Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Lakers Search Myspace For Pick

The Lakers have had three of the five greatest centers of all-time. Their presence has been so indelibly stamped into the league, they are known by only one name--Wilt, Kareem, and Shaq.

But that proud Lakers tradition took a big hit on Tuesday night when the club selected high school standout Andrew Bynum. This is the kind of desperate move that the Portland Trail Blazers pull. It's one thing to pick a high school player that can compliment your team (like Kobe did years ago), but quite another to hitch your hopes on a teenager.

And yes, this is going to get worse.

Most teenagers today have started their own web pages and personal journals on myspace.com. Bynum--who is 17--is no different. If you don't believe that most of these high school kids aren't ready for the responsibility of the NBA, we give you the Andrew Bynum myspace portfolio.

Bynum might be a physically gifted athlete, but he is no honor student. This isn't about Stewart Scott slang, this is borderline close to illiterate. It's like that episode of the White Shadow where a standout basketball player transfers to Carver High and it is discovered that he cannot read. Bynum comes dangerously close to this and shows that he's really just a coddled athlete. Dontonio Wingfield is looking forward to working with him at the local car wash in a couple of years.

And honestly, people make mistakes and there are editing errors in these personal web pages. The reader of The Hater Nation knows this better than anybody. But this is just overboard. Here are the lowlights of the Bynum myspace.

Have you made your own clothes? "Nah, I had sum made for me." Good to see that the agents were already giving him free clothes prior to the draft.

Have you done something you regret? "Kissed sumones gurl." Looks like he and Kobe will have something to talk about.

In school, do you run to class because you are late? "Hell no. I walk even slower." He should have been sprinting to English class.

Do you act perfect? "Nah." At least he has some self-awareness.

Current taste? "Brazilian women." At least he isn’t hunting little Mexican girls.

Do you have a little brother? "Yes." Does he draw cute pictures for you? "Nah, that would be gay." At least his homophobia is NBA-ready.

Are you a moron? "Sumtimez."

Your best physical feature? "Dunno. Gurlz help me out with dat one." Maybe Mitch Kupchak can enlighten us. It's kind of sad that Mitch is trying to show that he's just as smart as Jerry West by picking his own high school star. But if it isn't clear that Mitch isn't Jerry West by now, it never will be.

Pepsi or Coke? "I got acme, so soda is sum shit u dont drink." At some point, the Microsoft word is going to explode. And Acme? Did he get it from Wile E. Coyote?

In the past month have you drank alcohol? "Nope. Never have, never will."

In the past month have you smoked? "Nope. Never have, never will."

In the past month have you been on drugs. "Nope." So he will never drink, never smoke, but he seemed open to doing drugs.

In the past month have you stolen anything? "Nope." Which is partly why he didn’t consider playing basketball at Cal State Fullerton.

What do you want to be when you grow up? "NBA playa and entrapenour." Do you really need a joke here?

Number of CDs I own? "Gabillion." Which is likely the amount of money he will be paying to Brazilian women for child support payments.

Do you want to go to college? "Of course." He shud hav gune two colige two meat sum Brazilian gurls.

Congratulations Lakers, he is your center of the future. At least the Clippers continue out "Clipper" you in every move, but you are coming dangerously close.

Final NBA Draft Thoughts

Thank God the NBA draft is over so the sports networks can focus on important business like the Angels and NFL training camps.

Would it have killed the Clippers first-round draft pick--Russian born Yaroslav Korolev--to say in homage to Rocky IV, "If you can change, and I can change, maybe the Clippers can change too!"

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Tuesday Morning News



The Raiders may have moved to Oakland, and the Los Angeles Rams may have folded but the Southern California rivalry has manifest itself into the Dodgers (Raiders) and Angels (Rams) rivalry. Although some might argue that this weekend's rivalry was really between the Angels and Jayson Werth, who drove in all four runs for the Dodgers during the weekend set.

You had to figure that Dodgers manager Jim Tracy wanted to turn his circus of a baseball club into a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

At first base, Jayson Werth
At second base, Jayson Werth
At third base, Jayson Werth
And so on ...

The Dodgers offensive production would probably receive a boost if it was matched up against the Raiders defense. And pity the poor Raiders/Dodgers fans; they were so starved for something to heckle by the weekend's conclusion, many of their fans turned on the walking vendors in the stadium. But even that seemed half-hearted, a lot like the Dodgers effort. In a way it was disheartening. Being beaten down usually brings out the best in the delusional Raiders/Dodgers fans, who can spin doctor a loss better than Karl Rove.

But this weekend was nothing. The Angels were so overwhelming on the field, it seemed like the Eric Dickerson days had returned to Anaheim. But don't worry Raiders fans; the Dodgers disappointment will help prepare you for the Kerry Collins era in Oakland.

NOTES FROM AROUND THE LEAGUE

Freddie Mitchell has found a home in Kansas City, meaning that Dick Vermeil's retirement will likely be hastened after dealing with the enigmatic receiver. The Chiefs obviously were desperate for a receiver when Az Hakim pulled a fast one and back out on a verbal agreement with Kansas City and instead signed with New Orleans.

Vermeil, as expected, was appalled by this saying that people should stick to their word and then gave a shout out to the fans in St. Louis. Vermeil immediately excused himself afterwards for a few minutes to have a good cry in the locker room.

Hakim's act opened a spot for Mitchell in Kansas City, which is fortunate because New Orleans already had its required number of loud mouth receivers, so signing Mitchell was not an option. Mitchell, with the help of Luke Saks of NFL Players Inc., is trying to rebuild his image. Even Vermeil was singing his praises.

"He's an experienced receiver, a first round pick and one that we also rated a first round pick when he came out," Vermeil said. "He's a good friend of mine; his attitude's real good and [Eagles coach] Andy Reid gave him an outstanding recommendation."

Reid had not given Mitchell such an outstanding recommendation when he cut the first-round bust earlier this offseason. Does Vermeil understand sarcasm? Here's how the phone call likely went down.

"Hey Andy, we're thinking of signing Freddie Mitchell. What do you think?"

"Uh, he's a great guy. A real quite, shy, and hard working guy. He's not afraid to get dirty or make a big impact. I think, though, I admire his humbility (sic) more than anything."

"Okay, thanks Andy. I appreciate that."

*click*

"Uh, Dick, I was joking. Dick, Dick???"

*dial tone*

But maybe Mitchell has learned his lesson. Maybe this latest episode has turned him into a more mature player.

"Az Hakim is a great receiver," Mitchell said. "I would have chosen Az Hakim because he can come right in. He has been with Coach vermeil before so it's not really second fiddle."

Mitchell is indeed second-fiddle. And he is not talking about playing second fiddle to Torry Holt or Isaac Bruce. He is talking about Az Hakim. What happened to the Freddie Mitchell that believed he was on equal-footing with Terrell Owens? Now he is saying that he does not mind being sloppy seconds to Hakim?

Football really is a humbling sport.

JAIL TIME FOR REDSKINS STARTER?

Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor would face a minimum prison sentence of three years if convicted on charges of point a gun during a dispute about an all-terrain vehicle.

Attorney's for Taylor want the trial, scheduled for September 12, pushed back until after the Redskins season is over. The judge agreed and moved the trial date back to late October.

CONGRATULATIONS

Angie Harmon gave berth to her second daughter on Monday, Avery Grace Stokley.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Prediction Time

NFL predictions seem to arrive earlier every season. Some analysts--notably Peter King of Sports Illustrated--already have made their predictions for the world to see and laugh at. Seriously, Jacksonville last year? Seattle?

The Hater Nation loves to be on the back end of a trend, so it's time for us to join the already crowded bandwagon and present the first annual Hater Nation predictions.

(In no particular order)

Randy Moss will take his first play off of the season by week three when Norv Turner mistakenly calls a play for Jerry Porter. Moss, frustrated by a slow Raiders start, will take off a play while water skiing during the bye week. ...

Kerry Collins clearly won't tuck the ball during a sack against New England during the NFL opener, but the referees will still rule it a fumble. Rioting in Oakland and Los Angeles begins immediately afterwards. A rioting Raiders fan in Los Angeles will add, "What, Kerry Collins fumbled? Oh... yeah... uh... we're rioting because of that bad call, right." ...

The tuck rule will never get old. ...

The Tom Brady "tuck" play will be shown at least ten times during the season opener. It will be mentioned once every seven plays during the broadcast. ...

John Madden, proving to the world that he becomes increasingly unfunny ever year, will draw a diagram of the tuck, and add two duck and chicken legs to the circle. ...

Collins will being to resemble the Kerry Collins of old by week four in Dallas. Not in a drunken redneck, let's go start a fight with one of my black teammates kind of way. But in an overthrow a wide-open Randy Moss for a touchdown kind of way. Moss will immediately call Daunte Culpepper to gauge his interest in joining the Raiders. Coach Norv Turner, returning to Dallas, will call Troy Aikman to gauge his interest in joining the Raiders. ...

At some point during the season, the Raiders will call in Bill Romanowski to have a one-on-one consultation with Collins. ...

The Raiders season will take a turn for the better in Cleveland during week 15 when Turner signs up Collins to take motorcycle lessons from Kellen Winslow II. ...

Turner will remind Washington fans why he was fired after he head butts the wall against the Redskins in week 11. Turner will remind Dolphins fans why they were happy to see him go to Oakland after the Raiders lose to the Dolphins, 9-6 in week 12. Turner will explain during the post-game press conference that he thought Dave Wannstedt was still the coach, so he spent the week partying in South Beach with Barrett Robbins. ...

Turner will call both Daniel Snyder and Nick Saban to gauge their interest in an obsolete offensive coordinator. ...

Moss will give his one, and only, all-word performance of the season when matched up against Terrell Owens in week three. The winner will immediately ask for a new contract. Freddie Mitchell will claim that he's better than both receivers. ...

The Raiders and Chiefs will battle to a 65-62 thriller in week 9. Mitchell's line during that game--1 reception for 8 yards. ...

Lamont Jordan will select jersey number 34 in an effort to remind Raiders of the Bo Jackson days. The only problem is that Jordan reminds the fans of post-hip surgery Jackson. ...

The Raiders continue to have nightmares at Jack Murphy Stadium, getting run off the field by the Chargers in week 13 like it was Super Bowl XXXVII. But the Raiders still win the battle of fan arrests. ...

A fan in a Raiders jersey will be featured on an episode of COPS by the third episode of the season. Even money says that the fan is actually Robbins, Cole Ford, or Todd Marinovich. ...

Sebastian Janikowski will be detained on supiscion of ecstasy possession, but will be let go when it's discovered that he's only holding allergy pills. When asked if he was relieved, Janikowski said, "Are you kidding me? I paid $20 a hit for that." ...

The Broncos defeat the Raiders which prompts Turner to ask in a press conference, "We lost to a team quarterbacked by Jake Plummer?" Broncos fourth receiver Jerry Rice declares--after torching the Raiders for 8 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown-- that he could play another five years if he exclusively played against the Raiders. ...

Don't want to say that the Raiders defense is bad, but its the only defense the LA District Attorney's office could defeat. ...

Former ASU quarterback Andrew Walter steps in for Collins at some point during the season and shows that he is indeed the next Jake Plummer, as he throws three interceptions. ...

At least Plummer took his team to the Rose Bowl. ...

Warren Sapp misses a portion of training camp, filming the pilot of his new series, Fat Lineman, co-starring Kristie Alley. Sapp misses another week during the season when the stoned defense tackle eats four tubs of lintament (Ben Gay), before realizing that it's not ice cream.

He only eats two more tubs after that. ...

The Raiders don't lose to the Bills in week 7 by 48 points, like the 1990 AFC Championship Game. Turner calls that progress. ...

Justin Fargas will retire from the NFL to take up the family business--being unemployed and trying to cash in on former fame. ...

Moss will decide that only taking a play off here and there doesn't do any good. He instead starts to take off entire series. He barely shows up for games at the end of the season. Turner calls Chuck Bednarik to gauge his interest on playing for the Raiders. ...

Eventually, even Moss' posse is embarrassed to wear Raiders clothing. ...

The Raiders will defeat the Titans in front of 10,000 fans in week 8 to show how much the league has changed since the 2002 AFC Championship Game. The Raiders will improve to 2-5 on the season. Fans believe that this is the game that will mark the turnaround to the team's season. Moss will confess in a post-game press conference that it is a refreshing change from Minnesota where the team would start out hot and choke down the stretch. ...

Collins and Giants quarterback Eli Messiah will combine to throw 12 interceptions in the season finale. The Raiders win, 2-0, when Michael Strahan returns an interception the wrong way. Strahan will explain in a post-game press conference that he's sometimes lost on the field when Brett Favre isn't there to lay down and show him the way. ...

The Raiders win the final game of the season, and fans believe that their team is going to the Super Bowl. The Raiders finish 4-12. ...

Turner will say that he only wants to point out the positives, noting that Collins did not thrown an interception in weeks 5-8. Collins missed those games when he got drunk and punched out a fan for saying that he was no Marc Wilson. ...

Al Davis will fire Turner, recruit more "over-the-hill" players to Oakland, but the Raiders will be headed for another disappointed off-season.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Roundup

It was almost too good to be true.

The Chargers had a break-out performance in 2004 and has looked poised for a run at the Patriots this season. But putting faith in the Chargers is a lot like taking a nap on top of a house of cards... It's very precarious.

And after the whole Ryan Leaf thing, who can blame Chargers fans for being a little hesitant to accept good fortune?

The first little trickles of what could be a tidal wave of misfortune to make up for last year have already started to reach the San Diego shores. Offensive guard Toniu Fonoti, who was a day late to the team's minicamp last weekend, did not practice because of a swollen left ankle caused by a spider bite.

There's something you see on the injury report every week. Knee sprain, concussion, spider bite. That fits.

Back linebacker and special teams standout Carlos Polk suffered a torn left Achilles tendon during an offseason workout session on Wednesday and may miss the entire 2005 season. That's about right.

The hold-out of top draft pick Shawne Merriman (which has become an annual event for Chargers draftees) should probably now be looked upon as a boon. Merriman was unwilling to risk injury in minicamp without a signed contract.

Looks like Merriman knows Chargers history better than anybody else.

But look at the bright side of things San Diego, it could be worse. You could be the Cleveland Browns.

On The Road Again

Ricky Williams began his return to Miami on Monday when he packed some of his belongings into his Volkswagen Fiala and began driving from Northern California. That leads to an interesting problem.

If a stoned-running back leaves Sacramento traveling at 70 miles per hour, how many AM/PM microwaved burritos is he going to consume before he gets to Oklahoma?

The Word God

Florida State coach and deity Billy Sexton released a statement about Wyatt Sexton, the son of God and Florida State quarterback, that said, "Wyatt is under the care of physicians for a medical problem, and at this time he will remain under their care. His doctors have informed us that drug abuse is not the problem."

So Wyatt spent a weekend at a Dave Matthews concert, turning water into wine and we are to believe that he didn't take a sip? Yeah, right.

Now we know what happened during those missing years.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Wednesday Evening Post

ESPN believes it is the worldwide leader in sports. Commentator John Madden has other thoughts. The legendary broadcaster and purveyor of the world's best NFL video game has decided to take his act to NBC in 2006.

Madden will complete his fourth season with ABC, before bolting to NBC when the Monday Night Football contract is kicked over to ESPN. A read between the lines shows that Madden feels that he's above the sports network that has offered such innovative television such as Tilt, Around the Horn,Cold Pizza, and Chris Berman.

The bottom line is that Madden is big time and he doesn't feel that ESPN is in the same league. Or maybe he wants to be back with NBC for the return of the XFL.

He Has Returned

A lot of football players have a "God" complex. Florida State quarterback Wyatt Sexton took it a little too far.

Sexton was found wandering on the streets of Tallahassee, doing pushups in an intersection and claiming that he was either God, or the Son of God. Florida State made a mistake by allowing one of the players to make a statement.

"His health is the most important thing right now and not this football team," said center David Castillo, who has been the team's informal spokesman.

The main rule of the "Hollywood Publicists Handbook" says that you blame dehydration for the outburst. Sexton can't fall back on the "researching the role" thing, unless he was striving to become the next Barrett Robbins.

Expect the Raiders to select Sexton in the supplemental draft.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Save Us, Vinnie Mac!

Football fans were worked into a frenzy this past weekend with the exciting conclusion of the NFL Europe and Arena Football League finals. What was a die-hard football addict to do? Something--almost anything--else if television numbers and a half-full Thomas and Mack Center are any indication. Fans stayed away like it was an early season Arizona Cardinals game.

That leads to only possible conclusion:

We need the XFL.

We need the Xtreme, the Rage, and Maniax. We need He Hate Me, Tommy Maddox, and Jesse Ventura. (Okay maybe not Jesse the Body). We need the pre-game scrum, cameramen on the field, and no fair catches. Football fans need some extreme during the apocalyptic post-Super Bowl wasteland of sports.

The NHL has lock itself into oblivion. The NBA--if you believe commissioner David Stern's saber rattling--is destined to do the same. March Madness is too fast, and early season baseball is for those fans of down-trodden franchise to believe that they have a chance to compete. Like the Dodgers.

The fans need football. NFL Europe and the Arena League gave it a good effort, but they are Billy Joe Tolliver and Billy Joe Hobert of professional football leagues.

Football fans are never going to care about fringe NFL players overseas. And European fans outside of Germany (which plays host to five of the six NFLE franchises) don't care much for the American game. And is there anything more awkward than watching a stadium full of Euros that don't understand what they are cheering about? It's like watching the NFL in St. Louis.

The AFL is fun. It's fan-friendly. The players (like most minor league players) are accessible. But nobody is buying it. People root for the league to survive because they are such a nice group of people. Yet they don't care enough to make the effort to go to the games. Most fans need to be driven personally to the arena to even make an effort with free tickets.

And sometimes that isn't even enough.

The league held it's ArenaBowl in Fabulous Las Vegas and it couldn't paper a crowd of more than 11,000 people into a 15,000-seat building. Las Vegas is the land of comps. If it can't market a championship game in the world's biggest travel destination, what hope is there?

Paul Tagliabue and the AFL owners (which includes NFL owners, former players, and hair bands) need to bury the hatchet with WWE owner Vince McMahon and create a viable minor league football farm system. They need to re-create the XFL. Let Greg Hopkins run down the sidelines of Angels Stadium, in a LA Xtreme uniform that says, "Playboy" on the back. If they could combine McMahon's showmanship with the AFL's legitimate football backers, they could be on to something.

The inaugural XFL season wasn't the disaster many believed it to be. The league couldn't match NFL numbers on NBC, but how many sports leagues could? (Note, sports leagues meaning Nascar is disqualified from the conversation.) What would be the XFL's competition from the past weekend? Golf? College baseball?

Please.

The XFL could become a model for minor leagues if they just followed a few subtle changes.

Move the games to smaller venues. The XFL was a little too ambitious to jump into huge stadiums such as the LA Coliseum and Giants Stadium. Find a more appropriate 30,000-seat stadium so that fans feel like they are at a game and not in the Soldier Field witness relocation program. It also looks way better on television.

Pick locations that are starving for NFL teams such as Los Angeles, San Antonio, Las Vegas, and Cincinnati. The original XFL had three NFL cities (New York, Chicago, and San Francisco). Exchange those with Hartford, San Antonio, and Portland.

Quit trying to take on the NFL. McMahon did not lie when he ripped the NFL. But common sense should have been the better part of valor. If he had resisted his own bravado, the XFL would be a NFL farm system today.

Get rid of the announcers in the stands--unless it's Joe Theismann getting punched in the mouth by a drunk LA Xtreme fan.

The NFL also could benefit from a little goose from the WWE. The league already stole a few ideas from the defunct league with the ESPN camera angle and the look of some of the new uniforms. The NFL has seemed a little too stogy in recent years and a splash of the WWE could do some good.

The real winners would be the fans, who deserve something a little bit better than glorified soccer and scaled-down passing league. The fans deserve the XFL.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Moss: Collins Better Than Culpepper

Onterrio Smith might not have been the only member of the 2004 Vikings in need of the "Whizzinator." Especially if Moss truly believes what he said in a recent ESPN interview.

Moss told SportsCenter that, "When it comes to athleticism, Daunte has Kerry beat. But Kerry has pocket presence and knows how to read defenses. So Kerry has a slight step over Daunte."

Uh, yeah. Moss also said that Marc Wilson had a better pocket presence than Fran Tarkington, so consider the source.

Statistics can sometimes lie, but Culpepper has a passer rating of 93.2, compared to Collins' career mark of 73.3. And never mind the fact that Culpepper led the Hater Nation to a fantasy football league title in 2004. There isn't a general manager in the league that would trade Culpepper straight up for Collins right now.

Maybe Moss only remembers how the Vikings folded in the 2000 NFC Championship Game.

It's admirable that Moss is going to stick up for his current quarterback, but we give this budding romance as much of a chance as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. It's just convenient at this time. Wait until Collins misses him a few times this season and check back with Moss' feelings at that time. Moss will likely be willing to trade an authentic jersey to have a quarterback like Culpepper by week five.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Again with Jersey Numbers?

Mike Martz knows what is really important in the NFL. The part-time NFL coach and full-time comedian decided that Jeff Smoker's number 9 jersey was bad karma. Obviously NFL coaches are not subjected to the same drug testing policies as players because it's clear that Martz might have spent some time with Ricky Williams in the offseason.

Martz felt so strongly about the issue that he turned to Redskins running Clinton Portis to draft a contract that changed Smoker's jersey number and help erase the dark cloud that hangs over St. Louis. Because we all know that it was the bad karma of Smoker's jersey number and not the shoddy playing call by Martz. Or the inability to motivate his players. Heck, just trying to keep players from trying to kill the coach.

Quibbling over petty distractions such as jersey numbers is the kind of micromanaging that has become the hallmark of Martz's head coaching career. Along with the inability to win the big game. Or the fact that his team would routinely try to kick the ball even if Lucy Van Pelt was holding it.

Dick Vermeil must sit in his Kansas City office and say, "They pushed me out the door for this guy," whenever a story like this comes across the wire.

Martz did win out in the "war of wills" and handed the backup quarterback jersey number 15 when he reported to mini-camp. St. Louis has done a lot to try to steal the history of the defunct LA Rams franchise, but to hand out Vince Ferragamo's jersey number is just mean.

Smoker, however, is taking the number switch like a man.

"I think it makes me look fat, the two digits," the 6-foot-3 223 pound Smoker said. "I like just the one digit. It kept me looking more slender and athletic."

St. Louis is in good shape if Marc Bulger goes down. (Pun Intended).

Fashion Police

What will the fashionable convicts and hip-hot artists being wearing this fall season? Randy Moss' new Oakland jersey, according to reports released on Wednesday. But that's no surprise.

The gangster element is alive and well with the Raiders and its fans. The story tried to reason that a high-profile player going to a team with high merchandise sales is an instant winner. And it is. But the story is dishonest in that it ignores gang and wannabe gang element that loves the Raiders. And who is more fitting of the gang element than Randy Moss? The dude tried to roll his posse onto the field prior to the 2000 NFC Championship Game at Giants Stadium. Moss has disrespected an NFL official and even go as far as to run over an officer of the law.

The dude uses the gangster image and the street toughs along with suburbann white kids in the Red States want to share in that imagine. The NFL will never admit that this is the case. But the league also doesn't want to admit that gambling has helped keep the league at the top.

All the NFL cares about is the countless droves of idiots who shell out nearly $300 for an authentic Moss jersey. Even if they wear them on bank hold ups.

Numerous families must have went foodless overthee past couple of months as Chewy, Darth, and Violator skimped and saved for that precious jersey. Many tow-trucker drivers must have overcharged in a vein attempt to make money. The league did not, however, release information on how many jerseys were bought with food stamps. There was one story about a Raiders fan that tried to trade a carton of cigarettes for a Moss jersey (like they do in the joint), but he was shanked instead.

The only question that remains is how long the honeymoon will last between Moss and Oakland. How many plays must Moss take off before the Black Hole turns on him? Probably never. One thing you have to give credit to the Raiders fans is that they blindly follow their players no matter how ineffective they become. How else could you explain the longevity of James Jett?

Not to turn into Uniform Watch

The Eagles led the league in merchandising sales after reaching the Super Bowl for the first time in 25 years. Finally the fans were able to rid themselves of their two-sizes too small Kevin Turner jersey.

Alex Smith, the first pick in the draft by San Francisco, was 12th in league sales. A "Kirk Reynolds #69" jersey did not rank. But it's available.



Eli Messiah ranked seventh in jersey sales last year but was not in the Top 25 this season. It didn't take Giants fans too long to wise up to this guy. The Messiah's idiot savant brother, Peyton, also was left out of the top 25. Guess he needs to win a big game.

Mike Vick ranked second behind Moss, with Ron Mexico coming in at number 11. If you count both Vick and Mexicotogetherr, then he becomes the top selling playing in the league.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

FOOTBALL BACK IN LA

The city of Pasadena has decided to pull out of the NFL race, leaving only Anaheim and the Los Angeles Coliseum to clamor of the league like two drunk guys fighting over a drunk chick at closing time.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-nfl-pasadena&prov=ap&type=lgns

A drunk chick that has no intention of putting out.

Pasadena, along with Carson, should be applauded for no longer playing the NFL’s waiting game with the Los Angeles basin. And when Anaheim decides it, too, is tired of the NFL’s shenanigans the league is going to be between a rock and a hard place. The NFL would likely have to decide whether to put a league in the Coliseum or not return to the country’s second largest TV market.

The smart money is on the latter.

The NFL does not have any intention on returning to Los Angeles and it’s time major media outlets and football fans start to recognize it. The biggest sticking point, besides choosing a sight that still hasn’t been determined in over a decade, is who is going to build the thing? If a stadium were going to be built in Southern California, it would have been built by now.

And forget about public funds. With the state in a budget crisis do you really believe that Los Angeles would ever pull the two-thirds majority votes needed to build a stadium? Please.

The NFL is better off without having a team in Los Angeles. The city has been a great source of leverage than can ever be imagined. Indianapolis recently voted to build the Colts a brand new stadium. This doesn’t happen if Los Angeles doesn’t have a vacant sign draped across the 110 Freeway. The Saints, Vikings, Bills, Jets, and Chargers all have a need for a new stadium and Los Angeles is the perfect threat.

But no owner wants to pack up his team to move to Los Angeles. There’s no advantage. As mentioned above, there isn’t a stadium ready for NFL football right now. And again, as mentioned above, there is no way that an NFL owner is going to move to Los Angeles only to foot the bill for a new stadium.

Plus there is no real economic advantage to being in Los Angeles. The NFL shares most revenue, specifically the NFL television contract, and a team in Los Angeles receives the same amount of television money as a team in Buffalo. Do you believe the Wilson family is willing to pay $1 billion for a new stadium in Los Angeles only to receive the same amount television revenue as he would receive in Buffalo?

And who is more likely to give into demands a build a stadium for the Bills, Buffalo or Los Angeles?

An existing team is not going to move here. That’s a good thing considering that most LA football fans don’t want an existing team. The Southern California fans want an expansion franchise. But that’s about as likely to happen as Kirk Reynolds being named director of the Super Bowl halftime show.

The media reported that the NFL received record deals for its television contract, but that’s only partly true. The NFL did receive raises in its annual rights fees, but it also lost a big bargaining chip with the Super Bowls. The NFL formerly sold the rights to the Super Bowl separately, but included it with the television contracts this year. That’s a big drop of revenue.

An expansion team also would take a slice of that television money; meaning that the salary cap number would have to drop and NFL owners would receive less money. That means an expansion team has as much chance of passing by NFL owners as this kid has of having a normal life:

www.nfl.com/u/nfl/ photos/nfl1aa7_lower.jpg

It’s just not going to happen.

But, for the sake of argument, lets say that the NFL owners do vote for an expansion team (which would likely have to go a decade without receiving television money), what would be the price tag? Who would be willing to fund a $1 billion stadium along with at least $1 billion expansion fee? This team wouldn’t be competitive for at least ten years.

It’s time to realize that the NFL is not coming back to Southern California. The price tag is way too high and is there really enough fan interest in a team coming back? There isn’t. The only unthinkable situation is the Raiders coming back to Los Angeles.

And that’s just something too horrible to imagine.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A REAL HATER

There is hate and then there is hate. There is, "I am kind of pulling for this team to lose," passive kind of hate. And then there is, "If this team wins, I'm going to become an alcoholic," piss and vinegar hate.

Kris Jenkins is a hater.

Jenkins, who missed most of the 2004 NFL season, told the Associated Press that he became dependent on alcohol when he saw Warren Sapp celebrate on the Carolina Panthers home field last year.

Jenkins didn’t pull any punches when it came to talking about Sapp.

"I hate him. Everybody says I'm supposed to be polite when I talk to you all, but I hate him," Jenkins said. "He talks too much, he doesn't make sense, he's fat, he's sloppy, he acts like he's the best thing since sliced bread. He's ugly, he stinks, his mouth stinks, his breath stinks, and basically his soul stinks, too.

"Not too many people have personalities like that and survive in life. I don't know how he does it."

Which of the 12-steps is forgiveness? Jenkins is our kind of guy and that's why he's been added to the Hater Nation All-NFL team along with inaugural honoree Kyle Turley.

Raiders fans were likely cheering this proclamation from Jenkins, but they likely should have commiserated considering the season that Sapp and the Raiders endured. Then again, most Raiders fans still believe that Oakland won the West last year.
Sapp wouldn't comment on the situation, which is ironic because Sapp likes to talk, a great length, about any subject especially himself. Maybe Sapp has turned a corner this season and is on his way to being a responsible human being. Heck, the proclaimed (and seemingly illiterate) "quarterback killa" even restructured his contract to receive the league minimum. Maybe he really has changed.

Nah.

If Sapp is making the league minimum, he is still being over paid, even by NFL standards. And we shouldn't be so quick to let Warren off the hook either. Remember, this is the same guy that called LaVar Arrington an "Uncle Tom" and referred to the NFL office as a "slave master" in 2003, all because they wouldn't let him skip like a little girl through an opposing team's pregame stretch. Sapp is the same guy that had a tantrum and meltdown with the Buccaneers high coach of the week, Mike DePue, because he "made eye contact" with Warren during a team practice. And who could ever forget when Warren tried to start a fight with Packers coach Mike Sherman after he threw a cheap shot at Chad Clifton.

Sapp is obviously a bully with older coaches and unprotected players. So we’ll sit back and enjoy a beer with Jenkins this season as the greatness of the Raiders continues to crumble.

RAIDER ELEMENT INVADES USC

It didn't take long for the vaunted Raider element to latch on to defending national champions, the University of Southern California. Like a proverbial plague of locust, the Raiders have latched on to the successful Trojans football program.

At least USC is not going to take it.

USC has banned the sale of alcohol in an attempt to bring a "family friendly" atmosphere back into the Coliseum. In other words, USC president Steve Sample wants to get rid of the Raider element (and Kris Jenkins). Intoxicated fans and in-seat brawls were a Coliseum staple during the Raiders run in Los Angeles.

It is good to see USC stand up against Raiders fans, but it also does a disservice to the rest of the beer drinking public. There are numerous USC fans that have the tolerance and capability to handle a few beers and a hot dog at the football game. Why must they be punished by the frontrunners that can't hold their alcohol?

The move will cost the Coliseum nearly $700,000, but it costs college football fans its freedom to enjoy a cold beer on a sunny, autumn afternoon.

The Raiders fans are ruining it for the rest of us, and that's not right.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Hurricane Penitentiary

It's been quite an offseason for the U.

The Miami Hurricanes turn out some of the best football players each season. The school also turns out some of the biggest scalawags in the league, too.

A couple of items that likely won't make the media guide include Kellen Winslow Jr., who made like Robby Kenevil in a parking lot while Redskins teammates Sean Taylor and Clinton Portis will fight court battles this offseason.

This is Miami football, no?

With all of these off-the-field activities one has to wonder how Jamal Lewis ended up at Tennessee during his college career instead of Miami.

The Winslow saga took an interesting turn when Papa Winslow decided to vilify the media for his son's irresponsibility.

"I'm disappointed in the way you guys have handled it. Twenty-one-year-old people make mistakes," he said. "He made a mistake. You made it a circus. Remember when you were 21? A human being at 21 makes mistakes. He's not a piece of property."

It's funny, when a player is holding out for more money football is a business. When a player does something stupid, he's just being human. It's convenient. It's also dead wrong in the case of the Winslows.

Remember that the Winslow family turned Junior's college letter-of-intent signing into a media circus. Most kids typically fax in their letters of intent, not have their famous NFL dads turn it into a televised affair. It was an on-going soap opera orchestrated by Papa Winslow, who obviously didn't have a problem with the media turing it into a media-whoring event. It's way too late to go to the "human card" now.

And besides, Winslow is a solider, damn it.

Winslow still has a long way to go before he can reach the level of frivolity set by Taylor. The standout safety has fired two agents, was fined for skipping one day of the NFL's mandatory rookie symposium and was accused of spitting on a player during a game at Cincinnati, although he wasn't punished because the league said there was no video evidence.

He also played a little football, too. Taylor is set to hold out this training camp showing that there is no U in team.

Portis comes off looking like the responsible one in the group. He only stiffed former teammate, Ifeanyi Ohalete, out of $20,000, in a jersey number transaction gone wrong. (Again, jersey numbers?) Portis agreed to pay Ohalete $40,000 for jersey number 26 when he came to Washington last season, but refused to make good on the payment when Ohalete was released from the team.

Do you think you could do that with your credit cards? If your creditor changed from Bank One to Chase Manhattan, would you still be liable for paying off the debt? What kind of classes are they teaching down at Miami? It's understandable that Hurricanes football players are not going to class or taking test or learning anything other than picking up a weak-side blitz. But shouldn't football players be given some sort of curriculum that involves teaching students not to point a gun at people? Maybe a class on contract law? Motorcycle lessons?

The U is doing one thing correctly, though. It is teaching players how to be future Raiders.

NEXT BIG IDEA

How long will it be before a video-game maker steps up to a create a "Grand Theft Auto" version of the NFL? Perhaps EA sports can add this into story lines where a star player is forced to sit out six games while he's serving time in jail. The game already features hold outs and malcontent players, why not have a player sue another because he won't give up a jersey number? People would pay good money for a game like that.

Friday, June 03, 2005

NEWS AND NOTES AROUND THE NFL

The 49ers announced on Friday that it canceled a contract with Paris Hilton, who was the film the club's 2005 sensitivity training video. Vice President of Communications, Kirk Reynolds said it would be inappropriate at this time and will instead film a private video with Hilton, due out this fall.

The Washington Redskins are in hot water too, regarding a sensitive video. Only the Redskins don't have Terry Donahue to blame.

The Redskins are under league investigation for running contact drills during mini-camp, a violation of the collective bargaining agreement. The league was alerted to a potential violation by watching clips of the club’s practice on the team's website.

Thankfully, there were no shots of coach Joe Gibbs in a towel.

And seriously, don't the Redskins really need all of the practice that they can get?

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb recently predicted that Terrell Owens would be at the training camp with the Eagles this season.

Owens, in response to McNabb’s prediction said, "I don't have to play football. I don't have to play for the Eagles. It doesn't matter what any of my teammates have said about me. That doesn't matter to me. All that matters to me right now is my family."

We've seen Owens play basketball. We've seen Owens try to dance. We've seen Owens try to act. Owens needs to play football.

Somebody finally stood up to Jerry Rice. New Broncos teammate Rod Smith refused to give up his number 80 jersey for the hasbeen receiver, saying it would be like "letting somebody sleep with my wife." Does anybody else think that football players, and athletes in general, have an unhealthy fascination with their uniform numbers?

Rice settled for number 19, after being turned down in his request to wear number 7.

Rice, you will remember, asked Seahawks legend Steve Largent to unretire his jersey last year when he signed in Seattle. Rice is saying and doing the right things with his new teammates. But you know the first time Jake Plummer doesn’t look for his way, Jerry is going to start complaining again. And he’ll likely blame the new jersey number, too.

Turns out that it might not be an easy transition for Ricky Williams to come back to the Dolphins. The Dolphins might have some serious issues with Ricky depending on his salary cap number.

The guy will be on the Raiders roster on opening day.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

That's Some Organization They Are Running Up North

There was a time when the 49ers were considered one of the classiest organizations in all of professional sports. But that sentiment is long gone, kind of like the club's playoff hopes. The long overdue fall of the 49ers may have reached it's apex recently after a 49ers training tape that included lesbian porn, racial barbs, and a shot at the mayor was released to the media.

And sadly, the lesbian porn does not include the DeBartolo daughters.

The video is about as offensive as a typical Saturday Night Live skit, but it's caused quite a firestorm in the Bay Area. PR Director Kirk Reynolds (who still owes us a Rams sweat suit) stars as embattled mayor Gavin Newsom as he gives a tour of the city. Some of the highlights include:

*A stereotypical Asian man doing Tim "Latte" and George Bush "erection" jokes. Maybe the 49ers were doing their own tribute to Reggie White.
*A spoof of a gay wedding, with two lesbians making out on the floor, and a black and white man exchanging vows.
*Reynolds, still playing Newsom, taking bribes and running up huge restaurant bills with tax-payer money.
*Linebacker Julian Peterson as a panhandler (he was holding out at the time).

There's also an expletive-laced skit on how to handle hecklers while being interviewed for TV, a scene on shower room etiquette that featured a topless blonde, and--as the grand finale--a towel-clad Reynolds frolicking with three topless women at a gentleman's club.

The only thing missing was a demonstration on what to do if you were caught in a seedy message parlor, like Jerry Rice.

The crude images and stereotypes were not that offense. Instead, we're offended as comedians as they went for the Bill Simmons-type, bottom of the barrel jokes here.

Was the video in bad taste? It was. But most locker room humor is. It wasn't like the 49ers made this video to be distributed to all of its fans and sponsors. Reynolds should have been more careful with the video, making only copy, making sure that he had the only copy, etc.

There is something far more disturbing going on here. The video, which again was only meant for the team's eyes, was leaked to the media by former executive Terry Donahue. The former UCLA also gave a copy of the video to owner John York on his last day with the 49ers.

Donahue felt that Reynolds had pushed him out the door in San Francisco and wanted to get revenge. Yeah, it was the PR director that was Donahue's downfall. It's not like the 49ers went from perennial Super Bowl contender to worst team in the NFL during his command. It was the PR director to blame. Not enough good press releases.

Reynolds looks like an idiot, but Donahue looks like a bitter. How can any team ever want to bring Donahue into the organization now after he has broken one of the cardinal rules of sports? What Reynolds did was bad, but what Donahue did was much worse in the eyes of the sports community.

It's bad enough that Donahue squandered some of the best college football talent during his tenure at UCLA, but now the guy looks like a vindictive teenager that would be better suited for The OC, instead of a football team. You had also better believe that there are things that happened at UCLA that Donahue would never want to go public.

Donahue now belongs in the same class of people that leaked the Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson video. Congratulations Terry, and good luck ever finding another job in football again.

And give credit to Reynolds; Nobody is talking about how much the 49ers suck now.

ONE FINAL THOUGHT

How do the 49ers always seem to get away with this? The club's former owner, Eddie DeBartolo was a freaking criminal. Jerry Rice was caught in a whorehouse. And nothing happens. ESPN never touches on the subject. And likewise, this scandal is quickly disappearing from public view.

If this was the Dallas Cowboys, this would have been front-page news. But for the 49ers they again escape unscathed.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Two things about Dodger Stadium Fight Club

"It was disgusting the way those fans behaved. They're a disgrace to the U.S.A. What gives them the right to throw things at ballplayers?" -- Tommy Lasorda on Giants fans after they pelted Mike Marshall with debris on April 21, 1987.

What must poor Tommy think about the way Dodgers fans have behaved recently?

Tommy, along with various Dodgers players, has filmed PSAs aimed at curbing fan violence at Dodger Stadium. Hope he filmed one for Milton Bradley to watch, too. The PSAs have started to appear on the Dodger Stadium scoreboard and have cemented Dodgers fans transformation into full-blown Raiders fans, like Anakin Skywalker transforming into Darth Raider. It's a similar move the Raiders made during their L.A. tenure when they had Bob Golic's voice greet fans at the LA Coliseum and implore them not to stab Chargers fans.

And we all know how well that worked.

The PSAs might be a nice sentiment, but do you actually believe that any of the thugs that are showing up at Dodger Stadium to brawl and throw rocks respect the opinion of Tommy Lasorda? Do they even realize that Lasorda was once the manager of the Dodgers? It’s highly unlikely. If the Dodgers really wanted to film a PSA that had an impact, they would just 50 Cent or Big Juan film it.

LINK OF THE DAY

Why should the Dodgers try to curb violence when it has such a rich tradition in club history?.

Not sure whether it is a Dodgers fans sight or not, but it's damn funny. They even poke fun at the Angels, but who cares?

HONORING REGGIE WHITE

The Packers will honor Reggie White this year during their home opener with the Cleveland Browns on on September 18.

As part of the promotion, the Packers will be giving free or discounted tickets to groups of 18 or more Hispanics that can prove that they live together, Asians with televisions made from toaster oven components, and Euro-American males with calculators.

Uppity women will not be allowed into Lambeau Field that day.

GET WELL, GET WELL SOON

At what point is an employee forced into work celebrations? We're not two weeks into our new job--hadn't received a paycheck--and yet we were still handed two birthday cards to sign and a plate full of cake to eat on Tuesday.

It's a nice sentiment and you don't want to come off like Elaine Benes, but what exactly are you supposed to write on a person's birthday card after you have known them--work wise--for nearly two weeks? It's especially daunting when both women aren't up on your typical brand of humor.

A "rock-out with your cock out" might have been funny at a previous employer, but that just seemed like something that would have us looking for a new line of work.

There should be a moratorium on mandatory work-related celebrations. Much like they have a probationary period for benefits and holiday pay, a worker shouldn't be subjected to signing a co-workers birthday card until well after that period has passed.

And if--God forbid--you ever start work near Christmas time. Do yourself a favor and don't look for a job from the end of Thanksgiving until a day after February 15 (hence being stuck paired up with a homely co-worker for Valentine’s Day).

That's a public service announcement the Hater Nation would like to film for all incoming employees.