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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Kept in Beli-check

Bill Belichick obviously wasn't fazed by the Super Bowl loss as far as his composure with the media.
In his live NFL Network interview between the 13th and 14th picks of the draft, he was asked about his draft pick, the decision not to draft an offensive lineman to protect Tom Brady and of course the Super Bowl loss itself.
Not even coaching fraternity members Steve Mariucci and Brian Billick could penetrate the armor that is part of Belichick's brick wall. How could you expect to hear anything less than the fact that Mayo is a great player who likes football?
When asked why they chose Mayo over other potential players including an offensive lineman such as Brandon Albert he said they did what was best for their football team.
And finally when Billick had the chutzpah to ask Belichick about the sting of the Super Bowl loss, he said they had already moved on to 2008 and put the loss behind them.
How great would it have been if Rich Eisen asked Belichick about Spygate.
Potential dialogue:
Rich: What is your reaction to the NFL finding a middle ground to meet with Matt Walsh, your former video coordinator?
Bill: (Pause) Well we've gone through a lot of changes on our roster and our staffs since we beat the Rams in the Super Bowl and we're going to continue to do what's best for our team.
Rich: But are you concerned that he might have incriminating tapes from the past that provide further evidence that your team cheated?
Bill: The only video I've had a chance to look at recently is of Jerod and some of the other guys on our draft board.
Rich: Are you concerned that you could be fined or even suspended if further violations are revealed?
Bill: I'm concerned that we have a really tough schedule this year and if we don't draft the right players we will have a hard time getting back to the Super Bowl.

I can't wait to see what evidence Walsh provides. How great would it be if Belichick had to worry more about getting back to the sidelines than preparing for the New York Jets?

So far, so Goodell

Roger Goodell has proved to be a refreshing element of the NFL Draft for the second year in a row. Paul Tagliabue was often too stiff and concerned with his image and that of the league to pull off the charismatic charm that Goodell has exhibited.
From the casual demeanor with which he strolls to the podium to the way he said "OK, Jets fans" before announcing their selection of Vernon Gholston.
His interactions with Tank Johnson and Pacman Jones and the handling of the Michael Vick situation also displayed a disctinct ability to be a "player's commissioner," something Tagliabue may have possessed, but did not exhibit very well.

Vick left on the doorMatt

With the selection of Matt Ryan as the No. 3 pick in the draft the Atlanta Falcons sent a clear signal that they are done with Michael Vick. While Atlanta and other football fans are left with the question of whether Ryan will succeed as Vick's successor as the franchise quarterback, a bigger question looms.
What happens to Michael Vick?
While there have been conflicting reports, mostly because of Arthur Blank, as to whether or not Vick is playing football in prison, I'm more curious to see where he ends up when he's out of jail.
Vick could be back in time for the 2009 season and will probably land with a struggling franchise with lots of quarterback questions. With the parody in the league it's difficult to predict who will be coming off of a poor 2008 season, but looking at the ages on a few rosters could provide some clues as to who would be interested in Vick at a price that will undoubtedly be a bargain compared to his pre-jail salary that peaked at more than $23 million in 2006.
The Baltimore Ravens desperately wanted to have Ryan for themselves and now they may get stuck with a more questionable quarterback unless they attain Joe Flacco, Chad Henne or Brian Brohm. The team in general is aging, especially the defense, and may need a spark plug like Vick (who will only be 29 if he's back next year) to give them a push as they will be past the worst of their rebuilding stage by 2009.
There's also the Kansas City Chiefs, another team that was considering Ryan as their choice if Atlanta didn't take him. Damon Huard and his backups are not the answer in the midwest. Someone like Vick could be an ideal fit on a team that generally plays an up-tempo type of offense in which he could thrive. He'll also be away from the big-city lore of a location on the east or west coast.
Of course this all depends on whether or not Vick is even capable, physically and mentally, of returning to NFL stardom when he leaves prison. Whether he is discharged in 2009 is unclear. What is clear though, is that Vick will have some work to do when he gets out, and it won't be anything like the kitchen duties he's taken up in prison.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wammi Youuu: Crank dat DeShawn

On a night when Soulja Boy attends the Wizards-Cavs game, Carlos Boozer knocks Carl Landry's tooth out, a courtside Jazz fan gets tossed for reasons I still am not clear about and Tracy McGrady scores his first fourth quarter field goal of the series, I wonder why some people still refuse to accept the NBA Playoffs as one of the great sports spectacles.
Caron Butler even did a little crankin' after his and-one late in a game that was well out of hand at the time. I can't wait to see how DeShawn Stevenson responds to his own performance last night. He'll probably attribute the success to his mentor Soulja Boy while LeBron AKA Jay-Z was unable to carry his team to a 3-0 series lead.
Back to McGrady for a second though -- he is a sad excuse for a playoff baller. That brick he threw up at the end of the game was embarrassing. Charles Barkley's golf swing is pretty than McGrady's fourth quarter playoff performances.
I'm still not sure how the Rockets managed to win this game. After Kyle Korver hit that three to bring the Jazz within what I think was four points (93-89?), it looked as if the Western Conference Semifinals would only take eight games combined.
In the East, I think if the Wizards really want to have a shot, they should sign Frank Thomas and have him go Marty McSorley on LeBron and save Brendan Haywood the technicals. Otherwise he's going to come back more pissed off than ever for the rest of the series en route to a rematch with the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.
And speaking of McSorley/hockey, can we just skip to the Penguins-Red Wings already? Someone tell me A. Who will stop Sidney Crosby B. Who will stop Detroit C. Who in their right mind would trade for Pacman Jones.
Nevermind on part C.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rich for a price

Rich Rodriguez has me more worried than Ross in the season finale of Friends where they're at the beach and he has to choose between Rachel and that strange girl that shaved her head.
It's not like we can still pick Lloyd Carr (Rachel) since he's gone, which doesn't break my heart to begin with. What we have to do is learn to tolerate Rodriguez (baldy) because it's starting to get ugly.
I was watching SportsCenter this morning and Pat White starts talking about how much more free he feels with Bill Stewart running the Mountaineers. That he doesn't feel as if he's lost a first-born child every time he throws an incompletion or doesn't run for a first down, or something along those lines.
Sure I'm exaggering what White said, but not the general vibe given off by the bitter Mountaineer fans and the skeptically-stoked Wolverines fans. Apparently the spread offense isn't all that Rodriguez brough with him.
I'm not saying that he has to get along with Jim Tressel (who could with that damn sweater vest he wears?) but it's probably not good when he and Purdue coach Joe Tiller say he's already broken an unwritten code in Big 10 recruiting circles. I'm not against getting the best recruits possible, but how is it that Rodriguez is the only coach to be accused of breaking this gentleman's agreement?
And finally, Dave Letterman style, the No. 1 reason you know that something's up with Rich Rodriguez: one of Michigan's linebackers just transferred -- to the Buckeyes! Are you kidding me? Remember that ESPN commercial where the guy jumps out of his blind date's moving SUV because he's an OSU alum and she's a Michigan grad? This guy just said, 'You know what, honey, I love you so much I want to like the Buckeyes, too.'
I don't care if he is from Columbus, the fact that he left is the ultimate red flag, and if I had a red flag right now, I would throw it out to challenge Michigan's decision to hire Rodriguez.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Retired the non-retired?

Will someone explain this to me: How can you retire a player's jersey if that player himself hasn't filed for retirement yet?
If Brett Favre decides to play one more year this winter, there could be a couple interesting storylines developing.
If he stays with the Packers we could have the unprecedented scenario of a player having his jersey retired while leading his team to victory on the same night. No doubt that Favre would pass for numbers close to 350 yards, three touchdowns, and of course, three interceptions. The final touchdown would probably come in the last two minutes to give them a victory against the Vikings.
The second possible scenario is that if he gets traded to another team, and has to play in another city on the same night that his jersey is supposed to retired. Favre is so amazing that he could probably put up the same numbers for another team and still attend his jersey retirement simultaneously.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Number Two Tiger

Betting on Tiger Woods to win The Masters this week was, if nothing else, safe.
Safer than a five-shot lead with three holes to go for the next great South African major winner, who was, surprise, surprise, not Rory Sabbatini.
When Tiger shot even the first day, the trendy response was, 'He's just waiting for Saturday to really make his move. It's like Jack Nicklaus said, you can't win the tournament on the first day but you can lose it.'
So the modest 71 on Friday didn't raise any red flags, if anything it made viewers more inclined to believe that Tiger would be hunting for the yellow flags all weekend. And he did.
And he failed.
Failed in the sense that he didn't win the first leg of his secondary-to-elipsing-Jack goal of winning the calendar year Grand Slam.
But he finished second, a very Jack-esque consolation in a major.
He shot even par 72 on a Sunday in which only four players broke par.
Only Stewart Cink, Woods' Sunday playing partner, matched his impressive feat as the only other player to not shoot an over-par round during the tournament.
A second-place finish may mean Tiger will lose some sleep until the next major, but fans shouldn't lose sight of the fact that a second-place finish in The Masters is nothing less than impressive on a week that many say the safest statement of all was to call it a failure.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Championship No-Nos

Two things before this overtime starts.
First of all, why the hell didn't CDR get a tech for spiking that ball? That's ridiculous and Ed Hightower is terrible. P.S. Shut up, Billy Packer! I'm rooting for Memphis, but that was terrible.
And why would Roy Williams wear a Kansas logo on his shirt? He should definitely be scolded by the UNC AD.
Oh and one more thing. Why couldn't Oklahoma State wait until after the game to announce its offer to Bill Self? That's almost as bad as Scott Boras announcing A-Rod's opt out during the World Series.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Rock Chalk Jayhawk, damn

Clearly I don't know what I'm talking about. Congrats to the Jayhawks on a dominating win. I didn't expect to hear the "Rock-Chalk-Jayhawk" chant with a minute left in the game. I was anticipating the "Gooo-Heeeels!" chant that drowned out the rest of Carolina's opponents.
Hopefully the natives of Kansas will allow the Roy Williams controversy to rest after tonight. The Jayhawks got what the whole state wanted more than anything, to directly prevent Roy from winning a national title.
Now the Jayhawks will have a chance to do just that, which is something Roy himself could never do in Lawrence.
The last time Kansas was in the national title game they faced a Carmelo Anthony-led squad from upstate New York. Now another great coach with a team of overloaded talent stands in its way.
I'm not even going to pick that game because as we saw tonight, it wouldn't do any good. I hope it's a close game as the contests of the final two weekends of this year's tournament have probably been the worst I can ever remember for an NCAA Tournament.
The only games I've enjoyed since the first two rounds are ones that involved Davidson, and the West Virginia-Xavier overtime battle.
If Bill Self wins on Monday, I'd be happy to see the Phil Mickelson of college basketball coaches win his first title. And if it's John Calipari, there's nothing wrong with a Steve Stricker finally getting his due.
May the best team win.

They're grrrrrreat!

Congrats to the Memphis Tigers on the National Championship game berth. I didn't think they had it in them.
Unfortunately I didn't watch too much of the game because I was covering a story about a man exposing himself to women on our campus.
I did get to see CDR tea-bag Kevin Love on a baseline jam. Damn, Kev.
I don't know what it is that keeps UCLA and Ben Howland from getting over the hump but they're turning into the Philadelphia Eagles of the NCAA Basketball tournament.
This result is something many people may have seen coming with all the buzzer-beaters and assists from the refs the Bruins got in the last two months.
Nonetheless, take this one in while you can because you won't see Derrick Rose or Kevin Love in a college uniform again.

Big night in Baltimore

It's a big night for the Orioles. With the Blue Jays beating the Red Sox and the Rays taking another one from the Yankees, the Orioles are another win over the Mariners tonight from first place.
The Orioles in first and the Yankees in last would be as rare as an Easter in March, but since that's already happened this year, I say for at least one day, why not?
Baltimore will need a big debut from Adam Loewen and some hot bats to go off against Miguel Batista. This could provide the momentum they will need to face their former best player, Erik Bedard, in the third game of a four-game series tomorrow afternoon.

Something's Bru-in in The Alamo

I still have UCLA over Carolina, 83-79. That was my pick the day after Selection Sunday, even though The Mount played Carolina that Friday.
I have a valid explanation for picking against the team I work for and it's the same reason I picked Coppin State to beat us in the play-in game.
When we played at St. Francis (Pa.) on Feb. 23, and I asked coach Milan Brown who he had that night, he picked the Red Flash. He then picked Monmouth the following Saturday, and all of our opponents through the NEC Tournament. Those were all part of our five-game win streak that propelled us into NCAA's, and therefore I stuck with another one of my superstitions until it ran out in Raleigh.
And with my conscience clear let's shift to tonight's matchups.
I don't give Kansas a shot, not only because they're more overrated than Saw IV, but also because the top two teams they've played by seeds are 8 UNLV and 10 Davidson. Clearly Davidson didn't deserve to be as low as a 10, and while UNLV was a decent 8, the Jayhawks haven't had a thorough test.
I don't mean to discredit the 59-57 struggle they had against Davidson. The Wildcats, although carried by Stephen Curry, get contributions from all of their players. At the same time, they don't have a Danny Green coming off the bench, not to mention Tyler Hansbrough and Deon Thompson inside.
After seeing the Heels in person I didn't think that anyone would be able to beat them this year if they're firing on all cylinders, on top of the fact that Kansas is overrated and trying too hard to use the Roy Williams thing as motivation.
I had Memphis in the Final Four of my original bracket until I realized that I had put all four No. 1s in San Antonio and promptly slipped Texas out of Houston and into the Alamo. I believe that Memphis has the most talented starting five in the country. Derrick Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Joey Dorsey are better than any top three including Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Tyler Hansbrough.
I don't, however, see how leaving Andre Allen at home won't be a distraction for the Tigers. And most importantly, the Bruins are playing in their third straight Final Four and have Kevin Love who I believe to be the missing link.
My early final score projection of 83-79 could be a little high with UCLA's defense and Carolina's fresh emphasis on the same side of the floor.
I won't be disheartened if the Tar Hells win though. That would strengthen an argument for the Mount as the No. 2 team in the country.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hellooo, Brooklyn!

This is funny. When I was home for Easter I was pleasantly surprised to find this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue in my basket.

It wasn't until later that week that I had a chance to flip through the magazine and read some of the stories. Oddly enough, there are pictures in the magazine too, and one or two or three in particular caught my eye.

There was a girl my age named Brooklyn Decker. If her parents could have seen 20 years into the future they might as well have named her Dolly Decker and had her sing country songs.

There were three reasons I didn't start scouring the universe for her contact information. 1. I had just shook Erin Andrews' hand about a week before and there was no way I was going to cheat on her already. 2. She's from Ohio. 3. The whole Andy-Roddick-called-dibs-in-September thing.

Now it looks as if Roddick has joined Tiger Woods and Tom Brady as the happiest men in the world. Not only is he engaged to a relatively recently legalized and not-so-long-ago-teenager, but he finally beat Roger Federer again yesterday in the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open.

Like Roddick, I have anger problems, play a sport closely associated with country clubs, and once beat the No. 1 player in my sport (on XBox,) so does that mean I have a real chance with Erin after all?

(Didn't get the title? "Hello, Brooklyn!")

Swoop: The Alexa Rodriguez Story

Could the Red Sox-Yankess rivalry get any better than this? A 13-year-old girl named Alexa Rodriguez was attacked by a red-tailed hawk that swooped down and scraped her scalp with its talons while she took a tour of Fenway Park.
The girl is doing fine, thankfully, or I wouldn't be making light of the event. But what are the chances of something like this happening, really?
The girl's name is ALEXA RODRIGUEZ. Confused by the reports, Jose Canseco is already planning to write his third book about the incident. It will be called "Swoop" and feature a chapter about the performance-enhancing habits of the Philadelphia Eagles mascot.