Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Weak Ender: Who is watching Archer?



If you are not watching Archer on FX, you don't know what you are missing. But for those of you who do like the show, Warming Glow, has a really nice piece on the ten most obscure references on the show.

The premiere of the second season certainly didn't disappoint.

STEELERS FANS love the Terrible Towel. In fact, there hasn't been an inexplicable love for an inanimate object this big since Germans started flocking to David Hasselhoff concerts. But there hasn't been any empirical data to back that up, until now.

One of the biggest retail giants in the world, Amazon.com, gives you up-to-the-minute details of the best-selling object at any given moment. And the best-selling item in bedding and bath? None other than the Terrible Towel, which not only ranked first, but also sixth (at the time of this writing).

Yep, the famed invention of Myron Cope is selling better than scales, shower curtains and a Luna premium hypoallergenic waterproof mattress protector. Obviously a proud day for Steelers fans.

But with success comes imitation. And now the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that McArthur Towel & Sports, makers of the Terrible Towel (a Wisconsin company -- how scandalous) will be producing a Titletown Towel.

Wait, what?

Bad form, McArthur Towel & Sports. This cannot end well.

Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery in the towel business. A fake towel imitation seems like a good idea, much in the same vein that replacing Rob Halford in Judas Priest with a guy from a tribute band is a good idea. But with worse consequences and a non-Mark Wahlberg movie adaptation. Don't believe me?

One industrious Los Angeles Rams fan thought it would be a good idea to produce the "Rammy Whammy" in 1979, in anticipation of the Rams and Steelers meeting in Super Bowl XIV. Michael Rivard, the towel-stealing version of Seth McFarlane, thought he was just going to make a buck, but instead he doomed the franchise. Because here is what happened next (though it does seem to be kind of a blur at this point).

The Rams blew a 19-17 fourth-quarter lead to the Steelers in the Super Bowl, traded away Eric Dickerson on Halloween day in 1987, and folded the Los Angeles chapter of the franchise in 1994. Was it because of the Rammy Whammy?

Well it certainly could not have helped.

And then there is the ultimate insult. Again, the Terrible Towel is still a top-selling item on Amazon.com, while an original Rammy Whammy could not even fetch a $7 bid on eBay.

Oh well, at least the Thunderstix became popular in Anaheim. Oh, right ...

IMAGINE YOU are Packers guard Marshall Newhouse (or any anonymous, single Packers player on injured reserve) and you are chatting up some whore a young lady, regaling her with tales about your super season in Green Bay.

Now, ponder what would happen if that young lady saw a photo of the Super Bowl XLV Packers and you are not in it. Next thing you know, you have a drink thrown in your face, she rips you in a Facebook status update and you have to spend the rest of the night convincing her that your Super Bowl ring is indeed real and not purchased from eBay.

Sounds far-fetched? Does it?

That could certainly happen, as word has come out that none of the Packers players on injured reserve are going to be included in the team's official Super Bowl photo. Injured Packers stars Nick Barnett and Jermichael Finley have been bellyaching about this on Twitter. But what do they have to complain about? People have heard of those guys.

It is the other 14 guys (according to the Associate Press's count) who end up being viewed like Grandpa Simpson and his story of the Flying Hellfish. Those are the guys who we should be concerned about. How could the Packers be so heartless?

The Packers, for their part, have said that they do not want to disrespect the players on injured reserved. There are just too many of them. The injured reserve players do not arrive until Thursday when the photo is taking on Media Day on Tuesday. Oh, and there is a game to be won, too. Apparently the Packers are more concerned with that (via the Green Bay Press-Gazette) than who is in the team photo.

A Packers spokesman said: “It was a team decision driven by the sheer number of players on IR. Our primary focus is to get the team ready to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every decision we make is about trying to win a world championship.”

And even then, when faced with the reality of winning the Super Bowl, Barnett did change his tune (via Twitter).

“I was not trying to be a distraction nor was I downing the organization they have done so much for me over last 8 years.. Just saying I was … Just saying I am sad that it worked out the way it did.. This game is bigger then my feelings and my body of work.. It’s about “One Goal”!

Of course, the PR smear job was enough for the Packers to change their tune and move the picture deal until Friday. So all of the whiners will have their way.

Of course, if the players are still upset, they could just learn to use Photoshop. That is what the rest of us guys who pretend to have been former football players do.

And again, much respect to that unwitting Vegas traveler years ago who probably thinks that she really did sleep with Adam Vinatieri.

AND FINALLY ...

I hate Jimmer Fredette because the only thing worse than a poor-loser Mormons are the poor-winner Mormons. Seriously, why are Mormons so arrogant? Have you ever met a practicing Mormon who wasn't a smug a-hole?

Maybe Steve Young's wife, who fought against Prop. 8.

You know, the proposition funded by the Mormons. I guess they wanted to keep the sanctity of marriage. Or at least multiple ones.

Please, don't celebrate Fredette.

And if you are a practicing Mormon who reads and enjoys this space, I am legitimately blown away.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Post Mortem: Cutler's biggest fan




Players are coming out of the woodwork to support Jay Cutler. Saying that they can understand where Cutler was coming from, empathizing with him, because they know what it is like to be injured.

But do you know who Cutler's biggest fan is today?

Jets RB LaDainian Tomlinson.

Because why players and fans continue to talk about Cutler, nobody is pointing a finger at Tomlinson for again no-showing in the biggest game of his career. I am not familiar with gambling, but if there was a prop bet in Las Vegas that said, "LT will not score a touchdown," you certainly would have been a fool to pass on such a proposition.

And again, if you could bet on things like, "Tomlinson will get stuffed at the 1-yard line because he just is not that good at football," again, that is another wager you should have made.

But when you come down to the Super Bowl matchup, I really have to say that I am excited about it. Really, the two best teams are playing. And while I liked both of the underdogs this week, I was really glad to be wrong.

And this shows you once again what the most important thing in football is -- the quarterback. Forget the home-field advantage, defense and swagger. The most important thing is the quarterback. Because the two teams with the two best quarterbacks won on Sunday.

Though, you could say that Sanchez's receivers simply cannot catch. But it was the quarterback.

I got too caught up in other factors and tried to research things based on logic. I missed the most obvious piece, and that was trying to get too smart and overlooking the obvious and picking the teams with the best quarterbacks.

This Super Bowl should be a lot like the Cardinals vs. Steelers two years ago, and less like the Saints blowout of the Colts last year. Because this will be the first time in two years that we have two elite quarterbacks going at it. This time Aaron Rodgers filling in for Kurt Warner.

This game will be exciting and I was glad that I was wrong.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Weak Ender: Bears and Packers not forgotten here




How is Jessica Biel being a Packers fan not bigger news? Anybody? Oh well. I will say that I am tired of the Steelers vs. Jets getting all of the love this week. So you know what. I am just going to skip that game and give you a scientific breakdown of the Packers vs. Bears.

And know my readers, this is the game they care about the most.

The Bears and Packers have the most longest, and perhaps the most storied rivalry in the NFL. The two teams have played 181 times in the past, and will be fighting it out for a chance to play for the NFL's ultimate honor for the first time since 1941.

The teams not only shared a long lineage together, they both also won Super Bowls with Jim McMahon. (Though the Punky QB was merely a backup for Brett Favre in Super Bowl XXXI.)

With all do respect to the Steelers and Jets, you have to believe that this is the game that America is looking forward to on Sunday. Which begs the question -- who do you got?

Let's break this down -- as previously stated -- scientifically.

Tough guy linebacker

The Bears' Dick Butkus and Packers' Ray Nitschke personified the word linebacker. Butkus had eight Pro Bowl appearances, Ntschke was a member of those famed Packers teams that won five NFL titles and the first two Super Bowls. This one is too close to call, so we will settle this by acting career. Butkus play a strict yet fair principal Hang Time, but Nitschke was in the original The Longest Yard.
Advantage: Nitschke because I think he broke his (expletive) neck. (Packers 1-0)

Famous adaptations

Any man over the age of 40 fondly recalls James Caan's performance as terminally-ill Bears RB Brian Piccolo in Brian's Song. Not to mention, a young future Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) as Gale Sayers. And while I am sure that Tom Brady loved the performance of Lombardi on Broadway, I'm sure he didn't cry at the end.
Advantage: Brian’s Song (Tied 1-1)

Stadium

The Packers have the famed frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field. The stadium could be considered football Mecca, and is likely on many football "bucket lists." The Bears have a dirt field painted green, and any charm of the original Soldier Field as been stripped because of the renovation. In fact, it looks like one of those alien space ships from Independence Day landed on the old Soldier Field. Poor show, Bears.
Advantage: Lambeau Field (Packers 2-1)

Nickname

The Steelers have won the most Super Bowl titles, but did you know the Packers have more NFL championships? Yes, much to Dave Dameshek's chagrin, the NFL did exist prior to the Super Bowl era. So it's fitting that Green Bay is known as Title Town. The Bears are known as the Monsters of the Midway. A nicknamed lifted from the University of Chicago, the same way Vanilla Ice lifted the beat of Queen's Under Pressure for Ice, Ice Baby. Poor form, Bears.
Advantage: Title Town (Packers 3-1)

Coaching

The Packers have had Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi. The Bears had Papa Bear George Halas and Iron Mike Ditka. Tough call, but while both teams are playing for the Halas Trophy on Sunday, the Lombardi Trophy is the ultimate goal.
Advantage: Packers (Packers 4-1)

Greatest player

Bears RB Walter Payton retired with the NFL rushing record. Packers WR Don Hutson retired with every conceivable receiving record. Payton, though, is still in the conversation for the greatest running back ever. Most people have seemingly have forgotten that Hutson even played and ignorantly proclaim Jerry Rice as the greatest receiver of all-time. Still, it is hard to go against Sweetness here.
Advantage: Bears (Packers 4-2)

Beer

Miller vs. Old Style. Miller trots out different styles of its product (MGD, Miller High Life, Crystal Miller Lite) like the University of Oregon does uniforms. Meanwhile, Old Style just continues to stick with the original.You have to respect that.
Advantage: Bears (Packers 4-3)

Embarrassing celebrity fan

Which career of a second fiddle inexplicably lasted the longest – former Bears backup QB Vince Evans (who might still be playing) or Jim Belushi? That’s a tough one. But how did Larry the Cable guy become known as a rabid Packers fan? Is that enough to git-r-done? Nah.
Advantage: Bears because Vince Vaughn just won’t seem to go away, either. (Tied, 4-4)

What’s in the bun?

Bratwurst or a Polish sausage? As a fat man, that is akin to choosing between your two children, though both are known to give heart attacks. There is really nothing to distinguish the two, so this one will again be settled by Hollywood. And Abe Froman, the sausage King of Chicago might be one of the greatest alias of all time.
Advantage: Bears (Bears 5-4)

Uniforms

Two classic styles here. The Packers, quite simply, have a top three uniform in the NFL. The Bears would be there if they wore their throwbacks from earlier this season.
Advantage: Packers (tied 5-5)

Hmm, well that got us nowhere. Alright, enough with this, here is my Super Bowl pick:

The Bears vs. Jets.

WANT TO see more of Ricky Gervais? Well, you are in luck. You can check out all of his Golden Globes jokes right here.

AND FINALLY ...

Al Davis was reportedly upset that former coach Tom Cable used to bring girls with him on the road. The Raiders managing general partner said that it was unbecoming of a Raiders coach to carouse, saying that wasn't the Raiders way.

I sure hope he never read Ken Stabler's autobiography, if that is the case.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Untreated syphilis confirmed for Al Davis



Under any other circumstance, his fingers would appear creepy, but compared to his face, those digits are a delight.

Here is the question, would you rather eat peanut butter off his fingers or drop his Band-Aid into your coffee?

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Post Mortem: I am sorry

The Hater Nation has always endorsed the Patriots and Patron Saint Tom Brady. So there is a bit of sadness to see the Patriots fall in the AFC divisional playoffs.

But when Boston loses, America wins. So hurray!

USA! USA! USA! America!

But there are a few apologies that I need to get out of the way before we move on.

To Dr. Doug and his brother Mark: I am sorry for picking the Seahawks to win. The Bears seem rather shaky as any team with QB Jay Cutler and offensive coordinator Mike Martz can be. Yet, this team continues to win at every turn. Even this week, the football world will be celebrating the Packers, even picking Green Bay to take the NFC title.

To the Jets: Nobody thought you guys could back up the talk. Especially after the football world watch the Patriots wax the Jets in the most recent matchup. But for the second consecutive season, you have advanced to the AFC Championship Game with one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL. You are an inspiration to crappy quarterbacks with awesome hair. No wonder Matt Leinart still thinks he can still win in this league.

To Gomer: For years, I have said that you were not in Brady’s class. Turns out, that Brady is quickly joining your class for regular-season excellence followed by playoff futility. And seriously Tom, why were you covering up your hair? You have to let those locks go, my friend.

To Rex Ryan: You keep winning, Rex, and the football world will be kissing your feet.

The AP basketball pollsters: For I gave you way too much credit thinking that you would put undefeated San Diego State ahead of Duke. No such luck. You guys are complete (expletive) morons.

The Bears and Packers: Most people are talking about the Steelers being close to winning a record seventh Super Bowl, while most people ignore the fact that the Packers (12) and Bears (9) have won the most NFL titles. IF only I was in a position to make this known.

Matt Flacco and Joe Ryan: Or is it Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco? Sorry guys, we have expected too much out of you because of the success of Ben Roethlisberger and Mark Sanchez. But your defenses are not good enough to carry you guys, and there comes a time when you have to win a game. You just are not there yet. There may come a time. Soon. But you are not ready right now.

AND FINALLY …

If the Jets are eliminated, I am cool with any of these three other teams winning the Super Bowl.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Weak Ender: Karma Kills



Congratulations to Florida State. Not only does the Seminoles upset of Duke mean that these ladies were making some fellas very happy behind the dumpsters at the local Piggly Wiggly in Tallahassee, but San Diego State is inching closer to being the No. 1 team in college basketball.

Hopefully the Aztecs can knock off the BYU Cougars and then it becomes a waiting game.

Heady times. Too bad State's football coach did not want to stick around. Not that you can blame Brady Hoke for bolting to Michigan. Hoke was one of the few coaches around who was very honest and upfront about wanting to take his dream job in Ann Arbor. Good for him.

Yet, you cannot help but wish for him to at least given the Aztecs more than two seasons. Take it from a person who plays a lot of EA NCAA College Football, sometimes you want to stay at a place where you have proven that you can win, instead of taking a job that just ruined the reputation of a pretty good football coach.

If you want to bolt from SDSU to the pros as part of the Yasmine Bleeth principal, that makes sense. But why leave the Mountain West for a lesser conference?

Good luck to Hoke, though. He put the Aztecs on the right track. Hopefully Rocky Long can keep the car moving forward.

But enough with college football, except for one quick point. The SEC's run of five BCS titles does not really impress me, considering the teams that its members were playing. The win over Oregon impresses me, however. Congratulations SEC.

However, seeing that this was the first time I have watched Cam Newton play, I am not sure he was the best player in college football. He certainly was not better than Vince Young was as a college player. Seems to me, this was a guy who took advantage of a pretty easy non-conference schedule, an easy SEC schedule, but looked rather ordinary playing against a Pac-10 team.

Admittingly, I have seen Stanford's Andrew Luck play about 20 times, and Newton play once, but Luck is a much better quarterback at this time, and is likely going to be a better pro.

And what's with Auburn's receivers? How come none of them could catch? Oregon's receivers made big plays all over the place, yet the Auburn guys looked pretty average. In fact, I don't know why Auburn even threw that ball. That running back was far more impressive than Newton.

Again, I say this only seeing Newton play one time.

Alright, are we ready for some NFL games? I was a blistering 3-1 last week.

Yeah, I missed three games. Yikes. That won't happen again.

RAVEN at STEELERS: Saw a movie called the Mysteries of Pittsburgh recently. And just like your average Raven vs. Steelers tilt, this movie was plodding, predictable and a bit boring.

And yes, a little bit gay.

Everybody claims that they are clamoring for this matchup, but why? Haven't we seen this a number of times? We are getting close to this turning into the Red Sox vs. the Yankees of the NFL.

At least players on both teams are trying to kill each other, which is nice. And then there was this shirt (via Shutdown Corner):



Well, if you are going to bore us again, at least make it interesting. Pick: Steelers.

PACKERS AT FALCONS: This is the argument for reseeding. The Falcons have to face the hottest team in the NFC right now, instead of the Seahawks who just barely snuck into the playoffs.

That seems about right.

Everybody made sure to point out that Packers QB Aaron Rodgers had something to prove last week, needing to win a playoff game (including me). But Falcons QB Matt Ryan needs to do the same thing. It's not like the Falcons have a long resume of winning, and this team needs to do something.

To be honest, this seems like the NFC Championship Game to me. And the Packers just became a lot more dangerous because of the emergence of RB James Starks who was huge. Pick: Packers.

SEAHAWKS AT BEARS: The masses are starting to reason that the Seahawks are very similar to the Cardinals from two years ago, getting hot at the right time. But Matt Hasselbeck is not Kurt Warner.

Still, there is something about the Bears that concerns me. QB Jay Cutler likes to take a lot of risks when he is at home. Look at the numbers, Cutler throws more interceptions at home than he does on the road (11 to 5) and his passer rating is lower.

Pick: Seahawks (which means they host the NFC Championship Game).

JETS AT PATRIOTS: This is the game that everybody wants to see. Mainly because anytime Boston goes against New York, you come out ahead no matter what.

Here is the thing with the Jets. Thank you for knocking off Gomer and the Colts. America owes you a tremendous thanks. But all of that bluster. Reminds me of when Buddy Ryan took over the Arizona Cardinals back in 1994. He talked about there being a new sheriff in town and blah, blah, blah.

The Cardinals opened the season at Anaheim and the Rams beat them. What a great day that was.

Not sure if Buddy ever made foot fetish videos.

But that notwithstanding, this is a pretty tough game to call. On one hand, you want to pull for the Jets. They remind me of the poor Los Angeles Rams and our plight of being the second fiddle in a major media market watching big brother win a Super Bowl. It sucks.

And Jets fans love to drink.

But the Patriots have one of the original Patron Saints of The Hater Nation, Tom Brady. The team that beat both the Raiders and St. Louis FC in one playoff run. The closest Rams fans will ever come to a Super Bowl until AEG moves them back in 2015. (And if you think they are building a downtown stadium for the Vikings, Raiders or Jaguars, guess again.)

Tough call here, but the pick is: Patriots.

OF COURSE, I will leave all of the Brett Favre's sister is doing meth jokes to the Hatriot and the Bain in the comments, because they will crush it much harder than me.

AND FINALLY ...

I don't believe in karma, but Lebron James losing to the Clippers after calling out Cleveland for having bad karma in losing to the Lakers might make me a believer.

How can James even think that Cleveland should have bad karma. The fact that nobody in Cleveland has put a knife in LeBron's house or burned down his Akron house shows that Cleveland has nothing but good karma.

Karma kills, eh Lebron?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Post Mortem: Harbaugh made the right move



The 49ers got their man, Jim Harbaugh, though history has not been good to college coaches making the leap to the pros. Butch Davis, Nick Saban, Lou Holtz, Mike Riley and Steve Spurrier are just a few of the names that we unable to make the transition to the NFL.

Lane Kiffin might make the list, too, but he doesn't even qualify as a college coach either.

So did Harbaugh make the right move?

He did.

For starters, long-time readers of this space know that I like to invoke the Yasmine Bleeth Rule. In other words, strike while the iron is hot. If Playboy offers you millions to pose, take it. Otherwise, your most famous photo will end up being a mug shot.

And you don't want that.

But maybe more importantly, we get the Harbaugh and Pete Carroll rivalry on the big stage. (Though the NFC West might be a step down from the Pac-10).

We can all agree, however, that this rivalry is just what the NFC West needs. The NFC West has become a punchline and can use a little bit of panache. The NFC West needs more coaches going for the throat in blowout wins, and less sub-.500 division winners, football in domes and John Skelton.

The NFC West needs an attitude era, with a Harbaugh vs. Carroll rivalry to match some of the best in sports — Raiders vs. Chiefs, Lakers vs. Celtics, the Rock vs. Stone Cold.

Unfortunately, Harbaugh was unwilling to bite during his first day on the job.

Harbaugh was asked about Carroll during his introductory press conference, and the new coach danced around the question like Terrell Owens shaking a pair of pom-poms. You know, the last time the 49ers mattered. Instead, Harbaugh just said that he was “excited about tonight.”

Wait, what?

Did he just quote the Black Eyed Peas?

Was this the same Harbaugh who went for a two-point conversion in an attempt to hang 50 points on USC late in a blowout win in 2009? The conversion was no good, but Stanford got another touchdown to beat the Trojans 55-21. Carroll was so beleaguered by the move, he asked Harbaugh “What’s the deal?” as the two shook hands at midfield according to Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle.

To which Harbaugh responded, “What’s your deal?”

Ooh, burn.

This move closed the door on the duo’s rivalry. At least on the college level. Harbaugh’s approach might not have hastened Carroll’s defection to the pros, but it left an indelable mark on Carroll’s college legacy. Carroll even said that he won’t forget the incident.

So we have to ask … Harbaugh, what’s your deal?

Where was that Harbaugh who wasted little time igniting Carroll when you first took the Stanford job in December 2006? The following spring, Harbaugh said that Carroll was only going to last one more season at USC (well, he was close) and then knocked the No. 2 Trojans out of the BCS title race with one of the biggest upsets in college football history in October.

Where was that guy, Harbaugh? Instead, all we got as that you were excited tonight, and you will get to work on beating the NFC West tomorrow. Tomorrow? This is the internet age, we want action now. We want predictions of hanging 50 points on the Seahawks in September.

But that’s o.k. Like they say in football, you don’t want to show all of your plays during the first drive of the game. Hopefully this rivalry will be given some time to grow.

Let it be known, however, there are some high expectations for this.

Just so you know the deal.

SPEAKING OF the Seahawks, look like all of that talk about the reseeding is no longer necessary. The NFL playoffs are fine, people. No need to make any drastic changes. And really, with NFL teams being so close, parity wise, why do we need to make any more changes.

No, we are good. Though, somebody might want to cheer up Falcons WR Roddy White.

The holidays have passed. And for most of us, that meant opening up a present from a distant relative and feigning a fake smile while pulling out a gaudy argyle sweater with matching socks to boot. And most of the time you get a little self-conscious because we don’t have the poker face of Phil Ivey, fearing that everybody can see right through the facade.

Well Falcons, you have been potentially handed a gift, and White, your fake smile is not fooling anybody.

Especially since you got exactly what you wished for.

Moments after the Seahawks’ shocking win, White took to Twitter to feign displeasure that the Falcons and Saints will not have a rubber match in 2010.

“I guess we don’t get to play the defending champs,” White wrote.

Wait, what?

You don’t get to play the defending champs? Weren’t you the same guy who came out yesterday and said that you wanted to play the Seahawks?

“You really don’t want to play a really consistent quarterback or anything like that,” White told reporters. “Does that answer your question?”

Well, White, after watching Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck torch the Saints for four touchdown, you might want to be careful about what you wish for.

THE RUN by Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch which sealed the team's upset win was not the greatest run in playoff history. Please stop trying to say that it is. Nobody will remember that run after the Seahawks are smoked this week.

And for the record, the best run was Marcus Allen, followed by John Riggins. History people. Learn it.

ANYBODY ELSE tired of the Steelers vs. Ravens matchup? This would be much more compelling if these teams were entertaining at all.

But they are not.

AND FINALLY ...

Gomer once again failed in the playoffs. Think of this, Jets QB Mark Sanchez is 3-1 all time in playoff games. Gomer is 9-10. And while it would have been more fitting for Gomer to throw the game-crippling interception to end the Colts' season. But failing to pick up a first down, to keep the clock moving is close enough.

Adam Vinatieri nearly bailed out Gomer. But the clutchness is being sucked down into a vortex.

Have fun watching Tom Brady win a fourth Super Bowl, Gomer. That will never be you. Even Peter King thinks that the window is closing for Gomer.

When the NFL quarterback's biggest Titleist washer is questioning you, well, then maybe it's time to turn the page.

Gomer won't, though. He will take one more huge payday. And he will get insane money to be competitive every year. But this is your future, Colts fan. Though, you should know better than anybody else.

And one other thing. Why do announcers act like Gomer is the only player in the league prepared to play quarterback? Do the other guys not study? Because they act like Gomer is the only person who puts in the extra time.

If that's the case, kids, don't spend so much time studying. Unless you want to be earmarked for middle management.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Weak Ender: Wild Card preview


Hey dummy! What kind of world do we live in where Jaime Pressly cannot find a ride home after she's had a couple of belts?

I weep for America.

And I weep for America is the Eagles and Steelers make it to the Super Bowl. Not because it would not be an awesome game. But do we really want to give those on Mt. Pious the chance to picket the big game.

But what a glorious day it would be for people who make picket signs. Let’s look at this week’s matchups.

Saints at Seahawks: Nobody wants the Seahawks to be in the playoffs, so what better reason to root for Pete Carroll’s squad here? And what’s great, all of those experts who pan Pete’s tenure with the Patriots must now recognize that Carroll returned to the NFL and led his team a divisional crown and the playoffs in the first round.

And yeah, you can point out that the Seahawks were 7-9, and that they might have backed into the playoffs. But stuff happens. I mean, nobody brings up the fact that Gomer’s lone Super Bowl came against Rex Grossman. They just say Gomer, Super Bowl champion. So Pete, congratulations on winning the NFC West.

Even then, there is no way they win here. Pick: Saints

Jets at Colts: Funny, everybody wants to revamp the playoff format because the Seahawks are playing host to the Saints. Nobody cares that the Jets have to travel to Indianapolis despite having a better record than the Colts. Further, nobody cares that Eli Messiah is going to be the head referee today. Or at least he will be on camera enough to fulfill the NFL’s long-standing rule that America must be subjected to the Giants as much as possible.

Hey look, there’s Michael Strahan on a Subway commercial. And Dr. Pepper. And the Good Times Reunion Show.

Anyway, here is what to look for in this game.

Jets RB LaDainian Tomlinson riding an exercise bike. People on NFL.com voted Tomlinson as the running back to make the biggest difference this weekend. They know this is the playoffs right? Although, LT did a great job in helping the Jets win the playoffs last year.

Jets QB Mark Sanchez will make plays that will kill the Jets.

Gomer has his “all-good mode” game, meaning his lights up the Jets. Then we get a week of handies, hearing about how awesome Gomer is. How you can never bet against No. 18 in the playoffs. Blah, blah, blah. At least the team will have to go to Pittsburgh the following week, so we can just see how good he is.

So Gomer gets his one win, once again going over Rex Ryan. Pick: Colts

Ravens at Chiefs: Thankfully they buried this game in the bosom of the 10 a.m. slot for us viewers out here on the West Coast. We can go out, enjoy a nice breakfast and return in time to watch one of those horrible 13-10 games that is not even really that close.

The Chiefs mailed in their Week 17 game, and the impending departure of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis only adds to the drama. The Chiefs are destined to fail.

Or are they? This seems like one of those games where a team is completely written off and everybody is expecting the Ravens to give the Patriots at a good battle in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. But people seem to forget that the Ravens offense sucks.

Like really bad. Wasn’t this supposed to be the year that Joe Flacco finally put it all together? The team finally gave him a receiver to throw to, Anquan Boldin, and what happened? Flacco would make a fine U.S. Marshall because he’s done a great job of making Boldin invisible this season. Flacco has found a way to make him disappear in front of 70,000 spectators each week. This guy is a genius.

And seriously, shouldn't NFL quarterbacks be more handsome?

Call this nothing more than a hunch, but the Chiefs win.

Packers at Eagles: America’s most charming NFL franchise going against one of the most revered quarterbacks in the NFL. Although, when Tucker Carlson starts calling you out, you are on the road to recovery, Michael Vick.

And did you see that recent apology on FOX News? Sean Hannity seemed like the sane one as Tucker was babbling nonsense. What a blow to the people who are still up-in-arms over Vick. Carlson is not the guy they want in the foxhole with him.

But here is the thing about the Packers. This is a team that I liked to win it all. Until everybody decided that they liked them to win it all. Or at least win the NFC championship. When the whole world backs a play like the Packers, that sends out a red light.

The screaming red light that – for most of us – would have flashed when one of our childhood buddies suggested that we should not only stage dog fights, but we should fund other dog fights in other states. Unfortunately, not everybody has that filter.

Still, and I hate to do it, but it’s tough to go against the Packers here. There is a nagging feeling that I am going to be sitting there, on my 10th Harp’s Lager on Sunday night saying, “You see, I knew I should not have picked the Packers.”

But I just don’t like Andy Reid in the playoffs. Not that Mike McCarthy is good at game-management. But he’s Vince Lombardi compared to the baffling decisions that Reid makes.

Begrudgingly, the pick is the Packers. And I will say this. A win, and they are going to the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers needs to get over that hump, and once he does, he will be unstoppable. Because the Packers defense is really that good. And Kurt Warner proved two years ago that you don’t need to run to get to the Super Bowl.

And finally …

How soon do you believe it is going to be before TMZ releases tapes of Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco – fueled on Red Bull/cranberry – leaving a profanity-laced tirade on Marvin Lewis that would make Charlie Sheen, Alec Baldwin and Mel Gibson chagrined?

Ochocinco certainly can’t get over the fact that coach Lewis threw called him mopey and “threw him under the bus,” telling Sporting News Radio that he is not sure if he could play for Marvin Lewis and the Bengals next year (via Sports Radio Interviews).

“I have nothing to say about that. I’m not the owner of the team. My hands are out of that situation. The only thing I can remember, as of right now, about Coach Lewis, is Coach Lewis throwing me under the bus. When it was time to play the Chargers, knowing that I was hurt. That’s the only thing I can remember at this point.

“I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know. To say some of the things that have been said in the past, for some reason, when I was especially down. When you look for support, it’s always got to come from the one higher up. For the one higher up to say the things he said, it really hurt. I don’t see myself really feeling [that].”

Well, good news for you, Chad, nobody wants you back. Turns out those diva receivers aren’t exactly in high demand right now. The Bengals are doing well with Jordan Shipley and Jerome Simpson. I’m not sure if you saw that game you are referring to, but QB Carson Palmer had the game of his life and he looked much better than he had in years.

And what are you complaining about anyway? The Bengals have treated you right. Hopefully Ochocinco goes to the Colts next year, and Gomer can treat 85 the same way he treats WR Austin Collie.

Hall of Lame


It’s difficult to be original in anything you write, analyze, or observe. I remember a time in my teens when Keith Olbermann and Craig Kilborn were my heroes the same as Magic or Gretzky. The reason KO and Kilby were great is that they were showmen just like the athletes and they were original. They made me want to watch and ultimately want be one of them. Unfortunately, they bred a generation of anchors who had more catchphrases than Randy “Macho Man” Savage, which made me change the channel for about ten years.
That brought to my attention a few thoughts that while unseasonal, are still true and help get through this baseball-less winter.

I just watched the 1960 World Series Game 7 that aired on MLB Network over the holidays. Having Mel Allen and Bob Prince on the call while they were the play by play men for the Yankees and Pirates, respectively, was tremendous. It gave it a different feel than someone having to look in a media guide during the World Series to figure out what the initials C.C. stand for.

Unfortunately, in 2011, the enthusiasm for all of these games has a consistently disingenuous tone to it. You have lead network play-by-play men for MLB (To quote the late, great Jim Healy, I’m not going to mention any names, but his initials are JB…. JB) admitting they aren’t interested in the game they are calling. What a joke.

For a change, why not be logical and do what they did in the 50’s and 60’s and have the two teams share the national radio and television broadcasting for the playoffs and World Series. That way, America gets to hear from broadcast teams who have a genuine interest in what is happening, knowledge of the teams playing and maybe, more than anything, give the public a variety that will add just a touch of that city and team to each broadcast. Wouldn’t that make the game more compelling for the viewer? Wouldn’t the drama of the game, as called by the home broadcaster give more depth to each big play? I know that one of the first things I listen for in highlights of special games is the radio or TV call of the home team. The only exception to this would be anything that makes us listed to John Sterling.
At the very least, give the viewer the option. If we can have five NASCAR pay per view channels that allow us to listen to Carl Edwards’ pit crew for 500 miles, can’t we have an alternate audio option for the freakin’ World Series.

Wednesday’s baseball hall of fame vote was about what everyone expected. Congrats to Bert Blyleven for being good enough to finally make the hall of fame. 287 wins means it takes you 14 tries to get in. The holier-than-thou BBWAA has played God for long enough. Ron Santo died before he could make it in the hall of fame because these writers can’t take the responsibility seriously at all. B.J. Surhoff got a vote with Don Mattingly and Tino Martinez on the same ballot. This same writer didn't vote for anyone else…. No Blyleven….no Alomar….no Mondesi. He must have a stack of those Surhoff 1987 Topps “Future Stars” cards.

I think the big debate that will satiate baseball geeks like me for the next twelve months will be whether Jack Morris and Barry Larkin will get in. I think you have the two best at their position (apologies to Ozzie Smith, but Larkin was a better hitter) in their era… should be a no brainer. I think the guy that people will start to rally around in the next few years will be Tim Raines. Without attacking the stats, Tim Raines has better stats than Lou Brock (higher OBP, more RBI, same runs, better SB success rate) with almost the same amount of plate appearances and probably would already be in if he didn’t play in the same era as Rickey Henderson. Plus he was nicknamed Rock before Dwayne Johnson…. That counts for something, right?
Right?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Raiders Hate Winning



The Raiders once lived by a motto that winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. But now I believe that Al Davis has become so accustomed to losing, that he actually fears winning. Do you supposed that Davis’ untreated syphilis has become so bad that winning scares him. Like an NFL version of Stockholm Syndrome.

Must be spending too much time with Bengals owner Mike Brown. Or Daniel Snyder. Or Jerry Jones.

This is the only possible explanation as to why the Raiders would fire coach Tom Cable.

The Raiders were not only competitive this season, they swept the AFC West, going 6-0 and were the main reason why the Chargers are not going to the playoffs this year. The Raiders finished 8-8, breaking a streak of seven seasons when the team lost at least 11 games.

Apparently that is a fire-able offense in Oakland these days.

And Cable was the perfect Raiders coach. He looked like the fans that tailgated in the parking lot. He punched assistant coaches. Everything about him exuded the Raiders.

Well, except for that winning part. That was too much for Davis to stomach.

The Raiders are expected to promote offensive coordinator Hue Jackson to head coach. Well, they had better hurry. Jackson is already interviewing with the 49ers today. And because of the Rooney Rule that requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate, Jackson could become a hot name in the coaching world.

That would really be the best possible scenario. The Raiders fire the coach who actually got them on the right track, and their hot-name coordinator crosses the bay to go to San Francisco.

In other words, enjoy Marc Trestman.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Greetings from Shermer


THN would like to welcome our newest contributor. Like the namesake, he may be a onetime lightning strike and disappear into carpentry. But we, here at THN certainly hope not. Please make him feel at home by picking apart his every word and destroying his fragile ego. Ladies and gentlemen, Jake Ryan.

Thanks very much and it is a pleasure to be part of such a distinguished site that can, like so many other sites, serve as an outlet to the angry sports/pop culture fan. Getting started on one of these things is a bit difficult so I just thought about the things I will be following as we move into 2011.



Each night before I go to sleep, I pray to the baseball gods for the return to prominence of the Los Angeles Angels. I am going to focus on baseball a lot here, especially once we get to spring training, but as a lifelong Halo fan, I am not sure if I am more frustrated with the Angels for trying to be a big player in the free agent marked and not succeeding or the ridiculous fans who think magically they will be able to trade Brandon Wood and Reggie Willits for Justin Upton. These are people who didn’t live through Donnie Moore, Mo Vaughn falling in the dugout, Junior Noboa, periwinkle and let’s not even talk about 1995. Mike Scioscia will build the 2011 team with pitching and defense. Plus, there is no way that the team will hit as poorly with runners on as they did in 2010. Getting Wood and the 1st base revolving door out of the lineup will improve that immensely. I say 91 wins… hopefully good enough to win the West. Much more to talk about this franchise in the coming weeks and months.

I expect to witness the assault of Joel Meyers on live TV in the next 12 months. One of these nights, when the Lakers are playing one of their typical uninspired games on the road in February, Joel is going to say the wrong thing about Lamar Odom or Andrew Bynum and Stu Lantz is finally going to snap. I, for one, cannot wait. This all comes back to Joel calling Kobe the “greatest Laker of them all” to get himself some press. Mission accomplished. You are the Steve Physioc of the Lakers.

I really hope hockey getting back to its rightful place in the Southern California sports landscape. I am hoping that a deep playoff run by the Kings will give the most loyal fan base in SoCal the exposure it so richly deserves. Do yourself a favor, check that team out. For those of you not familiar with hockey, it’s played on skates, mostly indoors and…. Never mind.

This 18 game schedule for the NFL… hmmm. Steve DeBerg, Vinny Testaverde, Vince Evans… warm those arms up fellas, this will be an over 50 league by week 17. I for one would like to see the fantasy football chaos that will cause.

If anything bad happens to a New England sports athlete, I will consider it a successful year. Now that Bobby Jenks is a Red Sox, there is a much better chance of this happening. I wonder if it he can break any bar fight records in that town.

A couple of recommendations from a father of two who doesn’t get to the theatre, I finally got to see Inception and The Town over the holidays. Two pretty impressive movies. By now, I am able to watch movies that take place in Boston because I survived 90 minutes of Fever Pitch, plus, what red blooded American male doesn’t love Jon Hamm... I mean Blake Lively.

Inception was just terribly intriguing to me. That kid who was on Growing Pains was tremendous. Alan Thicke taught him everything he knows.

I hope that I will be accepted as part of the THN family. It is just as great now as it was before the internet when I got it each Monday in my mailbox back in the late 70s and I am honored to be part of it today.

Happy Birthday Samantha.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Hello McLean: Turner is doing it right

Greetings, it's your old pal McLean Stevenson here, the king of career choices. Being the king allows me to make fun of other people who are making bigger mistakes than I ever did. Or praise the ones who are getting it right.

This is the part where I would link back to my own personal blog. But I don't update my own blog because I have a life.

Just kidding. It's because I'm dead, people. How do you still not get this?


Chargers coach Norv Turner is smarter than all of us. This is his world, and I am just a part of it.

It is Black Monday in the NFL, with many coaches losing their job. Some call it a tragedy. Yes, a tragedy that these coaches making millions will be paid to not work, and then resurface in the NFL as a coordinator down the road.

NFL coaches have a safety net. Not like actors. To be a great actor, you need to take a risk. That will rise you to greatness. When I took a chance on a pilot called M*A*S*H , I was rewarded for being on one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. The Packers of television if you will.

Although, that willingness to take a risk can also cost you, too. Something I learned when I left M*A*S*H to star in my own vehicle, Hello Larry.

Which was the Lombardi to the Redskins of television.

And people wonder why I got into weekly fist fights at the Brown Derby.

The point is, Turner has figured this all out. He knows that being a risk-taker is for suckers. All you have to do is be as banal as possible, and you have a job for life. At least in San Diego.

That kind of (rhymes with bit) gets you fired in Cleveland. If you ask me, struggling with the rebuilding Browns for two years is far less serious than taking a Super Bowl caliber team and missing the 2010 playoffs.

Yet, Turner has survived Black Monday.

Turner was brought in because the Chargers were not content with just making the playoffs, owner Dean Spanos wanted the team to win games in the playoffs. Turner led the Chargers to the AFC Championship Game in 2007. Since that time, the Chargers have reached the postseason twice in the last three years, and have lost three of their last four playoff games.

That is progress?

Even if you think that Marty Schottenheimer was not the answer (and if losers like Tony Dungy can win a Super Bowl, you can never convince me that Marty would not have), Turner certainly is not, either.

That exam is over, Chargers fans. You did not pass.

Spanos has said that he places a value on his coach and general manager getting along. So the Chargers have gone from wanting a coach to win games in the playoffs to just having a coach who the G.M. likes? Good luck selling this to public as you try to get your new stadium funded.

But give credit to Turner, who is almost the perfect coach. His offense is certainly fun to watch. Turner doesn’t call out his players. He doesn’t feud with the owner. His players don’t get arrested.

Well, two out of three isn’t bad. At least his wife isn’t making soft-core porn.

The point is, if you dare to be mediocre in the NFL, you have a job for life in San Diego. If the Chargers were a TV show, they would be According to Jim. A rather milk toast, non-offensive, non-descript team that does not offend white people.

Sitting here, I wish I would have taken the Turner career path. Or at least not let them kill my character off M*A*S*H

Sunday, January 02, 2011

The Post Mortem: Congrats to the Seahawks



There was a small part of me rooting for St. Louis FC to win the NFC West. If for nothing else, to quiet all of the hand-wringing media so concerned about a team with a losing record winning its division. Which, of course, will change the entire playoff landscape for years to come.

Get over it, Ds.

Funny, when it's the Seahawks playing host to the Saints in the playoffs, it is an outrage. Yet, nobody seems to mind that the Jets had a better record than the Colts, but Mark Sanchez and company are heading to Indianapolis next week.

That is about right.

Listen, you cannot change the format of the playoffs because one wacky 7-9 team won its division. If you want to do that, eliminate the divisions and just have conferences. But if you do that, my might as well eliminate conferences and just play a 31-game round-robin tournament.

Or maybe you can have the media vote to see who the best two teams are and put them in the Super Bowl.

It's one year, people. Get over it.

And honestly, I hope the Seahawks go over the Saints. The Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game would be cool. No, hosting the championship game. That would be awesome.

DO YOU think that Giants fans are going to hysterical that their team did not make the playoffs after finishing higher than the Seahawks? Probably not. The Giants fans seem to realize that the Giants screwed the Giants.

If New York could have held on to a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter against Philadelphia, this is an entirely different playoffs.

But real quick, suck it Eli.

THE COLTS are suddenly the hottest team in the NFL. But how come nobody points out that the Colts play in the weakest division outside of the NFC West? Yes, the AFC South is worse than the AFC West.

Yet the media seems to believe that Gomer has put the Colts on his back and they are riding to the playoffs.

That is not 100 percent accurate.

Gomer has benefited from playing against one of the weakest division schedules and his team soon will be exposed in the playoffs. But please, let the Colts beat the Jets so the Gomer-lover can be at a fever pitch as the team heads into Pittsburgh in two weeks.

And then we can all laugh as the Colts and Gomer crumble outside in the cold Pittsburgh snow.

HAD A hard time rooting for Texas Christian. On one hand, you wanted to pull for the Horned Frogs to win for all of the other non-AQ schools. But at the same time, you really wish that TCU had stayed in the Mountain West to help that conference earn an automatic bid.

The Mountain West would have had a great case coming off the heels of TCU's win, and Utah's demolishing of Alabama a few years ago.

Oh, and I guess Alabama cares about bowl games again. When the Utes smoked them in the Sugar Bowl, the SEC apologists claimed that Alabama was just going through the motions. Those same morons are now trumpeting the SEC's wins over the Big Ten in the bowl games over the weekend.

Even though that was a rough time for the Big Ten.

TOUGH BREAK for Eric Mangini, that defense in Cleveland was starting to come around, but the last few weeks pretty much ended it for him. Do the Browns go with John Fox? This should be pretty interesting. At least Jake Delhomme and Fox can be reunited again.

And as much as this pains me to say, but the Raiders would be making a bad move to dismiss coach Tom Cable. The players gave their vote of confidence in a huge win over the Chiefs.

AND WHAT'S the story with Eagles QB Kevin Kolb? In a tryout for other NFL teamas, he looked awful. He wants to be a starter in the league, right?

The Eagles might have had nothing to play for on Sunday, but a great showing by Kolb could have made him an attractive option to a quarterback starved team like the 49ers, Cardinals or Redskins. Though, you get the feeling that the Redskins would not be a willing trade partner with the Eagles anymore, considering how well that whole Donovan McNabb thing worked out for them.

The most astonishing part of this Eagles game is that there was a point in time where the Eagles were going to forge ahead with Kolb. Make no mistake, the Eagles would still be playing in a meaningless game in Week 17 if Kolb was the starting quarterback. The only difference is that the Eagles would be on the golf course next week if Kolb had held on to his job.

THANK YOU to Chargers RB Ryan Mathews for showing up for the 2010 NFL season. You were about a week late, pally.

PLAYOFF PREDICTION is coming on The Weak Ender. But I'm am leaning towards the Patriots and Packers right now, though I do vow to take my time.

AND FINALLY ...

Kudos to the Falcons for dousing owner Arthur Blank with a Gatorade bath after the Falcons clinched the top seed in the NFC.

Not for the bath itself, mind you. The whole Gatorade bath has not only become cliched, but it increasingly dangerous as these coaches get older, or have health problems. Seriously, University of Florida players, you are going to give a Gatorade bath to a coach who is retiring because of a heart issue? Urban Meyer‘s family likely held their collective breath after that.

But no, the Falcons deserve credit for having RB Michael Turner and WR Roddy White administer the cascade. You see, if your owner gets drenched by two of the team’s biggest stars, he laughs.

If Blank turns around and sees John Parker Wilson and Antone Smith holding the bucket, well, there could be no hot water at the team’s training facility this week.