Sunday, December 31, 2006

Boots Riley of The Coup Could Use Some Help

We interrupt our sports coverage for important music icon news...

Way back when, in 1991, or so, I'd guess, I came home from school and as I often did, I flipped on a little B.E.T.'s "Rap City". A lot of it was crap, but every once in awhile, a great artist that wasn't getting any MTV love would show up. That was the day that I first encountered The Coup. Their first single was a mindblower for me--called simply "Dig It", it contained some of the most straightforward subversive protest music I had ever heard (and I was a fan of Billy Bragg & Phil Ochs by age 15). Even the kind of throwaway lyrics were full of the kind of angry protest that I thought should have been all over the damn place. The lead into the break was, "Turn the beat over like Bush did a boatload of Haitians."

It was awesome. I've purchased every single album that the Coup has put together since. Genocide and Juice won some award for most important hip-hip record of the decade, or something like that. And it was well deserved.

But so here's the deal. The Coup were touring with Mr. Lif (pretty damn cool in his own right) and their tour bus had an accident. The kind that people die in. No one did, but people were injured, and all of their gear went up in flame. The Coup needs some help. And it would be a damn shame if Boots and Pam, and their musicians were delayed in any way of making their kick-ass party protest music.

As Boots puts it:

We lost everything in that crash and fire. We were packed to live and do shows on that bus for a month. Most of us had every stitch of clothing we owned on there. We lost clothes, computers, recording equipment, cameras, IDs, phones, keys to cars and homes. We lost cash.We lost all our damn instruments and equipment to perform with. We were and are happy to walk away with our lives. But now we're home. Most of the band touring with The Coup has kids, rent that won't quit, bills, and holiday expenses coming. We need money, because like I said the band doesn't have the tools that they make a living with. Not only did we lose cash and material things on the bus, but we also were depending on this tour for money to make it through. It may take a year for us to see any money from the insurance company.


So, make a donation. You can do so here. I'm plunking down $50. But do whatever you can.

In return, here's a link to a free download (right-click and select Save Target As..) to The Coup's "My Favorite Mutiny" from their newest album, Pick a Bigger Weapon.

Thanks, and remember--beauty is a natural fact, so I say fuck a perm!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Smell Ya Later, 2006!

So 2006 is nearing very quickly to a close, and perhaps has ended by the time any of you jerks stop by to see how your old friends at I Dislike Your Favorite Team are doing. You ungrateful curs! Saracen Dogs!

2006, by most accounts, was a pretty crappy year. But it did usher onto this planet our own little blog (and like 300 million others). We set up shop in May of 2006. I don't have stats for those early months, but I know we are doing better now than we were then.

I have to say that I started this blog mainly because I wanted a place to write about the World Cup. But I knew I would need help, and so at the end of the day, I'd just like to take a moment to publicly thank my friends who shrugged their shoulders, said, "Why the fuck not" and contributed. I'm looking forward to your continued (and possibly increased) activity in 2007. Garwood and Barnyard, I'm looking at you two, in particular.

To everyone else: On behalf of everyone at IDYFT, we'd like to say thanks for checking us out, thanks for sticking around and reading it, and thanks for commenting. We could probably stand a few more comments, to be frank, but I know you all are out there all the same, and we sincerely, deeply appreciate the idea of that people are actually wasting their valuable time reading the ridiculous crap we waste our somewhat valuable time writing. It's gratifying. Very special thanks to Will (and weekend anchor MJD) at Deadspin, who linked to us at the very beginning, and wrote an email that said something like, "You guys aren't too bad. Keep it up."

Thanks to all the other blogs who have linked to us as well. All ya'll are OK in our book.

We've had a pretty good year here, and for those of you who came late to the party, you should explore our totally new awesome archives (they are on the left column over there). You thought we helped you waste time before? Imagine reading about Boof Bonser, or Cole Ford, or whoever. You can do that. You can even be paid for it, if you read our nonsense at work.

A final thanks to everyone who participated in our first true interactive project, the Sports Legion of Doom. It was called the Greatest Mental Exercise in the History of the Internet.* That was maybe the most fun thing we did, and it wouldn't have worked if we didn't have people nominating awful, awful Sports Figures. It is totally possible we would have forgotten all about Dave Bliss, if not for the comments.

Oh, and I can't let the new year come into the house without saying one last time, Tom Powers is a Stupid Fat Fuck.

Peace Out, Little G's! See you in 2007!


*by a friend of ours.

WORST. SEASON. EVER.

The Redskins have concluded their worst season ever. They've had worse records, but never in an NFC so shitty. They've had worse efforts, but never with so much rent-to-own talent. They've had worse teams, but never a worse defense. This was the most embarrassing, disappointing, agonizing Redskins season I have ever seen. It was the WORST SEASON EVER. Thank butt-fucking Allah it's finally over.

This is what I wrote in the preseason, when I picked the Redskins to win the Superbowl:

"Washington Redskins Strengths: finest head coach & coordinator group in the NFL (Gibbs, Williams, Saunders), running game, man-for-man best skill positions in NFL, aggressive bone-fracturing defense. Weaknesses: new offense, special teams (PK & Punter are atrocious). Variables: QB position, assimilation of new offense."

I stand corrected.

It's time to wash the sheets.





What Went Wrong? The Redskins woes are summed up thusly:

Overrated Anglo-American Redskins strong safety Adam Archuleta has come out of the closet ... with his anger at the Washington coaching staff on December 29th, 2006. Nine months earlier, he signed a seven-year $35 million contract, the richest contract for a safety in NFL history.

He has been benched since the seventh game, replaced by Troy Vincent. And gosh, he is darn peeved, quotably so!

"I'm a grown man. I don't like getting lied to. All people want is for people to be straight up with them. I don't mind bad news. I don't mind negativity. I don't mind if somebody says to my face what my flaws are and what I'm doing wrong and what kind of person they think I am."

Well Adam, I'd be happy to point out your flaws. YOU SUCK! You couldn't cover a lungfish, and your "hard-hitting" ways have resulted in enough missed tackles to fill your mom's huge, wart-filled rectum. Thanks for helping the Redskins lead the league in allowing passes of 20+ yards, highest yards per play, most pass TDs allowed and fewest takeaways in the history of the NFL.

He continues: "A lot of things have been going through my mind. I've pretty much scoured every subject known to man in the last six months of my life, so we'll see."

Wow, every subject known to man? That's impressive. That's really, really impressive. Every subject known to man? That's impressive. You fucking Asshole.

The subject-scourer continues: "I pretty much know what's going on. I pretty much know what it all stems from."

Good job untangling the clues, Poirot. What was the big break in the case? Was it because you've got a $35 million dollar contract and you are 3rd string on the worst defense in the National Football League?

>Jennifer Walcott

This is Archuleta's girlfriend, Playboy Silicon Model Jennifer Walcott. I've got some bad news for Archuleta. Her Turnoffs are "People who are wasteful and not practical."

I sincerely hope that she gives him AIDS before she dumps him.

Archuleta: "Do I deserve an explanation? I don't know if an explanation matters anymore because what's done is done."

Oh, it's done all right. Highest paid safety in the history of the NFL? Biggest Free Agent Bust Ever. You'll be cut and the Redskins will be brutalized in the salary cap for years and years and years. Go fuck yourself in your scabby ass with a rolled-up magazine, you dried-up douchebag.

Fuck you, Adam Archuleta. Fuck you, Dan Snyder. Fuck you, Vinny Cerrato.

Worst. Season. Ever.

Let us never speak of it again.

Great Goals: Matt Le Tissier

Matt Le Tissier is one of those guys whose name rings a bell. Vaguely legendary English player. But he played for rather scrapple like Premiership teams, and he played when England, as a team, wasn't all that special.

But Matt Le Tissier was quite fucking Special. Miwacar has a DVD of the Best Goals of the first Decade of the Premiership, and Le Tissier is all over it, and in fact has 2 of the Top 10 Goals, between 1992-2002. Here's one. Look at the skill here. The dribble run makes the defenders look like they don't even care about stopping him. They do care. They just can't. The finish looks almost lackluster, because it was that fucking easy for Le Tissier. You'll be seeing more of him, and Dion Dublin, and Stan Collymore in the weeks to come.

For now, just enjoy this.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

All the Rage

Following Dolphins DE Jason Taylor's criticism of Chargers LB Shawne Merriman (see Big BM's December 27th column below), the blinding light of self-righteous disapprobation burns upon the young star nicknamed "Lights Out."

This is worth more careful consideration than what sportsjacks & Congress can offer. Merriman tested positive for an anabolic steroid called nandrolone (commercially named Deca-Durabolin) and served a four game suspension. He threatened to appeal and then dropped it; he threatened a lawsuit against an unnamed nutritional supplement company but has not filed it.

Merriman's attorney, David Cornwell, claims that unbeknownst to Merriman, the false positive was the result of a metabolized ingredient in one of the legal nutritional supplements the linebacker had been taking -- probably creatine, which is not a banned substance.

According to an anonymous source (yeah, that makes me wary too), Merriman tested positive "definitely for steroids… not one of those supplement deals." The NFL has made no official comment.

Both sportsjacks and NFL players have indignantly argued that the positve test not only invalidates Merriman's 2005 Defensive Rookie of the Year and his 2005 & 2006 Pro Bowl nods, but that it also disqualifies him for consideration as the 2006 Defensive Player of the Year and labels him a cheater forevermore. Let's consider these elements one at a time.

2006 DEF Player of the Year
Shawne Merriman is the NFL sack leader with 16, despite only playing 11 games. Since his return from suspension, he has recorded 8 sacks in 4 games. Nandrolone must be injected every 2 or 3 days or its effects are reversed; Merriman is now tested every week. He has accumulated 54 tackles, 1 INT, 4 forced fumbles and one recovery.

By comparison, front-runner Jason Taylor has 56 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 2 INTs (both for TDs), 9 forced fumbles and one recovery. No doubt Taylor's bid for the award (and disappointment with the bizarrely over-hyped Dolphins season) played a part in his criticism. In response to Taylor's remarks, Merriman sent Taylor a "Lights Out" hat and a bag of microwave popcorn for Taylor to enjoy while sitting at home watching the Chargers in the playoffs.

Other top defensive players include Green Bay's Aaron Kampmen (15.5 sacks, 83 tackles, 3 forced fumbles), Houston's DeMeco Ryans (NFL-leading 118 tackles) and Denver's Champ Bailey (NFL-leading 9 INTs ... but no TDs).

In the numbers game for the award, Merriman is arguably #3 in the NFL after Taylor and Kampmen.

The Test
Merriman's claim that his positive result was accidental does not excuse it, but it may mitigate some of the fire and brimstone. There are enough uncertainties regarding a urinalysis test for nandrolone to cast a reasonable doubt. The University of Aberdeen in Scotland has proven that a positive test may be the result of a high-protein diet, legal nutritional supplements and rigorous cardiovascular exercise.

A false positive may also be the result of high consumption of beef containing steroids, which overturned the banning of Olympic bobsledder Lenny Paul. A false positive may also occur due to consumption of certain amino acids, which Olympic shotputter CJ Hunter unsuccessfully claimed were in legal nutritional supplements he was taking. Hunter's claim was weakened when it was pointed out that his levels were 1,000 times the sanctioned limit, and he failed four tests over a six month period: that's a lot of GNC protein shakes.

It has been scientifically established that nandrolone must be injected every 2-3 days on a rigorous cycle to be effective. At least 25 companies produce ampules of nandrolone. Steroids are legal to ingest but are illegal to buy or sell without a prescription. Nandrolone is on the list of banned substances for both the IOC, the NFL and most other professional leagues (but not pro wrestling, NASCAR, or golf). The NFL testing policy follows that of the International Olympic Committee and has the most offseason tests, the widest umbrella of banned substances, and the lowest permissable level of testosterone of any professional sport.

The Pro Bowl
As cited above, Merriman is statistically an indisputable Pro Bowl LB. But if he was suspended during the year, is it right for him to enjoy post-season honors? Should his 2005 awards be "asterisked?"

The Ethical Quandry
Caesar famously said, “Meos tam suspicione quam crimine iudico carere oportere.” This literally means, "My wife should be as much free from suspicion of a crime as she is from a crime itself" (emphasis added). Usually this is idiomatically translated as "Caesar's wife should be above reproach."

Jason Taylor said that banning a player for life would end the use of steroids once and for all. There is no doubt that every effort must be made to rid sports of the taint of steroids (which, by the way, shrinkwrap one's balls up against one's taint).



Look at the #56 on his chest. Can you think of another player who used performance-enhancing drugs (hint: cocaine), yet was a first-ballot Hall of Famer? The NFL is much more concerned with on-field violations than with off-field felonies (even if they involves stealing someone's tacos and whipping them with a belt). The argument that NFL players should be above reproach is worthwhile: playing in the NFL is multi-million dollar privilege and kids really do emulate their favorite players. If Brett Favre does a throat-slash, you can guarantee that every dead-deer-fucking Wisconsite will be throat-slashing at the earliest opportunity 'neath the Friday Night Lights.

Performance-enhancing drugs directly effect gameplay. Wife-beating does not. Though the hypocrisy is palpable, pro sports have proven to be resilient against scandals of a felonious nature. Steroids invalidate the game itself and that is devastating to sports fans: watch interest in MLB wither and die like Lyle Alzado.

Jason Taylor says that he is proud to be a skinny kid who is performing at a high level because of his hard work and natural talent. He has been recognized as a Pro Bowl DE five times.

Conclusions
The Pro Bowl is democratic. Players, head coaches and fans cast votes, with each group counting one-third toward the total. If Merriman was judged one of the best DE in the league despite a four game suspension, he is a Pro Bowl player.

NFL Defensive Player of the Year is determined by the Associated Press. No criteria is established besides an attempt to identify the most outstanding defender, e.g. three-time winner LB Lawrence Taylor. The AP has more discretion than Pro Bowl voters, and would probably tacitly punish Merriman for his suspension even though he served his time.

A lifetime ban, as proposed by Jason "First Stone" Taylor, certainly would have a strong effect. But what about false positives? What about mis-labelled supplements? What about cough syrup? What about rape going unpunished?

NFL trainers need to be in charge of their athletes. If NFL players must be "above reproach" they are going to need help from experts who fluently know both the complex chemistry involved and the ever-expanding and confusing banned substance list for the NFL. Until that is the case, draconian punishments are misplaced. It is appropriate that NFL players be as responsible for what's in their bodies as they are for their gap assignments. But they are not chemists, they are not nutritionists, they are not legal experts. Even in the NFL, American citizens should remain innocent until proven guilty.

Missouri Valley Conference Play Has Begun

A handful of Top 25 teams were playing tonight, but they were playing total cupcakes.

This game, between Northern Iowa and Bradley is far more important. The opening of the Missouri Valley Conference. The MVC should probably be considered a major conference at this point, as their teams have proven to be competitive with any other major conference.

I didn't watch the game, and it sounds like I missed a good un. Northern Iowa Walking LIke Panthers prevail, 76-65

Aw Man, Yankees Appear Somewhat Reasonable!

The NY Yankees, racing with the Red Sox to give an unproven Japanese pitcher a pantload of money, signed Kei Igawa.

Perhaps the most disappointing part of this deal is that they didn't spend all that much money, really, especially relative to the Sox. Perhaps their pitcher isn't going to be as awesome right off the bat. After all, Igawa was only 14-7 in the Japanese league last year.

The Yankees got Igawa's services after being the high bidder to talk to him (that cost them a bit over $26 Million) and then signed him to a very reasonable 5 year, $20 milllion contact. My God, that's practically cheap! Ted Lilly got 2 and half times that kind of money, and I don't think he could go 14-7 in Serbia, much less Japan.

So the Yankees spent a little under $50 million for their Japanese pitcher. The Red Sox paid over $100 Million for theirs, Daisuke Matsuzaka. So, apparently, the rumored existence of a Gyroball pitch is worth about $50 Million, or more than everyone reading this post will make in their lifetimes, combined. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Jason Taylor, You Aren't Supposed to Talk Openly!

Miami Dolphin and bonafide bad-ass Jason Taylor has decided to influence voting in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year race. With mudslinging tactics, like pointing out facts! Stephen Colbert would be very unhappy with Mr. Taylor, who apparently is a little annoyed by the fact that his main competition for the honor is a guy who, umm, tested positive for steroids, as has decided to become a bit of a Factinista.

Clearly, the NFL would rather not have the 5 guys most suspected of steroid use sitting in front of some Congress subcommittee leading to embarassing hypocritical moments, ala Rafael Palmiero's declaration that the only performance enhancers he uses is for his flaccid, unresponsive penis.

So their solution has been to suspend players for four games (which in a 16 game season, is pretty significant, though it didn't hurt the Chargers much. More on that point in a second) but not really talking about it much. If steroids are an issue in baseball, a game that has always had room for stars who are fat slobs, how much of an issue is it for football, where fat slobs are anonymous players, and have to be almost obscenely large to even be effective? How many people out there are desperate to look like Jason Taylor does (apparently naturally) and perform at his level?

We don't know. In part, because the NFL doesn't really seem to be in a rush to tell us. And nor do players. But Jason Taylor broke that rule, the media suggests in part because some post-season hardware is in danger of falling out of his grasp. Which may be true. I know I'd be pissed if I was lost to a guy who was kicked out for a quarter of the season for cheating. But maybe, and just maybe, he's also annoyed by the very idea of a guy banned for four games for cheating winning a post-season award.

Here's what Jason Taylor said:

"You really shouldn't be able to fail a test like that and play in this league, to begin with...To make the Pro Bowl and all the other awards, I think you're walking a fine line of sending the wrong message...

"A performance-enhancing drug is, obviously, what it is...You enhance your performance by doing that. You fail that test, I think it's not right, it's against the rules and ultimately I think it's sending the wrong message to the youth in America and the people who look at this game not only as entertainment but also to learn lessons from it."

It should be noted, that is a damn good fucking point, right there. It seems instant disqualification for individual post-season honors as part of substance abuse rule makes a lot of sense. Also, I'm pretty sure that back in high school, when I was rocking the soccer pitch and the track oval, if I had tested positive for any banned substance, my team would have forfeited every game I played in. Of course no one caught me--no one suspects the 5'9" kid weighing 130 pounds. But the point remains--why was my NoVA high school district more strict than the NFL is? For all the new stringent requirements in professional sports, why no explicitly stated outcomes that would affect:

1. Post-season, post-career honors
2. The team as a whole, after the fact?

For the record, the first idea is Jason Taylor's, the second is mine. All mine!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Fare Thee Well, Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford, the only appointed President in US History, passed away a few hours ago.

He was also a hell of a College Football player, in the era before Professional Football seemed like much of a career option. According to Wikipedia:




Attending the University of Michigan as an undergraduate, Ford became the center for the school's football team and helped the Wolverines to undefeated seasons in 1932 and 1933. His number 48 jersey has since been retired by the
school.

At Michigan, Ford was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and washed dishes at his fraternity house to earn money to pay for college expenses.


While at Michigan, Ford turned down contract offers from the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers of the National Football League following his graduation in 1935 in order to attend law school. As part of the 1935 Collegiate All-Star football team, Ford played against the Chicago Bears in an exhibition game at Soldier Field.

Ford lost his battle to win a real election to the Presidency, at least in part, when he claimed that Poland wasn't behind the Iron Curtain during a debate with Jimmy Carter. Already battling claims that he wasn't intellectually capable to hold the post, and facing severe backlash for pardoning many of the major Watergate figures, including his appointer, Richard Nixon, he lost the Presidency in pretty good fashion.



While we here at I Dislike Your Favorite Team don't hold to the notion that Football Players are somehow more manly than other types of men, it does seem appropriate to remind everyone that our current President was once a buffoon with a bullhorn, mindlessly cheering for his side (and yes, this was before he was elected! ZING!)

Also not to draw comparisons, but Gerald Ford, when war broke out, volunteered for service in the Navy in 1942, and then asked for combat work in 1943, in the Pacific.




But the Texas Air National Guard was important in the Vietnam War. Just as important as carriers in the Pacific in 1943, we're sure.

NJ Giants are the Celine Dion of the NFL

Unaccountably popular. Dreadfully lame. And need to go back to Canada.

Despite dropping 6 of 7 and failing to run a single play in their opponent's territory, the Giants have the inside track for the last wildcard spot. Can't we cancel the wildcard round, just this once? This is so pathetic even the Giants are embarrassed. Tiki Barber: "You know what, thinking about the playoffs is not even…I don’t even think it’s on our radar. We just want to play well. We have one more game against a division rival. It’s on the road, and we just need to play well."

The Washington Redskins have a chance to Bring the Justice on Saturday, and restore some dignity & decorum to the NFC.

By the way, nice catch Shockey. Speaking of nice catches, the unofficial record has T.O. leading the NFL in drops. Anyone ever notice that whenever things go wrong, he's always got someone else to blame? Yeah, I noticed that too. I hope he plays for the Giants next year. I think he'd be great in the player-coach mode, since Coughlin will likely be in the crematorium by next September. Here's a telling remark from the fella that caught ZERO passes in the second half, but had the time to let a couple drop through his baby-soft hands. Emphasis added: "I was embarrassed by the way we played offensively." That's an interesting take on the whole "team" concept.

Let's all work together and root for the Redskins to end this travesty. The Giants don't deserve to be playoff fodder. Of course, neither do the Packers, Panthers etc.

And can we change the name of the NJ Giants to something more meaningful? Like the NJ Bedshitters?

From Us to You: Coal In Your Stocking

Enjoy Celine Dion's respectful Las Vegas tribute to AC/DC. Go on, I dare you. Can't be any more difficult that enjoying Vogon Poetry.








and I suppose thanks to the really reputable if somewhat evil Josh at Talking Points Memo for pointing us to this atrocity.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Jeff Suppan is A Brewer!

Four Years, 42 Million Dollars!

It is a symptom of MLB's problems when Jeff Suppan getting a little over $10 mil per year seems fairly reasonable.

The Brewers add a warhorse to their stable of flashy but injury prone stable of pitchers (Sheets, Okha).

Suppan played for one of the most prolific offenses in recent memory in St. Louis, and only won 12 games. He came on strong after the All-Star Break, sure, but maybe that was the offense as much as Jeff. Pitchers with leads win more often than pitchers in ties or in a losing situation. But over the last 3 years, he is one of more winning pitchers out there. Certainly, giving him 10 Million Dollars a year makes more sense than giving Ted Lilly that money.

As a Twins fan, though, this is a scary development. A non-dominant pitcher gets this kind of money--what the fuck will Johann Santana, a 2-time Cy Young winner (and an argument could be made that he was screwed out of another Cy Young award) garner when he hits the free agent market? 20 Million a year?

I mean, has Jeff Suppan, even with the St. Louis Cardinals, ever reached 20 wins? I don't think so. And yet, the Brewers decide he's worth over Forty Million Dollars. Scary, dammit!

Great Goal: Arjen Robben

I've stated my dislike for Chelsea before, and it is still operative. But man, what an incredible one man effort from that Goofy Dutchman, Arjen Robben.

We'll leave off the fact that it took an effort like this to rescue Chelsea out of a draw with fucking Wigan. Wigan! For another day. For now, enjoy Robben's Eve of Christmas Eve goodness

Billy Packer is A Brilliant Man, With Well Thought Out Ideas

So, during Florida's schooling of Ohio State, CBS took some time to let Billy Packer spout off on his new Crazy Packer Idea. We can know that CBS scheduled this discussion, because they had video queued up, just waiting for the crazy.

Billy Packer's Idea: A New Football position, just special teams, just Field Goal blocking specialists, called "Eliminators".

Billy Packer has watched just enough College Football to notice that the men who block field goals tend to be about 6 feet tall, and with their arms straight up in the air, and jumping, they may reach somewhere around 6' 9".

Billy's idea? The Eliminator! Why not put Joachim Noah in a football uniform, and only have out there for the blocking of field goals? He's 7'0, with a crazy wingspan and some hops. Why, practically no one could get a kick over his outstretched arms!

As much as I love a Tough Little Monkey like Billy Packer offering up crazy ideas on Football (a sport that he is as much an expert as Bryant Gumbel is) there does seem to be a few issues that Billy hasn't thought of. I can sum them up thusly:

1) If compact, huge men (say 6' 1", 300 pounds) were allowed to push Noah really hard right in the chest, he wouldn't be very effective in basketball. Therefore, he wouldn't be very effective in football, because those types of men would be pushing him.

2) Also, if somehow, some way, tall lanky basketball players made it onto the College Football pitch, and I were a football coach, I think I'd just back my field goal kicker a few yards. Oh no, because of Joachim Noah, the Field Goal attempt that was going to be 25 yards is suddenly 27 yards! Oh heavens to Murgatroid!

3) Maybe I'd play fake the Field Goal, knowing that there is one guy out there on the defense who can't actually play football. Maybe I get my first down instead of settling for 3 points.

Florida is in the Championship Game, without using Joachim Noah as a specialist Field Goal Blcoker. It is essentially a crazy ass idea. And it was good fun to let Packer spout it (twice saying, "I'm serious" to a skeptical Jim Nantz). But it was an incredibly stupid idea. It sounded like something I'd come up with.

Sports Comedy!

Rare, aside from Bob Golic's Lighter Side of Sports Series.

Here's Conan O'Brien, mixing it up with some 19th Century Baseball recreators. If you haven't seen it, click the link, and enjoy.

Conan Plays 1860's Style Baseball

Saturday, December 23, 2006

NCCA Hoops Round-Up

Today was about, in no small measure, very exciting games on paper turning quickly disappointing.

Let's start with what was possibly the most anticipated game of the week-- (3) Ohio State vs. (5) Florida, who is, after all, returning all 5 starters from their championship team of last year. Ohio State has one of the most touted recruiting classes over the past couple of years (along with Florida, really). Everything said this game would be close and entertaining as hell. and for about 30 minutes of game time, it was. And then Florida took over--Horford (back from a sketchy ankle) and Corey Brewer (back from mono) helped put this game into Not Very Interesting. Flordia wins, 86-60. #5 beating #3 by 26 points? This is just a crazy year. The CBS report I linked to makes it sound like Greg Oden is 100%, whilst highlighting all the various ailments that Florida players are playing with. Let's not forget--this "kid" (Greg Oden looks older than me by about a decade, and I'm rapidly closing in on 33) is still shooting free throws with his off hand, because his right wrist is still recovering from surgery. We still haven't seen what he can really do. Regardless, the best player of the floor for Ohio State today was Mike Conley, Jr., who basically forced his team to come back in the early minutes of the second half. But when they got down by 10 again, they started jacking shots from everywhere, which is no way to climb back against Florida. Florida looked great. Ohio State looked young. I hope to see a replay of this match-up in March.

Other games:

(1) UCLA 92, Michigan 55--I personally hyped this game, in passing. Michigan, I had felt, had been overlooked, due to an early season loss. It is possible I was wrong in praising them, even implicity. They got their doors blown off by UCLA in impressive fashion. I don't care what your record is, and I don't care how highly ranked the other team is, losing by 37 points is catastrophic. We'll see if Michigan, a young and fairly talented team, can rebound from embarassing national destruction to make a run of it in the Big 10, against some very good teams. For me the biggest revelation in this game was UCLA player Darren Collison. Quick, aggressive, both on offense and defense, and can throw out dimes, too. UCLA as a team plays the kind of defense where they could close their eyes when they shoot, and still win. It is a frenetic, trapping defense that just makes other teams look bad. I was dubious of their #1 status. No longer. Which I suppose means they'll lose their next 2 games. They are certainly in a dogpile conference, with Arizona, Washington, etc.

(8) Wichita State 56, USC 60--For the second time in two games, the #8 team, the Wichita State Shockers, were upset by an unranked team. The other day it was New Mexico, today it was USC. P.J. Cousinard played for the Shockers, but wasn't anywhere near 100%, still recovering from the nasty stomach virus that kept him out of the New Mexico game. It is disturbing clear that the Shockers can't rely on their bench, which was outscored 3-16 by USC. The player whose name may make it into the National Radar after this game was USC's Nick Young, who went 11-14 from the field, leading the Trojans to victory.

Most of the other Top 25 teams were not playing top echelon talent, and the scores reflect it:

(4) Wisconsin beat Pacific by 36--83-47 (Look to the Badgers to move up a spot, maybe, after what happened to Ohio State--I can't wait for these two to play each other)
(7) Pitt beat the Dayton Flyers by 30--84-54
(10) Alabama continues to roll, Beating the Mighty Coppin State Eagles by 50!
(11) Kansas Rolled Boston College 84-66 (remember when BC was awesome? I do. It was last year)
(12) LSU beat Louisiana Tech 68-52, in a game that must be considered some sort of rivalry, I guess. If I were a betting man, I'd wager that the rivalry came to a head when Stanley Roberts ate the Louisiana Tech mascot.
(18) Memphis Steals Middle Tennessee's Lunch Money, Wins by 40--86-46


Quick note on a currently unranked team that will be ranked come Monday: Tennessee--they beat two ranked teams this week--OK State and Texas. Perhaps, finally, criminally overranked Syracuse will drop out to make way for a team that has actually beaten, I don't know, real teams!

Hey, We Have a Commenter Who Started A Blog!

Frequent commenter/ overarching presence Phil has his own Sportsblog now. It's more Chicago-y than we care for, but some of you may like that.

Check it out--the Double Nickel!

Via Deadspin

all of the links featured are things I learned about via Deadspin, which is still much, much better than our blog, to our chagrin. Wait, not "better". "Different".

But still, this is important news:

Rollie Fingers has a blog! And it sucks!

There's a Top 100 list of College Hoops players--it is not to be trusted as it has Jeff Green of G'Town at #39, and I'll take him over #9 Aaron Affalo of UCLA any day of the week.

NCAA Hoops Round Up

Dan Wentzel wants you to know that while Bobby Knight has his outbursts (you know the ones, where he emotionally/physically attacks his players), he's better than everyone else, because he has never once been caught cheating. Umm, Dan, do you really want us to come up with a list of successful coaches who haven't cheated, and who also have never thrown a chair into the middle of game, or suggested that rape victims should lie back and enjoy it? Coach K and Lute Olsen come to mind. I'm sure there are others, you savvy reporter, you! Did Coach Knight let you wear a glove when you handjobbed him so vigorously?

And just as an aside--the media seems to be making a big deal of this record Knight is about to break, but aren't there about a dozen coaches, who if they don't bolt to the NBA, will shatter this record, in a few years time? I think there are. Again, Coach K and Lute Olsen jump out, but man, there is just a shitload of good coaches who may or may not end up in the NBA (a place where Knight's abusive tactics would have never worked) who will break this record in short order.

Another article of note is Mike DeCourcey, who says that the Missouri Valley Conference is, for all intents and purposes, a Major Conference for Hoops. He's right.

On to the games!

Highest ranked team playing tonight was #2 North Carolina, facing once fearsome St. Louis (of course, that was back in the Larry Hughes days). North Carolina took care of bizness, winning 69-48. Let the unhinged praising of Tyler Hansborough continue, unabated!

the next highest ranked team was #8 Wichita State, which frankly, seems a bit high for them. I peg them at about #15, or so. They lost, in an upset to New Mexico, 71-68. It should be noted that the Shockers were without super cool guard P.J. Cousinard, who was out with flu. Cousinard's guts felt like they gone throught a Cuisinart. Yeah, that's a bad pun. What are you going to do about it?

Most of the other Top 25 teams rolled--#23 Syracuse (who I've ripped in these pages) beat up on Hofstra; #19 Marquette trashed by 20 the game Morgan State; #17 Washington Huskypupped Weber State; #16 Butler rolled Evansville; #13 Texas A&M Destroyed Auburn,.

The only other close game in the Top 25 was #25 Nevada barely escaping Akron 73-71. Nevada is still all about Nick Fazekas. Akron has two former high school teammates of LaBron James, and their names are just as cool--Dru Joyce and Romeo Travis, who combined for 34 points.

It should be noted as well: big game Saturday: Ohio State vs. last year's National Champs, Florida. Also worth noting, I think: #1 UCLA vs. a dangerous and underrated Michigan.

In Celebration of Peter Bondra's 500th Goal

We don't talk much hockey on this blog, despite the fact that everyone who contributes to it either lives, or has lived in Minnesota, which is of course, Hockey U.S.A. Did you know that the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Minnesota? In Eveleth? Did you know that it looks really similar to that building that housed a couple of failed fast food franchises? It's sad, really.

Why don't we talk hockey here? Possibly because none of us ever really played it, assuming one discounts the hours and hours and anger and money spent on Sega Hockey (particularly years spanning 1993-1997). It was video game hockey that taught me to love the Capitals, grudgingly respect the Penguins, dislike the Blackhawks, and absolutely fucking Hate the New Jersey Devils.

In those days, there was a lot to love about the Capitals, despite their deserved reputation as playoff choke artists, Joe Juneau (one of the ugliest men in hockey at the time) and Dale Hunter and Jim Carrey--the Caps were a team that was fun to get behind.

But the most exciting player on the ice back when I cared about hockey was Peter Bondra. Fast and quick, and tricky with the puck, with a wicked wrist shot. After years and years of great play with the Caps the management decided he was old enough to cut loose. So he's journeyed since--with Atlanta last year, he was out of the league this year until December 10th. And then he was signed, and today, he scored his 500th career goal, a game-winner for the fucking Chi-town Blackhawks!

I don't care enough about hockey anymore to have any idea how important that win might be for the Blackhawks (the regular season still has what? 3 months left to it?). But I'm extraordinarily, oddly even, proud that Pete Bondra is just the 37th player in NHL history to score 500 goals. See your crudely painted visage in Eveleth, Petey!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Great Goals: Hugo Sanchez

Hugo Sanchez, the best Mexican soccer player of all time, with one of his best goals. Enjoy. Do not attempt at home, unless I get to videotape it.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

SNL Rips Off Another Obscure Joke

3 or 4 of the last SNL Digital Shorts have been clearly based on something else. And I'm afraid a lot of the Jokes in "Dick in a Box" are clearly ripped off from Mr. Show's Classic Shitty Soul Duo, 3 Times 1 Minus 1.


Classic NFC North Match-Up With Playoff Implications!

So, because I'm lucky enough to live in the Twin Cities, I got free access to the NFL Network product. And I'm so happy to learn that Bryant Gumbel hasn't got any cooler since he got all pissy at Letterman. (Truly a classic moment in Letterman history here)



But what about the game? With the Packers facing the Vikings, with Playoff implications aplenty! And let's just pretend that isn't all about how bad the NFC is, and pretend that these two teams are deserving of going to the playoffs--(even though Vikings have been passed on for career highs by the likes of Joey Harrington and Chad Pennington. No truth to the Rumor that Green Bay changed Favre's named Favrington. Even though the Packers have been, frankly, brutal in their offensive play).



Close game, no doubt. The victor was in doubt even in the final minutes, kind of. But in the worst way possible.



Key stat: 0 (ZERO) offensive Touchdowns. Brett Favre against an extremely porous pass defense threw two picks, both of them almost completely inexplicable (you know, classic Brett Favre interceptions). One was run back for a touchdown by Fred Smoot, of all people. There's your one (defensive) touchdown of the game.

The Packers put up 3 FG's, thanks to the charismatic foot of Dave Rayner. Of course, even in Field Goals, the Packers could only manage a 60% completion rate. They went 3 for 5, the two misses coming after the Packers had gone up 3-0. They missed chances to go up 6-0 when Rayner fell over and went boom on the wet, slippery turf, and missed a chance to go 6-0 again (or even, in the most perfect of worlds, 9-0) when Rayner kicked one that hit the left upright. To be fair, it struck that upright with a good deal of force.


It was perhaps telling that when the Packers refused to go up all of 9-0, commentators Bryant Gumbel and Cris "Really, I was a Successful NFL Player" Collingsworth noted that the Vikings were lucky to still be in it. The most they could have been down, if the Packers had hit on all cylinders, was 9 points. That, according to the commentators, would have been too much for the Vikings to overcome.


They were absolutely right to make that assumption.


Make no mistake, the Packer offense looked awful, for the most part. No one runs on the Vikings this year, which means you pass all over them to beat them, like the Dolphins and the Jets and the Patriots did. Favre couldn't really do it, with two interceptions, and he had no help from the likes of Bubba Franks who dropped passes, fumbled completed passes, and got called for holding on the goal line negating the Packer's best drive.


Did I mention that Favre threw his interception for the Touchdown when his team was up 6-0? And that he threw his second interception on the ensuing possession? Yeah. He did.


But that was nothing compared to the Vikings offense. Let's document the atrocities:


3 First Downs. Total. For the game. A new record!


Tavaris Jackson threw for 50 yards. For the game. Rookie QB who has said along he wasn't ready to play in the NFL. You can't really blame him. But man, when Cris is pointing out basic QB shit you should be doing that you aren't doing? That's a worry.


Chester Taylor ran for less than 50 yards. It is typical that a RB runs for less yardage compared to what the QB throws for, but not when the QB throws for 50 yards. I'm being unfair to Chester. He ran for 49 yards, which is only one yard less. He got that on 15 carries, which is a very solid 3.2 yards per carry. He was also the leading receiver, with 3 catches for 18 yards!


The stories (and I've seen the early copy already) is going to be about Brett Favre winning his possibly last game in Lambeau, and that's fantastic. But really, this is one of the ugliest games ever. I'm pretty sure if you gave Favre the option, he'd rather go out like Theismann than let this be his last game. That said, I can't wait for Favre to get into a booth and start commentatin'.


But again, against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, the Packers managed 0 TD's, and less than 300 yards passing, and 2 interceptions. Embarassing. If the Packers are allowed into the playoffs, the team in the AFC who doesn't make it in should be allowed to sue the NFL.



Worst Packers-Vikings game...Ever!







(and perhaps Barnyard can weigh in on how the Evil NFL and the Evil Cable companies kept this game from being watchable for the countless Packer fans who live in Madison, WI. I think they were done a favor, but Barnyard might disagree).

A Yahoo Sports Exclusive?

How very odd. All the same, they are taking credit for this, so they get it.



The FBI has targeted a defense attorney for leaking confidential grand jury information linking Barry Bonds and other world-class athletes to alleged steroid use, Yahoo! Sports has learned.


The defense attorney, Troy Ellerman, has been the subject of an FBI investigation, according to Larry McCormack, a former private investigator who worked on the BALCO federal steroids case and who said he was a co-tenant in an office with Ellerman in Sacramento, Calif., where they worked together on cases, at the time of the alleged leaks. Other sources have said they were interviewed by the FBI.


Yahoo includes a photo of Troy Ellerman. And I hate to generalize, but when your defense attorney looks like Garth Brooks' dumb cousin, you are in trouble.


Same rule applies when your coach looks like Garth Brooks on a Cheese Bender.

I Dislike Jim Mora Sr.




I know this is a re-hash, but I am still pissed off. Jim Mora Senior, you're an ass, unemployed at long last. When some radio sportsjack called Atlanta QB Vick a "coach killer," Mora the Old responded: "I think you're correct, and it worries me a little bit because my son is the head coach down there, ya know? But he's a great athlete, my son likes him a lot, he's a good kid. But he's not a passer. And you need a passer at quarterback to be successful consistently in the National Football League. And he ain't getting it done in that category. I agree with you."

That's some deep cracker-ass analysis of the starting QB for a playoff contender: "he ain't getting it done." Has this wrinkled colostomy bag ever watched Vick play? Let the self-wiping rectums at ESPN play their subjectively selective highlights, with their "Boo-yas" and sound effects. Nobody who has actually watched the Falcons play a game (and I've had the time, with the Redskins getting diarrhea all over themselves in the starting gate) can fail to notice several things.

1. Falcons receivers, including TE Crumpler, drop more passes than any professional football team I have ever seen. Blame GM Rich McKay for going the Al Davis route, eternally picking speed over hands. Who was their big free agent WR acquisition? Oh great, Ashley Lelie, yet another sissy speedster with mud flaps instead of hands.

2. Falcons receivers run crap routes. Pay attention to their cuts: they don't throw fakes, they don't change their levels. They rely on their speed and end up rounding out their routes, ending up in the wrong place. On a timing route, when Vick's pass is released before they break, it makes Vick look like an asshole for throwing it at their feet. If they were where they were supposed to be, it would clank off their hands just like all the other laser passes. Blame falls purely on the coaches for failing to instill route discipline.

3. Falcons receivers won't catch the ball over the middle. They get a serious case of alligator arms which has been responsible for a number of Vick's interceptions. If only they had a Hall-of-Famer like Art Monk upon whom to rely. Instead, the WRs are always out on fly routes and deep outs, the lowest % passes in the playbook.

4. WR weaknesses mean that the defense can put a safety on RBs coming out of the backfield, rather than a slower LB. This limits the YAC of the RBs.

5. QB Michael Vick throws the tightest spiral I have ever seen, with one of the quickest releases I have ever seen. The ball needs no arc to go 50 yards. If anyone at the other end of the pass could catch it, the Falcons would have something. Instead, it looks like an autistic girl trying to catch a water balloon without popping it.

6. QB Vick is a coach killer, huh? His NCAA record was 20-1, and has the second highest passer rating in NCAA history. His NFL regular season record is 31-19-1 (.620). He is 2-2 in the playoffs (.500). Vick led the Falcons to victory in Lambeau Field in 2003, the Packers first-ever home playoff loss, after which Packers DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila said of Vick: "I'm speechless. He's elusive. He uses leverage. He uses a lot of things. He uses your momentum against you." By the way, can you name Vick's leading WR in that game, or for the entire year? I didn't think so (it was Brian Finneran, who's not even a household name in his own house). By way of comparison, Colts QB Manning, with all his commercials and great playmakers, has a postseason record of 3-6 (.333).

I am really sick of this crap spewed by sportsjacks who just feed from each other's festering shite-gobs rather than watch the actual games, just parroting that Vick is a great athlete, but lacks the "intangibles" to be a pro QB. As Charles Darwin wrote, "Great is the weight of steady misrepresentation."

Here's something to suck on: Vick has 19 TDs to 11 INTs, tied for 6th best in the NFL.

Jim Mora Senior, you were a shitbag football coach. You had P. Manning -- was he a coach killer too? Your playoff record is 0-6. It will always be 0-6, and that is fucking weak. You opinion is worthless. How about some classic Mora Sr. grace under pressure: "The second half, we just got our ass totally kicked! We couldn’t do diddley poo offensively! We couldn’t make a first down. We couldn’t run the ball. We didn’t try to run the ball! We couldn’t complete a pass. We sucked! The second half, we sucked! We couldn't stop the run. Everytime they got the ball, they went down, and got points! We got our ass totally kicked in the second half. That's what it boiled down to. It was a horseshit performance in the second half! Horseshit! I’m totally embarrassed. I’m totally ashamed. Coaching did a horrible job! The players did a horrible job! We got our ass kicked in that second half! It sucked. It stunk."

Nice stoicism. I can see where your son got his inner strength. During the Falcon's late-season adversity, Mora Jr. openly pined for the U of Washington coaching job, despite the fact that it is in no way open. This is while the Falcons are poised for a wildcard spot. Later, he said he was only kidding. Lame.

Vick responded to all this shit the same way he did to the fabricated gay rumors, or having his embarrassing STD affliction become national news: "Honestly, I really don't know what to say. I can't even respond to that. He's a commentator. He's going to say what he wants to say. I think it was inappropriate but he's a commentator and he has every right to say what he wants to say. I'm just going to keep playing football. At the same time, it's crazy."

Let me save Vick $20,000, and be the first to offer Moras Jr. & Sr. a double-barrelled middle-finger blast off.

Happy Holidays



For those with minds which tend to the prurient (I'm looking at you Badcock, here's the link to the naughty version.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

NCAA Hoops Round Up: Kent State You Broke My Heart Edition

Note: Written Last Night, but then Blogger wouldn't let me publish! Boo, Blogger. Here it is anyway. More NCAA hoops in a bit. Plus NFL so good You'll Want To Gouge Your Eyes Out! (tm)

First of all, as always, you should go read Seth Davis' column. He takes an odd route to get there (why do I want a visit from the Jigsaw Man? That sounds scary.), but his latest column on teams missing one good piece, (and where that piece is playing now) is an interesting read.


On to the Round Up!

(6) Duke 79, Kent State 72

Honestly, I think if this game were played at Kent State, they would have this fucker. Duke looked out of sorts in front of their own crowd, and of course, so did Kent State at times. There was a moment in the second half, where Kent State was up by 5, and Duke turned the ball over. Kent State failed to get the lead up to 7, and I just say there, thinking to myself, "That's it. Duke's winning this thing." They have that aura about them. And I hate that. And I hate the continued Handjobbery of Josh McRoberts, as evidenced by the AP article. Indomitable Spirit? It was Duke at Home against Kent Fucking State!

Kent State has an All-Nation player name in Haminn Quaintance, who's a pretty serious baller, as well.

Oh, and for those who are uncomfortable with obvious sexual nature of The Wichita State Shockers, may we suggest to you that the Kent State Golden Flashes may have just the amount of innuendo you are looking for?

Teams that took care of business:

(1) UCLA beats Sam Houston by 14
(2) UNC beats Florida Atlantic by 47
(3) Ohio State beats Iowa State by 19
(8) Wichita State beats Kennesaw St by 9
(11) Kansas beats Winston-Salem by 51
(19) Marquette beats Oakland by 18
(20) Notre Dame beats Portland by 17
(23) Syracuse beats Drexel by -5

Ooops, one of those top 25 teams won by negative points. Syracuse done got beat by the Dragons of Drexel, 84-79. And the buzz was all about Drexel knocking off Syracuse and Villanova in the same week. But umm, Syracuse isn't very good, are they? They've lost to a few teams already. But losing to Drexel? As the scary puppet things said in The Dark Knight Returns, "ewww, yourself, bitch."

Barbaro Never Did That. Barbaro Never Did Nothing For Nobody!

updated to include a new picture of El Kabong

Via BoingBoing, a couple of articles that struck me:

First of all, a horse, who maybe didn't win any big races, and maybe didn't become America's Equine Sweetheart, but My Buddy Chimo has become America's Equine Jesus. My Buddy Chimo healed the blind. Well, one blind guy. In a very French midfielder/Hanna-Barbera kind of way.

Don Karkos, a WWII vet and security guard at Monticello Raceway, was headbutted by My Buddy Chimo. The result? According to the article, "Hours after the horse smacked the 82-year-old paddock security guard in exactly the same spot as the shrapnel gashed his forehead in combat in 1942, he realised his vision was returning. "

Hear that, Barbaro? While you were off getting special treatment, My Buddy Chimo is healing fucking blind WWII Veterans--they're the greatest generation, not you, My UnBuddy Barbaro.

Speaking of getting whacked in the head and regaining faculties, it should be noted with sadness that cartoon legend Joe Barbera has died. Along with Bill Hanna, Barbera created Tom & Jerry, which right there should be enough for a monument on the National Mall. Their quality animation probably reached a high point with Tom & Jerry, but they also created the Flintstones, the Jetsons, and a ton more besides.

So how to combine cartoonish horse violence, brave fighters, and Hanna Barbera? El Kabong!


Monday, December 18, 2006

$20 Million & a Box of Kneepads






Short-term New Orleans Saints QB Adrian McPherson (2nd Round, Flordia State) is suing the Tennessee Titans because their mascot "T-Rac" (a completely stupid-looking raccoon) hit him with a golf cart at halftime during an August exhibition game. T-Rac was throwing t-shirts and crap into the stands.

McPherson bruised his knee and was immediately cut by the Saints like a recalcitrant ho. Currently in the Arena League with the Austin Wranglers, McPherson is suing for $5 million for negligence and $15 million in punitive damages. McPherson has not thrown a pass for the Wranglers yet.

McPherson is described in Pro Football Weekly as "a very raw prospect and a long way from asserting himself as a productive passer."

No word yet on whether the Austin Wranglers mascot, Blaze, will be authorized to "clown" McPherson.

Didier Drogba Does Not Care to Draw Everton

This is how games should end. I hate Chelsea, and their obscenely loaded roster, but I can't complain about the moments it produces. Everton was up 2-1 with about 10 minutes to go when Frank Lampard gets just a little bit of space and does this:





The game looks headed to a draw, when Didier Drogba pulls some magic out in the 87th minute, and just hammers a ball from 30 yards out that has just a sick amount of topspin. This ball, at one point, looks like it is going to sail high over the bar. Then it comes crashing down just underneath. Chelsea, in the space of 10 minutes goes from getting 0 points to 3, with just beautiful goals to do it, too. I hate them, but they are fun to watch.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

NCAA Hoops Round Up: UNC Asheville Shaved a Yeti

I can't prove that 7'6" Kenny George is a shaved Yeti. But it is awfully odd to see someone on the basketball court who dunks without even pretending to jump.

At this moment, there doesn't appear to footage of Kenny George on either YouTube of Google Video, which is crazy! Dunks without leaving the ground, and it hasn't been YouTubed? Disappointing.

(7) Wisconsin 89, (2) Pittsburgh 75

This game will be talked as though it was an upset, but I don't think it was. Wisconsin is deeper, and more talented, and has a marquee player in Alando Tucker. Pitt is also deep and talented, is still searching for its marquee player. Perhaps they'll claim that Aaron Gray is their marquee player, who was still feeling the effects of his strep throat, though he played awfully well. But Wisconsin has 3 big guys to counter-act any team's one, and this time around, Charlie Butch stepped up, with 27 points. Oh, and the 6-11 Honky hits 3 pointers. Like a European. After Pitt dodged a bullet against fuckin' Buffalo, and Wisconsin handled Marquette earlier in the week, it seemed like destiny that these teams would switch positions. Sconnie is definitely going to be Top 5 after Monday. And Pitt will certainly drop out of the top 5, and maybe even the top 10.



Almost everyone in the top 25 took care of business. UCLA, North Carolina, Ohio State, 'Bama, Texas A&M, Butler, Washington, Nevada, Marquette, Syracuse. They all beat the teams they were supposed to, and quite handily.




But One. (18) Gonzaga lost to Georgia, of all folks.


Gonzaga looked lost, frankly, turning the ball over way too many times. They had trouble getting the ball to Heyveldt down low. Whitey Gym Rat Freshman Matty Bouldin looked a bit lost, and Raivio couldn't pull enough John Stocktonish moves on his own to win the game. Gonzaga got close a number of times, but Georgia kept their composure, and reopened leads when they closed. Stukes was a killer on the perimeter, and Sundiata Gaines was scoring from everywhere. Commentator Rick Majerus opened up his Georgia Media Guide, and fell back on his love of Disney movies, to repeatedly remind his audience that Sundiata means "Lion Prince", but "If he keeps playing like this, we'll have to call him a Lion King!"



Hey uh, Rick. Stop it. You bust that reference once, and your co-worker clearly fakes laughter, you don't bring it up again in the second half so your co-worker has to fake laughter in more boisterous fashion--"ha, ha. That's a good one, coach!"


I think Raivio's acting acumen has been undersold. He was brilliant in V for Vendetta.



















I've Come To Praise Star Tribune Columnists, Not Pee On Them

Generally speaking, I really dislike the sports columnists of the Twin Cities newspapers. Back before I was a super powerful blogger in my own right, I was a super powerful reader of Deadspin, which used to have a regular feature called Why Your Hometown Columnist Sucks. They have discontinued it, it seems (what's up with that, Will?). But one of my first actions as a sportswebs interactor was to nominate Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. I'm pretty sure every time you see the words, "a deadspin reader says", those words are mine.

My antipathy towards Tom Powers has been well documented on this site right here. And I stand by my assessment that Tom Powers is a Stupid Fat Fuck.

All of this is my way of saying kudos to the Star Tribune columnists of late.

I'm not a big fan of Patrick Reusse in general. He reminds me of me, when I was a junior in college and it was clear I was not going to be on the varsity soccer team, but I would be a damn good player on the JV. I could have fought hard, really pushed it, and tried against all odds to make Varsity, like Rudy, or Pre, or Terry Fox would have. I said, "fuck it" and coasted and had fun. Patrick Reusse gives off that same vibe. He knows he'll never be fired, but he's not destined for National Glory anytime soon. He's not ESPN Page 2 quality, and he knows it. But this piece on Randall McDaniel was a nice antidote to all of the New Mexico, Sex Boat, Tank Williams stories out there.

Key Passage:

McDaniel works both with students who have fallen behind and with students who are ahead of the curve and need to be challenged. He also serves as a substitute
teacher at the elementary schools.

A couple of years ago, the administrators at Sandburg Middle School asked McDaniel and his wife, Marianne, if they could get involved with students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

Randall and Marianne started "Team McDaniel" for the 2005-06 school year. They asked students to join them in community service: volunteering at an assisted-living
facility, a food shelf and other outlets.

There were 36 students in the Sandburg group last year, and now the number is in the 80s.


I just flat out enjoy the writing of relative neophyte Twin Cities Sports Columnist Jim Souhan. Every time I read him, I'm impressed with his lack of bullshit, his lack of homerism, his unwillingness to write apologia for the owners (You hear me, Sid Hartman? Of course you don't, you are old and don't hear well).

He wrote the piece about a possible Iverson to Minnesota trade, and he put it out there, man. He said what needed to be said. And he said it well:
Perhaps never again in Garnett's tenure will the Wolves face an chance to trade so little for such a great, great player.

General Mismanager Kevin McHale needs to recognize where he and his "organization" reside: Nowheresville, U.S.A.

The Wolves aren't good enough to win a title. They aren't bad enough to ensure the high draft choices (they've still got their picks for 2023 and 2024) required to rebuild.

Garnett's versatile and relentless play will keep the Wolves in the middle of the pack, and the Wolves' lack of draft choices and cornucopia of bad contracts will keep them from ascending.

Which is why The Answer is the answer to the question: What have the Wolves got to lose?


I would like to salute the Star Tribune for having the courage to publish two sports editorials that weren't completely bullshit! Well done!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

There's Room in NBDL for Gritty White Kids

Gerry MacNamara, beloved Syracuse sniper, and Never-Ever NBA player, has made his way to the NBDL.

Since I Dislike Syracuse, and hate gritty, gym rat whiteys even more, I greet this news with a bit of giggling. Wait, you mean Gerry MacNamara wasn't as important as Hakim Warrick, or Carmelo Anthony? Travesty!

Big BM Spin Machine Can't Disperse Stench of Scandal


The creator of IDYFT fellow formerly known as "Big Blue Monkey" is hereby and eternally christened Big BM.

Here is the web page he created while attending at Jeb Stuart High School.

Welcome to the World of Illusion PT. 1



Illusiongenius.com honors the memory of Master Illusionist Doug Henning: "Look at the exuberant smile, and the meticulously bent middle finger -- indicating magic was afoot ... What is so sadly missing in today's TV magicians' performance is any semblence of true mystery, which, I believe, even Doug's costume represented ... those that call themselves magicians should take a lesson from Doug Henning. This is not to say they should act like he did. Rather, my friend Doug deeply believed in real magic ... For Doug Henning, real magic, was the unfolding of human consciousness and the unbounded potential that rests in all people to discover."



Part 1: Brian The Boz Bosworth
You remember Brian Bosworth? Fifteen minutes were never fleeter. The two-time Butkus Award winner was one of the biggest flops of all time: all sizzle, no steak. Remember when the NCAA didn't allow him to play in the 1987 Orange Bowl because of his elephantine illegal steroid use? On the sideline, he wore a "National Communists Against Athletes" t-shirt. Now that's informed dissent.

Kicked off the Sooners for said steroid use, he was nonetheless drafted by the Seahawks and given the biggest contract in team history, 10 years for $11 million dollars. And that's 1987 dollars. He retired three years later from a "shoulder injury."

One of the greatest moments in NFL history was when the one and only Bo Jackson absolutely trucked Bosworth on the goal line on Monday Night Football. Bo stepped on Bosworth's waxed chest. It was awesome. (editors note: look for it, 50 seconds into this video)





Is the Boz (my god the 80's were a rough time, culturally) a Master of Illusion, like Doug Henning? Did he unfold his human consciousness and discover the unbounded potential that rests within him? The affirmation is revealed in his own words, in an ESPN Q & A from back in the day.

Q: Upcoming movies? BOZ: "Three Kings -- the part was kind of made up toward the end of the film to conclude George Clooney's character. George requested that I fill that role, and so I did that as a favor to him."

Q: Seahawks mediocrity? BOZ: "I'm a believer that Seattle has been used to mediocrity for such a long period of time that it's very hard to establish a tradition of winning consistently ... I don't know if that has something to do with the weather and an emotional attachment to it or not ... Even when I was there, we never won more than a couple of games at a time."

Q: Are you actually saying you don't suck? "Had I not been hurt I would have been the best frickin' linebacker to play the game, no question."

Q: Come on, you're only remembered as an overhyped flop, and for that hilariously bad Stone Cold movie. BOZ: "Most of the bikers I've come in contact with love the movie. They think it's the coolest thing they've ever seen ... I prefer movies. Your characters are far more creative in the movies than on TV. I did have a short-lived experience with episodic television with Fox, called "Lawless," which I believe had the potential to be a good show, but Fox couldn't pull their head far enough out of their ass to see what people want ... But they cancelled it after one episode, which was too bad. The show also got hurt by some (studio) politics, with a new president coming in. He didn't want to use the previous guy's show. That's all Hollywood is -- ego."

Q: Finally, how about getting run the fuck over by Bo Jackson on the goal line? BOZ: "It was just another uneventful score of a touchdown. Having it on Monday Night Football showcased it that much further. But in my mind, it was the media's continued attempt to tear down what it once built up -- which is the formula the media lives by. To an athlete, it was just another play from a game ... On that play, if I would have put my head on the other side of him, I would have dragged him out of bounds. If it was on the 50-yard-line, it would have been second-and-7 from the 47. But since we were on the goal line, it was a touchdown. And a big deal."

Brian Bosworth, Welcome to the World of Illusion.

The Future of Sports


The Wii looks like it could become some crazy-ass cultural phenomenon before everything is said and done. That may be akin to saying "I think the Internet is here to stay." But it does strike me that if the Japanese can trick our obscenely obese younger children into exercising via the Wii, then it shouldn't take too long for there to be some sort of professional league set up around the Wii. They are already Professional gaming associations set up around PC and Xbox games, which are incredibly boring to watch.

I tell you right now, if there is ever a Wii Jai-Alai tournament, I'm watching the hell out of it. It would be, at worst, hilarious.

Via the Powerful Nerds of BoingBoing, I'm going to pass along the photo pool on flickr--people playing with their Wii. There's all sorts of madness going on in photos--grandpa types, little kids, cute nerdgals, and of course, plenty of pasty white kids in their 20's. Take a look when you are trying to kill time come Friday afternoon.

photo credit: Luke Johnson

R.I.P. Lamar Hunt

Lamar's important work with the AFL and NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs will be well documented elsewhere, I'm sure.

I was looking for something that would talk about his huge impact on US soccer, and this article from ESPN that I first saw on Sanford will do the trick.

Suffice to say that Lamar saw potential for US soccer back in the 60's, suffered through the highs and incredible lows of the NASL, and perservered, knowing full well he probably wouldn't live to see soccer attain the status he knew it could (and probably will).

Perhaps, his most important contribution to soccer in the US was also one of his last. As Frank Dell'Apa says:

But Hunt's longest-lasting legacy could be his decision to build Columbus Crew Stadium, the first soccer-specific stadium of consequence constructed in the U.S. since the 1920s. Four more such stadiums have been completed for MLS teams (including Hunt's Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas), two are set to open next year (Denver and Toronto), and ground has been broken on two more.

"One stadium in one city and one sold-out game doesn't make a success," Hunt said before the opening of Crew Stadium in 1999. "But this stadium will be here for 50 years, even if I won't be.''

Crew Stadium was not extravagant. But it symbolized much about Hunt's vision and how he regarded soccer in the U.S. Crew Stadium cost about $29 million, a fraction of Hunt's fortune, but the importance of it was that it started a movement toward similar stadiums.




Fare thee well, Mr. Hunt.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Creator of IDYFT Scandalized by the Stinky Truth!


It's a sad evening in my world. Team Madrid lost yet again tonight, this time by 3. I was your crappy point guard (in the picture, I'm standing on the far left).

But what's much more existentially terrifying, I have discovered a horrible, foul-smelling secret. A secret that could rock IDYFT to its very bowels.

We've all enjoyed the columns by Big Blue Monkey (nee Big Blue). Even when he digresses into soccer or something about a superhero who looks like the dad in "Gimme a Break!". It also appears that the superhero has two boners. Also, some douche with a magic ring isn't a superhero. Give me a magic ring, I'll kick a fair amount of ass.

But this English major was hiding the stench of his own execrescence. Look at that name again.

"Big Blue Monkey."



That's Big BM. Your name is Big BM.

R.I.P, Martin Nodell



This isn't very sportsy of us, but we have to tip our cap to Green Lantern creator Martin Nodell, who passed away on Saturday.


Nodell's Green Lantern wasn't the one we are all familiar with, in the emerald green body suit, but rather the Golden Age GL, Alan Scott, who had one of ugliest costumes in comic book history--green pants, red top, kind of purply grey-black high collared cape. He made his first appearance in 1940.

So, so long Martin, and thanks for all the Green Lanterns.



Even Alex Ross has trouble
making the costume look cool

Girls Go Crazy For a Sharp Dressed Man


New NFL Commissioner Goodell told the AP that the suits worn by Mike Nolan of San Francisco (my high school girlfriend was his kids' babysitter when he was Giants LB coach) and Jack Del Rio of Jacksonville were superfly: "I love it. I think it's great. It reflects well on the coaches and reflects well on the National Football League. Our coaches are a very important reflection of the NFL. I think the more impressive they look, the better it reflects on us."

In unrelated news, Vince Young's electrifying 39 yard TD run in overtime stunned his hometown Houston (who passed on the National Champion QB in the 2006 draft). When asked about the game-winning gallop, Young said: "I felt like my mom was chasing me with a belt."

I laughed out loud when I read that. Then, immediately, I wondered if it wasn't the saddest thing I've ever read in my life.
And I've read Watership Down.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Baseball Suffers From Temporary Sanity

According to the AP, the Rangers have acted sanely to some holes in their line-up. Which is completely unbefitting the off-season deal making that has pervaded the winter meetings. Don't they know Ted Lilly is worth $10 million a year, for four years?

By that logic, a potentially healthy Eric Gagne has to be worth at least $15 million/year, for many, many years.

But the Rangers decided to say "No thanks" to that logic, and instead offered the once unhittable closer just $6 Million dollars. (Remember when that kind of money would make you into a super cool cyborg? I do.) In defiance of the times, they gave Gagne an incentive laden contract that could be worth $11 million, IF HE PERFORMS. That's crazy-talk, Texas. Why, Ted Lilly is worth that much, even when he fails to hit any worthwhile benchmark.

Some folks may be willing to make fun of the Rangers for offering a one-year deal to Kenny Lofton, also worth around $6 million, but then again, the guy did hit over .300 and stole over 30 bases last year, so that sounds like a bargain to me.

Boo, Rangers, for crafting deals that sound positively sane, in the midst of owners of small markets complaining that they never had a chance at overrated players like Alfonso Soriano. We'll just see who goes deeper in the playoffs--the Rangers or the Cubs!

Quiet Couple of Days in NCAA Hoops Roundup

Just a couple of ranked teams in action, and unfortunately, not against each other.

(13) Texas A&M 85, Fordham 61

I've been a doubter of Texas A&M from the start, and I don't see this result proving or disproving me. Beating up on Fordham is nice, and is exactly what a top 25 team should do. So should a top 45 team, frankly. I was far more impressed with their gritty loss against UCLA. Acie Law may be a badass, and A&M may be some great defense, but I just don't know if they are going to be gritty enough in the paint to play with the powerhouses in the league, unless they have one crazy-ass shooting night.


(25) Nevada 76, Saint Mary's 58

Nick Fazekas, the lanky big man of the Wolf Pack, used this game to get over 2,000 career points. Good on him. I don't think he woulda done it if Brad "Big Continent" were still playing, though!

Big Continent! Because he was so much bigger than Big Country! (not the band, the player, you know, Bryant Reeves.

NCAA AP Top 25 Poll came out on Monday.

New top 25's:
(24) Air Force, (22) Oregon, and (21) Notre Dame.

Most curious old team
:
#23 Syracuse. They are dropping, but probably not fast enough. It should be noted that Syracuse is (just barely) out of the Top 25 in the Coaches' Poll.

Biggest Movers:
#7 Wisconsin jumped 4 places from last week's #11. Deservedly so. While the score didn't reflect it, they were in charge of Marquette (who fell 3 spots themselves to #20). Alando Tucker looks like a Big 10 Player of the Year Finalist. (paging Greg Oden).

#13 Texas A&M fell six places after two losses to ranked teams.

#15 OK State & #14 UConn stayed undefeated, and moved up 7 spots and 5 spots from last week. respectively.

I've learned not to second-guess Jim Calhoun's manuevering. They haven't played anyone super tough yet; the Big East isn't what it was (though it is a hell of lot more interesting than the Big "Ten" Conference) and UConn has lost a TON of great players the last 2 years. This ranking is indicative of the respect the program and Calhoun have garnered, as opposed to any really impressive wins. Much as Izzo always makes Michigan State dangerous, no matter what the rumor mongering says, Calhoun's Huskies are always quality, no matter how much buzz you hear about NC or Duke or Ohio State.

If you bothered to read this far, treat yourself to a read by a real college hoops writer--Seth Davis on the Top 10 Biggest Impact Coaches in New Programs.

Matt Taylor Remembered to Sacrifice a Chicken Before the Game

The weekend (that would be just this last one) as the Essien goal, Matt Taylor of Portsmouth decided, "Hey, I'm good enough to try this." I don't know what kind of ego someone has to have to even attempt this shot in the middle of real game, but kudos to Matty for giving it a go. Yes, it may be a fluke, it may be lucky. But I couldn't do it, no matter how much luck you gave me. I could have eaten leprechauns for breaksfast, and I couldn't have done this.

Garwood B. Jones will eventually step up to the plate to remind of the big talentless Polack who scored a goal like this in an exhibition game between the Chicago Fire and the Minnesota Thunder.

Those of you who are Deadspin readers first and foremost have probably already seen this. Those of you who haven't, enjoy.

Michael Essien is pretty cool, even if he does play for Chelsea

We somehow missed this goal when it happened, almost two months ago. We're topical! All the same, if we missed it, you may have missed it. I received this YouTube offering from miwacar earlier today. Enjoy. The final angle, from the sideline, is really the one to enjoy.

Update: I done got confused. This was from this weekend. Apologies, and thanks to Fan's Attic for the correction. It is still awesome, however.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Bumarooski!

Rivers, Merriman & the rest of the Chargers destroyed the Broncos. Without a doubt the world belongs to RB LaDainian Tomlinson. He is the most beautiful runner in the game. Marty Schottenheimer said Tomlinson is "the finest running back to ever wear an NFL uniform."

But on this record-breaking day for Tomlinson which featured a back-breaking surprise first half onside kick, the Play of the Day was the 1st quarter touchdown by Lorenzo Neal.

On the four yard line, with everyone poised to stop Tomlinson, Chargers O-Coordinator Cam "Cam" Cameron dusted off one of the great old trick plays from the cobwebby cellar of football's past. The ball was snapped to QB Rivers, who snapped it to All-Pro blocking FB Lorenzo Neal. Neal hid the ball behind his legs as the offense ran a sweep to the right. The entire defense read & reacted to the action, leaving Neal free to run over the startled lone Denver lineman playing backside contain.

The announcers were baffled, as was I. And then I realized: it was a Fumblerooski! About twenty seconds later (probably with the help of the entire cbs sports production staff), the announcer said that it was a Fumblerooski. Where's my fucking Clio Award?

Anyway, it turns out that it wasn't a Fumblerooski (invented by Heisman), it was a Bumarooski, a variation invented by Bum Phillips. In a "regular" Fumblerooski, the center snaps the ball, then places it behind his foot. The offense runs a sweep (without the ball) and one of the offensive guards picks up the "fumble" and runs a naked sweep. Can anyone find video footage of the Chargers Bumarooski? I have been scouring unsuccessfully.

The Fumblerooski has been outlawed in the NFL since the 1960's, but it has been successful in the NCAA including two National Championship games. It is unknown how many times it has been called in high school. The only certain thing is that you will never, ever see another Fumblerooski, except possibly in a Pop Warner game. The NCAA axed it in the 90's and it was banned for h.s. football in 2006.

Why has this ridiculous, high-risk and beloved play gone the way of single-bar facemasks, clothesline tackles and dating cheerleaders? It is a burden on officials. Jerry Diehl of the NTSHSA says the ban "eliminates confusion in a ballgame."

The Bumarooski is a legal play because the FB is an eligible ball-carrier. It is an insane call when only up 14-0 against a playoff contender/division rival. Center Nick Hardwick said, “All the linemen were real skeptical about it. We didn't think it was going to work. But when it did, it was pretty hilarious.”

On my high school football team, we had an incredibly talented LG/DE 2 years ahead of me who I will only call "Lou" because I don't want him to ever be mad at me. Lou never lifted weights, brought his compound bow into the locker room (he hunted groundhogs, etc), smoked weed before practice and had only a basic grasp of the playbook. But he was an absolute monster.

At the end of one practice, the line blew their assignment and I fired in from my LB position and sacked the QB. The coach blew his top and promised us another twenty reps before sprints. It was dark and cold but I was feeling pretty good. Until they lined up and someone called out, "Kill that Wice kid!" I looked up at Lou in his stance. Lou looked at me with his red eyes. Just before the snap, Lou made the pumping-a-shotgun noise: "Chk-chkk." Then he hit me. I saw the black sky, wondered why my feet were up in the black sky, and then hit the fence ten yards behind.

In one game, Lou chased down an All-Conference RB on a sweep. Lou had been on the backside, and the RB had twenty yards on Lou. Lou caught him from behind.

Lou had no prospects after graduation, so we practiced a Fumblerooski for him to run in the last game of his senior year. We called it the "FumbleLouski," get it? We ran it but did not execute it well, and it was stopped for no gain.

And I never saw Lou or a Fumblerooski again.

By the way, Lorenzo Neal, that is not how you carry a football.

The San Diego Chargers get my nod for Playcall of the Year. That is, until someone calls "The Swinging Gate."