Monthly Archives: January 2012

This Just in: the Pro Bowl Sucks

Wow, talk about an exciting all-star game.  It was so exciting, I didn’t even bother to tune into the game.

Let’s face it folks, the Pro Bowl sucks.

The fans know it.  The players know it (which is why some guys do not bother making the trip).  And most importantly, the commissioner knows  it.

NFL Commissioner/Warden/Playa-Hater Roger Goodell thought that fan interest would increase by allowing players to tweet DURING the game.  He figured that fans would tune in just for the ability to communicate with players or at the very least, see what was on the players’ minds.

Here’s the deal.  The only way the NFL will improve the Pro Bowl (the product and the interest in it) is to do one of the following:

  • Allowing blitzing.  Wouldn’t fans want to see how the best pass rushers would fare against the best offensive linemen?
  • Have huge payouts for the winning team.  I know the players who do participate get bonuses, but what if players on the winning team got an extra $1 million for their troubles?
  • A more radical solution: the winning conference’s teams get an extra draft pick per round.  A little – ok, VERY – extreme, but who wouldn’t want extra draft picks?  Could you imagine the Colts getting an extra first round draft pick?

I admit that none of those recommendation (especially the third one) may not materialize but dammit, someone had to do something.  What better way to do so than in a blog where most would not even bother to take seriously (oops)?

Coaching Is not Knicks’ Only Problem

Sigh.

This was supposed to be the breakout year for my New York Knicks.  They were supposed to come together, knock off the Celtics and take home the Atlantic Division title – hell, I predicted so!  The Knicks were supposed to make some serious noise in the playoffs.

Instead, the Knicks are floundering with a sub-.500 record (7-11) and appear to be headed nowhere fast.

Once again: sigh.

This begs the question, why are the Knicks so horrible?

The easiest place to assess blame is the coaching.  Coach Mike D’Antoni is under fire, and I sometimes find myself thinking that he has to go.  However, I cannot blame him for the performance of a team led by two stars and that has no role players.

It’s all about bad pieces that do not fit in the puzzle.  Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudamire, while great players individually, are a bad combo.  Anthony is a ball-stopper while Stoudamire thrives on pick-and-rolls.

Even still, the pair could work if they had a point guard to help direct everything.  Who are the Knicks point guards?  Hmm, let’s see: Iman Shumpert, Toney Douglas, and Mike Bibby.

Are you kidding me???  Hell, their point guard situation is so bad, a healthy Baron Davis is seen as a HUGE upgrade.

Here is how I would fix my Knicks: trade Amare Stoudamire for the New Jersey Nets’ Daron Williams.  Williams not only gives the Knicks a bigger upgrade at point guard, but he will bring instant cred with Anthony.  Plus, the Knicks will not have to gut their roster to land Williams (thank you very much James Dolan).

Or, as rumor has it, trade Amare AND Tyson Chandler for Dwight Howard.  That would free up some max money for Williams.

Either way, a point guard would go a long way to fixing the Knicks.  Just as long as someone tells Dolan to stay his ass out of it…

Hey Federer Fans, Where Are You Now?

Another major, another loss for Roger Federer.

Federer lost in four sets to my man Rafael Nadal 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-4 in an Australian Open semifinal on Thursday night.  As Federer was again dominated by an arch-rival, I have one thing to say…

I am so, SO very sick and tired of the talk of him still being the among best men’s player on the tour as well as the best tennis player of all time.  STOP IT!

I said once before, and I’ll say it again: Federer is not the greatest men’s singles player of all time.  Hell he is not even the best player on tour right now (that would Novak Djokovic), and hasn’t been that way for the last five years (that would be Nadal).

A lot of Federer apologists would always say that you cannot punish him for playing against inferior competition during his prime.  Uh, yes you can!!!  Dig this: Federer’s biggest challengers during that time were an underachieving, overrated Andy Roddick and a gritty, yet inferior Lleyton Hewitt.  That’s it!!!

Now that he has some competition in Nadal and Djokovic (hell, Federer got his ass kicked in Wimbledon by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga).

Again, I will say that Pete Sampras is the greatest men’s singles player because dominated MUCH stiffer competition during his prime.  Do you honestly think that Federer would dominate Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, and Jim Courier the way Sampras did?

I didn’t think so…

Goodell Should not Have Received ANY Extension

NFL Commissioner/warden/playa hater Roger Goodell received a contract extension that will run through 2018.  Needless to say I am not too happy about this move.

This is a man who presided over the first work stoppage in the NFL in over 20 years this past offseason.  This is the same dude who is trying to take the “football” out of football by implementing those stupid-ass “defenseless player” rules (though I do agree with the helmet-to-helmet rules).  Defensive players cannot even touch nor breathe on receivers down the field without fear of pass interference calls.

And here’s the capper: players cannot hit those pretty-ass quarterbacks up high and down low.  In short, Goodell is turning the NFL into a mixture of flag football and soccer.

I miss the NFL of old where fans witnessed big hit after big hit without any fear of penalties and fines.  I miss the NFL where defense was valued a bit more.

Thanks to Goodell’s stupid-ass, the NFL is softer than college football.  Don’t be surprised to see offensive players wearing flags and quarterbacks wearing pink skirts.

Yeah Goodell brought the NFL a tougher player conduct policy, but who cares.  Goodell sucks…

Peyton Will not Be a Colt

Easy one to figure out right?

I mean, not only Peyton Manning is coming off a few neck surgeries that he is STILL not 100% on, but the Indianapolis Colts practically fired his entire support system.  Gone are the Polians (vice president Bill and general manager Chris), and the head coach in addition to the coaching staff.

Oh, and there is this $28 million bonus that is due to Manning in March.

So while we all know that Peyton will be an ex-Colt, what’s next for him?  Where will he go?

A lot of people are postulating that teams such as the Jets, Redskins, 49ers and Cardinals are interested in his services.  Hell, a lot of people are jumping on the “Peyton to the Cardinals” bandwagon.

I personally think that Peyton will retire.  Reports say that dude is not close to being on the way back.  He has a feeling that the Colts will not pay him his $28 million and cut him.  I mean, why would Peyton want to start from scratch with a bad team that is rebuilding?  Why would he want to warm the seat for Andrew Luck?  And more importantly, why would a team want a player who is not near 100%, even if he is Peyton Manning?

The 2012 NFL season will be different without Peyton Manning…

Fielder Signing Makes Tigers Team to Beat

When the Detroit Tigers signed masher Prince Fielder to a 9-year $214 million contract yesterday, they sent a message to the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and the rest of the elite in the American League.

We are the team to beat.

With the addition of Fielder, the Tigers now have the best pitcher (Justin Verlander), and the best young sluggers (Fielder and Miguel Cabrera) in baseball.  Not only can Detroit feel more confident in going toe-to-toe with the Yankees, Red Sox and Texas Rangers in the American League, but with the Phillies in the National League as well.

The last few years have been great to the city of Detroit.  The Red Wings are winning as usual.  The Tigers have dominated the AL Central the last few seasons.  And who could forget about the Lions making a playoff run this season (thanks for picking me up, fellas)?

While this is good news for Tigers fans, this is bad news for my Yankees.  It’s bad enough that we cannot beat the Tigers in the postseason without a potent slugger.  Now they have Fielder.  Oy!

See you in the 2012 World Series Tigers fans.

Ravens and 49ers Gave Their Games Away

The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers lost their respective games in the worst possible way: they both outplayed their opponents.

Let’s start with the first game.  The Ravens lost to the New England Patriots 23-20, thanks to a missed kick by their normally reliable kicker Billy Cundiff in the last few seconds of the game.  Ravens QB Joe Flacco thoroughly out-played his counterpart Tom Brady the entire game.  Hell, Brady didn’t even have a touchdown pass.  At any rate, the Ravens forced the Pats into a few turnovers and clearly out-hit them.

I think it’s wrong to place the blame squarely at Cundiff’s feet – though he will get the lion’s share of the blame.  I blame the missed opportunities.  The Ravens had opportunities to extended their lead over New England in the 3rd quarter after that fumble recovery during the Pat’s kickoff return.  Simply put, you cannot – I repeat CANNOT – settle for field goals on the road in the playoffs, let alone against the Patriots.  But no Ravens fan is as irate over that as they are over Lee Evans’ drop near the end of regulation that would have won the game for them.  He should have caught that ball, period.

Now as for the second game, what else is there to say?  I mean the 49ers’ defense played their asses off.  QB Alex Smith had a decent day throwing the ball, tight end Vernon Davis continues to ball like the stud that he is (did you see him run away from defenders on that first touchdown pass?), and coach Jim Harbaugh coached a good game.  Alas, mistakes on special teams – namely Kyle Williams – did them in.  Williams’ two fumbles – the first muff on a punt return was a head-scratcher (just get the hell out of the way, dude!) – gave the New York Giants 10 points.  Oh by the way, the Giants won 20-17 in overtime.

The good news is the future is bright for the Ravens (namely Flacco) and the 49ers.  I just hate seeing games, especially championship games, decided my mistakes like that.

Paterno Legacy Unclear

The legendary, famous – or depending who you talk to, “infamous” – Penn State football coach Joe Paterno died over the weekend at age 85 from complications from lung cancer.

This is sad for a variety of reasons.

First, his death comes on the heels of a sex abuse scandal that drug Paterno’s previous good name through the mud, and deservedly so.  He failed to follow up on allegations of sex abuse on a minor (a little boy) committed by his former lieutenant Jerry Sandusky.  Either Paterno should have fired Sandusky or reported him to law enforcement HIMSELF, not just sending it up the chain of command (who later sat on the allegations and did nothing).  After all, he’s Joe Freaking Paterno – he ran Penn State, not the athletic director nor the president.

Second, that scandal has tarnished what should have been a memorable legacy.  Before the scandal, Paterno was known for what was right about college football.  He never had the NCAA snoop around his program.  He ran a clean, tight ship that had most of his players graduate.

Paterno really cared about academics.  He donated money he earned from advertisements and bonuses to various departments on campus, notably the campus library that bears his name.

So of all of the good Paterno has done for Penn State and college football in general, it’s a shame that this sex abuse scandal ruined his good name.  It should serve as another reason why Sandusky should be thrown UNDER the jail.

2012 NFL Conference Championship Preview

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots.  This is a classic game of the immovable object (Ravens) and the unstoppable force (Patriots).  You gotta love the best defense vs. best offense encounters.  That said, the Ravens are not going to be able to hang with the Pats.  Sure the Ravens are not intimidated, and they do have Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs a.k.a. “T-Sizzle”, and Ed Reed anchoring the defense.  However, the Ravens do not have a pass rush outside of Suggs and their linebackers and safeties cannot hang with stud tight ends  Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.  You know QB Tom Brady will spread the Ravens out and make those linebackers cover, and that will spell doom for the Ravens.  Plus, there is no way I trust Joe Flacco in a big game.

This is a funny game for me.  As a Steelers fan, I don’t like Baltimore, but I hate New England.  So as much as I would like to see “The Wire”-like Ravens from the ‘hood beat the pretty boy “Mad Men” Patriots on the road (courtesy of Jason Whitlock), it ain’t happening.  Patriots 27, Ravens 10.

New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers.  Talk about a blast from the past.  For those of you who appreciate anything old-school, this is the matchup for you.  I hearken back to those Giants-49ers clashes in the 1980s, watching Joe Montana and Jerry Rice go against Lawrence Taylor, Ronnie Lott matching wits against Phil Simms.  As for the 2012 version, I see this game going down to the wire.

While I admire and respect how 49ers QB Alex Smith turned things around, I see the Giants turning Smith back into the OLD Alex Smith.  Look for the Giants defense, learning their lesson from their previous matchup with the 49ers during the regular season, will go zone in order to confuse Smith.  That alone will take away stud tight end Vernon Davis’ ability to make plays.  Plus the Giants have the front four to generate pressure on Smith without having the need to blitz.

And while the 49ers defense is the west coast answer to the Steelers and Ravens, I think QB Eli Manning is going to have a big day passing the ball.  That receiving trio of Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and salsa king Victor Cruz will be too much for the 49ers secondary.

I have a rule of which teams to pull for in the playoffs.  If my Steelers are no longer in it, then I would go with the New York team that is left in the playoffs (I am originally from Brooklyn).  I think the Giants will grant me my wish in what should be a great game.  Giants 23, 49ers 20.

Best Sports Rants Ever…

I was at a restaurant eating lunch today, and I noticed actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. imitating athletes in their most famous (or infamous) rants.  This had me thinking, just which athlete delivered the best sports rants EVER?

Here are the combatants

1) Terrell Owens (or as Jim Rome calls him “TWO”) crying over the rough treatment of Tony Romo after a playoff loss to the Giants

2) Herm Edwards in his most classic line ever: “you play to win the game! (HELLOOOO!!!)”

3) How about this guy – Mike Gundy, head coach/kook from Oklahoma State?

4) And finally, who could forget Allen Iverson, who gave us the mother of all pressers…

So, I ask you, which of those is the best sports rant of all time?  If you have some others, feel free to mention it…

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