Monday, February 28, 2011

The Post Mortem: There was an award show on?

The Bain, as usually, nailed it when he said that nobody is interested in watching an awards show that doesn't involve Ricky Gervais. Although, for me, I have never watched the show since the 1980s when it used to compete with the NCAA championship game in hoops.

Based on the reports, however, it does not sound like I missed much.

But if Gervais did host the Academy Awards, then I might have to reverse my field.

ONE MORE Oscars note ... is Anne Hathaway legitimately hot. Or is she only viewed this way because she's famous. Let's get some reaction to that.

LOOKS LIKE Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is enjoying his post-Super Bowl riches. Our pal Larry Brown reports that Rodgers has been linked to Jessica Szohr, Stacy Keibler and Mila Knuis.

In other words, he's quickly moving past Tom Brady in this category.

And with the way the Packers are built, Rodgers is going to challenge The Bish in terms of the amount of strange that he is going to be able to pull.

NOT SURE if you caught this poor bastard, but this male cheerleader could have cost Louisville the game against Pittsburgh. From the Yahoo! blog, the Dagger, you can check out the video here.

But the gist, a male cheerleader grabbed the ball when he thought the game was over. But there was five-tenths of a second left. So that was a technical foul on Louisville. Pittsburgh converted the two free throws and just missed a three-point attempt to tie the game.

Louisville considered punishing the cheerleader, but then they remembered that he is a male cheerleader.

AND FINALLY ...

Oil prices are down, gas prices are up. Yeah, that makes sense.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Weak Ender: Who should you pick?



The NFL scouting world will spend a lot of time watching dudes in underwear this week trying to figure out who to pick. Looks like Brooklyn Decker has made her selection.

I HAVE a bone to pick with the combine. What a seemingly useless exercise. Sure it's fun to see guys in shorts run the 3-cone drill, compete in the bench press and exhibit their hops. But does any of this really translate to football?

Oh, who can forget that one Super Bowl that hinged on how quickly a linebacker could run the shuttle drill. The Steelers would have two more titles if Rashard Mendenhall's vertical was a little better. Or if James Harrison was faster in the 3-cone drill.

So how about some combine drills that would really translate to the NFL game we have come to know and love?

Presenting the top six combine drills we would like to see.

6. Gatorade dump
The bench press is nice, but today's NFL players need to show the muscle memory to properly lift a Gatorade bucket and dump it over their respective coach's head. Too many times you see a player not get the lift needed to properly execute this move, and instead, you get a coach's backside drenched instead of a full soaking. So have prospects compete to see who can execute the most Gatorade dumps in two minutes.

Of course, this skill might not be important to some teams like the Browns or Bills.

5. Chest bumping/towel waving
Fringe NFL prospects often save their NFL careers because of their performance on special teams. But a player also could make a long-term impact chest-bumping a star player as he's coming off the field. But you have to make sure that a player could actually get the height required to make this move. Like look at the Vikings mascot Ragnar in this video (about the minute mark) ... that is why he never made it to the NFL.

Also, players who wave towels have a valuable impact on NFL team's, too. Do you think it was Aaron Rodgers' rocket arm that won Super Bowl XLV? Nah, it was the guys who waved towels on the bench to fire up the crowd. Have your would-be NFL star wave a towel for five minutes to see who has the stamina to take it to the next level.

4. Baseball cap wearing
The majority of these quarterbacks going through the combine are not going to be NFL starters. Well, unless they go to the Cardinals or Panthers because it seems that every quarterback on those rosters got a chance last year. But you want to make sure your quarterback knows how to wear that baseball cap. Throw your quarterback prospect a cap and see how he wears it. Does he go for the classic look? Or does he go with the lame backwards cap deal? The Panthers could have saved themselves a lot of heartache if they had seen this.

3. End zone celebration
You don't think having the proper end zone celebration is important? Then you have obviously never seen this video. You can actually make this a very noteworthy combine drill on NFL Network by having Paula Abdul and Hugh Jackman judge the participants. I smell ratings gold.

2. Tweeting
You can't be an NFL player without a Twitter account. But can your prospect take it to the next level. Hand a player a computer and a new Twitter account and time how fast it will take him to alienate his teammates and also tumble down draft boards. Maybe the first question could be, how do you feel about team photos?

1. Pick up a Kardashian
Well it seems like any professional athlete can land a Kardashian. But an NBA champion ends up with Khloe. An NFL champion takes Kim. Does your prospect have what it takes to make it?

AND FINALLY ...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Post Mortem: Stop Talking Cam

Cam Newton showed that he wants to do the right thing this week when he announced that he was going to be full-participation at the combine. He says he wants to be transparent.

Great, maybe he should open his father's bank account, so we have some transparency.

One thing however, is really transparent, he needs to stop participating in interviews.

Newton has managed to erase nearly all of the good-will he amassed with his combine decision in a pair of interviews with Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King and Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel.

Newton told King that “I see myself not only as a football player, but an entertainer and icon.”

So did Matt Leinart. So did Reggie Bush. Hell, so did LeBron James. Now he’s one of the most despised players in all of professional sports. Hey Cam, if somebody asks you to do a “Decision”-like television show, date a Kardashian or invite some coeds to hang out in your jacuzzi, you might want to pass on that.

Maybe tell your prospective employers that you want to be an NFL quarterback, first.

Newton then told Wetzel (via Twitter), “not to sound arrogant but what I did in 1 year others couldn’t do in their entire collegiate careers.”

Funny, any time somebody starts as sentence with “not to sound arrogant,” it can’t sound anything but. Kind of like saying, “Don’t take this wrong way, but.”

And don’t take this the wrong way, Cam, your recent interviews make you sound like your decision-making ability hasn’t risen past the whole, “hey, maybe nobody will notice if I take this laptop” level you displayed at Florida. And if you think that NFL scouts and executives don’t look at this stuff, guess again.

Ryan Leaf was thought to have better tools than Peyton Manning. But Leaf reportedly blew his interview with the Colts when he told the team he was going to celebrate being drafted by taking his buddies to Las Vegas.

And even if you feel that way, you should be smart enough to know better.

You are just costing yourself money, Cam. Hopefully you have saved all of those dollars that you earned at Auburn.

THE NBA All-Star Game was here in Los Angeles, and in honor of that, I came up with the best basketball players in the NFL. Who do you have?

6. Antwaan Randle El
This spot was originally reserved for Donovan McNabb, who spent two seasons as a reserve guard at Syracuse. But, in concert with coach Mike Shanahan, conditioning is going to be an issue. So the nod goes to Randle El, who played under coach Bob Knight at Indiana. Don’t agree? Well, ask yourself this question: If you were playing pickup and had to chose between McNabb and Randle El, who would you pick?

5. Terrell Owens
Owens played at Tennessee-Chattanooga, and he has gained some juice by playing in all of those celebrity games. He also had a brief stint in the U.S. Basketball League, but yeah, enough said about that.

4. Jimmy Graham
Graham was never much of a scorer, but he was a keen rebounder and one of the top shot blockers during his career at the University of Miami. In fact, Graham ranks eighth in school history in blocks (108). You need to give love for those role-playing guys like Graham, and you can bet he would take most of the current NFL stars one-on-one.

3. Julius Peppers
Peppers was a sixth-man for a pretty good basketball program. You might have heard of it — North Carolina. Peppers averaged 7.1 points and four rebounds per game off the bench, which isn’t bad. But for the athleticism, you would probably like to see some better rebounding numbers.

2. Tony Gonzalez
Gonzalez averaged 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds for California during his junior season, as the Golden Bears advanced all the way to the Sweet 16 in 1997. Gonzalez is one of the more celebrated former hoops players-turned NFL players, and he has shown that he can still get up while dunking footballs over a goal posts after he scores. But he doesn’t get the top spot here.

1. Antonio Gates
You might have never heard this before if you have ever watched a Chargers game on television, but Gates played basketball at Kent State. Oh, that’s right, it’s the only thing they ever talk about. Gates and the Golden Flashes advanced to the Elite 8 in 2002, while he averaged 16 points per game. He averaged 20.6 points per game the following year. Yeah, this is a no-doubter.

AND FINALLY ...

Blake Griffin knows how to dunk. But do you want to know which dunk was the best?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Weak Ender: The case for beards



The Super Bowl has created many one-hit wonders during the years — Redskins RB Timmy Smith,Raiders LB Jack Squirek and the undercover cop who took down Eugene Robinson the night before Super Bowl XXXIII.

Maybe even the crack pipe that took down Stanley Wilson.

And this year, another star was born — Brett Keisel‘s beard.

In a Super Bowl without a lot of drama -- really, the biggest story was who was going to be in a team photo or some lineman's ankle? -- Keisel's beard really carried the load.

In fact, this much attention has not been given to a beard since Nicole Kidman left Tom Cruise.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that Keisel will shave his beard for charity.

Before that beard is shaved however, a word of advice to Keisel. Are you crazy man? Shaving that beard is going to be box office death. The beard is your moneymaker. Did BJ (Greg Evigan) ever work after he ditched the Bear? Did David Hasselhoff thrive when he ditched the sand and silicon in Santa Monica? The Hoff didn’t make headlines again until he started eating cheeseburgers off a tile floor. And if the references to 80s TV shows doesn’t get to you, how about the narrative of Samson?

Do you really want any of that, Brett?

But you can’t blame Keisel for wanting to raise money for UPMC’s Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Not only is this a worthy cause, Keisel can finally use the Christmas present his wife gave him — a new razor.

So what says you, who in the NFL had the best beard of all-time?

Besides Jeff Garcia.

The real answer is not Merlin Olsen or even Dan Fouts. But does anybody remember that kid who used to participate in those Punt, Pass and Kick competitions back in the early 1990s? Dude looked like Franco Harris. That 12-year-old had the best beard going.

Anybody remember that?

THE LAKERS losing to the Cavs once again reminds me why I spend absolutely no time watching regular-season NBA basketball. The NFL is telling everybody that the fans want an 18-game season.

Well, the fans don't.

The only sport that should be considering an 18-game season is the NBA.

And for the record, I was once in the camp of the 18-game NFL season, but now I have no only reversed my field like Marcus Allen in the Super Bowl, how about a 14-game season again?

Eliminate the Pro Bowl, and maybe add an extra round to the playoffs. Move the season ending to early January. And to make up for the extra money, just charge the networks even more money. Trust me, since I got a DVR, the only TV worth watching live is sporting events.

And even that is almost not true anymore.

THE KINGS make me want to watch regular-season hockey, however. I still cannot commit to watching every game, but it's become appointment viewing on the weekend. Although, I did watch the Kings vs. Rangers on Thursday, highlighted by a 3-on-3 situation in overtime. Man, it was wild.

Hockey gets it. Too bad more people don't.

AND FINALLY ...

The biggest story in sports this week has been the return of The Rock to the WWF (sic -- sorry, hippies, it will always be that to me). The news sent waves around the world. Not only was The Rock trending on Twitter, but so was his alter-ego, Dwayne Johnson. That, my friends, takes star power.

And it got me thinking: Is there anybody in the NFL who possesses The Rock’s charisma? I mean, he's a megastar, like the Hugh Jackman of wrestling.

Some might say Chad Ochocinco, but that doesn’t really work, mainly because The Rock was once a champion. Sorry to Terrell Owens and Steve Smith South, because they, too, are out in that case.

A case could be made for Hines Ward. He’s a two-time champion, blurs the line between heel and fan-favorite, plus he has been known to lay down the smack on opposing defensive players. A strong candidate.

Then there is Clay Matthews who, much like The Rock, is a third-generation superstar in his sport. And like The Rock, Matthews does have that Hall of Fame bloodline.

Still, that seems kind of off. You might have to go back to Warren Sapp -- who was a college teammate of The Rock at the University of Miami -- to find a person who fits.

But what about the rest? Here are the top six current NFL player to WWE superstar comparisons going. (And before you start, yes, this is the kind of mindless fun we will be enjoying until football kicks off again.)

6. Ochocinco/The Miz
The Miz goes by a goofy nickname and spends most of his time telling people how awesome he is instead of actually proving it. Yeah, I would say that fits. And really, can't you see 85 wearing this shirt? Though by always taking a backseat to T.O., he might be more Alex Riley.

5. Ray Lewis/Triple H
Triple H is known as "The Game." He is the king of kings, and he calls all of the shots. And while Lewis might not be married to the boss’s daughter, he certainly carries that kind of respect with every NFL player.

4. Aaron Rodgers/Edge
At first it seemed like Philip Rivers might be a good match with Edge. But Rivers prides himself on never working blue when he talks trash to opponents. Not quite a "Rated R Superstar" at all. So give Rodgers the nod here, because not only do he and Edge wear the same belt, Matthews helped deliver the title for both.

3. Drew Brees/Daniel Bryan
Both Brees and Bryan were once derided as being far too small to make it with the big boys. Both were able to overcome the odds to be champions of their profession. Who has the last laugh now?

2. Peyton Manning/John Cena
Manning and Cena are middle America’s dream -- clean-cut, bad hairdos, but they make good commercials (although it seems that only children can take their sugary goodness). And both are the face of their respective industries right now, even though most discerning adults root against them.

1. Brett Favre/Ric Flair
Hall of Famers for sure, but both should have hung it up a long, long time ago.

Also receiving votes: Rivers/CM Punk; Jay Cutler/Zack Ryder.

What do you have?

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Post Mortem: I don't want the ball



Trying to get into the mind of LeBron James here and I am imaging that he is thinking, "They can't throw me the ball if I have my hands on my hips."

That has to be it, right? Because I have never seen a superstar -- or at least one who staged his own television show to take his talents to Miami -- try to get rid of the ball as quickly as he does in crunch time.

Well, maybe Gomer. But in fairness to LeBron, he at least gave the ball to a member of his own team instead of throwing the game-crippling interception.

So he's got that.

But somehow, I don't believe that this dream-team was going to rely on Mike Miller for its potential game-saving shots. I mean, I would rather take my chances with Miller instead of LeBron, but it seems strange for LeBron to not even want to take the shot. A guy with confidence would have at least tried to force the shot.

And this is what is really making the NBA entertaining these days. I can take or leave a regular-season Lakers game. In fact, I was busy watching the Kings shutout the Flyers on Sunday to bother with the Lakers game. But watching the Heat meltdown is kind of funny. Especially when you consider that the worse choke jobs are yet to come.

Is there a chance that the Heat could lose in the first round? Man, the NBA really messed up by going five games in the first round. That's just terrible.

MY MAN, the Reverend made a good point this weekend when he pointed out that the Pro Bowl used to be a good letdown from the NFL season. The NFL version of methadone if you will. But going from Super Bowl to nothing just seems a bit strange. Yet, there was so much burnout from football, maybe going cold turkey is the way to go.

YOU HAVE to admire Rex Ryan, though, for keeping his team in the news by announcing that the Jets are going to win the Super Bowl next year. Though, you cannot really believe him until that sentence is also followed with the news that Mark Sanchez has been released.

Sanchez has to really love playing football in New Jersey where the age of consent is only 16. But come on, the Jets have gone from Broadway Joe to Bieber Fever Sanchez.

Too soon?

Too young?

AND FINALLY ...

Vikings DE Ray Edwards has announced that he will turn to boxing in the event of a lockout. And the good news here is that he just has to last, say, 40 seconds in the ring to be more of a success than Johnnie Morton. So go get 'em!

Enjoy the day.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Weak Ender: Where has she been?




What a bummer week for those who were looking forward to the Pro Bowl. Sorry folks, it has already been played. What a bummer.

But since we are here, where have they been hiding Sarah Shahi? A former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader that has floated around nearly anonymously -- at least to me -- until she popped up on one of those USA shows.

Wow.

I don't know what this show will be about, but I will never miss an episode.

TURNS OUT A-Rod was upset that the cameras caught him being feed popcorn by Cameron Diaz and the Yankees slugger is kind of pissed about it. And you can certainly see his point. I wouldn't want anybody to know that I was sleeping with Cameron Diaz, either.

I don't mean to say that A-Rod could pull a Sarah Shahi because, well, she seems to have a brain in her bleeping head. But surely there has to be some bubbleheaded Hollywood bimbo who would be willing to fill that role.

Is Eliza Dusku still dating Rick Fox?

Really, there was no celebrity couple that was better than A-Rod and Yoko Hudson. I am still rooting for those kids to get back together. Because there was not a more contemptible duo since Melissa Rivers started tagging along with her mother on the red carpet.

Oh, and I guess it turns out that A-Rod had reportedly told FOX producers to stop putting him on TV. Well, Alex. There certainly is a way that could have kept you off the radar. You could have just stayed home.

But wait, how could put your mug on that big screen? And pitty for those in Dallas who had to see that stuff on Jerry Jones' giant TV screen. Those folks are the ones who deserve the refunds.

HAVE NOT had the chance to talk about the Pro Football Hall of Fame, yet.

The announcement for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s new class is kind of tricky because as we celebrate the current class, we have to talk about those who did not make it.

And you end up feeling like Adam Baldwin’s character in Independence Day who is cheering after they finally defeated the aliens but runs into Russell Case’s kid, and has to console him before then finding a young lady to make out with during your celebration.

So congratulations to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011. I don't really have some glarring problems. I am happy that Ed Sabol got in. Those ingrate players should realize just how important the Sabols were to the development of the NFL.

But here are some guys who deserve to be enshrined next year –- and with a shallow class of first-time eligible players and coaches next year (Bill Parcells maybe?) many of the guys who just-missed this year could be in line next year.

So here are six guys I would put in the Class of 2012:

6. Sterling Sharpe
Hall of Fame WR James Lofton said that Sharpe was one of the most dominant players at his position and would have challenged Jerry Rice’s numbers had he stayed healthy. And there is some truth there. I would put him in much the same vein as Gale Sayers, who was voted in. And I consider him way more worthy than Cris Carter and Tim Brown -- dependable but not great receivers.

5. Andre Reed
Reed would be in the Hall of Fame if not for Scott Norwood’s miss. But the Bills were dominant and with Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas already in, having Reed makes a lot of sense.

4. Terrell Davis
Somehow, Davis has fallen through the cracks because of the length of his career. To me, a Hall of Famer should have dominated at his position, even if it was just for a short time. Too many times, writers get enthralled with guys who hung around for a long time and only put up good numbers, not great numbers. Right, Tim Brown?

3. Willie Roaf
It is always hard for the layperson to really judge offensive linemen and what they meant to the game. But when you talk to former players and coaches, they all seem to be very high on Roaf. In fact, Dick Vermeil cried while talking about him recently. Well, I guess he cries for everybody.

2. Charles Haley
Nobody has more rings than Haley, yet he continues to be on the outside looking in. Haley was a major contributor on two dynasties, and not surprisingly, both dynasties declined once he left. What is the deal here?

1. Jim Plunkett
After Plunkett, name one other two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks who is not in the Hall of Fame. Oh wait, you can’t. There aren’t any. I smell a Facebook page coming.

And finally ...

The Lakers won the title! The Lakers won the title!

Alright, no Lakers fan truly feels that way. But my friend Danny sent that text over last night have America defeated the Celtics, saying that he wanted to feel like a bitter Chowd.

Only one thing to say about that ... America!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Alright, I do have something to say



I am not sure if I was more disappointed in the Black Eyed Peas halftime performance or with the way Fergie looks in person. Exotic is one way to describe it. Not attractive would be another way.

CM Punk said it best when he noted that it was good to see Axl Rose and Slash put away their differences and come together in the Super Bowl halftime show.

Speaking of bad face lifts, Jerry Jones has to be pissed about the way the Cowboys Super Bowl came off. Not only did his Cowboys flame out this season, this Super Bowl was an unmitigated disaster. No other way to explain it.

Actually, Nick Bakay really nailed him here.

The practice facility collapsed and ruined lives. Now huge chunks of ice slide off the new crib's roof and people are hospitalized. Then the fire marshal ruins the day for paying customers who flew a long way to get there … time for Jerry Jones to stop shopping for free agents and hire some new engineers.

And thanks again to Jake Ryan for filling in with the post below. Please enjoy that.

The Dead Zone is coming

Now that Aaron Rodgers has won the World Heavyweight Championship, what are any of us going to do between now and 2014, when the next NFL season begins


Typically, I am not one to plan ahead, but here is what should be on all of our "to do" lists in the coming weeks/months:


1. Check out Jimmer Fredette. The 43 he planted on the Aztecs not only cemented him as the next "great white hope," but gave the Mountain West (near and dear to this website's heart) some national pub. It also gave us the potential of a March Madness explosion the likes of which we haven't seen since Wally Szcerbiak dropped 43 on Washington in 1999.

2. Be excited that pitchers and catchers report. Whether the world likes it or not, this is the last week of no baseball until November.

3. Netflix something. Yes, I used Netflix as a verb. Take the time to watch The Wire if you missed it the first time around. I swear you will want to name your next child Stringer Bell. Also, find a way to watch Arrested Development if you haven't yet. It actually makes Archer even funnier.

4. Watch TNT... they know drama. Between Southland and the chance that Tracy Morgan might talk about having "me time" thinking about political figures, you may see or hear something you never have before.

5. Believe that at some point, the NBA will get interesting again, right? I'm about as disinterested in the NBA as the entire Laker team is, but with the trading deadling coming and Carmelo Anthony sure to be moving, someone is going to get better really quick. Will the Knicks improve themselves to make a run at Melo to make it a big 5 in the east? Will the Lakers inject some life into their team and finally give up on Andrew Bynum's knees? It all should result in a Lakers/Spurs Western Conference Final and a shootout in the East.

6. Watch Parks and Recreation. I know it was terrible last year. I know that Amy Poehler spent 22 episodes doing a Steve Carell impression. But Adam Scott (tremendously underrated) and Rob Lowe are terrific and the character of Ron Swanson has developed into one of the funniest on TV.

7. Pray a little. I'm not really religious, but aren't we all willing to go to any length to make sure there isn't a lockout?

8. Get outside for God's sake. You have a little less than 3 months until the draft, so spend that time doing something productive. Take a walk, ride the swings at the park, get to know your neighbors. You've been cooped up inside for 6 months watching every football game on TV and you haven't seen the sun since Labor Day. The least you can do is take those Christmas lights down.

Enjoy your offseason.

Jake Ryan

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Super Bowl Pick



Sorry for being a little busy this week, but this woman has been keeping me busy.

Pick: Steelers 23, Packers 19