Friday, July 29, 2005

Breaking NFL News

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jerome McDougle was shot in the stomach by armed robbers, police in South Florida said Friday. McDougle was in the bad part of town--known as Miami--when three armed gunmen who demanded that he hand over his silver Mercedes coupe approached him. The suspects fired their weapons when McDougle refused to hand over his vehicle.

McDougle, who has played only 19 games in first two seasons, really does not like training camp. And seriously, only two gunmen could hit him? Who were the other shooters, A.J. Feeley? Gus Frerotte?

The police are looking for this man in connection with the shooting, Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor (pictured right). Or maybe Brian Blades was back in town. When reached for comment, O.J. Simpson said that he only steals cable nowadays.

Besides, the Juice said that he has never shot anybody.

In short, a former Miami Hurricane (figures) was in the wrong part of town and was shot because he refused to turn over his "bling." How does this even qualify as news? It is unusual for an NFL player to be on the receiving end of a bullet or knife. It is refreshing to see America is finally standing up to that roving gang known as the NFL.

GANNON TO BOOTH

Rich Gannon, an expected first-ballot Hall of Average quarterback, has announced that he will join CBS as a football announcer this fall. However, CBS was forced to put Gannon on the disabled list and Rodney Peete will call the first four games of the season while Gannon recovers from yet another injury.

LAST AND TEN

From the home office in Temple Terrace, Florida, here is the last and ten reasons why Dolphins rookie Manuel Wright was crying at practice on this week:

10. Much like CSI Miami, the Dolphins are a second-rate franchise.
9. Coach Saban said the 2003 LSU Tigers would have whipped USC.
8. Dolphins still pay full price at Shula’s Steakhouse.
7. Found out his NFL contract paid him less than he was earning at USC.
6. Was told that the original Flipper passed away years ago.
5. Have you ever seen the Dolphins practice on offense? You would cry, too.
4. He just found out OJ would not be able to get him free Sunday Ticket.
3. After one day of training camp, he was already tired of hearing about the 1972 Dolphins.
2. He did not hold the laces out.
1. He was not crying, his eyes watered after he hot boxed with Ricky Williams.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

And the NFL Hated Playmakers

NFL Blitz has been known as the hardest hitting video game. Now it is setting its sights on the NFL. The league consolidated its video game library down to one title--EA Sports Madden Football--leaving other gamers, ESPN, Blitz, GameDay, and Fever without a license to use NFL marks and players.

Blitz, however, is hitting back.

The game maker teamed with former Playmakers writer Peter Egan to create Blitz: The League which features a team called the "Atlanta Redhawks" led by quarterback Ron Mexico--the infamous pseudonym used by Falcons quarterback Mike Vick. Billed as football meets Grand Theft Auto, Blitz: The League features players who cheat, gamble, and do drugs.

In other words, the gamer can experience what it is like to own the Oakland Raiders sans the white jump suit and grandmother glasses.

It is a good thing that the people of Midway (who produce the game) do not hold a grudge. The game is realistic, but it could be a little better. With the rebirth of THE LAST AND TEN from the defunct NFL Insider magazine, here are the top ten ways to make Blitz: The League more realistic.

10. The starting kicker also deals ecstasy on the side.
9. The boozed up center disappears before the biggest game of the season.
8. Rush Limbaugh criticizes you when you draft a black quarterback.
7. A wide receiver runs over a meter maid on "rookie level," but murders his pregnant girlfriend on the advanced "pro" level.
6. The star running back decides to retire to see the world and smoke pot.
5. The star quarterback must fight off rumors that he is gay.
4. The team's PR director makes a homophobic and racist sensitivity training video.
3. Your team's fans are arrested for stabbing the home team fans in San Diego.
2. A team owner is murdered by his over-the-hill, showgirl wife.

And the number one way to make Blitz: The League more realistic:
The star running back retires to shoot commercials with Alf.

These suggestions are so unrealistic, it is easy to see why the NFL would be offended. We give Blitz about a year.

NFL PENSION NOT WHAT IT USED TO BE

Former Cowboys quarterback Gary Hogeboom (or as Tom Landry said, Hogenbloom) is reported to be on the latest version of Survivor set in Guatemala. So this guy could not beat out Danny White and Steve Pelluer, but thinks he can beat out 15 other media whores?

SHALL WE DANCE?

There is still a controversy surround the ABC mid-summer hit, Dancing With the Stars. Evidentially John O'Hurley cannot believe that he was beaten by the well-endowed former Playmate on a popular soap opera, Kelly Monaco. Scandalous. But the network is making a move to ensure the integrity of the show.

THERE IS CRYING IN FOOTBALL

And it's not just the Raiders fans after another 4-12 season.

Former USC lineman Manuel Wright left Tuesday's practice in tears after being yelled at by Miami coach Nick Saban and then he missed practice on Wednesday because his feelings (or back) were hurt. A guy from USC being a big crybaby? Unprecedented.

AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Showgirls star Elizabeth Berkley turns 33 today. The world is still anxiously awaiting the sequel that was alluded to at the end of the movie.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Tim Brown Accepts Award

SPRINGFIELD Tim Brown played nearly two decades in the National Football League. None of them were seemingly memorable. It only makes sense that Brown accepted his nomination to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Average on Tuesday morning.

Brown was a reluctant star, obviously aware that his skills were typical when compared to other NFL receivers. Brown played for a long time and put up incredible cumulative numbers. But Brown never stood out among the pack. He never stood head-and-shoulders above his contemporaries in the sport. Brown never broke records or put his team on his back to lead them to the Super Bowl.

In short, Brown seemed average.

That is exactly why the Pro Football Hall of Average was founded. It is a refuge for the consistent player that put up decent numbers but fell just short of being a super star.

"We believe that Tim Brown exemplifies all the things that we consider to be average," founder Mark Anderson said. "Brown was not the flashiest, not the most outspoken, nor the best. He was an average receiver and that is what we are celebrating today.

"Too often we get caught up in receivers who dominated the game, or made a huge difference. Too often we overlook players that just show up, put up decent numbers, and seem to hang around forever. Those are the characteristics that Tim Brown exudes."

Brown joins other Hall of Average receivers such as Andre Reed, Art Monk, Drew Pearson and Sterling Sharpe. Admission into the Pro Football Hall of Average automatically disqualifies Brown from gain admission into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Brown and PFHOA founders seemed unconcerned. Brown retired as only the third player to have 1,000 career receptions, while he ranked second all-time in touchdowns (100) and third in receiving yards (14,934). Those numbers seem impressive when compared against the non-pass friendly eras of the early NFL. Brown only averaged 68 receptions for less than 1,000 yards and six touchdowns during his careers. Numbers that show that he was average. With players such as San Diego's Keenan McCardell closing in on 1,000 career receptions, Brown's marks are being called more into question.

"We need to be real here," Anderson said. "Tim Brown, for as average as he was, did not deserve to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That hall is reserved for the best of the best in the NFL. Can you honestly say that Tim Brown was one of the best football players of all-time? Hardly.

"In five years, there could be a handful of guys that have 1,000 receptions. What Brown did was nice, but in a few years nobody will remember that he was only the third guy to surpass 1,000 receptions. If anything, in five years he will seem even more average that he is right now."

The NFL will hold its Pro Football Hall of Average ceremony before the most average preseason game of the season when Arizona travels to Oakland on August 26. NFL commissioner Paul Tagilabue won't make the game, but will send his extraordinarily average henchman to the game. The commissioner noted that Arizona and Oakland have been two of the most middling franchises in the NFL over the past couple of decades so it is only fitting that they would come together to celebrate mediocrity.

"The NFL has thrived on parity for nearly a decade now," NFL PR man Brian Gooberman read in a written statement. "Everywhere you look around the NFL, you see average. Average teams, average players, average publications. It's good to celebrate those that have made the league what it is today... just average."

Just like Tim Brown.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Lyle Alzado in Training

What would you do if you won $500,000?

If you answered that you would blow it on a champagne and bikini binge, then you are in same company as former Browns offensive lineman Ross Verba. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound free agent reportedly won half a million from the Palms Casino in Las Vegas and then went on a spending rampage at Green Valley Ranch's Nirvana pool party last week.

That makes sense. Verba, who felt he was underpaid in Cleveland, asked for and was granted his release from the Browns this season when he paid back his $465,000 signing bonus. Verba has been described as a Lyle Alzado in training and this kind of common sense proves that he has much in common with the former Raiders defensive standout.

Raiders fans, of course, will likely applaud this move. But this is the same group of people that will use its $275 welfare check to purchase an authentic Randy Moss jersey.

Verba could have pocketed the Palms loot to make up for the loss of signing bonus (in one of the biggest boneheaded moves of the offseason). Instead he chose to spray champagne on seven bikni-clad coeds, which he recruited for a "hot body" contest. Verba showed that he was a politician at heart by not choosing a winner, instead giving $10,000 to each participant.

That must have been one hell of a hangover.

And don't worry about a new contract, either Ross. Lonnie Glieberman said that you will always have a home in Ottawa.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Terrell Owens Died For Your Sins

Life is tough for Terrell Owens who must find a way everyday to say something dumber than he has in the past. That is not an easy task when you look over the quotes of his past. Owens does rise to the occasion to put his foot in his mouth, much in the same vein that he worked so hard to overcome an ankle injury and play in Super Bowl XXXIX.

But even Owens may have trouble topping what he said on Wednesday.

Owens has been feeling the heat this summer that has stemmed from his desire to renegotiate his obsolete, seven-year deal he signed prior to the 2004 NFL season. So Owens let out this little beauty in an interview with the Miami Herald:

"At the end of the day, I don't have to worry about what people think of me, whether they hate me or not. People hated on Jesus. They threw stones at him and tried to kill him, so how can I complain or worry about what people think?"

Calls to Heaven were unreturned this morning. But sources close to the Lord said that Owens is really stretching that whole forgiveness thing.

And do not worry it gets worse.

"How can you justify hating me after I worked so hard rehabilitating from a broken leg to get back to the Super Bowl to help our team try to win? Really, you've got to look at who the villain really is in this thing."

Actually it is not hard to find the villain in this whole thing. Jesus died to cleanse humanity from their sins; Owens wants a couple of extra million from a football contract--yeah, that is the same.

And memo to Owens, JC turned water into wine; he did not whine for a new contract like Ricky Watters.

This comment comes on the heels of the story yesterday that his agent Drew Rosenhaus saved a young boy from drowning by performing CPR. It is a shame that Rosenhaus cannot seem to save Owens from drowning in a sea of stupidity.

But then again, Owens can walk on water.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Man Arrested for Impersonating Steelers Quarterbacks

And no, it was not Kordell Stewart.

Authorities said Brian Jackson, 31, dated two women by pretending to be Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Brian St. Pierre. Jackson, arrested Friday, was charged with criminal mischief for allegedly ruing a Steelers jersey owned by one of the women's neighbors when he signed his worthless rendition of Roethlisberger's autograph on it. The jersey was worth $75 before it was signed, police said. But seriously, that jersey is worth more now. A Jackson-signed Roethlisberger jersey would likely attract good money on eBay right now. Who would not bid on that?

The NFL is mum on whether it will ban the sale of Steelers "Jackson 7" jerseys, like the league banned Ron Mexico jerseys. (So order yours today at nflshop.com.)

In one of the scams, Jackson arrived at the women's home on July 6, gave her an autographed football and pretended to be Roethlisberger, signing the neighbor's jersey, authorities said. When she got home from their date that night, the neighbor brought her a newspaper article and told her that the man was not Roethlisberger.

Like the woman needed the newspaper article for proof. If, by looking at the picture above, you cannot tell that Jackson was not a physically gifted athlete, then the victim deserves what she gets. And who was this idiot neighbor who let this oaf sign the jersey?

Dude, if you are going to impersonate a football player, say you are an Arena League player because at least nobody would a.) Figure that you would lie about that or 2.) Nobody knows what an average Arena Leaguer looks like. He could have said that he was Avengers kicker Remy Hamilton and nobody would have known.

This story has set an uneasy precedent with the club culture, where lying to girls is commonplace. Police are cracking down on posers all over Pittsburgh who brag about sexual prowess, athletic feats, and monetary wealth. One old man was arrested for claiming to have played basketball for Cal State Fullerton in the 1960s, in an episode that authorities labeled as "just plain sad."

Jackson pretended to be St. Pierre, the third-string quarterback, when he met a woman last September and told her to watch Steelers game so she could see him when he went into the game, police said. When the woman did watch a Steelers game, she saw the real Brian St. Pierre on screen and realized that Jackson was an imposter. Jackson tried to explain to the woman that he looked "different" on TV. Yeah, like the camera adds 40 pounds.

Here is a rule for you guys trying to pull off this scam, do not ask the woman to look for you on television—unless, of course, you actually look like the guy. That is why we always claim to be the "fat Chandler."

BREAKING NEWS

Sports agent Drew Rosenhaus turned into a life-saver on Tuesday.

And no, he didn't get one of his clients a couple of extra bucks and a private jet on his current contract.

Rosenhaus, who represents such clients as the Philadelphia Eagles' Terrell Owens, helped save a 3-year-old boy from drowning at a pool at the Grand Floridian at Walt Disney World. Rosenhaus, a lifeguard in college, performed CPR on the boy, who did not breathe for about two minutes according to Jason Cole of the Miami Herald.

The family of the boy offered Rosenhaus a cash reward, but the super agent turned it down, calling the bounty an "insult." Rosehaus instead proposed a counter-offer to the reward, but negotations have not progressed.

BROWN FINDS PERFECT RETIREMENT PLAN

Tim Brown, who recently retired from the Raiders after nearly two decades, has shown that he is not ready to walk away from lowlife fans for good by exploring the possibility of owning a NASCAR team. The Dallas native plans to partner with Roush Racing on a team based in Charlotte, N.C., and to begin competition next year.

Raiders fans have called for officials to immediately put Brown in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

DEMOCRATS BACK ANOTHER LOSER

Former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler plans to run for Congress. Shuler, a Democrat, said in a statement Monday that he has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission that clear the way for him to run next year in the 11th Congressional District for the U.S. House seat held by Republican Charles Taylor.

Shuler's campaign took a turn for the worse on Wednesday when Gus Frerotte, who beat out Shuler for the Redskins starting quarterback spot in 1994, announced that he also would run for the same seat.

Maybe Brian Jackson could move to North Carolina and impress girls by saying he was an old, washed up quarterback running for congress.

That we could see.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rafael Palmeiro: HOF Material?

Rafael Palmeiro joined some select company this weekend as he became the fourth player in Major League baseball history to reach the ultra exclusive 3,000 hit-500 home run club. Palmeiro joined Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray in this elite club--a club that typically means automatic admission into Cooperstown.

But is Palmeiro deserving of such an honor?

Raiders fans will tell you--and they did at great length last week--that numbers alone are enough to get you into the Hall of Fame. Being the best of your generation and dominating the game are not elements of fame. The only thing that matters is to flip open the stat book and make your picks. It is a pretty simplistic view of the world.

But Raiders fans are simple people.

The knock against Palmeiro is the same argument that goes against Tim Brown. Both players were gentlemen,performed with class, and had long careers that enabled them to put up great cumulative numbers without ever dominating the league.

The case against Palmeiro is pretty staggering. The career .289 hitter has never led the league in home runs or batting average, or named the league's most valuable player. The most telling statistic is that Palmeiro was selected to the Silver Slugger team (best offensive player at his position) only twice in his nearly two-decade long career.

This is a guy you want to put into the Hall of Fame? And do we even need to bring up the point about Palmeiro using performance-enhancing drugs that could have positively influenced his career?

Palmeiro has enjoyed a nice career, but not one that deserves recognition in the Hall of Fame. Fans need to ask themselves when they talk about this generation of baseball in the future, will Palmeiro's name be mentioned? It is hard to imagine two old coots sitting in a bar in the year 2025 discussing the greatness of Palmeiro. It is just not going to happen.

Only if, of course, they are asking who was the Tim Brown of Major League Baseball.

RAIDER FAN OF THE WEEK

A T-ball coach in Pittsburgh paid one of his 8-year-old players to pull a Jeff Gillooley on a challenged player, state police said on Friday.

That gives new meaning to the phrase, "Just Win, Baby."

The 8-year old that took the bribe rolled over on his coach, Mark Reed Down Jr., rather quickly showing that the enterprising tyke is a future Raider and prison snitch in training.

Don't look for Down Jr. to get out of baseball just yet. Odds are he'll be doing a lot of "catching" in prison.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Which Career Would You Want?

How many of you dreamt of leading your team to a big victory while tossing around the football in the backyard or playground as a kid? Probably most of you. You likely spent many hours wondering what it would be like to be the man.

But which man would you be?

In honor of those childhood dreams we ask you which pro football career would you want to have using the example of four different players. Would you want to be the steady veteran (Tim Brown), the flash in the pan star (Kurt Warner), the one-day only star (Timmy Smith), or the best player in the world that nobody has heard of (Damon Allen)?

We make the case for each player.

TIM BROWN

Brown was a serviceable receiver for a lot of years with (mostly) one team. Brown was a solid player, but nothing spectacular (despite what Raiders fans want you to believe). Brown was a solid citizen, stayed out of trouble off the field, but nobody is ever going to mention him as one of the best receivers to ever play the game. Brown's career of posting modest numbers dupes some people (read: Raiders fans) into believing that he is a Hall of Fame candidate, but having the Raiders retire his jersey might be his highest honor.

But there is one draw back.

The Raiders gagged in horrific fashion in Brown's one-shot at Super Bowl immortality (Super Bowl XXXVII). Easily one of the worst defeats in championship game history, in any sport, as the Raiders were a -3.5 favorite.

The good: Long career, nice numbers.
The bad: Played for the Raiders
The ugly: Rusty Hilger was your quarterback.

KURT WARNER

Everybody remembers the rise of Warner. The former AFL and NFL Europe star turned grocery clerk took the NFL by storm in 1999 with the St. Louis Football Team, and lead the club to a Super Bowl title in only its fifth year in existence. Warner was the best player in the NFL for three seasons; an automatic, slam-dunk, first-pick of the draft in fantasy leagues. Warner should be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame because he was the most dominant quarterback of his era and fans--even those that hate the St. Louis Football Team (like us)--tuned in to see him play. Warner's career has taken a turn for the worse as injuries have hampered him. He is now trying to resurrect his career with the Arizona Cardinals. A place where most careers retire.

But for three glorious years...

The good: Super Bowl MVP
The bad: Had to play in St. Louis
The ugly: Wife, Brenda Warner

TIMMMY SMITH

The NFL has had its share of one-year wonders. Smith was only a one-game wonder.

But what a game it was.

Smith came out of nowhere to set a Super Bowl record with 204 rushing yards in the Redskins 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII. Smith would never be heard from again as he faded out of the minds of football fans. But that is what children dream about in the backyard. Being the very best in the biggest game of their lives. The only drawback was this happened before the big internet boom, meaning that he couldn't milk this for years by being the butt of jokes on ESPN Page 2.

The good: Super Bowl record holder
The bad: Never able to duplicate the feat.
The ugly: Getting laughed at by former Super Bowl MVPs Larry Brown and Dexter Jackson at a card show for one-game wonders.

DAMON ALLEN

Allen led obscure 1980s college football power Cal State Fullerton to a perfect 12-0 record in 1984. But the NFL never took much interest. Allen instead plied his trade in the Canadian Football League where he established himself as the greatest football player ever in the Great White North. Allen holds virtually every passing record in CFL history and is closing in on Warren Moon's all-time professional football passing mark (70,553). And he's quite the gifted runner, too (much better than his overrated brother, Marcus). Allen was about a decade too early as the NFL has finally grown to embrace the quarterback that can both run and pass. As Jeff Garcia once told NFL Insider, "There is no doubt that Damon Allen could have played in the NFL."

The good: The best player to ever play in the league.
The bad: That league is the CFL.
The ugly: Your alma mater drops football.

HONORABLE MENTION

A couple of players that just didn't make the cut.

Wait for it.

(Our long time fans know what is coming.)

JASON SEHORN

You loved him when he proposed to his wife on the Tonight Show. You made sure to tune in when he portrayed a fireman on Third Watch. You cringed when he tried to play cornerback on another popular television show, CBS's coverage of Super Bowl XXXV.


The Good: Wife, Angie Harmon.
The Bad: Brandon Stokley will forever haunt you.
The Ugly: His acting is worse than his playing ability.

DON HUTSON

Hutson is, without question, the greatest player to ever play in the NFL. Imagine a receiver in today's NFL averaging 185 receptions for 2,245 yards, and 35 touchdowns every season. Would there be a question of his greatness?


The Good: Best to ever play the game.
The Bad: Nobody knows it.
The Ugly: Nobody except for one loser and his lousy internet site.

TIM HASSELBECK

The NFL's answer to Roger Clinton and Billy Carter. Seriously, why is this guy famous? It would have been more fitting if he had married a Hilton sister, instead of The View's Elisabeth Filarski.


The Good: Elisabeth Filarski.
The Bad: Known as Elisabeth's husband or Matt's brother.
The Ugly: Star Jones drunk-dials your house on weekends.

FINAL VERDICT

It's easy to discount the careers of Brown and Allen. The Raiders receiver was rather pedestrian and most of his marks are going to be surpassed by the next generation of young gun receivers, probably around the time he is Hall of Fame eligible, which will hurt his already slim chances of getting in. Allen should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If there was any justice in the world Damon would trade places with his undeserving brother Marcus, but that's a pipe dream. The only upside for a CFL career would be to play for Lonie Glieberman.

So it comes down to this. Would you want to be a flash-in-the-pan for one game or three years? The choice is pretty simple. Kurt Warner is the choice, but of course without the Ann B. Davis-look alike wife. This gives credence to those morons that believe that Warner had a deal with the devil. But he did make that deal. He had to marry Brenda.

And we don't remember that being part of the dream.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

PacMan Arrested for Eating Dots

Tennessee Titans top draft pick Adam "Pacman" Jones surrendered to police Wednesday on charges of assault and felony vandalism stemming from a fight at a nightclub. Jones was released from custody after posting bond.

No word on weather Jones was arrested by Nashville police officers, Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde.

In a court appearance, nightclub owner and former member of the AFL's original Nashville Kats, Robert Gaddy said Jones grabbed his shirt, hit him and broke his necklace after Gaddy asked three of Jones' friends to leave the club. Gaddy told police he asked Jones' friends to leave because "they were smoking drugs."

Gaddy also is, according to reports, a good friend of Steve McNair and other members of the Titans, which means that this must really be a serious issue for him to not sweep this under the rug.

The growing list of the NFL's incarcerated players is nothing new. But what is new is the way that the Titans have responded to the incident. Most teams will put out a press release urging thepublicc to let the courts go through its legal process. Not the Titans.

Yesterday, Titans owner Bud Adams joined General Manager Floyd Reese and Coach Jeff Fisher in strongly worded statement concerning Jones.

"Actions of this nature are disappointing and do not represent the values of this organization," part of the statement said. "Unfortunately we realize that some young players go through a maturing process to become professionals that includes decision-making, choosing friends, appropriate behavior, etc.

"Jones has not finished that maturing process, despite team and league efforts."

Wow. When was the last time that an NFL team threw one of its players under the bus like that? And it's not like Jones is some bit player or special teams star. This is a guy that is expected to either start or to see significant playing time with the Titans. It's about time NFL teams started holding its players accountable for their actions, despite their standing on the depth charts. Hopefully more NFL teams will follow suit with the wave of arrests that have tarnished the league this summer.

But we won't hold our breath.

Could you imagine the Raiders ever doing something like this? If the player was useless like Barrett Robbins, they would. Not somebody they are playing to start. If anything, the Raiders are probably looking for a way to acquire Jones.

IN OTHER COURT NEWS

Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor has turned down a plea bargain and will instead stand trial. We have only two words for the embattled star, Darryl Henley.

Portions of this story was taken from the Associated Press.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Who is the most overrated, underrated?

The silly season of the NFL calendar has finally descended, that black part of the NFL year between the last meaningful mini-camp and the opening of training camp. In other words, it's that time of year when the Raiders are still in playoff contention. When Randy Moss is still a model citizen, Warren Sapp is merely fat, and this year is truly going to be the year that Kerry Collins stops acting like, well, Kerry Collins.

It is also a good time of year to engage in bar-room arguments that have little chance of ever being settled. Who is the most overrated team in the NFL? Who is the most underrated quarterback? The Hater Nation has its opinions in our annual "Who is the most overrated/underrated in the NFL?"

Besides, what else are we supposed to talk about this time of year? The Major League baseball All-Star game?

Most overrated boast: The Raiders most dominant team of the decades, 1963-2003, omit 1987, but double the good years, blah, blah, blah. The Raiders list is convenient, but not really that telling. The Raiders have won only three Super Bowls during those decades, while other teams, the 49ers, Cowboys, Steelers, Redskins, and Patriots have won more or just as many. The Steelers and Patriots are real AFC dynasties compared to the Raiders.

Most underrated boast: The Bills four consecutive Super Bowl losses. This does not get enough play. Do you realize who hard it is to be just good enough to reach the Super Bowl, but bad enough to lose in spectacular fashion? The Bills managed to lose a Super Bowl in four different fashions from the heart breaker (Giants), the bizarre (Thurman Thomas lost his helmet), the good old fashion blowout (Dallas Part I), and the "They can't lose it again, can they?" (Dallas Part II).

Most overrated member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Marcus Allen. The former USC start surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark three times in his NFL career. But the media liked him (for reasons unknown) and that's good enough to get elected into the Hall of Fame (so maybe there is hope for Tim Brown). Allen was able to hang around the NFL longer than most backs because he was a second-string player for the Raiders. He allowed bigger backs to do the "heavy lifting" between the 20s, then Allen was inserted into the lineup for the cheap touchdown plunge at the goal line.

Most underrated member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Don Hutson (pictured at top). The former Packers star held every receiving record forever, played defense, but hardly gets mention of being one of the greatest players ever.

Which he was.

Most overrated championship string: The Patriots winning three Super Bowls in four years. It already has been accomplished once (the Cowboys in the 1990s), the Steelers won more (four in six years), and the 49ers might have been more impressive (four during the 1980s). Of course, the Green Bay Packers are probably head and shoulders above the rest. Pundits like to point out that the Patriots have won in the "salary cap era." The same era that has produced a back-to-back champion (Denver) and the Patriots. So maybe the "salary cap era" isn't much different from the other eras of the NFL.

Most underrated championship string: The Canton Bulldogs. The Bulldogs were the first dynasty of the fledging league and the first team to go undefeated in an NFL season. The Bulldogs were 21-0-3 from 1922-23.

Most overrated undefeated team: The 1972 Miami Dolphins. Needed narrow escapes over the Browns in the playoffs and looked lackluster in the Super Bowl VII against Washington. And seriously, enough with the champagne toast when the last undefeated team losses each season. Do thedescendentss of the Canton Bulldogs do that?

Most underrated undefeated team: The 1948 Cleveland Browns. The perfect season came in the middle of a 29-game unbeaten string that began in October 1947 and continued until 1949. The Browns dominated the AAFC all four years with four championships and a 52-4-3 record. The team was so good, the fans stopped going to the games because the outcome was predictable. How ironic that the Browns are one of the few teams that have yet to reach the Super Bowl.

And if anybody thinks that the Browns were a fluke from an inferior league, the club defeated the NFL champion Eagles 35-10 in its first game, then defeated Los Angeles 30-28 in the 1950 NFL Championship Game.

Most overrated statistic: The 1,000 yards rushing and receiving mark. A running back or receiver needs to average only 62.5 yards per game to reach 1,000 yards for a season. And Marcus Allen only did that three times. The standard of excellence (especially for running backs) should be 1,600 yards, or 100-yards per game.

Most underrated statistic: Scoring offense and defense. NFL games are decided by the number of points scored, not yards allowed.

Mostoverrated rival league: the AFL: if only because it gave us the Oakland Raiders.

Dishonorable mention: NFL Europe. Who won this year's exciting World Bowl? And you can't say, "The team from Germany."

Most underrated league: The XFL. Both the NFL and the Arena Football League are still using ideas implemented from this league. Remember that next time ESPN shows one of those innovative camera angles or you see the Bills uniform. Wait a minute; maybe the XFL wasn't that great.

Honorable mention: The AAFC. The good: Otto Graham. The bad: The San Francisco 49ers.

Most overrated single-game record: Jamal Lewis' 295 rushing yards against the Cleveland Browns. Why? Because it was against the Cleveland Browns.

Most underrated single-game record: Flipper Anderson's 15 receptions for 336 yards and one touchdown. Anderson caught one ball by watching the play develop on the big screen and noticed that quarterback Jim Everett was throwing him the ball.

Honorable mention: Chiefs score 8 rushing touchdowns in one game, 2004. Fantasy owners cursed Dick Vermeil after he pulled Priest Holmes following his four-touchdown performance. Backup Derrick Blaylock also rushed for four touchdowns, signifying the greatest fantasy performance never used by anybody in the world. And if anybody tries to tell you that they played Blaylock that day, they are lying.

Most overrated aspect of Raiders fans: That they are tough guys. A picture is worth 1,000 words.

Most underrated aspect of Raiders fans: They can grow a sweet mustache. And not in the "Jeff Kent, I have a wimpy porn-mustache way." But in a Magnum PI sort of way.

Honorable mention: The Raiders fans that actually communicate in coherent thoughts and sentences, although rare.

Most overrated video game NFL player: Super Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson. The two-way star first appeared on the pages of NFL Insider years ago but now everybody has jumped on the bandwagon. But if you used Kevin Greene correctly, you could stop Jackson.

Most underrated video game NFL player: Super Tecmo Bowl Christian Okoye. The Nigerian Nightmare had a higher rating than Jackson, and was more difficult to stop.

Most underrated name for a defunct franchise: The Providence Steam Roller.

Honorable mention: The Los Angeles Dons. (Hint for any team that would ever move to the region.)

Most overrated name for a defunct franchise: Rams.

Most overrated act by an NFL fan: The fan holding a "D" and fence signs. It was funny... years ago.

Just kidding, it was never funny.

Most underrated act by an NFL fan: A fan refusing to draft players from a team that he hates for his fantasy team. In other words, don't expect to see Randy Moss on the Hater Nation fantasy team.

Most underrated Super Bowl team: The Cowboys in Super Bowl VI. The first team to hold an opponent (Miami) without an offensive touchdown. A fact that was lost on the 2000 Baltimore Ravens.

Most overrated Super Bowl team: St. Louis Football Team, Super Bowl XXXIV. Ha, and you thought it was going to be the Raiders in Super Bowl XI.

Most underrated player statistic: Most consecutive games played. Jim Marshall played 282 consecutive games on the defensive line. Sadly, he is fondly remembered for running the wrong way. But what do you expect from a Viking?

Most overrated statistic: Peyton Manning's perfect games. There are way too many jokes for this. Manning's image as a coddled superstar that cannot win the big game is furthered with made-up statistics such as this. It also shows that the NFL passer (don't call it a quarterback) rating could use a few tweaks. There should be some sort of system that measures wins against quality opponents, which would lower Manning's status as a "perfect" quarterback.

It also would lower Drew Brees status after going 1-4 against playoff teams last season.

Dishonorable mention: Most seasons, one club, Jackie Slater. But there's a catch; it was two clubs. Slater played 19 years with the Los Angeles Rams, but one season with the St. Louis Football Team.

Most verrated former Playmate: Pamela Anderson. Do you really need an explanation?

Most underrated former Playmate: Kelly Monaco. Wait... Kelly Monaco was in Playboy??? Think kindly as you Google her, safe function off.

Most overrated upset: The Jets over the Colts in Super Bowl III. You have to remember that the Jets defeated a Don Shula-coached team in a big game. History shows that it wasn't that hard to do.

Is anybody still reading this after the Kelly Monaco thing? Search later, boys.

Most underrated upset: The Chiefs over the Vikings in Super Bowl IV. Imagine how the world would have been different if the Super Bowl III had not happened. Maybe it would have been a drunken Len Dawson hitting on Suzy Kobler during a sideline interview.

Most overrated trade in football history: The Herschel Walker trade. The move that finally pushed the Cowboys over the top was the trade for Charles Haley. The 49ers had a better deal on the table from Minnesota, but 49ers coach George Seifert thought the Vikings were a bigger threat.

Most underrated trade in football history: The Eric Dickerson trade, October 31, 1987. It pretty much was the beginning of the end for the Rams franchise as it went into "Major League" mode, modeled after the Charlie Sheen movie. Halloween is no longer celebrated in some Southern California communities.

Most overrated quarterback in the NFL: Donovan McNabb. Mike Vick seems like the easy pick her, but McNabb gets a free pass after gagging in three consecutive NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl.

Most underrated quarterback in the NFL: Jake Delhomme. The talking heads during the NFL Draft coverage on ESPN were saying that the Panthers needed a quarterback. Why? Delhomme was only one year removed from taking the Panthers to the Super Bowl and a healthy squad in Carolina should be the team to beat this year.

Most overrated NFL player pseudonym: Ron Mexico. It became so popular, so fast, that it quickly lost it's luster. Much like the band, The Strokes.

Most underrated NFL player pseudonym: Brock Middlebrook. It's the deep-album cut of player aliases. And yes, you can still order a Falcons Middlebrook jersey from NFLshops.com.

Most overrated fantasy football player: Peyton Manning. He still finds a way to choke even in fantasy football.

Most underrated fantasy football player: Fred Taylor. The annual Fred Taylor pick causes the biggest stir in the fantasy draft room. But he's a top-5 running back when healthy.

Most overrated part of The Hater Nation: Too much Hutson.

The most underrated part of The Hater Nation: At least it's not ChargerTom.com.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Tim Brown: Hall of Fame Material?

Tim Brown signed a one-day contract with the Oakland Raiders to finish his career with the team that selected him sixth overall in the 1988 NFL Draft. Brown only needs now to sit down in his easy chair and wait for the Pro Football Hall of Fame to come calling.

But should that call be made?

Brown has set some lofty numbers in the NFL with 1,094 receptions (third all-time) for 14,934 yards (second all-time), and 100 touchdowns (second all-time). That cannot be disputed. But Brown never distinguished himself as one of the most dominant receivers in the game, which should be the most vital criteria of a Hall of Fame enshrinement.

Fans did not flock to NFL stadiums to catch a glimpse of Brown. Fans never looked at the team schedule and said, "Hey, Tim Brown is coming to town in October, we need to get tickets." If anything, when a fan saw that the Raiders were coming to town they either bought body armor or went on vacation.

Teams did not design defensive packages to slow down the former Notre Dame standout. Brown topped the 100-reception mark only once in his career (104 in 1997) and reached double digits in touchdowns only twice (10 in 1995 and 11 in 2000). Brown's numbers are not even that impressive, instead a mere acknowledgement of his longevity. Browns numbers will seem less impressive in the next number of years as the NFL continues to turn into a pass-happy league where receivers are the beneficiary of rule changes.

When you average out Brown's numbers over 16 years (he played in only one game in 1989 so we won't count that year... The Hater Nation is fair) here is what you get:

Brown's average: 68 receptions, 933 yards, and 6 touchdowns.

Not exactly Hall of Fame numbers. Even his retirement did not garner big news. Instead it was pushed aside with the horse racing agate and buried under NFL stories such as fantasy football, Ricky Williams' weight gain (he must be smoking pot again) and a Steelers fan who was buried in his Rocky Bleier jersey.

Brown was a decent receiver for a lot of years, but falls into that category with Art Monk, Henry Ellard, and other receivers that were on the cusp of greatness but just could not do the kind of things that would push his team over the top.

Brown will eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. That year's class will include former Cowboys running back and the NFL's all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith. When you compare the careers of the two potential classmates, you quickly realize that there simply is no comparison.

Smith won numerous rushing titles, played through a separated shoulder to carry the Cowboys into the playoffs, was selected the NFL MVP in 1993, and won three Super Bowls. Smith was the most dominant player at his position during his era, set the single-season touchdown record and led the NFL in scoring in 1995. The Hater Nation has no love for the Cowboys, but it is obvious that Smith belongs in the Hall of Fame, while Brown does not.

Brown should be embarrassed to be mentioned in the same breath as a player such as Smith if he had any integrity. Instead he is a Raider and will likely be more than happy to hog the spotlight from a more deserving player.

NFL.com's Adam Schefter recently penned a column about Brown saying that he was an almost-certain first-ballot Hall of Fame selection. Yet, the only thing Schefter could really say about Brown was that he played a long time, was popular around the league (nine Pro Bowls), and that he started a lot of games for a down-trodden franchise.

Schefter actually proved that Brown was not a dominant player during his era and did not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. Brown was merely was a very good player who did nothing to distinguish himself from other contemporaries of his era such as--Andre Reed, Andre Rison, Haywood Jeffries, Sterling Sharpe, Monk, and Ellard. Players, with possibly the outside exception of Reed, who do not deserve to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

There needs to be, as Peter King likes to say, a Hall of Very Good for players like Brown. He deserves that, but not the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Owner of the Year

Ottawa Renegades owner Lonie Glieberman might go down as the greatest sports owner in history. Forget the Disco Demolition, or $.05 beer night... Glieberman may have topped them all. The embattled CFL owner has gone way over the top--or topless--with his latest promotion which is a bold move in an era when sports teams have catered to the families a little too much, with arcades and playgrounds now required at every new ballpark.

Glieberman, pro football's answer to Joe Francis, has started Mardi Gras days at the Renegades' games, where men in the cheap seats are given beads to dispense to the local women at their own discretion. The woman with the most beads ends up with a $1,000 prize. And you don't have to watch endless hours of Girls Gone Wild to figure out what most of the women were going to do for the beads.

One competitor, Anna Nauss (pictured above), was warned by security after getting a bit overenthusiastic. Witnesses said Nauss was issued the warning after she flashed an entire section -- in hopes of gaining beads -- and someone complained.

"I really wanna win!" Nauss told the Ottawa Sun, while sporting an impressive 50-plus necklaces.

Who is going to complain about something like this? Obviously there are spoilsports in every crowd, eh?

"It could be very distracting to the true fans of the game, with women constantly in their face asking for beads," said Liz Sterling (who is obviously too ugly to compete in such a contest).

True fans of the game? Here we thought only Cosmo Kramer the only true fan of the CFL. The true fans and the families can segregate themselves to the other parts of the stadium. There is a segment of the population that would like to have a little bit of fun and enjoy themselves. There isn't a single-draw back to this promotion, other than the fact that both the women and the style of football are Canadian.

And seriously, isn't it a nice break to read about such a story instead of the latest stabbing by Raiders fans?

It's about time a pro-sports owner recognized that not everybody is into the "family experience." Fans with children like to complain about alcohol and demand family sections. What's wrong with a section that is dedicated to adults?

You know, the ones that actually buy the tickets?

There are countless instances where a football or baseball game has been ruined because of kids that were screaming, running around the aisles, or throwing objects. It should be up to the ticket-buying public to decide if they want to be distracted by a young woman barring her breasts or a 4-year-old with cotton candy stuck to his hands ruining your throw-back jersey during one of his 12 trips to the concession stands and rest room.

One owner seems to agree.

"It's only in the upper deck," Glieberman said. "You know families have never been in the upper deck. It's really not a place ... The target for families is [the] north side, and there's nothing going on in the north side like that. It's relatively quiet on the north side--quite and simple."

And you thought Arte Moreno was popular when he lowered the beer prices. It also should be noted that attendance was increased in the upper deck, thanks to the promotion, showing that not all of the sports public are prudish.

Let's just hope the Spanos family is paying attention to this report.