Monthly Archives: August 2011

NFL Poll #2

Why Is the Little League World Series Televised?

Congrats to the team from California who won the Little League World Series this past weekend.  Those kids will have memories that they will share with their kids and grandkids for the rest of their lives.

Too bad ESPN’s family of networks made some money off of them.

I have a huge problem with ESPN’s coverage of Little League Baseball.  Televising the final round is one thing.  Televising the whole damn tournament is another.  I don’t need Nomar Garciaparra and Orel Hershiser breaking down tape and giving analysis on 12-year-old baseball players.  It just seems so damn creepy to me.

While I do not know the contract numbers ESPN paid to televise the LLWS tournament, I think that getting paid off the backs of kids is downright crazy.  If none of that money goes to any of the tournament participants, then it’s goes from crazy to downright deplorable.

Like I said, I am sort of cool with the final round being televised.  Just don’t turn it into a cash cow by televising the opening rounds and the regional finals BEFORE the LLWS starts.

It should be about the kids experiencing something that they will be able to cherish for the rest of their lives.  There should never be a price tag on it.

Richardson not Wrong in What He Told Newton

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson told a local sports radio talk show host about the suddenly controversial conversation with Cam Newton before this year’s draft.

He told Newton not to get any tattoos nor piercings during that conversation, with the point being that he wanted a clean-cut player as the face of his franchise.

This was not about Richardson being an overt, old-school racist.  It’s about what he thinks is best for his team in the long run.  Richardson knows that his team would not be as marketable – especially in this part of the country (the Carolinas) – with some brother who’s tatted up, blinged out of his mind, and with his pants hanging down below his ass.

Newton is a clean-cut young brother who says the right things, and appears to be a hard worker to boot.  Given by his “no sirs” to Richardson while answering the questions “do you have tattoos?” and “do you have any piercings?”, Newton may well be on his way to being the franchise icon that Richardson desires.

The more clean-cut, the more endorsements $$$ a player – white or black – can make.  Ask the Titans’ Chris Johnson and Allen Iverson if that is a big deal.

There are some people understand what Richardson was doing like this sista.  Unfortunately, I know that there are the Jesse Jacksons of the world, the NAACP and other folks who may scream about how what a racist bastard Richardson is, like this guy.  A lot more people think he was over the top, like this guy.

Richardson should tell those folks to kiss his ass.  It’s his team, and if he wants his franchise QB to be a clean-cut, straight-laced brother (like we were raised to be, right?), then so be it.

It’s Richardson’s team – not mine, yours’ or anyone else’s.

2011 College Football Poll

Best QBs in the NFL

Another day, another spirited “Who’s the best” debate.

I was listening to “Mike and Mike in the Morning” when co-host Mike Greenberg received lots of hate mail for ranking Phillip Rivers ahead of Ben Roethlisberger.  People argued Big Ben has more rings than Rivers (2 rings to none), but Greenberg argued that Rivers has better numbers and is a purer QB than Big Ben.

Inspired by the hate Greenberg received this morning, I have come up with my own list of top ten QBs in the NFL today.  Let’s take a look, …shall we?

  1. Tom Brady
  2. Peyton Manning
  3. Drew Brees
  4. Aaron Rodgers
  5. Phillip Rivers
  6. Ben Roethlisberger
  7. Michael Vick
  8. Eli Manning
  9. Tony Romo
  10. Joe Flacco

Knocking on the door: Matt Ryan, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford.

Waiting for the hate mail now…

Wanna Fix the BCS? Add a “Plus 1″

I tuned in to ESPN’s Outside the Lines yesterday morning to see “College Football: Blueprint for Change” special.  I must say I was not disappointed.

It was compelling all the way around.  Two of the most influential college football coaches in the game (Nick Saban and Bob Stoops) engaged in good debates with ESPN’s college football analysts over how college football should be fixed.  I also liked the fact that they had an athletic director (Joan Cronan from Tennessee) in on the discussion.

One thing I’d like to touch on one of the subjects of debate:  the method of how college football determines its national champion.

There are plenty of folks out there who think college football is better served with a playoff.  I, of course, am not one of those people.  College football has one of the most exciting regular seasons in all of sports because EVERY GAME MATTERS.  Check college basketball’s March Madness to see how devalued its regular season is.

While I do like the current system, I’d offer one suggestion on how we can make the BCS a little more ironclad.

Add a “Plus 1″.

The “Plus 1″ would not be implemented every year, only when the situation calls for it.  The most common of those situations is having more than three undefeated teams.

Think back in January 2010 when Cincinnati, TCU, and Boise State were undefeated but didn’t play in the national championship game.  A “Plus 1″ would have eliminated that.  TCU and Boise would have played Texas and Alabama in a pair of football games, with the winners playing for all the marbles.  And no, UC would not have participated because its conference (the Big “Least”) and team were weak (it got its ass kicked by Florida in the Sugar Bowl).

We also could have used it last season because you had three undefeated teams in Auburn, Oregon, and TCU.  TCU would have had the chance to play one of those teams instead of Wisconsin.

One last thing for the pro-playoff honks: no playoff system would work because of the following.

  1. No matter how many teams would be in the tournament field, someone deserving will be left out.  Simply put, there would be more bitching and moaning from schools in that scenario than they are now about the BCS.
  2. Since NCAA rules do not allow for football games being played during exam week, the games would go on during the NFL playoffs.  That would not be a smart financial move by the NCAA.
  3. The alumni of the schools in the tournament cannot afford to travel multiple times during said playoffs.

Look, I get that no system is perfect.  The BCS is what it is, but if you get rid of the BCS, do you really want to go back to using polls to determine a national champion?

I think not…

New Kickoff Rule Sucks

The more preseason games I see, the more I hate that stupid new kickoff rule.  Not only is it a stupid rule, it’s a stupid-ass rule.

The NFL moved the kickoff from the 30-yard line to the 35, citing player safety concerns.  You should have heard the sarcasm coming from FOX Sports’ Joe Buck when there was touchback after touchback in the Eagles-Steelers game last night.

“Another EXCITING return by Antonio Brown…”

Why must the NFL mess with its product with these stupid-ass rule changes?  Since when did the game I love the most turn into powder-puff football?  Why try to legislate the hitting out of football – and a professional league at that?

Look, I understand trying to protect players from themselves in order to prevent serious injuries (head trauma, paralysis), but this has gone too far.

Players know what they sign up for when they play football.  Hell, a lot of them has played football since Pop Warner.  And they sure as hell know what to expect upon entering the NFL.

No hitting in certain spots on the quarterbacks?  Since when the hell did QBs have a strike zone?

No leading with the head when making a tackle?  That’s why the players have helmets – to protect their heads!

No hitting a defenseless player when defending a pass play?  Why not let them know when a safety or linebacker is coming so receivers can brace for impact?

Finally, let’s get rid of the most exciting play in football by moving kickoffs to the 35-yard line.  After all, no kickoff returns mean no injuries.

Add those things to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s wish to extend the regular season to 18 games and we have the ultimate case of hypocrisy.

I never thought I’d say this, but looks like I have to look towards college football to see how football is meant to be played…

NCAA Needs to Hammer Administrators More than the Students

So we have another sordid scandal in college football.  As the saying goes, “brand new day, same ‘ol (spit).

First it was Ohio State.  Then it was UNC, followed by Boise State and Georgia Tech.

Now Miami has joined the salacious college football scandal club.  In that scandal, it looked like EVERYONE was on the take – from the players and coaches all the way up to the administrators (notably the college president, athletic director, and some compliance officials).  Hell there is even a photo out with the president accepting a donation check from the greaseball himself, Nevin Shapiro (what type of name is “Nevin”?).

This sort of thing (maybe not as salacious as Miami’s) goes on in college basketball as well, though most of it centers around recruiting instead of illegal gifts.

I know that the NCAA has been talking tough about eradicating cheating from all college sports.  It even talked of simplifying the rule book.

While I am in favor of blowing up the rule book, here is how the NCAA should enforce its rules.

They should punish the administrators and coaches more so than the players.  In other words, punish the adults more than the kids.

Did those students know they were doing the wrong things?  Absolutely – at least they should have known better.  However the problem becomes more unsavory when the coaches – and worse, the administrators – knew what was going on.

Again, I reference the photo of Miami president Donna Shalala accepting that donation check from Shapiro at a bowling alley.  Given that and the allegations that the athletics director, compliance officials, and some coaches knew what was gonig on (or was on the take), all of those folks should be fired or take an EXTREME pay cut for a while.

I do not think it’s fair for the NCAA to reduce scholarships and prevent kids from playing in bowl games.  That’s more or less punishing the innocent than enforcing the rules.

Again, I am not completely absolving the offending student-athletes.  If they committed the crime, they should be held accountable as well, to the tune of suspension if they are still enrolled at the school.  If they have graduated, either fine them heavily if they are playing in professional sports, bar them from returning to campus if they do not make it to the pros (I cannot think of anything tougher than that at the moment).

I just do not believe the coaches and administrators should get off scot-free, which in many cases they do.  Again, the adults should always be held more accountable than the kids.

That is the case in almost all walks of life…

The “U” Is in BIG Trouble

A school is linked to a sordid booster is one thing.  If said booster is a felon for running Ponzi schemes has an axe to grind, then look the hell out.

Nevin Shapiro, a former Miami booster who is serving a 20-year prison sentence for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme, has told Yahoo! Sports he provided benefits to Miami’s football players and other athletes between 2002 and 2010.  Shapiro said he gave money, cars, yacht trips, jewelry, televisions and other gifts to former football players that includes Devin Hester, Jonathan Vilma, and Kellen Winslow Jr.

So why is Shapiro now coming forward with the information?  Because he is pissed that not one of those players came to his aid while he is in prison.

Oh boo-friggin’-hoo.

If more adults realize that this is what happens when they pay young people to hang out with them – those young people will USE THEM.  Hell, I’d use the hell of out that dork if he paid me to hang out with him.

But I digress…

If ANY of what Shapiro alleges is true, then we could be talking about punishment SMU-style (there’s an old school reference for you).  Not good for the University of Miami football program.  As if the Atlantic Coast Conference needs a member’s football program to go belly up for a while right?

This is going to end badly for “The U”.  If and when Miami football gets hammered, it will not bode well for the ACC.  It’ll be also bad for college football.

The Greatest Running Backs of All Time

 

I was listening to a sports radio talk should a few days ago when I heard a discussion of the best running backs to date.  A lot of people were banging the Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson drums.  Johnson once proclaimed himself to be the best.

While I would not go that far with him, I do agree that he is one of the best running backs today, but he is not among my best of all time.  Here is my top 10 list of the best running backs of all time.

  1. Walter Payton
  2. Jim Brown
  3. Gayle Sayers
  4. Barry Sanders
  5. OJ Simpson
  6. Emmitt Smith
  7. Franco Harris
  8. Marshall Faulk
  9. John Riggins
  10. Tony Dorsett

Feel free to hate…

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