Sunday, January 31, 2010

First Look: This Never Gets Old

The Boston Cellbitch deserved to lose Sunday's game. Not for the reasons you might think -- the Cellbitch are inferior on a talent level, the have no balls, etc. No, the Cellbitch pretty much sold their soul for a new building a few years ago, and it might have cost them.

Could you imagine the Lakers getting a call like the one they got against Paul Pierce -- pushing off Ron Artest -- in the old Boston Garden? This is what happens when you move into these plush new arenas. Your mystique fades away.

The Cellbitch are lucky to have snuck in that one recent championship, because that team is old and likely to fade away in the Eastern Conference.

And no matter how down-trodden the Cellbitch becomes, there is nothing sweeter than watching the Lakers win in Boston.

No matter how crappy their building is.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Weak Ender: Commence the Leinart Era

Time to welcome Matt Leinart as the new quarterback of the Cardinals. At least for a couple of weeks.

Leinart will not be the starting quarterback for the Cardinals in 2010. Coach Ken Whisenhunt tried to get Brian St. Pierre the backup job, and St. Pierre’s claim to fame is that some dude tried to impersonate him to meet chicks a couple of years ago.

The Cardinals will either pick up a veteran signal caller (likely regardless) or they will turn to the draft at one of the quarterbacks who fall.

(Photo explanation: We were going to run those hot tub pics, but THN wants only to show chicks of legal age, so here are the Song Girls. Not that Leinart worked his way through these broads, because Leinart likes more Amazon type of girls.)

HERE ARE THN’s thoughts on the Pro Bowl:

FORMER FLORIDA QB Tim Tebow has made huge news this week. Not because of his dreadful performance during Senior Bowl practices. Rather because Tebow will appear in a controversial ad during the Super Bowl, supporting the ride-to-life crusade. And this is a smart move for Tebow, because this is about as close as he will come to ever being a factor in the Super Bowl.

But this being America, you cannot have an opposite view of somebody without a protest. And those people protesting Tebow’s ad are dead wrong. Well, there methods are wrong.

If somebody, in this economy, is willing to pay $2 million for a 30-second commercial, you let them. And when that commercial comes on, you ignore it, like I will be. Honestly people, if somebody has an opinion that you do not agree with, you have the right – as an American – to ignore it.

Or if you feel strongly about it, you can raise $2 million of your own money and offer a counter-commercial. But there are more pressing things to be spending money on.

Here is what is likely to happen. Groups will continue to protest the ad. CBS will eventually buckle and pull the ad. Tebow and his group will get more publicity than they deserve AND will get to save $2 million because the ad will not air.

Congratulations, you just go out-smarted by a bunch of people who think that the dinosaurs are extinct because they drowned after the Titanic crashed moving them to Europe.


Higher ratings on Sunday, Celbitch vs. Lakers or the Pro Bowl?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is the Machine Shutting Down?

Long-time readers of this space likely have a hard time explaining the fascination with the Kurt Warner Machine. I even have a hard time wrapping my head around it some times, too.

The Hater Nation has gone out of its way to lampoon the overtly religious, the whipped husband with the overbearing wife, and anybody ever connected with one of the most despised franchises of all-time -- the St. Louis FC.

Yet I cannot think of a player who I have liked more in the NFL than Kurt Warner, outside of Pat Tillman. And even then, we are talking about a couple of opposite personalities.

So as a copout, I offer no explanation. The heart feels what it feels.

Maybe it was his rags-to-riches story. I mean, it seems to syrupy to even be a movie. At least not a credible one. His religious views never seemed to bother me, either, because he seemed like a man of conviction. Somebody who actually believed what he was saying. Not somebody for whom religion was a convenience, like Cris Carter.

Maybe I just really enjoyed watching him play. There is no understatement to what Warner has meant to the NFL. Two of the league's most dreadful franchises were nothing before him. St. Louis FC already has taken its rightful place in the league's cellar since his departure. The Cardinals will likely be making reservations soon. A move that will be hastened if Matt Leinart indeed takes over as the team's quarterback.

There is no real way to explain the fascination, but I do know that I will miss him if he does retire on Friday.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Post Mortem: No Use Delaying the Inevitable

Has there ever been a more punchable face in the world?

And is there any value in believing that the Saints are going to be able to beat the Colts, saving us from a world where Gomer will be viewed as the best quarterback of his generation? We have two weeks to make the case for the Saints being able to stop the Colts and winning their first Super Bowl.

But it is not going to happen.

The Colts are going to win the Super Bowl. There is just no way around it. The Chargers seem to be the only team capable of shutting down Gomer at this point, but they treat non-Colts playoff games like Brad Pitt and Angelia Jolie treat the Golden Globes – they just do not show up. (But at least Norv Turner got that extension.)

So the Colts get another cake-walk to the Super Bowl. At least the Saints should put up more of a fight than the Bears did a few years ago, but let’s not kid ourselves.

Look at what Gomer did. The Jets jumped out to a 17-3 lead, but you knew that there was nothing that was going to stop Gomer. Of course, had the Jets been able to get a first down in the final two minutes, we would be looking at a different game. But Gomer has gotten over the yips, somehow. And those patented, Favre-like interceptions he was known for are a thing of the past.

And it is a sad f-ing day. The media handies for the entitled, Southern aristocrat will continue. And the Haters will no longer be able to point to playoff meltdowns as his Achilles Heel.

Honestly, Gomer and A-Rod are now clutch. Did you ever think that you would see that day? Seriously, why do I still like sports?

THE SAINTS will not be allowed to have a Super Bowl viewing party at the Superdome. Obviously they remember what happened the last time they allowed a lot of New Orleans citizens into the dome when there was not a game being played.

YOU KNOW which member of the Vikings wants to Brett Favre to return more than anybody? RB Adrian Peterson. Not because Peterson had career highs in many offensive categories, including touchdowns. Rather, nobody remembers who much AP fumbles when Favre is out there in gun-slinger mode.

Honestly, even Cleveland Gary was embarrassed by the number of times that Peterson was putting the ball on the ground in New Orleans. Nobody cares, though, the gun-slinger cost the Vikings the game.

But that was a bad pass by Favre, but where was the effort by Sidney Rice? Good lord.


I understand that they are brothers, but Eli cheering on Gomer was not a flattering look. But did provide countless entertainment. Seriously, that guy won a Super Bowl?

Monday, January 25, 2010

First Look: Congratulations Minnesota

This is why the Vikings brought in Brett Favre, right? To throw that game-changing interception in an NFC Championship Game, right?

Oh, you thought he was going to lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl? Wow, this is awkward. I mean, you played against Favre for years so this outcome should have been obvious to you.

Do not worry, though Vikings fan. You will not have to worry about choking the championship game next year with Sage Rosenfels at quarterback.

And for the people who believe that this ruined Favre's legacy, this actually enhanced it as one of the worst big-game quarterbacks going.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Summit is On!

This weekend! The tenth annual THN Summit will take place on this weekend at the Main Street Station off Fremont Street. NFL Adam and Lil' Hater, together again for the first time for one weekend! You don't want to miss it.

Others expected to be there, Dom DeLuise, Vic Tayback, Henry Silva, Nipsey Russell, Victor Conte Norman Fell, Angie Dickinson, Eva Gardner and Lauren Bacall.

We will certainly miss Conrad Bain, The Hatriot and Lump's expense account.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Weak Ender: Black Sunday!

The Hater Nation has, what, 10 readers. And somehow, I managed to spoil this week’s Chuck for one of them. For that, I apologize.

The jokes about McKenzie Philip's dad ... not so much.

Black Sunday is the best football weekend, next to Kickoff weekend. A lot of you side with the divisional playoff round. This year’s divisional round produced three blowouts by the top seeds, and one ugly upset. (Though some of you might have liked that game.) Black Sunday will provide at least one non-blow out. So when the Colts smoke the Jets, at least you have the Saints and Vikings to look forward to.

The sad truth is that the Colts are being given a free pass to the Super Bowl. Both of Gomer’s Super Bowl appearances have come thanks to the Chargers choking at home.

The Jets are really in for a surprise this weekend. The Jets players will be really shocked when Reggie Wayne does not kick the red challenge flag. When Dwight Freeney does not headbutt somebody after the play. When Matt Stover makes his field goals. When Joseph Addai gains more than 2 yards per attempt.

Sure Gomer will throw his interceptions. But the Colts as a team do not make the stupid mistakes that will cost them in this game.

Jets coach Rex Ryan even admitted that keeping Gomer14 points – the number his team held the Bengals and Chargers to – will be a tall order. Ryan knows that his team does not have enough offense to get it done. Sadly. Kid Vegas nailed it in the Hustle. The Jets just waited around for the Chargers to implode as a team. The Colts always seem to bail out Gomer.

The Republic’s only hope is that the Saints or Vikings have enough offense and defense to beat the Colts, who have not lost a real game this season. This is bad for football. This is bad for the NFL. Why must bad people like Gomer win?

Seriously, I do not come off as bitter right?

The NFC game is much more difficult to read. The Vikings blasted the Cowboys, who were cashing in on fool's gold. The Saints destroyed the Cardinals, who pretty much laid it all on the line the previous week against Green Bay. Hard to really tell where this is going.

But with the Vikings, there is a chance that Brett Favre could be singing William Hung's version of 'She Bangs.' Either way, we all win. And really, America just wants a team that is going to knock off the Colts. Right?

Or again, is that just me.

Here is the thing, though. This is clearly one of those instances where you feel compelled to root for a good game. You just do not want a blowout. You want ton of points. You honestly do not care who wins.

But Canada roots for a good game. This is America. We pick sides, damn it. So ask yourself which angle would be worse, Favre vs. Gomer; America's Soccer Mom's Saints vs. his boy; or more Kim Kardashian?

Good lord, we really do need the Jets to win don't we? Damn it.

DOES ANYBODY know if Lauren Stamile is a Republican? THN is in favor of Republican wool. But no Diane, not Ann Coulter. We like women. And why is Ann Coulter Playboy one of the auto-fills on Google? Good lord people.

WHICH ADS have we tired of the most? My vote, Luke Wilson for AT&T. Come on advertisers. You have tons of people watching during Black Sunday, break out some sweet commercials. You will get more bang for your buck. But seriously, have you noticed more prominent actors doing commercials? Has the economy for actors tanked this bad that they have resorted to reversing their careers? And do you know who is to blame for all of this?

Jay Leno.

And that's not a joke. NBC killed five hours of Network programing to make sure that Leno did not do a half-hour show on ABC. Luke Wilson could have easily grabbed a one-hour guest spot on Law and Order, but since that show was shelved for Leno, he is doing AT&T ads. Ditto for Michael C. Hall being a spokesman for, what, Dodge? A one hour guest appearance on NBC would have meant he did not have to slum for commercials.

And when people like Wilson are doing commercials, that means up-and-coming talent cannot land a decent commercial gig to kick-start their career.

Again, not bitter though.


The ESPN Ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer really crushed the mother ship for its broadcast of the Alamo Bowl. Totally worth reading, as he pretty much echoes THN's sentiment following the contest. But here is a key passage.

However, when the telecast was bifurcated with the video from the field and announcers commenting on the dispute and covering the game at the same time, the result was dreadful.

The announcers talked off-game over plays, replays, the referees' penalty calls and even each other. They had to interrupt what amounted to a sports radio talk show about Leach to pick up, in progress, several big plays, including a touchdown. They misidentified players and were late recognizing a fake field goal attempt. At one point, they went nine plays without verbalizing down and distance.

It's infuriating to sports fans when announcers ignore what's happening on the field. It subconsciously says to the viewers "What we're talking about is far more important and interesting that what you tuned in to watch." And more than that, it's unfair to broadcasters to put them in a position where they can't do their jobs well -- whether that's talking about a controversy or covering a football game.

Bless this guy, he is spot on. Now if ESPN would only take his advice, but that sadly will not happen.

Sports Book Hustle: Blame Me For Trusting the Chargers

By Kid Vegas

Okay boys and girls a little bit rocky week last week, how could I have been foolish enough to trust the Chargers to score, forgot that Norv Turner was still their coach, Mark Sanchez did his part out in San Diego right up to the numerous unsolved rape cases that sprung up over the weekend, but P-Riv and his wacky sidekick Nate Kaeding couldn't get the job done, after that game. I can't blame you fellas for finally accepting that San Diego is not winning the big one any time soon, hopefully the Chargers follow the Colts lead when they cut Mike Vanderjagt, who needs a kicker who can pad stats with meaningless kicks, but is never even close when it actually matters, scrubs like Kaeding, Vanderjagt, Tony Romo, and Tom Brady are fine for fantasy football with their notorious stat padding, but when it matters most they'll always choke you don't want the ball anywhere near them. Anyway onto the picks...

I'm just going to stick with my pre-playoff picks here and take...

Vikings (+3.5) over AINTS - Man the 4 men of the "Thunder and Punder" line sure brought the wood against the Cowboys, they should be able to slow down Drew Brees and the Saints offense, and I've got to tell you it is going to be fun to watch, the way that Jeremy Shockey and Reggie Bush were celebrating every 5-yard gain like a SB winning touchdown really turned me against this team, Brees is classy at least, but he's also one of the streakiest players around, he was hot last week, but I am skeptical he can put together three straight perfect games, especially facing the best defense(s) he's seen all season. Favre and the Vikes are looking sharp, even without AP their offense is looking unstoppable, if he has one of his breakout games, forget about it. I like the Vikes chances here, I'd hop on the money line, these two teams are both scorching, one has to cool down eventually, all signs point to the Saints.

COLTS (-7.5) over Jets - Well the Jets have had quite a little run, you've got to give them that, Rex Ryan has established himself, I was skeptical last week when his first half game plan was to do nothing, and hope the Chargers handed them some points, but it paid off in the end. Darrelle Revis has really been the hyped up star of the postseason, but hes virtually useless against the Colts who have 4 stud options for Peyton Manning in Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, and Austin Collie, someone is always going to be open, and Peyton will always find them. The Jets risky strategy of sitting on the ball and hoping some points will fall in their lap isn't going to pay off in this one, and even if they do miss 3 or 4 field goals with whoever their backup kicker is it won't really matter, there is no way the Jets can win this baby, I only wish I was in Vegas to bet it...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Have the Bills Become the Worst NFL Franchise?

The Bills hiring of Chan Gailey leads many to wonder if this could be the final push for Buffalo to make the jump to NFL’s worst. Let’s go to the tale of the tape.

As in which owner is more likely to die? Ralph Wilson is 90 years old, and to be honest, it is a miracle he did not catch pneumonia when it started raining during his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony. And Al Davis is never going to die.
Disadvantage: Raiders

The Bills hired Chan Gailey. A retread hire that makes employing Norv Turner in San Diego seem smart. This certain type of desperation smacks of the Raiders. Davis did not even know who Tom Cable was when he was elevated from line coach to head coach. And Davis was caught on camera asking for a bio on Cable because he had no idea who he was. Still, that was not worse than Gailey. The Bills knew who Gaily is.

But now comes word (thanks Dawuss) that the Raiders are interviewing coaching candidates before even firing Cable. That is some all-time dysfunction. Of course, that could mean that the Raiders end up with Jim Fassel. The final word though is that the Bills could have had Marty Schottenheimer … and did not want him. Enjoy 5-11, Buffalo.
Disadvantage: Bills (Even the condescending remarks of Bills GM Buddy Nix notwithstanding.)

RECORD SINCE AFTER 1999 (Bills last playoff appearance)
Bills 66-94
Raiders 62-98
The Raiders, however, did win on AFC championship, but were humiliated in the Super Bowl. And 33 of those wins for the Raiders came from 2000-2002. But the last Bills playoff appearance was the Music City Miracle. A game marred by coach Wade Phillips’ inexplicable decision to start Rob Johnson over Doug Flutie at quarterback.
Disadvantage: Draw

Disadvantage: Raiders

The Raiders have Ice Cube and Jessica Alba. The Bills have Nick Bakay.
Disadvantage: Bills

The Bills quarterback went to Havard. Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell was crowned King Elexis I by Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association. And he drinks wine out of a Diet Coke can ... allegedly. The Raiders were actually competitive with Bruce Gradako … Gradikuski … the Polish Guy. So this could be a real competitive football team. But there is a feeling that Russell is going to start next year.
Disadvantage: Raiders

Surprisingly, WR Terrell Owens was a solid citizen for the Bills. He was not very good, mind you. But he behaved. Guess that is what happens when you are eviserated by a super model during a reality TV show. Bills RB Marshawn Lynch was suspended three games for carrying a gun in Culver City. Maybe he was waiting for Rich Eisen outside of NFL Network studios. The Raiders biggest thug is their coach, Tom Cable who sucker-punched an assistant coach. Remember when it was just the Raiders players who were a-holes?
Disadvantage: Bills

Oakland may be a merde-hole, but at least the weather is nice. And you can jump over to San Francisco. Buffalo has snow.
Disadvantage: Bills

The Raiderettes were always overrated. If you were a young man in college in Southern California during the 1990s, you were more likely to hookup with a Raiderette at the Red Onion, over one of the more respectable Rams cheerleaders – who produced Lisa Guerrero. And if you recall, former Broncos QB John Elway actually did that. So while the Raiderettes looked like those caked-on-makeup, bad boob job chicks that you would find at a strip club in Devore, Calif. – they were at least the weekend shift. The Bills cheerleaders – or Jills if you will – look like the girls you would find on 2-for-1 lap dance night.
Disadvantage: Bills

The Raiders play in one of those multi-use debacles with an eyesore block of seats haphazardly added on to the foundation following the team’s relocation to Oakland in 1995. Plus, you have Raiders fan. The Bills play outside in December. But here is the thing, the Oakland Raiders play all home games in, get this, Oakland. The Bills not only play two home games on the road, they do it in Canada. Imagine if the Raiders played two games in Vancouver. Well, the Raiders fans could actually score some ‘kind’ but still.
Disadvantage: Bills

Davis has a commitment to excellence. And while his methods do not work, you do get the feeling that he desperately wants to win. Wilson tells people that he wants to win. Wilson said that with his advanced age, this next hire might be his last, so he wants it to count. And then he hires Gailey.
Disadvantage: Bills

The Raiders did it once. They are one of the front runners to do it again. If the Bills move, it is likely to be to Toronto. Where they already play two games a year. And there is a current LA professional sports team which originally played in Buffalo – the LA Clippers.
Disadvantage: Bills

When you see a ‘fan’ in a Raiders jersey, you first thoughts are to a.) check your wallet, b.) run like hell. And when you are safely out of distance, you can laugh like hell. When you see a guy (or gal) in a Bills jersey, you feel bummed for them. Like not only did you grow up in Buffalo, but that is the team that you have to root for. You would be lucky to have your team move away. Rooting for the Bills is the equivalent of showing up for the Ah-Ha reunion show at the local Food-4-Less, balloon in hand, and having the band not play, ‘Take on Me.’
Disadvantage: Bills

Wow, looks like the Bills win this one in closely contested battle. Congratulations to the Bills for surpassing the Raiders as the league’s most inept franchise.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Post Mortem: Chargers Hate Winning

The Chargers extended the contract of Norv Turner just one day after the latest playoff pratfall, showing that A.J. Smith does not care about the winning as much as he cares about having a coach that he can boss around.

"I'm extremely proud of the job Norv has done with this team," Chargers president Dean Spanos said in a statement.

"In three seasons he's led the team to three division titles. I'm confident that if we strengthen our roster and continue to provide Norv the assets he needs, this team will have continued success."

Really? Because you fired coach Marty Schottenheimer for the same reason. And honestly, why extend a guaranteed contract for a coach? Were the Chargers worried that some team was going to swoop in for Turner?

What really blows is that John Fox will be a free-agent next season. Good luck getting that new stadium, guys.

WE PROBABLY will not get the Brett Favre-like drama from the Kurt Warner Machine, who will likely retire. And not a moment too soon, following two teams gets a bit tedious. But consider that Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin (who will not request a trade) and the rest of the Cardinals offense will lobby hard for the KWM to come back one more time. They have all seen what the offense will be like with Matt Leinart, and that is not good.

The defense did not look good, either. How many points did the defense give up in six quarters? You could tell once Jerheme Urban (who has surpassed Jarrod Washburn as having sport’s most misleading name) fumbled that the Cardinals offense was kind of deflated, and the Saints were going to win. Quite a change from the opening moment when Tim Hightower scored a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. You thought, wow, the Cardinals are going to dominate here.

But the Saints drove down the field with little resistance and scored. The Cardinals were cooked from that point on.

Warner was not as good as he was the week before, turning in a pedestrian performance. The Saints went after his head a number of times – as he had talked about all week – a few were called, but the damage was done. Warner already was thinking of retirement at that point. Too bad, I am going to miss the KWM era.

THE CHARGERS should draft players from the U like the Raven does, so they can have a contest to see who can make the most boneheaded plays. Ed Reed, cover up the damn ball and go to the ground. These idiot defensive players think that they can score every time they touch the ball. But they all seemingly fumble as much as they score touchdowns. Be somewhat aware of your surroundings.

The referees were probably relieved that Reed fumbled because they did not have to make up some nonsensical helmet-to-helmet of phantom holding call to bail out the Colts. Raven is dumb enough to cough the ball back up.

COWBOYS LB Keith Brooking sure knows the meaning of sportsmanship. Way to continue to whine about the Vikings running up the score. Now, the common refrain is to stop the other team from scoring. And that is true. So what happens if a Cowboys player ran in and pulled the Charles Martin on Favre. Would you say that the offensive line just needs to stop that guy? Alright, at least Favre was operating within the rules of the game. And while it was a Madden stunt, it has my blessing.

Favre’s career was marred by the Cowboys stomping his Mississippi mudhole. And while the only recognizable Cowboys face was Troy Aikman up in the broadcast booth (and some ghostly face that resembled what Jerry Jones once looked like), you can forgive Favre for having a little bit of fun at Dallas’ expense.

Of course, Favre was one of those guys complaining when the Cowboys allegedly ran up the score by kicking a seventh field goal back in the 1990s.

Favre might have also won me over, too, but just do not leave your pants on the ground. Pants on the ground. Looking like a fool with your pants on the ground.

HIRING CHAN Gailey is akin to hiring Conan O’Brien, you are just going to have to replace him in seven months. What a give-up move by the Bills. Buffalo could not find some hot-shot coordinator to take that spot? I mean, seemingly every possible candidate has turned down the job, but what was Jim Mora doing?

Or Marty Schottenheimer? The Bills would never win anything, but at least they would be competitive. Gailey could not last the preseason with the Chiefs last year. Even Norv Turner’s contract extension thinks this is a bad idea. Even the University of Tennessee thinks this was a bad idea.


Chuck can suck it for killing off Angie Harmon. And let me guess, Amanda Peet will not be on How I Met Your Mother going forward, either, right?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

First Look: Marty Could Have Done That

So where do the Chargers go from here? The Chargers have had no problems getting to the playoffs, winning the AFC West. Performing in the playoffs is another matter.

And the Chargers are no better off to where they were when they fired Marty Schotteheimer in the wake of another embarrassing playoff loss to an inferior oppenent.

Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith will start looking for replacement coaches if he is true to his word. Well, if Smith does not get the boot, either.

Sure, you can reason that Turner did not miss three field goals. But Marty did not fumble an interception against the Patriots in 2006, either.

Schottenheimer was fired because he could not win the big game. Turner is proving to be just another chip off the old block.

And fitting that the loss came against Rex Ryan and Brian Schottenheimer. The coach they could have hired, and the son of the coach they should not have fired.

The problem with the Chargers is similar to the problem that USC had under Pete Carroll. These loose, player-friendly coaches are good when things are going well. But they are doomed the moment that they face a disciplined, well-coached football team. Look no further than all of the penalties that the Chargers racked up. False-start penalties at home? Blowing two time outs in the first half, which could have set up another score before the intermission. And how many unsportsmanlike conduct penalties where there?

Turner does not have a style that will win in the NFL. (Thankfully, we will not have to win in a world where Turner is considered a good coach.) The Chargers look like the Barry Switzer coached Cowboys.

Turner should be fired, but he will not be. The Chargers have about one more season of glory before those coordinators in Kansas City turn that program around. And what is really sad is that this was likely LaDainian Tomlinson's last game with the Chargers.

Well that, and the Colts are going to waltz to another Super Bowl because they were able to avoid the Chargers. Just like 2006.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Weak Ender: Do Not Feel Sorry for Welker (with SBH)

Do not feel sorry for Patriots WR Wes Welker. Though I am sure many of you were not. But he his going to be rehabbing with former Hooter's girl Anna Burns.

Although she will probably leave him when he starts hobbling around out on the field like he is Randy Moss giving 70 percent and she realizes that those contracts are not guaranteed. Honestly, anytime an NFL player's wife or girlfriend is sobbing after her husband's injury -- she is not worried about his health. She wants that guaranteed money.

Look at a baseball player get hurt, and the wife cannot be bothered. She knows that her husband's union knows what it is doing.

This is going to be a tough weekend. Last week was a breeze, with the Jets throwing the lone curve ball. This week is going to be a lot different. You can make the case for any of the home teams winning, or all four road teams. Even the Jets pose some sort of threat because the Chargers have trouble stopping the run.

And let's be honest. The Chargers have had success against the Colts in the playoffs. Not so much against the rest of the AFC. So this game on Sunday is not exactly a Nate Kaeding chip-shot field goal. The Jets are pretty tough. But do remember this. Raven runs the same defense as the Jets, and the Chargers put up 26 points on Raven without LaDainian Tomlinson. So there is hope.

The Cowboys, though. Does anybody realize that we are talking about some fool's gold here? Look at the teams the Cowboys have beaten during their hot stretch -- a bunch of one-dimensional teams. The Vikings have a two-pronged approach.

Gomer thrives in the wild-card round (if he does not face the Chargers), so Raven could pose some problems. The Colts have never won when they have a bye.

And the Birds? Everybody is falling in love with them. Even Deadspin -- this seems odd -- stole the Kurt Warner Machine reference. Will called Warner machine like. That does not sound familiar at all.

But my picks in a minute. Let's turn it over to the Sports Book Hustle with Kid Vegas so you can make some money. And remember, THN does not endorse gambling. This is just for fun.

3. Under 57.5 in Nawlins - I don't see this game recapturing the magic of Warner-Rodgers, and to put that baby to rest, great no call by the refs on that hard hit on Rodg, you can't skew a whole greatly played game on a b.s. QB penalty that doesn't even affect the game, and classy work by Rodg not whining like a baby about it; he blew the game, to be bailed out by one of those "not in the spirit of football - after the play" penalties would have ruined a classic game, no douBT Brady would have thrown a fit, cried like a baby, then refused to continue playing until a penalty bailed out his awful play (similar to how he kept crying for PI on each of his INTs and incompletions last week in that drubbing by Baltimore), A-Rodg earned some respect from me there. Anyway onto this game, I don't think Brees has the playoff pedigree, he's been making his living off awful defenses this season, his last playoff game (against Philly) was nothing to write home about, he is coming off two awful outings agst Tampa and Dallas, and he's probably rusty from not tossing it for 3 weeks. I predict a slow start for him, and if Nawlins isn't running up the score Warner will dial it in a bit, mix in a few runs, 58 points is a lot, I don't think it will happen.

2. MINNESOTA (-2.5) over Dallas - The Dallas bandwagon is overflowing at this point, all those fairweather fans from the 90s are buying into the talking heads saying this is their year, and preemptively jumping onto the bandwagon so they can say they were fans of the team for a few weeks if they make it to the Super Bowl, good news since it leads to this curiously low line. i mean is their any aspect of football where the Cowboys are better than the Vikings?

Passing game - Favre had a better season than Romo, plus he has way more playoff chops. Harvin, Rice and Shiancoe are all young speedy and in love with life after spending a season with the old gunslinger, the guy just has fun out there. Austin has given some credibility to the Cowboys receivers and he's quickly become one of the best deep threats in the game, and Witten is a pretty good possession tight end, but the edge still goes to the Vikings.

Running game - Peterson and Hutch have been quiet this season, but A-Pete is still capable of breaking one at any time, and defenses have to respect that. The Cowboys have a three headed monster of mediocrity.

Defense - Demarcus Ware and Jared Allen are probably a push, Wade Phillips has almost saved his job since he stopped head coaching and went back to being a defensive coordinator, and Dallas' secondary has been pretty stingy, they humiliated McNabb twice in a row, though some might say he'd already humiliated himself far worse than any defense could with his pre-game dance in Dallas, but I'm still giving the edge to Minny, because that supports my argument.

Coaching - Wade Phillips is the man who clinched a playoff spot in Buffalo with Doug Flutie back in the day, then rested Flutie on the last week, when Rob Johnson proceeded to throw a few TDs against the third string of the also resting Colts, which impressed Phillips so much he benched Flutie for the playoffs, and went with Rob Johnson who proceeded to get sacked on every play, the only reason noone remembers this as the worst coaching decision in history is becase Antwain Smith had a great game and they were actually winning until the "Music City Miracle", the fact that they would have been up by 21 with Flutie in there only Steve Young and I remember. I'd take a mentally challenged oranguntan as my head coach over Wade Phillips.

Home Field Advantage - I know Dallas is "America's Team" (as long as they are winning, and America is still a bunch of frontrunners), but I think Minnesota might have a slight edge in fans in the Metrodome, also I hear Favre never loses in there.

Yeah I'm going to take Minnesota here, the only thing that could possibly bail Dallas out is a Favre implosion, or Peterson fumblefest, but frankly I think Romo is more likely to do both than Brett and Adrian, cmon Tony - one win (against Donovan McNabb nonethless) does not a proven playoff goat exonerate.

1. Over 42.5 in San Diego - This one is down in the balmy weather of San Diego, the Jets were actually playing well in the ice cold conditions of Cinci against a pretty tough Bengal defense, put them down in sunny California, against a soft defense, with indifferent fans, and I think they should be able to keep up their end in this quest for 43. Sanchez will be right at home in that California sun where he used to occassionally throw TD's back in college between his rapes of those USC coeds. And P-Riv and his freakishly tall receivers are ready and rested, they are no strangers to the postseason, so there aren't going to be any jittters, I look for them to come out hot in this one, Tomlinson is actually healthy, he should be a force in the red zone, and noone would be surprised to see Sproles return a punt or kickoff. Sure the Jets defense is tough, but San Diego has too many options, Revis can't shut down one receiver and their offense is crippled. The Jets will try to slow down the game with Tom Jones, but "it's not unusual" for the Chargers to stack that line and dare Sanchez to toss it, only difference is when he actually completes a pass or two the Chargers have the offense to strike back (unlike the Bengals). This one should get over, in what all signs point to will be a Charger romp.

Thank you, Kid Vegas (remember, blame him.)


Give me Arizona, Minnesota, Raven and San Diego. Peace.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

USC Given Death Penalty -- Oh Wait, It Just Hired Kiffin

Some get USC athletic director Mike Garrett a white jump suit that he can wear during USC football games. Maybe some old grandmother glasses, too. Because Garrett has surpassed the old coot in senility, which could be the only explanation as to why he is taking sloppy thirds from Al Davis. The University of Southern California has hired Lane Kiffin. And if it wasn't for the biting cold in Southern California, I would check my calendar to make sure it was not April 1.

The whole thing is just baffling. I mean, when Al Davis says a (female dog) is crazy, you listen to him.

When first hearing the news, a couple of questions raced into my mind.

Why did Garrett not wait a few more days to see if Tom Cable was going to be cut loose in Oakland? Cable has NFL experience (even more than Lane), and he coached in college.

And second, what the hell is Garrett thinking?

Hiring Pete Carroll was a fluke. If the USC volleyball coach had not lured Pete's daughter to the school, there would be no USC dynasty right now. Now Garrett thinks that he can turn any former NFL coach into Carroll.

Yeah, Paul Hackett had NFL experience, too. How did that work out?

One thing that could excite USC fans is that Monte Kiffin and Ed Orgeron will bring instant credibility to the staff. And they also can provide some muscle should the players again try to extort cash from Coach Lunch Money. And this staff looks really good if Norm Chow returns as offensive coordinator.

The only problem being that Lane Kiffin is the coach. Even an empty-headed figure head would be enough to take down the Trojans program. In fact, Kiffin already has made his first recruiting infraction that the compliance office is looking over right now.

Alright, that was a joke, but you thought it was serious didn't you?

But there are some winners here:

Oregon. The Ducks will be the new Pac-10 dynasty.

Mike Reilly. He never wanted to leave, but got a new contract extension at Oregon State just because USC wanted him.

Washington. The Huskies hired the one former USC assistant with integrity.

Tennessee. How lucky are the Volunteers? Absolved of a bad hire after only one year.

Sports By Brooks. More Layla Kiffin sightings.

WCT. He must be having the time of his life right now.

And look at the bright side Trojans fans ... Kiffin already has a head start on losing to UCLA.

Oh, and this is a good point raised by Boston Sucks My Blog, but Al Davis was right about the Lane Kiffin. How does that feel?

Thanks a lot Mac!

Former MLB slugger Mark McGwire admitted what we all knew, that he used steroids during his infamous home run chase. There has not been a drug admission this underwhelming since Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx admitted that he used heroin. Yes, we all anxiously await Slash's admission that Guns-n-Roses used drugs during the 1980s.

And really, Mac. You want to recover from injury. Was that injuries caused by steroid abuse maybe?

Jose Canseco said that he injected you with steroids during your Oakland A's days. And I believe him. Because he has told the truth, while you have lied for more than 10 years.

But you know what that means? There is a new Last and Ten.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Say Hello to the Bad Guy: Steve Breaston

The thing that makes this celebration really sing is that he picked a semi-obscure wrestler. You have to be a real fan to recognize Razor Ramon. Anybody can do the Hulk Hogan cup the ear. The Ric Flair strut. Or maybe the Chris Benoit throat-slash. (Well, maybe you do not want to do that one.) Going to the vault for a 1990s wrestler is pretty cool.

Some NFL player should some day grab the referees mic and give the 'Three I's.'

The Post Mortem: Rise of the Machine

Who did not see this post coming?

If Sunday's game did not put Kurt Warner in the Hall of Fame, nothing will. Warner is a Hall of Fame quarterback. Warner also showed why he was one of the best postseason quarterbacks of all-time.

The playoffs have the league's best teams. The league's best defense. The Packers entered Sunday's game as one of the league's hottest teams, and owners of the NFL's top ball-hawking defenses.

Warner shredded them like he was back in the Arena League.

The postseason has humbled some of the league's so-called best, be it Gomer or Donovan McManning.

That is when the Kurt Warner Machine is at his best.

The KWM trails only legendary Bart Starr by mere percentage points for the best playoff passer rating of all-time. He also has resurrected two dog (expletive) franchises and made them matter.

And look what happened to St. Louis FC when he left. Imagine what Arizona will be when Matt Leinart takes over? (If he ever does.)

One of the league's greats is playing right now, and it is great watching him. There are reports that Warner could retire at the end of the season. And he could. But Warner signed a two-year deal and he intends to honor it.

For right now, I am content to enjoy the ride.

I WOULD have raised holy hell if the Cardinals had been on the receiving end of those questionable non-calls at the end of the Cardinals/Packers wild-card game. Let's be fair right there. I might even still make references to the Steelers being on the receiving end of some good calls in last year’s Super Bowl all of the flipping time.

So for the record, the Cardinals should have been flagged for helmet-to-helmet contact on second down after Aaron Rodgers blew his chance to win the game. And that facemask penalty was pretty flagrant. How does that go unnoticed? So the Cardinals were on the right side of some poor officiating. For a change.

And I will be honest, too. Being on the right side of bad officiating is awesome for a change. Normally, I only get to enjoy this during a Lakers playoff run. Have to think back to the 'tuck rule' to remember when this happened. And then, it was only fun because the Raiders were getting screwed.

But a classic playoff game was still marred by poor officiating. Stuff that should not happen. You like to see the referees let the players, play. That might have been a little too much.

Rodgers, to his credit, was pretty classy in his response.

"I get paid to play. There's always going to be one or two plays in the game where you wonder should there be a call, shouldn't there be a call, but those are out of my control. The things I worry about are the things I can control. I made some mistakes in the game. Those are the ones I'm thinking about. Not a potential facemask on that.

"The one play I was thinking about laying in bed was the first play of overtime. Unfortunately, just missed Greg on that one that could have ended the game. But they made a play in overtime, you have to give them credit for that."

And if you notice, all of the comments were about what the Packers should do in the future, not the incessant whining you normally see. Compare that to Raiders fans who are still pissed about the 'tuck rule,' which -- again for the 498th time –- was called correctly.

TIME TO say goodbye to the Patriots’ dynasty. As Raven ended it in emphatic fashion. Did anybody think that the Patriots would pie after Wes Welker’s injury? You would have to think that Welker is the most valuable player on that team because nobody on the Patriots looked like they wanted to be on the field on Sunday.

Thankfully for them, Raven scored so quick, the defense was not out there very long. And would have been out there even less had Tom Brady not turned the ball over so much.

TIME TO say goodbye to Carson Palmer as an elite NFL quarterback. Palmer looks like Tommy Maddox after he had his paralysis scare. Palmer looks like he wants to be on the field as much as the Patriots defense. Palmer looks skittish out on the field. His throws often sail.

Palmer look about as comfortable as the guy who was the No. 2 quarterback ahead of Helen Hunt in the Quarterback Princess.

How much longer is Palmer’s contract? Because it is hard to imagine him playing much longer. Palmer would probably best be served to be Gomer’s backup. He would never have to play again.

Anybody feeling that Quarterback Princess reference?


The Pete Carroll era is over. And college football can rejoice again. The Pac-10’s dominance over college football started to crumble this year, culminating with Ohio State’s impressive win over Oregon in the Rose Bowl. So what happens now?

USC will make a bad hire. There is no Chris Petersen, Gary Patterson or Jim Harbaugh walking through that door. Mike Garrett got lucky to get Carroll – whom everybody thought was a bad hire. Garrett will not get lucky again. Especially when Carroll made it clear during his press conference that he was leaving because of Garrett.

Oregon will likely take over the top spot in the conference. The Ducks are a legit 5-star quarterback away from competing.

Ken Whisenhunt has to be pretty happy with this development. Now he only has to beat one team (San Francisco) to win the NFC West. And the 49ers are no great organization. Plus, he now has a sucker who could take Matt Leinart off his hands. So it could be a double-bonus.

We should remember the USC era fondly, and get ready for a post-Robinson like version of the Trojans. Complete with probation. That is if Garrett does not give the football program a self-imposed death penalty.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

First Look: Things Bad QBs Should Not Do

Eagles QB Donovan McNabb's pregame ritual was hilarious.

Just not for the reasons that he intended.

If you are the worst big-game quarterback in the NFL, you would be better served to keep your mouth shut and run out onto the field.

Maybe those Cowboys fans lining the entrance should just be happy that McNabb did not throw up, like he is known to do during big games.

Why does everybody scrub McNabb's Titleists like he is some great quarterback? What the hell has this guy ever done during his career? McNabb wins a ton of regular-season games. But the playoffs are another matter. So much so, I often feel like Archie Manning knocked up some Nubian princess, meaning Donovan is really a member of the Manning family.

McNabb has shown nothing in his career. Now a lot of the apologists say that McNabb has never had anything to work with during his career. Who exactly were the standout offensive weapons surrounding Tom Brady during his playoff run?

McNabb has had the benefit of playing on a team that great defenses during his tenure. The Eagles have long been solid on defense, even in the wake of Jim Johnson's passing this year.

Still, him and Andy Reid have nothing to show for it. At some point, people are going to have to acknowledge the fact that McNabb is an above average quarterback, but not one of the NFL's elite.

And McNabb is not the only one who has to answer some questions, too.

  • Tony Romo, thank you for finally winning a playoff game. That does not matter in Dallas. You have to win the whole thing to be considered among the team's great quarterbacks -- Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach.

  • Drew Brees. Great regular-season. Now do something in the playoffs. Though a one-and-done seems highly likely for the NFC's No. 1 seed.

  • Philip Rivers needs to win the Super Bowl, what with Eli Messiah and Ben Roethlisberger holding three rings between them.

But at least none of the above mentioned acted like a jackass during the playoffs. And seriously, am I the only one who sees this stuff regarding McNabb? I feel like I am taking crazy pills or something.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Weak Ender: There Was a Game Going On? (With SBH)

A friend traveled in from Texas -- his first time to California -- and asked if the Rose Bowl game was a huge event out here. And he was surprised to learn that it was not.

Maybe it is a big deal for the kids working at Disneyland who watch players from the BCS Title Game (and the Rose Bowl the week before) walk around the park. But until I see that Chrysler 300 with two Alabama flags on the 405 Thursday morning, I had forgotten there was a game being played out here.

And really, Southern Californians can only display their sports loyalty through car flags, as witnessed by the numerous Lakers flags which sprout during the NBA Finals.

But as for the game, no. There was no excitement in this town. Mainly because USC or UCLA was not playing in the final game. And second, the bowl thing is so spread out, and as mentioned earlier this week, most people saw the best two teams play on Monday.

Or probably because this can be a bad sports town when the locals are not winning.

Still, decent game but you cannot convince me that Boise State and TCU could not hang with those teams. Neither Alabama or Texas was very impressive.

(Photo from Sports Illustrated's Hot Clicks)

There are some pro games this weekend, but this round of the NFL bores me, so we will turn it over to Kid Vegas and the Sports Book Hustle. And remember, gambling is bad.

Well boys and girls, that wraps up another exciting NFL season, and quite a profitable one it was at that, while my dalliance into college football was predictably mediocre, I did manage to squeak out a record one game over .500 (pending that Alabama win), NFL I was predictably awesome checking in at 68 percent, and on my picks of the week I was a scorching 13-2, all in all quite a successful season, but just like Peyton Manning, regular season dominance is a cakewalk for me, my record-setting performance is meaningless if I can’t double up my winnings on the postseason, so here we go…

Boy, that Week 17 was awful huh (sans our winner in Dallas)? In addition to all the games sucking, three playoff round 1 games were “previewed” with some teams trying and some teams scouting, muddying up the spreads and confusing everybody, so let’s take a look at the picks…

3. Over 47.5 in Arizona – Somehow I think the Twin Terrors of Team Pugly (Matthews and Hawk) might have a little more trouble with Kurt Warner and the starting lineup of the Cards than Leinart and his losers. This one has all the makings of a shootout, as long as A-Rodg doesn’t get the postseason jitters in his first big game, I think he’ll be all right, the Pack have been pretty hot lately, and Zona losing their Pro Bowl corner last week should open things up even more. Warner will not doubt pick up where he left off at the end of last postseason, he’s got to have one of the all-time best post-season passer ratings right? (L.B. would be my guess for lowest, at least for QBs with at least 3 games). Anyway hopefully this baby gets over.

2. CINCI (-2.5) over Ny jets – Gotta love how the Jets drubbing of the Bengals 2nd string really lowered this line, Sanchez hasn’t had a decent game since somewhere around week 4, they’ve limited his INTs by not letting him pass, but the Bengal defense has been stout all season, it would be “unusual” to see Tom Jones run for a bunch of points here, Sanchez is going to have to toss it at some point. On the other side of the ball the Jets defense is as ferocious as they come and the Bengals have been pretty pathetic, with Palmer not even showing flashes of his pro bowl self, everyone is hopping on the under in this one, but that seems a little too predictable, and that line is dropping fast, I’ll take the safe bet and go with the Bunglers.

1. Baltimore (+3.5) over NEW ENGLAND – This one is a trendy bet, but for good reason, the Ravens matchup great with the Patriots, even more so with Wes Welker out. Their defense has a clear advantage once they double cover Moss, don’t have to worry about underneath passes, and let Reed roam downfield. The emergence of Ray Rice has really helped Flacco develop all the way up to mediocre. The Patriots may squeak this one out somehow, lord knows they’ve won games by pure luck before, but the Ravens are the better team, sure they’re on the road, but that 3.5 points is a pretty nice cushion. I think Tony Dungy said it best when breaking it down on NBC, “The Patriots have Tom Brady.” Enough said right there, take the Ravens.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Top Moments of the Decade: Runner Up The Tuck Rule

Before we even start … the tuck rule is one of the dumbest rules in NFL history. There is no doubt about that. But, the enforcement of the tuck rule against the Raiders is one of the greatest moments in any decade.

Any time the Raiders are ‘screwed’ is a good thing.

Honestly, the tuck rule is an instant argument ender with any Raiders fan.

The Raiders have won the most games since 1963? Tuck rule.

The Raiders are well represented in the Hall of Fame? Tuck rule.

The Raiders have won three Super Bowls? Tuck rule.

Because no matter what the Raiders have accomplished in their illustrious or dubious history, the tuck rule will always turn a Raiders fan into a ball of white-hot rage like a family-rights politician at a pride rally.

And the fact that Jon Gruden is still chapped about it is – as Orville would say – delicious. Actually, I don’t think that Gruden is all that worked up about it anymore. If anything, I believe that Gruden is so mad at the Raiders, that he secretly relishes that tuck rule because it kept Al Davis from winning another title.

That might be more rooted in fantasy than reality, but I can dream damn it.

Plus the tuck rule has fueled the delusions of Raiders fans who believe that there is a conspiracy against their team. But here is the newsflash, nobody has to conspire against the Raiders. The team does a pretty good job of shooting itself in the foot.

Take the Mike Leach news for instance. Many believe that Leach could be the next coach for the Raiders. The sad thing – for them – is that they could be right. Leach seems like the kind of guy the Raiders would bring in, just when Tom Cable seems to have the organization heading into the right direction. Because Cable was correct when he said that his team could have won with any quarterback other than JaMarcus Russell. The Raiders were surely better than the Chargers in Week 1.

But I digress. The tuck rule still is the symbol of Raiders futility during the decade. And what the meth head Raiders fans fail to realize is that the tuck rule was called correctly. As stated up top, the tuck rule is one of the dumbest rules ever. But called correctly in that instance.

And again, it screwed the Raiders. What is not to like?

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Post Mortem: Boise State Wins Second National Championship

Congratulations to Boise State for winning its second national championship in three years. What an amazing accomplishment for Chris Petersen and his program. Incidentally, what are Dan Hawkins and Dirk Koetter doing right now?

Honestly, I have no interest in watching the Alabama vs. Texas game on Thursday night. That game will be anti-climatic. There are people who believe that Boise State and TCU could not hang with Alabama and Texas.

Those people are idiots.

Texas would not score on Boise State or TCU. For all of the love the 'mid-majors' of college football get running gimmick offenses and trick plays, they do play really good defense. The Long Horns were shutdown by one guy and should have lost in the Big XII championship game.

And the Crimson Tide? I saw all that I needed to see last year when Alabama was mud-holed by Utah in the Sugar Bowl. You can argue that Alabama was not 'into it,' but I can only judge by what I see on the field. Alabama is overrated. Not to play the common opponent game but ...

Tennessee nearly beat Alabama. UCLA beat Tennessee. Do you think the Bruins are good?

Oregon looked pretty good this year, and Boise State shut them down.

The thought that college has these super power conferences is a notion as antiquated as the wishbone in college football.

Boise State has won two BCS bowl games. Utah has a nice bowl victory. Only Hawaii was overmatched.

The two best teams played on Monday night, and the best team won.

Now, there are some of you that do not like college football. That these bowl games are really exhibitions. And you know, what. You have a point.

Because the Colts have put up a pretty good effort recently. The Patriots lost Wes Welker in a near meaningless game. And look here, the first round of the NFL playoffs have three rematches of Week 17. Yeah, the NFL has awesome games this time of year, too.

The Bengals looked like they would have rather of been any place else on Sunday night. You know once that game was flexed into the night game, the Bengals were planning on laying down. At least 85 tried to get some interest going, yet he ended up falling down during pregame warmups and taking himself out of the game.

The Chargers tried to mail it in, yet the Redskins were so inept, there was no possible way for San Diego to lose. And it was January, so it could have lost.

You know, moving this to Tuesday because Week 17 was such an epic fail, I cannot even remember what else happened.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: How much trouble with Broncos coach Josh McDaniels be in if Brandon Marshall's dad worked for ESPN?

HERE IS what USC was saying to the NCAA with its ridiculous self-imposed sanctions of the basketball program: Please do not touch our football program.

AND FINALLY, Ohio State did good, beating Oregon. Does this erase all of the previous embarrassments? Not really. But the Big Ten and Mountain West were two conferences that really helped themselves during the bowl season. The Big East and Pac-10, not so much.

So Buckeyes fans -- or just WCT -- take the floor, that was an amazing win.

And Terrelle Pryor looked amazing. Imagine who great he would be playing for Oregon. Wow.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


This should get you in the mood.

First Look: Why Didn't ESPN Talk About Leach?

ESPN was really lacking in its coverage of the (whatever mini-mart was sponsoring) Texas Tech-Michigan State bowl game. I mean, you would have thought at one point the announce team of Mike Patrick and Bob Davie would address the Mike Leach situation.

Only in a perfect world.

Patrick acted like the Joseph Goebbels of ESPN by doing his best to bury Leach while making and his dad – ESPN employee – Craig James seem like heroic victims of a maniacal coach. And what is disgusting is that Davie would be out there burying one of his coaching brethren like that. For shame.

Patrick comes from the Joe Buck school of announcing where he wants to mix in color commentary with his play-by-play. How about just calling the game, Patrick? Nobody cares what you think. Especially when you do not know what you are talking about.

Patrick said that most trainers do not treat a concussion by sticking a person in a dark room. Although any medical website will tell you that one of the symptoms of a concussion is sensitivity to light. Which means, putting them in a dark room would be a good idea.


Patrick and Davie failed to put the James family in any negative light, even with whispers that Craig James bullied Leach to play his son – like that episode of Diff’rent Strokes where Mr. Drummond buys uniforms so Arnold will play – and is using this as a possible attempt to run for the Senate.

Now, my snap judgment of Adam James – just from watching him in that stupid ski cap – is that he is a d-bag and likely deserved what he received. Him jumping around and mugging for the camera after the players doused the interim coach Ruffin McNeal with a Gatorade bath sealed that notion.

And really, that was a huge night for McNeal with the win and complete Titleist washing by Patrick.

But the biggest point missing from all of this is that Adam James just needs to butch up a little bit. The coach yelled at you (and there is video out there of it now), who cares? You suck it up and go on. There are lots of Division I college athletes who get yelled at by their coach. But only you, Adam, are a baby enough to complain about it. This is why nobody likes you.

The is only news because your dad works for ESPN. Which means that Broncos coach Josh McDaniels should feel lucky that Brandon Marshall's dad does not work for ESPN.

Leach will end up being the big winner here when he wins his lawsuit and eventually starts coaching a WAC or Mountain West team.

The losers are us who have to watch this stuff.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Sports Book Hustle: Always bet on Rock!

The Sports Book Hustle is a look at the latest lines ... for entertainment purposes only. THN does not advocate gambling. That industry is naughty.

By Kid Vegas

Greetings all, sorry I took last week, it was a mixture of traveling and no appetizing games with all the eliminations and clinching. So I’m back to finish off the regular season and take a look at some bowl games, and finish my playoff previews, though my NFC preview is already a little skewed due to an unpredictable Giant rollover to the Panthers, at least I was the first one on the Saints are in no way the favorites bandwagon though (before they lost to the Cowboys), all right let’s take a look at the AFC picture, which was cleared up a little last week:

Denver – Vegas Odds 100/1 - actual chances 0 precent - Man, everyone is having a grand old time ripping on the G-men, but the Broncos also started 5-0, I guess just because everyone saw their tumble coming, and they were always mediocre, whereas the Giants just got decimated by injuries and a tough schedule, still I mean these guys did lose to the Raiders (with JaMarcus Russell at the helm, nonetheless) at least that flukey 5-0 start drove up the lines and made us all some money.

NY Jets – Vegas Odds 80/1 – actual chances 0.5 percent - All in all a pretty successful season for the Jets, they’ll win and get into the playoffs, Mark Sanchez has been coasting on a great defense, but that is a good way to develop a young QB, they don’t stand a chance in the playoffs of course, but their season is already a success and they could get lucky and catch the Bengals napping in Round 1.

Pittsburgh – Vegas Odds 75/1 - actual chances 0 percent - At least we all now know that it was Troy Polamalu that made this team good, not Little Ben, I mean I always knew it, but maybe it will finally dawn on some of those slow ESPN reporters.

Baltimore – Vegas Odds 28/1 – actual chances 4 percent – John Harbaugh has been saying all the right things, so I don’t think they’ll get caught napping by the Raiders like so many other teams have, this team matches up real well with the Pats in Round 1 (despite their regular season loss), so if they make it to raound 2, who knows what could happen.

Cincinnati – Vegas Odds 16/1 – actual chances 2 percent - How has this team been winning, they play strong defense, and they’ve finally stumbled upon some sort of team chemistry after all their disastrous talented implosions, but what happened to Carson Palmer, didn’t this guy used to be good? They play hard though, and they might have some ghosts out there rooting for them, but they don’t have the weapons to knock off the big boys of the AFC this year, it was fun to see them go undefeated in a down AFC North this year, I mean who doesn’t hate the Steelers and Ravens?

New England – Vegas Odds 10/1 – actual chances 3 percent - I’m sure everyone is saying, “the Patriots made it to the playoffs, here is where their experience winning will come into play”, well c’mon they haven’t won since 2004, and it turns out their winning was a result of a lot of cheating, an insane streak of luck, and the worst reffing call in the history of sports (on a review, nonetheless, with all their cheating now uncovered, maybe we should make sure that ref wasn’t paid off…). Nowadays all they have is a porous defense, an interception prone QB, an over the hill stud WR, and a coach who looks scared and confused in clutch situations now that he isn’t allowed to cheat anymore.

San Diego – Vegas Odds 4/1 – actual chances 15 percent -The Charger fans must think of postseason as some kind of wacky game of rock, paper, scissors, with their Chargers always beating the Colts, but always losing to the Patriots. It’s safe to say that Peyton and his gang are hoping Tom Brady and his merry band of butt-pirates will do the dirty work again and knock off the Chargers, clearing the Colts path for another Super Bowl. But if everything goes according to plan and the Chargers do meet up with the Colts, it’s a safe bet these guys won’t be too scared going to Indy. They’re finally healthy in the postseason, they’ve got a bye, they’re scorching hot, but c’mon guys their coach is still Norv Turner, and Philip Rivers is still just a rich man’s Ryan Leaf, if it comes down to it, I’d take Indy in the dome, but then again, like Bart Simpson, I always go with good old rock in rock, paper, scissors… nothing beats it!

Indianapolis – Vegas odds 9/5 – actual chances 36 percent - The clear favorites going into postseason, despite their San Diego mindblock, a lot of hullabaloo about that loss last weekend, and while I thought this team (unlike the Saints) could handle the pressure, and seeing them all pissed on the sideline made me question the call, we’ve still got to back the winning horse, Peyton and his boys have been doing it for too long, seems like there are more elite teams than ever this year, but this squad just knows how to win, and with all the late game heroics they’ve mustered this season, I would hate to have money against them.

All right here are some quick picks, then I’ll be back next week to post my final regular season musings, and the playoff bets…

Alabama (-4) over Texas – I don’t know how Texas plans to score on that Alabama defense, Nebraska gave them fits, and Bama seems to be a souped up version of Nebraska’s defense, as long as their rookie QB can keep from making too many game-crippling mistakes they should be in fine shape.

Over 54.4 in Fiesta Bowl – TCU is an unstoppable juggernaut, and Boise State is one of the best coached teams in the league, I see some offensive fireworks primed for this baby, I just hope we can get some more fancy tricks from Boise like a fumbleroosky or something.

DALLAS (-3) over Philly – One of the few NFL games that we have assurances will be played like an actual NFL game, I think Dallas at home, coming off a few good games takes this one from Philadelphia. I am still not sold on this Eagle team, Donovan McNabb is still Donovan McNabb, and Wade Phillips has been doing some good things with his defensive schemes, I think he finds a way to contain DeSean Jackson. Dallas should take down the NFC East at home.