Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Dark Lord Awakens...New Year, New Rants...

What I've learned during my slumber.....

That's it's ok to root against your team in the playoffs if it means a coach that never should have been hired in the first place..gets the boot. Please Fire Coughlin!!!

That the Coughlin mess has reminded me of something I learned in Kindergarten. People forget what you do to them and for them. But they never forget how you make them feel. If he focused more on how to deal with the strong personalities in a civil but forceful way, rather than worrying whether guys are five minutes early for his meetings, than he probably wouldn't have players throwing him under the bus publicly and privately.

And maybe if he didn't treat the press like they were child sex offenders who were moving next door, he'd get the benefit of the doubt from the press. Coughlin is a better in-game coach than Herm Edwards. Yet Herm, consistently got the benefit of the doubt from his players and the press. Why? People skills. He spoke to you not at you. Even his critics liked and respected him as a man. And his players never quit on him. But as soon as the Giants started to fall apart due to injuries and bad coaching, the media was asking for his head. Never underestimate the importance of being liked. You can't be perfect all the time.

And if you treat press conferences like root canal, than you'd better be as smart as Bill Belichick.

That as important as it is for a team to have a QB that's tough and smart, it's more important if he can throw the ball down the field for more than 25 yards. You give Chad Pennington, Eli Manning's arm, they beat the Patriots last Sunday. Now if we could only give Eli, Chad's guts and accuracy....

That talent wins games. Coaching wins championships.

That the SEC is clearly the best conference in College Football. Go Gators!

That the Big 1O is the most overrated conference in the land. East Coast Bias? What about Midwest Bias?? Compare that conference to the SEC and the PAC 10 and tell me which conferences are better from top to bottom. The Rose Bowl and BCS Championship game only confirmed what serious unbiased college football fans have known all year. Guess what the records of Ohio State and Michigan against teams who ended the year in the top 25? 5-2 COMBINED. The records of USC and Florida? 9-2. By the way, one of those wins for OSU/U of M? The Buckeye win versus the Wolverines in November.

That despite overwhelming evidence to the obvious, that some idiot sports writer will still use their ballot to make a statement. Just for the sake of being contrary. Take the idiot writer who decided to give Boise State a National title vote to prevent Florida from getting a unanimous vote. I thought their Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma was one of the three greatest football games that I've ever seen. But this was not vintage Oklahoma. Top 20 team? Yes. Top 10. Hardly. Another overrated big-name team from a overrated conference. Boise State deserved a top 5 finish not a vote for National Champion. Undefeated or not.

The same goes for the idiot baseball writers who decided to hand in a blank ballot for the Hall of Fame rather than vote for Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn. I don't care what their reasoning might be, take away their privileges please.

That Charlie Weis needs to come to his sense and go to the Giants. He's never winning a National title in South Bend. Ever. And as Notre Dame continues to get waxed in BCS bowl games and their bowl game losing streak continues (it's currently at nine), his star is going to begin to lose its luster. Weis is never going to recruit enough blue-chippers to compete with the Big Dogs. And as mid-major conferences start to gain stature, it's going to be even harder for them to compete. Stay in the Top 25? Yep, Weis' coaching acumen and Notre Dame's TV contract will guarantee that. But their tough academic standards guarantees a beatdown everytime they play one of the big boys.

That in sports, it's better to be called a liar than a loser (See Nick Saban). Hopefully Charlie Weis will get the hint. You wanted the Giants job before. I'm sure if you express interest, that Big Blue will find a way to buy out your contract and run Coughlin out of town. And I'd be willing to bet that you'd win a Super Bowl in New York before you win a National title in South Bend.

That the stigma about Black Quarterbacks still exists. NFL teams are still squeamish about making a black man the face of their franchise. That's the only reason why Brady Quinn is getting better press than Troy Smith and DaMarcus Russell. Chris Leak, despite winning a national title and playing in the best conference in college football for four years, will be lucky if he gets drafted.

That giving number three starters $100 million contracts is tantamount to putting your head in a lit oven and lighting a match. Same goes with bidding eight figures just to talk to Japanese starters who have never thrown an inning in the majors.

That having nothing to do watch intently until April isn't a bad thing. I've discovered a wonderful invention that you might have heard of. They're called the books.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bye Weeks, Shmye Weeks

Time to play some friggin’ football. No more excuses.

Let the Redskins talk whatever smack they want about LaVar Arrington. They’re feeling frisky about their win vs Jacksonville. They should feel good about it. It was huge win for a team against a strong AFC opponent. It was no fluke.

Now it’s time to remind them that the 36-0 beatdown they got last year, was no fluke either.

I still think the Skins are the weakest team in the strongest division in football. It doesn’t mean that they’re a bad team. I just think that everyone else is better.

I still think the Giants are better than Washington. But they prove it on Sunday.

The Giants have never played well after bye weeks. Time to buck that trend. They cannot afford to go 1-3 in this this division. Not with road trips to Dallas and Atlanta upcoming. They have to win this game at home against Washington.

I don’t want to hear about Tim Lewis, Shockey or Hufanagel. Enough about the Coughlin mutiny. This team has more than enough talent to be playing deep into January and possibly February. Teams have gotten blown out in the regular season and rebounded to win the Super Bowl. It’s hardly unprecedented.

Just like the Yankees yesterday, it’s not a bad thing to get Jimmy Walker lips and your hair mussied up a little bit. It reminds you of what you’re playing for. Of how high the stakes are. How you respond will determine if your team is worth a damn or just another pretender.

So Eli and company need to do something the Giants have never done well…..go Wild Bunch on the Redskins after a bye week.

To do that, they’ve got to put Brunnell on his fanny. You can’t let him sit back there without pressure. He still has the arm and the weapons to pick a team apart. Ask the Jags, one of the best defensive teams in football.

Usi, Strahan and that front seven have create pressure if we have a chance of winning this game. Make him uncomfortable in the pocket, force him to make mistakes. And, god forbid, put him on his ass every once in a while. It ridiculous that the Giants have two Pro Bowl ends, but have only three sacks. Pitiful.

And Eli has do something that he hasn’t done in a while. Play a great first half of football. It’s nice to know that we have a QB that can lead a big comeback. But not every friggin’ week! This offense has the ability to score 30 plus points a game easily. They have to take some of the pressure of the defense and get staked to some early leads. Every game shouldn’t be like a Hulk Hogan match. Where you’re get beaten for 58 minutes and “Hulk” to win at the end. You’ve got to get some comfortable wins. A blowout even, if it’s not asking too much.

And Coughlin has to do something to shut the naysayers on his team up. That’s the second time a prominent player has thrown his coaches under bus after a tough loss. Winning helps, but he needs to let his team know that the next time someone mouths off like Shockey did…they’re going to sit. Maybe he’s already done that, which might be why Shockey had such an about face a day after mouthing off. If he did, then good for him. But the throwing people under bus after losses stuff has to stop now.

And enough with the yellow flags! We all know that these NFL officials are calling ticky-tack calls. We all know that half of these officials suck. But if you know that going in, then you need to adjust your gameplan accordingly. That’s coaching, but it also requires some awareness on the players parts. Policing each other without the coach getting involved.

Despite this ridiculously tough schedule, I still think the Giants can win the division and go deep into the playoffs. But the turnaround has to happen this weekend.

Break time’s over. Time to break some heads.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Random Thoughts Of The Week

As amazing as Notre Dame's win over the Michigan State was, they're still overrated. If this team runs the gauntlet until the USC game later this year, they'll still have a shot at the National title. If they played anywhere other than South Bend, this team would ranked in the bottom half of the top 25(if at all) instead of 12th.

I'm tired of these T.O apologists like Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders. This guy is a clubhouse cancer and the only reason these guys continue to defend him is because he's black. As a black man, I'm sick of the double-standard in play here. These guys, despite their antics, were always considered team first guys. Great teammates. Yet they continue to defend this clown who has always put himself above the team. He's thrown more guys under the bus than anyone in recent memories. It's never his fault. If this was a white guy pulling this garbage, I doubt they'd be as sympathetic.

And I don't want to hear the mental health garbage either. If you make seven figures, that gives you access to the best health care available. But he's not sick. He's someone who has never been held accountable for his actions until recently and doesn't feel like he has live by the same rules everyone else. If there was ever a guy who deserves an ACL injury...

Pedro is out until June with a rotator cuff injury/surgery. Say what you want about the guy. I personally hate his guts. But in spite of only pitching healthy for a little over a year and a half, that was still $52 million well spent. He helped bring a dead franchise back to respectability. You can argue that the Mets are in better shape than at any point in their 40 year history. That ascension began with stealing Pedro from Boston. Did they overpay for him? Yep. But even if he never throws another pitch, he will have done his job.

As funny as it would be for me personally, anyone who thinks that any of these sad sack NL teams have a chance of beating the an idiot. Even without Pedro, the Mets have enough to crush any of these teams.

Coughlin should have benched Shockey against Washington for mouthing off after the Seattle loss. But I think Tim Lewis and Jim Hufnagel should be put on notice as well.

The ACC is very underrated football conference. Personally, I think it's a better overall conference than the Big 12.

I hate the wave. If I had my way, anyone caught doing it at Yankee Stadium would be summarily executed.

I'm going to miss Jason Whitlock on ESPN 2. I definitely agree with his assessment of Mike Lupica, but I think he's being a little hard on Scoop Jackson.

Working on weekends sucks. That's why I don't work in sports.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Gotta Love The Football God's Sense Of Humor....

This is the greatest story of all time. From the AP Wires...

Flamboyant Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens tried to kill himself by overdosing on pain medication, even putting two more pills into his mouth after a friend intervened, according to a police report obtained Wednesday.
Owens left the hospital late Wednesday morning, giving reporters a ``thumbs up'' but making no comment as he was driven away in an SUV.
Publicist Kim Etheredge said in various interviews Wednesday with Dallas-area media that the police have gotten the story wrong. She said she was with Owens, who was having trouble because he'd mixed his pain pills with supplements. She said she called for help because he was becoming unresponsive.
Etheredge did not immediately respond to repeated calls and e-mails from The Associated Press.
The Dallas police report said Owens was asked by rescue workers ``if he was attempting to harm himself, at which time (he) stated, `Yes.'''
The report said the 32-year-old Owens told his friend ``that he was depressed.'' Details of the police report were first reported by WFAA-TV.
Police Lt. Rick Watson said during a brief news conference that he could only confirm that paramedics called police to say they were taking Owens to the hospital. He said no more details would come from the police because no laws were broken.

Remember what I said about Karma, T.O? You must have thought I was playing. Wrong!

This couldn't have happened to a more deserving player or franchise. As a Giants fan, I can't ever bring myself to hate Bill Parcells. But Owens and Jones, however, are quite high on my hate parade. They have their own floats and everything. Everyone in the NFC East (and the NFL for that matter) must doing a jig after hearing about this.

Forgive me if my level of sympathy for this boob and his situation isn't up to snuff. But I have hard time believing that this is anything more than a publicity stunt by this clown.

Stop the train, I want to get off....

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Thank God For Bye Weeks

Because noone needs a team timeout more than Big Blue right now.

Between that debacle of a game and Shockey's tirade, this team is very close to a mutiny. Coughlin has to find a way to get his troops back under control and he has two weeks to do it.

In some ways I think this loss was a blessing in disguise. It's hard to find a silver lining in a beating like this. But if this wasn't a wakeup call for the G-Men that they aren't as good as their press clippings say, I don't know what it is.

The Indy loss and the comeback win gave this team delusions of grandeur for accomplishing little or nothing. The Indy loss allowed them to assume that they were ready for primetime in spite of foolish penalties and turnovers that ultimately a win.

The Philly win allowed to think that no deficit was too big for a comeback for Manning and company. So there was no sense of urgency for the defense to stiffen up.

Seattle gave them the wakeup call, they needed as well as their fanbase.

I still think that this team is capable of the playoffs and more. But they have to realize that despite having talent on both sides of the ball that many teams envy, talent alone doesn't make a great team.

Coughlin has to figure out how to get both units to play disciplined football, otherwise, this is an exercise in futitility. If you look Seattle's roster, there's not a lot that jumps out at you with exception of Alexander and their offensive tackle Walter Jones. Hasselbeck is a good quarterback in that system but he doesn't make anyone think of Young or Montana. You could argue that the Giants have more playmakers on both sides of the ball.

But the difference between the Giants and Seahawks is that Seattle buys into their system and as a result they're a very disciplined, well coached unit. The Giants, after two plus years under Coughlin, are still a work in progress. Sometimes they show flashes of brilliance and seem to buy whatever he's preaching. Other times, they seem totally discombobulated like Sunday.

I have serious reservations about Tim Lewis as defensive coordinator and Hufnagel leaves me scratching my head with some of his play calls. But Lewis isn't the one who pressures the QB or covers the tight end over the middle. Hufnagel isn't blocking defensive tackles or running routes against corners. The one who executes the best wins more times than not. So even if the schemes don't remind anyone of Bellichick or Walsh, you can still be sucessful if you know how to execute.

A long look in the mirror is in order for this team and its coaching staff. Yell at each other, cuss each other out, get into some fistfights. Get it out of your system and then get back to work. It's only the third game of the season and there's a lot of football to played. There's plenty of time to turn this around.

But whatever happens, they can't that they say that they were surprised. Good or bad.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

What I've Learned This Week

That if you're T.O, Karma isn't just a bitch. It's a man-hating 6'2'' machete-bearing lesbian.

That the Jets can make this season interesting if they can get a running game going. And that Chad Pennington will have a lot of bastards owing him an apology at season's end.

That Katt Williams is a funny Mofo. And Dane Cook is not. If you don't believe me, go on HBO In Demand and watch their comedy specials. The fact that they gave Cook an hour and a half is bugging me out. You can't possibly less funny than this corny bastard.

That the Wire is the best show on TV.

That the White Sox are done. And that Frank Thomas, a legitmate MVP candidate, has gotten a revenge he doesn't deserve.

That if there isn't a Subway Series this fall, that this winter for one or both of the New York teams will feel like an Ice Age. Mammoths not included.

That Ohio State is the best college football team in the country. And that Troy Smith is a top 10 pick in the next draft.

That Notre Dame as always, is overrated. That Weiss, realizing he'll never win a national title there, will be gone for the NFL within three years.

That you might see a USC vs OSU in the National title game.

That Miami is a great school for running backs, but a horrible school for QBs.

That A-Rod's legacy will be made this postseason. For better or worse.

That Jeter, if he were hit by a bus tomorrow, is a first ballot hall of fame player. But not a HOF captain. A great captain is a captain for the whole team, not just for the guys he likes. If he was, he would have nipped some of this A-Rod stuff in the bud sooner. Instead, he let it linger. In that sense, he's no better than Thurman Munson in 1977 in handling Reggie.

That getting Sheffield's bat back for the postseason was huge. But his performance at first base last night could be the key to another crown for the Yankees.

That Tiger Woods is the man. He's the best non-team sports athlete of my lifetime, but the way he's handled his father's death and all the tabloid mess about his wife makes him even bigger in my eyes. If the mainstream press establishment could see him for what he is instead of analyzing him for what he's not....

That Omar Minaya is the executive of the year in baseball. Hands down. And that Brian Cashman is a close second. Forget money. It's a GM's job to put their team in the best position to win and that's exactly what these guys did. The Abreu deal might have been the biggest deal at the deadline, but the Mota deal could be the one that gets the Mets back to the Fall Classic.

That Jimmy Leyland is the manager of the year in baseball. But his counterpart in the NL, Joe Girardi, will be looking for a job in the offseason because the Marlins owner is an idiot.

That Jason Giambi is a prime example of a truism my mother once told me; People might forget what you do to them or for them. But they never forget how you make them feel. A lot of people in that Yankee clubhouse liked Jason Giambi before the whole BALCO mess. And they like him now. That's why he has the clout to talk to someone who will go down as one of the greatest players of all time like he was a Columbus callup.

That sleep isn't overrated. Just the opposite.

That the Giants win over the Eagles was huge. But a win in Seattle would really open some eyes around the league.

That the Redskins who suck, suck even more without Clinton Portis.

That the Eagles are a 250 carry a year back away from going back to the Super Bowl. And that Donovan McNabb is the most underrated great player in the league.

That the Cardinals, with Braeden Looper as their closer, are one and done in the postseason.

That Tony LaRussa, despite the bad press to the contrary, is a great manager. But he can't pitch.

That Ryan Howard will probably win the MVP, and deservedly so. But Albert Pujols is still the man. Look inside the numbers closely and you'll see why. And he's younger than Howard as well!

That the Bears will do what they always do. Beat up on the weaker teams, make the playoffs and then lose to a team that actually play pro football.

That Brett Favre was done three years ago. Even if you put him on a playoff ready team. He'll throw five picks against a good defense.

That Eli might not put up his brother's stats. But he'll win a title before Peyton does. Look at how the two handle adversity or bad losses and you'll see why.

That Tom Brady is the best QB in football, but key to the Patriots season is Lawrence Maroney.

That Bill Bellichick is an asshole, but Mangini and Tannenbaum are sneaky assholes. See the Deion Branch debacle.

That Deion Branch is not worth a first round pick. And Seattle will find out the hard way.

That the New Orleans Saints should stay the New Orleans Saints. LA had two teams and lost both. In my eyes, that bars you from having the opportunity to stealing someone else's. Number two TV market be damned.

That Little Miss Sunshine is one of the funniest movies I've seen in years. That Joel Sherman is a better book writer than a columnist.

That Roger Kahn is still the best baseball writer that I've ever read. But Tom Verducci is a pretty darn close second.

That it's time for me to wrap this up so I can get up in the morning and go to the zoo.

Bring The Noise, Bring Tha Funk

I remember dealing with the piping in crowd noise issue in Indy a few years ago. It was a Jets-Colts game that me and a few friends made the roadtrip for in 2003. I was scratching head as how a moderately excited crowd sounded like Yankee Stadium in October.

Seems like the Decibel monster has reared its ugly head in the Emerald City.

I’ve always thought the practice was lame. Maybe living in New York has spoiled me. But I figure if your fanbase can’t get live and rowdy for a playoff game, then they don’t deserve to have a team. I don’t want to hear about East Coast bias. It’s not as if West Coast fans have different anatomy than their East Coast counterparts. Their vocal chords and lungs work just the same as ours.

To be fair, I’ve always thought that Giants Stadium at times, has been a tame crowd by East Coast standards. Maybe it’s because the fanbase is older, I don’t know. But go to a Jets, Eagles, Steelers or Pats game and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

That being said, I fully expect the Giants to romp on the Seahawks Sunday.

Yeah I know, the Hawks are 2-0 and the defending NFC champs. I know that they were 8-0 at home last year and 24-4 there over the last several years.

But this team is prime for a beatdown. They squeaked by Detroit in a fieldgoal fest who went to get pimpslapped by Chicago last week. That’s followed up with a solid, if unspectacular win over Arizona at home, who could be decent this year. Hardly the sort of wins you write songs about.

And can someone tell me how the Giants get this brutal schedule, but Seattle, the NFC champs, starts off against Detroit and Arizona. Someone in scheduling must have a little something extra under their pillow courtesy of Paul Allen.

Meanwhile, the Giants start their year off against the formidable Colts at home and the always dangerous Eagles on the road. Were it not for some bonehead penalties, the Giants could be going into this game 2-0 instead of 1-1.

The Seattle offense hasn’t hit full throttle yet with Alexander hobbled and Branch yet to play. But neither has the Giants defense. I still think this can be one of the better units in the league if they can stay healthy. Umenyiora manhandled one of the best tackles in the game in Walter Jones last year. He and Strahan have had a lackluster two games. I expect them to come in amped for this contest. I think Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka will get some plays to keep Seattle off balance.

I keep hearing about how good Seattle’s defense is. We’ll see on Sunday, the Giants pretty much had their way with them last year and I don’t expect much to change. I don’t think Jay Feeley will be a factor in this game. But if he is, I suspect he’ll redeem himself quite nicely.

I don’t normally get all fanboy about the Giants, but I think this win in Philly is the beginning of a nice run for Big Blue. Manning makes me remember why I have him on two of my fantasy teams as does Tiki Barber. The Giants get a nice win on the road to go into the bye week.

31-21 Giants.

Monday, September 18, 2006


I was ready to write this depressing post about how the Giants were mandled in the trenches on both side of the ball. About how Donovan toyed with Big Blue's secondary for most of the day. How Osi and Strahan couldn't lay a hand on the Eagles QB.

I thought that I was watching the best team in the NFC. "The Eagles are a premium back away from going back to the Super Bowl." The way this team was rotating in their defensive lineman to keep fresh pass rushers in the game, I held out little hope that the Giants could pull this one out.

But then, Reid got conservative with his play-calling after the Westbrook fumble. Donovan got cocky, going so far as taunting Antonio Pierce at the line of scrimmage, getting a false start penalty called on himself. The score was still 24-7, but in spite of the fourth quarter deficit, I thought that they could make a game of it if they gave Eli some time and the defense could get some three and outs.

The rest as you know, is history.

This was easily the biggest win of the Coughlin-Manning era. McNabb and the Iggles have had our number for the past several years. It wasn't lost on me the fact that our wins over Philly last year were somewhat tainted because McNabb was out of the lineup. This was their first win over a McNabb run offense and the Giants first win over Donovan since 2000. That game was an important psychological hurdle for Big Blue.

Now with the Redskins stinking it up and the Cowboys losing Terrell for a couple of weeks, the schedule looks a little less imposing right now. 2-1 going into the bye week seems very possible with a win in Seattle Sunday.

As for Philly, well, when it rains, pours on that team. From today's AP Wires....

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Jevon Kearse's season is over because of a severe knee injury the star defensive end suffered in Philadelphia's overtime loss to the Giants yesterday.
Kearse tore multiple ligaments in his left knee when his leg knocked against Mike Patterson while the two brought down Eli Manning on New York's first possession of the extra period. Kearse reached for his knee immediately after the play, was helped off the field and carted to the locker room.
Kearse had two-and-a-half sacks against the Giants. He is in his third season with the Eagles after signing a 66 (m) million dollar, eight-year contract in 2004.
Kearse's injury should give former first-round pick Jerome McDougle an opportunity to play after he was inactive the first two games.

The Eagles still have plenty of depth on both lines, but losing Kearse is going to hurt morale somewhat. We'll see what sort of fallout occurs there. One thing that can't be overlooked is their lack of a bigtime back. Westbrook is great utility back, but you need someone that you can give the ball 25 times a game. He's not that sort of player. Their slip is going to show bigtime if their O-line gets banged up and their pass protection becomes compromised later in the year.

As for the Giants, I still have serious concerns about their defense. They have too much talent in the front seven and secondary to be giving up this much yarddage in their air. They have to find a way to get more pressure on the QB and create some turnovers. On offense, the penalties have to stop. They almost shot themselves in the foot on that last drive in OT with two careless flags. Shockey's balky ankle is a concern as well.

But you have to love the maturation process of Eli Manning. He still throws the occassional wounded duck, but his passes yesterday were on the money for the most part. The one pick he threw yesterday wasn't his fault. He hit Tiki in the numbers and the ball bounced off of him. The TD throws to Toomer were on the money and his call at the line of scrimmage for Plaxico to go full throttle for the end zone to beat the blitz...a thing of beauty.

This can be a very special year if he can build on what he's learned from these first two games. He has the talent and the temperament. Now all he needs is the experience.