Barmes, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, third baseman Ian Stewart, left fielder Seth Smith, center fielder Ryan Spilborghs, right fielder Brad Hawpe. I have no idea, and neither do the Rockies, who will bat leadoff, or third, or fourth, or whatever.

I have a good feeling Jeff Francis will be starting the home opener, unless the Rockies pick up a better pitcher, and even then it will not be Greg Smith starting. Most teams in November have no idea who is going to bat at what spot in the lineup and who is going to play at any position in the field. I think November is a bit early to ask a GM or manager to set their lineup card. My favorite team would currently have a two man rotation if the season started today. Don't get your panties in a wad Woody.

Woody has expressed enthusiasm for Seth Smith in the past here. Check out this link where Woody says the Rockies should trade Matt Holliday because the Rockies season is over and they should also package Garrett Atkins or Brad Hawpe with him. Oh yeah, that's right Woody Paige has completely contradicting himself and is guilty of hypocrisy. Hang him.

Not only is Woody trying to tear the front office of the Rockies a new asshole, he is tearing them a new asshole for doing exactly what he wanted them to do. Is there no one at the Denver Post who remembers these things so the writer can be informed when he is contradicting himself? Like an editor person or a stalker of some type? I think that is really why these old time writers don't like the Internet, because all of the articles they have ever posted are out there to read and they can't write both sides of the story anymore. Writers hate it when they have to take a position and stick to it...except Woody. He is perfectly willing to write an article saying trade Matt Holliday and then 4 months later write an article saying it would be a mistake to trade Holliday.

Pause to consider Willy Taveras, who is among the next bunch the Rockies will shout to: "Don't let the door hit your rear on the way out."

Willy Taveras leaving the team would be a good thing. He is not good.

I didn't care much for The Say-K Kid, but he had a reasonable complaint. Taveras didn't start 12 of the team's final 19 games. His contract called for bonuses of $50,000 for 500, 550 and 600 at-bats. He ended up with 538. Hurdle (or someone in the front office) cost Taveras and saved the Rockies $50,000.

Why would any team willing allow Willy Taveras to get more at bats so he gets paid more money to get out? If Taveras was an OBP machine, then he would have a legitimate gripe.

Pause to consider that they have since jettisoned Kip Wells ($3.1 million), Mark Redman ($1 mil), Matt Herges ($2 mil), Adam Melhuse ($750,000), Scott Podsednik ($750,000), Glendon Rusch ($850,000) and Livan Hernandez (a small portion of $5 million). And closer Brian Fuentes ($5 million) filed for free agency.

Let's look at the Rockies real problem. The only ones on this list who should be brought back are Brian Fuentes and no one else.

The Rockies are thinking about bringing back Rusch and Podsednik, and, on Thursday, O'Dowd said they could offer Fuentes arbitration (as if he would ever consent).

Why do they want Rusch and Podsednik back? Maybe they are going to be cheap I guess.

Woody's point is the Rockies are trying to save money and he thinks this is the wrong way to go. He wants to trade Holliday or any other player for an expensive player in return, which makes neither logical nor baseball sense.

Of the nine potential opening-day starters, only Helton ($16.6 mil) and Hawpe ($5.5 mil) will be earning more than $1 million.

Todd Helton. Everyone's favorite ex-football player first baseman. Maybe the reason the Rockies don't want to resign/sign any players for massive amounts of money is because it has never really worked out for them in the past. Whether it was Mike Hampton, Denny Neagle, or Todd Helton, the Rockies have ended up paying a lot for a little production. Yes, I know Helton is still a decent ball player but he is still getting paid almost $17 million to be decent. I can't blame the Rockies for being a little gun shy on handing out $100 million dollar contracts.

So, it's quite possible the Rockies will have saved and made more than $50 million in the past year, plus Taveras' $50,000 at-bat bonus.

How cute. "Plus Taveras' $50,000 at-bat bonus." That is nothing compared to $50 million dollars! Baseball teams like to make money, that is why they are in the business they are in after all, not just to entertain, but to also make money.

Pause to consider why, then, do the Rockies say they won't enter the free-agent bidding and why they can't afford to sign a star starting pitcher?

Because as you spent the last 500 words saying, the Rockies are trying to save money and don't have a very good team at this point. It would be absolutely pointless to break the bank to sign a pitcher when the team is not good enough to win. Now if the Rockies plan on signing a couple more free agents to improve the team, it may be worth it to sign an expensive pitcher.

How does Woody even ask this question after writing the past paragraphs? Signing CC Sabathia or Ben Sheets would be like taking a shit on a paper plate, then putting a cherry on top. Plus, it is not a video game, you can't just put them on your team, you would have to convince them they could succeed in Colorado. Good luck with that.

The Rockies should spend a few bucks to buy an "Applause" sign. That's the only way Coloradans will put both hands together next season.

He gets paid to write like this. He's the Sesame Street of journalism. I am going to write a whole article on what I think my favorite baseball team should do and then four months later write an article contradicting everything I said prior, except not mentioning it. Then maybe I would get hired at a major paper.