Tuesday, September 29, 2009
You can file this one under "Prediction of the Decade."
Rarely to you find sportswriters who quickly, and definitively crush a new NFL coaching hire. For one, writers always want to preserve some shred of access in case the guy is good. For another, who the hell knows if a guy can do the job? (I remember distinctly the mocking of Andy Reid when he was hired by Philly. That seems to have worked out pretty well.)
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News, authored this column on the Skins hiring of Zorn back in February of 2008. It's so dead on, it reads like he filed the column yesterday from the back seat of Dan Snyder's limo.
I talked to Zorn when he was first getting into coaching on the Seahawks staff and I can tell you that, if first impressions mean anything–and they do–I walked away from that interview thinking, This guy shouldn’t be anywhere near an NFL sideline.
He was a very good QB, undoubtedly. But he was known as a non-thinking QB even when he played. Total instinct. He never was considered a coach-candidate.
He took a bunch of years away from football when he retired… then he got back with the Seahawks and apparently became buddy-buddy with Matt Hasselbeck.
But who do you think coaches the QBs, really, in Seattle? Zorn or Mike Holmgren? Come on. The Zorn I talked to was over-emotional, antsy, defensive and very short on the ability to communicate general NFL knowledge–and I was just doing a soft story on the Seahawks during the off-season, so it wasn’t like I was plumbing the depths of intricate analysis.
REACT: Good, gawd. "Over-emotional, antsy, and defensive" are dead on. The phrase "shouldn't be anywhere near a sideline" is chilling. Because he's not just near our sideline, HE'S ON IT!!!
Was it ego? Or simple machismo?
An effort to avenge the spread-covering-failure from the week before against Tennessee?
Or perhaps just a fluke hit.
Why was Tim Tebow – having flown in on a separate airplane due to his illness with several other Gators – allowed to play when the game was clearly in hand at 31-7 deep into the 3rd quarter?
I can't believe Urban Meyer wanted to run up the score, for BCS style points or simple anger.
I can't believe Meyer or Tebow felt like they needed some Heisman Trophy stat stuffing.
I know the argument that you can't play football scared. You can't just quit games because you are leading, and worried about a big injury.
But Tebow is different. Your entire offense revolves around his once-in-a-generation talent package and size. You have no ready-to-go understudy. Tebow is your team. Why take the risk?
Here's a clip of the hit. Please note the announcers saying how Tebow isn't worried about how many times he throws or runs..... just before the dump truck with “WYNDHAM” on the back liscense plate crushes him in the middle of the intersection like a dude running a stoplight.
Looks like Tebow will be ready for the LSU game in a week, which is good. I wish the guy no real malice. But if he plays like crap, or gets knocked out again, you know that Meyer and the Gators will get a whole new truckload of grief.
As one text message put it on my show on Monday:
Tebow and Bradford both suffer major injuries playing for free in college. Mark Sanchez is a millionaire in the NFL. Stay in school kids.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Skins fans, if you came here expecting a ranting manifesto, you will be disappointed.
Of course we suck.
We just lost to the Lions, and removed the albatross from their wretched necks.
But what is left to rant about?
We are, who we thought we were.
Like many Skins fans, I ran at this year's football of a season with full Charlie Brown gusto. And once again, the ball has been yanked cruelly away from me at the last moment.
Why, oh why, did I think they would be marginally, hopefully, just-show-me-SOME-improvement better this season?
Because, I'm a fan. Which also stands for “sucker.”
We might just fire Jim Zorn in the next few weeks. It won't matter. Zorn is a SYMPTOM, not a cause.
They say in sports, the best players, and best teams, do more of the “little things” right than others. It is the accumulation of excellence, at the molecular level, in all things required of true winners, that separates.
Clearly, we do most little things wrong as a franchise. Dead wrong. Starting at the top, and soaking down through to the last little player on the roster.
We spend too much money on the wrong people. We keep guys on the roster for reasons bordering on nostalgia. We pamper our stars, while scolding our coach, and wonder how come he can't get them “up” for a key game. (Cincinnati last year, Detroit, this.)
A backup linebacker ripped our fans via twitter, and nothing came of it. Would have been a great week to send him packing. A fullback complains openly about getting more money. The owner obliges. Why? Who knows. Since when have you ever heard of a FULLBACK(!) bitching about his contract in the media, and actually succeeding in getting a raise?
This would be like a bullpen catcher winning in a contract holdout.
Detroit didn't just beat us. They DOMINATED us.
Kevin Smith ran with abandon on a defense that was pre-purchasing “Greatest of All Time” t-shirts this summer. Matt Stafford missed wildly at times, but seemed quite comfortable in the pocket from start to finish.
If not for a series of huge breaks, this game would have been a Lions blowout. Here, take a look ....
a. Campbell had back-to-back INT's that were dropped/missed in the 1st half.
b. Sack on 1st play - facemask penalty gives them a big gain.
c. A long pass to Megatron at the 1 was called back due to OPI. Marginal.
d. Campbell dribbles a ball on a botched snap, completes for 28 to Moss.
e. The Moss TD was pure broken coverage, nothing more.
f. Campbell dropped the ball a second time, and luckily fell on it.
g. Stafford missing wide open Bryant Johnson across the middle.
h. Carlos Rodgers gets away with a blatant arm bar, no call.
Yeah, sure. The P.I. on Horton was 50-50. The picked up flag on the Moss facemask was a robbery.
But add 'em up. We were lucky to even be in the game. Besides, only pathetic teams beg the refs for help again the Lions.
In reality, the players on this team just aren't that good. This much is becoming more evident with each game. Too many of them are also old, and at the end of their useful NFL lifecycle.
Clinton Portis is never going to be a dynamic back again.
The o-line has 3 veterans who have no more than 18 months left on them.
The 2nd round triplets are never going to amount to much.
Campbell is likely a career backup.
You can have the entire d-line, excepting Haynesworth on talent alone, not on his performance per dollar – which will never be re-couped fully by Snyder.
Daniels, Carter, Griffin, Golston, Montgomery, Wynn, Wilson....... whatever.
Take 'em all. They are just guys on a roster. And there's nobody behind them pushing for a job.
At one point, the Lions were a staggering 9-13 on 3rd down.
Try to get your head around that number!
The suspected problems with this team going into the year, are still there. Quarterback, offensive line, durability of star running back.
It's now the unknown liabilities that are cropping up too. Defense, a coach who has seemingly gotten worse, not better, and a corrosive locker-room dynamic.
We suck. And that's who we are. Time to get used to it, or go crazy trying to deny it.
Friday, September 25, 2009
We now take a quick break from football, to appreciate the middle-aged eye candy that is rolling out on network TV.
Before anybody sends me an email saying: "Dude, there are 5 chicks hotter than that!" on show X, Y, or Z, remember this: these are just a few of my FAVORITE veterans of babedom out there.
So, let's get you up to speed...
CBS - Tuesdays, 10 p.m. "The Good Wife"
JULIANNA MARGULIES (43)
If you are a fan of dark haired semi-exotic beauties, Margulies rocks. Here, she plays an attorney wife of a jailed politician caught in a sexual affair. Saucy!
ABC - Wednesdays, 9:30 p.m. "Cougartown"
COURTNEY COX (45)
I mean, look at her. At her age, she only seems to get better. The show's premise seems to be as thin as rice paper, but who cares?
ABC - Tuesdays, 8:00 p.m. "V"
ELIZABETH MITCHELL (39)
Fans of "Lost" know Mitchell well. Unlike plastic looking younger blondes, Mitchell has a more organic, enduring look. As for a remake of a bad sci-fi show from the 80's? Fail.
ABC - Thursdays 8:00 p.m. "Flash Forward"
SONYA WALGER (35)
Heavily hyped, the show itself looks like a big hit. As for the lovely Ms. Walger, who didn't immediately fall for her in the brooding "Mind of the Married Man" series on HBO? Love the UK import.
CW - Tuesdays 8:00 p.m. "Melrose Place"
LAURA LEIGHTON (41)
The searingly hot red-head from the original series is back, looking very milf-tastic now as a more role-player older madame.
Jimmy Masterlock Time!
Last Week: 1-4
Week 3 - NFL
Redskins -6.5 at Detroit
Steelers -4 at Cincinnati
New Orleans -6 at Buffalo
DOG: Atlanta +4 at New England
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
A few thoughts about NFL blackout rules, which are quickly becoming as antiquated as the "No Smoking" light on airplanes.
First, from the Mises.org blog, Skip Oliva:
Last week you and Andy were discussing the Jacksonville blackout situation, and Andy mentioned that during the 1993 expansion process, Baltimore had been the early frontrunner before Jacksonville won. I've been looking into this as part of my research for my forthcoming article on the NFL, and here's the other part of the story: Jacksonville had actually dropped out of the expansion process before the final vote, but Paul Tagliabue -- Peter King's favorite Hall of Fame candidate -- manipulated the process, put Jacksonvile back into the running, and steered the final vote in their favor.
There's no single explanation for Tagliabue's actions. Most likely it was because he saw Wayne Weaver as a strong ally -- a case of a commissioner picking his owners, which Bud Selig has been criticized for. Tagliabue may have also bypassed Baltimore as a favor to Jack Kent Cooke. I've speculated before that had Baltimore received an expansion team before Cooke's death, the Squire might have reconsidered his estate planning regarding the Redskins and provided a more orderly succession. Of course that is just speculation.
On a related note, your guest who discussed the NFL blackout rules left some important historical items out. The original blackout rule was adopted in 1951. It prohibited the telecast of a club's home games, and also the telecast of *any* games in a city where the home team had a game that day. In other words, if the Redskins played the Giants in New York, that game could be shown in DC, but New York television couldn't show any NFL games without a special exception from the Giants and the league.
The Justice Department sued the NFL in 1953 to overturn these rules as an antitrust violation. The judge upheld the home blackout policy but struck down the ban on showing out-of-market games. When the NFL later signed its single-network contract in 1961, the same judge found that this violated the strict terms of his 1953 decision. This despite the fact that the AFL, the NBA and NHL all had similar network deals. Thus, the NFL was subject to a different legal standard because of the earlier order. (This is a common problem in antitrust, of course.) That's why the NFL had to go to Congress.
And then there's this from a simple fan perspective....
Lewis Wheaton of Atlanta writes...
You know Czabe, I just caught your Czabecast about the "amenities" of going to a NFL game nowadays.
I agree that there are financial issues for some families, some folks with sweet TVs at home who would rather stay there. And that stadiums are not really agreeable to fans anymore.
You know, there is an interesting hypocrisy of the NFL. I live in Atlanta, and do not go to the games, because I am not a fan of the Falcons. Just like most cities, the NFL fans are not 100% fans of the local team. The only time I'd entertain the idea of going to see the Falcons is if my favorite team was playing there. So the NFL fan base in the city not being a fan of the local team is one problem.
But related to this is the onslaught of ads to sell me (as a resident of an NFL city, fan or not) on STAYING HOME and getting the FULL Sunday ticket NFL BUFFET. So, Rog, do you want me (and any other resident within 40 miles of an NFL stadium) to stay home and consume all the games, or do you want me to pack up my family and pay lots of money to see one? Why would I go to golden corral and buy only Salisbury steak, when I can more affordably get access to the entire buffet... AT THE SAME PRICE!!!???
NFL Ticket for the whole season is $300 and I have a very high probability to see a good game (some game somewhere will be close in the 4th quarter... it happens every week). Comapre that to parking, some number of tickets, gas, food/beverage at any stadium in the country. And I am not stuck in the bleachers potentially watching a snooze-fest with no other option (recall the ads promote the idea that you are missing great plays on other games because you're stuck with cable!!! That applies to games you're going to also!!!).
The NFL has essentially out-marketed itself. You tell people there's a better alternative, don't punish folks for taking it. The NFL is ubiquitous. The league want's its channel freely available everywhere, RedZone coverage, Ticket.... Just like with newspapers, easily available access to all of your product has made fans opt for the cheaper route. Present blackout rules are absurd and antiquated. And it is the NFL's fault that they have gotten to that point.
REACT: Well, well, said. All of these contradictory marketing messages are converging now, and will produce endemic non-sellouts around the country. At least until the NFL gets smart, and makes the game-day experience as compelling, and immersive with video options in and around the stadium of the REST of the NFL product, that you are missing.
If it were my league, I would insist that teams invest in THREE large video screens in the stadium that show ONLY other games, and HI-LITES without sound at all times.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
As you know, the NBA is ready to lock out it's referees because they cannot come to terms (yet) on a CBA.
This is not the end of the world.
Most likely, each side will give a little, and by the time you can say "ABC's Christmas Day Triple-Header!" we'll be seeing Dick Bavetta, Steve Javie, and company back out there making horribly biased big market, star fawning calls.
Yet, the nervous bleating of one NBA referee yenta housewife, has made the blogosphere due to a letter she wrote in "defense" of her hubby and the refs.
Among her gripes.... daddy travels alot.
Well, boo, freaking hoo, sweetheart! Go watch Planes Trains and Automobiles with the late John Candy. The Del Griffiths of the world actually exist. They travel maniacally, selling things as stupid as shower curtain rings.
The movie was fake. The reality of working men who travel is real.
While many men who travel alot, don't LIKE being away from their family, they do so out of love. They are providing. This alone, trumps all the other Oprah-Winfrey-agitated bullshit this yenta trots out with such hysteria.
I don't know how much of a haircut the NBA is fixing to give your man's salary, but I gotta believe you'll still be able to keep the house. Besides, when you say your mortgage doesn't know what "lockout" means, I ask you: do you know what "savings" means?
You can't sustain an even 2-3 month dip in income?
And this salvo takes the prize: "It was not my dream to be an NBA referee. It was not our kid's dream to have a father who is one either. But it is a dream we are fully committed to supporting because it is my husband's dream."
No, no you are NOT supporting it.
You are crying, and bitching, and whining about it. You are likely making things WORSE for your husband, and may get him fired. Good work.
Unless your husband was an accountant with tidy 9-5 hours BEFORE you got married (unlikely) then you know what you were signing up for. Or at least should have.
That said, I bet there are more than a few guys out there who wouldn't mind the gig, with the salary, and the chance to have June, July, August, and September completely OFF to do fun family stuff.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
If Jim Zorn were merely our offensive coordinator, he'd be fired by now.
Considering the fact that two OC's got canned this summer in the NFL based on PRE-season ineptitude, this would hardly be controversial. Firing head coaches after just two weeks, tends to be more dicey.
I say let's pretend he never got promoted to head coach, and just do what needs to be done.
The only problem with that approach, is that it does nothing to guarantee that a better new head coach will be selected. The virtue of firing him now, is to avoid the long awkward remainder of his tenure here with the 'Skins.
Like a bad date, better to call it off during dessert, and before the movie.
When you find yourself 3 times (technically 5 times, but I'm omitting the ill-fated failed 4th and 1 and the resulting kneel downs at the end of the game) inside the 10 with first and goal, and you get just 3 FG's against perhaps the NFL's weakest defensive team, it's a complete embarrassment.
When you refuse to even ATTEMPT to throw the ball INTO the end zone in order to score, it's maddening.
When you run a HB-option pass on the 5 yard line, just how exactly do you expect to get the defense “out of position?”
Forget the fact that special teams coach Danny Smith had to crawl up Zorn's arm to prevent him from calling a timeout too early while precious seconds were bleeding down against the Rams.
Forget the abysmal play call of a slow developing SWEEP to Portis on the SHORT side of the field when all you need is ½ a yard with a battering ram like Mike Sellers.
Nah. Forget all that.
Get rid of Zorn as head coach for the same reason he was hired.
Do it on a whim.
Do it because it makes sense at the time. Call Gibbs again. Ask him if he should be fired. Hell, call Jim Fassel. He was the guy who allegedly approved of Zorn's hire as OC before Snyder turned heel on Fassel for the second time.
No great thoughts were put INTO making him head coach. Don't put much thought into firing him. Chances are, he's not the next Lombardi.
I'm not saying I especially want him fired. I'm just saying you probably should. Does that make sense?
a. He was hired as OC despite never having run an offense.
b. The Seahawks, despite his years of service, told Zorn that he was going out with Holmgren, and that his contract was not going to be renewed.
c. No other teams interviewed Zorn for either an OC job, or the head coaching job.
d. When Zorn was offered a chance to interview for the head job, he made a point of saying that he went home, changed into a suit first. This is a telling anecdote about the culture of the Skins under Snyder. Dress up, suck up, move up.
I actually had to go back and look up the stated rationale for hiring Zorn after this debaculous win. Here's the quotes...
"We're proud that our search was diligent, thorough, and resulted in today's announcement," owner Dan Snyder said. "Jim's track record and reputation as a player, great teacher, and as a coach makes us confident that they will translate to success for the Redskins."
"We knew of Jim's stellar offensive reputation, so we hired him as coordinator, but we also suspected he would be a strong candidate for head coach," Snyder said. "After our first six-hour interview with him, I told Joe [Gibbs], 'This guy would make a terrific head coach.' But we stayed true to our commitment to interview every candidate."
The Redskins had to wait until the Super Bowl was played to interview their final candidate, Giants defensive coordinator Spagnuolo. After Spagnuolo announced Thursday that he'd rather stay with the Giants -- who gave him a new three-year, $6 million contract -- Snyder said he invited Zorn to lunch.
"I told him we were considering him as the next head coach, and asked if he wanted to move forward. Without hesitation he said 'absolutely,' and that's all I needed to hear," Snyder said. "We spent two days taking Jim through the same interview process as every other candidate. Those sessions only confirmed my earlier comment to Joe: Jim Zorn will be a terrific head coach."
With the Redskins, Zorn, who was eager for the chance to direct his own offense, is expected to run an aggressive passer-friendly version of the West Coast offense, said a league executive familiar with Zorn's philosophy.
If that's “all I needed to hear” according to Snyder, then this should be all he needs to see.
We're now 1-1, with just 1 TD so far from somebody who is not our punter, with a frisky Lions team next week, itching to end their 19 game losing streak. Fun times...
Friday, September 18, 2009
If you ever wondered why flamethrower Jason Whitlock is no longer with the "World Wide Leader" in sports, here's one more reason. When he decides to "de-cleat" somebody in the media, it's like Warren Sapp on Chad Clifton all over again...
Wrote Whitlock on the MNF double-scoop...
Seriously, (Mike) Greenberg's lack of football knowledge was criminal. Mike Golic and Steve Young are taking some heat for their bad performances, particularly not knowing the rules about possessing the ball on a falling catch in the end zone.
I'm going to give Golic and Young an out. Working opposite Greenberg on a football game, no one could sound intelligent.
Look, Mike Tirico is the best play-by-play man working today. Greenberg had to follow the best. He was going to look bad regardless. But I'm not sure Greenberg has ever watched a football game. Clueless. Get him a boob job and a wig and let him fill in for Erin Andrews on her vacation days.
If you went up/down the I-95 corridor to Delaware last weekend to sip from the first little trickle of legal sports betting East of Vegas in decades, you might have been disappointed with the long lines just to get a crummy 5.5-1 on a 3-team parlay. As Kevin O'Neill from RealWorldSports.com points out, industry standard is 6-1 and some books even make money at 6.5-1. Worse yet? Delaware apparently had to ask their daddy in Vegas about some of the wagers!
There was plenty of hope in the morning, when people lined up to place bets. And there were blunders, too. Chad Davis, 34, of Harrisburg, said he had waited more than 45 minutes in line. Delaware Park had four cashiers and two machines, but they were not enough for the final rush before the 1 p.m. kickoffs.
Andrew Gentile, chief operating officer of Delaware Park, said the delays had been caused by a system error that required some of the bets to be transmitted to Las Vegas to be reviewed before being approved.
In case you missed it, this one is an instant, and enduring visual sports classic. BAM! Pwned!
With all the health care reform debate going on, have you ever wondered “what do the doctors think?” Well, Investors Business Daily ran a poll through the medical establishment, and the results are sobering. I would recommend giving it more than just a quick read.
Okay, it's Jimmy Time!
As heard on Bob and Brian in the Morning in Milwaukee on 102.9 The Hog, Jimmy Masterlock touted last week's money LOSING 2-2 record as some how “profitable.” Then he completely mis-stated how “the vig” works. (It's you, LAYING the excess 10 percent, you assclown! Not the casino!)
Undaunted, here are his releases for the week. Play against them if you like!
Florida -29.5 vs. Tennessee: Jimmy: “Lane Kiffin's team is going be more wrecked than Lindsay Lohan on spring break with two duffel bags of cocaine.”
Jacksonville -3 vs. Arizona: Jimmy: “The Cardinals east-of-the-Mississippi is like betting on Amtrak to lose money.”
Washington -9.5 vs. St. Louis: Jimmy: “Skins are in triple-owner-coach revenge mode here.” Then he gave out a totally un-reliable stat. Caution.
New England -3.5 at NY Jets: Jimmy: “Run the opposite way as all the suckers pile into NY.” This line moved 3 points since the Patriots struggled. Big deal. They own Gang Green at the Meadowlands.
New Orleans +0 at Philly: How Jimmy can say this is a “under-dog” pick is beside me, but he says “you'll get the 0 points, if you need 'em.” A true sign of desperation.
Finally, don't forget to get your FREE picks in for the tri-fecta of Czabe Football Fun this week!
First, you've got the Leinie's Football Pick 'Em for a free beer tube each week. Then you have the Milwaukee Harley perfect score win a Harley contest. And don't forget the Best Buy weekly fantasy pick-em.
Have fun, waste time, you hate your boss/job anyway, right? Good luck.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Lest any Redskin fan wonder if they are somehow missing the "nuance" of Jim Zorn's Redskin offense, this series of pre-snap photos should put that to rest.
No. It's not you.
This series in particular galled me the most last weekend against the Giants. While I understand the perils of being backed up inside your own 5, I also know that many teams love to throw in this spot.
Why? Simple. There's 95 yards of wide-open acreage to cover behind you.
What does Zorn do? Runs Portis three times and punts. And just look at the formations!
(Or should I say "formation." No "s." It's the same freaking one, just flipped on second down to the other side! These are actual NFL "polaroids" somebody found after the game at the Meadowlands in the booth. Fascinating stuff.)
Maybe Zorn just doesn't trust Campbell in this spot. If so, he needs to get a new QB. You can't just be this shrink-dicked timid.
And if this is what we get in a situation like this, then you can imagine how plain the rest of the scheme looks to every defensive coordinator in the league.
What a shock then, that the Skins haven't scored 30 points in a game (even counting DFTD's and STTD's) in a string of 19 games and counting.
Only the Lions have a longer such streak.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I think Bill Belichick is the best coach in the NFL right now. He's also a Hall of Famer.
Bill Belichick is also a cheater.
These two statements do not cancel each other out.
Some die hard Pats apologists, however, keep trying to insist that Videotape-Gate was much ado about nothing.
Here's one email...
I am listening to your breakdown of the Redskins game yeasterday; and one of you guys(out of jealously) feel the need to call Bill and Charlie Weis cheaters. You should have more of a clue before you call the best coach in sport a cheater, but you obviously don't really have a clue that the so called "tapes" had absolutely nothing to do with their success. Maybe you would like to remind your listeners that George Allen used to send coaches to opposing teams practices, I wonder how that would go over? Would that be cheating, or was he just doing what all the other coached were doing; and their wins and loses were decided on the field.
Roger in Annapolis
REACT: Put simply, Belichick and the Patriots cheated. They cheated in a way that prompted an un-precedented fine of $1 million and a forfeiture of a 1st round draft pick. The fact Belichick was not suspended, was perhaps only due to owner Bob Kraft's lofty standing within the NFL's inner circle. None of this is in dispute.
Now how much this taping program helped the Patriots is unknown. None of the principals (Belichick and Weiss to be specific) will address it, and neither has elaborated.
But we know this much: the program was in place for over a full season, and they felt it was so crucial, that they risked (and got caught) the practice after the league issued a specific edict against it.
To me, that means the program was not insignificant.
All that said, I still think Belichick is an awesome coach. He's also a homewrecker, sore loser, and more boring than a box of unsharpened #2 pencils.
These opinions are do not cancel each other out.
And as for George Allen, that's beside the point. Allen likely cheated too, with some of his actions. He was never fined $1 million or docked a #1 pick. (He didn't have any lying around, anyway.)
Friday, September 11, 2009
There's nothing like wagering on sports.
Oh, you haven't tried it? What's the matta-wich-yoo?
Now I've heard all the excuses. "I like watching sports for the pure athletic nature of it." Or "I don't want to have to go against my own team."
It's all garbage.
Come on, people. A little "sweet action" on the side, isn't going to turn you into Art Schlischter. Probably...
To gamble a little something on a football game, is to live so vicariously through every single stupid play, that you'll feel more alive than you ever have watching a game. You'll have a real stake in the outcome. Even if it's just a lousy $20 bucks.
Plus, when you win, there's a chest thumping satisfaction that comes with it which is hard to describe, almost like beating your most hated rival.
This is not to say, there will not be heartache and frustration. Ohhh, trust me, there will be. You will go through cold streaks. You will suffer bad beats. You will get whipsawed by injury and penalties. A ref's call will almost certainly steal a win from your back pocket.
Some weeks, you will look at the point spreads, and they will appear as confusing as Chinese trigonometry.
But you will be more involved with football than ever! And you need not do anything to ever compromise your rooting interest in your favorite team.
It's a big league. Roam around. You've got 30 other teams to wager on each week!
With that... here's Jimmy Masterlock's picks for Week 1, as heard on Bob and Brian in the Morning on 102.9 The Hog.
Dallas -6 vs. Tampa Bay (Jimmy Sez: Tampa will be a 4 win team this year)
Minnesota -3.5 at Cleveland (Jimmy Sez: Nobody ever went broke betting against the Browns!)
Detroit +13 at New Orleans (Jimmy Sez: A rookie QB vs. one of the most potent offenses in the league? Something doesn't smell right. This game should be 19 or 20, right? RUN to the smell. Dumpster dive!)
and... the "Barking Dog" of the week, where you may want the points, you may like the points, but YOU ARE NOT GOING TO NEED THEM!
Miami +4 @ Atlanta (Jimmy Sez: These are two suprise 11 win teams from last year, but the Fish will prove last year was more legit than fluke.)
Finally, given that we are in the worst recession since Max Headroom and Members Only Jackets were all the rage, I am proud to offer up three easy contests for you guys to partake in, all for FREE!
The first one is our Leinenkugel Pick 'Em game, which is as simple as it gets. Just pick the games (no spreads) and the weekly winner gets an awesome autographed Beer Tube to pour some of your favorite Leinie's into!
The second game, is the pick a game, predict the score contest sponsored by Milwaukee Harley. This one too is simple play, although winning the bitchin' "Fat Bob" is going to be one helluva Hail Mary.
Just pick a game and fire in the exact score you predict. Then of all the entries that week, ONE person's game will be activated as "live" for a chance to win the Harley. All you gotta do then, is sit back and watch your Nostradamus like prediction come home. Vrooom.... vrooom!
Finally, my guy Paul Charchian (Fantasy Guru from Minneapolis) set up a deal through Best Buy with us, so you can play against me every week in a fantasy game for both bragging rights (always fun) and cool Best Buy prizes. (even funner!)
Takes a few minutes longer (you hate your boss, though, go ahead!) but once your fantasy lineup is set, you at least have a little taste of fantasy each week in case you don't have any real friends for a league, or simply quit the one you were once a part of in total disgust. (Trust me, I've been there!)
So there you go, folks. Happy football. Does life get any better than right now? I doubt it...
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I love how Allen Iverson has invoked "God" as the reason he has meekly accepted a 1 year, $3.5 million deal with woeful and irrelevant Memphis Grizzlies. Iverson "Tweeted" the following...
"God Chose Memphis as the place that I will continue my career."
Or, maybe your inability to share the basketball had something to do with that. Just sayin...
The fact that no NBA team other than this laughinstock would want a 34 year old still-lightning-quick "superstar" is telling. It confirms once and for all what many Iverson agnostics (note: I did not say haters, or critics) have said for years.
He simply doesn't make teams better.
Aside from the Dikembe Mutumbo year in Philly where they went the Finals (with some of the shadiest refereeing this side of Tim Donaghy, well documented here my Bucks faithful), Iverson has had virtually no impact on a team being truly good or great.
Oh sure, he scores like the devil. He makes insanely pretty highlight plays. But that's about it.
Had Iverson seen this coming, he could have pivoted his game the last few years into becoming a true point guard. A 12 dime, 8 shot a night guy. But what fun would that be?
If so, he could have been a key starter/backup at the #1 position in the NBA for a dozen teams. I still think nobody is quick enough to stay with him.
But at least "God" has a plan for him. I hope God also doesn't believe in practice.
A few thoughts on what constitutes a "lie."
As you probably know, a Republican Congressman by the name of Joe Wilson blurted out rudely to Obama during his address "You lie!"
Out of form, no doubt. Untrue? Not hardly.
The issue was Obama insisting that his "plan" does not allow for illegal immigrants to be covered under his "universal" health insurance plan. I know, there is specific languange in the bill saying just that.
But at the same time, Obama does not say that there is precisely NO MEANS TO ENFORCE this in the plan. In fact, a Republican proposal to require citizens to prove their legal status before entering the plan was defeated by Democrats in committee.
So at best, Obama is uttering very nice sounding half-truths.
It would be like you promising your mom: "I promise I will not drive to the mall tonite to hang out with my friends smoke pot."
And then instead, you simply WALKED to the mall and did the same thing.
Everybody with half a brain knows that illegals WILL be getting coverage they are "supposedly" not entitled to under this plan. If a police department decides not to buy ANY radar detectors, then you can guarantee that there will be speeding.
So I suppose it would have been more accurate to shout: "You are spewing half-truths!"
But I also suppose that comment would have packed less sting. It would still have been rude. Presidents who choose to abuse the truth, do so at their own peril, and will have to answer for it in due time.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Ten (Or More..) Things I Know I Think
1. When Bobby Bowden starts to wax nostalgic about how awesome a game he lost must have been to watch, then it's time to go. I don't know many coaches who even think this way. Instead of seeing 38-34 as a "great game" like Bobby did, most coaches want to vomit thinking about why on earth they surrendered 38 at home.
2. There is no act of poor sportsmanship worse than strutting or posing after you have laid out a defenseless receiver. While I have real problems with the NCAA's new "point of emphasis" on this issue, I thought Reshad Jones of Georgia was a total jackass after hitting Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State. Congrats, dude. You made the obvious play you need to make. Don't act like you just cured cancer. Especially when the guy you hit might be seriously injured. That said, I think the new interpretation of these hits is going to pose continuing problems.
3. I think I need to know how to pull and post high quality, quasi-HD clips like the one above to YouTube. Currently, I have a Pinnacle USB video converter that lays down video from composite inputs. It can accept my HD picture from my DirecTV box, but it does not lay down a 16x9 aspect ratio on the recorded video to my USB storage device. Instead, it crushes the video into a 4x3 aspect ratio file. I did find out I can "un-stretch" this video on a re-convert using Vegas Movie Studio Platinum. But the render time is somewhat tedious and cumbersome. The resulting video is quite good. Not "real" HD but at least crystal sharp standard def video in a nice widescreen format. This would be great for archiving and posting stuff to YouTube. (I hate nothing more than crappy YouTube footage, don't you?) But to date, I don't know of any way to capture what I am looking for without re-converting. Nerds, have at this one. I'll post the best responses later this week.
4. Speaking of "bad HD" I am insulted at the garbage ABC threw at us for the otherwise awesome VaTech v. Alabama game. It was clearly NOT true HD. Un-acceptable. They should be forced to label the video as STANDARD DEF WIDESCREEN, which I am convinced it was. PS: How come uncle Brent doesn't have more pull?
5. Last note on that game, I was glad to see Lee Corso back on the set after his stroke back in May. However, it's tough to notice immediately the 5-8% loss in function he still has. I know about strokes quite well. My dad's father suffered one, and it is such a blow to quality of life. For whatever reasons, everybody fears the ol' heart attack above all else. But at least if you survive one of those, you can go on to function pretty well.
6. ESPN's Wendy Nix is already the most cougar-riffic of ESPN female talent. But did you see her with the librarian glasses on Saturday? Ohhh... wow.
7. Not that anybody needed proof, but Northern Iowa losing an epic upset bid because of TWO blocked kicks in a row at the gun? Good grief, Charlie Brown. I think there are probably 5-6 good kickers in D-1 college football, everybody else is some kind of soccer team walk-on.
8. Did you see John Senden's albatross at the Duechebank? (Doushe-bank, whatever?) I was trying to remember the last time the rarest of golf birds, the ALBATROSS was caught on film in it's natural element? I couldn't remember. You only hear about them on tour, you rarely see one.
9. Mike Singletary has installed a giant ol' dirt hill at the Niner's training facility. Claims that any great football player has once done hill training to get in prime shape. He's probably right. I always heard about Walter Payton doin' that crap. The story on ESPN even said that Ladanian Tomlinson had a hill "installed" at his home so he could work out on it. I bet that hill also had a huge, sweet-ass, HD jumbotron installed at the top. Ohhhh, yeahhh.
10. One of my neighbors played for the 1961 Alabama national championship team. How do I know this? He wore an Alabama golf shirt, and his title ring to a little neighborhood social on Sunday night. And boy, did he have stories! He buttonholed me immediately, and said: "Now, are you some kind of sportswriter?" His name is Ed Versprille. Lean, fit, a thick head of white hair, and a penchant for invading your personal space when he gets fired up, ol' Ed had a problem with my initial questions about him having played. "You played?" I said. "Hell yeah, why does everybody say that!" "Nothing, I just think it's impressive. What position?" "Fullback!" be blurted proudly. And then without any prompting, he closed in to about 6 inch range from my face and growled: "And I would knock your dick in the dirt, too!" My man. Eddie! I think we're going to the Auburn game together. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Here's one you won't see for, oh... maybe another 27 years of reading the newspaper: Man Fires Cannon, Hit's Neighbor's House.
Fabulous. I can just see the crazy old dude now: "Aye, matey's! Clear the poop deck and stowe the Hogsheads underneath! Come about... and.... FIRE!"
I can't wait to see that guy try to make a homeowner's insurance claim on that one. "Uh huh. Yes ma'am. Cannon. No. Like, revolutionary war, cannon. I know, ma'am. It's against our HOA covenants. But it wasn't MY cannon. It was my neighbor. No, ma'am. He's not invited to the picnic anymore, thank you for asking."
Thursday, September 3, 2009
No owner. No lawsuits. No invasion of opposing fans.
If going to Lambeau Field (even for just one game a year) and being a Packer fan seems like it is divine providence, you are probably right.
Welcome to my world.
Part 2 of the Washington Post expose on Dan Snyder's rock-em-sock-em business practices with our beloved football team, chronicles what it looks like to sue into bankruptcy a 72 year old woman who has a house full of Redskin trinkets.
Oh, the joy.
Once upon a time, Redskinland and RFK were a lot like Packerland and Lambeau. The stadium was small, but loud. You knew everybody who sat in the rows in front of you, and behind you. Getting a ticket was something to brag about.
And yeah, the waiting list really was just that. A list in which your number was somewhere in the 50,000 range, and you got a post card each year saying you had moved up 10 spots.
Hang in there. It was still faster than the Packer list.
Now you have ticket practices that are an ugly hybrid of the Russian mafia, and a Turkish baazaar. They make no sense. But they do make money for our beloved owner.
That being said.... I do have one friend from high school who finds the whole Post series to be a lot of whining about nothing. He writes...
In honor of your favorite "sports columnist" (douche-bag) Peter King, here I go:
Ten things I think I think:
1.Dan Snyder did not build Fedex Field – Why do we blame him?
2.EVERY team sells to scalpers. If the average fan wanted to buy a bunch of club level suites they could also work a deal to get seats in other preferred areas of the stadium – It’s a business and as Americans we pride ourselves in living in a free market.
3.Where in the Constitution does it give us the right to buy tickets at the price We Choose in the Section We Want. 40 Million Americans live below the poverty level and can't afford $50 to go to a football game - should we require NFL Teams to allocate free tickets to accommodate these fans (I'm OK with it).
4.The 160,000 people on the waiting list are there because they only want to spend a certain amount on tickets and there are only a certain amount of those seats available – if they were willing to spend the money the tickets are available in premium sections.
5.The stadium seats 91,000 people. Anyone who wants to get tickets to any game can buy them on the secondary market usually for less than face value. There are literally thousands of tickets for sale by brokers for less than $100 – dare me and I’ll find them.
6.There are season tickets available on Stubhub for as low as $46.88 per game – look it up.
7.In less than 10 minutes I found over 10,000 tickets for the Cowboys home opener in their new stadium.
8.Tickets to Broadway Shows are hundreds of dollars – I choose not to buy them.
9.As a fan of the Redskins I am grateful that our owner spends enough money that EVERY YEAR our team has the potential to go to the playoffs and win – don’t you think that the millions of fans of Detroit, Cleveland, Arizona, Buffalo, NY Jets, Cincinnati, KC, Oakland and Houston (to name a few) would trade places in a second?
10.If you thought that Chase Daniels, Colt Brennan or Todd Collins should be the starting QB – you’re too stupid to watch football.
11-5 is the number . . . see you in the playoffs!
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Yeah, sure. It's a season ticket "waiting list."
If you needed one more debunking narrative as to how totally-not-at-all-hard it is anymore to get a ticket to see the Skins play at FedEx Field, then this brilliant piece by the Washington Post should do it.
Apparently, the debacle of the Steeler game last year on national TV (MNF) in which Steeler fans were a seeming 50-50 split with the home crowd, pushed Dan Snyder over the edge and caused him to move on cancelling various ticket broker accounts with the team.
And look, I know that every team probably does this, to some extent, and in some way. And look, I know that they are running a business.
But let's just stop once and for all with the nonsense of a "list" that encompasses 160,000 supposedly willing and able ticket buyers.
It's a burgundy and gold striped unicorn, in my book. A wonderful thought, but something that doesn't really exist.
There MIGHT be 16,000 people ready and willing to buy tickets, but even that might be a stretch.
(NOTE: Be sure to chortle at the passage in the story about the actual list, printed out, sitting in 16 huge boxes and binders in a "locked" closet. Now there's an efficient way to store data in the year 2009, huh?)
See, the problem is simple: There are roughly 40,000 seats in that building which are good seats, at a price people want. We're talking the lower bowl regular season tickets that cost $99 per game.
The rest of the seats, virtually nobody wants.
Club seats at up to $475 per game ++ (parking, etc.) are chronically undersold and underused. (See: wide swaths of yellow during games)
The upper bowl (Siberia) is only used as a "feeder" or "farm system" to tempt fans into thinking they'll get called down to the lower bowl after X number of years up there. Not unlike infamous announcer Rod Roddy on "The Price is Right" screaming "come on down....!"
So by my calculations (and others here in the office) there's about 60-75,000 seats that are not exempt from the "luxury" category that prevents Skins games from falling victim to blackout rules.
How close are we, to that threshold?
Nobody knows for sure. But I think we are closer than anybody realizes, and I think the day is coming soon, when we are all going to be in for the shock of our generation.
A road trip to Harrisburg, PA to watch the Skins at home. Just like the bad ol' days of the early 70's.