Monthly Archives: July 2011

Orton a Better Fit than Kolb for Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals gave up the farm (a second-round pick and stud CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) to acquire QB Kevin Kolb from the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday.  While I understand why the Cards had to pull the trigger, there was a much cheaper alternative out there.

Denver Broncos QB Kyle Orton everyone!

Seriously, Orton would have been a better fit for the Cardinals for a variety of reasons.  First of all, he would have come at a cheaper price.  The Cardinals not only would not have to give up a high draft pick, it would have kept one of their defensive studs.  As the Eagles have taught us, one cannot have enough good defensive backs – let alone Pro Bowlers.

The second, and perhaps the most important reason, is because Orton is a more proven commodity than Kolb.  Keep in mind the Cardinals gave a five-year contract worth $64 million (with $21 million guaranteed) to a guy who has started a grand total of seven games.  Kolb’s record was 3-4 in those games.  Meanwhile, check out Orton’s stats:

  • Passed for 3,653 yards last season
  • Threw 20 touchdown passes against 9 interceptions
  • Started 62 games in his career

Look, Kolb might be the next Matt Schaub for all I know.  However, for every Schaub is an Elvis Grbac and worst of all, Scott Mitchell.

Davis Firing the Right Thing at the Wrong Time

Let me start by saying I do not have a problem with the University of North Carolina firing Butch Davis.

He has been connected to John Blake, a former assistant coach/recruiting coordinator who worked to steer players to late NFL agent Gary Wichard and reported Blake had received more than $31,000 from Wichard, though Blake’s attorneys had previously described the transactions as loans from one friend to another during financial troubles.

He is also connected to tutor Jennifer Wiley, who not only had tutored Davis’ teen son, but gave improper assistance to players on school work — including some after she had graduated and no longer worked for the school.

While noted knucklehead Marvin Austin told on himself and the program on Twitter may have occurred without Davis’ knowledge, I do not buy the notion that Davis had no idea what was going on with the academic and recruiting scandals happening under his watch.

That said, what the hell took so long?  Why did UNC wait until right before training camp to make the announcement?  Why wasn’t this done at the end of – or hell, even BEFORE – last season?

Chancellor Holden Thorp, responsible for canning Davis, has some explaining to do.  If what he said about academic integrity was true, then why wait until now?

Now UNC risks screwing with their recruiting classes for the next few seasons.  More importantly, this will be a huge and unwanted distraction that those players have to deal with.

The Tar Heels will be lucky to win five games this year.  Lack of leadership and distractions will do that to a young college football team.

And this is the epitome of bad leadership.

Brown Doing the Right Thing in not Trading Palmer

Mark July 27, 2011 as an important day in sports history.  That is because this is the first time I will take Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown in ANYTHING.

Brown has come out publicly and said that he will not trade Carson Palmer.  He said that Palmer signed a contract, and expects him to abide by it.

In January, I wrote that Palmer should be set free.  Suffice it to say I have come around on that way of thinking.

Just imagine what would happen is Brown caved and traded Palmer.  Every player on that team would whine and bitch if it meant getting a one-way ticket out of town.

Brown didn’t trade Chad Ocho-dope-o when the Redskins offered TWO first-round draft picks.  He sure as hell won’t trade Palmer for no better than a third-round pick.

Besides, if Palmer hated life in Cincinnati so much, why in the hell did he sign that contract extension a few seasons ago?  Short-term contracts are available for a reason dude!

Good for you Mr. Brown.  The inmates should never be allowed to run the asylum.

How I Would Fix the NBA

Now that the NFL is back in full swing (no credit to the owners, by the way), the focus (or lack thereof) is on the NBA lockout.  The NBA’s labor impasse may be nasty enough to last all summer and can potentially wipe out the entire 2011-2012 NBA season.

I was reading Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s commentary on the NBA lockout yesterday and he made some good points on how this mess can be fixed (hell, reading the part about his thoughts on NBA draft bust Michael Olowokandi is worth it) .  I would like to expound on a few of his points and add some thoughts on my own on how this lockout can be resolved.

Improve revenue sharing among the franchises.  The gap between the large- and small-market franchises is huge.  The Grand Canyon thinks that gap is huge.  At any rate, it’s obvious that the owners’ revenue sharing plan is not working.  All of the franchises would be profitable if the NBA adapted the NFL’s model.  That way, the Charlotte Bobcats and Milwaukee Bucks would be profitable just like my New York Knicks and the L.A. Lakers.  Speaking of non-profitable franchises…

Contract some teams.  The NBA has way too many teams.  It has no business with teams in Sacramento, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Memphis, Charlotte, Indiana and Minnesota.  It’s also worth noting that all of those franchises are bleeding money like a washed-up MMA fighter.  I would contract all of those teams except for Memphis and Charlotte (both have expensive payouts to cities if their leases are broken).  That would leave the league at 25 teams, which is an ideal size.  That way, with those least profitable franchises out of the way, the money would not be spread so thin among the remaining teams.

Raise the age-limit of incoming rookies.  Look, it’s not a secret that the product in the NBA has gotten a bit worse over the years.  It’s even worse in the college game.  The quickest (and best way) to fix that is to raise the age limit to 20.  That way, it gives the college kids two years to improve their skills and the NBA better quality players to draft.  It simultaneously improves the college and pro games.  A win-win all around.

Implement a HARD salary cap.  Let’s be real about something: the luxury tax renders the alleged salary cap useless.  No team is penalized if they out-spend their competition for the sake of winning a championship (see the 2010-2011 NBA champion Dallas Mavericks).  A hard salary cap (as in the NFL’s) would limit teams’ abilities to stock up on stars and other good players.  It will do two things: limit player movement and spread the talent around.

Eliminate guaranteed contracts.  I do not think an explanation is needed here.  Pay for play is the only way that a lot of players will give it 100%.  If you don’t believe me, see Derrick Coleman, Shawn Kemp, Eddie Curry, Jerome James, Baron Davis (I could go on).  Oh and by the way, it also allows teams to get out of bad contracts.

Hey MLB: GET INSTANT REPLAY!!!

I am so, so sick and tired of these baseball “purists” who argue against instant replay, so I am going to keep this rant short.

The more Major League Baseball argues against instant replay, it’ll risk having games end like the Pirates-Braves game last night.  I’ll let you guys see for yourselves…

Memo to MLB: a) you’ve got the technology to help umpires get the call right, USE IT!  There is no excuse for continuing to remain in the dark ages; b) tell those “purists” to go to hell.

No Credit to the NFL for Doing the Right Thing

“WHOO-HOO!!!”

That was what I yelled when the NFL and the NFLPA officially agreed on a deal that ended the NFL lockout earlier today.  Fantasy football players everywhere and yours truly are celebrating.

Pleasant thoughts aside, now let’s get real on one thing: this damn lockout should have never happened.  How was it so difficult to divide a $9 billion pie?  Why did the owners opt out of the previous CBA?  And finally, why did both sides wait so freaking long to get this resolved?

I said it once before, and I’ll say it again: screw the NFL owners for locking out the players.

Let’s be clear about something: none of the owners were losing money.  The league recently landed a $4 billion TV deal with the major networks (NBC, FOX, and CBS) as well as ESPN.  Most of the owners have favorable stadium situations (especially the Cincinnati Bengals’ sweetheart of a stadium deal).  Hell, even the fan-forgotten Jacksonville Jaguars were making money!

I thought was foolish and downright selfish for the owners to opt out what was a good thing for both sides – as I said earlier, EVERYONE was making money.  The owners came dangerously close to killing the fattest golden goose in all of sports.

Nevertheless, the NFL is back in business.  Hooray for the players for not caving to ownership.  And props to ownership doing the right thing by not screwing this up  - I guess.

Woods Fired His Caddie: Who Cares?

I’m sure everyone knows about the “firing heard around the world” by now.

Tiger Woods clipped his caddie/good friend Steve Williams, with Woods stating he needs to make “changes” in his life.

Now people in the sports media are trying to interpret Woods’ rather cryptic statement and Williams’ candid response to see if there were anything more to the story.  One Yahoo! Sports blogger looked into the situation.  ESPN.com’s Bob Harig commented on what this might mean for Woods’ future.  Hell, ESPN.com has a “Tiger Tracker” for crying out loud!

All of this make me say: “who gives a damn?”

Why is everyone making such a BFD over Tiger firing his caddie?  Sure his caddie ran off with his mouth in the aftermath of Woods’ multiple extra-marital affairs.  Sure his caddie started caddying for Adam Scott while Woods bowed out of tournaments, which Woods apparently didn’t like (though he originally said he could).

Is all of this really worth flooding the sports news cycle?  It’s a golfer firing his damn caddie!  It happens.

All of this makes me realize how the NFL lockout is screwing up the sports world.  This is the time NFL talk should be dominating the air waves, not this other crap.

Our Women’s Soccer Team Choked

Disclaimer: this is one of the very few positive rants I will ever make on soccer.  Now without further ado…

First let me say that I am extremely proud of our women’s World Cup team.

They showed a lot of grit throughout the tournament, whether it’s playing through pain (Abby Wambach’s Achilles injury), overcoming adversity (bad calls in the Brazil game) or not stooping to the level of competition (the bush-league tactics of Brazil).  Our team’s “never say die” attitude captivated the nation throughout the tournament – and yes, I was watching.

That said, I have to be honest: our women’s team choked.  Big time.

First of all, while I do not know much about soccer, no team should blow a lead with only nine minutes left in regulation.  Our team took a 1-0 lead on Japan thanks to a beautiful goal by Alex Morgan in the 69th minute, only to give it back in the 80th minute on a defensive gaffe in front of our own net!

Unfortunately for us, it didn’t stop there.  Wambach scored during extra time for a 2-1 lead, only to lose it in the 117th minute on, you guessed it, another defensive breakdown.

Then it got worse during the penalty kicks.  Two blocks and a total whiff by our players later, and Japan walks away with the World Cup.

Simply put, we had the top-ranked team in the world and lost to a clearly inferior team in Japan.

If that doesn’t scream “choke job”, then I don’t know what does.

I’ll give credit where credit is due.  Japan did a helluva job in hanging in against us.  The Japanese withstood a furious challenge from us in the first half without wilting under the pressure.  Best of all, Japan came through when it counted in the end.

Having said that, let’s be honest about something here.  The better team did NOT win.  Anyone who watched the game knew that we should have scored AT LEAST THREE goals in the first half.  We had our chances, but could not cash them in.

However, as the Japanese demonstrated for the world to see, one does not have to be the better team in order to be the TOUGHEST team.

This Just in: NASCAR Drivers Are NOT Athletes

This whole flap over Seahawks WR Golden Tate’s post on Twitter saying that NASCAR drivers are not athletes is waaay overblown.

That’s because it is so obvious that those drivers are not athletes.  That doesn’t mean that those drivers do not possess skills that make them the best drivers in the world.  It just means, well, that they do not possess any athletic ability.

I think a lot of sports fans confuse athletic ability and skill.

I define “athlete” as one who possess God-given ability to run faster, jump higher, and overpower other participants via sheer strength.  Examples of such players are in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, tennis – and yes, even soccer.

I’m sorry, but I do not see NASCAR drivers being physically imposing enough to do well in the aforementioned sports.  Aside from Carl Edwards and Jimmy Johnson, none of the drivers really look the part.

I mean, can you see pudgy-ass Tony Stewart outrun LeBron James and hitting a jump shot?  Can you see little-ass Kyle Busch going over the middle in an NFL game to catch a pass and make yards after the catch?  Can you see my favorite driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. racking up goals on a hockey rink?

Now as for skill, those drivers definitely have that and then some.  I mean, it takes a special kind of skill (and mindset) to go over 160 mph in a 110-degree plus car going by drivers driving the same speed for 4 hours.  Plus, there is some strategy involved – when to change tires, gas up.

But as I said earlier, do not confuse athletic ability and skill.  It’s the same argument I’d make for golfers.  It takes an enormous amount of skill to drive and place balls on a golf course, and greater skill to putt on the green.  Again, I cannot picture fat-ass John Daly lighting it up on a basketball court, football field, or a baseball diamond.  Ditto for Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim.

The only thing I wish Tate would do is stick by this comments instead of going the P.C. route and backtracking.  After Johnson challenged him to come to the track, Tate should have challenged his, Stewart’s and other drivers’ asses to the gridiron.

Tate would have won that argument.

Harrison Has Officially Gone Postal

James Harrison, linebacker of my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers, has officially gone off the deep end.

In an article in the latest issue of Men’s Journal, Harrison took harsh, gratuitous shots at not only commissioner/warden Roger Goodell, but at HIS OWN TEAMMATES.  I’m not going to go into details of what he said (everybody in the media already has), but I’m going to point out a couple of things here.

First of all, I agree with Harrison that Goodell is a bit of a phony.  I mean the commish goes on and on about player safety, then turns around and pushes an 18-game season?  Really?  This guy is also trying to put the color pink in the shield by eliminating hard hits.  I have always maintained that the NFL might as well put skirts on quarterbacks, now it can spread the love to running backs and receivers.

And as much as Goodell has been coming down on defenders, how about offensive players who block defenders below the knees?  How about running backs and receivers who deliver stiff-arms to the head and block head-first?  Until Goodell delivers the same sort of punishment on offensive players, he will be nothing more than a fraud.

And how about being more consistent in how he fines players?  A lot of players (Steelers and others) said “God bless Harrison” for calling out the commish.

I just think Harrison went about it the wrong way.  You don’t have to like your boss, but you don’t have to say publicly that you hate him/her, nor say “If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn’t do it.”  And you also do not refer to your boss with a derogatory gay term IN PRINT.

Really, James?

I have a bigger problem with Harrison going after teammates.  Look, I screamed at my TV when Ben Roethlisberger threw those two killer interceptions in the Super Bowl (one of which was returned for a touchdown), and groaned when Rashard Mendenhall lost that big fumble when we were driving in the second half to possibly take the lead on Green Bay.

But let’s be real here: it’s not like Harrison lit up the stat sheet in the Super Bowl.  Dude had only one sack, and that was because Aaron Rodgers ran into him.

Bottom line: there is a right way and a wrong way to express yourself.  Harrison had a right to speak his mind, but was derogatory and childish in doing so.

You are an alleged adult James.  It’s time to act like one.

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