Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Well folks, by now, I bet you figured it out.
I’ve been nothing but tail-lights leaving the FSR parking lot since about the end of the 3rd quarter.
Sorry. A.L.E. theory. To the bitter end.
Actually, I was willing and prepared to run out the string here with Scotty and Solly. But the skipper came over to my locker, asked for the playbook, shook my hand, and said “go ahead and start enjoying the holidays.”
I’m sorry it had to end, but then again, I prefer not to look at it that way. I see a new beginning. I see fun things available to me that I always wanted to do. This might be, as they say, the start of something big. Somewhere. Sometime. Maybe soon. But maybe not. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
I have been floored by the volume, and passion of your emails the last few weeks. And I am sure to be getting a lot more, since I’m guessing that only about 30% of you know what’s going on just yet.
I have also been amazed at the number of calls from industry people – people I have never met in my life – who said they were listeners and fans of the show. It seems like every day I’ve been telling Scott and Solly: “Dude, guess who called me today…”
While I am dealing with this change in stride, I know that you guys are not. For this, I feel bad, and wish something could be done. You had invited me into your cars, your homes, your bedrooms every morning. This is now gone. There’s a void. Five years (or more) is a long time.
For everyone who said: “I’m cancelling my XM subscription now” I say this: don’t. Don’t because it’s still the greatest thing ever invented for a radio fan. And well, if you cancel, and then have to un-cancel later, that would be a hassle, right? Just sayin….
Me and the fellas are taking the next week off, and then we’re back to our local schedule in the new year. We will start a daily podcast/czabecast that will hopefully deliver on the 3-5 big stories of the day. It ain’t much, but it’s something.
In the meantime, I would love to do one final “Behind the Music” Czabecast on some of the show’s highlights, lowlights, and car-crash stupid-funny-awful moments over the years. But I need your help.
I’ve forgotten most of them!
You people, never forget. I love that about you.
(Except remembering the A.C. Green interview and the headphone smashing. That, you can forget. Thanks.)
So go ahead, shoot me an email at email@example.com or just post a show moment here, and we’ll scoop up the best ones, and riff on them when we get back together.
Finally, a very kind blurb from SI.com’s Richard Deitsch about the show, by way of Michael Grant in Louisville. Again, two people I’ve never met before! Nice.
Then, I pulled a small sample of emails from the in-box.
Sorry I had to “ALE” it on you guys, but then again, if you didn’t figure that out and follow me shortly afterward to the exits, then I obviously taught you guys nothing.
Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
THE LAST WORD (Richard Deitsch, SI.com)
In what qualifies as a head-scratching move, Fox Sports Radio announced it was replacing Steve Czaban with Stephen A. Smith as the host of one of its national radio shows. Czaban, whose contract was not renewed by FSR after seven years, will continue to be heard during afternoon drive on DC's ESPN 980, WTEM after his last national show airs on Dec. 23. I heard Smith nearly every day when he hosted his talk show in New York City on 1050 ESPN Radio and a simple Google search will tell you how that experiment ended, and how this ultimately will in a couple of years. As for Czaban, I asked Louisville Courier-Journal sportswriter Michael Grant, a longtime listener of Czaban and Fox Sports Radio, to offer his postscript on the move.
Steve Czaban always reminded me of the high school friend you didn't agree with but couldn't stop listening to, either. He's a mixture of odd, crass, and intense, but also engaging, informative and funny. If you're anything like me, you value such voices.
I was tremendously disappointed upon hearing that Czaban will no longer be doing his national show for Fox Sports Radio because the airwaves will be an emptier place without him. His was one of the few sports-talk shows I listened to daily, and if I couldn't listen live, I recorded it on my portable satellite radio.
Czaban was a terrific entertainer but he also challenged listeners to consider different viewpoints, mostly about sports but also subjects away from it. (Who wants homogenized radio?). He was passionate about the NFL as he was about The Simpsons.
He also was strangely averse to text-messaging, MySpace and Facebook like some octogenarian technophobe, but I enjoyed such old-school quirkiness.
I've been an avid listener to sports radio since the embryonic days of the format in the 1980s and today's sports-talk show landscape is littered with too many wannabes, snoozers and flat-out losers. With Czaban, you never felt cheated. You never felt like he mailed in a show. He always sounded like someone who prepared and cared. Now Czaban is gone, replaced by (groan) Stephen A Smith.
Ironically, Czaban was an advocate of the "A.L.E." theory, which suggests "always leave early" from sporting events to avoid traffic. For me, "The Czabe" is leaving the national airwaves much too early.
You were the only reason I kept my magic radio and the last show on FSR worth my time listening to. I listened to the show, end of the live show and full replay, everyday at work for the past 4 years. I loved the show for everything. I loved the nuances of jerseys and uniform combos and how you'd crush the guys who complained about you not talking about sports.
I didn't need the sports, I wanted the funny stories of running over doors, hitting deer, drilling noises in the background from your lovely station construction and on the phone while ordering McDonalds at the drive in. My days are filled with sound bites from the show. One of my favorite shows was the all request line for sound bites. The Michigan State rant is probably my favorite although Ben Knop booing kills me every time.
I also loved "Bug Talk". I don't know what I will do without the show. I will be canceling my XM subscription and turning off FSR for good. I will not stop drinking the Leinie's though. I probably wouldn't have found that delicious nectar without your sponsorship and visits with Dick and Jake. It is a fantastic beer and I have made several other huge fans as well.
I can't listen to Same and Samer so I guess the freaks on Coast to Coast AM will have to take your place on morning radio! I really can't believe the Czabe is out. I will really miss your show.
Today is the day that I found out that your show was cancelled, and today sucks. Your show was one of the only things that I could count on to make me laugh out loud each and every day. Every morning I listened to 1 hour while I commuted to work, the 2nd hour on my lunch break during the replay, and the third hour I downloaded via the KLAC website while I was working. I am at a loss for words. The show was insightful, edgy, and hilarious. Better than any other sports radio show in my opinion. You guys spoke your mind and really talked on a level that I related to. Now that the initial shock has worn off, it's really just anger that I feel. This really just pisses me off. I wish you, Scott, and Solly the best, and I hope to hear you guys on a national radio show again in the near future.
A loyal Listener
Green Bay, WI
While my politics often fall to the left of yours (about the only thing I disagree with you on), I've always enjoyed your show and will miss having you guys on in the morning. My alarm is set for 6:00am where your show has always woken me up, allowing me to gradually get up while listening to the show...yes, the Daily Czabe was my "2 minute" warning letting me know that I had no choice to get up or else. My wife, Margie, has also enjoyed your show. She often gets up before me and is spending time getting ready while your show is on in the backgroun (while I still lay lazily in bed) always getting a good laugh from you and the boys. Like me, she was upset when I told her the news Tuesday morning after I had read your post on Czabe.com.
I could go on and on about the show but I won't. Instead, I'll mention one of my favorite pieces of the show. A year or two ago you, Scott and Galdi did 'espnews' on the radio. You all read over each other current sports news. It was incredibly funny.
Anyways, it almost had to go down like this. You never would've left on your own and everytime you've left a job you've gone on to better things. Chances are half your life is over. You might live past 84, but I doubt your quality of life will be as it is now. So in this last half, time is precious. You've been working your ass off, compromising your health. Now it's time for the Winter of Czabe. Go down to Florida and work on your golf game. P90x has no doubt enhanced your long game. I'm sure you have plenty of fans out there only too happy to pay your greens fees. Enjoy!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Last night’s debacle aside, my Redskins cockles are warm and toasty this Christmas.
Ding dong. Vinny is gone.
(Blink. Blink. Stare.)
I never thought I would see the day. I truly, honestly, never thought Dan Snyder would flush his very own Waylon Smithers. Yet, there he goes.
Vinny Cerrato was the very embodiment of subservient incompetence.
Plain incompetence at least has its own merits. The Michael Scott’s of the world have big plans, and conviction in what they do, and why they do it.
Vinny’s incompetence was born of pure ingratiation to the owner. And it is precisely why he’ll never work in this capacity again in the NFL for anyone else.
I never met Vinny, so I don’t know if he’s a bad person or just a dope. I know this much. He was a small person. He had no ability to see the magnitude of his job title, and to act up to it. His radio show was pathetic and delusional. How can a guy judge football talent, when he can’t even hear how awful he sounds on an interview?
It is bad enough to have to endure that kind of thing from your local elected dog-catcher. But for such incompetence to be foisted upon your beloved football team is another thing altogether.
We’ll never know how much actual say Vinny had on the bad personnel moves over his decade in Ashburn. I bet for many of them, he was nothing but an order taker. “Make it happen, Vinny” said either Danny or (more regrettably) Gibbs.
That’s beside the point. The concept of a guy like Vinny, is now over. Good riddance.
Enter Bruce Allen. Son of our legend. Forget Gibbs. It was Bruce’s daddy who made the Redskins relevant.
Let me say this: a folding chair would have still been an upgrade.
But to get a guy with such credentials as Allen is a genuine thrill. Not only did he excite us with a mere press conference, but I’ve yet to hear somebody make a substantive argument against his skills as an executive.
In his presser, Allen said nothing of substance. But the un-Vinny-ness of it was stark. There were sentences. Complete ones. He made good, simple points. He looked impressive. He looked like somebody worthy of giving operational control of a football team to.
So now, the “search” for a new head coach begins.
Er, I mean, we’ll have to evaluate Zorn… (snicker, chortle!) in these remaining weeks. And then, if… (chortle) we decide to go in another direction, we’ll make sure to follow the Rooney Rule to a comp…
Shanahan’s already done? Signed, sealed? Awaiting delivery?
When did this happen?
Whatever. I’m just tickled. Things are not going to be better any time soon. I don’t want to be told otherwise, either. But it looks like grownups are going to finally get a chance to run the company for a while.
Thank you Santa. It is all that I wanted for Christmas this year.
Sooooo…. About that game last night.
Wheeew! Doozy, huh?
I wonder what happened to that “4th ranked” defense everybody was drooling over earlier this year? Uh huh. Like I’ve said all year, this defense is the most delusionally over-rated pile of “I’m Not Impressed” I’ve ever seen.
Yes. Sack totals are up. Super.
Still no DFT’s. Still can’t get anybody off the field when needed. Still not a disruptive, stifling defense.
And what’s the plan for Haynesworth and Hall now? You have two low character guys, making big guaranteed money for the next two years, and you will be entering a distinct “rebuilding phase.”
Should be fun with these two. Keep your eyes open.
Let it be noted, when the Giants ran roughshod over this defense, it was not in any way hampered by personnel losses. Aside from Griffin and Horton, they had most hands on deck and available. It’s more than many teams have at this time of year.
So looking ahead, in ADDITION to a new quarterback, starting tailback, 3 offensive lineman, we STILL need to address major parts of the defense. Because some of the parts that are currently working (i.e. Carter and Fletcher) are likely to “sunset” as effective players in 2 seasons.
Going for that fake field goal down 24-0 was pure idiocy. Clownish. Too bad the Giants didn’t return it all the way for a touchdown. Of course that play will work a THIRD time this season. Sheesh. If this wasn’t grounds to Fire Zorn(!) at halftime, they I don’t know what is.
Burgundy on burgundy. Great look. Greeaaaate. If you are a high school.
Monday, December 21, 2009
… then it is a touchdown, that shall beat you.
This NFL truth should be carved in stone, and installed at the entrance to every stadium around the league. The worst possible spot for a team to find itself in, is to be ahead by 4-6 points with about 2 minutes left in the game.
I don’t mean to take away from some of the brilliant plays and throws that Big Ben made in that final drive on Sunday. The throw and catch to Heath Miller was brilliant. Shucking off bull charging Cullen Jenkins was impressive.
And of course, the tip-toe dagger to Mike Wallace was vintage Ben.
That said, when teams rush just 3 lineman, bad things happen. I’ve seen it too many times.
On the final play, you may notice #20 Atari Bigby covering… well.. covering some empty endzone. Not much help there, was he? This happens all the time on plays that end up with a team losing while playing some version of a “prevent” defense.
I saw that happen when Favre beat the 49ers early in the season. I saw it when Vince Young engineered his final 99 yard drive against Arizona. I see it all the time.
Guys covering nothing.
But hey, at least you didn’t “blitz” (i.e. rush 5 guys, gasp!) and get beat in “single coverage” (double-gasp!)
I hate to be a jerk here, Packer fans, but this is how 4th and 26’s are also converted.
That said, you just gotta shake it off, and take care of business this week at home against Seattle. If you can’t beat them now, at your place, you don’t deserve to be in the playoffs anyway.
I’m not sure if the following makes playing fantasy football great, or stupid.
Consider if you were in the semi-finals of your league yesterday, and some doink with a marginal team was starting Joshua Cribbs and/or Jerome Harrison. Better yet, let’s say you had Adrian Peterson and Brett Favre.
Now perhaps it’s a stretch to think that anybody in their fantasy playoffs had either Cribbs or Harrison active, but you never know. In leagues with a flex spot, it’s not unthinkable. And what about leagues that allow transactions this week before a championship game? Don’t you think Jerome Harrison is going to be a hot property heading into his game against Oakland.
So again, help me out. Proof that fantasy football is pointless and stupid? Or, it that the “beauty” of the game. You just never know…
Tony Dungy, who seems like a fine man, and pleasant fellow, is awful as a studio head for NBC’s “Football Night in America.” I said this after Week 2, when his deer-in-headlights, soft spoken, timid analysis was doing nothing for me as a fan.
(Rodney Harrison, by comparison, has been a flat out stud on TV. While he was a dirty hitting, roid eating cheater as a player, I do love him as a guy on TV who will just “say it!”)
So apparently Dungy is now trying to swing for the fences on opinions, or he’s being “coached up” to get a little more “out there.” He said the Dallas Cowboys had “no chance” against the Saints on Sunday night.
Final Score: Cowboys 24, New Orleans 17.
Tony Romo even referenced that prediction as motivation after the game.
Now look, I have made the “no chance” prediction a million times and been wrong at least 500,000 of them. That said, I am not a former head coach in the NFL. I am a guy on the couch. Also, anybody who has been watching the Saints the last 3 weeks knows, they aren’t playing very tidy football.
So I think it’s time to wind down the Dungy experiment, and just go with Rodney.
Besides, aren’t there more NFL players “in crisis” that Dungy can mentor?
By all accounts on NFL-associated broadcasts, Chris Henry was a reformed angel on the path of righteousness. I’m still waiting to hear about what actually happened in the back of that pick-up truck. Crazy, because it sounds to me like he might have been attacking his fiancé, and she was fleeing for her life in terror.
God bless Gus Johnson of CBS, whose emotion, volume, and hyperbole dials all “go to eleven” so to speak. When the Raiders stunned the Broncos with a late touchdown, Johnson belted out “Jamarcus Russell, off the bench, like Johnny U!” I am fairly certain that this will be the first, and last time, Shamu is ever referenced to the greatest QB who ever played the game.
Meanwhile, Dick Stockton needs to be retired from the NFL. Immediately. He bumbled through the Falcons late TD to beat the Jets by saying inexplicably that they were an extra point away from tying the game. Actually, um, no. The Falcons were up 9-7, the extra point made it 10-7. When play by play men can’t get scores correct, it’s time to go.
You know that woman who uses the dude’s Capital One bonus points to buy herself a dress without telling him? What a bitch. But then again, she’s smokin’ hot. I think she’s a slightly younger (34?) knockoff of Cindy Crawford. With maybe a little Hoda Kotb from the The Today Show thrown in. She can use my points anytime.
Stat of the Day
At the start of the year in 1999, there existed 22 bowl games, with 6 on New Year’s Day, one the following day, and the “Championship” game played on January 4th.
Now, there are 34 bowl games, with 14 played on January 1st or later, and the “Championship” game is January 7th.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Chris Henry's death in Charlotte Thursday, caps an unprecedented year for domestic mayhem in sports. Think about it.
From Tiger's 2 a.m. car crash, to Steve McNair's murder by girlfriend, to Rick Pitino's public embarrassment over restaurant sex and paid-for abortions. It's been ugly.
The Henry death - death by falling out of a moving pickup truck - is certainly bizarre, and needless. Especially if you believe the story that he was turning his life around.
But when it comes to football deaths, well, we've seen some crazy shit over the years. Here's a few that come to mind.
Death By Weedwacking - Erik Andolsek
Eric Andolsek was preparing for his fifth training camp with the Detroit Lions when his life came to a sudden, violent end on a summer's day outside his home near Thibodaux, La. He was trimming weeds from around his mail box in front of his house west of Thibodaux on June 23, 1992, when a truck driven by James E. Bennett of Baton Rouge ran off the road and killed him. He was 25.
Death By Home Logging - Steve Courson
Courson, 50, was using a chain saw to cut down a dead 44-foot tall tree with a circumference of 5 feet when it fell on him, according to state police. The accident happened around 1 p.m. ET at his home in Henry Clay Township, Fayette County. Roger Victor, an investigator for the Fayette County coroner, said Courson was apparently trying get his dog out of the tree's way. "The wind was blowing, the tree snapped and it fell on him and his dog," Victor said. The dog was injured and taken to a vet.
Death By Fiery Head On Truck Crash - Justin Strzelczyk
Troopers said Strzelczyk, 36, attempted to elude police and, eventually, crashed his pickup truck into the westbound tanker just moments after swerving around a tractor-trailer that had pulled across the highway to block its path in the eastbound lanes.
Strzelczyk's truck was damaged beyond recognition, authorities said.
Death By Too Much Faith In Machete Defense - Sean Taylor
Ultimately it was these two sides -- the warm, giving son who wanted to bring his family together and the brooding, suspicious man who trusted few -- that led him to be sleeping, protected only by a machete, early the morning of Nov. 26 in the house in Palmetto Bay he bought for his mother, great-grandmother and half-brothers and sisters. It is what left Taylor exposed when four men, one of whom had connections to his half-sister Sasha Johnson, scaled the wall outside of the home where he had come to sleep for a single night. And where defending himself, his girlfriend and daughter, he was fatally shot.
Death By Ex-Wife With Shotgun - Fred Lane
Family, friends and former teammates of the former Carolina Panthers running back said Lane was broke and that Deidra Lane was concealing the location of their money.
"He was going to sell [al motorcycle so he would have some money," said Fred Lane's father, Fred Sr. "She wouldn't tell him where [the couple's money] was."
He said his son and daughter-in-law had been having difficulties recently and that his son left Charlotte and spent the past few weeks at the family home in Nashville, TN, after a pair of gun-related incidents that involved Deidra Lane.
In one, the father said, his son claimed his wife fired a shotgun through a wall while he was in another room. In the other, Fred Lane Sr. said, his son told him Deidra Lane pointed a handgun at him. After both incidents, he said, his son took the gun and gave it to a friend.
Death By Sleeping - Reggie White
White most likely had a condition that affected the amount of air his lungs could hold, resulting in "fatal cardiac arrhythmia," said Dr. Mike Sullivan, the medical examiner for Mecklenburg County and a forensic pathologist. The report issued by Sullivan's office also said sleep apnea may have been a factor.
Death By Gutter Cleaning - Max McGee
Jerry Kramer played 11 seasons on the Packers with McGee, and they remained friends. He said McGee's humor defused the tension on a team run by Lombardi's iron hand. "When everyone else was looking at their feet wondering what to do, Max would come up with something," he said. Kramer said McGee had a stubborn streak and it was not altogether surprising he went on the roof by himself. "It's hard to admit and distinguish the fact that you're no longer what you were and you're no longer capable of certain activities," Kramer said. "And I think we push the limit a little bit."
Death By Fire Hydrant, Light Pole, Tree - Darrell Russell
According to a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman, a unit responded to the accident on southbound La Cienega Boulevard near Sawyer Street in the Culver City area, which occurred at about 6 a.m. An MTA spokesperson said the Grand Prix appeared to have been involved in a high-speed race with another vehicle when the accident occurred. According to a police spokesman, the Grand Prix skidded nearly 50 feet, hit a curb, a tree, a newsstand, the fire hydrant, a light pole, another tree and the unoccupied transit bus. The accident sent a plume of water into the air from the sheared fire hydrant, flooding the scene. Paramedics worked for about 25 minutes using the Jaws of Life to free two men from the wreckage of a 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix. The driver, identified as Michael Paul Bastianelli, 29 -- a former De La Salle football player and teammate of Russell's at USC who spent time with the 49ers in training camp -- was in full cardiac arrest. A close friend of Russell's, Bastianelli later died at UCLA Medical Center.
Tiger Woods hasn't lost Gillette was one of his major endorsers.
But the more I think about their whole "The Best A Man Can Get" campaign, I start to think of creepy Tiger related jokes that, well, let's be honest, revolve around whores.
So maybe they need to shift gears on that one.
But since we're on the topic of Gillette and their fine facial scraping products, I had an epiphany the other day while shaving.
I don't need 5 fucking blades to take care of my beard. I just don't.
I have the "top of the line" Fusion razor. The one Tiger, and Roger, and that soccer dude endorse. Eh. It's okay. I don't like the pivoting action, and it's damn expensive.
I also have a variety of other "high end" disposable razors. Ones that vibrate, others that don't. Got a few Schick's in there.
I'm going back to the simple Mach3 Turbo. It's all I ever really needed anyway. Three sharp blades, aloe strip, and not too expensive.
Don't take it personally, Tiger.
Which reminds of me of one of my favorite Onion articles ever. The memo from Gillette's president about the push to invent a 5-bladed disposable. Still classic, after all these years.
"Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Blades"
"People said we couldn't go to three. It'll cost a fortune to manufacture, they said. Well, we did it. Now some egghead in a lab is screaming "Five's crazy?" Well, perhaps he'd be more comfortable in the labs at Norelco, working on fucking electrics. Rotary blades, my white ass!
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe we should just ride in Bic's wake and make pens. Ha! Not on your fucking life! The day I shadow a penny-ante outfit like Bic is the day I leave the razor game for good, and that won't happen until the day I die!
The market? Listen, we make the market. All we have to do is put her out there with a little jingle. It's as easy as, "Hey, shaving with anything less than five blades is like scraping your beard off with a dull hatchet." Or "You'll be so smooth, I could snort lines off of your chin." Try "Your neck is going to be so friggin' soft, someone's gonna walk up and tie a goddamn Cub Scout kerchief under it."
Last add on shaving talk: Did you know: Andy Pollin has NEVER shaved with a razor and cream. NEVER! He's 51 years old! Always been a 'Lectric man, says he always will be. Wont' even try a disposable to compare. I don't get his stubborness sometimes. I've used electrics before. They are okay. But they seem to tear up my face, and dry it out. I prefer the ol' Barbasol Zamboni for a super clean sheet on my cheeks.
And now, your holiday photo of the day!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
As the Tiger turns. A buddy of mine says he thinks Tiger needs to escape to Elin's new Swedish island home for a full year, to fully atone. He also thinks he should fire everyone. From Stevie Williams on up to the highest ranks of IMG. Then, if after a year of full repentance the marriage still dissolves, then so be it. He tried. Let's play golf.
The internet is full of quasi-funny, or un-funny things. I don't think the following qualifies. This is funny. Enjoy.
LETTER TO TIGER
Ponta Vedra Beach, FL
December 2, 2009
I just wanted to send my condolences about your third “bimbo eruption” in as many days. I am active on the internet, so thank God my cell phone “accidently” fell in the fireplace while I was practicing chipping in the house on Saturday after I saw the first news report while my girlfriend was in the other room. FYI, you can by a “throw away” cell phone at Radio Shack when you are allowed to leave the house (on foot only, I hope).
Please, no more voicemails. Text messages are deniable. You are getting us all in trouble. I understand everyone on the money list up to 130 has had their wife going after their cell phone. Even the over 50 guys are under suspicion due to Viagra. I thought I had fully mentored you and Bill Clinton on how not to get caught based on what I learned from each the six times I’ve been caught.
I just wanted to say that trying to convince the world that Elin was “rescuing” you with a 5-iron was way more chancy than trying to hit it through a tree (90% air?). Damn, you hit the first branch. Even my 12-year old couldn’t buy that one. It was like Phil’s second shot on 18 at Winged Foot. It was so weak it made me feel like my final round with Faldo at Augusta in 1990. I still blame that on the skank waitress from Howard Johnsons that come over Saturday night, with me thinking that a 7 shot lead was good no matter what I did the night before.
I see it will cost you $300 million for your divorce -- slightly over $20 mil per major. Mine was $250 – no prenup – the concept hadn’t made it to Australia when I got married.
I talked to Finchem, and he now thinks that just like Country Club Golf, the Tour will have to have separate tournaments for guys with their wife in the room, and guys with strange in the room. The Spousal Tour and the Strange Tour.
I have never seen your smile as wide as it was in Australia when you had Rachel Uchitel back at the hotel, and now I know why you won the Open in San Diego and do so well in Vegas. But dammit, I told you women were easy in the Aus, and you had to go and take a roadie with you from New York.
Easiest and quickest money Gloria Allred ever made.
So much for privacy. You have destroyed easy pussy on the tour.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The debate is now festering among my colleagues here at ESPN980. It goes something like this: “Are the Redskins now a ‘good’ football team?”
Some say, yes. Others say, no.
I say: “Bad question.” (Thanks Jim Zorn for that one! Works great!)
Being a good football ‘team’ changes from week to week, and month to month in this league. Last season, the Philadelphia Eagles were a HORSESHIT football ‘team’ when they tied the Bengals and got housed by the Ravens the following week.
Then, they ended up one drive away from the Super Bowl in Phoenix.
So it’s not about being a good team. It’s about being a good ORGANIZATION. And this is no breaking news to anybody. But we ain’t that. Not even close.
Organizationally, we do so many dumb things, I grow weary of cataloguing them.
Of particular concern, is the ongoing Antwaan Randle El punt return fiasco. It has now entered the realm of “Secret Wager Absurdity.”
I had this discussion with more than a few Skins fans. They ask: “Why in the HELL is he still back there on punts?” My theory (and it’s the only one that makes any sense) is that he has an actual CLAUSE in his contract that mandates he has the choice to return punts. So he uses this clause, in hopes of somehow breaking a big one. If you are him, you are probably worried that once they take you of punt return, the logic of keeping you as a mere receiver starts making even less sense.
Either that, or there’s a “Trading Places” type of secret wager going on here, that we don’t know about.
No matter what it really is, however, doesn’t matter as much as it isn’t getting fixed. On Monday’s regular news conference, Zorn refused again to replace Randle Fell on punts once and for all.
This is like a broken tail-light on the Redskins car. Are there bigger problems? Engine, transmission, suspension, etc? Of course. But this is an EASY thing to fix! So fix it!
If we can’t fix a broken tail-light like punt returns, then what hope do we have on larger issues?
But for what I call a “December Pre-Season” game, not bad.
What is “December Pre-Season?” You know, games that count toward the actual standings, in the NFL’s final month, but have all the feel, tempo, and significance of those in August.
For teams like the Redskins and Raiders, all you can really do at this point of the season is evaluate. Yet, ironically, the last thing you really should do after these games is…. well, EVALUATE.
Because what we are looking at now, will have almost no bearing on what we will see come next August. Even for teams that are relatively “stable” (and the Skins, do NOT qualify there) there’s too much that happens. Every other team in the league changes. Bodies and injuries re-set. People get paid. Others get cut.
And I’m not even talking about how the Skins are due to have both a new head coach and quarterback!
No way we should get rid of Campbell, right? Well, everyone wanted him out of here about a month ago. You gonna make a potentially $40 million decision based on beating the sorry ass Raiders?
But look at the point totals, Czabe! The offense is starting to click! The second year receivers are starting to contribute! It’s all coming together!
No, it’s garbage time people. That’s what it is.
It is not Sherman Lewis. If you believe that, you believe in the tooth fairy. I know from talking to somebody who is out there at Redskin Park almost every day, that the Sherm Lewis credit train is making Zorn nuts.
Lewis’ role in the playcalling is actually minimal. Lewis doesn’t put together game plans. He doesn’t call running plays. He doesn’t call 2-minute drills. He doesn’t even get the full menu of passing plays in the playbook. He gets something closer to a “here, choose one of these 3 passing plays.”
And don’t start gushing about how the O-line has finally come together. So what? Are you saying that Levi Jones and Mike Williams are viable, sensible answers going forward? You gonna sign those guys to contracts and make them starters?
Before the slew of injuries, this Redskins team – as envisioned by Cerrato, with all of the “stars” in there playing full time – wasn’t worth a paper bag of spit.
Vinny will likely claim that this proves the depth of talent is better than his critics will concede. I say it’s further proof that he doesn’t know how to build a team. His reserves and waiver wire pickups appear better than the starters.
That’s a good thing?
There is no momentum going into next season in the NFL. The league has become a 32-team kaleidoscope. Everything re-sets. Except the Colts and Peyton Manning. Lucky bastards.
So yeah, nice win. I had fun. You?
But let’s not get carried away. This team needs to win out for a 7-9 season. I don’t recall any of our listeners calling up and saying they would be happy with that back in August.
AND NOW…. Time for random thoughts and stuff….
- How awful is Jamarcus Russell? No really, just step back and ponder. It seems like everything he does, is slow and sloppy. Calling the plays, making line-of-scrimmage reads, his drops, his progressions, his ability to feel and or evade pressure. I only saw 30 minutes of this guy, I can’t even imagine being a Raider fan who has watched him for almost 2 years now. Cut his ass. Now. There’s nothing there.
And on that note, how much of a cocky fuck do you have to be, to suck so bad, and yet to wear giant diamond stud earrings on game day?
- Dick Stockton is losing it. Not only did he totally whiff on correctly pronouncing “O-RAK-PO” (how hard is it, really?) but he also referred to the play clock as the “shot clock.”
- Tom Cable vs. Jim Zorn. We’re never gonna see that one again people, I hope you savored it.
- Okay, Graham Gano looked solid. Two nice kicks. Let’s sign him to that 5 year deal. Or not. That said, with Gano’s addition, we now have the Lou Groza Award winner, the Bronco Nagurski Award winner (Orakpo) and the Mackey Award winner (Fred Davis).
Monday, December 14, 2009
Mark Ingram won the Heisman Saturday night.
I have no problem with that.
In what became the closest vote in the stiff-arm's long and illustriously hyped history, this might allow for those pundits who care, to whip up big old batches of OUTRAGE!
Gerhardt's numbers were off the charts!
McCoy's body of work deserved consideration!
Suh was a one-man wrecking crew!
Tebow shouldn't have been knocked for one bad game!
And on and on. Whatever. All fine college players. A few of them might even be good pros.
The problem with the Heisman, is the hype. Plain and simple.
The award, is a BACKS award. Period. Quarter and running.
Aside from three blips in the last 60 years (Charles Woodson who played a dabble of offense to help him out, Tim Brown the Golden Domer, and Desmond Howard who had the balls to actually pose for the thing like he was begging)it's been all quarter and running.
So really, the award doesn't deserve any media elevation than say the Butkus, the Outland, or the Nagurski.
But hyped, it still gets.
So to fix this bit of silliness, we need to do one of two things.
Either "demote" the Heisman to just another award ("Backs only, please!") or make another one.
Yeah, a Defensive Heisman.
Why the hell not? If you think about it, it makes perfect bookend sense. You can go back through the years and pick a defensive legend and a pose that is worthy of the trophy. You can invite 10 players to the party each December in New York City.
And then you can have a more rational debate about the merits of players on each side of the ball. As it stands now, there's no way a bunch of sportswriters (or even the former winners) can decide if Suh was better than Ingram.
I think it would be cool. Most people I've run this past, think I am advocating something akin to a "second Christmas" in July.
Come on, you traditionalists. When you look at the HYPE-sman's history, you will have to admit, that we make way too big a deal of this thing.
Friday, December 11, 2009
The inescapable fact of sports, is that there are losers.
We can't all be winners, and as Judge Smails once said: “The world needs ditch diggers, too!”
Sometimes, the losers stay losers, for long long periods of time. Like say, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Currently working on their 18th consecutive losing season, what can you say to your fans? Wait until next DECADE?
That doesn't stop teams from TRYING, however, to placate the angry season ticket holders, with whatever they can.
Sometimes, it is a letter.
The Wall Street Journal has a great collection of “We're Very Sorry We Suck, But We Wanted To Let You Know We're Working on It” letters from various teams. Among the excerpts.
“Our record was to be expected – but it will not be accepted. Big difference, I think. What matters most to me, is how we respond to adversity this season – knowing it will come in heavy doses occasionally.”
Timberwolves President David Kahn on his club's 1-9 start this year.
Who was Kahn's co-writer? Michael Scott? Good grief. Must make Wolves fans real thrilled everytime they watch Kevin Garnett light it up for Boston.
Charlie Weiss is a certified d-bag, and there's nothing like going out with a big ol' stinky pile of classlessness. Kudos to FoxSports.com's Mark Kriegel, who top-rope-elbow-slams Weiss one last time, and deservedly so.
Kriegel highlights a particularly narcissistic quote from Weiss.
“There are people in New England who say, 'There's a rift between Weis and Belichick.' We've never been closer because I've stuck by him. While all this stuff was going down in New England, there was one person who was sticking by him, and that was me."
Did I miss something? Was Belichick hanging by a thread when Charlie saved him with a helping hand?
If the me-and-Bill bit is vomitously self-serving, it's also predictable. Take away his association with Belichick, and what else does a guy like Charlie Weis have?
Which brings me, in an admittedly roundabout way, to the point. My disgust with this pompous ass has led me to uncover the most overrated commodity in football, maybe all of sports: the Bill Belichick coaching tree.
REACT: Awesome. Read it all.
It angers me that I cannot write things this funny, nor think in such obstusely fascinating ways as the boys at Deadspin do on a regular basis.
Take for example, this post about the rather amazing (yet under-reported) news item that Randy Hansen – aka Tom Cable's punching bag – is back to work with the Raiders!
Hanson, the former defensive assistant, is now in the personnel department, i.e. somewhere he won't cross paths with Tom Cable. Even though no charges were filed against Cable, this is probably good for everyone's working environment. But what would possess a man to return to a team where he was told, quite emphatically with fists, that his input wasn't particularly valued?
That last line reads like a majestic Jose Canseco moon-blast on full steroidal booster juice. And the A-B-C-D-E choice combo platter is flat out genius. Well done, chaps. Well... done!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Well, then. That sure felt great!
We cut our stupid, bootlicking, chippie-shanking, idiot of a kicker.
Then, promptly got another one.
Aren't we smart?
Look, I don't want to sound like Shaun Suisham's personal defense attorney. I know that he missed a short one in Dallas, along with a 51 yarder after that. And the 23 yard GACK! against the Saints was truly horrific.
But let's just look at this rationally. Did we upgrade at that position with this move?
Simply, no. We took out a guy who had been perfect this year until the Dallas game, and replaced him with a dude fresh out of the 4-team punchline league UFL.
Here's a better question. If the Redskins were 6-6 right now, would you really cut Suisham out of spite?
Even if this guy Graham Gano proves perfect in the short term, I would feel much better with a 3 year NFL veteran who has missed a few as of late.
Plus, how come nobody wants to hang the bulk of the blame on Jim Zorn's constant and inexplicable timidity? Or the fact that LaRon Landry made TWO mistakes of roughly the same egregiousness, and it cost the Skins 14 POINTS!
Zorn runs Rock Cartwright three times on 1st and goal at the 4 yard line. He only manages to force the Saints to call ONE of their final two timeouts, and he STILL doesn't center the football between the hashes.
But screw all that! Let's FIRE THE KICKER! Yeaaahhhhhhh!!!!
Anybody can do this. It takes no particular skill. And it feels good for about an hour. But does it make sense?
Not to me.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I mentioned a while back, a few totally "awwwwsssoommmeeeee" highlights. Well, I got many requests for posted video, and I finally got off my lazy ass to find them. So enjoy.
From the NFL, I was all Lady Ga-Ga over a sack by the Chiefs Derrick Johnson of Big Ben. Johnson hurdles Mwelde Moore, and then latches on without letting go like a lion on the back of a wildebeast. Sadly, I believe the play was called back due to a penalty. Boo.
Click here for the NFL Films video of the whole game, then fast forward to 4:55 in. You'll see it there. If somebody has a YouTube embeddable hi-lite of this play, shoot it my way.
Then this one is super-frosh-stud Ryan Williams of Virginia Tech. This kid racked up 1,538 yards on the ground with 19 - NINETEEN! - touchdowns. All that, plus check out him dogsledding a hapless defender almost 10 yards into the end zone.
The NFL Pro Bowl allows fans to vote. This is a good thing. Because even though many fans are just as biased and myopic as writers, at least you can make a ballot of guys who you think deserve the nod.
That said, let's once and for all stop putting so much stock into making the Pro Bowl as any kind of "indicator" of a player's talent. "Oh, well, he's a 3-time Pro Bowler!" Well, la-di-da! Here's why.
London Fletcher is a one-man wrecking crew for my Redskins. He's awesome. A sideline to sideline, hole-crushing middle linebacker. He leads the DECADE in the NFL in tackling, can run with not just TE's downfield, but even WR's, and he hasn't missed a start in 188 consecutive games! Aside from kickers and specialists, it's the 3rd longest current streak in the league!
London Fletcher has never made the Pro Bowl.
Yeah, makes sense. So let's not throw around "Pro Bowls" as any kind of metric for excellence. It's a nice bonus for the player. But that's about it.
To all of my listeners at Fox Sports Radio, I wanted to let you know that come the end of the month I will be parting on good terms with the network. I have had a great 7 year run and appreciate the opportunity to have been such a part of everyone's radio life.
If anybody would like to listen to my local show here in DC, you may do so at www.espn980.com. As always, you can get plenty of daily thoughts and musings from me and the boys at www.czabe.com.
And yeah, I've broken down and actually started a Facebook page where I will live and breathe and update from time to time. ("Steve's current mood is 'Grumpy.'")
To everyone that has reached out to express your thoughts and best wishes, thank you very much. It means the world to us.
To Scott and Solly, my faithful radio warriors, it has been a distinct privilege to work with you guys for all these years. I will have you on any radio show I ever host, from now until eternity.
Here's to a great 2010 and beyond.
The BCS just dodged the biggest bullet of it's life.
Which is too bad, because I was really looking forward to seeing how Ari Fleisher was going to spin Alabama vs. TCU.
Hunter Lawrence should be cut in for a nice share of that title game money. Because his sliver close field goal saved a lot of grief for everybody.
For the record, I think picking either Cincinnati or TCU would have been a coin flip. Neither team, despite their unbeaten records, was truly deserving of a title shot. So spare me the lengthy sabermetrics-esque arguments for each.
But let's for a moment, ponder the 1 second which might have ruined a season, and sent Longhorn fans into a mass suicidal depression.
Hey, Mack. What the fuck? No really. What... the... fuck?
You have 15 seconds left. You are well in range for your cash money kicker. You have a timeout. And if not for college football having instant replay, you almost fucked it all up.
That debacle made Les Miles look like a tactical genius.
All that said, thank god we've got a Championship what will be compelling. Sure, Alabama nearly got whacked by otherwise-listless Auburn a week ago. Sure, Texas played nobody, and still almost couldn't tap in their 1-footer for a title shot.
I'm not saying these two teams are the best. I'm just saying it's right.
What can you say about Alabama laying the wood to Florida? They showed a stat about what happens when Nick Saban gets a second crack at a team's he's lost to before. It ain't pretty for them.
That was domination.
'Bama made Florida look like a one-dimensional, disorganized mess. And Ingrahm is one helluva a stud. Kudos too to Greg McElroy, whom I slandered liberally on my show Friday. No, he does not suck. He played awesome. Props.
Play after play, McElroy kept the Tide rollin'. His hop-scotch sideline run was so good, it looked literally impossible. Only on replay, did we see how the trick was done. Amazing.
A few other thoughts...
-Why didn't Urban Meyer just start Carlos Dunlap anyway? Not like people would think any less of him. Nobody likes him, outside of Gator Nation, so just suspend Dunlap for next year's opener.
I googled up that website on Tebow's eyeblack: “John 16:33”. Got a "page not found." Could it be a .net, or .biz? Help me out here.
I think Florida committed a karmic foul by wearing the alt-logo “F” uniform in a title game. You don't wear alternates in a championship game. Or any playoff game. Period. Just me.
I loved how TV made sure to show the “Tim Tebow in a circle rallying the troops” moment in this game. I've now seen that vignette about 6 different times. Its nearly as played as the “Ray Lewis doing his pre-game sideline dance” vignette.
Best line of the week, from a texter to my Fox Sports Radio national show. “Czabe, do you think the refs in the SEC title game should take the day off? I mean, they worked so hard for it all year.” Nice.
Finally, did you see the dude who LOST the Dr. Pepper “throw it in the giant can” challenge to a GIRL! Crikey. He should just take his testicles, lop them off with garden shears, and flush them down the toilet. Seriously. Dude, don't leave the house for like a month.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
If I never hear that voicemail again, it will still have been at least one too many times.
"Hey. It's Tiger. I need you to do me a huge favor..."
Cringe. My stomach starts to flip all over again.
I liked Tiger Woods where I had left him: up in the sporting firmament. Amidst the athletic Gods. As a guy who was a cut above, and a step ahead, in every regard.
Yeah, it was naive. I know that. But that's where I wanted him.
I wanted dearly to believe the "Ward-Cleaver-With-A-280-Yard-Stinger-2-Iron" myth. Now, he's like any 6th man on an NBA bench.
Thud. Down he comes.
You can rail all you want against the excesses of tabloid journalism.
Okay. Fine. Done, now?
The fact remains: the National Enquirer didn't send the bimbos to his hotel room. TMZ didn't make him send 300-plus text messages to a 21 year old cocktail waitress.
His bed. Lie in it.
Sadly, this Woods bombshell is the spectacular finale to what I am dubbing "The Year of the Cad."
Gov. Mark Sanford.
The creep who taped Erin Andrews.
Cads. All of them. Sadly, several paid the ultimate price for it. And nobody thinks infidelity should be a death sentence. But it's been a bad year all around.
I hate to pile on with the "I told you so" but I must in this regard. I said loudly: "Don't do it, Tiger."
People killed me. They said: "My God, look at that Swedish hottie! You're nuts, Czabe."
No, I said. I'm a realist. As Chris Rock once said: "You are only as faithful as your options."
And when you are a star athlete like him, the options are limitless. The buffet of women is open 24/7/365. And you need an A.C. Green or Doug Christie level of purity to resist it.
I said Tiger had plenty of time to get married in his 40's. If he wanted. But there was no obligation. I knew that his fame and money would put these women in his orbit. I knew that he was a golf dork at heart. Not a playboy.
Something was bound to give. But why did it have to be this embarrassing?
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints were at the epicenter of the NFL universe on Monday night. And oh, what a night.
Anybody who watched that game, watched Brees carve up the Patriots defense, watched how energized the building was, had to feel pretty good about how far the franchise has come from the post Katrina days.
There was doubt about whether the Saints could survive. There was doubt about whether it was fiscally prudent to fix the Superdome. There was doubt about who would willingly come to New Orleans as a free agent.
All it took, was a little faith.
Why did Brees come to a city still flattened by a hurricane, instead of a warm weather city like Miami with a “glamour” coach like Nick Saban?
"Obviously there are great coaches on both teams, but I just felt that energy in New Orleans," Brees said back then. "From the very beginning there was a genuine feeling that they wanted me there. They believe I can come back from this shoulder injury and lead them to a championship. They were as confident as I am, and that meant a lot."
His agent echoed the sentiment. Faith.
"Drew was sufficiently impressed with the organization and the head coach in New Orleans," said Brees' agent, Tom Condon, referring to new Saints coach Sean Payton. "New Orleans was also very comfortable with the risk-reward, based on his rehabilitation from the injury, and Miami didn't have that same level of comfort, so New Orleans made a lot of sense for us."
Faith in sports, is difficult to have. Fans who have too much of it, are branded as fools. But that’s what faith requires. Belief in something you cannot see.
Anybody can believe in the sun coming up in the East. To believe that a franchise can rebound so spectacularly is much harder. But there it was, in full HD glory on MNF.
The city of New Orleans has miles and miles to go, before it is ever what it once was. That day may never come. But it is clear that the entire region lives for that team. The pictures of oil rig workers with their Saints jerseys were perfect.
The Hornets. Eh. You can have ‘em. This is a Saints town, and a Saints state. Period.
“In other N.F.L. cities, it’s different,” said Steve Gleason, a Saints defensive back. “The players and the fans feel totally separate. Here, it’s more like a college. There is a real emotional connection. But if you’re not poised, that emotion can overcome you.”
Even Payton said that the Saints' poor showing in 2005 did not deter him from seeking the job.
"It's hard to look at their talent now compared to their record with all of the circumstances and things that they've gone through," Payton said at the time. "It's a team that's certainly shown that they can be competitive and I would look forward to that challenge."
I am a Redskin fan, whose faith has been tested mightily. But I will try to have some. Faith that someday Dan Snyder will figure out this ownership thing, and back the hell up and hire really good people to do their thing.