Friday, January 26, 2007

This is just silly

ESPN's Page 2 tries to rank all the Super Bowl teams from strongest to weakest. Isn't this what they invented video games for?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Who is that guy?

If you were lucky enough to watch both games of New England's playoff run, you could catch a glimpse of some of the other NE coaches besides Belichick, including one coach wearing a winter hat, a full beard, and the trademark crappy sweatshirts that Belichick has popularized, which on him looked like a winter jacket. In San Diego. And the RCA Dome.

I can only imagine that Coach Belichick picked another motivational tool out of his "I Am the World's Biggest, Most Slovenly--and Most Successful--Tool" box and told his charges that "We have the home field advantage. We are at home. We are not the visiting team. This is OUR house!" In order to better convince his players, he made his coaches dress up like it was a New England winter.

I have scoured the InterWeb looking for a snapshot of this guy, likely Brian Daboll, the Patriots Receivers Coach, but haven't found it. But I can attest that it resembles the accompanying picture quite closely.

Grimm and Grimmer

So how mad do you think Russ Grimm is over not getting the Steelers coaching job?

Pro Football Talk is circulating a rumor that Roger Goodell intervened in the Steelers' coaching search, advising Dan Rooney to hire Mike Tomlin over Russ Grimm, given that Rooney instituted the "Rooney Rule" wherein a minority coach must be interviwed for each coaching position.

The one thing this rumor does is provide a possible explanation for the competing reports over Grimm and Tomlin being hired last weekend. Mike Prisuta of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review wrote an article that Grimm had been offered the job and accepted--meanwhile both SI.com and ESPN reported that Tomlin was the hire. Many observers have noted that a local reporter has much more to lose by burning his sources or being caught spreading rumors himself...so it does seem less than plausible that Prisuta was merely making stuff up. And having Grimm leak to a reporter before the deal is set in stone is the type of high-risk, bridge-burning move that could ensure that a coach doesn't get hired anywhere--so I doubt that happened...unless your name is Nick Saban.

Whatever the case, it is clear that at some point in the process, Grimm thought he got a job with the Steelers, and he didn't. So somebody messed up. Whatever the shenanigans, I for one am happy that Tomlin got hired. I am sure that Grimm deserves his chance, and wonder why Dallas hasn't come calling after him. But he will be a head coach sooner rather than later.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Tomlin is the Man!!

The Steelers have selected 34-year old Dungy Defensive Wunderkind Mike Tomlin as their new head coach. Go to any Steelers board and the impending loss of the 3-4 will be mourned. Given that the Steelers basically gave up developing 3-4 linebackers after 2003, I don't know why everyone is so messed up about this. Personally, I think it's time to revamp NFL defenses in response to the pass-happy ways of many NFL offenses. Could you develop a run-stopping nickel, I wonder? A 4-2-5 perhaps? Maybe with 4 big DLs, a run-stuffing ILB who is a good interior blitzer, another ILB who has pass coverage skills and good pursuit speed, plus a safety or two who could play like a linebacker? Hmmm...who could have the personnel for that?

DL: Smith-Hoke-Hampton-Keisel

LB: Harrison-Porter
Farrior-Haggans
Foote

DB: McFadden/Taylor/Extra CB/Polamalu/Smith
OR
DB: McFadden/Taylor/Polamalu/Smith/Clark

You could run 3 corners two safeties or 2 corners 3 safeties, play Cover 2 with a roaming safety (Troy) or play Cover 3 with two safeties in the flats. And in run situations sometimes the down linemen may be called on to 2 Gap as in the 3-4, and of course our guys are trained for that.

Just thinking out loud here. Probably badly, but hell who cares? That's what a blog is for!

So...

now that the Steelers have completed their melodrama, can we get an update on something far more important: The Steelskins Playoff Pool standings?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Who is the Steeler Coach? Scorecard

So many people are saying different things about who the Steelers have selected as the next coach, so I thought I would keep score a little bit.

Michael Silver, SI.com: Tomlin
Chris Mortensen, ESPN: Tomlin
Mike Prisuta, Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Grimm
John Clayton, ESPN: Grimm, or not Tomlin
Steelers: No one
Tomlin: Not me
Random Stiller Yinzer: Joe Paterno

We will keep you updated as more confusing news comes in.

Friday, January 19, 2007

UFC Gives Too Many Title Shots to Newcomers

“The Natural” is Back!
Recently, UFC legend Randy “The Natural” Couture announced that he was ending his 11-month retirement to return to the Octagon—only this time he was going after the Heavyweight title (currently held by Tim “The Maine-iac” Sylvia), rather than the Light Heavyweight belt (held by Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, who was Couture’s final loss before retirement, back in February 2006).

Couture has held both belts at one time or another, so he’s no stranger to the Heavyweight division, which, some have argued, currently lacks a true #1 Contender and by all accounts should welcome Couture’s return. After all, since regaining his title over the seemingly unbeatable Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski, Sylvia has beaten Arlovski again, followed by outlasting Jeff “The Snowman” Monson in five rounds. Additionally, Sylvia holds a recent victory over Assuerio Silva, and his only un-avenged loss is to Frank Mir in June 2004—a fighter who has not yet proven he can stand with the big boys, following a less-than-stellar re-emergence into the MMA world after a near-career-ending motorcycle accident. When it comes to fresh competition, the Heavyweights could always benefit.

Indeed, Couture’s announcement to return on January 11th’s “Inside the UFC” with Joe Rogan sent shockwaves through the MMA world based on its potential to make the Heavyweight division once again as competitive with the other four divisions. That night, Couture announced he had signed a two-year, four-fight deal and would have his debut at UFC 68 on March 3. It was also announced that Couture’s debut would be against the champ himself, Sylvia. No easing into this division, no lead up for Couture to first take on one of the top 10 contenders, his first fight back is a title shot.

Couture’s Title Shot Too Early?
Now it should be noted that Couture is one of only four fighters who have the honor of being named to the UFC’s Hall of Fame. He is the only fighter to have held the title in two different divisions in his career. At 14-8 (11-5 in the UFC), Couture has consistently been at the forefront of both the divisions he’s fought in, and remarkably, all but four of his 16 UFC fights have been for or in defense of the title. No other UFC fighter comes close to this level of stakes-per-fight. This man is no stranger to pressure.

But what happens if Couture loses on March 3? Is he really going to want to stick around for his remaining three fights, knowing that he probably doesn’t deserve another title shot? Wouldn’t it therefore make more sense to throw the guy an easier opponent to serve as a stepping stone while proving he belongs in the division? After all, the guy is 1-2 in his last three fights.

Promising Early Shots at Title—A Growing Trend
Moreover, the Couture vs. Sylvia announcement follows a growing trend of decisions by UFC President Dana White to grant title shots to fighters who have not proven themselves in the UFC—or at the very least, have not proven themselves recently. Oftentimes, these fights are given to fighters who hold wins over a current champion from much earlier in their careers, and are used as a means to avenge those losses. However, in the fastest growing sport in the world, beating someone several years ago definitely does not guarantee that you can beat them again today, as has been proven time and time again, most recently by the Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Hughes fight at UFC 65. While 11 months is not several years, 11 months of not fighting is a lifetime in this sport.

Other examples* of this precedent include:
1.) Anderson “The Spider” Silva was given a Middleweight title shot after only one UFC fight. Granted, in that debut, he destroyed up-and-comer Chris “The Crippler” Leben and then went on to destroy then-Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin. Silva is also generally considered to be one of the top fighters at 185 lbs. in MMA, and his decision to sign with the UFC was a coup felt round the MMA world. Following his victory over Leben, the UFC briefly posted a poll on its website, asking fans to select Silva’s next opponent, and the majority of voters chose Middleweight Champ Franklin. However, it is unknown what bearing that poll had on White’s decision to give Silva the title shot and is generally assumed to have had only marginal influence at best.
2.) Another Silva, Assuerio Silva, came thisclose to a title bout after only one UFC fight. His UFC debut was against Tim Sylvia, and the winner was to face then-Heavyweight champ Arlovski. Sylvia won, and Silva has since followed up his debut loss with another loss to Brandon “The Truth” Vera, making a chance at a title shot any time soon rather slim.
3.) Yet another Silva, Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva, also came thisclose to a title bout after an absence from the UFC for more than six years. At UFC 61 on July 8, White announced that Silva would face off against Liddell in “a UFC event in November,” assuming Liddell beat his next opponent, Renato “Babalu” Sobral, which he did with ease. However, since then, there has been barely a blip on the UFC radar regarding Silva’s return. Silva is just 1-2 in the Octagon, but has made quite a name for himself in Japan’s PRIDE Fighting Championships, UFC’s largest competitor, where he is the current PRIDE Middleweight Champ. The most obvious reason that negotiations for Silva’s return have dwindled is because Silva was knocked out during PRIDE’s Open Weight Grand Prix semifinals on September 10 by Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović, who went on to win the tournament. In fact, White cited this loss as the reason Liddell will not be fighting Silva anytime soon in the PRIDE ring—a challenge offered by Silva to Liddell on October 21.

*It should be noted that this writer assumes this trend is not limited to UFC newcomers with the last name of “Silva” and that these examples are merely coincidental. I also do not believe any of these men are related to one another, but that “Silva” is Brazil’s “Smith.”

Certainly not every title bout is between a reigning UFC champion and a virtual UFC newcomer, but in the race to capitalize on UFC’s new-found worldwide fame and to set it apart from competitors like PRIDE and the upstart International Fight League, White has seemingly made many offers to give famous fighters who are in high demand by most leagues a quick rise to the top of the UFC, assuming they win their debut.

Identifying Next #1 Contender is Anybody’s (or just White’s) Guess
Clearly such promises are needed in order to secure the best talent and make the UFC the most competitive MMA league out there. But with recent announcements by White that the UFC has signed such names in the world of MMA as Jason Reinhardt (17-0), Chad “The Grinder” Reiner (13-1), Sean Salmon (9-1), Heath “The Texas Crazy Horse” Herring (26-11-1), Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (25-6) and now Mirko Cro Cop Filipović (21-4-2), one wonders when UFC loyalists like Brandon “The Truth” Vera, Rashad Evans, Mike “Quick” Swick, Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez or Hermes Franca will get their well-deserved title shots in their respective divisions.

The signing of Jackson—a Light Heavyweight and the only un-avenged loss on Chuck Liddell’s record, occurring in November 2003—and Cro Cop—a Heavyweight and arguably the UFC’s biggest signing coup thus far—alone signal two definite title shots in the first half of 2007, assuming they win their debuts. Both are making their UFC debuts at UFC 67 on February 3, and Liddell has already called out Jackson as his preferred next opponent. Cro Cop, at 218 lbs. is easily the lightest Heavyweight in the UFC, making a drop to the Light Heavyweight division anticipated, assuming Sylvia defends his title against Couture. Such a move would draw even more fans to the UFC, as MMA fanatics have been calling for a Cro Cop/Liddell match up for years.

Who Really Deserves the Title Shot—A Look at Each Division
All this is exciting for the UFC, yes, but at what cost to those UFC fighters who have been eagerly anticipating their own title shots, as well as to the UFC fans who follow them. While no one can deny Randy Couture’s amazing talent, nor his ability to draw a crowd, his unchallenged rise to the #1 Contender in the Heavyweight division begs the question: What of Brandon “The Truth” Vera? At 9-0 (4-0 in the UFC), he has destroyed his last three UFC opponents, the longest lasting 2:39 of the very first round, and none of which were pushovers (Justin Eilers, former #1 Contender Assuerio Silva, and former Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir).

And should “Rampage” win his debut, or Salmon his, do they get title shots against Liddell, despite the already thick competition in the Light Heavyweight division made up of the likes of Rashad Evans (9-0, 4-0 in the UFC), Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine (12-2-1, 4-1 in the UFC), Forrest Griffin (13-4, 4-2 in the UFC) or Michael “The Count” Bisping (12-0, 2-0 in the UFC)?

Or in the Middleweight division, in winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 4 reality series, Travis Lutter earned a promised title shot against Anderson Silva, even though everyone knows it will be no contest, and despite Lutter’s 2-2 UFC record. Why not give that shot to Mike “Quick” Swick (11-1, 5-0 in the UFC), who actually earned that spot by beating #1 Contender David “The Crow” Loiseau and by dominating respected fighters like Joe “Diesel” Riggs? Or if not Swick, then why not former Middleweight Champion Evan Tanner (36-7, 11-4 in the UFC)?

Similarly, in the Welterweight division, Matt “The Terra” Serra was promised a title shot after winning his weight class of The Ultimate Fighter Season 4, which means he’ll face Georges St. Pierre whenever the champ can stay healthy for more than six weeks at a time. Serra has a dismal 5-4 UFC record (13-4 overall), and no one expects him to win. Why make these promises when the Middleweight division is absolutely stacked with talented contenders? Why not instead give that title shot to Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez (18-0, 6-0 in the UFC), Karo “The Heat” Parisyan (24-3, 6-2 in the UFC) or Josh “Kos” Koscheck (9-1, 6-1 in the UFC)? The overwhelming majority of UFC fans would rather see any of these contenders get that title shot—not Serra.

And finally, in the newly re-introduced Lightweight division, where White could actually do the most good by introducing more talent, will recently signed UFC newcomers Jason Reinhardt (17-0), Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia (9-1) and Gabe “Godzilla” Ruediger (10-2) earn faster title shots than UFC veterans Hermes Franca (16-6, 4-2 in the UFC), Spencer “King” Fisher (19-2, 4-1 in the UFC) or Joe “Daddy” Stevenson (30-7, 3-1 in the UFC)?

The practice of giving UFC newcomers—no matter their talent—instant title shots alienates UFC’s existing talent, which in turn could force them to leave the UFC altogether. There is a price you pay to be the best; exercising respect for loyalty will surely do as much for the UFC as recruiting fighters with non-avenged losses to what is already the best, most exciting MMA league in the world.





Will someone call the Steelers bluff?

The Steelers have named three finalists to replace Bill Cowher: Russ Grimm, current Steeler Oline coach and Assistant head coach, whatever that means. Mike Tomlin, defensive coordinator for the Vikings and a Tony Dungy protege. Ron Rivera, defensive coordinator for the Bears.

The longer the Steelers wait the more obvious it becomes that Rivera is their man, since they can't talk to him until the Bears season is over. But if the Bears win Sunday, the Steelers will probably have to make a pick among Tomlin or Grimm. What's to stop Tomlin and/or Grimm from withdrawing their names from consideration, knowing that another opportunity will be coming down the line for them? And the longer the Steelers wait, the better bargaining position Rivera has when contract talks arise. Especially if he's the only candidate left standing.

If Grimm doesn't get the job, he is likely to be fired by the new coach, whoever he is. So he may withdraw his name from consideration if he feels he is being passed over. But perhaps he doesn't want the last coaching job on his resume to be an underperforming Oline one year after a Super Bowl win. Maybe Whisenhunt will take him on in Arizona. Tomlin has nothing to lose either way.
He has job security right now and will be a top candidate in future years, especially with the Rooney Rule in place.

I have to wonder: is the Steelers job that coveted? I like Art Rooney II's no nonsense style, but that may also mean that the days of sticking with a head coach through hell and high water are over, and the Steelers head coaching position may soon become just another job, which automatically causes the position to lose much of its appeal, as the Steelrs are notoriously penny pinching and don't go after name-brand free agents...or is AR II going to change that too?

Boss Hog Movie Review: Children of Men


Quick take: Excellent movie. Go see it.

How it would have been different if Joe Gibbs had directed it instead of Alfonso Cuaron: It would have starred Mark Brunell instead of Clive Owen as the hero, and the woman who becomes the first pregnant woman in 20 years would have been played by Clinton Portis in drag. The film would not have worked nearly as well.

What it can tell us about the future of the Redskins: Well, the movie is set in 2027, and cities around the world are in chaos. There is a shot of New York burning and in rubble, which indicated to me that the Redskins had just been in town playing the Giants and, as usual, the outcome had been disastrous. But maybe I was reading too much into it. There was no explicit mention of the Redskins, which says to me that even in 2027 they likely still suck.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Noll vs Cowher

Alot of people think the Coaches are just schemers, when in reality they are responsible for everything about the player--ensuring that each player knows his role, is comfortable with it, and can perform at his utmost in big games. This interesting evaluation of Cowher's legacy, versus Noll's, indicates that maybe the Schottenheimer coaching tree only knows how to scheme...money quote:

The difference between Noll and Cowher was the simplest, most basic charcteristic, trust. Noll taught and trained his players to execute and then trusted them enough to put the ball in their hands come Sunday. He required them to produce under pressure or cut them loose. Cowher thought he could win the game from the sidelines with gimmick defense and gutless offense. Cowher's systems never required the players to win the games, just not to lose them, which works well until the second season comes around. Is it any wonder that Noll's guys raised their game in January? Is it any wonder that Cowher's guys didn't excel in January?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Oh yeah, this should fix everything


So the Skins announced the shit-canning of LB coach Dale Lindsey yesterday. Lindsey is best known for having an enormous man-crush on Warrick Holdman and publicly dissing former Skins star Lavar Arrington just prior to the Giants game last October. For the record, the Skins showed much support for Lindsey's bravado, by promptly going out and getting their jocks handed to them by Lavar and the G-men (twice, in fact).

Joe Gibbs neglected to hold a press conference to announce the firing, choosing instead to send both interested reporters a micro-cassette recording of himself saying "He coached his guts out" over, and over. And over. And over.

In any case, it is clear now that last season's utter disappointment was entirely this clown Lindsey's fault, and now that he is gone, the Redskins are in great position to make a Super Bowl run next season. Just so long as Brunell is healthy enough to start come the season opener.

Fare thee well, Good Sir Lindsey. You coached your guts out, and around here, that's all we ask.

If Tina Fey keeps the 3-4, the job is hers to lose!

What's the big deal with the 3-4? If you have the right personnel, it works. If you have the right personnel for the 4-3, it works too. And let me venture to say that if you have the right personnel for the 3-5-3, it would probably work also (unless you are THE Ohio State Buckeyes)

The Steelers are very interested in Mike Tomlin, the Minnesota Defensive Coordinator, who is a Tony Dungy protege and runs the "Tampa 2" 4-3 defense. Of course, the real origin of the Tampa 2, as Dungy is fond of saying, is the Steel Curtain defense of yore.

However, across Stiller land message boards crackle with fears that the Steelers will no longer run the 3-4 with the new Steeler coach. You want to know why they are scared? Because Bill Cowher refused to play rookies and made a point of "developing" players for 2-3 years before making them full-time starters. In their minds, therefore, transitioning to the 4-3 will take at least 3 years of growing pains. Better to stick with what works, or seems to at least.

But maybe a new coach won't be afraid to play rookies, maybe if the Steelers run a 4-3 they can draft players already familiar with the system who won't have to learn and memorize a 4-inch wide playbook, who can learn on the go. Playing rookies is risky, sure, but so is keeping a guy around for years and then finding he's not cut out for the job. Alonzo Jackson anyone? Jeremy Staat? Jamain Stephens? Amos Zeroue?

Marty Bath


from PFT today

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Marty, We Missed Ya! Welcome Back!

Well, Marty's up to his old tricks again, despite having the most talented team to ever set football on the field, he still loses to a savvy Patriots team with the hated but admired Tom Brady at the helm.

I was almost tempted to give Marty a pass, I mean, he didn't fumble an interception....except for the fact that the INT occurred on 4TH DOWN!!! How can you not coach your players up to just drop the ball!! Ridiculous. Then Marty exacerbated the situation by challenging the play, which wasn't even close to being a review toss-up. That's one timeout lost. But how about the other?

Rivers called one in the 4th quarter RIGHT AFTER a 5 minute stoppage in play for injury!! If you can't get your players lined up and ready during an injury stoppage, then, well, I don't know, maybe you deserve to get the boot. But perhaps, just like Marty in the 1st quarter, his boss will pass on a relatively easy FG on 4th and 11 and go for Marty ONE MORE YEAR!!

With those 2 timeouts at the end, maybe SD gets closer in to tie the field goal. Of course, it should never have come to that.

I guess if you want to blame the players, and not that they deserve a free pass, but you'll have to implicate the late 80s Cleveland Browns and the 90s KC Chiefs, also. You know, the other teams that inexplicably choked with Marty at the helm.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

JIM TRESSEL’S BCS INNER MONOLOGUE

Gametime My kids are ready. I just gave the pregame speech of the week, so I know they are. I stood before them in the locker room, cocked my head in that arrogant way only Robert Duvall can truly do, and whispered in a voice they strained to hear above the pounding of their excited hearts: “I love the feel of merino wool in the evening! It feels like...VICTORY!!

1st Quarter
14:44. Like I said, victory. Ted Ginn Jr. is fast. Real fast. That’s what speed is, Urban! Somebody tell him the humidity down there actually slows people up.

14:34. One of the things I like best about myself is my sideline demeanor. I am cool, collected, under control. I never panic. Never. I think I should be on some insurance commercial or something. “Hi, my name is Jim Tressel, Coach of THE Ohio State University Buckeyes and two-time National Championship winner in five years. I never let my teams see me sweat, and that’s because neither does All State. Or something like that. If that doesn’t work out, I’d be happy to pitch the Viper Anti-Car Theft Device.

14:21. I am so confident of my defense’s ability to stop the Urban Gators that I will not even pretend to care about what my defensive coordinator is calling. By the way, do you get the Urban Gator? Get it? There’s a double meaning there. I won’t tell you what it is. See if you can guess.

11:20. I will resist the urge to wonder about my DC’s playcalling. This game is in the bag, people.

10:41. Tie score. There’s a Chinese proverb that says every opportunity is a crisis, or vice versa. This crisis gives me the opportunity to unleash Troy Smith on the Urban Gators. He and Ted Ginn, Jr. are going give Urban some kind of crisis! I mean it!

8:40. Hmmm. Troy is a little off. That’s cool. I didn’t see Ted Ginn, Jr. out there. Where is he, I wonder? We must have installed a Ted Ginn Jr. On The Sidelines package that week of preparation I spent shopping for a fitting professorial glasses/sweater vest combination. I settled on the gray frames and red vest, as opposed to the opposite. Like it? It’s classy, I know. I even went with the plain front pants. To keep it real.

5:41. I specifically asked Coach OC what's-his-name to NOT run the Ted Ginn, Jr. On The Sidelines package and what does he do? He not only has Ted Ginn, Jr. on the sidelines, but also in the locker room. He keeps telling me to talk to the medical staff. Like they know how to properly utilize Ted Ginn, Jr.! I mean, who else is Troy going to throw to??

2:49. The medical staff has just informed me that Ted Ginn, Jr. is injured and may not play the rest of the game. Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. We’re fine. Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. We’re good. Ok. Ok. Ok. Ok. Keep calm. Don’t panic. Thank God Coach put in the Ted Ginn, Jr. On The Sideline package…Ok. Ok. Ok. We’re good to go.

2nd Quarter
14:56. 21-7. Not insurmountable. Especially with Troy Smith and Ted…I mean, Troy Smith and Anthony Gonzales. I know that Anthony has the utmost respect for me because, for one thing, I have NEVER, EVER put the word “speedy” just before “Gonzales”, even when I am busting his balls. If I do it, I put the “speedy” AFTER Gonzales, just like they would do in his language. I am very respectful of other cultures.

13:32. Pittman scores! 21-14! What’d I tell you? Absolutely nothing. It was a trick question. My professional demeanor alone has inspired by troops to get back in this game. I didn’t even have to say ONE word. I just stood there and flipped through the pages on my clipboard as if there was actually football-related stuff on there when really it’s a list of things to accomplish after winning a 2nd National Championship. I may have to fit the insurance commercial in there between “divorcing my long-suffering wife to get some hot co-ed-u-action” and “winning a 3rd National Championship with the best Ohio has to offer while idly standing by.”

6:15. This game is settling down…finally submitting to my will and becoming as calm and docile as I am. We are not stopping them, but we are about to contain them.

3:45. Urban, you are mine, now. You will feel the force of my indomitable will. I will go for it, here, deep in our own territory. I will call the most unimaginative, straightforward play you can possibly imagine, overriding my OC’s plan to roll Troy Smith out for a run-pass option because that is NOT what this game is all about. I don’t play your sissy game, Urban. I play MY game. And my game is about DOMINATION. My domination. And I will show you. I will stuff this ball right down your throat in such an obvious and moribund fashion that you cannot help but wilt before me. In fact, screw this. I’m going to tell you what the play is. Here it is: 34 SMASH. 3 for the tailback, 4 for the rightside off-tackle hole, and SMASH for WE ARE GOING TO SMASH YOUR FACE IN! And because this is played indoors, sort of, there will be no cloud of dust to hide your embarrassment and fear!! DO YOU HEAR ME, URBAN!!

3:42. Urban must have paid off the refs, Chris Wells, or both. I cannot believe this. Time for some deep meditation, to align my chi with the rest of the universe.

1:49. See, that wasn’t so bad…all they got was a field goal…

1:47. Troy Smith, you are raping me tonight! Raping me!! Ok. Ok. It’s all good. Maybe I should talk to him, yell at him…maybe yell, then encourage. Yell at, encourage, pat on the butt. Carrot and the stick, or stick and the carrot, that sort of thing. No, that stuff is gay. Troy knows what to do. I think it’s best of I just let him work this out. He has the heart of a champion. I know this. Because that’s what a head coach does. He enables people to develop champion-sized hearts just like his.

Halftime My players, even Gimpy Ted Ginn, Jr., are looking at me expectantly. My coaches tell me I should make some adjustments. Adjustments?! What do they want me to do, punt on 3rd down?

3rd Quarter
14:59 – 0:01. See? Our comeback is in full swing. We are lulling them to sleep with a series of punts on our side, and forcing them to punt as well. Like the mongoose that shakes it’s head back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth…and the cobra’s head follows, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth…lulling the cobra into a stupefied state of vulnerability…YAWN…man, coaching is hard work. I’ve set the stage, now it’s time for Troy to bring us back. Time for a nap.

4th Quarter
14:50. Man, do I feel rested. Do you know I perfected the art of sleeping while standing? I just let my energy go down…real low…it’s not easy, you know. I can be very uptempo sometimes. But not in front of my men…just my women, if you know what I mean. And if you don’t, I mean regarding sex. Just to be clear.

10:25. Wow. We are in a hole. Not good. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one aware of this. So that’s good. Because if I start to emanate a sense of urgency, my players could take the wrong cue and start to panic. And this THE Ohio State University Buckeyes team NEVER panics. NEVER!! I would rather die than panic.

8:03. I’ve always wondered, is Urban Meyer a Mormon? I think he is. He has a funny white man name and coached for Utah. He must be. Let me ask the guys up in the press box. How do you turn this headset thingie on?

6:23. The guys upstairs don’t seem to know about Urban Meyer’s religion, and they seem to resent me asking them to Google it. I mean, they all have labtops up there with Wireless cards. What’s the big deal?

5:24. Speaking of funny white man names, Ted Ginn, Jr. is one athlete that must wake up every morning thanking God he is African-American. Because if he was white, he would face a lot of stigma. I mean, if you walked across some white dude named Ted Ginn, you would think he was a serial killer, right? And if this white dude was Ted Ginn, Jr., that would be even worse, because he was the son of a serial killer and knew all the tricks of the trade. I almost didn’t recruit this kid because of that; then I saw his picture and it was ok.

1:07. I feel really let down right now. But on the bright side, the Urban Gators just ran out the last 8 minutes of the game running the ball down our throats. That’s taking a page out of my book. So he has to copy me in order to beat me. I feel validated.

Postgame
I just asked Urban if he’s a Mormon, and he said no, he’s Catholic. Wow. That really caught me off guard. That's surprising, because I am usually prepared for everything. Well, time to install the gameplan for next year, which should only take about 15 minutes, and then get on with the more important things in life. Like achieving my dreams.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Sean

You suck Charlie Weis!

Charlie Weis

Charlie Weis sucks!

UFC moneymaker

Again, it's not football-related, but this time it is sports-related.

A while back, i was talking with someone about boxing vs. UFC (i believe it was Austin), and the topic of money came up. I just found this article at FoxSports.com MMA blog (http://community.foxsports.com/blogs/FOXSportsMMA). It refers to the most recent UFC bout, UFC 66, which took place on December 30, 2006. I'll have this bout on TiVo for the next 2 or 3 weeks, if anyone is interested in coming over--it's a great fight and all are welcome. FYI: If anyone doesn't want SPOILER info regarding UFC 66, I wouldn't click on that link if I were you. I've been careful to not include any SPOILER info in the following article:

"*If UFC 66 hits its predicted buy rate of 1.2 million homes, Ortiz and Liddell would likely end up with somewhere around $3 million each when all is said and done. UFC reportedly pays out 25% of their share of the PPV gross (the amount left after the cable and satellite companies take their half off the top) as a bonus to their PPV headliners. Under this formula, Liddell and Randy Couture both ended up with about a million for their UFC 57 match, which drew about 400,000 buys. That doesn't include whatever sponsorship and endorsement money Ortiz and Liddell lined up.
*Attendance at the MGM Grand was a sellout 14,607, with a gate of $5,397,000, the biggest North American MMA gate in history and nearly $2 million more than the previous mark. "

UFC 57 (Liddell/Couture) took place on February 4, 2006, if that tells you anything about how much the league has grown over the course of 10 months. What is sure to draw even more viewers was recently announced--UFC just signed a six-fight, two-year deal with Mikro Cro Cop, arguable the most exciting fighter in the PRIDE and K-1 organizations (both UFC-competitors). One need only "youtube" his name (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABfm8ofsYFc) to see how powerful this Croatian soldier-turned-police officer-turned-kickboxer-turned-MMA fighter has been.

Cro Cop's UFC debut is against Eddie Sanchez on Feb. 3 and should be a fairly easy fight, leading to his eventual title shot (UFC has a tendency to do that--bring in a big shot from a competitor league with the promise of a quick title shot--that's how Anderson Silva became the UFC Middleweight champ after only his first fight). The question is, will Cro Cop (6'2", 218 lbs.) opt for challenging 6'8", 265 lbs. Tim "The Maine-iac" Sylvia for his Heavyweight title, or will he instead choose to cut 13 lbs. and do battle with the Lightheavyweight champ (who shall remain nameless in this post in order to avoid SPOILER information from UFC 66--it's either Chuck Liddell or Tito Ortiz). The world has been calling for a Cro Cop/Liddell fight for over a year now. A Cro Cop/Ortiz fight would be equally entertaining.

Barber out

Is anyone else a little annoyed at Tiki Barber retiring? Don't get me wrong, i'm a big fan of saying things like "Brett Favre's legacy is his to ruin" whenever people call for his retirement. But there's a difference in the two players. Favre is a shoe-in for the Hall (hell, they'll probably rename it the Brett Favre Hall of Fame--or move it from Canton to Favreville, i'm sure there's one in Wisconsin or Louisiana named in his honor). But Barber is certainly no shoe-in. He might get in, but he also might not.

What annoys me about his decision to retire is that it shows his lack of desire to play the game, to compete. There's nothing inherently wrong with that--in fact, when you don't enjoy the game anymore, it's time to retire. It just annoys me that this guy could hang in there for two more years and ensure himself a Hall spot, maybe even make it back to the SuperBowl--his team is consistently a playoff contender. He is, after all, better today (arguably) than he has been at any other time in his career.

I saw a stat during the game last night that, from 1997 - 2003, he averaged 2.7 fumbles per X carries (don't remember how many exactly), but under Coughlin from 2004 - 2006 he averaged 0.7 (i probably have these figures a little off, but you get the point: he no longer fumbles). Couple that with the fact that he makes up 40 percent of his team's offense--more than any other current NFL player, and what do you have? Hall potential. But that's it--just potential. I think he needs about two more years of no-fumbling football. I think the Giants need him now more than ever--with their dwindling leadership and increasing lockerroom bickering. I think Eli needs him to continue taking the bulk of the heat so that he can mature into a SB-quality QB.

Barber's decision, while his alone to make, smacks of selfishness and of disregard for the Hall--a feat many players fight their entire careers to achieve, only to fall short. I smell Ricky Williams' attitude on old #21. maybe they wear the same cologne.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Jimmy vs Barry

This Year's Boise Bowl featured both Jimmy Johnson and his Dallas successor Barry Switzer in the studio doing pregame analysis. I wondered what tension there would be between the mastermind of Dallas's early 90s Glory Years and the dim-bulb who rode that talent wave (and a scared Neil O'Donnell) to another Super Bowl victory before taking a dump at the NFL level. Needless to say, Barry sounded like the dimbulb he probably is: "I talked to Coach So and So and he says they need to play good defense and not turn the ball over." Wow. Amazing. Meanwhile, Jimmy was smooth and polished and probably said something just as obvious but boy, it sure sounded better and more insightful.

Barry did bring up the 1986 Fiesta Bowl, where Jimmy's Canes got beat by Shane Conlan and Penn State thanks to 5 Vinny Testy INTs (Granted, he was probably supposed to, because it was the 20th anniversary and all, but poor form to the producers for assigning him to bring it up). Jimmy didn't like that too much and Barry later brought up one of his own Bowl losses to compensate. You have to give Barry this, the man does have charm. And he's quite handsome, don't you think?

a movie review

okay, so it's not related to football, but...

so I watched a movie the other day that is pretty much a stylized porno. it's called "Lie With Me" and stars some chick who looks like a redheaded sister to Elisha Cuthbert (Lauren Lee Smith) and some dude with a big nose who was in the OC at one point, as well as the remake of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (Eric Balfour). both are pretty much buck naked throughout the entire thing (side note complaint: while her character doesn't seem to own a bra—which is good—it shows him sans pants more than it shows her sans pants—which is obviously not so good). it also features a ridiculously small amount of dialogue, and instead features voiceover narration and mood music (think "Brown Bunny"). also like "BB", I'm convinced that the female lead actually performs fellatio on the male counterpart—and he definitely goes down on her. some things you can't fake.

anyway, the movie, surprisingly, isn't awful (although this is coming from the guy who thought the same thing about "BB"—a film most people would have to be stoned out of their gourds to make it through till the end (which is where the infamous Chloe Sevigny blowjob scene takes place, for those of you who are renting it just for that—go ahead and skip the first hour and a half).

anyway, my point: why is it that indy film can think they can get away with making pornography if they just add a voiceover, mood music or interesting editing? don't get me wrong, I think more and more well-known actresses could benefit by gettin' down and dirty (okay, maybe "benefit" isn't the right word); but in the end, there's neary a difference between these art-house NC-17s and a full-blown (no pun intended) porno. and I say to the cast: what, do you think you'll have an easier time breaking the news of your upcoming role to your folks about the chick with the dick in her mouth by emphasizing the fact that there's a much better (arguable) soundtrack to this movie than is featured in "Debbie Does Dallas"? pornography that's artistic is still pornography, isn't it? or are we still trying to push the envelope with what defines pornography? I got news for ya folks, pornography is only defined by Congress, who—as proven time and time again from McCarthy to Ashcroft to Lieberman—doesn't know dick about art, or, for that matter, pornography. and any film that features an actor/actress actually performing fellatio/cunnilingus is a porno, no matter what packaging you put it in.

not that there's anything wrong with that. to quote the late great Bill Hicks, "I LOVE pornography."

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Cowher Powr to Miami?


Your one stop shop for compelling rumors, Pro Football Talk, speculates that Miami will seek to avenge the humiliating loss of Nick "Miami's for Old People, and the Coaching's Hard Too" Saban by going after Bill Cowher. Even better, two of Cowher's former Ass Clowns in Arms, Dom Capers (admittedly, a good coordinator) and Mike Mularkey (admittedly, a sucky coach at all levels) are already there.

But Cowher is still under contract; however, according to Pro Football Talk email to NFL rep Greg Aiello, the NFL still allows trading coaches, so a deal could be swung involving high draft choices. Here's hoping the Steelers can build a dynasty off the door that hits Cowher in the back on his way out. It's been a good 15 years, Field Goal Bill, more or less. Your spittle will remind all those old folks on the beach of the crashing waves, not acid run-off from the steel mills dotting the banks of the Three Rivers.