Did you know NBA training camp starts in, like, a week? Totally does. I had no idea. In honor of me not knowing that, here are Point 23's Top 10 Best Players in the League.
Full disclosure: ranking the best ten players in the NBA isn't exactly an original idea, but the inspiration came from Dime Mag's Top 10, via True Hoop. Oh, and Jones on the NBA ranked his, too. And um, Bench Renaldo had one. Whew.
Come on, I'm gonna read all those and not throw my two cents in?
So how are we defining best? Best one-on-one player? Best team player? "If You Were Starting a Team Today...?" Most unstoppable? Best scorer? Best all around player? Most valuable? How 'bout we define it like this: "best." There, that was easy, wasn't it? One thing we won't be doing is using stats, I can tell you that much. You aren't better because you average 29.4 and I average 27.3.
Toughest Omissions: AI, 'Melo, KG, Agent 0, Paul Pierce, CP3, Dwight Howard, Elton Brand, Kirk Hinrich (I know, I know...leave me alone). I'm really, really sorry fellas. I still got your backs though (pounds chest twice, points). You know who wasn't tough to leave off? Shaq. If we were making a "Top 10 Greatest Complimentary Players in the NBA," he'd be a lock for No. 1. Onto the list...
10. Ron Artest. Let's start with a little controversy, eh? He's the most unique player in the NBA, bar none. Complete wrecking crew on the defensive side, and then a tough matchup on the offensive side. He'll get you 20 a game, and take 20 away from the other teams best player. How many guys in the L are worth 40 points a night to their team? Not many.
The Kings went from an after ran to nearly knocking off the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference in the playoffs just by adding him. He's felt all over the court - literally.
For an opponent, there can't be a more frustrating person to play against. He would completely get in your head on defense, that's a given. But on offense, he looks so goofy. He pats the ball rather than dribbling it; he doesn't craddle the ball, he just kind of smacks at it. He's so unorthodox. He's the kind of guy you'd hate giving up 20 points to, more so than a "normal" looking player, if that makes any sense.
The fact that he's a headcase who has a very real chance of doing something that may get him permanently banned is a mild concern yes (and by mild I mean huge), but I think he's worth it.
9. Yao. Silently, the best center in the L. And silently is the key word here, because his lack of a killer instinct is kind if disheartening. There's really no reason he shouldn't score 30 every night. Yea, 30. That said, his skill set is pretty impressive - short jumpers, some over-the-shoulder moves, deft passer (I love deft passers, but why are only passers are deft? Why aren't there any deft shooters? Or deft ballhandlers?) and shot changer around the basket. Besides Shaq, I think he's the only center even worth while.
8. T. Mac. Mr. Sad Guy is the complete package. We're talking ideal circumstances here: his back doesn't go out and he stays happy all season long.
If God was going to design a basketball player, T. Mac is it. Long as hell, athletic as hell, range he doesn't even need. How easy does he make basketball look? Does he even sweat? Remember how Artest seems like the kind of guy you'd be furious to let score 20 on you? T. Mac seems like the kind of guy who could drop 35 on you and you wouldn't even be that mad.
He gets knocked for taking a lot of off balance jumpers, and the fact that he hasn't really won anything yet (that "its nice to be in the second round" comment will forever haunt him), but he is a winner: remember those four 3's in under a minute against San Antionio? Unreal. But still...maybe the reason him and Yao haven't really won anything is because both of them lack that killer instinct. This seems like a big season for the both of them, though. I'll be excited to see big things out of them.
7. Amare. Hey look, its Stevie's teammate. Amare's skills are still pretty raw, I think (all things being relative), but he's so uber-ridiculously-freaky athletic that he could have the coordination of Shawn Bradley and it wouldn't matter. You literally just give him the ball on the elbow, he fakes one way, goes the other, takes one dribble and two steps, and just crushes it. He's absolutely unguardable, and he doesn't even really have any moves. (OK, that's kind of unfair. He has some moves, but I don't think you'll see him do the Dream Shake or bust out Kevin McHale's up-and-under any time soon.) And its not like people are even playing his jumper - how thrilled do you think everyone would be if he shot 20 15-footers every game? They know what he's doing and they are still helpless.
Sitting out the majority of last season hurts his cause though. Once he gets back to 100%, he'll likely move up the list. I'm sure he's very concerned with that.
5. Steve Nash. The two-time MVP is far and away the best point guard in the league. He's really playing differently than any other point guard; he sees and reacts to things differtly. Whether he makes the system or the system makes him is really irrelevant at this point: the production can't be ignored. He got criticized as not being MVP-worthy (um, not by me or anything...) because he wasn't a pure scorer but more a distributor.
Nash can dominate a game in two ways, though: in the open court and transition, where there isn't anyone better, not even Jason Kidd. And in the half-court, he dominates the ball and directs traffic flawlessly. He'll literally hold the ball for the entire shot clock, and then at the last second find someone for a layup or open 3. Its uncanny.
Look how far he took a shallow Suns team in the playoffs - his second best player is the wildly over rated Shawn Marion and after that its a couple of foreign guys nobody quite wanted. Kinda remarkable, no? And yea, those guys are perfect for that system. But Nash is the reason why.
5. Dirk Nowitzki.You know what I like? When a player gets criticized for a weakness in their game and then goes out and shuts everyone up. Dirk got hammered for being a soft jump shooter, so he made it his personal mission to crash the boards - especially on offense - and put the ball on the floor and get to the rim, especially in the playoffs. Throw in his clutch shooting and his little temper tantrums (they are so adorable, Dirk), and we may have a monster on our hands for years to come. As long as he doesn't take his contract money and pull a Shaun Alexander, that is.
Now, those last six players are highly, highly debatable. There's a ton of players you could throw in there and it wouldn't be absurd: see Omissions, Toughest. (I can't believe I left Iverson off this list. I really can't.), probably some more. These next four though, I think, have to be considered the best four players in the League. Some Nash apologist will claim the two-time MVP should be here, but I don't think so. These are the top four, and that's pretty indisputable. Shuffle them around in any order - that's cool - but these have to be the top four. Have to be.
Think of it this way: of the six guys we mentioned above - or anyone else for that matter - could you make a convincing argument that they are the best player - bar none No. 1 - in the entire NBA? Absolutely not. Could you me that same argument for the next four guys? Most certainly. That seems like a good dividing line to me.
4. Tim Duncan. He's really good. Fundamental as hell. Moves and counter moves galore. Automatic double team, and he's patient and successful out of it.Pretty much an automatic deuce every time he touches it. I don't feel like talking about him though. Let's get to the Big Three.
3. D Wade. Absolutely impossible to guard on the perimeter. He gets to the rim like its his job (maybe cuz it is), and has a remarkably high success rate of finishing around the basket. Since refs love him like he's the son they never had, he gets to the line at a ridiculous rate. If the refs don't call a foul on a D Wade drive, then he wasn't fouled. His foul line J is basically a layup, even after pump faking to get the defender in the air. From the free throw line and in, I don't know that there is anyone better in the league.
Farther out than that though, and things get a little dicey. His range is suspect, although he did flash some distance in the playoffs. Which is why I don't understand why more teams don't go under the ball screens the Heat set for him; wouldn't you rather he launched a three or long J rather than slicing to the basket? And is there anyone in the league better at splitting the double-teams off the ball screen? Answer: No, there isn't.
Wade's height and help keeps him locked at the No. 3 spot, though. The two players ahead of him just out-tall him, which just makes them tougher to handle. Plus the next two guys both play on clearly inferior teams, which changes how they are guarded. They are without a doubt the focal points of their offenses. Playing with Shaq, Wade enjoys a benefit and a luxury that the next two guys don't get to enjoy. Not really Wade's fault, but still. He can fall down seven times and stand up eight. No one else can do that. (Know why? Cuz its impossible. D Wade can literally do the impossible.)
2. LeBron. There is no bigger LeBron apologist than me, and I really don't enjoy Kobe all that much, so this hurts a little. That said, he's still just the second best player in the L. Not that that's the worst thing in the world.
LeBron is the basketball equivalent of a five-tool player in baseball. He can shoot, get to the rim, pass with the best of them, post-up, and excel in transition. He's clearly superior at some of these aspects than others; no one is tougher one-on-one in transition and his ability to get to the rim is on par with the best in the league, and you'd be hard pressed to find a better, more creative passer in the league (its considerably easier to find open people when four guys are guarding you, but when you're teammates can't catch, it kind of evens things out). Yea, he can shoot, but it isn't really a reliable weapon - yet. And his post up game is raw, consisting mainly of him banging a few times and then elevating over his defender - and there isn't anyone he can't elevate over. His athleticism and his natural build really give him a weapon that not many people can fall back on. And for right now at least, that's more than anyone in the L can handle.
Still, his effort on the defensive end is questionable at best. Its not that he can't lock up - he just doesn't sometimes. And he's been knocked for being to passive (I'm not buying it, but still). You can't really knock his effort as a teammate, he defers almost - almost - to a fault. In a few years, he could be a player the likes of which they L has never seen (was that dramatic enough for you?). He's not quite there yet - he's close - but not quite there yet.
1. KB8. I mean KB24 (thank you, Biz). Kobe is the best player in the league, and its not even debatable. This isn't to say he should win the MVP or that I like him (I try, I really do) or that I agree with his off the court antics (fueding with Shaq; um...Eagle, Co.). But as a basketball player, he's the best the NBA has to offer. He's the prototype.
The Mamba really has no weaknesses. Pressure him on the perimeter and he's getting to the rim before you are even in your stance. Back off, and its buckets - from, like, really far away, too. He handles double-teams better than anyone in the league - which I guess makes sense, since he sees more of them than anyone in the league. His post up game is ridiculous, just an endless series of pivots and headfakes. And we haven't even gotten to his best move yet: his fadeaway, which he can get off over either shoulder, and either swish or bank it. When he misses, you're absolutely stunned, and when he does make it, the ball positively rips through the net - wap! He's clutch as hell, too. With the game on the line, there is no one else you'd rather have taking the shot - and frankly, its not even close. Dude is an cold-blooded assassin with ice water in his veins. (That's why he's cold-blooded, because of the ice in his veins, get it? He might be the first cold-blooded snake though. I'ma have to look into that.) Plus he can shoot left handed and is a beast on the defensive end of the court.
Here's what impresses me most about Kobe, and he's the only player in the NBA - at least that I've seen - that can consistently do it: Kobe will catch the ball on the wing, a step behind the three point line, with his defender draped all over him. He'll jab, headfake, ballfake, fake the drive, whatever - and get off a J. Here's the thing: He doesn't use a dribble, and gets wide open. I mean, the defender is staggering while Kobe is rising up, completely alone. How many other players can absolutely free themselves without even dribbling?
Kobe's passing gets knocked, but he's a more than able passer who would just rather take a tough shot than pass - and honestly, can you blame him? He actually had a solid number of assists for a 2-guard last season. His effort to be a good teammate is almost comically forced, like he read a manual on how to be a good teammate, tried to act it out, but is just convincing no one. His past seems to influence this more than anything - hey, at least he's trying to be a good teammate now, eh?
So while he may not be the NBA's best teammate, he's clearly its best player. And if you disagree, well...you don't really now what you're talking about. That's how good he is.
(At least until Bronny get himself a J.)
Friday, September 29, 2006
Did you know NBA training camp starts in, like, a week? Totally does. I had no idea. In honor of me not knowing that, here are Point 23's Top 10 Best Players in the League.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Did TO try to kill himself? I don't know; I mean, I guess he has 25 million reasons not to, right? (Classy.) So why would he?
Does it even matter? TO did something ridiculous, got on TV, got everyone to talk about him, so I'm sure he's pleased. This is either really, really depressing or really, really hilarious, and I'm not really sure which, but it's either one or the other. No in between here, TO. I think since he lived its hilarious; if he would have died, its depressing.
A day later, though, and this is really all I can think of: How big of a jerk - I mean, an absolute asshole - do you have to be that you can try to kill yourself and it changes no one's opinion of you? I really can't think of anything that would make someone a more sympathetic figure than a suicide attempt...maybe if their entire family was slaughtered or something. But if you want to make people at least feel bad for you, I'd say suicide is pretty much your best bet.
Think of what a conniving, unbelievable prime dona someone must be that when you hear that he tried to commit suicide, the first thing that comes to mind is, "Yea right. He's faking it. Another typical TO publicity stunt."
TO tried to kill himself (allegedly! I know!) and it made people dislike him even more. Good Lord. That's no small feat.
If anything, this should show TO exactly what the rest of the world actually thinks of him. You can ignore it all you want, but when everyone thinks you tried to kill yourself, and people hate you more, well...that's no good, homie.
Personally, I believe the police. Why the hell would they make something like that up? Well, let's put it this way: I believe them more than TOs publicist, Kim Etheridge. And because of this gem from the captain of the investigating officers:
"The officers reacted because they were called to this location to do this job. Now they're being put under a microscope by some fancy little football person. Give me a break. Those officers are 10 times better than this man."
-- Senior Cpl. Glenn White
A fancy little football person? That's fabulous. Did he take his beret off before he said that? Who is this guy's superior officer, Mango?
Up to this point, I was completely fed up with TO. I changed the channel anytime he came on TV. He was so overhyped and focused on, it was infuriating. His hammy. His finger. I didn't really care. But if all of TO's bullshit antics are going to lead to quote about "fancy little football people," then I'm all for it.
Fancy little football people. That's worth all of it, TO. Absolutely.
So Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada are going to jail. Williams and Fainaru-Wade are the two reports who wrote Game of Shadows and proved once and for all that Barry Bonds, among others, used the cream and the clear. They're going to jail because they won't reveal who leaked them Bonds' and others' sealed grand jury testimony.
For not being tattle-tales, they get to go the the slammer for 18 months. (All the different names for prison in the world and I pick 'slammer.' I sound like a detective from the 40s.)
Now, I can see both sides here. The government needs to know who the leak is - the US government can't have supposedly confidential testimony made public knowledge. It undermines the entire legal system. They government is trying to get to the bottom of something, and they need to be able to go about it discreetly and privately, if for no other reason that to let its "informants," for lack of a better word, speak freely.
On the other hand, Williams and Fainaru-Wada (Did you ever notice they are always credited in this order, even though it isn't alphabetical? I swear its so the writer can put of typing 'Fainaru-Wada,' even if just for a second longer. It really is a chore. I'm going copy and paste style from here on out.) are just doing their job. And this is the best way to go about it: a source is more likely to come forward if he or she can remain anonymous and avoid the wrath of the government. No way they get this information any other way.
I understand Williams and Fainaru-Wada's principles, I really do. But this isn't revealing the location of a case-breaking witness or hiding details in a crime or anything even remotely serious. This is about cheating baseball players. Jerks, too, by most accounts. They are really going to throw away a year and a half of their lives over this? Really?
If I was in their shoes - and thank God I'm not - I'd drag this out as far as possible, and then once they were driving me to the jail - if it eventually got that far - I'd crack. "Alright, boys, the gig is up. Whaddya wanna know?" ("The gig is up"? What decade am I living in?)
I'd apologize profously to my source, but I'd have to give him up. There's just no way I'm going to jail over some guy who leaked information. It's just not happening. I mean, don't either of these guys have families? Friends? A fantasy football team? Do they have no other reason to be on this earth other than to report on MLB's steriod scandal? Seriously, think about what they are throwing away and how long they are throwing it away - and then think about what they are throwing it away over. No one in their family is even slightly upset they are going away for a year and half because of Barry Bonds?
(Imagine being one of these guy's kids and tattling on one of your brothers or sisters? Good God. What would he do? Send him to his room for 18 months?)
Isn't there anything they can do about this? Can't they just plead the fifth? Isn't that what its there for? If you can't plead the fifth, when can you? Why doesn't everyone who pleads the fifth get sent to jail then?
Here's what I'm curious to know: Just how long would the government have to send them away for to make them give up their source? 5 years? 10? 25 to life? How set in their principles are they? I'd be curious to know, because if these guys can just do 18 months at the drop of a hat, well...makes you reconsider sports reports, doesn't it?
Think about it. How long would you go away to jail? I couldn't even do a day. I'm serious. There's just too many dudes like my man to the left over there who would wanna cuddle at night. Maybe if it was a ridiculously luxurious white-collar prison, maybe a day. Maybe. Just being honest.
And their source. When he leaked this information, he knew there was a chance of this, principles and promises be damned. He took a risk, too. So he can't be completely mad if they rat him out. Well, he can. But surely he can see where they are coming from.
By the way, how nervous do you think this guy is right now? He's probably still walking around the court house, gossipping over the water cooler: "Yea man, I kno...this is crazy. Wonder who it was? Any ideas? No? None? Good, good...no, man, me either." He basically owes these guys his life. They could ask him to be their butler, and he really couldn't refuse, could he? Better than being in jail.
Again, I understand their principles. They made a journalistic, ethical promise to a source, and they feel compelled to keep it.
It seems to me like there was a competion between the government and the reports as to who could do their job better, and the reporters won. Now the government is pissed, and is going to get its way, one way or the other.
And to be honest, I think sending them to jail is absurd - the players and trainers cheated and broke the law; the informant leaked information he was forbidden to and broke the law - and the two reports go to jail? That doesn't quite add up.
But still: its the law. They knew it was the law. And they don't really have to go to jail; one name sends them on their way home. But they are choosing to do so almost entirely to make a point.
Hey, I commend them for it. I'm just saying I couldn't do it. Not in a million years.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Never thought I'd see the day. Really, I didn't: Shaun Alexander succumbed to the Madden Curse.
All preseason, I ignored the signs - and there were plenty. His best O-lineman left for Lake Minnatonka because of a poison pill. He got a fat new contract. He appeared in every commercial ever, the freaking sell out. He was on the cover of Madden.
But I was in denial. Somewhere along the line, I had a change of heart. I slowly started seeing the signs. 50 yards and a TD. That's all he was capable of? I questioned his desire. I called him complacent. I kicked several wiener dogs and John Clayton. I turned on the man who handed me my first fantasy championship ever.
I had all but made up my mind to trade him. I was simply waiting for Tuesday, for the dust to settle from Week 3, and then I was pulling the trigger (on a trade, not on the gun pointed at my head). Then the headline pops up: "Reigning MVP out indefinitely." Um....fuck.
This was the two-by-four that broke the camel's back. I believe now, John. You convinced me. I get it, alright? You can knock it off now.
I was never a Madden Curse Believer. I always thought the proof was a little flimsy: Eddie George had a career year. Ray Lewis still had a good year. Donovan McNabb...well, who wouldn't feel the affects of pairing yourself with TO? And Faulk, well...Martz was in the midst of ruining his career anyways. Vick and Culpepper? Hey, Madden, you put two scrambling QB's on the cover, you run a little risk, eh?
But this one hits home, John. This was completely unnecessary. Shaun never did anything to you! None of those other players had hopes and fantasy dreams pinned on them like Shaun. He's a good guy John!
This was just collateral damage to prove a point. This was like Hadley killing that crying inmate at the beginning of Shawshank: we get it, man. You do as you please with no repercussions. But you don't have to be a jerk about it.
Hopefully this is just a couple weeks, and Shaun comes back sooner rather than later with a renewed a vengence. He still is an elite back with all-world potential, and Lord knows the T-Birds need him.
But Alexander going down raises a bigger question: would you, as an NFL supa-star, allow yourself to be put on the cover of Madden? I can't imagine anyone except Tiki Barber agreeing to do so (he'll do anything, man - anything). Athletes are notoriously driven by routine and superstition. The Madden Curse - believe it or not - has seemed to have reached a point where you don't even want to mess with it, if only because you'll have to deflect questions and rumors about it all year. Why would you even want to deal with it? Surely it can be that much more money than you are already making?
I just don't see how its worth it.
But someone has to be on the cover next year. Here's the most likely candidates:
Peyton Manning (2:1). He's up there with Tiki Barber for Top Sellout of the Year (not that that's a bad thing, per se...just sayin'). Is there a product associated with the NFL that Peyton doesn't endorse? Don't get me wrong, I love every single commercial he's done - checkin' to pancakes! - but he's clearly a Madison Ave. darling and the clear cut favorite to grace the cover in 2007. Which means one thing and one thing only: Let the Jim Sorgi Era begin.
Reggie Bush (2.5:1). Don't do it, Reggie! Just don't! I know you are dying to be on the cover with your bad-ass stare and your 619 eye-black strips, but this isn't just for your own good: this is for the good of the entire NFL. On behalf of humanity, just don't do it, alright?
Carson Palmer (4:1). Comeback player of the year tosses 35 TDs and leads a deep playoff run? Sounds good to me. You thought coming back from a torn ACL was tough, Carson? Try bouncing back from the Madden Cover Jinx. You'll be vacationing with Kimo von Olhaffen (I am not looking up how to spell his name - that's how it sounds and you know who I mean) in a month.
LaDanian Tomlinson (6:1). "This is Sports Center." Then Briscoe High. Madden seems to be the next logical step for our visor-wearing halfback. LT is on pace for one hell of a fantasy season. You think the Madden Curse is scared? Hmpf. You've no idea its power! None!
Duante Culpepper (1,000,000:1). This is what Madden should do: throw Culpepper on the cover. Yea, sales may plummet, but what's the worst that could happen to Peps? They actually lose to the Titans? I see the exact opposite happening: Culpepper reverse jinxes Madden and rejuvenates himself back into his form from two years ago, and in the process, eliminates The Curse altogether! Yea! This could work! No, really!
This plan is completely infallible. Its really the only course of action. Just do it John. Before we all hate you. There's still time.
Either that, or do us all a favor and put Joe Theisman on the cover.
I just want to make this prediction before things get completely out of hand, and everyone jumps on this bandwagon: The Raiders are going winless this season. 0-16. Mark it down.
I really don't see how they can turn it around. I mean, do you? Aaron Brooks is the best QB they have. Think about that. Their O-line just gets absolutely manhandled. Randy Moss just quit. (Seriously, if you think Mr. I Play When I Wanna is trying hard at all this season, well...you're wrong.)
And then there's Art Shell. I remember Simmons talking about younger people being exposed to him for the first time, and seeing his blank stares and non-reactions, and I thought he was exaggerating. He was being kind. Shell lifelessly stares at the field, an I'm not even sure he's even seeing what is going on. The Raiders will commit their ninth consecutive false start, and he won't even flinch. Hey, maybe it's a defense mechanism (which, sadly, would be the only defense the Raiders have employed all season); you know, just blocking it all out. Could you blame him?
Not only will the Raidaaaaas (go to hell, Berman) go winless, but this season has the potential to be off-the-charts on several levels: comedic, sad, embarrassing, historical, depressing, secretly enjoyable and many more. There's really something for everybody. I mean, when you have you're No. 2 wide receiver being accused of openly cheering for your team to lose - by the second week of the season - you are off to a tremendous start. And when that same receiver denies that accusation by saying he wasn't even playing attention, so how could he have possibly been cheering for anyone at all?...well, that's just special.
Let's take a peek at their remaining schedule, shall we? With a close eye on everybody's favorite teammate, of course.
I have never been more pumped to start Braylon Edwards for my fantasy team. Romeo Crennell kinda resembles Art Shell, a little, though, doesn't he? Minus the whole coma thing.
Jerry Porter Update: Our main man is spotted ordering pizza, nachos, and a large creatine shake from the concession in mid-game. Denies allegations.
@ San Fran
Alex Smith, welcome to your coming out party. That frisky Niners D you saw pressure McNabb in the second half on Sunday? Let's just say they may become acquainted with The Glitch.
Jerry Porter Update: Porter is seen giving Art Shell bunny ears during the first quarter while Shell stares aimlessly into space.
Mike Shannahan may be a little excited for this one, no? Seizing the chance to humiliate his former employer, the Broncos run up the score to the tune of 113-0. Al Davis becomes so distraught, he uses shampoo by accident.
Jerry Porter Update: Jerry brings a trampoline onto the field, jumps on it, and blocks a field goal in the second quarter. Art Shell doesn't blink. Porter denies using the trampoline, but will later accept an ESPY for Most Entertaining Play of the Year a few months later.
You know, the Raiders have a pretty crappy schedule up to this point, all things considered. I'm really excited to see how the Raiders blow these games against sub-par teams. On a side note, Kurt Warner should get some PT in this one.
Jerry Porter Update: Porter organizes a Texas Hold 'Em tournament on the sideline. Art Shell's poker face is unrivaled.
Um, 'member what I said 'bout a crappy schedule? I'ma go ahead and take that back now. Their next 5 games are absolutely brutal. Troy Paulamalu is going to invite some of his Briscoe High teammates to play in this one...like the actors and the extras and stuff. Joey Porter's horse-murdering dog may also see some time.
Jerry Porter Update: In honor of Pittsburgh running back Najeh Davenport, Porter poops on the Steelers logo...and doesn't wipe.
Phillip Rivers had success through the air against these guys. I'm sure the Hasslebeck and his B-listers will have mild success through the air. (Ed. note: "the Hasslebeck" was a typo...but it made me laugh. So I'm leaving it in, and from now on, the bald QB in Seattle with the worst NFL Network commercials ever will be referred to as "The Hasslebeck.")
Jerry Porter Update: Joey spitshines his WWF belt for much of the third quarter. During the fourth, he straps it on, struts over to Randy Moss and says "Bet you wish you had one of these!" Moss bursts into tears, sobbing over and over again: "I do, I do wish I had one of those, you're right, I do."
Oh boy. Back to Denver again. Shanahan is so excited, he has to employ the Boner Tuck all game. Nothing worse than the Boner Tuck - "Will you do the next problem at the board?" "Oh shit...um yea...one sec...can I take my notebook? No...OK, hang on..." - but Shanahan doesn't mind. In fact, he looks like Mr. Enzyte all game.
Jerry Porter Update: Porter goes to the game naked with a barrell around his torso. Paints his face orange and blue. Carries a stick with a Bronco head mounted on the end. Denies cheering for Denver.
@ Kansas City
There were three great fantasy backs heading into the season: LT - who lit the Raiders up without even really trying on opening week; Shaun Alexander - who tripped on a wiener dog and broke his foot, but should be back in time to run rampant on Oakland in Week 9; and finally Larry Johnson. This is going to be an absolute blood bath. With no passing game to speak off - Damon Huard? - the Chiefs will be forced to run it every single time, no exceptions, like the forward pass hasn't even been invented yet. LJ will be near 300 yards. I'm telling you, this will be an historic night. Mark your calendars.
Jerry Porter Update: Porter challenges Ronald Curry to a game of one-on-one. Sets up a portable hoop on the sideline. Curry wins only when Porter double-dribbles on game point.
@ San Diego
LT, Part deaux. By now, I would imagine the Raiders have quit altogether. They are just openly mailing it in. Warren Sapp playing quarterback, letting Jerry Porter wear his WWF belt during games, Art Shell is taking naps on the sidelines. Plus, LT will be mad that LJ (nicknames suck anymore, you know that?) did so well last week, he will be inspired to go for 400 yards.
Jerry Porter Update: Porter comes to the game visibly drunk. He takes a shot every time he comes off the field in the first half. In the second half, he attempts to play "Edward 40 Hands" and still catch a pass. He is unsuccessful, but does pee on the goalpost, saying, "That's nice...ah, that's nice."
Now, you might think late in the season that the Raiders could steal one from Houston, right? I mean, for all intents and purposes, this game will likely decide the No. 1 draft pick. And do you think Houston wants anything to do with that position ever, ever again? Hell no. An inspired Luigi Williams runs roughshod over Robert Gallery en route to Rookie of the Week Honors, a Texans win and the No. 2 overall pick.
(While we're here: You know how there is Rookie of the Week, Month, Year, etc? Why can't there be awards for "Second-Year POY?" And third year? And so on? Can't each year have its own awards? I think that would be fun. Plus, guys like Brad Johnson and Morten Anderson would win an award every single week. And wouldn't it be fun to see who did they best from the Class of 1998? Something to think about, anyways.)
Jerry Porter Update: Porter is suspended one game for peeing on the goalpost, although he does cause YouTube to crash for the first time ever. Porter buys a ticket to the game, sits behind the Texans bench, and gives them the Raiders playbook. He has a hard time convincing them it really is their playbook at first - it is written on several napkins and half a legal tablet - but eventually the inside info get Mario Williams his first sack.
Jerry Porter Update: Porter gives Art Shell a droopy. Twice. Shell blinks. Rest of team gasps in shock - that Shell blinked.
Another crappy team! Oakland can't be too mad at their schedule; they play some legitimately un-good teams. If they weren't entirely inept, they could scrape together 4 or 5 wins easily. Unfortunately, they are entirely inept, so they won't.
Jerry Porter Update: Porter buys some GHB from Sebastian Janakowski (he had some) and slips it into Art Shell's gatorade. Janakowski says "dat ess like shooting rhino with bee bee gun." Porter then takes the GHB himself and passes out on the 50 yard line.
KC/Oak is kind of a big rivalry, no? LJ comes back for crack numba two, and fantasy owners every where rejoice that he got to play Oakland in the playoffs.
Jerry Porter Update: Porter scores his first touchdown of the season and, as a celebration dance, masturbates in the endzone.
@ NY Jets
You think Mangina is going out with a loss? You think Shelled is going out with a win? That's what I thought.
Jerry Porter Update: Porter reenacts the opening scene from "The Last Boy Scout." Raider Nation applauds.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Some thoughs from Sunday's games...
Can you believe Keyshawn Johnson scored on a reverse? Actually, can you even believe the Panthers ran a reverse with Keyshawn? If there was a race with all NFL recievers, I'm pretty sure Key would finish last. Name me a slower wide reciever. I dare you.
Rex Grossman: 41 pass attempts. Holy shit.
I'm pretty sure you could land an airplane on Merril Hodge's head. Honestly, if he shaved his head, I think it would look like a gallon of milk turned upside-down. Also, I hate him.
I hate TJ Houshmanzadeh, too. I don't even know why. I think its his girl hair. Actually, I'm positive it's his girl hair. God, I hate it. Shave your head, TJ, then we can be boys again. Til then, wear an orange scrunchie. Championship!
Poor Frank Gore. I'm pretty sure Coach Nazi has the gas chamber all ready to go. On the plus side, we get to see Michael Robinson and his enormous head carry the ball more. So that'll be fun.
He didn't have the costliest fumble of the week though: that distinction belongs to Mr. Kurt Warner, or as he's now called, Brynn Cameron's Baby Daddy's Backup. Does Kurt Warner have baby hands? Why does he fumble so much? Guess it doesn't matter now, because the only thing he'll be hanging onto is a clipboard. Kinda feel bad for him. But I feel bad for anyone in a Cardinals uniform. They look like the fake teams they make up for episodes of Law & Order or CSI. How do real teams even take them seriously?
(And by "real teams," I mean everyone except the Raiders.)
Um, if I was a Dolphins fan, I'd be pretty scared right now. 13-10. To the Titans? How the hell is Culpepper messing up that offense? Every skill position is stacked. I really hope for Culpeppers sake that his o-line just blows. Because if his O-line is solid, then...well...bad news for the chile pepper.
When Peyton Manning fooled the hell out of the Jag's D end, what do you think was going through his mind? You know how you can think of like 37 things in about half a second? His mind had to have been putting in overtime: "OK, here comes the handoff, lemme fly after this runne....FUCK! Oh shit, Peyton still has it...Oh, shit, there just went my knee...I look like some jackass propsing to his fiance...Fucking A! I can't believe I have to get up and run after Peyton Freaking Manning and he's gonna handily beat me to the endzone! This is some humiliating shit right here...How many times are they gonna show this on Sport Center? What an asshole."
Attention: I will be bitching about fantasy football now, which no one wants to read. I know this. This isn't about you. This is about me. Skip to the next paragraph. With the 4:15 games winding down, I'm in a dead-even game. Donovan McNabb, my MVP, is sitting on 296 yards passing. The game against the Niners is well in hand, but the Eagles have the ball in Niners territory and decide to take a "Why the hell not?" chance at the endzone. So Donnie Mac lofts a gorgeous ball to the endzone, where Reggie Brown promptly drops it. Of course he does. McNabb doesn't throw again the rest of the game. So I lose out on the touchdown points, the 300+ bonus points, and eventually, a win. So Reggie Brown: Go hang out with Freddie Mitchell. (And then Shaun Alexander breaks his foot. I love life right now).
There's only three reasons to watch Around the Horn: You enjoy Michael Smith, you enjoy Stat Boy Reali, or you enjoy watching Woody Page mock the show and read his little chalkboard. Those are the only three. I enjoy Michael Smith, so I was paying attention when he came on some random sports center segment with this gem: Deion Branch told Javon Walker not to play in New England when he was seeking a trade, so he gets himself traded to Denver. Then Deion get himself traded to Seattle. Then Javon torches a Deion-less Pats team on SNF. There's a few ways to burn some bridges, but that's a pretty damn good one, Deion. Props.
Brett Favre - whoda thunk, eh? As long as he keeps slinging it to Greg Jennings, I'm all for the Brett Favre reemergence.
Those Briscoe High commercials always confused me. They were cool and everything, but shouldn't a team comprised of Mike Vick, LT, Brian Urlacher and Deion Sander's adopted son be killing high school teams? Like, they shouldn't need a halfback pass on the last play of the game to win, should they? And why the hell is LT throwing the game winning pass when they have Mike Vick at quarterback!?!?
Here's why: Vick can't throw. That's why Briscoe High sucks. He just rifles bullets all over the place. Don't get me wrong, he has a cannon for an arm, but he's like those ball-tossers wide receivers use: its coming out fast, and it will be in the general area, but you're gonna have to make an adjustment. Hell, Don Shula and Urban Meyer can't even coach him up against high school kids. The Michael Vick Experience is currently experiencing technical difficulties.
The Falcons had no chance in that game, anyways. With all the energy and karma going on, Atlanta was screwed. They might as well have been playing against Katrina herself.
Finally, in its off week, the Oakland Raiders held a football clinic for St.Mary's School for the Blind and lost, 24-10. Art Shelled and The Glitch were unavailable for comment.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Fantasy footall's ridiculous emergence is a good thing. I don't think anyone will argue against that. Anyone with a vague interest in the NFL and a heartbeat plays in a league. So it would follow that its pretty near impossible to watch, listen to or read anything relating to the NFL without someone somehow tying it to its fantasy implications.
Watch Monday Night Football, where Tony Kornheiser shamelessly updates us on his team (which he might think people want to hear about, but they really don't - unless you're in Tony's fantasy league; even then I think it would be annoying). Read anyone's weekly preview column - fantasy football abounds. Listen to ESPN radio - or Sirius even, which has a whole channel devoted solely to it.
Sadly, its gotten out-of-hand. NFL experts who are good at what they do - being experts on the NFL - for some reason, can't translate that into making solid fantasy tips. Or even suggestions. The biggest culprit here, to my knowledge, is Peter King. Pete's football columns are sweet. But when he dwaddles on over to fantasy land, its more times than not confusing, pointless, and a waste of time. He writes a little column called "Ten fantasy tips." Here's what I mean:
My words in italics; Pete's in "normal."
* * * * * * *
Tip of the Week: And don't even hesitate on the first of my 10 pieces of advice for Week 3.
1. Play Clinton Portis against Houston -- no matter who the other running back options are on your team. Some weeks, some players just feel right, even if they're not fully healthy. This week has at least 125 yards and a touchdown written all over it for Portis.
It's a must-win game for Washington, which is going against the 32nd-rated defense in the league. Big-time players play big when it really counts. Says Portis: "They [the Texans] can expect a full-throttle Portis. It's no setbacks or limited plays for me."
Alright, off to a good start. Play Portis, no matter what. Some solid advice, even if it is based on a complete gut feel and Portis saying he's ready to go, which he didn't say last week. (Oh, he did say that last week? Hmm. That makes me scratch my chin...)
OK, so D-Jax and Engram will get more snaps...but, like, a lot? Are they worth starting? In case I have all four of those recievers on my team, I'll just start Jackson and Engram. You're right, Pete, that is an interesting week in Seattle. Thanks for bringing it to my attention; I hadn't noticed the whole "Branch goes to Seattle" subplot and wondered how it would affect me fantasy-wise. Thanks for clearing it up.
3. Other than Kerry Collins, I would play any other starting quarterback this week ahead of Jake Plummer. That has more to do with my high regard for the New England defense than with my disrespect for Plummer, who will break out soon enough but not on Sunday night. Watch Ellis Hobbs, Jake. He's the real deal.
So...does this mean I should start New England's defense? I sure hope you were subtly - almost unnoticeably - trying to make that point, because surely NOT starting Jake Plummer is not one of the 10 most pressing things you needed to tell yuor audience, was it? I mean, it's not like the entire state of Colorado clammoring for Jake's head in favor of a rookie has made national news, has it?
You do, however, tell Jake to avoid Ellis Hobbs, however. So, after three "tips" the standing look like this:
Worthwhile and/or usable advice given to:
Jake Plummer: 1
National readership: 0
OK, I'll remember Doug Gabriel. I'll never forget him. Promise. And Watson and Brown will get better...um, Pete? Any idea when? Kinda have a game this week...will they be useful? And oh yea: that rookie wide reciever they drafted in the second round that had a TD last week? Any thoughts there? Should I remember him, too?
5. I like Eli Manning a lot in Seattle. He was able to overcome those eights sacks and win on the road at Philly last week because he's got some determined playmakers around him.
Thank God Eli pulled that win out. I got a lot of points for the 'W' next to his name in the stat line. Saved my season, that win did. And his playmakers? Woo-ee. Solid. In fact, I think at flex this week, I'm starting "NYG Playmakers." I bet I win. Thanks, Pete.
6. I like Edgerrin James a lot this weekend too. Startling stat of the week: Opposing backs are rushing for 5.0 yards a carry against St. Louis, and you should have seen the look on James' face this week. He's ticked off that everyone thinks he can't run without that Indy offensive line. He might not break off a big run, but I think he'll get a touchdown, if not two, against the Rams.
Lotta man love going around this week, eh? That stat is startling: 5.0 per rush. And if ou aren't confident Edge can break a big run against that pourous of a defense, explain to me again why I should sart him?
7. Daunte Culpepper is the luckiest man in the league this weekend. He desperately needs a gimme, and wouldn't you know it, the Raiders have a bye this week. Luckily, the Tennessee Titans are willing to fly to south Florida. Culpepper comes back big, very big, this weekend, because Tennessee can't pressure the pocket.
Now, here's some good advice: Start Culpepper. At least he tried on that one. I don't tend to agree -"big, very big" ain't happening - but Pep could play good. We'll call it a draw.
8. So you want to know which Bengal receivers to play. The only healthy one is number four Kelley Washington, now that Chris Henry has a strained groin. I'm going to give you a cliche answer, based on a conversation I had with Chad Johnson recently. I don't care if he's got a headache, and a bad one, apparently. What he has inside of him is a voracious desire to play well against the Steelers, and if Carson Palmer doesn't throw him at least seven balls Sunday, Johnson's going to have a fit. So if you've got him, don't worry about the Steelers blitz or the other Bengal wideouts. Johnson will shine on Sunday.
Oh really? I should play the first receiver I drafted, no matter what? Even though he has a headache? Careful Pete...that limb is pretty flimsly. Don't wanna go out to far, now do we?
9. I'm not one to go too crazy on mid-week injuries in practice. But Simeon Rice wasn't playing well before tweaking his knee in practice Thursday, and the Bucs have no other pass-rusher who might scare Jake Delhomme. That means one thing and one thing only -- Keyshawn Johnson: six catches, 103 yards, two touchdowns.
Now, Pete knows more about the NFL than me. Clearly. But isn't it strange to recommend a reciever for an offense that scored 6 and 13 points, respectively, in its first to games? And the defense he's playing against...hasn't everyone been blown away by its opponents ability to run againt them? Didn't Atlanta rush for 946 yards last week? And isn't Jake Delhomme struggling like a mad man without Steve Smith? (He is, I've had him on my fantasy team.)
At least he made a prediction though. He gets points for originality.
10. The Saints, surprisingly, are among the league leaders with a 3.5-yard average per opponents' rush. Atlanta is coming to town. Emotional game. I'd love to tell you it'll continue for the Saints. But it won't. New Orleans has played two weak run-blocking lines -- Cleveland's and Green Bay's -- and the Saints don't have the bulk or the speed to stop the inside run or the rush on the edge of Warrick Dunn or Jerious Norwood. Expect big numbers from the Birds on the ground, just like in the first two weeks.Ah, there we go. Finally got around to that in a round about sort of way.
So that's my plea. Football writers - stick to football. There are nerds who lock themselves in their mom's basement all summer figuring this stuff out. Let them do what they do, and you do what you do. We'll call it a truce.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Mario Manningham got me thinking.
After watching him light up Notre Dame (I love when ND gets torched on their own network, and they obviously biased announcers don't know how to handle it; NBC even ran a commercial for Michigan St!) it got me thinking about about all of Michigans WR. It seems like Michigan just churns out great (at the college level, anyways) wide receivers.
Here's the test: Pretend you know nothing about the upcoming college football season. Now pretend someone says to you "Hey, you wanna play some NCAA Football on PS2?" Pretend you want to throw on every play. Without looking at rankings or impact players, who are you going to pick? Michigan, baby, every time. They are more loaded at WR than a Wendy's baked potato.
Michigan should bill themselves at WR U. You know what? I bet they do. That might explain why they get all those great wide outs
So if Michigan is WR U, what other schools can lay claim to being a position official school? I'm talking in recent memory. I don't have an exact date, mainly becuase I'm not looking rosters and years up - just recently, OK? This is off the top of my head. Like Desmond Howard doesn't count for Michigan.
Here we go.
The problem with this is that there are like 9 good quarterbacks in the NFL, and half of them played in the MAC. I guess you could say Cal; there's been a lot of hype around the Tedford quarterbacks, but they don't really do anything in the NFL.
I'm saying USC is now QB U. It started with Carson Palmer and his Heisman. Then Matt Leinart took it over, chilled with Nick Lachey (which everyone thought was cool as shit - isn't Lachey pretty much a pretty boy who emberrasses himself every time Cincinnati is on TV?) and won the Heisman. They even had Matt Cassell riding pine (which prepared him well for riding pine in the NFL). Now they plug John David Booty Call into the mix, and there's little drop off.
So either USC or Manning U. Pick one.
Running Back U.
Auburn. Hands down. Rudi Johnson (hell of a weekend for the T-Birds, Rudi, hell of a week) started things off, then was followed by Cadillac and Ronnie Brown. Plus, Freakin' Huge Brandon Jacobs was there but transferred. Now they got that Irons guy beating the hell out of people.
You could make a pretty convicing argument for Miami, though: Portis, Edge, McGahee, now Frank Gore coming out of no where. Miami probably has better talent in the NFL, but in the last 5 years or so, I'd say Auburn has had a better class. The U really has fallen of lately, hasn't it?
Wide Receiver U.
As we said above, Michigan is at the top of the wide out class. Manningham and Breaston are already monsters. Then you got Braylon Edwards, Jason Avant, David Terrell, um...Marquis Walker...man, those wide outs really blow in the NFL. Oh Tai Streets! Wait, never mind...
Defensive Backs U.
The U. When I think of great secondaries, Miami is really the only school that comes to mind. Ed Reed, Antrelle Rolle, Sean Taylor, Philip Buchanon, Mike Rumph....um, I feel like there's more...But, yea, you aren't putting together a better secondary than that.
I don't know if their last 5 years has been that great at the postion - oh wait, it hasn't - but the last few years have been pretty good for Thee Ohio State University at 'backer. Brady's Quinn's sister's girlfriend/wife/baby momma was pretty good. So was Bobby Carpenter and that other guy I can never remember. Quite a trio. Now they got the Laurenitis guy (sounds like something you catch at the beginning of November - "Yea, that Laurenitis is goin' around...got me some Halls, though, I'm good, I'm good").
This is kind of like when they put Shaq on the NBA's 50th Anniversery Team: technically, he probably shouldn't have been on there, but it was going to be the right move a few years down the line. Same thing here. OSU is gonna be stacked there for years to come.
O-line and D-line U.
Um, I know like Orlando Pace and Julius Peppers. So Ohio State an North Carolina. Happy?
Saturday, September 16, 2006
I felt like making some picks. Maybe I'll keep this up for the season. Maybe I won't. Who knows. Anyways, here they are.
Buffalo at Miami (-6.5)
Culpepper's gonna have to show a little more than that, I think, before I'm hopping on that bandwagon. He didn't look very good last week, did he? Granted, he was playing against a ferocious Pittsburgh D, but still...he looked atrocious at the end of that game. On the flip side, Buffalo's defense looked tough and stingy (London Fletcher: tackling machine) against the Pats, picking Brady off a few times. Using the always reliable circular logic, that means Buffalo does some good.
The pick: Buffalo
Carolina (-1) at Minnesota
Screw week one. Carolina is good. Minny isn't.
Didn't Brad Johnson look just a little too excited to connect on that TD pass? And Troy Williamson...my word. Catch the ball, homie. BJ is the oldest QB in the league, and Carolina's D is going to expose that. (Huge points though to Johnson for naming his son Maximus. Think that kid might have a little pressure to live up to?)
The pick: Carolina
Cleveland at Cincinnati (-10)
I can't tell you how excited I am to watch Rudi Johnson run all over the Browns defense. Not because I like the Bengals or hate the Browns...but because Rudi is my No. 2 fantasy back. Rudi! Rudi! Rudi!
The pick: Cincinnati
Detroit at Chicago (-9.5)
Roy Williams guarenteed a win and procliamed the Lions O stupid close to scoring 40 points in a week in which they scored 6 on exactly zero touchdowns. Good enough for me.
The pick: Detroit
Houston at Indianapolis (13.5)
The Eagles and their psueodo-recieving corps absolutely torched the Texans secondary last week to the point that Andy Reid was saying "Watch this" to his assisntant before sending in plays that led to scores. I would imagine Indy does much the same thing, except instead of saying "watch this," Tony Dungy says "I hate you Peyton."
The pick: Indy
New Orleans (-2) at Green Bay
This isn't even close. Green Bay is a punchline. How the hell is this line only at 2?
The pick: New Orleans
N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia (-3)
Game of the Week right here. Donnie Mac and homefield are the difference. I'm very excited to see Tom Coughlin positively losing his mind on the sidelines, though. I hope he starts doing that thing where he waves his arms up and down like an extra in Angels in the Outfield trying to pump up the crowd, only Shockey comes over, shakes his blonde locks out of his eyes, and says "Um, coach? You know we're on the road? Plus um...me and some of the guys we're talkin'...well, um...you look like a tool doing that...we took a vote and um, you should stop."
The pick: Philly
Oakland at Baltimore (-12)
The question here is, will Baltimore score 13 points? Because if they can, they'll cover. I think their defense alone can score 13 points, so they'll cover. Have you ever seen a team look worse than Oakland did Monday night? I mean, ever? Not in the NFL...like college or high school or hell, Pop Warner. They only had 129 total yards - 42 passing! When you beat the hell out of some scrub team on Madden, even they get 129 yards! They gave up 9 sacks. I'm telling you, play 500 with Randy Moss, Oakland. Its your only shot.
The pick: Baltimore
Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-5.5)
I'm firmly entrenches in the Michael Vick Breakout Year Camp. I'm also fimrly entrenched in Chris Simms Will be the First NFL Player to Come Out of the Closet Unless Michael Straham Does First. You see where I'm going with this.
The pick: Atlanta
Arizona at Seattle (-7)
An open letter to Shaun Alexander:
Pull a stunt this week like the one you pulled last week - 50 yards, FL - and you will be doing a lot more than slipping on weiner dogs. Try me.
The pick: Arizona
St. Louis (-3) at San Francisco
You know who comes into the Niners house and pushes them around?!?! No one, that's who!!
The pick: San Francisco
Kansas City at Denver (-10.5)
How the hell is Denver favored by over 10 points? How the hell are they even going to score 10 points? Look at the QB match up here: Damon Huard vs Jake Plummer. Cripes. Not exactly the Manning Bowl, is it? Denver will win, but certainly not by more than 10 points.
The pick: Denver
Tennessee at San Diego (-11.5)
Again, Philip Rivers is getting over 11 points? I understand Tennesse is not so good, and their QB is..oh. Just 11. 5? Sounds about right.
The pick: San Diego.
New England (-6) at N.Y. Jets
Did you enjoy that Week One, New York? You did? Good, I'm glad.
The pick: New England.
Washington at Dallas (-6)
I freaking hate Dallas. No way I could ever pick them. Ever. God I hate them.
The pick: Washington
Pittsburgh (-2.5) at Jacksonville
Pittsburgh's defense is too good. I'm curious to see how Joey Porter makes fun of his opponent this week. He's turning into a defensive Chad Johnson.
The pick: Pittsburgh
Monday, September 11, 2006
I think I might give tennis a shot.
I never really cared about it too much - except for Michael Chang on the USA channel; makes sense - but if Andy Roddick is gonna be a bad ass and say chippy things to announcers and get a rivalry going with Federer, well...I could be down with that.
I was watching a little of the Roddick-Federer US Open Championship match, and it was actaully pretty good. Damn good, actually. Better than the Cowboys-Jaguars game, anyways. The action was intense, they were hitting some crazy shots, making athletic plays, neither player seemed to be able to score more than two times in a row (do you even say "score" in tennis?)...and then Roddick faded. But it was fun while it lasted. First rate entertainment. Jolly good time, chap!
So why watch now? Well, there was an American with a personality in the finals of the US Open. One and only reason. If it was Federer-Nadal, I would have passed. (Pony tails and capri pants? Um, I'm good.) In an individual sport, all you need is personality. And a rivalry. That's all you need. If tennis has had one of these in the past five years, I didn't know. My bad. But I know now. So I'm gonna watch. As long as Roddick keeps being good and brash, anyways.
As I was watching, though, I noticed Tiger was there. Tiger Woods. And I saw him clapping abd trying to pretend to be cool with his backwards hat and everything...but I kept noticing they would only show him whenever Federer did well (I was watching with no volume). After turning the volume up, I realized he was cheering for Federer. For Federer!
Does anyone else find this...um, wrong? Tiger's American! Federer is Swiss! Roddick is American! Who should he be cheering for?
I understand they are buds and all (wonder who approached who? Had to have been Tiger calling Roger...no way Federer has the balls to dial up El Tigre), but shouldn't Tigers loyalties lie with his nation?
Remember when Wayne Gretzky's wife was cheering for the Canadian hockey team? She got absolutely hammered for that. Well...what's the difference? An American cheering for a foreign entity to beat the homeland.
And yea, I get that the Olympics are an international competition, and this was merely a tournament where allegiance to country isn't exactly relevant...but still. Say this was the Olympics. Would Tiger change his stripes (ba-zing!) and cheer on his fellow countyman? Or would he stay with his new best bud Rog and cheer against the US? What if Roddick is cheering for Europe in the Ryder Cup, against Tiger? Would that be OK?
Its kinda like that movie The Fox and the Hound. That's a kind of obscure Disney movie for kids, and if you've seen it, you got the reference. If you haven't seen it, well...you don't and I'm sorry you had to sit through this paragrpah. It wasn't really for you.
I can understand Tiger wanting to cheer on his boy and all...but maybe he should have done it from his living room. At least then we wouldn't have to see him trying to be cool with that backwards hat that doesn't fit.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
If these things happen this season, I'll be Mr. Happy Guy:
While announcing the Jets-Titans game, Jim Nantz accidentally says, "And here comes the New York Jets, under the direction of new head coach Eric Mangina!"
The "Fast" Willy Parker nickname trend continues and more players are given bland nicknames that are really just adjectives. Like "Stupid" Aaron Brooks. Or "Drunk" Kyle Orton. Everyone can have one. "No Chance" Mario Williams. "Metrosexual" Chris Simms. "Dead" Brett Favre. OK, I'm done.
St. Louis goes 0-16 and absolutely blows. For a couple of reasons. First, so Stephen Jackson sucks, which means the Lemonades (of the 16th Avenue Legends League) will be awful. Second, so Bill Simmons will shutup.
How can you pick St. Louis as a sleeper team? Yea, they went 6-10 last year, but they had alot of shit going on. Mike Martz was doing his best John Nash impersonation. Marshall Faulk was in his last year, and Stephen Jackson was being ignored. They played freaking Jamie Martin at quarterback for how many games. Now they have a stable coach, Marc Bulger under center for 16 games, a freaking stud in the backfield, and a very talented recieving corps (Kevin Curtis is so underrated; he's like a two pack of red Zingers at 2:30 in the morning). Plus, they play in the incredibly pathetic NFC East. Home of the Niners. Yea. And when Seattle won at STL last year? First time in eight years they'd won at The Greatest Show on Turf. So. Not so much of an underdog, are they? He rips on Regis for picking Arizona as his sleeper; STL is just as bad as a call.
And now he's running his wife's picks in a sidebar next to his?!?!? Are you kidding me? His wife's!?!?! And she gets to make catty comments (Rip on Lindsay Lohan? Clever and original. This column is going to make Simmons wife look like a petty whore. Good decision.) above her picks? I'm glad we nailed down the date Simmons had his penis cut off. This is ridiculous. I would assume Simmons' logic is that the people that have been reading him since back in the day are all by now married and having kids and getting their wieners chopped off too. So they want to read this crap. But you know what? That logic sucks. I hate Simmons for this, and I will never forgive him. Combine that with that atrocious Green Bay article (which was downright depressing; I only got to the end because it would have been like leaving a funeral early), and Simmons is one more ballless (wow, that word has three 'l's' in a row - super) column away from me never reading him again.
OK, had to get that off my chest. Moving on.
(Oh, who am I kidding? He's like cigarettes. I know I shouldn't, but I will. Damnit. I hate myself.)
I want Peyton Manning to film more commercials. There more the better, as far as I'm concerned. I've laughed out loud at every single one of them, from "Cut that meat!" to "If you're into 6'5" 235 pound quarterback with laser, rocket arms...maybe." He's even funny in the Gatorade Rain commercial where he's trying to be serious after he was born from a football. He's an underrated comedic genius.
Here's my question though: how much tail is Peyton pulling? I don't exactly see him in a roped-off VIP room sucking down bottle after bottle of Cristal while bouncers parade groupies in front of him. There's no question he has the star power; but he seems like kind of a dork who would be akward at a club. I think he's the guy who repeatedly whispers something into a girl's ear, only she keeps going "What? I can't hear you, the bass is too loud! What was that?!" So he finally shouts what he was saying, only its just as the music cuts out, so the whole club hears him say, "I said, your boobs are neat!" I think he gets girls, I just don't know where he's meeting them at, thats all. Certainly not any Kenny Chesney concerts. So I just want to know, that's all. Not judging. Just asking.
I want the Vikings to get busted starting a Mile High Club on a cross country flight. First water, then air. It could all come full circle. A little closure, you know?
Kellen Winslow Jr. says "I don't give a hell" at least once a week. That would make me smile. Do you recall during Yao's rookie season that there was a pool started with the prize money going to whoever dunk on him first? I think T. Mac mighta started it, I forget...anyways, can we get Joey Porter to start on of these with Winslow? Every big hitter on Cleveland's schedule throws five grand in a hat, first one to drop Winslow takes the pot. Hell, keep it going on all year. I really can't see him get layed out enough.
San Fran goes 8-8. OK, 7-9. Man, that'd be awesome.
I want Chad Johnson to score one TD per week, just so we can see how he's going to use the fans as props. I want him to carry it over from week to week too. Tell us a story, Chad. This could be more ridiculous and compelling than "Trapped in a Closet."
I want more celebrations mocking other player's signature celebration. When Joey Porter got his roll on after sacking Dante Culpepper Thursday night, the room I was watching the game in exploded. Just went nuts. It really doesn't get any better than that; its like your at 5th grade recess all over again. Hines Ward mocking TOs Eagle flap (which was gay, anyways, TO), TO mocking Ray Lewis' pregame dance (which is gay anyways, Ray...don't stab me), Steve Smith rowing the boat after scoring on the Vikings, etc. More of that. Please and thank you. (Um, since we're kinda on the topic, what does "p and q" mean? Like, "that young man is so polite; he always minds his p's and q's." What are they? I really have no idea. Someone smart tell me. Please and thank you.)
You know what's crazy though? If Joey Porter had mocked Culpepper like that after he scored a TD, he would have gotten a 15 yard penalty. But he did it after a sack, so it was cool. Does that make any sense? Its still a celebration dance, no? And if I was an NFL player and scored a TD, I'd keep the ball, run over to the sidelines, wait for the ensuing kickoff, and as the ball was in the air, just go nuts. Spike it as hard as I could, leap into the stands, rip my helmet off, have my teammates pretend to take pictures of me, sign the ball and throw it to the crowd, and then propose to a cheerleader. Its not a TD celebration is it? Its two plays later! And the refs cant even see you! Get the offensive line to form a wall, and celebrate behind them. I think this is a good idea. Someone get Joe Horn on the...um, horn.
I want whoever invented that "Who dey" cheer the Bengals do to be found and their tongue ripped out with a wrench. I can't believe the Bengals chant or sing or mumber that song and think its cool; whats even crazier is that it caught on with their fan base, and they think its cool. Have they ever even listened to it? Its absurd jibberish with no beat whatsoever (and I am the master at being off beat, so I know). If a two-year-old mumbled that, you'd smile at him and then cram another Zweback in his mouth. With the squiggly stripes and the Who Dey song, the Bengals might as well be four year olds. I wouldn't be stunned to see them wear binkies instead of mouth guard.
I want to see a TV show where Nick Saban and John Gruden each get their own second grade classroom to teach for a week. Whoever makes the most kids cry wins. Saban has actually made a grown man cry, but my money is on Gruden. He's just relentless. "What's the capital of Vermont, Timmy? What is it? Mont -what?! Spit it out Timmy! Lets go! We haven't got all day, whats the god damned capital?!? John knows the answer! Sam knows the answer! Get him the hell out of here! Get him the hell out of my sight! Get in the hall, Timmy!"
And since we're on the subject of NFL TV shows, I'm gonna think out loud a little bit here. Now, I've loved few players in my life more than Jerry Rice. Probably none. I even defended him when he played for the Seahwaks and tried to be a Bronco. But when he signed up for "Dancing with the Stars," a little piece of me died. OK, a big piece. But wait! Here comes Emmit Smith! So, my question is this: Does Emmit's appearance validates Jerry's appearance a little, or does it just lumo the both of them in the same boat? I really don't know. I wish I did. (When I was watching those classic Niner-Cowboy playoff games, and crying my little heart out when the Niners lost, and then losing my mind when the Niners won - "Deion was the difference in our defense," -- Steve Young - I never imagined I'd be watching Jerry and Emmit dance in tights. Ever.
I want to see Bill Parcels flip out about a call, forcing one of his assistants "hold him back" by grabbing his shirt, except he pulls a little to hard, the shirt rips, and Parcells' Bro (Manzier!) is exposed for all the world to see. The ultimate ward robe malfunction.
But mostly, I want Reggie Bush to score twice in the first half of the Saints game. I then want him to be the subject of those orchestrated 30-second interviews before heading into the locker room. I want this attractive woman who is given an index card with two questions on it to ask him this question: "What do you think of the Texans decision not to draft you No. 1 overall?" And I want Reggie to reply thusly: "That was dumb."
That's all I want.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Before the start of every season in the National Football League, I seem to make one sweet prediction. Granted, that one sweet prediction comes amongst about 30 or 40 inane ones, but I still get that one. So here's 40 or so odd things that most certainly will not pan out, but I guarentee one of these will be a real gem. A diamond in the rough, if you will. Your job is to find it.
Without further ado, your '06 NFL preview.
This is a two horse race (without, ironically, any horses): Phins or Pats. The Jets and the Bills suck, and aren't even worth really discussing.
Everything seems to be falling in line for the Dolphins, doesn't it? Disgruntled QB who hasn't gotten his roll on lately and with everything to prove, throwing to a pair of absolute playmakers, and with an on-the-rise running back, who's also trying to prove he can handle the every day load. They'll be playing with a chip on their shoulder all season long. Plus, Nick Saban is the new Bill Belichik. He's so hot right now. Not to mention the fact that he makes huge men weep while wearing one of the chessiest hats of all time.
Still, its the Patriots. They win Super Bowls with teams that should be 8-8. How can you pick against them? Well, you can pick against them because their most notable moves off the off season have been losing The Most Clutch Kicker Ever, the Deion Branch holdout, trading for the immortal Doug Jolley and convincing Jr. Seau to come out of retirement (I hope Seau has a son in the NFL someday named Jr. Seau Jr. He would be like a modern day Mr. Mister.). Plus, Corey Dillon died halfway through last season. I had him on my fantasy team last year; I know these things.
I think the Pats just hit a wall this season. You can only do the whole smoke and mirrors thing for so long. Four guarentee W's against Buffalo and NY make things interesting, but the Phins wrap up the division.
Who woulda thought the QB in this division with the least amount of questions surrounding him would be playing for the Ravens? Roethlisberger's internal organs hate him, Palmer's knee was rushed in my opinion (If you think he's 100%, you're nuts. He torched the Packers D, for God's sake. Let's seem him do it in the regualr season.) and Charlie Frye is Charlie Frye.
Still, Palmer's knee should be healthy enough to wrap up back-to-back division titles. Provided Johnson & Johnson stay out of jail - no small feat on that team - that offense should just be cookies.
You know how I know the Bengals are gay, though? Those stripes. Seriously. Those are just...gay. They aren't just stripes...they're curley. Like streamers. My gaudy aunt wears things like that on Thanksgiving. We get it, you're nickname is a tiger. You wear stripes. Cute. The Jaguars aren't wearing spots though. And the Vikings don't have horns sticking out of their helmet. Denver doesn't put hooves on their cleats. It's like a third-grader came up with their uniforms. Just dress ' em in prison issued jumpsuits and be done with it. Curley stripes. Ghey.
Is anyone else excited for the Chris Henry/Santonio Holmes pregame handshake/pound before the game? Do they both need their PO's there, or will just one suffice?
I'm pretty geeked to hear Stillers fans bitch all year about their team. I don't think there are worse fans than Pittsburgh's. Honestly, how long were they happy after the Super Bowl? 5 minutes? Maybe? Watching Charlie Batch for a whole season might cause mass pileups in the Fort Pitt tunnels. I couldn't be more excited.
Oh...and the Browns suck, and I can't wait to see Kellen Winslow get lit up every week. Ah, never mind..I don't give a hell.
Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Tennesse, Houston. Easy.
Here's hoping Joseph Addai breaks out (fantasy purposes only).
Did you ever pay attention to how Byron Leftwhich throws? He literally brings the ball down to his knee, locks his elbow, and just catapults it. Its insane. Combine that with his performance on that ESPN show where the NFL dudes rode around on jet skis and climbed walls, and I have no idea how he's such a good quarterback. He's the least athletic, least coordinated QB I can think of. His nuts must be friggin' enormous. Yea, that's it. Huge nuts.
I think its funny that the Dominick Davis is out for the year. Wonder of Mario Williams can run the ball?
Who cares, really. I hate this division.
I will say this: Larry Johnson is overrated! Yea, I said it. He lost his best o-lineman and a damn good blocking fullback. He's the only back now. Trent Green is about to lose it; all his recievers blow, anyways. I wouldn't even cover half of them. And I don't mean I'd just put one defender on them. I mean I'd let them run wherever they wanted and see if they could actually catch a real pass. I'd put nine - 9! - guys in the box. Seriously, why wouldn't you do this? Is this Trent Green-Sammie Morris connection scaring anyone? No. Larry Johnson doesn't even have any moves, I don't think.
Did you ever play "500" as a kid? A bunch of kids stand at one end of the field and the kid with the best arms throws bombs, and everytime he throws one, he yells out a number. If he yells "100!" and you catch it, you get 100 points. Shouldn't the Raiders just run this every time? Just call it 500, have Moss and Ronald Curry run down field, and see if one of them can get it. Your telling me Moss isn't bringing down one out of every 5? Just throw it up! Its not like Aaron Brooks is gonna make a read. Let Jerry Porter hit people while the ball is in the air, too. Its not like their regular offense is going to work.
Philly, baby, Philly.
The whole division is pretty even, I think. Every team has one great player: Tiki Torch, TO, McNabb, Portis. TO is gonna blow up, and its gonna be great to watch. Parcells might belly slam him to the ground (Parcells is FAT and his hair is luducris. If I was a reporter and he was talking to me like an absolute cock, I would bring this up.) and then sit on him. Janky Spanky is nicked up. The Tiki Torch has to burn out sometime...I say this year. This leaves McNabb being great.
I'm telling you, McNabb is just freaking great. If I was in need of a franchise QB, it would be Brady and then him. He's played with a good reciever exactly once, and the results were ridiculous. His recievers might be worse thean the Chiefs, and he's still gonna put up ungodly numbers. Heres my gem of a prediction: McNabb is an MVP candidate.
(And if you think that has anything to do with McNabb being my starting fantasy QB, well...it does. But I still mean it.)
Minn, det, chi,, df
I might hate this division more than the AFC West. There's basically nothing compelling going on here. Minnesoata is busy making themselves the most boring team in the NFL. Detroit plays great D and has no a putrid offense. Mike Martz has some fun toys in Detroit, but no one to play with them. And Green Bay...they may be the worst team in the NFL. Good Lord, they are atrocious.
Lotta love out there for Detroit to come "out of no where" and win the division...but I'm just not seeing it. Chicago's defense is ridiculous. You think Detroit is beating Chicago twice? I sure as hell don't.
I'm just curious about Brett Favre. He's something like 25 TDs away from breaking the all time record (yea, like I'm looking up the exact figure.) But I haven't heard anyone - anyone! - mention that maybe his comeback has a little something to do with breaking that record. I'm pretty sure his comeback has EVERYTHING to do with breaking that record. I'm not knocking him; I'd do the same thing. I just think everyone needs to chill on the whole "Favre is such a competitor and just loves the game that much." If he had that record already, do you think he'd come back and play for THAT team? Me either.
car, tb, atl, no
Here's what I want from this division:
I want Michael Vick to make two people run into eachother again, and I want him to do something really freakin' cool I haven't even thought of.
I want Chris Simms tattoo buddy to have a towel and water bottle ready for him every time he runs off the field after messing up the call in the huddle. (Have you ever seen the NFL Films clip of Simms fucking up the play call in the practice huddle like nine times in a row as Gruden loses his mind? Simms sounds like a second grader who can't get his multiplication tables out. And he's supposed to be a starting Q? I don't think so.)
I want Reggie Bush to run back a kickoff, a punt, catch a TD pass and rush for a TD in one game. Of course, this would mean the Saints would score 28 points, so that's not very likely.
I want Steve Smith to have a 300 yard game. Just one though.
The NFC West is widely considered to be the worst division in the entire league. As a Niners fan, this hurts. Not because I don't think its the worst division - I do - but its considered the worst because the Niners are in it. I'll still never forgive them for the Alex Smith pick. God, I hate that pick.
And anyone who doesn't think the Seahwaks are winning this thing are on crack. Shaun Alexander is cracking 2 grand on the ground and gettin 30 TDs. Mark him down. Right now. Do it.
And I'm openly cheering for the Rams to throw the ball every play.
Super Bowl: Bears 2, Colts 0. Print it.